It’s Westmeath

Westmeath flag

Image: Ebay

The draw for Round 4 of the qualifiers has just been made and on the 4B side of things we’ve pulled Westmeath. So it’s a second ever championship meeting for us with the Lake County, following on from our qualifier defeat to them back in 2001.

The Round 4B matches are due to be played the weekend after next. Precise dates, times and venues will be announced later.

UPDATE: It’s since been confirmed that our Round 4B clash with Westmeath will take place at Croke Park on Saturday 30th July. Throw-in will take place at 6pm that evening.

272 thoughts on “It’s Westmeath

  1. They should win that , but we’re in the toughest side of the draw now unless Cork beat Donegal

  2. Can’t have any complaints. They have been very lucky with their draws.
    And the great thing is that if Donegal beat Cork, which I think they will, it puts Mayo on the other side away from Dublin and Kerry.

  3. That draw is no good for us. I was hoping we’d draw Donegal for a thorough examination, both mental and physical, to see where we really are. Now, however, we could arrive in Croker on August 6th against Dublin having only played Division 2 and 3 teams. Still, it is what it is and we move on.

  4. Another soft draw but we need our big players to start playing and get McLoughlin out of the backs, he is not a sweeper! Unless we sort this next game, can see us getting past the QF

  5. Optimistic for you Just Outside, where did you come across this new found confidence.

  6. Apparantly Westmeath officials were told yesterday their 4B match would be in croker as part of a double header

  7. before people stop me from getting ahead of myself . But IF we were to overcome Westmeath how are the pairings for the final 8 quarter finalists determined. We are still on Tyrone, Dublin’s side? If we won and donegal beat cork would that mean we would have to get Tyrone as donegal have already played them?

  8. Let`s give them max respect. Please. Just take a look at their first half against Dublin.

    No smart talk about any game after Westmeath. They say that in golf the most important

    shot is `the next one`.

  9. That’s a decent draw for us. I’m inclined to agree with WJ on this – I can’t see how a war of attrition against Donegal in two weeks is in our best interests. We’re building slowly and still need to get the likes of Loftus, Barrett and Parsons back in if we can.

  10. If we win and Donegal win we play Tyrone in quarters of cork beat Donegal we play dublin

  11. I think this puts us on the side of the draw that avoids Kerry and Dublin until the latter stages.

  12. The way I see it is that if we beat Westmeath and Donegal beat Cork then we play Tyrone as Donegal cant play Tyrone again. If Mayo and Cork win then its an open Draw. First things first and bring on Westmeath

  13. If we can’t beat westmeath, time to give it up. I understand the difficulties of overconfidence, but we also nee to believe in ourselves.

    Now, getting was ahead of myself, if and probably when Donegal beat Cork, then we would meet Tyrone. Then, assuming the biggest shock in this years championship, we we could well have a second shot at the tribesmen. Now that would be serious fun!!!!

  14. Contrary to what SEO says in comment one above if Donegal beat Cork we are in the EASIEST side of the draw. Unless he somehow considers Tyrone and Galway as tougher than Kerry and Dublin. Donegal cannot play Tyrone again so will automatically draw Dublin. There should really be no confusion, it’s simple- losing provincial finalists cannot play the team that beat them in final

    I said when we got knocked out that the luck of the draw would probably define our season. From a potential Fermanagh away- Cork/Monaghan- Donegal route to the quarters we have gotten Fermanagh at home, Kildare at home and Westmeath. Not to mention a now probable quarter, semi combination of Tyrone & Galway/Derry/Tipp, rather than Dublin and Kerry if we navigate through the rounds

    Things suddenly looking very promising again if we as expected account for this very average Westmeath team. Talk of our demise will look very premature one would think. Out of Tyrone, Galway and ourselves in a potential “last 4” of this half of the draw, I’d fancy the team with the most experience and with the most matches and momentum to be honest.

    I am assuming Donegal will beat this dysfunctional Cork team

    Over on the A side, two intriguing draws. I think Ros have a bounce back in them. Derry and Tipp are far too unpredictible to say with any confidence how that will go. So projections after this morning

    1st half

    Dublin v Donegal
    Kerry v Roscommon

    2nd Half

    Galway v Tipp/Derry
    Tyrone v Mayo

  15. Surly it would be better to arrive in Croker regardless of the opposition, than not to arrive at all. And it’s not God knows that we haven’t been there before.

  16. We look no further than Westmeath. Give every team the respect they deserve. We respect them and realise we will have to perform to beat them. We look no further ahead than the next game.

  17. Heads down now and focus on this one. We have plenty to work on for the next day.

    Imagine ours will be part of a double header in Croker on the BH Saturday. Can’t see 4A matches going to Croker. Tullamore or Portlaoise I’d say.

    Revenge for 01 to follow revenge for ’35 must be the watchword, and we should still be smouldering after that roughing up in 01, when we really were softies.

  18. Its a great draw for where we are at. Understand what pebblesmeller is saying but this team, at this time, does not have the capacity to empty the tank V Donegal, which we would have to, and do it again a week later. I just couldnt see that happening.
    We needed to try and get back to playing ok and physically ease ourselves into a quarter if possible. Thats no disrespect to Westmeath, they will give us plenty of it but we need time as well. SOS and Vaughan are just playing their way back in and SOS in particular looks well off form, I think that is match fitness that he doesnt have. 2 weeks may allow Tom Parsons to come back into it and we badly need him. Kevin Keane got injured on Saturday, even if its not that serious he’ll need time to get back.
    If you were to be glass half empty at the moment through injuries we are in serious bother in midfield and full back

  19. Not strictly true Mike, if Cork do upset Dnegal then it will be an open draw between us and them to see who draws Dublin/Tyrone. The 13 day turnaround should be more than enough for Donegal though, I’d be very surprised if Cork beat them

  20. Happy with the draw. If Donegal manage to beat Cork then whoever wins our match should play Tyrone in a 1/4 final. Winners of that will play Galway (if they manage to come through).

    I thought Westmeath looked pretty good against Dublin yesterday. Also thought that Dublin got some very soft frees against them which ended up with Dublin pulling away.

    As to the Connolly decision and no black card. Well it seems to be a different application of the rule every game. Remember SOS getting a straight black card in the replay last year for something similar when he grabbed Johnny Cooper off the ball !

  21. Just to clarify: if we win and Donegal win we then end up in the Tyrone Galway half of draw – which would be great. If us and cork win then it’s open draw to see who plays Dublin and Tyrone. This is because u cannot have a repeat of Ulster final at QF stage. Like others have said the most iportant thing now is to rectify midfield. SOS needs to find his form. Btw Clarke is far better in goal for one reason – dealing with the high ball

  22. The match against WM is all that matters to us. The rest of the draw should be dismissed until it’s relevant to us.

    We’re fortunate that the draw has also bequeathed two weeks to recover and take stock too. Rossies could find the shorter turnaround tricky.

  23. Good draw.
    Westmeath will be missing Ray Connellan who was a threat.Decent midfield and Heslin will test full back.Martin can cause problems but dont really rate their backs other than James Dolan.
    In truth it is a decent path to quarters.

  24. I’m amazed people would have preferred Donegal. A team littered with AI winners who on their day could well play lights out and quite conceivably knock us out before even the quarter final stage. Westmeath on the other hand…

    C’mon lads it’s a no brainer. I’d rather juts keep winning and building up momentum at this stage. We’ve been tested plenty by now, played division 1 and countless AI semis over the past few years, not to mention a good workout v Fermanagh and Galway this year

  25. I don’t know if it was Napoleon who said something along the lines of, “don’t give me a good general, give me a lucky one!”. Has Rochford the good luck that was so obviously missing from us in ’13, ’14 and ’15?

    eastcorkexile, good point and you are probably right, particularly with the 6 day turnaround.

    As I said previously, the longer we are still in it, the longer management have with the players to preach and practice their methods, the more time Barrett and Parsons have to get fit, the more time Regan, Coen and Loftus have to adjust to this standard of football, the better we will be.

    Now lads, heads down, cancel all media duties and sponsor obligations etc., no shite talk and remember that it is the quietest pig that does the most hoking! If Rochford and McEntee are cute they will build a siege mentality – a la Alex Ferguson – circle the wagons and use the current biased views against us to stoke the fire within.

    We simmering away nicely, not yet cooked but coming nicely.
    Hon Mayo.

  26. Another rattle at the neighbours would be great and extending their losing streak in Croker (don’t think they’ve won there since Sept 2001) would make up for a few weeks ago. It’s still unlikely and it’s Westmeath next anyway so eyes on the ball, not the prize.

  27. I agree with TonyK, if we cannot beat Westmeath…………….
    What is important is the performance. Look at what Dublin did to them when they got serious! That’s what we need to be aiming for except I would prefer our lads to do it in the first half. We are getting a great chance to get things right. We need to grasp the opportunity with both hands. This is where Rochford, Buckley and McEntee need to work their magic and get a big performance out of all our players.

  28. “don’t think they’ve won there since Sept 2001”

    100% true. Though you wouldn’t think it listening to some “analysis” yesterday. “Galway always come alive in Croker”. Haha, really? Considering they have a 0/7 Championship record there since 2001!!! One of the most outdated cliches you could ever hope to hear.

  29. Happy with Westmeath no disrespect to them they will put up a bit of resistance but I fancy us to progress and with a potential 7 day turnaround to play in a quarter final I think we should use Dillon and Andy sparingly for this one

  30. Ya, I wasn’t sure because it’s Galway, ya know? I suppose, without fully realising it, I buy into that bit or hype about them. In fairness it was an AIF! Anyway, Mayo v Westmeath……

  31. So should both the favourites win in the 4b games, ie Mayo and Donegal

    It will be quarter finals of

    Mayo v Tyrone

    Dublin v Donegal

  32. The biggest question is, will Hyde Park be ready for this game!

    Joking aside, Dessie Dolan was saying that there is a round of club games to be played this weekend in Westmeath, so it’ll be interesting to see if those games go ahead as that wouldn’t be great preparation for them, for a game against us.

  33. Yes I forgot about Donegal playing Tyrone even though it was yesterday. But that said nothing easy about playing Tyrone if we make it that far.

  34. Roscommon v Clare in Salthill on Sat at 7

    Mayo v Westmeath at 4 in Croke Park on Sat week. Cork.v Donegal at 6.

    That’s what I’m hearing. All on Sky

  35. Good draw for Mayo. I’m sitting here still dejected (and sunburnt) after a seriously depressing performance in Clones yesterday. I don’t think Mayo should fear that Tyrone team should results pan out as most of you are expecting. I think they have been vastly overrated by the pundits and it would seem Rory also bought into the hype as he thought we should start playing sideways and backways once we had the lead. Sean Cavanagh got them over the line and we have no one to blame but ourselves (again).

  36. AT, you’ve just helped to confuse things, have you not? If provincial finalists cant meet in Q/F, and Donegal win, how can we play Dublin and leave Donegal to play Tyrone!

    Regarding the venue for the Westmeath game, one thing you can be sure of is a big Mayo crowd.

  37. Best possible draw, currently we are not at a point where we can take on Donegal. I would say it will be a double header in Croker with Donegal Cork game.

    Westmeath are a decent side and will cause problems. Another improvement on saturday should see us over the line. Then we are back to where we wanted to be.

  38. Looking at the games last night, cork looked pathetic and id fancy donegal to win that handy . I just cant see anything other than two big qf s . Mayo v tyrone and donegal v dublin. And that is my friends where it heats up proper style. Are we ready , i think we are nearly there. Tyrone allowed donegal to shoot from 35 -45 out , have we lads who can pop them over? Sean cavanahg and peter harte are big strong runners, mccarron is playing mighty. Our tackling will have to be back too.

    Im being disrespectful to the westmeath challenge , i probably am but i cant help how im thinking. Dv 4 ffs , they were out of steam in second half thats not going to improve for two weeks time , in fact it could very well worsen because of the lost cause they became yesterday.

  39. Westmeath have been relegated three years in a row. They are now a division 4 side and showed that in the second half yesterday. We have nothing to fear. All this false humility and being told to take it one game at a time now is getting boring.
    We are going to beat Westmeath.
    I hope donegal beat cork so we will then face Tyrone. And that’s when the season begins and maybe ends ! I’m more and more confident every game I see. And as someone said maybe Rochford is a lucky general…….

  40. good draw, I wouldnt be one for no disrespect to Westmeath etc, its ourselves we need ot concentrate on and another confidence boosting win will be ideal prep for QF.

    this will be a great opportunity to introduce Regan , Harrrison and thew sweeper system to Croker.

