Kingdom clash coming into view

Right, we’ve had our weekend off. Now it’s back to business, with the county’s next outing in this year’s National League taking place this coming Saturday evening. Our opponents in Division One Round 3 are Kerry, the venue is Austin Stack Park in Tralee and throw-in under the lights there is 7.30pm. The match is live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player.

Evening matches in Tralee at this time of year have a sense of an occasion about them. No matter where you are in the crowd, you feel close to the action and often close to the elements as well. When we last played there two years ago – a match Kerry won with an injury-time free – it was wet, windy and perishing cold but the place was still packed to the gills.

It’ll be a full house the next night too. Kerry will go into this feeling they owe us one, seeing as we beat them twice last year. The pounding we gave them at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park at the same stage in the League wouldn’t have upset them too much but our decisive win down in Killarney in the opening round of the Championship’s group stage in late May would certainly have stung, even if we then proceeded to undo all our good work by losing to Cork, thus enabling them to top the group.

The Cliffords are sure to line out for the first time this year for the Kingdom on Saturday night. They’ll field as strong a team as they can assemble for this one and you’d imagine, Sigerson Cup commitments for Rory Brickenden and Sam Callinan notwithstanding, we’ll do the same.

For different reasons, this is a game we’d both like to win. We’ll obviously wish to keep up our winning start to the campaign going while they’ll definitely want to avoid losing a second match this year at Austin Stack Park, having already been beaten there in the opening round by Derry.

Since that reversal, Kerry made short work of Monaghan up in Clones in Round 2 so they’ll be coming into this one feeling okay about themselves. All the while, of course, gurning about all that hurt.

So, what’s it to be on Saturday night? Can we record a third win on the bounce or will it another tough night for us in Tralee? What are the chances of a draw? Let’s close with a poll to test the waters on how you think this game will go.

How will we get on against Kerry?

  • Lose (54%, 488 Votes)
  • Win (33%, 299 Votes)
  • Draw (13%, 121 Votes)

Total Voters: 908

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74 thoughts on “Kingdom clash coming into view

  1. I see some poster’s suggestions rotation for this one. I would be strongly against that.

    For me this is the pinnacle test for a league game in February. Kerry will come out firing after two heavy defeats against us. The Clifford’s and Diarmuid O’Connor back too. I definitely expect Kerry to try and make a statement performance. This is will be a proper mock exam to see where we are at.

    (a) Can our forwards penetrate this Kerry defence? A great improvement required from the forward play against Dublin.
    Their backs looked like they could out muscle our forwards and the lack of a strong direct (Conor Diskin/James Carr type) was evident.

    (B) Can our novice defence and defensive system as a whole stop these Kerry forwards. The match ups will be fascinating. Would predict Mcbrien on Clifford and Callinan on Sean O’Shea again. This will also be a big test for Brickendon who has been solid so far.

    With McLoughlin more than likely injured hopefully Enda Hession is close to a return. Would love to see him get a run of games this year.

  2. Not expecting to come away with the points given the circumstances both sides find themselves in, recent history and current points make it a fairly big must win at home for Kerry you’d imagine, but still really looking forward to this one.

    With Rory Brickenden and Sam Callinan involved in the Sigerson Final Wednesday (7:30pm, TG4 – Darragh Reilly, Parke also potentially involved) and the knocks to Eoghan MacLaughlin & Conor Reid a bit of an unknown for now I’d be surprised not to see a few changes made at the back this week. It’ll be interesting to see who from McHugh, Hession, DO’C, Coen, Plunkett, PO’H, Keane or McDonnell might be able to force their way in for a start back there.

  3. A draw will do kerry will be looking for a good win over us seeming as we beat them twice last year. Even if we loose no goals conceded I’d be happy with that definetly do think our defence is improving.

