Game day – drive on

Our second round match in Division Two North of this year’s National Football League takes place this afternoon. Our opponents in Mullingar are Westmeath and throw-in at Cusack Park is set for 3pm. The match is live on Eir Sport, with radio commentary on Midwest as well, and Cavan’s Noel Mooney is the ref.

We made a very positive start to this League campaign last weekend. We went at Down right from the off and we had the match won well before the finish. It wasn’t anything like a complete performance but it was completely fine in light of what we needed to achieve last Saturday.

It was also a display that was a whole load better than many of the of early round League performances we’ve put in in recent years. True, we’re not up against Division One teams in the League this year but what was really encouraging about last Saturday was that, in large part, we still played like one. There was an obvious gulf in class between ourselves and Down as a result.

Realistically, it should be the same in today’s game. Westmeath will defend in numbers – which they did against Meath last weekend, though with not a whole pile of method – and try to come at us on the break. Necklaces of handpasses up the field, interspersed with long balls into danger man full-forward John Heslin, appear to be how they go about taking the game to their opponents.

Too much of the former and we’ll surely gobble them up around the middle, turn them over and hit them hard on the counter. The latter might be more profitable, though, so the match-ups in our backline will be key if we’re to keep the danger to a minimum.

Our power around the middle third – which we can flood at will with plenty of tall, mobile players – should be too much for them to deal with and so too should the significant scoring threat we’re capable of posing. Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’Donoghue were the stars of the show last weekend and while it’d be great fun to see them run amok again this afternoon it’d be equally good to see others step up and grab some of the limelight too.

Following their narrow loss to Meath last weekend – a match in which they let a four-point lead slip through their fingers to lose by a single point – the Lake County are already under pressure. They need a win and so we can expect them, on home turf, to do what they can to try to get it.

But we’re coming to town with the same aim in mind, and our objective is already a loftier one in this division. A win today qualifies us for a Division 2 semi-final and, with it, a one-off match a few weeks from now to seal immediate promotion back to the League’s top tier.

That’s a prize worth claiming and so I think we can expect to see the lads going all out for the win today. I expect us to get the win too, perhaps even with a bit to spare.

Elsewhere today, we have two other Mayo matches that are also worthy of a mention.

The first of these involves the Mayo camogie team, who face Kildare this afternoon in Division 4 of the Camogie League. That game takes place at Tooreen where throw-in is 2pm and it’s being streamed live via Facbook – link here.

The Mayo team put in a real battling display against Roscommon in the opening game last weekend. They were right in it early in the second half but the Rossies showed greater staying power from there to the finish and that saw them home in the end.

Kildare will be a tough nut to crack today too but if Jimmy Lyons’ side show the same battling qualities today as they did last weekend they won’t be too far off.

An obdurate approach will also be needed by the county’s women footballers this evening. They’re in action against Galway in the opening round of the LGFA NFL Division 1A, a match that throws in at 7.30pm this evening. This one will be broadcast live by TG4.

This evening’s game, in which Carnacon’s Fiona McHale makes a return to inter-county action for the first time in three years, marks a fresh start for this Mayo team and their new manager Michael Moyles. Our recent record against Galway has been poor – with just three wins from the last 13 meetings – but tonight is as good a time as any to start setting that record right.

Good luck to all three Mayo teams in action today. Back later on with reports on how all three fared out in their respective games.

65 thoughts on “Game day – drive on

  1. Best of luck to all Mayo teams today. Hopefully it won’t be long before we can add “and safe travelling to all fans on the roads”

    Anyone got a list of the Mayo subs for the Westmeath game? I don’t understand why they just can’t be named along with the team like every other county instead of this North Korea style state secrecy.

  2. The ladies are missing a few tonight. But it’s great that things are starting a fresh for them. Best wishes to all involved

  3. One feature of last week’s game, I think, was how few turnovers we made.
    Have we gone away from this?

  4. Would like to see Fergal Boland get a run today. He’s a really tidy footballer but maybe doesn’t meet Horan’s requirements in terms of ball winning on the half forward line. He was one of our better players in the first half of the league last year.

