The day before

Mayo Donegal 2013

It’s Friday and so we’re getting – as Pat Holmes might say – very, very close to the big day of action that awaits at Croke Park tomorrow. Sunshine be damned, I don’t in truth feel in the whole of my health being absent from HQ for the two big matches that lie ahead of us at HQ tomorrow afternoon. That said, a man could get easily used to this absence of rain and all that al fresco dining.

Okay, most important stuff first. A short while ago, Donegal finally released what they say is their “panel” for tomorrow’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final, which is here.

It’s a list of 26 players, numbered sequentially, but I’ve no idea if Nos. 1-15 (inclusive) represent their starting fifteen or not. If they do, then Karl Lacey starts given that he’s named at 6 but I haven’t got a clue if he will or not. Then again, I’m not sure our named fifteen (which doesn’t include the eleven subs we’ll also have in our match-day panel) will all start tomorrow either. We’ll know for definite tomorrow afternoon, I guess.

It’s now less than 24 hours until the Junior final against Kerry throws in at Croke Park and only a bit over 24 hours until the senior quarter-final against Donegal gets underway at HQ so if you’re looking for something to get you more revved up than you already are, then I’ve a few things to point you to that might help.

The first of these is another pre-match podcast, this one from CRC FM.  Mike Kelly, a regular guest contributor here on the site, is behind the mic on this one and he’s joined on the podcast by Colm Gannon of the Mayo Advertiser, as well as Anne-Marie Flynn, another friend of this parish, and Pat Kearns who both provide the supporters’ angle to tomorrow’s action. The podcast is available on Soundcloud here:

Speaking of the Mayo Advertiser, there’s a wad of stuff in that paper today about both of tomorrow’s matches.

On the Junior All-Ireland, there’s a piece by Colm with manager Sean McLoughlin and selector Daire McManamon (here) and there’s also a preview of the game – here.

On the Donegal match, there’s an opinion piece by Ray Silke, in which the Galway man warns us that we’ll need to be in top form if we’re to do it. He reckons we will, pointing to our relative freshness and the man-mountain that is Aidan O’Shea as the difference between the two teams.

The same paper has a piece with Lee Keegan, another one with Keith Higgins, John Casey’s opinion piece and a match preview to boot.

I had a look at the nationals earlier on this morning and there was bugger all there at that stage, apart from that Keith Higgins piece in the Indo that has already been linked in the comments. Strangely, all three nationals had virtually the same piece with Dublin’s Michael Darragh MacAuley saying how being dropped the last day was a bit of a shock to the system. Whatever sells papers, I guess.

Anyway, I think the links above should be enough to keep you occupied for now and, in any event, your own personal match-day routines should surely be kicking in shortly. As you might expect, I’m a bit all over the shop in relation to mine, marooned as I am away from the rain and the greenness and the pint of Harpic.

I will be watching the game – well, the senior one, Sky’s interest in proceedings at Croke Park doesn’t extend to the Junior final – and, depending on my mental state afterwards, I might even rise to a post-match audio from abroad. We’ll be heading for dinner after the match is over and so anything I’ll produce later on the match report front is likely to be on the short side and will for sure be fuelled by alcohol. The MOTM poll might be a bit late going live as well.

That’s it for now. Safe travelling if you’re heading for the capital later on. Back in the morning with some final words before the action gets underway.

55 thoughts on “The day before

  1. I am very (very) much looking forward to this game 3 I hope the lads do themselves justice and put in a big performance they have given their hearts and souls to Mayo football for the last 5+ years

  2. The last day of work before the match is always, and I mean ALWAYS, torture. The clock even ticks backwards from time to time. It’s very, very frustrating!

