Dissecting Donegal

Photo: GAA.ie

The time is now ticking down rapidly ahead of Saturday evening’s pivotal Super 8s clash between ourselves and Donegal. This All-Ireland quarter-final Group 1 Phase 3 meeting between the counties throws in at 6pm that evening in MacHale Park. Meath’s David Gough is the ref for it.

Thinking about how to frame this background piece on Donegal, the logical point of departure on which I alighted was, unsurprisingly, our most recent competitive meeting. That encounter took place at MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey in late March last year, on a day when Kevin McLoughlin’s late, late leveller saved our Division One bacon while propelling the home team through the relegation trapdoor.

I recall running into Stephen Rochford that day on the way out of the ground well after the final whistle had sounded and having a light-hearted, jokey exchange with him. We’d come through a rocky League campaign with our top tier status preserved and summer – when we always performed much better – now lay ahead of us. Stephen looked relieved and sounded upbeat. All was well with the world.

How times have changed since then. Rochy’s now in Donegal’s corner and comes to Castlebar as a vital part of the Tir Conaill brains trust whose job it is to figure out the best playing approach to take us down and end our interest in this year’s Championship.

Back on that day in Ballybofey it looked as if we were still riding high and that Donegal’s relegation would wound them badly heading into summer. The gloss had come off their youth policy and now they faced into a bruising Ulster campaign and, most likely, a backdoor battle if they were to make the inaugural Super 8s.

But it didn’t work out like that. Ulster fell their way perfectly last summer, with first Tyrone slipping up against Monaghan and then the Farneymen face-planting against Fermanagh. Donegal, in the other half of the draw, had a tricky preliminary round opener against Cavan but once they’d negotiated that one they made short work of Derry, Down and, in the final, Fermanagh to land a rather facile Anglo-Celt Cup success.

And with it a ticket to the Super 8s dance. But it was there that their good fortune ended. Bracketed with Dublin, Tyrone and Roscommon, last year’s format saw the so-called Croke Park round played first, so pairing Donegal in Phase 1 – at 7pm on a Saturday evening for good measure – against Dublin. It’s little wonder they had a motion before Congress on this issue afterwards.

Donegal gave a good account of themselves in that game but they lost by five. This meant they were already on the back foot as they prepared themselves for Phase 2.

That was against Roscommon in Hyde Park and the seven-point win they recorded in that game put them right back in the hunt for a semi-final spot. Tyrone were their opponents in a winner-takes-all final round meeting but Donegal enjoyed home advantage for it, with the match fixed for Ballybofey.

MacCumhaill Park, so long a Donegal fortress, was stormed by the Red Hand invaders in that Phase 3 showdown. Tyrone came away with a decisive 2-17 to 1-13 win to seal second place in Group 2 and, with it, the coveted semi-final slot on offer.

Still, the year had been a good one for Donegal, whose Championship run had seen them claim an Ulster title and make a decent fist of the Super 8s. That left them with plenty of positives to build on this year.

Which, you’d have to say, they’ve done rather impressively. So much so that they’re once more being spoken about as genuine contenders for the main prize.

The year started for them in Division Two. The second tier is a tricky place and Donegal got a taste of this during the campaign but they eventually got the wins they needed to regain their place at the League’s top table.

In Round 1 they beat Clare by 0-16 to 0-13 in Ennis, in Round 2 they edged out Meath in Ballybofey by 1-13 to 0-14, before, in Round 3, they unexpectedly slipped up again Tipperary, losing in Thurles by 3-9 to 0-13. Round 4 saw them lose again, this time at home in Letterkenny, with Fermanagh coming out on top by 0-13 to 0-10.

They righted the ship in Round 5, but only just, as they squeezed by Armagh in Ballybofey by 1-9 to 0-11. Their Round 6 trip to Cork could have been a tricky one but it wasn’t. The Rebels were in freefall this spring and Donegal pushed them closer to the brink by thumping them 1-19 to 1-12.

Another big win, this time in Ballyshannon, where they coasted to a 1-20 to 0-10 success over Kildare confirmed their promotion back to Division One and, with it, advancement to the Division Two decider. Meath had topped the table but Donegal took the divisional spoils, winning that final 1-17 to 1-15.

The day after we lost to Roscommon, Donegal opened the defence of their Ulster title. Fermanagh proved sticky opponents in that quarter-final meeting in Brewster Park but a strong second half display from the visitors saw them home on a 0-15 to 0-9 scoreline.

That set up a semi-final joust against Tyrone and the young buck and I headed up to Breffni Park to catch that one for ourselves. I was well impressed with Donegal that day, in a match where Tyrone reverted to their horrible, negative worst and got exactly what they deserved, i.e. nothing, from the contest.

Whereas Tyrone opted for tippy-tappy short restarts all day, followed by laboured, slow handpass-laden saunters upfield, Donegal attacked at pace, with plenty of angled kick-passing and loads of intelligent movement in their forward line.

Their kickouts were far better too, Patton fizzing his restarts with venom out 50 metres and beyond, where young McGee as well as McFadden and Thompson feasted at will. Donegal were well worth their 1-16 to 0-15 win on a day when the country really began to wake up to their potential this summer.

Cavan were no match for them in the final either, Donegal banking back-to-back Ulster titles at Clones on a scoreline of 1-24 to 2-16. So, for the second year in a row, Donegal made it to the Super 8s this summer via the direct route.

With the tweak given to the Super 8s match scheduling, this meant a home Phase 1 match against Meath and the chance to get some momentum straight away. It wasn’t an invitation they passed up on either, beating the Royals by 2-19 to 1-13 at Ballybofey.

That was followed by the mad-cap 1-20 apiece stalemate against Kerry last time out. Cooed over as the match of the summer, the result further bolstered Donegal’s credentials as real contenders, even if the high concession rate by both teams was largely ignored in this analysis. It also sends them heading towards Castlebar on Saturday evening as strong favourites to get the better of us.

We don’t know how that game will end. You do, though, know by now how these background pieces on opponents conclude so let’s stick with that approach once more. Right, then, over to you: how will we do on Saturday evening?

How will we do against Donegal?

  • Win (63%, 680 Votes)
  • Lose (30%, 329 Votes)
  • Draw (7%, 78 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,087

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165 thoughts on “Dissecting Donegal

  1. It might be naive of me but containing Murphy is the key. Am I right in saying he scored 1-8 against Kerry and contributed directly to another three points at least. That is 1-11 of the total 1-20 scored by Donegal. He is strong, big, skilful and intelligent. He is the fulcrum of the Donegal setup. We need a strong player to be glued to him. A big man and a strong man like Aidan. I believe Aidan did a job on Donaghy to such an extent that Donaghy polaxed him and got sent off.

  2. Agree, Murphy is the key man and Aidan is the only man for him. In fact I think that murphy will being the best out of Aidan.

  3. AOS is surely the obvious man for Murphy. He has been playing defensively most of the year anyway.
    Very few teams have an AOS type to tackle Murphy. Follow him everywhere. It’s a no brainer.

  4. Very hard one to call this. On form you would back donegal but on paper we are as good if not better than them and we have seen before in 2016,2017 etc that this team can go from being mediocre one week to having their performance of the year a week later

    Injury list for both sides will mean a lot.
    Ban gallagher is obviously a huge blow to donegal but if mcbrearty and jason mcgee miss out that’s the best scoring forward and best fetching midfielder gone too.

    On the flip side of it we could really do with Diarmuid and durcan for this one, durcan is absolutely tailor made for Jamie brennan which would free lee up to do a job on ryan Mchugh

    I would hold back Andy on the bench til game opens up a bit, finishing team is important

    Too close to call but id say mayo will grind it out for a 2 point win in another heartstopper (ad after we have conceded our customary soft goal)

  5. Agree fully re AOS for Murphy. He is the only man with the physique and strength to handle Murphy who is, without doubt, Donegal’s key man. AOS on him and stick with home whether he is full forward midfield where he will probably spend most of the game anyway. Put Keegan on McBrearty and possibly S Coen on McHugh. Control those three and we will win the game.

