Game day – home comforts needed tonight

Our second match in this year’s National Football League match takes place tonight. Kerry are the visitors to MacHale Park and a big crowd is expected to gather at the Castlebar venue for our first competitive match of the year on home soil. Throw-in is set for 7pm this evening.

Both counties made good starts to their respective League campaigns last Sunday. There was some similarity as regards how we both got on, with both of us notching late points to win by the minimum margin, though the matches themselves were very different in nature. It was an undiluted shootout down in Killarney, whereas our game in Clones was tight and cagey.

Kerry are set to arrive in Castlebar this evening with a very inexperienced match-day 26. They’ve no choice but to do so, as so many of last year’s panel are injured or otherwise unavailable, and so youth is set to be given its head by Eamon Fitzmaurice and his selectors for the second League match in a row.

Of their starting fifteen for tonight, only five players – Shane Enright, Jack Barry, Paul Murphy, Paul Geaney and Stephen O’Brien – played any part in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final replay against us. By contrast, we’ve seven starters from that game last August in our first fifteen, with three more of tonight’s team having come off the bench that day too. In all, twelve of our team have tasted action on All-Ireland final day at some point since 2012, some of them a number of times.

So we have them on experience and we have home advantage too. Neither factor, however, guarantees success.

Our home record is, at best, modest and we’re some way from turning MacHale Park into a fortress venture that opposing teams dislike visiting. The Kerry lads might not be all that impressed with the place tonight – in particular the playing surface – but they certainly won’t turn up quaking in their boots when faced with the stats on our home record.

Their line-up may be a fairly callow one but it needs to be recalled that most – if not all – of the young lads being drafted in are minor All-Ireland winners in recent years. David Clifford is the star turn in this respect but the others are there on merit too. No matter what age you are you need to be a decent player to be handed a county jersey (which tonight is the new Paul Galvin-designed away one) by Kerry. All of which means we underestimate them in tonight’s fixture at our peril.

Our performance in Clones the last day was rusty enough – victory always masks the worst of any team’s failings – so we’ll need to put in an improved showing tonight if we’re to make it four points from two games in this campaign. That has to be the aim tonight.

Too often we fail to drive home the advantages we frequently enjoy over the opposition. It would be great if this weren’t the case tonight and that instead we make full use of our home venue – with the big home support – and all our big match know-how to secure a decisive result in this one.

I’m still up in the capital myself right now and have a few things to sort this morning before hitting the road for the west. It’s my aim, though, to be at MacHale Park at least an hour ahead of this evening’s throw-in. You can’t beat a Saturday evening match under the lights for atmosphere at this time of year.

Safe travelling to all today. Here’s to a continuation tonight of our recent good run against the Kingdom. Up Mayo.

49 thoughts on “Game day – home comforts needed tonight

  1. Won’t make it myself tonight but will be keeping a keen eye on affairs from the comfort of a bar stool in Geneva.

    Looking forward to seeing how O’Donoghue fares in the corner. Also think the long-term future of Coen is at six so would like to see him settle down there.

  2. This is a game that we really need to win from a few perspectives, as has been said, we want to make McHale Park a fortress, becoming more important given our recent record, Galway’s win 2 years ago in connacht championship and the fact that there is one home game in the super 8’s. Secondly, do we want to give a younger Kerry squad the confidence boost of an away win over Mayo, I think not. Finally, a second win would give us a breather to allow us experiment more in later games, which can only be good for developing our strength in depth. Safe travels to all.

  3. I didn’t think of that, there is a home game in the super 8’s. So ya, we need to be improving at home. Really interested to see our defensive matchups tonight.

  4. I thought that last year was a watershed one for us regarding Kerry teams. Prior to that we could never seem to

    beat them in championship games. The very sight of the jersey seemed to put a spell on us.

    I used to look forward to the odd year in three when we did`nt have to meet them in a semi. Then -if we got to a

    final they would give us a walloping.

    I think that`s one ghost that has been buried deep now. However … … for tonights game I ticked the box that

    said `no`. Because they say that revenge is a dish best served cold. Am expecting a mini backlash. Hope I have

    got that bit wrong!

  5. Expect a battle tonight given the state of the pitch. Whoever wins the physical side of it should win and expect that to be Mayo. Hon Mayo and lets just hope ni injuries in these conditions!

  6. Is there any doubt at all of this game going ahead? Is there even a pitch inspection or is she definitely 100% playable?

    Anyway hopefully a huge crowd and a deafening “Mayo Mayo” roar will see us to glorious victory.

  7. Not expecting a Kerry backlash in the league. Of course they will try to get the points but I rekon Fitzmaurice will be happy to get valuable game time into their young bucks and any points will be a bonus. If they in dressing room turn it into a “let’s get these Mayo lads back in their box” and fail to do so then we’ll have a bit of a hex on them going forward.

  8. Just rang Mchale Park , blue sky in Castlebar , and no rain , match going ahead ,
    Man I spoke to said ‘ pitch in good shape for this time of year ‘ …..

  9. If they didn’t cancel those FBD games played in monsoon conditions, they aren’t going to call this one off. The Mayo News put up a video of the pitch yesterday and it didn’t look too bad.

