Club Championship round-up

The opening weekend of matches in this year’s Mayo Senior, Intermediate and Junior football Championships is over. While yesterday evening’s games were played in decent weather, the wet going this afternoon after a morning of rain in the west made conditions underfoot a good bit trickier.

In the SFC defending champions Knockmore got their campaign going yesterday evening with a six-point win over Aghamore. Last year’s beaten finalists Breaffy made a positive start too. In their game against The Neale, which was televised today by TG4, they came out on top by twelve points.

Castlebar Mitchels – who had five points to spare over Balla – and Westport, eight-point winners over Ballaghaderreen, also enjoyed opening round wins. Charlestown and Belmullet ended all square, while Claremorris squeezed by Davitts and Garrymore had a decisive win over Kiltane.

Ballintubber came out on top too, beating Ballina Stephenites yesterday evening by a decisive nine points.

I was at Clogher myself for yesterday evening’s match. Although fairly ravaged by injuries, it was the youthful Stephenites team who made the better start, with Dylan Thornton palming the ball to the net to send them into an early three-point lead.

That prompted Ballintubber to get moving and, when they did, it was to devastating effect. Three goals – from Ciaran Gavin, Michael Plunkett and Bryan Walsh – and a steady flow of points saw the home side go in at the break ten points in front.

Tubber only added four further points to their tally after that, opting for more in the way of containment in the second half. Padraig O’Hora – a late withdrawal from Stephenites’ starting fifteen – came on after the break and he took the fight to the home team in the second half, aided by Frank Irwin and Evan Regan.

The visitors cut the gap to seven but Ballintubber, with Jason Gibbons a calm presence as a defensive shield, were largely content to soak up the pressure. They raided forward the odd time too and the scores they picked off stretched their winning margin to nine points, as they prevailed on a scoreline of 3-13 to 1-10.

Here’s the full list of Round 1 results from the SFC:

Here are the Round 1 Intermediate football Championship results:

And here are the results from Round 1 of the JFC:

131 thoughts on “Club Championship round-up

  1. Exciting second half in Westport this afternoon. Ballagh will be furious for squandering possession and missing plenty opportunities, even in the first half. Westport still looked very good though. I felt they always had an extra gear. Ballagh are far from out of it though.

    Fionn McDonagh has the cut of a midfielder about him. Paul Lambert (no.7) did well, as always.

  2. If Fionn McD can get himself back into full contention for the county set up, I really do think he could be ideal @ 8/9 with Mattie.

  3. Andy Moran had some words for Ballagh players at half time. Came out firing on all cylinders for and by midway through the second half the defecit was zilch. Some shrewd substitutions
    by Westport, including colm Moran, 2 excellent points, paved the way for a comfortable win in the end. Ben Doyle and Brian O Malley also got some game time, Connor O Malley listed in subs(not goalkeeper)
    Akram showed well second half, Kuba has space but very inexperienced.
    Westport more balanced side, hopefully Fionn McDonagh can build on this performance.
    How any of the players perform under pressure will be the big question. Westport will be concerned about their dip in intensity for the 3rd quarter.
    Nicely poised for next challenge against the auld enemy.

  4. ya the Kilmovee score is accurate.

    when you think in 1989 Lacken had two starters, Michaels Collins & Fitzmaurice on the All Ireland Final team it has been some fall. they were also a senior club around that time. i think they didnt fulfil a number of league games either. its sad to see a club like that decline so much. Hopefully they can turn around but hammerings like that do them no good and two other strong teams in the group means it may not be the worst result they have in the championship.

  5. Yes it’s really sad to see a club fall.A few lads have tried over the years to keep the club going in hope for some new blood to come through.
    But with rural Ireland the way it is it’s impossible to get lads to stay around.

  6. Does Matty not need a bigger partner beside him in midfield? Ruane and Diarmuid were bullied by Kilpatrick and Kennedy in the final. Ruanes biggest weakness is in the air and winning primary possession.

  7. Lacken have been struggling for years.
    It’s a small area, and sadly they are aren’t the only junior side in that area that will struggle. I think in underage – killala, lacken, Ballycastle and kilfian are all fielding just one combined side?
    You would think the population would be ok there given the proximity to Ballina.

  8. No shocks in senior championship.
    Groups 1,3 and 4 almost settled. Group 3 only one where round 3 games will matter.
    Intermediate very, very open with shock defeats suffered by ballinrobe and hollymount and to a lesser extent kiltimagh and ballyhaunis. Looks like groups 2,3 and 4 will go down to the wire.

    On a different note, I thought Rob henelley telling us we are privileged etc. as supporters was out of order. It’s one thing the odd person here saying it but it’s downright condescending coming from a seasoned player.

  9. @ On the road & All41n14all

    Lacken, Ballycastle, Kilfian, and Killala all play together for underage as Naomh Padraig ,
    mayogowagh & Ardagh are agminated as Ardmoy for underage .

    This is due to the populations in these areas declining dramatically over the past 30 years. with little to no job opportunity’s for young family’s.
    The opportunity’s for growth of these clubs are very limited bar an amalgamation of the clubs .

    I’ve played junior for the past few years and seen the gradual decline of these clubs which is very disappointing for the clubs .

    This is what happens when populations shift .

    you now have a case where these 6 clubs only can only field 2 teams while urban teams such as Westport can field 2 teams up to under 16 level.

    This doesn’t help mayo football as bigger teams getting bigger only causes more players to drop off at underage reducing the playing population .

  10. I have never been in Lacken but just looking at map there are a lot of junior clubs very close together. Very hard for them all to stay competitive. I remember Glenamoy used have a team but they have been lost, unfortunately same could happen another one or two in next few years.

    I googled and there is massive history in that area. Lacken are nearly in existence 120 years – they must be one of the oldest clubs in Mayo. Ballycastle have 3 county titles, Lacken have one. Looking on Wikipedia the 1930’s and 40’s totally dominated in that area. Ballina were winning county titles but Lacken, Ardnaree, Ballycastle, Killala & crossmolina all played in or won titles in that period. When you start to read the names of players associated with them clubs and Mayo teams winning All Irelands it really hits home how strong football was in that pocket of Mayo. It still is to a certain extent with Ballina/Knockmore/Crossmolina in recent past but a lot less clubs.

  11. “Mayo goalkeeper Rob Hennelly says supporters in the county should appreciate that they are in “a privileged position” with the team being one of the top contenders for the All-Ireland SFC title.

    Jesus wept

  12. On the one road – the glenamoy club is still very much in existence. It changed names to Cill Chomain back in 1997. This was to reflect that fact that the team represented the parish of Kilcommon, not just glenamoy, a townland within the parish.
    Your other points on lacken etc are correct though. I have been a keen student of north Mayo junior football for 25 years now since I was a kid. I played underage against the last single teams representing ardagh and moygownagh and lacken. Lacken underage joined with killala (who would have been a strong underage club in north Mayo in the 2000s) and became round towers, probably around 2001 or so. Ardagh and moygownagh joined to be ardmoy in about 1999.
    As the 2000s went on Kilfian eventually joined Lacken and Killala in Round towers, and in later years probably from around 2008 or so onwards ballycastle came on board and the underage teams switched from Round towers to Naomh Padraig.
    All of these clubs remained separate at men’s level. But I’d safely say clubs like Kilfian and lacken would do well to contribute one or two players to the Naomh Padraig U14 or u16 teams.
    I don’t know what the answer is to be honest. A club that turned this kind of situation around in recent years is Ardagh, they were probably the weakest adult team in Mayo in the mid 2000s but have gotten significantly stronger in the last 10 years. The boost that producing a senior county player in James Carr gives a small club like Ardagh is something that people from the Breaffy ballintubber and Ballina type clubs will never ever understand.
    For context, I played underage in the late 1990s in north Mayo – there was a round Robin of 9 clubs in the u12 league in 1998.
    Ballina B Also played in the comp to make it 10 sides.

    All of the smaller junior clubs in north Mayo. Each club fielded a team easily.
    You’d be doing well to find enough kids to field 3 underage teams at any given age grade from that lot of clubs in 2021 sadly.

  13. If one reads the full article Robbie didn’t state it anything like the headline and sub headline suggests. The article was mainly around learning and the evolving squad. He touches on that point without it being a big point in the interview quotes.

  14. Harrison played for aghamore.

    Jp , even so , why bother making any reference to supporters at this time . No , he shouldn’t of bothered at all , leave it lie for a while.

  15. Lovely post, On the One Road!
    Listening to local people where I live, I realise playing football was a genuine and heartfelt pursuit for young lads in country areas in the 1940s and 1950s.
    Local young lads grasped all chances they could get to meet and play in one certain field or other and they learned their craft there.
    I’m sure they listened to Micheal O’Hehir on the radio and went out to recreate moves on their field.
    In those years, in Lacken and other country places, there might have been lots of young lads and families tended to be a little larger then also.

  16. JP I’m not referring to any article. It’s the interview I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears on tg4 which I had recorded to watch after returning from another game.
    For me it was a big statement to say on a national broadcaster. It wasn’t constructive or considered. As the saying goes, if you have nothing good to say then say nothing at all.

  17. Agree with JP – that headline about Rob Hennelly interview taken completely out of context.
    If you read or listen to the full interview you get the full picture.
    By the way I am supporting Mayo long enough to remember the bad days when we couldn’t even win a Connaught title. Some people might think- with all the all Ireland final losses – these are terrible years been a Mayo supporter – they are actually great years.
    And I am as disappointed as anyone every time we lose a final – especially the ones we could have won.

