Game day – a final worth winning

We’re back at Croke Park this afternoon – for the first time since last June’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Kerry – and we’re back competing for a national title. Galway provide the opposition in this afternoon’s National League Division One final and Kildare’s Brendan Cawley is the ref for a game that throws in at HQ at 4pm today and which is being shown live on TG4.

The final of any sporting competition should always be taken on its own merits but that’s never really the case with the League. Aside from the usual ‘It’s only the League’ and ‘All-Irelands aren’t won in April’ stuff is the still barely believable fact that we’re back out again this day week in the first round of the Connacht Championship, where we’ll be up against Roscommon, the team that finished just below ourselves and Galway in the Division One table.

That match next Sunday, not to mention the fact that Galway then play the winners of it a fortnight afterwards, undeniably casts a shadow over today’s match. How could it not?

Central to much of the discussion in the lead-up to today’s final is, from Mayo’s perspective, which match we should give greater priority to. Is a League title more important than another Nestor Cup victory? Would losing to Galway be better than losing to the Rossies? Or worse? How much of a boost would it be for us to beat them both? How badly would it impact us if we lose both matches?

In truth, these are all unknowables and the relative importance that might be ascribed to each of the two challenges we face is largely a subjective one. At the heel of the hunt, these questions are simply ones that pass the time for supporters in the lead-up to 4pm today.

What matters in terms of the contest we’re set to witness is what Kevin McStay and his opposite number, Galway’s Padraic Joyce, think about it. I get the feeling this is a game they each badly want to win, both for what’s at stake – a national title, lest we forget, once we last captured in 2019 while they last won it way back in 1981 – but also because they have no intention of losing to their great rivals in a high-profile match, one that’ll be watched keenly right across the country.

So I think we’re going to see two counties going full-tilt at it. The questions then is which of them is best equipped to do the business. It’s possible to make persuasive cases for both of them.

Galway now have plenty of big match experience and the days when they couldn’t buy a win in Croke Park, in fact struggled even to get to play there, are long gone. They contested an All-Ireland final last July and were in it right to the finish. And, if anything, they’ve improved a bit since then.

After a ropey opening two games, Galway won four out of their remaining five matches in this year’s Division One, ceding top spot in the division to us solely on points difference. They showed plenty of character in winning those games too, demonstrating a hitherto absent ability to come out on top in close-fought encounters. That quality could well stand them well later on today.

So too could their mean defence, the best in Division One this year. True, their points-for tally has been poor but with Shane Walsh and Rob Finnerty back in the starting fifteen and Damien Comer having recovered early from what was feared to be a bad knee injury, with Matthew Tierney, Johnny Heaney and Peter Cooke all adding to their cutting edge in attack, Galway don’t look like they’ll be found wanting going forward.

We’re further along the road than I think we expected to be at this stage. Once we’d eclipsed the Rossies as the campaign’s early frontrunners, our appearance in the Division One final took on an air of inevitability and, to be fair to Kevin McStay and his selectors, this is a development they appear to have viewed as an opportunity rather than an encumbrance.

It’s also a reward for the team’s sparkling form this spring. We’ve played the best football in Division One this year and there’s so much to like about the football the lads have played. A more defined structure at the back has provided greater security – even if our goals-against tally shows there’s more work to be done there – and our strong and extremely mobile middle third offers additional cover at the back as well as providing a platform for attack.

Up front, we’ve more potency than we’ve had for a long time and greater variety in attack too. And, don’t forget, we still have Cillian O’Connor and Tommy Conroy to come back, perhaps not today but, for sure, before too long.

Once the line-up for the Monaghan game was announced, I think we all got our answer about how we view today’s match. We’re going to give it everything we’ve got. For today, at least, thoughts of the Rossies have to be parked, though, once the full-time whistle has blown, the segue from League to Championship will, for us, be an instant one.

Last year, we really didn’t want to be in a League final and, boy, did it show. Already wracked by an injury crisis that then proceeded to get worse, our season was already starting to career out of control. We didn’t do ourselves justice that day. We should do everything in our power to make sure we give a better account of ourselves today.

I think this one’s going to be tight. The teams are well-matched and they’re both going to go at this challenge full-on. Whichever team wins it will view the victory as a sweet one – with no talk of it being only the League – while defeat will sting badly for the losers, even if both of them will immediately pivot their focus to the bigger challenges that lie ahead.

It’s a tough one to call and I genuinely think it could go either way. On the basis that we’ve played the better football consistently this spring and the fact that we’re slightly ahead in our prep, not least in light of what’s facing us in a week’s time, I think we have the means to shade it, which, like all Mayo supporters, I sincerely hope we do.

Here’s to a big Croke Park performance from the lads today, one that, if it goes the way we hope it does, will point us towards the Championship in the right frame of mind. But let’s park the Championship for now: this is a national title we want to win and winning it by beating Galway in today’s final would make it all the sweeter.

