Connolly the difference as Merrigan Cup heads for Marino

Club final 2014

It’s been a weird old day, all told. One that started for me down in Mayo – yet not in my home place – and ended with my celebrating back at the club St Vincents’ All-Ireland club final victory today in Croke Park. Against a team from Mayo. As I said, a weird kind of day.

I thought for a while today that I wouldn’t make it back to the capital in time for throw-in, though we did eventually manage to make it to our seats in the Lower Cusack with ten minutes or so to spare before the action got underway. Our choice back in the west this morning had been a very early start and so make the parade down from the club to Croke Park or else a not-so early start and make the match itself. We opted for the latter but it still took a fair bit of foot-to-the-floor driving to make sure we got to HQ ahead of the off.

The action had only got underway a few minutes before Castlebar Mitchels were dealt a hammer-blow, albeit a self-inflicted one when Richie Feeney was (correctly under the new rules) black carded for an utterly needless body check. Richie was probably the last player Mitchels could afford to lose and for this to happen only four minutes in looked like a fatal blow for them.

To their credit, though, the lads from the West didn’t appear to let this setback get to them, even if the concession of an early goal, scored by the excellent Michael Concarr, rocked them back on their heels a bit.  They responded in fine style with a succession of well-worked points which saw them turn a four-point deficit into a three-point lead. A second goal for Vincents, palmed to the net by Ciaran Dorney from a Diarmuid Connolly pass, brought the match back to parity and the sides were level again when Eddie Kinsella blew for half-time.

The game was anyone’s at that stage. Over the course of the second half, however, that anyone morphed into one Diarmuid Connolly who put on a quite extraordinary exhibition of football after the break, one that effectively won the match and the All-Ireland title for Vincents. He scored two goals in that second half – his second and Vincents’ fourth was an outrageously brilliant score – and he ended the day with a massive 2-5 from play to his credit. Throw in his assists and they reckoned down at the club tonight that he’d had a hand in 4-10 of Vincents’ final tally for the day of 4-12.

I’d heard in the build-up to the game that Mitchels’ plan was to restrict Mossy Quinn to the minimum score possible. By placing Tom Cunniffe on him, the plan worked a treat – Mossy only got two points today, one of them from a free – but Connolly revelled in the freedom he was given and proceeded to wreak maximum damage from all that open space he enjoyed.

Castlebar battled on gamely even as the match was running away from them – with two goals from Danny Kirby keeping them in the contest – but coming down the closing stretch it was the Marino lads who surged clear. They were full value for their eventual seven-point winning margin.

I’ve never hidden my loyalties in relation to this contest and I’m not going to start now. While I’ve obviously got strong sympathies for the Mitchels lads, who gave so much only to come up short at the final hurdle, ultimately this was a club contest and not a county one and I’ve got to be happy enough that the club I’m a member of won out in the end.

And I am, really I am, but, as I said at the outset, today has been a bit of a strange one for me. Maybe it’s just as well that the county team’s next League match the weekend after next is against the Dubs, a contest where I’ll have no problem at all in relation to conflicting loyalties.

81 thoughts on “Connolly the difference as Merrigan Cup heads for Marino

  1. Hard on Richie Feeney so early in the game,2-5 for Connolly and set up two more goals,hard for any team to cope with that.Stil credit to the lads they never gave up

  2. Connolly gave a masterclass and was the difference as Castlebar were the better team besides. Tough on Feeney you would have to say. That’s another two finals lost by Mayo teams in 2014. Let’s hope there is no repeat later in the year.

  3. Connolly did as he pleased, nobody marked him. Game lost on line, it was obvious Connolly was central to everything positive about Vincents. Yet they persisted with the same defensive tactics.

  4. Castlebar Mitchels could not live with the pace of too many of the St Vincents team – as often happens in Mayo v Dublin county games.Hope James Horan learns the lesson for the upcoming League clash and tracks Connolly with a pacier marker than was available today. Having said that, Castlebar played some great football and took some lovely scores but as usual with Mayo teams, they did not play keep-ball at critical times. By tactically curtailing the availability of the ball to the opposition you limit their opportunities and in addition, lessen the spectacle of our boys being run ragged trying to regain possession. As the saying goes if you keep making the same mistakes etc etc.

  5. Hard luck to mitchells. Just ran out of steam.

    Hindsight is 20 20 vision but it may have been better to bring Tom c out on Connolly at ht and put feeney on mossy, who wasn’t effective today. I also thought b Moran and Kirby should have been switched much earlier.

