All-Ireland winning match reports


Photo: @MayoGAA

Mayo Day has given way to May Day and for the first time in what feels like a generation there’s a touch of warmth to the air today. Summer’s on the way. And we’re the U21 All-Ireland champions.

On the way back from Limerick in 2014, it was our great misfortune to end up stopping at the Barack Obama Plaza on the M7. Emotionally shattered and half-starved, it felt like we’d entered the Third Circle of Hell from Dante’s Inferno – the place was overrun with supporters from both sides, the poor staff were completely swamped and there was bugger-all sustenance of any kind to be had. Maybe that Divine Comedy analogy doesn’t fit after all: you’d have been hard-pressed to commit gluttony there that night.

I bumped into An Spailpín Fánach in that motorway hell-hole and neither of us had to say anything to convey to each other the sheer awfulness of it all, the culmination of an awful Mayo GAA day. I’ve shuddered every single time I’ve sped past the place since, pressing my foot further to the floor all the better to get away from it faster.

Why am I bothering to tell you all this? Well, last night on the way back from Ennis I decided it was time to exorcise that particular ghost. It was already dark when myself and my little buddy pitched up there in our Mayo gear and swaggered in as if we owned the joint. The chow we got wasn’t hectic, not much better than the fare on offer back in 2014, but what was great was how we supplanted the memory of the horror show from then with a nice newly-minted one imbued with the warm glow of victory.

And it’s that radiance of triumph that leaps like phosphorescence from the pages this morning. Today’s haul of reports all glitter like shiny baubles. So, then, this is what it feels like to win. And here’s a selection of what’s being said about it:

Match reports: Mayo Advertiser, Connaught Telegraph, Sunday Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Times, GAA (match report, match tracker), RTÉ, The 42 (match report, match tracker), Hogan Stand, Breaking News.

Post-match reaction: RTÉ video piece with Mike Solan and Sharoize Akram, Matthew Ruane’s MOTM interview (Indo, SportsJoe), Mayo Advertiser post-match podcast.

Photos: Inpho, Sportsfile, Mayo Mick.

Goals – loads of them:


There’s more, of course there is, but you know today’s not the day to be spent looking at stuff on screens. This is particularly so if – unlike me, marooned up here in the capital – you’re based on home turf. Because today in Castlebar, the U21s’ homecoming takes place (details here) and, as was the case with those of us who were lucky enough to be in Ennis last night, this will be a moment to be savoured.

Crossing the border

Photo: @MayoGAA

As was mentioned the other day, when the bulk of this current team captured the minor All-Ireland title two years ago they never got to celebrate it properly due to the loss we suffered in the senior final the same day. Well today there’s no such impediment and this victory deserves to be toasted and enjoyed to the full.

And it merits being marked in its own right, not as some hoped-for precursor to senior success. It’s an All-Ireland win, the heroes are coming home so, if you can, get yourself to the Mall for 3pm today and give the lads a homecoming to remember.

54 thoughts on “All-Ireland winning match reports

  1. The sight of the mayo players sprinting across the pitch at the final whistle is my stand out memory of the day..a wonderful sight..only saw Michael solans reaction when I watched the game back and it sums up exactly how I felt! A magical mayo day..

  2. Yesterday went a long way to healing some of the wounds of Limerick. I’ll never forget 20,000 Mayo people walking up the Ennis road in complete silence, struck mute by the injustice they’d just witnessed. Yesterday was two fingers to Cormac Reilly, Liam O’Neill and the rest of the f#*kers.
    Lovely summation WJ.

  3. Missed you at the Plaza Willie Jo! I was coming later of course having watched the TG4 highlights at Ciaran’s in Ennis with dozens of other fanatics. Meanwhile, you had your blog done and dusted, the audio report wrapped, and probably a dozen other things as well.

    Still, I enjoyed my Supermacs’ chips no end and was well placed to see the RTE report on the match from the umpteen screens that surrounded me.

  4. The GAA president couldn’t even bother showing up. Sums up the regard he has for this great competition. For a huge county Cork have a pathetic following. Their team deserve much better than that.