Right, let’s go do this, let’s claim the National League for what would be the 13th time for us. It’s well within our powers to win this and here’s hoping that’s what we do. Up Mayo.

179 thoughts on “Game day – a final worth winning

  1. Sitting in Gatwick waiting to board the flight home. The first of many such journeys this year.

    Totally agree with WJ – this is a 50/50 game. I don’t think we’ve got any choice but to go full tilt. We may not take risks with the bench, but otherwise we’ll put out the full deck.

    It will be very interesting to see how some of our new structures hold up in Croke Park. Can we deploy the long ball into O’Shea and Carr? How will Loftus fare holding the middle of the defence? Can our new lads in the full back line cope in space?

    I’d be optimistic about our midfield diamond. They have the engine for Croker and they can trouble the score board.

  2. Cheers Willie Joe, well said. Here’s to a Mayo win, 1.14 to 0.13.
    Safe travels all,
    Up Mayo!

  3. If we can carry our best league form into today’s game I think we’ll win by 3 points. Aido and Carr can cause havoc in around the square with the right supply and if this happens Gleeson will be a busy man.Aido is a different animal this year compared to the last few year’s and is playing his best football something Galway have to be concerned about.If they leave him ono on one he can and will do damage.Im confident of the win but just hope it doesn’t go to extra time,don’t need that before next week.

  4. Agree WJ. After Today’s game we will have answers to questions that need answering. Strong sets of forwards should lead to high scoring game. I expect Carr to do the hard running back and leave O Shea in the danger zone. Carney performing at a very high level of consistency and if Flynn and McDonagh do likewise, it could be our day. Safe travelling to all.

  5. I’m pinning my hopes on that we have a habit of beating Galway when it really matters & I think today matters no matter what anyone says.
    We’ve won all Connacht Finals v Galway in last 14/15 years (think 2008 last time Galway beat us in a Connacht Final) – the Croke Park Connacht Final – the Limerick knock out game.
    Up Mayo & enjoy the day everyone.

  6. Really looking forward to this one. It’s a National Final and we are the best team in the League and we just go and prove it today. All this talk about Roscommon next week is rubbish. You can’t beat a match to bring on a team and especially a big one. Look at the Six Nations and they play 2 weeks in a row and it’s a much more physical game. Enjoy the game and no excuses for today or next week. I’m sure the players will be positive for 2 wins and so should we.

  7. Best of luck to our lads today. Not sure they will have enough to get the better of Galway this afternoon. Our early league fitness is bound to level off at some stage as others catch up, coupled with the fact that we are facing a team that are ahead of us in terms of team development and are a stronger overall forward unit. Galway have Sam Maguire firmly in their sights this year, just like Kerry had last year, and today I expect we will see that demonstrated today. If Cillian and Enda are not named on the bench today, then I think it’s advantage to them.

  8. Would it be concerning if Cillian, Tommy and Enda weren’t to be named in the 26 today? If they aren’t ready for 20-25 minutes today then they are unlikely to be ready for Roscommon next week. I guess it depends on the nature of their injuries.

    Looking forward to the game, a great test for us all over the pitch.

  9. Its interesting the narrative about Galway they are being talked up by the national media as heirs apparent to winning Sam even Willie Joe quite rightly alluded to the fact that Galway were in the Game against Kerry in the final right up to the final whistle where as if that was Mayo theyd be saying we choked again and left it behind us. To be fair Galway look like the real deal and are worth a bet for Sam if nothing more to soften the depression if they do win it. Mayo have a good chance today if the Mayo that played the latter rounds of the league except the Monaghan game turn up and get good ball in AOS. It will be an intriguing game and we will know the anwser to a lot of questions before the angelus bell oer the liffey swell rings out on this palm Sunday

  10. I had a neighbour many moons ago who used to say he could only start enjoying the summer when he had the turf home, the hay saved and Mayo had Galway bet ! I’m firmly in that camp, love these type of days. Mayo to storm home, bring it on !

  11. Our defence will be tested by a strong Galway attack. If we can stop the goals we will win. Counter attacks will be dangerous given we have an attacking half back line. Big ask for the full back line but I think it is the best backline we ever had. Come on Mayo.

  12. @Mayomayo1 cillian did an interview and he said he’s definitely getting there wanted to put his hand up for today’s game but said its up to fitness team of course and mcstay said the guys are looking to be definitely back by the Rossies game including enda hessian .

    Good luck guys truly believe we can win this just need no nerves and confidence glad Galway are favourites keeps us level headed whatever happens it’s not the end of the world if we do loose . We have come so far this league many expected us to be a total write off either way so proud of the team whatever happens.

    Safe travel to all . Mayo by 4 or so .

