Lake County lowdown


Photo: RTE

A week tomorrow we’re back at Croke Park – for the first time since last September – with Westmeath barring our way to a sixth successive All-Ireland quarter-final appearance. So apart from being Joe Dolan’s birthplace and supposedly one-half (along with Meath) of an ancient fifth Irish province, what’s there to know about the Lake County and their recent footballing record?

What’s striking about Westmeath’s form in the last few years is that there’s been a massive dichotomy between how they’ve fared in the league as opposed to the championship. In the former they’ve tumbled down in successive seasons all the way from Division One to Division Four, while in the latter they’ve reached back-to-back Leinster finals.

Both championship runs have been included big morale-boosting provincial semi-final wins – last year with a first-ever championship victory over Meath, where they came from ten points down to stun the Royals, and this summer with the defeat of Kildare. That win over Kildare was especially noteworthy as both counties were plying their trade in Division Three this spring, with both exiting that Division at the end of the campaign, the Lilies moving up to the second tier while the Lakesiders crashed down to the basement. When the heat came on, though, in the Leinster semi-final it was the Westmeath lads who stood up better and snatched a daring one-point comeback win.

Both last summer and this, their provincial fairytale didn’t have a happy ending. Westmeath did their best on both days to limit the damage Dublin could inflict by adopting an ultra-defensive double sweeper set-up but on both occasions the dam eventually burst and the Lakemen were swept out to sea on the blue tide. Last July it ended up Dublin 2-13 Westmeath 0-6, last Sunday it was 2-19 to 0-10, so a 13-point whipping followed by a 15-point one.

Westmeath’s summer gallop was finally halted last year by Fermanagh. Two weeks after the Leinster final, Tom Cribbin’s injury-hit charges travelled to Breffni Park where a second half surge from the in-form Ernesiders was more than they could handle. They eventually went under by 1-13 to 0-7 in that Round 4A fixture.

A quick scan through their 2016 record confirms that point above about their contrasting fortunes in league and championship. As recently as 2014 they were playing in Division One but this spring saw them operating in Division Three. And not with great effect either.

They opened their campaign with a defeat at Mullingar to Kildare, losing by 2-9 to 0-11 to the team they’d subsequently master in the Leinster semi-final. Another loss followed a week later when Sligo edged by them on a 1-11 to 1-10 scoreline at Markievicz Park. A fortnight after that, though, they picked up their first point of the campaign courtesy of a 0-11 to 1-8 draw at Cusack Park against Tipperary.

Their next outing was also at Cusack Park, though this time the ground in Ennis, where the high-flying Clare lads dished out a heavy beating to them. That early March thumping of 1-18 to 0-10 would surely have set off the alarm bells for the Midlanders, as relegation had now become a real and present danger. A week later, however, those fears were lessened somewhat as they were the ones doing the hammering, working Limerick over down at the Gaelic Grounds by 3-14 to 0-7 to claim their first league win of the year.

A second victory followed in Round 6, with Offaly beaten by 1-9 to 0-9 at Cusack Park but a week later came the fatal blow as they went down narrowly, by 0-13 to 0-11, to Longford at Pearse Park. In a competitive Division where counties were taking points off each other in every round, Westmeath’s haul of five points from the seven games left them two shy of safety and saw them relegated to Division Four along with Limerick.

With their Leinster quarter-final opponents Offaly having finished a creditable third in Division Three and then having unseated Longford in the opening round of the championship, Westmeath clearly had to be on their guard when the sides met at Mullingar in June. In a close-fought encounter, however, it was the home side who shaded it, winning out by 0-13 to 0-12 to seal a date with Kildare. What happened next we’ve already covered.

As I mentioned, 2014 was the last year Westmeath were playing top tier league football and, of course, that’s the last time we came across them in a competitive fixture. On a horrible, wet afternoon in March at Cusack Park that year we came out on top against them by 2-17 to 3-9.

