Stephen speaks about Sunday

Photo: Sky Sports/Sportsfile

Today seems to be Stephen Rochford day in the media. Ahead of Sunday’s seismic showdown with the neighbours, Stephen is featured in several places today. Take your pick from this lot – Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Irish Sun, Irish Mirror, Irish Independent, RTÉ, Sky Sports.

These pieces were all culled from the Connacht championship launch last week, at which Mike Finnerty got the interview with Stephen that featured in last week’s edition of the Mayo News football podcast, so some of what’s included in today’s coverage won’t be news to you. In addition there is, of course, much commonality across the various pieces.

I liked the bit where Stephen bigs up Galway as “the second best team in the country” – a claim that earns headlines in the Indo and RTÉ. Liam Horan will, no doubt, be high-fiving with the boss when he sees this nice piece of self-deprecation.

Other outlets provide a more resolute line on which to lead, with the Mirror focusing on Stephen’s remark that the lads are prepared to “die with their boots on” come Sunday, while Sky’s piece zones in on our unique logistical challenges. Someone in the Examiner can expect a stern call, though, as they lead with a claim that Rochy isn’t having “sleepless nights ahead of Galway exam.” The Times, meanwhile, as you’d expect, shy away from dramatics with their headline, in which they quote Stephen making the rather obvious statement that we’ll be “braced for Galway’s physical challenge.”

It’s all harmless fun, of course – no doubt tomorrow or the day after we’ll see Kevin Walsh plastered all over the media, with what he had to say packaged here as bullishly positive, there as apprehensive and self-effacing, somewhere else as a bit of one and a bit of the other. It all helps to pass the time.

As regards substance Stephen provides little or nothing to chew on. He’s too long on the road for that. The main message, though, one he made clear as far back as that pre-Christmas lunch in the Shelbourne Hotel, is that this game has been the team’s sole focus ever since the draw was made last October. Of that there can be no doubt.

If you want something different to get your teeth stuck into, Mike Quirke’s column in the Irish Examiner (here) is worth a look. In it, he licks his chomps about Sunday’s clash, musing on the likely reaction in our ranks to all this bullish talk about the Tribesmen.

Today is Tuesday, of course, which means that the Mayo News is out in paper and digital variants. This week there’s a 12-page spread on the match so plenty to entertain you there, with loads of stuff on tactics, facts and figures and the rest.

One nugget from that source today comes with the news, which Mike Finnerty picked up at the provincial championship launch, that both counties will publish their starting teams for the game at some stage on Thursday. We all know, of course, that the line-ups announced then are likely to be tweaked a bit ahead of throw-in, not least given the injury stories emanating from the Galway camp and ongoing uncertainty on our side over who’s fit and available but, sure, that’s all part of the pre-match fun too.

For what it’s worth, the Connaught Telegraph has a stab at what our team might look like – here. This isn’t a scoop, more of an educated guess. We’ll still, I reckon, be guessing on starting line-ups even after the parade is mustered on Sunday.

Right, that’ll do you for now. A few have been asking about the championship prediction mini-league so, just to answer that one – yes, there will be one and, yes, I will do a post on it shortly. Later on today, in fact, if time permits.

70 thoughts on “Stephen speaks about Sunday

  1. I suppose for us the big question is who marks Comer – its C crowe for me!

    Also, will K Higgins start?

    Looking forward to it!

  2. There’s one interesting thing in the Connaught piece on the likely team: Keith Higgins is playing for the hurlers on Saturday. That will make his role on Sunday a minor one I should think.

  3. Paul Dempsey – We would have to bring Hennelly on as a sub if not playing to take one. O’Connor, Hennelly, Loftus, Doherty and Moran. Order very important too as if both teams score same amount it is sudden death in order they took first kick.

  4. Higgins won’t be with the hurlers on Saturday, which is unfortunate for the hurlers.
    Looking at Rochfords record to date he tends not to make sweeping changes from game to game, even from last league game to championship. Drake will probably lose out, maybe to Barrett. After that there might not be any other change from the Donegal game with Crowe picking up comer. A few heavy weights on the bench to bring on!

  5. In the unlikely event of sudden death the wildcards are Nally and Kirby. Also people keep forgetting both Diarmaid and Conor OS also have a mighty belt of a ball. Eoin O Donoghue also seems to have higher percentage than Lee or Paddy in the backs. Don’t think he hit one wide in the league. Also Adam Gallagher is a recognised free taker. People forgot about him too.

