Game day – everything on the line again

For the third Saturday in a row we’re back up on the Championship tightrope. It’s another chance to progress in this campaign – this time to the Super 8s – but if things don’t go well it could be the night on which it all ends for us. The ball is set to be thrown in at the Gaelic Grounds in our Round 4 qualifier against Galway at 7pm and Cavan’s Joe McQuillan is the ref.

This one really is a toss-up. There’s very little between the two sides and while it’s easy to make arguments in favour of either of them, it’s harder to imagine an emphatic victory for one or the other.

Let’s advance the case for Galway first. Their recent record against us is excellent, with a winning run over us in all competitive fixtures stretching back to 2016. We find it very hard to cope with their style and in each of the last three summers they’ve beaten us.

While they, like us, have had injury problems this year, it’s also the case that they haven’t been hit with the kind of hammer blows that have landed on us. Cooke starts, Flynn too and more of their sidelined contingent could feature off the bench, Comer included.

Accustomed to beating us and facing a team weakened to a greater extent by injuries than they have, it follows that Galway have to have a great chance tonight. That’s before you consider that, under Kevin Walsh, the Tribesmen only ever seem to show an unbridled desire to win when they’re facing us.

But our cause is far from hopeless. While we’ve been badly weakened by the losses we’ve suffered, others have stepped up. The team we’ve named to start has bags of big game experience – ten of them lined out in the 2017 All-Ireland final and another came on as a sub that day – allied to a fresh injection of talent. We’re likely to have good back-up on the bench as well.

We come into this game with momentum too. Provincial final losers always find it difficult in Round 4 playing against a team that has built up a head of steam in the back door. We’ve come through two tough examinations against Ulster opposition so the lads should be well versed about facing another side that sits deep and breaks fast.

Two other factors are relevant when advancing the case for a Mayo win. The first is that in recent years we’ve played our best football in the Championship when there’s no safety net under us. We never really got going properly in any of those matches since 2016 against Galway and I often wonder would we have shown the same lassitude if those ties were knockout ones.

And the inverse arguably appears to be the case with Galway. Wins over us, followed twice by Nestor Cup successes, preceded collapses in the All-Ireland Series. Thrashed by Tipperary in 2016, never raising a gallop against Kerry twelve months later and then a wretched defeat to Dublin last year – admittedly this time after a successful Super 8s run, one that included victory over Kerry – there’s more than a hint that, when the fat’s really in the fire, Galway can’t always be relied on.

These opposing arguments are, of course, no more than partial ones. So much about how this game may be decided is unknown and unknowable. That’s why, I guess, so many of us will flock to Limerick this evening. That and, I suppose, the fact that we’re all stone mad.

So, off we go again. Another do-or-die Saturday fixture, another chapter in this enthralling story of a team that refuses to make things easy for itself but whose warriors refuse to yield either.

Safe travelling to all heading to this one and the best of luck too to the ladies in their replayed Connacht final against Galway, which acts as the curtain-raiser at the Gaelic Grounds this evening. It’s all on the line again tonight, let’s all do what we can in supporting the team to make sure the lads get across that line. We can do this. Up Mayo.

97 thoughts on “Game day – everything on the line again

  1. The inclusion of Cillian and Aidan is massive for Mayo, the continued absence of Comer and Conroy a worry for Galway.Mayo favourites with most pundits and like last night I think the losing sequence mayo have had with Gslway will end this evening..

  2. I have a very good feeling about this evening……I have to say all things considered I like going to the Gaelic Grounds

  3. No matter what happens this evening lets never forget how many great games and experiences good and bad this team have given us, even if this evening ends up the end of the road for a lot of players what this team have done for Mayo football will continue long into the future because of all the kids they have inspired to play Gaelic football instead of other sports so no matter what happens tonight i think the future of Mayo football is very bright

  4. Mayomick – can you please stop using that handle? I’ve just noticed you’ve done so a few times and it’s one that’s already in use by someone else, whose photography and IT work has been a great help to me here on the blog. I see you’ve used at least three other handles in the past so please revert to using one of those.

  5. I think you could have saved yourself some time there WJ and just went with that one sentence you used towards the end.
    So much about how this game may be decided is unknown and unknowable.
    Classic.

