Following Mayo's footballers

The day before

It’s nice and sunny up here again this morning – following yesterday’s November-like gloom – and there’s only a day to go until we square up to the All-Ireland champions in Croke Park. Isn’t this what summer football is meant to be all about?

The forecast for tomorrow still looks a bit iffy, though, with talk of drizzle or more widespread rain here in the early part of the day which may (or may not) clear off in the afternoon. Given our lads’ penchant for slipping and sliding all over the place in wet conditions, is it too late for one final “correct boots, please!” appeal? One hopes not.

Cian Murphy has a good piece in the Indo this morning with Aidan O’Shea and it’s clear that the young Breaffy man is well fired up for tomorrow’s showdown. On the Croke Park issue, he has this to say:

I have no fear going up to Croke Park. I don’t think it is on my mind going up there that we have to win the game, we just want to go out there and perform. I think this bunch of guys is ambitious enough to do that. We are well prepared and we will perform when we go up there.

On the team’s own viewpoint on their achievements so far this year and what they want now, he says this:

There is a perception out there that the Connacht final was our ultimate goal and that we have achieved it and we’re in bonus territory — but that is not the case in the dressingroom. It was our goal to win the Connacht title, but definitely not our ultimate goal. We have achieved it, parked it, and you knew the Tuesday night after the final at training that fellas were not just happy with a Connacht title. They wanted to push on, go to Croke Park, perform and move on to the All-Ireland semi-final.

That’s good, positive talk from Aidan and I’d say we could see a big performance from the big lad tomorrow. One point that hasn’t really been latched onto by the media (it’s mentioned in that Indo piece but only in passing) is that we have two Kerrymen starting for us in midfield tomorrow. Kerrymen born and raised in Mayo but Kerrymen nonetheless. Given the joy that lads from the Kingdom take in knocking seven shades of shite out of the Langers in Croke Park, can we expect the same kind of approach from our two? And will this infectious mood spread to their thirteen colleagues? We have to hope it will.

The Cork camp have obviously seen enough about all this talk of a Cork-Kerry semi-final repeat and have pressed the “don’t underestimate Mayo” button. Here’s Conor Counihan’s version. And Donncha O’Connor’s.

Keith Duggan has a piece on us in the Irish Times but, apart from the catchy (albeit dismal) headline, this adds little to the debate about tomrrow.

As has already been flagged in the comments, there was a cracking report in the Irish Examiner yesterday by Fintan O’Toole (who should not be confused with the insufferably pompous deputy editor of the Irish Times – this is a different lad altogether) who looks at the Mayo and Cork teams that lined out in the U21 All-Ireland final in 2006. What’s striking about this report is the sheer number of lads from both sides who have progressed through to senior but what grabbed my attention more than that was the fact that this match was the last time we met Cork in the championship at any level. If we could beat them then, there’s no reason we can’t do so again tomorrow.

And, just in case you missed it – here’s An Spailpín’s take on the approach needed to send the Donkey Ayters home crying to their mammies tomorrow evening.

Finally, best of luck today to the Rossies. Tyrone are a tough nut to crack (with Ricey’s nut the toughest one of all) and if Senan Kilbride is operating at less than 100%, it’ll be difficult for them to do it. But there’s one thing about the Rossies and that’s that they relish Croke Park and are sure to give it their all – remember that they led Cork until early in the second half last year. Tyrone may be All-Ireland contenders but they can be caught and it’d be great to see the Sheepstealers do it, both for Connacht in general and for the incentive it’d give our lads to follow suit tomorrow.

Up the West!

Comments

  1. RogerMilla says:

    Excited!

  2. Brighton811 says:

    Great chance for O’Shea to prove he belongs with the big boys,hope he can do it.Up our side!

  3. Prendergast says:

    I officially give up on this blog, I know that me having no more interest doesn’t matter much to you WJ.
    My final straw with this blog is that I can’t believe that the day before the biggest game Mayo have had since 2006, the biggest paragraph goes to wish Roscommon luck.This is the same Roscommon that treated us like Nazi’s(maybe a tad strong) in there home town only a couple of weeks ago. The ones we hate so much because of our history with them.

    • Willie Joe says:

      Well, that just shows you can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time. Sorry if my good wishes to our neighbours offended you – you sound like a sensitive soul describing them in the terms that you have. You won’t be missed around here.

  4. Prendergast says:

    No problem WJ,I may come across as a sensitive soul as you put it but wishing a team from Connacht well doesn’t offend me. Roscommon supporters burning a Mayo flag the night of the Connacht final did. Insulting our players, the Mayo people after the game did. On every source of media before and after ” anybody but those” is what they say DID.

    • Willie Joe says:

      Regardless of what a few individuals may (or may not – what you’re alleging is just hearsay) have done, branding their supporters as ‘Nazis’ is completely over the top and unacceptable. If you do intend commenting here again, please use some common sense before doing so and don’t come out with that kind of nonsense.

  5. Prendergast says:

    I was there and I seen. I was designated driver so it wasn’t drink. It wasn’t a few either,it was the individuals who weren’t insulting and anyone else that was there will say the same.Yes i know it was over the top as i said.

    • Willie Joe says:

      Well, I’ve only your word for it and I can’t see the point in bringing it up now on a weekend where we both have matches in Croke Park. I think you’ve made your feelings clear on the matter but I’d just want to reiterate that this isn’t the place for posting wild comments of this sort.

  6. wardjnr says:

    Hmm, interesting… I was just about to post a comment on the good wishes expressed to Roscommon but see it’s already been, ahem, ‘discussed’.

