The weekend’s matches

It’s already time to look ahead to next weekend’s matches involving the county. This time there are two matches, both in men’s football, with one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

The Saturday game is an U20 Leo Murphy Cup Round 3 fixture against Donegal. With two wins from two in this development league tournament, the county’s U20 team are starting the year in the right way and a win over the O’Donnell County on Saturday will see them qualify for the final. The game is fixed for the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan where throw-in that afternoon is 1pm.

On Sunday, meanwhile, it’s the turn of the big lads. They make the short journey to Dr Hyde Park that afternoon to take on Roscommon in what’s a Division One top-of-the-table encounter, with both teams facing into Sunday’s meeting on six points after four rounds of games in this year’s National League.

Throw-in on Sunday is 2.45pm and, once again, TG4 will be showing a match involving us live. Kildare’s Brendan Cawley is the ref. Tickets for the game are available online (here) and they may also be purchased at select Centra and SuperValu outlets.

49 thoughts on “The weekend’s matches

  1. Get another 2 points on Sunday, fully guarantee Div.1 for ’24 and experiment v Monaghan and Donegal. Even a league final win a week before the Rossies…..

  2. Totally unsure why everyone is obsessed with peaking against Roscommon for a Championship game that is in effect null and void considering the new Championship structure that will be in place. Personlly I think it would be great to plough on and win a National league if its possible (more merit to winning this than a defunct Connaught Championship).

  3. Surely it’s massive to get top seed by winning provincial championship, so I’m not sure I go along with that narrative that it’s useless .

  4. Also, is a Connacht championship with 3 Div 1 teams that could all be in the top 6/7 in the country defunct?

    Seeing the 19 league victory was great, but seeing the loss to Roscommon wasn’t (there was a right mouthpiece sat next to me which didn’t help).

  5. 2019 we made a semi final, and last year a quarter. Both years losing the eventual winners.

    There really is nothing to suggest that a league final in anyway hampers our championship progress.

    We could lose to the Rossies in irrespective of a league final. I think it’s 6 weeks off if we do, personally I would prefer if I could spend that 6 weeks polishing my league medal

  6. Winning is a habit. Win on Sunday and it absolutely guarantees Div1 football for 2024 but start losing games after that and it can become a habit too. Just look at last year, the league final was thrown with all the grace of a boxer taking a dive and they couldn’t get back on track.

    I’m all for experimenting but we’re getting to the stage where the experimentations also need to be leading to wins. Rest the likes of O’Shea, Ruane, Loftus and Coen once we get safe but play the likes of Cillian, Paddy Durcan, Tommy Conroy and Kevin McLoughin as another Center Back option so we have the options later in the year and still a very strong team looking to win games. Even a League final can be used for experimentation while going for the win.

    Like I say, winning becomes a habit but so does losing and you can never beat Roscommon by too much or too often!

  7. FrostTHammer – interesting point. I’ve seen a few people mention that winning the 2019 league and losing to Roscommon in championship were somehow related.

    Yet in 16/17/18 we were crap in the league and Galway beat us in championship!

    I do think this year is different however. If we make a league final, then the Roscommon championship game will be our 4th game in consecutive weekends. That’s not good preparation.

  8. Wide Ball and others, I referenced before were Derry and Tyrone played each other three times in three weeks in the early 90s: league final draw, UFC, league final replay. They were top dogs then.

    The big risk with a league final appearance is a team may have peaked early and after the break, not be at championship pace. This year it’s all rolled into one, so it shouldn’t matter. We’re playing games every week, with mini breaks built in.

  9. @Wide Ball

    Even in 2019 we weren’t flying the way we are this year, or even last year for that matter.

    Scrapped past the Rossies, lost in Castlebar to Galway and got thumped by double scores by the dubs in croker. Only made that final on the last day thanks to results elsewhere.

    If that were this year I don’t think I’d be too pushed about a league final but we’ve made an excellent start and imo it’d be a shame not to make the most of it

  10. My only league final concern is rest and injuries. Matches are far more injury risky than training.
    To win Sam you need to mimimise the number of games you play.
    The first round Ulster team Armagh is really hampered in winning Sam by the volume of tough games they must play.
    We need to start the championship rested.

