Kerry in Killarney coming into view

Right, our long lay-off – for which we have Roscommon to thank – is almost over.

From this weekend onwards and for as long as we’re involved in this year’s Championship, the longest break we’ll now get between games is a fortnight and only then, as Kevin McStay pointed out to Rob on the podcast last week, if we win all our games from here on. Welcome to the Championship proper, folks.

We’re starting this second, decisive part of the summer campaign in the most difficult and highest profile manner possible. Kerry are the reigning All-Ireland champions and they’re entertaining us on Saturday at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, a venue they haven’t lost a Championship game at since 1995. The match throws in on Saturday at 3pm, Tyrone’s Seán Hurson is the ref and it’s being streamed live on GAAGO.

We’ve only played them in the Championship once before in Killarney, which was back in 2019 in the opening round of the so-called Super Eights. We lost on that sizzlingly hot day by ten points, a match in which Cillian O’Connor became the highest scoring player of all time in the Championship but where we were beaten very badly.

There were extenuating circumstances that day. We were still coming down from the high of having eliminated Galway a week before, in a qualifier match played in Limerick that was graced by that wonder goal from James Carr. We pitched up at Killarney the following weekend knowing we didn’t really have to get a result, whereas they were well aware – from bitter experience of the previous year – that they absolutely had to win their home game. And they duly did.

By coincidence, we came into that meeting four years ago as National League champions, as we’ll do once more on Saturday. Our position as top dogs from the spring campaign definitely irked them more then than it’s likely to do on this occasion, as we’d beaten them in Tralee and then we’d beaten them again in the final at Croke Park.

We gave them a sound thumping back in February this year at Castlebar but that was a very understrength Kerry team, who reportedly travelled up on the day for that Saturday night meeting. It’ll be a very different Kerry team we’ll face on Saturday.

Since that Round 3 meeting in the League, Kerry beat Armagh at home by a point, lost away to Tyrone by three points, beat Roscommon at home by three and then lost by two away to Galway. Kerry finished the campaign on six points, winning three and losing four of their Division One matches.

Winning Munster didn’t exactly tax them. All they had to do was beat Tipperary in the semi-final, which they duly did, by a margin of twenty points, and then beat Clare in the final, which they duly did as well, this time by a margin of fourteen points.

Kerry come into Saturday’s match as strong favourites, no doubt due both to their status as defending All-Ireland champions and that impressive home record. Taking them on down there is obviously a tougher proposition for us than playing them at Croke Park would be. A victory for us on Saturday would clearly be viewed as a shock result.

Is this a blow we’re capable of inflicting on the Kingdom or will it once again prove a case of Southern discomfort for us? Seeing as it’s not a do-or-die encounter, what are the chances of a draw?

As we build up towards Saturday, let’s end with a vote on how you think it might go in Killarney.

How will we do against Kerry?

  • Lose (53%, 597 Votes)
  • Win (36%, 412 Votes)
  • Draw (11%, 120 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,129

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142 thoughts on “Kerry in Killarney coming into view

  1. 18-20k kerry supporters , 6-8k mayo supporters ill estimate , i know i keep banging this drum but its a massive factor in a game like this , worth a couple of points at least . I know you will get the times are hard narrative but funny how GAA supporters all become millionaires on all ireland final weekend if their county are involved .

  2. Hi Willie Joe, I don’t think those polls that you do serve any good purpose. Of course we are all biased but if we really believe that we are going to lose , we must question our sanity when we will still go to the game. The bookies have Kerry at 1/3.If the bookies had a poll, 75 per cent of them would say Kerry will win. Having said that I’ll have a few euro on our boys at 11/4 . I haven’t been in Fitzgerald Stadium since that controversial Munster final in 1976 but i’m looking forward to going there next saturday.Up Mayo!

  3. In last years game Mayo were cleaning Kerry out around the middle but missing all the chances created and then David Moran got a grip and drove Kerry on and Mayo wilted as Kerry ran out easy winners. There is no David Moran this time around and while its a big ask if Mayo can win midfield ye would ask questions of Kerry. It will be an interesting match and we will see where Kerry and Mayo are in the greater scheme.

  4. Looking forward to it now. It’s been a long time since the Roscommon game. No problem with the poll Willie Joe. I think it’s a great idea.

  5. Im hearing from a very good source that Mayo are going to start with 2 in midfield Saturday, its a big call if true.

  6. We won D1, lost one dead rubber game to Monaghan and beat Galway well in Croker. A good league.

    Bar a width of the cross bar and an slightly over hit handpass we should have been 2-1 to 0-1 up after 10/12 minutes v Ros. Plus, the most shambolic refering by that Cavan guy we would have won. Ros winning was their Sam.

    Why would Mayo have any trepidation against Kerry this Saturday? They had a poor league an a walkover Munster. All the pressure is fully on them.

    I expect a win.

  7. Don’t really know what to expect from Mayo, but we will need to up our game and seriously tighten up in defence to get anything out of this game. With the best will in the world, I can’t see anything other than a Kerry win. I would settle for a good performance, a big improvement in our defence and a narrow defeat, which would give us something to build on going forward.

  8. Honestly don’t think it’ll be as long a day as some folk on here saying ! Think we will test the kerry lads for sure they haven’t had a proper test . Yes they will be in championship mode but we are well able to give them a good gave weather we win or loose .

    Yes it will be tough no question but I don’t think itll be a hammering from kerry .

    Mayo will be fresh off our feet very little injuries thank goodness isn’t that a blessing compared to this time last year with how many serious injuries we had??!

    Mayo are bouncing to get back and to prove the league final win wasn’t a fluke after loosing to the rossies !

    Maybe it’s my optimism again haha but truly believe we will turn up in killarney we are underdogs for sure but we always play best when everyone thinks we are going to get hammered you just can never write mayo off !

    Mayo still to edge it by a point or two haha!

