Andy’s double clinches sensational comeback win

When we were eight points behind, as well as a man down, midway through the second half of this afternoon’s lively FBD League encounter against Roscommon at Kiltoom, it was all looking more than a little grim. Indeed, with all the momentum with the home team a bit of a paddling seemed to be in prospect for us.

At that stage, defeat with honour would have been more than enough to send us home satisfied. What we got instead, though, was a sensational smash-and-grab win, plundered courtesy of three late goals, two of them from the evergreen Andy Moran.

Even if I hadn’t decided in advance to get to this one, I’d hardly have been able to resist the temptation when the day dawned. It began for me away from base as I was on an overnight hiking trip in the Wicklow mountains but on the drive back home this morning I could see that it was an ideal day for football.

The drive down to Kiltoom on the motorway a bit later on was a breeze and the local parking arrangements were excellent too, as we got sorted out with a spot in a field right beside the ground that was rapidly filling with other vehicles.

I’d never been to Kiltoom before and was well impressed with the St Brigid’s club facilities. The pitch has a good sod to it and there was ample room on the terracing for the smallish attendance that turned up for today’s pre-season encounter. We even managed to get a seat in the little stand less than half an hour ahead of the throw-in.

The Rossies made the early running today and when Enda Smith palmed to the net after a move that saw our backline sliced open they were four clear. Conor O’Shea had got our opening point after they’d bagged the game’s first two scores, with Liam Irwin (a free), Danny Kirby and Paddy Durcan all finding the target as we traded points with them.

We got right back into it, though, when a swift upfield burst ended with Liam Irwin sent in for a well-taken goal. Soon after this two Cillian O’Connor frees restored parity to the contest and then Fergal Boland shot over to give us the lead for the first time.

Further point-trading ensued before half-time, with Fergal Boland – from a quickly taken ’45 by Cillian – and then Cillian from a free adding to our tally. We went in a point in front.

The biggest talking-point in that opening half, though, was the bust-up that occurred over the far side of the pitch, involving several players on both sides. It started with a hit on one of our lads while he was on the ground and Conor O’Shea drove into the offender with other players from both sides piling in rapidly after them. When peace was eventually restored the ref flashed a pile of yellow cards, three for us and two for them.

Although we got the opening score after the break, another Cillian free, it was the Rossies who seized the initiative when Enda Smith drove through our rearguard and smashed in their second goal of the afternoon. Smith took what looked like a good dozen steps before pulling the trigger but our defensive cover parted with alarming ease in the build-up to the goal.

Cillian responded for us with his fifth pointed free to cut the gap to one but it was all Roscommon for the next while after that. They shot seven points without reply in this period and with Conor O’Shea ordered off on a second yellow and Paddy Durcan (black) following him off soon after we looked to be in major bother.

Only a few goals would save us now but, with Roscommon’s well-organised blanket in place and our lot down to fourteen men, our hopes appeared forlorn. Incredibly, though, it was goals we got to snatch a victory few saw coming.

The first came from a Cillian O’Connor penalty, awarded when Jason Gibbons stumbled and fell as he lost possession coming into contact as he bore down on goal. I thought it was a soft enough award, to be honest, but was still glad of it. Cillian dispatched it with his usual efficiency.

Andy Moran’s goal soon after really brought the place to life. Now we were just two points behind and the tide had turned strongly in our favour. Deep into injury time we kept pouring forward, the home side, with mounting panic, trying to keep us at bay. Eventually, in the dying seconds the ball was fed in once more to Andy who buried it in the corner of the net to complete what was an amazing comeback win.

I know it’s only January and today’s match was only an FBD one but had Roscommon gone on to thump us by a double-digit margin this afternoon, it wouldn’t have left us in a good mood heading into the start of the League. Instead, the way we battled back to win the match leaves us in a decidedly upbeat frame of mind ahead of the spring campaign, to say nothing of the comedy value arising from beating the Rossies in the manner that we did.

We looked rusty enough for most of the afternoon, never a surprising complaint at this time of year, and the concession of another big score is probably the point of greatest concern from today. We need to tighten things up several notches at the back before we get going in the League.

