Game day – time to make home advantage count

It’s game day. And a big one – a match that’ll either provide us with our ticket for next weekend’s All-Ireland semi-final or else will end our inter-county year. Everything is on the line this evening at MacHale Park in Castlebar where Meath’s David Gough will be throwing the ball in at 6pm.

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s set to be a major occasion at MacHale Park this evening. A shuddering showdown between two counties that straddle the western seaboard, for a change a match that’s being played in the west as well.

The fact that it’s being played at home should, all other things being equal, count as an advantage for us. While our poor home record at the venue would suggest that this isn’t the case, it shouldn’t be forgotten that this year we’ve rediscovered how to win some games there.

True, both Galway and Roscommon got the better of us in Castlebar this year but we won the other four matches we’ve played there. It’s far from a fortress for us but neither is it the millstone around our neck that it seemed at the outset of 2019.

It’s also the case that we’ve a good track record against Donegal. This is true both in general and in particular in relation to meetings – all in the League admittedly – at MacHale Park.

The last time Donegal beat us was in the League at Ballybofey in 2016 and, of course, the most recent time they bettered us in the Championship was in the 2012 All-Ireland final.

We’ve beaten them twice in the summer since then, crushing them in the All-Ireland quarter-final of 2013 and outsmarting them deliciously at the same stage in 2015.

Donegal have yo-yoed a bit between the top two NFL divisions in recent years so we’ve only played them three times this decade at MacHale Park. We won in both 2013 and 2017 while the 2015 meeting was drawn. It should be noted in passing, however, that a draw is all Donegal need out of today’s encounter while we’ve no choice but to go balls-in for victory.

As I conceded yesterday, Donegal are deserved favourites heading into this match, for the simple reason that they’re one of the form teams this summer. They’ll be bloody hard to beat this evening.

But this is knockout Championship football, a match played on our home turf, where our grizzled fighters see the chance of making it to another All-Ireland semi-final and, almost certainly, another meeting with Dublin. We’ll be bloody hard to beat this evening too.

While our form out on the pitch at home hasn’t always been top quality, I think we can, as fans, all readily concede that it hasn’t been too hot in the supporting stakes either. In fact, it’s not too much of a stretch to claim that the real millstone around the team’s neck in Castlebar is playing in front of that huge but often overly timid and too-quiet crowd, many of whom appear to think that it would be somehow mortifying to roar, shout and generally act like supporters should.

Be in no doubt, though – there’s absolutely no room for such pusillanimity amongst our supporters this evening. Donegal are going to bring a big raucous following with them to MacHale Park but they need to know, from first roar to last, whose place this is and whose shout is loudest. That absolutely has to be ours.

I know, I know – it’s all fine for me to say this, given that my shout won’t be heard at MacHale Park this evening. That’s true but that’s just one voice. We’ll have more support there than they will and the lads out on the field need to hear this, from first ball to last.

If that’s what they do hear, then it provides them with the perfect platform to put on a performance. And I think we can expect them to do just that. As I said earlier, I think we’ll be bloody hard to beat this evening.

Safe travelling to all heading to this evening’s game. Keep those vocal chords lubricated in the hours leading up to throw-in and then prepare for a good two days of hoarse croaking afterwards.

I’ll be following all the action from here but Tom has once again kindly stepped into the hot seat for the match report later so watch out for that.

Best of luck to James and the lads this evening. Let’s get this done, people. Up Mayo.

37 thoughts on “Game day – time to make home advantage count

  1. We Can do this!! Heading for the airport again to get there and cheer our lads on! Expecting a rousing crowd of Green and Red fanatics! ??? Up MAYO

  2. Obviously as a die hard Mayo supporter I want to see us win but for me the sight of Tom Parsons togged ready and available for Mayo is as good as any win could be the journey that man has been on for the last 17 months its remarkable to see him back.

  3. Can’t get home myself this weekend. Sickened but will be watching from behind the couch.

    WJ has sent out the clarion call loud and clear – this is the home of Mayo football. That should be made clear from your very arrival in Castlebar.

    We are MAYO and we’re in this TOGETHER.

  4. A massive evening awaits us in McHale Park. Our warriors with their backs to the wall against a very good but much hyped Donegal. Our leaked team is very likely to have a few changes but the warriors who take the field will give everything and that is what we in the stands need to do as well. A semi final awaits, Up Mayo.

  5. Jasus WJ you really pulled that one out of the bag from somewhere . Had to look it up as I thought it was some made up Aghamore type word .

    lack of courage or determination; timidity.

    “the pusillanimity of his answer surprised me”

    Not generally a word in use around Kilmovee parish I have to say. LOL.

    Best of Luck to Mayo today Hon

  6. Tom Parsons comes on as a late sub and kicks the winning point in the 77th minute. The roof comes off the stand. A flare is set off in the Bacon factory end sending green and red smoke across the pitch. Final whistle is blown. Grown men in tears. Oh my Gawd. Big Des gets his answer to his question “is that them gone?”

  7. By all accounts the Donegal supporters are very confident and strongly believe we’re finished as a team.

    I really want to win this now.

