Barry is a Gooner

Barry Solan

Photo: Mayo News Sport (via Twitter) 

The Mayo News, one of the media outlets that broke the story yesterday, has more information today on the Barry Solan to Arsenal story. The main issue that this piece resolves is Barry’s involvement for the remainder of the championship, with Mike Finnerty quoting Mike Connelly who says that the S&C man will remain part of the senior backroom set-up until our championship season is over.

That same piece also, by the way, has a brief mention of the challenge match against Westmeath that took place over the weekend but only to say that the word was we won it and nobody got injured in the process. The piece concludes by noting that both Michael Conroy and Evan Regan lined out for Davitts and Ballina respectively when the two clubs met in a league match at the weekend.  Mickey C knocked over eight points, seven of them from play, in that match while Evan – playing his first competitive game since the NFL clash with Kerry back in February – contributed 1-2 (a penalty goal and two frees) to the Stephenites’ winning tally.

As has already been noted in the comments, the same paper also reports this week that Noel and Pat have ruled out taking charge of the U21s next year. That piece states that an appointment to the U21 post is now expected to be made at some stage before the end of August.

There’s plenty of stuff on the minors too – here’s the match report and Seán Rice’s column (where I even get a mention on the thorny issue of who won what in Connacht in 1902-1910) – and there’s lots more in the paper itself, including interesting interviews with both John Prenty and Mike Connelly on the decision to fix the Connacht final for Hyde Park. Get the paper and judge for yourselves but my tuppence on this one is that Mike Connelly’s arguments about what venue should have been chosen (he was in favour of Castlebar) have a whole load more logic underpinning them than those advanced by the Connacht Council Secretary in relation to the still-dilapidated Roscommon venue.

Finally, hot off the presses (well spotted by @MayoClub51) comes the news that Kerry’s Padraig O’Sullivan will ref the Connacht final. I’d better stop harping on, then, about all that pretty boy diving that’s been going on of late.

98 thoughts on “Barry is a Gooner

  1. I’m delighted that Barry Solan is remaining with the squad until our season is over, which will be on Monday 21st of September. He is a highly sought after individual and it was a great coup for the Mayo senior management to get him on board in the first place. He was involved with the Polish national football team in Euro 2012 and had no shortage of suitors. Had he left now I believe it would have been a disaster for us. With us starting so late in the Summer and having had a 10 week break from competitive action since the league finished, our conditioning and fitness levels have to be carefully planned.
    We are one of the top 2 or 3 sides in the country when it comes to power, fitness and running ability. With a number of the squad heading into year 4 of intensive physical preparation there is not a lot of improvement that can be expected from these players in terms of speed times, power generation and recovery times. I believe the planning, monitoring and execution of their fitness programs must be carefully thought out by someone who knows exactly what he is doing, and Solan has the CV to show that he is the man. The Polish side of the 2012 Euros was one of the hardest running physically intensive sides in the tournament and Solan was a large part of that.
    We need to peak for later in the year, tick over for now, just get by. That takes planning and experience and in Solan we have that. But we must have another 10% in us for when it really matters.
    Despite the media darlings professing the All Ireland champions being Donegal one week, Kerry the next, Dublin the week after, there is very little between any of the top 4 sides and it’s all on the day. If your prepped right, get your tactics right and a bit of luck on your side any side can beat the unbeatables. We’ll have a good long Summer of it yet.

  2. Willie Joe, As regards Galway’s so called defeat of Mayo in Claremorris by 0-05. To 1-01.In the early years of the GAA a goal was worth than any amount of points. Points on only came into the equation when the amount of goals were equal. I have a book on the history of the GAA that I bought in 1984 for the centenary of the GAA. Of I can find the book I will tell you exactly when that rule changed. So maybe that would explain Mayo’s victory. If the scammer Rilke was still in place Mayo minors would be leading at half time last Saturday, changed times;

  3. Predictive text, Opps!I should read before I pressed post. Last sentence should read “If the same rules were in place Mayo minors would be leading at half time last Saturday”

  4. Think you mean “Gonner” Wille Joe and not “Gooner”. I’m picturing some sort of shady gangster charachter with “Gooner”, which I’m sure Barry is not. Haha

  5. Lashitout – I’ve just checked the history books (actually the O’Brien Pocket Book of Gaelic Sport by Eamonnn Sweeney) which states that a goal was worth more than any number of points only up until 1892 and was worth five points from 1893 until 1895, at which stage it became equivalent to three points. That means that the 0-5 to 1-1 win for Galway played in May 1903 (which I’m claiming was the 1902 Connacht final) was indeed won by Galway.

