Another date with Dublin

Image: @MayoGAA

Saturday night is fast approaching and, with it, yet another joust for us with Dublin. Throw-in for the match in MacHale Park is 7pm that evening and the ref is Roscommon’s Paddy Neilan. The ladies’ Division One League match is on beforehand, that one throws in at 5pm.

I usually find this previewing-the-opposition post good for refreshing my memory about who we’re playing and what their form is like. I think we can all agree that no such promptings are required in relation to Saturday evening’s opponents.

The short version is that Dublin tend to win the vast bulk of the matches they play nowadays. The one game they lost last year – the League Division One final against Kerry in early April – brought to an end an unbeaten streak of 36 games which had lasted for over two years.

Since then, of course, they’ve started another unbeaten run, one that, going into Saturday night, numbers nine games. This series is impressive too, in that they’ve won all nine matches, including their opening three League games this year.

In last year’s League that unbeaten run was preserved by way of a few draws. Their 2017 League campaign reads as follows.

Round 1 saw them record a seven-point win over Cavan in Breffni Park and a week later they played out a low-scoring draw against Tyrone at Croke Park. Many, myself included, saw this as some kind of precursor for how the likely rematch between these two counties in the summer would play out. That proved to be well wide of the mark.

In Round 3 they played out another hard-fought stalemate against Ulster opposition, this time up in Ballybofey against Donegal. Following that they wiped the floor with us at HQ, leading many (this time not including me) to proclaim, incorrectly, that we were a fading force in the game.

Round 5 saw a bit of a boxing match under the lights against Kerry in Tralee, where the Dubs recorded their third draw of the campaign. They ended up with two wins, though, scalping Roscommon by 21 points at Croke Park and then beating Monaghan by three at Clones to finish clear at the top of the Division One table on eleven points.

Then came that fateful League decider against Kerry. The one where Rock missed that late, late free as Kerry squeaked home by a single point.

After the spring campaign, Dublin had, of course, the luxury of strolling through the non-contact kick-about that once used to be the Leinster football championship. Sweet Jesus, the hardest match they got in Leinster – during which occurred the incident which led them to lose Diarmuid Connolly for the bulk of the summer – was the quarter-final tie against Carlow in Portlaoise.

Dublin finally beat the Barrowsiders by twelve points. They then had a whopping thirty-one points to spare over Westmeath in the semi-final and accounted for Kildare by nine points in the final.

Truth be told, Dublin faced no match of consequence at all in last year’s championship until they came face-to-face with our lads in September. Monaghan were comfortably seen off by ten points in the All-Ireland quarter-final and Tyrone were cuts to pieces in the semi-final, Dublin winning that one by the same twelve-point margin they’d enjoyed over Carlow.

The decider was, though, a match for the ages. One of the great All-Ireland finals, it took an unprecedented shot conversion ratio by Dublin, allied in the end to a soft enough free awarded for a challenge on Connolly and, following Rock’s placed ball score, an outbreak of wholesale black card offending by virtually all of Dublin’s outfield team to get them over the line against us by a single, lousy point.

That made it three times in three final meetings with us since 2013 that they’d come out on top against us by the minimum margin. Cold comfort for us, as we all know, and proof, if it were ever needed, that the margins between success and failure in sport can so often be wafer-thin.

But while we can punch our weight against them in the championship, in the League our respective form lines are very different. We always tend to struggle in the spring, saving our energy – and all those endless cross-country journeys to training – for when it really counts.

With no serious championship action to face for most of the summer and no logistical issues about getting their players together as often as they want, Dublin can afford to place strong emphasis on the League. Which they do, every year.

So while we’ve huffed and puffed since late January, winning one (just about) and losing two games, they come into Saturday night with an unblemished record of three wins from three games that leaves them on top of the table and, once again, eyeing a place in the Division One final.

Their form so far in this League campaign has been very good. Kildare were – as Kildare always are when they face Dublin – swatted aside in the opening round, Dublin winning that one by 2-17 to 2-10. A week later and they emerged from Omagh with a 2-13 to 1-11 win over Tyrone and back at HQ last time out they beat a spirited Donegal by 0-20 to 0-15.

More ominously for us, perhaps, is that Jim Gavin has by now already given a run-out this year to the bulk of the 21 players who saw action against us last September. Of that match-day group, only Jack McCaffrey (cruciate), Con O’Callaghan (tearing up trees elsewhere), Paul Flynn, Cormac Costello (seemingly only of nuisance value late on in All-Ireland finals) and Diarmuid Connolly, who could well start in Castlebar, have yet to feature for Dublin in this year’s League.

They’ve also been able to use the likes of former Footballer of the Year Michael Darragh MacAuley, as well as established squad players such as David Byrne, Darragh Daly, Eric Lowndes, Ciaran Reddin and Shane Carthy. This year’s two bolters for them – who are being given plenty of airtime so far – are Brian Howard and Colm Basquel, the latter, gallingly, a player with strong Mayo roots.

