Time to think about Kerry

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Photo: MichaelMaye.com

Okay, that’s enough resting on the laurels following the win in Clones. It’s Wednesday already and, along with remembering to put the bins out later on, it’s time to be thinking about the match against Kerry on Sunday.

This is the second of our three home games in this year’s League campaign. The hurlers are the warm-up act at MacHale Park on Sunday as they seek to extend their 100% record in Division 2B. They’re up against Wicklow, who have yet to get off the mark themselves. Throw-in for the hurlers is 12.45pm with the football getting underway at 2.30pm.

The ref for the football game is Clare’s Rory Hickey, though, as someone has already pointed out in the comments, he’ll no doubt find an eager assistant in one K Donaghy. The last time the Clare official handled one of our matches was our clash with Monaghan last March, in which he gave the line to two of the flying-fisted Farney lads.

Kerry are tipping along okay so far this year, with their two wins and two losses placing them in fourth spot in the Division One table, ahead of Monaghan on points difference. Like ourselves they lost their opening two games – the defeat to Dublin was no surprise but the home loss to Roscommon certainly was – but they’ve recovered since, with an easy away win against Down followed by a five-point victory over Donegal in that tempestuous Tralee meeting last Sunday. Kerry escaped from that brawl with just a monetary slap on the wrist but their red-carded full-forward Alan Fitzgerald will be suspended for Sunday.

Any match with Kerry has to be regarded as a tough proposition for us. As opponents in springtime, though, they’re a team we’ve a great record against. In the past decade we’ve met eleven times in the League (we met twice in 2012) and we’ve won eight, drawn one and lost two. I don’t think we’ve anything like as good a record against any other county in the League over this period. Pity we couldn’t say the same about our championship meetings with them.

We’re heading into Sunday’s clash looking to record a fifth successive League win over them. They were, of course, only sobering up when we beat them down in Killarney in the opening round last year, while the year before we’d both lost our opening two games before coming together at MacHale Park in a Round 3 match that we won. In 2013, also in Castlebar, we kept them scoreless for the entire second half when beating them in the opening round, while in 2012 we earned a gutsy Round 7 draw with them in Tralee and then beat them after extra-time in the semi-final the weekend after.

You have to go back to 2011 for our most recent League defeat to them and even then it took a tumble in the square from Darran the Diver to swing that Round 2 MacHale Park clash in their favour. Before that we won in Tralee (in Round 5) in 2010, lost (in Round 4) also in Tralee in 2009, won at home in the spiky ‘Spoongate’ meeting (also in Round 4) in 2008 and won too at Castlebar in Round 1 in 2007 (which, coincidentally, was the first ever match report I did on the blog – oh, the innocence of it). And, for good measure, we won down in Tralee in Round 1 in 2006 as well.

So much for history. Early team news for Sunday – courtesy of this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants) – is that Conor Loftus is the only new injury concern for us following the Monaghan game. He went off with what the paper says was a hamstring problem and he was due to be assessed at training last night. On the plus side, the paper reports that Alan Freeman, Alan Dillon, Michael Conroy and Caolan Crowe all played for their clubs in the Michael Walsh Cup last weekend and it says all four are “pushing for a place” in the squad for Sunday.

With the Connacht U21 semi-final against Leitrim on the weekend after next now peeking over the horizon, Stephen Rochford will need to consider how many of the younger fraternity should feature against Kerry. Diarmuid O’Connor has started in all four games to date and Michael Hall has lined out in the last three so I’d say there’s every likelihood they’ll both be named in the team for Sunday. Conor Loftus started the last day and came on as a sub against Donegal but, even if he’s not ruled out by injury, I’d say that with so many more established names now available once again it’s doubtful that he’ll feature the next day. We’re probably looking at Friday night to see the team announcement.

Despite our ten-year WWWLWLDWWWW record against the Yerras, Paddy Power reckon Sunday’s match is a toss-up – we’re very marginally favoured at 10/11. What do you think, though: how will Sunday’s match go?

How will we do against Kerry?

  • Win (81%, 313 Votes)
  • Lose (13%, 52 Votes)
  • Draw (6%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 387

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61 thoughts on “Time to think about Kerry

  1. Willie joe and all reading
    I think that this will be a good game of football and an opportunity for kerry to put the rough and tumble of last weekend behind us. None of the top teams will lay out the red carpet when the opposition comes to town and this will be a good tough contest with no quarter asked or given but they both will come to the field to play football. Mayo will struggle to get this one over the line despite the home advantage in my opinion, the loss of Keegan, keane and the long term injury to O Connor and with Mitchell’s heading to Croker on Paddy’s Day is too much and will wipe out the home advantage.

