Qualifier details

Photo: GAA

I’m up to my tonsils in work and other stuff all this week – not a bad week, you’d have to admit, to be forced to focus on non-football issues – and so I haven’t been able to do this before now. Others have, I know, already posted some details of what happens in the qualifiers and what’s facing us in this respect but, for the sake of completeness, here’s the full story as I understand it.

We’re on the A side of the draw – undoubtedly the harder side – and the Round 1A matches are set to be played this weekend. These four ties are as follows:

  • Waterford v Derry
  • Louth v Longford
  • Wicklow v Laois
  • Sligo v Antrim

We’ll be drawn to play one of the four winners from these matches, all of which are down for decision this coming Saturday. The draw will be made live on RTÉ Radio One next Monday morning. It’ll be done during the sports bulletin after the 8.30 news headlines on the Morning Ireland programme.

The draw will have two pots, one containing the four Round 1A winners and the other containing ourselves, Clare, Meath/Kildare and Tyrone/Donegal. Those Leinster and Ulster semi-finals are due to be played this weekend.

According to the GAA website (which has full details on the qualifiers – here), a separate draw will be made to determine home advantage. Whether or not that means first team out is at home I’ve no idea but I guess all will be clarified there as the draw is happening on Monday morning.

Also according to that info on the GAA website, repeat fixtures aren’t prevented from happening so there’s no bar to our drawing Sligo, should the Magpies get past Antrim in Round 1A. Moreover, if they do and we’re paired with them, the rules stipulate that it’s us – as the winners of the provincial championship match between us – who’ll have home advantage.

Once the draw has been done and times and venues have been sorted, the Round 2A matches will then be played on 1st July. This, by the way, knocks on the head my plan of doing the Ring of Kerry cycle that day but, sure, that’s another story altogether. After all, by then we could we salivating at the prospect of a first championship meeting with the Wee County since the 1950 All-Ireland final.

Assuming we’re still standing after Round 2A, the fun starts all over again the following Monday (3rd July) on Morning Ireland. This time the period between the draw being made and the matches played is condensed right down – the ball will be thrown in on all these Round 3A ties just five days later, on Saturday 8th July. The Round 3A draw is an open one, with just one pot, so clearly the Tyrone/Donegal losers (assuming, like ourselves, they’re still standing after Round 2A) are the ones we’d like to avoid at that juncture.

Still with me? If we make it to Round 4A we can look forward to the draw for this being made on Monday, 10th July. This round pairs the two survivors from Round 3A with the losing provincial finalists from Connacht and Munster. Repeat pairings will be avoided where possible but, from what I can see, the only case where this becomes relevant for us (if we’re still upright then) is if Galway were to lose the Connacht final. With apologies to Leitrim and Roscommon (and to Cork as well), it looks like the two Round 3A winners will end up playing either the Rossies or the Rebels in Round 4A.

The Round 4A games have been fixed for Saturday 22nd July, with these ties most likely, though not for sure, to be played at Croke Park. If we make it that far, I can say for definite now that I won’t be at that one as firm plans in a different direction are already in the diary for then.

The two-week break between Rounds 3A and 4A will, no doubt, be welcomed by players and supporters alike (assuming, assuming ….) but there’s then just a week’s break between the latter round and the All-Ireland quarter-finals, which on our side of the draw are down for decision on 29th and 30th July. The A side of the qualifiers funnels into the Munster/Connacht end of the All-Ireland Series, which, let’s face it, can only mean that if we make it that far will result in a quarter-final meeting with Kerry.

If the Rossies were to upset the applecart in the Connacht final (with apologies, once again, to Leitrim) we could, I guess, end up playing them in the quarters but, I guess, that’s all supposition at this stage. Staying with the idle speculation for a small bit longer, though, it’s worth noting that if we beat Kerry in the quarters, then we would play the Connacht champions/Round 4A winners in the semis. Where, with fifteen men in the wide open spaces in Croker, we’d show Galway a thing or two. Providing they manage to get that far this year, of course.