  6. shuffly deck – you can only pick 5 from the players who played at any stage during the game.

  7. I think it’s vital for this game that we get the full back position correct if we do it will go a long way to deciding this game.

  8. Frankly I think the only stuff I’ve read that was any way real, non spin or not pure bullshit was Comer’s interview. Fair play to the lad. Journalism is just far too predictable and boring. The Sunday Game preview was a complete joke with the two lads just rehashing everything that has already been written. As experts surely they could have more indept analysis of teams strengths and weaknesses. Instead they are afraid to say anything that might upset their audience, RTE, the GAA, their own counties management team or their mates when they meet them at the golf club or down the boozer. If you are a professional journalist then you should forget about having friends. Any journalist that was ever any good had as many enemies as friends. I just despair of reading the equivalent of magnolia news.

  9. Higgins will play and start on Sunday. I’m convinced of that, particularly given what happened last year in this fixture.

  10. Catcol – last I heard from a hurling panelist was he told them after league he wouldn’t be there for Christy ring, unless something has changed since?

  11. Keith wouldn’t spend the last month training with footballers only to play a hurling game Saturday and effectively rule himself out of the Galway game.

  12. Paul Dempsey Dont think it goes down to’45s if a draw after extra time. Its a replay

  13. I wouldn’t fancy our chances in the event of a 45 taking competition tbh.

  14. – What is changed since 11th Feb ?, well there is no doubt that we will have caught up fitness wise, will be way sharper and hopefully will be smart enough to avoid black and red cards.
    – Galway will also have improved, they are more confident after their excellent league run and have had 5 more league games since then to perfect their ‘Shawl’
    – Expecting players returning from injury like Barrett/Vaughan and to a lesser extent SOS/COC to be able to play for 70+ mins is rubbish, we are getting key players back but they are all lacking match sharpness except for Higgins who at least was playing hurling matches. People also need to remember that Paddy McB was not fully fit in that final league came so that needs to be taken into consideration when judging CC.
    – Will Mayo start kicking points from 30 or 40 yards out when it is something they have often failed to do when confronted with a massed defence ?
    – Neither SOS nor TP are good foot passers so who is going to drill the ball fast and accurate into our FF line ?.
    – We are starting to get caught for pace not just at Mid-field but also in our forward diamond and it’s going to cost us in 2018
    – The build-up has been perfect for Mayo, our lads are well used to high pressure games. Will be interesting to see how Galway deal with real pressure. We cannot be going through the tightrope that is the back door in 2018 therefore It’s a must win for us and a nice to win for Galway and hopefully that is what will swing it for us…

  15. Agree with sinabhil about modern day “journalism” in Ireland. One of The best Gaa journalists is Ewan MacKenna and he wrote on twitter last week that he cannot get accredited for any gaa games. Presumably due to his outspoken stance on the funding of Dublin gaa amongst other things. He also said Marty Morrissey obtains gaa media passes for women he meets in coppers! Quite unbelievable really but a sad indictment of modern day Ireland.
    While I’m at it ranting, RTEs coverage was fucking shite last weekend. A bunch of them were sitting around on radio telling us all we need a B championship. It’s funny how it’s nearly always ex kerry or Dublin players telling us this kinda shite. Their counties will never play in this Mickey Mouse competition they propose.
    I’m a massive Mayo fan, and it probably wouldn’t affect us, but I’m saying it straight now – the day a Tiered championship is introduced is the day Gaelic football will die in almost half the counties in Ireland.
    Oisin mcconville has the neck to point towards hurling structures as the way to go. Joe Mc Donagh cup kicked off the other day – did anyone even notice?
    I’d wager there’s more National media coverage of the Mayo intermediate club championship than the Nicky rackard cup?
    Are sky and RTE going to show live and exclusive coverage of the hypothetical Leitrim v Waterford tie in the “paidi o se cup” in 2022??
    You must be joking.
    Yet we are told by the experts football needs a similar arrangement?
    Give me a break.

  16. Bottom line is The bookies have Mayo as favourites and they rarely can be wrong, a massive Mayo crowd in Castlebar will be cheering ye on. I see Sky sports will have football qualifiers each Sat evening up to the 8s so honestly id be expecting to see Galway there. Mayo will have absolutely no excuses from now on. Mayo by 4..

