The real action returns

Croke Park Sept 2013

So it’s back on the proverbial horse for us again tomorrow, with our first real competitive match of the year in the form of an NFL Division One clash with Kildare at St. Conleth’s Park in Newbridge (throw-in 2pm). It’s always great when the football starts up in earnest again, carrying the promise at it always does of another summer drawing closer. Mind you, there’ll be more than a few opportunities to get half-frozen to death on the terraces in the meantime but that’s part of the fun too, isn’t it?

The start of February also means that it’s another online birthday here on the site, which today has reached the ripe old age of seven. It’s been an interesting journey in terms of the highs and lows the county (not to mention the country – but that’s another issue altogether) has gone through in the footballing stakes since then but, hey, we’re still alive and we’re competing strongly right at the top level so we could have plenty more to complain about.

We get a bit of coverage in the papers today ahead of the League’s start tomorrow. Keith Duggan does a piece of House of Pain analysis in the Irish Times, where he lays out the argument that overly timorous support from the stands may have been a factor in last September’s loss. Maybe it was but, to be honest, I’m all done with the post-match collective self-flagellation stuff at this stage. I’m far more interested now in focusing on matches facing us in the future rather than keening in the corner about ones we lost in the past.

Martin Breheny, meanwhile, does his usual colour-by-numbers routine in the Indo, where he reckons that our need to win the league this year is greater than any of our rivals. This is complete bullshit, of course – a mid-table finish in April following a campaign where we’ve unearthed three or four lads who are capable of taking a first fifteen jersey come summer would, in my view, satisfy our needs just as well. I can see where he’s coming from when he says that we could do with winning a national final but trotting out stats referencing what teams such Galway’s hurlers did in the Eighties is just nonsense.

The Irish Examiner has a piece by John Fogarty about Elverys going into receivership and whether or not this will have any impact on our sponsorship deal with them. ┬áCounty Board PRO Aiden McLoughlin states in the piece that they’re “100% sure” that our sponsorship deal won’t be affected by this development but this is, I reckon, one to keep an eye on all the same.

That’s all for now – weather permitting, I’m off to Croke Park later on (my thanks to Mayo Mick, by the way, for the freebie tickets for this evening) and I’m looking forward to seeing the lads take the field at Newbridge tomorrow. Will we do it? Not if the poll on the site (which I’ve just taken down) is to be believed – where 51% of you went for a Kildare win, 40% went for us and 9% plumped for the draw – but seeing as the outcome of similar polls for matches over the previous two weekends turned out to be wildly off the mark, I’m not unduly concerned on that score. Up Mayo!

32 thoughts on “The real action returns

  1. Great press preview WJ and for the first time since the early afternoon on AL Sunday last September, the mind is full of anticipation again.

    The dark clouds have moved away and light is fighting to fill the sky. Tomorrow I’m hoping that when our lads run out against Kildare, the hairs at the back of my neck will get in to training for a what should be another great journey.

    Come on Mayo and best wishes to our league debutants tomorrow!

  2. Well done on 7 years WJ,great site,let’s hope we have a lot more to celebrate over the next 7.Off to newbridge in the morning,great to be back into it.I think these opinions that we have to win the league this year are bull shit.If we can retain our place in devision one and find two or three players that can make a difference in the process I would be more than happy heading into the summer.We are not that far away,Maigheo Abu

  3. Wholeheartedly agree with you on the league WJ – while I’d like to see us have a prolonged run, I’d rather we stayed up, blooded some new players and gave them as much game time as possible over the next few weeks. I won’t be shedding any tears if we don’t win it if it means we have a stronger panel heading into May.

    This is one of my favourite times of the year – when it’s all ahead of us. The promise and the anticipation is building and the dream is more alive than it’s ever been. It’s just magic, and I look forward to seeing many familiar faces and meeting a few new ones in Newbridge tomorrow. We have everything to look forward to this year. Maigh Eo Ab├║

  4. Happy birthday MayoGAABlog.com had nearly forgotten it. Hard to believe its been 7 years! Really looking forward now to tomorrow too and hitting the road again. Another year of highs and lows (hopefully more high than low!) Enjoy the match this eve, hope the rain stays off for yee.