  18. Robbie didn’t tell supporters that they were in a privileged position, which seems to be what is being claimed he said. What he said is that the county is in this position. While this message may jar with many as the number of final defeats continues to mount, I too am old enough to remember the days when we couldn’t compete properly in Connacht, never mind at national level. It’s good that we now accept as normal the level we’re at and are, quite rightly, demanding more but we shouldn’t forget either what it used to be like in previous times.

  19. Fully agree Willie Joe.. I remember the 70’s and even the All Ireland Finals of 2004 and 2006 when we were beaten in the first quarter. At least under James Horan we attend matches against the top teams with the expectation that we are there or there about. We are getting ahead of ourselves . Look at the talent Kerry have with five in a row All Ireland Minor wins. I also remember Jack O Shea .

  20. Thanks Larry – I have been to Cill Chomain and just assumed Glenamoy had joined up with another club but never took the time to think with whom! Fair play to them for changing the name as it makes it more inclusive and could be used as excuse for someone to go to another club!

    Hard to believe the reduction in underage teams in the one area and especially that some are now only providing two players to the amalgamated teams. the future isnt looking good for them. I get the change in rural Ireland and smaller families but it is hard to believe so few kids at that age in an area. When we were young we only played GAA – is there any kids playing other sports. I can imagine Caolan Dorris effect has had an impact on Lacken and other influences for other sports. Changes in schools with closures and a child who would traditionally have played for one club now plays with a club that is more local to school then home as wants to play with friends.

    Now that i have been set straight about Glenamoy I think Hollymount/ Carrymore joining up is the only instance of losing an adult team this century in Mayo. Im afraid it isnt the last

  21. I’m sorry but Hennelly’s interviewed is out of touch and says a lot in my view of the mentality in the camp,
    at some point you have to take the what you have learned and deliver.
    The simple fact is we haven’t learned it seems and am not accepting we should be privileged to be in the position were in. He is basically saying we should be happy with our lot. I am tempted to say a lot more, but i’m holding back.
    You know you learn a lot from winning also, so could he not focus on this.
    His message is all wrong and doesn’t give me any confidence at all, time will not wait for him to learn anymore.

  22. Mayoblogger246 – I took out that bit of your comment where you had a swipe at some Mayo supporters. There’s no way you can prove that assertion so I felt it was better remove it altogether. Your core point still stands.

  23. I agree with you skylineirl. Hennelly says If he was taking to Mayo supporters we are very lucky we in a privileged position in Mayo and we should probably appreciate it a bit more

  24. @On The Road & Larry, you’re both completely right regarding numbers in these clubs, especially Lackan. There just isn’t enough jobs in North Mayo to get young families/ keep young adults in the area. Even a commute to Sligo from Lacken/Ballycastle isn’t realistic – it’s just too far. so the only options are Ballina and Killala really. It’s
    one of the reasons why South Mayo can have as many clubs together but all play at a good standard, they have the option of work in Galway/Castlebar/Ballinarobe/Claremorris. This combined with the challenge of keeping lads aged 18-25 involved when they go off to college is killing these clubs. Underage Moygownagh and Ardagh are sometimes amalgamated with Lahardane too, and it’s Moygownagh that are seriously struggling to add player to those teams. The national school of Glenmore closing in Moygownagh resulted in more of the children that would have played with Moygownagh opting to go to Crossmollina too.

    Ardagh been surrounded by Ballina, Crossmollina, and Knockmore in the past meant a lot of players opting to play for the bigger clubs, further reducing their pick, and their current adult team is backboned by decent underage teams in the late 2000s early 2010s, I think they reached 3/4 U21 C finals in that time ( as an amalgamation with Moygownagh and sometimes Lahardane). James Carr is also a massive help in retaining players there.

    Naomh Padraig actually produce some great underage teams, so the talent is there, but 4 adult clubs feeding off it means they don’t impact as much at adult level as they should. Add into that that alot of these players also play together for their school team, and they know eachother well. It probably benefits Killala the most as they get the most players used to playing at a decent standard. Killala should always have enough players from been a small town.

    Kilfian is actually a large area though, so they’ll always have a few players coming through, although again, there simply isn’t work for many adult families.

    Ballycastle, likewise is a large area, and should always have 2/3 players coming through, but will struggle to really challenge.

    Lackan though.. They’ve been struggling for the last 15 years, it’s hard to see where they can go from here.

    There isn’t really a GAA solution here apart from amalgamations, and most clubs don’t want to give up their independence/ticket allocations. Although COVID and remote work might entice more young families to return/settle in these areas.

  25. Sorry WJ and others but why do we always have to reference the 60s and 70s and any old bad eras that people want to remember. From 1989 to today, 33 years, we’ve been in 11 of the 33 finals and lost them all. Of course we did win the league a couple of times. County in a privileged position? Really!!
    From 1933 to 1954, 22 years, Mayo won 9 national league titles and 3 all ireland titles. That’s the Mayo era we should aspire to and not be thankful that at least where we are now is better than the 60s and 70s because where we are now is a far cry from the 30s, 40s and 50s.

  26. I dont think Robbie should have done that interview – it would be better to keep a low profile. ‘We are in a priveleged position in Mayo and should probably appreciate it a little bit more”. That irks me and is out of touch. Im sick of “appreciating it” i want to win! Like how many more chances are there going to be?? Tommy Conroy was class yesterday on the field and his few words accepting man of match were spot on

  27. Ah Now – it’s because, sadly, some of us are as old as we are! I’m not saying, by the way, that I agree with the points made in that interview.

  28. Aidan and Robbie have had their say now and they are entitled to it and I wish them well but there comes a time when you have to put your learnings to use and into practice. I don’t think much is going to change next year under Horan if he has learned anything from all the finals he has been involved in I can’t see any evidence of his learning. I would love if Horan was the man to bring Sam to Mayo but I don’t feel he will get us over the line. To get us to 4 finals is a great achievement but to lose all four suggests unfortunately he’s not the man to finish the job but he shouldn’t be pushed and will hopefully go on his own terms at the end of next year’s championship

  29. CluborCounty – Thanks for the background. When i got up this morning I didnt think I would be spending the day learning so much about North Mayo junior clubs. Its a very interesting topic

    I get what you are saying about local towns but I think where you say South Mayo has an advantage isnt correct. Where you say Castlebar for South Mayo is same as Ballina for Nth Mayo, Ballinrobe/Claremorris is equivalent of Killala. And Sligo too far too commute from North Mayo, Galway is practically same distance from some sth Mayo clubs.

    I think where South Mayo have the advantage is their location for weekend commutes from Dublin/Limerick etc. Same with East Mayo clubs. Makes a big difference when players can be home an hour or 90 mins quicker at weekend compared to North Mayo. The new motorway from Tuam even makes it easier for a player based in Limerick to come down for training once a week if the manager wanted them to. This is not possible for the North Mayo clubs. This allows players to keep their connection with home clubs for much longer in their career.

    I agree there probably isnt a solution – someone will have the drive to try and keep things going/All Ireland tickets always help but the one thing it will probably come down to is money. With a dwindling playing population, guys not around it will come to a stage where county board affiliations/insurance just isnt possible to pay when spread against such a small population. You will always get someone to sponsor a set if jerseys but it will be hard to come up the €20k or more needed to keep a club on the go if they are only playing a handful of games a year.

  30. @skylineirl, Ah no Hennelly isn’t “basically saying we should be happy with our lot” at all.

    Did Hennelly not also say :

    “In fairness, I understand where supporters are coming from, but everyone is disappointed. It’s tough, and obviously it’s tough on the players as well”.

    So isn’t it a case that what he is saying is, yes it is understandable that everyone is disappointed but that we are in a better position to be knocking on the door regularly than never reaching the door at all.

    It’s a completely separate issue as to why we lost the final so for that reason I wouldn’t go hard on him at all.

    For me the stand out comment came from Aidan, “We always thought we were capable of getting back to a final”.

    That tells me more about the mentality in the camp and it helps quieten the “overachievement” narrative.

    This isn’t a criticism of Hennelly in any way because it’s more to do with tactical changes so I’m going to put it out there:

    So a few questions, is it time we converted an outfield player into a goalkeeper and if so is there any player in the panel at the moment who would be a candidate and would a player be willing to do this, or are there players in the county who would not quite make it as an inter county outfield player but who would have all the attributes needed for what we will describe as a “fly keeper” and of course be able to ping long range passes and knock over 45’s.

    I think it’s something we need to start looking at right now, among many other things of course.

