London eye


Right, we’re now in countdown mode ahead of our first championship outing of 2016, our first summer campaign clash under Stephen Rochford’s management, the first fixture in what we all hope will be a championship campaign to remember. For the right reasons. And it all starts at 3pm over in Ruislip next Sunday.

I love London. I first got to see it for myself thirty years ago this summer and then I ended up spending a number of years living, working and studying there from the late Eighties to the mid-Nineties. These were formative, productive and hugely positive years for me and I guess for that reason – allied to the fact that London truly is one of the great cities on the planet – I’ll always treasure my time there. I returned to live in Dublin in 1996 but I’ve made it back to London at some point every single year since then (often more than once) and although I haven’t managed to do this yet this year, I’ve no doubt but that I will before the year is out.

But not next Sunday. I’ve never been tempted to join the international circuit for championship games, though I can readily appreciate the attraction this holds for the increasingly large number of supporters who have, and so once again I’ll be sitting this one out. Oddly enough, when I was living in London I didn’t make it as far as Ruislip for the county’s Connacht championship preliminary round appearance there in 1991, due to the proximity of exams at that time.

Exams are of no concern to me now but I’m still happy to hold off on seeing the lads in the flesh until their expected semi-final clash with Galway at MacHale Park next month. I know, I know – that kind of getting-ahead-of-ourselves thinking could well have been a factor in our courting with disaster back in 2011. The bald truth, though, is that if the lads are properly tuned in for championship football – and memories of that 2011 experience, not to mention Roscommon’s near-death escapade in New York a few weeks back, would suggest strongly they will be – then the implacable logic about what happens when a Division One team meets a Division Four side should hold in this case.

I might be passing up on being at the game but I do have plans made for the weekend, which involve a bit of travel and should also encompass following what’s happening over in London. I’m heading west to the home place on Saturday and if the forecast continues to look promising I might chuck in the bike as well and get a proper spin done on Sunday morning. Then that afternoon I’m hoping to sit down with my dad to follow the action live from Ruislip on the wireless. I don’t think I’ll even bother to see if there are any streams from the match on Periscope – sometimes hearing is seeing and I reckon Sunday, with the radio tuned into Midwest for the game, could be one of those occasions.

56 thoughts on “London eye

  1. Any word on additional tickets being available on the day of the game?

  2. As far as I know, there are no additional tickets. People have been trying for weeks.
    There are no plans to sell on the day.

    A few I know who don’t have tickets are planning on heading down there anyway.
    The thinking being that a non-fussy steward will let them waltz in.
    I’m not so sure on that score. Health and safety being what it is, I can’t see that happening.
    Anyone who remembers the dangerous over-crowding in New York will understand their reluctance.

  3. I cant see stewards turning people away for this. As far as I know, this is the first time it has been sold out. But that is due to using tickets as opposed to collecting money on the gate. Connacht council have not managed the situation well. I emailed the London secretary and was told that there would be additional tickets available on the day of the match. This has now changed to being no tickets available. Supposedly!!!

    I will be there. Hon Mayo!!!

  4. London GAA did say last week that the match was officially sold out. I would therefore take it that no tickets would be available on the day.

  5. If anyone has spare tickets or tickets not being used, i would be forever in yer debt, have flights and accommodation booked since December

  6. Anyone looking for tickets there’s a raffle for 2 tickets on Friday night in Maloneys pub in Willesden. Proceeds going to a very worthy cause, little Róisín Tansey fund, a very brave and bubbly little girl.

  7. I would be fairly confident that any man or woman who waltzes up to the gate with a belly full of Bitter and Best, a stout stick, a few notes with Her Majesty’s face on them to ease their passage and a pleasant demeanour will surely gain access to the hallowed grounds of Ruislip.

  8. Could I go slightly off topic here to put a word in for our neighbours. The Sunday Game treatment of Rossies v Leitrim last night was an absolute joke. About 1 minute of ‘report’ complete with iPhone camera, and then the panel ‘sympathising’ with Leitrim on their plight. It made my blood boil.