  6. I would play Robbie Hennelly for kickouts as McHale park is too tight for Clarkes kickouts
    The match ups for there 4 key men
    Aidan O’Shea on Michael Murphy
    Chris Barrett on Paddy McBrearty
    Lee Keegan on Jamie Brennan
    Kevin McLoughlin on Ryan McHugh

  7. McHugh would destroy S Coen, he’d burn him for pace every time…that match up will not happen. Im a big fan of S Coen, but he is one paced like Boland, keep Stephen on the less speedy players and he’ll do a great job.
    I wouldn’t rule him out of marking Michael Murphy, he’s great at harrying and disrupting players, would be able to stick with Murphy more than Aidan. I think putting Aidan on Murphy would play right into Donegals hands, Murphy would drag him everywhere, and we’d lose our best tackler and high fielder in the process. Aidan needs to be playing in the middle and sitting back minding the house. Durcan will be vital, id start him on a man marking job on Mchugh, make Mchugh defend once in a while aswell…hammer the hammer and all that. Lee Roy for Brennan.

    Im glad David Gough is reffing, McGee’s antics in the fb line will be well punished. Gough always listens to his umpires, who are family members I beileve, so their’ll be manners put on McGee I think.

  8. Yeah s coen would be eaten alive by Mchugh. I could see coen picking up langan as he is more rangy player and he likes to drift out too

  9. @Chris Kelly. I would have a rethink on that one, last time out Robbie gifted a few to the Rossies.

  10. I voted for Mayo to win based purely on my
    Gut feeling and as I haven’t been wrong all year I’m
    Going to stick with it. On paper Donegal
    Should win and we are playing at home all we need is someone in the dressing room to utter the immortal words Ciaran Fitzgerald utterd where’s yer pride lads? We’re playing at home against our former coach more than likely with more Mayo supporters than Donegal and being written off by Aidan O Rourke and the National
    Media it shouldn’t be too hard to motivate the lads. So be positive at the match roar like hell and support and urge the lads on

  11. Donegal on present form compared to our form will ate us alive , the pace alone will beat us . Donegal by eight points . McHugh and mcbrearty will just run at us and in form Murphy in command , it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for our bucks who are very tired and weary .

    On the other hand if by some miracle we find a new energy we could run them close , very doubtful though with all the games we’ve played of late.

  12. Jesus the negativity from some on here is beginning to grate
    Getting eaten alive will we ? You think the likes of Higgins , Moran who could be playing their last game for Mayo are going to lie down and take an eight point beating ? At home? To a team who lost to Tipperary in Div2 ?
    Get out of it
    We might lose
    We won’t get eaten alive

    I think there will be a LOT of revisionism Sunday morning ………I can understand somewhat pundits from outside the county writing us off. Sure we sell their papers
    But our own supporters ? Have ye no faith in warriors like Boyler ?
    There is a big game coming from a few players mark my words
    Mayo by 2

  13. We got beat by ten by Kerry who could only draw with Donegal .

    Of course I’ve faith in them bucks , Jesus like they have been the greatest men I ever seen wear the jersey . I just think they are very tired and won’t be able for seventy mins of a game with this type of intensity . Not only do I hope I’m wrong , I’m trying to convince myself I’m wrong too .

  14. James Fleming, Just seen on 42.ie that the Mayo Game is on Sky. They are also showing Kerry and Meath on another Sports Channel. They have apparently exclusive rights for Coverage on Saturdays.
    RTE have Sundays. Sonetimes both have equal rights like the Semi.

  15. I dunno…either Leeroy or Aidan to mark Murphy…either one are top quality and depending on where he roams, they follow. Its a test of manhood, is this match! And Mayo have a point to prove.
    I’m going for the win…by a few.

  16. Would have to agree with MayoDunphy. Aidan on Murphy wouldn’t end well for us I feel. And Coen would be turned inside out by Brennan or McHugh.

    Durcan probably on Brennan if fit.
    To be honest we probably need Lee to mark McBrearty, Murphy and McHugh 🙂
    but I’ve seem our lads really rattle Donegal in the past and hopefully we can do it again

  17. Murphy is playing as a more orthodox forward these days so I don’t think it would suit Aidan. We need Aidan playing in midfield anyway. I think Stephen Coen would be best suited to the job as he could follow Murphy wherever he goes. Paddy Durcan on Jamie Brennan, Leeroy on McHugh and Barrett on McBrearty.

    Donal Keoghan of Meath caused Donegal a lot of trouble running at their defence. We should be suited to doing more of that.

  18. My heart says Mayo. My head says Mayo. My big toe says Mayo. I can guarantee you if you told the lads after Roscommon they’d have a game in Castlebar to seal a semi final spot they’d have jumped at it. They have never taken a backward step and I doubt they intend starting this weekend either. Donegal are very impressive with some serious talent but I just feel its in the lads to go out and win it. Mayo by 1-3 (most likely 1 just for the sheer heart attack of it!) Up Mayo!

  19. I’m a mayo man living in donegal, the talk all week up here is who will be able to mark AOS. They all think Murphy is the only man, funny reading all the comments so far.

  20. Sean Burke, for a man who supposedly has faith in this team, you love predicting thrashings for them on this site every time there’s a big game coming up.

    Now I’m a realist, I think this will be a tough game and could see Donegal pipping us or even getting the draw which is all they need. Likewise, I could see us digging deep and grinding out the win. But it will be a battle and I don’t see anyone walking away with an 8 point win on either side.

  21. I agree , can’t see us been beating by much and if we get some of the injury guys back I think we can win it.
    What have Donegal done that makes them world beaters, Kerry game was good but can’t judge it on that
    We can win this one but Dublin could be a stretch to far

  22. Below is what I posted on a previous thread:-

    There has been a lot of talk on here about David Clarks kick outs. What I see is that he “hangs” rather than “drills” then. There can be problems with both styles. The hanging kick out gives players a chance to compete. The drilled kick out has to be pin point accurate. So the question for Saturday is can our outfield players compete for the hanging ball. If they can we have a good chance of winning, if the can’t well we’re f***ed.

    On the debate of Hennelly versus Clark I would like to remind people that the player wearing the No. 1 jersey is called the”Goalkeeper ” not the “kicker outer”. With this in mind I for one have no doubt who my No. 1 is.

  23. And this, just wanted to get involved !

    So Sky get the match. The GAA are a f***ing disgrace. RTÉ to show Tyrone v Dublin, a match of little or no consequence, whereas the game in Castlebar will be the only significant one of all four this weekend although Meath v Kerry could still have a influence, but guess who is showing that one also.. Oh but wait, I forgot Dublin have to play outside the Capital ,outside the Country even, God forbid, so the National broadcaster must be duty bound to televise the team from the Capital.

  24. There has been a lot of talk on here about David Clarks kick outs. What I see is that he “hangs” rather than “drills” then. There can be problems with both styles. The hanging kick out gives players a chance to compete. The drilled kick out has to be pin point accurate. So the question for Saturday is can our outfield players compete for the hanging ball. If they can we have a good chance of winning, if the can’t well we’re f***ed.

    On the debate of Hennelly versus Clark I would like to remind people that the player wearing the No. 1 jersey is called the”Goalkeeper ” not the “kicker outer”. With this in mind I for one have no doubt who my No. 1 is.

  25. Sean Burke, I know you have the best interest of Mayo at heart, but prove it by not commenting here again until after the match. Your comments are depressing me and don’t need that, when going home to roar on my team.

  26. Croke Park defends performance of hurling referees and sky sports have rights to our game v Donegal… what a complete shambles. Guess I’ll have to start drinking or splash out how much for sky sports…gaa you stink.

  27. And again, Jesus I’m on something…why the negative take… who will Donegal put on A O’S, on Killeen O’ Connor ,on Andy when he comes on, on the Coen brothers (do you like that one ?), on Jason Doherty ?….let’s be positive…,,,!! And never forget the damage Kevin Mc Laughlin can do when now one thinks he’s around..and Christ lads what about the young lads gunning for game time…Ah cone on let’s be happy…we’re going to be victorious…no BACKTALK !!!