  5. Catcol I think with our style of defending turnovers have to be at minimum when we are attacking. The way we set up defensively means the ball gotta go dead at other end. Its kamakasi tactics but it’s how horan sets up.

    My view is Harrison fully fit can play a role but doc and aiden dont have pace and perhaps can play substitute roll

  6. It is interesting that we feel on this blog that Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’Donohue were, as you say Willie Joe, “the stars of the show”, they did not feature on the GAA team of the week whereas Oisín Mullin and Matthew Ruane did.

  7. Spectre Can I enquire what basis do you have for saying that this player isn’t fast enough or that they have lost their stamina for a full game. We will assume you are attending all the team training sessions this year or perhaps that you are well qualified in this area

  8. PJ did u watch last all Ireland? Aiden outpaced tracking back and he ain’t gonna be getting any quicker. Doc never the quickest and after 2 cruciate operations do u expect a miracle that gets will be flying ? I attended all the games since returning from england in 2014 so I know how quick these 2 individuals were. 2 great servants but their best days in my view are done

  9. Best of luck to the Mayo lads and lassies today. Westmeath weren’t far off getting promoted to D 1 last year so we can expect a tougher game than against Down. One positive aspect of our play last week was how we crowded out the Down attackers before they got into the scoring zone, one or two slipped through but overall their scoring opportunities were limited. Some of the same obduracy in defence today and we’ll fine. Both Mayo and Galway ladies sending out experimental teams today, buíochas le Dia the feud is over, and we can look forward to seeing how Mayo perform with players from the strongest club returning. In the camogie I think Kildare will be a step up from Roscommon but hopefully our girls can spring a surprise.

  10. I have eir tv on my phone. Does anyone know if it can be connected to the tv via airplay? I’m struggling to do it even though I can do that for TG4

  11. Subs as per official team sheet:

    16. Rory Byrne
    17. Jack Coyne
    18. Colm Boyle
    19. Fergal Boland
    20. James McCormack
    21. Eoghan McLaughlin
    22. Stephen Coen
    23. Aidan Orme
    24. Conor Loftus
    25. Bryan Walsh
    26. Darren Coen

  12. Mayo advertiser has advised the following changes:
    Ben Doyle in for Enda Hession
    Eoghan Mclaughlin in Rory Brickenden
    Conor Loftus in for Kevin McLoughlin

    on subs – Darren McHale is in place of Jack Coyne
    James Carr replaces Fergal Boland
    Conor O’Shea replaces James McCormack
    Jack Carney (I think) in for Darren Coen

  13. No James Carr…. injured or does anyone know? Towey not on view either. Jury out on several on that bench but I guess you have to give lads a try.

  14. Drive on? Won’t drive far conceding soft early goals will
    We ever learn?
    Westmeath look handy enough. Seriously we need to stop conceeding early goals

  15. Subs are different on main twitter page, has James Carr Darren MCHale Conor o Shea and Jack Carney

  16. Jordan Flynn although playing well has to be substituted as he is on a yellow.

  17. Thanks Mayomessi.

    Defensively you’ve got to start asking questions now. If teams like Down (4 or 5 clear goal opportunities) and Westmeath, two goals bagged before HT can do this then what hope against higher quality sides? It’s simply not good enough.

    A few decent individual performances so far but youd expect that.

  18. Disappointing display overall. Westmeath are a solid mid tier side but you’d expect Mayo to be winning comfortably by 7pts+. That game was in the balance all day.

    Youd also expect Mayo to score a goal or two. We created very little whereas W’meath could have had 3 or 4.

    A 5 out of 10 team performance I think. Mgnt will know that.

  19. Good win without being spectacular.
    Westmeath are a decent team in all fairness.

  20. Got the win which is king, means we can go full experimental mode next week.
    Performance leaves lots of questions though, several individuals done themselves no favours.
    We were cut open at will down the heart of our defence and we had nobody able to handle heslin

    The usual suspects cillian and Durcan grabbed the game by the Scruff of the neck

  21. If you take goals out of it we were comfortable, however we concede them two easy, we have to improve our defensive structure or we will be found out later in the year.
    Positive is Hennely has had 2 fine games, I’ve been critical but great to see him doing well,

  22. If you took the goal out we would have 5 all irelands!.
    You can’t take the goals out.
    We have to stop conceding them.
    We don’t seem to be able to do that.

