The road to Croker

Connor Pass August 2014

It’s the day before the big match and, like the rest of you I’m sure, it’s becoming difficult to think about anything else but Croke Park and what awaits for our hopes and dreams there tomorrow.

Our time down here in the Kingdom is drawing rapidly to a close and we’ll be returning to base later on. There’s been very little match chat here this week – I haven’t exactly made it my business to seek out such conversations over the past few days – but I’d say the locals are quietly confident ahead of tomorrow, as we should be too. From my perusal of this week’s edition of The Kerryman, it appears that (a) Eamonn Fitzmaurice is a tactical genius, (b) their forwards, especially James O’Donoghue, are out of this world and (c) Keith Higgins is the man we’ll put on the Killarney wunderkind. We shall see.

We’ll be on the road ourselves in a few hours, roads that’ll no doubt be much busier due to the rail strike. I know the Kerry crowd get a hard time (from me on occasion) about the size of the support they bring to HQ for matches other than the final itself but, in all fairness like, it is a bloody long way to Croke Park from here – 230 miles or so, I reckon – and, unlike that pathetic Cork shower, they will actually have a bit of support there tomorrow.

If you’re on the road yourself today, or tomorrow morning, take it handy. If you’re still wondering how, in the absence of the train, you’re going to make it to the capital then check out this very useful post from Club ’51 on alternative transport arrangements for the weekend, including special car parking deals above in Dublin (see, I’m talking like the Kerrymen at this stage).

If you’re staying above tonight and planning to stick your head into Bowe’s at some point, a number of the Club ’51 people will be there, as I will too at some point. If past such events are anything to go by, one or two others are likely to show up there as well. If so, might see some of you there then. Safe travelling in the meantime.

61 thoughts on “The road to Croker

  1. Keith or Tom will make it hard for O Donoghue!Counter that with the rest of the lads restricting the amount of ball played into him and we’ll be halfway there! Feels like an eternity waiting for this game but were nearly there! Maigh Eo Abu gach am!!!!!!

  2. I can’t see Higgins picking up 0’Donoghue. He’s too loose in my opinion and we’d lose a lot in terms of his carrying the ball forward at pace. Cunniffe is the only man for this job in my opinion. He’s tight, tenacious and has the pace to cope with O’Donoghue. He picked up Quinn in the club final and didn’t give him a kick.

  3. Turbo tom should mark o donoghue also this is a big game for Andy and cillian the due a big game soon. Best of luck to minor too.

  4. Agree Rock, Cunniffe is the man for the job. He has great pace, particularly from a standing start (something that O’Donoghue excels at).
    Higgins needs more freedom to roam forward, he shouldn’t be tasked with a purely defensive man marking job.

    Still expecting one change to our team before throw in.
    And despite thinking that Kerry team was bogus, I’ve come around to the idea that they may well start as named.

  5. We have to expect to win.That is the key.We have to believe our team is better.That is what winners do.

  6. I’m glad im not the only who has noticed this ”tactical genius’ god like figure type thing. Im not saying the man is not a tactical master but surely it has to be proven first.
    Something tells me Kerry folk think the aul green and gold swagger still packs a punch when it comes to putting the wind up Mayo, Jack o Connor gave that impression during the week too.

    Id be fairly confident it means jack shit to this Mayo team .

    My only fear is an early rattle from Kerry , there is no doubt about their ability to hit you for an early goal or two if not tuned in . Please just dont give them a one on one opportunity at the start.Keep her tight, let it settle.

  7. all the talk n Cbar is that freeman will start for andy n gibbons n, chrisy on the bench and donie to no 6/7. hard to argue with that. Can’t imagine anyone but Tom marking jod. Geaney is a serious talent too. Mayo by 3!! 🙂

  8. I heard that too Mayomad.

    I see Rachel Wyse brings all her fount of knowledge to bear in Irish Indo today by trotting out same oul clichés and comes up with a prediction based on ,not analysis or information,but a hunch. Her article and indeed that of Liston boils down to ‘Sure Kerry always beat Mayo and probably will tomorrow’ That is some journalism Billy Keane is unashamedly biased – I can excuse that and its a bit of an illogical ramble anyway.

    Of course no mention by them of 96 where Mayo did beat Kerry in an All Ireland Semi -Final and where James Horan was playing. I know Kerry have beaten us a lot more but if we can do it once we can do it again especially with this team.

