Cork 2-10 Mayo 0-11: blown away after the break

It was cold, it was wet, we got bet. That’s a ghastly enough triptych for anyone to be going on with so there’s no need to tip into the mixture any other stuff about it being yet another Croke Park final defeat. And so I won’t.

It’s a few hours now since the final whistle sounded at HQ and obviously you all know how the match panned out, either because you were among the 22,000-odd punters who were there today (including around ten from Cork) or because you’ve been following the action on TV, radio or online. Because of this, there’s no need either to detail how the match played out in any kind of blow-by-blow way (and there were a fair few blows). So, apart from some brief broad-brush words, I won’t do that either.

What is important to do – and which those of you in the comments have already been doing over the past few hours – is to give some thought to what the result means for us in terms of how we’re shaping up and what hopes we can reasonably have for the summer campaign that lies ahead. I’ll try to rise to this, though I have to admit that it’s a bit of an uphill battle, given the evening that’s in it.

As regards the game itself, it could be argued – if you’re into clichés – that it was the classic game of two halves. That’s only partly true, though, because while we went in at half-time four points ahead it was obvious even then that our midfield shortcomings were causing us major problems and that something needed to be done there urgently. So, although we’d won the half, we hadn’t done so convincingly. The second half, though, went decisively against us with the two goals effectively killing the game as a contest.

It took us a while to get settled into the game today and although we were well on terms with them in the opening twenty minutes, even at that stage it was clear we had problems in the middle third. In advance of the match, I’d identified in my own mind the Cork half-back line as a real area of opportunity for us but O’Leary, Canty and Kissane put in a very strong opening half, to the extent that our half-forwards spent much of that opening period back-pedalling.

Cork repeatedly cut from the back with a series of rapid thrusts and as they did so – another cliché coming up, I’m afraid – the image was like a knife going through butter.

No questions were asked of Canty, Kissane, Pearse O’Neill and Alan O’Connor as they repeatedly cut right through the middle. In fact, it took some poor shooting by the Rebels and some good defending by our lads to ensure that these repeated forays didn’t cause too much damage on the scoreboard in that opening period.

We didn’t get our first score of the day from play – a cracker from Keith Higgins – until the 18 minute mark and the bulk of our first half scores came from Cillian O’Connor frees (including this one). Cillian could – and really should – have found the net with the one point he got from play (or alternatively he could have lifted a pass over to the unmarked Barry Moran to palm home) but instead he drove it over. Cork, meanwhile, got most of their scores from play, a pattern that would continue in the second half as well. In fact, only a single point of the Rebels’ total came from a free.

Just before half-time, another possible goal chance for us was rather savagely prevented when Pearse O’Neill poleaxed the inrushing Donal Vaughan. Donie was coming full-tilt when O’Neill intercepted him and left him in a heap on the ground. When you consider the mild infractions for which Donie himself and Colm Boyle had been booked earlier on, the monstrous Aghada man was lucky to stay on the field. Likewise, how Noel O’Leary escaped a card for his thuggish rough-housing of the prone Ballinrobe man is beyond me.

Facing the wind in the second half, we had to keep pushing on with the hope that we might get six or seven clear of them before the inevitable onslaught hit us. Instead, Alan O’Connor was allowed to lope forward and shoot over unimpeded less than a minute after the restart and another two points for them quickly followed to cut our lead back to the bare minimum.

It was then that James finally started to undertake some surgery on the team, with Jason Gibbons a bit unlucky to be the one called ashore to give way to Pat Harte at midfield. It made little or no difference, though, as Cork continued to come at us and when Colm O’Neill smashed home the opening goal of the contest the reality of another league final defeat at the hands of the Donkey Ayters began to come into focus.

That first goal wasn’t, however, fatal and, in fairness to the lads, it provoked the right response as we drove forward in an attempt to rescue the contest. The Lee Keegan incident – where the TV replays confirmed beyond doubt that Pearse O’Neill (still on the field, still fouling) had pushed him – was clearly pivotal, denying as it did as certain pointed free for us (which would have left us just one down) only for Cork to go up the other end and score the second, decisive, goal.

Even then they had an element of luck in getting it with the miscast Aidan Walsh (why is everyone saying that playing him at full-forward has been such a success when he so clearly isn’t at his best there?) catching his only ball of the day and, despite Keith Higgins’ despairing dive, driving it to the net to seal the Rebels’ third league title in a row.

To our credit, we kept plugging away after that but it was obviously a hopeless cause by then and with the rain now pouring down, I’d say it wasn’t just me that had lapsed into Beam Me Up, Scotty mode at that stage. We couldn’t have had too many complaints about the five-point margin with which we finally went under. And then we had the rain and the biting cold to face on the way home too.

So, after the high of beating Kerry the weekend before last, today’s result is clearly a bit of downer. Cork showed, as James Horan admitted afterwards, a far greater intensity than we did and their cuteness with the dark arts, allied to Maurice Deegan’s hamfisted refereeing (he’s rapidly moving up the shiteometer, in my opinion), was something we struggled to cope with.

Midfield is the main weakness that everyone has identified but, as PK said a bit earlier in the comments, we also did very poorly in attempting to win breaking around the middle of the field. Cork hoovered up the majority of loose ball in this sector and our half-forwards, in particular, came out a poor second-best here.

Conor Mortimer and Michael Conroy never got motoring either, partly because the ball going into them was so poor but also because they weren’t able to do much with the ball they did get. We should have made changes there far sooner than we did.

Today’s match provided further proof that we’re no nearer to sorting out what to do in relation to full-forward either. Cillian will definitely make the first fifteen for summer but is very likely to do so at corner-forward rather than 14. We’ve an urgent need to fill this yawning selection gap before the serious stuff starts in a few months.

