Donegal 0-9 Mayo 1-17: demolition job seals our place in the final

It’s been a long wait for us to record our first ever victory over Donegal on their home patch. That wait is now over following today’s demolition job over the O’Donnell County at MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey, a venue where they’re notoriously difficult to beat but where we cantered to an eleven-point win today.

While a first ever win for us in Donegal is a significant event in its own right, the fact that it secures our place in a League final with a match to spare surely carries greater weight. We’ve been the form team in Division One this year and now we’re seventy minutes away from what would be a 13th National League title.

Today’s win is also our fourth on the trot in what has been a very encouraging Division One campaign. This one was probably the easiest of the lot, as we steamrolled Donegal from first to last and won pretty much as we pleased.

The Donegal County Board clearly didn’t get the memo that the big Mayo support was in town today. Along with hundreds of others I was in the queue for the stand for over half an hour, the rain streaming down, before the turnstiles finally opened at 2.15pm. It was a day for the stand as well, with the morning sunshine having given way to mist, rain and a touch of cold.

The pitch was extremely heavy and, walking across it after the game was over, it resembled a ploughed field in parts. It wasn’t a sod for silken skills and the fact that we bagged eighteen scores playing on that surface today was a fair achievement.

We went with an unchanged team. They drew first blood when Eoghan Bán Gallagher burst upfield and fired over but we were soon back on level terms. David McBrien initiated the move with an interception at the back and we moved the ball up the field quickly, Matthew Ruane whipping over a wonderful score from distance out on the right.

Ciaran Thompson clipped one over from the left to edge them back in front. But then Colm Reape converted a ’45 and Jack Carney hooked over what was a really well-worked score to put us in front.

Aidan, who had plenty to do when he got the ball out the right, did well to make space for himself to score. They scored from a mark and then Thompson levelled from what looked a pretty soft free.

Paddy Durcan and Mattie, the latter after great inter-play with Jordan Flynn, restored our two-point advantage. Langan clipped over smartly from a long ball in but Aidan responded by booming over a mark.

Then, the half-hour stage approaching, we began to stretch our lead. Ryan O’Donoghue pointed after Aidan had been tripped and then hit by Donegal goalie Patton. Hurson failed to locate any of his cards for that but Aidan extracted his own justice, terrorising the Donegal ‘keeper every time the ball came near him after that.

We won a great turnover in our backline, Ryan in the thick of the ruck, Sam Callinan too. Upfield we went again and Mattie – now really in the zone – smashed over. Aidan followed this up with his second mark of the day to push us five clear.

They staunched the bleeding with a pointed free but Ryan had the last say before the break, fed by David McBrien after an audacious pick-up. We took a five-point lead into the break.

The Donegal fans I spoke with at half-time were a downbeat lot. They couldn’t see any way back for them and bemoaned the lack of options they had on the bench. They knew they could take a paddling and, in truth, so did I.

We moved quickly to put the game beyond them on the resumption. Diarmuid O’Connor’s pass to Ryan was pitch perfect but David McBrien’s dummy run was excellent too, dragging the defence away to the left and opening the door for the Belmullet man. He needed no second invite, driving into the square and sticking the ball in the net.

Jordan Flynn – scoreless since the Kerry game – got the next one, his shot from distance just having the legs. Another man with legs is Tommy Conroy and it was then we introduced him, in place of James Carr.

Donegal were now resigned to their fate – which sees them almost certainly relegated after six rounds of League matches – but, even though we were running the bench, we kept a fairly high tempo.

Donegal got their first point of the half on 54 minutes. Then Tommy took off like a rocket from out around midfield, his mazy run taking him into the heart of the Donegal defence where he offloaded to Ryan who shot over.

Aidan O’Shea’s dream performance then got better as he swung over a free from way out on the right wing. Aidan as our left-footed freetaker: who’d have thunk it?

They scored two frees, bringing their tally to nine points. That was all they scored today, though, in what was, in every sense, an utterly execrable performance. On today’s showing, they’ll struggle badly in Division Two next year.

We closed out an emphatic win with the final three points of the game. Paddy finished off what was a thoughtfully worked score, Jordan Flynn then gleefully smashed over his second and sub Paul Towey, fed deliciously by Aidan, popped the final one in injury time.