  17. Ha ha, nice one Tuam Star, the shadow-boxing’s started already 😉

  18. Had a result just now, Premier sports is normally £11.99 a month, rang them up to complain about not showing much gaelic football, the chap I was speaking to was very nice, and full of apologies, he assured me that they were waiting to get confirmation of their summer schedule, and would be showing games starting this weekend, and as way of compensation, he reduced it to £4.99 for the next 4 months, so there’s result, for anyone interested, its Premier sports costumer services u need, The revelant phone numbers will point u in the right direction. Now all we need is the right result on Sunday, and I have no doubt we will get that too. Come on Mayo, payback time.

  19. Best of luck to our lads Sunday.
    They truly are inspirational. If our nerves are shattered thinking about this game how must they be feeling. How do they do this year in year out.?Wish it was done with now.
    In this together!!

  20. The importance of sundays game can not be overstated,if we win we have a track to run on regarding future games, LOSE and we are going up a blind alley again.As far as i understand DIV.3 AND DIV 4 TEAMS have home advantage if they draw a div.1 or div.2 team in first two rounds of qualifers. The front door is the way to go this year.MAYO support will outnumber galway by 4 to 1 so we have to make that count and turn mchale park into a sea of red and green and make it a fortress so teams dont like coming to castlebar.i would urge everybody to get their flags and hats ready before sunday and be prepared to roar the team on from 4 o clock on sunday , and keep cheering until game is over and match is won.the team deserve that much from the supporters,if everyone on the blog tells two people each to get a mayo flag for the match it would be great.I think mayo will win on sunday as rochford has this match in his sights since the draw was made. MAYO by 4 points

  21. Haha good man Tuamstar, playing the oul “cover me a**e” prediction on the neighbours blog, so if it comes to pass, you can’t get pulled up. I like your style :).
    Galway could well go and win on Sunday, as they have done the last 2 years. But its Croke Park perfomances where ill judge them, (if they get that far). Thats where you see the real steel of a team, frankly they looked well out of their depth against an average Kerry team last year. If we lose on Sunday id still wager we’ll get further than them again, Yes the qualifiers are tricky, but we’re used to them now, we know where the pot holes are and how to avoid them.

  22. Olive is on the money. Expecting Vaughan, S O’S to suddenly be ready for full-throttle after long layoffs and no games is crazy. Mayo have a real struggle on their hands on Sunday and it’ll take everything they can muster to win it. Hopefully Cillian O’Connor is fit to play because we’re really going to need those frees to go over.

  23. Puckout and Wideball – hope you are both right.

    Olive good analysis there, though we hope that some of the challenge games and A V B stuff may have brought the returnees on a bit.

  24. Bookies now have Mayo @8/11 , if this trend continues, it will soon be evens .

  25. Sinabhuil – you really nailed it. I gave up listening to or reading those celebs. If any of them has insights they are invariably incapable of expressing themselves so we are bored to death with heavy sprinkling of “you know”. Sorry to be so scathing but these experts should only have a shelf life of one season. And dont get me going re radio commentators – for God’s sake just tell us whats actually happening on the field of play, thats all I want, you know.

  26. Leinster GAA seem to be applying different rules???

    Leinster GAA
    ?
    Verified account

    @gaaleinster
    6h6 hours ago
    More
    Extra Time…
    Matches that finish level at the end of normal time in the Leinster SFC 2018 will feature two periods of 10 minutes extra time. If sides are level after extra time there will be a replay.

  27. Tuamstar think you’ll find it’s Galway that will have no excuses from now on … walk the walk etc ….

  28. My team for Sunday…
    Clarke
    Harrison Vaughan O Donohue
    Higgins
    Boyle Durcan Barrett

    SOS Parsons
    Mclouglin AOS loftus
    Moran COC
    Subs to come in. Doherty DOC Coen Gallagher Crowe.

  29. Thanks Tuamstar, have Mayo at 4/5 to beat Galway and 15/2 to win All Ireland which will be a great bet by Monday!

  30. Money in the bank justoutsideballagh…. Anne Marie no excuses is right.. We’ll be in hiding from Sunday evening onwards…

  31. Anyone know if H&S gave to go ahead to up the capacity? Will look funny having the “full house” signs up while vast areas of concrete bench’s will be visible.

