Game day – strange backdrop but there’s still a match to be won today

We’re back in Connacht Championship action this afternoon. Leitrim provide the opposition at MacHale Park in today’s Connacht SFC semi-final where throw-in is set for 2pm. Fergal Kelly of Longford is the ref and the match is being broadcast live on RTÉ with match commentary also available on Midwest Radio.

The Covid scare within the Mayo panel in recent days has given this match a rather unreal backdrop. While we’ve named a team for it, in reality we won’t know how we stand in relation to player availability until shortly before throw-in. Ahead of then, there’s really no point in speculating further on who will or won’t be lining out for us today.

Covid concerns or not, the reality for us us that we still have a knockout Championship match to play this afternoon. Regardless of our line-up, we’ll still be huge favourites to win this one.

This is understandable – we’ve had a good League and we come into this game having thumped Sligo in our opening provincial Championship tie two weeks ago whereas Leitrim are a struggling Division Four team who haven’t won a competitive match of any kind since before the initial Covid restrictions were put in place in spring of last year.

Our pandemic-related travails may give Leitrim more hope, though I guess that depends on the strength of the team we’re able to field today. But even if we have some withdrawals from our named team ahead of throw-in, we still have playing reserves that are deep enough to get the job done.

At a personal level, I’m really looking forward to this one, for the simple reason that I’m going to be there. I wasn’t intending to go but when the tickets went on sale online I couldn’t resist and so, with the young lad in tow, I’m readying myself to hit the road west.

It won’t, I know, be a match-day experience of the kind we were all used to in the world we once inhabited, back in that era before any of us knew the first thing about what a global pandemic is and what havoc it can cause. That carefree world is gone but the football is still with us and it’ll be great, after what has been a too-long absence, to be there at MacHale Park to see a game of football at first hand today.

So, there’s no further time for rumination here as I need to get going shortly. Because I’ll be at the game, though, I will (if I can still remember how to do this) be recording a post-match audio report and, all going well, that audio piece as well as the usual match report should both be up on the blog before I embark on the return journey to the capital.

Right, it’s time to go. Safe travelling to all of you who are also heading to Castlebar today. It’s game day, let’s win this game. Up Mayo.

53 thoughts on “Game day – strange backdrop but there’s still a match to be won today

  1. Safe travels wj. And also anyone else who’s travelling. Just the thought of it walking up” yea programme please.” Please god the connaught final I’ll get to it.

  2. Enjoy the game WJ plus jr. Great feeling to be back watching live football again.
    No point asking for the subs list. God only knows our panel for today but we have enough depth to take care of Leitrim.

  3. Safe travels WJ.
    It a great to be looking forward to going to a game and ambling into town for (pre booked) pints afterwards, I hope the weather clears up!

  4. Happy motoring wj. Hopefully we’ll be on that road heading in the other direction in a few weeks. Good luck to all today. Interesting to see who really lines out for the game.

  5. Good man Wilie Joe, looking forward to hearing the audio report again.

    Seems to be a high chance of rain for the game, that will keep the scoring down I would say. Only two things I want today, the win and no more injuries.

  6. Hello, Tne uncertainly about team and subs is exciting.
    I am supporting England. I find the ante English football sentiment idiotic in Ireland. All I hear about are Man United and City, Liverpool etc. and not a word about Mayo. Boris did when he was Mayor of London. Besides I met enough nice English people to share their joy. I don’t think they will be ramming a victory down anyone’s throat.

    I digress as I await WJ to bring us the latest. The master plan is unfolding undercover of a van. It will be nice to see how the positional changes go and set us up nicely for Galway, not to mention Dublin and Kerry. Hope you all have a nice day.

  7. Ciaran+2, .. Many very nice English people alright, The England team deserve to be in the final, Southgate doing a terrific job, built on a fantastic defense, only one goal conceded.. I can live with it if England win, but Italy for me.. La Dolcie Vita, ..Anyhow Green and Red in the Italian flag… I find it strange not having a clue what’s going on re Mayo and the Covid situation.. Hopefully it will be a blessing in disguise, in some way..Changes are almost a certainty, and who knows, opportunity for someone else to shine, opportunity for James Horan, to see something else that he hadn’t planned for only a few days ago… Opportunity for Leitrim as well, we have to wait and see… More important, Safe journey, comply with any nessary public health protocols.. Have a great day, enjoy the Match..

  8. Mayo 3-16. Leitrim 1-8.

    Most of the damage done in the first half (2-12 to 1-6 at half time).

    Very low scoring 2nd half (1-4 to 0-2).

    You read it here first.

  9. Good luck to all the players and management and I hope we see some good football today. Good luck to Leitrim too. I hope their lads put in a good display.

    I’d say that the security will be tight for this one so don’t try and pet the Alsations. They don’t like that.

  10. Thanks Leantimes.

    Still no subs. TV @1.30. Will listen to Midwest commentary most likely. Maybe Leitrim will have an explosive start. I used to dread the opening minutes in Croke Park as I feared an avalanche.

  11. Best of luck to James Horan and all the players, coaches plus all attending today.
    Keep it going in building a new Fort McHale with another win.
    A good performance and no injuries in similar conditions to last weekends semi, will do nicely!

  12. Best of luck to James Horan and all the players, coaches plus all attending today.
    Keep it going in building a new Fort McHale with another solid win.
    A good performance and no injuries in similar conditions to last weekends semi, will do nicely!

