Game day – get back to winning ways

Another Saturday evening of football beckons, another double-header of League Division One matches featuring the ladies and the lads. Galway provide the opposition in both matches at MacHale Park, with the LGFA one throwing in at 5.15pm while the lads get going at 7.15pm.

After last weekend’s loss to Dublin, tonight’s clash with the Tribesmen is an important one for James Horan. While our three-from-three winning start to the year was very welcome, it’s still far from clear how well we’re equipped for the tougher challenges facing us.

The manner of our defeat to Dublin was what was most disappointing about last Saturday night, as well before half-time it was pretty obvious we were going to get nothing out of the game. Tonight’s performance against the neighbours needs to be several notches up from that pallid display.

A strong showing for us against Galway is a good bit overdue at this stage. Having dominated them for years, our respective fortunes began to alter once they got one over us in the 2016 Championship. Since then they’ve beaten us every time they’ve played us in League or Championship.

What we first took to be a blip has instead become established practice. We did, it’s true, draw with them in the FBD League semi-final back in January but they still got the better of us in the penalty shootout that followed. Winning’s a habit. So is losing.

James Horan never lost to Galway in League or Championship in his first stint in charge. It was under James that we established complete supremacy over them, to the extent that in time we confidently expected to beat them – and well – every time we played them.

With the tables now turned and Galway enjoying an unbeaten run against us that stretches back to 2016 it’s definitely time to start redressing the current balance. And tonight at MacHale Park is – all the ongoing experimentation notwithstanding – where this should happen.

Tonight’s game is likely to be a tough, tetchy affair. Galway play very defensively, adopting a snarling, aggressive, in-your-face mien into the bargain, so punters heading to MacHale Park are unlikely to be treated to a game for the ages.

The weather certainly won’t be conducive to good football tonight either. Added to this, the cramped dimensions and heavy going underfoot at MacHale Park will all combine to increase the claustrophobic quotient. Those are all, though, largely known obstacles.

Getting a result these days against Galway always seems tough for us, which is why this match will, I’m sure, have been a particular focus for James and his team for some time.

That FBD encounter gave a hint about how we might go about our business tonight. We need to take the fight – in every respect – to them right from the start and do what we can to build up the kind of lead that will force them out of their fourteen-behind-the-ball approach. Do that and we could have a game on our hands, a game where we can record a very welcome win over the neighbours.

Safe travelling to all heading to the game. If you are intending to go then please remember the collection for Regina’s Fight for Life and give generously when you encounter the collectors as you approach the ground.

Best of luck to both teams in the Green and Red tonight. Up Mayo.

88 thoughts on “Game day – get back to winning ways

  1. It is going to be a slog start to finish tonight on conditions that will be similar to the Roscommon game. Don’t know if we are physical enough for Galway but time will tell. It will not be pretty but its the result that matters tonight. Red and Black Cards could decide it with Maurice the B in control. Intriguing as always with Mayo!

  2. Need a win badly against these fellas, I’m living amongst them and the past few years haven’t been easy!!, though they aren’t getting the level of satisfaction out of beating us they should, owing to their style of play! Tonite will be another slog against that defensive system, with a point in it either way I feel, hopefully we come out the right side of it this time

  3. Yes, you’ve said it all there.

    It’s still far from clear how well we are equipped for the tougher challenges facing us.

    That’s really what tonight’s game is all about.

    I see comments already mention slog and I think it’s going to be all that tonight. I hope we can pip Galway this time.

    Best of luck to our 2 teams and would be nice to be able to go to work in galway this coming week with a win over them.

  4. Terrible day now in Mayo. It’s not a great pitch so the game could be tough to watch.

    I think Galway will be hard to beat. If Keegan Boyle play they need to improve on previous outings.

    Big thing is that the young players play well.

    I’d love to see a pacy young full back being given a run but there appears no sign of that. Would be worried for EOD if he doesn’t get game time over next two games.

