Mayo v Donegal – a Super 8s Saturday night showdown

God, I badly needed that weekend off. Five weeks in a row was taking its toll on the body and the wallet – Newry, Castlebar, Limerick, Killarney and Dublin were all frequented in June and July. It felt like I was playing Discovering Ireland as a kid again! 

The young lad was happy with the weekend off too as he caught up on a couple of play dates with his Dublin friends (I know, I’m not happy about it either). His friends were gobsmacked to hear that he had to travel to another county outside of Dublin for championship games. Said we were living in the dark ages. He lost their attention altogether when he tried to explain the concept of a neutral venue! 

Anyway, I was able to recharge the batteries, do a couple of rest and recovery sessions, bit of yoga, freshen up the legs and the mind and mentally prepare myself for the massive challenge that lies ahead. The upshot is that I’m absolutely raring to go for Saturday evening. And that’s just me as a supporter! Imagine how much the players needed the break. Imagine how much they are chomping at the bit for what is essentially a winner takes all All-Ireland quarter-final on home soil. 

The thirteen days break between games should have done our lads the power of good. Yes, Donegal had the same break but we needed it more. In the five weekends between June 22nd and July 21st, Mayo played five games on consecutive weekends whereas Donegal played just three. Signs of weariness were clearly evident in the white heat of Killarney and in Croke Park against Meath perhaps to a lesser extent.  A weekend off won’t have harmed us one jot.

The gruelling five-week schedule was punishing on the Mayo dressing room and the physio table in particular.  A profound thought struck me and I actually believe that such a sadistic schedule is disrespecting the traditions of the game, and is part of the last remnants of British culture on these islands. You may question the relevance and applicability of that statement. And you’d be absolutely right to because there is none! Sorry Donal Óg I couldn’t resist but jest at your expense; I will leave the nonsensical ramblings to you in future. 


Jokes aside, though, Mayo have picked up a number of injuries since the defeat to Roscommon in May. Matthew Ruane, Diarmuid O’Connor, Lee Keegan, Paddy Durcan and Keith Higgins have all suffered injuries, either in training or matches, that have seen them miss crucial game time. Aidan O’Shea and Jason Doherty both picked up knocks against Armagh with O’Shea not hitting the heights lately of some of his pre-Armagh showings.

However, things may just be turning in the right direction for Mayo on the injury front. Cillian O’Connor and Seamus O’Shea have both returned to action in recent weeks. The injuries to Higgins and Durcan should have abated in time for Saturday and both would be major additions to the starting fifteen. There is also positive news on the availability of Diarmuid O’Connor too after a broken wrist sustained in training. Should our Captain Fantastic even be able to make the bench this weekend, then that would be a major boost to Mayo players and supporters alike. If the game is in the melting pot coming down the home straight, which I expect it will be, we will need all our generals on the pitch.  


Tactically, what can we expect from Mayo? Well unlike the Galway and Kerry games (Mayo’s most eye-catching performances of this campaign for contrasting reasons), I do not expect the game to be won or lost in the opening stages. I think this will be a closer game throughout.

In Limerick, James Carr’s two early goals against Galway laid the foundation for our victory. It ultimately gave Galway too big a mountain to climb. That said, we did our best to give them a hand climbing it in the second half. 

In Killarney, the game was over after the first half. After eight minutes Kerry led Mayo by 0-4 to 0-3. Between the 8th and the 31st minute, Kerry blitzed us with a ten-point scoring spree to leave the score at 0-14 to 0-4. The game was done and dusted. The second half was solely about limiting the damage, retrieving score difference or putting gloss on the scoreline, whichever way you want to look at it. 

What has worried me consistently about our performances throughout this campaign has been our reluctance and inability to retain possession for sufficient periods of time. Against each of Down, Armagh and Galway there were times where we were unable to control the game in a manner that Dublin, Tyrone and indeed Donegal are so adept at. There is a skill in taking the sting out of the opposition, keeping them at arm’s length and allowing supporters to be assured of victory going down the home stretch. This is a skill we do not possess and I’m not fully sure if James Horan even wants us to.

During that attacking bombardment from Kerry in the first half, Mayo had spells of possession but wasted them on numerous occasions. A panic seemed to creep in when we went to three, then four, and then five points down after fifteen minutes. Mayo players seemed to look for the killer pass through the eye of a needle and for goal opportunities that were simply not on to try to get back in the game. This was kamikaze stuff. All we succeeded in doing was to cough up possession time and time again in the full forward or half forward line thus allowing Kerry to launch another offensive. Clifford, O’Brien and Geaney all made hay while the sun shone in Killarney.

