Cillian tops the scoring charts again


Photo: The 42

The GAA announced a bit earlier on that Cillian O’Connor is the 2015 Golden Boot award winner, with his 3-34 in this year’s championship seeing him pip Fermanagh’s Seán Quigley, who racked up 2-36 over the course of the summer, by a single point. Bernard Brogan finished third on 6-21.

The Dublin forward’s haul is, arguably, the most impressive of the three, in that all but a single point of his tally came from open play. In contrast, Cillian got 1-29 of his total from placed balls, though several of those frees were difficult long-range ones and the goal was of course the penalty late against Dublin so that wasn’t exactly a gimme either.

This is the third year in a row that Cillian has finished as the top scorer in the championship, which is a fairly amazing achievement and one that underlines his status as the best placekicker in the business at the minute. Congrats to Cillian and also to Lee Keegan and Aidan O’Shea who were today both named in the GAA’s Football Team of the Championship.

104 thoughts on “Cillian tops the scoring charts again

  1. Didn’t realise he’s topped it three years running. Well done Cillian. Fairly impressive from Brogan you would have to say!

  2. Will done that’s some going love to see him get an all star but won’t. D o c for ypofty on a different note would Kerry receive a hammering if was not raining conditions where terrible just wondering

  3. I thought so too but if you have a look at the linked piece on the GAA’s website you’ll see they discovered that they’d missed a point Cillian should have been credited for so he won by one.

  4. Yeah WJ, I remember noticing that a while ago. They had credited Cillian with only 8 points against Galway rather than 9 points. So thats where the extra point came from, as far as I know. Anyone who bet on him to be top scorer will be happy with the extra point added on anyway. Congrats to him!

  5. Congrats to Cillian. Unbelievable consistency.
    Well done to Lee and Aidan too.

    On a side note Jim McGuinness is a guest on Off the Ball at eight this evening. It’ll be interesting to hear his views on us.

  6. Well done Cillian we are lucky to have such a top marquee forward and that’s exactly what he is and his brother is no slouch and with Aidan, Evan Regan Fionnan Duffy and maybe a rejuvenated Adam Gallager operating up front there could be good times ahead yet provided of course we sort out our defence

  7. He’s some talent! I may have sent the GAA and email back in July when they gave him a point less for his Galway tally – glad they finally noticed!

    Seriously though we’re blessed to have him, not pacey like his younger brother but so talented, amazing temperament and by a distance the best free taker in Ireland. Mayo’s Padraig Joyce. As long as he’s fit we’ve got a chance.

  8. Congratulations to Cillian, 3 in a row is some achievement.I fear we will never see his equal again. Anybody who scores over 40 points in a Championship are exceptional and contribute to the game and the county, So well done to them all. Cillian is far more than a consistent scoring machine. He is a team player, a warrior, intelligent on and off the ball, and he is a leader. Our glass is always half full when ever he lines out. Congratulations to Aidan and Lee who had a great year. Tom and SOS were unlucky to loose out on this occation I believe. Finally thanks WJ for all your hard work and dedication to the cause. You would be my first choice for an All Star if I were picking them.

  9. One day, all records will be his.

    The 2 O’Connors know where the goal posts are. Are there not a few more O’Connor brothers? Any more of them fit to make the County team? We could do with 5 or 6 of them up front. Imagine the scoring we would do then. Christ.

  10. Well done COC. Great display of free taking. Keegan is the best half back in the country and the best half back ever to play football for mayo that I’ve seen 89 onwards so he is a cert. AOS may not get one. Dunno. Parsons shud be in with a great shot but I doubt he will get one either.

  11. Ruari O’Connor is older than Cillian and is a real good defender, We have a lot of good defenders and I am looking forward to seeing more of Brendan Harrison, Shane McHale, Hall, Coen, Durcan, Gavin, and that young Kenny guy from Aghamore

  12. Cillian O’Connor a class act,didn’t make Dara O’Sheas team of the year which is a bit strange. His brother a revelation this year also.

  13. It must be obvious by now to all that it’s not just forwards we need but certain types of forwards. As far as I can see you need some leggy ones and some butty ones, some big ones and good small ones. The OConnors fit in there grand and so does AOS. So we only need a few more. However most of all these chaps need to suit and compliment each other..They need to know each other’s forms and
    inclinations. They need to play mostly where their number indicates or else this team will be short of scores esp on big occasions.

    We know well how to get so far but what a feat it is to lose only once in three C’Ship years….fair play to the Dubs. And they are there to be toppled and they know themselve this and will face all challengers with gusto down the line. I appreciate their excellence from the point of view that it has thrown down the gauntlet to all the pretenders including ourselves and leaves no doubt as to what standard one must reach and maintain to be up there. And of course if you’re up there you have a chance of nicking one sometime.

    So, we say to COC congrats and to the brilliant Dubs well done, and thanks for showing us how to do it…..and by the way, we have you by the tail!

  14. Unreal how under rated Cillian is in the media. Still great place to be under the radar. We really do have the players to win this in 2016. Lets hope we can get it together.

  15. He does not get a lot of credit which is unfair all stars are unpredictable and hopefully cillian and p Andrews get in on that team put who could you take

  16. Not really into these individual awards it’s how the team as a unit perform. However Donnacha Walsh is one of the most overrated players in recent years how was Diarmuaid O Connor overlooked outstanding in all his Croke Park appearances in 2015. Any news on Cathal Carolan s recovery? He would be a welcome addition to 2016 panel

  17. It’s completely disrespectful that the 6 players who didn’t make the 26 for the semi final had to fend for themselves in Dublin and were not allowed travel on team bus. Lads that had trained as hard as the 26 all year.

  18. I’m open to correction but between FBD,NFL and championship Diarmuid O Connor only scored 0-9. He played every game for DCU on route to their sigerson cup success in the spring without scoring.

    He’s a very talented footballer and had a good championship but I don’t think scoring is one of his strong points.