  5. Is game up on TG4 player? I can’t find it but someone here mentioned it is up there

  6. a nice feeling to wake to this morning, Champions in Mayo! And to see on some forums how much we are disliked and be able to show the haters the cup and medals is also a nice feeling for a change. Wingers and chokers they say, well I would dearly love to see the faces on them if we won Sam. It would be worth all the pain we have endured. Some are saying that we may compete for Sam in a few years with some of yesterday’s forwards on the field, a few years? I think the day we can win Sam is not that far away, every empire falls and we will be there with a bit of luck to catch the Sam.
    Well done to all involved with the u21 team and that first goal had some rare quality to it, soccer passes, a chip to a player running towards goal and the final fist pass across the goal to o Connor was a thing of beauty. Well done to all. Class acts.

  7. Disappointing that Aidan O’Feargaill did not go to the game yesterday. Never remember a President missing any All Ireland final. A real two fingers to the teams, the sponsors and the competition

  8. Ger, the GAA have shown total disregard for this competition for years and actually want to end it which is a pity as yesterday and the two semis is what the game is all about. I not in favour of the impending age restructuring as I think players may be lost to the senior seup by finishing a year earlier at this grade.

    Im not sure but is the U21 the only all ireland not played at Croke Park? This competition should be promoted more with the final at Croke Park, possibly in a double header with league final. All Irelands should be held there.

  9. Congratulations to that wonderful young team, I’m absolutely delighted for them and the good people of Mayo, it was a great win and a well deserved one.

  10. Wow wow wow.Massive congrats to those yoing lads and management and all involved. I never really felt we were not going to to do it even when Cork drew level. Aside from some serious talent on that teamsl there are so many leaders and when the shite hits the fan they know how to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Even if the Cork keeper didn’t make the boo boo I felt we still would have come out on top.Duirmuid O Connor is one of the best footballers I have seen playing in the green and red and dear I say it maybe in time go on to be better than the legend from Crossmolina.Im sure everyone might not agree with me.:)

  11. Lol -Tommy K, I was thinking exactly the same thing about Padraig Nally

    Anyway, if I recall correctly the 1985 minor team beat Sligo in a replay by scoring 5 goals (and no points) Can anyone confirm that

  12. Surreal match. Honestly thought they were doomed after they kicked wide after wide in the first half. Couldnot understand why solan didn’t try some change during that period as the wides clearly started to drain the teams belief.
    Sometimes matches swing on the tiniest margins .. akram bullying the big cork lad to win that ball on the endline he had no right to win was such a turning point ..
    Flanagan was great in goals ..
    Fullback linemail coped admirably under huge pressure from an aerial bombardment against much bigger men
    Coen stepped up as a true leader inspiring those around him .. Ruane immense again
    Plunkett directness and pace had cork on edge all match
    Loftus is an enigma .. mixes the terrible with the sublime .. easily turned over but a lethal goal finisher.. needs to toughen up for the step up to senior but if he does huge potential
    Irwin .. has something about him .. both goals he had so much to do .. couple years away from the seniors I’d imagine but should get there ..
    30 heroes stood up yesterday and refused to lose .. horan changed the mindset of mayo football and these lads are driving get it on ..
    Great hope for the future ..

    Willie Joe what can be said about your dedication to mayo football that hasn’t been said already .. a fantastic forum uniting mayo supporters all around the world ..

    Thanks for the huge effort you put into this ..

    This wonderful buzz will undoubtedly feed into the seniors and hopefully push them onto another successful year ..

    For now it’s the U21 teams time ..

  13. Would agree with MayoMad and Ger Bohan on those two points. I have never known u-21 to give us anything other than exhilarating, genuine and honest football….. Like a breath of fresh air.I think the Gurus have treated it unbelievably poorly to the point now that it’s being abandoned.Im afraid I’m not too aufait with the reasoning behind this but I heard Loughnane from Clare mumbling something during the week about the necessity for the change….didn’t get the detail.Anyone there to illucidate the matter?

