Can we halt our dire home record against Dublin?

It might surprise you to recall that our most recent National League meeting with Dublin ended in a win for us. We scored two goals in that game, they failed to find the net and we ran out deserved five-point winners.

That match at Croke Park, played in February 2022, was our first National League win over them at the venue since 1971 and it was also our first ever time to beat them in the capital in a regulation League fixture. Having finally dethroned them in the Championship the previous year, that win two years ago made it back-to-back victories for us over them.

Since then, of course, they’ve reset the narrative once again, with that twelve-point thumping they inflicted on us in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final providing us with a chastening reminder of where we sit against them in the game’s pecking order. That day was a painful one from our perspective and they made sure that it was.

Pain is something we’ve also got used to in relation to National League meetings with them at our place. All through the years where we went hammer and tongs against them in the Championship, every time they pitched up for a League fixture at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park, they invariably left with the points.

Monaghan haven’t lost in the League to Dublin at all since 2017 but we’ve just that one win in 2022 to show for all our League meetings with them since we last beat them in Castlebar. That was way back in 2012 on a late spring evening, when Conor Mortimer shot his way to the position of all-time top scorer for the county, as we ran out comfortable winners by twelve points.

Three years would pass before we met at MacHale Park again. When we did, in March 2015, it wasn’t pretty. They had fourteen points to spare over us under the lights that night.

The Dubs made the trip west again the following year. This time we made a match of it but we still lost out by two points.

Fast forward to 2018 and, only months after losing by the minimum margin to them in what was arguably the greatest All-Ireland final of the modern era, we once again came up short against them in Castlebar. This time they left with a four-point win.

February 2020 was the most recent time we played them at MacHale Park. We’d won the League the previous year but we’d end this Covid-interrupted Division One campaign by losing our long-standing top tier status. Dublin did their bit to push us towards the trapdoor, beating us by six points in Round 2 of that campaign.

None of the above makes for pretty reading from our perspective. Only once – that 2016 match – did we have a proper cut at them on some turf, as time and again they turned up and turned us over without too much bother.

Our respective sojourns in Division Two since then explain why four years have passed since we last welcomed them to Castlebar. Will this gap enable us to alter what’s a truly dismal recent home record against them? We can only hope that it does.

It helps, I guess, that we’re coming into this weekend’s game with a bit of a pep in our step, thanks to last weekend’s facile opening round win over an extremely listless Galway last Sunday. They, in contrast, travel west smarting from an unexpected loss to Monaghan at Croke Park.

Predicting how League games might go is a mug’s game at the best of times. Factoring in as well how teams did in their previous outing and adding to the mix the relative desire (or need) each might have for League points just clouds the matter further.

How will Saturday night’s game go? I haven’t a clue, I must admit.

What about the rest of you? How do you think we’ll fare against the All-Ireland champions at the weekend? Let’s end with a poll to test the waters on that.

How will we do against Dublin?

  • Win (60%, 399 Votes)
  • Lose (28%, 184 Votes)
  • Draw (12%, 79 Votes)

Total Voters: 662

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87 thoughts on “Can we halt our dire home record against Dublin?

  1. I’d say might be a bit misleading to compare monaghans record v Dublin with ours as it’s well known the dubs targeted mayo in every league game incase we got any notions and they almost treated it like a championship game. Regarding Saturday game i think mayo will win mainly because mayo look a bit fitter and coming off a big win last week plus I’d hope we’d have the extra bit of hunger and the home crowd to get over the line. Having said that I won’t be going to paddy power with the prediction.

  2. I think we are going to do it by a few points just have a feeling..we look fitter.

    Mad to think how poor our record is against them in castlebar.

