Another week before we know who we’ll face in the final

I never thought to put the option of a draw into the poll that was running here on the site over the last few days about the outcome of the Leitrim/London semi-final but maybe the close result of the poll – which came out 51/49 in favour of the home team – carried some kind of implicit support for the possibility of a stalemate outcome.   A draw it was – with Leitrim, cast in the unfamiliar role of favourites in a Connacht championship match, snatching a reprieve with two late points – and now they have to do it all over again this day week to see which of them gets to meet us in the provincial final in a month’s time.

The departure from the contest after only 15 minutes of Leitrim’s most potent forward Emlyn Mulligan certainly helped the Exiles’ cause today, as did their ability to notch goals (two of them) at crucial periods of the game. Mulligan went off with a calf injury and Leitrim’s ability to close this particular deal the next day could well depend on whether or not the Melvin Gaels clubman is fit to play. Barry Breen and George Dugdale might also want to consider if the four lads who broke curfew the other week have spent long enough on the naughty step.

The Connacht Council have, by the way, now fixed the replay for Hyde Park next Sunday with a 3.40pm throw-in. Our minor semi-final against Galway will be the curtain raiser to the replay, with the minor game throwing in at 1.30pm.

Today’s draw also means, of course, that we’re none the wiser either about where the final will be played. That decision was due to be made tonight but this now won’t happen until the result of next Sunday’s replay is known.

Up at Breffni Park, meanwhile, Donegal made their way through to a third successive Ulster final but only after Down gave them a far more searching examination than many would have expected. Only for their poor ball handling and some woefully misdirected passes – with Benny Coulter one of the main culprits in this respect – the Mournemen could well have done it. At least their ballsy challenge showed that the defending champions are far from beatable, especially when they start to lose their key men.

Once again, though, it was amazing to see Donegal being allowed to commit foul after foul after foul for an entire seventy minutes and largely get away with it. They didn’t pick up their first yellow until the 26th minute and, once again, they got through the full seventy minutes without the punishment their style of play deserved.

If you look at how Donegal’s two championship games this year have been reffed and compare it, for example, to how the Duffy sisters have handled ours it’s as if we’re playing different codes. Michael Duffy blew for 61 frees last Sunday and while I haven’t seen the free count for today’s match yet, I’d be surprised if it were as high as this, despite the constant, unremitting fouling that took place at Breffni Park today.

I have to say that I’m astonished at how Donegal continue to get away with this. Any opponent that takes the ball into contact against them can be sure, at a minimum, to get a slap and to be pulled back. Both are fouls, the first arguably a straight red, yet every time it happens they get away with it. It’s almost as if they get a free pass because this is what refs expect them to do.

That’s all fine and dandy if the same rules are applied to both teams but, as we saw in last year’s All-Ireland and as Down found out today, that isn’t always the way it pans out. More than once today, Down were penalised for very similar infringements to ones that Donegal got away with and, in a match as finely balanced as today’s was, these calls were crucial. Had those decisions gone the other way, though, the result could have likewise but instead Donegal march on, with an unprecedented Ulster three-in-a-row now in sight for them.

Finally, @MayoGAA have full details on all of the club championship matches played over the weekend. Thankfully it appears as if all of the county panel who lined out in these matches came through unscathed.

38 thoughts on “Another week before we know who we’ll face in the final

  1. The big plus this weekend was getting through those matches without any more injuries. Another injury to a key player would have been a disaster. We simply can’t afford any more injuries. Was Barry Moran playing today? He will be needed before the year is out.
    I see Michael Conroy still has a few weeks of rehab to go (based on his Twitter feed). He’s been out a long while now and if he’s not back playing soon, there will be little or no hope of him getting back to speed and the form he was in during the league. I would love to see him getting back because he was in the form of his life a few months ago.
    Anyway, roll on the Connacht final and beyond.

  2. Fast becoming a hated team. Their fouling is becoming head wrecking. It’s constant! Time for them to be reffed like everyone else. PS The Duffy Sisters… Brilliant WJ!!!