  14. Well that’s this month’s data allowance used up watching them goals over and over again… what an evening

  15. Thank you gamechanger ,there is some really great posterson here,well policed by Willie Joe,but one of my greatest pleasures is attending gaa matches and the banter between rival fans, and shake hands and good luck,at end of the match long may it continue,of course Kerry will be back,but I hope we get a few in the bag first

  16. Thanks for the links to all of those match reports WJ, we would be lost without you! Thanks for the good wishes Gamechanger10 as well. Thanks for that link too Dan, I spent the afternoon watching a replay of the game and reading the reports. I have to say that the speech by Stephen Coen was really great, he and the rest of his teammates are a real credit to their families, clubs and county.

    They really are a great team and the key thing is that they play as a team as well. The two goals that they got in the first half probably sums this up, they kept recycling the ball until they got the ball to the right men in the right place. There was no going for glory. Another thing is that the subs that come on always make an impact as well and thats great to see. It really is a squad effort with these guys. Great credit is due to the management and medial teams as well. The future is bright in the hands of these boys!

  17. League Sunday game the game a fair bit of air time. Aaron Kernan made a good point about the remperent of these guys. We’ve always had the skillset, physique and stamina to compete. What these fellas have is an uncomprimising ‘we’re going for your throat’ approach.

    The likes of Diarmuid O’Connor encapsulates it. He’s a pure athlete and fine footballer but what sets him [and the brother] apart is his temperament. The tender the game becomes the more visible he becomes. Coen was the same yesterday. When we needed him he found the ball.

  18. Liam Irwin has that ability to do what 99% of footballers wouldn’t think of doing. He’s goal hungry.

  19. Watching the goals again, very impressed with the role of Michael Plunkett. He got the assist for the first 3. Nothing spectacular but he made the right call in each case, the simple pass to the best placed man. Good footballing nous.

  20. A very close call for Roscommon in New York:

    Full time Roscommon :1-15(18) New York :0-17(17)

  21. I watched the Roscommon v NY game which was broadcast on Periscope this evening. Ros were on their knees by the end, if it had gone on for another five minutes they would have been beaten. It was incredible stuff, a bit like Mayo v London in 2011 but much, much worse.

    NY almost threw the Connacht Championship into disarray there.

  22. The game is probably still available on Periscope if anyone wants a look back at it, especially the last 10 minutes – the user broadcasting it was @drochfhocal.

  23. Well done to all the lads. They showed tremendous fighting spirit and self-belief throughout the competition and just never lay down for anyone. They were very worthy winners and they should be immensely proud of themselves. It’s hard to not to get excited about the prospect of some of these lads making the step up to senior level. The future for Mayo football is bright and hopefully this victory is a precursor to more great days for Mayo this year.

    As for the Roscommon/NY match – shocked!

  24. That would have been the greatest upset in champ history surely?

    A win is a win though and tbh I don’t think it’ll have any effect either way on ros’s chances

    It’s impossible to subconsciously motivate yourself 100% in a match like that. They’ll be far more focused for the remaining matches and I can’t see them having much more trouble on way to Conn final

  25. Conor Loftus really impressed me. Neither goal chance was easy and required a huge amount of composure and skill. Planting that second goal with his left foot with two defenders closing in on him was special. Irwin is very different. Having kicked a few wides his confidence was still up for the last goal which was utterly audacious. He’s ice cool.

    Diarmuid O Conner, Conor Loftus, Michael Hall and Stephen Coen are already on the senior panel. I would immediately add Liam Irwin, Matthew Ruane and Sharoize Akram and possibly Brian Reape if he’s not injured. I would have no hesitation in using some of them this year and the rest will be learning their trade for future years. No point in holding back now – they are the future and they need to be brought in while they are still young enough to learn and improve their individual games.

