Counting down the hours

Mayo flag

Less than 48 hours to go now and I don’t know about the rest of you but the nerves are getting to me at this stage. I know Paddy Power have us priced into 1/10 – with only the Dubs on shorter (1/100) odds than us this weekend – but unlike the defending All-Ireland champions we have to walk the high-wire in our fixture without any safety harness.

This really does feel like one game at a time territory, a place where there’s absolutely no point in thinking about what might come after Saturday night. Months of inactivity, that’s what, unless the form we showed after the break against Fermanagh is carried into our clash with Kildare, only this time from the start with the hope that we can keep going in that vein for the full seventy minutes.

I’ve had an eagle eye on the weather all week due to my two-wheeled concerns earlier on Saturday. I’m happy to report that, unlike the Fermanagh match, winds should be a bit lighter the next evening and there’s unlikely to be any rain then either. An added bonus for me is that I should get to do the Westportif earlier in the day sans the torrential downpours and howling gales that we had to contend with twelve months ago.

Here’s what the weather looks like for Castlebar over the weekend. Dry ball for us, by the looks of it, but it could be a tad on the greasy side for the neighbours on Sunday afternoon:

Castlebar forecast

Source: Yr.No

If it’s a bit more lowdown on the Lilies you’re looking for then this piece in the Mayo News by Cormac O’Malley, who spent a number of years living in Kildare, is worth a mooch. He reckons both sets of supporters have similar mindsets and are both eternal optimists. Hopefully it’ll be our optimism that’ll be preserved a bit better later on Saturday evening.

If it’s information on ticketing for the game that you want, all you need on that front is here.

If it’s team news you’re after you’ll have to wait, so I’m told, ’till tomorrow evening to slake that particular thirst.

67 thoughts on “Counting down the hours

  1. It would really be nice to find ourselves firing on all cylinders for the first time in ………

    jeez I dont know when. Time to step up to the plate fellas! Take a leaf from the

    u21 players and every last man give his all and then some more.

  2. I believe this will be the game where we finally see a bit more structure in defense and sharper execution up front. It has begin to come together at some stage so here’s hoping we start where we left off in the final 35mins the last day. No doubt Kildare will huff and puff for a good while like they usually do, but a big win is in store for us with a large home crowd behind us and a squad who are hell bent on getting their game back on track.

  3. Weel b ok Saturday I think. I wonder will loftus and Barrett be fit enough? I think weel do ok though.

  4. I’d be happy enough if we got a 1-2 point win and no injuries. Then we would have 2 weeks to regroup and get the details sorted out.

    50/50 game this Saturday, Kildare battered cork last year so don’t think they’re coming to Castlebar for the crack.

  5. Mayo by 6 at a minum
    We cannot accept at this stage a 1-2 point win.
    We need to show improvement on last week and win easily and with a bit of form.

  6. Hopefully we get the win and move on from there. By the way did anyone see Alan Brogans article in the independent….Dublin fans spitting at Tommy Lyons. No matter how bad things ever get for Mayo we wont go to that level hopefully

  7. Mayo are going to put kildare to the sword. High tempo, quality scores, fast transition and solid defense. I can feel it!

  8. I’m feeling like its the run up to the Galway game all over again. We squeaked by Fermanagh last week and now Kildare will be cannon fodder to us? Kildare are not Carlow or Waterford, they have plenty of footballers and will give us a rude awakening if we turn up thinking it’s going to be easy. Have we not seen enough of what complacency will bring?

  9. All we need is a win to keep the show on the road at this point so I’ll take that in any hue. I remember Tyrone scraping by us in the qualifiers in Croker only to go on and wallop the dubs and beat Kerry in probably the greatest game of ball I’ve ever seen in the 2008 AIF. So all that matters is the result at this point but if we can carry through the spiky, almost angry, attitude and performance of last week’s 2nd half, we should have too much for them. We’re Mayo and we’re in this together! Maigheo abú!