And that’s it, really. A poor ending to a kinda weird league campaign, one where we thought for a good while we might get relegated but then came close – but not close enough – to winning outright. We’ve learned a bit about ourselves over the past few months and we learned some more (sadly more negatives and positives) in this respect today. We are, I believe, still heading in the right direction but we’re also, in my opinion, some distance away yet from competing with the top teams where it really matters. As long as we keep learning and continue improving as we do so, we’ll be fine, even if this means that other painful lessons – like today’s one ultimately proved to be – may lie ahead of this group of players as they seek to close the gap on that elite group of true contenders for All-Ireland glory.

Mayo: David Clarke; Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins (0-1); Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan (0-1), Colm Boyle; Barry Moran, Jason Gibbons; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Andy Moran (0-1), Alan Dillon; Conor Mortimer (0-1, free); Cillian O’Connor (0-6, five frees), Michael Conroy. Subs: Pat Harte for Gibbons, Enda Varley for Conroy, Danny Geraghty for Barry Moran, Jason Doherty for O’Connor, Richie Feeney for Dillon.

64 thoughts on “Cork 2-10 Mayo 0-11: blown away after the break

  1. Great first half but there was no inside line for the whole game, o Connor showed well the rest didn’t perform. Some of the sideline decisions were also questionable, poor choice of substitutions not the subs themselves but whO they were brought on for.

    Well have other days Higgins had a good day our full back line were under some pressure in the second half.

  2. Ah well it wasn’t to be..Story of that game- Cork up the gears we had no answer.

    We have been well talked up in recent weeks (even i got caught up in the hype) Horan picked his strongest possible forward line today.

    Kevin McLoughlin – more of defender than forward
    Andy Moran – don’t think the half forward line suits him scored 0-1
    Alan Dillon – poor display best days are behind him?
    Conor Mortimer – 0-1 from free didn’t do much from play.
    Cillian O’Connor – good on frees did little from play.
    Michael Conroy – poor showing should have been taken off sooner.

    At least we only have to play Leitrim & have a Connacht final to look forward too but the forwards will have to improve.

  3. Disappointing result cork are a brutally strong outfit and that o’leary should get a right going over for roughing up vaughan he could have done serious damage.

  4. We have a lot to learn, Cork certainly learned from last july how to stop our full foward line. Nothing came of Conroy alot of decent ball went his direction the same could be said of Mortimor altough to be fair he did’nt get a great supply.Is it just me & sour grapes or was that ref as bad as I seen in a national final, one of the most blatent fouls on Mayo’s Lee Keegan went unpunished & led directly to Corks seccond goal. Thats a 4 point turn around and we only lost by 5. Maybe I’m pulling at straws but I think that on another day we could have won that match. Vaughan & Boyle picked up yellow cards for nothing in tne first half, while Cork seemed to have dipolmatic immunity. Still the team did put in a serious effort fir the 70 plus minutes 10 out 10 for that but it was a day we could’nt buy a break. The manner that Cork took their only 2 goal chances was the difference, clinical to say the least,our defence had to work hard & did a good job. We lost the midfield battle from the kick outs, probally was to be expected, especially with Aiden O Shea out, our half fowards & half backs certainly made life uncomfortable for Cork with any posession they won around the middle. However for the whole match we failed ignite in the full foward line when we tried to feed the 2 corners the ball it never happened for us. I wonder would the high ball into Alan Freeman have worked any better, we’ll never know now. Of course we made mistakes thats to be expected but the managment team need to figure out alternatives when a section if the team dosent malfunctions. I am not having a go at James Horan & Co, I think they have done a very good job since coming in but its something we have got to learn how do, things will always go wrong and a plan B . Even the most talented soccer team in the world Barca have suffered because of not having a plan B. Anyhow bottom line this is a very good bunch of lads that Mayo now have , It went wrong out there today for us but stick with lads, yer good enough to make it come right on another day. I dont want to take anything away from Cork but I really think this Mayo team are well cabable of beating them. Right now the important thing get the auld self belief going again & not to let losing today affect the championship season. Remember what happened to Mayo in 2010, but also remember Dublin did’nt have too bad of year in 2011, after losing the league final. And oh by the way congrats to Cork.

  5. Forced to miss the match but from the telly it seemed that Cork backs had the better of our forwards particularly in the second half. 2 points is a poor return for 35 minutes football. We had 2 midfielders and three forwards replaced. This tells its own story. I thought Jason Gibbons was doing ok and that Barry Moran should have been first to go.
    That said a poor refereeing decision caused a 4 point turn around and god only knows how the game might have turned out if the ref got that right.
    In the end it was a very good test for the team and they now know what is expected at the highest level.

  6. We won the first half with the breeze, they dominated the second half. Three points without reply then the goals meant they made the most of their dominance.
    They planned to rough us up in the second half as well and were cynical with it, clever in rotating the foulers. This is how titles are won and if we want to dish it out we will get it back with interest.
    O’Leary should be no surprise to anyone at this stage, he’s there to stop his marker playing, rough them up and doesn’t mind if he gets sent off as long as you go off with him.
    I thought the ref was reluctant to show anyone a red, but it was a messy, disruptive game in the second half.
    I think two or three points would have been a more fair margin, but they took their goals
    Cillian had a chance of a goal in the first half but took the point
    All in all, progress was made in the league and we can look at why the performance dipped in the second half
    Aidan may be back by the time we get out of Connacht
    Thought Gibbons was unlucky to be subbed, unless there was another reason. Barry Moran looked to be struggling before he was subbed

  7. Dont panic
    We got 1 score less then cork.
    First goal came from a slip/push on our FB & second should have been a free in.
    O Connor should have passed to moran inthe first half for a goal.
    we musceled cork out of it last year & they replied today

  8. Great to see Joe Brolly g’ing us up again. Really unwelcome comments about Vaughan.

    Very depressing day!

  9. Brolly’s criticism of Donal Vaughan was typical. I wasnt impressed with DV diving but by god I was less impressed by him getting a ferocious wallop and have O leary act the thug in attempting to get him up off the ground. That guy should have been put on his arse. Why didnt Brolly comment on that.

  10. Diehard, I have never heard a good word from Brolly about Mayo. Canty made sure to get himself in a tussle with Vaughan after he got a very soft yellow card. I taught Cork were very cynical & tried to get Donie sent off. Still dont like to see any players diving, think he was very frustrated, after all he got no protection from the ref.