  28. Sean Burke by any chance you don’t happen to know rte exact date for the end of the world or Armageddon?

  29. Can’t believe it, I’m fully in agreement with Mayomurphy! Good shout on all points. Lads, just for the craic I’d like to introduce a different (maybe contentious) topic for a minute. Ye don’t need to discuss this if ye don’t want to, I know we have bigger fish to fry, but am I the only man in the country at the moment that’s not blown away by the small ball game? I know the 2 semis we’re close and exciting, but to me it doesn’t have the unpredictability of our game. It’s becoming too perfect and predictable. Possession nearly always means a score, it’s you score – I’ll score, like basketball, and they can now point regularly from 80/90 yards. Dare I say it’s becoming a bit boring, or am I missing the bigger picture? Give me Mayo’s unpredictability and tribulations any day of the week.

  30. Paul, no, theres musical entertainment from 3.30, three separate acts. If your looking for central position to watch match it would be advisable to get there early and witness Mayo take down Donegal one more time. Up Mayo!

  31. No , they have got a couple of bands like goatsdontsahve who start playing music at 3:30 . I haven’t seen any announcement of extra tickets but I have a feeling if there is any they will be distributed to the club’s whom I’ve heard are near only half meeting demand at present .

    I’m also hearing a lot of tickets were snapped up by Donegal so I’d expect this to be not as much as a home game in that context with the Donegal support bringing a lot more flags and noise it could be turned into a mini ballyboffey .

    So we could be beaten in the stands as well as the pitch

  32. Connacht Telegraph said that the pre match entertainment will allow an extra 2-3k tickets but they will be given to the clubs. Probably means a total attendance of around 28,000.

  33. Is anyone familiar with “Eeyore” Winnie the Pooh? I swear one poster here is a human version of him. Doom and gloom.

  34. Lads theirs nothing wrong with different opinions, If Sean Burke thinks we’ll get hammered so be it. To be honest he could well be right. Most on here were saying we’d beat Kerry…we know how that ended!. All form lines point to a Donegal win. It doesn’t stop us perceived pessimists from attending the game and roaring on the boys, which I will be doing.

    Don’t know why posters are giving out that the media are tipping Donegal!. Thats the perfect position to be in, let them build donegal up to f**k. It didn’t do the Kerry boys any harm before our game.

  35. We made Kerry look much better than they are. Without Moran at centre field they are manageable which Donegal showed.

    WJ, I would suggest that you are over simplifying the Donegal / Meath match. Donegal played well against Meath but Meath were the far better team until the last 60th minutes. I for one was far too focused on our Kerry game that day to actually absorb the Donegal / Meath game but it is worth looking back on.

    We on the other hand played poorly but should have been out of sight at half time against Meath. We were much better everywhere except finishing, but as we all know, we finally got it together.

    Mayo by 2 points based on current form.

    If two of AOS, Durkan, Ruane or D O’Connor are fully fit it could be more.

  36. There’s an irony in the fact that to watch the Mayo v Donegal people need to subscribe to a British media company while at the same time our own TG4 are reduced to showing highlights of the Tour de France. I’ll be in Castlebar but I know someone who no longer is able to go to the matches. He played for Mayo in the early 60’s and is a fanatical supporter. He doesn’t have Sky and doesn’t go to the pub in recent years. To say he is p****ed off is putting it mildly.
    I wonder what would the founders of the GAA think? I’m not sure Davitt or Nally would be too impressed. Is it that the need for finance now takes precedence over the founding ideals of the GAA. Im a GAA man through and through but I’m afraid a major shake up is badly needed.

  37. A lots of virtual balls will be kicked on this page until Saturday!

    Hopefully we have a few guys back for the match which will provide even more depth but not at all taking away from the squad from Down to now.

    Murphy will roam about so AOS isn’t the man for him for the full game. We’d lose his impact to much, Donegal have plenty to worry themselves about him.

    Coen is the man to track him for the full game IF he starts. I don’t think he will if Durcan is back, if so let Boyle knock lumps out of Murphy for the bulk of the game, he’s loosing a bit of height but all he has to do it break the serial balls.

    Keegan if fully fit on McHugh.
    Durcan on Brennan.

    Gough is pretty pedantic and will stop all the messing in the fullback line.

    Huge game ahead, 75/80 mins away from a trip back to Croker.

    What more do we want on a bank holiday weekend in the hopefully shimmering heat of McHale Park.

    Up. Mayo.

  38. Does anyone else find it really odd that Aidan O’Rourke (RTÉ) doesn’t mention Mayo and seems to think it’s a foregone conclusion that it’s Kerry and Donegal from our group into the semi?? He’s usually fairly balanced and think his stuff is ok, but this is a strange one.

  39. Im hearing bad news on the ticket front! Our club is only getting a fraction of what was ordered. This is going to turn nasty I think!

  40. Hi All
    Are tickets sold out already, as I cannot get them online? Or do I need go through club?
    Thanks
    Stephen

  41. People talking about too much negativity on the blog and then I see over two thirds of those who voted went for a Mayo win. Fair play to your optimism but I don’t rally know what’s it is based on Home venue maybe. No we have a woeful record in Castlebar . Current form maybe. The most recent form book tells me we lost to Kerry by 9, Donegal drew with them. League Form. We are the league champions, they operated in Div 2 But the league is about as relevant to Championship as last weeks cricket match was. Look at Dublin in the league, Cork relegated to Div 3 but a decent championship, Ulster won by a Div2 team, Connacht by a relegated team. In hurling Limerick walked the league. Tipp and Kilkenny were also rans. Form of the players Well very few Mayo players have been consistently good in championship this year, while Murphy, McHugh, McBrearty, Patton and quite a few more have been outstanding. So on all known form Donegal should beat Mayo. But the glorious uncertainty of sport gives us a chance and the utter resilience and character of this magnificent group of players gives us an even better chance so while I will travel to Castle bar with my head saying no, my heart will most definitely be saying Yes. Maigh Eo abu

  42. Hi everyone talking about Sky having the game my suggestion is not to subscribe to Sky anymore and boycott them any way the tv commentators on Sky are terrible
    Just listen to the radio either MWR or RTE RADIO ONE
    That will wake up the GAA When no one subscribes to SKY

  43. Actually I thought that hurling games were great at the weekend, Cody is some man, Kilkenny players showed savage commitment, as did Tipp in fairness, a player sent off and three goals disallowed. John Kiely did not whinge about a late 65 not been given.
    Re Sky, I am glad there is an alternative to RTÉ, I know that this does not suit everyone, but will be on radio. This has nothing to do with Dublin, RTÉ would prefer the Mayo game.
    Went for the draw, expect this to be tight, maybe our best performance of the year, just think we will give it everything, whether it is enough I am not so sure!

  44. Fearbolg, is that me your agreeing with or is there a MayoMurphy post I didn’t see?. Theirs hope for Brexit yet if we can agree on something 🙂 🙂

  45. @Mikey For many people there is no alternative to RTE bad and all as it might be. Not many people I know have Sky Sports.

  46. To win just once. Current form means nothing to some posters. We have one poster saying the Donegal/Kerry game was good but you can’t judge them on that. While another points to donegals loss to Tipperary in the league last Feb as grounds for optimism.
    Just because some of us, myself included, dare to think that we might be up against it Saturday, doesn’t make us any less of a supporter than the ones that thinks we’ll win every game regardless of current form/injuries etc.
    I’ll be going with hope rather than optimism. It’s not a crime.

  47. Good one, Mayomurphy, let’s meet up with Boris. If we can be reconciled anything’s possible!

  48. “Goats dont shave” are a Donegal band!! Oh dear. This isn’t good.
    There BETTER be a Mayo act headlining. If not I’ll be utterly shocked and dismayed. First the venue craic, now the music.
    Just recall the spread of excellent music Kerry put on in killarney. It would put other counties to shame. Also it’s an opportunity to cheer-lead for the home crowd and team and rightly so.