Right, that took slightly longer than I’d envisaged. Let’s finish, though, with a quick straw poll. When the draw is made next Monday for the Round 2A matches , there’ll only be four counties we can be paired with but ahead of those Round 1A matches, which of the eight possibles would you like us to be paired with then? Vote now.

Who would like us to draw in Round 2A?

  • Wicklow (17%, 111 Votes)
  • Derry (16%, 108 Votes)
  • Sligo (16%, 103 Votes)
  • Longford (14%, 89 Votes)
  • Waterford (14%, 89 Votes)
  • Antrim (9%, 58 Votes)
  • Laois (7%, 49 Votes)
  • Louth (7%, 48 Votes)

Total Voters: 655

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81 thoughts on “Qualifier details

  1. Home advantage can’t be determined by first team out as there are two pots. I assume they will be taking a team out of pot1 first (1A winners) followed by semi final losers

  2. Thanks Willie Joe – I’ve put all these in the diary with lots of question marks. If all goes week July will be very busy!

  3. Sligo at home would be good tho they are an improving physical side. Derry would be hard work. I’d love a trip away to Belfast to play Antrim. I think we will make it as far as the quarter final V Kerry and I actually think we will beat them through sheer grit and determination. Kerry will be favourites the media and everyone will have us written off they’ll be 20,000 Mayo fans in Croke Park and Damn all Kerry fans yerra sure ”tis only a quarter final. And Kerry won’t be tested cos there’s nothing in Munster to test them. It’s a long road but still all to play for if Rochford freshens up the team a bit i.e. Start Nally and Kirby or Loftus and keep Andy in reserve. All to play for if the lads are hurting and still want it bad enough

  4. Living up to your name there Backdoorsam =D

    Would love a trip to waterford or Belfast alright

    I’d actually hate to get Sligo at home again

  5. I think sligo would be worst draw.

    Players need a bit of novelty and challenge now.

    If we get to round 3 an away day in Donegal or Tyrone will tell us if we are up to it. Make or break. Just suspect the team needs a break

  6. Rewatched the match twice again and feeling much better about it. I feel it all depends on players feelings now. Do they still believe. Its easy for us to get over a loss but different kettle of fish for them. Massive respect to all involved for their commitment.

  7. Imagine 25/30k in Castlebar or a sellout in Omagh. Would be an incredible ocassion.

  8. waterford all the way , get the train back on the rails .

    as joe biden always says you are either on the way up or on the way down and I think realisation has dawned that this team are on the way down.
    That being said there could still be a sting in the tail and muscle memory could bring SAM home this year , I am not ruling it out if the draw is kind and then an epic victory over Kerry took place.

  9. In all them permutations for who we could draw , I’d add a word of caution to anyone assuming galway will win Connacht .I know they are only challenge games but that’s some fairly high scoring the rossie have been doing lately in the two reported games I’ve seen. Galway full back line is rubbish , I’m still sick thinking why the hell we didn’t go twin towers in the last few mins . Kirby on his own with 2/3 galway men covering him , fs what a pointless play.

  10. I’d like to draw Derry as i think it would be good preparation for a possible meeting with Tyrone/Donegal, should we manage to get over the Oakleafers. We seem to struggle against the ”blanket” and this was evident in the last 10 minutes in Salthill on Sunday afternoon.

  11. As long as they don’t take the Conor mort mentality of ” we”re not a qualifier type team”, theyll be fine and go a long way or maybe longer.
    It’s about mindset and these guys have the right mindset,that’s evident for 5-6 years now

  12. You could well be right,Sean. There’s not a peep out of the Rossies and in fairness to them they sacrificed the league (and Division One in the process) to tailor their prep for championship this year. They could well cut loose against that Galway backline, though, like Galway, they’re weak enough themselves at the back. Will be interested to see how they shape up this weekend against Leitrim.

    U2, eh? Nothing like priorities with the GAA and Croke Park.