There was so much to like about today’s performance. The day was made for dour, dreary fare but our lads were having none of it as they played with purpose and confidence from first to last.

We’re humming along very nicely right now. Unbeaten after six rounds of games, with a Croke Park date in the diary for a fortnight’s time and a Championship opener against the Rossies a week later.

I nearly forgot about Monaghan! They’re up next for us, back on home turf, where we’ll be looking for another win, one to send us onto HQ and everything that lies beyond in high spirits.

Mayo: Colm Reape (0-1, ’45); Jack Coyne, David McBrien, Sam Callinan; Stephen Coen, Conor Loftus, Paddy Durcan (0-2); Matthew Ruane (0-3), Diarmuid O’Connor; Fionn McDonagh, Jack Carney (0-1), Jordan Flynn (0-2); Aidan O’Shea (0-4, two marks and a free), James Carr, Ryan O’Donoghue (1-3, one free). Subs: Tommy Conroy for Carr, Kevin McLoughlin for McDonagh, Padraig O’Hora for Coyne, Bob Tuohy for O’Connor, Paul Towey (0-1) for O’Donoghue.

Who was our MOTM against Donegal? Pick your top three performers

  • Aidan O'Shea (30%, 1,106 Votes)
  • Matthew Ruane (21%, 788 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (9%, 318 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (9%, 313 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (6%, 236 Votes)
  • David McBrien (5%, 183 Votes)
  • Jack Carney (5%, 180 Votes)
  • Colm Reape (4%, 147 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (3%, 117 Votes)
  • Sam Callinan (3%, 107 Votes)
  • Jordan Flynn (1%, 38 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (1%, 36 Votes)
  • Jack Coyne (1%, 26 Votes)
  • Tommy Conroy (1%, 25 Votes)
  • James Carr (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Paul Towey (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Bob Tuohy (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Padraig O'Hora (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,849

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In our Mayo Football Podcast Final Whistle show, Rob and I are joined by Colm Boyle and Martin McHugh. There’s also post-match quotes from Kevin McStay and Paddy Durcan. That’s online now.

65 thoughts on “Donegal 0-9 Mayo 1-17: demolition job seals our place in the final

  1. Donegal aren’t quite relegated yet.

    A draw in Castlebar and defeat for Armagh would leave 3 teams on 5 points, and it’d go down to score difference.

    On the evidence of today, the Rossies could spend the entirety of next weekend’s game playing snake on their phones and Donegal still wouldn’t overtake Monaghan’s score difference, nevermind Armaghs

  2. A nice win today. Some permutations.

    Roscommon v Donegal
    Galway v Kerry
    Tyrone v Armagh
    Mayo v Monaghan

    Mayo, Galway safe mathematically

    Galway, Kerry, Tyrone or Roscommon in final. Any points for Galway will mean a Galway final. Otherwise it will come down to points difference, depending on how much Kerry beat Galway, Tyrone beat Armagh and / or Roscommon beat Donegal.

    eg a not inconceivable set of results – A 3 point win for Kerry over Galway, a less than 7 points victory for Tyrone over Armagh and a 7 point victory for Roscommon over Donegal would see Roscommon in the final

    For Kerry, Tyrone or Roscommon to be relegated, Armagh would have to win and Monaghan would have to bridge a points difference gap of 18+

    Armagh lose to Tyrone with a Monaghan win over Mayo would see Armagh relegated

    Donegal need a Monaghan draw with Mayo, to stay up alongside Armagh losing to Tyrone and Donegal beating Roscommon by a combined margin of 29 points!

    Only a Monaghan victory over Mayo gives them a chance of staying up.

  3. If Galway avpid defeat against Kerry next week they go into the final. If they lose and Roscommon and Tyrone both win then there will be 4 teams on 8pts and it gpes to scoring differences. As it stands its
    Galway +10
    Kerry +4
    Ros +1
    Tyrone +1
    So a Kerry win by4 or more puts them above Galway and a big home win for Roscommon at home to relegated Donegal could yet put them in the final. It’s in Galway’s hands but the final day of group games could be brilliant.

  4. Really impressed with how our young defenders are settling into their roles, Callinan was very good again today and McBrien also solid and getting better with each game. Ruane looked back to his best.

