Clare 2-18 Mayo 2-22: we’re back up

Photo: Declan Marley

Well, we won this must-win game.

If you’re the optimistic kind then that might be the point – a very important one, for sure – you’d want to focus on in the aftermath of today’s National League Division Two semi-final against Clare at Cusack Park today. We won alright but at what could prove to be a significant cost to us on the injury front as well as an equally high cost in terms of our growing reputation as a team that appears incapable of doing anything resembling competent defending.

At half-time it was only the first issue that was of concern to us. Diarmuid O’Connor pulled up with a suspected hamstring problem less than ten minutes in and, just before the break, Cillian limped off too.

By then, though, we’d pretty much laid waste to Clare’s challenge. We owned the ball for long stretches of the half and had found the net twice. We were eleven points up and we were cruising to the easiest of wins.

The third quarter was, though, an unmitigated disaster. Twice we coughed up goals, both of which came out of the troglodytic Junior B playbook, i.e. lamp it in to the big lad with the strapping on his knee loitering around the square. To concede one goal via this route was bad enough but to fall for the same trick twice was nothing short of mortifying.

For both goals our backline was posted missing. The anti-Hennelly brigade will point to the ‘keeper for the first goal but at least Robbie came and challenged Darren O’Neill for the ball. Three Mayo players were also in close attendance as it came sailing in from the wing but none of them made any effort to contest the ball.

The second goal was even worse. Aidan O’Shea was the sole player back when the ball was hoofed into O’Neill and the big midfielder did well to outfield the Breaffy player, pop the pass to the in-rushing Cooney who batted it to the net. The entire Mayo backline – and I mean entire, every bloody one of them – was posting missing for that one.

So, from a position at half-time where we were out the gate and disappearing over the hills we now found ourselves in grievous peril of getting dragged into a right dog-fight. We did enough, just about, to ensure that this didn’t happen but this game ended up being way, way closer than it had any right to become.

Let’s wind back the clock to the start.

We made two changes before throw-in. Aidan O’Shea started in place of Darren McHale while Fergal Boland made way for Kevin McLoughlin.

We started brightly, with a free from Cillian O’Connor and one from play by Matthew Ruane getting us going early doors. They hit back well, though, with three points in rapid succession to claim the lead for the first time.

Ryan O’Donoghue from a mark – he likes his marks, does Ryan – from a long ball in by Lee Keegan squared things up again. They got the next two scores, though, the first from a free and the second a superb, curling effort from way out by Tubridy.

We had a half-chance for a goal then. Kevin McLoughlin surged through the middle and probably should have just tapped it over. He passed to Ryan, though, for whom the goal chance wasn’t really on and his effort was blocked.

By now it was clear Diarmuid O’Connor was in trouble, as he’d pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring problem. After Tommy Conroy shot over from the left wing to cut the deficit to one Diarmuid hobbled off, Jordan Flynn replacing him.

From then to the water break we moved to seize control of this contest. Tommy hit another one from the left wing from a great long ball in and then Bryan Walsh popped it over to put us back in front. That was the sensible thing to do after our efforts to walk the ball into the net had been thwarted.

We got our first big break from the restart. They butchered it and Cillian was hauled down in the square as he bore down on goal. There was no sign of a black card – indeed, no card of any colour – for the foul but Cillian make no mistake from the spot, even though the goalkeeper went the right way.

Aidan did see yellow soon after, the Clare midfielder O’Neill falling rather theatrically, and that was a worry as one more mistimed challenge could have ended his day. Aidan already seemed to be labouring but despite this was popping up in different areas of the field. It was hard, to be honest, to know what role he was meant to be playing today.

We had a second goal chance before the end of the first quarter. Ryan initiated the move with a superb rob out the field and Mattie drive hard into their danger zone but his final effort lacked conviction and the ‘keeper was well equal to it.

Cillian had the final say before the water was passed around. He claimed a ball in, shimmied this way and that before thumping it over to increase our lead to five.

From then to half-time we shot clear of them. Kevin McLoughlin wriggled clear of contact and fed Stephen Coen who knocked it over with ease. Kevin bagged the next one, Cillian finding him from a free out on the left wing and he did the rest.

Cillian then claimed a mark from a long ball in. He rose to fetch it and had the hand up before he tumbled over. The mark is an awful blight on the game but at least we’re using it to good effect and Cillian made no mistake from his free shot at the posts.

When Clare scored from a free soon after it was their first point for all of seventeen minutes. But they scored again straight away after as we looked to have taken a small breather.

We upped the gas again, though, bagging an excellent second goal. This was the product of brilliant teamwork between Tommy Conroy and his buddie Oisín Mullin, The Neale man doing the hard bit by breaking clear and offloading to the Kilmaine player who cut back and walloped it to the net off his left.

Now we were really flying. Lee rolled back the years with a lovely angled point on the run from out on the right and Cillian, from play, put further daylight between the teams.

But before the half-time whistle blew Cillian had left the field injured. It looked like he got his leg stuck under him and seemed to have gone over on his ankle. He was in obvious plan as he gingerly made his way from the pitch, Paul Towey coming on for him.

It was Ryan, though, who got to take the first free for us after Cillian’s departure. The ref made it an easier job for him by bringing the ball up and Ryan slotted it over.

The contest was over at that stage. All we needed to do now was to take the remaining air out the game and see out the comfortable win that was there on a plate for us.

But we didn’t do that. The first Clare goal was a major annoyance – killing our hopes of a long overdue clean sheet – but we responded well after it. Tommy Conroy pointed straight after the goal and then Paul Towey knocked a fifty-yard free over the bar from off the carpet.

When Rory Brickenden raided forward to slot over a point from out the right wing our lead was back in double figures. Not for long, though, as that came before our concession of that calamitous second goal, with Clare claiming that the ball had crossed the line in the move just before it.

Our backline was now flailing alarmingly and Clare must have begun to sense there might be a sensational way back for them in this contest. Paddy Durcan calmed the visitors’ nerves, though, by ending a searing downfield run with a fine score but they then hit three points on the spin to pare the gap to just five points at the second water break.

We were on the ropes at that stage. Whatever defensive structure we’d had earlier on was now shot to pieces, Clare were able run at the heart of our defence unchecked and their shooters weren’t being pressured either. Scores were drying up for us at the other end so, as the game entered the decisive quarter, it looked like we were in a race against clock. It may have sounded daft but the question uppermost in our minds now surely was: could we hold out?

We did. We lost the final quarter by a point as Clare continued to come at us but crucial points by Paul Towey (two, one a free), Darren McHale and, deep in stoppage time, the irrepressible Paddy Durcan helped to see us home by four points, on a scoreline of 2-22 to 2-18.