  6. Just back from France, speaking of Mayomick, I wonder will there be a second pitch invasion ala Kerry in 2014, this game will surely be spicier as its v Galway.
    A tall order for Mayo tonight, win that and back on the road v Kerry, then Croker and a home game, alot of hard games, surely more players will pick up knocks and injuries.
    I must admit, I am not sure how this game will pan out.

  7. Ah now Tuamstar, Tomas O’Shes, Canavan and Donaghy have all gone for Galway. I think Farragher playing alongside Burke will re-ignite him. Galways bench will be serious, could well be the winning of the game.

  8. Well game day again. Please no early goals against us, no cards and hopefully no more injuiries. (I saw a few of those ‘signs’ on poles coming into Tuam earlier…they will only drive us on). Lets give our men the mightest welcome/roar ever this evening. Good luck to our ladies too.

  9. I think D Coen needs very little room to work to make a scoring chance for himself. If he can nail a few points early this evening and Fionn can hammer a couple over from 40 or 50 yards out I think that will put a few nice big creases in the Galway blanket.

    Keep 15 on the pitch at all costs.

    Good luck to the Managment and team and all the supporters and may we see a performance for the ages from Mayo this evening.

    It should be rip roaring stuff.

  10. Discipline and patience in possession will be key. I’m sure it will be very tough balance that patience whilst not getting sucked into slow progression to attack but I do have a good feeling about this one. that team does look strong (potentially lacking a bit of pace in the middle) – really hope the lads can eek this one out! p.s. Please no early goals today

  11. A few “musts” in order for us to win.
    1. Must have 15 on the pitch at all times.
    2. We must score at least one goal.
    3. No stupid early concession of a goal.
    Now, let the dog see the rabbit.
    Mayo by 1.
    Hon Mayo.

  12. A huge good luck to team, management and fans in the Gaelic Grounds, in Mayo and everywhere today. May our wishes take flight and put wings under the team when it needs it.

    I don’t know either what will happen but I’d love us to win.
    I like that this game is In Limerick, not in Connacht. It puts a different twist and feel to things for our lads. Maybe it’ll remind us of what we have done in the past.
    I feel there’s a different feel to this game for another reason too – it’s not those early nervy Connacht Championship ties against Galway when we’re still shaking off cobwebs and testing our feet. This time we’ve already tested our feet (in nerve-jangling games against Down and Galway). Is Galway ready for. Mayo in full flight and focus? (I don’t know).
    I would think too that there’s some resolve there too – not this time, Galway. There’s such a thing as times and moments – ‘a tide in the affairs of men’. If Mayo’s internal compass has reached that place, truly, that means something and can propel us onwards to win. But that’s speculation for now and, as WJ said, unknowable until later.
    Dia is Muire linn. Go n’éirí an bothar linn. May we all have a great day. Hon Mayo!
    Mayo by 3.

  13. Subs hennelly,, o donuhue, drake McCormack, Carr, Vaughan, Regan, O’Shea , loftus, Andy and Keegan

  14. Best of luck to the Mayo team and management this evening. It’s going to be a very tall order for our lads to raise their game to the level needed to get the better of this highly talented and organised Galway team. Keegans inclusion or exclusion in the match day 26 will be a huge factor in the outcome.

  15. that’s a fine looking bench – love how even the pre match is a rollercoaster with Mayo. The fun these lads give you!

  16. Excited to see game day arrive at last. Focus is essential from start to finish. No team is finished till the final whistle blows. I’m expecting our men to have that focus. Bring the colour and make it special. Don’t let the energy drop as supporters cause this is fuel to our lads too. Think of yourselves as the booster rockets behind a powerful engine, a powerful machine, machine Mayo. Go n-éirí linn inniú agus go deo, foireann Mhuigheo!

  17. Strong bench
    Very strong
    Keegan on it as expected

    Boland prob unlucky. I would have him ahead of Regan. Loftus too but for frees

  18. Official match program up on twitter. This is really really good news. Had heard last night Keegan was running but wouldn’t believe it until the actual program released. Seamie back too is also a real positive.

  19. Best of luck to Mayo,team and management this evening,safe travelling to all supporters from both teams,thank you again Willie Joe for your patience and keeping us up to date on all things about Mayo

  20. You become strong by defying defeat and by turning loss and failure into success.
    Mayo by 3 points.

  21. Delighted with that bench.

    We got our warning last week with our dithering at the end, albeit some of it was understandable, especially the injuries and throw in a few nerves along with that.
    We live on our wits at the best of times though. That’s the nature of this team and the thrill of this team.
    However, this is serious stuff at the end of the day and we wont be getting away with that kind of play today though. Nor will we get away with being so open at the back. We’ll get annihilated.

