Change is in the air

Photo: GAA

The GAA’s Special Congress takes place tomorrow where the future shape of the football Championship is down for debate. Coming into tomorrow’s Special Congress there’s a distinct feeling that change is in the air, though it’s still far from clear how the key vote will go.

Proposal A – which is centred on reconfiguring the four provinces into four groups of eight – is dead on arrival so all of the focus has turned to Proposal B, which would see the Championship subsumed in what is currently the National League, with the new structure combining a series of League games, followed by a knockout phase leading to an All-Ireland decider.

Opinion has been sharply divided on the issue of structural reform – the voting in the poll here on the blog as well as the discussion that’s been going on about it confirms this – but it’s clear that Proposal B comes into tomorrow’s Special Congress with significant momentum behind it. The GPA led from the front on this issue and in recent days others have come on board too, notably the current President and DG of the GAA.

The roll-call of counties declared to date has Proposal B in front but several have yet to announce which way they’ll go. Some have, rather ludicrously, given their delegates a free vote on the issue, as if it’s some kind of vote of conscience.

Mayo GAA announced today that they would be voting against both Proposals A and B tomorrow. We’re one of just five counties to have stated their public opposition to the mooted changes.

The vote looks set to go down to the wire. A strong sentiment among those in favour of change is that such is the momentum for reform right now, the moment needs to be seized in case this opportunity doesn’t come around again soon. If there are problems with the new structure, then these can be ironed out down the road.

For those more sceptical of change, the sense is that Proposal B as it stands is flawed and so voting in a new structure that has obvious flaws makes little sense. Far better to wait and refashion the structure into a format that has a better chance of standing the test of time.

As I’ve said before, I’d be in the latter camp. While I’m strongly in favour of a radical overhaul of the Championship structure, the Proposal B approach just doesn’t make sense. The routes to qualification for the knockout phase – involving all four Divisions – are daft and appear to be wedded to the idea that every county has to have a shot at Sam.

Personally, I think the root cause of many problems with football at the current time stems from the League structure that has been in place since 2008. This has led to the ultra-competitive Division One and while this has given us many decent League games, it has also largely cut adrift every county outside the top tier.

As I mentioned the other day, the notion Colm Keys in the Indo floated of a structure based on Division 1A and 1B – with the top four from each qualifying for the quarter-finals, perhaps with the fourth-placed teams in each group having to play a preliminary quarter-final against the top teams in 2A and 2B – would seem to avoid the problems that Proposal B has. The cream will still rise to the top but a wider spread of counties would be exposed to top tier action and the hope would have to be that, in time, the gap between the current small elite group and the rest would narrow.

There are, for sure, other variants that could work equally well. But tomorrow’s not about that and instead the choice at the Special Congress is, in effect, between Proposal B and a return to the system that operated up to 2017.

Everyone knows that the old system is broken and it could be that that knowledge alone may prove sufficient to propel Proposal B over the line tomorrow. But if it isn’t then another year of underwhelming provincial fare and turgid qualifier battles before the show finally gets on the road at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage is what’s in store next year.

Maybe that’s no bad thing. If reform is voted down tomorrow there’s no reason why this should be viewed as the end of the matter. Another year of the old system might not be the most eloquent way to make the case for radical change but it could turn out to be the most effective.

The momentum for change right now is real and there’s a huge temptation to bank this sentiment. I get that but I still think that grasping to claim this bird in the hand would be a mistake for reasons that would rapidly become apparent.

If the will truly is there for major reform then there’s a lot to be said for the idea that a small bit of additional time should be taken to finesse the reform proposals further. Once the preferred format is settled on, the GAA’s leadership would then need to throw its full weight behind selling it and making sure it secures the backing of the association.

That format patently isn’t Proposal B but what Proposal B has done is make the case for reform incontrovertible. For that alone, we should be thankful for it but not thankful enough to see it voted through tomorrow.

107 thoughts on “Change is in the air

  1. https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/gaelic-games/malachy-clerkin-format-changes-fall-short-of-addressing-football-s-real-structural-issue-1.4707859

    Malachy clerkin is usually on the money and no exception here.
    Gaa doing nothing to bridge the gap in standards between counties, to “equalise” the competition.
    Structures won’t change that.
    WJ – I get your point about 1a and 2a leagues but don’t forget that halves the number of league games the top sides play against each other. Mayo and Dublin could be in opposite divisions (1a and 1b) for example and not play each other for several years?

