The Kingdom are coming

Photo: RTÉ

This coming weekend sees the third round of matches in this year’s National Football League. After a draw at home against Galway followed by a draw away to Armagh, Kevin McStay’s team are back on home turf this coming weekend.

Our opponents this weekend, under the Saturday night lights at MacHale Park, are All-Ireland champions Kerry. The game is scheduled to throw in at 7.30pm, Seán Hurson of Tyrone is the ref and it’s being broadcast live on TG4.

While it’s not long since we played Kerry – we met them a total of three times last year, losing all three, with our final meeting the All-Ireland quarter-final where defeat to them brought down the curtain on our inter-county year – it’s a good while since we welcomed them to MacHale Park as All-Ireland champions.

Indeed, by my reckoning, having perused the results archive here on the blog, this last happened as far back as 2008. That was the infamous ‘Spoongate’ meeting, from which we emerged with a one-point win, thanks to a late Austin O’Malley winner.

It’s also a fair while since we beat Kerry on home turf. Their one-point win over us in Tralee last year was their first win over us down there in the League for thirteen years but it’s now getting on for nine since we beat them at MacHale Park.

Since that 2014 victory, we’ve lost to them at home in 2016, 2018 (an all-tempered game, in which Evan Regan suffered the second serious injury that befell him against Kerry) and 2020 (the final match we played before the shutters came down for Covid that year). We’re definitely overdue a win over them on home turf at this stage.

Who needs a quick reminder of what Kerry have been up to since we last played them? Okay, you asked for it.

After they ended our Championship hopes last June, Jack O’Connor’s team went on to claim Sam for the first time since 2014, beating Galway in what was a closely contested final. Like us, they’re on two points from two games in this year’s Division One campaign but, unlike us, they’ve both lost and won a game already this year.

The defeat came in the opening round up in Ballybofey. Kerry fielded a very experimental side and lost out to Donegal by a point, Paddy McBrearty striking late with the winning score.

They hit back last weekend, though, putting three goals past Monaghan down at Fitzgerald Stadium as they eased to a facile 3-16 to 0-14 win. Paudie Clifford came off the bench to score a goal that day and he’s one of a few first team regulars – Seán O’Shea being another – who are expected to be available for selection for Saturday night’s game.

Every outing in this year’s National League is important in its own way. From our point of view, this one certainly is. Ever since we had the temerity to get the better of them in the League final in 2019, they’ve been beating us for fun so it would be great if we could stop the rot the next evening. From their standpoint, of course, they’ll want to continue piling the pain onto us.

So, what’s it to be? An overdue home win over them or a sixth straight loss in all competitions to them? Anyone for the draw?

Let’s finish, then, with the usual pre-match poll: what’s the temperature like for this one? It’s time to vote on that.

How will we do against Kerry?

  • Win (43%, 366 Votes)
  • Lose (41%, 352 Votes)
  • Draw (16%, 139 Votes)

Total Voters: 857

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148 thoughts on “The Kingdom are coming

  1. This is going to be a big step up from both Armagh and Galway. A comfortable enough win for Kerry on Saturday night unless our defense can tighten up big time.

  2. Mike has another cracking Here Comes the Weekend pods in the bag. He’s got Colm Boyle and Tony Leen for this one as they look forward to Saturday evening’s big match.

  3. Great opportunity for mayo to see if the current game plan can create enough scoring chances vs conceding will work against what should be top opposition, really looking forward to this one

  4. WJ- Why do you refer to it as ‘Spoongate’ meeting in 2008?

    Imagine ..only 3,000 at that match- they’ll be over 5 times that Saturday night.

    Imagine there’s a reference to ‘O’Shea’ as a midfield option..Aidan presumably.

  5. It was the wooden spoon used by St Patrick (the irreplaceable John Durcan RIP) to play his bodhran that was misappropriated by an individual in the attendance and made its way in the direction of Mr Donaghy. The spoon thankfully did not suffer any damage.

  6. Thanks, Bogman, you beat me to it!

    As I recall there were also v-signs in both directions as well as the misappropriated wooden spoon that was sent flying towards Kieran Donaghy. It was all rather unedifying and the County Board got hit with a €5k fine from HQ for the incident.

    Report on the incident by Mike Finnerty in the Mayo News is here:

  7. This could be the acid test for the new Mayo half-back setup. I really hope Conor Loftus can tie down the chb position because it looks like a lot of time has been invested in it. I just have fears that Kerry with Sean O’Shea and Paudie Clifford might target that area of our defence. Still it’s these games that can give a proper insight into the plans and work done so far and hopefully even more signs of progress will be seen on Saturday. In the draws against Galway and Armagh we saw good signs and a few problems so it would be brilliant if we could continue with the good stuff and show that some of the negatives have been worked on. A Mayo win by a point or two for me.

  8. I went for us to be beaten , , possibly by 3 / 4 points .
    Would be great to see Paddy Durcan and Tommy Conroy , DOC , featuring at some stage but don’t think they will be rushed back by management.
    Important to stay in Div 1 but championship is the big one .

  9. Just a comment on the wooden spoon … in the various Australian football systems the Wooden Spoon is ALWAYS a reference to the bottom of the table (the team at the bottom gets it, so I think that Mayo supporters should stay well away from all that!). Maybe our bodhran players should use a shillelagh or something similar to produce the same rousing support for our Mayo team

  10. With championship just 8 weeks away. Big question for me is where is plunkett and Harrison re injury s. Or is the defence we have now apart from Durcan and o hora going to be it for championship. If plunkett and Harrison don’t show in the next 3 weeks you can forget about them playing championship. Is Doherty still in the panel and if so why is he there if he is going to be another conor o shea. Unused.