  8. Best of luck to ye today.
    I fully expect the chameleon that is the Mayo team (no offence intended) to match the Donegal challenge and make this a close contest.
    Great news about Tom Parsons. I assume if he’s named in the 26 he’s fit enough to play a part. They’ll be some roar if he joins in.

  9. Never wanted mayo to win a game as much as this one Donegal think we are over the hill and finish please mayo do this

  10. Best of luck to the Mayo team, supporters and management this evening in MacHale Park. Supporters, raise the roof on the place. I’ll be listening on Mid West keeping nerves under control and willing the lads on from first to last. Mayo show us who you are and what we know you can do – no better match than this one! I believe in you.

    Time to let the Mayo genie out of the bottle. Time to unleash our warriors across the field – Boyler, Keegan, Barrett, Higgins, Durcan, Carr, Coen! Aido, Seamie, Andy! It’s August – Up Mayo!!!

    Hearty thanks to posters of good wishes from other counties too.

  11. I’m surprised that Ciaran Treacy is not on the match day 26 and James Durcan is that’s a bit strange.

  12. Going to be some atmosphere this evening. Heading shortly from my Midlands home .. ( Raining heavily here )and will dock in with the mammy with the kids for the spuds !! Thing that most worried me watching Donegal against Kerry was they have lots of pace . Hopefully the 2 week break will have done our lads good . While I’m delighted that injured players are back I’d worry about match fitness and surely they have to be a bit rusty . Think everyone will see what Mayo support is all about later.
    That said, the lads will need to up their game by 30% on the Meath game to be in with a chance.
    Safe journey to all , bank holiday weekend and the roads will be busy and wet ..
    HON MAYO!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Oh the nerves, Wish it was 6oclock.
    I do Hope Tom gets chance to come onn.
    I too am dreaming of a last winning pt being scored by Tom. Dream big. It’ll be tears to see him back after such a injury. Tears of joy!!!
    If that isn’t utter dedication to the team, to the jersey, well I don’t know what is. Amazing Amazing.
    Very best of luck to all, and sometimes on the day all we need is a bit of luck to cross the line.

  14. I hear both Clarke and Vaughan are out, injured in training, is this true? And if so, what type of training are they doing to take out so many influential players right before key games??

  15. It just dawned on me that this could be the last game for 4 of our lads in a mayo jersey . Makes this match and our 16th man support and recognition even more so prevalent today .

    It’s a kin to all IRELAND day .

  16. Great to see so much optimism on here today. I want see on this years form and tactics how its justified. We will simply be out muscled out pa ed and out thought by Richford. Although the inclusion of hennelly will give us more of a chance from kickouts . They are goals in it for Donegal from high balls into FB line where Murphy may start and from Donegal cutting us open through middle as we chase game. Could be all over after 20 minutes with early goals for Donegal. The curtain may come down for some great Mayo players today…but maybe that’s better than a hammering in croke park by Dublin next weekend. ..

  17. Today is the day folks.
    if you dont usually bring a flag bring one today.Dont usually have one but bought two big flags yesterday,one for me and one for the mrs!
    Dont leave it to others to create the atmosphere today.Its the least we can do for these lads

  18. Heading to Castlebar from Galway today with hope in my heart. A solid team named and this morning I see a very strong bench, great to see the lads back from injury, only Diarmid out now, he could be back for Dublin match. We are Mayo, we can do this, UP MAYO!

  19. McBrearty named tonstart for Donegal. Mind games from them all week on that

  20. If you lack motivation or belief for this match just read Keith Duggan in the Irish Times today. ‘If Mayo are to be silenced, it will take something monumental from their guests. But if Mayo are still standing at the end of it all, then they will stand as something strange and frightening’
    I’ve got shivers waiting for this game. Bring your passion. Do not bow to silence or doubt. Believe me there is an umbilical cord between our team and supporters and we feed one another. Do not be found wanting. Give them all they need, all they deserve. Mayo are incredible and let’s show them how and why.
    I also love what KDuggan said about GAA and RTE…they have let us down… again!
    Bottle the hurt and pain and plámás and let it out today. We are still standing and we will be after this game… something strange and frightening… Mayo in my heart.
    Safe travels to all from both counties. Maigheo go deo

  21. Some mightnt agree, but I’d actually task Stephen Coen with man-marking Murphy. Stephen can be caught out with pacier players, and while Murphy is deceptively fast, Stephen is as fast I believe. And the Hollymount man looks positively ripped this summer so very much has the strength. I just think he could thwart him. James has shown faith in him this summer and while some of this might have been forced through injury, Coens game will have benefited and he’ll be well up to the pitch of it today.
    It’s up to him and the likes of him, Fionn Mcdonagh etc, who can really bring tempo and energy to proceedings, to drive into it at full force today. We cant always be relying on the old guard.

  22. Those mind games were all a bit obvious, though, dreamysleepy – it was as plain as day that the McBrearty story was complete and utter horseshit. I doubt many would have fallen for it.

  23. AxleM, thanks for that quote from the Keith Duggan article:
    “… But if Mayo are still standing at the end of it all, then they will stand as something strange and frightening”.
    This is what we and I very much want. We will will ye on!

  24. Tomas 3003. Never mind those 2 latest injuries of ours. No worries there.
    We can do mind games too!!!!

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