  3. Willie Joe if teams are known for the blanket then they can get away with murder, its seen as tenacious rather than fouling, its a total joke and the clowns in the media buy into it. Its par for the course now. Otherwise the chip on Jimmy the redeemers shoulder will just grow and grow. As a mate text me today wondering, I wonder will brolly have a count on the cynical fouls donegal committed today?

  4. Barry Moran didn’t start for Castlebar today but I think he came on as a sub during the game.

  5. What a joke the way refs deal with Donegal is.They are given advantage after advantage.
    Also let us never forget that that bollix brolly tried to influence us out of an all ireland. Martin Carney anemic again today.Simply these guys in awe of this messiah..sick of it now.
    Frankly lets hope they are beaten soon…I believe ref kept them in it today.Then watch Jimmy whinge like Davy Fitzgerald.
    Great there were no injuries in club matches.This could be crucial.

  6. donegal did the same thing against dublin in 2011 and that was the most annoying match ever hopefully mayo can beat them. any news on cillian’s injury

  7. Paul Mc Donnell. I agree with everything you say on the Donegal match. The ref needs to be fair to all teams. This thing is getting more difficult to watch every Sunday.

  8. Barry Moran came on for last 15 and looked mobile enough, game was over when he came on. Mitchels fairly hammered Breaffy from the start. Cant understand why the replay is in Roscommon I suppose that’s the GAA for ya….

  9. I’m not sure I agree with you WJ. They get bodies around people and are very physical alright, but I don’t think they actually foul. It’s the sheer weight of numbers. But it really is awful stuff to watch. Something has to be done about the blanket defence thing and all the handpassing, it really is dreadful to watch and is killing the game of football. The GAA really need to wake up and do something about it. Donegal seem to be gone back to be more defence minded game again this year. Can they keep relying on McFadden to bail them out in every game. They will be beaten this year by us or Dublin.

  10. They foul all the time or at least other teams who do this are penalised.It is completely wrong.Some of their tackles are not only illegal but downright dangerous.Time referees got some bottle.

  11. The replay should have been in London and todays game should have went to extra time though the Connacht GAA make up the rules as they go along. Good for Mayo minors were to play Galway away and now it’s changed to Hyde park.

  12. Bloggers seem to forget some of the thrash that passed as football in the 80s and 90s. Think meath v cork 87 and particularly 88. Roll on 1996 and good ole meath again with the nasty stuff like spitting in opponents faces. Its nothing new but its part if football as we know it and until we get consistent refeering its here to stay….donegal can thank mcfadden for rescuing them today. don’t hold your breath waiting for any of the commentators to highlight this not one original thinker among them. Duffy sisters indeed WJ u can do better than insult half the population

  13. Thompson nominated for motd,its a joke I lost count of how man cynical foul he commited in the first half alone.I don’t understand what rte are at how can they keep supporting the donegal style of(foul) play. What ever happened to pat’s phrase pukefootball,if ever there was a time to use it its now

  14. For the record, I decided to go through the game before I ran out of patience and abandoned it after the first half:

    1st min Murphy runs 20 yards to hit a Down defender off the ball
    2nd min Bradley hits a Down player (Poland) who was standing still with a frontal challenge and when pulled up, claimed Poland was overcarrying
    3-4 min Poland pulled back after passing the ball. O’Hare hit after the ball by McLoone
    6th min Donegal’s no, 11 fouls Rogers and follows through with a kick
    8th min Laverty pulled back after releasing the ball (D.Walsh)
    17th min McLoone professional foul on Laverty
    18th min Thompson fouls Rogers
    24th min Eamon McGee fouls Down player with punch to the face, stands up puts hands on head for 30 seconds then squats down as doctor and physio run on so he can avoid yellow (which he gets anyway)
    29th min D.Walsh booked for head high challenge
    34th min Murphy punches Down player in arm challenge in stomach/groin area
    37th min McGlyyn tactical foul

    Now I left another 4 off that list and Down did their fair share too

    What grates is the play acting,whingeing to the referee and trying to get players sent off and diving.
    As we have seen elsewhere the slap/punch to the face and the fingers in the eye are the worst tackles they commonly carry out and Murphy and full back McGee are the worst offenders

    If they lose McFadden they are in big trouble, he saved them yesterday

    Down just didn’t get the numbers up front or proper passing to create the chances

  15. Donegal put simply were awful yesterday. They are a mile behind the team that reached the ulster final last year. Hopefully Cavan will do the decent thing and put them out of their misery and stop them destroying the spectacle in the latter stages.

