Change of season

I’ve no real reason to be posting this only it being the last day of September and with black darkness all that’s there to look at out the window – it’s not yet eight in the evening as I write this – it’s unavoidable to deny that summer is gone from us once more. A very different part of the year now lies ahead.

The inter-county season is two weeks over – had we forced a replay against Dublin it would have been played today – and months now stretch out before us until the on-field action resumes. There’s the club action, of course, to fill the gap and this will occupy centre-stage between now and close to Christmas but the inter-county stuff – the engine that drives activity here on the site – won’t be back until the New Year.

I long ago realised that, as regards the blog, there’s no such a thing as a closed season. Even in the absence of on-field activity, there’ll still be plenty of material to chew over. The month ahead, for example, will see the 2018 provincial draws and the publication of the schedule for next year’s League matches. We might even be treated to the FBD fixture list as well. The All-Stars will then be announced early in November.

This year there’s also the not inconsiderable issue of what’s going to happen in relation to Stephen Rochford and his management team. Hopefully they’ll all be staying on board for 2018 but that’s not settled yet and it’ll need to be, if at all possible this side of Hallowe’en.

We’re also planning a Winter Series on the Mayo News football podcast. Nothing’s been firmed up on this yet but the plan is to get a few episodes out at regular enough intervals between now and Christmas. These will involve some looking back on the season just ended, a bit of taking stock on where we’re at and also making a start on looking ahead to 2018.

Inevitably, traffic to the site will trail off between now and year-end. Q4 is always the quietest time of year in this regard but, despite this, the final three months of 2016 saw over 446k page views recorded here. I doubt it’ll be any quieter this year and so it looks as if the 3 million barrier for annual hits will fall before Christmas.  As I said, it’s never the closed season here.

But it will be quieter. I’ve plenty of non-Mayo GAA stuff to attend to over the next while, as no doubt the rest of you have too. We’ll go again, of course we will, when the days have begun to lengthen again and all that winter introspection is once more over and done with. Up Mayo.

51 thoughts on “Change of season

  1. I won’t be sorry to see the end of September losing two all ireland finals is tough but hope springs eternal.

  2. I know there’s club action but we’ll all struggle with the lack of County action and a twice weekly Mayo News Podcast. Theses really are the best ever times to be a Mayo supporter. I know we haven’t sealed the deal with Sam but I’m more proud than ever to be from Mayo. The bond that has built with the Mayo team and supporters only gets stronger. Thanks for all the hard work Willie Joe, another month or two and we’ll all be itching for the FBD. Up Mayo!

  3. That will be fantastic if the Mayo News Podcast runs through rest of year.Will make the long Winter nights a lot shorter .Roll on 2018.

  4. I know a little off topic but I couldn’t help thinking today after hearing of the change of the Gaelic football rmkick out rule…. it must land past the 21m line……. if only that was introduced last year, we would be all Ireland champs. Dublin won all their own 11 kick outs in the 2nd half when cluxton kicked to the corner flag!!!! Dublin knew they were beaten when kicked long!! Dublin were the only objectors at the special congress today in Croke park!!

  5. My first comment on the blog after reading for years but wanted to say a massive thanks for hosting and the coverage with the mayo news team this year. The almost weekly podcasts (driven by the game schedule) was just fantastic. You are providing a great voluntary service and on behalf of the readers (but non posters) I want to say thanks

  6. Can I just echo Big Pappis comments above, I’m an avid reader of this blog but rarely post, can I just sincerely thank WJ for all his work on this fantastic blog. It’s such a professionally run service. Thank you.

  7. Thanks a million Willie Joe for a great blog..check in everyday!! A great connection to home. What a summer it has been. And the closeness of this special team and the fans has been something else through the Qualifiers.

  8. I sense we are all in great energy all the same Willie Joe. Speaking for myself and what I am gleaning from others there is a much higher positivity than last year. This was a marker point year in my view. It said “We are not going to go away. we are getting stronger”
    The kickout rule change today btw was big stuff in terms of swinging the fine margins back towards us.
    Today and tomorrow club football surely can give us green shoots of some new panellists.

  9. I was amazed when Alan Dillon was not chose to replace Andy Moran for the last 10 minutes of the All Ireland Final, his experience would have been way better then an inexperienced Conor Loftus, surely his time is up now

  10. I know what you mean, JP – I’m actually way more positive myself this year compared to twelve months ago. I fell into a sadness not far removed from mourning this time last year but this year I’m already over the final loss and hugely optimistic for the future … assuming, though, that the management situation is resolved rapidly, with Stephen and his backroom team staying on. If this happens – and I’m hopeful it will – then next year can’t come soon enough and you’re right re that rule change, which robs Dublin of an important part of their armoury.

