The West’s awake

Photo: Irish Mirror (Inpho)

This summer is turning out to be an interesting one for counties in Connacht. For only the second time ever since the current championship dispensation came into being in 2001, the province has three teams in the last eight. This year will also be the second time since then that a team from the province is guaranteed to be in the semi-finals before a ball is kicked at all in this year’s All-Ireland Series.

On Sunday – for the first time ever – three teams from Connacht will share the billing in a championship double-header at Croke Park. As well as that, our 4pm clash on that day with Roscommon will be the first ever one featuring two Connacht counties in the championship at HQ.

So there’s no denying these are heady times for the province. In contrast to Leinster and Munster – both now firmly in one-county-rule territory – and arguably with Ulster too, where the long established dog-eat-dog early summer competitiveness is on the wane, football in Connacht is on the up.

The days of our dominance in the West are over and Galway’s takeover proved to be a short-lived affair too. Three different winners of the Nestor Cup in three years gives Connacht the justifiable claim to be the most competitive of the four provinces right now.

This throws up an interesting sub-plot to this year’s championship, one that Connacht counties don’t normally get to be involved in. This is the he-who-laughs-last-laughs-longest twist to the story, one that Cork and Kerry, as well as a good few of the Ulster counties, know plenty about.

It involves the continuation of hostilities between provincial rivals after the early season silverware has been handed over. These battles have twice – in 2003 and again in 2009 – extended as far as All-Ireland final day itself. In 2009, Cork claimed the spoils in Munster but it was Kerry who carted off the silverware when the two Southern heavyweights squared off for a second time in the year that September.

We’ve had two big Connacht showdowns so far this year. I recall the night we did the Mayo News podcast with the Galway lads ahead of the match in Pearse Stadium where we all readily – far too readily, it subsequently transpired – agreed that this clash between our respective counties was going to be the real Connacht final.

It wasn’t, of course, and fair play to Roscommon for putting Galway – and by extension us as well – to rights on that one. Their win was, of course, the one and only Connacht final of the year and they have the Nestor Cup in their possession as proof of this. No-one can deny them this.

But the presence of three Connacht counties in the All-Ireland Series this year means that our internecine squabbles are now set to get a fresh airing on the national stage. On Sunday, ourselves and the neighbours will approach this novel clash at HQ with a few things to prove, both to each other and to the wider world, even if, for both of us, our main aim will be to secure that precious place in the last four in this year’s championship.

For Roscommon, there’s the chance to embellish further their provincial title success by claiming a first championship win over us since 2001. For us, there’s the opportunity of showing the neighbours with all their expansive talk what it’s really like when you try mixing it with the big boys in the wide open spaces of Croke Park.

The gas thing is that Sunday’s showdown might not even be the final word in terms of tussles between Connacht rivals this year. Our match will see one county from Connacht go forward to the All-Ireland semi-final stage but when the ball is thrown in for our match there’s a chance that the prize on offer for the winners will be the right to meet Galway then. That’d be some crack if it happened.

So, although this year’s Connacht championship is over and the Rossies are worthy Nestor Cup winners this year, the fun and games involving Connacht counties in direct competition with each other looks like it still has a bit of a way to run. Sunday should tell us how far and it could also – depending on how both matches go – confirm which of us can really claim to be the top dogs of the West this year.

104 thoughts on “The West’s awake

  1. Bloody hell WJ, that’s a piece of prose if ever I read one. There must be an author or a poet lurking somewhere in the lineage. I’m not sure if you appreciate the service you provide here, especially to those of us who don’t live in mayo anymore, you provide a bridge across borders, seas and oceans. Thank you. This isn’t just another website or blog it’s a connection to home and I hope you know it’s appreciated. Mayo Abu.

  2. Looking forward to Sunday after the longest week of the year.
    While I have respect for McStay and McHale I think they will miss Niall and Conor Daly and Neil Collins.I also think McStay has not had a chance to prove anything at County level in Croke Park yet so let us wait and see what happens.
    Win or lose Mayo’s successes at headquarters will take some matching and maybe some Ros supporters might bear that in mind.Win with grace…lose with grace if needbe.

  3. We seem to be reclining back into an idea of this being our last year for having notions. I’m wondering what this bunch will have to say about that come next year.

  4. I would add Plunkett and David Kenny to that list there Inbetweener. There’s also that Doran fella from Achill and Fionan Duffy who might be willing to roll the dice for us.

  5. How about Shane Scott …. could prove up to interoute standard with a summer of senior footballers plus a winter of s&country.

  6. i see in hoganstand that dublin and kerry are top i agree with dublin but i have tyrone ahead of kerry at the moment i just feel tyrone could be the team to knock dublin out.

  7. Cait

    I hope you’re right but it will take a surprise tactical setup for Tyrone to beat them. Not something that’s been seen before

  8. K MC

    AH … it’s time to stop! Being a bit bold here.

