Game day: strong statement needed

Morning has broken in what’s set to be a significant day for us in this year’s championship. The longest day of the year may not have arrived yet but today’s clash with Galway has all the feeling of being a pivotal one and it’s one we need to be up for.

Ourselves and Galway come into this game accompanied by different, competing narratives. We say that last year was a one-off, that they caught us on the hop in that one and that we’ll be more than ready for them this year. They say that the gap between us has closed, that they’re a team on the up and that we’re a side clearly in decline.

Both of these portrayals cannot, by definition, be true and both will come under searching examination at Salthill today. Only one of them will remain valid by this evening.

From our perspective, we’ve got to hope and expect that it’s our world view. While we know Galway are, for sure, getting better – and that’s a strong team they’ve named for the fixture – we know we’re one of the most experienced outfits in the country. Today at Pearse Stadium, where throw-in is set for 4pm, we need to put all that knowledge and maturity to good use.

We only played as well as we had to in order to beat Sligo in the opening round last month. Indeed, it’s a well-made criticism of us that, under Stephen Rochford, this way of playing has become something that supporters have had to get used to. The age profile of the team right now means a return to the helter-skelter style we adopted to such great effect under James Horan isn’t on the cards today but neither should be an approach that sees us playing well within our capabilities.

We tried that last year in the corresponding fixture at McHale Park and look where it got us. We know we can play at a far higher level than that and now’s the day to do it. If we can manage that, the result will, I’m sure, look after itself.

Right, enough of the words. Time for action, which in my case involves rousing the troops and hitting the road west as early as possible so that we’re in the City of Tribes well ahead of throw-in. If you’re on the road yourself today, take it handy – leave all the mad stuff for when you’re in the ground and when the lads on the pitch need to know you’re there.

Let’s do this. Up Mayo!

63 thoughts on “Game day: strong statement needed

  1. Safe travelling to all. As you said WJ, today is a defining day in the life of this team. Personally I believe we have gone over our the peak and are in the very early stages of decline while Galway have turned things around, relatively speaking, from where they were.
    However, us at our best today will still have too much for what is, in effect, a good division 2 team. If it was Cork, or Clare, or Meath, or Derry, or Down or Fermanagh we were playing today would we be worried? FBD champions? really? That’s like Jose counting the Charity Shield as a trophy. Good minor team? so what. Their U21’s lost, so what’s the hype about that?
    If we are at our best like we were in Tyrone and against Donegal we will win. Anything less than that and Galway will take us again.
    Rochford and Co it’s over to you.
    Mayo by 4 points.
    Hon Mayo.

  2. I don’t think we are in decline, we are able to play at the highest level as we have done numerous times over the last few years. I do think this team has to build themselves up for games tho, like against Dublin. And after last year in castlebar, Galway today hopefully will find themselves up against a very formidable outfit!
    Talk straight fora minute, Galway could and may well win today, it wouldn’t be a surprise. But realistically, what have they done? The put in a good 15 minutes against Mayo in the championship last year, got absolutely butchered against Tipperary, put in a decent league showing, against what tho? No team they played will be playing football in August. It angers me when you have fellas like Cullenane and Blake dismissing us in the podcast and padraig Joyce saying that unless Mayo score goals,
    And he doesn’t know where they’d come from, Galway will win handy!!! Bullshit! And another one was, no Mayo forward would make the Galway team! Strong statement needed WJ as you headlined!

  3. Kevin McLoughlin would make the Galway team every time. So would the 2 O Connors albeit they need to show closer to their top form. Andy would get game time with any County. Our remaining forwards would get game time with most counties so underrate our players at your peril. What we haven’t done enough is clicked as a team. Rochford and co have been experimenting game plans which is good but with today’s match being windy with some showers… playing the weather wisely will be of more importance today. Both Cork and Tipp played the conditions poorly and in Cork’s case it was restoring their battered pride which won them the game.

  4. Oh yeah and didn’t I forget Aido. Galway would definitely play him in the forwards if they had enough midfielders. So if anything our forward line is just as good as theirs.

