Game day – it’s in our hands

Not for the first time in recent years, today we head into the final round of the League with the threat of relegation hanging over our heads. Quite simply, we need a result of some sorts against Donegal in Ballybofey this afternoon. A win would be great, a draw would be just dandy but the bottom line is that the only way we’ll get to retain our Division One status this evening will be if we avoid defeat at MacCumhaill Park today.

The bit that’s new about this particular NFL relegation denouement is that it involves a meeting of the two teams who are desperately trying to avoid falling into the drop zone along with relegated Kildare when the action is concluded late this afternoon.  That will be sure to bring a winner-takes-it-all kind of atmosphere to MacCumhaill Park today, where a huge crowd is expected to assemble to watch the only top tier clash on today that has any consequence in terms of the final result.

There’s plenty resting on that final result today, of course, from the perspective of both camps. Donegal manager Declan Bonner certainly won’t want to have presided over a drop to Division Two in his first year in charge. Similarly, despite our apparent reluctance to ascribe any importance to this year’s League campaign, we’ll have no desire to see our long, long tenure in Division One coming to an end, not least when Roscommon would most likely be heading in the other direction to join Galway in the top flight.

Our task today is far from easy. We’ve never won a competitive game on Donegal soil, having drawn twice and lost five times up there since our first meeting with the O’Donnell County in 1984. And it goes without saying that their home record at MacCumhaill Park, where they’ve an unbeaten run stretching back all the way to 2010, is one we’d be proud to have to our credit.

But whatever happens to us today we can be happy that we head into battle with our fate resting solely in our own hands. We’re not relying on this or that other result coming through from somewhere else to keep us up. If we stay up today we’ll do so by virtue of the sweat of our own brows.

This has been, even by our standards, a poor League campaign. Not just in the win/loss ratio but, more importantly, in how we’ve performed. We stank the place out the last day against Tyrone and it’s of more than a little concern that our best display so far in this year’s League came way back at the end of January in the first round against Monaghan, when half the team that played then were just days back off their holidays.

What’s happened so far to us in this year’s NFL is, though, of no concern heading into today’s match. Stephen Rochford was right when he said after the Tyrone game that today’s match is now “our League final”. It’s a one-off decider, a cup final of sorts, truly a winner-takes-it-all tussle.

That’s what should give us confidence heading to Ballybofey today. Time and again, when this team have been backed into a corner they’ve shown their true mettle, their undoubted battling qualities, their unquenchable will to win. That’s the kind of spirit we’ll need to see from the team today.

With Lee and Cillian out, it’ll be harder to hit those heights. But important and all as they are to us, for players waiting in the wings for a chance to shine this has to be seen as an opportunity, one that now must be grasped. If ever there was a day for new leaders to step forward then this is it.

I’ve no idea how it’ll go today. But I certainly am extremely interested to find out. So interested, in fact, that, contrary to what I was saying earlier in the week, I am after all going to be there. I’ll be on the road north shortly, as many of you no doubt will be too.

Here’s to seeing a rousing display from the lads up in Ballybofey today. Here’s to another top tier great escape act. Safe travelling to all on the roads today. Best of luck to Stephen and the players. Up Mayo.

105 thoughts on “Game day – it’s in our hands

  1. Really looking forward to this one. A high scoring draw could be the outcome!!!Wife and kids away for the day, can’t make the game so will just watch it from behind the couch through my hands…..hon mayo.

  2. Really huge game for us today. Crucial that we retain our division one status, and also important that we don’t creep towards 13 May with no form.

    I’m nervous as a kitten, but as WJ has said, this team tend to come out swinging when backed into a corner.

    Hon MAYO.

  3. Best of luck to all the team today! I am expecting a big performance. Safe travelling to all!

  4. Best of luck to the Mayo team today. Let’s hope today is not the beginning of the end but the beginning of the beginning for this great county’s fortunes.

  5. I fully expect a performance/win from this Mayo team today, this team has always performed when their backs are against the wall. Today will be no different!