  11. Yeah loftus at six looks like it’s some kind of planned tactic , I just don’t buy into it that it will be a good thing , several times in the games so far he’s had opportunity to kick pass it in , surely that’s one of the reasons he’s been put there as he has it in his locker but always opting for a safe hand pass is all I have seen so far . You’d worry what seany o se could do if he gets on enough ball .

    I’d have serious concerns we could get a trimming if Kerry are firing the weekend but they haven’t been in top notch form as of yet .

  12. I’d be expecting a home win here and to be honest would be disappointed if we didn’t get it.
    If not now in front of a partizan home crowd with a squad getting very close to full strength then when?

    Mayo seem to be a fair bit ahead of most teams fitness wise, Kerry appear to have celebrated that win long into the winter and by all account’s Sean o’shea will be the only addition to what is a completely 2nd string forward line. Jack would be silly to chuck David clifford in at this stage and not let him rest for the bigger battles down the road

    That Kerry midfield without David Moran looks distinctly average too, would expect ruane and flynn to run the legs off them.

    Mayo by 4

  13. Thought provoker. Can anyone recall a career forward playing well at upper Division one level in championship, even if that role was to mainly be a playmaker with others covering man marking?
    I just think it’s a rare transition. One still needs a fair bit of defensive nous and tackling physicality.
    I don’t see that Conor Loftus is a strong enough tackler.
    For me the player to try this with was Diarmuid if we were going to try it.

  14. @Craggy Boglands

    I heard Plunketts name mentioned on the podcast as one to still come back so for me that is a positive that he is being spoken about. I think it was Boyler that name checked him.
    Kevin Mcstay said after the Armagh game that Robbie, Paddy and Tommy C we targeted to return for the Kerry game. Hopefully DOC, O Hora and Plunkett aren’t far behind.

    It would be great to go into the championship with as near to a fully fit panel as possible. No need to rush back players for the sake of it so if they need another few weeks to be on the safe side then so be it.

  15. Excited for this,have no idea how we’ll do but I’d be expecting kerry to have the big guns back and might be a bridge too far for us at this stage.However with Mayo you just never know!
    Was chatting there to a few and was thinking this might be the biggest attendance for a league game ever in Castlebar?
    I remember a league game v Clare either in late 92 or early 93,they were Munster champions and brought a huge crowd up,Mayo also had a big crowd,could even have been a league semi final.Anyway there was 20k there that day,I can’t find footage but some on here may remember, there was a bit of controversy as Mayo were a point down and the ref blew the final whistle as the ball was in the air on the way over the bar for an equaliser.It didn’t count and Clare won by a point,I think the guy who kicked it was called Reilly.
    All off memory and I was only a young lad at the time so open to correction.

  16. @jr, yes, Colm Coyle is one, but I think his style of play would not work now. I thought Brendan Reilly went from defence to attack?
    I’m not recalling let’s say in the last ten years anyone going back from the forwards and being an effective centre back?

  17. Greetings Willie Joe and to all Mayo folk. I’m from Kerry.
    I very rarely come on this forum. As a Thoroughbred, while I’m hoping for a Kerry win, I would like Mayo to play well too in a very tough and close contest. Both sides need it. I find the comments on this forum are very civil, refined by sincere Mayo folk, unlike for about 8 posters on the Kerry Forum espousing arrogance with their know all and clique mentality, vassilised by their supreme chief of the devious Global Moderstor. They are nothing but Negatrons, those few. They know whom they are.
    There are terrific posters on it too though. Superbly knowledgeable people, Thank God, they are the majority.
    As for ‘Spoongate’ back in 2008, I was there with my Dad, there was more than a wooden spoon thrown onto the pitch, there was half a hurley aimed at ‘ Star’ Donaghy late on in the game. Anyway, let bygones be bygones.

    As for impending fixture itself, I’ll be honest, I’m tipping Mayo to win by 2 points, could be a draw too, because, it’s us, Kerry, the All-Ireland Ireland holders, always want to defeat them, secondly you are playing in front of your passionate home supporters, the best GAA football, not hurling, but best GAA football fans in the whole of Ireland with regarding following your side.
    Thirdly, you lost to us three times last year, so you will be out to prove a point.
    Fourthly, fitness wise, we are not up to standard league pace yet as we’ve wintered well. Look at our defensive frailties against a poor enough Donegal team in our first game, as well as a non existent midfield after the retirement of David
    ‘ The Gentleman’ Moran. He’ll be terribly missed. So in that position, we’ll be in rotative transition. Mayo to a degree are in transition too.

    So on those four points, I’m tipping for a Mayo win by 2 at best, a draw at worst.

    One thing’s for certain, Kerry will not do back do back All-Ireland’s this year, no way. Let’s call a spade, a spade and be crystal clear about this. They are a very likeable team. I know a few of the players personally. Gentlemen. But they are not the Kerry team of 2004 – 2009, nowhere near as good.
    It takes a good team to win an All-Ireland, it takes an excellent team to do back to back and it takes a legendary status team to do a treble. We are a very good team, that’s about it. I say this out publicly down here, people don’t like it, but privately they agree. It’s the truth.
    I go to as many Kerry football, hurling and Camouge games as I can. Unfortunately, this Saturday evening’s fixture precludes me from being present. Matters beyond my control.