  5. Mcbrien has been excellent . He is one of the missing jigsaw pieces for last few years . Pity he was injured last year. I love his drives up the pitch.

    A word for Stephen Coen who has been quietly consistently really good. A steadying influence

  6. Worst Donegal team i have seen for years
    Goal Keeper a liability (could have given away 2 goals)
    2 half backs ok but other 4 backs all at sea
    Midfield non existent
    0 up front
    Losses of big players having a huge impact on them & the management body language says it all
    but you can only beat what you put in front of you.
    overall poor division 1 football (game against galway & armagh dire) (roscommon holding kerry to 3 points down in kerry) (monaghan & donegal really poor this weekend)

    Division 2 even worse louth beating cork , Meath didn’t lay a hand on dublin in navan , Kildare in crisis , limerick sacking manager mid season , clare scoring 4 points in a game of football

    It could be a fact that this mayo team isnt as good as previous mayo teams but could be coming at the right time , our biggest threat is our neighours galway i think

    Maybe Mayo are coming at the right time

  7. Well done lads, and Kevin McStay and all the others. Now, fear no one, but respect them all.

  8. The New Departure, you are 100% correct. The Shams are the biggest concern I feel for Mayo.

  9. Very solid performance and motoring very well.
    I was surprised at how little resistance posed by Donegal but we were very fluid. I was also surprised that we did not make changes earlier, and assume that some players will be rested next week. Carney is stepping up and DOC & Ruane going well, TC is coming back nicely and younger players adapting well to senior IC.

    It is a nice position to be in, winning but with scope for improvement. I know that Kerry and Tyrone will be a different challenge if we were to meet later in the year and so will disregard the games in terms of analysing where we are versus others in the race for Sam but we are definitely in the top 6. Nor bad at this stage.

    Can reassess again after league final and the Rossies game, then we will be in a better position to indicate if we will be a force this year or flattering to deceive

  10. Brilliant performances all over the pitch. When Aido’s taking frees we know things are good. Special mention for McBrien who was what we have all been wanting from a full back and Reape who excelled under the high ball. On a side note when will the date and time be confirmed for the final as flights to be booked from the UK.

  11. Some big calls next week regarding selection. You’d think that the likes of McBrien, Coen, Loftus, Ruane, Flynn and Carney who have played every game should be rested but that’s the physical core of the team.

  12. Agree new departure, would this team beat the Mayo team of 8 years ago? Or the 7 in a row Dubs? I think not, but they don’t have to.

    Dublin I think are main threat, followed by Galway. Kerry because they have Clifford always have a chance but are far from being one of the great Galway teams. Other teams like Derry and Tyrone can put it up to the others and could win a game on the day, but can’t see them beating the first 4 named week on week.
    The Squad Horan assembled over last year or two has come on further this year as young lads matured and lads return to fitness. Form under current mgt. appears good also.

    So we are not only a force this year we one of the main contenders.

  13. @wj, I’m glad you gave McBrien a mention for his role in Ryan’s goal. And O’Donaghue was aware enough to see the opening and pick his spot. All looked so simple but excellently crafted and executed. Coen still has work to do, half backs are expected to score when the chance presents itself. But he has solid defencive qualities.
    They are a team on a mission. The motive for next Sunday is making Castlebar a tough venue for away teams…

  14. Thoughts on Conroy? I thought he looked okay and obviously it’s early days for him getting back to his best, but I thought he was trying to force it a little. Still lacking a bit of sharpness.

  15. Horan always said that we have the players in Mayo to win any match including the ultimate prize.. the problem is we never had our full panel available to us with injuries and an over reliance on key players like Andy Moran or a Cillian O C. The most pleasing thing therefore for me so far about this league is the rotation, strength in depth and the overall team performance.. its really great to be struggling to pick the man of the match award. Winning is a habit.. keep it going lads

  16. Well done today lads. Donegal were as poor as I’ve seen for a long time so we won’t be getting carried away though they’re playing lovely football. Mathematically Donegal aren’t relagated but it looks like it’s only on hold for a week and maybe the same game sends roscommon to the final with a big win and other results going their way. Thought reape was good today under the high ball. Isn’t it great to see sligo and Leitrim on top of division 4 just a pity they’re playing each other next weekend. At least 1 should get promoted.