    Mayo by 4 points or so

  3. Last year’s loss in the championship was disappointing. It came after a hard match against Galway and a bad performance against Cork. Three hard matches in the space of two weeks( three weekends ) was a bridge too far while the Dubs had a two week break. But it was bad management on McStay’s part. A lack of preparation against Cork……underestimate the opposition at your peril. But hopefully we have learned our lesson and we will prevail n at the weekend. I think we have the talent to beat Dublin. Ideally we just need to secure our place in division one early on so we can experiment with new players in a phased way over the latter games of the league.

  4. @Muckle agree with you good post.

    It was just all an ask to far for the quarters dubs were waiting in the long grass for two weeks while we were doing loads of big games also feel we lost the confidence after v Cork. Galway last year was tough to.

    We were only a point down at half time against them in quarters but that 2nd half we just lost the plot altogether.

    Let’s hope dubs don’t get away with fouling like some of them did get away with v monaghan. Fair play to monaghan they might just stay up in division 1 after all…

  5. No Doubt is right. Dublin targeted league games v Mayo like championship. Let’s turn the tables on Saturday night.

  6. Clean sheet and couple of goals should once again nab us the two points.

    How we cope with last weekend’s release of pressure and how tempted Dessie is by unleashing the old guard in order to ease his own pressure will likely decide the outcome Saturday.

    Better to be meeting them now imo. Hopefully we get another solid performance and fingers crossed it’s enough to turn them over.

    Coyne McBrien Brickenden
    Durcan Callinan MacLaughlin
    McHugh Touhy
    Reid Carney Flynn
    Boland Conroy O’Shea

  7. @FrostTHammer: Can’t imagine you’ll be far off the mark with that lineup. Any of Coen, Irwin, Towey, Duffy, Plunkett or CO’C might slip in there if bodies are tired or lads weren’t moving well in training tonight but even with a few tweaks it’ll still be a solid core.

    Hopefully enough pace in there to cause the visitors lots of problems, even in the narrowness of MacHale Park.

  8. @Frost the hammer glad you think reape should get main spot….

    Think Ryan O D will start though.

    What is with our poor record in general in mchale park against teams not just the dubs…. Hopefully that changes come Saturday.

  9. I think it was early 2017 when we played Dublin in croker and we were widely tipped to win and we ended up getting’s almost impossible to call games this time of the was an extraordinarily uncharacteristic piece of sloppiness from Brian Fenton last Saturday that cost the dubs the game in the end .i thought we became very disjointed going forward in the second half last Sunday so I really haven’t a notion how this game will play out

  10. A win would be good but id be happy with a decent performance and nobody gets bullied , them big hits now can last a while in the mindset as the season moves on . other thing is off yer hole Mayo supporters and be in mchale, never get outnumbered at home , pride .

  11. @1985..a collector’s item a mistake by Brian Fenton… don’t expect to many v Mayo on Saturday. I can’t recall too many in the last decade, by one of the most consistent outfield player’s of the last decade…

  12. That was my point.very unusual for him .i fully expected Dublin to work the winning point from there

  13. Dublin have it over us for a long time because they have been the better team and expected them to pull out all the stops again at the weekend.
    How Mayo will deal with the energy dublin will bring to the game will say a lot about where we’re at right now. Total commitment for the 70 minutes will be required to have any chance of winning.
    We can forget our great win over galway, as they more or less threw in the towel in the second half, Dublin teams will never do that.

  14. Perfect timing for a big win. The Dublin central column of full and half backs is filled with two men who looked uncomfortable, to put it mildly, against Monaghan. Sean McMahon is very big but not very agile. Cian Murphy is very agile but rudderless at the moment. McStay will have had this game in his crosshairs, we can be sure. Dublin looked like a team that has yet to gel. Mayo to win quite comfortably. In fact, they’re my favourite to get relegated. We could be looking at Dubs and Kerry in big trouble come Monday morning.

