Game day – tough assignment tonight

After a fortnight’s break, National League action resumes for the lads tonight with a tough assignment down south. Unbeaten Kerry provide the opposition in this Round 6 fixture, with throw-in scheduled for 7pm at Austin Stack Park in Tralee.

It’s difficult enough to mount a credible case in favour of our chances of putting a halt to Kerry’s gallop tonight. Their young guns come into tonight’s game with five wins from five starts, their confidence rising and their swagger becoming more pronounced with each successive win they’ve bagged. By contrast, our great start to the season has now been tarnished by successive defeats to Dublin and Galway, which means we’re likely to bring all manner of self-doubt with us on the trip to Tralee.

Kerry have every right to be confident that they’ll add our name to the list of counties they’ve vanquished in this Division One campaign. While all of their wins have been tight margin ones they’ve managed to seal the deal every time, wriggling out of a variety of tight spots in the process. Our inability to finish off Galway when we have them by the throat the last night, meanwhile, shows that we don’t have the same efficiency in that department.

But, for all that, and despite the undoubted fact that this assignment is a more-hope-than-confidence one, our cause this evening is far from hopeless. Eleven of the team named to start tonight were on the field at some point the day we beat Kerry fairly decisively in the 2017 All-Ireland semi-final replay, with a number of those likely to be on the bench in Tralee tonight – such as Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan, Andy Moran and maybe even Cillian O’Connor – having played a major part in that epochal win.

So, swagger or no swagger from the fresh-faced home team, our lads are unlikely to be fazed by the challenge they face. We shouldn’t expect them to be cowed either by facing Kerry in Tralee, not least given the big support we’ll arrive with ourselves, not to mention our strong recent record at the venue.

Hand on heart, though, I still think Kerry are more likely to prevail tonight. They’re on a roll in this League campaign – it’s their best ever League start since 1965 – and we’d need to raise our performance level a fair few notches to compete fully with the kind of display they’re likely to lay on. It would be a surprise – albeit a very nice one – if we prove capable of trumping what they bring to the table.

The fact that – weather permitting – we’ll have a much better idea before throw-in about what, if any, relegation peril remains extant following this afternoon’s Galway/Roscommon match is also relevant in thinking about how our match will go. I’m not sure we’re all that pushed about making the Division One final and so, if Galway win and as a result extinguish whatever relegation worries we may have had, that’ll mean we’re sure to take the field in Tralee in a more carefree frame of mind. Would that harm or hamper our chances? To be honest, I haven’t a clue.

What I do know is that, sadly, I won’t be there myself tonight. Getting to this game didn’t fit with my plans for the long weekend, though I will be following the action closely on the live TV broadcast. It’s not quite the same, of course, but it’s not a bad back-up option either. I won’t be doing a post-match audio report on this one – I reserve that service for matches I go to – but I will be able to get the match report and the MOTM poll up fast enough after the final whistle has sounded in Tralee.

Safe travelling to all those heading south for what promises to be a lively contest this evening. It’ll be a tall order to get a positive result in this game but the lads have stood tall plenty of times in the past and they could well do so again tonight. Here’s hoping they do. Up Mayo.

85 thoughts on “Game day – tough assignment tonight

  1. Good to see Conor Loftus back in the team and looking forward to see how he gets on.

    Looking for a performance tonight. A result would obviously be great but I’d be fairly content to see us put a decent 70 mins together and build some coherence.

  2. Agree with Rock, we need to perform all over the pitch tonight.

    3 wins and 2 losses so far. Very patchy but still JH has juggled every week. It’s hard to be consistent in that regard.

    I’d like right think that JH now had more answers than questions at this point in the league insofar as being ready for the summer.

    Getting a win in Kerry would be fantastic, hard fought but as mentioned if we fully perform no reason why we can’t.

    AOS to “mark” Tommy Walsh anyone?!?!

  3. The only reason that I think we might be competitive tonight is based on your comment WJ that Kerry have won all their games by tight margins. I feel we will do well to keep it fairly close on the scoreboard. Its hard to see our forwards running up a winning score unless we hit 2 or 3 goals and we haven’t been very prolific hitting the net so far Mind you Kerry have been racking up high points tallies but haven’t over troubled the man with the green flag either. In truth though the look well ahead of us at the moment. They have momentum and according to experts are the team most likely to halt the dubs. But regardless of tonight s result there is no silver ware handed out in March and the time to judge these teams is in June and July. By then Kerry will have emerged from one of the weakest Munster campaigns ever while we will have to have overcome two difficult assignments in our own province

  4. Big ask to have Conor Loftus replacing AOS as leader of our forwards. I don’t know that he has the physicality to be influential but great to see him get his chance. James Durcan in corner forward? Can’t see him as a target man.
    It’s interesting lineout, hope it’s a good competitive game

  5. It’s hard to see us winning this one. We haven’t really any evidence yet this year that we can go and beat a team in flying form. Kerry are on form so this will be a tough ask.