    Wishing both teams all of the best in a tough, entertaining contest of a fair game that both sets of supporters will enjoy.

  18. Our Here Comes the Weekend pod is now online over on Patreon. Mike hosts it, with Colm Boyle and Tony Leen on it as they look ahead to Saturday evening’s game.

  19. Think Kerry, would like to laid down a marker here. I still think Mayo in top 4 sides in country. Kerry no.1 Dublin / Galway joint 2nd, followed by us. And I think capable of beating Dublin and Galway, if we get guy back playing well. And capable of beating Kerry if get guys back playing well, and get tactics correct on day. So I think you could see alot of all ireland team back, but at what capacity they be operating at, due to limited training etc, we will have to see. A win would be great, on Saturday, but Kerry will be a different beast come summer, but hopefully so can we, if young guy show improvement as league goes on

  20. Michael Plunkett was a forward in the All Ireland winning minor side and Enda Hession was also a forward in his Mayo minor days.
    FW. If my memory is correct it was Kenneth Reilly, a guard from Charlestown and I remember the outrage of the whistle being blown as the ball was sailing over the bar.

  21. @joe , Kenneth Reilly is the lad your thinking of, his father Sean was a guard in Charlestown, he played fullback for Donegal and Ulster

  22. @Joe The question was around any players who have converted back to being a centre back from the forwards after a career well into their senior inter county career at the top level in division one and in let’s say the last 10 years.
    The last 10 years being let’s say much more advanced than what came before.
    Peter Harte is a good example.
    Just the rarity of this at this level shows the difficulty in my view.

  23. A thought.
    Will Paudi Clifford play?
    And if he does, will we man mark him, as Lee did in the quarter final last year?
    If we opt to man-mark Paudi, I was wondering who could do it, from our current fit pick of players.
    I thought Eoghan McLaughlin. Am I in cloud cuckoo land with that idea?

    It looks like Paudi is one of the threats that we need to deal with.

    And would David McBrien work for David Clifford, assuming DC plays some of the game?

  24. Mind the house.. thanks for that information. Plunkett has a lot to offer. He was going really well last year before the injury. Even one experienced man could make an awful difference such a pity leeroy departed

  25. I’m baffled as to why people are enquiring about the availability of Harrison, when did he last play for Mayo ?, it seems a long time ago at this stage.

  26. Really looking forward to visiting McHale park for the first time.

    From a Kerry perspective I expect to see Paidi start and possibly Seanie.
    Clifford could be seen in the 2nd half.

    The boys have had a month off now so they’ll be raring to go.

    Personally I wouldn’t be making many changes to the team that played Monaghan.

    Donal Down OSullivan / Dara Roche are excellent forwards so we won’t be found wanting there.

    Midfield is certainly a concern for me so I hope we can negate that by being smart on the kickouts.

    I’ve said from day one I’d take a draw and I’d be delighted with it.

  27. Mayo88, Brendan Harrison got injured in the final round of the league versus Kildare last year. He played in a number of league games before that.

  28. Good question Swallow. Paudi is a very dangerous forward and floats around the field. Strong too. If Durcan was fit, he’d be the man for me. Hammer the hammer ?

    David Clifford – woukd be the acid test for McBrien.

  29. Mayo 88. Your baffled. The inexperience of the present full back line is the reason why the question is being asked.

  30. At Mayo 88,
    Harrison last played for Mayo less than a year ago on a sunny day in Carrick,I’m not sure why you’d be baffled,if he’s near fit again we need him in there ASAP,he was coming into form in the league.
    Just to note Harrison has played 3 or 4 games since Tommy Conroy last played.

  31. From what I’m hearing David and Paudie Clifford might not be in a position to travel to Mayo this weekend. For reasons outside football.

  32. What I am saying is that it’s been a long time ago since Harrison has played football regularly in the Mayo team, ie every game in one Season, maybe 2017 or 2018 ?

  33. Hopefully Kerry are at full strength and both Cliffords are in the starting line up. Many Posters are talking of players coming back and who are ye going to drop? Both McBrien and Brickenden need testing at the highest level. As does Loftus at CHB. His ball distribution is good but we need to see more of his man marking defensive qualities before we’re convinced he’s the man. I wouldn’t over indulge in wether forwards can be tradionally converted to backs or not…
    So kingdom come and come with all guns blazing imo.

  34. @OnTheDitch I think we know that Conor is not a man marker or strong on defending. With him it’s more about will he offer a lot from there when we have possession.
    My view is it won’t make up for defensive weaknesses.

  35. @Mayo 88
    If your barometer is a player playing every game in a season you’d be picking from a very small group.
    How many played every game last season or the season before? Don’t know for sure but if I had to guess I’d say none,maybe Robbie 2 seasons ago.

    The Fact is Harrison was playing well (and getting better with each game) and played a full league bar the final season last year.
    I don’t know where he is fitness wise but if hes fit hes in the squad and I don’t think anyone would say otherwise.

  36. @JP. I would not argue with you but Loftus probably deserve his chance. He may very well have to step aside when Durcan and O Hora return.
    @no doubt, thanks for reminder.

  37. Stephen Coen and Conor Loftus have been very lateral with there play in the last 2 games , look afraid too afraid to give away posession and I cant see them been the half backs to give us a kicking game.Would like to see Michael Plunkett and Kevin McLoughlin in the half back line.

