Belief crucial as Minors prevail in Tuam thriller

There are many attributes you need in a side for it to be successful. Talented players who are dedicated and committed to the cause is one, a tactically astute management team that can get the best out of the players is another. But there is another very important attribute that often goes unseen and only surfaces in those moments of extreme self-doubt, in those moments when your back is against the wall, you know you are beaten in almost every position on the field and you know you are in trouble, in those moments when you are faced with the question, “Do I have it in me to change this game or are we gone?”

That attribute is belief. Belief in your teammates, belief in the game plan, belief in your own ability and belief that if you keep playing for the next ball, only the next ball, that things will turn your way. It was that attribute which kept Mayo in this game when, for large periods of the first half in particular, they were out-fought, out-paced, out-thought and totally out-played by a superior and dominant Galway side.

John Donnellan’s side were in terrific form going in to the match as they were unbeaten in the Connacht minor league and were facing a Mayo side that displayed patchy form at best and had lost to Galway by two points in Ballinrobe earlier in the year. Galway were determined to avenge the 5-8 to 2-11 defeat inflicted on them by Mayo at the very same stage of this competition last year and the odds had them as likely to do so.

Tuam Stadium, the real home of Galway football, played host to a very decent crowd on a warm but overcast evening to see these two old rivals square off on a perfect pitch. A slight but constant breeze favoured Galway in the first half as the Leitrim ref Ray McBrien threw the ball in.

Galway started by winning the throw in and went a point up after just 42 seconds. They went two points up after a minute and a half and also had two goal efforts wonderfully saved by Matthew Flanagan in the Mayo goal in the 4th and 8th minute. This blistering start had Galway in a 6 points to 1 lead after 15 minutes as they cut Mayo open time and time again with the impressive movement and scoring ability of their two corner forwards, Finnerty and Mannion.

Galway dominated midfield, won every breaking ball and their half-back line, where the solid Kieran Molloy at no.7 levelled all comers with his shuddering well timed shoulder hits, swept up behind their midfield at their ease. This total domination of possession pinned Mayo back into their own half and they struggled for the opening 20 minutes to even get inside the Galway 45m line.

Mayo didn’t fetch cleanly in midfield until the 13th minute and by the 17th minute Enda Gilvarry had made his first change with the Mayo no.2 Mikey Barrett called ashore for Stephen Brennan. Gilvarry also switched Cian Hanley at 11 with TJ Byrne at 14 and brought Conor Byrne out from the corner to play as another half-forward. This was an obvious attempt by Gilvarry to add height to the middle third and an extra body to try and win back some possession. While it was not an immediate success it did help Mayo to get their hands on the ball and at least give the defence a rest.

The big problem Mayo had was the Galway no.8 Michael Daly. The dominant force in the middle, his direct powerful running down the middle was creating overlaps that helped to carve open the Mayo backline. One of his runs resulted in a missed free in the 20th minute, another run up the middle saw him hand-pass twice before placing his goal effort wide of Flanagan’s post and a minute later he boomed a massive effort over the bar from outside the 45 metre line, a kick that easily had another 10 metres in it.

Galway tacked on another point in the 24th minute to put them 0-8 to 0-2 up and they then hit the upright with another effort. Mayo undoubtedly were in trouble and badly needed half-time to come to their rescue. However, I did feel that despite all the pressure Mayo were under if they could manage to get to half-time without conceding a goal then they still had a chance. For all the ball that Galway had and the wonderful play that followed from that possession, they still hadn’t put Mayo away. It may have been great Mayo goalkeeping allied to bad luck on Galway’s part, but Mayo were still breathing and still, just about, in the game.

Galway’s failure to put Mayo away came back to haunt them in the 26th minute. Mayo made a complete mess of a free that resulted in a scramble in the Galway goalmouth. This ended up with a Galway defender under pressure on his hands and knees in the small square punching the ball out over the end line. Penalty!!!

Hanley duly dispatched and it was game on. The ref flashed a yellow to Oisin Moran and, most notably, to Michael Daly towards the end of the first half as tempers began to boil. Mayo finished the half on the front foot and although they kicked two wides in the last two minutes, it was an improvement of sorts as we hadn’t ventured too close to their goal too often in the previous 28 minutes. The ref blew up for half-time to leave the crowd puzzled as to how Mayo were still in this game.

The second half started much like the first, Michael Daly wins the ball, runs straight down the middle, gets fouled, the resultant free goes over the bar. Again, after 42 seconds!! For the opening eight minutes of this half both sides traded points (Mayos first from play in the third minute!) but Mayo now seemed much more comfortable in their shape and their match-ups.

Eoin O’Donoghue and Jason Forkan at 4 and 5 respectively were coming to the fore for the Mayo defence and TJ Byrne was winning clean ball at midfield. Mayo were still four points down at 0-12 to 1-5 but they were competitive. However, the match and the dominance of Galway was about to end as in the 9th minute of the second half Michael Daly got his second yellow card and was sent to the line.

Mayo took immediate control of midfield and began spreading the Galway defence by switching the ball from wing to wing using the strong running Sharoize Akram on one side and Liam Byrne, introduced earlier for Oisin Horan, on the other. Mayo scored a point in the 12th, nearly worked a goal in the 13th and kicked three consecutive wides in the next four minutes.

They were guilty of rushing their efforts and overcarrying into crowded areas but they were finding holes in the Galway full-back line and fancied their chances of success there. They were right to do so because in the 19th minute of the second half a well-worked move saw a goalbound effort blocked but fortunately it fell to the sub Byrne and he buried it to the back of the net.