  19. If Cillian had been allowed play his natural game as a forward I’m sure his record would be a lot more impressive. As it was he only scored 2 = 5 from play which is way short of his capability. It’s down to our management to get the best from each player and having Cillian playing so far from goal at times is not doing that.
    I can see Diarmuid O’C developing into a Brian Dooher type player, able to cover ground at a rate of knots and take scores at the same time.
    Incidentally re the All Ireland final I cannot understand why Gooch followed McMahon all over the field last Sunday. He should, as one of Kerry’s marque forwards, have stayed near goal and let somebody else follow McMahon, i.e. if McMahon was willing to leave him alone in the danger zone. He totally played into Dublin’s hands.

  20. This is an amazing achievement by Cillian to add to his two young player of the year awards. It goes without saying he’d swap the lot for one celtic cross.

  21. Fair play to Cillian, amazing how the facts can tell us how good someone is but perception is another thing. I’m referring to viewers outside of the county with that now more than inside

    Anyway, anyone have any additional information on the letter? Speculation even?

  22. I read that to Done Deal.

    How the hell could the County Board officers and management have allowed players that had trained hard to be treated like that.

    A lot of very angry people right now.

  23. Cait, can you translate that? I honestly have no idea what you just said!

    Superb achievement by Cillian again and I love PJMcManus’ comment above: “Our glass is always half full when ever he lines out.”

    I’ve felt for a while that Ruaidhri O’C should be on board too, but then, our current half back line isn’t too bad in fairness. Get out to MacHale Park and watch him and his brothers on Sunday v Ballina!

  24. AndyD I can answer your question. This was a huge surprise to me also. Gooch is one of the best in the business. This was a mistake on the sideline by Fitz. A part of the blitz we were all expecting and encouraged to believe by conventional wisdom. The same school which told us he is a tactical genius. Kerry are not short of trackers or hard men. Donaghy should have come on after 20 minutes. The manager wasn’t managing the recourses at his disposal IMO.

  25. D Gavin Breaffy Aidan. Johnny Leonard had great year also for the juniors. But the list of defenders is endless.

  26. MO2015, I don’t know about that! Diarmuid scored two beauts over the games v Dublin, one an outside of the boot slicer!
    The modern half forward is a cross breed between a mobile midfielder, a half back, a long distance runner and a rugby winger! Diarmuid ticks all those boxes. He’s a younger version of Donnacha Walsh for Kerry, and is a hugely underrated player that gels defense and attack while also tracking a deep running half back. If I was Mayo manager I would be building the team around Harrison, Coen, Durkin, Keegan, Keane, O’Sheas, O’Connors and Regan. The future is bright.
    Bear in mind next year we will be on the perceived easier side of the draw where, all things going well, we will face a Northern team in a semi-final. Kerrys aura is well and truly scrapped now and while they still have good players they are not to be feared by us. Dublin will not have the same intensity or hunger so we should be still in with a fairly good shout.

  27. MayoPiggy, I had been wondering the same myself. It would appear that the first Fermanagh goal against Dublin has been officially classed as a Dublin own goal and not a goal for Sean Quigley. Therefore Cillian is the championship’s top scorer again this year. Well done him!

    Cillian O’Connor is a class act and I am astonished at how little credit he has been given in the national media over his five years as an inter-county player. Hopefully the Celtic cross will be added to his haul of honours in 2016!.

  28. So the panel is 32 but the 6 were left to their own devices pre and post match?
    What is the norm with match days? All 32 report in together?
    One thing I found curious. The squad it was widely reported only met up once between the drawn match and the replay. If you had drawn a club championship match on Sunday and had the replay on Saturday would you be happy with only meeting up on Wednesday?
    Surely they should have had a recovery pool session on Tuesday and get all the physios working on them to loosen them out. Then Tuesday night video analysis of what needs correcting for the replay. Then Wednesday night a light practice run through of what was went through on Tuesday night.
    I can’t imagine they felt best prepared having only had one squad meetup on the Wednesday night. How do you get the game plan for Saturday embedded? It was pretty much a repeat of drawn game tactics but you surely have refinements to make such as the kickpassing to Aidan. The operation of the sweeper.

  29. Pebblesmeller, I’m not convinced that Dublin will not have the same intensity or hunger as you say. With three All-Irelands in five years, there has to be something else to aim for, and the two-in-a-row is the obvious one. Judging from what we saw out there on Sunday it doesn’t look to me like those lads will be willing to sit back next yea; particularly with such competition within the panel. Plenty of them yet who will want a slice of the action.

    Trying hard to refrain from posting anything about our current senior setup based on hearsay but it is becoming increasingly hard. Even reading the papers is rage-inducing, let alone the stuff that every Tom, Dick and Harriet is talking about on the street corners.

    This team – and every Mayo team – deserves the most professional setup that can possibly be put in place for them, and every support that can be given to them, and to be treated with respect. It’s becoming ever clearer that we are lacking in that regard. There is little to be gained from such talk and rumourmongering in the middle of the season when the focus should be on winning games; there is every merit in focusing on it now.

  30. Great achievement again by Cillian, in a year in which he was far from injury free.

    Re Ruari O’Connor (PJ McManus), I say bring him on. We need real defenders in the full back line. All defenders, like the Dubs, should be going to war, disciplined war, with their opponents.

    For 2016, management should have one simple target – no concession of goals in any game. I feel if this can be achieved a lot can flow from it. The Donegal game demonstrated it can be done, but it needs much more work so that it becomes ingrained.

  31. Absolutely AnneMarie. If we want to win this bloody All Ireland and savour it the hard questions need to be asked now not dodged by the Board. Time for the management to walk quickly and quietly in my view. Stephen Rochford in please.

  32. Agree Anne Marie.
    At the outset I have to say I dont know how good or bad the setup was in the Mayo camp and I don’t know if there are serious problems to be addressed. What I do know for certain is that if there are issues to be sorted out NOW is the time. Difficult conversations may have to be had. Unpleasant truths may have to be faced. This is always a painful exercise but a necessary one before progress can be made.
    The time has now come when the leaders (managers, captain, co. Board) must deal with the speculation that is rife at present. Otherwise more speculation,more rumours, more innuendo and all kinds of negative stuff will fill the vacuum. And this is not good for Mayo football.
    Cmon lads deal with it!