  31. Allot of people in Tyrone remember a time when they had some fantastic players, some great(ish) teams, some good(ish) .. Managers, pre 2003, it was a long time, from 1884 the foundation of the GAA to 2003.. The people of Tyrone, wouldn’t or didn’t settle for being consistently competitive, and then underperforming on the biggest day of the all, several times..Forget the 70s,, might have been some great music alright, but although ABBA are making a comeback, it’s expecting allot to think they will be as good as they were in the 70s, by 1979, Agnetha was so good she didn’t even have to be singing for me to think she was out of this world.. But the 70s it be said in Mayo for football it was not worth remembering at all.. The adult men of the 70s were more content reminiscing the 60s or was it the 50s maybe even the 40s rationing and the ’emergency’ ,(a uniquely Irish way of describing the second world war)?..I remember the 70s as well, a kid watching Kerry, Dublin, Roscommon, Galway, Armagh on the Black and White TV that by the end of 70s was a color TV, ..I also remember listening to what I perceived to be old men telling tales of a previous era, when they milked the cows, went to Mass, one fellow cocked a field of hay and cycled 40 miles to Tuam for the Connacht Final, came home and milked the cows again, He was nothing in comparison to his wife, who fed the hens, collected the eggs, she didn’t go to Mass in her local Parish that Sunday morning, she went one better, she cycled 30 miles to Croagh Patrick, it been Reek Sunday, climbed the Reek, got Mass and confessions on the Reek (although it’s hard to imagine how a woman like that would even get time to think about sinning) cycled home, they both said the rosary and went to bed, by all accounts they didn’t need any sleeping tablet’s..It was worthwhile because Mayo won, that’s not an exaggeration, it’s a story I heard told to the Priest, so it had to be true at the local Stations, back when I was serving the Station Mass with the Parish Priest, Nowadays I know a Priest who has never climbed the Reek, but keeps getting selfies with the Reek in the background … But where you going if you say to yourself we are better now than we were then? ..

  32. What also happens with amalgamated clubs at underage level is that many players don’t get to play at all. I know of one amalgamation where players just give up after national school as they are never going to make the competitive amalgamated team whilst separate club teams would lead to more players continuing to play albeit in reduced number games (11 or 13 a side). Some amalgamations are amalgamating because they want to play at a higher level or even worse to just win comps in lower levels b and even c or d.

  33. @JP, I haven’t seen him in action and have only read about him but it’s an excellent proposal to start with, thanks.

    He sounds like the type I have in mind for sure.

  34. I think people need to give Hennelly a break. He’s obviously more disappointed than anyone and isn’t saying supporters should be happy with our lot. Players and management will always try and put a positive spin on things. There are no positives out of the Tyrone game IMO, but players have to look at things differently and the season as a whole had some good points.

    We hear very little from players these days and it doesn’t help matters giving out about anything they do say.

  35. West Donegal would be quite similar to north Mayo in terms of their level of isolation and local economy etc. I’m talking places like Gweedore, Falcarragh, Dungloe, even Kilcar and Glencolmcille in the south west.
    All very rural areas. However they are THRIVING compared to some of these north Mayo clubs. Half the Donegal senior panel comes from the aforementioned clubs.
    The people living in these regions seems to return and live there in greater numbers than in Mayo. I did notice that it seems to be a lot easier to get planning permission for a one off house in Gweedore than in Kilcommon or Ballycastle. Gweedore is the most densely populated rural area in Europe.
    I know it’s completely off topic but it’s actually a fascinating sociological discussion around rural depopulation in northern Mayo.
    For me, Ballina holds the key to the long term future of the region. Places like Lacken, Kilfian and moygownagh are VERY liveable areas for young couples If sufficient jobs and connectivity can be established in Ballina in the next decade or so.
    Lacken has some of the finest farmland in Connacht for example, and it’s industries and farming families like this that have been the backbone of clubs like Knockmore, hollymount and Garrymore in other parts of Mayo.
    Sometimes at a club level, you just need one or two big GAA families to turn a small club around. The Carrs in Ardagh would be a good example. The Mortimers in shrule turned that club from a junior also ran in the late 90s to a senior county final in 2004.

  36. Am i right in saying that out of the 8 senior matches, there was only 1 “away win” at Balla! Is there anything in this – like fewer travelling supporters, or have some senior clubs resorted to high-stakes dirty tricks again like painting the Visitor Changing Rooms in dark gloomy colours which has worked in the past!!!!!!!

  37. I’m sure there was some sort of a prior agreement for the lads to be interviewed after the game. Fair play to them for doing it…not sure how most of us would react to live questioning on TV. It is clear to me that they are disappointed for the team but also appreciate the frustration felt by supporters. I listened to the interviews and felt hope rather than despondency, and yes, we are privileged, even if Robbie did not say we are.

  38. Judging by these comments sounds like theres little chance of retirements .
    What have we 40 clubs in Mayo? And we’ve used two keepers 99% of the time for last +/- 15 years.
    That role isnt to be scoring 45s.

  39. Very interesting post, Larry Duff. Lots of things to chew on in that, indeed.
    (I also agree with Wide Ball.
    Furthermore, it shows Robbie had bottle to actually say this, given the flailing he received in the public arena previously. I’m sure the man has a lot perspective on things that are said by numbers of the public).

  40. It is two weeks since the final and things are kinda returning to normal. I think we are in a great position heading into 2022 . i just cannot understand people wanting to get rid of JAMES HORAN. He brought us a connacht title and qualified for the all-ireland final. If even one of the goal chances was scored mayo would have won it, because a goal would have lifted the team and supporters to greater effort. With each goal miss the wind was knocked out of the team and the supporters in the ground. JAMES has a four year term and there is one year left. I really hope the current selectors wait on and go on and win the all-ireland in 2022.

  41. @11 finals too much, well within 15 minutes @JP has drew my attention to Colm Reape as one example of the type of keeper I believe we need.

    If you can get a keeper who can nail 45s or long range frees, all the better.

    But a modern day keeper needs to be able to contribute much more to the game than in the past, nowadays shot stopping is well down the list and in any case how many times is a keeper going to be called upon for that in reality.

    Of course it’s important, but from what I have read of Reape, he is a good shot stopper as well.

    So what would the logic be for not bringing Reape in for the league for example and have our fly keeper ready for the Championship ?

  42. @jimbo, I like that “He brought us a connacht title and qualified for the all-ireland final” but yet when we lose we can never say “He lost us the All-Ireland final”.

    And I don’t say that either by the way because when I’m analyzing the final in minute detail it’s impossible to pick one single reason why we lost because it is a combination of so many.

    My point is that winning and losing in a team sport should never be attributed to any one individual, otherwise we could credit Conor Lane for getting us to the final.

  43. Talk of dissent in the management is í think bull. I heard Kieran Mc was out socialising with a group of the players a few days after the match from a Mayo man in Navan that at takes holidays in Mayo after each final, some year he will be right. Doesn’t sound like a man leaving our coaching team.

  44. Watched the final back again. Have a look at the Mayo play in the 26th min. It’s the lead up to the AOS goal chance.
    Hennelly kick out. Finds S coen on the 45. One turn and look up, direct 40m kick pass to ROD in midfield. Instant turn and exquisite kick pass in less than one second to an isolated AOS in the full forward line.
    Because the ball was moved so fast – there was SPACE in front of the Tyrone goal. Danger was everywhere when Aido got the ball. Yeah he should have dummy soloed back and we missed the chance.
    But don’t let it undo the quality of the buildup play. That is the template for this Mayo team going forward. I think ROD is an all star centre half forward in future laying on those kind of passes.
    A few min earlier there was a different play. How NOT to win an all Ireland against the like of Tyrone.
    Paddy Durcan picks up a loose Tyrone kicked ball near his own end line after good Mayo defending.
    Puts the head down and Solos like a lunatic out to about 70 m, taking on 3 men and bursting his arse. Exhausted from the run he lays it to Oisin Mullen who continues the charge running at about 3 Tyrone men. He solos a little high about 50m out from their goals before the ball is flicked away from him. By chance it falls into Mayo hands and is quickly shifted across to Conor loftus who takes on a difficult kick about 45 m out going away from goal with 2 men hanging off him.
    It goes wide.
    Oisin and Paddy are probably still gasping as Morgan plants the ball and sets up another Tyrone attack.
    This is HoranBall. It looks amazing when it works against less athletic sides.
    It. Doesn’t. Work. Against. Teams. Like. Tyrone.
    We need to do more of what we saw in the 26th minute and more the ball efficiently and quickly into the danger zone. Soloing and hopping out of defence is manna from heaven for Tyrone.

  45. Unfortunately it’s a feature of the West of Ireland, parents raising children and then off to College in Dublin or Galway or further afield. Sure look at some of us bloggers, making our living “in the big smoke”.
    Even in South Mayo, I’m surprised that clubs can stay going, too many clubs in close proximity, Garrymore, Hollymount, Mayo Gaels, Davitts, The Neale, Shrule and Kilmaine.
    Carramore gone a few years ago.
    Castlebar, Westport, Ballina, Claremorris and Ballinrobe must be getting big numbers of players.
    They should change the boundary rules, here in Dublin you can basically join any club, no boundary structure in place.

  46. Does Mayo Gaa need a new club in Westport or Castlebar?
    Tralee has 5 or 6 GAA clubs for example.

  47. @Larry Duff, you more or less reflect my own analysis but I haven’t finished yet !

    The point I was making regarding why I thought Aidan should have been told to stay at full forward is not that I thought he would be a scoring threat but it was to allow quick ball get into the danger zone but obviously a game plan would have to be worked on to make sure he had support, not rocket science.

    Tyrone love to slow the game down, gives them time to get in position and turn you over.

    I’ve yet to see a team turn over a ball that’s flying over their heads.

    Let the ball do the work.

    What worries me is that what we are talking about is basic common sense that even anyone who never played or managed the game should know, that’s the part that has me scratching my head.

    Tyrone were the perfect team to use a curveball on.

