The day before

Mayo Galway pre-match parade

Right then, it’s just one more sleep ahead of our Connacht semi-final meeting with Galway, with the match throwing in at Castlebar’s MacHale Park at 7pm tomorrow evening. Although it’s a match taking place on an evening in high summer, this being Ireland there’s a better than even chance of a shower and so if, like me, you’re planning on heading across from the stand at MacHale Park, you might want to have your rain gear with you.

The packed sports pages all week have ensured that our local derby has been crowded out in the coverage stakes. The match has got a bit of mention in passing but far less than you’d expect for a fixture like this. That’s okay, though – as long as our lads do their talking on the pitch tomorrow evening I wouldn’t be too bothered about the lack of coverage in the lead-in to the game.

Today’s papers have some bits of interest. Those who caution against any expectations of an easy ride for us at MacHale Park won’t find any support in this Irish Examiner piece with former Galway midfielder Barry Cullinane, in which the Claregalway man bemoans how our lads have no fear of Galway teams nowadays. It’s just us oldies, then, that get residual bouts of the heebie-jeebies when we see those maroon jersies.

James Horan fans the same flames in a feature piece in The 42 where he dismisses the notion that Galway are closing the gap on us. James reckons the opposite is true and says we’ll be “much too strong” for the Tribesmen tomorrow evening. There are similar pieces with James covering much of the same ground in today’s Irish Independent (here) and on the GAA website (here).

If it’s aural entertainment you want to help while away your Friday then the Mayo News pre-match podcast should do the trick. Here it is:

That’s your lot for now. I’ve stuff on up here tomorrow morning and then have to get myself across the country in the afternoon so most likely I won’t have much more (if anything at all) to say on here ’till after the game. That chimes well, though, with the low-key build-up – there’ll be plenty to discuss after it’s over.

Safe travelling all. Up Mayo!

38 thoughts on “The day before

  1. The day before will always come no matters what happens, thankfully. I’m reminded of reflections expressed recently by an important person in the world of drama.At the opening of an event he said he was abs delighted to be asked to open the event….and besides,he said ,he was honoured to be present…and then said, sure look it, some of ye might say that at my age I should be delighted to just be….!
    A man properly in tune with his reality!
    So, among all the thoughts that ll be flyin around on the lead up to the final whistle tomorrow eve I’ll be thinking how grand it ll be to be,and be there!

  2. Really looking forward to this…just don’t get the same buzz of the soccer…anyone the same? On the Horan article, he is honest in his opinion’s and I like that but sometimes I wish Mayo people in national media would play things down a bit….you don’t need to be giving Galway fuel and setting us up for an ambush. Then again I know James is close to this Mayo team and you can see the faith he has in them.

  3. Horan is correct in his assesment, Galway and Mayo going in opposite directions. Mayo could win this one easily, hopefully for all involved not too easily.
    And no that’s not being cocky or over confident, just realism based on where this two counties are at the moment.

  4. Massive day tomorrow. Ireland and Mayo win and there will be some buzz around town.

    G’wan Ireland/Mayo!

  5. Those expecting a formality in the press and on here will have an awful lot of humble pie and their arrogance will be embarassing if we lose tomorrow

  6. Have agree with James look how Hanley got roasted last our biggest fault is our shot selection.if we can improve on that plus have runners of Aidan can see a big score tommorrow.
    Would love to see more of Stevie coen I think he has the makings of one of the best centre backs for years.

  7. if Horan is correct in his assessment of Galway, this could be said of many GAA counties currently. Look at Meath, Kildare, Cork, Derry, Down. Then look at the next level, Sligo, Clare, Louth, Offaly, Laois.
    It’s actually quiet depressing and the GAA needs top take some responsibility. As great and all as it is cruising to 5 Connaught’s in a row and most probably 6, this is a result not just of Mayo’s high levels of consistency, but an alarming drop in standards in our neighbouring counties.

    It gets even worse at QF stage, where Provincial winners (Dublin, Tyrone, Mayo & Kerry) are odds on to reach the semi finals.

    So, whilst it might be great walking out of McHale park tomorrow and looking forward to a Connaught final with the sheepstealers, it won’t come close to moments like peader gardiners winners .

  8. In 2014 we needed Andy Moran to bail us out against Roscommon, a then Division 3 team even though we should have beaten Kerry later in the year in the All-Ireland semi-final. A few weeks back again we needed Andy Moran to bail us out against a Down team who lost by big margin to Monaghan in the Ulster Championship.