    The Rossies are a Div 1 team and have legitimate claims to be taken very seriously. Leitrim are in the doldrums but so what? Compare that to the coverage of the knacker’s yard that is the Leinster championship, with decent highlights and serious discussion of, God help us, Offaly, Longford, Kildare, Wexford, Laois and Wicklow.

    What the hell are the Connaught Council doing about this one?

  9. As long as they give us some daycint coverage throughout the championship I couldn’t give two hoots about the Rossies.

  10. Willie Joe I congratulate you on a wonderful informative site of which I have been an avid reader for a good few years.It was your mention of Ruslip game in 1991 that got me thinking, I was one of many Mayo emrigrants there on a beautiful sunny day that I remember well.An intresting thing happened that day and the experts may be able to tell if it had happened prior or since. The great Colm McManemon lined out for Mayo that day and his brother Bernie (a tough no nonsense midfielder)came on as a sub for London making it a nice family affair.Anyway best of luck to Mayo ,hopefully the start of a long ad fruitful summer

  11. Yes catcol the coverage was pretty poor.. I was talking to few Leitrim foke today and they are fairly dispondent about the whole GAA thing.. most of the kids around Carrick are more interested in rugby or soccer than gaa.. they just dont see any point in it all. He was saying that the support at Pairc Sean was 10/1in favour of Roscommon. The game around here is not going anywhere fast or for that matter, anywhere good.
    Have to say I like Aaronn Kernan as a panelist though.. very good with analysis.. better than Thomas.
    Worked in London myself Willie Joe on and off over a few years.. great memories, great city.. would love to be going over next weekend too but alas commitments closer to home.

  12. Spent a few glorious summers as a student working in London. Also played a fair few championship games in Ruislip under the obligatory assumed name! Made some great friends and met some legendary characters from all over Ireland. I seem to recall that almost everyone I met from Laois was stone mad. Made this point to the mother who also hails from the Queen’s county.

    Great memories of my time there and was aided by the fact I’m a Gooner too.

  13. You’d have to say at the weekend, the GAA matches provided the least entertainment, in terms of the sport that was on offer. At one stage all four Irish channels were showing some kind of sport: Golf, GAA, Soccer and Rugby. Maybe it is a bit of an unfair comparison to make as all of the events apart from the GAA matches were at the final stages, while the GAA games are in the early stages of their competitions.

    There was a piece on the News this evening about Rugby been played by youngsters in a rural Gaeltacht club in Galway, they were saying how popular it is becoming. It is something that the GAA have to think about. A lot of the traditional rivalries are becoming a bit of a damp squib: Dublin v Meath, Derry v Tyrone, Mayo v Galway and even Cork v Tipp in Hurling as well.

    When you think back to the way the U21 Championship games were played this year, it just shows what is possible, most of those games were highly entertaining. Mayo only beat Roscommon by a point. Dublin and Kildare went to extra time. Cork beat Kerry by a point and Monaghan beat Tyrone by two points. The All-Ireland semis and final were great games too. Most of the games were highly competitive. We’ll see how it goes anyway. It is early in the GAA season yet!

  14. Knowing a fair bit about Leitrim football down through the years I’m not surprised to hear that lads around Carrick are not that interested and are more into soccer and rugby. It was always so and Carrick did little for Leitrim football since the foundation of the GAA. Anything positive was done by country people living in Carrick such as the late George O’Toole. In Leitrim’s good days [particularly in the 90’s] the heart of it was around Ballinamore, [Sean O’Heslin’s], Aghawillin and Gortletteragh with Drumshanbo [Allen Gaels] producing a good team for the first time ever. In earlier decades Clone and Aghavas were very prominent. Since these clubs all fell on relatively hard times since Leitrim football has done likewise. Incidentally media folk talk a lot of bull shit about Leitrim being hard to beat in Carrick. Reality is that Leitrim have never beaten Roscommon in Carrick [except once in the 20’s when Roscommon objected, the match was replayed in Ballinamore and won by Leitrim. I cannot recall Galway ever losing in Carrick. [Leitrim won twice in Tuam in ’93 & ’94] The only win I can recall over Mayo in Carrick was the 1976 replay. Fact is Leitrim have a far better record against those counties away from home. But a knowledge of the facts is irrelevant to press reporters and pundits.
    Leitrim has the smallest population of any county, currently around 32k, I believe, but it has the highest percentage playing population in the country. Which is an achievement to be proud of in itself.