By contrast, our forces are in far from rude health at the minute. To date, we’ve only fielded 13 of the 21 players we had on the field at some point on All-Ireland final day last September, some of them only fleetingly.  Three of that cohort – Cillian O’Connor (suspended), Brendan Harrison and Paddy Durcan (both injured) – are set to be watching the action on Saturday night from the stand.

Unlike Dublin, some of our heavy-hitters – including Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Chris Barrett, Seamus O’Shea and Tom Parsons – remain sidelined and, aside from Tom, seem destined to remain so for most of the League.

At best, it appears that the next night we’ll be in a position to start 11 of our list of 21 who saw action last September. That assumes, by the way, that Tom does make his first appearance of the year in this game.

Little wonder, then, that Paddy Power are fairly clear about how they expect this one to go. They’ve priced Dublin at 1/3 to leave MacHale Park with the spoils in the next evening. But, as ever, let’s leave the final word on this to yourselves: how do you think this latest clash with our great Metropolitan rivals will go?

How will we do against Dublin?

  • Win (46%, 330 Votes)
  • Lose (45%, 319 Votes)
  • Draw (9%, 62 Votes)

Total Voters: 711

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87 thoughts on “Another date with Dublin

  1. Ha ha, i love your style Willie Joe, and i agree with ya too about the wholesale black carding that they used to get themselves over the line last September, and nuisance Costello – love it!
    Seriously though, i am going to stick my head on the block here; We have been criticised an ridiculed (incl from within) re our form and tactics so far this year, we were harassed by the yerras an the neighbours the last two times out, with their puke football and assaults (yerras) an cynicism an black carding (neighbours). I feel our backs are against the wall a bit with injuries and absences, so i feel a statement will be made by our lads, if not a win, then i feel that there’s a really good performance coming on.
    Like i voted for above, i’m goin for a two point Mayo win.
    The handle may be the lead from my fav movie of all time ‘One flew over …’, but i’m from the football stronghold of Kilmeena, and i would like to wish our neighbour Kevin Keane the very best as he departs (temporarily hopefully) the Mayo team , a great servant to Mayo, and a gentleman.
    Maigh Eo Abu!

  2. That’s a great read WJ on Another day with Dublin. A great refresher course and prep for the coming weekend.

    Fair play to the 47% who have so far voted for a Mayo win. I’ll have a swig of whatever yea are drinking if there is any left. I cannot see us coming close to getting anything from this game points wise. I would really love to be wrong. I know they will be hell bent on giving us a whooping because they know we are their biggest danger later in the year and have been now for some time. I hope our players are as confident as the 47% who have voted a win above and we get a gutsy display from our lads on Saturday. Hon Mayo.

  3. Cannot see anything but a Dublin win. That’s the harsh reality of it at the moment. That said I’ll be there supporting or team. Any guess on attendance? Excepting a huge crowd

  4. Pass me whatever some of ye are smoking, must be mighty stuff altogether! Given the personnel missing, we’re likely to get a whuppin’ similar to the last year’s NFL encounter, or that of 2015.

    Not that it should make much difference, Mayo are a different animal come high summer.

  5. Going to be very hard to beat the Dubs but credit to the people who are so optimistic .
    I would go with the following to try stem the tide and tide it will be I think .


  6. I expect a bit of a thumping unfortunately. But I won’t be getting pessimistic as a result. Dublin are at the same level all year round these days, but Mayo tend to catch up come the summer.

    What’s more important is that our sharpness comes up several notches before the must-win games with Kildare and Tyrone.

  7. ” Outside of the boot” that’s a solid enough team. Probably lacking the bursts from the half back line but a lot of strength. Don’t think Hall is a natural corner back, what about Newcomb for Castlebar, came on as a blood sub v galway and looked lively, set up a point and has decent pace. Naughton would also add a bit of pace but no good bringing these lads on with 10min to go and the game over.

  8. Outside of the boot. I might switch Loftus from center half forward. Not sure would he win too much breaking balk around midfield. Might switch with someone that would win the 50-50 ball. Otherwise I couldn’t find anything wrong with the way you have the team set up.

  9. Should round up every hatchman at club football and get out and knock the shite out of them . No ball required !!

  10. I agree with DecM.and I can’t see anything but a Dublin win especially if Ger Cafferkey is playing and I don’t say that out of malice or disrespect I say it based on his two poor performances against Galway and Kerry. However I expect Mayo to perform better and hopefully we will see some green shoots from our lads that will encourage us.

  11. No point in picking out one player ( as a weak link ) that may be in the team to face Dublin as so many of the established guys are out through injury. This is the perfect time to give all the fringe guys a chance, even the Dubs may not field their strongest team. It will be interesting to see how Mayo set themselves up for this one, ie, do they go all-out blanket defending or try and play football and attack or start a melee / fracas at every opportunity ?. A very wet / mucky sod wont suit the Dubs, they are too used of the good surface in Croke park. It all makes for an interesting encounter as most people expect a Dublin win, surely there will be no pressure on the new guys that come into the side.
    I was disappointed to see Reape being let go, he was the best Mayo player on show at the Mayo v Galway U 21 semi final last year in Tuam Stadium.