  33. I thought you usually see the full 32 man panel in the seating area for subs on match day? The subs are ready to go and do the full warmup. The panellists are just in official gear but don’t take to the pitch.

  34. Hello there, Im a Dub looking for some info. Im organsing a trip for myself and a couple of friends.We have picked Dubs v Mayo next feb as the match to go to.(we have a very limited choice of away trips). Looking for info on where to stay. just this morning in work I was told not to stay in castlebar as a bit rough(a Galway man). Now I would have thought Castlebar is the spot for a bit of buzz after Saturday evening football?? would like to go for a few pints after match rather than travel to Westport .Any advice would be welcome. Thanks and see ya next year

  35. I heard a rumour that Jim McGuiness is being linked to the Mayo Job. Ger Bohan…the man that has the instead scoop on everything, is this true?

  36. Just after reading Darragh O Se’s article in the Times, “No one’s grumbling in Kerry”. He mustn’t be out and about much since the final because if he was he would not have used that headline.

    According to my very good Kerry friend, nothing could be further from the truth, as management and not the players, are been slated for the teams performance. Kerry pride themselves on being the best in the business when it comes to finals, and winning them is usually a given, this year was meant to be no different. After all they were the holders, had the best players and of course in Eamonn Fitzmaurice the shrewdest manager in the business, how could they loose – or so a lot of Kerry people thought

    If a lot of Kerry people are thinking like this, then surely we Mayo supporters are entitled to ask a few questions, regarding our Management’s showing against Dublin, especially in the replay. As Anne Marie rightly put it, ” our players deserve the most professional setup possible” I question if that was the case? Rather than trying to wash over the whole thing and move on, the County Board should be looking into all areas where there were any shortcomings and see what improvements can be made for next year. It might be no harm either to inviting some input from the more senior players in this regard.

    2016 will be no easier, Kerry will be chomping at the bit to avenge this loss, Dublin will be trying for back to back wins, which hasn’t happened since Kerry in 2006/7 and who knows what other teams might come out of the woodwork in the meantime. Yes it we’re serious about next year, then cards need to be put on the table, and the Co Board and Management need a no-holes-barred meeting, and the sooner the better.

  37. JP i think the issue is that the panelists who are not named have to travel separately. Personally I see no problem with this but some have taken issue with it.
    I think from a focus viewpoint that it is better if disgruntled panelists do not travel but i can see how people see this as harsh

  38. ok i am going to be blunt here.

    I think Kerry are muck and they robbed us blind last year and were lucky to make the final this year , they are not in the top 2 in this country this year. The top 2 teams played out a drawn semi-final imo.

    John Omahony famously told his players in 98 that they had the opportunity of a lifetime but only in the lifetime of the opportunity.

    The lifetime of Mayos opportunity , our window to win Sam might now be drawing to close.

    Forget about letters to the county board and such shite. the players and managers need to get into a room , lock the doors and don’t leave until they have sorted all this shite out. They deserve it for all the work they have put in.

    Next year is a pivotal year in Mayo football. A historic 6 in a row would be on the cards and a kind draw keeps this years finalists away from the Connacht champions should they both win their provinces.

    An all ireland winning minor team is maturing to U21 and a conacht champion minor team follows them the next year.

    if this crop took honours they would be the back bone of a senior team for years , just liek the lads of 2006.

    For Gods Sake , for the players sakes , for the fans sakes and for the county’s sake , lets not fuck this up!!!

  39. I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but if anyone here thinks that our executive has the gumption or professionalism to lure Jim McGuinness from Celtic then I’ve a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. If you dispatched them to Ulster to hire a McGuinness, they’d land home with Martin.

  40. I doubt they would be disgruntled though the other lads. The 26 man match day squad was fairly settled throughout the year. If it is standard they travel separately then no issue as you state.
    @ outta the Blue, the Gateway in Swinford is usually reasonable priced and great food and service. Mellets bar in Swinford run a bus usually to games but not sure about that game in Castlebar. Regardless that is a good pub for football talk pre and post match.
    Castlebar is grand I wouldn’t really think rough. If you are driving yourself you are only 20 minutes on the motorway, if you get down early you can park near the cinema near the pitch.

  41. Well I know for a fact that it was only the 26 players that travelled on the bus to games but this was also in place under james horan.

  42. TO OUTTA THE BLUE Castlebar might not be tourist town, it isn’t the most picturesque town in Ireland but to describe it as rough is quite harsh. It is fine for a night in my book. That said there are not very many places to stay there and on the night of the MO v DUB league match in spring, a Dubs fan (who was travelling alone and reliant on public transport) that I know baulked at some of the rates he was being asked for accomodation in Castelbar and he decided to follow the Dublin hurlers who were also playing away that day instead. Therefore when the fixtures are officially confirmed shop around and book early.

    There are plenty of bars around the down that will serve you beer afterwards (you only need one)although the owner of the establishment where I had dinner in Castlebar after the corresponding NFL fixture this spring did tell me that many people from Castlebar head to Westport on Saturday night for revelry anyway, which is a bit of a pity.

  43. Story was that their was no accommodation for them the Saturday night of the drawn game. Apparently as they didn’t look for it no one bothered to book it for them.

  44. For what it is worth Kerry are still right up there as contenders. To think otherwise would be naive.
    – Colm Cooper tracking Philly McMahon!!
    – Donaghy benched for most the game
    – JOD and Geaney taken off just when Donaghy had brought his usual disruption. Likely JOD would have been on the end of Donaghys pass rather than Killian young if not taken off.
    – Wet weather made the ability to kick from distance more difficult and Kerry are specialists in it
    They have plenty of mature guys to come in in the backs and upfront. Nothing too wrong with Mark Griffin, Alan ODonoghue and Conor Cox. They’ll have some razor sharp 21 year olds in two years.

  45. As I recall it GAA Congress decided a few? years ago to reduce playing parties to 26 as an economy measure. However few training panels are less than 30 and some a few above that figure so it seems a bit extreme to totally disregard those outside the 26 on matchdays. They may be “disgruntled” at not being in the chosen 26 but are they expected to have overcome the disgruntlement and turn up again for training a couple of days later? I’m surprised that the GPA are tolerating this set up but they seem to have lost their teeth since they got desks in Croke Park. However as they were not in the matchday panel I see no reason why they would need to be with the team overnight before the match.