  15. @muckle – i dont think it was a lack of preparation against Cork. there was a mental fragility in the team last year. When things went against them they buckled on more then one occasion. The Cork game was more or less won, even if the performance wasn’t great and then a fragility opened. Same fragility was there against Louth and Roscommon. And against Dublin, after a great first half where we could have been 5 points up, as soon as the pressure came on they buckled. I dont believe it was game plan at all. That fragility could well be a function of uncertainty in their individual roles, over prescriptive coaching or an innate lack of confidence, but I hope developing the mental strength to cope with adversity and giving leaders on the field the space to play heads up football formed a key part of the winter programme.

  16. Agre you won’t be too far off the mark with that team froshammer but for me I’d like to see if fit

    Get an athletic midfield Sweeper in diarmuid , allows any of the axis of Paddy, eoin of midfielders attack and switch with Carney and flynn as needed but main point for me is leaves space inside for tommy to run into .
    I have nothing against aido before anyone rolls out the aidoism card but want to see TC prosper and RoD too and only way they will is with space whilst we bulk ourselves around the middle .
    I’m a big fan of tuohy but would just like to give him more protection to allow him fulfil his talent .
    I think Ruane was thrown in deep ened without adequate protection and now were paying price for it with him , I do hope and belive he will come back fresh and better but we’ll off the boil by his own standards last 2 years.

    Diarmuid be ideal sweeper midfield role but if he’s not available Coen can do that roll albeit in a different way .
    Aido and Cillian be impact subs but ROD and TC thrive on space inside and not the suffocating elements we are impose ourselves on them

  17. The dubs used to dominate the league in their pomp but that has tailed off. They won the AI because McCaffrey and Mannion came back along with Cluxton, now they’ve lost Rock. An injury to one of the above 3 and they cease being AI favourites.
    Our QF performance was down to losing to Cork, a very tough game against Galway and vs dubs a transition year of giving rookies a chance. The 2 week break is massive. We were better than dubs in 1st half and conceded a somewhat soft goal. The dubs then had a purple patch aided by half time reset which won’t always happen for them .. followed by a fatal mistake from us and it was over bar us finding 2 goals against that huge momentum change. Mannion was at the top of his game that day. Far too much read into it. We beat Cork and it’s 75% we’d have made the semis, different discussion.
    Dubs no longer the dominant league team they were, I’d not be bothered by the venue. And it’s no disaster either if we lose in round 2. Just be nice to get to 6 points and be able to experiment some more.
    On Boland I wouldn’t be getting carried away. He’s done well before and maybe a bit unlucky but summer is a different intensity. I’d see him as another good option.
    I like the look of Reid. Unfazed by the physicality of league football. More than held his own and not turned over. One for 2025 and some game time in 24. I’ve backed us as Dubs have a 3 hour journey down and winter football is experimental teams. If they flood experience in, we can do the same.
    Ps I think Ryan and Tommy should be rested because of fixture backlog, Cillian has only a year or 2 left , still class and is still in great shape so we need to find ways of getting him game time. Our panel is more than big enough.

  18. Thats an interesting take paul b. I like that but if theres truth in it do you think we will improve in that department this year ?

  19. Looks like the Dubs rested most of their Panel for the Sigerson games. Was taking a look at the UCD squad, There was a surprising lack of them named in the first 15s from what I could see. Not sure how many got game time.
    Anyone have a good insight on the Sigerson panellists who would have/could have lined out during the week?

  20. Does anyone know if they still sell tickets outside the game or is it all online now.
    Heading down the weekend, hopefully to see some revenge for the QF.

  21. I’ve thought a few times that we need to be a bit better at stemming the flow when things are going wrong.
    Look at the Cork game. Got away from us in 10 minutes. Same in the Dublin game.
    Thats where we need to be cuter and go ultra defensive if we need to even just for 5 minutes so it doesn’t get any worse and we can regroup.
    Easier said than done once you lose momentum. I remember the look on Cluxtons face on more than one occasion when we were destroying his kick out. It needs somebody to take control. Paddy Diarmuid Jordan maybe.