    One thing that hasn’t changed,in fact they have less options in the back now due to injuries is their vulnerability under the high ball and their inability to deal with Donaghy. Not sure how Tommy Walsh is doing but he or Buckley could start in the middle and with Fitzgerald out fitzmaurice will probably put the big man on the edge of the square depending on weather conditions. If we get the nose over the line we should qualify for the knockouts and that would be a welcome boost for kerry prior to championship perpetration to get at least another big game before the real battle lines are drawn.

    Good luck to Mitchell’s next week I hope they get over the line as it would be a great boost for all involved. Here’s hoping that Sundays game is hard, fair and regardless of result played in a sporting manner with no injuries resulting from it..

  2. Lee Keegan won’t be missing on Sunday, Gamechanger – Keith Higgins is out alright but Leeroy isn’t and I honestly don’t think that even if he was fit Kevin Keane would be starting. I also think you might be pleasantly surprised (or not as the case may be) about how we’re set up defensively this weather.

  3. Donaghy was stopped last week and 2 others stepped in, Kerry won. I imagine that Rochford and co will be smartly setting up the defense to stop whoever it is from having a shot at goal and any point shots will be from distance. The goal we gave to donegal was the type goal that should not have happened and at least now we know that unless we are wide awake that goals will kill us. Same thing last Sunday and only seconds into the game, asleep at the wheel and waiting for the opposition to warm up, they nearly goaled straight away.
    Will Rory hickey be easily influenced by lads screaming in his ear ? Or will he card anyone that keeps at it?

    My bet is Mayo to win a low scoring game

  4. Yeah, to be honest, I think our options at the back are improving. It’s up front that we’re still lacking.

    Would like to see Alan Freeman get a run out for this one. See how he gets on.

  5. Sorry WJ of course, I meant Keith Higgins, it’s a tweaked hamstring I believe. He will be a massive loss to ye in the back and his pace going forward is a huge loss to ye too. I can see that ye have done great work in defence and it could be tight, but I just have a feeling we could pinch this one out from under ye. Don’t get me wrong I won’t be scratching the head in bewilderment if ye win it or anything it’s just that we have enough back in critical positions coupled with the experience they bring to the table,, mmmnn! Just a gut feeling, but I’ve had them before !!?

    WJ, keep an eye out for a young lad called Brendan O Sullinan from Valencia, he is big, mobile and has plenty of football in him. I have a feeling he will be one for the future, he has a pair of shoulders that look like they were made from a rolled steel joist.

  6. Hopefully another improvement this weekend from Mayo and 2 more points on the board.

    On a completely different note, it was interesting to listen to Liam McHale on Newstalk last night saying the Roscommon have been training for 3 months to target the league. I see a lot of people saying that Roscommon are a perfect example to the weaker counties of how they can improve and develop. I don’t know about other posters but I think all this talk about Roscommon in early March can only be a good thing for Mayo come the summer time. Imagine if they beat us in the Hyde or wherever the game may be played the hype come the summer surrounding them will be enormous.

  7. Keith will, of course, be a loss and we’ve been without him for much of the campaign. We might have to soldier on till April without him too. I agree it’s likely to be tight and could well go either way but I’d obviously be hoping we’d nick it. Sadly, kids matches on Sunday (three of them, in three different locations) will keep me in Dublin that day so unfortunately I won’t be able to see in person the latest prodigy to come off the conveyor belt down south!

  8. Yes heard McHale on newstalk, he abmitted that they did target the start of the league when other teams wouldnt have the training done. Its a long time until Championship to maintain that level of fitness, anyone remember Derry two years ago?

    On the Kerry game possibly Loftus & Hall maybe sent to the U21 team, for me DOC is needed on sunday and his U21 days are over. Coen in instead of Hall, Doherty in for Loftus, otherwise as we were the last day.

  9. good man willie joe your doing great job and i will do the roaring for u on sunday in your absense. As i have eluded to before we seem now to have a defensive plan. That was an area that cost us in recent years. There is alot of competition now for places and i think that is the real key to success. No one shall rest on their todd as there is another guy waiting for the jersey. Depth is very important. Castlebar contingent to return so its early days but looking good.

    Kerry are strong at midfield. Donaghy lines out there also. Sheehan. T Walsh. Brendan o sullivan and david moran who may return mean they are formidable round that sector. All of them are good footballers and Sheehan is as good a striker of the ball as i have seen.

