The coming weekend’s action

I’ve just done a quick scan of all the matches involving the county this coming weekend and it’s a bit of a list. It’s worth, then, providing an overview of what’s on so you can check the diary and see which ones you might be able to make.

First up is the double-header at Tuam Stadium on Saturday. The curtain-raiser there sees the county’s minor team face Galway in the third round of the Connacht Minor Football League. Damien Gavin’s charges have victories over Roscommon and Leitrim under their belts from their first two outings, with last Saturday’s 2-8 to 0-9 win over the latter achieved despite the absence of 11 squad members who were on college football duty that day. This coming saturday’s match against Galway throws in at 3pm.

After that comes what is surely one of the pivotal ties in this year’s battle for national honours at U21 level, when Mike Solan’s young guns face Galway in the Connacht semi-final. We’re the defending Connacht and All-Ireland champions at this level but in this final year of U21 competition Galway have equal, if not stronger, hopes of going all the way.

U21 is straight, old-fashioned knockout championship football so, barring a replay, only one of them will still be standing come Saturday evening. Throw-in for this one is 5pm at the spiritual home of football in Galway and the winners will go on to play whomever emerges from the Roscommon/Sligo semi-final that’s on this evening at Kiltoom (throw-in 7.30pm).

At the same time as the U21s go into action on Saturday evening in Tuam, the county’s ladies senior team will be underway in their LGFA NFL match against Dublin. The novelty factor here is that, for the first time ever, a ladies senior league match has been paired with a men’s NFL game at Croke Park. Dublin play Roscommon there on Saturday evening at 7pm and the Dublin/Mayo ladies tie is on in advance of this, throwing in at 5pm.

It’s the first time the county’s ladies team will have played at Croke Park since, I think, the 2007 All-Ireland final and it could well be the final time that Carnacon legend Cora Staunton gets to display her talents at GAA HQ. If you’re a season ticket holder, by the way, you’re entitled to print off a ticket without any further charge and head along to Croke Park on Saturday evening.

It’s also a case of two matches on at the same time on Sunday. At Waldron Park in Athleague, the county’s hurlers are in NHL Division 2B action against Roscommon. This is a bottom of the table clash between two counties who both have lost all four matches they’ve played so far this year. That game gets underway at 3pm.

Up at Healy Park in Omagh the same day it’s also a 3pm throw-in for the crunch NFL Division One meeting with Tyrone. It was announced yesterday that TG4 will be showing this match live on the day. Even though it’s a straightforward run from here in the capital, that fact – allied to the scheduling of matches involving the kids – means I’ll most likely opt for watching this one on TV.

I’ve known for some time that I won’t be able to make it to Castlebar for the Donegal game – there’s Féile action on up here that weekend that one of my girls is involved in – so, as I mentioned on the post-Cavan podcast, it looks like my League run this year is already over. The lads still have two bites at the cherry, though, in seeking to preserve their top tier status so their NFL race has a bit of distance to be covered yet.

53 thoughts on “The coming weekend’s action

  1. Looking forward to Tuam on Sunday when we will witness I hope some straight forward football, not the negative drivel that senior football is turning into. Presume that the Ballinrobe Community school players will get a break this weekend and that Colmans players can rotate on this one. Good luck to both minor and under 21 teams on Saturday and please come out and support them , its wont be easy in Tuam.

  2. I’m planning on making the journey to omagh on Sunday. cant wait for a big performance!

    can I just purchase a ticket at the gate?

  3. Where are you getting that info from, St Pat’s Oldie? I’ve heard nothing about a change of time and all the usual sources (GAA, Mayo GAA etc.) are still saying 3pm. The TG4 coverage will start at 2.30pm – is that why you’re saying that’s the throw-in time?

  4. When it comes to the Senior team, I have so much to say, but sometimes as the song goes, it’s better to say nothing at all.