  12. Not a chance we’ll win this, given our lack of cohesive training and lack of fitness. If we get through this injury free and without suspensions i’ll be happy. As much as id love for us to beat them, id settle for anything south of a 4 point loss. If one of our players decks Costello (if he plays) i’ll sleep soundly Saturday night :). Id park the bus with the following team:

    O’Donohue. Caff. Crowe
    Drake. Nally. Hall

    Gibbons. Barry

    Gallagher. Diarmuid. Boland
    Loftus. Doherty.

    Id rest Aido/Andy/Durcan for this one, keep them fit for the all important Kildare and Tyrone games. Let Gallagher, Loftus, Boland show us what they can do, test Hall against the champions, while Drake will give us speed from the half back line.

  13. I would have Loftus as a “dillon” type halfforward moreso than a foragger of broken ball.
    Ball in hand he can pick off any pass but getting the ball to him in the corner seems to be an issue when teams play blanket defense .
    Halforward allow s him more freedom and play between their lines of sweepers, picking off space as Dillon did v Tyrone, wort a try I think

  14. Team I would pick for the Dubs
    1.David Clarke
    2.Eoin O’Donoghue
    3.Ger McDonagh
    4.Caolan Crowe/Brendan Harrison if fit
    5.Colm Boyle captain
    6.Stephen Coen
    7.ShaneNally/Paddy Durcan if fit
    8.Aidan O’Shea
    9.Tom Parsons
    10.Adam Gallagher
    11.Kevin McLoughlin sweeper
    12.Diarmuid O’Connor
    13.Jason Doherty freetaker and 45s
    14.Andy Moran
    15.Ciaran Treacy
    Gibbons and Moran will not be able to cope with the pace of Fenton/McCauley so Tom Parsons and Aido have to start midfield.I would actually maybe put Diarmuid O’Connor on Fenton to track himto swap in and out of Midfield with Aido.
    Would like to see Kevin McLoughlin as sweeper or 7th defender and use the 2016 gameplan.

  15. TH,… That’s as good a team as we probably have at the moment… But with Stephen Rochford, he tends to keep his card’s very close to his chest until the very last minute… We won’t know, who’s playing where and who will actually line up until it’s announced over the Tanoy on Saturday night!

  16. Mayo 88 I agree with you that it is disappointing to see Reape released from the Panel having had only a token outing in horrible weather in FBD, and being top scorer on the day in that game. It is both surprising and disappointing when one considers that he was the leading scorer from the County Senior and Intermediate championship in 2017, well ahead of COC, and as you rightly say was the best forward on view in U 21 C/ship game v Galway in 2017.He was also selected as Mayo intermediate player of the year 2017 and was largely responsible for his clubs winning the County Intermediate Championship It is even perplexing when one considers that some long standing fringe panel members are backs sometimes being used as forwards, and given that Mayo,s two first choice freetakers C.O.C & Evan) are uvavailable, and Brian being well known to be a reliable freetaker. The dogs in the street, as the saying goes, know that Mayo desperately need some new forward talent and with the dropping of one of the best prospects that we know of, one wonders where our search is heading.

  17. He has played four games for Mayo. Two fbd and two challenge games. The top scorer in three of them and the second top scorer in his very first outing on his fbd debut. He had made his debut in that game where a load of young players played in Daingean versus NUIG.
    Got three points from play that day.
    I dunno clearly must be sone valid reason as he is ahead of most our forwards in match performances.

  18. Best of luck to our lads Saturday night. Mayo abu. Did any of ye read Ewan McKenna’s article on our ‘Lion’ Aiden and Mayo – wow what a great read.

  19. Well said outside the pale. I’ve never once questioned Rochfords decisions, but struggling to see how Reape was let go ahead of a couple others.

  20. Reape is a lad that looks physically strong enough for senior intercounty as well. More so than Treacy, Naughton and others. Maybe there is some reason we’re not privy to.

  21. The selectors normally know best May be Reape is not available for the summer. I have heard about enough great white hopes in our forward lines down the years to be difficult to convince.

  22. We seen last year in the league when we beat Kerry, Tyrone and Donegal, we showed great heart, spirit and determination to win those games. As supporters that’s all we can ask to see on Saturday night: heart, spirit and determination. Lets see where that takes us then. Best of luck to all involved.

    If Harry and Paddy don’t start then Colm Boyle would be our only first choice defender involved. Maybe playing Kevin McLoughlin at no. 7 with Adam Gallagher at no. 10 might be an option for us in this game.

    In relation to Brian Reape, the biggest game I saw him involved in was the 2016 U21 All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin. I know he was a year younger than the main lads but I can’t remember him when doing much in that game. The main players that stood out that day were Diarmuid O’Connor, Matthew Ruane, Shairoze Akram, Liam Irwin and Conor Loftus for us. Con O’Callaghan and Colm Basquel stood out for the Dubs. That’s probably the best games to judge players in, the biggest games. So it will be interesting to see how Reape does in senior club football and we can take it from there then.

