Dublin find a way to win … again

There was a pivotal period in the second half of this afternoon’s less than enthralling National Football League Division One final when Dublin, shorn of several first team regulars and now reduced as well to fourteen men, looked extremely vulnerable and more than a bit rattled. The title was there to be won by Galway but they just couldn’t do it. Instead, they lost their way badly down the closing straight and Dublin, as they’ve done so often, found a way to win … yet again.

It was a strange finals day at Croke Park. The crowd was a disappointing 36,000, the atmosphere was utterly flat and the football wasn’t, indeed, much to write home about. That said, however, the Division Two final was a veritable shootout while the main event did eventually – after a fashion – come to life over the final twenty minutes.

The opening half in the Division One final was cagey and, to be honest, not all that entertaining for the neutral (for neutrals we were, from our vantage point in the Lower Cusack). Both teams pulled fourteen behind the ball when the other lot had possession, so the channels from forty yards out were congested at both ends.

Despite this, Dublin got a bit of change off the high ball in over the top – right over the blanket – while, for Galway, Comer was always a good ball-winning outlet inside.

Comer’s a danger, for sure, but what struck me about him today was how wilful and selfish he often is on the ball. He loves taking possession moving at a million miles an hour but once he has the ball he seems never to look up, forever looking for the opportunity to show he’s the main man.

When this comes off – as it sometimes does – the end result can indeed be glorious. Today, for example, he landed an utterly superb point to reduce the gap to one with a bit over five to play. But another time, in the first half, he broke forward at pace but failed to notice Shane Walsh unmarked and clear on goal inside. Comer pointed from the move but a great three-pointer chance was spurned in the process.

Half-time came with the teams tied at eight points apiece. Dublin, not anything like at full strength to start with, lost James McCarthy to injury before the break and then John Small departed early in the second half (though the Ballymun man did rejoin the proceedings again late on). Galway, by contrast, were operating with a side far closer to their full deck and, perhaps because of it, they looked well set to have a right rattle at the title after the break.

When Dublin pulled three clear soon after the resumption – the first two of these scores coming directly from poor Galway restarts that were immediately turned over by a Dublin forward line sniffing blood – it looked as if this match was only going to go the one way. All the more so when, for the third of those points, Rock nailed a ’45 with what looked like consummate ease.

But then Scully, already in the book, dived in rashly and high. Ref Anthony Nolan didn’t really have any choice but to flash a second yellow at the Templeogue Synge Street player. Dublin were down to fourteen and now Galway had a real chance.

For the first (and only) time this afternoon a roar of Galway! Galway! went up around Croke Park. Then Walsh smashed over a glorious point and the men from the west were once again on level terms.

They needed to push on at that point. Instead, Dublin edged back in front once more via another Rock free and although Comer connected to a long ball in to level once more, Rock should have goaled soon after at the Hill end, Lavelle reacting rapidly to paw the shot away. But Rock put over the ’45 that came from this and Dublin were in front again.

This time it was a lead they wouldn’t lose. Despite being the man down they remained utterly assured in possession – and little short of ferocious when Galway had the ball – and hungry for the late scores that they knew would seal the deal.

The Tribesmen, by contrast, really lacked leaders at this key time. Conroy went completely out of the game, Comer was well shackled ‘till the end and Brannigan, such a livewire all spring, was utterly anonymous pretty much all day.

In what proved to be as counter-productive as it was pointless, Galway went all he-man in the final quarter, repeatedly playing man rather than ball. What they needed then was the rapier rather than the bludgeon and Dublin, doubtless disbelieving their good fortune, were more than happy for the contest to veer in an earthy direction.

At the finish, Dublin were comfortable enough four-point winners. Galway could, and should, have made a better fist of things with the extra man. But, once again, victory in Croke Park was beyond them and this time they definitely left a win – and a national title – behind them at HQ.

From our perspective, I came away from Croke Park in better mood about our chances next month than I’d gone in. Galway will, of course, be a handful for us at MacHale Park and they could well inflict a third successive championship defeat on us. Not least because we’ve a load to sort ourselves after another up and down League while Galway will be primed to peak in mid-May.

But, you know, I’m not convinced they’re the coming thing or anything approaching it. Sure, they’ve got plenty of exciting talent but they’ve still got the likes of Bradshaw, O’Donnell, Conroy and Armstrong in their ranks – players who know plenty about getting scorched by the Green and Red.

Today they were presented with a gilt-edged opportunity not just to beat Dublin and win the National Football League but, in doing so, to defeat at the first opportunity in a decider a team that we, despite running the Jacks so close in finals so often, have never been able to get the better of. But it was an opportunity they spurned in a rather ham-fisted way and so all they’ve got to show for their day’s work is a defeat to end what was otherwise a very positive League campaign for them.

Dublin will, no doubt, be delighted with their day’s work. A long way from full strength and finding themselves in a contest that appeared to be leaking away from them, they steadied themselves well and, once again, figured out how to grab a win and, with it, another League title. You’d have to admit that, on today’s evidence, they look far from sated.

A quick word about the Rossies, who won a rather madcap Division Two final, beating Cavan by 4-16 to 4-12. It was point-scoring by the Connacht champions that kept them afloat in the first half (Cavan retired at the break with an improbable tally of 3-2 to their credit while Roscommon had twelve points) but when they started to bang in the goals themselves after the break they soon got on top.

A fourth Cavan goal brought the match back to boiling point but Roscommon’s fourth at the other end, a defence-splitting pass finding sub Cathal Cregg who finished coolly, effectively decided the contest in the Westerners’ favour.

Roscommon will be well pleased, I reckon, with their return from this year’s League. Back in Division One at the first time of asking, back as Division Two champions to boot, they’ve recovered well from the traumatic end they suffered to 2017.

They’ll head into summer – and that grand, soft draw in Connacht that they’ve once again been handed – in good spirits. They still have issues – their defence, on today’s evidence at least, looks a bit porous and midfield looks no better this year than it did last year.

But the Rossies have heart and guts in abundance – qualities, you’d have to say, that Galway didn’t exhibit too much of in the Division One final – and they’ll head into the championship knowing that the Super 8s are well within reach for them. Today’s win won’t do their confidence any damage either.

The more pressing question for us, though, is what impact today’s defeat will have on Galway. Soon enough we’ll have our answer to that one.

Post-match audio report:

106 thoughts on “Dublin find a way to win … again

  1. Whatever about our own particular drought, may the maroon one continue to eternity. I say this because I simply cannot countenance the unthinkable.

  2. Just looking at substitutions, dubs had 4 subs on with twenty minutes to go. Galway made first substitution on 61 minutes.
    But Galway definitely a force. Will be flying in may. Great for connacht football.

  3. I thought they deserved to win. Thought Galway were especially dirty today although the usual suspects were at it again for Dublin. Galway were very naive in the final 10. Needed their subs on earlier. I saw evidence of an eye gouge or fish hook on MDMA. Never nice to see regardless of it was the Dubs on the receiving end this time. The narrative now seems to be that Galway are gonna burst through us on the 13th. I must say, I’m a tad worried given Leeroy is gone. Comer is a beast. Galway got great return when they ran at the Dubs. Most teams don’t like it when you run at them. Dublin were their usual patient selves and poked and prodded until a shot was on. They rarely take the wrong option to be fair and even with McCarthy going off injured and down to 14 for 25 mins they still won. I found myself wanting Galway to win as I think they might have celebrated like it was their all Ireland and it might dent their hunger for the 13th but by the end I was glad the Dubs hung on. What will happen on the 13th is anybody’s guess but it’ll be war!