    Finally, why do RTE insist on forcing us to watch hurling (men & wemons) for an hour. Very frustrating!!!

  16. Tony K

    You serious?!Hurling is a great game.Presume youre joking! Time for outcry over Donegal or referees and Donegal. Two faced Brolly wont complain of course.

  17. If any Donegal man reads this all we are doing is giving them ammo. Maybe we wont meet them at all…but if we do lets not pre arm them. I only care about them when we have to. Many rivers to cross , many bridges to burn….

  18. I don’t agree that Donegal foul more than Down, or Mayo, or Cork, or Dublin. Down looked to me as if they fouled as much yesterday, though I don’t have stats.

    While yesterday’s game was rubbish to watch (a lot of that was down to the poor conditions), I think the work-rate that players put in to try and win back position is incredible.

    And in the end, the difference between the teams, a lot like last year, was Murphy and McFadden.

  19. I truly hope that Donegal make it through to the All-Ireland semi final. Because the reward for us in winning a quarter final clash (no disrespect Leitrim and London) would be to have another crack at Donegal. I have previously stated my beliefs on Donegal and their style, their management /sideline antics, their media mangement, their cynacism and negativity and I am not going to go through all that again. But our lads know, in their heart of hearts, that we left it behind us last September. The hurt and pain of that defeat must still be with them and the only way to make things right is to go through it all again and beat them. There has been so much arse-kissing and media fawning of Donegal it makes me sick. Now, however, the tide seems to be turning and the same pundits and media that kissed Donegal arses last year are now highlighting the “other side” to Donegals game, as brilliantly described above by fattyboombatty. That side was there last year but the pundits and media were too much in love with the Tir Chonnaill men to do their jobs and report what they could see.
    Take last years All-Ireland final, Eamon McGee in kneeling down on top of Enda Varley, punching him (twice) in the face, 15 yrds from the umpire !!!! Play had moved down the field so the focus was elswhere but from the Hogan stand I could see it so why could the umpire/linesmen/referee not? Again, COC is assaulted by the 2 McGees near the end line, COC retaliates and is yellow carded !!!! As I have said, it’s not sour grapes but all we should expect is that the rules are applied fairly to both teams during the game. At the highest level, it is a game of inches, and it is these inches that all went Donegals way last year, with alot of help from the media.
    I remenber looking down at Donegal in the last 5 minutes of the first half during the final and they were dead on their feet, panting and breathless, the “super-human” Frank McGlynn had his hands clasped behind his head and was struggling for air and all this was as a result of the relentless Mayo response to the 2 goals and the fightback. So, the perception that no-one has the power, pace and stamina to stick with Donegal is another media misconception.
    We will get our day, of that there is no doubt, but first we must focus on and respect each opponent and prepare properly. July 21st is the only game in town now. I am a great believer in Karma, it nearly always balances out, and our day is coming.

  20. John Cuffe,
    While I generally respect your writing that last post is without substance. Are we to stop saying what we think in case someone from Donegal is watching? What difference would it make anyway ?They know what we think of them.
    Seanod87- Dont know what match you were watching. Donegal come across the man frequently with closed fists and are guilty of many high challenges, with lots of pulling and dragging. None of these things are allowed under the rules. It is well documented by Fattyboombatty (where did you get that name- my own is bad enough) .
    Donegal win through football terrorism and outside of McFadden and Murphy are ordinary enough. McFadden was class as was Murphy but a lot of others are not any great shakes.
    Time for Refs to be consistent or everyone else will do it too and destroy the game completely.
    Karma hasnt done much for us in over 50 years!

  21. The rules have to be changed ASAP or the blanket defence will always win out. It really is so ugly.
    5 players have to be in the opposition half at all times. 2 extra officials(one per team) high up in the stands to monitor that.
    Ball must be kicked after two successive hand passes. That would sort it.