    Regan is a confidence player and should buiild on his performance from Saturday and enjoy the match and space in Croker before hitting peak perfomance and confidence levels for the QF.

    Likewise Andy and Cillian will build their confidence and be good to be back in Croker and getting fitter all the time.

    Spreading the kick outs the width of Croker will be good for Clarke too .

    the test Westmeath will bring is real but we should be and have to be better.
    Like Kildare they are big and physical around the middle but strong runners.
    They too will load to load in high balls around our box so another opportunity for Clarke and Keane/Coen to get to grips with that before bigger outings.

    Seamie and Vaughan might just be the preferred option again despite all the bad press they will have to do a lot of running v Westmeath pairing and this isn’t where Barry or AOS would be wisely used .

    Be great to see the trio of Barrett, Parsons and Loftus back and hopefully get 20 mins near the end out of them.
    Barrett will be vital to us going forward as he is the main man marker in the squad and Brogan will take taming again this year.

    Parsons we all know what he brings and look forward to his return where he will boss midfield .

    Loftus is another trick up our sleeve as he is a cool freetaker and if things arent going Regans way or anything happens Cillan this lad will fill in .
    He has nerves of steel so wouldn’t worry about introducing him once fit .

    So all in all positve weekend , positve draw and an opportunity to build on previous positives but I must also say it was positive to see the forwards from the bench being emptied and Jason doh, Dillon,Conor O shea and Freeman all making contributions and doing so with some purpose .

  41. Have to say i wanted Mayo to draw Donegal, wanted us to be tested against a division one team rather than tested against a division 4 team.

    However, reading the posts I think we are better to have drawn Westmeath, they’l be defensive and cause us some problems if we’re not on top of our game but a better draw than Donegal a this stage for us. Particularly if we win and have to play Dublin or Tyrone 6/7 days later.

    Marty Morrissey commented on radio 1 last night that the mayo supporters have been far more vocal and partisan the last two games than they were against Galway. Hope to bring that to Croke Park (or wherever the game is) and really get behind the lads.

    I don’t mean be disrepectful to other supporters or the opposition but really get behind our guys, make plenty of noise. Encourage anyone you bump into on the coming days/weeks to attend.

    Hon Mayo

  42. I cant believe the bloggers here have have rubbished Westmeath so much and written them off. DID WE NOT LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE GALWAY GAME . We were cleaned out in midfield against Kildare , We have no cover for our fullback . Cillian o Connor is only playing at 50% of what he can really do . We have not set the world on fire yet this year .

  43. Westmeath are a tigerish team. They have a good midfield too and a few forwards who can score.

    Seriously, if we aren’t clued in we’ll be caught on the hop. We aren’t playing anywhere near the standard (bar brief glimpses) to be discussing anything past this next game. Mayo must keep improving, supporters too.

    Forget talk of quarter finals. The way we are playing all year, I repeat..all year, means we cannot afford to even contemplate anything past the next game.

    Our form is consistently inconsistent!! Westmeath will fancy a cut at us.

    Focus Mayo.

  44. “Westmeath have been relegated three years in a row. They are now a division 4 side and showed that in the second half yesterday. We have nothing to fear. All this false humility and being told to take it one game at a time now is getting boring”

    Fully agree KM79, well said

  45. If the team and management overlook Westmeath there is a chance they will be caught

    People posting on an Internet blog about possible quarter final opponents will not help Westmeath beat us

    We were pessimistic for long enough. Galway have shown they at a decent team who were not given enough credit for beating us. The defeat was not as bad as it seemed at the time .
    Mayo will beat Westmeath

  46. “I don’t think Mayo should fear that Tyrone team should results pan out as most of you are expecting. I think they have been vastly overrated by the pundits”

    Fully agree Lorrie

    I think their ‘over-ratedness’ stems from the fact a lot of current pundits would have played against the great side of the 00s and anyone from the 80s and 90s generation would only remember them winning All Irelands in the last decade. I think people still subconsciously feel they should be at the top table, despite the fact they’re a mere shadow of the noughties team. If you changed their name to Monaghan they’d be seen as a plucky underdog not All Ireland Contenders.

    I think most people want to create a narrative that this Dublin team is beatable and the Championship is so unpredictable. But Mayo got beaten by Galway and kerry have now lost fairly comprehensively in the last two meetings with Dublin, so by default Tyrone are being placed as the biggest challengers, it’s nearly a case of who’s next in the queue

    To be honest if Donegal still had Jim I think they’d beat that Tyrone team any day of the week. They have the players but tactics were very questionable yesterday.

  47. This is probably the best draw we could have gotten. No disrespect to Westmeath, but they are a step below Donegal.
    We are not playing to our full potential and conceding midfield to Kildare would be something Donegal would punish us badly for. Westmeath would still punish us but not by as much. We don’t need testing at this point, we need to win the games we can.
    We need Parsons and Barrett to be available for selection as with Gibbons gone we are sorely lacking in our midfield, as Seamie is not playing to his level best and Barry doesn’t seem to have a full game in him.
    Vaughan came in for a lot of stick but to be fair he’s not a midfielder, and never has been. His positon is Half back all day long. If you judge a fish by their ability to climb a tree and all that….
    Also Cillian was being well marshalled and we didn’t have many frees in scorable positions. He does seem off colour but I expect he’ll get back there soon enough.

    As for talk about meeting Tyrone – i’m not sure they are being overrated – they had a bundle of chances in the second half yesterday and a load of wides. Donegal were restricted to very few shots – a team that does that will choke the life out of us.

  48. Sorry i did confuse things .. (Mayo are 4B)

    If Donegal beat Cork – Mayo play Tyrone automatically (As provinical finalists cant meet again in Q/F)

    If Cork win it would be a open draw between mayo/cork v tyrone/dublin

    Think thats right ..

    Complacency against Westmeath would be a big mistake .. they will fight like dogs and we have no one really to mark Heaslin ..

    Full back line worry ..

    Cunniffee – Away
    Cafferky – inj until November
    Barrett – injured and even if on way back prob good bit away from match fitness
    Keane – shoulder injury .. awaiting update on it

    If keane isnt fit who plays fullback? Vaughan im presuming ..

  49. Good draw. It gives us a chance to rest a few players before quarter final game a week later!

  50. Here we go, two weeks of “have we not learned anything from Galway”, “Westmeath are a tough team”, “this one could be a banana skin”. All the doomsday merchants feel they’ve the moral high ground because they were right ONCE, in four years of championship football. At least a stopped clock is right twice a day. We got narrowly beaten by a decent Galway team playing our worst football in years, a team that I’d be confident we’d beat 4 out of 5 times (if the stars continue to align for us, we will exact revenge on a very public stage next month). Every team is treated with respect, but this crap is getting old now.
    It’s a fantastic draw for us, it allows the badly needed injured players another week to get back and as already mentioned by a few others, playing in Croker against a Div 4 team is the ideal intro for the newer lads.

  51. The teams won’t pay an ounce of notice to people posting on an online forum so I wouldn’t worry about a few internet commentators “overlooking” Westmeath or whatever

    I’ve no doubt the players will be fully clued in to the match. If fans could influence results from posting on the MayoGAABlog it’d be a great world altogether

    We need an arrogance about us, as KM says we’ve been pessimistic for long enough. We’ll be completely unbackable favourites v Westmeath, it’s hardly unreasonable to expect a win. And if we lose? Well, so be it, if we can’t beat them we’re not near good enough anyway

    Feckin Galway fans are already looking ahead to a semi despite not even making one since 2001 and you know what- they’re absolutely dead right, they’ve a mighty chance!

  52. happy with the draw though there was a part of me that fancied the Ulster losers but round 4 of the qualifiers is not where you want to be showing your hand I suppose and the likely attritional nature of such a game may not have done us any favours should we have won. Looks like this one will be in Croker too so a big opportunity to see how the system works on the bigger field. All talk of anything beyond this game, whilst compelling, is ultimately futile at this stage.

    Our 10 minute burst before halftime the last day aside, we still have systematic deficiencies that I hope to see improved upon, namely the middle third. I dont recall this team losing so much primary possession off kick outs and that’s a worry, but something the management team have some time now to work on.

    Lots of talk about Kev Mc sweeper not working. I’m not so sure. I think he’s starting to grow into the role if you take his Kildare performance v his Galway performance. His pace coming out of defence is offering something different from a little deeper, so as long as there is a workable and flexible plan in place to cover and support when he does break, I can see that working a treat on a bigger field.

    Lets up it again the next day and hopefully that will leave us in a good place heading into a quarter final clash with whomever we’re drawn with. On we go.

  53. @Ciaran,
    If this blog influenced our counties fortunes on the football field then on a good day we’d beat a selection of Dublin, Kerry, Irish Rugby team, All Black and Barcelona.
    On a Monday after a loss, we’d struggle against the Attymass U8 girls.

  54. I hope we persist with Aidan back in defense. When combined with Clarke in goals it means kicked in ball is only an option to the corners/wings. If you kick it central some combination of Clarke, Aidan or McGloughlin will be coming back out with the ball 8 times out of 10.
    It will force teams to go wide, run the ball or shoot from distance. We seen this once before in the Donegal game last year. It was the foundation stone of that win.
    I think the forwards move better without Aidan as a focus. Nothing against Aidan just think the quicker handed players/quicker decision makers are likes of Andy, Diarmuid, Cillian etc.
    It hasnt really worked for us target man type football and I think well proven on balance of matches.

  55. Kevin Mc at sweeper is working 100% as is having Higgins in halfbackline, the team is growing .

    at time you can see us overturning possession or winning breakis in halfbackline and then Kevin Mc with Boyle Keegan and Higgins on his shoulder attacking is a frightening prospect for any team.

    The option of kicking ball long and diagonal into Andy and Regan is a great option and if they can play as well as they can against Westmeaath then we are the makings of a great team.

    This band of players are as talented as they have being before, they were just mentally tired but now have a young manager in who understands that and has developed a system to get the best out of them .

    Whether Cillian isnt playing aswell as previous doesnt matter fact is he is in a different position , whereby he is linking play and being a centerhalf forward moreso than a full, he is coming back near the boil having being off injured and its where he is building himself up again and when we do unleash him in the corner he will wreak havoc .

    Yes we seeded alot of breaks v Kildarer but their halforwards won alot of them breaks so I would ask questions of our halfback line moreso than Kildare out-fielded all the time everytime.

    After we beat Westmeath we will be a more complete team and one thing is for sure teams halforwards will be alot more worried about our halfbacks than the other way around .

    There are weakness in the Dubs, fullbak line can be got at , John Smalls is a fiery charachter and that halfback line isnt near as good as last year.
    Midfield is ok but MDA isnt on form like year he won All Star , PArsone be well abkle for him .

    McManamon at 11 is a strange one as it actually suits oppostion to keep him away from the goal such is the threat of him scoring goals.
    They are the best side in the country but with us on top form I think we have their number as they arent the team of old.

    Donegal have added pace to their team but still are pedestrian and also without a midfield if Murphys isnt there .

    Tyrone I think are overated , alot of ordinary players playing well in a top class managers system but that can be expose din large pitch that is Croker by better players.

    Kerry are Kerry and will still be tough but age is catching up there with Aidan O Mahoney, Gooch and Donaghy having alot of wear and tear onboard and Donoughe struggling to shake injuries .

    So ya we have every right to be confident and is that not what being a supporter is? supporting your team, wanting the best from and from them?

  56. I think the idea with Keith is that he is to roam around midfield adding his pace and counter attacking into that area.
    Quickest player in the country in that part of the pitch. These things always take a few games to get together.

  57. All due respect to Westmeath but this is the best draw we could have asked for. Fingers crossed for a Mayo-Donegal pair of victories.

    I had Mayo written off in my head after the Galway match, at least we’re back in with a shout now to be a force in August.

    Hope we get Tom Parsons back fit and in centre field to deal with the worrying performance in that area on Saturday. We won’t get turnovers like we did on Saturday again. Pair him with Seamus O’Shea and introduce Barry Moran for one of them around the 50 minute mark and that should be a solid centre field.

    As JP says above the clever use of Aidan O’Shea in defence was promising. Only if he’s needed to mark a big man though!

  58. From the posts this morning people are either trying to hype up westmeath saying that we should take them seriously. On the other hand people are saying Tyrone are over hyped and we should beat them. Seriously, Tyrone are not overhyped, they have beaten Derry, Cavan and Donegal, two of which are now div 1 sides. They have faced stiffer competition than us and will get better.

