Game day – nothing on the line in this one

Our National League campaign for 2024 concludes this afternoon up in Clones. Our opponents this afternoon, Monaghan, are already relegated and we’re safe both from the drop and the inconvenience of having to contest the Division One decider.

That means that this match is, in essence, a dead-rubber. Neither side gains or loses anything in relation to the League from how the game turns out so both management teams can turn their thoughts to other things in approaching it.

With our team selection for today, showing eight personnel changes and a few positional switches from the side that started against Derry, we certainly appear to be using the match with that aim in mind.

Much-needed game time is being given to players like Rory Byrne, Darren McHale and Frank Irwin – all of whom start for the first time this season – with Aaron McDonnell, Michael Plunkett, Paul Towey, Matthew Ruane and Cillian O’Connor all getting further welcome starts as well. Paddy Durcan and David McBrien, who are two such important players for us, return after injury lay-offs.

With so many changes to the starting team it’s hard to know how we’ll get on today. But that’s more or less the point of the exercise. The result today doesn’t matter, widening our options by giving as many players as possible game time does.

There’s not a whole load more to be said about today’s match, to be honest, not least given that, for the first time in this campaign, I won’t be there to see it myself. It’s not on the box either and I’m up to other stuff this afternoon so I’m pretty much flying blind for it. Oh well, it is a free hit for us after all so it’s not a bad one to miss.

The best of luck to the lads today and good luck to the women as well. They take on Waterford in Ballina at roughly the same time as the men are lining out at St Tiernach’s Park.

Here’s to a productive afternoon for both of them, as the focus for both teams switches to their forthcoming Championship campaigns. Wins for both this afternoon, while not a necessity, would of course be welcome. Up Mayo.

112 thoughts on “Game day – nothing on the line in this one

  1. Good luck to both teams and of course safe travels to all,no injuries please god. Maigh eo Abu

  2. All the best to our teams today,safe travels for all,I still believe that winning is ahabitand we should go all out to win,

  3. A farcical day awaits in Division 1. Dubs are playing a fringe team, tyrone have essentially named a b team to face them, Kerry leaving out the cliffords and others. Mayo and Derry the only ones seemingly going with strong teams. We could end up stumbling into a final by accident

  4. The national league has now become a version of the Fbd league and the o Byrne cup.basically a warm up competition.even Monaghan don’t appear particularly concerned about being relegated.some form of restructuring is badly needed

  5. go for the win and hopefully make the final, a day in Croke Park is better than a hard training session for both the players and supporters.

  6. Am I right in saying that if it came down to a three way tie on 8 points for Dublin Kerry and Mayo the score difference would come into play which is 20+ points in favour of Dublin. Can’t see us hockeying Monaghan by that much even if it is a dead rubber game

  7. If you’re there early enough, Margie, you might be able to get parking at the ground. Otherwise park in the town round the diamond and walk out, it’s a nice stroll (though nicer on Ulster final day).

  8. Correct toe to hand, if 3 or more teams are level on points it comes down to score difference, so very unlikely it won’t be a Derry Dublin final

  9. Nice one Wideball. Be great to see both playing.

    Fancy Galway down in Killarney today. It’s a good bet for anyone that way inclined.

  10. Also EOD on subs good to see more players returning from injury
    Does not look good for Roscommon today with Derry naming a strong team and Kerry a weakened one

  11. The full list of subs is: Rob Hennelly, Conor McStay, Jack Coyne, Conor Hunt, Stephen Coen, Pádraig O’Hora, Kevin Quinn, Eoin O’Donoghue, James Carr, Jack Carney, Fenton Kelly.

  12. Think the Rossies are going to be in for a hammering today. Galway might take kerry.

    Good to see mcstay trying to give as many players a run about in a dead rubber game.

    Hard to know which way it’ll go feel monaghan will be more up for this one then us wanting to go out on a high at home after getting relegated I’d fancy them to win it..

    But the result doesn’t matter at all just good to give guys much needed game time and some other guys a well rested game off and be fresh for New York!

  13. @toe to hand. In the unlikely event of the 3 way tie you speak about that would mean mayo winning so increasing their score difference and Dublin losing and decreasing their score difference so as Dublin are plus 28 and mayo plus 5 both scenarios above would need to be minimum 12pt wins so I’d safely say next weekend will be a training weekend.

  14. You will have mo problem parking in Clones today – Margie
    Tiny crowd so far only to be expected.

  15. Thanks no doubt, very unlikely scenario for sure. Its great to see players coming back. Injuries and the timing of injuries has a huge bearing on teams. All you can hope for is that we stay injury free for however long we are in the Championship

  16. A good performance and try out a few things and empty the bench is about all we can ask today. Nice to see more lads back and in a couple of weeks we should have the full deck. A good place to be heading into championship.

