Looking ahead

Right, 72 hours or so have passed since the final whistle was blown in this year’s All-Ireland final – and, with it, time called once again on our hopes of lifting the Sam Maguire – and the world has kept on turning. As it always must, as it always will.

Fair play to the lot of you, you’ve kept the embers glowing on Saturday’s contest and much more besides, including the year we’ve had, where we need to go next year and what we need to do to get us where we need to go. It’s been a great, rolling debate, one that I’ve really enjoyed taking in so, please, don’t let me stop the discussion.

All I will say on it is that it’s proof positive – in these über-divisive and anger-filled times – that it’s possible for fair-minded debate to take place online. In the aftermath of Saturday’s dispiriting loss it would be easy to let the anger flow but instead you’ve kept the discussion the right side of reasonable. This place is all the better for it so well done for that.

It’s hard for all of us to look to the future after the loss to Tyrone. But, I guess, this is a well-worn track we’re on right now and we’ve all got plenty of muscle memory from the recovery we’ve made from previous defeats. In time, we’ll get over this one too.

One of the next things I’ll be doing here on the blog will be tidying up loose ends from this year. Like completing the 2021 results and filing them away with the results from the other 118 years already there.

The other backward-looking thing I need to sort is the poll for our Player of the Year. I have to run the data first from the MOTM polls to generate the short list and then I’ll stick the poll for it up on the site. My money’s on Lee Keegan to pick up this award for the second time, having first won it back in 2016, but, of course, it’s your votes that will decide this.

Looking ahead, there’s the club action for everyone to get their teeth into, with a round of League matches on this coming weekend and then the opening round of the Championships the weekend after.

I’ll be in the west myself the weekend after next so I’m already licking my chomps looking at this particular menu, though my preference is for a game on the Saturday. But which will it be? Champions Knockmore against my own local club Aghamore, perhaps? Or what about Balla versus Castlebar Mitchels? Or, indeed, Westport against Ballaghaderreen? Choices, choices.

Looking further ahead, it seems like it’ll be a while yet before we know what the lay of the land is for next year’s inter-county fixtures. Usually, the provisional League fixtures for the following spring would be released (or leaked) around now and then in late October the draws would be made for the following summer’s provincial Championships.

This time round, though, everything is up in the air due to the upcoming Special Congress on Championship structures where two new Championship formats are on the table. More details on that here.

One of the knock-on effects of the mooted changes for next year is that the usual – well, usual before Covid struck – pre-season competitions that take place in deepest January, the FBD included, are set to get the heave-ho. More on that here.

The survey the GAA launched today to shape the association’s five-year strategic plan got a mention earlier. I’d agree that it’s worth doing and you’ll find the link to it here.

We might be drawing our collective breath on the podcast following the glut of episodes we put online ahead of the final but we’re not done for the year yet. Far from it, in fact – we’ll be recording our next episode soon and before long we’ll be throwing the ball in our our club Championship podcast coverage as well. More on that anon.

In summary, then, there’s plenty to look ahead to over the next while, as all the while Croke Park and all that happened to us there last Saturday slips from our line of sight in the rearview mirror.

152 thoughts on “Looking ahead

  1. I hate to admit that pat spillage was correct the day we played leitrim when he laughed at Cora staunton when she said mayo were all Ireland contenders. He said no way we would win without Cillian a man who scored 5 goals and 40 points in last year championship.
    We survived without him till last Saturday and I believe we could have got across the line with him.
    So the future is bright for next year if we have him back with harrison , mcloughlin and Doherty.
    Any other county would love to have those 4 guys in their team.
    We will dust ourselves down and look forward to 2022 as we have a great panel to go to war with if they are all available

  2. W. J. As someone living outside the country I’ve managed to convert some of my friends into Mayo supporters. They have a hard time believing that the players are all amateur. When they ask “Where does all the monies go?, I stuck to direct them to a website or good source information to show its distribution. Can you give me some advice? Thanks for the fantastic blog. Enjoy the winter. Looking ahead is our only option!!!

  3. Quick question actually.
    McHale Park is currently being relaid but are they lengthening it too? There was talk of this happening (which I believe will be of benefit to Mayo) but it’s hard to make out from the pages whether it has been lengthened or not.

  4. With the dust now settling and the anger,sorrow ,disappointment subsiding.
    We can start to look forward to club championship and hopefully the emergence of some new players.
    Looking back Mayo probably didn’t give enough players game time but that was with the season being so short and tough games in championship.On the whole if we hadn’t lost another All Ireland to the perceived weaker opposition it would be a good year.
    Tyrone targeted
    Our strongest player and only a few of the rest of the players played to there ability. Mistakes were made on and off the field but nobody set out for this result.
    Tyrone were nervous in the 3 Quarter waiting for Mayo onslaught but when it didn’t come through bad luck,poor play ,nerves ,sideline and expectation of supporters
    they grew in confidence.
    There bench put the final nails in.
    We have to pick our self up and prove that we’re not (Insane )and learn from our mistakes .
    Maigheo abu.

  5. Having been at a couple of underage games in the last 2 days all the talk has been on the defeat and what I have heard is a story of deep frustration and annoyance of having it slip again. A few people have made the point that this is a repeat of Horan’s 1st stint, semi final defeat followed by 2 final defeats, unable to make changes quick enough, unwilling to take advice from anyone and once again Horan on his own on the sideline as everything crumbles around him. Even Robbie made the same mistake as 2013 of not taking man and ball when coming out for the high ball!
    We’re living the definition of insanity, and a lot of us are on the verge after that match!

  6. Thanks for everything WJ.

    I do believe that there is only a handful of teams fit to compete at the very top level of Championship.

    I believe Mayo will learn massively from what went wrong last weekend. The Mayo team have the perfect balance of youth and experience. I feel they will come back next year stronger than ever. They will be ready to prove all these key board warriors wrong.

    Yes, it might be one final that got away, but all we need to do is learn how to break the glass ceiling that hangs above us. Maybe we need to get the likes of Jason Sherlock to join our background team. Hopefully James waits on, he has done so so much for Mayo GAA, but I do feel he needs a little help.

  7. Puckout – Its like we are stuck in some sort of Twilight zone. The actor Bill Murray was in Mayo last week and pictured wearing a Mayo jersey….his most famous film is Groundhog Day and that’s how it feels being a Mayo supporter. There are many county fans who would love to be in our position but something needs to change and we need to start winning finals. It’s abnormal and weird what’s happening us every year and I think it’s not just messing with players heads but supporters too.

  8. “The county-first split season has been given the official go-ahead after the motion to bring forward the All-Ireland senior finals to July was passed without a vote at a virtual Annual Congress this afternoon.

    It paves the way for the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) to devise a 2022 masters fixtures calendar with the inter-county season concluding by the 29th Sunday of the year, which next year falls on July 18.”

    This still stands right ? It’s just a case of what way it will be structured.
    I’m being crazily optimistic by not only booking a foreign holiday next summer but also planning it for after the AI final !

  9. Need the likes of caroline currid. A top sports psycologist who has worked with several all ireland winning teams latest being limerick hurlers. If there was ever a sports team needing this kind of guidance its mayo. The build up, nerves and 70 year wait and the favourites tag was to much for players management and supporters sadly. Would have bet them if it was a semi final easily.

  10. WJ, thanks again for the hard work on here. As someone overseas this is a terrific place to arrive for (fairly!) reasoned debate and insights, it also provides a wonderful connection to home.
    The house rules manage the debate that wonderfully, I can’t count the number of times I have the argument not based on football ability or performance on the day but off the field rumour, this place manages to filter the overwhelming bulk of that out!
    As I said in the aftermath, I think the serious questions need to be asked, all with how we deliver Sam, in light of proposed changes I think this is all the more important. This can’t be done as a witch hunt either, I’m hoping those questions are answered. Looking at the quality of player available to us, some of the younger players and some of the untried, we are in a great place. Personally I don’t believe it is a requirement to reinvent the wheel, it is minor tweaks here and there.
    WJ, I’m really looking forward to the club coverage on here.
    Up Mayo!