  48. Very interesting discussion on North Mayo junior football here folks.

    In an unrelated issue, Rob Hennelly’s comments are very unfortunate and tbh reek of a losing mentality. While Mayo football supporters may be lucky relative to the likes of Carlow, Leitrim or Longford fans, they’ve never been the barometer of progress for us. If we want to win an All-Ireland, we need to aspire to the standards set by the likes of Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone. It’s not that unrealistic either given that we have been consistently in finals over the past decade and have beaten all of those counties in the championship in the last five years.

    There’s no reason why Mayo fans should be content with consistently losing All-Ireland finals and never winning one. Especially given the carry-on concerning tickets in the run-up to this year’s final.

  49. @Larry Duff, you are clued in but always easier to be wise after the event.
    One think I have been thinking about, came into my mind watching the Neale trying to compete with Breaffy yesterday.
    For a team to take the pressure away from themselves they all should push up the pitch for their own kickouts.
    This means the fullback line would be placed on their own 50 yard line, the full forward line would be very close to the opposition goal.
    By doing this there would be no turnovers created to one’s own goals.
    The opposition forwards would follow the defenders out the pitch and if they don’t follow the defender than the goalkeeper picks out the defender.
    Why can’t Mayo management come up with this new tactic.

    The rural decline / difficulties in fielding a team is nothing new, when I was growing up in South Mayo in the 1980’s, we struggled to field an u12, u14 and u16 team, guys are picked up to go to a game, no advance training, for an u14 game there would be a few 11 year olds just to make up the numbers. A small few of us, three or four would be virtually playing against the opposition.
    I lined out for an u21 game when I was 14, another 2 guys were 13 and 14 respectively.

  50. Larry Duff – An extra club in one of the bigger towns was something i was thinking about before. Breaffy goes right into Castlebar but would another team work with its base the other side of town.

    I remember a friend talking to me years ago about Letterkenny. He was involved with a club up there – think Letterkenny Gaels back in early 90’s. He described it as the “blow ins” club. The club grew developed underage structure. The original blow ins became locals got their neighbors involved and i think he told me they are a senior club now and that a new clubs has now been setup and is not the “blow ins” club. Infancy to proper developed club in 20 years. It is great for football in Letterkenny and Donegal as there is opportunity for more. Castlebar now going well in Intermediate – would the town be better serviced with a seperate club. I think so and i think it is better for Mayo. Instead of Castlebar having two underage teams maybe there would be three in the town and as the new team developed they become more competitive / develop better players in the twon. As you say this is what is happening in Kerry.

    Bit to early to say if it would work in Westport as they have grown really fast in a short period. Give them aother few years to see if playing population continues in the town as it is a much smaller town than Castlebar and they have a higher percentage out playing football

  51. @Mayo88, I don’t think it is hindsight to be fair, the hindsight was there when Tyrone beat Kerry, so it was more a lack of foresight if anything.

    The only thing which may have surprised Mayo was how Tyrone won the midfield battle so easily but that’s where the crust is earned with in game management, apart from that Tyrone were as predictable as you could have hoped for, even down to who was going to be sprung from the bench.

    I understand what you are saying about pushing up the pitch but what happens when the opposition win the kick out, one quick ball in over the top and their forwards have acres of space to run into and open road ahead of them with no defender between them and goal.

  52. I felt the concerning part of Robbie’s interview was saying he watched the game bk a couple of times and will take the learnings from it. So many non goal keepers seem to know that if you come off your line you have to take man and ball including your own full bk and unfortunately 8 yrs previous this wasn’t done and lessons were not learned so I would be concerned that poor decision making is permanent problem in the Mayo setup. Colm Reape has played outfield and as a forward and he is big and strong and has a booming kick so he is a great option in my opinion also forwards who become goalkeepers would be aware of how forwards think therefore decision making should be better.

  53. New podcast episode is up. This is a special tribute episode to the late Paddy Prendergast, with Rob and Ed and it feature audio of Paddy never before broadcast.

  54. @It Means Nothing to Me, I don’t know any Mayo fan, player, manager or coach who is content with losing finals and I never thought for a second that was the meaning of what Robbie said.

    Are we happy to be losing finals – Off course not.

    I’m actually enraged that we lost against Tyrone because I know deep down that it was a game that we really should have won and lets be fair the vast majority thought so beforehand as well.

    This may sound daft now but in the long run more benefit may come from this defeat as opposed to us having been knocked out by Dublin in the semi-final because it really is a line in the sand moment because now things must change, they simply cannot stay the same and I’m not talking about James Horan here.

    There are things we can do in the short term to increase our chances of success and there are things that take a bit longer to put in place but at the end of the day it is up to the County Board to listen and then act on logical recommendations and if they fail to do that then it is them and nobody else who are failing in their duty.

    I often wonder do the County Board realize what the financial kick back would be if Mayo actually won an All-Ireland or are they the contented ones ?

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing if some of us were given the opportunity to have an open and broad discussion with the County Board where we could put our suggestions forward and at the same time consider what they have to say also, as a supporter group with no self interest because at the moment you have to say the PR is pretty poor.

  55. @nodoubt – It was inevitable from the first kick out that the Neale were not willing to mix it on the wings or midfield with Breaffy. It is a long way to the half line when receiving ball on your own 22 never mind the goal! The conceded too much against our lads from short kick outs being turned over and the same happened against Breaffy.

  56. Overall I have been a fan of Robbie, Aidan and James over the years.

    Aido was foolish with his Sunday World article and I think that Robbie needs to be careful about what he says re Mayo and our failure to win, unfortunately for himself and Aido, they have history in failing to get across the line with both Breaffy and Mayo. I would advise both of them to stay under the radar until one or both of those things change.

    James has changed the Mayo mindset but has tried and failed 4 times in the final, I have limited confidence that things will be any different in another final unless something changes, probably in both the tactical and mental approach. If I were on the county board, I would support him if he indicated what he had learned and what he was going to change. I would also be planning now who would take over even if James was to complete his 4th year. Ideally this would help ease the transition but i know that this may be very difficult to implement in practice.

  57. I have to agree with an earlier post about players on amalgamated teams not getting game time. I saw it with teams I was involved with where lots of young lads didn’t get much game time and as a result had very little football played by the time they got to adult level where they went back to their club and that suffered because some of the players were very raw as far as football smarts go and some of the kids just walked away.

  58. Not been funny but are these guys actually really great managers. Nothing against the man in charge, but if you think about it theres not many mayo managers who actually didnt get us a to a final and lose in the past 25 years.
    You’d have to wonder.

  59. @11 finals too much, I don’t believe that you actually need to have ever played inter county or managed at underage to be a good inter county manager in the same way that having been a good inter county player does not mean you will be a good inter county manager.

    People will try to counter this by pointing to managers who have won All-Irelands who were successful at lower levels but that’s simply consequential because they wouldn’t have been given the senior job otherwise.

    If James Horan stepped away from his position and I was given responsibly to recruit the next Mayo manager, I know right now the man I want and I’d know how to get him as well.

  60. Also disappointing not to see any remarks by Mayo GAA on the 50th anniversary of the minor win in 1971. Offaly GAA yesterday had lots of videos, photos etc of their win at senior level on same day.

  61. Viper very curious to know who your choice would be, I think a club manager in North Mayo would probably get it if it came up soon but who I would like to see get it if James decided to step aside early I would have to think about it more. I honestly believe James Horan is an excellent coach and can build a team and develop young players but I have my doubts he can manage a team in pressure situations and be ruthless enough to get us over the line.

  62. Hi,
    Just a comment regarding Lacken. They are today’s headline for the wrong reason through no definite fault of their own. while Ardagh are at the opposite side of the small club coin feathering a player in the All Ireland Final only a few weeks ago.
    As already stated in previous posts, any small club in mayo could be the next Lacken or Ardagh.
    My suggestion is
    The County board should provide and promote a secondary all County championship that is inclusive of every player in Mayo.
    Only a suggestion of how it could work,
    the competition is for any grade 4 teams
    Senior are grade 3
    Intermediate grade 2
    Junior grade 1
    Anyone can join each other provide they don’t exceed grade 4
    This will provide an opportunity for all footballers in the county to prove themselves.
    It will expand support base for clubs (provide more money at gates)
    IMO a reduced league and second championship would be more interesting.
    It will definitely produce a wider player catchment for the county team.
    It will protect small clubs from transfers as there will be a high level outlet for good players at Senior grade.
    I know it been tried, failed. Big clubs no interest, loads of reasons not to but a big sponsor with a big reward will generate interest
    Anyway only a suggestion but definitely we have to try do something to protect and provide for small clubs.

  63. I see an article in todays Mayo News re the Lacken situation. Looks like a club meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the future of the club/whether they can fulfil fixtures.

    Its happening quicker than I expected. Really sad to see – some people have invested their lifetime into a club and to see that it might have to disband. I think it is even sadder that it is happening mid competition. I really hope they can get through the next two games and then sit down and have proper discussion about it before end of year.

  64. The Lacken situation is very sad. Thinking about is since Sunday and only solution I can see is for them to play in Junior C Championship in 2022. This must however be played after every clubs first team has played in their respective championships. Rural depopulation is a huge issue that has been accentuated by successive governments and will bite more clubs into the future. There will be people who feel they have to amalgamate but while they can keep 15 players on a team, keep the light on is my philosophy. They are playing at a level at which they cant compete at the moment, and that is the most pressing issue.