  4. Cant see Callinan or Brickenden available for this one due to the Sigerson final and by all accounts Reid is definitely out and E. Mclaughlin is o.k. as it was a minor thing with him so more than likely available. So that assumes a few starting changes at a min. I’d think 2 of Plunkett, Coen, McHugh could start. Tommy may start for Towey with Towey to come on later which i think could work very well against Kerry. Would like to see Cillian get 20 plus mins in this one to. Aiden will also start as he always seems to keep a big game for Kerry in the League…

  5. Meant to add 81% of the voters albeit from a small enough total number think we wont win this, I think it will be a good close game especially if Mayo control the ball a bit better than the Dublin game (turnovers, sloppy passes)

  6. I’m much the same in that I’d be happy with a clean sheet and a 3-4 point defeat.

    WTS though if Kerry come out like they did against Derry a few weeks ago, I’d hope we have enough to take advantage.

    But the way Kerry are scoring goals, a third clean sheet in a row for the first time in 3 years would be really positive.

    Mayo to edge it just.

  7. I’m usually optimistic about the games but this time I can’t see anything but a defeat. Between injuries, sigerson and kerrys greater need to win(being the home team and 1 game lost already) making them that bit more hungry I’d be expecting a kerry win. Hope I’m wrong.

  8. Kerry use this fixture as a gauge to where they are at in their season. And it will be the same for Mayo.
    It’s as much about systems as players. Is our defensive system rigorous enough to stand up to their most serious test to date. Are we capable of breaking down the Kerry rear guard and creating goal chances?
    Have we found a balance between the long ball and slow deliberate build up?
    I think the wide open spaces of Austin Stack park will suit both teams and be a true test.

  9. You’d imagine there Will definitely be a few changes, as the darkyfinn flagged, with so many games in past few weeks and the final this week and celebrations likely win or lose Sam and Rory shii on yes get a break, games nearly every 3 days over 3 weeks in January/February is hardcore. Especially with training in between.

  10. One of the standout fixtures league or championship.

    Was above in Castlebar last Feb and we got a fair trimming that evening but Killarney in May was worse and without Shane Ryan or David Clifford we would have been hammered.
    The scoreline flattered Kerry that day.

    Interesting news in Kerry today with Micheál Burns leaving the panel.
    Not enough game time being the reason sighted.

    I think Kerry will win on Sat because losing at home twice on a row won’t be acceptable.
    I was impressed with Kerry last Sunday particularly with Seanie at 14 I think he’s a potential FOTY in that role.
    Hoping for a another positive showing for our new midfielder Joe O Connor and wing forward Cillian Burke.

    Being honest i think Mayo will need a big improvement on last Saturdays performance to win but they have a tradition of giving Kerry our fill of it in Tralee.

  11. Think we’re simply not in a position right now given all factors to win this game.
    What I think would be a big few outcomes for us:
    -No goals conceded
    -Good middle third defence, we make them work for it
    -We finish within 4pts of them.
    We’ll be far from full strength the weekend.

  12. @West Kerry you are getting carried away with POTY nomination at the end of January.
    Pat Spillane mouthing the same bull.
    SoS very lucky to get an all star last year.
    POTY will come from one of the finalists, let’s see how it pans out.

  13. @JR totally agree with you there…..

    We can beat any team on our day we didn’t play our best at all v dubs and still won paddy durcan knew full well after it was no where near our best.

    I think we will either draw this game or loose by 1 or 2 points only because we need to rest players and try out new ones where as kerry need the points more then us.

  14. Not overly concerned about the result in this one as long as we dont go down there and take a beating.

  15. Hoping to see rotation here. I think Plunkett, Eoin O’D and Hession if he’s fit should start. Likely to see McHugh and Coen start for Brickenden and Sam. I’d be keeping Paddy in reserve as well. He is our MVP as they say in the states. No need to be over working him at this stage of his career.

    Ryan should be rested, no point having new lads on the bench (e.g the Ballinrobe lads) if they’re not getting game time. Lets see what they can do, Kerry away is a free hit for us. Lets be smart and use it wisely, lets try and develop the new squad players and get more experienced lads like Plunkett, Hession and E’OD back up to speed.