Our one and only championship meeting with them was, of course, that famous qualifier tie back in 2001. That was the first year of the qualifiers and their extra-time one-point Round 4 win over us at Dr Hyde Park – three weeks after we’d carelessly lost a very winnable Connacht final against Roscommon at the same venue – was a big shock, not least given our lofty position then as league champions. Westmeath were the real beneficiaries of the new backdoor system that year, almost toppling Meath at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage before losing out to their neighbours in a replay.

It’s that qualifier defeat to the Lake County fifteen summers back that our lads will now be seeking to avenge when the counties meet at Croke Park tomorrow week. Like then, the prize on offer is a place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals but this time we’re the ones coming into the fixture with a decent run in the qualifiers behind us.

70 thoughts on “Lake County lowdown

  1. Tickets for season ticket holders available to print now
    We got section 308 row DD
    With a small crowd expected I was expecting more central seats

  2. Below is the team I would pick for the Westmeath game, this is assuming Tom Parsons and Keane are fit to start.

    S O’Shea
    Tom Parsons
    Kevin McLoughlin
    Aidan O’Shea,
    Diarmuid O’Connor
    Cillian O’Connor

  3. While Westmeath are no worldbeaters their ff line of Connellan Heslin and Martin is quite handy and could trouble our FB line.
    Elsewhere James Dolan is a handful but realistically we should have too much power for them.If we let them stay in touch they will adopt a nothing to lose attitude like they did with meath.
    Hope to see Parsons back with the day and pitch made for Regan and Coen both of whom I would start.

  4. And rightly so Galway exile.
    For too long we have said we needed one now plenty of criticism when it is happening.Right choice too in my view.

  5. @Km79

    Are you a Gaa Season ticket holder or Chairde Mhaigheo?

    I am a Gaa Season ticket holder and my seating group got sec 307 row J.

  6. Crete I am gaa season ticket holder and also have a seating group with 4 of us in it

  7. creteboom & km79, I am a croke park season ticket holder and got 307. Happy enough with that seating.

  8. David Lynch who plays for Westmeath is the son of Tommy Lynch who won a hogan cup with Moate .He was CHB and at either side of him were Val Daly & John Maughan

  9. Who will play F.B if Keane is not fit ?
    Will it be Coen Vaughan or one of our centerfield players, we are very thin on the ground for cover in this position. If the game is going in our direction mid way in the 2nd half I would like to see some of our bench who have no experience of playing in Croker some game time.
    In any event we need to be grooming another player for the F.B. position. All the successful Counties and particularly Kerry when they had a dodgy fullback converted a player from another post, namely Moynihan McCarthy and John O Keeffe. We do have a brilliant fullback but unfortunately he is not available.
    By the way Stephen Rochford in my opinion is steering us along nicely, and I think his positioning of Aidan O Shea when Kevin Keane got injured was a good move.

  10. Hueyandlouis agree 100%. We have a type of sweeper that no one else has. We have an attacking sweeper. Mayo are going with our own unique style and set up. Winners don’t copy others they set the standard.

  11. I think we are nearly playing with two sweepers just in different parts of the pitch. McLoughlin in front of the full back line and Higgins around centre field. I think the reason cillian hasn’t been firing on all cylinders is partly due to fitness and partly due to the fact that he’s been tasked with marking McLoughlins man. This is absolutely necessary as leaving an attacking half back free can be fatal. We saw what happened against Fermanagh. I’m glad to see Rochford learn from this in the Kildare game.

  12. Section 304 on a Croke Park ticket. Seems like we are being spread all over the lower deck of the Cusack Stand.

  13. I have commented before saying Shane nally might make a good full back. Any one agree with me

  14. Big Fan of Shane Nally, but not a Full Back. Caolan Crowe might be an option did quite well against Dublin in the League. Has been very unlucky with injuries in recent weeks and the fact that he is needed in the forwards with his club probably counts against him

  15. Redcol thanks for ur comment. I’m fan of nally. Aggressive man with lovely left foot. I have seen midfielders make good fullbacks before. Just a brain wave I had.

