Time to look forward

The dust has yet to settle (apart from that bloody stuff from the Sahara that’s all over the cars hereabouts) on the Dubs match but already it’s time to start thinking ahead to next Sunday’s clash with Division One table-toppers Derry back on home soil at MacHale Park. All told, I think it’s good that we have another important match so soon after Croke Park, not least as it means that the outcome of that one shouldn’t be left hanging there for weeks on end. Instead, we’ve the fresh challenge next Sunday of trying to nail down a League semi-final place and then if we succeed in doing this, the prospect of a pre-summer return to Croke Park and maybe even a possible League title.

Before moving on, I’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone for the positive messages, words of encouragement and so forth that have flowed onto the site since last night. The problem about the tenor of those post-match comments that I raised in last night’s post is, I know, one created by a small minority of people and I don’t want to see the actions of a few destroy everything for the many who provide insightful and informed opinions and analysis here via the comments. I’m hopeful that a beefed-up comments policy, possibly incorporating time-bans for transgressors, will sort out the problem in a way that won’t impact on the majority who abide fully by the existing rules. I’ll come back to this later in the week.

One further point before moving on and this relates to James and the team and the way in which they’re knuckling down for another shot at glory this year. John Casey was on RTÉ radio on Saturday and he spoke about how the team in 1998 had nothing left in the tank after the two lost All-Irelands. He was full of admiration for the current generation and how, despite the crushing disappointment of the last two Septembers, they’re all back giving their all once again. What he said had, I felt, real merit. Can anyone imagine what a kick in the balls it must have been for the lads last September to lose a second winnable final in twelve months and what enormous effort is involved in putting that to one side and going hell for leather at it all over again? These lads – our county men – deserve all the support we can give them as they endeavour to make their way back up towards the summit again.

Right, moving on to this coming weekend and the first bit of news about Sunday’s match against Derry is that it’ll be reffed by David Coldrick. I used to think he was an okay ref one time but I’ve been far from impressed at his more recent displays. He absolutely rode us against Down up in Newry last year and he did a similar number on Kerry against the Dubs in the first round of this year’s League. The common denominator in both displays was that the home team got all the marginal calls so maybe that’ll work for us on Sunday. Personally, though, I’d prefer an official who gives a fair shake to both sides.

I see that Paddy Power have installed us as unbackable 1/4 favourites to beat the Oak Leafers on Sunday and, interestingly, they’ve also made the Cluxton-less Dubs 10/11 favourites to beat Tyrone up in Omagh. I’m not sure I agree with either of those odds but the ones on us certainly chime with the optimism being demonstrated in the poll on the game’s outcome. In relation to the Tyrone game, I find it hard to see how Dublin – away from the comforts of home (for the final time until next year’s O’Byrne Cup), without such a key player as Cluxton and up against that wily old fox Mickey Harte – will do it but stranger things have, I know, happened.

For what it’s worth, I think we’ll win, Kerry will beat Cork and Tyrone will sort out the Dubs. In case you think I’m talking out of my posterior I’ll have you know that I won the overall prize for March (out of just under 7,000 entries) in the Allianz prediction leagues and currently stand fifth in the overall leaderboard. So now for you. Were that to happen, Tyrone would finish first and then it’d be Derry, ourselves and Cork in that order (all on nine points with points difference deciding placings), which would mean we’d face Derry again in the semis. You heard it here first.

48 thoughts on “Time to look forward

  1. If we beat Derry by 9, we’ll pip them to 2nd. Which won’t make a blind bit of difference as we’ll end up playing them in the semi anyways!

  2. Yes but if we best them by 9 (which is a serious ask), don’t we get to play the semi in a McHale Park?

  3. Who would yer preference be for the man in the middle Willie Joe? It really is hard to choose!!

  4. Are the semi finals not in Croke Park? Don’t tell me our reward if we beat them on Sunday is a trip to Celtic Park?!

  5. Don’t know about those odds for us. They seem crazy when you see Derrys scoring average and our concessions. I fancy us to win alright but those odds are nuts.

  6. Well said WJ about the men coming back for another year, takes some dedication. I was in Croker Sat eve and Boy God did I want to tear into them for that performance but when you stand back and admire what the men have given us for the past few years, how many counties would give for a run like we are on (albeit we haven’t reached the promised land YET)
    Some of the comments were ott but that’s what freedom of speech gives, even yourself saying Goldrick RODE us in Newry last year, come on did he really??

    Heres to Sunday in Elverys McHale Park, Let the Games begin!!!!!