Photo: Irish Mirror (Inpho/James Crombie)

Given the scorcher of a day that was in it, against a team with such an array of attacking talent, surely a more patient possession oriented approach would have been the order of the day. Even when five or six points down, I felt the onus was on Mayo to take the sting out of the game for five or ten minutes, retain possession, maybe win a few frees and try to find our feet as well as some oxygen. Alas, as we know all too well it didn’t pan out that way.

I believe that a more measured and methodical approach is required on Saturday if we are to emerge victorious. We cannot pin our hopes on an early blitzkrieg of the Donegal defence and pray to hang on for dear life for the remainder of the game. I’m not suggesting for one minute that we stifle our attacking instincts – I think our running game with Keegan, Durcan, McDonagh, and Higgins will still be the fulcrum of our game plan mixed with a quick kicking game into the full-forward line where possible. However, there will be times when possession and patience around the middle will be crucial if we are to come out the right side of the result in MacHale Park. 

Our kickout strategy has been discussed at length and I fully expect Donegal to push up on David Clarke’s kick outs in the same way that Kerry did. If there is an option of a short kickout, perhaps if the play is a bit broken, then, with Keith Higgins or Chris Barrett always make themselves available, we should use this. However for the most part, I expect Clarke to go long on top of both O’Shea brothers (if Seamie starts).


I’m fine with this provided we have sufficient numbers out there clued in to the breaks. Donegal have a strong midfield too and plenty of big men to compete aerially. I suspect a lot of work and discussion has been focused on the breaking ball over the last week or so and it is vital that Mayo improve in this department, an area of which we once were the masters. Big games will be needed from the likes of McLoughlin, Boland, McDonagh, Boyle and Keegan around the middle if we are to gain primary possession from our own restarts. 

What of Donegal? Well they too have had a spate of injuries in recent weeks most notably Eoghan Bán Gallagher ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle. Neil McGee and Paddy McGrath both missed the dramatic draw with Kerry last time out and Paddy McBrearty appeared to tweak his hamstring towards the end of that game. The consensus is that all three will be available for selection this weekend.

This Donegal team is an impressive attacking outfit and Bonner (and Rochford) has them playing an exciting brand of football. The shackles of the Jim McGuinness and perhaps more pointedly Rory Gallagher eras have been well and truly thrown off. This is evidenced from the quality of football we have seen on the pitch but is also reflected on the scoreboard too. In their five championship games to date, Donegal have an average score of 1-19. In contrast, in Mayo’s seven championship games to date, we have racked up an average score of 1-16. 

Donegal have a nice mix of youth and experience with players such as Stephen McMenamin, Jamie Brennan, Hugh McFadden and Jason McGee adding to the experience of players who have seen and done it all before like Michael Murphy, Ryan McHugh, Neil McGee and Paddy McBrearty. 


In Shaun Patton, they have a Cluxton-esque like goalkeeper who can seemingly put the ball on a sixpence. He is as capable of finding his target 60 yards down the field as he is with a short kickout. Patton, along with Murphy and McHugh, has arguably been Donegal’s most influential player this year. Horan and his backroom team will need to have a plan on whether or not Mayo press the Donegal kickout and try to take away those short kickouts to the full-back line. He will also need a plan for the longer kickouts to the midfield runners on the wings as I suspect Donegal will try to keep the aerial ball as far away from Aidan O’Shea as possible. 

There are so many interesting aspects to this game for supporters – match-ups for Murphy and McHugh, whether to start Andy Moran or not, kickout strategies on both sides, little tactical nuances, the return of injured players, the Stephen Rochford factor, one more kick in Mayo, etc. All of this adds to the build-up and intrigue, and gives us as supporters plenty of room for discussion in the office or in the pub or on the street, and especially on this forum. 

Photo: The 42

As Mayo supporters we have had fantastic days in the past and will undoubtedly have many more in the future. Whilst you might think we have seen it all, we actually have not and indeed this Saturday evening will be a unique occasion, one which Castlebar has not experienced before. The town and indeed county will be buzzing with anticipation over the coming days. The Super 8s has its flaws, and I for one have my own gripes with the format but this game is essentially what it is all about – one game, winner takes all. 

