A new perspective

In the days that have passed since Sunday’s defeat, we’ve all had to rationalise what it means in our own minds. Here’s Rob Murphy of the Mayo News and Mid West Radio making a first appearance in the guest slot to provide his perspective on it. 

I’ve lived through it all and while I wasn’t at the ’89 final, I remember my seat in front of the television at the Grandparents’ house in the centre of Ballinrobe and I remember even more clearly driving to Knock Airport the next day holding my flag out the window of our Toyota. The buzz when the plane landed. The cheers.

I’m far too cynical these days to go to homecomings after defeats and it usually takes me 48 hours to even begin the process of getting over an All-Ireland. I’m thinking of writing a little pocket book guide for recovering from final defeats. I could sell it outside Croke Park each year as fans of the losing county stream out.

AIF 2013 full-time

As some of you will know I work for the Mayo News and Mid West Radio following the fortunes of our inter-county footballers. It takes me to Newry on February weekends and Tullamore on August Bank Holidays and I’m privileged.

I’d love to write about the fans you see in Tullamore the day after a big quarter-final win or in the Dining Car just outside Páirc Esler on a damp Saturday in late winter. Car loads of them following the team through thick and thin but let’s park that thought this time.

This year, more than any other in my time following the team, I was taken aback by the number young fans you see at games. I had post-game interviews to do after the Galway match on the pitch in Pearse Stadium back in May and I took to the field bang on full-time.

Pearse Stadium full-time

There must have been 1,000 kids on there looking for autographs before me. I interviewed Enda Varley and Tom Cunniffe while they were signing away. All of these kids had the jerseys, all were fully familiar with every Mayo starter and subs. All fanatical and all exuding positivity.

There is a whole generation of Mayo people under 25 who don’t even remember the defeats of the 90s. Then there are those under 20 who have no real recollection of 2004 and only young memories of 2006. When you get to under 15s and under 10s, their memories are of many, many championship victories in Dublin and in Connacht and just one or two important losses.

Time is passing and events of the past are becoming less relevant to the generations of the future, that will hopefully play a key role in bringing euphoria to the people of the county. When we despair after days like Sunday, we need to remember that there is more than one perspective on all this.

I have seen old images of the dejected Irish international soccer team sitting on the bench in Belgium in 1981 after missing out on qualification. I wasn’t even one year on the earth and while the images bring a sense of sadness they don’t strike any chord emotionally, because I didn’t live the moment.

Other more recent images are different like the one of the frozen Irish players stuck to the ground in Euro ’88 after that wicked spinning ball nipped in to give Holland a poxy 1-0 win. Or a similar scene from Macedonia in 1997.  How about the full time shot of Richard Dunne in Paris in 2009 or Ireland’s best player in Euro 2012  Keith Andrews, walking down the tunnel after his red card?

They all rankle. The emotions are raw and I was part of that – I lived through the horrible punch in the gut feeling that enveloped me in the seconds after. Those moments mattered to me and always will matter because they unfolded in front of my eyes.

Perspective is always needed on these important moments.  Euro ’88 was better because it was our first major tournament. Had we gone to six or seven before my time, the whole event would have been different.

The Mayo minors celebrated with more gusto on Sunday because they knew how long it had been. Yet the pain of what has gone before won’t burden them either; it can’t as it has no relevance, it’s history and it’s before their time. It just means the party is better when they succeed and that’s a nice bonus, that they happen to be a breakthrough generation.

I firmly believe that Jame Horan’s tenure has been underlined by a mental fortitude within the squad which has helped firmly establish the separation from the defeats of the past. Their dejection this week is based solely on the fact that they were so agonisingly close two years running and key present-day mistakes were made. New mistakes.

It is not a case of jitters or holding their nerve anymore, they showed bottle and class both last year and this year at different junctures in the final but they also showed flaws and deficiencies. These need to be addressed and others more qualified than me will discuss and dissect them.

All I can talk about is our state of mind as Mayo followers, it is incumbent on us all to stay positive and it ain’t easy, On Sunday night, I was adamant that no team comes back for a third year in a row and we were in for a hiatus period again before our next tilt but now I’m not nearly as sure. The landscape hasn’t changed all that much and as Willie Joe has pointed out elsewhere on this site, we are rightly second favourites for 2014.

The Mayo football team are a sporting team like no other I have come across yet in the world of sport. They are a team that through numerous generations over the last quarter of a century have been better than most other teams, most of the time. They just have never been the best and the margins at times have been minuscule.

Sports science in 50 or 100 years time may have evolved to be able to study cultures and nuances within communities and explain why such an unusual repetitive cycle like this can happen in one corner of a small island. In the meantime, though, all we can do is shoulder our burden, refuse to let it break us and continue to try and figure out a way to break free of it.

While we do that, the younger generations will look upon our philosophical musings and deep thinking as nonsense and just get on with getting on. The players on this great minor team will put their heads down and work harder than ever to make this All Ireland medal one of many, they’ll believe that they can be the key to future success.

And all the while, the current crop of senior stars will spend the winter months rediscovering life and relaxation before catching the bug again and saying:

No, I’m not done yet. 

We’re not done yet. 

And by the looks of things, everyone of our neighbours, friends and clubmates are ready to back us once again.

Let’s do this.

Rob Murphy is on Twitter @murphyrob.

66 thoughts on “A new perspective

  1. Great perspective. New generation coming through. This is their age. They gave it the best they could on the day. They’ll be there soon.

  2. I have never been a believer in accepting defeat either graciously or otherwise.

    I think the kind of optimism displayed in this piece and in others during the week is misplaced and worse still avoids the hard questions. This type of evasion will cost us again. Simple matters need to be stated like:

    1. We blew it and in many ways showed a lack of bottle

    2. Horan made incredible mistakes and glossing over them means they are likely to be remade.

    3.What value were all the psychologists used?

    4.Willie Joe is entitled to his opinion but I dont see the value of being number 2 in a particular year. Id rather win one.

    5. We were beaten by a Dublin team that played poorly.

    6. There is a lot of football talk in Mayo but I wonder if this gets to players. Maybe its time some of them looked at themselves in the harsh light of day.

    It will be said I am too harsh but some soul searching is required. I am of Mayo and tired of being called a choker.