    Come on Mayo, give it one hell of a go today, leave nothing on that pitch. We can do this. Up Mayo!!

  22. Strong Galway bench it must be said too
    Subs will be crucial
    Hope Horan uses them wisely …….

  23. I can’t see either team lining out as selected. Both strong benches, Keegan a good boost for us.
    I don’t think we are ready to bow out of this year’s championship just yet.
    Discipline a huge factor like other posters above I believe if we keep 15 on the field we can do it.

  24. Incredible to think that Lee has made it to the match day 26, thought he had absolutely no chance after the way he was helped off last week. It’s possible he may even start now.

    You’d expect a couple of changes to the named team.
    Possibly Vaughan in for Plunkett, with Coen moving back to no.6.
    Carr in for Treacy and McLoughlin moving back to the half forward line?
    It’ll be interesting to see the starting line-ups come thrown-in.

    Can’t remember both teams ever having such strong benches. The fitness of the returning players on those benches could be the deciding factor in this game.

    I think we’ll win. After yet another nail-biting roller-coaster ride.

  25. Sitting in the airport now and gutted to be missing this match. Refused to go earlier as I was convinced we would be playing Galway in the Connacht final and didn’t want to miss that. To make matters worse, will be in the air during it. Ah ya can plan nothing.
    Anyway best of luck to the team. I know they can do it. Great to see Lee on the bench.
    Would be a great start to the holidays if I have a message saying we won, when we land.

  26. Our subs could just give us the edge to get us over the line. Can you imagine the roar, say with 15 – 20 minutes to go and we are still in the game, when Andy, Leeroy (if he doesn’t start) and SOS start warming up! What a psychological boost this would deliver to the team and fans. Mayo by 2.

  27. Strong sub’s bench for both teams and I expect changes before start. Feel this is a really difficult task for Mayo tonight and I think Galway should be favourites. I know they haven’t impressed this year and everyone points to second half v Ross when they were woeful. But they were far from woeful in the first half scoring 10 against the wind on a brutal day. Their forward line has fantastic potential and I would prefer to see Farragher not starting. Walsh is under enormous pressure but has kept a dignified silence and I expect Galway to go after Mayo this evening. No matter how we dress it up our full back line is not playing well. Our forwards were incredibly economical with the ball in the second half the last day. Can you honestly see us repeating that. I really love this team who have given us incredible days supporting them but if they were to win tonight it would be one of their finest achievements. Come on Mayo.

  28. I would like to add to the positive outlook for today.
    The Team has additions as well as losses through injuries. No one seels to doubt that Mayo and JH will give it everything. So it is all there to be enjoyed. I am hopeful there are a few goals in us today? We may not even have to panic in injury time.

  29. I foresee 3 changes. Carr, Vaughan, keegan in for Treacy, Coen, plunkett – Vaughan to mf, Leroy in for plunkett, McLoughlin to hf forwards and Carr inside. Feeling good regardless, expecting a dour enough affair, Mayo by between 1 & 3

  30. Geneva to Dublin to Longford to Limerick.

    Minors showed the way last night. These streaks are there to be broken. Neutral ground so we have more than an even shout.

    Sew into them Mayo!!

  31. I do think it will be very tough tonight and I tend to agree with to win just once. I can see Galway being very hard to handle and really throwing us into a spin somewhere in this game. That’s a strong Galway team and they have shown are not cuddly toys. Don’t let us be put off by this as fans or supporters though. If that happens let us too as supporters stay in the game. I always believe in this Mayo team and I think we can get there before the end. Let’s stay in the game. Mayo, Mayo, Mayo! Up Mayo!

  32. Gates open to Mackey stand, Mayo ladies warming up in the pitch, it’s damp here which could make it messy.

    C’Mon Mayo!

  33. Kildare minors winning well in extra time. So its going to be a Dublin v Mayo All Ireland quarter final by the looks of it

  34. When you Look at Galway line up and subs you wonder why they have under performed for so long. You have to worry about our FB line . Coen needs to go in there Higgins to sweeper and Vaughan into midfield. Cillian needs 12 points to bteak all time scoring record for champuobship…Mhaigh Eo Abu..