  9. Setting off early Sat morning because I don’t fancy sitting in traffic on a hot day as we did 4 years ago. I don’t know if we’ll win, lose or draw and hard to even guess as we don’t know injury status (despite what Kevin said last week). No idea what form different players are in because looking back at the league we never had the whole team in form at the same time. Then you have the unknowns, like dodgy calls from the referee or missed goal chances etc. As far as the referee situation goes I am happy with Sean Hurson who always seems strong and fair while keeping out of the spotlight. It’s not knowing how things will pan out that keeps us turning up. While I know it could go any way I’m hoping for a committed, intense Mayo performance. If we get that and enough lads are on top of their game………

  10. The pre-match polls only serve as a rough temperature check, Michaelincork, I’d be the last to claim they have any scientific value. The bias in them is usually on the optimistic side, though, so the negative trend (so far at least) in this one would seem to indicate that supporters will be travelling down more in hope than in confidence.

  11. I voted for the Mayo win………on the basis of advice from a drunk fella from Offaly who told me on Friday night this is nicely set up for a Mayo upset………

  12. @michaelincork I like the polls nothing wrong with them !

    @chesneychet agree we could have had kerry in last years quarter but our heart wasn’t in the game all year last year and we started to fall apart in the 2nd half that and the pouring rain was depressing ha!

    Looking forward to this should tell us a lot where we are or not sane for kerry!

  13. @Clare, do you expect Mayo to be able to get up to the level required to beat Kerry in Killarney and then playing maybe 5 or 6 more games should they make it to the final in a very tight Calendar?

  14. @Mayo88 I don’t expect can I not have of optimism instead of being all doom and gloom like some on here? Haha

  15. Also @mayo88 if we have any intention of winning sam at all we should be able to keep up with kerry dub and the rest of the games if not then well we won’t be winning same will we !

  16. I’m heading down to Limerick on Friday evening and then on to Killarney on Sat. I’ve never been to Fitzgerald Stadium so would appreciate advice on logistics such as parking, food etc. I’ll have a hungry teenager with me! We will be driving back after the game, so from looking at the map I’m thinking we should find parking on/off the Limerick Road. Any info greatly accepted!

    Really looking forward to this game, think the win will prob go Kerry’s way, but it should be a cracker of a game!

  17. A win in Killarney would be great, with a near full deck to play with and the right soundbites from Mgmt team its just the sort of game Mayo win. I suppose the trepitaion is its Kaillarney and a new manager and we had an off day againts the Rossies (we think or hope). So this could be anything really but its McStays biggest test so far so I think he’ll come through it. Match ups key but McBrien on the boy wonder with secondary cover, Paddy on SOS, Hession on Paudi plus who is on Whyte and Foley (if fit) are also key as some amount of ball goes through those 2 and are usually very influential..

  18. Going back to when Mayo were really contesting All Irelands , I think it may come down to the subs bench.
    While we will have good subs , I think Kerry have more quality on the bench therefore I’ve voted for a Kerry win .
    Id agree with @GlasagusDearg in that I’d take a narrow defeat, good performance and NO injuries and hope to improve from there .
    We should learn loads from this game .
    Save travelling all .

  19. AMC,

    Firstly you’ll be very welcome in Kerry.

    You will arrive into Killarney via Castleisland and then Farrenfore ( Kerry Airport )

    As you are heading home after I would suggest parking on the main road into Killarney ant turning the car so you are straight out the road after.

    Don’t go into the town as Traffic on match day is notoriously bad.

    Fitzgerald stadium is within the town so you are a short stroll to the restaurants and pubs etc.

    While the ground is not as modern as the stand in Castlebar the setting is incredible particularly from the terrace side.

    Hope that helps!

  20. Fully agreed West Kerry – anyone going going to the grounds for the first time is in for a treat. One of the best places I’ve seen a match. Fortunately / unfortunately I’ll be at a baptism so will have to make do with sneaking the odd look on the phone!

  21. So what you’re saying West Kerry if we can’t enjoy the match at least we can enjoy the scenery….or maybe we’ll enjoy both. Hoping for a cracker to kickstart the competition.

  22. @2hops haha I laughed at that!!

    I think mayo will come all guns blazing whatever happens either way don’t go down easily!

  23. AMC
    Give yourself loads of time to get there its the best venue in The Country and when you are there you know what it is to be a Kerry supporter……..unique way better than Croke Park.
    You can hit traffic in Adare (bigtime) and Abbeyfeale and also there is a level crossing at Faranfore that caught out the team bus in 2019 coming through from Tralee.
    Dont go into town to park as West Kerry says above ditch the car and face it homewards.
    Loads of restaurants in Killarney of course but will be busy……..if you need to get moving and are not dying of hunger quick then you could do worse than stop in CastleIsland on the way back or there is a petrol station in Abbeyfeale on the way home which is good for a quick sandwich.
    One other tip…watch your speed coming off the mortorway before Adare……the limit drops from 120KPH to 100KPH without you noticing .and they know exactly where to stand to nab you!…….also there is always a speed camera in Abbeyfeale as you exit the town and start to speed up……..I have been done in both places!!!

  24. More than likely the winner will top the group ensuring an easier route to progress. In the past we have travelled the long road to reach the AIF so have experience to call upon. We will not be at full strength given our injury situation. It is an opportunity to get valuable game time in the legs and have a real crack at the champions. Kerry have much more at stake having lost to us in the league and playing at home. I am travelling down on the day and I have been there before for league games. A very picturesque ground. Looking forward to a lively encounter and a draw!

  25. @West Kerry and @1989 thanks for the info! looking forward to it, just wanted to make sure roadside parking wouldn’t get me into bother! Just need to iron the flags now 😉

  26. Really looking forward to this game, two football mad Counties going at it. Killarney is a lovely part of the country so looking forward to the pre-match buzz.

    When you take of the green and red tinted glasses its hard to see how Kerry will lose on their home patch. The poll on this blog is reflective of how most of us feel about our chances – slim.

    I disagree with people saying “we’ll know where Mayo are at after this” – wrong. Its impossible to completely judge any team first game back after 6 weeks with no competitive game. Win or lose, it won’t be until all 3 group games are played that we’ll really know where we are at.