  11. Have to agree about Brolly. He has to get some dig in at Mayo

    Donal took three thumps to the throat and should have protected himself better but in the 20th minute Donal was booked for less on Cadogan.

    He is well able to hand it out and Cork were targeting him after that but what was the referee looking at today?
    Every time there was a stoppage he didn’t appear bothered by the shoving going on around him regardless of whether we were doing it or Cork

    O’Leary looked like he gave a sly kick to Andy in the face, stood over Alan Dillon when he went down and then tried to pull up Donal who was genuinely injured when he took a knee to the face.

    Is this what Brolly thinks manliness is?

  12. Looks like the bug that Cork had last July and Kerry had a couple of weeks ago, hit us today. All three will have recovered by this Summer

  13. Ignore that prick brolly. All the above are correct. Vaughan got no protection from the ref today as did all the Mayo players. It’s like the ref was in awe of cork. He let canty, o Leary, shields et al get away with brutal cynical fouling throughout the day.

    Ok we struggled when they upped the physicality but they blatantly fouled us time and time again and got away with it. With some of the players we have that’s easily going to happen. Without naming names some guys go hiding when the going gets tough. Their size and lack of strength makes them look like kids when teams like cork get going.

    I’m disappointed with some of the substitutions that have been mentioned above. Jason gibbons was doing well and let’s be honest Barry Moran was labouring badly throughout. If you watch the first of corks scores in the second half from Alan o Connor you will see gibbons working his socks off to get back at him. O Connor was morans man and Barry was strolling up at the other end of the pitch.

    I know it’s not the end of the world but I hate losing finals. The run in the league will stand to us, no doubt about that. I just wish we stood up to their physicality better in the second half.

    “Alot done, more to do”!

  14. HERE we go again blame this one ,blame that one ,blame fuckin every one because we lost in Croke Park again.The sooner people realise that we lack quality players in vital positions we will not mix it wit the big boys simple as that.I never went to the game today and i’m not surprised at all by the out come .IMO James has to take alot of blame 4 the manner of our defeat.I will not mention any players in perticular but there are some I do not wish to see in a Mayo jersey again and I don’t think i’m alone in that

  15. well Raz, i think you’re 100% wrong. we were missing the 2 o’shea’s today and alan freeman is still to get going again. those 3 in good form would have changed the game considerably, especially the two lads in the middle of the park.

    Tough one to take but i’d rather lose to cork now. we can definitely play a lot better than what was on show today and a few more breaks and we could be the ones with the cup.

    Don’t want to be pessimistic because i think we can go really far this year but the last two times we have lost league finals, we have had terrible championship campaigns, and haven’t recovered fully. Please god don’t let this happen this year lads. Get back on the horse, we are there or there abouts!

    maigh eo go deo

  16. Brollys attempts at football analysis shouldn’t come as a surprise at this stage. could only be described as verbal diarrhea. The cork player hit Donie in the throat twice, and Donie is criticised for going down. Double standards Joe! Personal attacks on armature players like Brollys on Vaughan are totally uncalled for. Shame on you Joe. Its an improvement from 2010 and 11, we are headed in the rite direction, don’t despair.Up Mayo.

  17. Well i’m well aware who was missing today unstoppable and i can tell you it would’nt make a blind bit of difference.ARE you aware of the stats for JH managed teams

  18. I thought it was cold for the semi-final but today took the biscuit. We got the worst of the conditions for the second half too.
    As for the game itself, Cork were better suited to the conditions as they are a bigger stronger outfit.

    The game turned when Ger Caff got a knock and was off the pace for a point and a goal in quick succession.

    Keith Higgins looked good going forward and took a great score but the primary job of a corner back is defending and his man got too much space throughout.

    Keane and Cafferkey were solid until Caff got hurt.

    Vaughan had less impact after the break when he might have been feeling the effects of that knock in the first.

    Keegan was ok but Boyle was below his best.

    Barry Moran was lucky to survive as long as he did and Gibbons had caught two fine balls in the early stages of the second half before being called ashore straight after plucking one from the sky. A strange substitution.

    All our forwards failed to show for the second half although Andy and McLoughlin tried hard. Cillian looked a threat early on but faded but the two corner men had days to forget. Both seemed to have a problem getting to the pitch of the ball.

    I think that we ran out of steam today and this might be a hangover from the hard training in Portugal. As someone else said, we still only lost by 12 scores to 11. Cork are nearer championship shape than we are.

  19. Right. Was going to leave it until the business end of the season but brolly’s just bust me waters. Is it just me or was the coverage designed to offend every last mayoman living and dead? I mean fairs fair, no mention of the foul before the first cork goal, (great finish by the way) no mention that our midfield was suffering given no o ahead, in fact no mention we had none, I’d better stop before I lose the run of meself, but enoughs enough. I’ve no problem with the result, best team won, we are a work in progress. Lord help me if I ever see that flute and there’s no gardai in eyesight, id do time for it, I swear no problem. Back to the game, lots Horan needs to get right, we had an alarming lack of plan b, big balls into Mortimer and o Conor,( the biggest man in the frontline) must not even work in training, so what’s the crack there? Second half display was flat, maybe we have finally put the slow starts to bed, still need to believe that we are entitled to more, still great to see so many Green and red jerseys outside Phil ryans in April, same old faces. Keeping the faith, its great to see. Beginning to think remember51 is mellowing with age, no roaring at all at that ref today!!!!!

  20. well they did very well against cork last summer, and aidan has been the form player in the 4 games he has played in the league this year. so by my reckoning, i think would have made serious difference today.

    i’m not i’m afraid, enlighten me…

  21. Match was played today in difficult conditions for forwards. The two lads in the corners had a poor outing but the quality of ball into the ff line was dreadful at times. I thought the 6 backs played well against probably the best forward unit in the country. 

