Still under the radar

Connacht final 2014

It’s Tuesday and from a quick perusal of the national papers it’s clear that we’re still flying well under the radar ahead of Sunday’s Connacht semi-final clash with Galway at Pearse Stadium (throw-in 4pm). That won’t continue to be the case for much longer, of course, but with football action taking place this weekend in all four provinces, where All-Ireland champions Kerry and Cork both make their first appearances of the summer and a tasty looking encounter between Donegal and Armagh taking place up North, our bit of local rivalry isn’t the only attraction on offer.

All I’ve turned up from the national papers this morning is this piece in the Irish Examiner with Galway’s Gary O’Donnell.  As is the norm with pre-match player pieces, this is bland enough stuff, where the Galwayman (a player who has Mayo roots and was an unused sub for the Tribesmen the last time they beat us in the championship, back in 2008) talks about how they’ve “tried” to up their physicality in recent years and will be looking to put a halt to our gallop on Sunday.

In contrast, the Mayo News (paper and digital versions) has a whole supplement on Sunday’s match and, as you’d expect, it contains a tonnage of pre-match coverage on the game. There are previews, interviews with Noel Connelly and Barry Moran, a feature on the 1966 Connacht final and much more besides.

The same paper reports that, Evan Regan aside, there are no other injuries within the squad heading into Sunday’s match. Michael Conroy is, though, only now returning from a fairly lengthy lay-off due to ligaments trouble while Cillian O’Connor appears to have won his race to be fit to take at least some part in proceedings at Salthill. Both Donal Vaughan and Tom Parsons seem to be okay too after their recent niggles. The team is expected to be named on Thursday evening.

50 thoughts on “Still under the radar

  1. Nice and cool here under the radar WJ. I am in Galway today myself and all is quiet…not one Galway man or woman has mentioned the game yet. I have decided to keep the head down too. Many heading to Galway Saturday night?

  2. I’m in Galway too Steve and everyone is talking about the match. Plenty of Yahoo’s in Mayo and Galway. I won’t be going to Galway if your going Steve, not after the last time.

  3. Thanks Willie Joe.

    Got the Western yesterday and was disappointed by the coverage. Lot of talking it up but little of substance really.

    My weather app is forecasting partly sunny conditions and 17c. These can change of course and I note that it will be warmer until Sunday. What I am getting at, is a slight worry about where a really hot day would expose Mayo.

    Can’t give much of a rationale for this, except a fear that heat could expose a potential fatigue factor.

  4. You really have to wait till Tuesday for mayo news to hear any team news catcol

  5. Ever since the Western moved to Monday their sport coverage has suffered big time in my opinion.

  6. Its interesting to note that us, Kerry, Armagh and Cork are all coming up against teams that have already played at least one game. With most of our injuries having cleared up, the match fitness of some of the players coming back from time out might be a concern. I notice from reading some of the previews, most of the other teams seem to have injury worries, its great for us to have an almost full deck of cards to pick from. Roll on the game!

  7. I’v noticed that as well. Of the Division 1 teams we probably (for once) have had the best luck with injuries. I say luck, but maybe this is down to the Mayo medical team. They are absolutely one of the best at what they do. You don’t train unless fit to train, now we see the benefits with us entering the summer with a full complement of players.

  8. I gave up the Western your only buying old news on a Monday their circulation has unfortunately suffered since they moved to Monday’s

  9. Cool heads is what’s required. We have a massive task ahead of us on Sunday but I’m quietly confident that we’ll get the job done.

  10. Serious task on Sunday ,, would take 1 point win,,,best of luck to players and management ! Let’s all try and make it there and get behind our beloved green and red ,,,,,,,,,,

  11. Read that Kerry fundraising piece this morning. I dunno, some of the fundraising sources you would have to question the useage of particular groups/bodies that are more normally involved in pure charities and charitable fundraising. The Irish American groups I mean. Donations from sportspeople. Not normally groups associated with charitable fundraising. It’s not as if every child in Kerry will have access to it.

  12. Not normally groups associated with fundraising outside of charitable fundraising I meant to say. A singular sporting body is not really a charity.