  17. At least Conroy hasn’t lost any of his pace, post injury. Has lacked a bit of composure in front of goal vs Ros and DL.

    That should improve with game time.

  18. Another great win albeit against a dire Donegal team. That was some score in those conditions! Looking ahead i agree that Galway could be our biggest threat in the championship. As for the league final, my head is hoping for Roscommon simply because they will have no advantage over us regarding lead in preparation time. However, my heart says Kerry if only to get a shot at burying the ghosts of that hammering we got in last year’s league final which went a long way towards derailing our season. Both games come with a high element of risk should we lose! At this juncture I would prefer to avoid Galway!

  19. Ferocious, controlled, lovely football is how I would describe Mayo’s play currently.

    Granted, you can only beat what is in front of you – and Donegal were poor and are missing a lot of key players – but aren’t we, Keegan, Mullin and no Cillian today? It was a game that we expected to dominate (even though I did expect Donegal to perform in Ballybofey considering their position in the league) and we duly did.

    That performance from Reape and Loftus should silence some doubters for a little while. Colm Boyle spoke about how frustrating it is when players are coming through who are wrote off after only a handful of games, this is certainly applicable to Reape and possibly even more so for Loftus who is learning a brand-new position.

    Our entire defensive system is taking shape and continually improving week on week. McStay said defence wins championships in one of his early interviews after getting the job and he seems to be building on that. It is impressive when you consider it is a new goalkeeper and full back line. Loftus was quietly impressive today, however, I don’t think he is just a sweeper. It appears to me to be a rotating sweeper as the game unfolds with the main aim of ensuring there is one person to help block that central channel. McBrien is just an unbelievable defender, loves to win ball, very physical but also comfortable on the ball. Backs taking shape nicely, good to get O’Hora back on the pitch for some minutes and for us not to concede.

    Midfield was superb, they really complement each other nicely.

    I think it was in the Dublin game that McStay commented (I may have mentioned this here previously) on where Mayo scored a point and he spoke about all good angles, good running and how well worked the score was. I’d say he was delighted with a few of our scores today based on the movement and running we have, players taking the right option, making the pass, moving off the ball, dragging players out of position. There was great patience to some of our scores today, Carney’s effort springs to mind. The danger for opposition now is they can no longer just block us up centrally, Carney, Ruane, Diarmuid, Flynn are all capable of kicking from long range. The backs can’t just sit off them and now that they have to mark them further out, it creates room for runners from deep, or little pop passes over the top into Aido or Ryan. Carr was a bit quitter today, although he still got through a mountain of work and had a lovely pick up and lay off for one of Ryan’s points.

    I said it before, but I really think the lads benefited from last year, the “Chicago crew” are the mainstays of this team now.

    Having said all that, it is only March, Donegal were poor, we still have plenty to work on to get better up front and defensively and we will only know where we are at when it gets to quicker bigger pitches and the higher intensity of championship. However, it is nice to look forward to next week knowing we are playing well.

    One thing on TG4 coverage at one stage had the action from behind the goal, it was great to see it from that angle for an extended period rather than just a goal kick, it gave a great sense of the movement inside.

  20. A very strong performance. No visible weak links and defensively we were sound. Plenty of bodies in central areas to stop Donegal runners through the middle. Galway do the same thing very well.
    Some stand out performers:
    Reape – Confident under the high ball. Loved that in the first half when he cleaned the lot out in the air. Attacker,own defender,ball. Decisive.
    Ruane – Much improved and glimpses of 2021 form.
    Jordan – A good day for him after a couple of quiet weeks.
    Paddy Durcan – Improving every game. A couple of trademark scores.
    Aido – Unplayable. It is some option if he can start kicking marks every week. Unless we are defending for our lives and he is stationed under our own crossbar i dont think i ever want to see him in our own half ever again!
    A lovely mix of youth and experience in the team and real depth to the panel. There will be some very good players not able to make the 26 never mind the first 15. Great to see Aido and Diarmuid producing their best football in years. Amazing what positional switches can do.

  21. Kevin McStay has clearly been looking at this team for years and seeing things that should have been so obvious to the previous manager.
    A couple of positional changes , a variation in tactics and to be honest just being more personal and positive in media interviews has made a huge difference
    Delighted for him .