  2. I’ve gone back and forth on this a lot. Most people seem to agree that a league-type championship is best. I like the way Colm Keys describes the winners of Div 3 and 4 under Proposal B as kind of “wild cards” for the Sam Maguire quarters, deserving to be there by virtue of form and winning their division. Is this such a bad thing? Sure, there might be hammerings but at least they come in to the quarters with some winning confidence.

    I’m not sure about Jim Mcguinness’ format. His is also a league structure but he’s being too loyal to a broken provincial competition, ie guaranteeing a place in the Sam Maguire quarters for the provincial winners. It will be the same teams coming to the top anyway, so why put the majority of teams through the humiliation of routine provincial hammerings. Ulster is the obvious exception.

  3. What joy that would be, Larry Duff!

    I think that’s right, Ciaran, but I’m not 100% sure, to be honest.

    Hard to know re the pipeline, Supermac – very good Minor team this year but I think it’ll be a bit of a slog to get back competing properly again.

  4. How can counties like Meath, Kildare, cork, Tipperary, Clare, Roscommon, Offaly, Derry, Down, Laois, Wexford, Cavan, Westmeath, Armagh, Louth, Sligo, be brought back to a standard where they can be competitive with Mayo, Monaghan, Tyrone, kerry, Dublin?

    That is the million dollar question for the GAA? This is what should be keeping Larry McCarthy and Tom Ryan awake at night.
    There are more register adult Gaelic footballers in Antrim alone than registered adult hurlers in every county combined in the christy ring, Nicky rackard and whatever the other comp is called, COMBINED!!!
    Therefore, Comparisons with the hurling tiered championship are futile for this reason.
    Thousands and thousands of adult GAA players in the counties I named above. Not just thousands. TENS of thousands.
    Don’t tell me that if James Horan and his backroom team went up to Derry, for example, or Cork, or Meath, for 5 years and spent $1m a season preparing the county team, that they wouldn’t compete with the top sides?

  5. The more I think about this the more I think it was always going to be a struggle to get the big counties on board. Horan, O’Connor, Farrell etc like things the way they are and I seriously doubt they were lobbying the county boards looking for 7/8 championship games against division 1 opponents as opposed to the 1 or 2 they currently have. I think the winds of change are blowing though and whether this motion passes or not I think we will see a revised championship within 2 years. Ironically on the point made by Malachy Clerkin, one of the main reasons the provioncial boards fought this so hard was they would lose the ability to distribute money as it would all be centrally allocated.
    Hopefully we see a good showcase of Mayo club football today in Bekan. It’s a fantastic and well deserved oppurtunity for the club lads to show their worth on national television. Club football really is in a good place in the county at the moment.

  6. 50% is a solid base to build from, with a more coherent proposal perhaps at the next congress. The appetite for change is definitely there.

  7. To be fair WJ, 50.6% is a majority and we have changed our constitution on similar margins

    Overall I am disappointed but maybe their is impetus now to come up with something that will pass next year, there is a suggestion that the CCCC will make a proposal at next February’s conference for change.

  8. Would have liked to see proposal B given a try but it doesn’t affect us as much as the weaker counties. At least the super 8s are gone.

  9. Glad to see Plan B has fallen by the wayside. Division One teams missing out on championship football was an idiotic idea.

  10. It’s a solid base alright, Mikey, but still a good way short of the 60% required. The important thing now is to maintain the momentum for change and to get agreement on a reform proposal that works and that the GAA leadership can get behind. Without that leadership, Proposal B was always doomed, irrespective of its merits.

  11. Why was it doomed?

    The league becomes the championship, it’s not right to say div one bottom three dont play for sam Maguire, everyone would of played for sam Maguire.

    The players wanted it that should not of been ignored. The likes of some rep from leinster council foaming at the mouth about the prospect of proposal B is all based on self centered interests and absolutely nothing to do with the good of the championship.

    Disband the whole lot , no need at all for provincial councils , away with them , dinasours .

  12. The glaring flaws defeated it but even those against it spoke out on the floor looking for change so we’ll likely see another big push for that at the next Congress.

  13. Given today’s weather, I’m giving a hesitant nod to Ballina. Ciaran Tracey in form should also add a lot.

  14. What were the flaws ? What changes would those against B make ? Total utopia doesnt exist in life , someone will always be disappointed. Is the qualifier championship pre 18 a better championship than proposal B , that’s all that was on offer is what I’m getting at . Surely it was worth a shot .

