Down our first opponents in this year’s League schedule

The fixtures for this year’s shortened National Football League campaign have finally been released – full details here. None of you need reminding that following our demotion from Division One last year we’re bracketed in Division Two North for 2021, along with Down, Westmeath and Meath.

The Mourne County will be the first team we meet in a competitive match this year. We’re set to face them at MacHale Park on Saturday, 15th May, where throw-in is set for 2pm. The following Saturday, 22nd, we travel to Mullingar for a Round 2 clash against Westmeath at Cusack Park, a match that throws in at 3pm. Our schedule of regulation matches then concludes on Sunday, 22nd May, with another home game. This one is our Round 3 meeting with Meath, which is scheduled to get underway at 1.45pm.

While we met Down as recently as June 2019 in the Championship, prevailing by five points in that nervy Round 2 clash in the qualifiers, we last faced them in the League in April 2016. That was another nervy tussle as it was final round clash at MacHale Park where we needed the points to stay up. We got them, though only after a wobbly enough display.

The most recent time we took on Westmeath was in the Championship in late July 2016. That was a Round 4 qualifier meeting at Croke Park where we came out on top by seven points. Prior to that, we played them in the League at Cusack Park in Mullingar in March 2014 where we came out on top comfortably enough.

We’ve seen a bit of Meath in recent times. Our League meeting in February last year – when we were both in Division One and the Covid crisis hadn’t yet hit – was tight and tense. In near-hurricane weather at Páirc Tailteann we only just about edged it, thanks in large part to a virtuoso goal by Kevin McLoughlin. The same player was to the fore as well when we saw off the Royals by nine points in our Super 8s meeting in the Championship in August 2019.

Two matches at MacHale Park this year gives us an opportunity to improve what is at this stage an embarrassing home record. We lost every match we played there last year, with our most recent win at the venue coming as far back as that totemic Super 8s clash with Donegal the previous August. The most recent time we’ve won there in the League was in back in March that year against Monaghan.

Assuming we get past Sligo in our Connacht SFC quarter-final clash, then we’ll potentially be playing twice at the Castlebar venue in the Championship this year. It would, then, be good for us to start rediscovering once more the habit of winning at home in the League. The Round 1 meeting with Down would be the ideal time to make a positive start along that particular road.

Our NHL Division 2B hurling schedule was also published today. This sees us play Derry in Round 1 (Sunday, 9th May, at MacHale Park, 3pm), Roscommon in Round 2 (Saturday, 15th May, Dr Hyde Park, 2pm), Donegal in Round 3 (Sunday, 23rd May, O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny, 2pm), Round 4 (bye) and Kildare in Round 5 (Saturday, 12th June, MacHale Park, 2pm).

39 thoughts on “Down our first opponents in this year’s League schedule

  1. Why are we playing our home matches in McHale Park?It’s obviously not fit for purpose if the sod needs relaying. If there are no fans allowed at the matches surely there are better pitches in Mayo for our home matches. Did Aido pick up his knee injury in McHP?

  2. Was out for a walk in Dublin last Saturday as the weather was great and on my trek I was crossing a junction and noticed a familiar face driving a 21 D navy blue Mitsubishi Jeep type vehicle (not sure of model), it was an impressive piece of work. Surprise, Surprise !!! it was a current Dublin player (wont mention name) but a pretty recent arrival on starting team, decent player, not sure if he’d make our team.

    I decided to start doing a bit of research and understand that he is a Teacher (probably on E40/45k pa) and driving a ‘bus’ like this, ‘my God’. A E30k loan over 5 yrs costs c. E575/600pm and petrol and car tax / insurance etc. will cost another E80 + petrol will be min. c. E200/250 pm. He obviously does not have to pay for this atall because he plays for the Dubs. When someone has to travel max. 30 miles to and from training doe they need a car like this atall

    The GAA really need to look at this as the gap both on and off the pitch is widening and money is certainly playing a part….

  3. Paddy, plenty of Mayo players driving around in brand new sponsored cars as well.

  4. Paddy in Dublin – So what if he was driving around in a new car? More power to him. If you lived in Mayo you’d see plenty of Mayo player with sponsored cars and fair play to them if they can get them.

  5. I would echo that Tubberman, though I’m sure Willie Joe won’t like the direction of such a topic,

  6. No idea what prompted that topic! I’d echo what others have said, though – Dublin players are far from the only ones driving round in sponsored cars and good luck to them.

