Tasty tussle with Tribesmen in store this Sunday

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

Fresh from our penalty shootout dramatics up in Carrick last Sunday, the next pre-season test for James Horan and his Mayo team comes this weekend. Galway provide the opposition in Sunday’s FBD League semi-final at Tuam Stadium, where throw-in is fixed for 1.30pm.

Neither side will, I’m sure, be keen to ascribe any significance to this January derby clash. The League is still a few weeks from getting underway and both counties are in the process of preparing themselves for what’s likely to be a searching Division One campaign.

To that extent, there’s little to be gained by either side from turning Sunday’s meeting into some kind of virility test. The problem they’ll face, though, is that it’s going to be hard to avoid this happening.

In his first period as manager, James Horan never lost to Galway. Our win over them in Tuam in the 2011 League campaign helped the neighbours on their way to relegation from the top tier at the end of that spring campaign.

Victory over them in Connacht that summer, as well as further successes in 2013 and 2014, followed. All three victories were decisive, the 2013 one in Salthill was an absolute hammering.

But that was then. When Kevin Walsh took his team to Castlebar for the Connacht semi-final in 2016 they hadn’t beaten us in the championship for eight years but their shock victory over us that day reset the prevailing narrative between us.

Since then they’ve beaten us every time they’ve played us. Twice more in the championship, with wins over us last year in the FBD and the League as well. Last year alone they got the better of us on no fewer than three occasions.

While Kevin Walsh hasn’t an unbeaten record against us – he was their manager when Pat and Noel led us to victory in Salthill in the 2015 Connacht semi-final – he never lost to us when we had Stephen Rochford in charge. He has three unbeaten years in the bank against us at this stage.

So, while not exactly a case of irresistible force meeting immovable object, Sunday’s pre-season meeting does have some significance in terms of both managers’ records against their respective opponents. Something has to give.

In the wider scheme of things, of course, how Sunday’s match goes isn’t all that important. Both managers will want to give game-time to fringe players and both will have their thoughts at least partly focused on the bigger challenges they face further down the road this year.

But neither of them will go out of their way to lose this match either. Even if this one, like last Sunday, ends up going to penalties.

42 thoughts on “Tasty tussle with Tribesmen in store this Sunday

  1. Would be nice to start the year with a win against Galway. They seem to have our number at club and county level for the past three years or so.
    Again, a huge thanks WJ for this blog and the opportunity it gives those of us living overseas.

    Just looking at that photo, you can see how the Diarmuid O’Connor Paul Conroy incident was bubbled up from those early year fixtures last year. That photo from the FBD league where Galway tried to flex their muscle and the league game where AOS was dragged away by the jersey by Conroy. Not trying to justify Diarmuid’s actions at all but there is going to be niggle (as always) in this fixture.

  2. With I read somewhere Comer & Shane Walsh injured,2 x Sweeneys taking a year out, Conroy on honeymoon??? & the Corofin boys missing surely there can be only 1 result…bate them physically & on the scoreboard & put them back in our shadow indefinitely!

  3. I have been amused with people saying that we have no new talent coming through. I am genuinely surprised by the amount of lads we have on Sigerson panels. There is a list of players on the Ah Ref twitter account and I would be surprised if any counties bar Cork / Kerry have as many Sigerson players. These lads are our future and some cracking players listed

  4. RedCol – indeed…32 odd players listed there. Generally the category of people that say Mayo have no players coming through are 1. Those from outside the county who have no idea what they aren’t talking about and possibly just wishful thinking by our near neighbors that we will fall off a cliff and 2. Negative people within the county and there are plenty of those around too.

  5. Anyone going to Tuam on Sunday looking for a great clash of old rivals be fore warned. You might find something useful to do around the house instead. There has not been a decent game of football between this pair for a long time. This fixture last year simply was not worth watching. The big showdown in May was high on incidents and low on quality and entertainment. Negativity, cynicism, and thuggery is not entertainment. Big crowd in Tuam, and peoiple buying tickets in advance, I think you are having a laugh.

  6. Galway panel for fbd contains many new faces and a lot of regulars taking extra time out etc but seven Corofin lads are training and will be available for selection Sunday. I’d imagine Kevin will experiment to an extent but some expierience will be there.

