Aidan O’Shea our MOTM from yesterday

Aidan O'Shea v Sligo 2015


It was, I guess, a foregone conclusion that, after his wrecking-ball performance at Hyde Park yesterday, Aidan O’Shea would gallop away with the Man of the Match poll. He did: the poll’s now closed and Aidan is the clear winner, claiming his second MOTM gong in this championship campaign with 63% of the popular vote.

Tom Parsons and Diarmuid O’Connor also put in sparkling displays against Sligo yesterday and this is reflected in the support they both got in the poll. Tom came in second with 19% of the vote while Diarmuid was next on 8%.

Well done to all three – who were all shortlisted for the MOTM award on The Sunday Game last night (which Aidan also won) – and well done too to everyone, on the pitch and off it, who had a hand in yesterday’s completion of the Connacht five-in-a-row.

50 thoughts on “Aidan O’Shea our MOTM from yesterday

  1. Great days to be a mayo supporter if we tighten up the defence a bit it could be a long Summer even if it’s not this bunch of lads are a credit they have given everything for the cause

  2. Wouldn’t worry about defence on a day like that, they must have been saying will you take this one or will I. Lethargy crept into the team after they opened the jugular of the Sligo spirit. Aidan was scoring goals and he was like a player at a fundraising event,, barely raising his hands after the first as he knew they were in a raiding party and the braves were all absent and all that were left were the women and children. This was a screamer of Division 3 v the cream of Division 1. Aidan looks immense but this is is the last game he will be given free cake at the Alter and he will have to pay heavily from now on to get leeway like that again.
    He is a magnificant player and Is truly a joy to behold but bigger tests are ahead as ye all know and the trick is to feed him the right ball. Big men get little change from referees in that danger zone, ( before ye all plop into the Donaghy soft frees chants) as they are all held pulled and fouled with impunity. In every game the target full forwards are always held tightly by the marker, despite your opinion about the Kerry attack line. Just look at any of the footage of the Kerry attacks last week when Kerry were on the build up to a score, anyone without blatant bias could see Cadogan holding Donaghys wrist with both hands preventing him from making an early run. If ye think Aidan is fouled outfield wait till the McGees or O Carroll gets their a hands on him. He will be pinched. Stamped on, goaded and blatantly held before during and after every Mayo attack.. That’s what he game has arrived at and it’s not going to change anytime soon, of course Kevinn McStay mighty change all that with his wisdom and balance !!!

  3. Actually that isn’t a proper finish to the post as I am sure that McStay is not everyone’s cup or tea up there as Spillane is nor everyone’s down here, and talking about either of them would demean the efforts of all involved in the Championship at this stage.
    Kerry have an easier route but this could hurt their chances in the long run, mayo have the warriors path and if they survive it they will win the All Ireland as Kerry or Monaghan will have not been tested and will not survive the intensity that a surviving team bring. If the dubs beat ye or donegal they might be there for the picking as
    they might struggle to get their heads out of the dressing room doors on final day..,either way it’s great to see the top teams alive and well in late July.

  4. Enjoyed reading that Gamechanger10. We all know O’Shea wont get it handy again against the McGees but he does give us an outlet we have’nt had in recent years, if our running game is closed down we can now finally pump a high ball in with a 50/50 chance of winning it (like kerry have done for years) and if 1 out of 5 balls stick to Aidan im sure we could be looking at more goals regardless of opposition.

    I finally got a chance to watch the recording of the game and after Cantwells question to holmes about the state of our defence, and after his cheeky smile and response, im 100% confident their is a sweeper system primed and ready for deployment when the need arises!!!. As it stands Kerry are my favourites with their less treacherous route, followed by the Dubs and possibly us.

  5. Well done Aidan, that was a great performance, keep up the good work! Fair play to Tom Parsons and Diarmuid O’Connor as well. They were the new kids on the block, so to speak, in terms of playing on a winning Connacht final team so it was great to see them playing so well.

