Come dine with us, Galway

Sitting down to watch the championship draw last winter I was hoping not to see my biggest pet hate but no such luck. There were the lads all suited and booted, ready to pull those dirty looking cylinder canisters from a round goldfish bowl. Shouting at the television like a mad man, I implored them to use balls (or even Paul Cunnane’s yellow Kinder egg toy box). Anything but those canisters.

“Must be easier to fix,” I text my Dad.

A few minutes later, it was time for the draw for the Connacht championship. Given the new Super 8s format would be coming into play for the first time later in 2018, I wanted a handy draw. When we pulled Galway out, my initial thought was “those feckin’ cylinders”. My second thought was “time for revenge”.

Growing up, Mayo v Galway was always a huge and close rivalry.

Photo: The Journal (Inpho/Billy Stickland)

I have very fond memories of our wins over them in ’96, ’97 (Tuam hoodoo banished) and ’99 (wettest I have ever been). That streak was, of course, punctuated by Galway’s win in ’98 (despite McD rattling the crossbar). In recent years, the famous Mayo/Galway rivalry had somewhat dwindled, with Mayo handing out a few good beatings to Galway.

No win was sweeter than Salthill in 2013 when Andy Moran returned from his cruciate injury to bag himself a goal and cap off a momentous day for supporters of the Green and Red. There’s a lovely photo hanging up in my parents’ house of Andy entering the pitch. In the background myself and Dad (and everyone else) are giving him a standing ovation.

Over the last two years, in particular since Stephen Rochford’s first championship match in charge of Mayo in 2016, the rivalry has been rekindled.

In 2016, Galway were at a low ebb and as is their wont, the support for the team had dried up considerably. However leaving MacHale Park that day, the small  Galway support who did bother to travel were gleefully celebrating with the players out on the pitch singing The Fields of Athenry. Sportsfile’s photos from the match clearly showed that, that year at least, beating Mayo was like their All-Ireland.

Photo: Sportsfile/Daire Brennan

Then in 2017 after they beat us in Salthill I never made my way back up Taylor’s Hill as quick. A moment of red mist from Keith left us down to fourteen men. The lads fought hard and even a man up I felt Galway got out of jail as they went into their shell. They left us enough chances to win the game, which, fortunately for them, we did not take.

This year, things are different. Galway now have Sam on their mind and have not been shy about telling the world. They had a league campaign which resulted in a disappointing end when they failed to put a Dublin team shorn of several stars and down to 14 men for over 20 minutes to the sword. That said, the loss has not knocked Galway’s confidence one bit and they come to MacHale Park viewing it as a stepping stone to bigger things.

The match has caught the imagination of the entire country and MacHale Park is due to be a sell-out. This is the biggest match in Connacht for a number of years. When asked on Off The Ball about the upcoming Galway game, reigning Footballer of the Year Andy Moran said to Nathan Murphy “We love big games” before fixing him with a deadly stare.

Andy is right. This group are a big game team. The bigger the test the better they are. They will not be found wanting on May 13th.

And let me say to this Mayo team right now that no Mayo supporter will be found wanting that day either. We are nobody’s stepping stone, certainly not Galway’s. We need to bring flags, colour and overwhelming noise and support for 70+ minutes. Cheer every score, every turnover, yes, but it is in those minutes where we are under the cosh that we need to stand up as supporters and be counted.

Photo: RTÉ

We don’t just sing when we are winning. We are Mayo, we are in this together. We have a bond with this team that cannot be broken. If you are struggling for breath, just think of one of the many joyous moments these lads have given us.

Continue with your support and help send the Maroons down the long and winding qualifier route. Leaving Mayo the ones left to dine at football’s top table.

47 thoughts on “Come dine with us, Galway

  1. Brilliant blog. I am following Mayo Football for over 40 years & it never changes, butterflies in the tummy every game this great Mayo team play. I don’t know what happens me but the Mrs. keeps a safe distance in case I would rattle her with a massive shoulder & put her flying back into the kitchen again! Ha ha joking of course but I am definitely on a higher buzz level & it’s great. The Mayo team will be ready for Galway but they have to keep their discipline level on the border line at all times, hit hard but fair & win by 2 or 3 points. Up MAYO.