    Not looking good for the Rossies with the various teams named

  17. A load of changes to the starting 15.
    No Cillian Towey Plunkett Irwin or Mcdonnell
    Eoin o d Coen Boland Hession and O Hora in.

  18. Well that will have completely fooled Monaghan.they never would have expected this in such a crucial game

  19. Have we ever started a team that we’ve named to start?? Yeah I don’t get the logic of naming a dummy team for a dead rubber game either.

    Pity cillian O conor & Towey not in they need game time.

  20. You’d be pretty annoyed to have travelled to clones to see a starting team with 3 specialist forwards and Aiden in it. Dead rubber or not.

  21. Team and panel changes, not sure how there will line out we son many backs
    5 changes on team
    Eoin o Donoghue in for Aaron McDonnell
    Padding o hora in for Plunkett
    Jack coyne in for Frank Irwin
    Stephen Coen in for Cillian o Connor
    Enda Hession in for Bob Towey

    Fergal Boland and Bob Touhy come into 26
    Frank Irwin and Jack Carney out of 26

  22. Eoin o D

    9 defenders in the starting line up. We have replaced all the forwards with defenders!!!

  23. Wish there was a way to watch it now just to see how we line out with a team full of defenders ?shame it’s not on Gaa Go

  24. Sorry, that Hession in for Paul Towey. Not sure why Aaron McDonnell couldn’t have been left on and the likes of Callinan given a rest and why Kevin Quinn wasn’t started instead of so many defenders. It really would fill him with confident.

  25. There’s been a few calls to try out Hession in HF line over last couple if years, hopefully that’s part of the plan to find a solid no.10 option

    If it works and you have Hession Rod Flynn that could be worse

  26. With the move towards a greener environment matches involving Mayo should not waste paper printing programmes. Such absolute nonsense.

  27. Monaghan running rings around us by by the sounds of it. Let’s see if that red card makes us able to compete.

  28. Callinan gone off with a knee injury, not sure how bad but we should be taking off key players at half time.

  29. Liked the look of that team, starting 9 defenders instead. Don’t understand why you put out a dummy team when its a non event game. Now Callinan goes off with an injury. Hate been a crank, but just don’t see a pattern with this team this year. Best few minutes this year was watching Ryan kick ball in, last week we haven’t seen much of it. I will be switching off for the next few weeks until the game in the Hyde. Whatever they seem to be working on against blanket defence, not coming off today.

  30. @Brian doesn’t matter one bit if monaghan are running rings around us no one gives a toss about this game what’s so ever.

    Hopefully callinans injury isn’t bad we should take Ryan O D off at half time don’t know why he wasn’t rested for this game..

  31. You’d have to wonder, why always mayo doing daft things with lineups. No forwards and the team crying out for scorers all year. What a joke

  32. I’d have to disagree with you there @Clare,it certainly does matter if a relegated team are running rings around us a few weeks out from championship even if it is a double dummy team.
    I hope we get it together a bit, sharpish.

  33. Dead right 2 hops, all matches matter. Playing 10/15 mins with an extra man and we can’t get going at all. What would you expect when you don’t pick forwards. 100% shambolic for sure

  34. Sounds like a lot of soft frees going against us so far. Maybe the referee trying to even it up a bit since the red card. We seem to be struggling to break them down, and with so many defenders out there, it’s not clear to see how we can change that.

  35. Absolutely. Negative or not, having rings run around us by the leagues whipping boys this year, when they have 14 players, less than a month out from the Roscommon match, would be slightly concerning.

  36. @2hops ah come on now this is far from our championship team… Made 8 changes from the Derry game a goalie who’s made his first start of the season. Getting the same kind of reaction on this blog after we lost to Tyrone with a pretty much trial team.

    Also paddy durcan & others only back from injury they aren’t going to be at the top of their game . Also a game where we started mostly defenders tells you everything that management are thinking ahead to New York already I don’t know why some here are loosing the heads over a dead rubber game…

  37. Half listening here but I keep hearing ‘running in to traffic’ and mayo forwards dispossessed…

  38. Seirious soft frees against us. Laughable stuff. Very much challenge game pace. Eoin O’D looks very rusty which is to be expected. Tommy dangerous as ever, a magnet for frees. Our lads are training hard behind the scenes id say, lots of blowing etc…and not a fast paced game to my eyes antmyway.

