Cillian O’Connor our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: RTÉ

Mayo supporters need no reminding that Cillian O’Connor is in the form of his life right now. The whole country surely awoke to this realisation following his astonishing performance in yesterday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary at a fog-bound Croke Park.

Cillian’s 4-9 haul yesterday wasn’t just the highest tally ever recorded by a football player in an All-Ireland semi-final, it was the highest ever individual score posted by a player in the entire history of the football Championship.

Already the top scorer in Championship history, Cillian has continued to add to his tally at a right old clip this year. And as he does, the records continue to tumble. Yesterday he reached an aggregate total of thirty goals scored in the Championship, surpassing Mikey Sheehy’s record of 29 in the process.

It follows that he is, without question, our Man of the Match from yesterday’s game. Your votes have confirmed this – Cillian came out top with 38% support in the poll.

I found it interesting earlier today to go back and have another listen of Billy Joe Padden’s interview in May this year with Cillian on the Mayo News football podcast. In it, Cillian spoke about how good it felt, for the first time in ages, to be free of injury and there are clear hints from what he said then of what we’ve seen from him on the field in recent weeks. It’s an interview that’s well worth going back over so here it is:

Another player to shine in the MOTM poll from yesterday’s game was Tommy Conroy, whose latest sparkling performance has now put him in pole position to win the Young Footballer of the Year award. Tommy, who bagged four points at Croke Park yesterday, finished second in the poll with 18%.

David Clarke, who saved our bacon a number of times yesterday, comes next with 13% while Conor Loftus and Aidan O’Shea each garnered 6% of the vote.

Well done to them and to all of the lads who played a part in securing the county’s place in the All-Ireland final in two weeks time.

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

  1. It’s good to see him enjoying his football but you’re only as good as your last game. Cillian managed one point from play against Galway don’t forget and the Dubs will target him. I hope he gets a few scores from play against them to quieten talk of him only doing it against the weaker teams.

    A guy on OTB tonight questioned who we beat to make final….who did Dublin beat?

  2. Cillian . The joe Canning if you like of mayo. Doesn’t get enough credit outside the county for what he does. Very rarely when he plays well we lose. When Cillian is on form it seems other players feel it and also raise their game . Obviously his injuries were frustrating him. Injury free no stupid challenges no unnecessary red card’s

  3. Congrats Cillian, well deserved. If we had him for 10 minutes against Tyrone, we wouldn’t be relegated. Back to his best form and he reminds us all of how good he is.

  4. Well deserved Cillian. A remarkable haul yesterday. To do it in an AI semi final was fantastic with the whole country watching. What a lift it must be to our other players and forwards especially to have the likes of Cillian on your side. It really was a clinical and outstanding performance from him yesterday.

  5. Congratulations to Cillian. Without doubt one of the very best to grace the game. His record(s) speak for themselves. If he scores half that amount the next day we’ll be in great shape.

  6. Well done Cillian. Hoping he gets stuck into the best team in the history of the planet and does a number on them too.

  7. Well done to Cillian what a fantastic professional. I know life can be unfair sometimes but it would be totally unjust if someone like Cillian was never to win an all Ireland medal-s smashing records like he does. Could this be the year? Fingers crossed

  8. Massive game cillian and well done to all. Injury free and roaring into the record books. I wanna mention kevin mac as well. He sent in lovely diagonal ball to aiden in first half for his fisted point. A great example of how to use the big man on the square. Lumping it in dont work again most teams.

  9. Oh yes, The injury I remember most is when he had a broken collar bone/shoulder or worse and he played against Dublin with heavy padding. They tested his shoulder early on but then later in the game he shouldered someone. It was considered unbelievable that he was even playing a few weeks after such an injury. Since then he had surgery on other parts of the anatomy.

    Truly a legend already. He was dynamite at minor and under twenty one as well if memory serves me.

    When I recall Cillian and Aidan colliding in Limerick, and now………….. to be continued.

  10. @Spotlight. In the championship, Cillian has played Dublin 8 times, scored total of 62 points. That is broke down by 44 from frees, 4 from 45, 8 points from play and 2 goals. He does struggle to score from open play against Dublin but then again, every player struggles to score from open play against them.

    For Mayo to be beat Dublin, we will either need to score 20-22 points or keep a clean sheet. Dublin always get a goal against us and most of the time get 2 goals so keeping a clean sheet is highly unlikely. Last time we stopped them from scoring against us in the Championship was in 2012 which is last time we beat them in the Championship.