  11. Madnayobob..You say Horan needs help this coming year. Horan likes help until we reach final and then he doesn’t take advice. You only have to look at last Saturday. Mc Donnel up with the subs. Then you see him angry with other selector No such bullshit with Tyrone managers. . Time for Horan to listen and give some thought to others opinion.

  12. Watched some of the match back. Couldn’t watch the final 20min.

    My initial feeling was right: we caused Tyrone plenty trouble and had the capability of properly ripping them open as evidenced by the goal chances, and also through fleeting pockets of decent movement and interplay (even though this often broke-down, ie a turnover or the final pass being a little off). However, we didn’t do it often enough and hesitated at key moments. Those goal misses are the stuff of hellish nightmares.

    We did so much right. Ryan’s pass to Aidan was a thing of beauty, Goochesque. Loftus was running in and the ball should have been laid off. I don’t think Aido would have rounded McNamee, who had a strong position at that point.

    Can’t fathom how Conor missed his chance and why he didn’t at the very least put his laces through the ball with an absent goalie. A truly horrible miss, one that had nerves written all over it.

    Tommy obviously should have taken an extra hop/solo or squared it to Aidan who was free on the edge of the square. Rookie mistake but he’ll learn. He had a solid game besides.

    The peno lead-up is interesting. I’ve heard it suggested that Ryan shouldn’t have taken the free just prior to the peno as he took a heavy hit. Well, with that logic perhaps he shouldn’t have taken the peno either (especially given he missed the free; a bad effort at that) which was straight after the missed free. That said, he is our designated penalty taker so I can understand why he bravely took responsibility. Can’t criticise the peno that much. Fractions away. Manys the player missed them in big games. Only he’ll know if the shimmy was planned, spur of the moment, or if he was put off by Morgan or not. I like Ryan, he’s a tough nut, and played his heart out on Saturday. He’ll be back.

    Christ, this match will haunt us. A match we simply handed to Tyrone. I’m certain of that. All the above errors were Junior B stuff, or worse, schoolboy stuff. When you execute like that on the big September day, you deserve to lose. You deserve every bit of (non-abusive) criticism you get. Although I do have plenty sympathy for Mayo for reasons I’ve already mentioned previously.

    If I was James I’d actually persist with Bryan Walsh. He’s still raw but has plenty football in him and I do understand why James has faith in him. He was on more ball than I thought in advanced positions and could unlock defences down the road. He’s a skillful footballer and has to be given time. He suits this team in a big way.

    I’m depressed and midly optimistic in equal measure. We’ve a bloody good team there and there is opportunity there to add a couple more lads next year. And Cillian to come back which will be a huge lift to us supporters and more importantly to that dressing room. On the other hand, the defeat could prove to be one too many, the straw that will break Mayo’s back. Time will tell, but at this stage it’s difficult to summon any enthusiasm for next year.

    As always, it will all depend on how the team process the defeat and if they learn from it, and if they decide there’s something worth fighting for. I wouldn’t blame a few of them if they decided to pack it in.

  13. @Willie Joe,.. Where was the picture of the tunnel with the light at end it taken?.. I’m thinking of heading there!

  14. Thank you so much Willie Joe, you always maintain the high ground. We need more of this in the world. Perspective and momentum are the words that work for me at the moment. It’s the same every year I know and I feel the hurt but you have to start every day with what can we do next. I think we have done and continue to do that. Sometimes it does’nt work out but we have to keep learning and trying.

  15. Holmes can’t afford to talk, he lost Sligo in 2000,left a Connacht title behind him in 2001 against Roscommon, lost Galway and Cork in 2002 and out of Rochford, Horan and himself gave the worst performance of the decade against Dublin in championship in that 2015 replay.

  16. In 7 final appearances in 10 seasons including 2016 replay. Mayo have managed to score 3 goals. 2 of them coming from the boot of the ever reliable Lee Keegan. And one goal from Andy Moran in 2013. That’s one goal from a Mayo forward in 7 finals. A very bad return youd have to say. And more damning is conceding 12 goals in total in those same finals. Its a simple stat but goals win games and until we sort out our problems at both ends of the field, we’ll never win one.

  17. Horans brigade
    The pitch is been lengthened by 6 meters.I walked in for a look in early September and got talking to one of the lads on the job si that’s where I got the info.Its being seeded not having turf laid as it’s €200,000 cheaper.
    It looked great.Not taking seats away.

    We just have to keep going folks.It can be different next year. I know it sounds simplistic but we have to stop conceding goals.We give away 2 in almost every game.Even in division 2 we leaked goals.
    Exception was Dublin game……
    It just has to be addressed.Start with a specialist fullback.For me Stephen Coen (he should be captain also).
    Play guys in their best position too.Oisin is not a FB for example.If he stays around he should be half back or Half forward.Lee in half back too.Where is Eoin ODonaghue for corner is his development stunted or is he just not good enough?.He looked good when we played him.
    Anyway we knew what Horan thought when we hired him but 2 goals in every game will mean you lose alot of big ones.

  18. Not yet, Mike H – the first round list of matches is on the Mayo GAA website alright but no dates, times or venues as yet. I’ll post details here once they’re available.

  19. ***posted in other piece*** meant to post here.

    Some year again for Mayo men’s senior footballers and us slightly crazy fans.

    Pity we lost but hey, such is life.

    I’d hope that Fionn McD rediscovers the form had 2 seasons ago, he was an excellent wing forward, pace, power, fielding, points, goals etc…

    I’d play him at midfield with Matthew.

    As others have mentioned, Eoghan, Cillian, Brendan and Jason back too plus other members who step up….

    I’ve re-watched the full match, I won’t go into it, Aidan O’Shea tried so hard, others didn’t, Tyrone were so so cynical, ref did ok. Could have won, didn’t!

    On to club and then Mayo next year.

    Hup

  20. I get that nobody wants to be down in the dumps any longer about Saturday and are talking up the return of injured players etc., but we should probably be a bit circumspect about this. Some of the players mentioned, such as Doherty and Harrison, have been out for years at this point. What guarantee is there that they will return, and if they do, that they’ll be up to speed quickly? Ditto Cillian.

    There needs to be a root and branch review of how Mayo GAA is operating in my opinion, including the shambolic administration in the lead up to the final. Our poor performance at underage in the last decade is especially worrying IMO.

    Hopefully the county championships will unearth some hidden gems.

  21. Re Mayo, Darragh O’Se says “They’re not poor footballers. They’re every bit as good as the Tyrone players who walked up the steps of the Hogan Stand”.

    So true. That’s what makes this loss intolerable. Next year won’t be any easier. On the contrary in fact, with Kerry, Dublin and an uber confident Tyrone.

  22. KM79 good question. I would imagine the split season is a runner for 2022. But knowing the GAA, they could have scrapped it again.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the Championship restructure proposals? The league based Championship is certainly the best proposal on the table in my view (though I don’t fully agree with how they are doing it). But of course with the GAA being the GAA, the new proposals need to get at least 60% to pass. So it will probably be the status quo as the Provincial Councils won’t let go of the Provincial structure. Even though I think the revenue of having the league in the summer would more than make up for that. Imagine Mayo v Dublin in Castlebar on a June evening. The place would be rammed!

    Apparently the Provincial based format is getting the most traction (where each province would have 8 teams). That would be a waste of time in my view.