  6. So on this speculation that we have a sweeper system…who would that player be?
    You must remember that a sweeper system can potentially damage us also as it potentially removes the advantage we have with 6 on 6 in the forward line for opposition kickouts. Most teams who deploy a sweeper system drop a forward back on the opposition kickout which leaves 5 on 6.
    Has anyone seen anything during the league which they feel would be the system we would use?

  7. Interesting post gamechanger, East cork exile do you think that Aidan will be double marked from now on – would that not free up a sweeper. People more knowledgeable than me have commented previously that the league match against donegal was one in which we defended well. My feeling is we haven’t shown our hand yet, while I am absolutely delighted about our 5 in a row does anyone else feel like it’s the calm before the storm! There just seems to be a confidence and ruthlessness that wasn’t there previously.

  8. Double marking AOS is all well and good but that is easier said than done. The man is a tank and ive seen him get out with the ball with 3 men around him. It also as already mentioned takes pressure and would give more space to our other forwards…..not a word about Cillian in the national media, I reckon he is happy being out of the spotlight.

  9. Yes always mayo but I don’t think they would double team him from their own kickout.
    Personally I’d probably be advocating that one of the midfielders in purely on defensive duties, Tom Parsons appears to play this role sometimes, I would think SOS would be better suited to that given that TP is a very good distributor of the ball but maybe its that SOS isn’t as good a tackler or man marker.
    A couple of years ago Kevin McLoughlin was kinda doing that sweeper job, he was always picking up breaks in midfield and is a very good distributor. He was always at his most effective when doing that and seems less so recently. Yes he was dropping back a bit in the last two games but appeared to spend a lot of time getting ball out on the sidelines, whereas in the past he would have always been the man you’d see getting the breaking ball around the middle and setting off another attack.
    The pundits are saying that only one thing has changed about Mayo, and that is AOS sticking at full forward. I think multiple things have changed:

    1. Tom Parsons form and being at midfield, AOS couldn’t be at FF if Parsons wasn’t able to ably replace him at midfield. I know he has been around for years but its as if we have just discovered another top class midfielder.
    2. Diarmuid O’Connors direct running and athlectisim, that wasn’t there before and now arguably gives us three top class forwards with three totally different styles. Not many can boast this. Wether he can do it in Croker against top class opposition is another story but I would have thought it would only suit him.
    3. Wing Half backs not breaking as much. While arguably this hasn’t given us as much defensive solidity as you would like, it should at some stage. They did go forward more in the Sligo game but I think that was as others have said simply because it was game over early and with all that space and all that ball who wouldn’t want to move forward

    Protecting the fullback line is still a concern. I don’t agree that we haven’t found a full back, no full back in the country can play a full forward if he is on his own and the right ball is played. You have to make it so that all the full back has to do is make the ball messy with a hand or a drag and someone is there to either clean up the spill or tackle the FF if he wins it cleanly. The days of a Full back being able to clean his full forward all the time are gone with Mick Lyons. The FF only has to be right 2 out of 10 times to do damage, the full back every time.

  10. east cork exile,
    do you remember the second half against Donegal in the league?? Mayo used the best defensive system ever, blocking out Donegal completely. Then Mayo created 11 good scoring chances, as well as an open goal. They missed the whole bloody lot through crazy shooting, so instead of winning that game, they lost. This was a planned defence, every player seemed to know his place.
    I am blue in the face from repeating this. Only a handful of people here noticed it, pebblesmeller mentioned it last week. Does anyone look with their eyes instead of whatever part of their bodies they look with ???

  11. Gamechanger Great bit of writing I wish every Mayo supporter would read your wisdom on this one. Well done to everyone involved with the Mayo team. This was a great day for Mayo. The Hyde did not dissapoint our supporters. The weather behaved for a day at least. Really enjoyed that big screen and the playback. Wonderful atmosphere around the town. Great Guinness. If you were there, then fair play to you because you know what I mean. If you were not, ..oouch.