  6. It could have been either, I guess, Mayo Maori! The terms ‘Gunners’ and ‘Gooners’ are of course used interchangeably by the Arsenal cognoscenti.

  7. Thanks for the info, I was still scratching my head as to where the book was. Galway’s title it is so! Knew that a goal was worth more than any amount of points up to some stage. 18 players a side up to some stage as well!

  8. Just to add to that particular pot, Lashitout, up until 1909 they had those strange outer posts (not unlike the Aussie Rules ones and a nod to what is used in that awful International Rules carry-on) so I think a not-so-bad wide might have been a point in those times as well!

  9. Barry Solan has been a great servant to Mayo football. A damn fine club player too and sound. He could be the 1% that gets us over the line this year. Mayo’s big men are lean n mobile and that is difficult to achieve. Players with previous injuries are moving well.

  10. Off topic but have decided to put it here in the newest thread.

    http://www.roscommonherald.ie/2015/07/07/ready-to-roll/

    Key points the Hyde will capacity will be 23,500 for the Connacht final (more than enough I think)

    3,600 only for the covered stand thats grand if the weather is good.

    Ros chairman might be mentioning you Willie about his quote on jungle picture that was posted on social media of the Hyde.

  11. Had to say that I thought Mayo looked superbly conditioned in Salthill. If Arsenal come calling that’s a feather in the cap of the County Board who appointed him in the first place. And of Barry of course.

  12. Any of ye GAA season ticket holders get the email from HQ advising that we were not being allocated tickets in the stand?

  13. Ya mayomamingalway. It’s the sideline. Think we’ll need the sandwiches and hopeless, unreserved seating so might need to get there early.

  14. Well if experience is anything to go by, there’s a whole pile of county councillors and Connacht GAA officials who will have to have a nice central seated area reserved for them. And sure isn’t it only right, since we’re all equals but some are more equal than others.

  15. I wonder how many of those who’ll be in the reserved section of the stand were at league games in Killarney, Cork or Derry? Even fewer of them at any of Sligo’s league games. It sickens me. I know it won’t get me anywhere but I’ve just sent an email to the season ticket people looking for an explanation of why we are not getting stand tickets, as we are guaranteed per their own website

  16. I’m a long suffering Gooner so it’s nice to see a Mayo man involved with the club. There’s a landmark site across from one of the pubs in Islington where three flags are always on view before an Arsenal game – the holy trinity – Ireland, Arsenal and Mayo!

  17. Delighted to hear Regan is back fit and playing. Would love to see him start the Connacht final.

  18. If Regan starts we are in a bad way.He has never played championship for usIit is a big step up to intercounty championship.

  19. There’s little or no chance of Regan starting but he offers a great option from the bench. Would love to see Freeman find some form but we’ve been here before.

  20. I’m with you WJ, made much more sense for the CF to be in Castlebar, shame really!
    ah well, carry on.

  21. Guess I stand corrected on that one so Willie Joe. Never heard the “Gooner” reference before.

  22. “If Regan starts we are in a bad way.He has never played championship for usIit is a big step up to intercounty championship.”

    So how does one make his championship debut?

  23. Play consistently in league and club championship and be introduced as a sub in a championship game when result is not in doubt.

  24. Read somewhere today that Arsenal allowing B Solon to combine Arsenal and Mayo roles, if true that would be fantastic.

  25. Regan will be used this C’ship and if he’s good enough, which I think he is, he’ll thrive. Look at David Moran last year – entering the championship late certainly didn’t hinder him (granted, he has more experience than Evan).
    Evan must be chomping at the bit at this stage to play and I feel he will grab the chance. I wouldn’t worry too much about debating the circumstances of how or when he should be introduced or if he will be introduced at all (let the opposition do that worrying!). He has looked lively in the brief times we have seen him so far. I think it’s a good year for a player like him to come back into the fold – the team are quite mature and experienced and this will help ease in his return from injury. He appears to have the talent, therefore the transition should be that much easier. Martin McHugh speaks very highly of him and he should know, having managed him. He has youth on his side too which means he’ll bounce back.
    It’s also an area of the field where we badly need strengthening (for frees and scores from play). We simply need to try everything we can to make us as potent a force as possible. If it’s clicks, it will really increase the Cillian/Aido threat. As McHugh notes, Evan is a player who needs watching and this will create even more space for others.