  16. From what I’m hearing, Philor, we have a Plan B for FB. I’m saying nowt more than this, though, as I’d end up having to clock myself over the head for spreading rumours.

  17. WJ this is no site for spreading rumours! Your on a yellow card!!!!!!!!!
    Think we will be fine against Westmeath. I’m thinking ahead to the quarters. I’ve a snakey feeling cork will turn Donegal. Which means we cud we’ll meet Dublin. Then the crack will start in Ernest

  18. We don’t need to know what the plan for FB is at the moment WJ, just happy to hear there is one.

  19. Bet you regret saying that already wj.

    Whilst it would be great to go out and hammer westmeath, it would leave me feeling very uneasy. We need another unconvincing win with lots of questions marks.

    We have to hope that SR is building towards a big performance.

    I do think that next year we will be a serious outfit. It takes time to implement a plan and SR is only in the job 6 months.
    That said, if the stars align, you’d never know.

  20. This mornings bloggings are the v best that I’ve seen on this site since first I became aware of it while peddling the lovely Canal du Midi last year.So much has happened since then that it seems like years ago!
    One point stands out always and it’s that no two comments can ever agree completely.There is always a degree of convergence hastily followed by a divergence of opinion!
    As far as I can see there are three games being played at the present time, the Dublin game …a pleasure to watch,the Don/Tyrone game …not so! The third is the amalgam of both on occasions to suit the situation!Our next engagement is expected to be one to watch coming from where we ve been and we ll probably be dealing with the third category above. Would people agree with that and what if they set up v defensively in the belief that we’ve shown up to now,to be found wanting in that department v G recently,Tyrone last year,Dong this year.
    I can’t rem a time when we ve been happy trying to break through a packed defence.Maybe we ll be up to it this time under the new boss. If it has to be done it needs greater speed of thought than we seem up to and also the involvement of the whole team working together and less of the individual efforts that we re good at plus also the taking of long range points that we re not great at ….an integrated approach in other words.To my mind we have a couple of right big jobs ahead.

  21. Totally disgusted with the whinging of Tomàs Corrigan on Thank God it is Friday.This suggestion they would have won only for penalty is ludicrous and it is quite clear he was fouled.
    Pathetic targeting of O Shea.Seems they are afraid of something….clowns.
    Zero respect for McGrath and Fermanagh.

  22. Went to buy ticket for myself and 7yr old daughter (2nd game, first in Croker!). Only option online was 301. Not a season ticket holder, my bad. Gonna see does any come up with the club

  23. The junior team named for tomorrow. Good to see so many of the u21s there.

    1. Mattie Flanagan (Balla)
    2. Eddie Doran (Achill)
    3. Niall Freeman (Aghamore)
    4. Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet)
    5. Barry Duffy (Balla)
    6. James Kelly (Belmullet)
    7. Jason Forkan (Kiltimagh)
    8. Peter Collins (Islandeady)
    9. Gary Keane (Westport)
    10. Brian Reape (Moy Davitts)
    11. Michael Forde (Ballycastle)
    12. Kevin Gibbons (Louisburgh)
    13. Darren Coen (Hollymount/Carramore)
    14. Andrew Farrell (Killala, Captain)
    15. Ronan Mallee (Kiltimagh)

    16. Keith Hennelly (The Neale)
    17. Cormac Reape (Knockmore)
    18. Barry Leonard (Lahardane)
    19. Michael Togher (Belmullet)
    20. Robert Holian (The Neale)
    21. Sean Gaughan (Belmullet)
    22. Conor Keane (Hollymount/Carramore)
    23. Adam Gallagher (Mayo Gaels)
    24. Ronan Doherty (Ardnaree Sarsfield)

  24. That’s not an outrageous suggestion, Team Sheet (though it’s not the one I heard about!) – I think one of the advantages of playing David Clarke in goal is the way he commands his area so well, almost like a second full-back.

