The day before

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

Okay, we’re getting near now. In little more than 24 hours from now Round 2 of the Connacht Croke Park showdown gets underway. Our All-Ireland quarter-final replay clash with Roscommon throws in at HQ tomorrow at 2pm and Wicklow’s Anthony Nolan refs this one.

Yesterday’s two quarter-finals cut the field of remaining challengers for the Sam Maguire this year down to just five. Barring further dramatics at Croke Park tomorrow the race will be reduced to the final four then.

The other quarter-finals all went to form and decisively so. Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone have been the three counties fancied all year by the bookies to make it this far and they’ve all duly obliged, all in emphatic fashion.

The trio who have already made it to the penultimate round haven’t a single competitive match to boast about between them. That’s not their fault, of course, but it does point to a yawning gap between the championship haves and have-nots.

We’ve held down a place in the former camp since 2011 but whether or not we’re still in that cohort tomorrow evening remains to be seen. We’re strong favourites to clinch the last semi-final place on offer but we’ve more than enough evidence so far this year to know that the bookies haven’t always been right about us in this year’s championship.

There’s sure to be another strong turnout from both counties at HQ tomorrow. Roscommon’s supporters, their outlook on life no doubt greatly boosted by their team’s showing the last day, will need little prompting to hit the road once more tomorrow. We know ourselves what it’s like to clamber aboard a bandwagon when your team is on the up. Good luck to them.

For our supporters, it’s a case of turning up for the fifth time in six weeks. The many thousands of you who have got to every game the county has played this summer and will do once again tomorrow deserve special praise. It’s an investment of significant time and money, all to follow a dream, one we all know has no guarantee of a happy ending.

My standing as a fully committed supporter this summer is surely under threat, as once again I’ll be missing in action on the day. My summer plans this year didn’t account for either the back door or replays and so tomorrow I’ll again have to make do with GAA GO to watch the match.

That’s a First World problem, I know, but at least I will get to see the action and do all the normal online stuff around it. Aside from the audio report, that is – that only works properly when I’m there in the moment.

For those of you who will be there tomorrow, safe travelling and don’t forget – as I know you won’t – your crucial role as 16th man at HQ. The same vociferous support that the team has enjoyed all year will, once again, be needed tomorrow. There’s no doubt but that, once again, it’ll be there.

Back tomorrow morning with some final pre-match thoughts.

46 thoughts on “The day before

  1. I really hope we find some real form and return to the quality of performances we showed at the latter end of last year’s chip. We’ve basically being written off now and I’d love to see us prove people wrong.

    Still for me midfield is by far our biggest concern. Objectively it is difficult to see further process unless we sort out midfield.

  2. Just twice this year in the championship we have seen the type of football that we know we can produce. In extra-time against Derry and in the second-half against Clare. Both times we pushed up on the opposition’s defence and had out and out forwards up front rather than defenders. It would be great to see us play some of that kind of football tomorrow. Best of luck to all involved and roll on the game!

  3. I think it was more wear than tear prior to drawn game, Tom P being the only one held back because of injury. If Tom doesn’t start we probably need AOS mostly out the middle.
    People calling for us to win easily like the big 3, that depends on recovery. Some people questioned our fitness from last day but we finished stronger than Ros having played a 100 min game the previous week. The jury is out as to whether last game will tire Mayo or not. I think we should start just a bit fresher and Ros just a bit less fresh, their enthusiasm and excited fans countering some of their fatigue. Play defensively for first 10 of each half and I think we should win. Mayo were at a significant disadvantage having just one week before QF this year and last. If we can get a 4 or 5 point lead at any stage they could get Croke Park stage fright.

  4. Ps Super 8 is a complete joke. The opposite of what GAA should be doing. Weaker teams have no chance with that format. Jim McGuinness handed GAA a great plan and they ignored it .

  5. Justoutsideballagh – are you aware that (a) posting rumours here isn’t allowed and (b) I’ve already had to pull someone else up for posting the same nonsense? Cop yourself on, FFS. You’re on moderation watch now as well.

    All – can you PLEASE respect the house rules about posting rumours? I despair about some of you at this stage – I can’t make up my mind whether it’s a case of malevolence or just plain stupidity.