  6. Douglas and Loftus to take care of dead balls. We still have 2017 player or the year and a load of hardened players lining out too. Ah, what do I know…..throw it in Ref…..Up Mayo!

  7. I can’t go but daydreaming here of saying ‘feck family commitments. I’m off to donegal’ and just taking off in the car for a round trip. It’s a day I really feel I should be there to get behind the lads. Not that I was much use last Sunday. Tried to get mayo mayo chant going but nobody seemed able to join in and found it very hard myself. Hopefully there will be something to shout about today. I hate watching on tv. Always find it more nerve wrecking. I’ve a feeling i’ll be pacing the house or going for a walk for last few mins like I had to do for Cork extra time last year with phone off and tears as thought we were finished. I know if that day ever comes I’ll bawl like a baby. Regardless of today though we are not gone. Championship still to play for. Please everyone there today try and get strength, belief and trust onto the players on the field. Let them know you are there and with them and I agree with Revellino. Stay and applaud win, lose or draw but more importantly if we lose, which we won’t 😉

  8. Mayo have to win rarely ever see a team that is in Division 2 to go on to win the all ireland

  9. Best of luck to all the team! Safe travelling to all the brilliant supporters. Mayo footballers and travelling fans heading for battle. If i was Donegal I would be very worried. Together I can see us getting what we need from this outing.

    C’mon Mayo!!!!

  10. I would settle for a much improved performance today even in defeat. 13 May is much more important. Safe travelling and..enjoy if one can!

  11. Best of luck to the lads and all those travelling today.

    I’ll be watching with a few Donegal lads (albeit of Mayo stock) today and life won’t be worth living if we lose 😉 No doubt there’ll be quite a few neutrals out there too eagerly writing the obituaries of this team.

    Hon the green and red!

  12. There is 2 big car parks across rd from entrance to stadium.but a lot of mayo supporters wail park out donegal town rd on way into ballybofy.there’s topaz shop on your way in to ballybofyon your right gud crop in there sit in also.mayo supporters cuming from around letterkenny direction wil park around stranolor.I know my way round this parts.

  13. I believe it is all been getting ready for the championship,hope we stay up not a disaster of we go down,Tyrone and Gaway ,Roscomman have been there and are going we up Mayo

  14. If Michael Murphy goes in full forward or if Murphy is doing well.our aid an will be sent to do a job on him like he did to Donahue for Kerry last augest

  15. Can’t make it to the hills today unfortunately does anyone know is our match the main one on tg4 or deferred

  16. The game is live at 3.00 Blondie, not deferred. Dubs and Monaghan are the deferred game after ours.
    I’ll be stuck to the TV myself today. Expecting a big performance.
    Good luck to all involved and safe travelling to all heading up north.

  17. It’s going to be a hard game for us we need to have plan b for the blanket defence because they are the masters off it hope it’s not the end off the tin ice wee seem to be on it the last few years hope the ice will hold up this year anyway going for a draw with a few cards ?

  18. I’m holding on hope that last weeks flat performance was due to overtraining. That’s certainly what it looked like to me. The nearer the match gets the more I think we’ll get over the line. Up Mayo!

  19. If Donegal play heavily blanket today we need to be smart and have just 5 defenders.
    Sorry but there is zero sense in playing Ger Caff if a tricky blanket needs to be probed and beaten. The defensive players need to be able to score or setup scores.
    Adam Gallagher similar to Dillons role versus Tyrone would be smart.
    Personally I don’t think we are in the form to win today. There isn’t enough quality in defensive counter attacking like Barrett, Keegan and Higgins.
    Hence why I think we have to put a footballer back there like Adam.

  20. Willie Joe, not for the 1st time a contributor entitled ‘Mayo Exile’ has posted comments. I havent posted any comment today – I am the original of the ‘Mayo Exile’ species.

  21. Are they playing the game on midwest? Listening now and no joy at the moment – internet from UK only way I can follow at the moment so any tips gratefully received!