  16. Do we have lads involved in Trench cup final this week too…if so our squad could be well depleted. Maybe Donnacha,Bob ? Open to correction on that.

  17. Margie – Eoin O`D hasn’t been in any of the match day panels for the league to date, unless he is injured he seems to be well down the pecking order at the moment.

  18. JKEL88, it is hard to read to much into what the match day panels mean in relation to pecking order when same lads generally did not get a run.
    But with all the goings on in other competitions and amount of travel some members would possibly have in a 10 day window e.g. Kerry midweek, Kerry weekend, Tyrone following weekend it is likely will be some shake up this weekend. especially when we have 4 points in bag.

  19. @2 hops: I don’t believe so, but really tough to get much information on Trench Cup games (except for DkIT who get fantastic local coverage in Louth, mainly from Caoimhín Reilly) or their panels.

    It’s DkIT (Dundalk) vs TUS Midwest (Limerick) and MTU Kerry vs Mary Immaculate College (Limerick) in the two Semi-Finals today (Final is on tomorrow so lads involved in both in 24 hours unlikely to make a county game at the weekend you’d imagine).

    I’d glanced at some of the reports from the earlier rounds as they popped up (always fairly heavy on name dropping county players) and no mention of any Mayo crew. Potentially a few Mayo club lads involved flying under the radar so I’ll be interested to see if we get any Mayo clubs congratulating players on a Semi-Final later on (last year we had Aaron Hughes and Mark Gibbons from Garrymore win it with TUS Midlands).

    It’s another one Higher Education GAA & Jerome Quinn tend to stream in recent years (Wednesday, 16:30 on the HE GAA YouTube with the Sigerson on at 19:30 on TG4) so always nice to know if we’ve got some local involvement.

  20. JKEL88, I’d be hoping if he’s some ways fit he’ll get a start down in Tralee along with other panel players.

    I think the team selection for this one will tell us alot of how McStay is thinking. He’s fond of the camera and a microphone, and might find a live game on national tv too appealing to play a weakend team, thus going all out with more or less the same team as Galway and Dublin minus injuries.

    On the other hand, if we see 4 or 5 changes and squad players getting a chance, it will indicate a change in approach to last years league, with more of an eye on the real stuff in the summer – I hope this will be the case.

  21. JR,

    If Seanie stays injury free and is played at 14 then no he is up there with the best in my opinion.

    Getting the excuses in early Clare.

  22. I’m expecting a strong side.

    The 2 week lead in is exactly what we will have in Championship, and this is a really good opportunity to evaluate our preparation for those games.

    Experiment in Omagh imo

  23. Dont expect a win away to Kerry this weekend. You wont beat Kerry at home too often. Whats wanted from Mayo is a good performance and no more than one goal conceeded. He should rest Sam and Rory but the replacements should be nearly as good and should not be used as an excuse for a defeat. Should be a good test for newer Mayo players to see if they up to the required standard. A half each for Aiden and Cillian and time for Conroy and Donaghue and a few more to put up a few scores from play.

  24. @west kerry that’s a bit ridiculous statement tbh never said any exsuce pointing out the facts and an opinion which I’m entitled to do.

    Hear plenty of exsuces from kerry over the years so that’s funny to hear.

  25. Agree FrosTH (shortening it but it looks a bit funny that way). I think points from Kerry are vital. They will be up for it, why shouldn’t we? Like Margie, I think Coen and McHugh will start, but who replaces them on the panel? I’m going for Hession and Garry Quinn. Little things may be important – free taking for instance. There’s been a big debate about it on here, but over the two games we have left some very kickable scores behind. This could kill us down the line.

  26. Does anyone know how diarmuid O Connor, enda hession and James Carr are going? Would great to see them back.

  27. If Kerry had a better midfield, I’d fancy them to give us a bit of a trimming on Saturday night – which actually would be no bad thing in my opinion.

