A few thoughts on yesterday’s League finals


Photo: @OfficialGAA

I didn’t bother going to Croke Park yesterday – we had two smallies returning home from a Cubs camping weekend (lashing rain the first night, freezing cold the second – the joys of camping in this country in April) in the afternoon, both of whom required plenty of TLC – and I only caught the day’s action from HQ in fits and starts.

From what I saw of them, neither of yesterday’s finals were what you might call gripping encounters, with both Roscommon and Dublin winning their respective NFL deciders with plenty to spare. Just a few very brief thoughts, then, on yesterday’s action, featuring as it did two counties we might well come into close contact with over the summer months.

Back in their permanent summer residence once more, Dublin certainly looked impressive yesterday. Their emphatic win over a Cork side that curiously never raised any kind of gallop at all was every bit as good as their demolition of Derry twelve months ago and so Jim Gavin’s team are pretty much back up on the same pedestal they were seated in before last summer’s championship began. They’re the favourites (currently on offer at 6/4) for Sam and, priced at 1/6 to win Leinster for the umpteenth time, they’re unlikely to face serious opposition until at least the All-Ireland quarter-finals, though to be honest they’ll almost certainly have an untroubled passage right through to the semi-finals.

As an aside, the state of football in Leinster – Dublin excepted – is little short of shocking right now. The only county arguably on the rise are Offaly – who won the Division Four title in fine style on Saturday evening – but the Faithful County remain 250/1 outsiders to lift the Leinster title and the days when they could put it up to the Dubs (or any other big team) are, sadly, long gone. It says something about the paucity of real competition in Leinster that Kildare – who were relegated to Division Three a few weeks back – remain third-favourites to win provincial honours this year.

And what of Cork? Yet again, it seems, they’ve bloomed too soon. Just like last year, they’ve had a great League campaign followed by a play-off implosion at Croke Park. Like Dublin, they seem to be back in the exact same position they found themselves twelve months ago, only now the Kerry team they’ll have to face in a few months time are the defending Munster and All-Ireland champions. The despicable seeding arrangement in Munster does, though, mean that Cork should face little trouble in making it back to Croke Park in August but whether or not they’ll do anything once they get there is another matter entirely.

In yesterday’s opening match, the Rossies’ rise continued unchecked as they pretty much blew Down’s fourteen men out of the water in the second half of their Division Two final. The win will certainly give the Sheepstealers plenty of confidence facing into the Connacht championship, in a year where they’ve a very handy passage with only Sligo to get by to make the provincial decider.

It’d be tempting, as some have done, to be talking about pride before a fall and to conclude that the often over-effusive John Evans is guilty of talking his charges up too much. After all, they’re still (that soft draw in Connacht notwithstanding) only third favourites (priced at 3/1) to lift the Nestor Cup this year and they’re also on offer at 33/1 for the All-Ireland.

Personally, I think the neighbours’ achievements in recent times need to be respected. They’ve claimed silverware in both of their senior campaigns this year and whichever of us emerges from Salthill in June will face serious opposition in the Connacht final. They certainly have all the hallmarks of a county that’s on the up right now.

From our perspective, though, neither Roscommon nor Dublin are of any concern to us at the minute. While we may find ourselves aiming to get past both of them this year, if we’re to see Croke Park in September it’s very likely that we’d have to beat the pair of them, those potential hurdles lie further down the track. For now, our Connacht semi-final – most likely against Galway in Salthill (I know – they have two jumps to negotiate first themselves but neither should prove any trouble to them) – has to be our sole focus. Let the dashing Dubs and the rising Rossies mind their own respective houses for now.

67 thoughts on “A few thoughts on yesterday’s League finals

  1. One very interesting quote from Evans post match interview. He was pleased with their goal coming directly from the training ground.
    The goal was Harney kicking to Donie Shine and Shine laying the ball off to Ciaran Murtagh shooting quickly. I could see them using Donie Shine as a provider later in the summer.
    They have confidence in where they are going because they have a plan of how to get there and it is on track. Liam Kearns coaches their attacking play. I haven’t heard that we have an attack coach. The main thing that separates us at the moment is that we have much more strength at midfield and we have a deeper panel of defenders.
    But in terms of forwards they have much more forward depth than we have.