  10. Composure

    Composure is one ingredient that this team needs . Practicing composure is one of the main things that the league should be about for us . Seven games allow for significant improvement if it’s focused upon .

    Last Sunday’s game against Monaghan was a good start . We will have lots of opportunities to score and close out games during the league . We need to take stock of these “ composure “ metrics and track them and put a lot of emphasis on them . We need to close out games in a willful and mindful manner.

    Just focusing on this alone will put us in the frame for many games we should be losing . But it’s real importance is the confidence that comes from it . The sense of “ we can ride this out “, the sense of “ we won’t panic “ and most importantly the sense of WE WILL IMPOSE OUR WILL UPON YOU NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. Because we believe in ourselves and the collective work we have done.

    If we do this it will pay off for us.

  11. Bad feeling we’re gunna lose this one, the Kerry young bucks will be bursting a gut to make their championship squad. Hope Jason starts and things might be different then. Kerry by 2.

  12. Great Early Spring Day here in Castlebar… I can see Eamon Fitzmorris making a few changes to his announced team.. Despite Kerrys unprecedented success and talent in underage football in recent years, it’s just asking too much for such an inexperienced to be competitive with Mayo this evening. I wouldn’t read too much into Kerrys victory over Donegal last week either, Donegal are rebuilding and have no choice but to play inexperienced player’s regardless, plus they were down to 14 men for a considerable period of that match…. I too expect one or two changes to the Mayo team, for the simple reason that Stephen Rochford likes a bit of unpredictability about his Mayo team in general.. I believe we will are always better off playing Kerry early in the League…. So it should be a very good evening in Castlebar… Not sure if Mayo are playing in Black and Kerry in Blue?? I imagine so…. 4 point’s after tonight and we will be in great shape for Salthill next week…. Make sure to come along to McHale Park tonight, ya can’t beat being there.. And ye can buy yer buckets and spades for the beach in Salthill, during the week, I’m told that the prices for such items haven’t gone up yet,!

  13. Wouldn’t be over confident about this evening .We are naming a lot of regulars but regulars that are still rusty and a bit off the pace .Remember our best player last week was a newbie plus the younger lads on both teams will be fitter as a lot will have college training behind them . Home advantage and a big vocal crowd could be the difference .

  14. Kerry stayed in the McWilliam Park hotel in Claremorris last nite , so they should be well up for the game today having not been stuck in a bus for 3 or 4 hours this morning.

  15. Good point by Swahilli about composure. In league we probably average 50% in these tight situations, whereas Dublin last year drew several games at least one (Tyrone) of which they should have lost.
    With our battle hardness now we should be edging that stat to 70%. Last week was a good start.
    Sorry but I’m not sinking in my boots about Kerry. We should be winning against such an inexperienced team. Treat them with respect sure but management tell the team we need to be winning this one. Andy will probably start because their full back line bar 1 are rookies and he can do lots of damage but if we get a good run on them take him off and give a young buck a chance or Freeman. We should alternate Aido and Nally between midfield and CHF as game progresses assuming Nally starts.

  16. Free taking is shambles

    Cost mayo another match… three shocking misses from oconnoe

    Why in the nane of god does he take thrm.off Jason Doherty simply poor management tonite

  17. it was poor performance in second half its a long season ahead. Am sure the media have Kerry and Dublin in the top to.

  18. Good on ya boys . criticise the lads and management now . its the feckin first week in February . Keep your hair on . we’re pretty much the same this time every year . OK this year we ‘might’ get relegated but we could end up in an all Ireland final again too .

  19. New season, same story. Cillian kicking awful and never win anything while relying on him . Cannot believe he had arrogance to come on and take control of frees like that and then do such a pitiful effort

  20. Boys against men ..but the 13 boys won. Very disappointing. Fitness match sharpness an issue but a strange approach by management to this league so far. If we’re gpingbto loose due to fitness levels etc. Why not at least use new players to get experience.

  21. This game is funny we had enough to win with a bit of cuteness , looking at the frees Andy was so fed up at the end that he took the last one himself , we will have to improve for Galway next week , overall there was some bad games by some but they will learn and improve , Cillian might do more with out having the pressure of the frees ,

  22. Look it was an awful performance. There’s no harm in saying it because they’d tell you themselves. Is it worrying? No. It’s the league in February

    Onto the next

  23. No doubt the usual whinging will start Couldn’t beat 13 men Couldn’t score a free Everyone useless etc etc And they were all great men because we sneaked a win in Clones Be honest what would you prefer beat Kerry in February or beat them in Croker in August When Kerry were winning All Ireland’s we used to beat them in the odd league match at home and think we were good then get walloped in Championship For sure we were poor tonight but we are always poor this time of year We will probably get beat v galway in next league game as well All that matters is that we beat them in mid May Every thing else is just preparation

  24. Lol at the impulsive reactions(rochford out) . Not suggesting its now but these boys can’t go on forever, mayo fans need to get real, we have had a great few years , we have some decent lads coming through but its going to be a tall order to continue challenging like we have been, at best it will take time.