  39. Yet again no idea how to break down a massed defence.of course it matters if we are being outplayed by 14 men .players are being given an opportunity today to stake a claim for a place.There appears to be absolutely no game plan of any kind surfacing.The result of the game may not be crucial but the performance has to a bit better than this.

  40. Ha. We seem to have a different excuse after every match. Although I would expect a second half turn around. Dubs eleven up against Tyrone at half time.

  41. @Brian wouldn’t say it’s an exsuce it’s facts it’s a dead rubber game when you make soo many changes it’s always going to be flat like this to.

    Dubs are well ahead of the restof the pack but they seem to be going at championship pace but they can afford to cause leinster is a walk through for them.

  42. Incomprehensible what McStay is playing at today. Is he trying to confuse all our opponents or just us supporters! Need to get the finger out in the second half and win this game with an extra man. Although looks like the ref has a Monaghan shirt on as giving them a lot of soft frees.

  43. Dead rubber or not, it’s ok to win games… Especially with no final at stake. Also 14 man Monaghan, have almost their B team out now, so I think it’s slightly concerning.

  44. @Brian fair enough obviously it’s OK to win games but I’m just saying I wouldn’t be panicking over this game with half of what is probably our main championship team being rested.

  45. I hate when teams have a man sent off against us
    We never know how to use the extra man and inevitably struggle against the packed defence from the opposing team

  46. When a player gets a straight red it is meant to punish that team it doesn’t mean the ref needs to punish the other team by awarding soft frees

  47. I think you should have a cup of tea Brian and stop getting so worked up about a dead rubber league game.

  48. Positives to take : Boland definetly deserves a championship start.. When Carr came on he made an impact straight away great to see him back and Tommy conroy is showing signs of his old self.

    When you play mostly defenders in the first half like we did that won’t win you games.

  49. No doubt, true but we were possibly lucky Byrne wasn’t black carded as well so swings and roundabouts.

  50. Got out of jail, all in all judging us over the league, if anything I think we’ve moved backwards from last year. Too conservative, too lateral . I hope I’m proven wrong and we see a different style in the championship

  51. I was excited by the named team yesterday as it contained 6 scoring forwards. Surely if ever there was a time to start all those lads it was today in a free hit, absolutely baffled why we have put out a team of halfbacks…..because thats what we need in Mayo, to add to our endless surplus of half backs.

    We go into championship with one in form scoring attacker in ROD. If you were towey, cillian etc you would be majorly pissed off not getting the start today on a mild day

  52. I wonder who picked all the defenders that played today and we still manage to give up a goal chance with the last play.I really struggle to see what we learned or where we improved during the course of this league

  53. Brian is dead right, who was McStay and co trying to kid? Only woke up in last 10 mins when we had 2 extra players and still nearly contrived to lose it at the end. Expectations for championship should be low, a Connacht win would be an excellent outcome

  54. @supermac sorry? I never tell anyone what to think everyone is entitled to an opinion as is Brian .

  55. Did Paul Towey even get a game today ?

    Finished 4th in the league which is about where we are realistically in the pecking order.

    All eyes on to New York in 2 weeks time, hopefully Callinan and McBrien are fit for it.

  56. As supporters, we have learnt for little of how this team is progressing. Probably no harm, they got through it fairly unscathed and we are safe. Not much to take from it. Anyone going to New York enjoy it, and if you go singing in time square again make sure ye know all the verses of the green and red this time.

  57. You’d have to wonder was Kevin on the beer last night to start that many backs in a glorified challenge game.

  58. It’s great we turned it around at the end, against 13 players flat out on their feet it’s the least you’d expect. It’s a dead rubber and we’re missing players, I know I know. But one month out from championship, I’d be worried about where we are at, maybe there’s a switch we’ll magically switch, and we’ll be shooting the lights out come June. Dubs, and Derry obviously in a league of their own, and Kerry thanks to the Clifford’s number 3…but I’d worry where we fall in the list after that. Happy to eat my words come championship if we make a semi, which is what we should be aiming for.

  59. We have no championship team after 7 rounds of the league. Great to stay up but no “learnings ” taken on board by management or players.

  60. That’s the league done and dusted , no great excitement but results against dubs and Galway the highlights , the revenge of Ross no harm.
    Big themes blanket teams still stiffle us and we seem to have no plan only pot shots into goalies hands .
    Our own defense has being left exposed by means of tons of space on front of cor er forwards and we undone by long balls over half backs.