  59. I’d nearly have Aidan defensive regardless.
    If we think of it like Game theory, the opposition start from a base of central kicked ball being a likely terrible idea.
    You could say central ran ball also given the physical power of Keegan, Vaughan, Diarmuid, AOS, Boyle, SOS, Parsons, Keane.
    So its kick from distance or try to operate out wide. Thats usually 14-15 pts max when trying to play from those areas.

  60. Id prefer to get Dublin in the 1/4 final, if we can beat Westmeath, if anyone is going to beat them this year they will have to catch them cold before they get tested

  61. What are the odds that Galway will win a senior AI before Mayo? Think I’ll take a punt!!

  62. Great draw.

    The only shame is that Mayo aren’t playing this weekend. I wont know what to do with myself.

  63. Best possible outcome, but we still need to focus, and im sure Rochford and McEntee will. Westmeath have big men and can cause problems. If our heads are right we’ll win, if not, we’ll be dumped out on our holes.

    Would’nt be so sure about Donegal, im obviously hoping they win, but it won’t be easy. Yesterday will take alot out of them, and It would’nt surprise me one bit if Cork turned up and shot the lights out from 40+ yards all day.

  64. Conor Loftus played for Cross at the weekend. Does this mean he is not on the panel or dropped from the 26 only.

  65. Hope our team are keeping their minds firmly on the next challenge. It’s pointless thinking too far head. What’s good at the moment is some aspects of Mayo football has improved. Our transition from defence to attack has really sharpened up, breathtaking to see . Regan has got a good game out of himself, Andy looked like a good real good forward again on Saturday. He wasn’t great the previous Saturday, the same can be said for Paddy Durcan…. Now where we need to improve is midfield, we were very poor at winning primary possession. The same was true V Galway, and V Fermanagh except for when Barry Moran came on V Fermanagh for 20 very effective minutes . It’s no coincidence that the last 7 or 8 minutes of the first half, we actually won some primary possession around the middle of the park, and we made Kildare pay the price. So what do we do there? . I think if we can’t field more of our own kickout, do we revert to short quick kickouts, can Clarke do that? If we can’t win the our own ball, we need to start breaking the ball. I noticed that when Barry came on Kildare started breaking the ball and didn’t try to field clean ball,. but they still won the lions share of broken ball. That’s another part of the problem of playing Kevin McLoughlin so deep, he’s brilliant at anticipating broken ball, we also missed Jason Doherty for the same reason on Saturday evening…. Now that’s the area of the game we need to work on in the coming days. Hopefully Tom Parsons will available for our next outing. The other area of concern is full back with Kevin Keane coming off injured, Westmeath are very strong at full forward well able to win and play the ball to great effect in that area of the field. Onwards and hopefully upwards, it’s good to have things to work on. I think the back door has been good for Mayo, and the draw has been kind to us. We are far from the finished product but I think we are getting there!

  66. While I was concerned with the fact that we got fairly well cleaned out at midfield on our kick outs on Saturday, the fact that we put up 2-17 shows that we subsequently won a lot of ball back by breaking up the Kildare attacks.
    It is interesting to see the way the fitness of the lads is developing. Some of the more physically athletic lads are now flying, but some of the bigger lads are a few weeks behind them fitness wise. I suspect that the training regime is working through a pattern whereby there is a certain type of training to get to one level and another that is then tagged on the get the speed up. This would account why so many were so sluggish looking against Galway, but are absolutely flying now.
    I would think that the next two weeks will see some of the bigger lads improving in this aspect. I hope I am right on this because we will need some serious engines at midfield from here on.

  67. Confirmed Mayo play @westmeath_gaa in @CrokePark Saturday July 30th, 6pm as part of triple header Cork v Donegal Seniors & Minors. #mayogaa

  68. For me the team is really starting to come together, but Westmeath game will be a good test, especially if they play the double-sweeper.
    Didn’t concede a goal on Sat and didn’t really look like conceding either. Thought Kev Mc was good and distributed well when he got on the ball. Peter Canavan was critical on Sky but I disagree, thought he showed good discipline not to chase every loose player.
    Regan was another positive. A ‘hard ground’ player, confidence from Sat will bring him on.Andy Moran rolled back the years. Such an Intelligent player.
    Cleaned out in Midfield – but Parsons should help that and we have to admit that Kildare were really good in that sector. In fairness to Clarke he didn’t kick it there unless he had too.
    Cillian not at the level he has been, but, he’s has quite game before and bounced back.

  69. Sam,they’re saying might fancy a trip along the W.A.W.
    this year!!..Cork..Kerry.. Clare…Galway.. Mayo…Donegal.Hav’ntindicated though where he might like to overwinter!!
    It appears to me that our situation is ideal given our present state of wellbeing.We will have an extra manageable challenge in a bit more space where our new format can have a run out and a further test!O’Shea’s new role is a big surprise …interesting !!
    There’s every possibility that they will relish the return to the city acres and barring injuries + the reappearance of a few of our wounded we have much to be grateful for and much to look forward to.

  70. A lot of posters expecting Donegal to beat Cork next time out. I wouldn’t be so sure, Donegal have been inconsistent since Jim moved on in both league and championship. Accepted Cork are pretty similar in that regard but on their day could get one over Donegal. As us Mayo fans have seen earlier in the year, the Cork u21 team had a number of really promising players who are starting to make an impact on their senior team. You’d always have to wonder for Donegal, knowing if they beat cork they will have the dubs in the quarters. Surely that gets into the mindset of players and management?

  71. Have just checked and they have given a double header, Donegal and Cork, Mayo and Westmeath on Sat. 30 July at 6:00 pm.

    Winners will play either Tyrone or Dublin on 6 August

  72. I feel Westmeath is the ideal draw for us….. some people think Donegal would be more of a test and that might stand to us, but as some poster pointed out, having a 6 or 7 day turnaround after this would not stand to us. So for where this team is at….. i’ll take Westmeath.

    Playing a Westmeath team that seems to be adopting a double sweeper is something that should benefit us. It will also be good to get this team out in Croker for the first time this year…. we can see how are new system is holding up in HQ.

    Two questions i think we need answered going forward are: What is Aidan O’Shea’s position/role? What is Cillians Position/Role?
    These have been two of our most important players over the last few years and if we can get them playing to their potential again i think this improves us significantly and have us going in the right direction…. we need these two players to be the threats they can be and have opposition teams fearing them.

    Onwards and upwards! Hon Mayo.

  73. Stars are aligned for Mayo this year. Best thing ever happened losing to Galway. Although I do regard Tyrone as firmly second best team in the country now…so avoiding Kerry…whatever about Dublin isn’t necessarily a great thing. Tyrone are well improved from last year. Mental strength coming thru Sunday from losing position will do them wonders. They were unlicky to lose to Kerry last…don’t think they’d need luck to do it this time. Peter Harte probably best player in the country right now…but I’m sure Mayo have to be happy with how everything is turning out.

  74. Would anyone be concerned about the potential state of the pitch when playing the third match of a triple header? If our typical Irish summer returns, is this something that might go against our fast running game?

  75. Galway 0/7 since 2001 at Croker….but 2/3 in finals since 98….u’d settle for that Ciaran. They look like s semifinal in them at least at this stage.

  76. 6pm is very late. Cant understand why the minor game cannot be on at 12, Cork/Donegal at 2 and ourselves at 4

  77. Absolutely no consideration for traveling supporters again
    No trains home to Galway (probably put on a late one to Westport ) after the game
    Same the following week no doubt if we make it.

  78. Very happy with the draw. A first run out of the year in Croke Park against a team we should be beating, I’ll take that all day long.
    In fact, this whole qualifier run has been very kind to us so far. Long may it continue.

    This team is gradually building itself up again after the Galway result, this seems a ideal stepping stone to a difficult QF.
    Sure we’ll (the players in particular) respect them, but we should be winning this relatively easily in all honesty.

    I don’t but into this theory that we need a “hard game” or a “test”.
    Sure we were beaten by Galway and behind against Fermanagh with less than 10 minutes remaining, that’s all the tests I’d like thanks very much!

    This is the first time a lot of these players have experienced a defeat and tried to re-invent themselves in the back-door. For the previous 5 years it’s been one loss and we’re gone. This defeat to Galway may well have taught us a lot more than any handy run through the province.

  79. Mayo v Wexford (Junior) Saturday, 23rd July in Tullamore
    Mayo v Westmeath (Senior) Saturday, 30th July in Croke Park
    Mayo v Kildare (Minor) Monday, 1st August in Tullamore

    Now, there is some joined-up thinking (NOT!) from the GAA.

  80. Exactly Dan , we have learnt more this season than a handy run through Connacht and then QF .
    Conor Loftus played for Cross to get his fitness levels up, he did so with Rochfords consent , he said so on MWR after the game.

    Where is AOS role , I think they have a plan but looked to take him out of the limelight by playing him as a deep lying midfielder and then into FB the last day but perhaps this is the plan for the likes of Michael Murphy, Sean Cavanagh or Donaghy that AOS will follow him and play as a double sweeper?
    It certainly wont effect his own game as his tackling is immense, he gets alot of possession and breaks the line at speed whilst giving it off to fast runners on the shoulder be it Kevin Mc or DOC/Keegan etc .
    Also he conserves energy can pick a pass from deep and sets us on the counter , The quarterback or Pirlo of GAA 😉

    Cillians position too is being kept underwraps I feel and they are looking to build his match sharpness further out the field, its ok being fit but match sharp is another thing .
    Cillian linked play well too many time setting away his brother with soft hands or a pop pass into Andrew.
    Also Cillian is an excellent tackler and works the choke tackle well too .

    I like that we arent solely relying on AOS or Cillian in the corner/ at full, as last year and year previous we were solely dependent on these guys and they got double marked by the dubs and such is our luck that the two of them collided in the Kerry game before being concussed and Cillian played on with one eye closed.

  81. In fairnes it is Cork v Donegal in both senior and minor. If we wanted our seniors and minors maybe a Tullamore double header might have been a go but I would much rather Croke Park as I am sure our players do.

  82. Delighted with the draw. Although i think we’d have enough to beat Donegal, that would be the end as we’d be up against Tyrone or Dublin a week later and I doubt that would be with a full panel, we saw in the replay last year the importance of recovery or superior recovery!

    We are coming along nicely, more importantly I think the players are starting to believe, in themselves and the system. It cannot be stated how much the heave took out of these players and then to lose to Galway, but two wins has us going in the right direction. We have been lucky with the draw but God knows we’re due a bit of luck.

    The sweeper system is absolutely working and Kevin Mac is the man for the job. At least twice in the first half on Saturday Kildare were in for a goal if it had not been for Kevins positioning. I totally disagree with Peter Canavan that he should chase every forward that steps into the Mayo half like a headless chicken. He’s there to prevent goals and he’s done that. Not to mention 2 of the 3 goals we got in the last two games were from a defence splitting pass from him, not many other sweepers in the country are doing that! Keith is learning the forwards role but needs more time. It’s unfortunate that hes not a natural finisher or he’d be unstoppable. Diarmuid, kev, boyle and a few other are all hitting form and what happens when the likes of AOS and Cillian step up, that has to next on the agenda for management, getting the best out of everyone.

    I’m not overly worried about midfield, we have parsons to come back and the option of Barry but SOS needs to improve. Harrison and Keane have be more then capable at the back but we could do with the tenacity of Barrett back. Also how wonderful it must be for a full back line to know when the ball goes over their heads and it will be actually caught and not punched away.

  83. I agree the sweeper system is working with McLaughlin. He was fantastic against Kildare .

    Defensively minded systems like Canavan’s Tyrone , would love Mayo Not to have McLaughlin’s ability to transition to attack with speed before they regroup en masse.

    There is a danger with Tyrone however ( assuming we get that far ) that McLaughlins opposite number is Peter Harte.

    Food for thought .

  84. Westmeath are a very honest hard working team it will be a test, however so far this year they beat Offaly by a point and Kildare by a point. No disrespect to them in saying they are 500/1 to will the all Ireland for a reason. Could they cause an upset well they put on a resilient showing in the first half against the Dubs, they gave it their all but then got a drubbing in the second half. We really should win this one and that is not getting ahead of myself just being realistic.

  85. Overwhelming majority of posters are thinking ahead to the QF, while not disrespecting Westmeath of course!

    Would imagine Westmeath are happy with that draw – avoiding Cork – not disrespecting Mayo of course!

    Westmeath are a bit of a conundrum. Division 4 now, though they were in Div 1 3 years ago and gave us a good run for our money in Mullingar; we had to dig it out. They have some big rangy guys and could take a bit of watching.

    Sure, they are beaten finalists, but psychologically they are in a different zone to the Rossies. They have 2 weeks, in their heart of hearts they wouldn’t have expected to down the Dubs, and unlike the Rossies and Sligo in ’15, they weren’t disgraced. And two Leinster finals in a row won’t do them any harm.

