Game day: big performance a must today

The relief from having escaped from that near-death encounter with Derry last weekend may only be fully subsiding now but there no more time for rest and recovery. The next hurdle facing the county’s footballers in the qualifiers comes later on this afternoon in the shape of Clare. Our Round 3A tie with them throws in at Cusack Park in Ennis at 5pm today.

I’m hitting the road for the Banner County shortly myself. It’s a place I know well, a county I’ve huge fondness for and family connections in, and so it feels like more than a little weird to be facing into battle against them in the championship, for the first time ever as well. Such, I guess, are the joys of taking the back door route.

As I’m tired of saying, every match for us now is a do-or-die one. It’s old-fashioned knockout championship action and, with extra-time to be played in the event of a draw, it’s all but certain that when the music stops at Cusack Park this evening one of the participating counties will have earned its place in Round 4 while the championship race of the other one will be over for the year.

We’ve every right to be confident that it’ll be us in the pot for Round 4 but, equally, we’ve no call whatsoever to be over-confident. Colm Collins has fashioned a team with a strong work ethic and a significant will to win, an outfit that’ll respect us but won’t in the least be fazed by having to face us. On the contrary, they’ll relish taking us on.

These are heady times for the Banner County. Their senior and minor hurlers contest the Munster final at Semple Stadium tomorrow – only the fourth time ever that both have done so in the one year – and their U21 hurlers are also in Munster final action in a few days time. The positive vibes from the small ball fraternity will surely transmit to the footballers this evening, not least through the significant home support that’s apparently readying itself to assemble at Cusack Park.

This makes today’s assignment a tricky one for us and the fact that the game takes place on their home patch makes it more problematic still. Although we’ve played very few qualifier matches on the road (our away tally is played two and lost two), our record in general away from MacHale Park is decent enough. With up to 9,000 of our supporters packed into Cusack Park today – a ground that holds plenty of fond memories for us – it’s not, however, going to feel like we’re stepping into overtly hostile territory.

That should also be the case between the whitewash. This Clare team like to play football and, providing the opposition are up for it, so do we. With the weather forecast good and two teams focused on playing the ball rather than the man it could make for a mini-classic down by the River Fergus.

I think we’ll do it today, but only if we put in the kind of strong, determined performance we know the team can produce but which has rather maddeningly been eluding us of late. We’re not at the business end of the championship just yet but if we want to feature in this year’s shake-up then we have to perform accordingly at Cusack Park today.

And it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that the same kind of full-throated support the lads were given last Saturday needs to be in evidence once again today. Bring the colour, bring the noise, prepare to lose your voice … all over again.

Right, time to hit the road. Safe travelling all, see you in Ennis later on. We can do this, of course we can. Up Mayo!

78 thoughts on “Game day: big performance a must today

  1. A strong performance today will give me hope not so much about winning the All Ireland. More that we are not going away anytime soon with talent to come in.

  2. Totally agree that the Munster hurling final is giving Clare GAA fans the feel good factor. I don’t don’t think there is a massive weight of expectation on the footballers and I’d expect to see that in the way they line out against us today. Clare remind me of a 2011 us in the early Horan days. There us room for improvement for sure and I hope we can keep them at bay.
    An aside, can anybody recommend a bar in Albufeira that will be showing the match?

  3. Best of luck to all involved today. I reckon Clare will aim to make a bright start so we need to be ready for that. The key for us today will be to take our chances because if we don’t then it’ll turn into a major battle, which we don’t want after last week. So the mantra today should be, to be ruthless and take our chances. Safe travelling to all.

  4. Good luck to all involved

    We’ve got outta jail. Time to perform. Management and the players have not done so on enough occasions thr last 2 years.

    A strong win and we can look forward. Another escape and we really are just waiting to be well beaten by the first decent team we meet. A defeat does not bear thinking about – careers and dreams on the line.

    Beir bua

  5. I am much more excited about this team if lines out as picked….With attacking players picked in the forwards looking forward to seeing how Boland Loftus and Duirmuid Oconnor combine along with Cillian and Aidan….With still Doherty and Moran to come in and Keith higgins too….Im still wondering is Lee fit enough to play…..The attitude for the day for fans and players has to be we are not going down to take part we are going down to take over…..Mayo to win….

  6. Therg2411, Erin’s Isle might be worth a look?

    Go down and get a result, the only thing that matters. Hon Mayo!