    But all in positive, had alot of injuries to deal with, noone hit a purple patch but decent displays and hope we getting the legs into championship form.
    Lads back from injuries and getting sharper .
    For me our best lineup is if all fit

  61. I don’t get the ‘winning a provincial title would be great’ thing . Of course it’s nice to win but it’s largely irrelevant now other than giving you a 1st seed positioning in the draw. All that matters is how far you advance in the All Ireland. Anything but winning it should be disappointing regardless of where you see Mayo being in rankings etc.

  62. Our management were really poor today.Hard to see them getting the 4 years.A lot of work to do before the Hyde.why the hell start so many backs and a 3rd keeper

  63. The team who put 3 past us handily couldn’t score a single goal against the Dubs and conceded 5 – what does that say about our standing. Not to mention our style of play – we were a player up for most of that game and basically fell over the line. A month away from championship and the lateral ponderous stuff is going nowhere it seems. Played mostly defenders instead of trying out forwards when we are absolutely crying out for them.

    You’d wonder where we are at all. It’s hard to say that there’s been any improvement from last year. If anything, it’s stagnating.

  64. Not losing the rage but It was a game was perfect to give Minutes to players who have been out with injuries like Durkan McBrien ohora and to give others some like Aaron McDonnell another game to build upon an impressive debut or even kevin Quinn some valuable minutes. It was also a chance to give Paul Towey a full game. Were was Conor Reid today. I think management failed in so many ways to day. And they wonder why players are opting out. McStay says that we don’t know what goes into making a Mayo player I’m beginning to wonder if this management team does either. What has our new forward coach done this year. We still look in disarray when meeting a stacked defense. That programme to day was an embarrassment All at the expense of loyal supporters

  65. A mediocre league with some unusual decision making and no clear defensive structure at all (where new!?) but let’s remember all that matters is championship so we should reserve judgement until then. Let’s see how we go…

  66. We need to win Sam,very good run out today, we are in a very good position, all our players done well, Mayo for Sam

  67. Dead right Corick, be very hard to justify changing starting 15 from today’s for rest the year. Or putting in offensive or defensive plans at this stage 🙂

  68. Indeed mayo do need to win Sam .I suggest we immediately inform the players and the management of this and there you go job done

  69. My Mayo interest in this year’s championship has evaporated somewhat after today’s team selection. Logic and common sense would suggest that today’s emphasis should be in giving a start to all our ‘fringe” forwards. For some inexplicable reason the starting team was top-heavy with defenders and not surprising we laboured alot and learned, what?
    Hardly a recipie for retaining the interest of such perceived fringe forwards. How does one develop/motivate such players, other than give them opportunities such as today’s presented.

  70. Mcstay said after the game in interview that Sam was fine and Mcbrien also.
    Sam jarred his knee but was fine by half time. Mcbrien he said they were managing minutes.

  71. Also said that Diarmuid was back on the field.
    Eoghan Mc was already back running.

    A reasonably clean bill of health.

  72. Decent score by a team with so many defenders up against a team that ran rings around us picked by a management who don’t know what they’re doing and have the temerity to make changes before the game based on the knowledge they have but we don’t

  73. ROD holding his hamstring in the last 5 minute of that game, hope nothing serious.

  74. @Mayonaze whatever outcome helps up avoid coming second in the group, and having 3 games in 3 weeks like last year, would be the best option… I forget exactly how it works, but if winning Connaught gives us top seed, and best chance of topping the group. Than it would be beneficial?

  75. I suppose another positive from the league is the fact that roscommon and galway seem to be in wretched shape. I’m not convinced Galways longlist of returning players is going to bring about a marked improvement. They went down meekly to a completely uninterested Kerry team today

  76. To win just once, TBF I don’t think anyone was surprised there was changes was there one game in 7 we didn’t make changes, if even.

    Pity Monaghan went down to 13 for last 10 minutes or so, would have been better test of metal for lads v the 14, worrying still gave up a chance for them to win it but thankfully held out.
    McStay post game on Midwest referencing a lot of new players, I must have missed some rounds 🙂

    Think winning Connacht is pathetic to easiest route to quarters/semifinals. Given Roscommon form and Galways injuries we should be favourites for that, especially with what sounds like a clean bill health

  77. Feels like this Mayo team are gone back to the old versions of Mayo teams like 2007 to 2010,2000 to 2003, 1991 to 1995, and the depressing 70s.we might be competing in Division 1 but we are nowhere near Sam.

  78. Mind the house – I had heard during the week the squad is in a good place health wise (but couldnt quote without being official) and everyone should be available in next couple of weeks so nice to hear Kevin confirm those 2 today. I Think its pivotal to us that we have we have all our top players available and a healthy panel to progress this year.

