Game day: another big one for us

After a two-week break, it’s back once more into one-slip-and-you’re-gone territory for us today. Our Round 4A qualifier game against Cork takes place early this evening at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick (throw-in 5pm) where Down’s Ciaran Branagan is the man with the whistle.

This is a game with a significant difference for me, as, for the third year running, I’m missing a knockout championship match in which the county is involved. It’s always a weird experience for me when this occurs and today will surely be too but I will be watching the game from afar. Although my shouts won’t, sadly, carry as far as Limerick I’ll be roaring them on too.

As, no doubt, will the huge contingent from the county who make their way to the Gaelic Grounds today. It’s a venue that’s got a certain hold over us, given 2014 and all that, but a win today would go a long way towards exorcising the mental pain of what befell us back then.

This is a game we should win but, as ever with us, such an assertion has to be conditioned with a rider about the need for us to play at the maximum of our abilities. Cork are in a dip as a footballing force but they’re still Cork and their team is one that comprises loads of footballing talent.

That makes them a hugely dangerous opponent for us, a team that will cause us enormous difficulties if we fail to control the contest right from the start. While the Derry and Clare games showed our ability to dig out results after slow starts, we’ll find ourselves in serious bother today if we go down the same route.

With a return to Croke Park next weekend for an All-Ireland quarter-final the prize for the winners, I’m expecting our big-game experience – and the upward curve in our form, as evidenced by the second half performance against Clare – will stand greatly to us today. This team has answered so many tough questions down the years, getting to at least the semi-final stage every year since 2011, and I believe we’ll have the answers once again today.

As supporters, you all know the important role you need to play in the proceedings at the Gaelic Grounds this evening. The enormous backing the team enjoys from its fans helped, for sure, in getting us over the line against both Derry and Clare. I’m sure the sound of that wonderful support will come across loud and clear over the GAA GO stream I’ll be using to follow the action from home today.

I’ll be back later on with a (short) piece on the game and will stick up the usual MOTM poll soon after the final whistle sounds at Limerick. I won’t, though, be doing a post-match audio report – some things only work when you’re fully in the moment.

Safe travels to everyone on the road to Limerick today. Happy hunting at the Gaelic Grounds this evening. Can we do this? For sure, we can. Up Mayo!

64 thoughts on “Game day: another big one for us

  1. I’m very nervous about today’s game…..u don’t know with Cork! I’m desperate to get back to Croker next week where the real action starts.
    Overall I think the team is wise enough to be on the ball….and that should be enough.

  2. Best of luck to the Mayo team today. Lets just hope that we can carry our improving form into todays game and that Cork don’t suddenly find theirs. Cork have some serious fire power and could bury us with goals if our central defence issues have not been sorted. On a lighter note- I’d say Andy will feel like a spring chicken today seeing 36 yr old Donnacha O’Connor take up his position at the edge of the square !! Up Mayo!!

  3. I’m alightly apprehensive about this one too. Maybe it’s the return to Limerick?

    Bottom line – if our key players (AOS, COC, Keegan) play well and we bring a measure of consistency to the 70 mins – we will come through today.

  4. Am missing my first Mayo game in years all for a good cause tho am on the other side of the world preparing for my own all ireland final on 15 August or should that be our own compromise rules series lol anyway myself and my bride to be will be glued to mid west. Best of luck to the lads and especially Aidan on his 100th appearance

  5. We gave plenty of strength and depth so I’m not overly concerned with who starts and who finishes the game. Saying that the mix of youth and experience has to be right and please play our players in their best positions. Good look to the lads today and safe travelling to all.

  6. Look ,Cork are capable of lifting us out of it today, if we dont up the intensity levels and have complete focus , they will catch us.

    I really believe we need jason docherty starting . This craic of teams driving up the centre at us lately is a lot down to lack of tackling up front , docherty is the man for this.

    Best of luck lads.

  7. Good piece WJ. These lads have given us great days the last 5/6 years. When their gone they will be hard replaced. 2/3 point win today I think. But the heads need to be switched on. Which I think they will. Up Mayo. I’m working til 4 and will take up my spot in my local in Meath. That should b fun!! They dislike cork nearly as much as Mayo here!!! ?

