County final weekend round-up

Photo: Mayo GAA

The dust is settling on the weekend’s county final action, one which saw Westport finally seal a historic first ever Moclair Cup title success, while Ballyhaunis and Islandeady claimed county titles at Intermediate and Junior respectively and, with that, progression back to higher level Championship football next year.

The only place to start is, of course, Westport’s breakthrough win over Ballina Stephenites in this afternoon’s Senior Championship final at MacHale Park. While there could never be any doubts about the talent within the Covies’ ranks, until they actually went out and won a Senior title all manner of questions could reasonably be posed about their temperament and their ability to get the job done.

Until today. In a low-scoring match against an up-and-coming, youthful Ballina Stephenites side – the club aiming for its 37th county title – they kept their heads well throughout. When Westport pushed a goal ahead midway in the second half, following Killian Kilkelly’s penalty, it looked as if this could be the decisive blow but, just five minutes later, Padraig O’Hora bundled home a goal at the other end to level the game.

It’s at this point, surely, that you’d expect a team vying for their first title to get a dose of the wobbles. Not a bit of it, as Westport bagged the next four points on the spin to put the tie beyond Ballina’s reach. Sub Alan Kennedy got two of those, one from play, while ‘keeper Paddy O’Malley (a free) and new Mayo recruit Niall McManamon got the others.

Evan Regan, who’d been black carded for Stephenites shortly before half-time, had the final say on the scoreboard but it was Westport’s day, as they won out by 1-9 to 1-6 to take their place on the county Senior title roll of honour for the very first time. Hearty congrats to them.

Yesterday, it was the turn of Ballyhaunis to celebrate, as they held off Kilmeena in the Intermediate final, winning by 0-13 to 0-10. Intermediate has been a real bear-pit this year, with any one of six or seven clubs well capable of winning it out. Heading into yesterday’s decider, though, Ballyhaunis had shown real battling qualities and it was those characteristics that stood to them yesterday as they saw off Kilmeena’s gritty challenge by three points.

At Junior level, meanwhile, Islandeady beat Cill Chomáin today in the Junior A final. They won that one convincingly enough, on a scoreline of 2-11 to 1-7. Yesterday, Achill beat Moygownagh by 2-12 to 1-6 in the Junior B decider.

Two other results from today – both involving Mayo teams in provincial Championship action – are also worth noting. First, Tooreen beat Four Roads of Roscommon by 2-23 to 0-14 in the Connacht Intermediate hurling Championship quarter-final. Charlestown’s women footballers also got the better of Roscommon opposition, as they saw off Boyle by 3-7 to 0-6 in the LGFA Connacht Intermediate semi-final.

87 thoughts on “County final weekend round-up

  1. Delighted to see Lee Keegan face light up after a final win.Our best player finally get he just rewards.Enjoy Lee come back next year bigger and stronger..And best of luck in the connaught and all ireland club series.

  2. Good win for Westport, some talent in that team. Any other names for new mayo recruits WJ as you mentioned “new Mayo recruit Niall McManamon”?

  3. The Mayo News reported last week that Ethan Gibbons, Jack Coyne, Mikey Murray and Oisin McLaughlin have been called up for the pre-season training panel and Mike said on the podcast that Niall McManamon was on the same list.

  4. Comhghairdeas Naomh Phádraig, Cathair na Mart .. Best defense in the second half won the game for them..I taught the Ref had a good game and the pitch stood up fairly well considering the rain for the last two weeks… Hard luck to Ballina, it should be a very good night CoveyTown!

  5. Never so glad to loose a bet in my life. Delighted with westports win. Biggest hand up for a player’s jersey on display today. Brian O flaherta islandeadys keeper. A shining example of resilience to any young player out there. .

  6. Kerry County championship pretty much a joke, imagine if Lee Keegan , Diarmuid O’Connor, Cillian O’Connor and Ryan O’Donoghue were on the same team in the Mayo club championship, East Kerry with Paul Murphy , Paidi Clifford ,David Clifford and James O’Donoghue today.Very poor crowd and atmosphere aswell.

