Rochy readying his forces for Galway

Photo: @Sportsfile (Seb Daly)

The press night ahead of our Connacht SFC semi-final against Galway at Salthill on Sunday week (throw-in 4pm) took place last night. What was said then will, as usual, only be reported on in-depth in the days leading up to the game but Mike Finnerty has a piece (here) in today’s Irish Examiner arising from last night’s event.

In it, Stephen does an effective job in downplaying all the nonsense that’s been swirling round in the media about us over the past week or so. He admits that our failure to land Sam has made us “an easy target” for the kind of pantomime stuff we’ve seen of late but he goes on to stress that this background noise isn’t what’s on his mind right now:

I don’t really care. I care about how we’re going to be over the next two and a half weeks, what shape we’re in, what work we’ve done, and that we’re ready for Galway.

Good on you, Rochy – that’s exactly where the focus needs to be between now and 11th June.

In that same piece, Stephen confirms that all the players who were available for the Sligo match will be okay for the next day. This means that Kevin McLoughlin – forced off in the first half against Sligo with a leg injury – and Seamus O’Shea, who was withdrawn in that game after getting a bang to the head late on, should both be fine for Salthill.

Stephen didn’t say anything about Brendan Harrison, who missed the Sligo game with a hamstring problem. Maybe Harry will enlighten the world on that point himself – an interview by Mike Finnerty with the All-Star corner-back forms the centrepiece of a Mayo News football podcast bonus episode, which will be available to listen to here on the site and elsewhere by around lunchtime today. Stay tuned for that.

51 thoughts on “Rochy readying his forces for Galway

  1. Do not under estimate the pressure the Galway team and management are under with their 2 in a row bid. Their last championship game showed them in a poor light and there is no point in denying that or offering excuses. The 2 in a row could easily become 1 in a row and ye know what that is also called.

  2. Pj. This Mayo team are probably under more pressure, The failure to lift Sam, time running out for certain players, the media, the supporters etc . In Galway it is not so intense. Winning Connacht last year was a surprise and prob happened a year or two before expected. Kw has been building a new squad since his arrival and the promotion to Div 1 in the league was achieved this year and the integration of so many young u 21s as well. I dont believe Gawaly are under massive pressure, everyone knows how good a team Mayo are, If Galway lose they will look at giving the qualifiers a good lash and still getting to Croke park for a quater final. Mayos expectations are to win Sam, Galways are no wher near that yet!

  3. There will be no sign of Sam in Salthill on June 11 no fear there. We had a ball last year going through the back door games on Saturday in McHale. Now tell Galway’s story again.

  4. I agree Tuamstar. This is a must win game for Mayo. As much as I enjoyed the amount of games we got to play during our run in the qualifiers last year, we need to bring the Nestor Cup back to Mayo this year… Where it belongs

  5. The story is Galway won Connacht and then seriously took their eye of the ball and were well beaten by Tipperary in the q final. I hope that Galway have learned from that occasion, i think long tearm that defeat could work out well for them. June 11th has all the makings of been a cracker..

  6. tuamstar, pressure is on galway for the 2 in a row, mayo took their eyes off the ball against galway and got rightly punished. I think Mayo will be ready for them this time. The big pressure will be on galway to win a championship game in croker.

  7. Pressure is more on Mayo really. I think they took their eye off the ball last yr but Galway are a better side than 12 months ago. Tough one to call but I fancy Mayo to get the job done in a tight game

  8. I think honestly their is more pressure on us. If Galway loose they will fancy a crack at the qualifiers.

    Mayo need to beat Galway and go through the front door. I think we will too if that is any consolation 🙂

  9. Galway will have pressure on them as all reigning champions have but there isnt anything expected of them all ireland wise. Mayo the Most under pressure team out there, Galway are up and coming but know they are not there yet, for Mayo this is last chance territory. As Tuamstar said with the media, failure to win sam, time against some players. Let nobody kid themselves, Mayo will be the team with the most pressure and the most to lose on the 11th. Alot will depend on how Mayo manage that pressure and the expectation surrounding them.