  26. Must check my email, In 2011 Connacht Final a rotten day. I got my season ticket that allocated mea certain numbered seat in the stand. Fair enough you would think, but Rossie supporters with season tickets were allocated the same seat. In any event Mayo county councilors we sitting on our double booked seats, none produced their ticket

  27. Must check my email, In 2011 Connacht Final a rotten day. I got my season ticket that allocated me certain numbered seat in the stand. Fair enough you would think, but Rossie supporters with season tickets were allocated the same seat. In any event Mayo county councilors we sitting on our double booked seats, none produced their ticket to prove their right to said seats even with the intervention of the stewards. They weren’t for moving talk about a sence of entitlement. Many Mayo &Ross season ticket holders has sit on the aisles. In 2012 Connacht final A windy but fine day I didn’t bother with the stand when tough my ticket entitled me to go there to avoid the hassle! In MNC Hale

  28. I wonder how many season tickets are there in Connacht altogether? Mayo tickets, I understand, are fully used up but I don’t think too many other Connacht people would see much use for them over the past few years. Afterall, their only real advantage is the guarantee of an All Ireland Final ticket if your county is involved in the final. As we know from experience they do not guarantee a prime seat in Croke Park. And probably Mayo tickets would have filled the stand anyway. I was amazed at the amount of “VIP” reserved seating in Pearse Stadium for the Mayo Galway match.
    I am not too convinced about the Ross chairman’s claim about Hyde Park’s accessibility for patrons. I am normally lucky enough to be able to approach from the Leinster side but one had to approach from the Sligo road where I also met the Mayo traffic at the junction of the N61 and N63. As I recall it was chaos and a long walk.

  29. Ah lads, I think ye are all being awfully unfair to our elected representatives. They all have done sterling work for our youth and sporting bodies (i.e. ran 300,000 of our youth out of the country and cut funding to sports organisations!) and if any deserve to have their plump rear ends rested on a VIP seat then it is our councillors and other egotistical, self serving and deluded public representatives. Sure, they’ll probably park on the disabled spots outside as well. Why wouldn’t they, they’re ENTITLED to.
    I hope the pidgeons shite down on every VIP seat in the place 🙂
    Also, I don’t know if any of the posters are from a legal background, but surely selling season tickets to paying customers (and therefore forming a contract) on the basis of being granted a seat, but then NOT making a seat available, surely is grounds for breach of contract? We’ve been sold a pup and probably have grounds for a refund??

  30. Well I’m en France and I have to say that I’m having a great giggle at some of the stuff that’s posting….seagull sHite and all…well done!

  31. Politicans are like vultures on the big days….get the free centre line seat and most likely a feed. Same in every sport though. The real fans get shafted.

  32. There was some fiasco in the stand for the Roscommon-Mayo championship match last year too with the cordoned-off VIP section. Real sickening stuff. It’s one way to learn how ‘important’ the real supporters are in the eyes of society come the big occasions.

    If the weather stays dry we’ll get over it I’m sure. But a season ticket is supposed to guarantee you a stand seat. When the rug is pulled from under people all of a sudden, it’s hard to blame them for getting mad.

  33. Willie Joe, have you ever thought about inviting a member of the County Board Executive to come on here and do a Q&A style session? It would be interesting to hear the answers to questions put to them by the knowledgeable commentators on this site. We see the same complaints pop up here all the time and it would be good to have them responded to in an official capacity.

    Would be far better here than on Twitter.

  34. I noticed on the Mayogaa website that a significant part of the training session in the video related to the Player welfare fund shows a small sided posession type drill with players running into contact. I dunno, dissappointing to see that when it has been highlighted ad nauseum the problem of players soloing and taking the ball into contact
    Those small sided games I am not a fan of them. In terms of game play they encourage bad habits of too much soloing and the passing is not realistic with little passes over 2 or 3 yards.
    The only defensive game in town now is anything but man to man. In terms of counter attack then need passer, receiver and runner all coordinated. My viewpoint is small sided posession drills whether for stamina, tackling or whatever purpose can only encourage bad habits that we desperately need to get rid of.

  35. Hi, Just a quick question that i’m sure someone has an answer to. Will my account be automatically be debited for a Connacht Final ticket under the ‘Pay & Play’ option? As this is the first time i have used this for my Cairde ticket i’m just not sure do i have to buy a ticket or is one added to the Cairde ticket with the bank details that i bought the ticket with at the start of the year. I know im not the only person slightly confused by this.

  36. I haven’t, Ultair – something like that would require a fair bit of thought and planning, and agreement on behalf of the County Board, to be done properly. For my own part, I simply don’t have the time at the minute.

  37. Yes Simon your account will be automatically be debited for the ticket unless you “opt out” which you have the option to do “once” during the championship season. I don’t think many will be opting out of games though.

    Note to check your debit/credit card you have listed on your account with season tickets is up to date and valid. Otherwise payment can not be taken and I assume you may not get a ticket.