Galway 0-12, Mayo 2-6. Mayo were finally level. Not for long though as two minutes later a Galway move down the right side and in along the end line saw Flanagan save bravely again only to see the loose ball tucked away by the Galway full-forward to re-establish their three-point lead. After all the work they put in to draw themselves level, the Mayo lads found themselves three points down again with nine minutes to go.

I mentioned belief earlier. Well these Mayo lads have it in bucketful because their response was to go straight down the other end of the field from the resultant kick-out and score a third goal. It was the scrappiest of the lot but a goal nonetheless and more importantly the game was level again, Galway 1-12 Mayo 3-6.

Mayo were winning ball and running at the Galway defence but some poor decision making by Conor Byrne saw us cough up possession on a number of occasions through over carrying and running into congested areas of the middle third. This tactic yielded its reward however in the 26th minute of the second half when a Galway foot block on a Mayo shot resulted in a free directly in front of the posts.

The ref initially called a penalty but was informed by his umpire that the infringement occurred outside the square and so Hanley pointed the free to put Mayo in the lead for the first time in the game. Mayo were owning the ball now but another Conor Byrne wide from a wild unbalanced effort saw Galway play a short quick kick out as they made one final surge forward in added on time. They built from the back and broke through the Mayo midfield where the Galway runner had his shirt pulled and was fouled.

Just outside the 45 metre line and into a slight breeze, Peter Cooke struck the ball sweetly but it fell short where a Galway fist punched it into the outside of the Mayo side netting. For a fraction of a second the home crowd thought the ball was in the net and started celebrating. Their joy was short lived however when they saw the umpire on that side of the goal wave it wide. The ref blew the final whistle on the kick-out and the Mayo lads jumped for joy while their opponents slumped to the ground. Mayo 3-7 Galway 1-12.

There is no doubt that Mayo got out of jail in the first half where Galway should have scored two, if not three, goals and some untidy Galway tackling allowed Mayo to register a couple of scores that they didn’t look like getting from play. There can be no doubt either that Daly getting sent off had a huge bearing on the outcome of the match as the Galway dominance in the middle third ended with his dismissal and Galway only posted a solitary score (albeit a goal) and registered no wides without him.

Mayo on the other hand scored 2-2 and kicked five wides in the same period. To counter that it must be said that Flanagan in the Mayo goal was outstanding, Gilvarry’s changes in the first half helped and Mayo had shown signs of getting to grips with Galway in the opening exchanges of the second half.

The biggest loser this evening I believe is the All-Ireland Minor championship. As this was not a provincial final there is no “back door” qualifier system available to Galway and this is a shame. This is a serious Galway outfit with toughness, pace, skill, power in midfield and, as always with Galway, classy forwards. They are worthy of a provincial final or a run-out in Croke Park and the fact that such an excellent side is now out of the championship is football’s loss.

Mayo to their enormous credit hung in when they were on the rack and battled and scrapped for every ball. They clung on, just enough, to not let Galway get out of sight. They refused to be beaten and when the game was there to be won with ten minutes to go, they reached out and grabbed it. Players of note were Flanagan, Duffy and O’Donoghue in the full-back line, Forkan and Akram for their hard running, Hanley for his leadership particularly from dead balls and TJ Byrne for his outstanding fielding ability in the middle third. Gilvarry has some work to do before they met the Rossies in McHale Park in a couple of weeks but at least they are there and he will know better than any that today’s performance will not be good enough the next day.

112 thoughts on “Belief crucial as Minors prevail in Tuam thriller

  1. Was at it too. We rode our luck that’s for sure. I felt we were coming back into it even before daly was dismissed. Out half back line started to get a hold of things and our defence over all improved.

    Reape was very impressive in 1st half but v quiet in 2nd.

    Akram set up a lot of out attacks, clever on the ball.

    I think we have to improve a lot from free kicks. We fluffed two relatively basic close in efforts just before HT.

    Perhaps we can put our 1st half sluggishness down to the fact that it was our first championship outing whereas Galway looked sharp, benefitting from last weeks win in Sligo.

    Were galway unbeaten in the minor league? Leitrim won it anyway.

    This Mayo team looks like a bunch who will benefit from game time. Determined and dogged rather than outstanding. Tj Byrne made a big difference when taken out to the middle.

  2. Winning in Tuam with a lot of room for improvement. A perfect start to the championship! Well done boys. It was great to see them absolutely beaming after the game.

    Terrific crowd too

  3. Second half made up for the first half, felt tactically we were poor. Under real pressure in midfield we kept bombing the ball down the middle from kickouts only for the ball to come right back on top of us. didn’t once look for the quick short restart! Galway missed very decent chances for goals in that first half only for some savage last ditch defending, and saves from the keeper. That’s not to take away from the character showed from this young team, you could see them growing in confidence as the crowd got into the game. For me TJ Byrne was outstanding and sharoze akram showed some great maturity when on the ball attacking, was a great advertisement for minor football, and great crowd there too!

  4. This young group may not possess the same range of talents (in the forward line particularly) as last years champions but they certainly lack none of character or steely determination. I was really impressed by Sharoize Akram who was all over the field and launched many of the Mayo attacks with some very clever play. TJ Byrne was superb when brought put to the middle – big strong lad who towered above his opponents to field the ball on several occasions – was a huge influence in swinging the amount of possession back in Mayo’s favour. Barry Duffy defended very well and got his positioning spot on to mop up a number of the Galway long balls. Eoin O’Donoghue played his opponent very well out in the corner in the second half also and made a number of key interceptions to turn defense into attack. Conor Byrne will be disappointed with his wasteful display throughout and I’m sure he will gunning to make up for it in the Connacht final in two weeks time. I’ve no doubt this game will bring Mayo on a massive amount as they learned an awful lot about themselves in the face of sheer adversity yesterday evening.