As today showed, though, there’s absolutely nothing amiss with our will-to-win at the minute. The lads showed an admirable level of cussedness in their refusal to accept defeat this afternoon and that indomitable spirit will, no doubt, stand them in good stead for the far bigger challenges that lie ahead of us this year.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Donie Newcombe, Ray O’Malley, Paddy Durcan (0-1); Michael Plunkett, Stephen Coen, David Drake; Jason Gibbons, Danny Kirby (0-1); Fergal Boland (0-2), Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty; Liam Irwin (1-1, point a free), Cillian O’Connor (1-5), Conor O’Shea (0-1). Subs: Evan Regan for Irwin, Keith Higgins for O’Malley, Tom Parsons for Kirby, Shane Nally for Durcan (black card), Andy Moran (2-0) for Boland, Cathal Carolan for Gibbons.

My first post-match audio report of 2017 is below:

62 thoughts on “Andy’s double clinches sensational comeback win

  1. Pulled victory from the jaws of defeat.
    Lost the grip on midfield in second half and Smiths for Roscommon stepped up bringing them to a comfortable 8 point lead with 5 minutes left.
    Boland did well again, though a few wides that weren’t great.

    A good contest though hard to see any standout candidate that’s going to break into starting 15.

  2. Well done to Andy, its amazing the amount of times that he turns games like that around. I reckon that’s the first time that we have scored 4 goals under Stephen Rochford. It was good to see us bang in a few like that. We have a weeks break now next weekend then it’s all steam ahead for the league games.

    It’s the third game in a row that we have finished with 14 men so we could do with been careful in that regard in the upcoming games.

  3. Doesn’t sound like we were too good at the back? How did Coen do? Plunkett? And what about Irwin?


  4. Boland did well today, scored 2 great points, but missed 2 scoreable chances, though he looks very promising, good intelligence on the ball.
    Very disappointed with Stephen Coen, will he make the starting 15 as the year progresses ??
    Whats the story with Conor Loftus

  5. Very poor return from our forwards from play with exception of Andy Moran. No score from play from Cillian, Kevin Mc or Jason Doherty. Would be good to see some scoring forwards emerge, cannot keep relying on Andy.

  6. Great to lay down an early season marker. Our starting forwards only scoring 1-3 from play isn’t great. Will be watching Cillian’s contributions from play this season as they need to be upped from the last 2 years.

  7. Smash a grab win certainly and a first January win against the rossies for five years.

    Roscommon got weaker with the subs they brought on with many of them not up to the pace of the game at all. With Parsons,Higgins and Moran on the field Mayo were always going to finish the game stronger.

    Mayo v Roscommon in MacHale park in a month should be another tasty encounter.

  8. Way too many wides. Thought Boland was good, Irwin took a while to get into the game and Gibbons I thought was a bit slow. It’s only January and it was my first ever FBD attendance.
    Thought when we went 8 points down it was going to be a right thrashing but fair play we dug it out and stole the win. Made it all bit sweeter to have turned it around like that…..

  9. Good to see this blog getting some real action again. I myself spent about three months

    in hibernation. All`s good. And I think I saw a squirrel today. Did`nt get to the game

    in Ross but I`m looking forward to getting into harness again. What`s wrong with us all?

  10. Am I right in thinking C.O’Shea got his 2nd yellow in a case of mistaken identity with Kirby the culprit & if so shouldn’t Danny have owned up to spare the red card?.
    Also – any truth in the rumours of Aidan injured at basketball?
    Lovely day,lovely ground,lovely result

  11. The faces and mood swings from the Rossies on the final whistle was worth the journey and entrance fee alone! And didn’t Andy enjoy that second goal 🙂
    Pluses…. Newcombe, Boland, Gibbons returning, Irwins improved work rate and movement to left wing for his goal.
    Minuses…. O’Shea faded out of game after impressive start, Hennellys distribution, Regans inability to win ball and beat his marker and Stephen Coen was way off the mark today. Defensively loose and his passing was off.

    Feisty affair with plenty of late hits and off the ball digs, a good sign that the blood is rising. Some very good foot passing out of defense and midfield in to our forwards and anytime we spread it wide we were threatening. Being from East Mayo, like yourself WJ, nothing beats beating the Rossies.