  2. I was at the game yesterday and to say “in terms of forwards they have much more forward depth than we have” is crazy!!

    Firstly, Down were very poor. Senan Kilbride was the standout performer yesterday but even so he was laboured at times and given a huge amount of space by the stretched Down backs in the second half. He will not be afforded that much space by almost any county in this years championship and his lack of pace will be a weakness. Donie Shine came on and it’s sad to say he is a shadow of the player he was three or four years ago. Now he may return to form but in short both players looked like Division 2 or 3 players.

    If the two counties combined in the morning (God forbid) I think only Senan and a fully functioning Cathal Cregg (had an off day yesterday) would even have a squeak of sneaking a start on a team with the likes of COC, AOS, Kevin McL, Jason D, Freeman, Mickey Conroy, Mickey Sweeney, etc.

    The Rossies were decent yesterday against a poorly performing Down side but in all reality that level was enough to win a Division 2 medal and would not be near enough to win a Connacht one.

  3. I agree fully with those words WJ we need to focus on Salthill as I am sure we have been doing for the last 3 weeks. Fair play to the Rossies, as they had a good win. They beat what was put in front of them. Our biggest challenge will be in Salthill. What of Cork. How did that brillant run in Div 1 aid their preperation for the Munster Championship. Is there anybody out there can answer that question. I felt really sorry for them yesterday. Bit like completely deflating the tyre, while Kerry are sitting back doing the opposite. Some of their defenders look very average, The Dubs will relax and work on the tan until August or so. It is early days and the Cuckoo has only just arrived on these shores to announce the start of the football season once again.

  4. The one adjective people label Roscommon with is big. However in the U21’s both last year by Dublin and this year by Tyrone they have been outdone by teams with a bit more pace.The Championship magnifies this attribute so I think they are going to be nearly men again this year. They are still winning at underage though so may find the personnel in the coming years to improve the present squad again.

  5. The league is shadow boxing. If Mayo meet de Dubs nobody is going to point to de march hammering and say mayo have no hope, so not much learned from this or any league.
    Agree with most of spillane’s assessment last night: we should have beaten Kerry twice last year and the Kerry backs are suspect, and yes there will be kick in mayo this year. The fixtures stack up well for Mayo, Galway & ros will be tough tests but neither near top 4 standard. Win both and we head to q/final well tuned. But the danger is both Galway & ros are well capable of scoring if we not fully tuned in one of them could beat us, and that would be it, no way this team after 5 yrs would recover sufficiently to come through the back door. So a very interesting championship awaits!

  6. PJB I believe overall looking at performances in 2014/2015 Roscommon have the better squad of forwards.
    In terms of a starting six it would probably split equal (Kevin Mc, Cillian AOS – Mayo) (Enda Smith, D. Murtagh, Cathal Cregg – Ros)
    – They have more accurate scorers from play (Kilbride, Cregg, Murtaghs, Smith)
    – They have more good young forwards coming through (Compton, Corcoran, Murtaghs, Smith)
    – They have several reliable free taking options (We seen how important this is to our cost. We only have one free taker, Cillian)
    Remember that this Roscommon team is operating with quite a weak midfield. Higgins and Cathal Shine are honest players, but I don’t believe they are of the class of a Division one type midfield.
    Donie Shine they are only going to use as a target man a role he is well capable of fulfilling. He laid on yesterdays goal for instance. At 6’4″ he will tower over most corner backs.

  7. Didn’t see any of yesterday’s games but from what I hear of Rosc v Down the sending off of the Down defender had a big influence on the game.
    I agree that we will need to be up for it to win Connacht this year and I also believe that if we slip up the team will struggle to rise to the qualifiers after all their years on the road. However John Evans’ talking up Roscommon should help keep our fellows eye on the ball and not be looking too far ahead.
    Is there any word of how Cillian is getting on? Did he play for Ballintubber [beaten 0 =10 to 0 = 09 by Ballina, I see] yesterday?