  7. As a Meyooo settled in Gslway, im hoping we get a result. Yes it’s only FBD but a win is needed against the old enemy. At least a lad can enjoy a few pints in peace in the local. Pre purchasing tickets saves u a fiver, that’s the first pint.
    Looking forward to seeing more of McDonagh, Moran, Boland & Reape… “Only” Fbd but future is bright.

  8. Gonna be an early start for me in California! My philosophy => if they’re keeping score, you might as well win! Why not build the confidence and aura of invincibility.for later.

  9. A win in the first game of this series would be nice but not necessarily essential. Will be a great test for the younger lads.

  10. Not Half Fast, I like that “if they’re keeping score, you might as well win”. A good American sport philosophy of win at all costs.

    It’s great to be back on the road for another season. Who knows where the year ahead will bring us but one thing is for sure, there will be a lot of hang sanbwitches and bottles of tae drank between now and August.

    WJ, it’s not often I disagree with your view but I do in this instance. I think it is vital that we lay down an early marker in this game. Of course, the end result will barely be remembered come September but the confidence that Galway gained from beating us AND bullying us in these early season openers gave them the belief that they could take us down. And take us down they did. Our tepid performances and complete lack of aggression and intensity in all our recent games v Galway was embarrassing and I for one am sick of the Herring Chokers having the upper hand on us. Nothing beats winning, and nothing breeds winners like winning.
    Personally, I think the senior players owe us, the supporters, a “proper” performance on Sunday. And my belief is based on this… while it is all the current coaching mantra about “the process”, “having a look” at video analysis, looking “within the group” etc etc etc, sometimes the players should have a look OUTSIDE their group. At the huge support that follows them everywhere, hail, rain or shine. Look at the faces in the crowd and realise that they should be honored to wear that jersey. Realize that it is NOT about them, they are only passing through the jersey, it is about MAYO FOOTBALL and the people involved and, for once, put in a “proper” performance v Galway for US, the supporters.
    Every other year we could console our FBD and league losses to Galway with the excuse that “sure, we’re only back training”, “aren’t half them still in Dubai”, ” we’ll get them in the Championship” etc etc etc. Well we didn’t “get them” in the Championship. We went from a position of domination and strength over Galway to being dragged around (literally) the Salthill pitch with barely a glove laid on a Galway man.
    Losers find excuses, winners find a way to win. There’s no excuse on Sunday for losing and as Not Half Fast said above, if they’re keeping score, you might as well win!

  11. Reading the comments of some people above gets my blood boiling I’m a Galway man and proud to be,when mayo were dominant in connaught we didn’t cry about been beaten or dragged around. I think ye people have to be realistic, football comes in cycles every team will have their period of dominance. it’s all about how ye handle yer expectations ye can heap far too much pressure on the team , at the end of the day there is only going to be one all Ireland champion every year. I like everyone else marvel at the sheer power and skill in Dublin at the moment we are privileged to be around to see this great dynasty evolve . But I assure you it will come to an end . There are other quality teams lining up behind them plotting their downfall .I think of the likes of Tyrone, Kerry,Galway, Monaghan, donegal and yes mayo they are all credible contenders for the crown .it’s January ,you must remember that what happens in January will be long forgotten in August and September. What ever county you’re from get behind them support them don’t criticise them ,the players are there because the believe put yourself I their boots would you want to be listening to all the negative shite been shouted at them from the stands and written In the papers. Praise , nurture and enjoy the great game we have. To everyone I say you’re day will come

  12. Pebblesmeller, well said, agree completely. Let them know we are coming for them this year, every time, every minute, no matter who’s on the field.

  13. @Pebblesmeller – Excellent point, well made. I know it’s only “FBD”, but it’s an opportunity to lay a marker and set the tone for the rest of the campaign!

  14. One of the senior panel members is having his stag this weekend, that’ll probably rule out a good few of the more experienced players. Just something to bear in mind regarding what team is going to be put out.

  15. I know lads who have played FBD in the past. They hate the competition because there is way too much pressure on them already. In pre season. January. Just after Christmas while we are all setting goals of “losing a couple of pounds” and whinging because of not drinking for an entire month Lads, cool it ffs. It’s pre season. If we win, great. If not, then whatever. They’ll go play a challenge game that nobody will go to and maybe even enjoy it.