  4. Thanks for the report Willie Joe. Having watched the game on TV I am in agreement with you. I thought Galway showed an alarming lack of ambition when Dublin were reduced to 14 men and never showed any real belief that they could win. In the end I thought Dublin were very comfortable winners and you never noticed they were a man short. I did not see the Roscommon game so cannot comment on it except they will feel they are in a very good place after the way last years championship finished and can concentrate on been ready for an almost certain Connacht Final.
    Now to paraphrase the last public words of Robert Kennedy “its on to Castlebar and lets win there “

  5. We’ve seen a few times this year how tough it can be to play with extra men… That experience can only be a positive for Galway when you consider their paltry recent showings in Croker.

  6. Galway will learn from the experience, I would imagine. They were very naive once Dublin went down to 14. They didn’t take advantage of the extra man even nearly enough. I would be very concerned about how we are going to handle Comer on the 13th. He gave the Dublin backs an awful lot to think about today.

  7. Galway will be happy with today’s outing. They put the Dubs under serious pressure for most of the game and made it difficult for them to break through their defense for the most part. A full strength Dublin team would have won this by a few more scores. However, Galway will have gained a huge amount by this experience and will return home knowing their stock is rising as a serious footballing force. They will firmly feel that they have now overtaken us as the main AI contenders from the province going forward. Can we find a way to beat their blanket defense on May 13th? Six weeks of serious preparation required if we’re going to have any chance.

  8. “All that said, it would be no major surprise if Galway came and won the All Ireland that Mayo crave! They have a confidence that Mayo don’t have.”

    “That Galway side will murder Mayo”

    Interesting comments from reservoir dubs site. I find it intriguing the one about the confidence issue. Does tradition give you an edge in confidence when it comes to actually winning an all Ireland?

    Will Barrett pick up comer ? How many goals have Galway conceded in this years league campaign ?

  9. They didn’t have much confidence when Kerry annihilated them last year ?
    Or the 16 years previous when they last one a championship game in Croker ????
    Same tired auld cliches being thrown out again.
    They have lovely scoring forwards – no more than us.
    They come alive in Croke Park – they most definitely do not .
    May 13th is their best chance because it’s a smaller ground and we will have a mush mash of fit /semi fit players .
    And I still think we will beat them

  10. Mayo v Galway All Ireland final, IF Mayo take out the Dubs in the Semi or Quarter final. I reckon Mayo could beat the Dubs but not in a final.

  11. Please,we will beat Galway easily,we have targeted this game all year,as for D Comer he is one player,we have had player of the year the last two years still not enough to get us over the line,we will have a plan in place never fear,up Mayo

  12. Of course dublin won, it would be a shock if they didn’t. Hopefully they’ll win the next 10 leagues and 10 all Ireland’s too. They deserve them and all that it will bring.

  13. I didn’t get to see all the match today but did get to see the first half and the final ten minutes. There’s very little doubt now how much Galway have improved and the days of them being a soft touch in Croker look to be a thing of the past. They really gave Dublin a tough time of it when they ran at them especially Comer who looked capable of causing havoc whenever he got the ball. Can’t help but feel how much of a loss Lee is for the game on May 13th, if there is one man capable of keeping Comer quiet then it is surely Leeroy. Having said all that unlike recent years I feel Mayo will be really focused in on this game.
    For a a few years it felt like all we had to do was show up to win a Connaught title. The last couple of years it felt a bit like we were caught on the hop and our focus and indeed fitness levels were geared towards later in the year. I do think that this year though there will be a huge emphasis on winning back the nestor cup. Therefor I think that game on May 13th will tell a huge story as to where we and indeed Galway are at in the whole scheme of things. It may not be ideal in regard to later in the year having to be gearing up so much for a game in May but I really feel the qualifiers may be a step too far this year. I heard Andy interviewed on second captains recently and he made the point where the qualifiers are great in terms of playing football and improving as the year goes on, there is always the risk of losing on any given day. When I look back to last year we were very close to getting knocked out against Derry, Cork and Roscommon, I am not sure we would get away with that again this year. So to May 13th it is when I fully expect a fully focused Mayo to put down a serious marker as to their intentions for the year ahead.

  14. Reservoirdubs?? Please. There’s no debate on that forum, you’re either blindly praising the dubs or you’re not on there at all. A one trick pony website that no real dub would lower himself to post or look at it.

  15. Jeez you’d think we’d just been knocked out of the championship such is the touchy feelings on here this evening.

    For what its worth I think we will batter Galway but Sligo are in the long grass .

  16. Good game but rte commentary was gas. No offence to Brian Carty but Bernard Selfie Flynn, Tom Tom Carr and Ray Silke were hilarious Silke did more shouti ng about the ref than Mayo managed over the last 7 years. He seemed particularly put out about dubs cynicism and lack of black cards. Funnily enough I can’t remember him being put out about that when Dublin played Mayo. Tom Tom reckoned that Galway showed everyone how to put it up to Dublin Seemed to have missed Mayo v Dublin games in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Flynn almost came out through the radio in his ecstasy at Galway’s performance. None of them seemed surprised that Galway didn’t push on with the extra man or wondered at length why Walsh was so slow in making subs. Had it been us we would never hear the last of it. Anyway it’s all about the maroon and white now. Don’t know if there is any point in heading for MacHale on May 13. Anyway that massive Galway support will have hoovered all the tickets. Finally well done Ross on your success. You might even give Galway a run for it in Connacht final

  17. Willie Joe just wondering if there was much of an atmosphere there today… hard to tell from the telly.

  18. Can’t fathom why any Mayo individual would be nothing but delighted that the fawning over Galway has gone into overdrive . I absolutely love it.

  19. Well done the Rossi especially after the first two goals went in,I thought they were goosed. Galway played great football today but lack of experience lost the game for them today. Galway will have a serious chance to win connaught now???

  20. I was rooting for Galway, yes they are our rivals and all that but it’s no good for the health of the game if the Dubs are continuously hoovering up all the titles. Plus a rising tide in Connacht lifts all boats and all that. They will be disappointed with their showing in the final 20 mins, the game was there to be won but they didn’t look a team with the experience to close out and push on for the finish line, didn’t seem to have the confidence to back themselves and really go for it. But that has to be tempered by the fact that they were up against a behemoth who know how to win big games. Overall though it wasn’t a bad showing and most sectors of the field performed well. Defence did not let the Dublin forwards run riot and the forwards had some very well taken scores. Comer, Conroy, Walsh asked serious questions of the Dubs. Makes no bones about it we are in for a battle on May 13th, and given Roscommon’s showing today the Connacht title will not be decided then either

  21. We should all be really looking forward to May 13th. I thought Galway did what they’ve been doing all league – being physical, defensive, counter attacking and relying on good forward play from Comer at al. That’s what they’ll do in May too which makes them predictable. Nobody has a clue what Mayo will do which makes us extremely dangerous. Roch and his brains trust will have had a good look at the Galway “system” and you can bet your shirt he’ll have a plan. I thought despite winning Dublin were not their fluent selves. They actually appeared short of fitness and played at a slower pace than they normally do come the championship which played into Galway’s hands keeping them in the game. Whether Galway won today would not have made a jot of difference to our meeting in May. Kerry won the league last year and look what we did to them last August! If Mayo approach this full tilt coupled with tactical sophistication we should win. Roch will have learned more from today’s game than Kevin Walsh did!