  3. On days like this I feel exactly like I did before making best man speeches, sick to my stomach with anxiety but looking forward to a drink and a good day out too. I wonder do the players have these feelings? Or are they just so used to it at this stage that they don’t mind? I suppose the latter, they must be bursting to get the game on and running the legs off donegal. Some are saying we would be very lucky to beat donegal while others say we could do serious damage, I don’t care if it’s a single point victory as long as it’s a victory and that nobody gets hurt or red carded, because we will need all the players to deal with Dublin if we are that lucky tomorrow. In the other game I think Tyrone will win, just by dint of them being Tyrone and if they deal with monaghans key man, poor Monaghan don’t have many options. After that I think they will struggle with Kerry but I wouldn’t bet much on Kerry beating them, Kildare may have done Tyrone or Monaghan a huge favour by letting Kerry think they’re all that.

  4. Just arrived in Dublin where the time isn’t passing any faster. One car flag has fallen casualty to the roads so far but sure aren’t we better off without any hype anyway.

    I am getting very, very nervous, but then that’s no different to any other day in Croke Park. I’m also very, very excited. Looking forward to hearing the Mayo crew getting behind the lads as the rollercoaster starts in earnest again.

  5. My little lads first trip to Croker and he’s beside himself with excitement. I’m not much better to be honest. The nerves are now building but I’m also quietly confident if that makes any sense.

  6. Protein shake this morning as in a rush. Stalked the hallways then like Colm Boyle, every work meeting had championship intensity. Love the day before a match.

  7. If we maintain the same movement and intensity as the last day we’ll be fine.
    Croke park suites this team – think they’re a lot fitter this year especially Aido!
    Think we’ll have far too much for them!!

  8. Passed by the Mayo team bus earlier. Even passing each other at 50mph I could tell they boys were 100% focused on the task in hand :-). Getting very nervous myself as a lot of you are too… Sticking with Mayo by 4-6

  9. Lads, the Donegal plan will be to get Aiden and or Cillian sent off probably with one of their own lesser players. Expect sledging, spitting, biting, pulling hair, pinching, diving, kicking, punching, dragging, fooling the ref, and time wasting like never seen before if they are leading in the 2nd half.

    Aiden and Cillian must be prepared for this and must stay on the field for the full 70.

  10. Its all down to tactics now. Pat and Noel need to prove they can operate on Croke Park stage. They have the players to win and they will not let us down. Lets hope we have what it takes on the line to win this one. Maigheo Abu!

  11. Best of luck to both teams tomorrow and safe travelling everyone. I hope we are all smiling heading back west into the setting sun tomorrow evening….or like myself hopefully celebrating in one of the capitals fine establishments or coppers. Up Mayo!

  12. Management have some big calls to make tomorrow and I can’t help feeling that it’s a case of damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they decide to play an extra man back on Murphy, it leaves Donegal with a free man to double up on Aiden. This strategy may get us sucked into a very defensive game that Donegal are more familiar with than we are. Don’t think we want that to happen. Management would be blamed if it does.
    On the other hand if we push up it may leave us open to similar problems that we had in the final against the same opposition. Again don’t think we want this to happen. Management would be blamed if it does.
    Who’d be a manager???
    Hopefully neither of the above scenarios will come into play and Mayo can stamp their authority on the game early on and see it out from there.

  13. Has anybody else noticed how much time Murphy wastes whenever Don gets a free,the player fouled takes forever to get up and always looks like he’s fucked(especially Murphy himself)always trying to cod the ref.I hope gough is up to the task at hand.he showed balls when he sent off the Cavan buck in the second half for a punch in the first

  14. Jim Flag – I agree with you 100%. They will try every trick up their yellow sleeve to get our key players to retaliate to the verbal and physical abuse. You can also include Lee in their target list…

  15. We should be so much fresher than them,as many have said here we have only really have had one game in the c/ship so far, where they have had a lot of tough games.we need to be winning tommorow by 6 or 7 points to put down a marker and stop the whole country saying we havnt been tested. Come on Mayo, our time has come.

  16. NO GOALS should be the mantra tomorrow whatever it takes to stop them going in take black cards or whatever’s necessary.

    Also I’m sure Donegal are going To do everything possible to wind OShea up. Critical that the lads keep the head and don’t get sent off

  17. Also can we all bare in mind the young girl and her family in our hearts and minds as the two teams take to the field tomorrow . Safe to say that she will be our 16th man . May she rest in peace.