  7. @Therg2411 – Erin’s Isle or the Shamrock Bar will be showing the game.

    I’ll be watching it in Cong. Good luck lads. Let’s see if solid back to back performances can be put in by the likes of Loftus and Parsons.

  8. I expect open entertaining game. Clare will be up for it, they have the bit of momentum going for them and will have done their homework on us.
    We have the strength in depth, which could be the difference. Also there seems to be the appetite among the players to get back to croke park. Never a dull moment when mayo are playing

  9. Mao beat DERRY while playing woefully – always a good sign. We have no fear of CLare as we had of Derry. We were so leaden footed again st Derrs that I can only surmise it’s where we’re at in our training. I expect a vast improvement today. I’m quite excited When I, oak at the squad we have. Hopefully management will act quickly when the it comes to using the boys on the bench and not wait until the last five minutes. Cm on MAYO- we love You!

  10. 1st championship game in 3 and half years that i wont be at. in dublin for coldplay anyone suggest best place in dublin to watch d match

  11. Come on Mayo, NO SURRENDER!!!! Die with your boots on the field. We will support you all the way. Maigh Eo Abu!!!

  12. Not sure if Lee will play or not but if he does then we need to utilise his running game. We got scores when he came forward last week. In fact we need to mix up our game between kick passing into the forward line and running directly at them. A combination of the two will see us home. Nervous and looking forward to see what team will actually start. Mayo by 3.

  13. Cheers lads. Think will try the Shamrock as have plans in old town later tonight. Getting excited now. Hon Mayo!!

  14. Maybe today we will get out in front early and don’t let them back into it and win pulling up by 5 or 6.
    I don’t want to suffer today!

  15. @St Pats oldie. Agreed. Variation in our play is one of the fine margins that can make a difference in this years campaign.
    @john mchale I agree we are unlikely to be as wasteful again as we were against Derry, and a difficult swirling wind did contribute to our misses. However I would be weary in taking anything for granted. Derry were equally wasteful, but did carve us open. I hope that has been addressed for today and I expect it has.

  16. Best of luck to the Mayo team today. Just like last July it’s time to hit full throttle now that the first nervy qualifier game has been scraped past. Mayo by 12 !

  17. @Therg2421 … was in Albuferia last Saturday for the Derry game. .. the Shamrock bar had a problem with his satellite, so was going to stream it through the net but the barman wasn’t that confident it would run smoothly.. he told us about Sherrys Bar just of the main square , about 2 mins walk from his bar… watched the Derry game there..nice little bar and a few fellow county men women there as well… Mayo by 7..Maigheo Abu!

  18. Mayo team will be lucky if they make it in time to do a bit of stretching. Not well , not right.

  19. Im being sarcastic , surely to frig they should be in ennis last night .travelling at 1pm through claregalway in a sweaty coach for a 5 pm throw in. Nah man , thats pure stupid.

  20. Enjoy the game everyone. Im not able to attend myself due mental health issue but will listen on radio. There will be no blanket defence today so it’s a chance for Diarmuid O C and feargal Boland to show there scoring prowess. Clare I suspect will come out roaring and go Into early lead and we will have to grind them down to win which I expect we will.expect Roscommon to win tomorrow and set up a cork clash for us.

  21. Lahanman, your first few sentences puts perspective on lots of things…..Be well and stay well.

  22. @ lahanman
    I have a sneaky feeling rossies could throw a spanner in the works tomorrow… and your def right re clare with all guns blazing. Just think we have the bench to pull it out in last quarter.
    Keep the faith, what more can we do, and stay tuned

  23. Take care lahanman. Look after yourself. Hopefully you’ll be back to cheer on the boys later in the summer.

    Think we’ll have our fill of it today from Clare but hopefully our fitness and bench will pull us through at the end.

  24. all the best Lahanman… fair play for prioritising your well being. look after yourself!Mayo to win this with a bit to spare I feel.

  25. Extra time last week is the best preparation for today. I have been growing in confidence over the past few days, but as throw-in approaches the nerves kick in. A good start would be great for players and supporters alike.

  26. Lee Keegan, just ran onto the pitch with the rest of the team, doesn’t seem to be carrying any ill effects from the knock last week.

  27. Good luck. Predict one of 2 results – a comfortable Mayo win or if a dog fight clare to sneak through. More expectant of the former.