  65. I agree the club shouldn’t be disbanded yet as long as they can still field a team.
    Lacken have a long and proud history.
    It also made me think of a conversation I had with a former senior Mayo panelist from a small junior club a few years ago now who was told in no uncertain terms by the senior Mayo manager (not James Horan) that if he didn’t move to a larger town club nearby he was “going nowhere” in terms of his senior intercounty career.
    I was angry then and I’m still angry now that such a suggestion could be made, from the very highest echelons of mayo football, to a player from a club not that dissimilar to Lacken actually.
    Enda – it wouldn’t be too different to Cathal Horan or someone like that from Kilmovee making the Mayo senior panel next year and then getting tapped on the shoulder by mayo management to say “you need to join Ballaghdereen next year if you are serious about playing for Mayo”
    One life, one club, or something like that isn’t it?

  66. Having watched the Schumacher documentary, you get an appreciation for persistence. Bear with me here as I compare Schumacher to James Horan and Ferrari are Mayo!.
    He joined Ferrari in 1996 and took 5 seasons to land the drivers championship and Ferrari’s 21 year drought ended. Coming so close in 97 and 98. Ferrari could well have started to look elsewhere but persisted with him.
    He changesd the whole culture of Ferrari similar to what Horan is doing with Mayo.
    My point is that there is an awful lot to be said about persistence and tweaking until the right results are obtained. Nobody is as dedicated as Horan. Not for one second can any one of us fans say we will be putting in the hours over the winter in reviewing videos, working through scenarios and planning for the year ahead. I’m sure when the time is right he will be on the podcast answering the awkward questions and plotting for the league and championship and we will be hanging on his every word.

    Imagine what Cillian is going theough in his head and the messages that will be shared on the team’s whatsapp group and the appetite that man will have going into next year. Throw into the mix the form trajectory that Tommy Conroy and RO’D are showing! What full back line next year are looking forward to seeing those 3 tog out against them! The hunger is there, don’t ye worry about that. Hoping Ciaran McD and James Burke hang around as well.

  67. Erris Head why didn’t Mayo have that hunger against Tyrone 70 years of Famine and only Lee Keegan and Coen truly looked like and played like they wanted to win Sam. Tyrone were very beatable on the day

  68. I agree. Let’s have a look at colm reape. We need another keeper option. Like it or lump it Robbie did not cover himself in glory for those goals. Yes he was excellent all year .mullin needs to come to midfield and Lee back out to the half back line. Tommy out to 11. We have cillian. Harrison. McLaughlin to come in too
    Hope Mcdonald stays.

  69. Erris Head, as much as I appreciate the Formula One comparison on this most unlikely of forums, I think you might be overlooking one or two pertinent things about Mickey Schumacher. 1) He had already won a World Championship with Benetton, who would have been seen as an unfashionable team, before he went to Ferrari; 2) Schumacher had a killer instinct, for instance forcing Damon Hill off the track in the final race of 1994 to win the WDC, and almost repeating the trick with Jacques Villeneuve in 1997. As much as I love Mayo football, I fear that we lack this “kill or be killed” instinct as a collective, and Rob Hennelly’s recent comments only harden this suspicion.

  70. I’m inclined to agree with you It means nothing to me. Rob Hennelly’s comments, especially the reference to ‘’privileged’’ suggests an acceptance to being consistently in the top 3 or 4 teams as good enough. While there is truth in the suggestion we are privileged as a county to making the latter stages of the all Ireland I do wonder would a Kerry player or fan have the same mentality so soon after an all Ireland loss. It’s a mentality I have been guilty of in the past but from now on the privilege cannot be getting to a final it has to be the privilege of winning one.

  71. VIPER.. His initials ,first letter of name, and first letter of surname. it would be a good puzzle to solve ,and would be very interesting, name that tune in 2. slan

  72. Regarding the Lacken result and it is being discussed here which is understandable as it was such a huge defeat and the fact that they did not score. However i cannot understand what good that article in the Mayo News does…?? Will it improve Lackens situation, how must the Lacken players feel reading that, cannot see the logic in that article. I noticed a tweet since by a Lacken player today saying they don’t know where this rumour they are finished is coming from so obviously they are not happy I remember a number of years ago a similar two page spread about a defeat Ballycroy suffered in a league game where they did not score either and thinking the same thing at the time how it could be written as it would only disappoint people involved in the Ballycroy club and wasn’t as if the publicity it generated was going to help there situation in anyway. I wonder if these clubs might think if they had a small bit of success would the papers give it as much headlines!!! I have to say the article left a sour taste in a paper i regard very highly for its coverage of sport

  73. Agreed Goal Poacher. I remember that famous scene in the RTE documentary “Marooned”, in which Páidí Ó Sé went to town on Alan Mangan for being physically and mentally soft in the drawn Leinster final back in 2004. His line was his players had to be “steely tough upstairs and must be willing to bust your gut!”

    Westmeath ended up winning their only Leinster title and a few players got All-Stars. Mangan scored four points from play in the replay.

    No doubt we have a full squad of players who will put their bodies on the line for the cause, but such a line from a senior player raises deep concerns about the “steely tough upstairs” part. A lot of Mayo players played below their capabilities on the final day a few weeks ago.

  74. I didn’t hear the Rob Hennelly interview but if it hints that Mayo supporters should be privileged that Mayo get to All Ireland’s without ever winning one then I think we all should give up now.
    After so many finals why do the players feel that they are learning each time.

    Out with the old try new blood.

  75. Sad to read about decline of Lacken GAA.
    Sounds like lack of players is the problem.

    Imagine the concept of loaning players in the Gaa. The bigger clubs/population bases have a surplus of players, fact. Thats not good for players as they eventually get tired of not playing and pack in it.
    This system would need detailed fine tuning, but a starting point ,if the amount of players a club could use was capped at say 25 per season, Im sure there could be an incentive worked out for player and home club. The current system seems to penalise playing for another club.
    Maybe if you played for a weaker club you’d be exempt, somehow.. again finer details..

    Could it eventually lead to county level, imagine a couple of surplus Dubs playing for Carlow or Louth ? Imagine a competitive Leitrim or Sligo. 3/4 players loaned in would make a difference. We’d get to keep the ancient provincial championship.

    Again we want to stay amateur. Maybe All Ireland final tickets is the incentive.

  76. Will the people who are knocking Rob Hennelly in relation to the interview he gave – please go back and listen or read the full interview. Very frustrating that people are criticising Hennellys interview based on headings in the media that were taken completely out of context.

  77. For people who haven’t heard it, there’s a link to the two interviews below (video coverage of Aido’s, reported text on Rob’s).

    I will say, personally, that there were no positives from this particular All-Ireland final loss. It was our best opportunity to win one in two decades or more and we were outfought, outthought and outplayed. No solace there whatsoever. Sad to say it but we are now regarded as a laughing stock nationally, which should stick in the craw of any proud Mayo person.

    That said, no-one deserves personal abuse, online or in the street. But there’s also no way that any Mayo fan or player should be content with second place at this point.

  78. Enjoyed reading the reports of the weekends games. Few players that caught my eye purely from looking at the stats and reports.
    1. Cian McHale of moy Davitts. Still u18, I was impressed by this guy in last years u17 team. He kicked 0-8, 6 from play against Swinford at the weekend. That’s fair scoring in a very competitive intermediate championship.
    2. Conor Diskin of Claremorris. About 23/24, seemed to be the standout player on the park for them at the weekend and apparently was the difference against Davitts. A big strong man, surely worth a look again next year for Mayo?
    3. There’s another good young lad that caught my eye in last years u17 side playing for Castlebar B in intermediate – Bob Tuohy. He’s a good fielder and was motm for castlebar in the recent u19 Mayo club final. One to watch too, still a kid but I think he has a lot of potential.
    4. Have heard reports that Aidan Orme looked very sharp for knockmore at corner forward against Aghamore. Could be a guy on the verge of a breakout year next year, obviously well established in the squad already.
    5. On the castlebar seniors is a lad called Paul Walsh at corner forward. He was a classy minor a few years ago. I wonder if he is anywhere near the county setup either?

    Any other names stick out over the weekend that anyone saw play? Louisburgh are going very well – there must be one or two of their players putting their hands up at this stage, and Mayo Gaels too.

  79. John Gallagher is another interesting one. Scored 1-7, 1-6 from play, against Holly/Carra. He would be 21 this year.

  80. Does nobody think that the bay watch video was done months before the AI and then Pair mobile cashed in on the high profileness of the player being in the final? I thought I saw photos of a lot of that ad months before on Aidan’s Instagram.

    It’s funny how everyone can take a different meaning from the same interview. I thought fair ‘ducks’ to RH. He grovelled and apologised a few years ago. Where did that get him?! Loads of hate mail and abuse. I thought it showed he has toughened up and won’t be tolerating bs from anybody who wants to make his life a misery. More power to him. What did ye want him to say?! Act like a right soft mess and grovel again but this time live on tv. He went out to do his best. It’s football, not life or death even if it doesn’t feel like it a lot of the time. It’s time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and move on. The players and management know we are not happy. A line drawn in the sand this time as Viper says.

  81. Conor diskin is a real quality football er. I rate him highly and yes he needs to be looked at again. Can win a 50 50 aerial dual.

  82. The most important step for Mayo at the moment is to keep oisin mullen in the country.
    Get the man a secure job or help him out in college.oisin wasn’t fully fit the last day but when in full flow he is a joy to watch and is improving all the time.
    And get him out of the full back line for next year.