    Good luck to D Coen but I’m always wary of fellas being retried- if he’s really good enough why has he not played the last few years?

  5. Disappointed not to see Ger keep his place. Our forward selection is experimental, and conditions could def see this low scoring. At the same time, Galway have a shell of a team named. If we can’t beat them well at home with so many of them missing id be very worried going forward. Wind will play a factor

  6. The big surprise for me was D Coen. I recall another player being asked a few years back in a fun interview who’s Mayo’s most skillful player and he said a toss up between Darren and Cillian. So good luck to him even though looks like tonight won’t be for the purists.
    Would like to have seen Plunkett get more game time as S. Coen well tried out in several positions and gradually improving. Maybe manager has decided we’ve enough half back options for 2019.
    I think to beat Galway we need K ML on the field as 1st sub. J Durcan has the pace to get out in front and win ball but needs to feed sharp shooters Coen and Doherty quickly as the pitch and probably wind too will pose problems.

  7. On EOD, looks good enough based on last year to be our CB or HB going forward, guessing there must be an injury or he would be in well before now.
    Also Ryan OD may appear soon fitness permitting.

  8. Pretty sure the Corofin contingent in their entirety, Molloy, Silke, think only those two are starters. You already mentioned Burke from Corofin.
    Cillian McDaid has been injured lately.
    Off topic but was anyone at St. Geralds v Jarlaths last night. Who played well? Anyone get a team sheet?
    St. Geralds hammered Jarlaths to win the Junior Connaught recently. Great things happening in that school.

  9. Thanks JP for that I was making it 11 from the team that lined out for the semi final in 2018 including one or 2 subs. Of course Armstrong and the Sweeneys are not involved any more. As another poster pointed out earlier when they are all hiding behind the wire it will not come easy.

  10. PJ will be missing, Declan Kyne, Shane Walsh, Damien Comer, Paul Conroy, Liam Silke, Sean Kelly, Ian Burke, Cillian McDaid who are almost certain championship starters, also missing Kieran Molloy, Eamon Brannigan, Bernard Power, Dylan Wall from the panel.

    You will prob see John Daly tonight at some stage, note the name, younger brother of Michael and son of Val, he will be a good one.

    Best of luck to both teams

  11. Met Eireann saying wind at 38 knots (gale) yellow wind warning, temp 8 degrees but no rainfall. I’ll be bringing wet gear all the same.. layer up everybody 🙂

  12. Best of luck to the team and management and subs for tonight’s game. A win would be a big morale boost. I don’t think the weather will be conducive to good football so I’d gladly take a one point win and no injures.

  13. Best of luck to Mayo this evening,safe travelling to all,not very hopeful because last weekend was poor after almost seven months rest we should have been much better but this weekend gives us a chance to put things right

  14. Yes safe journey to all the mayo fans travelling to castlebar i would like to see brendan harrison going on an attacking run and scoring a couple of points. Up mayo

  15. Not a hope our named team will all start. James won’t unleash a new pairing in full forward without Andy (the young guns mentor) in the mix.

  16. @James Fleming, I know where you are coming from, Galway will play alot of the match in their half of the pitch and then break on counter attacks, on or two of the Mayo full back line will be able to attack at will, as Galway may play only one or two guys inside the Mayo 45 m line, Harrison or Higgins bombing forward may get opportunities to score but with the very wet and windy weather, the skill levels will be tested to the limit, ie, greasy ball, heavy ground conditions.
    High balls in these conditions can decide the match.

  17. Looking forward to watching Darran Coen, a player who hasn’t had as many chances as others, was on James Horan’s panel in the past but totally overlooked by Rochford. I remember reading once on the lead up to the intermediate club all lreland final he was labeled the worst trainer in the group by one of his colleagues. Fitness is a big part of today’s game. The talent was always there just the motivation was lacking. Hopefully he gasps this chance. Was also noticing that Liam Irwin was part of the London panel in there early games now I see he has transferred back to breaffy. Is this a sign of things to come, another player who needs motivation and to get back into shape.