  5. Great report Pebblesmeller – I feel like I was there! You’d feel sorry for Galway reading that, but serious credit to our lads for sticking with it.

  6. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to do such a comprehensive report on the game, Pebblesmeller. It made for perfect reading when I woke up here early this morning!

    Really looking forward now to seeing the Minors in action on July 13th.

  7. Great report Pebblesmeller.I would agree that Daly was immense.Is he Val Dalys son? We have some fine footballers…I think Hanley is a great bit of stuff.
    Roscommon wont be easy…Tight backs and strong forwards.Our lads will do well to win but heres hoping.

  8. Well done minors and thanks, Pebblesmeller, for a great report.
    Having talked to a few who were at the Rosc v Leitrim match we can expect a very strong challenge from the Rossies. They are, I’m told, as usual a big strong team, very fit with a good deal of pace and accuracy. Leitrim expected a lot from their League winners but while they were in the game for a long time they were totally over run in the last 10 minutes.
    Incidentally, was goalkeeper Matthew Flanagan the U21 keeper this year?

  9. Well done Pebblesmeller for a great report. Looks like both our seniors and minors have snatched victory from jaws of defeat and that’s good to see. Seems like our minors a bit similar to last year. We scraped over Galway and Ros because of our ability to get goals and then went all the way.. Looking forward to big day out in Castlebar in two weeks. Should be great occasion in front of big crowd.

  10. Galway were beaten by Leitrim and Leitrim were the only unbeaten side in Connacht minor league this spring. Belief is crucial but Mayo without a doubt rode their luck yesterday in Tuam though as they say make the best of the luck that comes your way. Tough for Galway but thats knockout championship football.

    Yes young Daly is the son Val Daly he was also on the Galway minor team last year and was on the Mountbellew school team that won Connacht title certainly one to watch.

    3rd year in a row its a Mayo v Ros Connacht minor final and the quarters final will be against Armagh,Donegal both are suppose to be very strong this year.

  11. Excellent match report pebblesmeller.

    As already pointed out both minors and seniors have had lucky escapes. Hopefully this will stand to them down the line. Sometimes when skill and tactics abandon you and despite your best efforts nothing seems to go your way. That’s when you need to go deeper.

    Maybe it’s just that Lady Luck was with us and as we all know Lady Luck is a fickle friend.

    Time will tell.

    On a another note my dark horses, Kildare, just got a little bit darker. They owe it to themselves to go out with all guns blazing, now that they are free from the shackles of McGeeneys one dimensional mind set.

  12. Excellent Report Pebblesmeller well done. That was a great read. I thought we were gone by half time to be honest. I saw Mayo v Leitrim last year and I thought then that Mayo would not prevail in the next round. I got that wrong and Mayo showed their true character in the game against Galway. A similar character was displayed last night and it was great to see.

  13. Congrats to the Minor lads. Great to hear that they won it in that fashion, lads taking responsibility and not taking no for an answer. Long may it continue.

  14. Well done on the match report Pebblesmeller, thanks for that.

    There was just something about our Minor team last year and this year’s team seem to have that something special too. Self-belief is probably the best way of describing what this something special is. They never seem to know when they are beaten. They are a credit to their families, friends and clubs. Well done to all involved and roll on the 13th of July.

  15. Thanks everyone for the compliments on the match report.
    MO2014 indeed you are correct regarding Galway being unbeaten. Apologies for that, I was going on the word of my mate who had reffed a good number of Galway games in the minor league. I should have double-checked I suppose but at 12:30am this morning, as I was finishing the report, I was happy to go on his word. It turns out he didn’t ref the Galway Leitrim game, typical 🙁
    Lazy journalism I know but that’s what you get with amateurs 🙂
    Can’t wait for Connaught final Sunday.
    Hon Mayo.

  16. Pleasure to read this this morning, well done Pebblesmeller. And well done Mayo! Another reason to look forward to Sunday week now.

  17. Can anybody tell me is last year’s minor full back, Seamus Cunniffe of Ballaghaderreen underage for minor this year? I thought he is and I think he played in at least one of the minor league games earlier in the year. On last year’s form he would be a huge asset to the team especially with so few of last years panelists still available.

  18. Very good report Pebblesmeller, made for enjoyable reading on this Monday morning.
    Minor and Senior double to look forward to now Sunday week. If this fine weather continues, we could get close to a sell out in Castlebar?

  19. Kildare awful in my view.At least McGeeney gave them some steel.Only did well when reverted to McGeeneys set up with O Connor Flaherty White etc.
    Meath still bot and cold.Long way from Dublin who if anything are farer ahead than at same time last year.Will take big defensive formation to beat them.
    Sunday game still being ruined by Brolly who refuses to let anyone else speak.Such a bad mannered individual.
    How hard would it be to have real back door in minor and give young lads a few games?At least Mayo lads getting games .
    Des Cahill awful on Sunday game.Surely it is time to give us proper anchor.Dont get me started on Marty Morrissey…horrendous to listen to.
    Thats all my gripes on Monday from a weather friendly Mayo.

  20. Good stuff, Pebblesmeller.
    Don’t know if Mayo have enough to win the minor All Ireland again, might even struggle against a strong Roscommon team, but it’s good that they are back in the mix again in any event.
    Strange that Mayo have the upper hand against Galway in the minors for the last few years but cannot buy a victory for love nor money against them in the under 21s!
    Any word on how Gavin Duffy played for Salthill yesterday?

  21. Ya where is Seamus cunniffe? He must be injured? Hardly dropped at 18 after being an all Ireland winning fullback at minor level while still u17.

