The weekend’s matches

Right, it’s approaching midweek so time to think about the matches involving the county that are on this coming weekend. There are four such matches, two on Saturday and the other two on Sunday.

In camogie, we’ve a Camogie League Division 3A match against Kildare. That’s a home game, which has been fixed for Adrian Freeman Park in Tooreen where throw-in on Saturday is 2pm.

Across the country, meanwhile, at the Louth GAA Centre of Excellence in Darver, the hurlers take on Louth in what’s a do-or-die NHL Division 3A encounter. A win will see them avoid relegation and may even seal a semi-final spot but defeat would mean the dreaded drop for the second season in a row. Throw-in for that pivotal game is also 2pm on Saturday and tickets for it are available to purchase here.

The women footballers also have a must-win League game this weekend. They’re in action on Sunday, with their LGFA NFL Division One match against neighbours Galway set to throw in at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park at 2pm.

The match will be streamed live on the LGFA Player (details here) and tickets for it are available to purchase here.

By the way, we have a bonus podcast episode over on Patreon, in which Mike looks ahead to this game with Mayo player Fiona McHale. Details on how to access this pod, as well as other great audio content, are here.

Last into action this weekend are the men, who take on Donegal in Round 6 of the National League. This top v bottom Division One clash throws in at MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, at 3.45pm on Sunday and it’s being shown live on TG4. Tickets for the game are available to purchase here and they’re also available from selected Centra and SuperValu outlets.

The best of luck to all four Mayo teams in action this weekend.

71 thoughts on “The weekend’s matches

  1. Surely this is an even bigger challenge than our visit to the orchard
    so we must be prepared big time for

  2. Roscommon kindly exposed a vulnerability in the centre of our defence. How do we hold up big physical midfielders coming through the centre, making life so much more difficult for McBrien and co. Our management (Rochford in particular) have had 2 weeks to sort that one.
    A lot at stake for both teams. Its getting closer to championship time now, so mayo fitness level advantage that they had start of league will have diminished. Fascinating game.

  3. I would be very surprised if Mcstay and Co have shown their full hand yet either with the game plan or with the players picked or not picked. As everyone else seems to be saying it’s only the league!!!

  4. On the Ditch, it’s been exposed by more than Roscommon, Armagh and others have had joy that way.

    I’d agree Tommy D, however the half backline and midfield has for the most part had a good few personnel virtually everpresent.

  5. Ontheditch, I love the way you put that – “Roscommon kindly exposed a vulnerability in the centre of our defence.”
    I’m chuckling to myself here.
    Hope we think and fix.

  6. Leave The Bear In The Square for the full game, that will keep three of their players at least back in their own half at all times. Three less to run through our defence . Scoring well this year, now we may have so called Marquee forwards but still leaking far too many goals. Scoring fixed now fix defence, job done.

  7. Could I be a pain and ask what day and time would the League final likely be assuming we get there of course.
    Reason I ask is that I will need to be in and out of the country on the same day so could do with booking flights asap.

    I have looked on the various sites and I am seeing the final to be played either 1st or 2nd April but no time given.
    My best guess would be Sunday 2nd April at 4pm but it would be an expensive guess to get wrong.

  8. With an eye on championship , I would pick the following on who needs game time and options from the bench come championship. ( and presuming all fit to play )
    Paddy D , McBrien, Sam Callinan
    P O Hora , Coen , E McL
    Mattie / Loftus
    Jason Doherty , Darren McHale , J Flynn
    Cillian , Aiden , Tommy C .

    Plenty of talent on the bench …!!
    Anyway, should be a great weekend of sport ahead

  9. I agree with culmore, in fact I would leave AOS in corner forward because he can feed a player coming through the middle. Very unfair to have Aiden coming back into our defence where he is a liability (clumsy tackler, etc) and we then expect him to bust a gut to try and get forward once we turnover.
    Might make goalkeepers think twice about wandering upfield.
    We need a win here to guarantee our participation in the final. Time to improve our record in ballybofey, but it will not be easy. Its a must win for Donegal, so game nicely poised. Great for these new lads to be getting so many pressure games…

  10. Ontheditch, Aidan is not a clumsy tackler, he’s actually one of our technically best tacklers.
    But he doesn’t have the pace to stay with pacy players and cane be turned quite easily.
    So, I agree he should stay as close to goal as possible, where he will always occupy at least one, and probably more, defenders.