    God help us for when Breheny is on our side we must be in bother.

    Like Tipp against Cork this team will win because it is the better all round team and collectively they have plenty of experience of good days in croke Park.AS supporters we too know our way around CRoker now so no more asking Kerry people the way.
    Lets win both and watch Rachel take credit in another essay of antiquated clichés for our ‘new found confidence’ while firmly backing the winner of the other AISF for final glory.

  9. Mayomad this ‘rumour’ seems now official, because Sean Moran in The Irish Times has it in his preview – a pretty good preview actually.

    May all be a JH masterplan. Hope so. I am hopeful – as always.

  10. Long time reader,first time poster!

    Balancedview you could be angered by the journalism in the independent but look at the people writing these articles.Wyse,Liston and my all time favourite Breheny. When you look at that “talent” I think its time to change reading material!

    All the talk seems to be on gibbons coming in with the necessary line changes to accommodate tom in the corner for Barrett.I must say its a change I agree with if it occurs.kerry have a great history of other less high profile players stepping up in big games. Geaney is a man that needs to be well marshalled with Tom taking up O’Donoghue. It will also be interesting to see who plays where in the half back line should this change be made.

    Also a lot of talk re alan for andy. Would love to see a confident alan freeman play but I would question his lack of competitive football this year to enable that possibility.if I’m honest I’d be happy with either of them starting but if Alan were to play and play well coupled with a win it would be a huge bonus.

  11. ya, lack of competitive football could be a problem for alan, although ud have to imagine that the reds v greens matches have to be more competitive than some of the senior league games iv seen this year, the complete decimation of cross by mitchels springs to mind!! this is one reason why I don’t agree with the freeze on the club championships. True, you dont want lads getting injured, but imo the majority of injuries seem to occur at training, and secondly, I feel it shows a lack of respect to club players, the breeding ground for our inter county players. Also when Horan was managing the Tubber, he was one of the most vocal about club first etc. And the weekends can drag with no club action to attend! Anyway that’s def enough of a rant, the car is packed up, the daddy is strapped in….. thinking of chancing the new ballagh bypass, il let ye know how it goes. Mayo by4, my confidence is growing!!! 🙂

  12. Avoid the Indo at all costs today, utter shite from the usual suspects – with Wyse somehow managing to outdo Breheny for pointlessness.

    The Times is good today (as catcol mentions, Sean Moran is worth a read), as is the Examiner – a good in-depth piece on Lee Keegan by Terry Reilly and the usual insightful analysis (actual ‘analysis’, please take note Breheny & Wyse) from O’Cinneide.

    Or better still, just have a read of Digits from yesterday.

    Not sure about getting these links in here, but thought I’d give it a go with WJ on the road.

    Sean Moran –

    Terry Reilly –

    O’Cinneide –

  13. If Rachel unWyse spouts any more of her GAA knowledge in the Indo I will find myself agreeing with brolly about her . She obviously missed first half of last years AIF as according to her dubs were way too good for us despite Brogan being their only player to play to form and our performance v Donegal was “clumsy”. .Well done Rachel

  14. I see the weather is not promised the best tomorrow,hopefully it stays dry til the end of match,could not see a wet day suiting either team and would make a balls of a day we have all being looking forward to for 3 weeks.
    Mayo by 4 but not before they give us a few scares

  15. With two 34 year olds in the Kerry full back line, I think that’s why Freeman is being considered ahead of Andy. I don’t think we should be the ones to be most concerned about the ability to defend for 70 mins.

  16. The Rachel wyse article in the Indo is indeed a very embarrassing effort at analysis by her. She’s obviously drinking the populous cool-aid in the absence of checking the facts. But really, who cares what she writes….
    Now Brolly? Well Brolly was and is spot on with his analysis of why we haven’t won yet with this team….full back line, lapse of concentration, very close he says, but haven’t sealed the deal yet.