  8. Could somebody enlighten me on the so-called brilliance of the Rossies (or even the Galway) forwards?

    Rossies have now qualified for Div 1 – Galway haven’t. Galway have reached an All-Ireland QF. Their brilliance if it can be called that, has shone at lower levels.

    Our forwards have been tested at the very highest level, and it can be argued, and I would argue, that our defence was the real problem in both finals and indeed against Kerry last year. We have been in Division 1 for a long long time.

    Conroy, Ronaldson, and Varley are U21 medallists; panellists O’Connor and Loftus are minor medallists; Moran and Dillon are past All-Stars, and Cillian O’Connor is a current All-Star. Kevin Mac could and should have been an All-Star in any of the past four years. On his day, Freezer is as good if not better than anyone, if somewhat inconsistent.


  9. Galway will be picking their lips on all the hype about the rossies. Mayo must beware at the moment it’s mayo and the rossies. I see Evans followed the horan era with his back room team.does anyone know if kieran shannon sports psychologist is still involved with mayo set up?

  10. I talked to some Meath football people who attended their game v Down.The said it was the worst Down team they ever saw.
    Mayo getting hammered by Dublin was a blessing in my opinion—we will possibly meet again. I feel Kirby can make the step up to championship football. Roll on Galway

  11. Rossies talking about All-Irelands! You have to laugh. It’s good news for everyone else in Connacht as Ros seem to be actively seeking attention at the moment. They can have as much as they want. Living up to it when the championship comes around is a whole different story.

  12. We will go into this championship as under the radar as we were in 2011 in my opinion. Wait until you see Galway and Roscommon win their first championship game(s) it amazing how people forget about you….perfect build up for us. Player quietly going about club action. Galway and Rosscommon are gunning for us but I can imagine these Mayo players giving up their crown that easy.

  13. That’s some leap Evans has taken today since yesterday, avoided the question on could they win Connacht by answering very stupidly that he seem to remember Mayo getting promoted the year they nearly lost to London in 11, wherever the bejaysus he pulled that promotion story from to talking about winning the all Ireland in the next couple of years today in the indo. My own take on him is he is an absolute spoofer and like all spoofers he trips himself up some of the time , ie the in house goal of promotion but tell the media it was too soon.Cant lose that way I suppose.

  14. Catcol examining a teams forwards runs much deeper than looking at All stars and medals. You have to factor in how good is the midfield and defence that supports that forward line. I still don’t think Galway are there yet in terms of defence or midfield.
    Overall I think they have the best selection of forwards in Connaught.

  15. JP, it’s apples and oranges you’re comparing!! None of those forwards would start for Mayo, literally different league (until next year, and I’ve a feeling it won’t be easy on our neighbours then).

    It’s a stretch to say Donal Shine “laid on” the goal, the ball richocheted off the two players twenty yards away to a Ros player. I don’t care if he is 8′ 4″, he’s not at the top level.

    And regarding frees, some of the frees they missed yesterday were cruel.

  16. JP – I made exactly that point.

    Mayo forwards have played in 2 All Irelands – they have been tested at the highest level and have played at Division 1 level for ages. Galway’s have been tested at QF level – once, Roscommon have not reached a CF since 2011.

    All Stars can be overrated but they tend to be given mostly to players who reach All Irelands. When the Rossies and Galway reach that level and excel at that level, I will be suitably impressed.

    All this does not mean that Mayo will beat either team if they meet them. What it does mean is that our guys are proven quality: 4 Connaughts on the trot, top 4 of Division 1, and missing 3 finals in a row by a whisker. Yes, we haven’t one the big one, but that’s a separate issue.

  17. So if I’ve read the article right, Evans is saying that all the teams out there that currently have a chance of winning the All Ireland will loose top crucial players in the next few years creating an opening for Ros to win the big one. Good luck with that one mate.. it may not happen in every county but surely there’s a chance that when one exceptional player retires he will be replaced by someone equally as good starting out. You don’t want to be waiting around for the standard of other teams to drop or you will find out fairly quickly that it’s your own team that is getting old in the quest for Sam.

  18. Thank you Catcol. My sentiments exactly. Nothing proven yet , if they do prove it at the top level then I will compare them to our bucks. The way some people are goin on you’d swear we were , number one …just going to roll over and let our neighbours tickle our belly .