  5. Likewise tony. Besides, I’m beginning to think these Mayo players have September in mind already and are just going through the motions at the moment. would you put your life on Cavan or monaghan beating Mayo this August in croke Park?
    Let dublin small and break before and after them now and see how fresh they are in late summer.

  6. I must be missing something but why does everyone think we have 2 chances to survive? Cavan have Kerry at home and Ros away. They have a good chance of winning both these games. Is it a given Kerry will beat Cavan? Fitzmaurice might well be thinking that he doesn’t want to face Dublin again in a possible league final so will be happy with mid table and continue to experiment.
    Also I think of the 2 games we might have a better chance of beating Tyrone away than Donegal at home.

  7. That is a brilliant double header in Tuam.
    An interesting minor team this year with Damian Gavin in charge.

  8. Thanks for that, St Pat’s Oldie. There’s no confirmation from any official sources as yet that the 3pm throw-in time has changed but I’ll post details here if and when that happens.

  9. After Sunday’s match, I really feared that this team’s best days are over. As soon as the goal went in I was on edge. The confidence drained from the players. For the first time in 5 years, I feared it’s the end of the road for this group.
    On the positive side of things, we had a good spread of scorers in the first half. Obviously Cillian isn’t firing at all but if he was shooting the lights out and nailing all his frees maybe we’d be complaining that we’re too reliant on him. We kicked some excellent points from distance on Sunday. They weren’t flukes and I hope this is something the team have been working on. We’ll no more at the weekend (and also in the Donegal match) because we’ll hvae no choice but to shoot from distance in Omagh.
    Despite our views about the O’Sheas, their physicality alone was sorely missed on Sunday. And with Jason Doc and Diarmuid still to return, I don’t think we’ll be lacking in bite or intensity come Summer. Stay positive folks. Nobody can predict what will happen in Championship. Of course we’ll have to see something vastly different to the way we’re currently playing, but keep in mind that we’ll have a different shape too. Kevin Mc will undoubtedly return to sweeper and our full backline will be unrecognisable to how we’re lining out currently. Those factors alone are potential game-changers for us. Kevin Mc was awesome last year in my view, and he’ll only improve in the sweeper role this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing Chris Barrett back in action very soon and, if fit, Ger Caff. What bonuses their returns would be for us. Ger will obviously find it hard given the nature of his particular injury so we need to be patient there.

    We need a few things to start clicking for us. Kirby is a huge positive and for what it’s worth, it’s two years too late in my view. A huge question for us is where to play Cillian, and personally, I haven’t a clue. I think he will come good and my guess would be to persist with him at 11. Otherwise stick him in at full foward, not in the corner, but the edge of the square. He can win his own ball. I’d like to see him played there for a run of matches. He’s vital to us. Even on current form, I would still play him and give him the benefit of the doubt. However, if he started drifting out of position and heading back into our half-backline he should be benched. Simple. He’s no use to us there. If he’s on the square he’ll put serious pressure on opposition full-back line.

  10. A big win for Sligo this evening in the U21 football championship:

    Sligo 1-13 Roscommon 0-13

    So the winner of Mayo and Galway plays Sligo in the Connacht final.

  11. This u21 game is gonna be real tough Sunday – we need to be at our best.

    Does anyone know how the u21’s are going – any update on players? Are they all fit?

    Galway have some players who need watching – Michael Daly, Peter Cooke and inside forwards (both Finnertys).

    This game will tell us how good O’Donoughue, Cunniffe (if involved), Akram, Ruane, the Duffy’s and Reape are.

  12. A massive task for our lads facing off against this quality Galway team alright. Whoever is assigned to marking Michael Daly is going to be in for a very tough evening. No doubt our lads will give it everything but still I can’t see us coming away from Tuam with a victory I’m afraid.