The prize on offer is simply mouth-watering; an All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park against either Tyrone or Dublin next weekend. For now, it’s all about this one game. Come 6pm on Saturday, MacHale Park will be a full house brimming with green, red and yellow. But just remember one important point – MacHale Park is our house. It’s our county ground. It’s our home. Time once more to get behind the lads and make it a fortress again on Saturday evening!

93 thoughts on “Mayo v Donegal – a Super 8s Saturday night showdown

  1. My inner hysteria was finally under control but Tom has tipped me over the edge again!

  2. Does anyone know if anymore tickets went to clubs . I think Mayo have great chance of winning .

  3. Alfiie1, 3,000 tickets went to clubs earlier this week divided 50/50 between Mayo/Donegal, all gone now to club members at this stage I presume. The county board were able to get this extra lot because of the entertainment starting at 3.30, so the arrival of people will be staggered and less risk of crowd crush.

  4. Funny tongue in cheek comments and incisive views. Fascinating game ahead of us and I really do hope and expect a big winning performance from our men. Come on Mayo and let’s see what you can do… again. How could so many people doubt you and forget what you have shown through the years. Green and red… Maigheo go deo

  5. Folks a quick question, would a photograph of a season ticket suffice at the turnstile . I am away atm and forgot to opt out for the Kerry Meath game. I could send a pic of the passes to someone if I thought it would work ?? Anyone with advice .

  6. they do as far as I know Gamechanger just as long as the bar code can be scanned ! works in Croke Park anyway!

  7. Nicely written piece.

    I feel like we need to make MacHale Park a cauldron as Donegal will be favourites for this one. Similar to the Derry game a few years ago when the Mayo crowd almost physically hauled our lads over the line.

    Bring every bit of green and red you have and your singing voice too! Up Mayo!

  8. Thanks Ann-Marie, are you talking about the actual printed tickets or a printed or actual picture of the season ticket. The Meath game requires the presentation of the actual pass !

  9. When I see Michael Murphy coming on the loop for scores I think innattentive man marking.
    We need a Stephen Coen who would just forget about the rest of his game.
    Then freshen up Murphy’s man marker for the last 15 mins. Similar with Ryan McHugh.

  10. Gamechanger … if you send it from your phone to another phone they accept that! as long as barcode can be scanned ! maybe send a an email to double check!

  11. Peter Canavan talking on Sky Sports is giving Mayo a fighting chance for next Saturday, at last a sports pundit from outside the county talking sense.
    The closer it gets to the game the more confident I feel, this is our game. We will have the majority of support there too to roar on our warrior’s, Up Mayo!

  12. Hennelly wont start. Can we put the goal keeping issue to bed for once and for all. Clarke is our number one keeper and has proven that on countless occasions. Let’s focus on the outfield players.

  13. Mayo and Tyrone to both win 10/1 with PP.
    Thats my sporting bet for the weekend.
    Horan has stronger panel and therefore stronger bench. The match ups are crucial and im still going with Murphy O Shea as the big one.
    Cillian O Connor/Darren Cone working nicely for us. They will be a handful for any defenders

  14. Can’t see Hennelly starting. He’s too suspect under the high ball and Donegal know that. Clarke’s kick-outs will work fine if there’s enough movement and sharp work rate from our lads in front of him – this is where the 2 week break should help. A more intriguing one is how we deal with Patton’s kick outs. It’ll take serious energy for us to go full court press on him.

  15. I also see the gooch Cooper is tipping us to win on the RTE website so Peter Canavan isn’t the only one!

  16. Colm Cooper Kerry legend, talking on RTE says he feels Mayo can do it on Saturday, he thinks when our backs are to the wall we can come up with a result, he’s right, it’s knock out football in MacHale Park this weekend and we have lads coming back from injury ready to be selected, Mayo are definitely getting stronger, it’s all coming together nicely for us. It’s in our own hands, Up Mayo!

  17. Interesting stat on the kickouts from the Mayo News. First half against Roscommon, Hennelly finds his man 5 of 11 times.
    First half against Kerry Clarke goes 7 for 15. Not much differences in percentages, its up to outfield players to make themselves available and win ball.

  18. Patton might be good on kick outs but I wonder if he’s any good defending shots on goal. We could try to test players in different ways.

    Likewise, I wonder if we can win some of their kickouts. We don’t have to sit back and comply with things.