  22. What happened liam Ir wan and tommy conroy thought they where minor this year what’s the story with qualifier draw and what side are mayo and galway are on.

  23. There are highlights on TG4 at the moment (8.30 to 9.30) of the GAA games played at the week-end, they will be showing some highlights from the Mayo v Galway Minor match played in Tuam as well as the game between Roscommon and Leitrim played in Dr. Hyde Park.

  24. Horan’s Brigade and others – here’s an excerpt from the Examiner about Gavin Duffy and Salthill:

    Former Connacht rugby star Gavin Duffy made his championship debut for Salthill/Knocknacarra as two Sean Armstrong goals helped last year’s finalists into the third round of the Galway SFC.

    Duffy started at midfield for the Seasiders and helped his adopted club to an early 2-4 to 0-1 lead, with Armstrong hitting both goals. But despite their quick start, they only managed a 2-11 to 2-9 victory as Adrian Murphy hit the net twice for Kilcony.

  25. Cait,

    I don’t think that either Tommy Conroy or Liam Irwin are minor this year. Certainly I did not hear of them playing in the minor league whereas I understand that Seamus Cunniffe did play at least once. I am also told that Cunniffe played senior championship for Ballaghaderreen in their last outing. Which should indicate that his form is OK.
    Regards qualifiers, what qualifiers are you asking about? For senior we will not know anything until after the Connacht Final and for minor both Mayo and Roscommon are in the All Ireland quarterfinals against, I understand, Ulster opposition – winners v runners up respectively.

  26. AndyD .. Matthew Flanagan was the u21 goalkeeper this year aswell as lining out for the minors on saturday!

  27. Ciaran Mc was immense for Cross last weekend against Garrymore, I would far prefer throw on the mc for 15 than Conroy or Varley

  28. Finbar – I’m afraid that comment of yours falls into the category of unsubstantiated rumour and so is out of bounds and has been deleted. House rule 12 applies.

    I haven’t gone away, you know.

  29. From paper …indo…it seems Duffy is figuring in Horans plan.Would be great if he added anything at all.Remember Tadhg Kennelly ?We definitely need something new…is Liam Irwin on panel?

  30. I wonder where would Gavin Duffy be deployed, if he is to play some part this year? Maybe James Horan might try him in the role that he earmarked for Keith Higgins last year. You got the feeling that before last year’s quarter-final, Horan decided that he had a team that was good enough to get to another All-Ireland final but that we needed something extra to take us over the line i.e. Keith Higgins playing in the half-forward line, it didn’t quite work out. It would be interesting to see Gavin Duffy running from deep, to see how opposition defences would cope with him.

  31. Willie Joe, You are like the God we were warned about at school 50 something years ago – watching our every move and ready to pounce at any misdemeanour – or thought of one [bad thoughts, for anybody who remembers]. Keep up the good work.

  32. Willie Joe, that was priceless!! Like Fr Jacks quote “watching, waiting, interminably waiting”… Keep up the good work

  33. The stand price will be €25 and sideline seating €20 was the price for connacht final tickets last year’s now prices have been increased by 5 Euro not very smart by the connacht gaa is it?

  34. “Tommy Conroy missed out on minor this year by about a month . Pity”

    Parents should always think of underage football when planning , Jan/feb at the latest march ,is what they need to be lookin at.

  35. Dead right Sean, some people seem to forget their responsibilities when they engage in such behaviour . We in rural Mayo should go back to home births too and wait at least 18 months to baptise the child. Sure who’d know and it would be a great advantage at underage, but I’m sure the over 40’s would be giving out.
    Ya can’t please everyone.

  36. These long gaps between matches is ridiculous. A full world cup will have taken place in less time the than the gap between the connacht semi and final.

  37. Sean Burke,

    I once knew a young man who missed out on a year by 15 minutes.I asked his mother what she was thinking about to have such a thing happen and I’m afraid the answer I got was not repeatable.[She wasn’t into football]. It seems football is not to the foreground in people’s thoughts at crucial times.

  38. Loving the debate about end of calendar year birth dates and the gaa, mothers are so inconsiderate sometimes!!

    A wise man once told me “ya can repeat the leaving cert but ya can’t repeat your last year of minor”!

  39. Mac’s left boot, that’s what I like to see, a man with his priorities right!! 🙂

  40. Yeah,I’m looking forward to it too.

    What do ye reckon to the Gavin Duffy situation, JH seems to be leaning towards giving him gametime or is it just deflection of sorts . Reading the match report from the Salthill game he played in the weekend it didn’t come across as if he stood out or even impressed greatly.

  41. I would doubt he’ll be featuring any time soon Sean unless we find ourselves in a game that is beyond doubt entering the closing stages. The sheer speed and agility required in executing the basic skills of the game at senior inter county level cannot be turned on in a matter of weeks so I’d be surprised if JH would be engaging in risky strategies unless it were safe to do so. Saying that I’d still love to see him in action !

  42. Well 45 some would say putting two inexperienced young lads on against Roscommon proves James not afraid to take risks.Duffy has strength speed and is a man for big occasion imo.Of course would have Barry and j.Gibbons on before him.

  43. I think it’s a bit risky start him to be honest where would you
    put j gibbons in the forwards a tall lad

  44. We all need to stay calm and not get overly excited its only a connacht final. We will win by 3 at least. We need to turn our attention on the quater final when we will face a proper team (with all respect to galway).
    We need 5 more forwards and a back to win the quater final dont you agree?
    if we solve the above problem sam will cross the shannon on that september day!

