Before

Mayo flag AIF 2013

Right, time to get the game faces on again with our first proper championship test – and a proper one it sure is – awaiting us in Hyde Park this afternoon. I know that, strictly speaking, this is Game 2 for us in the 2014 championship but it’s the first occasion this year in which our Connacht title is being laid squarely on the line and so it’s obviously the biggest football match we’ve been involved in since last year’s All-Ireland final.

It is, then, an occasion to savour and I’m itching to get on the road and head West, which I’ll be doing – along with the little lad (on loan to us for shouting purposes today) and The Brother – very shortly. More than that, though, I’m eagerly awaiting throw-in at Hyde Park and seeing the contest that’s set to unfold once the match is underway.

There’s no denying that this has the potential to be a tricky one for us. Roscommon are certainly a team on the up, with a number of fine footballers in their ranks, a canny manager who has made good progress with the county since he took over at the end of 2012 and the fair wind of a positive League campaign behind them. Home advantage won’t hurt them tomorrow either, even if our record in their backyard is a good one.

It’s easy enough to sketch out two very different scenarios for this encounter. The first sees us tear into them, either in the manner we did against Galway in Salthill last year or else by punishing with a fusillade of points the way their expected blanket defence approach invites us onto them. Such a scenario sees us winning with a good bit to spare.

An alternative vision is one akin to what happened to Donegal in last year’s Ulster final, with the Rossies rocking us back on our arses early on and sucking us into a real dogfight. Although James Horan’s charges have shown more than once that they have the ability to navigate their way through tricky waters (last year’s All-Ireland semi-final being the most recent example), the fear under this scenario would be that we revert to the kind of panic stations that occurred in the League semi-final against Derry, enabling the home team to secure a long overdue championship win over us. A more rosy variant of this scenario would see us escape with a narrow, nervy win.

On balance, I’d be confident enough that our lads will rise fully to whatever challenge is put in front of them today. Roscommon have undoubtedly improved since our last championship meeting at the same stage of the Connacht championship last year but I’d argue that, concerns about mental fatigue notwithstanding, we have too. This team now has a wealth of big game experience and while our repeated inability to seal the deal at national level raises justifiable questions about just how good we really are, I’d be more than a bit surprised if we didn’t have enough to come out on top today and so book our place in the Connacht final for the fourth year in a row.

Okay, time to get to it. Safe travelling to everyone heading to Hyde Park and here’s to an afternoon of happy hunting there. Up Mayo!

20 thoughts on “Before

  1. Anyone getting in early come join myself, Anne Marie, mayo.mick and the rest of club 51 in the stand! We have a few flags that need waving!

    Safe travels all

  2. Really looking forward to the game today and another landslide victory over the ros. If the team approach todays game with a ruthless mindset then the tricky situations should be avoided. If we are to have real aspirations once again this year of reaching yet another AI final then we should be disposing of Division 3 opposition with relative ease. Anything less would indicate we have not moved on from our indifferent league form which I don’t believe will be the case. Best of luck to Conor O’Shea and Diarmuid O’Connor today – looking forward to see them play. Happy travelling all Mayo folk !

  3. Forecast is for heavy showers in the west this afternoon. Another reason to get into the stand early!
    I’m really looking forward to this one and I’d love to see a serious declaration of intent coming from Mayo today.
    BRING IT ON!

  4. Love waking up on Championship mornings. Up Mayo and safe travelling to our mighty supporters.

  5. See you there folks and safe travelling. About to hit the road from Galway from some wedding festivities – I won’t lie, I’ll be glad of a seat today 😉 Up Mayo!

  6. We should win this pulling up. Hope to see some good forward play with all the league mistakes banished. I’d expect our aggressive defending from the forward line to be back today.

  7. Ann-Marie…I’m in the same boat 😉 let’s hope our team are not hungover today

  8. No winning pulling up today lads. This is going to be a real battle, and I hope we escape from it drenched or dry but with a Connacht Final to look forward to. Arrive Safe!

  9. You can choose to support your Man Uniteds, Liverpools’s, Chelsea’s, Celtics, etc. But you cannot pick your County, this it what makes the Gaa so special. The adrenaline pumping through my veins this morning is causing me to vibrate as i type, we are Mayo, lets win this fucking game and throw down a marker in the process, show all the doubters that we are still here and by God we mean business!!. Safe journey to all travelling. Mayo abu.

  10. At 12.10, stand filling fast. I’d say heading for a Connacht record attendance for a hurling match. 5 pts a piece right now

    Good news for anyone running late, the bad weather forecast has improve, and it may stay dry bar a stray shower?

    Bad news in the programme is no Chris Barrett. Could it be that he’s not going to play this year? If so, it will be a major blow, despite the emergence of Harrison and McHale, challenging for places.

    Hon MAYO !!

  11. Best of luck to Mayo today. And safe journey to all fans on the road, give it your loudest!!!

    Mayo 2 15
    Ross. 13

  12. Spotted our walking wounded and other panelists taking their seats beside the dugout :
    Included in the group are :
    Chris Barrett,
    Tom Parsons,
    Jason Gibbons,
    Adam Gallagher,
    Cathal Carolan, and
    Shane McHale.
    Not sure if David Clarke is with them?
    Hon Mayo. !!

  13. sad to say but Mayo looks like Donegal did last year , back to the old failings of kicking lots of wides.

  14. Very sloppy display by mayo but fair play to the rossies. It’s time mayo let loose. Dillon on now let’s hope he can stop the rot

  15. What a work out for the heart and blood pressure. Delighted to win but performance leaves a lot of work to do

  16. Cillian and Andy and seamie got us out of jail. Few of them lads need to take a good hard look at themselves coz we were absolutely dire in that game. Pat Spillane was right at half time, he said we look like a bunch of footballers with no attacking plan whatsoever. The amount of soloing today was horrendous

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