Championship preview – Mayo News football podcast 2021 E9

The rapid-fire National League campaign is now over with the action getting underway in this year’s Championship next weekend. Mayo are take the field next Saturday, when they face Sligo in a Connacht SFC quarter-final tie at Markievicz Park.

In this episode of the Mayo News football podcast we use the short lull in hostilities between League and Championship to preview this year’s race for the Sam Maguire. Billy Joe Padden hosts the Championship preview episode and he’s joined by fellow Mayo News (and Irish Examiner) columnist Colin Sheridan and by Mick Foley of the Sunday Times.

In a wide-ranging discussion, the lads look ahead to the summer campaign from a number of different angles. Their focus initially is on Mayo, where, naturally, they zero in straight away on the loss that Cillian O’Connor represents to a Mayo team that start out as favourites to retain the Nestor Cup but whose more expansive plans this year have been undercut by the Achilles injury suffered by their talisman.

The lens then widens out to consider Galway and Roscommon, both of whom were relegated from Division One last weekend and who meet in Connacht at the semi-final stage. Their respective strengths and weaknesses are examined, as are their prospects for provincial honours. 

Casting the net wider still, the lads survey other potential last-four competitors, before their gaze fixes on the quixotic endeavours of John Maughan and Mickey Harte. Both men have walked the line more than once on All-Ireland final day but this year their respective charges in Offaly and Louth – both of whom enjoyed League promotion this year – are set to meet in the first round of the Leinster Championship.

Wrapping up this Championship preview episode, Billy Joe, Colin and Mick all provide their predictions on who’ll come out of Connacht and then they go on to declare who they think will get their hands on Sam in August.  

This episode of the Mayo News football podcast is now online and is available to listen to on iTunes, SoundCloud, Podomatic and Spotify. You can also listen to it directly on the Mayo News website as well as here on the blog using the SoundCloud player below or the one on the panel on the right.

The Mayo News football podcast has its own Twitter presence, @MayoPodcast, so if you’re a Twitter user you should follow us there to make sure you get the latest podcast-related updates, including new episodes.    

The Mayo News football podcast is sponsored by Ceramic City and Swinford Motors, two fine Mayo businesses with whom we’re proud to be associated. 

38 thoughts on “Championship preview – Mayo News football podcast 2021 E9

  1. Really enjoyed this podcast! Just one thing: Mick Foley seems to think Ulster champions v Dublin in semi-final.
    I’m almost certain the Connacht champions will play Dublin.

  2. You’re correct, Umpire. Mick Foley doesn’t ever get a whole pile wrong – and he’s a wonderful contributor to the podcast – but he’s off the mark there alright.

  3. If Enda Hession plays against Sligo or Leitrim he is ruled out of u20 game against Galway on 13/7 if the seniors are still in championship or have rules changed?

  4. I’m not sure, Just a thought, but I’d say in that instance he would be ruled out. Clifford and Sean O’Shea were unable to play U20 in 2018 when they were called up to the Senior ranks that summer (and in all probability left that U20 All-Ireland after them as a result).

  5. I had Galway as Connacht Champions for 2021 from early 2021 on the basis of all the resources( money, facilities and pick) they have and their greater need to win it above other contenders in Connacht. However after what I saw last week on the telly, I am no longer assured. Their game with Monaghan last week is baffling and a strange result. Here is what I saw all be it on TV.. First they were in great physical shape, full of running, with some new talent on view, even if it was leaning heavily to the west of the county. I found that aspect unusual. With ten minutes left they were well on top and destained to retain their Div 1 status with a bit to spare as I had expected. Did I witness an implosion in those final minutes. Against a team that looked out on their feet and playing from memory of better days in Clones. Nobody seems to have any answers on this site of would be experts. The McGuiness hand was very much on view in Clones. The way they marked space, crowded the player in position and not to forget the long and accurate foot passing out of defense. All of these aspect of their game took me back to the year of 2012 and the slogan “Jimmy is winning matches”. Does any one have any comments to make or does everybody in Mayo get their football knowledge from the Sunday Game these days

  6. @PJ I think you are correct in your analysis Galway were home and hosed with ten minutes to go a bit like us in the 1996 All Ireland final but Galway seemed to press the
    Self destruct button which is nothing new under P Joyce. I still fancy Galway to learn from the Monaghan game and win Connacht especially with Cillian out and our defence not at the races. Expect to see Comer like a bull in a China shop banging in a goal or two. It’s extremely disappointing that Horan is in his 7th year managing Mayo Year 3 of this second term and we are terrible in defence ok he has had to contend with a lot of injuries as retirements but I think he still could do better. I’m resigned to see if Ray Dempsey or Mike Solan and Andy Moran can do any better in 2023 cos can’t see where this managent will get any fresh ideas.

  7. PJMcManus, I personally didnt see any elements of McGuinness on that Galway team. McGuinness teams could hold on to a 4 point lead for 40 mins, Galway couldn’t hold onto it for 3 mintes!!!.