  13. I’m slightly more positive now that I was. The fact is we would have won last weekend if Higgins wasn’t sent off. Galway had an extra man yet couldn’t score for the last 17 minutes. I have no doubt wed beat them second time around.

    We need Harrison and AOS fully fit but we also need our manager to ‘up his game’ on the sideline.

    Its funny! People say we’re in decline yet we gave a spirited performance last weekend with 14 men and were unlucky to lose. Last year we were terrible against Galway but ultimately came within a dodgy decision of winning Sam.

    We are not without hope!

  14. There is no guarantee we would have won with Keith on the field. Placing all our eggs in that particular basket is unwise. A return of Harrison and hopefully improving fitness wise AOS will improve us.

  15. Thanks Willie Joe for that. I dont know where ya get the time.

    Plus i know its accurate. I’ve seen a few variations of the possible route for us flying around since Sunday.

    I saw somewhere on here that we scored 0-6 from 19 attempts at the target on Sunday. (not sure where our scored goal is in that statistic). If true though, that is an awful reflection on our shooting. Jaysus its cat altogether.

    We could well reach a quarter with an under cooked Kerry and be written off completely. That would suit us for sure. Mind ya, Kerry been undercooked and untested by August hasn’t damaged them too much the last 100 years.

    Waterford up first for us if i had a choice.

  16. I’m not questioning your motives, StraightOuttaGeesala, but it’s long-standing policy here on the blog that “I have it on good authority” scoops aren’t allowed. What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas.

  17. Qualifiers are a lottery. The only way to take them is one game at a time. I can only think the players must be disgusted at themselves for having to go down this route.

    Of course a lot of blame lies with Keith Higgins but to be fair we had 6/7 minutes at the end with a gale force wind behind our backs to get a solitary point and (apologies for the pun) ‘we blew it’! The whole team has to take responsibility for that.

    I feel now it is the time to try out a few other guys. I know – I look back on the match and I see all 5 forwards scored from play. But each only scored a solitary score. Ally that with having to defend more (due to the 14 men) then our half back line is under severe pressure to stay put and defend. We need some more alternatives and none of the subs introduces the last day scored. So why not give other guys a try. What’s to lose at this stage?

    I’d like to see Shane Nally given a chance. Also Conor Loftus. And probably Aido at FF as a target man with Cillian and others playing off him with some fast or high balls into him from the likes of Nally, McLoughlin or Fergal Boland. We’ll surely get a reasonably soft enough draw the first round and this will be the only opportunity the team has to develop something they might build on.

    Otherwise we’re walking the same tightrope as always with no plan B.

  18. Think we’re definitely on the decline but hopefully a sting left in us yet. This is the team I’d like tried out, with the focus on pace in each line, which I think caused us huge problems at times on Sunday. I think with the way this team is set up it would bring a huge sense of unpredictability to our play

    8.Keegan (worth a try, badly need a bit of mobility in this sector and would cover every blade of grass and would give more opportunities for him to get on the scoreboard.
    9.Seamie O’Shea (Barry Moran if fit for the mark alone)
    10.McLoughlin (Wasted at CHF)
    11.Aidan O’Shea (3rd midfielder, can assist with kick outs and adds physicallity to midfield)
    12.Higgins (Himself and McLoughlin would be great men to break at speed and mop up breaking ball if we went long for kickouts, one could also drop in as sweeper depending on the oppostion)
    13.Diramuid O’Connor ((Wasted at CHF)
    14.Cillian O’Connor
    15.Conor Loftus

    Subs. Vaughan (to cover full back and wing back position, great man to bring on with 20min left)
    Coen (to cover Half back line)
    Andy Moran (Last 15-20mins when the game is there for the taking)
    Parsons (Great option to have for fresh legs around the middle)
    Kirby-Option for CHF if AOS tires or as a target man in full forward line, don’t think we are using him enough
    Doherty. Has bulked up considerably and definitely think he’s worth another shot at corner forward.
    On a wide open pitch like Croker I think Boland could thrive with his eye for a pass.

