Not long till Kingdom comes

I recently proposed to my long-term girlfriend and long-suffering Galway GAA fanatic (2017 aside). Unlike Mayo of the last decade, she didn’t leave me sweating and with my heart in my mouth and said yes after repeating thrice “you’re messing…is this serious?” No, I’m just on one knee for the good of my health. 

You would think that that moment would have been the most nerve-racking part of the holiday and it was – up until our flight home. After smooth sailing from Faro right up until we were nearly back at base – the pilot stuck on the seatbelt sign and announced over the tannoy that we were hitting the tail end of Storm Alex.

I’m not a good flyer. Light turbulence turns me whiter than Christmas but I thought it was another festive day, April Fool’s, when the pilot told passengers to “re-familiarise themselves with the card on the seat in front of them in the very slight chance that we might land in water”. 

Sorry, what?

But before I had time to comprehend what was said, the plane began violently shaking back and forth and up and down like a funfair ride. 

But unlike Funderland there was no nice man operating the lever to whom I could plead “mister, I’d like to get down now”, and thus began what must have been about 20 minutes of hell in the sky.

You could say I experienced a lot of the emotions during that period that I have also done when Mayo have been playing 90% of their games over the last 11 years.

Head in my hands; palms sweating; nails bitten; fists clenched; eyes closed; finding myself on the edge of my seat before a sudden action pushed me back against it again, near tears in my eyes and – only for I was too busy concentrating on not passing out – there would have been a lot of expletives used too to express my dislike of the situation I had found myself in. 

We didn’t land in the water but rather descended on Dublin with a screaming plane that felt like it was going down at the speed of a rocket. Even though I was at the window seat and could see the pieces of beautiful green land whizz by as we got closer and closer, I still refused to believe that this was happening. 

Photo: Irish Sun

With the force we smacked the tarmac, though, I wasn’t long realising again it was real life. The pilot swerved from left to right trying to control this mess we had found ourselves in after what had been a peaceful run of the mill performance until the final hurdle. 

Similar to many Mayo displays, it was only when I was in the pub several minutes later when I was able to compose myself and ask “how did we manage to get out of that one to live another day?” 

And unlike Mayo games – or most flights for that matter – nobody clapped for the pilot who had saved the day. 

None more than this year has Mayo’s exhibits on the pitch been turbulent.

Twice giving our neighbours a six-point advantage before rightly being handed our Connacht exit followed by a lucky Monaghan win and a “where were we in the first half” smash and grab against Kildare. 

Kerry manager Jack O’Connor came out a few days ago and said Mayo’s qualifier route reminded him of theirs in 2009. Yes, Kerry did win that year after coming through the backdoor and, no, you’re not allowed get excited at the comparison. 

To bring it closer to home, it remind me exactly of our 2016 campaign – A gutting from Galway, a banana-skin game against an Ulster team and a questionable penalty decision (that once again went our way, just at the opposite end of the field – has enough time passed now to maybe just suggest that Aido did make the most of that…?) and a win over Kildare that we made hard work of. 

Photo: Irish Independent (Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile)

I’m a hay fever sufferer. My eyes watered and itched and my nose did the same during the Kildare game at Croker and by half-time I found myself for the first time ever wondering should I just give my poor head, which was trying to concentrate so much despite the high pollen count, a rest and head for the exits. 

I text one of the many group chats I’m involved in, whose world revolves around GAA, and said “I think this is the worst I’ve ever seen Mayo play in a half, I’d nearly just call it and head for the door” – to which my good friend Kenneth replied “I was behind the goal for the first half of both Mayo Kerry games in the mid-noughties, you don’t have the right to use that sentence”.

There’s that uniquely Irish phrase of “it could be worse”, X could be happening. No matter what situation you find yourself in, there’s always someone who’s able to show you that you may just be overreacting slightly. 

I was never really going to head for the exits. You can’t. And even if the day came where “it couldn’t be worse” you still wouldn’t head for home just for fear that things might turn around despite no alternative being given as a lifeline like the times before.

I’ve cried with happiness three times in Croke Park. Two of those times involved playing and beating Kerry. The League Final in 2019 and the semi-final replay in 2017. As I write this now, it almost triggers the same tear ducts to release that flooded my eyes that day.

If you break a child’s heart, you scar them for life. 

In 2004, I was a pre-teen who had never lived through the euphoria of Mayo reaching a final. And what I and the county had talked about for a month was over within 15 minutes.

I watched it in The Clock Tavern in Westport with my family and innocently told everyone there that there was still hope. They probably smiled at this first-timer in what was more of a “poor boy, he’ll soon learn” than a “how cute” type of manner. 

Two years earlier after Ireland lost on penalties to Spain in the 2002 World Cup, my mother tells me that I took off the Irish jersey and fired it on the sitting room floor before storming off to my bedroom – I was “done” with Ireland. 

In 2005, Kerry beat us by three points in a quarter-final, two years older but still none the wiser in 2006, I thought the final would be closer because of the previous year’s results.

My friend Kenneth was right, how dare I complain when we’ve lived through torturous games like ’04 and ’06. I watched that final in Darby’s in Cuslough. I like to think young me would have never fired his Mayo jersey on the floor after a crushing loss – and not just because he was in a packed public house!

But if you make an adult’s day, he’ll remember and replay it for a lifetime. 

The joy of beating Kerry in ’17 and ’19 was doubly as jubilant because of the above younger heartbreak. You have to understand I went nearly two decades of following Mayo and never seeing them conquer the Kingdom. 

Photo: RTÉ

And you can be sure I was hoping for a similar result a few months ago. Instead it was almost like a therapy session where I was transported back to my nine-year-old’s self GAA counsellor chair except the dartboard with the holes in it had Clifford on it this time instead of Cooper. 

We don’t like the favourites tag. It never suited us. But there’s no doubt who is the underdog on Sunday. Kerry fans are already looking to the Dubs in the semis, the bookies are making sure you won’t win too much betting on the Green and Gold and there’s no one from Mayo shouting too loudly either.

The easy answer is to say that Kerry will wipe the floor with us. But Mayo don’t take the easy answer and we have multiple matches to testify to that fact. It’s the hope that kills you they say but you’d have to be hopeful that:

  • Mayo are peaking gradually
  • Kerry are coming in cold
  • Kerry have their eye on the next round but we have our eye on the prize.

There’s some that might be hopeful that Clifford isn’t 100% fit, such is the speculation at the moment in the papers. I’d be more so hoping that Horan and Co have their game plan for him sorted.

How do you solve a problem like Clifford? Look at the Sigerson Final of this year where the UL man was kept scoreless from play for the whole game by the Kelly brothers and Co who didn’t leave Clifford one-on-one once with his man. Instead, a second and even at times a third man was ready to pin him in and put a stop to his flourishing footballing skills. 

Photo: Sky Sports

He’s not a one-man job and Kerry are by no means a one-man team either. Mayo are currently facing a ‘whack-a-mole’ situation where they may hit the nail on the head with the Clifford problem but then see the likes of Geaney, Spillane, O’Connor or O’Shea’s head pop up immediately after.

It’s a headache facing this Mayo team for sure but in order to be the best you have to beat the best.

And in previous years, against all odds, we have beaten the best on our day.

The easy option would be to keel over to Kerry but Mayo won’t do that and you’d hope that when Kingdom come, we’ll have the keys to unlock the gates.

102 thoughts on “Not long till Kingdom comes

  1. “Mayo are currently facing a ‘whack-a-mole’ situation where they may hit the nail on the head with the Clifford problem but then see the likes of Geaney, Spillane, O’Connor or O’Shea’s head pop up immediately after”.
    Thats it exactly. Even if Clifford doesn’t play or is not at his usual best, their other forwards are exceptional. O’Shea in particular must be licking his lips at all the chat about Clifford and not him. Congrats on the engagement as well.

  2. Great piece. There’s a notable spring in my step the last day or two, some might say a giddiness, in anticipation of Sunday and what might happen

  3. Fellow Mayo fans,

    We need every single Mayo supporter present in Croke park for the game on Sunday 26th June.

