Yet another football weekend is careering in our direction, another one in which Mayo has plenty of skin in the game. More than most weekends, in fact.
I always used to love All-Ireland quarter-final weekend and I often pitched up at Croke Park both days to see the two sets of double-headers being contested by the final eight in the hunt for Sam Maguire. The dreadful Super 8s did for that weekend feast of football but this year it’s back and the line-up of matches for Saturday and, in particular, Sunday is an attractive one.
Sadly, I won’t the able to gorge myself on all the quarter-final action this year as I plan to be elsewhere on Saturday. That elsewhere is, of course, the lovely O’Connor Park in Tullamore – one of the nicest provincial venues around – because that’s where the Mayo Minors are in All-Ireland semi-final action against Kerry.
I’ll get to the Minor game anon but, taking the four matches involving Mayo this coming weekend in the order they’re set to be played, the first team in action are the Masters. They have an All-Ireland Championship Round 4 clash against Dublin early on Saturday afternoon, a match that throws in at Kiltoom at 1pm.
The U17 clash in Tullamore is the second of the weekend’s matches involving us. The game is set to be an intriguing contest between our bucks – now, according to Tony Leen on the Kerry preview episode of the podcast, the outstanding football team left in the competition – and what has become a most un-Kerry like über defensive Kingdom side.
This game is scheduled to throw in at 2.45pm at O’Connor Park on Saturday. If you’re planning to go then tickets are still available here but, if you can’t make it, the game will be broadcast live on TG4.
Rob and I will be at the game together and we’ll be recording a ‘Final Whistle’ pod after it’s done, which will be available for club members on Patreon to listen to soon after. I’ll also be doing my match report for the blog straight after and will aim to have that online before hitting the road back to Dublin.
The third match involving us takes place on Saturday evening. This is the meeting of Mayo and Dublin in the LGFA Senior Championship, a match that’s fixed for O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, with a 7pm throw-in.
Both counties are already through to the All-Ireland quarter-final but Saturday’s clash will decide which of them tops Group A. Tickets for the game are available to purchase here and the match is also being broadcast live on TG4.
On Sunday, of course, it’s the big one. Our All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Kerry gets top billing in what’s a cracking double-header at Croke Park. The meeting of Armagh and Galway is, however, arguably the tie of the weekend, not least because the winners will most likely get to contest this year’s final. That game gets underway at 1.45pm.
Our clash with Kerry follows at 4pm that afternoon. Tickets for this one are selling out fast – with the GAA seemingly engaged in a cat-and-mouse game by releasing tickets in small batches on successive days – and it looks like the attendance will be close to a full house. It’ll certainly be the first time a crowd of this size will have been at Croke Park since before Covid hit.
The link for purchasing tickets online for the quarter-finals is here. Tickets may also be available at selected Centra and SuperValu outlets so, if you’re still on the hunt, it’s worth checking with them as well.
Both of the games on Sunday will be broadcast live on RTÉ. We’ll be doing a ‘Final Whistle’ podcast for club members from Croke Park and that’ll be online soon after the game, with the full match preview pod to follow the day after.
It’s set to be a hectic and, one senses, a defining weekend for at least some of Mayo’s football teams this weekend. The best of luck to all four Mayo teams in action this coming Saturday and Sunday.