  11. It’s not way higher, Patrick, only slightly and it’s also a panel who are way more experienced and battle-hardened. After their abject capitulation against Dublin, I wouldn’t be looking to Tyrone for any pointers about what we should be doing either.

  12. Summer of 2017 was amazing. I have so many fantastic memories made with family and friends. On the road every 2 weeks. I don’t think there’ll be a summer like it . . . unless 2018 manages to top it. Up Mayo.

  13. While the days after the final defeat were tough this year, there are reasons for optimism. I’ve a work colleague from Cavan and he was in awe of the standard we played to against Kerry and Dublin. He said it’s like a different sport to what his own county are playing. I don’t see us falling away anytime soon.

  14. No doubt that we are one of the few or dare I say it the only team that can knock Dublin off their perch…That being said my view of 2018 will be clearer once mgmt and backroom is decided..Alot rests on that I think..Dont know why but my gut is dodgy on all returning..Hope Im way off the mark.WJ hope you have a restful few months after the moderating madness!!

  15. I don’t think the new rule for the kick outs will make much difference. It would if the ball had to be kicked past the 45 meter line.

  16. The new rule will make it easier to push up on kickouts so there will be much more more going long. It should definitely make high fielding more prominent.

  17. Willie Joe. I find it very interesting how much hope you and Mayo fans are putting on Stephen staying on. Now I’m a fan of him he comes across as a lovely man . has got Mayo to three all Ireland’s. But stat wise its not good reading. Over 70 mins this year played-won-draw-lost 10-4-4-2 . 40% win rate. Last year 9-6-1-2 .66% .plus no silver ware at all. I would say in any other of the big four this return would not be hailed the way it is in Mayo.. Is that the softness . the Mayo team show no softness at all on the pitch , a superb hard playing team ., but their fan’s through their blind loyalty give the management too easy of a ride. Two years in charge and no cups and cold hard stats showing a large slide. Now I don’t think Mayo are sliding or going down but I don’t see them improving either…just wonder any body in Mayo wondering about management or is it blind faith. I’ve seen management teams here in Dublin put to the sword with better return’s??

  18. We all know where your coming from Willie Joe, we have been here before… Coming home from the All Ireland final, I was less destavated than last year, by the Tuesday I had seen the match in full again, with several reruns of certain incidents in the match.. It was then my sadness turned to anger, re the administration of the rules during the game, or rather lack of same…. Before anyone again acusses me of sour grapes, please look at the match in full, the camera doesn’t lie…. On the rules change re kickouts.. I don’t think it’s as big a thing as so many people suggest.. Over the 20 meter line, taking the restart from up to the 14 meter line, it’s a rule change, hardly worth making at all…. For senior adult football (make allowances for underage) kick the ball over the 45 meter line…. I leave it to everyone else to figure out why, the GAA taught such a minimal change worth making.. And my God, they certainly made a meal out of such a negibale change….All the Northern ultra defensive, blanket and possession teams have been beaten, and very comprehensively beaten by teams playing an attack minded game plan already this year.. This fact might do more to improve the quality of entertainment on view next year,… It certainly will do more good than this minimalistic rule change that in effect means that the goalkeeper need to kick the ball over 7 meters forward, and the ball needs to travel over 20 meters in total,.. Really it does very little to change the low risk boring possession that has stifled the game of Gaelic-football in recent years…. ….But if the quality of football improves, expect the powers that be, to take undeserved credit for the improvement…. What the GAA needs is Mayo, and more Mayo like minded teams, not that we are appreciated enough to see to it that the All Ireland final is reefed by someone who would administer the rules of the game in a fair and impartial manner.. Even if Mayo tried to play boring, we are not capable of it…… What floats the boat’s of the administrators of our game’s who are attending Congress?… I leave everyone to make their own minds up?

  19. The rule will make a difference. The available kicking space for the goalie is now reduced signigificantly. Contestable kickouts will be increased significantly. I can see a big % incease (+20%) in long kickouts from current %’s.

  20. …….What a County for flying its colours !……On a clear blue sky sunny day I recently cycled the majestic West and North Mayo coastal route of Stage 12 of the Wild Atlantic Way Sportif (Achill to Ballina via Mulranny Ballycroy Belmullet Ceide Fields Ballycastle)…….Cycling with many non natives I was beaming at the incessant green n red flags still flying high on gate posts roof tops and telegraph poles as the peleton flew past……the whole way around the cycle route ! Yesterday while crossing the county from Sligo to Galway the same sight greeted me………On the way home I even pulled into Centra Ballindine to invest in a big new bright green/red Mayo flag for the season ahead as my other 2-3 are well worn at this stage…….Fair play to our neighbours for their massive hurling achievement this year but the Mayo support tops all……Possibly 10-1 Mayo flags to Galway’s was my observation and us not even AI champs………..yet !!