  23. HopeSpringsEternal, Mayo,s interest in the Championship will be over before any significant club football will be played this year, under the new fixtures schedule so it will be a bit late to be searching there for a new forward for 2018. Reape starred for his club in in 2017 in six Intermediate Championship games including Final replay and the subsequent Connacht Club Championship game v Michel Glaveys. Sufficient exposure for selectors to assess his capability, one would think !

  24. The Irish Times have an article up about Cian Hanley. Apparently he… “has been present at Mayo training this week, but has yet to take part in a session”.

  25. Yeah I seen that Wide Ball:

    Former AFL starlet Cian Hanley back in the Mayo fold

    Hanley has been present at Mayo training this week, but has yet to take part in a session and is not expected to feature this weekend against Dublin.

  26. I think it was just that you had a link included in that other comment, mayomanindublin, but I’m not sure if there’s an issue besides that. Sometimes WordPress can act a bit odd on that front.

  27. Ewan McKenna has upset a few dubs it seems with his article, a shitstorm on Twitter. Gas stuff altogether, God knows what they’d do if there was any chance they might lose an AllIreland or League in the coming years.
    Anyways.If Cian Hanley was to line out for Mayo in a big important game, what position would he be best in? Midfield as a link man?

  28. He would be a half forward you’d imagine. It’s what he already knows and likely to be his easiest route back to a high level.

  29. Championship team

    —————Tom —-Aos
    Hanley ——Cillian——-diarmuid

  30. Mayodunphy. Reape isn’t cut out for senior county football. Sur he wasn’t even making the bench in the ucd team. Ya, he’s a great man to get you a goal in intermediate football if that’s the sort of player you’re looking for but he has no place in the current setup. Ya have to be willing to work like a dog and chase men down. That’s not him and so what. If it doesn’t suit rochfords plan then no pint him been there. I was in castlebar that night aswel when you saw him kick that monster score. I also saw him kick 1-2 wide from close range on the night.

    Revelino, I’d agree with you about loftus. Great talent but scared of his own shadow and would be devoured out around the middle of the pitch. Better suited to corner forward in an open game where he can get some space. Against Galway he had no chance, would have been the same if he was on earlier against Kerry. He will prob play against Dublin and tyrone, not make an impact and then we will all move onto the next big thing. Maybe naughton or Treacy. Build them up aswell and wit for them to collapse.

    Where’s freeman, dougie, Kirby, Sweeney?? All the lads that were built up on this site. Not that easy to bridge the gap between club and county is it??

  31. I think the stars are perfectly aligned for Mayo this weekend, the Dubs think they can walk right into your Headquarters and your bag man will obligingly throw the cash bag on the table for them before they grin and turn for home.

    I think ye have to play defensive minded players with speed as in the next five weeks scoring difference will be paramount. Rochford will be acutely aware that the last minute point in Monaghan is no more important than a point kicked when ye are five down when it comes to weighing the gold on the final day of your participation in the league.

    Dublin expect to beat ye, indeed so do most Mayo supporters and so do the broader GAA community. This one ingredient will give mayo a wonderful opportunity to really go for it. The players are in such a pressure free zone that points that inch wide in the heat of championship might sneak over in this one and conversely they could start feeling unexpected pressure if the game which to them is a “gimme” should start to slip from their grip.

    Without so many key players mayo are severely weakened but ye still have teeth and I think the notions of starting anything less than your absolute best available players could prove hugely costly in a few short weeks time, not to mention the long term ramifications of splashing into tank two.

    I would love to see ye beat them as I think it would not impact on them to any significant extent and it would be a great boost for Mayo. Division one needs the best teams in the mix to make it competitive going forward. In Munster I hope Cork break out and return to the top table as Munster football needs them, Clare and Tipp have really grown in the past few years and this is a great boost for the game my neck of the woods. Galway and Roscommon are flexing their muscle and that too is great for the game in your province.

    Good luck on Saturday, I will be in my local glued to every kick and dare I say it punch !!

  32. gamechanger
    I cant agree that this is one Mayo can win. The legs just arent there to keep up with the jackeens in an attacking game. My money is on a narrow loss in a low scoring game.
    A 09 to 07 type scoreline. Relegation is possible but the following games opponents are nowhere near dublin in fitness or football ability so there is some chance of getting the points needed. Will your own fellas retain the league or whats your take on that?

  33. The stars are aligned alright.

    Mayo completely written off.

    A neutral referee for once and not Dublin Joe for some odd reason.

    Mayo cant be as bad again as last time out. Surely.

    Its like 2011 all over again when Cork were “going to wipe the floor” with us.

    Everything pints to a shock Mayo victory.