  38. It’s a complete balls for season ticket holders not to be seated in the stand and obviously that was a consideration that should have been taken into account, but obviously wasn’t. But looking at the “Where will I be seated?” section of the GAA season ticket website, the first line probably covers them for such events “You will be entitled to access to the stand for your county’s matches wherever possible”

    I guess in the Hyde it isn’t possible, the while the it does say later on you’ll be seated in the stand, I’d imagine the first line probably covers them, in case you’re not.

    https://www.gaa.ie/tickets-and-merchandise/tickets/gaa-season-ticket/where-will-i-be-seated/

  39. Re the ‘Drive for Five’ – we should not allow this to become a mantra leading up to the Sligo match. These war cries can be very distracting and self-defeating – ask Kerry (1982) and Kilkenny (2010).

    Let’s take a leaf out of the Serena Williams PR book. Yesterday on BBC when the interviewer started to raise the question of a Grand Slam with her, she simply wagged her finger at him and said, now, now, I said I wasn’t going to speak on that topic. The interviewer promptly wandered off to another topic. That’s how to do it.

  40. DON’T FORGET TO CHECK YOUR CREDIT CARD – FOR SEASON TICKET HOLDERS

    Thanks, Steve, for the reminder, I would have looked silly, sitting outside the Hyde, never mind the stand.

  41. Hello JP, i am no expert on drills bit i did see Buckle sepervising the drills you described and thought they were very good for getting used to getting out of a shammozle and then quick offload for a goal chance. Close in combat.
    Also i doubt that man to man marking is over for Mayo yet. Not everyone will follow the same template and Mayo are good man go man. Not that mind if they do the defensive stfategy with qjick counter attacks. I sure would.like Aidan O Shea to go back if we are progecting a lead. Best wishes, ciaran 2
    Cork did best in 2nd half when they went man to man but then they were winning midfield. Circumstances change.

  42. My imagination is gone wild with the thought of what havoc our forwards could cause anyone with the inclusion of a known flyin E Regan with the other five + contributions from further out.
    And I do think though that in training they need loads of that close passing/taking on man at pace and with precision cos it’s such an essentional part of the game . Of course they need to know how well they can do it and so when to pull out! I’d imagine they’re told this is the purpose of it and not to be gettin stuck or gettin turned over…anethema. Jaz.. it’s so easy to talk.

  43. According to the Mayo News twitter:

    Mayo management will have a full squad to pick from for Connacht Final on Sun week, according to Noel Connelly: (34 lads all fit).

    Really positive/relaxed mood at MayoGAA Connacht Final press night. Noel Connelly, Keith Higgins & Colm Boyle all in great form.

    Thats great news to hear….

  44. Everyone reckons Mayo has shite but Dublin and Kerry’s full back line. I reckon when Dublin plays a decent team they will leak a few goals.

  45. ”mayomaningalway says:
    July 8, 2015 at 10:25 pm
    Everyone reckons Mayo has shite but Dublin and Kerry’s full back line. I reckon when Dublin plays a decent team they will leak a few goals.”

    Whatever about Dublin,Kerry are very poor at the back and will be found out to their cost.

  46. If Andy Moran isn’t fit I’d love to see Regan start in the corner with Cillian and beside Aidan. As Liberal says above that’s a seriously potent full-forward line. Andy could also be kept on the bench until later in the match where we saw him thrive last year. Regan is also a better right sided free taker than Kevin Mc.

  47. Prediction: Regan won’t make the panel of 26 on the day. He won’t have had the chance to play himself in to the team.

    Kirby wasn’t in the first 26 against Galway and we were all pencilling him in at various stages. Funny, I haven’t seen him mentioned much in recent posts either.

  48. There seems to be a reluctance to try anything new ..yet Ronnie did very well when introduced v Galway.
    I think Comroy does not have temprament for bog days and takes wrong options andd frankly do not think Dillon will reach the desired standard again.I could be wrong but thats how I see it.
    Having players on the bench is not a panacea …we must start with best team in my view .
    Sligo will shut up shop and we will have to be inventive.Think Parsons needs to step up and Seamie too this year if we are to have any chance.

  49. Big days or bog days I think you’re being a bit unfair, hueyandlouis, on Mickey C. He put in a stormer, remember, when he came off the bench against Kerry in Limerick.

  50. All the talk is about Regan but I’d be amazed if we see him in action the next day, or for that matter for the rest of this season. Loads were predicting Conor Loftus to start before the galway game – has he even been mentioned since? Conroy on the other hand is an addition to the bench, and 8 points for davitts on his return suggests he’s in form. I’d like to see him on at some stage next day out. Love to be proven wrong on Regan and Loftus but I think their time will come, but not this season.