    Number two… I swear you’d think all our players have achieved over the last few years went unnoticed yet some of our own lot are willing to wet themselves over our nearest and not so dearest, who haven’t achieved a tenth of what our bucks have.

    Just remember it’s five in a row we are going for , not an ounce of credit do we get for it but it will be some achievement.

  19. PJB so no Ros forward starts for Mayo?
    I would say they had the weakest midfield in division 2 yet still scored heavily.
    Donie Shine is not top level but it may be possible to use him in a target man role. Has to be seen how that works out.
    Smith, D. Murtagh and Cregg I believe are Division 1 standard. Compton and Corcoran following behind I believe will be Division 1 standard in 2016.

  20. @ WJ They got rid of the seeding arrangement in Munster after all – the new system will see this season’s finalists Cork and Kerry receive a bye to the semi-final stage next year while Tipperary, Limerick, Waterford and Clare will enter an open draw for the two quarter-final ties. The two winners of those quarter-final games will then enter an open draw for the semi-finals along with Cork and Kerry.

  21. That’s all fine and well JP and could very well turn out to be true but it has to be proven first surely.

    I’ll put it another way to you, if our forwards were playing in the lower divisions the last few years , how do you think they would fair?

  22. Shane Walsh is well proven at this stage and has not played Division one football.
    Our forwards in the lower divisions as the forwards of either Galway or Ros still the same three names as being the main men. Cillian/AOS/Kevin Mc. I look at the shooting % of the rest and it is very average. Even Kevin Mcs shooting was down this year. Frees n from play he was <30% mostly. You need to be consistently shooting minimum 40-50% from attempts. Winning teams generally come in around 50%. Our overall % this year was poor mainly caused by the extremely wayward shooting of the defence.

  23. Shane Walsh is proven beyond doubt. If he was a regular size player I might harbour some doubts. But the following are what prove it for me:
    – Played well and scored heavily both points and goals from play against Div 1 and two teams in league and championship in 2014 and 2015
    – a way above average amount of times is his teams best player by a mile
    – has genuine top level skill if you look at his soloing, goal shooting and point taking
    – has utter confidence at senior level,even controlling a mis kicked 45 with his boot mid air and turning to score
    – stands 6’2″ minimum well built with pace and coordination.
    He is not considered potential he is already a top class forward. He scored 2-1 from play when Galway needed to avoid relegation. He was brilliant all last years championship.

  24. Don’t want to prolong this, but when Shane Walsh excels in the All Ireland series, I’ll take notice.

    If he excels against Mayo and Galway beat us, that still won’t prove his credentials at the highest level. That’s what this argument is about.

  25. Okay fair enough we can end debate on that as I dont rate forwards in that manner. A forward has a dependency on the standard of his overall team to be successful from quarters onwards.

  26. Shane Walsh is a class act proved it last year in most games and v kerry to in quarter final.horan said in hes column in western after all star tour to America that he is going to be some footballer! On another note just reading western there I see Darren Coen hit 1-12 (1-6) from play for hollymount v knockmore at the weekend.surely that sort of form cannot be ignored.it wasn’t to many years ago he was shooting the lights out at mayo training but couldn’t transfer it to the pitch for us.maybe he was lacking in confidence at the time but good to see him back in form.

  27. I think Dublin will go all the way this year. I can’t imagine that Gavin will let the same system beat them again without havin a plan. TheyV enough Gud forwards to fill 2 teams. It will be 50/50 if Mayo meet them. With us possibly coming out on top. Pjb I don’t no how u can compare freeman, Conroy and Sweeney to shine and murtagh? The Ross lads are in a different league.

  28. Actually knowledge of Donal Shines form is a good separator of those who latch on to names and those who follow form closely. PJB is correct in relation to Donal Shine. Has not hit stride at senior level at all. Always very leggy.

