Game day: a good start to the year would be great

Four long months have passed since our last competitive outing but our latest dark night of the soul is now over. I’ve spent much of this time moping myself but the time for looking back is done – there’s a new year of football to be played, starting later this evening with our first round League match with Monaghan at MacHale Park (throw-in 7pm).

A good spring campaign doesn’t necessarily lay the groundwork for a productive summer (2010 anyone?) but a good start to the year would, in this very competitive Division, be the ideal way to get us going again, as well as easing the pressure on us in the weeks ahead.

The team we’ve named blends old and new faces, partly by choice but also partly by necessity, which is often the way at this time of year. It’s still a team we can expect to perform at a high level and that what those of us rocking up in Castlebar later on will be aiming to see from the lads.

Monaghan are always doughty opponents and I’ve no doubt but that they’ll put it up to us again this evening. But we’re not exactly a soft touch either and, on home soil (where, it must be admitted, we haven’t the best of records), we should be aiming to land our first League points of this year’s spring campaign.

My little buddy and I are hitting the road shortly, doing our usual road-trip stuff, with a pit stop for the spuds planned on the way. We’re aiming to be in Castlebar well ahead of throw-in this evening.

At this stage I can’t wait for the action to get going again. Yes, it’s time to go again.

Back later on with audio, the MOTM poll and the match report. The whole shooting gallery in other words.

Up Mayo.

17 thoughts on “Game day: a good start to the year would be great

  1. Looking forward to the game but I have a feeling Monaghan might be a bit ahead of us in terms of preparations at this time of year. It would be interesting to see what the subs bench is like tonight as I think we’ll need reinforcements at midfield before the end.

    Best of luck to the newbies tonight, Donie Newcombe deserves his chance and Fergal Boland has impressed me in the FBD league.

    The dreaded tummy bug has taken over the house so we won’t be travelling to this one, but it is a good excuse to subscribe to eir sport for a month!

  2. Safe travelling wj and all. How nice to see brehony spewing his thoughts on Mayo in the paper today. He thinks it’s unusual to lose 3 allirelands in 5 years, captain obvious springs to mind. Why doesn’t he do an article on the state of Meath, Kildare and the pathetic state of Leinster football?
    Mayo played the ” greatest team of all time” over 160 minutes in 2 games last autumn and lost by a point , and here this “journalist” comes out saying they are at a crossroads. A batch of young winners coming through and Mayo are at a crossroads?

  3. The only way to shut Brehony up is to and win the League or the A.Ireland.
    We will always have gobshites like him criticizing us until we do so. We get no credit for being the second best in the country, and how would a lot of other counties like to change with us.
    We will always support our incredible team, and some day we will get the rub of the green, because we have had a lot of the bad stuff.
    Win loose or draw this team and any other Mayo team we will always support them to the hilt.
    Best of luck to the newbies, and maybe a new Cilliain or Andie or Diarmuid will emerge , because this is the area they are most needed.

  4. Ireland underestimated Scotland and are in a real battle to survive, I really hope that Mayo do not underestimate Monaghan.

  5. Be worried enough going into this one. Monaghan have a strong team out, we have a good blend but you’d suspect they may be a bit further down the line. Particularly midfield looks a little threadbare. Be great to see them get off to a good start and not have to worry about the threat of relegation in April!

  6. Much better finish to the game. Great point by McLoughlin and then he put in a great ball for Freeman. Fab score by the big man.

  7. Just watched first half on Eir TV. Decision making not good early on with final ball. In contact cut them open near the end with incisive breaks and higher percentage passes. Encouraging is we had no wides by my count and one or 2 balls into goalkeeper. All forwards who got a chance took good scores. Freeman looks like he could get more scores. Hopefully we take up where we left off. Kirby and Donie both well involved so wouldn’t be taking either off for another while yet. Went through few ropey spells with kickouts. Should have another score from a free when J Doc fouled and he gave free out.

  8. Might have to beat Lane as well as Monaghan. Free given against Freeman instead if for and at other end McManus pushes Keith to knock him out of the way for goal. Won’t come easy.

  9. Ah now Shuffly Dec don’t go blaming the referee the reality is Monaghan’s forward line were better than us and outscored us. We know where our problem
    Lies and it’s up front we are too heavily reliant on Cillian O’Connor on the plus side Boland and Newcombe played well

  10. Abandoned the driving running game that was yielding divideds. Very hard to get the ball in with longer kick passes in winter. Overall most players did well despite the result. Abandoned the sweeper too certainly to the extent we used it last summer. McLoughlin was very good though for first 50 or 55. Monaghan Goalie showed the value of a long range kicker. His 2 very long ones were the difference. We didn’t make use if the extra man. Lessons to learn. Lane was weak on Monaghan fouls though we got one or 2 soft ones ourselves in 2nd half. Gave 2 free ins to them which were fouls on Freeman and Doherty and another where I think it was Ciaran Hughes did the arm pull trick and got a free. Clarke was brilliant but had a few ropey spells from kickouts in 1st half though he hadn’t much to aim at a few times. Giving them a 5-1 lead didn’t help things either.

  11. Really had to win our home games if we were going to make an impact on the league this year Having gained the initiative to go in at half time in front it was very disappointing how quickly we lost it again in the 2nd half Big game now next week.

  12. Lane doesn’t seem to know that if you touch the ball on the ground it’s a foul. I don’t like starting by discussing the ref but he lost control of it in the 2nd half. A very poor display by him.

    Monaghan were tenacious, cynical at times(fouled McLoughlin at any opportunity and were dragging off the ball the vast majority of which went unpunished) but they were more up for this than we were. The concern now is that we might struggle to remain in the division if we don’t win the rest of our home games. Kerry, Dublin and Tyrone away are all tricky tests.

    Performance wise we were a bit rusty, not unexpected. Lots of our regulars were inaccurate, a lot of wayward passing. Of the newcomers Newcombe was most impressive!:) boland started brightly but the game seemed to pass him by. Kirby was ok, lost a few aerial challenges early on but got more into it as the game developed. Drake was perhaps not tight enough in marking. Coen looked commanding and has potential. You can clearly see his leadership skills, barking out commands at Vaughan at one point. Has he the required pace? Not sure yet but he has plenty of good qualities.

    Regan, he showed endeavour. Kicked a coupe of nice points but struggles to win 50/50 ball and lost control of it a couple of times which was frustrating. Similar to last season. I’d love to see the stats on his possession count.

    I actually thought we didn’t utilise Freeman enough; he looked our most threatening forward when he got the ball. He is a good ball winner when it’s played in right. The supply into him this evening was poor.

    No point in mentioning our regular players, we know what they’re capable of come the championship but it would be wrong not to mention Clarke. He was without question, our man of the match.

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