  34. Jim flag & Dave,
    I’m not so sure of a victory but if Mayo really trouble them as they can give them a real fright and this alone would be a huge boost to the Mayo team going forward for the remaining games in the league. The Dubs have a number of negative issues to deal with as I have posted before and for this reason I kinda think they mayo will give them a belly full of it on Saturday night, will ye beat them ? I’ll put it like this I won’t put money on ye to get over the line but strangely I’m tempted especially in there is a small handicap on offer.

    Jim it’s hard to know where Kerry are at the moment but one thing we have going for us is a welcome injection of youth and speed, we have been very close over the past few years to turning them over and the one thing that kept us off the steps was that little lack of the vital ingredient of youth.

    You can’t beat a young lad prancing out onto the field when legs are tiring. They have no baggage and they are new and undocumented by the opposition, it’s hard to know what sub to bring on to counter a player like that and for this reason I think if we get two more victories in the bag from the remaining four games we will give it a right rattle.

    Last weeks game whilst a loss in the points perspective was a victory for spirit and will be a valuable experience going forward. When some fella kicks you in the arse you will make sure he doesn’t get behind you so handy in the future.

  35. Robinbanks, I think you are a bit unfair in your comments regarding Brian Reape. He is only an Intermediate footballer because that is the Grade his club plays at, and I have no doubt that he would feature prominently with a senior club if that was required of him. Scoregetters, especially goalgetters, are a sought after commodity in Mayo football, and any player showing potential for that ability needs to be nurtured. rather being reminded of the ones he missed. Not every player on a team needs to be a ferocious tackler, and in fact it is equally important that a team can benefit from the ferocious workrate of defenders/ tacklers by having a player at the end of that effort that can put the ball over the bar, or maybe in the net, and that is what he has being doing for club and County at Minor and U 21 over the past few years.

  36. The whole tackling and workrate thing is overrated. The top teams don’t take the ball into contact as much as they used to. Our tackling is therefore not as big an asset as it was in 2013/14.
    Look at Donegal with McBrearty with Donegal. Hardly a greyhound workrate wise but he has been the most valuable forward in the league. He can score simple as that.
    The top teams are moving away from hard worker non-scorers. Donnacha Walsh you would struggle to see him make the Kerry team if Clifford, OShea, JOD, Geaney, OBrien and Burns are fit and in form.

  37. I think the stats produced there by another excellent article from Willie Joe don’t lie. The amount of experienced players Dublin have used while also bring in the likes of Howard’Basquel and establishing Scully in the number 10 jersey say enough. They are winning games in 3rd gear and developing squad depth at the same time.Things we would loved to have done at the start of the league. We have given lads opportunities who simply haven’t taken them. Maybe these lads need a run of games to give it a right go, but the pressure of winning league games makes this difficult for the management to keep giving them chances.
    On the recent cull by the management I found the decision to drop Reape strange. He played well against Galway in FBD, looks like a natural scoring forward which we don’t have in abundance. So what it was the intermediate champo he could only play what was in front of him. Keane also gone, which was odd considering our full back line is struggling. Crowe/Mcdonagh who aren’t natural full backs in ahead of him. Clearly the management seeing something we aren’t in training with both cases.
    Realistically a performance and a bit of pride is all we can hope for Saturday, hope i’m wrong.

  38. Whatever is going to happen on Saturday I think it’s one we all need to try and get to and shout them on. Someone else mentioned it already. I’d like to see us supporters bring something special and be way louder than the opposition. Let’s win the battle in the stands to start with like we always do and who knows what this could lead to on the field. Come on Mayo.

  39. Just read JP’s comments there and i’d have to agree. You have 3/4 workhorses in your side like Mcloughlin/Diarmiud/Boland etc.Then you should have your sharpshooters like Reape/Cillian/Andy inside to finish. It breaks my heart to see Cillian back in his full back line every game. He does this on his own accord and should be pulled up by management. it doesn’t mean that these lads don’t have to work hard when they don’t have the ball and put pressure on every kick out but making 60 yard dashes back during games and then expecting the legs to be 100% to kick scores late in games isn’t right. You rarely saw Bernard Brogan or the Gooch tracking back like Cillian

  40. Surely saturday is the true litmus test for fringe players. If any of them can come out of their battle 50 – 50 it has to answer the question for managment on whether they are the men for the championship squad or not. Best of luck to the whole team and especially to the lads who are relatively new to the team. They can really stake their claims saturday evening.

  41. I am just after checking my attendance record for the galway game and see that my sons u – 16 attendance was recorded but my attendance was not recorded. I am wondering has anybody else’s attendance not being recorded. in pearse stadium it was not a self -servive machine.I just handed in the cards through the hatch and he said they were now scanned correctly,and we entered the pitch.

  42. Jimbo – my attendance was recorded correctly in Salthill. They used the portable scanner but I always watch and make sure it beeps and goes green because what happened you happened my Dad a couple of years ago. I always make sure now.

  43. Clarke
    Harrison (if fit)-McDonagh-O’Donoghue

    TBH nothing is expected of us tomorrow night, general feeling I get amongst Mayo supporters is that we’re going to get hammered and that might well be the case, at the same time I feel as we have nothing to lose given the amount of lads we are missing. I think the Dubs will set out to play a very attacking game and will want to wipe the floor with us.