  13. Its Healy Park at 3 pm as far as I know. I want to see less of this short kick out, more of the “keep the ball moving” like we had last weekend, more of the excellent foot passing but delivered just a bit earlier, forget about the wide count for one game, and a continuation of the point taking from distance. Watched the first half again and there was some great passages of football played last Sunday, but it was far too cautious when what was called for was to have a go as Cavan done in the second half. COS and Boland had a great game and deserve more Div 1 football. Cannot understand posters who spend so much of their time slating the OSheas and Doc are now the ones calling for them to return and leaving out 2 half forwards that have been playing their hearts out. Where is the bit of common sense gone. Tyrone with their siege mentality are gunning for revenge for 2013, not to mention 2016. I have been looking forward to this tie since last summer irrespective of the outcome.

  14. I’m reading it as I write, on last Sundays programme it says Tyrone V Mayo 2pm, on RTE aertel page 211,,,it says 3pm. So I haven’t got a clue! Everyone can’t be right!

  15. Anyone listening to Ed Coughlan on Off the Ball? Very interesting stuff and goes some way to explain our league v championship form. Some great insight into what goes on behind the scenes and, to be fair, makes some of our (my) comments seem very ungrateful, harsh and ill informed.

  16. Yea Mayonaze, Michael Daly is a key man for them. Had a big game for NUIG against Mayo in the FBD early in the year. Was my MOTM that day although Adam Gallagher got it. Played at 11 and ran the show from there. Played well there for the Seniors against Derry on Sunday, chipping in for three points and assisting for a couple. I’d like to see Eoin O Donoughue as a man marker on him on Saturday. They have a few others as well come through from the last two Minor teams, but I like what Michael Solan had to say, and what his team are about. Last years All-Ireland winners have their place in history, they are focused on the now.

  17. That doesn’t fit the narrative at the moment pebblesmeller, although at least your man enough to admit it. Posters coming on here ranting about not being able to find a full back in the 3rd biggest county in the country and saying population doesn’t matter. If we’re going on landmass instead of population then Antarctica should be winning every gold in the olympics.
    The vast majority of people posting here don’t have a tenth of a notion of the effort, time, dedication or devotion that players and management put into this county team or any other county team. Posting about players getting free cars and holidays like they pay for it out of their own pocket. Just because you buy a jersey and pay €10 or €15 into a game doesn’t give anyone the right to come on here bad mouthing players or management. This shite that’s creeping in from the premiership of shouting for a managers head after a loss or two, complete nonsense. I’m really surprised by some of the stuff I’ve seen posters I previously respected writing over the last few days. Criticism is fine, but a lot of the stuff was cutting, insulting and downright disrespectful.

  18. Pebbles, have just finished listening back to that Ed Coughlan interview and completely agree with you. Sensational stuff (though he’s not at all a sensational guy), that gives a forensic insight into the logistical nightmare that is Mayo’s league prepaaration and training schedule.. It’s a point i have made before, but Coughlan’s chapter and verse here is quite something. How the players have managed to stay in Division 1 for all this time is nothing short of amazing.

    Would be worth posting this one I think Willie Joe – broadcast earlier tonight.

  19. Re Ed’s interview, amazed lads from the peripheral countries based outside their county manage to get much gym time at all with the logistics spoken about. Being based in Dublin is a fair challenge an tthen ye have some like Cillian who was based in Jordanstown and maybe still is. How the hell has he been managing it. My guess is most gym work for Dublin based players has to be done in off season November and December cause the league doesn’t allow much time for recovery.
    Amazed our lads able to get into such strong physical shape. Puts some perspective on the league for past few years and maybe also why Mayo have been a different animal come summer.

  20. Surely Kerry, Donegal and cork all have the same problems with players living outside the county but have all managed to win All Irelands in the last 10 years.

  21. Cork players all based within the county, Donegal had 3/4 in Dublin, Kerry players all go to university in Cork and Limerick. Coughlan knows what he’s talking about and in a game of inches these things count. It’s mainly referring to the league though.

  22. You make a valid point re: Kerry, Cork, Donegal, however I think for the most part from listening to Coughlan and Off the Ball they made the point that in Cork, both hurling and football have managed to retain their players through 3rd level courses and employment in the County or region, think Kerry have been able to do the same. When Donegal won the All Ireland in 2012 and years leading up to it they were in a similar situation to Mayo as regards players based in Dublin so forth, and their training set up.

