Game day – huge challenge this evening

Even all these years on, the week-to-week schedule of the National League takes a bit of time getting used to. No sooner has the dust started to settle after one match but the next one is approaching rapidly. The two months between late January and the end of March pass by in a blur.

So, even though the dramatic denouement up in Ballybofey only happened the other night, that game has already been boxed away for posterity. Now it’s all about the Dubs – on the double – at MacHale Park this evening. The women’s LGFA League clash throws in at 5pm while the men’s game gets underway at 7pm.

I think it’s fair to say that the team Dublin announced last night didn’t increase whatever hopes we might have had for getting a result this evening. It’s a very strong pick – far more so than the teams Dublin tend to send out for League games at this time of year – and it’s one that shows Dessie Farrell is taking no chances in ensuring that his county’s long unbeaten run against us continues unabated.

The last time we took a point off Dublin in the League was that madcap drawn match at Croke Park in 2014, a match we had in the bag before conceding two late goals. Since then it’s been five defeats on the spin, three of them bad thumpings.

In fairness, despite our anaemic home record, we tend to perform better when playing them at MacHale Park. The 2-18 to 0-10 thrashing we endured at Castlebar in 2015 was very much the exception as the following year, on a wild and wet night in the west, we lost out by just two points. in 2018 we went under to them by four points at MacHale Park in a game where we conceded daft goals early in both halves and missed plenty of chances as well.

So our cause shouldn’t be seen as a hopeless one tonight. It is, though, an extremely tough assignment for a team featuring plenty of new lads who are only starting to feel their way at this level.

In that respect tonight will tell us a lot about our upcoming talent. This is a great chance for players to stand up and be counted. Here’s hoping they do and, if they really put it up to the mighty Dubs, so much the better. The best of luck to them and to the ladies as well in the curtain-raiser contest.

A huge crowd, perhaps in the 15-20,000 range, is expected to be at MacHale Park this evening. Mayo GAA have issued some ticketing information that’s worth a look – that’s here.

In light of the amount of traffic that’s expected to be in the MacHale Park area tomorrow evening and, given the tendency of many match-going drivers to park on the N5, some important advice has been issued about where’s best to park – that’s here.

In line with my desire to cut down on unnecessary mileage this year, I’m sitting out this one myself and so I’ll be watching the game live from home on Eir Sport. as a result there’ll be no post-game audio report from me afterwards but, on the flip side, the match report will be up quickly enough along with the MOTM poll. Up Mayo.

40 thoughts on “Game day – huge challenge this evening

  1. Just about to hit the road, hope we see a few of the young lads making an impression in the cauldron of Mc Hale Park v Dubs tonight

  2. Going to be fascinating — I’m glad James has thrown the youngsters into the fire, adds a twist to the narrative. I don’t expect the desired outcome today, but I figure why not save the victory over the Dubs until later in the year.

  3. This is a championship strength Dublin team. They certainly are taking this league very seriously. It is going to be a huge test. I would like to see Aidan in from the start. The new guys need his protection against the Dubs getting a run of scores early on, and the game going away from us. We just look a little short of physical presence in and around midfield.

  4. Looking forward to this. September to December is too a long time to go without a game to watch.

    The team selected for tonight wouldn’t look out of place in a Leinster final. It looks like Dessie means business tonight.
    6 Nations Rugby, Ladies on first, and this game – now there’s a Saturday worth savoring.

    Best of luck folks – see you all in the Stands.

  5. Best of luck to all our team this evening.
    Great for young guys to get this experience.
    Maybe such a strong Dublin team being named is because they worried and fear us!!!
    Never say never lads just like last sat evening.
    Continued good luck to Stephen as captain too.
    Best of luck to Mayo girls also. Proud of all our stars.

  6. Not bothered about the result but would like to see the new lads getting stuck in and giving a good account of themselves. No point winning by a point and to have the likes of Flynn and rod and the likes taken off cause they’re not up to it. We could actually have some reward off the dubs kickout this evening, no cluxton and we have pace in the team which we have being sorely lacking over the last few years.

  7. Dessie O’Farrell is playing a close to full strength side in my view. He fears both us and Kerry. In my view, that Dub selection says thst he is actually afraid of losing. Coming after Jim Gavin may be too big a burden for him. Hopefully.
    In those circumstances, and with Mayo fielding such a young side, it would be a huge game to win from a psychological point of view.

  8. Don’t want to sound pessimistic but surely ye don’t think Mayo with such a young inexperienced team can beat the Dubs tonight, at this stage I would like to see it turn into a hard battle, maybe a few dubs getting rattled.

  9. Good to see Eoin o’donuhue and Darren Coen in the match day squad. Look to be honest to lose by less than 5 points would be a success with the named teams. It’s up to every man to outwork their opponent. That’s the start and the end point. At this stage of the year and our teams development I don’t think we can ask for much more.

  10. As long as they make a good account of themselves and get stuck in a big challenge in front of a big home crowd, mayo by 2

  11. Mayo and Dublin have different objectives tonight. For Mayo it’s the performance and for Dublin it’s the result. Mayo are in transition and James has no choice but to blood some new players. I have a feeling his focus is on the 2021all Ireland and he’s using this year to get the younger players up to the required performance levels. I think he’ll be happy if they put in a good promising display and not lose by more than 5 points. The ladies are also in experimental mode tonight and I hope Peter Leahy goes home a happy man. Best of luck to both teams and hope the báisteach stays away.

