Game day – young guns lead the charge for us today

It’s the first day of November and it’s also the day we finally get to play our first game in this year’s Championship. Such is life in this pandemic era we’re all living through.

Today’s match is a Connacht SFC quarter-final against Leitrim at Páirc Seán MacDiarmada in Carrick-on-Shannon where throw-in is set for 1.15pm. Paul Faloon of Down is the ref for this behind-closed-doors contest, which is being broadcast live on RTÉ’s News Now channel.

The two teams contesting this game are doing so for the right to face provincial champions Roscommon in the Connacht semi-final next weekend. For one of them today will be both their first and last appearance in this year’s Championship. This tournament – as Monaghan found out yesterday – is a straight knockout one, so one slip and you’re gone, your inter-county year over.

The reversion to the pre-2001 format this year means it’s a far more compact competition than in recent years. Here’s a fun fact, though – the last time our paths crossed with Leitrim in the Championship, back in 2012, our campaign comprised five games. (Remember James Horan then? Game 3, Game 4, Game 5). If we get to contest this year’s All-Ireland final – and I’m not saying we will – we’ll have played five games in this Championship as well.

But, of course, because it’s knockout football we’re playing, it makes no sense to think about any game but the one facing us. Forget about a potential meeting with Galway in the Connacht final, don’t concern yourselves either with the fact that, should we prevail today, it’s Roscommon next for us in a week’s time. Today all that matters is Leitrim and our need to clear this opening hurdle within the province.

We’ve opted to go with a very experimental line-up today, with Championship debuts being handed to seven players. I can’t recall when we last sent out such a callow line-up to battle in the Championship and it’s certainly the case that this is the youngest Mayo fifteen we’ve named in a Championship game for a very long time. The very best to all seven lads making their first Championship starts for us today.

Despite the lack of experience in our ranks, we should still have enough to handle Leitrim this afternoon. They, like us, suffered League relegation last weekend so they’re not coming into this game with any kind of momentum. If we play anywhere near our potential we should have more than enough capability to win this one with a bit to spare.

Our most recent Championship meeting at today’s venue should, though, give us at least some pause for thought. We were heavily fancied to win back in 2006 too and we did, but only after suffering near heart failure as we collapsed over the line one-point victors.

Although we ended up getting demoted from Division One last Sunday, our form over the final two rounds of League action points to a number of positives. While our defensive structure – or lack of it – is a worry and our midfield has left heft than we’ve had in that sector over the last decade, we’ve way more pace in the team now compared to recent years. That has given the offensive side of our play added potency and I’d expect what we have in that department to be more than enough to see us home today.

It’ll be a strange experience for so many this afternoon, forced as we all are to watch this Championship contest from the couch. But in these Covid times, that’s the way it has to be as otherwise there would have been no Championship action to see at all this year.

The upside is a less hectic few hours ahead of throw-in today. So settle in, make yourselves comfortable and get ready to roar at the TV once the ball is thrown in at Carrick. Here’s hoping we have plenty to cheer about, here’s to the right result. Up Mayo.

76 thoughts on “Game day – young guns lead the charge for us today

  1. Best of luck to the boys in green and red today, especially the debutants who carry our hopes in to Páirc MacDiarmada. Strange to sit at home but let’s be thankful we get to watch it from the safety of the couch. ??

  2. Best of luck today to the green n red . Don’t know about anyone else but it’s starting to get emotional , missing the journey down , it’s so much more than just football to some of us , a chance to meet up with family & friends whom you might not see that often .

  3. Would make sense to rest AOS today so let’s see whether he’ll actually play.

    The problem with the team at the moment is that there’s no established ‘spine’ .e.g. FB, CHB, midfield, CHF and FF. Think about it – we’re trying out in all these positions.

    The days of the 2 O’Sheas and TP in midfield, Boyle and Vaughan in HB line, and A Moran at FF are over.

    When’s the last time someone other than Clarke or Hennelly played a chip game- Peter Burke?

  4. Looking forward to the match as in these strange dark days it is the only glimmer on the horizon. I expect us to win but the margin may be determined more by the conditions than the opposition. This is not to dismiss Leitrim who face all sorts of challenges given the population etc. I admire their passion and commitment but that will only get you so far. I was there for the drawn FBD game so we will have to take this game very seriously and give them the respect they deserve and keep the pedal to the metal.

    Horan is sticking to his youth policy which is the right approach. However the defensive set up needs some work. He is probably keeping his powder dry to a certain extent tactically until we get past today’s challenge. Should we prevail today I expect a much more determined defensive effort against the Rossies next week.

    Mohaghan let it slip yesterday and fair play to Cavan for taking their chance. I expect Donegal to beat Tyrone today but it will be tight.