  22. Congrats to Roscommon Kevin McStay, Liam McHale and all also. Great forward play, great character to come back from such an horrific start but they have serious work to do on their defence. Really enjoyed that game – it made the Galway-Dubs game look very pedestrian! Well done.

  23. There’s was no atmosphere there at all today, JG – it was as flat as I’ve ever seen it. The Dublin fans barely roused themselves at all and there seemed to be very few Galway supporters there. Decent enough Rossie crowd and a few from Cavan for the first one. On today’s showing, I’d the GAA might be fretting if it looks like we’re struggling to make Croke Park in high summer!

  24. Will we bother turning up at all on May 13th ?
    Sure we will go for a look anyway I suppose 😉

  25. Roscommon and Cavan played Gaelic Football today ,worth watching and enjoyable, the main game Dublin and Galway was not Gaelic Football boring negative football and the reason the crowd was small and no atmosphere in Croke Park . For Mayo to beat Galway in May they have to learn to take points from distance and run at Galway ,straight line down the middle and no back passing when they come up to a Galway player, just direct football and a win is on the cards.

  26. Enjoyed the day, we brought three buses up from Tuam and our 12s got to play at half time. The Dubs on the hill were quiet for long periods until they eventually pulled away in the end. Would agree with one or two of your points Willie Joe. In 12 months we have come from a Division 2 team to playing in the Div 1 final. Lots of people many here predicated an annihilation from the Dubs so i think we are progressing. Last year i think you quoted Galway as been a very mediocre side so maybe a small improvement. I think we tired in the last 10 mins and with Michael Daly , Ian Burke, Danny Cummins, Sean Armstrong and a few more Corofin lads id be hopeful of at least challenging this great Mayo team in May. Every team has a few expierienced lads like Conroy, Bradshaw etc sure Tomas Mannion, Sean Og and Kevin Walsh soldiered for years in a poor Galway team until it all changed in 98. 6 weeks to go now. Mayo will be huge favourites.

  27. Our maroon neighbours decided to send their ace gunman down to a quite little settling just over the border of the Plain of the Yews..They wanted him to shoot the place up as a warning.

    The sharpshotter, Comer, bust his way through the swinging doors, drew his gun and started shooting.
    He blew tops off bottles, ends off cigars and put on a great display of marksmanship.
    He blew on the end of his gun twirled it on his finger at lightening speed and then shoved it back in the holster and asked the saloon keeper for a whiskey.

    The saloon keeper remarked to the sharp shooter that it was the finest bit of shooting he had ever seen. He told the gunman he had a big interest in guns and asked could he see his. The gunman, Comer, handed his gun across the bar counter. “Ah, an 1852 Smith&Wesson remarked the saloon keeper. A beauty for sure but a little bit heavy. You don’t need the little guide on the end of the barrel. Cut it off, it’ll make your gun lighter”. The saloon keeper continued. “The barrel is pretty big. Sand it down, it’ll make the gun alot lighter. You don’t need the guard around the trigger either. Saw it off, sand it smooth and you’ll have a much lighter gun”.

    The sharpshooter had heard enough. He growled at the saloon keeper to hand his gun back.
    “What the hell are you trying to do to my gun” he snapped.
    “Actually, I’m just trying to help yea” replied the saloon keeper.
    “When you came in and did your fancy bit of shootin, do yea see that 7 foot bearded cowboy at the end of the saloon, well you shot the whiskey glass out from under his chin and he said he was goin to come up here and shove your gun up your arse.

  28. Does anyone else think that Dublin play a very defensive style of football, hard to tell on the telly, but I thought I counted 12 or 13 dubs behind the ball at one time. Doesn’t seem to be much comment on it as they keep winning their games. They are beatable and hopefully it will be us to beat them. Galway very physical and it will be no easy match for us, roll on may

  29. From a Galway point of view, better team won. Our game in May will be tight, lots of shadow stuff today, Galway will not play like that in May and Dublin will not be playing like they were today in August. I expect Ian Burke and possibly Michael Daly to come in up front. With Cooke and Duggan improving us around the middle, I see the game being decided on whether the mayo forwards fire or not. Big games needed from Loftus, Moran, COC and AOS. V hard to call at this stage

  30. Hope the GAA are fretting and start sending out our own ‘Mayo Joe’ refs to our matches.

  31. Thanks Willie Joe I figured there wasnt much of an atmosphere all right. Fair play to the Rossies they are great supporters.

  32. Mayowoman yes, at stages today Dublin were 1 13 1. 13 behind the ball, i actually took a pic of it on the phone to show a few Mayo cousins to settle a bet.. Most teams do it nowadays, we just need to get even more balance and when we do….

  33. A very cagey game alright. Even under strength the Dubs demonstrated how to beat Galway’s defence similar to how they undid Tryone but not nearly as clinical. Patience, recycle and draw fouls and and as others have said, get ahead and stay ahead and we will see what Galway discipline is like. We will need a good ref for the 13th, Gough hopefully, and our discipline has to be good. You have to give credit to the Dubs for digging out that result but are they as good or better than last year? To early to tell yet

  34. Gutted Leeroy won’t make May but I’m a bit like WJ, I actually a little better about our lot this evening.

    They’ve turned us over two years in a row, but both days we simply never turned up. I don’t think they overwhelmed us or anything like it. We simply never got going on either day.

    Can’t see that happening this year. We want a Connacht title this year, and a direct path into the 8s. There’s no doubt we’re going to have to squeeze the A game a little earlier than normal this season, but if we do we’re well able for Galway.

  35. Spllane usual crap on Sunday game. Dublin under performed in last 2 All Irelands and still won. They were missing Bernard Brogan today etc. I know we have to finish the job this year to show that we are a better team than the Dubs and have no doubt we will. Only then can we put this under performing Dubs mantra which ebem comes from the players themselves to rest. Think it will come down to the Top 2 again this year and we will prove we are no. 1

  36. Never thought I’d see the day I would be shouting for Dublin but I was today. As someone mentioned in an earlier post it might have been a good thing if Galway did win today as they would have celebrated like it was an All Ireland win which could have been good for us leading up to the 13th. Anyway glad to see the end of the League so roll on the 13th and here’s hoping we have another great Championship in 2018. Hon Mayo

  37. I was there and left at half time in the Div 1 final as I was bored stiff with the negative, defensive football. While I felt it might improve in the second half I also felt that time spent with my nephew would be more entertaining. If football continues down this road we may forget about it.
    The Div 2 Final was more entertaining, seeing the Rossies leak goals always is. As a neutral supporter beside me said “they must be the most religous and holiest defence in Ireland” Cavan matched them in that regard in the second half.

  38. Some (not all) on here seems to think Galway will be a soft touch again somehow despite the last few years. I think they will have taken a lot from the league final despite losing to be honest. They have played Dublin twice in three weeks and only lost by a score of 0-31 to 0-27. Whatever about Croke Park, Galway have zero fear of going to Castlebar. That game on May 13 will be a right dogfight.