  25. I think it’s right that every team we play are treated with respect even if they are Div 4 otherwise it can smack you in the face as happened v Gal who I know are in 2.
    Fermanagh need to get over it and stop crying to the media as they’ll end up being made a joke of as happened to us. P McG needs to cop on also he’s long enough in the game to know better. AOS was fouled and he made sure the ref had no choice – fair play to him. As for KW coming out with the comment of us not beating anyone of significance in connaught for the past 5 years? Don’t think he’ll be getting a job in Garda Intel Unit based on that comment as he has shown he is lacking a bit of it.
    I think we are peddling nicely along and are building our performance incrementally to the point whereby if we have to face Dublin then bring it on but wallowing over GC should stop and let’s get behind KK who has not done anything wrong yet in my eyes. I realise now that some of the criticism aimed at some players in earlier posts based on league form was premature. However i am still annoyed at losing to Gal.Just look at the Rossies who were flying at that time compared to now. BTW, I wish them the best of luck tomorrow. There are lots of twists and turns left in this c’ship yet and let’s hope we go all the way. I still believe we have a serious team for this year and forget about what we’ll be like next year.
    Let’s go all the way.

  26. Well I think if we have shortage with injuries…I’d use a goalkeeper as opposed to throwing in a newbie at this stage. Definitely think Clarke is more a FB than Hennelly, very commanding.

  27. As above Can’t I’d use Clarke as FB, height catch and great presence. Great cover for Henelly who is an excellent. Shot Stopper. These guys also have invaluable experience of pressure games.

  28. @Team Sheet
    Interesting comment, like your thinking outside the box tactic. I also agree with your selection, Clarke has excellent catch.

  29. We must be very stuck for footballers in Mayo if some of you are seriously discussing playing a goalie at full back. Maybe we should bring back Gavin Duffy. Didn’t he play full back for Connacht and I think he may have played there for Ireland too.

  30. Best of luck to Roscommon tomorrow.
    I would be great to see 3 Connaught teams in the shakeup.
    Let the west be one.

  31. Best of luck to the banner tmrw . Wouldnt it be great to see another western seaboard county in the last 8. Js

  32. Ah lads.
    Clarke has little or no experience of playing outfield.
    He might, might, be ok under a high ball.
    But imagine any other kind of ball going into him?
    He’d be roasted!
    Where it might work is in the last five mins of a game where it’ll only be goals that will allow Mayo be caught.
    I thought that clip on ‘Thank GAA It’s Friday’ was disgraceful. It’s about time that was let go. Don’t know what the point of it was. There is no comparision between McCann from last year, where he purposefully tried to get someone sent off, and Aidan this year. Shocking from RTÉ.
    Finally, Tonyk, I admire your optimism but this team has been on the road a long time and already we can see signs of wear and tear this year. It’s somewhat foolhardy to think that they’ll all be back again next year with the same hunger and drive. I imagine Alan and Andy will retire after this year and they might not be the only ones. It could be a while before we see this Mayo team back challenging again after this year. A sombre thought – but probably a realistic one!

  33. If RTE were covering the O’Shea thing, again, on their shite weekly Friday programme, then I seriously, genuinely think that we should consider boycotting RTE for a game or 2. Don’t give them interviews or the time of day. As a friend of mine suggested, give all the coverage to Irish TV

    Fuck them. They have been a disgrace for a long time but for me this last 2 weeks is the straw that broke the camel’s back

  34. Really couldn’t believe they trotted out that story AGAIN last night..was wondering what the hell a swimming pool was doing on a gaa show and then the penny dropped..the repeated shots of the diving board..the interview with cheap shots..Time to shut up shop for interviews indeed mayomark. .