    We need to iron out any weaknesses we have now at a stage in the season when we have plenty of time to fix them.

    Last year no one was at our fitness level at this stage and it was only when they got to our level and were better organised that we realised the way we played in January and February wouldn’t work. The quick kick passes into space weren’t on and running off the shoulder wasn’t on either because space suddenly was at a premium.

    Think Kerry will find scores that bit easier and win by 5. My worry is that this might be the theme of our season so hopefully we can sort it in the next few games.

  28. We need to start looking at fringe players and throw them in and learn something. The bigger question going forward is.. How long can we persist with a non scoring aos in the full forward line. It’s a dilemma. We need him at time s but can we afford the no scoring.

  29. Think this is the team I’d like to see at the weekend given we are virtually safe. We have to give Towey a proper runout at some stage find out once and for all if he has it, couldn’t see why he was whipped before AOS and a few others the last day







  30. I really hope we don’t play Sam or Brick on Saturday evening.
    It will weaken us no doubt but is a high risk low reward strategy. Give them the night off and build the panel up and get some minutes into the likes of Hession if fit, Plunkett and Mchugh.

  31. Supermac, very unlikely we see Callinan and brickenden with them in siggerson final.your right about towey,needs consistent game time to see if he’s good enough

  32. Go again sobering reading when see Limerick buying 96 acres, Westmeath 48 acres, Longford 32 acres ….

  33. @2 hops: Shows what I know. Almost half the Mary I side (sadly beaten by Kerry) were Mayo lads, including 2 panelists (apparently).

    Bob Tuohy in there alright and a mention of Conor Mulroy (Mitchels) scoring 1-2 being a Mayo Senior Panelist as well? Wasn’t aware of that. Solid year last year in Mitchels’ gaining the U21A title so plausible, if a little surprising. G McMenamin (Breaffy), O Tunney (Breaffy), D Dixon (Belmullet) and D Walsh (Lahardane MacHales) all involved too.

    A couple of the Kerry lads involved too that might/will feature again in the final tomorrow (Joey Nagle, Paudie O’Leary and Armin Heinrich) so much less likely to see those involved at the weekend given the loading.

  34. @Gizmobobs we are going to fall behind/slip back. That’s the reality and our clubs will be paying that debt back for years to come. This is what should be concerning all Mayo supporters.

  35. I hope we start something like this..

    1. Hennelly
    2. Plunkett
    3. McBrien
    4. Hession
    5. McHugh
    6. Coen
    7. McLaughlin
    8. Carney
    9. Tuohy
    10. Boland
    11. Irwin
    12. D McHale/D. Duffy
    13. Quinn
    14. Cillian or Aidan
    15. Towey

    Team is based on the fact this is a free hit. Kerry going to be gunning for us and they need points. Competition for places is always a good thing in any team, so panel players need game time.

    Need to see what players can do when the stakes are high (for Kerry), as opposed to some dead rubber at the end of the league when teams are possibly trying to avoid the final.

  36. Those three counties combine to roughly the same area as Mayo. And are struggling to keep Gaelic Football relevant in their counties.
    You are comparing apples and oranges imo

  37. FrostT, the point trying to make is look what they can achieve with a much smaller lot and crowd/sponsor pulling power, Limerick aside the others named and counties smaller than us have their centres in place already or are working towards them.

  38. Lads the gaelic football hubs / centre of excellence are a positive development , owenbeg in derry , garvaghy in tyrone etc, all you hear is how these centres have helped develop players within the county structures . There really is no negative . When lough lannagh was in the pipeline before it hit a brick wall , i remember reading a piece where ciaran mac was in full praise of the project , expaining how it would become a focal point for players , there would be pride involved that type of thing , if youre in there youre doing well , young lads would have ambitions to be going in at it in there .