  5. Happy seventh birthday Willie Joe, well done and fair play, its a great service that you provide! I don’t agree with this narrative about the crowd being quiet in the last 20 minutes of the All-Ireland final, having an impact on us losing the game. There was plenty of noise in the last 20 minutes of the minor final, why was this? When the game was there for the taking, the Mayo minors, grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and said to themselves, “We are the best team in the country and we’re going to win this game.” If the Mayo senior team had done the same in the last 20 minutes of the their game, there would have been plenty of noise too! 2014 is a new year, roll on the big games…

  6. Safe travelling to all tomorrow. Hopefully playing conditions aren’t too bad tomorrow. I suppose its the first game of the year proper but I am optimistic we’ll hit the ground running with a win tomorrow. Owe the lilies one after that shambles last year in McHale where we let a 6/7 point lead slip

  7. Hopefully mayo win or a draw will be happy and hope galway win wonder how the hurling game is going between dubs and Kilkenny I think the snake is playing that s tommy Walsh ha ha

  8. Well it just shows how competitive Division 1 is going to be!

    Dublin 2-08 Kerry 1-10
    Dublin win by a point and they were down to 14 men for most of the second half as well.

    Derry 1-15 Tyrone 2-12
    A draw in this game. Two great matches to start the year!

  9. Me too – Happy Anniversary WJ and congrats on an unrivalled sporting and social meeting place for Mayo football supporters and other visitors !

  10. Congrats WJ on your seven years of service to the Mayo cause but be very cautious of future mirrors that you may encounter for the ensueing seven.

    On the eve of this dawn, a new dawn, Mayo need to throw caution to the four winds. Mayo should have two All Irelands winds behind them, instead of the label of the eternal lovable, pityfull, nice guy chokers (Could go on and on and on) with slight surperflous adjs to infin and beyond.

    Point being, I believe we already have the winning team and all we have to do is not be afraid to f++cking play them. I’m all for new talent wanting to break through and I’m all for that new talent needing to chomp and scrape till their finger nails are worn and their finger flesh is rawed to pulp, before their insatiable desires to play for Mayo is considered.

    Mayo should not be afraid to show their hand. I believe in poker terms Mayo have a royal flush right from the get go. We as supporters need to stop at playing the supporter and fully understand that this Mayo squad and this Mayo management are the best outfit by a country mile, the country mile a crow flies. That’s comming from a lad who wouldn’t have that much time for crows.

    Lets start like winners and finish in kind.

  11. Interesting to hear that Kerry’s Paul Galvin has retired from inter-county football, that was a bit of a surprise, seen as he was named among the substitutes for the game tonight.

  12. Congrats on 7th birthday Brilliant site and great resource for Mayo gaa fans especially those living outside county. Good games tonight. It shows just how competitive this league is going to be. Not too confident about tomorrow and would be happy enough to retain Div 1 status. Every point will be hard earned and crucial. Come on Mayo.

  13. The 1st of February, Spring has sprung & the Blog has the 7 Year Itch !
    The football season kicks off or should that be throws in ?
    There is no doubt that 2014 will be a defining year for Mayo Football & for this management team in particular.
    The League consists of 7 games. As a rough rule of thumb you make the semi’s if you win 4 & you stay in Division 1 if you win 3. We don’t get any extra prize for winning 5,6 or 7 games. We need to get a few wins early on when we are at our weakest so that we don’t get into must win situations later on. We are somewhat hamstrung in the early stages because of injuries/late starts for some players plus Castlebar’s involvement in the Club Championship. As has been pointed out this is an opportunity for new players to stake a claim & hopefully a few will step up.
    I am not overly concerned with the League but we definitely need to do enough to stay up & we need to show increasing power as the League progresses, cranking it up gradually for the Championship.
    Onwards & Upwards.

  14. Congrats WJ on your great site, long may you continue to provide this service. I agree with most people who express the wish for Mayo to retain Div 1 and look for additional talent. Best wishes to team and management tomorrow. Looking forward to our visit to Newbridge and an opportunity to view some Kildare football.

  15. It was interesting to note, that it was the Dublin bench that won the game for them again tonight, like in 2013. They brought on the big names, off the bench, to get them over the line, after going down to 14 men. Hopefully Mayo can learn to use their bench like this too in 2014….

  16. HopeSpringsEternal

    I know that it looked like the Dublin bench did win the game for them but remember they were up against a lot of new lads who wouldn’t have the experience to deal with them. Against more experienced players they they may not have been so effective.

    Did anyone notice how the Dubs can really crowd the back line? We could learn from that, as it seems to be a weakness of ours.