  12. Joe Mc, I didn’t see the match, was out of the country at the time, which is the reason why I was asking.
    So the question becomes if we believe that is repeatable…can a team significantly switch tactics at this level. Its possible at lower levels so I struggle to see why it wouldn’t be with the elite.
    Westmeath did it for most of the game against the Dubs and had 2 weeks to work on it. Personally I hope we get Donegal, I don’t want us potentially getting to an all Ireland semi final only having played teams inside our own province. It would not be good preparation for a potential semi with the Dubs

  13. All season tickets are updated now,scanners from sunday’s scanners were not uploaded until this morning

  14. Gamechanger spot on. Great to see other views on here.

    PJMcmanus I couldnt have put it better myself. I was there and know what u mean although my Guinness intake was limited but I might change that for Croker

  15. If thinking defensive like what Donegal/Dublin or Monaghan do this takes a long time to work on. You mix up covering players man to man and players just marking space. We are not so great working as defensive units. Maybe a bit better this year.
    Kevin Keane it looks like has to come back and it is for one reason. He is capable of going for the ball with his hands above his head. Might think that is juvenile analysis, but it’s a serious point and a skill you generally don’t master after 18. At this high level it is a very difficult skill. None of our backs ever, and I mean ever go to claim ball with their hands above their head. I’v always like my full back to be able to do that. Keane also has that built to the ground muscularity where he can’t be passed. McManamon tried him a few times in the league and he is a strong runner who gets passed most.
    If thinking defensive Midfielder that is SOS. Tom Parsons has got caught twice with the same error in both games. He over committed his run to the line of the attacking forward. The forward cuts to the inside and Parsons fell over as had too much forward momentum to check back. Career defenders no that you never over sprint into a shut down of a forwards running line. You have to come in at 90% pace to allow yourself to check back if they jink inside. SOS does not get caught like this. Not Tom Parsons fault he is more of an attacking midfielder.
    If we want one simple solution that adds extra defensive water tightness it is probably just SOS falling back between the lines. Then we need a plan for our kickouts.
    Its fine talking about Kevin Mc but he hasnt got the size to stop likes of Connolly steaming through the middle or Michael Murphy.

  16. I think our defensive systems/Sweeper is like this


    Vaughan gives mobility, interlink play, tough rugged, physically strong, aerially capable and general sweeping duties to the fullback line whilst ability to make a tackle, probably the best man to stand opposition player up in the “choke Tackle” like rugby and then he himself can break a tackle and distribute as via foot or hand .
    I see Kevin Mc Dropping into halfback line at 6 or 7 and team remains the same barring that.
    Cunnife whilst I am a massive fan is off colour and whilst Chris Barrett never disappoints I think Vaughan has more of a presence .
    That said Barrett could get the no.2 off Caff very easily but Caff is a top defenders once he is not isolated and in this formation he wont be isolated .

  17. Outside of boot, did you see the league game against Dublin?
    When Dublin outfield players seen Vaughan up ahead they generally took him on and sidestepped him with ease to make big gains down the field. A bit slow over 5 yards to make quick adjustments to stop likes of Connolly, Flynn, Brogan.

  18. I fully appreciate what you are saying JP, but with the options available to us I thought he has most physical presence and given that extra 5 yards by playing as a Sweeper, he would have more time to react .
    In that I mean he can see all in front of him and can adjust his position accordingly.
    Ideally we dont give Connolly and Flynn a run on us and be as open as the league game .

    Ideally Higgins with his cat like reactions would be a sweeper but we need him as man marker so with that in mind I proposed Vaughan .

  19. No comment needed on Aido.

    However, Diarmuid O’Connor’s performance was something. Did anyone notice his fourth point? I was right ‘on it’. He seemed to drop the ball, or it went a bit away from him and he hit it (chipped it) with the wrong side of his right foot, which was the wrong foot from where he was positioned. Unbelievable, though I note it drew no comment from Canning or Carr. Quel surprise.