  29. “Our forwards in the lower divisions as the forwards of either Galway or Ros still the same three names as being the main men. Cillian/AOS/Kevin Mc. ”

    But surely time, space and intensity has to come into it. We have beaten massive teams in the White Heat of latter end of championship , Roscommon forwards you mention have never experienced anything remotely like it. I’m sorry but I have to disagree with your view on this, if you put our fringe forwards of the past few years like Varley and Mickey C down in div 2 and 3 I believe they would of been top scorers. Kilbride was the stand out forward yesterday and he’s around a while and done bugger all against Mayo.

  30. lower divisions as the forwards of either Galway or Ros still the same three names as being the main men. Cillian/AOS/Kevin Mc. ”
    But surely time, space and intensity has to come into it. We have beaten massive teams in the White Heat of latter end of championship , Roscommon forwards you mention have never experienced anything remotely like it. I’m sorry but I have to disagree with your view on this, if you put our fringe forwards of the past few years like Varley and Mickey C down in div 2 and 3 I believe they would of been top scorers. Kilbride was the stand out forward yesterday and he’s around a while and done bugger all against Mayo.

  31. The rossies will get nothing handy away to Sligo and Mayo will remember this from their last visit to Sligo. Sligo also beat the rossies in 1997,2007 in semi finals when they were underdogs so i wouldn’t rule them out regardless of the rise that Roscommon are current on.

  32. Sean I have always had reservations on Kilbride as he lacks speed which prevents him getting open in tight games. Similar D. Shine. As soon as I see a forward lacking speed and not having imposing size I rank them as markable. Hence why I selected the three quickest Ros forwards (Cregg/Smith/D. Murtagh).
    Conroy could do well in lower divisions but even when open can be snatchy with his shots. Varley tended to be very snatchy even when open.

  33. I have just started the fifth decade of the Rosary and will soon be starting another one, after reading the general consensus and opinions… Bring on Sam…

  34. Wouldn’t agree the with the theory that forwards have to prove it the higher level good scoring forwards from play is a natural talent regardless of the level they play at and Sean Quigley Fermanagh,Conor Sweeney Tipp,Adrian Marron Sligo to name but a few are all top forwards and Roscommon like JP has said have plenty of good forwards however its midfield and defence where they will become unstuck this summer.

    AOS still talked as a forward here? he is midfielder probably Mayo best and time to move him back there and if Mayo forwards are proven at the highest then why are so few scores come from play? COC the clear stand out forward while all too often more scores from play come from 2 to 9 than the starting front six.

  35. “Wouldn’t agree the with the theory that forwards have to prove it the higher level good scoring forwards from play is a natural talent regardless of the level they play at ”

    So a guy scoring 2-5 a game at junior b will score it at senior level too?

  36. Evans is no spoofer. He won 2 promotions with Tipp and now has 2 with Ros. Heard him this eve on RTE and he came across as genuine praised Ros players and all the previous and present managers in the various Ros jobs We have been better than them for a long time now but success goes in cycles and were we to win 5 in a row it would be fantastic. The best Ross team I ever saw was the 1977 to 1980 team but they couldn’t manage 5 losing first round in 1981 away to Sligo..

  37. Missing the point Sean. The forwards i named are are all naturally talented and would cause even the very best defences in Ireland trouble and one shouldn’t judge a forward one what team he plays for.

    One prime example would be Declan Browne he never got the opportunity to play on a good Tipp team but he still proved his worth over the years.

  38. No, I hear the point your making I just don’t agree with it.

    Declan Browne won two all stars, played against Kerry and cork and left his marker wondering many times.

  39. I have no doubt but that Shane Walsh would be an automatic selection on the Mayo team at 11 if he were a Mayoman. It is a position we have never filled satisfactorily since this team started out in 2011. We have been making do in that position ever since Ciaran Mac’s days. And if Diarmuid Murtagh were a Mayoman we would be wetting our knickers over his prospects, as many of us are over lesser prospects. We have not had a forward consistently top scoring from play over the past number of years either. Look at the statistics for the past number of years. Saying a forward has to deliver in Div 1 or final stages of the championship to rate among the best is bullshit. The list of forwards who have proved otherwise is endless Declan Browne, Mattie Forde, Kevin O’Brien, Niall McNamee are outstanding examples proving otherwise.