  35. Well well, we’ll be playing the Dubs after all in the minor QF. Adds a bit of spice to it!

  36. In Mackey stand. Can hardly breathe.
    Best of luck to all. Ladies 5pts to galway 2.3 HT

  37. Ladies team down by 4 at halftime . Met them recently with my kids at a training session and they couldn’t have been nicer too them .. Don’t write them off for the second half ..
    Do get much coverage in blogs or media but hopefully that will change in time .. Hon Mayo

  38. I feel there is a subdued build-up to this game, I get a slight hint of almost people not knowing what to expect this evening, am I correct ?.
    Blog seems quieter than the days of the Down and Armagh games.

  39. Great post, as usual, WJ.
    And many great comments after same.

    This one is so hard to call.
    I think it all depends on the injuries and subs on both sides.
    Whoever is less affected by them should win.
    Our lads won’t want Galway to be the ones to knock them out, particularly now.
    And you and I most certainly don’t.
    C’mon Mayo. You can do it. We are not finished yet.
    “Boys pull together…don’t show the white feather”, in Limerick or anywhere.
    And, gracious and sporting always , win, lose or draw.
    Up Mayo go deo.

  40. Hello WJ
    Twas me said hello
    I’m out having a smoke
    But.the Internets slow

    40 minutes to go
    Till the ball gets thrown up
    And if the football goes well
    We’ll all be having a sup.

  41. Greetings from Monterey California.First match missed in a while but waiting on Gaa Go to start.This feels like the begining of another few great years and far from the end.Make that NOISE.

  42. I feel ill with nerves now. Bit like I am for an All Ireland final.
    I hope to god we are on the right side of the result in over 2.5 hrs.

  43. I guess we had some serious injuries after all…
    Flynn out, Sean Andy out, O Laoi out..
    Mayo have serious advantage now

  44. Good win from Mayo. Closer at end than it needed to be but it’s a good win. Maigheo go deo

  45. Oh Mayo Mayo what a victory, i’m so happy delighted elated you name it, they played brilliantly under a lot of pressure near the end. The men of Mayo are playing fantastic, Galway got dirty too but no white flag showing today, Mayo are absolutely Magic , great stuff men. Mayo March on.

  46. Over in Italy in the holidays so watched it in sky go.
    Brilliant display from the lads, why would we doubt them? Cillian played like he had never been injured. We’ll give Kerry plenty of it.
    Early on co commentary on sky is an absolute prick. Why would a Rossie be so in love with Galway? Absolutely wiling them to get back into it.
    Usual red mist from Galway towards the end where their only tactic was to go round belting everything in a red and green jersey.

  47. Well done Mayo! So relieved. What a brilliant team performance. Mighty men. Hope supporters are happy in Limerick.

  48. Great win. More comfortable (well, relatively…) than we probably expected.
    I love the combination of O’Connor and Coen up front.
    getting our previously injured players back on the pitch is massive for us. We’re building nicely.

    These 2 wins in 24 hours are huge for Mayo football. Hard luck to the ladies earlier.

  49. I have to agree east cork, Earley’s co commentary was beyond one eyed. At one point he managed to reference Galway’s “professional” fouling in the second half and correct himself when referencing the same fouling from mayo in the first by neglecting to use the word “cynical”! I was agog. Mike finnerty wasn’t there to keep him in check clearly. Doesn’t matter know, call the kingdom and tell them we’re coming! G’wan Mayo!!!!

  50. Don’t know what to say only…
    FUCKING YES!!!
    They never backed once, not a fucking inch.
    Don’t know how much more these lads can give but what a ride.

  51. Spot on about Earley, don’t know what that clown’s problem was tonight.
    Hope that result upset him as much as it sounded.

  52. Mayo just edged it. Penalty miss and goal keeping error cost us dear. Poor referee as Mayo know only too well. The hard match against Armagh was of benefit to Mayo as tonights game will be in Killarney next week. Hopefully Walsh resigns and we can rebuild. Mayo have a tough group but wont fear Kerry or Donegal.

  53. Also, wouldn’t it be sweet for Cillian to break the Gooch’s scoring record next week in his own home town of Killarney.

  54. Mayo should have won that by 6 or 7.

    Thought our sub forwards who came on added nothing unfortunately.

    Boyle immense again. Big games from zippy and Durcan.

    Thought Aido would have been far more direct.