  38. Ontheditch.. I’m not looking at kerry in the league. I’m looking down the road to championship and mayo with coyne brickenden and mcbrien.. all rookies. In a full back line I’m afraid it’s a tall order plus Loftus at 6. Of course they need to be thrown in against kerry. Why not. It’s not championship. I remember Boyle and conroy called ashore before half time under o mahony. Boyle went on to be a great player so yes lads have to be blooded. But when the daisies come up it’s a whole new ball game. Experienced heads are needed. A mix of mcbrien coyne and more experienced campaigners

  39. These league games sow the seeds of belief for later in the year.
    Also not about avoiding relegation but attaining a qualifying position for last 16 league stages of championship.
    The league as gained new status and mayo’s games at least have been championship in intensity. This pattern will continue under the lights on Saturday night

  40. Ontheditch. I know all about the new structure.. that s why I’m wondering where are the experience players to help the younger ones. One cannot fire them all in at once and expect results

  41. @michealkelliher.welcome. Nice to see another knowledgeable outside poster on here. Good luck Saturday evening i hope ye come 2nd. I heard James o Donoghue and paddy Andrews saying both their teams always target mayo in the league and that Jack would want to lay down a marker for later in the season incase they meet again.

  42. I have surprised myself by tipping a Mayo win, certainly promising signs in the two games to date, expect further improvement this weekend even though Kerry will also be improve. Not sure why but maybe greater motivation will drive us on.

    Another great test with the biggest requirement that newer players continue to adapt to IC football, continue to reintegrate injured players and players like Carney and McDonagh build on promise from previous years.

  43. See the turnover there from Eoghan Mc at a crucial stage? He stands out a mile at this level.

    The more I see Jack Coyne at this level the more I think he is a half back, in particular a no. 6.

  44. jP,I believe that Martin Carney done well and Jimmy Browne,the style they p?at now suits players playing in different positions

  45. Great article again @Willie Joe you do know how to a good one!

    I am hoping & would be dissapointed if we didn’t at least get another draw. I know only Jan but it would set us back a loss at home in front of a packed crowd. I do also think as others have said that our fitness is above kerry &other teams atm.

    I hear as many have said Kerry are bringing back the big guns it’s good to know that they still see us as one of the top 4 teams which we are.

    I expect mayo to go all out for this one they will have a point to prove after the league final we didnt’t want to be in& quarters that we held kerry off for a good while but our heart just was not in it that year after the 21 final. Espcially at home in castlebar to.

    I am going to go mayo by 2 or 3 and another big game from Aido also Eoghan mcghloulin& cillian playing so well coming back to form great to have the energy back best of luck guys!

  46. I think it’s time to turn over a leaf in your calendar @ Clare….or else the rest of us are time

  47. So much for player welfare… Lads out on their feet there at the end. Jack Coyne was in bits going off and he will probably be expected to play again now on Saturday…

  48. Conditions atrocious! This match should have been posponed! Best team won. UL v poor.
    Mayo boys did not excell except Coyne!

  49. I would hope either of them do not play on sat espcially after what happened to Tommy conroy last year.

  50. @Olean acla don’t agree thought Eoghan mcg played really well &others but your entitled to opinion of coursse. weather didnt help as you said! UL where the much better team.

  51. Maybe both of them will be rearing to go Saturday. They’re young and should recover fast. For all we know Tommy’s cruciate had nothing to do with too many matches.

    I mean look at ultramarathon runners, running 100+miles consecutively.

    Often i think ACL cases are too much gym work, squats etc. But I’m not a medic, only guessing. But surely they need to look at that.

  52. Running a marathon, or any straight line running, is totally different to playing football. You are not twisting, turning or rotating the knee joint in straight line running, nor are you jumping or landing on the turn. You can actually walk in a straight line with a busted ACL.
    Conroy was flogged last year, and suffered because two stout men in Horan and Sheridan refused to yield to each other and played a young lad in terrible underfoot conditions.
    As regards the gym work? Proper S&C with activation and bandwork will certainly reduce the chances of injury, there’s irrefutable evidence to prove that. If you strengthen the muscle, tendons and ligaments around the knee of course you are going to make that area more robust. Will that protect it from the suden jerk or jolt that seems to blow it out? Not always, unfortunetly.

  53. I hear ya Pebbles but running is far more natural than loading 200kg onto your knees in repeated actions!! Squatting has a place as it’s a natural movement but far too much weight. Madness. Tendons etc aren’t designed for that. Muscles aren’t allowed to recover. Impingement follows. Ask Lee Keegan. He spoke of it publicly regarding his hips.

    Kinetic chain. Even If one muscle is tight it can screw up everything else. Imagine how tight muscles get after those enormous weights.

    Again, only my humble opinion.

  54. Interesting comments there on correct approach to gym work and S&C. However I’ll stick with my physio for the moment!

  55. Would not expect to see either Eoghan or Jack anywhere near starting. Extra time in such difficult conditions really saps the body. Match not over til 9 30. Reckon it would be late return to Limerick. These lads are not machines and need to be minded. Expect both to feature prominently for Mayo throughout year, but not on Saturday night.

  56. An elderly doctor told me some years ago that he rarely treated hurlers or footballers for leg muscle injuries up to about 40 years ago and he attributed this to the fact that all the young men in West Cork used to do a lot of cycling. i think that the two boys who played last night would be well recovered to play on saturday but i’d imagine that Kevin won’t start them.

