Down v Mayo, Saturday, 7 pm, Pairc Esler
Down host Mayo in the All-Ireland Football Qualifiers at Newry on Saturday night. The game throws in at 7pm and a big crowd is expected.
This is a very tricky game for Mayo and they face a long road if they are to get back where they want to be which I presume is an All-Ireland semi-final or final. The winners will progress to the next round of the qualifiers.
Firstly looking at Down. Paddy Tally is a very good manager he knows what it takes to win and he will try everything to win this game for the Mourne County. Down pushed Armagh all the way in Ulster only losing out by a point 2-17 to 3-13, things could have been a lot different if they won that game. They played Tipperary in the first round of the qualifiers at this venue where they won 1-13 to 1-10. That incidentally was their first qualifier win in 5 years. In defence, they are very stable, they have players like Brendan McArdle, Darren O’Hagan and Kevin McKernan. Pat Havern who scored 0-03 against Tipperary is also a good footballer, while Donal O’Hare and Jerome Johnston will also be looking to come up with the scores.
Mayo have really disappointed me this season. A loss here and I can see a couple of retirements from the team. James Horan’s side beat New York in the Connacht quarter-final, before going on to lose to the newly crowned Connacht Champions, Roscommon. In saying that they only lost that game by a point but some of the football played was quite poor. A better performance will be expected and a win, of course, this time around. Mayo have good players all over the field, Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, and Paddy Durcan are all excellent footballers in defence. Aidan O’Shea will likely partner Matthew Ruane in midfield. Darren Coen, Fergal Boland and Diarmuid O’Connor will be key players in the attack.
Previous Championship Meetings
This is the first meeting of the sides in the championship since 2012. Mayo won that day 3-18 to 2-09, Cillian O’Connor scored 0-07. Mayo reached All-Ireland Finals in 2016 and 2017, however, they lost out to Kildare in Round 3 of the qualifiers in 2018. Down lost to Cavan last year in Round 2.
Mayo: 1. David Clarke – Ballina Stephenites, 2. Chris Barrett – Belmullet, 3. Brendan Harrison – Aghamore, 4. Keith Higgins – Ballyhaunis, 5. Lee Keegan – Westport 6. Colm Boyle – Davitts, 7. Patrick Durcan – Castlebar Mitchels, 8. Diarmuid O’Connor – Ballintubber(C), 9. Aidan O’Shea – Breaffy, 10. Fionn McDonagh – Westport, 11. Conor Loftus – Crossmolina Deel Rovers, 12. Jason Doherty – Burrishoole 13. Kevin McLoughlin – Knockmore 14. Darren Coen – Hollymount/Carramore 15. Andy Moran – Ballaghaderreen
Mayo are massive 1/8 favourites to win this game, while Down are 11/2, with the draw at 14/1. I fancy Mayo to win however I don’t see much in it. Down +6 at 10/11 looks a good bet.