  39. I went to the match. What was noticeable before the game started was the aggressive warm up they did practicing their tackles.
    They were more than a match physically for Dublin, more often than being the aggressor. Could not help at laughing at the Dubs crying about cynical play around me, they got a dose of their own medicine. There is a real edge to this Galway team. They will be no push over in Mc Hale Park. What they lacked last year was the ability to close out games, they have improved a lot there, but came up against the masters yesterday. It is going to be a dog fight on May 13.

  40. I don’t buy this Mayo are unpredictable, nobody knows what Rochford will do crap. We have become very predictable. Our league performances have proven that and a month given back to the clubs wont help us tweak a whole lot either come May 13th. Galway just need to keep doing what they’ve been doing and crowd the defense and our players will run down blind alleys without the courage or conviction to shoot from distance. Our ability to cope with counter attacks has been a abysmal this spring – no shape or structure evident – just gaping holes at times as our defenders look around desperately trying to shadow their marker rather than close off the man bursting through in posession. Can’t see Higgins, Barrett, Vaughan anywhere close to ready with no competitive games under their belt. Leaders will be required all over the field to find a way to win in six weeks time.

  41. The only way to mark the bull among calves is to put the bear on him which would release higgins up field.
    If comer cant get his hands on the ball he will come out field which he did yesterday and tire himself like yesterday.
    Galway look physical at times yesterday but several times pulled out of 50 50 balls.
    Galway are improving every game but i think we are in a better position to win this one.
    Time will tell.

  42. Ah we’ll be alright. We’ll start training when we have the galway game out of the way.

  43. Bolyer will be in his element in this game, god help whoever stands in his way may 13th.

  44. What cost Galway was inexperience…they made some basic mistakes in front of the Dublin goal in the last 10 minutes whereas Dublin ‘knew’ how to close it out.

    Spillane’s comment about Dublin underperforming in last 2 AI finals is very annoying. Total crap. It’s amazing how they ‘perform’ against sub-standard Leinster opposition but always have an off-day against better teams like us. Did anyone notice after we beat Kerry last year that he started saying that it was a ‘poor’ Kerry team this immediately undermining our victory. They weren’t a poor side before last year’s replay when they were expected to win. Does this mean that we were a poor side when Kerry beat us a lot in the nought owns? I don’t remember his saying that!

    Btw, did anyone notice how Cluxton struggled with his kick-outs once he was forced to go long? He has built up a reputation as a great kick-out merchant but I believe that’s because most games in the chip are against inferior midfields e.g. Leinster opposition. Once up against better teams he has to resort to short kick-outs.

    Whilst I appreciate that he is good at kickouts, it goes to show that often a keepers kickouts are only as good as the midfield receiving them. Personally I think that Cluxton is far too ‘celebrated’ in the national media as a keeper. He has made his fair share of mistakes in big games and as far as I’m concerned Clarke is a better keeper.

    Finally, is there not an argument for playing these matches in smaller grounds so as to generate a better atmosphere? The crowd was far too small considering the size of the stadium and it robs the games of a real atmosphere. For example, Cavan and Rcommon should’ve been played in Longford.

    Also, going back to the Dublin match, is it a figment of my imagination or is there a thing called a black card for pulling down a player deliberately? At this stage it’s becoming an embarrassment such is the blatant disregard and obvious disregard for it by refs.

  45. I remember last year Jim Gavin saying later on in the year that he hadn’t seen Mayo play. We weren’t on their radar. Even at this stage of the year Gavin knows that mayo are the only team in the country that can stop them from winning another all ireland. Nobody can name another county and honestly say that they could beat the Dubs. There isn’t another team up to it.
    There probably isn’t another manager either that would have fancied taking the Mayo team up to Ballybofey and needing a result to survive the division when you count all the big players that we were missing. But Rochford.did it and the team showed.great heart.
    We have the manager and we have the team. We’ll be right there again this year please God and if we get fair refereeing we’ll be bringing that little cupeen home to Mayo with us.

  46. With Lee out for the game in the 13th who will be the best man to stop Comer? In our house we unanimously decided Boyler would be the man to take on the beast.

  47. Boyler is 5.10 in height. Comer is probably 6.2 – Boyler is physically not big enough. I would try Crowe

  48. Boyler or Chris Barret to man mark Comer . Was shouting for Galway yesterday but its more a hatred of Dublin than anything else . On yesterday’s game we will need to play really well to beat Galway . For me midfield could be key to who wins .Big games from Seamie and Tom and Keith , Chris and Harrison needed but its up front we need to be on fire . We know the way they set up and have time to get lads back to full fitness .No doubt in my mind we can beat them .

  49. Keegan is a massive loss obviously but we have the personnel to nullify comer , I just hope our management team put serious thought into how we go about our defensive set up . There is massive potential in Shane Walsh to be a match winner too (but he can be easily disheartened) we need to be ready and im sure they know it too. Be slightly concerned Higgins has had no football this year . Discipline will be vital too , we threw away the game in Salthill last year with a daft blatant swing of the knee to the balls .

  50. Ok 45 how do you explain losing to Galway, nearly been beaten by Derry and then ending up in an all-ireland final because we bamboozled Kerry tactically as predictable Mayo? How do you explain putting 1-19 on the board v Kildare one week and then being so abject against Tyrone the next as predictable? Read Billy Joe’s column in the Mayo News where he says for the second year in a row nobody has a clue about Mayo going into the championship. Surely that must count for something. Sure we were predictable if you base your observations purely on the games in the league where we met ultra defensive teams but what fitness and tactical work have we done? What work had our opposition done so early in the year? Where are Galway at on that score? For anyone to say they know for definite is crap.

  51. Keegan a big blow but he was never going to mark Comer, would play into Galways hands to have the best attacking hb in the country stuck in the full back line, Comer would be laughing seeing Lee standing beside him. Keegan would have been picking up Walsh but Chris Barrett is more than capable of that task. There are very few players who can pick up Comer one on one, even Dublin struggled, he is prob the most in form forward in the country. To stop a player like him you need to starve him of posession, control the middle third and Comer is not a threat, force him to come out field away from the danger zone. It will be a tactical team effort that will quieten him not a man marker.

  52. Crowe or Vaughan would be who I’d put on Comer for the physicallity. I’m sure Rochford will study yesterday’s game intently because whatever Dublin did after the first 15 minutes, Comer never got another ball until near the end of the game. Was it down to Galway stopping the direct ball or Dublin pressuring them, I’m not sure. Paddy Durkin on Walsh as he’s the link man. I’m basing it on nothing other than his previous recovery times, but I wouldn’t be hugely surprised if Keegan lined out on the 13th. The big issue for Galway now is how they manage the inevitable trough that comes after a peak. A good day on May 13th and you could see upwards of 25,000 in McHale Park.

  53. Can somebody please explain this apparent contradiction? Mayo we have been told have just made sure of a 21st consecutive season in the top tier of the National League. Carlow have been widely reported as securing their first promotion from the bottom tier in 33 years. Yet in the results archive Mayo beat Carlow in the spring of 1998 in the NFL.

  54. Still can’t understand why we don’t employ a crowded defence/counter attack system. Similar to whst we did the drawn game in the final in 2016. We were excellent defensively and set up perfectly for the players we have.

    Play to our strengths. We have some of the best defenders in the country, perfect for adefensive counter attack game. If Jimmy McGuinness had this mayo squad he’d have won 2 All Irelands.