  13. Up Mayo and safe journey to all. Will Cillian play or not? We’ll find out five minutes before throw in…

  14. A young new energetic Team faced into a well formed and experienced Galway side for Mayo’s first match in this League 8 weeks ago. Galway were favourites to win having come off a good All Ireland Series last year culminating in a pulsating Final against Kerry. Us Mayo Folk were hoping for a good showing from the New Lads mixed with the experience of tested warriors. We were wondering how we could survive Lee retiring and Oisin leaving for Australia . Mayo played with a New Energy and were unlucky not to win that night in Castlebar. Mayo had a new look to their Team and a new system of playing. We had laid down a marker already for the new season unknown to us the supporters but not now I feel to Kevin Mc Stay and his back room Team. Remember Mayo also we beat Galway in the FBD. So the Management Team know there is a Flame there and probably have known this since they took over the reigns. Kerry and Tyrone were also dispatched and we should have won above in Armagh. We beat Donegal in their Ballybofey Fortress a feat many Teams have tried and failed to do. Yes this Team want to win Today. Yes Kevin will have them primed . Yes Mayo are by far the most outstanding Team in the League . So I would say Willie Joe let’s not be negative about winning a National Title. Let’s not get carried away about next Sunday against Roscommon. Let’s support these Lads as best we can. A National league title is not For wincing at but for this Team merely a stepping stone to achieving Sam. A Win Today against a very good Galway side will reinforce confidence and will go a long way to lifting Sam this year. Enough Negativity let’s Support this Team and Management. These lads deserve a League Title. Think of the sacrifices they endure week in week out . They are the Best Team in the League …I pray they show this Today.
    Safe Travelling to All.
    Go neirigh an Tadhg le Mhuigheo.

  15. Byrne, Conroy, Doherty, Irwin, McLaughlin (E), McStay, O’Hora, Orme, Plunkett, Towey, Tuohy

  16. That’s a weird bench. Very lopsided
    Not much defensive cover
    I’m worried now
    Orme Irwin and Mcstay nowhere near good enough so count them out as options
    Towey is only at a push based on his struggles last weekend . Stripped of the ball numerous times .

    Hennelly was very very very rusty last week
    But it’s a strange one that he isn’t on the bench . Maybe still trying to get fit

  17. Thanks Digits – No Hennelly either. We might have a later change to that bench yet before the game, there has been a few times this year.

  18. Rory Byrne is the better option as a sub goalie then hennelly he was off the pace last weekend maybe will come fitter jn the weeks ahead but Byrne is the safer option in case we need to replace reape in my opinion.

  19. Km79 – I dont think it is lopsided. Plunkett, O’Hora and McLaughlin are all defensive players who arguably could be starters. Id be more worried about our impact from forwards outside conroy and tuohy but plenty of them are young lads who could yet develop into fine players.

  20. Based on last week O Hora and Plunkett are not defensive options this week as O Hora was miles off the pace and Plunkett didn’t even come on !
    Croker for a league final against Galway is not the place to find fitness

    McHugh not in 26?
    He might come in to starting 15 for Callinan if he is fit
    And callinan takes one of the spots on the bench from the two named above

  21. Weak bench. Apart from Tommy who else could you rely on to come on last 20 to knock over a few points?

  22. Lovely sunny day up here in Dublin should hopefully be a good game either way! Sadly can’t go as babysitting the joys haha

    Hopefully I won’t be shouting at the TV later! Ha

  23. Stop worrying about the bench.
    We have a very good sub goalie in Byrne.
    We have Conroy, O’Hora, McLoughlin, Tuohy who are all top class. What more do we need.
    Come on the Green above the red.

  24. Jaysus I completely missed Plunkett last weekend ! He didn’t make much of an impression on me obviously:D
    He could start yet . I’ll be surprised if we start with both the corner backs named

  25. A battle hardened team having more or less reached its full potential against a less experienced but talented team with a lot of potential, a very exciting game in prospect indeed. Galway are slight favourites but Mayo are playing with more freedom than under Horan and generally it seems a happier camp and players are enjoying their football. I think this change in mood will be a factor in today’s game and will help Mayo shade it. Best of luck to our lads today.

  26. I think McHugh picked up an injury so won’t be involved today. It’s a reasonably strong bench IMO. O’Hora, Plunkett and McLaughlin covering the backs, Tuohy covering MF or half forward with Conroy also covering the forwards.

    You can only make 5 subs!

  27. Disappointed Cillian not on the bench. Hope we can do it without him today!

  28. Best of luck today and safe traveling to all, I think the conditions (dry and sunny) will suit us and Galways lack of pace in certain areas will be exposed.

  29. Ffs will ye stop moaning. Strong team named and good options on the bench. Cillian and Enda still to come back. Lets do this Mayo!

  30. Pains me to say it but voted for Galway to win. I think if they hold us up front we have very little to come on to change things.
    To have a shout a fast start is vital, fingers crossed for it. I think Galway are rightly favs as they are hitting form, but let the pressure be on them. That’s okay.

    Fingers crossed though for a win and no injuries.

  31. Up Mayo! It’ll be fab to see our young lads in Croker.
    I always have confidence in Mayo teams and I do today. Galway have seasoned players, especially their forwards. I’m not sold on their defensive structure. I think we can work around it.
    The most thing that is a strong point for us is our management team. They will have thought things out and have good game plans for today.
    Mayo by 3.