  51. I get the point regan has not had the game time to throw into a Connacht final (although I disagree) but I also get a bad vibe off some posters as regards regan , it’s like some of ye are almost aggressive about him getting a chance and that is not so much in this thread but over the last two years I’m talking about. Can’t wait for the day when I’m proved right , he’s class and he is what this team needs added.

    On another note the best of luck to Barry solan , he’s obviously top of his game . I like to see bucks like solan involved with Mayo because he is a passionate Mayo supporter , I think it means a good deal .

  52. WJ you beat me to it regarding Mickey C in Limerick. He had a fine game that day when introduced, and did well in his cameo (as did Mikey Sweeney) the week previous.

  53. Don’t get me wrong sean. I love to see new blood get its chance. Excited about Regan and Loftus future Mayo careers. But let’s be honest, the management team appear to be ultra conservative in terms of team selection. It’s effectively the same 23 odd players used since 2011 in every championship game, bar DOC and even he played last year. So I don’t understand why people were predicting Loftus to start v galway, or Regan to start v Sligo. Ronaldson is ahead of both, as is Mickey sweeney and freeman, and probably Conroy too.
    Also we have had a lot of false dawns with young lads coming in to supposedly nail down a starting berth. Darren coen, Brendan Harrison and Conor o Shea to name 3 off the top of my head. These guys all played championship fleetingly under Horan, but appear to have gone backwards instead of developing their intercounty careers. So it just makes me a bit sceptical when I hear of the next “great white hope”. I will believe it when I see it.

  54. Sean Burke – I would love to be proved wrong in my prediction, and maybe I will be. If only for freetaking, accurate freetaking, management might consider him.

    But as I say, its very competitive in there – Kirby didn’t get a look in against Galway on the 26; Mikey Sweeney – what has he got to do to get a start?

    Still, Ronaldson is new, as is Parsons – doesn’t matter that they are older, in fact it’s an advantage, and I feel that Durcan and Coen are really challenging for places. Keegan and Boyler are under a bit of pressure IMO.

  55. Given that the GAA are being completely unreasonable in their treatment of season ticket holders think the best thing is to hit them where it hurts. Maybe if we all refused to buy match programmes at a fiver a head?

  56. In my opinion Mikey Sweeney and Ronaldson are too alike to be accommodated in a subs list where in practice you are limited to four subs. I also think that if fit Evan Regan has to be included in the subs even if only as cover for Kevin McLoughlin for free taking duties.

  57. If we are serious about thinking long term towards winning Sam then Regan has to be on the bench. We had whatever amount of kickable right sided frees this year and Kevin McGloughlin was no better than 50% on them. You cannot have free taking at 50% and expect to win Sam. The opposition will have no fear of fouling you on the right win from 35 yards out. From 35 yards and out the % was simply awful, I would estimate 25%.
    The other thing Regan has is pace and all other teams Dublin, Kerry and Donegal have plenty of pace. We will not get elite pace from Cillian, Andy, Dillon, DOC. Only Kevin Mc of the current starters is quick. Hence we need something from the bench. The other thing he has proven well enough at both Club, Mayo U21 and College level is that he is a goal scorer.
    Look at the last few seasons goal scoring record of Jason Doc, Dillon, Michael Conroy. They are not getting goals on a regular basis. They are not getting them at club level either. Goals are predictable. Our goals have and will always come from AOS, Cillian, Freeman and if given the chance Regan.
    It’s like 3 pt shooters in basketball, there are big gaps in % return between players. In 2015 championship we need as many goal getters as it is going to take 2 goals to beat a Kerry, Donegal or Dublin.

  58. Forgot to mention Andy also gets us goals. In fact when match fit and ball in his hands Andys accuracy has been incredible. Simply hasn’t been match fit in a lot of games or even available for selection.

  59. A match-fit Regan would be a useful addition to our forward line – there’s no doubt that we need the scores he can bring. But it’s not reasonable to expect him to be inter-county match-fit for any of our 2015 campaign. Realistically Evan is an option off the bench for this year – that’s all. But if he can make an impact, he’d be a great option to have.

  60. I see many posters are still picking the team. Glad someone put up a case for Freeman. Im going to say Henelly, why not?, Cillian is undoubting one of the best free takers in the game but what about from the 45 or further, Henellys long distance potential is a great weapon in our arsenal. On the seating arrangements, if the weather is fine most of its will get over the inconvience. Sure who on their right mind would want to be put up there with them VIPs? Last I seen McHale park they had a section roped off, just for county councilor’s and such at last year’s Connacht final. A sort of an isolation pen! I know their is a mart near Dr Hyde Park but I still think these VIPs will find their way into the stand!