  86. This is a great draw for us. Westmeath will put up a fight but in the end we will over power them, just like Dublin did. And lets face it, if we cant beat Westmeath with some gas to spare, then we are simply not good enough to advance.

    Rochfords biggest challenged over the next two weeks will be to keep the players focused on the task at hand and not to overlook this match. The players will be hearing it from their friends, pundits etc so they will need to tune it out and just keep to the successful routine they appear to have adopted since the defeat to Galway. As Pebblesmeller said earlier, they are on the back burner, simmering away nicely, not yet ready to boil. And thats the way it should be at this stage.

    A quick note on the match against Kildare. If I recall we were 10 points up at h/t. It would have been easy for the team to take their foot off the gas and become complacent in the second half. And to some extent they did, but the sideline picked up on it immediately and used the bench at exactly the right time, this is really encouraging!
    In addition, I know Aido has got a lot of stick over the past few weeks, but to me, he’s really such an inspiration and thee key player on this team.
    Many pundits criticize him for they say he drifts in and out of games, goes MIA at times. I see it completely different. IMO, he does everything he’s asked to do, will play anywhere he’s asked to play and is selfless in doing so.
    Example was last Saturday’s match against Kildare. When I saw him at FB I smiled to myself and said, Rochford gets it, and O’Shea gets it now. No goals allowed! It wasn’t perfect but perhaps a glimpse of how we’ll play in the future, as the opposition gets more difficult and the games get more intense.
    IMO, this guy epitomizes the mayo fighting spirit!

  87. Does anybody know the likely times Tom Parsons,Chris Barrett and Ger Cafferky are
    due to return to the panel.

    Its only fair to have some word on this now that serious progress is being made.

  88. I thought we’d be the curtain raiser to the Cork Donegal – don’t understand why we’re out second. I don’t agree with games on a bank holiday- a lot of people are away but so be it.

    I see Kevin Walsh made a statement that we didn’t beat a top flight team in Connacht for the last 5 years. Well it’s wasn’t our fault the rest were crap…..and we did beat the all Ireland champions 3 years running and contested 2 closely fought semi final replays against eventual champions each year- so we didn’t do too bad then

  89. @ Liam, coming from Attymass, I can tell you that the U8 ladies are flying in training. Id fancy them against most of the teams remaining in the championship. They recently beat Carnacon 9-27 to a point. That Carnacon score incidently was scored only when 6 of our young women were called in for dinner.

    On a serious note, I cannot see focus being a problem since the Galway game. Id wager it has helped bring more focus on the job at hand. As others have said, we are good enough to beat Westmeath, but we will have to preform to get the result.

  90. Posters, any of ye that’s interested. Diarmod O Connor is nominated for Player of the week award, along with Danny Cummins and Sean Cavanagh. If ye go onto the website ye can get instructions on how to vote for Diarmod there. I think his performance on Saturday was worthy of winning the award! You have to vote before 11am tomorrow for I’m not mistaken!

  91. Spotlight – I’d imagine we’re on last so that the 12 Cork supporters that travel up can see both of their teams in action, one after the other.
    Although if my memory serves me right, we were in a similar situation recently and were the first and third games on.

  92. Isn’t that typical Peewee, I finally get the inside track on a team and they ban underage match betting.

  93. Getting Westmeath is very good and we should be aiming to build a lead by 50 mins and take any players with injury worries off and give lads game time. Breaking double sweeper will not be easy but best way is get in front so they have to abandon it. Also turnovers from their kickouts very important as there’s not enough time to get the double sweepers back.
    Playing a division 1 team a week later should we win needs a really good recovery plan which was what undid us last year. Pleased that we’ll have 8 days not 6. We saw a tired Donegal vs us last year and Galway though somewhat promising were not as attritional as a Div 1 battle hardened team. So try and book the bloody hyperbaric or cryogenic chamber and spend the money Mayo CB.
    Not as worried about this one as the Galway game (I was forewarned by a Galway man for that one and half expected it to happen). Management’s biggest challenge is the double sweeper. That means big shooters from 40 or 50m. These are Cillian, Barry, Andy J Doc and Diarmaid. Keith also can get them and of course our half backs. It’s a game to give Keegan especially lots of freedom to go forward and to lesser degree Paddy Durkan. Expect less reward from FF line this time so lots of long range target practice and hope wind is light on Saturday. If things not working properly bring on Alan Dillon to unlock them from 11. He’s got the most savvy of any panelist.

  94. Observer! Caff is Nov. others not sure but maybe soon,… are back in training it is teported elsewhere.

  95. Great draw for us. Just wondering how the quarter finals will pan out. Who will qualify and who will play who. There is still the remote possibility that three connaught teams could be involved in the semi-finals or have I this wrong? Anyone study the potential line-ups,


  96. shufflydecks, you are spot on about the cryogenic chambers, Dublin had these last year for the replay. Please Mayo County Board have these chambers on standby if we beat Westmeath.

  97. lads the cryogenic chambers dont kick points. Take out ops and we’ll be fine.

  98. Still them chamber thingys might not score points but its all about the percentages when you get to the latter stages. Do all ye can co board , any deficit will be made up on an all Ireland win.

  99. The point us Donegal were lethargic against us after an impressive finish against Galway last year and Dublin got through the 70 mins of replay without flagging against us whereas some of our lads were heavy legged. Subs we had on day were bit inexperienced though some like Coen and Durkan have been adding experience and another year of games will help but I Saw Keegan having to pace himself in 2nd half around time of Dublin goal and Boyler had to be subbed as GPS told his recovery rate had dropped. Big men like Barry had to be subbed going by GPS data.
    Book it even if risk of losing I’m sure Westmeath or someone else will take it up and recoup some of the money. Learn the lesson from last year. Obviously medical staff will have an idea how effective it is and if worth booking but likelihood it could be worth a few percent in performance. 8 day is better situation than 6 day we, Donegal and Dublin had last year.

  100. i had predicted 2-16 to 1-14 win, second week in a row that i was withing a goal of the resul, trying the lottery at the weekend to see what happens. I see Paddy power has Mayo down to 5/1 for Sam with tyrone and kerry marginally ahead in the odds, interesting stuff.

  101. On full back line situation I would prefer to see SOS who is probably the fastest of our big men back (apart from Conor who is too inexperienced for the role) than Aido who would be better deployed in midfield. Was away on hols and haven’t seen playback of Kildare and though ye all saying Aido move was good one I think he could turn around midfield whereas Seamus still not 100% and Parsons won’t get any more than 15 or 20 mins. Barry will be ahead of Parsons as first midfield sub as he’s back longer or may be picked ahead of SOS to start there. Management have to do something to address it. Coen is mobile but would only trust him there with Aido beside him to win the hard ball.
    The other options for full back are Donie who started his Mayo career in full back line or S Coen. Prefer Donie as experience is useful in this position though neither are tightest man markers.

  102. I find this thread one of the most hilarious in a long time. I have read several posts a couple of times and they really funny. Its truly unbelievable. Someone who calls themselves a Mayo football supporter would openly rubbish the second best team in Leinster. A Leinster team that has reached the final on several occations in recent times. Given that a Leinster team have won this competition a few times in recent years. Mayo is a team that have not won it in my life time. But it gets even more funny. Some posters are looking for a real test for a struggling Mayo team. You really could not make this stuff up. Show a bit of respect. Westmeath are the second team in Leinster, and you support a team beated by Galway who have not been able win an argument in the last 8 years.

  103. Regarding mclaughlin,i think the sweeper role is an excellent role for him,other teams i feel won’t see him as such a threat in that role.i think when he goes in the forwards they see him as greater threat and put more focus on intimadating him,which i feel he does’nt respond well to.i believe dublin seen him as the man to put good ball into aidan in ff in last year’s semi’s.that did’nt happen because he was well marshalled and bullied.he is the most accurate kick passer on the team,eg ball to regan took out 2 sweepers,and i tend to focus on what he is offering us coming from deep now,he has the freedom now to show what he is capable of and he is doing so under the radar because all focus is on his defending and long may it last.i think he has a big summer ahead.

  104. Honestly, you show a lack of respect yourself there PJ, for Mayo and their supporters.

  105. Ah pj . Have an early night , ya will feel better in the morning . Think most people are glad to get Westmeath because we have not hit anything like top form yet and are struggling at mid field . On that note , after watching the 2 top teams in Leinster playing, Westmeath have 1 mid fielder who is not very tall but very mobile with intelligent use of the ball so would be tempted to start cone and leave barry till later if not fully fit . I would not presume we will beat them but if our bucks play to their potential they should .

  106. I think SO’S is been a little bit hard done by here based singly on his peformance against Kildare. Earlier in the league I would have said he had lost a fair bit of form and again when he was brought in for the injured Gibbons against Galway he was well off the pace that we normally expect from him.. since then l think the game time has really stood to him and he had his old canter back against Fermanagh. The quick turnaround in games along with the absence of a regular midfield partner hasnt helped either. Kildare clearly had put together a kick out strategy whereby when we pushed up they kicked long targeting Durcan and frustrating the midfield runners trying to get over to that side of the field. While dissapointing it was a great lesson for management and I doubt we will be caught in this area again. Seamus will only improve as his game time and fitness increases and the combination of himself and Parson IMO is the best midfield combination we have. I hope to god Parsons gets back on the field soon

  107. Don’t be expecting miracles when Parsons returns He’ll be lacking match practice and will have to be eased back in. So we may HAVE to have AOS midfield!!!!
    The question is….with whom??? Barry M for the last 20 min. Is SOS good enough for the first 50? Or what?

  108. Having reviewed the game I agree SOS a bit hard done by. He got through a dog load of work this time out and made some important blocks. For a good bit of the day he avoided his main weakness of running in to tacklers too often which slows the attack down, but went back to doing it as game wore on
    He usually breaks the tackles but it’s frustrating for other players not getting the simple or sometimes boring ball rather than slow rugby style tackle breaking. Aidan on the other hand was much more direct and probably also is the man for sending in when a big midfielder is thrown in by the opposition though Seamus has extra mobility in that role.
    I think we lost midfield for 2 reasons.. 1) Kildare had a very clear plan and Mayo didn’t and 2) We’re missing Kevin Mc and J Doc who are the guys who seem to have that innate ability to dive in at the right time and secure the possession.
    For me Aidan and Seamie are now the 2 guys to play midfield with Parsons and Barry getting game time but Seamie needs to be told to follow his brother in getting more direct for the sake of the team. If Keane out one of the big men needs to be used at FB if opposition have a big FF like a Murphy or a Donaghy.
    Donie was good in all other aspects other than being a midfield target but he’s not the answer for that role. Parsons will probably not be match sharp enough to start Westmeath game so SOS should start but cut out the game slowing stuff. We looked like a top team for first 15 mins when we were so direct.
    Canavan pointed out one or 2 of Kevin Mc’s less effective moments but he’s doing Mayo Management a favour and the player did very well overall. Keith moves the ball at very high speed and it’s a good idea to have him in forwards, midfield mopping and sweeping half back area roles as needed.
    Kevin Mc should be allowed to abandon sweeper role for opposition kickouts. That’s the main flaw of a sweeper system.
    Cillian’s influence was greater than most people think with high workrate but he doesn’t have J Doc’s ability to mop midfield ball.
    Andy was a very good target in FF and Dillon had a off night compared to his excellent contribution in previous game so if we get to QF leave Andy on until he actually gets tired. No doubt the change came early to give lads game time.
    Clarke probably has to play going forward.. very little wrong with his kicks bar the one mistake where static runners should have been ignored. Analysis should give Mayo Management a better kickout strategy and hopefully Maurice Horan will come up with the most effective modern game kickout strategies. Dublin for example might be more reluctant to kick short or pass back to Cluxton with a poacher like Andy Moran on the field.

  109. Seriously PJ this isn’t 2004, Leinster football with the exception of Dublin is in a terrible state and like it or not the division you operate in reflects that. This PC rubbish ‘oh Westmeath have a good team and they’ll give us a stern test’ when in reality if you can’t beat them by 7/8 points you’re having an off day. They’re playing Division 4 football next year, the only reason they’ve made two Leinster finals is because all the other Leinster teams are rubbish too.

    Let’s call a spade a spade its a soft draw and everyone else in Ireland thinks the same. This feeds into these really boring pre match interviews players and managers do and we’ll take Jim Gavin as an example for this…mainly because he has to do it a lot…he’ll talk about Carlow and say ‘oh they’ve a few very strong players’ where in reality he knows he’ll be annoyed if Dublin don’t win by 15 plus points.