So we’re back in Division One at the first attempt. Achieving that was never a given but, four wins from four outings later, we’ve done it. We’ll be back playing in the top tier next spring, assuming that next year’s National League gets going on schedule then.

In the meantime, though, there’s the little matter of the Connacht Championship, in which the opening knockout match for us – against Division Four strugglers Sligo – takes place just two weeks from now. As today showed in spades we have loads to sort ahead of that, starting with how to shore up that porous defence of ours.

We also have to hope that the O’Connor brothers are okay. To lose one of them would be a serious setback but to be deprived of the services of both would put us into 2018 territory. No team can lose a talismanic player of Cillian’s class and carry on regardless and we’re no different there.

That’s in, then, for this year’s rapid-fire National League campaign. James Horan can, with justification claim that it’s been a success but he’ll know, as the rest of us do too, that, despite this success, we carry significant concerns with us as we turn our focus towards the Championship and all that awaits us there.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Enda Hession, Oisín Mullin (1-0), Lee Keegan (0-1); Rory Brickenden (0-1), Paddy Durcan (0-2), Stephen Coen (0-1); Matthew Ruane (0-2), Diarmuid O’Connor; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Aidan O’Shea, Bryan Walsh (0-1); Tommy Conroy (0-3), Cillian O’Connor (1-4, penalty goal, one free and one mark), Ryan O’Donoghue (0-2, one free and one mark). Subs: Jordan Flynn for Diarmuid O’Connor, Paul Towey (0-3, two frees) for Cillian O’Connor, Darren McHale (0-1) for Ryan O’Donoghue, Eoin O’Donoghue for Hession, Conor Loftus for Conroy, Eoghan McLaughlin for Brickenden.

Who was our MOTM against Clare? Pick your top three performers

  • Oisin Mullin (25%, 511 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (13%, 267 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (12%, 255 Votes)
  • Matthew Ruane (10%, 200 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (8%, 157 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (7%, 138 Votes)
  • Cillian O'Connor (6%, 115 Votes)
  • Tommy Conroy (5%, 103 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (5%, 97 Votes)
  • Bryan Walsh (2%, 48 Votes)
  • Robbie Hennelly (2%, 35 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (2%, 35 Votes)
  • Paul Towey (1%, 26 Votes)
  • Enda Hession (1%, 25 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Rory Brickenden (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Eoghan McLaughlin (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Jordan Flynn (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Darren McHale (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Eoin O'Donoghue (0%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,040

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98 thoughts on “Clare 2-18 Mayo 2-22: we’re back up

  1. Very worrying that div 2 teams can run riot against our defence. Over the years we were the top county for turnovers. That intensity in our play is not there anymore. Almost every time clare brought the ball forward they created a scoring chance. Roller coaster days ahead…

  2. It’s weird. We are back up in Div 1 but certainly no sense of any satisfaction with our defence like a sieve and both O’Connors injured.

    Meanwhile Galway are relegated after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They threw it away but their performance today was really good up until the 65th minute! The league can be very weird. Not sure who is better placed…us or Galway? Sure, we get div 1 games next year but we look miles off where we need to be whereas Galway (bar the kerry disaster) have looked decent against teams that are infinitely stronger than meath, down and clare.

    That Matthew Tierney and Peter Cooke are strong big lads for Galway and Tierney in particular looks quality. Significant additions to their senior team this year.

  3. It seems like a bit of a joke to me our full back getting motm when we conceded 2 18 against a division 2 team ?

  4. Not that worrying. Our full back line also scored a goal today which partly balances out the two goals conceded.
    Oisin needs to dominate more in front of our goal as we are short in the county at the moment of full backline defenders. Harrison will be a big plus when he regains fitness. When we are complaining about our poor defense we have to bear in mind what our 6 back also contribute to our score line
    What is very worrying is Cillian and Diarmuid’s injuries

  5. Cant see why Ryan and Tommy were taken off today ahead of some players on half forward line.
    When Jordan Flynn comes on as a sub he seems to struggle big time to get into the game. That’s at least three games now where he has come on as sub and not been able to influence the game. Do management see this?

  6. The return of brendan Harrison now seems absolutely imperative, a defender who actually defends.

    We will get away with this type of a shootout against most teams but against any of the div 1 teams we would be in big trouble

    5 of our starting defenders on the scoresheet tells a story
    Hope it’s minor knocks to the O’connor bros as both are absolutely essential.
    I have no idea where AOS was supposed to be playing today.

    Great to return to div 1 so decisively though, putting up big scores too. So many questions remain though and it coukd be connaught final before they are answered

  7. I would agree Mayonaze the league especially this year is a puzzle.
    We had a handy enough run in div2 and won our matches handy enough except for the last 15mns against Clare we looked the part and go straight back to div1.
    On the other hand Galway battle long and hard in div1 and now find themselves down in div2
    Are Galway ahead of Mayo at this point in time? I would say most definitely and what it will mean in the Connacht championship it’s difficult to say but as of now we’re back among the big boys again.

  8. Congrats on Div 1 but hard games await ye next year. Galway threw away chance to stay up with poor decision making on line weakening team before ft but Monaghan fought very hard so no complaints. As for Connaught I would fancy us to beat Roscommon and Mayo have conceded a lot of goals so we would appear to have a fair chance of a Connaught title but unfortunately I just cant see Ros/Gal/May beat Dubs in a semi.

  9. Harry is out such a long time now it could be a while for him to settle back in. You cant just expect him to produce All Star displays from the get-go. Him Not getting any league time is a worry. Puts a doubt over we’ll see him in 2021 at all. Others need to step up to the plate in defence but there has been so many chopping and changing by mgnt so far this season that it’s impossible for lads to form a relationship. Communication is crucial in a defence from Keeper to no.3 and no.6. Everyone needs to know what the others are doing. Right now we are all at sea. Luckily for us we have 6 weeks to try to rectify matters and with respect to Sligo and Leitrim, but if we cannot comfortably dispose of both then we ain’t go anywhere!

    Any updates on Cillian and Diarmuid?

  10. Connacht telegraph reporting , suspected hamstring for diarmuid and a foot injury for cillian . Says both doubtful for sligo.

  11. It looked to me that Horan pulled Aidan O’Shea out towards the center of the field because he was being triple-marked by the Clare defenders. At one point he was collecting every single ball that the Clare keeper was sending out. That gave us a platform to dominate the second quarter. We should have had them dead and buried at that stage. The two soft goals were disappointing to say the least. The second was especially calamitous. Cleared by O’Shea only for it to come right back in again. The pacy-attacking type of defender will get you ahead of most teams but time and time again it has been our undoing against Dublin and Kerry. I think we should have enough to get out of Connacht but hard to see how we can keep out the Dublin attack. It’s probably too late in the season for the likes of Harrison to make an impact but time will tell. Four out of four ain’t bad.