  23. What’s done is done, when people say to me how do they keep going, look we all seen the joy when Dublin was beaten, most teams go out train hard all year and don’t get the high we have, granted the final hurdle is tough to take but there worse place to be.
    Roll on next year

  24. Nice pic WJ and appropriate though it is very hard to see light at the end of tunnell at moment. Im sure we use a reputable sports psychologist as part of backroom team. Yet several players lacked ‘bottle’ when it was needed on Saturday. Horan tries to put a positive spin by saying its been a good year for developing players. Thus diverting attention from the fact that the management team underperformed when most needed.
    The nett result im afraid is that our drive for Sam has been set so far back. For us to win a final is so much harder now.
    I do recall Pádraig Harrington had 18 second place finishes before finally getting that win. Therafter the winning came easier.
    I hope we dont have to go 18, but there is a lot of soul searching to be done. It is unfair to have some players tuned into a winning mindset and others on a different planet..

  25. My final comment on the match. I think when James’s term finally ends be it 2-3 years or whatever and I’m not advocating it should end sooner but when it ends I think we have to bring in a proven modern manager that has won all Ireland’s someone like Jim Gavin that could say this is how you do it lads I’ve won 5 all Ireland’s as manager this is how you do it trust the process. He might never be interested in coming to Mayo but if he was I reckon he’d eventually get us over the line. Regrettably I don’t think Horan ever will

  26. My last comment, I really thought JH was going to be the holy grail on his return, not so sure now but let’s see what he brings next year, we are at least back at the top table which we haven’t been since he left, despite making all Ireland in his absence

  27. Agree re Jim Gavin but ultimately you want to be self sufficient. The mere fact it’s him would likely lift many players commitment and so on, knowing this time you can’t fall back on blaming managers. It’s 40 year old virgin syndrome, each time rejection occurs it looms larger and larger in your mind.

  28. Well said Puckout.
    Horan and Hennelly reverted to type under pressure. But that is to be expected and managed for. Nobody is perfect and nobody is to be blamed and Hennelly pulled off the same save for which Buzunu was hailed as the new Messiah against Serbia.
    It is up to Governance to ensure that management weakness is compensated effectively, but as I have said before “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” and there is too much Emotional rather than Rational Intelligence in our setup so we do not learn.
    It would take the use of a very independent Mgt. Consultancy firm to reset the top layers to a winning orientation.

  29. Cheer Owen, I’m sure ye are enjoying the week after the win and are on Cloud Nine. Hope it’s good fun.
    I’d like to ask you something and forgive me for not knowing this already:
    Do ye feel that your team has come out of the blue this year to achieve great success or are ye building on good work done in the team already?
    Ye seem to have some very new players – McGeary and your midfield pair, for example. Are many of the starting team new players?

  30. Agree with WJ, the best possible tonic after saturday is to get out to the club championships and support your club.
    The lads involved in club wont be long wallowing as they have things to be getting on with.
    Senior championship in particular is wide open with at least 6 genuine contenders, though my money is on Westport finally making the stepup

    They really are worth keeping an eye on in terms of county too, its likely that tearing it up at club level is how O’Hora and Darren McHale made the breakthrough this year.

    Club before county always for me.
    Id take a county title before sam every day of the week and twice on sundays

  31. Hey Spotlight – what is the title of the Holmes article in the Western People P? I am searching for it and I cannot find it? Thanks

  32. Ah not again you can read it on kerrygaaproboards.com. Click on general board. It’s on page 14 of the non Kerry gaa 2021 all Ireland senior championship.

  33. Like yourself Willie Joe (and supermac) I can’t wait for the Club Championship to get up and running.
    It is wide open and you can make a case for at least six teams as supermac states above for the Moclair Cup.

    If you have any clout with the County Board; you might lobby for a mix of Saturday and Sunday games with throw in times staggered so we can get to a few different games over the weekends of the Club Championship.

    The County Board might also offer a Season Pass for such games as a money raising exercise as I feel there is a hunger abroad for live games!

    Thanks for your own great work WJ in keeping this blog on the road.

  34. Ahh Not Again, I sent Willie Joe a message re the article. If it is OK with him, he will contact you. I might be able to get a copy of the article for you.

  35. Now that the dust has settled for me as well on the match. You just have to look ahead. We’ll be back next year competing as well as ever, no doubt about that.

    A few people have mentioned Harrision and whether he will get back to the same level – in my view he’s in his prime age wise and should have every hope of getting back to that level. You just have to look at our own Andy Moran to see what an injury can take out of you but there is always some light at the end of the tunnel (as Willie Joe has pointed out!).A full back line of O’Hora, Harrision and Keegan is really solid especially with the way the game is being played these days.

    With Dublin and Kerry likely to be on the other side at semi final stage next year, we should be confident or putting together another good run. The main focus for me between now and then should be on finding a mobile midfielder to partner Ruane and a Paul Galvin type half forward who can see a pass, win a break and find a score. While typing that I realise the Jason Doherty is exactly the player I was describing, so hopefully we do see him back in the green and red next year.

  36. re :ontheditch:no ,Padraig Harrington won the Spanish open during his first year
    on tour.He then had a number of runner-up places and always claimed the were
    good finishes in the circumstances .He has done well since the so maybe if Mayo win an All Ireland a string of wins will follow.We can hope.

  37. Why all the pessimism about the team & management.
    Only 1 thing wrong – a bit of composure in front of goal.
    If we had scored just 2 of the many chances we created, we would have won. So that is what training needs to concentrate on for next year.

  38. Joet1480 – that’s an outrageous thing to do after my saying specifically not to paste the article as it breaches copyright. Making light of it at the same time is even worse.

  39. @Dave. Not an indo subscriber but I get the jist of the article from those first few lines. Mind you I did go out and buy the times yesterday on the recommendations I read on here re K Mcstays article. Well worth it at that.

    I pay little or no heed to all that is written every time we go deep in to the championship.

    If we look at the broader picture, there is one AI winner each year. One.

    There are 31 counties every year who are beaten finalist’s, and I mean finalists in the sense, until they reach that knockout game which eliminates them from the championship. 31 every year.

    In six of the last 10 years 30 counties have had their finals and lost them while we were still motoring.

    You see every County has their final every year. In a sense, 31 counties lose their final every year. That’s why successive losing finals doesn’t build on my mind. I have no embarrassment when anybody throws the ” isn’t it a shame ” shite.

    I hear this ” what happened yea ” here in Galway, and inside I laugh.

    ” What happened is “. We won the Connacht final. We then dethroned the six times all Ireland Champions. We then contested the AI final.

    We continued playing football late in to the night, long after 30 other counties had been put to bed and had lost their respective finals.

    Was I disappointed Saturday evening ? Heartbroken.

    Am I giving up ?
    Never.

    My mindset is always programmed to ” we will be back “. There is no doubt about that, and we will probably always hear ” what happened yea ” from ponies that have fallen at the first or second hurdle.

    At some point we will win Sam Maguire, but let me ask, who is writing the history book on the team that refused to give up.

    There is another narritive here other than successive AI defeats. A greater story to be told.

    A refusal to be counted out.
    A refusal to stay down on the canvas.
    A refusal to accept defeat.

    The 2021 championship finished on Sept 11th. It’s done.

    We lost one football game this year.

    The goal will be the same for next year. We don’t do ” hard luck now go away “. We just don’t do that. And that’s because we are perennial winners. We’re there every year because we are winners.

    We are the very opposite to the eulogies we hear from the ponies who have fallen at the first and second and third hurdles.

    There wouldn’t be a word about us if we were beaten in the first round of the championship every year.

    I’m feeling much better than I did Saturday The mind is already switched to 2022.

    The hounds will pick up the scent again soon and the hunt continues.

  40. With respect Willie Joe, there are links to newspaper and online articles posted here all the time, I know previously I have provided them myself too.

  41. I am still recovering from the disappointment of Saturday – gutted in fact. It was our best chance to finally land Sam and that’s a killer. People in the county are upset and angry at yet another loss. We seemed flat, lethargic, unprepared and outfoxed on the sideline from a new management team in Tyrone. We knew what Tyrone would bring – there seemed to be no proper plan. James Horan has now been on the sideline for four of our losses and seems not to have learned and then to see the arguing with his coach and Ciaran McDonald up in the stand with the subs. Why wasn’t Eoin O’Donoghue in the subs. You would think once McShane was introduced, surely Boyler or Brendan Harrison would have been brought on. Our backs were exhausted at that stage. As a previous poster said – there will have be some kind of a review now. With all that has been written since, I think Pat Holmes article in the Western is the best. Could anyone explain what exactly is the role of person doing “Player Welfare” (as listed on last week’s Mayo News)?