  23. Yes and fair play to those counties though I’d say most Cork players try to go to College and work in Cork. Donegal’s victory was during recession when 21 of their panel was unemployed which presents a different challenge. Kerry players in Dublin have slightly worse logistics than Mayo ones but probably more of them go to Cork to work / College than Mayo players going to Galway because it has a bitmore employment opportunities.
    In any case Ed said it’s never been used as an excuse, just something to manage but might shed some light on why James Horan had such huge respect from players due to his attention to detail. Sometimes the little things can get to ye so even a small drop in that standard of preparation can lead to a heave.
    Ed also acknowledged the players from Counties who know they won’t be there come August for the service they give to their county and for their own betterment. The sacrifices amateur players give is huge and in many cases without reward. At least our lads have been getting to taste the big games that every sports mad kid yearns for and winning lots of them which is quite some reward. Sure there have been major disappointments but that’s sport, only one team out of 33 gets to win the final each year.

  24. Mick Foley’s piece in the Sunday Times was a must-read and yes that Ed Coughlan interview is a must-listen. Little enough new in it but that it re-enforces the major logistic obstacles Mayo must overcome which their rivals don’t.
    Just a thought, I think Dr Coughlan said that all Cork’s players in both codes live in the county and Kerry are well known for being able to keep their footballers living in the county. I’m not sure about Donegal but I don’t remember it being a major issue in Jim McGuinness’s book, maybe my memory fails me. I’m pretty sure the problem is most acute for Mayo.
    Much and all as I try to avoid listening to Gilroy, his line about us in the league being akin to Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill was a good synopsis of the whole situation as any.

  25. Just a thought – it’s nowhere near to the same extent in the 3 counties you mention. Kerry are famous for keeping players local and Jim McGuinness went out of his way to get jobs locally for the Donegal team.
    I recommend you listen to the podcast.

  26. I suppose the main point been made is that as teams become more professional the harder it gets to be competitive both in the Spring and in the Summer. For example in last year’s league final Dublin beat Kerry by 11 points but only beat them by 2 points in the All-Ireland semi-final. Same with us in 2015. They beat us by 14 points in the league but we brought them to a replay in the All-Ireland semi-final that year.

    The gap between Dublin and Kerry/Mayo closes as the year progresses. In the league the best time to catch Dublin is in the first couple of games. When Tyrone played them this year, they would have had a lot more training done than them. As the weeks go on, it gets harder to beat them in the league games. Since Jim Gavin has taken over Dublin they have only lost one game after mid-march (Donegal in 2014), so that’s some record to have.

  27. So mayo have conceded shed loads of scores this year and we’ve all got our theories on that but Mayo and Dublin have both scored the same in the league so far : 1-68 to 2-65 respectively. Leakage, blow outs, failures and no shows aside there has to be some relevance to that stat surely. Your thoughts ………

  28. Lets support Our Team in big numbers in Omagh and really get behind Them (Mayo supporters so quiet in the stand last Sunday, no help to the Team)

  29. Tks to Liam for your post at 11.22pm 22nd.
    It’s everything I wanted to say and trying to post in last while. So easy for us to forget the time travel and training involved for these guys and still hold their own jobs and lives.I think they are just something else, and my admiration for them knows no bounds.

  30. What is really silly is that so many football people in Mayo and outside believe that the Mayo squad are being looked after jobs wise in Mayo. It is something that has crept into the common perceptions of the population, but in the real world is far from the truth. A selective think because it will fit into the narratives I can use when I want to be a bad looser and lash out at all around me. Say be side a stranger on Sunday last giving it yards. When I asked him how many of the squad was living outside the county he did not know. When I told him He would not believe me, and argued they were being looked after at home. Pure HS.

  31. In fairness, there are few teams throughout the history of football that can easily ship the loss of players of the standard of DOC, Doc, SOS and AOS. It’s a frustrating and worrying time. But we have been here before.