    Clare chairman said he consulted players and management and went with that , honestly think that was the best course to take .

  15. I really think mayo have a route back to the all-ireland final in 2022, If MAYO win connacht they will be playing the ulster champions in the semi- final and will be avoiding Dublin or Kerry until the final. Hopefully CROKE PARK will be full for the final and all mayos vocal supporters are present in big numbers to give loud vocal support to the team. With the passing of paddy prendergast rip the dreaded curse cannot be used as an excuse in 2022. With james and all his management team on board for 2022 MAYO WILL BE ALL- IRELAND CHAMPIONS IN 2022.

  16. Good man jimbo, already looking ahead to an all ireland final against Dublin or kerry and dismissing the ulster champions.

    Were you not watching on Sept 11 when the reigning ulster champions schooled mayo in the final.

    Mayo fans will never learn

    As a gael I’m disappointed proposal B was defeated, it had flaws but the structure badly needed freshening. Same fixtures every year. It suits us grand in mayo as it gives us the softest run to the latter stages but in general its disappointing. Imagine your a clare player and you get drawn in 1st round against kerry as always, you’d be asking yourself what’s the point

  17. Hopefully the players consider some form of protest . It’s really not before time their worth was known .

  18. In reality WJ, it needed just 9 delegates to vote in favour for it to pass, which is surprising when we consider what was being proposed.

    Fully agree that it is important that the momentum is maintained. Hopefully the discussion will help frame a proposal that will pass, I must say that I was disappointed in Keith Duggans article, partly which was wanting the provincial structure to be maintained, which in my mind is one of the basic issues with our current model plus the funding as outlined in Malachy Clerkins article.

  19. I’m disappointed Proposal B didn’t go through. A few simple enough tweaks is all I think was needed. I think the players have been wronged and especially the weaker counties have been shafted. And this nonsense of people saying division 1 teams are removed from the championship in Proposal B. The league was going to be the championship, and to be honest if we aren’t good enough to finish in the top 5 of a summer league, what business have we being in the quarter finals?
    Correct me if I am wrong, but was there not a rule brought in where all division 3 and 4 teams who are knocked out of the province prior to Provincial final go straight into Tailtean Cup in the Status Quo? So the days of soft qualifier draws are over! So it’s either the front door, or a very tricky qualifier route.

  20. Fair old dogfight in bekan at the minute.
    Ballina adapting better to the conditions but wport seem to have a big wind with them.

    None of the county players standing out here so far.

    Young mcstay, Jack irwin best performers so far

  21. Colm Moran star of the show since ht, giving cafferky a roasting, ger was probably planning all week for Kevin Keane and is now up against a very different opponent

  22. Westport getting pulled for the two hand tackle all over the place. But what a cracker of a game

  23. Late late show by Westport some score by McDonagh to win it. Ballina will be left to kick themselves, they really should have closed that contest out.

  24. Hard luck Ballina, disappointed for them they had chances to close out that game and win it but well done to Westport they sealed the deal best of luck to them going forward. I agreee Sam Callinan + McStay should be brought into the devolopment panel and maybe Conor Moran too.

  25. I was impressed with Mcstay.
    He has great potential. Involved with everything good about Ballina today.
    Bekan pitch, great surface.

  26. Mayo Focus, do you not realise that it takes 8 teams to have QF’s, not 5? Since you need 8 why not have the best 8 rather than the best 5 and some also rans?

  27. It doesn’t really matter to Mayo whether its option A or B that won out in Gaa vote, there will still be a final to be played, here in lies the problem.
    There will never be radical options on the table re Gaa votes, a very much Conservative organisation.

  28. More change up here in the Dublin SFC: champions Ballymun Kickhams knocked out by Lucan Sarsfields, 1-16 to 0-18. I did umpire at Lucan’s last group game and they were motoring very nicely then, absolutely hosed Plunketts. Ballymun have been struggling this year so perhaps it’s not as big a shock as it seems.

  29. @Willie Joe, the Dubs are well and truly gone, Ballymun’s Dublin players are not themselves anymore.

  30. GUBU finish to knockmore ballintubber game. A GAME ALL ABOUT THE GOALIES . No more than mayo, ballintubber really missed Cillian.