    Paul Conroy must be kicking himself, that was one costly hand-trip…

  12. Firstly it’s great that we will be heading back to Div 1 . What is really frustrating is when you have an 11 point lead you let them right back into it . What was also concerning was there was a spell in that second half where we were getting physically dominated by them . However Durcan and Towey kept the score line ticking over . Lots to work on we were standing off a lot in the first half very little pressure being put on kicks . Hard to know lads might have tuned out after going ahead and thinking ahead to Championship. Still great to be back at the top table next year .

  13. @ John McHale. I don’t see how it could be said that Galway are definitely better than us. I would put forward the view that we beat them when it has mattered recently. Remember James Carr’s wonder goal against them. We won Connaught against them last year (we should have beat them by a lot more in my view) and made it to the All-Ireland. James Horan has given game time to thirty different players over the four matches and has brought us straight back up to division one in the process. Dublin aside all the top teams have defensive problems, and I would include Kerry in that, simply because of the style of game been played now where the half backs push up to crowd the middle third. I would say that we can definitely beat anyone in Connaught if we have our full team fit and available to us. We are not the same team without the O’Connors so today’s injuries are a concern

  14. Galway have played 7 games since the end of lockdown last year, they won 1 of them. For the life of me I cannot understand how they are so highly rated by many on this blog.

    Anyways, with regards to our defensive problems, or it was just a case of poor full back play I think it would be easier to solve. The issue stems from runners not been tracked and opposition players beating their man around the middle. It seems like every time a player get last one of our guys in midfield its panic stations at the back. One thing which I think would make a big difference if switching paddy D and Coen. We are playing a defensive half back on the wing and an attacking half back in the centre. If we are going to play horan ball we need more defensive minded players in key positions at the back, namely 3 and 6.

  15. Mission accomplished. Div 1 next year. Unfortunately if we continue to defend like we have done a Connaught title is beyond our grasp.The way we play is so exciting. A joy to watch. One cant have everything in life.

  16. I’m delighted to see ye back in Division one again as I was concerned that ye would have a slip and get caught as ye started on the road back up. I felt Galway were in hard luck to be relegated today and I thought Gough left Monaghan away with a lot of pushing in rucks that developed in the course of the game. By that I mean Galway players attempting to pick up the ball and being technically fouled while doing so which resulted in them falling and then being swallowed up by Monaghan.

    I hope the injured Mayo players recover soon or at least before your first difficult Championship battle. For us we have been twinned with Dublin for the alliance league winners, I’m not sure how that works. Do both teams get a National League medal I wonder ? Perhaps they should award the title to the winning team should they meet in the championship later in the year, not that the players would put a league title above beating dublin in champo at this stage but I guess that is a real non runner all things considered.

    For Kerry it was a very satisfying league, we kept the dubs to a very low point tally but we leaked at least two howlers of goals in that game and we had what I think was a legit goal disallowed and we still drew with them so all in all I was happy, in saying that the dubs definitely missed a few opportunities that you would put your house on in normal circumstances as did we.

    Well Looking at the Kerry V Tyrone game I couldn’t help but think of all the backs from Tyrone and Donegal that got All-Stars for their defending in a swarm defence structure that they perfected, a real issue of mine. It seems clear to me that the teams that employed this tactic are now reaping what they sewed in that the defenders who were heroic with two or three players marking space behind them could afford to dash forward and leap like a salmon to intercept a ball as the concern of missing that ball and looking like,, well like Tadhg Morley did against Con o Callaghan never entered their brain. The reason for this is because they were playing with a system that was engrained in their psyche and to venture out of it was heresy, in the 2014 final when Donegal needed to come out and play they were like factory hens, when the cage door opened they wouldn’t venture out as they were so institutionalised and faithful to the system.
    One thing I am grateful to dublin for is they had the tactical nouse to figure out how to beat that dreadful system by not engaging and a continual passage of play to deny them the turn over (which was their oxygen) they waited and waited until someone switched off and stole a pint. The teams who bought into this philosophy are now realising that they may be hard to beat but won’t lift the Canister unless they embrace a need to be a little more cavalier and commit players to forward positions.

    To see Donegal v Monaghan a few weeks ago and Tyrone v Kerry it is clear that both counties have a lot of work to do to create a defence that can go man to man for necessary periods and to develop a rapid transition strategy to trouble their opposition, countless years of the system I feel will rule them out of being serious contenders for at least two years. Mayo had outstanding defenders in the last decade, the best in my opinion to be honest as they would strip the bark off a tree if you tried to go past them, Boyler, Higgins, Keegan, Harrison, Barret, Vaughan and co were a formidable and mayos best line on the pitch. One concern i have for ye is that ye haemorrhaged some serious experience in that critical line in January and more worryingly ye lost that vital experience and perhaps a measured handover to the very able but inexperienced replacements, I know Boyler and Keegan are top players but the trenches must have a little too much water and mud to operate at the levels required at this level. I hope the newbies will learn from these warriors fast and get Mayo back into the ring where the prise money is most enviable. Good health to all and the very best in the Championship against all with the exception of course,,,

  17. I’m worried that we are going backwards. I’m not over reacting, but in our backs 1-7 we’ve lost Clarke and Barrett. Both have been nearing the retirement door for some time. We have not tried any alternative keepers, or really tested any defensive minded players. If we are waiting on Harrison to return, the man hasn’t played football in 2 years, some trust that he will hit the ground running and be championship ready at the off! (not going to happen BTW, he’s likely to be barely at that level next season!) so then what else have we done? I’m afraid we are quite some distance away from Dublin, more than 5 points last December. I’d really fear what they could do to us if we were to win a Connacht title this year! I think Colm Keys might have had it right by saying next year we are building for. I don’t see evidence that even then we will be a cohesive unit to challenge the elite teams. We did get back to Division 1 at the first time of asking, so I’m delighted for that. Positives when we can get them.

  18. Lovely post Gamechanger,very honest and a good Kerry man who says it as you see it,however other posters been worried about Galway is nonsense ,we are playing big boys football,they are down the yard,we will win the Nester cup at a canter ,up Mayo

  19. The value of Cillian to us was there to be seen when he came off. His physical presence, pressing and harrassing of the Clare backs was badly missed in the second half. Paul Towey is a lovely footballer but he is not remotely capable of giving us a target up front.