  83. To be fair I dont think getting Oisin a job is the issue. PortWest have posters up on the run up to the All Ireland wishing their colleague Oisin well on final etc.. So I say work is taken care of and if Oisin (or anyone else for that matter) decides to take up an opportunity in Oz work will not be the reason they go.

    To be fair any player that gets an opportunity to become a full time pro would be crazy not to have a good think about it – they might decide it isnt for them but they have to think about it. It is a great opportunity

    Speaking of Oisin reminded me of how amalgamation teams can be a success. Both Oisin and Enda Hession have came through Carras. Thats one underage structure supporting an adult senior and intermediate team. Both Garrymore/Kilmaine also field at junior so 4 adult teams When you think that they have one underage supporting two adult teams and the likes of Westport/Castlebar having two or three teams at each underage level and flowing through to one adult structure (both with three teams). You have to acknowledge that there must be serious work going on in Garrymore/Kilmaine as a very high percentage of players must play adult football

  84. Hennelly is a nice/decent lad I’m sure, but is a big boy now and doesn’t need to
    So protected, defended or pampered. I’m
    Sure he is hurting and nobody is personally attacking him. Why are some people so sensitive, we laughed at the dubs crying when they started moaning after we beat them,
    We’re doing similar, when someone comments on our players.

    It’s the mindset of the interview that’s the issue.
    It’s not just ok to just take positives from the defeat and continue learning and expect that we will be ok with that. A successful season is not losing an all Ireland in the way we did, we expect more now and expect more from our representatives.
    Players are in a privileged position representing our county and I took offence by him more or less saying the supporters are privileged to be making finals.
    Players are benefiting from playing for Mayo and there doing something they love.
    So we should be entitled to expect more from them.

    The mindset should be,
    “we let ourselves down,
    We need to learn to get over the line,
    if im part of the squad I’ll do everything I can to get us over the line, we can do better. Mayo gaa people
    Put there lives and soul into football, as players
    We Are in a privileged position representing our county and we have start believing we can win finals as getting there is not just good enough.”

  85. @ontheoneroad there is a big difference between Carras and and some of the North mayo amalgamations. Both Kilmaine and Garry struggled one year to field and they joined, seen they had a good team and kept it going. They would both be well able to field underage teams on their own now and have lost some of their clubs identity. When you look at some of the clubs around them like Shrule/Glen and The Neale been well able to field you have to wonder what is so different.

  86. @skylineirl I see where you are coming from but nobody is talking about criticism or analysis as being abuse, of course we expect the players to be able to deal with that and they are or they wouldn’t keep putting themselves in the situation. There are people who abuse to their faces, online and by mail (and in the indo/tv). It is not criticism when foul language, name calling and threats are made. Like it or not it’s a cohort of our own fan base. Didn’t AOS say recently someone published his house address as a house for sale/to be rented or something like that and he had people calling to the door and ringing. I met a friend of Rob Hennelly’s dad who said the hate mail got so bad the family had to intercept the postman and just burn it without opening. The lad on the back of that did publish a grovelling apologetic I’ll do better Instagram post that still sickens me when I think of it. If you think abuse like that is part and parcel of their lot there is something wrong. The GPA first defended them, then Mayo GAA and then the GAA, all in the space of 7-10 days. It obviously crossed a line very fast this time. People of course have a right to be angry, disappointed and expect more but not to intimidate, belittle and ruin someone’s lives. I felt very humiliated myself and angry but I would never think I had a right to attack. I don’t care if they get to drive a ‘decent’ car or have a normal job in mayo as a reward to represent us. It’s not Lamborghinis they are getting or to run the bank. They don’t have chauffeurs, multiple cars, mansions etc. They are the same as the rest of us but play for high profile ‘losers’ Mayo. Maybe they should get Lamborghinis to make them stay suffering all the ire that comes their way. I wouldn’t do it for that.

  87. @Sinead37, Firstly people that resort to what you said above are lousy, they will at some point wake up some morning and realize how rotten that is. Sometimes your better to ignore it, and maybe GPA and mayo board should also. I have no solution to what best way to deal with that. My point above is more on a milder basis, in that mayogaa making a statement only fuels the joe brollies of the world more, whom i think has a vindictive and horrible side to him. But what your saying is at a whole different level altogether.

    This doesn’t change my view point on mentality though. I’m delighted the players benefit, be it a 1990 for sierra or Lamborghini, great if they do. I don’t want o shea or hennelly grovelling, thats worse.
    But the interview leans more to an acceptance of this year been successful, and we are privileged to be where we are. We got promoted from division 2, a standard, won Connacht thats ok, got past Dublin great, but lost a winnable final. Based on interview i feel we will learn nothing or change anything, so the goal is to get back to a final, which we can do, the goal needs to be more and we need to be ruthless to get there. I was disappointed by the interview and lastly I hope that i’m proved wrong and your back here this time last year saying there mentality was spot on, but i’m not so sure.

  88. There’s no doubt that players make a lot of sacrifices as do inter county managers but do we have any players on the panel or do we have a manager who is not willingly making those sacrifices, I don’t believe we do and if you are a talented footballer then what are you really sacrificing when you are doing something that you really want to do, I think they are the lucky ones to be part of the chosen few who are good enough to make it, so I would totally dismiss any talk that they are doing it for “us”, players are doing it for themselves and so is the manager, I’d be disappointed if that wasn’t the case.

    I’ll tell you what a real sacrifice would be and it would be interesting to see how many would make this one, would our panel be willing to stop using social media for a year, stop reading articles about Mayo and themselves, stop doing promotional work and stop giving any type of interviews and focus totally on winning the All-Ireland in 2022 because I believe all of this is damaging their psyche and needs to be tackled head on and you have to ask yourself, how can it not be affecting their performances.

    I would love nothing more than to have our panel in a room for an hour to see who would make this sacrifice, in other words who values increasing their chances of winning an All-Ireland more than social media, who is with me and who is not because if we do not get the teak toughness in the mind first, it matters not if you can run all day.

    Mayo can win an All-Ireland but we first need to instill the siege mentality and use that pent up anger as a weapon because right now I believe it’s a debilitating factor.

    I know some people will reply to this and say why should they do that, it’s the abusers who are at fault, but you must remember the abuse will continue and the abusers only win when what they wrote gets into your mind.

    But it’s not just the abuse, it’s all this talk of 70 odd years and curses etc. It all adds pressure.

    So you are killing a few birds with one stone here, firstly you are not reading the damaging and pressurizing material and secondly if it is known that players aren’t reading it then it’s a pointless exercise for the fools who write it but more importantly I believe it will improve our performances, every percentage counts in the overall scheme, it’s all about maxing out on every aspect of preparation.

    This “project” of winning an All-Ireland can be done, but we need to approach it differently, starting right now, the question is who is going to drive this project because it is too much to expect James Horan to cover every minute aspect of it and do we have anyone in the County Board who can see what the new approach should be.

    I think people should be allowed to be critical as long as they are not abusive to the individual, because we cant forget criticism can be very helpful, I look at it more as feedback, a word we don’t use enough but some people can have a tendency to feel that by being critical they are being abusive, I think it is more of a cultural thing, it’s like going to a restaurant and telling the owner the food and the service was good when your true thoughts were that both were terrible.

    Well that doesn’t help the restaurant because nothing will change, it actually damages it because you wont go back and neither will your friends.

    I think there is ample proper critical analysis out there that the County Board, the manager and players are aware of, but what will test the patience of all supporters is if this “feedback” is not acted upon and starting right away.

  89. This is a very good piece by Edwin. Clear, easy to follow and interesting.
    I’m just glad it was Ed watching the game back and not me : )
    Well worth a read indeed.

  90. That’s some breakdown of the game and brilliant analysis by McGreal.
    It should almost be made compulsary reading for any Mayo fan, and especially for those who are still tearing their hair out as to what happened in that final.
    I thought he was both fair to the manager and the players as regards where that final performance came from. Fair in the respect that he lifted alot of blame from where maybe it had wrongly been put, and he shone the light on where the game was lost, based on a thorough review of the game.
    Again I would recommend all to have a good read of this match breakdown. It’s as good and better than I’ve ever read.
    Well done Mr McGreal.

  91. Edwin put a lot of work into his piece for sure and it’s a good read but I’m not sure I would fully agree on how good the goal chances were that we had.

    If you look carefully at our first goal chance from Conor Loftus, the ball unexpectedly bobbles from his right, he has to check his run and simultaneously adjust his feet, his eyes are glued to the ball, easier said than done to strike through the ball in those circumstances and I don’t think picking it up was an option, and you have to give credit to the defender who wasn’t sucked in and ran back to protect his goal, had the defender not got inside we would be describing Conor’s goal execution as perfect. Had one of defenders done the same thing we would describe it as excellent defending.

    Our second goal chance which fell to Aidan, (freeze the vid at 26:05), all Aidan sees is an open goal so he was right to take it on, he didn’t score because of the trojan defending by Ronan McNamee, we can only say it was a poor decision in hindsight but in real time it was understandable he went for it. Again it was excellent defending.

    For the Tommy Conroy chance I would totally agree with Edwin that there was another play in it, so poor decision making and execution.

    On Ryan’s penalty miss, Edwin more or less repeated what I said here last week, that an All-Ireland final was not the time to try “a John Aldridge style shuffle”. Of course we will never know if this shuffle impacted on the end result but my own theory is that it did because if you are intending to go for the top corner to begin with then a shuffle is not going to benefit you in any case. So I am leaning towards poor or no preparation / poor decision making as contributory factors in missing a 75% scoring chance.