  9. Why no talk of Caolan Crowe for FB or in the FB line?

    Did nothing wrong on either of his appearances, he was very tight last year against Dubs, and I like the cut of his jib.

  10. Castlebarred you are very perceptive. I may be wrong but I think Willie Joe has indeed a very distinguished author in his lineage. Like you, I always enjoy Willie Joe’s command of English.

  11. Was in Roscommon today with work.. Great banter and massive interest for Sunday… General view was an up and coming ros team and a Mayo team in decline ,, no surprise in telling you they are full of confidence…. Let’s hope and pray that this special group of players perform to their ability and ruthlessly put the Rossies away.. Won’t be easy buy if we play to our potential.. Mayo by ,,4

  12. Well said Castlebarred. The service you provide is unbelievable Willie Joe. It never crossed my mind about the exiles far and wide keeping in touch with home thru’ the Mayo Gaa Blog. And no advertising. How altruistic is that. It is obvious you do it for the love of Mayo football. I wonder can such a powerful platform be used in other ways to further the cause.
    Still concerned about fatigue after last Sunday. Does anybody think that the physiology of the Mayo lads will be a factor in the game on Sunday?

  13. will be interesting to see what Mayo do at full back Sunday. Ger Caff isn’t going good at the moment, not the player’s fault after been missing the whole of last year with the exact same injury that retired Paul O Connell from rugby. I hope we get over Roscommon Sunday and then move and likely be playing Kerry in an all Ireland semi final. I see us likely having to put someone like Seamus O Shea or Barry Moran ( might not be fit enough) to full back to mark Donaghy. I would start Brendan Harrison start at 3 this Sunday and see how it goes because Roscommon forwards are very good and probably are the best in Connacht.
    Also Alan Dillion is a Mayo GAA legend, as had many the outstanding games for Mayo down through the years and this was well before the Horan era when mayo weren’t going to good. Dillion was still outstanding, but I think he just hasn’t the legs anymore for inter county football, has been poor against Clare and Cork. Would be better off with keeping Fergal Boland in the 26.
    Anyways hopefully we get the win Sunday. Up the green and red.

  14. Good piece Willie Joe.

    Can you imagine the reaction of the Dubs on Sunday evening, if there were victories for Galway and Roscommon. In one fell swoop, Kerry and Mayo would have been taken out of the equation…

    Was reading in a paper today, that Kevin Mc Stay and his management team, spent almost 14 hours in total deciding on the individual match ups for the Connacht Final against Galway…..and by all accounts, the midnight oil is again being burned this week.

    Has anyone heard any updates on Tom Parsons state of fitness, what his chances are of playing a part on Sunday ?

  15. I do think the Roscommon lads will be fresher for sure. (if they`re not they should be). Knocks and niggles don`t

    usually disappear in a week.

    However I`m really hoping our defence can grow a spine again. I never thought I would hear myself saying that.

    They used to be our pride and joy. And I know that many people reading our comments will rightly say we have a

    different grouch after every game! Well … .. that`s my grouch from the Cork match. Good luck to all here `n away.

  16. Great post WJ . I would also like to add to the thanks for a great blog and nothing better for keeping in touch with Mayo. Well done sir.
    Living outside the county it’s a great spot to visit and keep up.
    Small request if any one can point me in the right direction.?
    Due to the small matter of a wedding Aniversery I will be in Westport with my beautiful Donegal wife this Sunday so I do hope we have another day out in Croker.
    A good spot to watch the match in Westport would be next best to being there.
    Any tips would be great.
    Anyway I think we will have too much for the Rossies
    Hon Mayo

  17. Just read James horans take on being a modern inter county manager.reading what they do behind the sciences would make you tired alone.
    Interesting he reckons rumours are the biggest thing for them to deal with personally.
    W.j is doing great work here stamping out the rumour mill its a pity he couldn’t moderate other sites.
    Also he makes a good point if your not in the camp and didn’t hear it directly from the camp then take it as pure nonsense.
    We don’t know who has a niggle or who’s off form so I think calls for Kirby are unfounded the last day over Dillon.
    The article is on newstalksport gaa.

  18. muckle

    when you”re as fit as these fellas are you recover pretty quickly. bed rest, ice baths and light jogging will see them right for sunday. And as far as roscommon sitting up all night getting the matchups right, once the ball is thrown up, all the prep and planning can dissappear if your opponent gets on top.

  19. I was on the phone today with a young man in Roscommon and I could feel the lovely vibes coming through in his voice. I’ve never met the chap but I had a face on him straight away and what a broad smile he had and even his teeth were gleaming. I did suggest that Sunday was going to be a great day for all Ros and he was very grateful for the good wishes. I thought about how uplifting it can be for a county when the county team is on a promising run….. that’s all!
    Hup Mayo.

