Back to reality

Rain on leavesBefore I even got out of bed this morning, I could hear the rain falling and looking out of the window now to see a leaden sky from which a full day’s worth of rain has surely still to fall and where the temperature is barely half what it was in Italy last week makes me realise that my two weeks of dossing around is over and that it’s back to the coalface again.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

It’s a bit the same with the football, though there’s oodles more in the Mayo News today if you still want – as my blogging colleague TIALTNGO puts it beautifully – to continue letting that winning feeling soak in.  In this regard, here’s Mike Finnerty’s match report, Edwin McGreal’s player rankings (he rates Andy as MOTM, which I reckon is fair enough, not least for his quick thinking right at the end to release Peadar for the winning score), Daniel Carey’s post-match reactions, an analysis piece by Mike Finnerty, more analysis from Sean Rice, a piece on both teams’ tactics by Austin Garvin and a bit of colour writing from Daniel Carey.  Crikey – with all that output, those Mayo News boys have been working as hard as our half-back line did on Sunday.

But it is time to move on and to start thinking ahead to the next challenge that awaits the lads, this time in the All-Ireland series under the full glare of publicity at HQ on the August Bank Holiday weekend.  But we can, of course, only do so in broad-brush terms because the daft-as-a-brush championship structure means that we won’t know who we’ll be playing in the quarters until next weekend.  It could be Kerry, it could be Kildare, it might be Meath, it could even be the poor old Rossies again.  Like all the other counties that have made it through to this stage (as well as the four that have still to do so), we’re all in the one boat and we’re all headed for the same bare-knuckle ride from here on in.

From our perspective, we’ve still got plenty of work to do to meet the higher hurdles that now lie ahead of us.  Had we kicked on after Conor’s goal and ended up winning by ten points (which we could easily have done), the media would now be touting us as serious All-Ireland contenders but instead we’re going to be able to sneak into this particular party largely unnoticed, hopefully allowing us to announce our arrival in a confident and positive way in the quarters.  Who we’ll be going to this party with the weekend after next has still to be determined and so any serious analysis of the challenge that’s facing us will also have to wait until we know who will be barring our way in that one.

Meanwhile, there’s all this lovely rain to contemplate: Gerry said on the weather forecast last night that it might have stopped by Saturday.  Irish summers, eh? Like the championship structure and John Bannon’s refereeing and that hole that is Pearse Stadium (with apologies to that sporting Galwayman who left a comment on the site last night – that’s the last pop I’ll have at the place till we play there again), it leaves a lot to be desired.

27 thoughts on “Back to reality

  1. Anybody know the story with tickets for quarter final? does the quarter and semi package that the gaa are offering apply to mayo matches or is it just cork and dublin?

  2. That’s a good question, 1951, and I assume the good answer should be that the ticket package applies to our matches (and hopefully we are talking ‘matches’ in our case) as well as it does to any of the other counties in the quarters.

  3. are we sure the quarters will be played in HQ? the way attendances are going, even with a double header in Croker, the GAA will find it hard to get 40,000/50,000 I would have thought?

    ((Or maybe I am completely wrong here!))

  4. Everything from the quarters onward (in football) is at Croke Park. The need to accommodate the Dubs and the fact that Meath/Ros/Limerick are a week behind everyone else complicates matters in terms of exact dates but, for sure, all the matches will be at HQ.

    I thought I heard somewhere that attendances were a bit up this year compared to last but I don’t have any source for this.

  5. Can anyone confirm if we can meet Galway at the QF stage? I thought I heard somewhere that provincial finalists have to avoid each other. But of course Cork can meet Kerry as they played at the semi final stage.

    Personally speaking, I’d like a rattle at Meath – we still owe them…

  6. Dan, apparently that is not the case anymore for the football, you can meet anyone even if you’ve played them allready. used to be that you couldnt. To confuse matters further, theres a different rule for the hurling.
    Great win Sunday, turned to the lads beside me in the terrace when Meehan scored and said “you have to laugh” as it was just so fecken typical. However, the response to it was not “so fecken typical” and I think thats what made it all the sweeter, I couldnt believe it went between the posts. A good night was had in Fat Larrys afterwards.
    Theres alot of concerns still however, I know the stats show 51-49 in terms of possession but it must have been 65 -35 in terms of breaking ball posession in midfield to Galway. Anytime there was a bit of a ruck a Galway player seemed to come out of it with the ball, we need to work on that. I only had the benefit of seeing B Moran in the second half as I was up that end and he didnt seem to do much, however the high ball seemed to cause panic when pumped into him in the first half and a few of the scores came off breaking ball off him so that has to be good. I would like to see him on the ball more though, he reminds me a bit of Asakie O’H which isnt really a good thing. However, in my humble opinion he should stay at 14. We also need to work on “what to do when you have a big lead with 10 mins left”, that was shocking. From watching Cafferky at close quarters in the first half he did well, and we do finally seem to have the 3 shirt sorted. Heaney was a good man there but was wasted, much happier to see him at 8 but hes a 60 minute man at this stage. Any word on Killers hammer? I’d start with him if fit in the quarters, Vaughan for Liam O’Malley is the only change I’d propose irrespective of the opposition. While Nicky J is a class player it was alarming the merry dance he led O’Malley on. Anyway your only as good as your last match, a draw or God forbid a one point loss, either could just have easily happened, and we’d all be talking differently now. This was a huge win for Mayo and Johnno, we’re a different team through the front door, the heads stay up and we usually improve again for the quarters (dunno about the semis or finals!). The only team I wouldnt want in the quarters are Galway, I think we could take any of the other 4 by 2 to 3 points, including Kerry. However I clearly wouldnt say something similar if we got to the final and had to play them. I’ll go mad here and make a prediction, Mayo – Dublin semi final on one side, Tyrone – Cork on the other. Mayo Cork final with Mayo to finally do it. Sunday wasnt the performance of an All Ireland winning team, but if we use our resources wisely, get a bit of luck, the tools are there. Strong backline, good midfield, with options off the bench for both areas, and an attack that appears to have lots of scoring options that can keep the opposition guessing. Midfield is what would worry me most but I’m hoping Johnno can come up with a plan for that.