  5. This team has matured nicely but is not in decline. We have the strongest panel this year than at any time in the previous 5 years. Today will be a defining day for our fortunes this year no doubt. I hope the players and management have listened to some of the comments coming from those Galway has beens and post that photo of Damien Comer goading on the shoulders of his posse of followers in McHale Park last year on their dressing room wall this afternoon. The awful weather will probably even it up a little more this afternoon. Mayo by 8 !!

  6. The wind today is going to have an impact. Whoever can adapt best to it will be thereabouts. Playing with the wind I would be putting AOS on the edge of the square. If he never touched the ball he would keep two of their defenders occupied and create openings for the others to score. Against the wind I would employ a very tight blanket and see how the much vaunted forwards cope with close hand to hand combat with some of the meanest, toughest defenders to ever play the game.
    Mayo by a point………no need to overdo it!

  7. Was up in Spiddal and Salthill yesterday. Lovely day but pretty blustery. Strong breeze promised today from the southwest. Could have a huge bearing on the scoreboard, might keep the statsmen busy ?

  8. Go through the lines of our team. It’s still a young team. Modern sports science has guys flying to 34/35.
    I think Seamus OShea will be man of the match today. Never seen him looking so lean. He was never lean and defined but jese he looked it against Sligo. He won a 50:50 outsprinting a forward and I thought that looked a new burst o pace.

  9. Whether it is to be wet and windy or dry and calm the winners to day will be those who handle the ball the smartest.It gives a sure insight into how the minds are and I think Mayo should be in a better place than Galway in this regard.
    As Pebbles says its now up to R and the rest of the team….as if it were ever otherwise!

  10. We were caught cold last year. All this talk of who would and who wouldnt make the Galway team is nonsense.
    We will lay a marker down today because we have to.
    Worrying about Galway and aspiring to win an All Ireland doesnt make sense.
    Safe travelling to all. Its wet and windy in Galway at the minute with no sign of clearing.
    Mayo by 5.

  11. Very windy and showery here in Galway which will make it even more of a dogfight. The most important thing today is the stomach for the battle. We need to be up for this one and if Aido is fit we should launch him from the word go, it will be a day for plenty of physicality. Mayo to scrape through an ugly mean battle by 2.

  12. Good luck to all the team management and us supporters. We’ll have to shout even louder with this blustery wind. Hopefully it will have eased by 4pm. Will have a huge bearing on this so important game for us.Hope Aiden is on from the start. Mayo forever!!

  13. The old adage applies today more than usual….”Goals win matches”.
    And Rochford’s influence must be clearly seen today.
    We have good enough, players, on and off the field.
    They need management, and to heed management.

  14. You will have to wait until the teams line up behind the band…WJ does not like rumours here so I’m gonna respect that.

  15. Dirty wet windy day here in Galway. Bring the rain gear and maybe even the wellies. Don’t bring a brolly or you could end up doing a Mary Poppins and find yourself out in Galway Bay.
    To everyone travelling take it easy on the roads both coming and going home. Come early and stay late to enjoy yourselfs in The City of the Tribes.

    Save traveling!

    COME ON MAYO !!!!!!!!

  16. Just thought of something!
    There might be one “Brolly” here today that COULD end up in Galway Bay if he says the wrong thing !

  17. Folks it’s wild here in salthill, awful windy – bordering on gale force , rain stopped at the moment , but the sky is on the ground ,
    Best of luck to Rochford and the lads today , can’t wait till throw in
    Up mayo

  18. There’s a gale blowing here in salthill this morning. I expect us to grind out a win today. Patience is the key. I don’t care how many times the ball goes over and back as long as it goes over the bar at the end of it. Won’t be a classic but Mayo to come out the right side. Mayo by 4.

