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Mayo left Salthill last Sunday, frustrated and annoyed and without any points to show for their efforts.
The Galway and Mayo footballers enjoyed plenty of national exposure in the media as a result of two melees and three red cards that came at the end of what had been an entertaining National League fixture at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.
The shadow boxing and experimenting has come to a close, with the end of the FBD League last Sunday for Mayo. This weekend Mayo will make the trip to Clones in the reverse fixture of last year's National Football League opener which was won by the Farney county men in MacHale Park. The top division in the National Football League is a high intensity environment — Mayo want to hit the ground running and they will be targeting a win in this game.
With respect to the FBD league Mayo's season kicks off in earnest this Sunday when they travel to Clones to take on Monaghan in the first round of the National Football League. The FBD was somewhat of a calamitous affair this year with the weather playing puck with fixtures resulting in postponements and last minute cancellations. The decision to call off the Mayo v Galway game at the 11th hour the most frustrating postponement, as almost 3,000 spectators had gathered in Baltic conditions in Elverys MacHale Park. Most wondered why the decision was not made earlier. That re-fixture meant Mayo of course had to play three games in five days, two of which were lost while the other was a draw. Amazingly last weekend Mayo's game went ahead against Sligo albeit after a venue change. It was the only inter county game that took place last Sunday.
Mayo manager Stephen Rochford confirmed that he expects to be without two more of his front line players for the majority if not all of the upcoming national league campaign.
Castlebar Mitchels renew acquaintances with Corofin in the Connachht Club final this Sunday in Tuam in what promises to be a mouth watering clash. Both teams know each other very well at this stage having crossed paths three times in the last number of years. Corofin needing extra-time last year to beat Castlebar in MacHale Park. Coincidently Mitchels have beaten the Galway kingpins twice in Tuam in what were rip-roaring encounters. Neither team seems to be at the level that they were a number of years ago, but they are still very evenly matched.
Now that the dust has settled on the inter-county season for another year attention turns back to the local scene this weekend with the double header of replays in the Mayo Junior Football Championship on Saturday evening announcing the return to local action. The action will get under way at 6pm with the meeting of Ballycastle and Kilmeena, followed by the clash of Balla and Achill at 7.30pm.
This football lark does not get any easier does it. The feeling of sick in the pit of my stomach the morning after an All-Ireland final is an all too familiar feeling now after Mayo suffered another agonising one point defeat to Dublin in another All-Ireland final. The margin of loss makes it even more difficult to take. The level of Mayo's performance makes it hard to comprehend they did not win the game. Every mistake and refereeing decision will be scrutinised and placed under the microscope for years to come.
Sometimes it’s not about being the better team, it’s about finding ways to win games when you are probably second best on the day. Dublin were able to do that, they were able to get themselves over the line right at the end when it mattered most and they claimed their third All Ireland title in a row.
This win wasn’t lucky, it wasn’t by chance, it came about through sheer hard-work, believe in themselves and by playing some breathtaking football. It has taken Mayo 21-years to beat Kerry again in the football championship, but the jubilant Mayo faithful - who roared on their hero’s from the first minute to last, know that there is still a big job to do in three weeks time. But that doesn’t mean that this game is not to be savoured.