    Pace is everything against the Dubs and a pacey midfielder is one thing that Mayo lack more than anything in my opinion, hence my suggestion of Keegan in midfield last year. I think this is the ideal game to blood the likes of Akram and Treacy and give the like of O’Donoghue and Loftus more experience, Kerry/Dublin/Donegal throw their youngsters in at the deep end so I don’t see why we should be so conservative, you’ll never know how they are going to fare until they are in the white heat of battle. I think we should more less scrap the short kick out for this match, in first half of All Ireland last year we dominated the aerial battle in midfield, with the team I’ve named above we have 2 quick lads in Akram and Mcloughlin to mop up any breaking ball there will be and supply it to the full forward line (who are all capable of taking a score). If we persist with a short kick out in a game like this we’re only going to slow up our attacks and put more pressure upon ourselves. granted our options off the bench will probably be limited to Drake, Coen, B Moran, Boland, Crowe but we just have to make do with the players we have for now. I would keep Diarmuid O’Connor for the 2nd half, specifically to mark Fenton as I reckon Parsons could be well knackered if he starts given he’s only back from injury, Fenton V DOC would be very interesting to watch.

    Overall I think we will lose but will be reasonably happy if we avoid a hiding and and let the bloody thing in early to that full forward line, our laboured play has been the most frustrating thing about our performances so far and it would encourage me if we could supply good quick ball to Loftus and Treacy and see what they can do. Dublin by 4 points.

  44. Jimbo, our under 16 ticket did not update as attended, went through same stile as other 4. Contacted them on the Tuesday when the attendance came up, said could take till Friday, contacted them again on Friday said there was nothing they could do

  45. The best result we can get from Saturday is feedback on our fringe players. I would lump Boland into that category and hopefully we will know a little more about O Donaghue and Gallagher, that’s if they get more than the customery five minutes runs.
    I would be quite happy leaving McHale park knowing yes we have competition for places come championship time, yes we are building a panel with super eights in mind…
    Unfair criticism here of players very much learning their trade,

  46. The difference in our play in the 3 games so far to that in August/September last year is down to the way the ball is coming out of our half back line. At the end of last season, our half backs ran like lions at any opposition they met, punching holes in every defense and keeping the opposing team on the back foot. This allowed McLaughlin and Doherty to play further up the field and allowed our scorers in full forward line to stay hovering in the scoring zone.
    This year, the ball is coming out slower, Mac and Doc are coming back further to get the ball, the inside forwards are coming out as the ball is not going in to them and we end up laterally passing the ball out around the 45 metre line.
    The reason for the difference in play is that we do not have Donis Vaughan and Lee Keegan on the field.
    How do we get over it?
    Draft David Drake and one other (my preference would be Keith Higgins, but he is not yet in the frame) into the half for Saturday with a mandate to run at the Dubs. Force the Dubs onto the back foot and go for it. The alternative is to pack the defense and wait for the Dubs to attack. That is footballing suicide. Give the Dubs that kind of space and they will thrive.

    So my hope for tomorrow night is that we attack at will, punch holes in the Dublin back line, draw the frees and/or take the chances.

    This one is not over yet.

    Keep the Faith!

  47. Enjoyed that piece by McKenna. Rather than just some from other counties, maybe some of our own should take a bit of heed of it as well.
    Breheny must have been on holiday, no way would he allow something positive on Mayo to make it in that paper.

  48. Does anybody have information on Ciaran Treacy from Ballina Stephenites is he still in the Mayo panel ,someone posted that he was injured but is ok now?? He was togged for the Monaghan game but it was very disappointing not to see him togged for the Kerry and Galway games, he was the most exciting player for Mayo in the Fbd ,he is very pacy and can take scores from distance.Also Peter Naughton from Knockmore a real exciting prospect only 21 can kick accurately with both feet probably needs to develop his strength and conditioning but hope he is still included on panel, would be a good option on the dry sod.I expect James Stretton from Claremorris to be in contention for a place tomorrow with the amount of big name backs ruled out, Stretton is a good option for Dublin in that he is very fast and good tackler.It was very disappointing news to hear Brian Reape and Alan Freeman 2 forwards that can score were let go the weekend.To drop your best under 21 forward from the previous year seems crazy to me he needs to be in squad to develop now at his age,backward step by Rochford.
    Freezer has been a great servant over the years harshly subbed by James Horan in the 1st half of 2013 final and think it knocked his confidence.Taking the year out of football due to work commitments last year would not have helped his case.

  49. When Dublin roll into town do they arrive in a convoy of blue Lamborghinis or do they arrive in a bus like everyone else? I’m just wondering how they spend all the money…. ?:)

  50. There seems to be a huge Dublin crowd on the way up tomorrow night. All Castlebar , Westport and Claremorris hotels and B&B’s sold out on and Irish rail have 2 extra special trains running for Dublin fans tomorrow
    So to all Mayo supporters you have been warned get in early for the womens match before hand.It really does show the interest and respect the Dublin fans have for Mayo they might not show it on Social media but they know were the only threat to there 4 in a row in September.