  22. @Still dreaming
    I am in the same boat as you regarding flights from the UK. I read a match report earlier in one of the Nationals that Mayo had now definitely qualified for the final on the 2nd April. League 1 finals have historically been at 4pm on a Sunday so that was good enough for me. Flights booked.
    Nothing has been confirmed officially though.

  23. Jack Coyne is a real terrier. He suits marking the oppositions smaller faster forward. He’s really quick over ten yards.
    Sam Callinane is already a real raw boned rangey strong defender.
    David McBrien I noticed today does the Kerry style solo, left hand to right foot, suprised at how good ball control he has. He’s the best full back I’ve seen us have.
    Stephen Coen, reliable and a great engine.
    Conor Loftus is very useful when the opposition drop back.
    Paddy Durcan looking sharp.
    Diarmuid playing his best football in years.
    Half forwards, I think it’s possibly a deliberate policy to pick three lads over six foot.
    It complements the midfielders.

  24. Well done Mayo, good to see Jordan Flynn back scoring & midfield playing so well. Reape very reassuring in goal. Overall good team performance.
    Congrats Diarmuid O C, 100 games, delighted McStay mentioned your trogan work in a Mayo jersey.
    Aido, if u never score again Im thrilled for you, class act. Every time you score, I think of Joanne Cantwells slip of the tongue! ..GO Aidan Go!

  25. @km79

    Diarmuid playing at wing forward previously was criminal. So much more effective centrally. Mcstay always said Aidan should be at 14. A great option for us to have.
    Two players who looked as though their best days could have been behind them but are now vital for us.

  26. @dreamy I think his best position is in the half forwards. He has the pace and skill to break defensive set ups.. He tends to drop very deep and tire but it is great to have him back.

    What is the advantage of winning your province this year? Apart from a medal and bragging rights, is there actually an advantage? . Do you go in to the same stage as if u were beaten in round one? With a long lay off before a run of games are you nearly better off not winning it?

    I’m only asking coz I don’t know

  27. I’d love a Mayo Galway final in Croker, but we’ll have a job against Kerry next week.
    Really happy where we are , best defence in the league and with a few forwards on the way back I’d be hopeful of getting the win next week.

  28. It’s really only the emergence of Carney and Flynn that has allowed us to leave Aidan inside permanently, particularly in league games in dirty conditions

  29. – Aido MOM by a mile, McStay is getting the most from him as any good manager should.
    – Ruane was aggressive and very influential especially in first half as was Carney who took a sly hit in the second half which diminished his 2nd half performance. Reape improving with every game…FB line had plenty of high balls to deal with and did well
    – Would be concerned that we are wasting good possession at times and still have a tendency to drop balls short.
    – We give away too many scorable frees or rather Hurson was penalizing us too harshly.
    – We had 4 players who were below par today and still won easily.
    -Next real test awaits in Croke Park against a top team with fitness levels evening out.
    – If Paddy Carr is still Donegal Manager by the end of this year I will be amazed. They were poor and there was a small crowd there with Mayo having at least 50 % of the support.
    – Thanks to Ann who arranges the Westport supporters bus and to all the other people who go to the trouble of organizing supporters buses…

  30. What’s happening with michael plunket does anyone know named on bench but no game time so far. Is injury still an issue

  31. Aidan is playing out of his skin. He will get better at 14. Now has the confidence to take shots and score. Durkin is a machine and Tommy is motoring well. Great to have him back nearly to his best. Mcbrien is a great find for full back. But most of all they play as a team and are fast, direct and accurate. Can we keep it up for the championship? We need a bit of luck in keeping relatively free of injuries and bad referring decisions. A great year in prospect.

  32. Kevin, Stephen, Donie and Liam, well done to them all. We are now in a good type of strange position. Kevin has spoken previously and again Aiden as well today spoke on TG4 about the importance of making McHale Park a stronghold, and that’s very good to hear. Now how strong of a team do we put out next Sunday v Monaghan, considering the two following weeks game’s are of much more importance to us in the greater scheme of things?. Monaghan badly need something from the match as they have an outside chance of staying up, and that’s nothing new for Monaghan, they were going down this time last year in additional time of their last league match v Dublin, but miraculously from the jaw’s of almost certain defeat snatched a last second winner, and relagated the former 6 in a row All Ireland champions Dublin. I suppose Kevin and company will probably rest a few who might be nursing a knock in the hope of having his best possible 26 available and fresh for the two following weeks. He will have strong subs available on the sidelines. Pure speculation on my behalf, but if he were to pick his strongest available team, it would be 4 weekends in a row , because we can’t hardly field a weakened team for the league final or for the Championship game v Roscommon the following week in Castlebar. Robbie Hennelly could certainly do with some game time, not that I believe that would be weakening the team, if his injuries have cleared up and is fit to start, Kevin McLaughlin, Jason Docerthy, Pádraig O’Hora, and Eoughan McLoughlin, I certainly would if possible like to see all of them at some stage next Sunday.. It’s a delicate balancing act that Kevin will have to negotiate. I agree with Séan Cavanagh on League Sunday,.. Kerry will want a league final v Mayo, and the question remains what will Padraig Joyce want v Kerry in Salthill next Sunday.. The Rossies, the spirited group that they most definitely are will go for the win v Donegal as is their nature. Who wants to play Mayo the most in Croke Park?.. That is the question, that will be answered next Sunday.

  33. Overall good performance, no purple patch but steady accumulation of scores. Aido MOM. I agree Conroy just needs a small bit more composure like he developed in 2021 but he has some Turbo on him and the 60m run to set up point was great as were a few other runs. Lulls the defender into a false sense of security. Game time for Kevin Mc and POH and our scoring rate increased after the subs came on. What I liked most was the amount of kick passes in and that they nearly all stuck. Fionn went wrong side for his goal chance and Tommy denied a goal also so things to work on. I think POH Kevin Mc, Jason, Towey, Tommy C and Cillian should all be played the next day. It might affect balance as team getting used to the new style but we are in the final so it would be good to give all a chance. Also Tuohy could come into midfield and Jack Carney or Flynn could be moved back there to give the 2 midfielders a rest. The only change difficult to make is POH because it could mean dropping Callinan or Coyne who are both coming on very well unless we drop an experienced half back instead.

  34. I’m so happy for Aidan because in fairness let’s accept it, he has received his fair share of negative feedback over the years. He has found his unique selling point this season in at full forward, he can take a mark and he can kick a score as well. He’s a good soul and I know this from a personal level and he will be missed sorely when he’s gone. I really hope he gets to climb those steps and hold Sam by the lugs before he heads off into the sunset.

  35. @Moose79

    The provincials are now about seeding for the All Ireland series group stages, as well as bragging rights.
    Provincial winner gets a top seed, runners up get a 2nd seed. 4 teams in 4 groups. The rest will be made up from league position (except Westmeath who take a 4th seed for winning the Tailteann cup)

  36. Does anyone know what time approx the league final will be on the 2nd? I’m going to bring the gang and trying to sort out the logistics. Division 2 final first then ours at 4pm maybe? What time was it last year?

  37. I agree with leantimes above. Management is very much a team performance (compare with Horan). The in depth anlysis after each game by the management is paying divedends. Team performances are progressive.
    As shuffly duck elaborates, Conroy has pace and unpredictability. Great to see he has recaptured his form. And I liked the bit we saw of Towey.
    Kerry have to beat Galway by at least 6 points to qualify for final and they looked like a team with a lot of heavy lifting to do to get into championship mode.
    Mayo / Galway looks the best option for a thriller.

  38. Good win again today Fair play to team and management Certainly not in the mood to get carried away. I reckon it could be galway in league final. Not too thrilled at that prospect. Didn’t really care about winning league but if we are in it we may as well try to win it. Suits Galway better. A 3 week break for them before championship. An even better break for kerry Once again the stupidity of the condensed season is on show. Mayo out four sundays in a a row is ridiculous ,Prevents proper preparation for game v Ross which will help to decide our seeding in championship. A great league for us but our neighbous have had a good league also. Unbeaten apart from a one point defeat to Roscommon. Tough games in every match but strong finishes in all of them. Walsh Finnerty, Tomo Culhane all returning with Comer on the way back. Also very tight defenzively. We could have to overcome them a few times this year We have been the stand out team playing the best football but winning tight tough games is great for morale and galway have done that superbly and under the radar as well while everyone is talking about Mayo. Looking to summer obviously Kerry Dubs, Derry and possibly Armagh and Tyrone will be threats. Still a bit concerned about our defence later on but we have done all that could be asked of us so far

  39. I’d like to see all the panel players started next week, as starting 15 will likely be out 3/4 weeks straight after that, so last chance to give lads a break and get meaningful game time into others who haven’t had much so far.