  55. Have to say the better team won on the day. With numerical disadvantage, and in the last quarter, Dublin proved once again the gap in physical conditioning. Up to now, Mayo has been the only county capable of matching Dublin in this regard, but I feel we are now getting tentatively close. Management will have learned a lot about players capabilities today. One area we have strengthened is midfield, where Cooke and the rapidly improving Duggan showed well. However, we will need to be clever with substitutions – still with the Corofin contingent to come back, along with Daly, Armstrong and Cummins it’s all to play for. Roscommon played with serious heart – not easy conceding soft goals and keeping faith. They will be more than a handful for whoever meets them. It’s a long time since Connacht football was so competitive. Hopefully, all teams will have a clean bill of health for the championship.

  56. I think that is exactly what we will do Mayonaze. As good as galway are though they are in a bit of bother if you get a lead on them. Im not suggesting its black and white and they are totally one dimensional tactically , nobody bar Galway know that exactly but what we do know thus far is they will have to change it up a bit if they found themselves trailing by four/five points after half hour of football. I suppose what im saying is they are a tad exposed in comparison to our bucks. But they have the form and momentum going into this thats for sure.

  57. That one is easily explained, Teach Iorrais – that was the year the GAA threw everything out of the box for the League, mixed all the teams up (so we were in “Section A”, along with Carlow … and Kilkenny as well, incidentally!) and then rearranged the Divisions again depending on how the results went. We ended up in Division 1B for the 1998/9 NLF after all that and it’s from then that our tenure in the top tier dates. Presumably Carlow finished in the bottom division then and were stuck there until last week.

  58. Was up at the match yesterday.and I have to say I thought I noticed the first signs of the demise and hunger of this great Dublin team, dont get me wrong they won the game and are still the best team in the country.But I thought I did notice the first signs of a lack of hunger, loose marking and some of their top players not getting to there usual high standards and things you just don’t usually see in a Dublin Performance.The Connolly rumours are not helping Jim Gavin a lot of Dublin fans not happy with their darling of the hill gone. It was the Connolly substitution that swung that game in last years All Ireland plus Cian O’Sullivan missing in that Dublin defence is a huge loss.I have a feeling there will definitely be a new All Ireland champion in 2018 but who that will be I am not so sure the Mayo of last year with a stronger bench? or a Kerry team with a full forward line of Clifford, Geaney and O’Donoghue?

  59. Thanks for clearing that up Willie Joe. That was a fairly bonkers way of shaking up the league structure. Playing Kilkenny in Nowlan Park a few weeks after the ’97 All Ireland final must have been surreal for all concerned.

  60. TH, there is a big difference between hunger for a league title and the real thing in September. I wouldn’t read too much into yesterday. Dublin lost the league final last year, still had the hunger come the big day. They are on for 4 in a row, thats plenty of motivation. They are favs and rightly so. Win or lose in May we prob wont see where Mayo are at until they set foot in Croke Park in August, Croke Park is where Mayo play football.

  61. Im lapping up all this Galway praise in the media, its wonderful! Im sickend they didnt win yesterday. Flynn, Silke, Carr, they’re playing a blinder. I have no doubt that now we’re safe, Rochford is delighted that Galway bet us in the league, sounds crazy, but fully beileve he’s using that loss to drive lads on and keep them focused. Coz in all fairness we were not tuned in last year or 2016. Can’t wait for May.

  62. I think Rochy ,McEntee and Donie Buckley will have learned alot from yesterdays game.The way to breakdown this Galway blanket is to move the ball quickly and precisely up the pitch and use plenty of width and not to play the lateral handpassing and running through the centre into a swarm of maroon in and around the D like we did countless times in Pearse Stadium in February.There was a period in that game yesterday in where it was 12 all after Niall Scully got sent off, Dublin got a strong message from management to push high up on Ruairi Lavelles kickouts and they then reeled off 4 points in the space of 5 minutes and put the game beyond Galways reach .that is an area were Mayo can really exploit Galway.
    Big thing in the transformation of Galway I have noticed is their physicality and aggression.
    Galway will not be bullied by Mayo no more so Mayo have to accept this and match them man for man in this area, they need to get numbers in for breaking ball at all times.Mayo will need a more controlled agression but also take no shit like we did in Pearse when Paul Conroy pulled Aido along the grass by his jersey, that shit can’t happen again.We were bullied in Febuary that would not happen under James Horan.Hopefully we get a strong ref like David Gough to cut out all the off the ball stuff Galway were at yesterday.There near the end Declan Kyne clearly boxed Colm Basquel to the head and nothing done about it.Awful stuff.
    May 13th in McHale park will be a battlefield.May the best team win!!

  63. Few reasons why i think we will beat galway in May.
    1. We have been complacent the last two years against them in the championship we probably felt the first year was a fluke and last year we were not fully expecting them to beat us again this year is different we will have our homework done and be fully tuned in.
    2. Galway have fielded prob 85% starting team all league and are close to peak fitness it won’t be sustainable alot of their team are young fit lads who came from u21 or sigerson our lads are seasond players who are programmed to peak later in the season.
    3. We will hopefully have 7 players who started the all ireland back who were missing from the game in pearse stadium.
    4. Galway have showed their hand and rochford will 100% have the tools to dismantle it as we have seen him do the past few season.
    5. We are a better team with more hunger.
    6. Galway are over confident after a good league campaign but in reality they beat a depleted Kerry , Tyrone and Mayo side and they failed to take advantage of a 14 man dublin team missing 1/3 of their first choice 15 if that’s a positive for them sure we only lost to dublin in Feb by 4 also and that team had cian o sullivan,connolly,andrews

  64. Well now that’s that and all focus is on May 13th.
    It’s actually getting embarrassing how easy teams are beating us in MacHale Park. This needs to change.

    It’s our home and should be a fortress. I reckon we could see 30,000 at that game. Although seemed to be a very small Galway following in Croke Park yesterday.

  65. Fair is fair.

    Post Match : Reviewing the Fool’s final you would have to shake your head in sheer disbelief at the brilliance of Dublin. In. All. Aspects.Of.The.Game!

    They are absolute class footballers with my personal favorites being Mannion, Basquel and O Callaghan. (And Connolly).
    They play as a team with the greatest in -game intelligence of any team that ever played the game. Period.

    But the most impressive thing for me is their refusal to lose and their composure as they pursue their objectives . This is superb management of a very rare pedigree. Kudos all around. This is how it can be done. Composure personified , always.

    Even my icon of icons Micko , has been reduced to a blithering idiot in his assessment of their management brilliance , saying “they never won the All-Ireland in a blowout” Well everyone is entitled to one mistake and despite this howler Micko is still basically a God for me.

    But , of course all that Dublin brilliance yesterday was not enough. Their M.F .Manager had to stick my nose in it too. No , nothing else would do but to personally stick it to Swahili who was a pain in the you know what .

    It’s not like I’m not already scared stiff of meeting these guys in broad daylight , let alone in a dark alleyway in Ballymun. Or of being bundled out to Glasnevin in the back of a HiAce van for some , er, questioning.

    No he had to go and put the fear of God into me personally and maybe others too. You see , just to prove how FN brilliant he is , how superior he is , how dominant he is , what did The Master Falconer do ?

    He took a baby Urchan ( that’s not a typo) off the back streets of Dublin and put him on the team to win a national league medal against a team of rampaging bulls from out west.

    Yes , of course , he had legally adopted him ( thru Hanahoe, Hanahoe, Hanahoe and Hanahoe ) and gave him the name Eoin , named after his godson O’Gara. But this guy was basically twelve years old and had never played Gaelic in his life before.

