The Cockney clash


A headline in the Mayo News caught my eye this week as I was flicking. It read ‘Row outside Westport chipper started over 1996 All-Ireland Final’. I laughed hysterically but every Mayo person knows that at least some point in their existence they have analysed that fight (Poor Liam McHale) or questioned the fact there was a replay at all. (Watch the hop!)

It just goes to show how seriously we take our football down here in Mayo and the seriousness starts all over again this Sunday. The Clash famously sang ‘London Calling’ but this is one clash that makes for worrying watching or, in Sunday’s case, listening.

Mayo jersies UK reg car

Photo: Mayo News (Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

I was nearly hugging the radio back in 2011 when, as Willie Joe put so perfectly, London were robbed rotten in Ruislip. We kicked nineteen wides and crawled over the winning line in extra-time. Panic stations were set up in the minds of the green and red faithful who had to ponder about the likelihood of Sam even though we had barely beaten London.

Thankfully, it was a false negative and we had a relatively good year. A loss would have been catastrophic. We now hold James Horan on a pedestal but my god if they had knocked us out, Horan would have been a laughing stock alongside his players and staff.

You would think this could be a game in which we rest our big players and let a few youngsters or inexperienced senior lads steer the wheel. However, it would seem too risky to do so. Then there is the flip side, when we did field our strongest team in 2013, London were crushed under the superiority. It is most definitely better to be safe than sorry in this case and today’s team announcement appears to reflects this.

A thumping, resounding win over London on Sunday would be fantastic in wiping the nervous sweat off our brows but at the same time what does it prove? We can hammer a Division Four side, good on us. It’s a weird game, it’s a banana skin but at the same time it couldn’t be any easier. The escapades (or more like great escape) of Roscommon in New York a few weeks ago further suggest that there’s only a few scores between winning and humiliation.

Unfortunately, despite having plenty of places to stay in London thanks to emigrated uncles and cousins, I cannot attend the match on Sunday. It is a shame because we do have a great connection with London given that, as aforementioned, most of us have relations here. The craic will be fantastic even if the standard of opposition or competitiveness is not.

However, don’t knock them. This was also Horan’s inaugural championship game five years ago. It was daylight robbery in Ruislip that day and hopefully we will steal the loot in London again on Sunday.

7 thoughts on “The Cockney clash

  1. I like the team but don’t expect we’ll win by 15 unless the new lads Durcan and Harrison and fairly new COS do well. Also with 2 of our top 3 midfielders out it could weaken us but gives Gibbons a chance and it could be a big boost to his intercounty career. He was nearly nailed on in 2014 but for injury. I see Drake is one of the first subs named too. I liked the cut of him in the Dublin game last year.
    On KH critics, I had a look back at the Dublin replay and noticed that a lot of the damage Andrews did was when other players not Keith trying to mark him. The McMenamon goal was the team giving him too much space. Live the game I was asking myself why did Keith give him so much room whereas in the replay he was covering the angles and made up huge ground but McMenamon shot just as he got there and a good shot it was and though I thought Robbie might have saved it, it was a very fast ball. He was captain last year and perhaps trying to take more than normal on.
    That said, I would have liked to have seen Keith in the half forwards at least for this game and give someone like Coen a run in the backs. Though maybe J Doherty’s form is back near his best in training and unlike others including Keith he’s on an extended injury free run so no point knocking him back. The other positions up for grabs in the forwards are the COS and debutante Evan Regan but it’s right to give them the chance to prove themselves ahead of seasoned players we know can perform well. I would like to see the wing backs milling forward especially Durcan whose kick passing is quite precise and Doherty and Kevin Mc covering back as always. Looks like we will continue to play without a sweeper. Expect Tom Parsons will be doing some of that extra defensive work along with the 2 hard working wing forwards. Colm Cavanagh has set the template for midfielders covering back this year and it makes more sense for them to do it than half forwards as they start out closer to the danger.

  2. Is it just me or are Tyrone serious contenders looking at their performance last Sunday. Super team work. Mattie Donnelly maybe even better than he was last year. Tyrone get lots of players behind the ball and catch teams on the break. We had awful bother with them in League 2015, they gave a lesson in how to use the wings and score super quick from kickouts in 2nd half vs Monaghan last year and though Kerry won the shootout in semi, had even one of Tyrone’s many goal chances gone in they could have killed off Kerry. Perhaps we should copy their style not Dublin’s. They concede very few goals too, one stat for Maurice Horan to take note of.

  3. It’s not just you Shuffly Deck. Tyrone are perhaps the most hyped team in the country bar Dublin right now.

  4. I think Tyrone were always going to be contenders this year and their demolition of Derry confirmed that. To be fair Derry’s defense were at sixes and sevens for the first 2 goals, their kickouts were poor and their forwards appeared to be a bit lost, looking like they were avoiding an offside trap when no such rule exists in the game.
    I don’t think Tyrone would have it so easy against either Donegal, Monaghan or Cavan, to name 3 other Ulster teams that would fancy their own chances against Tyrone. Down would be Cannon fodder to them I think, Fermanagh would not be too far behind, and Antrim are really just about making up the numbers when it comes to football.
    Armagh appear to have regressed and seem to have confirmed what I’ve thought about McGeeney for a long time, that he’s indeed quite overrated.

    I’ve no problem with the media hyping Tyrone to the hills, they have some quality players and are more than capable of beating anyone on their day too.

    I’d prefer for Mayo to fly under the radar as much as we did in 2012 when it comes to all of that, the less hyping we get the better in my view.

  5. FDB. There is no flying under the radar for Mayo teams anymore. We are one of the most watched and scrutinised teams out there. The best think the team can do is embrace the tag of real contenters and live with it like the Kerrys and Dublins. To keep avoiding it is only putting more pressure on ourselves.

  6. Totally agree with “mayo mad” .. There will come a time when mayo will be in the dark so let’s embrace this era and pump our chests out and say yes we can win the big one and yes we not afraid of whoever is in our way!!!

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