This week’s matches

It’s another busy week of Mayo matches, with five Championship games in all taking place across three codes between now and Sunday.

The action starts tomorrow and in the first match there’s significant silverware on offer. This is the Connacht U20 final against Sligo which throws in at Markievicz Park at 6pm. The match is being streamed live by TG4 on their YouTube channel and will also be broadcast in full on deferred coverage by TG4 starting at 7.20pm.

As I’ve done with our earlier U20 games, I’ll embed the TG4 live stream on the blog for anyone who wants to watch it here. Once it’s over, we’ll have a Final Whistle podcast reviewing the game which will be available for club members on Patreon soon after.

Tickets for the U20 provincial final are available to purchase here.

Also tomorrow evening, this time with a 7pm start, the county’s LGFA U16 team are in Connacht Championship action. They’re up against Galway in Crossmolina in this Round 3 tie and tickets for this game are available to purchase here.

On Friday evening the county’s U17 (Minor) team start their Connacht Championship campaign. Seán Deane’s charges are set to play four round-robin games on successive Friday evenings and their opponents in Round 1 are Leitrim. This game is fixed for James Stephens Park where throw-in is 7pm.

We’re also hoping to have a Final Whistle podcast on this game and, if we do, it’ll be dropping into club members’ Patreon feeds soon after the match concludes at Ballina. If you’re planning on going along to it, meanwhile, tickets for the game are available to purchase here.

On Saturday, the focus switches to the hurlers who are over in Ruislip to play London in Round 3 of the Christy Ring Cup. Our lads got off the mark with a good win over Wicklow last weekend and they’ll be aiming to build on that against the Exiles. Throw-in at McGovern Park is 1pm on Saturday and tickets for the game are available to purchase here.

And Sunday? It’s no day of rest, that’s for sure. The venue is MacHale Park, the throw-in time is 4pm and it is, of course, Mayo v Galway in the Connacht SFC quarter-final. The match is being shown live on RTÉ but a big crowd – most likely in excess of 20,000 – is expected to rock up to Castlebar for it and if you still need to get tickets for it they’re available to purchase here.

35 thoughts on “This week’s matches

  1. Busy week ahead on the blog and podcast! Good luck to all teams this week. Up Mayo!

  2. Castlebar forecast looks decent , no rain forecast from today till Sunday including Sunday . High of 16 degrees on Sunday .

  3. Many thanks Willie Joe, great work as usual.
    Good luck to yourself and all on here, and here’s to victory for all our sides this week.
    Up Mayo!

  4. Sometimes think of games like Sunday’s as matters of life or death. Would feel pretty down if Mayo are beaten on Sunday.
    But then I see things like the tragic and bizarre death of Kate Moran, playing camogie in Athenry. May she rest in peace.
    It really puts everything in perspective. We should really enjoy life and remember it’s just a game.

  5. Once you beat your way through Darragh Ó Sé’s usual stage-Kerryman stuff at the start of his column in today’s Irish Times, he makes some decent points about how we’re likely to approach Sunday. He fairly blows out of the water any notion that the back door might be preferable for us and, when you consider the qualifier timetable (six week break and then five matches in seven weeks if we make the final), you’d have to think he’s right. The column is here (subscriber access only): https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/darragh-%C3%B3-s%C3%A9-mayo-won-t-be-caught-waiting-for-the-summer-1.4856731.

    Also on the positivity/negativity issue, I’m struggling to recall a more downbeat attitude among supporters heading into Championship. I’ve certainly seen nothing to match the current negative attitude since the start of the James Horan era.

  6. Very low mood to be sure WJ.
    Even comments on the blog seem non existent.
    It’s as though we just don’t have the energy for the road anymore.The few good wins in The League masked and underlying fatigue with the whole project that came to the fire again after the league final…..

  7. I’d be as passionate as anyone on here about a mayo win but let’s enjoy the build up and hopefully the game and if we win we’ll have bragging rights for a while and if we lose keep the head down for a while and everyone will go back to work and the world will move on. So everyone take care and enjoy the week

  8. It’s entirely understandable to my mind that people would be fatigued, this season has already been a war of attrition for the Mayo squad and any team (even Kerry) would struggle with the constant running repairs so far.

    As an aside, the punitive schedule for teams who lose an early provincial championship game is a disgrace, particularly for those who might play a preliminary tie up in Ulster. It’s one of several iniquities blighting the GAA inter-county calendar and it’s long since time that it was sorted out, although the usual vested interests will probably object.

    We talk and talk about managing burnout and injuries to young players, then potentially subject them to five games in seven weeks, unbelievable stuff.

    RIP Kate Moran, what a terrible tragedy.

  9. Didn’t realise that about the qualifiers, so is that five games in seven weeks as opposed to four if going route one ?