  26. Interesting result from New York. Nice warning for ourselves before ruislip too. These games are no-win really, it’s just about getting out of there with a result and no injuries, as we well know from 2011.
    Looking forward to seeing some of yesterday’s Stars pushing into the senior setup in the next 3 years or so

  27. I would agree Liam Irwin should be called up to the senior squad now. Having watched the game back I thought Plunkett did really well, kicked 2 nice points and set up the first 3 goals. I would add him to the seniors too as he’s versatile and could cover numerous positions. Ruane, Akram and O’Donoghue also did really well in the last 2 games and it would be good for them to get the experience too even though they’re still u21 next year.

  28. Rossies da best is yet to come me Arse…what a pity New York didn’t send them out…A one point Flucky win and they think they are gonna wake into castlebar and beat us…keep on dreaming

  29. Great weekend of football that will be remembered for quite some time. Our U21’s did us proud.

    Best midfielder in Gaelic Park today was a Mayoman, Brian Gallagher. scored a great point and tore through them at will. Roscommon got a very soft penalty today, and New York could have stole it at the death. Rossie fans where screaming for their players to take Gallagher down on there final attack, they scored a point when a goal was on.

  30. Eoin ODonoghue had a great semi final and final. I was also impressed by James Kelly. He’s athletic and has a bit of size to him.
    Personally I would only bring as extra to the senior panel Liam Irwin. Irwin is good on frees from distance. He has that creative spark as well that you can’t coach.
    That would then give you Diarmuid, Irwin, Loftus, Coen and Hall.
    There are several of these players eligible for the Mayo junior team. Then you have next years U21. The Dublin based lads were already training with the seniors anyways.
    You always aim for this year, but the peak available senior panel is next year hopefully.
    The current 21s will be 22/21. Shairoze Akram will be 20. That extra year will bring them on a lot. Mathew Ruane looks to have huge potential. For a lad around 6’3″ he can motor. Can shoot on the run left or right footed. Has a huge engine.

  31. I was in Castlebar yesterday as the team and management were welcomed home as Under 21 champions. What a nice bunch of lads, I’m sure some of them had sore heads but they had the manners to take all the time the crowd wanted for autographs, photos and just chatting to anyone who approached them. In fairness it’s something that has been evident with the senior team for the past few years as well.

  32. JP, I would agree. Irwin is prob the only one who could potentially push for a senior panel position this year, I would like to see O’Donaghue brought into the extended training panel, he looks a very good corner back and with the limited options available to the seniors in this position it would be good for him to experience the senior setup.

    I can only imagine the atmosphere in the squad when, DOC, Coen, Hall & Loftus rejoins the panel. Their positivity, confidence and sheer will to win will be infectious throughout the squad and will be a huge boost for the summer to come.

  33. It certainly will be interesting to see who comes thru over the next year or two from this bunch. A big thing now is to get the strength and conditioning spot on for the step up to senior. They are luck we already have a very good senior team, it takes the focus and pressure off then. We have seen over the years in football and hurling that good u21 sides without a solid senior set up have struggled to make an impact at the senior grade.

    Look at Galway..they’ve won 2 All Ireland u21 titles is the past 5 years and the impact hasn’t been felt (yet) at senior.

    Let that result in NYC last night serve as a warning. I wouldn’t read into it. We know all about hairy moments..London in ’96 and again a few years ago… And we went on to have very strong seasons.

    Anyway, still enjoying the feeling after the last day… I’ve said it many times in here before…Mayo should and need to be winning more underage titles. As Matt Ruane said in his post match interview ‘onwards and upwards’ …

  34. 6 to be included is my understanding – which will surely be Irwin and one of either Ruane, Plunkett, O’Donoghue, Reape joining the four there already. Rochford will have a few hard calls to make as they all would benefit both the Senior squad and their own development by being included. There’s a handful of existing panel that need to go in any case so its going to be an interesting couple of weeks.

    And as for Roscommon, well they must be green with envy of our lads. After all their shite talk about their under age structure – not a sausage in terms of All Ireland success over the past 8 years :'( And to top it off a near death experience over in NY to bring a reality check !