    Because of that, we didn’t see a lot of ball sticking in the second half. I don’t know if Carr was fit but he would have been a better option to come on for Cillian.

  20. Well done Mayo. Back where we belong. That’s the main thing. Onwards. It’s hard in fairness though to see how any county, male or female can compete with AIG Dublin. That’s the ?.

  21. Gamechanger Great post as usual. I had to laugh at the factory hens of Donegal 2014. I saw some of that in Salthill last year in the Connacht Final. We were a couple of points up and facing into a gale in the Salthill seaside and then the Factory hens of that Galway side refused to come out to play. I thought David Goff had a great game today and neither side could have any complaints. I love the way he awarded Galway 2 close in frees for pulling and dragging. Still trying to work out how Galway lost that game. They looked comfortable in control of the game, in the last quarter to my eyes anyway. At the same time Monaghan looked out on their feet. One thing is certain. Paul Conroy is massive to Galway performances. The black card was above stupid, and that Galway side have nothing without him.

  22. It is no coincidence that the best tacklers on the mayo team are those that learnt from Buckley, we need to do something about it, too much lazy tackling and giving away soft frees.

  23. You right there Jp2. The number of soft free we are giving away is a concern with players putting in a lazy hand giving the ref an easy decision.
    Our tackling has to improve.

  24. Rightly back where we belong , yet outscored in the second half 16-9 by a Clare team that were dead and buried at half time , doesn’t bode well for a long run in this years championship . Our defence in the second half was bordering on shambolic and as for the two goals the less said the better,

  25. COC showed lovely touches of class today…….Let’s hope his ‘foot injury’ is short lived……..

  26. Well done to James Horan the players and his management team. Great for genuine supports to be heading back to Division 1 games next year. This was the goal for 2021 and it has been achieved in style. Four of of 4 is impressive. I left we should have been much further ahead at half time and that Clare had rode their luck. I don’t think we would have been flattered if we were 15 or 16 up at half time such was our dominance. The work rate and teamwork up front moved down a few notches in the second half. We did not have the same level of intensity or teamwork in our play. Cillian was sorely missed up front as some posters have alluded to already. Diarmuid’s work rate was missed in that second half, and particularly in the defense. When we slowed down we allowed Clare back into the game. The tempo was more akin to what they are used to playing. Yet you have to give them great credit for their hard work and endeavor. O’Neill is a beast. and it is not fair to ask the goalkeeper go man o man on him. After almost a quarter of a century in Div 1 I was not aware until now that this is a tactic that Clare had in their arsenal..

  27. We need to play 3 full backs and a sweeper.
    Play Mullin as a sweeper. Perfect for that role.
    Would play KMcl/Keegan/Durcan across the HB line.

    Wouldn’t blame Hennelly today. 1st goal Looked like a square ball and any keeper would struggle against ONeil in the air

  28. Margin of victory closer than expected but in truth that game was won in the first half. The reliance on the experience players is still clear to see which isn’t good for Div 2 football.

    That will be Mayos last competitive match until the Connacht final as Sligo, Leitrim let’s be honest won’t provide any challenge. Best to rest the O Connors for the match and have them fit and ready for Galway at the end of July.

  29. The defence is clearly an issue but he has to be given time to sort it.I think we all underestimate how long it takes to develop players and get the system right.Horan has his way of playing and we all knew what it was when he came back.In fairness the blots are relegation last year and losing the final, also 2019 loss to Roscommon.Other than that he has won a league, Connacht title and got to the Final last year and won all the games in Div 2 all the while fielding a new team etc.
    This is a 5 year rotation I think and he needs his time.Whether he has that tactical nous to win a final we just don’t know yet

  30. To be fair Clare very flighty in the second half and fought well for prize on offer…….Made for a tight last quarter, fair play to them……

  31. You’ve hit the nail on the head again Gamechanger – watching the closing parts of the Galway v Monaghan ge one of things that jumped out at me is that Galway look to have dealt with their hosing at the beginning of the league by reverting to the shawl. The impression I get watching Mayo by comparison is that whilst it is very kamikaze it would he easier to make a tactical adjustment for us then it would be for a blanket based defensive strategy to be upgraded to carry sufficient attacking threat.

    P.s. forgot who posted but a troglodytic appraoch / stategy = caveman stuff

  32. Back in division 1. Plenty of experimental work done. Work in progress. No point looking to far ahead and worrying about what dublin or kerry may do to us. Were rebuilding and that takes time. Horans game plan wont change. We should know that. So our best hope is to outscored opposition. Our shooting has improved no end so in all fairness it’s not all bad .

  33. Just wondering if Cillian got injured being brought down for the penalty?, It was a heavy enough knock, watching it again on ‘League Sunday’ and as Willie Joe noted, no card of any description issued to the offender.

  34. Someone said above, we should have had the game won by halftime. I think we had, but then managed to let Clare get going on the 2nd half.

    2 – 18 conceded against Clare says it all.
    We did get promoted today but next year’s League will be a tough journey if we keep playing with a plastered up defense.

    Oisin and Lee should be moved out to the half back line to reap the full reward from their talents. Don’t tell me there isn’t another set of backs somewhere in the county that wouldn’t be able to keep Clare from scoring 2 – 18. It’s crazy to waste Lee and Oisin on the full back line in a finger in the dam kind of role when they should be further up the pitch crucifying the opposition.

    Hard to believe that 2 of the All Ireland semi finalists now occupy Div 4.

  35. Thoughts lads on Jordan Flynn? In general, not just today where, unfortunately, I felt he was ineffective again. Senior football step up too steep for him I think after looking really promising underage

  36. If we had better options for the full back line they’d be playing. Until we do Oisín and Lee won’t be moving anywhere.

  37. Revellino – if you move lee and Oisin to hb line, who would you have in fb line with Harrison out?

  38. Strong 1st half but take the o connors out and we are in bother. Horan wants us to attack but the 2 goals show a lack of minding the square or protecting the keeper. Non existent defence and we went from 11 to 3 down. All teams now are going to zone in on that. Very worrying. We are making the same mistakes over again and that’s definition of insanity

  39. I wonder would Plunkett + Stephen Coen + Eoin O’Donoghue do a job in the FB line?
    Anything is better than the current set up. We need Lee and Oisin on the pitch, obviously, but we need them outfield.