  18. Spotlight If you applied that no second chances principle to Tom parsons or colm Boyle, we wouldn’t have seen those players at their best and winning all stars in boyles case (tom Parsons was robbed for not getting one)

  19. @Mayomessi, any idea how the u20 panel is shaping up? I know Ciaran Gavin and Jamesie Finnerty involved. Cathal Slattery pretty sure as he wasn’t playing for Garrymore.
    Would imagine all of last year’s u18/19s involved again.
    You had a mighty list last year all four divisional areas. Don’t think you missed a player 🙂

  20. Our indiscipline cost us a lot of match wins. Hope we keep our discipline tonight and we should get our 2 points. Best of luck lads. Come on Mayo you can do it.

  21. JP, There should be a strong U20 set up this year given that 2 of the Mayo schools (Geralds & Colmans) are playing in the Connaught Colleges Final in a few weeks time. Think Rice College also featured in the Semi Final.

  22. Enjoy the game everyone. The conditions will certainly make it a lottery. We need a reaction from last week. But you wonder where scores will come from tonight…

  23. I was wondering about where the scores will come from too but I’m happy to be confounded by some cleverness. I figure that the manager knows what he’s about – Darren, Fionn and Jason can put them over. Diarmuid and James know where the goal is. It’d be good to see our midfield and half backs adding one or two. We’ll see. I’m behind the lads and it’s all to play for. The women are involved in a great contest now too. Good luck to all and to the supporters.

  24. Well done Sarah Rowe on getting her first goal in the AFL afrer what was by all accounts a superb performance.

  25. Gale force wind right down the pitch. Really could have done with a long range free taker on the pitch tonight. Whoever plays with the wind in the first half would want to be up by 4 or 5.

  26. Can Mayo ever make an extra man count in their favour…not to mention two of them. No defence, no attack… what hope Mayo ?

  27. Disjointed. I hate to say it but fairly pathetic

    WTF is Diarmuid doing on the wing. Joke

    We are being given a lesson 1st half. Gal way defending well, winning midfield and KICKING 30 yard passes into their forwards who out in front are winning possession and guess what, kicking it over the bar like forwards are meant to do.

    0/10 performance by Mayo.

    Can only hope it changes at HT

  28. Not a single kickout won cleanly,we need to up the energy levels in the second half

  29. I’ve attacked Sunday dinners with more intensity ..Didnt imagine us having such a mountain to climb in second half.

  30. Sweet mother of the Lord Devine!!!!!! Very hard to watch this plus freezing my giblets off. Strong wind to come in second half but I’m guessing galway to park the bus bigtime ?

  31. This is like 2016 hammered by Dublin and then expecting a big result and we lost to Cavan

  32. Galway have the edge over us now since 15?…so fuking frustrating. They are a shower of headmelts!!!

  33. Very disappointing..but simply not good win it when it was there for taking. Walsh a match winner…
    Not looking forward to Kerry next time out..

  34. Maurice deegan is a very strange ref as well, cannot make him out at all. Such double standards on display throughout . 50/50 calls changing sporadically all through the game

  35. I can not see us beeting galway any time soon anyway its about building a new team don’t forget galway without a few players

  36. Big improvement in the 2nd half. Coming in at 7 points down was too big of a gap though. Doherty hitting the post when going for the equaliser was a momentum killer. Genuinely hope shane walsh is ok after that slap to the face from Colm Boyle. Was looking like a life or death situation there at one stage.