  46. TG I don’t claim to know everything! Haven’t heard any serious talk of Jim McGuinness and even if I did as said above he is a Celtic man now and ain’t gonna be doing any GAA training any time soon even if he could work with our Board which is doubtful

  47. JP you are right in that Kerry are always contenders , as good as Dublin are it was a Killian Young eff up that decided the game.

    but in reality i think for them to have come out of two finals with one Sam is an utter travesty when mayo were better than them both years. Perhaps “muck” was harsh but it would boil your blood !

    We were ridden rock solid last year and this year we matched the dubs better than Kerry did in my opinion.

  48. Jim McGuinness is now one of the first team coaches at Celtic, a professional (and I would imagine highly paid) role. People thinking he will come over and manage us is disillusionment of the highest order.
    I don’t think any of us really know whats going on inside the camp. H and C deserve another shot in my opinion and I don’t see any better options out there free. Mistakes were made. It is clear you need a sweeper to win an All Ireland and more time is needed to perfect this system.

  49. Outta the blue …harlequin hotel and breaffy house seemed to be the places that dubs we met were staying is right..not the prettiest of towns compared to westport but rough is a bit extreme ..

  50. Castlebar is not really rough but is lacking in nightlife. Problem is everyone heads on the shuttle buses to Westport. Castlebar does not a proper nightclub for the 25 and over age group. Id say there will be good craic and crowd around that night though as the Dubs usually bring a big crowd to Castlebar.

  51. Cillian the championship leading scorer the years in a row, that’s some going! To those who have correctly pointed out that most of Cillians scores came from placed balls, true but Cillians was out injured most of the early part of the year. His first start came only in Salthill. I think he was only coming into his best form V Dublin so here’s hoping for a fully fit COC for all of next year! Some scoring by Brogan tough I got he gets player of the year, well merited!

  52. Anne Marie what I ment was I would to see o Connor get ahead Conor McManus in the all star s top scorer 3 year s in a row Keegan will find it hard against James mc

  53. Pebbles no doubt D O Connor ticks those boxes and is a similar player to D Walsh of Kerry but I think a few Mayo supporters are getting carried away with his two points against Dublin thinking he’s a good scoring forward when the season stats underage or college level prove different. Take Kilkenny of Dublin for example from the half forward position he must have scored around 0-20 in championship this summer.

    As for Kerry they a history of bouncing back after a disappointing results and I can imagine under Jack O Connor they will be putting a big effort in U21 the next few years. A smug Jim Gavin would love nothing more than matching Billy Morgans record of winning back to back All Irelands.

  54. Lean Times, Galway was the first match of the year! This is only about championship. I don’t think BB should be near POTY myself, Jack Mc, KK, ROC, Philly Mc, Bryan Fenton would all be ahead of him imo

    cait you’ve some agenda against poor aul McManus, he was definitely better than Cillian all year overall- lets be honest. He’s a tremendous footballer, his showing in the Ulster final was the performance of the year for me

    I’d be surprised if Cillian appears even in the nominee list, if I’m really honest. I imagine 6 guys get nominated for the inside line- Brogan, McManus, O’Shea, JOD are certainties with two of Quigley, McCurry and Andrews most likely making up the other 2. Michael Murphy will prob be in the HF line to accommodate him

    That’s nothing against COC who is an absolute vital player for us. And going with the overall theme of the thread I’d like to echo the congratulations for him for this achievement yet again. At this rate I don’t think I’d swap him for any other free taker in the land

  55. The thing is, this year we had three players who were essentially fulfilling very similar roles, Kevin Mc, Jason Doc and Diarmuid. What we gained from Diarmuid we lost in terms of Kevin Mcs and Jason Docs performances. We probably should have sacrificed one of these players to include an extra scoring forward alongside Cillian and Aido. We could have even started Kevin Mc in the half-back line instead of Donie Vaughan for the replay against Dublin, as we did last year when Lee Keegan got sent off in the drawn game against Kerry. This would have allowed us to start one of Alan Freeman, Alan Dillon, Mickey Sweeney, Mark Ronaldson or even Evan Regan in the full-forward line. This could have caused Dublin some more problems.

    For next year, it would be great to see us try Keith Higgins in a sweeper role like Dublin did with Cian O’Sullivan this year. He would be ideal in this position sweeping around our half-back and full-back lines. What Dublin did as well was use Denis Bastic as a covering player in the centre-half back position. Again we could easily use Barry Moran or Seamus O’Shea in this role. It means that your covering both high and low balls into your defence.

    Paul Flynn and Diarmuid Connelly were then allowed to drift out towards the middle of the field and they always kept at least three of their scoring forwards close to the opposition’s goal. They also had players to bring off the bench to fulfill the same roles like Kevin McMenamin and Alan Brogan. A few teaks for us, here and there could make all the difference next year.

    You could say that it was the league game in Castlebar when Dublin started their season, it was amazing that they maintained that momentum until the All-Ireland final. They made very good use of their extended panel. I think there was a stat mentioned lately that Kevin Mc has started pretty much every game for us the last no. of years apart from the last round of the league last year against Derry in Castlebar. Keeping the players fresh next year will be key for us.

  56. C McManus has not been top scorer 3 years in row I have paddy Andrews who had a great year ahead he may be good but I have brogan ahead of at the moment nothing against him

  57. It’d be some going to be top scorer three years in a row when your team only makes the quarters in each of those years, and you have much better relative opposition in your province than any other in fairness!

