Game day – we’re due a win against these lads

We’re set for a big match experience under the MacHale Park lights tonight. All-Ireland champions Kerry are rolling into town, taking on our lads in a National League Division One Round 2 fixture. Seán Hurson of Tyrone is the ref for a match that throws in at 7.30pm this evening. It’s being shown live on TG4.

We’re level on two points each going into this match so, while a win may not a must for either of us, it’s certainly something we wouldn’t be passing up on at the same time. Two points tonight would set the winners on the high road to Division One safety while a loss would raise real concerns about getting dragged into a relegation dogfight. That’s the way life is in the League’s top tier.

It’s easy enough to argue that we’re in need of a win that bit more. Not least in light of the fact that over the past four years Kerry have settled into a nice, comfortable pattern of beating us every time they’ve played us.

We may have believed that our League final win over them in 2019 provided proof that we were more than a match for them. But we’ve now suffered five defeats on the trot to them since then – three in the League, including last year’s dreadful Division One decider, and two in the Championship, with three of those losses occurring last year alone – and this one-way traffic has decisively altered that particular narrative.

So we’re definitely due a win over them at this stage. That alone means nothing, of course – Dublin beat us nearly every time they played us for close to a decade and they never seemed to get bored with doing this. As the saying goes, winning is a habit. So is losing.

But there’s another reason we could do with a win in this one. And that’s the simple fact that we haven’t yet secured a victory in a competitive match under the new management team led by Kevin McStay. True, we’ve got two points on the board from the two League games we played – one we should really have lost and the other we should definitely have won – but we haven’t yet experienced what a win feels like in a match that counts for something under this ticket. It would be nice to find out later on this evening.

A match against the All-Ireland champions – albeit fielding a team shorn of the majority of the players who won Sam for them last July, though with heavy hitters like Clifford and O’Shea on the bench – played under the lights in front of what’s expected to be a crowd in excess of 15,000: that would be a fitting occasion to record a first competitive win for this management team. Here’s hoping that’s what we get to witness tonight.

There are two other games involving the county taking place today. The women are also in National League action against the reigning All-Ireland champions, with that match against Meath throwing in at Páirc Tailteann in Navan at 2pm.

It’s been a frustrating campaign so far for the women, who have suffered three narrow defeats on the trot, and today’s match is unlikely to be any easier for them either. The good thing about Michael Moyles’ charges, though, is their positive attitude and a team displaying such battling qualities will eventually get its reward. Maybe not today but I wouldn’t bet against them either.

Earlier on this afternoon, at 1pm in the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, the county’s U20 footballers are set to take on Derry in Round 2 of the Leo Murphy Cup. For both teams, this match – indeed, the tournament as a whole – provides valuable preparation for a Championship campaign that gets going in April.

Speaking of getting going, I’m still on the wrong side of the country right now so I need to get moving shortly. I’m looking forward to the drive west, looking forward too to the big match atmosphere under the lights in Castlebar later on this evening.

The Armagh crowd turned the Athletic Grounds into a real cauldron the last day – what great, passionate supporters they are – and our big home support should aim to do the same tonight. After all, what’s the point in heading to a game like this unless it’s with the intention of exercising the vocal chords and showing the lads we’re right behind them?

So, here’s to plenty of roaring, here’s to having plenty to roar about as well. Let’s get this long overdue win over Kerry in the bag. Let’s get to it. Up Mayo.

82 thoughts on “Game day – we’re due a win against these lads

  1. Absolutely WJ, we mustn’t slip back into the bad old days when Kerry thought all they had to do was get out of bed to beat Mayo in matches that mattered, although I’m fully confident that’s not going to happen. Mcstay employed a very defensive strategy against Galway and Roscommon in the FBD and I think we’ll have to go back to being a bit more defensive than against Galway and Armagh in the league, unlike Mayo, Kerry can call on any number reliable scoring forwards and they’ll punish us if we’re too open at the back. Two of the main things I’ll be looking at today are, will Conor Loftus manage to convince us that he’ll grow into the rock that a centre half needs to be, secondly can James Carr increase his work rate and score throughout the full 70 mins like all top forwards do, he definitely has the ability.

    Best of luck to our men in Castlebar and to our ladies and U20s today.