  42. Yes revellino. He goes to town on every county on it to be fair. Galway taking the brunt of it for their record in croker since 2001

  43. Boyle is way too small for marking McShane. Don’t think Harrison is strong enough either and he’s obviously very short on match practice. Mullin was the best man for the job, but got caught ball watching for a split second.

    Why do you say our backs were exhausted? Tyrone didn’t score a point from play in the 2nd half for 30 minutes

  44. Joet1480 – there’s no issue posting links, that’s perfectly okay. Pasting in the whole bloody article is the problem, which I flagged in advance not to do.

  45. Thanks Liberal Role for watching it back – so I don’t have to.

    Interesting points made too. Would be inclined to agree about Bryan Walsh, though his blasted effort for goal when a fisted point was the obvious option, rankles with me.

    Would Conor O’Shea for Aidan have helped the cause in the last 15 minutes or so. He gives his all, is big and strong and mobile and caused Dublin no end of problems.

  46. Thank you Willie joe. Helpful as always how do you put up with us. I am an exile in Galway so don’t always get the info.
    Make Maigh EO Abu.

  47. @catcol: With the greatest of respect to Conor O’Shea, I can’t remember him contributing anything when he came on against the Dubs except being turned over on multiple occasions.

    Apart from the goal against Tipp in 2016 (which was scuffed), I can’t remember him ever making a big impression at the top level tbh.

  48. Revellino That just about sums it up for a Mayo football fan. We are perennial winners with some of the best supporters in the country. So where were Galway on Saturday night? A question you could aim at a all the other counties as well, who are feeling sorry for us, give me a break.

  49. That sells Conor a bit short, It Means Nothing to Me. I think the example Catcol was referencing was where he chased down Dublin’s Davy Byrne who spilled the ball and conceded the ‘45 that Robbie, at the second time of asking, converted. Without that intervention we’d never have made the final.

  50. @it means nothing to me … Connor forced the 45 that led to the equaliser that day v Dublin!

  51. Did Connor play in the extra time. I don’t remember seeing him. Willie Joe do you know who did Stephen Coen replace for the start of extra time. No news reports had it

  52. Some items we could improve with next year.
    I’ve put them in order of impact.
    1. The game plan has an obvious flaw in that it will struggle to get the scores and keep down the scores against the top teams. With our best playing personnel I think that game plan wins us only 50% of games against the top teams. Ultimately it leaves the full backline too exposed to a rapid two kickpasses attack.
    2. Playing personnel.
    David McBrien is the obvious young player to trial at full back. Coming into his prime at 22. Comfortably over six foot. Strong.
    Ruairi Keane can be a pacey, strong man marker to mark the oppositions smaller agile forward. It’s hard to get open from Keane, he’s quick over 10 yards and he has a chunky power to him.
    Oisin is wasted in defence. He does his best work on the attack. I don’t even see that he’s too good a defender. We have a very weak half forward line, easily the weakest of the top teams, move Oisin into the half forward line. All year the half forward line couldn’t punch holes, get assists or scores.
    Jack Carney looks needed in midfield. He’s 6’3″ and more of a classic midfielder.
    Aidan can be used as a second water break sub to add some power and impact.
    Cillian is the obvious candidate for 14.
    Conor Loftus at half forward his role can be more about kickpassing the ball inside.
    The clear and obvious captain is Stephen Coen.
    3. We need to kickpass to our inside line at u17 and u20 grades. Very much missing this year.
    In sporting terms we are getting outboxed because we’re trying to take the title with fitness.
    We need to develop our boxing ability (gameplan, skills, teamwork).

  53. Hi Mayo for Sam 22, it is biased to see the lack of composure only in front of goal. That is the problem. It was in every line on the field and on the sideline also – and that is what you get with an emotion-biased management and culture that has not compensated with rational input that plans, makes dynamic decisions, has tactics to win, is innovative, uses objective rather than subjective choices, etc., all of which are absent for decades and are needed for the pressure cooker. That bias produces nervousness and stress around the field whether its missing shots or missing the high ball or mis-timing a tackle giving away needless frees, etc., etc.
    There will always be a team able to beat us if we persist with this culture because they beat us will planning, innovation and objectivity

  54. Like it or not its has to be back to the drawing board. We as fans may also need to change our attitude. Criticise but not be personal. Stop putting players on pedestals. Stop accepting mediocrity and maybe demand a little bit more. In reality over the last few years we can never be sure of a win, close out a match or know we will stay in a division and so on etc. Its great to get to a final but when we do get there it would be great to see a plan in action and not watch the manager and selector nearly coming to blows. I as a fan, who attend all matches etc like other fans, should take it for granted that there would at least have been a plan A, B and C or am I asking too much? The team selection perplexed me, the subs perplexed me and the non performance saddened me. On that perfromance I would feel that staying in div 1 could be a big ask.

  55. @Observer 1. You are observant. Taking the Sam Maguire Cup to Mayo is the holy grail.
    Its not through any lack of skill we are not winning All Irelands. Its the mental strength required to believe we can be winners. Keegan has it, O Hora has it, McLoughlin and a few others have it but there are more who fall way short of mark despite elite training in every aspect of team playing. Their frailty was exposed for all to see last saturday evening.
    Some deep soul searching needs to be done.
    Looking forward to the Club Championship, great opportunities for players to put up their hands. Bring them on….

  56. “Don’t plant your bad days. They grow into weeks. The weeks grow into months. Before you know it, you got yourself a bad year. Take it from me – choke those little bad days. Choke ‘em down to nothing.” Tom Waits

    Maybe we should get Tom in as psychologist !

  57. I was banging on all last week about the need to Mind the House at all times and although it contributed to our downfall in my opinion it wasn’t the ultimate reason we lost.
    We created 5 presentable goal chances against a Tyrone defence that apparently wouldn’t be giving us a sniff at all.
    It was the inability to take at least one of those goal chances at critical times in the game that sunk us and as well as that we didn’t end up with a single point as consolation for missing the goal chances either.

    Even after McShanes goal and as poor as we had played Bryan Walsh had a goal chance which would have levelled the game up with 15 minutes to go.

  58. JP: Agree with most of that.

    Just in case people think this psychological help needed is not a real thing , no less a player than one of the candidates for POTY ,Conor Meyler today reveals the transformative nature of talking through problems with a good professional. But what does he know ?

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/gaelic-games/58569332

  59. Fast forward to 2022 and I would wager that we will still be around at the business end of the championship.

    We have the makings of a team alright. A bit of fine tuning and Cillian back and we wont be far away again. Easy to say after a loss like this but what is gone is gone.

    Enough of the doom and gloom. Time to look forward again.

  60. @Food4thought
    I think the biggest part of our mental frailty is a lack of preparation.
    When the running game gets contained we have no plan B.
    An American football coach with no knowledge would say “so is there some kind of long game to get the ball downfield?”
    Yes, a kicking game.
    We’ve always had a gap to the other top teams in terms of having a coached kicking game. Stephen Rochford almost had this in 2017.
    We don’t run plays.
    With no playbook we are left with individual brilliance and that’s just naive in a team sport.

  61. @Food4thought and everyone thinks I’m mad !

    As long as Mayo GAA don’t tackle the psychological trauma that has been inflicted then they are absolutely wasting their time and we will continue losing finals.

    To say young players even in their first final “carry no baggage” is total nonsense because they have been brought up seeing their county losing finals.

    Everyone including the County Board has been psychologically damaged but there are plenty people out there trying to brush this issue under the carpet, a kind of old fashioned attitude to people who suffered from depression, “ah pull yourself together” and until everyone takes this seriously we are only damaging one generation after another in the cruelest of ways.