  11. Always surprises me when people question Cillian’s ability including some of our own supporters, it’s not so long ago people were calling for him to be dropped. No one ever complains about the amount of frees Rock scores or how many the Gooch or Brogan scored, how many hat tricks have these “Marquee” players scored in championship football? By my count Cillian has at least 4. Cillian has been portrayed as just a free taker for far too long when if fact he is Mayo’s best ever forward and one of the top players in the country, and has been for a long time

  12. “A guy on OTB tonight questioned who we beat to make final….who did Dublin beat?”

    We beat two division one sides and the munster champions.

  13. Dublin Des is sniggering at us. Laughing out the side of his face at us. Those of you with a proper wide screen television should be able to spot it. How sweet it would be to topple his beloved Dubs and wipe that grin off him.

  14. Greatest Mayo forward in my memory with the best footballing brain in the team…a brilliant brilliant player. His record speaks for itself and there’s no need to try and justify it to anyone.
    Didn’t get the chance to vote but I would strongly have considered Clarke for MOM. If any of those 2 chances went in it could have been a much different game. Nothing to lose in the final now so no pressure as this Dublin team expects to beat everyone by 10+ points so I would say all the pressure is on them and signs are that their fans are nervous based on some of the shite talking that they are at on social media.

  15. No contest there. Phenomenal display, simply phenomenal.

    Overall, a funny kind of game. Semis are for winning they say, but at the end I wasn’t whooping or hollering, I felt we were panicking. Panicking on a 15 point lead! We had completely switched off. As Aidan O’Rourke said in his analysis, once we switch off in the middle third and drop the intensity we become very vulnerable to marauding attackers. Substitutions seem to accentuate this problem, perhaps Jordan Flynn excepted.

    Still, I’m enjoying it for the next day or two. Won’t start thinking about Dublin until then! In the meantime, the Roscommon game might seem to be our best and perhaps a template? Even there we had switched off, and the Rossies picked off points, alarmingly for us, in the last ten minutes. Really the way we finish out games is a problem. Is the intensity we bring to opponents something we find hard to sustain for eighty minutes?

    O’Rourke’s article is here:
    https://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2020/1208/1183030-mayo-gameplan-requires-finessing-to-sink-dublin/

  16. In last sunday’s case I would be more worried about the ease with which we were opened up at the start than our lack of concentration in the last quarter. By that time Horan had emptied his bench.
    So where did the problems initiate? I think we need at least one midfielder with defensive ability. Kev McLoughlin as sweeper a must!!
    Interesting player ratings at
    https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/gaa/arid-40167834.html

  17. It always amazed me how little credit Cillian got down through the years. 1 all star award is some joke for what he’s done. The idea that he somehow doesn’t contribute from play is the great fallacy of Gaelic football. It think Pat Spillane takes a huge amount of the blame for it to be honest. Like the Derry asal, he’s such a high profile voice that anything he says gets taken as fact. He never rates any Mayo forward no matter what they do. Even on the RTE GAA podcast last week Pat was asked about Cillian and his response was yerra sure he scores 1-11 against Leitrim but never does it on the big day.. Kieran Shannon pulled him up on it but Pat just brushed him off.

    Aside from scores and assists his workrate is better that any corner forward too. There are a lot of intercounty defenders that could do with a coaching session from Cillian on how to tackle.

  18. Definitely something different about cillian this year, seems leaner, the covid enforced break seemed to help him too, he seemed to be constantly fighting niggling injuries previous few seasons so the lockdown would have benefitted him in getting his body in tune

    I think there is joy to be had with that dublin fullback line when you look at it on paper.
    Jonny cooper is definitely not the player he was, martin reilly got the upper hand on him on sat night and he should have been blackcarded.
    Murchan is about 5’6, extremely quick but surely a mismatch there for us with all our ff line over 6 foot tall.
    Davy byrne/Fitzsimons are neat tidy man markers but you would expect cillian to better either of them.

    Its further out the field where dublin dominate

  19. Saw Dublin Des sniggering at us alright. Reality is most people expect Dublin to win pulling up – that’s fine by us.
    A big difference for our full forward line the next day is that their markers will tear up the field at every opportunity. The Tipp full back line just stayed back all day which made it very easy for our full forward line to hold their shape and be in right position for the next ball coming in.
    If a Dublin full back line player makes a 60 meter run up the field – someone has to track him. Its important that we try to keep at least two forwards inside all the time and have them available for players in possession out the field

  20. OnTheDitch, KevinMc definitely will not be playing Sweeper, Horan will not be playing with a dedicated sweeper, the closest we will come to it will be Coen playing a few yards deeper. If we take players away from the forwards to play in defence we are guaranteed to lose, we need numbers in attack to engage in the high press that works so well and to capitalise on turnovers won. We cant press up if Dublin have a free man to act as an outlet because Kevin is standing inside our own 45. Playing a sweeper goes against everything Horan has worked at since coming back to manage.