  40. We still have a surplus of excellent half backs, ie Paddy, Lee, Oisin, Eoin McLoughlin, Boyler.

  41. Leeroy brown. My thoughts on Jordan flynn are quite simple. Totally ineffective today. This level and pace is beyond Jordan unfortunately. He could not get near division 2 footballers today and it just gets tougher from their on. Good lad under age surely but not near mobile enough to play championship. Our defence which was once our strongest line is now totally porous. We didn’t even tackle the clare men coming through. Our forward s tackle better than our defence. We are back where we belong on a positive note but serious work to be done. How we need Harrison back. Hope cillian is OK. He is in the form of his life

  42. Fair play to Horan for getting us back to division 1 and rebuilding as he had to do. But we aren’t going far with his tactics. If Galway don’t take us out, the dubs will. Maybe the return of Aidan will mark the start of a defensive plan but tight now we’re wide open down the middle. Agree also on the post above on Jordan Flynn, he needs to go back to his and rebuild.

  43. Give Jordan a break, he was playing with the Ref that sent him off in the u21 final and rightly so. Give him time. He got an unfair deal from refs since then. I thought as Ref was very fair today.

  44. The only things of real significance today are that we won and that two of our best players got injured that might see them out for quite a while. Letting Clare back into the game was disappointing. The only explanation I can offer is that at 11 points up a lot of our lads switched off and were perhaps looking to the championship and not getting injured.

  45. Maybe Jordan could be looked at as a full back convert – definitely has the physical attributes for the role. Might not happen over night but in a year or two he could be a solid choice. In the mean time I’d play Stephen Coen/ Harrison when fit full back and Mullen at 6.

  46. I reckon that with Diarmuid and Cillian injured by half time our players were looking after themselves to a large extent in the second half.
    My second point would be that the two goals conceded today were different kettles of fish entirely from those conceded early in the league. Today they came from high balls into the square whereas earlier they came from players running at/through our defence. Different problems need different solutions. Remember Barry Moran being used to mark Donegal’s Murphy in a quarter final a few years ago? And Aiden being used to mark Kerry’s Donaghy more recently. Unique problems being met, successfully, with unique solutions. We can’t have all of our defence in attack at the same time. We also need to settle on a defence. Hession in or out in 2021? Brickenden or McLaughlin? Durcan or Coen as centre back? I do not think that Coen has the pace for wingback. Is Osian best used as a full back? Who is the alternative? And I can’t see Boland as a defender. We have the Sligo, and hopefully, the Leitrim games to settle the questions.

  47. Stephen Coen and Jordan Flynn aren’t quick enough for full back. They’d be turned inside out by the top forwards.

    Just watched back the first half again. Diarmuid pulled up running for the ball and went straight off the pitch. No chance he’s playing vs Sligo or Leitrim. Hard to know what happened Cillian. Maybe he slightly strained his Achilles? I would think his is less serious than Diarmuid’s but hard to know.

  48. I actually don’t think there was anything wrong with our defensive system for the 2 goals. For the first one, both Aidan and Mattie were at the small square but they just didn’t do anything allowing O’Neill to freely challenge Hennelly. Aidan was there for the 2nd goal too but just got beaten to the ball.

    It’s different to 2014 for example, where Cafferkey had to fend off Donaghy on his own!

  49. Year 3 of James second term in charge (yes he is in his 3rd campaign back and in my opinion has learned absolutely nothing from his first term in charge) and we have regressed especially in defence. In fairness we have had to deal with a lot of injuries and retirements but if we are conceding 2 18 In division 2 well then the future doesn’t bode well.

  50. Hi, Sure is great to have won yesterday. It was believed that Mayo would only gain the ascendancy in the last 15 mins. Now. the management have learned so much more. They saw the team without Cillian and midfield without Diarmuid and Aidan got game time. Mahagement has effectively 6 weeks to prepare for Connaught Final. What more could you ask for?
    No expert on football but the full back line seems to bother most and yet they seem good footballers. I’d be happy enough that JH, Ciaran Mc etc are aware of the situation.

    Listened to the Commentary on MidWest and the first halt superlatives on Mayo suggested a well drilled machine who were just out of this world. Now they can learn so much more and we can enjoy and appreciate their resilience and dedication as they strive to be the best they can. Nice feeling this morning. Congratulations to all involved.

  51. Well done on getting promoted. Too many here are judging our success criteria on whether we win the All Ireland or not. That is the result of our continued excellence over a ten year period but despite having some of the best players in the country we did not get over the line. At this moment in time we don’t have as many ‘best players in the country’ (we do have a few excellent players) so I would think we have a very poor chance of All Ireland success. What we do have are a group of very good and enthusiastic young guys coming through who will need a bit more time to develop. We play a lovely brand of football which may be a bit naive but our accuracy up front has improved hugely. In contrast we are struggling at the back. We don’t have a traditional full back and not only that but our full back line is made up of players who are not naturals in that position. We have also lost really good players and especially good defenders through retirement and they are not going to be replaced overnight. Personally I think we should lessen the criticism of certain players and management. Statements like ‘Horan has learned nothing’ etc is very harsh in my opinion. Horan transformed us in 2010. In his second coming he has won league , Connacht title, got to AI final won promotion to Div 1 and beaten GAlway twice in the championship all the while managing retirements and introducing a slew of new players. Yes if we judge Mayo by comparing them to Dublin and possibly Kerry, we fall short but judge this team on their own merits and progression and things are not quite so bad. Of course the second half was worrying yesterday but Clare are no mugs and have run up decent scores in the league. Far more worrying are the injuries to Diarmaid and Cillian. We simply cannot do without these experienced and talented players. Best wishes and a speedy recovery to both.

  52. The first half was excellent, cilian going off I think unsettled the plan for second hand, biggest worry no sub goalie tested, that could have happened v Meath. For Galway their biggest problem is the selfishness of Shane Walsh and long may that continue

  53. Both goals yesterday scored by Darren O’Neill who was picked up by Aiden O’Shea, first goal in final last year scored after 15 seconds created by his man James McCarthy and eoghan mcLoughlin took a black card to prevent Sean Kelly also on Aiden from stealing the Nestor cup from us.

  54. Must have had comment removed, so if I broke a house rule fair enough. I’ll put it another way – we simply have to sort out the goalkeeping situation. We’ll struggle to win connacht this year with the current setup. Love Horan and what he’s done for Mayo is unreal but his weakness is a blind spot for certain players.

  55. It was, Tommy Joe as you did. It’s a long standing rule here that naming a player and claiming he’s “not good enough” isn’t an acceptable comment.

    I’d argue goalkeeping is the least of our concerns right now. I can’t see how Robbie can be faulted for either goal. At least he contested the first one, three players close to him just stood there rooted to the spot and watched. There was absolutely nothing he could have done about the second one either.