    Mayo Abu

  45. Did you notice Cluxtons ballboys at the back of the goal missing the last day?; he had the spare balls up against the side netting instead….must be the Croke Park residents committee that kicked them out

  46. I seem to recall reading that the Croke Park authorities have recently brought in regulations to prevent home teams being given the advantage by ball boys, something like the regulations re warm up ends introduced after Mayo’s expedition to Hill 16 end in Croke Park in 2006. I think it was resulting from an incident in Ulster recently.

  47. Anybody able to shed light on the mystery of Seamus Cunniffe? I see from the “Western” that he, or a namesake, played for Ballaghaderreen last weekend. Or am I mistaken that he is still underage for minor?
    Even an unsubstantiated rumour would be welcome at this stage!!
    Only joking, Willie Joe.

  48. This site’s Willie Joe has a reach on this site reminiscent of the reach of the great Willie Joe himself. Our WJ is away relaxing in the sun and he still manages to keep smacht on the lot of us!

    Looking at the medium term forecast for 13th (c/o, it’s predicted to be a calm day, 18 degrees but feeling warmer, a bit muggy with chance of showers. That could be an energy sapping experience which I would say would favour our lads. There will be a good bit of rain earlier in the week, so the ground should be okay for Summer football as it will not be rock hard.

    As facetheball said earlier, we will have had a full world cup since the last day out. That really puts the needless long wait in perspective. This really needs to be dealt with.

  49. @AndyD, the ballboy incident occurred at Monagahan v Tyrone, and proved that sometimes two wrongs can make a right!
    The injured Conor Clarke stationed himeself behind the Tyrone goal to improve the speed of ball delivery over the (presumably) slow delivery of the local Clones ballboys.

    The GAA would probably never have done anything aboutof it but for the fact that Conor decided that since he was behind the goal anway, a bit of had waving might help distract Kieran Hughes when taking a penalty.


    Garth Brooks has started training with the Dublin team. Now he can play in Croke Park as often as he likes!

    (Sorry Gerry. It was too good not to steal!)

  51. Four Goal, the only consolation is we won’t have to wait as long again after the 13th – win, draw or lose!

  52. Lobitin I read that piece this morning and my eyes have just about stopped rolling in my head… with “supporters” like that, who needs detractors?

  53. All I can say about the article and it’s Fermanagh author is that if Fermanagh won the toss they’d do a lap of honour!

  54. Alot of Fermanagh lads seem to be very bitter about not taking us in the 2004 semi-final which reminds me of how bitter we were about not taking our chance against Meath in 1996!!! Add to that the fact alot of the old hacks are under pressure to keep themselves relevant in todays smaller media pond with there default position being a controversial piece making sure the victim is fairly defenseless ( Brolly being king at the moment). As much as we hate it the reality is we are bottom of the pile in terms of GAA cred as far as all non Mayo people are concerned so these musings from a plethora of self appointed sages of Irish life will keep coming until we win Sam about 4 or 5 times in a short space of time.

    I love the ” there must be some knd of social explanation” for Mayo’s perceived national shame in not winning the big prize and how these geniuses only serve to put a magnifying glass on a terrible Irish societal trait of, instead of improving your own situation , pour scorn and ridicule on any other person who fails in trying to improve theirs. Thank god for the internet because with every passing year more talented deep thinking unburdened writers emerge from blogs and the traditional media to burn down the stiffling media circle jerking we have had to put up with for so long in this country!!!

  55. That clown was at the same craic in the Irish Examiner ten years ago, and was noticeably more bitter at the time when dismissing Mayo’s chances. Presumably the more mellow tone of this article is not unrelated to the fact that his beloved Fermanagh have disappeared without trace since – to no-one’s surprise.

    Imagine. A lad from one of the two counties in Ireland that has never won a single provincial title looking down on a county with 40+ and 3 All-Irelands to boot.

    The bigger mystery is why papers / websites publish this crap.

  56. wouldnt take much notice of it.Isnt saying anything we havent asked ourselves.We can do without the patronising in truth.
    Wish people would stick to iszurs and not ramble on in dodgy prose as if they have some sort of talent or wisdom.Neither are apparent to me.
    Mad to win….wish I had your zealous confidence..I think we will win but not confident enough to be thinking of subsequent match!

  57. I often think that the two most written GAA articles are: Will Mayo win the All-Ireland this year and Will Kerry still be there or threreabouts in the All-Ireland shake-up. One of these statements never happens while the other nearly always happens. Hopefully this year it will be the first question that is answered with a YES, and not the second, for a change!

  58. That Fermanagh chap has been spouting bullshit for years, I remember him being very critical of Maughan when he managed Fermanagh. Maughan demanded a professional approach and a hundred per cent effort at training. A number of Fermanagh lads didn’t fancy being asked to get out of their comfort zone and objected. This great journalist sided with them and signs on it Fermanagh have come up with little since then. Imagine. This guy being critical and questioning as to why Mayo have failed to deliver on the big day. How original.

  59. Re Mr McConnell’s meanderings and wonderings, raised by lobitin, he admits he lacks the “academic and intellectual” ability to deal with the issue. Perhaps he should stop wondering and perhaps we should stop concerning ourselves about him and his likes. It must be very stressful having to fill a column in a newspaper or other journal each week or so while being so lacking in “academic or intellectual” capacity and can result in the most awful drivel being produced.

  60. R Hickey from Clare the man in middle for July 13th, Connacht final refs seem to chosen outside of Connacht nowadays.

  61. I wouldn’t give that article the time of day. Like a 5th year student wrote it rather than a “journalist”.

  62. Trevor,

    Lost me when he said he would prefer to be a Fermanagh man. Could not take it seriously after that so I did not get to finish it.