  21. At the very least, I hope more Mayo people now start appreciating what a talent we have in our midst a little bit more – better late than never. He’s just phenomenal.

    Onemoretime, unfortunately I don’t think there’s much pressure on Dublin either. They’ve done their five in a row – they might be “buzzing for the half dozen” but if they lost, it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world for them and in fact it would probably relieve them of some of the scrutiny they are under. And sadly they could win 20 in a row and some of their “fans” would still be spouting rubbish, baiting other supporters and playing the victim on social media. At least Mayo won’t go in there under the weight of much expectation, although most of us are still secretly hoping they will pull off some kind of ambush. It is Christmas after all!

    Has Horan ever played with a sweeper? I can’t see him starting now.

    Wide Ball, Pat Spillane talked some amount of rubbish in that podcast. I nearly threw the phone out the window. Throwing bouquets at Dublin, indeed.

  22. Coen will be matched up with kilkenny. It’s a question of how we stop the dubs tearing us to shreds through the centre. We have midfielders with very little physacillity when it comes to defending.
    Horan has to bolster us up as a defensive unit, and may very well have to employ a dedicated sweeper
    Players don’t play to positions in the modern game. Cillian does is share of sweeping like every other forward nowadays. It what enables us to release our half back line into the attack..
    But we can’t defend as naively as we did against Tipp. Dubs will have learned one thing. Come at mayo with all guns blazing for first quarter.. We need to be ready for that onslaught.

  23. Anne-Marie, I wouldn’t totally agree that there is no pressure on Dublin, the players may have their medals but Farrell doesn’t. There is big pressure on Farrell to win, Dublin lose and he will get the blame. Farrell has not been tested yet, does he have what it takes to make the big calls in a tight final no one knows yet

  24. Farrell had a couple of dreadful underage results managing Dublin when they were hot favourites so here’s hoping!

  25. Yeah we still dont know if dublin what dublin under farrell are like, they havent been asked any serious questions yet.
    Cavan have been their toughest opponents and they are in division 3 next year and were very much in bonus territory.

    Dublin lost a few games in the league too so we just dont know how good they are when its really put up to them.
    Finals can take on a life of their own, for all their domination the finals dublin have won in the past decade were won by an average of 2 points!!

    The big 4 are Fenton/McCarthy/callaghan and kilkenny, 4 guys who will probably go down as all time greats, but some of the supporting cast not of the standard of previous years imo. Would scully or bugler really be better than connolly/flynn – not a chance! Paddy small is no bernard brogan either.

    I make dublin favourites, but there wont be much in it

  26. Thats a good point JR. We suffered int the past with savage wides stats. Current set of forwards very efficient.

  27. Yes Wideball, we beat them in ‘16 in the under 21 semi at Tullamore.. Mike Solan and Dessie Farrell were the respective managers, and Con O’Callaghan and the Basquels were the Dubs marquee forwards. Diarmuid and Mattie were outstanding. Questions abounded about Dessie that day.

  28. I wouldn’t even consider that a big upset Catcol. The Dublin u21s lost to Longford in 2013 and looking at their team you see the following names….

    Davy Byrne, Eric Lowndes, Jack McCaffrey, Paul Mannion, Ciaran Kilkenny, Niall scully, Conor McHugh.

    Same thing in the 2011 minor final vs Tipperary.

  29. Higher performing forwards mean our defenders can defend or restrict number of attacks so we may defend better this time around with Dublin, especially in the latter stages of game our defenders may have some energy left. I remember Kevin McStay analyzing the 2014 replay with Kerry and we couldn’t understand how Kerry finished that game full of running and our lads were basically fecked with 10mins or more to go. His analysis showed that Kerry limited players movement into 3 zones of the pitch i.e. no player was doing laps of the pitch basically and this allowed them conserve enough energy to finish strongly knowing that Mayo would have expended everything on 60 or so mins…

  30. I remember watching Diarmuid that day Wide ball, Catcol and he was truly outstanding. Con O Callaghan was running around in his wake for the whole of the game. Unfortunately theres some difference between the Con O C that day and one that will take to the field Sat week. A semi professional life style brought about by oodles of financial resources has transformed these players into the machines they are today.