  10. Dave.. I think there are wind up merchants on here about the final result. I expect this game will be edge of the seat stuff with the final outcome unknown until the final closing stages. Make no mistake Kildare will be training all year for this.. to take a division 1 scalp and get into corker would define there season. They are going to throw everything and the kitchen sink at this. Like us, to loose at this stage would be a diaster. If we don’t step it up from the Fermanagh game and give something like 60-65 minutes of sustained effort then it’s ta ta to us.

  11. I revise my previous, we should be winning this by 8pts, comfortably.
    There a lower quality team than Fermanagh and have shown that over the last few years

  12. Skylineirl why only 8. Surely you can do better than that. look at how impressive we were in the league before running an outstanding galway team to a meagre three points. Then we overtook that ulster power house Fermanagh when all seemed lost having trailed the northern outfit by a massive 6 points at half time. In the meantime kildare only won promotion in the league this year and were somewhat lucky to hit a measely 1 22 v Offaly.

  13. Thanks toe to hand. I looked at the names of the “mayo” fans posting just now. They’re coming out of the woodwork.

  14. Seems to be a few WUMs sabotaging this forum lately which is a shame. I’ll talk a one point win any time at this stage of the season. Dive, be dirty, cynical, or blow them away with pure football, I don’t care. Winning is all that matters.

  15. Why are we all so worried about the Dubs and what they are saying/thinking etc. Forget about them they dont matter and are not on our radar at the moment. The next time we are playing them could be a miserable wet February night under lights in Croker

  16. One area that you really want to see a big improvement in, is our scoring rates from play up front. Our half-back line scored 3 points from play against Fermanagh while our full-forward line only scored 1 point from play. You won’t go too far in any competition with scoring stats like that. Alan Freeman did score a goal as well but he seemed to be playing closer to the half-forward line than to the full-forward line.

    Our half-forward line also scored the same as our half-back line, 3 points. Diarmuid, Lee and Alan Dillon were the only players to score more than once from play. You’d hope to see Evan Regan hit form in this game. Even though Andy Moran took the wrong option most times when he was on the ball he still probably won more ball in the few minutes that he was on than some players who were on for much longer.

    Our poor scoring returns are probably a reflection of our set-up as well. You do notice though any successful team tries to shore up their defence first and then increase their scoring rate. Lets hope that’s the road that we are on. Best of luck to all involved at the weekend.

  17. To answer your ?????s, Wensamsuun, I deleted that comment because it was coarse, facetious and a bit stupid. In other words perfect for putting on Facebook. Really, you’re posting on here long enough to know what’s okay and what isn’t without my having to pull you up repeatedly on this.

  18. Spoke to old Mayo footballer yesterday on the state of football at present.Was at pains to denegrade the type of football being played nowadays of course. The futility of it all…this hand passing…the soccer….the rugby….the CB…his local club…the training…all got a hit. T’was all v understandable. He brought up his early playing days and what his great local legend used to say to them about kicking the ball with the other foot…” I’ll tie that foot with a rope if I ever catch you kickin with it again”!!
    and that was before they ever got on a team at all and i might add, he sure did have an other foot! Oh! how times have changed!

  19. Harrison needs to improve tomorrow. His man is scoring from play a little too easily. 3 points Galway and a few again in the first half the last day. Freeman should be in the scoaring zone playing off AOS if he is FF. Last Sat he spent most of his time 45 meters plus from goal . He is dangerous when closer to goal. I am not sure where to play Coen. Not midfield or corner back imo

  20. I don’t care how much we win by but I do want to see us up the performance level. I don’t care who we are playing we need to get ourselves right. I thought apart from regan and diarmuid, our forwards were very static the last day, there was a number of times Keith got the ball on the halfway line, looked up and there was no movement so he had to run into traffic. We all complain about moving the ball laterally and running into the tackle but if there’s no movement ahead there’s no better option. I hope to see more sense to our attacking play, a couple of long range scores from play which has been lacking of late, clever movement and hunger and energy from the start. The margin of the win does not matter, that’s for the pundits and newspapers to obsess over.