  12. We’ve named a big bench, 13 players listed. They are: 16. David Clarke 17. James Stretton 18. James McCormack 19. Eoin O’Donoghue 20. David Kenny 21. Tom Parsons 22. Aidan O’Shea 23. Bryan Walsh 24. Conor Loftus 25. Brian Reape 26. Darren Coen 27. Tommy Conroy 28. Lee Keegan.

  13. Incredibly brave and committed first half from our lads. Huge workrate all over the field, Dublin looked so sluggish by comparison. Flynn tackle was late and clumsy but red was very, very harsh. Sadly, it looks like what’ll lose us the game and, if so, will make the decision even more of a travesty. Colm Boyle limped off at half-time too, wouldn’t expect to see him back for the second half. Hope he’s okay.

  14. Colm boyle trying to run after a Dublin player trying to stop an attack while not able to walk shows the mans commitment to Mayo

  15. Flynn’s Red was as harsh as you’ll see.
    Fair play to the lads for keeping the score line to what they have. Here’s hoping they can keep this going for the second half, would be great to take a point or better, both points from this game.

  16. Wides are killing us if we could take even half our chances we’d have a good chance of winning this game same old story but the rest of the team are doing well especially down to 14 men

  17. Cassidy’s getting worse by the minute. How on earth could Diarmuid O’Connor be booked after that strike on him by McCarthy? Diabolical reffing has had a major bearing on this game … but our wide count (ten so far) sure hasn’t helped either.

  18. Cassidy could have saved 10 minutes playing time and booked the whole Mayo team and the subs in the changing room

  19. No question our shooting was poor, some terrible wides. But christ Cassidy is some clown. And not just against us (although we definitely got the harsh end of things). Some truly bizarre decisions.
    At least he’s consistent. Consistently shite.
    Although he’s still only the 2nd biggest Derry bollocks in MacHale Park tonight…

  20. If the ref did his job properly and fairly we could still have had a good chance as we were well up for this. Had to be sickening and disheartening for players to have to play the ref too. Wide’s aside least you should get after hours of training is a fair ref.

  21. Disappointing result but it was inevitable after the red. I thought the red was harsh but nonetheless Flynn was reckless to do that.

    Some positive defensive performances from the new guys. Hard to judge the attack as we were outnumbered up there after the red. Carr is still a bit raw but definitely has potential. His shot selection needs a bit of work

  22. Lack of a free taker is hurting us.. I was only listening in but it sounded like O Donoghue had a good game?

  23. Frustrating game because of the red. Very hard to judge where we are but I wouldn’t be too down about the result. We kicked some bad wides so that’s a constant irritant. Having said that, our conversion rate last week was excellent on little or no service.

    I’d take an awful lot from the performances of Oisin Mullin, Padraig O’Hora and Tommy Conroy. These lads are showing really well and giving Horan lots to think about. James Carr was excellent at times and Fergal Boland has turned into a very consistent performer for us.

    Jordan Flynn was very unlucky and had actually started very well. It was a lazy, indisciplined tackle though so he’ll need to learn from it.

    A final word on the two lads around the middle for the hour. I thought Diarmuid – with able support from Stephen Coen – was excellent and did about all you can do with Fenton and Howard.

    Huge game in Navan next weekend. I’m flying home for that one against the auld enemy.

  24. No to be for us to night but it’s only the second game for us taught Jordan should have got a yellow card not a red but the ref was shite hope it’s his last game

  25. Ref is an absolute joker. There was no fathomable logic in any of his decisions, even if you agreed with him. The foul was stupid from Flynn, but if a Dub did that, I feel it would have been a red. Never thought with that line up we were going to win but positives:
    • Oisin Mullen looks like he could do a job there. Excellent breaking out too.
    • Padraig O’Hora looked at home at this level. Nailed on starter for summer time.
    RO’D showed flashes of the talent. Looks like he could grow into a “quarter back” style centre forward. There was a definite plan to get him on the ball to try and pull strings. A few stray passes tonight, but definite potential.
    • Tommy Conroy needs to start the best of the league. Can beat a man, win his own ball, take a score, a real player.

    Negatives:
    • Dublin looked fitter than us, aware that it was 14 against 15, but it’s the same 3rd quarter capitulation that has dogged us against Dublin again.
    • wides and short shots costing us again.
    • goalkeeper distributions an issue again. I hate the narrative, but we need to find another solution.

  26. Hope Boyler is OK for Navan, he was flying when Dub took a dive and brought him down. Ref was unreal.

  27. I thought the red card was harsh but I believe refs have been told that anything like that around the neck or head deserves a red. That said he missed a similar tackle by a Dublin player in the second half. In any case that decision put the ref under pressure for the rest of the game and he didn’t really handle it too well.
    I was happy with our work rate and the fact that we contained them pretty well up to half time. The goal was a sickner and gave the Dubs the comfort they needed to see out the game.
    I like cut of O Hora and Oisin Mullen is a real prospect. Up front we looked pretty good until the sending off which made scoring very difficult for us. I thought Ryan O Donoghue did ok and certainly has a touch of class. He might be a bit light yet but he has pace and he deserves more game time to see what he can actually achieve.
    Going to the match I feared the outcome and even more so after the red card.
    I hate losing especially to the Dubs but I see hope in these lads.

  28. The ref was shit and it probably wasn’t a red card, though I’ve seen them given. However it was a reckless challenge, he was also off his feet making contact which made it look even worse. Jordan is going to have to control his temper. We just can’t afford players of poor match temperament at this level. It’s not like he’s David Clifford or con o Callaghan level of talent either. You’d gamble on a maverick with a dodgy temper if they were an absolute stand out player, but right now he’s just another young fella on the fringes trying to establish himself and can’t afford these type of brain fades. That said, he actually did some good things in the 13 min he was on the pitch!

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