  2. We might as well not show up then. Seriously I am not sure about your assertion that we see this as a stepping stone. Having Sam on the radar is no bad thing. Sure ye have had it on the radar big time since your team hit the big time again in 2011/2012. Any Galway supporter who knows their football and there are plenty over the history of time will admit this is a big challenge. But a big challenge for ye as well. That’s what makes it intriguing.

  3. “We are Mayo, we are in this together”

    We are in this together and WE ARE MAYO

    Happy Mayo day to all

  4. What a great post … heart pumping after that ! #inthistogether #always … make no mistake Galway think this one is in the bag … bring tbe flags shout like crazy show everyone why we are known as the best supporters in the country! Up Mayo

  5. Just a brilliant post Trevor! Ready now to take to the stands in McHale Park now!! Your last few sentenes sum up what this team mean to us. Mayo forever!!!!!

  6. Arah Musha sure the game is on Telly I might sky plus it and if the day is good start scrawing a bog or two.

    You’ll be the first in the stand Sean Burke and don’t deny it lol I will be there early myself too shouting on the juniors

  7. Arrah lads no one in Galway is looking beyond Mayo. To beat Mayo in Castlebar is a big ask but we have improved so I would be disappointed if we dont push Mayo all the way. Its ages since either team has played a competitive game so the first few minutes will show who is quickly at the pace of the game. Mayo have started matches very slowly so im sure Rochford will look for a blistering start as Galway appear to start games quickly. Who has the better bench to call on do ye think? Also Shane Walsh is due a big game as is Paul Conroy. I think Keegan is out and is a big loss to Mayo but Brannigan is a big loss to Galway too as I think he is underrated. Finally Roscommon beat us last year and could easily have beaten ye in the drawn match last year so the road to tbe super8 isnt a straight one even if you win this match.

  8. I think we answered the Roscommon question in the replay last year Reamonn but we’re not looking beyond Galway for now but we are not afraid of Galway either and as Andy has said and the Mayo team has shown we love big games.

  9. Great post, thoroughly enjoyed the read.
    Live and work in Galway everyday & they are sure they have this one in the bag & a lot more after that.
    Looking forward to it & hopefully all the games after. Happy Mayo Day & UP MAYO.

  10. Welcome back, Sinead. Ah, lads, no one will buy into this championship until after the champions league final and World Cup is done and dusted. I’d be happy as long as we are not beaten by more than 3/4 points. Straight into the qualifiers then, where I’m sure a few handy draws will allow us settle on our best starting team, and also injuries to clear up. Once we hit the super8’s we will have the required confidence and momentum to push on and hopefully make the semi-finals. Win that, and I’m convinced we will be a cyclone force in final – and AI champions once again. Galway 1-18 Dublin 1-16.

  11. Galway for everything ya definately, thats what we are saying up here….. Come on Mayo people , the true Galway supporter not the shit stirrers know that Mayo are favourites for this one.. On the andy “we love big games ” interview sure what team doesnt like big games? Every serious inter county player loves big games.. I hope Conor Lane is watching Cillian and his little party tricks of running directly into players backs and sprawling on the ground looking for cards… Looking forward to the game and a good run in the qualifiers !! Mayo big favourites as its not February or March or only the league and ye have all the All Stars back and are at home .. This is what ye have been readying yourselves for since the draw was made..

  12. Seems that Kerin and Brannigan are out as they were both spotted on crutches in McHale Park during Galway’s runout there today, big blow for them as both are key players.

  13. Haha good man Tuam star , here’s to a fair hard toe to toe game and then the best team will be victorious . Enjoy yer day in Castlebar .

  14. One of the key battles will be Cillian slapping himself off fellas and Comer hauling defenders to the ground – what’s good for the goose Tuamstar.

  15. ‘We are nobody’s stepping stone’ – Mayo lads should pin that up in the dressing room! Excellent post. Galway lads are confident but very weary of us – they don’t know what Mayo team will turn up. League form means nothing in the championship. Can’t wait for this one.