  21. Kidare are a team who know where the posts are , I would like to see a good defensive performance , the last thing i want to see is a shoot out to be honest.
    I would love to see how we could shut a high scoring team down.

  22. First and foremost I’m looking for a win naturally. If scoring rates and patterns of play improve it won’t count for much if we don’t move onto the next round.

    One thing I would like to see is a clearer sense of what we’re trying to do, beyond playing a half forward as sweeper.

    Are we going to run the ball hard? Are we going to isolate AOS at full forward and let the ball in early? If we mix it up is it clear that the players are rotating at clear intervals and understand where they should be?

    I’m still not convinced the likes of Higgins looks comfortable where he’s being deployed. He’s a superb athlete and will make an impact wherever he’s played but can we get more from him?

    There were signs against Fermanagh that some of the guys are beginning to motor. DOC was excellent on his return. Keegan and Boyle were at their dominant best. AOS was much improved and will get better. And importantly the likes of Vaughan, Moran and Dillon all contributed when introduced.

    I’m looking for further signs of evolution tomorrow evening. Can we get a full game out of our midfield? Can we get COC on the ball more and get his scoring from play? Will we be able to release Regan into space?

  23. Maybe O Donaghue was brought in to replace harrison at corner back, he may be young but he was tenacious in the tackling and a real tight marker in u21 championship. I was very impressed by him. Any word on when team will be named?

  24. I am sorry but people who think Mayo should be wining by 6+ or 8+ points have no clue about football. The qualifiers are a marathon not a sprint. A one point win will do fine.
    Kildare are a proud county and have some good footballers…they will give us a rattle.
    Longford beating Monaghan should be a warning flare to those who except us to just show up.

  25. Wrong words right point would that be it????Either way its another in a long list of cock ups from the men at the top!!!

  26. yew tree you are dead right , i’ll take a one point win all the way to the final , the final itself will require that we are about 15 points up with 5 minutes to go so we can enjoy it 🙂

  27. I agree with you yew_tree but I’m not convinced anyone is really expecting a 6+ or 8+ win. There are some Trolls who have crept in here and are just trying to upset the balance and create some crap.

    I rate Cian O’Neill as a manager and he knows the Mayo setup and players inside out. The 10/1 odds are ridiculous. That said I think we will do it.

  28. ODonoghue replacing Harrison at corner back. Can we keep a little bit of sensibility.
    ODonoghue would not be able to handle at this stage what Brendan Harrison can handle.
    Brendan Harrison has been this year a fairly solid performer.
    Eoin ODonoghue had a fine U21 campaign, he hasn’t had one minute of senior action.

  29. Anyone notice we are getting all the luck. Home against Fermanagh and Kildare. Should have lost Aidan to a black for his tackle in middle of the field . He was already on yellow so the black would also have been a red and we would be a man down. Got a very hand free when a hand was left on Dillon who was not expecting a free. Hope this luck continues

  30. Agree Coilltemach Cian O’Neill seems to be a very good manager and has had great success.

    I hope players remember how he walked out on them the week before an All Ireland Final. Was bad form.

    He’ll have the inside track on them all. He helped develop their game plan and that has to be an advantage to Kildare.

  31. Jp while i agree with you, he has being brought in as cover, and from what I have seen of him he is a tighter marker than harrison. Maybe Rochford will pick on performance in training, he must see something in him if he is drafted into the squad, this man has minor and u21 all ireland medals unlike harrison. I’m just pointing out the fact that he has medals where harrison doesn’t, just like you made a point about O donaghue not having experience of senior action.

  32. I was just thinking if I was managing a team against Mayo and they all seem to be doing it now….crowd out the “scoring D” as they now call it. By my reckoning 90% of our scores are got in this zone or close into goal. We don’t kick many long range scores anymore. Dublin in 2012 semi was a game that stood out where we got a few gems from far out, Doherty, O’Connor, Moran, McLoughlain all got long range scores that day.