    I do not think anyone would be discussing it at all only we are going through cold turkey waiting for the Connacht Final. Waits like this are prone to outbreaks of nonsense and even unsubstantiated rumours . Jeez what I wouldn’t give for unsubstantiated rumour to keep me going ( only joking WJ)

  63. My team for Sunday:

    Cunniffe (if fit)
    S O’Shea
    Mc Loughlin
    A O’Shea
    A Moran

  64. why would anyone bother reading it, and why are people getting upset about it? Hes got an opinion, and seems to be in some sort of position where someone will publish his opinion. He not qualified to comment on the subject so why pay any attention? If it was Daragh O’Shea or someone who had actually done something in the game then potentially different story, but its not.

  65. 45 Is Cunniffe a doubt. My starting team would be the same 1 to 9 as v Ros. My forwards would be 10 K Mac 11Cillian 12 Conor O Shea 13 Andy 14 Freeman 15 Mikey Sweeney. That leaves strong bench including ADillon, Jason Doc, Ritchie, Jason Gibbons among others

  66. watched cork/kerry matck, fancied kerry to win by 2/3 points after cork`s performance against tipp but cork were very poor today.kerry outplayed them in every department, we have a though test next sunday but i feel the lads are up for it, 3/4 points will do for me. bring it on. up mayo!!!

  67. @to win just once: According to last weeks Mayo News he was being monitored for an Achilles problem and sat out at least one training session last weekend – if that actually is the case then lets it’s just a niggle that will have cleared up in time for next Sunday. Any time you hear of an Achilles problem though its usually a cause for concern…

  68. Disgraceful article. He’s some dope, whoever wrote that tripe.
    This week’s team announcement will be very interesting. The half forward line has to be sorted. Andy Moran has to be starting and it’ll be interesting see after that. I wouldn’t stick with O’Shea or O’Connor – their time will come but not this year in my opinion. I am not Doherty’s biggest fan – too inconsistent and goes missing for too long in games – but he was the best of the half forward line the last day and probably deserves another chance, though I do think if Mayo do go places this year, he won’t make the final cut. Sweeney looks a better bet as a sub, he is quite light. It might be a game too early for Dillon but I’d hope one of Richie, Gibbons or Barry Moran will play and push either Aidan or Seamus up to centre forward. It’s not what I’d do but it seems to be what Horan is angling at all year and he has to try something I guess. In fairness seeing how deep players drop nowadays (Declan O’Sullivan today, for example), probably no harm play Seamus in that role.
    Mayo need to get their act together – it needs to start with a proper team selection, not like the last day. Any word on how Barrett or Barry Moran are coming along from injury?

  69. There is no way I would want to see either Seamus or Aiden O’Shea on the 40. Neither have the vision for the position. If Jason Gibbons is fit I would like to see him to start there, he showed promise in the position early in the year. Whether Kevin Mc starts at 13 or 10 depends on tactics. If a two man full forward line is planned he could start at 13 and rove outfield. Otherwise he should start at 10 with Andy Moran, Alan Freeman and Diarmuid O’C in the full forward line and Kevin, Jason Gibbons and Jason Doherty in the half line.
    Overall, I would like to start with a three man full forward line to reduce space and increase the pressure on the Galway full back line and goalkeeper. Bringing a corner forward outfield gives the opposition easy options on short kickouts and helps them retain possession negating what I would expect to be midfield superiority.

  70. Getting impatient now. It’s all a bit too quiet (which is the way it should be, but it’s not good for the junkies on the outside). Roll on Sunday.

  71. ________Kieran Mc Watch_____

    McDonnell was outstanding again for Crossmolina against Knockmore yesterday

  72. Whatever about Gavin Duffy, it would really be a bold move to bring back Mac. The fact that he has not played for Mayo since 2007 is in my view baffling.

  73. Any Cairdre Members get a text last week saying you can buy stand tickets for €30 up until Tuesday. No mention of sideline tickets at all?

  74. Steve – and anyone else looking for tickets – sideline tickets were on sale in McHale Park on Saturday and led to believe they are also available in SuperValu stores (and maybe Centra) and they are on sale online here but i notice delivery option is pinly by post. Doesn’t seem to be an option to print them off which you normally can

  75. What I wouldn’t give to have a James O Donoghue in the mayo setup. He has developed into a phenomenal player in the last 2 years. It would be great to see one of the mayo forwards display that kind of rapid development.

    On another note, is it true that the quarter final draws are already pre determined, with mayo ending up on the same side as the munster champions regardless if we beat galway next sunday or not? if so it raises the prospect of a Q final against cork if we beat galway on sunday, and one against Kerry if we lose to galway and win the subsequent qualifier. Also I think we cannot meet Dublin Donegal or monaghan now until the all Ireland final, no matter what happens sunday. can anyone clarify this? Willie Joe, it might make a nice update post!! there seems to be some confusion around this area at the moment.

  76. That is assuming Cork win their quaifier–if not we would play whoever beats cork.

  77. Ok if that is true then Tyrone Monaghan Dublin Meath Armagh Donegal Roscommon Cavan all cannot face mayo until the AI Final. On our side we have Galway Kerry cork Sligo limerick Laois??
    This is a fantastic opportunity for mayo. We are definitely on the handy side of the draw, and even if we lose to Galway we’ll avoid all the big guns in the qualifier draw.

  78. Andy D
    Where would you play Cillian assuming he is fit?
    Really hope Gavin Duffy has come on enough but I cant see it.
    Leave Ciaran Mac alone…he owes us nothing but dont think he has anything left to give.

  79. The problem with James o donighue is that he’s going to be relied on, he goes off hurt or has an off day and it’s curtains against the likes of Dublin.
    8 from play is very good though, I wish he was a Mayo man but we are probably not playing a system where we look for any single player to do such scoring.
    It’s hard to see why cork lie down and take a beating like that, why the hell would you train all year and then allow a sworn enemy to own you?
    It’s clear the manager has no effect on them.
    Mayo to best Galway by a couple of points and hopefully get to meet Kerry.