  22. Mayoforeverandaday – Donegal don’t and didn’t do anything more cynical/dirty/wrong than Down and if there were times where they did, then I can guarantee that mostly, they were pulled up for it. Donegal are playing the rules to the extreme, like any good team/individual does, and like every other team is trying to. If people have a problem with that then it’s a problem with a GAA and the rules that they have, not Donegal.

    Terrorism me eye! They are one of the most hard-working, well organised teams out there, and they don’t lack talent either. On top of that, they have a very shrewd manager. That’s why they keep winning. Refs are consistent (maybe consistently bad, or consistently erratic says you!) but to suggest they favour one team over another is rubbish.

    “McFadden was class as was Murphy but a lot of others are not any great shakes” – Take away any teams 2 best players and you could say the same.

    I was impressed by Down, they’ve not gone away and could very well have a long summer if they continue to apply themselves like they did yesterday.

  23. Hard luck to London, if mulligan is still out I think London will win it even if they think yesterday was their day and they left it behind them.
    I think Donegal would be very hard pushed to retain Sam if yesterday’s spectacle was anything to go by, a tougher ref will cause them problems, a red card at semifinal stage or even quarter final stage could be the end for them.

  24. Does the connacht council or central council give London any money for travel? I cant see how they can afford it otherwise, we know our once every 4 years sojourn to London costs a lot, London will have to do the reverse twice this year.
    replay should definetly be on in Ruislip, no question, its the least they deserve although I suppose the reason its not might relate to my first question – cant get enough punters into Ruislip so more tickets sold in the Hyde means more money?

  25. Seanod87-
    Well we will have to agree to differ- I think Donegal foul regularly and persistently and they do not get blown up for it often enough. I watched the match several times and the amount of high challenges ,using the fist to get the ball released and going in with the knee leading when man was on the ground was startling. Rather than being pulled for it free was often given against Down for not releasing.
    Your obsession with Donegal is remarkable. Many teams lose good players and still do well. Did Mayo not have their best players absent when they beat them in the league? Kerry have won All Irelands without Liston,Spillane,O Sé and so on.
    BTW how many yellow cards did Donegal get yesterday? Why? Other teams will of course copy them if they are seen to get away with cynicism. Hard working- they are that – but dont deny their cynicism.
    Take a look at what Marty Duffy gives yellow cards for in Connacht- and then tell me that the refs are consistent.
    I respect but cannot agree with your Donegal bias.

  26. mayoforeverandaday

    it’s from the TV series Spaced and because I’m fat….

    John Cuffe

    I know where you are coming from but think most teams are beyond relying on blogs and interviews pinned on the wall.
    Our overall confidence is not mis-placed for this year. Donegal are reigning champions but if their methods are cynical then we have to call it. Plenty did it to us last year (and rightly so) for the Dublin game.If this is the new world order then we have to get in line. Donegal did it, Tyrone did it, Kerry have done it to us and Cork are no shrinking violets either.As long as that is the playing field and we are all treated the same way then I have no qualms.
    I do object when Brolly and Des Cahill single us out for the same thing everyone else is doing

    1.Regarding the scenario if Donegal lost Murphy and McFadden, it’s true to say if any team lost their two best players they would struggle.
    Losing one can throw their gameplan out of the window as well.
    Despite their approach to the game overall, you have to admire the efficiency of McFadden and Murphy’s last free yesterday

    Cooper and O’Sullivan in Kerry’s league, Alan Brogan last year are two examples but we made a final without Andy Moran and everyone stepped up in the semi but we fell short in the final

    2. Did anyone else pick up on McGuinness’ comment about winning within the rules. Is he saying they weren’t fouling or that they they will resort to fouling outside of the rules the next time?He doesn’t usually say anything without it having a purpose

    3. Also thought some of the Donegal players were blowing hard yesterday. Down didn’t create enough to win but they made Donegal work hard in the Down half. McGlynn, Murphy and Bradley were struggling a bit. Like other teams over the last decade, Donegal’s success will have pushed other teams towards the gym and the high intensity FAQ-type training regimes so they can expect to meet tougher challenges along the way. They showed during the league at times that they don’t like a taste of their own medicine.