  57. I hope neither Eoghan or Jack Coyne are asked to play .
    I was listening to a pod with Galway captain Sean Kelly last week (not many people better than him to talk about sigerson as he’s been juggling it for 5 or 6 years)
    He said there was great communication and an agreement in place between PJ and his sigerson manager to try to avoid the likes of what happened to Tommy C last year.
    Obviously no such agreement in our case or most other cases.Eoghan Mac plays full games for both teams 3 days apart for a few weeks,not sustainable. You’d also have to factor in spending time with his team mates having lost the final or indeed if they had won and the emotions involved.I hope and believe Kevin won’t start him on Sat.

  58. Horan brought through 5 player s around the same time. Rod conroy mullin hessian mcgloughlin. Of the 5 mcgloughlin is the most one who has not pushed on in my opinion. Yes pace. Direct running but often ends in nothing. I rate him but I wonder about his football ability at times

  59. @FW you are completely incorrect about McLaughlin playing full games for both teams. He came off the bench after 50 minutes in both Mayo league matches so far this year. Played full games for the university. He’s well able for 1 full mid week university game plus 20 minutes inter county at the weekend. A non story.

    @Craggy, Hession isn’t remotely as far along as Eoghan. In the 2020 Connacht final in Salthill, Eoghan was our man of the match – that was a one point win in a knockout game and our biggest game before the final. Come back to me if/when Hession does that. Eoghan started the win against Dublin in 2021 until that awful hit by Small. Hession was on the bench. Like I said before, the only reason Eoghan hasn’t made more of a recent impact is because he has had some serious injuries. But he is crucial to any future Mayo success, much more than Hession.

  60. Jack Coyne spend 80 minutes last night running up and down the field in atrocious weather conditions. He could hardly walk off the field at the end. Asking him to play again on Saturday evening would be highly irresponsible. Why not give Sam Callinan, Donnacha McHugh or Paddy a start. These lads have no game played at all played in the last 3-4 weeks.

  61. A bit harsh to be critical of Eoghan. His strong point is carrying at pace from defence to attack and probably causing havoc when doing so. Let someone else finish the move if needs be. Clifford wouldn’t be scoring without someone supplying him. My point is not many can do it all so use a players strong point and take it from there. Also I agree with @gbxi regards McLaughlin ahead of hession and that’s not meant to diss hession.

  62. GBXI. I have to disagree. Hessian against armagh was outstanding. Has alot about himself. I’m not running mcgloughlin down. I do rate him as I said but sometimes his end product and choices let him down. Perhaps the new management can sort that out. He is a man with alot of potential

  63. I have my own personal theory thar the way way overuse of those cone sprint drills in GAA training caused too much overload and wear on young players and mature players hips. It was often if in doubt what to do in a session or get the lads to run relay cone sprints to exhaustion.
    The human body is actually a machine, it obeys the laws of physics.
    I think those cone sprints have a lot to answer for.

  64. Ah he wasn’t outstanding, Craggy. He had a solid outing, carried the ball well and showed urgency. For all Eoghan’s perceived lack of scoring threat he’s been a regular scorer for Mayo in league and championship the past three seasons. Hession hasn’t even scored yet in league or championship in two seasons (plus 2 games this year). He has a long way to go to convince me that he should be a starter for Mayo.

    I think people’s problem with Eoghan is that his decision-making could be better relative to his athletic ability. It can but remember he’s a late comer to football (his mid teens) and he is still one of our best backs. He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing and soon he’ll start sticking those goal chances. His technique is actually quite good (kick passing and shooting).

  65. Folks, I don’t see why we are comparing Eoghan and Enda H. Each is different and each is very good.
    Enda is a smart player that gets through a fierce amount of work in a game. He has a touch of Keith Higgins about him. The Mayo v Dublin 2021 game was a great one for him.
    Eoghan is powerful, dynamic and a goal threat. He is a line breaker.
    I am chewing on a theory about Eoghan – he said more than once that he has been influenced by his club mate, Lee Keegan, that people have remarked on their similarities and that he has modelled parts of his game on Lee’s.
    My inkling is that Eoghan is able to be a goal finisher from deep in the way Lee could. A prime example is the goal for UL that he executed recently at the end of a sudden run from defence. We’ve seen him threaten goals for Mayo a few times too. I haven’t noticed him going for points as often. He is still developing his game. I guess he is tailoring his game to his physical strengths and I imagine and hope his coaches are helping him with this.
    I love both players, both very talented with lots of character.

  66. Listened to the recent Patreon pod there on the Kerry build up. The invited guests are always fair, balanced, and interesting. Aaron Kernan was exceptional a few weeks back. No apologies but that Tony Leen fella is an absolute dose. ‘My pal Jack’ etc etc – get out of his pocket Leen. The man is exceptionally biased in his views. The level of arrogance was comical at times – ‘one of the rare occasions when Kerry didn’t get over the line’ (v Mayo), hamming up Kerry’s B team that will tog on Sat night. Boyle did very well to keep his counsel!

  67. I’d have Eoghan and Enda pretty much on the same level, and both are guaranteed starters for me come championship. With Eoghan being slightly more guaranteed because his engine is incredible, it often looks like he’s just come on 50 minutes into a game he started.