  40. One slight concern I have coming into the championship is that our scoring return has often been bolstered by defenders raiding forward over the last three seasons. Boyle, Keegan and Vaughan have all contributed consistently on the scoreboard but that trend seemed to stall during the league.

    If the tactic is now to hold the defence then this will place a little more pressure on the inside line to contribute more. Having said this, I’ve always believed our style makes in very difficult for the likes of Freeman to excel. He isolates his man but has to wait for the ball to be ‘run’ into him. A change to a more direct approach might help the likes of Freeman and Moran who are well able to win their own ball.

  41. Id love if for one game we were instructed to release it in super quick. We also tend to look for the perfect ball inside. I believe time is the main factor rathet than accuracy. Every second delay the defence gets more set and increases in numbers.

  42. Anyone ever wonder why we don’t produce enough quality scoring forwards? Galway seem to come along every now and then with a new generation of real class forwards. Their current crop look like they are on their way to reaching that. Kerry, Dublin, Tyrone, Donegal, Armagh back when they won Sam…it is no bad breeding or genes but training and coaching in my opinion and this is something that must be looked at.

    Too many underage managers want a quick fix, the small nippy forward while leaving the bigger guy on the sidelines when in fact it may be beneficial to nurture and train the bigger guys how to kick the ball over the god dam bar, again and again and again.

  43. Have not seen Shane Walsh this year but I thought he was very poor in Castlebar against us (missed a peno as well) and did not want to know about it at all against Kerry in the 1/4 final. He scored one spectacular point but did not show for the ball for nearly all of of the game and stayed on the periphery of the game. And he was supposed to be their number 11 !!!
    Watch that game again if you have nay doubts. Lundy and Bradshaw bust a gut compared to him. He is not a proven at all at senior level and I have my doubts he is the type of guy who will roll the sleeves up and get stuck in.

  44. “Declan Browne, Mattie Forde, Kevin O’Brien, Niall McNamee are outstanding examples proving otherwise”

    OMG Ye keep proving my point for me, all proven footballers ,three of them are fooking all stars .
    Ye have your opinion and I have mine , I can’t understand yours for the life of me . Time will tell who’s right and if we happen to beat Galway and next July murtagh and smith give our bucks the run around well then it will be time to hold the hands up but they haven’t done it yet and that is the crux of my whole argument .

  45. Has anybody any info on what the Mayo News is reporting in relation to injuries?

    Not that, judging by posts here, it will make any difference to the panel of duds we have, as we chase our fifth provincial title in a row.

  46. Facetheball- spot on sir! I was fully amazed he got nominated for an All Star last year, spectacular YouTube friendly score v tipp or not. Lundy was twice the player he was last year and as you say went missing against ourselves and Kerry. Fine he got some great scores v Tipp and Sligo, but with respect- it’s Tipp and Sligo

    I follow a lot of Galway football and wouldn’t start him tbh. He was the most overhyped player on their u21 team 2013 when I thought Moran, Comer, Varley and Ian Burke actually contributed more all year in the forwards alone

    Nothing against the lad, it’s far from his fault he’s talked up like he is. He was a bit of a flavour of the month for a while, took over the mantle from Shane Maughan in a way. That’s not to say he won’t come good again and turn into a top player- he’s still very young. Like you, I’m dubious as to whether he’ll be there for your when the chips are down though

    I’ve no doubt he’s a talented player and has some great days but it would not shock me one bit if he didn’t line out against ourselves

    Comer, Sice, P.Sweeney and Lundy are the lads I’d worry about. All matchwinners on their day

    Whenever I analyse the June 14th game objectively and use cold, hard facts and stats I see no reason why we should come close to losing. However I am just getting this awful, awful feeling about it and I can’t really explain why. Anyone else? 😮

  47. It’s off-topic, but Shane Walsh is the best forward in Connaught, he has it all. Very like Michael Donnellan when he runs with the ball. Cillian O’Connor is the next best. They are the top 2 and then you have a number of forwards a good bit behind but are excellent on their day. They include, Lundy, McLoughlin, Doherty, Freeman, A. Moran, Dillon, Murtagh, Kilbride, Mulligan, Marren, and Paul Conroy.

