Clones road trip – Mayo News football podcast 2019 E22

A week on from Mayo’s Connacht championship semi-final defeat to Roscommon, it’s time to put some distance between the county and this latest provincial setback. The Mayo News football podcast did this literally, by hitting the road for Clones where, with Sunday’s Ulster semi-final between Cavan and Armagh as the backdrop, the talk quickly turned towards Mayo’s reversal in Castlebar and where the county goes from here.

This latest episode of the podcast starts in the Diamond in Clones, where co-hosts Rob Murphy and I are joined by Mayo News sports editor Mike Finnerty and former Mayo star and RTÉ co-commentator John Casey, before the latter two head off on media duties at the game in St Tiernach’s Park.

Then it’s back to Rob and I, by now perched high on the terrace at St Tiernach’s Park across from the main stand, where, in the midst of plenty of noisy, boisterous Cavan and Armagh support, we watch a thrilling contest play out, one that ended all-square after extra-time. Mayo’s fate in this year’s championship is never far from our minds, however, as we ponder the damaging implications for James Horan’s team of last weekend’s loss to Roscommon.

Back downtown in Clones after the game, Rob and I are rejoined by Mike Finnerty and John Casey where the discussion quickly turns once more to Mayo and the qualifier road that once more awaits the county. 

By now it’s all kicking off at the Diamond, with the podcast crew becoming eye-witnesses to a rather comical public order-related arrest. No better time, then, to cut away to Rob chatting with Mayo News columnist Billy Joe Padden on the road facing Mayo over the coming weeks.

We also have some bonus audio thanks to our friends at the We Are Cavan Podcast with their fantastic story of all the details about the dog that invaded the pitch in Breffini Park during their victory over Monaghan. Big thanks to podcast presenters Damien Donohoe and Paul Fitzpatrick for letting us share that with you. 

To finish this week’s show and with calmness once more descending on Clones, the lads all offer their predictions on Mayo’s chances of making the Super Eights via the backdoor, before they set out on their homeward journeys.

This latest episode of the Mayo News football podcast is now online and is available to listen to on iTunes, SoundCloud, Podomatic and Spotify. You can also listen to it directly on the Mayo News website as well as here on the blog using the SoundCloud player below or the one on the panel on the right.

The Mayo News football podcast’s championship coverage this summer is proudly sponsored by J Streicher. “When it absolutely, positively has to be financed on Wall St.” Visit our website at

20 thoughts on “Clones road trip – Mayo News football podcast 2019 E22

  1. Making the Super Eights this year through the back door seems like a bridge too far in my opinion. The gloss of winning the League was quickly wiped away by Roscommon and putting the pieces back together will be difficult for the remainder of the season. If we’re lucky in the draw we can win a few matches through the back door, but at some stage, we’re going to come up against one of the top team and that could put pay to our Championship hopes for 2019.

    Our visit to New York coupled with the celebrations and the team’s involvement in that well-organized fundraising drive did nothing for our preparations for the Roscommon match. Now the big question facing Horan is, will he trust the young lads to do a job, or continue to put faith in the older guys who let’s face it cannot be expected to perform to the standard of yesteryears. Maybe it’s time for a few rosaries or a good mass!

  2. Enjoyed the Podcast… Hope ye are all correct in what ye are saying and that we do reach the Super Eight’s! … The draw is King…. Who ever we get, and wherever we play, we won’t have too long to prepare, for any particular Team, but whatever Team it happens to be will be coming off what would be a good win for them!, And if you look at the fixture list, many possible landmines await… London in Ruislip is a real possibility, who knows?…. I imagine that over the last 10 day’s, there must have been some serious soul-searching in the Mayo camp!…. There must be some anger there as well, certain Player’s surprisingly left out of the 26, certain Player’s starting on the bench, and even more bizarre left on the bench, and some underperforming Player’s left on the Pitch….. I think that as Supporter’s we can’t afford to think any further than the next game, let alone the Super Eight’s…. I think that hopefully after an honest review of the many mistakes of last Saturday week, that the collective focus of the entire Mayo Camp moves on to preparing Properly and giving the proper respect, to whatever Team turns out to be our next challenge…. Seening as we don’t as yet know who or where that challenge lies, it’s impossible to plan Tatics for any particular Team or Venue….. I hope that everyone fully realize that this could be the last time Mayo will play in 2019 if we get it wrong… The first 15 minutes of our next match will be the most important for year’s!