  22. Based on our defensive set up last week I’ll predict no goal conceded to the Dubs and also based on the pace we exhibited more so in the first half and the way Monaghan pnished the Dubs with some cutting runs I’ll go with a 4-5 win again !

    I know I said previously we would have certain targeted games in the league but I now believe it maybe the first 3. These are 3 nice wins to get against potential semi opponents later in summer. It gives us 4 games to eperiment with systems and give the wider squad game time…

  23. Spot on with a lot of that analysis Shuffly.

    I’ve looked back at TG4 recording and Reid did very well. Physicality a big plus and he slotted in seamlessly. As you say it’s about building options. Defence was a lot tighter on Sunday; I never felt Galway were going to get in for a goal, whereas in the qualifier anything could have happened. Our defence was very suspect at times last year; a lot of criticism of the attack against Louth, but don’t forget, for every two scores we got, Louth came down the field, and scored good points and kept in touch. They shouldn’t have been let.

  24. Defence looked good last Sunday compared to last year. Good tight marking and no big holes left through the middle, bit like the days of Higgins ,Boyle and Barrett and Keegan.. Last year management picked the wrong players at corner back and chb especially and refused to admit they got it wrong and kept the wrong players in important positions for the whole year, resulting in one man leaving the management.
    if the best players are picked in their best positions we wont be far off come end of July. Its in the hands of McStay.

  25. I’d take a good performance and draw on Saturday, once we give new faces game time .
    The Dubs training is all geared for championship as they can breeze through Leinster.
    For the Dubs I’d say stay in Div 1 and peak for championship will be their goal .
    Would be great if we win and get the points but not a season ending disaster if we lose once we are trying new players and formations .
    Looking for to the trip down West Saturday

  26. Looks like there are no sales at the pitch on match day for the last few years. Not sure if Centra/SuperValu are still selling tickets at their shops.

  27. @Paul B, that is the best and most concise summary of the McStay year 1 I have heard from anyone.

    The question from all of it is, why were they so mentally fragile last year?

    The team included All Stars like O’Shea, Durcan, Ruane, O’Donoghue, and O’Connor from the bench. Experienced, tough, and reliable campaigners like Diarmuid, Coen, and now Flynn. McStay might point to an very inexperienced goalie, full-back, corner-back, wing forward, and wing-back which I’m sure had an influence but I would be worried about the things you mentioned. Lack of belief in their individual roles (maybe Canney will improve this) and a general lack of confidence/ability when games get tough – Reape, O’Hora, Callinan (will absolutely get better), Eoghan Mc (big year ahead for him), Carney (big year ahead for him), and Ruane (badly need to get him back to his best).

  28. Thanks Joet1480. Normally buy them online but no mobile at the mo so will have to print off ticket.

  29. On the tickets pretty sure they can be still got in Centra/SuperV , just no tickets at the ground.

  30. Would like to see Towey get a start. Was ridiculously sharp when he came on last week. ROD and TC did not have as big of an impact against Galway but get the feeling this game will be more open. Hopefully the defensive strength we showed last week is maintained with Goals for us the other end. Expect the Dubs will target this game to get points on the board and put us in our place so to speak. A large home crowd could be the difference as the Dubs will travel for this one.

  31. I don’t think we can play a two man fullback like we did against Galway this weekend. Dublin will have picked up on how influential McBrien was when he was able to step forward free into the sweeper position.

    Dublin will most likely seek to occupy each of our fullback line with a three man full forward line of something like;
    Basquele O’Callaghan Small

    And it’ll be interesting to see how we try to deal with that – particularly given that Sam Callinan and Rory Brickenden have Sigerson again midweek, and are maybe most likely to be rested
    – Will we seek to free up McBrien again or will someone else sweep?

    – We’re matching up quite well man to man all across the field, but if we do line out like last weekend we will likely find a big hole around the six position – which Fenton, McCaffrey and Murchan will drive into.
    – There’s an argument for an extra defender here.
    – And individual plans for each of the three above, and my match ups would be.

