Cillian O’Connor our MOTM from yesterday’s game


We need to alter our focus, I know, to Roscommon next Sunday – they’ve named their team, by the way, it’s here – but we’ve still some pescado para freír from yesterday. This is the Man of the Match poll, where when the shutters came down a short while ago, a pleasingly neat 1,000 votes had been cast.

Most of those – 53% of the total – went to Cillian O’Connor, whose barnstorming performance for us yesterday went a very long way towards hauling us over the line. Cillian is an enormously deserved recipient of the MOTM award for yesterday’s match – he also won the award on Sky – and hearty congrats to him for this.

Others who put in enormous shifts for us yesterday were Aidan O’Shea (16% of the vote) and Jason Doherty (10%), as well as Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison and Andy Moran (who all polled 3% in the vote). Well done to all of them and to everyone who played a part in digging out the win for us at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday. 

41 thoughts on “Cillian O’Connor our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Congrats to Cillian. He showed great leadership yesterday in dragging us over the line. Surely one of his best ever performances for Mayo.

  2. I think it’s a fair point by o se tonight that Rochford underestimated cork when he emptied the bench. Agree the inroads cork made in last 20 was largely as a result of that.

  3. Absolutely agree, sure I thought we were home and hosed myself. But the capitulation in defense really happened after Barrett Boyler and Seamus were withdrawn. We had conceded 7 points by the 45th minute. Conceded 2-7 in the last 25!!!

  4. Brilliant performance by Cillian. If that was James O’Donoghue it would be up in lights on RTE.

  5. Well done COC, great job, Thomas o shea nailed it tonight, worth a listen on player for anyone who missed it

  6. Well done Cillian, even used his left foot for 2 of the scores!!! So proud of the whole Mayo team and management! Even more proud of the FANS!!! We heard you ALL loud and clear across the Atlantic in Florida via GAAGO! You all were AWESOME!!! Truly the 16th man!!! Now back to Croker where we belong! Maigh Eo Abú

  7. Half back line of Durkan Higgins & Drake….
    Compare that to keegan, Barrett & boyle…

    Just watched game again….
    Caffrekey was so poor.. not near close to his man and slow. And uncomfortable in pocession.
    Maybe time to go with man to man choices game by game.

  8. Brolly and o shea Enphasised how poor ger has been playing ,

    Management will have to make a change or every team will try expose us

  9. I think we sometimes underestimate the amount of dirty but essential work the Seamus o Shea gets through in games – blockibg, hassling, bringing physicality to our midfield. Its when he is not there we often loose our shape

  10. Was ready to press the mute button on Brolly on Sunday game but to be fair to himself and Tomas O Shea they were spot on with assessment regarding Rochford s substitutions..Also highlighted our weak full back.line..

  11. Delighted for Cill14n :-).
    I too am soo proud of the whole team.
    Please God they all keep their respective runs of good form & who knows . . . It’s still the year of Sergio, The Chicago Cubs, NZ in Chicago . . . Anything Is Possible. Up Mayo.

  12. Well done to Cillian, keep up the great work!

    A special mention for Jason Doc as well, it was great to see him putting in a big shift as it keeps our other forwards on their toes, we need to see competition for places all over the field.

  13. Brolly & O Shea 100% spot on tonight on the Sunday Game about Mayo.
    We come so close but we don’t have the ruthless streak like Dublin or Kerry when a big game is there to be won.

    We’re still in it.
    I think we will beat Roscommon.
    We will have trouble in the semi final though unless we raise the bar 100% for 75/80 minutes.
    There’s always 1 big game in Mayo each year.

  14. We really are a resilient people, was really impressed with the support, when we needed to roar them on, we did and brought this team over the line again. No Surrender from this group of players. A few concerns, again all teams will now be targeting our full back. I really hope rochford has a different defensive plan otherwise we are goosed. He took the entire half back line off and we were bloody lucky to survive. We should have closed out the game with 7 points up, where is plan b when we are that far ahead? Will McLoughlin revert back to sweeper in croker? Big decisions to be made in the next few days.

  15. Well done Cillian. We would be lost without him.
    Interesting that Cork had 3 men marking 3 backs at kick outs in second half. They wanted the ball kicked long and from their nineth point onwards won most contests at midfield.
    Caff is getting too much blame. Who have we on the panel that’s better in that position? He could do with a bit of help in front of him.