  11. Not sure about that JP. I think a lot of our injuries over the past couple of years were in training?? I’m open to correction here. We’ve probably had both, matches and training… so hard to know.
    Even Matties shoulder injury a few years ago. Training.

    I think the worst thing is teams trying to rush in training blocks in prep for Championship. Surely that’s high risk. I’d rather be where we are.

    But I think I’d rather avoid a league final for the obvious reasons of the Rassies a week later. But it’s dangerous pumping the breaks too much, i.e. losing games, then confidence draining. Not good by any metric or logic.

  12. There are far more training sessions compared to matches. But one match is much more risky than one training.

  13. The losers of Mayo Roscommon will almost certainly be best rested team in the All Ireland series

    Similarly, the best way to minimize your games is to lose your first round provincial game

  14. Just take the whole league vs championship argument out of it for a second. Given the position we’re in regarding players returning, I think we’d be rotating plenty players anyway. I’m thinking here about the likes of Plunkett, Paddy, Jason Doc, Eoghan (when fit), Cillian (to start a couple of matches), Sam Callinan, Kevin McLoughlin etc.

    So we mightnt necessarily be weakening the team. Keep the core starting 15 in situ, and allow some of the above named lads to start matches.

    That way some players get rest, and this could be judged by our S&C team. That way we get much needed rest for some lads while still competing strong over the next few weeks, even if that includes the league final. While still retaining enough freshness for the Rassies.

  15. We shouldn’t be in this position of agonising over whether a league final is worth contesting. The Connacht Championship should have been fixed for well after the league concluded, three weeks at least. This whole condensed thing has gone too far. Kerry aren’t out until near the end of April. The new format adds more games to what was already a congested calendar. If league finals are something to be rushed then why bother playing them at all.

    For what it’s worth, I think the seeding alone makes a provincial championship more valuable than the league but we certainly are in no position to turn our noses up at a national title.

  16. Can anyone tell me:

    If we won Connacht, who would play us? Is there a draw with No 2 seeds?

    Is we lose to Ros, are we in qualifiers? With whom?

  17. Good questions Catcol, my brain gets very sore when I try to workout the permutations of this years championship. Its like the reading Da Vinci code while hungover!
    On a separate note I read somewhere online today that it’s reaching the time of year in this new championship setup of 2023 that you would really need to have more work done than have it to do as regards fitness which is very true. It’s only 5 weeks to our first game to claim Sam and we are we need to be I feel.
    Aidan OShea is playing the football of his life and has found his mojo for sure. Interestingly you can get him at 50/1 for player of the year , it could happen!!

  18. Catcol – in the happy event ye lost to us, Mayo would be in the final 16 in a group of 4. The top seed in that group would be a Provincial winner (eg Kerry). The second seed would be a provincial loser (eg Meath). Mayo would be likely a third seed as the final 8 seeds are based on league finish (excluding any already ranked because of provincial) and Westmeath gets one of slots as Tailteann cup winners. The two promoted Div 2 teams also have higher rank than the two demoted Div 1 teams. A demoted team is not necessarily guaranteed a final 16 spot if too many Div 2/3 teams earned a provincial slot.

  19. Catcol, no qualifiers, all div 1 Teams are guaranteed to be in the Championship group stage. Loose to Ros and we will have to wait till group stages start for next competitive game (another reason to win connacht, more competitive games for a young team).

  20. Whether or not the provincial champions and runners ups are paired predeterminedly based on the usual provincial rotation, which would Munster Connacht and Leinster Ulster this year, is something I can’t find out. Certainly the semi finals are arranged in that manner were the provincial champions to win their groups

  21. It’s really difficult to know what the best scenario is. Provincial champions will play two weeks later against a third seed team who will have had at least a month off. The one saving grace being that’ll be a home game for the provincial champions.