  10. Another must win game. Looking at the weather its promised fairly good which means the 10,000 barrier will be broken yet again for a home league game…what a time to be alive to follow these fantastic Mayo footballers…
    I will be watching with interest the movement of AOS and the game plan around him as in my opinion one has has been found or tallied to suit him yet.

  11. Thanks for those stats WJ, looking at those, you’d feel that Kerry are due a win against us in the league but you’d hope that its not this week-end! With Kerry only on two points last week, you feel that game against Donegal was a game that they were going to win using any means possible. This week we are on two points and our need for a win appears to be greater so I’m giving us the vote to get another much needed victory….

  12. – The only time Donnaghy was afraid in McHale Park was when he was attacked by a wooden spoon.!! Let’s make things tough for him this time.

    -Judgement reserved on our new defensive system until its proven in Croker.

    -The Kerry forwards can get possession, hold possession and score. Not enough of our current front 6 can do all three on a consistent basis.

    -Therefore we need to beef up our FF line to get the scores to reward the amount of possession we will get.

    – We really need these two points.

  13. Yes, yew tree, hope there is a massive crowd there to roar us on to glorious victory.

    We will need all the help we can get especially now that K Donaghy is cleared to ref the game. He has reffed a few All Ireland finals before and has plenty of experience. I would have preferred Rory Hickey myself though.

  14. Think we need to give Loftus and Hall a rest for this one, let them gear up for the 21’s, id prefer to see more experienced and physical players start in this one i.e Doherty/freeman Coen/Barrett. Its all well and good blooding the young guns, but for this game we really need the 2 points so imo its bettef to go for the older bucks.

    That been said, I think Aidan O’Shea will run riot on Sunday, this kerry fb line is’nt great under the high ball, and they’ve never faced Aidan at ff for a whole match, so I think we’ll win it by 4, and go on to finish the league with 8 points and a semi-final with Donegal.

  15. Hahaha Olive, that wooden spoon brings back memories. Poor aul St Patrick, hasn’t been in the best of health. That bodhran he had actually belonged to a mate of mine in Swinford, never got it back either! Not sure what happened that famous wooden spoon though, WJ will be presenting it to me at the end of the predictions league, they way I’m going in it this year!

  16. Going on K v Ros we have two points in the bag already.However K turned themselves inside out for the Donegal game and looked sharp and snappy esp from the middle up.
    There will be nothing for it but ruthless tight defensive action again but even more so.We need to frighten them out of their skins and let them know that this Mayo team means business.They have a lot of winners around the team but so too have we.It ll be a battle the whole way and I hope to see us coming through with a point or two to the good.
    Would 1-13 v 0-14 suit??And then again you wouldn’t know what might happen as the great philosopher said!
    Chancy business is this but either way it will be a fantastic day out in the sun!

  17. This one will be tight. We may have some guys back but we have not been putting up big scores and we are very much in transition both in attack and defence.. If Kerry do not win on Sunday I believe they will still win their last 2 games via Monaghan and Cork for God sake. I think the league final will be between Dublin and Kerry this year. Salvation in Spring for someone perhaps.

  18. Will need to bring A game again to win. Kerry forwards are good and like ourselves they have a lot of options in midfield. I think their FB line is weak or at any rate not strong under high ball (Fionn Fitzgerald particular liability in that regard if he plays) and would like to see Aido and/or Connor or Freeman in there for most of the game.
    Freeman or Doherty would mean more ball sticking than the young lads and improving forward tactics though Regan might get the nod for leftie freetaker abilities and another chance to prove himself. But no need to risk Loftus if there’s a niggling hammer. Going with one of the experienced lads I hope. Sweeney or Andy can come on later. I think Caff has had such a good league that I wouldn’t be as worried as some. That Donaghy goal in Croker came after Caff was calling to be subbed with a calf or ankle problem and couldn’t get off the ground. That said I don’t think our so called defensive system is as refined as some others here.. though we’re definitely leaking fewer goals we’re not water tight.

  19. As for the Rossies, they are right to set out stall for an early run and I wouldn’t be ruling them out for a good run come championship. The boost they get from these results will be spurring them on for summer. They could get a roasting at some stage if they make league semis but McStay & Co are positive enough to turn any setback they might get into a positive experience. If we meet in summer absolutely no one will have a better idea how to unravel Mayo than McStay.

