Game day – it’s in our hands

What a difference a week makes.

Ahead of throw-in at Tuam last Sunday, it looked like we had a mountain to climb to retain our National League top tier status. Seventy minutes of football later and a crushing win in the bag, our task of engineering another Round 7 great escape doesn’t look quite so daunting now.

Today’s opponents are Tyrone and we need to beat them if we’re to play Division One football again next year. The match will be reffed by Fermanagh’s Niall Cullen and throw-in behind closed doors at MacHale Park is 2pm. The game is being streamed live on the TG4 Player and will be broadcast in full a bit later on as the deferred game on TG4.

This afternoon’s match will be the team’s final outing at MacHale Park this year. Maybe that’s no bad thing – after all, we’ve failed to beat today’s opponents at the venue since way back in 1992.

It’s hard to know how to analyse the threat Tyrone pose today. In attempting to do so, however, it’s impossible not to start with the news that broke yesterday afternoon about a reported Covid case within their squad.

As yet, there’s no official confirmation or denial of this story from Tyrone GAA, nor have they released their team details for the game. There’s nothing at all, in fact, from them about today’s game on their website or social media channels.

This reticence is, needless to say, far from satisfactory. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and Tyrone GAA owe it to us and to themselves to say what the story is within their squad and to announce what team they’re fielding today. They should, of course, have done this before now but they should certainly do so without further delay.

Will this be a full strength team or will they – as their Ulster Championship opponents Donegal did yesterday down in Tralee – opt to keep their powder dry ahead of next weekend? As things stand, we simply don’t know.

What we do know is that James Horan has kept faith with most of the team that started for us last Sunday in Tuam. Kevin McLoughlin makes a welcome return, though, while Bryan Walsh returns to the first fifteen for the first time since the Donegal game back in January.

Absent any team news from Tyrone, it’s hard to know how today’s match might go. You’d have to imagine, though, that the visitors will at least be tempted to copy Donegal and opt to rest some of their first fifteen ahead of that crunch Championship clash next weekend. If that’s the choice they make then we’ll quite rightly be strong favourites to win out today.

If Tyrone decide to field a full-strength side today then it’s likely to be a very different kind of contest. Despite eventually getting outgunned by Donegal last Sunday, Tyrone did manage to post a total of 2-13 in that game and their forward power, combined with a fair bit of openness in our backline the last day, could spell trouble for us this afternoon.

Regardless of what team Tyrone field, though, how we do today is ultimately down to us. We need to bring the right appetite into this contest, knowing that – as has so often been the case in the final round of the League – our fate rests in our own hands.

Once again, we’ll be relying on our famed backs-to-the-wall fighting ability to see us through. It’s worked for us so often over the past decade and there’s every chance it’ll do so again today.

One thing’s for sure – we’re not going to give up our Division One status without one hell of a battle. Are Tyrone up for such a challenge today? That we don’t know but once the ball is thrown in at 2pm we’ll find out soon enough.

A win this afternoon would not only mean a positive end to the League for us, it would also give us considerable momentum heading into the winter Championship that now lies ahead. Given how compact the Championship schedule is in this pandemic year, hitting form at the right time is key so a win today would serve two purposes for us. Here’s hoping we get it.

The best of luck to James and the lads today. Up Mayo.

65 thoughts on “Game day – it’s in our hands

  1. It’s simply not good enough that this game is proceeding without any comment from the Tyrone CB on the positive case. If they can’t do so the GAA itself should step in.

    If they have had a positive case, then how can several others not be caught in the web of contact tracing? If we’re asking the Mayo lads to line out against them then there needs to be full disclosure, and an explanation as to what precautions have been taken to ensure health and safety measures are adhered to.

    Overall, it’s not a good look for the competition. There has to be transparency or else the impression is that information is being withheld.