  31. Hello,

    James Horan has so much experience of managing teams against Dublin, observed them objectively as a sports journalist, and watched them many times as a non-partisan, probably has read everything about them.

    I am sure Cillian will have an input as well as Aidan, Lee, Kevin, Diarmuid. Chris, Stephen, Paddy, Mattie and their experience and not forgetting Ciaran Mc, J. Burke.

    It is all set up for Mayo.

  32. I’m trying to clutch at positives, and here’s an attempt at that: As good as Dublin are right now – and there’s no doubt they’ve moved it to another level this year – they will miss one Diarmuid Connolly. Despite being shackled for large parts by Lee in past matches, consider that he was the one who put that beautiful long-range kick-pass into Dean Rock’s hands for the OG in the 2016 drawn game. He creates something out of nothing like no other modern player. Boyler and Kevin Mc were totally caught off guard. By sheer brilliance, NOT by curses!! That pass often gets lost in the mix when that OG is discussed (granted, the other OG was more freaky). All those matches (’16, ’17) are available in full on Youtube and are worth watching.

    The only one to compare to Diarmuid in my mind is Gooch. Both have incomparable balance and vision. Also, the manner in which Diarmuid slotted home that penalty in the 2016 replay was a thing of beauty (if we in Mayo can for a second take an objective view!). It was truly the greatest peno I’ve ever seen. Clarke was of course only just subbed in, amazingly stretching his big frame over to his right-hand post, but Connolly had it measured to perfection. There was mere millimetres in it but the kick was just too good. Diarmuid knew it had to be. He has quality like no other. It’s his unpredictability, his spontaneity that set him apart. The current Dublin team are also special, and are made up of special talents each and every one of them. But Connolly had the XX factor, that flash of genius. I’m delighted he’s not there anymore.

  33. Anne-Marie I get your point but these Dubs have become accustomed to beating the lard out of all comers and they’ll be trying to do that to Mayo. The longer we can hang onto their coat tails the more they wont like it. Farrell has the pressure of keeping the trophies coming and the Dubs might not forgive him too quickly if their team is beaten by Mayo of all teams.

  34. Biggest team transformation has been the full forward line. With Cillian back to form and Tommy breaking onto the team, both have elevated Aidan’s game in his now best position on the team. While he doesn’t score much his assists and turnovers are immense and creates space for runners.

  35. Cillian is having a fantastic championship, never seen him as tuned in , looks that bit sharper too . Hes been a fantastic footballer since 2011 for us . Personally as a supporter i love the way hes disliked by other supporters , hes been booed by them all even down in killarney last year , they say it’s because hes dirty, mouthy , sly etc etc but the real reason, cause hes a thorn in their fookin side.

    So many great footballers for us down the years on great teams too have left without that cross obviously, we have about three seasons left to make sure this lad doesn’t, it’s very doable , just do it .

  36. Don’t think we can be questioning farrells credentials as manager just yet. Under age management is as much about learning and experience as much as it is about winning. He’s used the league very well to bed in new players. Against cavan he used the last 15mins to give philly some opportunity to deal with high balls with a view to back up for marking aiden if required. Also he’s added a new dangerous dimension to their kickouts, if anyone dares push up we go long and if we win it you’re really in trouble, we’ll catch you short at the back. He’s also taken non contact to a new level, it looks like no player is to take the ball into contact unless there’s only one to beat between the player and goal. This is the only area where he sees the prize (goal) outweigh the risk.
    Time will tell on whether he is a good manager or not, but he’s certainly giving other managers as much if not more to counteract than the previous dublin manager, whose teams fell over the line in most finals.

  37. Btw just because he lives in Dublin doesn’t mean he’s going to favour them at all. Genuinely curious as to his ability to be fair and straight with both teams.

  38. @ah now
    Good call on the observation of Dublin players avoiding contact. Was very conspicuous against cavan, they kept the ball moving at all times and never invited any contact, cavan couldn’t get the turnovers they were getting off donegal. Extremely clever play and slightly worrying for us as our entire game is based on high pressing and turnovers

  39. I watched the first half again yesterday (can one even see the second half?).

    A few things stood out:

    * Ryan O’Donoghue had a mighty game. Something came of every move he made.
    * Eoin MacLaughlin was hugely influential too, though I would like to see him score.
    * We were tuned out for the first eight minutes or so. We all know that, but when we were destroying Tipp up front, they still got possession and launched high balls in. We dealt with every one of those, usually by breaking it and having a man to cover.
    * Leroy. I dunno.
    * Cillian’s ‘hip’ as he stormed in for the second goal was something.

