Keep off the grass

Plan B not in operation

Taking a ramble across the pitch is a long-standing tradition for supporters at the conclusion of matches held at MacHale Park. For younger patrons the ritual usually involves dashing at high speed onto the playing area as soon as the final whistle sounds. In a way, it’s part of what we are.

This coming weekend, however, sees not one but two big championship games being played at the Castlebar venue. This increased activity has obvious implications for the playing surface at MacHale Park. In light of this, the County Board have this evening issued a request to both sets of supporters heading to Saturday’s game to refrain from entering the pitch after the match is over. Their statement is here.

This sounds like an eminently reasonable request to me. Even my young lad – a gent who relishes making a beeline for the green sward as soon as the final whistle sounds at matches in MacHale Park – agreed when I told him about it earlier on. He even said he’d abide by the request.

We have to think of the neighbours here. Jaysus but we’ll never hear the end of it from them if we ploughed the place up and them with their Nestor Cup business to attend to the following day. Not only that, we’d no longer be able to moan with conviction about the waterlogged swamp that is Hyde Park or what a pain in the hole it is to battle through the traffic away from Pearse Stadium if we make a hames of our joint on Saturday night.

So that’s it: no Plan B mucking around once our Round 3B action is over, y’hear?

50 thoughts on “Keep off the grass

  1. I’d be more worried about setting up a few checkpoints at all East Mayo exit points to ensure that too many of our mountainy horny’s aren’t pinched.

  2. As a Roscommon native living in Mayo said to me . Yell probably be supporting Galway . I had to agree after listening for about 10 mins of the Aiden penalty and how Mayo fixed another match in mchale park.

  3. Left half back. I’m sorry to disappoint you but if both of ye could loose I’d take that.

    But in the event of a winner. I hope it’s the Rossies. Couldn’t listen to the Galway shower and the rubbish of legacy, aristocrats, natural footballers blah blah blah and all that Bollix coming from them.

    Best of luck.

    Yup Mayo

  4. Goochooper,
    They may have pulled a fast one on us in June but if you were watching the shite they served up last Sunday there was nothing aristocratic about it. Nervous ninnies, too afraid to lose to try to win.

  5. I can understand the sentiments of the county board but unfortunately they built a stand that is not safe exiting or for going to the toilet or for walking around at half time or even finding a seat. I always walk across the pitch because with two small children it is the only safe way out. And if at all possible I’ll be lifting them over the wall and doing the same on Saturday.

    Anybody know how much the Rossies are giving us for letting us host their home game?

  6. Ger what do you mean its not safe for exiting or going to the toilet. Its passed all the planning requirements. Maybe you should get to the game early Ger with the kids and pick a seat with a quick exit and that your happy with, as we all know kids will slow any man down on the journey to the game. I know the vast majority have no issues with the stadium, as its the best stadium in the west bar none.

  7. i don’t think you are speaking to the same people I talk to mayomanindublin.

    Fair point on picking a seat with a quick exit but the crush for the toilets at half time is dangerous, as is the push for the limited exits.

    As for planning requirements? Well we all know about the issues that were there.

  8. That is rubbish Ger….try getting out of any stadium after a big game. If your that concerned lodge a complaint to the planing authority. Nobody should be going on the pitch after the game when told not too.

  9. Have to say I think MacHake park is one of the best stadiums to get in and out of, stand included. Queuing for the Jacks is par for the course at a big championship match (just look at Croker). I go as far to say Connacht rugby are missing a trick if they don’t try and make it their new home ground.

    Hopefully we squeeze a nice few pound out of the Rossies for lending them our pitch. Speaking of money, id say the County board coffers have been given a nice boost this year. Last year their was no championship game in cbar, this year will have had 4 minimum…possibly one more IF we beat kildare and get another home draw.

  10. Juanito, I might be mistaken, but I think the Round 4 qualifier matches are held at neutral venues. Anyway, that’s nothing for us to be concerned about, there’s just one game to focus on for now.