  7. TH, only players at intermediate and Junior clubs can play for divisional sides in Kerry. So you might have Jack Carney and Jason Doherty lining out West Mayo, Oisin Mullen and Darren Coen for South Mayo, Jordan Flynn and James Carr for Noth Mayo and Jack Coyne and someone like Brian Reape for East Mayo. That way all the top talent in the county would get to play championship at the highest level available. Certainly works for Kerry. I am sure you would have 4 strong divisional sides. But with no supporters.

  8. A real tough and exciting game to finish off the county championship. Westport looked a much better team in the second half and had their homework done on the much vaunted Ballina forward line. Delighted for Lee Keegan to finally have a County medal.
    On another note, it was very disappointing to see how badly the pitch has cut up in front of both goalmouths and also in front of the stand where the presentations took place.
    The grounds staff will have their work cut out to have it read for the league!

  9. Senior Team of the year
    1.Rory Byrne Castlebar
    2.Sean Morahan Castlebar
    3.Caolan Crowe Garrymore
    4.Niall McManamon Westport
    5.Padraig O’Hora Ballina
    6.Lee Keegan Westport
    7.Ciaran McGrath Garrymore
    8.Sam Callinan Ballina
    9.Frank Irwin Ballina
    10.Ethan Gibbons Castlebar
    11.Aidan Orme Knockmore
    12.Oisin McLoughlin Westport
    13.Evan Regan Ballina
    14.Darren Quinn Garrymore
    15.Paul Towey Charlestown

    Player of the year Padraig O’Hora
    Young POTY Sean Morahan
    Best Forward Paul Towey

  10. Gibbons was way better than Frank Irwin. Have been disappointed by him in the last two games from play. Don’t think he’ll make an impact on the senior team this year, needs to be more influential for Ballina. But he is very young and has time on his side.

    Lads, O’Hora is very overrated. Great passion but I just don’t get it. I think he’ll be an impact sub for Mayo this year.

    Hopefully Towey has a great league and nails down a place on the team.

  11. Enjoyed that game today..some very good football, great scores and even better defending. Well done Westport- a good result for Mayo football; great vibe in the town yesterday.

    I felt Ballina were shading it all through, and when they got the equalising goal, they would open Westport up. The opposite happened- what do I know!

    Was really impressed by Sam Callinan today. Felt he had been overrated, and was watching him closely. Every thing he did, particularly in the first half, was classy.

    Maybe Ballina should have held Mickey Murray back for the second half?

  12. @GBXI O’Hora overrated? Don’t see that myself. I think he’s an excellent player. I get you on the great passion but I also think he has great skill and leadership qualities that drive those around him on.
    All opinion i guess!

  13. Scorers for Westport: Killian Kilkelly 1-4 (1-0p, 0-3f), Alan Kennedy 0-2 (1f), Kevin Keane, Niall McManamon, Paddy O’Malley (1f) 0-1 each.

  14. O’Hora is actually a really good footballer and he can do a bit of everything. His passion and desire helps those around him when the goings tough. The game wasn’t the spectacle we hoped for but the wet underfoot conditions didn’t help and the 2 teams pretty much cancelled each other out. It always looked like a bit of luck or outstanding play could be the difference and the penalty was the turning point. Kevin Keane for me was the one forward offering something different with his movement and ability to win ball and he’s always had good hands. Hard luck Ballina and although they came up short in the final they have been the best watch throughout the championship. Westport are deserving winners but will they have enough for Moycullen, not sure but I hope so. What’s the story with Colm Moran has he been back long enough to be eligible again? He would be a massive plus as would a fit Eoghan McLoughlin. Finally it’s brilliant that everyone’s favourite Mayo player Lee Keegan finally gets his county championship winners medal.

  15. The pitch was in great shape yesterday – even after the game.
    I walked out onto the pitch to have a look afterwards and was very mpressed with the condition considering there were 4 games in 2 days. The area around the goal and in front of the stand was brown from a lot of traffic rather than been cut up. The pitch could easily host more games in Connaught club championship if needed.
    Well done to grounds people for a job well done.