  32. Km79 Players are on the bench because right now they deserve to be. Orme is an outstanding club footballer and will prove his worth someday for Mayo. It would suit you well to prerequisite as your opinion only

  33. Personal opinion here
    I think our subs are weak as well to be honest
    Especially forwards when Bob Tuohy is midfield cover

  34. Weak enough bench over all though. A few fellaa off form or very inexperienced.

  35. Ontheditch – just like that’s your opinion about Orme.. Many others might be of the opinion he’s had plenty of chances now, and shown absolutely nothing.

  36. Comfortable Mayo win today.

    Some very inexperienced guys in the Galway middle 8. Mayo have some inexperience but at very least everyone has played against Galway at this level. Those same Galway lads are playing three weekends in a row for the first time.

    For all the talk of Galways improvement at Croke park, they won one game there last season. We won three. Galway have years where they win in Croker, in terms of frequency the closet thing Mayo have is years where they haven’t won there.

    The last time Galway beat Mayo in a competitive final was 2008. Captain on that day was Padraig Joyce. Paul Conroy came off the bench.

  37. Go neiri le foireann Mhuigeo inniu.

    Why are some people complaining about the strength of the bench? In my opinion, it is difficult to make the 26 panel and we have serious talent on the bench! Remember, these lads are giving their very best representing our county and are amateurs!

    Mhuigeo Abú

  38. As long as what you post is even-handed and reasonable, Mayo88, that’s fine. Just dissing someone with no justification isn’t. In any event, I’d really question why – 90 minutes before our match throws in – anyone would want to waste time and energy on that topic.

  39. Galway heading off to training camp in Portugal tomorrow morning. Let’s hope they are already on the plan in their heads!

  40. Believe we have the best 26 available today. Bar Mchugh based on injuries don’t see who else could have been on the bench today. Players not making the matchday panel based on match day league selections so far

    Robbie Hennelly
    Donnacha Mchugh
    Ruairi Keane
    Rory Brickenden *
    Enda Hession *
    Kevin Mcloughlin
    Darran Mchale
    Cillian o Connor *
    Bryan Walsh *
    Ethan Gibbons

    Few others played in FBD or like U20 players
    Alfie Morrison
    Joe Touhy
    Aaron McDonnell
    Conor Dunleavy
    Cairan Boland
    Fenton Kelly
    Jack Fallon
    Kuba Callaghan
    Gavin Durcan
    Ronan Carolan

    No sign of Mark Moran or Brendan Harrison nor players mentioned as called in earlier in the year like
    Niall McManamon
    James McCormack
    Mikey Murray
    Oisin McLaughlin

  41. That looked very like a square ball for the O’Gara goal. He certainly was in the square before the ball was kicked in by Fenton.

  42. I suppose I have to have a stab at the result. I think Mayo attack has improved dont know about yer defence today will answer some questions. Galway firefighting without Silke and Molloy but doing well so far but have a lot to improve on in attack so today will be interesting. Looking at Derry being vut open by the Dubs I would like to see Galway go for it. Standard result is either a 1 point Mayo or Galway win most likely. The jury is really out lads and lassiesand no sentence will be given today anyway. Enjoy the match.

  43. Con O’Callaghan is doing some serious damage to Derry when he is running at them.

  44. Some very noticeable Croke park inexperience on show from Derry.

    Game should be dead and buried, Dublin very wasteful

  45. Best of luck Mayo!! It’s great to be back for big days like these once again. Its gonna be close, we could do without extra time with the Rossies coming next week but it could could penalties!! Enjoy everyone.

  46. Looks like Plunkett is indeed not fit enough
    Another forward in
    One who has shown it at inter county level and is a better option than those who have not yet done that up to this point
    My personal opinion is that all players who make the county panel are clearly great club players . But not all are good inter county players . A few on our bench fall into that category . A few too many for my liking today . Let’s hope it won’t cost us

  47. Based on first game you can stroke Derry off the list of possible outsiders.
    4 horse race: Dublin, Galway, Mayo and Kerry.

    Dublin be ones to beat.

  48. Derry collapse. Dublin with plenty of work to do but they will be in last 12. Good to see them back in div 1

  49. Agreed
    With Tyrone the only possible outlier
    Derry could struggle this summer now with Glass injured
    Games come thick and fast and they could find themselves in a tough group if they lose in Ulster

  50. Gizmobobs.. Roscommon -Tyrone -Armagh as well-(Derry will learn, and need to but I wouldn’t rule them out )

  51. @Km79: Its quite clear you’re only looking at players that put points on the scoreboard, which is completely unfair. As Kevin McStay has said plenty of times, the aim is to pass to the player who is in the best scoring position… no matter what. McStay set up 5 points V Monaghan, but you mustn’t be watching the work that goes in before the ball goes over the bar, which is a shame. And no, it’s not good enough to comment that there are players on the bench that are ‘no where near good enough’, they must be doing something right to make the match day 26 in a Div 1 League Final!!

