Donegal 0-17 Mayo 1-7: another defeat after desperately poor second half display

The manner of our defeat to Down last weekend was understandable enough but today’s loss to Donegal up in Ballyshannon was anything but. Five points up at one stage in the first half we lost in the end by seven but it was the complete cluelessness with which we played when we were a man up in the third quarter but still got cut to ribbons by the resurgent home team that was so alarming.

I’m normally very much in the glass-half-full camp where it comes to the team and their future prospects. However, the manner of our slump today – which appeared to stem from the bone-headed stupidity of how we organised ourselves tactically for the second half – is enough to test any optimist. Can we really be sure we’re headed in the right direction (even if it is only mid-March) after such a craven collapse?

Family commitments kept me in Dublin today (and seem set to do so again next Sunday, I’m afraid) and so once again I was reliant on the radio commentary and trusty old PJ to keep me updated on developments at Fr Tierney Park in Ballyshannon. The sun was shining brightly there – as it has been here all day – and we had the benefit of a stiff enough breeze in the opening half.

It was predictable enough that Donegal – having got hosed down in Kerry last Sunday – would revert to their now normal ultra-defensive approach from the throw-in. Less predictable, perhaps, was the way we quickly put it up to them, with Kevin McLoughlin getting our opener from play and, after McBrearty had levelled for them, Conor Mortimer played in Enda Varley who found the net with ease. We remained dominant for at least ten minutes after that, with further points – from Alan Dillon and Mort (a free) – stretching our lead to five.

We seemed to be flying at that stage and Donegal’s tactic of conceding ground and defending deep risked playing very much into our hands. We’d won that opening quarter handsomely but, as it turned out, that was the only period we’d boss in this game.

Three handy frees in quick succession for Donegal – made easier still with Mother Superior Duffy very quick to add 13 metres of territory for dissent – cut our lead to a single point but then Mort and McFadden traded frees, Duffy having again raced to the 13-metre line as soon as he heard a peep out of one of our lads, before Mort (with another free) edged us two ahead at the break.

The main talking point at the interval, however, would have been the straight red issued to Donegal’s Rory Kavanagh seconds before half-time. It was, by all accounts, a carbon copy of the one that led to Aidan O’Shea’s dismissal last weekend with Gallagher swinging at and connecting with Kevin McLoughlin in full view of the ref. So, although we had to face the wind in the second half, the home team had now handed us an enormous tactical advantage.

As I chatted with PJ at the break, we were in agreement that it was good timing for the sending off to have come straight before the break as it would, we reasoned, have given us plenty of time to think about how best to use the extra man. We’d seen how Down had used this advantage so well last Sunday, now it was our turn to exploit a similar situation.

Once the ball was thrown in for the second period, however, it appeared as if it were Donegal who had the extra man. Incredibly, we’d left Kevin Keane as the loose player and even more incredibly – and despite trying to do a Donegal ourselves by camping thirteen men in our half – we started to concede points at an alarming rate.

The sideline seemed paralysed into inaction as Donegal swarmed through us at will, hitting us for six points (two of them frees) without reply as the match canted wildly out of our control. Four down now, the only switch we could come up with (Pat Harte having replaced the ineffective Alan Freeman at half-time) was bringing on Cillian O’Connor for Enda Varley. But things soon got even worse for us when Ger Cafferkey, who had been booked as early as the 20th minute, picked up a second yellow and so our numerical advantage was gone.

Donegal continued to rip into us. Three more unaswered points followed as it now began to look as if we’d fail to raise a flag at all in the second half. We eventually did – via a David Clarke ’50 – and sub Michael Conroy added one from play just before the end but Donegal had raised their tally to seventeen at that stage, sealing a very comprehensive seven-point win.

It’s a while since we played as badly as today. London back in May last year would probably be the last time that a Mayo teamed managed by James Horan showed such a degree of cluelessness and the match against Dublin this time last year would, I guess, count as the last time we suffered this kind of power failure in a league game.

It’s still only just after Paddy’s Day and so, I suppose, it’s not the time to be penning an obituary on our footballing year.  But, perhaps for the first time under James Horan, it’s now transparently clear that we’ve got problems both on the pitch and on the sideline and it’s getting ever more difficult to be optimistic about where this team is heading and what the future holds for it.