  16. Does anyone know what kind of injury Eoghan McLaughlin has? He has been out since round 2 of the championship I think.

    Colm Moran probably won’t be eligible for the Connacht game either.

  17. Re Colm Moran I thought the ruling on transfers was that he would be ineligible for 30 days after his club applied to Croke Park. If that’s the case it comes down to when he came back. Seems a funny setup when he’s not able to play for his home club when Shane Walsh can move to Kilmcud Crokes without a problem.

  18. Thought Westport were clear winners yesterday, Ballina didn’t look like getting in on goal and one they did get was a defensive mistake.
    Westport made some silly mistakes in Front of post when 3/4 up that should have seen them further ahead
    Missing 3 county panel standard players as well in Moran, McLaughlin and McGraynor.
    From county view the championship hasn’t unearthed any immediate forward option. Best forwards showing are still ones we know about already, likes of Regan, Naughton, Towey etc. Who likely won’t be called up, don’t want be called up or will be called up but may need more S&C under bely to impact.

  19. When will we know who is called into the panel and will there be more transparency with Kevin McStay. Is he having trial matches and will Mayo supporters know when they are on.
    Looking forward to a very exciting year ahead. I think there is some great talent coming through. Keep the faith lads and lassies.

  20. Knocking about, that’s largely out already:
    Ethan Gibbons, Jack Coyne, Mikey Murray, Oisin McLaughlin, Niall McManamon in.
    Most of last year’s panel bar a few extended members called back, and looks like Boland, Darren Coen and Conor O’Shea not available/not called. I open to correction here as cannot recall exactly.

  21. I know we are looking for scorers, but JP and his hipster contraire nature at times. Jerseys 10 and 12. We’ve been weak in those jerseys since the peak of JDoc and Kevin McLoughlin.
    Dry sod Tommy, Ryan and Cillian is plenty scoring threat from play. How many good performances have we had in the 10 and 12 jersey. By the way I think it’s the hardest jersey of the outfield players these days. Need to chip in with a point, do a bit of everything.
    We’ve finished games with both wing forwards scoreless and not assisting as last or second last assister for much scores.

  22. Another man who deserves an honorable mention from yesterday is Islandeady keeper O’Flaherty. He did more than most to keep Cill Chomain at bay in those last frantic few minutes. Probably exorcised a few demons for himself yesterday. A big man too with huge distance in his knockouts but needs to work a bit more on his accuracy from scorable frees. Still young and learning.

  23. Was very impressed by James doherty this year thought he was oone of ballina better backs this year along with Sam callinan and Padraig ohora

  24. I’m surprised by the relatively low numbers posting about the match yesterday. Hello.

    A few more thoughts:

    * Westport’s was a collective win: no really outstanding player on the day, but all working their socks off, and subs playing a big part.

    * This should also inform the new management thinking. We are inclined (I certainly am) to dream of a magic bullet player who will do the business, but getting the 15 on the field to do it is key. Remember how we brought down the Dubs in the last 15 minutes in 2021 – with Eoghan MacLaughlin carted off, no Mullin, no Cillian, no Aido.

    * Evan Regan very good at taking scores, and from distance.

    * Great pace all over from both teams

    * Impressed with the prompt response of the medics to Dylan Thornton’s injury.

    * Not impressed (again) with McHale Park communications/public address.

  25. @catcol, We’ve missed having enough 7/10 players on the big days. Too often a handful of players have 4-6/10 type days.
    Of course we need a few top performers, but most counties only have a handful of those.

  26. Yes indeed, JP. All the talk after the AI final was about Clifford (and Walsh), but Kerry really knuckled down and did the grafting after half time and kept the scoreboard ticking over. It was the same really against us; we were dominating possession, but they were sneaking up and sneaking over points until suddenly they were five ahead.