  32. Paul – Having read that piece and looked at the relevant Congress rule changes, it’s now clear to me that your claim (oft-repeated here by the way, so maybe no need to keep making it!) that there’ll be some kind of ’45 shootout if the game is still level after extra-time is 100% NOT correct.

    That article you linked mistakenly states that the rule change at Congress meant “doing away with replays”. It didn’t. Instead, the provision for extra-time in all matches up to provincial finals makes replays the exception and not, as has been the case up to now, the norm. Link to the relevant Congress motion (no.6) passed at the 2017 Congress is here.

    Congress did, however, bring in the possibility of additional extra-time followed, if necessary, by “a freetaking competition” for qualifier matches, NFL knockout games and provincial club championship games – link to that change (Motion 16) is here. This rule change DOES NOT apply to provincial championship games at inter-county level so this means there’ll be no shootout on Sunday if it finishes all square after extra-time.

  33. Some great comments and views here – I agree fully with Olive Kerrigan’s analysis. I do think we are worrying too much about Damien Comer – he’s an excellent forward and brings great physicality to Galway’ s game. Harrison, Higgins, Barret etc. have vast experience so Comer shouldn’t be anything new for them to worry about. I find the game will be won or lost at the other end of the pitch. Mayo’s league was so poor because we were blunt and wayward in attack. We had far too many wides (both from play and presentable frees) and our combinations and build up play was slow and ponderous. If we play like that on Sunday it will be curtains for us because Galway are set up to defend en masse and rely on countering with scores of their own. If Mayo have worked on the sharp shooting and speeding the build up around the edges like Dublin did to Tyrone last year in the All-ireland semi we will probably win. We also need everyone on their game on Sunday – not just one or two and we need to adopt a no nonsense ‘not today’ approach to the cynical pulling and dragging shite that Galway will try to bring. (I hope Cillian and Diarmuid are paying particular attention!!!) I find if you get on with things quick and put a few scores on the board that kind of crap dies down fast enough. This is our toughest challenge outside of an All-Ireland semi-final for some years as I don’t count the last 2 losses to Galway as anything other than complacency and us on a fitness programme designed for August. This is different. We have to peak on Sunday and I think we will. Come on Mayo #believe

  34. My biggest concern ahead of Sunday concerned the lack of match practice / match fitness for a few of our lads, Chris Barrett, Donal Vaughan, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins, Cillian O Connor and a couple of others. Rustiness, lack of sharpness etc. On that basis I would normally expect Galway to come through with a bit to spare.
    However, I reckon the level of intensity at Mayo training is far greater than anything in any league game. I suspect it’s no place these days for those of a delicate disposition! I believe all the lads will be more than ready for battle on Sunday.

  35. People have mentioned about seeing August Mayo on Sunday, I can’t see that happening as to get August Mayo you need to have May, June and July under your belt. It’s usually only during May that our full panel starts training together so it probably takes a number of weeks of collective training to get into our stride fully.

    I would expect to see a much improved performance though compared to our games in 2016 and 2017 against Galway. They have improved too so that should even things up. If Tom Parsons, Seamus and Aidan O’Shea are going well early in the game then I can’t see Galway being able to get the better of those three. Turning that possession into scores then will be key. Andy Moran didn’t start the 2016 game so it’ll be great to have him up front this year. It could be his last game against Galway in Castlebar in the championship so I’m sure that he will want to do well.

    Remember in the Kerry game last year, Stephen Rochford deduced that Kieran Donaghy was at the heart of Kerry’s gameplan and planned accordingly, stop Donaghy and you beat Kerry. Will he feel the same way about Comer, it’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with. He has used a midfielder in the past in these instances at full-back (Barry Moran/Aidan O’Shea etc.) so it’ll be interesting to see if he does something radical like that again on Sunday.

  36. My main concern is also that some of the lads are coming into the game a little cold following injuries. Many of them are a long-time on the road though so the rest might be no harm either.

  37. Thanks Tuamstar, great tip! Will gave covered my All Ireland bet by Monday, so cannot lose then for rest of year!

  38. There’s debate about whether to worry about Comer or rely on lads out the field doing a job and us having backs with experience. My tuppence worth is he’s too capable of doing damage to leave to his own devices. Very few full backs can handle him and we don’t have a specialist assuming Caff isn’t started. For me Crowe’s 2nd half against a recovering McBrearty was cause for confidence in the lad’s potential but not proof yet that he’s our next full back. Would prefer Harrison if fully fit. I think Mayo should use a sweeper be it Keith Higgins or Kevin Mc and then whoever is full back can attack the ball more..