    What I had intended to say was that conventional wisdom outside of Connacht is that the major rivalry in the province is between Mayo and Galway. But among its inhabitants, it’s much more a case of ‘everyone hates Roscommon’. That said, once we progress beyond the Connacht championship I think it’s only right that any county from our parts that progresses deserves our support. Roscommon has more than it’s fair share of thick boffs, but I like to think of them as our idiot cousins; we don’t particularly want to hang around with them, but we don’t wish them any great harm in life.

    As I write, the Sheepstealers are holding their own very well at Croker as it approaches half-time. It reminds me of an incident a few years ago, 2004 I think, where, following a 10-point kicking at the hands of our lads (a great day) in the Connacht final Roscommon went to Croker to face the Dubs six days later. Nothing was expected of them and the Dubs were, em, ‘confident’ in the way only they know how to be. But, at half-time, Ros were right in it and giving the Dubs a hell of a fright.

    I went for a smoke under the Hogan at half-time and ended up standing beside the archetypal Ros-boff (as the French might call them) was was practically swallowing his entire box of Major. Now, as I said above, I do *hate* Roscommon, but only in the confines of Connacht. Against the Dubs, I hoped they’d cause a shock. So I said to yer man, “You’re doing well”. “We are!”, he says. “I thought you’d get beaten out the gate”, I continued, “but fair play you’re giving it a go”. He nodded, then looked at me suspiciously, eyes narrowing. “Where are you from?”, he says. “Mayo”, I reply simply enough, though maybe with a bit too much of a smirk what with the result the previous Sunday still very much on my mind. “And you’re shouting for us?”, he says, almost in disbelief. “I am”, I say and I meant it to. “Jesus”, he says, throwing his fag away in disgust, “I wouldn’t support you c*nts no matter who you were playing…”

    Now, you could read that as ‘banter’ or simple ignornance and, to be honest, all these years later I’m still not quite sure which it was. All I know is that I thought it was hilarious – whatever way it was meant. I know too many Rossies to know that they’re usually sound lot, no better or wose than ourselves or anyone else.

    So I wish the Sheepstealers well and hope they can squeeze past the nordies. And yes, they have their idiot element, but what would you expect of a county that got it’s first cinema in the SECOND DECADE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY..? Not culture, that’s for sure. Still, they’re Connacht men, so let’s hope they can see it through.

  7. Hop it says:

    I think it depends on how near the border you live!! I LOVE to see galway getting beaten but can live with the rossies winning, as i live on southern border.

  8. toohollow says:

    Strange that we have gone down that thread. I presume the lads will be more focussed on Cork – they are tomorrow’s business. I’m not gone on them either

  9. its a trap! says:

    Just to add to the rossie debate, I live fierce close to the border, and i’ve experienced the hair dryer from rossies many times, and the hatred in the hyde can be a life changing experience for any mayoman, and yes i’ve no doubt wardjnr that that rossie said what he said, under the stand. Its funny though, i’ve always felt that the insecurity that reveals says more than anything else. Rise above it boys, where’s the point in trying to wade through that when life is that short.
    Have to say i’m fierce excited having seen the kildare donegal match…….huuuup maaaayooo

  10. Hungrystarvedsince51 says:

    the phone on charge, the jersey ready,
    fuel in the car and the sandwiches made..7 teams left in the race for sam and we still there, lord where else would any true mayo gael want to be on august bank holiday wk end. lets be in it when it matters most. c’mon the green and red.

  11. remember51 says:

    Right its a trap. Time for bed and a bit of dreaming. Rossies gone, kildare gone, cork nervous. C u 2morrow. Huppp mayo!

  12. pj says:

    Ya i think our boys will sleep that bit better than the Cork boys tonite.We`ve nothing to loose they have.There`s no way we`re taking a hiding tomorrow.. looking foreward to a bruiser.. this will be a performance.
    See you in Croker

  13. Fourgoal McGee says:

    If I could suggest the one thing that James Horan would urge the lads to do tomorrow, it would be to play as much of the match as possible in the Cork half of the field.

    If they were to succeed to have it there more than 50% of the time, we would have a great chance of winning.

    Keep the Faith!

  14. Richard says:

    Just back from the marathon first episode of football this bank holiday weekend. I saw nothing today that would lead me to believe that we have anything to fear from tomorrow or any of the teams that I saw today.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow.

  15. goochopper says:

    loved the litte chat about the Rossies there .. thats what makes this blog so good.

    C’mon Mayo lookin forward to this …Best of luck today.

  16. james joyce says:

    Us Rossies have as many bad stories about Mayo folk at games over the years. The usual stuff like “f off you sheepsh***ing c*nt” after a 20 point beating, is not good for the soul.
    However while Mayo (& Westmeath, due to geography) are a county I despise losing to, they are the county, I would support most, once our own are invariably dumped. I recall a great day in Croke Park in 06 when you guys beat the Dubs, roared on by a couple of a thousand sheepsha88ing Rossies. Cromwell said “to hell or to Connacht”, I say “up the west and f”ck the rest”.
    Thanks WJ for the well wishes, even if it did not work and my heart is breaking, good luck against Kerry I see no reason why you guys can’t take them. Team looks strong with exceptions at 6,13 and 14, the bench is handy too. Higgins, Mortimor and Moran are some men.

    • Willie Joe says:

      Thanks, James – we’ll be on the same card at Croke Park in three weeks time by the looks of it and so some kind of mutual support agreement that day would come in handy for both Connacht teams. We had the Kerrymen behind us the last day and so the crowd (at 22k of them) was around 80% in our favour. I think that helped in how the match panned out, with the crowd lifting the players and vice versa and where Cork realised they hadn’t too many friends in the vicinity. I’ll be making sure I get to Croker in time to shout for the Rossies’ minors and a win there (I know it’s Tipp they’re playing but a Tipp side that has already beaten Cork, Kerry and Meath) would set the tone nicely for our clash with the Kingdom.

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