  16. Regardless of who plays for Mayo on Sunday it should be made very clear to them that the way Galway have bullied Mayo in the last 3 years has to stop. And yes a win is very important, even if it is only the FBD.
    Will be interesting who James starts at No 3 and No 6. Hopefully McCormack will retain the 6 jersey and maybe just maybe a different option at 3.

  17. Well said PJ McManus; remember also the league match in Salthill – diabolical. Mayo were pathetic that day.

  18. I agree with pebblesmeller and Puckout, the 2019 Mayo need to lay down a marker early. They need to show that the tide is turning in Connacht and Galway’s dominance against us is coming to an end. I live among the Herring Chokers and their confidence has been building, this new confidence around the team is enticing some of the better footballers in the county to commit to the football team at all levels. This will only strengthen them in the coming years. A Mayo win on Sunday or at least a strong showing of intent I feel is required to plant a seed of doubt in this Galway squad and management

  19. MayoMark, Well said, I totally agree. Way to much emphasis being placed on FBD games by supporters. The are pre season training games no more and have zero relevance to the coming year. The real work is being done behind closed doors in training.

    Catcol, I really have to disagree with you in the use of the word Pathetic. These guys are AMATEUR players who make great sacrifices to play football for Mayo while the rest of us just sit down to watch. All players and teams have poor days out but for supporters to call them pathetic is really out of order in my book.

  20. Dunno about ye, but I’d want to beat Galway if we were playing them in tiddlywinks! No better time than now to stop the rot.

    I suppose MWR is your only man for catching the game, if you can’t make it to Tuam?

  21. How about giving Drake a cut at Full- Back. He has physical presence, pace and did he not do very well on Cillian O’Connor when Ballagh played Ballintubber in the championship ??

    Drake strikes me as a player with a bit of talent if we could find a position for him. We seem to be struggling to find a solid number 3 so maybe we need to think a bit laterally ?

    Just a thought in the middle of January.

  22. Galway have always had the Indian sign over Mayo and nothing has changed in over 80 years. The Galway arrogance, aggression and bullying over that period in Connacht has been sickening to watch compounded by Mayo’s failure to deal with it, in the way, Kerry, Dublin and the northern teams will have none of it, thank you very much!

  23. @Seamus Walshe: Always? How about in the 1930s, when Mayo dominated the Connacht championship? And the NFL too, come to think of it.

    During the four in a row Connachts and a few All-Irelands in the 1950s?

    During the 1990s, when we won most of six Nestor Cups?

    Even during the five in a row Connacht titles between 2011 and 2015, when they didn’t beat us once?

    I’m all for respecting Galway’s football heritage, but come on now, let’s not over-do it. I’d recommend James Laffey’s excellent book on the Galway-Mayo rivalry for a more balanced overview of relations with our southern neighbours.

    What you’re describing sounds more to me like our relationship with Roscommon, but that’s a discussion for another day.

  24. Would like to see all the Mayo/ Galway border players like Boyler, Caolan Crowe, Conor Diskin, Darren and Stephen Coen and James McCormack all starting Sunday.They will be needed Sunday!!

  25. Yew Tree, re you response to Redcol and the list of players mentioned, what is “odd” about them? I suppose out of any group of 30 or more you will find one or two who are slightly odd, but the entire group? Do they all have the same oddity? Or do you consider wanting to play for Mayo “odd”?

  26. Welcome aboard Vinny Brady, It’s always good to see visitors to these parts.

    I would be rather upset if your blood wasn’t boiling a bit reading the comments on a Mayo forum about a Galway game. The rivalry is strong and passionate and long may it last.

    I also think you will find very little negative stuff being said here about our players – they are held in very high regard in our county. Naturally when we have been so close to the prize without getting our hands on it there is an additional weight of expectation and yes, additional pressure on the lads. They have all grown up with this and they know the story, and some of them have known it from before they were able to lace their shoes. We in turn are well aware of the time and effort they put into it. Might I kindly suggest that the reason that ye didn’t cry about being beaten or dragged around in the years we were beating Galway is because we won by playing football, and didn’t have to resort to some of what Galway got up to in MacHale Park last January, for example. Mind you, we still managed to get further than Galway for most of the last three years which tells its own story. And of course, ye’ll always have ’98 and ’01. Swings and roundabouts. Either way, I hope we’ll see you back here again over the course of the year.

