Game day – win it

It was only a few short weeks ago that we set out on this National Football League Division One campaign. Now here we are, still standing, on the day it concludes. Kerry provide the opposition at Croke Park in this afternoon’s League decider, where throw-in is fixed for 4pm.

Today’s match can, of course, be set in a wider context about what a positive League campaign has been for us – which it undoubtedly has. But now, in the hours leading up to the game, is not the time to do this. Today it’s all about the game itself, a title decider both counties will be doing their best to win.

Kerry will be hard to beat today. They’ve never beaten easily at the best of times, they’re even harder to get the better of when taking them on at Croke Park, with silverware on offer up the steps in the Hogan Stand.

Which means our performance levels will need to be higher today than they’ve been all year. Way higher, for sure, than when we last played at HQ, higher even than the cracking display we put in down in Tralee a few weeks back when we ended Kerry’s unbeaten run in this year’s Division One campaign.

Performing well in big games at Croke Park hasn’t been a problem for us in recent years. Today’s team contains plenty of survivors from those heady times, augmented by newer faces for whom today’s decider offers the opportunity to cut a dash on the big stage.

This League campaign has gone as well as could have been wished for James Horan and the team he’s gradually assembling for the summer action that’s now drawing so close. What a boost it would be for all of them to close out this part of the year on the high of lifting a national title at Croke Park.

They’ll give everything, we can be sure, in pursuit of that goal today. Our job, as ever, as supporters is to roar them on their way. Best of luck to James and the lads, in particular good luck to those players tasting the big game experience for the very first time. We can do this. Up Mayo.

47 thoughts on “Game day – win it

  1. Excellent piece Willie Joe. Great to be heading to Croker. Cant think of anywhere i’d rather be on Mother’s Day than in the Cusack Stand supporting our great team. Mayo Abu!
    Also just want to wish Joe Canning well – my favourite ever hurler. Awful on him facing into an operation and long rehab.

  2. Best of luck to the Mayo team today. A strong aggressive start is vital as there is no doubt that Kerry will be a different animal today – more like the Kerry that came to MacHale park last year with that young group that bullied us off the pitch and less like the team that put in that relatively flat performance in Tralee a couple off weeks ago. The loss of Fionn McDonagh may have a big bearing. Big day for our No’s 14 and 15 – no better opportunity to show what they can bring to the team for the summer ahead. Only a massive performance from all that take the field today will see us wrestle this cup from the clutches of the Kerrymen.

  3. Great piece Willie Joe Maybe all the all ireland final defeats have tempered my enthusiasm but can’t see anything other than a Kerry win. Their forwards if they hit form can do serious damage hope I’m wrong

  4. Best of luck to our boys, hope we play without fear and just go for it. Respect Kerry but never fear them, hope to see Lee or Aidan lay down an early marker. Would love to see us climb the steps at 5.45pm. Hon Mayo!!!!!!

  5. Great to b heading to Croker today for a final after all the doom and gloom after kildare and what followed afterwards with Rochford. Many posts here and in the media had us walking into the sunset for the 10 years or so. With no youth coming through or no hope. We should b grateful that horan decided to have another rattle at it. I don’t of another man that could turn it around the way he has in such a short space of time.We have a bit to go yet but the signs are great. Best of luck to the lads today,

  6. Well written Willie joe. Very subdued Kerry lot on the cork train this morning let’s hope for a good game and of course a mayo win

  7. I think it’s 50/50 today, we should show not be afraid of them as they have a certain fear of us over the past 5 years or so. We should be mindful that Kerry will be very keen to win today as this might be their lot for the year ……also

  8. I feel strangely relaxed about the game today. I’m confident in the form of our established leaders like Aidan, and looking forward to seeing how the new lads get on in Croker.

    I suspect we’ll assign Lee to Sean O’Shea.

  9. Best of luck to all the Mayo lads today. Hope we will be celebrating this evening. If our lads keep their discipline I’m in no doubt but we will be celebrating. Come on Mayo.

  10. Go neiri le foireann Mhuigheo inniu. Le cunadh De beith an tadh orainn i bPairc a Crochaigh. Foireann brea ata againn anois!
    Turas maith do gach duine agus bigi curamach ar na boithre.

  11. After today, Kerry wont have another test til 13/14 July in super 8s. Well good for them. So how will that affect the way they approach today? Time will tell. In any case, Mayo need to start winning finals in Croke Park. Starting today.

  12. Feeling less confident than I was earlier in the week. Perhaps it’s seeing the Kerry team named on paper – very strong forward unit. I would be concerned about our ability to hold them. They potentially have goals in them.

  13. Surprised no Reape or Loftus on the bench as I would have thought they would have deserved their spot in today’s squad but I’m sure James has good reasons. In typical Mayo style I’m sure there will be plenty of drama but with a little luck we will sneak this one. Best of luck lads.

  14. Not happening for Coen and Vaughan and maybe Barrett, at least 2 subs needed right now for the 2nd half.
    If ever a game needs experience it’s now.
    Mayo will never beat Kerry with such space along the fullback line.
    We need much more pace in the middle third area.