    Midfield is a massive issue. In fact even when AOS returns it will only be 50% solved. Moran just does not have the mobility or athleticism for this position at IC level. Gibbons looked v disappointed to be substituted. He certainly deserved to stay on longer than his partner. I still believe there’s a place for McGarrity there. 

    The match was poor standard overall and Mayo could still have sneaked it. Keegan was definitely shoved and O’Connor should have scored a goal in the first half. 

    Time to move on. Championship is all that matters. Mayo have already had 2 outings to Croker in 2012. Throw in 2 last summer and that amounts to invaluable experience for a young panel. They won’t fear Kerry, Cork, or Dublin in the summer – that’s progress. Hold your judgement until the August Bank Holiday weekend!

  22. It is hard to know where to start. We still do not
    have any Centre Field players of quality, Aidan O’Shea being the exception, also no target man.
    Question? Why do so many of our players want to solo the ball to death.IE: Keith Higgins solowing the lenght of the field, and then what?
    Bring back the Catch and Kick and see what happens.
    Cathal Henry.

  23. One player I won’t have on the team is the mort and before ye start giving how much did he contribute from play nothing I would have o Connor at ahead him

  24. Lads – its only the league – as mentioned before on this forum a Connacht Title this year will be much more important.

    Some Positives – We had a good run-tried out a few new players and have better options for the summer.

    We dont know how fit the team really is at the minute. I cant imagine given how our year is structured that JH has them tuned to the minute just now.

    Losing that match today should be filed in Memory Banks for later in the year under What we learned and Revenge – just in case like.

    We didnt have our No 1 Midfield option on the pitch (which is really a Corkmans Kryptonite- ie 2 kerrymen)

    Negatives – And I’ve written about this before – WE ARE NOT TAKING OUR GOAL CHANCES therefore letting the other team easily back into the game if they get a run on us. 4 points up at HT when it should have been 7. I dont know if they work on this in Training but it needs serious attention.

    We are going to have to be twice as good as other teams in some matches cos if we get reffed like that again I would be very afraid for our chances -This is a recurring and very worrying trend – some of the Cork challenges were unbelievable if I was seeing right – Will be looking at it again during the week to make sure but JEEEEEESUS.

    Anyways onwards and upwards !

  25. Good god almighty have you to draw a diagram to explain things regarding the midfield. The day of catching balls cleanly is very rare now as opposition breaking them seems to be the norm especially against a big man as they are not going to let you catch clean. Its our sweepers in the half back line and half forward line that people need to start looking at and stop going on about MF. Take Galvin, all the ball he gets on is breaks, Dillon used to do it but doesnt seem to be now…but there are still 4 or 5 others who should be getting around breaks. Watch come summer when someone makes a clean catch and it will get a replay on RTE because thats being taken out of the game by breaking (hence why the argument for the mark was discussed time and time again!

    Conor Mort is all when and good when we’re cruising but when the chips were down were was he today? Limited from play he is…he likes the frees which COC took today. COrk had an army of red attacking in the 2nd half and we failed to combat it. I thought Barry got on a lot of ball and gave in some good balls. There was a goal chance there if COC laid it off to him…did anyone else think the same in the 1st half? Goals were crucial today and we didnt score. JG caught one catch in particular but its a team effort that wins matched and we didnt have that. I think AOS will be an addition but not SOS…I can quote numerous occasions where his distribution has let him down in recent league games and he gives away stupid ball! And give over about McGarrity…I dont think he will be back.

    Didnt take advantage of the wind, did silly things and were bullied. Cork were rough and went unpunished so why cant we do the same? A big blow for us

  26. it’s hard to make a call on todays game ,

    the positives :
    we never gave up even when the game lost .
    the backs played well even though they got no fair play from the reff (some of the desisions were very questionable )

    with the exceptions of andy and cillian the forwards had a bad day at the office , alan dilon and connors days may be comming to an end it is also clear that kevin mac’s place is in the backs not the forwards .

    it leaves us with questions for the championship i would be of the opinion that we should get as far as we did last year and maybe even get to the final (which we might win with a bit of luck )but it will take another year for us to have a team capable of winning the final on any day .

    on top of this i wouldn’t be supprised if O’leary gets draged infront of the CCC for the atack on Donie it has to be the worst case of unsportmanship i’ve seen in a long time

  27. Will the cork lad get suspended he was the cork lad for that it was not a good tackle anyway and notice the cork lad trying to get done sent off terrible

  28. I dunno Cat, will the Mayo lads get punished for the diving and cheating? One can only hope so, there is a reason some of us don’t watch soccer.

  29. Lady luck and the ref didn’t exactly smile on us today and a few players were well short of championship football, but this wasn’t championship it was a league final we didn’t think we would see 6 weeks ago.
    I couldn’t understand the JG substitution, and I think Conor Mortimer yet again had a very poor day at HQ.
    I started off this morning hoping against hope that we would win but there was always that little niggle saying if we lost a close game we might learn more. Div 1 again next year and we now know there is alot to be done before the bonfires light the western sky in June, it might be a while before we see bonfires in September.

  30. Beaten by the better team today, all is not lost however. I feel that Cork looked sharper today, they seemed to have an extra gear when driving by our lads for a large part of the game. I do think that this has to do with the difference in both sides first championship outings.

    Ger Caffs knock seemed to affect him today, but i think he is coming on nicely this season. Our kickout strategy needs to be worked on. We seem to only have one tactic here (Down the middle). If this is the case we need to be much more alive to the breaking ball. I believe Barry Moran should have been taken off ahead of gibbons who was doing ok. He wasn’t dominant on kickouts and gets caught for pace a lot. In the forwards i think that Andy and Kevin worked their socks off, but apart from that imo we were lacking.

    On a final note regarding Brolly, no need for personal attacks on players, but i was disappointed to see Donie going down like that. Before anyone says he was hit all throughout the game etc……. that is modern football unfortunately, and you simply cant go down that easy. It was a desperate move by a beaten player, who was obviously frustrated and hurting. Would it not have been better for Donie to not back down when ur man was pushing him away. Send out the message that no matter what, even when facing defeat, that we will fight to the bitter end.