    It sets the atmosphere for the day. I’ll eagerly await the lineup.

  49. 35 thousand people attended the 2006 Connacht final with the old stand in operation ,yet this weekends attendance is reduced to 25 thousand, It just doesnt make sense.So many people left dissapointed and the match on Sky aswell.The Gaa is ran by clowns!!

  50. I do think that we need to bring every piece of green and red we can get our hands on. At the AIF 2012 I have to say we were walloped in the stands. That was before we really got going as a fanatical group . But be forewarned .Donegal supporters are fanatical too and they bring a lot of color.
    We will show our pride for this team ( some of whom may be playing their last championship game at home or indeed ever ). We can not let them down. We are not going back to AIF in 2013 either when we were mute.
    No way will we be out shouted , out colored or out flagged.
    No F$&*n way will we let that happen this Saturday.

  51. One of the acts on Saturday evening is a member of the Saw Doctor’s, I think it’s Leo Moran, not sure about him exactly. Anyway we will have a rendition of The Green and Red of Mayo for sure, that’s got to put any genuine Mayo supporter in the mood for a win, the last time I heard that was in Croke Park earlier this year and indeed it was not the first time heard this song.
    But there’s another Mayo song that goes back a long way and one I grew up with…yes it’s the Boy’s From The County Mayo. Here’s a line or two from it.
    Now boys stick together in all types if weather,
    Don’t show the white feather, wherever you roam,
    And be like a brother and love one another,
    Like the stout hearted men from the County Mayo!
    I hope all the so called supporters who are dissing Mayos chances take note, to support neans, get behind the team, it’s 15 v 15 on any given day, James Goran will haven a plan for the opposition danger men, don’t worry about that detail. What’s intriguing me is what Mayo player will produce the major or major’s in the game next Saturday, because it is hard to call on our previous game’s form, Kevin McLoughlan pulled one out of the hat in Castlebar against Armagh, Loftus took a quick pass from Andy in Newry and ten million people around the world have seen James Carr’s other goal in Limerick. Donegal just don’t know where our greatest threat comes from on any given day. I’m looking forward to the game in Castlebar, where your guaranteed a seat no matter where you are around the ground and finally, the heading at the top of this Mayo GAA Blog current stream is Dissecting Donegal and that’s just what we are going to do. Up Mayo!

  52. When is the last time Mayo were almost 2/1 to win a championship match in Castlebar??

    Most of the bookies are writing Mayo off. Most pundits are writing Mayo off which is absolutely understandable when you look.at the form of both teams in 2019 coupled with the injury list Mayo have compared to Donegals.

    It’ll be very interesting to see how Mayo react on Saturday. For the bookies and media a Mayo win would be an upset bordering on a shock.

    Let’s hope that happens.

  53. 25,000 limit in a ground that can hold 38,000 (and had 35,000 safely in there at 2006 Connaught final) is a disgrace.

    There will be huge swathes of empty spaces behind both goals on Saturday while thousands are locked outside possibly in a crush. Health and safety gone mad.

  54. “Is that them gone now” ? asked the bauld Des Cahill after the Kerry game.

    If it’s those extra inches around your waist your asking about Des, the answer is NO.

    Jaysus Denis Nealis.
    Who the buck is James Goran ?
    Have we a Russian spy in the camp ?
    I’ll put 3 of my best men on it right away.

    Even Tomas O’Shady reckoned, if you wur to take Dublin out of de Championship boy, it would be hard to pick de winner from Kerry Donegal and Tyrone. Why don’t go pick your nose Tomas.

    I’m beyond giving a rats arse about who the papers, the bookies or the pundits are picking to win this game.

    Donegal are playing Mayo on Saturday. Yes Mayo. The only team that has eyeballed Dublin consistently in the past long while. If the lads are energised and put in a good performance it could be one of the many great victories they have given us over the years.

    “Is that them gone now” ?

    No fat arse. That’s them through to another All Ireland semi final. Stick that in your fat gob and smoke it.

  55. We need controlled aggression in this game. Manic aggression as Paul O’Connell said.
    Just think Colm Boyle needs to be careful. He’s probably having his best season in a Mayo jersey and he does that by playing on the edge. Just hope for his and all our sake he doesn’t get black carded and we end up going out of the championship. Would be an awful way for him to end his career (assuming he doesn’t come back next year). Have that image of him in the 2016 final flying across the bottom of the screen as he tried to block a Dublin pass. The man would give his life for the jersey.
    He drove us on against Meath. Played like a man possessed. Would like to see him operate in the sweeper role again and have McLoughlin or Keegan track McHugh. Durcan on Brennan if he’s fit.
    Most important thing in this game is to make changes when they bring on their subs. Gallen and Langan contribute to the score board when they come off the bench. Have a fresh O’Donoghue and S Coen to come in when they are introduced O Baoil needs to be watched as well bombing forward.
    Is it Saturday yet!

  56. Revellino, my comedic Mayo comrade, Goran was a typo, g and h are beside each other on my qwerty key board, I wrote in haste, a rush to the head, should have been Horan, the James version, my apolagies, it might happen again!

  57. All – just reviewing the comments overnight. Too many off the ball hits! Fearbolg and Sean Burke: it’s a yellow apiece for you, knock it off the pair of you. Also Sean, a stór, to borrow your own vernacular you might consider lightening up your mood to fook. We’ll all be dead soon enough, no need for that kind of funereal outlook heading into a big game.

    More generally, I’m a bit concerned that people think they can hit out at any targets they like, calling people all kinds of names in the process. If everyone could stick to the football with what they have to say it’d be better all round.

  58. Ah Goodman Denis. That’s the spirit.
    I type many mistakes myself. Very bad I am when I haven’t the glasses with me.

    So it was deemed a great idea to have goats don’t shave belting out the hills of Donegal 40 minutes before throw in.

    Personally I would have asked ex panel members “Hall and Oates” to perform.

    Imagine Aidan O’shea running out on the pitch to maneater. Buck it, if they were good enough to sell out in Dublin they should have been given this gig.

    And you don’t have to go asking ex panel members either. Isn’t “Drake” one of the top selling artists in the US. Why wasn’t he asked.?Isn’t he going to be there anyway.

    John Horan is supposed to perform between acts. A big ABBA fan he’ll be singing “money money money”. And fair play to him. He’s doing a great job.

    He often sings when asked awkward questions.

    When asked to explain the gross lopsided funding regime recently, the great Gaa Saviour picked up his trusty Les Paul guitar (allegedly gifted to him by the friends of Dublin football for all he has done to promote football within the County), and brought tears to many eyes around the country when he sang the Dylan classic,
    “The answer my friend is blowin in the wind, the answer is blowin in the wind”.

    Of course the great Dublin Chieftain and conquerer of the Gaa will be honoured for his total abandonment of Gaa ideals when a tiny bust of his great big head will be unveiled by none other than Trench coat Costello.

    The tiny bust of the great big head, will he suitably located at the end of Shitters alley.

    A replicate of the tiny bust of the great big head will reside permanently in the “museum of man made disasters”.

    It’s a total contradiction having our National Anthem played before games in Croke Park, while this narrow minded, Dublin promoting buffoon holds the office of President of the Gaa. It’s an insult to our Anthem and he is a disgrace to our great games.

  59. Weather forecast predicts yet another wet Saturday evening in Castlebar. Goats don’t Shave may be good but listening to them sitting on damp concrete does not really appeal. There will be a big demand for the stand and away support usually turns up to venues early.so folks get there early. The greatest noise comes from the stand. The last few times I have been on the terraces in MacHale Park things have been rather quiet probably because of the weather and the way the matches have panned out on the field. Don’t really see much point having a go at Sky for Saturday evening coverage. That’s been happening for a number of years now. Anyway no doubt the Asal and Puke Spillane will be back on the Sunday Game to tell us where we all went wrong.