    It is quite possible this could be the last game for players who have made huge personal and physical sacrifices for our county. This dedication of purpose and commitment is something we can all aspire to and we should give these men a fitting send off.

    Let’s come together on the 26th to make this a day to remember.

  4. Regarding injuries, I always believe that teams/management have a fair idea whether or not an opposition player has an injury, especially a serious one that will rule him out for a match. And more so when the player is high profile.

    The world is a small place, especially the gaa world and I’m guessing there’s always a ‘person in the know’ in opposition counties who’ll be more than willing to share. Secrets like that are very hard to keep especially when squads are so big and training is so regular. It’s only a theory, I could well be wrong as we often hear how airtight sqauds are nowadays. But I suspect there’s very little that isn’t known.

  5. @JayKay 1000% agree. Will more than likely be the end for one or two warriors. They deserve a warriors salute if this is the end. I hope no one does retire, and tbh Horan deserves a season with Tommy, Ryan, and Cillian flying fit in that ff line. He’s never had that. I certainly hope he stays on if we lose.

  6. The conditions on the night of the Sigerson final were worse than brutal. True, Cllifford didn’t score from play but that match on a wet winter’s night is a million miles away from a full house in Croker on a June Sunday, even a wet June Sunday . As an earlier poster said even if we do keep him reasonably quiet Kerry have no shortage of other top class forwards. Wonder are Kerry thinking of double marking any of our forwards.

  7. What we’d give for a day like your fiance got in 2017!

    Nice piece Darragh and congrats, hope it all goes smoothly

  8. Brilliant stuff Darragh. Looking forward to Sunday now. Hope the lead up from here is be all about football.

  9. What I’d like to see on Sunday is our forwards linking with the likes of Oisin, Eoghan and Paddy. These three speedsters will break the line but they need their forward colleagues to receive the pass, create one-twos, create overlaps and goalscoring opportunities. It’s not rocket science but unfortunately we haven’t really seen it yet, certainly not in any systematic way. Oisin and Swannie’s link-play for that goal came out of nothing really.

    Look at Dublin in their prime. A large number of their goals were tap-ins, created by athleticism and impeccable link-play. We don’t need a team of David Cliffords to achieve something similar. We have more than enough talent, players with the requisite skills to formulate and execute this type of play. Work it on the counter attack when Kerry are stretched and not set in their defence.

    I’d be looking to the likes of Loftus and Diarmuid o’connor, and also Aido depending on where he plays. The team shouldn’t be relying on Eoghan to score a 3 out of 10 wonder goal. If it’s on, he should be squaring that ball to a free man for a tap-in. We’d did this brilliantly circa 2013/14, with similar quality of forwards.

    Unfortunately so far it’s been all so utterly headless from Mayo when they attack and more often than not the ball is far too slow to transition from defence to attack. I’m stating the obvious, i know.

    Perhaps this slowness is the crux of the problem, so the link-play I mention should begin from the back, through to midfield and onwards from there. In an ideal world we’d move the ball at speed from the back with the foot (something Dublin were also excellent at) but the fact is we just don’t have the quality kickpassers in our back six to achieve this. And that’s fine, we have all the other attributes. Key point: our skill execution obviously needs to go up several notches. Too many times in the last two matches have we seen the sloppiest of play, ie missed hand passes and silly turnovers. We’ll be mauled be Kerry if this pattern continues on Sunday.

    So, with the players we have we can still improve immeasurably. Time will tell if it comes to pass. If it doesn’t, I’ll return home and enjoy the rest of the championship and won’t lose to much sleep over it.

  10. Nice piece, Darragh. The first Mayo game I attended was the Kerry semi-final in 1996 (family was based in the UK, back then). Little did I know it would be over twenty years before we’d vanquish them again! Days like 2017 and the 2019 NFL final are to be savoured as they don’t come around often for us.

    Let’s hope we have another one come 6pm on Sunday…

  11. ‘It means nothing to me’ my first time seeing Mayo play in Croke Park was 1981 v a superb kerry team. In ny innocence I actually thought we had a chance but a 2 19 to 1 6 defeat and failure to score in the second half knocked the optimistic notions I had. Was also there for the hammerings of 2004 and 2006 and the not quite so bad defeats of 2005 and 2011. So needless to say I was beyond thrilled when we beat them in 1996. However it is in the last decade that we really have been competitive against them beating them in a league semi final in 2012, a league final in 2019 and an AI semi in 2017. We also drew with them in AI semi in 2014 before losing in the replay in Limerick when I felt we were at the peak of our power. Of course despite our strong performances in that time Kerry had the upperhand by quite a lot in the Super 8 game in Killarney 2019 and in this year’s league final.. Lots of credit must go to our teams and management in the last decade for being so competitive in so many of those games, something I for one really appreciate having been at the wrong end of terrible defeats on big days against them. One interesting point is that JH for all the great work he has done, has not managed to get the better of Kerry as a manager in the championship. Whether that will change on Sunday is a huge doubt. He did however have the pleasure of scoring the clinching goal v Kerry in 1996. Some say it was a fluke, others a touch of genius. Either way we will take a fluke win or one inspired by genius on Sunday. Maigh Eo abu.

  12. I wouldn’t be so fast to pull the trigger on the conflicting ROD reports without considering the possibility of a recurrence or setback so both reports could be true, and either could still be true.

    The “indicators” pre those publications were positive.

    ROD was always high on the injury risk list unfortunately and consideration needs to be given long term regarding the possible correlation between the abnormally high amount of injuries and a style of play adapted by the manager and the training regimes that go with that and the susceptibility that brings to amateur players where injuries picked up are not automatically linked to the style of play or training regime.

    The more injuries the players are picking up then the higher the likelihood of a reassurance and therefore the less chance of ever having a fully fit squad.

    So that’s the question, is “Horanball” and the training which goes with it contributing to the abnormally high amount of injuries.

  13. @To Win Just Once: Was that the one with the famous Eugene McHale dance? Hard to believe that that was Mayo’s first championship game in Croke Park for twelve years, given what we are used to these days!

    I was eight years old for the Kerry match in 1996 and back in Ireland for the summer, so it was my first live experience of the magic of the green and red. IMO Horan’s chipped goal over Declan O’Keefe was definitely on purpose, given how accurate his shooting was back then. Jordan Flynn’s goal the other week definitely had a touch of déjà vu about it!

    Had no real idea of the history or power structures of the GAA back then, kinda thought a win over Kerry should be par for the course! Innocence of youth and all that. The 1997 final was a huge disappointment then, of course, waiting for the phone call from back home and sitting deflated later that night, watching the lowlights on “Clash” on Sky Sports.

    2004 and 2006 were very dark days indeed in comparison.

    We are long shots for Sunday IMO, but hopefully we can spring a surprise or two tactically and make a real fist of it. Interesting that Jack O’Connor was very coy about Clifford’s fitness on Radio Kerry, usually he’s not a man for mind games.

  14. Jack O Connor knows he scares the bejaysus out of some Mayo supporters.

    The scars of 2004 and 2006 are still there for a few people when it comes to him and managing Kerry. He knows this.Those were abject hammerings and caused us to have an inferiority complex for years until Horan’s management put an end to that.

    Those on this blog who know, know that the biggest thing Horan has done has been to protect us from those kind of drubbings in the championship. That can’t be under estimated. That can’t be understated.

    O’Connor has the power to manipulate us if we allow it.
    When he talks of Clifford ,Clifford,Clifford,Clifford and Clifford he is trying to manipulate us into not looking at the other Kerry dangers.This is so obvious as to be child’s play. Don’t focus so much on Clifford it could be a player who isn’t even on our radar who might do the job. Think Johnny Crowley back then.

    When he talks of this Mayo team reminding him of the 2009 Kerry team who trounced Dublin in the quarter final after a couple of poor qualifier games, this is him at his most unctuous ,insincere and insufferable.He is leaving it out there in the public forum that “ he is playing with us” “That he is superior to us “

    This is a guy whose team would benefit from a solid beating -by any margin at all.