    Fenton – Donnacha McHugh
    One of Donnacha and Sam Callinan should be ready for Fenton – but I’m starting Donnacha on Fenton and Sam on Costello.

    McCaffrey – Bob Touhy
    There’s an argument for moving Tommy out for this, but sod that let’s see what Bob’s got. If it doesn’t work, there’s always Sam Callinan 🙂

    Murchan – O’Shea
    Let Murchan run off Aidan, all he’s doing is clearing space for Eoghan MacLaughlin to counter into, and leaving Aidan and Tommy 2 on 1 inside with acres.

    And all that leaves me thinking we’ll drop Ryan or Fergal for an extra defender, or one of those two starts and we see them spend a lot of time sweeping.

    And on last weekend’s evidence that’s probably drop Ryan, keep Fergal – and if we’re feeling really frisky leave Reape and McBrien to deal with O’Callaghan and let Fergal do his thing.

  32. @Mindthehouse

    There’s a good argument for a soccer type tactic of just getting the ball to O’Shea in the attacking corner and make the opposition fight to get the ball out of that zone – while we reorganise, catch our breath and clear the heads.

  33. I have Towey coming in and making an impact again this weekend.

    But I have pencilled him in for a start in Tralee because Kerry can really struggle to cope with Aidan around the middle.

    And then we can see about Healy Park.

  34. Sean Burke/Paul B, that question regarding fragility is very relevant for this year, this has been an issue for many years in reality across the team overall. And the defeats over the years seems to have reinforced that in a number of players. Overcoming that would make us a very dangerous team.

  35. I see Conor Reid was on the bench for the u20s in 2022, was he injured or just not first choice ?

  36. @Tony Freeman: Just not first choice I believe. Himself and Bob did come on in all of our games that year.

    We had Dylan Thornton, Frank Irwin, Bob Tuohy and Conor all fighting for those two midfield spots (with lads like Donnacha and Sam stepping in around the middle at times) so plenty of serious competition in that team.

  37. @Frost I’d be surprised if McHugh was on Fenton. But I remember McStay suggesting bringing Hession on & putting him on him when he was building up to the 2021 semi final for RTE, so stranger things have happened.

    O Shea & Murchan? Murchan will likely be on Tommy or ROD or whoever our paciest inside man is. He could do untold damage if he is let wander up the field

  38. Mayo need to be winning this game on Sat.

    It might only be a league game but after last year’s championship meeting Mayo should want to give Dublin their fill of it come Sat.

    When you take Dublins veterans out of the team their replacements look ordinary enough.

    Defensively they were poor last week against an experimental Monaghan missing, Began, McCarthy and McManus.

    Conceding 3 goals is not good at all.

    Mayo -6

    On a side note I’d be worried about what team we will play against the same pacey Monaghan team.

  39. Bit foolish to be predicting the dubs performance will be same as last week including goals for and against. Same for ourselves. It would be great to have 4 points in the bag and we could then experiment more. Team looks fairly good but it’s only early Feb.

  40. Shuffle Deck,

    Based on Dublins league performances over the past 3 years it’s not foolish at all.

    They have barely shown an interest in the league.

    Yes it’s only the league but Mayo look in a better place at this stage of the season than Dublin based on last week.

  41. As a gesture of good will, i think the County Board should reserve the center section of the stand for Dublin supporters.

    And if some want to go behind the goal, at the Bacon Factory End ,all Mayo Fans should immediately vacate that area, and let them stand wherever they choose.

  42. @Bonnie Boyler… would love to see the Dubs fans in Castlebar in force.
    Hopefully it somehow happens, just wondering where possibly could a big number stay or afford to stay the night?

  43. Impressive flowing game and win against Kerry (2023) at start of League last year. Similar type of game against Galway last week (2024). No complacency for this Dublin game. A win would move us into a safer League spot. We won one NFL last year – there is only one competition that matters now.