    So what does the Master do only put him on the field when everything was on the line and Dublin were already a man down ? And still they won.

    Now I do sometimes take issue with Whelanstein as to what constitutes “Froyghtenin “ with regards this Dublin team . But this for me was absolutely terrifying.

    I mean there are literally hundreds of thousands of “Urchins” on the streets of Dublin anyone of whom could be called upon at 3.15 pm on match day to wear the hallowed powder blue and be asked to climb the steps of the Hogan Stand and even give an even more coherent speech than Clucko while, ‘em, “accepting “ the silverware.

    I mean what’s the next phase “ in the process “ towards total spectrum dominance ? Does he put out a team of 15 urchins , with an unfit Vinny Murphy as first sub (or sacrificial goat) , get five of them sent off , and still win ??
    Where does this all end ?

    Some had suggested breaking Dublin in two , but at this rate we are going to need some serious gerrymandering just to figure out how to make it fair . To the Dubs !!

    I mean it could basically come down to the streets of Dublin.
    Moore Street urchins v O’Connell street ragamuffins , waifs and strays ?

    This kind of competition could have unintended consequences and could possibly trigger riots in unlikely enclaves like CastleKnock ( the home club of the Goosestepper ), and far more likely , Ballymun ( home of Mongo , Hannibal and ALFB Rock)

    I hope I’m not in any way overreacting to this because it’s just not good for you. But ,I have to say , that there is one absolutely scary Master Falconer.

    What to do about it ? As Yogurt might say in his mock self deprecating way “ I’ve absolutely no clue Des”.

    Galway put up a good showing yesterday but they are belatedly realizing that these Dubs are beyond hard men ( with the singular exception of , you know who ,the annoying little fucking bully ALFB).

    Galway were impressive enough and gave it plenty wellie while also showing some fine skills from Shane Walsh, Heaney, Ruairi Lavelle, Cathal Sweeney , Conroy and Comer . They have grown up fast. And they have gotten bigger faster than most. Well done to Galway , but let’s hope you can’t replicate that form in Castlebar .

    Meanwhile , Mr. Magoo was being linked away from Croke Park towards the bus , for the free travel to the West . This was truly a great country .

    At one point during the game he had to half cock his baineen hat as he was either having difficulty hearing the cheers for Galway or he was hearing things.

    This was alarming on multiple levels as we had just discovered his visual disability a few weeks ago and now it looked like he might be deaf as a haddock as well ?

    It was either that , or maybe , just possibly , he was partially hearing the Supermacs commercial over the tannoy advertising “two bags of chips for one “ for the team when they got home. He couldn’t properly hear if that included management as well ? He sure as hell hoped so. He wondered if it covered curry chips too ? His instincts told him it definitely couldn’t apply to the Mighty MAC or the gluten free schlopp .

    Pat McDonagh had asked the Galway team to show the neighbors how it’s done against Dublin and indeed they did. They showed Mayo how you could properly bulk up at Supermacs.

    You could tell that Comer had been skelping through the ‘oul Chicken nuggets which he consumed by the bucket based on Horse Jr’s high protein push to the top. When Comer sat to eat you could almost hear the clucking and see the feathers flying . He took this high protein thing very seriously .

    This explained a lot of Galway’s success. Supermacs and Athleticism . At least in Pat McDongh’s mind.

    Licking his wounds on the bus on the way home Magoo wondered what Supermacs might do for the team if they beat Mayo on May 13 th ? He marveled if they might go completely crazy and throw in a free bucket of sausages and a swirly ?

    What could be a bigger incentive than that ? He couldn’t wait. He and the team were going to go for it .

  66. Dubs had edge in physical fitness in last ten helped by powerful substitutions. I don’t think they will have the same edge in August I agree with TH, Dubs could be there for the taking this year, will not be easy, but they struggled at times in the game.
    AOS picking up Comer? Walsh a big threat also and Michael Daly to come into the picture. Real hunger and class in that Galway team now

  67. They struggled because Galway are a very good team. I cannot understand some of the people here being so nonchalant about the challenge we face on the 13th. Dublin, no more than ourselves or Kerry aren’t looking to peak in the spring & I think it was evident in their game yesterday. They’ll be better come championship. All teams will.

  68. Fantabulous stuff there Swahili. By their own reckoning the Dubs will be all ireland champions again in Septober.
    Walshe will be summing up their year as satisfying and that while the championship didn’t go too well they performed well in the league.
    Mayo will be.the actual.all ireland champions and whelan brolly and Thomas o’shea will be flipping burgers in supermacs.

  69. Just playing devils advocate here but if Galway are a very good team how did kerry batter them ten months ago?

  70. “By their own reckoning” ? Id like to see a quote , Dublin whatever about them they don’t blow their own trumpet.

    Forget about the jacks , we have one job in hand and its fook all to do with Dublin.

  71. @Sean. That was ten months ago and Galway have progressed by leaps and bounds. They have probably learned from Mayo in relation to the S and C required to be competitive and they have definitely arrived. Dubs brought on four subs to score three vital points in last quarter, ggalway just ran out of steam. Not did they play cynical blanket defence, they were not afraid to take the game to dub, again like ourselves with a very mobile half back line.
    It’s interesting season ahead and more open after yesterday’s game imo.

  72. Fair enough on the ditch but lets not forget we are Mayo and we have these Galway boys in our backyard. Time to stand up and bring nestor home??? Yes/no

  73. Just a few points on yesterday and looking ahead. If someone had said to be back at the start of the league that we would go unbeaten to the final and push Dublin all the way conceding only one goal all through id have taken that. We have come on so far in a short period of time and are still developing, yesterdays game will bring Galway on so much. We will probably start with 5 championship debutants v Mayo in May. Thats some turnaround from our game last season. Mayo’s record in Castlebar is poor so i believe we will be in with a chance. On yesterday we could have pushed on when they went to 14 and Kevin agreed with that after but as Mayo well know Dublin are a great team and just had the extra gears in the home straight. Would disagree that the Rossies had more heart than Galway, they conceded 4 11 in a div 2 final , There is a world difference in playing Cavan and Dublin and every Galway player ( even Brannigan who had nearly 20 possesions in the first half alone yesterday) showed great heart . Mayo will be favourites in their own back yard but even if Galway are beaten i believe they will still make the super 8s.

  74. Good to see Dublin winning yesterday. But our lads will have their work cut out for them in May. Home advantage or not.

  75. It will the toss of a coin between us and Galway, Galway probably have better forwards but we have motivation we haven’t beaten Galway for a while now. If we do indeed beat Galway no one will want to play them in the back door or Super 8’s unless they spectacularly implode I could see Galway going on a run to a Semi final at least they have come on a lot but Mayo are a good side too but we need to come out like lions and take the game to Galway from the throw in if we don’t we are goosed.

  76. if Mayo get themselves right for May 13th they will win. If you were picking a composite team from the 2 squads at least 10 would be from Mayo.

    i agree with posters saying Dubs are not quiet as good as they were but Mayo probably aren’t either.For me the strongest they were was in 2015 the year they beat us after replay. This was they’re team at that time
    Dublin: S Cluxton; P McMahon (1-02), R O’Carroll, J Cooper; J McCarthy (0-01), C O’Sullivan, J McCaffrey; B Fenton (0-01), D Bastick; P Flynn, D Connolly, C Kilkenny (0-02); B Brogan (1-01), P Andrews (0-05), D Rock (0-02, 0-02f).
    Subs: MD Macauley for Bastick, M Fitzsimons for Cooper, A Brogan for Flynn, K McManamon (1-01) for Rock, E Lowndes for Connolly, J Small for B Brogan.