  39. Looking ahead to Tralee, you would have to favour Kerry, with our injuries, probable Sigerson absentees, Cliffords back, Kerry smarting from last year’s mauling and home advantage. A win would be great, but I would have no problem with a loss as long as we remained competitive and kept the margin to around 3/4 points. I would be happy to see a good all round performance with our youngsters showing further progress, some injury returnees like Plunkett getting game time and a few newbies getting minutes. Another clean sheet would be a real bonus.

  40. Dublin have no centre of excellence. You would be shocked at different times of the year how basic the Dublin training location has been all through these years of success.
    There will be a county yet that convinces some rich sponsor to back investment in schools, clubs, coaching and footballs.
    Derry are strong because they finally have their amazing clubs onboard. Tyrone did better at senior before their centre of excellence.
    See no one is motivated to make the counter point. There’s so many involved to only make the positive case of these centres.
    I get the need to have a centralized place to train in a large county. But in my view playing fields is enough. The rest is expensive window dressing often pushed by vested interests.
    Bryan Clay won two Olympic Decathlon golds training with often his wife and child track side at a basic college track. By logic he couldn’t achieve that without some amazing facility with restaurant and sauna and pedicure station.

  41. Yes, JP and we don’t have those fields to train in, that’s the problem. And with amalgamation coming worse then situation will get.
    See today some LGFA county teams have on social media posts looking for clubs willing to rent them a pitch to train on during the week and weekends. Coaches should not have to be at that sort of thing if infrastructure was there.

  42. Given scale of county regional pitches in each division would be a starting point, could even pick a club in each region and see if could upgrade or develop a pitch on their grounds and use their existing facilities.
    What have we??

  43. On the Centres of Excellence/production of players.

    I think we are starting to go in the right direction on this. The minor teams of the past few years have certainly been stronger. Yes it would be great to have the facility but at the end of the day, its all about getting young players out on the pitch with the right coaches. We need to fix coaching first.

    I’m going to make a bold prediction – Mayo will either win one of or both of the minor and u20 All Irelands this year.

  44. I agree with unstoppable, get the coaching structures correct first, that’s what will really improve the standard of player produced.
    Everyone like shiny new facilities and they have undoubted benefits, but they’re massively expensive and grab all the attention.
    I’d much prefer the focus stick to coaching and development paths from each underage grade up to senior.

  45. @Gizmo

    You guys already started discussing what I was nudging towards.

    I don’t believe that one Centralised location works best for Mayo, and a regional approach, centred around our population centres would work best.

    And I completely agree with JP when he said the below, and I actually think that will be us.
    Mainly because we are one of the few places where the game is popular enough that we don’t necessarily need that “rich individual”

    “There will be a county yet that convinces some rich sponsor to back investment in schools, clubs, coaching and footballs.”

  46. On the coaching structures;

    I wouldn’t entirely agree with the “need” part.

    But at a time when money is tight, it’s the kind of relatively low cost investment that you can still keep doing.

    It’s something that will show good results in the future, and from a financial point of view, it’s probably exactly what the County Board should be doing.

  47. Agree FrostT, I probably didn’t make my view clear enough reading back my own comment.
    COE is a nice have, but not main priority. Pitches and coaching priority, given scale of county and that many clubs have done great work off their own bat to develop their own infrastructure, developing regional partnerships with clubs to make minor centres to upgrade existing infrastructure seems like a more viable option given our financial state at present.

  48. Touching back on @Gizmobobs coaches calling for pitches….

    If anyone is involved with/knows of a club that might be in a position to help (so hard to find pitches in a wet Feb/March when groundspeople are correctly trying to protect their playing surfaces) please do reach out to (Dr.) Donal Hughes.

    @Unstoppable: Really excited to get a look at the minor side coming through this year, players and management.

    Hearing Tom Reilly speaking after the Ted Webb success last year would inspire anyone (focus on letting lads play to strengths and a focus on keeping them loving the game for a lifetime rather than stringent tactics/systems talk), so fingers crossed for a great year. There has been plenty of chatter about a few of the potential stars so it’ll be great to see what type of blend we can strike across the side to produce some excitement.