Onfield, we need to have a very serious think about what forward unit we play. Today we fielded four forwards – McLoughlin, Dillon, Mortimer and Varley – who are seemingly incapable of winning their own ball and any fool will tell you that a forward line like that is easy to control. We can play either McLoughlin or Dillon in the half-forwards, we can play either Mort or Varley inside. We can’t play the lot of them and if we continue to do so we can expect more days like today.

More worryingly, though, is the lack of basic cop-on we showed today. It was clear from early on that Duffy wasn’t going to tolerate any dissent, yet we kept moaning after every free and this handed Donegal an easier target to aim at for at least four of them. Sure, Duffy is a pain in the hole at the best of times but if you know he’s going to do you every time you complain, why keep complaining?

Our lack of cop-on wasn’t limited to this aspect of our play, though. In the second half, we continually carried the ball into their blanket defence – which was exactly what Jimmy McGuinness would have wanted us to do – and I wasn’t at all surprised to be told afterwards that we’d coughed up possession from doing so a total of 35 times over the course of the game.

We were all over the shop on the sideline too. We were too slow to make changes – midfield got destroyed, yet nothing was done to try to improve matters – and obvious switches, like moving Ger Cafferkey off Michael Murphy before he got what was an inevitable second yellow, weren’t made. Likewise, making a double substitution in the forwards as the game was going into injury time won’t go down in history as one of the great tactical changes of all time.

But the worst aspect of today – one shared pretty equally by management and players – was how we contrived to blow the enormous tactical advantage we’d been handed by Gallagher’s sending-off just before half-time. We’d a good fifteen minutes in the dressing room to figure out the best way to exploit this development and the only plan we could come up with was to leave Kevin Keane as the free man. Then we tried, but failed to execute, Donegal’s defensive tactics and, to make matters worse, we persisted with one man up front even after they had started pulling clear of us. Nul points all round, I’m afraid, chaps.

The league play-offs have obviously disappeared over the horizon now and with tough matches to come against Cork, Dublin and Kerry, we’re really up against it if we’re to hold our place in Division One this time out. As things stand, one win from three may not even be enough to avoid the drop but, if we play like we did today, then this is unlikely to be a factor we’ll end up thinking too much about. Cork next Sunday will self-evidently be a huge challenge for us but, after today’s supine collapse, it’s now high time for James Horan and his squad to stand up and be counted.

(Photo of Mayo team warming up from @MayoGAA

Mayo: David Clarke (0-1, a ’45); Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Peadar Gardiner, Donal Vaughan, Lee Keegan; Seamus O’Shea, Barry Moran; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Andy Moran, Alan Dillon (0-1); Conor Mortimer (0-3, frees), Alan Freeman, Enda Varley (1-0). Subs: Pat Harte for Freeman, Richie Feeney for Keegan (inj.), Cillian O’Conn0r for Varley, Jason Doherty for McLoughlin, Michael Conroy (0-1) for Mortimer.

39 thoughts on “Donegal 0-17 Mayo 1-7: another defeat after desperately poor second half display

  1. Shocking performance, midfield cleaned out in the second half, played terrible ball into the forwards, will be very lucky to survive now.

  2. From the 15th minute to the the end the score was Donegal 16 Mayo 4 that has to be one of the most comprehensive beatings in a long time, listening to Midwest what worried me most was the fact mayo seemed to give up well before the end, hardly heard Barry Morans name , Dillon again non existent, and management wait until injury time to bring on two new forwards to try and get back in the game . You have to look at management here today. Also one other thing talking to ref and he brings the ball in, stop talking for gods sake, at least 5 points made easier for Donegal

  3. Listening to the match we did not seem to have any plan for playing with an extra man-just as we had no plan last week,Surely this is basic. It seems Clarke played well.

  4. Worrying performance shades of our displays in 2010. Big three to play next but if Down can beat Dublin so can we.

  5. The horror. I too am worried about the body language late in the game. Horan needs to find out who can take this team by the scruff of it’s neck and provide leadership on the field and in the dressing room. Time to show our character!