  27. Agreed with all of that Catcol. The one thing I took away from yesterday’s match is the overall standard of the Westport team. Their “lesser” players are all really tidy, effective players and all well conditioned. Other than Keegan, they may not have a real star but they also have no obvious weak link.

  28. – The 7100 who attended yesterday’s game seen history been made by Westport who well deserved their win.
    – Credit is due not just to the current players, coaches and officers but to all those that have gone before them.
    – The challenge with Westport is too maximise them as a TEAM because they loads of good individual footballers
    – Plenty of good performances from Oisin, Fionn, Brian Mc and Killian. Keegan below par, Mark Moran needs to take on his man, all he is doing is passing the ball maybe a lack of confidence. Conal will have much better days.
    – Shackles are off now they should let it rip against Moycullen….
    – Great atmosphere in Town after match…
    – Agree with Catcol about PA, can they stop asking people to move cars causing an obstruction during the actual game. Tow the cars in question away.. that will teach the owners.

  29. Anyone see any stand out players from the ballina team yesterday was disappointed with a few players from them Conor mcstay ciaran boland jack and Frank Irwin Sam callinan I thought was ok at bursts mark birrane quiet enough they had their work done on Conor mcstay and Evan Regan they were well marked out was impressed with Rory and David tighe James doherty and of course Padraig ohora

  30. Didn’t really mind which team won but I have to say I am delighted that Lee Keegan got his county medal, The greatest Mayo player I have seen.

  31. Surely boland has to be in the mayo panel. Would Jason gibbons get looked at again. Not sure what age he is. So happy for keegan. Best mayo player ever.

  32. Had another look at the final and can’t help thinking that maybe midfield is Ballina’s achilles heel. Not saying that they weren’t competitive in there but the two players stationed in midfield Frank Irwin and Sam Callanan could offer more in other positions. Irwin is never going to be a Mayo midfielder although he can do a decent enough job for club in that role. As a scoring forward allowed to roam he is accurate and a big threat. Callanan in his favoured position in the half back line continually breaks the lines with his bursts forward and there are few in the county who carry the ball as well as him. Add in his intelligence in attacking and his ability to track runners and you can see he is the real deal at half back. Without knowing the strengths of all the Ballina panel having the two lads at mf is probably a no-brainer but just feel they have so much more to offer.
    Regarding new talent for the senior county team has anyone spotted a reliable left footed free taker good enough to make the break through? I don’t get the feeling that Evan Regan would commit so not him.

  33. Brilliant recent interview on the 19th Oct with Lee on OTB. It’s available on the OTB podcast and probably on YouTube.

  34. Agree with you Joe G. Irwin and Callanan are very good, but MF play is asking a lot of them and robbing Ballina in positions elsewhere. Mikey Murray as impact sub in the second half might have been a better option, as he’s not fully fit yet.

    I do think Callanan and Irwin can play strong roles in the upcoming Allianz.

  35. Delighted for Keegan. As many have already mentioned, the greatest to ever tog out for Mayo. It will be a very sad day when he decided it’s over.

    Phenomenal individual.

  36. Cian McHale is a left footed freetaker and you’d have him on Intermediates team of the year at 13.
    Colm Moran from memory is pretty two footed.
    Darragh Keaveny had a fine Intermediate championship, will surely be looked at.

  37. I think you’re right Catcol. Both lads worth a run in their preferred positions. JP, do you think McHale could make the step up?

  38. Would it be wise for McStay to play the league without the likes of Keegan,O Shea and Cillian and Jason Doc, let the young guns have their head and know that there is none of the above on the field and they can go and express themselves instead of passing to the senior players. Maybe keep them on panel as impact subs in Championship if needed. The future of Gaelic football is youth..