  20. Just wondering when are we announcing our bogus team? Diarmuid O Connor would do well at midfield. I would love to see Evan Regan given a vote of confidence by the management.
    Also I think Harrison should be matched up with Murtagh….
    Anyway I am expecting Roscommon to surprise us on Sunday, though our physicality from years of S and C should see us through..
    Nice interview by McStay, feet firmly on ground though there is a hint of the Rossies capable of causing an upset…Does Rochford do pre match interviews or is there more tactical games…
    Excellent post WJ

  21. Can ya just ban me from posting here for a few days , mother of sweet fook what are ye like , why dont ye start crying and write a poem about them , the lovely rossies by the mayo watery brigade. The only grace is the Mayo players are the opposite to watery.

  22. Oh Sean Burke, I’m loving your posts. That gave me a giggle, not sure if it should’ve.

    You’re right too, our lads are teak tough, HON.

  23. I like the sound of Diarmuid at mid field – what would. E the cons to this move?

  24. Thanks, Castlebarred (and others) for the kind words. Although it didn’t start out as a venture aimed at those living overseas, I’m glad the blog has proven to be a place that emigrants use and value. Not least so given that I once was that emigrant myself, in the days before the internet took over the world. I’d like to think that the essence of the blog is its role as an online community, one that I too get so much from myself.

  25. Sean Burke – My version of The Lovely Rossies

    Oh lovely Rossies
    Why did you steal our sheep
    While we lay fast asleep

    Oh lovely Rossies
    Where will ye ever go
    After ye’re hammered by Mayo

    Oh lovely Rossies
    Please don’t sack McStay
    Just give us Nestor back
    And we’ll be on our way

  26. AT this moment in time DOC is a wing forward. IN years to come he may develop into a top class midfielder but not this year .HE will get confused if he is switched to midfield.He is the real deal at wing forward

  27. Well said Castlebarred, in the first post, and others above, including Muckle; I’m one of those appreciative inland exiles!

    What I really liked about the Cork game was that Cillian got to spent a lot of time as a forward! He wasn’t having to keep tracking back as normal. Or maybe he managed that too? It’s obvious that he works so hard; but it’s frustrating when he’s back inside his own 20m line, collecting the ball; and you’re wondering where our next score will come from. He’s some man, but he can’t be everywhere.
    Anyway, I won’t pretend to understand the finer tactics being used (that’s no insult to SR & Co. btw) ; I’m just thinking of my own blood pressure as a spectator!

  28. Top of the class Maigh Eo go deo. WJ….push in there and let him sit in beside you.
    Evan Regan showed great promise before he had his injuries and I’ve been thinking that maybe he’s never got over them rightly . He’s one fella I’d really love to see coming into some form and I won’t be at all surprised if he does.

  29. Well said there Willie Joe. I can only imagine the power of these posts when you are thousands of miles away.

    It’s like the local papers. When you are in home territory they don’t seem that relevant because you know or hear most things. But when you read them from Dublin, or further afield I’m sure, their power increases ten fold. Same for your blog.

    And as for your workrate, it leaves me breathless!

  30. Want to echo all the good thoughts there Willie Joe,because you give a great insight into Mayo gaa hope you never ever get fed up with our good or bad posts,but by far the best thing is no rumors we all hear hear them but we don’t have to believe them,I have the outmost respect for James Horan and agree that the team will be fully recovered by Sunday, as most premier ship teams play at least once a week ,so no excuses if by a miracle Ros do a number on us ,but it will take a miracle, just to say I hope all our outside posters keep the faith and don’t take too much notice of our raving as I enjoy their contributions, most of the posters today seem to accept that our management team see stuff at training that we don’t see and plan accordingly, I am sure they will be set up for Sunday and we will be ready for a rerun with with Galway,sorry game changer but I believe that Galway will have too much for Kerry,and also as someone who seen the Galway three in a row team and know some of them of course I will support them until we meet them when I will be totally against them,anyway up Stephen and his management team,and all the the Mayo squad

  31. This blog has given me three of the best laughs lately that Ive had in a long time
    1. The Mayo guy who said he doesnt like Tom Parsons cos Parsons would b his wifes “no strings”
    2. The guy that wanted to meet WJ to discuss the running of the site
    3. The audio from that show with B.Flynn and Cawley
    All different but all hilarious…. well done WJ we’d be lost without this site… Up Mayo!

  32. Oh Sean Burke but I’m enjoying you these days! You are braver than me! Straight talker. I don’t feel as down about our chances though.

  33. corick bridge – I hope you’re right about Galway having too much for Kerry. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to see a Mayo v Galway All-Ireland SF.