  18. Year will not end tomorrow.All provincial champions will be in Semis.Then the fun will start!

  19. I am very confident about our chances tomorrow, our form line and preperation for this game is ideal at this stage of the championship. This is in stark contrast to Donegal’s, we
    are capable of doing a job on them tomorrow if we get up a head of steam in the first half, I am not expecting a hammering like 13 but a handsome victory all the same.
    They are carrying a lot of knocks and they were in recovery mode this week, they will be found out for sheer athlecism and very high intensity that we will bring for a full 70 minutes, we have for the first time in my lifetime a game changing bench of top quality, super fit, highly motivated, hungry( starving) players! Donegal are getting very light after their second or third sub.
    Best of luck to both teams, I know they will do us all proud regardless of the results in both games. Pride in the jersey and pride for playing for their county is what we have come to expect these last five years, we are very lucky to have these ambassadors giving everything for the one goal. As we all know it hasn’t always been this way.
    Safe travelling to all.
    Mayo Forever.

  20. Jim Flag and 45 – let me add my voice in support here.

    When the ’13 game was in the melting pot they tried every trick to get Aido sent off. As I said before McQuillan was wise to it, but a rookie ref like Gough may cave in, especially to a baying crowd who are as adept as the players in the gamesmanship stakes.

    Aido has exhibited great self-control so far, but this may be severely tested. Very very severely (three verys in there somehwere – Pat H take note).

    Key thing will be for others to take it to Donegal: Donie, Seamie, Boyler, Kevin Mac. Kevin Mac due a really big game and could be a key figure in all aspects of the game.

  21. Anyone else shitting it right now? I’ve never been this nervous ahead of a Mayo champ game I’d say. For all the finals, excitement was my main emotion.

  22. Spare Hogan premium level ticket for tomorrow if anyone needs a ticket? Let me know

  23. I thought that we did very well early in the Galway game in terms of not letting their tactics affect us. Three of our defenders were booked during the first-half but they didn’t do anything rash to get themselves sent off until Lee got sent off in injury time when the game was won. The same again tomorrow would be great, just keep the heads and concentrate on our own game. Keep the scoreboard ticking over and keep it tight at the back. It was reported in the Mayo News that Cillian has been able to do a lot more training the last few weeks so it would be great to see him have a big game. It will be a big test for Tom Parsons too, hopefully he’ll come through it with flying colours!

  24. If Mayo stick to gameplan we will win this by at least 6 points. Keep the faith, this is a brilliant Mayo team who will win tomorrow. Hon Mayo!!!

  25. Forget about all this bollix about Donegal sledging n all. Donegal are a fine team & clean I might add. Leave it now . Weel beat them by 2/3 pts. Mayo to my bones

  26. Nobody mentioned a Moran or d o Connor could they be the dark horses to have a major say on tomorrow s match

  27. Cait The day Andy does not have a major say in Croke Park will be a sad day for Mayo. This man was made for the big days

  28. Will ye leave AOS alone for heavens sake!
    A Sligo man told me Mayo will win by 2.
    A Galway man told me 4/5.
    A Kerryman said they’re a fine team .
    90% of Mayo reckon they ll win !
    So what’s there to worry about? They can’t all be wrong !!!

  29. Just hope AoS does not get involved with mourhi ng tommorow 2 refs is enough for any game Gough and Murphy!!!!

  30. What about not putting aido in ff and playing the ball in along the ground. They will foul all day long. Cillian to keep the scoreboard ticking

  31. Inbetweener, I don’t know what it is but every time I read a post from you or True Grit, I keep thinking yer not from Mayo and possible trolls. Im not being paranoid just an observation 🙂 . Anyway, nervous as hell about tommorow, wish i had the confidence of alot on here. Cillian is key, if Aido draws the fouls which we know he can, cillians accuracy from the dead ball can decide this game. Won’t make the Junior game but best of luck to them aswell.

  32. I’m hearing reports that over 60,000, SIXTY THOUSAND tickets have been sold up to lunchtime today. Gonna be some buzz in Croker tomorrow folks. Don’t forget yer flags hats and headbands, and plenty of noise!!