  31. AndyD I am aware of that and I agree that the best teams should be, but the reason the also rans as you call them are included is because the GAA won’t let go of the nonsense that every team has a chance to win the all Ireland. I would rather they split division 1 and 2 into 2 leagues and let those 16 teams play for sam. Division 3 and 4 to play Tailtean Cup. If they try and implement that, some may oppose it because it breaks tradition.. I’d like to have seen Proposal B, because the necessary tweaks would have been made. Now it’s back at square one, and I think its 66% needed a normal congress to pass.

  32. Apart from King, there was not really any new players that looked County standard on display in that 2nd game . (or did I miss something)

    One note on Regan from Ballina, how can a guy as talented as that come through all that underage & senior coaching and not have developed some shooting skills on his weaker foot or passing skills off weaker hand. It plagued his IC career too. Such a pity. McStay on the other hand seems to be comfortable on both left and right.

  33. Gut-wrenching for Ballina, who truly didn’t deserve to lose. An absolute foul-fest by Westport in the second half. They didn’t deserve to win.

    That said, Ballina didn’t help themselves by trying to hold onto their lead. They clearly had the beating of Westport, but they just were hesitating to push forward.

  34. Off topic but did anyone on here using GaaGo
    have any problems with this service?
    Absolutely terrible coverage on both games today ?

  35. I have an idea, It would be keeping the 4 divisions for the 32, team’s, 31+London, the same 4 divisions for next year play the league as normal for 2022.. However the the 4 divisions would become 3 divisions for 2023, decided on how they finish up in 2022….12 team’s playing in Div One, probably the best 12 team’s in the country,there would an appetite for this competition with the general public and 11 game’s, the Div Two and Three would have 9 matches in 2023..of the 12 team’s that play in Div One, the top 9, would play in the Sam Maguire competition in 2023, Summer Championship, 4 team’s from Div Two and 3 Team’s from Div Three would also complete in what would a Sam Maguire competition for 16 team’s..All winner’s of their Provincial championship would complete in the Sam Maguire Competition, giving the provincial winner’s precidence over league finishing positions…If a clash happened like for instance Tipperary finished in 5th position in Div Two in 2023, but won the Munster Crown, Tipperary would then, compete for Sam Maguire at the expense of the team that finished 4th in Div Two for 2023..It would work on a 3 promoted and 3 relagated….I think,this ticks all the boxes,

  36. Just to finish the details of this proposal, Div One for 2022, would work on 2 relagated and 6 promoted for the 2023 season.. The 2 relagated, would have to finish in the top 4 of the new 10 team Div Two for 2023, if either of them can’t do that they don’t deserve to complete in the Sam Maguire competition for 2023,.. there would be no relagation from Div Two, in 2022, but there would be, the top five from Div 3, and top three from Div 4 promoted to Div Two, giving them a 10 team Div Two for the 2023 season, and the remaining 10 team’s would also complete in the Div Three for the 2023 league season.. Everyone certainly gets a fair chance, and the mighty can fall, and the underdog can, and at least progress.

  37. Bekan was a terrible venue I felt for today’s club games. Great pitch, but what’s the point in having a stand, when you cannot see anything because there are people standing the whole way along the fence with umbrellas up. Capacity of stand is 500. Let’s say another 500 standing around the fence, then the capacity is 1,000 only. Ballina, Charlestown or Crossmolina are far better options.

  38. Gutted for Ballina today.. they had that game within their grasp…
    On a side Mark Moran has slipped down the pecking order unless he was carrying a knock.

  39. For me the only players from todays games worth adding to county panel were McStay and C Moran, conditions were very poor but even some of the more established players were not great.

  40. Culmore – I was really impressed with Sam Callanan and Conal Dempsey. They may be a bit young yet for the mayo panel but both will play for mayo in the next few years. I’d have both in the development squad now. King for knockmore also looks good

  41. Culmore.
    First time seeing Mc Stay play. He’s very elusive. If I saw a clip of that game, not knowing who was playing, I would have thought it was Kevin. The movement is so similar. A touch of Kevin Mc Loughlin about him too, the way he makes space for himself.

  42. It’s uncanny, Nephin. I thought the same myself the evening I saw him playing against Ballintubber a few weeks back. The same jinking movement, it took me back to 1983 when Kevin first burst on the scene.