  34. Agree with Inbetweener. Regan a quality player, given very little game time, often brought in late as substitute at high pressure time in game. He deserves opportunity to restore his confidence by starting or being introduced early….

  35. Willie Joe
    Could you mention the unveiling of a monument in honour of Detective John Morley
    And Garda Henry Byrne at 3 PM tomorrow 28 July at Shannon’s Cross Loughglynn
    A shuttle bus from the village will operate as there is no parking at Shannon’s Cross
    So arrive early
    The Minister for Justice will attend
    Both men were natives of Knock .
    John Morley played in 112 League and Championship games for Mayo between 1961 &
    He was one of the greatest centre backs to wear the mayo jersey,and certainly one of the bravest.
    Famed for playing against Meath after surgery to remove his appendicitis
    Henry Byrne was a member of the well known knock business family

  36. I also think galway will beat Kerry , I just have a feeling they will catch them cold

  37. Mc stay and co can sit up all night writing plans. Only problem is , as Iron Mike once said, “everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. Up Mayo

  38. Sean Burke…. I don’t often agree with you on this blog but you areally 100% right in this instance. If the result goes against us, wait till about 5.45 walking out the Jones road and wait for the abuse , gloating and ill will from the Rossies. I would love to take a snap of some of the gushing comments here from people and ask if they think the same after the final whistle on Sunday. Someone up above said it’s not celtic vs rangers…. and it’s not thank God but I tell ya, it’s United v city at least.

  39. Great blog WJ, always reading but this is my first post. Really enjoying it. Can’t wait till Sunday. Will be another epic I feel. Kevin Mc is quietly confident. Hope Tom Parsons is starting.

  40. Good man Sean Burke. Nearly threw up the dinner with all the fawning over the rossies. If we had played them a round or two earlier we would’ve been looking upon it as a gimme.

  41. Fair play ballinlough lad, hope ye have a good day tomorrow. Vaguely remember the shocking incident, but they are remembered in the Byrne Morley competition. Hard times in those days, both off and on the pitch!

  42. I listened to the criticism of the management by Bernard Flynn and I couldn’t disagree with him, in allot of what he said … That said his ‘selfie’ comment’s about AOS were ridiculous… (water under the bridge by now anyhow).. But who was the other guy on that particular podcast? … He was so Anti Mayo that I had to buy a packet of Dispirin, and don’t even want to recall his name… In the ‘Quite Man’ Dannagher asked his right hand man, Michileen to write down the name of someone who had said something derogatory about Dannagher himself, in his notebook.. ‘have you written down his name Michileen’?..’ I have Squire’ say’s Michileen..’ Well now, cross it out’ say’s. Dannagher…The point being, it doesn’t much matter what the critic’s say, but some are well clued in…. And others, cross out their names in your own mind.. What I particularly liked about what Flynn said, was that Mayo were real contenders and could possibly beat anyone, including Roscommon, Kerry, Tyrone or Dublin… Word’s to that effect, if you listen carefully to the subtext… But a few things would have to change.. I want to see a few changes on Sunday, from the first 15, to how the game is managed for 70+ minutes.

  43. JG you can add Inbetweener’s “gleaming teeth” comment above to that list – it made me laugh out loud at the desk.

    As regards Wayne Scales’ comments above I just can’t see our lads letting it come to that …losing to Galway is one thing and it’s irritating, but losing to the Rossies in Championship in this day and age would be a different kettle of fish altogether … I’d say it’d be even worse than losing to the Dubs, and that’s saying something. I am not fro once second joking when I say I would be detouring home via Donegal.

    All that said, I really enjoyed that piece WJ and thanks as always for all that you do.

    I can’t recall being as excited about a game in a long, long time.

  44. Anne-Marie,… The ‘Three Wise Men of the East’ were advised in a dream to return to their home, by a different route… I have a premonition that, we will be hammering the Rossies by so much at half time, they will already be on the way home.. By the same way they came… But all will still not be easy for one of Mayo’s finest fan’s.. When Ann Marie reaches the bridge in Tarmonbarry, the bridge is up and the disgruntled Rossies won’t put it down again, not even for our return journey for the Semi Finals.. On the other hand I too had a worse nightmare.. The one where actually the Rossi win, in that case I too will take a leaf out of wisdom of the Three Wise Men, and be returning by a different route.. At least now it’s a bit easier with the SatNav.. Either way Mayo supporters, will always follow their Star,… Anyone, where would you find Three Wise Men nowadays?

  45. Anyone wants to truly understand what it means to be a GAA legend should read the Mickey Linden interview in the independent. Just great.

  46. I hope to see a ruthless edge to Mayo on Sunday. Too many times this year they haven’t put teams to the sword when they have the opportunity. Taking points when goal chances are on. The Ros will give it everything they have! Hopefully Loftus is given a chance and Boland is a better option to Dillon who looked a old man in Limerick last Saturday. It’s great to be in another QF, what a team they are!!!