  13. What’s the craic with Cillian? Is he most likely to be just a second half sub?

    If he was any way fit at all I’d start him

    Where’s everyone starting Sunday, few in town itself catch the Donegal match before and walk down (only about 20 from wesht of the City) or few in Salthill altogether? Any early weather forecasts 😉

  14. Yes posters agree on the Western, – Monday seems a bad day for publication of a provincial paper.

    Meanwhile Sean Rice in the Mayo News has this interesting piece of info/rumour:

    “Midfielder Tom Parsons picked up a foot injury last Tuesday in an impressive workout by the squad in Pearse Stadium and had to leave the field. He was playing well at the time and it is to be hoped he will be ready for Sunday’s joust.

    It was a full dress rehearsal, the whole outfit on parade. Almost all of the panel, including seven players from Dublin who arrived by bus were there, managers, backroom team, kit man, the lot, in a serious piece of drill”.

  15. I was just reading that myself online, catcol. It sounds impressive. There is an interview with Barry Moran as well and they are reporting that he looks very lean and fit which is a good advertisement for Barry Solan’s work. They also mention that management have 33 fit players to pick a squad of 26 from. All good news really.

  16. Any word on where the mayo crowd intending celebrating afterwards? Bunch of Grapes? Lonergans? Taffes? I’m sure the team will be hanging around for the evening

  17. Mayoman8, lol, your not fooling me, hope your enjoying the sun in galway/roscommon or where ever ur from!?

  18. Mayoman8, try Paddy Morans. There should be a good crowd of the owl boys in there.

  19. Shane Walsh may be available as his injury is not as bad as first feared. It is a broken finger.

  20. Loving the low key run up to sunday ..and would really love a storming performance from the boys ..just to set a marker and shut up the naysayers for a couple of days anyway ..

  21. Great to hear about the lack of injury situation.
    Would be concerned regarding the susceptibility of Parsons to knocks though.
    It’d be great to get a good run out of him as I
    think he wold be a major benefit to us if he managed it.

    Would like to see Higgs as Sweeper – driving forward at pace, picking out some sweet, incisive passes, then heading back to a spot between half back line and midfield. Lurking and pouncing’

  22. Hi,
    I’m traveling to Galway on Sunday morning with my daughter. We do not have tickets! Can anyone tell me if tickets will be on sale at the grounds. Would also like to know the starting time of the hurling match. Mayo double would be lovely.

  23. Green and Red lily,

    You can get tickets in the following participating Centra & Supervalu Stores, any day from now until Sunday:

    Centra Balla
    Centra Belmullet
    Centra Ballindine
    Centra Crossmolina
    Centra Newport
    Centra Castlebar
    SuperValu Claremorris
    SuperValu Kiltimagh
    SuperValu Castlebar
    SuperValu Ballina
    SuperValu Achill
    SuperValu Ballinrobe
    SuperValu Westport

    Also there will be a limited no. of tickets available on the day of the match at the pitch if you get there early. The Mayo v Roscommon hurling game is on at 1.45. Enjoy the games!

  24. Tuesday evenings training session was recorded by a Galway panel member on his iPad after his friend, whose house overlooks the ground, rang him to tell him what was going on. Apparently big Aido was full forward and the drills were goal focused.
    Our captain was tipped off that they were spied upon and he just laughed it off. They half expected to be spied on. A double bluff maybe?

  25. Team I would like to see
    1 Clarke
    2 Caff
    3 Keane
    4 Higgins
    5 Keegan
    6 Cunniffe
    7 Boyle
    8 Seanie
    9 Barry
    10 Kevin Mc
    11Parsons
    12 Ronaldson
    13 Loftus
    14 Aidan
    15 Cillian

    Let Loftus and Cillian play on front of Aidan and win knock downs.
    Get Roanldson running from deep.
    Doh brings great defensive duties but that wont be required as much this weekend as they will funnel bodies back.
    Tha addition of pace in Loftus and Ronaldson will also make us a better counterattacking team
    Tom Cunniffe would hold his position and protect fullback line.

    Parsons I would like to see given AOS role as he has more mobility about him and with AOS allowed to drift out later in the game, how could opposition deal with Moran, Seamie, Parsons and AOS , We would win 100% or as near as possible primary possession.
    Then pump ball long into pace of Ronaldson and Loftus and we all know Cillian is good to win ball.