  16. Well done to Cillian, good to see him spending more time in the scoring zone and seems to have abandoned his wastefull trips back into defence.
    The worrying thing about sat is we had not our homework done on powter or made no effort to counter the threat either at half time or afterwards.
    Roscommon have two attacking half backs that will come at us, no doubt about that, so we need a patch in place for sunday. Carving through centre of our defence has been a problem for quite some time. Only the brilliant Clarke saved us from conceding many more goals…

  17. Caff is not going well but in fairness he pulled his hamstring off the bone this time last year. He’s doing well to be playing intercounty at all!

  18. 2 injused swans ….
    Most teams play two up. .. so Harrison & Barrett.
    If teams plays three up .. maybe keegan with Durkan & Higgins either side of Boyle

    Does this sound better than playing Caffrekey at no 3. ?

  19. Feel sorry for cafferkey. Yes he was off the pace and changes need to be made urgently for the next day, but on the Sunday game tonight he was excessively singled out. Digging out selective clips from 4-5 years ago is unfair on the lad.
    Plenty others made mistakes too. Coen threw a brainless, dopey pass in the last minute of normal time to give cork the equalising free then parsons had an even bigger brain freeze lying on top of the cork guy and allowing ref to move the free forward. Dillon came on and took a sideline ball – kicked it straight to a cork man with a minute left and us hanging on. Regan kicked 2 panicky wides and had another blocked down down the home straight too. Plenty of places to share blame around other than Caff.

  20. Ya Ger Cafferkey is off the pace. But he wasn’t at fault for either of the two Cork goals or any of their nearly misses for that matter !!!

  21. @macs left boot
    Add in keegans silly black card. I dont think Seamus O Shea is the answer to fb problem for next sunday. Too slow on the turn and clumsy tackler, murtagh would roast him.

  22. Macs left boot, I agree completely with your comments above. Yes, Cafferkey had a stinker for sure and if he;s picked for the Rosses match then he’s going to need a bit more support from the defenders around him. That said the game was in the bag in normal time if we were a bit savvier in protecting the ball in those closing minutes, but hopefully, we’ll have learned from those mistakes. This week will be all about recovery and getting those tired legs loosened up and ready for another seventy minutes – no rest for the wicked.

  23. Wouldn’t you love to be a rossie supporter this wèek!? Holy shit as Mickey Hart would say… this is as good as it gets!!!

  24. What has changed since we went down to the Hyde playing badly, needing 2 points against a mug hyped Roscommon? They were like Men against Boys an had no answer for our physicality and that was in the Hyde. Have they beefed up to match our physicality in 12 months. As regards Caff, he is getting no cover. Problem is our defensive structure. What the hell are we at on the line?

  25. Though no cover excuse doesnt wash if its a slow 36 year old Donnacha OConnor making hay getting out in front. Thats just plain not at the level we need currently.
    Yes Roscommon have beefed up to answer a question. They added one more weights session throughout the league instead of a pitch session. They have three defenders in Mulooley, McManus and McInerney who are well built.
    We won’t rock up n just armwrestle our way to a victory. We’ll need to bring a performance.

  26. Justoutinbsllagh

    If league form counts for something should we think the same of Croker league game?

    I don’t take either as a benchmark btw

  27. Ontheditch

    You are 100% spot on. I have nearly had falling out with friends of mine from Mayo in recent years when I have argued that I don’t think Cillian O Connor is a marquee forward because he often doesn’t score enough from open play – and the main reason I have argued that is because I say he spends too much time out around the middle of the field or back in defence which was either a cop out, misguided or the manager was to blame for not curbing. I have always thought he was talented enough to be a marquee forward and his performance on saturday was of that calibre and it was significanlty down to the fact that he hardly strayed beyond 35 yards….thats where pickings are rich and the top forwards take up residency….look at Brogan, McBrearty, Geaney….you won’t see those lads back giving lateral handpasses around midfield…they are greedy for scores. Andy Moran has that greed for scores and a fantastic player but he falls slightly short of COC in terms of natural talent.

    For the avoidance – because I know from experience it is a criminal offence on this site to say anything even marginally negative about him – COC would get on any team in the country I’ve just always been waiting to see if he could go that extra 5-10% and if he can and AOS and Andy Moran can keep firing the way they are then you really have a threat. I’d still be concerned Mayos defence looks vulnerable these days however.

  28. Good post Cantini. Cillian was noticeably working on his left in actual games this year. Trying to get that game situation accuracy into his left footed kicking. He had I think was it two left footed decent points from play. This makes him much more dangerous now as a defender isn’t sure which foot he will move to shoot with.
    I was very impressed with Conor Loftus point if people watch it back. He was our only forward would have scored that point. The ball skewed up in the air in a tussle, he was onto it like a flash and showed suprising strength to drive through two tacklers into the clear. Popped over a nice point then.
    Saturdays shooting was I’m pretty certain our most accurate championship shooting performance since Tyrone 2004 when we had something like 4 wides in the entire game.