  47. For too long now we have been looking to be the nicest team ever to win an all ireland.
    Time to put that to bed and win the bloody thing. We need a full back to finish the job and a raw edge to get us over the line.
    Love the blog and Mayo…..

  48. This is a win win situation for us and Roscommon, we march on to the semi-final as usual and they get a chance to do some Christmas shopping.

  49. Leantimes – Alan Cawley of Sligo. He was a soccer player but honestly I had never heard of him until he started appearing on radio.

    Newstalk also had a live broadcast from Cork. Our old friend Tony Davis mentioned Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone for Sam while the Cork goalkeeper from last week went for Roscommon to beat us.

    There is very little respect or perhaps faith in this Mayo team from outside the county. Fcuk em all I say…this team has shown us down the years they are well able to face adversity in the face when backs are to the walls.

    I believe our lads will give us another day to remember in Croke Park on Sunday.

  50. Yewtree the way Mayo have being scraping out results this year its hard to blame neutrals for thinking its only a matter of time before we are bet.
    I don’t buy into that,think we are heading in the right direction.
    The systems failure in the backs can only be a blessing in disguise for it to happen last week.
    Our backs where excellent last year but it cost us in the forwards,so they are obviously trying things to get a better balance.
    Our fitness levels are excellent for this time of year but still will improve more over the next few weeks.
    We have some of the best guys in the business in the Mayo set up and they know its now or never this year.
    Think we should put this game to bed as early as possible empty the bench do nothing silly and keep the next opponent’s guessing.

  51. It’s reasonable to place Mayo behind Dublin and Kerry at the present if you’re being serious .Tyrone in third has you on shaky ground but to suggest that Ros will beat Mayo is cuckoo. That Cork victory I expect will have our fellas in the right frame of mind ….will know there are soft spots to be tended to ….will know what’s working and will work again.
    The games that will determine the Who’s Who of the Gaelic world for 2017 have yet to be played, so for now …all eyes on the ball and don’t mind these great men!!

  52. I’m married to a Rossie. I don’t think I’ll be able to come home at all if they win…talk about Sleeping With The Enemy!!

  53. Come on lads and lassies.Some of ye need to get a grip as ye seem to be suffering from a persecution complex.

    Criticising the Roscommon supporters, criticising radio journalists because they have the nerve to overlook Mayo for Sam.
    Criticising players from other counties because they tip Ros to win on Sunday.

    I don`t know what`s worse…the above or people posting above that we`ll have Ros beaten by half time !!!….

    Stay focussed people. Our team need us on Sunday. Never mind what opposing supporters, journalists or players say about us. Its all irrelevant.
    What matters on Sunday is a football pitch, two sets of goalposts, our Mayo players and US !!……The 16`th man.
    The 16`th man will be vital for Sunday because I understand Roscommon are bringing a substantial 16`th man as well.

    Lets stop getting carried away by who said what or who laughed at us on our way home frpm Croke Park.
    Save our hot air and unleash it from the stands on Sunday.
    May or may not be on here again before Sunday so its prediction time.
    I expect Ros to be full of running and put it up to us for at least 50 mins…but then, coupled with a much stronger bench, I expect us to over power them and in the end, its Mayo by about 7 points for me.
    Safe travelling to everyone.

  54. Hi all, been an avid reader of this for many years but never posted a comment due to my inferior gaa knowledge compared to many of the regular posters, its a brilliant place for team news and brilliantly moderated br wj, had a look at hoganstand lately and the forum was like a primary school slagging match. Anyway looking ahead to sunday, the closer it gets the more confident i am if a comfortable mayo win, living near the roscommon border, any other outcome is simply unimaginable, moving to the north pole for a few months with no mobile or wifi network would be the only solution. i forsee mayo starting with an intensity that we havent seen so far this year, a few early scores, possibly an early goal and build up an early lead, any ball into the ros forward line to be met with physicality and hits(hopefully legal) that this young ros team will not have encountered so far at top level, and the ros defence unable to deal with an in form cillian and aiden, mayo by 6+..roll on sunday

  55. Well said Observer 2. Some of us are paranoid – if someone says we are going to lose – they are been disrespectful to us. If someone says we are going to win – they are only talking us up for a big fall!! Reality is it doesn’t matter a damn what punters say. It’s what happens on the field from 4 on Sunday that counts. Let punters talk all the s**** they want – it doesn’t matter a s****!!!

  56. Don’t know about you but the fear of loosing is fading and now really looking forward to the match …it’s not going to be easy but when we are in trouble that’s the time we need to get behind the lads.. They have given us soon much over the years .Sunday is the day to show the nation what real die hard support is all about… We owe the lads that much and more … HON MAYO !!!