  15. HSE,

    Rugby was always popular in Connemara and the Connemara All Blacks are a legendary club. While almost everybody who knows little of sport [esp. some RTE pundits] is getting excited about Connacht Rugby and the All Ireland Pro12 final there is little recognition that Irish [and Scottish and Welsh] rugby is being left in the slipstream of the English and French, rather like their soccer game and the Premiership.

  16. Was Carrick s garrison town or what? Sligo would always be regarded as a soccer town but never knew that about Carrick.

  17. AndyD,

    I suppose the point that I was making was that if you checked out the sport on TV at the weekend the GAA games provided the least entertainment.

    In relation to the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Rugby teams been left behind, its actually like what is happening with the GAA, the teams with the most money like the French and English Rugby clubs and the Dublins of this world in GAA terms, are leaving other teams behind them. Again there is a lesson in there somewhere for the GAA head guys to try and learn from.

  18. Any Mayo players with London. Former Mayo minor Darragh Quinn is corner back I noticed.

  19. Do you want to have another go at that, Exile? I think I get the point you want to make but you can’t launch a head-on attack on another contributor in doing so. You might want to try coming at it from a different, less confrontational, angle.

  20. apologize for going the wrong side of the rule Willie Joe , i was really annoyed but i should have counted to ten before printing sorry.

  21. Willie Joe, you may know the answer, did st Vincent’s play and best the Wicklow county team in s recent challenge game ?

  22. HSE,

    Money certainly has it’s influence in GAA as well as other sports but not to the extent that a club/county can buy players from the other side of the world as is happening in rugby & soccer abroad..I don’t watch soccer much as it tends to send me to sleep if I try to watch it but I did not hear anybody speaking of entertainment in the FA Cup final. The Pro12 semis were ok but these clubs are a long way from tops of the Champions Cup. Even the final of that was pretty boring, just big men running into each other and no attempt to play ball.

  23. Colm Keys has the following injury update in the Indo today:

    Diarmuid O’Connor heads an extensive Mayo injury list ahead of their Connacht Championship match against London in Ruislip on Sunday. O’Connor, the reigning Young Footballer of the Year and the driving force behind Mayo’s recent All-Ireland U-21 success, looks set to miss the trip to the UK capital because of a hamstring injury.
    Former captain Andy Moran is struggling with a knee injury, while defender Chris Barrett is also a doubt. Mayo’s first-choice midfield pairing, Seamus O’Shea and Tom Parsons, also have a question mark over their participation in a game that provided so much trouble for them in James Horan’s first game in charge in 2011 when they needed extra time to survive.

    The Mayo News will probably have some more Info as well in relation to the injury situation.

  24. HSE, I am not overly concerned with a couple of players missing the match as we have more than enough in reserve to get a result, its not 2011 and I can not see it being a close affair at all this weekend.

    I would be worried that injury will prevent players from taking part in the weeks training programme that has been organized. This would be a hugely important week where the management will work on the patterns of play the team will employ for the months ahead. There really is a need for all to be present and fully taking part.

  25. Given the injury updates available. Possible Team for London

    Rob H
    Brendan H
    Kevin K
    Caolan C
    Lee K
    Colm B
    Patrick D
    Tom P
    Jason G
    Kevin McL
    Jason D
    Keith H
    Evan R
    Aidan O S
    Cillian O C

    Fit Subs

    David C
    Michael H
    Stephen C
    David D
    Shane N
    Conor L
    Conor O S

  26. @ Redcol

    Ger Caff is fit and ready to go having played 20 mins v Ardnaree then the full game against Ballinrobe so he would be another fit sub to have on the bench.