  28. If the warm up is anything to go by there young corner forward Sexton will take watching
    Lovely strike of the ball off both feet

  29. Absolutely shocking so far. Slow, poor defending, useless up front again.

  30. Feel like going for a walk and not subjecting myself to this torture. And then hoping it’s the result I want without the stress of watching. Hate watching Mayo matches on tv. Of course I’ll just suffer on. Perking up though.

  31. Mayo still in game as Moran fights on for the cause. If Clare dont tire it will go down to the wire.

  32. If mayo don’t come out all guns blazing it’s over because clare will smell the blood mayo hope less better off not watching it at all

  33. Terrible performances all over the pitch in that half. Forwards aren’t playing anything like a unit. They don’t even seem to know where each other are positioned when going forward only players showing anything are Lee Keegan and Andy Moran. Clare smell blood.

  34. Shocking shocking stuff, a handful of players really trying – the rest going through the motions

  35. Mayo will get the measure of Clare in the 2nd half, Andy best forward so far, lets hope Doherty will be brought in early in 2nd half, badly needed.

  36. Clare on fire from back and lighting up all in front. Ball retention, running , scores built by Clare. Ours just not as good so far but there’s hope. Come on Mayo let this be your half.

  37. Clare remind me of the Mayo of 2013 Full of urgency and hunger. Thank God for Andy. Keeping us in the game

  38. Of course we don’t know where our forwards are the bloody team are moving around positions every week. Anyway keep the faith, they are showing flashes of good play when we bother to run at Clare.

  39. Mayo players wondering who to pass to ….. I’ve said it….will ye come looking for the feckin thing or else!!!!

  40. My heart not good. Thank God for Andy and David C.2nd half will be a diff game. Has to be.

  41. Our tackling has gone way backwards as well. There was a time when we fought for every ball, now we barely put a hand on them.

  42. Mayo defensively naive not closing down clare players. Subs bench will have big say. Mayo not done yet, its about hunger and attitude now

  43. We don’t put a hand on lads because we get penalised easily enough to be honest. Also the confidence is not fully back. They don’t want to take on shots.

  44. We need to shore up the middle and get tackle in on players running at us. Still can do it.

  45. I feel like we are beginning to possibly come back to where we left off last year. Well done lads. I finally feel confident.

  46. Congratulations to the team and management another good day at the office for Stephen, onwards and upwards

  47. Feel like after big exam ….great mighty relief also to see that we have a lot to offer no matter who we meet. Second half a joy to watch at times…. movement improving all the time. What a show by AOS.. KMc L Keegan……..and Loftus and Regan showed they have it… good day for them …

  48. Well done Mayo, great win. And AOS, fair dues sir. A lot done, more to do…..

  49. Congratulations to the team and management another good day at the office for Stephen, onwards and upwards up Mayo

  50. Thank god aidan o Shea’s mammy keeps picking him from the start and not as an impact sub like some local “experts”

    You will have a quiet night tonight WJ 🙂

  51. I would like “early doors” to give credit to Donie Vaughan. He `took one ` for the team when we were leg weary.

    I just feel that if Clare had buried that one it would have been a long way back. Well done son.

  52. Beginning to think ‘back door’ is a blessing in
    The extra games gives all the boys more
    Game time.
    My MOTM was kevin Mc

  53. Kevin mc like a different man. Brilliant. It’s only now out lads will hand more training time together so onwards and upwards. Nice to be feeling calm this evening.

  54. Thanks Donal Vaughan for stopping an early goal chance for Clare.
    Took black card for the team.

  55. Made it back from Los Angeles.
    Got the last few minutes on the radio.
    Sounds like they put in a huge second half.
    In the pot on Monday.
    That’s all that matters for now.
    We’ll have our heads held high at work in Galway next week.

  56. I dont see the rationale of taking one for the team. How can you take one for the team at such an early stage in a game if you value yourself?
    Put the game to bed early in second half and management deserve credit for use of subs bench. I would hev brought on kirby rather than parsons at that stage, delighted to see evan regan getting a good run and subs can feel part of the team now. All good going forward. And no RED cards. Play with full hand.

  57. Well…..taking one for the team? V is a poor tackler…..long looping steps….designed for carrying on a run which he does well but not the man for that situation on 2 mins in….awkward!
    K MC x KH need to be in the menu up front as much as pos. Add in Lof + Regan + AOS + Cillian + Andy and possibilities are beginning to look v exciting.
    Again , the whistle and co were an annoyance and embarrassing. Is that man writing a book or what?

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