  19. Great read Tom.
    Colm Cooper backing Mayo too.
    I’m bringing every flag in the house with me and my noisiest child and noisiest family members. Niece’s christening at 4pm and heading straight from the church at 4.30pm. That’s Mayo supporters!!! Nuts.
    We will do this. We have no other option. Can’t wait. Come on Mayo.

  20. Sinéad37 I like your style. Let’s not be satisfied with mediocrity…no regrets. Give it everything for Mayo sake…glas agus dearg go deo… Maigheo

  21. I hope we can get a few shots on Patton’s goal as I think we’ll need at least one goal. We have to win some of Patton’s kick-outs or we’ll struggle to win. I doubt any of our lads cross the white line any day to comply with things. The key is whether we have a good enough plan to counter their kick-outs and win the majority of our own.

  22. Gamechanger there is no scanning in McHale park as far as I know so I don’t think your picture will work.

  23. Great stuff Tom.
    It was touch and go in last week’s Kerry-donegal match and if Kerry had snatched the win, which they could so easily have done, we simply wouldn’t have this match build-up to look forward to. Instead it would essentially be a dead rubber. Talk about millimetres in sport, eh? It’s a funny oul game.

    So here we are, it’s all to play for, and even that in itself is something given our struggles thus far. I’m giving us a 50-50 chance. The one worry could be that we’ll be flat, similar to newbridge last year. It could happen. However I think we have a huge match in us and I hope the break has worked wonders for the heads and limbs.

    I agree, its vital we make it a fortress. This is our home. Let’s take Kerry’s lead on this. This is knock out cship against a real contender, not early May or June against other Connaught opposition (sorry, no offence). There is a big difference.
    Re the injuries, I’m sure it will he borderline for some players who are near to returning. Big big decisions for James. As its knock out though, hed be forgiven for taking one or two risks. Go for it James, I say.

    I’d hold Andy in reserve until 40min mark. A fresh donegal backline may be too strong and fast initially. However, seeing him start wouldn’t bother me too much either. Its just the way management see it. One things for sure, his runs are far more effective and efficient in recent years, no daft frolicks out to the wings, so his glic and know-how are still massive weapons. Massive match for Aido, and if fit needs to put in a stormer, simple as. Would love to see him drift offensive for stages, surprise donegal a little.

    What an event this will be.

  24. Liberal Role. You mean If Donegal had won we wouldn’t have much to look forward to. We needed Kerry to win or draw.

    Good on yea Sinead. You’ll be able to celebrate Saturday night.

    Goodman Tom. Nice and positive. I think we are going to score goals Saturday. 3 of them to be precise.

    Hon Mayo.

  25. Paddy Power are not giving Mayo much of a chance v Donegal, and hard to believe it but are 16/1 to win the All Ireland, 5th in line to the Dubs, Kerry, Tyrone and Donegal, I cannot understand Tyrone being ahead of Mayo or Donegal, I expect them to exit badly at semi final stage.
    For footballer of the year Aidan O Shea is highest Mayo player on the list at 50/1.
    Tyrone have already done Mayo a favour this year in beating Galway thereby aiding Mayo’s path to a league final.
    Kerry has also done Mayo a favour by holding Donegal to a draw in their last game, strange year so far, could be some strange results this weekend.
    Meath to beat Kerry in Navan.
    Tyrone to beat a Dublin B team or a strong Dublin team to easily beat a semi B Tyrone team.
    Mayo to beat a good Donegal team.
    My February dream is alive for another few days ( 2 Mayo players accepting the Sam Maguire)
    My glass it nearly half full, I’m a slow drinker.

  26. In Germany so unfortunately will miss this one. Anyone know best way to get coverage on a phone. Come on Mayo!

  27. @justoutsideballagh,bizarrely as you will be outside Ireland youll have more options to watch than people here who dont have Sky sports.
    Use Gaago,€10 to watch an excellent stream.
    If you don’t want to pay you can download Mobdro but quality may not be as good.aa

  28. Midwest radio will also have the game, easily picked up by your mobile phone and also free of charge.

    I sense a bit of apprehension on this blog, fairly quite, game is tomorrow.

  29. What an almighty task Donegal face.

    To come to Castlebar and try and come away from the game with a result in a winner takes all game.

    We know what we have to do.

    Donegal have been very good so far this year. They haven’t played Mayo though in a do or die game.

    All the pressure is on Donegal thanks to all the hype.

    This is definately a Mayo type situation. Not much pressure. Written off by many. Nothing to lose if your not expected to win.