    I hope the game is there to be won in the last 5 minutes and we’re not blown out of the water after 20 minutes. History is weird. – 2019 – first year of “new” manager we win the league, lose to roscommon at home, get hammered in Killarney. 2023 – new manager – win league – lose to roscommon at home – now playing Kerry in Killarney……………..

    Vital we avoid a big hammering and play overly defensive in the first 15-20 minutes, not pretty on the eye but needs to be done. O’Connor will want this put to bed early. I’d genuinely take a 1 – 3 point loss with no injuries now, and be at full pitch for Louth and Cork.

  27. Have to disagree Margie , a thumping will completely end our chances of winning Sam maguire, the bookies have us at 13/2 joint 3rd favs in a 16 runner field ,not a hope getting even near the finish line if we get thumped , tbh unless we win it really limits our chances cause of schedule. Inter county players need a week inbetween big knockout games and we won’t get that unless we beat Kerry and that’s the harsh reality of probabilities ,factoring in the consecutive games and the eventual opponents who will be waiting as group winners in qf .

  28. @margie could you be anymore negative ha but each to their own and your entitled to your opinion !

    I remember you saying before the league that we will battling battling for the relegation place and we will probably end up in division 2 yet we were the most in form team ?

    I know a few who are more optimistic them people voting on this poll. Give the guys more credit maybe.

    But as I said each other their own . But we have every chance of giving the guys in kerry a test guarantee it won’t be a hammering as you you anyway !

    Never can write off mayo !

  29. A win would be great, a draw good, and a narrow defeat not the worst.
    If we second in group and have extra game I do not see an issue. Haven’t Mayo played two intercounty challenge games since the Roscommon game? A game a week isn’t a major obstacle.

  30. @Gizmombobs yes heard they played against Tyrone and it was competitive match not sure who won tho !

  31. Sure we’re well used to the quick turnarounds after all the qualifier runs over the years.

  32. I think we have to be rusty after the long break. Regardless of training or challenge games I think this game will serve more as a tune up for games 2 and 3.

    While the Kerry opposition has been weak enough in recent weeks, they have still been at it in competition.
    It will take an exceptional performance to beat Kerry at the weekend.

    Think we would need to be putting over 70% of our chances to have any chance because I get the feeling Kerry aren’t going to miss much.

    I feel this is the first real test that a few of our rookie defenders will have faced.

    Win lose or draw, the younger lads on the team are going to learn an awful lot this weekend.

    A win would be mighty but it’s asking an awful lot from a fledgling team and management.

  33. @Margie also as Gizmombobs said we’ve had competitive challenge matches I heard we do to against Tyrone not sure who we played played the others.

    We will be able to tell a lot from where we are on sat if we win or lose weather we are up to scratch or not .

    The 6week break will have done us good we are actually in a good position and Galway are in a no better position then us after winning connaught either

    Think a lot of you maybe in for a surprise I’m hoping ye are anyway haha! Safe travels to all going sadly I can’t!

  34. Everyone is entitled to their opinion until they actually offer their opinion.the facts are this is an extremely difficult game after a 6 week lay off .as I said previously if Dublin or Galway were going to Killarney I wouldn’t be expecting them to win .home advantage for Kerry is huge in the same way that playing every game in croke park is a huge advantage to Dublin.

  35. @1985 as I said in my comments everyone is entitled to my opinion did I not like I always do?? As I assume your aiming that comment at me?!

  36. Playing Kerry away is the hardest draw any team could have got. Funnily enough, if we were 4th seeds in the group we’d have got them at home!

    I don’t think a narrow defeat is the end of the world however. Winning the other 2 games will get us 2nd spot and a home prelim quarter final. Playing 3 weekends in a row isn’t that mad a schedule either. We did it in the qualifiers previously. Getting on a run of playing and winning games can make a team very difficult to stop. We have a strong panel of players when the majority are injury free, so we are suited more than most for the schedule ahead.

  37. @Clare, please tell me where I said we’ll get hammered? I said its vital we avoid a big hammering. I do enjoy your posts but its getting a little bit tiresome the way you jump on posts that aren’t always uber positive about the teams chances on an anonymous online blog. What you or I say on here has zero impact on the Mayo senior football team.

    @Sean Burke, I think with this new format we’re all going into the unknown a bit. I take your point that a hammering is something we really need to avoid, but it depends on the nature of a defeat more so than the amount of points a team loses by. A team can be competitive for 60 or 65 minutes get a black or red card and concede 10 points in “garbage time”, bit it doesnt tell the whole story of the game. If a team were bet out the gate after 20 minutes then I agree the alarm bells would be ringing.

    I still firmly beileve that we can only rightly gauge where we are at after all 3 group games. We are the exact type of team that could beat Kerry and then turn around and lose to one of Louth or Cork.

  38. Mayo played kildare in a challenge in Athlone in the last 2 weeks,got well beaten,

  39. @Margie I don’t jump on posts thought this was a blog that your able to comment on? Your not going to like everything read are you .

    You said I hope we avoid a hammering.

    Anyway i best not comment on here for a while some people are a bit sensitive.

  40. Getting to the stage where it could be an idea to limit us to x amount of posts per day . Could help us to healthier debate .

  41. @catcol – Look`s like Kerry will have a pretty strong team based on that article. It will be interesting to see who picks up Gavin White. Could we end up playing an Eoghan Mc or Enda Hession on him to try and match the pace ?

  42. Really looking forward to seeing Enda Hession up against the best playmaker in the game Paidi Clifford.Hession has the potential to be a household name and All Star by the end of Summer.

  43. It’s all down to the prep work done this past 6 weeks.
    Kerry will probably start with a bang, how long will it take Mayo to get going in the game, we have seen this many times before particularly in finals.

    I admire your enthusiasm Clare but many here have been around a fair while now, seen Mayo win on the days they were expected to lose and also saw Mayo fail when they were favourites to win.

    Until we see it we will believe it, I mean win the final.