  20. @ Outside if the Boot

    My thoughts entirely re a sweeper system with Vaughan, or in other words, just a smart defensive system. I tracked Vaughan the last day….the lad plays in to position at all! With us kicking the ball a lot more into the forward line, we don’t need our half backs so far up the field….yes on counter attacks, but generally keegan and vaughan particularly are loitering around the midfield area.
    Vaughans direction has to be to control the space between the full-back (Keane) and the 40….NO further, unless on an open break, but even then he must look to play and recover his station. I think he is the man for it. We CANT afford to leave that gaping hole between the 20 and the 40….its criminal, especially as our back 3 the last day are not exactly the most physical. Full-back line has to be Barrett, Keane and Higgins with Vaughan ahead of them. We will make some exception for Higgins given his pace, however the others must be directed that absolute priority has to be to keep potential exposure in the full-back line at a minimum. McLaughlin is the man to slot into the vacant half-back position vacated by Vaughan….he plays close to this area anyway.
    It can be as complicated as you want to make it, but clear instructions of roles and responsibilities for our defenders and some positional clarity could go 80% of the way. Funny enough, the work-ethic and positioning of our forwards when we don’t have the ball is second to none….just need to get our defenders to adapt accordingly….simples!

  21. Hello, have just switced and am astounded that you all find gamechangers analysis on the marking of Aidan O’Shea so insightful. Do you think Aidan, Cilian, Andy, Diarmuid, Alan, Pat and. Noel and the rest of us are complete gomshites. Why buy into the negativity. We are all proud of the team and there is no need to start now as to what might go wrong. Constructive criticism can be good but draging people to your own level is not. Best wishes. Ciaran 2.

  22. It was a good win for Mayo, well done on 5 in a row. Here’s another view, if Kerry won Munster by that same score over limerick or Clare would they be talking about how they have finally found the answer ? Sligo tried but it was like a boxer in a ring with a fella that never boxed, that’s why aiden didn’t even smile or celebrate after the first few scores. He knew it was a nonevent. Mayo may be better than last year but we won’t know until they’re tested by donegal, Dublin etc on gameday.

  23. I noticed Diarmuid OConnor did a soccer style pass outside of right versus Galway. Near sideline in between two defenders. He can play it as he sees it. Two games about 40 posessions, 4 pts and zero errors.

  24. Everyone thonks it’s Donegal well Galway be licking their lips at the thought of being written off. With the amount of attention Aidan o s is getting it will play into the opposition s hands that’s not good for Mayo.

  25. I genuinely don’t remember the last time Galway actually won a match as real underdogs* in champ so don’t get this relishing being “written off” stuff myself.

    Galway have been talked up for years because they have some good footballing tradition and were the best team in the country at the turn of the century. In truth they’re an average division 2 team nowadays, miles off a team of Donegal’s level. They’d be on a very similar level to teams like Laois and Westmeath who don’t get overly hyped because they haven’t won All Irelands and don’t have near the same history

    The more I think about it, the more I feel this has a Tipp/Tyrone scenario written all over it- in that too many are talking up Galway’s chances while Donegal actually come in completely under-rated. I’d hope it’s not near the same level of a pasting though, but it wouldn’t amaze me

    Donegal have appeared in the AI semi in 3 of the last 4 seasons. galway haven’t made one since 2001..?

    I hope I’m wrong, Galway are always my second team, and I’m far from a lover of donegal

    Don’t get me wrong I do think Galway can contend all irelands a few years down the road but they’re way off that yet

    * As in clear underdogs, not 6/5 against or whatever

  26. If Galway can get within 4 of us with a flukey goal. They are well capable of beating Donegal.

  27. I suppose Sligo were the second best team in the country in 2009 JP?

    Seeing as they came the closest to Kerry all year

    And London would have beaten Donegal and Galway in 2013?

  28. No chance for Galway im afraid, especially when Donegal have a two week break in between. Galway are an average, borderline good team , i think they’d rattle anyone outside the top 4, Donegal will regroup and be gunning for us come the Quarters. Obviously id love to see Galway beat them and will be willing them on but not gunna happen imo. Any talk of us playing the Dubs should be firmly parked to one side. Donegal will be a massive challenge, i just hope that all the talk of their pace being gone is true…and that they are over the hill but something tells me theirs a rattle in them yet.