  51. Th
    I think you’ll have to give Rochford and co the benefit of the doubt. They have been to the last 2 finals and lost by a kick of the ball to a team that pulverized the rest. They are bound to see who is up to it in training and also there may be lads that just cannot give the effort over the sustained period of time needed to build muscle and conditioning needed for the big games.
    After last year I don’t think we can really second guess what they are capable of.

  52. Cannot understand Rochford decision on Reape who is a proven scorer and strong man on the ball. I dont buy this rubbish that Bohola Moy Davitts were just Intermediate team..

  53. With the new kickout rule the reality is that the game tomorrow will hinge on who wins midfield and who can work scores from there. If Parsons is back and partners Aidan we’ve a chance to stay with Dublin. Fenton is the big threat that needs to be stopped. As Billy Joe said in the podcast, Clarkie isn’t the best at pinging the balls long to the wings so he’ll need to go long and central more often than not. Hence the battle of the big men tomorrow. Let the games begin!!!

  54. TH
    Didnt hear Freeman was let go, only names mentioned was Reape, Keane and Plunkett. Although I wont be surprised. Out of the original 28 new players brought in, only Ger McDonagh, James Stretton, Micheal Hall, Shairoze Akram, Jason Gibbons, Adam Gallagher, Niel Douglas, Peter Naughton, Ciaran Tracey appear to be left based on their matchday involvement during the last few games. It says alot about the development panel that was picked last year, initial five players picked, Reape,Gallagher, Carr, Ruane and Cunniffe with a sixth name to be selected there after, at the start of the year it was stated that Stephen Duffy was in the development panel. Not sure if he was the sixth man or not. Only one of those six seem be be involved and maybe it was due to Sigerson Adam Gallagher hasnt been getting major minutes.
    In regards to Reape, he spent a year on the panel in 2016, spent time in the development panel last year so this would suggest that management had some faith in him and not totally discard him. I think the comment made above that he not cutout for intercounty football is abit over the top. I’m not favoring him because he comes from my former club I do feel there is more to it.

    Looks like the following are now gone based on lack of involvement or maybe it is down to injuries

    Paddy O Malley Westport
    Jamie Oates Garrymore
    Seamus Cunniffe Ballaghaderreen Injured
    Stephen Duffy Crossmolina
    Kevin Keane Westport
    Marcus Park Knockmore
    Aidan Butler Claremorris
    Michael Plunkett Ballintubber
    James McCormack Claremorris
    Matthew Ruane Breaffy
    Jordan Flynn Crossmolina
    Nathan Moran Hollymount
    Fionn McDonagh Westport
    Ryan O Donoghue Belmullet
    Ross Egan Aghamore
    Oisin McLaughlin Westport
    Alan Freeman Aghamore
    Brian Reape Moy Davitts
    James Carr Ardagh Injured

  55. Dave/TH,
    have to agree with Dave there. Reape was an unused sub for the last few Sigerson games. If you’re not getting a game at that level, then you’re either injured or off form. You never know what might be going on with him and he might not be ready or able to commit to the level needed for intercounty.
    As for Freeman, we either give the younger lads a chance or we keep some fellas hanging around the panel taking a spot a younger lad might otherwise have.
    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  56. Mayomessi Freeman was mentioned on the Connaught Telegraph along with Kevin Keane,Brian Reape and Michael Plunkett.
    Off that list of players you have Patrick O’Malley,Jordan Flynn,Nathan Moran,Ryan O’Donoghue, Ross Egan, Oisin McLaughlin have all been released to train with Mayo under 20 panel not sure about Marcus Park if hes young enough.

  57. Team for tomorrow night i reckon.

    David Clarke
    Brendan Harrison/Caolan Crowe Ger Cafferkey, Eoin O’Donoghue
    Stephen Coen,Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan/Michael Hall
    Jason Gibbons, Tom Parsons;
    Kevin McLoughlin, Aidan O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor;
    Conor Lofus Andy Moran Jason Doherty

    Thats 10 first choice players if Harrison and Durcan are fit to start. Another starter Seamus O Shea probably a sub. Keegan,Barrett,Higgins,C O Connor big losses no doubt but Mayo will still have a strong side out to be competitive against a Dublin side that looked less than great in the 2nd half against Donegal in their last game.

  58. Think the management will have penciled in the last 3 games as the best option for getting another 4 pts that should secure our div1 status They will view the Dublin game as a fixture that has to fullfilled any player with the slightest injury will not risked this saturday . The bonus for the management will be if 3 or 4 of the young kids put it up to the Dubs.

  59. TH, Park is overage for the U20. I think a big bulk of the players will come from 5 clubs but a good spread from around the County, Alot of them maybe from unfamiliar clubs. Things are changing when you see Balla playing Parke in a County minor A semi final last year, doesnt happen very often but good to see.