  10. I fully expect us to beat Galway, and go on to win Connacht. However, that should not be our aim. For me, it’s All Ireland or nothing. That is the standard we MUST measure ourselves against. What other standard is there for a team that has lost 4 of the last 6 finals? Anything less than Sam must be considered a failure.
    Where my negativity comes from is I have seen absolutely nothing in the last 2 years that makes me think we have progressed one iota. In fact, I firmly believe that last years AIF defeat was a defining moment in Horans reign and that he, for whatever reason, gets judged far more lightly than any of his predecesors and that means his halo remains, untouched, unchallenged by media or county board.
    3 months ago the narrative was all about the massive squad Horan had developed, how we could nearly field two teams, how we had such competition for places etc. etc. Now, the very same people who pushed that narrative are the ones complaining about injuries and missing players. Did you hear any Kerrys complaining about not having Seanie Shea for their league final? No, you didn’t. Having your cake and eating it is all good and well but football is a contact sport and injuries are part and parcel of the game. You factor it in and plan for it. That’s why you have a 26 man squad. Or in Horans case, a 40 man squad. And, by the way, Horan didn’t develop these players, the clubs did.
    So let’s get a few things straight here, you have a county whose youth predominantly play Gaelic football thereby ensuring the numbers coming through year on year, whose supporters are football mad to the point that they fund the senior set-up to the tune of millions of €’s, we have schools that compete regularly at the business end of their competitions, we have clubs that consistently produce talented, hard working, technically proficient footballers, and we have a county board that is subservient to the demands of the senior county manager, to the point of detriment to the clubs they are elected to serve. You have a county team that trains behind locked gates to ensure no-one sees their “reinvention” of the game, whose management refuses to meet with the media, a county PRO who has no updates to give. You have everything a county set up could dream of.

    So, taking everything into account, I have far higher expectations than just beating Galway on Sunday. That in itself will not be easy, nor should it be, but if we have any real ambitions on winning Sam then a win on Sunday is only the first small step.

  11. Pebblesmeller – I’ve no problem with straight talking but I’ve had (for your own sake if nothing else) to edit out the bit about “lies” and the leaking allegation. You know as well as I do that you can’t post that kind of stuff here.

  12. WJ, no problem that’s fair enough. I didn’t mean it in the derogatroy sense but, as you rightly spotted, it may not have come across that way.
    Duly noted.

  13. Is there a case that this Mayo team lacks football consistency and rhythm and a tight schedule of games would be of benefit?
    Happened in 2017. We had one of our best semis and finals.
    This team is younger, smaller and hence more able for week on week compared to big lads or lads in their 30s like in 2017.

  14. When you say smaller, that worries me JP. But, it it true – taking the squad as a whole? I don’t really know, but a forward line that includes Boland, Towey, Orme, O’Donoghue, would be in serious trouble. These players have to either/or.

    It is in this sense that Jordan is such a loss. Apart from coming good this league, his sheer physicality has been notable all through since he came on the scene.

  15. @It Means Nothing to Me, you are correct about the 5 games in 7 weeks, on the flip side of that is that Provincial winners will not have played a game for 4 weeks when they will will face a Round 2 qualifier winner in the Quarter Finals who will have played 2 weeks previously.

    Regardless of what route is taken the All-Ireland winner will need to play 3 games in 4 weeks anyway.

    The minimum amount of games Mayo would have to play to win an All-Ireland is 6 and the max is 7.

  16. Does anyone have the provisional dates/weekends of games if we go down either route?

    If we win Connacht, or if we lost this weekend?

    Thank you.

  17. Maybe going in downbeat is good for us? Suppose we won’t know till Sunday. If you think about it, we would have had to have trained hard the week of the league final (same for Galway), as the week after would be all recovery work. So Horan had no choice but to get serious conditioning done in the build up to that game. You can’t be running the legs of lads 2 weeks before a championship match. Its more match play scenarios and tactics, A v B stuff.

    Im not trying to make an excuse, but no Mayo team is ever judged on the league, once we survive, so mission accomplished. Do I think Horan went all out to win the league final?…not a chance. But he wouldn’t have wanted that much of a beating so it back fired on him. Im starting to think the lack of a defensive plan was maybe by design, surely we’ll see something different against Galway? and he was keeping sonething up his sleeve? or maybe im giving him too much credit.

    With regards no info coming out of the camp, im all for it to be honest, loose lips sink ships. I see it seems to annoy alot of fans but you have no divine right to know the medical status of any young man or player. Why should Joyce know who’s in or out? Keep them guessing I say, we’ll have 26 bucks togged on Sunday…which brings me to my last point. If Durcan, McLaughlin, Oisin, and Diarmuid are out for this one we will be bet. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  18. May 8th v Leitrim

    May 29th Connacht final

    First rd of qualifiers if we lose Sunday I think is 4th of June

  19. @sean burke
    Thats a long dreary wait til qualifiers first round for the team that loses on Sunday, players would be as well off going playing matches with their club at that rate.