  60. I think Mayo will win on Saturday evening there is a big performence coming from the Green & Red . However If James Horan starts Robbie in Goal, Donegal will be heading to Croke Park.

  61. Keegan on Mchugh. Diarmuid on Murphy if Diarmuid fit otherwise Coen.

    AOS at full forward for the first 20-25.
    Keegan, Mclaughlin, Regan delivering it in quick and early to AOS

  62. Donegal has a full sqhad for the mayo game hope we get a few injured soldiers back every one has us writing off we have no chance

  63. The reason you can’t take much out of current form is Donegal struggled with meath as well , there is very little between top teams excluding Dublin. I think we have a great chance especially if we get some guys back.
    Despite the glitch with Rosscommon this has been a good year, let’s keep it going

  64. Why do people keep saying Mayo are 2/1 to win. They are 6/4. Donegal are slight favourites, -1 on the handicap. I don’t think that means Mayo are written off.

    Tell me where I can get 2/1.

  65. awful lot of anxiety and fretting in here this week but when you put it simply…

    WE ARE IN A KNOCKOUT ALL-IRELAND QUARTER FINAL WITH LIKELY OUR STRONGEST PANEL OF THE YEAR, AT HOME!!!

    Its a great place to be and a brilliant chance for us, I have decided im going to enjoy the week buildup and the game itself, come what may.
    If we win as i suspect we will then we are in an all-ireland semi final – mighty!
    If we lose then we will have lost 3 championship games and don’t deserve a semi final spot.

  66. Just a thought on Sky /Gaa contract. Sky are showing the Saturday matches which in the main are backdoor games generally involving the weaker counties(not us though). In most instances this involves people going to the pub/hotel etc. For families this can be expensive and so the kids miss out on seeing matches. Not the ideal way to promote the game in the weaker counties and would seem contradictory or even hypocritical on central council’s part. So money rather than ethos would seem to be the driving force for these decisions. What would happen in the so called proposed two tier system?
    Just on why Mayo will win
    We are coming into our own as witnessed by the performance of the old guard last time out
    The two week break is massive and we will be fresher for it
    The hard campaign to date will stand to us in terms of football played.
    We have players coming back and niggly injuries to other players will hopefully be absent.
    Mid field is stronger
    The half back line is back to what it should be.
    The team generally is settling down with more definite structure.
    Mayo are now playing as a cohesive team.
    Mayo have a history of improving in this competition as they move thru it.

    Sure there are areas we need to improve. The kickouts are as the responsibility of players making themselves available as much as the goalkeepers accuracy. I am sure the team has used this fortnight to work on this.

    Sure Donegal are favorites and we should be delighted for this. The pressure is on them. We just have to play football.

  67. I see Declan Bonner is talking about sky sports having the rights to game and thinks someone might be making money out of it,but surely the gaa are missing a trick for making money by renting out Croke Park for Grazing during the week,say on Monday they could rent to a dairy farmer for his cows,the rest of the week it should probably be sheep as they would be lighter on the sod,the players might have to avoid some droppings but the top brass don’t appear to put a high priority on player welfare anyway,apologies Willie Joe for posting such nonsense,but it appears the gas top brass has sold out to sky

  68. Revellino. Brilliant stuff. You are on fire. “Is that them gone now?”

    Would love to see Mayo taken Des’s beloved Dubs out in the semi final and then ask him the same question. That would wipe the smile off the big square face.

  69. I give us every chance of winning this match on Saturday evening. But one thing certain, we’ll have to play better than we did against Roscommon and Armagh in our other McHale Park games this summer…Neither of those performances will beat Donegal.

    One big wish for Saturday evening,is that anyone without a ticket, stays away from McHale Park.
    If you don’t have a ticket by then, you have no business in or around McHale Park.
    Your presence and that of people like you, could lead to a potentially dangerous situation developing outside the ground, from a Health and Safety point of view.

  70. Having reviewed the Meath game again one thing was very evident…….the difference A Moran made up front. His role in direct scoring, assists and simply winning possession was huge. I don’t think we’d have won without him.

    I’d do a ‘Canavan ’03 Final’ with him on Saturday i.e. start him, take him off at half-time and put him on with 15 minutes to go. The problem is that we’re relying on a 35-year old to lead and ignite our forward unit.

    In relation to the above I’d like to see a bit more from open play by COC – thought he was a little off in open play against Meath.

  71. Alot of funny stuff in the past day or two on this blog, one guy is telling us to listen to a Dublin singer singing a Dublin song ( reminds me of the 2015 and 2016 replays v the Dubs, I had a bad feeling about the games as the Gaa were doing their best to give the Dubs the advantage through two all Dublin acts before the games, oh, I just realised Imelda may from Dublins’ inner City also performed at halftime in the 2017 final ).
    Another guy telling us that if Horan picks one particular guy then its lights out.
    I can understand the pre match anxiety ( from the younger bloggers ) but for alot of us older heads we have seen it all before, alot will depend on the Mayo attitude / how management will set the team up / the referee and the home support.
    Surely Donegal should fear coming into McHale Park ( Murphy got a hard time there on one of his last games and kept giving away silly frees for fouling, particularly on fouling Aidan O Shea ).
    Donegal looked like a decent side v Kerry but all will be different v Mayo on Saturday next, the unknown is what makes it exciting, the Dublin supporters probably have nothing more to get excited about before a game, as it will always finish with the same result.
    For me this game is all about Horan v Rochford and we will know on Saturday at 8 pm the result, can Horan outfox Rochford the tactician ? this for me is more than enough to get the Mayo guys raring to go.
    I only hope that the supporters don’t give the ugly verbals to Rochford, he did a great job also when he was the boss.
    What is security like now in McHale Park, I have 3 tickets ( very lucky to have gotten them ) but need 1 more u 16.

  72. Who cares whether we’re 2 to 1 or 10 to 1?

    Why do posters pay so much attention to bookies odds?

  73. When will the Donegal preview podcast be available. On holidays from work at the moment and just cant take my mind of the game this Saturday.hope any Mayo supporter lucky to have a ticket brings plenty of colour and noise,can’t afford to be silent if Donegal get an early lead.Hope we see Darren Coen,Cillian and Andy in the full foward line.

  74. I dont understand all the negetativty .
    I am very confident we will win .
    For their Muphy, Mchugh, McBreaty and Brenann , I raise you Aidan,Keegan,Durkan,Boyle,Cillian Andy and Coen .

    We will win, put the O Sheas on Murphy at different times .
    If he goes to Fullforward let Seamie track him .
    Out around the middle AOS do his thing .
    They have more to be worrying about than we do .

    The will look to crowd the inside forward so this game might suit Cillian at 11 .
    Other than that its as we were . I do think Murphy will start fullforward and look to exploit HArrision .
    Harrision is a fine player but put him on Brennan or the red lad corner forward , let Barrett go on Paddy Mc Breaty and one of the Osheas track Murphy wherever he goes .
    I think Seamie would be best as when he runs out of steam we can introduce Donie in his place .

    _______________Clarke
    Harrison_______________Barrett
    _______________Boyle
    Keegan_______Higgins____Durkan
    ________Seamie_____Aidan
    McDonagh____Cillian____Mcloughlin
    _______________Doherty
    _________Andy ____Coen

    Other option is to start Vaughan at 11 and add some grunt around the middle with Cillian as the link man .

    I am often accused of being pro Loftus but hes the type of player to find space in a game like this and could well be a great option .

    Either way got to look forward to this game if you actually have any interest in football, it s a firm and tough test but at home in the Quarter Finals with Dublin on offer in next game . Bring it on

  75. Sorry MayoDunphy, all this talk about M Murphy got me confused. Ya, I was referring to you, we’re besties now ?

  76. It’s time for steady heads now & no fookin Red mist, let J Horan & his crew pick the best, fittest, toughest team he has at his disposal, i’m sure he will. I for one think he is a great manager, he gets 100% out of his players, it’s going to be very physical on Saturday & they will win by 2.