  40. I stand to make a nice few quid if my allstar bets come in :-p
    I had Cillian o’c, mullen, and Paddy durcan backed as allstars before championship and it looks good.
    Certainly Cillian and Paddy are bankers whatever happens, mullen seems to be on course too.
    Id say Eoghan McL and Tommy Conroy will be very close too if they have decent final.

    Would dearly love to see Kev Mc finally get one but i suspect his brilliance has become so routine people pay it no notice at this stage

    Then again, if we beat dublin we will have 15 allstars imo 😛

    @Catcol – im a bit worried about Leeroys form too, he is usually always our best player against the dubs but his form is a worry as he is way off the level he was in previous years. Very rash in the tackle too, on the brink of a black card every game. A black card at any stage v the dubs and its goodnight irene. Hope to see him back at his best in 2 weeks

  41. Only place for Keegan in the final, I think, is a man marking job on Fenton. If we reduce his influence, less need to worry about the dubs forward line.

  42. Cant see how Keegan could compte with Fenton. Gives away a good few inches in height and couldnt compete with him in any way fielding. The only hope we have is Ruane and its a big ask. Hes basically unmarkable really.

  43. Dublin can come at u from all angles so all there team will require watching not just a few of them.

  44. Yeah dave you are probably right, ruane seems to the only option for fenton really as there isnt a matchup in the country for him at the moment. So we need to focus on matchups elsewhere,

    I think all 3 of our ff line can have the upper hand on their respective dublin men physically, there is joy to be had there. I hope jonny cooper starts because he is extremely rash and there to be got at these days.

    No mccaffrey to worry about this year so can keep paddy durcan as orthodox number 5.

    Kilkenny moves everywhere so would have paddy durcan pick him up.

  45. Keegan was very poor at the weekend and he looks a long way from the FOTY from a few years back. He’s got so much credit in the bank and we’ve nothing better from the bench so he will definitely start but his form is very worrying and hopefully he won’t be tasked with marking Con again! I’d say Horan will just be hoping he can get pumped up one more time like has done for previous big games.

    Speaking of the bench, they were shocking (bar Coen, who usually does well when he has time/space) against Tipp at the weekend. I thought Jordan Flynn might be good but he’s very slow for inter county level and O’Hora, despite playing well for Ballina, makes rash decisions when in the fullback line. There’s major quality differences between Dublin and Mayo benches.

  46. Of the 15 that started last years semi final against Dublin. I’d guess only 8 of those will start the final. That is a serious turnaround of players in 12 months. I’ve removed those that wont be playing.

    1.

    5. Lee Keegan (Westport)
    2. Chris Barrett (Belmullet)
    3.

    4. Stephen Coen (Hollymount- Carramore)
    6.
    7.

    22. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy)
    9.

    10.
    8. Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy)
    7. Patrick Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels)

    15.
    25. Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber)
    13. Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber)

    While out of the 6 that came off the bench, only 2 will probably be involved. (Higgins on the bench while Kev Mc will start)

  47. Con O C, destroyed Keegan last year. Take keegan’s attacking play away and he is not a good defender. He is not a good tackler. He is at his best between the 45’s, sticking to a player and disrupting, but never as the last line of defense. In these situations, it’s always a goal, foul, black card or penalty.

    As a disrupter and attacking half back, there are few better players. Dublin will relish seeing him at full back and if he is not stationed there, they will try and drag him in, knowing that he is not good one on one and cannot hurt them on the scoreboard from there.

    Also, in last years semi, it was very noticeable that mayo defended man on man, but were never close enough to each other to provide cover. This was obviously a ploy from dublin to create these 2 on 1 and 1 on 1 situations. Mayo hb line need to be aware of this and track aggressively.

    My final observation is that Dublin need goals to beat Div 1 teams, as they rarely rack up enough points to win these games. If you look at their goals in last years semi & final, 3 of the 4 goals were down to really poor defending. No pressure on the man kicking the ball in and no pressure on the man receiving.
    Do we have the defenders to stop dublin scoring goals? Yes, we do. The only problem is, they will not be on the pitch. (harrison, boyle & O’donohue)

  48. Yes, regarding keegan his form is a bit of a worry, some people saying he is not comfortable in the full back line and saying he should be in the halfback line, but Keegan is not the same player he was, he has lost a bit of pace and the few times he has moved up to the scoring zone this year his shooting has been very erratic, and if Harrison had been available this year I don’t think Keegan would of made the starting fifteen, also since paddy Durcan picked up that yellow against galway his form seems to have dipped, he seems to have lost a bit of confidence and mayo will need paddy Durcan to be at his swashbuckling best to have any chance of toppling the dubs

  49. Would have to agree on a lot of points raised. I love Keegan, he is the best mayo of my lifetime. But he’s not a corner back. Its very difficult to play in the full back line, it’s so different to half back line. I would rather Lee either in the middle third where he can do serious damage. Con needs marking by an experienced campaigner when he is inside, Barrett would be my choice.