  52. Dublin looked very good today. That ruthlessness was there. They have powerful players around the pitch. They’ll take beating.

  53. Is this Kevin’s first occasion managing Mayo in Croke Park? Good luck to him, the entire team, and all of us supporters today.

  54. Dublin done very well against a good Derry team but the same old story if you give Dublin a half a chance they will blow any team away, tough on Derry but they will be hard to beat in Summer, Up Mayo !

  55. I wouldn’t think so Leantimes, Tyrone yes. But wouldn’t think Armagh or Roscommon will feature.

    That said Roscommon could well beat us next week, although I doubt it.

    The gulf between the top few and the rest is chalk and cheese.

  56. Very nervous about this one now. Hopefully we put in a good performance and if that’s good enough, great.

  57. Teams as named.

    Galway will find it tough to get out of their own half. Expect a strong start from Mayo, not sure if Galway will be able to live with that, but I don’t expect that they’ll live with our second quarter

  58. Km76: Mcstay has been setting up points left right and centre, don’t know what you’re on about??

  59. Cue Joyce whinging post match about reape intentionally trying to injure Heaney – the man loves a conspiracy theory

  60. I’d argue momentum carried him into the challenge, it was unfortunate Heaney got injured but I really don’t think there was an ounce of intent there from Reape

  61. Galway looking slow but improving as half goes on. Frees for any little touch on a Mayo player but Galway can have no complaints to be 3 down at h/t. Galway will need a goal to win this one.

  62. Great start but probably needed a goal when on top. Galway settled well.
    Nice to see a ref give aido a fair run. He’s playing too deep though. Need more from half forwards…. Time for Tommy?
    Holding our own at MF…
    Full back line doing okay. Vulnerable to ball over top.

  63. We’re talking fractions of a second and Heaney just beat him to the ball but Reape was committed to the attempt.

    Overall a decent first half but with the advantage of the wind. You’d be worried about the number of goal chances that Galway had.

  64. All – I’m at Croke Park and I really don’t want to spend me time here keeping the peace. Can everyone please dial down the emotion and just follow the game? There’ll be plenty of time for chat once it’s over.

  65. Sorry folks Ive lost the plot with the stress of it. I wont post again til the Connaught semi. Sorry Willie Joe

  66. Totally disagree Richard, the ball was well gone when Reape kicks out at Heaney. It was a moment of madness, he realised he had been beaten to the ball and panicked. Could have broken his leg.

  67. To be honest I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t win the game from here. Although saying that Galway had 2 great goal chances. If we put the clappers on Walsh and Maher we will be grand. Mattie needs to tighten up on Maher, running deep and getting into dangerous positions.

  68. I wish O’Shea would not track back, conserve energy and use him as a target man when we turn them over.

  69. I commend the goalkeeper for being brave his momentum took him into Heaney nothing malicious in it

  70. Well done to Reapeby being brave and coming well out from his line to try and stop a goal, how many times have we failed to do this in Croker before.

  71. No way a red for reape don’t no what game people are watching, he went fully committed 50/50 for the ball and his momentum sent him crashing into heany don’t even no why it was a free , we came outa the blocks fast but Galway well in it its going to be tight to the end

  72. Experience and cutenesswill tell for Galway in second half. They look more like scoring goals then Mayo. Expect a lot of high ball in.

  73. Colm Reape MOTM. Managed to weather the storm in the second half thankfully. I can’t imagine the Galway boys will be to happy with the ref. Thought he gave us a lot today but I won’t complain. Up mayo.

  74. Reape unbelievable but concerning we gave away so many goal chances. Tommy Conroy made a good impact and Durcan excellent in the second half

  75. Wonderful should be a day set aside every week to beat Galway. Dogged affair, we left a few scores after us in the first half that made it tougher than maybe it should have been. Few needless mistakes but a good one to win. Why was McBrien taken off?

  76. Joyce moaning about the ref, them missing goal chances and the Reape yellow card. Also said Mayo are back training earlier than them.

    Always the victim.

  77. Good to get a win but Galway had so many goal chances.

    The real business starts next week. As always, the league will be quickly forgotten about.

  78. There will be a missing person alert sent out in Galway tonight for Sean Kelly, Matthew Tierney and Damien Comer, last seen in Paddy Durcan and Aidan O’ Sheas back pockets.