    Would love to see the likes of Reape and Douglas get a decent run of games but can’t see it happening under present management. Also felt Alan Freeman is a pure confidence player and was very hard done by, no point bringing him on as a sub, needed a run of games which he never got bar 2013 unfortunately.

  19. As mentioned above we Could have 4 games coming up in July.

    Does anybody know what’s happening with Barry Moran and Alan Dillon when are they due back. Also when is Conor OShea due back.

  20. Where is digits gone? Loved his permutations posts last year in the qualifiers. Always so concise and perfectly accurate (WJ, not criticising you for one minute on your informative post).

    Can we not get Galway again in the quarters? All talk is we can only get Kerry but surely Cork & Roscommon (and to a lesser degree Leitrim) are not without chance.

  21. I think we were unlucky with what happened in Galway and the backlash is OTT as end of day we got beaten by a goo side when we had 14 men .
    Higgins most unlike him but he did carry out what I deem a horrible and cowardly act and if he were from any other county and kneed one of our players in the balls, I would ask for him to be suspended for at least 15 weeks.

    I dont mind the idea of the qualifiers as we were going nowhere fast the way we were so dependent on Cillian . We need to get someone else to step up .
    I would try something like below
    Keegan____Kirby/Nally___Kevin Mc

    We need to change our inside line, its ok and saying oh put in Kirby or AOS next to Cillian but that still doesn’t give us a variance .
    We played some nice balls inside the last day but again Cillian and Andy were inside and were isolated .
    Two lads are accurate but both lack pace so by putting Diarmuid who has an eye for goal inside we have driving pace and power to aid Cillians accuracy .

    Spring Andy from bench when required .

  22. Back door may be a blessing in the sense it may give us opportunity to give game time to fringe players and develop a system that suits us best, two things we did not do in league. Nothing wrong with old style physical full forward who can make a few runs, win ball and distribute. If that suits us as part of a system then we should use it. May also give Boland some chance to express himself more than he is at present.
    The inclusion of keegan in midfield in post above is interesting. One things for sure we need drive and leadership coming from that sector, a vocal player whos constantly keeping others on their toes

  23. Looks like I was nicking your post Eyesontheball, very simular thoughts but I dont have any confidence in Ger Caff at the moment, hadnt prior to Sunday and definetly dont now .
    I think Vaughan whilst not traditional will compete aerially and is good on ground, stand up tackles etc as well as his distribution (just dont let him shoot) and for me is a modern twist or our best wist on the role of a FB .

    We do need to see what Nally and Kirby are about both big boots and powerul but limited speed so where to play them is major question ut I think if they in half forward line it should release Parsons forward moreso .
    Parsons is trying too much in midfield at the moment .
    I thin k AOS would be the better partner for him but Seamie a great option from bench, I think the O Sheas will have to share that defensive midfield role as neither are mobile enough to last the 70 mins but both can make big impacts in the time they play .

  24. Dave ‘we are not a qualifier type of team’ Connor Mortimer was only telling it as it was in his day,!………..I’m looking forward to the qualifiers, exciting, do or die now,… . Club championship this weekend, don’t expect to see any Mayo player’s that got 70+ hard minutes to the fore, the same would go for Galway players. .. As usual some players who are and were close to making the starting 15 last Sunday to have stormers, and expect these particular player’s supporter’s to inform us here on this blog of their merits….If Mayo are to have a prolonged run in the qualifiers, and the vast majority of poster’s and reader’s would certainly hope for that to be the case, it will put the club championship time line into some difficulties… We can expect a few more young and talented players to be considering a trip Stateside for the Summer… 10, million + HITS, on this blog to date, that’s an amazing statistic,. It reflects very well on your good self and shows the importance of a very good moderation policy, but it’s allot of work, and us poster’s and reader’s should appreciate it . You could nearly consider going for President of Ireland with numbers like that, Willie Joe!