    This is an area that needs to improve. We also seem very poor at creating space to shoot even close in…we are going into the tackle and going down blind alley’s, getting crowded out and coughing up the ball. Now this improved second half the last day but there still are major question marks.

    Forget any winning margins, look at the actual play/game plan tomorrow…that may tell us if improvement is progressing.

  33. Id say the pundits on here saying we will win by 8 points are probably
    the same heads who were saying we’d trounce Galway. There is nothing to
    suggest we will beat kildare by anything like 8 points. We were poor in the
    league, poor against Galway and cut lucky to beat a decent but limited
    Fermanagh team. Dublin and Tyrone are playing free flowing attacking football
    with their forwards scoring regularly from play. Mayo are doing neither.

    Kildare are limited but havd a good track record in the qualifiers and gave
    Cork a trimming last year. Their coach will know everything about mayo and will
    target our weaknesses. Our fullback line will be targeted. To be fair to harrison,
    Corrigan and Cummins are quality.

    Vaughan has to start. Barry Moran too. Couple of changes every match is great
    for keeping lads on their toes. No one is gauranteed a starting place. I thought Freeman was very poor the last day, not sure who should replace him, maybe Loftus or Carolan.

    Big game for AOS.. he’ll get great support but will be interesting to see how he responds
    Would be great to see cillian and Regan score a few from play ..

    Mayo by 3 as long as fb line holds

  34. I actually dont think there will be any changes.Vaughan and Barry will be on the bench and I would not have problem with that for now.
    Delighted to see Rochford make quick changes last week.Always thought Horan was slow to do that though excellent in other ways.
    Time we got fully behind Aidan…let him know what home support is.There is so much wrong with GAA and Aido is blamed for a lot of it.Surprised Breheny didnt write article on it or maybe he did!

  35. First of all the idea of O’Donaghue playing is ridiculous, great potential but he wont play a minute this year with the seniors. Brian Reape may see some game time as he has been with the squad for an extended period but Eoin will not play after just joining. Nothing wrong with Harrison, he has been a consistant preformer all year and baring injury will start every game for the rest of the year.

    I dont think Cian O’Neills knowledge of the Mayo setup will have much bearing. If it was 2013 or 2014 then maybe, but too much time has passed since he left. The players have moved on and are under different training methods set out by Buckley who is widely considered one of the top trainers in the country.

    I would expect the same team announced this evening with the exception of Vaughan for Durcan. On game day I really hope Higgins reverts to corner back, its just not working at hf and he looked alot better in second half v fermanagh when playing from deeper position. Also Keith offers little or no scoring threat in advanced position which is a big problem if we continue to sacrifice a forward to drop KMc back too sweeper.

  36. Well yew tree without being argumentative , what are supporters supposed to say on a forum if they believe Mayo will win handy by 10/12 points plus? Its just a prediction .

    Ill never forget salthil in 13. We travelled on a coach from kilmovee that day. Whilst looking at the odds for the game . I made the outlandish call that -15pts at 33/1 was worth a tennet. Of course i was told i was plain daft ,” ill give ya 100/1 says the aul fella, rather me make the few quid” blah blah . So they convinced me to not bothet. I would confidently say i was the only mayo man in salthil who reacted to andy s gaol to put is 17 up with . ” youve got to be kiddin me ”

    I think we will beat kildare well . We are a far better side who have began to dust the cobwebs away. We have gathered momentum since that mchale park roar as they came out for second half . There was real fookn bite back in them the last day out. Subs made all did well. Caff is missed terrible and that s going to be felt if we progress for sure, absolutely no chance of him making quaters if we were to make it ? I cant comment on the people calling for freeman to start , i just cant fathom it at this stage , have to be aghamore men . I undersatnd we all have our favourites albeit supporters deny it which is amusing when you look at the clarke v hennelly debate. I hope BM starts .