    Isn’t it brilliant to have an All Ireland to look forward to. But there is so much work to do on kickouts, especially or own. When we have gone long in games we have been decimated, and Dublin will try and squeeze the life out of us.

    Our tackling and pressure game is excellent, but Dublin don’t cough up easy ball.

    I hope James has a few cards up his sleeve, because we’ll need them all! But for some odd reason, I think we can do it. What a Christmas present that would be

  50. Lee still managed to leave Quinlivan scoreless.
    Yes a few dodgy moments but done his job.
    I doubt Quinlivan played many games without scoring.

  51. tonyK – Harrison, Boyle and O’Donoghue were on the pitch last year against Dublin when they scored 3 goals against us.

  52. Lee Keegan is not a good defender………….. Just to pick up on that point, Lee Keegan was the ONLY defender in Ireland that could put the shackles on, what many people consider to be the best forward of his generation Diarmuid Connolly. He did this numerous times. In fact Lee Keegan was so good at this that the whole of Dublin started a smear campaign to get Lee sent off in an All Ireland final. Lee Keegan put the best forward in Ulster Sean Cavanagh in his pocket in a semi final, so much so that poor aul Seanie lashed out at the end of the game and got sent off. When Lee got finished with Dermo he also did a job on Dublin’s most influential forward Ciaran Kilkenny in 2017. Lee has marked lads about a foot taller than him like quinlivan out of it. He tore Enda Smith to shreds in the season he was playing the football of his life. I could go on. He may be past his peak but talk of dropping him is absolutely bonkers. Quinliven scored nothing last week either guys, Keegan also had the most turn overs of any player against Galway. He’s not doing as bad as people think. Whatever small chance we have of beating Dublin will drop to zero if Keegan is not on the pitch.

  53. Niall, I don’t have the literary skills of some on here, but my main point on Keegan was to keep him out of the full back line. I also said, “As a disrupter and attacking half back, there are few better players.” At no point did I suggest we drop him, nor would I.
    I do agree that my opening statement is more suited to daily star.

  54. Lads and ladies, I think the talk on Lee needs to be cooled a bit. We need perspective. No more than the other veterans within Mayo, he is another year older with lots of miles on the clock.

    Secondly a lot of fans have forgotten about the damage Tyrone did to him in the 2018 league game. He was out for months that year and just has not carried that same form on since after. That’s not even taking into account the hip surgery’s he had after our all Ireland battles.

    But, that does not give people the Right to have an open shot at one of the best half backs of our time. When Dublin ran riot with goals last year in the semi final who was the goal scorer for mayo who seemingly popped up out of nowhere and continued to take the fight to them despite the game being out of reach?

    Who goaled in 2017 in the last 10 mins given the country a genuine belief that this was finally
    it?

    Who put Connelly on his arse in 2015 and since added a host of other forwards in the game into his back pocket?

    Keegan is an absolute warrior when the heat is on and the least we can do is stuff the negatives and get behind him and the county in 2 weeks time.

    Mark my words: He will lift it for the final. There’s unfinished business and I’m sure he won’t want rte to have to air more montages of him and other players in despair after the finals for future tv coverage.

    There’s a big game coming from Keegan this year and what better way to do it than in the final.

    It’s coming.

  55. TonyK I agree with you that the full back line is not his best position. However I think it’s the only way to get him into the team this year. He’s not going to get a 5 or 7 spot ahead of McLaughlin or Durcan. He can play at 6 but again it’s not his best position and anyways we need our centre back to sit to let the boys either side attack. Coen is well suited to this. I don’t want to see keegan on con o’callaghan, he’s too slow, barret too. It’s Durcan or maybe even let Oisin Mullen try to prove himself. He’s marked Clifford before. I still think keegan can quiet Kilkenny if given that task and and i wouldn’t bet against him lighting up croker one more time.