  7. Just got a text saying semis will be in Croker. So you must be right Horan’s Brigade.
    Also, MayoMark, I think Derry are + 25 points and we’re + 7 points, so we certainly won’t be beating Derry by more than 18 points, not (as you said) that it matters.
    But lads, if Cork beat Kerry, we’ll slip to fourth and end up playing Cork instead in the semi.
    And if Dublin win and Kerry best Cork, Derry will be top, we likely to be second with Dublin third and it will be back to Croker for a re-match.
    Currently:
    Cork – 9 pts (+8 pts)
    Derry – p pts (+ 25 pts)
    Tyrone – 8 pts (+ 6 pts)
    Mayo – 7 pts (+ 7 pts)
    Dublin – 7 pts (+ 7 pts)
    Kerry – 6 pts ( + 21 pts)

    We need to beat Derry by as much as possible and nail down our slot.

  8. Derry have a very strong and experienced midfield so it will be a really big battle there for our lads. Also Mark Lynch is another very big and strong player. The CHF has probably being one of the best forwards in Division 1 so far. Donal Vaughan will have a tough task keeping him quiet, if he is marking him. Derry have being the most consistent team in the Division. With a scoring difference of +25, when they have got ahead of teams, they have made the most of their dominance. Their only blip so far was their first half performance against Cork. They won away to Kerry by two points the week before we beat them, so they’ll have no fear of coming to Castlebar. The fact that they have already qualified for the semi-final should swing the balance in our favour as we have more of an incentive to win this game. They are a very big and strong team so there is a very tough game ahead of us.

  9. Willie Joe, delighted that normal business resumes – onwards and upwards.

    And the work you put in to keeping this great information source and blog to such a high standard is something I really admire and appreciate. It is the scene of great debates and while many of us slip-up every now and again (one yellow card on my account) in the heat of battle, we must show respect to all the players and management team that put so much of their time, sweat and unreal effort on the line for our entertainment.

    My Achilles heal has been some anger at management putting a very small number of players forward time after time when they are not up to it. But I come to realise that it’s not those players fault and I’ve copped on, at least on that score. My other real annoyance these days is the persistence with Keith in the forwards, while we leak scores at the back, like a tropical shower dispenses water.

    I wasn’t about yesterday, and after all the furore on Saturday night and Sunday, WJ you have the patience of Job to put up with us. I’m glad you’ve come through the latest fog and you are looking forward to the next battle

    And congrats on your great performance in the Allianz predictions – knowledge and cop-on combined to delivers again!.

    On next weekend, I think Cork might turnover Kerry, even in the kingdom, but I agree with you that Tyrone will beat the Dubs up north. We will beat Derry but it will be very close.

    Keep it lit !!!!

  10. Fair play WJ. Your third paragraph sums it up nicely in all we owe these fellas for what they do and who they represent. We’re in a golden era and at some stage it will come to an end. So we should enjoy it really for what we have. It’s far better than the alternative e.g. Galway football at the moment.

    Also – good luck in the last round of the Allianz Leagues. Would be a nice one to win and Lord knows you deserve something in return for all the effort and outstanding work you put in on behalf of the team and the supporters.

    As to match the weekend past – we didn’t lose. Threw it away yes. Could give added analysis but what’s the point. This is the League and hey, it’s only March. This time tomorrow it will be forgotten as we have to look froward to next Sunday.

    Derry will provide an interesting test. It’s hard to see them putting out there strongest team what with the semis the following weekend. So you could expect them to rest a few key names. We ould do with resting a few as well

    E.g. I think Lee Keegan needs a break. Though he looked tired Sat night and wasn’t his usual sharp threatening self. Same with Ger Cafferkey and possibly both midfielders although I’m open to criticism on this as both are arguably playing briallant especially Jason Gibbons.

    But a bit of game time is what others need. e.g. Chris Barrett, Alan Dillon (if fit) Richie Feeney, Tom Parsons, Seamus O’Shea and Barry Moran. and maybe Gallaghers back on bench at least as well. i think we will qualify for semis even and then hopefully can push on for a final spot.

    But it will be a tough three weeks on the trot if we are to make a National final.

  11. Lads, could be wrong, but if we beat Derry, Kerry beat Cork and the Dubs beat Tyrone, we top div 1 but only if our scoring difference is greater than Dublin. That will be a dog fight in Omagh for sure. I disagree with you here WJ, I think the Dubs will make it in.
    We would have the head to head over cork and Derry. Only one we don’t have that on is Tyrone. But then Dublin would be out and we’d still be in providing win or draw against Derry. I’m cautious though about Derry. They are flyin’.

    Some very tasty matchups next weekend. Can’t wait for it….who would have thought the league would be so exciting?
    Depending on how this pans out, we could yet again be playing Dublin in a final. …feckin mouthwatering, I might just parachute in for it!