  35. Think it’s daftness suggesting that Clarke play full back ,
    but I do Agree with your point Willie Joe that he acts like a second sweeper .
    The defence is more assured since hennelly was dropped

  36. Wouldn’t be to upset about rte or anybody esle.
    Glad to see the lads are staying away from all these interviews this year.
    We were to focused on how teams would play against us for years, its time to leave them thinking what we are all about this year.
    Plan A BC and DEF if the case should be.
    Croke park will suit us better,we are built for croke park.
    Exciting times ahead

  37. Yes, it’s time for a boycott in my opinion if RTE are still going on about it.
    Management and entire team should just go walkabout when it comes to interviews after the next game and issue a simple statement explaining why. The media seem to have a fixation on Aidan O’Shea disproportionate to his role in the team. Using the word “villain” in one RTE website article last week was even more disrespectful.
    Gung-ho journalism may be OK generally but not for the national broadcaster.
    Good luck to both Roscommon & Tipperary today (big family connections in both counties).

  38. Don’t forget there are two good tough Garrymore men there, either of whom could do a job at FB if needed…two men who have been learning their inter county trade in defense since the start of the year…

  39. Did ye ever think our defence looks much more assured because the standard of forwards we’ve played against in the past two games isn’t up to much? If we manage to get over the next day, we’ll be rightly tested!

    As a keeper here is my own analysis of them:-

    High ball/command of area:- Clarke.
    Kickouts:- Hennelly
    Long free potential:- Hennelly
    Shot stopping:- equal. Hennelly has more natural shotstopping talent but Clarke has a wider/longer span.
    Organising the shape of the defence:- is a very important factor but it’s very hard to judge unless you’re playing!

    It’s a tough call between them.

  40. I agree with the comments on rte, I think Mayo gaa should boycott all interviews this season. It’s gone beyond a joke at this stage. That programme last night was embarrassing and downright disrespectful. The constant whinging by Fermanagh is a joke.

  41. I’ve been saying for a while that we should have the Tyrone stance when it comes to RTE. they seem to think Mayo is a soft touch. Dublin/Kerry would never be treated like this. Take for example the Connolly incident. Instead of calling into question connollys reaction, what was focused on was the Westmeath players actions. I’m sure that the PR section of Dublin GAA has many a good friend in the offices of the national broadcaster. Meanwhile AOS is vilified. Enough is enough, boycott them. Give interviews to sky, newstalk and local radio. When we win the all Ireland let them show the losers banquet instead!

  42. Unbelievably bad “Analysis” on RTE…
    This was already clear to me on the live transmission anyways, and is ALSO visible on the Thank GAA shite shown Friday night.

    ON RTE’s own Player, I paused it at 1 min 35 secs. It is a pain to stop at the exact sec, but worth it!

    The defender put both hands on Aidan, one on the right hip to pull him back and the other hand on Aidan’s left shoulder. 2 handed tackle is a penalty. Ref might have given it for an earlier tug which was not visible, who cares? There was that clear foul shown on the live footage anyways.

    Forget the Facebook profiles and avatars, where can I buy a pair or swimming shorts like that guy. We all need to turn up in Croker in a pair of these! t Aussies call them Budgie Smugglers…

  43. On the O’Shea issue, Martin Carney, in his column in the Connaught last week, had no doubt that O’Shea was fouled initially. MC was behind the goal, so he should have had a good view. BTW that column isn’t bad; not online of course, though I have to say that Billy Joe really has his finger on the pulse of the modern game.

  44. On the Full back question, I heard someone suggest converting Conor O’Shea from a forward to fill that position. He seems to be struggling to get a place in the forward line so why not look at him as an option. He’s big, athletic and strong and maybe he doesn’t have the skillset but can those things not be learned ? Afterall we seem to think that Aidan or Seamus might make a good Fullback and we’ve seen Kerry convert several outfield players over the years to fill that position. So could Conor throw a shape there ?