  16. Who do ye reckon will pick up comer ? Who on the pitch will give the defining shoulder/belt to rise the spirit of team and supporters ? Boyer did it , Comer did it , Dillon set the tone in 13 . My money is on Aido .

  17. Nice tetchy feeling on these posts… I’ve never heard so much promotion of opposition and yerra strokes… Let the games begin and may we both give this championship a good rattle. The first game will give some indication of where Mayo really are at… hope we are ready to rock!! Pull up to the table lads and see who’s got the appetite… May our lads be ravenous. Maigheo go deo

  18. Tuamstar while I agree Cillian is no angel, Comer is fond of that sort of shite too. (pulling defenders down on top of him is his particular party piece)

  19. Hope the referee is fair and has a good game, and gets all the big calls correct, as it may be the difference in winning and losing this one. Its getting serious now Lads and Lassies, the countdown has begun, and the clock is ticking. 7 more sleeps, and then we are waiting nervously for the national Anthem to be played, and Ball to be thrown in, sure what else would we rather be doing, only cheering on our mighty men, and giving them the support and backing they so richly deserve, and having the honour to be part of, Mayo in this together movement, that’s just keeps growing, currently getting organised for another season, in the hunt for the holy grail, There’s no supporter like a mayo supportor. And no team like our mighty warriors who will pull on the jersey on the 13th, and do us proud again. And give us the entertainment, excitement, guaranteed nail biting moments, and quality football. That’s why we are Mayo, and we are in this Together.

  20. Galway will stick with their blanket ‘catenaccio’ style football. If Mayo are sharp and have worked on their shooting from distance we will win. Keeping Galway from scoring a goal while getting one or 2 of our own could be the difference. Time to stand up.

  21. THE DAWN CHORUS.

    The Shite Hawk is widely regarded as the emblematic bird of Galway.
    With a beautiful maroon plumage and white underbelly this bird had almost reached extinction. As recently as 3 years ago it was feared there were only a couple of dozen Shite Hawks left in the County.

    Through careful management and been force fed a tightly regulated Supermacs diet, the Shite Hawk has made a remarkable recovery.

    Every few years swarms of Shite Hawks migrate to Mayo for a day. Bird enthusiasts have witnessed thousands of Shite Hawks on occasion in the Castlebar area.

    The Mayo native loves to see the arrival of the Shite Hawk. It’s a sure sign Summer has arrived.

    The long journey and the days migration does not always suit the Shite Hawk. Sometimes the arduous journey results in this beautiful bird losing its plummage.

    Sometimes the Shite Hawks return successfully from their trip north, however this usually builds a false confidence. It leads to the Shite Hawks attempting trips to other unknown destinations which has had disastrous consequences over recent years.

    If over the coming week, you happen to be standing outside and notice a flock of Shite Hawks passing over, please don’t run inside for the double barrel. It’s true, they’re isn’t a more beautiful trophy to have in the house than a stuffed Shite Hawk over the fireplace, however, it has to be remembered, they’re a harmless creature.

  22. Sean Burke I reckon Keith Higgins will be handed the task along with an extra defender where possible (my hunch would be Colm Boyle) – that is presuming Galway will not play with 6 orthodox forwards (more than likely they’ll have no more than 5 in attack at any one time) which will leave us with a ‘plus 1’ defender at the back. Would you agree? It won’t be as simple as a 1 on 1 job for Comer particularly seen as we don’t have anyone perfectly matched for him —Keegan may have been that match. Rochy will have something more sophisticated planned. What do you think?

  23. I think Vaughan will be put on him in a man marking role, with maybe higgins giving a dig out aswell. Vaughan can cover the grass no problem, and will roam forward and force Comers hand a bit. I’ll get lambasted for this, but we have to try the odd long ball into Aido through out the game, say 1 ball every 6/7 mins, im not talking the pat & noel version, where he had zero support. Keep Andy and Cillian close ready for knock downs. No point doing it if chasing the game when Galway will have the square packed anyway. It sounds simple and outdated, but quick long ball in on turnovers could produce goals big time.

