Game day – this one’s a tough test

The lads head north today for our Round 2 outing in this year’s League campaign. Monaghan provide the opposition in this one, with throw-in at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones set for 2pm. Tyrone’s Seán Hurson is the ref for it. The match isn’t on television nor is it being streamed so if you don’t plan to be in Clones for it you’ll need to tune into either Midwest Radio or Northern Sound for live commentary on it.

Both teams will take the field today with one point on the board from the opening round in Division One. However, while we unquestionably came away from Markievicz Park last Sunday knowing that we’d picked up an undeserved point following what was in general a poor enough display, Monaghan will have been disappointed at failing – yet again – to get the better of Tyrone at Healy Park.

Back on home turf this afternoon, the Farney lads will be a tough proposition for us. The last time we played them up there was early in 2020, shortly before the pandemic struck, and they gave us a right thumping that day. If we start off this afternoon like we did against Donegal, the same outcome as that which we suffered two years ago could await us again today.

And, of course, we head into action today shorn – for the full year – of the services of Tommy Conroy. The Neale clubman was one of our best performers the last day and we’ll miss his appetite for hard work as well as his explosive pace, direct running and clever movement. An attack that often looked a bit blunt against Donegal will now have to cope without the rapier thrusts that Tommy was capable of providing.

But Jason Doherty is back and so too is Brendan Harrison, with both these experienced operators getting valuable and productive game time under their belts at Markievicz Park. We’ll need big performances from both of them again today. We’ll also need more end product from a half-forward line that almost never shoulders its fair share of the scoring.

I think it’s fair to say that we’re heading north for this one more in hope than in confidence. This is borne out by the poll here on the site, which almost always yields a positive prediction for how we might fare out in any game we’re heading into. This time, though, the glass-half-empty caucus have it: 48% of you who voted went for a loss today, with only 40% saying we’ll win. Perhaps more surprisingly, only 12% predicted a draw.

Ever the optimist, I have to confess that even I’d be in the downbeat camp today. While our comeback last Sunday was heart-warming to witness, the way we played for the first fifty minutes was anything but and if we perform with that degree of lassitude for as long in today’s match we’re sure to come away empty-handed.

So the question for us is can we make a marked improvement in seven days and so claim a win away from home against opponents who are stronger than the team we struggled against for so long last time out? You’d have to think that it would be a bit of a stretch to do this but the thing about Mayo is that we can never be sure. Here’s hoping James Horan’s charges can surprise us – and Banty’s lads – and come away with what would, in truth, be an unexpected win.

Elsewhere, today’s a big day for the footballers of Kilmeena and Castlebar Mitchels. The former take on Kerry’s Gneeveguilla in the Junior All-Ireland club final st Croke Park while the latter face Dublin’s St Sylvesster in the LGFA Intermediate final at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe. In addition, the county’s hurlers get their NHL Division 2B campaign underway this afternoon when they face Wicklow at James Stephens Park in Ballina.

I’ll embed the feed of the Kilmeena game – which TG4 are streaming on YouTube – here on the blog shortly so hopefully that might help a few more people to see the game. Aside from that, it’s a choice of either getting to one of the games or else following the action on Midwest.

Our club members on Patreon have, though, another option in following what’s happening today as we’ll have a match day chat going on Discord, with representation from the podcast at both St Tiernach’s Park and at Croke Park. We’ll also have our ‘Final Whistle’ podcast episode out later on for club members.

I’ll be back here on the blog after the game with the MOTM poll, match report and all that, hopefully reflecting on a productive day for the county. We shall see.

Best of luck to all the teams from the county in action today, in particular the two shooting for All-Ireland honours. Up Mayo.

46 thoughts on “Game day – this one’s a tough test

  1. I suspect today is a day for Aido around the middle in Clones. We really could do with points on the board before heading to Croker. The Dubs will have to target that game following their start to the league.

  2. Mile buiochas WJ for keeping us abreast re MayoGAA. Like other members I must say that I am enjoying the Patreon podcasts. Go neiri le foireann Mhuigeo, Kilmeena agus foireann na mban Caislean ABharra inniu!
    Mhuigeo Abu!

  3. Good luck to all teams in action today. I’ve a feeling we’ll get a positive result today v monaghan. Maybe there will be a “let’s do it for tommie” attitude.

  4. Fierce weather up here in Monaghan. I just hope the game goes ahead. With the conditions the way they are it wouldn’t surprise me if it was pulled.

  5. Best of luck to all the Mayo teams competing today; we are arguably underdogs in all three ties. Hopefully this brings the best out of us.

  6. Good luck Mayo today. I’m feeling a bit wistful that Tommy won’t be on the field today but please God we can pull something out of the fire and invent something new in the forward lines in response. Adversity can bring that about sometimes so why not now?
    Good luck team and supporters today!

  7. I’d be starting Aido and maybe Jordan Flynn on a day like this. Horses for courses and all that.
    Will be a battle no doubt and we need our more physical players.

  8. Sitting in stand which is full already. Lots of Mayo supporters as usual. Need to start playing from the throw in today and give us something to shout about. Up Mayo!

  9. Best of luck to all our teams today, we’re up against it in all four matches, I’d be very happy if we come away with 2 wins from the 4 matches. Maybe victories in monaghan and C Park but I don’t hold out much hope for the castlebar girls and our hurlers. As always WJ, thanks for the great coverage of all things Mayo GAA.