    Cant read a lot into todays game there maybe heavy training going on but I would like to have seen a different approach i.e. use of panel and different tactics. It’ll be forgotten about in a few days

  79. This is it Darkyfinn, but half way through year 2 of 4 and the tactics have yet to clearly emerge. That’s the biggest concern again.

  80. We do need to win, Sam, I agree, Corick. Let’s aim high! : )
    Hopefully, things start to slot into place more in Championship. That’d be nice.
    Listening on Mid West today, I thought Fergal Boland played well and I thought Eoin O’Donoghue was made of tough stuff and was a tight marker. I hope Eoin is kept on and gets to have an impact.
    It’s interesting that Jordan Flynn had a rest today. I feel that’s bound to benefit him and the team before the Championship starts.

  81. Sorry but did we win the game or not?
    Bottom line are results.
    Give the management a bloody chance.
    No one here knows what is going on behind the scenes.
    8 points in league.
    3rd top scorers in league
    Loads of new faces
    Going nicely I think.

  82. Nor me Glorydays. Going with 9 backs and 3 forwards. What in Gods name was that about.

  83. Cant understand Managements team selection today, a chance to see a few new forwards to see if they could score from play and all he does is select more defenders. How are we going to get a settled team with that nonsense.

  84. @Supermac, I wouldn’t be writing Galway off at all yet. They’ve played the league with half of what the ideal starting would be. They beat Tyrone and Monaghan away and only lost by 2pts in Killarney again without Comer, Walsh (both of whom are training), Tierney, McDaid, Kelly….that would be like Mayo going through the league without Durcan, Diarmuid, Flynn, ROD and AOS. We had injuries but just nowhere near the extent of Galway. No guarantee all of them will come back nor is form ever guaranteed but if those players are back for Galway they’ll be very dangerous. There isn’t one bookmaker in the country who rates our chances better than Galway.

  85. Wait until final,alt those naysayers will be begging q ticket,don’t come looking to me,we will win Sam

  86. @Remember51: 4th best scorers, 3rd best defence.

    @Nephin: Monaghan play two wing forwards as wing backs, Karl O’Connell and Conor McCarthy. Given the forward line today missing McCarron & McManus you’d have imagined an awful lot of their threat coming from those two.

    Nothing crazy about playing attacking wing backs like Durcan and Hession to attempt to counteract them. Didn’t work especially well & never overly encouraging to play fearing an opponent’s game more than trusting our own, but easy see ‘why’ it was attempted. In a game where we’d a lot more backs needing minutes for sharpness & progress, with multiple forwards missing for a variety of reasons and a few (Carr) needing relatively short minutes ideally, certainly not one I’d take major issue with personally.

    I’d be more questioning Sam and Ryan starting, given the high risk to low reward on those two. With Ryan walking away from the game with his hamstring strapped potentially a risk we’ve come away the wrong side of.

  87. Remember 51 who are all the new faces? McDonell got a game last week, and young Fergal Boland.
    Hard see many newbies seeing championship bar Maybe v New York.
    Ronaldson on Midwest had it fairly well summarised on Midwest. Teams fairly settled, no bolters, no real experimentation.
    Championship team looking like:

    McHugh, Hession, O’Connor, Carr, Tuohy, McHale, Coen main sub options.

  88. I was at the game today in Clones. Can anyone tell
    Me is there a rule in the GAA rule book, that if a referee issued a red cad to a team , he then has to actually play with them. Some of his decisions after issuing the red card were unbelievable. I have said it before on a number of occasions, O Shea is being fouled time and time again, and because he is a big man referees are giving him nothing. Today again the only thing missing with Aidan was a saddle. He was given absolutely nothing. We could have actually lost this game today in the dying minutes only
    Byrne in the goals made a point blank save.
    This was against 13 men at that stage. We allowed
    Monaghan build time and time again when even up a man allowed them to get their kick out away unopposed, by not marking the corner backs man to man. No instructions from our 4 selectors/ Management team on the side line , to push up on kick out what so ever. They just stood there looking on. I’m worried going forward.

  89. Tsudo. I know what you’re saying but in a game like that which really means nothing I would prefer to give more forwards as much time as possible. Also work on a system for the championship . I doubt he’ll play a team like that again this year.

  90. Listened to the game today, think we’re hitting panic mode again prematurely, while not what I’d like to have seen/heard today no point in putting too much emphasis on it. Our great players from 16/17 didn’t earn that respect from playing dead rubbers in round 7 of the league. Bring on the championship

  91. Nephin – It seemed fairly obvious that management used the game to give time to players coming back from injury like David McBrien,Paddy Durcan,Eoin O’Donoghue,Padraic O’Hora ,Darren McHale ,Enda Hession and James Carr.

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