  11. Youngfella, ya maybe ur right I just presumed. But as u said, no need to be concerned about that. Kildare could be very tricky, need to be 100% focused and go hard from the start. They have a couple of accurate forwards who could kill us. More improvement needed.

  12. I know it’s now all about looking forward to the Kildare game an d this may not bet he right forum but I must express my utter disgust at former Meath footballer Bernard Flynn’s biased remarks on 2FM’s Game On programme about Aidan O’Shea. For those who did not hear him he said: “There was about four or five dives from Aidan during the game and that [the penalty] was the worst one.” Yet in the next breath, he conceded that during his own playing days he attempted to win frees illegally. “You do what you have to do. It’s about winning.”

    I was about to go on a rant about Meath’s strong arm tactics down through the years, when I came across a more balanced view from another former Meath player Cian Ward. Speaking on The Jones Roaad Podcast, Ward said: “”There’s a lot being said about Aidan O’Shea and that he might regret it. Why would he regret it? It happens in every game. Is there any difference between a corner back pulling a forward’s jersey and getting away with it or a forward exaggerating and getting a free in. I don’t think there’s any difference.” And so say all of us!!

  13. It sounds like a reasonable request, and the Rossies deserve the grounds to be in the best possible nick for what is their home venue game. Last time they played a Connacht Final there was one of their very best games ever and Sunday’s game should bring back fine memories of the 2010 final.

  14. yewtree, Ger is living in a bubble. The joys of being a parent are coming home to roost. There is always the option of leaving the kids at home, if the stand of mac hale park is too dangerous.

  15. Just giving my opinion lads. Think the stand was badly designed.

    mayomanindublin it would be a bit harsh to leave the kids at home. Not really much a future then for the game, is there?

    Anyhow we all know the warning will fall on deaf ears.

  16. Maybe Ger should consider sitting in his seat for 5 or 10 minutes after the final whistle and avoid the crush. Lots of elderly have to do so and parents with kids should certainly do so.

    On the team selection, I think if A. Freeman is to be picked it should be at FF. He is not a high energy wing forward type but he has a great leap in him and could cause a bit of bother to a full back line with the right support.

  17. McHale Park is a great stadium for sure. It has the usual bottleneck situations that all large venues have but it always feels safe to me. The toilets at the Davitt House end are usually not to busy regardless of the crowd, with everyone going for the ones in the middle. If I’m sure not mistaken it’s not the largest all seater GAA stadium in the land and the third largest of any kind in the country. And yes Connacht Rugby should have a serious look at it and Willie Ruane Sid they would consider it. Now, imagine World Cup Rugby played there…….but before that Mayo to beating Kildare…..

  18. Negotiating any arena where big crowds gather always calls for a patient and thoughtful approach.I find in recent times that it’s part of the occasion to sit, no rush,chat,have a look around,see who you can see
    and generally let it all sink in.
    Have to mention how impressed I was on return to McHale in its new clothes ,having in mind what had been there before. I got a cup of coffee down at the shop..impressed ! Asked about sugar and the man said, over there behind you. I looked around and saw a line of males stretched out evenly along the wall!! And yes,the image of the old urinal with the extra layer of blocks on top came up on my screen. I had to smile to myself!
    Will miss the smell of the pitch on Sat during the walk! I presume there will be an announcement made!

  19. Pull in the lugs there, mayomanindublin – there’s no need for baiting. Ger has, as he’s said, just given an opinion. It’s okay to take issue with what he’s said but keep the personal stuff out of it.

    I think there are questions about the design of MacHale Park – the poles for one and the main toilet under the stand where there’s only one door for entry and exit. If they’d only had the wit to put in two doors, all of the congestion there could have been avoided. But, as the saying goes, we are where we are and compared to every other GAA venue in Connacht, MacHale Park is clearly miles better.

  20. The boos, at half time, maybe had a beneficial effect.
    It removed the finger from most of the supporters, ’cause our roar when the team came out in the the second half was back as it should be.