  11. We will have to agree to differ re Aidens ability to tackle without giving away a free but i agree with the rest of your sentiments. He can beg back one or two defenders including keeper by staying forward. I do think he should definitely start v Donegal

  12. Paddy Andrews singing mayo praises on the pod. Reckons no team will fancy playing them in their present form.

  13. @food for thought. Nice article, thanks for highlighting. Written respectively, unlike, Brollys ‘dog with a bone’ obsession with knocking Aiden.
    I have to say, the comment of a poster re Mayo as the team that…. “nearly never bulled the cow” made me smile. It was expressed as good banter, nothing more. We have a new generation of youngsters now, not willing to settle for second best. No better place to start than winning the league and one week later start the rollercoaster journey that is this years championship….

  14. On the thoughts of Aido. I think he is having and has had to work very hard to get frees , where he is definitely being fouled and not getting frees he is entitled to. Refs appear to be hard on him. Other players get there frees much easier.

  15. Yes thats very true and he has demonstrated ultra patience in taking whats dished out to him…. Not that Brolly would notice that…

  16. I think the one aspect of Aidan’s game that we all take for granted is that he doesn’t make mistakes on the ball. Certainly not in comparison to 100% of top level intercounty players in Ireland. Think about it, how often does he turn over the ball? How often does he give a poor pass? Hardly ever. These are attributes that his peers mainly don’t possess. I’ll admit I’ve been critical at times but by christ we’ll miss him when he’s gone. Mark my words.

  17. Myball- no, Cillian, Aidan, and Jason should not start together. That would reduce our pace considerably. One of Cillian and Aido at all times I think.

  18. Its funny how paddy Andrews is saying no one will fancy playing mayo atm not so long ago he was saying mayo wouldn’t be competitive this year and stuff about aido how quickly peoples tunes change never write off mayo as they say ha!

  19. have a good point but in fairness to andrews he held his hand up and admitted he didn’t give them a chance at the beginning.

  20. After a very mediocre club championship in which our county champions tamely submitted to Moycullen, it was reasonable to predict that it would take time to rebuilt. Credit the management and youngsters. Competition must be fierce get on the starting panel. Still a couple of issues to resolve before were ready for the hustle and bustle of championship football. In the meantime carry on winning.. Credit Andrews for reviewing his assessment

  21. Ontheditch – I don’t see why Westport losing to Moycullen would have much relevance to the Mayo senior team. Aside from Castlebar Mitchels, Mayo clubs haven’t been competing for the major honours in a long time. We only lost 2 players over the winter – every county has to deal with some level of change.

    Our panel was decimated by injuries last year, no squad would cope with that. I was fully expecting us to be in a stronger position this season compared to ’22.

  22. It’s also worth mentioning wrt Paddy Andrews that a lot of his “writing off” of Mayo was based on the negativity from Mayo fans when The Football Pod had their roadshow in Castlebar last year.

  23. In fairness, last year despite not actually losing too many games, we did look like a tired and stale team.

    Obviously we’re very proud of our “bounchbackability” but we can still take it for granted. If another county had our last year, we’d probably be writing them off, and probably not for just the season ahead.

    Donegal are probably a good example of this, despite a managerial change they’ve carried over their form from last year.

    Probably a good place to point out that, despite it being described as a circus, our very structured managerial appointment did go some way to prevent the mood from getting worse. Again look at Donegal

  24. I’m with Wideball, I expected us to be stronger this year than last, even with the loss of Mullins and Keegan.
    We’ve more men returned to fitness and younger lads like Callinan, Coyne, McBrien, Hession a year more S&C etc. Under their belt.
    Opposition teams are also not near as strong as the Dublin team of the last decade, Kerry likewise, despite the ace in hole of Clifford their defence is weaker and Midfield without Moran considerably so.
    Do not think our managerial selection process and what’s happening in Donegal correlates well. Donegal have been in slow decline frona number of years, and were far more dependent on Michael Murphy than we ever were on one player.