  56. “To win just once ”

    Do you believe James Horan is not fair game to be criticised if supporters feel he is making tactical mistakes ?

    If you disagree and think Horan is a tactical genius ,that’s fair enough but surely others are entitled to argue their point .

    It’s never been as crucial in sport to have good management in place . Look at pep Guardiola, absolutely got out schooled in European cup final .

  57. @to win just once, it was myself that made the comment that Horan has learned nothing since he came back. obviously you disagree with me and i respect your opinion on that but my opinion is that our defence has regressed in Horan’s second term, it may not be all Horan’s fault due to retirements and injuries, but the reality is now we cough up an average of two goals per game and the facts bear that out. the first goal against Dublin in last years all ireland final was criminal. for one of yesterdays goals 3 defenders ballwatching leaving all the work to the goalkeeper is unaccaptable. the only one that can sort out and manage our defensive problem is the manager. Horan has done loads for mayo football and im in no hurry to see him being replaced and i would be delighted if he was the man to win us an all ireland but the next time a new manager is appointed he or she should have a proven track record of winning all Ireland’s

  58. Backdoor sam,I doubt very much that Jim Gavin will be available,as for Jimmys winning matches,I also doubt that most Mayo supporters would be very happy with his brand of football,you else would you suggest?,I think that we have had the best two managers in my lifetime involved with Mayo since 2010 my admiration for both James and Steven is immense, leave him in charge

  59. LeeroyBrown – okay, I gave you one free shot in what you had to say about that player but I’m not going to allow you to dump on him. You’re a new contributor here so I think it would be worth your while to read the house rules on comments (here) to enlighten you about what is and isn’t acceptable to post in the comments here. Just so you know, terms like “poor me attitude”, “assaulted” and “tinfoil hat stuff” doesn’t wash here. I try to promote a reasoned debate so the fewer histrionics posted in the comments, the better.

  60. Jr .we are not giving Jordan a hard time. His lack of pace at this level is clear to be seen. Remember what happened against Dublin small last year and in monaghan. Players are too fast for him and then he has to foul. There are plenty other players in the county. Full back is not an option. Let’s hope the so important connors are not too badly injured. As regards brickenden v mcgloughlin well based on his performance s so far brickenden is well off it. Its mcgloughlin a shoe in. Kevin mcgloughlin was very good yesterday I thought..Ryan o Donohoe could teach our defence how to tackle. Our defence just stands and allows the opposition get the shot off time and time again. Ros and galway relegated
    Mayo promoted just about. We will take that. Rob should have punched that ball but he will learn from it. He has had a decent league. Keeper s should stay on their line.morgan is a good example. Galway Keeper too .don’t know what badly was at yesterday with beggan. Craxy

  61. @Corick Bridge as i said im in no hurry to see James replaced and i agree both he and Stephen Rochford have been the two best managers we have ever had, but unfortunaetly to date their best hasn’t been good enough with probably the best panel of players we have veer had. I think the management needs a bit of outside help to sort out the defence and its no shame to ask for help. We wont win an all Ireland by leaking soft goals and how do you know when a vacancy arrives that Jim Gavin wouldnt be tempted maybe he would for the right money, managing Mayo to an All Ireland is the ultimate challenge in Gaelic Football it has failed everyone since Mr Courell from Ballina in 1951

  62. Willie Joe, fair enough. I actually don’t blame him per se – manager is responsible for picking players and feel that there’s a blind spot for certain players. Some Mayo people fawn over certain players, both on here and in the stands and in pubs. There are a certain number of players we have who look very good and are good enough for the top level – Durcan, keegan, O’connor brothers, Ruane, Kevin Mc, Oisín (if continues on current trajectory), Tommy c(again if continues on current trajectory), Ryan (again trajectory) Jason Doherty when fit. That’s it in my opinion. We have a few players who are all light and no heat and some decent others.
    Horan has been a savage servant to Mayo but for tactical ability, he’s nothing on Rochford. But for some horrendous luck, he’d have got us at least one all Ireland.

  63. First of all well done to all the players and management on getting promotion back to Division 1. In saying that I’m beginning to wonder has JH learned anything from his first spell as Mayo manager, as regards basic defending and conceding silly goals?? Donegal 2012, Dublin 2013, Kerry 2014, Dublin 2019, Tipperary 2020, Dublin 2020……after 13 seconds in the All Ireland FFS ?. In fairness to him his teams are great going forward and putting up big scores, but the number of goals we concede is borderline criminal for a team with aspirations to win an All Ireland. A lot of times we concede stupid goals against mediocre teams, which makes it all the more alarming! I mean Westmeath, Clare, and Tipperary for God’s sake. Is it that natural defenders are not being picked in the right defensive positions. Oisin Mullin and Lee Keegan are brilliant players……but are they natural corner backs?? I would say no. This has been a common theme for Mayo for last 10 years now, and it doesn’t look to be changing any time soon. I sincerely hope it does, though. As we all know doing the same things the same way won’t make bring different results.

  64. Tommy Joe. I totally agree with your players but on the management definitely not. Rochford was handed a ready made team by James horan. Added nothing to it which is why we have the problem s now with no one to replace Barrett Higgins etc. Can you give me the names of a few players that Rochford brought in.?. As for tactics. The biggest so called tactical genius swopped all star keeper and it completely blew the wrong way.Rochford will never be forgotten for that one. James is building again and needs time. Holmes,.conelly brought no new players in either. In total we lost 3 years of new players

  65. Why are Rochford’s defeats put down to bad luck yet whenever we lose under Horan (or win as the case is recently) he’s branded as tactically inept? We had plenty of poor performances during Rochford’s time. Remember all the defeats to Galway? Kildare in 2018?

  66. Folks. At this stage we have no right to win the all ireland above any other team so just buckle up and enjoy the ride and there will be plenty of memories to look back at some day. Some great players in the mayo setup but probably not enough to go all the way

  67. Fair enough wide ball.
    But let’s take 2013 as an example v 2016.
    2013 last few minute Horan didn’t notice Dublin were playing with injured players and didn’t commit enough men forward. That was poor management.
    2016 final first game last seconds after Cillian equalises – Denis bastick picked the ball clean off the ground less than 20 metres from goal. Cillian would have had a tap over free to win the all Ireland.

    Sure, Rochford had bad results against Galway but they didn’t matter as much given we got through qualifiers. Horan might get us to a final but we’ll never win one under him.

  68. Sure you could also say Horan was unlucky with the refereeing performance in Limerick 2014.

    Did we not beat Kerry in a league final and Galway in a connacht final? Loads of teams have tried and failed vs Dublin.