  12. Roscommon crowd were their usual charming self in the terracing on the far side. That is why Andy and the subs coming on were so wound up. Disgraceful stuff really. The Mayo supporters around me were very annoyed. Most of the main culprits were grown men in their forties and fifties. Some Rossie supporters were embarrassed by their own fans behaviour.

  13. What’s the thinking on the team for Monaghan after today’ game? Something like this?
    Presuming McLaughlin will be retained as a sweeper this year again.
    From the warmup games it looks like Boland, Kirby and Newcombe deserve shots.
    Guys like Nally and Regan have to be given another chance too.
    FF line still a problem area.

    Newcombe, Crowe, Durcan
    Coen, Boyle, Nally
    Kirby, Parsons
    DO’C, Boland,
    Regan, COC, Freeman

  14. What a snatch & grab!! It wasn’t looking too good at all with 10 mins to go, there was even a “goose being prepped” for cooking beside me 🙂 What a day also for a match, I wish we’d get weather like that in June!

    Compliments to all the stewards and St Bridgets club, what a fantastic venue, well done all.

  15. Mcloughlin and Kirby need to stop giving away possession, esp. Mcloughlin. These games are a joke. Weak reffing where any physical contact is penalised leads to a game of basketball with defenders standing off forwards. Can’t judge these games where no sweeper is being used.

  16. Not sure what the experiment with Durcan in the FB line was all about. Under no circumstances should he be going back deeper need his scoring threat up the pitch and experimenting with him at wing forward might be worth doing.

    Defence very poor none of the new guys really put their hand up. Kirby had some good flashes, Gibbons for me is too ponderous on the ball needs to get rid of the ball much quicker.

    Boland did well whether he’ll be handle the senior football physically is hard to know. Would personally try Irwin at center forward i think his power would suit that position, he’s struggling to get into the game in the corner. Need to keep giving the U21 lads their chance if 1-2 can make it this year would give us another good shot at it.

    i think the result is a good lift to the team they really hung in there when it looked to be gone.

  17. Great to win but our second half fade out slightly worrying. Kevin McLoughlin was our best player I felt. Thought our half back line were hugely disappointing, David Drake & Stephen Coen will be looking over their shoulders with the panel cull coming up after the first two league games. Patrick Durcan played well. Midfield from being totally dominant in the first half just completely faded in the second. Fergal Boland has something. Jason Doc tries his heart out but just doesnt convince. Inside, Liam Irwin needs conditioning work. Cillian was a little disappointing from general play. Conor O Shea seems to find cul de sacs with these big runs. Another who will be slightly worried about the cut.

    The Rossies havent near as much work done this year as last so I would be slightly concerned with our fitness levels heading into the Monaghan Game. Would expect 5 changes from 1-7 from todays team for Monaghan game.

  18. Sinabhuil, is that why Andy was pictured kissing the crest?
    Thought that was very unusual for him to be at that, particularly in a pretty meaningless FBD match, nice and all as it is to beat the Rossies!

  19. Andy Moran getting abuse for celebrating. What people don’t know is the abuse he gets daily from some people.

  20. Have to say I thought Kevin Mc was probably our best player today. Always looked dangerous when he had the ball, great distribution when he did get it, but the end product let down those moves.
    We certainly finished with a stronger team than we started with, but none of our all stars from 2016 played today.

    I’m not sure that Cillian and Irwin compliment each other that well. Irwin to be fair to him has a nose for Goal and well able to put them away if given a sniff but himself and Cillian are not blessed with Pace. I did think Irwin would be replaced by Evan and hoped for it to be sooner but I don’t think Evan did as much as I had expected him to when he came on.

    I think us having Parson, Andy and Keith to bring on really was what swung things our way.

    Anyways. Any day we beat Roscommon is a good day. My view we can’t beat them by enough often enough, but today is still a good day.

  21. Andy Moran certainly laid down a marker today – two possessions, two goals! And boy did he celebrate at the final whistle as he came off much to the annoyance of the Rossie fans near me who gave him some stick as he entered the dressing room. I think he was sending out a message to all comers – ‘Andy ain’t done just yet, thank you!’
    And he most certainly isn’t.