  44. @paddyjoejohntom why? Nice gesture but the dubs would hardly reserve the hill 16 for us ha
    Or immedietly vacate a part of Croker either.
    Center section I hope be full of mayo supporters it’s our home ground sure like the hill 16 be full of dubs.

    Best of luck to the guys mayo by 4 or so.

  45. @ Leantimes. Plenty of accommodation between Castlebar, Westport and Ballina. I know some is taken up with refugees at the moment but I was looking myself and had no problem getting a place.

  46. We dont want mcbrien on callaghan. Do yee remember the qf last year? He brought mcbrien on a tour of croker and left our full backline exposed. Mcbrien stays at fullback. We need an other plan for that. In case con goes walkabout

  47. Clare, because they are making a monumental effort to follow there team across the country. imagine the hardship and expense they have to endure getting to the game. It’s the least the Mayo Gaa should do.

  48. Dublin were just back from a training camp abroad just before the Monaghan game.
    A different animal tomorrow

  49. @Paddyjoejohntom fair enough but I’m just saying there’s no way the dubs would just immediately shift out of their seats if we wanted to sit in a certain part of Croker and certainly wouldn’t reserve anywhere for us doesn’t matter if they are following their team across the country. They would never do that for us in Croker and that’s a fact.

    Looking forward to the game hope fergal Bowland can put in another top perfermance was impressed with conor Reid to for his debut!

  50. Fully expect a Dublin win this weekend. If the game was in Croker id tip us by a few points. These are ezaxtly the games we struggle to win in Castlebar. Dublin will really relish this challenge and they are in more need of the 2 points. Hunger is usually the best sauce in the national league.

    @West Kerry, no markers are laid down in the league ever. If we want revenge on Dublin we bottle it and try and use it in championship to beat them. A 12 point win on Saturday wont exorcise the demons of last years defeat. Only championship wins can do that.

  51. Agreed Margie but league wins build confidence.

    It won’t matter a jot come the summer but Dublin in their pomp always went out to beat Mayo and Kerry in the league.

  52. Mayo will beat dubs. And that’s not with my green & red tinted glasses on either.

    Every time we play any kind of big team it’s always expecting a loss. Same v Galway but if we do win tommorow it’ll be dubs didn’t show up or were poor or it’s only Feb..

  53. Would like to see most of the same side as last week rewarded with a start, with just the 2 changes.

    If AOS/cillian are doing the jobshare this year as suspected then I would start cillian ahead of aidan this weekend as AOS was only OK last week and hasn’t performed well in croker for a long time plus cillian could do with a start.

    Would also reward Towey with a start to see how he goes in a game where he will get opportunities to score. Probably bring him in just for this occasion for ROD, who could do with a rest and put in quote a frazzled performance last week (not for a minute suggesting Ryan not a starter, in championship he is still Probably first name on my team sheet).

    Tommy still not anywhere near his best but he needs games so will start him every league game

    So for Dublin…



    Eoghan mc




  54. @Spectre
    You’re exactly right. I thought McBrien did a reasonable enough job on Con but Con spent a lot of time away from goal. You can be sure that that was pre planned by the Dubs.

    Perhaps we could provide a buffet as well for those good people of Dublin considering they have had to travel so far. I wonder if they like Duck?

  55. Paddyjoejohntom, fully agreed and only right that we should showcase what we have, given all the money spent and debt that was incurred. I hope we give them some good discounts on food in the Sportlann also, I recall some of the Dub supporters giving out about prices there over the years.

    Not awfully worried about winning or losing on the night but vital that we put in a seventy minute performance. Too many easy wins for the Dubs over the years. I would be disappointed to see us out of contention after 60/65 minutes but we should be confident going into this match

  56. Hard to know what to read into games against Kerry and Dublin early in the league as they come with a massive health warning, both teams know they are going to cruise through ridiculously soft provincial championships and so both can afford to be 5 or 6 weeks behind the other contenders in terms of hitting their stride.