    My preference is for a one point win by a screwy goal from Stephen Coen with the last play of the game. I want regret for O Connor .And lots of it. A few bad refereeing decisions would be the topping on the cake for me. We’ve had our share. Could it be his turn now?

    His statement after the 2006 All Ireland that “Kerry’s hunger was greater than Mayo’s “( even if it was true )was just another expression of his sense of (manifest)superiority.

    This “insult “should be plastered all over Mayo’s dressing room. It should be a rallying cry for fans. Jack O Connor is trying to make the Mayo fans lie down. Others in the press before him have tried. Kerry fear us. They fear the MAYO FANS !!!

    As a Mayo fan ,are you going to lie down because Jack O Fucking Connor wants you to ?

    Are we going to lie down ? Stay home ?Or go to the game and be quiet like the little mice that Jack O Connor thinks we are when it comes to him ?

    Or are we going to finally cross the rubicon and self confidently proclaim that regardless of what happened in the past ,our sixteenth man will be there in Croke Park on Sunday ,loud and obnoxious, and the fear now will be that Mayo’s fans will help push this team over this line.

    Make no mistake. Jack O Connor fears the Mayo fans when they’re at their best. Let’s be loud and raucous and travel in big numbers and do everything we can to beat this guy by one single point.

    Let us give that guy something to think about.

  15. More tickets up lads and ladies. Good ones. Season tickets not being taken up. See Ticketmaster. Best of luck.

  16. Folks I’m looking to swap 3 tickets in the lower hogan for 3 tickets in the hill for Sunday if anyone knows of anything thanks guys

  17. Kerry preview pod now online for club members on Patreon, with Rob, Kevin McStay and Tony Leen. This preview pod will be available on all platforms tomorrow but this version is an extended one which is available to club members now.

  18. 2004, 2006, hurt like hell. Would say losing to them in Limerick was different pain, but world seem lose a a bit of sparkle that day

  19. Good man Viper. Even the injuries, in your opinion, are Horans fault. I suppose he was at fault in 2004 and 2006 AI defeats as well not to mention the loss to Longford and Sligo in 2010. You’re right, Horanball has a lot to answer for

  20. I felt the despairing trouncings by Kerry in 2004 and 2006, but didn’t notice Jack O’Connor much at the time. That’s more to do with me than him.

    Not having that association with him ingrained in my mind, I do notice the mystique he seems to have for a lot of Kerry fans now, and for onlookers from other places he seems to carry unquestioned authority, verging on guru status.

    I know it’s probably a major gap in my GAA cultural knowledge but I’d echo Food4thought in urging us to be defiant here.

  21. I don’t think there’s much point in rehashing what happened in the mid-noughties tbh, they were very different sides and indeed a very different time. Whatever JH’s weaknesses on the line might be, I doubt that we will set up in the carefree and completely open manner we did at that time.

    I will say that whatever we might think of him here (and it’s hard not to bridle at some of the descriptions of Mayo football in his book), O’Connor is a very shrewd tactician. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a few scud missiles going on to the likes of Clifford or Geaney in the early stages. Himself and Paddy Tally have done a very good job in shoring up Kerry’s defence this year, and if a goal chance comes, we have to take it as we can’t win via points alone, in my opinion.

    If we dominate around the centre, we have a chance, although we looked very far off achieving that in the league final. Flynn’s return would be a plus, spring Aido from the bench later on.

  22. @to win just once, If you missed what the words “consideration” and “possible” mean then please don’t misrepresent what I said.

    I’d appreciate that, thank you.

  23. It means nothing to me: I think Jack O Connor himself is the one who is trying to get us to play the mid noughties game.That was to his liking. Why wouldn’t he try it again ? Playing with us about Clifford fit or no , and his comments about Mayo reminding him of Kerry 2009.You even say it yourself that he (they)might launch some high balls in to the square ( something every single team has done since then to Mayo in big games )a la 2006 knowing that the psychological value of scores from those would be greater.Jack O Connor very much wants to rehash the noughties. He doesn’t want Mayo 2014 or 2017.
    All I’m saying is that we need an advantage. We need the 16 th man. Colm Boyle it was no less invited us to bring noise and color. If Boyler wants it then I’d respect that very much.

  24. Far too much overhyping of this Kerry outfit going on.
    No more than 5 players on the current Kerry team would make the Kerry starting team of 2004-2009. Kerry fans reading this are welcome to name any more than that as I certainly don’t see them.
    That team was different gravy.
    I’m not sure we will win on Sunday but that is far more to do with our own issues as opposed to any kind of fear of the Kerry team being unbeatable.
    Yeah they look a decent side in the league – but when was the last time they beat a genuine A-grade contender in championship football??
    One could argue Tyrone in 2019 AI semi, at a push. A pretty meh Tyrone side then though. Apart from that you are going back to 2014, a full 8 years ago.
    That’s over half an intercounty career for many of these guys.
    Don’t try to tell me that players like Jack Barry, Tadhg Morley, Brian O’Beaglaioch and Steven O’Brien are some kind of supermen. They are just run of the mill, decent hardworking intercounty players but we have about 20 lads on our own panel of a similar level. On any given day one of our lads could be better than one of them and the next day it might be different. None of those Kerry guys I mentioned, not the likes of Adrian Spillane or Dylan Casey would have seen a minute of championship football for Kerry if they’d been around from 2004-2009. They are nowhere near the level of the players than played in their positions for Kerry in those seasons.
    I think we need to stop building them up as some kind or superior footballing beings. They are not.
    The is really just two Kerry players that I feel are at the very elite level of the sport right now, and can cause serious problems for us. Obviously David Clifford is one, and I also think Gavin white is an exceptional player that could cause us serious problems with his pace. A third is Sean O’Shea but he is 24 years old and I’ve yet to see him grab a massive championship game by the scruff of the neck and drag Kerry across the line, so until he does that the doubts still remain about him. He strikes me as a bit of a confidence player than can lose his way when things aren’t going for him. I reckon we need to send him to Keegan Island for 75 min on Sunday, which has proven to be a cold, disorientating and lonely place for much better players than Sean o’Shea over the last decade.
    For me, having Hennelly back is a gamechanger compared to the league final. I would also like to see some pressure put on Kerry’s goalie too on Sunday who has exhibited some flaky tendencies on occasion in the past in big games.
    If we can control Clifford (a massive task – he’s possible the best player I’ve ever seen already) then it becomes a toss of a coin for me.
    I would like to think Mayo learned a lot more in that league final than Kerry did. You should always learn more in defeat than a blow out win.
    Man it would be sweet to knock these arrogant and smug Kerry gaa fans and media back on there arses for another year. Going in as total outsiders is perfect. We have been footballs great anarchists under Horan and are well capable of one more act of unexpected mayhem to the old order on Sunday.
    Bring it on.

  25. I was there in 1981,in fairness I was in the company of a very famous footballer from the sixties who said that we were watching the greatest football team ever,which at the time I believe that it was

  26. Great piece Darragh. 04 and 06 were the first finals I have memories of. Probably the most traumatic introduction for a young Mayo fanatic full of hope. I remember my mother dashing the tv with holy water. At first I thought it was to will us to victory, but it soon dawned on me that she was waiting for David Clarke’s goal to come into view.

    2017 buried a lot of those demons. Unfortunately Jack O Conor wasn’t there, but he will be Sunday…

  27. I don’t think O’Connor has ever rated us, so I’m sceptical as to your line of thinking. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you’re correct. Why bother indulging him or anyone else that thinks that way? You’d only be upsetting yourself.

    Sad to say that we are not as good as back in 2014 or 2017 either, albeit injuries haven’t helped. We need to get a few breaks, spring a few surprises and for lads to play above themselves to have a chance, in my view anyway.