    Maybe too late this year but how about start him in the FBD and see how it goes ? Even if Caff is back, I ‘ve always felt that he’s an even better corner back than a fullback.

    Thinking outside of the box on a Saturday morning !

  45. Hello fellow Mayo supporters. This is a wonderful forum where everyone has an opinion and is allowed to air it providing it is not abusive or offensive to others. WJ you provide a great service and obviously invest a lot of your time in it. Thank You. While we all might have differing opinions we are bonded by the fact that we are all passionate about Mayo football. I just love this time of year and the anticipation and excitement it brings.

    Now my opinion… While our focus must only be our next game Westmeath there appears to be confusion around the format of the qualifiers. Please correct me if am wrong which I know you will do!!

    It is my understanding that The winners of round 4B will go into an open draw with
    Dublin and Tyrone. The exception to is this: should Donegal win their game and we win ours PG! Donegal cannot play Tyrone again so therefore we will play Tyrone and Donegal play Dublin. The winners of this round 5B will be the Ulster and Leinster representatives. Then Ulster plays Connacht and Munster plays Leinster in the All Ireland Football semi final series.

    Hope you managed to stay with me?

    Good luck to the Junior and Master footballers this weekend. Haven’t Mayo a great tradition of football?

    Thanks for staying with me! Mhaigheo Abú

  46. Im no fan of RTE or their lazy old school pundits (they really do need to get some new relevent people in, Des and Marty really need to go). However Aidan O’Shea is a very high profile player and it was a blatant dive whatever way you look at it, not complaining, we got the win thats what matters. If a player of a lesser profile did it then it prob would be forgotten about but Aidan has a massive profile so its still news worthy. If the shoe was on the other foot and we were on the receiving end of a decision like that we would still be seething and probably demanding a replay. I dont think we would take too kindly to people telling us to forget about it and move on either. It was a dive, we got the benifits of it, we cant really complain if there is a little negative publicity afterwards.

    Also, Clarke at fb, Seriously!!! More to playing fb than catching a high ball now and again.

  47. I was hoping some of ye could help me. What would be the easiest way to get from Croke park to heuston after the match on saturday?

  48. It depends what kind of hurry you’re in, Anne. Taxi is the best option if you’re under pressure time-wise but the Luas (from Busarus, which isn’t that far from Croke Park, especially if you happen to be in the Cusack) might also work. Connolly is marginally nearer than Busarus coming from Croker but all the trams stop at Busarus, while the ones heading to the Point bypass Connolly.

  49. @mayomad why was there not the same outrage when James O Donohue was at it? The coverage of AOS is unbalanced and completely out of order. As I said previously if it was a Dublin or Kerry player nothing would be said.

  50. I just watched the Thank GAA It’s Friday programme on the RTE player there now. I actually thought that in relation to Aidan O’Shea it was the first time that a bit of balance was introduced in relation to how he is treated. They showed the penalty that he should have been awarded against Kerry in the league this year and they showed a number of other clips of the way he is treated in games, especially in the two Dublin games last year. The former Dublin player who on the programme, stated that he thought that he didn’t get much against the Dubs last year and that he behaved well given the situation. They also showed some other high profile diving incidents which were a lot worse than what Aidan did.

    In relation to the Fermanagh game they didn’t show balance on that programme. They should have spoken about the penalty that Cillian could have been awarded. They also should have mentioned that the Fermanagh goal could easily have been disallowed because of a foul on Colm Boyle. The antics of the Fermanagh players before the penalty was taken should have been highlighted as well. If the penalty was the last kick of the game then you’d say that Fermanagh were very hard done by but there was still some time left and Mayo had been well on top in the second half and Fermanagh only scored two points during that half. Mayo were much the better team in the second half.

    We do also have to remember that John Maughan and Liam McHale are still talking about Meath in 1996 and Pat McEnaney so I hope that Fermanagh won’t be still going on about this incident for years to come like that.