  57. Don’t let the Rossies pull the wool over our eyes. The forecast is for showers and it’s hard to know weather the weather will suit us or not. Their plan is to win the ball from the throw in and hogget all day long. If that happens it’ll be a baaaaad day for Mayo and Rochford will be lamb-asted. Can they ram it in to us, will they steal it?? What do ewe think?? I only know that if they do win I’ll be getting the flock out of there as fast as I can.

  58. So true Observer 2 and South Mayo Exile, but if we lose to the Rossies this early in the competition I’ll wish we went out earlier in the qualifiers. Too embarrassing coupled with the abuse we would more than likely get on the walk of shame out and forever more. Anybody but them.
    Welcome Sonofapitch and Mayo Moll ‘sleeping with the enemy’! I have to say there is some funny stuff here these days. At least I’m in exile in Kildare so would only have to put up with moderate torture!

  59. I understand why Tyrone are considered strong this year, and certainly they are a better looking outfit than they were last year. The big gain is the ability to shoot longer range points – something that cost them dearly Vs Mayo last year.

    However, you need to frame all this in the context of what they’ve done this year. Ulster Champions, yes. No mean feat in itself. But look at the winning margins of their path – Derry – 11 points, Donegal – 9 points, Down – 8 points.

    Basically, 3 non-contests.

    Tyrone might look good, but they are untested to a large extent. By Sunday it is very likely that no-one they beat will be in the last 8 (although Down might upset that). The quarters are the time to exploit this. In fairness, ditto to Kerry and Dublin. What you don’t want is any of these three to get a tough game, and be honed for the semi’s.

    Mayo on the other hand are getting tough (but tougher than they should be) games all the time.

    When teams from these differing paths clash, it’s gonna get interesting. The AI is all about the last 8 in – and you can pretty much only get there on merit.

    Whatever about concerns ahead of the Rossies game, perspective is needed. If Mayo management were told in April they would make an AISF by beating Roscommon, they’d take that all day long.

    Roscommon won’t beat Mayo. In order for Roscommon to get a result, Mayo would have to beat themselves. No bias there (my glasses are, and always will be blue and navy).

  60. I love Roscommon people and will love them even more once we trounce them on Sunday.They are decent folk mostly but I think McStay and McHale are still unproven in any real sense.Decisions in front of 80000 people need to be spot on.

  61. Well said Observer2. It is a game of football and that’s what we need to focus on. It’s 15 v 15 and we need to remember that on a given day any team can rise way above what they ever did before and equally a top team can have a nightmare. We have seen this before. If we play to our potential then we will win but if we are not at or near 100% it could be awkward.
    Any word on Tom Parsons?

  62. These last few days leading into a game are always the same. Most people have covered the pertinent angles and now it becomes silly season when banter and off the ball fiddling take to the stage in all its eloquence…a bit of craic!
    I’m telling you it will be some craic if our eastern neighbours are on top after this upcoming session.
    And Ah Now ! Whether a wether or the weather will cause us to wither….I’d wager a hog to get us the fitter….to chop and to shear any dags with the clipper …and suffolkate texelate marramate with the snipper.
    Hup Hup Mayo!

  63. Teamwise the decisions are who replaces Tom if unfit and does he stick with Ger Caff.

    The forward 6 have to stay the same ..

    I suppose Donie replaces Tom its a no brainer really .. (Coen to come on probably for SOS on 50 mins)

    Durkan in for Ger in a reshuffled defence.

    If he sticks with Ger who lets be honest is a yard of the pace this year i hope he proves me wrong and
    has a stormer.

    McStay doing a lot of talking. It’s a huge test for Rochford tactically. I hope he’s up to it ..

  64. Huey2016 its intresting that you comment that McStay and McHale are unproven, They may be someway but the facts show they have achieved more that Rochford has, They won a provincial title that Rochford hasnt with a lot weaker squad. Dont forget Mayo were unstoppable in Connacht before Rochford took over and have came back to the chasing pack under him. Its Rochford who’s decision making at the end of last year that may have cost Mayo Sam. And a few baffling decision by him in other games that i se has been discussed on here already.
    I know who i would rather on the line. And i am not trying to start a childish debate over which manager is better i just find your comments strange

  65. Brilliant Ah Now Very funny indeed Need that sort of humour to lighten the atmosphere here as some don’t like analysts ignoring us others don’t like them tipping us while some others have an issue with Ross supporters Fact is I would hate to lose to our neighbours and if they do win they will rub it in just like we have done since 2001 Should be great occasion but only if we win Game v cork was fantastic but only because we came out on top Had we lost we would have been cursing it for years It’s all about the result Up Mayo

  66. I wonder if anyone could help me. Just booked to come over for the match should get to ground around 230. Was wondering if tickets are for sale then just opposite the hogan. Thanks.