  28. “Keegan island” @grain of rice – that’s a great of putting it! Agree with @Food4thought and boyler – bring the noise and the edge – bring the hurt – we owe these boys and we have beaten them well in recent years… reminded of a definition for diplomacy “nice doggy, nice doggy.. until u find a rock” … we need for find a big dirty rock on sunday…

  29. If Lee marks Clifford the best we can hope for is “Keegan Peninsula”!!

  30. Time to talk about the game plan that gives us the best chance on Sunday.
    First up Jack O Connor & his sidekick Paddy Tally need to be thrown off course.
    Jack likes to sicken us early & leave us chasing the game.
    We need to be ready & rip up that script.
    After that we need to pay attention to Clifford, Geaney & White.
    We cannot allow Kerry a bigger score than 20 points maximum as I cannot see us scoring much more than that.
    Our energy then has to go into tracking, blocking & harrassing & this means we have to simplify our own game
    so that we don’t expend too much energy ourselves.
    This means going long with our kickouts.
    Up front I would go with a twin towers approach …. Carney just to left of the posts & Aido just to the right of the posts. I would place Cillian in a central role just in front of these two.
    I would endeavour to hit all three with long diagonals & play for marks.
    For our kickouts I would bring Aido out to contest the left sided kickouts & Carney out to contest the right sided kickouts. This strategy leaves us with a lot of defenders at all times.
    We also need to attempt scores from distance ….. if we have a 40% chance or better we go for it.
    We put the ball dead & then we have more Kerry kickouts to go after.
    Our best distance shooter is Boland so I would try to work the ball to him for the distance shooting.
    Hopefully Rob gets a few long rangers from the ground.
    This is the way we get to 20 points ourselves.
    Our middle 8 have not been up to scratch & we need a big improvement here. I think James will go with the same crew here although I myself would replace two of them.
    If Clifford plays I think we go with O Hora again.
    I would bring Lee to 6 & go with another newcomer in the full back line … I think we have to take a chance there.

  31. @Joey..In the last,12 or 13 year’s, how many times has AOS played in the Full Forward line in big Championship match’s in Croke Park?.. And how many times has it worked?.. Time to give up on that idea!

  32. @ Grain of Rice. I dont think the question is how many of the the current Kerry team would get on the the Kerry 04-09 team is of any relevance. If that is the benchmark how many Mayo players would make it? Maybe Lee Kegan in the post Seamus Moynihan years.

    There is a lot of ifs and buts in your post. If Mayo do decide to bring Carney and Aidan O’Shea out from the full forward line to bottle up the middle for long kickouts from Hennely. What is the aim? Kerry will mark zonally for the kickout and not be foolish enough to go man for man on mayo long kickouts. The will keep man back. Also if its a long kickout the ball will be in the air for a few seconds giving them time to setup. There wont be many clean marks caught so Kerry will still have players goalside.

    Even if a mark is made by Aidan O’Shea lets say round 60-70 yards from the Kerry goal. Even if plays on quickly, who is he going to kick it into? If Carey and Aido are out in the middle that leaves Cillian on his own inside with probably an extra defender. He is not going to win many balls that way. And Kerry are adept at playing a sweeper now as opposed to the shambles in the 2017 replay.

    I think its all academic anyway as Kerry will most likely look to give up the short kickout to mayo and press from there. I think they will only look to force Mayo long when Moran is on the pitch. For our own kickouts I think we will try to isolate a threesome of Diarmuid O’Connor, Adrian Spillane and Gavin white on one side of the pitch for the long ones. If we are forced to go short it will mean Beagloich, Tom Sullivan and White will most likely be the first receiver with the other 2 acting as support runners. They are our 3 best line breaker in defense along with being the most comfortable on the ball

  33. Fair play to you Grain of rice, you’re doing your best to be positive in the run up to the match and it’s hard to argue with some of the things you said. I honestly expect Kerry to win AI this year. They were hit with a sucker punch by Cork in the covid year though the negative way they played meant they deserved nothing more. Last year they were caught by Tyrone who played a blinder re covid. In fairness Kerry had a long wait for that game but still could have won if they hadn’t conceded brutal goals. Along comes O Connor (always knows when to take over Kerry) along with Mr Defense Tally. Surely they can’t get it wrong again. They have excellent forwards and now seem to have sorted out their backs. They really should win it this year. But yet as you said who knows what can happen if we get at them and make their lives uncomfortable.Will past failures seep into their minds ( as I’m sure they often seep into Mayo minds ) when the pressure is really on. Will Mayo really get up for this and will some of our players who have been struggling for form all year suddenly find it on Sunday.Thats the beauty of sport. On all known form Kerry should win pulling up but there’s usually one shock in the quarter finals and maybe Kerry will be shocked. Here’s hoping.

  34. @Kerry_Blowin

    Kerry destroyed Mayo on the breaking ball in the league final. This is a battle Mayo need to, and I think this time have the personnel to flip.

    Mayo’s possession game is underrated, and to win this game we’ll need at least 60% of the ball.

    Are you really going to be so passive on our kick outs? If our big men are doing nothing around the middle then aren’t you really just asking for them to be pushed into the forward line?

  35. We’ve been dubbed as no hopers on the basis of a poor league final showing and our poor form. Many a year we scraped through the qualifiers and peaked on the big days. This team is far from the greatest version of the recent mayo teams but they are not so far behind the pack as people are making out.

    There was a kick of a ball between the teams in Tralee and that game is still the only real yardstick to judge either team on. When have Kerry last played in a genuinely competitive game?? Its a long time since the end of March

    There is a real genuine threat with Clifford, fit or not, SOS and Geaney. And match ups will be key. But you can bet padraig o hora wont be left 1 v 1 for 70mins against the biggest of them threats.

    Paudie Clifford is a very good Munster championship player.
    Gavin White needs to kept under wraps but you cant rob Peter to pay Paul.

    People are bigging up this Kerry defensive shape but again, what have they played? I fully expect Durcan, MacLoughlin and Carr will punch holes through them but there has to be more urgency in our play. Personally id like to see Carr doing that from the bench against tired legs but whatever way we line out

    If kerry dont blow us away in the first 30mins like I imagine they will try to do, then the doubt will creep in.

    If the game is up for grabs coming down the stretch, I know which team Id be backing….

    There are so many tactics and line up permutations that we could employ, and a lot of it probably relies on ROD (David Brady had a great line this morning re his involvement – “If youre 100% you’ll play from the start, and if not youll win the game for us”).

    Its a game of opinions and some will be happy and some wont when we take to the field on Sunday. The Kerry lads have the talent to put us to the sword but keep the faith as you head through that toll.

    We go again.

  36. @ Grain of Rice – 100% agree with you. Yes, they have one very exceptional player, but jaysus you’d swear they had won the last 6 All Ireland’s in a row or something they way people on here and the media have been talking them up! FFS we are the team that have been to the last two finals, the only team to beat the Dubs in the last 8 years while Kerry have lost to Cork and were ambushed by Tyrone in the last two years. We have an unbelievable talent of finding ways to make ourselves inferior all the time – when the qualifier draws were made v Monaghan and Kildare there were groans all around the county ‘the worst possible draw we could have got’, ‘general moan about JH and AOS’. Seems to be the real Mayo curse…
    I’m not delusional either….its Mayo’s short-comings I’m most concerned about, not this super-human Kerry team! If we play to the level we are capable of, well for me its a 50/50 game, and in fairness, we should be able to use our greater hard earned experience to our advantage in that scenario. And as for jack O’Connor, don’t start me!