    Disappointed that king never got into it. Felt v sorry for r feeney, had to go though. Rush of blood to the head.

  6. Feeney should have had more cop on than deciding to do a late body check on an oncoming opponent………bound to draw refs attention particularly in this black card era and he paid the price…….Mitchell’s had the winning of this game if in addition to their lovely team play and scoring, they had a tactic for reducing Connollys impact…..something was working on that front in the first half……whatever it was it should have been continued in the second…….Also Vincent’s no 14 should have been covered better…..that slap-down goal was a real sickener……….goalie was heroic, couldn’t really do any more…..When the Castlebar lads review the video they’ll realise that with just a small bit more tact and togetherness in the final quarter, they could have done it………But fair play, a very solid if not winning performance

  7. Another final, another loss. The same ould tale all the time.

    Who from the Mitchell’s would you draft into the Mayo panel?
    Apart from cunniffe and richie feeney.
    Is Barry moran or Danny Kirby an addition to Mayo?
    Listened to the game on the Internet, painting a ceiling and wishing I could throw a gallon of paint at Connolly, he seemed to own the ball at times. The commentators were saying missy Quinn was a danger man and that’s why cunniffe was left on him, too bad there was nobody to curtail the other buck.
    These losses don’t get easier, do they?

  8. Mitchell’s did very well to stay level with Vincent’s as long as they did
    From the start Connolly was given far too much room to pick his passes.
    After Richies black card it looked like they were afraid to tackle him too hard.
    Vincent’s blocked up the middle in the second half and Mitchel’s either overran it, got overturned or blocked down.
    Can’t argue with the end result but it may have been a different story if Richie had stayed on.
    Well done for getting this far but that’s no consolation to them tonight

  9. ……….apologies to the Blog for my tone in prev posting…….First time I’ve been so personally critical (Richie) and that’s not normally my speed…….Looking across all of the Blog topics incl yesterday’s Cork V Mayo review, there’s a unique “Mayo positivity” about all contributions and that to me is the essence of the “glass half full” mindset we always need to have. my quip earlier just indicative of my frustration with the way the game panned out…….I’m well aware that whatever about my thoughts, there’s a gang of lads heading home deflated who left nothing on the pitch……..So here’s to the Mitchell’s and all the hard work they’ve put in over the club season……..Hopefully they’ll be back for another shot at it !

  10. Hard luck to mitchels.
    But we need to wake up to the fact that its our attack that let mitchels and in a lot of cases Mayo loose..Just compare Mitchels attack to Vincents.The reason why Vincents got the goals was because of the speed of the attack.Mitchels when they were attacking was slow and then passing the ball about and carrying into tackles.This is no good lads.We need to cop on with our attacking and when i say we i mean the Mayo team.Its the same craic.We get the ball over the half way line and then we start going in slow motion.It is very frustrating to watch.But this is the problem with Mayo football.We are not attacking correctly.I watches Michels today.At times when they went toward the player with ball headed towards the wing that is not worth a crap.Vincents got the ball they took it straight up middle of field at pace and lads running onto the ball.Its not rocket science.The sooner we cop on to this the better.

  11. Castlebar wilted as the finishing line came into view today. It’s not the first time that this has happened to a Mayo team on a final day. I got the impression that St Vincent’s didn’t believe that they could lose once the pressure went up a notch. Castlebar started to go down blind alleys and throw the ball about to a lad standing beside them as they totally ran out of ideas and confidence.

    If Richie Feeney had managed to stay on the pitch, they would have had more options to deal with Connolly but the game was lost from the third quarter when the Dublin team upped their workrate while at the same time Castlebar slowed up their attacks and couldn’t find a way through an army of blue that had time to funnel back.

    In many ways, the game was eerily similar to last September

  12. Just another observation…………Did u see the dogged determination that led to Mitchell’s second goal ?………..That should be the Mayo way always………direct and merciless……..pet Murray is right, above……goals win matches

  13. Well said martyk, glass half full time. well done to the mitchells lads. club football is so different to county. they gave their all. Our corner backs struggled all day, just couldn’t to the tempo of the game. Whatever about Connelly pulling the strings, management had to leave Tom C on Mossy Quinn, class ball winner and could have done the same as Connelly if Tom moved out. Vincents were far more organised from the start, running straight thru. Barrys stint at FF just didn’t work today, hindsight he could/should have moved earlier but we can all be experts with hindsight.