  3. @Mayotodoit,agree with you 100%.If any other high profile manager made the changes that Horan made last Sunday they would be ran out of the job and hung out to dry.Why does nobody in this county ask questions or demand answers like why was freezer taken off,why was seamie taken off,why was Dillon left on so long,why was Aidan o shae left there doing nothing,everybody talked about him all year as footballer of the year for what making a few catches,he offers very little else an why in the name of Jesus did we not see Richie Feeney,a man you can play anywhere and never let us down when called on.Just look at our starting 6 forwards on sunday.Dillon injured most of the year,o’connor injured most of the year,zippy a corner back,McLaughlin a half back,Andy injured most of the year and freezer the only fit forward to start and the first to be taken off.Im sorry lads and lassies and I’m as Mayo as any if ye but we’ll never win an all Ireland like this

  4. So,it was not to be, but the dream will never die.
    We put away our flags and favours with sad hearts but we are not broken.We thank our team for the great summer and we wonder if they can put everything else to one side again.We hope they can.We remember the journeys,the colour,the fun,the excitement.
    We know when the new season begins,the coats and jumpers will be brought out again,the hopes will rise and the year will stretch ahead burning with possibilities.
    I know the dream will live.If it is not for me I know that some of the family will be setting out for Castlebar on a Monday in September.They will remember the old days and will travel with joy on that fabled Monday,the day after Mayo win the All Ireland.

  5. There are a lotta issues & nobody yet has the Geoff Shreeves bluntness to ask Horan what’s the real story with Freeman being “sick” & taken off & Feeney not being used & him & others supposed to have driven up in cars…Dillon & McLoughlin & Aidan surviving so long???

  6. Hi All,
    Very sorry for posting a comment this week but I have huge respect for your county and just wanted to make a comment on this piece. I just want to say to Rob that you should never underestimate what young people want to know about their counties history. Please don’t ever take it for granted as I know you don’t, I was raised on the history of Dublin football 1958, 1963, 1974 etc. so I was always aware of it and I am 40 years old now and my first memories were 77, 83 etc.. The young Mayo crowd must be aware of the legends of the game in Mayo (Willie Joe, 4 Goal Willie McGee etc..) and you have so many to be proud of.

    Kind Regards,

  7. No matter how I look at this defeat, it still hurts like bejases and no words of sympathy from any source, let it be well meaning or other, will make one God dam difference. For more years than I care to remember, I’ve listened to the same lines been trotted out – didn’t perform to our full potential, didn’t get the run of the ball, the ref did us no favours and so on, so on. All this matters not one jot, for me, finals are there to be won, by fair means or foul, sadly for us we seem to keep our worst performances for the big day. Why is it that we can beat the living daylights out of some of the best teams in the Country year on year, only to fall flat in the final?. I or many like me don’t have the answer but can’t avoid wondering, if the many years of waiting coupled with the unnecessary hype, is putting too much pressure on players and management, that seemingly are ill prepared to deal with such things. Watching Clare win today and seeing such young players perform way beyond their tender years, would suggest we harness some of that minor talent without delay, in my opinion, if they are good enough, they’re old enough. Something must be done or it will be another sixty + years…..

  8. The gamble that was taken with Mayo Football almost came off & if it did the manager would have been seen as a hero and the posts here would have been singing his praises.
    The problem with gambling is that you often get undesired results and JH & Mayo Football is now at the mercy of the players. I am quite sure that the likes of Freeman, Feeney & many of the subs who have been warming the bench are not happy campers this week.
    This is the factor that will have major implications going forward.
    There was general concensus after last year that we needed new blood in the forwards but we kept recycling the same people with the same predictable results.
    The start of this was the perceived need to remove ‘ego’ from the team & the preference for a corner forward other than Conor Mortimer for last years Connacht Final. Everyone on a football panel has ‘ego’ & believes he is better than the next guy & deserves a place on the team.
    What needs to happen is that this natural ‘ego’ be managed otherwise it comes back to bite you. You need plenty of ‘ego’ in an All Ireland Final if you want to get over the line !

  9. @ Mayo McHale,a great victory for Clare this evening and great to see so many young players play so well on the big day.We too have some young great players in this county and as you say we need to harness it but when we put them on the field on the big day do we have a man on the sideline with the heart and the love of the game that can get the best out of them like Clare do in Davy Fitz,in this current setup I’m afraid not.Whet it comes to it we need a manager who’s rootless,loyalty to players and friendship goes out the window and you put the best man for the job on the field,if we’re to win anything this must happen sooner rather than later

  10. I sat down earlier and went through the torture of watching the final again. A one point defeat flattered us as Dublin could have scored another couple of goals and finished the game with several players injured.

    We were tactically wiped out on the day. After Freeman went off we lost our shape up front totally and this was exacerbated by moving Higgins to corner back at half time.
    This was the craziest decision we made. It showed no faith in any of our backup defenders and effectively removed our most dynamic forward player on the day from the fray.

    I said on here before the match that I was worried about how we’d deal with Cluxtons kick outs and that he would probably target the wings as they had great success there in the league. We learned nothing from that. We also learned nothing from the last three times we faced Brogan by leaving Caff to manfully try to cope on his own. If we kept him quiet we would have won.

    Dublin did a number on our midfield by pulling them all over the park. Aiden was f*cked after 20 minutes and this will be the template for all other teams from now on.

    I’m not going to criticise individuals because we all know who did or didn’t perform but there will need to be some changes to see us over the line. We need more of physicality up front and more pace in the front eight. Where this comes from is the big problem over the next league.

  11. Mayotodoit – I think you’re misrepresenting my opinion there by inferring that I see some value in coming second. I certainly never expressed any such opinion. Earlier in the week I did point to our current odds for the 2014 championship, noting that this had us as second favourites but that’s very different from my saying (which I didn’t) that I see any value in being number 2.