    It’s time people started to wake up and address the real issues instead of wasting their time going around looking for new players or a management team.

    We did not beat Tyrone because too many heads were not in the right place both on and off the pitch.

    It’s as simple as that.

  62. @JP, if you’re head isn’t in the right place to begin with you are not going to get a game plan right, how many times have we seen mind boggling sideline decisions in finals ?

    Lots.

    My point is that the decisions of management have also been affected by the psychological trauma.

  63. Imo the Psychological Hill is with every defeat. We had the support of 31 counties willing us over the line on Saturday and unbelievbly we came up short.
    Having a soft look or soft analysis of this performance will not solve anything.
    You need to be able to look into a player’s face and see he believes we can win and believes he personally can make a major contribution.
    Lee Keegan, despite injury ridden seasons stands tall and mighty. Oh that we had a panel with his mindset…
    You can do what you like with tactics and plans but if the mind is not in the right place, the execution will not follow through..

  64. Personally, I would like to see Rochford and McDonald with a few other trusted lieutenants managing Mayo.. Stephen Rochford has kept his hand in, in Donegal, and would be up to speed with the ongoing evolution of the game.. By far the most competitive competition is the Ulster Championship, more good teams there than the rest of Ireland put together..Both Crossmolina men, and that might create a problem with perception with the Mayo public, but I never formed the opinion that Rochford picked his team with any Club bias.. I think under Stephen Rochford our team in All Ireland finals had more structure, and a more definitive game plan. .. National League Div One awaits us, and 4 of the Ulster big 5,(Derry although Div 2, is another serious contender as well) who will be contenders for Sam Maguire,2022, Donegal, Monaghan, Armagh and All Ireland Champions Tyrone, (and whoever wins Ulster, and possibly a few other Ulster teams in the back door will be serious ).. Kerry, Kildare and Dublin.. Don’t know if Mchale Park will be available for our home League games.. Mayo needs to decide quickly on who will be our manager, and who will be on the back room team.. If it’s James Horan, it’s James Horan so be it, but we need us Mayo fans, yes us Mayo fans need to know what’s happening, more so than Mayo fans, Mayo players and potential Mayo players, possibly players in two minds about retiring all need to know, and need to know who is in the back room as well.

  65. Fair enough @Willie Joe and @Ann-Marie, I completely forgot that it was Conor who forced the 45 near the end.

    I’m still sceptical that he would have turned the game on Saturday, though.

  66. Viper point on psychology is interesting but I’m not sure it’s the only thing, we struggle to get scores in alot of games this year, 4 points in one half of football.
    I would like to see a seasoned psychologist like Caroline come in, I think we need to throw every advantage but do we have the cash.
    Don’t think Rochford is the way forward, Horan will stay for at least one more year which he deserves

  67. Have to agree with all the posters who’ve highlighted our psychological frailties. We didn’t miss those gilt-edged goal chances (especially Loftus’s chance in the first half which would have given us a massive boost) because of tactics, it’s obvious that we missed those chances because we lacked belief, composure, ruthlessness, and possibly because we hadn’t worked on taking those goal chances in training (obviously it’s hard to replicate that scenario and pressure in training but it looked like we weren’t prepared). Where was the fire in the belly that we showed against Dublin in that 2nd half and extra time? It was absolutely nowhere to be seen because we crumbled under the weight of expectation. We didn’t even come close to playing to our full potential, bar 2 or 3 players.

    We need to bring in a sports psychologist of Caroline Currid’s calibre if that’s even possible. We also need to bring in a new goalkeeper as our current No.2 is not up to standard in my opinion. And we need to give any new keeper game time in the league unlike this year which was a complete joke to be honest. Is Conor O’Malley back playing GAA now?

  68. I don’t think I have ever seen such anger on the street after a final loss than I have after this one, normally calm people are absolutely seething and they all echo very similar sentiments that there was a clear lack of preparation for the Tyrone challenge, no curveball, not mentally prepared and poor game management.

    There’s also a lot of head scratching regarding the amount of young kids in the Mayo crowd when grown men who have been following Mayo through thick and thin couldn’t get a ticket for love nor money.

    They can’t all have been that lucky in the money making lotteries.

    Had we been properly prepared in every aspect we would have beaten Tyrone by a good 6 points, at this stage I feel it’s adults who are only making fools of our young players.

    They fight tooth and nail to get Mayo to finals, sacrifice their lives, I think they deserve better when it comes to final day.

    It’s easy to understand why we starting to lose the goodwill of the country, there is no one else to blame this time.

    The two weeks leading up to the final should have been like a war room, no stone unturned, complete media black out, brains of Mayo football consulted, players mental preparation worked on, match ups, in depth analysis of Tyrone and a number of tweaks worked on.

    Had all this happened, it is highly likely that today we would have been All-Ireland champions.

    That’s the reality.

  69. I find it incredible that Mcdonald was is the stand during the whole match. Correct me if I’m wrong on this?

    You NEVER change a winning pattern, especially on final day. Ciaran and James all year were on the sideline together in constant dialogue. Then, for the final, this changes? Crazy. We need answers. The County Board deserve answers on this. It’s a strange anomaly on the biggest day of all and it should be put to James.

  70. Yes as the days go on I kind of agree with you viper, I also never got a ticket this time and I was sure we were going to win.
    I live outside the county and neutral telling me proudly that they got tickets and some bringing there kids is hard tó Take.
    Especially with reduced capacity, I’ve always given up my lad ticket if I had 2 to an aldult for finals and he goes to every game with me.
    Also I found the hype this year worse than ever, it’s like the whole country, even the world was in on it, Tyrone not a word.
    That type of hype has to seep down

  71. Viper: I actually agree with your analysis. You are a great poster and have very good analysis and ideas for remedies.
    I think the whole season coming up needs to be done through a psychological preparation viewpoint.
    You are passionate but you are right ! Keep it up.

  72. I genuinely commiserate with the Mayo fans .
    As a Dub I would argue we were the better team in previous years but this year Mayo completely outplayed us and deservedly won.
    I think what upsets most Mayo fans is that we all know that Mayo were better than Tyrone. People can say what they like but Mayo had the better players . So you have to ask why did the better team lose ? When you answer that and fix it you will finally win an AI. No room for sentiment .

  73. Agree John, but I still don’t think we would have beaten Jim Gavin’s Dublin, Dublin let us back in to the game, not sure we are as strong as we were in Horans first term at least not yet

  74. We need a new manager, JH is not going to win the All Ireland, we had the same JH on the sideline in the 2012 and 2013 finals, same underperformance from most of the players, same lack of tactical plan, same inaction on the sideline.
    Even the 2014 semi final replay, put Barry Moran or someone big on Donahey, no “I believe in Ger Caff”, no offence to Caff who was a legend, you’re asking him to do something he cant do.
    Tyrone played the same way they played all year, they even brought the same subs on around the usual time they have been doing all year, and it appears it was all a surprise to us.

    He wont/cant listen to others, he doesn’t have the answers so we need a succession plan. If there’s no-one better available then expect to be consistently competitive without actually winning it for the rest of his tenure.

  75. I’m hoping your wrong, we have to believe that JH is willing to do what ever to get over the line, but agree he has been caught tactically every time

  76. Havent commented on the final much and will be taking a break from here as the same usual topics will be going around and around for the next 4-5 months until Intercounty starts again. I would like to comment on some of the posts regarding the management, everyone agrees that mistakes were made on the side line but the players have to take equal responsibility for their performance, its not all down to James Horan as the trend of posts seem to be leaning. On the talk of possible fallouts/arguments between the management themselves, thats pure speculation, no one knows what was said and seem to be relying on a few seconds of footage and adding 2 and 2 together. Talk of Changing manager is a knee jerk reaction, personally id like Horan to stay on and bring in anyone who he feels can make a difference. The main reason i want him to stay is because I honestly cant see a better manager available, there isnt a club manager in Mayo capable of stepping up to Intercounty, after the U20 performance id have reservations about Maurice Sheridan taking over and who outside the county is there, Jim Gavin wont come and please dont mention McGuinness (thats never going to happen thankfully). So does the county board stick with a proven manager or take a chance with an inexperienced unknown, I know which one id go for.