  39. If SOS is anything less than 100% championship fit I think we should pick brother Aidan to start there but give him licence to attack. If bringing on Seamus later we can move Aido back into forwards. Very few players in Ireland can win ball like Aidan.

  40. @HopeSpringsEternal …..Could be
    Andy’s last game in Castlebar???? Not Likely, that guy is getting better with age…. True, he can’t go on forever… But, Loads more corner backs, and defences to be tortured.. Many Many more Neutrals and Mayo fan’s to be Intoxicated by his brillance, For me, easily the best forward Mayo has ever produced , many is the Umpire who will wave white flags and green flags, in many GAA ground’s when the bold Andy is about!!!!…And MacHale Park Castlebar has loads more cheering Andy to do yet.. After all ‘hope does spring eternal’.

  41. Wow, Paul Dempsey – you had me going there for a while. I thought you were a genuine poster. That last comment from you that I’ve just deleted might, I know, have been an attempt at a ‘joke’ but, if so, one in very poor taste. You won’t be commenting here again after that effort.

  42. Biggest game in connacht for a long time lads is there any talent coming up the ranks or will this team last forever

  43. I’d have confidence in Caolan Crowe marking Comer based on his league performances. Crowe kept Kevin McManamon scoreless in the Dublin game and he is a similar style player to Comer albeit not as explosive. Even if Harrison is fully fit I think he lacks the upper body strength required. Barrett is possibly on the short side for the job – would be more suited to marking McHugh or Burke.

  44. I’m delighted Steven Rochford came out early in the week to do his bit of talking about.the.game. Making sure the spotlights are turned on for the full week. If there is pressure from media coverage then I feel he spoke early so that Galway feel the pressure for the.week.

    I don’t see the Mayo team feeling pressure going in to Sunday. We have been through this and much bigger pressure situations way too many times in recent years to be.getting jittery over this game. I see us been well focused.

    The.fan’s from both sides will be nervous no doubt. The Mayo team will not be nervous, this is what they live for. Galway, could show some nerves. If they do that will sap up plenty of energy. If their energy levels drop then Mayo will boss the game.

    Almost time to open the gate and let the bull see the matador. The countdown is really on. Cannot wait.

  45. Mayo played Monaghan a week ago in Moate and lost. On a positive note though, indications were that the team forgot their “league form” and played at champo pace.
    C Hanley got a run out and looked the part at least!
    It will be a different Mayo team on Sunday, the same team and performers that have proved themselves one of the top teams the last eight years.
    Galway I think are being talked up a little, what have they done, nothing.
    Never looked like beating Dublin in the league final and a Dublin team down to 14 men for the last 20 mins.
    Last two seasons in champo games when it mattered they fell to pieces, Tipp in ’16, Roscommon and Kerry last year.
    Based on their performances to date in champo there one hit wonders, beating Mayo teams who arguably couldn’t be arsed but yet went on to “hand” Dublin two All Irelands, the only thing stopping Mayo on Sunday from winning, is Mayo.

  46. For me it would be a huge gamble to start Crowe on Comer. I know Caolan had a decent league, but he wasn’t amazing either. Himself and EOD still have a long way to go before being talked in the same breath as Barrett, Higgins or Vaughan. That’s a reflection of the established guys excellence at championship level. There’s a world of difference between league and championship as Fergal Boland also found out last year. I think we can get away with one of Crowe or EOD starting Sunday, but handing them both starting championship debuts in the full back line is very risky, and would be most unlike Rochford. Higgins will surely start in place of one of them?
    Comer is in the top 3 forwards in Ireland in my opinion and I’d be much more comfortable with someone like Vaughan picking him up, than a rookie.
    As an aside – one of the classic GAA myths has been getting some airtime here the last few days
    “The wide open spaces of Croke Park”
    Croke Park is 144 m by 86 m and Apparently It’s actually a smaller pitch than both Hyde Park and Pearse Stadium which are both 145 m by 90 m. However it’s true MacHale Park is one of the smallest county grounds in Ireland, at just 137 m by 82m. Perhaps it is some of the reason why we don’t play well there recently.
    It’s interesting that we have such a small field

  47. @Leantimes, I was saying that it could be Andy Moran’s last game against GALWAY in Castlebar in the championship as barring some other reason (a draw, a Super 8s game etc.) it will be two years time, at the earliest, before we’d meet Galway again in Castlebar in a Connacht championship game. So maybe Andy will still be on the go at that time but I would think that it would be very unlikely. I heard him saying that he was thinking in the Donegal game that it could be his last away game against them in the league so I would think that he could be having the same thoughts about Galway this weekend, i.e. that it could be his last game against them in the Connacht championship in Castlebar.