  20. Inbetweener,
    Kerry v Roscommon is a game not worthy of real measure in my opinion, Kerry were like the Bismarck after her steering mechanism had been damaged by that stray torpedo. Despite malfunctioning if any of at least four screamers had been taken we would have drawn or won that game. Kerry have the rudder fixed now and while there are still many of the big guns being being serviced thay are a very different proposition from the Ross game I can assure you.

    I was at the Kerry v Tipp u21 game tonight and we won despite losing one of our midfielders to a second yellow early but we made hard work of it. Possession to burn and an unhealthy conversion rate kept the crowd on their seats until the final whistle blew its release.

    I met two very sharp analysts that i would have great time for at the game and they had starkly different views on the Mayo game. This is not the norm as their meticulous understanding and breakdown of the positions and players manning them usually lands in the same approximate ball park (to be fair more so in championship).

    One suggested that we could give ye a right tattooing and come away with a fairly comprehensive beating of between four to seven pints. The other laughed and referred to the change in mindset of the Msyo defensive system. He reckoned that Mayo would defend like dogs and wear us down and frustrate us, he reckons that Mayo will win by three or four points but agreed that the absence of Cillian O Connor might in certain circumstances prove your undoing with missed dead ball opportunities. Both these guys have Celtic Crosses in the arse pocket so they have walked the walk but I have rarely noticed such a marked difference in their prediction.

    WJ. I hopped a ball and I told them of your post in relation to the change in defensive strategy and again the opinions differed, one said ye would cause us difficulties and probably getbthevtwo points and the other said we would have have too many varied options in out attack and they would break down a new defensive srtatagy.
    It should be a good test for both teams.

  21. i’m not convinced by all this talk of a new defensive setup. After all we were lucky not to concede more than one goal v Donegal. I think it was McElhinney who blazed one high and wide in the first half. And v Monaghan we were lucky not to concede almost from the throw in when Hennelly saved our bacon. We were more solid v the Dubs but I think we played a more defensive game overall that night, with an extra defender on the field.

    I will be very interested in seeing how the Rossies get on in Letterkenny. I would not put all that much value on their win v Kerry, after all Kerry were still getting rid of the dirty diesel at that stage. Their Cork result was nearly too remarkable to put a true value on it. Donegal will miss Neil McGee but how much is the question.

  22. Yeah I’m not convinced yet of a ‘new’ defensive structure. Opened up in cork, the weather in Castlebar the night the dubs came to town would have nullified the sharpest attack (it was an impossible night for a forward) and in the last two games we were grand.

    Not sure how Sunday will go…

    If we win and ros lose in D’gal then I can see them treating their home game against us like an All Ireland Final and I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat us..

    I’ve a gut feeling we may have to put up a big score against Down to stay up. We’ll also be keeping ear to the radio for the games in Tralee and castleblayney.

  23. I can’t see Kerry beating us easy gamechanger…bar Dublin last year we are hard beat at home and the days of Kerry walloping us are long gone (hopefully).

  24. While I am happy with the progress made on the defense so far,it is a long way from the finished article. Our transition to attack and the counter attacks need a lot of work. Our fitness levels are not up there yet and a few of our lads tired in the last quarter. I hope Kerry are in the same place. Never mind 5 or 6 points expect it much tighter.

  25. I agree that our defensive system is not quite as solid as some are making out. I reckon when Keith Higgins comes back he will be a half forward / sweeper when required. This will definitely strengthen the defence and add a lot of pace in the transition from defence to attack. I think that’s what we might have been looking at in Donegal before Keith had to go off.
    We will give Kerry a fair rattle but I reckon it will be a fairly tight affair. A bit of luck, a hop of the ball or a referring decision could well decide it.
    Watch how Kerry deal with Aidan O Shea! Kerry almost always go after the biggest names or biggest threat right from the word go. They try to win those crucial individual contests because of the impact it has on the rest of the team. Darren O Sullivan said something like this on Laochra Gael and looking back now it is quite clearly a strategy that has worked for them. What I say is lets do it to them before they do it to us!

  26. People are over thinking our new “defensive system” to me we are just defending more intelligently. The half back line are not permanently camped out in the half forwards thus leaving acres of space for opposing players to run into, the half backs, particularly Boyle are sitting back closing the space. Nally looks like he actually knows what the sweeper role requires, its not just stand infront of caff, he anticipates where the opposing attacks are going and closes the space. You can see Caff is getting the protection needed and is revelling in it.