  25. Watched the last twenty minutes again last night. Slightly more optimistic than I was leaving Salthill on Sunday. Have no idea why management and other contributors wish to change what is the best half back line in the country-Keegan, Boyle and Durcan. Mayo are at their best when they drive from the half back line and force opposition to react. I know Durcan missed one opportunity when he went forward and a glorious goal chance against Sligo but I feel if these three players aren’t attacking a) we are are never going to get enough scores and b) we are inviting opposition on yo us. Twenty years ago Nallen attacked at every conceivable opportunity, and that was the difference between us beating a coming Galway side in Tuam when there was no back door. That has little relevance only that at least we have the opportunity to reflect and tweak and do better.
    I would be of the opinion that it is a big ask to reach the performance levels witnessed in both All Ireland Finals last year but still think a positive performance on July First may be the catalyst for one last assault. A lot to do but opportunity still there.

  26. Over the last few years we have been wide open up the middle & that is why Keegan is CHB. We need to go back to the sweeper system we used in AIF.

  27. I agree that McLoughlin should be sweeper and leave half back line as it was in All Ireland. There were huge gaps the last day too and better forwards would have punished that. Cannot be underestimated how important Parsons’ rob was in final minute. But those gaps probably wouldn’t have been an issue had Highins not got red card.
    Thought Barrett was excellent the last day and with Harrison coming back one would be confident of keeping most teams to 14/15 points or under. Can’t see us scoring much more than that though.

  28. Hi
    Be fun to think Mayo and U2 play Croke park on July 22nd .both events clash ???

  29. I’d like to see Kirby given more time in the qualifiers, possibly in the half forward line or as a third midfielder. He can score from distance and is a very accurate kick passer from what I’ve seen so far. He gave a lovely ball into Cillian near the end of the match. if we are trying to play more direct then I think he’ll be an important part of it. Would give good cover for parsons around the middle when he goes forward too

  30. Playing the quarter finals a week after a qualifier match (could even be a 6 day turnaround potentially) is what will catch us if we get that far. I think its then we mightl see the true impact losing last Sunday will have on our championships.

  31. I haven’t looked into it in detail but what happens in the event of a draw in any of our qualifiers? Extra time or replay?

  32. i thought this was your full time job Willie Joe all the work you do for this blog ha

  33. I have to say it more than a little stings to see people would prefer to play Sligo over all bar Wicklow. Especially considering Sligo consistently come out on top against a number one of the teams below them.

    Also cannot believe we would have to travel to castlebar even if drawn out first. To say that is a fucking joke is an understatement. How the rules change every year is ridiculous. A few years back the change the possibility of repeat matches after I believe Roscommon and Galway were drawn against each other in quick succession…they said they can’t allow that to emerge again at the time and low and behold we are back to square 1 again. A bloody joke.

  34. Good teams picked above and yes everyone would like to see the fringe players getting game time in the qualifiers but unfortunately the evidence is that this is not Rochford’s style. Last year parsons and gibbons got injured in the Galway game, coen and SOS came in for them in the 1st qualifier, regan started against Galway and all 3 qualifiers but he and Coen didn’t make the 1/4 final team. Apart from that it was the usual suspects that played in the qualifiers so don’t expect anything different this year. What makes this frustrating is there is no consistency in the substitutions. Lotus was put on against Sligo for a few minutes, looked ok, not put on last Sunday, and there are numerous examples of that. The fringe players have no chance of progress in this kind of system. We probably won’t see kirby again this year! The other problem is the low turnover of players in the panel, especially in the forwards. There has to be better club players than some of the guys there who have had numerous chances but just can’t score under any kind of pressure. The turnover has to be higher, or in 2 to 3 years that when we’ll be a right forward mess, especially if cillian gets injured.