  7. We can’t meet Galway again in the quarter-final: provincial final rematches are not being allowed (see today’s report in the Irish Times confirming this). But that’s the only restriction so Cork could meet Kerry and, if the Rossies somehow manage to make it through as well, we could get them again. I’m with Dan, though: it would be nice to have a rattle at Meath again after all these years. A good win there and then we’d really have some momentum.

    I see that the Spailpin is of the same mind as you are, bwp, re the semi-final line-up and it does seem to be the case that, apart from Kerry, the four teams coming through from the qualifiers might not be as strong as usual (though, on second thoughts, Kildare and Galway could pose a few questions too). A return to a semi-final line-up comprised totally of provincial champions would be a nice retro development – it has never happened since the introduction of the backdoor in 2001.

  8. If Mayo are to play Kerry, now is the hour. Those bucks only get stronger as the year goes on. It’s in the marrow.

    I’d hate to play Cork, to be honest. Big, strong, hungry, well able to score. Then again, Tyrone wouldn’t exactly be a gimme, and there are few lumpy ones ahead before the question even arises. But feckit – after the misery of the last two years isn’t it great to still have Mayo to talk about? As Willie says, it’s a break from the rain.

  9. My reading of the situation is that we cannot meet either Tyrone or Cork unless we get to the final. Likewise we can only meet Dublin in the semi. We could meet Galway again in the semi (if they get to the quarter vs Dublin and win).
    Otherwise they could be drawn on the Tyrone / Cork side of the draw and could meet us in the final if we both kept winning.
    Correct?

  10. That’s my reading of it as well DocG.
    Quite glad to be avoiding Tyrone/Cork (hopefully we won’t be avoiding them all summer…).
    The Quarter final will be key. I think we can beat any of the possible opponents. If it was to be Dublin in the semi I would also be confident. They’re leaking scores all over the pitch and I think our forwards could make hay with them.
    I think us scraping that win on Sunday was a blessing in disguise. Tyrone and Cork are being well hyped, as of course are Dublin – hopefully it’ll stay that way. We seem better the less pressure is put on us and the less is expected. Paddy Power have us at 10/1, so they obviously see us as outsiders. Glad I got us at 25/1 earlier in the year
    Too many probables I know, but it’s great to even be thinking this way.

  11. U2 are due to play in CP on the 24, 25 and 27 of July, the QF of the football are due to play on the 1, 2, 3 of August. This leaves 4 days to Remove the Giant U2 stage, and replace the playing pitch with new turf! Are these timelines a little too ambitious? Are the GAA a little too greedy? Given the problems that there were with the original surface, perhaps the matches should be scheduled for different venues. What do people think?

  12. Great to see the optimism from everyone!. I agree with an Spailpin based on current form seen in this years championship it would be hard to look past the provincial winners for the semi-final placings.

    That being said if we were to get past our QFinal opponents and it was Dublin in the semis i think they could end our run. They would not be short of motivation against us and i would say except for the full back line this is a superior Dublin team this year (with B Cullen at Centre Back) vs the 06 team.

    Are Mayo 09 better than Mayo 06? I’m not too sure, but it’s great to be looking forward to the business end of the championship in HQ this year.

  13. In terms of who we might or might not meet from here, the position is simple enough. In the quarters, we can only meet one of the four qualifiers (three if Galway are one of the four) as the four provincial champions are in one pot and the qualifiers in the other. As a result, there’s a high enough chance we’ll draw Kerry at this point.

    The semi-final pairings are pre-determined in the way that they always were, with this year’s cycle being the same as in 2006 so that the Connacht champions (or the team that beats them) play the Leinster champions (ditto).

    This all means we can only meet the Dubs in semis and Tyrone or Cork in the final. We could, however, meet Kerry in any of the remaining three rounds (depending on how the draw goes) and could meet Galway again in the semi or the final.