  77. I think we should spring a few surprises in the tactics as Rochford knows us so well so let’s be a bit unpredictable.

  78. I would consider detailing SOS on Murphy because of his physicality. Murphy couldn’t catch easy clean ball or brush him aside easily in the tackle as he’s capable of doing to smaller players. He might only have 40 mins in him or 50 max but that’s enough and then a plan B for rest of game. Heard Tom P training well so who knows we might even see him coming on this weekend.
    Keegan not tall enough for Murphy, same with Boyle. Coen probably not quite good enough in the air for marking him. He could probably stick close enough to him and not be brushed aside without ever really turning him over. AOS capable of turning him over but maybe not quite as mobile as Murphy.

  79. @Left Boot – I was thinking similar to you regarding Murphy i.e. zone mark him … yes with AOS out the middle and I was thinking Keegan when Murphy goes forward (but thinking again maybe Seamie is a better option .. the only problem there is that Seamie will be caught of pace at times). I would also like to see us feed ball to players close to Murphy on turn overs .. my idea that it will drag him out and have him track a few lung-bursting runs. That man needs tiring out for when it comes to kicking long-range frees late on in the game!

    I know not to allot has been made of our kick passing this year but I’m loving it (aside from Kerry game). We need a nice day, nice bounce in McHale park and no wind. I have been wondering if the weather and conditions on the day have allot to answer why this Mayo team hasn’t got results in McHale Park. So here hoping we have a nice clear day with no wind … we see our injured soliders return to the frey and go for it (which we all know this team will leave nothing behind them on the pitch)

  80. @Shuffly Deck – i do agree that Keegan & boyle aren’t tall enough so not an option if murphy goes to full foward. btw – on a side note, does anyone remember Boyle beating Murphy in the air for Donegal kickout (the year we hammered them)? Oh man, I feel off my seat laughing … how the heck Boyle sprung that far up. I must dig it up and share.

  81. I hope there’s no softness from the Mayo fans towards Stephen Rochford on Saturday evening no warm applause no welcome back Stephen no cheering him. Until the match is over he is a sworn enemy he and his team stand in our way of getting to an all Ireland semi final. When the match is over we can shake his hand and wish him well and thank him for his contribution to
    Mayo football but until the match is over we need to be ruthless and do what’s necessary to win the game like all the really successful teams do in world sport

  82. Keegan not tall enough for Murphy is a pure bullshit comment hes cleaned Sean Cavanagh whos the same height and build as Murphy, I say Leeroy must be laughing at a comment like that, Aidan O’Mahony said he would put Lee on Murphy as AidanO’Shea has been peripheral in his last 2 games and Leeroy can put Murphy chasing in the other direction.I also think Lee thrives on marking the star player of the opposition too.

  83. Murphy has a free role these days, can pop up in any area of the pitch so given all donegals other threats i dont know if we sacrifice a player to stop him, we need to go zonal with the players working it out themselves.

    IE if he drops into half or midfield SOS is there to hit him hard, once he gets into attacking 40 S Coen tags him and our sweeper Boyler quickly joins to swarm him

    Really feel we are underestimating Ryan McHughs importance, i think thats who leeroy should be tasked with on this occasion

  84. “Underestimating Ryan McHugh ”

    I just don’t think there is a damn thing we can do about it . I keep getting accused of been negative etc but it’s absolute realism , people are raving about Lee like he’s in the form of two years ago , he’s not , he simply isn’t and has lost a fair bit of zip too . I have watched Donegal games now a few times and I’m telling you now we are in trouble here , we are playing bloody rubbish stuff at McHale park , Roscommon FFS , Armagh should of taken us . We opened Galway up down in Limerick cause we had the space to do so , I don’t think we would of beaten them in McHale park . This ground is a nightmare for this team . Pitch dimensions ! Sure knock the fookin Albany end flatten it and seed it you can’t get into it anyway , who invests millions into a ground and when the biggest crowd puller in years comes along ya have to reduce the capacity by thousands .

  85. Lee for McHugh, Durcan for Brennan, Barrett for McBrearty. Murphy will likely be in a roaming role, so who knows who we should put on him. I don’t think it should be Aidan as it then robs us of a fielder in the middle, Murphy will drag him all over the pitch.

  86. Can somebody kindly tell me how Donegal have become so good and so dangerous in the space of one year? I ask in all naivety because I haven’t followed all their games.
    However, they lost an awful lot of their games in Division 1 last year with a performance as bad as our own who were war weary post Sept 2017, wracked by injuries and coming back from a team holiday. They dropped down with Kildare, the latter who for a brief period of riding high have dipped again, it seems.
    Donegal didn’t advance out of the Suoer 8s last year.

    And Donegal roar onto the scene this summer, it appears.
    They have beaten Tyrone and Cavan. They were able to match Kerry. These are their credentials.

    I will say they seem super confident and happy in their football looking at their body language. I also am very wary of Ryan McHugh who’s a lovely player.

    But Mayo have so much experience. We have warriors, game winners. And when I say that word, I mean just that. How many of our individual players have won games, swung the thing? There are a few – Kevin Mc, Andy, Paddy Durcan, Zippy, Boyler, James Carr…Donegal have some game winners, maybe.

    We need a performance from Mayo.

    We were heading in the right direction in the League Final, but were still a bit raw and unpolished. The Roscommon game idiocy changed the tide a bit. I think we just hung in there these last few weeks – James Horan said they had only time for one training session per week, couldn’t try anything new. We’ll see something more I believe this Sat. They upped their game against Galway for example.
    A lot is unknown but form these last few months is not a definitive indicator of Mayo’s ability this weekend. (That’s a nudge to you, Séan).

  87. No bother swallow and you chat sense of course , I have a few worries though , tiredness , fatigue call it what you like but it’s there , can they renergise this week, be great if they could . McHale park pitch , it just doesn’t suit our game we need bigger dimensions .

    I’m impressed by Donegal I thought they showed signs in Kerry game they are a serious outfit and could rattle the dubs . If you look to all the neutral chat , we are not been talked about in that sense , there is a reason for that , we were killed v Kerry and been way below convincing in all our games to date even against Down who are way down the pecking order .

    Can we find that spark to reignite 2019 , win and then give the dubs a right rattle , I still hope we can ,I’m just not seeing any sign to date we can . We have Cillian back now , he is massive to this team , Andy done brilliant when he came on , he makes things happen up front . Carr has bags of potential . There are positives don’t get me wrong but to me we need a real bolt to the arm , return of a couple of the injured players would be fantastic and give a bit of a lift .

  88. Agree Séan, we need a lift from what we have seen over the last few months. We are a bit thread-bare but I think we can at least make a game of it.
    I would be happy if we can stay with them. Who knows what could happen then? But I do think we have the players to do damage if we can hold our place on the scoreboard, keep in the running. I think Horan needs to do a lot of prep work to counter their game plan this week. We cannot go into this unprepared. If proper homework is done, this also gives us a chance. Rochford and co have a thought out game plan – I think we can take this as given – and we need to also.

    If we have had a chance to prepare properly this could be an exciting game – it could really allow us to test our abilities against a leading side. That in itself is a juicy prospect. I just wouldn’t like a big defeat – I don’t see it happening though because we are not the side of Newbridge and we have had a slightly longer break before this match than in recent weeks. If these lads are prepared that gives us a chance.

  89. If Donegal get through to the semi, Dublin will beat them handily. They’ve been shipping big enough scores all season.