  39. Ya Cian McHale definitely a decent left footed free taker but I got the sense he might be lacking a yard of pace for the very highest level, though haven’t seen a huge amount of him.
    Aidan Orme is a ciotog and had a decent game in the QF against castlebar but is he reliable from frees? Not so sure.
    Not sure why Jason Gibbons is being considered. He must be 35 years old in 2023. That ship has sailed well over the horizon now.
    Will be watching Bob Tuohy closely at u20 level for Mayo in 2023, there was some flashes of very high levels midfield play in recent weeks. I didn’t think Conor Mcstay had a great game last weekend. Good player but is he any better than Fergal Boland? To play wing forward nowadays against the top sides you need to be a gut runner, good tackler, safe in possession but also creative, pacy and have a massive engine. Think of Conor Meyler, that’s the prototype, Brian Howard another.
    The way modern defences set up, 10 and 12 might handle more ball than anyone else on the field.
    A fit Michael Plunkett is still very much a contender for those spots.
    It will be very interesting to see how Mcstay plans to integrate the top level u17s from this year as well as Sean Morahan and Sam Callinan over the next 2 or 3 seasons. Does he have a development panel or just leave them at u20 for another year? Do you invite a couple of them in to train for a few weeks with the senior team once the league is over next year? Just to get an introduction to the setup with an eye forward the future. Callinan probably will be a part of the setup full time next year as he will be 20 in 2023 but the others probably still too young.

  40. Would there be any merit in trying to talk Evan Regan out of intercounty retirement? He was easily Ballina’s best forward during this campaign and he has bulked up and is an intellegent footballer.

  41. @Joe G., I don’t know who will make the step up. But one immediate disqualifier from club level is of you’re not regularly bagging a few points from play per game and the odd goal. Also in general your shooting percentage.
    If one is a little short of pace there is always the late sub option to come on and bag a point.
    Brian McDermott I was always a fan of. 6’1″, long stride, broad shouldered and raw boned. Not agile but he’s fast when into his stride. I like him as a wing back option.
    A team of youth, fringe panel, new position and new options.
    Jack Livingstone.
    Jack Coyne David McBrien Niall McManamon
    Paul Lambert Padraig OHora Paddy Durcan
    Mathew Ruane Jordan Flynn
    Oisin Mullen Ryan ODonoghue Oisin McLoughlin
    Diarmuid O’C Cillian O’Connor. Tommy Conroy
    I like the idea of three fast scoring half forwards.
    Padraig OHora has played his best football at six.
    Cillian is not as easy to expose at 14 as opposed to 13. At 14 he’s marked usually by a player who will stay. Cillian is a good intelligent focal point once fit.
    Diarmuid having the freedom to roam at 13.
    A nice team for the league resting up Leeroy.

  42. @Glorydays in terms of Evan Regan .I would have agreed before Saturdays game that he would definitely deserve a shot .However after his black card against Westport Im in two minds. I dont like being heavily critical or any individual but I cant make any excuse for his trip on the Westport . Where he did it was out around half way line I could not see any merit in doing it and then loosing him for 10 mins and Ballina starting the second half with 14 men would have given Westport confidence. Maybe I’m being too harsh on him and maybe Ballina would not have won anyway but it certainly did not do them any favours .The game was ebbing & flowing and needed experienced cool heads.

  43. I like the idea of O’Hora as an impact sub tbh

    I think he’s someone who really raises the intensity whatever area of the field he plays. Throwing him into a tiring line could be a big momentum swinger in a game.

    I’m unsure who I’d play six though, lots of candidates. Not even sure what to expect regards sweepers or systems either

  44. @JP

    I think I’d prefer to have Cillian playing outside the sweeper, and would for that reason try him at 11. Ryan 15, An Other at 14. Diarmuid 13, to track a potential runner. Tommy at 12 and a third midfielder at 10.

    That’s a very Kerry focused lineup from me though

  45. FrostT, Tommy Conroy needs to be close to goal, playing him at 12 is madness. We have been waiting years for a corner forward like him, with the right ball he will destroy defences and put up big scores, he is as close as we have to a Clifford/OCallaghan. It would be a massive mistake moving him outfield.