  3. We will be playing one of the winners of the following ties being played this weekend –

    Offaly v London
    Leitrim v Wicklow
    Wexford v Derry
    Louth v Antrim
    Monaghan v Fermanagh
    Down v Tipperary
    Carlow v Longford
    Westmeath v Waterford

    Bar Monaghan, there is no possible tie there (for this round and the next, assuming we win) that should overly worry us – assuming we have our heads right and go into the game fully focussed.

    Personally, I’d agree with the lads in the podcast. I think we will make the Super 8’s.
    That’s based on the quality of teams in the qualifiers so far and those you would expect to be in there in later rounds.
    But there’s a lot of presumption in all of that. Let’s just take it one game at a time, have our heads in the right place for each game and use our squad in a sensible way.
    And if we do make the Super 8’s, you can be sure that we will be the last team a provincial champion will want to meet in the 1st round.

  4. Meant to add, that the next round of qualifiers after this will probably contain the loser of Tyrone/Donegal, which will obviously be the one to avoid (again, assuming we get past our 1st game).
    I have to admit to having this feeling of us facing off against Donegal and Stephen Rochford in the not too distant future…

  5. Look, the main danger to us being knocked out before the super 8’s is James Horan. If somehow he implements some form of defensive system, and reinstates clarke, we will progress. If he fails to do this (highly likely) we will be bet on the road. Our destiny this year is in his hands, simple as. Our defenders are well able to defend within a system, some a them have been the best defenders in the country while playing in a defensive system..(see 16 and 17 AI finals). Its a no brainer, you dont need an ex-player or pundit to tell you that. Anyone who has ever kicked a football can see our defenders were hung out to dry against the Ross, by a manager who underestimated the opposition. This man on man shite is fantasy stuff, you’d hardly see it at u-12’s anymore. Couple the lack of defensive plan with the in-accuracy of our forwards, and its pretty simple to see how we lost that game. My bet it will happen again against some journey man team, unless Horan learns his lesson. Im not that confident that he has.

  6. I’m not one to knee jerk on these things, its a long road without a turn and all that but unfortunately it looks like James Horan hasnt improved the major weakness he had in his previous coming which cost us at least one all ireland (2013), and that is his ability to change the game on the line, fix tactical or personnel problems and react to where the opposition are hurting us.
    If he hasnt fixed that, and from the Rossie games it looks like he hasn’t, then frankly in my opinion he had absolutely no business coming back.

  7. Horan switched Keegan onto Cathal Cregg after 15 minutes when he was causing us bother and deserves credit for making that change. I don’t see what other defensive changes should have been made? Cox scored 3 outrageous points but IMO on another day 2 of those would go wide. Don’t think anyone would have done better than Harrison on him.

    Horan does deserve criticism for the free taking fiasco in the 2nd half and by extension his substitutions. Also why Hennelly was attempting such a risky short kickout when we were cleaning up around midfield is puzzling. If that was a management call then it’s worrying.

  8. WideBall..You don’t see what other defensive changes should have been made??! My jaw is literally hitting the floor! The problem with the defence against ros wasn’t the personel employed. It was the complete lack of structure…leaving acres between our back three and half back line. Literally tonnes of space for Cox (who we made look like an All Star) to easily win his ball out in front, turn and score. Im not trying to take from his fine display but Christ did we make it easy for him and the other ros forwards.

    Any intercounty forward worth his salt will have a field day in a 1v1 scenario. We left our full back line ridiculously exposed to the point of negligence. It was baffling at the time and still is.

    Look at creggs goal…He win the ball out near the 40 under the stand and ran straight to our goal without a Mayo defender near him!! Criminal. If that was Dublin, Galway, Tyrone he’d have met an opponent within seconds after skipping past Higgins. He wouldn’t even have got close to shooting for goal. That’s just one example but look back at the game and you’ll see tonnes. And I really don’t buy this narrative that Ros played all that well (I think BJP in the Mayo News last week said they were ‘exceptional’. I totally disagree (And I agree with much of his opinion). Ros were ok. That’s about it. Their forwards took every chance going but their midfield were no great shakes and their defence allowed us over 30 attempts, even with them employing a defensive structure. We were just so bad at shooting. That coupled with playing with no defensive structure caused our defeat. Apart from 2/3 individual performances I don’t know if Mayo could have done much worse. Collectively, on and off the pitch we had a meltdown and yet, were a point up with a few mins to go!?