  17. Hearing rumours from a few different Kerry friends that James O’ Donoghue damaged his shoulder in training Tuesday night

  18. I would not believe that that at all best of luck mayo as long focus on their own game mayo will win also Kerry have other players like o se donnacaa walsh so mayo need to be carefully

  19. yea ms.wyse is a no trick pony as far as G.A.A. is concerned.
    Think Kerry will start Darren O.Sullivan.
    Mayo are too good for Kerry…anything else is nonsense.Journalists supposedly neutral just go with traditional nonsense.easier than analysis.
    Couldnt make head nor tail of Billy Keanes article though I normally like him.
    On the road by 7 to avoid Longford delays.

  20. Dara O’Cinneide writing in today’s examiner.
    “It is now five minutes to midnight for this current Mayo team in their second All-Ireland-or-bust season in a row. This time, as luck would have it, they are presented with an opportunity to settle up with their tormenters in chief from all the bad days of the recent past.”

    Must say, I agree with this. It’s high time we dump a mother load on them.

  21. What about donaghy? They might stick him on the edge of the square!?

    Kerry will try something new tmro…they may even roll the Gooch out!

    We need to perform better than we have done since the QF last year. That’s a must.

    As supporters lets really make a huge effort to be vocal tmro!! Right from the start and especially when it’s needed most! It’s our duty.

  22. Hill Sixteen tickets at top of road…no bother.Dont get used to there though…….

  23. ‘It’s high time we dumped a mother load on them’.
    I like this attitude, Mister Mayor.
    It’s 5 min to midnight for this team/management & the midnight train is about to arrive in the station. Time for some decision making.

  24. Sick with the nerves, which is ridiculous, because I really think in my heart and soul this game is there for the taking. We need to mind our own house and not play a blind bit of notice to rumours from their camp.

    Heading into Bowes shortly for a few sociables to calm the nerves – see a few of you there no doubt.

  25. Just read previews in Examiner and Indo. What a difference. O Cinneide, Fogarty and Reilly streets ahead of Brehony, Wyse and Billy Keane. The Examiner interesting and insightful while the Indo was lazy and clichéd trotting out the same tired old guff.

  26. No worries about to morrow galway should have beating kerry, the pudits wont win or lose the game, mayo will win by seven

  27. Enjoy Bowe’s and safe journey to those travelling.
    It isn’t 5 to 12. JH and the team have started the ball rolling and others will step up in the future. All they need is support. Mayo will be there for a long time, as there are many coming through the ranks.
    Good luck to the team tomorrow.

  28. A motherload indeed…..let’s dump it on them! I know the team and management will settle for getting into the final by a single point but oh boy wouldn’t it be nice to beat the sh1t3 outa them for a change. And you know they might just do that! I have a feeling in me wather!

  29. Can’t wait for the game tomorrow, I am nervous but confident. I feel it is a year or two too early for this Kerry bunch, they ran Dublin close last year but Gooch orchestrated everything for them in the first half. They scored three early goals from his guile and playmaking and they almost caught Dublin on the day. Without him they just don’t have the craft they will need. We are two more years down the road on the strength and conditioning and we have a better age profile overall. If we start well and build a lead it will force them to come up with a different tactic to what we have seen from them under E.F. They are a defensive team they just have and always will have excellent forwards which separates them from the average teams deploying a blanket defence. We are a more settled and experienced outfit, granted there is more pressure on us but our need is greater! We must not concede an early goal or two or a sloppy avoidable goal which unfortunately we are prone to, if we do we are in for a long afternoon. That said I expect us to be too powerful for them in the middle third and we have too much pain in the memory bank to let this one go. I expect a very physical opening to the game and we will impose our pressing and running game on them. Mayo by 4 or more, 2/1 in the bookies hopefully it will look a good bet tomorrow evening. Safe travelling to all. MAYO FOREVER!

  30. I don’t know what to expect from Kerry tomorrow. They were very good against cork but they were just average in their other games. The Gooch is an enormous loss for them and I think they will miss him terribly in the heat of battle. We all know that this mayo outfit will try hard and get in Kerry’s face. It’s just the little bit of magic that we need. I hope to God that we do it. Safe travelling to everyone. Getting nervous now!

  31. Enough of the blather . Time to “man up” and see what happens. Hopefully, by this time tomorrow we’ll be on the hunt for a ticket again, calling that cousin in Laois or Longford.

  32. “I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

    John D. Rockefeller

  33. “The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.”

    Vince Lombardi

  34. Lads/ladies
    There is changes ahead. Not say who or why but they are interesting. Personally I like what I am hearing. Can wait !