  46. Can’t see Mayo going without Jack Carney. He is the full package and ticks all the boxes.

  47. Donnacha McHugh would be worth a shot on Clifford, Con and Walsh in the League, He was the best man marker in the Club Championship this year, himself and Sam Callinan could well push Stephen Coen out of the starting 6 backs next season.

  48. @Mayomad

    I don’t think it’s as mad as you imply. Tommy won’t shy away from work and has shown as much so far in his career. I don’t see why he can’t perform a similar role to what Diarmuid (on the opposite side) has been performing but average 3 points a game, and regularly nab a goal.

    imo if played in the full forward line, teams will try to pull him away from goal as much as possible. If we continue with the highpress tactics, then it’s achievable to pull someone from the full forward line into the half forward line and force that player to decide if they continue back or stay forward. The other option to counter tommy in the full forward line would be to flood your full back line, and defend on mass, which normally we don’t like playing against.

    I think that there’ll be times when it suits us better to play tommy further outfield, and there’ll be times when the opposition put a lot of thought into forcing Tommy further outfield.

    Delivering the “right ball in” has been a consistent issue for years with Mayo teams. It’s not one that’s going to go away overnight. At the very least we need a plan B for when it’s not working

  49. FrostT, sorry but can’t see the logic in moving our most dangerous corner forward out the field, no other team does that and for good reason, opposition defenders would be delighted to see him out the field away from the danger zone. Yes Tommy will work hard but we have plenty of players that are able to work hard in the half forwards we don’t need to rob the ff line for another one. IMO McStay would be crazy to move Tommy away from goals.

  50. Should Swanee be playing in the half forward line rather than in the backs? Good man to read a game and can make plays for goals as well as score them. Well done Westport. Would have liked to see my home town win but Westport deserved their win. Hungrier and side line read the game well. It has to be good for Mayo county team when you have centres of populations competing at high level.

  51. Provisional Allianz League fixtures.

    Galway (H)
    Armagh (A)
    Monaghan (H)
    Roscommon (A)
    Tyrone (H)
    Donegal (A)
    Kerry (H)

  52. Culmore The days of resting players in the league are well over. The season is so condensed which is totally ridiculous. If your not up and running in the league you can forget about championship. You see n that last year with cillian. Come the last 2 games of the league and a new manager on board…. he will need to know his championship team at that stage. I heard it was quarter finals in the hurling club in galway. If this is true why in the name of God are we playing an all Ireland in July.

  53. Craggy – there is no connacht club hurling championship for the Galway champions to play in. They finish their championship later to avoid a huge wait for the All Ireland semi finals.

  54. They’re not bad fixtures mayomagic. Monaghan Tyrone and Kerry all having to travel to Castlebar. Be nice to win a few games at home this year.

  55. Wide ball. Thanks for clarifying that. Thar does make sense. I still think all Ireland s in July is absolutely bonkers.

  56. @Mayomagic,. thanks for the provisional league fixtures! On the face of it as good as we could hope for..4 home league games and 3 away…An away fixture v Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park, which was a home venue for us in the league last spring..( and we have some record in the Hyde 100% winning record since 2001, , and not just the Rossie’s, Sligo and Armagh as well) For those of us without electric car’s a bit easier on the pocket, and for those of us with electric car’s as regards our other away fixtures, a bit like Mike Tyson, they will never go the distance!

  57. Leantimes. I agree and the only long trip being Armagh so we can handle that. Nice to have 4 home games as it feels we’re always travelling. Used to love the away league games when we’d stay over and make a weekend of it. Sadly those days appear to be gone forever. Nice to have 2 all Connacht games as well. Said it elsewhere but am I the only one who can’t wait for the league to start? Getting a feeling that there is a lot of excitement building towards the new inter County season.

  58. Only one man in the county for for marking David Clifford in my view and it’s Oisin Mullin. Often overlooked this season but he did a very good job on him all things considered in the QF. The only 60 seconds of the game where Clifford was marking paddy Durcan instead, he exploded past him for a goal.
    I thought Oisin beat Clifford in most 50:50 contests that day. If you remember, Clifford was actually getting very frustrated and limping around at one point. Oisin had him rattled, in every way. Of course there was no sign of any limp when the opportunity to take on Paddy Durcan came a while later and Clifford, the ruthless poacher that he is, took the goal chance with glee.

