The day before

Mayo team Connacht final 2014

It’s the day before our All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Cork and a dirty, wet morning it is too up here in the capital. The rain is expected to fall more or less incessantly here today and into tonight but the forecast for tomorrow looks okay. The grass at HQ will certainly be well watered by then but it seems we’re in for dry weather for the match itself, though it might be a touch on the windy side.

The team announcements have all been made and I think the debate about the fifteen we’ve named may now be starting to peter out. This is just as well, I reckon, as much of this debate – in particular the bit about loyalty and/or form – is taking place in a vacuum and I’d question the merit of strongly-held expressions being put forward based on supposition. In any event, we don’t know if the fifteen named will actually start – there are strongish rumours to the contrary but we’ll need to wait until tomorrow afternoon to find out for sure.

In the meantime, there’s more pre-match reading to do and here’s a sample of what’s out there today.

The Mayo Advertiser hit the streets yesterday and it has previews on both the minor and senior games as well as John Casey’s column.

The Irish Times has an overview piece by Keith Duggan on tomorrow’s matches, while the same writer also has feature pieces with Cillian O’Connor and Aidan O’Shea. John O’Keeffe previews both of tomorrow’s quarter-finals, and it won’t cause you to fall off your chair to know that he tips his native county and ourselves to advance.

The Irish Independent, meanwhile, has an interview piece by John Fallon with Donal Vaughan and the same writer has a similar piece (which is actually from yesterday’s paper but still worth a look if you haven’t yet seen it) with Barry Moran.  The Indo also has an article with ref’s boss of all bosses Pat McEnaney (the piece, by the way, says he’s sailing off into the sunset at the end of this season – thank the Lord for small mercies) who reckons counties are wasting their time, so they are, trying to influence refs in the way that the Cork crowd so transparently attempted to do earlier in the week.

My favourite article of the day, though, is this one in the Indo by Rachel Wyse, who gushes about the Dubs (they’re not playing this weekend but never mind) and then gushes some more about that Kerry/Dublin semi-final last year before concluding that the All-Ireland is Dublin’s to lose. All without giving us a mention, aside from saying we’ll win tomorrow before losing to Kerry.  Keith Duggan says in that overview piece mentioned above that Kerry are “hiding in plain sight” this year but the same appears true of us, based on the Sky presenter’s analysis.

With the other two nationals not giving all that much space to the Leesiders (not in their online editions at any rate) it falls to the Irish Examiner to speak to their own audience with their Cork-centric coverage. Former county player Conor McCarthy ponders how Cork might find a way to win tomorrow, while Michael Moynihan has interview pieces with Cork manager Brian Cuthbert and with Daniel Goulding.

It’s not all blood and bandages stuff in de Paper, though, as there’s a feature by Terry Reilly on Cillian O’Connor, a match preview by Brendan O’Brien (they tip us) and the always-great Dara Ó Cinnéide on both of tomorrow’s games, the highlight of which is where he ascribes certain Star Wars character traits to Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice.

Finally, RTÉ have a preview on the two quarter-finals, with Martin Carney plumping for Kerry and ourselves to advance.

Aside from all the reading, though, there’s all the logistics to sort out ahead of tomorrow’s long day at Croke Park. A long one it’s sure going be but it’ll a relatively easy enough one for me, living as I do no more than half an hour’s walk from the stadium, and I reckon I might even have time for an early morning spin on the bike before getting ready for Croker. For many of you, though, it will, I know, involve significant travel and maybe even an overnight stay in the capital. Safe travelling to all those on the move later today and tomorrow.

25 thoughts on “The day before

  1. The debate and conjecture about team selection does get a little tiresome. Not long to wait now. I lived for many years with a couple of rebels so will be meeting them tomorrow for a few scoops in the lower hogan.

    They’re optimistic. On the surface anyway.

  2. Mayo may have underestimated Roscommon and nearly paid a heavy price, I sincerely hope James and the team do not underestimate Cork. All the pundits are going for Mayo it reminds of the situation prior to the Tyrone game last year,all the pundits favoured Mayo and the Team struggled in the first half until Chris Barrett and Lee Keegan kicked inspirational points. Wishing James and the Team every good wish tomorrow.

  3. Looking forward to Croker . 4th visit this year , with Dublin and Derry in league and the club final . It has turned into a home venue of sorts for us . Great to have this now annual trip to Croker on the August bank holiday . Who would have thought it when we left pearse pk in Longford beaten in a qualifier game not too many years ago . Wishing both our teams the best .

  4. Some great reading there WJ. I love that Dara O Cinneide article but then he rarely lets you down.

    That Rachel Wyse piece is absolutely hilarious. If there was ever a piece to be pinned to dressing room walls around the country, that’s it. She has effectively dismissed nearly everyone left in the championship – including ourselves – one sentence by saying that Kerry will be Dublin’s main challengers. That’s pretty impressive. 😀

    Also her verdicts on the qualifiers are a bit odd, particularly the second.

    “In the second clash I think Ulster will gain revenge by means of a Monaghan victory over Kildare. While the first match could go either way, it’s difficult to see anything other than a victory for Malachy O’Rourke’s men in this one.”

    I wouldn’t have thought it was *quite* that clear-cut, myself …

  5. Bags packed and off for the afternoon flight to knock. Great to be coming home again to see the green and red in yet another quarter final. The team is picked and now is time to get behind them. What ever 15 takes the pitch or finishes the game we all know they want the same as us. Get behind both teams and pray for a long run in the all Ireland series. Come on mayo.