  19. Whatever about a strong statement there definitely is a strong wind Really dislike this venue for that reason galway seem confident and are doing quite a bit of blowing to add to an already strong wind Would really love to beat them but it will be tough Galway will depart from their usual style and be ultra negative and so defensive they will make Tyrone look like the Harlem Globe Trotters Need to get really stuck in from the off Come on May

  20. If Galway have such great forwards why are they looking to Armstrong – and Meehan?

  21. Well balanced piece Willie Joe, that about says it all. No one can tell how this match will turn out, like most on here I’ve read everything there is to read, listened to Managers interviews followed the podcasts, discussed at nausia with anyone that was prepared to listen and I’m still none the wiser about what the outcome will be. There are five ways this match can go, we can win in a canter or scrape over the line by the narrowest of margins and the same goes for Galway or it could be a draw. Fingers crossed that regardless of how we do it, we can come out on top – up Mayo !

  22. Niall Mc have to agree billy Joe made a good point of this in the podcast some players taking the wrong options against Sligo.
    They need to be patient plus look up and pick out the man in a better position and no rushed shots.think it will be a tough contest with fitness playing a big roll,timing of sub’s will be crucial.
    Mayo by 4.

  23. It’s a shitty day here in Galway weather wise, no other way to describe it. Radar shows an improvement in next hour or 2. Thinking of skipping the U17 game as no family making this one but rain or shine will be on the bike to beat the traffic both ways. Anyone with a bike rack suggest throwing it on the back if the car and park and riding it.
    Will probably improve rain wise by 4pm but expect it windy on that pitch so down to the team with the better composure which I believe will be Mayo unless Galway start Armstrong and Meehan. Armstrong will definitely get game time but some of the young turks should lose the head.

  24. On why Armstrong is starting, going on the Kildare game it would seem it’s because he usually does the right thing with the ball and takes his scores when they’re on in contrast to Cummins who usually wins the race to the ball but is far less likely to do the right thing when he has it. Cummins pace is a threat though so we need to mark him tight if he comes on in 2nd half. Armstrong was Galway’s best forward in Kildare game though Walsh is the most talented.

  25. As for Daly, haven’t seen much of him, he must be a talent but let’s see how he reacts to being hit like a steam train by Boyle or Barrett. Those 2 boys really are hardy bucks.

  26. It’s due to stop raining in time for the match and for the rest of the evening. This is not a semi final- it’s the final.

    I have a suspicion that Harrison will start.

  27. It’s not the final, Rossies waiting in the long grass for the winners. They threw the league and went for championship training instead. Expect a challenge for today’s victors.
    Fans let not make the same mistake as Jun 2016, it almost do or die for Mayo anyway as back door 2 years running looks a long road. Approach it like a knockout, no complacency, our team fed even if just a small bit off our complacency last year.

  28. Best of luck to our team today. Mayo won’t be caught like last year but it’ll still be a tight one. still, Mayo by a coupla.

  29. That’s it …There’s a notable sense of caution coming across from the fans in contrast to game in Castlebar last year…a good thing….no10/12 pointer predictions!
    Whatever it’s like there at the moment it’s cats and dogs melodeon here and I’m inside in the house! But there is a promise coming in from the sw direction and maybe by throw-in time it’ll have spent itself.

  30. Im nervous enough about this one but I think we will scrape it by 1 or 2 points.The Galway lads will be confident.Fingers crossed we quieten our neighbors for the next year.Up Mayo!!

  31. Mayo were poor but that was some 2nd half exhibition by the Galway U17’s into a strong wind. All of their 2-3 were very classy scores. The passes for the goals were superb. Serious AI contenders as their decision making looked very good. Mayo’s was poor but think we were just outclassed. Would have been good bit worse were it not for the ammount of fouls Mayo made. Made no use at all of the wind. Have to blame management for that part of it.

  32. Strong statement made by Galway U17s. Mayo well behind Galway at underage level now going by this year results.

  33. Galway have now beaten Mayo at U17, U18 and U21 this year, very worrying going forward.

  34. What was Keith Higgins thinking??? He was such a loss in the 2nd half… sending off all but nullified the wind advantage…

  35. Rober maybe Kevin ran out of gas if his ribs were damaged last game he would not have been doing much since. Was playing very well and great work rate as ever. Disappointing result. But valiant effort with man down against blanket.