  29. Congrats to Cillian. That was one hell of a performance. Great captain great leader.

  30. phew, monday ,breathe again,its been a rollercoaster of a weekend,
    any one know when tickets will be available online,just checked this morning they aren’t up yet,
    three connacht teams playing in croker this weekend,its a great for the province ,
    watched the game back last night,some howlers of passes throughout but them last few in the dying moments were too close for my liking,good job cork couldnt execute them,
    i hope we have no injury worries after that war of attrition ,only a few days to get them legs loosened out and
    ready for another battle,i love these qualifiers,matches thick and fast,but i really don’t think i could handle another nail biting,edge of the seat scenario again in 6 days,someone mentioned last week about purchasing a defibrillator,
    im seriously considering doing the same ,holy god this team have giving us the best of themselves representing our jersey,they really are an unreal bunch,im so proud of them,
    and we as supporters are the best in the country by a mile, i love been part of that ,we will be needed in numbers again sunday.. respect to be given to the rossies,a good account of ourselves,
    a kiss from lady luck!


  31. sorry i forgot to add,

    fair play Cillian,really well deserved,keep up the trojan work

  32. Watched game. … a few things stood out …
    Regarding Subs …
    C Loftus … excellent.
    Vaughan …. decent effort, solid & nothing silly.
    Durkan …. good going fwd , initially poor denfending against John Rourke.
    Coen … poor, at fault for connelly goal (sold him self easily and lost him), & suicide pass which led to equalising point. Carried the ball well going fwd.
    Drake. .. covered well, pacy. Loops a ltitle uncomfortable ball in hand inside the 45. Again nothing stupid.
    Regan … poor
    Dillon …poor
    Barrett. .. excellent when he came back on. Oh why was he taken off.

  33. Ger Caff did play poorly on Saturday. Was yards off o connor. Brolly went to town on him on the sunday game though. Anyone can pick out mistakes a defender has made over the course of 5 years. Ger has been an excellent man marker down through the years. An allstar. Great man to disposes if a bit dodgy under the high ball.

    The problem now is he’s lost a yard of pace and mobility due to doing his cruciate. Thats not gers fault. Its just reality. He will be cleaned the out incroke park. Its not fair on him or the team to play him. Hopefully he can getback to his old self but hes just not mobile enough at the moment to be marking top forwards.

  34. First off congrats to Cillian – absolutely deserved. Ridiculous that the top scorer is 3 of the last 4 Championships and currently waaayyy out in front this year isn’t considered a marquee forward by some.

    Agree with nearly comments.
    Caff hadn’t his best day at all. Shouldn’t have been left on Colm O’Neill for so long, wasn’t to blame for any of the goal chances and he has never played from the front. Ever. It’s not his style, it didn’t do it when he won an All-Star, why would he do it now. He shepherds forwards away from goal, looks to get a foot or leg in and keep the ball away from them and not get turned as he doesn’t have the pace. All of which is fine but he just a bit too isolated on Saturday.

    Coen also didn’t have a great day after his excellent performance against Clare. He’ll come again no doubt.

    Loftus is just so exciting to watch. So direct, so fast, so goal hungry.

    I thought Diarmuid had his best day for us in ages. If he comes back to his best form it would be a major plus.

    Realistically Harrison, Barrett, Keegan and Higgins probably need to be on at all times. That leaves Caff, Boyler, Durcan, Coen, Vaughan battling for 2/3 spots on the team.

    Regarding the bench harsh on Boland not being there, Barry Moran if fit might add more than Crowe or Drake.

    Finally how many subs did Cork make on Saturday? They had 3 made by the Walsh went off (40 mins). Connolly and O’Neill came on in normal time. Seemed to make a heap at the start of the extra-time and a few more through it.

  35. Watched it back just now. Whew!

    Management were right to make the substitutions.

    They were going well, but certain players were tiring – Seamie and we’ve hammered them for not being quick enough to make changes. I think the collapses were mental; we put them away three times, but Cork were playing for pride and it’s hard to deal with that if you switch off a bit. There’s a shot of Rochy after Loftus’s point, I think, with his arms up, saying in effect, that’s it now. That’s what I said! And what a hundred around me said.

    Cillian? An absolute stormer. And those long range points I was worrying about? Well he answered that – to hit that 45 in extra time – incredible.