  80. Mayobornandbred,

    Got Cillian and Diarmuid mixed up. I would always have Cillian as my first choice forward and preferably at corner forward where he can do most damage.
    Regards Ciaran Mc I’m afraid his time is past, coming back at 38/39 after seven years out is impossible. How many players in the country who debuted in 1990’s are still playing? Probably count them on the fingers of one hand. Good luck to Ciaran and Cross but Cross seem to be a long way back from their hey day.
    How Cork could leave Michael Shields on James O’Donoghue for so long is amazing. It really made it easy for O’Donoghue but saying that he is an exceptional player and very few of those come along in any generation.

  81. Ya but no harm reporting on a superb athlete and what skill the man still had he is a credit to himself and crossmolina.

    If we has to go to the well I’d sooner turn to Mac than any of the current subs for 20 mins. My personal opinion and I know won’t happen just reporting how good the man is still playing.

  82. Andy D
    Thanks.Completely agree.
    Kerry have not got a real test yet…might as well not have had a defence at all.
    Galway will be difficult to beat.Expect a ding dong battle.

  83. At the moment I think that all we should be concentrating on is Galway and our own form. The qualifier and quarter-final draws etc. will look after themselves. We can’t do anything about them. Our current form is something that we do have control over. I’d be a bit concerned at the moment that our form so far this year has not really been great. So far this year we have not put in a consistent 70 minute performance. Will we turn it on this Sunday? We are all hoping that we do. Both Derry and Roscommon ran through the heart of our defence with relative ease at times, if we allow Galway to do the same, you’d think that their forwards will be more clinical and will take their goal chances. If Roscommon had a bit more experience and were a bit more cuter there were goals there for the taking against us. Have we just been holding back a bit so far this year and not going all out from the start of games as we did against Galway and Donegal last year? It was very easy to see what style of football that Kerry were playing yesterday. Playing their best scorers as close as possible to the opposition’s goals and getting the ball into them as quickly as possible. They used Declan O’Sullivan in a quarter-back role to pull the strings. It was also interesting that they played Johnny Buckley, a natural mid-fielder, at wing-forward and he scored a number of points from play. Can we say that we know what style of football Mayo will be playing on Sunday? I think that when we move the ball at speed, be it through the hands or with the boot, we are as good as any team playing that style of football. Even our minor team got a few very well crafted goals playing this way against Galway in their semi-final win. So it just shows that this is our natural style of football in Mayo. I really hope to see Kevin McLoughlin in the heart of the action on Sunday for us, playing in a deeper role, as I think that he is the key to us playing this type of game.

  84. Been away for a bit..enjoying the world cup, man it was hard to focus on Cork Kerry yesterday. Kerry looked good but Cork were shockin bad. I’d have expected more from them considering it was their last ball game there.
    I read the article in the Irish.. whatever website..he’s right about one thing, we in Mayo are protective of one another and especially our senior football team. He’ll take some slagging if Mayo win it this year but despite the odds been with him, we in Mayo believe we have a shot every year, unlike his home county.
    I would start Gibbons in the middle and have Aido take a seat for this one….bring him in with 15 remaining, rearing to go…for I think this will be in the melting pot til then. Also, I like 45’s team above…would put messi in center half…oh wait, sorry….world cup and all playing the same day, its pivot back to football. cant wait..carry on.

  85. James O Donohue, played so well for Kerry, yesterday because of the quality ball that was given in to him. It was long, fast and direct, he timed his runs to perfection, coming onto ball ,close to goal, from where he could score, at will.
    I would love to see Mayo, play this type of football, giving long , fast direct ball into Alan Freeman, Mikey Sweeney and Killien O Connor, and watch the results.
    Let the ball do the work, give it early, to the full forward line, no time wasting, solowing or hopping it, and from time to time, kick long range points, keep the oposition guessing.
    If we have a full panel, to pick from, we will have a very strong bench, and after 20 mins, switches should be made, to keep players on there toes.
    Barry Moran, Richie Feeney and Alan Dillon, should be given game time, not forgetting what to do with Gavin Duffy.
    Interesting times , ahead for Mayo football, lets enjoy it.

  86. As regards the qualifier draw the only teams we won’t be playing are Galway (thats if we beat them on Sunday) and the other provincial winners.There is an open draw with all the rest of the teams left so at this stage we could be playing Dublin Meath Donegal Monaghan Armagh Cork and any other team that get through, if we beat Galway.
    We in Connaught are up against Munster or whoever beat the Munster champs in the all Ireland semi final this year.It was Ulster last year Tyrone and Leinster Dublin the year before.
    But thats for another day. As regards Sunday I hope James sticks with youth for the start of the game and leaves the older lads for the last 20 mins when experience is needed.
    Roll on Sunday can’t wait!

  87. Just to clarify – if we win Connacht we can only play one of the following teams in the quarters:

    Sligo, Limerick, Laois, Tipperary, Cork

    If we then get to the semis we can only play either one of those teams or Kerry or Galway.

    If we lose on Sunday we would play a round 4 qualifier against either Sligo, Limerick, Laois or Tipperary.

    The other 12 remaining teams are locked into the other half of the draw and we cannot play any of them until the final if we get there.