  61. Regan has natural pace and had bulked up over the last two seasons. He’s probably best off the bench to minimize game time contact on that collarbone/shoulder. With his natural pace he shouldnt have any fitness issues. He would have been doin bike work anyways.

  62. Wifi again S France and I detect a note of crescendo in the latest blogs. Hope we never reach the point incredibly touched last year where ’twas felt that we deserved it so much that it would inevitably happen. For no game can this be. The words and phrases ruthless, killer, no let up, it’s ours to do, we know we can do it, let’s f…. n get at it, to the f…. n end!
    And if it doesn’t happen this time we know so v well how to behave…. We ve had the practice! Not up to it ! So be it
    However I feel as I’ve felt for about fifty years , there’s something different around the corner. Is nt it what keeps you alive a bit.
    I do hope they’ve the soft goal problem solved and also I hope A O Shea realises that he does nt need to grab the ball all the time. With a lock of fliers coming in, surely he ll be thinking of breaking ball now and again. Will they be having such notions….? I’m sure they will. Will they come to fruition ? Time will tell.

  63. Hello,. Mayo and Gaway were fined 2000euro each for not naming team before 12pm on the Thursday before Provincial Game. So should have team news this day week? (COURTESY OF HOGAN STAND 6th July).

  64. An interesting comment to me from a Tyrone friend. He reckons this is Mayo’s year because they last won in “51” and this “15”.. An omen??? I’d love a good omen!!!

  65. Pebblesmeller – thanks for your July 7th contribution re Barry Solan. It was a sound assessment of the situation.

  66. So do I Joe Mc, and it turns out now that there was no funeral in Foxford on that great day in 1951, nor was any priest sighted!

  67. JP they are exactly my sentiments re Regan. In a straight choice between Regan and Conroy/Ronaldson/Sweeney, Regan wins all the time. You mention the reasons why but it should be obvious to everyone anyway.

  68. The thing is, we have been very close the last 4 years but we still have not reached the promised land. Therefore we will need something or someone different this year if we are to succeed where we have failed in the past. Will Evan Regan be part of the solution, remember an 18 year old came from nowhere to score 3 goals for Clare in the 2013 All-Ireland final, so it is possible, anything can happen. At the beginning of the league, Evan started against Kerry before Conroy, Sweeney and Ronaldson so it shows that Noel and Pat rate him highly. He has been out for a long time though so it would be a big ask to expect him to play any part against Sligo. Hopefully he’ll have an impact before the season is over, remember last year Donaghy only entered the fray very late in the day. Our main priorities to improve from the last few years are:

    1. Improve our defensive structure
    2. Have more mobility around the middle of the field
    3. Have more natural scorers up-front
    4. Improve our teamwork all over the field
    5. Produce our best performance in the final (if we get there!)

    Roll on the Connacht Final…..

  69. I doubt if Evan Regan will feature this year after such a layoff but if he were to play then the best time to introduce him is against Sligo (from the bench). Being realistic and with no disrespect to Sligo it will possibly be our easiest match this year if we have any notion of going further. (I hope I don’t have to eat my words!)
    It all depends on how Evan is performing in training. If he has the talent then I wouldn’t worry about the experience – see what Davy Fitz did in the all ireland replay.

  70. SPOILED for choice. Evan Regan must be very good to be considered before Freeman and Conroy. Hope he does get some game time and is well padded. Must be a physical risk?

    So exciting. Have no idea who i would like to see playing. They are all so good.. Might even give Aido a rest. We are in pole position.

  71. Interesting to see the amount of words being printed and the confidence being expressed in and about Evan Regan given that, in the heat of championship battle or indeed of league battle, we haven’t seen much of him.

    I watched much of the latter stages Stephenite’s U 21 campaign 2014 and he wasn’t Ballina’s top performer by any standard of assessment.

    But yet…..there’s something about this player that tells you that he has the ability to light up a game and a team. I’m waiting, willing and hoping that Evan can do this year what I suspect he is capable of. And, of course, stay injury free. And free of unscrupulous tactics by oppositions who have taken note of his recent injury history.

  72. Durcan and Coen are really challenging for places. Keegan and Boyler are under a bit of pressure IMO
    …………………………
    What are you smokin?

    You pick the 2 boys who consistently perform in the big matches and say there the ones under pressure

    There’s not a half back in the country id pick ahead a Keegan

  73. Agree on that centerfield. Add boyler as one that hasn’t many competitors nationally while you’re at it. We have 2 of the top half backs going, if we could only plug up the fullback line someway to stop goals by 50% I think we’d be smiling in September. Maybe they’re working on the obvious problem of leaking bad goals?
    I think Regan will get his chance , others have had plenty of chances and only sometimes taken them, Evan might be different

  74. Stephen coen must be very close to the starting 15.by all accounts he was outstanding marking Jason Doherty in championship match recently and has being playing excellent for hollymount all year.