    We all hope that won’t be needed on Saturday evening but sport is sport. If Iceland can draw with Portugal surely Galway have a chance of upsetting us, if we are not 100% tuned in for this game. Of course we should win but you just never know.

  9. I wonder what sort of attendance they are expecting?

    Someone said to me about 12,000 to 14,000 with very few coming from Galway. That sounds very low to me. Hope there is a lot more than that there.

  10. Some people are being arrogant saying we will cakewalk it….we could well do but in sport anything can happen on any given day. We have seen it at the Euro’s already.

    No matter how much we are better than Galway, if head’s are not right, Galway perform, a sending off, an injury, bad referee call….you just never know.

    I was listening to Mid West last night and some of the tripe being sent in would make you wonder do half them know anything about football at all.

    I just think we should be humble enough…we are hardly winning national silver wear to beat the band.

  11. well said hse, but ill bet the Mayo players know full well that Galway wont be showing up for the fun of it and there will be a battle. I think about that Down game, they were already relegated and we ha them well and truly beaten but still left a little ember burning in the ashes of that one, and next thing the whole thing was blazing again. If we get on top tommorow we need to drive it home, go for goal early and often and leave no doubt in it.
    I heard kevin walsh was saying that 52 players turned down the opportunity to play for him, either he was getting his excuse in early or else galway are indeed in freefall, though their results in division 2 were close enough results, a few points decided that they stay in division 2 while we had to pull it out of the fire on the last day to remain in division 1.

    proceed with caution would be advisable for all Mayo heads tomorrow.
    Mayo by a few points and Ill be happy.

  12. Willie Joe apologies for hijacking the blog but anyone going back to Dublin after the game?

    I need a lift as have an early flight Sunday morning

    Please text WhatsApp or viber me folks if you have a seat for me +491626629167

    Thanks !

  13. Jim flag . Can’t see a big crowd from Galway attending a the hurler,s are out Sunday and will draw a much bigger crowd. Mayo to win by 4 and hopefully the wide count in single figures

  14. All week I have been reading on here about how we should be cautious, Galway way too quiet, it could get embarrassing. People pointing out where Mayo will go wrong etc etc etc. No one had actually compared and analysed the two teams that are choosen. From what I can see there is not one player you would pick from the Galway team to put on the Mayo one. Mayo are superior in every position on the field, thats not arrogant, thats looking at each player. Galway will have their plans and tactics, they will be up for the game its championship after all but Mayo are rightly the favourites and should win this by a comfortable margin. I have never seen such pessimism leading up to a match for years, there was more confidence going into the Dublin games last year. If this keeps up this site may as well be called the Galway hiding in the long grass GAA blog

  15. Mayomad, true that Mayo should win, but it’s a game and things happen in games, a red card or the opponent getting a penalty early in the second half when they already have a 2 point lead, now it’s 5 and they just pull everyone back to defend and soak it all up. It’s one thing if it’s Leitrim or Carlow or Waterford that Mayo are playing, I can see the reason for unstoppable optimism but this is Galway, they have some real quality in the panel and are well able to put it up to Mayo or anyone else on a given day, even if they are deemed to be inferior.
    Remember Joe Brillo totally dismissing Mayo before the cork game in 2011? How cork would wipe the floor with us? See how that worked out, Just because you should doesn’t mean you will,someone mentioned Portugal vs Iceland, 365,000 in population in Iceland were able to hold the might of Ronaldo and co, more proof that it’s never black and white.

  16. Dave, all im trying to say is there are alot of people going on about how we can loose and as you said the ifs, if they get a penalty, if we have someone sent off, if Joyce &Meehan come off the bench etc. There are little comments on how Mayo can win the match. For example if AOS is positioned correctly he is virtually unstoppable and it would be almost illegal to play him against an inexperienced defence. Regan had the potential to run riot in the corner. There are a number of areas arounfd the field where Mayo have the winning of the match but no one talking about it just constant posts about how we can loose. Its depressing reading them at this stage

  17. I think Galway will set up ultra defensively and not overly physced up like they were last year. It will be tight up to 40-50 mins but over superiority will tell in the end. Be interesting to see how we line up, don’t think we’ll need to play a sweeper but we might need to practise it!