  10. I feel we are the ones that the pressure will be on. It feels like we are in a goldfish bowl at the moment with everybody waiting for us to slip up. If we do what are the chances we would get such an easy route to the final like last year, Tyrone aside. Nervous.

  11. Rochford’s and the players biggest job is to have the heads in the right shape. If he’s done this duty well we will prosper in Salthill.

  12. The pressure is on us to win in Salthill and thats a good thing I think this team performs best under pressure as you sure at the end of the league wins in Tyrone and must win against Donegal were all done with pressure of relegation.
    The backdoor would suit Galway better as they have a younger fresher squad without the mental baggage…..Mayo do live in goldfish bowl but thats because we are a box office brand….

  13. Pressure is for tyres if we lose In Salthill we lose we can go through the backdoor and fine tune our plans but I expect we’ll beat Galway by a couple of points after a ding dong battle.

  14. Should be an interesting battle in salthill. Galway have the better forwards but we have the better defense. Lets hope its not a repeat of last years performance!

  15. Talking about teams under pressure, it’ll be interesting to see how the Galway hurlers will get on this weekend. Even though they didn’t make it back to Division 1, as they lost to Wexford, they still won the league title by demolishing Tipp. All the talk now is, can they back it up in the championship.

    So for us in football, are we better off to be coming into the championship been talked down and written off, compared to the Galway hurlers been talked up and now been seen as the favourites to win the All-Ireland hurling title.

    Kerry drew with Cavan in the league, we lost to them, so even if we had got a draw against Cavan we could have sneaked into a league final ahead of Kerry. Galway won their final group stage game against an understrength Kildare team in Salthill by one point. If they had lost that game they would still be in Division 2. That’s how tight the margins are.

    I actually prefer to be going into our game this year with a lot of people talking about it been a 50/50 game compared to last year when the mantra from a lot of people was not if we were going to win but how much we were going to win by. Yes Galway are improving and we are a bit of an unknown quantity this year (as we were for pretty much all of last year) but we should still have enough in the tank to get out of Salthill with a win. Roll on the game!

  16. I think both teams are under pressure to perform. Galway know that winning the Div2 title means little if they don’t produce anything in the championship. And the back door is a complete lottery. E.g. could just as easily draw teams like Cork, Meath, Kildare away and be in for a real batle.

    Mayo management and players realise this as well and will surely also have the thoughts of revenge in their minds after last years dismal performance in Castlebar.

    Probably will be plenty of needle as well between the players.

    All in all should be a cracker.

  17. Pressure makes diamonds. No need to fear it.

    Mayo should win and grow from the Galway game. I don’t think they put a foot wrong against Sligo and they will be better prepared for Galway this year. I am expecting silence from the “told you so” merchants of doom afterwards.

  18. Pa, psi, bar, mmHg, atm – whatever way you want to measure pressure – it’s something Mayo are going to thrive on when they take to the field in Pearse stadium in two weeks time to knock that Galway outfit back ten years with a lethal display of power and pace. Last year a small few of us forewarned about the sense of complacency ahead of the game in McHale park and….voila, it happened. This year there will be no such mindset when these lads come to spill maroon blood in Salthill.

  19. 2 injured swans, there was a lot wrong with the Sligo game. Forward play was way too static, no one showing despite the large portion of possession mayo had. Alot of wayward passes and poor tackling. There is alot to improve on from the Sligo game but thats where you want to be, improving throughout the year and peaking at the business end. Just need to be good enough to beat whats infront of us until then.

