1 The Padraig Joyce effect
WATCHING the Galway manager take part in the pre-match warm-up against Tyrone, pinging passes around to players with that famous left foot, before observing him afterwards mingling with supporters, shaking hands, posing for selfies and shooting the breeze, it was easy to see why the county’s followers hold him in such high regard.
Joyce is an iconic figure in Galway football circles and hasn’t been afraid to ‘talk up’ his team ahead of the start of the season. Plus, as Billy Joe Padden observes in this week’s Mayo News Football Podcast, Joyce and the players have also ‘backed up that talk’ so far with results. A win in the derby next Sunday would make him even more popular, of course!
2 Life in the border towns
IT might ‘only be the league’ but you can be sure that the ball-hopping and slagging will be in full swing this week in towns and villages along the border between Mayo and Galway — in places like Ballindine, Milltown, Shrule, Caherlistrane, Cong, Clonbur and Glencorrib.
For Galway, this is a chance to drive Mayo towards Division 2, and move within a kick of the ball of booking their place in the Division 1 League Final - both at the same time.
While for Mayo this is an opportunity to silence the noisy neighbours by giving them a reality check, while also taking a big step away from the drop zone.
No pressure then!
3 Mayo’s recent derby record
VERY few Mayo supporters will need to be reminded that Galway had won seven successive derby matches between the counties in all competitions before last summer’s All-Ireland SFC Qualifier victory in Limerick.
That memorable Mayo success stopped the rot after almost four seasons of Galway dominance, and also gave the likes of Fionn McDonagh, James Carr, Ciarán Treacy, Michael Plunkett and Eoin O’Donoghue the chance to experience what it felt like to beat the Tribesmen.
Considering Mayo had to go back to the 2015 Connacht championship for their last win, it would be understandable if some of the old guard had forgotten what it felt like too!