  37. @Kerry -Blowin..I think Kieth Higgins, Colm Boyle, Andy Moran, David Clarke would all have made the Kerry 04-09 team had they been born in Kerry, and of course Ciaran McDonald.. Anyhow all of them terrific player’s are retired and won’t be able tog out for Mayo on Sunday..Apart from Lee Keegan,I think Oisin Mullen would easily have made that Kerry Team.. It’s absolutely impossible to evaluate,.. Declan O Sullivan in my opinion was the best Kerry player of that era.. Completely underrated, I know many might point out Gooch,or Star or Seamus Moyinhan or any of the 3 O’Shea’s,or even Paul Galvin but Declan O Sullivan was a better player than any of those and made so many of them tick. ..As the week progress the bookie’s odds on Mayo are getting longer and longer, drifting for 3/1 which is long odds to currently 4/1 ,I expect us to be at around 5/1 by Sunday..Can’t recall when last Mayo were at such long odds. .. Kerry fans will they turn up in numbers or wait for (Cork).. Sorry Dublin,..I know there is genuine inflation currently, maybe that has something to do with the bookie’s price on Mayo .. But I heard from a reliable source that the price on Brasso has Skyrocketed in the Kingdom..The Munster Cup is only small, so it won’t need too much Brasso,..The League Cup is a decent size, but after it’s 2 year stay in Mayo,..(yes 2 years Stay in Mayo we looked after it very well) I heard that it Shine brighter than the famous Moonlight in Mayo.. But the price of Brasso in the Kingdom, is more like Price Gouging than normal inflation. Dublin had the Sam Maguire for 6 year’s in row, and Kerry are buying up all the Brasso needed for the big ‘Cannister’ for at least 7 year’s.

  38. Has anyone seen The GAA Croke Park Ticket Exchange .My question is it a safe website to buy tickets on?

  39. I agree with a point made above that it’ll be great to have Robbie on the field for us next Sunday.
    I thought Rory was good and this is not a comment on him.
    Neither am I getting into any goalkeeper debate.
    But in a game where scores, and for Mayo small margins, matter, Robbie normally can score from distance.
    Kerry might just give up frees out the field and if they do, they’re giving something up to us!! It’s something that they mightn’t be able to control. I like the sound of that!
    I also like Robbie’s talent for super accurate kicks from the kickout (sometimes seemingly laser-guided, if he can pull that out of the hat).

  40. All the talk about Kerry not winning an All-Ireland in 7 years and not a word about our world famous failings, is it any wonder Kerry will never take Mayo seriously, we just don’t have the football culture and it’s time a lot more than me realized that and actually tried to do something about it or things will always remain the same.

    There’s a danger of the weekends game turning into Mayo’s All-Ireland when the pro view should be it’s just a stepping stone to winning an All-Ireland.

    A win over Kerry will mean nothing if it’s not followed up by a win over Dublin and then winning an All-Ireland.

  41. I noticed last night after the reliable sources indicated Ryan wouldn’t be part of the 26 that his name has also been removed from goalscoring markets . So that’s a wrap on that issue for sure now . We have been very unlucky this year in fairness with injuries but im hearing Tommy conroy is making good progress and is doing a little bit of training ,obviously not full contact but good to hear all the same if true , all bodes well for next year . Im kind of hoping JH stays on after Sunday if we are beaten . We will be a serious outfit with a full deck in 2023 .

  42. If JH stays on another year, we’ll be an outfit with the same manager who has had 8 shots at the thing and lost them all. So we give him a 9th shot? Why not ten or eleven?
    It’s no wonder we lose when we reward failure.

  43. Sean. Is that unofficial about rod. I will be devastated if he doesn’t make it. I thought the word was that he was back in training. Without him virtually a tall order

  44. Everything is unofficial this year . I’m just going by what I’ve heard said on podcast and someone quoted the mayo news to me ( I haven’t seen the actual article ) .

    Sound , what’s the alternative Tommy+joe ? Anyway probably a discussion for another day .

  45. Will be in the Cusack in plenty of time for the first game which I reckon will be the first of 2 crackers and 2 Western wins. My neighbour just told me that ticketmaster have a limited number of tickets and only on extreme right of the Hill near Cusack stand. Looks like a sell out.
    A funny thing tho’ is the two most populous counties in Ireland Dublin and Cork play on Saturday along with Derry and Clare and you can pretty much still pick where you want to sit. Shocking really. If not the populations of those 4 but surely the novelty value and the prize of a semi final would galvanise the fans.

  46. You get that feeling that people on this blog seem to have a good inside track on things in the Mayo Camp, players injured etc

  47. Two vital things Mayo have to be ready for next Sunday is, (1) No messing in defence, do not let the Kerry showman rule the show & keep very tight on the other forwards as well, pressure at all times, give them no room to show off in Croke Park, real tight marking at all times, no Mayo backs charging down the pitch trying to get a score because Kerry will destroy them so quickly with counter attacking play, I believe that’s why Kerry seems to be so good. It’s time the Mayo forwards get really fired up & keep running at Kerry defence , no passing over & back the pitch, just cut through, have a go, unsettling them will work because Kerry have not been tested at all this year.

  48. Sean burke.
    He’s off the goalscoring market alright but you can still back him to be rte man of the match at 12/1. Make of that what you will. Maybe he’ll be in goals Sunday.

  49. Seriously guys, can Mayo implement a defensive strategy to upstage Kerry ?
    Can Mayo get scores from the counter attack if playing defensive football ?
    Have we ever witnessed a very much defensive system under Horan ?
    Can Mayo kick points from distance ?
    Can Mayo forwards get goals from play, without relying on defenders to score ?
    Can Mayo midfielders match Kerry for pace, fielding ability, winning breaking ball etc.
    Can Mayo get up to the challenge from the throw in ?
    Have Mayo the know how as to congest sections of the pitch to win long kickouts.

    I see a few players that will be vital to a set play type of game.
    We should rule out high ball into full line also.

    To be honest this coming game sees Mayo as being the greatest Underdogs for many years.
    I think most people know this already.

    A serious game plan would need to be rehearsed since the Kildare game.

    This game will go one of two ways.

    A freak performance by Mayo, with a new tactic implemented ( this will be defensive / counter attack obviously ).

    A big defeat if Mayo decide to play open football.

    Even in 2022, records in past quarter finals will apply.

  50. Have to say, I feel as though confidence is slipping away as the day draws nearer.

  51. That should read, we should not rule out high ball being played into full forward area, this would reap rewards, imagine one or two early Mayo goals, this would really put the shits into Kerry.
    Score / defend…..

    It will need to be a freak performance to win the day.

  52. Kerry are a good team……….not a great team. Dublin in their 5 in a row were a great team and we usually put them to the pin of their collar. Forget the league final, this will be a totally different ballgame. Trouble with taking any notice of the media is it seems to be Kerry dominated on the GAA scene. We lost heavily in the league to Dublin in the last few years but come Championship Mayo were a different animal. I expect the same this Sunday.

  53. In an article on the Irish Times today Darragh O’Shea says Kerry have not beaten any one yet

  54. Viper….what is that something that needs to be done about it???Whats your solution?

    I think everyone knows winning this game means nothing in itself too.

    Also there is no evidence that Horans tactics cause injuries.Remember how many guys have stayed reletivy injury free over the years too.I wont mention for fear i jinx them.
    I did have a recent conversation with a senior physio and she mentioned that alot of GAA S+C coaches cone from a rugby background and she thought that might contribute which i thought was interesting but again i dont know if its applicable to Mayo.
    Injuries happen especially in gaelic football which is high octane with players covering massive mileage (apparently 15 km is not unusual for a midfielder) going through hits, stopping, starting turning etc.
    Really there are few sports like it.
    Soccer is mostly played at walking pace by comparison.Its not a surprise players get injured.
    For example:
    Clifford out for Kerry, Sean OShea injured for league final.
    McCaffrey did cruciate against us in 2017.
    James ODonaghue never got really going after 2014 savaged by injury, Tommy walsh muscle off the bone, Cooper cruciate in 2014 all the way back to Kevin Cahill in 97 and Pat Spillane who was finished by a cruciate in 1985 I think.
    Shame it wasnt lockjaw at the time!!!.
    I wasnt the biggest fan of JH and still have my questions but its not right to criticise without having an alternative and you never seem to offer one or even an opinion on how to set up the team.You have alot of commentary but no solutions and i feel you are dropping alot of digs to set up a big i told you so on Sunday evening….. thats ok but you have to be anle to offer a plan or otherwise you are in Walter Mitty territory

  55. Tommy + Joe Not sure Where ye were pre 2011 but I have enjoyed watching Mayo play far more in the last decade than I did in the 4 decades previously . Easy to critics JH and say we won no AI under him. Reminder. We haven’t won one since 1951. Reminder. He has brought us to at least an AI semi final every year of his reign .Not bad for a county without an AI title in over 70 years. If we had been winning one every decade prior to his arrival then the accusation that he didn’t lead us to the promised land might have a bit of credibility but since he took over in 2011 ( plus the good work of Stephen Rochford) we have at least been involved in the business end of the season and for a person who witnessed my county win no provincial title in the 1970s , go 38 years without reaching an AI final, saw us annihilated in 2 finals by Kerry, saw us lose to Cork by 20 points in 1993, saw us score once v Leitrim in the first half of Connacht Final in 1994 and saw us lose consecutive games to Sligo and Longford In 2010 I certainly think Horan has done something positive

  56. To win just once. To add to that. A county has has had very limited success under 20s and minor s in recent years. A serious amount of injuries. . I believe we can win on Sunday. The availability of key players is paramount. We need Rod.