  6. One has to be worried about the heart (not Harte)of the team. We scored twice in the second half – all in the last three minutes. No Fire. The referee had a bad game too. Yellow cards issued like confetti at a wedding. He was anxious to show his authority (“I might not be as big as you but I’ll show you who is in charge ” kinda stuff)
    I don’t think we can lay too much blame on the sideline. Were the subs any better. No heart, no fight anywhere. Midfield – ??????????????
    Great to hear the team is going on a training camp week to Portugal. It might put heart and fight into them. At the moment we are exhibition footballers. Skill yes but fight no. We might give out about Club Mayo in Dublin but they are sponsoring this trip – fair play to them.

  7. Was there unfortunately. Shocking performance. Attitude was not acceptable. If you weren’t there then good for you. I can’t remember a worse league performance from us. Clarke our best player which says it all.what’s with all the subs at the end. . . Bit of a joke to be honest. Horan needs to get rid of the dead wood and start afresh

  8. Just home from that debacle, Time for serious questions.

    Who is the manager
    What is the role of Jimmy Nallen / Tom Prendergast
    Why were the lights turned out when they were training in Castlebar recently

  9. Disgraceful. Shambolic. Gutless.

    We are in a bad place tonight after two comprehensive beatings.

    Nearer the team of 2012 than 2011.

    No bite on the pitch. We have been clueless on the line the last two weeks.

  10. was at the game today and was totally dishartened by an awful performace dont like saying it but its the truth! No heart, no fight, no plan and a management team who dont seem to know how to get the best out of what is a good bunch of players!! what is our game plan???? i dont know and the players definately dont!!!

  11. Ballyshannon will rank with Longford on the disappointment scale.
    Like the comments above we started with purpose but on going five up playing with a strong wind (straight down the park) we just did not push on, The lack in confidence and ability by mayo to point from around the ’45 with the wind was in sharp contrast to Donegals second half performance.
    The tactic for the second half seemed to be trade scores and the dreaded sweeper in front of the full back line, which if we recall failed so miserably vs Dublin last year. The problem was we did’nt score nor even looked like scoring. Our goalie was our best performer in the second half catching x 2 points, a point blank goal chance one on one and scoring a 45 that was still rising as it went over. A very very disappointing 30 minutes which is becomming the norm, It has to be a sharp up curve in the basics of score taking from play, and dominating the middle third, Or it will be relegation.

    ever the optimist, our season took on a different hue at this time last year with a win against Cork, Will lightening strike twice, I as ever hope so

  12. Hurling Coach for Hire – I think we all know who turned off the lights!

    I read in the Western People two weeks ago talk of a league semi-final and the Secretary of the Board dreaming of a E85k bonus.

    Well there won’t be a league semi, and there may not even be Div 1 football next year. And that hits where it hurts, in the pocket.

    So if James isn’t careful it may be lights out for him at the end of the year.

    And that’s the bottom line cos Stone Cold says so

  13. On St Patrick’s day 1999 I went to see Ballina take on Crossmaglen. Rathnure played Doora Barefield in the hurling decider.

    The great Dan Quigley paced the line as the Rathnure manager. My knowledge of hurling is limited (OK and football too) so I marveled at how calm Dan kept as Seanie McMahon and Ollie Baker ruled the sky’s for the Clare men.

    Still Dan kept cool and walked the line like a contented farmer. Two goals in hurling can pull any match out of the fire but as the match wore on Doora had them by the curleys.

    Approaching the final whistle Dan still walked the walk, occasionally slapping his leg with a hurley he carried. Then the final whistle went. Dan was the coolest man on the pitch.

    I was amazed. “Where was your f*****G passion Dan” I asked ….silently. Years later the penny dropped. Dan managed a team of yeomen, Holohan a Wexford great was 42 and only the Codds and Guiney matched the Clare tyros. Dan Quigley knew that and having played with the greats and won an All Ireland himself, no point in making a silk purse out of a sows ear would be his thinking. They did well to get there and Dan knew that.