  21. Two big thank yous now that September has passed. First of all to the Mayo management backroom staff and magnificent team who gave us yet another amazing year. Secondly to you WJ for the fantastic information ,entertainment and everything else that this wonderful blog gives us. Hopefully both the team and yourself can keep up this wonderful work in 2018. Maigh Eo Abu.

  22. Yes the summer is gone and so should the boards and banners along our roads wishing Mayo well. Take them down please and help us all put September behind us. It’s a bit like the morning after the night before with the bottles, cans, dirty dishes and stale food still strewn all over the kitchen.

  23. That’s one way of looking at it, Outta the blue, but, as the saying goes, there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

    The stat I prefer is that this year and last, we reached the All-Ireland final and in both years ended up a kick of a ball and/or dodgy reffing decision (take your pick there) from winning it. Sure, we didn’t win Connacht this year or last – and, by the way, Rochford got plenty of timber from within the county for that so no way has he been given an overly easy ride from supporters, the opposite in fact – but provincial titles mean nothing nowadays when placed against the pursuit of Sam.

    Can you remind me again, by the way, about those Dublin managers with better returns put to the sword? Men who led Dublin to back-to-back All-Ireland final appearances? Managers who put the Greatest Team of All Time to the pin of their collar two years running? I can certainly recall a few Dublin managers who underperformed greatly – squandering all those in-built advantages that every Dublin manager enjoys year after year – and never got within an ass’s roar of even getting to a final but the names of those other managers escape me …

  24. Most of Dublins kick outs already goes towards the 20 meter line if a new rule came in forcing them to kick double that length they would be in trouble.

    On management it’s Donie Buckley who Mayo need to keep on the most IMO. Can Mayo improve? Probably not with the age profile and mileage on the clock of key players but it will be a big shock if Mayo aren’t consistently competitive in 2018.

  25. Of course we will go again.. but the manner in which we do is key.. every year is slightly different and next year will be no exception. Sam as always will be priority no.1 with crucial players coming into peak fitness in July. Survival in the league, especially the earlier games, will have to be achieved with less reliance on older players. We have to be winning our first three league games and the tight home games against northern blankets that we have lost in the past with the vast majority of our players been between the ages 20 – 28. Then we have to win Connacht and go straight into the Super 8’s and that’s a whole other ball game and one that I have a big concern about. Yes we will go again but it will be different.. it will have to be to meet the challenges ahead.. but as always I have great belief in this team that they will find a way. I just hope Steven has that same belief because he won’t come on board unless he truly belives that this team can do it.. he is right to take this time.. I just hope the man from delmonte say yes.

  26. The kickout rule change is huge and anyone who doesn’t see that is clueless in my opinion.

    Think about the second half of the final, cluxton hit his man every time because he hit a lot of them out to his side (within the 20 yard line) and has repeatedly done this over the years. By forcing him to go outside the 20 metre line it significantly hampers his ability to find his man with a short kickout as the opposing team can push up continuously either man on man or zonally without expending as much energy.

    Here’s the whopper, the croke park pitch dimensions are 144.5 x 88 metres. So by forcing the kickout outside the 20 metre line it takes 1760 available squared metres out of the equation. It’s a huge change ladies and gentlemen

  27. The last thing we as supporters or team need is another change of management. Definitley dont need more upheavel or uncertainty. So hoping Steven stays others have said it so important Donie B, Tony McE and Barry Solan stay too. Fingers crossed. I feel it will be a long October. 2 weeks on from the definitley finding this loss the worst.

  28. I agree the rule change ‘re kick out is significant. The space available is reduced dramatically. The full forward line now are only concerned about marking space from the 20 meter line out. Should make it a bit easier to defend against. Time will tell though.

  29. With all due respect Outta the Blue… the no silverware charge is laughable. Do you honestly think 2 Connacht trophies these last 2 seasons would’ve made not getting Sam any easier? Stephen Rochford was quite willing to risk Connacht titles in order to get us closer to what we all crave. He has achieved what no other Mayo senior manager has i.e. got us to finals where we actually peaked for those finals. Those performances werent enough to get us over the line either year but we came damn close. I for one would much prefer to gamble losing in Connacht for a chance to challenge for Sam in September. Not to mention the improvement in our kick passing game, forward play and defensive structure. And no this is not the softness of Mayo fans as you so nicely put it. Its called cold clinical analysis from a hardened Mayo supporter with one ambition i.e. to win Sam. Also, if you lived in Mayo in the aftermath of “Goalie Gate” in Oct 2016 you would know first hand that Rochford hasnt gotten an “easy ride”.