  31. Hard luck today Difficult day for football and cork powerful team. Fought to the end and corks second goal a major turning point. Good league overall but of course the usual criticism of guys when we lose mort moran dillon even JH etc etc Give these guys a break. As for brolly the whole country know hes a prize idiot so no point paying any attention to what he says. Connacht championship looks interesting and we are in a fairly good position better than we were this time last year.

  32. Hard to know how to call today’s game. For the first half it seemed like we were containing Cork by and large, took our scores when the chances came (albeit mainly through frees). Things looked good even if midfield was a bit hit and miss.

    The second half can only be a worry for me. OK we had the elements against us, but four points up against a team who we have beaten at the same venue a few months previous, with a chance to win a national title, knowing that we’ve let a similar lead slip against them earlier in the league and after a week in the sun at a training camp to bring us along a bit further and yet it seemed like Cork were the only team to bring any championship intensity.

    I know there was a bit of dirt flying around, but it seemed like Cork decided to stop the Mayo runners and foul in the middle third if necessary and then see if Mayo can adapt with a set Cork defence. Unfortunately we didn’t have the famous plan B. The lack of a full forward is an issue and it seems like the shining light in the team of 2010 that was Alan Freeman has faded somewhat according to JH. I’m a fan of Dillon usually but I didn’t think he had a great day either.

    All in all though while it is definite progression, there is still someway to go before I feel we can honestly say we are up there with the big three.

  33. I think Richard must have been picking me up telepathictly when he wrote his post or was it the other way around..he got to say it first!
    Keane and Caff good until Caff got crealed Higgins looked great going foreward but where was his man during these camios?
    Keegan was good, but Donie, after picking up a cheap yellow, got pulled out of the middle, which allowed them to gallop down the middle time and again partically in the first half.Boyle wasn`t near as good as he was in recent games and he too got an early booking for what I don`t know.
    Midfield was average not bad all the time and not responsible for all the breaking ball we coughed up during different passages of the game.
    I`m afraid I have to say that Alan Dillon was marked absent again today when he was needed badly.Andy and Kevin did ok but they will have to improve on the quality of the ball that goes into the full foreward line.
    The full foreward line got one point from play which should have been a goal but they lived off scraps in fairness.We have a big problem with our final ball into the man in the best position to score.
    We have done ok in other games, the Dublin game and the Armagh game and the early part of the game last Sunday, when we let the ball in quick and early and got scores from Mort and Conroy and Dillon when he was nearer to goal.
    Today we struggled to get nearer than 30 yards out and often lost position and let Cork in for a score at the other end which is a 2 point turnaround.
    And after all that we weren`t that much behind them at the end and if we learn from this it might make us stronger for later in the year.

  34. I’m still seething after matching league Sunday with them 3 stooges. Normally I’m good at ignoring tripe but they have really got on my wick.

    Vaughan nearly had his jaw smashed by a cork man in the first half after pearse o Neills trip. He was targeted by canty in the second half when he was wrestled to the ground. Canty knew what he was doing. Vaughan had been booked earlier. Then he gets 3 hits to the head/neck area by cork men after Andy Moran is fouled. WTF is brolly on about when he says Vaughan should be ashamed of himself. Perhaps Derrys biggest prize prick should review his own comments and have a look at the incidents that led to Vaughan hitting the deck.

    Even though we are all disappointed this isn’t the end of the world. We have learned more today than in alot of our previous games about certain players and what they have to offer. Remember that the dubs lost the league final last year to cork but claimed the big one in september. I’m not saying we will do the same…. But we are better than what we showed today for long periods.

    I make no apologies WJ to referring to brolly as stated above. I’m only saying what others in our county and the rest think and already know.

  35. Disappointed with the way it turned out, obviously the foul on Keegan not awarded that led to the Cork goal was the final turning point, but in hindsight we didn’t do enough with the wind at our back in the first half and that left open the possibility of something like that happening in the second.

    It was always going to be tough missing so many midfielders but Gibbons is developing nicely and Geraghty has potential. But come summer we will need AOS on the field, there are a couple of players we cannot afford to be without and he is obviously top of that list. When you are missing three players in the same sector of the field it is hard to counter the effect of that – and that killed us today.

    I’m not one for writing off players after one bad performance so I will reserve judgement on Conroy longer term, but he was poor today. On the other hand Barry Moran has been on and off the panel for seven years and he still doesn’t look like a county footballer unfortunately. He may be great for his club but it’s a big step up and not everyone can deliver at the higher level. He had no drive in him and seemed to be stuck to the ground. Certainly should have been hooked well before Gibbons who was working hard and doing OK. With the two O’Sheas to come back, Gibbons and Geraghty developing an McGarrity regaining fitness someone needs to be let go from the panel at midfield and I think it needs to be Barry.

  36. As for the punditry, when I heard the Sky Sports lads describing the Edinburgh v Ulster match on Saturday as an ‘epic’ (it was a very average standard rugby game) it highlighted exactly what’s wrong with our gaa media. Too quick to talk everyone down and look for a negative angle to further their own agenda/reputation/careers. I am amazed that the GAA are happy to let their broadcast partners talk them down as they do, it makes no sense in terms of promoting the game. Brolly, Spillane, the arse boxer and a few others should have been taken off the telly and left to their newspaper columns or whatever a few years ago but RTE seem to be happy to stick to the same old tried and failed format and leave them to it. League Sunday itself is one of the worst efforts at a highlights tv show I’ve ever seen anyway, the producers should be sent to the dole queue fir being responsible fir such a poor offering.