  25. There’s a reason so many people wanted the Mayo gig compared to likes of Roscommon, Donegal and Monaghan who despite been some of the so called top teams have struggled to get as much interest in their management positions. Compared to other counties Mayo have:
    – Great current player base that’s mostly young but very experienced, with S&C well ahead of near all others thanks to Horans professional approach on that front in fairness to him.
    – a generally good crop of youth coming through to sustain current crop for a number of years
    – plenty of money

  26. @wide ball, would you not give credit to the management team that despite a moderate club championship and the loss of key players, they were able to pull together a competitive squad in a short space of time. But credit too, to the young players too, who are putting the hard work in….

  27. On the Ditch, the management team deserve credit as we are performing quite well. They have been back longer than the likes of Galway, Kerry et. Al
    The club championship tends to have very little bearing on the senior team, bar perhaps determining some new trialists. The squad is pretty much the same as last year, with Tuohy only real new addition that came through the trials that springs to mind.
    Lee retired and Oisin has gone AFL, but we’ve gotten Cillian back closer to full fitness, Tommy back, Jason back, and Carr has had an injury free run for a change.

  28. @Gizmobobs

    Meant the comparison more in terms of how quickly things can get out of control and descend into chaos and despondency

    Meath and Cork are great examples.

  29. Credit too to the people involved in our underage structures, and people working with our young people in general

  30. Ontheditch – I don’t agree this management pulled together a competitive squad. We were league finalists last year, only lost to Galway by 1 point in championship, beat Monaghan and Kildare, before losing to Kerry (best team in the country). As Gizmobobs said, it’s the same players who were involved last year, bar Bob Tuohy.

    FrostTHammer – the main reason we looked a tired and stale team last year was because some of our best players were missing (Ryan, Tommy, Jordan, Rob H etc) or just getting back to fitness after injury (Cillian, Paddy, Oisín)

  31. IMO the main reason Galway were so good last year is that they finally got Comer, McDaid and John Daly fit for the whole championship.

    When your best players are unavailable, results will go south. That will be the same under McStay as it was for Horan.

  32. @Ontheditch …. Think there a few bucks on here that won’t give the current management team any credit unless the win the All Ireland !!
    Really looking forward to seeing the team that takes the pitch on Sunday…
    Heading up shortly for the long weekend…even took Monday off so we can bond with the natives after the match

  33. My Ball – I’m very happy with our current management team. They’ve ticked every box so far in 2023.

    However, it’s simply not true to say they’ve rebuilt a new squad. Most of the rebuild took place under Horan between end of 2019 championship and start of 2021 championship. A quick look at the numbers of guys retired and who made debuts will tell you that. We made an AI final in 2021 with a predominantly young team.

    The challenge for McStay, Rochford and co is to get us back to that stage and go one better than previous. So far they’re making some positional/tactical changes and we are in a good place!

  34. The current management have also instilled a winning mentality into this team, a bit of steel would you say? And yes underage management have played their part in developing these youngsters. With many more on the fringes. The club championship is our showcase, a place where players put up their hand and indicate to management that they may be special. Players like Hession and Carney have flourished to an altogether new level. The youngsters are relishing the challenge and thriving on it.
    Only a handful of posters dont know their arse from their elbow as far as should we be winning the league. I say to them, are you buckling at the knees for fear we might win a national competition?