  35. Thanks for that Willie Joe! Any news on how long Keith out for? (Has he ever even got a yellow before ????) and how is the injury situation does anyone know? If Galway win Connacht who do they play in a quarter final? Thanks for any answers 🙂

  36. No definitive word yet, Livenhope – the Mayo News yesterday said it might be just one match but I’m not sure if that’s been decided. Keith has seen red before – he was sent off in the closing stages on that evening of horrors in Longford back in 2010. That, though, was when he told the ref (that Kinneavy tool from Galway) what he thought about one of his many decisions against us and was ordered off for his troubles. A knee to the rocks might have been the right option that evening too!

  37. @Cantini, I would take it as a compliment, not an insult! There’s more than one reason for picking a County, and I think travel distance and an enjoyable day out is a big part of it. I voted Wicklow, not because of their strength (or lack of it), but because I live there:)
    Derry is far from the weakest team either, but they are right up there in the votes. Mind you, we also clearly have a fair few masochists who’d like nothing better than being reminded of the last time we played Longford…

  38. Its all very well changing personnel but we need a change of plan to operate to our maximum. Right now we utilise or half back line to come forward and get a few scores, the pathway opening up for them after a series of short handpassing. The rest of the plan see Andy on his own in the corner making runs to support players should they opt for a long ball in. Our other two making up the full forward line seem to have a free licence to roam, doing a bit of sweeping, a bit of turning over and a bit of fouling as they roam. Remember teams are doing there homework and our half back line going forward are going to findit harder and harder to get score as the opposition improves

  39. Was there ! but can’t remember that ! only red card I remember that day was for our Chairperson at the time !! Also for something he said to the referee ! Thanks a mil! Hopefully a one match ban ! Still shocked ! the last person on the team you’d imagine would react like that !

  40. Many contributors are talking about our improvement in kick passing. Great. Now we can mix the two and have some variation to our play. Accurate kick passing enables us to move the ball quickly ou of defence and up to our attacking line. Oops sorry up to Andy for he his our attacking line. So somethings got to change for that to work. And the players need to execut that change in a strict disciplined way.

  41. Roscommon have lost Compton, Corcoran and Harney I believe is unlikely and even if he makes it hasnt been training. They can’t afford to lose three strong players. If Roscommon had more players fit its a decent forward line.
    Echo the point above. How can any fringe player develop in this system?
    We have tight calls. Cant we keep even a small investment in the future?
    Stephen Coen to this point should have seven or eight more appearances than he got.

  42. ‘Straightoutageesala’ Far be it from me to question your motives either, but is that not a very strange name to post under,. Considering the day that’s in it?. I haven’t seen you post before today!

  43. I think it’s a bit unfair to blame our low turnover of players completely on Rochford. The fact is that we have been slow to bring in new blood for years now. Before the match on Sunday I mentioned to a man beside me that we have 3 of last years u21 starting. Players like Danny Kirby also got plenty of game time this year. In reality we have done more under Rochford to bring in new players then under our previous managers. When you lose a game everything is wrong, when you win you’re a genius. If we had lost to Tyrone last year his decision to play Dillon at 3 would have been lambasted. From my memory he got great credit for posters here and external. I’ll hold my judgement on Rochford until we’re out.

  44. It’s not easy games we need its hard ones to see were we are really at derry for me what is the point in a easy one and to win by 7 or 8 points

  45. Willie joe. Excellent piece as usual. Could I ask would fans like a trip to leeside on 22nd July if we were drawn to meet the rebels. The pitch will be just about ready then What a great occasion it would be. Cork v Mayo is a real possibility. But don’t remind me of limerick bTW I only have a limited number of spare beds

  46. I would be assuming after there omissions against Galway that our 3 all stars in Brendan Harrison, Colm Boyle and Aidan O’Shea will be returning to the starting fifteen.In my opinion had the 3 started we would have defo won that game even with the 14 men.Harrison in to replace the suspended Keith Higgins and Boyler to return to centre half back as Leeroy does not seem to be himself in the centre and a return to 5 will let him back to what he does best bombing forward.and lastly Aidan I would like to see him back at centre half forward where he can help Seamie and Tom p win possesion and is a target for long kickouts for Clarke and he can run at defences and attract attention to open up space for other forwards.
    Would like to see Shane Nally get his chance played really well in the last two league games very good passer and can score long range points and a good ball carrier.