    Back to the drawing board for Na Mistealaigh and heres hoping we get another crack soon, 1994 to 2014 was too long

  14. Well we never seem to get the luck on the big day. You’d think if it was Connolly that had got the black card and not Richie Feeney, the result would have being different. Then again if Dr. Crokes hadn’t lost The Gooch, maybe Castlebar might not have made the final. The biggest disappointment was conceding the goal after just scoring one. That’s a real killer for a team, it just happens to Mayo teams so often. In fairness the Mitchels gave it everything and left nothing in the tank. They had loads of ball but just didn’t move it quickly enough. Richie Feeney was a real loss here as he is such a good link man. I thought the point that Barry Moran scored at the end of the first half was something that should have happened a lot more in the game. Quick ball into him could have paid dividends. It’s very disappointing to lose again but that’s life I suppose. When the game was there to grabbed by the scruff of the neck, unfortunately it wasn’t the Mayo team doing the grabbing. In a couple of weeks time, it will be Dublin again, it’d be great to get a positive result against them this time.

  15. Lee Keegan will take Connolly if he shows up for the Mayo V Dublin game. There was no Castlebar Mitchels player today that could have marked him, he was on fire. Feeney going off so early didn’t help them at all and its a pity the ref did this so early on in the game. Fair play to them getting to the finals.

  16. Was at match. Castlebar were very brave i thought. They certainly played very good football throughout and only for connelly vins were in bother.
    Rossie im a bit fed up of your all knowing knowledge after the fact.
    Its easy to do and twice as useless
    Stick to your own team and we will keep trying with ours.
    Well done to all castlebar team and supporters. A great journey amd noone can take that from you.

  17. Richie Feeney was voted players player of the year in Mayo, and Connacht club footballer of the year by his peers. Essentially he is to Castlebar what Connolly is to Vincents. I feel very sorry for him and here’s why.

    The black card was introduced at the start of 2014. Therefore it should not have had any part in today’s match, as today was the culmination of the 2013 Senior club championship.

    And no matter what the powers that be want you simply cannot just change or introduce new rules 1/2 way through a tournament. It should have been left from this seasons club championship onwards and there should have been no black card rule for this match.

    It was a massive blow for Castlebar and unfortunately the decision had a massive impact on the match.

  18. Couldn’t agree more remember 51 regarding rossie, he can be a pain in the arse be times and does no good to our blood-pressure.

  19. Goals, goals, goals! They’re not just worth three points. They drain confidence and zap morale. Their third goal today was a real killer.
    Must be brutally disappointing for the players and management because they played some great football at times and showed what they can do.

  20. Mitchels had three bad wides at a critical stage in the second half. If they had scored them it could have put Vincents under a lot more pressure. How often have we seen this with teams and the moment is lost.

  21. In all fairness I couldn’t see a lot wrong with that post from the Rossie and I wouldn’t be a huge Rossie fan. Surely we are not so small minded and sensitive that we cannot take comments from other Counties. A lot of what they say may be true and the truth will always set you free. 😉

  22. Agree with all you said, That third St. Vincents goal after Castlebar scored their goal was a real sickener. You would think a defender would have attacked that dropping ball, god knows we here in mayo know plenty about balls hopping around the goal

  23. Tough luck Castlebar. You gave your best but better team won. Connolly was absolutely outstanding and credit where its due. Don’t wish to criticise players who put in monumental effort. Goalie excellent and Cuniffe did great job on mossie. Cant figure out where big barry should play. Was a handful at FF but I feel hes wasted there unless he gets proper ball. Disappointed for and with Richie. He should know better but doesn’t need me or others being critical as Im sure he put in a massive effort all year yet failed to get game time in Sept and lasted 4 mins today. He was badly needed in 2nd half. Overall a really good game of football but horrible to lose another one.Its amazing how hard we find it to win All Irelands, yet St Brigids did it last year . Have to listen again to the same bull that Mayo cant win. What I would give to win in Sept

  24. Commiserations to Mitchels today and to their fine band of travelling supporters. Heartbreaking loss and an all-too-familiar script. I’ll put no tooth in saying that I cannot abide the sight of Connolly (I’m afraid I pick my sporting heroes on the basis of a combination of attributes, not simply their sporting prowess) but he put on a masterclass in the second half.

    Mitchels will however rue their poor shooting and overplaying of the ball in attack. Agree re poster above that changing rules in the middle of a tournament, but Richie knew those rules and unfortunately for him the call was the correct one, but the presence of Mitchels’ talisman didn’t go unnoticed in the second half. What is infuriating however was the fact that Kevin Bonnie’s challenge on Tom King only minutes later, while being (from where we were sitting) a textbook black card offence, went unpunished.