    I’m not too bothered if we don’t win but would love to see us put up a decent score from play tonight. If we cannot put the ball over the bar then we won’t win anything regardless of how well we do defensively or at midfield.

    Good luck to all travelling and best of luck to the team and hope we finish the game without picking up injuries or red cards.

  6. Ontheditch
    AOS leader in forwards.? He is the only forward to have the worst scoring rate since he started playing for County. Go back over the last 2 years what is his total scores ? He has been tried in fullback, midfield,centre forward, full forward, and now this afternoon again back to midfield. I would like to see the team play a few games without him, we might see more players able to adapt better.

  7. I think we are looking at a big defeat here unless the problems of the last few games have been fixed or improved dramatically. It is worrying that once fitness levels have evened up and we faced the better teams that we have struggled. Having said that the bad weather makes the league a little bit of a write off in making judgements.

    Kerry by 8

  8. It’s wet and windy down here in the Kingdom at the moment. Another game for our lads in terrible conditions looks likely. Any other team, already qualified for the league final, would probably try to experiment tonight with different set up- but not Kerry. The still have us in their sights to teach us a lesson for having the nerve to beat them out of the championship 2 years ago, and, on the occasion of the making of the Mick O Dwyer documentary that day as well. I am leaving the family with the in-laws down here and going it alone to the game for the first time in ages due to the soldout status. It will be a tough ask in the wind and rain but I would be happy with a good performance to within 3 points or so. Forget about this league – as usual with us – and prepare for another big summer. Regards tonight, I hope we move the ball at pace where possible and ditch the laborious lateral hand passing. As you say Willie Joe, we have nothing to loose so let fly. This bunch don’t have any fear of the green and gold. Another trimming would not do us any favours and a nervous defensive set-up would invite just that. I think this game needs a sweeper approach but will see. I will face the in-laws tonight much better if we go down fighting. Come on lads St. Patrick was never in Kerry in his life…from his time in Downpatrick to Croagh Patrick sure he owes us a “like” or two on TripAdvisor.. .or a blessing from above……

  9. The big game today is Galway v Ros. If Ros win then We will have to get a result against Monaghan Sunday week to guarantee Division 1 for next year. Ros last game is at home to a Kerry team who will already be in the final.

  10. On a side isssue what do people think of the new away jersey being launched tonight being the colour blue? Who is coming up with these colours why don’t we go the whole hog and just go back to white like when we won it in what seems like two thousand years ago

  11. I accept Aidan doesn’t score much True Grit but he does an amount of work for the team. He’s good for two or three handy frees every game, and actually should get more given the abuse he absorbs. He’s probably our best tackler, wins a huge amount of possession and has distributes the ball really well from defence.

    Personally I’m always much happier when I see his name on the team sheet.

  12. Agree backdoor Sam colours represents us just as we our associated with green and red our traditional alternate is white. From a playing perspective it is the clearest on the field to pick out a teammate. Blue is not associated with Mayo football

  13. For info – both Galway GAA and Kerry GAA have confirmed this morning that the matches in Salthill and Tralee are going ahead as planned today.

  14. Thanks Willie Joe. Was wondering if the game in Tralee would be pulled. Rain has been biblical down here.

  15. The manner in which we let a very average and under strength Galway team completely outplay and outfox us last time out would not bode well for our chances tonight against this seriously talented and aggressive young Kerry team. A heavy defeat looks to be on the cards unless our lads have been able to find the capacity in the past two weeks to recover several areas of our game to levels not seen so far this year. Irrespective of the result it would be nice to see our newer players perform well and compete well.

  16. Don’t like blue so will be holding out for the one the players will be wearing on mayo day if they go on sale

  17. True Grit
    Go back over the last two years and ask yourself how many games would we have won without AOS’s leadership. We would not be in division one of the league that’s for sure!
    At this point I think Horan continues to experiment, and rightly so, as there are quite a few changes from game to game. I think for the most part he let’s them get on with and see how things develop. By championship time I’m sure we will see a much more structured approach.
    Down the road I expect Fionn McD could make chf. Very compact speedy solo runner and can score freely with both feet.