  2. Very much agree WJ. The destiny is in our own hands. Go back 3/4 games ago in this never ending campaign and we would bitten the hand of someone that said, win the last game at home and we are safe for yet another season. I am so looking forward to seeing if we can pick up from where we left off in Tuam last week. Lastly be very wary of Tyrone, irrespective of what team goes out. They’re a very proud footballing county and will not want to lose this game and get relegated. Win here, stay up, relegate a fellow challenger, and give the team a huge boost going into next week’s championship game against Donegal.

  3. I’d hate for us to lose our D 1 status…and D 2 would not be easy to get out of either. I’d take the forfeit happily if possible.

    Diarmuid O’Connor needs to stand up today- he often keeps his place when his performances don’t necessarily deserve it.

    Centre of defence must tighten up today- maybe stick Eoin McLaughlin there (Kevin won’t be playing there).

    As anyone noticed how difficult were finding it to produce a natural full-back all these years?

    Anyhow, fingers crossed for today.

    PS Was it not silly of the GAA to play the Kerry Donegal yesterday before the Dublin Galway game (which is now a dead rubber)? Should have been played simultaneously.

  4. Are Tyrone not obliged to undergo rapid testing of all players and the backroom team if they have a positive case? Their silence of this is not acceptable for Mayo and Tyrone squads and families.

  5. Its quite obvious this alleged positive test is all a bit of fake news so to speak. My bet is they’ll have a full 15 today. Mind games to a new level.

  6. You may not be far off the mark there MayoDunphy…it could well be possible, nothing would surprise me there. Tiktok star Mark Moran is in for some verbals today as well I’d imagine from the Tyrone, they do love to get in your ear to say the least!! But I fancy Mayo by 5 or 6 and Division 1 football staus to remain

  7. I reckon the Tyrone Covid story could well be a load of rubbish. Tyrone have form when it comes to these sort of ‘tactics’. Could well be a ploy to lure Mayo into a position thinking that Tyrone are coming down with half a team, no chance, you can bet they’ll field their best 15, they want to win and Horan and his men need to be ready for what is thrown at them. Tyrone will bring an edge to today’s game, you can bet that Moran will be given special attention due to his off the field Tik Tok fame. How he deals and reacts to this will say a lot. Overall I reckon this will be a dogfight and will go down to the wire, we need to be focoused and disciplined.

    With regards to the upcoming Connacht Championship, you’d have to say that Roscommon are now huge favourites to defend the title. To go away to Armagh and Cavan and win is a huge boost for them. It could well be their best season in 29 years if they reach the semi final.

  8. We have to assume the positive test is mind games at this stage.It was only reported on one site and hasnt been referred to or commented on from any official source.There is no level Tyrone wont stoop to,we really need to be tuned in today.

  9. You’re right there Pat but the Mayo boys strike as being confident or almost cocky for want of a better word. Moran’s self belief is obvious and it’s great to see and that can be very contagious in a positive manner in a group setting. I played against boys from the north in college in UK and your jaw would drop at some of the carry on. But i do hope that this covid story proves to be an isolated case and we see a full strength Tyrone team so it’s fair game.

  10. Best of luck to all of our players and management today. Hope all keep free from injuries and Covid. This is going to be a tough battle today but I think Mayo should come good with 6 or 7 points to spare in the end. Thanks Willie Joe so much for this wonderful blog. It is keeping me sane during those crazy covid times. Roll on the match… Any word of subs bench yet?

  11. No mention of game in doubt on Newstalk. I’m assuming at this stage it’s going ahead. I doubt Tyrone made it up but maybe the rumour mill hit Donegal a bit too soon.

  12. Wouldn’t be so sure Kevin Mc won’t play full back though I think if he’s moved from there it would be to midfield where he could do serious damage.

  13. Less than 4 hours before throw in and no Tyrone team named yet. This is outrageous and shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Shows a blatant lack of respect regardless of whether they have a covid positive case or not (I agree with posters above, it’s likely propaganda). Mayo need to be ready for battle today, focus on the job at hand, nothing else.