  5. Very well penned down Willie Joe. Strange times indeed. In years to come when people are looking back at the archives the 2020 league and championship will surely stand out from the background. The one constant that won’t change is our love for all things Mayo football and following every twist and turn on the journey of our team. Now I just have to figure out where the news now is on the computer. Up Mayo

  6. I remember 2006 well. We were coasting, using some funny-named system of Mickey Moran, which escapes me at the moment. They got a goal to bring them right back. MacDonald to the rescue.

  7. @ sean burke john healy played during the 2006 championship. @ toe to hand . the news now channel is on your tv if you have a tv.

  8. This could be a tricky one.
    Remember Longford 2010
    London 2011
    Nothing is certain we should win easy…..doesnt always work like that especially with young team

  9. Colm Boyle also on the bench. Kevin McLoughlin and Fionn McDonagh gone from the 26 is interesting.

  10. Good luck to Mayo today, safe travels to the players and officials. Leitrim will be tougher than most think, they have a good bunch of hard working players, we won’t get anything easy there hence why we’ll have to be tuned in from the first minute. Good to see Carr on the bench, would like to see him get some game time. A forward line of Conroy, Cillian and Carr would cause some damage, the ‘Three C’s’. Up Mayo!

  11. Step one! Leitrim. If that goes our way, Step 2 and a different selection of players to counter the rossies strengths. I’m hoping that we can progress while keeping our powder dry for the latter stages and really open up in Croke Park. Best of luck to all involved.
    We can dream.
    Hup Mayo.

  12. Catcol. Mickey moran system was known as “the nut”. A lot of talk about it at the time. Good luck to all involved today.

  13. It is not going to be pleasant in Carrick by the looks of it.30mph wind+ rain forecast.

    Could really do with putting them away in the first half and getting key lads off the pitch

  14. Very interesting, McLoughlin and McDonagh must have picked up knocks. Felt McDonagh played well in the second half against Tyrone and was a big improvement over Bryan Walsh in the first half. Young team today with a couple of my favorites Colm Boyle and Barrett on the bench. This is the way forward looking forward to seeing How Brickenden does. Young Coyne.and Carr making the bench is nice to see. Very light in midfield backup. Glad McHale has kept his spot on the bench hope he gets a run today.

  15. @wide ball, Mark Moran and Paul Towey gone also from last weekends 26, Coyle Boyle Carr and Cillian coming back in,

  16. way more pace in the team now compared to recent years but at the cost of composure to close a game out, which doesn’t necessarily come with experience, look at Ireland v France last night for example, and how we didn’t manage to close out the game v Tyrone last week. Current team have not shown they’re good enough at the basics, even the simplest of going down and picking up the ball, example Tyrone’s 2nd goal, so unless we see some bite to go with the pace I’m not convinced, one area that has improved is our scoring return and chances created, so challenge for sideline is the find the balance, as mentioned in other comments really missing the game Day journey getting in early and enjoying the buzz with family and fellow gaa supporters, we owe our team so much, game 1 of 5 ,

  17. We are very light on midfield options . AoS will have to play there. We will be fine today but Loftus and Ruane won’t be enough for any games after that. Diarmuid is also an option there too I guess.
    Hopefully Kevin mc and fionn Mc aren’t injures . Good to see James Carr back too . Whatever was going on there !
    Hennelly must be injured as well. In many ways that makes it easier as there is no debate and less pressure on clarke

  18. My Annoyance is that both games of note today are on at the same time. TV and Laptop on it is then. Would much preferred that one followed the other, RTE slipped up there IMHO.

    Can’t see anything but a sound dismissal of Leitrim – a good opportunity to “Championship blood” some players.

    The Ulster game is a coin flip though. Champo games are like Dublin bus now, you don’t see one for ages, then two come at the same time…

  19. Good to see Carr back involved.

    If we can keep them fit a front line of Carr,Conroy and Cillian would be capable of causing storm force damage.

  20. Thanks nodoubt, just thought of it a few minutes ago! Yes, quite controversial- 5 or 6 guys lined up behind one another if I remember.

  21. This is a great game for the youngeens to get some championship experience. Big fan of how the forwards are playing under Ciaran McDonald.

  22. Like many of you I really miss going to the match and all that goes with it. I would love to see our 7 new lads in action with the hope that this is the start of a new and exciting era in Mayo football.
    I’m afraid we might not learn much about these lads today because of the weather and the fact that it’s Leitrim and not one of the top teams (and this is no disrespect to Leitrim who have to battle with very limited resources). Best of luck to the team and looking forward to some semblance of normality for a couple of hours albeit on the couch!

  23. anyone that wants to see the two games in full can do so by watching mayo/leitrim first on RTE NEWS and then switch over to RTE 2 PLUS ONE to get all the tyrone/donegal game . GOOD LUCK to our lads today ,

  24. Best of luck to all the players and management today. Plenty of capable players in the 26 and others that could have been included. Great bonus to have so much talent going in to a condensed season. Today is the 1st step up the short ladder.