  79. Joyce as predicted gives out in his TG4 interview that Mayo got some questionable frees and insinuates that reape should have seen red. Seems every time we play them he whinges about decisions or the ref!! Who’d be a ref nowadays? What kind of message does it send to fans and kids when certain inter county managers constantly criticise them. They’re doing their best. We probably shaded the free count today for once but Galway got away with 2 clear pull downs that in previous seasons would have been black cards so swings and roundabouts

  80. Great to win even with lots of bad play! Galway created a lot of goals changes, which is a bit worrying.

  81. It can not be overstated how valuable it is to have a player who can come up and kick 3 45s with minimum fuss in such a tight game
    We have lost so many tight finals as we had nobody reliable to do that
    Fair play to Mcstay for going with Reape
    Madness is repeating the same mistakes again
    Galway are doing that with gleeson
    He caused panic again at the end

    A word for Sam Callinan who I was worried about
    Did a great job on Shane Walsh.
    Now if a mayo player missed a few pressure kicks as badly as he did it would be said they choked . But he has delivered so consistently his entire career ……

  82. Well done Mayo.. we are 2023 division 1 league champions..great start to the year.. prevaling against a very good Galway side who were fancied by many to win this. Its so important to come out the right side of these tussles. Really great goal keeping performance.. stood up strong.. made a string of saves and got crucial scores.. its rare a goal keeper ever gets a man of the match award.. so well done Reape

  83. Kevin McS not afraid to get the but of needle in fair play to him…….I agree with above comment about Aidan tracking back but what a shift he put in……..His couple of solos-on-the-spot to get out of trouble were beautiful………

  84. Fair play lads, deserved win for ye.

    It’ll be some battle in Pearse 3 weeks time, ye should have too much for Roscommon.

  85. Great win never went behind in a cagey affair, both teams had spells of good play and not so good , reape was outstanding and coyne what a find , galway as beatable as any team in the country so this might calm all the hype that for some strange reason is on them ya their a good side but some were saying we’d get a trimming Jesus wept , Tommy made a good impact though he might have come on earlier as Carr was quieter than usual, anyway great day and now on to next Sunday

  86. I thought Jack Coyne was our best outfield player. One of the best corner back performances for us I’ve seen.
    Really lost out way in the middle of the game.
    Tremendous achievement by Kevin McStay, mgmt team and the squad to win the league after losing Oisin, Leeroy, Cillian, Enda Hession and mid game David McBrien.

  87. To be fair to padraic joyce I did think we got a few soft enough frees but also galway had there goal chances and failed to take them, I don’t think Iv ever seen matthew ruane have such a quiet game hopefully he will be back to his best next weekend.

  88. I thought we finished strong. That was key for me. Reape, DOC, Paddy Durcan, Jack Coyne, Sam Callinan and many others were very good.
    Feels great to get the win. Well done, everybody!
    Reape’s performance was central to the win too.

  89. To be honest we should have been out of sight at half time. The long injury delay for Heaney actually worked in Galway’sfavour as we lost momentum after it. People going on about Galway’s goal chances but some of them were hail Mary types that you wouldn’t normally go for unless desperate. Mayo could also have got in for 3 or 4 and in fairness their keeper Gleeson also had a good day. Reape didn’tget the motm for saves alone but his scoring as well.
    People saying Reape should have got red but no mention of Comer’s closed fist to Reape’s stomach.

  90. Great performance from reape. Numerous saves and 3pts scored. Guess he has the no1 jersey now for the championship. No way he could be criticised for the Heaney incident he had to come out it’s his job and only way to avoid contact was to dissappear. A bit concerned they got opened up so often so definitely something to work on.

  91. Jeez I wouldn’t like to be 2 or 3 points down against Galway heading into the last 10 minutes, they’re so hard to break down! I think our first score from play in the 2nd half came in the 70th minute? Tommy Conroy is key to unlocking a defence like that. What a performance by Reape. And for those saying he intentionally took Heaney out of it, I don’t know what you expected him to do, step aside and let Heaney waltz through?

  92. Well that was a hard fought game and my prediction of 4 or so was right ha knew we could do it. Should have beaten them by more maybe..

    But it’s a great win wasn’t pretty game and had to grind it out …

    Colm reape is definitely number 1 goalie what saves he made he was well entitled to stand his ground !

    @willie joe sorry my emotions got ahead of me earlier.

  93. If the Reape challenge was a red, then you’d have hundreds of fellas being sent off every week, up and down the country. It was a 50/50, Heaney got to the ball first and missed. If anything, it should have been a Mayo kickout rather a free-in. Game’s gone soft.

    Great to win another NFL final, and to pip the neighbours (can you imagine the reaction if we had lost today?). However, we gave up far too many goal chances and no team better than the Rossies to bring us back to earth next Sunday.

    IMO the meetings against Galway in the last few years show that there is very little between the two sides and any future meeting will be a 50/50 game.

    I am also fairly disappointed in some rank pro-Galway bias from TG4 and a bit of sourness from P. Joyce in the post-match interview, but frankly neither of those things was unexpected.

    The most important thing is that a young side in transition has won a national title, something we should never take for granted here. Up Mayo!

  94. Enjoyable game. I’m not interested in how managers are reacting. It’s not easy to lose and of course you’ll have differences of opinion if you lose and a player might have taken out your man…
    Fair play to Reape. he was mighty and the whole team put in a performance. But it’s over now and I wonder what team will play against Roscommon next Sunday. The buzz of winning is great but it needs to be backed up.
    Aiden o Shea was great today. he got frees he usually doesn’t get and it was good to see.
    Tommy made a difference…he’d terrorise you.
    Well done Mayo. Enjoy the bus ride home and best wishes in prep for next week.
    Maigheo abu!!

