Game day – this one’s a must-win

With all the focus in the lead-up on Storm Ciara and whether or not today’s match against Meath would go ahead – it will, this was confirmed earlier this morning – it’s easy to forget about the significance of this clash in Navan. That would be wrong because, in the context of how this League campaign pans out for us, this clash is an absolutely critical one for us.

James Durcan’s goal up in Ballybofey and the harsh red card dished out to Jordan Flynn against Dublin have, to some degree, shielded from open view what has been a poor start to the defence of our League title. A loss today, however, and our troubles will be clear for all to see and, if we follow that up with another loss in the next round – against Monaghan in Clones – then our days in Division One are likely to be running out.

A win today, though, and we’re moving again. This looks like a campaign where everyone is going to take points off everyone else – Monaghan, for all their dash last night, have only accumulated three points, despite fielding at full-strength – so it’s vital that we start to get some on board ourselves. Also, if we do win, Meath will start to become resigned to their fate, leaving just one other relegation spot to scramble clear of.

The weather will, of course, have a huge bearing on today’s game. The venue is an unfamiliar one for us – have any of our team ever played there before? I very much doubt they have – and the conditions will be very difficult. It’s a day for doing the basics right, something you’d have to say hasn’t really been a strong feature of our play thus far this year.

We’ve gone once again today with a heavy emphasis on youth. To be honest, we’ve little choice but to do this and a match like today will tell a lot about what kind of appetite these lads have for adversity. Let’s hope they’re up to the test.

We have some experienced bodies in there too and while Aidan’s not named on the team it’d be a surprise not to see him on the pitch for the bulk of the seventy minutes. We’ll need his heft and power today.

Despite the weather, it’d also be surprising if there isn’t a big Mayo following in Navan this afternoon. If you are heading there, then take care on the roads. If you’re not, don’t forget that TG4 are streaming it on YouTube – here.

Our journey down to Navan today from the capital is a shorter one – as the old ad says it’s only an hour from Dublin – and we’ll be assembling before too long for the off. With that weather and the small stand in Páirc Tailteann it’s a good idea to get there early.

By this evening we’ll have a better idea how this League campaign is shaping up for us. Today could well be a grim battle but we’ve come through worse before over the past decade. This is one to win. Let’s go do it. Up Mayo.

56 thoughts on “Game day – this one’s a must-win

  1. Part of the problem now was the showing of Monaghan last night when they got a point off Dublin and of course should have won. Under a process of elimination Dublin Kerry Galway surely won’t go down and Tyrone and Donegal won’t go easy either so we need to beat Meath today to send them packing – and then engage in a scrap to ensure we’re not the other team.

    One other thing – the weather will level things out today so no taking anything for granted. After all who thought Monaghan would lead Dublin by 9 last night and take home a point

  2. Looks like I am officially a fairweather fan now :-/
    … Because there is no way I am leaving the house today in that weather

    Fair play to all who travel
    Mayo to win by 6+

  3. We have to win today! then Donegal, ourselves and Dublin to beat Galway and hopefully they go down quietly with Meath. Simples 🙂

  4. Dry and sunny here in Navan at the moment. Very windy but according to local weather forecast its expected to calm down early afternoon.

  5. Weather conditions likely to make this game a complete mess. Would like to be able to lean on a little more experience, but not much we can do about it now.

    Good luck to the lads, and safe traveling to all those venturing out on the roads today.

  6. Can anybody tell me while adult tickets be on sale around Pairc Tailteann today, not for sale on tickets.ie on the day of a game

  7. About an hour outside Navan now. Not a drop of rain on the way up but a bit blustery. Lack of physicality, no real midfield cover and lack of experience will be a major problem for us today. Unfortunately I think Meath by two.

  8. 6 am start here in California. Great way to start a Sunday. Safe travels all. Here’s hoping we jump on them early.

  9. 7 points to 1 up at half time. Lack of guile and playing with a gale force wind means we need a big shift in 2nd half. Also our slight forwards are behind cleaned out. Could be a lot worse as DOC saved a certain goal.