  56. Oh what utter joy for the Dubs if Lee wasn’t playing Saturday week. Lee will play the full 70+ minutes. He’s only 31, so plenty in the tank yet! He was having such an unreal match prior to that joke of a black card in 2016. That goal he scored prior to that was out of this world. Then the goal in 2017, wow, and the absolute stonewall penalty after that in the same match that wasn’t given. Even both commentators agreed it was a peno! That obviously would have won Mayo the All Ireland if it was justly given. This was all Lee, folks. He’s a game-changer for us. We all agree the full back line isn’t his natural position but we just have to hope that it all comes together for him in the final. I’d be surprised if he hasn’t learned from his experience of marking Con O’Callaghan in last year’s semi. There’s absolutely no one on the bench who’d do a better job though, so lets hope Lee plays to his best. If he does, Con is in for a tough evening and you can bet he won’t be smiling walking on to the pitch to meet Lee (if that’s who Lee actually picks up).

    The matchups will be interesting. I’d be thinking Chris will pick up Dean Rock… seems like an obvious match. It’s very noticeable that Rock likes to throw his weight around (i.e. after taking free kicks) but thankfully he won’t get far in that respect with any of the Mayo backs. But we need to keep cool heads and no react with a strike or pull-down. Paddy could actually pick up Con O’Callaghan. This seems a no-brainer to me given Con’s ridiculous pace and line-breaking ability due to his strength. Paddy will match him on all these fronts. Lee might pick up Ciaran Kilkenny, especially as Ciaran likes to roam a little outfield which would suit Lee. These would be my main match-ups. Coen on Fenton? Seems a good fit to me, but then who hold the centre half back position for us. Diarmuid might be a better fit for Fenton.

  57. Maybe I’m being rash but if it were me, I would give Mullen and McLaughlin Thhe match ups with CON ó C and Kilkenny. They have no baggage and both in contention for young player of year and all stars.
    As Spectre pointed out you quieten one dub and another raises its head. Fenton?? Neither of our midfielders capable of limiting his influence, so we must play a sweeper. Kev McL the man.
    But the naievity of our defending. Anyone watching the match a second time, just look at Brian fox goal
    The game will be a great experience for the new boys…. I think by the end of it we will want to see more of them getting opportunities and second div of league is the ideal platform….

  58. Scully. Bugler. 2 players that run all day and create chances and link play. You see guys we got to get ALL matchups right and come out on top in most of them to win. Tall order. But we are attacking better than I can ever remember before so were gonna pose a threat to them

  59. Everyone is on about how we deal with Dublin’s attack and rightly so but this is the first time in awhile where our forward will ask serious questions of that Dublin defence. None of the Dublin full back line have the pace to to deal with Conroy. He could cause serious damage if we get the ball to him. We haven’t had a forward with that much pace in a long time. I’d say Byrne will mark him. Fitzsimmons probably take Cillian. Cillian is playing the role Andy played by constantly moving left and right. If Aiden plays FF, then Dublin will probably start Philly although they may try Cooper for the start to see what Mayo do. If Aiden is FF they will also drop back someone to screen in front.

  60. The dubs have successfully screened out AOS in the past but it has taken 2 men which gives us scope and yes we have a lively forward line capable of giving the dubs something about, though goals are not easy come by.
    Our problems are from midfield back.. A lack of hard physicality being my concern.

  61. I was harsh on Lee Keegan in an earlier post. I was disappointed when he let his man in for a shot on goals that Clarke saved. He just stood up after Quinlivan got inside. I’m afraid that incident influenced my view of his performance for the rest of the match.
    However, when I watched the match back again I began to realise he did an awful lot of good things too including the black card! He was noticeably reluctant to venture into the Tipp half and I felt he would have loved to have a go. He was certainly below his usual very high standard but he was still ok and I reckon he will do a job on some Dublin forward on the big day.

  62. It might be a different conversation if we’d someone better to replace Lee. But we don’t.

  63. I see Mayo GAA are trying to raise funds for the team prior to the final. Can’t imagine the dubs have to do it. Be worth making a donation if anyone has it to spare. The link is up on the Mayo GAA website. Having an all Ireland final to look forward to certainly help pass the long dark evenings.

  64. Agreed Niall. It’s a difficult time of year to be asking folks for money but if people were willing to give some of what they would spend on tickets and travel to a final, and for it to go directly to the team it can only help.

  65. Hello, The above is a Podcast from the Irish Examiner. Opens with analysis of Dublin and then moves to Tipp V Mayo and finally Dublin v Mayo. Very informative.