  12. Time to stopped crying and move on, we lost a game albeit the one we all wanted to win.As was mentioned above, if we had won it, Horan would be a hero, they would all be heros……………they have however given us a YEAR to remember and for that we have to be thankful.
    Being over-pedantic and demanding every minute detail of what did or did not go on is not the way forward and this squad and management are quite right in closing ranks as it shows an internal unity, a unity that is needed to carry this side through the winter and forward in 2014.
    Whatever problems that’s in need of addressing, we can be quite sure that JH and the Lads will address and correct them, I don’t see any need to make them public, God knows we have enough bad press at national level already besides ourselves adding to it.
    Yes many well say, that as supporters we are owed explanations but IMO that is not the case, we may pay our entrance fees and walk away , win or lose, after a match but this management and squad give up huge personal, family and work time and put their bodies through the mill to be able to represent their and our county and that continues while we are at home comfortable after that win, lose or draw.
    Time to get off their backs people and let them have their time now, they have given enough of it to us unselfishly throughout the past year.
    To JH , his backroom team and the Squad, thanks for a wonderful year of fantastic football and the very best of luck to each and every one of you in what you decide to do over the coming months ahead.
    MaighEo Abú

  13. Mayotodoit, I agree 100% as well. I don’t live in Mayo and can anyone answer the comments that neutral observers, without exception, all on Mayo’s side, are saying, “Mayo’s problems are in their heads”!!!!

  14. What’s getting to me most in the aftermath is people’s denial , it’s like head on into it again and change nothing and expect a different outcome, keep it up and we could end up fookin Mayo football for years, ie another final defeat in 14.

    Hardly anyone has mentioned Dillons failure after failure to perform on final days, some of these bucks are forever going to go missing in the white heat of all Ireland final day. Someone has to be ruthless and say farewell to at least three of that forward bunch we have.

  15. Like I said earlier Sean we need a man on the side line that will be rootless and forget loyalty and friendship and play the best man for the job

  16. I haven’t studied the final performance yet, but I will. However, I cannot believe for one minute that we are the same side that played on Sunday. We are better than that, we as supporters know that and the players and management know that. Fuck sake even the Dubs know we are better than that. It is beginning to become clear what happened in the build-up to the final and I believe that they fallout from that played a large part in our sub-standard performance.
    Now, don’t get me wrong, poor shooting in the first half and poor decisions/lack of decisions from the side line contributed heavily to our defeat but things were spoiled before that. Horan and his management team are getting it in the neck and some may say rightly so but if and when all our questions are answered it may show him and his team in a different light.

  17. Ffs JJ if there was the unity that you talk about there wouldn’t be any problem or stories going around would there and Richie would have played his part,time to move on and stop crying you say when the game was lost by the man on the sideline,move on to what,more of the same.Coming out of Croke Park last Sunday a Dublin supporter turned to me and said “fuck me yous gave us that one,how many more times do you want us to hear that

  18. Pebblesmeller, both sides under performed last Sunday but the potential to improve is far greater with the dubs and this is why I believe we need to address these problem areas and not be afraid of some change.

    Every Mayo supporter would love Horan to be the man to lead us to Sam , my only quibble is , will he make the hard decisions or persist with the exact same personnel.

    Come February , I will be there to support Mayo for 2014 100% but I do not believe we are capable of winning the all Ireland unless there is some additions to the panel and some told , their time is up and thanks for yer massive effort bucks.

  19. I agree 100% with you Sean. I have loads of questions, as every Mayo supporter has, but there is a fair chance that we may never get direct answers to our questions and we may just have to wait and see what comes out of it all next January and February. There has been a relatively large turnover of players in the 3 seasons and I think was there 6 changes to this years AI stating 15 when compared to last years. I think Horan has been fairly consistent in his method of team selections, i.e. player must be training well and performing well in games and then it is up to that player to lose the jersey. Freeman is the perfect example. At the start of the year people (me included) would have been unsure of him in the heat of championship battle. But right from the Galway game he improved every single game to the point where there is uproar that he was taken off. Hennelly kept his place for the final even though O’Malley was back fit. I don’t want to come across as an asslicker to the management but as we are all hurting from the defeat I think it is important we keep all arguments in perspective and fair in assessment.
    I think we will just have to wait and see.

  20. Agree 100% Sean Burke,if we have any desire to win an all Ireland there’s no room for passangers,watching the game again as I write this and as brolly said at half time Dillon was nowhere to be seen in the first half.We sat in 309 and James Nallen spent most of the game in front of us and not as much as as earpiece on him

  21. Any Mayo reporter going to do his job and ask Horan the obvious questions about his calls? Or are the poor old fans who travel the length and breath of the country through thick and thin expected to accept a wall of silence or lame excuses at best.

  22. Given it a week to put my thoughts together as as with WJ’s article in the Mayo News I suspected my initial feelings would be turned towards negativity.

    I have to say not a lot has really changed over the course of the week. My initial thoughts walking from croker were that a number of players are not as good as we gave them credit for. We needed big performances from 2 key players in my mind before the game and neither of them showed up.

    We have a number of very good players but they are being seriously let down by others. Last year I gave these players the benefit of the doubt when they put in poor shifts in the final but this year I think they showed they are not up to it. Both started the 2 finals and both flopped… twice. People always look for second chances, few get the opportunity. To fail to take it shows a real lack of character. Its easy to look good in a winning team.

    I don’t see any chance of this team coming back, not in its present form and I don’t see much coming though either, from the bench or the underage ranks. Those minors are 4 years away from making any impact on the senior team and anyone pinning your hopes on them need a rethink.

    Mayo still have a good team, not arguing that point, one of the best in the country, but not the best, and not likely to be either. It will be close to or beyond 70 years before our yearning is quenched I am sad to say.

    Our chance has gone, (it maybe went 12 months ago), the Dubs played as bad as we could have hoped, with 13 fit men at the end and we still could not beat them.

    That to me comes down to character, not collectively, individually, certain players letting others down. A week later, I still despair.

    A quick mention for the Dubs supporters after the game, great bunch of GAA people. Won with dignity. I stayed in town all evening and had a few drinks with them. Cocky as you would expect of All-Ireland champions but not a bad word from one person all night. (Well alright, there was one, there is always one idiot)

  23. I despair really at the very thought of there being some dissent in the camp leading up the biggest game of their lives. How the hell this can happen is beyond belief, after all we’ve been through and the yearning to win!

    As some one already said, Dublin played about as badly as we could have dreamed, yet we couldn’t beat them. I suppose we should just pretend everything is ok because we only lost by a single point. We’re closer now than before? A few changes to the squad perhaps? Maybe, but we just might have a bigger problem.

    Lets be honest and transparent now. Horan and his sideline probably had the worst performance of the lot. After watching the match for the first time, again, Dublin didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves with this apparent fucking disorganization on the sideline. Taking feezer off was a dumb move. The game changed dramatically after that and subbing Seamie was another dumb move when there were three at least underperforming others who were not in the game at all. Bringing in Barry and doc who hasn’t hardly kicked a ball all c’sbip was another dumb move.