    It is really annoying though, that in the media the last few days, Diarmuid Connolly is been made out to be an angel and the most targeted player in the GAA while Aidan O’Shea is been made out to be a villain. That’s really sickening to see.

  51. Nowhere else to put this but interestingly Clare have torn Roscommon apart in the first half and the 6 point deficit is absolutely flattering Roscommon

    If Clare win by 11 plus will we hear the same superlatives about them as Galway last week? Somehow doubt it. If anything this puts Galway’s forwards “masterclass” into perspective

    Why am I concerned about Galway and Clare? Well, the winner of their QF (provided Clare hold on) would be our likely AI semi opponent if we get there.

    And yes I’m a little cranky cos I’ve been listening to Galway fans rubbing it in all week about how they’re now a better side than us!!! Granted I’m sure they’re fed up of plenty of our fans too so I’ll let them off 🙂

    I am disappointed for Ros though if they lose. We do slag them off but I honestly think they have potential there, and that they just completely burned out after the league- I don’t mean that in a patronising way at all.

  52. Watching the game here and ros defence in tatters..persisting in man marking and spaces left stay will need some team talk at half time..

  53. Spot on with everything there HopeSprings. There is for certain a bias against us at the moment, but nothing other teams haven’t dealt with, even Kerry with Galvin in the noughties, which was over the top even though he brought some of it on himself.
    The important thing to me is that Rochford strongly defended Aidan afterwards and it was also good to see Martin Carney rowing in also. I don’t think there is anything else Mayo can do. I believe this will also rouse the team, and Aidan himself. The lack of protection for the stronger players has already been highlighted but refs took no heed and they have no intention, and the current witch-hunt will ensure this. When negativity like this gets into the national zeitgeist there is no stopping it. It ain’t fair but we can still control our own destiny. We just have to continue improving as a team on the field of play and keep going the way we are going.
    Let Connolly be built up as Mother Teresa. It might all backfire on them in the heel of the hunt.

  54. Wow what a miserable end to a season that promised so much for Ros.

    They lost by 6 but to be honest Clare were 10-15 points the better team. The likes of ourselves, Kerry and Dublin would have won that by north of 20 potentially!!!

    Very hard to know where they go from here. Clearly they need a lot of time off, and plenty of soul searching. They’ve put way too much into the league the last two years and it’s all been for nowt in terms of championship.

    I do think they’re potentially going places though and there’s zero doubt in my mind they’ll be far better equipped next summer. I do feel a bit of sympathy for them as quite clearly the players are massively burnt out, and it’s a shame to see any team with such potential crash and burn so badly. To be honest it’s what I’ve feared for a while could quite conceivably happen to ourselves after so many years on the road, but thankfully it hasn’t just yet- pending next Saturday!!!

    Anyhow delighted for Clare, they’ve probably been the story of a very dull Championship to date. No reason they’d be scared of Galway but I’d fear a thumping v Kerry. Mentally they’d be beaten before they even take the pitch v the latter, while a match vs a talked-up galway team who haven’t won a match in Croker in yonks and will be massive odds on favourites could be quite interesting. Gary Brennan is probably the best midfielder in Ireland, and the two Collins’, Cleary and Tubridy are a threat to any team. They actually have a nice looking bench too, which is unusual for a small county with a relative tiny playing pool, and limited footballing tradition

  55. Mayo should drill Westmeath handily (8pts minimum) before taking on the likely Tyrone.

  56. Guys am I seeing things here.Gavin Duffy to play full back because he played full back in rugby????Ah come on.David Clarke our goalkeeper to play full back..Lads it’s not junior b here its senior intercounty football.

  57. Ciaran, why shouldn’t Galway fans say their team is as good as Mayo? They beat Mayo didn’t they and now they’re in a qf. I’d say they are as good or at least close to it. And they have the tradition.

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