  47. Jaysus, thats a very close vote. A 3 way tie at the top and the 4th placed team just a fraction behind. Mondays draw might have to be delayed if this ends level.
    Also what did poor owl Laois ever do to us?

  48. Wish our forwards would move FORWARDS at least half the time. Too much over and back. Put the head down and head for goal. And be supported. Watch Dublin, the masters of this tactic. And If you don’t get a shot off you could earn a free.

    Most unlike Keith on Sunday. He must have been severely provoked.
    Galway were savage. That’s their privilege. But fire should have been met with fire.

  49. I know there’s a lot of assuming going on here Willie Joe…but it is possible for us to meet Galway again in a quarter final. We would have to beat the Munster runners up in round 4 and Roscommon/Leitrim would also have to win in round 4.

    Also, the two round 4A qualifier matches are always played at neutral provincial venues. The round 4B matches are played at Croke Park. (Or at least they have been every year since this nonsense A/B qualifier system has been around).

  50. Mister Mayor, I really hope not Wicklow in Aughrim, unless Cormac Reilly is the ref. He might never get out of the car boot. Laois for me and back on the horse, nice and steady. The last we need , is Derry or Sligo away.

  51. Yes dubh. But the only way for us to meet them again is if they win Connacht, ourselves and Ross avoid each other and both end up in the quarter final. Galway can’t play them twice in a row so we will play them. Similar to Kerry playing Clare last year in the munster semi and the last 8

    This is all Assuming we win our next 3 games and Ross win against leitrim, lose to Galway and win their qualifier!! So I reckon we focus on round 2A and take it from there =)

  52. Also I recall Keith decking some lad against Galway a few years back, before the Horan era. Can’t remember the exact detail but he definitely did it!

  53. As far as I can recall, Mark, that was the 2011 match (so Horan’s first year) and the Galway player was Hehir (or was it O’Hehir). Keith hit him a nasty box to the head but somehow managed to avoid any sanction for it.

  54. Last Sunday was the first time since 2007 that Mayo lost to Galway in Salthill, that summer of 2007 Derry ended up knocking Mayo out of the championship a bad trimming up in Celtic park if i recall right.

    Derry are probably the strongest of the teams Mayo can draw on Monday however from what i seen of them against Tyrone are average at best and they aren’t to play blanket defence successfully like Donegal,Tyrone,Cavan,Monaghan can in Ulster. So i would expect to win any round 2 game in similar manner to how Sligo was dispatched.

    Its round 3 that will become tricky as even Clare away would pose plenty of questions as they are similar to Galway with good midfielders,physical,power runners and have good scoring forwards.

    Roscommon winning Connacht would mean that Mayo could possibly avoid Kerry in the quarter final but unfortunately the rossies have too much of a turnover in their panel from last year to beat Galway, gone is some of their best defenders in N Collins,D Keenan and the Daly brothers lads that were starters on Sigerson cup winning teams and gone is most of their height or physical strength in the team with no U Harney,K Higgins the Shines etc.

  55. no way do we need derry!?! a hom game v a div 4 team please and then the softest possible draw aftr that! we have serious mileage andwhile i do agree tha some players lik loftus need more game time we do not want tbegetting to round 4 or futher having had tough draining encounters

  56. Willie Joe. Re the “wide open spaces of Croke Park”, according to Wikipedia Pearse Stadium is marginally bigger than Croke Park. It [and the Hyde] is maxximum size whereas Croke Park is somewhere around 97% of maximum.
    I don’t have exact figures to hand. Incidentally, also according to Wikipedia, MacHale Park is quite a bit the smallest county ground in Connacht, somewhere around 86% of maximum size.
    Re preference for a qualifier R1 opponent I would like either Derry or Longford as we owe both of thim one for past misfortunes.