    And I know it might have been a Hail Mary, but not crashing the goal with the last kick of the match, ffs, we were behind, needed a goal. I don’t blame Cillian for that. That should have come from the sideline and others on the field,….no leadership, cause they had accepted their fate at that stage? After all the effort to get back to a chance to win the effin thing, and all the dumb changes made during the match, we still had a chance to win it, yet we balked at the final hurdle!

    Now the folks who know my form will know I’m not normally this negative, so I’m sorry about this rant. It’s just that, and not taking anything away from the Dubs, but we should have had this one, easy enough as it played out.
    Rob, your column was good, it seems though were always prepared to “address” the problems in Mayo football, but we need answers, otherwise the famine continues.

  24. Tom61, I think you ask a fair question. Is anyone going to ask the hard questions? I doubt we will get the answers though. And to be honest I would be prepared to ride along with the silence if I knew for certain that the problems were going to be addressed.
    However, I find myself getting angrier at the whole thing even a week later and when you have Galwaymen slagging that we are going for the “3-in-a-row!” and laughing about it, it really brings it home. I am also getting sick to my bollox of these nice fluffy airy fairy opinions of Mayo supporters being so great, and that when we do win it we might not enjoy it, and the almost seminal journey of heartache we are all on!!! That to me is also bollox. Just man fucking up, win the fucking match and be done with it. All those other opinions and comments are a nice way of dressing it up that we are serial losers. For whatever reason, and there are many, we lose. The facts are there. Donegal don’t, Galway don’t, Dublin don’t, Tyrone don’t. All these teams come up to finals and win the fucking thing and go home to celebrate. No excuses. No bullshit about too much hype, or not enough hype, open door training sessions, or behind the door sessions.
    Now I am not turning my back on Mayo, never did, never will, and as I have said previously the lads owe us nothing and we are entitled to very little as supporters. But, it has reached a point where if Cairde Mayo and the county board are only too willing to hit us for money at every turn when things are going well, then we are entitled to 1 or 2 answers when things go bad.
    I believe that Horan and his methods will get us there. I believe that the current squad, with 3 or 4 additions, is good enough to get us there too. But, to be selfish for once and allied to my growing anger, I want answers.

  25. Absolutely delighted to see the gloves coming on and the real questions being asked.My piece Harvest Time was in essence a cup of coffee and biscuit to have while we pondered. Harmless in essence with maybe a few posers.

    Thank god people are now coming out and calling it as it is. This is Mayo we are talking about and Satan himself can lead us over the line if that’s whats needed. However we have gotten trammeled in the narrative. Its all first names lovey dovey stuff, “James, Alan, Andy, Ger” or worse, their Twitter handles. When you get that close you become part of the picture, not a critic or expectant. Criticism is viewed as treachery when criticism, valid criticism, should be viewed as informative and welcomed.

    Last year I penned an article that alluded the game was lost in the first ten minutes. It never made the printing press. This weeks Western alluded from a writer that the game was lost in the first half. Progress of sorts? Tom 61 is correct. We the unwashed depend on writers (paid and certified) to ask and reflect what we think. We don’t get that. Already the can of paint is being mixed by some writers. Alan Dillon is still 29 according to them.That would have left him 20 for the 2004 U21 final.

    Interesting the reaction to Ger Cafferky and his duel with Bogan as opposed to the duel that Pat Holmes had with Maurice Fitzgerald back in 1997. Holmes was an auxiliary full back placed there because of injury to Cahill earlier that season. Gone through injury also were Brady and O Neill . That game cost the excellent Holmes an All Star. Davy Dalton from Kildare who reached and lost a Leinster semi got it instead.

    Maurice Fitz score, was it nine points, maybe. Analysis would have shown he got three from play. The rest were from frees. Indeed the last one,should have been a free out for charging. Holmes played football, did a good job but Maurice was canonized and yet Holmes without cover, did an excellent job.

    Clare started nine/ten U21s. They trusted the youth . Last year the surprise was Walter whatever in Kilkenny. Yesterday it was the 19 year old Clare 22. We are so fucking conservative but the real Mayo spirit is tied to the giving it a lash and going for broke.A little less caution and more belief in the youth wouldn’t go amiss.The late **Mick Mulderrig saw young Evan Reagan as the real deal. Splintering his arse on the bench wasn’t going to help him. Play him or lose him.

    The manager and players, the county board and its camp followers are the servants of the Mayo people. The represent us and reflect us. They are not an elite or closed shop. Don’t ever forget that. Next season I want to see a clear out of lads who , great players they are, cannot function on the last day of the season.I don’t want to read what I read last year that Such and Such wont retire wont retire until they won an All Ireland. The arrogance, no mention “of course if picked by the manager”.

    Every All Ireland won recently has been part won with a couple of “dogs” on the pitch. The term “dogs” was given to me by the great Pat Lindsey, it is a term of affection given to scrappers and enforcers. Mick Lyons, Ricey McMenamon,Pat O Neill, Joe McMahon,The Iron Man From Rhode type of guys. Toss in Connolly and Brennan from Dublin this year. First picks on any team I would send out. We need them in Mayo and they are there. Unleash them .

    Lets stop elevating and hanging on every word that is crumbed to us begrudgingly. Lets ask the questions we want to from those who represent us. They are not an elite, they are but a portion of a journey started back in 1951 and soon some of them will step down and back into the green and red hordes. I have seen kings crowned in Mayo and they weren’t even corporals but we do that time and time again. Stop it.

    *** Mick Mulderrig won his first All Ireland at 19, Peter Solon was also 19.

  26. It’s really simple lads. We were beaten by a point by a better team. Yes mistakes were made and bad ones at that but my message is get over it and get on with it.
    Dissent is nothing new to All Ireland teams. Ask any Kerry player and they’ll tell you. And mistakes are made too. Wasn’t putting Donaghy on against the Dubs a big mistake that lost them the game? Also putting in a defender in his first championship match with 5 mins left in a very tight game? Jim Gavin ran out of subs that could have cost them the game but they got away with it.
    My message is leave the lads and the management alone for a while and see what happens. They know better than anyone what went wrong and how to put it right if possible.

  27. Pebblesmeller…next time the Galway man slags you about a three in a row take him back to 1940/41/42. Galway lost three in a row that time. They also lost in 1971,73,and 74. Almost a three in a row. Dont forget to remind him of 1983 when 12 Dubs beat them, at least the Dubs needed 15 to beat us!!!