  7. Giving out about a lad playing Senior IC (with all the personal sacrifice that entails) getting a car via sponsorship smacks of good old-fashioned Irish begrudgery. There’s probably a couple of hundred examples of this kind of deal up and down the length of the country.

    If a car company wants to hand out cars to lads (or lassies) as a form of advertising – then I’m 101% with that. You swear they were driving them onto the pitch match day they way a certain poster is talking.

    Lee Chin is a prime example of a lad using his profile to his advantage – I personally don’t care to criticize him for it – in fact, the opposite applies – fair fucks to him.

  8. Did Down return to training a few weeks ago? If they did they’d have an advantage which makes this opener very tricky indeed. Remember a few years ago when we hammered Tyrone away early in the league cos we were a few weeks ahead of them in fitness and training. Down are not Tyrone, but still.

  9. I think the Dublin lads and everything footballer deserve everything they can get sponsorship wise. Realistically we have no idea of the sacrifices inter county footballers put in. I had a friend on the Mayo panel and team for years and the sacrifices he made just to play for Mayo were unreal such as not being able to have a drink at his sisters wedding, having to go home early from said wedding constantly watching and monitoring his calorie intake, having to turn up for work as fresh as a daisy after driving from Dublin to Castlebar for a training session I could go on and on.

  10. Professional athletes are able to drink when the season is on. This notion that Gaelic footballers have to teetotal when the season is on is ridiculous. As long as its not the day before training or a match. Having a 2/3 pints on a Wednesday or whenever they have a break between training and games is fine. Its even worse when clubs have these drinking bans.

  11. Alan Kenny, I agree the notion of Teetotal for the season is ridiculous, they are adults after all. for some reason there is pressure on players to act in a certain way way above what is expected of professional athletes which is wrong. Managers need to understand GAA is a pass time and players need a life outside the game. Supporters need to understand this too, many a time ive seen players trying to enjoy a drink with friends or at a function and random people asking them what they are doing or telling them they shouldn’t be doing it. A lot of pressure comes from the public too expecting players to act a certain way.

  12. I’m generally uneasy about such sponsorship deals. However, if this strategy (and other inducements) can be used to prevent our future stars being picked off by the Aussies then go for it. It’s not that I’m against the Aussies, or Aussie Rules, or the Compromise Rules, which are all great, but that the GAA and the particular county get nothing out of it. Like taking candy from a baby

  13. Anyone know how promotion will work?I would be hopefully of Mayo topping the group if they have any designs on making a push for Sam this year. Does topping the group suffice or do you need to win the semi final? Looking forward to seeing some GAA again and hopefully all the games will be available to watch!

  14. Conor. I would imagine the two teams that make it to the final will get promoted

  15. Catcol, intercounty players put as much work into their game as any professional athlete and still have to hold down a job, they deserve everything they can get in sponsorship and more. The only problem I see with the sponsorship is that not enough players are getting it. Panel players and lower division players aren’t getting a fraction high profile players are getting while putting in the same effort. There are a lot of people earning a living out of GAA, coaches, physios, Croke Park employees, journalists, even the lads selling hats and headbands the list is long but the most important people in the organisation cant earn a penny out of it.

  16. Any news on Aidan O’Shea’s injury? Does anyone have any information? Surely he has had MRI results by now.
    We will not get out of Connacht without him. I hope to God that he was taken off as a precaution, and that it is only a strain.
    My main hope is that he knows his body well enough, and that he walked off knowing the pain was no too bad.
    Talk of us not using him for 80 minutes us rubbish. He is the player around whom everything revolved last year. With so many of the old stalwarts gone this year, his importance is even greater.

  17. Yes Claremorris, I also wondered about Aidan O’.
    No news maybe good. Surely someone in Castlebar or Westport has see him around. Expect news tomorrow. Mayo news for sure.

    He encourages the new players so much and his contribution in training must be enormous. He has been digging Mayo out of holes for years all over the Country. Then he is doubled and tribled marked in really big games.

  18. I wish Aiden well. If he is out for a few games it gives us a chance to plan for his absence eg a sending off. Sometimes I feel he slows our game down. But if we are without him we will see what his true worth to Mayo is. Surely one of the best tacklers in the game.

  19. ps. Should read tripled marked above.

    Don’t want to find out just yet what it will be like without him.