    I would love to see more control in games from Mayo, ie
    Blanket defence when it’s needed
    Long diagonal direct ball
    Keep opposition defenders on the back foot.
    Stay ahead win a lead is built up
    Move the players accordingly.

    I certainly would prefer to win all the group games.

  44. “some people are a bit sensitive”

    Classic bullying tactic. Not to mention: pot, kettle, black.

    Keep the posts coming, Margie. Some of us appreciate realistic analysis.

  45. @DavyJ that’s really harsh I am in no way a bully .

    Anyway I’m not going to comment for a while as I respect people’s views and at what @willie joe just asked me to do .

  46. You certainly aren’t Clare and I’d agree that that comment was harsh – there was no need for it, DavyJ. If everyone could keep their comments focused on the game and quit sniping at each other that would be appreciated.

  47. With a near full team as well from what I told Daveslad.
    If we lose narrowly, but show signs of having adapted a defensive structure/system I would be happy enough.

  48. Clare you not a bully now to get back to the game on Saturday in Killarney Clare scored 15 points against Kerry in the Munster Final , If Clare scored 15 points against them what will Mayo Score next Sat.Afternoon against Kerry ?

  49. No problem WJ – happy to focus on the game.

    I’d love to think that we’ll roll into Killarney and take out the champions but, based on the form guide, it’s very hard to see it. We haven’t played in six weeks, and our last performance was appalling. Kerry, meanwhile, have annihilated Tipp and Clare, with superb shooting, pace and interplay all present and correct.

    They’ve been playing championship, we’ve been playing challenge games. They’re at home in a ground where they haven’t been beaten in championship since 1995. Our last trip to Killarney doesn’t provide any fond memories to draw inspiration from.

    So realistically, and as the poll above indicates, only one result is likely. I would be seriously impressed if Mayo tear up the formbook here, but I just can’t see it. Would be happy enough if we have a proper cut at them and keep the game alive right to the end. Then take out our frustrations on Louth and Cork.

  50. DavyJ they have played two games in that period, while challenges they would likely be higher intensity than earlier round league games and most likely the games Kerry played that were championship.

  51. Agree Gizmobobs a narrow loss and no new injury`s would be a good result all things considering. We really are going into unknown territory with this new round robin series. If we start to kick into a bit of form in our last 2 games who knows where it might take us.

    Ideally i would like to say we will go down to Killarney the weekend and will win but for some reason the more the weeks tick on from the Roscommon game the less confident i am with how this season will play out for us.

    It might be just a case that i haven’t seen Mayo play in so long that it has skewed my thinking and by Sunday morning i will be fully aboard the bandwagon again.

  52. I think what some posters are forgetting is Mayo have a very shrewd management team on the line

    I think they will be very well set up for Sat and this will be a proper contest.

  53. @West Kerry – Mayo will give it a good rattle and we do have all the raw materials and structure to go toe to toe with Kerry on Saturday but after 6 week layoff and going away to Killarney to play the all Ireland champions it will no mean feat.

    The 2023 season is playing out very similar to 2019 so it is probably in the back of everyone minds what happened in Killarney that day and people are being conservative with their opinion until we see what Mayo show up.

    2019 & 2023 – New Management, League Champions, Lose to Roscommon in first round of Connacht and then away to Kerry in the group stage. Hopefully the latter is a different outcome this time around.

  54. Gizmobobs – I hope you’re right.

    West Kerry – they certainly have the reputation for shrewdness. But can they get the players to deliver on their tactics? There wasn’t much shrewdness on display on the pitch against Roscommon. Mayo went into panic mode from a very long way out. Yes, it was only a week after the league final, which would have taken a lot out of the reserves. But tired or not, our tactical naivety in the last 20 minutes against Ros was depressing. We should have been much smarter and more composed than that. We had more than enough experienced players on the pitch.

  55. @Wide Ball

    Playing 3 matches in 14 days isn’t a great schedule either. Need serious s&c and a lot of luck with injuries and worse of all the Quarter final opponent will be rested.

    The previous Mayo teams that came through the qualifiers had serious fitness at the peak of their powers the more games they got the better they became I’m not so sure I can say the same about the current crop.

  56. What form book though ? Put the ros defeat to one side cause frankly it was an utter fook up to expect any team to contest a league final the week before championship and be good to go . Kerry’s league form was poor , they were cat in castlebar , now of course that will not be the case on sat but we won’t be the same as we were v ros either , well I very much doubt it .

    If mcstay and co are drilling it n to them they have to win , then I think we are in for a cracker but on the other hand a lot will have to of been worked on , I absolutely dread it if we are as exposed down the central Channel and giveaway goal chances like we have been .

  57. When I talk about shrewdness I think of Donie Buckleys influence I’m 2019.

    My understanding is it was his tactics to push up on Mayos restarts to make Clarke go long.

    He believed Moran would clean up around the middle and he was correct.

    I’d be worried thar he’d know exactly what to do against Kerry now.

  58. West Kerry, most club managers in Mayo were on to that one for a while.
    Sean Bourke the scores from the challenge games past few weeks sound like work is still in progress on defensive side of things.
    But regardless I think Saturday will be a great game with plenty of intensity.

  59. mayomagic – I don’t think it’s as bad as some are making out. The first of those 3 games would be Cork, a division 2 team who recently lost to Clare. Win that and it’s probably a home tie vs Donegal/Monaghan/Kildare/Ros/Armagh/Tyrone. Some tricky ties there but we’d be favourites to progress.

    Win that and it’s a quarter final probably vs Derry, Galway or Dublin. I’d back us to beat Derry or Galway in Croke Park personally and we’ve beaten Dublin the last 2 occasions.

    Unless we get a seriously bad run of injuries, I can’t see us being completely exhausted in a quarter final.

  60. Looking forward to a real cracker in Killarney on Saturday. I am looking forward to seeing Mayo and Kerry giving it everything. Welcome to the Kingdom and hopefully it will live up to expectations. May the best Team win on the Day.

  61. I hope you’re right wide ball but everyone within my small circle whom I’d take their opinion very seriously says the polar opposite, lack of recovery would kill any squad is the line I’m getting .

