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“A week is a long time in .....” you’ve heard and read it all before. But truly the last seven days have seen quite a swing in the fortunes of Mayo football. This time last week James Horan’s side were staring down the barrel of a gun and relegation to division two was staring back at them in the face. Move forward seven days and it’s a place in the semi-finals that Mayo are playing for on Sunday in Tralee rather than just mere survival.
Being on top of the table in division one of the National Football League after only completing two games, while six of the other seven sides in the division have already played a game extra, has Mayo in good shape ahead of the visit of Down on Sunday to McHale Park.
On and off again became the theme of Mayo’s National Football League meeting with Dublin over the past week. Saturday night’s match against the All Ireland champions was abandoned by referee Marty Duffy at half time, when a thick blanket of fog descended on McHale Park shortly before the median whistle and showed no signs of clearing after a prolonged half time break, forcing the Sligo whistler to abandon the game.
If you are a Castlebar based Mayo supporter and are planning on following the fortunes of James Horan’s Mayo side through all seven rounds in division one of the Allianz National Football League, the first leg of the 1,050 mile, 11 week odyssey will get under way tomorrow. There is no short away jaunts for Mayo this year as the league will take them on the road to Portlaoise, Armagh, Ballyshannon, and Tralee, two of those games, the trips to Laois and Armagh, to be undertaken on a Saturday night. While it looks like a daunting number of miles for those who are lucky to live close to the county town, you can add on another 400 miles for those hardy Gaels who hail from Belmullet who will follow the fortunes of the green and red.
Just like last year Mayo will square off against NUIG in the home final of the FBD League on a Friday night in McHale Park. The prize for the winners, a trip to New York in October to take on the exiles in the away final, should be enough motivation for any amateur player, but both sides have bigger fish to fry in the coming days and weeks, which will be a distraction this evening.