Counting down to Sunday

Mayo for Sam Tour de France

Image: @alanjones81 (via Twitter)

Just two days to go now until the Connacht final, where London will be making history by appearing in the provincial decider for the first time and where our lads will also be aiming for their own slice of history by becoming the first county to complete a hat-trick of Connacht titles since Galway back in 1984 and the first Mayo team to do so since their great predecessors in 1950. Which is why, of course, that the road graffiti on l’Alpe d’Huez yesterday should have read “Mayo for Nestor”. One game at a time and all that.

Seeing as we’re 1/500 to win, I thought it might be a good idea at the outset today to have a look at previous Connacht final results in order to see how high the bar is for Sunday in terms of record beatings. Although we’ve had almost a full decade of closely-fought provincial deciders – our facile 2-13 to 0-9 win over Roscommon in the 2004 decider was the last clear-cut Connacht final win – there have been plenty of scutchings handed out down on provincial final day down the years, even in recent enough memory. The 16-point thumping that Galway gave us in Tuam in 1982 is still etched in my mend as a particularly painful example of this and the 14-point drubbing that the Rossies – who that day completed a provincial four-in-a-row – meted out to us in Hyde Park in 1980 isn’t exactly a cosy, sepia-tinted memory either.

The biggest pounding of all, though, in a Connacht decider was handed out by us, when we whipped a hapless Leitrim by a full 20 points, 4-15 to 0-7, in the 1967 decider at Tuam. That, then, is the target the lads have to aim at on Sunday and with Paddy Power only offering us at 6/4 to win by that much it’s not at all fanciful to think we won’t be too far off that margin by the time the final whistle is blown. We shall see.

There are a few match previews up already. The one on GAA.ie states baldly that a Leitrim (oops!) London win would rank as the greatest upset in the history of the association, which I guess it probably would be. RTÉ don’t have their match preview up on their site yet but Kevin McStay’s audio version is here and Martin Carney has a piece on the game here.

Over on Action81.com, Emmet Ryan focuses on Mayo’s strategic objectives going into Sunday’s provincial decider and he reckons that, from our perspective, the punishment London are likely to face shouldn’t end until the final whistle is blown. Mike Kelly (who has guested here betimes) sets out a similar argument over on his site, where he also provides a preview of the game.

John Casey provides his pre-match thoughts in the Mayo Advertiser and his preview comes with two handy tips – don’t forget the sun-tan lotion and get there in time to shout for the minors. The Irish Independent, meanwhile, has features on both Andy Moran and Alan Dillon.

Finally, if you haven’t yet done so, then you simply must take the time to listen to the Mayo News football podcast, which is here. This pre-match staple is now nearing legendary status and in this edition Rob, Ed, Danny and Mike are joined by Martin Carney, whose recounting of his memories of the team’s trip to London in 1986 is just hilarious. And he uses the word ‘bullshit’ too. See, I told you it’s worth a listen.

11 thoughts on “Counting down to Sunday

  1. Thanks for the links WJ

    It’s not often the BBC covers Mayo matches so here’s their summary
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/northern-ireland/23363035

    I know it’s hard to get really excited about this match as everyone expects Mayo to win by 15+ plus but there are still many points of interest even if that happens:
    1. Higgins at CHB. I think this is well worth a try. I’ve always thought his pace and skills is wasted at corner back. This could be a new weapon for us so I hope he plays there and it works out. I would play him in the half forwards as a Mayo version of Darren O’Sulivan but that might be a bit too radicial 🙂
    2. The FF line. Let’s face it, if Mayo cannot get goals in this game then we wont get this against Donegal etc. Big game for Andy, Coen, Freeman. I still think Donegal are the team to beat late in the year and even though we played very well against them for 60 mins in the AIF, I cant remember one real goal chance.
    3. Against both Galway and Roscommon the last 20 mins were sloppy. Let’s see a real 70 mins performance this weekend.

  2. Well WJ, I’d have to agree – ‘a Leitrim win would rank as the greatest upset in the history of the association’ – seeing as they’re not playing on Sunday ;o)

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist – welcome home by the way!)

  3. @ davyJ when i wad reading WJs post i was wondering would anyone pill him on the Leitrim entry 🙂
    I for one are very excited about this game.Hopeful that we can put in a good solid 70 minutes performance.I am also excited to see that the hammering we give out and how much we spend up winning by.Im very hopeful Mayo can score 2 or 3 goals.Im looking forward to seeing Higgins at centre half back and also looking forward to see Moran starting and his influence on the game and to see what kind of performance Coen puts in.From the small bit i have seen of him he looks like a man who buzzes off big games.Roll on Sunday is all i can say lads.

  4. Well spotted, lads! That mistake was all mine, by the way – the preview on GAA.ie did refer to London. I’ll correct it in a bit but the BBQ has to get sorted first.

  5. If I had said that I would be attacked for dismissing London !!! Lol
    It’s great to be home, was in a few places in ballina and met a huge mayo fan who owns a small shop in o rah illy street. Is he on here?
    The weather is unreal, much better than New York ever is, no 38 or40 degrees or massive humidity. If only the economy would pick up I could safely say that you guys live in one of the best places in the world.
    I am traveling tomorrow down south tomorrow, planning on traveling back Sunday morning early and back down south again on Sunday evening. Of course the other half doesn’t know about it yet, 7 am on Sunday is the best time to mention it, and run.

    Not much to say about the game, I am confident in the panel and jh. Any of them are capable of filling a spot on their lines and seamlessly at that. I do feel sorry for Evan regan, but if jh is right and taking opinion s and advice on board it’s the right move. As a fan f the mort, I was sorry to see him go but as time goes by I see the reasoning for not chasing him to come back. Things have moved on and counting on a few to do the scoring is a disaster,it has to be a total team effort or forget about it. If I had one wish, pierce Hanley at chf, can you imagine the?

  6. I doubt Higgins will play centre back. My guess is that he will swap with Tom Cunniffe.

  7. Those oul barbeques bad for you Willie Joe!
    Have a beer or two instead!
    Forget Hanley and everyone else but the team.Hope it goes well for Richie…he is such a worker.
    No meet up in Castlebar?just wondering?

  8. Lay off Willie Joe, we all spotted the little error but were prepared to let it go, think that stop off in London and his climb up Primrose hill has obviously taken it’s toll and anyway London – Leitrim it matters not, three in a roe is ours for the taking. 🙂

  9. mayo mchale – “row” It depends on the boat you’re in. If it has an engine, you can chill !!! Now the heat has got to me.

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