    I have watched James Horan course the line, silent , deep and contemplative. No panic, no wide eyed gesticulation a la Davy Fitz. I note James Nallen with him on occasion. Another calm figure and yet….

    Putting on my flak jacket and helmet I am going to commit sacrilege but I believe James Horan has now arrived at the pass that has challenged many fine Mayo managers in the past. O Mahony, Moran and Maughan all arrived at Waterloo sometime. Longford for one, Croke Park for the other two.

    James has a long way to go but he must now define his position and his team. Doherty and Freeman have gone backwards.Is O Connor going to be the free taker and 13 or will Conor retain 13 and O Connor fill in some where else? Dillon has been given an extended run at 10, 11 and 12. Is he an untouchable a la Mourinho?

    Are place up for grabs, why do we persist bringing the ball into the tackle, why do we kick it into the keeper, why do we lose with 14 men and why do we not win with 15 men against 14. Where is our f*****g passion? What is Pat Hartes role, what has Gardiner got that McLoughlin or one of the young bucks hasnt got?

    We have too many whys and too many unanswered questions. Mayo is no Rathnure made up of of foot soldiers. We have the players in the county but do they actually realize what they stand for and whom they represent. Is playing for Mayo an opportunity to drive a hole in every other county or is an opportunity to let all the nice girls see your profiles?

    The Kerry half forward line today was a sight to behold. The O Sullivans and Galvin sliced Cork to bits. Declan O Sullivan soloed with the right and pointed with the left. Gooch sat in the stands. That folks is how far behind we are and talk about it being the league and March and blah blah does us all a disservice.

    Galway have a new manager like us last year, first time out and no pressure. Connacht will be no waltz. Time to slay a few sacred cows or forever live on the Yellow Brick road.

  14. You would have to quesion Horan when Mayo are not playing well. I don’t think he has turned a game around for Mayo yet from the sidelines.
    He cannot seem to see most onlookers can see. When things were going badly against Kerry last year he was very slow to act(i.e. Freeman left on far too long, marking of the Gooch, etc). The signs do not look good. The great coaches can make the changes from the sidelines. How many times did Sean Boylan win games for avearehe Meath teams from the sideline, he was the master. Maughan could not do it, neither did O’Mahony second time round. Even at the abandoned Dublin match, young Reilly was left on the pitch when he should have been called ashore or a at least moved fater 5 mins.
    Lots of questions for Horan now ?
    Can he answer them ?
    Now it’s time to panic.

  15. I was actually feeling sick by the end of that. One word sums up where the problem lies:

    BASIC, BASIC, BASIC!

    and the blame for that lies entirely with the management.

    1. Complete inability to take scores from distance. In the first half, with a good wind on our backs, we needed to be shooting from 30 and 40 yards. Yet we seem to insist on only shooting from 25 yards in. Any good team in this day and age needs to take scores from distance to overcome the blanket defence. We needed to have at least 4 more points on the board at half time.

    2. No dissent or holding up frees. It’s been creeping in. What’s the point?

    3. Complete inability to effectively use the extra man. It was painfully obvious with the wind there today that Donegal were going to try to take scores from distance in the 2nd half, so why have an extra man hanging around the full back line. No disrespect to Kevin Keane, he had a decent game, but he was not the man to be the extra man. Our extra man should have been used to take our goal kicks short (we didnt spread wide enough), be around midfield for their breaks, and to have an extra man to pass the ball off to in the half back/midfield line – in other words, a mobile box to box player. It should have been Kevin McLoughlin or Andy Moran.

    4. Getting sucked in – holding the ball up, going sideways, getting involved in niggles, allowing the opposition to funnel back, playing into the opposition’s hands.

    5. Complete cluelessness about how to play with and without the wind. The ball will travel further when it’s behind you (too many balls kicked over the endline in the 1st half). In the 2nd half, we needed to move it quickly from our own short goalkicks in 20 yard intervals, and then deliver it long and low into the full forward line. Otherwise the ball will get held up in the wind, or you will get held up by the opposition.

    In order to see that through to success you need to have a) men in the full forward line who can win their own ball and b) players who are taking shots to be able to kick the ball hard enough against the wind. In summary, quick, low ball into full forward line to win the ball.