  17. I was at Croke Park tonight for the game – an interesting and entertaining enough match but not exactly a high quality one. Kerry were in a great position to win it when Dublin got their full-back sent off (I’ve no idea what for, some off-the-ball stuff it seemed) but aside from James O’Donoghue (who was excellent) their forward line was totally toothless. It says something about the lack of fringe talent in Kerry when someone playing as poorly as Barry John Keane manages to remain on the field till the end. I’d fear for Kerry, truth be told, as it looks like all they’ve got are their old stagers (minus Paul Galvin following his bizarrely timed retirement announcement tonight) with little or no talent at all coming through. On this showing, they’ll struggle as badly in Division One this year as they did last.

    The Dubs were very rusty and with only five of last September’s team starting it was understandable that they looked more than a bit off-key. It was noteworthy, I thought, that the thing that nearly cost them everything last year – going for goal at every opportunity, spurning easy point chances time after time – was evident again tonight. Gavin really needs to sit them down and explain the whole one-point/three-point scoring system to them!

    They did well to battle back and win it from two points down when Nelson was red-carded. A few things won it for them. One was Kerry’s cluelessness as regards how to use the extra man and another was how Kerry were completely out of gas at the end compared to the Dubs. When McCaffrey got that pass for the winning score there wasn’t a Kerry player within yards of him, yet they still had the extra man on the field but it certainly didn’t look like they had at that stage. Another huge factor was the quality of the subs Dublin brought on – MDMA, Mannion, McCaffrey amongst them, all of whom contributed to Dublin’s recovery – and it was telling to compare these replacements with the succession of anonymous names that Fitzmaurice was throwing in. The gulf in class was enormous. Also, Alan Brogan played the full seventy minutes (he started instead of Bryan Cullen) and he did well, not least considering how long he’s been out.

    The final factor was ref David Coldrick who, once he’d issued the red card, did the usual GAA reffing trick of giving everything to the team with 14 men. He really rode Kerry for the last half an hour and I heard Fitzmaurice had critical things to say about the reffing afterwards. He had every right to do so – this was a Dublin win that got a large helping hand from the Meath official.

    Final point about tonight’s game – I’m not at all convinced about the black card but its impact was clear enough tonight. No third-man tackles, little or no pulling and dragging and a real reluctance on the part of backs to foul forwards bursting through. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops over the spring but especially once the championship gets underway.

  18. Saw the second half of the Dublin Kerry match this evening and I must say I was completely taken aback at the ineffective and clueless performance of the Kerry forwards. I know it’s early season but it’s like if some of those lads never met each other until this evening. As for Dublin, well they were made to look good with the poor opposition and even if the ref gave them everything, they still showed some of that swagger that comes with being AI champions and will definitely be the team to beat again this year.

    And yes Willie Joe, I too would like to join with the others in congratulating you on this wonderful Blog – what would we do without it ?

  19. Right the kingdom off at your peril lads.

    James o Donaghue ,class act. ( if only we had one in Mayo)

    Kerry were very good in the first half imo. Will be putting a few quid on Kerry to win the all Ireland , best value bet out there.

  20. I thought for the wining score the so called young player year jack mccaffery throw the ball over the bar at the end I hope cillian catches him out this year.

  21. I thought the results in Derry we’re more telling,20 min to go Tyrone up by six(time for the cynical fouling to start)they seem to be afraid of a black card.who knows football matches might get a chance to be played in a fair and honest manner.

  22. Best of luck to Mayo against Kildare, the long journey starts again today! This is the public event that we get to see as supporters but we should all remember the really hard graft and effort that goes into been an inter-county footballer or manager today. These lads are professional, in all but name. We don’t get to see all of the long hours that go into training, controlling their diets, running in the muck during the winter, early starts and all for the love of the game! These players almost live a monk’s lifestyle during the football season. To all involved, your a credit to your county. As supporter’s we’ll all behind you 100%, well done so far and here’s hoping that all of your efforts will be rewarded someday, as they deserve to be…..

  23. Forgot to say congratulations wj and happ birthday to the site it’s always been my source of information on mayo gaa news in the county

  24. Happy birthday WJ. Well done on 7 years. Serious effort and hard work too researching, monitoring, managing and writing all the information that’s available here.

    You really should be getting some sponsorship at this stage to assist you. I hope the county board and all other dignitaries associated with the county realise the effort that you have put in to enhancing the Mayo brand and unifying the supporters of our county .

    I would say also people underestimate the impact of this site on Mayo football. My own opinion is that it has a much stronger voice than actual credit is given.I think overall this site has contributed greatly to the fortunes of the county and this is being realised now in the current era we have upon us.

    Keep up the good work and if there’s any assistance required please ask.

    Regards
    JPM

  25. Congratulations, Willie Joe, on a great site.
    And the best of luck to any new and returning faces to the Mayo panel today against Kildare. Give them hell.

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