  69. 2014 semi shouldn’t have gone to replay. We should have beaten kerry easily in the drawn game. Naive management that day.

  70. That’s both harsh and untrue, Tommy Joe. James Horan didn’t send Lee Keegan off before half-time in that match and losing Lee then altered that game’s trajectory completely. We should have closed it out, granted, but the effort the team had put in with a man down up until those last few minutes was heroic. I have that game down as one of the great displays from that group.

  71. Even with us being down to 14 men, kerry were bet. They threw on a wrecking ball. We knew exactly what he brings to the game and nothing was done to counter it. That brought them back into it. It was naivety. At the time I was like you until a non-Mayo friend pointed all that out. A non-partisan view is great!

  72. They were not beaten. We were five down at half-time and played like demons in the second half to turn it round. Lads were out on their feet by the time Donaghy came on. Lee’s red altered everything for us that day.

  73. I totally agree willie joe. Going down a man slaughtered us that day. The lads gave it everything. Back to the present Horan has to pick up the piece s from 3 years of nothing coming through. Who s fault is that

  74. Don’t agree with your opinions there lads. That’s the beauty of sport though. We’re being subjective rather than objective here. Your opinions are no better or worse than mine.
    However, craggy something factually incorrect – Tommy, Oisín and Ruane were all called into development by Rochford. They weren’t unearthed last year.

  75. Conroy and Mullin were brought into the senior squad midway through the 2019 championship, not during Rochford’s time. I don’t know why Mattie Ruane didn’t get a few games under Rochford. He was man of the match in the 2016 U21 final. We were left with no options when Tom P got his bad injury and Seamie O’Shea was injured too.

  76. Thank you wide ball . I am factually quite correct on that one. Rochford and Holmes. Connelly unearthed damn all .let’s see if he shoots the stars in donegal with his tactics. Definitely not last year

  77. Lee’s dismissal that day thanks to Dancing Donnacha. Truly shameful. As a result we were definitely jiggered when Donaghy came in. And Lee wasn’t the same for Limerick, clearly drained from the whole appeal.

    Horan didn’t help matters in the drawn match by screaming at a clearly injured and hobbling Ger Caff to get back on the pitch and mark Donaghy. Unforgivable stuff. You couldn’t make it up. Clueless game management.

  78. Few quick thoughts on yesterday:
    1. Kevin McLoughlin was absolutely immense, he was my MOTM all day. Yes, Mullin got a goal and he is generally a joy to watch, but where was he and indeed, his companions in the FB line for the ones we conceded?

    2. Struggled a bit too to track AOS, but then again, he had four Clare men on his back every time I looked, so …

    3. I find it strange that anyone can really think Galway are in a better place than us. Elsewhere, there are Galway supporters lamenting the loss of Kevin Walsh, who it now appears, wasn’t the problem after all. Today is a good day. But then, any day you win four from four and get promoted with a pretty young team is a good day. Watching both sets of noisy neighbours get relegated isn’t a punishment, though admittedly I do hope they come back up, for the sake of the provincial standard.

    4. Not even touching the goalkeeper debate, because it feels like no matter what RH does or doesn’t do, he will be vilified. But I will say that it seems like a risky strategy to give your inexperienced second-in-command goalkeeper absolutely no game time, given that no player, keeper or otherwise, is immune to injury.

    5. Great post above by to win just once – plenty of fairness and common sense.

    6. On any other day I would have loved to have seen Clare promoted; they have been on some journey over the past few years and I really hope next year is the year.

    7. Hard luck to the ladies on Saturday – that was a tough beating to take. Dublin really did go and play their own game and I think our women will learn from that.

    8. Great to have championship to look forward to at the weekend – and in the meantime, best wishes to the brothers O’Connor; I hope we’ll see them back very soon.

  79. @Ray Friel,
    There are goals conceded in most games, even more with the hand passing across the goal and the use of the hands to put it into the net, devised by the Dubs
    For many years here the bloggers were comparing both goal keepers, now ye are comparing the managers.
    For the record Mayo have conceded goals in big games for years, to add to your list, 1996 final, 2016 and 2017 finals also.
    I would like to see the current manager learn from mistakes. Here’s what I have learned since Horans return part 2.
    S Coen could slot into fullback, Mullin could be chb, Mayo need A another for cornerback.
    Mayo need a smaller type full fast full forward to face the big guns later this year.
    If Mayo get to play the Dubs, then the middle 8 MUST be all about mobility, no Dublin defender can be allowed to bring the ball up the pitch unopposed, stopped by any means possible.
    Where is O Hora, is he on the panel??
    Where does Hession play for Garrymore, my guess in centre or wingback.

  80. All i can say is Horan developed a Team from nothing (Beaten by Longford in the qualifiers in 2010) He brought Mayo from a team who were whipping boys for Kerry on 2004 and 2006 to a team able to compete at the highest level . Dont forget that man for man including the sub bench Dublin were a better team than us . He developed the Team that Holmes – Connolly and Rochford inherited.
    He has now won all four games in Division 2 and at the same time has given game time to over 30 players
    This has to be seen in the light of the retirement’s of Clarke, Higgins, Barrett, Parsons. S O Shea, Vaughan injuries to Doherty and Hession and a few more that in rehab . He has to replace all these players in a few months during Covid lockdown. As regards the goalkeeper Hennelly is the best we have at the moment. Keepers will make mistakes the same as every player who ever played . Top professional soccer keepers who are 40 and 50 thousand pounds a week may them but for some reason some of the mayo followers go over top in their criticism of Hennelly . He has made a few mistakes but so has every other keeper including the best ever i have seen Cluxton. If we win Connaught it will be a very good year and hopefully Cillian will be OK by the Connaught Final

  81. O Sullivan, you make valid points on stuff like where Horan has taken mayo football and he has been the director of all that ,no denying that .

    We are in 2021 season now though and its today’s problems that are relevant .

    If you could explain horans thinking in giving absolutely no game time to rory Byrne for example .

    Or let’s get wild altogether and imagine we got to retain the nestor cup . Do you think we are any better equipped to face Dublin than last year or 2019 ?

    My point is just how we expect to improve without implementing a defensive structure that helps combat leaking goals . I’ve never managed , I know zilch of what’s required but I do know the game I’m watching all my life and we have a huge problem at the back and I am of the opinion, plan and structure is bigger issue than the actual quality of player we have . Surely management know and are thinking despite whatever they say we are 70 mins away from another showdown with Dublin in a semi final , we have to do something different , protect your fxxxxxx full back line ,stop the goals , jesus christ . It’s frustrating cause we are not a million miles away if it was done.