  67. Some here think Kerry could be cought cold but I don’t think that will happen, it is rumoured by a few in Kerry that the A v B games over the past two weeks have the B team wearing the green and red of Mayo. Kerry were preparing to meet ye in the quarters so I don’t think they will be as cold and unprepared as some on here think. I know you simply can’t beat competitive championship matches and ye are like a racehorse after getting its second wind but the fact that Kerry will have been very focused should have them ready.

    Galway are dangerous I know and they will love the underdog tag but I think we will take them coming down the home straight with experience, S&C and a little pinch of guile.

    On a very technical note it wasn’t Michileen Óg that wrote down Thornton’s name and drew a line through it it was Ignatius Feeney or “Feeny” as he was referred to in the film (his name was Jack MacGowran). Michileen was played by Barry Fitzgerald which was his stage name (William Joseph Shields) who rests with his brother Arthur Shields (Reverend Playfair in the quiet man) in Deansgrange Cemetry. Arthur was in the GPO in the 1916 rising and for his participation he did time in Frongoch in Wales but I ramble !!

    Back to more pertinent issues !! I think the B’s will have the Green and Red on again in training next Tuesday night in preparation for the clash of the Titans on the 20th,, it is my 25th wedding anniversary that day so I hope ye don’t spoil the party,,,

  68. As a few have said above, thanks Willie Joe for keeping this place going.

    Just thinking of McStay and Mchale. It must be a strange week for them. Trying to plot the downfall of Mayo. I know that McStay has lived in Ross for years and probably has family growing up there etc. However both of these fellas played for Mayo at the highest level. They are Mayo people. No getting away from that for any of us.

    One question. How many of ye on here (Mayo people i mean) could honestly say that sometime in the future, ye could manage another county if the opportunity presented itself for you. Leading eventually to a fixture v Mayo where you have to plot to take down the green and red. Yes where your job as a Mayo man is trying to ensure that the Mayo famine extends another year. Then if you succeed, you punch the air in delight at the final whistle as more pain is inflicted on your native county and its supporters. No. Not a job i’d be taking on.

  69. It is a strange one alright, Kevin McStay being all over the media, i.e. Mayo won’t bully us this time etc. Is he trying to get into the refs head I wonder before the game. Remember before the Galway match Pádraic Joyce was saying that the Mayo players try to buy handy frees and can’t score from play. It seemed like he was trying to influence the ref before that game.

  70. It is all McStay and Roscommon in the media spotlight….that is understandable as they (Roscommon) have not experienced many days like this. Driving through Roscommon during the week it reminded me of Mayo back in 1996. I think Mayo will take the day on the field though.

  71. It’s hard to disagree with most of what Bernard Flynn said in his interview, granted Cawley is an idiot. It’s perfectly logical for a neutral not to rate mayos chances of winning this year. Based on what we have seen so far we haven’t a hope of winning the all Ireland, Kerry alone are about 7 points better than Mayo or Galway. Ultimately I think we’ll beat Ross on Sunday and fall short against Kerry in the semi. I just think the kerry full forward line will destroy Galway. Also – look out for the underrated Stephen o brien who loves playing against a defence as loose as galways.
    For us to beat Kerry requires a level of performance we have not seen since 2014. As a diehard Mayo man, that’s my opinion and therefore it’s perfectly understandable for neutrals to write us off.
    The only hope is that we will lift it several notches (which is possible but also difficult) to have a chance of beating both Dublin and Kerry to take Sam home. Right now that scenario is a long way off but we live in hope.

  72. I think McStay’s main motivation is to send a message to the Mayo county board. He wants to prove the point that he should have been chosen instead of Rochford.

  73. Jim Flag No I could never manage a county other than Mayo. And furthermore I couldnt see myself supporting my own children if they played against Mayo. Impossible.

  74. @yew_tree, yeah I know what you mean alright. Its just that before the Galway game McStay didn’t make any big and bold statements etc. They just came out and did their talking on the field. Maybe he should have done the same for this game. For us anyway, we just need to do our talking on the field, which I expect us to do.

  75. Gamechanger 10..thanks for the correction… I was tempted to Google exactly, who exactly said what, in the ‘Quite Man’.. But if I did I would have lost my line of taught… Anyways in the’ Quite Man’.. The Mayo hurlers hadn’t been beaten West of the Shannon, for decade’s.. Weren’t the 50’s a mighty time for Mayo in the GAA.. Our hurler’s were better than Galway, according to Hollywood, and in reality, our Gaelic-football team was No 1…Ah the romance of it all… Wasn’t around for the 50’s myself.. Turn the starting handle of the telephone, when want the Guards come out and stop a fight over a ‘Dowery’ Calling Ballinrobe, Calling Ballinrobe… ‘Here’s a big stick, to beat the lovely lady with’…’ Thank’s ‘say’s John Wayne.

