Game day: time to stoke the home fires

After a week’s break, the National Football League resumes this weekend and our Round 3 tie is another one under the lights. After the long trek to Tralee last time out, this one is back on home turf with Roscommon the visiting opposition at MacHale Park this evening. Throw-in is set for 7pm.

We’ve had a so-so start to this spring campaign, losing a winnable home match to Monaghan and then winning a match we could so easily have lost against Kerry in Tralee. Roscommon have lost two from two, though, and so they come to Castlebar with an increasing sense of urgency about getting some League points on the board.

They won’t rock up without hopes of getting something tangible from tonight’s fixture either. Victors over us the last two times we met at MacHale Park (admittedly both in the FBD League), Roscommon will be well aware that the Castlebar venue isn’t exactly a fortress for us. We lost two of our three home League matches last year (our sole win a nervous three-pointer over already relegated Down) and then proceeded to tank at MacHale against Galway in the Connacht semi-final.

We did, I know, right ourselves at Castlebar with our two qualifier wins over Fermanagh and Kildare before taking up residence in Croke Park for the remainder of last year’s championship. The Monaghan loss at the start of this month – as careless a defeat as could be imagined – showed, however, how vulnerable we are on home soil.

Against an experimental Roscommon this evening we should be doing everything we can to put a better gloss on our recent underwhelming home record. Sure, we’re far from full strength this evening ourselves (and don’t get me going on the topic of suspensions) but we’ve still got plenty of heft and skill in our ranks. A performance like the second half in Tralee should be enough to see us home but, unlike that game, we’ll need to play at that level for the full seventy minutes.

An added bonus if we win tonight is that we’ll overnight at the top of Division One. That’ll only be until the other three matches in the Division are played tomorrow afternoon but, still, it’d be the first time we’ll have been perched on top of the pile for a good while so it’s another reason to give it socks tonight.

From my own point of view, this is going to be a long day. Domestic scheduling – which takes in matches involving two of the kids up here shortly – means that it’ll be early afternoon before I’m on the road. I’m heading straight back to Dublin after the game as well, behind the wheel too so it’ll be the wee hours before the match report – a pithy one at that, I’d reckon – sees the light of day. I will, though, post the audio report and the MOTM poll onto the site before pointing the car eastwards after the game.

By which time, hopefully, we’ll have the Rossies vanquished and will be sitting on top of the table. Safe travelling all. Up Mayo!

23 thoughts on “Game day: time to stoke the home fires

  1. I’ll be following this game from the peaks of the Jura in France so updates across the social media spectrum will be much appreciated.

  2. Well WJ, the suns shining down west at the moment, I would recommend long johns and the rain gear tho, not crazy about Paddy D in back line but u can’t keep a good man down, see ye there and keep the McHale roar going, Hon Mayo

  3. So does anybody know for sure who got suspension overturned and who is actually suspended for tonight. Someone said the Kerry fellas had theirs lifted and Mayo have two suspended. Beyond belief if true. Could this be our County board covering themselves in glory again playing a blinder on our behalf.

  4. Big news…..congress has ratified the ‘super 8 structure’ initiated by Paraic Duffy for the quarter finals. It takes effect from next year. Basically it a champions league structure from quarters finals onwards with two groups of four. It does nothing for weaker counties and will make it harder for us to win Sam I think

  5. Just to add that it’s a 3-year experiment from 2018 to 2020…….talk about the importance of reaching the last 8 for the next 3 years!

  6. The GAA really don’t have a clue how to structure a championship. It’s an organisation obsessed with tinkering at aspects of the game that don’t need amending and then avoiding the most glaringly obvious areas that are crying out for change. They are afraid of REAL CHANGE. They’re a body obsessed with talking about talks and when they finally get around to sanctioning a change, they make a complete mess of it. The GAA hierarchy are masters at self-praise. They think they’re proponents of clarity, forward thinking and vision but if anything they’re the opposite.

    Talk about getting it wrong again. This super 8 is a half-arsed attempt at positive change. It’ll mean more games for top teams, widen the gap between stronger and weaker teams and will cause club congestion. This super 8 doesn’t excite me whatsoever.

    It must be extraordinarily frustrating for forward thinking members at county board /executive level.

    There’s a simple way to promote the game, create a balanced number of championship games for all teams, increase revenue, generate interest and increase fixtures in county venues, attract greater marketing and all the time allow club games to be run throughout the May-Aug period when they’re effectively shut down. But the GAA won’t do it because too many at the decision end of things seemingly lack courage and creativity.

    Rant over.

  7. The super 8 isnt the answer to the problem, but it is a start. Totally changing the championship in one move was never going to happen due to the power of the provincial councils. This format is far from ideal but is a starting point for which a more fairer structure can develop. Moving the finals to August will take some of the pressure off the club scene, not the solution, but its a start. The GAA moves very slow but is is now atleast moving. The super 8 does make it harder for Mayo to win sam, but it makes it harder for the rest too, Dublin for example will potentially have to play two of their Quarter finals away from home to quality opposition, dont think they will be too happy with that.

