The day before

We’re already well into the day before our All-Ireland quarter-final clash with the neighbours, so much so that this time tomorrow the curtain will already have been thoroughly raised by the day’s opening acts and the ball will have been thrown in on our clash with the Rossies.

The day before a big game at Croke Park – and, amigos, we’ve certainly had our fair share of those in recent years – always feels like a mini-lull, a calm before the storm, if you like. The build-up has been built, the teams have been named (even if they’re likely to be altered prior to throw-in tomorrow) so it’s just a matter of counting down the hours now.

Well, that’s how it feels for me, domiciled as I am within a handy half-hour’s amble from HQ. For many of you, of course, there’s a trek across the country yet to be done but, barring replays in odd venues, I’ve done my trekking for the year. We’ve finally reached that time of year when the spotlight shines on Croke Park and the select few teams who have done enough to get this far.

On this occasion, of course, it’ll be a veritable exodus out of the West. They’ll need to put Guards on point duty where the M4 and M6 merge at Kinnegad as tomorrow at HQ the vast bulk of the attendance will be from the New York side of the Shannon.

That’ll make it a day to be savoured. But then we’ve had plenty of memorable days following this team, days we’ll look back on wistfully in years to come. Malachy Clerkin has a piece in today’s Irish Times – which is here – on this very topic, one that I was honoured to speak with him about and which also includes input from my Mayo News football podcast buddy Rob Murphy and Club 51’s Anne-Marie Flynn.

That link to the piece – a full-page feature in the sports section of today’s paper – doesn’t actually do full justice to it. The print version has a panel running along the middle of the page, which contains comments posted on the blog last Saturday.

They’re time-stamped so you can see the progression in mood before, during and after the dramatics in Cork. Several of you feature in this mood-swing time-series. It’s well worth getting the paper to see this for yourself and to confirm whether or not you made the cut.

There’s other coverage today too but I find that, when you reach 24 hours or less out from throw-in, it all become a bit of a blur. There’s a time for talking and a time for action and we’re now veering sharply towards the latter.

If you haven’t yet set out from the West, safe driving and keep that voice rested for tomorrow. There’ll be plenty of time to holler at the Rossies then.

Back in the morning with a few final pre-match thoughts.  ‘Till then.

61 thoughts on “The day before

  1. All revved up after hearing the green and red of mayo on mid west radio, read Clerkin’s piece earlier, spot on everyone, don’t pity us, what a journey we’re on HEAR ye all in Croker maigheabu

  2. Great piece as usual by Malachy Clerkin. Should be a great occasion tomorrow. I’ll be there for two to cheer on Galway although ultimately I can’t see their defence keeping Kerry from causing a lot of damage.
    I think our game is going to be very close with us just getting through by a few points. Expecting another nervous afternoon with plenty of twists and turns.
    Safe travelling for all those heading east.

  3. All I have to say is STUDS STUDS STUDS… don’t want to see lads falling on their arses if we get a spill during the game, and in this type if weather it’s very likely we will ,as any farmer would know.
    Come on Mayo!!

  4. Just looking at the Mayo Gaa Banter page on Facebook. Are the admins. of that page really from Mayo. If so they they are a disgrace to the county. They have no respect for our players.

  5. What a day for Connaght! Will be leaving Galway early to get up and lend support to the Maroon and White. It will while away an hour or so as we wait to see the boys come out on to the field, to a great Mayo roar as usual. The Mayo support will be great as usual. It should be a tough game but a Mayo win should be on the cards. Come on Mayo oh the Green and Red.

  6. Nice article from Malachy Clerkin and it’s good to see some input from familiar names on this site. Kicking myself now for not having something profound to say at the time 🙂
    Best of luck to all Mayo folk tomorrow and safe travelling.

  7. Bringing the kids tomorrow and I’d usually bring snacks drinks and rain jackets in a bag… are bags banned or just subject to search?? Brought them all last year to Westmeath game and as we were on our way back from holidays I had no supplies with me… got them all burgers inside and they were rank!! Really hope I can take in my own rolls tomorrow… it’s a long day on kids!

  8. Agreed Katherine a great day for the west and who knows maybe there might be another to follow if we can get two counties from the wesy to semifinal stage…..

  9. Give them a small bag each to carry in the gate with their own rations AMC! Wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to buy food in there – it’s extortionate and bland to boot.

  10. A4 size flags ? Ireland is turning into a mini version of the USA. Your freedoms are being taken 1 at a time, I think there should be some common sense shown, what harm can a flag do?
    in saying this, I met a groundskeeper outside Croker last September before the drawn game, he assured me that there would be no mass invasion of the pitch if mayo won as the shoes may contain seeds that could damage the pitch.
    Luckily Coldplay and u2 washed there shoes before shredding the pitch these last few weeks.
    A world gone mad.

  11. Ah yes. The owl “The day before” thread from Willie Joe. Keeping the owl tradition going. Hopefully there will be another one in 3 weeks and 1 more in September.

  12. Less than 20 hours , can’t bloody wait ,
    I’m travelling from Waterford , will be on the road early, assume maynooth dart station will be nuts busy , any easy access parking near head quarters ?