  37. Would be very pessimistic about this year,completely different to last year,many months to rest not many injuries ,don’t see much from the new players think we are in for a bad year,no intensity in our play hope I am wrong

  38. Might be all for luck we lost that it will stop the daft Mayo for Sam talk. James Horan has a serious job in front of him it’s goinh to take time and patience

  39. No need to blame ref Our backs were indisciplined because Galway wouldn’t have scored from play against the wind if they were there until tomorrow We hopefully now recognize how much we miss Cillian 3 score able frees missed tonightWe keep talking about our great young fellas Where are they We are still so reliant on our older players and some of them are off form Far more disappointing tonight than last week Game against dubs wasn’t really relevant because at this moment in time we are not in their league Beating Galway is far more important but they are too good for us at this minute

  40. That was a sickner – the bounceback from the first half was immense and the waves of attack felt like “classic” Mayo. Capped off with a bit of bad luck with Jason’s free and then high risk shots taken for no reason. Really felt like if we’d pulled level we’d have won that match.

  41. Loss of Cillian was worth about 5 points there. Doherty is just not an intercounty level freetaker and that’s that. Coen taking wild potshots all night too. Carrying the ball into contact v Galway is just madness yet we persisted with it all night nearly. Galway must have taken over a minute to kick every free and kick out in the second half, don’t blame them but gaa need to clamp down on that kind of time wasting. Lot of work to do for Horan.

  42. 1st half shambles cost us.

    The least youd expect after that was a bit of bottle and fight, which we got. But at the end of it, we lost. Galway showed how to play easy attacking football 1st half. Granted we were hopeless in that period.

    Diarmuid on wing 1st was nonsensical. He was better 2nd.

    Coen did ok for a lad in the wilderness so long, at least he looks like a scoring forward unlike others who only have pace.

  43. That was very disappointing. The most frustrating game to watch in a long time to be honest. Think we might have to write this year off

  44. not great to be looking down the table but at this rate we might still need some help to maintain Div 1 status.

    Dublin and Kerry to beat Roscommon will see us safe but it could come down to the final day (Mayo V Monaghan and Rossies v Kerry)

    I didn’t think we would find ourselves here again after winning our first 3 games in a row.

    sorry for the negative post but………………

  45. Poor first half. We only had a 10 minute purple latch in second half. Disappointed in our backs in giving away soft frees at crucial times. They could have just stood off and forced errors instead of diving in like that. Lots of work to do.

  46. Another poor performance, insipid , infuriating, no ideas first half & to be honest some very poor performances from some of the older players. Our inability to kick pass the ball was glaringly obvious tonight. Forget about All Irelands, winning Connaught is going to be a big ask & certainly Horan has a major rebuilding job ahead .

  47. No composure when needed. Random pot shots. Just what galway wanted.
    The high hail mary dosent work. Lee keegan needs a break. Ruane gives hope.
    Harrison good. Keith very good as always.
    Very disjointed overall. Theres not much between these teams. Galways forwards are a bit cuter. Walsh won the sideline battle.

  48. Why does Aiden O Shea not kick the ball for a score even an odd time ,sure he might as well kick it wide first time as someone else kick it wide after four or five passes

  49. What’s the story with Lee Keegan right now, seeing him at the game in the flesh and he’s not the usual presence that he can be? Also colm Boyle, a hardy warrior is a little off and lucky not to be sent off? It could be that Horan knows they’re safe and couldn’t be arsed with a league final and they are doing some seripus heavy running in training. Some lads legs’ looked weary tonight I thought. Kerry will surely hand us our collective holes down in the kingdom in a couple of weeks and that’ll be that…Monaghan game will be simply fulfilling the fixture. The Gaa hierarchy will be hoping beyond hope that Mayo get it together for the championship because us our of the super 8’s for 2 years in a row will affect the coffers in a major way. Over 10k there again tonight….Mayo support is really second to none. Fair play to all…its a right cult at this stage. Until Sam comes west it will remain so unless there is a serious fall off in standards on a sustained level!!

  50. Disappointing, but congratulations to Galway. Took their chances well and kept to their system. GAA must do something about time wasting. Just follow rugby’s example and stop the clock. If someone has a suspected head injury then for their own protection have them taken off for a head injury assessment.