  37. What I want to see on Saturday is first and foremost a win. But I also want to see a big improvement in our play – higher work rate, better skill execution, better decision making, better support play and fluidity in our attacking play. I want to see teak tough tackling with no room for Kildare to get moving. I don’t want to see Kildare score any goal.
    The bookies have us at 10/1. We are hot favourites and rightly so, based,not on our performances so far this year but, on our true potential. Now we need to play like hot favourites.

  38. When will the team be named WJ?

    Exact time please. With the full list of subs. And where they’re going to sit in the dressing room.

  39. And if Higgins had scored the goal then what? It would prob have up set the apple cart even more for bloggers and shifted the mind sets terribly! Keith can play anyplace such is his talent but the corner is his spot in the circumstances and maybe wing in other times but that’s superfluous .
    Agree with all the views that we need to get a win and see a bit more of this that and the other. Above anything else that had my face in my hands the last evening was that black line or jerseys that stretched across the middle of the field in front of me on two occasions …..once in first half and once in second half! I was at a loss to understand why there was such lack of movement or unwillingness to take part in the game. And really on all sides of those instances what movement there was seemed of the panic kind rather than the pro active! I can’t believe it ‘
    ll be as backwards again this year. For the success of a team is based on its movement and that’s it!!! Everything springs from fast smart movement in this game in this age:

    All up to McHale and Elvery…on the feet for the team!!!

  40. Early evening I gather, Rock. I doubt we’ll show our hand then, though, regarding subs. There are programmes to be sold, after all!

  41. Keith got into a great position for the goal and should have done one of two things, hit it low and hard across the goal like most good forwards do or hand pass across to Cillian who was free with an open net.instead he blasted it high at the keeper, luckily it broke to Alan but could have just as easily gone wide. Clear cut goal chances are hard to come by and when they do, experienced forwards should be at the end of them not converted corner backs.

    Keith is an awesome player, one of, if not the best gaelic footballer Mayo have ever produced, still that doesn’t mean he can play effectively if a forward position. He is the best left corner back on the panel so should be playing there.

  42. A lot of talk here about our defence. Harrison, though a good footballer, doesn’t strike me as a competent man marker, the stats are not reassuring. Yet, concession of 1-12 in both championship games is not bad. Pebblesmeller’s take on our ‘inverted blanket’ may be a factor here, in that it smothers out a lot of potential strikes against us, but does leave us vulnerable to long range points. Kildare are not bad at all in that department if they get a run on a team, so we’ve got to be very careful.

    I don’t do forecasts, but I would say to those getting nervous (Willie Joe!): which would you prefer: to be playing Derry in Owenbeg (wherever that is), or Kildare at home?

  43. I’d be happy with a narrow win tomorrow. Kildare are a decent team and let’s face it, we are not playing that well at the moment.Expect Rochford to stick with the same team and formation. Kev as Sweeper and Higgins in HFs:

    Positives would be:
    – Don’t concede a goal and Kev to show he’s learning the sweeper role
    – FF line to contribute 1-5 / 1-6 from play. Regan and CoC have to step up now.
    – Higgins to really show his wheels in a few line breaking runs to unsettle the defense
    – AO’S to recover the form at FF he showed against Galway, Sligo last year when he ran amok.

  44. I’m not a fan of a single sweeper. the other team can plan and bypass him easily. What i always preach is a defensive system, like the Dubs, Donegal, Tyrone and Galway, the last day. It’s a swarm defence and it is so effective, there is no one player to target…

  45. I think, going off the personnel we are missing in the fb line, the sweeper is more than warranted. You can be sure that if we had no sweeper, and then shipped two goals, the first thing people would be complaining about was naivety and that every teams has sweepers these days etc.
    We need to wise up around finding fault just for the sake of it. We have had numerous people lamenting Higgins not being utilised up the field, then he is and they are complaining that he should be at the back – which is it?
    Same with G Cafferkey, we don’t want him when he is there yet lament him now he isn’t.
    McLoughlin wasn’t doing enough at wing forward, yet now people want him back at wing forward again.
    We wanted Freeman in 13, now we don’t…
    Too much talking with hindsight going on, you cant have it every way.