    I can only see us getting better and batter defensively with more training. The half backs sitting back is hurting us a little going forward for now but I expect things to improve as the season goes on.

  27. Diehard, I think that is where the phrase hammer the hammer comes from!

    What’s the world coming to, we have a Kerry man on here talking up the Kerry men’s chances and talking us down. Surely there is something wrong there! Usually even though Kerry feel that they are in Goliath’s position they always try to play the role of David. Wonder’s never cease.

    Maybe they are a bit worried about the outcome of Sunday’s game, we’ll see how it goes anyway.

  28. Mayomad, of the newcomers I think Nally has impressed most in the league campaign however I cant see him starting come championship as Patrick Durcan simply has to start in the half back line along with Boyle and Keegan.

    It is actually hard to see any of the new players from the league starting come championship time. Maybe one of Loftus/Regan/Connor O’Shea may start but that’s more down to the lack of forward options than them being undroppable.

  29. Ha ha ha HSE
    Not talking Kerry up just calling it as I see it, as stated I would not be in the least bit surprised if we fail on Sunday. League is a lot about teams minding the territory when it comes to home games, like making sure the opposition don’t come in to town and piss on our telegraph poles kinda stuff.

    It’s a big game for us, we have ye and Monaghan away followed by the old enemy at home in the last game. Three very difficult asks so I think Kerry will fight tooth and nail for the two points on Sunday. Mayo have slightly richer pickings in the remainder of their campaign which should afford them an opportunity to get at least two points and increase their scoring average while we will be in the bear pit for our last two games.

    If we steal it on Sunday we might yet have ye’r fate in our hands in the last game v Cork and in reverse the same for ye v Roscommon?? I’d say the mayo lads would nearly throw it if it weren’t Roscommon ha ha.
    See ye on Sunday with Gods help.

  30. Gamechanger, u shouldn`t overlook the fact that the Roscommon team that beat Kerry was at no more than half strength.

    I have in laws in Roscommon and am reliably informed that 6 or 7 of what is considered their strongest 15 didn`t play in Killarney.

    Anyone on here claiming that the Rossies will have burned themselves out by summer, would do well to remember that they will have literally half a team of fit fresh players only getting started at that stage.

    I regard them as a huge threat to Mayo this summer.

  31. Behindenemylines, I agree Nally has impressed but yes Durcan has too start come summer, he looks to be the real deal.

    Also I agree that there wont be too much change regarding the fowards, COC, DOC, AOS kevin Mc & JD for me are definite starters, I think Higgins will play half forward this year to add pace to the attack.

    Its the full back line I think will see rhe most change, Caff is a dead cert, other than that you have the pick of Nally, Barrett, Coen, Harrison, Hall, Turbo Tom, Hall. Not alot between them.

    Our bench will look very strong this year wirh plenty of game changers to come on in second half.

  32. Ah Gamechanger don’t do that to our poor old telegraph poles, lol…., there are fine toilet facilities in McHale Park, its not Hyde Park that the game is been played in……..

    Enjoy the game too, roll on Sunday…..

  33. A lot of football this weekend. Minors kick off the season on Saturday against Roscommon in Charlestown. U21s play Sunday against Leitrim and our seniors play Kerry. I also see that Galway has named there u21 side containing 3 seniors for Friday night clash with Rosscommon. Kerry and Cork also played their u21 games against Tipperary and Clare during the week as teams contain senior county players. Just wondering what will happen with DOC Conor Loftus hall and Coen. Should we play these games midweek also to avoid conflict. On a side note Kerry must have a hell of a team to leave killian Spillane on the bench in their win over Tipperary by a point.

  34. Mayomessi…I`m nearly sure that I read somewhere that the Mayo/Roscommon minor match is now going ahead tomorrow(Friday) evening in the Connacht Centre of Excellence.

  35. Observer 2. I have to say I’m not convinced by them. Mayo have been warned about this Roscommon team coming for years but they flatter to deceive each year. The talk last year was were given a free shot to the Connacht final and they bottled it by getting ahead of themselves and losing to Sligo. Its all good and well Roscommon winning games in Feb/March when they are months ahead of everyone in terms of fitness but it will be interesting to see how the react in when the pressure is on in the championship. And lets be honest there is a massive expectation on this team to deliver in Roscommon.

    It’s a massive leap from getting beaten by Sligo and Fermanagh to competing with a team of Mayo’s standards in one year. I think because we support Mayo we sometimes under rate how good this team actually is when everyone is fit and available.