  27. What did I tell you earlier I knew that we would play for a draw and win the replay in Hyde park in london. I dont think mayo supporters are unhappy they have to travel a long way to see their minors. They say its a long way to tip but its a bloody long way to london. At least ye can fly out from knock airport. We were very lucky to get a draw yesterday it was a dodgy tactic. Whoever came up with it. We have a honest bunch of players that want to win . Come on the union jack!

  28. Lucky London,

    The influx is helping. There must be a very strong club scene in London.
    What s the work situation like over there for tradesmen? I may leave nyc soon, just wondering.

  29. Hello,Just noted that Mayo are 9/2 to win All Ireland. Cork at 7/1 and Donegal at 4/1 with Boylesports.

    Paddy Power has Mayo at 5/1 with Cork at 7/1. Now Mayo clear 4th Favourites with both.

    Last year Mayo were 8/1 entering the semi-final with Dublin.

    Dublin are clear favourites with both.

  30. I can’t get involved in a lot of the comments re Donegal but I was livid on several decisions given against Down when they should have had frees; one in question almost at the end, in front of goal. The game was Down’s to win, but for the taking of a few bad options and of course McFadden’s crazy scores. Such a shame!!!

  31. I can’t understand how everyone is getting so hung up on Donegal and their negative tactics right now, They do what they have to do to win matches and one has to agree that so far, the’re doing a right good job of it. Think back to last year and the tough draw they got, having to beat Kerry and Cork on their way to the final, that was no mean achievement and they did it in style, I wonder would we have managed that – some how I doubt it.

    Anyway should we both win our respective Provincial finals as I expect we will, we will then have to meet some very tough opposition in the quarter finals before we can lock horns in that eagerly awaited Semi final. If we’re both still standing, then and only then, will it be time to shout from the roof tops and let the powers that be know we are none to happy with Donegal’s dirty tactics and the inconsistencies of referees.

  32. Mayo McHale, I have to agree with you. No real point in cribbing about Donegal when they’re happy to produce that cynical foul-ridden playing style, and it appears to be working for sure, but I don’t think refs’ inconsistencies in that regard will be addressed this year. As I said on this forum before I love the really tough stuff…..the big shoulders, rattles and dispossessions, all fair, and all a joy to behold when played within the rules. But there were a good few left/right combo two handed wallops going in yesterday from Jimmy’s men (….I always though only one hand tackles were allowed) and a few neck-high ‘clotheslines’ which are certainly dangerous, although the latter not as bad as in the Donegal V Tyrone game, I thought.

    It appears there’s only one way to deal with that… fire with fire, stand up to them in all positions, and develop a winning match strategy based on what we’ve now seen to date…..Mayo certainly have the footballers to do this……Hopefully we’ll get another crack at the men from the Hills !

  33. I was at the game in Cavan on Sunday.

    Whilst I might be biased, I am of opinion that Mayo would beat Donegal if the teams meet again. Personally I don’t think Donegal are great this year. Down should have beaten them. Lots of ball lost in “turn overs” by Down. I would venture to say Donegal will not reach the all Ireland Final.

    Lets not give out about venues in Connaught in regards to traffic. The match was over at about 3.50 p.m. (delayed start). I was parked in the Car park that holds about 600 vehicles at the rear of the pitch. I got out of there at 10 to six.

  34. Shot Stopper, thats why unfortunately people never want to park in the “offigiuil” car park and end up looking for housing estates to stop up in. I was the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday and most people were cruising the local housing estates looking for a spot and bypassing the car parks as you’d be in there all day when the match was over.

  35. Can see good and bad of Donegal .Point is so long as the SAME rules apply to EVERY TEAM there is no problem.Thats not always the case .Still they will be hard to beat and I wouldnt read too much in to display against Down. Remember Mayo v Sligo last year.
    My tip to win it out is Kerry.Great footballers new manager and top forwards and they will be well tested by Cork.I think they are better than the rest including Mayo but time will tell.

  36. Donegal weren’t at their best on Sunday however they still had enough to beat another div 1 team without ever looking like losing. If Down had got level who knows but they couldn’t. this Down side are a different team from last year Moyna the DCU manager is with them this year and they are stronger and fitter and they should reach the last eight again the same goes for Tyrone. The teams Mayo have beaten thus far will be lucky to win a qualifier.

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