    As MayoDunphy alluded to in am earlier post the template for this team is simple…The 2016 All Ireland Final. Reverting to our ‘all out attack’ strategy of 2013/14 where we destroyed some teams simply work in 2019 for a few reasons:

    1. We are too predictable. Teams have copped onto how Mayo play and only have to drop deep (defensive blanket, whatever you want to call it) and the chances of quelling Mayo’s attack significantly increase. The added benefit of this tactic is that if Mayo don’t kick it wide but rather lose possession then you can quickly counter attack allowing your forwards ample space to score in the knowledge that most of not all of Mayos half back line are way out of position. This is what ros did, particularly in the 2nd half.

    2. Teams have developed far better defensive structures since 2013/14. Galway, Ros being two. Which is why we have failed to win a conn championship in 4 years.

    This all out attack strategy which worked very well during horans first stint won’t work now unless against weak teams, ie Div 3 and 4 who won by be able to handle it, even on days where we kick 18 wides. But even now we could find ourselves in hairy situations if we go with this all out attack approach against low ranked teams because you can bet their approach against us will be obvious. Blanket defence and hope to hit Mayo on the break. If we come up against a div 2 team it’ll be the same but may not seem as obvious because their chances of winning the midfield battle will be higher but as soon as mayo win the ball, all teams will drop back because they’ll know we will struggle to break them down.

    What do we do to change? Again, see the AIF 16 template. We play to a tight defensive structure which invariably brings the opposition onto you when they have the ball. And when they lose possession we blitzkrieg them with the pace of Durcan, Keegan, Higgins who rather than having multiple roadblocks in their way and dancing left and right like boxers trying in vain to create space, instead have some open road to tear into and cause havoc in. That is how Mayo will beat teams and to be frank I think if we employed this more conservative approach we would almost be unbeatable against the vast majority of teams in the country because in short they’d find it so difficult to score against us. Damn it, we have arguably the most talented defenders in the land and we don’t use them right!! That’s very frustrating.

    Separately…another very good article by Colin Sheridan in the Mayo News. The demise of the ‘off the ground’ freetaker. Something he knows better than most of is given who is older brother is surely something for Mayo GAA and those involved in the Mayo Way programme to seek to address. The only one I can think of in any recent Mayo team was Liam Irwin.

    I don’t take or fully undetstand the gloomy approach of quite a few others. I think the problems this Mayo team have are easily fixed. If we do so, we will be in the hunt come the season end. We have a deeper squad now so burnout shouldn’t be an issue if usee wisely and provided we are lucky on the injury front.

  9. Great podcast lads very enjoyable. Billy Joe done a good summary of where we are at. Some people want to blame JH for everything. Things did not work out but I did not see anything wrong with the team that was picked before or after the game. As a Mayo fan I am not scared about this Mayo team taking on any of the round 1 winner’s. Put it another way how many of the 8 winners will be queuing to pick Mayo on Monday morning.

  10. @Mayonaze, you refer back to the 2016 final, in the drawn game one of the own goals came from the boot of the sweeper, ie, maybe too many bodies in and around the square.
    Horans theory is too push up the half back line, see back to 2012, 13 and 14, this is great but the scores need to be converted and ball must be kicked over the bar or wide, not into the goalies hands or given away to a breaking defender with acres of free space to exploit.
    Keegan got 2 goals in 2 finals from running straight through from deep, ie Mayo lacked pace in the forward line in both 16 and 17 finals.
    Why can’t Horan decide to leave at least one guy back, ie the centre half back, keep him to mind the house, maybe pick a defender as a forward.
    In my book, Paddy Durcan is a much better attacking back than a defending back, ie, weaker on the back foot, maybe play him as a wing forward, 3rd midfielder.
    My guess is that a lot was learned from the Ros defeat.

  11. It’s a good job the back door system was introduced. If it had not, we would be looking at one of the bleakest half decades in the history of Mayo football.

    I just thought a sweeper would have taken the punching power out of the Rossies last weekend.

    Managment should have a play book of every possible team formation that can be fielded and have each formation rated as to what it brings to the game, or, if it takes something from the team.

    A specific formation, in the event the opposition get a red card, and the same for if we get the Red card.

    If our bench is so strong, then there is no reason why we shouldn’t have 3 subs made by the 40 / 45 minute mark.

    Jack Nicklaus was asked what his game plan was when leading a competition. He said “always to extend the lead, get another shot ahead”. I think we need to apply the same thinking.

    We have been training to be fit enough to last 75 minutes. We can beat most teams. I don’t see why we should ever sit back on our arse’s when we hit the front.