  36. Immediate reaction is that the sending of killed us Also total lack of leadership and composure in the last few minutes when Galway were hanging on. However have no doubt Galway are going to be the dominant force in Connacht for the next few years. They have done the work at underage that we have not

  37. Awful disappointed with that result , I’m lost for words , bring back Horan , I’m not going to say anymore .

  38. More concerned with GAAloopy comments. Not good trend especially manner of results for the underage groups. Were Galway even using there county minors today does anyone know?

  39. Nearly did it with the man down. Very enjoyable game . Is there a reason to think they won’t go again down the long road?
    Some great performances on our side generally ..Clarke, Barrett , Parsons MC L. Fair dues to the Galways ….getting tough but they de want to patch things up a bit at the back!

  40. It wasn’t ment to be hit the post twice ,crossbar once ,goal saved on the line and point disallowed.
    Far to many snap shots.
    Back door it is again.
    Well done Galway got ye re chances and took them.

  41. Galway had more natural forwards. . Sending off crucial. Better team won. .still think we will improve and not too many fancy meeting us in the back door

  42. Well done Galway best team
    Won in fairness. They could score we couldn’t as usual and had no forward game plan with the wind. The qualifiers it is then. Thanks to the Mayo team and panel for all their efforts and sacrifices. It’s not easy to lose we will have better days le cunamh De.

  43. Feels like there’s no fizz left in the bottle.

    We really had nothing up front, God all might but regan’s pot shots were woeful at the end. I will always credit a guy for having the bravery to shoot but those efforts were reckless. Kirby unfortunately hardly touched the ball when he came on. Diarmuid had an off day and so did Keegan and Durcan. Too many things went wrong for us today.

    Beaten for most breaks in the middle sector. Our midfield just wasnt strong enough I feel and we were far to open at the back for the opening 20 minutes when we allowed Galway get a foothold in the game.
    The underage situation is in dire straits and some of us have been flagging this for the past few years – not sure anyone that matters is listening.

    Right now the future ain’t so bright whereas Galway have everything falling their way.

    The really disappointing thing about today is that Galway didnt even play that well. Where do we go from here?

  44. McQuillan v poor for Mayo todaye. How did he give a free out to Galway √†fter themail goal chance. Blatant barging. ….

  45. Galway on the rack for the last twenty and yet we were not clinical enough to take control. Some poor decision making and in hindsight we may have been better holding Andy for the last quarter and starting with Regan or Loftus.
    At this stage we have to go with experienced players for rest of campaign, but we need to get a move on with our next batch, even if it means struggling for a year.
    An overall director of underage football required immediately. Crisis in that department. Possibly players overcoached and afraid to do the unpredictable. But expertise needed in underage management including management of coaches.

  46. Did as well as we could in 2nd half with 14. Regan probably right to go for the last one as any bit is space we’d have to take a pot shot. However he needed an outside if the boot with that wind direction to maximise the chance.
    Think we played well in many aspects against quite a good team who had serious pace. Feel we’ll do well in back door. Hope so anyway.

  47. Well done Galway. The better team, but only just. Our usual shortcomings, on and off the pitch.
    We’ll have some good days yet this summer. But we must have a plan, a winning one.

  48. Underage from under 8 to 14 in crisis in mayo as a coach in galway we have absolutedly hammered mayo teams… even at underage no left n right foot… one big lad dominating all when will this county ever learn

  49. Enjoyable game.
    The lads will have nightmares about not burying that goal chance.
    Hopefully the qualifiers will suit us again and there is no reason why they won’t.
    I hate to say it, but we need lots of retirements after this year.

  50. I felt Galway were worth the win. They started the game well. Mayo came back into the game with a fortunate bounce off the post for the goal. It never really looked like Mayo got to grips with the game. Even when Mayo had a so called purple patch their conversion was poor. The sending off had a bearing on the game I feel as with 5 minutes to go Galway looked out on their feet against a 14 man Mayo team. Mayo need to find their form again as it wasn’t evident today or during the league. Dare I say it but Dublins form of late is also lacking, so it could be Kerry’s year. Having said that I would expect both Dublin and Mayo to bounce back from opening poor performances.

  51. Just one simple question and one obvious comment :-

    Win the toss and select to play against the wind, why ?

    Ask James Horan to come back !

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