  21. It’s a shame that they didn’t put both games on the same day. Galway would never before have had such a support 🙂

    Take my word for it, Mayo will still be the last Connaught team standing in this years championship. The utter shite served up by Galway and Roscommon last weekend, irrespective of the conditions, was unwatchable. I’m afraid that Galway might have missed their chance though. As for all the McStay/McHale lovers? I hope that they studied and observed the absolute fear-ridden, defensive, negative tactics employed by the Roscommon management. Very surprising since the whole country has been constantly told by Roscommon supporters that “they have the best set of natural forwards in the country!”. All part of the best U21 team NEVER to win an All Ireland.

    Hon Mayo.

  22. About bringing kids to a game, it’s a great idea and they will love it with all the colour and noise and the side stuff like Fanta and tayto. The best way to organize it in my view is to let them use the toilet before the game and keep the Fanta and drinks until the second half. Then wait for the crowd to leave once it’s over, 10-15 minutes does the trick and makes it very easy.

  23. Lads, I heard Bernard Flynn’s statement aswell. I hope he mis-spoke when he used the word “dive” and stated that Aidan O’Shea did so four or five times. Unfair and incorrect.

    However, and this has nothing to do with the penalty fiasco, I did think a number of our players went to ground alot. I don’t think they were diving, they simply spent alot of time hitting the deck. It reminded me of my playing days where after a hard run or 2, or after 50 mins hard running, you might hit the deck easier with some contact, tiredness etc. But for me this seemed to be throughout the game.

    Colm Boyle was flung out of the way very easily for Quigley’s goal. I’m sure there was contact but it seemed to me that he was banking on being given a free. Cillian in the first half, the ball ran past him and then there was a slight tug by the Fermanagh Defender and he went down quite easily ( I was shouting for a free but i’m simply making the point that he didn’t make much effort to stay on his feet and didnt get a free).

    I have no problem with guys looking for frees, im all for it, its about winning games. However, If there is an instruction to players to go down, I think its counter-productive in the long run.

    In any event, i’d imagine there will be very few mayo lads going down easy Saturday because our chances of getting frees have diminished with the media coverage etc. I’m not saying guys were going down easy or casting any despersions on players, it was something that I thought of during the game. Not sure if im wrong, or if im half right it may have just been one of those days.

  24. I would not dismiss the Connacht final too much. While I feel both teams are maybe being being made out to be better than they are, they are on a learning curve and will improve in the next 1-2 years.

    Some of ye have short memories….remember we beat Roscommon in the 2011 final. The conditions that day were dreadful…the country wrote us off as winner in the quarter final with Cork…it was the beginning of this current era.

  25. Talk about getting used to luxury…I remember in the 1950s when there were plans to instal 6,000 seats in James Stephens Park, Baallina. We thought that would be pure heaven for the fans. As for the players they were waiting for a septic tank to arrive so as the new dressing rooms (really nothing more than a tin-roofed shed) could open.

    Then when I went to work in Castlebar in the late 1950s Gerry McDonald, Sam McCormaack et al were working like beavers to raise enough money to turn MacHale Park into a stadium. Hordes of school kids were enrolled to send fund-raising tickets around the world and Gerry and his team worked day and night to provide us with a stadium to be proud of. Up to then all the Castlebar teams’ training and playing was on one pitch, which is the main pitch today.

    But I can forget and find myself thinking, when an odd drop of rain falls on my head in Croke Park, that they should have an all-covered stadium with a retractable roof like Cardiff! I need to keep my memory green and realise what a wonderful organisation we have in the GAA where we have so many fine stadia today and kids can be brought without any fear of trouble among the fans.