  20. First time poster, long time reader. From a Galway point of view we are rightly 7/4 outsiders for this. For once the eyes of the country will be on a Connacht championship game in what should be a fascinating tussle. I’ve heard virtually nothing from the Galway camp, with only Finian Hanley unavailable due to a knee injury sustained in a training camp in Portugal. Heard earlier in the year that the talk in the Galway camp was to atone for the awful loss to Tipperary in the QF last year. That’s where the two counties differ, where’s winning an AI QF would be real tangible progress for Galway, where’s nothing short of Sam will suffice for Mayo. I can’t believe a lot of the experts are not even factoring Mayo in their AI predictions. Ye don’t need me to say that Mayo have a serious chance of reaching the promised land this year. It has to happen soon though. I assumed that Galway would be at the top table for ever after 2001, but as the years rolled on we got into an awful lull period. One from which we are only beginning to emerge from now. My theory on it was that we held onto the AI winners for far too long. But that’s a matter for another day.

    I expect Mayo to be way more tuned in playing Galway this time around, unlike last year and they should have the experience and expertise to get over a Galway team that is still developing. Kevin Walsh still doesn’t fully trust our backs and as a result we play a very defensive game which is genuinely not playing to Galway’s strengths at all, as the forwards are there that have the potential to do damage on any side. But when we turnover the ball we have one or two options up the field, rather than 4 or 5 that should be there.

  21. Jeez Mayomad….that ll do just fine but I’d prefer it the other way for a change. T’would be nice to enjoy an odd game or even a bit!
    And 45…..that was like a lovely cool licky vanilla icecream in a cone even without a flake. Hopefully we ll be able to run around after Galway shouting ….et la…45 a declare…je vous l’ai dit..( didn’t I tell ye )

  22. I came on here tonight to talk about pressure, but I’ve been beaten to the punch.

    Great news that Brendan Harrison is back training.

  23. Galway focus for the year will be to beat Mayo. They will throw the kitchen sink at us and probably try to rough us up as well. For Mayo it is just another step on the way to our Annual appearance in All Ireland QF. Whether we go back door or win Connacht, we will be in Croker on August Bank Holiday weekend. Galway are not our focus, we need to beat Kerry and the Dubs. No dis-respect to Galway, but this is not a must win game for us. Think pressure is on Galway and will see whether they can handle it.

  24. I think the pressure thing is a whole lot of nonsense.. sure according to the media and the whole of the rest of the world we have been under pressure sense like for ever..(how many years is it now and who is counting) every year it’s make or break.. make or break.. every game make or break until we win Sam. Can we not just look at the game as it is.. Mayo versus Galway.. the winner of which Paddy Power will have odds on to win Connaught.. but more importantly this will hopefully be an absolutely cracker of a game.. potential quarter finalist in the making. Stand up, take notice and be envious those who support and follow the non events that are leinster and munster. Whoever wins.. wins.. they will have earned it.. they will deserve it and will be a step closer on their journey.. end of. Anything else is just tabloid filler guff

  25. Oh lord lantern such rubbish talk about pressure!! Pressure on both to perform. The loser will b very disapointed.
    Think both teams will make QF’s regardless
    As our oldest rivals it will always be nice to beat them as it is for them against us!! Mayo Abu

  26. ‘A Year till Sunday’!, great to hear from another perspective.. I think even the most addicted of us Mayo fans, need to hear from another perspective every now & and again. Talk of ‘Pressure’ (sure there is always pressure between Mayo and Galway,, who who have it any different?) & AOS selfies (for the record, it might be a story if he refused to obliged the children seeking a photo) otherwise it dosent amount to a Hill of bean’s, The spat between the two paid pundits, James Horan and Bernard Flynn has left me bewildered and bored….is there nothing else happening,? A story about a nonstory…. Great video was ‘A year till Sunday’ the fly on the wall documentary of 1998 Galway, All Ireland victory.. I tend to disagree with the theory that Galway held on to the players too long..I wouldn’t even suggest Galway didn’t hold on to the manager as being a reason. John OMahony won two All Ireland U21 football finals during his tenure as well, in the height of the Celtic Tiger it was easy, comparatively to hold on to player’s. Anyway it’s almost two decades ago, and football has changed, the tactics and Management skills of the late 90s or early naughties were made redundant by the Tyrone team and the other contenders from 2003 onwards. The huge physical intensity of today’s football did not exist back then. There can be some good traditional football played every now and again, Tipperary. last year being a case in point. But these Tipperary guys are fine athletes, tactical aware and no little skill, I have to honest and say that I taught Tipperary had every chance of beating Galway last year. The two big tall guys, Sweeney and Quinlivan would trouble any full back line that ever existed. The current player of the year Lee Keegan was deployed to the full back line to help nullify the Tipp big boy’s and it was easily the most difficult job Leroy had for the whole year. Reputation only means so much. For either of us to progress to the Connacht Final we will have to earn it the hard way.. Who would have it any other way?