  48. For the FB line I’d prefer if Higgins has some kind of sweeper role to offer ground support against Comer and to make full use of his many footballing attributes. That frees up a starting place for EOD who yes is a risk based on league vs championship tempo. I thought EOD was a bit loose in the last few league games but Barrett (again if 100% championship fit) can also be used Corner Back instead of CHB.
    Not convinced Donie has the 5 yard pace to stop Comer at source. Donie not noted for tight marking. I would pick Harrison ahead of Crowe if 100% championship fit as he’ll stick tighter than most when Comer gets the ball. With Caff we’d be conceding the ball and trying to herd Comer into less dangerous places. Crowe seems to be picking up the herding style from Caff but he may be physically stronger so I’d prefer him to Caff.

  49. My team for the weekend lads:

    1.David Clarke
    2.Eoin O’Donoghue
    3.Caolan Crowe/Donal Vaughan
    4.Keith Higgins
    5.Colm Boyle
    6.Chris Barrett
    7.Paddy Durcan
    8.Tom Parsons
    9.Seamie O’ Shea
    10.Kevin McLoughlin
    11.Aidan O’Shea
    12.Diarmuid O ‘Connor
    13.Evan Regan
    14.Andy Moran
    15.Conor Loftus

    Mayo 1.12
    Galway 0.11

    Maigh Eo abu!

  50. Logically, Galway should win this game by 4 points. Heres my random reasons:
    They won the league despite being 4 points down and having a man extra at the end of normal time. We were relegated after the TMO said Kevin Mc took 27 steps
    They have an underage conveyor belt, we just win the odd all ireland here and there at those levels
    They have beaten us the past 3 times
    We are too old and never get going until August. The match is in May.
    We have no forwards, they have 30 “natural” forwards (whatever they are) on the panel
    Our pitch is too small
    Galway have perfected the blanket defence 5 years after its peak and just when everyone else (bar Tyrone) have abandoned it, but its still our kryptonite
    The wear their collars up, and we haven’t since John Casey unfortunately had to retire
    Since Ciaran Mc and Conor mort retired they have better hair styles than us
    Their fans have started to go to their matches again, and Galway people know a good football team so they must be back. They wont go to watch any owl shite in a green and red jersey like us. They only come out when theirs an all ireland in it so now that they are back after 17 years of not bothering who are we to stand in their way?
    Conor Lane has a caravan in Renvyle and Corkmen much prefer Galwaymen because they play smallball and we don’t
    Cork haven’t forgiven us for starting their current malaise by ending the 2010 party in 2011 and killing their comeback last season
    They have Supermacs, we have Cafollas and Blue Thunder

    I could go on, but that’s enough for now.

  51. I’d have a Cafollas anyday instead of a Supermacs… Anyways i think we did the fast food thread to death before here…..

  52. Maybe it’s nerves but I’m beginning to feel like Galway could take this one (hopefully not) but might still be same (ole) story for both Teams come July/August. Only time will tell I guess. Up mayo.

  53. Lots of talk about this being a must-win game for us, as if, if we lose, the season is over.

    It’s certainly and obviously a game we’d like to win – if for no other reason than to put the Galway boyz back in their box – but past form has shown that we don’t hit our top revs until much later in the season. That, coupled with the fact that we have so many players who can’t be match-sharp means I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if they were to ambush us again.

    Doubtless there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth were we to lose, but the fact of the matter is we’d pick ourselves up and drag ourselves through the qualifiers as we have before, as painful as that would be for everyone. So I’m predicting Galway by 7 and us to still be in the Championship long after them again this year.

  54. It would require an awful lot of mental energy to drag ourselves through the qualifiers again. But in saying that it’s not beyond them.