  37. we were well beating yesterday but what bugs me is not the loss but the dire standard of the oficials i know now why a lot of people stay away from matches lads train like proffesionals live like pros and then they come upagainst poor refs linesmen and umpires that said mayo havnt got a proven goal scorer coc should have centered the ball to moran and take a chance goals win games after all we scored 11 times cork scored 12 times lot of work to be done but we knew that already at least jh and co will have time to address the shortcomings one swallow doesnt make a summer neither does one defeat make mayo a bad team cork got away with a lot that they wont get away with in the summer the winter conditions didnt suit mayo but hard ground and a warm day will see mayo at their best still i reckon we will still be in the mix come august one thing that would worry me would be galway in pearse stadium we are going in the right direction when teams like cork have to employ roughhouse tactics to get over the line against us as for joe the knob brolly i wouldnt waste my time on him and his anti mayo attitude nowt knew there roll on the summer tink it wil be a good one keep at it lads to hell with the begrudgers

  38. No need for any apologies, Patriot – Brolly is an utter joke and you’re completely correct in your analysis of him. Personally, I wouldn’t take any notice of him – it’d be like going to the zoo and expecting to get respect from a chimpanzee.

  39. in response to wj at least the chimpanzees are dumb and know it brollys as thick as two buses the diff being he doesnt know it but the whole of county mayo and beyond do

  40. That’s correct, Peter, and on reflection I think I should withdraw that remark I made on the basis of its unfairness to chimpanzees.

  41. @Declan I have to pull you up on the Barry Moran comments there. While I agree that he is not a great mid-fielder and probably not good enough to be 1st choice at MF, just going on yesterday’s performance he was easily as effective as Gibbons and Geraghty.

    While he doesn’t have their mobility, he is a better distributor of the ball and also gets himself into good attacking positions (eg. CO’C’s goal chance). I also think he is a lot more effective at MF than Pat Harte, for example. Gibbons had 2 brilliant catches just before he got taken off which is why I was very surprised he got taken off when he did, maybe he was injured. Anyway, Barry get’s a lot of unfair criticism from Mayo fans in my opinion and I think he’s worth his place on the panel.

  42. People, we lost. We all know we were poor at midfield. If we even had got fifty fifty there, it would have been a different game. It is easy to be wise on the sideline. No one went out to play a bad game. Did we think we would be in the league final after Donegal?

    James Horan needs about three dominating players. are they there ……… ? I thought we were fitter than Cork and I would have some idea about that.
    Brolly- don’t even recognise the ……….. He is a waffler and we all know that

    We have to beat Leitrim and it looks like Galway will be the opposition in the Connaught Final in Pearse Stadium. Ross might have something to say about that ?

  43. Compare yesterday’s performance to our best one of the League against Dublin. We seemed to completely change our style of play.

    Instead of quick fastball going directly in we decided to take Cork on by running at them. Now in the context of the day (and particularly the conditions) this ploy would work in the second half against the wind but it was just a waste of time in the first half. Tactically I think we got it wrong there. It’s all very well to make solo runs from Keith Higgins and the ½ back line but you can’t keep making them throughout the game. If we do then what’s the point of having a FF line. No fastball was consistently put into them.

    Now as well as this Cork were smart (and very cynical). They dragged back or down our fellas throughout the game slowing up our approach play to let them re-group. And unfortunately for us we didn’t have a Plan B for their approach. (By the way Kerry employ the same method). It’s something for JH and the rest of the backroom fellas to work on to try and develop a plan to crack this.

    And this idea of having a big FF to mix it up with that Cork FB line. Well imo that’s simply nonsense. It didn’t (or wouldn’t have mattered) what size of fella was in there. Putting high balls into that FB line is just meat and drink to guys of the size Cork have. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Gibbons was called ashore as several times he kicked in those types of hanging hopeful balls.

    Also yesterday we simply didn’t get the breaks you need in tight games. Maybe we used up all our luck against Kerry. Corks second goal was the case and point. But I can’t end on a negative though. I thought even with nearly everything going against us we were still in the game and even though things didn’t go our way we never give up.

    This is very important. Mayo teams of before can be accused of throwing in the towel but not yesterday’s team. We continued to attack (and defend) even when it was clear that it wasn’t going to be our day. It would have been a miracle to come back from 5 points down and playing into the wind but our guys kept their heads high and of that I’m very proud.

    Overall it has been a very good League campaign and I think we can look forward to the Summer with justifiable anticipation.

  44. In fairness to B Moran I thought he done better yesterday than he did recently. But himself and Gibbons in the one midfield won’t work. The Cork midfield scored 3 points with Barry trailing badly behind them, if you aren’t mobile you have to complete dominate at midfield. We didn’t, simple as. AOS will make a huge difference.
    Thought the backs were good overall. Half-forwards done ok, with a middling midfield it means they have to do 2 jobs rather than just here own. FF line was poor however, bar O’Connor in the first half. Wouldn’t completely right them off but it would be great to get Freeman back to top form.
    Cork were cynical and played the ref – who in fairness tried to let the game flow and played advantage a lot. Cork used this to slow down Mayo players without giving away too many frees. The linesman on the Cussack stand side missed at least two (if not three) obvious fouls that he ref couldn’t see. One was a late Canty hit on Dillon and the another when the ball was thrown at Andy on the ground. Cheap blows but we have to be tough enough to take that and come through it (like we did against them in August last year)

  45. First up, don’t be getting upset about anything you hear on RTE. Same old stale analysis from the same old stale commentariat. Nothing to be learned there.

    Donie shouldn’t be falling down as if shot by an airgun though. That is not a manly or Mayo thing to do. Hopefully lesson learned for him.

    I’d be more disappointed about the lack of a hefty belt being administered to O’Leary when he dragged Donie off the ground when he possibly had a serious neck injury. At that exact moment, Cork said to us, we own this game!

    My take on the game is coloured by the impact of the training camp. You cannot as JH has said, get a months training into a week and fully 100% recover in 7 days. So I would put some of our fadeout in the 2nd half down to that. In fairness to the team, they did not throw in the towel and kept going to the very end. The game was still there for us right up to Cork’s 2nd goal which was in fairness slightly lucky from their point of view.

    Where we need to improve has been discussed above, as I see it, in order of importance;

    (1) We need a focal point for our attack. I still hope to see Danny Kirby given a chance, if not then we need to use one of our many midfielders in there, why not Pat Harte, mobile, good hands?