  36. Everyone talking about The Rossies and yes they have improved but I dont think they have added enough to win connacht. It suits us to have a strong connacht championship. No one has mentioned Galway yet which is worrying as I think they could push us closer than Ros. They could/should have beaten us last year if they came out to play football in the first half not Rugby.

    Believe me, Galway are our biggest threat in Connacht this year not Roscommon.

  37. Off topic but I got my Cairde ticket for Club Final – 309 Lr. Cusack ! Poor tickets. I’d love to know why this is the case.

  38. Behindenemylines, I agree with most of what you say. You mention about leaping from one level to a much higher level in just one year.

    But, isn`t that what we ourselves did. We went from Longford in 2010 to an All Ireland Semi Final 12 months later, under new management..I can see similarities.

  39. Don’t get me going, mayomad! I’m not a great one for Throwback Thursday but just to show how far we’ve come since then, my match report on that truly dark day for us is here.

  40. Good point Observer 2 about us going from Longford to an all Ireland semi final in one year but we didn’t have to beat a team who had been in 5 semi finals in a row to get there. I also think that mentally it’s a massive challenge for Roscommon to beat Mayo and Galway. I think I’m right in saying Roscommon haven’t beating Mayo since 2001 (Gerry Lohan goal – terrible day). Roscommon may say that they don’t fear Mayo and Galway but I guarantee somewhere in the back of their mind they will be thinking they cant beat them. I think it showed in the last 10 mins of the game in 2014 in the Hyde, Roscommon were 4/5 pts up but couldn’t see it out. They even had a chance to draw it at the end but their player running through panicked and ran into the Mayo tacklers.

    I think Mayomad is right Galway are the biggest threat. They are improving and whilst they may not be a great football team they genuinely believe that they are better than Mayo and no amount of losses to Mayo will change that. Believe me I know, have to listen to enough of their talk!!!

  41. Ah yes, my two biggest memories from that dark, dark day, I thought Alan Freeman was excellent and thought he would go on to be big player for mayo ( can still happen) and some old lady behind me screaming “go on Paddy go on”

    Thankfully we are in a better place now and Paddy Dowd hasnt been seen sense.

  42. @ Diehard In 2014, the season tickets were in 310 and 311, so be grateful with your 309, where I shall also be residing!

  43. Wow WJ reading that match report and the team that played that day its amazing how we lost to Longford. 12 of the starting 15 would have been regulars during the Horan era. I guess it just goes to show how important a fully committed manager is.

  44. Christ WJ, way to depress us all! The horrible memories came flooding back after reading that. Nice timely reminder to us all about exactly where we were back then.

    Your quote at the end is worth repeating – “We can, and hopefully will, bounce back from the lowly position we now find ourselves in”. We certainly did.

  45. Jesus Christ, I just broke out in hives after re-reading that report on the Longford game. Couldn’t even bring myself to read the comments. As Dan says a timely reminder of just how far we have come.

    Re Sunday, I’m hopeful but in no way confident of a win. So am not going to expend too much energy talking about it apart from to say that I hope we are a hell of a lot smarter on Sunday in how we defend against them, that we stand our ground and take no shit from them and beat them playing good football. Laughing at your post Gamechanger but you’re right, nothing will be won easy on Sunday.

    I really, really hope that a decent crowd will turn up and support the hurlers. I’ve seen them play twice this year so far, and while they’re no Kilkenny, they are still well worth watching. Those lads and their management team put a serious amount of commitment into wearing the green and red and representing their county too, and we should be just as proud of what they are achieving given their relative resources and the coverage they get. So it would be great to get in and get behind them if we can.

  46. I think we should stop goin on about roscommon or any one else and concern ourselves with the task in hand. The next game. Kerry will roll into town looking for 2 points. We all know what they are about. I think now we have our first win our self belief will be in a good place. We are a very competitive side and will need to be full of that on sunday. Here is my team for sunday ;

    Hennelly
    Harry
    Caff
    Barrett
    Keegan
    Boyle
    Nally
    Pars
    Seamie o Shea
    Diarmuid
    Aido
    Kmac
    Regan
    Doherty
    Conor o Shea

    I think we have alot of bulk round midfield and it will be needed as they are strong in this department. Conor played well at half forward last sunday so he can alternate with Aido. Id keep big guy in ff to use as an option. Mark Griffin is average enough so give him plenty to think about.