  82. How long ago was it s Coen did a decent job at full back on Tommy walsh in a league game down in kerry ?

  83. Sean, also v Donegal on Michael Murphy in Castlebar in 2019 to relieve the pressure on Lee Keegan
    I prefer a more mobile guy at centre half back, its either Mullin or Durcan.
    Hession may make it at corner back.

  84. Second half performance against Kerry in 2014 was absolutely immense, we should have held out but didn’t and in the end Kerry had a kick to win it. Had Lee not been sent off I think we would have ran out comfortable winners.Losing Cillian and Aido in the replay was equally disastrous. As for the reffing that day….

    I love watching the brand of football James Horan likes to play…Mayo going at it full tilt are a joy to watch..unfortunately it doesn’t lend itself to keeping clean Sean Burke said above if we could tighten up at the back we wouldn’t be far away..this is in fact very true…not so sure the two will ever go hand in hand under James tho.

    Praying the two lads are goin to be ok, if we are to have any sort of shot, its crucial everyone stays fit. Dont think the first 15 are as strong as where we were circa 16/17 but I would make an argument that we have more strength and depth in the panel now. If we get out of Connaught beating Kerry and Dublin does look like a bit of a stretch…Kerry tho have their own issues at the back and if we do meet them in a semi I think it could turn out to be one hell of a match (I do realise this comment may not age well!!)

    I am at a complete loss as to how anyone on here thinks Galway are in a far better place than us not just a better place but a ‘far better place’..the mind boggles.

  85. @walterwhite.its connaught v leinster semifinal this year. All day long I would take the way we play now and take my chances than anything like galway played under Kevin Walsh and looking like they’re heading back to that again. We need entertaining football or like galway the fans will drift away

  86. Remember the great Brazil team in the 1982 world Cup, brilliant attacking free scoring team, probably the most enjoyable soccer that was ever played, yet they had problems at the back, mainly their goal keeper.

    The best managers learn all the time, watch and learn, listen to views from others, no point being bull thick just for the sake of it. Its a matter of picking a team to suit the particular opposition.
    Maybe there is something bring held in reserve??

  87. You would swear we lost reading the comments, we still most lightly strong enough to beat Galway, back in div 1, Dublin probably still to strong for everyone but not in bad place.
    Spillane said mayo not sure of best 15 yet, not a bad complaint to have, need o conner back for sure

  88. Truthfully it’s hard to know who has the upper hand in mayo v Galway at this present time . If we had to go into a connacht final v Galway ( I expect them to beat ros ) less cillian and diarmuid, I think the bookies would go 4/6 galway favs. Diarmuid at his best is a big loss ,cillian at his best like he has been last 18 months or so is irreplaceable with present squad of 2nd and 3rd year apprentices. He is the focal point of the team , hes everywhere, some don’t realise the trojan effort that man puts in , his scoring speaks for itself , his tackling, his presence, his football intellect , his leadership. Like I said irreplaceable imo .

    I just hope to frig some good news is announced, four weeks would be manageable for sure but a lot of people who seem to know timeframes for the different injuries are saying six minimum

  89. The progress James made with Mayo over the past decade is huge but it doesnt give him a free pass. Transforming us from whipping boys into feared opponents (which we generally are) doesn’t mean he’s free from valid criticism. We were so close to being the finished product but for a number of reasons (some of which were down to sheer rotten luck and batshit officiating) we still haven’t got over the line. I think the players of a generation we’ve had over the past 10 years will not be replaced overnight, or even over a few seasons. Unfortunately it’s going to take time…

    As I said before, James and co are doing a lot right at present, but mentoring the talent that’s there is going to be a lengthy process. I know its negative to say, but we’ve probably missed our chance for now. Dublin are going nowhere, and to make matters worse we now may well be on the cusp of seeing a new Kerry “team of a generation”, or at the very least a Kerry team to rival the formidable outfit of the noughties. If we get beaten by them consistently in the next few years we may well curse our luck for coming up against a great Kerry team at the wrong time! History repeating itself. More excuses I fear. But we probably don’t need to fear that as its likely Kerry and Dublin will remain the top two by quite a distance for the foreseeable.

    On a positive note, we still have the bones of a decent team, peppered with class and experience, but there are several weaknesses. We all know about our FB line problems, but I also think we haven’t a clue what our best half forward line is. I thought Aido was very good the last day, especially considering he was coming back from injury. However with Diarmuid now injured, it’s likely Aidan will revert to midfield. Its probably the best possible choice given the hand we’ve been dealt.

    I agree with other posters who rightly pointed out how good Kevin Mc was the last day. He’ll definitely take one of the HF jerseys for championship. But who’ll be selected for the other two HF positions?

    By virtue of his excellent performance in last years AI final, Ryan O’D rightly deserves either a HF or FF jersey. He’s proven he’s got what it takes when the pressure dial is turned up full.

    Other positives I see are the likes of Lee and Paddy showing some excellent form. But to have even a remote chance of competing this year we need to see some of the newer lads take their game to another level rapidly, to level we have not yet seen. We can always hope, but it’s too much to expect for now. We all want the same thing, and we want it now.

    Looking at it coldly, Mayo are in a good position especially considering all the recent retirements. We’re promoted, we’re giving meaningful game-time to a large number of young and promising players, we’re getting plenty scores, and there’s some semblance of an effective attacking strategy. Most importantly, we’re finding out what’s not working! But… we’re on the cusp of championship, so now is not the time to have zero clue what your best starting 15 is.

  90. Where do all here realistically see us finishing up this year? It seems like we have a ceiling and it won’t be broke through. 2016 and 2017 were where we had a chance to break it. A connaught title would be a major achievement this year. After that its almost written in the sand you feel….

  91. @no are completely Kerry in a semi..I was right that coment didn’t age well!!
    Mayo 4/7 to win Connaught and Galway 2/1, Rossies 6/1. Obviously part of reason Mayo odds are so
    short is they have an easier draw.

  92. @Pullhard…I think one of the problems with that ceiling is how high Dublin have made it. I think we will Connaught
    and lose to Dublin in semi..I do not see anyone beating Dublin this year and in all honesty I think only ourselves or Kerry are capable of giving them any sort of a game.

  93. @pullhard I think we will like last year just about win Connacht and if we don’t it’s not a disaster because we won’t beat Dublin. I think Kerry will beat Dublin and reclaim Sam Kerry are not without their problems with an ageing David Moran in midfield and a slightly dodgy defence but if they get enough ball to Clifford he will score 9 times out of 10 let’s pray Robbie doesn’t get injured or we may have to beg David Clarke to come back not fair to expect Rory Byrne to come in as he got zero time in the league

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