  27. At this stage I’m wondering who is going to be covering the game in Salthill.

    I’m sorry to say that I hope it’s not the national broadcaster. I think that if one of our players ties their boot laces and one of their journalists spots it in the corner of their eye, he could be vilified for the rest of his life! (Or until the broadcaster becomes redundant?)

    The funny thing is that before the replay last year, there was a particular agenda. Why couldn’t they tell us the reason we haven’t won in a while at that point?!

  28. People can say what they want about Connacht, but you can’t beat Mayo Galway. I can’t wait. Has the potential to be a battle akin to those of yesteryear!

  29. Justoutsideballagh, why isn’t the Galway game a ‘must win’ for Mayo?? Surely Mayo don’t want to end up in the qualifiers again? It would suit Galway better to be in the qualifiers, with a younger team.

  30. Galway would actually benefit from a few qualifier games…and there’s defo more pressure on Mayo ahead of this. Mayo are favourites and the favourite tag always comes with added expectation.

    Whoever wins will then face a very tricky primrose & blue banana skin. Expect the Rossies to be much better than people think. An early warning for all!!

  31. Living in Galway… like last year they’re VERY confident of beating us! I’m being told Mayo on the decline players are tired no new players etc etc etc … Galway are on the up ! Connacht champions league 2 div winners their U21 success I think the pressure is on them to back it all up!

  32. Galway always think they hav a chance of beating mayo .but to think that winning a division 2 title and getting to an under 21 final is evidence that they will beat mayo you are mistaken.Look at it how roscommon and cavan performed this year going up to division 1.we have been playing division 1 football consecutively for 20 years now and won the all ireland under 21 title last year.we are a top 3 team ,Galway are under the top 6 bracket somewhere.I watched the galway v kildare division 2 league final and there was nothing in that game to suggest to me that they would frighten mayo.They caught mayo on the hop last year and mayo kicked a lot of bad wides on the nite.I do not see it happening again.

  33. TH ditto as Mayo always think they have a chance of beating Galway. Look both teams are under pressure to win albeit for slightly different reasons. People can go on about Galway beating Mayo ‘on the hop’ last season but ultimately these things do go in cycles so not a huge surprise in the greater scheme of things. Look at Cork hurlers. I can assure you they will believe they can now win the hurling all-Ireland yet nobody gave them a whiff of a chance against Tipp. Ultimately Galway Mayo may come down to your defence against our forwards as unlike two yrs ago Galway are now much closer to the Dubs/Mayo/Kerry/Donegal in terms of physical conditioning. And the gap between the top three has narrowed although there still is a gap. I just hope Kevin Walsh allows us to play with a bit of abandon particularly as we have the front 8 to do damage.

  34. Just sayin – in 2013 Galway WON the U21, had the U21 manager (Alan Mulholland) as senior manager, promoted a number of U21 newbies, and the Sunday Game panel tipped them to beat Mayo. Mayo were coming off the back of an All Ireland defeat, jaded, down etc, etc. Result Mayo 4:16, Galway 0-11.

    Just sayin.

  35. The reason pundits don’t put Mayo down as one of the teams to win it is because no logical person can really explain why we haven’t managed to win it thus far. Of course you can point to specific things in each game to see why but on balance, consistently high performances ending in ultimate failure at that level doesn’t make sense. Because of that, you’d be a mad pundit to go tipping us. Logic from previous history would dictate that we may well get to the final again, but wont win it. Ergo no-one is tipping us and who could blame them.
    Now I’m not saying we wont win it, but I can understand why any pundit who wants to be credible wouldn’t tip us unless he has some serious in depth knowledge and has seen something that would make him believe it’ll be different this year. I don’t think anyone has seen that yet, we hope that will be the case, but hope is not a strategy.

