Game day – young guns get their chance to shine

We’re back in action in the National Football League this afternoon. Our Division One Round 2 match against Tyrone takes place up in Healy Park, Omagh, where throw-in is set for 2.30pm. Joe McQuillan is the ref for this one.

In the first year of James Horan’s initial tenure as manager widespread experimentation was the order of the day. Right throughout the 2011 League campaign he shifted and sifted, never making fewer than six changes to the starting line-up compared to the team that had lined out in the previous match.

It should, then, be no surprise that James is once again displaying an appetite for trialling new talent. While his second coming was largely portrayed, in particular outside the county, as the old band getting back together, this was never going to be the case. Change was needed and change was going to happen.

A number of fringe players were given run-outs in the FBD and then two of these – Brian Reape and Conor Diskin – were handed full League debuts in last weekend’s League opener against Roscommon. Three more newbies – James McCormack, Fionn McDonagh and Ciaran Treacy – make their full League debuts today. This means that the team lining out for us in Omagh will be one of the most youthful sides we’ve fielded in a competitive fixture in quite a while.

All the grizzled old heads haven’t gone away – far from it – but an injection of a significant amount of new blood was an absolute necessity for us this year. Given this imperative James is right to make a virtue of it and pitch the young lads in at the deep end. Healy Park is tough spot for visiting teams so if our young guns prosper there today then it’ll augur well for their futures as inter-county footballers.

Last Saturday night’s win also provides us with a bit of breathing space and so the risk James is taking in unleashing the young lads in numbers today is a calculated one. It’s not the end of the world if it does end up backfiring.

I’ve no idea, I confess, how today’s match is likely to go. Tyrone are – deservedly – favourites to win and they probably will but this is far from certain. (How’s that for a bit of elegant fence-sitting?)

There’s likely to be little or no wind blowing at Healy Park today so we can expect a very different type of contest today compared to the one that was hugely influenced by the wild weather last weekend.

Last Saturday night showed that our two long-standing problems in dealing with a blanket defence – an inability to penetrate the wall and a tendency to defend far too loosely when break-out attacks occur – are still there. This means that if we adopt the same approach today as we did in trying to break down the Rossies then this game will only go one way.

But if we can demonstrate a new-found ability to prise open the kind of deep-lying defence Tyrone are sure to deploy while tightening up a bit at the back ourselves then we’re in with a good chance of getting something out of this one. These twin aims won’t be easy to sort but if we can go some way towards doing this then it could be a productive afternoon for us.

Right – enough yap, there’s driving to be done today. It’s an easier journey for me, based here in Dublin, compared to the trek from the west but, regardless of the distance, I expect we’ll bring significant support with us today. Safe travelling on the roads and let’s see plenty of shouting from the stand too.

Best of luck today to James and the team and, in particular, to the young lads. Up Mayo.

51 thoughts on “Game day – young guns get their chance to shine

  1. Well said WJ, lazy analysis from those outside the County is that we’re an old team. If people looked closely, they’d see only 2 starting players are over 30. I expect a loss today, but what the young lads will learn will stand them in good stead come championship. Hope Monaghan and Kerry win to keep our breathing space. Hope Vaughan does a bit of damage today, and Keegan gets some retribution, an ill make no apologies for it.

  2. It’s a good move by James giving youth a chance in this one. Not expecting us to win but you can never write Mayo off a good performance from the newbies would be victory in itself as 2 wins from 3 against Cavan Galway and Monaghan at home should be enough to keep us up leaving further room for expirementation on the road and in good shape for the Summer. Safe traveling to all.

  3. i agree totally need to put these lads in and give them game time.

    Whats the situation with Hanley and James Durcan are they both injured

  4. About to head north…it’ll be a long trek today from dub to omagh and then to Galway. Good to see new guys getting a go. I’d have liked to have seen plunkett and hope he gets a start soon. He looks an intelligent composed type with good basic skills.

    I can understand and agree mostly with the sentiment that a loss today but it being with few of the new guys really impressing is potentially more productive for us than a win with the old(er) brigade leading the way….but I do think that a winning mentality should be drilled into younger/newer players from the outset. It should never be Ok to lose.