  24. @Trevor, Brilliant post, haven’t tuned into the blog for a few days (not like me, I know,) but there you go, great to see the rousing passion we associate with any Mayo team, that ever played the game, but this very special Mayo team in particular so very well articulated..!

  25. Definitely not forgetting our wonderful Women’s team, who are facing the All Ireland Champions Dublin, in the Division 1 League Final …. Best of luck Ladies… Hope ye get plenty of Support in 13″ hour’s time in Parnell Park…Calling on everyone possible to support our Ladies…. We’re Mayo, and as Trevor Naughton said in his piece…. We are all in this together!

  26. Claremorris had a good win Friday night. Conor Diskin, Stephen McGreal and James Mccormack played well.
    At James Mccormacks current rate of improvement he could be a midfield option next year (just when we need one).
    A thing I’v been noticing also. We have a very low drop out rate from our minor teams. Wasn’t always so. We had a trend up to 2012 of county minor players not bothering with club football after minor. Now we’re pretty much dealing from a bigger deck when it comes to u20 and senior in terms of being potential to reach those standards. I recall Mayo having the senior squad and maybe 4-5 guys fringe and close. Nowadays theres at least a dozen players with high potential.

  27. Trevor I found that difficult to be honest. A lot of nostalgia and a pint size of wishful thinking thrown in. Unless you know what is happening within the camp which I doubted. It’s a quarter final in May. Roscommon are the true favourites for Connacht this year thanks to those cylinders you speak of. The true shape of Mayo and Galway in this year’s Championship will start to emerge in the weeks and months after the month of May. Knockout Connacht championship football ended for ever when I was still playing under the table. Mayo should focus on the business end if they are as good as you make out. Some of their warriors will hopefully have returned to full fitness by then. This game will display all that’s best in puke football Tyrone dirty tactics and another Oscar for DC. It will not be a full house and probably it will not be value for money for either supporters. Mayo junior’s are not in the final as the semi is down for Wed 9th against the Connacht Champions in Pairc Sean at 19.00 hrs.

  28. I still have an ache in my arse listening to Mayo supporters leaving the Hyde in 2015 after we bagged our 5 in a row Nestor titles telling me “It’s just the auld Nestor cup what good is that”. For a lot of people the Nestor Cup is the be all and end all of this summer. Has the will to beat Galway in a micky mouse jost replaced the the fine runs we had with Rochy and this fine team.

  29. JP – I was at Breaffy v Claremorris a few weeks ago and those 3 were the standouts for Claremorris. McGreal and Diskin will be 2 strong forwards for the u20’s this year. McCormack reminds me of a James McCarthy or James Nallen style player.

  30. Anyone at kiltimagh V breaffy last night unbelievable win for kiltimagh any lads up too county standard?

  31. Getting ready for New York vs Leitrim
    Could New York record their first championship win? Throw in 7.15 Irish time.

  32. Brilliant post Trevor!!! I’m ready for May 13th after that. It’s going to be a long week. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Maigh Eo abu!

  33. Sligo gave London a good beating .
    This ladies game is painful, Dublin far superior .

  34. Revellino, that’s a great one about the Shitehawks.
    Hopefully Crowe and Drake and Big Bird will not be distracted and keep their eyes on the ball.

  35. @Wide ball. If you were picking young players with serious athleticism mixed with size, then James Mccormack is in that list. Mathew Macken is another I think can go well. Has a good strong gallop on him.

  36. Think New York will beat Leitrim, if thats the case will Roscommon have a bye, or do New York come over?.

  37. why was the ladies game played in Parnell Park , surely If Croke Park was not being used then it should have been a neutral venue like Athlone .

  38. Did anyone see Sean Kavanagh on the Sunday game, the big teams, he mentions Tyrone Galway and no mention of Mayo. Bitter man.

  39. Sean Cavanagh got a proper stuffing from Leeroy in 2016 and has not forgiven us since..Hope you are reading this Seanie..

  40. Sean Cavanagh was at it again on TV last night what rubbish was coming out of his mouth again Does he ever learn according to him Mayo are over the hill , these Mayo warriors will show him who is the best .
    Maigh Eo Abu

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