    I’m disappointed tonight as a Mayowoman, but it wasn’t up to Mitchels to lift that load for the rest of us. Our battle for this year hasn’t started yet, and we have every chance of writing our own script for the year ahead.

    Chin up Mitchels, you did yourselves proud. Reflect, grieve and pick yourselves up and move forward.

  25. I hope Rossoneri is not sensitive:)
    look we can go on about the wides and we can go on about Connollys display but at the end of the day when Vincents got the ball into their forwards they done damage.When we got it to our forwards we fucked around it was too laboured not enough running and maybe in some respect masters of our own downfall.May sound harsh but its true.

  26. I have seen most of Castlebar Mitchels games this year and last, today without a doubt was the worst they have defended. I’m not sure did the occasion get to them or did losing Feeney hit their confidence but any side that defended like that can’t expect to win. Vincents could have scored 8 goals the C’bar keeper saved their bacon at least three times. Connolly is a great player but he can be easily marked today he wasn’t and that was the really difference.

  27. I dunno Joe….doesnt do anything to advance Mayo’s cause IMO. But sure anyways…he just might be enjoying the banter cause they aren’t anywhere near as advanced with bloggin there, as we are in mayo.

  28. mayomaningalway – Wisdom as usual !!!
    I couldn’t understand a lot of the TG4 Gaeilge but they seemed to be saying that Mitchels weren’t putting high balls in to Barry Moran, and that it was wasted. Remember the high ball he did catch and gave it out to an incoming forward who scored a great point. That’s what should have been done. I’m not taking credit from Connolly. That last goal he scored, was, as they say on Facebook, “OMG”.

  29. I’ve no great affiliations to Mitchels, nor do I begrudge St Vincent’s their win, but what bothers me most is that yet again, a team from Mayo loose another AIF in Croke Park.

  30. Everybody knew full well that the black card applied to all games from Jan 1 or they were willfully ignorant. It was unfortunate for Richie but the ref had no choice, seeing it on the big screen made that clear. And it is the most avoidable of the black card offences. all players should have been repeating hourly from Jan 1st “I will not body check opponents running off the ball”. But I suppose old habits die hard. No use blaming Richie – I suppose he will do enough of that himself in the coming days.
    Apart from that Caslebar had many other failings. Barry Moran got only one decent ball played in to him in the first half, that in the 31st minute and then he took a good score. Most of the Castlebar deliveries were terrible. Also even in the first half Vincent’s ability to break the tackle was in evidence whereas Castlebar were continually playing the ball side ways across the field. Alan Feeney was the only Castlebar player consistently able to take the ball on and beat opponents Also many of Castlebar’s attempts at taking points were too feeble, as if the players were lacking self confidence

  31. Well done to th Castlebar lads .ye gave it ur best … wj disgusted that you sided wit the ref on the sending off . But then u have a vested interested . Bared 4 minutes in a game of an allireland club final. Joke

  32. 4 mins or 74 mins richie deserved to go , a blatant body check off the ball ref had no option

  33. So what if the black card was introduced from Jan 1st. You can’t change the rules of an ongoing competition on the fly by date just becasue it suits you. This years club semi finals and final should have been excluded.

    Also very few Castlebar players would have experience of the black card rule. none of the top players played Div 1 football. And only a handful of the secondary ones played in the FBD.

  34. Lads, remember it’s March. The Rossies are always cock a hoop at this time of the year, a poor mans Kildare. They are all excited about their Div THREE promotion and their U21’s so let them have their little moment. When it comes to business time in The Hyde in June, assuming they get by Sligo, there will be nowhere to hide for them then. They will be put back into their box for the Summer and we won’t have to hear from them again until the FBD next January.
    No one needs to educate a Mayoman about losing finals, and certainly not a Rossie as they almost never get to a final in the first place.

  35. The comments epitomise the mentality of the vast majority of mayo support unfortunately.

    Not even a belt into the rib cage did Connolly get .

    one day we will realise what it takes to win when the opposing team have players who can win games . Sean boylan said it once , you have to have a ruthless mean edge to be winners, when he said it i don’t believe he even told the audience half of what he really meant .

    kiltane played in a final too and let mckenna run riot for the monaghan team. I don’t believe i have to remind anyone in here all the times its happened to our boys as recent as last sept.

