Looking ahead to the Derry game

April 8

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

It’s midweek already and so in the midst of this helter-skelter period of matches we’re already counting down to the next one, which see us taking on Derry up at Celtic Park on Sunday. Throw-in for this one is at the slightly later time of 2.30pm, as it’s a double-header with the 12.45pm curtain-raiser featuring the Oakleafers against Carlow in a hurling League encounter.

This will be our first outing up in the Walled City since 2010, a match where we recorded our first win in their territory since 1984 and, as far as I know, the only ever win we’ve secured at Sunday’s venue in Celtic Park. We lost there in a League match in 2008, they pretty much handed us our arses in a Championship qualifier clash there in 2007 and we also lost to them the previous time we played them there in the League back in 1999.

Derry were relegated from Division One in 2010 and so our paths didn’t cross for a few years but we made up for lost time last year, when we met them twice in successive weeks in the League. We recorded a handy win over their B team at MacHale Park in early April but then went down by two points to their As seven days later in a semi-final meeting up in Croke Park.

That HQ loss was put to Keith Higgins in a piece in today’s Irish Independent, where the skipper pretty much dismissed the rather daft notion that our trip North this weekend could in any sense be construed as a revenge mission. It’s only a bloody League match for gawdsakes.

It’s not a trip I’ll be making, by the way, as we’ve a family Confirmation on Friday, another one (a niece’s one) the day after and then I’m off on my travels again early on Monday morning. Barrelling up to Derry and back on Sunday would be a tad OTT, I reckon, so, like the U21s, I’m being released from this one (and the Dublin one too but that’s another story).

While I’m on the topic of my busy schedule, that early morning departure on Monday means you’ll have to go rooting for the match reports yourselves that morning. I know, I know – between the site keeling over with carefully crafted comments getting wiped and now anticipated post-match content not happening, the place is going to pot at the minute. Such is life, though.

Back to the football where, as discussed yesterday, we’ll be short a number of regulars on Sunday and look set to name a team – which is due to be announced tomorrow night – featuring at least four changes from the one that took the field against Monaghan the last day. Derry will still be without the Slaughtneil contingent, with Chrissy McKaigue the most prominent absentee from that bunch, but they will have Mark Lynch available again following suspension.

The bookies have us chalked down as narrow 8/11 favourites to win this one but, 2010 aside, our record up there isn’t great while their need for League points is so I think we can expect a real battle on Sunday. Will we do it? Time to test the waters on this one.

How will we do against Derry?

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35 thoughts on “Looking ahead to the Derry game

  1. Is there a problem with poll WJ,can’t vote on it.I would like to see Kerby tried at ff Sunday if Aido reverts to midfield.Mayo by 2

  2. I’ve just voted myself now, Pacar, and it seemed to work fine. The poll plug-in was one of the ones I was trying to update the other night when the whole place went wallop on me so maybe there’s some residual indigestion with it.

  3. I voted fine as well. To win of course.
    I know we have 4 games left and this is one that we should win or at least make a huge effort because cork owe us a beating and Dublin and donegal are 50/50 games for us. Excuse my ignorance, where is Micheal forde from and how tall/strong is he/ position he plays? And what height would Danny Kirby be? Just wonderin

  4. I thought our game against Derry in last year’s League Semi-Final was one of the more disappointing Mayo games that I have been at, in the last few years. Their supporters are pretty full on as well, so it’ll be a tough place to get the two points. It’d be great to get the win and move on. At the moment the table is very tight with only 3 points separating top and bottom. No points will be won easy in this division.

  5. Given the notable absentees from the panel due to injuries and U21 duties, my team for Sunday would be:

    Clarke, Cunniffe, Keane, Higgins, Keegan, Boyle, Drake, S’OShea, Kirby, McLoughlin, Freeman, Doherty, O’Connor, A’OShea, C’OShea (if fit)

  6. To answer question Michael Forde is from Ballycastle and is around 6′ or 6’1″ built fairly rangy. He was minor in 2010. Has decent enough speed and a good all round footballer. Plenty game time to build his on pitch confidence is needed to really see his potential.
    Kirby is 6’2″ or 6’3″.