    I came away from that game thinking there wasn’t much to be optimistic about but one thing that was good was that Mullin can do a reasonable job on DC in the future and there aren’t many in Ireland that you can say that about right now.
    I’m not saying he’s going to hold him scoreless. But if you can restrict Clifford to say, 3 or 4 points, instead of 1-7 or 1-8, you take that and run. It’s up to the other backs to step up and shut the remainder of the Kerry forwards down then.
    There is no one else in the Mayo panel capable I don’t think of this task. Swanee was destroyed by him, total carnage in that league final. McHugh is completely unproven and looks too skinny and light to me for marking DC anyway.

  59. DC leaves himself wide open to the knees of an old style full back, he leans forward to fetch the ball leaving himself exposed, Frnkie Bellew of Armagh would be in his element marking him.

  60. @Unstoppable, interesting point your make re the overall standard of Westport and even the “lesser” players. It was mentioned on the post-match podcast that all 15 starters had played county at various levels recently… That’s an extremely solid place to be, and then you’ve the guys who missed out on top of that.

    I know a lot of the top teams would be littered with players who played for Mayo at different levels but it must be rare enough to have a full starting 15 and more outside of that on the panel.

  61. The main thing stopping the bigger sides having full 15s of ex-county players at any level is player retention. If you were to estimate the average county minor and under 20 panellists that the bigger clubs have each year its surely at least 3 in total between the two sides

    5 or so years of that – allowing for increases some years and a crossover of those that go from minor to under 20 – and you have a full 15

    Its becoming much more pronounced now as lads tend to stay playing into adult level more, people look after themselves a bit better (physical activity has surely never been higher) and the average age of teams is generally lower (more students for example playing on teams, who haven’t had to move away for work yet). Better roads too mean lads can cross the country much quicker to stay training with their home club. Player retention has surely never been better

    There won’t be too many lads on the Moycullen or Salthill sides who haven’t a cap at county level either. Moycullen had 6 in the senior panel this year plus Peter Cooke, that’s half their outfielders – mental stuff really! Wynne and Mulcahy wouldn’t have been too out of place on the panel this year either

  62. Mikey3 I’m in 2 minds about this too. I’d also be an advocate of Oisin out the field and would rather we find a reliable man marker who primarily focuses on defending.

    Oisin did well on Clifford but it was clear that Clifford wasn’t at 100%. But you are right in that Clifford only made hay when he isolated Paddy & burned him for the goal. I was shocked as I had thought Paddy would have been well fit for him. He was also 1 on 1 with Hession early on and he tripped over the ball. Had he not tripped, he would have swatted Hession aside & had the goal at his mercy. So it goes to show that if Oisin is ever on Clifford again, he needs to stick to him like shit.
    It’s just damage limitations with Clifford, & if you stop him getting a goal you are doing well

  63. Clifford only scored 0-3 from play in the final against Galway. I’d say Galway would gladly have taken that beforehand. The difference was he also scored 2 marks. That’s something he’s added to his game. Ability to win high ball inside. He’s a very big fella and getting physically stronger. And Jack O’Connor, Kerry teams, have always utilised the long diagonal ball inside.

  64. I’d be interested in David McBrien on Clifford. Like a beer keg dreyman, only the big and physical need apply basically.
    McBrien is 6’1″, solid and has a decent ten yard speed. Clifford is just too big and physical even for Oisin. Wins the aerial battle too easily. McBrien matches up as best we can whilst being pacey. He matches up then for Rian ONeill, Damien Comer, Mullet haired lad from Monaghan, Tyrone red haired lad, Donegal with Murphy.
    It’s just good to have 6’1″ trained up and match seasoned. Leaves us less exposed.

  65. Any update on mcbrien s fitness. We need to see him as soon as. Maybe plunkett can be tried in the half forward line. Its mostly backs that have impressed in the club championship.

  66. Southmayo exile I’m interested in your observation of the pitch after the match.
    Most definitely the pitch in general was in great condition, especially with all the rain over the previous few weeks.
    I would be concerned though about the two goal areas and to a lesser extent in front of the presentation area.
    I would imagine the ground staff will be very disappointed with how cut up those areas were
    after the club championship. If it was me I’d be tearing my hair out!

  67. McBrien was excellent in the games I seen of him in the championship. Can see why people think he is the future at FB. 6’2 and as quick as it gets, physically imposing. Our team will completely transform if he can stay fit, Jack Coyne makes an impact, and the two main men Tommy and Ryan return. From there you’re looking at one or two lads stepping up from being a serious outfit again.

  68. John+McHale – that’s just a result of playing 4 matches on the same pitch during a period of heavy rain at the end of October. It would be the same on any pitch. I remember during the winter All Ireland championships in 2020 Croke Park was cutting up. Once it gets a few weeks to recover the pitch will be fine.

  69. When you get a full back your corners go up a level. They gain confidence and can concentrate on their role. The square and main target man is under better control.
    When you don’t have a full back, opposition go after that.
    Jack Coyne strike me as a corner specialist.
    Have we room for an Eoin Murchain type in Paul Lambert at wing back? He can really pick a pass and he’d be our fastest player over 20 yards I’d say. He’s not big, but he’s so agile in avoiding contact.
    Jack Carney you’d figure can go up a few %.

  70. One slight change on the NFL fixtures i posted up yesterday. It’s Kerry at home on round 3 and finish up at home to Monaghan

  71. Retrocut. Thank s for that update. Its uplifting to hear that. He could inspire us big time. We have not seen a real fb since Kevin cahill.

  72. Of the newer players named on the extended squad in lead up to final/semifinal how do people feel they done?
    Seemed like a strange time to drop names.

  73. Rory Brickenden is of a similar mould and was quite impressive in that role at the weekend I thought . I thought he got the upper hand on Evan Regan when he was his direct opponent. He will be coming up against some decent opponents in the next game and it will be interesting to see how he handles himself. He will be on the shop window which may give him an advantage on Mc Brien… providing he handles the occasion well.

  74. Rory Brickendon has come on leaps and bounds for sure. I personally prefer a bit more ‘bite’ to my fullback. McBrien fits the bill better for me as Rory may be a bit too ‘nice’ (no offence intended whatsoever).

  75. To be fair Gizmobobs, now is the time county teams are starting to get some wheels in motion again, and McStay has to get on with picking and leaving out players – its not his fault the Mayo semis and final weren’t played off in the ample time available before now

    Next week is a big chance for the Westport lads to truly stake a claim as Moycullen are a good step above anyone they’ve played this year to date

  76. @Gizmobobs

    Looking at the players named they were all involved the later stages of the club competitions. I wonder if maybe the mentioned lads might all be given extra time off before joining Mayo training, and this is a preemptive announcement to nip any rumours in the bud when they’re not spotted at the first training session

  77. looks like no great new players came to light during club championship, so McStay will have to work with roughly the same panel as the last few years. Fewer injurieswill be a big help but it looks like he will have to change the game plan and have a B plan if Mayo are to get over the line.

  78. @Culmor, the same panel more or less, but there’s quite a few in the panel who were only brought in in recent years… That’s where the gains can be made, as they continue their progression imo. The day of a club player coming in to have an immediate impact on a county set-up is more or less gone.

  79. How many of a typical division one team are great anyways? Tis like 3 players? David Clifford, Gavin White, Tom O’Sullivan. There’s three in the champions. I’d close the list at three.

  80. Gizmobobs.its a good question and probably will only be answered when we see these new lads in the national league. Inter County is a much different animal. We have seen through the years players like conor o shea. Regan.douglas.newcombe.gibbons.etc being very good at club level but not making the cut at inter County. I think only time will answer your question

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