  22. Yew tree – I just toned down that comment from you there.

    All – can I please appeal for a bit more respect in the comments for the neighbours? There are other fora online for posting that kind of disparaging stuff. I’d prefer to keep the tone of the debate here pitched at a higher level than that.

  23. Very classy comments here this evening, and some of ye wonder why opposing fans don’t come on this forum and why most Roscommon people take such delight in Mayo losing big games.

    On the game itself ye finished with a stronger team than us in that the players ye were bringing on were experienced, we were bringing on lads that probably won’t make the 30 for the league panel. If we could learn from the mistake of not letting a team back into it, all be it in a meaningless game then that would be a positive but I don’t think we will learn. Moran aside, our forwards today look a lot more dangerous than yeres, we can probably do something at midfield to get parity but defence is our achillis heal and it’s hard to see a reversed result in the league or potential championship meeting if it comes to pass. We are so struggling at the back now that Harney played 6 today, he is an out and out attacking player as anyone that was there today will have realised. Let’s see what happens in castlebar.

  24. I was behind the road end goals when Andy was doing hiis stuff and he was getting quite a bit of aabuse from some Rossie supporters [younger fellows, generally] esp. after scoring his first goal. I’m sure he heard it too and it probably was what sparked his celebrations after the second. While Roscommon are still felling sorry that Ballaghaderreen won’t throw in their lot with Roscommon football wise they are up in arms about proposals to switch parts of south Roscommon which are suburbs of Athlone into Westmeath. The proposal should give them some idea of what Ballaghaderreen people feel when told that they are Roscommon people. Roscommon may have got the territory in 1898 but they never got the people or their hearts.
    Regards the march I would expect Boland and Irwin to be with us long term. Not so sure about Plunkett, he never got a handle on Smith all day. Indeed Drake and Coen were poor too aand Durcan was too loose in the corner. He had too many wides too. Gibbons looked a bit ponderous and gave away possession too often. Kirby too I expect top see more of in the league. Was/is Ger McDonagh injured? Or why, since we have no obvious full back, have we not seen him yet?

  25. A ballaghaderreen man scoring 2 injury time goals to beat the Rossies by a point, I’ll take that!

    Ah look, it means nothing really, but always good to beat the neighbours in such a way. It’s gas more than anything.
    But let’s leave the gloating and abuse about winning a meaningless game in January to them.

    Interesting to see who of the newcomers should be given a proper run out in the league,
    By the sounds of things, it looks like Newcombe, Kirby and Boland have warranted starting places. A few newcomers who could make a difference come Championship time is all we could realistically want.
    Disappointed that it appears we’ve found no new blood for the inside line. Scores from play from our forwards is an ongoing worry.

  26. Cop yourself on, hontheross. There have been just two comments posted here after the game which I had a problem with, one I deleted and the other I edited, but apart from that the post-match comments have been fine. I’m not so sure the same tone of commentary (or, indeed, moderation) would be in evidence on Stolen Sheep. Plenty of fans from other counties visit here and comment here, including, clearly, yourself.

  27. hontheross, you wanna see the tripe being spouted about andy on the rossie stolen sheep forum, classy supporters, NOT!

  28. So ye are highlighting stolen sheep but failing to mention yere facebook supporters site, convenient that.

  29. Couldn’t make the game today unfortunately. It sounded eventful!

    Was McLoughlin playing as a sweeper again? I’d agree that Newcombe, Kirby and Boland deserve a starting jersey for the Monaghan game. The likes of Boyle and Vaughan will be needed to shore up the defence.

  30. Not yours, some other supporters group that has nothing got to do with this forum, the same way not all Roscommon people are associated with stolen sheep so i dont see what the reference to that was for.

  31. He must be on about mayo gaa banter page which has nothing to do with mayo gaa in any capacity!
    It’s a gang of young lads some of whom are quite immature at the best of times!

  32. Would like to see Cillian get a run at centre forward his passing ability to dictate a forward line. Irwin looks like a 14. No harm putting Durcan at corner back early in the year. Same thing was done last year with Keegan said the experience improved his overall game it worked out well.