  28. I agree with pebblesmeller we are short 3or4 quality players in the fotwards our backs are excellent ouf CF have been very good up to the AI but Gavin outsmarted us with his tactics our sideline did not re-act to it
    Our full forward line of Andie Cillian and Freeman are good enough and should be left there so they can develop an understanding of each others play
    Keith Higgins should be left in the half forward line and the search for good quality scoring forwards should begin
    Those players could already be in the squad when you dont see them being used you cant form an opinion
    Shane McHale Kevin Keane or any other of the subs should be given time to fill in for Keith just see how well C Barrett has suceeded we were all a bit wary when he took over in the left corner.We dont want any more converted backs to forwards
    This team still has a lot of potential there has to be a lot of straight talking done between Mgt Players and Co Board nobody should be above reproach and above all our support should never waver we will be behind the team all the way.

  29. Dublin played badly because we made them work for every ball

    Kerry were three minutes away from beating them until Sherwood made two mistakes

    They are beatable and we all know it

    We have the beating of any team in the country and those teams know it

    We didn’t take our scores when we were on top, they did

    The anger shown here at players and management is understandable but needs balance. I think we are in danger of turning into a lynch mob

    The same comments appear every year at league time, when the team are in the middle of strength and conditioning training to stand to them for August and September

    I will be giving comments on here a break for a few months as the wounds are still deep for everyone

    Don’t let this site become like the other ones – read your comments again in three months time and you’ll see what I’m seeing.

    What’s next? Abuse the players in the street? Tell the older ones to retire? Tell James Horan how he should manage a team and who he should pick and how we know better?

    Think on

  30. Must say well done to Clare on going to Dublin and bringing the Cup back across the Shannon,

    However as a Mayo person I have to ask whatever are they thinking? Surely they should have lost the match, return to Ennis tomorrow evening as losers, make speeches about winning it next year and be told how great they are. Donegal did something similarly silly last year.

    The proper way to do it as we know is try the same again and again.

  31. In my opinion this mayo set up can win Sam maguire next year if they do the following

    Rest most of the panel until February, only tick over training for them

    3 forwards have to go, unfortunately they run all day but score very little

    Bring in a whole new team for the fbd league, get them together now to have a good degree if fitness so they can be assessed properly

    From the very first games, have people posted around the sidelines and develop a system where trends, weaknesses and strengths are seen and reported to a man standing beside jh. Don’t tell me it’s daft, obviously nobody in the mayo management seen Dublin winning all their own kickouts.

    We totally underperformed last Sunday and were popped by the “force” that Dublin have become!!! If that game went on for 2 minutes more Mayo would have won it or at least drew it. That’s how strong Dublin are, they’re no stronger than us for all the money and backroom staff they have.

    Aos was absent last Sunday at midfield, put him in closer to goal for 10 minutes and if he isn’t causing mayhem take him off. Of course for him to cause mayhem the boys out the field will need to know how to pass the ball to him. I.e not low.

    Mayo will stroll through the province next year, Galway may improve but are a long way off mayo today and they’re the only credible threat.

    A semi win over cork or kerry and there we are again. Only this time we have a few forwards that know how to score from play. 1 or 2 is all we need and manage the others out the field a whole lot better than we did in this years final.

    We beat ourselves, we really did. Have a good look at the tape again. Maddening to watch it. I watched the Tyrone game a lot in the buildup to the final, it was apparent that 2 of our forwards were not up to it and yet we seen them in the final doing the same.
    A great thanks to them for their effort but now is the time to move along and let others try.

    If the rest of the panel spend a while and watch the semi and the final again they’ll see that they are almost there and prepare themselves to go and win it in 2014.
    Jh will need to step back and have a cold clinical look at what he needs to do to get everyone on the field performing on the day. Feeney or gibbons on the wing at midfield the second half last Sunday would have stopped cluxtons kickouts

    We made Dublin look good

  32. Tom61 we have all the answers we need brutal decisions made in the last 2 finals have cost us badly. Its all good and well saying james horan is a great man getting us to 2 finals but at this stage that doesn’t cut the cheese. James has to go

  33. Its all very well saying Horan got us to 2 finals, 3 actually if you include the national league finals, but we have lost them all! Funny its always Horan who gets us to national finals but always someone else’s fault when we lose.

    Personally I couldn’t be bothered if he stays or goes. Well done to Dublin, nobody can say they didn’t do all they could to let Mayo win.

    The whole episode is just sickening at this stage.

  34. Sorry Fatty boom batty, I have to agree with the hard talk. For too fucking long in this County we praised and massaged egos and where did it get us. We are now the joke of all the other Counties, ” Mayo, for fucks sake, yee are bottlers, yee’ll never win anything” and on and on it goes. I hate that and it makes me so fucking angry and the terrible thing about it is, part of it is true.

    Last Sunday’s was an unforgivable disgrace for the first All Ireland in 63 fucking years that we could and should have won. There are no excuses and when the league comes I will not have changed my opinion. I have 7 decades of shite and I am sick to the fucking teeth of it all; all the “positive” talk and excuses. We need major surgery and it needs to start now.

    It’s great that so many of you feel the same!!!

    I gave off stink during the league last year and the “positive people” were up in arms. Mayo made the same mistakes over and over again. Mistakes are no harm, it’s when you keep making them over and over again that you become a fool and in many eyes now Mayo are footballing fools. I wondered why James Horan didn’t correct them, now I have more questions.

    Sorry lads, this IS THE TIME for straight and constructive talking.

  35. Fatty boom , I doubt there is anyone on this blog thinking of abusing players on the street.

    The issue that is getting to some, well me anyway , is that if we remain in the same mode for 14 , it is logically saying we are going to come up shy of full honours again.

    We can play our system and win against the majority of teams but it won’t be enough to get us all the way. We can push the ball out all day long into Varley, Conroy , Dillon,doc etc and receive the return onto our speedy half back line to score against Galway , Ross etc and look incredible but if we come up against a decent forward line like Dublin ie Paul Flynn et el we can’t afford the luxury and these forwards are shy of taking on the responsibility themselves , this is where one of the major problems lie . Horan has to tackle this head on imo or we might as well just settle for jojo Nestor now.