    It was a great test against Cork’s strong panel. Just look at their losses: Loughrey, O’Sullivan (black) Walsh, Powter, and another black I forget who, and yet the subs were as good.

    And yes, Caff, we have a problem. Caolan Crowe looks very solid.

  36. WJ, you are a legend on and off the field. We cannot thank you enough for all you do for the Mayo GAA community! Your analysis and penmanship are top class.

    To those who complain about being reprimanded understand that this is his site where he puts in a lot of his personal time. Rules on behavior are very specific and even if you disagree with your reprimand don’t get tied up in technicalities, never take it personal, rather apologize profusely and continue to contribute to the discussions.

  37. So many people were right about Cork being a difficult test and that winning by a narrow margin would be just fine. How lucky we were to come out on the right side of a great game. A lot of talent on that Cork team and great credit must go to the team and management for not giving up despite having little support off the field.

    Overall the game was another great learning experience in so many ways, a lot more positives than negatives in my opinion. A few takeaways:
    – As far as I know no injuries, a credit to the fitness of the team and didn’t notice any cramping on our side after 100 mins of playing.
    – Forwards beginning to click which is very encouraging; I’m now convinced Andy must start, so consistent winning ball and contributing scores every game
    – Same with Jason, showed yesterday how he can win possession, physically strong and can score goals
    – COC and the full forward line need to stay up and leave the tracking to midfield and the halfbacks; COC and Andy two great leaders in the forward line
    – AOS, what a player! Great to see his consistency, smart play and fitness level
    – DOC great to see that he’s getting back to his best form and Kevin who rarely makes a bad pass
    – Loftus what a talent to have on the bench
    – Evan, admire his tenacity and courage to take on shots but Kirby and Nally are better options; Boland a surprise and disappointing after his performance earlier in the year but management must have their reasons
    – Defense was a major problem yesterday but the good news is that we know it can be fixed; we have the players that did so well last year
    – I can understand why management made some changes but in hindsight it was risky after Lee was black carded; highlights that small tactical changes can be detrimental, a valuable lesson has been learned
    – Ger was not the main reason we got in a spot of trouble yesterday but most if not all would agree he had a poor game; clearly not back to his best form unfortunately for him; tough decision to be made and it’s not providing more protection, anything else is a disaster in the making
    – Clark confident as usual who continues to improve his kick outs

  38. @kevmy
    there are facts and stats and lies and all that usual mullarkey chat.

    but reality is COC scored 9pts from play in 8 or 9 championship matches last year. He got 2 thirds of that on saturday evening against a very decent side in a tight match… of those stories reflects the feat of a marque forward and the other does not – simply as that. This isn’t comparing him against every forward in the county. This is comparing him against the undisputed top forwards like Geaney, McManus, Brogan, McBreragthy, o donoghue…it is only questioning if he can fall into that category of no more than 8-10 players people universally describe as marquee. He is on the right track for that title this year…take comfort in that. There is no offence intended in my remarks – in terms of temperment, free-taking, accuracy i would rate COC at the very highest level. Racking up big scores from play in tight matches is the true mark of a top forward – he did the first day against the Dubs 0-3 last year but finished empty handed the second. And i again put that totally down to him being the wrong side of the half way line for far too much of it. But if he stays inside 30-35 yards for the game, I am confident he can get 3-4-5 from play every game…to paraphrase the shawshank redemption i would advise Cillian….to get greedy scoring inside the 30 or get busy dying outside out the 50!

  39. Long post warning….

    Catcol, I would agree – I thought the substitutions were coming at the right time when they were being made and to be fair, they may have seemed like rash decisions now with the benefit of hindsight. I thought Seamie was beginning to wane and was happy to see Coen coming on – Coen didn’t have his best game, hence the critique received for that decision. Mind you, Rochford hardly sent him out and said “go out and play a bit off your best, it’ll be grand. If you can, play a little worse than the lad I’m taking off for you, maybe misplace a pass if you can to let Cork back into the game”.
    Barrett and Boyle are both the wrong side of their twenties so it makes sense that all the indicators would have shown they would be starting to dip at the time they were being replaced. Bringing on Durcan, who should have gotten an all star ahead of Boyle in my view last year, and Vaughan in their place isn’t a bad swap. Seriously – how could anyone think that bringing on Durcan or Vaughan to replace those 2 if they are tiring is a bad thing?. Durcan is Durcan, and I’d start him most days, and Vaughan is the next best option, and very capable in the half back line, having spending most of the Horan era as a nailed on starter in the half back line.
    Drake for Keegan – enforced, and to be fair it’s hard to find a like for like replacement for the best footballer in the country. Might be a case for Nally here, but Drake seems to be ahead in the selection order and I’m sure there’s a reason for that too. Can we honestly say that Nally would be better than Drake as a replacement?. Is he the next Richie Feeney?.
    Loftus for Andy would be an obvious one, don’t get me wrong, I love Andy to bits but there’s only so much fuel in his tank.
    Regan for McLoughlin – I’m on the fence about Regan, but I’ll come back to him.
    On the Dillon vs Diarmuid – again I doubt Rochford told Dillon to go out and pass it straight to a Cork fell if you get a chance to take a free, but that’s unfortunately what transpired. When that substitution was announced, I felt it was the right call, it was the type of change that warranted an experienced player to be on the pitch to close it out, and Dillon would be my go to guy for that – certainly before this game, that would have been the case.
    Crowe for Caff – Caff certainly had a day to forget but at the same time, he was hung out to dry during and after the game and left very badly exposed. Caff probably should have been called ashore earlier, but if this and other threads are anything to go by, had Crown erred, it would have been Rochford’s fault again.