  8. The Star have a piece today entitled ‘Westenders’ Ten of the best from the Mayo soap opera.
    Worth a read if you enjoy a good cry this hour of the morning or if you really want to get your blood boiling levels up before the match.
    Wouldn’t like to be getting my blood pressure tested right now, I’m sure I’d be rushed to hospital!!! Made me wonder, do they have sky in the wards??

  9. Time to put the pedal to the metal so as to speak, Cork are dangerous and their Management will surely go if they lose so it will be all in, best of luck to Aido on his 100th game and best of luck to u and your bride to be backdoorsam, maigheabu

  10. Eoin Liston trying to motivate Cork yesterday( Kerry would love to see Mayo out of the championship), Colman Corrigan doing the same to day. Mayo followers talking of Quarter Finals, John Casey in the Advertiser dismissing Cork, yesterday was the first time ever I heard the Sports Department in Mid West talking about Complacency among Mayo Supporters, hoping it has not crept into the thinking of the Mayo Players. IT WOULD BE A TRAGEDY FOR THIS GROUP OF MAYO PLAYERS IF COMPLACENCY WAS THE CAUSE OF A LOSS TO CORK. Wishing Stephen and the Players every good wish today.

  11. Hoping for a big performance from start to finish today. Problems are being ironed and our best starting 15 fine tuned. Cork could also bring their A game and if they do it could be a cracker. They also have a decent bench unlike our last 2 opponents. Away on hols with no access bar radio but hoping the Mayo fans are the 16th man and bring us over the line.
    I also think Galway will recover to beat Donegal who they had a chance of beating a few years back. Galway stronger and Donegal weaker, should beat them by a few points. Don’t know how they went wrong against Ros, maybe favourites tag didn’t suit.

  12. Best of luck to all Mayo match folk today whether down under or on the crest of this great planet and may one great Green And Red bloom of glory envelope the Limerick stadium sometime this evening. Muigheo Go Deo!!

  13. I still have nightmares over the one point win in HQ against Cork in 13 or 14. If the team impose themselves then they will win, but lapses could be fatal. Safe journey to all.

  14. The very best to the team today and safe travelling to one and all. A tight one I’d say but Mayo to prevail by 3 or 4 in the end.

  15. It was heart, spirit and determination that was getting us through a lot of games this year. In the last couple of matches we have seen a bit more method developing in patches, up front especially. It would be great to see some more of that today as we will need both heart and method to get the right result.

    In relation to Cork, as has been mentioned above, teams running through the heart of our defence has been a problem for us. Cork have a lad called Sean Powter at no. 5 who has a lot of pace so we need to watch him, he played with the Cork U21s last year and was one of their best players. They have named Barry O’Driscoll at no. 13, he normally plays as a half-back, so it’ll be interesting to see where he starts or if he starts at all. Maybe Colm O’Neill might start in his place and they could look for goals from him.

    Again as has been said above, a good start for us would be great to see, to try and dent Cork’s already fragile confidence. If we get ahead, stay ahead and not give away any bad goals. Keeping 15 players on the field will be key today as well. Best of luck to all involved.

  16. Good start needed today
    Don’t want them getting any confidence !

    Expect Durkan to start and probably Boyle to miss out
    Coen unlucky not to start as well if he doesn’t ……

  17. Have a feeling loftus wont start. ( reason being paddy power have taken him down for goalscoring markets) they now have paddy durcan up .

  18. Cork +6 does seem massive considering we’ve only beaten them in championship 3 times, by 3pts, 4pts and 1pt. Even in the league I’d say you’d have to go quite a while back to find a victory of 6.

  19. That’s a good spot Sean Burke
    What do they know …………the fact Loftus is not available for FGS odds at all makes me wonder if he is actually out altogether ?

  20. Yeah, well spotted Sean Burke.

    I’ve never seen a poor Bookie yet. How do they know that i wonder?

    Also someone on a previous thread said if The Hills beat Galway then it would be The Hills v Rossies and if we get through it would be Mayo v Kerry.