  43. Not sure about Kieran King. Didn’t feel he looked anything like a county player that could make an impact for Mayo today.
    Big fan of Colm Moran, got some class and is now about 24 or 25, the right age and maturity for a proper crack at the team.
    Mark Moran also made an impact when he came on I felt. He’s bulked up a lot from last year. Was carrying an injury in recent weeks and looked a bit rusty at times but he should improve for the semi final.
    Conal Dempsey looked like he has a lot of raw materials too that could be worked on. He’s bigger than I thought.
    Orme is classy, lovely composed footballer and quick. Would worry about his size against bigger defences. Probably similar to Colm Moran actually.
    Not sure Reape is the answer in goals either though. That’s going to become an issue for us in the next couple of years if someone doesn’t come though. Apparently Parke have a good young fella in goals?
    Both number 10s in the second game showed flashes. What age is Pearse Rutledge?
    Charlie Bourke is a baller too, one to watch in the coming years.
    Agree with the poster about the stand in Bekan and the umbrellas along the sideline it was annoying as hell.
    Got a quick look inside the dome too. Spectacular facility but could a championship game realistically be played on astroturf?

  44. Colm Moran just turned 23 recently. I’d worry he’s a bit small for senior intercounty though. Pearse Ruttledge is around 21.

  45. The blog poll ran close enough to the actual vote today.

    Proposal B got a good vote I thought and Larry was fairly positive when asked, about working on it and bringing it back again. I think, with some adjustments it will go through the next time it’s up. They’ll have a very good understanding after today what is needed now for it to go through.

    Don’t think Knockmore look unbeatable after today’s performance. They got the job done but weren’t spectacular either.

    Westport were very impressive in how they clawed their game back in the finish. Some great scores in very difficult conditions and I would think they’ll have gained alot of confidence from the way they won that game.

  46. Late late show by westport. Keegan different class and good to see Eoghan McLaughlin coming back to form. McDonagh dug deep when reduced to 14, Brickenden(solid but not exceptional) black carded. Fionn still looks county standard and handled the pressure well scoring the winner. O Hora well worth his place on county panel and provided the funny moment of the day when going chest to chest with Keegan, much to the latters amusement. Sam Callinan was suberb from start to finish. Ballina have only themselves to blame for not pushing on their advantage when Westport reduced to 14.
    McLoughlin set the standard in second match but Orme also outstanding. King, no more than Brickenden earlier, needs a big game.
    I agree with earlier posters, great pitch but if the stand is to be functional, supporters with big golf brollies, lining out in front of stand, need to be ushered elsewhere. Bit of good stewarding would help.

  47. I am glad that Proposal B was defeated, as I think that combining the League and Championship is probably the right way to go, but not in the format presented. I did’nt like the fact that 3 teams from Division 1 and 5 from Division 2 would not get a game in the knock-out stages, whereas the winners of the much weaker Division 4 would, where they would have a slim chance of making the Quarter-Finals proper, where it is likely a thumping would be waiting. I think there is danger of trying to please everybody and fix all problems in designing a new structure. Firstly,we need to address the wide disparity between the top teams and those lower down, which is mainly due to population, which we can’t do anything about and finance, which we most certainly can-the GAA needs to do what it did to create the Dublin monster and pump money into those weaker counties-it needs to redistribute financial resources into the, so called, weaker counties, in order to provide proper facilities, academies, permanent coaching staff, covering of training and travelling expenses etc. Secondly, along with the foregoing, these teams need regular competitive games against teams of similar standard, in order the progress and this would be provided by Divisions 1 and 2 and the Tailteann Cup, the semi-finals and finals of which should be played alongside the All-Ireland games, in Croke Park. For me, I would like to see the new League/Championship last 16 Knock-out stage made up of all Division 1 teams, top 6 in Division 2 and top 2 from Division, which should give us the best 16 teams in the country. Division 4 teams would hope to gain promotion to Division 3 to further improve and have a chance of making it into the All-Ireland last 16.The league placings in all divisions would decide the seedings and home advantage. I feel that, inevitably, the provincial championships would be downgraded and will probably be used by stronger counties to experiment and try out new players, as there won’t be the opportunity to do this in the league games-however, I feel this is a price we will have to pay, but the GAA would need to compensate the provinces for any lost revenue. Basically, what I am saying is have the best 16 teams, each year, competing in the All-Ireland Championship and the remaining 16 taking part in the Tailteann and, for those teams, the league gives them the opportunity to eventually progress into the All-Ireland and, in the longer term, the GAA to provide them with the financial resources, to help them with their progress.. P

  48. Probably the perfect way to win for Westport

    Once again the knockouts take on a life of their own after the formalities of the group stages

    They’ll have gained some amount of confidence from that win and very much needed a stern test in tough conditions

    Bit of a shocker for crossmolina in intermediate -a grade always riddled with unpredictability.