    Westport (Paddy and Brian o Malley, Paul Lambert, McLaughlin and Colm Moran could add a couple more)
    Claremorris (Matthew Macken, Paddy Barry, Stephen McGreal, Colm Diskin, Micky Higgins
    Aghamore (Ross Egan, Sean Og Tighe)
    Castlebar (John Maughan, Gavin Duffy, Conor Stenson, Ethan Gibbons)
    Balla (Colm Murphy, Cillian Golding, Jack Harte)
    Bellmullet (Ryan O Donoghue, Michael Keane)
    Cill Chomain (Eoghan McGarth, Justin Healy)
    Ballintubber (Stephen o Malley)
    Crossmolina (Jordan Flynn)
    Hollymount (Nathan Moran)
    Louisburgh (Joe Dawson)
    Kiltimagh (Donovan Cosgrove)
    Ballyhaunis (John Cunnane)
    Kilmovee (Cathal Horan)
    The Neale (Tommy Conroy)
    Garrymore, (Cathal Slattery)
    Shrule/Glencorrib (Nathan McGhee)

  60. Nice list Mayo messi. I believe also in there for consideration would be:
    Davitts (Evan and Jack Ronayne)
    Ballintubber (Dara McGovern)
    Hollymount (Conor Heneghan)
    All depends on what kind of form these players find with their clubs.
    But for sure a lot of those have come on a lot since minor.

  61. JP, there will also be one or two that will come out of nowhere, should’ve also included John Gallagher and James Jennings Mayo Gaels and Evan o Brien and Oran o Malley Ballinrobe, I also think Ger Holian from Balla is still underage. I remember Ger Holian, Eoghan McGrath, Sean og Tighe and Jordan Flynn were called into the U21s last year and none of them played for the minors the year before. What I also see from the list is we have alot of fast forwards similar in mould so if they get the right blend they could do really well this year. Like the look of some of the younger players like Cillian Golding , watched some of his fielding in Balla win over Westport in the Minor A final, sight to behold. Should be solid up the middle with the likes of Maughan, Macken, Colm Diskin, Brain o Malley , Jordan Flynn to name a few. Just noticed I had Gavin Duffy down instead of Gavin Durcan, cousin of Paddy.

  62. You had Colm Diskin as well it’s Conor 🙂
    The Westport quintet, Jordan Flynn, Ryan ODonoghue and the Claremorris trio will likely be the driving force of that team. Ya, there is a nice mix of powerful players and pacey players.
    Jordan Flynn is very strong for this level. Not too many will match up to him.

  63. As I sat looking up at the scoreboard
    I could never figure out
    How the ref gave Mayo a penalty
    Before the Dublin team came out.

    I dreamt a dream the other night
    I couldn’t sleep a wink
    We were all crammed into mchale park
    And the ref was on the drink

    He staggered out on to the halfway line
    Said “the games about to start”
    He told Mcauley that he’d break his neck
    If he caught him getting smart

    He flattened Cluxton for short kckouts
    Then he burned a Dublin flag
    He shook hands with Stephen Rochford
    Said, “Yea have this one in the bag”.

    He swung a punch at lanky Fenton
    Who landed in a heap
    And when Gavin asked what that was for
    He said “Fenton fell asleep”

    He elbowed Philly high into the face
    Put him spouten from the nose
    He took a good swig from his hip flask
    And sang where the river Shannon flows

    He lined up 30 frees for Andy
    Helped him how to judge the wind
    And when 1 free curled outside the post
    He told him “try again”

    He walked to the Dublin dugout
    Said ” Jim, You won’t talk to rte”
    “We’ll I don’t really like your type
    Your banned till twenty twenty three”

    When he blew the final whistle
    He let out a mighty cheer
    He said “that’s a massive win for Mayo”
    And that he was goin on the beer

    As I sat looking up at the scoreboard
    I could never figure out
    How the ref gave Mayo a penalty
    Before the Dublin team came out.

  64. I wouldn’t be worried about that, Rock. Is say that the starting line up could have a change or 2.

  65. @Chris Kelly,where did you see there were extra trains full of dubs coming to town? Just checked irishrail and no mention of it.

  66. They are as excited as if it’s the all Ireland. I find it intriguing! Daily countdown to tomorrow on fb fan pages. Only time their heart rate rises is in championship against us. Must be so boring being a dub fan, hence all their shit stirring on social media. Hopefully it’s the real Dublin gaa following that comes with them tomorrow, not the lesser undesirable element of their support. Sorry in advance to anyone I offend.

  67. I’ve no problem.with the Dubs. It’s the animals I can’t stand. Every county has undesirables. We have our own too I daresay. Looking forward to tomorrow no matter what the outcome. A narrow Dublin win in my opinion. I like the fact Robbie is named. A trickeen or two up Stephens sleeve perhaps?

  68. I’d give all that shite from so-called Dublin fans on social media a wide berth, Sinead. These aren’t real Dublin GAA people and shouldn’t be taken as representative of the county’s real followers. Best ignored altogether.

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