  35. I wouldn’t say that new management have instilled a winning attitude, I think that has been there for awhile. Post pandemic we’ve only lost league games to Kerry and Tyrone I believe

    My own opinion would be that the change in our attitude to the league is a combination of the win in 2019, and our stint in division 2 in 2021

  36. And why did we lose to an inferior Tyrone team in the ‘final’. That winning MENTALITY wasnt present across the whole team. Some players didnt show up, isnt that the general conclusion.
    But i dont believe in dwelling on the past. Too painful for the green and red.
    What i liked most about the Roscommon match that despite the fact we were pushed aside to concede two soft goals, we were quick to assert our superiority again. That said we have a bit of fixing to do to bury the ballybofey hoodoo

  37. @Ontheditch…Yes I agree with you.. Whatever competition we are in, or whatever match Mayo are playing in we and our management have to aim to win it, put out a team capable of doing so if we have the players capable of doing so, and a plan to give us the best chance of doing so. If it is within our means to do so. .. Should we qualify for the league final, we have to have a better plan than last year. ..

  38. Agree FrostT we haven’t lost many games in general for many a year. We’ve been blessed with some great days out. Just not to be on the big day.

    Agree with on the Ditch as well, there’s only 2 national competitions so we should be trying to win both if can. Try win everything sure 🙂
    If the team had to sacrifice a competition (which I don’t believe they do), it would be Connacht given its lesser standing with new format.
    But given panel fitness levels and ability I’d be surprised if we don’t win the league out.

    McStay has traditionally went for league as well in fairness to him, so I’d expect nearly exact same team as last day out. Perhaps Callinan or O’Hora in the half backs. O’Hora if he went well last week, or Callinan if the U20 Meath game isn’t to be played later in week.

    Is there any word on that fixture?

  39. Our Here Comes the Weekend pod is now online for club members on Patreon. Mike is joined on it by Billy Joe Padden, while the Donegal angle is provided by Jason Byrne, GAA correspondent of The Irish Sun.

  40. @ My Ball. No better place to be for the weekend than Donegal. Pace yourself… enjoy the rugby with the good people of Donegal.

  41. I agree with comments above about going out aiming to win every game sure its there to be won isnt it? Even mcstay said it ha.

    Mcstay & co are a top class management team and they must be doing something right last year was just not a good year for us even though we made a league final& quarters .

    There was just no confidence there or energy and mcstay & co have brought it back& brought the fans back to games credit where credit due early days but fair play to them know loads from other counties and some in mayo who where laughing at mcstay getting the job but are they laughing now?

    Not getting ahead of myself though Dublin I am sure will bounce back and kerry but I think we will have a much longer championship and more exciting one then last year ! I do feel sorry for Donegal in a way as its obvious somethings not right in the camp.

    Also happy paddies day to @willie joe and everyone else here on the blog hope its a good one!

    Be interesting to see how subday goes mayo by 2 or 3.

  42. Ontheditch – Tyrone relegated us in 2020, beat us in that AI final and in the league last year for good measure. They also had a more difficult route to the 21 final. It’s crazy to still say they were inferior to us.

    We’ll see at the end of the year whether a winning mentality has been instilled. League games against Roscommon are not the yardstick in that regard.

  43. Definitely time to give Paul Towey (Charlestown) and Frank Irwin (Ballina) a start in our remaining two league games.
    Incidentally it’s amusing how people draw conclusions from a singular or infrequent occurance such as the concession of a goal(s) or indeed the non-concession of goals.
    Finally the sleight-of-hand attributed to or demanded of, Mayo mngt, re team selection, prior to Championnship, strikes me as Walter Mittyesque.

  44. 2021 – 11 points up at half time against Clare, nearly blew it

    22 minutes without scoring in the Connacht final against Galway

    Written off at half time against Dublin

    We won all those games but were wildly inconsistent in our performances during matches.

    It was a funny season, there was a lot of pressure on the team to bounce back to division 1 and the league structure end turned every game into a must win. Comeback wins against Galway and Dublin were pretty euphoric occasions.

    Tyrone edged us in terms of age profile that year, iirc a lot of their players were at that late 20s peak.