  23. Cmon everyone.
    Lads only back training. Trying new players. Wet day.
    Will take a win. Qualified for semis.
    Job done.

  24. 21pts against blanket defence is acceptable even though game was in the balance until the end. If down beat meath and westmeath and meath beat mayo they’ll all be on 4 pts. Does anyone know is it score difference or am I missing something?

  25. Westmeath were very defensive so I wouldn’t worry about not creating goal chances. Meath didn’t get one last week and neither did Dublin in the Leinster championship last year. I’d be worried about the amount of goal chances we give up however. It’s a persistent issue. Some of our starting 15 today aren’t good enough to start come championship, so I hope to see changes next week.

    We need to find at least one corner back and a midfielder ideally. Diarmuid is much better at 12.

  26. Not great, not a disaster. Looked a bit laboured against a dogged Westmeath team. Shaky enough at the back and we seem to lack a bit of cohesion. A lot of scorers, some good scores taken and a few new lads given game time.

    We got the win and that’s a positive. Would have taken that before the game.

  27. Good points no doubt. If we’re on same points as Down, we’d have to go through on result v them.

  28. We need corner backs and a bit of aggression in defence – we have 2 in the panel for a few years – Eoin o Donoghue and Padraic o Hora – who are getting no game time.
    They must be fairly pissed off to see Hession last week and Doyle this week- neither in panel last year- coming in getting starting places.
    Horan seems to be showing a big preference for players for teams he has worked before namely Westport and Ballintubber. Some of these players have got several chances and look average enough players – they haven’t done enough to justify them been constantly picked.

  29. Durkin McLoughlin Boyler Cillian and Hennelly got us over the line! I thought Rod was magnificent and saved a certain goal. No 1 keeper in the county!
    We are in semis onwards and upwards!
    Mhuigheo abu!

  30. Absolutely agree with you south Mayo exile we Eoin O Donoghue and O Hora should be starting. Nothing against Ben Doyle and Enda Hession but there not at the same level as O Donoghue and O Hora. After today
    I’ve given up on Mayo winning an all ireland for the next 10 years at least Horan has learned absolutely nothing from the last few years we look wide open at the back. Shocking stuff Dublin and Kerry would trash Westmeath that’s the reality.

  31. If we have ambitions to be involved in the final stages of the championship, i would be worried about not creating goal chances against lesser opposition. We need the relatively new lads to put their hands up and show leadership. This did not happen today and westmeath had definite penalty claims in the final quarter. I dont see any value to bringing on new lads as subs with 5 or 10 minutes to go.
    Players need to prove themselves exceptional at club level before before making county panel.
    King not involved and McCormack not getting opportunities the big disappointment for me.

  32. Not our best performance, concede two goals, black card, gang of new bucks, blanket defence, away from home and we still win.
    Any team playing this weekend will take that.

  33. Very poor. Same issues at the back. Wide open.
    We press till we run out of steam and that’s when the better teams pull away.

  34. Kamikaze defending has been the norm since JH’s return. You would think that after all the goals we conceded in the league last year, Tipp in AI semi and the Dubs after 50 seconds in the AI final, that he would finally say, Lads, we have to sort out our defense. But, No, same as it ever was. No defensive strategy as far as I can see. We may get out of Division 2 but that’s about it. I agree with a previous poster about the lack of any game time for, E O’Donaghue and O’Hora. How these 2 are not in the staring 15 is perplexing.

  35. O’Hora was at fault for one of Tipperary’s goals last year. He’s better as a half back so I don’t think he’s the answer at corner back.

  36. Just back home from a very enjoyable Mayo v Kildare camogie match. Mayo much the better team and the result has to be a great encouragement to the team. Attendance I would estimate as about 20 – 25 so no worries about Covid. My first time in Tooreen – I had left the county before I even got to a dance in the famous hall. It is a lovely set up as a club grounds.

  37. Not great today but a win is a win, teams are only back training a few weeks after all. A lot to be worked on but we are a team in transition. Some of the comments on here this evening are completely OTT. “no chance of an all ireland for the next 10 years” after one substandard performance. Get a grip people. Its early days yet.