  22. Really not looking great. Had a super start to the game but have completely fallen out it. Some bad wides and needless turnovers.

  23. Basic passing is absolutely shocking. How many times are we going to pass the ball to a Donegal player only for them to trot up and pop a point?
    Making very very hard work of every score. Running into traffic again and again, over playing the ball every time.

    And McBrearty being allowed to do as he pleases? Who’s going to take him on? Who’s going to take it by the scruff of the neck? Frankly, there’s no leadership again.

  24. Donegal have too much pace for us when they break down the middle. Paddy Durkan really quiet so far. Andy getting very little support.

  25. Bit of a shambles. Playing with fear. No pace off the shoulders. Just throw the shackles off and go for it

  26. Jeez we’re bad all right lads, half time couldnt come quick enough there. Great start, but we’ve let them back in an we’re goin backwards!
    Some very bad decisions made by us.
    Need to up the ante again in the 2nd half, and sombody to stick tight to McBrearty.
    C’MON MAYOOO!!!!

  27. an early goal to reset things would be an absolute god send – where that’s coming through is the big question.

    Based on the radio it sounded like Andy was getting behind his man / men – fingers crossed we can get playing on the front foot in the second half.

  28. i think we had 5pts after 10-11 min

    shooting and passing a disaster since.

    Parsons not going well in the middle either

  29. AT is right. There seems to be an element of fear since donegal got back into it. We don’t need a break though. Need to get our asses in gear now.

  30. Fortunate enough that Donegal have kicked a couple of wides in the last few minutes. But we’re not making anything up front.

  31. Thats the get out of jail card played. We were poor, didnt deserve it but who gives a fuck. Lead by the young guys at the end, ODonaghue, Loftus, Boland, Hall drove forward to make that happen. Who said there isnt a future coming up in Mayo

  32. Kevin mcloughlin…….I salute you…..our Johnny Sexton moment…….yeeeeow!!!! Such balls!!!!

  33. I was wrong and delighted to be.

    Give me all the humble pie in Mayo.

    We were shit but we got what was needed. Just.

    A 50m right foot swinger from Mcloughlin

  34. And to listen to David Brady saying a big thank you to Donegal for letting us back in ? , no one let us back in just the same as we never let Dublin back in , we took it just like Dublin did.

  35. My God I have seen many incredible finishes in my lifetime across many sports but this is up there with any of them I really thought we were gone but the character of these players came to the fore again. It was so important to stay up and avoid the dogfight of Division 2 next spring.

  36. Thanks for nearly getting me killed off the ladder! An amazing finish and I should have known Mayo would do something ridiculous as usual. Next time I’ll listen to it on a chair

    Well done.

  37. Thank god for youth, Loftus has arrived, centre forward for the future, Seamus O Shea very good, Parsons poor, Coen won’t make championship team, great result against the odds.

  38. Well done Mayo ye had to dig deep there and were much the better in the second half while Donegal played wasteful possession football and deserved to “lose”. Three Connaught teams now in Division 1 with Roscommon under the radar now and waiting to ambush either Mayo or Galway.

  39. Oh us of little faith,well done to team and management,perfect performance,life in the team yet,congratulations to all ,now for the small matter of Galway who will be beaten on May as well,up Mayo

  40. Brady’s comment about that point being key to our future was bang on the money. Great lift before we go into May!

  41. I think Stephen deserves another week or two,after Tyrone a lot of people felt he was too slow to react ,but today every decision was correct,up Stephen

  42. Congrats to a team that does not give up, when it is all or nothing. We will be watching Mc’s equaliser for years to come.

  43. We got out of jail but the substitutions were way too late.
    For more than 25mins no forward other than Loftus had scored in the second half.
    The current forwards are under very little pressure from the bench which is a big problem.