  66. Supermac – great to see someone knows what they are talking about. Only for COC, i would have given Kevin Mcloughin man of match. Cannot believe he hardly registered any votes!.

    I would advise people in doubt to re-watch the match. His forward kick passing was sublime. The influence of this on the team is huge. There is a massive difference in sending in a high haymaker to sending in a targeted long ball at speed to your teammate. Means our inside line are buzzing every time he is in possession in anticipation of receiving good ball that disadvantages the defender. Other thing it does is it makes the job of ball carriers(ruane, e. Mcloughin, durcan, RoD) driving through easier as defenders must try and cope with the variation of our attacks – thus leaving more space than if we were just one dimensional.

    And one last word on this – Kieran Mcdonald must be pleased.

  67. Agree McLoughlin was superb – the most underrated footballer I know of. He must be a joy to play alongside.

  68. I wonder if Mayo can be still there, even driving forward and Dublin wobble slightly will the absence of Jack McCaffrey become a problem for the Dubs. He was a savage good player to steady and drive the Dubs but I suppose Kilkenny and Fenton are still there but its definately a bonus for Mayo that the good doctor wont be on the pitch.

  69. @chesneychet. Dublin lost Jack to a severe injury after only minutes played in one of our encounters and still managed without him. I agree, they are a better team with him but they just swap in another high caliber player and plough ahead..

  70. You are probably right revellino and its difficult to put them under enough pressure that Jack has to drive them forward but there is no doubt if enough pressure could be applied they would prefer him to be on pitch.

  71. Make no mistake about it, if it wasn’t for Jack McCaffrey Kerry would 100% have been All Ireland Champs in 2019. Watch those two games back (Draw and Replay). He was unbelievable. Quite simply the difference between the two teams.

  72. I suppose when you think about it, the last decent opposition Dublin have played would have to be Kerry. That must be all of 15 months ago. Kerry took them to the replay and really left the first match behind them.
    Kerry were decent last year but by no means world beaters.
    Are we building Dublin up to be even better than they actually are ?
    Their record precedes them, but when I think back, there are 2 or 3 of those 5 in a row that they were lucky enough to have won.

    We need to ask them some serious questions on the 19th and see if we see a few cracks appearing.

    I have a gut feeling that Dublin would rather be facing any other County in the final other than us.

    Our encounter last year can be ignored. We were probably relying on a few pairs of older legs and dealing with injuries. We are coming with different artillery this year.

  73. Certainly at the moment with Dublin there’s a bit of the Ronnie O’Sullivan effect. Most teams that come up against Dublin are beaten before the match even starts. That won’t happen to us, we won’t be intimidated like that. But unfortunately we still might not be good enough to win.

  74. That’s true , Mayo still may not be good enough but in the meantime we can enjoy the possibility that Dublin have an off day. We don’t have to worry about someone coming to our castle and taking our crown.

  75. Ara ya could debate it all day, but let’s be honest, it will take something extraordinary to beat that Dublin team. Something crazy needs to happen, a red card or couple of blacks for the Dubs would help, an injury to Fenton (for all the Dubs looking in here, i am not proposing to deliberately injure Fenton) but injuries happen, and if he had to come off early it would help or cause. Fenton is the G.O.A.T at midfield, if this was professional he’d be worth 200 million id say, Messi-esque.

    My big fear is that Dublin are due to really trim someone in a final, I don’t think the same nerves will be there for either team due to no crowd. It will help us a lot, but will also help them. It kinda feels like a free hit for us, there’s no expectation at all. Don’t buy into this ‘tested’ craic, once they see the green and red lining out beside them their claws will be out. Same for us, familiarity breeds contempt.

    We don’t fear them, but that doesn’t mean we can beat them. Had we Harrison and Jason fit I think we would have a better chance, Doc is sorely missed imo. All that said, its been an unreal year for us, it really is bonus territory! We’re the envy of 30 Counties, as everyone wants to be in the AI final. I genuinely feel the best of Horan 2.0 is yet to come, we’re building nicely. 9/2 is the biggest we’ve ever been facing Dublin, no one is giving us a hope. Hopefully there’s one last crazy twist left in 2020.

  76. Swap Lee with one of the current half back line – it is dumb to imprision our finest of all time in the corner – let him loose and he will cause untold damage to the Dubs – he is not like every other player – the guy is unique.

  77. GBX1 You are completely right in your judgement of the mayo subs that came in, o hora rash and flynn has no pace, let’s not mention the national league disasters,. There has to be better players in those positions in the county.

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