  49. Ballymun losing is no reflection on the Dublin team as a whole Mayo88. Club football isnt that simplistic

    In any case they have struggled with injuries to key players throughout the campaign and have regularly underachieved given their team on paper. Lucan are very much a team on the up – in both football and hurling

    During Dublin’s 6 in a row run, Thomas Davis, Castleknock, and St Judes all made county finals, the former with no county player, the latter two had one each

    The club game often takes on a life of its own up there

    I’d be more worried about non star-studded teams doing well up there as they’re only bound to stumble across even more talent then to add to their never ending conveyor belt

  50. Sam Callinane is u18. I have to say that’s the best I’ve seen an u18 play at senior club level. I’m sure many viewers thought he was 20/21. He has that mix of athleticism and the confidence of a person good at most sports which I believe he is.

  51. JP – Interesting that several of the U17s from 2020 are standing out at club level this year, despite being beaten by Sligo. Sam Callinan Ballina, Bob Touhy Castlebar B, Ronan Hughes The Neale and Cian McHale Moy Davitts.

  52. @wide Ball and @JP
    All of those u17 players ye listed should be surely getting into the development panel at the very least?
    I was chatting to a fella from the Neale yesterday in Bekan, he was adamant that Padraig Walsh was good enough for the Mayo senior panel and should be brought in by Horan.
    Peter Naughton was very good yesterday but to me he doesn’t have the pace for intercounty top level football, still an excellent player though.
    I was taken aback by the size of Eoghan McLaughlin yesterday. Could he yet become that mobile midfield option we need? He’s 6’1 at least and has bulked up a lot in the last year..
    I felt that a lot of the forwards we saw yesterday on all teams could improve their off the ball movement, many of them seemed to find themselves blocking off their own players and getting in the way of the play at times. This was even the case for the good players on the county panel or in the fringes.
    No one moves off the ball as well as Andy Moran did, he was just different class

  53. @Wide ball, Jack Fallon Mayo Gaels and Charlie Burke Knockmore going well also.
    Fenton Kelly going fine for Davitts.
    Charlie Burke his Dad played at a high level and Charlie has his same power. Not tall either of them but well built, tough, farmer strength.
    Jack Fallon really only finding his feet now and he’s a big athlete. You won’t outfield him being regular sized, long reach as well as being tall.
    I usually state this early but that’s a decent u20 team working off of next year then.
    Dylan Thornton is in my view a winter’s gym away from hitting a really strong level. Thought he did well at times yesterday. Just needs a bit more strength to deal with senior physicality.

  54. I’d agree with that fella from The Neale, Larry Duff. I recall seeing Padraig in one of the games the year they came up from Intermediate and he looked every bit the archetypal inter-county midfielder that day.

  55. @Larry Duff, Padraig Walsh was in for some time. Not ruling out a return.
    Eoghan McLoughlin, well I was always good with estimating things like people’s height and cattle weights etc. It looks like Eoghan is an even six foot. Still needs to improve his discipline in the tackle. For midfield, I come back to this point, one guy needs to be the kind of build a natural heavyweight that is far stronger and bigger than regular sized men. That starts 6’1″ very well built ends around 6’5″ slimmed out a bit to be mobile.
    There isn’t too many in that bracket have not been looked at.

  56. One player who has got little mention from yesterday is Kevin Mc. The fittest and sharpest I’ve seen him in quite a while. Danger for their semi final opponents. He was floating on the surface of the pitch.

  57. Three very dramatic quarter finals so far, even if in bad weather the quality has been a bit mixed. Some second half from Ryan O’Donoghue today. Like the All-Ireland Belmullet had a plan they stuck to and took their goal chances at the right time. Hard to think that between Harrison, Eoin O’Donoghue, Keegan, O’Hora, McLaughlin, Coen, Hession, Durcan and hopefully Mullin we can’t find a back six that’ll work as a unit for next summer?

  58. Fantastic victory by Belmullet over a leaderless Breaffy. I had fancied Belmullet to sneak it today. Well done to them. Expect Garrymore to do the same against Mitchels later this afternoon.