  62. West kerry. I was in the stand that day and our kickout strategy was non existent. David Moran was always going to win every ball kicked in his direction and yet we kept doing it. I expect a far better return from Reape on short and long ones. Whoever comes out on top out of the middle eights could go a long way to winning this one. As I said earlier we don’t really know the current form of Mayo individuals or team and until throw in we can only speculate. Lots of things point to a home win but every game takes on a life of it’s own and you never know.

  63. Talk of not going all out for this game is bull.
    It’s like the start of the league,go for every game.

  64. WJ hope its ok to post that i have one stand ticket for Mayo v Kerry for sale. Face value €25.

  65. It’s great to see all the different opinions on the big game in killarney, I get very excited when Mayo are coming up to big games & this game is huge. I think Mayo will go all out to win Saturday because win lose or draw, it will be the first real tough hard fast championship test for this Mayo team, Kevin McStay & coaches. We’ll know Saturday evening where their at. I think it’ll be a cracker of a match as both teams needs a win, so I’m expecting Mayo to play very very well & beat Kerry.

  66. For those folks who like myself like a pintbof Guinness to settle the nerves here are a few recommendations.

    Jimmy Briens – Small pub, Big GAA pub. The best Guinness.

    The Speak Easy
    The Laurels

    All good for a pint !

  67. No doubt, we are facing a seriously good footballing team this Saturday. They are all-Ireland champions and won every game they played last year bar a dead rubber league game against Tyrone in Killarney, before they whooped our asses in the league final. However, Kerry have struggled to get up to speed this year in the league, having their own injury woes and players visibly off form as a result. The games against Tipp and Clare were non events and gave us no insight into their true form. The last time we rocked up to Killarney in 2019 we were playing our fourth game in consecutive weeks and were physically and mentally drained. This Saturday we will be fresh and I suspect ravanous for contact and hard work. Have Kerry the same drive they showed last year, both physically and mentally to take on a young hungry team chomping at the bit to get their summer going again. Have we a slight advantage preparation wise, having had 3 weeks to get our tactics and match ups, game ready. I think we do. This will be a belter of a game but I am hanging my hat on Kerry just being that bit off, a bit like Tyrone last year. Time will tell. Mayo by 3.

  68. Killarney is a lovely venue. I was there for the first time in 2019. Lovely day, lovely venue but most certainly not a lovely game. I think people are wrong to say if we get beaten badly our goose is cooked. It is one game of 3. If we beat Louth and Cork (by no means a certainty) then we play a third place team in the preliminary quarter finals. That could be someone like Kildare, Armagh/ Tyrone, Monaghan etc. None of those are easy teams but neither are they better than us. In 2019 we were badly beaten by Kerry but turned it around v Meath before putting in an outstanding performance to beat Donegal. Losing on Saturday will not be the end of the world. In my opinion we are a little below the top teams at the moment. I don’t really see the point in saying Clare scored 15 points v Kerry as did Louth v Dublin. Look at the overall score. Not much point in us scoring more than 15 if we concede 5 goals at the other end. Saturday is a great challenge for us. Hopefully we will rise to it and give a really good account of ourselves. We can’t complain if we do that. The result will take care of itself.

  69. As a matter of interest had anyone seen Conor Loftus play at centre back for crossmolina and does he play as an orthodox centre back

  70. @west Kerry – can you find out if Liam O’Connor is playing anywhere sat or sun night. He was playing in Reidys last time I was there and the place was heaving. Fantastic accordion player.

  71. For me our big match ups (based on likely selection) :
    – Enda Hession on Paudie Clifford
    – David McBrien on David Clifford
    – Paddy Durcan on Sean O’Shea
    – Aidan O’Shea marked by Jason Foley
    – Ryan O’Donoghue marked by Tom Sullivan
    No Kerry defender is taller than six foot, we really need to target that.
    Our forwards can be five players over 6’1″. Like in boxing there’s a certain point where your skills and speed won’t make up for 5’10″/5’11″/6′ facing off against 6’1″/6’2″/6’4″.
    Finally I really think we need a sparky playmaker like Ryan at 11. He’s a good passer and he provides a run threat from 11.

  72. Rory Brickendon and Brendan Harrison both not available, continuing rehab.
    Cillian a tight call if will play.
    All other panellists available.

  73. AMC and all Mayo folk travelling down to Killarney, LEAVE REALLY EARLY! to avoid traffic jams.
    Best routes to take, the Ferry to Kerry from Killimer in Clare, across the Shannon Estuary to Tarbert, go through Listowel, bypass Tralee, then straight into Killarney. The other option is go through the Limerick Tunnel, bypass the city, take the coadt road along Foynes , West Limerick, then into Tarbert, through Listowel, bypass Tralee.

    The third option, is bypass Limerick, go through Adare, ALWAYS TRAFFIC JAMS IN ADARE, avoid at all costs, then Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale, Bypass Castleisland, onto Farranfore, then Killarney. Park at the Kilcummin bend adjacent to the picnic area overlooking the town, as West Kerry said, have the area parked north heading for home again. Saturday is still a working day for many people, 3pm is awkward, but it gives Mayo folks time to depart after the game, and back up to Mayo early again to go out that Saturday night.

    Best places to eat in Killarney? Lord Kenmare’s,
    Scotts, Hotel, Ross Hotel, Plaza, etc, all great food. Too many to mention, accommodation is near to zero, as sadly, many of the hotels want you to stay two nights, not one.

    I hope that all helps. From a Kerryman working up here in Mayo, it’s important to help out our Mayo friends. Nice to be important, more important to be nice.

  74. He’s some unit and a big loss. However I think there is savage speed and conditioning in a lot of lines in the current Mayo team with cuteness and experience to go with it. At the end of the day every single man will just want to win the individual battle and we are more than capable.
    It won’t be easy but why can’t we rattle them and ask them serious questions. . A lot of Mayo supporters may think they are going to Killarney on Saturday but may just find themselves in paradise….
    There won’t be a lot in it!