  57. I think Mayo should win their next game. Regardless of opposition or where it’s played. I hope it’s Antrim in Antrim as I’m flying back to Belfast internayional airport Sat morning after a holiday. ?

  58. Anyone else think that Roscommon might put it up to Galway (Providing they beat Leitrim, No disrespect to Leitrim.). The past 4 or 5 years Roscommon have concentrated on the league, and done well it may I add, but not the championship. This year that the big aim at the start of the season was championship and to a lesser degree survival of division 1. The training was for the championship. I reckon the rossies will put it up to Galway. Mcstay will be looking to exploit that weak Galway full back line. Lump ball into it and go for goals. I reckon an upset wouldn’t be completely out of the question. I really don’t rate Galway just yet, however in maybe 3 years they will have a very very competitive team with successful U21’s well intertwined into the team.

  59. Meant to post this along with my comment above. The Rossies scored 7 goals in their challenge match on Tuesday evening. Now look it was wexford so no big surprise that they won that match but 7 goals suggests practicing a tactic perhaps? Goals to kill Galway off. Now they also conceded a lot which against Galway could be detrimental.

  60. Maybe the Rossies will Castlebar Exile, brought them to replay last year.

    Galway might need that back door sign themselves yet that’s flying around on social media LOL – mind you they haven’t had bother finding back door in last 15 years, getting though it the problem! Hee Hee.

    They’re all v excited up here anyway – flags galore.

  61. It’s all well and good knocking in 7 goals against a second string Wexford team in a challenge match, it’s a whole different ball game against Galway in a Connach final. The Rossies have no midfield and a shaky back line, while Galway are good around the middle and strong up front. It could well be another trimming for the sheep stealers.
    I will however make the same prediction that I did last year and it’s that we’ll still be playing ball when the other two are writing their 2017 season review.

  62. Ah Jaysus Willie Joe, let Straightouttageesala tell us all.

    .I skirted Geesala yesterday on my exploration of (magnificent) North Mayo. And watched a young fella (21+) practising kicks at Kiltane pitch; he was still practising when I passed that way again, 2 hours later!

  63. Roscommon under the radar and good set of forwards. Weak in the middle of the field, Galway will exploit that. I expect Galway will be on a bit of roll having beaten Mayo, traing is upbeat aand they may improve a lot. Anyway its Galway for me

  64. If Rossies had Galway in the Hyde they would have a good chance but the final will be in Salthill….I was talking to a member of the Galway backroom team and he was telling me they had the last 12 training sesions in Salthill so they were well prepared for pitch conditions and elements like wind factor they normally train in Lockgeorge ….They were quite happy to play against wind as they were well prepared for it….

  65. Derry are arguably the strongest team ye could get on Monday morning. Having played them ourselves in the league in Tuam, I can safely predict that Mayo would eat Derry without salt. They were a shambles at the back and didn’t look that much better in Ulster. We could and should have scored 10 goals on them that day.

  66. Don’t know how some of these footballers survive on the pitch at all. Happened to meet three of them in civies over the last while …one defender and two forwards and as far as I could see there wasn’t a pick on any of them! One of the forwards has hands and fingers that you would associate with a pianist or fiddler rather than a footballer. As they used to say ‘ he has a great pair of hands’… he has!!

  67. 10/11 for mayo to make the quarter finals. There are eight teams preferred to mayo in the betting to make it that far. Really gone backwards in the markets , horrible feeling .

  68. Sean Burke the markets won’t decide how Mayo do and are prone to rapidly change. whoever losses between Donegal and Tyrone will drop like a stone too.

  69. @Catcol. Hands 🙂
    Don’t know if its biological or more likely lifestyle/work related but under 35’s tend to have skinny small hands, so not unexpected.
    I blame the milking machines, stone pickers and mini diggers.

  70. so the bookies don’t think we will make the quarters?

    is there 3 games to get to a quarter final?

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