  18. Agree with yew tree on the soccer not being as great of a buzz..but I have to agree with Mayomad on the pretty dismal stuff about us maybe losing. We are all-ireland contenders according to the bookies , and for a reason.I doubt Dublin fans are worrying about meath in the long grass.They ,like Galway ,have one or two decent players and are an averagely- goodish side.They are in the same division as Galway and we are the only team that didn’t lose to Dublin over a full game ( draw counts) . I don’t see why we shouldn’t be confident . Galway’s grass is so long at this stage it is a f-ing tropical forest.

    Some arrogance doesn’t kill a man, ask Connor McGergor . Just means a little humble pie after defeat but so what , if we lose we lose ,but there is no point saying we will to save face . I’ve been saying all week to everyone I know I think this team will win by at least 7/8 tomorrow ( and I don’t live in Mayo) but if they lose so be it , but I’m not going to get worked up about a hypothetical red card ,injuries, or Galway penalty at half time to make things close . Even if such a thing happens I’ve 100% confident this team can pull through in such an event .

  19. Roger – would really love to give you a life, but for once, I don’t have the car and the train is the mode of transport on this occasion.

  20. Never thought I’d see the day I’d have to watch a Mayo game on Sky, but sadly that’s the case. Out of the country and so have to rely on a foreign broadcaster to see it (don’t get me started on the Duffy/Sky deal).
    To be honest, I miss the tension and nervous anticipation that was always present in the build up to Mayo Galway games of the past. I remember in particular one unmerciful hammering they gave us in the old MacHale Park and being on the receiving end of torrid abuse from their supporters on the way out. Scarred for life 🙂
    It shows how far we have progressed but also just what can happen when you stop focusing on underage player development at club and schools level. That’s where it’s at. In fairness to the county board. they may have made a balls of some things but they’ve got some things right. More coaching supports at club and schools level is needed but the full time appointment of two coaching officers is a positive and progressive sign.
    Mayo by 6 in a stop start game.

  21. Mayomad, some of the ways Mayo could make hay is by going for goals early and often against a new Galway defense, go man for man and forget a sweeper, we should not need a sweeper against anyone bar Dublin.
    When you consider that Jason doc, Evan Regan and cillian like to score goals, and add in loftus and Carolan who know where the net is if they get a sniff of a chance you can see where mayo could do a lot of damage with even 10 or 12 scores on the board. 6 goals against Sligo last summer is something that is very possible again against Galway,
    All of this is just talk of course, it will all boil down to little things like will Regan forego the easy point and instead decide he really wants a goal to show Rochford that 13 or 15 is tattooed on his back. Or will loftus or Carolan come on and do the same, they are both very capable operators and must by dying to show it on the scoreboard.

    As fans, it’s nice to talk our team up, but also important to see the possible dangers like Danny Cummins scoring a couple of goals or someone like aos getting a red card early in the game because the ref thought nothing was something.

  22. Yes Dave, there are lots of areas where Mayo can make hay in this game, there are lots of positives to look at. I dont mind people pointing out weaknesses and having an opinion on how to rectify them, but there has been a constant stream of posts all week forusing on how Mayo can loose and how Galway are waiting to pounce. Some positive posts and some analysis on how this Mayo team will win wounldnt go amiss.

    I agree with you regarding a sweeper, I dont think we will play one as its not required. It wouldnt be a true test of a sweeper as I suspect Mayo will have the lions share of posession. Its better to go man on man in those situations.

  23. I’m not able to go tommorow. Anybody know a good stream to watch sky sports on the iPad by any chance?

  24. Clonee Man, if your’re having problems viewing certain channels due to *location* try this link cricfree .tv/sky-sports-1-live-stream-ss-1

  25. The teams named might not start, but let’s say they do. I agree with some comments that Galway will setup defensively. They will crowd out Cillian and AOS. I believe this because when I look at the teams selected, then this is what I would do. I would not go man to man as Sligo attempted last year. Also they have worked on a defensive strategy lately with some success. Systems do not come easy to the Galway boys, but needs must. KW done a decent job with lesser souls against us in the Hyde so why not Galway. This my opinion and reasoning I could be wrong. I am expecting a win for Mayo, but I will be happy to leave them in our wake. Perhaps its a generation thing. Perhaps I first look at the resources of each county first.

  26. Ah yes, the owl long grass. Many an unsuspecting victim has been dragged to their awful death by a beast, hidden and camouflaged and waiting to pounce.

    I was told it was going to happen last year in Pearse Stadium but the beast never showed up.

    Hopefully the grass is cut well short in Mchale for tomorrow and the would be victim will be able to see clearly any danger lurking and steer the good ship Mayo safely through to her intended destination.