  51. Remember Lee Keegan had two major injuries and operations last year.
    That takes time to come back from.
    Also players go off form. It happens in professional sports as well.
    Our performances are always erratic in the league and there are always no shows for some reason.
    Somehow we always click in August.
    Its a long road till September yet

  52. The winning and losing of this game was the 10 minutes where it was 13 against 15, that was Mayos Big chance

  53. Keegan is well off the pace & has been all year & Andy took such a daft Hail Mary shot from out the sideline when there was no need. I think we have fallen back, certainly the Tyrone game looks like a false dawn now . We could well be going into the championship with four losses in a row , Mayo have traditionally finished the league strongly under Horan so it’ll be very worrying if that happens .

  54. Galway are just ahead of us at the moment although with all the injuries Galway had I thought we would have won this one. Walshe destroyed keegan tonight, he has the better of him the whole night, Boyle gives away too many frees, can’t see him starting championship. Harrison, Barrett decent, Coen ok but terrible at kicking the ball. Ruane good, not much to be said about the forward unit. It’s year 1 for Horan, make a Connacht final and the super 8’s, anything more than that is a bonus.

  55. Don’t normally pay too much attention to stats but when your division 1 county cannot score from play in the 1st half against a similar mid table team then I would say the writing is on the wall and your gonna win nothing …. ever.
    Could go on forever about shot selection, team selection, strategy bla bla, but the bottom line is that we just don’t have the talent and that’s nobody’s fault. Don’t think I’ve ever felt so dejected after a Mayo game, perhaps I’ve finally admitted to myself that this team is way over the hill and I give Horgan full credit for trying to inject new life but the old guard is just not performing. Looking at hugely experienced players like Boyle, Keegan & Higgins fouling in front of own own goal in the dying minutes and then Vaughan blasting over a point with 20 seconds to go and we’re 3 point down …. well it beggars belief.
    Sadly, I feel it will be a short summer again ….

  56. That’s a very good point big Mike….I think galway scored 1-1 or 1-2 at that stage with 2 less players on the field. Crazy stuff, anyways it’s only a game as I keep reminding myself!!!! 68 years is a while ago though…I’m getting close to the grave now and it’s mean so much

  57. The less said the better, we shot ourselves in the foot again / Walsh lying on the ground for 10 mins like he was dead and then gets up and runs over and takes the free. Come back was teetering along lovely until Moran came on and upset the balance as lads started looking for him and that was that! Hate loosing to them, still hurting!

  58. I know what you mean pullhard, it’s so mental , we’ll have forgotten all this again in the Summer. But having been so close for the whole decade, it’s hard to accept that another opportunity has slipped away. I thought last year was a blip, I’m not so sure now .

  59. I should have started a new paragraph between my comment about time wasting and head injuries. I am not suggesting Walsh was time wasting. Concussion with its long term potential impact demands intervention by medics.

  60. We are not a super 8 team. Probably would make super 16 if it existed. Can’t kick ball straight. Terrible football, totally disjointed. Players just taking the safe option of going lateral instead of looking for the player coming at speed and to be fair there were not many of them.

  61. It’s going to be another short championship. Old players are on the way out, clearly, and young players are not at the level yet. Horan has a big job ahead, and who knows if it’s going anywhere. I’m not optimistic.
    I’ve a horrible feeling we really had the team of a generation from 2011 – 2016 and we blew it.

  62. – Bet nobody will say we threw that match
    – Strip everything else away and judge both teams on they played with the wind. Galway used it to score from distance whereas we tried to carry it into the 20 yard line. I thought at half time that we were going to need a goal to win simply because we never use a strong wind to shoot from distance.
    -Our half backs pushed too far up in second half which allowed Galway to hoof ball in over their heads and then in the scramble back fouled which give Galway 4 invaluable points from frees.
    -Boyler undoes all his hard work with silly fouls, Keegan well beaten by Walsh and both of them are a inch away from a card all the time.
    – Cleaned out when it comes to breaking ball,, S& C questionable.
    – Off to Tralee to play a hungry Kerry in two weeks. We are not starting from a good place for this.
    – Are u-16s counted in the official attendance?
    – Thanks to all who supported the bucket collection and to the sound guys from Tuam and Corofinn who were helping.