    What I liked about James Horan when he came in, in 2013 he called it and said we really should be beating Galway because he had confidence in the team. It’s about having confidence in your team’s ability because in reality if we can’t beat Westmeath, well it just means we’re actually shite.

  110. Some good news on the injury front, the below was in The Indo this morning:

    Parsons and Barrett ready to return for Mayo

    Mayo will welcome a trio of injured players back into the frame for their fourth-round qualifier against Westmeath on Saturday week. Fresh from home wins over Fermanagh and Kildare, manager Stephen Rochford will have Tom Parsons, Chris Barrett and Conor Loftus back in contention for that game. All three have returned to training in the last week, with Rochford confirming that they’ll be in the frame. And Kevin Keane, who hurt his shoulder against Kildare on Saturday night, is also expected to be passed fit but will have a scan later in the week to confirm that there is no lasting damage.

  111. As anticipated,that’s more very welcome sunshine appearing through our clouds of concern and so timely!A few more of the lost jigsaw pieces have turned up! Hup Hup Hup!

  112. Parsons, Barrett and Loftus is a fairly decent lift to any panel.
    It would be great to get a few minutes gametime into Loftus. Good sub with his pace and scoring ability.

  113. I’m not sure Barrett could be considered having played little or no ball for months. I think Parsons will come straight back in if fit. He’s an integral part of that midfield and has only missed a few weeks.

    Loftus would be a great option on the bench but who drops off the bench in terms of forwards? We have Alan Dillon, Jason Doherty and Alan Freeman covering at the moment. Not sure we can dispense with any of them.

  114. Freezer would be the one to go I think, tried so many times but it just isn’t working for whatever reason. Better to get Loftus in and see what he can do.

  115. Great to see the injured players returning, but dont expect miracles from them. First of all they will obviously lack match practice and it is extremely difficult to come back and immediately get up to the speed of the game and Barrett in particular has been out for a long time Secondly if even all three were fully fit would they be certain starters. Our FB line is a concern but while Barrett had a great season in 2013, I dont think he has reached the same heights since. Midfield was a problem v Kildare which strengthens the case for Parsons, but it was a problem v Galway also when Tom was present. Loftus is a young lad who shows a good eye for a score at U21 but senior championship is a million miles away from U21 so too much should not be expected too soon from him. The above is not a criticism of the players and I am delighted to see them return but we shouldnt be expecting miracles from them as they get back up to speed and we shouldnt be demanding that they are thrown straight in. Thats why the draw v Westmeath, and I am not being disrepectful to them is a good one. It may allow for a gentle reintroduction for one or more of them and it should allow an extra weeks training to get them closer to fitness. Which of the named 26 pannelists from saturday would be expected to make way for their return I wonder.

  116. Well not to get into who should drop out just think Loftus has that extra touch of class and if there is no discernable performance gap between him and an older player you’d be thinking “Go with youth”. I just like how tidy he is on the ball. Either an intelligent pass or a good effort at a shot comes out of his posessions. Then he’s pretty quick and he has that old style drill the ball straight shot at goal style. Would remind you of how Dermot Early senior or Mick OConnell used to kick it with a very straight flight of the ball.

  117. If we start the same team and the trio are fit I think the subs bench will look like this ;

    16 Hennelly
    17 Barrett
    18 Coen
    19 Nally
    20 Parsons
    21 Barry
    22 Conor O Shea
    23 Freeman
    24 Conor Loftus
    25 Jason Doh
    26 Dillon

    With Carolan, Drake and ? missing out

  118. Good stuff there Shufflydeck – does anyone know where/how you can look at a recording if you don’t have Sky?

    Reflecting again, placing Andy at FF is looking like the answer that management may have stumbled upon. Everything happened off him really, and I felt confident that something was going to happen when ball was sent in.

  119. to win just once, I don’t think anyone is expecting miracles. It’s just good that there are more options emerging and players are starting to find fitness. We need all the options we can find.

  120. Agree with Catcol regarding Andy Moran. It was his runs, balls winning and lay offs that led to alot of scores against Kildare.

    He brings an extra dimension to the inside line.

  121. Just a quick point re Cillians form this year. He’s obviously been designated as the man to drop deep to cover Kevin Mcs man as he drops to sweeper position, it’s a definite consequence of the sweeper tactic.

  122. Joe I suggest you should pin that post on the dressing room wall. The room I am thinking about is the one the Mayo team occupied prior to their game with Galway, Would have , could have should have gets us to where we are. I am not having a go at the Mayo team, far from it, or its management. I am just pointing out how far the perception of expectation of some supporters has drifted in recent times. A few months ago someone posted here saying they were on an imaginary bog in Mayo footing imaginary turf and dreaming of a strategy to beat Cluxtons kickouts. I am still laughing at that one. You see we were not down to meet Dublin. Still repeating the same actions and expecting different results.

  123. On the fringe players/returnees:- Parsons shoul;d be close to being up to speed, but the last thing we want is him coming back to soon from a hamstring injury. Barrett was a great player but he gets such little game time due to regular injury spells, he has to be rusty.

    Loftus has plenty of talent and some great positives to his game. I was at all the u21 championship games this year and he can score, has an eye for goal but wouldnt be prolific. He is still a bit raw and has a tendency to kick the ball away (did this twice in the final v cork). As someone said, 21 to senior is a big step up. It would be great to see him involved in some shape or form against westmeath, but it’d be unfair to expect to much too soon.

    We have a nice squad, which is good, to keep players on their toes and importantly, must be utilized wisely by management to keep players fresh as we navigate on the scenic route of the championship. Balancing freshness and getting game time is key. We need to try to get lads like Nally and Hall some game time while letting keegan and boyle take a break. We’ve had lots of shuffling with our forward unit already.

    Some posters have pointed out and it’s something many of us commented on last autumn, that our players (in particular our normally dynamic half back unit) were out on their feet with 15 mins to go in the replay v dublin. I remember a play with one of our full backs coming out with the ball (cant remember who) and both keegan and boyler had nothing left to give, didn’t move and were simply out on their feet. I knew at that point our goose was cooked.

    If we get past Westmeath, we’ll have a monster quarter final regardless of who we meet and we’ll be the underdogs too. I dont really want to get into a chat about Tyrone, but anyone who underestimates them just isn’t clued into football. They should have beaten kerry last year. They have a machine like system, all ireland medals in pockets (senior, minor and u21) and a manager who has done it over and over and over again. They are super fast and as hungry as our lads.

    All eyes on westmeath. While league standings and form can be a barometer, the reality is that champioship football is a different creature. Galway beat us. Longford beat Down and Monaghan, Tipp beat Cork. Clare beat Laois. Any team still left in the championship at this point has a few wins under their belt and has to be taken seriously.

  124. After Colm Boyle’s black card the last day he needs to be careful from here on in. He was sent off on a second yellow against Dublin in the league and if he gets the sideline again this year will have an automatic 1 match suspension . That would be a disaster at this stage of the championship. If we were to get a good start and have a decent lead in this one I would be looking to see him being replaced.

  125. Westmeath games off this weekend.Taking Mayo game seriously…we the same no doubt.
    On another note firmly believe Roscommon are playing wrong team.Both Smyths ,Donie Shine,Niall Carty and Kevin Higgins should start.Would not play McInerney or Kilbride or Keenan or Devanney.D.Murtagh huge loss.If they pick right team season is not over I feel.

  126. Yeah cause im truly worried about roscommon getting their best team out.

    What time is our minor game on at monday week?

  127. Don’t think Seamie O’Shea is getting a hard time as such. He gets through a power of work as always and is getting caught in the tackle far less, but we’ve lost midfield in Kildare game and Galway game to an extent so some eyes will obviously be looking to him as a midfielder. In his Defence I think he may have missed training for some weeks before the galway game so he may still not be 100% fit/ 100% match fit.

    Having said that, I would agree with a previous poster in many respects regarding midfield, many of the balls lost weren’t won clean by Kildare but were breaks that were picked up. So with that in mind, our half back line (who were excellent the last day) must also try to improve on winning breaking ball. Also, I don’t think you can under-estimate the loss of Jason Doc and Kevin Mc in that area for breaking ball, they’ve been our main players for breaks over the last two years and with that experience are ahead of some others in that regard.

    Not being negative, but I do think the balance of our team remains a little off. I think Andy Moran brings a new dimension inside and was impressive v Kildare, as was Evan Regan. However, we’re setting up with two inside forwards while starting three inside forwards, Cillian drifting out.

    Andy and Evan are inside men and maybe limited to playing in the inside line, you would wonder long-term will one of them (Andy or Evan) have to make way for the likes of Jason Doc who’ll take up Cillian’s role with Cillian becoming the second man in the inside line.

  128. Yep, watching the game back its even more scary the amount of ball kildare picked up round the middle. I see a headline from the mayo news of BJP s saying AOS needs to start catching kickouts again , it was one of my thoughts also , has he lost a bit of spring because hes not rising as high as far as i can make out.

    Jason doc has lost form the last 12 months and deserved to be benched , he did well on coming in albeit i thought he could of gone low with his second effort and shot for goal. His tenacious tackling was a joy to behold a while back , if he could get back to that it would pose a question about selection. On current form it would be cillian hed be replacing but then again thats a ridiculous suggestion .

    Have to say lookin back at the game boyler, mcgloughlin and higgans were fantastic. Higgans got a hand in in one play with kildare man bursting through the middle , it was special man, timing and execution was perfect.

  129. Sean – are you ‘watching back’ on Sky? Are Sky repeating this match? Might consider joining up, as it seems nearly all Mayo games this year are on Sky. Galway, Kildare, Wmeath, and I would say the QF if we got there.

  130. Got herself to record it for me. Daughter replaced the fermanagh game with keep up with the kardashians, so ive warned them this time to save the game till we are out.i like to watch them back.

  131. catcol
    go on internet and buy an Openbox
    I paid 100 euros for one in Dublin and 100 per year for all the sky channels–you need good internet.

  132. Sean
    Some of us like to stay abreast of all teams left in the championship.
    Just a comment anyway but your response was petty.Why bother commenting at all if it does not interest you ?

  133. Not sure if anyone has brought this up yet but Keith Higgins was named captain against Kildare. I thought Cillian had the Captains armband for the championship, can anyone throw some light on this? My feeling was that the captaincy was weighing too heavy on him and effecting his performance of late and was this done intentionally to try and rectify that?

  134. What makes you say that @Nally_Stand? Cillian was named as captain in the programme.

  135. Nally Stand that was a mistake by RTE if I’m not mistaken. Cillian was Captain as far as I’m aware.

  136. As far as I know Cillian was the Captain, and is also recorded on the program. Sky had the recording rights to that game. I agree with other comments he got through a lot of hard work the last day while not at his usual standard.

  137. Agree with some of the posts above about Cillians role and work rate also Jason Docs. When they are not scoring they are sometimes viewed as having a bad game or gone missing…………….A lot of the problems we have at midfield go unoticed when J Doc and Kevin Mc plays HF because they clean up so much dirty ball, moving Kevin Mc to sweeper and Doc on the bench puts extreme pressure on the MF pair ………Cillian worked hard to support them last sat. but sometimes we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    Maigh Eo Abu

  138. RTE’s coverage is piss poor. “Tom” Carr hates us (cant think why), Spillane and Brolly always putting us down…personally i love it and think it galvanises the team, but theirs lots of Mayo people upset with the way we are treated by RTE.
    Being asked to pay a licence fee, then seeing Marty Morrisey show Fermanagh manager the penalty incident in a post match interview, just to stir the pot, takes the biscuit. Its a big Dublin/Kerry love in on that station, and im delighted most of our games are on Sky. At least Cannavan and McGuinness give good analysis and come across as fair to both sides. Id be delighted if RTE lost the rights to all games, they’re over paid, lazy analysis is tiresome now. Id have Sky Sports any day of the week.

  139. Agree completely with we’regoing/Sean and JJ above.
    I think the idea of having KMcL as sweeper has a lot of merit and he’s such an adaptable player, but we are definitely missing out around midfield in terms of breaking ball.

    KMcL is as good as there is for this, but I would persist with him as sweeper.
    But when doing that, I feel we need Doherty in the team. He’s probably the next best we have at winning dirty ball and aggressive tackling high up the pitch.

    I watched the game back last night and can see that it wasn’t so much the midfield that was the problem (although that was part of the problem), more the fact that we weren’t winning the breaking ball from the knock downs.

  140. And agree about “Tom”. Absolute gombeen of a co-commentator.
    I’ve tried muting the tv on numerous occasions so I can listen to the radio, but they have their little trick in place whereby the commentary is a couple of seconds out of sync.