  29. Ciaran was there a big gulf between us and Galway?
    I seen one team with Aidan OShea win the game against a team missing Shane Walsh. Apparently Walsh may be back.
    Walsh, Comer and Sice are three quality forwards. Donegal just blew the head gasket against Monaghan last Sunday. They have injuries and they are much older. The game is fixed for Castlebar, a large pitch that is not easy to blanket.
    I see it being 40:60 favouring Donegal.

  30. Was there a big gulf between us and Galway? Yeah, a big enough gulf in my opinion even though there didn’t need to be- we never looked in danger of losing and rightfully never got into top gear.

    Is there a big gulf between us in general? Massive, in my view

    Does that have an ounce of relevance in relation to a qualifier being played on saturday Week in a different venue, different weather conditions, at a different time of the year, that doesn’t even involve Mayo? No chance

    Tipp only lost by a few points to Kerry and lost by 12 to Tyrone. Would you fancy Tyrone to beat Kerry so in the semi this year?

    “Walsh, sice and Comer are quality forwards”, that’s all well and good but then you see the opposition have Murphy, McBrearty and McFadden 😀 😀 Galway are an improving team, and are far from bad, but they’re up against a complete different animal here

    But all in all, I’m exactly in agreement with Juan above, so I’ll just echo his thoughts!

  31. Galway have a great chance against Donegal. They have built up serious momentum through the qualifiers, have a good manager and they will fancy taking on Donegal who will be dejected after the weekend’s loss. Benny Coulter spoke very highly of Galway at the start of the Championship, noting their performances in the league. He’s no mug, that’s for sure. And I’d agree, Croker will suit their nippy forwards, and if Walsh is back it’s a huge plus. It makes for an intriguing match.

  32. Galway 1-11 Derry 0-08
    Derry 0-10 Donegal 1-09

    Galway beat Derry by 6 points at home. Donegal beat Derry by 2 points away. Based on those results Galway might not be without hope. Even if Galway do beat Donegal, Sligo would have to beat Tyrone for us to be paired with Galway in the quarter-final. We have a 50% chance of meeting Donegal and a 25% chance of meeting either Tyrone or Galway.

  33. Without being offensive to Sligo but they have very little hope of defeating a hardened outfit like Tyrone, so I think the Galway v Us chance is next to no chance.

    Btw how the hell did the official GAA website manage to put up wrong info Sunday night as regards the draw. A bit embarrassing for them.

  34. McFadden is no longer a top forward or close to it. Sice a much better player.
    There is no gulf between us and Galway. We simply have the best full forward in the country and that mainly created the 4pt gap. Galway will be fresher than Donegal.

  35. Why are we obsessing about Galway? Last month it was the Rossies and their stellar forward line.

    We’ve just won five Connachts in a row and broken records or equalled records for scores, and scorers. If we must mention Galway, even the great team of the sixties, who were on parade after the minor match, only won four provincials in a row.

    What’s really concerning me is: will Keane be back for Q/F? Why can’t Conor Loftus or Kirby make the match day 26? Will Evan Regan make the 26 for Q/F? And, we need to talk about Kevin (Mac).

  36. Don’t know whats up with Kevin Mc. But its a long time since he had a consistent 70 mins.
    I guess Keane will be back he was on the bench.
    Regan/Kirby/Loftus. Sweeney/Dillon can they keep them out of the 26?

  37. As regards the first 26 I’d say anyone who didn’t get a run out on Sunday is unlikely to feature later in the year unless there is a spate of injuries. Making way for Evan Regan or/and Conor loft us or Jason gibbons means some big calls will need to be made. Who makes way?
    I reckon Kevin mc Loughlin is still a top class player and will come good when the need arises. He offers an awful lot of options both in attack and defence.