  7. 45
    I think id have freeman in the corner and coc out the field passing it in to aos and freeman rather than the other way round. And let aos and Kirby switch around too to keep it interesting.
    I see Paul galvin is back with Kerry, hard to know what to make of it, he is 35 and wants more?

  8. Dave

    Michael Forde is from Ballycastle he is six foot three and is a big man. He plays mostly in the forwards or midfield. Wing forward would be his best position in my opinion. He played all the way up underage for Mayo u16 u18 u21 for three years Mayo Junior and was a member of James Horans panel for the first three years. He was an unused sub in all Ireland semi and final in 2012 and in semi in 2013. He played Sigerson for Sligo IT also for the last three or four years, he is 22 i think now. He would be the same age as Cillian O’Connor and the two had a good understanding up through the underage ranks.

  9. As has been duly noted it is great to see more depth and options developing.
    Without getting overly pedantic Id say Kirby is definitely 6′ 3″ , 6′ 4″.
    Again glad to see him get his chance.
    He has got buckets of potential, I think he’s player similar to Tom Parsons,
    quick, mobile and can cover alot of ground for his size.
    He was outstanding in the County Semi Final for Mitchel’s this year.

  10. Looking forward to the trip north. Derry is a fabulous city, those city walls are worth the trip (and the walk) by themselves. But of course the bigger attraction is to see how the newly defensive Mayo under Connelly-Holmes fare out in a hostile environment against a team that badly need the points. With the enforced changes in defence and midfield this could be a very tough assignment. That’s exactly what we need, because it’s hard to know on the evidence of the first three games where we are.

    We have beaten a severely understrength Kerry, been suffocated by the Tyrone blanket (and our own shooting) and trashed a Monaghan team whose worth we don’t really know, due to the sendings-off. Although we still made several goal chances while it was 15 v 15, so I think we can safely assume we would have won without the red cards.

    Sunday should be closer to the Tyrone match than the other two in terms of difficulty. If Mayo are focussed from the first minute then we will have a great chance. Here’s hoping. Six points on the board would give the managers great scope for experimentation in the final three games.

  11. I can’t see why or how C O’Shea should walk into the team for Sunday when we haven’t seen him yet this year.Team I would like to see starting Sunday is 1 Hennelly 2 Cunniffe 3 Keane 4 Higgins 5 Keegan 6 Cafferkey 7 Boyle 8 A O’Shea 9 S O’Shea 10 McLoughlin 11Doherty 12 Douglas 13 Freeman 14 Kirby 15 O’Connor.Aido could switch with Kirby if and when needed and plenty of size and strength in the forwards also.Douglas might be a bit small but can take a score.

  12. My team for Sunday for what it’s worth. Clarke; Cunniffe, Keane, Higgins: Keegan, Cafferkey, Boyle; S O’Shea, Kirby; McLoughlin, Ronaldson, Doherty; Freeman; A O’Shea, C O’Connor. And as some have suggested I would like to see Kirby and Aiden switching places a few times during the game. I’m not sure that we can do without Aiden O’Shea at midfield in the long term. So I would like to see both Kirby and Barry Moran tried at full forward at some stage.

  13. Can’t vote either. I’m hoping for a win, calling it a draw. Losing is not an option!

    Really looking forward to this trip – heading up early on Saturday morning for a wander around the place – unbelievably I’ve never stood within those walls.

    Info on meetups etc is up on the Club ’51 page, the lads have been busy. Hope to see a few of ye about the place over the weekend.

  14. I agree totally aos at full forward. coc due a big game on sin was bit quiet against monoghan..

  15. Cillian scored 5,set up numerous others….I’d settle for him being as quiet again on Sunday Cait…….His tackling alone is worth a few scores

  16. The five were from frees if I’m not mistaken. While setting up scores is important what we need above all else is an executioner. He was, I thought, our “great white hope”. If AOS or a similar player is to be our ball winner in the full forwardline we need the other two full forwards to be score takers. Ronaldson seems to be outshining Cillian in that regard todate.