  6. The top three teams in the country have developed a panel of players ie they have strength in depth. They have potential game changing subs that can up the tempo in the last quarter. Our panel largely untried, we have to wait and see. A strong panel was one of the three ‘fine margins’ indentified as essential to win an all Ireland.
    We have a decent team, enough to see us fall over the line tomorrow, then it will be strength in depth plus how we have advanced in the other fine margins to win a sf

  7. Mayo will win by four points to spare . Ross went in to the match the last day with nothing to loose,they were free of all expectations and were fresh from not playing the few weeks previously . It should have been a perfect ambush ,but they missed their chance . Nothing has changed for mayo , they had to win the last day and they have to win on Monday. However Ross will go into the match with a totally different attitude , they now have the hopes and dreams of a county on their shoulder s , they are no longer care free and this will give us a totally different game from the last day.keegan and Boyle were the only two mayo players to play anywhere near their best and if we get a15% improvement from the rest we should see this game out !
    I was disappointed that we still haven’t fixed the major problem we have at full back which is there for all to see all summer , we are playing a sweeper so we need someone to bring physicality ,dominate in the air , protect the square. Sos should be tried there especially with Kerry waiting on the horizon for the winner s .I know we are robbing from mid field but we have more options there with parson s ,sos, d o’c and Keegan .
    Our forward s are playing like backs , overconserned with marking instead of using the ball creativity we need to impose our game on other teams rather than react to what they are doing .loftus has to start he brings something fresh . Doherty has played well the last two games and we need big games from Andy , cillian and diarmuid .
    If we go at Ross and use the ball well and dictate our game on them we should have enough to spare at the end .

  8. I hear lee Keegan had both legs amputated on Wednesday. But don’t worry, he had two John Deere tyres transplanted on instead. He should have no problem getting up and down on the soft croke park pitch now. And if the team bus breaks down on the way he’ll be able to give them a toe!!!

  9. GAA go for me too I’m afraid, am stlll the other side of the world hopefully the connection will be better this week. I think Mayo wlll do it by 4 or 5 points there’s a lot of life in this team yet

  10. Backdoorsam, as you say, theres alot of life in this team yet. The fact that its an issue is testimony to how player resources have been under utilized – a self-inflcted handicap. Contrast the Mayo panel with that of Dublin. Is it acceptable that ten or fifteen panelists turn up for training not knowing if and when they will ever be selected. They need the neccessay exposure to either flourish or constantsly fail –
    if the latter then they will know they had their opportunity and they may be replaced on the panel and give others a chance. So please Mayo mngt implement a rotational plan which cherishes all players and plans for continuity.

  11. Anyone thinking Mayo will be winning by a bit to spare should remember only Sligo,Clare have Mayo won beaten by a bit to spare this summer after 70mins. Mayo lead the 1st half last weekend by 2 points that was the opportunity to win by a bit to spare but instead in 43 mins of the 2nd half (8 mins of injury time) Mayo only managed 4 points.

    It wasn’t a game for forwards on either side as both defences were on top. Mayo should have the experience to win this replay but strap on for bumpy ride as extra time is a big possibility tomorrow.

  12. Delighted for the Galway hurlers
    Hope they finish the job
    So many parallels with our footballers

    Be nice to see Cillian kick a big score to win it 🙂

  13. That Galway hurling team though are much younger than our football team. Bar the keeper everyone is under 28, most under 25.

  14. Think the Mayo footballers quest has been much more heart breaking and dramatic but hope
    the Galway hurlers go on now and do it. Think everyone in the west will be rooting for them.

    I really have no idea how tomorrow is going to go. Usually you’d have some inkling one way or the other but due to
    our inconsistencies and baffling mgmt decisions, i just haven’t a clue how its going to pan out.

    On one hand we will both have had 8 days off so both should be equally rested.
    Our forwards will surely be much better tomorrow.
    We’ll hardly give up such a big lead again ..
    Tom will hopefully be fit

    On the other hand, i feel McStay will have learnt more
    The form of SOS and DOC is an ongoing concern
    We dont know our best team or our best subs

    My gut says Mayo but judging on form over the summer another dogfight that could go either way

  15. Ros forwards too should be better. They went scoreless for 20 mins in the first half and Diarmuid Murtagh was below par. I don’t think we attacked enough or had our forward players threatening enough. That Ros defence is average at best and we struggled to break them down. If they get past tnro the Kerry forwards will put up a cricket score.

  16. Congratulations to Galway. We’ll know our fate soon enough. Hope all the lads are ready to go and have had a good weeks prep. Safe journey to all to Dublin and back and hope everyone has a brilliant day and big happy faces on the way home. Fair play to WJ as well for all the articles and updates. It’s a great blog to come to for a read and get all the views. Oh the grenn and red forever.

  17. WJ I’m not getting into the whole rumour stuff but I was talking to rochford today and Ciaran MC is starting at 11. As for the galway hurlers, will shout for Waterford or cork in the final. Up Mayo

  18. ‘Johnny Cooper antics’
    Was at the matches in Croke Park yesterday and was in the Lower Cusack, quite close to where Johnny Cooper picked up Monaghan number 10, Doogan just before throw in. He was roaring into Doogan’s face for about a minute, think he done this to Andy before drawn match last year. I thought Doogan showed restraint not to react. We hear of guys ‘sledging’ etc during matches but I would love it some day if someone decks Cooper as he is trying this on.