  18. @true grit.
    That sentence that aido “is the only forward to have the worst scoring rate since he started playing for County. ” isnt factual on any level.If you have a point to make about him why bother with lies and hyperbole?

    Im down here in Tralee since yesterday and the weather is very bad.I dont know who this will suit better but as others have alluded to i dont see us getting anything from this game.I cant see where our scores are going to come from.Geat to have the likes of leeroy,boyler and Andy to come in though.I think Kerry by 7-8 and theyll score a couple of goals.Hope im wrong!

  19. FW
    RTE say Mayo’s trip to Kerry goes ahead. Some other games cancelled. Keep us posted please
    Looks like another tough playing conditions.

  20. @ontheditch
    Was a total washout here all morning,lots of water on the ground and i thought there was a chance it could be called off. its eased in the last hour but still raining.The game will go ahead i think but the pitch will be very very wet,think Hyde park Mayo v Roscommon league 2016….running through puddles!

  21. There is an excellent surface in the pitch in Tralee. 100% the game will go ahead.

  22. TrueGrit..I’d hope you’re in the minority with your view of Aidan being limited to points tally..How many times has he gone to the well for Mayo at this point?? Am worried about how tonight could pan out in Tralee..Impossible to call..We could pull it out of the bag or get beaten by 5/6 points.

  23. @FW. thanks for setting the scene for us.

    Don’t care how good the surface is, the going will be soft/ heavy
    I’m sorry I can’t bear any good news. Possible hail showers but no improvement forecast.
    The authorities are obviously confident the game can go ahead. Wrap up and enjoy.

  24. Cavan relegated and the rossies being hammered, mayo’s division one status safe for another year, they should have a right run at Kerry this eve and show some real mayo pride!!

  25. Looks like we are safe for another year. Cavan are down and roscommon 3 points behind us with only one game to play.

    Let’s open it up against the yerras. Weather permitting.

  26. There’s no need to argue about AOS, he is a very important member of the team and we need him at his best if we are to progress to late in the summer. However if your judging him as a forward of course his scoring record has to be taken into account. IMO he is not a CHF, he doesn’t score enough from such a pivotal position, he will win a few frees but that isn’t enough. AOS is a midfielder and that’s where he needs to play, everything good about his game, fielding, tackling defending is most suited to a midfield position.

  27. Good win for Galway without getting out of second gear, Mayo safe now so no excuse to give it a good rattle v Kerry.

  28. Full subs list as per the match programme: 16. Robbie Hennelly, 17. Eoin O’Donoghue, 18. Colm Boyle, 19. Lee Keegan, 20. James McCormack, 21. Caolan Crowe, 22. Conor O’Shea, 23. Fergal Boland, 24. Andy Moran, 25. Jason Gibbons, 26. Conor Diskin.

  29. Yes a few surprises on the bench for sure. We knew Reape didn’t travel but Disappointed that James Carr and Darran Coen didn’t make the bench would rather they got a chance instead of another one to Conor o Shea. Jason gibbons was a surprise maybe he back in due to injury to Seamus o Shea. Glad Diskin is back in.

  30. Half time and I’d take off Loftus and James Durcan bring on Andy and Diskin both Loftus and Durcan have been disappointing. Hard to see out stopping Tommy Walsh and outscoring Kerry But stranger things have happened.

  31. AGreed AOS was immense, boland made a difference, Ruane and McDonagh continue to impress

  32. AOS was massive, Ruane also. Great finish for the goal, held his composure very well. We’ve not gone away yet!

  33. Sure we always beat them in the league 😉
    AOS/ruane excellent
    Our attacking play , shooting and decision making is a huge worry though
    Andy terrible again as well when he came on

    But still good to win

  34. Rakestreet 100% agree with you I would add McLoughlin to the list as well his game intelligence is second to none. Aido best game by far and he looked as though he was enjoying it. How about Matthew Ruane blossoming into a box to box player, he is getting more confidence. Also agree with the above James Durcan was very poor looked as though he was frustrated not his usual game. Boland looked good at both ends of the pitch when he came on. Loftus chance may have gone, never made his presence known. Thought we did a lot better around the middle. Clarke’s kick outs are a problem.

  35. Everyone calling for Aido to be dropped I hope ye enjoy your humble pie. Aidan was immense as usual

  36. Massive win tonight. Great team performance. Hopefully this brings a bit of perspective on things. After the defeats to dublin and Galway, there were people on here wishing for the quality of forwards of Leitrim. We are still capable of putting up to any team on the country on our day. Its only March. Early days in the Horan era.

  37. I thing Aido showed why he is such a treasure tonight both ends of the field. The lines he break to open up play for others, winning possession, and the trackles and steals, the one at the end was masterful.