  77. The JH was a different JH in the final and that is worrying. But i dont think its fair to write him off yet. He managed to get us through transition with any loss in standard of play. A visit to the psychologist is on the cards for James too. I cant believe though that we are operating without psychological support…

  78. @Food4thought, I don’t know if I am but thanks for that, I have to keep my emotions in check with respect to Willie Joe who runs this fantastic blog but there is never any need to disparage anyone regardless of what you might think of them, just try and get your message across in a fair and balanced way.

    I don’t think I have emotions anyway, just a will to win at any cost.

    I have no need to criticize anyone either, regardless of how they played or managed, I’m more interested in finding the real reasons why there was a malfunction and then trying to remedy it.

    I’m not suggesting that wholesale changes need to be made at all, what I’m saying is that once Mayo reach the All-Ireland final and know who their opponents are that’s when everything I suggest needs to kick into place.

    We do not need to employ the best sports psychologist money can buy to beat a Sligo or a Leitrim or even to win an All-Ireland semi final, we have proven beyond doubt that we can reach an All-Ireland final with the quality of player and the style of play we have developed.

    I never look at it and say “we are not able to win an All-Ireland”, I say to myself we are not able to win the one game that counts most and then I ask myself are we giving ourselves the best possible chance of winning it and I’m afraid after the defeat to Tyrone my answer is a resounding NO!

    I dismiss this notion of “well the players had an off day” or “they didn’t have their shooting boots on”, for me that all falls into the category of mental preparation and that’s where the sports psychologist comes in.

    How the hell can you have your shooting boots on or make the right decisions if your head is all over the place and I’m including the management in the latter as well.

    And how can your head be not all over the place with our history.

    Even as supporters our heads are done in this week, would things come easier to us if we had won and had a pep in our step, of course they would because a great weight would be lifted off us all and we’d feel energized.

    That’s where the “War Room” needs to kick into place when we do reach a final, I’m not going to name on here who I would involve and I’m not suggesting they would be all standing beside James Horan on All-Ireland final day either but I can say this, if every box is ticked and a consensus reached then it will take a very good opponent to beat us and if they do, fair play to them because they will have beaten us rather than us beating ourselves.

    Not alone do you need to analyze the opposition you need to anticipate how they are going to try and negate your own strengths and have a plan to counter that which makes their game plan redundant and all of a sudden a game plan they had not prepared for is unfolding before their eyes, the curveball.

    You have to go to the depths of hell to win and you need deep thinkers and analytical minds, but is it worth it, absolutely and we can do it if the will is there and we are all singing off the same hymn sheet.

    Lets all do that and then we WILL win.

  79. The truth is when you look back on this we were a shambles from the sideline.Sadly it’s not the first time either.
    In the end it looks like JH has an issue working with selectors I seem to remember a fight with Jame’s Nallen in 2013 also and bottom line is the guys just didn’t seemed switched on for Tyrone.
    There have been too many unexplainable decisions Freeman in 2013 and evidence of inability to adapt ie Donaghy in 2014.
    Concession of goals is a major problem James might say he has a defensive plan….it hasn’t worked.
    Can he change in 2022…..thats the question

  80. To all the older guys here, we have seen it all before.
    There has been an age old failing in all the All Ireland finals from 1989 to last Saturday, it is simply where the forwards fail on the big day, too many wides etc.
    I saw the Mayo v Tyrone final as a battle of the scoring forwards, ie, 4 Tyrone guys v 2 Mayo’s, O Donoghue and Conroy.
    The fact that the semi final is always good then only to be followed by a generally poor final needs to be examined.

    I would relax about winning All Irelands for a year or so, better to try and bring a few new team starters and 5 or 10 panel members and offload some team and panel members.
    Kind of starting again long term.
    Mayo need to find those few specialist guys,
    Goalkeeper
    Fullback
    Full forward
    Half forward
    Left footed freetaker.
    A semi change.

  81. Mayo 88

    The interesting thing is that in every final (all 11 of them) we have the weaker forward line than the opposition on paper.
    That is a fundamental issue in Mayo football

  82. Safe to say Tyrone had a stronger backroom.

    Brian Dooher, Feargal Logan, Collie Holmes, Joe McMahon and Peter Donnelly.

  83. Viper: I would reiterate. Your last post is indeed a fantastic , passionate and reasoned summary of what needs to happen. I think the All Ireland Final is a different animal to any other game and needs to be treated as such ( without scaring the players) This preparation for “ big games” should be on going throughout the year. But yes, it would be a war room ( just like Tyrone implemented)once we reached the final.

  84. Forwards coach, anyone? I have been watching Mayo for more than a quarter of a century at this point and I can’t remember us ever having a strong structure to our forward play.

    True that Tyrone have a stronger backroom team, you can’t buy that sort of All-Ireland winning experience in your camp. Unfortunately, our long famine means that we won’t have it unless some outsiders are present and that can only be viewed as a weakness that we have to manage.

  85. Mayo GAA in yet more bother this evening with an error in draw four (county board draw) with 1000 tickets left out!! There is going to be another draw. I have no idea how that amount of tickets could be left out! Embarassing. (Connaught Telegraph reporting).

  86. It Means Nothing to Me: Yes , we do need additional forward coaching but I’d imagine Ciaran McD would still be the main man. He’s doing a good job with Ryan and Tommy Conroy both of whom are not ( well not severely anyway)afflicted with big day nerves.

  87. Well done to Lee, if only we could bottle him . . . .

    James should stay on, who else can do that job – also I’d would say counties the likes of Galway would take hand and all it they could get him.
    If we haven’t a performance/sports psychologist person, I have to say I’m surprised, someone like that def needs to be on board one would think.
    Donie Buckley is missed too.

    I hope James and Co can get to the root cause(s) of this one and put in place what ever it is that’s needed to prevent it happening again.

    Up.Mayo

  88. Is it a lack of scoring forwards we have in the county or are other attributes being prioritised? There’s a lad on the panel called Paul Towey who kicked 9 points in an U20 game against Galway last year in the most atrocious conditions in McHale Park. Mayo lost that game on penalties and Galway went on to win the All Ireland. Anyone who has followed underage or club football in the county knows he’s a real talent and he’s highly rated by his manager last year Andy Moran.
    He’s an out and out corner forward who it would seem has failed to break through to the senior team because he isn’t seen as athletic enough to track and harry the corner back the length of the pitch.
    Do we seem to be looking for a prototypical athletic, supremely fit player who can run all day even if that means sidelining players who can actually kick the ball over the bar. If the only tool you have in the box is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail.

  89. lots of people on here complaining about our forwards not up to standard, they might have a point but poor goalkeeping and poor fullbacks have resulted in soft goals in all of our finals in recent years ,work has to be done at the back also Beaten by a point or two with two soft goals at the other end is not the forwards fault , and poor decisions on the line hasnt helped either.

  90. Ah lads, this forwards coach thing has been going on for years, we bring in Mcdonald, everyone is raving about his input. Now we lose a game and we need more forwards coaches! Do we bring more and more people in everyt8me we have a bad result, if so the county board better start selling more tiles. I’m not against the idea of coaches but bring them in at under age in high performance setups, its too late at senior level. Its at underage the best coaches are needed, managed by a high performance director.

  91. Agree, Limerick have feeder school were alot of there team came through and academy, but we are doing so things right at underage with players we have

  92. In all fairness we need to look back at the All Irelands we lost.

    I would blame the sideline for maybe 1997 and 2021

    Players performance for 1996 and 2021.

    We had no chance in winning some of these games.