    We did not get embroiled with donegal when they got nasty so lets stay disciplined and use lots of controlled aggression. Concentrate on our own game and we will win this one. Our defending has improved so lets keep up the good work. were not water tight just yet nor would i expect it at this early stage. Progress in the right direction is being made. I think nally has brought a tough aspect to our backline. He hits hard and will let u know he is around. He has been good addition so far but still a work in progress.

  47. Hello all. Its a while since I posted here. I was reading the comments and was beginning to wonder if I had perhaps stumbled into a Roscommon fan website with all the talk about us. Im not sure what that says. All I hear and read on here is how over hyped the Rossies are and how the supporters get carried away but to be fair its not Roscommon people talking about the team. We have had a great start to the league and how can a team be faulted for that? It seems you cant win. A team wins a few games and its no wonder they have a load of training done. They lose a few games and its oh good enough for them thinking they could compete in Division 1

    You can only beat what is in front of you and having a Keery man on here dismissing the Roscommon win in Killarney is hilarious. Do Kerry folk then they have a God given right not to lose to a so called inferior team unless they have a weakened team themselves. The Rossies were missing plenty that day also and still won.

    The way I see it Down and Cork will go down. The Rossies might not get another point but should stay up given the wins over Kerry and Cork and given that they both wont get 8 points then 1 will go and it will be Cork. Thats just my humble opinion. After last weeks game in Killarney I would love to get something off Donegal. I couldnt believe some of the stuff that went on and if they do that against us then I doubt Roscommon would finish with 15 players. I would think some of our lads would struggle to maintain discipline if faced with the likes of what went on last week. I know its a mans game but McGee was trying to break the Kerrys mans fingers. At least he is suspended.

  48. For the past two seasons we have had what could be considered full-length campaigns in the championship, both of which have culminated in tough, high intensity sets of games against the eventual champions. That is on the back of two AlF appearances in a row. That’s some amount of mileage for any team to clock up. While other teams had started their pre-season training, we were still ‘warming down’, so to speak. Our regular appearances in the latter stages of the championship have turned us into a ‘Kerry lite’ in some regards, where we start slow and do just about enough to avoid relegation, and if we manage to stumble into a semi-final then happy days! It’s all about remaining in Division 1 and keeping the powder dry. That’s the prevailing commentary at least.

    Other factors which haven’t exactly helped our cause in the league has been the success of Castlebar in the championship, which has put their players out of contention early on for two out of the three past seasons. Then you have had the management fiascos two years in a row, along with new appointees who have had to hit the ground running if they want to make the step up to IC level. Our preparation and freshness at this time of they year hasn’t exactly been optimal, hopefully this will settle down in the coming seasons.

    So it’s amazing we’ve kept our Division 1 run going as long as we have. But who would be surprised if we were to be relegated? It could come down to bad luck on the day, although my own opinion is that the loss down in Pairc Ui Rinn could well come back to haunt us. It’s a tricky tight-rope we are walking, but if it’s going to lead us back to Croker in September then walk it we must. Get the young players in and give them game time against the big teams and see what they can do. That’s been the real value of the league for us so far.

    Regarding Roscommon, they’ve been steadily moving up the ranks for the past three seasons, many had tipped them for relegation but they have quality in their forwards and a good coaching team. Given their early exit last year they have had plenty of time to regroup and refocus. Their tanking of Cork is the story of the year so far. A rising tide in Connacht will lift all boats, as long as we don’t capsize then I’m happy enough to see a proper challenge in Connacht this year.

    Back to our own campaign, it’s all in our own hands. We are well capable of winning our next three games. I agree with the posters above who say our new defensive system isn’t robust enough yet. Monaghan should have had more goals the last day and Donegal managed to sneak in behind the last day also. But improve we will.

    WJ, thanks for the throwback! I don’t remember much about that game, but I do remember sitting on the terrace beside my brother afterwards, both of us in a silent daze, wondering how we went from contesting the league final to crashing out on such a whimper! It may be painful looking back at our darker days but doing so makes you appreciate the team we have now.

  49. Rosie Shane,
    I didn’t mean to be dismissive, even though these words seem diluted when I read my comments from a Roscommon viewpoint. The point I was trying to make is that Kerry were by general consensus a pale shadow of what was expected from a them while playing a home game, territory and all that.
    Roscommon are a fine team and ye have the points to back that fact, I was stating that Kerry were poor that day especially with their normal finishing. I know Ros were the reason for many missed passes and play breaks but the dead ball situation that day was pretty poor from our normal standards and we lost by one,,
    I think ye will make the last four from current telemetry available but respectfully ye won’t go beyond that in my opinion. Ye have too many players that haven’t hit their heads off the low doors in this particular paddock, there is much learning to be done. Disision one is an unforgiving slope and great teams fall every year due to the challenges and changes faced by all. Ye will play in division one again next year and this will ultimately make a serious team out of Ros.
    I don’t think we have a God given right Rosie Shane, I’m just looking at the previous exam papers, the same basic questions keep conning up, but it’s hard to answer them because the accent of the lecturer is almost sure to change.