    Loftus on with forty seconds remaining, I really cant fathom that shit , if I were to criticise management tonight that would be a starting point. Kerry young bucks just sharper fitter at this time but in saying that could our buckeens be as up for it any time of year. That is a worry.

  25. No impulse reaction here . I said this time last year that Cillians kicking will cost us all Ireland and it did . Somebody put a stupid graph on here trying to show he was more accurate than Rock . Well we saw who was the accurate one when it mattered in final . Shown again tonight, his kicking costs mayo wins.

  26. More worrying is their talent coming through. That Kerry team tonight is sure to have bigger and better days to come.
    In comparison to ourselves where is the talent, a Clifford, O Se, Crowley, that is a more serious issue than losing two points or calling for Rochford’s head on a plate.

  27. No point talking shite like league does not matter and it is only Feb. We were not saying that last week. Several big problems to sort out. Clarkes kickouts for a start. We could not win a kick out. Harrison got run around for 2nd game in a row, but confident he will not get exposed like this in full team. Cant understand with 15 against 13 how they were winning kick outs and finding free men. Midfield really weak. Only Mayo players making any impact up front were DOC and AOS. Free taking was dreadful. Lots to do and hard to see where we are going at the moment. Yeah its Feb, its the league, but Dublin / Kerry dont seem to be letting that impact them!

  28. Wow, what a difference a week makes and im not talking about the football team. What a fickle bunch some of the Mayo faithful are. Its February for feck sake. Kerry did the same thing two years ago, this tie last year we were getting beat out the gate in Croke Park. Results this time of year have no bearing on the summer. Mayo were poor tonight no mistake, but we have been poor in the league for years now, its all about championship for this group.
    Cillian, like a few others had a poor night, but whats being said about him here and in the stands is a disgrace, think he has earned some respect at this stage. Yes he missed some frees tonight but the real question is why are we relying on frees? A team who the supporters constantly claim is in the top 4 teams in the country shouldnt be relying on frees to win games. Kerry didnt rely on frees, they were more than happy to score from play.

  29. Mayos style of play sees.us get a fair few frees so a free kick taker is vital obviously.

    Cillian hit one off the post in the all ireland and not one forward challenged for the rebound , we were two men to the good tonight and couldnt fookin win it off the post cause we are too damn bogged down on taking a forwards natural instinct from his brain, its become a disease in Mayo .

  30. Ah look a bad performance, need to sort out the free taking, at the end of the day as bad & all as we were, we missed three very scorable frees towards the end , Jason Doherty was doing fine on them , ah frustrating . Anyway 6 points remains the goal .

  31. Cillian’s free taking is my big concern after tonight..His first miss in particular was pretty bad.Calling for Rochford’s head at the beginning of February is laughable..

  32. It’s not cillians fault , he should not be taking any free , simple as that. We have lost so many all irelands over free taking. Cillian frees were great , but that’s years ago now, the management have to take responsibility, we need a free taker , that can kick from distance , thats the difference between winning and losing .

  33. Lads, for perspective, go look at threads from last year and the year before for our awful league performances. Same mad over reaction even though the performance had no bearing on the year. This won’t matter a shite come May, as per usual.

  34. Anyone calling for Rochford’s Head is crazy. Ok Cillian has suffered a loss of form particularly on frees but he’s still a young guy 25 or 26 maybe he needs someone to coach him on the frees or maybe he needs to work with our sports Phychologist on taken frees maybe a few misses in All Ireland finals have affected him if it has it’s no shame he’s only human. I don’t like criticizing Caff cos he came back from an awful injury but it was sad to see him get the runaround tonight. Harrison got roasted too but he has been one of out better performers on big days. I hope Evan Regan is ok and has a quick recovery he looked in bad shape coming off. Best wishes to him.

  35. Some of the posts on here this evening just demonstrate how little some people understand what is happening in the first week of Feburary. First of all Kerry were the better team and deserved their win, be as graceful as you can in defeat. The last time I saw a team as fit as Kerry was tonight was probably Roscommon 2 years ago. They were flying for 70 minutes in Feb. What is that all about I was asking myself. The referee lost control of the game early on because he demonstrated that he does not know the rules of the game beyond all reasonable doubt. Great to see Fergal back where he belongs. He missed his only chance of a score by inches, and I believe there are better things to come from him. Keep things in perspective by asking yourself the following questions. Which county team has spent the last 22 years playing Div 1 football. How many points did Mayo have at this point in the competition last year.

  36. Yeah I your right PJ, but I think now it’s time to address the free talking problem,… Only one player is currently missing virtually everything..no doubt has and will be again a great player for Mayo, but he has to be CURRENTLY good enough to earn HIS place, no one is standing still in the Kindom… Incidentally it’s the third match in a row that Mayo have ended up playing 12 or 13…. As a team no doubt we are being maligned, especially AOS and Evan Regan if the Monaghan and Kerry match’s are anything to go by.. We have won one tough game in Ulster , but I am really shocked that we were beaten tonight, we can’t blame the Ref, he sent two men off (it could easily have been 4,ans earlier Red card’s)… But the ref can’t kick the ball over the bar for us…Anyways on to Salthill,.. All will be forgiven and forgotten if we can win there,!

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