  38. Great win, great game, midfield position now put to bed Matthew Ruane excellent, all to play for, I mentioned this already in the aftermath of the Galway game, Tyrone could decide whether Mayo make the league final v Kerry.

  39. Aidan O Shea wins MOTM after stellar performance..Can we maybe stop.with the talk of dropping him for a whileen??Delighted for all those who travelled as it will surely shorten their journey home..Happy St Patricks wend to all.

  40. Great win for ye.. Tough conditions. So which of us really wants to get to a league final??

  41. Good performance tonight , we learned what we already know, Aiden O Shea best and only position is midfield and covering back, Ruane is a genuine find, Clarkes kick outs still big problem, Andy doesn’t appear to have the legs anymore, need Cillian back to take the frees , and need scores from play from forwards , Boland might be the man with McDonagh .

  42. Well done Mattie Ruane. Showed for ball all day , injured in 2nd half and continued on. And what vision to make that run into space. Pass duly delivered by Kevin Mac and what a finish. Midfield partner Aidan O’Shea superb. He has been all 6 league games. Boland Barrett Vaughan Plunkett all coming good. Not a great showing for Loftus and James Durkan but will have better days. Well done all

  43. Game of two halfs. Doc, AOS and Ruane were superb. McLoughlin diligent. Still plenty of life in Andy yet.

    Let’s drive on now and get to a league final.

    Seriously, who said we should drop Aidan? It should be against the house rules at this point

  44. mayomessi- couldn’t agree more. Going into ff line at the beginning of first half and then putting in huge tackles in back line towards the end. shows that Aido can be influential all around the pitch and is a massive asset for the team. Ruane mighty as well. hopefully Clarke is fine, but great for Robbie to be brought into a game that’s in the furnace. Amazing that we could have Lee, Moran and Boyler all on the bench and added that late in the game. What a difference a game makes!

  45. The introduction of boland was the turning point. Very smart and brave footballer. Set up and scored a point as soon as he came on.
    Way ahead of durcan and loftus IMO

  46. I’ve always maintained that Aidan should play midfield. With Ruane’s form so good we have the luxury of playing Diarmuid in the forwards which is another positive.

    Michael Plunkett has started 3 games and we haven’t conceded a goal in any of them. No coincidence there. Backs should be judged on things like that, not how many points they kick.

  47. Big big improvement tonight. Well done to all the players.
    Ruane was brilliant and o’shea.
    Good team display and worked woefully hard for each other.
    I’m delighted to say I got my prediction 100% wrong. Sometimes it feels great to be wrong.
    That was a big statment from our lads.
    Dublin got another trimming. Heard they looked a bit lethargic this evening.

  48. Willie Joe.. would it be possible for people to post the real names with their comments… I seen some where that some one suggested that AOS should be dropped.. was I dreaming that or am I cracking up…

  49. Hi All,
    Congrats on a great win this evening in what I heard were very tough conditions well done. We were beaten by a much better team tonight and at times We looked way off the pace so well done to Tyrone too.

    Kind Regards
    Martin the Dub

  50. Still way ahead of the Kerry jersey!!
    AOS immense again. Whad do you tink of dat Brolly?
    Ruane and McLoughlin excellent. Overall a terrific Mayo performance.
    League final here we come!

  51. We were the better team for 80% of the match. We learned our lesson from the Galway game of keeping it tight against the wind. Midfield brilliant and our backs very solid. If we make the league final or not we have to be happy how Horan is developing this team.

  52. Well done Mayo was glad to see a o Shea get man of the match what do you think of the Mayo jersey.

  53. What a win! Breathless after that. Is there anything as good as following Mayo!!!! Aido a powerhouse. Talk about leaving it all on the field tonight. Longest 6 minutes ever. Well done Matthew Ruane. Mighty to see Leeroy and Boyler tearing in at end. Hope Cillian back soon for frees. Lovely tribute from Aiden for Alan Freeman Dad RIP. Pat Spillane hates losing to Mayo!

  54. brilliant win, badly needed. Delighted to have called it during the week on here.

  55. Great performance by defence and midfield and wing forwards. Thought some of the forwards were coppping out of taking shots at times though and need to just go for their shots. if you miss you miss there’s no crime in that. disaster if you copping out of taking the shot and then ending up getting turned over. Horan did well too tonight and seemed to get the formation spot on. important win from a team confidence standpoint

  56. I thought McLoughlin pass to Ruane was the moment of the game great finish but the pass gave him 30 seconds head start.
    I didnt think Andy was poor either.
    Not brilliant but he got on ball and looked dangerous. Andy has been immense for the last 4 years and he has so much to offer.
    Having him for 15 minutes or 20 minutes is a great option.
    You can be sure opposition management shit themselves when he warms up on the sideline.
    Before this game guys thought Aidan should be dropped when there is no evidence over the last 10 years that he should not be the first name on the team sheet every game.