  17. True but would like to see him score goals again. I see lazurus galvin back on kerry team.????

  18. Yes Anne-Marie, you’ll find the City of Derry a most interesting and beautiful place, full of history, some fine buildings, great shopping and the City walls are indeed very impressive.

    Spent a most enjoyable day there at the Fleadh Cheoil in 2013, and we had some great crack with the locals. Mind you on a football weekend, things might be a little different !

  19. Aw if I wasn’t otherwise engaged with a 2 o’clock throw in at letterkenny, I’d love to go to this game, it has the makings of a real cracker. I think Mayo should take the two points home though. Mayo McHale, I wouldn’t worry too much about the locals, most of the derry contingent will be arriving and leaving after the game, not too many supporters come from the city itself. Incidentally, the shops don’t open til one o’clock on a Sunday incase you were planning a spot of pre match retail therapy!

  20. Couldn’t vote on iPad , no problem on the phone. Wonder if Martin mc Guiness had anything to do with it. They’re coming at us from far and near.

  21. Wondering if Michael Forde is related to Peter Force
    From up the stand he is cut out of him

  22. I think I know what the problem with the poll might be, which could be related to the meltdown of the site. When I did the backup restore, the MOTM poll was lost and the one I’ve created since on the Derry game must have the same ID as the lost one (because what was restored from the backup ended before the poll was created). This could be preventing those of you who voted in the MOTM poll from voting on this one. That’s the best reason I can think of for why this issue has occurred but I’ve no appetite for sticking my head under the bonnet, given what happened the last time I did this!

  23. I was able to vote, for the win of course, but yes I didn’t vote in the mom poll so it may be the case as you point out Willie Joe, that those who voted in the man of the match before the site crashed as a result cannot do so now.

  24. I wouldn’t worry about the poll WJ. Its only that the poll has already cached the ip’s of who voted. Will be fine when you do up the next poll, (will be a new poll id) Of course anyone with different devices will be able to vote once from each device, as it always was.

  25. We need aido back in mid field for this game to watch fergal doc.doc had great game against tyrone when he came on after along lay off.also aidan owes him one for the late hit in last
    Years semi final.

  26. I watched Derry – Tyrone with an eye towards our game. One note of caution, Derry dominated the first half but the strong cross pitch gale pulled most of their frees n attempts wide. In particular Eoin Bradleys frees. Tyrone were a bit smarter in trying to get closer for attempts n having strong runners 25 yards from goal. Also Derry were missing Mark Lynch who would have been great driving support as a runner. If Kielt had started and switched earlier to the frees they would have been out of sight.
    Derrys big weakness is between the 45s. They handpass sideways n backwards a lot when counter attacking. Only from the 45 will they kick pass in. We should select a mobile midfield in order to counter act this. One weakness we will have is at centre back where Lynch/Kielt/McGilligan will look to punch holes through our centre. Those three are far too tall n strong for Keegan/Boyle/(Coen unavailable).
    We should look at a taller stronger centre back for this game. Caff/Drake/McHale are guys with sufficient size. Forde would be interesting there as he was a half back u21 but seems to be a half forward option.
    If you look at Dublin/Kerry/Donegal at many points in games they run hard at that area.
    In terms of what we can do Derry looked vulnerable to quick two/three pass counter attacks. With runners coming strongly on the end of those moves. It was a hard match to judge as the gale was going cross pitch. So you could only assess how easily attempts were setup.

  27. Could you move aos to midfield and move b moran to full forward with cillian and freman in corners.

  28. Why move Aidan from full forward after the most dominant full forward display by a Mayo player in years? Scored 1-3, fouled for frees, gave assists n generally caused havoc.
    Has he got the engine to track counter attacks for 75 mins on a heavy pitch. Not really. He’s not a high mileage player. When he came on against Kerry he spent a lot of time on his own 45. Also he only had to play about 25 mins or so. Leave him upfront roving around.

  29. Watched Derry v Tyrone last week and thought the result was fair. The weather was brutal and made it near impossible to play so a lot couldn’t be taken from the match. Derry will be craving a win, our record up isn’t great but Kerry managed it and so should we.
    Mayo by 2 pts

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