  13. good luck mayo do your best and hopefully ye win hope galway beat kerry a galway mayo semi would be great fun

  14. They also said no backpacks in Limerick
    All that happened was a glance in it
    Same tomorrow I’d imagine
    They won’t have time or.bodies

  15. There’s only been a point or two between the sides in Connacht even when we have gone on to reach the semis and finals.

    Might be an idea for O’Shea to slip inside after the throw in, for the first couple of minutes, before they get a chance to settle.

  16. Willie Joe , you are a natural born writer . Thanks once again for this blog and I do believe this forum has been absolutely instrumental in helping Mayo fans find their true voice . The improved support at games is a confidence generated of reading and seeing so much about what is so positive about this team on this blog, and by going to games , and realizing the togetherness and sense of community of the whole thing.

    One theme I want to highlight here is in a podcast by Kevin McStay ( apologies if it’s already on the site ). It speaks to the same thing . Celebrate your successes together as a team and as a county. Now the fans are doing fine in that respect , I can only hope there is some light relief somewhere for this team which are burdened by s history not of their own making.

    McStay showing a sublime touch with man management in this podcast and taking all the pressure off his team . I’d be amazed if Roscommon did not deliver a good performance on the back of this and other things. They will push us all the way. Of that you can be sure.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/gaa-on-off-the-ball/id340890175?mt=2

  17. Sort of dreading the first 20 mins. I think Ros will come out all guns blazing and go for goals early. Get through that and I think we will be ok

  18. Shock A Division Three Team (Armagh) beat a Division One Team Kildare this evening , I sincerely hope we are not complacent tomorrow. A lot of Mayo Followers comfort themselves with the thought Mayo’s Experience will win out in the end. To win Mayo have to produce a top class performance for seventy plus minutes. Don’t ignore the MacStay factor, he will have Roscommon highly motivated for this game. As Mayo supporters tomorrow we will have to be very vocal in the support of OUR TEAM,we may be outnumbered. Wishing Stephen and the Team every good wish.

  19. Gerard,
    No shock that Armagh beat Kildare, no shock tomorrow when Kerry and Mayo win also, and no shock in the semi when???.

  20. Hill tickets now on sale, lower Cusack and Hogan also. Are we heading for a full house tomorrow?

  21. I have a feeling that Galway will pip Kerry tomorrow – a number of the Kerry ‘stars’ to completely underperform after the 4 week break and Galway to grow in confidence and stature as the game wears on. A BIG performance is overdue from our lads so here’s hoping for a comprehensive victory tomorrow.

  22. Galway will not “pip” Kerry.

    We should win this fairly handy.

    It’s basically a case of marking the Murtaghs and Smith. If we can’t do that then forget it.

    Expect to see a lot of pullin and draggin from them early on but we should be able for that crack.

  23. Last words on tomorrow’s game. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine your in the huddle tomorrow afternoon just before the throw in. The warm ups are done and the management have retreated to the Recaro’s. A stocky man from Ballaghadreen looks at everyone of his teammates in the eye and reminds them that of all places, on all days, by all teams, it doesn’t end today. Fill your boots sports fans, fill your fucking boots.
    Mayo by 8+

  24. Privileged to be part of this rollercoaster, such entertainment so far, sure where would ya get it….unreal. It will be a tight one again tomorrow I doubt, get the chanting going, the support is the fine margin!!!

  25. Donedeal,
    I don’t see anything wrong on that page. Wishing the best to foireann Maigh Eo tomorrow! Maigh Eo Abú!!

  26. Roscommon will not resort to pulling and dragging,I expect they will not get involved physically with Mayo but will try play a fast moving brand of football and use the full width of croke pk.I have no doubt Mayo will try to use their physical strength to put this young Roscommon team off their game early on.Mayo could pick up a few black cards in 1st half!!!!Ros by 4pts I expect

  27. Time will tell GaelRossie. It’s the impression I’m getting from yer manager that ye will try and create chaos.

    The last time a team tried that against us they got a hammering.

    I’ll leave it at that.

  28. Mark my words mayo will beat the Rossies out the gate. We are at the same level as kerry and Dublin and will swat the Rossies aside like a nusiance ….

  29. discipline is needed. it put us in the s**t twice this year.

    someone gets sent off and all bets are off.

    We should be aiming to put goals on them early bombarding there FB line. Ros should be allowed no foothold in this game

  30. Mayo to win tomo after a tight, highly game. Hopefully no injuries and the discipline holds up.
    Interesting what’s happening on the other side of the championship. I know it’s to be decided but I’d say Monaghan would give Dublin a harder game than Armagh. And how Geezer would love a crack at Tyrone in Croker. Potential for a few more twists…. ..
    Anyway, Maigh Eo Abu!!!