    (2) Midfield is Aidan plus a horses for courses choice. Jason works hard and does simple things well, Barry is a good fielder but has major mobility questions, Seamus is needed for presence like yesterday. I don’t believe we will settle on a set 2 for championship. We do need to identify correct combo for each game.

    (3) I’d be a bit worried about our substitution strategy. Some of the decisions yesterday came too late and smacked a bit of panic. For example bring on Pat Harte as a 3rd midfielder to bolster midfield, remove Dillon or McLoughlin, not Gibbons yesterday. Didn’t make any sense to take Gibbons off in my opinion.

    (4) Continuing failure to take goal chances or even identify them. This is game intelligence, no major prizes will be won without serious work on this.

    (5) Conroy is a confidence player, off target early on, game over. He’s old enough now, it’s either shit or get off the pot time. Likewise Mort.

    Overall, making progress. I think we’ll make semi finals and at a minimum seriously rattle so called top 3 team. We don’t have to be the best, we just need to be better than the opposition on the day.

  46. Just on the topic here of match analysis, I don’t know if anyone was listening to an interview Ger Gilroy had with Kieran McGeeney on Newstalk Sport on Saturday? It was an excellent interview (as Gilroys usually are anyway) but they discussed the analysis of GAA in the media and how actually terrible it is….In fairness Ger held up his hands and said Newstalk are not without blame here sometimes as well…(although Conor Deegan is usually very good I think)…I don’t listen to RTE radio 1 anymore….jacqui hurley has made me break 4 radios in the last 2 years in anger at the BS she spouts….

    McGeeney reckons that the players from the 80’s or 90’s who are now doing the analysis say that the football of the 80’s and 90’s was the best…of course they’ll say that!

  47. its allright saying b moran should be on the panel at least thats a negative statement if your not good enough your not good enough simple as that subs should be as good as what starts the game midfield is aweak point but where does it state in the laws of the game that the keeper has to kick down the middle we should be playing to our strenghts not our weakness none of the half fowards yesterday hoovered up any ball round the middle mayo need some one whos not afraid to have a shot at goal it was proed again yesterday goals win games we havnt got a goalscorer simple as that

  48. Cork were the better team yesterday and won the game well. Congratulations to Cork on another league win.

    I agree with Kevmy, the Ref seemed more intent on letting the game flow instead of blowing his whistle. Cork were aware of this and used it to their advantage. O’Leary crossed the line however and I hope the County Board cite him. Some of his fouls were outrageous and cannot be left unpunished. It would send out the wrong message before the championship.

    Cork were smarting from the last time we met them in Croker and came out guns blazing. The onus is now back with Mayo for the championship. I would not be afraid to play Cork again I think one player at midfield would have made a huge difference and probably changed the game. It annoys me how people talk about the “Big 3” with so much awe. After drawing to Kerry at home, beating them in CP, hammering Dublin in Castlebar surely Mayo are one of the top 3 teams in the country??? Dublin and Kerry put out their strongest teams against us and we were two scores away from Cork without (arguably) our best player.

    Vaughan was caught between a rock and a hard place yesterday and was justifiably frustrated. He was warned from the sideline not to get mixed up in Cork scuffles but he was receiving ferocious attacks from cynical Cork players. He took two strikes to the throat; he could not strike back so he went down in frustration. He had no protection.

    On the Brolly thing I didn’t see his commentary but a lot of people did and there have been a lot of complaints. While commentators are allowed a little leeway, and everyone has a natural basis towards their own county – it has been stated here time and time again that Brolly is unduly bias against Mayo. His personal attack on Vaughan being the latest in a long line of questionable commentary. I will try to view the piece and make my own mind up. The thing is if Brolly is unduly bias then it is our duty to complain about it. It is a very simple thing to do simply email

    or write to

    Information Office, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

  49. It is strange that we are crying out for a 14 when we had the best 14 in the country last year, the All Star winner in that position and he is fit and ready to go. If we are to make one fairly drastic change before the championship I would suggest putting him back at full forward and looking at an attacking midfielder to play 11. Seamus O’Shea has done this job to good effect for us in the past.

    Certainly in games where we have a wind advantage it should be considered – an extra man to win ball in midfield and then decent early ball into Andy who can do a job on any full back. If its not working you can always bring him out again and try someone else in there as your plan B, we have forwards of all different shapes and sizes available and we shouldn’t be afraid to make radical changes during games if things are clearly not working.

    As for Jacqui Hurley and RTE – she once (about two years ago or so) came in to work on Sunday Sport almost unable to speak and present because she had shouted herself hoarse at a Munster rugby game the day before – and she was laughing and joking about it. Imagine if you did that on a commercial station, you wouldn’t be seen of or heard from again.

  50. If we were to meet Cork again this year would we have learned enough to beat them? Kerry you can be sure will have learned from Cork how to stop Mayo. Against the top teams apart from Dublin our midfield was beaten which meant our half backs have to work twice as hard both defending & attacking. Keegan, Vaughan & Boyle must be the most overworked half back in the country. Those lads have showed plenty of spirit, pace & cominment in Mayo’s league campagin, but due to our midfield been beaten, our full foward line not able to win any ball our only attacking ploy was our overworked half backs & Kevin McLoughlan having to solo & support each other all the time. Cork were cynical enough to put a stop to that yesterday by fair means or foul. I thinl Kevin McLoughlan has been our best player by far to date this year but he continuly has to work behind the midfield picking up breaks, I’d like to see him nearer the oppositions goal but untill we get midfield sorted out cant see that happening. Still we dont need help the opposition,we have got to devolope a kick out ploy to suit ourselves. Cork have an awsom midfield and Clark should be avoiding them at least from some kick outs..Plenty to work on.