  44. Well done to the boys! That keeps the trolls etc. quiet for another while anyway! Roll on the Galway game!

  45. Well done lads. As i said yest’ it’s not over till the Mayo boys sing’ it’s 5pm and we’re heading to 23yrs in Div 1. Roll onn May 13th. Oh Kevin, and Fergal for doing the run in with freshness.
    Happy day in Lee’s and Cillian’s recovery.
    Thank you guys again!!

  46. Well done to the boys! That keeps the trolls etc. quiet for another while anyway! Roll on the Galway game!

  47. This is MASSIVE result for our confidence ..The boys will be flying in training in next 7 weeks . A HUGE wine for us

  48. Lacked any kind of energy until it looked like we were fucked. Donegal were messing about in possession and going down with knocks. Christ it looked grim.

    And it was their two talismans who gave us a lifeline – Murphy and McBrearty both gave away possession in the dying embers.

    O’Donoghue’s composure is beyond impressive. But the equaliser from McLoughlin. I still can’t believe he even took it on! Fifty yards out on his standing foot.

    Here’s hoping that gives them a huge lift coming into championship preparation time. Lots of lads to come back in and it certainly helps that we’re still in the top flight.

  49. Just about.
    Really feel if we put the subs on earlier we would have made life easier for ourselves.
    We survived, mountain of work to do.

  50. Well done.
    Special mention today for Caeolan Crowe ….
    Went one on one with McBrearty today and went well I thought.

    Thought A Moran made some greedy decisions today.

  51. Ah relax lads, sure it was never in doubt!!

    Christ, some fucking balls on O’Donoghue and McLoughlin for those two points.

  52. How do they keep digging it out when it looks impossible .. some bunch of men.. special mention for the new lads.. Crowe, Donoghue, Loftus .. not forgetting Boyler and Aiden .. paddy in the closing stages ..

    Who knew KevinMc had a right boot ..

    Huge win .. they are not done yet !!

  53. A lot of young lads stood up to be counted today. Loftus kept us in that game to the end of normal time. It was an outrageous for one of the corner backs to bring us to within 1, and as for Kevin Mc, he stood up when we needed him most. In fairness he has been one of our most reliable and unsung heroes over the last few years.
    The never say die attitude saved us today, and that is what us what we are

  54. Looks like your man from Meath who doesn’t do the autographs will have to start apologising for wrong predictions every week!!

  55. Durcan, Loftus, O’Donoghue and Boland drove us on and were influential in each of the last 3 scores.
    As mentioned earlier, Crowe quietly effective all league. Tough, dirty and sticky like all good corner backs.
    But my God almighty, what balls from O’Donoghue! He’ll need a wheelbarrow to carry them around!!!
    Any player that came out of Belmullett was always one to be reckoned with. A real find of the league along with Crowe and Loftus.
    They’ll bounce in to this Galway game.

  56. How many lives have Mayo used up now was very doubtful at half time up Mayo and we have 3 Connaught team in div 1 now

  57. Crowe was very steady on a superb forward. O’Donoghue is now pushing Harrison and Barrett, and that’s exactly what we need.

    Conor Loftus really stood up today, particularly in the second half. His pass into Andy for the goal chance in the first half was outrageous. Reminded me of his assist against Kerry last year. Also kicked a massive free in the second half when we were clinging on. It was him and not Andy or Doc that led the line today. Really promising.

    I also thought Boland looked positive when he came on. I really like the look of him and think he can offer a lot more if given the chance.

  58. That’s the annual heart check sorted. Well done Mayo I am glad I was there to see the lads give it their all

  59. Didn’t I tell ye last January O’Donoghue was chiseled from the same granite as Chris Barrett and Willie Joe before them that’s only to be found somewhere around Lennons quarry in Belmullet. He’s the real deal so is Kevin Mc Loughlin what a score that was. Great day for Mayo thank God.

  60. Mayo Exile – not long in now, just getting started on looking at the comments posted since I left this morning. (I do get round to them all, eventually). Bad form that someone else is posting using your handle.

    Mayo exile (the other one) – I’ve added a “2” to your handle, which is okay to use but it’s probably better to think up a new one.

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