    In an attacking sense, Eoghan needs to improve his decision making but he is making decisions in those areas, whereas Enda hasn’t looked entirely comfortable when in and around the opposition box imo

    Defensively, I find it harder to tell. Enda has done well from what I’ve seen but physically he’s not yet the finished article. I’ve no concerns about him come summer but at this time of year on heavy pitches I’m not entirely convinced but he’ll grow into it. Eoghan can improve his tackling imo. A lot of cases where he’s been caught wrong side and given a foul away.

    I thought Eoghans semi final goal for UL was a good sign. He took it very well and it’s something he hasn’t always done well for Mayo. Not to mention it was only a few days after shipping a lot of criticism for the end of the Armagh game

  68. Completely agree, First Gen. I was just waiting for someone else to say it! I had to turn it off half way through he’s that hard to listen to. They should look for a more relevant person to talk Kerry football than this guy.

    I don’t think Hession is guaranteed at all, Frost. A half back line of Paddy, Coen/Loftus, Eoghan is most likely. And I don’t think Hession is a natural corner back – he’s a sub in my opinion.

  69. Time will tell. For me hessian will start probably at corner back. I’m not so sure about the not scoring.. I’m sure he has notched an odd point here and there.

  70. Not a single score Craggy! But you could be right about him starting in the corner. We’re very weak in that position.

  71. Wrt the lads playing sigerson, management are the guys who see the players week in and week out. With the data and expertise at their disposal they are best places to make these decisions.

    Also spare a thought for the referee Sean Hurson who is expected to do two matches in four days. Fingers crossed he doesn’t make any tired decisions against us Saturday

  72. I’ve thought that Hession has looked most comfortable marking an opponent from behind. Which is a trait for the full back line imo

    I’d agree with you wrt the likely halfback line. When Plunkett and O’hora are back it’ll be interesting to see where they fit in.

    I think it was either the Monaghan or Kildare game last year where Hession and O’hora found themselves together around the edge of the D. Neither looked comfortable taking on a shot and they ended up hand passing between themselves and butchered an opportunity

    In that regard, should we maybe be encouraging our defenders to try for fisted points from that area? Might just take a little pressure off of them

  73. I have to agree with the lads on Tony Leen….he’s a hard listen. Re the Mayo backs it’s fine getting pre game match-ups sorted but even more important is making sure we’re not out maneuvered during play. Thinking of Aidan Orme as the last defender and Enda Hession trying to prevent Comer taking an attacking mark.

  74. GBXI. I wouldn’t be over concerned about hessian s scoring ability. His marking ability is far more important if he is in the corner. We have plenty of half forward s that have damn all scored in the last two years as well unfortunately.

  75. @GBXI
    Yes apologies, I had that wrong.
    I really hope not to see Eoghan or Jack this weekend after playing ET in those conditions a few days before.

  76. FW Coyne in my opinion shouldn’t have played the last league game was it 4.5 games in 10 days or so, no need for it.

  77. Thought it was just me that couldn’t listen to Tony Leen! He’d give you a pain in your backside with the elevated status he has for Kerry and for himself.
    I expect a very close game on Sat eve. I hope Coyne and McLaughlin are given the night off, so will be interesting to see if likes of Durcan and/or O’Hora are parachuted straight in.
    The talk was Durcan had been playing in forwards before his injury.
    I have to say I find it confusing how we’re stronger playing Loftus (a half forward) in the half back line, and Durcan (a half back) in the half forward line!
    But there’s obviously a plan, so will be interesting to see how that plays out

  78. The trick with Tony Leen is everytime he mentions Grumpy Jack knock your drink back

    No mention from him of Fionn McDonagh. He was forever asking about Fionn last year. Whether he’d admit it or not, he saw us as threat last year.

    So did Jack, going by his interview after the game in Tralee. Tony might overlook us this year but make no mistake Jack won’t. If we beat them on Saturday, I would almost guarantee that at least one of those lads Jack is trying won’t be seen in a Kerry jersey again for awhile

    First of imo the three most important league games of the year, at home against the only two teams that have beaten us every time we’ve met post covid and a trip to the Hyde.

  79. As an underage player hession played alot in the forwards. I posted here a couple of years ago about an u14 game where he was carrying an injury and left on the bench until 10 minutes to go when the team were 14pts down and they brought him on leg strapped and he brought it back almost single handed to 1pt before running out of time. He wasn’t afraid to kick a point in those days.

  80. That’s what surprises me, No Doubt, he was an underage forward and free taker. Obviously he has loads of time yet but I was expecting a lot more from him. Jack Coyne on the other hand I am excited by, he’s definitely gonna make it.

    45, they name the name team Friday night normally.

  81. Really looking forward to this game.

    Mayo and Kerry have developed a good rivalry and its the fixture I look out for when the season starts.

    The league really is the best competition even though nobody wants to won it apparently.

    My Kerry 15 for Sat,

    T OSullivan
    G OSullivan
    Breen ( if fit )
    P Clifford

    Seanie possibly for Moynihan.

    Should be a cracker especially if it stays dry…

  82. Do people remember enda hession coming on v dubs in 21 semi final? He did well above in Armagh recently too . Off yer rocker playing down enda hession imo he will be a top drawer Mayo player .

  83. i agree with Sean Burke. Hession has had his best games at half back. He is very good going forward and scores will come. In both games mentioned he was a big part of the comeback. He is not a natural in the full back line but we have options at half back and lacking man marking full back line personnel.