  10. Absolutely clueless in attack again
    Crazy frees and sidelines
    We are in trouble
    Will need a lucky goal or Meath to be equally inept in attack

  11. The usual confidence again I see. 6 point lead not great But we have been calling out for youth and new faces This is what you get when you throw in newbies We can’t have it both ways Either go with them and let them at it or go back to the Tried and trusted old warriors

  12. Start with the positives..we have defended well enough.

    But 7 points is a very poor return with such a wind and with the possession we’ve had and Meath certainly haven’t gone with a blanket. There has been ample space insude but our forwards aren’t physically strong enough. No cohesion up front and there doesn’t seem to be confidence in kicking ball into them. Its not sticking when it is sent in. We should have about 2 -10 on the board against this team but we’ve hardly made the keeper sweat. It’s a pity. You’d think with young lads gunning to impress we’d have seen some more tenacity and drive. Meath aren’t much use but we’ve allowed them remain in the game.

    Frustrating to watch. Particularly the move where we blocked a Meath shot..countered. acres of room as Meath had pushed up. Durcan won the ball on the Meath 40 and we didn’t have one Mayo forward insude their 40!!? With a gale behind us. Go figure?

    Boland playing well but then that’s becoming a norm. Fair play to him. Clever player.

    Durcan and ROD very quiet. The latter did get a simple score. The former missed an even easier chance.

    Tommy has been disposed a few times.

    Need to up the ante in 2nd half. A bit more bite and aggression up front. There are goals to be got if we counter at pace against the wind.

    C’mon Mayo.

  13. I am always optimistic so I assume that is not directed at me. I backed us to beat Dublin by 2 ……..I have no problem with newbies. I have a problem with having absolutely nothing resembling an attacking gameplan. That is not on the players
    Anyway lets hope Meath are as bad as they are said to be or we are in big big trouble

  14. Its a win but Management have a lot to answer, there seems to be no game plan and even at this stage nobody seems to know who is the free taker

  15. There’s so much I want to say but best not. Dreadful stuff. Awful football. Meath are fairly useless and will be opened up by some other teams.

    I would hope Mayo team AND management put in a better shift in Clones. Move on….nothing to see…maybe we can pretend today didn’t happen.

  16. Credit to Ryan O’D – Won the ball and under pressure got the pass to Kevin for his point and then a pinpoint pass for Kevin’s goal. Also in the last minute was running and harassing Meath in possession. Not the finished product but developing well. Free-tacking almost cost us again but that a separate story.

    Just a comment in Gaelic football in general. This keep possession play is just awful to watch. I know the conditions were terrible today so not so much a comment on today but in gerenal. Teams keeping possession for 2-3 minutes is boring and drustrating to watch. Also – why does each referree have his personal definition of the tackle in gaelic football. rant over.

  17. Terminable decline Meath the worst team ever and they beat us Division 2 here we come Management cost us yet again Oh Hold On Mayo actually won Can you believe it Away from home on a brutal day and yet again our team show their usual character and bottle to win a game we could have lost Sorry to the doomsday brigade and naysayers We are still standing 3 points from 2 away games and home to 5 in a row chaps Not bad when you think of it but obviously not good enough for some We move on

  18. Kev Mc remains Mayo’s MOST important player by a country mile and that won’t change for some time to come. He’s in a class of his own.

    A horrible performance and loads to be rightly concerned about but a real positive that they came back when Meath were playing very well and winning most of the breaks. It looked like our goose was well and truly cooked but our resilience shone through. That’s very heartening.

    Fair play to all who travelled.

  19. Unfortunately this is what happens when underage system has been neglected in recent years rapidly falling into the chasing pack still relying on the old warriors

  20. It is all very tight now . Our points difference could be a killer cos other teams will run up bigger scores against Meath.
    2 more wins SHOULD do it…….