  55. Galway by 7 !! Fair point Annemarie but I think Mayo will have adjusted their training this year to be in better shape earlier in the year . The way Galway set up , kinda like Donegal a few years ago. I think we will find hard to break down but reckon Mayo by 4 . There is a lot more good footballers besides Comer and would be confident that Rochford will have a plan . For me midfield will be key and need huge games from Tom and Seamie .

  56. The solution to the Comer problem, is not to try and go toe to toe with the guy. He’s big and powerful, and has a surprising agility for a lad of that size. He’s very much a “route one” player. Get ball, go for goal.

    Starve him of supply, and force him out towards the middle of the pitch to try and win his own ball. A well organized defense, capable of acting in unison to snuff out attacks in or around the 45, is the way to go.

    Looking forward to this game. Can’t see more than a kick of a ball after full time. I’d be leaning to needing extra time to sort this one out.

  57. I’ve made that same point a few times here Anne-Marie, but it doesn’t chime with the current mood, which is that this is the biggest Mayo-Galway game for 20 years, must-win, disaster for whoever loses, etc. etc.

    The reality is that because Galway had a good league, and sneaked past us on the last two championship occasions, they are being hyped up to take our mantle as the main challengers to Dublin, and that Sunday will mark the symbolic changing of the guard.

    A calmer analysis would note that they have no championship win in Croke Park since 2001, that their win against us last year (hanging on at home – with an extra man – for the last 10 minutes) was somewhat fortunate, and that they did not at any stage look like winning this year’s league final, despite having an extra man.

    So while Galway look a better team – certainly in defence – than last year, and while they may well sneak it again on Sunday, I’m not buying the hype about them until they start beating teams of substance in Croke Park with the same regularity that we have since 2011.

  58. A jaunt through the backdoor for me anyway like last year and the year before would
    Be a great adventure Saturday evening football traveling to away matches en convoy getting the right result and tweaking the team as we go. Obviously it would be great to beat Galway and I honestly think we will but if we don’t it need not be the death knell for this great team.

  59. That’s what I was thinking Anne Marie – you just said it much better LOL.

    I agree with the above too, until Galway beat someone of substance in the championship in Croke Park . . . .

  60. 3 players that really need to step up there performances this Sunday are Stephen Coen, Diarmuid O’Connor and Jason Doherty.I worry Coen has not got the pace for either Shane Walsh, Eamon Brannigan and Sean Kelly on that half forward line. Much prefer to see Boyler Durcan and Vaughan on our half back line all have pace and aggression.
    Diarmuids and Jasons scoring from play in the League was poor, if we are to beat Galway Sunday we need all 6 forwards contributing on the board.It will be hard in the full forward line to get scores so we probably will need to be getting our best kickers on the ball in or around the D when a good oppurtunity comes.Walsh and Tally will enforce a very heavy blanket early on to frustrate the Mayo attack and look for counter attacking scores from Comer, Walsh and Ian Burke so I thinks its vital we start with a sweeper early on and attack when the games opens up.

  61. I think man for man we have a better and more experienced 15 & bench than Galway and if it was down to an open game of hell for leather football we should win it – a high intensity game, fast & furious is when we do best.

    What I worry about on Sunday is can we deal with the tactics. Galways use of defensive style and counter attack tactic is not new on the GAA pitch any more but it is a style Mayo have always struggled to counter. Running at teams is our style but running into crowded defenses has often been our undoing. And in many of these type games we have been found wanting for a different tactic to beat the defensive wall. I fear that might be the case again on Sunday but on the other hand also hoping there is Plan B.
    Rochford & management team are shrewd and on basis they will have more than one plan we will win by 4 !

  62. “Come and look out through the window – that big old moon is shinin’ down, tell me now, don’t it remind you, of the blanket on the ground…” one of my favourite songs, but hopefully, we won’t see too much negative blanket stuff in Castlebar on Sunday.

    To tell the truth, I get the feeling that most Galway football supporters would welcome a more positive, expansive approach to the game. Earlier in the year, Kevin Walsh admitted that come championship, the system would need to be tweaked. We are all hoping for a classic, because that is the football currency both counties/supporters deal in. And wouldn’t it be great for Connacht if the game was played in a true spirit, devoid of pulling/dragging/gamesmanship etc. – let football do the talking.. So, after all the rising/slagging I’d like to wish you all a safe happy family day out…

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