  57. Ah viper Can you please give it a rest. This is an enjoyable unique forum where fans such as myself have come for years to discuss matches, tactics and all things Mayo GAA. I’m not saying much of what you say is wrong, it’s just the constant authoritative I’m right/you’re wrong stance you take is off putting and is really starting to take the fun out of it. We all want an all Ireland win more than anything but we also want to enjoy the journey. And guess what if we lose on Sunday, we’ll be back next year hungrier than ever as it’s in our DNA. We’re fans not selectors or county board members so chastising Mayo/ the set up at every opportunity is going to achieve nothing for you only put people off contributing to this online community for fear of retribution from he who knows all – viper. E.g saying Mayo fans mentality is weak because someone noted Kerry hadn’t won an all Ireland in 7-8 years but we should be looking at ourselves as our famine is significantly longer – so we can’t even make an observation now?

    I’m not saying you can’t ever be negative of Mayo as I believe in free speech and sometimes it’s warranted but i can’t recall you having anything positive to say since you started contributing last year. Correct me if I’m wrong by all means and I hope you continue to contribute but in a more balanced manner. Apologies WJ if this breaks any ground rules but I feel it needed to be said

  58. To win just once, well said and I go back further then you a very talented team beaten by Sligo started the decline

  59. Ye are talking about games in the past.
    I reckon with all the Hurling on TV this Summer that many of you may not have seen much of Kerry in the Munster championship.

    Have a good look at the Limerick game in the Munster final.
    Poor Limerick were very weak all round, had no midfield to win the long kickouts, no intensity, no power, had not enough bodies forward, and the final pass into full forward was bad.
    Kerry made look good by Limerick.

    I think many people are shell shocked from the League final.

  60. To win just once.
    Ironically, your username will never be achieved with an attitude like that. Has Horan brought a level of professionalism to Mayo unseen before? I would agree on that.
    However, on the biggest day, he has failed every time. Every time. I have followed Mayo football for a very long time and seen brutal days and very good days (and yes, that includes before 2011). The current incumbent will absolutely never get us over the line. So why accept more of the same? It’s utterly bonkers.
    The current team, with a few improvements, few new players and a tactically adept coach would see us give next year a seriously good shot.

  61. Mayo88

    You can take the Limerick game in isolation to support your point or you can say the league final was a once off.


    You can acknowledge that this Kerry team have won the last 3 D1 leagues.
    Are hitting significant scores in their games and most importantly have conceded 1 goal in all competitions since Jan.

    Nobody knows what will happen but Mayos last good performance was against Kildare in the league I would suggest, Poor against Kerry, Galway, OK against Monaghan and Poor against Kildare.

    Kerrys strength this year is their defense and Mayos weakness since that Kildare game is their shooting.

    Now that might upset some bit that’s not the intention but they are the facts so far.

    Ofcourse this could all change on Sunday.

  62. @ Tommy+Joe

    I would say that plenty of people might have thoughts on who should and shouldn’t be the manager.

    You do have to ask yourself though.

    In last years final, were we in a position to win that game ?

    Did we create enough chances to win that game ?

    If there was a different manager would we be even watching some of the younger players that we are currently watching ?

    I sometimes wonder myself on how the manager is performing.

    Its very easy to say (he got this wrong and he got that wrong).

    There are 30 other managers every year who don’t have to listen to (he got this wrong and he got that wrong) and that’s because they are never in the AI final.

    I haven’t always been Horan’s biggest fan but I’m not blind either.
    People deserve credit on their achievements and James Horan deserves alot of credit.

    He might not have landed Sam (yet) but he has put together some brilliant panels and teams over the past decade and has put Mayo on TV on the Big Match days in almost every year he has managed.

    I do always feel though, that it would be a sad end, if a manager had to end his reign without some of his strongest players.

    If Horan was to call a given year his last then it would be nice to see him going out having been able to call on his strongest team on the biggest football day of them all.

  63. Four days out from an All-Ireland quarter-final is not, I would suggest, the appropriate time to be questioning the manager’s bona fides. There’ll be time enough, Lord knows, for all that once our Championship run finishes this year. Neither is it the time to be sniping about our “failings” as fans as that too will, no doubt, get plenty of airtime once the action is over. Is it too much to ask, with the Kerry match just around the corner, for the focus to be on that and that alone and leave the sly digs for another time? I sure hope it isn’t.

  64. @ West Kerry.

    One of the biggest bonuses I think Mayo have had is the likes of Pat Spillane spouting non stop about how good this Kerry team is. Its been non stop for the past 5 years. Non stop.

    Non stop about Kerry’s strengths and non stop about Mayo’s weaknesses.

    And yet. If I look at who has been to the deep end of the pool over recent years I see Mayo. Year after year. Not Kerry. Mayo.

    What happens to your Kerry team if they are getting the shite knocked out of them for the first 15 minutes ?

    ” Jaysus lads. This isn’t how Jack told us it would be “.
    ” Get up off the ground you jelly arse, there’s another belt coming your way “.

    Nobody can say right now how this game will pan out, but we do know one thing.
    There are scores to settle, and they will be settled. Be in no doubt about that.

    Alot of people say this Kerry team are growing up.

    Well Mayo are going to help yea on Sunday evening to grow up.

    Win or lose, I guarantee you that yea will be closer to men when yea leave that pitch on Sunday than yea were when yea walked on to it.

  65. Agree one hundred percent to win just once.Also 1989 thats interesting point about Rugby I am certain I read somewhere that a new team physio came from Connacht rugby this year.Although personally I believe there are so many factors that contribute to injuries that it’s very difficult to pinpoint a cause.For example powerful players = bigger speeds heavier hits and more distances or load in trainings or games.. other things like pitch (early in year with no machale park).. soreness or stiffness from recent games or training.. old injuries.. players age.. flexibility.. muscle weaknesses.. type of training.. late finish of previous season.. bad luck!..etc etc I’m sure there are many more factors.It is very hard to pinpoint a cause even with all details. No matter whatever 15 players line out in red and green (or black?) on Sunday and those that come in I have no doubt will have prepared well to give kerry a serious test.Up Mayo!

  66. Revellino,

    What scores to settle ?

    This is a game of football not East Ukraine a bit of perspective would go astray as they say.

    Pat Spillane doesn’t speak for Kerry as much as a 1 individual on twitter doesn’t speak for Mayo.

    You are correct Mayo have been in the last 2 all irelands send deservedly so.
    They are a serious team that demand respect and that’s what you will get.

  67. @our time has come, nail on the head with that post, fair play, Totally agree with Willie Joe aswell.

    Im in the Aido to start camp. Theirs a trick missed if we dont put him in the FF line for 10-15 minute spells. Before the “we’ve tried and failed that” supporters shoot down this tactic, just hear me out:

    Galway game: Aidan clearly moved into FF in the last 10 minutes, its no coincidence that we had our best form of the match during this period. Aidan’s presence meant that Galway kept two men on him at all times, which created space around the half forward line that let us squeeze Galway more. Galway didn’t push as high as they were genuinely afraid of a high ball in.