    Might not be this year but at some point someone is going to send their U20s to a first round provincial and take the what would be 2 months off for heavy training

  22. I have a feeling that come the group stage draw for the championship, some div 1 counties will be wondering why they placed so much emphasis on the provincials. There might only be a couple of soft marks in the draw with each group having at least three decent teams. At that stage, I am not sure that there is any advantage to being tier 1 or tier 3.

  23. U20s are into the final regardless of the result on Saturday.

    Mayo 4
    Derry 2
    Sligo 2
    Donegal 0

    Sligo, Derry can finish on 4 points but Mayo would still finish top on the head to head should they lose to Donegal.

  24. James O’Donoghue on the Football Podcast seems to believe Kerry will be paired with the Connacht runner up

  25. That would then mean Connacht champions will play the Munster final losers

    Which knowing our luck will end up being Kerry ?

  26. Ah lads isn’t it just a shambles of a thing to work out. Seedings yet some of the groups already pre determined. Pure joke.

    If they insist on the 4 groups of 4, at the very least it should be a random team from pot 1, random team from pot 2 and so on.

  27. @Mayo Focus

    No repeats of provincial finals all the way up to the quarter final stage. That is just the one and only thing that they’re crystal clear.

    Group stage repeats will be avoided but only as long as it doesn’t mean a provincial final repeat

  28. Is there anywhere on the GAA website where the full details of the draw are clarified. Cant find it anywhere.
    For example are semifinal pairings set at this stage like previous years

  29. @Southmayo Exile

    Not that I can find either. Links below are what I’m going on, wikipedia has some info the gas one is missing and vice versa

    According to wikipedia, in the All Ireland section it’s not mentioned in the format. It’s also a little vague here on if it’s assuming that the provincial champions win their groups.

    All-Ireland semi-finals
    If Provincial champions qualify Connacht will face Munster, Leinster will face Ulster in the other.,repeat%20pairings%20from%20Round%20One.

  30. Looking at that – provincial winners seem to have a good draw in the round robin – they are at home to seed three first and away to seed 4 – in theoy a weaker team then.
    Also the team that finish second are at home to a team that finish third – this is a huge advantage at that stage of the season when you are at knockout competition.

  31. Yes If Mayo lose to Roscommon or Galway they will be 3rd seed and first group match could be away to Kerry or Dublin.

  32. With regards this game, I believe we should rest the players with knocks (e.g. Coyne, Diarmuid) and start utilising the squad for those that need game time and continue this for the remaining games. I’m not saying wholesale change but 3-4 per game so as to keep us competitive. Hopefully the winning ways then continues and the players that need games and sharpness gets it. If we get to a league final on that basis with no major injuries then I’d be delighted with that plus we’d be in great squad shape going into championship

  33. Thanks Mayomagic. Jesus imagine trying to explain it to a non GAA person, even a GAA person!

  34. Its the 3 qualifying from the group which completely devalues the provincials. If only 2 – as it should be – qualified, then seeding would take on far more relevance.

    As it stands all the big guns are absolutely guaranteed to be in the last 12

    There’s a lot of unknowns this year so I think teams will by default take the provincials seriously in 2023. However it will only take one provincial winner (very likely the Connacht one) to lose a group game and the whole thing will be re-assessed by some teams going forward from next year

    We could very well see some teams just focusing on heavy training camps throughout the provincials, or throwing out a shadow team (as FrostT alludes to above) from 2024. Even this year could we have the farcical situation where Sligo & Leitrim both try to avoid making the Connacht final?

  35. Maybe something to consider but with the depth of talent available to us, in both the player and management pools, it could be an option to divide the group in half and run two sets of heavy training at different times

  36. I doubt we’ll see either of Sligo or Leitrim try to avoid a Connacht final, as it’s a massive day out for them, but I do think it’s a possibility that they might withdraw from the All Ireland series to take the momentum gained to mount a real shot at the tailteann

  37. Our pod with Rob, Billy Joe and Colm Keys is now up on all podcast platforms and our Here Comes the Weekend pod with Mike, Stphen Drake and former Roscommon captain Seánie mcDermott is up on Patreon for club members.

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