  35. You can’t really compare London and NY teams. London Olay league and have structure. NY is mostly made up of lads on the one year visa and drinking bans would not be enforced. I know a lad who played for NY yesterday and he told me last week they had no hope and were not taking it too seriously….the result says more about Ros than NY.

    Leitrim and Sligo will be confident they can cause them problems.

  36. Indeed,all the players U-21 and seniors are part of the modern age of things and it’s grand to see. Witness the chase onto the pitch before the end of the Down match and the length of time the players spent chattin and doing selfies.Its a notable contrast to the way things used to be.
    And of course it’s all good training for the future!!
    Irwin does have that presence and stature that sets him apart besides his free taking and cuteness in front of goal.Lets hope he stays injury free.

  37. We have to give some credit, quite a lot actually, to the County Board for their choice of Mike Solan in the first place. Other, better known names were in the frame and it must have taken a bit of bottle to go with Solan, but what an inspired choice he has been.

  38. The majority of people on this site have named potential players to make the step up to senior and I agree with all them but not 1 person has Matthew Flanagan as a potential senior star. I thought he was outstanding on Saturday and made brilliant saves in crucial stages of the match. He’s comfortable under the high ball as well which is a huge plus. Kick outs may need a bit of work but the guy has huge potential. I feel the goalkeepers position has let us down the last five years and this guy could solve it.

  39. Wasn’t David Kenny part of the senior panel earlier in the year? I’d say him, DOC, Coen, Loftus, Hall and Irwin might be the 6. That’s a good starting point for this year.

    The likes of Flanagan, O’Donoghue, Cunniffe, Ruane, Reape and Akram are all likely to make the step up in future but most if not all of that bunch will be Under 21 again next year – so no need to rush them. At the same time I’d be keen to see them get involved in the senior panel’s strength and conditioning program if they’re not on it already.

    Given that our current senior team are by no means old you’d have to think the future is looking really bright for us at the moment. The likes of Patrick Durcan, Evan Regan, Conor O’Shea and Cillian O’Connor aren’t long out of under 21 themselves. Even Hennelly, Aiden O’Shea, Keegan and Keane are still in their mid 20s. Exciting times ahead.

  40. What’s great to see with our U21 team is that they know when to go for the jugular. After they scored the first goal most ordinary teams would have been delighted to be going in level at half-time but this is an extraordinary team and they knew that Cork were vulnerable at that time and Mayo pushed home their advantage. They did the same thing at the end of the game when scoring the two goals. I remember Tommy Conroy getting a great goal for us just before half-time against Tyrone in the 2013 All-Ireland final, to put us into the lead, so it shows that these boys know the importance of getting a good boost going into the dressing room at half-time.

    It was great to see Conor Loftus score goals with both his right and left boots. He really seems to glide over the ground when he is in full flight and I’d be thinking that he could be a player to make an impact with the seniors this year as he gives us something different to what we already have in the senior team, a genuine eye for goal and the confidence to take these chances. Irwin has the same trait too and he can use both feet as well.

  41. It was a slightly unusual kick Loftus second goal. He didn’t seem to wind up, almost like a Gaelic football toe poke. Went like a rocket into the top corner before anyone could react.
    I seen another moment in the goals. Fionan Duffy went in to break a ball knowing he was going to get creeled to get it. He batted the ball inside and got walloped, brave stuff.

  42. Just watched the whole game again on TG4 player. Loads of other stuff to do today, but it can wait. What a game, what a team, what a win!
    It’s a mighty feeling, one I could get very used to!

  43. Mayo4Sam16, I totally agree with you re Matty Flanagan, think I might have made a similar suggestion after the Connacht final. I think he’ll be our no. 2 this time next year.

    One thing the last few weeks has done is put paid to the “Sam or bust” talk for 2016, which is a relief. While I’d love nothing better for our senior lads to get across the line this year after all their slog and service, at least now we know if all goes well we have another few golden years to look forward to and a fine chance of remaining competitive at the very top level.

    Patience will be important; it’d be so tempting to lob a load of those lads into the senior set-up and we all have opinions on who should or shouldn’t make the leap but timing is everything too. All in good time …

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