  20. Yes if that is the date (haven’t time to look it up ) for first qualifier it would give an awful long period to wander in the doom and gloom after a defeat to Galway . I know nothing about the impact of positive v negative energy but I’d hazard a a guess the latter is no addition to the cause . Cut a long story short , the winners on Sunday are winning .

  21. @Catcol from the 2017 team the following were replaced by either younger or smaller more mobile players. Sometimes both.
    Keith Higgins, Chris Barrett, Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle, Seamus OShea, Tom Parsons, Andy Moran, possibly Kevin McLoughlin as he may not start.
    Only Leeroy, Aidan, JDoc and Cillian are at an age of likely less mobile than 2017.
    So you’d say about four players more mobile weighing it all up versus 2017.

  22. Lest anyone forget we nearly got caught (maybe should have in both instances?) by Fermanagh and Derry in our first qualifier games in 2016 and 17 respectively.. two very mediocre sides at the time

    Can’t see a back door run benefitting us at all this year after what would be two significant losses in a row and with the ‘baggage’ from last year’s final defeat

  23. Match preview pod, with Rob, Kevin McStay and Barry Cullinane, is out on Patreon now and will be available on other platforms later on tonight. Don’t forget we’ll also have our Final Whistle pod on the U20 Connacht final which will go online for club members soon after the match is over at Markievicz Park this evening. The pods are starting to back up again!

  24. @Viper: I don’t particularly have a problem with a six or seven game championship season, which seems reasonable enough to win Sam. But IMO it makes little sense to have such a long wait til qualifier round number one, and then shoehorning games in like crazy over a two month period.

    IMO the GAA inter-county championship season was short enough to begin with, and the Association have made a major blunder in surrendering August and September to other codes for promotional purposes.

    If the provincial finalists face a four week wait prior to the All-Ireland quarter finals, then that is obviously sub-optimal and all the more reason to tweak the system again. IMO the four week wait we had prior to facing Tyrone last September (who had played two weeks previously) contributed in part to our rustiness on the day.

  25. @Supermac & @Sean Burke, I understand what you are both saying but that’s really a supporters prospective as opposed to what the view of the team and management may be collectively.

    It’s all about how the whole situation is presented to players, personally in a situation like that where I knew a number of key players would be missing I would sit the whole panel down and explain exactly what routes are available and if we were beaten by Galway how plan B would kick in and lay out the programme for the following 6 weeks, take some feedback and get everyone singing off the same hymn.

    One thing for certain is that if we were defeated to Galway the following 6 weeks would be anything but dreary.

    You simply have to manage people this way because managing a football team must start by being able to manage people.

    Because if you do not follow this method and you do lose to Galway then the risk of players confidence being drained far outweighs trying to regain confidence after the game by telling them the exact same thing you should have explained to them beforehand.

    It’s far easier to be prepared than to try and repair.

    Words matter a lot.

  26. @It Means Nothing to Me, Oh I agree with you but what can you do in the current format when you have as many as 12 counties in one province and only half that in another, that is what is causing the problem as regards to the teams waiting so long for the first round of the qualifiers.

  27. The inter county game encourages people to attend matches or in the majority watch it on television.
    Now, breathing new life into the club game by playing club championships in better weather might be stronger at helping clubs get kids involved. I’m no expert but I know there was a lot of research that all the London 2012 Olympics did for sports participation was swallow up government funding for elite sport and elite facilities whilst classroom sport suffererd cuts.
    Kids watched more sport on tv, that’s not a route to participation.

  28. Yes, this is without question the most gloomy build up I can remember to a Championship.
    Last September’s loss seems to have been a bit of a watershed moment.
    A few decent league results then papered over the cracks, before the league final loss and injury problems then quashed most people’s remaining optimism.

    It’s hard to know what will happen on Sunday, it all depends on the team we name.
    I think we can safely assume Hennelly, Harrison, Flynn and Conroy are our definite non-starters. I think we might just survive those losses, but if we’re also missing any of Durcan, Mullin, McLoughlin or D O’Connor (and if C O’Connor isn’t fit for more than 15-20 mins), then I think our goose is ‘fucked’.
    The one sliver of hope I have is Horan v Joyce. There’s been a lot of (warranted) criticism of Horan, but I’d take him over Joyce in a heartbeat.

    As for losing on Sunday not being the end of the world, in terms of regrouping and getting injured players back;
    As someone already pointed out, we’ll be trying to regroup on the back of 3 atrocious results in our last 3 big games – the All-Ireland final, league final and 1st Championship match. Add in the toxic atmosphere around the county in terms of our football team, and it’ll take some achievement to come back from that.
    Not saying it won’t be possible, but it’ll surpass anything this group has achieved over the past 10 or so years. Previously we all had each others backs, the whole “in this together” mentality. I just don’t sense that anymore. This blog is usually a good gauge on the regular supporters mood, and it’s been far from pleasant since last September.