  12. I was up in Newry and Goldrick most definitely rode us. I was fit to climb out over the fence after him at one stage!

  13. Good point ~I cant see Vaughan being left on Lynch. IS Boyler physically big enough for him? Shame to put Keegan on him, would nulifiy attacking options .

    My man of the moment David Drake would do a job on him im sure, worthy of a start now too.

    Think Gibbons and O Shea should have better of duel at CM so its down to the forwards thereafter .
    JAson Doh on front of home crowd will do the goods again.
    Hopefully Andy will be less rusty and supply good ball into the inside duo Freeman and Cillian and they will have better of their men no problem.

  14. I think there is a lot of merit in resting players this weekend and giving others game time.

    No doubt we will get some injuries over the next few months and we will need experienced back up.

    Also, I think Cork will beat Kerry and this will would mean we qualify for semi’s regardless of the result in castlebar.

  15. Could all ye folks not just stay in the present for now, e.g. Derry match on Sunday and then when all the dust has settled and the scrapping is over, we’ll see what teams are still standing !

  16. If Cluxton hadnt walked the last day i think Dublin would have went on to win the game, we are very close to were we need to be to beat them on the big day so i think another game against them would be no harm. However i worry how when the Dub just want to get goals they can just walk thtough and get them, i know they took them well but the game should have been over and running down the clock in our own half at the end was inexcusable.

  17. We take too much out of the ball. Dublin move the ball quickly and accurately. We bounce and solo about the place too much. Only JG done the ” move the ball quickly”. He needs to become a role model on the team for the rest. The last goal was made by the pass inside. Instead we pile blame on defenders and full forwards. Leaving the ground on Saturday night I was thinking what a big ask it will be for the Dubs in Omagh. Win that one they will have 2 in a row IMO.

  18. Hi Cloud9, Mayomark is correct. As the current points difference is 18 if we beat Derry by 9 then they lose by 9 (thus the differential of 18 is achieved).

    Citywest

  19. I think we should let Higgins continue in the have forwards as he had a special job against the dubs blocking the forwards runs and closing down the kick outs space from cluxton,. What the story with caffertys injury , is Reagan on the panel now in training .

  20. Not too sure about Drake. I thought he did very well in earlier games but Saturday night he let his man inside him far too often. Unless you have just bomber forward to support the attack I think defenders should never let their forwards get goal side. I thought that Dublin’s tackling was superior to Mayo’s on Saturday. I know a lot of this is down to how the ref interprets the tackle. Now is the time to test the water. Great respect to all the Mayo team, panelists, support team and County Board. Magnificent effort once again. Lets have a huge crowd in Castlebar on Sunday. Mighty value at €10 a head. Oh the green and red of Mayo!!!!!!!!!!

  21. I think Derry are being seriously underrated. I have seen them a couple of time this year and they are a strong physical team with an ability to take points from long range. They can win away from home (Kerry) so, they wont be intimated coming to Castlebar. The bookies odds are crazy. Good that Derry are already qualified as otherwise I would not be surprised at all if they turned us over. Expect a very tight game.

  22. On disciplinary matters , last year Brennan’s feet found their way underneath Micky Conroys body and his fist hoovered near near Vaughans chin .

    This year Cluxtons mask slipped along with his boot. Each get/got a one match ban. I hate to say this but on each occasion we as a county would have been better served if we extracted our own retribution out on the pitch. This is one area that the abroad consensus takes Mayo as a soft touch.

    We get the physical message and they play the percentage game , attracting the minimum suspension .Vaughan got dogs abuse from Cork in the 2012 league final. Who got ripped asunder post match by Brolly? Surprise surprise it was Donal. Had some Msyo man pasted Vsughams assailants and taken a red card, our stock and pride wouldn’t suffer . In fact it would immeasurably rise. Just sayin

  23. A point on higgins.
    A) He is causing teams problems up there with the pace he breaks at. Definately worth a couple of scores (potentially goals) between him kicking them or creating them for others
    B) He was in the backs when those goals went in…

  24. Glad the dust has settled WJ and that you’re going to continue albeit with some new and warranted sanctions. It would be such a shame to lose this excellent site that provides so much top class analysis and news for genuine Mayo supporters all over the world. I may not always post comments but I, like I’m sure many others, check the site almost daily to see what’s going on and find it an invaluable source. We’d be lost without it and without your hard work and generosity WJ in maintaining it.

  25. Do we really need to get to the league final, or even semi final? I think we are getting a little carried away. Let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. We have 3 long seasons under our belts and are concentrating on september. Why are we so concerned with league games in april?