  38. @catcol. On that basis meath would go through for beating mayo, down for beating meath and mayo for beating down. Must be score difference but hopefully meath win tomorrow and make things clear. As regards the game today a win and scoring 21pts against blanket defence is good enough for me. How many times have we seen mayo finish on 12 or 13 pts against 15 men behind the ball. Take the points and move on

  39. Don’t think we are goin to touch Dublin or Kerry this year. We have a full back line of attacking half backs, has James not learned that attacking wing backs have not delivered an All Ireland yet, How is Eoin O’Donoghue not in before Ben Doyle, and how were David Drake and Caolan Crowe let go, now we have no experienced corner backs to fill the void of Chris Barrett and Keith Higgins, Oisin Mullin is a waste at Full back and should be further out the field and Lee Keegan and Colm Boyle are not corner backs the dogs on the street know this, Keegan gave away a few soft frees and Boyler was lucky not to have gotten a black card. We are in big trouble against the big teams if we do not sort our full back line, have we forgot about our 2nd half performance against Tipp last year.Thought it was disappointing to see our forwards calling marks out near the 45 against a Division 2 team. Our Forwards play is still very mediocre alot of bad wides you wouldn’t see Dublin or Kerry kick.

  40. Yeah, Eoin O’Donoghue not getting game time is a bit of a head scratcher. I’ve not seen enough of Ben Doyle to comment but he didnt go that well today and EOD is a tigerish natural corner back with an u21 All Ireland banked but more importantly has proven in league that he can perfotm and also get a score when required. He is a bullish type defender. I’ve heard good things about King too but havnt seen him in person so cant really comment. EOD tho needs another go.

    The sooner Harry is back and match fit the better because we are light of ‘stoppers’ in that full back line. Oh to have another Chris Barrett.

  41. It’s not so much the defenders at fault. We gave away possession so many times that led to scores for west meath. Turnovers are killers in Gaelic. We gotta cut those out. All in all it’s a win. 2 from 2. Last week the young guns shot the lights out and this week our old guard showed the way. We are rebuilding after all. Lemonade football with champagne results will have to do for now

  42. Isnt it a bit disappointing that our numbers 1 to 7 from the 2016 All Ireland u21 winning side really havn’t come through to nail a guaranteed starting spot.

    EOD looked on course 2 years ago. Plunkett is on the fringes, he may yet. Coen lined out midfield but everyone knows he’s a defender through and through. He has everything a back requires, but pace.

  43. Mayo’s training schedule is designed to peak around end of July. So a win at this stage is a bonus, irrespective of how we do it. The problem we have is no matter how fit and strong we are ,without a defensive plan we are going to struggle against the Dubs. We’ll always concede goals,which means we have to work twice as hard as the opposition.

  44. Horan thinks pressure out the field is his defensive strategy.
    Maybe it’s me but I sense a lack of urgency of guys getting back to defend.Several times I thought guys were jogging back when Westmeath were defending when they should be sprinting back….perhaps that wrong or unfair but i thought it was noticeable and responsible for extra space at times.

  45. Agree with the posters on Eoin O’D, at corner back or even full back. Why even keep the likes of him around for the length he has been if he’s not going to kick a ball. Of we’ve no natural full back line, he’s a natural there and he still isn’t getting a look, release him to his club. I’d also refer to David drake, who to me would be a starter now! Had he not received similar treatment and been given more game time, don’t think he would have walked away. In fairness to JH, you’re dammed if you do and you’re damned If you don’t, we want new faces etc. but skipping these in out of position over fringe lads mightn’t be the answer. You can cruise through division 2 beating second class teams, but that full back line would concede 6 or 7 goals against top team.

  46. At this stage James Horan should totally handover the reins to a defensive coach for selection and coaching of the defence. . His track record defensively is very poor. Consider how many games his teams concede two or more goals. Picking fringe players who have not dominated in the club scene ahead of Eoin ODonoghue is frankly ridiculous.
    Oisin Mullen very obviously should be at midfield, he’s our best player. We’re playing him in his worst position.

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