    5 of the teams Monaghan played in the Ulster Champ in the last two seasons have been AI quarter finalists since 2013

    While the Ulster Championship is overrated by many there’s still far less gimme matches than the other provinces to be fair. there’s no real whipping boys where you can ratchet up a cricket score against them. Even Antrim gave Monaghan a decent game in 2013 iirc

  58. So would it be fair to say HopeSprigsEternal. that Mayo should just try and copy how Dublin play but do it better? cause that’s what Kerry did in the 70’s when Kevin Heffernan transformed the way the game was played. and that is a fact. if Mayo can’t come up with there own idea’s on how to improve the fans will not be happy. every team should have there own style. the one thing I will admit is please do not try and copy how Donegal or Tyrone play as it is not easy on the eye! Mayo for me play an attractive style already, it just seemed to break down when they got up to their own half forward line. to much dilly dallying with the ball instead of being decisive and quick. it looked like they were looking to see were it could go wrong rather then trusting their own natural ability. add in some of the poor use of the sweeper system they tried to use and there was always going to be goal’s leaked. at least these are clear weakness’es that they can improve upon. rather then saying ” well we are playing well enough” type of thing. here is just an idea if it was say voted for that the big 4 are Mayo, Dublin, Kerry, and Tyrone. maybe those teams should play say two teams each that are not getting enough Championship games and even if those teams are beaten it would not mean they are out. but on the other hand if any of the top 4 were it would mean they would be into the back door. just an idea so the weaker teams would get to play the top 4 and not fear being gone after 2 games. or how else to we bridge the divide. if there is one.

  59. Regarding next year for us, the no-brainer for me is Keith Higgins to play sweeper, pure and simple. The dogs in the street know he is made for the role.
    Just as importantly, he needs a new challenge and needs a change from the corner. He cut a very forlorn figure after the semi-final loss, and I just can’t see him facing yet another year battling at no.4. He’s been absolutely outstanding for us there, but he will bring far more to the team in the sweeper role. He can read the game like no other Mayo player and will influence proceedings from the more central position for longer periods of the match. It will also allow him to break more if he is taken away from specific man-marking duties and he will be most lethal pouncing from there. We all know this!! And yes it is something we must perfect – especially the cover that will be needed when forward surges are made.

    I’m delighted for Cillian. I said after the ’13 season, he needs to made Mayo captain immediately. No disrespect to Keith, but every time I see Cillian he’s got captain written all over him – both on and off the pitch. He will thrive with the responsibility, mark my words.

  60. Ciaran, If you read my previous post.again, I said Cillians first start was in Salthill, due to injury. I’m well aware that this is about championship, the match versus Galway was Mayo’s and Cillians first match of the championship. We do not at the moment compete with Galway in the league as they are a division 2 outfit. I think you will find what I written factual. As for BBs crediantails for POTY, it’s just a matter of opinion!

  61. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful player in Cillian. The pressure he was under for that penalty was immense and he absolutely buried it. I was never as proud to be from Mayo I was that day leaving Croke park. A memory that will last a lifetime for me. We really are so lucky to have such a wonderful bunch of footballers representing our county. We really should be celebrating this period, its not all doom and gloom. We are turning that rusty old screw slowly but surely.

  62. Ok I get you now, thought you meant his tally would look more impressive if he had played in all of the league, which wouldn’t have made a difference ultimately to this particular award

    You make a fair point overall now I understand it

  63. @ stan, Yeah I suppose there is a tendency to try to replicate the All-Ireland winning team’s template. Dublin’s template is one to be admired. Teams do have to play to their own strengths and minimize their weaknesses. We seen that the best football we played this year was in the last 15 minutes of the Dublin drawn game and in the Sligo match. We need to incorporate more of this style of play into our gameplan. We didn’t get the balance right this year. We seen the gaping holes that were in our defence even going back to the Galway and Sligo games, if we don’t fix these problems then our long wait will continue. Having more natural scorers up front will be key.

    I see that the Dublin domination of the GAA stories are hitting the press again. According to the Irish Times : (Dublin can dominate for years, says Jimmy Keaveney – Jimmy Keaveney has predicted further success for Jim Gavin’s Dublin team, believing they could potentially add four more All-Ireland titles in the remainder of the decade.) Over confidence and complacency is their greatest enemy. We don’t even get a mention. Jimmy reckons Tyrone will be the team to look out for and he thinks that Kerry with their potential retirements won’t be as strong. Leinster is a write off too he thinks. The future is blue according to Jimmy. Its up to us to create our own history and take our chances when they come our way.

  64. COC has to be the most under rated player in the country. Great free taker, superb composure and hugely intelligent with ball in hand. Very few players if any would have the instinct to sell Cluxton a dummy like that in such a tight space for his goal in the replay. He is absolutely superb in these situations. How many times do we ever see him botch an opportunity like that, very few. No other forward with maybe the exception of A Moran would have scored a goal in that situation. He does it all the time for us.

    He would be on my all star team along with keegan, parsons and AOS.

  65. Great contribution from Liberal Role. Agreed,both players K Higgins and COC are aptly suited to sweeper and captain roles. You could nearly put them anywhere and they de do the job.

    Also,spot on from Hope Springs Eternal with analysis of our short comings. That imbalance has been glaringly obvious for a long time in tha Mayo setup. Intermittent dashes up the field by individual players may add to the excitement and spectacle of the game and so too do marvellous individual one man scores.But I think we all know that a more cohesive,inclusive team effort would be more productive and durable! If you call it a Dublin style or other, then so be it. It’s still the way to go and when it’s dressed in green and red can there be any doubt as to whom it belongs.

    We have the players like other top teams and we can replenish and reinforce like them too but we need to employ them properly to reach the ultimate potential of the team. This is managements job which so far hasn’t got it all right. However I like to think of all the great things that have been accomplished over time through the collective contributions of many. We can have the same here….J Horan x C+H + Whoever == Sam to Mayo.

  66. Hope springs eternal,

    Jimmy Kearney doesn’t need to be a genius to figure out that Dublin will dominate, how can they not dominate? Look at the money, population and cosy way they get home field advantage for every game, it’s going to mean the rest live on the crumbs off the dubs table. Leinster has been a washout for the last 12 years and is getting worse, meath and Kildare are beginning to not even bother and there’s nobody in the GAA alarmed about this ! The great Dublin Meath battles are ancient history never to return under this current rigged set up. The more they win the hollower the wins will get, a bit like the ” champions” in scottish soccer. A one horse race and one or two others struggling to grab the crumbs on the “champions” off day which might happen every few years.

    Well done to Cillian, a true class sportsman and competitor. He will win his allireland one day when the stars align.