    We played brilliant in some of these games.

    The All Irelands I think we maybe should have won were 1996 definitely, 1997 possibly and 2021 definitely.

    I think we are all going a bit overboard with the run of bad luck (11 All – Irelands) baloney.

    In my opinion there were definitely 2 and possibly 3 of these 11 finals we should have won.

    1989 – No Psychological Baggage. Had won our previous All Irelands.

    1996 – So far ahead even a team without a manager should have closed out this final. Unlucky to loose McHale to a red card in replay.

    1997 – Couldn’t come up with a game plan to stop one player. Sideline loss.

    2004 – Inferior team. Were not going to win with God on the sideline.

    2006 – Inferior team. No chance of winning this one either.

    2012 – Had lost Andy. Didn’t have enough scoring forwards on the pitch.

    2013 – Lost by a point to the birth of the greatest team to play the game.

    2016 – Lost by a point to the supposed greatest team to play the game.

    2017 – See 2016.

    2018 – Lost to the 5 times All Ireland Champions. This was their 6th.

    2020 – Lost to Dublin by 5 with a newish group of players.

    2021 – Lost to Tyrone – Again missing key players – Poor performance generally – Sideline stagnant.

  93. For anyone who hasn’t watched the YouTube video on Caroline that mayo 10 posted I would have a look, it says it all

  94. The All Irelands I listed above I looked at from a manager and player performance perspective.

    I kept away from the officiating angle, which I have always said did cost us a couple of finals but I didn’t want to go down that rabbit hole with this argument.

  95. “Keep the Faith” was the mantra after my 1st All Ireland. After Saturday I am sorry to say I have lost faith in James Horan’s ability to get us over the line (and i say that as someone that was thrilled he was back for the second term). The worry for me is that IF we ever reach another Final the same things will happen again and no matter who is added to the backroom team they wont be listened to.

  96. Yes I would recommend everyone looking at the Caroline Currid YouTube clip. I have been making the same point as Viper from the start. We missed 4 good goal chances and that gradually eroded whatever confidence and belief we had. That I turn resulted in poor decision making and poor execution. A viscous circle! The question then is why we’re we missing those chances? I think Caroline answers that.

  97. On management! The very best managers / leaders recognise their own limitations. They then bring in those who can compensate for those shortcomings and trust them to do their job. Has James (for all his many qualities) a problem with this? I don’t know him and cannot say.

  98. McDonald and JH were 2 top class forwards in their day. I don’t think we need another forward in the backroom team. We’ve brought Ryan and Tommy through in the last 2 years to become the leaders in our forward line so some good work is obviously going on.

    There is however a wider question about how players are developed in the county. So many of our best players seem to gravitate towards the half back line. Take Enda Hession for example. He was a corner forward and free taker for the Mayo minors and centre half forward for st Colman’s. Yet James Horan has turned him into an attacking corner back! I’d be trying him in the half forward line next year as that’s a weak point for us currently. He’s only 20 so should have no trouble adapting.

    That’s a good point about Paul towey. If Darren McCurry can make it at this level, we can surely find a space for Towey.

  99. The other point that has already been mentioned is the pressure a Mayo team is now under in a final. I honestly do not think there is a team in sport today that comes under the pressure we do at this stage of the game. The fact that we have beaten every All Ireland winner in the last 10 years shows that the teams problems are more psychological than physical. How else do you explain it? You could feel the nervous tension in the crowd and the collective gasps as we missed chance after chance and the realisation that we were going to lose again started to ripple through the players and stands.
    Christ but it’s a tough one to take and will be for years to come.

  100. Thanks for that Mayo 10. Of course I have no idea what goes on in the Mayo camp leading up to All Ireland finals, but I often had the thought. Do they over think the match beforehand and forget what got them there in the first place. Listening to that , it’s quite possible.

  101. Didn’t like how Aido, Robbie and O’Hora wer joking and laughing in the marching behind the Artane boys band before the game, you wouldn’t have seen Cluxton or Hampsey at it, didn’t really look like they were tuned in for the biggest game in Gaelic Football.Think we need a new captain next season and hopefully it’s Lee Keegan or Paddy Durcan, players that lead on the big day and have a few all Stars in their back pocket.

  102. @revellino – 2017 see 2016 – I don’t think so – this one was the killer for me. . . . when Andy left the field that day & put his fist in the air, I thought, we are going to do this.

    Just one other thing – I don’t know about the rest of ye but I woke up early on Sat morning & have never felt nerves like it – not before exams, not before a driving test, not before childbirth. I felt like we just had to do it, there could be no excuse. The pressure was huge – a lot of those players must’ve felt similar.

  103. @MayoGalinGallaimh. Those 3 finals we lost to Dublin by a point, I’ve never gone back and looked at them again. I always had a problem with the officiating in these games. I’ve tried to forget about them. Don’t know how players manage to do it.

    In general I think we’ve performed very well in finals. This year was a big disappointment maybe from a performance perspective on and off the pitch.
    1996 was a terrible loss. We really let that one slip.
    1997 was poor for a different reason. Having beaten Kerry well in the 1996 semi final we underperformed on and off the pitch.

  104. Mayo10, thanks for posting the following :

    “Have a listen to this from around 1:03 – 1:56 especially, then cast your mind back to our performance last Saturday:
    Caroline Currid Performance Psychologist
    https://youtu.be/LS8aWs7k0wg

    I have to say it totally spooked me when I watched it as I have no background in Sports Psychology or indeed never read or listened to any type of psychologist before and basically it was a theory I had of how this could explain poor decision making and have a domino effect.

    My theory extends to the sideline as well so it would be interesting to hear her view on that.

    It’s in depth conversations like this which lift people again, you know if we played to our best and got all the side line call right on Saturday and were still beaten by 5 or 6 points I wouldn’t be as angry but I’d be more concerned.

    I’m not concerned now because I know that if we make some changes to the whole set up and can follow the “No Stone Unturned” path we can perform to our peak in finals and ultimately get over the line, but the County Board must listen and they must act on it.

    There will be no place for egos, this project is about the team, it’s not about the County Board, the manager or the supporters but consequently all will benefit in the end.

    How dare the trolling thrash or some so called pundits talk about us in such a way , lets use their online bile as a weapon against them and pile as many chips on our shoulders as we can.

    If we all start to act now we could actually come back and win the All-Ireland next year and I mean that sincerely.

  105. Emma raducanu the new US open champion said “I have to compete with emotion, but I can never allow myself to become emotional while competing.

    Fans can get emotional all they want and do and that’s the main part of sport but sportspeople at the very top level, winners don’t become emotional in a game…they can’t. I wonder does this emotion enter too many of our players?

  106. – Let’s look at the numbers, we are forever hearing about 70 year wait. Derry won in 1993 after 106 year wait. Donegal in 1992 after 105 year wait and Armagh in 2002 after 115 year wait…did not bother any of them and it should not bother us
    – Even Kerry have lost 23 all irelands (not half enough) and yes they have won 37.
    – Our issue is so many losses in a row… Don’t underestimate the brilliance of the Limerick coach Paul Kinnerk, his achievements with multiple teams are simply outstanding. It’s not all in the head
    – Ciaran Mc and James H were shown at the Kerry v Tyrone match with not even the back of an envelope between them. Even Pat and Noel used pen and paper and often lost the odd sheet !!!.
    – Were any of the other backroom team at the other semi…how many times did the backroom team watch that Kerry v Tyrone game and how much detailed analysis was done..
    – Were all the players given a detailed briefing of all the positions they could be asked to play in, all the Tyrone players thet could expect to be marking or marked by..
    -Did all the players know the different game plans and what would trigger each one..
    – Consistently competitive yes, consistently winning no. What will be different in 2022 ?