    Interesting too to watch how the new u20 management get on. Peadar Gardiner has always come across well in his coaching roles and I’d imagine most of us are fierce excited to see James Horan back involved with developing talent. We all know the playing talent they have available (a lot of it u19 but you’d expect a few of those might push senior next year so could be a cleaner run to a potential win for them this year despite being relatively young) so wouldn’t be shocked with them putting a strong push together either.

    Interesting to see the Deel Rovers touches across senior (Mulligan), 20s (Gardiner) and minor (McDonald). Great also to see so many of the coaches involved have worked closely together in the past. Can’t hurt to have the left hand knowing what the right is up to with decent communication.

  49. @Gizmo

    For me, these are complex arguments that we do need to simplify.
    But when we do that we have a bad habit of focusing in on our failures.
    And completely losing sight of our successes.
    And narrative begins to feel like we are in a terrible state irrespective of what the reality actually is.

    So in these specific case;
    – we’re a decade behind other counties with the COE.
    – but we are also in a lot of areas a decade ahead of the curve.

    And we should be building on our successes moving forward, and not beating ourselves up over our failures.

  50. Agree Frosty, but would like to see plans, or the plan currently on shelf developed years ago to show some signs of moving forward.
    Change won’t happen over night, but it will be many nights of plan doesn’t start to be actioned. That’s the element I feel we missing. The overspend on inter-county teams and the stand have put alot of pressure on coffers.
    New York trip is a great opportunity to raise money, but have not seen any plans outlined for events yet, if anyone has been good if shared.

  51. On the u20’s its going to be an excellent championship format starting with a round robin game for Mayo in the Hyde away to Roscommon on Wed March 20th next…and then weekly games well into April….Sligo I expect will be favourites given they won at minor grade 3 years ago and have most of their very impressive side that reached the all Ireland final last year still available. Both Galway and Roscommon will also be very strong with Leitrim I’m sure waiting to spring a surprise or two with all of the work they are doing at underage also. Really looking forward to this campaign in parallel to the minors starting earlier in March.

  52. From what I have seen so far from tonights college game, McBrein has to be our full back for year ahead.

  53. 100% , no disrespect to the lad but he will need to sharpen up a lot , his positioning is way off when the UU attack run at UCD .

  54. I only caught the last 10 minutes.

    Did UCD get roasted defending man to man early?

    27 Canavan is running the show. Did they try Sam Callinan on him?

    Good quality game from what I’ve seen. Despite the conditions. Lot’s of talented lads, and well organised. UCD just look like they got their defensive approach wrong, and it’s cost them by the looks of things.

  55. Cavanan was marked by Callinan until switched off him with 5 minutes remaining of that half. Rory Brickenden has struggled on Niall Loughlin Rory to be fair is more suited to the half back line than playing full back.

  56. @Mayomagic – Thanks.
    How was Sam getting on with Canavan?
    I have half an eye on Omagh already 🙂

    Loughlin looks a handful in fairness.

  57. Darragh Canavan was MOTM.

    McCann had some great straight arm fields. The Canavans and Cregg are joy to watch.

  58. Agreed gizmo , its such a joy to watch players who can strike a ball with such finesse and deadly accuracy , the kicking style of them three , so good . Had this argument on here before but im not for turning , only so much of that you can teach ,a lot of it is just natural forward talent .

  59. I’m afraid UCD got opened up way too easy for goals in first half and defenders were way of their men. Without Dara Cregg it would have been an embarrassment for UCD . He was MOM by a mile even if only losing side in my view.

  60. @FrostTHammer scored three points off him and set up a goal before switching a Tyrone defender on him.

    The two goals conceded in a minute 1st half proved a killer for UCD.

  61. Is “Dara Cregg” not Daire Cregg the Roscommon senior player?
    2 great feet, in any event….. He laced one over way out on the left with the outside of his left foot and followed up moments later by banging over another point from much the same position with an orthodox right footed stance. Very impressive.

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