    Lets see how Sunday goes

  32. Looking forward to the double header in tuam Saturday. Promised a dry day, 15 or so degrees. Not too shabby!

  33. There were about 8000 in McHale Park one of whom was a mother who went apoplectic with rage at the end of the game. Why? Because her children had managed to get onto the field presumably to meet the players.

    ” They’re NOT allowed on the field…….after a display like that……it’s disgraceful!”

    She continued ranting in that vein for some time to the consternation of other supporters in the stand as they made their way out. Her facial expression and body language would intimidate Mike Tyson. I dread to think what she said to her children when they returned.

    I’m sure she regards herself as a real Mayo supporter, passionate and committed. But I think she is committed only to some kind of
    unfulfilled ambition in herself. She feels a sense of entitlement (having gone to the trouble and expense of supporting Mayo up and down the country). In her view they let her down.

    I know the effort and commitment these lads put in and I understand the frustration and disappointment they feel and have felt so often. And yet they have the mental strength to go again. Maybe they ARE worn out and jaded and that would be completely understandable. Then again maybe they’re not! Maybe they are made of better stuff. But whether or which they deserve our respect and admiration for what they have tried to do ………and our support through thick and thin. And maybe they would be better off if that mother and others of a similar mentality stayed away altogether.
    Rant over!

  34. A big thing I have noticed in Mayo in the last 2 games is the intensity and physicality are down big time, two of the major things where we were strong under horan.If you look at Kerry Saturday nite against Dublin they brought the physicality and intensity to Dublin, Jack Barry constantly harassing Brian Fenton of the ball but within the rules as for tom parsons he just let him do what he wanted.Some of Cavan scores in the 2nd half would not have happened under Horan they would have been turned over.
    Some people like to criticise the o’sheas in Mayo I hope they watched the last 2 games and seen how wrong they were.Aidan o’Shea is a massive loss he consistently has mayos highest possessions and wins a power of frees from all the fouling that is consistently done to him and he frees other forwards up from all the attention he gets from opposition players.
    Would like to see Kirby in at full forward and Andy and Cillian in the corners with Aidan o’Shea at 11 where he is at his best.destroyed kerry in limerick in 2014 there until he clashed heads with Cillian.

  35. Diehard, I was at the match but didn’t that particular occurrence. I seen plenty of kid’s asking for autographs & selfies from players both Cavan and Mayo. But a woman like that reminds me of a woman I seen on Reek Sunday climbing the Reek a few years ago in her bare feet with her daughter no more than 7 or 8 year’s old, also in her bare feet. It was at the bottom of the really steep climb before you reach the summit , all stone’s and rock’s. This particular woman was finding it particularly hard going (obviously, it had seemed like a good idea to climb the Reek in her bare feet before she tried it for real) Anyway she was talking out her bad humour on her daughter, and telling her that her daughter was slowing her down, and she was regretted ever bringing her, a right sour puss. Definitely abusive towards her daughter, because she was not herself enjoying her ‘Penance’ as she imagined she would. So she made sure that her own daughter suffered even worse than herself. True Story,.. My point being is that, regardless of what type of performance Mayo gives, let the kid’s enjoy themselves, if they want to go out and meet the players, let them do, their only young once, and like us adults know only too well, will only live once. I was at the home coming for the Mayo team in McHale Park, despite the excellent band playing, it was, as you could easily imagine a glum affair. But still I seen many Kids and some fairly big kids as well, kicking goals and points and generally having a ball, wasn’t it great to see, it lifted the collective gloom a bit. But if you want to climb the Reek in your bare feet, try it out for yourself before you make your children to the same thing. Just because you are suffering from your own self inflicted pennance, it doesn’t mean you have the right to insist other’s suffer the same pennance!

  36. U21s are underdogs but I’d back them all day long. They are a seriously well prepared outfit. The management and backroom team are all excellent. They’ll have a few wild cards to spring from the bench if required. Question marks over the Galway management gives us a punchers chance.