  12. Mayonaze – you say Cregg ran straight through without another defender near him. That’s not true as Barrett was back there but fell for the decoy run from Heneghan. If he doubled up with Higgins there is a good chance they would have turned the ball over or at worst it would have been recycled back for a Roscommon point. Obviously the 2nd Roscommon goal was also completely avoidable.

    I think the days of packing the defence and breaking at pace in numbers are gone. We have talented defenders so why do some people think they need extra help?! The full back line and number 6 should remain in our half either marking or sweeping, depending on how many opposition forwards are around. We are well capable of defending in an orthodox way as the league final showed.

  13. I have to agree with mayonaze on defensive structure . Only managed to watch breif highlights since but when at the game everyone was saying around me wtf is going on leaving Cox collect the ball with one man to beat , indeed I thought Ros didn’t exploit it enough , they could of drove a lot more ball down on him , Higgins did stand in front of Cox and Harry a couple of times but it was all over the place in general and tactically naive even suicidal perhaps. You just can’t go man to man nowadays against a decent set of forwards and you certainly can’t go man to man with your two wing backs in half forward positioning on the pitch and then bang break/turnover will kill ya .

    Only thing I’d disagree with is I did think Ros were very well set up, played well and thourghly deserved their win. Cox is a savage footballer , be interesting to see how they do against Galway , he’d roast Sean Andy but Walsh will obviously set up different than we did.

  14. Wide Ball…not a glove went near Cregg. It was open ground for him. It just wouldn’t have happened against Dublin, Tyrone, Galway and you can Donegal and Monaghan to that as well as Ros. I’d go so far as saying you watch any of those teams play for the entirety of the season and you won’t see an opposition play saunter untouched thst distance and get a shot away. It was a total and utter systems failure defensively by Mayo and there’s no way it can be argued against.

    I don’t care who says the days are gone for packing a defensive and breaking at pace. Teams have to play to their strengths. It doesn’t take a genius to see thst Mayo have far greater natural defensive players than shooters. Look at our all stars over the past 7 years. How many were backs and how many were forwards. The purpose tactic and objective of a solid defensive structure (not as primitive as merely packing it, although packing it would have won us the game v ros) is not just to reduce the oppositions total score but importantly to create greater space for our attackers when we are in possession. We aren’t blessed with that many natural scorers so the last thing we should do to them is create a scenario where they’ve limired room, which is what happened agsinst ros and will continue to happen where our approach is one where our half back line attack pushing all our team up with the exception of our full back line. Even leaving our no6 back in these circumstances isn’t sufficient cover if and when our attack breaks down. On top of this and as mentioned opposing teams just pull their team back and let us run out of space. We create hardly any goal scoring chances this way. Our only proper one against ros was a long ball into diarmuid which he fluffed.

    So playing to an organised fluid defensive plan will do two things. 1. Significantly reduce the score a against us, particularly goals (the 16 AIF ones were unfortunate and he other a fluke). And 2, create an attacking environment far more suitable to our talents. We’ll create more goal scoring chances that’s for sure.

    The notion that a tactic of taking the game to the opposition and committing greater numbers to attack means a high scoring yield is bonkers, particularly when you look at the players we have coupler with how the vast majority of teams will set up against us.

    What happens if the opposition employ an identical approach, I hear you say? We’ll then we look to beat them 10 points to 8. It might not be pretty but we’ll win.

    Mayo88, my point in last msg was that Horans tactics of 12-14 worked very well then up to.a certain point but teams have copped onto that and far more teams bow have greatly tightened up at the back. Horan can have his half backs run all day but if the opposition defence are back within their own 40 along with their midfielders and 2/3 half forwards then there ain’t no space for our lads. Regardless of how fast or tricky they are. It’s crowded and extremely difficult to score. Exactly the scenario we need to avoid. It may work as I said against lower ranked teams vut this tactuc against any half decent side and we’ll be in trouble.

  15. Thanks, as always, for the podcast. Thoroughly enjoyable. This break between games is killing me — I can’t wait for the unrelenting, week after week, journey to the Super 8s. A matchup with Donegal the only thing really worrying me.

  16. I might agree with you if we play Dublin at some point in the future as they have 6 or 8 top class forwards, but I don’t think that will beat Dublin either.

    However against the likes of Roscommon we should be well able to set up a mean defensive structure with 6 backs plus Aidan and the likes of Diarmuid working back. We need forwards that will hold position and be an option for a kick pass. Otherwise we’ll have to run the ball forward all the time which means the whole game plan is based around being fitter than the opposition. We had that advantage over most teams around 2013 but not anymore.

    We had the perfect balance in 2017 so that’s the template we should be using.

Leave a Reply

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