  13. Couldn’t sell out a mere 3,500 attendance. Connacht GAA choosing to go with €30 ticket prices backfired.

  14. James Carr can’t even make the team today?? Is he really that far down the pecking order ?

  15. Leitrim don’t seem to have any game plan whatsoever ? Bizarre that they aren’t even trying to be a little defensive at the start

  16. What’s bizarre is that Rte are showing this live..
    The whole system now needs a total reboot..
    Most clubs in Mayo would beat them..

  17. This is a pointless farce. Absolute waste of time. Some of the Leitrim lads have bigger beer guts than me.

    Even Horan must be frustrated by this waste of time, we would have been far better off with an a versus b in house game

  18. Need some height in FB line. Big FF would do damage. Pressing very high. Galway will be watching that and plan will be to counter

  19. Run the bench now and take key players off, no injuries is only goal left now

  20. Subs list:
    16. Colm Reape
    17. Boyler
    18. Ben Doyle
    19. Jack Coyne
    20. Diarmuid
    21. James McCormack
    22. Conor O’Shea
    24. James Durcan
    25. James Carr
    12. Aiden Orme
    7. Fionn McDonagh

  21. And yet 2 current div 4 teams won their provencial titles, so you just cannot scrap the provencials either.

  22. They won those provincials in the year of a global pandemic, a one in a hundred years event. The provincials are dead.

  23. The Championship is a farce with these pointless matches just awful stuff. Need to scrap these provincials and put teams like Leitrim into a B competition.

  24. Donaghy outlined an excellent restructure last year
    2 championships
    But
    League places dictate
    And
    Provincial winners guaranteed a spot in top tier

    That was the bones of it but it made a lot of sense
    Every league game mattered
    Provincials kept
    Weaker counties get plenty of games and also to test themselves against better

  25. complete waste of everyone’s time. Time to decouple provincial from championship. Play provinces off in spring and play championship with 4 divisions + knockout phase

  26. Facile win. But was anything else really expected?

    Tommy Conroy is a joy to watch.
    Squad has a very solid feel of depth to it.
    Coens hammer will be a small concern, he didn’t look comfy after that last point.
    Not convinced about Rory in goals, looked nervy more than once – but it was his debut, so maybe I’m being too harsh.

    I expect Galway to be put back in their box next time out.

  27. Well only 3000 could attend so lots of Mayo supporters were glad to watch it on TV?

  28. I thought our application and effort throughout and strength in depth is encouraging. Also good to see us being ruthless and going for goals, an old mayo failing has been taking our points when the goal is on!

    Having said that Leitrim are desperately bad, no disrespect intended. Change in championship structure needed now.

    Lee Keegan for 1 week after apparent shoulder dislocation but no sling on – hopefully not as bad as first feared

  29. @jaden Joyce and Co are chomping at the bit for this one. They have a good midfield pairing and are way better in defence now than last year’s final. Our back line is wide open as we all know, so we are foolish to be thinking we will have an easy win over them.

  30. Galway are favourites mayo underdogs !! No pressure on mayo galway to prove their division one status and been playing at a different level?. I am confident keegan will be fine didn’t require his services nor mcloughlin today No harm to keep the powder dry and not show your hand. I believe all teams are using the dublin template of rotating forwards movement between centre forward and full forward. Interesting 2 weeks ?

  31. Dreamy….there’s always the off button.
    Well done mayo. Leitrim were brutal, not our problem.

  32. Know one is saying or thinking we’ll have it handy against Galway. But Dessie made an interesting point during the game, we never stopped pushing up and the intensity was kept for most off the game which is very encouraging.

    Some will say we learnt nothing or division 2 is not preparation but that is a crock off shite.

    We learned today with Cillian, Lee and a number off other players out we have a serious serious squad off players at disposal (the fruits of Horan’s work behind the scenes) and a number off them stood up and put their hands up.

    I don’t think Mayo we’ll get it easy at all in 2 weeks time but when all is said and done we have the players and experience to win and I am confident we will.

    It’s time we give credit where it’s due. We have a serious army coming and on our their day can be a match for anyone.

    You can’t underestimate the confidence winning does and winning well for younger players. Onwards to the Connaught final.

  33. Fair play Mayo, can only beat what is in front of them. Very solid performance given week they had.

  34. All too easy.Ruane,Conroy and O’Donoghue were excellent. Subs should have been brought on at half time. 3 to go!! Up Italy

  35. So pleased the match went ahead and we got the win. I thought Mayo showed quality in their play with driving runs, coordination and teamwork. This is a good sign for up ahead, from my point of view. Mattie, Tommy, Ryan, Oisín and Paddy Durcan looked well today.
    I want to pay tribute to Leitrim – they are warriors too. They kept going, full tilt, until the end of the game although the scoreboard was so unequal. Respect to them. It’d be great to have chances to show their abilities.
    I think we have what it takes to win against Galway and I would be most happy if we do.
    Contrary to what Pat S mentioned on the TV, I don’t think Galway were much tested against Roscommon. Although in Division 2, Mayo played an All-Ireland Final against Dublin 7 months ago.
    I hope our running game can compensate for the losses of Cillian and possibly Lee on the field. Onwards we go!

  36. Look Mayo lost the All Ireland 7 months ago so will be favourites going into Connaught final. Mayo totally untested and Galway had a tough match in poor conditions againat Roscommon. Im not convinced that our young team can see out matches but expect them to create plenty of goal chances against Mayo. As Pat said COC provided 53% of Mayo scores and is a huge loss. I dont think Shane will miss final but we will have to wait and see. It should be a great game with winner sure to rattle the Dubs.

  37. Only three games to go,we are outstanding we will hammer Galway,then it is Dublin and probably Donegal,we are home and hosed, Mayo for Sam,up Mayo,I expect an easy English victory this evening half of them could have played for Ireland

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