    The space Connolly was given was criminal.

  36. Hard luck to Castlebar, they fought gamely and certainly didn’t collapse like many Mayo teams have done in the past. I think some of the criticisms above are a tad harsh, Castlebar certainly didn’t disgrace themselves anyway. Connolly was given too much space but I feel Feeney’s black card was a blow. The ref had no choice in fairness and Richie will learn from that rush to the head. Was a decent game in the end and at least one Mayo man is celebrating WJ, better than no one!

  37. I was thinking to myself during game that if we were to use the high ball into Moran why isn’t there an on coming Mitchels man to collect the breaking ball or to receive the pass from Moran.The way Mitchels attacked was like Mayo.It was slow and messing around in towards.We need to use our wisdom now and attack with force and right though the heart of the defense.

  38. Rossineri I am sure, like all us Mayo supporters, has thick skin. It’s well needed as we are often kicked when we are down.
    I didn’t mean any offence to any Rossie supporters, it’s just friendly banter 🙂

  39. Sean, I can’t but agree with you. I still can’t get over the sight of Connolly holding TWO Mayomen by the shirt last September!! It f****ng galls me. He should have been decked then, and he should have been cleaned out of it yesterday too. So what if it meant Mitchels lost a man. Connolly scored half of Vincents total.
    The funny thing is he is a complete hot-head and all that was needed was someone to get under his skin, a bit of sledging, whisper sweet nothings in his ear! Just enough to put him off his game.
    Put it this way, black card or no black card Robbie O’Malley, Bobby O’Connell or Mick Lyons wouldn’t have had to be asked once never mind twice to do the deedful.
    I feel for Mitchels though because I too feel that the 4 consecutive wides 10 minutes into the second half were really where it was lost. Still, they owe nothing to anyone and played some great stuff yesterday. Still proud of them.

  40. I don’t condone violence but Connolly does have a chin on him that could be taking in an inch or two.

  41. Lads, I think you need to give Diarmuid Connolly a little bit more credit for what was a truly outstanding individual performance for Vincents yesterday. I’m not sure the methods being advocated would have done any good from Mitchels’ perspective, to be honest – Ballinderry did all they could to wind him up in the semi-final but he still made a telling contribution to that win down the closing stretch. Putting two men on him yesterday would simply have given Mossy Quinn the space that Mitchels had so clearly set out to stop him getting as well as providing openings for others. Ed McGreal has this morning compared Connolly’s performance yesterday with Ciaran McDonald’s for Crossmolina back in 2001 and I’d agree that it needs to be seen in this kind of light.

  42. Connolly had way too much room. Eoghan O’Reilly (who is supposed to be of Inter county standard) was roasted by him. Argument could easily be put forward that Castlebar players were afraid to go near him in case they too suffered Richie’s fate.

  43. Its not violence as such but more hard hitting,in your face , double up at times, stick tohim like your mothers life depended on it, whisper to him , tell him all sorts .

    look no sense in going all negative on Castlebar now , its just a general Mayo problem Imo , we just need to be willing to give special attention to certain types of players. Its a cultural thing that has to change Imo and it will be difficult, although its nothing major as such . Our body language is often wrong , take the handshakes yesterday for example between captains and ref, castlebar man couldn’t get enough of the niceties, he even gave the thumbs up whilst the more aggressive jackeeen buck had is back turned and didn’t even see the “can we be buddies for a min” weak type gesture.

    Tear into them on a final day, forget the horse shite , youre there to win a game of football ,nothing else matters .

  44. I am at a loss as to the reaction from Mayo McHale, Pebblesmeller & Remember 51 to my post. My only post on this blog until this one is the fourth @ 7.19pm, it did not warrant that negative reaction. Pebbles I am particularly dissapointed with you, normally such an excellent poster coming up with this inaccurate garbage, the year previous we were in a final and won the thing.Thanks Joe Mc for a bit of realism in your response. Seen that I am seen as a troll, let you 3 guys have your debates free from outside unbiased view.
    One thing another poster going under a username similar to myself now exists on this blog, naturally he does not speak for me and want to dissociate myself from his/her comments.. Fair well, dont let the door hit me on the way out and all that shite.

  45. Hold on there, Rossoneri, don’t chuck the baby out with the bathwater. No way are you seen as a troll and you are, of course, welcome to provide your opinion as and when you want. I think the lads might have been, as Joe Mc pointed out, a tad sensitive in the immediate aftermath of the game. By the way, who’s this imposter you’re on about? I haven’t noticed anyone of that ilk but if you could pinpoint him a bit better then I can sort it from there.