  26. My faith in Stephen Rochford has strengthened after the weekend. The pressure he was under last Saturday from every angle, CB, supporters, media to revert to the old system was phenomenal. I was seated near a few CB officials and you could see they were visibly shook at half time. Rochford himself was exhausted looking after the game and the way Clarke kicked that ball was symbolic of a lid blowing off a pressure cooker. There’s more to this team progressing than days out for supporters, there’s loan repayments, coaches to be paid, money needed for next years assault.
    The definition of insanity is to repeat the same process continually and expect a different outcome. The old system got us to within a point of an All Ireland, but didn’t achieve the goal ultimately. This was acknowledged by Rochford and he is attempting to put in place a system that stops us leaking goals at the worst times while still keeping our best attributes. He was unlucky to lose Caff just as he was finding his old form, but that’s life. Our lack of scores have not cost us the big games over the last 4 years, conceding goals has cost us. The reason K McLoughlin is being used as our primary sweeper is because he is our most accurate foot passer and while Higgins is very quick, his first inclination is to run the ball and a kicked ball is the fastest way of transitioning a ball from backs to forwards.
    Stephen Rochford has faith in a system and I’m convinced to my bones that it will reap rewards this year. You can play 25 A v B games and all the challenges you like, but we now have do or die championship football to fine tune our system all the way into the quarter finals. McLoughlin went from being “clueless” according to some in the Galway game to being our man of the match last week. If that rate of evolution continues then the summer is starting to look brighter indeed.
    It’s time to start enjoying back to back championship games at home, watching the best crop of footballers we’ve produced in 60 years and start having a little faith.
    As Andy Moran said, “We are Mayo, we’re all in this together”.

  27. I’ve been to McHale Pk four times and I found it to be a fine stadium. Apart from the adequate seating facilities and their gradient the toilets in particular impressed me as most grounds have ridiculously out dated facilities. Austin Stack Park Tralee and Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney are an unfortunate example of how not to cater for supporters who pay to attend a game. Broken or seatless toilets, no hot water in the sinks, no hand dryers and all too often no hand tissue as there is nobody to replace the tissue in the dispenser once it has been used. Then you go to your seat and find it covered in bird crap..

    Willie Joe (regarding an earlier post heading) I don’t think it was fair of you to say James o Donoghue did far worse in 2014 and despite this got player of the year that year. He was the outstanding player and nobody can realistically take that away from him as he made an outstanding contribution that year. Kevin McStay himself in the course of his loaded rant acknowledged that the second tackle was a penalty as Cafferky’s tackle was illegal and to be fair James hardly dived as he went flying after the contact as a result of physics and not theatrics. The first peno looked like a peno to me and indeed to everyone (without exception) around me including the Mayo supporters who lamented the failure of the backs to deal with Donaghy and not the referee who blew for the infringement. Even on repeated slowmo showing on the Sunday game the pundits could not agree as it was a peno to some and dubious to others. Fact remains that Higgins pushed James with both hands and that was a fatal error regardless what team you support, use two hands and you’re in bother every time.

    I have great time for Aidan but he made a split second decision to dive and it looked terrible on TV, the reason he is getting so much grief is that the incident has been associated with the victory for Mayo. I’m not so sure that assumption is correct as I feel Mayo’s tide was rising and I believe thay would have beaten them regardless but it is unfortunate for Aidan. I have said it before that big men find it very hard to get a break in the box but this incident will make it a hell of a lot harder. I haven’t looked at the Dublin blog but it seems from what has been said here that they are operating at their usual depth. The next time Aidan stops moving his legs and throws hands in the air when being tackled he will receive the wrath of the crowd I fear, in fact in Croker he will become the pantomime bad guy. I sincerely hope he’s physical strength matches his mental fortitude as he will it to be, imagine the hill after they drag themselves out of the pubs,,,,

    Good luck against Kildare but I think ye should beat them as they seem to be in a poor vein of form. One thing about Kildare is they usually bring their A game on at least one occasion so I hope it’s not on Saturday. The weather is due to be dry and sunny so it should be a good game.