    I’m against the Sky deal in principle, but give me their commentary (especially Mike Finnerty) and analysis any day over those clowns on RTE.

  141. I’d be happy if we took the Tyrone approach and had no dealings with RTE. Lazy poor analysis and always putting down Mayo. At the same time it may work in our favour. I Havnt heard any commentator speak about the reason we play Kevin at sweeper, to set up counter attacks, he can kick the ball faster then anyone that run and the reason we play Keith in the forwards, the clean up ball and attack space. It’s the usual “McLoughlin is a forward he should be in the forwards, Higgins is a defender he should be in the defence” the longer we stay under the radar the better.

    I have to say I’m pleased that Kevin Mac is finally getting some plaudits, its only since he’s moved into the sweeper role that pundits are now calling him a great forward, all they said was he didn’t score enough when he actually played there!

  142. So were are playing Westmeath in Croker? Has our County Board any respect for the genuine supporter. We play In Tullamore, Portlaoise and Croker in 3 different grades all in one weekend. How is it that Roscommon and Clare can play in Salthill which is handy for supporters to travel to distance wise. Could they not have done the same venue for Mayo and Westmeath. Pity the supporter from Blacksod who has to make this trip. Could our County Board have insisted on Salthill. But sure if Croke Park said we have to play in Russia our Co Board would agree. Croke Park didn’t give 2 fucks for us when we had to play All Ireland Semi Final in Limerick as they had the YANKS giving them dosh that day. Now that the Yanks are not playing they hope to get the GREAT MAYO fans to pay. We should have told them to get lost as this is only a game to see who gets in to last eight. I’ m sure Cork and Donegal feel the same way.
    If Dublin were to play a championship game and it was fixed for Mayo, the Dublin Co Board would make sure it would be played in Croker. Because Croke Park has taken over our loan for McHale Park they make sure we have to obey he who pays the bill.

  143. Have to agree about Tom Carr so hard to listen to .rte are getting as bad as tv3 with there soccer commentators and that’s cat malogen bad! Surely there some top class ex players that have a great knowledge of the game Rte could hire?

  144. Mayo v Kildare is on catch up tv in the sky sports section, full match available in HD for anyone who’s interested.
    Quick question, if i add a friend on my season ticket to be seated together will we be pushed into the corner by Hill 16 like last year or will we keep our tickets in our usual central section?

  145. It’ll be very interesting to see if there will be any changes made for the Westmeath game. Rochford and his management team have shown that they are not afraid to make changes or alterations. We have seen Robbie replaced by Clarke. Conor O’Shea made way for Jason Doc who was then replaced by Freeman who in turn was replaced by Andy. Durcan was replaced by Vaughan in the Fermanagh game and then Vaughan replaced Coen for the Kildare game. We also seen Vaughan and O’Shea play at full-back at different times last Saturday. Then the guys who were replaced, Durcan, Freeman, Jason Doc and Conor O’Shea when given a second chance, all did their stuff. Barry and Dillon have made an impact as well when introduced. That’s great to see and augers well for future games. I reckon we have now used 28 different players so far in the championship, which is a very high number.

  146. Croke Park don’t give a shit about anyone outside Dublin but we’ve known that for a while especially when it comes to a bit of joined up thinking where a number of grades within one County could all play at the one location on a given weekend. When you think about it a possible reason they do what suits themselves is that you are never going to satisfy everyone all the time.. an example of this is that if you are talking to Roscommon people they are not happy with Salthill as a venue.. go figure! Personally I’m very happy with us back in Croke Park but that’s purely from a desire for us to trial out our new system as often as possible there. It is unrealistic that the other mayo games could have been played at Croker also but they should at least have been able to organise the other two games to one equi-distance location to all sets of fans.

  147. You know everyone, the GAA championship isn’t fair and it has never been and its not going to change now. That round 4 qualifier was always going to be in Croke Park, they’ve been doing that ever since they ended the practice of playing 4 quarter finals over the bank holiday weekend. It was never going to be anywhere else

  148. HopeSpringsEternal I think you have hit nail on head with your post. We are all over the place with Team Selection and positions. We need to get our shape back with Kevin Mc back in forwards and Keith back in backs. Big players need to start playing. Then we might get back to last years level. At moment we are a pale shadow of that team and only still in championship due to soft draws. We are not improving game to game either as the set up is all wrong and big players not playing. Lets hope we get it right for Westmeath as the QF will be an embarrassment if we go out and play the way we have so far this year.

  149. Aiden!…how ya? You don’t have to be a top class player or ex player to be suitable for the TV Jobby. It’s just that RTE don’t do anything much that is up to scratch and what they do mostly reeks of camphor.

  150. Looking forward to see the boys step out in Croker as I think we need to be playing there as early and as often as possible. That’s ultimately where we need to be winning all our matches from now on. Hope to see Tom Parsons back in action asap he is vital to our chances and a great link from defence to attack. Hope to see plenty of variety from running game to K Mac with some beautiful diagonal ball in wide open spaces of Croker
    While we need to respect Westmeath we should be winning this game provided we perform as we know we can. This is knock out so no place to hide let’s go for it . Anyway thing else and may as well not bother .
    The back door has been good for this team and the draws have been just what we needed when we needed. This next match is another step on the road Hon

  151. Amc,to my knowledge the league and c’ship are two different competions,so any cards from the league don’t carry through to the c’ he has two valuable black cards left before he misses a game and i hope he uses them wisely again.

  152. Hallo Joe! I complained once about a particular something not being ‘ fair ‘ and the answer I got was..’.ha ha, the day of the fair day is long gone’.
    Of course it’s not fair bit do you think they care? Seems not so much as long as things muck along something like before.

  153. Which side of Ballagh are you just outside exactly???
    How you can read HSE’s post as being critical is beyond me. I think you may have the wrong county in mind when your questioning team selection. I’ve read all you posts going back a long time and I’ve never read one positive statement from you. I’ve a sneaking feeling you may reside under a bridge outside Ballagh and not the good side of it either.

  154. Sky before the?you think Tommy Carr is anti mayo,should listen to Paul early,accirding to him Kildare were better team for 60mins,never heard such shit commentary in my life

  155. What can I say that hasn’t been said already?
    McLoughlin should be a forward, McLoughlin should be a sweeper.
    Cillian should be dropped, Cillian should be given more time.
    Robbie couldn’t catch a cold, Clarke is a stone cold hero.
    Everyone has their opinions but none of us, bar Stephen Rochford, are the manager of the team.
    If everyone had their way, all we would be left with a bunch of squabbling factions.
    Maybe we should not doubt the man that is the appointed person to lead us forward. Especially after just 7/8 months…

  156. @SomedaySoon, my reading of the rule is the suspension follows 3 sendings off in the same year in league and championship:


    At all levels a Black Card results in a player missing the remainder of the game.

    Additionally at Senior Inter County Level:

    3 x Black Cards = 1 Game suspension

    3 x Double Yellow Cards = 1 Game suspension

    3 x Yellow followed by a Black Card = 1 Game suspension


    A Combination of all three (totalling 3) = 1 Game suspension

    Only in senior inter-county league and championship games within the same year.”

  157. Yeah Liam, I was actually praising management that they were not afraid to try different things out. Plenty of players are seeing game time and the players who take the chance that they are given, retain their positions. So it’ll be interesting to see if maybe Barry Moran might start the next day, with Seamie been kept as our back-up midfielder or whether someone like Alan Dillon or Conor Loftus etc. will see a bit more game time, to see what they can do. We’ll see how it goes anyway!

  158. Can’t believe there’s people complaining about us playing in croke park. The Rossies are complaining coz they want to play there too!! There is not a single intercounty gaa player today who wouldn’t want to play every single game in Croker if possible. Fans will just have to suck it up. The team comes first. Also less chance of an ambush against a big team in Croker than down in some graveyard in the likes of salthill.
    There’s plenty of reasons to complain about the boys who call the shots in Croker but this is not one of them!
    Still a lot of fanciful talk about here – In my view we haven’t produced a consistent performance in the Rochford era. Mixing the good with the terrible. If we can get a win and a 7/10 minimum from everyone on the field v Westmeath we may have a chance going forward. However more 9/10 performances from DOC and boyler accompanied by more 3/10 efforts from the midfield won’t see us beating anyone of note.
    I though Andy was excellent last week and our movement in the forwards dropped off massively when he went off. A great example of why the twin towers approach, or indeed the AOS at FF approach is a disaster against good sides. You need players making intelligent runs in the FF line more than any other area of the field. Aido doesnt do this at FF to the required level hence why Dublin found it so easy to defend against him last year. Unfortunately most supporters don’t recignise the importance of good off the ball movement, and only see the scorers. Thankfully Rochford appears to understand it which is all that matters. I want to see Regan and Andy start every game from now in the FF line and early ball delivered into them. We will get chances in that scenario.

  159. PJ! Are you seriously suggesting that Westmeath might beat us? If they do then to quote a previous post we really are shite out and out. I believe we will beat Westmeath comfortably and I’m not afraid to say it. I also believe if we can sort out a few things we will be in the shakeup in September. More importantly the team itself believe this and rightly so. I’m not for this false modesty and respect stuff. I hate it and I hate the Jim Gavin approach to interviews. He doesn’t mean a fcuking word he says!
    Common Mayo!
    BTW that imaginary bog, fitting imaginary turf etc gave me one awful sore back for two days unless that too was imaginary.

  160. Liam, your post @11.43pm are my thoughts exactly. You’ll get the “Im from Mayo and am i not allowed question the team etc” response. But its pretty clear theirs alot of bitter outsiders on this blog. Whatever floats they’re boat I suppose.

  161. It seems to me that sometimes we feel we are in charge of this team and I often feel amused when talking to the odd person I meet who is into the football for there are so many who are not!,…what we say is gospel and ought to be immediately implemented without regards to the fact that we are not in fact in charge of any team. Fair dues to the constant intensity and honesty of so many fine gaa minds.They turn up each stone, turn it over move it here and there and mostly it ends up back where it came from!And neither do the people who count give two blinks or even know that we exist!
    Roch/Co we assume,know what they have in terms of players both present and oncoming and are in position to decide what is best for the team at this time!Are Barrett and Parsons ready and when and is C Lof really back on board?
    The bloggers on the other hand I gather are free to ply their trade with all sorts of references , far fetched, imaginary,OTT or otherwise so long as they keep the peace and mind their language!!! Or at least observe the rules.Fanciful statements are what they are and nothing else.They are always a reminder of the diversity of thought there is among the faithful followers and are not to be laughed at.For sometimes,what seems far fetched or impossible becomes run of the mill and quite the norm.If it was nt for the bizarre and the way-out thinking that human kind has been responsible for over times past we would still be in a dark mediocrity.
    We have had much of this over many years while following the fortunes of the green and red but now let us enjoy and celebrate with our present generation of footballers,backstagers and bloggers who are all part of that one great flotilla that is tacking bravely in the direction of a heavenly harbour!

  162. James McCarthy is out until at least September. The Dubs have serious depth in their squad but he’s a huge loss to them.

  163. Inbetweener, good post. As Pat Lam said in a recent interview, “when a manager starts listening to the fans it wont be long till he is sitting beside them”

    Regarding match venue, Croke Park is the best possible venue, Team needs as many games there as possible. There isnt many more venues that would suit both teams, Westmeath playing too not just Mayo. Salthill is not a runner for Saturday week. I really dony want to be heading to Salthill on Galway race week, its a pain in the ass to get to on a normal day.

    Rock, McCarthy is a major loss, he probably is the top half back in the country, he really doesnt get the recognition he deserves, a class act. Dublin of course have plenty of cover for all positions but I can see Gavin calling around to the recently arrived back in town McCaffery to see what condition he is in.

  164. McCarthy is a massive loss, lot of pace gone from they’re hb line, with McCaffrey on a year out aswell. I honestly beileve Kerry will beat them in the semis. Dublin have once in a lifetime players such as Cluxton, Connolly, Brogan, Flynn. When these players are retired, Dublin will be back to being mere mortals again, that day is’nt too far away either. The production line is’nt as good as people think, Eric lowndes, John Small, even Costello, are average enough players who happen to be playing in possibly the greatest team ever.

  165. Lads, does anyone know what the story is with Boyler regarding his black card?

    Am i correct in saying that if he gets another black he misses the next game? What about two yellows?

  166. Black cards, double yellows are counted over the entire year, league and chanpionship. A combination of 3 results in one game suspension. One more black card or double yellow will result in a one match ban for Boyler.