    As for the Kildare game – a pertinent question In my view and Im surprised it hasn’t come up sooner – who is reffing it?

  46. Ya maestro I hear what ur saying. I think impatience with some supporters is showing and I suppose I can understand. We must put our faith in management and hope they get it right. Horan made us competitive on all fronts with these guys. They have brought us out if footballing doldrums. We crave the big one and it will arrive 1 day. Meantime we can enjoy commenting and reading other posters views. For tomorrow I would start Vaughan for durkin and Doherty for freezer. Bar some injury we don’t know about that should be only changes. Play Vaughan at rhb and keegan more central.

  47. Seems like both teams are delaying naming their teams. Are they each waiting for each other ?

  48. Mayomad,
    I’m in complete agreement with you there. It’s not necessary for me or anyone else here to extol Keith’s virtues. He’s simply a wonderful player and history will remember him as one of our best. He has been honoured three times nationally as THE best left corner back on these islands. He has been blessed with so much talent. What he doesn’t have, however, is the instinct of a corner forward/poacher/predator….call it what you will but you all know what I’m talking about. When he saw the whites of the goalkeeper, Snow’s, eyes last Saturday , instead of burying it low inside the left post he blasted it shoulder high and at a favourable angle for the goalkeeper. Any pun or mischievous reference in that last sentence is entirely accidental.

  49. I think it will take Horan and some of the U 21s to get us back to the top again, but lm still hopeful something might come good this year

  50. maestro , i still want freeman at 13 but he has to earn it , he was poor the last day , hopefully he comes on on Saturday and makes his mark

  51. I firmly stand by my view that mayo need to show form against kildare
    and 8 pts is what i would expect for us if were serious about making impact in championship. We need to show a serous period of cohesion in this game.
    If not then i fear our season will be short lived.

    Kildare recent record against the big guys:

    Dublin 5-18 Kildare 0-14
    Kerry 7-16 Kildare 0-10

    We need to blow them away and start building momentum, were good enough and
    should accept nothing less…

  52. Kildares form against us is quite good.I remember seeing Tom Cuniffe getting a right roasting in one his first games in Newbridge .Give Kildare an inch and they will take a mile—-we need to be tight.

  53. We don’t need to blow them away, if I was offered a 1 point win right now id bite your hand off. This is gunna be a tough one, Kildare are no mugs….no matter what division their in. I could’nt give a hoot how much Dublin or akerry bet them by, different games in a different year.

    I think we’ll start with the same team with maybe Vaughan in for Durcan. Team needs to start well and get the crowd going early. Need to make the most of our home advantage.

  54. Roger Milla, I meant in 2013…
    Id like to see him in the ff line myself. He was played out the field against monaghan. But cometh the hour, who pops up for that rebound and buries it in a manner than Higgins failed to do. That is being overlooked I feel.

    However, my overall point is, we need to decide our opinions and stick to them. At the minute we seem to just say the opposite of what the management done, if what they done didn’t work – regardless of what we were saying before, sure any clown can do that.

    The reality is it is possible to have the right tactics and still lose. If that were to happen we need to realise that we were on the right track, and not look to change everything again just because it didn’t work.

  55. Hang on a minute folks, when i said i didn’t favour a single sweeper, i meant, a single sweeper instead of a defensive system. A single sweeper is better than none. Does that answer a few of you sensitive people. 😉

  56. If we lose to Kildare let no one try to convince me that our ‘system’ is ok and worth sticking with. I’m not that patient and neither are most of the players especially the older ones.

  57. Team:

    1. David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites)
    2. Brendan Harrison (Aghamore)
    3. Kevin Keane (Westport)
    4. Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis)
    5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
    6. Colm Boyle (Davitts)
    7. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)
    8. Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy)
    9. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe)
    10. Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore)
    11. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
    12. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)
    13. Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites)
    14. Andy Moran (Ballaghaderreen)
    15. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber, captain).

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