    I would far rather be in our shoes leading up to the game than Donegals.

    There is no question of “can we win” ?
    Of course we can.

    If Donegal are to get their draw or win to advance tomorrow evening, they will need to play better than “very good”.

    Mayo simply will not allow Donegal to run riot tomorrow evening.

    We’ll do what we have to.

  30. Totally agree Revellino.

    We have some important match-ups to sort out, but we forget they have a few problems to worry about too. We’re not here to coronate them!

    But for once we need to make Castlebar count. It has to mean something to us again. This is a great opportunity to put down a marker on our home soil.

  31. Great post Revellino – and Rock, I looove the line “We’re not here to coronate them!”

    I love it so much I want to remember it to use it again.

    This is the spirit, everyone!!!

  32. Cant compare kick outs from Roscommon game and Kerry game, Kerry are a much better outfit than Rosscommon and at home as well. Clarke will start and kick outs will work with better movement on the pitch

  33. Patton is great at kickouts but not a great shot stopper, he’s kind of the inverse of Clarke.

    We should push up on his kickouts at frees and for the last 15 minutes of each half, anything else is too energy sapping and will harm us towards the end of the game.

  34. If Durcan and Higgins play who’s going to lose out? Vaughan I suspect will be one (seems a bit off the pace).

    If Andy doesn’t start who’ll lead the forward line? COC was quiet from open play against Meath.

    The bottom line is our performance has to go up a gear otherwise we’re out; we’ve been playing in fits and starts throughout the chip.

  35. Can see goals in this one for sure, both teams giving up plenty of goal chances down the heart of their defence.

    Backing +3.5 goals will be worth a cheeky flutter, can easily see both teams rattling the onion bag a few times.

    Funnily enough our achilles heel in most recent years (our inside line) now looks our strongest line, Darren Coen and Cillian to start inside with Carr and Andy to come in at the 40 minute mark

  36. I know the AIF sending off will be thrown back at me here but….

    I wouldn’t go into battle without Donie just yet. He’s not let us down in too many big games.

  37. We are 1 day away from a massive game.

    Nearly 2 weeks talking about how good this Donegal player is and how dangerous that Donegal player is.

    It’s time to change the record.

    How unbelievably good are our players ?

    Let’s hear about our unbelievable warriors.

    We are not going tomorrow to play out a Super 8’s fixture.

    We are going, to QUALIFY for the All Ireland Semi Final.

    It’s time now for everyone to get their war paint on.

    Tomorrow’s game is what this Mayo team is all about. They will fight to the death and we are all going to be beside them the whole damn way..

    Let’s get Reaaaaaaaaaaady toooooooo Ruuuuuuumble.

  38. If Durcan and Zippy ready to start I’d see Donie and S Coen most likely to miss out. I think Donie adds great energy off the bench – see Armagh game.

    Another option if Zippy starts is as a third midfielder/HF type role. We saw a bit of this at the end of the Kerry game and I think the way the team was named for Meath initially we might have seen it then. Horan has done it before! If so I’d see either Kev Mc or Boland missing out (more likely Boland).

  39. Re injuries.. That decision will be made by medical professionals not by James … My prediction is that we might get a nice surprise ( or 3) on the bench for Saturday evening. Strong bench could be the difference between us.
    Christ …..its a long week …. Hon MAYO !!!!

  40. Could be another kick in Mayo yet, if we are to win there will have to be . I think that is the gist of what most are thinking .

  41. It looks like Revellino will be giving the halftime speech. Good to change the message and the mindset. Let Donegal and their allegedly brilliant team worry about our warriors plus our unpredictability and see how they like it.

  42. I agree Revellino. Well said. It’s our game to win or not . It’s about us and how we perform.

  43. There’s a months mind Mass in Swinford Church tomorrow at 10 AM for the flying doctor himself the late Padraig Carney might be a nice way of starting a super Saturday by paying respects to a great man that did so much for Mayo football.

  44. In the spirit of eternal optimism that always prevails on the blog the day before a match I predict both Mayo and Donegal to qualify after a thrilling 0-5 each draw and a shock 14 point win for Meath over Kerry…

  45. I know you were having a laugh but It wouldn’t be enough Lahanman as both Kerry and Mayo would have 3 points and Kerry would go through on head to head irrelevant of score difference! Was that a peep of optimism from Sean Burke? Had to do a double take! Everyone save your energy today but be ready to peak at 6pm tomorrow, rip the hinges off the door on your way out to the match tomorrow and shout like never before for every breaking ball and roar these warriors on to victory

  46. Im usually a pessimist on this blog, as my new friend Fearbolg will attest too!!!. I think its needed to add a bit of balance, as this blog usually reflects the mood of the County, think Galway ‘16 and Ros ‘19 as good examples of complacency.