  75. Agree fully with centrefield in regards to Keegan and Boyle, without doubt 2 of the best wing backs in the country….if anything id like to convert Keegan into a half forward if someone could step up to his hb spot (i know jh tried this) but i think it should be looked at again.

    For me, Freeman is ahead of Regan at the moment, id pick him all day long. He is a proven match winner on his day….i think theirs a BIG display in him this year, plus he’s physical and would complement COC and Aidan. Top player.

  76. We have plenty of good backs lads. Nothing wrong with our personnel back there. However if we continue to defend man to man – relying on the brilliance of higgins and Cunniffe and the likes to win every single ball into opposition forwards, with no defensive structure besides, well then it doesn’t matter if we had the best 6 backs of all time in there. We will still concede goals.

    To borrow a phrase from joe brolly, generally if you’re an opposition forward playing championship football against Mayo in recent years then you know that when you are attacking against us, “it’s on baby. It’s on like donkey Kong!!!” Lots of space and one on one contests in the scoring zone.

    JOD was able to score something like 2-07 in the replay making higgins last year, despite it being widely acknowledged higgins had a fantastic game that day. To be honest he could have scored 3-15 if marking a lesser player than Higgins. I remember keith robbing 5 or 6 balls out of his grasp while he was soloing/attacking – outrageously skilful defending that only a select handful of players in the country are capable of doing at that level – but real high risk stuff all the same.

    In contrast I think o donoghue barely had a shot at goal v Donegal’s defensive system in the final. So it’s all very well talking about Regan and Conroy etc, but the elephant in the room i.e. Our defensive system, needs to be addressed urgently.

  77. With respect Mac’s left boot, JOD was deliberately played out the field in the All Ireland, so as nullify & confuse Donegal’s plans. I think Paul Geany done the damage! Yes we need to do something about yielding up soft goals. We have a wonderful half back line the best in the business, but g they are not the greatest kick passers on the world, of that could be improved upon, coaching, coaching, coaching they would not need to make the hard yards timing the ball all the time. An added bonus of this were to happen would be that there would be some petrol on the tank for the last 15 mins. In the big matches we have both won and lost our 3 half backs have been practically out on their feet. If you contrast that to Dublin, their full forward line are always out on their feet on the last 15 mins when they are inevitably taken off. Of they can learn to kick the ball accurately and long at least some of the time Mayo suddenly become a different animal, I would suggest. Have we now the most reliable of ball winners able to play on the full forward line.?.AOS! That question answers itself, but there are more ball winners than AOS for Mayo how about big Barry, quick in the off load or what! In Limrick last year I taught we missed a trick in not putting Barry on full forward. 2 reasons for that. First, the Kerry fill back line were dreadful. The 3 goals e got were from pretty speculative punts into the danger area, Kerry fullback line couldn’t copy. Second reason we were being hammered on midfield Barry was not winning any ball. But at worst Kerry would have to send in Antony Maher after him & that should have given its at least parity in midfield. That’s easier under the bridge now. But surly a lesson to be learned for the future! We have plenty of able ball winners now. On the grape vine I heard Jason Gibbons is right back to form, don’t know if Noel or Pat are thinking of him at moment, but he’s available and that can only be a plus!

  78. Conroy and Reagan to see play time against Sligo. Maybe start C but R needs time out there now for later on. He’s a real spanner for the works!
    Looking back at all our weaker moments when major scores were yielded up it appears that all came down to the following invariably~~high ball one on one~~ players not getting to pitch of ball~~ sudden exposure due to turn over on passing mov breakdown~~ turn over due to kicked pass gone astray ( how many times!) These are a lot of our own doing which points a finger to the solution…..practice and precision and the same again. Cut down on mistakes in all facets of the game and heavenly rewards will follow. You only have to look at Djokovics early career to see what happened when he cut down on his unforced errors. We didn’t think he’d do it but he did….as close to the line as pos but not beyond !! And that was constant practice till he did it with eyes shut….as if he wasn’t bothered about the ball at all!! Surely it’s much the same thing cept shared out among a slightly larger number of players. C’mon Mayo!

  79. For all those calling for young Evan Regan to start or have game time.
    Its great that you speak so positively about him and hopefully he can develop into a top player for us but a couple of point of warning.
    1. Stepping up for Club to intercounty.
    Before the Galway match. All the talk was of the corofin boys and particularly Michael Lundy. Who was the best player in the best club in the country but je struggled. Lee Keegan marked him out of the game. There is a huge jump in standard from club to county. So we can expect Evan to be up to that after a game for Ballina.