    I stopped writing on the programme towards the end as I was too depressed. but we had at least 11 shots wide or short. Not good enough.

    The team I am working off in my head at the moment (Pat Harte has been entirely unconvincing in his cameos so far) is as follows:

    Clarke

    K Keane – Cafferkey – Cunniffe

    Vaughan – Higgins – Keegan

    A O’Shea B Moran

    Freeman – A Moran – McLoughlin

    O’Connor – Kirby – E Varley

    Mort, Feeney and Dillon as impact subs. When is Tom Cunniffe coming back?

    If anyone was interested I could justify that but my comment has been too long as it is.

    I am also starting to agree with one John Cuffe concerning Mayo’s dealings with referees.

    SERIOUS wake up call today, in case anyone was in any doubt. People spend a lot of money and time following their county, and it’s upsetting to see us fail at even the most basic things. Looking forward to our faults being rectified both quickly and in the long term, and the best of luck lads.

  16. This has to be the most disappointing outing since the 3 in row of 2010 [Cork NFL final, Sligo & Longford]. There appeared to be no spirit or willingness to work – as if the team have lost all confidence or belief in the Manager. Even with the advantage of the extra man, at half time I was worried becausee of the type of game we were playing, the lack of control at midfield and the wind factor – it was quite strong and donegal useed it far better than Mayo kicking some great points in the second half. I have long said that we have too many “nice players, esp. in the forward line [Mort, Varley, Dillon and others]. what does Alan Dillon have to do – or rather not do – to get himself a “rest”. Armagh may have been a mirage but Alan Freeman had a great game at left half so why not give him an exteded run – say three/four games – there to prove himself rather than constantly switching. We need to sttle on a few positions to start annd build on that rather than trying to find the wole formula on one day. Perhaps management felt that we needed the extra security of the loose man at the back but if so it did not work out as Cafferkey continued to struggle on Murphy. regards Cafferkey’s struggles [after doing quite well early on] I do not see an alternative and he has done reasonably well in the past year. Murphy is after all probably the best No 14 in the counrty today. I always believe the extra man should be an attacking half back like Gardiner – capable of defending and taking a score. Mayo need to look at what are the essentials of a modern Gaelic team is and set about getting the best players settled in those positions.
    Finally, what of Ryan Quirke, probably the best player of last years minors. I thught I would have seen his name in connection with the U21s. Being out of the county I do not get a chance to see
    Club action or know who is showing up well.

  17. Worst display since 2004.

    D Clarke – Not too blame

    K Keane too slow,
    G Caff – Reasonable
    K higgins – Best player but button it

    P Gardiner – Was a great servant
    D Vaughan – Needs to hold the centre or move him
    L Keeegan – Solid

    B Moran – Wiped Out
    S O Se – No Distribution

    K Mc Loughlin – Needed at no 2.
    A Moran – Only forward with power
    A Dillon – Best Days behind him

    C mort – shocking
    A Freeman – shocking
    E Varley – Reasonable

    Management –

    Obvious Caff was going to be sent off
    How did Mort last 68 mins
    Sweeper with a gale behind you
    Midfield destroyed – no change why keep gibbons on panel
    First time I ever saw a waterboy brought on, can we not get four waterboys in the county who are not subs

  18. What is alarming are some of the changes that have been brought in this year.

    in come Mort, Harte, Gardiner, and Barry Moran.

    all throwbacks to that day in Longford.

    It is fresh talent we need not the old wood that has failed

  19. Have to agree with everything in your comments Digits. There are serious questions to be answered between now and the end of the league, hopefully these will be answered in the affirmative. Maybe it is good that we will be tested by 3 of the top 4 teams in the country in these matches, interesting times ahead!