  84. Hession is top class but needs to tighten up his defending. He’s not a full-back line player, more comfortable in the HB line. But he definitely starts every match for me. He initiates attacks better than most Mayo players. Mcstay should just say ‘Enda, you have the ability. Just run at them, take on the opposition, break the line, I’m allowing you to make some mistakes because we need you and this is what you’re best at” etc etc. Instill a bit of confidence in him.

  85. He can evade most intercounty players in Ireland, he has the movement and the pace. This is how we need to use him more.

  86. It’s mad the way these arguments pop up!

    Eoghan McLaughlin has been a very important player for us since breaking through. As mentioned, I think he was the main reason we beat Galway in the 2020 connacht final. After Keegan, he was possibly our best player in the championship last year too. He has a decent scoring return by any measure and is very good at winning turnovers – against Armagh the last day for example. Has had an injury interrupted 18 months which would affect anyone.

    Enda Hession has turned into a guaranteed starter too. Everyone remembers the impact he made in that semi final vs Dublin. He had some quick games last year, but seems to have kicked on again going on the few games so far.

  87. Hession’s a class act, he ran Dublin ragged in 2021.

    There’s plenty to look forward to with these players and more to come.

  88. Just saw laochra gael. Wow! What an inspirational character Tom Parsons. He’d make you proud to be from Mayo.

  89. Diehard………As a Mayo man, I was so moved by that documentary on Tom and his career. He’s green n red to the core. An absolutely driven man for his county and jersey. Such a warrior. Did you see too the passion and pride oozing out of John Casey as he spoke of Tom and his come back from his horrific injury………. Unbelievable……I enjoyed it immensely….

  90. I don’t think we as supporters fully realise the sacrifices the Mayo players make to play for their county and be the best they can be. Laochra Gael tonight gave us some insight into the way top players think and are driven to succeed.

  91. Liberal.. that’s the problem with alot of our defence….. they are mostly half back s and we are trying to make corner backs out of them. It’s hard to know what combination we will end up with plunkett to come back also. Some tough calls to be made.

  92. Agreed on the Tom P doc. S very powerful piece. That injury incident still gives me the shivers 4+ years on. His recovery from it is a tribute to the stuff he’s made of . To say he loved playing for Mayo is an understatement , just a pity luck didn’t fall our way in one of those finals but what an era it was for us to witness.
    Our day will come though.

  93. I’ve said it in the past all-ireland medals don’t define a player. Tom Parsons is a wonderful person and his horrific injury even made him a better one. It’s hard to understand why he was released from the panel for a couple of years. I wish Tom and his family well in the future .

  94. David Clifford and Sean O’Shea likely to be in the 26 tomorrow night. Kerry team not looking so weak now!

  95. Clifford and Sean o se travelling and Tommy conroy not going great is what I’m hearing ,curse of Jesus do we ever get any luck at all . Mayo ! God help us indeed .

  96. I hope Kerry have their strongest team out. Let us put out whatever lads are ready and tear into them hell for leather. And let the result take care of itself. We’ll know then who can play at this level and who can’t. Have no doubt Kerry will be going 100% to bury any notions we might be having about ourselves. We need to show them a very hard edge. I’d be more interested in this against Kerry than any game plan etc. that might be emerging.

  97. Ye can go as hard as ya want and have as much ball as you want but like lasts years qf if we can’t convert that to actual scores ,pissing against the wind comes to mind .I honestly don’t believe we did ourselves justice last year for the amount of ball we had against Kerry we just couldn’t score

  98. Is it true that Aidan’s best work was around the middle against Armagh?
    For me Aidan was most effective when he stayed inside. We are trying to move away from chaos ball, so shouldn’t we leave Aidan inside all the time?

  99. My take on the weekend is Kerry will win comfortably by 4-5 points. They’ll pepper high balls in on top of Reape (if he starts) and I see them scoring two goals minimum. My optimism would rise though if I saw Tommy, Paddy and Robbie start.

    Conor Loftus will not work at CHB, he’s been given every oppurtunity over the years to establish a place in the team, Forwards – Midfield and now the Defense, he’s not a great tackler, and also gets caught in posession while running down blind alleys…the all ireland finals put to testament to that. Enough is enough at this stage, I can garauntee you if he was part of the other top teams he would not be on their panel. He is a silky footballer when he’s on top form, and has put in some 8/10 performances over the years, But always against lesser opposition. We’re in the business of trying to win an All Ireland, placing Connor at CHB is going to bite this managment team in the backside.

  100. You’d have to be pretty naive to think that Kerry wouldn’t be rolling out their big guns for this game, I’m glad they are to be honest because it will give us a good idea of where we’re actually at. I’d like to see McBrien on Clifford but I can’t see that happening if Clifford comes on with 20-25 minutes to go as McBrien will have a lot of energy used by then, so who else is going to take him?
    Also, I hope we don’t see these young fellas running onto the pitch during the game again, it was so embarrassing in our last home match.

  101. Hello,

    All very exciting. Living in hope. I thought James Car was targeted in Armagh. Maybe Aidan should start at FF and bring James Carr on later?
    I wouldn’t dare offer an opinion after that as to what might be best in the short and long term. The management have enough of experience to do that. Of course I would like to see those returning from injury. I can’t be but optimistic but not travelling. Maybe next week.

    All Good Wishes to those who are. Maybe Revellino could come up with some Mayo ‘Chants’. ‘Oh the Green and Red of Mayo’ etc.