  10. Was stephen coen’s substitution injury related ?

    Our forwards sound like they are playing well.

  11. No reason for Eoghan McLuaghlin to be playing today after what happened Tommy during the week.

    Hopefully the injury isnt to bad but never good when stretchered off.

  12. I’d say coen substituted because of midfield being outplayed and if that’s the case I’d rather have seen him moved to the half back line instead of Plunkett

  13. Well done Mayo, i would have bit your hand off for 3 points from 2 games at 1pm last sunday.

  14. Massive dogged Mayo display as usual but I forgot about MWR and only joined the match at half time……..Is Eoin okay ?

  15. Super win away from home especially against a tough league team like Monaghan it was backsides in the bacon slicer at the end but great heart as always to from us stick it out

  16. Brilliant wins Mayo & Kilmeena.
    Eoghan’s injury only downside. Hopefully it’s not too serious.

  17. Very good win away against Monaghan, midfield still looks a problem area, looks like Aiden and Oisin needed there, Oisin to run the field and Aiden to hold the middle.

  18. Hopefully Eoghan will be alright to come back this season. Midfield is a worry but Matty will be back from his suspension and maybe Oisin will be ready to go as well. Great to win in the end and Jason Doc and RoD are in great form st the moment.

  19. Well done, Mayo!! Great result. It felt like a good Mayo performance all through. It also seemed like Aidan made a difference when he came on.
    I’m thinking of Eoghan. Please God he is OK.

  20. Great result but very worrying to see Eoghan stretchered off. Did not make any sense not to start Aido. Need to get Mattie back. Lots of good performances if only we were not picking up such terrible injuries.

  21. Obviously sounded better than it looked! Mayo can thank Monaghan for kicking it away. Midfield not at the races until Aido came on. Diarmuid and O’Donoghue excellent throughout. Playing keep ball at the end and as usual gave it away. Some players afraid to take a shot. Lots of room for improvement.

  22. I disagree outsideballagh, the league is about preparing a squad for championship, Aido is great on a heavy slow winter pitch but not on the fast expanse of Croke park in summer where he will be an impact sub. I’ve great admiration for aido but that’s the reality. The definition of insanity and all that. So Horan has to use the league to build experience in our other midfielders to prepare for championship – it’s not as black and white as winning or losing in the league.

  23. Fabulous result in Clones… Great weekend for Connacht team’s in the football.. Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and London all had very good wins.. Fantastic result in Croke Park, congratulations to Kilmeena.. Hard luck to the Gallant Castlebar Mitchell’s ladies, who fought very hard against a very strong St Sylvester’s team, with a number of Dublin senior player’s in their team.. and best wishes for a full and fast recovery to Eoghan McLoughlin.

  24. Thanks for those first hand views, Bogman. I was listening on the wireless.

    It did seem like there was room for improvement.

    At the same time, it appeared that the Mayo attitude was positive and it was good that we didn’t have a stuttering first half this time.

  25. That’s a massive win, now can we for once reverse our shocking record against Dublin in the league I wonder. Prob the only consolation Dessie is keeping himself warm with at the moment is that they have us next. If we got to 5 points after 3 matches you’d think we have a reasonable chance of being safe

  26. @eastcorkexile
    I would think a mayo team with the bit between the teeth is the last thing dessie Farrell wants right now

  27. I agree there is room for improvement and Monaghan did leave us in it but U have to say overall we stood up and played well DOC was good and scored I think Loftus got one when he came on and JDOC got a goal…
    I have to say the ref didn’t do us much good I was right beside dugout and the Mayo lads including Horan didn’t seem to think he was great.
    Overall very positive given the week we had with bad news.
    You feel real strength in depth watching then.Keegan Durcan and AOS central.

  28. It sounded like (from listening to midwest) aidan orme did very well in corner forward but was hesitant to take on shots ? Hopefully he can get a bit of confidence in front of goal and fill the void of losing tommy.

  29. Brilliant win
    Excellent start to the league as well for once . Might be able to have a bit of breathing space for last few games if we could beat Dublin……..
    It’s a free hit . May as well go for it

  30. Overall a good outcome, Mayo had more structure and experience, and had a steady second half. Our second goal was well worked, and we ran the click down apart from the last minute scramble.

    Robbie did what he needed to, and came out and got man and ball for one effort in second half. Diarmuid was impressive, as was Doc even though he is still a little rusty. I thought that Paddy and Leroy really managed the game from the half back line but has been said previously, Monaghan kicked some poor wides and we did well to accept the gift and win the game. Will be interesting to see how Dublin game goes, I would expect that they will have a few players back but we will be hard to beat.

  31. Excellent two points and a game i believe we targeted with older more experienced players in certain positions.It wont help us building for the championship in completley different circumstances but im hoping it frees us up to play newer guys in the next two games and see what we have.Harrison is getting back to where he was and hopefully Eoghans injury only a sprain.Monaghan kicked a ton of wides today it must be said.Ryan,Ohora and Diarmuid would be the pick of our lads for me.Brickenden looked decent in a few one on one tussels and i would like to see more of Orme at corner forward but having a shot more often.

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