    I am very torn between wanting to beat Galway on Sunday and lay down that marker (because let’s face it, the way we lost last January did sting and beating Galway is never a bad thing) and MayoMark’s and Mayomad’s far more reasonable attitude to the game and what it represents. Ultimately I’d settle for the win in June but will be in Tuam regardless to support the lads. Another penalty shoot-out maybe? Must get a good spot behind the goal!

    AndyD, I think Yew_tree might have meant “30-odd” (as in approximately 30 players) rather than “30 odd players”!! At least that’s how I read it 😉

  27. I think AndyD when he said “odd” – it was meant in terms of approximately 32 players – rather than the players themselves been “unusual” or “not normal”.
    If these 32 players had the brains to get to college – they couldn’t be too bad!!

  28. FBD .. Is a glorified challenge match .. Hope Mayo are competitive and win but really want to see new players get game time against Galway . I won’t lose any sleep if a couple of the new lads and fringe players play well .

  29. Dunno if they’re all available but I’d pick the following team for Sunday…

    Schlingermann
    Harrison, Crowe, O’Donoghue
    Plunkett, McCormack, P Durcan
    A O’Shea, D O’Connor
    McDonagh, K McLoughlin, Boland
    Loftus, Reape, Diskin

    Keegan, Vaughan, Seamie and Jason Doherty played the full game last week so no need to have them out again from the start.

  30. I have the flu and chest infection at present, had a dream last night that Mayo just won the All-Ireland, but for some strange reason I wasn’t at the final or didn’t see it on the telly. Basically I was not believing the people that were telling me this so I tuned in to see the Sam Maguire been awarded to none other than Jason Doherty.
    I wonder is this a sign of things to come later in 2019 or the effects if a strong dose of antibiotics ?.
    I hope Mayo have learned from the Fbd game v Galway last year, for me personally it was embarrassing to see Aido being dragged along the ground, players need to send out a clear message and this must be carried through all games, retaliate or draw first blood and fine tune for the anticipated meeting with the Dubs later this year.

  31. Lets hope for a positive clean game on Sunday. I believe it will be, as i think there will be a lot of new young players on display. In fairness Galway may have started a lot of the niggle last year in the FBD game but Mayo definitely finished it with the red cards (three)in league and championship all for crude hits to the head by the O Connors. I’d be very disappointed if any of that went on Sunday.

  32. In years gone most didn’t know this competition existed, now it seems Sunday is a must win game! I’d take a few new players showing well then a win with the regulars anyway. Lee keegan turns 30 this year. That will give one an idea of the age profile of our panel. We need replenishment, it is by far the most important goal this year. Plenty of talent there but will take some time to knit together.

  33. AndyD – it was a figure of speech…you know “32 odd players…odd referring to the number. I don’t consider them odd and personally know a few of them…take a chill pill.

  34. Can anyone tell me regarding the Mayo v New York game in May when will tickets come on sale please.

  35. Mayo team for Sunday.
    R Hennelly
    K Higgins
    B Harrison
    D Drake
    C Boyle (c)
    M Plunkett
    J McCormack
    D Vaughan
    D o Connor
    F McDonagh
    C Loftus
    F Boland
    C Diskin
    B Reape
    J Doherty
    That’s an exciting lineup.

  36. 1. Rob Hennelly – Breaffy
    2. Keith Higgins – Ballyhaunis
    3. Brendan Harrison – Aghamore
    4. David Drake – Ballaghaderreen
    5. Colm Boyle – Davitts(C)
    6. Michael Plunkett – Ballintubber
    7. James McCormack – Claremorris
    8. Donal Vaughan – Castlebar Mitchels
    9. Diarmuid O’Connor – Ballintubber
    10. Fionn McDonagh – Westport
    11. Conor Loftus – Crossmolina Deel Rovers
    12. Fergal Boland – Aghamore
    13. Connor Diskin – Claremorris
    14. Brian Reape – Bohola Moy Davitts
    15. Jason Doherty – Burrishoole

    7 changes from the last game. Starts for Diskin,Loftus,O Connor,Plunkett,Drake,Boyle,Higgins

  37. I wouldn’t say any of the Mayo team are odd but I reckon a few of the supporters myself included are a bit cracked following them around the country sometimes from January to October. Sure it’s no harm to be a bit cracked isn’t that how the light gets in

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