    Would it not be an open draw if the 2 games today end in wins for Mayo and the Hills? No reason why The Hills cant play Kerry and no reason we cant play the Rossies?. Open draw surely.

    Anyway we have talked up Derry and Clare before we played them and the truth is they couldn’t live with us when we awoke from our slumber. Today if we put in a lethargic first 50 minutes, then our next game will be in the FBD in January. We need to start well and then put the foot on the throat and bury them alive. Like they did to us 1993. Remember 5-15 to 0-10. No mercy shown on that day and a flurry of late goals. Revenge for 1993. We are not afraid of the red jersey.

  21. Over confidence from the general public can seep into the dressing room of even the most solid teams but I don’t think a +6 by the bookies is reflective of the general view. I’m surprised that so many are anxious about this game. Also surprised that people would say that hopefully the team/panel are focused for this. If every Mayo group of playes were as driven and focused as this group there would have been a few all ireland delivered over the years. I think if Cork win it will be the shock of the year.

  22. Agree with ‘corner back’, I’m fairly confident on this one. Think the +6 handicap is about right.
    Word from the family in Cork is that this team is in a bit of disarray, there is zero confidence in the management team, a management team that they all believe should not have been put in in the first place.

    Still, there are some very handy players in that team and they may pull a performance out today, in spite of everything.
    Our players must be fully tuned in, but that’s very rarely been a problem for these lads, so fully expecting a performance.

    Safe travelling to all

  23. I see the subs have been named and there’s no Fergal Boland. His time will come again.

  24. I think loftus will play at some stage but Mayo will be better off keeping it tight at the back and absorbing the Cork attempt to get an early lead. That means a sweeper taking loftus place, and he won’t mind if it means that they’re back at training on Tuesday night.

    Safe travels to all.

    Mayo by a bit, although a single point is plenty.

  25. For me it’s a choice between Loftus and Diarmaid and I would prefer to see Loftus. Kevin Mc and Keith will provide enough half forward defensive cover and Diarmaid is a great replacement for Loftus.
    Cork have pretty good players and subs, I’d say their problem is probably with management and confidence. I think we will prevail but they could find their mojo and if they do Mayo +6 is very generous to Mayo.

  26. Last one out of Mayo will ye pull out the door on the way out!
    Ballinrobe jammers with traffic!!

  27. I haven’t met one complacent Mayo supporter of late. If anything it’s the other way about after the performances so far in 2017…

    On the road soon.

    Up Mayo – keep the faith!

  28. Paddy power must be reading the blog cause they have c loftus on goalscorer market again

  29. Good first half, we got nicely on top there just before the break. Need to drive on now.

    GAA GO stream is excellent as is the quality of the Sky coverage, Finno on commentary included. Night and day compared to the awful muck served up by RTÉ.

  30. More direct long ball to O Se needed. Cork looked out on their feet going off. Mayo look physically and fitness wise superior. Forward play is long winding and overplayed as usual. Still on top

  31. That’s my mouth hanging open in disbelief!!!??!!! WTF. Two insane teams!
    How is this one going to end?!

  32. When did we last suffer a complete collapse like that? Pure meltdown in the backs in that fourth quarter. It’s going to take serious effort to win it now.

  33. Why was Boyle taken of? Now without Keegan we are wide open Up front we have been excellent but at the back woeful. Could have coughed up three more goals

  34. Shocking stuff today. Cork walking through us. They could have had more goals. Why we have abandoned the sweeper system is still a mystery. It has left us really vulnerable at the back. Not to mention the stupidity of Lee Keegan to commit a black card offence right in front of the referee. More indiscipline. How many times does this need to be raised.

  35. Phew Willie Joe I don’t think need a poll for man of the match Cillian was just awesome today.

  36. God my heart is racing. We went from total control to collapse to finding a way to win. Management please learn the lessons if we don’t have a full back play Barry or SOS there.

  37. Phew
    Bloody hell. That game had it all.
    Still alive and thats all that matters.
    Plenty of work for management but cant deny how brave this team is.
    Proud to be a Mayo man.

  38. Heart attack stuff. Jesus this isn’t easy. Looks like the rossies are next up for us…Galway running riot against Donegal

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