    Regarding Galway, 2 points either way, get a fair shake from the ref and hope our free taking is up to a high standard and we’ll win it. If not then we wont. I presume they Mayo of last season who attempted to just “do enough” wont be present. That’s what caught us last year. if the site of a maroon jersey leaving Castlebar with the Nestor cup under the oxter and Galway boys jumping back on the bandwagon at a rate of knots after forgetting where Pearse Stadium is for the past few years don’t motivate us well then not much will!

  36. Some of the galway bandwagon jumpers may need directions to that beautiful venue of theirs. The amount of them that came to Castlebar last year was woeful.

  37. Agreed ‘to win just once’ I was one of the few Galway supporters in Castlebar last June. I travelled in hope/for the craic rather than in expectation. It was a wonderful surprise, hence the mini pitch invasion. With our hurlers going well this year it might take a few away from the gate. Our footballers are not AI contenders yet, but our hurlers are. So most of the bangwagoners will be with the hurlers this summer. As usual I expect the Mayo’s to at least have the support at 50/50 in Salthill, if not outnumber Galway’s support. Part of that is because Mayo people are ten a penny around Galway. I myself have a father from Mayo. We all have our crosses to bear.

  38. A year til Sunday… The support will be more like 70/30 in favour of Mayo, I’ll wager… If those Mayo people who are 10 a penny around Galway, pick up the Galway way’s they won’t know where Pearce Stadium is either!..Still Galway football has better support than Cork, who for a big population have to be the worst supported team in the country. (I hope that the two Sumbario wearing amigos don’t desert the Rebels or their support will be halved)..incidentally one of them, the one with the Paddy Power sponsored ponchio is a fantastic singer, had the pleasure of hearing him, but don’t try and get a word in edgewarrds if you ever meet him in a pub, he likes all the attention.. Anyhow for the Galway supporters reading here, this is where it’s at, Dr Mannix Road, I’m telling ye now, if yer wondering where exactly that is,? Just wait around at the Prom, and follow the Green and Red jerseys, and you will make it no bother.. Don’t go following the Maroon coloured jersey’s, they might only be out for their morning walk and to kick the wall at the end of the Prom , all the time dreaming of Joe Canning and Liam McCarty !.

  39. How many season tickets / Cairdre Maigh Eo tickets do Mayo currently have? I see some rumblings that stand tickets can not be got got the game due to season ticket holders taking up the allocation? General tickets on sale today.

  40. Can I just remind Mayo supporters that we have plenty of supporters ourselves who have jumped on the Mayo bandwagon over the last few years. Where was all the great Mayo support when I think it was 2011 we played Roscommon in the Connaught final on a wet windy day in the Hyde. Roscommon were favourites the same day and we scraped pass them by a point or two. I’d say there was no more than 2,000 of us there that day supporting Mayo. I have no doubt that when this great team come to an end a lot of support will disappear again.

  41. Well said South Mayo, Its the nature of the beast, when a team is successful of course you will get bandwagon supporters, When Galway were winning All Irelands we travelled in our thousands around the country, but when the arse fell out of it in the mid noughties that was it. The lowest point was a qualifier defeat in Antrim.. I know from work here in Galway that alot of fans have to choose their games as with young families, it can be costly , Tullamore last Sunday, Pearse coming up, a Leinster semi and (hopefully) final so it can be hard fitting everything in.. I would expect Mayo to have more supporters but compared to the last game in Pearse and also last year there will be a lot more Galway heads there..

  42. @Leantimes, That may be true, we will have to see. There are many distractions to compete with the senior footballers, with the Hurlers/Connacht Rugby/ Galway United/ various festivals etc in Galway, that’s not such a problem in Mayo where Football reigns supreme. Mayo footballers can’t fart, but it’s news within the county. Imo it could be a hindrance to yer lads over the years. As your name suggests, when the leantimes come around again (and they almost certainly will for a while) hopefully this fantastic Mayo support will stay with the team.