    I say play the guys on the bench and give them a bit of game-time. It will serve us better in the long run.

  26. Would mike Sweeney, gibbons, Harrison, drake , gallaghers etc not benefit from a league semi? Yes and that’s what they need.
    Kerry in their heyday played for years on end with no sign of burnout and Dublin are now doing it, why should we be different? Shouldn’t we be aiming to pick up the league silver? Especially since we are almost in the semi as it is.
    And lets realise that nobody is taking a break from training from here til they get knocked out in summer so competitive games are better than training sessions for Mayo first 15 and all subs.

  27. Thanks Outside of boot, maybe for this game Vaughan might be the best man to mark him, he does have the physical attributes to match him. That would be one of Vaughan’s strong points his physique and strength. This type of game would be the perfect one for players like Chris Barret, Seamus O’Shea and Barry Moran, depending on how fit and sharp they are at the moment. You’d think in a game like this we need to win the battle first, then the war. Using our bench in the right way will be key for the season ahead. Look at O’Gara coming off the bench, being so fresh and eager, and scoring two goals as well. In fairness Mikey Sweeney did very well when he came on too. I thought that it was a pity that Adam Gallagher didn’t get some game time against the Dubs in the latter stages of the match. It would have been very interesting to see how he would have coped in Croke Park, seen as in the first two games in the league he was one of our better players. We talked about closing out a game, you’d think that he could have chipped in with a few points to take us over the line.

  28. I don’t subscribe to this thinking at all. Accepting a red card for exacting retribution is foolish in the extreme. With the way the game is nowadays, a team will struggle against a running team (Dublin) who have an extra man.

    Cluxton isn’t seen as a hero for lashing out at KMcL the last day. It was a foolish act that should have cost his team the game. 9 times out of ten it would have.

  29. Am I the only one who is distinctly lukewarm about semi final qualification?

    I think JH should use the perfect opportunity next week to run the bench and give game time to a lot of players who really need it:

    Barry Moran, Richie Feeney, Darren Coen, Stephen Coen, Tom Parsons (who did reasonably well on Saturday), Brendan Walsh – our sub goalkeeper has had no game time at all. Chris Barrett needs to play as well.

    And what about Evan Regan? And, Brian Gallagher who was not on the programme on Saturday?

    If we win using some or all of these, great. But giving them game time is vital.

  30. I think the Dubs are going to shade it up in Omagh. It’s going to be an extremely difficult task but they showed their battling qualities coming back from 6pts down and a man down against us. I think we will beat Derry (particularly because they have already qualified) and I fancy Kerry to beat Cork. Which will remaerkbly put Cork into fourth spot.

    Finishing Table:
    1st Derry
    2nd and 3rd Mayo and Dublin (i think us on scoring diff but doesnt make a diff as 2nd plays 3rd)
    4th Cork.

    Which would mean playing the Dubs again Next week!!

  31. This cluxton situation had me thinking during the week – If I remember correctly he lost the rag in a charity soccer match with Jason McAteer and decked him ! So its clear he has a short fuse and can lose it big time . So next time we play them shouldn’t we be all over him like a rash with interrupting his kick outs and plenty of verbals – even if he doesn’t get a card it might detract from his kick out accuracy and everytime he misses one is a big plus for any opposition.

  32. Am I wrong, but if Kerry beat Cork and we and Dublin both lose, won’t Kerry and Tyrone be in the simi?

  33. That’s the scenario – we need to win to be certain. Kerry need results to go their way though. Another scenario for instance

    E.g. if we drew, Dublin drew and Kerry won then they would also go through based upon more better scoring difference.

    Bottom line our fate is in our own hands though.

  34. We could actually still go through as well even if we were to lose to Derry and Kerry lost to Cork and Dublin lose to Tyrone by the same amount or by more than we lose to Derry by. In saying that, as ye said our fate is in our own hands, so this is a game we really need to be getting a win in, if we want to do well in the season ahead. With Kerry still in with a chance of making the semis, you expect them to win at home, Cork are already through to the semis so Kerry have more of an incentive to win that game, as we have against Derry.

  35. Ah here the only boots and fists that should be flying should be on the ball and not lower yourself to others’ standards.
    If you were beating a team out the gate they’d still kick and throw cheap shots and you’d laugh at them and hope they do get red so u can pile on more.
    Until mayo start being more clinical people can make all the excuses…ref, foul play etc. We’re not far off but I’ll finish on this point john. I have been at matches and seen colm cooper get kicked and hit with cheap shots and you never see him react. He does his talking with his skills….thats how the game is played

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