  6. The in depth knowledge and decades of experience in the game creeds that article in the Indo and gives new meaning to phrase: ‘Wyse Words’

  7. The weather is bad and there is talk of some kind of a rail strike tomorrow so anyone travelling today take extra care also increase in penalty points starts this weekend so I dare say the flash for cash vans will have all routes to croke park covered . I would not be surprised to see changes to the team before kickoff and hopefully Feeney might get more than his usual minute and a half best of luck tomorrow up Mayo

  8. Enjoy weekend and here’s hoping it will be an all connaught semi final withe galway and mayo. I think Kildare could beat Monaghan I could be wrong

  9. Wonder if James Horans words to the team going out will be . Lads don’t leave anything on the pitch look what just happened to Kerry today.
    Then again maybe not LOL.

  10. Mayo to win pulling up…Mayo need a good test before Kerry….just two of the comments I heard this week. There is a lot of confidence around the county. Personally I think a good start is important for Mayo and a seventy plus minute performance but I think a kerry and Cork double looks good value at 3 to 1….

  11. Yeah, once again a great entertaining piece by Dara O Cinneide. I especially liked the part where he says people are starting to wake up to the fact that Fitzmaurice is a seriously good manager with the Star Wars description of “the force is strong in this once”.

    Just about to head out the door to spend the night in the capital, cant wait for tomorrow.. best of luck to minors and the seniors.. May the force be with you.. C’mon Mayo

  12. Very informative article WJ to those articles. A great service you provide here. Safe travelling to all fans and hopefully we will have a minor / senior double.

  13. The M50 is lethal with flooding and serious surface water. Dubs not helping by slamming on the brakes every time they hit the flashes. Easily known they are not used to driving through floods.
    Looking forward to reading the articles listed above, WJ, another wonderful service by yourself. Much appreciated.
    A good start needed, but as long as we are there or there about on 50 mark we will be fine. It well be close enough but Mayo eventually by 5.
    Safe travelling and Hon Mayo.

  14. I must say, I really enjoyed that Armagh v Meath match. Despite the terrible conditions, Armagh were very impressive, loved the way they defended and counterattack so quickly, even with the shit conditions.
    Usually those types of game are crap, that was entertaining. Anyway, wets the appetite for more!

  15. Yea ……. its been raining here for 36 hours. The back garden is like a paddyfield.

    Hope they get the footwear right or it will be like cows on ice. I seem to remember a

    game we played a few years back when this was a problem. Everyone blamed the

    pitch at the time but this time I`m concerned that the right “tyres” fitted from start.

  16. Pebblesmeller….that’s all the country crowd driving across the M50 not us!!!!

    Best of luck to Mayo tomorrow and travel safe.

  17. Cork will pose some questions- they are wounded after kerry and want to restore some pride-they have some very talented forwards- however I think that they wont get a sufficient supply of ball to do enough damage to us- Mayo by 5. Safe travel to all. C’mon Mayo!

  18. Martin the Dub
    Hope our crowd are driving up and not across the m50.
    Anyway as always thanks for your good wishes . I always try and read your views both on here and rte.
    After reading ‘The Wyse Ones’ views from link above,it doesn’t really seem to matter if we beat Cork as Kerry will take care of us and Yourselves will take care of them.
    Bet she can drive in the rain as well.Oh! to be so gifted.

  19. Spending the nite in Naas . Being raining for most of the day. Terrible conditions for football to nite weather for tomorrow should be mostly cloudy maybe the odd shower. If our lads come out strong tomorrow i am confident it is in us do it.Safe travelling to anyone heading to croker

  20. About to head out the door and make the long journey to Dublin, I’m feeling very confident that it’ll be a shorter journey home and Mayo will progress on a scoreline of

    2-14 to corks 2-12 or something like that.

    Hup Mayo!

  21. Same as that, and feeling good about the day ahead. The very best of luck to the Minors too.

    Safe travelling to all.

    Come on Mayo!!!

  22. Ready for the road again. Monaghan had a great win last night after extra time and in dire playing conditions. I was struck by a comment that Monaghan have not contested a AIF, since 1930. That’s a long time in any time. It’s hard sometimes and that’s for sure but I am priviliged that this Mayo squad have giving me so much to look forward too. Fair play to Monaghan on their hard fought and well earned victory.

    We’ll know a little more about where we really are around the six o clock mark. At this point in time I honestly have not a clue if Mayo are serious contenders for Sam. No disrespect intended to New York, Roscommon and Galway but Cork are considered to be a pedigree team and should provide a litmus test to establish whether Mayo are going to be in the running, down the road.

    Think Galway will be a real handful for a Goochless Kerry and they could pull off an upset.

    Anyways, I’m on the road again.

  23. As usual Met Eireann’s weather predictions have to be viewed with a jaundiced eye – forecast now updated for rain to continue this morning and only gradually clear throughout the afternoon in Dublin. Hopefully it won’t get in they way of our minors going out and clobbering the Oráiste !! Conditions under foot likely to remain slippy for the big game at 4pm which might make it even more challenging trying to hold possession when running the ball into the Cork blanket defence – will be the type of day where the big men will be needed…

  24. On the road again. Heading up on the train from Tipperary for another Bank Holiday AIQF. I’s almost a ritual at this stage and long may it last! Safe travelling to all today. Bring your voice and be heard! Maigheo Abu

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