  36. Richard – that’s a very good analysis, Mayo looked rudderless after Freeman went off, no plan B. Conroy plays when he has a traditional target man to play off, Andy Moran ain’t that kind of full forward.

    Jim Gavin is a very astute manager. He contained Mayo’s running game, kept Vaughan pegged back. Kickouts were very clever. Dublin have a very fit midfield but it’s the kickouts that do the damage. Agree with Philo, there’s not much wrong with that full-forward line. Freeman and Moran could become a great double act. Need a plan B though.

  37. Well said Sean Burke

    That’s it in a nutshell. Our backs had to do their job, defend, against Dublin which they done admirably

    We have

    Andy Moran, Alan freeman, cillian o Connor, Keith Higgins, Kevin McLaughlin, Darren Coen,Cathal Carolan and richie feeney to start february with. Drop the rest of the forwards involved, bring in the like of Kirby and kilcoyne and one or 2 others up front.
    The fbd league will give us some idea of what’s out there, I think a full new 20 players should drafted in, see who’s up for it and add them in for the national league. Give them full games and see how it goes.
    The thing we have to understand is that we the frame of a championship winner in place, keep them together, be better prepared to make the proper changes in the big games and have added the better scoring forward(s) up front. Though it must also be said that midfield spluttered badly too and that’s another place that needs looking at, we were caught out very badly there.
    And still lost by a single point.

  38. Good piece rob.

    I am also glad to see hard questions being asked here, I am fed up of getting pats on the back and saying ah sure ye done well and got there, there is always year. Feck no, our chance was this year and we blew it. We also blew it last year against Donegal.

    We may well get to another final next year but the simple fact is, we will be found wanting in the final when the chips are down. I am 50/50 if I want horan to stay on. Serious baggage their now. Bring through a few minors, as a poster here said, if they are good enough, they are old enough.

  39. As always when we lose its time for the blame game, As always when we lose our best players are the ones who didn’t play or were taken off. As always when we lose the manager made terrible decisions. Look back over the comments made on this blog throughout the year Praise was heaped on players who are now the supposed villains. Im desperately disappointed but I don’t see the point in being overly critical of management and players who have given their all over the last 3 years and who have given brilliant entertainment and put pride back into our county. We should be careful what we wish for in our county. Being so critical of our manager and some players who have given such fantastic service to our county is I think grossly unfair. I for one want to thank them for their efforts. I hope they stay together and give it another shot.

  40. For most of the past year posters on here lauded Horan on how he played his hand and kept his words to a minimum, now a lot want to see him do the opposite.
    This is not the time for knee-jerk reactions, as they never solve anything except pander to the baying hordes.
    It is instead a time for cool thought by the team and management.
    If that makes me an arse-licker then I don’t give a f**k.
    I totally agree that the scalpel has to be applied, there are a few positions that have been filled over the past 12 months with players past their best or not just good enough at the top level, without naming names ( WJ’s rules ) I think we all know who they are but Horan can’t be one of them.
    He made mistakes for sure but I think that with a period of reflection, he will do what’s needed.
    I am as gutted as the next after last Sunday but on the day the Dubs were better and they were better because we had at most 12 players putting in the effort needed at this level.

  41. Aiden kilcoyne

    Not sure was there penalties involved but its still impressive scoring
    3 goals 3 points vs ballina today

    Has to be called and asked sooner than later.

  42. to win just once says, you call it blame, others call it a fair analysis of the final but in any case what’s wrong with blame anyway ? I don’t blame the team as a whole for failing to win the All Ireland, I blame certain individuals (some who for some reason have never played well in finals) and I would like to know why some of the managerial calls were and weren’t made.

    I don’t know about anyone else on here but this latest final collapse (and that’s what it was) is much worse than any I can recall. Last year there was disappointment and a few rumblings about wrong calls in regards to match ups in particular but there was a sense that the team generally gave it their best shot.

    There is absolutely none of that feeling this time around, not from people who know their football anyway.

  43. Jo Mac ……if you are sick to the f*** ing teeth of it then how do you think the team feel.
    I disagree that this was the first time since 51 we could and should have won. We could have won 89…… We should have won 96…….. and we could have won 97.
    I never heard any of these criticisms when we were hammering Galway, Roscommon and Donegal and when we best Tyrone by 6 but could have been 10! When you call for major surgery who do think we should drop and who should be brought in to take their place?
    Calls for James Horans head are way off the mark. We’re ye in Sligo or Longford three yrs ago? We are a top clas team and to say that we are the joke of all other counties is plainly wrong and deeply insulting the great efforts our lads have put in these last three years. That’s straight talking for you!

  44. Pretty sure people are getting their knickers in a twist with each other for no good reason.

    What is with this almost fascist attitude, if you don’t toe the line with all things Horan and the team says and does, you’re out , you’re no addition as a supporter, you’re unhelpful , etc etc.

    Seriously, if you can’t have an opinion on the team you support and follow through thick and thin, what’s the point in it all.

    We can all gather in Castlebar or Hyde park next July and sing as we lift the Nestor cup, ” I love you, you love me , we are a happpppy family ” . Ffs

    We are all greatful for what this panel and management have done, we all appreciate the effort they put in ….we just want to go one bloody step further and we are saying he needs to address the areas that need addressing. Maximise what we have got within our county , take a chance with some new forwards, try find a midfield solution to when we are faced with a mobile partnership and do all this now and give it proper game time in FBD and league.

  45. @to win just once : Just bought a new box of tissues.If that’s putting pride back into our County , God help us. I don’t feel any pride; not one person I was talking to, not Mayo natives but supporters, have lost all respect for Mayo. I would swop the three Connacht finals for 1 All Ireland!!!
    @ JJ, love ” the baying hordes”, no comment!!!
    I have lauded very few all year, because there were too many, uncorrected mistakes being made. I don’t do knee jerk reactions. Anything I say is deliberate and thought out, not politically correct or effusive, but when i see constant mistakes i call it as it is and tough shit if anyone is offended. I actually never commented on James Horan, I left it to him to prove himself or otherwise.

    I am not going to prevent cool thought on Management and the team. What would you call the the thinking and tactics last Sunday???

  46. @ diehard, you obviously weren’t reading my blogs all year.
    I was the one who constantly made constructive criticisms as they were needed and was ridiculed by all the “Positive People” How the hell do I know who should be dropped or otherwise; they are only opinions. I am entitled to them, just as you are and I am also entitled to be sick to the fucking teeth. We are the joke of other Counties. Take of your red and green glasses.
    I didn’t call for James Horan’s head. That’s not my call. I was in Longford at that wonderful game. I have also said that we are an 80% great team. Get your facts right.