  51. put harte at full back cafferky at midfield bring back danny kirby and let andy moran do what he does best roam around the foward line always takes two men to handle hin we have 6 or 7 weeks to get it right or else it could be london all over again galway will be waiting like a hungry lion for mayo in pearse stadium we have got the wake up call now is the time act on it

  52. Mayo unearthed a scatter of lethal forwards over the last two years we had Enda Varley Alan Freeman Jason Doherty Danny Kirby and Cillian O’Connor each able on their day to win ball and score freely from play. Goals and points rained in and all looked well …….. so what the hell happened, of the quintet O’C alone can be sure of seeing his name in the 1-15 print out,come summer, the other 4 have faded from scoring machines on Red Bull to brief appearances in the dying minutes.
    I for one find it hard to stomach that when such talent is there -and they did show talent in varying degrees- that they couldn’t be coached to improve, what seems to have happened is that all four have regressed.
    Freeman for instance showed glimpses of brilliance in 2010 only to fade last year, he would be my pick as having more potential due to size & speed. Are we letting these guys slip through the fingers or is there not a role for a forwards coach.
    How come Boyle Kegan Keane and Caff have all improved individually and as a unit yet our “New” forwards are in danger of being consigned to the scrap heap. I hope if they do that its not for the want of a few extra grinds in forward school.

  53. Food for thought on the 14 conundrum. Those of you there for the Kildare-Tyrone match will have seen a 14 masterclass from Tomás O’Connor, whom I rate highly.

    The key to getting the most from a 14 is strength, mobility, awareness of what’s around you, corner forwards and runners coming to take the ball and QUALITY BALL IN.

    TOC’s stats yesterday:

    7 balls bouncing in front of or at chest height – 7 balls won and laid off for 7 scoring opportunities

    5 high balls in – 4 balls lost and 1 scoring opportunity.

    The stats don’t lie. If a team trains how to kick the ball in to a target man, they will reap scoring opportunities.

    When Mayo have put a big man at 14 this year, they have taken it as license to boot high balls in, hoping something will come off it. It doesn’t work.

    Mayo have to train it. 3 months to August. Do it.

  54. Albany the answer is simple about the men you mentioned. But the manager has opted for Dillon, Mort, Andy, COC and Conroy with McLoughlin as the gatherer. That leaves the boys you mention on the outside. Last year with Mort out a place freed up and COC stepped up. Perhaps those mentioned by you don’t see a way back in if their confidence is gone. Andy, Dillon, Mort and Conroy started the 2007 league final , Harte was the other forward so we are back at first base five seasons later.

  55. correction.
    Our boys have NOT been able for the step up in class to senior football unfortunatley. –

    a quote from face the ball after ork won the All Ireland Final a few years ago

  56. We cannot throw away all our progress by making wholesale changes at this stage. Looking back at the last 5 games as a whole we have been beaten by Cork twice (once unluckily), beat Kerry twice and hammered Dublin. When we had AOS available we were unbeaten in the league.
    That’s a good base to take into the championship.

  57. Yes we have made progress in certain areas but the areas which are critical are still a major problem. What people forget is that when AOS is missing our replacements are are not good enough to gain quality ball and give it to our forwards.We have all being critical of SOS for bringing the ball into the tackle but it is something that is riffe in this team.Andy Moran said after the game that he thought we slowed the game down to much.yes your right Andy and your one of the men who slows it down.As i stated several times before our spread of scores are not good enough .Over reliant on frees and no scores from play from our midfield again. WE need ta work on the midfield unit and forward divisions and give them a revamp and get them working better as a unit.AS the guy in the sunday world said last year… as individuals players we are not that far behind the top teams but as a team we are a good bit behind. And i kinda have to agree.IF we get a few more positions settled i do believe we are making progress be it slow.I would not be a great supporter of James Horan style but I will always be a MAYO SUPPORTER

  58. Food for thought: (having finally got around to watching the match back). This match was a lot closer than people are making out and on a different day Mayo would have won.

    – We kicked 7 wides or short. 3 of them were in the second half from the Hogan stand side. Considering the breeze was going the other way, from the Nally Stand to the Cusack, it was virtually impossible to score from there. We should have been working chances from the other side. To score against the wind you have to kick directly into it. Another example of not knowing how to play into the wind following on from the Donegal match earlier. Also, Conor Mortimer should have been withdrawn for the second half, his style of kicking doesn’t suit playing into the wind.

    – Mayo weren’t bullied by Cork – watching it back I felt they stood up well considering Cork are bigger and stronger (remember only 1 player is below 5 “11 on the Cork team. They were certainly out-dirtied by Cork, with at least 9 instances of dirt. In the future, Mayo will just have to say Fuck That and keep playing.

    – Keith Higgins needs to get tighter, he was 15 yards from his man for no reason when O’Neill got Cork’s first goal.

    – An astonishing stat – Cork only misplaced I believe 1 (one) handpass all match. This is the consistency you need.

    – Consider these basic mistakes:

    Handling errors – 10 times
    Fist passes astray – 9 times
    Failed pickups – 8 times
    Ball skied into forward line – 9 times (only 1 of which was won)

    These are basic skills of the game. There has been so much emphasis on the physical element of the game, that basics have been left behind. These mistakes have to be ironed out, they all add up and turn a game against you.

  59. Digits – If we played perfect we would have won by thirty goals. I say again no one went out to play a bad game. No one went out to make mistakes. We are all great on the ditch. [Remainder of comment deleted – House Rule 1 refers]

  60. good post Digits but in fairness to keith higgins,it was Ger Caffs mistake in letting Oconnor in behind him and thro on goal and Higgins as any good corner back should do, had to come to meet him therefore leaving ONeill in alot of space to take the pass and score the goal.Definatly not Higgins fault for the goal.For me the most diappointing display from a Mayo perspective came from Cillian OConnor.I expected great things from him but he seemed way off the pace of inter county football and his free taking glossed over his poor display.I know he has never been known for his pace but he seemed shockingly slow on sunday and even more surprising he turned over alot of ball which is one thing I have never associated with him

  61. Not blaming Keith Higgins, I believe there was another defender coming to close down O’Connor (Keane I think, I’ve deleted it off the Sky Plus now), but my point was just that Keith in general needs to be closer to his man – he affords them too much space, which can be exploited.

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