  33. I’ve this feeling that Andy will show tomorrow, as he has always done, just why we are so lucky to have him wear our jersey. Mayo to win by two points. Three or four yellow cards. A lot of pressure on Referee Gough.

  34. Please guys step outside the box and look at this Mayo team as if you were a neutral.
    Christ they are one serious outfit.
    AOS will handle the two McGees and anything else Donegal can throw. Likewise with Cillian.
    Mayo by 5

  35. Getting near now Should be great occasion. Contrary to some on here we are not playing the devil and all his legions merely an excellent Donegal team who like ourselves have been a credit to their county in the last 5 years. Sure they will do everything in their power to win and hopefully so will we They are hardly going to sit on their arses and let AOS create havoc. They will give our top players a tough time as one would expect and hopefully we will do the same to them. Two honest teams in action. Up Mayo.

  36. Jaysus I can’t fucking sleep. Went through a lot of different emotions and feelings today, excitement, nervousness, negatively, confident, and mostly excited. I’m like a kid .I think our fitness levels will show tomorrow in the end its going to be warm enough in Croker even at 6pm. We need to rise above any off the ball stuff and let th football do the talking. We will win lads .

  37. Best of luck tomorrow to both mayo teams. I have no doubt the teams will put their all into it. Hon Mayo!

  38. Hello, i find the ‘news` that Kevin Mc may play as sweeper very reassuring. This would cause the least disruption to the overall team and a role that he is well suited for in reading the game and tackling. Dare i say he does not slip and is well capable of’ launching an attack.
    Also it is dificult to believe that they would leak the news that Alan Freeman and Kirby are showing well if not true. The only downside i see is why let Donegal in on tbe secret.
    My confidence has been boosted. Nearly there now. Just anoher step. Ciaran 2.

  39. Here we go again.

    The cream has risen and all the top teams are left floating. Which one will remain come September is for another day. I believe that mayo will win and these are my reasons for what they are worth.

    1. We have better players.

    2. Aido is playing in the forwards.

    3. We have two managers, which gives us the advantage of having an extra set of eyes. Think, last 15 minutes of the 13 final.

    4. Curse was lifted down in Limerick, freeing the players of the negative mental bagage. If you watch the players backs after the final whistle when the penny dropped down, you can spot the curse reluctantly and under savage duress, snaking out from their pores. Think of steaming dung on a frosty morning or catholic guilt if you boiled it away.

    5. The players finally realise within themselves that “they are worthy.”

    6. No more excuses.

    7. Donegal are a good team, no doubt, but they are simply not good enough to beat Mayo.

    8. Mayo are really up for this challenge and the ones to come after.

    9. Aido is playing in the forwards and Diarmud will arrive.

    10. This is Mayo’s year and nothing will fucking stop us.


  40. From Belmulett to Balla,Castlebar to Claremorris, Ballinrobe to Ballina,Shrule to Shraheens, we are on our way.We even have supporters in Spain and farer afield.Methinks Noel and Pateen are winning matches!Hon Mayo!

  41. Another huge day for Mayo. Nothing new to this bunch of players and they will show that today. Management are the rookies to a certain extent. They are the difference and hopefully will show we have learned from old painful experiences. Are two heads better than one? Can we handle the long ball in to a big man? Will we employ a sweeper?
    Down the other end how will they deal with AOS? Will be edge of the seat drama!
    Prediction: Mayo by 5. The hurt from Limerick last year will drive us on. We have not broken a sweat yet this year. Nearly time to head for Go Bus. It will be a great day in Croker.

  42. Joe Ruane..steaming dung on a frosty morning or Catholic guilt if you boiled it away,and nothing will fucking stop us…brilliant stuff,Hon MAYO..

  43. Mayo bench the difference today when the new legs and hearts are needed. Mayo by a few. MAYO FOR SAM, 2015.COM!

  44. We’re all questioning if we can contain Murphy? Can they contain AOS? Magee was taking in water for long periods against McManus.

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