    Thanks Sean Burke for a bit of reality. What’s happening is that comments from realists are once again being derided and made personal making a reply necessary.

  47. We have 60+ years of failure to contend with so it is understandable that we are all feeling a bit raw at the moment.
    On Sunday last we encountered our first real test of the year & were ill-prepared for it.
    It now appears that there was strife in the camp in the run-up to the biggest game of the year. Our backs were occupied at home & could not get forward as in previous games.
    Aidan had his head so filled with thoughts of ‘tracking’ the athletes in the Dublin midfield that Aidan was back in his hotel room before he realised that all this ‘tracking’ was actually decoy running aimed at exhausting Aidan & keeping him as far away from the ball as possible ! We got caught by the Dublin counter tactics.
    This together with all the other previously discussed shortcomings in selection, substitutions,tactics, etc meant that it was a minor miracle that we were still within one point of them at the end. All of this tells me that much of this is within our own control & we remain capable of beating the best out there & beating them well.
    We need a manager who knows his best 15 & his best impact subs, a support structure of tacticians around him to advise on big match days, some in front of a tv screen & some in the stands with the ability to relay information & advice quickly. It is impossible for one man standing on the sideline to see everything that needs to be seen in real time in a high intensity match in Croke Park.
    The past is the past & cannot be undone. Let the lessons learnt be put to good use so that in time we will gain many more All Irelands than the one we could have gained last Sunday. Had we won last Sunday we would have been so busy congratulating ourselves that we would not have looked at the downsides in our performance.
    Please put the structures in place.

  48. diehard, I think you may be forgetting what the subject matter is. You have referred to Longford and Sligo more than once, that is history. There was only one way to go from that low ebb, don’t think we needed a miracle worker for that.

    I`m afraid to say but we are the butt of jokes, known as bottlers, chokers or whatever and so would any other county if they had lost as many finals as Mayo have.

    You say that this is deeply insulting to “the great efforts our lads have put in these last three years”

    But the jokes and the sniggering aren’t about that, they are about the habit of collapsing on major days, bottling it to put it bluntly. I feel more sorry for the fans getting stick to be perfectly honest with you.

    The players are our ambassadors and we are perfectly entitled to question why they can not get it together on All-Ireland final day as are we entitled to question the manager.

    This stuff has been brushed under the carpet too many times.

  49. Jo Mac
    Of course you are entitled to your opinion and you are obviously as frustrated as everyone else at our continued failure to win Sam.
    I do not intend engaging in a slagging match but if you call for radical surgery and do not specify what that means in practice ie names of players or/ management I cannot take it seriously. We need very little to be honest….yes a couple of good forwards for sure but who?
    Your criticisms did not emerge during the championship as far as I can remember and Mayo are certainly NOT the joke of other counties. I have contact with most counties on a weekly basis and I have not found that at all. Pity yes ( which is almost as bad! ) but very few of them would fancy getting us in a championship game.
    As regards the red and green specs………….well I AM a supporter since 1963 and have been as critical as anyone when it is warranted but I would hope it is constructive and balanced not criticising as a way of purging my own frustrations.

  50. I’m probably opening myself up to tons of ridicule here but I’m glad we didn’t win we didn’t deserve it and if we had won we probably wouldn’t be asking any questions, I’m fairly sure there are some great forwards out there it shouldn’t matter what club they are from and it’s about time they got a chance.

  51. A lively discussion here this evening for sure, and I’m pretty sure that this is not the response that Rob Murphy was expecting.Sorry Rob!

    I’m glad to see that at last, straight-talking constructive criticism is coming into vogue here. It’s not so long since I offered some myself – concerning the alarming first-half performance in the semi-final from our forward line – and was dismissed as ‘talking negative shite’ by the chief poster from the Positive Thought Police. I notice above that the same poster is already ready to ‘move on’ from this defeat. Surprise, surprise.

    In case that poster needs it spelt out: being a dedicated Mayo supporter IS compatible with being constructively critical. Yes, you CAN do both and it DOESN’T mean that you want the team to lose. You might keep that in mind in future.

    Anyway, reading the pieces around the various Sunday papers today has given me a bit of perspective on the thing now. They’re all broadly agreed on the following:

    – from 1 to 9, the team is impressive
    – taking Freeman off: disastrous move, robbed FF line of target man + physicality (plus our only scoring forward bar Moran)
    – time is up for ‘certain players’ getting picked to start All-Ireland finals
    – no Richie Feeney: why?
    – 1-2 physical scoring forwards required if Mayo are serious about going further
    – Mayo are young, and are almost guaranteed a quarter-final spot in 2014 given the state of Connacht: so no point in stopping now

    So the neutrals think all is not as black as we are feeling now. Perhaps they are right: time will tell.

    My concerns about our bottle in the forward line when a final is there to be won remain – Andy Moran being an honourable exception. Him aside, it’s hard to know if that can be remedied by a change of manager.

    I hope Horan stays on. But only if he now turns his mantra of ‘relentless improvement’ onto his own decision-making under serious pressure.

    Ultimately, Mayo 2013 ended up in a better state than Mayo 2012. But if Horan stays, that will not be enough to win Sam in 2014. He’s a smart man, he knows that. The team and the tactics have to get better again. I hope, and I think, that under his leadership they will.

  52. Some guy in a blog up above said we were ill prepared for the Dublin game. Untrue. We were very well prepared. To those of us who are old enough to go back to the early sixties we can say that it is the best Mayo team since that time and we had some good ones.