  25. Wasn’t sure what was worst the camera or our start. Starting to settle now, A day for battlers conditions are poor.

  26. Fair play to Leitrim they are putting up a fight they’re not a bad side at all. I expect us to pull away today and win well In the end but I don’t think Roscommon will be quaking in their boots

  27. HT. 3 up. Not great to be honest. Terrible conditions and understandable how our forwards might struggle as leitrim crowding defence. That being said I think we’ve looked ok-ish going forward.

    I think we’ve been open at the back though. No excuses for that. Leitrim had a great goal chance before the break and lee has given up 3 sloppy frees.

  28. Cillian played very well today. He’s some player. Just shows how much he was missed last week against Tyrone!

  29. Only one Man of the Match today. A superb performance by Cillian.

    A very forgettable game. We were fairly average. We look open at the back and I’d be concerned if we were given up that kind of space to a better side. I’d play Mullin at full back going forward. Keegan is not a corner back. He is a different player in the half back line.

    We never really dominated in the middle. Thats a sector I’m worried most about to be honest.

    Very surprised Horan didnt take AOS and off after 55 mins when the game was up.

  30. Not much to say about it really but plenty of positives. Couldnt expect a lot more in poor conditions. Missed a heap of goal chances which will be improved on, we hope.
    Great to see more lads getting game time.

    Donegal Tyrone match is on a knife edge

  31. A wins a win on a day you wouldn’t put your dog out in! Great to get so many championship debutants and good recovery after a dodgy start. Handling errors expected on days like that unfortunately. Good effort put in by all. Take the win, learn from mistakes and move on. Special mention to Cillian.

  32. Wouldn’t have put a stray dog out in those conditions today..Respect to players who have to face into it while we sit cosy at home..Bringing some kind of normal to life at the moment..
    Where is the game against the Rossies being played??

  33. Right bumsqueaker of a game in ballybofey. Absolutely nothing between the 2 teams, one of the big guns going out.

    Farcical conditions in Carrick and ballybofey today
    Will b a dogfight of a championship

  34. I genuinely feel the match against Ross will be no more than a 50:50. Don’t mean that in negative way, but we’ve far from a settled team at present, loads of newbies and game-plan still a little scattered. Ross playing very well and could easily take us.

  35. Hyde Park Regina. There will be no issue with the surface there in fairness. I’m glad it’s not in Castlebar, our record there recently is awful and the pitch needs to be dug up and re laid…should be done now.

  36. More or less as expected, a comfortable win in the end. But we have major problems at midfield and not many options available. Conditions were difficult though and didn’t make for good football but we can expect similar conditions from now to the final.

  37. Cillian immense today. Showed his true value to the team not only his scoring ability but huge work rate. Would have to be concerned about our midfield. Still very open in defense but well done to all in trying conditions today.

  38. Thanks Yew Tree..That’s going to be some dogfight..A bit like Donegal v Tyrone today.Massive litmus test.

  39. Mcquillan seems determined to ruin a good game in ballybofey, good to see its not just us on the receiving end of his incompetence

    Not much to say on the game in Carrick, farcically bad conditions, as expected Leitrim got stuck in at the start and made it difficult. Quality showed in the end with conroy and especially cillian the difference.
    Few lads done themselves no favours today

    Cillian a clear motm. Need him in top form for next week

  40. Conditions conditions conditions can’t be said enough , you can just park that game but Cillian was massive today .

  41. Fairly happy with that, considering the conditions. Despite the number of debutants, we for the most part, looked very much an experienced division one side.

    Mullins, McLaughlin, O’Donoghue and Conroy played big parts. Flynn had less of an impact but no cards, which was my biggest concern. Doesn’t look to me like Walsh is going to reach the level of the first 4 I mentioned this year.

    O’Connor was immense today. Starting to think the AOS-michael murphy comparison is a the wrong comparison. Cillian-murphy comparison is much more apt for me. Skill set, playing style and leadership qualities are much more similar in IMO

  42. It’s Winter so don’t be surprised if you see more or worse weather coming. One of the other reasons I was opposed to it continuing. Don’t expect sunny shoot out thrills this year from any team. It’ll be a mud dogfight and survival of the fittest wins.

    Good performance from Mayo today overall. Cillian absolutely essential to the team. No way we’d have lost last week with him on board. Onwards to the next.

  43. People talking about problems in midfield, maybe.

    Defence did better which was the big positive.
    Yep COC on firm and so was Carr. Hopefully we let fly next week and sneak a win.

  44. Not nice to refer to lads as passengers after first championship game for county. Younger players will learn a lot from today.

  45. Job done today. Cillian a class apart.
    The Rossies will not have learnt a lot about Mayo today. We have the the right men on the side line to make the correct calls and expect the spine of the team to be better placed to take care of business next week.
    Midfield problems needs to be addressed and fully expect that they will, plenty of options available – AOS, Keegan, DOC, Flynn. Expect a big game from Mattie as well.
    Well done the newbies today – the future looks bright.
    Hope the weather is better than today and we see the boys at their best.
    Come on MAYO

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