  95. Tommy Conroy needs to be coming onto the field a lot earlier. Maybe even at half time. Madness to leave a player like that on the line for 55 min but we got away with it today.
    Overall a solid win. Nervous about why McBrien was taken off, hope he’s not injured.
    Eoghan McL was very rusty I thought, overshot a few passes and needs to be cleaner in possession. Reapes 45s are a godsend. It’s 20 years since we had a proper 45 kicker.

  96. Great to win but an awful lot of work to do. We were opened up a lot and very sloppy in possession at times. Reape saved the day, to be honest. Galway will be sharper come championship.

  97. Great to get silverware, hopefully Mc Brien will be ok. Not a performance to get carried away about ahead of Rossie visit so probably couldn’t have gone much better.

    Fair play to Aido,played well and is some man to analyse a game straight after and didn’t get drawn in to the Sam nonsense.

  98. Pulling out of Drumchondra station now. Beating Galway in HQ in a National final!
    Wish I could bottle this feeling right now!
    Well done to Mayo, players, management and supporters. A great day for us! Hopefully bigger days ahead. McHale Park next week, let’s be having the Rossies!!!

  99. I’m going to come right out and say it ……as we are now down to the absolute bare bones in defence we might be as well off getting beat by the rossies , taking the 6 weeks as a training camp and avoid playing Galway in 3 weeks time again …….

  100. Km79 – he came off at half time and finished the half. Hopefully it was just a bit of tightness and not worth risking with the Roscommon game next week.

  101. Willie Joe I think that MOTM poll is redundant 😀

    However, a word for Diarmuid . He is so so important to us . He does so much thankless unseen work

  102. Good result. Good to dig out a win especially with one eye on Roscommon . Some great defending and the usual couple of Mayo scares. Hopefully no injuries and roll on the Conaught championship.

  103. Mayo was the better team in the opening 20 minutes and the final 15 and that was enough to win by 3. In between that it was not good which include a 25 minute spell without a score and gave up far too many goal chances. Reape certainly man of the match with his scores and saves.

  104. First it was we’re better off not getting to the league final, now it’s “We’re better off losing to the Rossies”. What is this, reverse psychology? Maybe we should keep it up for every game even if we make it to the AI final. “Ah sure we’re better off not winning it this year, we’ll have a better chance next year.”

  105. Nice to get the win, we’ve lost enough finals. All focus on Roscommon now, they’ll be licking their lips at how open we were down the middle. Loftus at 6 isn’t working. He doesn’t anticipate danger quick enough. Lot to improve on.Joyce must be sickend.

  106. For myself, I thought Conor Loftus was good today – that’s from watching on TV. I thought he was in the danger spot straightaway on a few occasions.

  107. Where was he though when Galway through the middle unchallenged for multiple goal chances……it’s our biggest issue imo and can’t continue to be ignored . I think we may/should play Stephen Coen centre back

  108. Final Whistle pod is up on Patreon. Rob and me do the in-game, there’s Paddy Durcan’s speech plus post-game reaction from Stephen Rochford and Colm Keys’ take on Mayo’s win.

  109. Will need to watch the game again to answer that one, Km79.
    We do need to be analysing how the goal chances happened.

  110. A hard fought win and worth a lot for confident in the team.I thought the Galway
    group of kelly ,Walsh ,Conroy were not great on the day.Four points from play in Croke Park is a worry and Roscommon could be difficult as the recovery time is so short.Congratsto all.

  111. Joyce needs to learn how to be more gracious in defeat, car crash post match interview, can’t imagine mcstay saying similar comments if we had lost

  112. My prediction for today was galway would get goal chances and would score 2 and that would be the difference between the teams.

    I didn’t appreciate how good reape was.

  113. Did Reape win/touch the ball after going for it?

    That should give you the answer on correct punishment. Red imo.

  114. Congratulations Mayo, what a fantastic win and day at Croke Park, onwards and upwards!

  115. I can’t believe the negativity from some posters here. we have just won a nationa title against one of our biggest rivals in a game that was in the melting pot with minutes left. the bounce this win will give cannot be underestimated

  116. Reape was committed to going for the ball .not sure how he was going to avoid colliding with Heaney where as comer could easily avoid tackling with a closed fist

  117. How good was reape today some amazing saves he made! Could see the frustration from the Galway guys today.

    It was not a red card he was well entitled to stand his ground . There was an awful tackle on Jack Kearney by a Galway player yet they weren’t shouting any card for that? Funny that.

    Great win by our team who were written off for this match by most .

    Onwards and upwards to the Rossies now and that will be a tough game bit again we are well able for that.

    We are heading in the right direction was not pretty and we didn’t play our best football but we grinded out the win that’s all that matters . We will most likely have cillian & hession back for the Rossies game to.

    Well done to our guys I am sure the bus home to mayo will be a happy journey !