    Darren Coen can win ball, is intelligent and knows where the posts are. James Carr, take a bow. That goal was magic. Keep working hard boy!!

    We looked out on our feet with 15 to go. Somehow found a bit more juice.

    Biggest concern for next week is energy. Plus Kerry will know our Kick out strategy.

    Well done to the lads tonight. We are still in it and who knows what can happen…

  55. Great win and congrats to all, this was a very good game but I’m not so sure ye should be giving out about “Uncle Joe”, I think overall he have ye the rub in several decisions tonight.

    I’d advise ye to being drinking money to Killarney as I would fear for Kerry the way Mayo are playing with such fluency after this run in the qualifiers. I’m like a dog with two tails tho as I’m so excited heading to a Kerry v Mayo Super 8 game in Killarney . The place will be throbbing and I just can’t wait. Safe home to all

  56. Darren Coen is what we have missed in Croker
    A long range scorer to beat the blanket
    It’s what the dubs do so well
    They work it in a scoring zone for a shooter
    It also frees up Cillain now that we have another target

    He has become a hugely important player for us and there is definitely a tinge of regret that he wasn’t in the squad last few years

  57. Great performance from players and management, credit to all for the great start, kept Galway at bay late on and Mayo had the knowhow in the final few minutes.
    All looks to be falling into place now and a few long term injured guys returning also.
    Well done James Horan and Co.

  58. Great win. Brilliant to make the super 8s after 3 tough games. Mayo wont fear going to killarney. They seem to have Kerry’s number in the last few games. Tiredness will come into it now after a hectic schedule. But the panel is as strong as it has been in years. So theres reason to be optimistic and if the rumours are true. Ruane and Diarmuid could be back for the last game of the super 8s or the semi final should we make it that far.

  59. Very composed performance. Never in danger.
    Paul Earley made a flute of himself with his commentary, talking up Galway when they were 6 points down.
    Booked in for Killarney and looking forward to the Super 8s

  60. Great performance by team and management. Credit where its due. Carr outstanding. As was D Coen and the much maligned full back line. They looked out on their feet with 10 mins to go but found a burst of energy to finish out the game. COC was outstanding. A full forward line of COC, Coen and Carr will cause problems for any defence. Onwards and up.

  61. Serious performance from Mayo moved up a level from last weekend, Galway were rocked by the early goals & never recovered , they lost too many match ups around the pitch . Regardless of what happens now, Horan has made some excellent progress with the team this year

    Mayo made serious hay down the right flank in the first half as pointed out in the Irish Times earlier this week. Some of the kickpassing in the first half was top class

  62. Delighted with the win, combination if youth and experience, turning it around on Galway and P Durcan putting Walsh in his pocket. Also with Jason fit to play and Keegan looking fine on taking the field. Well done to the team.

  63. I did Pebblesmeller.
    It’s a version of “Newbridge or nowhere”, but for us in 2019.
    And on Sunday week:
    “Not today Yerras, not today”!
    (No offence Gamechanger10)

  64. No question Paul Early is wickedly biased against Mayo. Last week it was the same . Definitely looks and sounds foolish doing this.

  65. Well that puts 2016, 17 & 18 into context. This win was in truth too long in coming and should have been well in excess of the 3 points that was in it at the end. Defence was excellent to a man. And David Clarke. Just suberb. S Coen got through an amount of work around the middle Aidan dominant as usual. Some nice options are now available up front with Darren and Cillian. And young Carr, what a goal. Kevin Mc his usual busy self till he got hit in 2nd half. Also great to welcome back some of the injured in the person of Seamie, Lee, Cillian Donie. Next game now all that matters.

  66. Agree Evergreenandred. Delighted.
    I’d need more choice in man of the match poll this week as I will find it hard to pick just 3 players!!! Feels so good to get this maroon monkey off of our backs. God I love this team.
    Business now with Horan getting the lads straight in off the pitch.

  67. Delighted to be in Limerick. Everything seemed better. Boyle done a great job securing the middle in the first half, Cillian outstanding and Carr making a great start to his Championship career. A bit of work still needed on our kick outs and very poor to concede a goal at the death. However it would be very petty to complain tonight. Hard luck on Galway who I think still have the makings of a good team. Onwards to the Super 8 now, a new experience for us all.

  68. Roscommon really hated us winning to night and I’m sure Paul Early no different

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