  31. Mayo to win tomo after a tight, highly game. Hopefully no injuries and the discipline holds up.
    Interesting what’s happening on the other side of the championship. I know it’s to be decided but I’d say Monaghan would give Dublin a harder game than Armagh. And how Geezer would love a crack at Tyrone in Croker. Potential for a few more twists…. ..
    Anyway, Maigh Eo Abu!!!
    Lots of twists to be sure..and no sheep stealers in sight

  32. On the Ros supporters website, Stolen-sheep, somebody has said that both Tom Parsons and Conor Loftus are injured ????

  33. Cork were a much tougher challenge. Tomorrow is only a warm up for the bigger games to come.

  34. Just docked above in Dublin.
    If Roscommon try to pull and drag us around the place they will do more damage to themselves than they will to us. If they want to mix it with us then they are mixing it with the wrong boys and McStay knows that. Roscommon will not beat Mayo in a slugfest. They have to jab, bob and weave. They have to keep on the move, use the full width of the pitch and play fast kick passes in an attempt to stretch Mayo and see how much has been taken out of our legs. They will have to play to their strengths to beat us and that means playing fast ball to their forwards and isolate our backs 1 v 1. To counter this I’d play a full time sweeper (Kev Mc) to block up the “D” area and help close out the space. 6 backs plus Kev, 2 midfielders, DOC AOS and Boland in the half forwards with COC and Andy up front. Boland is excellent at finding space (Croke Parks width wil suit him) and he is our most accurate foot passer. He will find COC or Andy. I don’t expect us to line up announced and I’m expecting 3 changes to the team.
    We need to go up another level but it is in us for sure and I expect us to win. We need a much more proactive and inspiring performance from our management also because he’s facing the man that could have been in his jersey and he needs to show to the county board, and us, that they made the correct appointment.
    However we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot because the Rossies will have big support (+ Galway), have nothing to lose and have the forwards to punish us. This will help focus our minds.
    Liam, excellent imagery.
    Hon Mayo.

  35. Agree with all of your points Pebblemaster other than Galway fans will be on road home in last Quarter of first game!

  36. I could be wrong but I doubt Roscommon will resort to pulling ad dragging as posted above. (1) Mayo have solid free takers (2) we don’t have the same level of physicality (3) Refs are quick with the cards. We would be shooting ourselves in the foot.

    Our (Roscommon) best hope is quick ball movement, be quickest to the loose ball and take our scoring chances. We cannot afford many mistakes, or to give CoC or Andy Moran the freedom of Croker. If we play as well as we did against Galway, we have a chance. Safe travels to all to all tomorrow!

  37. Remember we have drawn twice already this season so don’t rule out another draw. There is no extra time tomorrow, so I’m expecting the replay in Pearse Stadium the following weekend – probably the Saturday so as not to clash with the other QFs on the Sunday. Expect the unexpected with this team. I’m looking forward to the replay already. I’m also predicting the referee for the replay to be Rory Hickey and that Mayo will name an unchanged team for the replay.

  38. High king

    You wouldn’t have next weeks lottery numbers handy, would you?
    29,, 18, 40, 6,10, 39

  39. The other Q/Fs are on Saturday hurling S/F on Sunday so stick with quick pick for the lottery. I hope our team slept better than some of the supporters if the unthinkable happens we can all return home tonight via Donegal wouldn’t fancy coming through Indian territory. Our boys won’t let that happen they have been there seen that and we’ll be here in three weeks time nervous again.Regarding bringing bags into CP I think Ml O Leary has been advising the GAA on how to extract the last euro from the loyal fans an A4 bag where the F”” do you get such a bag and what can you fit in it 10 ml bottle of water 2 loose bulls eyes one finger of a kit Kat this is rip or Ireland at its finest.

  40. Good luck to Mayo and Galway today, hope we have two great games with two teams 8n the semi,safe travel everyone enjoy the day we never had it so good and hope there is no injuries, up Mayo

  41. Just down from the top of the reek. What a view of our magnificent county and all I could think about was all those houses below me that are now full of people waking up and getting the Mayo jersey out of the wardrobe…hearts filled with hope and voices ready to back out lads to the hilt.

    Soon time to head east. Up Mayo and safe travels to all.

  42. Nice one @yewtree…. Awake since 6… It’s all about just getting over the line to day… Just win and move ..safe journey to all

  43. Mayo, please do not concede any bad goals today and when we get our goal chances, bury them in the back of the net. Please keep our discipline too. Best of luck to all involved. Roll on the game!

  44. love that Yew Tree! best of luck to the Mayo team and safe journey to the best supporters in the land

  45. Highking says:
    July 30, 2017 at 2:59 am
    Remember we have drawn twice already this season so don’t rule out another draw. There is no extra time tomorrow, so I’m expecting the replay in Pearse Stadium the following weekend – probably the Saturday so as not to clash with the other QFs on the Sunday. Expect the unexpected with this team. I’m looking forward to the replay already. I’m also predicting the referee for the replay to be Rory Hickey and that Mayo will name an unchanged team for the replay.

    Apologies, the replay will be on Sunday as the QFs will be on Saturday. Maybe a Monday also as its a Bank Holiday. Rory Hickey to referee. Anyone want to have a stab at the linesmen? And Dave I didn’t do the lotto this weekend but I should have…..

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