  102. Spot on diehard, hit them hard and
    often then let’s see what comes out
    in the wash!!
    Gwan Mayo

  103. I would say one thing though – I believe Kevin McStay, Stephen Rochford and co will have a plan. And one that is fit for purpose. That’s their style.

    I’ve gone for a win, by the way ; )

  104. @Swallow Swoops

    I agree. I’d say Rochy in particular will have seen that Kerry defense last year and have a plan worked out that he’s only too delighted to test

    As such we may see a selection surprise before throw in

  105. Sean Burke you are dead right there. We had a power of ball in the quarter final, we created plenty of opportunities. But our finishing was not good enough. Plus we conceded 1-18 which is too much. But I’d be hopeful that McStay might find a balance that will at least allow to convert more of our opportunities (personnel plus style of play).Plus we have good options in the middle now, so we should have plenty of ball in games. Get defence right and we could go places

  106. @Margie. Very clinical and accurate analysis. No doubt Kerry will have studied our performances to date and vulnerabilities will be targeted.
    Maybe a bit soon to judge Reape and Loftus, though I would be concerned about the latter’s ability to tackle, particularly when occupying a central position.
    Well know a lot more after saturday night

  107. Hearing David clifford will be on team & seanie o shea will start but sure it’s good if they do and I do expect kerry to bring the big guns for this as it will be a proper test for mayo and we will know where we are at.

    Excited& nervous for this ha. See some predicting the game to be over in 1st quarter and kerry to be up by ten points in last quarter. I don’t think so . Still think we will surprise you just never know with mayo! Maybe its my biased opinion but still think mayo to win by 2 or 3 .

    We are def ahead of them in terms of fitness. Kerry looked like still celebrating the all Ireland in first 2 games and why shouldnt they haha.

    They beat monghan a team that are on the rocks so I think as well as kerry being a big test for us we will be a big one for them ! Good luck guys hope its a good game either way!

  108. Frost, “that he’s only too delighted to test” – I’m smiling away here. I trust that there’ll be something.
    With the help of God, we’ll be competitive.

  109. Hope Kerry have both Cliffords and S O Shea playing from start, will test Mayo defence without Keegan and Mullen. Kerry may not be fully fit and were very poor against Donegal but will test new Mayo defencive set up. If Mayo can keep them to a few points wil lbe happy ,but the flood gates could open.

  110. Sean Burke. Is Tommy injured or struggling to get back up to speed. That is a big worry for me. We need that man badly. On the kerry game last year we didn’t have the personnel on the field to score. Ravaged by injury s.

  111. Fully agreed Culmore, the change in personnel and the change in tactical approach in the backs is definitely good to be tested as much as possible as early as possible. Hopefully it works out.

  112. One thing on the Loftus experiment, it might be something that’s intended to be used with a sweeper/extra defender. It’s not something we’ve really seen from this management team quite yet but will be interesting to see if we use one later in the year. ATM we seem to be trying to protect our inexperienced fullback line with a fairly conservative half back line. Most of us would expect Paddy Durcan and Eoghan McLaughlin to be starting come championship, and then our halfback line looks much more attack oriented

  113. I expect that the same 15 that started vs Armagh will be named again tonight. Then tomorrow night, there will be two changes before the throw in. That seems to be the modis operandi this year. Diarmuid might be one of those coming on and maybe Paddy.
    But just to be clear, this is utter speculation!

  114. @louis,
    I’d agree with that, seems to be the trend.
    Robbie won’t be taking any part in this game and most likely the next two aswell.
    I’ve no idea where Paddy,O Hora or Tommy C are at.
    I hope Diarmuid can be back tomorrow.

  115. People worried about Conner Loftus ,don’t worry he is a fantastic footballer,Mayo by five

  116. Corick bridge u say conor is fantastic? Elaborate please. Where do u think his best position is?

  117. With a make shift defence and rookie keeper I don’t see us winning this one. Too many experienced men out I think. Don’t honestly think kerry are fantastic either. Just with the Clifford s they may have too much for us at this juncture.

  118. Hmm. A change in team-naming strategy. One change in named team from previous starting 15. One further change before throw-in? Or two?

  119. Mayo starting 15 are as follows:

    Cormac Reape Knockmore
    David McBrien Ballaghaderreen
    Rory Brickenden Westport
    Enda Hession Garrymore
    Stephen Coen Hollymount/Carramore
    Conor Loftus Crossmolina Deel Rovers
    Donnacha McHugh Castlebar Mitchels
    Matthew Ruane Breaffy
    Diarmuid O’Connor Ballintubber
    Fionn McDonagh Westport
    Bob Tuohy Castlebar Mitchels
    Jordan Flynn Crossmolina Deel Rovers
    Aidan O’Shea Breaffy
    James Carr Ardagh
    Ryan O’Donughue Beal an Mhuirthead

  120. Just noticing that there are a lot of big tall men from midfield up. I’m not sure how that influences things but I’ve seen it mentioned a few times recently that Kerry might be feeling a bit vulnerable around midfield at the moment.

  121. @Swallow Swoops

    I’ve been saying that since before the quarter final last year, and even with David Moran we were superior in that sector. Without Moran I’d be of the opinion that we can do a lot of damage there and afford to leave Aidan inside

    Jack O’Connor’s comments about our pace after the Tralee game last year were obvious but it’s interesting how in such a short space of time our profile has changed from fast to tall

    The game plan from management will be very interesting. Could be something similar to the Armagh game but obviously that might depend on who wins the toss

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