  37. It is such a lovely thing to see the kids meeting their hero’s after the game, and I am including both young and old in that. In our day we collected picture cards of our favourites and brought them to school with us.

  38. I was at the game too my gang usually want to go on pitch & get photos etc but even they knew “we better not Mom they won’t be in great humour ” I left it up to them but they decided themselves not to I’m sure if they did they would have got the selfies or whatever but I was delighted to see them (my gang) thinking of the players instead of themselves !

  39. HopeSpringsEternal,

    It actually wasn’t a big win for anyone in the county, we knew the limitations of our under 21 team this year due to some bizarre management calls and unavailability of some of the best players, we have been on the road since 2009 with fine under 21 sides but last year was probably the last top side we will have for the foreseeable future. Galway, Mayo and Sligo would all be stronger than us at under 20 grade for the next year or so at least. The reason for this to be allowed to happen is unclear, perhaps when we were going well at under 21 our development of under 16 and minors got left behind and we are bearing the fruit of that now, just shows how hard it is to keep all grades moving along at the same pace.

  40. Problem solved, well done GUYS. All we need to do to ensure Mayo beat Tyrone and Donegal is
    to ban all Mayo female supporters from attending both matches.

    Simple really, don’t know why someone has not thought of that before.
    Is that ban going to come into effect before or after you impose a ban on Women driving.??
    Just want to make sure I do not break two rules by driving to Omagh on Sunday to support Mayo.
    Thanks

  41. We’ve a long way better than a punchers chance in the U21 in fairness. For what it’s worth we are 6/4 for this one. Which is what you’d expect with home advantage to Galway and their strong 14/15/16 minor teams and the known strength of the Mayo U21 panel/management balancing that out.
    Good conditions forecast is great. I always feel bad conditions suit the home side more.
    Key will be the fitness and form of our 8 – 15. Fit and in form they should form a pretty powerful attacking unit. Can mix it up by running it or kicking to the inside line.

  42. @OliveKerrigan my post was simply illustrating an attitude among a small number of supporters. You are unfairly ascribing sexists attitudes to it that do not exist.

  43. @Hontheross, it was more of a reaction to Sligo’s improvement rather than Roscommon’s demise at the U21 grade. I think I remember Roscommon beating Sligo by 20 points or something like that a few years ago at this level. Sligo did well in this year’s North West Cup so they must be doing some good work in underage football the last few years.

    I know that we have our own problems at senior level this year but what’s the story in your own county with all of the players that have left the Roscommon senior panel? Why do you reckon that they left?

    I was reading an article today that had an interview with your former manager John Evans. He was saying that, Liam Kearns (the current Tipperary manager), who was involved with Evans in his last year with Roscommon, would have taken over after him and that he could have done for Roscommon what he did for Tipperary last year. Did you see that?

  44. I think Tipperary have a very talented bunch of footballers, if they got half the guys back that had left, they would match nearly any team in the championship. Ross don’t have that, they devoured some teams in last years league but in the summer we seen that it was how they caught those top teams because of fitness.

  45. The Mayo U21 team for the Galway game:

    1. Matthew Flanagan (Balla)
    2. Stephen Brennan (Claremorris)
    3. Eoin O Donoghue (Belmullet)
    4. Sean Conlon (Castlebar Mitchels)
    5. Marcus Park (Knockmore)
    6. Dylan Cannon (Breaffy)
    7. Shairoze Akram (Ballaghaderreen)
    8. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy)
    9. Mikey Murray (Ballina Stephenites)
    10. James McCormack (Claremorris)
    11. Gerry Canavan (Mayo Gaels)
    12. James Kelly (Belmullet)
    13. James Lyons (Aghamore)
    14. Brian Reape (Bohola Moy Davitts, Captain)
    15. James Carr (Ardagh)

  46. Haven’t even heard of some of these lads! That Galway forward unit I do know.

    Hoping Solan gets this right

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