  59. Massive win for belmullet there, much deserved too. Completely out fought breaffy and had the difference maker in ROD.

    Breaffy are like the mayo of mayo football, always strongly tipped, huge experience and profile, but never get the job done

    Championship is wide open now.
    There were a lot of huge players going off injured in bekan yday, Kevin Keane, Darren mchale, colm reape. Thar could have a huge bearing on outcome yet

  60. No doubting the quality of ROD…let himself down badly st the end with the carry onwith Aido..pretty pathetic to be honest.

  61. What’s that Walter White?? Missed that

    What age is Sam callinan lads, looked a real talent yday, with some good coaching and a bit more bulk there’s a hell of a player there

  62. What happened Walter, was it just handbags or was there more to it?

    Thrilled for Belmullet

  63. Not a huge amount but he was sizing up to AOS right at
    the end..feigning jabs..didn’t think there was any need for it.

  64. How the mighty have fallen, Crossmollina beaten by Kilmaine, 10 points.
    I am guessing Oisin Mullin must have been very good yesterday, it’s a pity he was injured in All Ireland final.
    I watched the Neale v Breaffy game on TV a few weeks ago, I spotted a soft underbelly in the Breaffy side and mentioned it on this blog, well done to Bellmullet, an intermediate club for many years.

  65. There’s fight in Ryan O’Donoghue he’s from good Tyrone stock ok he missed the penalty in the final but he will add steel to our forward line for years to come. He has already scored in two all Ireland senior finals. Don’t know what his beef with Aido was at the end probably just
    Pumped they were about to win or maybe it’s something
    Else meanwhile Belmullet Progress and it’s back to the drawing board for Breaffy as it is for Ballina and Ballintubber

  66. The abuse Aido got off the ball was meant be shocking.

    Great win by Bellmullet but seems they been very lucky not finish a few games with less than 15.

  67. @Glorydays, Ryan’s mother is from Co. Down, Keegan’s mother from Cavan, his father from Cheltenham.

    Maybe we’ll just have to start importing a bit more steel.

  68. Gizmobobs that gets said after every game Aido fails to perform in.
    County players come in for special attention, nothing new in that

  69. Aidan O Shea gets dogs abuse in football matches and little protection from the referee he has taken some barterings over the years and never once retaliated or opened his mouth I think it’s a disgrace the abuse he gets. I don’t know how he keeps his cool. I think he was definetly carrying injuries this year that were kept quiet any wonder he is with all the on field abuse he gets

  70. Viper there’s a bit of steel in Belmullet too just ask the Knockmore boys Chris Barrett was no slouch in his day when he was playing for the club

  71. @Glorydays, you can be as tough as nails physically but if you haven’t the mental steel to go with it on the big days in Croke Park, it’s a waste of time.

  72. I was in Ballina for the game earlier. Aido did get horrid abuse from start to finish, on the field and from stand! He was still Breaffy’s best player. They’d be nowhere without him.

    Super goal by Ryan to win it. Only 7 scores for Belmullet today. They haven’t scored heavy in any of their games so far. Goals at crucial times have won them games.

  73. Absolutely fantastic win for Belmullet today showed great heart and fight and played to their strengths, hard to believe Eoin O Donoghue can’t even get a seat on James Horans bench..
    Disregarded by all including the media, one such podcast only thinking there were 7 teams left in the championship.
    They’ve already beaten both of last year’s county finalists, they should be very proud of themselves.0

  74. @Wide Ball, all the talk there was post AI final about anonymous trolls giving AOS abuse, turns out the abusers on the pitch and in the stands of all ages are just as bad, worse actually.

    We can’t really be giving out about online abuse when what goes on openly at games is tolerated.

  75. A proper changing of the guard happening this weekend.
    Garrymore minutes away from beating Mitchell’s too.

  76. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of bite between county players from opposing clubs when they meet each other. As long as it stays on the pitch and doesn’t get too over the top though.
    There is a lot of counties where club rivalries between key players have destroyed cohesion at intercounty level. Used to hear about it all the time when I went to college with people from other counties. Has never really been a major issue in Mayo. Often tends to be more of a thing in mid ranking counties actually.

  77. @Joet1480
    Big changes,
    No Breaffy, Ballina, Ballintubber, or Castlebar in the Semi Finals.
    That’s some change.