    We must forget last Sunday and move on. That will be difficult of course. Mayo’s next step now is to boost morale and the team and management should go “all out” for the National League.
    Thanks to James Horan, all his backroom team and the Co. Board for a great year. James Horan should stay on. Are there rumours that a duo from Ballina who trained a green and red clad team to winning a club championship last year are waiting in the background with baited breath to take over Mayo.
    James Horan you may never read but you should stay on management

  53. JoeMac ,if you think I was singling you out, I wasn’t. I was however , responding to quite a few of the above posts that seem to be of the trend that, Horan should go and that there should be some sort of hurried statement, as to what the problems were before last Sunday.
    We’ve had a few bites at each other over the year Joe and I suppose you put me in the
    ‘Positive people’ bracket and I can live with that, as for being ‘politically correct’, I don’t think so but saying it ‘as I see it’ can and may be a whole lot different than others see it, as you said yourself, we all have our own opinions.
    As for my thoughts and tactics last Sunday, well :
    It was shite.
    After the first 15 minutes we let the dubs dictate.
    Our handling and delivery was very poor, simple basic errors.
    Mac worked for and got on an awful lot of ball but had to take too much out of it as he never had anyone off his shoulder or anyone showing early. Higgins, the same.
    Bad,bad misses early on and it seemed rushed, our coolness in possession, delivery and shooting deserted us, visions of Mayo of old.
    Then we had Freeman taken off and I think we were all scratching our heads at that one.
    The second half was pure shite ,regarding decisions on the field and the line.
    The backs held up well but with only 50% of the midfield and HF line doing anything and nothing coming from the forwards , the result was inevitable.
    Andy’s goal gave us hope but then we conceded in a couple of minutes (another soft one) and that was that.
    As for the subs, everyone has alluded to the same. why no Richie Feeney to replace Alan Dillon , Doc on for only a couple of minutes before the end and Barry Moran on for the wrong O’Shea.
    So Joe my opinion on what happened is about the same as yours and most everyone on here……………….But it is gone and there’s feck all we can do about that game now, sore as it is, it’s a loss.
    That said it is also a sharp wake up call and the tough decisions that’s needed will, I have no doubt, be made by J Horan and co. but they have time to do it and I think they should be let take that time and not be pushed or rushed into it.

  54. For anyone to suggest that it was better for Mayo football that we hadn’t won the AIF last Sunday, because it might have smoothed over the cracks or whatever, must be away with the fairies. I said earlier in this page that AI are there to be won by fair means or foul and one can just imagine the lift it would have given the County to be hearing Mayo described as All Ireland Champions for 2013. There would be very few negative comments, as we would all be wallowing in their success and James and the Team would be the pin-up boys on every GAA Club wall and Pub all over the County – they would be seen as the Team that brought some long overdue respect back to Mayo. Imagine the boost in confidence that finally winning Sam would bring to everyone and knowing that we won not playing well would give us more determination to drive on for more success next year. I could go on but what’s the point, other than to say thank be to God for the Minors – it gives us hope for the future.

  55. @ diehard, Don’t want a slagging match but I need to put a couple of things right. To be honest, I am not sure myself what I mean by radical surgery. I am not being specific because I really don’t know.
    Once again, all year, I never shut up giving off. I mustn’t have made a great impression or you just didn’t read it.
    I have experienced loads of negative discussions and derisory comments about Mayo’s football. It has got much worse since last week. I work in the Media and not in Mayo. Having more than 7 decades under my belt I do know a little about football and having played for years I never once needed to be motivated. My motivation was personal, my opponent had to be disposed off, always. No positive courses there.

    By the way, I do not purge my frustrations by constructive criticism. I am mature enough not to have to purge my frustrations. Have you a degree in Psychology?

    @ Joey, well put!!

  56. Thanks JJ, we are reading from the same hymn sheet and want the same result.

    I suppose that because I really hoped this year we had a team that could do it and nailed my colours to the mast, it was really devastating. As I say we have a great 80% team.

  57. I forgot to include Cluxtons kickouts . Gavin knew we quickly shut down the ball coming out all year and Cluxton had a ball ready for the targeted kickout immediately and found his man with such ease it was painful.

  58. High emotion this evening. No harm. Horan MUST take responsibility for his perfomance on Sunday. I was disappointed to hear the same mantra from him after the match – players making basic mistakes etc. If I was a player on the panel I’d be mighty pissed off to hear him blaming the players again. This may explain the alleged disquiet in the City West at the aftermatch banquet.

    To be clear this is not Horan bashing. He’s a fantastic manager but clearly needs more input from his bootroom team in the white heat of battle. Personally I hope he stays on and keeps Buckley in situ. Don’t undersestimate the influence Buckley will have in year 2 of his tenure.

    Personnel changes in the forwards are needed. Coen, Gallagher, Regan, and indeed Kilcoyne are natural instinctive forwards. I, unlike many on the site, am unconvinced of Feeney’s suitability as an attacker. He’s not a natural finisher. More of a half back or ideal in a sweeper role for me. I’d also like to see a running midfielder groomed. Maybe Vaughan?

    The talent is there. A major opportunity passed last Sunday but there’s no reason at all why it won’t come around again in 12 months.

  59. Joe Mc / Davy J I’m with ye on this one. I was lambasted myself a few weeks back for commenting that the Dublin forward line possessed the potential to destroy us if going at full tilt and over my concerns about the fact that so many were choosing to ignore that facts that we lacked that sort of firepower up front. Christ – some idiot even chose to respond to my post with some sort of “fear not” poem while the back slapping continued for each “positive” comment that was added day after day. Another inferred I was not a supporter – why? – because I challenged the status quo with some realism. While I am disappointed with the result last weekend, I am not entirely surprised because we were always going to be up against it playing the best team in the country in 2013. I agree that we need to reinforce our forward line with some quality additions if we ever want to have a realistic chance of winning the All Ireland. There are some very promising young players in the county, however, they won’t develop into the next Brogan or Joyce or Canavan within the next 12 months – its going to take a couple of years to get there…Fact not Fiction.

  60. John Cuffe, “next time the Galway man slags you about a three in a row take him back to 1940/41/42. Galway lost three in a row that time. They also lost in 1971,73,and 74. Almost a three in a row. Dont forget to remind him of 1983 when 12 Dubs beat them, at least the Dubs needed 15 to beat us!!!” Thanks for that John, I never thought of the ’83 game and never knew of the ’40 – ’42 games. I will hold that one in the barrel.

  61. Just trying to work out what people are trying to say , I can’t work out what exactly it is some of ye are saying.

    Dublin will improve greatly on their all Ireland final appearance , agree or disagree?

    If we started an all Ireland final next year with the same forwards , would we beat an improved Dublin side if they were our opponents , yes or no?

  62. Think its far more complex than a yes or no. There were plenty people who predicted that we wouldn’t beat Donegal and then that we wouldn’t beat Tyrone. Mayo have always been an enigma because you just don’t know what team will turn up.

    Its mainly in the mind with Mayo I’m afraid. And no cure has been found for it so far anyway.

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