    So I wouldn’t lose my sh1t over the result tomorrow night win or lose

    The match that holds most interest for me in the league is against Derry, that’s the one I want us at full strength for as they are going hard for the league and will tell us a lot about how we adapt to an extremely disciplined well coached outfit, if we have gone back to the runners from deep, attacking halfback line approach as per last week then the derry game will tell us how successful that is likely to be.

    So the derry game for me is going to be by far the most instructive game imo to tell us where we are at

  57. And for the weary travelling vegetarian supporters there’s cheese n onion or ready salted…. only right and proper that we cater for all the hungry.

  58. Thats it in a nutshell supermac , in theory dubs and kerry are still playing soft league games through their repective provincial championships where as out west and up north , neighbouring counties will be knocking lumps out of eachother in provincials .

    It really is time they were scrapped now , i personally have a great gra for the tradition but its time to evolve and stop making it even handier for the big two .

  59. Exactly Sean. It such an unfair imbalance.

    It’s such an advantage for the big 2 kerry and Dublin who are already safe in the knowledge they will cakewalk the provinces and be 1st seeds in the group stages, they can start planning towards that now. The cliffords in all honesty shouldn’t have to play a game til June.

    Ulster is an absolute bear pit this year as ever, especially with a rejuvenated donegal back, whoever comes out of that will be battered and bruised. Connacht to a lesser extent is also no joke, any of mayo/rossies/galway could topple the other on a bad day.

  60. @Spectre: Fair description of what happened in the QF but unlikely to be how it would play out tomorrow if we let McBrien follow Con again (they’d still try and bring David walkabout you’d expect, which is fine as you want Con as far away from goal as possible, but the damage that does to our defence unlikely to be nearly as severe).

    That day a red hot Basq hit an ice cold PO’H. If you played the game 10 times over I wouldn’t expect Basq to do nearly that much damage again. Horrible day out for Padraig but one that could hopefully drive him on to recover and exceed his ’22 form, he’s that type of fella. All while having stronger alternatives around the squad this year with a lot of the younger lads a year older and wiser.

    With Brickenden back there again we’d still have a strong figure at full back and between McBrien/Brickenden/McHugh/Callinan/McLaughlin/Coyne/Durcan/Coen/Plunkett (no idea if Hession/PO’H are fit again yet) we should have enough balance of height and pace to avoid the threats (aerial or open space) they’d hope to expose (listing the full defence options there as Dublin will likely use their forwards rotating trying to get the biggest mismatches at the edge of the square).

    We could easily use David as the +1 again, allowing him anchor the defence and provide aerial cover for teammates, and leave Con to Sam or Rory but I certainly wouldn’t view it as a mistake letting David take up Con. I think it’d actually be my own preference tomorrow. That said, nice to have so much flexibility back there that it’s hard to predict the matchups or who’ll be a +1. If we can’t be sure watching them closely every week it’ll leave opposition managers unsure and second guessing it too.

  61. Tsudhonim thats correct its just a point that we need to learn from. For me that was a disaster from management in qf. These are the things we gotta learn from. Whatever ab9ut having top forwards u dont want your defense pulled out of shape. Big teams punish every time

  62. PaddyJoe, how about Molly Malone instead of the National Anthem with coddle served at half time and Imelda May belting out the Old Triangle !!

  63. Why are people in such dire need for Mayo to be given a pat on that back?

    These games are not important in the grand scheme of things. Yes, Mayo were good last Sunday but Galway clearly weren’t at the races.

    We have been dumped out of the championship two years in a row by 8 points and 12 points when it really matters. I’ll save my congratulations until this team put in a massive performance in Croke Park at the business end of championship.

  64. Well said Unstoppable. Championship is where it matters & we’ve gone out with a whimper the past 2 years. That’s the acid test.

    I’d genuinely be more worried if we won tomorrow or certainly if we won convincingly. Management simply have to have learned from last year or what are we bothering for!