  14. Mind games from Micky. Monaghan will probably have too much for an already relegated Meath who will be concentrating on the Leinster Championship and preparations for that. So a straight shootout between us and Tyrone today. Tyrone will not want to be relegated do I don’t see them putting out an under strength team today regardless of playing Donegal next weekend. Donegal had nothing to gain from beating Kerry yesterday and were already safe.

    The covid fake news is just a ruse to try and create confusion in our ranks and not naming a team is nothing new. They will try to blitz us early then sit back and soak up our attacks with the blanket. They have a better chance of beating us and staying up than beating Donegal. Given we have a straight knockout championship this year any team can win on the day.

    We will have to be prepared for an almighty battle and we do not have any record of beating Tyrone in Castlebar in recent times and have had our arses kicked the last few times. I believe we can win but will need to operate with the same belief and passion as last week against a poor Galway team. McLoughlin back is a huge boost as he is playing brilliant football as usual this year. Will need to be much tighter at the back as Tyrone will be hitting us on the break. Best of luck to James and the lads.

  15. Naming a team means nothing any more. How many times have we named teams and end up with at least 3-4 changes before the game starts.
    If Tyrone are going to play mind games with covid – and I doubt very much they will – surely its next week v Donegal they would play it.
    We don’t know where they stand with covid and I think Tyrone are entitled to the time to get it right. The covid situation within a camp can change from hour to hour.
    They could gave named a team last night and ended up having to make 6-7 changes this morning.
    Mayo have to just concentrate in their own game.

  16. Re TG4 player, if doesn’t work, install hola vpn,
    And choose you want to be Ireland,
    Should work for you
    May need to be on a computer

  17. Agree to a certain extent Southmayo exile but the mayo team and management should be informed of any covid positive cases in the opposition camp as soon as they arise. This applies to any teams. We need to encourage an environment of openness not concealment when dealing with something so serious. If teams conceal or hide cases that is the most dangerous thing they could do.

  18. The Donegal game must be very much on Tyrone’s mind, particularly after seeing Donegal take their foot off the gas yesterday. If Tyrone lose today they don’t suffer the consequences until next year, lose next week and the consequences are immediate !
    If we were playing Galway or Roscommon next weekend, which game would be more concerned about ? The fact that it’s Leitrim means we can concentrate on Div 1 survival.
    Hope Mayo get the job done today, they should
    and it would be great for momentum but the Championship is what it’s all about.

  19. It would be reprehensible if they leaked a fake Covid positive case to get an edge in a game played by amateurs.
    I refuse to believe they would do that tbh
    We will find out soon either way.
    Hope it is safe for all the players for the game to go ahead as I think we will win it by a couple of points

  20. James Horan would have access to the program at this stage but it means very little in the league as players can come in or drop out. Chris Barrett came in for Tom Parsons last weekend despite not being named.

    I also think there’s no way Tyrone are making up positive covid cases FFS.

  21. My gut feeling is Tyrone are going to put a massive effort into this one, despite Championship next week. Securing division one status is vital. Look at all the matches we played week in week out in Championship for the past few years. Did us no harm at all. Its so hard to know though. The covid factor brings in so much uncertainty and we just don’t know what teams are thinking or feeling. I thought Tyrone looked very poor last week against Donegal. Perhaps this is the one they were waiting for.

  22. I’m sure Tyrone know what team there bring to castlebar sure most of them would be near enough to castlebar at this stage kick off in 3hrs

  23. If you think these kind of “tactics” are beyond Tyrone then I’m afraid you don’t know Tyrone. The same county gave contaminated water bottles to some Kerry players during the all Ireland semi final last year.

  24. Jesus lads, can we not be the naive nice Mayo folks for a minute here?
    As the day goes on its becoming very obvious this is a ruse, Tyrone have form for setting the bar low and going below the belt for years.

  25. Just seen on Tyrone web Peter harte’s wife had a baby yesterday best of luck to them hope his on daddy duties today

  26. Make no mistake lads mickey harte will not want to lose to mayo what could be his second last game in charge if they lose to donegal.

