So, it’s 2019 and it’s good to be back! Happy New Year to all Mayo Supporters out there. As you all know by now, we started our 2019 season with two draws in the FBD League, both fixtures took place away to Leitrim and Galway. We advanced on penalties in a misty and cold Carrick on Shannon following a tough competitive game. The following Sunday we made our way to Tuam to take on Galway. This game too ended in a draw, however Galway subsequently advanced in the penalty shootout. A lot of positives can be taken from the pre-season this year, the emergence of some new forward talent is a plus, however our old failings are still there and need to be stamped out before the action on the pitch becomes serious. On a side note, the crowds that attended both games in the FBD League were phenomenal, roughly 5,000 souls turned up in Carrick on Shannon on the 6th of January. In Tuam Stadium the following Sunday, a crowd of around 7,000 payed in. These figures are unbelievable considering only a few short years ago crowds of about 500 were showing up for the FBD League. It just proves that the hunger and interest in Mayo football is still alive and well, long may it continue and grow.
Below is the list of fixtures that Mayo will play in the 2019 Allianz National Football League:
(H)-ROUND 1: Mayo v Roscommon, MacHale Park, Saturday 26th January.
(A)-ROUND 2: Tyrone v Mayo, Healy Park, Omagh, Sunday 3rd February.
(H)-ROUND 3: Mayo V Cavan, MacHale Park, Saturday 9th February.
(A)-ROUND 4: Dublin v Mayo, Croke Park, Saturday 23rd February.
(H)-ROUND 5: Mayo v Galway, MacHale Park, Saturday, 2nd March.
(A)-ROUND 6: Kerry v Mayo, Austin Stack Park, Tralee, Saturday 16th March.
(H)-ROUND 7: Mayo v Monaghan, MacHale Park, Sunday, 24th March.
First of all, securing Division One status is huge, in order to be competitive at the business end of the Championship, we need to be playing top flight football. Over the past few years, the League from a Mayo point of view has been akin to a really bad hangover following a long hard season. This is understandable as playing football into September and not being allowed to train until the new year has had a serious impact on our early season form. Add this in with injuries and other commitments and we were on the back foot from the start. We survived by the skin of our teeth over the past few years and I can safely say that most if not all of our supporters do not want to go through that roller-coaster of emotions again.
From looking at the above fixture list, the three away games are very tough and if we win away, it’ll be hard earned. We must target our home games, starting with Roscommon on the 26th of January. The worrying thing about this is that we have not won a competitive home game in the League or Championship since the 1st of July 2017. That evening we needed extra time to overcome a tough and game Derry team. That really is a shocking statistic, not one to be proud of. There was a time when MacHale Park was a fortress where teams did not arrive and get anything easy. Mayo GAA pulls in massive home crowds, roughly about 15,000 for each home league game over the past three seasons, however these huge crowds have not had much to cheer or shout about. We need to turn the massive home support in our favour and create an atmosphere where it encourages our players on the pitch to raise their game and get the results we need. From the first whistle to the last, our job as supporters is to encourage and support our team. When things are not looking good on the pitch, that is when we should be raising our voices.
For the home league fixtures this year, we’ll be placing a number of banners / flags on the empty seats at the Albany End of the ground. Flags/ banners don’t make noise, however they create a bit of colour and make the stadium more green and red so to speak. If you have any flags and banners that you want to use, why not bring them along to the Albany End. The more there are, the better the display will be. We will supply the tape / string if your flag requires some. For away fixtures, we’ll pick an end of the ground and display banners / flags there.
If you have any suggestions on how the atmosphere can be improved at home league games, send us a message or pop down to us at the Albany End during the home League games.
Thanks for taking the time to read and UP MAYO!
Mayo Independent Supporters Club, 23/01/2019.