  21. We won it might not have been pretty but we won and it’s two points in the bag,conditions made it a game of two halves and we finished the stronger, although listening to David Brady you could be forgiven for thinking Meath were robbed instead of us knuckling down and winning the game.

    Brady did not a good word to say about the team throughout the 74 minutes play the half time roundup or the post match analysis , and you only have to read his newspaper comments to know today wasn’t a one off ,what is his problem

  22. Two more wins won’t be enough km79. We’ll need three, if not four wins to reach the final. #DefendingChampions

  23. People were on a previous thread saying this one and that one should be captain well I’ll tell you who should be captain Kevin Mc Loughlin he should be the first name on the team sheet. I don’t know what our esteemed forward coach is doing but he’s certainly not teaching lads to kick the ball over the bar not is there any semblance of a game plan I’m not blaming him personally as this has been a problem with all Mayo teams since 1951. We probably will get lucky and survive relegation at Monaghan’s expense if we can beat them but at this stage we don’t look like a Division 1 team never mind champions. I’m afraid it will be up to the same ol workhorses come Summer Seamus O Shea Donie Vaughan et al

  24. It’s the ninth of February. Third game in the league. Away from home in difficult conditions. Cursing the universe and signaling a terminal decline seems a little hysterical.

    That was a poor performance but they stuck at it and dig out a win. It’s another game for the likes of O’Donoghue and we’re one point off the leaders in the division.

    We’ve a site of work to do but it can be done. The week break will do us the world of good and hopefully one or two more of the senior lads will be available for Scotstown.

  25. We won, Kerry lost, Tyrone won, Donegal lost, Galway won… was hard to watch but I imagine Kerry supporters found thelrs hard to watch too. We have a knack for scraping should win games and winning or drawing could lose games but I find it hard to be full of optimism. Still, where there’s life there’s hope. Kevin McL… what a man. Mayo even when it’s not the bright positive feeling…go deo.

  26. Lucky, Lucky,Lucky .poor game in poor conditions.Nobody had a clue what way frees were going to go.Cut open for both goals in second half & lucky not to consead one in the first half. No movement for our kickouts & we again missed a very easy free in second half.

  27. Great to get that game out of the way as was a potential banana skin for such a young group who never gave up, thought young ò donoghue did very well in such conditions and of course mc Loughlin and Aiden

  28. Ryan o Donahue has improved over the 3 games.
    I hope management sticks with him.
    He is a natural link man with great potential.
    I would like to see him taking on more scoring options.

  29. Great to get the win.
    Not too much else matters today.
    Would people feel better if we played better and lost.
    An away game win in conditions that were not ideal is a good outcome.
    Well done to the team.

  30. Can we keep a check of ourselves .We got a win on the road in brutal conditions we have a young side a lot of new faces and with Meath packing the shite out of their defense in the second half with the wind at their back the win is certainly a great outcome .You can be sure that is what JH and his management team will be telling the lads .We are mad for success I get that but let’s give the team a chance to bed in and let’s be honest it will more than likely take another 12 – 24 months to do so .

  31. It’s February and we tend to be up and down in the league anyway BUT I’d like to see some sort of cohesion up front, we don’t seem to be developing any sort of attacking plan at all. Being honest in every game so far they look like a bunch of lads that never played with each other before.

    Hard to see where we’ll pick up points at this point but I think we’ll get enough to stay up if for no other reason then out of pure stubbornness.

    It doesn’t sound good for Boyle. I think plunkett needs up step up and i think he was decent today but was out of position for the goals.

  32. a win away from home that was vital.
    Ryan O’D does look to be coming on – a few more shots would be good to see.
    Before we write off these season just yet, let’s remember how many starters are out / taking time off for the league. We’re either going to use the league to transition or not – staying up and new players being given a chance should be seen as a good return. We’re definitely handing out chances, let’s hope we also stay up!
    Anyone else think that S Coen looks to be developing well this league?

  33. Just catching up now on comments posted over the last number of hours.

    Tom – you win the dumb ass award for your intemperate in-game contributions, the prize for which is an indefinite stay in moderation.

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