  67. There is not much point having a top class forward like Cillian if you do not play him in a forward role. How much time did Cillian spend within 40 m of the Dublin goal in the two games we played? Not more than 40% in my opinion [that’s just an opinion, if the games were analysed in detail I would not be surprised if it were a lot less].

  68. I agree with you he was in the half back in the replay against the dubs cill is a forward put Keegan in forwards that would be interesting

  69. @ Dave, Yeah it is a major worry alright the way things are going at the moment in the GAA especially in Leinster. I read an article lately about the demise of Kildare for example, in 2011 Dublin only beat them in the Leinster final by a point with a late contentious free, then they only lost by a point to Donegal after extra-time in an All-Ireland quarter-final that year. This year Kerry beat them by 27 points at the same stage. They are now in Division 3 but on the other hand Dublin and Donegal went in the opposite direction, going from strength to strength.

    There was talk of a round robin competition for the weaker teams in Leinster with the winner then meeting Dublin at the semi-final stage. At the moment this happens in hurling with Kilkenny but what benefit it is really is very hard to see. You’d think they have to get the Dubs out of Croke Park more but we seen this year when Sligo opted to play us at a neutral venue in the Connacht final rather than in Castlebar, it didn’t do them much good either.

    Even if you had the situation where you could have the two top placed teams in the league getting home advantage for the semi-finals, that might help somewhat. So if Mayo finished second and Dublin third in Division 1, the league semi-final would be in Castlebar. In saying that though most managers want to get as much gametime in Croke Park as possible. I’d say after Dublin, the last few years we must have nearly played the most big games there.

    How can the gap between the top and the bottom teams be narrowed. Its interesting to see in the rugby world cup, a few tournaments ago New Zealand beat Japan by over 100 points then last week-end Japan beat South Africa. Its very hard to compare amateur and professional sports but it would be interesting to find out how the world rugby board went about trying to close the gap. Was it all about the money. Did they put more resources into the weaker nations. The next few years will tell us a lot in terms of where the GAA is headed. Will it continue to be crumbs for the smaller counties from the rich mans table.

  70. HopeSpringsEternal, I don’t think one can put too much reliance on one result in the Rugby World Cup. Nor do I think that the World Rugby authorities have done much to advance the game in weaker countries. Certainly the way New Zealand can poach the best young talent from the Pacific Island nations does nothing for them. On the other hand the way lesser talents in the stronger counties can qualify for weaker countries on the basis of three years residency could be said to help those weaker counties. E.g Jared Payne, Nathan White for Ireland. But the way fixtures are structured in the World Cup does nothing for the weaker nations e.g, Japan having to play Scotland [in their first game] three days after their SA game. Predictably they ran out of steam and got hammered.
    Wherever the GAA look for inspiration to even up the balance it’s not to Rugby.
    Whenever I visit St Conleth’s Park, Kildare’s county ground, I am not surprised that their team are in the doldrums. Pairc Tailteann is now not much better and neither is Meath football. But regardless of what those counties do the population and resources of Dublin will in future tip the balance their way as long as they continue to maximise those resources
    Some Mayo supporters may complain about the cost etc. of MacHale Park but I think that its no coincidence that as MacHale Park is the best ground in Connacht by a long shot the Mayo team is also the best by along shot. And I’m not a fan of Mayo Co Board or Co Boards in general.

  71. Yeah AndyD, its amazing that in any of these sports the authorities will rarely do anything to help the underdogs. Fairness doesn’t come into it. Romania played France last night and have to play again four days later, on Sunday against us. Ireland benefit from this but its just not fair on the Romanians who are the underdogs.

    The GAA must do things in the most unfair ways of any association. Like us having to travel to Limerick last year, God forbid that something might be done to benefit Mayo the underdog. Dublin playing all of their games at home is not fair. Connacht teams getting to meet New York and London while Donegal could be away to Tyrone or Monaghan to get to the same stage of the championship is very tough on the Ulster teams. While down in Munster most years they seeded Cork and Kerry to meet in the final. Its all about the money. I suppose its people from the top dog teams, clubs, counties, countries etc. that make these rules. Keep the status quo intact is the mantra especially in the GAA.

  72. Explain to me how MacHale park has resulted in Mayo being competitive at the top level the last few years. What facilities do the Kilkenny hurlers have?
    I tell you what they have, kids in St. Kierans hurling at lunchtime and kids hurling with their clubs. The end, that is the story of Kilkenny hurling.
    We would have won a title somewhere between 1996 and 2005 if Mayo hadn’t so badly utilized it’s talent. Mayo had the strongest club football outside of Dublin in those years. Mayo clubs were reaching and winning All Ireland club finals yet were having to scrape their way out of Mayo as there were so many strong clubs.
    Unfortunately during this spell we had some crazy stuff at county selection level.
    We made a complete mess of picking the panel in those years. The club teams of that era were packed full of well built six footers who could play football. But when you looked at the Mayo senior team the only big men involved were from junior clubs.
    Mayo actually togged a championship team in this era with no senior division one player from numbers 8 – 15. Overall point I am making, Mayo have had oodles of talent available in the past before we did anything with MacHale park.
    I would argue the case the primary reason our Academy is not operating is that MacHale park repayments have drained away the money to do anything with the Academy.

  73. I hope people on this Blog will not be angered by what I have to say… but the whole Dublin has more money, more population, and home game advantage just does not add up. Killkenny have absolutely ruled hurling with the iron fist of Brian Cody. some will say yeah but that’s all they play. still how many people live there, Croke Park is not in Killkenny. Kerry have been in 11 AI’s since 2000 and have won 6. not a bad return but if you were from Kerry you would disagree.

    People are just going to have start excepting the fact that this Dublin team is a bit special. I say that with the utmost respect to all the other County’s, everyone of them is trying and sacrificing just as much and more to try and win Sam. we can’t keep on saying when Dublin win Sam ” to much money , home advantage, they have more player’s”.