    Regarding Jason Doherty as raised in the previous thread. This pops up at the start of every season it seems, jason is seriously important to mayo, he proved it last year particularly v Dublin and he will prove it again this year. Modern football requires players like doc. As previous posters have pointed out he is our top scorer from play last year. Mayos problems in the forwards are not solely down to the players, our top forward cillian is hardly shooting the lights out from play. Our supply to the forwards is also part of the problem, the lack of early quality ball to the inside forwards is the major issue, an issue I can see rochford trying to rectify with the introduction of boland and now gallagher. Add to that loftus and reape, then things look to improve as the year goes on.

  8. Think our team is strong enough to win this one with exception of full back and midfield. Keith has to be the smallest in stature full back in the country and would prefer Coen, Vaughan or possibly Drake in that position. No doubt he can defend and has pace to put pressure on but to stop the high ball sticking to FF that wouldn’t be his forte.
    For midfield my opinion is Gibbons is unknown quantity because of injury return and Donie plays better in the summer when he has all the training done. As the guy who regularly wins the beep test he definitely has the engine when 100% but found wanting in deep runs from opposing midfielders for goals for by Monaghan and Kerry. Let’s hope the extra 2 weeks has brought Donie more into the zone.
    I really think we need Coen for full back this week and move Durcan out and Keith to corner. That means we stick with Donie in midfield using Nally if it needs change.
    Like normal Rossies good enough from midfield up and their defense unfamiliar looking and probably weak.
    If we break 60 40 in midfield I expect we’ll win, if other way around could definitely lose. Diarmaid could be a great help in swinging that area our way.

  9. The Super 8 is an idea designed to have more big games in summer. However, the problem that needs solving is the fact that club championships get delayed in the counties involved in the latter stages of the intercounty championship. The introduction of the Super 8 exacerbates this problem. If there was a plan that would solve the original problem AND bring in the Super 8, then the concept would merit consideration.

  10. Interesting to see how Super 8 works out, will likely suit teams with strength in depth, as has been mentioned, means Dublin will play at least one game away, imagine a game in McHale Park.

    In relation to the club games, teams in QF’s will delay their club championship, may force these counties to plan to play club group stage games before Super 8’s start, typically will be able to predict 6 of these in any one year.

    Change is good, this is a 3 year trial so can be changed or gives an option to propose an alternative. I strongly believe that there should be a two tier championship and have a something similar to Super 8’s in both tiers, could generate great interest in the sport during the summer,

  11. All sorted to vatch de match in beautiful environmentally friendly sunny and carnival celebration time in Freiburg….what a place! What wursts vith onions!! Come on the boys in green and red!

  12. One of my favourite days of the year. Watching the sheep scurrying to higher ground for safety and our neighbours crossing the border for their annual trimming, ’tis what living is all about…

  13. Rochford may well make a couple of changes before throw-in. Biggest danger is if our attitude isn’t right, Rossies will be ravenous so we need to match that and if we do we should get through but I expect a bit of a dog fight. Hon Mayo

  14. What got the super 8 through with such a majority was the tour of the county boards. It was very much presented in Mayo as “This is the future have to go along with it”.
    There is no need for vagueness when discussing its probable outcome.
    1. I’d love to see a Poll Willie Joe “Will you attend super 8 games in Croke Park or away?” I believe the attendance will not be like the bumper attendances for quarters and semis.
    2. It will not be a TV spectacle. The games will lack atmosphere. A qualifier at least has a win or bust outcome.
    3. Each year either dead rubbers will happen or a strong team having to hammer a team who are already out. That is absolutely distasteful.

  15. Sure the attendances for quarter finals these days are appalling. Mayo’s last year was lucky in that 4 of the best supported teams in the country were playing the same day. It was half empty for the other games & this is a common team.

    The provinces won’t entertain a change to the provincial championships so this is a welcome change to a very stale format. I can’t wait

  16. I think people should lay off Jason Doherty he just doesn’t turn up 2 hours before a match and get picked he along the rest of the panel put in really serious effort and commitment and sacrifice loads if they never won another game they would owe us nothing.

  17. Willie Joe. You keep calling the Monaghan defeat careless….how about the huge gulf in fitness levels as they had a huge headstart in their S&C program?

  18. Super 8 will be ok as long as we are in it. One game in Croker and one in Mc Hale is appealing to me. Tonight going ok so far Some good scores but Ros getting plenty of goal chances just as Kerry did a few weeks ago. Clarke excellent again. Fair play to him

  19. Yeah, two glorious goal chances before the break here in C’bar. That’s been a bit of a disappointment. Overall we are going fairly well… Let’s see how 2nd half pans out before commenting further.

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