    Nobody is expecting Aido to score 1-6 from play, but his mere presence in there creates small pockets of badly needed space for our shooters Cillian, ROD (hopefully), Carr and Diarmuid. He has super quick hands and is a better fielder of the ball than Carney. I’d actually play Jack in the half forward line, think he’s more suited to the middle sector.

    Another reason Aido should play FF…start of second half in last years Connacht final, we’re 5 points down. Long ball into the square, Aido catches and quick as you like feeds Ruane off his shoulder, penalty, goodnight Galway.

    Its not like we’ve loads of top class forwards or anything, it makes complete sense to play him there for a good portion of the game. We don’t exploit the mark rule half enough, so if the RIGHT type of ball is played in, where Aido can get a run at it, he could chip in 2-3 points from marks which would be massive imo. I’ll finish with a stab at the starting 15:

    1. Robbie
    2. Keegan
    3. O’Hora
    4. Hession
    5. Durcan
    6. Mullin
    7. McLaughlin
    8. Flynn
    9. Ruane
    10. Boland (deserves a start, sub could suit better)
    11. Aido (move to FF an keep Morley occupied)
    12. Diarmuid
    13. Carr
    14. Cillian
    15. Carney

    K-Mc Doherty, Orme forward sub options

    Coen first defensive sub, toss up then between Brickenden and Callinan.

  68. McHale most definitely gets a run. And Sunday could be the day for the Mark Moran curveball, ROD or not

  69. @ West Kerry.

    Yea gave us a drubbing in the League final. There is that score to settle.

    I thought that missing some players and some intensity that day, we will be much more up for Sunday with some of our missing players back.

    Yea turned on the style against our depleted team that day and I think, at least I hope, that will have our lads focused for Sunday.

    Yea unveiled a new / old manager this year.

    We will try to rewrap him on Sunday for yea and put him back in his box and then yea will have a Jack in the Box.

    Kerry have suffered a major character readjustment this past decade.
    The record 4 in a row, blown away by their bitter Dublin rivals.

    That Dublin – Kerry rivalry itself has fisseled out because Dublin, or this Dublin team learned, that for a decade the only team that could go toe to toe with them were from the West of the Country and not from the South.

    The lb of Kerrygold used to be nearly rock hard when it would come out of the refrigerator, but then yea started making the butter soft and it was all downhill after that.

    Both teams will have players on Sunday who might deserve to win AI medals, but they might never get them.

    We are lucky enough to have had a few in the last couple of decades who are as good as have ever played the game.

    They have been that good, and believe it or not an AI medal wouldn’t have made them any better.

    There have been plenty of AI winners who wouldn’t lace the boots of some of the lads who haven’t a medal, but that’s life.

    All stars and final appearances. And some people would give all that away for 1 AI medal.

    I don’t think I would though.

    In the first game on Sunday Shane Walshe will line out for Galway. He is a fantastic footballer.
    He is 29 (possibly reaching the home stretch of his career), and I don’t believe he has ever played in a Senior All Ireland final.

  70. In reference to all the comments about Mayo going deep in the championship. To be brutally honest, the only thing that matters is winning it. Losing to Cork in 20, Tyrone 21. It’s all the same end result really. No All-Ireland. That may sound overly harsh but, its too level championship stuff.

    In the last 15 years Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Tyrone, Donegal and Armagh have won all Ireland at least once. Mayo have been at the top or close to it for all that time too. And outside Dublin are probably the most consistent team over that era.

    But at some stage. They have to get the job done. Maybe it will start on Sunday and ye can go all the way. But nothing so far this year points to a massive performance on the way from Mayo. As you said Kerry are completely untested and people are placing too much stock in a league final Mayo had no interests in.

    Mayo have had injury problems all year and aren’t fully settled personnel wise. Kerry have been settled since nearly the McGrath cup and have decent form. Based on the last that we say of them. I am not writing Mayo off but based on logic and form guides Kerry should win. But anything can happen in a once off game. Especially if its as going to be as wet as forecast.

  71. First of all I do agree with @WillieJoe that it is not the time for this and this will be my only post today.

    Something that is very noticeable is that the vast majority of those who for some bizarre reason think that trying to raise standards right across the board in every aspect is somehow negative are all from a certain vintage, I know this because they reference games they were at back in the 70’s and so on.

    For someone like me this is absolutely mind boggling that I would even need to point that out.

    @Our time has come, and a few more will reference defeats to Sligo and Longford in 2010 and try and use it as some sort of measuring stick as if we have been playing with the same personnel since or that the game itself hasn’t moved on. There’s no doubt the loss to Longford was a low point, Keith Higgins late sending off and dubious refereeing decisions didn’t help either.

    Did Longford not shock Kerry in the league in 2004 under Jack O’Connor but Kerry still went on to win the All-Ireland.

    You reference defeats to Sligo as well, did Sligo not beat Tyrone in the qualifiers in 2002 by 5 points but yet Tyrone went on to win 3 All-Irelands in the following 6 years, had they lost them would they use the narrative that “sure we have come a long way since the dark days of Sligo in 2002”, they would in their bollix.

    You criticize me for being negative in the last year, I have no issue with that at all, you are aware we lost to Tyrone in the All-Ireland final, got humiliated in the league final and have suffered an abnormally high amount of injuries, our form has dipped, if you can find the positives in that then fair play to you.

    You talk of “the journey” and stuff like lead us to the “promised land” when all we are talking about is winning a bloody football match when it matters, pure and simple, so forget all this “promised land and holy grail” stuff.

    There are thousands of people who read this blog I’m sure but not so many who contribute in regards to posts, but I am damn sure that if a vote were taken that the vast majority of Mayo readers would agree with me because they are fed up with losing and want to give the team the best chance of winning because at the end of the day that’s all I want and I know it can be done.

    It may only be a coincidence that the numbers reading the blog have gone through the roof since I started posting.

    Anyways, that’s it for now.

  72. Different people have different outlooks on life and football.We have had some marvellous days travelling around the country in the league and championship.I am talking about those who travel with me but its certainly the journey and not the destination we are in this for.To be brutally honest why would we attend in such numbers if winning was all that mattered.I want to win on Sunday and I want to win every game but i also want to enjoy myself.

  73. I have to say I dont enjoy the losing one bit Declan and I know you are not saying you do either by the way.
    Winning this thing is all that matters. Maybe then I can enjoy watching Mayo again

  74. 1989 i agree in finals winning is all that matters but this is a quarter final.We need to see more football than all our three games so far put together to win this one.I have a Season ticket since they were introduced whenever and would attend all league games home and away alas due to covid attendance numbers If R i ended up watching last yrs debacle v Tyrone in the red parrott.All that mattered that day was winning i can tell you but the loss didnt take from the Dublin and Galway victories.Ive no doubt this Kerry team can be got at and have plenty to prove on Sunday.Hopefully Flynn and Clifford are fit to play and any issues from the Leeague final can be ironed out.If Rod is fit Mayo by 2.

  75. No doubt we’ll hear from you on Sunday so Viper. I hear you’re busy sharpening your knives. Don’t know why you’ve quoted things I haven’t said but sure don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story for yourself, good man.

    Don’t come at me with injuries though because I will school you in that area if you like. Blaming that on management is frankly ridiculous, more likely we’re a victim of our own success with long campaigns for 10+ years with a limited pool of players, there will be an element of overload on everyone. Dublin don’t have the same ratio of injuries because they have much more panel depth. You wrap fellas in cotton wool and they’re not match sharp and very likely to be beaten. You play second string players and our standards/results start to slide! Training should replicate match intensity, every time you hit the field you should aim to play at the same intense level so it becomes the norm. You’ve some ego boy, call the Guinness book of records there sure as you alone are responsible for this blogs success and record numbers!