  48. No one is claiming we have a panel of duds. Straight forward debate on the rating of three counties forward lines.
    As regards why we haven’t produced top class forwards. We missed out on some serious forwards for various reasons but they were their up to minor/u21/brief senior careers:
    – Ger Geraghty went to USA. (Still played well into his late 40’s and early 50’s)
    – Kevin ONeill and Padraig Brogan. (several years missed for both)
    – Eoin Gallagher 99 Minor (played for Ireland U17 didn’t feature for Mayo)
    – Robert Moran 99 minor team. (went to USA)
    – Kevin Keane Swinford (2000/2001) (Ask people from Swinford about Kevin Keanes brief two seasons or so of Senior Div one football when his eyesight was fine. He was by a mile Swinfords best forward.He played in the style James ODonoghue plays coming at speed at defences and if close to goal he went for goals. I’d love to tot up his scoring from play in those seasons when he wasn’t even on a Mayo panel. Remember he had to face the defences of Ballina, Cross, Charlestown, Moy Davitts at their peak)
    – Gary Boylan has gone to Sligo Rovers. Comfortable on both feet.
    – Pearce Hanley and Cian Hanley gone to AFL.
    Particularly interested in peoples thoughts on Kevin Keane if anyone recall Swinfords peak years. As I recall he was scoring for fun on the run at speed.
    In general we have had a set of circumstances involving our best forwards which has just worked out the way it worked out. No point digging through the wet ashes of the past except to try harder to develop and nurture our talent.

  49. @ Ciaran, I wouldn’t worry too much about ‘awful feelings’. I had ‘great’ feelings, (for the first time in many, many years) about winning Sam two years ago, and, guess what, they didn’t come to pass, so it’s the same with awful feelings, they mightn’t come to pass either.
    All the objectivity, cold hard facts and stats don’t count for anything on the day. We have the wind, the rain, the ref, the mentality of the players, lady luck and god knows what else in the mix, so, my thing anymore is to wait until the ball is thrown in and then it’s too late to worry.
    This is me being helpful and philosophical, possibly boring. Good luck. 😉 🙂

  50. About forwards, I have a theory, for what it’s worth. Colm Cooper and Henry Shefflin have talked about, all the time they spend practicing. I think any forward can improve himself by practice, practice and more practice. Colm O’Neill told about all the time he puts in practising his frees off the ground and his stance, etc, etc. Now I am not saying they will ever be the Gooch but they will be bloody good.
    A story, not about football, proves my point. I taught set dancing for many years. A tall, gangly lad turned up for the beginners’ class and when I watched him, I thought “oh my Jesus, what can i do with him”???? He couldn’t put a foot under him, had no rhythm what soever. Anyway, time went on and we slogged away for the term and he came back again the next term and we slogged away again. I never saw anyone with the interest and dedication he had for learning. He had improved. Because he changed his job he moved away and we lost contact.
    A few years later, I was at a Céili in Clare and there was himself, dancing his head off, as good a dancer as i have ever seen, all the steps, rhythm, everything. Mighty, and that was from being ‘useless’. That’s my point, practice, dedication and enthusiasm will make anyone a success, at anything!!! 😉

  51. The analogy about dancing is an interesting one Joe Mc. Not a dancer myself but I know people who are/were involved in it. A dance instructor if shown the make up of the various skills and teamwork plays/passes in the game would make a better Gaelic Football coach than many club managers.
    In dancing there is the training culture of naming each skill and you keep at it until you have it fluent. You don’t take a beginner and drop them in the local Feis. You don’t move them on to intermediate steps until they have mastered beginners steps. In Gaelic Football we drop everyone down at the local underage Feis (matches) and based on that we decide who is talented and who is not. Are we certain we have taught them all the skills they will need to perform? I had a footballer who was tall and only okay in terms of skill. I narrowed down what he had to focus on in training. Told him to look for the layoff immediately playing as a full forward. In training we just worked on layoff left, layoff right. In matches I think he hardly took a solo. But he had a mighty impact on us winning games. He felt he was contributing and that he had a valuable role. In training he was believing what he was practicing could improve him.
    There was not much point in me getting him to run cone sprints like a nippy corner forward or to be kicking points from 35 yards. I had him for only once a week for training and had to make that time count.
    Another interesting thing is the left – right coordination in dancing. Bernard Brogan is able to gain tiny fractions of time by using either hand/foot to either solo or pickup the ball. There was a point against Mayo in the first half of the 2013 final where he picked with his left and shot just in time before the block could get to him. The opportunity was only open to shoot on his left, if he picked with his right he would have had to take one more step to get his balance and support on his right foot. By that time the blocking defender would have been much closer.
    If you can get young players competent in the basics on their weaker side it can help them immensely without people even being aware of the advantage. Donal Vaughan scored against Donegal in 2013 as Keith Higgins could pull off a difficult left handed handpass.