  29. Dan – I don’t think all the negative doomsday stuff on the blog is reflective of people I speak to. Look at the crowds that went to all our league games. If everyone’s optimism was quashed why didn’t it affect attendances?

    I think we’ll win on Sunday but a loss isn’t the end of the world for us, or Galway. People going on about the dangerous qualifier route full of division 1 or 2 teams… There’s a good chance Louth, limerick, Derry or Cork could be the first round opponent. Then maybe Clare, Meath, Kildare or Roscommon in the final round. Nothing to fear in that to be honest.

  30. Fair enough Wide Ball. I’m outside of the county, so only have family/friends and this blog to go by.
    Going by that, there just seems a marked mood change compared to other years.
    But a win on Sunday, particularly with a depleted team, could be the spark we need.

  31. Quoting Pebblesmeller
    ” I fully expect us to beat Galway, and go on to win Connacht. However, that should not be our aim. For me, it’s All Ireland or nothing. That is the standard we MUST measure ourselves against. What other standard is there for a team that has lost 4 of the last 6 finals? Anything less than Sam must be considered a failure.
    Where my negativity comes from is I have seen absolutely nothing in the last 2 years that makes me think we have progressed one iota. In fact, I firmly believe that last years AIF defeat was a defining moment in Horans reign and that he, for whatever reason, gets judged far more lightly than any of his predecesors and that means his halo remains, untouched, unchallenged by media or county board.
    3 months ago the narrative was all about the massive squad Horan had developed, how we could nearly field two teams, how we had such competition for places etc. etc. Now, the very same people who pushed that narrative are the ones complaining about injuries and missing players. Did you hear any Kerrys complaining about not having Seanie Shea for their league final? No, you didn’t. Having your cake and eating it is all good and well but football is a contact sport and injuries are part and parcel of the game. You factor it in and plan for it. That’s why you have a 26 man squad. Or in Horans case, a 40 man squad. And, by the way, Horan didn’t develop these players, the clubs did.
    So let’s get a few things straight here, you have a county whose youth predominantly play Gaelic football thereby ensuring the numbers coming through year on year, whose supporters are football mad to the point that they fund the senior set-up to the tune of millions of €’s, we have schools that compete regularly at the business end of their competitions, we have clubs that consistently produce talented, hard working, technically proficient footballers, and we have a county board that is subservient to the demands of the senior county manager, to the point of detriment to the clubs they are elected to serve. You have a county team that trains behind locked gates to ensure no-one sees their “reinvention” of the game, whose management refuses to meet with the media, a county PRO who has no updates to give. You have everything a county set up could dream of.

    So, taking everything into account, I have far higher expectations than just beating Galway on Sunday. That in itself will not be easy, nor should it be, but if we have any real ambitions on winning Sam then a win on Sunday is only the first small step.”
    IMO he is the best blogger on this site, btw no clue who he is.

    My own concern for Sunday is the blueprint to contain or beat us has become really simple.
    Mayo have currently only one starting forward who has the ability to consistently take on his marker and go around them therby opening up a back line. Unfortunately the focus has continued be produce endless runners ( which is incredibly important) but our inability to take on defenders and in addition not being able to score beyond 30-35 yards makes us so easy to defend against.
    Given the injuries we have, Diarmuid O Connor ,Patrick Durcan, Jordan Flynn possibly
    Robert Hennelley, and the fact that we will have a new midfield paring makes this a bigger challenge.
    (if James Horan thinks Conor O Shea is good enough and hopefully he will be, why did he not play him against Kildare, in what was a meaningless game to give him midfield experience).

    I never criticize individuals on the panel, as they have put in an unimaginable number of hours to prepare themselves, I am more frustrated that our management never seems to learn from past experiances/defeats, and how
    1.They have not developed fast scoring forwards,
    2.Some of the team selections
    3. more critically what tactics we employ.
    Examples, 2012 final, 1st half of 2021 Connacht final, 2021 All Ireland, 2022 league final.

    More hopeful than confident for Sunday, especially if Walsh and Comer stay on the field for 70 minutes,
    maybe our focus this year has been this coming Sunday and we did not want to show our hand.
    I will be very very happy to be proved wrong.

  32. @joemamas Some good points there. I was watching the Tyrone Fermanagh game. I wouldn’t count Conor McKenna as a heavy scorer at all, but his raw pace, power and size helps open up defences.

  33. Did McKenna get a straight red ? Didn’t see the game at all but seen a pic of him getting red . I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Derry put Tyrone on their hole next time out

  34. McKenna got a harsh straight red, he was more protector than aggressor and if he got red others who were aggressors should have got reds too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.