    Since Cillians injury, i’d have Galway favourites to win Connacht. Regards the Monaghan game, I think they just choked, plain and simple. Didn’t even start a row to halt the momentum when it started to swing in the 67/68th minute. The likes of Bradshaw and Conroy badly missed for that element. That defeat will either make them or break them (including managment). The Rossie game looks a slight little banana skin now, Rossies historically do well when relegated. I still see Galway scraping through, and having just enough to beat us with us minus the GAA’s all time leading scorer, unfortunately.

  8. You cant replace experience and no doubt he is an irreplaceable loss. But it doesnt mean some good will not come outof it. Whie we were div 2 league team the core of the team have experience at highest level..
    Much will depend on how the newcomers step up to the plate and whether any of them offer the leadership that Cillian does.
    Mayo are still my favourites to win connacht. What are the bookies saying?

  9. Ya we are goosed without Cillian. He was in great form and playing a Galway team in McHale Park without him will be extremely difficult. He is such a strong presence in our team and his absence will see us fail I fear.
    If there was a transfer market in gaa now I think only Clifford or O’Callaghan would be a worthy replacement.
    Anyways, it might be no harm for the tribesmen to experience instead of us for a change that all so familiar soul destroying experience of being worn down by the ‘robotic’ Dubs. Only Kerry can save us from another dose of ‘same old same old’ on the 29th of August.

  10. Yeah, id be far more upset if it was Connacht v Ulster or Munster. Would love a crack at Kerry tbh. But with the Dubs lying in wait, its just a formality this year, I do think their regressing ever so slightly, but even with Cillian, I feel we’re a year away from beating them (if we ever do). But if we won Connacht, it would bring us on even more to play them. The AI series is where you wanna be no matter what. Having said that, theirs no way you can topple them having played D2 league, then a D2 bound team in a provincial final.

    Pressure on Galway and Joyce now to deliever a provincial title, they’ll never get a better chance than now, we played D2 for the first time in 20 odd years, and our most prolific forward is KO’D..

  11. I don’t think us playing division 2 will make a difference to be honest. Especially with it being shorter and more compressed this year. Most of our team played Dublin in an all Ireland final 6 months ago and competed well with them. Galway and Ross don’t have that kind of experience as Dublin in league mode are a different animal.

    I still expect us to win a provincial title being honest. James Horan has an excellent record in connacht and has a 5-0 record against galway in championship. Cillian is a massive loss but we should be able to absorb it during Connacht.

  12. Neither do I think that Mayo playing Div Two will make too much difference either.. One season in Div Two every 20+ year’s is nessary to blood new player’s and to try previously untried tatics.. I know last Sunday was a disater with injuries to Diarmuid and Cillian, but had we played 4 game’s in Div One, more injuries would be likely, despite so many young inexperienced player’s on the Mayo panel, still allot of players with serious football miles on the clock.. I expect Mayo to be playing Roscommon in the Connacht Final.. The Rossies are like that, has to be one huge game in them for 2021.

  13. I dont buy into the narrative Galway are favourites for Connacht & that we are all but done without Cillian. No doubt Cillian is a loss and would be to any team but Mayo are far from a one man team and I fully expect us to retain Connacht. In my view we are still way ahead of Galway and the Rossies, both look to have gone backwards since last year and dont seem to know what type of system they are playing. We will miss Cillian’s experience on the field which means our more experienced players need to drive the team on. With the right team selection we can maintain a high percentage of scores Cillian normally gets, Loftus/Towey/Coen are all well capable of a high return from frees and able to chip in from play, add in the likes of Carr/McHale/Doherty if fit and we have plenty of options for scores. Cillian is a loss but it is far from the end of the world, I expect Mayo to have a big say again this year, maybe not Sam but we will see Croke Park at least once.

  14. Keep talking Galway up here posters!! About that Monaghan game, don’t forget who Monaghan have in their backroom – ‘our own’ Donie Buckley. That’s worth about three points to any team.

    Let’s take a step back and see who we have blooded. Enda Hession looks a real find, Brickenden has got a fair bit of game time, Towey has inched forward, and Darren McHale looks lively. That’s not bad when you add it to the All Ireland experience gained by Oisín, Eoin, Mick Plunkett, Tommy, and Ryan.

    Jason Doc and Harry are still in the frame, Boyler has been utilised, Robbie is solid, Lee is looking good.

    Lot of positives there. On Cillian, at the risk of being labelled a ‘hopeless optimist’ by Willie Joe, if it’s not a rupture of the Achilles and that has not been stated, then later in the season should not be ruled out. As one who has had a stellar tennis career (joke) interrupted by an Achilles rupture, a year out is likely, but if it’s not then, possibilities are open.