  52. JP and Joe Mc Finallly a bit of sanity at the end of a long boring thread. Anybody who follows Galway football in the past 12 months know they are not relying on SW. At least not yet.

  53. GBXI I think you really nerd to look back at Shane Walsh in action last year.
    Better than Cillian O’Connor !!! You are having a laugh.
    Were you at the match in McHale Park last summer ?

  54. facetheball the match in Castlebar where he missed a penalty, scored the resultant 45, scored 5 frees and scored 2 from play. Yes rather damning evidence of Shane Walsh not perfoming.

  55. If Shane Walsh was on the Mayo team last year he would have won All-Star and maybe AI medal.

    The likes of Browne forde and O brien would not win All-Stars nowadays as nearly all of those awards are given out for reaching the AI semi finals at least now which kinda ignores the good players on weaker sides.

  56. Think Lee scored a goal didn’t he? ^^^

    Anyhow I’d have COC and Lundy as the two clear best forwards in Connacht at the minute. Kilbride on his day is a serious operator too and not far off

  57. Mayo magic , I could argue on the flip side of that and say the reason those players got them years ago is because they proved themselves unlike the Roscommon young guns (yet) .

    Cillian is the best forward in Connacht , I don’t know what Connacht final ye were at last year but Shane Walsh did not come close to cillian s performance .

  58. facetheball, I was surely at the Connaught final last year. Walsh scored 7 points, two from play, and even though he missed a penalty, it was more than solid performance. He scored 5 points, 2 from play against Kerry in the QF. But his performance of the year for me was away to Sligo when he scored 6 points, 3 from play and displayed his full array of talents. I’m pretty sure he kicked two 45s, one with either foot!

    Cillian is a class act, and such a mature player for his age. However, Walsh is way more naturally gifted. He has pace than Cillian doesn’t have, ability to carry the ball from deep that Cillian doesn’t have, and also in my opinion is better at scoring points on the run with either foot.

    As someone said above, if Mayo had Walsh at 11 last year he’d have won an All Star and Mayo would more than likely have their All Ireland.

  59. I would settle for Connaught title this year…… As long as them feckin Rossies don’t win,,,, god please no ,, couldn’t bear listening to them !SERIOUSLY ,, I live in ross ,,,,,,

  60. Cillian is the best in Connaught but Walsh has serious talent and maybe ahead of where Cillian was at sare stage if development. Lundy looks like he’ll be a shed load of trouble for any defense he encounters for the years ahead and his workrate is like Mark McHughs but a better score taker. Also his foot passing is super. Much improved from last year I expect and he was fairly good then. Also Cillian will be coming back from injury if he makes it to Connaught games so we shouldn’t expect huge performances, its up to other lads. As for the Ros lads, I think Kilbride is a very god player and would make most Counties forward lines apart from Dublin. The division 1 and getting to the big games argument about forwards has some merit but is overstated. Ciaran McManus is a good example. There are almost unmarkable lads in a good few Counties. Good teamwork and extra men back is the best way of stopping them. And we may see the Mayo blanket unveiled this year. Strength and conditioning of Mayo players is ahead of most teams so that’s where we have an advantage in Connaught. Even lighter lads like Kevin Mc are fierce tough. We mightn’t have the best 6 forwards in Connaught but our workrate is the best including the forwards. That makes us favourites for another year. But no ball kicked in anger so let the fun begin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *