Oh well, we can expect …

Dammit! The bit about Sunday’s match was over before before I remembered Championship Throw-in was on last night and Liam Hayes was on it too, so I’m sure I missed a few crackers from the oddball Meathman. At least I did catch the even madder Vincent Browne afterwards on whose programme ex-politician Ivan Yates was pulling the piss out of Mad Vinnie, reminding him that his writ didn’t run beyond these shores and that the likes of Sarkozy, Merkel and the rest didn’t really give two flying fucks for what Vinnie had to say about Lisbon. It was good though not as good, I’m sure, as Liam This Man Doesn’t Know Who’ll Win the All-Ireland Hayes would have been earlier on.

I also managed to catch the weather forecast earlier in the evening, delivered by Monaghan’s finest Gerry Oh Well, We Can Expect Murphy, that nice country lad – the kind you wouldn’t object to see coming through the door to pick up the sister to go dincin’ (though I guess the young people today don’t go dincin’, do they? ). And what did Gerry have to say about Sunday, you might well ask? Oh well, we can expect showers and more showers and a bit of sun and then maybe some more showers. It’s not going to be too warm either, by the looks of it.

Still, it can’t be as bad as the last time I was at McHale Park, when all we were missing from the seasonal weather was the beardy lad and a few of his reindeer. Mind you, that fleece (you know the one, don’t you?) would have come in handy but Postman Pat still hasn’t delivered it to Chez WJ.

7 thoughts on “Oh well, we can expect …

  1. Pre Match Thoughts

    Regarding the selection of the Mayo team, I have spent a good while looking over it. It is largely as expected with a few exceptions and it is these that have provoked the most commentary. As usual, I have waited for the dust to settle before I go in and scatter it around again, but here goes.

    Much has been made of the inexperience of the Full Back line, but in all honesty, the three lads selected should be able for the task. The two rookies have each had good days, Conroy was blooded in the league against Donaghy, the severest test he could be given, and he showed that he was up to it. That will stand to him and with Keith Higgins beside him, I have great hopes that he will continue to grow into the role. Colm Boyle is a tight marker and will be deployed on the nippy corner forward type of player. He is better at this than on the roaming type of corner forward or on a half forward. Because of that, I think he is well worth his place.

    The Half Back line is a strange mixture. Cunniffe is the attacking option but is also a tight marker and could be redeployed as the game goes on to pick up whoever is emerging as the main Sligo playmaker. Heaney is in the middle to put manners on the guys that try to attack down the centre. Which brings me to the mystery. Why Nallen at No 7?

    I think the answer lies in the Sligo team. Nobody in Mayo football has more experience of Eamonn O’Hara than Nallen. O’Hara is an attacking midfielder. Nallen is a back that has played as a defensive midfielder. They are about the same age, have the same levels of speed and fitness and they both know that this is probably their last year. With Nallen playing as a defensive midfielder picking up O’Hara and maybe Gardiner dropping back to provide cover, this allows Johnno to deploy Parsons as an attacking midfielder. It’s a theory – let’s see how it is played to see if there is any merit in it. The one thing against this theory is that Nallen is not a tight marker and this approach on O’Hara could be bad news.

    The two named Mid Fielders are our two best men in this part of the field. I would love to see Ronan have a good game, given all he has been through in the past 18 months. With the three named Half Forwards playing together in a single line for the first time, you wonder what’s going on. I suspect that Gardiner will be deployed as I have stated earlier. Trevor, when he is fit, is almost an automatic choice. In addition, in the past, Conor has always played his best football when either Trevor or SuperMac were also playing. Trevor also adds that extra bit of takenoshit attitude that has sometimes been in short supply in Mayo performances in the past. With Pat Harte, I would like to see a bit more interplay between himself and Austie. If Austie drifts out (as he always does!), Harte should drift in. Then we suddenly have a strong fielder with a good shot right in front of the posts. He has also shown in the past that he can rattle the net. Let’s keep an eye on that as well.

    As most people have stated, the Full Forward line is as expected. However, the tactic of using just two inside forwards leaves us relying on long range points, or points from frees when the runners are fouled coming through. That’s why we score so few goals. I’d like to see more direct play with a bit more fast ball into a full inside line. That would start Sligo thinking about how to stop Mayo rather than concentrating on their own game.

    So how will it pan out? Well, I expect us to be marginally on top at half time. Sligo will come out like men possessed for the second half. They will frighten the life out of us for ten minutes. But from there on I expect Mayo to weather the storm and to get back on top. I keep thinking of the semi final game against Roscommon in the Hyde in 2005. It was just as I have described. I’m hoping for a similar result.

    Keep the Faith!

  2. Nice one, Spailpin! Bracketed with Liam Hayes: now you’ve got me worried!

    Good analysis (as always) FourGoal – your theory on Nallen sounds plausible but, like you, I’m still scratching my head on that one. Well, I guess we don’t have long now to wait and see what happens.

  3. Four Goal knows his onions, and the point about Austin is well made. Why doesn’t Austin stay inside? What’s the idea?

    The best two man inside lines we’ve seen in recent years have been Clarke and McDonnell for Armagh and Geraghy and Murphy for Meath, but all those boys are natural predators, in a way that neither of our boys are. Austin’s two more obvious attributes are size and strength (although he’s unlike most footballers in that he seems smaller in real life than on the pitch), so why not leave him inside?

    Normally, with a man on a roaming commission like that, you take him out because the boys inside need the space or because the man coming out has the jets to get around. Neither case applies here. Maybe it’s just eve of battle collywobbles, but I get a bad feeling about tomorrow. I hope I’m wrong.

    And what the hell is going on with the weather? Will they play the anthem or Báidín Fheidhlimí? The land is drowned.

  4. Well done Willy for highlighting the two man full forward line. We lack a target man like another Four Goal guy of many moons ago. For a county who has Tom Langan on team of the Century and Milleniuum , apart from the old Four Goaler and Jimmy Burke we seem to have abandoned the notion of a catch it and bull through full forward. Just a moan, its all this rain.

  5. Hi Ontheroad – that point about the two man FF line was, of course, made by the latter-day Four Goal and not by myself. (Incidentally, he’s clearly a man who knows a damn sight more about the game than I do). It would be great to have an old-style FF alright – it looked for a while last year as if Barry Moran was going to be that man but he never got a look-in this year (though I think that was because of injury as much as anything else). I really hope Austie cuts loose tomorrow – it would be great to see him do so mid-summer.

    But … the rain, the rain, the rain. I hate to remind you guys but the longest day last year was almost a carbon copy of this one. However, nobody in Chez WJ is getting caught out this year – we’re all jetting off to Italy on the 28th for two weeks, returning 15 hours or so before throw-in in the Connacht final. How about that for confidence as regards tomorrow’s game? Mayo by five or six, I reckon.

  6. PS: Meant to add that this evening’s result up in Omagh should sweep away the last vestiges of complacency about tomorrow’s match. Fermanagh beating Derry (or, indeed, Wexford beating Meath) is as big a shock as Sligo beating Mayo would be. We have been warned!

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