  28. I’m not sure I have the appetite to go back over those traumatic events at Limerick in 2014, Gamechanger, but the common denominator from the two penalty incidents was that O’Donoghue went down far too easily both times. I’m biased, I know (as I’m sure you are in the other direction) but I did look at the incidents plenty of times after and saw little there for one penalty, let alone two. Anyway, I think it’s accepted fact that this stage that we got nothing like a fair shake from the ref that evening but it’s also a fact that there’s nothing we can do about it now and that we’ve left it in the past. In relation to James O’Donoghue, by the way, there is, of course, also the dive that turned the drawn Munster final last year so I’d argue that he has repeated form in this area. He’s not our concern now, though – Saturday’s match is all we’re focused on. You’re right that Aidan will get plenty of grief from all sides but I’m not sure it’s possible for him to get a worse time from refs, given all the abuse he’s had to put up with with no protection from officials. Sure Donaghy nearly tore the shirt off his back in the league game in March, with two other lads hanging out of him too, and Rory Hickey saw no penalty there.

  29. Quigley is much bigger than Boyle and got his hip in to give him a subtle nudge. Given the difference in size it was no suprise Boyle went flying. Yes Quigley is overweight but a guy like that is much stronger than Boyle in that situation. Especially if you are shaping to move onto the ball and the player coming from behind can time it right. You are not braced for the push as you are focussed on attacking the ball.

  30. O’Donoghue’s dive in the Munster final was blatant and arguably a bigger game changer than what Aidan did on Saturday. O’Donoghue often manages to avoid overt criticism in such matters though. I don’t begrudge him for doing what he had to do to get his team over the line, by the way. Every team has and arguably needs players like that, ones who will do what it takes to get a result, even if it means bending the rules or bring cynical. It’s the hypocrisy and hysterical overreaction to Aidan’s incident, as if this is the first time anyone has ever dived in the GAA, that is more irritating.

  31. Weregoingwell. I am not too sure what game you attended last weekend if any. But I saw what I saw. Colm Boyle was pushed from behind while he got his right foot stamped simultaneously. This happened in full view of game officials. [Deleted].

  32. I still don’t see how that should have been a penalty in 2014 for what cafferky did. O’donoghue was taking his shot from the ground so caff couldn’t block with his hands. If you can’t play the ball with your foot in a situation like that, what are you supposed to do?

  33. These incidents of controversy only stay in the memory if you lose the game, boyler gettin pushed or aidos penalty wont matter a jot later on. Where as limerick will live long in the memory , there is a republican ballad that goes ” i am not a bitter man” but the crowd usually add ” oh yes i am ” and that is how i will always feel about limerick , bitter and hard done by. Fook cormc reilly and to hell with the kerry bs.

  34. Go easy there, pjmcmanus – it’s going a bit too far to accuse someone of making “a false claim” when all that was being put forward was an opinion on how that incident played out. I felt I saw it clear enough in real-time but it was only later on I realised it was Boyler and not Kevin Keane than Quigley barged out of the way (on the podcast with Rob Murphy I wrongly said it was Kevin). I thought it was a free out too but the ref clearly saw otherwise. I’m deleting that bit of your comment, by the way.

  35. I think Aidan is around long enough and thick skinned enough to take all this crap.
    He’s a gent off the field and maybe to much of a gent on the field.
    For him not to react in those semi finals last year take some restraint.
    Thought he done well in the second half the last day and think if we can make it to croker will suit this team.
    As for strength and conditioning looks like they have be putting a lot of work on the legs could be why there a bit sluggish a times.
    Gamechanger its good to have you on here like to read what you have to say,don’t always agree with some of it maybe that’s the Mayo in me.roll on Saturday.

  36. I’d like to make a number of points…
    1. Donaghy eye gouge.
    2. Donaghy shirt pulling.
    3. Cooper eye gouge.
    4. Cooper punching off the ball.
    5. O’Carroll throat throttle – twice.
    6. McMahon – too many to mention, take your pick of spitting, gouging and punching.
    7. McGees – punching off the ball, at least they’re too “manly” and “old school” to spit.
    8. O’Donoghue – diving on 3 occasions to win decisive, match turning penalties.
    9. Connolly – throat throttle.
    10. Kennelly – knees into Murphys back, Murphy out of game.