  27. Good thing CB!
    Also got the thought that inclusion of just little freshness into forward division could!!! greatly transform the possibilities!

  28. Haven’t seen injury list in Mayo News yet but Alan Freeman’s left leg didn’t look too hot in a grey boot thing last Friday evening 🙁

  29. Assuming C Barrett, Sheamie O’Shea, Diarmaid O’Connor and Andy Moran are out, my starting line-up to start would be:
    1. R Hennelly
    2. B Harrison
    3. G Cafferkey
    4. K Higgins
    5. L Keegan
    6. C Boyle
    7. P Durcan
    8. T Parsons
    9. B Moran
    10. K McLoughlin
    11. A O’Shea
    12. J Doherty
    13. E Regan
    14. A Freeman
    15. C O’Connor

    However, don’t be surprised if at least one of the younger guys gets a good long run in this game – possibly starting. If Parsons is out, I would expect Aido to start in midfield, with his brother Conor starting in the front 6. There is also a case for using Nally instead of Durcan in order to continue roadtesting the sweeper system, but then Durcan is a class act – hard call!.
    In the front line, there is a case for holding Freeman back as a back-up for Cillian, but I’d love to see the two of them in the one line for a lot of the summer. We really need to see some strategy in the forwards for opening up defences and those two lads working together could be the basis for that.
    I’m fairly sure that the “where do we use Zippy” debate will get aired extensively in the next few days as will the “how can you leave vaughan out” question.

    And with that 15, the potential subs could then include:
    D Clarke
    K Keane
    C Crowe
    M Hall
    S Nally
    D Vaughan
    S Coen
    D Drake
    J Gibbons
    C O’Shea
    C Loftus
    C Carolan
    B Reape
    A Dillon

    That’s a total of 29, so 3 will miss out on the 26 named.

    Lots of options, lots of difficult calls.

    I’m glad I don’t have to make them!

  30. I don’t want to tempt fate, but I was about to book flights and hotel for the final on 10 July. When will the venue be known?

  31. As far as I know gjc, if mayo are in it McHale Park is the venue.

    Mayo news are reporting that irish tv are in talks with croke Park about trying to get the rights to the London game. Hopefully they can work something out

  32. Some interesting selections here, I’ve been following Mayo all my life and picking the Mayo starting 15,& subs almost as long. Never did the Mayo management pick the team I wanted and I’ll harbour a guess here, that never in that time did the management ever get to pick the first 15 & subs they wanted either. Is it in the OldTestemant somewhere? ‘many are called but few are chosen’ In my naive days of playing football both Gaelic and soccer, there was a guy 10 or more years older than me, and 10 or more years wiser, played soccer with me, and played Gaelic for a neighbouring and on occasion opposing team. He’d make that particular comment to me when we’d meet on opposing sides on the Gaelic Pitch. You couldn’t hardly call it ‘Sledging’… But back to Mayo, it’s very doubtful that that Rochy will get to pick all his’ ‘Chosen Ones ‘ for any championship match. Many factors have to be considered, players form, confidence, fitness or lack of the same all have to be factored in, also the emerging talent might just be too good to be ignored, it’s like the weather, always changing and impossible to predict… Good management in my opinion would be minding some of our Marquee players for the greater battles ahead, if there is any doubt of their fitness. We are blessed in Mayo with a big and very talented panel, even some currently out side our panel could be brought in in the event of an injury crisis. For what it’s worth the only manager that I would say got to pick his ‘Chosen One’s’ regularly was ‘Mick O:Dwyre, and that was with a Kerry team that was so good they picked themselves!

  33. Diarmuid, Chris barrett and Brian reape all out with hamstring injuries.

    Ger cafferkey and Barry Moran rated as doubtful.

    SOS , parsons, Dillon and Andy Moran hoping to be fit.

  34. I see that according to The Mayo News, Eoin O’Donoghue the U21 All-Ireland winning corner back had another great game for the Juniors in their win over Galway. He looks like he will definitely be a corner back on the senior team in the future. He is the kind of corner back who loves the art of defending and has that bit of devil in him. Well done to him and he is a player to keep an eye on in the coming seasons. I think that he is still U21 next year so he is young yet. It was great to see Darren Coen playing well too in that game.