    Let Boyle and Keegan do what they do best and attack and winning breaking ball, I feel they have being shackled off late but need a lease of new life and Cunniffe will bring solidarity and big hits to CHB.

    Caff, Keane and Higgins is worth a run out see how they go, on paper looks great, height in Caff and Keane, both fast for big men and Higgins we know all about.

    O currain is a big man and I would tell Barry go man on man and prove your the better player.
    Seamie will have a busy afternoon with Conroy being strong and covering alot of ground so be good challenge for him .

    I think its a physically strong team with the addition of pace and something fresh.
    We can hold Andy, Dillion,Doh, Freeman, Vaughan in reserve knowing they are readuy to be sprung but yet try something different and hopefully give us some new options.

  26. HopeSpringsEternal,
    Thanks for the info. Can’t wait for Sunday. It’s going to be a nervous but successful day out with the help of God and 20 fired up Mayo Men.

  27. Brilliant article by Darragh O’ Shea in the Times. Hits the nail perfectly on its head with regard to Sundays game. He thinks it’s so important Mayo win this game as it will set them up for a serious tilt at the bigger prize later in the summer. The back door is not an option and I 100% agree with him. Sunday will answer his and all us supporters questions on where this team is at in terms of getting back to the real business end of the championship. I for one have the upmost confidence we will win on Sunday and lay down a serious marker to the pretenders in Connacht and further afield.

  28. That article in the Times is excellent. Really gets the juices flowing for Sunday. I like the notion that everyone is gunning for us and we need to decide if we want to stand our ground and go for glory again.

  29. Jason doc will be one of the first names on the teamsheet lads. Quality player who is very underrated. I’d be surprised if Loftus started, didn’t play any league games.

  30. Usually new players start from the bench to not overawe them mentally. Only maybe a big physical player who was burning lads in training would you consider starting on a debut in championship.

  31. Yes, great stuff from Daragh O’Shea this week.

    Interesting that he thought Mayo were a bit stale in the league. Personally, I’m glad we didn’t make the semis. We needed rest and recuperation time and by and large we seem to have near enough to a full deck.

    Yes, Galway have the benefit of two games. They may be very fit and if the fatigue factor emerges, then it could be curtains.

    Still, the players who haven;t played much, even if ring rusty will have the advantage of freshness. Dillo, Andy, Cillian even, have a lot of miles on the clock, but should be hungry.

    The Barry Solan vibes are a positive, and of course there is Donie Buckley to provide both continuity, objectivity and continued, I hope, creativity.

  32. Glad now that we didn’t make the semis in the league. Fitness side is a fairly straightforward application of train – recover – train – recover. The contact suffered in matches and the need to rest up for matches disrupts that. With all the FBD, League and championship action it is rare you get a big long cycle of uninterrupted training. Just one injury in our panel, don’t think I’v ever seen a panel of 34 at any level with only one injury.
    We know the fitness and football this panel is capable of. Leaves the tactical side as the last piece in the jigsaw. Is Mayo 2015 at least 1 point better than Mayo 2014 is what we are aiming for.

  33. Jason Doherty’s jersey is up for grabs even though last year he was the most improved player. Diarmaid OC is a very similar player and improving all the time with same ability to kick long range points. It’s a toss up. And there are 2 other options for half forward.. Parsons if fit and Keith as 7th defender and even Donie will be considered also as 7th defender as it’s all about the blanket this year. Kevin Mc’s jersey is not in doubt but there’s a chance he’ll be picked as a roaming no 13 instead of 10 freeing up a space in HF. Jason has been good apart from quieter in the Kerry games last year. Only about 5 lads sure of a jersey and that’s a good thing.

  34. I’d have to agree with Mac’s Left Boot on Jason Doc – I think he’s a nailed-on starter for Sunday. If he improves again from last year he could be a revelation for us this year.

  35. I think Jason Doc will start and agree he is much improved from a few years ago and a shaky enough start to be honest.
    I cannot see Conor Loftus starting and I would not be surprised if Stephen Coen made a fairly lively appearance.
    Management needs to avoid sentiment. If anyone-anyone- is not playing well then you go to your panel and in time too. That’s especially important when players have been around the block a bit. I do not see Vaughan as a regular starter but he may on Sunday (Barry could lose out)
    I think the finishing 15 will be as important as the starting 15. I think Andy and Alan have plenty to offer but honestly Damien Comer and Michael Lundy could swing this game Galway’s way.
    Don’t think a defeat would be a catastrophe (On Sunday it would but need not be when the dust settles) but I do think this team will win on Sunday but changes will emerge as they continue on.
    Roscommon will have it all to do Sat week- Can actually see Sligo beating them in Sligo. Think John Evans is way too bullish and Sligo have nothing to lose.