    When Galway fell into our leantimes after winning the AI, there was only a base of about 2,500 – 3,000 hardcore followers in our darkest periods, i.e. playing Waterford and Tipperary in the qualifiers in Salthill and losing to Antrim where there was only a few hundred Galwegians there. I often remember my Mayo Aunt and Uncle in Galway after the 1998 win, they couldn’t get over the lack of banners/roads/sheep that weren’t painted in the county colours in Galway in the built up to the AI that year. It isn’t really how it was approached in Galway at the time.

    Back to 2017, there is considerable interest in Galway again, the hurlers will probably go further into the summer (though you never ever know with them) as this football team is seen as a coming team again. Probably still a couple of years away from competing for Sam again but I think Pearse stadium could sell out for this game. Should be brilliant.

  43. Mayo will have more support than us in Salthill on Sun week. I have been going to Galway Mayo games since 1984 (incidentally in the old Pearse Stadium) and only in 1999 can I recall where we clearly outnumbered them in the stands/terraces. Maybe at a stretch in 2002 in Castlebar did we have the same number and in 1998 we certainly had our most boisterous ever (most felt that day we had a rising tide). Galway have a very dedicated but relatively small core fan base. Marginal fans tend to gravitate to hurling (being the better game to the naked eye allegedly). However Sth Mayo makes a good point. I recally the 2011 Connacht final (we were in the minor that awful wet day) and it appeared if the Rossies outnumbered the away support by 5 to 1 meaning all counties have bandwagoners.
    On the tickets the stand holds 8,000 but between season tic holders and allocations to clubs no stand tics are on general sale. Aside from the traffic chaos Pearse Stadium now has one of the best surfaces in the country after the drainage works a few yrs ago and many of my female friends tell me the best toilet facilities of any stadium they have used in terms of options behind the stand. Castlebar the reverse. Never traffic chaos due to ground location but poor enough toilet options (when there is a big crowd)

  44. ‘A year til Sunday’, it will be ‘Leantimes’. Until WE have a Sunday much like ye had way back in 98 (which is where I imagine you get your name from?) even if our famine is much longer. I have to say that I disagree with ‘KC’ re 2011 Connacht Final in the Hyde.. The match was sold out and Mayo had close to parity with the Rossi, it was the first year that I had a season ticket, I was there good and early, but a few Mayo County Councillors of various hues were there earlier sitting in the numbered seat’s of the Mayo season ticket holders, I ended up being moved about 3 times, but I still done better than my mate who had with sitting in the aisles on the wet concrete in the stand.. The only day that I can remember being disappointed with the numbers supporting Mayo was the quater final V Cork in 2011,..Of course Mayo supporters still outnumbered the support of the then All Ireland champions Cork, there you go, I still managed to get to Croke Park even after climbing the Reek which I started at 4am on that particular morning, it was Reek Sunday the day of the quater final in 2011,. I can tell you that I slept well that particular Sunday night, is it any wonder Eoin Caodigen said that there never was the ‘Love’ for the Cork footballers within the Rebel County, now you couldn’t say that about Mayo. Anyway I looking into how to go about changing the ‘Leantimes’.name after next September, I think you can do it by’ Deed Poll ‘

  45. KC, I agree with you regards the playing surface of Pearce Stadium, absolutely asuperb as is the surface of playing surface of McHale Park! And presumably the Hyde now, looked fantastic on the Telly, But I haven’t been there since the upgrade last year,!

  46. The loos in Mc Hale Park are way superior to the ones in Pearse Stadium and that’s a fact !!

  47. To be honest Livenhope I was referring to the number of toilet units particularly. A set for every 2nd block in the stand. All I can speak for in terms of quality is the male toilets and they are fine. Castlebar toilets the few times I was there last year were fine in terms of quality. The queues a different story.

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