    It was a very disappointing end to a very Mayo season, during what was a really tough time for the entire country. Despite how it ended, I still take a lot of pride out of that season and 2020. The vast majority of teams just phoned it in those years

  45. It’s time to let go this shite talk that some posters on here don’t want to win the league. Do you really think that’s the case. I was one who questioned would playing a league final a week before championship be problematic and of course it was jumped on straight away. It was a valid opinion but doesn’t mean i or others don’t want to win the league. Even colm boyle questioned the closeness of the 2 games on i think this blogs podcast. It’s kinda insulting to say we don’t want to win and I’m pretty sure anyone on here from mayo wants the same and it doesn’t change the fact that the fixture planners failed at the 1st hurdle. So ya go for it at this stage and hopefully the question will be answered positively

  46. I think Wide Ball has a point, regarding the relationship between Co champions and the inter county team. I remember the great Éire Og team from Carlow in the 90s. Won Leinster titles and contested All Ireland finals but it wasn’t reflected in the county team’s performance. I often thought Carlow would fare better if they just fielded the Éire Og team.

  47. Enda Hession limped off in the Fermanagh game and wont play on Sunday. Cillian also picked up a knock in that game and is unlikely to feature.
    Reported in the Independent which also praises the excellent Mayo GAA Blog results resource

  48. @Mind the house oh no hope Ende hessions injury is not to serious and also cillian hope they both recover asap cillian has been unlucky with injuries .

    Wonder how padraig o hora is doing.

  49. I asked the question on here last weekend why Mayo needed a challenge match last weekend with games 4 successive weekends coming up. With reports of 2 injuries maybe i had a point…

  50. Could people stop comparing the Top club teams to County teams.It has been said my numerous top footballers like Paddy Andrews and Darragh O’Se, that there is no comparison between Club and County.They would fully expect Division 4 teams to beat the All Ireland Club chmapions at any given time.Andrews said even an Inter County challenge game would be more competitive and off higher standard than the All Ireland Club Final.

  51. Yes Mind the House, I’ve just seen the Indo report and the reference to the blog.

    Take a bow Willie Joe, that’s a well-deserved tribute from Colm Keys!

  52. Thats bad news on Cillian. Im sure the purpose of the friendly was to give fringe players an opportunity. It emphasises the need for an extended panel for the championship.
    Congrats WJ on recognition for the great service. May your reward be the return of Sam to Mayo in this decade.

  53. On the Ditch, think nearly all squad played in last week’s game. As played in thirds. Coen, Loftus and Reape didn’t, not sure who else.

    While I agree there is a big difference between club and inter-county. I’m not sure some division 3/4 teams would beat the top clubs in county. A lot would have less resources and pick than top clubs.

  54. Re club championship. The point i was making was when you have a strong club championship, it is reasonable to assume that the raw material for rebuilding a county team is plentiful. We came off a mediocre club championship (verified by county champions immediate exit from the comp)
    Credit to management team, the players who are relishing the challenge, and as some poster pointed out the under age management.
    Imo, the standard club championship is very high..

  55. Great to see all getting game time ,we can’t wrap our guys up in cotton wool,they must play if they need game time to sharpen up.
    Injuries will happen,did a player not injure himself jumping up of the stool after the photo in Crocker.

  56. Pretty sure killer kilcoyne did that too in castlebar before a knockmore game if my memory serves me right re jumpin off the photograph bench thing

  57. @JR I agree with you the players need game time and as you say can’t wrap them up in cotton wool sadly GAA is a rough game and injuries are bound to happen espcially to top players as opposite counties sometime try and take them out or it just happens naturally just the way of the game and the players know this to.

    Speedy recovery to both Enda& Cillian hope they are not serious injuries .

  58. And @willie Joe congrats on getting mentioned on a great blog in the independant well deserved!

    It truly is a great blog your articles always bring the best discussions out of us mayo supporters and indeed supporters from other counties I always enjoy coming on here and getting involved in the debate haha!

    As someone else said dont think any other county has such a great blog and that is not just me being biased!

  59. Free ticket for donegal cant travel due to ill health .send email address to 0861682927.

  60. Indeed he did Sean, I was right in front watching from the stand with my father. Will never forget it. Horror. Just a freak injury.

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