  77. Galway played OK yesterday but they lost the game on two counts. Their midfield pair were very ordinary looking. Brian Fenton ruled the middle third at crucial times in the game. 2 The Galway full back line were cut wide open on three or four occasions & Dublin nearly scored two goals, The full backs seemed to panic when Dublin charged at them in the last 15 minutes . Dublin still won with 14 players? Galway are as good as you let them be good, if Mayo go straight at them & kick over the wall, they will panic as seen yesterday .

  78. Clonee man,… Home (disadvantage) are you sure you don’t mean? … I’ve been to 5 match’s in McHale Park this year supporting Mayo, the best we have done is a draw against Leitrim in the FBD… Part of our problem is our consistently poor start’s in Castlebar .. if we rectify this in Mayo,… Make a good start, and this time, and instead of Galway learning from Mayo! ,.. We Mayo should equally learn from Dublin, and don’t give the ball back to Galway, let them play without the ball! … Dublin yesterday brought the ball into the corner, time and time again, spread the play to the other corner, and kept the Galway Shawl spread thinly.. I don’t think that Dublin lost the ball even once when they were playing keep ball in advanced positions…. Build up an early lead and the Galway Shawl will be a redundant tatic!.. Easy Said!

  79. We should remember that in the last few years the only teams to be still in striking distance of the Dubs coming down the home straight in the big games has being ourselves and Kerry. Galway managed to do that yesterday so whatever way you look at it, that is progress for Galway. Tyrone did manage to come within a point of Dublin one year in a league final as well but that’s still only a few teams.

    In saying that I don’t think that Dublin have being quite as fit the last two years in the league (Kerry beat them last year), as they were the few years before that. Dublin weren’t quite as formidable up front yesterday either, Mannion was their most dangerous forward. Kevin McManamon seems to have lost a bit of form. Howard/Scully are not as high a quality as Flynn/Connolly from a few years ago on their half-forward line. Yet they still manage to find a way to win, yesterday they brought on a couple of young lads to get them over the line O’Callagahan/Basquel while in the past they would bring on the experienced lads to do that. They are very hard bet to say the least!

    For us now we can just keep the heads down and prepare for the 13th of May. Let all of the talk be about Galway and Roscommon. That suits us just fine. Our priority is get our players back to fitness and get game time into some of the lads coming back from injuries etc. We are well warned this year about what Galway will bring to the table so we can’t be in any way complacent this time. It’s all to play for, roll on the game!

  80. It’s a lot easier to play a patient game against the blanket in Croke Park. It’s a big open field and in time the defence gets tired and gaps appear. A smaller pitch like Castlebar actually suits Galway’s gameplan.

    That’s why it’s pretty much essential that we start like a train. Get ahead and make them come out.

  81. Walsh is a fabulous footballer but can be a little hit and miss. Durkan has the pace and aggression to pick him up. I’d also tell Paddy to get him running the other way.

    I can only see Vaughan picking up Comer. I don’t think any one of Barrett, Higgins or Harrison is big enough for him. Might also suit Donie if Comer wanders out the pitch.

  82. I think it would be a major risk to put Vaughan on Comer as you’d think that it would be highly likely that he would pick up two yellow cards or a black or even a straight red.

    We have seen in the past when faced with a big man at full-forward that we have used Barry Moran or Aidan O’Shea to counter this. You feel that neither would have the mobility to cope with Comer. If we look at the other midfield options we have to do the job, then Tom Parsons or Seamie O’Shea are the other options.

    Tom might not be strong enough for him so maybe Seamie has the best attributes in terms of strength and he would probably be a bit more mobile than Barry or Aidan, so we’ll see how it goes or maybe we’ll just give Caolan Crowe the job (a big job for a new player though), as you can’t see us starting with Ger Cafferkey anyway.

  83. Mc Hale Pk has not been a fortress for us in quite some time..Galway will have no fear coming to Castlebar in May and a win against them in their present form would be a great result and a much needed one..Cant wait to.see how we deal with Comer..

  84. Was at the match yesterday, as a Mayo man I watched with interest, in the first match I suggest we can’t read a lot into it, the Rossies never showed their hand, still some problems in FF back line and middle of the park but Enda Smith will strengthen this section when the real stuff starts in the championship.

    We can only look to the Galway game though, while they had a good league and there is no doubt that they are improving they were not able to apply pressure in the key period (even with an extra player). On the Dubs they were not nearly at the level we have encountered in August/September and still won in 3rd gear. That being said and even if some of you out there believe that this Mayo team has reached its peak, Galway are still behind us, given the correct attitude and application I have no doubt we will turn over our friends from Galway on the 13th and give this one last almighty push. No fear!

  85. Comer’s marker will need to be strong, fast and aggressive – but not too aggressive. Other than Keegan I’d probably go with Barrett or Harrison – although match fitness would still be a bit of a worry with both. Comer’s game is to try to bull his way through his defender with brute strength and speed. If he he’s not breaking away then he falls to the ground with the slightest contact. Even got away with fouling Cooper by grabbing his arm in the tackle yesterday. A good ref will cop on to the cheatin bastard. Hopefully we will get a good ‘un for this game.

  86. Crowe had a great league and appears to have a very good temperament. He really stood out for me. I find it hard to identify any other player for us who could do better marking Comer in his current form. He’s incredibly mobile and skillful but it’s his sheer strength that marks him out as particularly dangerous, that is why i think Rochy has to go with a tall, physically strong player. Crowe is a really honest footballer who gets on with his job. More than anything he will not give Comer an inch of space. I don’t think there’s a hope of Aidan or Seamie marking him for this very reason and it would take too much from their games anyway.
    I’d agree it wouldn’t be a job for Vaughan, primarily as he’s just back from injury whereas Comer is absolutely flying in terms of fitness. Same goes for Barrett.
    For sure it’s going to be one of the biggest decisions Rochy and co will have to make. If Comer gets on a roll it will ignite the Galway crowd. Frustrate him and get a lead and on Galway and we’ll be in a decent position.
    No more than always, it’s hard to know what shape we’ll be in. Definitely no harm they it will be the tribesmen and rossies who’ll be making the papers over the coming weeks. You can be sure Mayo will have the heads down. They know what has to be done.

  87. Mayo should give Comer the exact same treatment as they give to Aidan OShea and Conroy needs to be put back in his box also

  88. I can see Rochford playing the sweeper system against galway to block up the channels.
    It makes sense too against the blanket. Why waste the 3rd man on the full forward line if it’s going to be so tight inside. We’ll need lads who can kick long range points from the 40 and try, for this game at least not to have players soloing in to the galway blanket. We’ll turn over too much ball doing that.
    Playing sweeper will mess with the galway system, especially if they don’t have a third man to pick up on the ff line.
    The sweeper system then allows for a 2 man tacking job on Comer if it’s needed.
    Main aim is don’t let them get the ball to him. He won’t do much without the ball.

  89. Crowe marked Comer earlier in the league and did reasonably well. Probably better than the Dublin backs managed on Sunday. Give him a couple of weeks to prepare fully for the challenge and he could do even better. I just think the rest of our backs are too small/light. No way would I put a midfielder back on him as they would be skinned for pace.