  88. Lots of interesting points above. As regards Kerry v cork. Donaghue was brilliant, Hes a super player .But. Cork were desperate. Shields couldn’t handle him and no changes were made. All of the cork defenders were in serious difficulty.The ball coming in to the forwards was excellent but cork put no pressure on the men delivering it in. Declan OSullivan played an unusual role and his footpassing is top notch. A team playing Kerry simply has to stop this from happening or they will be in serious trouble As regards Mayo lets be honest here. We don’t have a forward like O Donaghue nor do we have a guy who can distribute like O Sullivan. But we do have our own strengths. Im sure we work far harder all over the field than most teams, we have a powerful half back line and we have lots of character as 5 points on the spin against Ros in a tight match proved. So we have to tailor the game we play to our skill sets. It would be great to deliver long perfect passes to fast running accurate forwards but much of the fast quick ball delivered in against Ros. Dubs in league and even going back to 2012 AIF v Donegal just didn’t work so we appear more at ease with our high tempo high intensity running game which has brought us considerable success. This requires huge physical effort and I suppose that’s my concern this year. Can the players who have given massive effort and commitment over the last 3 years dig as deep again. If the answer is yes we will be in with a shout again. If they let their standards drop a little, then some hungry team possibly even Galway will turn them over. Up Mayo.

  89. Not sure we don’t have enough distributors of the ball. Both Cillian O’Connor and Richie Feeney are fine distributors of the ball. O’Connor off centre-half fw is well able to pick out passes off both feet.

    One of the main reasons Cork were beaten by so much was that they were destroyed in the middle quarter and especially at midfield. Kerry won nearly all the breaks and so had the platform time and again to setup attack after attack. One of the reasons for this I would assume is Cian O’Neills influence on physical strength and conditioning in the Kerry guys.

    Ally this with natural footballing ability, quick delivery and you have a potent cocktail.

  90. Don’t know where you got that set up from Declan , for a start aren’t the Rossies still left in the mix?Unless things have completely changed this year there is an open draw between the provincial winners on one side, and the winners of the qualifiers on the other side. The only team we can’t play in the quarters is Galway and obviously the other provincial champs.
    Thats my understanding of the set up but if you can explain where you got your story from I’d be delighted to be brought up to date!
    UP MAYO!

  91. Declan’s understanding of the qualifier story is 100% correct. To confirm, this is the story:

    On August weekend, the Connacht champions will play one of the two winners of Round 4A. The Munster champions play the other. So assuming we win Connacht, that means Mayo v 4A winner, Kerry v 4A winner.

    Round 4A consists of two matches: Connacht runners-up will play one of the two winners of Round 3A. The Munster runners-up will play the other. So assuming we win Connacht, that means Galway v 3A winner, Cork v 3A winner.

    Round 3A consists of two matches: Sligo v Limerick, and Laois v Tipperary.

    So round 4A will be:

    Galway v Sligo/Limerick/Laois/Tipperary
    Cork v Sligo/Limerick/Laois/Tipperary

    And the quarter-finals will be:

    Mayo v Cork/Sligo/Limerick/Laois/Tipperary (as we can’t meet Galway again in a Q-F)
    Kerry v Galway/Sligo/Limerick/Laois/Tipperary (as Kerry can’t meet Cork again in a Q-F)

    The semi-finals are also preordained. Winner of Connacht champions’ Q-F v Winner of Munster champions’ Q-F, Winner of Leinster champions’ Q-F v Winner of Ulster champions’ Q-F.

    So if Mayo beat Galway and the qualifiers all go to form, our potential path to an All-Ireland final is:

    Connacht Final v Galway
    Quarter-Final v Cork
    Semi-Final v Kerry

    Here’s the link:

    Is that clear enough for everybody?

  92. PJ
    Go to the GAA website & look at the wallchart for the football championship–2 distinct groups from round 1

  93. PJ – the format you note is the old format which finished up last year. From this year onwards all teams are allocated A or B at the point they exit their provincial championships. Win or lose on Sunday Mayo (and Galway) will have an A allocation and therefore, this side of the final, can only play the teams I listed above. Roscommon and 11 other teams (including Dublin, Monaghan, Donegal, Meath, Armagh, Tyrone, Down, Kildare and a few others) still in the championship have a B allocation so can only play each other before final day and can’t play any A teams.

    Sorry I don’t have a link to these regulations but it will be out there somewhere – perhaps someone else can provide it. As noted above, the GAA wallchart gives an idea of what is going on this year with the new format.

  94. Thanks for that lads.As was said before we seem to have an easier run IF we beat Galway . I’m not complaining about the draw but I’m wondering why the powers that be decided to complicate an already tried and tested system with this more complex take on it.
    It’s a wonder there aren’t more complaints from the other side of the draw.Again thanks for the update.

  95. PJ
    It is designed so that teams that meet in a provincial final can not meet in the All Ireland–they can only meet in the semies. I think they made an arse of it as usual.

  96. As I recall it was designed so that teams beaten in provincial games get a break of more than one week before their qualifier game. There were lots of complaints about the quick turnaround in the past.

  97. In a rush this morning so haven’t had a chance to read past the first few comments.
    Was at this game myself.Fair play to Mayo for sticking in there and coming through in the end.
    From a Galway point of view it was a sickener to lose it given the complete dominance of the first half.We really should have had an unassailable lead at half time having missed at least 4 clearcut goal chances and given away a ridiculously silly penalty.
    To answer one of the earlier questions – Michael Daly is the son of Val alright.
    He is a very promising player.He does seem to have a bit of a disciplinary issue as that was the 4th or 5th time this year he’s been sent off.
    He does tend to get targeted by the opposition a good bit but that happens to good players everywhere.
    He is only 17 though so I imagine he will learn from that.
    It’s a pity we’re gone from the race now.
    We had serious talent in the squad both this year and last but didn’t make it past Connacht.
    Next years crop are nowhere near the same standard unfortunately.
    Anyway best of luck to both teams in today’s final

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