    Like surely to God you have to say they are a very talented bunch of Lad’s and deserve the medals and cups they have won by out scoring other teams. cause that is what it comes down to, the will and hunger to say ” yes we are the best and we are gonna show everyone how much more we want it then other’s”. that was shown in the first match with Mayo v Dublin 30/8/2015 when Mayo somehow got back into the game and drew level, with there tail’s up it really looked like they were going on to win that match. Mickey Sweeny had a glorious chance to put Mayo in front but was blocked down in the 72nd min. these are things I often wonder what would people be saying about Dublin then, if Mayo had gone on to win the match.

    There was a piece in the paper the other day about Dublin when Pillar Caffery had them, and he made them recite some war General’s words that he said to rally his troop’s. and he asked them to do this before every training session. one day he asked how many had read it and only a few hands went up. and his response was ” its the fucking inches lads that will get us over the line to win these match’es lads”.

    I just thought yeah its a bit of drama and what not, but the desire and hunger that he was trying to build into the heads was truly honest and hard, and something that could be done. like fair enough the Dub’s are the only team from Leinster to win it in the last 15 year’s, but they too had to wait a very long time between drink’s so to speak to get their day in the sun.

    So if the Dub’s go on to win the next two ( which I think they will ) or 3 or 4 it will be down to talent and desire, huger for more, hunger to get nearer their greatest rival’s Kerry to try and further cement their own place in the history of this wonderful game.

  74. JP, I am not suggesting that MacHale Park has resulted in Mayo being competitive in recent years. What I am suggesting is that if a Co Board is incompetent in one area, i.e. not being able to provide decent grounds for its county teams, it is not likely to be competent in other areas. The financial problems associated with MacHale Park are replicated all around the country where developments took place in the latter days of the so called Celtic Tiger, in GAA as well as other developments.
    What facilities Kilkenny have for their teams I do not know but Nowlan Park is adequate for all Kilkenny championship games up to Leinster final which is always fixed for Croke Park in any case. How many other counties can say that? Wexford, Carlow, Offaly, Westmeatth, Laois at most. Maybe Wicklow because they attract a small crowd anyway. Dublin cannot be included as Parnell Park cannot hold even NFL games. They are parasites on the national association although they will say they are its backbone.
    Kilkenny as I understand it are using a coaching system which was basically introduced by the late Fr. Tommy Murphy in the late 1950’s in St Kieran’s and clubs throughout the county. But it has to be backed up by proper facilities which have to be developed and keep pace with the times. For example few expected shower facilities in dressing rooms in the 1950’s – probably few expected dressing rooms then either – but times have moved on.
    I presume it is the 2001 championship team v Sligo which you refer to as having no Div 1 player from 8 to 15. Maybe there were players who should have been involved in the Co team and were neglected in the 1996 to 2005 era but I cannot recall any outstanding omission from the teams who won Connacht Club finals and I attended all Connacht finals, All Ireland semis and finals in those years. [Eight semifinals beginning with Castlebar in 1994 and six finals, two of which were won]. Being based outside the county I am not in a position to debate about other club players but I am very familiar with players who have the ability but not the ambition to play county or have other impediments to prevent them from giving the commitment.
    Regards commitments re payments on Croke Park, I’m sure that there are agreed terms re those repayments and that there is nothing to prevent additional fundraising for the academies if the Co Board wish to undertake it. I am also sure that if the financial situation is open and transparent that that fundraising would be successful. The current lotto is based in the idea that it is for player support and not for other Co Board expenditure like MacHale Park.

  75. The scheduling of repayments is one thing. The costs of the Academy is a separate issue. If our. CoBo was working effectively there would be different channels of incomes for different projects. Collecting for the stadium should not cease when the loan is paid back. It should continue to build up funds for the next development. Funding the Academy project should start in 2016 and should be continous after that.

  76. AndyD I took up your point wrong then, thought you were somehow linking MacHale park to success.
    In terms of the club players from that era we all know there were some high profile cases that were talked to death such as Kevin ONeill.
    I won’t mention names as that has been gone over and over and some players came in in later years to get some games before they finished with inter county football.
    I don’t believe the omissions were from the winning teams, I can think of one from the winning teams who got their games in later years. The point was that we had top class talent in James Nallen, Kieran McDonald, Fergal Costelloe. Unfortunately the benches and few defenders/forwards were weak. Simply not able to perform at a high level. There were players ignored who would not have been All Stars but would have been competitive. You will find for sure competitive players always in Senior division 1. Especially if your club teams are very strong. I take your point that not everyone puts themselves forward but there were several strong clubs at the time.
    As for MacHale park, the facility is good but the cost has been unmatched anywhere else. We way overpaid for what was just a stand. The players don’t have any incredible gym or anything from that huge money that was spent.

  77. I take from what AndyD, JP and PJMac are saying is they are not happy with where Mayo are having to play some or all of their games. like if its finance that is the problem surely the best way to maximize it is to play to full crowds. i.e Croke Park. or there is a serious problem with in house selection’s at County Board level within Mayo. and last point from what I can gleam is that the people who are running the Mayo set up are not using the funds or finance properly. i.e jobs for the boys. look lads we can’t move Croke Park. now the only other alternative is to build another stadium outside of Dublin. but even then will there be enough Fans coming through those styles to repay for the facility.

    No doubt last year was not fair on Mayo having to travel to Limerick. I am not sure whether it sold out but it did look pretty packed to me and what a game too. if we go back to this years final Dublin v Kerry from what I could see and hear there was not to much support for the Kerry lads. who are known to be fair not the best of travellers to support their team.

    The point is the G.A.A know they have no problem getting 32,000 at say a league game for Dublin V anyone. its a business and Dublin at this moment in time seem’s to be selling its self with lots of buyer’s. if fairness ever comes into business that would be a first. they want bums on seats and if they are mostly blue they don’t care.

    Look at the Kerry V Tyrone Semi Final. the place was half empty for the feckin Semi Final! so I think some will say look your only sunshine supporter’s when your team is in the final. ( I am not saying that about Mayo ) there is many other times I have seen similar situations like those above. like have you ever seen a Munster Hurling Final Empty hell no. Semple Stadium does be rocking probably one of the best days out during the calendar.