  20. i went to ballyshannon disappointed mayo need two midfield men that can catch a ball and 6 fowards that can take on the opposition and take their scores that is the proplem with mayo football down the years not the keeper or the defenders

  21. my team for next sunday clarke ger cafferkey-k keane- k higgins – d vaughan – lee keegan -k mcloughlin – b moran -s o shea -aidan campbell -a moran -a dillon -c o connor a freeman – j doherty

  22. Wasn’t at the game but according to MidWest Andy won a ton of breaking ball in the first half and we had Freeman in the full forward line to aim ball at.
    Harte was introduced at half-time and it seemed from commentary that he went in at CHF and Andy went to full forward.
    We totally lost our way around the middle in the second half.
    Can anyone at the game confirm?

  23. Lead by 5 and lose by 7? At least j h knows tonight that his team are definetly on soft ground and will be buried by the next 3 teams to meet them unless he can get them to work a lot harder and smarter.
    It’s obvious something is wrong in the workings of it, donegal kick 17 scores? Mayo should not be suffering a 12 point turn around against anyone. The next game will be very interesting.

  24. Look today is disappointing but it’s not the end if the world. There are lots of players on the Mayo team and squad that will not be involved come the bigtime. While the management have made mistakes like today with Keane as the spare man and Conor mort back on the scene there are many players that we are finding out about who either don’t have the bottle and passion or are simply not good enough.

    It is games like today that Horan and his back room team will be agonising over. The analysis of some players have to be ruthless. It’s time for some guys like Colm Boyle, Jason gibbons, Mickey conroy, Alan feeney and Shane Mchale be given chances to impress from the start. Some guys have been found out and once the league is finished the guys who haven’t cut the mustard can be omitted.

    Remember also that this is horans second year in charge at this level. He has given youth a chance and once the u21 season is over expect to see fresher faces. Recall too that the likes of Cunniffe, howley, t Mortimer and even McGarrity are players who are difficult to replace on any squad. It’s going to take time for things to be set in place. Days like today are disappointing but patience is required. I expect a backlash against cork. We have progressed from the o Mahoney era. Pull together and keep the faith.

  25. I think James Horan might be a worried man.The team quit on him in the second half.Not a good sign.

  26. “The likes of Cunniffe,Howley,T Mortimer and McGarrity are difficult to replace on any squad”-Are you having a laugh Patriot.Not one of them is a top class intercounty player.Whos this legend Howley that would be hard to replace on any squad?

  27. i agree with covey mayo on some points on team selection the 6 defenders you named above definately for the championship midfield dont no fowards need a big shake up

  28. Very disappointing performance today.We`ve had 6 points from play in 140 mins of football and with a gael behind us in the first half today,not at the races!We need change but I`m not sure where it will come from.
    I was at the u21 game the other eve and I wasn`t too excited by what I saw there either.Only for Galways poor shooting and O`Conners frees we`d be out.Darren Coen was played inside and did nothing.He was moved out to the half foreward line and seemed to be coming into it a bit and then he was taken off one of the bazzar moves Dempsey made{he also subbed a corner foreward at the very end when we were trying to hold onto a two point lead}.
    Coen could be good in the half forewards.
    Our new 4 goal Kirby did very little all day until he was moved into full foreward and they started hoofing in high balls into him.He won a few of them but missed a goal chance that would have been easier to score than kick wide.
    Regan was ok but like most of our full foreward line he`s too light.
    And what was the story playing Andy Moran out the field when it has been proven time and again that he`s one of the few that can win a ball inside.
    Someone else made a point about moving Freeman around all the time wasn`t doing his confidence any good.. he was one of our best prospects 2 years ago and he was the first man taken off today.
    Why wasn`t Colm Boyle played in the half back line or even brought on when Keegan got injured.
    Only one thing was got right today and that was Clarke in goals.Every other position is up for grabs after that perforamce except maybe Aiden O`Shea .
    Yeah reality check alright!

  29. You’d wonder about the likes of Pat Harte and Gardiner at this stage. Surely there must be better around.

  30. Tom Cunniffe is a good defender who had a fine 2011 until he met the gooch on fire. The gooch has destroyed Many defenders in his time but that doesn’t make them bad players overnight. Trevor howley has played consistently well for Knockmore and mayo for a few years before he had to emigrate. He always gave it everything. Trevor Mortimer had a great 2011 and was revitalised at no. 7. While McGarrity wasn’t up too much against Kerry when coming on he a made great impact in the championship games before that. Experience and leadership are crucial. When it’s mixed with youth like we saw with O’Connor, a o Shea, keegan, hennelly etc last year, it bears fruit. Mayo have not their strongest squad at the moment but they will shortly. Expect big changes then. It’s easy to be pessimistic. we are in march. You have to take the rough with the smooth. It’s easy to sing when winning. But When times are tough ya gotta pull together, put the head down and get on with it. You can only play with the cards you are dealt with.