  35. Always thought Darren Coen showed some real promise and could offer a genuine threat in the corner. As far as I can recall, he played some of the early rounds of the championship a few seasons ago. He then seemed to drift back without having played all that badly.

  36. Game might be on tv yet.

    Westport-based Irish TV attempting to secure the rights to broadcast the Connacht championship quarter-final.

    Irish TV is one of the main sponsors of London GAA. No Connacht championship game in Ruislip has ever been live on television.

    “We’re going to do everything in our power to secure the rights to broadcast the Mayo/London match from Irish TV Grounds in Ruislip on Sunday,” Irish TV CEO Pierce O’Reilly told The Mayo News yesterday (Monday).

    “We’ve been in negotiations with the GAA in Croke Park for the last two weeks to try and make it happen, but at this stage all I can say for certain is that it is going to go right down to the wire.

  37. The Irish Examiner have an article today saying Tomas O Se has money on us to win the All Ireland!! He also goes into the usual stuff about us not having the quality forwards etc.

  38. Stephanite I might be able to help you out there. What part of the world are you in?

  39. I was reading that article this morning Dan, Tomas O Se was saying that he put the money on us when the management team put in place by Stephen Rochford was announced. Although he was saying that he is getting a bit worried about his money now as he has seen nothing so far to justify his investment! Hopefully we’ll see some signs this weekend that we are moving in the right direction under the new management structure.

    In the same paper there is an interview with James Horan and he says that he thinks that our best days are ahead of us and that we have been moving forward ever since that first game of his tenure against London in 2011, that was a watershed moment. He was saying that the average age of our team is now 26, which is ideal, so we’ll see how it goes.

  40. Inforced injuries can be beneficial. They give management unheralded oppertunity to exercise and enhance their thought processes.After all, players have to leave the field for various reasons during games when smart decisions are called for on the line.And we know that this has not always been the case. It’s a reminder again of the enormity of this job!
    Things are beginning to warm up!

  41. MayoDan and HSE, yeah I read that article, and attach a link to it also.

    Interesting stuff, but you begin to wonder about pundits.

    O’Shea has seen us once – Pairc UI Rinn in January, and is basing a lot of his thinking on that one game. No viewing of Regan and what he has been doing since, ditto Loftus, Conor O’Shea and others. No harm in that, you can’t get to everything, but, you know, the ordinary journo for the nationals has probably seen Mayo three or four times and the U21s and a lot more of the other big names also. But, their views count for nothing in the big name territory that constitutes punditry now.

    Not that O’Shea’s comments are irrelevant. Liked the bit, ‘points to head’ and that is an area of the conditioning process that needs constant care and attention!

  42. Roll on Sunday, headings over with herself and the 2 godforbid,s no tickets (yet) but fingers crossed. If we don,t get tickets we,ll have a look around ffor the day let there be no panic. Looking forward to seeing what kind of formation we play with and what personnal changes there are. Anyone else wonder if Galway are piss poor or being cute hoor,s way to quite for my liking

  43. was there a question about maybe brothers playing on opposite teams in london before ……but n 2004 i think we had a costello on mayo and ny

  44. That 2011 article was some read willie joe , am laughing out loud here. It was some day in ruislip , I am looking forward to returning to the scene of the crime on Sunday

  45. Does anyine know website possible to stream the game on sunday? Mayo man in Oz!

  46. Howyadoin Kevin, your old neighbour from across the road here. It hasn’t been confirmed if it’s on telly or web yet, they’re organising it all week but no breakthrough yet. So it looks like the wireless via internet is the best bet at the moment but that could change……. Tell the Belass boys Boutros sed hello.

  47. I was harsh enough then, for sure, Mayoman in Tipp! Two factors were relevant there, though, the first being that it was less than twelve months since JOM had driven the car into the ditch in Longford and here he was saying what we should be doing to win the match in Ruislip. The second factor was that I already had a few on board when I wrote that match report.

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