  30. The younger generation are filling their boots this weekend. Yes its club football. But its not like 2 or 3 pts. With each team mainly u22s/u24s who are winning the games.

  31. Tks Willie Joe for this great hideout for all us Mayo supporters and keeping us all together (most of the time). Oh if only that 20m rule was in last year. Ah well it should serve us well in 2018. Feels like 2yrs and not 2wks since that sad day but we’ll all rise doubts on that.
    Mayo are now finally the respected team in the country that they so deserve.

  32. Outta the blue..Harte had literally no plan B for Dublin..Actually he hadnt a plan A either but thats old news now..Rochford nailed it..Fitzmaurice didnt fare much better against us..Yet you still think that we shouldnt be placing our faith in Rochford?The man who has us playing our best football in years..

  33. For next year I think we have to avoid a relegation battle in our last few games so we can give more players game time and expand our squad. Then winning back the Nestor cup is a must as it is essential we do not put obstacles like the qualifiers in the way of getting into the Super 8. They have been a great adventure over the last two years but next year it has to be back to route 1.
    Thanks again W.J. for giving us this wonderful forum where can express our opinions and engage in wonderful discussions in a well mannered and civilised way. Always respecting one another as we all share the one passion our love of our native county. .

  34. The kickout rule is definitely going to favour Mayo and Kerry versus the Dubs.
    The midfield contest is going to be back with this rule change.

    The league should be sacrificed this year 6-7 of the U21s should be put in for every league match Reape/ Akram/Ruane at top of the list. Also Durcan should get an extended run as a wing forward would also look at Higgins up the pitch

  35. Huge crowd in Bekan yesterday for the three games. Anyone know when the 1/4 final draw is? I assume this evening ?

  36. Interesting results today. One club I can’t get my head around is Balla. Hammered today by Lahardane in county junior semi final. Balla have had more Mayo minor and u21 players on panels in the last ten years than I care to remember. There was 2 or 3 all Ireland u21 medalists on that team today. By all accounts one of the strongest minor teams in the county in 2017. Yet they can’t get out of junior? It doesn’t make any sense. Fair play to Lahardane, great to see them keeping the flag flying for North Mayo and I hope they go on and win it now.

  37. Good weekend for north mayo. Wins for Kiltane and Belmullet today to go with Ballina and Crossmolina yesterday.

    Claremorris and Ballintubber are the last 2 teams into the SFC quarter finals next weekend.

  38. QF Draw…
    Knockmore vs Castlebar
    Breaffy vs Claremorris
    Ballintubber vs Hollymount Carramore
    Ballina vs Garrymore

  39. For the optimists amongst you – announced yesterday the 2018 AI hurling final will be played on August 19th, so I assume that means the football will be a couple of weeks later on sept 2nd!

  40. The plan is for the football final to be on the 26th. However it might be pushed back a week if the Pope visits as is currently scheduled.

  41. Agree 100% with your post at 10:37 WJ. I too am optimistic, again provided the management remain in place. Massively important that.

  42. JP – Cathal Slattery of Garrymore and Nathan Moran for Holly/Carra are very good young players. Future county players if they continue to develop in my opinion.

  43. @our time has come we’ll see if my view is clueless next year. This time last year some thought the mark would bring a big change to the game it didn’t and i don’t expect this new kick out to make much of difference.

  44. I agree that a change of management is the worst solution for next season, but how many finals does the management need to be in to learn from mistakes. I felt our substitutions did’nt really work, no point bringing guys on in injury time, far too late. Dublin always seem to be able to pull a fast one over us, this year it was Connolly coming on in a midfield play maker position, nobody was detailed to contain him. Mayo make mistakes late on in big games, two kickouts sent out long, one won by the Dubs and the other kicked over the sideline. 3 or 4 players must be added to the time next year, but there my not be those 3 or 4 players that can cut it at this level for a full match. I’m glad September is over hoping for better things next year.

  45. Willie Joe also no need to call someone clueless when an opinion differs from their own.

  46. True, Mayomagic, but the difference was that comment wasn’t aimed directly at you whereas your response was. I’d agree, though, that there’s no need for intemperate language on either side of this particular debate.

    I like the rule change, by the way, and I think it’ll have an impact. The mark has worked well and, in particular, it suited us in the All-Ireland final. With Cluxton kicking long in the first half we won three marks off his restarts, balls we wouldn’t have got cleanly prior to the introduction of the rule (Stats on that here). I think the mark combined with the kickout rule could have a significant cumulative effect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *