County Board expecting James to stay on

James Horan

Photo: Irish Examiner

Terry Reilly has a piece in today’s Irish Examiner quoting County Board PRO Aiden McLoughlin which gives the clearest indication yet that James Horan will indeed continue as manager for a fourth season. In this report, Aiden McLoughlin states squarely that as far as the Baord are concerned “James will be in charge next season.” Apparently, the issue was discussed with the clubs at last Monday night’s County Board meeting and the plan is that James will meet with the Board next week to go through how this year went and to discuss arrangements for next year.

Terry’s piece also states that the mooted changes to James’ backroom team appear to be driven by decisions taken by selectors James Nallen and Tom Prendergast to step down “due to family commitments.” The former was part of JH’s original ticket and has been a selector with him from the outset. The latter also came on board as a member of the management team then, though initially as the stats man. The departures obviously mean that if James does commit to a fourth year in charge, his first task will be to fill these key vacancies.

In other news, I see that four of our lads – Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Aidan O’Shea and Kevin McLoughlin – have been included in Paul Earley’s international rules squad to face the Aussies later this month. While it’s a honour (of sorts) for the players in question and, by extension, the county can puff out its chest at the fact that we’ve got the biggest representation on the panel, long-standing readers will know that I don’t have a high regards for this makey-uppey international nonsense. Personally, I’d prefer if the lads got some well-deserved rest but failing this one can only hope that they come through this experience unscathed.

It’s ironic that the one Mayo lad I think we’d all be interested to see playing in this country again – Pierce Hanley – isn’t on the panel but there you go: the international rules series never fails to underwhelm. We’re all on the same team now, indeed.

Talking of who is on what side and all that, you’ll no doubt have seen news this morning of Dublin’s new megabucks sponsorship agreement with US insurer AIG, which is worth €3.5 million, €4 million or €5 milion, depending on what news report you believe. Regardless of what the figure is, though, what the deal (which comes hot on the heels of an enormously lucrative tie-in with Vodafone) shows is that Dublin GAA inhabits a different universe compared to the rest of us (and that’s before you even start talking about Croke Park and all that). With this kind of financial firepower at their disposal, the only surprise is that the Dubs aren’t already dominating across the board and it’ll be even more of a surprise, I reckon, if this isn’t the case five years hence.

170 thoughts on “County Board expecting James to stay on

  1. Pearse Hanley made himself unavailable for this series as far as I know Willie Joe. Don’t think there’s any doubt Paul Earley would have selected him if he could have. Zach Tuohy of Laois and Carlton is the only AFL based player in the squad.

  2. Good to see a bit of positivity regarding the management situation. Horan staying with changes to his staff with fresh faces, and ideas, is just what is needed.

  3. With a bit of luck James Horan will stay on and finish the job, and a bit more luck that none of the Mayo lads get badly hurt playing a game that’s only watched because its like a car crash.
    And even a huge amount of luck probably won’t stop Dublin becoming Celtic and the rest of us becoming the Scottish premiership? It’s not very nice that Dublin get to have all their championship games at home while picking from such a huge number of clubs and having such big money behind them.
    What kind of game will it be when only 3 or 4 teams can even dream of competing?

  4. Unfortunately (for us and rest of country) you can see the GAA football series becoming like the Hurling for the past 10 years. The money, population and the home advantage rule will add to the recipe for one team dominating and no one capable of catching them.
    Hurling fortunately is going in the opposite direction.

    Only teams I see capable of stopping Dublin next year are ourselves, Cork, Tyrone and Donegal. and that’s if everything goes spot on for the team playing them.

    Can’t see anyone else troubling them.

  5. I think Tyrone will not be near strong enough to stop Dublin. Mayo were 10 points better than Tyrone in real terms and Stevie o Neil is getting on in years. Cork? Maybe. Donegal is hard to know, jimbo might have some concoction of a scheme to do it, maybe. Ourselves, again who knows? If horan stays on and brings in what’s needed then maybe mayo are able. Kerry were close this year but even Kerry can have doldrums and I think they have entered them.
    Dublin have so many clubs and so much funding, I can see the football becoming like Scottish soccer.

  6. Thats very welcome news and just what we need considering the depth’s we’ve been to since the final.

    Regarding the International rules series, I’ll watch it, but as I mentioned before, its dopey and we run the risk of some of our county stars picking up injuries that could jeoparize them lining out for Mayo next spring..anyway.

    Dublin will be the team to beat next year. If Horan is back, we’ll be back too.
    Followed closely by Kerry and Tyrone…Cork havent even appointed a manager yet. Donegal i wouldnt count on.

    Regarding Dublin’s deal (good for them) with AIG….
    WJ, that should have read, “sponsorship agreement with US tax payer funded AIG 😉

  7. Lads, they only bet us by a point and we were piss poor. Our worst performance of the year – bar Kildare in the league. If we had performed as we know we can, or even to 90% of our maximum given how bad Dublin actually were, we would have won. Look, everything is cyclical and before Heffo came along Dublin were only getting 2,000 to games and couldn’t get out of Leinster. Now they are going to dominate for a decade. Last year everyone was saying that Donegal had a model that no-one could beat and we know what happened them. If the history of GAA football, or indeed any team sport, has taught us anything it is that the game constantly evolves and you either evolve and adapt with it or you get left behind. There is no-one unbeatable.

  8. Well if that be the case good for him i’m sure he done alot of soul searching since the final and if he decides ta wait on he must have the support of all the county behind him . So roll on winter league and lets make division 1 status a priority

  9. If that’s the case that James is staying on, it is great news for Mayo football ,going forward.
    I hope he can hold on to Donie Buckley and replace his selectors with men of high standing, like James Nallen and Tom Prendergast.
    We want to target the League, blood a couple of Forwards and try and win it out, a National Title, would be nice and would extend our playing season.

  10. Great news that JH will be back in charge again. This is the first part of the jigsaw in place. While it is a long road ahead and anything can happen in the next 9 months it is still a good start. I believe plans for the team holiday is on the agenda soon also.

  11. When in the international rules on? Kevin and Aidan have club commitments. Plenty of players dropped out due to that, surely these two will aswell if needs be?

    Kevin out of everyone could use a rest, but congrats to them for being selected of course

  12. Great news!! Let the pessimists who only watch the final and follow the oft worn path of bemoaning our bottle in Croker or suddenly becoming experts about what Horan is doing wrong because they watched Brolly and co’s analysis, go and take a jump!

    This is a serious team and they deserve massive credit for the consistency and heart they have shown and alot of that is down to James Horan.

    They done us proud this year and there is plenty left in this team for the next 5 years.
    I am looking to the future with great hope, Not expectation because we are not the only team in the country capable of challenging but great hope.
    In defeat or victory, Mayo abú.

  13. Great to hear this news – it steadies the ship a little after the last couple of weeks and will hopefully dampen down some of the rumours .Will be sorry to see Nallen go – he has been a great contributor to Mayo football over the years, but some fresh blood in the backroom could make all the difference – let’s hope we’ll add a couple of strategic thinkers (who can read a game quickly and make strong tactical changes when needed).

    Thought the same when I heard the Dubs news – great for them, but there’s absolutely no excuse for them not dominating football over the next decade with an investment like that which covers all levels. The ‘glamour’ aspect makes them a big draw in terms of sponsors and so you have to feel sorry for the weaker counties given the serious inequity in funding, taking into account big sponsorship deals. While it’s great for the counties involved, it’s ultimately not good for the game as a whole, or certainly not the standard of competition at senior country level. Good to hear however that the sponsorship deal also includes ladies football and camogie.

    And as for the International Rules, they can keep it – will probably end up watching out of idle interest but like most people here will just be hoping the lads make it through unscathed.

  14. I wouldn’t rule out Cork or Donegal next year. Cork have some phenomenal players and if they get a manager who can put the fire back in their bellies and play a game of quick ball into their forward line they’ll be very hard to stop. Donegal have an easy path to an Ulster final next summer and will be giving it everything now that their All Ireland hangover has gone away. There could be a few new teams breaking through to the last four also e.g. Armagh or Galway

  15. Yes indeed , great news if James is staying on. I too will be sorry if we loose James Nallen, a man who surely owes Mayo nothing and a true gent.He has contributed greatly for nearly 20 years since I first saw him play for Mayo v Kildare in Maynooth at the pitch opening. Hopefully we see more of him again , some time in the future.

  16. Delighted with the official confirmation of reports that it looks like JH and DB will be carrying on for 2014.

    Also happy that it appears the opportunity has arisen with JN and TP retiring as selectors (due to family commitments) for that new very experience (so older) tactical selector (that I keep on about) can be added. This new man should come in as assistant manager and JH must select the right man, preferably someone he isn’t too familiar with, but one he respects and will listen to on planning and tactics, to address the deficit that exists in this area.

    He should stand with him on the sideline because JH never seems to be wired up with the earpiece. If JH buys in to this and makes it work, it could be the final section in the jigsaw in place. It’s essential in my view.

    The second selector replacement to be appointed by JH should really be one that has a good record in developing forward in to a strong scoring unit. Again, this person shouldn’t be someone he is too familiar with. You don’t get best results by surrounding yourself with yes men, that don’t put up counter arguments on selection etc. JH knows 2014 will define him in history, so it’s time to come out of the comfort zone and get the dream management team in place.

    As for the role of Maor Foirne, which James Nallen filled as well as being a selector, that could be a non-selector role. You need a coherent, fit, intelligent, calm, motivational man that players respect like James Nallen to carry tactical instructions to players on the field.

    Not sure if Tom Prendergast was combining his original stats role with being a selector last year but that area should be reviewed now too.

  17. Feedback is the breakfast of champions, we must learn & adapt, learn & adapt……, hope James finds a strong back room team that will offer good timely advice , good look to the lads in compromised rules, lets get behind them and stick up a Mayo flag!

  18. Great news about JH. Nobody better than James will know what is required next year.

    What is interesting I think is that we had no half forwards selected for all stars, this tells its own story. If this time next year we have say Tom parsons and a recovered A Kilcoyne in the mix then I expect we may be reach the promised land. The full forward line of Cillian freeman and Moran will be very dangerous next year when fit.

    We lost by a point with the full forward line suffering from flu, dislocated shoulder and recovering from serious knee injury. If the fullback line had these problem we would have lost by 10.

    Nobody can retain the AI in recent years and there’s nobody as good as us outside Dublin. You can fill in the blanks. 2014… Worth the wait!

  19. I’m sorry that I can’t share a lot of the goodwill towards James Horan staying on .I hope I’m proved wrong but all I can keep seeing in my head is keith Higgins spending the last 10 mins of the all Ireland hopping on the 21 meter line right in front of me when he was needed around midfield and all he was supposed to be marking was o Gara with a torn hamstring who COULD NOT RUN.
    I was blaming the selectors for not spotting this as I would not expect a manager to see everything in an underage club game never mind the AI.Then I find out from a report in the Mayo News that JH hardly spoke to anyone during both halfs.
    I’m just afraid that a leopard dosen’t change his spots and even if the county board does get the right men ,when its right down to the wire JH will revert back to only trusting himself.
    I need to stress again that I hope I,m wrong.

  20. The low number of comments so far on this thread speaks volumes and i agree with you fun do i also have major reservations. I will wait to see who joins the management team, who joins the panel, leaves the panel and how we do in the league. My main concern is that JH has ‘lost’ the dressing room, time will tell. Sincere thanks to James Nallen what a service he has given to Mayo. As for the international rules my best memory was at one of the matches in Croke Park when Graham Geraghty was knocked out cold (terrible i know but he had that coming to him for years).

  21. Understand exactly what your saying and your very real concerns.

    We will get an idea by who the new selectors turn out to be. Will they be so-called trusted yes men or real management experienced tactical operators.

    And because it will be so competitive again to stay in a Division 1, we will know for sure after two or three National League Games if he has filled the big tactical void, if he talking and listening to fellow selectors, if he has learned or not.

    I really hope that he builds in an arial into whichever baseball cap he wears next year with an earpiece & mic attached!, using them regularly. And I really really hope for all our sakes that JH succeeds third time around.

  22. Interesting comments, I wonder if we are going to get answers to the 7 questions that appeared in last weeks Connaught Telegraph?. We need to examine in detail all the things that went wrong in the All Ireland final, no point saying that Mayo were not good enough to win, thats rubbish, In all my years attending Croke Park, I never felt more confident on the day that we would win. Everything was set up, the weather, the minors winning, Hill 16 almost taken over, the Ref on our side and the good start.What haunts me living here in Dublin was seeing the image of Diarmuid Connolly holding onto Kevin McLoughlins and Carolans jerseys at the same moment, those Mayo lads should not have allowed this and put him on the floor. It was clear that the Management made a few major mistakes and did not have the lads psyched up enough in the 2nd half.

  23. Low number of negative comments speaks volumes. I would think the vast number of Mayo supporters would want James to remain on. Yes he may have made errors in final, but his record since getting job is excellent. By the way if he departs who should get the Mayo post In other words who is capable of doing a better job.

  24. Fair play to him if he stays on , which looks to be very likely now.

    I’m on the fence on this whole debate , he made mistakes in two finals, he’s done a brilliant job in bringing a professionalism to the senior team, he was also very lucky in taking charge whilst we were at a low ebb with a team that were just about to mature from boys to men and jel into a right good unit (06 21s).

    If he is willing to change his conservative policy to personnel change and get a dig out with tactical awareness during a game he might cause a miracle and lead Mayo back to an all Ireland final for the third year running and could even win it , who knows but it’s going to be some disaster for him and this team if he can’t pick them up and we exit the championship early august. The whole project will be deemed a failure and we will have a few miserable Connacht titles to show for the whole period. Sin e.

    The one thing I have noticed in the debate surrounding JH s future , there is an unbelievable loyalty to him. This has really left people who have some doubts that he is the best option for Mayo going forward almost ostracised , outcasts, “ye don’t have a clue” do ya remember Longford in 2010″ etc etc.

    Let’s just hope the people who have doubts are wrong and are not shouting in the scorching June sunshine of Hyde park , “told ya so”.

  25. Of course you wont get the answers, Diarmuid Connolly moment was like watching a comedy, most men would have broken Connolly’s arm and that would be his hard luck. James Horan has done his best, interesting to read my initial suggestions on improving the whole set up being reworded now by other posters, given that they were dismissed by so many when I wrote them. Time for hush.

  26. Mayo follower

    Was it Carolan and mcloughlin or Keegan and mcloughlin? Either way, I think Connolly got his medicine later on in the game.
    That photo really got under my skin too.

  27. JH knows he made mistakes and he is hurting more than anyone here. If he stays on, hopefully he can use that hurt to his advantage. There is no point in talking about what went wrong in the game anymore, its done, its over and it is energy sapping.

    People need to focus on new ideas and stand back before they dismiss others.

  28. Glad to see some balance coming into this debate, as it appear all James has to do is say the word and the County Boards would give him their blessing to carry on, it’s not that simple, me think. I trust the CB guys will have some hard questions to put to James following a very unsatisfactory AIF. I trust they will explain to him that they have a duty to the players, the supporters and themselves to insure that should he decide to give it one more go that things on the sideline will need some tweaking. Some have very short memories of the let down we all experienced a few Sundays ago, whether we were there, watching it in the pup or at home, Mayo people everywhere felt the same hurt. and at the time a lot of the blame was laid on the shoulders of James. Never the less I do hope he decides to stay and give it another go, but in accepting his limitations, will need to surround himself with more tactically astute people who are not afraid to call a spade a spade…

  29. The other party in all this is James Horan’s employer , more depends on them rather than the CB IMO. If he remains, how much of his time can he give?

  30. You must also take into account it was Dublins worst championship performance of the year and more or less finished the game with 13 men. For me 1996 remains the only AI that was really left behind.

  31. I think all Aiden McLoughlin is just saying what we already knew, the board were always going to keep Horan on but if its still Horans decision to make and with James Nallen and Tom Prendergast stepping down its not 100% that James will stay yet.

  32. I dont know about cork 45, jesus galway had them nearly bet after some awful and lucky performances in the qualifiers…..hope opposeing countys stand up to the gaa in the league and do not agree to play the dubs in croker and play their home games in their own grounds, the dubs have a enough of an advantage as it is and this year proved that…….we had the beating of the dubs this year, some strange decisions on the line by jam horan but if he staying on hopefully he learn from it, since prendagast an nallen leaving , like to see buckly move up to no. 2 and a good lash at it again next year with a least 2-3 pushing hard to be starting i the chapionship team in new york and injurys clered up for andy moran an cill oconnor

  33. Agree with you ann marie….strategic thinkers up in the stands on the ear piece and buckly on the sideline as horans no. 2

  34. James horan as brought us from a very bad place [longford game] that there is no doubt and deserves great credit for it, but he has made mistakes and im sure he knows this himself and hopefully clear the air in the next few weeks for players and supporters and get every 1 on board for an even bigger push next year, i,m delighted with the conn. draw this year as tough as it can be, prob. goin to the hyde and if we get over that prob. our dearest neighbours and old foes galway would like nothing better and will do their damnest to send us in the back door[ remem. 1998, jesus that hurt as much as losing the 2 all ire,s ….them goin on to win sam]…..Would agree with ann marie in a post above about getting at least 1 strategic thinker on board up in the stand on ear piece with prender and nallen now leaving the set up.Would also like to see buckly move up to no. 2 on the sideline, good team there and i expect to see at least 2-3 lads making break through into starting team for championsip opener in new york and injurys clearing up and a bit of luck with them injurys as donegal and dublin had this year……UP MAYO….roll on 2nd week in january.

  35. There is a lot of discussion about James Horan and how he operates.If he does not liase with his fellow selectors or take advice from the expertise that is made available to him,wheres the point in the whole thing. A good manager takes everyones advice on board and acts accordingly
    There is no doubt that all Mayo people fully appreciate what James has achieved, the level we are at etc. etc.but we also know that we can go further and all that it will takes is a bit of cuteness on the line with all selectors and Donie Buckley’s advice acted on and necessary substitutions and tactical switches carried out a good bit quicker. I also feel strongly that the new selectors shoud be chosen by a group of people with the necessary expertise to do so appointed by the C B.We can not take any chances or make mistakes as we wont always be in this position where we are talking seriously about winning All Irelands
    As already stated we owe James Horan a lot of gratitude for our current position but now it is time to drive on and complete the job.

  36. Horan it had to be but that doesn’t mean we will win next years All Ireland.Since the cult of the manager took root around 1974 and Heffo only one man has won his county an All Ireland outside the initial three years (I am open to correction by the way). That was Sean Boylan. The rest nailed it in year one, two or three of their initial appointment.

    So while stats measure variables that are measurable they can never measure what made Tommy Conroy give a double dummy leading to a goal v Roscommon, nor can they measure what makes Gooches head tick. History on the other hand is derided but in the main an accurate story teller. For Horan to lead the team to an All Ireland he needs to beat history. That at times is like pushing a boulder up a hill.

    Some people have championed his case on the basis of where we were in 2010. And thats true but so is the case of where Donegal were at the same time, a 30 point concession to Cork in 2009 QFs was abysmal. However in year 2 of their journey they won the objective. Also spare me the need for careful building and nurturing players, not exposing them until they are a certain age. Clare had 10 U21s on duty for their All Ireland. A 19 year old scored 3-3.

    We assume that time stops to allow us to fix what needs to be fixed and then drive on unimpeded. Not so, every one else with aspirations will take heart of what Mayo achieved and aim to topple them. If Horan is to succeed he needs to be ruthless in replacing three forwards at least, find a full back that commands the space , a centre back ditto. Both the current 3 and 6 are top class but for other roles not the ones they now occupy.

    Centre field needs to be constantly rotated because the Dublin combo is different from the style of the Kerry combo etc. The OSs are top class but need to be paired with others on occasion. Mayo know certain things. (1) They have the players that perform at the highest levels.(2) If they get to a semi , they are nailed on to win (3) If they get to a final they are nailed on to lose.

    Many reasons are the cause of that but the area of the psychological which in essence is actually simple seems to let Mayo down on that last crucial day. If the mantra as posited over the years that those guys are not like “other Mayo teams”, a gratuitous insult by the way, in that they are “winners” then truth is being avoided. They may be potentially the great Mayo team but unless someone challenges them in the dressing room and remind them of the litany of Final day flops and failure, then they are not being made face up to that bare faced elephant that fills our dressing room on such days.

    In the current panel we have lads who have contested 4 Senior, 4 League, 2 Minor, 2 U21s and club finals. Some lads have appeared in 12 finals across the A grades with little to remind them in gold. I wish Horan well, but its not about one man, its about reality, history and hunger as well.

  37. I agree mayomagic about the board wanting to keep James but right now we can’t be sure what the outcome of their meeting will be. As I said already they owe it to the players and the Mayo supporters, to ask some hard questions and should James decide to remain for another year, than changes to the way big calls are made on the sideline will have to change. That will mean, James working more closely with his management team on the line, and for someone who appears to be a loner in this regard, that might be easier said than done. So rather than us celebrating the good news that James is on board for another year, lets give them all a some space, wait for those involved to have their meeting, trash out what ever they feel needs trashing and trust they all arrive at the right decision, for the good of Mayo football. Because at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want…..

  38. It is also worth noting that the introduction of the black card may mean a very different tactical approach by many teams next year. (i.e I am thinking our half back line running forward and not getting pulled down). Having said that we are well able to engage in the dark arts ourselves.

  39. Connolly scored 1 point, gift-wrapped for him by Ger Cafferkey. He was rubbed out of the game. The All-Ireland is won on the scoreboard. It doesn’t matter who pulled whose jersey.

  40. I don’t think anyone expected him to walk away, he already had an extension on his term. Great, forward-thinking young manager with a great, young team – one that is still developing. NFL 2014 – work with Hennelly, his command of the square, kickouts, rebuild that midfield, move A. O’Shea to 11 perhaps, develop the Freeman/Moran partnership inside. The fact that Mayo have no All-Star nominees on the ‘half-forward’ line suggests a lot, as one poster mentioned, i.e. supply of ball. Mayo need to get their passing game going again, either find a way to get Dillon on the ball or bring a new playmaker in there?

    In a way, rebuilding his backroom team may be a blessing in disguise. A second opinion who’s not afraid to speak his mind. Lots of supporters wanted this anyway. A serious shot at a League title would put the ghosts to rest.

  41. Observing the posts…..While I agree the sideline had a poor game v Dublin and I was very frustrated like everyone else because of this. I really do believe many have VARY SHORT memories though.

    REMEMBER, this is an amateur game – everyone in the Mayo set-up give their time on a voluntary basis. This is not a professional sport where if you don’t get the results, sack the manager, pay off his contract, pay big money for a replacement, and the cycle goes on.

    In my mind, after following Mayo for 30+ years, we have waited all this time to get a manager like James Horan, I honestly believe he is the BEST MANAGER we have ever had. My main reason for this belief is that I think the game has changed dramatically in the last 3-5 years in terms that it has stepped up a considerable few notches in terms of team preparation – Horan has ensured that we are positioned in the elite and with a platform to challenge for the big prize. Testament to this is our results this year – NEVER, I say NEVER in my lifetime have Mayo ever steamrolled through teams as consistently as we have done this year, including the Donegal’s and Tyrone’s of this world. Hindsight is a great thing….the lazy analysis after was that Connaught is in a crap state, Donegal were on a hangover from last year, Tyrone lost 3 players during the Simi….lads, this is indeed lazy analysis, these results did not happen by a stroke of luck. They happened because the team were prepared in every respect to move into a platform whereby we were ensured to be in a position to challenge for the big prize. This is a MAJOR achievement for a Mayo team – think about it! Looking back at positives in 2013, I have NEVER EVER experienced going to Croke Park like I did this year with an real inner feeling of confidence that we would win….and more significantly, seeing the trepidation in opposition fans eyes that they were playing Mayo. A TOTALLY NEW experience for a Mayo fan. THIS DID NOT HAPPEN BY CHANCE!

    I was castigated 2 years ago for slating a piece on here about the ‘Return of the Corncrake’ after out QF win against Cork….my point was that if we were lamenting a QF win in that way, well we would never win anything. SHORT MEMORIES INDEED! How the expectation has changed since then! The expectation has changed because James Horan and his backroom team have CHANGED OUR EXPECTATIONS!

    James Horan has brought RESPECT to Mayo football. Now that has been some achievement. Respect because he has eliminated BS from the Mayo speak which has been ever present in my memory. Respect because he has a squad of players all for one and one for all, never before seen. Respect because he is not afraid to say that our aim is to win the AI…we were too afraid to say that in the past.

    And my most important point is…this is NOT the best Mayo team / squad that has ever represented Mayo in terms of quality, but JH has made them the BEST TEAM to ever represent Mayo. There is a big difference. All the talk since the final has been about our poor forwards….not making excused on JH’s behalf, but I believe we are at a time when over the last 10 years when we have been particularly bereft of forward talent…..think of all our underage teams in the last 10 years, really has there been any exceptional forward talent? O’Connor and Hanly being the nearest to that category in 10 years. I really think Horan has built a team capable of REALLY contesting for the AI on a shoestring of forward talent, but to compensate he has made the very best of what has been available. Moran, Higgins, McLaughlin, Feeney are all originally defensive players in one respect or other. Unfortunately it has proved that that compensation was not enough to get us over the line.

    Having said all that, I was extremely disappointed, on face value, with decisions that were made on AI Final day, however I am of the belief that if you have the manager in place, you must trust that they make the right decisions. Judge him after the event, however not just on one decision or one match, but as a whole. Also remember we are commenting on decisions from afar….no one really knows the full circumstances around decisions made – if you knew the full circumstances, maybe you would make similar decisions.

    No one knows this more than James Horan himself if poor decisions were made and the consequences of them. I sincerely hope he stays on – the easiest thing to do would be to walk away, but I believe JH is bigger than that, I believe he has the determination of Mayo winning the AI as 100% and I believe he will not rest with this group until he has achieved it. And I firmly believe that JH wants to and will learn from his mistakes.

    People should be careful who / what they wish for! People seem to assume that a new manager could take over this group of players at the same level and aptitude that they have been if in the last 2+ years….NOT A CHANCE!, they would be starting from scratch again with up to 3 years build – can ye all wait for that given that we have been so close the last 2 years??. That is because this is an Amateur sport, not a professional one.

  42. Maradonna – well said!

    Although I happen to think there are some very nice footballers in this team, Dillon and McLoughlin don’t become average players overnight and while Moran may have made a name for himself as a wing-back he’s always been a natural attacker.

  43. Good debate after a slow start on this topic.

    John Cuffe, your point with Tommy ‘Goals’ Conroy and the Gooch Cooper is interesting.

    I’m not a fan of psychology determining the outcome of a player’s or team’s performance or results. What I do believe in is high quality coaching, developing a unit such as JH has succeeded in doing with our backs. You instil confidence by perfecting a system, where players know what their doing and are always supporting each other. This creates a situation where players can can express themselves with their full skill-set for the betterment of the team when the opportunities arise.

    We won’t forget when we were in limbo, with our forwards going nowhere v Tyrone and Chris Barrett pushed forward from corner-back twice to put us back on track.

    My point is that our forwards were never that unit last year, they never ran support on each other’s shoulders unless one of our backs had created an overlap. Some contributors have mentioned the inches that make a difference, well if we had a second dimension to our attack on AIF day, other than our backs driving forward, I think we would have won that match after 20 minutes. And that’s even not having coached the team on how to prevent Dublin’s primary possession from Cluxton’s kick-outs.

    In a nutshell, while I fully understand the massive ask it is for players to get back to Croker for third AIF in a row, I believe we can do it. It really all depends on getting our forward unit to even 80 per cent of the level our back achieved this year. Coaching, planning, tactics, fellow players willing to die for the man alongside them – and when our forwards get a system working with and without support from the backs, the Conroy, Gooch, and other natural factors will flow through our lad’s veins, keeping the scoreboard operator very busy!

  44. I read a comment here a few days ago, I can’t remember from who, but the poster said that we, i.e. supporters and those looking in from the outside, had a much better grasp of the situation and of the failings of the team than James Horan and the management had. When I read it I assumed that the commentor was taking the piss. But on reading it again I realised that the person was sure that he/she knew more about the squad, and it’s workings, than Horan did. Such was my bemusement that I was too flummoxed to respond and I logged off.
    Now, if anyone on here thinks that they know more of the ACTUAL issues surrounding the team and it’s preparations, it’s performance and it’s ultimate failure than James Horan does well then will that person please put their name forward to the county board for the managers position. We will probably never know of the TRUE and ACTUAL issues that Horan faced. All we will hear is rumour, pub-talk, second and third hand stories, and, alot of those stories will have originated from “arm-chair” supporters with axes to grind. We will all have our opinions on what could-have/should-have/would-have happened but there is nothing more certain than whatever decisions Horan made he made them in the belief that they were all for the betterment of the squad. He no doubt got some calls wrong on that Sunday, but, he has got an awful lot correct over the previous Sundays. He deserves a bit more slack than I feel he is getting and a bit more credit for what he has done for the development of football in our county. And of all the comments on here about him not being wired up, not having a spotter in the stand, not listening to his assistants, not delegating, not communicating, do we have ACTUAL factual confirmation that all those allegations are true? Or does it just sound good now because we lost?

  45. Don’t mean to be pedantic John but it was actually Liam Irwin, not Tommy Conroy who sold the 2 dummies v Roscommon!

  46. I think in fairness John its incorrect to compare young hurlers with young footballers Sure Clare had a good few U21 s and when Tipp won AI Hurling final in 2010 they had 5 U21 s .But football is a totally different game. Its way more physical whereas hurling is hugely skills based. Lots of Gaelic footballers don’t peak until their early to mid 20s Galway had some excellent U21s this year but they couldn’t cope with Mayos strength and conditioning in Salthill. Even the Dubs who are blessed with outstanding young talent saw most of their younger lads either taken off or underperform v Mayo in AI Final.

  47. On our way to this years Final, we waltzed our way through Connaught, steam-rolled a formidable Donegal side in the quarters and after a stuttering start, put Tyrone away with ease in the semi-final. As has been said above this was dream stuff, never before has a Mayo team left such a trail of destruction in it’s wake. This Mayo team was now serious A I contenders, ticked all the boxes and was now in many peoples eyes favourites to finally win Sam. There were positive reports too from the training ground, all the guys were flying in training, there were no new injury worries and the news we were all waiting for, Cillian would be fit to play. With all the pieces now in place for game six, James was also playing a blinder with the Media, saying all the right things, deflecting any queries regarding players and giving us the feeling the team was in good hands .

    To be really fired up for the final I booked a legends tour of Croke Park with our very own Willie Joe. As anyone who has been on the tour will know, they take you to all the behind the scenes places the public never see. Willie Joe, as well as sharing with us many of his own experiences while playing for Mayo, gave us an insight into what goes through a players mind in those pressure moments before running out to the pitch. We sat in the very dressing room our boys would be togging out in the next day, went out through the tunnel and imagined the roar of he crowd, climbed the steps to the very spot where come 5oc on Sunday, Andy would be raising the Sam Maguire. This was indeed hair raising stuff on the eve of the Final.

    Leaving Croker on that Saturday evening, I allowed myself to dream, this was our time, we were ready to rock – twenty fours later, the dream was shattered. This is why for me this latest defeat is so hard to take……..

  48. First of all it is an exceptionally small minority of people on this blog and throughout Mayo that don’t want James Horan to be the senior team manager in 2014. So please cut out pushing this persecution complex theory.

    The reason for the near unanimous support for JH now is a combination of factors. How far his great organisational and man management skills have brought us from the lows of Longford; his development of an athletic work ethic for players who want to be part of the squad; his creation of an appealing style of play – breaking from the back at speed; his success in getting us to two consecutive finals; and the fact that he is a nice guy and deals well with the media, amongst others I’m sure.

    But to coin a phrase used by someone a few days ago, the county board officers and club delegates, the Mayo supporters including contributors to this blog, ‘cannot hide their heads in the sand’ in relation to failings that need to be put right. And practically as many supporters that want JH at the helm, also want him to accept and change two or three failings.

    No one can seriously say that JH properly prepared the team for the very obvious issue of depriving Dublin primary possession from Cluxton’s kick-out and don’t say it’s not possible to do so, because that would be nonsense.

    I’m not going to document here again the failings of the sideline on AIF day in relation to our forwards, the substitutions, keeping Keith Higgins back in the corner, and so… These are facts, and history at this stage. But we must learn from mistakes or they will be repeated again and again.

    I haven’t met anyone in the last 18 odd days that doesn’t think there is a tactical deficit in the Mayo management team. Of course, it isn’t exposed until you get down to the tight games. Deficits by their nature don’t surface when your winning by 15 or 20 points against inferior opposition on any given day. But when your one dimensional attack plan
    Is sidetracked because defenders are busy defending against better sides, then you need tactical awareness to change things.

    We want JH and DB to stay but we also want the manager to have the benefit of an experience tactical selector, and we want him to listen and converse with his selectors during the game. For all his strengths, tactical awareness and adjustment in tight situations don’t appear to there. So shouldn’t he do what he’s done in practically every other facet of the management set-up – where it has been needed, he has brought in the expertise and quality.

    So please no more martyr talk in relation to JH, just constructive change in the places where there are obvious weaknesses. That’s surely not too much to ask for the commitment the players give and the supporters too?

  49. A great servant dillion, but cannot see im making starting 15 next year…….

  50. You learn more from a defeat than you do from a victory and, as painful as this is for EVERYONE concerned, the lessons must be learned from this latest set-back. As Horan said after almost every game, “we will look at where we an improve, try to be as good as we can and look forward to the next game”. If Horan sticks honestly to his own mantra then we will be fine.
    Cloud9, not to bang my own drum but the “heads in the sand” thing was mine 🙂

  51. We wil know more after next tuesday nights county board meeting, clear the air and every one get on board and we,ll give it a good ole lash again in 2014, that i have no doubt, we are very close……

  52. Hi everyone. I’ve been following the comments religiously since the final and long before. It’s still a bit raw to say much here and most of my feelings mirror what’s been said many times already but I’d have to echo Maradona’s earlier post. I’m willing to give JH the benefit if the doubt forv2014.

  53. Oops! Last 2 words should have read “in 2014” BTW does anyone know when CP season tickets for next year go on sale? Maigheo Abu.

  54. Not sure Cloud9 where your going with this persecution stuff, I’m not seeing anyone on this blog wanting J H to step down as Mayo manager. As far as I can see we all want him to stay but like yourself will want him to beef up his management team with the right people. There should be no room for yes men, but guys who know their football, have no loyalties to established players and as I said before, know and feel free to call a spade a spade. Assuming James decide to stay and we’ll only know that following his meeting with the C B, his first port of call in my opinion should be to meet the players, have a heart to heart and see who’s on board to give it another lash……

  55. The discussion with jh on how this year went is obvious and in all fairness very positive.
    what we need to know is how he feels the final game went from a substitution and predictable kick out strategy point of view.

  56. Excellent post Peeblesmeller.While there is a lot of support for Horan staying on,alot of it comes with the caveat that he should bring in some tactial genius to tell him what moves to make during a game,as if Horan himself has not got a clue .Also there is as much chnce of Mayo winning the all ireland hurling title as Horan going before the county board and answering any questions relating to tactics or substitutions during the final and he would lose all respect if he were to do so.I for one do not feel that i am entitled to answers just because I happened to attend the final.It was interesting to listen to Davy Fitz after the hurling final when he talked about all the abuse himself and a few of the players took during the year after losing the semifinal to Cork yet now he is being lauded by every body as a genius.Horan was lauded as being an excellent manager before the final and now all of a sudden he is clueless and needs major help to continue on.Very hard to figure that one out.

  57. I see some people suggesting we throw Tommy Conroy and a few others in next year, comparing Horan negatively to Davy Fitz who apparently had the balls to put a 19 year old in from the start in an AI final etc, etc.

    PLEASE stop comparing Gaelic football and hurling. Hurling is a totally different sport, a game based on skill, touch and pace. Football is primarily about power and strength, and then skill and ability. There is NO COMPARISON between the level of physical conditioning required to play Hurling, and what is required to play Gaelic football at the highest level. Football is a mans game not a boys.

    I remember watching colm Boyle as a 22 year old in 2008 v Galway, watching young donie Vaughan and ger caff in 09 v Meath, young fellas totally at sea in those games. Now they are among the top players in the country, in their mid 20s, physically and mentally developed enough to play at the very highest level.

    In Boyles case that decision to play him v Galway in 08 was wrong and did a lot of harm. He was literally thrown on the scrap heap (very unfairly) until a great season with davitts in 2011 saw him back in the mayo squad after a 4 year absence. To think that the guy is almost certainly about to win an Allstar having not even playing for mayo from age 22-25 is a terrible reflection of mayos previous selection policy. Is this a good template to develop players??

    Progress is usually incremental with most players. We should be looking at guys aged 22-25 who showed promise this year and previous years, like Coen, Evan Regan, Kirby, shane mc hale etc. Not placing unfair expectations on young minors and then discarding them like an afterthought if they don’t live up to the crazy expectations.
    Freeman and Carolan were 2 such fringe players last year, good improvement this season from both saw them play a much bigger role, hopefully another 5% from them could see them become key men next season.
    This years minors should focus on making the u21 team and winning AI u21 next spring, that would be a nice progression for those guys and leave them well placed to challenge for senior spots in a few years.

    Meanwhile Horan should ask himself: is there another colm Boyle out there, ready to come in and make an immediate impact?? Kilcoyne looked the most obvious choice, hopefully his injury is not too bad.

  58. To be fair players develop at different rates, for example O’Connor,AOS were ready for senior football as late teens while others may take longer, you won’t really know until the player(s) is given the chance and FBD/NFL should be used for that.

    As for U21 level its 2009 since a Connacht title was won that record has to change but Galway,Roscommon remain very strong at that level.

  59. Nobody is asking anyone to throw in a team of U21s. I myself raised the Clare/Davy Fitz thing. Like Jim McGuinness a year earlier the powerful force of the manager left you in no doubt as to the outcome. There was an inevitability about them on the journey.They took chances and reaped the rewards for it. Plain and simple we were conservative on the day.

    James Horan is rightly the Mayo manager but with that comes the bearer of our dreams and aspirations. If I am unhappy that I think we not be firing fully , then I think its fair we should comment on that. Its not exactly as if we haven’t practice at reaching finals so I am disturbed at the naivety shown on last final day.

    Dont know a thing about hurling but I wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of a charging Tommy Walsh or some of them Kilkenny guys in their peak. I do know that if a guy is good enough, he is ready no matter what age. By the way I did mention Tommy Conroy, I merely pointed out his instinct to do a dummy. I inferred that others might tear up the script the odd time and not be so predicable. I never suggested he be put on the team.

    Finally Patrick McBrearty had his All Ireland at 19, so too had our own Mick Mulderrig, Jimmy Duggan at 18, Aiden Walshe and Jimmy Barry Murphy, both Mannion and Kilkenny this year, MCDM and McCarthy from 2011picked up medals before 20. This site is superb, its for honest debate and opinion. The day it becomes the Mayo Fanzine site is the day I am out and off.

  60. Fitz and McGuinness could not have had anymore more resources or talent available to them
    than has been available in Mayo over the past three years.They are now All Ireland winning
    managers.They closed the deal! That is the difference.

  61. Mayo coped with the Dublin kick out fairly well for the first 20 mins or so which suggests to me that the prep was ok. What wasn’t ok was that some of our players couldn’t cope with the running ability the Dubs showed in order to create the space needed for Cluxton to kick successfully.

  62. Not disagreeing with you John and believe me I’d love to see Tommy Conroy on the mayo senior team, there have not been enough men from Erris on the big stage in recent times. It’s just unrealistic and unfair to expect those minor forwards to come in next season and solve our problems up front. We have to be realistic, the best players available in mayo were on that panel this year, with the exception of Conor mort who quit himself.

    Of course there are exceptions like AOS (who was an outstanding minor, probably the best I’ve ever seen) and its not impossible for a player to come in as a 19 year old in Gaelic football and make a big impact but its very unlikely especially on AI final day. Most of the players you mentioned were virtual passengers on AI final day (McBrearty, mannion, Kilkenny, mc caffrey were all substituted on the big day). MDMC is about 27 years old and he didn’t play for Dublin until 2010 yet he is likely to be footballer of the year this year. I don’t remember Bernard brogan or kieran donaghy making much impact either until they were 23 or 24.

    In my view the improvement required in the forward department in mayo is much more likely to come from current squad members stepping up a notch than a 19 year old. I’m thinking the likes of Darren Coen, Jason doc, freeman, Cillian, Mickey Conroy, Evan Regan, Carolan, Kevin mc, Brian Gallagher etc. There are places up for grabs for these lads if they can find even a small percentage of improvement on this years performances. All of those guys are at an age profile where they should be still improving. Staying injury free is also a huge part of it. The club matches are where the players who are good enough will be spotted, for example I heard Mikey Sweeney of kiltane was the outstanding forward the intermediate final. Heres a guy who flirted with the senior mayo squad in the past, he’s about 25 now, could he be worth a look again??

    As for Clare hurlers, well as I said earlier a totally invalid comparison, has nothing to do with mayo football, no more than rugby or soccer teams.

    Regarding our conservatism the last day, well I would tend to agree with you on that. We certainly were predictable in the second half especially, and maybe a combination of improvement and more leadership on the field and the sideline would solve that. The sight of Connolly holding Carolan and Kevin mc at the same time was disturbing. As Dara o se said after, some one needed to stand up and be counted there, smash into Connolly with a shoulder to the chest, off the ball, take the yellow card and show him who the fucking boss was. It didn’t happen – a lack of leadership on our part. We need to Learn from it and NEVER let that happen again.

  63. You know the old saying Tom B, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’
    All year we were riding rough shod over every team that came before us, and the truth of it was was, James had no hard calls to make in that time bar replacing an injured player or using the bench. Suddenly we meet a team who can match us stride for stride, shrewd management skills are now called for – need one say any more….

  64. Cloud 9 – “You instil confidence by perfecting a system, where players know what their doing and are always supporting each other. This creates a situation where players can can express themselves with their full skill-set for the betterment of the team when the opportunities arise.”

    Very true. Mayo were way too dependent on the half-backs running the ball and making easy scores. Bit like Counihan’s Cork. If I have one major criticism of Horan as a manager it’s this – he tends to put all of his eggs in one basket. Mayo became a running team. Jim Gavin saw this, kept the half-backs pinned back, for the most part.

    You’re dead right about the forwards aswell. They didn’t click as a unit but injuries played a big role here. Andy Moran and Freeman could be devestating together but you use the league to develop a settled partnership inside.

    Jim Gavin is on record as saying that he trusts his players to mix it up when required, game intelligence. I get the impression that under Horan you don’t deviate from the script.

  65. On Friday Sept 20 a friend of mind called to collect a spare ticket that I had just got hold of.. He was delighted and he told that he had to all the previous finals and he would spend the weekend in the city like so many others. He was amased when I said it would go down to the wire as he was far more upbeat of our chances. We will win by 5 or 6 he told me. I appreciate where many of the Mayo fans are coming from here. Their experience of finals and semi finals under JH is one of expensive layout and heartbreak, even depression. JH record in the Championship is unvivalled in our history making him the most successful manager we even had in my time.Clearly then I want him to stay a while longer. My expeience and that of many of your contributers is in stark contract to those who only go to the big games. The only championship game I missed was the one in London. I am looking at this through a different portal. The present team is made up of the last successful u21 team we had in this county. and some of the All Ireland U21 team from 2006. The 2009 team played Down in Longford just after they had completed their 4 in a row. I cannot remember them all but names like KEANE, BRODRICK EOGHAN O’REILLY, VAUGHAN, KEEGAN, O’SHEA, PARSONS, GALLAGHER, CARALON, DUGLAS,, DOHERTY, HENNELLY. If you followed the championship this year in the county you will see the boys of 2009 forming the backbone of the club teams in this county. They are playing the kind of football now that they never even dreamed of in Longford that day. That so many would write this off as failure gives me a pain in my rear end. I have attended every u21 game since that day in Longford bar one. We have walked out the gate empty handed in all but 2 occations. First game in Cloone to Leitrim, by the skin of our teeth and one to Galway in Castlebar, on a day of daylight robbery when the Tribesmen should have had thw game won by half time IMO. If we need to focus on the negetive then this is a perfect place to start. Compare where we are in comparision to Dublin or even Galway and you will realise that when the present setup comes to an end we wont be worring about depressing days in September. Looking at the sort of team that might represent the county at u21 in 2014 I am still not convinced that the tide is turning. I suppose I will turn up anyway.just to watch. Finally to those of you who have managed teams in the past will know your work is pretty much completed when the players cross the line.On the 20th of Sept around about the time I was giving away my spare ticket I heard JOM on Midwest radio say some thing like this when asked what roll the management team would play on Sunday. When the team crosses the white line it is pretty much up to them to find a way. He spoke of the pressure and excitement that the AI Final brings to bear on each individual.on the team. Some men are empowered by the burden while others are inpaired. In 1998 the Galway team found a leadership among their ranks in the face of adversity that JOM had not seen before To those of you still suffering out there remember the JOM experience back in 1998, My advice is build a bridge etc

  66. One thing we can be sure of is that Horan is a very accomplished at getting a team into second place at national level. All the evidence to date confirms that – one League and 2 AI finals. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, maybe that is his summit.

  67. Maybe it is …. and maybe it isn’t. no one knows. It wasn’t with Ballintubber – we know that for sure. Also is it possible that a new man will come in and automatically take these players to this summit?

    In my opinion that’s highly unlikely. A new person would command a 3 year contract (at least). i don’t think this bunch of players has another 3 years in them competing, maintaining and improving themselves at this level.

    Whatever about where we would like to be, falling off where we are now is also a distinct possibility. And I think that’s far more likely if complete new backroom team come in with new approaches and direction.

  68. I do not think winning a county title with Ballintubber compares to winning an AI final. If that were the case then we should be knocking down the doors of the AI club winning managers of Ballina and Crossmolina.

    I do not know what new a man would achieve, I suppose it would at the very least be necessary to know the identity before even commenting on expected results. What I can write with certainty is that Horan is accomplished at coming second at national level as was John Maughan – three inter county AIs and one club AI. Maybe getting over the line itself requires something else. That is for the CB to decide on.

    Sometimes in sport,business or indeed life itself it becomes time to move on and change tact. However it is not unknown in sport for new managers or indeed coaches to complete the final heave.

  69. Jh didn’t kick the wides in the final, however, he should really have seen the level that 2 of our subs were at in the semi. Awful poor stuff.
    There’s no point crying over spilt milk but they’d better be sure it’s fixed for 2014. There’s replacements needed up front. Simple as that, when your corner back can bang two points over from 40 meters out and a ff line man misses not one but a few from 15 it’s a sure sign to change things.
    Jh will know this, lets hope he makes the decisions so the team can improve and win in the time the majority of the panel have left together.
    If jh walks away today, it would take someone very special to come in and take over.
    And jack o Connor is managing the Kerry minors.

  70. I’ve just seen the details in the news of Tyrones new €8 million centre of excellence which was opened this week. It’s a seriously impressive facility, you have to hand it to them, in my view they are establishing themselves as a long term top class side with this investment. Im not sure if they have much debt to carry either. Young players in Tyrone will have a much greater opportunity to make it to the highest level in comparison to other counties. Mayo should aspire to a similar level of professionalism.

  71. Why would we want Jack O’Connor, the man would fall out with himself, never mind anyone else. He has more chips on his shoulder then Barry McLoughlin used to make in a week in Cafollas! A very difficult man to work with by all accounts. And won all of his All-Ireland’s with a team that in those years had far and away the best players in the country in almost every position – he’s not exactly a renowned tactician. It would be a step backwards in my opinion.

  72. They will be up for renewal for existing season ticket holders in a couple of weeks. They usually go on general sale in early December.

  73. Diehard, we will have to agree to differ.

    We were in the ascendency in the first 20 (without showing it on the scoreboard) and the momentum from that kept them competing.

    The way you negate Cluxton’s kick-outs is that you crowd those spaces that you spoke about. Push your midfield and half backs forward for his kick-outs and go tight man to man. That was never done – either there was no proper preparation or if there was, it wasn’t enforced. One is as bad as the other in my view!

  74. I used jack o Connor as an example of the level of manager that would be needed were jh to walk away. That’s all, not saying he is the answer or that jh will walk.
    And by the way, I happen to like Cafollas chips, so goway outta that sham or I’ll break yer teeth. (ballina type joke, haha)
    Jh will stay,if he was going we’d already know IMO. Looking forward to the national league already, are the fixtures out yet?

  75. Thanks Mayo3G,

    I think we agree that JH is a very good manager and he’s certainly brought us from being on our arses to a consistently top four team. sure he had the player pool ( and so did the man before him) and he organised them very well. However, James’s limitation as a technician are highlighted when we play the very best teams who impose their game plans on us and he has no answers.

    He obviously believed up to now that he is an excellent tactician but regrettably he’s not and needs to now accept this and get that expertise on board and listen to them. Time will tell.

    Someone in another post today is talking in terms of JH being replaced, which would be a major mistake. And another big mistake would be talk of replacing him with Jack O Connor.

    Now the tactical brains behind O’Connor’s All-Ireland wins was Johnny Culloty, a calibre of a man I would love to see as a selector for Mayo and one that JH could trust and respect and would hopefully listen to. But I’d say there’s no chance of that happening – unlike DB, he’s a Kerry home town man!

  76. JH is the best manager we ever had .When he tried to covert backs into forwards during the league people were complaining–Boylan did this very sucessfully for Meath. Perhaps a clean sheet for all in the new year is the way forward–but this is a 2 way street.Finding someone that can make game defining decision on the line is easier said then done.I remember seeing Mayo defeated by Meath in 67 & i have followed them ever since—roll on 2014 & please dont be so hard on our team .The team dedicat their entire life to football & still get abused by some sunny day supporters.

  77. What evidence is there that JH will improve on his tactical awareness and decision making if he stays on for another year? After the 2012 final it was obvious that we needed bigger men in the forward line if we were ever going to have any chance of winning an AI and what happens on the biggest day of 2013?… the big man that was several months in the making at full forward gets taken off after 25mins. Right now I don’t think there is anyone else in the county who could do a better job than JH in managing this current Mayo squad even if there are doubts about his willingness to take advice from the other members of the management team and/or make the necessary changes following the lessons learned on Sept 22nd.

  78. I agree with the suggestion that those suggesting that they know all about the inner workings of the management team and playing panel are bullshitters.
    And I am astonished that somebody can suggest we turn the clock back to 1991 with the County Board getting involved in the appointment of selectors. Is there any county now which does not leave the appointment of selectors to the manager?
    It also seems to me that many of the commentators here do not go to too many matches other than the big summer games as if they do they are learning nothing about the players and their positioning. Suggesting that we need a centre half back who can hold his position is all very well but what happens when he comes up against a centre forward who roams out of position while the ball is played up the wings? It seemed to me that Donie Vaughan held his position very well in the final hence the hitherto bright young player who was Ciaran Kilkenny being taken off. And most of the complaints in the immediate aftermath was that Donie was not a prominent in attack as usual. One certainly cannot win with that type of logic.

  79. I agree that Mayo coped well with Cluxton’s kickouts early on but in the second half he began to go long with them so pushing up left more space around the middle for him to aim at and Dublin’s midfield seemed to be more mobile than Mayo’s and took full advantage. Aiden O’Shea seemed particularly weak in that regard, more so than Seamus.

  80. That’s about right diehard, our boys just didn’t have the legs, was like a boxer throwing in the towel trying to deal with Cluxtons kick outs,personally I was shocked at how slow and unfit AOS looked in particular.

    Would have played into Cluxtons hands even more trying to crowd areas which in turn creates even more space. At best you have a 50/50 going man to man but that’s only if you have players with equal pace which we clearly hadn’t so it was not possible to beat his kick outs in my opinion,

  81. There is no point in complaining about James’ tactical decisions as and suggesting that there is some other tactical genius out there who can solve all our problems.The problem this year is that Dublin were a very good team. Most neutral people before the final were of the opinion that both teams were exceptional and I felt myself that Dublin were a little bit stronger overall, esp. in the subs bench. In the end it was the subs bench which decided it as the Dublin subs were far more influential than Mayo’s. That it was not a great final and that both teams played less flowing football than they had all year was down to the evenness of the teams and their ability to counter each other.
    I would ague that Mayo coped well with Cluxton’s kickouts early on but in the second half he began to go long with them so pushing up left more space around the middle for him to aim at and Dublin’s midfield seemed to be more mobile than Mayo’s and took full advantage. Aiden O’Shea seemed particularly weak in that regard, more so than Seamus.
    Nobody seems to be making allowance for all the injury problems we had all through the year. While practically the entire panel was fit to play on the day it did not mean that they were at peak fitness and to win an All Ireland one needs a panel at peak fitness. Many of them were grossly short of match practice. There were suggestions in the immediate aftermath that Alan Freeman had been suffering from flu or a virus in the week before the game which may have led to his early removal. This was either not true or has been forgotten about. Another issue is on field leadership. I’m not to sure we have enough of it apart from Andy Moran and as a full forward line player he is not in a great position to lead throughout the field. That showed up particularly in the final ten minutes when we were chasing the match.
    There are a number of players in my opinion who could make a big contribution in the coming year. Tom Parsons could well do a Colm Boyle and make a comeback if given a chance and Shane Nally has all the talent to make the breakthrough. I have often mentioned Gary Kirby as a potential countyman while Aiden Kilcoyne given full recovery and employment in Ireland still has lots to offer. These plus probably a few more added to the younger panel members like Darren Coen, Evan Regan and Brenda Harrison would greatly strengthen our position. Comparing the physicality of today’s football with that played even up to ten years ago is nonsense and suggesting that minors could go straight into senior county football is equally nonsense.

  82. You cam train a good defender into a very good defender, i dont believe the same can be said for a forward.

    We need to find at least one pacey scoring forward.Everyone in the country seems to hold this opinion about the present Mayo team.

  83. Good to see some positive talk bout James horan a bit dissapointed with people calling for his head this team isn’t finished it s young they be in the mix next year some mayo supporters never change closet fans coming out of the woodwork the genuine supporter knows horan way is in the best interest of mayo football and has changed the mindset in mayo

  84. Well Said Mayo4sam.
    All these people slating him for taking off Freeman were the same people slating him for playing Freeman back in the lge.
    The players need to stand up. The tactics in the first half were perfect. We should have been 5 – 6 points up.

    The very fact is if someone stood up and get a point to level it. It would have been Gavin who would have been getting the abuse. Using all his subs with 20minutes left.
    JH and this Mayo team will win us an ALL ireland

  85. I agree 45.

    And unless JH puts a good experienced tactical man in place and listens to him and DB with regards to tactical planning and tactical reaction on big match days, we’re going to be still talking this time next year about what might have been.

    Before anyone comes back about 15 or 20 point wins earlier in the championship, no disrespect they were against much inferior opposition. The existence of good tactics and the ability to react tactically can only be judged in tight games, when your not converting good chances in to scores, when your behind on the scoreboard and when you need to make changes on the field and by bringing on a sub or two.

    Remember, when we weren’t going anywhere after 20 minutes against Tyrone, it was a corner back that changed things, not the sideline and against Dublin, everything JH didn’t work. Hopefully, JH has learned from the 2013 AIF and these areas improve.

  86. Sean – There is a pacey scoring forward there – Mickey C. There is a strong forward there who can score, can be a freetaker, be a link man and who can also defend – Cillian.

    There is a forward who is reasonably pacey (at full fitness), can score, defend and who is a leader – Andy. There is a target man who can catch and jink defenders, score and take frees – Freezer. There is a forward who can do great donkey work, and score goals and points – Cathal Carolan. There is an all star forward who may not have a full game but has an impact role – Dillon.

    Then there is Richie, and don’t forget Enda, and Jason who all played brilliantly at stages during the year. And the potential of Darren Coen

    All we need is for them to produce on the given day particularly the third Sunday in September.

    We don’t actually need these marquee forwards that we keep hearing about. Fine if some come along who prove themselves better than the above mentioned. And by all means experiment. But what we actually have here and now CAN do the business.

    It’s getting those small margins, knowing when to substitute and whom, and eke out scores when the going gets really tough – they did this in the league against Donegal and Cork in particular. And above all getting those half backs flying forward again. That’s what gives the forwards options

  87. Catcol

    Scoring forward means one that puts the ball over or under the bar. Despite my great admiration for our team, it’s better to realize now in October that some of the current forwards just don’t score enough, shooting wide near the goal or else a Hail Mary from 40 m out with no conviction in the shot. The final and semi are all the evidence you need.
    This is said with the greatest of respect to the players. And you too, catcol.
    The forward section of the panel needs 3 new faces.

  88. Could you suggest someone who will take us above second and into first. Looking back over 60 years no one has managed that. In my opinion JH has been our best manager in my lifetime closely followed by Maughan. Why. Because they have been the most successful.

  89. Basically go with the same crew again, ignore the performances of all Ireland finals, ignore the ageing of Dillon, Moran and conroy.

    Look at the end of the day its all about opinion, mine is simple enough and is the mainstream thought of the neutral also, we wont win an all Ireland without some personnel change up front, this year was their chance, they will never be presented with such an opportunity again.

  90. All our opposition was inferior this year except Dublin because we beat them all easily. But don’t forget Donegal were AI Champions as were Dublin the previous year and Cork the year before that. Surely Horan must have some tactical knowhow to have overseen the defeats of all of those. I m not suggesting that he didn’t make errors in both finals but he has got a hell of a lot right over the past 3 years.

  91. The backs coming forward was all that gave the forwards options this year through overlapping.

    It is no coincidence that when the backs were busy defending or kept back to prevent early goals against us in the semi and in the final against the best teams, our forwards were lost.

    If even 50 per cent of the effort put in to the backs in the last year goes in to the forwards (even just those in the current squad plus one two knocking on the door) in the next year, we will be much more competitive in this area.

    JH and his team really need to mould a forward unit, where they all know what there doing, supporting each other, much more direct and improve dramatically their shooting accuracy ratio. That’s all essential.

  92. to be fair Sean, Mikey Conroy is only about 28. the same age as Keith Higgins who iv never heard being referred to as ageing. The grey hair on Conroy’s head is obviously throwing a few people off his actual age. remember he was on the u21 all-ireland winning team.

    The forwards we have are good enough, but we need to get in a few more to compete for places and let the current players prove that they are good enough rather than keep going just on potential

  93. David you are spot on – we have an abundance of talent in the backs and around the middle – we need to unearth new talent in the forward line. My main concern, however, is where we are going to find that new talent in order to bridge the gap in 2014 – there is no star player emerging from the club championship and some of the other hopefuls like Darren Coen and Adam Gallagher are probably a few years away just yet.

  94. Not sure about from play but I know that Conor Loftus from crossmolina who was on the mayo minor team this year, scored heavily in the senior championship.

  95. Maradona
    That is one of the most sensible posts I’ve read since the final. Well said and very,very true

  96. A lot has been said about our performances during this year, there is no doubt that great credit is due to the Players for their dedication to the cause all year.
    But, that does not explain what went wrong in the Final. They were not the same team,
    something went horribly astray.
    There was a rumour that players were fighting in the Dugout during the game??
    Cluxton seemed to have all the time in the world to find a Dublin player from his kickouts.
    Before we talk about next year, let us solve the problem we have now. whatever that
    problem is.
    Cathal Henry.

  97. Yes Cathal, that’s the six dollar question everyone would like the answer to, and it’s quiet possible that neither the players or manager can quite work that one out. Remember we started well enough, missed some scoring opportunities yes, but appeared to loose confidence after conceding the goal. The other reason worth a mention, it was an usually warm day for the time of year, and some of our lads seemed to struggle more than the Dubs with the pace of the game – food for thought maybe…..

  98. This is getting crazy talking about fighting in the dug out when there are no dugouts in Croker.The subs sit in the stand during the game.Nothing went horribly wrong during the game.Dublin are a very good team and they were beating every other team easily like ourselves.As regards Cluxtons kick outs part of the problem was he was taking the kick outs very quickly which did not give our players time to set up.We all love to look for conspiracy theories as to why we lost but the main reason that we are not all ireland champs is Dublin were a little bit better team than us and just about deserved there win

  99. I have just watched it again and I’m sicker than ever.Our backs were brilliant but the first 4 scores that Dublin got at the start of the second half were scores we gave them.For the life of me I cannot understand why Keith was put back or why Seamie was taking off.Then to put Barry in for Seamie and not in full forward on a bad Dublin back line and leave Richie on the bench I’ll never understand. [Deleted].

  100. I read an interesting article during the week about hydration. Apparently a large part of it is psychological:

  101. Agree! That and a couple of missed opportunities, a stupid goal at a critical time and a giveaway point that might have made a difference.

  102. Can we please nail one certainty down with regards to the AIF, and that is that after our initial good period (other than on the scoreboard) with natural momentum our lads lost Cluxton’s kick-out time after time. That primary possession is what got Dublin back in charge of the game and kept them there.

    Now the one certainty that JH had in preparing the team for the final was that Cluxton was going to ovoid our midfield and place shorter accurate kick-out to his men. You simply crowd the half from the 20m line to half way by pushing midfield and your half backs forward for the kicks and everyone goes tight man-to-man. You leave no spaces for them to run in to.

    From the moment the ball is kicked for our score or our many wides, the players take up their positions. It’s not rocket science and it wasn’t planned for and I will never understand that. You can say what you like after that.

    Fail to plan, plan to fail.

  103. Yeah, that Kerry team made the long-ball into an art-form – sure, they had a big, target-man up front but the ball in was always measured, floated in from the wings with Cooper taking up great positions off Donaghy.

    Horan’s hand will be forced now that Nallen is stepping down, there will be fresh voices there next year – hopefully someone who can build a passing game. The players are there.

  104. All championship year we played to a system built on pace and power. A key attribute was that everyone worked their socks off to retain possession or deprive opponents of possession. This, together with attacking defenders, defending attackers, and players flying into good scoring positions meant we had lots of options and we seized a lot of those opportunities.

    Dublin in the final, it seemed to me – and I still haven’t worked up the stomach to watch the recording, but I will – worked their socks off to blunt Mayo and managed to limit damage when Mayo were on top.

    By the third quarter, they were well in control and the body-language of Mayo players said it all: heads down, hands on hips, no running into positions, no spark. Why?

    Hot day?

    My iPhone said 21 degrees; probably hotter down on the pitch – let’s say 24 degrees. Hardly World Cup soccer type of conditions. We had played all our matches this year in such conditions: warm, calm with no wind to speak of. Connaught final day was at least high twenties. Our minors against Tyrone didn’t wilt, finished very strongly and wouldn’t have had the same amount of conditioning work. Think of the conditions we had to endure against Galway in Castlebar and Roscommon in The Hyde in 2011 – they were really testing and stamina sapping.

    Fans not doing the business?

    Tricky one that. Yes you could set up a system of soccer-like chanting, but it is inauthentic. You have to have something to grab onto: the penalty and the slew of points, including Hennelly’s against Tyrone, O’Shea’s point against Sligo in 2012, young Prendergast’s great run out of defence against Tyrone to lift the siege in the minor final. Fans latch onto these kind of heroics and become a 16th man.

    Bad sideline calls?

    Enough has been said on this already and a lot of it on the money. However, it still doesn’t explain Dublin’s superiority in the third quarter – the power, the pace the pummelling to which they were subjecting Mayo

    Simple answer seems to be that Dublin had more power and pace and made Mayo run into blind alleys and in doing so, Mayo used a lot of gas. If a horse or an athlete hits the front too soon in a major race, they will lose even if they are superstars. Dublin themselves seemed to run out of gas, but they were nearly over the line at that stage and dragged Mayo down. Mayo had just enough energy to keep in touch, no more.

    Where to in 2013/14?

    Maybe this is where Mayo still have work to do:

    to be faster, harder, tougher.

    A lot will flow from that. If a wonder forward comes into the equation, great. But he may well be roughed out of it when the going gets tough, because he won’t have done the strength and conditioning work needed to survive at the highest level. Even the likes of Mannion, Kilkenny, and McCaffrey were found out in this area, good though they are.

    If greater pace, power, and strength can be achieved this can make the small differences in terms of time to work the ball into good positions and take the right options.

    We have shown we have few equals when we do this. We need to be able to do it to every team.

  105. Yeah, I think it’s crazy making this assumption that the minors are just going to walk into a top, intercounty team, one that plays a very physical brand of football. No Mayo All-Star nominations at half-forward – that says a lot, the quality of ball going into the lads on AIF day was very poor.

    Like you said, the forwards are there. Switching Andy Moran to full-forward was inspired. Am I the only one who thinks that forward line is potentially lethal? Moran & Freeman with O’Connor in support. Last year given Moran’s injury they didn’t have time to gel in the league, 2014 should be about working on the supply line. Look at that middle 8, where should Higgins play? Room for Dillon? O’Shea at 11, etc.

  106. One of the reasons Cluxton started to control the game was because Mayo were rigidly man-to-man on kickouts. Cluxton sliced them out to the wings, forcing the midfielders into a sprint against each other. Push your middle 8 high up the pitch and they’ll really burn you for pace.

    Now you can argue that match-ups were wrong but really man-to-man is not the answer. Interesting interview with Counihan in the Times suggesting the Cork should have gone zonal on Dublin’s kickouts. If the kickouts are being hit into space then you need midfielders in coverage in that space, e.g. put McLoughlin and Higgins in coverage on the wings.

  107. As I said in an earlier post, both players and manager are probably still searching for answers that would explain the flat performance on the day. We started well enough, would have been prepared for a tough match, shouldn’t have been surprised by the speed and commitment of the Dubs, after all this was the final and winning it was never going to easy. And yet despite all the training, team talks and other preparations, we seemed not ready for the fight. Like a boxer on the receiving end of a heavy punch, that soft Dublin goal seemed to suck the life out of them, their fragile confidence seemed to drain away and as has effected so many Mayo teams before, the weight of expectation after sixty two years, was just too much to carry.

  108. By the third quarter, they were well in control and the body-language of Mayo players said it all: heads down, hands on hips, no running into positions, no spark. Why?


    There was never going to be much between the teams. Everyone assumes we are the best conditioned out there. I think we are right up there but Dublin are at least as fit and mobile as our team.

    So Dublin were always going to dominate for a certain period of the game. We dominated for the majority of the first half. They came into it at the end and dominated most of the second. We came back into it in the final quarter but by then the bulk of the damage had been done and we were chasing the game.

  109. It’s all in the mind of Mayo players and maybe the fact that JH is an ex player the ghosts of past came back to haunt his mind to.

    To say Dublin were a better team on the day is the denial part of the grieving.

    A lot of people are still disgusted at the performance, and the casual way some so called all star contenders literally walked around the pitch as if nothing was at stake.

    I have no sympathy for the players who under performed , they had their chance and blew it, it’s the young kids left in tears I feel sorry for, let down yet again.

  110. Sorry about the Dugouts Tom, I will try and get it right next time.
    It still does not excuse the fact that were a different team on the day,
    so different to the previous 5 games.
    I have been going to Croker since the sixties, and this loss was the most
    We carry on regardless, and our day will come.
    Cathal Henry.

  111. I agree, that’s why I said you have to crowd the space with our half-backs. That’s 22 players between their 20 and mid-field, so even in a pitch the size of Croker, there won’t be enough space for Cluxton to do that. That’s when man-to-man will work against the best, and he’s the best.

  112. The more I read here about what everyone thinks happened in the AIF and what should be done now in preparation for next year, the more muddled it gets.

    Sure after three weeks of debate, it should be getting clearer but the truth is, the story ( and mysteries) of what happened AIF is already very close to being consigned to history.

    And we won’t have many clues as to how we”ll shape up for next year until it’s well underway – probably after two or three National League games, we will see some outline of what we’ve got and where we’re heading.

    But in the meantime, it won’t stop us kicking the balls around and a few up the air. After all, it’s oxygen for all of us. Oiche mhaith agus Maigh Eo Abu….

  113. Do you really think that a few of our players did not try in the biggest game of there lives?That is a crazy comment to make and I am pretty sure I know who you are referring to.I did not see anybody strolling around the pitch and I am certain every player gave 100 per cent to the cause.Some times things do not work out for players and try as they might cannot get into the game.I for one have never felt let down by this Mayo team and any real Mayo supporters are not disgusted by the performance of a bunch of players who give up all there time in the quest for sam.We the supporters only play a small part and I am sure the pain we feel after an other loss is multiplied by a 100 for the players. Dublin were the better team on the day and just about deserved there win and I for one am not grieving as I know this team have gave us some great days this year but unfortunately came up short again.I do not know why some supporters like to rip into the team at every opportunity they get as they are amateur players and they are our own county men I do not mind constructive criticism but accusing some players of not trying is out of line.

  114. TomB, you think my comment is crazy but at the same time you
    are pretty sure you know the players i am referring to, i think that reinforces my comment actually.

    I can only say what i saw with my own two eyes from a very good vantage point and please stop using words like “real” mayo supporters as the people i refer to never miss a mayo game.

    Yes i saw so called all star contenders walk around with hands on hips with zero hunger in their bellies. So don’t ever think the team is cursed , we are the cursed ones, the “real” supporters, the fools who expect our ambassadors to do us proud.

  115. I had a good vantage point as well and I did not see any player strolling around Croker and not trying.Do you honestly think that a player would train for 5 or 6 nights a week all year and then not give everything on the big day?It is pretty obvious to everybody the player who you are referring to as not trying, as alot of supporters here in Mayo love to tear down the star man.You should read Lee Keegans interview in the Times yesterday and then you might appreciate what the players have to go thro to play county football and the rubbish they have to listen to from so called real supporters

  116. @Tom61 Re: “So don’t ever think the team is cursed , we are the cursed ones, the “real” supporters, the fools who expect our ambassadors to do us proud.”
    I could not disagree with this comment any more strongly @Tom61. I also cannot believe for one minute that you are not a wind up that belongs over on hoganstand.. Outrageous and disgraceful statement

  117. We should be getting ready for next season. Lets try and win the League first to get a bit of heart back. Should Conor Mortimer be brought back. Excellent Dublin Championship games recently

  118. I see where your coming from shotaver, but Im not so sure we should aim to win the league. It will be fierce competitive, which will be super and yes, it worked for Dublin, and …it would be nice, but

    …. i’d rather use the fbd and league to try out new talent in the half forward line, develop a more innovative middle third, and find a replacement full back for Ger. (if he isnt going to be available).