  75. A few of us pitched up in Listowel the evening before the Super 8 game in 2019. It’s a really nice town and we had a great night with the locals. It’s a good option for anyone looking for something a bit different than Killarney and it’s not far to travel to the game the next day.
    Even though it’s not a must win this is an important game for both teams. Kerry are motoring nicely but they haven’t been tested in the championship yet. Jack will be hoping for a tough encounter against Mayo, as it will tell him where they’re at and help set them up nicely for the quarter finals.
    Mayo need to deliver a big performance on Sunday and show that the poor display against Roscommon was just a blip and that the McStay project is very much still on track. David Moran was a great player for Kerry and there’s no doubt they will miss him in the middle of the park but remember we are missing Lee and his absence was so obvious in our defeat to Roscommon. It should be a a real cracker of a game and I’m expecting to see a big performance from us on Sunday.

  76. @Micko, fair play to you thanks for that update!, I completely forgot about the ferry option…thats me sorted.

  77. Anyone planning on staying in Listowel on Saturday night could do a whole load worse than dining in Allo’s Bar and Bistro on Church Street. I’ve eaten there a few times down the years and the food has always been stupendous, in a lovely old bar. I think they used to serve food most of the day in the past but I see that they only do so now between 5pm and 9pm so it’s only a post-match option.

  78. Yep, a stop off in my beloved hometown of Listowel. I commute between there and Swinford every weekend since 2003!! A long time, and 5 cars later!!??.
    Allo’s is truly superb! The Horseshoe Bar is beautiful, as well as the local old world Listowel Arms Hotel. They serve gorgeous food. Trying to sell my town now!! Just an option for any Mayo folks travelling back up home afterwards, much quieter from the hustle and bustle of Killarney.

    Jack O’ Connor wants to win the group, will be interesting to see, what pace of strategy he wants to employ, he may use transition lines, interchangeable runners, half backs with half forawrds. Moynihan will run all day, but when he reaches his quota, he will be substituted, watch, you will see. Our midfield is poor now compated to 2019. No David Moran, who always played well v Mayo. We looked sharp v Clare after our Portugal Training camp. Mayo will be a completely different kettle of fish.
    Kerry will protect their 28 year unbeaten record of Championship games in Killarney, must currently be the longest record. Is a red herring for Msyo. All records tumble sometime.

    As long as it’s a good, competitive skillfull game, it’s reffed fair, two teams display sportsmanship, the weather is promised good, everybody enjoys themselves, makes the day a memory, gets back home safe and sound.

    The stadium itself is old world, has great charachter, but is of it’s time, very early 1980’s look to it, toilets are antiquated, be prepared. Yes the stadium badly needs an overhaul, long overdue, pitch is one of the best around with it’s mid 1980’s styled P stanchion goalposts, sod in Fitzgerald Stadium in the summer is superb for fast dry ball playing. No passengers on the pitch from either team, they’ll be found out quick, as it’s a big pitch too.

  79. Kerry not beaten in a championship game in Killarney since 1995. Stats are awful things. If you look into this it pertains to Munster matches mainly. The present day format renders this stat irrelevant. When did they play a team other than a Munster team in Killarney in the championship. So as Tony Soprano would say “forget about it”.
    It will be a tight game. But I am more interested in how we play than the result. Tight games can come down to a bit of luck as we all know too well. But if we play fast free flowing football, as we are capable of doing, then we should be happy regardless of the result. I have good vibes about this game. Mayo are a good team and I have no doubt we will be in the shake up come July. We will continue to improve and we are a match for anyone.
    The loss to Roscommon was inevitable as we were not mentally or physically prepared for that game a week after the league final. I still think McStay was right to go for the league title. Our young team are all the better for that Croke Park experience. Keep the faith.

  80. Just for all of any Mayo folks travelling down on Saturday, as I know the road week in, week out, PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY, WATCH OUT! I guarantee you, that there’ll be speed vans and Garda camera guns out in force, particularly watch for flyovers, Garda slip ramps on the motorway from Tuam all the way to Castleisland, keep within the speed limit, no fun getting a fine in the post and penalty points.
    Garda Traffic Corps and speed vans will be trying to shoot fish in a barrel on Saturday. Outside Ennis on the bypass and between Abbeyfeale to Castleisland, they tend to lie in wait. Dont get ambushed. Don’t give them the satisfaction. Leave early, give yourselves plenty of time, then you will not have to speed. Arrive Alive!

  81. @Yeah definitely be more interested in catching MO car’s, . hopefully no one from Mayo will be in that much of a rush home.. taking in the beautiful secenry is always nicer with a win in the bag, it’s much easier to appreciate the beauty of Killarney and it’s surrounding areas. Well that’s the way I imagine it anyway..A Cork man with a very long memory told me that.

  82. With the Galway/ Tyrone game throwing in at 5.15 there must be a chance we’ll run into heavy traffic when we hit the N17 after Galway on our way home.

  83. Joe. G.?? – I wouldnt expect the traffic to be too bad on the N17 if the game is in pearse stadium.

    A good cohort of Galway fans will be coming in west from Connemara and Tyrone fans will likely take the M6 via Athlone.

  84. What area are most Mayo people in the stadium? It would be great to get the supporters together to encourage the team.

  85. May I say on here to wish good luck to the Clare footballers who are playing Donegal in Round 1 of the qualifiers in Cusack Park Ennis on Saturday , and to the Clare Hurlers who are playing Cork in the Munster Hurling Round 4 in Cusack Park Ennis on Sunday .

  86. I was listening to Clare FM commentary on the Clare hurling game against Waterford and the commentator wished the Mayo team well against Kerry while he mentioned someone from. Clare was in Westport for the Fleadh Ceol last weekend

  87. I believe Mayo can win this game.

    I don’t believe it will be an ambush by Kerry.

    However, it is vital that we score. Taking points, putting points over the bar, putting it over the black spot, converting, shooting and scoring – over, over, over and over. That’ll win the game for us.