    On the Bryan Walsh chance on 53 minutes again we can see the Tyrone defender putting his body on the line but certainly at least a point should have came out of it or the hand pass into Aidan was the better option.

    So I would have a slightly different opinion to Edwin as regards to the chances being “gilt-edged”.

    Even if we were to meet somewhere in the middle, we arrive back at where we were a couple of weeks ago that there is a serious philological issue at play here which is having a drastic and costly effect on decision making which consequently is costing us.

    So we are back my “no stones unturned philosophy”.

    There are however other issues regarding what exactly our forward structure was and did the above chances fall to us by “chance” or was there actually any forward plan in place, because I think it’s fair to say that you could see that the two goals Tyrone scored were straight off the training ground.

    There’s no doubt many of our players performed well below par, I think what people want to get to the bottom of is why that was as opposed to only highlighting the results of that poor decision making.

    Perhaps there’s an article in that alone.

    I have a link here for our goal “chances”, I’d recommend to keep a close eye on the top class defending by Tyrone though and consider carefully how good the chances actually were :

  92. Great link Viper. Tommy had the best opportunity, ie to square the ball to Aidan, who was pretty much unmarked, hence making it a higher percentage shot. Tommy will need to learn here, as per Dublin. Rush of blood to the head in the excitement. Then again, given Aidan’s earlier miss, Tommy might have justifiably felt he was better taking the shot on himself, so I’d give him a free pass here. His shot was indeed poorly executed.

    Bryan Walsh’s miss was perhaps the most difficult chance of the 4. A fist over the bar was in order, especially as we were only 2 behind (?) at that point.

    Conor needs to do a lot better with his opportunity. It’s not hit with any conviction whatsoever (Same could also be said for the other 3 goal misses). Conor probably should have gathered the ball first, then placed it or blasted it.

    I agree we need to ask why we can’t take key opportunities in All Ireland finals, especially in the second half, ie Cillians missed frees in ’16 and ’17, Jason Doc blasting straight at Cluxton in ’17, then the calamity of all the misses (goals and points) 3 weeks ago.

    The critical point is: in all the above examples (and I’m sure you can think of more), it was our sharpshooters in the right positions at the right times. So, we must deduce that it is indeed a mental thing. Anxiety to win, rather anxiety to perform.

    So I think we know the ‘why’, but do we know what to do about it? Heads in the sand won’t cut it.

    And it’s important to note that the problem doesn’t just rest with the forwards. It infects the entire team on All Ireland final day. And there are critical deficits with certain players on the current panel that are largely being ignored by management and that are plain for all to see. So there are plenty controllables amidst the madness.

    Contrast the above to our League win in ’19. Look at Ciaran Tracey’s composure taking his goal in a clutch moment. But…it wasn’t an All ireland final, was it. Therein lies the problem for Mayo players. As I said before, I don’t envy them the task. We have been simply incapable in all 13 All Ireland finals (yes, 13 stand-alone finals when replays are included) of taking the initiative in the final quarter, despite having plenty chances. No one, bar Lee, has ever stood up. Not one other player on those 13 occasions, never. Bar Leeroy.

    What a staggering statistic.

  93. I don’t know why anyone would say the Mayo goal opportunities came about by chance @Viper.

    The first 2 were set up by Ryan O’Donoghue who is a noted playmaker. Don’t agree Loftus had to check his run either, he was pretty much standing and waiting for the rebound. The Tommy Conroy goal chance came from a good kick pass from Bryan Walsh spotting Tommy was isolated 1 v 1, again that is good forward play. There was some luck in how the penalty came about, but if you’ve watched Mayo the last 4 or 5 years Diarmuid is so dangerous under shots dropping short. He has scored at least 3 goals like that in big games and pretty much forced the penalty vs Tyrone. So again, it’s clearly something that’s worked on. The Bryan Walsh one wasn’t really a goal chance, but I would still say it was good build up play. Diarmuid dragging in a number of Tyrone backs and then popping the ball off to Walsh who had kept his width.

    I’m sure the Tyrone goals were straight off the training ground, but they still relied on McShane winning a 50:50 ball and on the Mayo goalkeeper committing himself. Their second goal was well worked but it was reliant on a no look pass from McKenna at the end.

    Why we missed all our goal chances is the burning question. Is it the weight of history? Aidan was probably low on confidence shooting anyway after the semi final. The other ones are harder to explain as Loftus, Tommy and Ryan should all have been confident at the time. There’s no doubt as the misses started to clock up in the 2nd half, so did the pressure and realisation that the game was slipping away.

  94. @liberal role in the tie. If Cillan’s long range effort to draw the 2016 final is not standing up in the final quarter I don’t know what is. Maybe you mean in terms of scoring goals I dunno if not that is a huge insult to that team’s efforts in 2016 & 2017.

  95. No insult Walter. Cillians point to draw was awesome in ’16. But it still didn’t win it.
    In 16 and 17 we were set-up magnificently by Rochy. We had the chances to win it, but our best players, our best forwards didn’t take their chances. I think it was due to nerves. If you’ve a better theory please do state it.

  96. And Cillians shot to draw was a clutch kick, so credit to him for that. So you could say him and Lee were the only two who held their nerve.

  97. @Liberal role in the tie, sorry what I mean by “I think what people want to get to the bottom of is why”, is that I’m not sure there is enough emphasis put on the physiological aspect.

    For example if I was interviewing James Horan my first question to him would be:

    In terms of psychology can you tell me how you prepared both yourself and the players for the final. And the follow up questions would depend on the initial answer, so what I mean is the question needs to be asked directly in order to get to the bottom of it. It’s not meant to be a “gotcha” question in any way, it’s a question to try and help in terms of preparation.

    @Wide Ball, what I mean by chance is the ball fell fortuitously to Conor, it came to him via a deflection so it was not something which you could plan, same can be said about the penalty and if you contrast that to the two Tyrone goals, it’s clear they came from the training ground, that wasn’t a no look pass by McKenna, he knew exactly where McCurry was going to be because they had worked on it. With the McShane goal I’m pretty sure Tyrone were well aware of Hennellys tendency to get caught out in these type of situations but it’s a goal that could have been prevented but that’s our responsibility.

    Have a look at the last Mayo play before McShanes goal, Loftus ran straight into a Tyrone trap, in the middle of the D something that the Tyrone Kerry game told us was an absolute no no, yet we had two men to his right unmarked and in good shooting position, that’s a potential 4 point swing straight away. That indicates a total lack of preparation or plan regarding any forward structure.

    There are better minds than mine totally bamboozled as to what out forward structure was, or why action wasn’t taken in midfield , I’m not going over all the issues again because there are too many, but I think there are questions to answer.

    I can’t agree with you that Loftus was pretty much standing, it’s clear he had to check his run.

    I don’t believe we are working on scoring the type of goals that opposition are killing us with in finals, maybe the geometry of goal scoring isn’t something too high on the list or geometry and “Horanball” just do not go well together.

  98. @Viper, yes the ball fell to Loftus from a deflection but the original goal chance for Bryan Walsh was an excellent hand pass from Ryan. When a one on one chance is saved like that there’s a strong possibility of it being deflected back to us. Loftus was getting forward all game (he was the closest to Aido for his chance) so it wasn’t just pot luck he got the chance.

    Maybe Tyrone did spot a weakness with Hennelly, but we clearly found weaknesses in the Tyrone defence too. For all the criticism of our (lack of) attacking plan, we created 4 big goal scoring chances. Way more than any of the other finals in the last 10 years. The next best was Dublin in 17 when we had 2 big chances, scoring one. Against Donegal in 12, Dublin 16 (draw) and Dublin 20 we didn’t create any goal chance.

    Considering how strong Tyrone are defensively they were always going to turn us over occasionally and as Edwin McGreal said, we were better than Kerry in that respect. The way some are going on you’d swear we should have been able to not concede any turnovers. Short of just passing the ball laterally across midfield all day I’m not sure how that would be possible.

    I don’t know what you mean by the geometry of goal scoring. Horan is the manager and we created the chances, but just didn’t take them.

  99. @Wide Ball, I think the fact that Loftus got into those positions shows we did not have a forward structure, we ended up at one stage with Kevin McLoughlin playing at full forward, that should tell everyone that there was no forward structure, did you see where “Tommy Goals” was when Ryan sent in that fantastic ball.

    My point re. turnovers is the more you concede the more likely you are to be punished and the fact remains that we conceded too many completely needless turnovers which punished us on the scoreboard.

    I couldn’t care less about Kerry or how many they conceded, Peter Keane paid the price because Kerry lost a game they should have won and if people think the Mayo players are getting a hard time, the Kerry players and manager were slaughtered by the Kerry supporters because they expect better standards.

    Geometry of goal scoring is the ability to be able to create better goal scoring opportunities which usually end up in a palmed goal and is essentially unmissable as opposed to a hit and hope for the best, so while the ball in may be planned and well executed it still leaves a lot to do to be scored.

    The goal that Peter Canavan scored v Kerry in the All-Ireland final of 2005 was one year in the planning, I know this for a fact, that’s what preparation is.

  100. @viper, I don’t see anything wrong with Kevin McLoughlin playing full forward at times. He’s extremely quick, can score on the turn and it’s well known that the Tyrone full back line lack pace. Unfortunately, Kevin was one of a few players below their best.

