All roads lead to Castlebar for this year’s Connacht Final

All roads lead to Castlebar for this year’s Connacht Final

When Galway disposed of a poor Sligo outfit the weekend before last, it was Sky Sports first time showing a Gaelic football match. I was closely following the reaction on the twitter machine as the game went on. The British audience seemed nonplussed by the game, whereas the previous week they were enthralled with the hurling.

I always thought this could be the way at the outset, but I’m sure the football will improve and excite our new audiences across the water before the summer is out. Galway won the game with ease in the end and as a result of this victory; they have earned the right to face Mayo in Elverys McHale Park on Sunday 13th July where both sides will do battle for the Nestor Cup.

A Connacht Final against Galway, it does not get any bigger than that folks! The fact that Mayo are going for their 4th in a row will also be motivation for our opposition. Whenever these two teams meet in championship, more often than not there is only a kick of the ball in it. Mayo blew Galway into smidirini last year and Galway will be looking for revenge.

The Galway midfield were made to look good by Sligo, who continued to kick the ball long and straight down the middle even though it was coming back with interest.  I am certain James Horan will have watched this and will instruct Robbie to take evasive action if necessary. Having said that, I feel our midfield will have enough to win that particular battle. Aidan O’Shea should be aiming to get back to last years high standards where he was touted as Footballer Of The Year going into the final, with his brother again being the unsung hero grafting away in midfield.

Our backs were magnificent against Roscommon. I lost count of the number or times we turned over possession. Tom Cunniffe and Caff were masterful. Boyler was his usual combative self. Donal Vaughan didn’t bring the shooting boots but worked hard and I’m sure Lee Keegan (for me best wing back in the game at the minute) will be back to himself the next day after a very, very rare off day.

Up front will be interesting. I wonder will James stick with the team that started or will he reward those who made such an impact against Roscommon?  I’m assuming Andy is fit to play, having come on for Ballaghadereen recently and by all accounts had a great game.  What I would like to see is space up front – our lads undoubtedly have the stuff to do it, it just feels at times our attacking plays can actually end up restricting the space for us to attack. Once upon a time I was a right corner forward.  I had one particular teammate who told me before games that his main aim when he got the ball was to feed me, that as soon as he got on the ball I was to be moving for a pass from him. I was small enough but I thrived on knowing if I made a run then 9 times out of 10 the centre forward was looking for me. Whoever plays CHF and in the corner forward position should be sitting down hatching plans to terrorise Galway. Clarity of role and effective communication is essential.

As for us folk on the terraces and in the stands, it was noticeable the support given to the team by the Mayo supporters against Roscommon when they were three down with ten minutes to go. I’m sure the team appreciated that and more of the same will be needed on the day. We need to be the 16th man to help our boys drive on to a wonderful 4th Connacht title in a row. See you on the 13th and as always with Club ’51 the message is a simple one. BRING A FLAG AND BRING YOUR VOICE! Mayo forever!!

TrevorFollow me on Twitter: @trevornaughton

Galway v Mayo May 13 2013

 Photo: Michael Maye

The fan’s view – Now every game is like a home game

Ahead of this weekend’s clash vs. the Dubs, here’s diehard Mayo fan Trevor Naughton (exiled in Kildare, but green and red to the core) on his experience of hanging out with the Club ’51 crew this year, and how he expects the big game to pan out on Saturday afternoon. Thanks Trevor!

Ahead of the weekend’s big clash with Dublin where Mayo head to Croker looking to pick up another two valuable league points,  I thought I’d offer the fan’s view of how Club ’51 has gone to date!

As you are all aware Club ’51 has been up and running since the start of the year and I think it has been an unmitigated success.  The introduction of Club ’51 has created a completely different buzz about going to Mayo matches and is something we are really enjoying.  For years we have all travelled in our little groups to matches, meeting up with old friends as you bumped into them.

The level of support that Mayo has (home and away) is clear to see at every game. There are a few publicans in Newbridge that will attest to that also! Every game, whether it’s Castlebar, Tralee or Omagh now feels like a home game and that’s a wonderful thing. Centralising the Mayo support has been excellent. There is nothing better than outnumbering the locals in a pub in their own back yard!

Going to the meet-ups before games the pub/hotel chosen by Club ’51 is full with Mayo supporters. The more times we go to the meet ups before/after games we invariably meet someone new or someone we already know through the #mayogaa hashtag on Twitter or Willie Joe’s MayoGAABlog but have yet to meet in real life!

The main aim is to bring a bit of noise, fun and colour to Mayo matches and to show the team that there is a “Sea of Green and Red” behind them. I have always had hats/scarves/headbands/flags at home but never would have thought to bring any of them to a league match. Club ’51 has changed that idea. If you are thinking about going to the match at the weekend feel free to drop into Jury’s Croke Park Hotel before the game.

The game itself is going to be one of our toughest to date but the lads have been improving steadily game on game and I would be expecting them to deliver the points on this occasion. There has been a lot of debate on mayogaablog on whether we should be going flat out to win this game or not. I think without doubt we have to go out to win this. Just look back to 2012 when we beat the Dubs in Castlebar (in the game refixed after the fog!), we went up against them in Croker in the semi-final with no inferiority complex. Dublin beat us 3 times last year so we really want to be laying down a marker on Saturday night. See you there!

PS: Don’t forget your voices and your flags!!! Up Mayo!!!


Follow me on Twitter: @trevornaughton 🙂

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