  167. John small is a super player, far better than average

    They’ll be fine, that forward line will blitz anyone and Fenton is the best mid in the country

    Frankly no-one else is good enough to stop them

  168. Not reading any more papers this week.
    All this D connolly spin has my head wrecked.

    Thug, end of…

  169. Management have stuck to their guns regarding Kevin Mc in sweeper and Keith in forwards and it’s starting to pay off. Keith offloads very quickly and when he runs unlike others who do he’s very hard to slow down.
    The one down side is kickouts so I would hope Kevin Mc is freed from sweeper duties until possession has been won or lost so he can mop. Keith should be very good at this too and as J Doc unlikely to start games we need Keith to do it and no better man.
    Having Andy in FF line means we play at a higher tempo so it’s no brainer to have him on the field for as much of the 70 mins as we can. Also he’s a leader and very positive minded. Our wide count dropped off hugely in Kildare game too though we will need patience vs Westmeath with their double sweeper and long range shooting will be a tactic we might use which is lower percentage so us fans be patient.

  170. On the black card good to see refs meeting up. It’s application has been inconsistent and the main frustration is some refs copping out by issuing a yellow instead or in case of Fionn Fitzgerald not issuing one at all lest it would spoil a game with an early sending off.
    Here’s hoping we get more consistency from no on. I do think standard of refereeing is improving with less controversy around referees these days. Remember Meath’s daylight robbery over Louth. Get this rule right and it’s good for refs players and fans.

  171. Agree with you Shuffly. Having Andy in the forwards noticeably increased our tempo. The ball wasn’t hanging about with one player or in one spot very long.
    Keith is able to make runs making ground where other players (bar Diarmuid) would have to turn back from the tackler(s).
    Also JDoc coming in fresh has that aggressive ability to break tackles and drive at defences. He’s always been that wiry aggressive type strong. Of course this doesn’t count near as much when he starts when defenders are fresh and stronger. Hence he is an excellent option to give us a boost in the last 15 minutes. I thought his two points were excellent points and demonstrated this.

  172. @amc i was going by club level and did’nt realise it differs in inter does say a combination of all i will leave that to barrister’s if it comes to it,no doubt the county board would spare no expense if the matter arises.

  173. @ Tonyk

    I see the Dublin spin machine is in full flow this week. The angle now is that poor Diarmuid is constantly “targeted”. That’s the mantra going forward and it’ll give free reign for him to batter and bully his way through the championship. I wonder what that lad did in McGowans that night to deserve his broken jaw, did he wink at him or ruffle his fringe? The Dubs were very quick to accuse A O’Shea of being a cheat but don’t seem to acknowledge any wrongdoing by an aggressive, violent convict. The eminent Tony Hananhoe might have been to able convince the CCCC that Connolly isn’t a thug, he couldn’t do the same in the Criminal Courts alas.

  174. Does it strike anyone else that if we wanted to maintain the current structure but be a little more defensively minded, we could simply swap Higgins and McLoughlin? Or if we have a decent lead going into the final quarter we could employ both as a double sweeper and break with genuine pace.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if this and other systems are rolled out in Croker when required.

  175. Im not convinced now dublin will win it , mcarthy is a huge blow. Their attack is their strongest sector and their defence is now weakened . Donegal could cause them problems , its not going to be as straight forward as people think. I dont get the Cork could beat donegal opnion, cork are pure useless to date. Doneagl might of held out for a win v tyrone only for them outrageous points from harte and cavanagh and now tyrone are considered nb to dublin where as donegal are pure muck . Its all a bit muddled if ya ask me and i wouldnt be totally shocked to see ourselves and Donegal contest the final. A bit outlandish you might say but one massive performance by both teams in qf s and i dont rate galway or kerrys chances in semis.

    Waits for the “will you go and buy yourself a bottle of cop on sean” . Its just a prediction though, what ordinary punters do this time of year like.


  177. Moran is a natural born killer, he is a forward that has a plan as to what he is going to do when he wins a ball. That’s what the best do, they are not reacting to what is developing in front of them they dictate the reactions and take advantage of the inevitable chaos. It is kinetic intelligence and all the greats have it. His movement and spacial awareness are a joy to behold when he is playing against anyone but Kerry, as when he is given possession against us invariably my balls switch sides because he is a player who will always know what card you picked from his deck.

    On Rochford I think he is correct to be playing a sweeper and Canavan highlighting his positioning on TV last Saturday was very lame in my opinion, I thought he was very effective and snuffed out a number of very threatening balls that were effectively delivered. The stake that has ended so many championship opportunities for your great team has glided unchallenged through unmarked space currently being marcheled by McLoughlin. These games have given Mayo the chance to learn valuable lessons that ordinarily cost the county the march up the steps of the Hogan Stand. To me he is trying to solve the hole in Mayo’s ozone layer, a hole that far too many supporters fail to acknowledge or fail to realise its cost.
    Good luck against the boys in maroon.

  178. Do not get carried away with our forwards last week—the Kildare backs were atrocious .Look at how they performed against Galway & Fermanagh. Judge forwards against a tight defence.

  179. @Gamechanger,

    You put it perfectly.It has not been our lack of scoring forwards that has cost us the big games, it has been the conceding of goals. To hear people giving out about putting Aiden O’Shea in full back when Kildare moved in their midfielder to full forward would make you despair. These are the very same people who complained in 2014 when Horan failed to deal with Donnaghy. It is very reassuring to see Rochford has identified our most consistent weak spot over the past 5 years and make that his unshakable priority to repair, despite the lazy analysis and jibes about the sweeper.

  180. Liam, you clearly did not read my post. My worry is that the team is a shadow of where we were last year and the experiment with McLoughlin in the backs is not working. We also have a number of key players not performing at the minute. We need a marked improvement for the Westmeath match to get near last years level. Some soft home draws have kept us in the Championship but once we hit Croker, we need to get back to 2015 performance levels to compete.

  181. Any Rossie supporter I spoke since the game in Salthill have been relaying horror stories about their journey back to Roscommon after the game in Salthill. Nothing any different to our own stories any time we have had to play there. While Galway is a lovely town we all agree, getting out of it back to Mayo or Roscommon is a nightmare. Dos’nt surprise me if some of them are not happy with that venue. A very good point made earlier about the number of players getting game time this summer. This improves the competition for places and should improve the effort from all as a consequences.

  182. Liam 100% spot on.
    We need to use our players wherever they are needed. So AOS at FB is fine by me. Dublin bring Paul Flynn back to double up on target men, where is the whinging about his playing in the FB line? Colm Cavanagh plays there all the time – where is the outcry from that? It is standard practices, and I for one am delighted that rochford isn’t listening to pundits (whisper it, like McStay did) about what his team should be doing? What do they know?

    We also need to have be wise enough not to listen to every two-bit pundit who talks in hindsight – if they were any good they would be managing.

    Back the men on the line, Rochford is a top manager.

  183. Gamechanger10 I always enjoy reading your posts and that is one of your best. We are always very suspicious of Kerry men on this blog, but that does not mean we do not enjoy reading what you have to say about the game. Kerry are very very quite as usual.

  184. Lots of posters querying position of Kevin Mac.I see Tomás O’Shea has weighed in as well (BTW why does he call his namesake Aidan Shea? His own name is O’Shea and yet he can’t get it right with another player. Is he being disrespectful)?

    I’m sure others have pointed this out, but Kevin was originally a half back – in the Johnno era – and James Horan pushed him forward. He was a good half back too. So too was Andy Moran originally!

    I think he’s doing fine, but I do think we need more people back to counter the opposition breaks and more intensity in the tackle at 40/50 yards. Why are we standing off and letting forwards take a pop. Let them kick from that distance, but by God don’t stand there applauding them.

    We’re getting a lot of things clicking as we go along and I hope that continues the next day.

    One thing that is not clicking is midfield. Don’t want to blow my trumpet (ok I AM blowing it), but I mentioned our midfield crisis before the Galway match and was laughed at. Best in the country, feared by all yada, yada. Injuries have been the main problem, but loss of form is now compounding that. Even before the injury Tom Parsons was nowhere near last year’s high.

    A further complication is that David Clarke’s kickouts are helping the opposition. This has always been a problem and while he’s a great stopper and good under the high ball, Hennelly is better all round and his kicks are very intelligent. I’m not complaining about the occasional error; these are going to happen with this strategy, it’s how you deal with such errors that’s important.

    Peter Burke has it all to do on the training ground.

  185. Lads, I think this Mayo team are motoring along nicely, we don’t want to be peaking too early, I remember against Donegal in 2013 where we crushed them, we peaked that day, Aido gave a masterclass in the middle of the park.

    As long as we improve on the Kildare game, inch by inch, we will be in with a shout.

  186. Midfield has been a problem for us but in fairness Galway midfield are playing great football also Fermanagh and Kildare are very strong in the middle. Credit has to go the them also for playing very well in this area.

    Next saturday I dont see midfield as an issue as I dont think Clarke will be kicking much ball into this area. As westmeath play a double sweeper system and we play one, potentially we should have 3 free men in our defensive area during kickouts. Kickouts will therefore be played to free men between the 45 and 20 lines. Westmeath wont be pressing kickouts as they dont play enough forward players.

  187. Off and maybe part of topic. I read that the Mayo Juniors were hoping to have Reape and o Donoghue released from the senior setup for this weekend. It the first time I seen that o Donoghue was called into the senior panel. Like this kids style of defending has a great future wearing a mayo jersey. Willie Joe will probably start a seep rate thread on the junior games so good luck to them this week and all the latest additions like Doran Barry Duffy and Forkan Disappointing that a few players have gone abroad since the Connaught final but these things happen.

  188. Catcol its actually a mark of respect, in kerry they always drop the O, any mention of mick o’dwyer is always dwyer , anyone called o’shea is always just Shea etc etc.

    believe you me they respect aidan oshea , i saw mickey ned and the other kerry minor selectors falling over themselves to shake his hand in croke park the day we beat dublin two years ago

  189. Season Ticket Opt Out alert!
    I have just been checking on my season ticket to opt out of the Westmeath game – first time I have used the opt out and only second championship game to miss since beginning of 2011- due to a family event. I was surprised to find that tomorrow, 21st, is the last date to opt out – nine days before the game. I think this is unfairly early as there is much which can happen in the meantime to prevent a person travelling and with computerised ticket management it should be possible to leave the option open almost to the day of the match. I will be letting Croke Park and Co Board know my views – not that I expect that to make much difference.

  190. I think the Kildare performance was much improved in alot of sectors, but regarding our scoring threat we have to be realistic.

    We scored 2-17 against Kildare, Offaly scored 2-14 against the same opposition a week earlier. I do believe this is down to a mixture of a number of things; some of our main players not being in their best form, some positional issues, and a lack of balance in our forward line.

  191. We hit 2.17 pulling up in my opinion. Ran the bench early and made sure we didn’t concede a major.

  192. Agree with you AndyD. Makes no sense why it needs to be this early. They are very unhelpful in general.

  193. In fairness, we could have put a far bigger total on the board if we really were at it. But the truth of it is the game was over at half time and we kept the board ticking over. We slowed the game down and wound it to a nice uneventful close.

    But the most encouraging thing is that devastating intensity we can bring to games still exists. After Fermanagh we knew the fight was still there. After Kildare, we saw the ability to blow teams away was still there. Next up, Westmeath. Can’t wait

  194. While the out out does seem a little early, I would say they want a final number of tickets attending, bring a friend etc for seat allocations before general sale. There are 4 Teams playing so seems fair enough to me. At least they are letting us know, not like another governing body and their secret reserved seating plan.

  195. Agree with Liam management getting better with each game,if Horan had dealt with Donaghy in semi and then the replay im sure we would have won All Ireland that year, with McEntee invoived this mayo team will fitter than they ever been his motto is in the battle together, just watch them move in the open spaces of Croke park.

  196. Cant deal with the wait of an extra week before Croker. I hope to see Mayo play to their potential in Croker, but hold some back, as we dont want to show our hand to early with players and tactics.

  197. I thought Mayo mteam fitness is still behind where I expected. Fifteen minutes into the second half with Kildare there were signs of some players getting tiered. Kildare on the other hand were flying and done really well when they were getting the space that was not there in the first half. We are light years ahead in terms of our fitness in the first game, but there is still some way to go in this regard.