  5. I totally agree with the sentiments of Mayonaze lets go out there with a winning attitude and not a losing one .Its great to let the young Players and have the freedom to express themselves go for the spine of this Tyrone team

  6. No need to fear the redheads, They are experimenting themselves in midfield. I expect a good result and more importantly another step up the ladder for our young guns. You can spar as much as you want but it’s nothing compared to the real thing. Tyrone is a good an opponent these young guys could have wished for and it will stand to them

  7. No, not live – deferred coverage on tg4. Not on Eir sport either. Maybe live on gaago but would have to pretend you are abroad somehow if you are not.

  8. Just see hurling game london called off last minute. How disappointing after them travelling over, the time off, cost.

  9. Very interesting match today. Great to see young lads getting a chance to taste the real intensity of battle. Quite a bit of animosity between these two teams given recent history. Have we learned anything new to break down the blanket defence? The forward mark should be a tactic we can use by pushing AOS forward to contest a few high balls or use him as a decoy to draw defenders to him. No wind today to make it a lottery so we will get a better idea of where we stand in terms of fitness and stomach for the fight. Tyrone not exactly shooting the lights out after their display last week so I see no reason why we can’t get a result today. Unable to travel today and fair play to all those that do. Best of luck to the newbies and Up Mayo!

  10. Fantastic display from Mayo. Great performances all over the pitch. Another win next weekend should be good enough to keep the new lads on the pitch. Great stuff.

  11. Fantastic to see the new players playing so well at the highest level. Some great new options up front too. Not to mention the strength off the bench. Just what JH needed so he can continue with his experimentation!

  12. Glad I made the journey to Omagh. Great display the young lads played well and didn’t look a bit out of place but the older lads were awesome Andy and especially Keith what are those guys eating and drinking? Aido played well too but he always done and dare I say Coen put in an excellent shift. I’ve been saying it for ages Ciaran Treacy is the best forward in ballina could have a big future with Mayo

  13. WOW!!!!!! Never been as delighted to get a prediction sooooo wrong. Fuck me that was some win, a hard hard place to get anything!. Chest out for the week now, hon mayo!!!!.

  14. Great stuff- Delighted with that. We are going in the right direction here . Well done everyone involved

  15. Probably the most complete performance since the Roscommon quarter final replay? Great to see the new lads handle the pressure so well, very astute subbing of Lee before anything nasty happened, the veterans were all very solid, no slips for Robbie and a couple of points, hopefully only 2 more points we have to pick up – couldn’t be asking for much more!

  16. Not sure who would get mom to but James Horan player a blinder. Well thought out game plan. Coen had a great game, McDonagh and Tracey great debuts couldn’t have asked for more. Plunkett didn’t look out of place either. Harrison after an injury plagued season looks better that ever.

  17. Great win up in Omagh. Well worth the trip from Dublin. I was impressed with the young lads – McDonagh and Plunkett were outstanding. I think we may have a strength in depth this year that’s been lacking in previously years. Roll on Cavan next weekend. They seem to be competitive so let’s take nothing for granted but it’s a great momentum building start to the campaign.

  18. Suberp team performance. Closed the game out well. Going in the right direction. Great to see us competitive every time we play…..

  19. We were beyond useless last year against them, massive difference in 12 months. Powerful performance but Tyrone are very poor.

    You can only play what’s presented in front of you and we did very well all over the pitch.

    Have to keep the same intensity against Cavan next week.

  20. Well done Mayo. Great defending including good tracking back by half forwards. Midfield looking solid and mobile D Vaughan looking fit for this time of year. Forwards lively. Some great prospects coming through incl Reape F McDonagh, Treacy and Conor Diskin got stuck in for the short time on the field. Then theres Keith Higgins, Andy Moran, sub Kevin Mcloughlin, Paddy Durkin all still getting better with age. Keep it going

  21. Didnt see that coming but guess thats what makes it sweeter..A win in Omagh with all newbies showing well makes for a great day at the office for JH..

  22. Fabulous performance today. Great football too. Well done to all involved, Great to beat Tyrone up there.

  23. Well what a great pefornance from the team. So many leaders all over the pitch. I didn’t feel the usual nerves I would because of the great performance and the dominance they should throughout once they got up and running. Early days but great to get another win. Now let’s continue the trend. Maigheo Abu

  24. Well done all today. Yes Exile – definitley the best performance since that replay v rossies. Fionn mcd was excellent. Aido Leeroy got stuck in. Great experience for the newbies. Delighted for Robbie. Take a bow Andy and Keith – rolled back the years. Love following this team. Buzzing. Same again next Saturday night please.

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