    2. He is just back from injury.
    I’m sure our S&C coach Solan and the medical team have a programme for him to get back into full fitness. To expect a lad who have played 7 minutes of a league game at intercounty and has had two collarbone injuries to be ready for intercounty is unfair. It would also be reckless for the Regan health. I know Sligo aren’t the best team in the country but they showed against Roscommon they are physical.
    Don’t get me wrong i’m looking forward to seeing Regan but just think we are expecting too much.
    I personally would like to see Ronaldson see game time. A very intelligent player who has had a very good league.

  80. Macsleftboot, JOD got 2-6 in the replay but only four points from play where as Cillian got 2-5 with 1-2 from play but the only mention Cillian gets in the aftermath is the red card he got when the game was up. Cillian might not have that burst of speed but he is still underrated in general . (12/1 for top scorer at the minute ,could be worth an each way shout before the Sligo game) ye have been told now.

  81. I have heard it all now.Comparing Mayo to Novac Djokovic! Still the essence of the point is fair.
    Joe Mc you are always good for a laugh…we might win in 15 cos we won in 51.Maybe it will be next year since 5+1 is 6!
    On a more serious point I will gain no friends but I am not convinced Jason Doherty is worth gis place in the first 15 though he is a loyal and wonderful guy but frankly I think many others ahead of him including Ronaldson Freeman and Dillon.

  82. Jason Doc actually needs to up it in this Sligo game. Im sure he can and its too early in the day for getting statistical about his performances this year.

  83. We have only played one game in the championship so far . Doc was very good last year , putting freeman in ahead of doc ? Remind me when freeman last performed ,his scoring record is dreadful . Mayo supporters opinions can be so opposite it’s incredible. Personally I had Dillon wrote off last year and I was proven wrong there obviously but lads lassies time waits for nobody then again I thought Marc o se was mighty last week .

    There has been a couple of players at least looking sluggish at times throughout the league and in salthill , I wouldn’t worry about it yet .

    If regan did happen to get a run , keep him away from Donovan , holy smoley he can hit a shoulder some rattle.

  84. Sean Burke you honestly cant say Freemans scoring record is dreadful. In goals per game himself, Cillian and AOS are out on their own.
    Freeman is never a direct replacement for Jason Doc as he should always be inside. Jason Docs league was subpar and so was his Galway game. Gave up scoreable frees and lost ball himself. Never more than 1 pt scored and a lack of assists or defence opening passes. Turnovers go both ways. I think we should agree to rate players seasonally on stats not match to match. Horan ruined Freemans rep partly with the 2013 final. Responsible for 2pts he was. He was all set to win us that final possibly but flu got in the way …….. ya sure.

  85. @JP “Horan ruined Freemans rep partly with the 2013 final” please explain?

    Freeman best game for Mayo was the All Ireland Semi Final vs Tyrone. When Cillian went off injured he stepped up. That was under Horan. When lots of people were questioning Freeman inclusive.
    We haven’t seen anything close from Freeman since. The lad is quality but we can’t blame Horan for him struggling with form.

  86. Rock, I too am a long suffering gooner living in Gavinland but proudly hailing from Mayo. Will be in the Hyde next weekend and in the Emirates the following weekend for the Emirates Cup 2015. What is the name of the pub shrine in Isllington? Must pay homage.

  87. His only great performance in championship was v Tyrone in 13.

    He scored 0-1 last year a free kick. He had game time in every game , Horan gave him every chance after 13 final, he started in Roscommon last year totally ineffective albeit I thought the quality of ball into him was poor.

    He is a hit an miss player , a part of me feels for him because I believe he is capable but you can only be givin so much time too. Very much a confidence player and lacks a bit of grit .

  88. Partly the ’13 final as there was the spectacle of a player who helped us get two points on the board n was moving well being taken off. What would Freeman have done after 20 mins? We’ll never know.
    As I recall Freeman played well in all championship games in 2013. Typically massive underating of Freeman. Wasnt it two key points to stretch the lead versus Donegal. Was the game winner versus Tyrone. Then in the final we clearly had no stats man monitoring who was contributing up front. Wins a free. Wins a ball lays it off and then gets the turnover back. Dillon ignored Freeman from the wing in those 19mins. Freeman misses out on one 40:60 ball and is hauled off straight after. An inexcusable subbing. Last year was a quiter year for him but didnt he have much less game time?

  89. hueyandlouis, Jaysus, you are so funny. It wasn’t me said that, my Tyrone friend said it. I was almost amused!!! 😉

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