    Did anyone else notice it?, wonder will it be brought up on Sunday Game..

  19. Safe travelling for everyone coming up tomorrow and lets make it another special day. delighted as always to see the Galway hurlers do the double today and I for one will be as always them on next month..

  20. Fair play to the Galway hurlers and Joe Canning in particular, that was some point under massive pressure, a score worthy of victory though crushing for Tipp whose team play was really great at times. An antidote to yesterday’s one sided QF’s.

  21. Paddyindublin. I wouldn’t criticise cooper for this. He has 3/4 AI medals. U do wat u have too. That’s the difference.

  22. As a mayo man living in Galway I was delighted for Joe Canning and Co today. Would gladly take a similar result for Mayo tomorrow although I can’t say that another tight encounter would do the health any good! I see that some of the national media has had a cut at Mayo management for last weeks game. It seems we are given little chance against Kerry should we get past Roscommon. There is only one way to answer critics and that’s by winning. Every game is different and past performance is no guarantee of any future outcome. Let’s keep the faith and hope we have enough in the tank.

  23. Great day for Galway with two wins and back in Croker for the final in sept, a great piece on Joe Canning in yesterdays indo about how even as amateur players the pressure in everyday life they are put on, and how illness to both his parents recently has put a whole new outlook on his life. I see a lot of the same in Mayo and had a great discussion at a wedding in Westport yesterday about the pressure these Mayo lads are under.. I actually think a longer break would be hugely beneficial to them, but i believe they will beat Ros tomorrow..

  24. Never used GaaGo yet – anyone know if you get the full Sunday Game Live broadcast (I.e build up, half time/full time analysis etc) or just the game itself?
    Though given how shite the rte analysis is maybe it doesn’t really matter!
    They don’t actually analyse the game – they just tell us how awful the game was!

  25. I think RTE have been lucky in NOT getting the two quater finals yesterday… I suppose Galway V Kerry wasn’t much better… Mayo have provided great roller coaster entertainment, even if the standard of football wasn’t exactly the highest…. I don’t care about the analysis, I have my own opinions.. I don’t really care, if the match is as dull as dish water, so long as Mayo win….I don’t want Mayo to lose a great match and then get a load of praise afterwards … Sometimes it’s a bit of a bonus if we get a load of critism and wrote off…

  26. Cooper isn’t alone in his antics we have our own gurriers and not before time in my opinion. Though I actually think he was caught by McManus but made a meal out of it. Got a worse belt off Drew Wiley though. Snigger….:)

    I’M SOOOOOOOOO NERVOUS!! Wish there was a child of Prague like statue you could put out that guarantees a win haha!

  27. Is this our 7th game tomorrow ? Remember the days if you had the rossies or galway or whoever in the 1st round and got bet, that was it for the year. Jaysus, im getting cold chills thinking about it. Can yea imagine having no football all summer ? It’s been another brilliant year been a mayo fan and it’s really goin to kick in to gear tomorrow.

  28. Saw the Cooper incident on Sunday game. In real time looked like a knock, in Slo mo it looked like complete play acting. The panel made no comment. Philly has done this multiple times in recent years and now Cooper. I think it dragging the game down. Tiernan McCann was a laughing stock for a year but he copped on after hairgate. Time for GAA to start dishing out suspensions for this carry on.

  29. Galwayman I used GAA go last week to watch the Mayo V Ros game it’s the exact same thing as watching the Sunday game live in the afternoon they do the build up analysis game itself half time analysis after match etc only problem was it kept freezing and breaking down and I have excellent wifi where I’m staying so don’t know if it’s a problem with the site itself. Oh and they charge you €14

  30. Gaago same as RTE only no adverts, perfect picture, great value , If on sky cannot be bought in uk

  31. Yep yew tree , I strugggled to get to sleep
    Then woke at 5.10 am
    I am uneasy about today’s game

  32. Baconfactoryend – google Internet cafes..if they still exist? A hotel lobby may print it out for you if you ask nicely

  33. yew_tree and Dig Deep I’m a nervous wreck and can never sleep the night before a game either!! Tossing and turning. I thought I was just odd but glad to see I’m not alone. As a Mayo supporter living in Co. Roscommon I can tell you the Rossie supporters are confident of a win and I think I’ll need to move as it would be unbearable if they do win today. However my gut is telling me this Mayo team are not finished and are certainly not going to let a Roscommon team end their quest for Sam. Hon Mayo
    .

  34. Significant money puts the handicap out from two points to three points . And Mayo go from 1/2 into 4/9. Mayo been backed this morning.

  35. Lots ofplaces to print tickets, one on talbot street, one on aimiens street across from.connolly station.

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