    By my reckoning – the unused subs were Kirby, Nally and Hennelly. God knows how much bandwidth we’d have to get through if Clarke got switched with Robbie – I’m just too old for that now – but there may be a case for Kirby or Nally instead of Regan. The Flipside of that however is that people would be crying out for Regan to get another chance, etc etc. I recall a few years ago on this blog how people were lambasting Horan for not having Regan in the squad. Now he’s there, people can’t seem to stand the sight of him. To further expand on that – Kirby also had his chances against Galway and should have buried a goal chance in that game, but didn’t. The difference between Regan and Kirby is however, Regan is braver than Kirby when it comes to taking a hit or dishing one out. In a Physical game, Regan would get the nod.
    Boland being left off the match day 26 makes sense as Cork are big, physical lads, probably more so than any other team we would be likely to meet in a year and the Cork lads would have eaten him without salt or a napkin and set him back quite a ways. I like Fergal, and I think he’s a very intelligent player with a great future, but he’s not blessed with height and the team we played yesterday
    This was always a game to start Jason Doherty and Kevin Mc so Fergal was always going to have to make way. I’d love to see more of Nally too and also I’d love to see Adam Gallagher get a run but both are largely untested at Championship grade and I don’t see a place for them ahead of the rest of our forwards once they’re fit to play. We’re in danger of creating a whole new team of Richie Feeneys too I fear.
    And here’s the problem – we don’t have a bunch of Aido’s, Andy’s, Cillians or Leeroy’s sitting on the bench waiting to told to start to warm up.
    We have the players we have, and we have the manager that we do along with the rest of the coaching staff and whatever data or metrics they have before and during the game to work with. The opposition have good players too, and while we’d all like for a substation to be a gamechanger, the opposing teams will have done their homework on us as much as we will have done on them.

    If during the game you know you have to make changes to those players, what other replacements would you select over and above the ones made, and if so, who and why and when?. Horan was lambasted for being too slow to make the necessary changes. Rochford is being lambasted for making decisions – we’ll never know if those decisions are made too soon as we don’t know how things will play out if they’re not made, good bad or indifferent. For those they think they can do better, I’m sure we’ll see you submit your names for nomination the next time there is a managerial vacancy.

    Anyhoo – rantings and ravings aside, its never easy being a Mayo supporter.
    Some of the good and bad things about Sunday:
    Jason Doherty. Cillian. Andy. Aido. Clarkey, barring his kickouts – he needs to learn how to kick for distance.
    Our forwards put in one of the finest displays I’ve seen from a forward unit in Mayo colours I have ever seen. It’s a shame it coincided with a day that our backs decided to go a little headless. How the Cork players were able to waltz through to create by my count 5 very scorable goal opportunities and convert 2 tells you how poor we were there and how much we rode our luck. The Cork folks probably have some reasons to be aggrieved however it’s not as if we’ve never had decisions go against us so if we came out of the right side of a few, so be it. We’re told often enough to suck it up when we’re on the rough end of a poor decision. I’m sure the Cork lads didn’t mind when their fella took 15 steps on his way to scoring a goal, as much as I don’t care that Higgins got a yellow when he might have been shown a black card.
    Oh and we won, thought you wouldn’t think it reading some comments.

    Onward to Roscommon.

    Up Mayo.

  40. Cillian probably deserved it but Jason D was outstanding. He won a lot of hard earned possession and his handling was exceptional. He is definitely worth his place. We need to be playing lads in their natural positions rather than playing extra defenders

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