    If we can’t score, we will lose. That’s what I’ve observed over the last year or two. I mean – either we don’t have our shooting boots as in the quarter final last year (shudder) OR a mass defence is set up keeping us outside the scoring zone, while the other team break at speed.

    I believe we need to build up a cushion early and dictate the game that way. If Kerry get a chance to lock down a mass defence, that’s a very hard day for us.

    The energy and state of the team this Saturday will be a very far cry from the Mayo team in Killarney in 2019. I think it’d be wrong to judge that game and this as similar. We were wrecked tired that day and dealing with injuries. In that context, pushing up on Clarkie’s kickouts was an easy way to get scores.

    The atmosphere, weather and grounds in Killarney that day were class. Although Mayo lost, I had a great day out.

    Let us get scores and keep the Kerry danger men marked and we give ourselves a chance. That’s all we need.

    Have a great day, everyone. Great to have the football back.

  88. Great post Swallow. I too really enjoyed that day in Killarney – atmosphere was something special, but the parade was as good as it got for Mayo.

    I think we needed the layoff. Like a racehorse that has been off the track for a while, we won’t really know until we play, but joys of winning Connaught aside, I think we are in a better place. Remember if we had beaten Roscommon, that Galway match would have been tough, tough, tough at that stage. Our players’ health also looks in much better shape.

    Killarney here we come!

  89. Great idea Tom C but many have tried down the years with little success though .

  90. Tom C I can just picture it.

    Not sure if anyone is familiar with the Yaya and Kolo Toure chant, but I could just imagine it with the lyrics changed to.

    Durcan, Paddy Durcan, Paddy Durcan, Paddy Paddy Durcan!!!!
    Ruane, Mattie Ruane and so on.

  91. Jack O’Connor.

    The shortest route through the Championship remains our preferred option, and Saturday’s game will have “an edge” to it, given what’s potentially at stake.

    “Look, I am a big believer in trying to go the direct route if you can. If you lose a game in this group means you are out three weekends in a row. You are out in the last game in the group, you are out in a preliminary quarter-final, and the quarter-final itself, so that is three weeks in a row, that’s tough going. The ideal gap between games is two weeks because it gives you a chance to recover and build up again whereas if you are out three weeks in a row the chances of injures are increased,”

  92. Not only do Kerry want to win, they want to hammer us and remove the possibility of us being a threat later on in the championship by breaking our spirit. That’s what Kerry do and have done many times in the past. They also like to finish off teams very early in the game by hammering in a couple of goals. Expect nothing less from them!
    We need to be ready for this as McStay and Co know this only too well.
    There are lots of unknowns about this game and about ourselves in particular but one thing is certain. David Clifford is a huge threat and how we manage him is crucial. He and Paudie have been through a lot lately and I don’t know how that might impact their performance but we need to expect 100% from them and be fully prepared in as much as one can be against talent like that. Otherwise it could be a long day.
    They have many other very good players as well who are capable of producing a 5 star performance and in Kerrys case we are nearly certain to see one.
    That said we might produce a few surprises ourselves! At least I hope we do.
    Best of luck to all travelling. I’m afraid I’m confined to base for now at least.

  93. Tony Leen made that point, diehard, on the preview pod. He talked about it as being like two separate games, the first one being the opening ten minutes where he said Kerry would be aiming to put the result to bed right away. He also pointed to our need to be ready for this and he reckoned we would be.

  94. What do we do after 10 mins if we are getting roasted at CHB.I would be very concerned about this position.
    For me we need a natural defender in this role and Conor is probably not that and has only played there for about 10 games.

  95. @1989….if we have a fit B.Harrison or PO’H on the bench(assuming they are not already on) would be well able to do a job there if Conor is struggling. Harry might be rusty and maybe not the game to reintroduce him but personally I would love to see him back.

  96. Yeah 2 hops I was thinking of O’Hora too he is very abrasive and can score …..remember him coming forward last year v Kildare in Carrick and scoring at least one great score. Must admit I seen much less of us this year than last due to other commitments.

    I am particularly interested to see the new ”quarter back” type role Conor is supposed to play how many scores came off that during the league??.

    Absolutely agree on getting Harrison back but surely he would be too rusty for this.
    Spare a thought for David McBrein….championship debut against Kerry in Killarney marking most likely the greatest player ever!!!.

  97. Harrison hasn’t played in over 2 years at this stage I think – he is not going to be thrown in to start against Kerry!
    I doubt we’ll see much of him at all this year, but would be great to see him make a few appearances off the bench

  98. Brendan got injured against kildare in Carrick last April I think. He’d be rusty but we dont know what happens at these challgames either.

  99. Wasn’t it confirmed that Harrison won’t be back until the end of the month at the earliest?

    No chance he’ll play this weekend.

  100. @1989: I’d be interested to know what you mean by ‘getting roasted at CHB’?

    Are you talking about our number 6 (the role in the team we tend to have dropping in to play as our sweeper) or the position on the field (that usually isn’t played by our number 6 – though it was in the league final where Loftus did a solid job on Heaney outside of the goal chance with DOC predominantly filling the sweeper role)?

  101. I think it is a defensive system or absence thereof is what I personally would like to see addressed Saturday. Reduction in soft goal scoring opportunities in particular.
    The recent Kildare result makes it seem like work is still needed here, but luckily there are 3 games to work on it before business end of season.

  102. TsuDhoNim
    I was talking about Conor playing CHB. For me not a natural defender and that would worry me. As I said though I have’nt been to most games, Monaghan, Roscommon and league finals only this year but I would worry that in that position you need to be a defender first and foremost.
    I was interested to hear if we are getting scores from his passing game also

  103. How much of a hammering did we get last week from Kildare, I understand we had a full team for the first 40 minutes.

  104. I would advise anyone heading for Killarney on Sat to leave early in the morning because Donegal are playing Clare in Ennis and the N17 onto the M18 motorway will be very busy with Donegal and Mayo Supporters both heading the same way at the same time.