  63. 15 players should never concede a goal to 13! That was the killer blow. That 10 minute spell was crucial and we managed to blow it.

  64. Galway looked so ready for that game from the 1st minute and ran rings around us..Its infuriating to watch us lateral passing and recycing the ball while they made their point scoring look easy..We had a spell when I thought we were going to drive on but wasnt to be..

  65. What a shambles. Watched AOS with a storm behind him and he’s afraid to kick the ball towards goal from 21 meters out. No wonder we got beaten. I have to say it was worth the money to see Walsh destroy Keegan. He is a class act , and Keegan showed the niggling streak in him when he is beaten. Galway got 2 lads sin binned, and Boyle should have got a red. The referee gave everything to us, and still we could not win. We have been cleaned at midfield and Horan still persists with Vaughan. What is happening with Jason Gibbons, he and Diarmuid were the best midfielders in County all year, and yet Gibbons cannot make the subs bench. What did we score tonight from play? We got more from frees. This game was one that we did not deserve to win, we have not a free taker we can rely on. Hit and miss job is what we have now. Jesus help us when we go to Kerry in 2 weeks time with this makeshift bunch. At least now we know how good we are and the management was 2nd best to Galway tonight. And they don’t have the Corofin Lads. Im afraid we will be beaten in Connacht again this year.

  66. Galway showed glimpses of serious potential during this game – but also displayed unbelievable stupidity by picking up 2 black cards in first half. I do think there is a new football generation out there . viz. Kerry, and Galway showed that at times, with O’Laoi and young Daly. Mayo need to concentrate on adding young talent to the panel – I’m sure there are loads of youngsters available in Westport/Castlebar areas. Unfortunately, time has moved on..

  67. Some very strange choices in picking the Team tonight starting with Clarke in goals. His kick outs put us under pressure from the start. Very poor result at home against a makeshift Galway Team who sat back, even with the wind.

  68. Olive Kerrigan has the synopsis of where we went wrong perfect.
    I will add one thing, sticking with Clarke with the gale force wind forecast was madness.
    How Michael Plunkett did not get gametime for Boyle is beyond me.
    We had zero subtlety attacking. Only Diarmuid and McLoughlin showed any game nous.
    Ruane showed potential, but lacks a bit of confidence to send in passes, he tends to lay it off backwards.

  69. Not sure ive ever seen a more down beat comments section on this blog after a defeat. We still have to give the new management team a chance. Its only March. A long year to go yet.

  70. It was only a two point loss.
    Never like to see us do more than scrape through the league. Last strong run we had in the league was 2010 and Longford put us out early in the championship that year.
    We will be far more punishing with frees once Cillian o’connor comes back and that factor changes opposition approach to us, to our advantage. This is, and has been for some time, our key advantage!!
    New lads coming on well.
    Andy now a great impact sub option.
    Aidan needs to find his mojo again.
    Would like to see loftus get a run in the league.
    Hopefully cafferkey was not hurt long term in the dublin game.
    Galway have beat us too long now but all the games were close run even with crazy weather, early red cards, but we have underdog status against Galway now Which is not a bad thing.

  71. We didn’t show any game management skills or cuteness while we were up 2 men in the 1st half and when we were on the cusp of levelling in the 2nd half. The silly hoofed balls into the square and long range shots that didn’t come off wrecked our momentum. I thought Horan should have brought on fresh legs at the 60-65 minute mark into the middle 8 positions.
    The starting point for any match is intensity – Galway won 14 turnovers while we won 8, you’re on the backfoot with a stat like this.

    This Mayo team have always been below par in the league and raised their intensity for championship so we have to hope they can still lift it come the summer.

    Brightside is we are rotating alot and giving lots of players their chance which does impact team cohession

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