    Anyway, still 6 weeks to go. A bit early to be talking about match ups.

  90. I’m not so sure Revellino, we’re having difficulty enough as it is getting scores without sacrificing another forward. If we showed anything last year it’s that we are the only team capable of going man to man in defence. And it’s a plus that a couple of the new lads have stood up in the back line during league, especially with the amount of injuries we have here. For me, it’s paramount we work on transitioning fast ball from midfield to around the D, something we’ve struggled to do throughout the league. Sounds simple, but the Dubs do it effortlessly and lately we’ve made it look hard. I think a lot of that is down to our usual form this time of year.
    If we ever do revert to a sweeper I’d love to see Boland in the role. He’d be ideal.

  91. I think Comer is being overhyped and its more likely walsh, brannigan or even daly that will do the damage in castlebar. Great league for galway but mayo have players to come back but will they be match fit? Roscommon looked shocking at the back and this talk of them not showing their hand is debatable. Dublin remain AI favourites but is the pack closing? This super 8 will be novel and hopefully galway and mayo will both be in it. I feel we are capable of going in via qualifiers if needed but Mayo have much more miles on the clock and need the direct route a bit more. galway will test mayos AI credentials on 13 May and the pressure will be on Mayo to deliver and show they are not on the wane.

  92. Was very impressed with Galway they have been a great injection in to the football championship for the summer and are a real force again everyone in mayo has the feeling that May Day is boom r bust the reality is that Galway will be close to their best and for mayo I’d say 80 percent at best due to injuries and an older panel remember this mayo team of 2012 Galway are at that level now but with a better forward line and will be a major force in the coming years and it’s great for Connaught may 13 promises to be the most talked about battle since 96 97 and 98 and for this mayo team and just remember right this team off at your peril if May Day doesn’t go your way but it doesn’t surprise me what this team will do if it makes super 8 s that what all that matters

  93. We seem to spend alot of time discussing how we set up to play other teams. Maybe we should just play our own game and let the other teams worry about us.

  94. I’m always bemused by the ‘great for Connacht football’ comments. Is it good for Mayo football? Because quite frankly that’s all I care about.

  95. Rev i agree .we should move Keegan or Durcan forward & let other teams worry. Using Keegan as man marker is s mistake imo

  96. Spot on, Keep The Faith. Super 8s is the main thing. May 13th could go either way. Galway are in fifth gear right now. Mayo probably in second or third, but it’s not reasonable to expect Mayo to make up that gap in a six-week period with no competitive games. So it’s a lottery in Castlebar the next day. Please God the result goes our way, but the bottom line is – we need to make the Super 8s or we really are in bother.

  97. Galway will be hard to beat in Castlebar, irrespective of concerns about fitness, game management, peaking and whatever else. Our absentees and a tight pitch are major disadvantages to us, IMO, and Galway have definitely improved and are probably marginal favourites to win Nestor this season, IMO. They have a hard spine and an aggressive defence that the Rossies palpably lack.

    Comer is definitely the man who makes this Galway side tick, and we’ll need to find a pacy back who’ll keep him somewhat quiet. P Durcan would be my choice for the job, ideally, if he bombs forward it will give young Damien a bit more to think about then he’s been accustomed to in the NFL.

    Also crucial is to get off to a good start: as the league showed, we really struggle when giving up an early lead to defensive sides, which Galway undoubtedly are at present.

    Would also have major worries about Cillian’s match-fitness following another injury lay-off.

  98. I’m normally on the optimistic side but I detect a huge dose of overconfidence by many Mayo posters here. I have faith in Management and believe May 13 will be a close match but if either team were to win easily it’s more likely Galway. For me the lads coming back need to be flying. For Comer Donie not quick enough over first 5 yards so either Harrison if back flying or Crowe who has a similar cut to him. Barrett simply not tall enough for full back and forget about the very big men back there unless we adopt a sweeper system.
    We also need a game plan for the blanket, something we’ve lacked bar Tyrone 2016.
    Also are people way ignoring the threat of Tyrone 2018. They had a full systems meltdown in Croker last year, don’t expect that to happen twice. Kerry also have unearthed new talent albeit some of their seasoned campaigners may not be at full tilt come summer.

  99. As someone above said keep possession off Galway midfield area and stretch the blanket is 1 tactic, line up long range shooters could be another (we have only 4 of those, the 2 OC bros, Nally and Kirby, with Jason sometimes doing it, Conor Loftus does it coming off the shoulder). Problem there is most of those players work rate so high that they don’t get enough of those chances. We need a plan for efficient attacks.
    Also talk of Lee is wasted time. His injury is 4 to 6 months so let’s hope he’s back in 4. That’s assuming we’re still there come July.
    On a positive note I suspect management looking to peak earlier and some poor league performances probably down to heavy midweek training.
    Also Mayo have never really played blanket ourselves. Why not? Can’t beat them join them.
    To win midfield battle we may need McLoughlin and Doherty out there scavenging.

  100. Yes I think it’s good for Mayo football that we have serious opposition in Connacht. Super 8the Target and winning Nestor vital in securing place. Team or should I say panel have to be fully woundup for May 13, no ggradual build up to August/September. And newcomers pushing for starting places will drive the more experienced on. Only downside the few serious injuries we picked up. And our Management’s reluctance to use the bench. Maybe we have learned a lesson there too. Fast forward to May 13, most exciting meeting for years. And remember when Galway won Sam their greatest test was Mayo. Strong Connacht is good for all.

  101. I don’t think anyone can argue the fact that Mayo are very much a team in decline while Galway are very much on the upward curve. This is somewhat due to (baring one or two years) Galway getting the better of their neighbors in every underage encounter – sometimes convincingly. So its no surprise that this is now taking place.

    It would be a fair assessment that Galway did target the league (could have a detrimental affect on the summer, who knows) but only a fool would think that they didn’t have one eye on Mayo all along with Daly, O’Curraoin and the Corofin contingent to come back into the fold

    Regardless of what happens in May or however Mayo “target” this game, it won’t change the fact that the times are changing.

  102. I always get the impression that Mayo overthink team selection and strategy. Looking at the comments, most concern is for defence. My take on it is you have loads of defenders capable of doing a job – the main area that should be concentrated on is middle third/attack. For that reason, I have looked at the issues from a Galway perspective (a Mayo team sheet that would make us think) and a Mayo perspective (what have we learned). I remember Meath had a really good half back in the 80’s – Reilly. Sean Boylan had an uncanny knack for transforming defenders into very effective forwards. Reilly was positioned in half forward line and became a lethal finisher. Graham Geraghty was also converted to full forward. The reason I mention this is that Mayo need something new and aggressive up front- my choice would be Durcan. He has pace is aggressive and is not shy in shooting. The team I think Mayo should settle on is: 1. Clarke 2. Barrett 3. Crowe 4. O’Donoghue 5. Donie 6. Boyle 7. Higgins 8. Parsons 9. A O’Se 10. McLoughlin11. Loftus 12. P. Durcan 13. Diarmuid 14. Cillian 15. Moran

  103. I’d much rather go back to the years where we were walloping Galway in Connacht.That won’t happen for sure.
    I never believed our “easy” Connacht runs hindered us later in the year. Indeed we scrapped past Roscommon and Sligo in 2 of those years.

    We will need to be close to our best to beat them in May.

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