  15. Agree with your analysis there Mayodunphy … full squad in ’22 I think we are a big prospect, Colm Keys mentioned it a couple of weeks ago on this podcast. One big big push against Galway or the Rossies would be huge, if we could get a Connacht title under our belts without Cillian it would be huge, and another crack at the Dubs will give that team just another few percentages looking onto next year. I don’t see us doing enough to get a Connacht title as of now without Cillian, but they could take some shape between now and Connacht final.

    Where is Diarmuid at with his injury, I haven’t heard anything??

  16. Hennelly




    R o donoghue

    T conroy
    James carr

    Aiden and durcan to swap . Play aiden as holding defensive midfielder. It’s my stab at a team. Horan no doubt will have other ideas lol

  17. My attempt…(what i think it will be, not what i would go with myself)



    S Coen


    Ryan o’donoghue



  18. I think myself that we should be treating Galway as a serious opponent (and perhaps Roscommon too, but I haven’t seen them play in the League). I’m not paying much heed to them going down to Division 2 this year. It shows nothing in regard to Connacht except maybe that they’ll be a much more dangerous prospect, wanting to prove themselves, on foot of that.
    I took one look at them late in their last League game and saw the bulk and heft of the lot of their players. We have a lot of young, as yet unconditioned, lads with little experience of Senior football. Yes, we were in an All-Ireland Final last year, but I’m talking about the experience you get through playing years of games. It’s possible strength and guile alone could be a big advantage for Galway.
    Too often – and very understandably – we have been ragged in our performances with our new-look team last year and this year. We are trying to bed-in our players and system. We might have a stunning blitzing first half and lose shape in the second. This is a team trying to master a system as opposed to yet being adept at it.
    None of this is to take away from our lads, who I am so excited about. They are amazing.
    I’m sorry that Cillian is out especially as he was flying it up to now. I believe others must show what they can do.
    But I say the above to take the Galway (and possibly Rossie) threat with the seriousness it deserves in Connacht as we might be showing blindness, naivety or both to just assume we’ll win it.

  19. Galway have some very fine players from midfield up. Beaten by Monaghan on the sideline, taking off Finnerty and Walsh. I also thought that they did not like the toughness of Monaghan. Under the right manager they could develop into a fine team. Joyce has dismantled their back line and replaced good markers with good footballers.

  20. On Cillian injury. I’ve been baffled why he hobbled of the pitch. Surely he should have been carried off. Questions must be asked why this was allowed by the medical staff. To me it’s a no brainer.

  21. Spectre, I would go along with that selection. I hope 7 subs are allowed in the championship. We would have some super subs to call on.

  22. Supermac, Spectre, Both of you have omitted Duirmuid from your selections. He went off injured but I havent seen anything official stating he will be out for any period of time (maybe it has been announced and I missed it). If he is out chances are Loftus will get the nod as he played in that position last year thus less disruption and would cover free kicks.

  23. Mayomad diarmuid was on my mind and I sincerely hope he is available . I’m sure we will find a spot for him ? Lol

  24. Has anyone any idea is the sligo game on gaa go, I am aware that it is on sky but it is a very small minority that has sky and with the pubs closed there is very little opportunity to watch it, it is a disgrace with no spectator’s allowed that this is allowed.

  25. It’s only on Sky, Jp2, and not on GAA GO. Many people, myself included, are in the same boat there, not Sky customers so need to get a day pass to watch it.

  26. I can’t understand the pessimism,we are a division one team playing lower division teams,we will win connaught easily,after that we need a little luck to beat Dublin,up Mayo

  27. All doom.n gloom without cillian n Galway to win connacht so says a lot….they may not even beat the rossi….I like the physicality they used against kerry although coming up abit short…
    As for our self’s some 1 got step-up now n take on cillians mantel and I’m sure some will….we know we have tighten up at back and I’m hopeful we will and we will be connacht champions…..muigheo Abu.

  28. Hi JP2, Just googled it and is sounds fierce complicated downloading to your mac or pc. OK tor tne technical literate. It costs 9.99 sterling per day.

    Midwest Radio is good enough for me.

  29. You can get it with Now TV. Might be better to get the month pass for €19.50 as a day pass is €10

  30. I haven’t yet figured that out myself, Jp2! I’m assuming it can be done via Sky’s streaming platform Now TV but I’m not 100% sure about that.

  31. People on here have to remember that we beat Kerry in the 2019 league final without the services of cillian o’connor, yes he is a massive loss, but keep the faith I am sure James Horan will have a plan, it will give a chance for someone else to step up to the plate

  32. Apologies to anyone listening to my errant witterings on the podcast above about Ulster playing Leinster in the All-Ireland semi-finals. Of course, as everyone else knows, it will be the Connacht champions finally taking down Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final this year. I’ll be making a large poster for the cship draw with that particular match-up in block capitals and arrows pointing at it. That was a real league mistake. No room for error in the knockout cship.
    Apologies again and thanks for pointing it up and making the clarification.

  33. No worries Michael, you were just making the Dubs relax by thinking they had a handy semifinal coming up. ?

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