  38. One area that might be a bit of a concern for us could be midfield back-up. If Seamie wasn’t fit for the quarter-final, (he did seem to have a few niggles during the league) and Barry Moran had to start (Barry can be a bit injury prone too as can Tom Parsons), would Danny Kirby then be the next midfield option for us. As far as I know Jason Gibbons was not part of the 34 man squad so hopefully Seamie, Tom and Barry can stay fit for us. Remember last year all of the talk was about the damage Donaghy did to us but David Moran was another player that we never got to grips with, he scored two great points from play against us in the drawn match and won loads of ball in the replay.

  39. Croker will particularly suit Galway?

    I don’t get this, Galway have played Croker twice this decade and won nothing there. In fact when was the last time they won a match there? I always find it a bit of a bizarre cliche thrown around nowadays

    Meanwhile Donegal have a 6-3 winning record there since 2011, losing to the All Ireland champions on two occasions and the other time losing to the form team in the country at the time

    And Croker will suit Galway more?

    Donegal have played 9 Champ matches there since 2011, Galway 2

  40. “There is no gulf between us and Galway”

    Jaysus no wonder Aidan had to come out with his view before the Galway match that (paraphrasing here) people were way too negative about Mayo’s chances against them

    Crikey, since 2011 (when this Mayo team was truly “born”) Mayo have made 4 All Ireland Semis, two finals, won 5 Connachts, made 3 Division 1 League semis, 2 finals and Galway have eh, made one quarter-final…

    No gulf at all 😀 😀

  41. Galway’s Croke Park famine has to come to an end at some stage. This is as good a chance as they’ll get, but I still think Donegal will beat them.

    Donegal’s biggest problem now is psychological. Have they the will to rise again? The type of game they play and the manic training they do simply has to take its toll. The spot they’re in now is the same spot they were in two years ago, and when Mayo hit them hard and hit them early, they had nothing left to give.

    If Galway can get a quick early goal (or even two) then the shock is on. Donegal look too battle-hardened to let that happen though.

  42. Silly talking us up against either Tyrone or Galway.
    I expect a battle and we must prepare for same.
    Nothing is won yet.That is not negative.It is realistic with a hope that we can take and win each game on its own merits and win the big one finally.
    We will have different heroes on different days if that happens.In truth they are all heroes but it would be so nice to win it out.There will of course be heart stopping moments before that.

  43. Yeah davy J to be fair it was our early goals that killed Donegal that day

    IIRC they started pretty well, I THINK we went about a goal up at the start but they clawed their way back with three unanswered points and completely dominated us for 5 mins, we then got another goal, then another and BAM game over

    That was a bit of a freak game though, I’d say it was one of the best performances ever seen in Croke Park by any team (we could literally do zero wrong that day), while Donegal were riddled with injuries and had an understandable hunger deficit after the year before

    If we replayed that match the week after I would have been as nervous as fock again, like I will be in advance of the 8th if we do meet them. They’ll be always a tough nut to crack, bar rare exception

    I think Donegal are being dramatically written off by many quarters- that said I don’t blame Galway people looking for and highlighting perceived weaknesses and also clutching at straws for any intangibles they hope will go their way- I’d do the same, as I have done loads over the years for Mayo! Had Donegal kicked two of those easy chances they missed, all the talk would be about how they snuck over the line playing poorly and it’s the sign of champions etc. They were world beaters only a few weeks back after beating Armagh

    there are such fine lines in GAA.

  44. HopeSpringsEternal you are spot on re Moran – it was he, and not James ODonoghue or Kieran Donaghy that did the damage last year. So while our midfield is excellent we can’t be complacent about it. Donegal are not exactly deficient in that area of the field either!

  45. Yeah Anne-Marie, David Moran is probably the best midfielder in the country at the moment. Kerry really struggled in the drawn game against Cork when he got black-carded. Also I thought last year in our drawn game against them, when Kerry had an extra man they started to take short kick-outs rather than going long and that played into our hands, as our pressure game on their backs worked really well. If our midfielders can stay fit they should be a match for any partnership in the country this year, touch wood.

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