  27. Thats the Ty team as per the programme. The team that starts might not bear any resemblance to that team.
    Our league destiny is in our own hands. We cant ask for any more than that

  28. I fully agree with FW’s comment.
    Tyrone constantly rewrite the book on how low a team can stoop in Gaelic Football.
    They are the kings of Using sledging from U-16 level upwards.
    This is a new low, trying to use the Covid Pandemic to to make Mayo uncomfortable.
    It’s in our hands to retain Div.1 status and send Tyrone down. That should be the only focus for today!!

  29. Mayo GAA have made the match programme available online – it’s here.

    Mayo subs for today as per the programme: 16. Rory Byrne, 17. Padraig O’Hora, 18. Chris Barrett, 19. Michael Plunkett, 20. Rory Brickenden, 21. Jordan Flynn, 22. Fionn McDonagh, 23. James Durcan, 24. Ryan O’Donoghue, 25. Darren McHale, 26. Darren Coen.

  30. So I presume you go to ‘live events’ when you are in the app? Or is it under genres and gaa beo?

  31. Lads. I’m from Tyrone and I’m just reading this to see the Mayo perspective. It isn’t bs that one of the lads tested positive for Covid. You can probably figure it out yourselves who it is.

  32. A few of ye would want to take off the tin foil hats. If you compare the team in the program to what Tyrone put out on social media today, there is a very obvious omission.

  33. Good question Pullhard.
    On the tg4 player schedule, Gaa Beo, it has Galway and Dublin live from 13:30.

    Anyone know the story with ours and how to get it live?

  34. Think I got it: I just typed “Mayo v Tyrone” in the search box on tg4 player and link came up. No action yet.

  35. No fan of Tyrone or their underhand activities, but I think they deserve a break re covid story. I can’t believe they would use a fake covid story to get an advantage over an opposition. They are very proud of themselves and extremely proud of the GAA so I expect them to make a serious effort to stay in Div 1 regardless of championship next week. We need to match that desire. Big test today especially for our defenders. While we traditionally do really well against them in championship, they have given us problems in the League. Would be delighted with win and a continuation of Div 1 status. Maigh Eo abu.

  36. Yes Pebbles. Bloody sickener. Can’t load page for past 20 mins. Don’t know whats up

    Midwest it is!

  37. Agreed quayman – trying to create unrealistic goal chances when the point is on

  38. The amount of turnovers Tyrone are getting. Carrying the ball into the tackle, playing into their hands every time.

  39. Typical gritty and determined Tyrone mchale Park performance. We look in trouble, but long way to go.

    Clarkie needs to smarten up on kick-outs and watch that sideline! He wont do his championship aspirations any good.

  40. A real lazy, lethargic performance from us today. Shockingly disappointing. I’d make immediate changes. Need to try something. Bring in Barrett for starters.
    What’s Tommy conroy doing plucking balls from the air at full back?! Madness.
    This game looks done unfortunately.

  41. Will be some uphill battle in this second half – far too lax and stand offish in defence. The rain coming in will slow things down to suit Tyrone

  42. Expect a comeback, but too much to overcome I think, any word on Cillian, has he an injury?

  43. We have the breeze 2nd half but it’s not worth 8 points by any means. Tyrone will go full blanket now to prevent goals. Big big ask.

    Tommy Conroy our brightest spark.

  44. Very open in defence. Tyrone cutting through far too easily, we’re going to give up another big score today. Not over yet with what looks like a very strong wind in the second half, but need to stop running into contact. Bread and butter that for Tyrone.

  45. We are making Conor McKenna look like fucking Ciaran McDonald at his peak.
    Why on earth hasn’t Keegan switched over to mark him?

  46. The breeze is not really our problem though. The breeze doesn’t make you carry a ball into a tackle or stop you from following your man. We haven’t laid a glove on any of their men, letting them cut right through the middle and losing men, all while running right into contact, which is what Tyrone live for. Playing right into their hands.

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