  46. I have to agree with WJ on this one. I personally hate the winding up that goes on and dirty play can have appalling consequences as I know well without going into detail. I am all for hard honest play.
    Mitchell’s would have needed two Tom Cuniffes yesterday. Failing that they could have employed a sweeper in connolys area of the field and crowd him out. Ok that means someone else would be free but it would have been better that letting run riot.

  47. I’m with you on this Sean, despite our gritty determination and record of being one of the country’s premier teams, Mayo are still seen as a soft enough challenge..lovely fellas and lovely footballers. I hear it all time from my inlaws and outlaws in Cork and Dublin.

  48. Rossoneri, please note my post from 11.59am today, after the post from above… “Rossineri I am sure, like all us Mayo supporters, has thick skin. It’s well needed as we are often kicked when we are down. I didn’t mean any offence to any Rossie supporters, it’s just friendly banter :)”
    If I did cause you any offence I do apologise and I did not think of your FBD??? victory last year. Also, I am open to comment from any county man or woman so I hope you do not bracket me as being “Mayo, and ONLY Mayo”. As for your unbiased view? I seem to remember you arguing hard and long on the Brigids defeat and Marty Duffys performance.
    However, look back at your post that has irked a few of us. Very short, snappy and, as remember51 said, it does appear all knowing after the fact. To say Connolly was not marked is incorrect, he was marked but not well enough, and by a man that some think is intercounty standard. There is a difference. What do you do? Take Cunniffe off Quinn and put him on Connolly? Who marks Quinn then? Particularly with Feeney (deservedly) gone. Vincents were the better team end of, so there was very little Holmes could do on the line. They could have had 4 goals in the first half alone. And yes, I am a Mitchels supporter so it is a little raw yet on top of the echos of your county men and women still ringing in my ears from the U21’s the last night.
    Anyway, it’s done and dusted now.

  49. I fully agree with the post above. We are simply too nice and too pleasant on the field of play. (Re handshakes etc). I remember watching the 2009 All Ireland Final and in the parade Dara O’Shea was eyeballing his opposite Cork Man. The Cork boys were afraid to look back over at him. That’s down to a mental toughness and getting inside the oppositions head. We need to develop a harder and tougher edge. No more of this nice man crap. I was in a shop in Galway this morning and I heard two middle aged fellahs saying that we are ‘too nice up there’ and that we will never win anything because of it. It hurt me to hear that. Time to stand up for ourselves.

  50. I agree.It is tough to hear but there is merit.Like the,day we warmed up in front of hill 16 the day we played the Dubs.Christ that was one,of the best games i have ever seen.We need to be playing lads and putting the fear of god into them.Meath were a team that took no prisoners.

  51. It’s all very well looking for the likes of Fracie Bellew or Mick Lyons but those type of players would not last in the current game. It is too fast and most of the current players now are well gone by the time a physical hit is lined up.

    If they’re still there the ball will already be gone and under the new rules the hit will just be viewed as a late tackle probably resulting in the forward going to ground and a black card being issued to the offender.

    The only physical hit of note I can remember from last years matches was Tom Cuniffes one on Peter Harte.

  52. Mayo mchale he is dead right so dont shoot him down. 5 minutes in connolly had a shot saved by naughton. A minute later he laid it off for 7 and goal! Why was their not a switch…cuniffe obviius choice to mark him

  53. Its not all about the hits though, yes hit hard but fair. Im more interested in the mental side and mayo teams not giving a sh1t about the opposition and who they are. We, in my opinion give too much respect to other players and teams. If you ever watched Marooned Paudi O’Se said that you have to get ‘steely tough upstairs and test out the oppisitions pulse’. I watched a documentary about the 2003 All Ireland Hurling Final recently and Eddie Brennan was talking about the mind games in the parade before the game. He said that Diarmuid O’Sullivan was eyeballing them before the game and that they had prepared for this and just laughed it off. They actually enjoyed this and fed off it, Cody had them well tuned in before the game. Body language and all of that is important before the game. Stop being nice and polite in the handshakes etc, it gives the impression that you are a push over and soft. Best thing to do is stare them out of it and don’t say a word!

  54. That comment is easily one of the worst I’ve seen on this site, closely followed by the ones after it. The old ‘we lost, sure we’re too nice or not dirty/cynical/hard/determined enough’ line.