  118. Galway lost because they looked for goals
    Shane walsh and Comer in the wrong part of the pitch for most the game.
    The 2 matties cancelled each other out.
    Off the ball well done Jordan and Diarmuid
    That game should have being closer or further away.
    Pj let himself down badly.met him in 2002.
    He was an excellent footballer,Manager ?

  119. Willie Joe, doth I spy you recording the podcast during the celebrations with Rob, 1.45.20 on TG4? Never forget folks that WJ never stops working for a second!

  120. John 51,no he didn’t win it but all late tackles are not red cards .it’s not obvious there was intent

  121. Would it be fair to say that we won the 2019 final with a team mainly comprised of players who were coming to the end of their careers, and that this team is mainly comprised of players who have very little experience in big games such as today’s? So basically this league win is more significant when you think of it that way? Or I could be talking sh*te, I don’t know…

  122. Beat a fancied Galway side without playing brilliant.
    Division 1 champions.
    Lots of learnings and areas to improve for players and management.
    Great feeling leaving Croke Park after beating Galway , safe in the knowledge that PJoyve will blame everyone else but his himself for defeat …
    Good warm up for the big one against Roscommon next week … injuries / knocks were always going to be a danger today with the 1 week turnaround.
    Well done player’s and management!!!!!!

  123. Anyone else think Shane Walsh’s rugby tackle on Aido was a stonewall black card? Aido’s decision to take the free quickly probably saved Walsh’s bacon as the ref forgot about it thereafter.

    Swings and roundabouts, some you win, some you don’t.

  124. Denied a goal scoring opportunity. Intent is irrelevant.

    Anyway we shall agree to disagree on that one. Overall best better won!

  125. Heaney had already kicked the ball and it was going wide .I doubt he was going to catch up to it .theese things happen in games .lord knows we had enough of those calls going against us in those battles with Dublin

  126. @John51 – He wasn’t denied a goalscoring opportunity because he had already taken his opportunity and missed before running into Reape who couldn’t get out of his way. There’s no way that collision between Reape and Heaney could have been avoided unless you expected Reape to step aside and invite Heaney into an open goal.

  127. @John 51: How was Heaney denied a goal scoring opportunity? He had it, and blazed it wide just before Reape got to him. 50/50 challenges like that happen all over the pitch.

    If Heaney had scored a goal from his shot, would Galway still be complaining? “Bring that back for a free, our man got touched”?

    It might be different if he had gone round Reape and had been upended, but it didn’t happen that way.

  128. John51, I think its time you changed that username to John98 or 2001. Your points are valid, but its blatantly obvious all week your from Galway. Show your true colours like Big Mike, Tuamstar and other Galway folk on here.I’m not trying to take a pot shot just emphasisng that its hard to take your comments seriously, when its obvious your not a Mayo fan, but pretending to be one.

  129. Most satisfying thing about the win is hearing yet another wingefest from Joyce. Never ever acknowledges the other team might just be better on the day. Wonderful player, but an ass of a manager

  130. I’m a Mayo fan but that was pure dirt from Reape. You’re doing him a complete disservice if you think he couldn’t have done anything else. He’s played football all his life and much of it outfield. He panicked plan and simple. Heaney beats him to the ball and there is no collision happening if Reape doesn’t kick Heaney high up his leg. The officials knew it was bad they just lacked the courage to give the red. Didn’t stop Reape being Mayo’s most important player. His save from Comer was amazing and his placed balls were excellent. He’s a big find for Mayo on this form.

  131. Also, I know this is a Mayo blog and we are blinded by bias but Joyce was gracious in defeat. He specifically said Mayo deserved their win and Galway’s finishing was poor. He said Mayo got some soft frees – this is 100% true and many neutrals are saying the same. He also implied Reape should have seen red which personally I agree with. Joyce can be emotional but he was fine after today’s game.

  132. Margie, I am sorry but that is a strange comment. I have never once even hinted (if you look at my posts) to be a Mayoman. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility for someone posting on a Mayo blog using 51 in their username even if not from within the county. I’ll leave that one there.

    Mayo were full value today, Galway can have no complaints I just feel more should have been done for the Reape challenge.

  133. Mayo Focus – if you care to listen to his post match interview he said the better team won on the day.

  134. Joyce moaning about soft frees for Mayo, Reape injuring Heaney, Galway being a few weeks behind on training compared to us.

    But apart from that he’d no complaints!

  135. Well done Mayo you beat what was on front of you today. Great display from Reapsy and deserves MOTM but must mention our young guns Coyne and Callinan what a final for them. Time now to stop the negativity about the full back line and the No 6 positions, leave those decisions to the fine management team they will manage that as they have done throughout the league. Definitely not a red for Reape today or indeed a free in as Heaney had already kicked the ball wide.
    Now for the Rossies just go out and win by 5/6 points.
    Cmon Mayo

  136. Mcstay said afterwards that McBrien “cramped up”, taken off as a precaution. Chill people.

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