It’s another big night under the MacHale Park lights for us later on – the final home night-time one, in fact, of this National League campaign – and another serious test for Kevin McStay’s developing young side. Tyrone provide the opposition in this Division One Round 4 fixture, for which Cavan’s Noel Mooney is the ref. The game is being shown live on TG4.
With one win and two draws so far in this campaign, we’re going okay. Last weekend’s surprisingly comfortable win over a seriously out of sorts Kerry has given us a nice pep in our collective step but no-one needs reminding how capable Tyrone are of kicking sand in our eyes.
The horror show that was, from our perspective, the 2021 All-Ireland final, is still a sufficiently recent memory for us to know that we can never underestimate the challenge that tonight’s opponents invariably represent for us. That gaping wound is still raw and the manner of our defeat that day stings badly even now.
So too does our shocking home record against them. They ended our long, proud tenure in Division One at tonight’s venue back in 2020, lest we forget, and you have to go back as far as 1992 to find our most recent home win against them. We’re definitely due some home comforts in this fixture.
Making MacHale Park a difficult venue for teams to come to means this is a game that, despite our poor record against them here, we should definitely be targeting. Our home record against Kerry was iffy enough too but it now looks a whole load better after the decades-busting trimming we gave them last weekend. A similar outcome against the O’Neill County tonight would be great.
Fielding once again what is now starting to look like a largely settled side, we’ve every hope that the home win over them that we so badly crave could finally come tonight. We’re improving from game to game and, while we’re far from the finished article yet, if that progress is maintained in our performance later on, we should have enough to claim the spoils over the Red Hands.
They have one win under their belts so far in this campaign, which for them has seen them lose, then win, then lose again. This yo-yo sequence will be maintained by a win for them tonight and they’re definitely coming to Castlebar with a greater need for the win. That makes them dangerous, as will any hint of complacency in our ranks.
From our point of view, we’ll want to see the kind of form that put Kerry to the sword last week maintained against Tyrone tonight. If we go about our business in the same efficient manner early on this evening, you’d have to think this will be enough but, as we know to our cost, we’ll need to perform to our best against them if we’re going to prevail. Here’s hoping we do just that.
I’m missing this one myself and personal circumstances this weekend mean that I’m not going to see the game either, though I will be following its progress. Edwin McGreal has kindly agreed to take the wheel for the match report here on the blog, which will be up at some point later on tonight, along with the usual MOTM poll. The lads will have the Final Whistle pod out after the game too, which is something I’ll be keen to listen to as, of course, our Patreon club members will too.
A quick shout-out for the women as well, who have another tough challenge this afternoon. They’re up against Dublin, with that LGFA NFL Division One match throwing in at DCU St Clare’s at 4.30pm today. Last weekend’s win over Meath was a huge shot in the arm for them so here’s hoping they can follow it up with another victory this afternoon.
Two games, two ones we’re looking to win. Happy hunting to both of them, a victory in the two of them would be great. Up Mayo.