  31. Reading the above I was struck by some of the comments …. comparable to the dreaded 3 in a row of 2010 / team quit on Horan in the second half / lead by 5 and lose by 7 , etc.
    There is no doubt we are in a bad place this morning with this new project under Horan now at the crossroads. Hopefully the darkest place is just before the dawn and we will get a serious collective response in the next few weeks.

  32. Oisin Mc Conville previewed division one of the league in early February,tipped Kerry,Cork and Dublin(no mention of Mayo). On the morning of the Down game Colm O Roarke tipped the above three teams plus Tyrone to be involved in the buisness end of the championship,(Mayo were joint leaders of div one at that stage). It indicates to me that at that stage in the league Mc Conville and O Roarke had no confidence in Mayo,they did not rate Mayo. Mayo were expected to defeat Down they were not able to deal with that pressure. Martin Mc Hugh stated yesterday that Mayo had no leaders, without leaders you will win nothing. I am following Mayo since 1965, Mayo win big games when not expected to win ,fall flat on their face when the pressure is on (1986,1990 and 1998). Why has this problem not been addressed by Mayo managers in the past?. Four small forwards against Donegal, a small player in the present game will only make an impact if they have a lot of pace and are strongly built, how else can they win ball?

  33. The lead we had in the first half was of the fortunate variety not because we hit a purple patch.the goal was complete mis hit by mort that just happened to fall at varleys feet and he toe poked it home from two yards. Yes I am being completely negative but I have a right to expect more than what I saw yesterday. Before the game I knew there was a chance we could be beaten but was willing to accept defeat as long as we put in a decent effort. We did lose but the manner in which we lost is not acceptable. Players did actually quit and that is unforgiveable. I have huge respect for James horn. He doesn’t spin and will be honest to himself about yesterday. This week he needs to take the bull by the nor sand address some serious problems.

  34. Willie Joe if you had done an audio on yesterdays game at ballyshannon I’m pretty sure you would have broken all your own house rules. . . Would have been interesting to see how you would handled the self discipline

  35. You’re probably right in that respect, Ted – as I recall, the audio I did after Cork hammered us in the league final in 2010 wasn’t for sensitive ears. And that’s to say nothing of the one from Longford …

  36. When you put 15 lads on to a field to play for the county you expect them to battle ………..if they have it in them.
    We can over-estimate tactics, management and the placing of players on the field. It is easy to blame the manager but from my experience what matters most is heart and attitude of the lads on the field. If we are missing that bit …………it is going to be hard for any manager to win big games. Its up to the players now to stand up and be counted. I hope they have it in them to do so.

  37. If players haven’t been coached all their lives to consistently put the ball over from 30 yards out with either foot , or how to kick a ball against the wind, or how to kickpass the ball up the pitch at speed, or to respect the referees decisions no matter how bizarre – then they won’t be able to produce it in a match. The players weren’t given the ammunition they needed yesterday to win the match in the circumstances it was played in – the failure is systemic.

  38. Bad display in Ballyshannon, hopefully it is the last one this year.
    Eventhough Aiden O Shea is playing well at Mid field and was probably missed against Donegal, i would like to see him playing at Full forward, to act as a ball winner and target man.He should be instructed to win ball and just lay it off, not to take it apon himself to score, when he goes for his own scores he can be closed down.
    I think Cillian O Connor and Jason Doherty( both honest footballers, prepared to take the hits and hold onto the ball) would flourish beside O Shea on the full forward line.
    For games against physical teams, I think Aiden Campbell should be tried in the half forward line, he wont be pushed around.
    I hope Clarke will be left in goals from now on.
    looking forward to Cork game, hope we have learned a few lessons. O

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