    But, for once this summer I actually think we’ll win on Saturday. Theirs an eerie clam about the place, with a lot of pundits writing us off, along with the bookies. It seems to have fallen nice for us, all the talk is about Donegal which always suits this team. No point going into analysis as its pure gut feeling stuff. Im expecting a performance that we haven’t seen in the championship yet. Its do or die stuff now, and I think thats when these men really shine. David Gough also gives me confidence as I think Darren and Cillian will draw fouls all day. I think their’ll be a Kerry like intensity from our bucks, and we’ll get over the line by 2. Hon Mayo.

  47. 15 players will start but no one is losing out.this is a mission for a panel of players. Many players coming back from injury. We may have an edge over Donegal in that department.
    16/1 for All Ireland is a fair assessment of our chances and indicates what a closed shop the bookies think it is.
    So this is our All Ireland, savour the atmosphere… We’ve nothing to lose, weather unsettled well sing in the rain when we get the right result

  48. You are correct @ourtimehascome. The only way Kerry can fail is if we beat Donegal and they lose to Meath. Even then, they would have to lose by more than 1 point plus whatever we would win by. Highly unlikely!

  49. When will the “team” be announced (I.e. The one for the printers to do the program)?

  50. Won’t be there, family wedding trumping this one I’m afraid.

    We’ve nothing to fear but we have to improve got to get back to that Tralee, not Killarney, attitude.

  51. @Paul. Talk to PP on that one. I think we can draw a line through the Kerry game other than we need to be tactically smarter and not swept of our feet early on.
    In our hearts we knew it would come down to this game in McHale.!!

  52. I was quietly confident, but now that mayodunphy has predicted we’ll win, after predicting losses in every round of the qualifiers. I’m not so sure.

  53. Connacht Telegraph have the team leaked…

    Change in goalkeeper due to injury. Vaughan also an injury doubt.

  54. I’m happy with the team (assuming Durcan, Higgins and Ruane and DOC are on the bench). I do hope Hennelly makes it. More than that I really hope Mayo crowd get behind him.

    Well folks … it’s getting real now! I’ve got butterflies

  55. Interesting development.Hope Hennelly has a stormer though I will be first to admit that Clarke would be my preference..I feel he instills more confidence in the team but we are where we are..
    As mentioned earlier it’s eerily quiet on the blog but I expect full on fire and brimstone tomorrow..

  56. I’ve seen a few people say “I hope everyone gets behind Robbie “
    It’s up there with the “I hope nobody boos Rochford “ stuff
    For gods sake it’s not soccer
    Of course Rochford will get a good reception
    Of course the whole support will be behind Robbie
    We support the squad not individuals

    I would prefer Clarke . I’m on the record multiple times saying that . But to suggest some people like myself won’t be be behind Robbie is ridiculous
    Anyway rant over

    I think that if there is an injury to Clarke it is the perfect way for Robbie to come back in anwyay. Nobody can be complaining then can they !!!!!
    As I’ve also said before we are both blessed and cursed to have such a good number 2 keeper
    It creates a lot of debate (which puts on pressure on the incumbent at that time ) BUT if Clarke is out we have a very very good keeper coming on now don’t we
    And it might be for luck who knows

  57. Rest easy Dave Johnston. After seeing the change in goals, im U-turning big time!!Donegal by 7.

  58. @Dave Johnston, Rest easy comrade, after seeing the change of keeper, i’ve back tracked big time. Donegal by 5.

  59. Leaked team details from the CT are here. For that particular paper, this inside source truly is the gift that keeps giving.

    Thanks all, by the way, for holding back on the David Clarke injury story until it had been reported publicly. I’m sure many of you had got word of this development as early as yesterday, as I had too, but this is the first mention of it in the media. A few randomers tried to break it here before now but, in accordance with long-standing policy here, I didn’t allow these posts to go up until it was reported in the media, which has now happened.

  60. Why again are Connaught Telegraph out with team??. For once could they just wait until Mayo Gaa official account release it. It so frustrating. This carry is not going on in other counties. As for the “comments, snide remarks” on their facebook page ….i’ll say no more.