  65. I presume previous posters were taking the pi*s when they said prices in the Sportlann were expensive. All pints a fiver after the last Mayo match there. Not long ago it was a tenner for soup , sandwich and a pint! Always a nice atmosphere before and after the game especially with the Dubs. Forecast not too bad so crowd should be big enough. I’ve my money on a draw, Dubs will be coming hard but think we can stick with them for now. We might be a little more defensive after half time (for a change). Sigerson semi’s on Wednesday will take from our full hand but thats a good thing in the long run. Panel is strong enough to deal with a few being rested. Towey to get the equalising score in injury time! Enjoy and safe travels.

  66. @willjoe this is a great forum as the engagement is excellent and there is plenty of insightful posts.

    Don’t mean to be critical of anyone but I dint understand the attitude of some that they don’t really care about the result tomorrow that it’s the championship that matters.

    Ofcourse it’s the championship that matters but you may not even meet Dublin in the summer.

    Yes no medals are handed out in February but who cares it’s still important to beat your rivals.

    Why do you think Mickey Harte brought the Glen players to Kerry last week.
    The game has little relevance but it breeds a winning mentality.

    I hope Mayo make a statement tomorrow league or not.

  67. @westkerry I can see where you are coming from. Supporters should always want to win a game. The thing is, a lot of us don’t know what to think anymore. We have done it. We have beaten big teams in the league. We’ve won the league. We have beaten big teams in the championship. Played magnificent football at times and had our praises sung…then what? .We lose and all of the above is forgotten. The media that were full of praise are the first to stick the knife in and we are saying ‘believed our own hype’.
    So, say we win tomorrow and hypothetically beat Kerry, all that starts again…. if we loose tomorrow and against kerry, we are finished and we got ahead of ourselves after the galway game….
    So people can’t be blamed for being guarded….
    Us coming on here saying mayo will win tomorrow changes very little. It’d be great if they did, but we won’t even be allowed enjoy that without the usual comments from not to far away….

  68. I agree with West Kerry, go out and beat the Dubs – can’t beat them often enough as far as I’m concerned. The result does matter, particularly to this team after getting hockeyed in last year’s quarter final. Winning is a habit and breeds confidence.

    Get 3 wins ASAP and then we can relax and start tuning things for the Championship. Be nice to have 2 wins chalked ip tomorrow evening.

  69. Mayo by 4-5, my guess will be team named will be more or less the exact same as last week, maybe 1-2 changes in named team
    That said, there should be few changes on day with Sigerson lads having done so much.

  70. We could be ballsy you know – have Reape man mark whoever Dublin leave inside and leave McBrien free to play as the plus one from the full back position.

  71. Do not discount the value of a league final to teams who won’t otherwise get a run out in HQ until the quarter final.

  72. @Paul – I take your point but I would hope McStay and Co have learned from last year and once we have achieved safety they will take the foot off the pedal and use the remainder of the league to experiment and work on things and engage in heavy bouts of training.

    The sooner we get safe the better in that scenario.

  73. Dublin need the two points more than we do.
    A similar level of performance and drive from Mayo is the most important thing for me.

    It’s possibly more important to me that it’s the first home game of the year than who the opposition are.

    Other counties should not be coming to Castlebar and winning, unless we’ve the kids out.

  74. Agreed with west Kerry make won a habit keeping the confidence up would be great to get The Two points

  75. Great to see Paul towey get a start but why oh why move Sam calinan from 6 to 4 and put David mcbrien is good in his own position…

    Calinan did well last week at 6.

  76. Its hard to know how this game will go. Talking to a Dublin supporter who attends every game he thought Dubs are not at full tilt at all but in saying that they could have beaten Monaghan. If the Dubs get in for goals they will win otherwise Mayo might ground it out. I would fancy Mayo to win but its Dublin and they are well capable of going through the gears when they see Mayo coming.

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