  76. From an outsider looking in there seems to be a groundswell of support for the anti James Horan brigade. Would ye not wait until the championship is over before looking for management changes? Looking at it from the outside Horan has brought Mayo firmly into the top tier of football counties. There might have been no Sam (yet) but he has identified a gameplan that has made the most of what he has had available to him.

    Al long as I remember (early 90’s) Mayo have always been short one or two forwards. You might have the likes of Cillian, Moran, Maurice Sheridan you could rely on but the rest were very streaky players and inconsistent. Colm McManoman immediately comes to mind. Even McDonald as outrageously talented as he was didn’t affect games on a consistent basis the way he could have. Then again maybe he didn’t have the support cast around him.

    If you do get rid of JH, is it back to rochford 2.0? Horan has always struck me as a honest operator.

  77. The numbers on the blog were very high long before you ever started contributing here, Viper, and I doubt very much if your musings have anything to do with current traffic levels. As ever, the main driver for that remains the team and how they are going. That’s how it’s always been and how it’s always likely to be too.

  78. Viper – as John Giles said once – you are a legend in your own head. I see you are even taking credit for the improvement in Robbie Hennellys performances this year – fair play to you.
    I just remember now I once referenced a young lad from Westport called Lee Keegan- I thought at the time he should get a try out with the Mayo senior team. Thankfully the management at the time read my post and listened to me.

  79. The truth might be that people could begin to stay away as a result of most threads being punctuated with Viperisms but I can only speak for myself.

  80. @Revellino quite harsh on our Kerry brethen. They were ahead of Dublin going into injury time in 2013, level with them in injury time in 2016 and were ahead again in the drawn 2019 final. That’s very close to our record against them and they did get the one over the line in 14 after all. We did have that one victory at the start in 2012. But you’d definitely swap sitiations with them

  81. @Viper, there may be a lot of ways you might describe yourself, but humility isn’t one of them, is it? I like a touch of humility in a person, not too much mind….but a total lack of it is supposedly bad for the indigestion.

  82. @viper

    It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

    You are very abrasive in your language/manner, and this can come across as aggressive and dismissive.

    I doubt this is at all your intention but it is frustrating and draining to engage with. If we met in person, I’d imagine you would spend the whole time cutting across me.

    I think you can improve this.
    For example from your last post, “For someone like me this is absolutely mind boggling that I would even need to point that out.”

    There’s no need to say stuff like this. You could easily have used ” I don’t understand “, instead of “mind boggling “.

    You are of course, not the only person who does this. It’s something we all need to be mindful of IMO. Myself, I would look at my comments, and ask myself, would I speak to my boss like this/would I be happy my boss spoke to me like this.

  83. I don’t think Revellino is being particularly harsh. Look at their track record for the last dozen years.

    2011 – Blew the final trying to protect a 4 point lead after 63 minutes.
    2012 – Beaten by Cork in Munster, and Donegal subsequently.
    2013 – Shipped an EIGHT point turnaround in injury time in the SF.
    2014 – Won because Donegal took the Dubs out in a brilliant ambush.
    2015 – Lost in a 3 point hammering in the rain – they never, ever looked like winning that game.
    2016 – Couldn’t close out a close game when it mattered. Connolly’s left foot point in injury time was a work of art.
    2017 – Fluffed the first attempt – Spanked in the replay.
    2018 – Didn’t even get out of the weaker of the 2 super8 groups.
    2019 – Fluffed their first chance with a missed peno – couldn’t close it out against 14 man Dublin. Replay well lost.
    2020 – Lost to Cork in the Munster semi. A year to forget.
    2021 – Cough Tyrone, Cough.
    2022 – Well, here we are.

    All of a sudden they don’t look so fearsome…

  84. At last the weekend is upon us and I personally can’t wait for the action to begin. Much as I’m excited about the upcoming games it still doesn’t feel quite right. Championship coming to a head and we’re only in June. Not travelling up and meeting the usual suspects for a few pints the night before. The thing that really gets me though is the team going to line out in those bloody black jerseys. I appreciate Mayo and Kerry can’t wear their traditional colours but why not use the predominantly red like they used to.
    Anyway, enough grumbling for now. Hoping the lads leave everything on the pitch and have no regrets after and if they do we can have no complaints. Would really have loved to get to the u17s semi tomorrow and would have if going on to Dublin after was feasible but thank God for TG4. Anyway here’s wishing the very best to Mayo masters, Mayo minors, Mayo ladies and of course the Senior team and management.

  85. @FrostTHammer, Well when someone tries to argue that the words consideration and possible mean blame then they will get the legs cut from under them because they are the smearing.

    It’s done deliberately to misrepresent and I would like to see it being nipped in the bud instead of being allowed.

    I do believe that the abnormally high amount of injuries we have suffered merit further investigation and it is possible that our “heavy metal” football is contributing to that, note the words consideration, contributing and possible.

    The counter argument to that by a poster who claims he can “school” me about injuries stated the following:

    “more likely we’re a victim of our own success with long campaigns for 10+ years with a limited pool of players, there will be an element of overload on everyone”

    Now unless we have had players playing Inter County since they were 12 or 13, then the fella who claims he can school about injuries should be red faced.

    I am not into blame games when it comes to something like injuries, what I want to do is try and reduce the amount of injuries and to try and do that everything must be looked at.

    But it is a total misrepresentation to try and twist that and say that I am blaming Horan for the injuries, that’s just smearing and totally absurd.

  86. @viper

    I really couldn’t care less about any of that.
    I was discussing how you interact with people in general here.

  87. @Viper I am of a certain age where I can reference matches from the late 60s and from as late as 2022! I object to your subtle intimation that the views of those of us of an older generation are somehow of lesser value than yours. I also object to your arrogant and abrasive tone.
    You hint at the possibility of yourself being responsible for the increased traffic on this blog. You could test that theory to an extent by not contributing for a few months and watching the stats go up or down!

  88. @FrostTHammer, An unfortunate and ironic choice of words from you given that you are preaching about ethics because if you couldn’t care less about someone twisting my words then I think you need to come down off your high horse. Not a lot of class in the way you just interacted with me there either to be fair and there are plenty posters who I agree with here and even if I don’t they at least are able to debate in a respectful manner and don’t need you to speak on their behalf.

    @diehard, It’s bad enough losing All-Ireland’s but the loss of any sense of humour is far more serious, did you really believe that I was serious regarding traffic, I’m amazed anyone did, but there you go.

    The point regarding older generations looking back at games in olden times when things were bad is that of course they will look at even reaching quarters, semis or finals as a big achievement, but why stop there, do everything possible to win it.

    I’m not into this “it could be worse” craic”, that’s just me, I want to orchestrate winning and not leave it to the fairies or blame curses and that nonsense.

    It can be done, but won’t be done without unity.

  89. I just want to wish all the Mayo fans safe travelling tomorrow. Hopefully, it will be a clean and honest match. Whoever wins, wins, and will have earned it.
    A few posters on here with urban myths I see, smug and and arrogant Kerry fans, I’m working up in Mayo with the last 19 years, so there’s no better judge than i to gauge both sets simultaneously, as I go down home every weekend to Kerry, I’m not smug, I’m not arrogant.
    That’s all bollocksology, there’s an old Kerry proverb, ‘ Let the opposition worry about you, you not worry sbout the opposition’, so true, otherwise you really, really will lose, a few posters on here are doing this. There’s no Kerry fans down here that are arrogant or smug at present. Rain forecast for tomorrow really makes the game 50/50 I think, I also have the fears as this will be an ambush. I will not be one bit surprised at all whatsoever if Mayo win this game, not one bit. I respect Mayo, and have always done so.
    So to a few, concentrate on what you can bring to the table, don’t mind about us or our fans. That’ll be a winning start for you.

    Mind yourselves and enjoy the game. Best of luck! to whoever wins.

  90. As well as that, if it helps Mayo posters, Kerry fans don’t trust this Kerry team at all. I don’t. The jury is still out on them. And all of you are correct, hardly any of this current Kerry team woukd make the 2004 – 2009 side. Two I’d say, if they’re lucky. It’s the weakest Kerry team since 1996 i think.

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