    I can’t see the G.A.A subsidizing fans anytime soon, although they will say they already are with the €10 back for Students and OAP’s. would something like that make Fans happy if they put on trains at a reduced price. here is an idea why don’t they do a Lotto type thing say on All Ireland day. charge an extra €2.50 per ticket and say split it between two lucky Fans with an insurance that say €10,000 from each fan would go to help club’s from around the Country that are struggling. like they would still be left with the around say €72,000 each.

    You never know it could be you!

  78. We don’t have any problem with the quality of the stands and pitch. Every single person in Mayo GAA has a problem with what it ended up costing and the subsequent costs per year of paying that back. It was easily the most overpaid stadium project in GAA. I say stadium but it was a stand and some ticket kiosks.

  79. Is it correct to assume at this stage, that Holmes and Connelly have weathered the storm, and will be in charge again next year? Has anyone heard any updates on what’s going to happen with Mc Stay/Roscommon?… I f he takes it, he must think they have potential for big improvement.

  80. I think its a hard enough job to do with all going well, so if the supporter’s are not happy with H&C they should step down. only problem is who do you put in place of those men to do a better job? like would the proud Mayo People like if say Jim McGuinness was asked to run the team instead.

    I hope Mayo have a good year and play well! with or with the lads above.

  81. From AndyD;

    “They are parasites on the national association although they will say they are its backbone.”

    Jeez AndyD a bit harsh don’t you think man, calling us parasites?

  82. Martin, Andy D might have got a bit carried away. He seemed to be commenting on Parnell Park and all and sundry. Ciaran 2.

  83. How can they be parasites if they have all this supposed MONEY! does this Dublin team have no talent, like the next thing being suggested here is Dublin are buying the Sam’s they win. could people please just say “hey well done lads you deserved it”. its really silly now at this stage. cause if they win next year its “money again”. and if some other team wins it will be “and look we have no money and still we won”. you can throw all the money you want at teams it ain’t gonna make one bit of difference unless they have the hunger and heart for the fight! Dublin are All Ireland Champion’s because this year they were better then everyone else. if they win next year the same apply’s.

    They have set the bar as to what is required and it’s up to the other 31 to do like wise.
    if they can’t do that it is not the fault of Dublin, The G.A.A, but totally on the opposing sides. no one know’s what the future holds, if Dublin go on to win 2, 3, or 4 more in a row, well that’s well done Dublin. anything less then that is not Sportsmanship.

  84. Hope springs eternal, reckon we can all learn plenty from that interesting piece,! It genuinely is inspirational.! But I have a problem with what Jim Gavin says, it differs to a huge extent to what Dublin do. Re respect referees, respect the opposition, hey we are not angels ourselves, but we certainly are not as sanctimonious. As a general rule doing believe anything any football manager says about football with one exception A Dub, Jack Sheedy, said Longford were going to go man to man with Dublin, they did exactly what he said they would do. So when Jack Sheedy gets the Dublin job I’ll believe the Dublin managermanager.

  85. Hang on now there Stan , I’m a mayo supporter and know a fair few that go home and away and not one has mentioned this year that the winners were not deserving of their win. Last year we felt robbed and that is something I will never let go , we were robbed.

    The whole money thing is a touchy one , Dublin will always have more clout simply because of size , population etc. That is just something that can’t be helped , it’s an advantage they rightly take advantage of and more so in recent years with a massive sponsorship deal . Cluxton himself even felt he had to mention in it whilst collecting Sam Maguire albeit in a defensive manner as in ” you can have the money but you need the players” type comment. Where as that is partly true , there is the other side of the coin as in its an amatuer sport and funding should be spread evenly across the country as much as possible as we all know it has massive advantages to have no end of financial backing to train a team and help the lads along the way in life’s comforts.

    Just to play silly beggars for a min I’ll pose a hypothetical question to you.

    If Dublin had only leitrims budget for the next ten seasons , do you think they would all Ireland’s ?

  86. Well the answer to that is yes Sean Burke. what is so big with Glanbia that sponsor Killkenny or for that matter Kerry Group that sponsor Kerry? do you honestly think the money made the Dublin panel 1 to 26 more talented. no way every lad on that team is under serious pressure for their jersey just as much as all the other lads up and down the Country.

    Like if Mayo are to win it next year to me it will be down to sheer guts, blood , sweat and many years of hurt form being so close but no cigar. but it will be because they are very talented bunch of lads and have being trying so hard for all those years.

    The money that Dublin gets has to go through all of their teams not just The Senior team, so does the money help, money always helps if it is used the right way. remember before Dublin won in 2011 they had plenty of so near years and when the were not doing well no one was complaining about the sponsors.

    Like there is the Ladies Dublin team beaten twice in a row by a brilliant Cork team that have won the Ladies Final 5 years in a row. so why is Dublin not wining that? simple they were beaten by the better team on the last two occasions. so why is Cork so dominant? well it must be that they are a very very good team and play well together.

    Brige Corkery has 13 All Ireland medals. no that is down to talent. Colm Cooper has 5, Henry Shefflin has 10. now you can have all the money on earth but it can not and will not nuture or make you more talented. and on a pro level here is two of the best Soccer player’s at the moment playing. Ronaldo and Messi! guess what both of them came from very humble beginning’s. Messi was considered to small to ever make it as a pro, only that he got growth hormones he would just be another talent that never made it. he had to leave Argentina at 15/16 to live is Barcelona. and you may not like him but Ronaldo’s story is one of sheer perseverance to be the best, he too was not from a rich family backround.

    If the Dub’s never win another All Ireland Sean, that will always be my belief in Sport is that you are only as good as what you are willing to sacrifice to get there. they say to become a master at anything you need 10,000 hours of practice, so lets just look at all those years all them Great’s I have mentioned above ( Messi and Ronaldo Included ) have spent trying to perfect their Art on the pitch, the endless hour’s of training, the injury’s, the disappointment’s, the belief being knocked as young kids and having to find it within to get back up when they have been told ” you won’t make it ” that is what makes Champions it ain’t the money its the heart and hunger to be able to keep on going when your out on your feet, but you find the strength from the others around you. your team mates, your tribe, your Country. that is what wins and loses. Champions and heroes.

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