    I genuinely wish ye good luck in donegal on Sunday . Don’t forget to duck your head and keep your fingers on the pulse but be careful whose pulse you check ,, you might have them broken,

  50. Gamechanger

    That was a better post and put in a much better way than probably your other comment was written. 1 more win wud give us a semi final spot but even that would be way past any expectation that was in the county before the start of the league. Survival in the division is and was a key for us to improve. Would getting to a semi final and losing heavily be better for us or not getting there and surviving. I suppose as many games at this level can only be good. I think Kerry and Mayo cud both make the semi finals with Down and Cork going down.

    I will be keeping my hands in my pockets on Sunday in case anyone gets near them. Also Ultan Harney is injuired so for all the Castlebar supporters then their crown jewels will be safe. They will know what im on about. On that note I hope Castlebar win on Paddys day. U cant have enough All Ireland titles crossing the Shannon no matter what club or county it is. Let the haters hate. It says more about them than anyone else.

  51. The Rossies deserve praise. It’s a good tactic getting set up earlier the League and ensuring you’re there again next year. One more point has them safe. I foresee the confidence they’ve gained will propel them into summer training and they will be dangerous opponents which is the way to have it.

  52. Sunday’s game will be a very tough one. I think Kerry will have come on a lot from what they got from Donegal and the resulting “hard fought” win will have galvanised them. Plus they owe us more than one in the League.

    On the other hand we owe them several as well (as everyone knows). I think it also should be a fine game of football withouth any of the crap that went on for both Mayo and Kerry when playing Donegal.

    But its clear that this Mayo management and team need to build on last weeks win by getting another two points. The alternative would be seen as 2 steps forward but then 2 steps back with time for saving the League stature running out.

  53. Can’t see what the negativity about the defence is.

    We’re not conceding many goals and two of them were penalties – iffy ones at that.

    We’ve had a lot of the newbies in our defensive set up – Hall, Crowe, Nally; we’ve been missing Keith Higgins for most of the league, no Keane, Tom C or Barrett until last Sunday. I think that’s pretty good going. Add in a rediscovery of form, confidence, mojo or whatever by Caff and there’s a lot to be cheerful about.

    Some still have doubts about Robbie – I noted a post that said an awful lot of work had to be done here. All the evidence is that this work IS being done. I watched Peter Burke put Robbie and Clarkie through their paces on Sunday; he stood still in different parts of the pitch and got them to plant the ball in his hands. May not be perfect but they are working on it..

  54. Best of luck on sunday to all our teams,I am confident that we are getting there,and this will be our year,after been very pessimistic a couple of years ago,I think we are in a much better place,because we now have two fine goalkeepers,at least twelve defenders,any of which will feel they should be starting,four midfielders,and with the two O Conner brothers,two O Sheas,and K Mc,J Doc,add in the castlebar players Andy,Alan,C Loftus,E ven A lan Freman ,M Sweeney,and a brilliant management setup we are in avery good place . Finally WJ can I say it is a great pleasure to read this blog not alone for our own supporters,but also for the very fair comments from the likes of Martin the dub,gamechanger,and rossie shane,and others the best of luck to them as well apart for when they play us

  55. Lots of posts about our defence lately, the defence are doing well and the soft goals conceeded are drying up which is great. Its not anything radical the management have introduced this year. Its more that the players are more disciplined in there positions and thus closing down space. The half backs are holding their position more and not racing forward to leave acres of space behind them.

    Lots of praise for Caff alot which is due as he is playing good stuff. However I think he has always been one of our most consistent preformers and has come in for alot of unjust criticism. Caff is one of the top 3 full backs in the country, always has been. Due to naive defensive set ups for the past 3 seasons, he and the rest of thefull back line were left exposed way too many times against the best forwardsin the country. No full back can live 1 on 1 with Brogan, O’Donaghue, McManamon, Donaghy etc.

    After the FBD league match v IT Sligo one supporter said to me that we cant win with Caff and full Back, In the words of a past great I just said we wont win Sam without Ger Cafferkey.

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