  61. @Km79 – That the spirit and I’m in total agreement. Given how testy the debate on goalkeeper (entrenched and may I say even at times personal) I did wonder but your response puts my mind at rest 🙂

  62. Had heard the rumours, extremely disappointed they are true.

    And disappointed, yet again, the the Connacht seem to have the team before anyone else.

  63. Intriguing stuff. I hope they can deal with the high balls because Hennelly has been suspect. Horan might have named a dummy team – he made changes before throw in in his last 3 games. We need Paddy Durcan in from the start!

  64. Just as well we have two top class keepers. Here’s wishing Robbie the best of luck tomorrow

  65. Best of luck to Robbie. But everytime a high ball goes into the box. Itl be a heart attack moment.

  66. Have to wonder how we are getting so many injuries in training though
    Never seen the like of it to be quite honest

  67. Ruane on the bench? Are you kidding me?

    WJ – Don’t mean to stretch your patience but have you any idea whether Clarke’s injury is deemed long-term?

  68. Hard to have any worthwhile debate on the named teams these days as you can guarantee there will be 3 or changes at least to team that takes the field
    Would be amazed if Durcan and McLoughlin not starting for instance if they are passed fit.
    Poor EOD often gets dropped when named too so Higgins might be in there.

    Really hope Carr actually starts, need a wildcard, a bolter and he is it.
    Be interesting to see who is named sub goalie, you would think if clarke is inured he shouldnt be named in squad otherwise i would be cynical if he is really ‘injured’. The cynic in me might think the ‘injury’ would be a perfect way to dampen the pressure and inevitable hysteria. Makes sense i suppose

  69. Also i seem to the only one from Mayo who hasnt heard the DC rumours, and there i thought i was ‘in the loop’ lol

  70. Dont think the players or management are too concerned that the team is released to the public by the Connuaght Telegraph, once the ball is thrown in tomorrow at 5 o’clock it really doesnt make any significance!!

  71. Mayo training sessions must be like a scene out of World War I battlefield and they’re using live ammunition! They get two-week break between match and then looks at what happens! Maybe it just as well those guys was kept busy over the summer or who knows what would have happened.

  72. The Connacht Telegraph team is the one listed in match program which isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Kerry, Mayo & Dublin all made three personnel changes and a host of positional swaps. Donegal will know the starting positions of 8/9 Mayo players and they are no better off for reading the Connacht Telegraph

  73. If the ball is thrown in at 5 then it’s Goats don’t Shave vs Davy Carton!

  74. Yip, It will be hearts in mouths stuff alright. But good luck to Robbie. Murphy will be hanging around the square more often now. This could get messy.

  75. I don’t know for sure, Spotlight, but what I heard didn’t sound too serious. Don’t want to say any more otherwise I’ll have to give myself a root up the hole for spreading rumours and that could prove a logistical challenge.

  76. Made me laugh WJ. The new news didn’t though!
    Still going to war tomorrow with every belief.

  77. Well if Hennelly is starting then this throws a spanner in the works for Donegal as well as Mayo. But for Donegal it was guaranteed they would press from first kick out on Clarke, now they will be in two minds which will make the first half a lot more intriguing. This will give Mayo plenty more chances to build from full back up as feel Donegal will put a half press until they see what Hennelly is like. Otherwise they stick to their plan and see how Hennelly deals with full press. What we will need is if Donegal press first kick out, Hennelly pings one over to halfway line setting up a Mayo easy point. Next Kickout Donegal will be in two minds.
    From Mayo perspective, I guess and hope they would have been working on a kick out strategy for last two weeks involving Clarke, I would assume Hennelly would have been part of that as well so the disruption shouldn’t be too major.

    Onwards to Saturday.

  78. Well said @Alan Kenny. Of course this will change Donegal’s game plan drastically. It could be a real spanner in the works for them if they’ve done a lot of work around closing down Clarke’s kickouts. Can’t believe a few more people haven’t copped that

  79. Actually I could be talking balls there. Just heard it was an open secret that Clarkey was carrying a rib injury since Meath.

  80. I like that scenario, Alan Kelly. Creating a spanner in the works and having Donegal in two minds about a strategy – this is the kind of thing that could be a little gift.

  81. I’m sure there are a few volunteers in Glasnevin that would oblige you with that root in the hole WJ!

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