  76. JG Lucky so your not one of the Morans watching their siblin and son playing aginst their home county

  77. Maigh Eo go deo, I doubt McStay wanted to send the County board a message for selection of Rochford when the Chairman of the CB selected his brother alongside Pat Holmes in place of Kevin McStay that time after James Horan resigned.
    I don’t believe McStay applied for, and nor would he have considered the role when replacements were being for Pat and Noel.

  78. Thank you WJ for your wise words .
    Now about the game on Sunday Mayo,s vast experience will be too much for this Roscommon team .
    While i am writing these words i am listening to the Eagles song : Take It To the Limit .
    This is what the Mayo Team will do on Sunday
    We will take it to the limit for the full 70 mins and win by 4 to 6 points
    Up Mayo

  79. Bolton Exile, It may be best to wait a while before purchasing. At present there is only Upper Hogan Stand Tickets which are away from the Centre and VERY far back.
    May be bettet tonight or tomorrow. Some Lower Stand Tickets will become available. Am waiting myself.

  80. FDBinashui “I don’t believe McStay applied for, and nor would he have considered the role when replacements were being for Pat and Noel.” – Are you sure about that?

  81. @Jim flag. Think Kevin and Liam would love to put one over us. As a Mayo man living in Dublin with Dublin children in school, great to see Sam calling to them the last two years. that’s the beauty of the game. Great to see the kids playing every Saturday with the local club. Sometimes we have to play the hand we are dealt . when Sam crosses the Shannon Kevin and Liam and every other mayo person will have an almighty party. until then they have a job to do with the rossies

  82. Gamechanger – you might tell the Kerry county board – I am sure they know it already – that IF Mayo win Sunday and go on to play Ky in semi – both teams will be wearing their alternative strip. Don’t confuse the players by having the B team wearing red and green.

  83. James – just hit the play button on the SoundCloud player at the bottom of the post. Providing your laptop has a sound card it’ll work from there. You can, alternatively, go to SoundCloud and listen to it there (link here) or download the episode to iTunes. The easiest way, though, is to listen to it directly on the site.

  84. Athlonerossie very true hard to get ones head around that one except to say Im sure they’ll want Ros to win… I know I would. Lucky for me I wont have any such problem!

  85. South Mayo Exile,
    It’s all about getting the head in the right place, if you fail to prepare then you can prepare …………….!!! .. Kerry have their ear to the tracks and they can tell from the pounding noise that it’s the Mayo train coming at them, they even know the time and place !!

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet as we both have to do the business on Sunday if we are to get to that stage, for Sunday may I say “Hon Mayo” !

  86. no need to suigh at all there.
    Unless you’re seated in front of me on Sunday. If so, please stay seated for the duration of play. 🙂
    Bring the noise though – we all need to shout as loud and as long as we can. I fully expect most neutrals will be shouting against us so we’ll have to be at the top of our shouting game to be heard on Sunday.

  87. @HSE.
    McStay did give a prematch interview before Galway in which he said it might be time to break the mayo galway domination in the west.
    He did hint that his Roscommon team might be just the team to do it. The managers confidence in the players didnt do them any hard coupled with excellent substitutions in second half when galway looked like they might run riot.
    We dont have a team yet, bogus or otherwise, definitely no subs and whatever they say they will say nothingin relation to Boland or lessons learned from the Cork match.

  88. I’m hearing there could be a surprise inclusion on the match day 26. I see Martin Breheny has a piece in tomorrow’s paper where he discusses the issue of a marquee forward on the Mayo team or lack there of. I for one am delighted this issue is finally being talked about as its been ignored for far too long. He’ll probably throw in a 50 greatest something or other just for the craic of it. I’m getting more confident the closer we get to the game. We’ve had a couple of border incursions here with some primrose and blue colours hoisted around the locality so we’ve had to arm some local hards with shillaegh’s and orders to dish out a severe thrashing to any bucks in straw hats. I’ve also added a set of air horns to the motor and will lie on the horn from Tarmonbarry to Carracastle Sunday evening.

  89. @OnTheDitch, Kevin McStay said before the Galway game about Mayo and Galway: “But until we beat them, we’re in third place. And I even say that for Mayo who are out of the Connacht championship. That’s my opinion anyway, until we beat a Mayo or Galway, how can we say that we’re ahead of them.”

    Then about this weekend: Roscommon manager Kevin McStay says Mayo won’t succeed in bullying the Rossies when the sides clash in their All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park this weekend.

    So we’ll see how it goes.

  90. Talking earlier about Managers managing against their own county.
    This is exactly what happened to Roscommon in 2001. They were managed by Galwayman, John Tobin. They beat Galway in the semi Final in Tuam, and then proceeded to beat us in the last minute of the Connacht Final.

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