  90. Interesting read in the Mayo News today, Billy Joe Padden gives us a fighting chance, that’s good enough for me, with four days to go now to the crunch knockout match I find I am growing in confidence. It was also mentioned in the Mayo News that Tom Parsons is going well in training and BJP says Kieth Higgins and Paddy Durcan will be fit for selection as well. That’s three out of five that could be back, he feels it’s too soon for Diarmid O Conner and Mathew Duane. Even so that would leave us with a strong team and with the two weeks rest there is time and space to work on the niggles and tired legs of the other players, all in all its very positive and reassuring that we will have an almost full squad to pick from.
    Also in the Mayo News, they have a figure of 15,000 tickets gone to Mayo supporters, that’s out of the original 25,000 slotted, we would have half of the added on extra that came out this week, so on that basis the green and red will be in the majority in the stands. It all augers well.
    There were also articles in the Mayo News on Stephan Rochford and Donegal people in general, they are like ourselfs football made and a good mix of rural/town clubs with a wide spread from over a big county. The MN feels that Rochford, although a proud Mayo man will be focused on doing the business for Donegal on the day. No doubt he had a big inside knowledge of our lads strengths and weakness’s, but on the flip side we also have a big insight into his training methods and how that might unfold on the field, fore warned in fore armed and I’m sure James Goran and his backroom team are well aware of that and will put in place a plan to counter and be one step ahead. Finally, I’m looking forward to the game on Saturday evening and being able to sit down in comfort, anywhere in the stadium, not a luxury that can be enjoyed in all the grounds we’ve been to this year. The weather forecast as of today for Castlebar in 18 degree’s and slight possibility of rain. Keep the faith, it’s in our hands, Mayo Abu!

  91. I wonder will Carr start ? I’d say Horan might hold him back and be more beneficial when Donegal legs are a little tired .He will definitely get a good test from them when he does appear .

  92. We don’t have any influence on who is to play and what tactics will be used. Where we do have a say is on the sideline come Saturday. The Donegals are loud feckers. This I know from 2012 when they raised the roof in Croke Park. We need to be as vociferous and more. Give it everything. Don’t go quite if they are on top. Keep giving it welly. Our lads deserve at least that from us.

  93. Good fighting talk there Eyeontheball.
    We could do with leaving some of the doom mongers on here at home though. They’ll give up the ghost early if things not clicking. It’s a 70 min + game. I’ve said it before and will say it again, players can pick up on negativity from the stands. We need to stamp it out for the home games. Croker is no problem because the stadium is so big but some of these moaners can be heard on provincial pitches by players. We need positive support all the way for this one.

  94. It’s very difficult to make a prediction until we see what 30 players take to the pitch on Saturday. I don’t believe mayo are rank outsiders as some have said but donegal deserve to be favorites. I’ll say this though, every year people cry out for a team that can give the dubs a games and this year the media has bestowed this on donegal, this is based on winning division 2 and beating Tyrone and drawing with Kerry. Galway and Tyrone have been talked up as similar contenders in the past. We’ll see how good they are on Saturday, I hope they’ve been reading the paper though and more importantly Sean Burke’s comments! All ye have to do is turn up lads, we’ll try to keep the ball kicked out to ye…….

  95. Isn’t that the way you want it , some journos are already talking about the Donegal v Dublin semi final , I think that is just wonderful . Listening to the Donegal manager too , I also took great heart from his confident tone .

  96. Donegal have every right to be confident but so do we. Any team in the country would be wary coming to Castlebar to play us given the past track record of these never say die Mayo players. We are a team that will get the utmost respect from Donegal not only based on past meetings and achievements but also from what knowledge Stephen Rochford has already passed on. That wariness can actually play into our hands. Donegal will know full well that our Kerry performance is a false indicator because we were out on our feet having emptied the tank against Galway the previous week. My only nagging doubt is our kick-outs. If we get that right we have a great chance.

  97. Have to say its shaping up nicely, lot of pressure on Donegal now. Solid favourites in the bookies eyes. As me old boxing coach used to say, alls well till your smacked in the face, and he was right. Lets hope we smack this crowd full force in the jaw. Lets spring a surprise at them, why not Aido to FF for a few minutes? Im not saying play him there the whole game before ye come on and say tried and failed, but for a few minutes. I remember scoring a great goal in croker against donegal, think it was 2015. A few bone crunching tackles from our boys or big turnovers could swing this in our favour. When we get vocal in the stands it transmits onto the pitch, think Derry 2017 when Loftus scored a screamer, we went on to hammer them in ET after playing like dog shit for 70mins. If ur a shy type, have a few pints before hand to loosing up, then roar roar roar for 70 mins, these boys deserve it. Theirs a serious possibility these donegal boys will beat us, but lets not make it easy for the f#%€ers! Lets show them who we are and who we’ve always been…Mayo.!!! Lets tare into them !

  98. Not seen anyone mention tom parsons , he’s not even togged for his club yet . I’m expecting Durcan back and hopefully Higgins is available for selection too . Ruane and diarmuid are still a few weeks off going by timeframe given when each player got injured . Parsons , I haven’t a clue but it all seems so far fetched to me , what a glorious day it will be to ever see him in a county jersey again , I think I’d near cry with joy.

  99. RTE are carrying the story about McBrearty having a hamstring problem and that he’s doubtful, it was on a Sunday Game post today.
    Tom Parsons was said by the Mayo News today to be going well in training.

  100. Mconville or moyles( can’t remenber which one) did say he saw him pull up at end of kerry match, will know at 6:00 pm Saturday.

  101. McBrearty was definitely carrying some sort of injury for the last few minutes vs Kerry but the fact he finished the game would make me think it’s minor. Jason McGee looked to have pulled his hamstring and if so I can’t see him playing. That would be significant as it may result in Murphy playing midfield.

  102. Ye have some negative fans looking at one lads posts surely a master troll. jaysus ye dont need Galway people on here at all. Remember Galway bate this Donegal team out the gate 2 years ago and feck all has changed so why the fook would Mayo fear playing Donegal. Listen Dublin are so far ahead now its a ruck of similar teams after that.
    Ye were shite against Kerry ,really flattered them (Moran in midfield lording it says it all) and they are going to be exposed soon god help them if they play Dublin they will be destroyed at the back. 50/50 for the match in question it will come down to taking the chances that come your way and not giving “gimmee” frees for Murphy to point. I would fear for Donegal or Mayo against the Dubs but it might well be Tyrone the winner plays but thats another story. Hopefully the ref doesnt make a bags of it like in the hurling. Good luck and enjoy the game. Hadnt thought of it until now as maybe Moran and a few others last game for Mayo surely that will lift them to go out fighting.

  103. Just finished watching The Game, a documentary by RTE on hurling, great footage from old TV clips, the wonderful voice of Michael O Hehir, a Croke Park, old stands, the place jam packed with people, definitely before health and safety, there were also interviews with great players from the past, like Eddie Keher and Babs Keating to name just two. Well worth a watch, probably be on RTE player, well done to RTE. Full marks!

  104. Before our last meeting with Donegal, League 2018, the word was that McBrearty was fully banjaxed and he wouldn’t be seen.
    He started the game and finished with three or four points.
    I’d expect something similar on Saturday.

  105. The 2018 league game Harrison handled McBrearty well after him starting fairly well. But that has to be put in context as he was just back from injury and less than 100% fit. A 100% fit McBrearty is a serious threat although he has one weakness for a top forward which is a reluctance to shoot on his weaker right foot. Also, although he’s over the cruciate, players rarely as good on 1st season back.

  106. I may be getting games mixed up, the game I refer to was in Castlebar so probably 2017.

  107. If mcbrearty is out then that would certainly make us strong favourites, he is absolutely key for them

  108. shufflydeck, it was crowe that handled mcbrearty that day in ballyboffey. He would be my choice at full back for saturday. I still cannot understand why he doesnt get a game for Mayo.

  109. Just in the interests of fairness, I think it was Caolan Crowe who did a brilliant job marking Patrick McBrearty in Ballybofey in that memorable League game in 2018.
    A lot of our younger and extended panel players were involved and stood up that day especially towards the end of the match.

  110. There is a photo up on JJ Burke Facebook page of Diarmuid picking up his car. Light cast still on hand . Photo was posted yday

  111. McConville on second captains Podcast the Monday after Croke Park flagged up that McBrearty was signalling to come off with a bad hamstring injury for the last 10 mins of Kerry Donegal but hobbled through because all subs were used. That was before any news came out about the injury or any media had reported it, so can’t see how its mind games at all

  112. Can we put the aido v murphy debate to bed. Aido is good but murphy is exceptional. Big shout out to Nancy Parsons (friend of the blog) who is on honeymoon in Italy.