  198. Read a lot of posts today and enjoyed most of them. I remember our early league form and our struggles with injury. We managed to stay in top flight and although losing to galway was not nice we now through the tradesman’s entrance are road testing new tactics. I can see what management are doing and I believe in them. I believe that we will best westmeath and then we need fully fit panel to choose from. In croke park it’s more vital to have strong subs bench than what’s starting. U must be able to finish the game in top gear because if u don’t then u shall be beaten. We are working towards peaking at right time. Our hand has not really been shown ad numerous players are in different positions. I’m thinking a more open minded approach is being shown and players have their shoulder to the wheel in various positions. Roscommon emptied the tank early in the season. They are backtracking fast. I’m hoping were doing opposite

  199. Maymad, James McCarthy is not the best half back in the country, Lee Keegan is and has been for past 5 years, its as simple as that. He will prove it again this year.

  200. James McCarthy Peter Harte Lee Keegan
    Imagine that half backline of the best half backs in the country 🙂

  201. James McCarthy has tried to mark Diarmuid Connolly in Dublin Club Championship, he has tried but…

    I have never seen Peter Harte marking Connolly..

    Keegan has completely taken Connolly on at least 4 occasions and the general view is that Connolly is the best Forward in country.

    I am fed up listening to people harping on about how good McCarthy is..

  202. @pjmcmanus – that’s an interesting point about fitness. I thought I saw Harrison stretching on the ground at some stage of the second half with cramp.

    It’s not as if it was a particularly draining game. It was hot, but the second half was about containment, so there should not have been any problems. That could well explain why Kildare were still shooting points until the last few minutes.

  203. Your correct Mayo51, Clarke is solid at the back and that gives the spine and the defence confidence, something they were lacking when he wasn’t between the posts. He will be first name on the sheet the next day.

  204. Paddy in Dublin, I was just expressing an opinion, is that not allowed? Im by no means a fan of Dublin but I genuinely think James McCarthy is an awesome player, has been for some time and doesnt get the recognition he deserves. That doesnt take anything from Keegan or his achievements. Seriously can no one have an opinion on something unless it conforms to the view of the masses.

  205. It was often Ger Cafferkey who marked Connolly inside the 45 during the drawn game last year for what it’s worth.
    All three are top class players and I would say all three it’s near pointless trying to figure out who is better.

  206. Sorry Mayomad, I have watched McCarthy in Club games and also for Dublin but he is a level below Keegan in my eyes .I know he has been playing well this year.but when it comes to the big games between Mayo and Dublin, Keegan always looks the superior player.

    Jim McGuinness is also a big fan of his and rates him the best also.

  207. To echo JP’s comments defining who is greater than who is a pointless excercise. That said Lee Keegan is magic!

  208. Paddy, thats totally fine. As I said I was just expressing my opinion which im entitled to do, as are you. Just beacuse it doesnt match yours doesnt mean im right or wrong. Im sure I have different views on alot of players to other people on here.

  209. Sorry I came across a bit abrupt Mayomad, I know you are a real Mayo supporter and lets hope McCarthy being out will take a bit off the Dublin march, I think Dublin missing him, McCaffrey and Carroll is going to affect them as the business end approaches.

    I also heard that Kevin O’Brien has also left the Dublin panel, he is gone to America. All of a sudden they appear a bit ‘thin’ on the defence cover and cannot cope with any more injuries.

  210. Paddy, its all good. I do agree with ya that the Dubs for all their depth in the squad, dont have the same quality of player to replace the three that have left. Im sure there is pressure on McCaffery to return to the squad at this stage.

    In saying that, its not something we need worry about for now. Lets take care of Westmeath first and see how the fixtures pan out before before rubbing the hands together at the prospect of another rattle at the boys in blue.

  211. I see the Dublin PR machine is gone into overdrive. Apparently Diarmuid Connolly is a lovely fella who gets bullied by other team….oh and he loves his mammy! Don’t make me laugh, the man is a thug but no doubt the line that is being pushed hard in the media will result in him getting away with the thuggery we’ve come to expect from him. Saying that, 3 out of the their 6 starting backline are now unavailable and this will come into play later on in the championship.Hopefully we will get a chance to have another crack at them.

  212. It is interesting reading all the posters on here,I believe that we have the brightest young manager in the game,I think that a decision was made that we would take things slowly and peak later on in the year,whilst we slipped up against Galway I believe we are still on track for September,on players not been up to speed I think can see improvement from game to game,so still optimistic,and after years of shouting and pointing out managers mistakes,I have come to realise that management see the players in training and know what they are capable of,so can we show respect for them as well

  213. A good news tweet from The Mayo News Sports team:

    Mayo Manager Stephen Rochford has confirmed that all of his squad trained last night and are available for the Westmeath game.

  214. Full squad fit bar Caff so……it’s all
    Coming together at the right time …….

  215. Can anyone answer the following questions?
    1. If you are a Cairde ticket holder does attendance matter?
    2. Is anyone experiencing difficulty with either adding a friend or opting out? This is the first time this year I have to use opt out but can’t reset password and website says my email is not in database…..which is odd given I am using link from an email they sent.
    3. May look to some that I am not a genuine supporter……family wedding forcing me to miss Westmeath game. 4. I would let it roll and give my ticket to a genuine supporter but afraid now I can’t print out. 5. Is it Croke Park or Castlebar I go to with problem?

  216. What ever about Keegan I think McCarthy is a great half back and I wish him a speedy recovery. I believe looking at a player at club level is a great place to make a judgement on a player’s ability. Anyone who watches K McL and the way he can make Knockmore tick will know what I mean. I do not believe like some that Dublin will be light on replacements later in the Championship. They have a lot of players that would walk on to most teams in the country. Did they miss O Gara last year, well maybe for five minutes or so.

  217. Where have you disappeared to Willie Joe?…… I think we need a new train of thought!!…

  218. To Mayo, Hop it ref! Just back from a quick family break there, we left here on Monday morning shortly after the draw was made. Normal service resumes tomorrow.

  219. Mayomad,

    Re the early opt out. There are four teams playing all right but still Croke Park will hardly be half full. Westmeath have a small enough following, Cork people like Kerry travel in small numbers except for a final and their morale is not too high at the moment. Only Donegal will bring anything like a decent crowd so where will you get 40,000? Even some Mayo supporters may not travel. One man explained to me that “if they can’t beat Westmeath I don’t want to watch them losing”. Maybe they do not want the bother of opening the Upper Deck but if the crowd turning up on the day demands it will they turn them away?

  220. I must have missed blogs on Eamon Sweeney’s article in the Sunday Independent. Apoplexy over O’Shea’s penalty while no mention of J O’D’s penalty last year. Memories are short when it pleases.
    Mayo are a work in progress, happily going the right way. With all respect to Westmeath and others I feel Kerry and Tyrone are the teams to watch for. Dublin are not yet imposing themselves on others as in the past. I still feel we have progressed quietly along and, fingers crossed for a couple of results in our favour, we may yet achieve the aim.

  221. They wont open upperdeck until next week, and it may not open if crowd is not big enough, I got 309 lower cusack yesterday, ill settle for that

  222. Not sure the masses would have sanctioned a family break during championship season WJ?

    Just as well you kept that under your hat.

  223. That’s only the start of it, Rock – we’re off on hols next month for two weeks. Still not sure how this place will function then!

  224. Selfish, selfish man WJ, have you no dedication to the cause. Leaving the wheel house in August is akin to Santa having a sleep in on Christmas morning.

  225. Ah we’ll be grand WJ. I think we were all pretty well behaved over the past couple of days, without you having to reprimand anyone. You can even consider going away for 2 weeks and not have to shell out for a babysitter.
    Saying that, we are still in the championship and on a 2 game winning streak, so everyone appears to be in a relatively chipper mood.
    A loss to Westmeath on the other hand…

  226. People getting carried away thinking about Dublin. Injuries have brought them back into the leading pack but we’re on opposite side of draw. Our aim needs to be to get to play Tyrone game and come up with plan to beat them. That’s our All Ireland. If we win these 2 games it’s game on in AI series. While we fans might get overconfident for next game I don’t think management and players will make same mistakes as Galway game and as it turns out Galway aren’t half bad.

  227. On the off chance did any one lose a season ticket last sat at name is Anna on ticket

  228. Shuffly Deck if Cork beat Donegal and we do the business against Westmeath, we may meet Dublin as a draw will take place to see who Mayo or Cork face off against.

  229. If u want to beat the top teams u must prevent them getting goals. Keep dublin or whoever from getting goals and the longer the game goes on frustration sets in. Then hit the diff. Sure it’s easy lol

  230. Catcool as a matter of interest , why do you think Cork will beat donegal? The highlights i seen of their game with longford were way off the pace, it was very sluggish. They lost to tipp who got well beaten by an aging kerry team who got trounced by a dublin team in second gear in league final and last years aIf too.

    I just dont see this cork angle at all. (probably win sam now) lol

  231. It’s hard to see Cork beating Donegal really

    Sure, they still have quality personnel on paper, but they don’t have a clue of their best team, they’re chopping and changing like no tomorrow, and their structure and tactics are all over the shop

    It’s the county name “syndrome” again. The name “Cork” seems to automatically strike apprehension into people, similar to the name “Tyrone” being automatically associated with All Ireland Contenders, and “Galway” with free flowing and exciting football and “coming from nowhere”. It doesn’t matter what state their current team is actually in

    Hard cold facts- Cork got relegated from the league, lost to Tipperary and went a staggering 34 minutes without a score against Longford. That’s what you’d expect from the likes of Limerick and Clare in Munster not Cork.

    I’d be very surprised if the much better organised and more experienced Donegal didn’t win to be honest. A 13 day break is more than sufficient

  232. Heard Pete McGrath being interviewed last night on off the ball, disappointing to hear him STILL carping on about the penalty. Aidan should be feeling sorry for the Fermanagh footballers who’s summer he cut short with his actions according to Pete

  233. Wait until he is on the Sunday game as a guest pundit, Cahill loves him, they will have a field day. Does come across as a nice fella when ive seen him on telly

  234. Pete McGrath came across very well to me, a man who still has a lot to offer the game. Yes he brought up AOS, but in fairness we still get bent out of shape when thinking of incidents 2yrs ago in Limerick.

    Cant see Cork beating Donegal on current form but I would never write off a team with the likes of O’Neill, Kerrigan and Walsh. Most teams have at least one good game in them and the fact that no one is giving them a chance takes the pressure off.

  235. And Pete McGrath took a team to two AIs winning both. That team came from nowhere and played some lovely free flowing football.

    I would rather listen to a winner like that than an ex manager with a track record of coming up short on the day.

  236. @ Berry

    I Know what you mean , personally I am sick of listening to John Maughan on RTE Radio!!!!

  237. @seanburke, I take your points, but:

    * That was a good win in Longford – a long way from Cork. They dug it out; a lot of people, Cork people too, fancied Longford, who really were on a roll. If we had beaten Longford on their home patch, you’d hear a lot of trumpet blowing.

    * Sure they were beaten by Tipp, but Tipp have been threatening for the last few years: Minor, U21, and should have been in the club final. Disappointing for Cork, but not really a disgrace.

    * They hockeyed us in the league. OK we were only getting together, but they still looked good that day and scored a lot of long range points. They must have been asleep at the wheel to concede that much to the Rossies, otherwise they’d have stayed up and we would have gone down!

    * Addition of Walsh and Cadogan won’t do any harm either. I know Larry Tomkins has reservations about the effect on morale, but a strong panel is all that matters.

    * Donegal, I think are a beaten docket. Ulster campaign will again have worn them out, (replays in Ulster are bad news). They’re not really offering anything new.

    * Donegal are coming off a defeat, Cork have two victories on the trot.


  238. Sean Burke, interested to hear why you don’t give either Galway or Kerry a chance in a semi-final? You didn’t explain….I think both have a good chance from this stage onwards. Both have pedigree and ability.

  239. Reading McGuinness’s article on Tuesday, where he described Donegal in the second half having no plan B and being forced to overplay laterally with no penetration, could have as easily described our Galway Game. We looked afraid ti be caught offside in that one
    While still on bad diesel we at least have shown buy in to the possibility of have other ways of doing business. Evidence of B and C on show against Fermanagh and Kildare.
    I believe we can beat Westmeath and improve next week.

  240. @mayomad we may be bent out of shape but I never heard james Horan mention one thing about the absolute shafting we got that day. If Cillian had missed the penalty I wonder would Wiley old Pete mention the antics of the Fermanagh players before the penalty, or the stone wall penalty 5 mins before or the foul on Boyle for the Fermanagh goal. I doubt it.

  241. @Marybeau
    Seeing as you’ve stated your going to place a bet on Galway winning the All Ireland before Mayo, I think you’ve shown your hand already.

  242. Galway may well indeed win one before Mayo but I don’t think it will be this year, I don’t think they will beat us again if we meet in Semi

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