    Or something like that anyway.

  27. I think Galway will stay with us for about 50 minutes but after that I think we will pull away nicely in the end,hopefully no silly black cards or injures,I agree with ye guys,euro 16 is fun but it’s not the same as the feeling you get watching our men on route hopefully to croke park,il be having a nice cold beer stateside watching it,love this time of year
    Up mayo for 6 in a row

  28. Personally I think Galway should be looking to put up scores . If mayo are kicking wides then it might put us under pressure.

    Madness trying a blanket . That is not a Galway trait

  29. Aye but Conor McGreggor was the titles to back it up…we don’t….yet anyway. Hate arrogance

  30. Just looking at the comments on some of the GAA related stories on the RTE website and Lord there are a lot of bitter folk out there and no small amount of vitriol directed against Mayo – mostly from people within Connaught. Suggestions of arrogance, etc. I had thought about inviting them to check out this blog to check the pulse of some genuine Mayo supporter but then thought….nah!

  31. Seamus never mind them I like to think most of us here show some class. I’ve never seen a Roscommon person give this Mayo team any credit…

  32. Yeah Dave, we really should have put Down away that day and I’m sure before that game most people were saying the same things about Down that they are saying about Galway now. Remember Down had been well beaten in all of their games and got hammered in their Ulster championship match against Monaghan as well. I’m sure that people were saying that we’d beat Down out the gate and that they were useless etc. etc. but the reality was that Andy Moran had to come off the bench to kick a point followed by a great free from Evan Regan to get us over the line.

    I see where your coming from about getting early goals. The thing is, if they go in, it’s great, like the early goals we got against Sligo last year but I remember in the 2012 Connacht final against Sligo we missed some great goal chances early in the game and had one disallowed as well, then that game turned into a major battle. It was like Dublin the last day against Laois, the two early goals finished off the game in the first 10 minutes. Then in the 2014 game against Donegal that they lost, missed early goal chances cost them in that game.

    It seems that Galway have gone for a few guys with a bit of pace so they will try to hurt us on the counter attack. We should still be winning this game so we’ll see how it goes. It would be great to see Evan Regan, Brendan Harrison and Patrick Durcan have big games along with Kevin Keane, Jason Gibbons, Jason Doc and Conor O’Shea (if they all play) as they are the players with most to play for.

  33. Hope springs, I would rather see them going for the goals if the chance is on instead of taking the safe option all the time, need to develop that ruthless streak, putting teams to the sword.

    Seamus, I couldnt care less what other supporters have too say. Iwould start to worry if they were not saying anything, that would mean the team wouldnt be a threat anymore. The more the talk, the more dangerous they feel we are.

  34. This time tomorrow we should have qualified for another Connaught Final. I remember being in Tuam Stadium in 1982 for a Connaught Final v Galway. Galway won easily on the day by 3 17 to 0 10.the thing that sticks in my mind from that day was a man from Connamara roaring all through the 2nd half. rub salt into them, rub salt into them. the win wasnt enough for him, he wanted to win by as big a margin as possible. I hope we do the same to them tomorrow.On a side note Roscommon are playing Senior and Intermediate club championship this weekend.Also they are going for a training camp to Foto Island the following weekend.

  35. Yeah mayomad, you notice that all of the great teams have a habit of banging in goals to really kill off teams. Kilkenny are master of this. Two goals in quick succession is a hallmark of theirs. They instinctively know when teams are vulnerable. The Dubs now do it for fun as well. You know our U21 team this year, had that know how too, they also had it as Minors in 2013, going in for the kill when it’s on. You’d love to see our senior team do that this year, i.e. not letting leads slip.

  36. Will do Mayo Mick. Cheers lad. Blood is always up the day before we meet the “oul enemy”. UP MAYO

  37. Ah yes Rostown. Tuam stadium 1982.

    Will never forget that. The Galway people who were standing next to me behind the goal dipped their bread that day all right. They were screaming at the ref to give Mayo some frees in 50/50 calls “just to give Mayo a chance to keep the score respectable”.

    You know the type of thing. “Ah come on ref, let Mayo have something, lord knows they need all the help they can get”.

    The piss taking started early that day actually. When Mayo ran on to the pitch at the start of the game the fella on the tannoy system asked to “give Mayo, the reigning Connacht champions a big welcome”. The were roars of laughter from many around me, as if they knew that a massacre was about to take place.

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