  36. Doherty is not in any danger. He works like a slave and chips in with a point here and there, although I think he has a lot more scoring potential than he’s showing on the field at the moment. And Lord knows we need scoring forwards.

    At the back, it will be interesting to see if faith is retained in Donal Vaughan. He’s athletic, and he’s tough, and that’s fine, but for my money his positional sense remains very suspect and his footballing skills have not improved at all since he broke into the team. His three points against Kerry in 2011 seem like another era now.

    In the bigger picture, we don’t have any new scoring forwards for 2015. (If Messrs Regan and Loftus prove me wrong on that, I’ll happy wolf down the humble pie.) So if thoughts of Sam are to be entertained, we need a major improvement in defence.

    For me, that means Cunniffe at centre-back. We can’t have teams running straight down the middle of our defence any more. Keegan, Cunniffe, Boyle looks a lot more solid to me.

  37. Its great now to see that we have a few players snapping on the heels of the lads on the first fifteen. That’s what we want to see. We seem to be developing a good few options for the half-forward and half-back lines. Midfield is an area of high competition as well. It could be argued though, that it is the full-forward and full-back lines that have been the most troublesome areas for us.

  38. “Scoring forwards” seems to me to be an outmoded concept in the modern game. It implies that a MacDonald type waits in the FF line for supply from the willing slaves out the field.

    Forwards are now expected to, and do work their socks off and no one exemplifies this more than Doc. We have racked up big scores in matches over the last few years because nearly every team member is capable of scoring.

    Of course we were wasteful against Donegal for example, but if it’s Donie, or Keith, Boyler or Leroy who are putting them over or in, and Cillian, Doc and Mac who are doing the spadework, I for one will be happy.

  39. ‘Scoring forwards’ will never be an outmoded concept. Work-rate is a prerequisite for any position in this Mayo team, but the game is won on the scoreboard.

    The forward’s number one job is to score. Hard work helps to make that easier in causing defences to cough up possession, or to ‘soften up’ defenders, but if your forwards can’t score and score frequently, you’re not going to win the All-Ireland.

  40. I actually read a stat somewhere that this year’s Premier League winners Chelsea, defence scored more goals than Liverpool’s strikers. It just shows that defenders scoring is an asset that cannot be ignored. Then again the real template for any team in any sport to aspire to are Barcelona, I was reading some of their stats in relation to their Champions League win. They pretty much topped all of the stats charts: most tackles made, most goals scored, longest time in possession, least goals conceded, most goals scored by their strikers, most passes made etc. My point is, players who work hard and score as well are not mutually exclusive. Hard working players who can score as well are the ideal template, Cillian O’Connor been such a player.

  41. Well said HSE!

    Barcelona are a model no doubt, and the work ethic can’t be ignored.

    Cillian exemplifies all that you say – his performance against Roscommon last year, was, for me, a particular highlight. When the game was in the balance in the second half, the tackles he put in and the passion he displayed (on the stand side) were a sight to behold.

    Funnily, I didn’t really appreciate this at the match because I was on the opposite side. But when I saw the replay, I was blown away.

  42. Hard work is important but overstated in my view. Shooting percentage should be the main measure of a forward. Volume of turnovers in opponents 1/3 of pitch is statistically quite low. Teams are well drilled now to work ball out. Kickout performance and passing ability have been overshadowed in my view in the common concensus about tackling and workrate. Can you afford half forwards that dont win kickouts? A stat Im pretty sure we are poor in.

  43. Kevin McLoughlin and Jason Doherty do an amount of work around the middle. They more than augment the foraging of Boyler & co. Even with the advent of short kick-outs it’s still a crucial area of the game. Any team that’s cleaned out here will find it difficult to implement their structure and ultimately compete.

    The lack of certainty in terms of selection and form is a slight worry for me but the other side of that argument is that we have options at our disposal.

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