  2. Kerry will be out to beat us- O’Connor will want to lay down a marker on us.

    That’s why I really want to win- because so does Kerry.

    I’m not a fan of O’Connor- he’s something of a sore loser imo.

  3. @Spotlight agree his comments after the game Donegal game where poor form not a good example to young players.

    Still think kerrys big guns will be a bit undercooked and mayo ahead in fitness.

    Mayo by 2 or 3.

  4. Not over impressed by that McStay interview in the IT, I have to say. I don’t know what it is, but his public pronouncements are a bit off – so far. Of course all this may be a type of PR guff, and the real McStay is a different animal. I hope so.

  5. I’m inclined to agree catcol.

    He done a big 2 page interview with the Saturday indo a few weeks ago and now I see him in the times today with another lengthy interview.

    Just my opinion but we could do with a little less courting of the media in my opinion. It’s the kind of thing that has other counties rolling their eyes at us

  6. Catcol and Supermac, I have no problem with the Irish Times interview. There’s very little actually in it.
    In addition, it felt to me that the paper, his former colleagues, was looking for the interview from him, seeing a good story, than the other way round.
    McStay may well be trying to keep a good general perception and temperature for Mayo in the media. That area comes naturally to him. I think he might see it as a factor in keeping the equilibrium around Mayo and their endeavours.
    What is the current perception of our team as a result of his interviews? A young team, trying valiantly to compete. No pressure on us there. Decent good feeling.
    We all felt the negativity in Mayo supporters last year and many many people bemoaned the absence of media engagement by Mayo management or players.
    As to the IT interview today, the tone was a bit odd, I found too. I had the impression the writer was putting it together from scraps of contact with Kevin or a short call. There didn’t seem to be a lot of material to give a fully rounded interview. That’s not a big complaint, in my view, anyway.

  7. O connor has won alot as manager because he hates losing. He is a bit of a bully but thats what it takes. No good being a soft shite on the sideline. He has done the business at highest level as manager so i wont criticize him.

  8. Hope Mayo players have the gumption to play keep-ball when appropriate, otherwise; all the prep may be a waste of time, money and expectation.
    Also if within their gift, let Kerry play with the wind in 1st-half.
    Steady as she goes boys!

  9. Wind will be a big factor tonight,as mentioned it would be best to let kerry play with it in the 1st half if possible. I think they’ll have better forwards on in the 2nd half.
    As regards Mcstay and the media he can’t win,same with Horan,damned if he does damned if he doesn’t.
    Personally I could give a feic either way as long as the team delivers.
    It would be great to beat kerry,for all the nice talk and plamasing they go on with with us they don’t respect us and always expect to beat Mayo.
    They’ll have targeted this game,it’s a real test.

  10. The U20s beat Derry by 2-10 to 1-8 and the women have just beaten Meath in Navan by 2-6 to 0-9. That’s a serious result for them, beating the All-Ireland champions – over to the lads now!

  11. I heard Sean Morahan ran the show at centre back.

    What a prospect for the future.

  12. Some great results already today! Wasn’t expecting that from the ladies but that is a serious result.

  13. Good win against the 2020 minor All-Ireland champions. Sligo beat Donegal away in the other match.

    Group standings

    Mayo 4
    Sligo 2
    Derry 2
    Donegal 0

    I think that means Mayo are into final regardless of the result v Donegal.

  14. Id say we will be competitive in the first half but I think Kerry will win comfortably. I think a thing we have lacked even when we were at our peak is the ability to take scores from distance. That becomes very clear against well organised defences like Tyrone in AF. Even the last day out against armagh in the first half there was a lot of over and back where as armagh were able to score a lot easier. Its probably a confidence thing but it’s an area that has to improve.
    Few faces missing tonight that might have made an impact. I hope Aido stays inside. When he starts to drift back, the whole team seems to…
    Anyway, here’s hoping…

  15. Moose79, I totally totally agree about Mayo’s lack of demonstration of scoring from distance and also our slowness to take scores (compared with ease some other teams have). We’ve seen this for some time now and it’s frustrating because I know the mettle our team has and I want us to do ourselves justice.
    It is a central point, in my view.
    Fix that and we are trouble for any opponent.
    Maybe Aidan will put the cat among the pigeons in there tonight.
    I’m still going for a win in MacHale Park later ; )

  16. Fantastic win for the women… well done. Thoroughly deserved and hard earned. Well done to the team and panel for backing themselves and giving their best. Maigheo abú.
    Well done to the U20 lads too.
    Let’s make it three from three… fingers crossed.
    Maigheo abú.