    Q. What’s the common thing between all of the above?
    A. Celtic Crosses.

    Why do you think those incidents received a fraction of the media coverage that they should have got? The Kerry and Dublin-centric media pundits and the love-in of same. So FUCK THEM.

    I hope O’Shea purposely dived. I hope he does it again on Saturday. I hope we cheat and con and deceive all the way to an All Ireland win. I hope we’re the most despised, hated football team to ever win an All ireland. We’ve been fucked around enough by GAA headquarters and refs for the last 5 years. Why do you think Cormac Reilly is no longer on the national panel of referees? Why do you think he was removed this year and not 2015, the year AFTER Limerick?
    Nice guys win nothing in Gaelic football and we’re sick of moral victories, going down home, bet again. Fuck the begrudgers, fuck them all. Fuck Brolly, Spillane, Carr, Flynn and anyone else you can think of. Fuck Padraic Duffy, the CCCC, Garth Brooks and American College Football. Fuck the the boardroom barristers where Dublin exert their financial might. FUCK ‘EM ALL.

    We Are Mayo. No-One Keeps Us Down. We’re In This TOGETHER.

  37. WJ That’s fair enough however I saw Boyle go down. It’s not an opinion. His right leg was impeded. I don’t know what was made of it on TV, but I saw what I saw. No diving as this poster is trying to insinuate.

  38. Agree Pebblesmeller. You do what you have to do. That’s what Dublin showed last year in the semi-final.

  39. That’s fine, PJ – but I don’t think there was any insinuation that Colm dived, just that he was horsed out of the way. Quigley seems to have charmed life where it comes to refs, by the way. He pushed Cluxton over the line last year but somehow the goal was given.

  40. Well said Liam,I believe we have the brightest young manager in the country,I still think we will make it this year,so good luck to team and management on Saturday,glad to see gamechangers views on AOS who is gentleman on and off the field

  41. Nice one Pebbles, that’s me suitably wound up for the week. I’m also sending out fair warning to the Dutch gold swigging, work allergic, bottom feeding louts at Dromcondra bridge who jeered us last year after the replay. It took my brother and two mates to stop me sending you for a much needed bath in the Royal canal last year, bring the Radox this year if we meet up.

  42. That’s some piece of work Pebbles! You should be drafted onto the mind conditioning panel immediately.

  43. Pebblesmeller, you are so ‘masterful’. I have always said that ‘fuck’ is one of the best, straight to the point and one of the most concise words ever invented.. 🙂 😉

  44. Look I think we all accept there’s a balance between being naive and being ruthless. There’s no point regaling against the injustice of a poor refereeing decision or the opposition’s antics and then stating we need to assume the same mantle.

    I have no desire to see Mayo degenerate into a shower of knacks that will let the entire county down. I want to see the lads play the game hard and be relentless in pursuit of the end game. That may require a modicum of the dark arts but it doesn’t require us to relinquish all sense of class.

    We’re on a path that can only be sated by an All-Ireland. At absolutely any cost? Not for me.

  45. Liam McHale spoke to Newstalk on Thursday evening ahead of the Comnacht final. He’s was on again last night to analyse what went wrong last night.

    Surely he should be keeping to himself ahead of a replay this weekend?

  46. Good post at 8.57 Rock, playing on the edge but not acting the gouger in a way that would be disrespectful to your team or those that wore the jersey before you. Mind you every player will do something that they regret on the field of play no matter how good or honourable a player they are.
    Some will do it and be caught on camera and some will be on a Saturday morning in an inter club game. Maybe there are a few who would argue their case but in fairness if a player doesn’t have a particular edge that sometimes needs calling on maybe they’re not whats needed in an important game.

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