    I think people are focusing too much on the turnovers. Most happened in our attacking third. One in the first half sticks in my memory where Ryan tried to play a hand pass and it gets cut out. It leads to a Tyrone point but the turnover happened in the Nally stand corner. We had the full length of the pitch to tackle and win the ball back, but our tackling intensity wasn’t what it usually is.

  101. @liberalroleinthethetie, if only leery stood up in those games,we would have been beaten out the gate..Are you suggesting the 2017 team didn’t play brilliantly that day?

  102. The team did turn up Walter, thats not my point. It’s in the last quarter where we’ve always failed, ie, ’13, ’16, ’17, ’19, ’21.

    Dammit, if we got pipped, twice or three times you might say it was just that the other team were better, or we were unlucky etc.

    It’s the pattern I’m emphasising. Failure to close out finals, failure to stand up when it mattered most. It wasn’t for the want of effort. Its just crippling nerves. On any other day I’m backing our players to nail the majority of those chances. So management need to find out how to instill belief for the final quarter.

  103. @Wide Ball, have a look at the Mayo play before the McShane goal, Loftus runs straight into the lions mouth, 40 seconds later bang, McShane goal.

    McLoughlin is a playmaker and a good one, he shouldn’t be in at full forward, so we wait until deep into injury time to launch James Carr, that’s what teams do when they are 5 or 6 points up in the last couple of minutes, not 5 down.


  104. I wouldn’t say that is running into the lion’s mouth. Kilpatrick was running back alongside Loftus and he over carried. There was actually space for Loftus to turn in on his right and have a shot. Either way, Loftus losing possession on the Tyrone 20m line is not the reason for that goal.

    As I said, it made sense for McLoughlin to spend some time in the full forward line against Tyrone. He has had a number of good days there in the past.

  105. @liberal. think one of the things you have to take into account in some of those finals is that the 15 we started with wasn’t the 15 we finished with and our bench was nowhere near as strong as Dublin’s..personally I feel that had more to do with us not finishing strongly as much as nerves.

  106. I have to say @Viper if there was any one player that I would have liked to have seen our goal chances fall to it would have been Kevin Mc. He has great composure in on goal and has a couple of tricks to round the goalies as well.

    We have to be careful when talking about our AI final losses. We always seem to lump them together. They should never be talked about as the so called 11 failed attempts.

    There’s been different opponents, different players for ourselves, different managers and our teams have been at different stages in their development.

    People are quick to say that Tyrone came and won their all Ireland, which is correct, but they didn’t come and win their all Ireland in 2018. They were not ready to win it in 2018. They did manage to win it this year and fair play to them.

    Ourselves, we managed to reach the final when no one gave us a chance of getting that far. The team did get chopped and changed due to injuries and we did have an extended period to wait between the semi and final.

    I don’t think we started the final with a fully settled team and we did have a few relative rookies, who I thought played well enough.

    Cillian I think was a huge loss for us in the final. I think he would have brought a maturity and calmess and would have tied the play together up front.

    We cannot keep using our finals record since 1989 as a sound board. It’s a poor record alright but has no real relevance to how we play next year. Hopefully we will improve again and right now nobody knows how 2022 will pan out. Look no further than 2021 as an example.

  107. Solid points there, Revellino, and I agree.
    Even the games in 2016 and 2017, one must look at what Dublin had at the end of those games versus what we had – the bench gave them freshness and scoring ability, while we were often out on our feet or didn’t have the same threatening scoring subs to bring on in the final stretch of games. It’s not nerve or shaky psychological state that caused us to lose those games in the final ten minutes,
    This psychological theory must not be used as a byword or easy fallback explanation.
    I think it’s amazing how strong we were with the resources we had when you think of the Dublin stacked bench in those years.
    On Cillian’s missed free at the end of the 2017, it was from a very challenging angle, not missed due to mindset.

  108. @Swallow Swoops, psychological theory ? Are you kidding me ?

    The Mayo psyche has been damaged by the losses, so I can only imagine what it’s like for the players, nothing theoretical about that.

    I see we are heading down the usual shortcut road again instead of trying to improve things.

    I don’t get it anymore.

  109. It is beyond my knowledge or training to make any definitive comment on to what extent losing several finals impacted our play in this year’s final. And I’d say the same is true for most people on here. It is probably more worthwhile to examine each game on its own merits.
    What I can say with some degree of confidence is that if you miss four goal chances and concede one soft one it has an accumulating psychological impact on the players – some more so than others. This then begs the question why did we miss those chances in the first place. Again, it is more helpful to examine each opportunity on its own merits. This is my tuppence worth.
    Walsh/ Loftus chance – poor execution / nerves???
    O Shea’s chance – Aidan is not a finisher / good defending
    Conroy – poor decision making /growing panic?
    Penalty – goalie moves – young Ryan has a moment of daftness – pressure
    It seems we then began to seek out more goal chances (possibly to compensate for the previous misses?)
    And as anyone knows when things start to go wrong its like a runaway train – hard to stop.

  110. @diehard, it takes very little to make Tyrone psychologically strong and it takes very little to make Mayo psychologically weak, even the fact we were favorites could have played havoc both on the pitch and on the line.

    In hindsight, a match made in hell.

  111. Viper, in the 2017 final, what evidence is there to show that in that game the Mayo psyche had been damaged by the previous losses?
    Did it kick in moreso as a key factor this year?
    Was it a big factor last year? I’d put opposition and lack of endurance (S & C) as higher factors on the list.
    I do agree it is damaging to continue losing – yes. It increases a feeling of pressure and means we have to perform at an even higher level to compensate for uncertain confidence. The latter is something that can be helped by *measuring performance across the year* (as in 2017) but you need to have the squad, talent, tactics in place to deliver the results too.
    However, I don’t know have our performances been scarred this decade by previous losses.
    Strange as it appears, I am also in favour of improving things – I would be all in favour of a good sports psychologist to assist.
    But I just don’t agree fully with your assessment about psychological scars causing us to underperform to the extent that we lose finals because of it. At least that’s how I look at the most recent finals.
    I’d personally put strong Tyrone tackling and poor Mayo skill execution as identifiable factors this year in contributing to our loss.

  112. @Swallow Swoops, Rochford’s team of 2017 would have absolutely wiped the floor with Tyrone because I’ll give you one simple reason why, Rochford wasn’t afraid to have more than one game plan, he encouraged the kicking game to a certain degree and that’s why Andy Moran thrived under Rochford and the likes of Tommy Conroy would thrive under Rochford as well and Rochford would have made sure to have a top sports psychologist on board.

    If I was to put my hand on heart and ask myself would Rochford have beaten Tyrone a few weeks ago with this group of players, my honest answer is yes he would and I’ll tell you why I think that, first of all he would have had a top sports psychologist on board and secondly he would have had a clear game plan to get the most out of the likes of Tommy Conroy and it is likely Aidan would have played alongside Ruane to negate the aerial dominance of Tyrone.

    There is not a hope in hell that Rochford would have set up against Tyrone like we did, of that I am certain.

    Is it a coincidence that Stephen Rochford got the highly respected sports psychologist Niamh Fitzpatrick on board in March or April of 2017, did that have anything to do with us walking away from Croke Park deeply disappointed but filled with pride, we didn’t lose in 2017 because of the weight of history and I’ve never said we did, because Rochford made sure that was a key part of his preparation.

    It doesn’t mean that James Horan is a bad manager, absolutely not, it just means he’s a different type of manager and he appears to do things differently than Rochford who is more of an outside the box thinker.

    But I am not convinced “Horanball” is good enough to get us over the line, unless tweaks are made and we have more than one game plan and especially one that allows players like Conroy to flourish.

  113. Viper, last small post in reply. Apologies for being overbearing. I shouldn’t interfere and it is important that you are free to express yourself in your views.

  114. @Swallow Swoops, no it’s fine, it’s good to hear different views and opinions regardless of whether we agree on them or not.

    I just believe that we need that little restructuring and fill those gaps that are missing, it’s not all about psychology by any means, that’s only one small part of the whole process, the last thing we want to do is get a top sports psychologist on board and think that’s all we need, it’s not, it’s all about arriving into Croke Park knowing that absolutely no shortcuts have been taken and nothing has been overlooked and after that if you are beaten by a better team then good and well.

    But it’s too big of a job for one man, James Horan needs help with this because he’s got a high pressure gig when it comes to finals.

  115. On the subs issue, as I said, our sharpshooters in the starting 15 had the chances when the games were in the balance in the second halves. So why do they keep missing?! Come on folks. These are top intercounty players who on any other day would score those opportunities in their sleep.

    The players and management must accept what’s truly happening. Otherwise we’ll see the same outcome. Management need to figure out how to properly prepare a Mayo team mentally for the pressure of All Ireland final day.

    Regarding Robbie’s recent interview, Colm Parkinson said in his recent pod: Robbies “not reading the room” in Mayo, ie not seeing the anger and disappointment that’s out there in the county. They contrast the relatively mild way Mayo supporters have reacted to the way Kerry are being “savaged” by their own, yet you don’t see the Kerry County board issuing statements.

    Online abuse is wrong, but some of our players choose to be prominent on it so they should know what to expect. If they don’t like it they should close all their social media accounts. I haven’t seen or heard any abuse from the genuine supporter on the street. So what’s Robbie getting at? Mayo supporters have stuck with the team through thick and thin, despite calamity after calamity, and we’ll do so again. Why bother, some might say.

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