  17. what injuries have Durcan and O Hora ,we know about Conroy,they all played in challenge during week against under 20s, so cant be far off playing.

  18. James Fleming

    I have a spare ticket if you want to give me an email address I can send it on or if there’s some other way let me know ?

  19. Good luck to all and sundry this evening in Castlebar.

    Have to agree about the score taking. We need to see improvements in percentage of converted shots to mount a serious challenge this year.

    Other teams seem to be much smoother and much quicker at moving the ball the length of the pitch and do it with ease. Our inability to move it as quickly or with as much ease may be as a consequence of our reliance on running from our half back line for much of the last decade.

    Plenty for the management to work on and good luck to them.

    Hopefully another good display this evening.

    Hon Mayo.

  20. What injury does durcan have? If him o hora & conroy played in a challenge match cant be far off as others have said. Totally roght call npt to rush conrpy back if not 100% would have been great to see on bench but only if 100% fot enough.

    Great win for the ladies! Also for our under 20s against a strong team good goals thats what wins the games!

    Now to the big one kerry will be out for a win for sure but I am pretty optomistic!

  21. Disappointed to not see some of the big names on the bench.
    Reports of them playing training matches either didn’t happen or didn’t translate into them making match day squad.

  22. Good win for u20s in difficult conditions against a physically strong Derry side . 2 excellent goals in first half and very strong defending all over the pitch layed the foundations for this win. Also we were missing a few lads that would be expected to start championship so overall to get a convincing win was very positive in the circumstances . Squad developing nicely and key will be to try to manage injury situation over next few weeks as already it’s impacting. Next week I understand there is a challenge game with Donegal week after in last Leo Murphy game followed by a final against winners of other group which gives this squad more competitive football .

  23. Going for a Mayo win 4-6 pts ! Aiden usually has a big game against them in the league so another MOTM performance would be nice to see…

  24. As good a display as I’ve seen in a long time, but we are all long enough on the road to count our chickens. Lovely style going forward though. Has to be said.

  25. Surely Clifford and O’Se will be in at half time. Real test will come in 2nd half.

  26. Can we now leave managing the team to the management,I believe that they have proved that they know what they are doing,it is a great display,I am sure that we will meet Kerry later in the year but enjoy this evening

  27. Wonderful half of football by Mayo, it’s fair to say in that half Jack was more than put back in his box. Mayo are very well setup defensively and in truth Kerry are now playing for a bit of pride in the jersey as this game is lost unless we stick in a few goals but I can’t see where they will poke holes in mayo’s setup and more importantly their attitude and aggression.

  28. Try not to concede any goals and make it as hard as possible for them to get scores and we should be fine. Who’s going to go on Clifford?

  29. Is there anyone in the world going to speak about James Carr or is everyone just still just going to ignore his off the scale scoring stats per games started . He is a natural scoring footballer , sin e .

  30. Well done tonight as we were beaten well on every line both on and off the field. One positive is that we won the second half but in truth Mayo were becoming more focused on defending their lead and ye still controlled the midfield where Flynn had a blinder. I was hoping we would steal a draw tonight but we were miles off the pace so hats off, Armagh will be interesting next Saturday evening now….

  31. Great win and well done to the lads but if I’m being really honest I wouldn’t consider anything more after that. Yes we played well in patches but we have played Kerry’s 2nd if not 3rd team. Kerry still look like they are on holidays tbh. My gut feeling is if we meet them again later down the road it could be very different and it’s vital we don’t get giddy over this result. Good win some strong performances in particular Flynn who was good in front of the posts. But Kerry’s lack of fitness and interest makes it hard for me to take much from that game.

  32. @Sean Burke

    I said at the start of the year that James Carr was one to watch. Had a very solid year last year and is building on it this. Could be this year’s Jordan Flynn

    With all that said, he scored 1-2 but it probably should have been 2-3

  33. Good win. Kerry long way off the pace yet.
    Really like how assured we are coming out and our movement going forward. Got a bit frantic again towards the end, aido started drifting but we settled again. A few bad misses again but definitely more confident going for scores tonight.
    I don’t know who or how D Clifford is going to be marked.. But that’s for another day. Fair play to everyone involved. Hope DOC is okay.