  33. Happy new year to everyone. Was in Kiltoom today. Good entertaining match. A win is a win. Andy (The old dog for the road) shows how its done. We gave away to sloppy /soft goals, Plunkett and Newcome not defending. W.J. I think it was Gibbons who was fouled for the penalty, not Parsons. We have just started back and to be fair to the lads, this was the first game since AI. I was impressed with Gibbons/Kirby at centre field. This is Kirbys 3rd game in FBD and the 1st for Gibbons since that shoulder injury against Galway last June. I thought he performed extremely well with that long lay off. I was impressed with Kevin Mc Laughlin, I thought he and Gibbons linked up very well. I was really impressed with the foot passing of Kirby and Gibbons. I thought the pass from Gibbons for our 1st goal was outstanding. We kicked a lot of simple wides, and a few into goalkeepers hands. Beside me was a Roscommon supporter, and he was a gentleman, none of the slagging stuff when they are winning.
    Perhaps his summing up of the game was “We Ros took off our best players when we were 7 points up and ye down to 14 men, we put on average subs but ye brought on experience, and ye didn’t have the O ‘Shea,s” . Just on the team sheet , where was Alan Freeman? After last week,s game he looked to be a man on song. Looking forward to Monaghan game, if we can score goals like today we should win.

  34. Hontheross – the reference was because it’s more than a little hypocritical for a Roscommon supporter to come onto a site where you know the debate is actively moderated and the debate kept to a decent level and make a disparaging comment about what’s being said here when there is in existence a Roscommon supporters’ site where all manner of shite is posted all day every day with impunity. In that sense, it was a take the beam out of your own eye reference.

  35. You’re right, True Grit, re Jason Gibbons and the penalty. I thought it was Tom P in real time but I’ve seen a few match reports since who say it was Jason. I’ll amend the post now but I’m afraid what’s in the audio will have to stay there!

  36. There is also the Mayo supporters fan page where all manner of shite is posted all day every day so two wrongs don’t make a right, you can’t use one as reference and turn a blind eye to the other one that represents views from your fellow mayo folk.

    Yes this site is moderated very tightly, alot more than any of the other two sites in question and that is commendable and must I guess be very time consuming.

  37. Willie Joe

    I often log on here and used to comment but I stopped as I felt a small minority of the posters were having a “go” at anything I did post and I know enough not to tarnish all Mayo supporters with the one brush. Most good supporters with a few bad eggs. The same as in every county.

    I’m surprised to see you get a bit annoyed with “hontheross”. His first 2 lines of his post weren’t the best I will admit but I think he then tried to discuss the match. He is also right that most Roscommon supporters have nothing to do with “Stolen sheep” forum the same way as most Mayo supporters have nothing to do with that MayoBanter page which is a disgrace of a forum.

    I would like to think I would be welcome on here to comment for the league and Championship. As for tge game today. It was great entertainment and wouldn’t we love a game with that score in a Connacht final. Best of luck to my own county and Mayo for the year. I will be in Castlebar in a few weeks. Take care

  38. True, hontheross, two wrongs do not make a right and there’s no way I’d defend the crap posted there. The point I was making is that it’s a bit rich levelling an accusation about anti-Ros comments being made here when anti-Mayo comments hundreds of times worse are being made on a Roscommon supporters’ site. That was all. And you’re right, moderating IS time-consuming!

  39. Unlike some posters I didn’t think Newcome was great today. In fact I thought he was easily beaten in the first half by their corner forward. I doubt it if he will make the panel.
    I was impressed by Danny Kirby early on. I wouldn’t be his greatest fan but he certainly battled hard and kicked a lovely point. He mightn’t be that fit right now.
    I like the way Fergal Borland plays and I think he has a bit to offer.
    As has been pointed out earlier the fact that our forwards didn’t manage to kick many points is a bit worrying. Kevin McL had a good game but he failed to score, kicking one short into goalies hands. Cillian or Jason Doc also had no score from play. This needs to change above all else.

  40. RossieShane – I think the exchange with hontheross is self-explanatory but no big deal in the scheme of things. You are, of course, welcome to continue commenting here whenever you want.