  15. Kerry playing textbook counter attacking football. Win ball back, quick transition into full forward line…lay off to a running unmarked wing forward or wing back..goal. Easy.

    Meanwhile us with slow sideways and backwards attacking movements. Boring and worthless.

    Only way is up after this 1st half performance. We can play much much much better.

  16. going man for man against their forwards is high risk. we’ve not converted a few key chances in the forwards. Does look like Coen can win his own ball and a few passes over the top of their backs look close to coming off. Maybe the type of play that Andy can help with?

  17. Yes I agree, came close to a few goals ourselves. Kerry to give them credit took their goals well. Boland right to punch over but with hindsight Donie didn’t have the angle and should have done the same. Subs to come on Andy and someone for Donie if he rums into a cul de San again. Kerry defending well. Patience and switching play is the key. They will tire somewhat. We had 65% of the ball. Carr ok but Andy could be brought on now.

  18. Nice one. Much more like it 2nd half. Nice to win it. Please let’s not do a 2001 on it!!! After all it’s only the league:)

  19. Well, I gladly eat my words. An incredible second half performance to pull it out of the fire. Diarmuid and Robbie showing real leadership.

  20. Mayo88
    Probably heading for the pub, and no team desires it more. Never prouder can’t wait for Gaelic Park

  21. Well done Mayo. What a comeback. Proud of the whole team today. A great feeling to win silverware at Croker. Enjoy the celebrations lads. Very well deserved.

  22. What a game. Great to win. Plenty of mistakes by both but our will to win was huge. AOS immense, James Carr exploded us to life and great leadership by Diarmaid.
    Out on his feet bit kept driving on.
    What a pass by Andy and Ciaran Treacy had great nerve to finish it.
    We turned them over a huge number of times.

  23. Lads ye gave it welly and fair play to you. You’ve made every Mayo man, woman and child immensely proud today. Up Mayo the west’s awake and enjoy the night a long time ye have waited.

  24. Hi All,
    Many many congratulations to every man woman and child in Mayo this evening and I hope each and every one of you are so proud because that’s how privileged I feel when my own County win….I’m so happy for every Mayo fan well done.

    Kind Regards
    Martin the Dub

  25. Medicine doesn’t taste nice but what the hell, congratulations to one and all. Mayo won the second half hands down even though we coughed up a shocking amount of soft turnovers but that’s for the months ahead.
    Stayed to enjoy the enchanting atmosphere and watched Diarmuid accept the cup, great to see and I’m delighted for the older players as that is the minimum they deserve for their contribution over the years.
    Wonderful game and it will benefit both teams handsomely, safe home and savour this great win God bless GC10.

  26. There’ll be time enough for remarks about the significance of the performance, the result etc and what lies ahead.
    Today just seems like a good time for Mayo GAA folk to be happy and I wish ye all well for it 🙂

  27. Thanks Martin the Dub……………..We’re surely proud of that effort to nail it in the second half !…………All 15 and subs worked very hard……..The grins on the fellas said it all. Nice to go home with the spoils there and continue the squad work into the Summer.

  28. To those who were saying that a win or loss didn’t really matter, it’s only a league final. What say you now?
    That win will get another 15% out of that squad.
    As I said a few days ago, we were never gone, we were just drawing our breath.

  29. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted but I feel compelled to post after that great game. Epic performance particularly in the second half. The likes of Aiden, Keith, Matty, Robbie, Leroy, Paddy, Fergal and Diarmuid and the debutant in the second half James Carr were very good. Mayo an ageing team my arse. I think aiden should bring out a DVD on how to tackle, the amount of turnovers he makes is astonishing.

    Willie Joe, this blog is a great outlet and you do an amazing job. Well done and please keep it going,it binds mayo people from all over.

    Finally just want to say that the guys from outside the county like Martin the dub and game changer are salt of the earth and never rub it in when we fall short and have the decency to post reasoned comments here, thanks lads.

    Up mayo

  30. Firstly WJ this might just be the easiest final.aftermath you’ve had on the blog so enjoy the moment!!.Never knew a league final win could mean so much but to see the reaction to silverware being lifted by Diarmuid in Croke pk says it all.So happy for those lads who have given everything to finally come out the victors..And the taste of victory is addictive apparently!!

  31. Diarmuid O’Connor… what a man… knows how to fist goals against Kerry. Utterly sublime second-half performance, never saw the likes of it in Croker. An oul couple in front of me were in tears at the final whistle, that’s what it’s all about. Congrats James and team. Up Mayo!

  32. That’s a huge victory for Mayo and for James Horan. To beat Kerry in a National final you have to be good and very good. Fair play to Mayo and especially our younger guys thought James Carr had a great debut please God we have a good Summer ahead of us now if we take one day at a time and keep going

  33. Fab fab fab. To witness this national title is just unreal feeling and to see all Happy Mayo faces coming out of Croker is a joy to behold.
    Well well done to Diarmuid and lads for giving us the most amazing 2nd half of football.
    Please please wear those blue jerseys again and again.
    Thank you one and all

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