  105. @1989: He’s wearing 6 but in the vast majority of games he’s not near the CHB position. He’s playing sweeper in or around the full back (usually slightly behind until the move develops in front) so could just as easily be wearing 13, 14 or 15. The defensive positioning a valid question for anyone in a sweeper role (hit and miss through the year on that) as is a defensive skill set but any reference to CHB is a little irrelevant in those discussions.

    Plenty of chat around him QBing at the beginning of the year but you won’t hear too much about it now. It simply hasn’t happened on the pitch. He’s probably been our least progressive passing defender with relatively few kick passes or line breaking passes. Where the likes of Coen and Durcan (or even Brickenden pre injury) are scanning with head up and looking for a ball inside Conor tends to quickly shift it laterally to the next man over without glancing up. Sadly, it looks less tactical and more a result of shaken confidence. Likely a consequence of so much attention to the role he’s playing and so many blaming his role (often incorrectly) for the issues we’ve been having further out the field tagging and pressuring runners.

  106. Yes, I am also interested to know what the score was against Kildare in this challenge game. Any word from the Tyrone Challenge game?

  107. TsuDhoNim, would that not be more down to management decision making than social media?

    JR, allegedly it was around double scores.

  108. @Gizmobobs: Management seem to be giving the lads the instruction to play it inside and the freedom to attempt kick passes whenever they’re on. Watch any of O’Shea, O’Donoghue, Carney, O’Connor, Durcan, Coen or Hession and the first instinct is head up and look inside.

    Possible they’ve told a player not to do that and keep it going back/sideways. I’d expect it far more likely that it’s a player choice. Notable the player made one (really bad) attempt at an aggressive kick pass in MacHale Park that drew considerable groans from the crowd. Don’t believe we’ve seen a single attempt since we wouldn’t classify as ‘safe’ while every other member of the defence have tried lots.

  109. Counting our 8 league games and 1 championship game we conceded, 7-118 last year and by comparison with the same amount of games this year we have conceded 9-110. Drill down further with scores conceded from play. It was 7-87 last year compared to 7-65 this year. Considering we don’t have Lee or Oisín this year with P O Hora out injured along with Robbie, it’s definitely an improvement on last year. Kerry in Killarney will test our defence to its limit. I think we will see a far more aggressive Mayo defence on Saturday both individual and collectively. I would be hoping we can hold Kerry to 15 points on Saturday, then it’s game on.

  110. You have a point Maroon Rover, The league this year was very disjointed at start v other years mind, you could really see Galway and Kerry in particular were just off the plane and in Holiday mode.
    I hope you are right on that front, the other aspect is scoring, Cillian if out which appears likely as didn’t play in challenge is huge loss. I feel he should start every game. If 10 points or so is what we managed v Kildare we need up anti there as well.

  111. @The Maroon Rover – Interesting stats. I was just wondering a few days ago how many points have we scored from play and from frees in the league this year?

  112. 2 terrace tickets for Killarney . Reduced to 20each . Can email them to you . Payment via Revolut .

  113. @Mayo45: We scored 113 points (or 140 if you include our goals as points with a total of 9-113 for the league) and 50 from deadballs (39 frees, 6 marks and 5 45s) leaving 63 points from play across the 8 games.

  114. Do you not think it’s a mixture of both though , last years shooting v Kerry qf was woeful , I can’t remember the percentage to shots but it was way below the average. Killarney on sat would be a complete disaster if we were shooting similar and for the life of me if ya kick a ball into the keepers hands in a tight game , honestly you should be hooked , in the modern game it’s an absolute killer .

    Yes we need to be careful and extra tight in the opening quarter especially but we still need to go for this all guns blazing , take them on , shoot for goals . Rumour has it Kerry we’re putting in serious time at goalscoring in training, they got 5 against Clare. We also need to be careful not to put too much emphasis on wonder boy . Real Madrid nullified Halland over the two legs but city won 5-1 .

  115. New pod up on Patreon, this one with Mike and Seamus O’Shea. Great chat, covering Seamie’s Minor days, the big clashes with Kerry in 2014 and 2017, life after inter-county football and more.

  116. @ Sean Burke, Clare scored 15 points against Kerry, if we do the same and don’t concede silly goals we are in with a shout.

  117. I said the same as Jr in a recent statement on here if Clare could score 15 PTS against Kerry
    I can see Mayo scoring more

  118. 1-17 to 10 or 11 was what I was told.
    I’d be with Sean Bourke and it’s definitely a mix of both, even if it was 14 v Kildare it’s not same as 15 v Kerry.

    We create chances but often are not as clinical as we need to be. It’s a balancing act. No point shooting lights out if floodgates open behind us.
    I reckon it will be a fairly tight game, I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t.

  119. Your right Sean, our shooting was woeful against Kerry in last years quarter final. Out of 31 shots we converted 13 which equates to a percentage rate of 41%. Kerry got off 28 shots and scored 19 of them. A 61% conversion rate. We have to be hitting at least a 60- 70% conversion rate on Saturday to have any chance.

  120. Ryan , Tommy and aido starting going by bookies also eoghan mcghloughlin . No cillian nor james carr . (this is just going off player markets via boylesports)

  121. Last year’s quarter final is the benchmark for me. Win, lose or draw, I think we need to match that level of performance.

    The scoreline got away from us in the end but it was our best showing last year, and I don’t think that, despite our success to date this year, that we have performed at that level yet

  122. @Sean Burke
    James Carr does show on the PP player markets. Tommy Conroy isn’t listed. Enda or David Mcbrien aren’t shown either.
    If Lee has said the whisper is there are ‘significant injuries’ then maybe there might be something in it.
    Just our luck

  123. That’s a poor benchmark FrostTHammer, seeing as we were incapable of transitioning from midfield to the forwards (which should be basic play at that level), or scoring from play, or stopping Clifford getting a soft goal playing on one leg! We’d need to have far higher standards than that for Saturday if we’re to consider ourselves ‘contenders’. I’m not confident, I just don’t see it.

    Unfortunately in our last couple of matches we’re still having massive problems scoring from play. It’s a problem, especially when the heat is on. It’s always been a problem for us.

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