  41. HontheROS I commented on the behaviour of adult older Roscommon supporters in the terraces at the club house side. These were club Rossie older supporters and the abuse they gave to the ref Cillian O Connor, Andy Moran and any Mayo player who made any error or tackle was a joke considering this was a January preseason game was wrong on loads of levels. Usually you meet a better class of supporter at these matches and you expect more and this is usually why I enjoy them more than many a championship game. I see it also from Mayo supporters come championship time but not from their league and press season supporters. Time for ardent ROS supporters to mature a bit. Andy’so celebrations were a direct response to boorish behaviour from a section of the Kilroom crowd. Great ground, good stewarding,.

  42. Congrats to all the squad,a great win,it was sad to hear some of the abusive remarks dished out to some of our lads,if that what brings thoes responsible to game’s then they should stay at home or where ever they crawled out of,they are a disgrace to their County,well done to both teams for a very entertaining game,hon Mayo

  43. I would reckon that Paddy Durcan’s placement at corner back could be with an eye to giving him a man-marking job on Conor McManus against Monaghan. We are missing a few players in the full-back line at the moment so it’s probably a matter of plugging holes back there as well.

    I make it that Fergal Boland has now scored 9 points from play in 3 games. That’s good going, I’d say that you would find it hard to find better scoring rates by a Mayo forward in 3 consecutive games. It’s a real shame that Conor Loftus has not seen any game time as he was one player that you have liked to see in action in these games.

  44. Thanks for the great article Willie Joe, followed the game thru @mayo_mick tweets and pics (thanks!) and your report also helped feel like we were there in person. A great preview of the year ahead, lets just hope that they are not all this stressful, but then again, that is the Mayo we love, a great comeback for the win at the end! Onward to the League, Maigh Eo Abú!

  45. Hard to believe you never attended a game in Kiltoom before WJ, numerous U21 and minor Mayo games was played their over the years.

  46. Where is Chris Barrett? It’s a wonder he wasn’t picked for one of the corner back spots for one of the games. Maybe he is injured.

  47. I have to laugh at the comments from Rossie supporters, in the flesh and online at how this was a meangingless game.
    They’d have some turkey walk on them today with the chest out and the back straight if they won by 8 points.
    ‘Twouldnt be so “meaningless” in their book then I reckon!

  48. It’s hard to believe alright, MO2017, but I tend not to go to many provincial underage matches so that would explain it. Now that I know how easy it is to get to from here and what a nice ground it is I’d be hopeful it won’t be my last time there.

  49. “they’d have some turkey walk on them today with the chest out and the back straight” 🙂 That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a while 🙂 Nice one east cork exile.

  50. Coen might have been a bit off the pace yesterday but he made vital interceptions in the last ten minutes when they were needed. I’d not be writing him off just yet.

  51. Players should remember the abuse they got yesterday and give them a good hammering in the league match in a few weeks time.

  52. What abuse?…..I was at the game yesterday and didn`t hear or see anything beyond the norm for a Gaa match, until some Rossies got annoyed at Andy`s celebration.

    So, what abuse did other players get?

  53. I was at the match yesterday also, just behind Mayo management & the subs were to the right of me. There was a little banter but I heard no abuse directed at the players. A few “give him a yellow jersey” when they were up, but that was all.

  54. Have to say I didn’t hear any abuse on Sunday either and the Rossies around us were fairly sound, apart from a few having a go at Conor O’Shea. As Mayoletsfly says, it was nothing more than you’d expect. Some of our own are well able to give it as well.

    That said, having heard first hand the abuse certain Roscommon supporters gave our U21s in last year’s Connacht Final last year – and in particular, the abuse directed towards Shairoze Akram – it’s hardly a surprise to hear there was a bit of mudslinging going on. There always will be at games like this unfortunately and to be fair it’s usually a loud minority. There is only one way to answer that – and answer it Andy did. More power to him.

    After Sunday, I can’t wait to welcome them to MacHale Park in a month’s time – it’ll be a right ding dong. RossieShane I hope you’ll stick your head in and say a few words between now and then!

  55. I must say that Kiltoom was an excellent venue & was very well organized. We should not let our 3 goal comeback cloud a dismal second half display. Where were the scores from play? we conceded too high of a score. I understand that we were trying out a lot of new players.BTW this was the first time i saw Durkan up close And his size and bulk surprised me.

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