  34. Good display. Lots to work on but always nice to win. Well done lads. Heads down and need to work on retaining possession and keeping pressure, even when you’re well ahead.
    Thanks lads.
    Lovely tribute to Ger Brady, Kevin McS… well said.
    Maigheo abú.

  35. Great two points for us, really did not see the first half in particular coming. Kerry were far from at their strongest there but we really owed them one for the NFL final last season, so it was good to get a win over them. Won’t matter too much come late spring and summer, of course, winter football being a different animal altogether.

    Solid performances all over the park, but Jordan Flynn outstanding for me, and we dominated round the centre. Nice to see young Reape sink a few from the 50 too.

    How in the name of Jeebus did ROD manage to get a foot to that for the first goal?

    Tyrone at home has been a sticky one for us in recent years, so hopefully the lads can keep the good momentum going in the next round.

  36. Terrific result and means we’re close to being safe. The big thing in my opinion is we have improved with every game so far in the league. People talking about who Kerry were missing but ignoring the fact we are without Hennelly, O’Hora, Durcan(bar last 5mins) Eoghan McLaughlin and Tommy Conroy. It’s early days but it looks like we’re not going to let teams run up big scores easily which means we don’t have to score as much. McStay and his management team must be buzzing.

  37. One thing commented on was that it was the tallest team we ever togged. In the first half Kerry were too short to compete with us physically. Sean OShea and David Clifford obviously made a huge difference.
    Green shoots shown that David McBrien is able to stop up David Clifford on the run.
    I’m concerned that our David Clifford match up was not always David McBrien.
    I’m seeing already that David McBrien is a better full back in defending than Oisin.
    Aidan is looking for the pass quickly which is good. Still not sure why he moves outfield?
    Enda Hession and Jordan Flynn in fine form.
    Really looking forward to seeing Ryan with a fit Cillian and Aidan inside.
    James Carr in this form makes us really dangerous. He’s a goal threat. I think that was his 8th career goal from not all that many games.

  38. Lads done all they could, and mostly excellent performances so couldn’t ask for more off them.

    Kerry sending a message when game over, running starters despite game been well over to show they aren’t gone away.

    Cannot understand bringing Coyne in, did he limp off in extra time during week??

  39. Coyne had cramp in the sigerson final. Playing 15 or 20 minutes tonight wasn’t going to push him over the edge.

  40. I don’t know wide ball, what was the need for it?
    How many games and extra times has he played on last two or 3 weeks?
    After what happened Tommy why bother when nothing to be gained.

  41. First off all, great to get a win. But Kerry were poor, and very poor. However, beat what in front of u. Our pressing game got us 2 goals from turn overs, which brilliant to see. Jordan was brilliant, and even near end he was flying up the wing. Still think more to come from Mattie, but we getting there in mid field. Thought Duirmaid was also outstanding, very assured, always popping up when needed. Aidan passing through hand and foot brilliant. But not all sunshine and roses, conceding goal, with a high hopefully ball. Jesus sick of those kind of goals in back of our net. This again will cost as year goes on. Some of our shot and basic skills in second half, were not up to standard. But a win, away, possibly from safety, so that things we could iron out on training field

  42. There’s a noticeable thing about Jordan Flynn. Watch his footwork and technique when he shoots. Every shot in terms of footwork and technique is a carbon copy of the others.
    I would think he has really worked on this.
    His technique looks textbook.

  43. Thought oshea did really well again tonight out in front again quick hands laying it off been fouled as usual he doesn’t need high ball chest height and he’ll cobble it up and passes it on. He did it in the first half against Tyrone aswell in the all Ireland. Aido is class always has been. Easy target for some mayo fans over the years just like mcdonald was abused in Charlestown great players don’t come round too often enjoy them

  44. How wrong was I, and delighted to be wrong too. I wish i had Claires optimism lol. Commiserationd to Gamechanger10, safe travel home. Great to get the 2 points, definetly a good result with a few players to come back. Nowhere near a full strength Kerry, but we were not at full strength either. Kerry just getting back at it, and it showed. On to the next game.

