The lads are all done for the year but not so the Mayo ladies. Their 2019 Championship run is still going strong and on Sunday they head to Croke Park for an All-Ireland semi-final showdown against Galway.
This is the first year that the LGFA All-Ireland semi-finals have been held at HQ. Both penultimate round ties will be played at the venue on Sunday, with the Mayo/Galway game throwing in at 2pm while the Dublin/Cork match gets going at 3.45pm. Both matches will be broadcast live on TG4.
Sunday’s clash with Galway will be the third time the counties have come up against each other in this year’s Championship. They played out a thrilling draw in dreadful conditions in the Connacht final at MacHale Park in late June with Galway coming out on top by 3-7 to 0-9 in the replay two weeks later. That game featured as the curtain-raiser for the Round 4 qualifier clash between the counties at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
Since then the two counties have come through both the group stage and their respective All-Ireland quarter-finals. In our case this involved a 3-14 to 3-11 shootout win over Tyrone at Healy Park followed by an equally high-scoring 1-22 to 3-12 victory over Donegal at O’Connor Park. Two weeks ago at Pearse Park, Peter Leahy’s team got the better of Armagh by 2-12 to 1-12 in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Galway’s first group game was against Kerry and they emerged from that O’Moore Park meeting with a 1-14 to 1-10 victory. Their passage to the All-Ireland quarter-final was then secured with a comprehensive 2-13 to 1-3 win over Westmeath at Cusack Park in Mullingar. In that quarter-final, which was played the same day in Longford as our match against Armagh, Galway beat Waterford by 1-12 to 2-4.
Galway are hot favourites to win on Sunday – of the four semi-finalists, we’re the ranks outsiders – but the prize on offer, a place in the final, is something they haven’t experienced in a while. We were there as recently as 2017 but you have to go back to 2004 for Galway’s most recent appearance in a decider. They won that day too, beating Dublin by 3-8 to 0-11.
There’s a big push by the LGFA to get maximum exposure for Sunday’s Croke Park double-header. First and foremost, they want to see a big crowd at HQ on the day but they’re also asking that pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants and people sitting at home tune in to watch the match on TV. Details on the LGFA/TG4 #TurnUpTurnOn campaign is here.
Closer to home, Mayo LGFA are urging supporters to turn out in numbers to cheer on the team at Croke Park on Sunday. While they’re undoubtedly the outsiders going into this game, the team have made enormous progress this year following all the convulsions twelve months ago and it would be great to see them upset the odds and advance to the final. The very best of luck to them on Sunday.