  78. Garry more and Knockmore have championship pedigree. Would love to see either of the other 2 win. One team from each division.

  79. So one of Knockmore B’tubber Westport breaffy ballina and to a slightly lesser degree Castlebar and ballagh would have been basically everyone’s pick before a ball was kicked

    And to think only two made a semi

    Intuitively I tend to lean towards a Westport Knockmore final but anything can genuinely happen. Very interesting to see how Belmullet perform, will this be a game too far for them or will they continue to ride this wave? At the same time Westport will kick themselves all winter long if they pass up this opportunity to make a county final

    In intermediate it seems you may aswell pick it out of a hat ?

  80. I don’t think anyone would have picked the final 4 in both senior and intermediate this year. Big names .out in both levels

    Some players to have caught the as stated above to to add to McStay and Colm Moran, Alan Kennedy too, I would add Liam og Horkan and Cathal Slattery of Garrymore, Horkan equally adapt at the back or up front did a good job on Paddy Durcan today. Not sure why Garry Golden as never gotten a run out in the inter County panel he is always a handful every time i see him play. Thought the Garrymore fullback Ken Lydon looked interesting too, mobile for a big man. When looking at the senior panel of 41 players, 33 are from senior clubs, 8 from intermediate clubs and i from junior. I think James Horan should be taking a look the bunch of young players coming through at the likes of Mayo Gaels and other intermediate clubs based on underage talent coming through.

    Don’t see major changes in the backs but Conor Dunleavy Balla, Ruairi Keane Mayo Gaels should be looked at, to me the only ones that stood out from the U20s this year,

    Midfield should be seriously looked at as we were out muscled at times this year Padraig Walsh if injury free, Gary Golden, Conell Dempsey, Barry Duffy Balla when fit, together with the likes of Nathan Moran, Pat Chambers, Ethan Henry, and Jack Carney the best of the bunch.

    Forward like above McStay, Slattery, Colm Moran Liam oG Horgan, Adam Barrett should be looked at, was hoping Dylan Prendergast would be standing out for louisburgh but haven’t seen him make an appearance thus for not sure if it is injury related.

    From the Mayo U20s this year who were pretty poor in the games I seen was surprised that Liam og Horkan and the lads from Belmullet like Evan Ivers, Fionnan Ryan weren’t part of the match day squads

    Continuing on from JP and wide ball above
    the U18s starting or playing apart in the championship Ballina Callinan and Boland, The Neale Ronan Hughes, Davitts’s Fenton Kelly, Parke’s Cian McHale and Cian Donoghue, Mayo Gaels Jack Fallon, Balla;s Shaun Dempsey Ryan Fadden, Belmullet Daithi Cosgrove, May Davits Cian McHale, Knockmore Charlie Bourke, Castlebar bob Touhy and Eoghan Hughes. I do notice that no Claremorris player in on my list even though they are through to the Minor A final beating Ballina by a point, not sure how much Callinan and Boland played in that game, looking forward to Moy Davitts and Castlebar tomorrow in the other semi final.

    U19;s Mayo Gaels Ethan Henry Ruairi Keane, Kiltimagh Aidan Cosgrove, Louisburgh Alfie Morrison, Moy Davitt’s Conor Reid, Ballina Frank Irwin when fit, Dylan Thornton Rory Morrin, Castlebar’s Paddy Henegan, Donnacha McHugh, and Paul Walsh, Breaffy Oisin Tunney, Belmullet Owen McHale, Davits Niall Treacy, Ballinrobe luke Jennings Eoin Gilraine,

  81. What age is Gary Golden? We badly need a physically imposing midfielder on the county panel. He can cover the ground well too from what I can see.

  82. what Mayo need most is a good goalkeeper, a strong physical fullback, a high fielding physical midfielder and a few forwards than can score on the run , anyone see any of these , and stop putting forward your own club players that are not up to the standard.

  83. Gary Golden is 27, James Horan tends to bring in players from the younger age bracket, he had Jack Carney U20 part of the group pre championship. I feel That at midfield and around the we need a couple of players more ready to play than a development project. Don’t think we have replaced Tom Parsons and Seamus o Shea. Conor o Shea, Jordan Flynn nor James McCormack have never shown that they can fill that gap. Conor Loftus just can’t complete in the air and not physically imposing enough. I would rather Diarmuid back on the half forward line. I would like a couple of new real midfielders tried out whoever they may be not converted ones.

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