  57. AOS was, as other posters have commented, immense this evening. His class on this night, however, was cemented by his gesture towards the Freeman family of Aughamore on their recent sad bereavement as he accepted his MoM award.

  58. Great to put the loss to Galway to bed by beating Kerry. Ruane/ AOS combination suplimented by DOC around midfield was superb. We are certainly learning. Well done to all supporters who made the journey, sweet reward.

  59. Will be very interesting next weekend. Four games matter. So many permutations.

    Only one team have nothing to play for and that is Dublin.

    Kerry still need a point to make League final. If Mayo and Galway both win and Kerry lose to Roscommon in Hyde who need to win to stay up, it could yet depending on points difference be a combination of any of Galway, Mayo or Kerry depending on point difference.

    If Mayo beat Monaghan and Galway draw or are beaten by Tyrone, it’s Mayo Kerry League final.

    If Mayo draw with Monaghan and Tyrone beat Galway, it’s a Mayo Kerry final on the head to head with Tyrone.

    If Mayo draw with Monaghan and Tyrone draw with Galway, it’s a Galway Kerry final on the head to head with Galway.

    Tyrone have to hope for a mayo defeat and beat Galway to make league final against Kerry.

    One last gem is that Cavan have to hope Roscommon draw against Kerry, Mayo beat Monaghan and they beat Dublin with a seven point swing in point difference between them and Monaghan for them to stay up.

  60. I couldn’t care less if we are in a league final or not. Only one final matters to me.

  61. Tyrone on a high, playing at home still hoping to make the final will have too much for this Galway team missing so many regulars.. It’s Mayo all the way to get a rematch of tonight’s game in Croker.

  62. Honestly, id rather stay away from a league final. Let Kerry face Tyrone or Galway, and the winner have tonns of pressure applied on them by the media. Regaining Connacht is and should be our number 1 priority. The quieter we can go about our business the better. New jersey is septic by the way, what were these designers thinking?.

  63. I understand your point but i dont agree Sinead.
    We should aim to get to the final and win it.
    No reason why we cant and if we cant handle hype then we wont win an All Ireland.
    They are well capable of it.

  64. Ah we are well able for the hype but it just doesn’t bother me being in a league final. Unless Mayo Galway league final and we win. Would be very into that.
    I actually like the new away jersey on the lads but I would not touch a blue jersey as a Mayo supporter. Too many bad memories.

  65. Well done to the lads and management this evening, a win in a very wet and windy Tralee is always sweet.

    Some very interesting permutations for the final round of league games, lets hope for win and see where the other results take us. I find it hard to fathom that some supporters would not like to be involved the the league final, has it not done the Dubs the world of good in recent years?
    I understand the comments of staying up and unearthing talent as the top priority (which has already been achieved) but why not get the maximum out of the competition if its there for the taking…

    Anyway, the earlier result in Salthill was an added bonus going into this evening’s game by alleviating, somewhat, a little bit of pressure of getting a result. I liked the fact that JH gave Durcan and Loftus a decent chance in the 2nd half to redeem themselves having had below par performances up to that. It can be tough as forward playing against a gale like that to put a stamp on the game, however, it was just one of those nights for the lads.

    I don’t normally post here or read to thoroughly into the comments but I always take time out to read WJ’s piece and know he does a very informative summary at the end of each league campaign. One stat I’m interested to see is the amount of players that we have used (on top of what has to come back) and what kind of game time they got.
    Last year it was Eoin O’ Donoghue who broke the mold, but unfortunately we haven’t seen much of him yet this year, Injury? This year it’s McDonagh and Ruane who have shined bright with glimpses from Tracey, Reape, Plunkett and Discin. Add McCormick to that list and you’d have to say its been a while since we have had such radical change from a personnel perspective. Really positive stuff and the management deserve credit for this balancing act because maintaining division 1 status is vital. We don’t want to be the next Cork or Meath!
    We really have some great options at the moment and the competition for places will be fierce come summer. Lets have a crack at Monaghan first though…

  66. Welcome aboard, Dan (2)! There’s another long-standing poster who uses that handle which is why I’ve added a ‘2’ to yours but you might want to consider an alternative nom de plume.

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