  45. MayotillIdie, I agree with you in this – “…Some of our shot and basic skills in second half, were not up to standard…”

    Although a wonderful result, I feel sad that we couldn’t score better or with more confidence in the second half. Why is this? Is it an old failing? Or were Kerry using a blanket on us, keeping us outside the scoring range? Please let us get better here.

    Jordan Flynn is turning into a fine footballer.

    Bob Tuohy looked strong and assured tonight. Brilliant for his age.

    James Carr is amazing.

  46. The future is bright with this panel of players. As above, I would have liked to have seen a bit more in the 2nd half but Kerry were always going to come into it. As for Clifford, my goodness he’s some baller. Jesus. Good performances all round.

  47. And yes, echoing Margie, safe travels home to the Kerry supporters. More games to play and lots to work on for both teams.

  48. Not too often our senior men and senior women beat the reigning all Ireland champions on the same day and the U20s beat Derry so a good day all round.
    What kind of injury did D.OC. pick up? He was going well prior to that.
    I noticed Aido winning a ball but being correctly penalised for having a hold of the Kerry back’s jersey. Afew minutes later David Clifford was dragging McBriens jersey but was given the free. The God of fair play obviously spotted it and Sean O’Shea’s free hit the post.
    For a young inexperienced set of backs I thought the defence was magnificent.

  49. A very good win but it’s February so that has to be taken into consideration.

    We look to be prioritising being more physical and bigger than in previous years especially in defence. We now look to be able to compete with the likes of Clifford and O’Se and that is one of the biggest changes that I see under McStay. A lot more use of kick passing is another thing that we have changed.

    Flynn seems to have taken a real step forward this year. I would say that the management are delighted with that win.

  50. That was a powerful performance by Mayo this evening and regardless of kerry not being at full strength they’re still AI champions.
    I would still a worry about our defending at the death but fortunately we had a good cushion to see us comfortably over the line.

  51. Great result but really think we need to figure out how to close a game out,we were bombing foward when we didn’t need to,play boring possession football and finish the game
    That’s what Jim Gavin’s Dublin done the best

  52. Magnificent
    So many outstanding performers but a special word for Aido who looks to be really enjoying his football again. Good job he wasn’t retired by the online pundits …..

    Weirdest second half ever. It was like both the supporters and team didn’t know what we were supposed to do being 12 points up against Kerry 😀

  53. Thought Aido had another grrat game Bob Touhy will be some footballer and only young..

    Thought we still did well enough 2nd half we held off a bouncing David clifford thought kerry were bound to get a goal at some stage espcially with Jack o connor in their ear at half time..

    Early days but promising stuff.

    Meath ladies win great result, under 20s against a strong Derry side great to see promising futre

    We will learn from this game to but great to see energy, confidence & pace back .
    Management know what they are doing.

  54. Jordan Flynn is really coming into his own this year. Diarmuid is key and hope only a niggle. Great to see Aido being played properly as a target man. If we can tighten up a bit more at the back, we could be hard beaten.

  55. Tighten up a bit more at the back ??
    Thought our backs did very well…
    Great result when you consider some of mid field and starting forwards didn’t play as well as they are capable of

  56. @My Ball I agree thought our backs did really well ebery time they stopped a kerry momentum for goals the crowd cheered of courde I thougjt they held up well to.

  57. We did well at the back but still too easy to score against when put under pressure which we showed in all 3 games to date. It is a work in progress but needs be tighter if we are to be a top team.

  58. Great win by Mayo. Jordan had an exceptional game….one of those points when he first hit Morley I think and left him on his ass was a thing of beauty. He was also denied a Stone Wall penalty. Man of the match but a special mention for Enda Hession who was being dissed by some here during the week was ,I thought fantastic tonight. The amount of ball he handled and carried out of defense was huge,even when the ”wonderkid” arrived (which he is) Hess didn’t seem phased. Great maturity for a 21 year old. Mc Brien adds steel in there and I hope he can avoid injury,he is starting to find his groove at this level. Also well done to Donnacha who didn’t seem out of place and I thought Conor at 6 seems to be growing in confidence,forced a couple of turnovers and carried well. Could have taken on a few shots,but that may well come as he grows into the roll. Aido caused havoc as usual and Colm Reape is edging his way up there. Very few flaws evident tonight.

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