  20. Cannot understand how people want to see what we are like without Aidan, or worse, the people in the County who think he holds us back. I genuinely think a lot of these people never kicked a ball in theor lives, if supporters cannot see his value in all facets of the game, then im afraid to say they dont know much about football.

    From what im hearing, these people will get their wish for this season. Promotion will be in jeoprady without him.

  21. I hope that’s just speculation MayoDunphy…personally I think Aidan being out for championship anyway, would be a disaster. We’re not blessed with big lads at the minute.

  22. Potential Mayo Team for League
    1.Colm Reape/Conor O’Malley/Richie Byrne/Jamie McNicholas
    2.Eoin O’Donoghue
    3.Brendan Harrison/David McBrien
    4.Padraig O’Hora
    5.Lee Keegan
    6.Paddy Durcan
    7.Eoghan McLaughlin
    8.Oisin Mullin/Conor Loftus
    9.Matthew Ruane/Cian Hanley
    10.Fionn McDonagh/Fergal Boland
    11.Ryan O’Donoghue /Darren McHale
    12.Diarmuid O’Connor
    13.Tommy Conroy
    14.Cillian O’Connor
    15.Paul Towey/Aidan Orme

  23. MayoDunphy. Agree. Its obvious some people who contribute here I would say never been to a Mayo game. Remember people writing that JD would be alright as a squad player. Oh, how we missed him in the All Ireland final . A man who sacrificed his game for the benefit of the team. Just like AOS.

  24. I think thats a bit harsh there onemoreyear. For what it’s worth, I would have Aido and Jason as first picks every time. Both have exceptional qualities that, while they might not be prolific scorers, make them essential to the team.

    There is a narrative about having everyone score but sometimes you need players that have other attributes too. It’s that same stick that you see many of the trolls and know-nothings in the media and from other counties use to beat the likes of Aido with continually.

  25. We cant afford to put any player on a pedestal. If aiden is out then we crack on with what we have got.

  26. It’s not about putting him on a pedestal, but we need our best players available to have a good season.

    Of course we’ll crack on if he’s missing. In the same way Liverpool kept going this year with no Van Dijk…

  27. Great article in the Irish Examiner by Colin Sheridan about the value of Aiden to Mayo football since he burst on the scene as a minor and i totally agree with every detail of it. Wishing Aiden a speedy recovery as we need his star qualities, also hope his brother Conor makes it back on the panel as he looked great in the club championship last year.

  28. Mid West saying it’s a minor injury and that he should be back fit for league and championship.
    And…… Breathe!!!

  29. culmore – listen back to those interviews with James Horan about a month ago. He name checked quite a lot of players. I’m reeling off from memory now: Jack Carney, Aidan Orme, Colm Moran, Johnny Maughan, Luke Doherty

  30. Good news on AOS injury reported on MWR.
    Not as serious as first thought.
    They mention that he may be fit for the League.

  31. Great news on Aido. Now let’s use him properly. Opposition teams try to run him all over the field especially in croker. Let him hold his position in the forwards and opposition have a problem. Meath did that against us in 96 by not following Colm Mac. CHB got Mom in the replay

  32. cant understand that players like M Moran, E O Donoghue, J Carr , F McDonagh and others come into Mayo team play well and then disappear from sight.

  33. Great news about Aiden,we might never win an all Ireland with him,but we won’t win it without him,Colin Sheridan gave us the truth about him today,we have a habit of running down our best players,from J Corcoran onwards players like P Brogan JP Jean L Mac Hale C Mc Donald and others we need to realise just how good they are

  34. All those names you’ve called out there Culmore would be in my dream team going down the tracks. Moran has a swagger and I think if he’s coached properly he has the potential to be a huge danger at 11, O’Donoghue a tenacious man marker that I’d have at 2 or 4 and I’m banging my head trying to figure out why he’s not there, Horan knows better than I do obviously and he knows what potential all players have.
    I’d love to see Carr tried out at Full Forward more often, he offers something if stuck with there. McDonagh I believe will have a good year, he found it hard to get motoring last year for club and county, but he has huge potential.
    Great to hear about Aidan if true, though I still think Mayo need to get through the league with trying different names at 8, 9 and at 14, leave the big man for when he’s really needed. I don’t think division 2 will be a walk over, but its up to the young guns to get us out of there.

  35. Culmore – Mark Moran and Fionn McDonagh both had injury issues last year. I’m open to correction here but I think James Carr may have had as well.

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