  113. You’re right Swallow Swoops.
    He scored four alright but only one from play that day. I remember Crowe was absolutely glued to him all the time, he didn’t get an inch.
    Anyway, it could all be smoke and mirrors but we won’t know for sure ’til 6 ish on Saturday!

  114. Correct stephenite
    It was discussed on train home by a few of us as well
    2 weeks is touch and go for a slight strain
    But if he played on for 10 minutes and made it worse he is out
    Simple as that
    We are due some luck like this

  115. @Mayo4698 great shout on Boylan…
    New goalie, preferably with a bit of soccer background, needs to be our top priority over the winter and they must see plenty of gametime in fbd and league

  116. With 2 weeks rest and all the will in the world you aint shaking off a hamstring injury in less than 14 days, i say that as someone who has been cursed with recurring hamstring issues as a player 🙁

    Id say its not silly beggars from donegal, hamstring injuries will rule out Jason McGee and McBrearty. 2 savage losses for donegal on top of ban gallagher.
    Huge for us, would make us favourites in my opinion.( Unless of course young gallen turns out to be Clifford 2.0)

  117. I hope they play the Boys from the County Mayo and Moonlight in Mayo after the team has hit the field the Saturday the 2 real anthems of County Mayo,wouldn’t be an awful big fan of the Green and Red of Mayo , maybe its been overplayed too much over the years.

  118. That just looks like a bandage diarmuid has on . I’m not sure on mcbrearty , seemed to be suggested he was given the all clear at the weekend to play this sat now it’s resurfaced he is doubtful, seems very suspect, I’m expecting him to play .

  119. Totally agree with you Chris K, both those songs are our real anthems imo.
    Reading the piece in daily mail yest where Declan Bonner calling for reform in super 8,
    Why??? Coz his team play 4 c’ship games in 5 weeks, that includes reaching semi final!!! Says it’s too much on amateur players.
    If that doesn’t rile us all up for sat evening, I don’t know what will. Looks like it’s a given they reaching semis in their minds.
    I’ve lost count all the matches our guys have played now, and awful injuries, and not a boo out of them in their camp.
    C’mon Mayo. We can and will do this Sat evening together.

  120. Plan as if McBrearty is playing and if he isn’t it’s a bonus Caolan Crowe would be my preferred choice to mark him if he’s playing but he mustn’t be doing it in training in fairness Horan dropped the likes of Regan and Reape off the match day 26 so he’s not afraid to make calls

  121. @backdoorsam – plan if McBrearty is playing and plan for if he is NOT! How often teams do not utilise advantages.

  122. Just listened to Dec bonner , he says 100% clean bill health bar ban Gallagher . I was amazed he also called on Donegal support to bring colour and noise , most lads on here think it makes no odds , them bucks must of missed the famous Kerry roar under the reeks too . Chating to a friend from Donegal and he reckons massive Donegal crowd going ,” flags ,banners , smoke bombs and have yer women ready , we’re taking the lot “. That was his text .Haha. I have a feeling they are going to bring some atmosphere to the game , they’re a wild lot .

  123. Jimmy Rimmer thanks for the shout out. No doubt you’re tugging away in Mick Byrnes!

  124. Gary Boylan has talent but is years out of top level GAA and so would have a lot of catch up to do. Being good in another sport really has no bearing on Gaa. Look at gavin duffy and Hanley. Boylan would really need to want it and commit fully to it. If he did he could be an option for 2020.

  125. Boylan played for Belmullet in the U21 championship towards the end of 2017 and was excellent by all accounts. Has had injuries since then unfortunately but I’d be confident he’d reach the level required if commitment was there.

  126. im just throwing gary boylan out there as im trying to think outside the box and cast the net wide for goalkeeping options? Any other goalies out there worth a look in the fbd…

    God help us all if we are all back in here this time next year having the interminable ‘Clarke v Hennelly’ debate again

  127. We need flags badly for Saturday plenty of red and green or we will be out supported. The Donegal colour really stands out. Remember the final in croke park they had a serious amount of flags compared to us. Can we get the message out to all Mayo people going to the match.

  128. So I’ve seen Donegal a few times, whilst they are beatable on their day they can tear through most teams who have a more pragmatic approach. McHugh Murphy Brennan and McBreaty are serious talents but the main protagonists are McHugh and Murphy. Keeping them in check whilst stopping the balls into the forward line will be key. Keegan on MM and Higgins on McHugh for me. Seeing Donegal the last weekend at HQ there seems to be a influx on making the most of being tackled so MM can point the frees. We have Gough as referee who is quite tough but the boys will have to be streetwise, clever and clinical. Whilst McHale Park hasn’t been our greatest patch, I have seen improvement every game and the green and red will be right up for it. I feel J Doc will have a massive game for us Saturday and could well be the match winner, if he is allowed the shackles to be off. Mayo and proud!!!

  129. The last time we were written off like this was in 2006! hope everyone going to the match roars their heads off and bring every flag in the house we will not go down without a fight!! we do make a difference how many times have the players said so ! we just have to be the 16th man for this game! GET ROARING!! NO SURRENDER IN THE STANDS

  130. Let’s be fair and honest here … Hennelly is outstanding and super keeper. @supermac – The debate is whether who to choose and given how divided opinion is then their mustn’t be much between them.

  131. Do ya know what supporters would be better off discussing , flags , banners , chants , gathering vocal support to an area of the ground and letting loose . Never has there been a game where home support means so much . Yet all we will get is mayo support on social media clapping themselves on the back and a few half hearted mayo mayo mayo chants which is mostly tame female voice also (no offence to the girleens ) I just find its always mostly women who shout at mayo games and it makes the chant weak.

  132. Sean Burke – is nothing going to satisfy you this week? First it’s that we’re going to get hammered, now your problem is with supporters. Maybe a look in the mirror to see all that’s wrong wouldn’t go amiss … This isn’t the bloody Mayopissandmoaningforum.com even if you appear to be on a one-man mission to turn it into that.

  133. Boylan is a forward, not a goalkeeper. There are other options in goals and I’m sure we’ll see them in action during the club championship.

  134. Anyone know what happened to the ‘Neiphin Mor’ banner/flag. Was it banned from stadia or something, would be great to see the next day

  135. @Paddyjoejohntom, It will be there on Saturday evening, will be out before the teams come out and put away well before throw in so no ones view of the game will be blocked. Only banned from Croke Park, grand everywhere else.

  136. @Supporters, I have a few ideas about what Mayo Co Board should do on Saturday,

    Stop all Donegal supporters from entering the stadium.
    Have a few cheer leaders before the game dressed in the Mayo attire and getting the supporters warmed up.
    Place loads of big flags high up in poles around the stadium
    Get the Garda to create check points at Charlestown and divert the traffic all around the County
    Deny access to any Donegal friendly bands ( Goats don’t shave).

    I have always found the Donegal supporters friendly, but there can be mad lunatics in their ranks also, I saw this at first hand in the Davin stand in 2014 for the Dublin All Ireland semi final.
    The prize for the winner on Saturday is a huge game v the Dubs one week later.

  137. I agree with ya there Chris Kelly because your right about your musical selection, but I’m afraid not many people would agree with us . This is because most of the Mayo support would be too young to have an appreciation for the MoonLight or The Boys there is no doubt about it but The Sawdoctors effort has as much musical appeal as a bunch of screeching rats in a barrel . Of course that’s only my opinion.

    While I’m on here I may aswell add that the matter of the standard of prematch musical activity is greatly neglected in our games. I’m speaking particularly about the renditions of the national anthem, the manner in which soloists are chosen, the manner in which the PA usually indicates the rendition and not least the manner in which the wonderful supporters respond . I would remind them that by opening the program they have the words there in front of them and by participating they would be warming up there vocal chords for lots and lots of the Mayo Mayo chant ………

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