  35. “Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

    Thomas Carlyle

  36. Best of luck to the boys tomorrow, win or lose they make us all proud to be mayo men and women, jh has made us a top team and we will remain at the toptable for a long time regardless of result tomorrow. Hope they unleash all the pain on kerry like quarter final. Our team folks lets roar them on till our tonsils fall out, mayo forever!!!

  37. ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.’

    Today the ‘Kingdom’ falls against the crashing waves of green and red. I’m usually nervous ahead of every Championship game, wondering which Mayo will turn up. In these early hours though I feel sure of victory, and if we can just execute what we’re great at then the win is ours. We will strike a double blow. Believe.

  38. Let the journey continue.
    Game day.
    They can do it.
    This is a team of unbelievable character and resolve.
    As supporters it is our privilege to witness, to cry, to roar – but most of all to BELIEVE and be there every step of the way.
    It is a rare day that you can be involved in history and the making of legends.
    Today is one of those unique days.
    Believe. Believe. Believe…. and enjoy.

  39. Awake in my bed since 6:00am with excitement..,,will be hitting the road at 8:30 from south Mayo here. Safe traveling everyone and Up Mayo!

  40. Not all dreamers are winners, but all winners are dreamers. Your dream is the key to your future. The Bible says that, “without a vision (dream), a people perish.” You need a dream, if you’re going to succeed in anything you do.

    Mark Gorman

    It’s time for this team to become all Ireland winners.

  41. Yesterday leeds won the challenge cup final after losing 6 finals in a row since 1999. There is a lesson in that. Up mayo!

  42. Well the day is finally here. Soon we will find out if the Kingdom had the extra 2 or 3 gears to beat us which i dont believe they have. Good luck to the minors and the seniors and safe travelling to all . Come 5 o clock this evening we will have both our teams in the final . Hon Mayo !!!

  43. Game day – I have every faith we’re going to do it. We’ve more to give this year and unfinished business.

    Roar them on today. They deserve a raucous reception from us.

  44. Best of luck to both the Mayo Minors and Seniors and safe travelling to all.
    We will win.
    Come!! On!! Mayo!!!!!

  45. Here we go again. 4th semi in a row, same nerves as the first. Up against our nemesis, the only “big” team horan hasn’t beaten. No team has won AI without beating kerry in last 5 years. Despite their loss of some players, they are still the benchmark. Looked beatable against galway as the did last year against cavan!!!

    Today could make this a great mayo team, sam or no sam!!!

    If they have a ‘peak’ in them, it is time to show. Also, i expect horan to finally show his hand today, expect changes. Andy wont start, freeman will, as will gibbons. Expect to see sweeney get some game time and maybe duffy for 5-10 minutes.
    Mayo to win pulling up!!!

    Maigh Eo Abù.

  46. Safe travelling to all today. As supporters, lets raise the fucking roof lads and ladies in Dublin. Quote of the week from another poster sums it up for me ‘we need to get in there and dump a mother load on them’. Mayo by 2.

  47. After the anthem, give a roar but also count back from 10 and we will all try to start the biggest mayo chant we can!! Let the boys know we are with them every step of the way!!

  48. I’ve never read so many famous people being quoted on this site,the bible even got a mention,and every quote was spot on for mayo today,I’m nervous but am also confident it going to be our day.Hon mayo

  49. Come on mayo, I honestly think we will loose both games today but should be a great occasion, hopefully we can keep there winning margin in single figures, the scars are deep from the hammerings theve given us in the past,

  50. To all the begrudgers go f$ck yourselves, we are MAYO and today their is 28 counties who would kill to be in a semi final. For all the jibes and abuse we’ve gotten from kerry folk over the years I hope we absolutely unload on them today, knock them off there fucking perch, end of.

  51. Good man juan. That’s the spirit. Were here at Stephens green peoples art this weekend. We have the green and red up on the trees. Great buzz in the Capitol this morning. So far it’s sunny and mild. Up mayo

  52. In the galtymore in Cricklewood fourteen mayo mayo men against fifteen kerry men would have been seen as positively easy no bother up mayo easy second half

  53. I disagree, thought the ref gave us everything,and didn’t give Kerry any soft frees near the goals. Can we please have him again the next day.
    Think we can still beat Kerry next week so must continue to believe.

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