  119. not the mort issue agaIn i dont care how much he scored in the dublin club champ would be a backward step to bring him back time to give younger lads a chance

  120. Try youth,try fringe players, ,try anything possible and also realise that our forward play in general has to improve, the whole reliance on support play coming from our defenders is great but it cannot be our only dimension . Forward coach needed.

  121. It’s an awful thing to say Trevor, but I am rapidly being put off coming on here because of the likes of Tom61 and his overly aggressive attitude and comments. It does not matter what your viewpoint is on any given topic but Tom61 will, by default, take an aggressive counter argument and keep it going for days. And days. And days. It is not about respecting anybodys opinions it is about him constantly arguing and proving himself correct and everyone elses comments as being wrong. As I have said previously, even when someone agrees with him he still finds a way to create another argument. I, like you, can’t help feeling it is a piss take at the back of it all. My problem is not his views, it is his know-all aggressive attitude and constant degrading of our players/manager and always with the hint of his “insider knowledge”. I am off until he is, because I cannot read his comments anymore without getting myself angry.
    P.S. WJ outstanding site and fairly regulated. Best of luck and Hon Mayo for 2014.

  122. I’ve become increasingly concerned myself, Pebblesmeller, about the tone that’s developed in the comments in recent months, which was why I did that refresh on the house rules a few weeks back. I fear, though, that the problem lies deeper than this, with a level of aggression, prickliness and an at times pretty nauseous tone of self-righteousness so frequently being expressed by a number of contributors now in a way that simply wasn’t there at all in the past. This isn’t something I’m at all happy with and it’s something that I need to give further thought about in terms of how to tackle it. Allied to this, I have to admit, are related thoughts about the future direction and/or existence of the site itself which, for a variety of reasons, I’m also having to think about right now.

  123. Did you watch the 2012 league final and his ‘performance’?

    Did you watch the 2004 All-Ireland final and his ‘performance’?

    Did you watch the 2006 All-Ireland final and his ‘performance’?

    Are you aware that he walked, voluntarily, in the week of the 2012 Connacht final after not getting picked?

    And are you telling me after all that that you are seriously asking if he should be brought back?

  124. WJ
    I have been on this forum for a long time and have enjoyed it enormously. I check in almost every day if I can at all. It is a VERY important part of my day.
    Like Pebblesmeller since the final, I have found the overly aggressive and argumentative tone off putting. I also wonder what the motivation behind this is.
    Your comments about the future of the blog is worrying but completely understandable WJ. If you have to spend large amounts of time moderating the comments of a few then there comes a point when you begin to ask ‘What’s the point?’ I was in this position myself in the past and had to pull the plug for the sake of the club.
    BUt I would HATE to see this site go under. Surely those of us who come on here regularly can abide by the few rules that apply and exercise a bit of courtesy and restraint in our comments. And those who don’t should be shown the red card. WJ! In the words of the mock Latin aphorism – “llegitimi non carborundum” – don’t let the bastards wear you down!

  125. Maybe you should look at taking on a couple of (voluntary!) moderators WJ. It can’t be easy, or all that enjoyable, trying to keep on top of every comment made on the site.
    Of course, if you were to go down that road, you’d need to vet the guys who be vetting the rest of the guys…!

  126. I think tensions were running high leading up to, and even more so since the final. The loss has a lot to do with it for sure. There will always be ppl who will be argumentative no matter what the forum, but particularly the internet forum, therefore we should remember that, when we see something that’s insulting, irritating or inflammatory, we really should try to refrain from responding and just let it die on the vine. If it continues, WJ has the authority to edit the comments, delete the comment, quarantine the comment, or as a last resort, block the contributor.
    Now, that’s all fine providing WJ has the time and patience to do all that moderation. I doubt that he does and it’s not in keeping with the spirit or purpose of the blog anyway.

    We’re Mayo ppl, and as such, we are mad about our county and passionate about football; particularly the ups and downs of our county teams. However, we shouldn’t let that madness or passion get in the way of good, honest opinion and debate, for despite some of our differences in opinion, we all long for the same thing….for the Sam Maguire to return to Mayo someday.

    As Mayo supporters, we are starved for news on the team, the backroom staff, the training regiments, the players, the prospects, the scouting reports, etc…..we just can’t get enough of it, cause it allows us to dream of the possibilities that lay ahead for the team. There’s no amount of newspaper coverage that’s sufficient (at least not for me) to satisfy the passionate mayo supporters appetite for a good (and honest) debate on the teams most recent performance and its future prospects. This blog allows us to do that, no matter whom or where we are, and all credit goes to WJ for that.
    It would be a massive shame if something was to change and this blog was no longer the first and last resource for Mayo supporters.

    @WJ, I think I echo the sentiment of every mayo supporter when I say; we really appreciate the tremendous amount of time, effort and cost you dedicate to keeping this site up and humming. Someone suggested it before, but if you need assistance/help or whatever, you have my email. Slan for now!

  127. Willie Joe, I have to comment here. I am 100% on your side. I am and have been no angel here and had to bow to your instructions a few times, which is fair.

    I am really shocked at the constant aggressive and argumentative comments from this poster, all the time. Anyone can have the odd rant and then back to normality but this is excessive in the extreme and I can’t see why 99% of posters here should lose a great and badly needed Mayo site because of the behaivour of a handful of posters. Remove them if they don’t shut to fuck up!!!

    To you people, and you know how you are, If you really follow Mayo, You won’t let us lose this site!!

  128. The dogs in the street know what happened in the camp in the days before Mayo’s most important game in over 60 years so it is very understandable that there is still a lot of anger.

    When everyone eventually knows the facts, attitudes will change. I spoke to at least 25 people at a function over the weekend, most of them were at the game and are following Mayo all their lives.

    100% agreed that Mayo left it behind them.

    100% believed that certain individuals did not turn up.

    100% were of the strong opinion that the manager got his tactics wrong and found the substitutions bizarre to put it mildly.

    EVERYBODY knew what happened in the days before the game and it is perfectly normal to be angry about it.

    Lets all be honest and admit, we beat ourselves, I find that hard to forgive and that’s where the anger stems from.

  129. It would be a disaster of losing A I proportions if this site did not continue . A few contrary people seem to have joined recently . Naughty step doesn’t seem to work, so if anyone is lowering the tone, just Barr them W J , full stop. It would be an awful shame if other Mayo supporters were denied the pleasure because of a few. We can all say the wrong thing at times, but when it continues there must be something else bubbling beneath the surface.
    Don’t loose heart W J.

  130. It all depends what you define as “wrong” though Nephin. Just because someone doesn’t agree with something, doesn’t make it wrong.

  131. Tom, I don’t know, and i have to believe, the vast majority on here dont know, what went down in the days leading up to this years final. Regardless of what happened, what disturbs me most is that something happened at all. This had to have led to a number of players, maybe even the managers, heads not been in the right place come final day. Whatever it was, it’s a damn shame.
    It’s all behind us now and we have no choice but to move on and look forward to next season because regardless, we always remain Mayo supporters and someday our team will get it right, and win the Sam Maguire.

  132. We all get a bit bould now and then Nephin 😉
    WJ has set the rules and as contributors we must not only abide by those rules, but also be respectful of WJ’s time, and the effort he puts in to keep this an intelligent and friendly forum to discuss the mayo team.

  133. Tom, everyone is entitled to be angry but everybody has a different slant on things. All theories and concepts are relative to the the thinking process of the thinker. What’s ‘wrong’ for one is ‘right’ for another and on and on it goes.

    I was furious, because we did fuck it up, left it behind us, the best chance in 62 years.

    Now it’s over so I have to move on and let that anger and frustration go. It’s beneficial to me and to everyone who is unfortunate enough to have to listen to me. Anger kills.

    Take it steady.

  134. Diehard, “llegitimi non carborundum”. Excuse my ignorance but which of these latin words means “bastards”?
    I think it’s beginning to dawn on me. I was always thick.

    Talking about ‘thick’ and you being a bit if of an intellectual, a little story from my school days:

    One of my Rev. teachers used to say; (excuse me ladies, he never mentioned the babes),
    ” The man who knows not, and knows he knows not, knows far more than he who knows not, and knows not he knows not!!!”
    On seeing the blank expressions on our faces he said; “(to translate)”, “the man who’s thick, and knows he’s thick, isn’t half as thick as the man who’s thick and doesn’t know he’s thick.” How sad am I, to think that this is the pinnacle of my education!!!

  135. Piece on midwest website: There’s no decision yet on whether James Horan will stay on as Mayo manager for 2014.
    The Ballintubber man met last night with the principal officers of the Mayo GAA County Board to discuss his plans for the future.
    Chairman of the County Board Paddy McNicholas told Midwest News that no decisions were made last night, and they will meet with James Horan again, possibly next week.

  136. Well I think that tells a story…all is not well it seems. Either the CB is not convinced JH is the right man to continue to lead the team, or JH himself is not sure if he wants to lead the team.
    Either way, its troubling.

  137. I agree
    Something not right about it, surely his mind is made up at this stage?
    If the players had any idea we’d have had a leak of info, I imagine its the county board that are deciding on it, maybe someone else has approached them with a plan? Who the heck knows but they better not let it drag on, name him as manager or move on fast to someone else.

  138. It’s a bit confusing now at this stage , needs to be sorted sooner rather than later, either way.

  139. Think Midwest have got wrong end of stick there. See the link to the Mayo News account which quotes Co Board Vice Chariman talking of an open and frank meeting (I know that can be code for anything), but talks of a further meeting at which James will be ‘finalising his backroom team’

    I imagine that there are lots of logistical issues to be cleared in relation to planning for the year ahead and I am sure that JH will want the world in terms of resources, but the Board will have to mind the purse strings. All normal stuff.

    My information ahead of last night’s meeting was that Horan was continuing and the players were very happy with that.

    Here’s the link to the Mayo News item:

  140. Lets hope he stays on and pick the best available Mayo players whether they are playing Dublin or elsewhere. Personality clashes and differences of opinion should not deter mangers/selectors from picking from the best available. Mortimer should be CONSIDERED.
    The League has to be contested with vigour, fight and spirit to get us back on winning ways again.

  141. James has been around senior inter county football for many years now and I’m quiet sure is well used to personality clashes and such like. When you’re dealing with 30 plus highly competitive guys, as they should be, it’s hard to keep them all happy . If that’s all that’s to it , it shouldn’t put him off trying to finish the job. I, for one hope he stays.

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