    As regards the pitch at HQ, I read yesterday that they’ve only three days to get the new sod (which is coming in from England apparently!) laid after U2 clear out of the place. That leaves very little room for manoeuvre in case anything goes wrong.

  14. Big problem for us is if Kerry win and we play and beat them then we would be favourite to win All Ireland which would`t suit us .We play better when we are the underdog especially in HQ. Think though we should start same team and go for the kill earlier on. High quick ball is our way forward with two big men inside .it causes huge pannic in oppositions full back lines and takes pressure off our own. Great to see that there is good compition for places for a change.

  15. I dunno Mossy, I’d say even if we beat Kerry in the quarters it wouldnt make us favourites. Kerry would want to put in a savage performance against Antrim before any of the pundits/bookies start looking at them as serious contenders. I know you can never count them out, and from the semi final stage on they are a different animal but right now they are like a beaten boxer on the ropes waiting for the knock out punch. Its only a pity that they havent run into better teams in the qualifiers (no offence to Sligo), as they’d now be out I believe.
    Speaking of pundits and experts, the more analysts I watch the more I am convinced none of them has more of a clue than us. As its an amateur sport there is still a huge number of unknowns, and I believe, although I cant scientifically prove it that the experts are more often wrong than they are right, at least when it comes to predicting eventual champions. most of the top 10 are listed as serious contenders on any given Monday morning depending on their performance the day (or two days) before, those predictions are quickly forgotten when that team gets knocked out. Sure we can all look at a good performance and say “yeah they could win it”, but we’re not the supposed experts. Theres alot of bottles of smoke spoken and written about all Ireland football contenders I reckon, hurlings easier of course as there are less actual real possibilites.

  16. The GAA are sellling combo tickets for Mayo on their website at the moment. €65 for a quarter final and a semi final appears good value, especially if we win and are playing the Dubs.

    Its great to be looking forward to football in August again!

  17. Those Combo tickets look like the way to go alright, especially if (like myself and The Brother) you have small Dubs living under your roof so even if we fail to make it that far, we’ll still have some use for the tickets if the Jacks make it through. The flip-side, of course, is that civil war could break out in these parts if it is us versus the Dubs: my small lad (all four years of him) has already told me we’re in opposite camps if this happens but I have a few tricks up my sleeve yet to get him back on board!

  18. Sat again this evening and watched the game… Just for the sake of it! Wasn’t as nervous after Meehan got the goal this time!! Few things that stood out to me. Galway gathered an awful lot more breaking ball than us. While our midfielder generally got the touch, 70% of the time it was picked up by a Galway man once broken. Liam O’Malley didnt look too bad on TV. Joyce got 3 points from him but in fairness to O’Malley, He was on his boot everytime but got caught with the dummy. Joyce got another 5 points after this… Not from O’Malley!I think the only thing that went against him Sunday was his fitness. For a man that hasnt trained in over a month, i wouldnt be throwing him to the bench yet. Andy Morans work rate was unbelievable. He was everywhere. Barry Moran didnt do much again. I would still have confidence in him BUT he has yet to prove himself. Kenneth O’Malley did well. I was so worried about Clarke been out but No bother to Kenneth. He threw himself at everything. Cant wait for the draw now. I dont think we can fear anyone. To me, Championship is at level pegging this year. Id love to get Kerry and whop them in the Quarters… Mayo Abu….

  19. I think fellas are getting ahead of themselves here. We are now in the quarter finals and unless we get a handy draw there is no guarantee of reaching a semi final let alone a final.
    Look at it from the other teams point of view. Who based on our past record is going to be afraid of playing Mayo in Croke park? I don’t think anyone will. In fact I would say that teams will be delighted if they draw us as opposed to any other of the provincial winners.
    Fair enough its nice to dream but realistically spaking we have won our major goal this year and everything else at this stage is now a bonus.

  20. Lads, how about liking it if Mayo beat Kerry in a quarter-final instead of finding a problem with it before it’s even happened? A few strolls up and down the Reek this weekend to calm us all down will do no harm I think.

  21. Surely if we could take out Meath , Kerry and Cork on the way to Sam it would be the ideal way to win it.. Take out the whole hitlist in one fell swoop.. In fairness it’s irrelevant how it’s won once it’s won but you’d love a bit of symmetry to add to the romance..

  22. Hi JPM – I’ll be buying some tickets online later tonight or tomorrow so I should be able to let you know what the crack is with seating for the two games then. I’d assume it’d be the same seat numbers for the two games but I’ll confirm for definite once I’ve bought them.

  23. And people say mayo people get carried away!!!

    We beat New York, a rossie team that looked as if they hadn’t trained all year and a poor Gal team only just.

    The issues I see:

    – lack of strength at midfield
    – How would cafferky fair against Kerry
    – Barry Moran is too slow and awkard
    – The amount of frees we gave away in the last 10 minutes of the second half – no matter how bad the ref was that has to be looked at
    – Tactics at the end of the game

    I would like to meet Kildare in the quaters because I think we can beat them and they would give us a good game.

    I do not see us getting past Dublin and I would prefer not to because I don’t have the confidence in the lads on another big day in croker

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