    As if the handshakes have even the slightest baring on the game – which is proven by the point that Newcombe was one of Castlebar’s most determined players, and usually is.

    Castlebar did “tear into them” but they lost, not through being too nice, but because Vincent’s were the better footballers and had better tactics on the day. They also had a forward, in Connolly, miles ahead of anything Castlebar had, and their defence was a lot better organised too.

    Connolly wasn’t roughed up either because the players aren’t stupid, they know that doesn’t work. You get your tactics right, limit the space he gets, prevent ball going into him, and hassle him when he does have the ball. Your comment lacks so much intelligence – basically we’ll just go out all blood and thunder and that will win us the game.

  55. No but there is nothing wrong with a bit of physicality.Hurling is a lot more physical than football and its not the worst of it either.Its not fucking basketball we are playing.However that’s the way we are headed.

  56. Ballymun must be absolutely sickened and therefore Philly McMahon must be sickened so it’s not all doom and gloom….
    Well done Castlebar, Durcan, Cunniffe and Barry will be welcome additions to the county panel when they pick themselves up. It’ll be tough for Richie but everybody makes mistakes.

  57. “Connolly wasn’t roughed up either because the players aren’t stupid, they know that doesn’t work. You get your tactics right, limit the space he gets, prevent ball going into him, and hassle him when he does have the ball. Your comment lacks so much intelligence – basically we’ll just go out all blood and thunder and that will win us the game.”

    And your intelligence is superior to mine because of this example of stupidity? ( they done neither , just in case my stupid sarcasm is lost on you)

    Handshakes, parades, first clashes, first shoulder etc etc all can have a bearing on the mental edge in a game and adding to your percentage to gain the win.

  58. I think while Connolly was outstanding, a lot of us are of the opinion that it’s disappointing that so little was done about it. It’s all well and good marking Quinn tightly but surely once it became clear at the start of the second half and thereafter that Connolly was the man, was there nothing to be said for moving Cunniffe out on him? I’m sure Connolly has been well wound up before but it really was ridiculous that nothing was done to try and curb him. It needed to be tried – if Quinn came into it a bit, then at least you tried to curb them. But to just stand there and watch Connolly run riot? It was a bit galling, to be honest.

  59. Agree with a lot of the comments. Castlebar too nice. We needed to get up close and personal on Connolly and Ger Brennan. What do I mean by that? Putting Tom Cunniffe on Connolly, breathing down their necks, making it awkward for them. The sight of both Connolly and Brennan as relaxed as could be distributing ball at their ease was maddening.

    If we keep losing finals we have to look at areas like this. By the way this is not advocating stupid fouling or hitting – we tried that against Donegal in the first ten minutes in 2012 and were luck not to see red.

    It means alertness, hard hitting, getting close, not switching off after you have scored a goal, maximising the black card to our advantage rather than confirming that you can get sent off now for a variety of specified offences.

  60. I cannot understand as to why the powers to be in the GAA decided to change the rules in the middle of a championship. The club championship started in 2013 under the old rules so to speak and then the Gaa in their wisdom moved the goalposts by introducing the black card. I know something had to be done about cynical fouling but i do believe the black card should not applied to a championship that was already in progress. It should have come into effect at the start of the league. Was Richie Feeney the first player to get the black card in the club football championship?

  61. We cant have it both ways. Feeney goes in with late tackle and gets black card. Did we want Cunniffe to clock Connolly and get a red. Yes he should have been marked tightly but give him credit, he was brilliant yesterday. If he was from Mayo we d be raving here about his performance

  62. I agree Catcol . I want to see physicality but not needless fouls. As you said breathing down their necks as a trainer set to be when i was an under 12s i want you on their boot laces. Mitchels were unable to cut off the distribution . If Mayo are to beat the Dubs they are going to have to come up with a way to cut out their attack or distribution . When we have the ball to put good ball into freeman and have someone running off him to either collect the breaking ball from Freeman or to collect the pass . Our attack needs to be fast and direct down the middle running at the Dubs. Basically everything we dont want the Dubs doing to us. We need to watch the high ball into our back line and to be out in front of their forwards . If we beat the Dubs it will be because we score more goals than they do. It pissed me off that Vincents for all of the first half they only scored 2 points . Yes i know they got 2 goals but to only score 2 points in 30 minutes is a poor return for any team. Because of that i was confident going into the second half .

  63. Connolly was good because we let him.
    I remember a Sligoman telling me years ago that the only instruction he was ever given by his school coach before taking the field was……….