  107. @ REVELLINO . I think in 2012 after our semi-final win over dublin , JAMES HORAN should have called back conor especially with andy injured for final. he was an all-star forward who knew how to put ball over the bar. JAMES was advised to call him but it did not happen . If we had won in 2012 i feel with the team we had coming mayo would have won multiple all-irelands. JAMES has now being involved as player or manager in seven finals and never won .today it looks like his destiny is never to climb the hogan stand steps. Hopefully his luck will change in 2022.

  108. Don’t buy the crowd pressure thing. It was referenced last year, yet we played in an empty stadium and made the same errors as we did last Saturday. We conceded a goal In Dublin’a first attack.

    Some players, O’Shea, McLoughlin, Hennelly, Boyler, Harrison, have vast AIF experience. Darren Coen, Stephen Coen, Paddy Durcan, and Conor Loftus have been around the block. That’s more than Tyrone. We scored well in the early stages when nerves might be a factor. Nerves can hardly explain wild shooting and bad decision-making well into the second half. Nerves could have explained a collapse in the second half of ET against Dublin, yet we held our nerve brilliantly; Tyrone almost let it slip in their ET against Kerry; they looked vert jittery.

    We’re doing a lot right btw. You don’t get to as many finals as we do if you have all the defects listed here ad nauseum. As Willie Joe often points out, if you keep getting to finals, your chances of winning increase.

  109. Catcol – I thought Tyrone were very jittery in the 2nd half. Only 2 scores in 30 odd minutes shows that. They left the door open for us but it didn’t happen. I’m getting frustrated thinking about it again!

  110. @Evidently Binghamstown, I see a game in the future where speedy transitional players who can all chip in with a score will be more sought after than what we will call a “natural forward” who doesn’t have pace, athletes converted to players who are comfortable in a number of positions.

    Of course if you get both it’s fantastic.

    Tactical brains will become more important.

    You can have six top forwards but if you are out thought on the sideline by a good tactician who can negate your strengths and impose their own game on you, then you will still struggle even with good forwards.

    Fly keepers like Morgan will also become a necessity in the future.

  111. @Jimbo.

    I would say John Maughan has been involved in six AI finals (County and Club) as player or manager and unfortunately only tasted defeat as well. I think I’m right on that count.

    3 AI finals as Mayo manager.
    1 AI club final as Crossmolina manager.
    1 AI club final as Lahardane manager.
    1 AI club final as Castlebar player.

    He did win an AI final at u21 in 1983 and also a colleges AI final with Carmelite College back in the day as a player.

  112. Catol – good points. A different sport but watching Liverpool v AC Milan here and as so often Liverpool are powering forward and feeding of the crowd and emotion on yet another thundering European night at Anfield. I often think the Liverpool team and fans connection is similar to our own.

  113. Agree completely Wideball. They didn’t bury us. All we needed was a momentum building run that took us a point or two ahead. Nothing like that to get a crowd going.

  114. I have to say that I am impressed by the levels of optimism in the majority of the posts. I, for once do not share that optimism. This final compares strongly with ’97-played shite but had more than enough chances to win the shagging thing. Never felt as low as Saturday.
    I’m going to avoid pointing fingers but we need a stronger central spine. I think we are OK at centre back and one midfield berth, all the best need reviewing and I think that’s too many holes in the ship for my liking. Watching the same people making the same mistakes for too long really has shattered any confidence I might have had in a recovery from this defeat.

  115. Yew_Tree…dont ever compare me to one of that shower!:( lol

    If I were an up and coming player I’d be gunning to be on the Mayo team who can finally end the famine. What an achievement that would be. That would inspire me, not put pressure on me. If anything, I’d feel less pressure because pretty much all before me, bar 36, 50, 51 all failed, so what’s there to fear!? But the chance to be one of the ones to lift Sam?? The thought of that would excite me as a player.

  116. @Olive Kerrigan, in fairness none of those Counties you mentioned lost ALL their finals, 0 from 11 is very bad.
    Donegal won 2 out if 3 finals they were in over 29 years.
    Derry were in 1 final and won it.
    Armagh were in 2 finals over 18 years and won 1.
    Galway were in 3 finals since 1998, won 2.
    Meath were in 7 finals since 1987, they won 4.
    Down were in 3 finals since 1991, won 2.
    Cork were in 9 finals since 1987, they won 3.
    Tyrone were in 6 finals since 1995, won 4

    The heavy losses since 2012 has taken its toll of some of the older players, they may need to call it a day.
    I have heard it for many years now, if we had one more scoring forward, one solid fullback, a full forward that can win their own ball in the air.

    We got the great buzz from winning great semi finals since 1989, but just are not allowed to get the better buzz for a final win.

    I hope I will be still as fit and healthy win that day does eventually come.
    I am superstitious and do believe in some type of a curse.

  117. I rewatched Ulster final and Monaghan missed lots of chances , as did Kerry. Coincidence or due to Tyrone forcing guys into zones to take higher risk shots at the target.

    It’s a remarkable run when we look back at it, I wonder if the lack of collective training ended up being a bonus and if this is something that should be the norm.

    Absence makes the heart go fonder as they say. Conor Meyler has a treadmill and bike at his house inside a shed. His dad is a bit of a local legend who ran a treadmill marathon & is a former county player famous for athleticism.

  118. I dont understand why someone like denis kearney has never been drafted in to the backroom team. He is well known for his tactical astutenesss and teak tough style. People are saying we have no manager in the county to compare to James and are mentioning the usual big shots outsiders like mcguinnes etc. However, one look at kearneys cv would put an end to that thought;

    Swinford – County intermediate winners 99

    Curry – County senior champions 03
    Connacht finalists to Caltra 03 (AI champions that year)
    County champions 06

    Castlerea – County senior champions 08
    County senior champions 09

    Charlestown- County intermediate winners 12
    Connacht champions 12

    I don’t know of any other manager who has won county titles in mayo sligo and roscommon. In any other county he would be snapped up, hard to fathom how a county wouldn’t utilise such an asset and let him slip out of the game as it seems he hasn’t been involved with a club recsbtly.

  119. Nerves and fear are different. Nerves can be motivating and make you focus. Fear can be paralysing and rabbits in headlights effect resulting in bad decision making/not thinking straight. Fear is what we had for the last 10/12 mins. Fear of losing another all Ireland. Some people might call it fear of winning too?!

  120. I dunno about the rest of ye but the annoyance from last Saturday is starting to fade, to be replaced by disbelief that after all the poxy lotto draws I did last week I didn’t win a ticket, a red cent, an apartment or a limousin bull. Not even a trailer of turf. The hits just keep on coming.

  121. On the theme of why we didn’t win this final,, the mayo support was pretty pathetic at the match from even before the match started.
    I wonder why some of these ‘supporters’ don’t watch it at home. To many at their first game of the year, wanting bragging rights that they were there the day mayo finally won.
    The support at the Connacht final ( about 15k in total at the match from both counties ) were way more vocal even when we were losing in the first half.
    So annoying

  122. I’m hoping someone can educate me on this as I’m at a loss. There’s been a lot of talk here about performances in finals under JH compared to Rochford in 16&17. People seem to suggest that SR had Mayo playing a better or different type of football in these finals. Did SR employ a vastly different style of play those years? I don’t recall anything radical myself – the same positive & negative traits remained to my mind. I’d be of the opinion those final performances came due to the following factors – the majority of that Mayo team, which was stronger than the current outfit, being in their absolute primes those seasons, the team were battle hardened from the qualifier runs & had zero pressure on them in both finals as they we’re playing what turned out to be a truly exceptional team. Just wondering is it really a JH v SR thing or merely some things aligning nicely for SR in those years?

  123. Hey Casual Observor – I reckon the 2016 and 2017 teams did not need a manager – they were as you say in their prime – they knew exactly what to do – there was self-belief. They had the S&C spot on also.

  124. SR had a team at its peak, Horan took over a team passed its best and had a lot of retirements , he got them replaced with new young players, then hit with injuries to C O Conor and McLaughlin this year, To get to two finals was a great achievement for him but now must prove himself with a win in next two years.

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