    ‘Now young fella, when you go out there the ball will get past you at times. On other occasions the player will go by……but under no circumstances let the fucking two of them past you at once’………………….End of lesson.

  64. I can’t understand how the GAA appointed a Leinster ref for the final involving a Leinster team.

  65. I think the most frustrating thing is, how come it never seems to be the Mayo players that grab the game by the scruff of the neck, in All-Ireland finals, when the game is there to be won? They are well able to do it in semi-finals but not in finals (look at the way Castlebar finished off their semi-final against Dr. Crokes and Mayo did the same against Tyrone in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final). We can talk tactics, formations, playing positions, kick-outs, stopping the opposition’s best players etc. (these things are vitally important too), until we are blue in the face but if our best players don’t stand up to be counted and drive us on to victory then we’ll continue to struggle in finals. Castlebar and Mayo last September had enough possession to win both games but they didn’t. Just think back to our Minor team last September during the early stages of the second-half of the final. They just went all out for the jugular and drove on to victory. Our senior teams will have to start doing this. When the game was up for grabs yesterday, Mitchels got a free in the middle of the field, as their player was taking the free nobody made a run for him, he seemed to be standing there for ages looking left and right, for someone to play the ball to but no one demanded the ball off him. Did the players not want to be the one to make a mistake? Compare this to Connolly screaming for the ball or someone like Cora Staunton who will always demand the ball to be played to her. Our players still seem to play the occasion rather than the game, when it comes to All-Ireland finals.

  66. I remember Mossy Quinn pulling down a Ballindery guy 10 minutes from end of the semi final and he got away with it, no black card. Totally inconsistent reffing

  67. Lads some interesting comments being brought up on this post. Firstly, pat Holmes had a stinker on the line yesterday. It reminded me ironically of 1997, when a hapless Holmes himself was left following Maurice fitz around Croker when he won an AI by himself for Kerry. O Reilly is a decent player, but was roasted yesterday. It was obvious after 15 minutes that he was shipping water against Connolly. Mossy Quinn was useless, cunniffe was wasted on him. Cunniffe should have picked up Connolly after it became apparent he was having a field day on o Reilly. Eoghan could have easily picked up Quinn, or what about Alan feeney?? Also more than good enough to handle mossy Quinn. It beggared belief that Holmes left o Reilly on Connolly for so long. And some people say that this man is the next mayo manager?!

    I guarantee you Connolly would not have scored 2-5 if tom cunniffe had been breathing down his neck all day.

    Thought Patrick Durcan and Alan feeney were 2 of Mitchell’s better players, and both worth a look for mayo, along with the current mayo crew from Mitchell’s. Unfortunately O Reilly and king may be a little short of what’s required at inter county level on the basis of yesterday’s performances.

  68. 1)The Rossies hasn’t gained promotion out of Div three since 2007 wouldn’t mind if we were at Kildares level TBH.

    2) Our U21?s have beaten Mayo four times in a row more than a little moment at this stage.

    3) Its Leitrim our seniors have to beat not Sligo,

    4) St brigids played two All Ireland finals (2011,2013) won one lost one
    Roscommon minors,U21s played two All Ireland finals (2006,2012) won one lost one

    Banter is part of GAA but Pebblesmeller its probably best to get your facts right.

  69. Good post GBX1.The simple reason that Castlebar lost was Vincents were a better team.The idea that Mayo teams should not shake hands with the opposition is laughable as if that would make a difference and its an insult to the Castlebar players to say they were too nice and that is the reason they lost.

  70. It was very apparent early in the second half of this match that a change was required to try curb the influence of Connolly. It may well have had little effect but it was certainly worth a try. The obvious change was to move Cunniffe out and put Feeney on Quinn.

    There’s no way it was certain to work but Cuniffe definitely has the pace to stay with Connolly. Connolly had a fine game but was under little or no pressure in the second half.

  71. My thoughts in brief:
    Moment of madness from richie and a black card offence gan dabht
    Like last September in AI management froze and failed to make right switches. Played into vincents hands, left barry inside too long, let connolly run amuck and didnt make chamges needed.
    Too many lads failed to lift their game. Best performers were naughton, alan feeney, cunniffe, p durcan and barry when moved out/right ball put in.

  72. Ah look thats a primary school.argument and u dont mean to be disrespectful in saying that. How many castlebar men would want tonsee marty duffy a connacht man ref it? Ref was not to blame but think the sideline had the worst performance of the day

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