    Not sure that will happen though as to date I think 7 players have started all 6 games, 5 others 5 games(3/4 of these were injury/knock related absences, with one other being Byrne given a go). So it seems that experimentation is going to be minimal enough here on in.

  40. I live in the US and having watched Tom Brady for more than twenty years and playing until he’s 45 years old,I am going to make a big call. Aidan O Shea is going to play at least another 5 years.He has the skill,physique, fitness level, desire and toughness to do it.Being played at corner forward will allow this.No team will leave him in there unguarded especially with our new found ability to kick passes long and accurately. I believe the last phase of his career will be the most successful.

  41. To win just once agree Galway look really sharp. We have done all that could be asked but still not the finished article at the back. Watching Donegal players catching the ball in front of our goal today uncontested, while we had plenty players back has to have been noticed on the line. We still need to improve our sweeper position as we have seen in a number of games. These are tactical moves that I am sure we can sort out. Onwards and upwards and great progress so far by a team clearly enjoying their football.

  42. Very hard to replace Keegan and Oisin .Two freakishly good footballers but we are going alot better than most expected..
    Facing either Galway or Kerry in the league final will be a serious test for us .
    Listening to player’s and management, there seems to be a great focus on learning and they seem to be enjoying the journey together so far

  43. Leantimes,don’t forget D, Mulligan,a good performance from both team and management,we are playing as a team and it is paying off

  44. @FrostTHammer. A Kerry win by 3 would put them above Galway but a 7pt win for Ros or Tyrone would put one of those two into 2nd spot.

  45. Well done again to the lads. I can’t really ever recall us being this good in the league. Can we maintain this or hopefully improve further? That’s the question, but it’s positive for sure. We have stumbled through leagues in the past and it never got us the holy grail, so lets see where this takes us.
    Reape much better yesterday. McBrien looks the business. Durcan much sharper. Coyne doing well and a bit of a tiger and just what we need back there. Ruane was like himself yesterday. Carney getting better and better. ROD, Aido. Carr didn’t score but he is such a threat and takes marking. Tommy looks to be regaining his electric pace. Too many others to mention but hon the lads!

  46. Mayo Focus, I think Mayo won every single game in the League in 2007.

    We reached the All Ireland final in 2020 and 2021. We would have reached it again in 2022 only for injuries. Aido alluded to this in his post match interview yesterday, big difference from his answer was a fit squad this year unlike last year. If they can keep fit then Cillian, Tommy and ROD will return us to the final.

    The league final will be our first decent acid test this year. I feel it is more more important than the Roscommon game the week after in showing where we are and as a fixture as a whole as it is a national final, Seedings are good and all but who genuinely thinks we will not come out in a 4 team group where 3 emerge? It expect us to win league regardless of opposition based on where we are in our training plan and being relatively injury free.

    Next weeks game should be given starts to several panel players, I think if we started all the bench we could still win in a dog fight. Monaghans midfielders straight red will mean he misses out which is a big loss for them.

  47. Delighted with yesterday.. Nice and steady controlled performance. I thought Mattie was excellent in the first half and he showed its still in the tank, and his confidence will rise now.. Jordan is trying so hard that you can’t fault him.. his scoring luck will return as he is doing the hard grafting.. plus the drier open spaces suits his style.
    I’m thrilled we are going to croke park tbh.. from being on the pitch having a kick about (not a match I was up with young players) it’s amazing how hard it is to judge distances! The stands are imposing so for our newer players it’s crucial they experience all that goes with playing on that particular pitch!
    I felt swannie has bulked up more.. especially his upper body.. a hard man has gotten harder!!!
    Give some lads the weekend off now and bring in the boys who need first team football against Monaghan.. we should still have enough in the tank to win

  48. That’s not correct, Gizmobobs, as a quick check of the results archive here confirms. We lost one regulation League game in 2007, away to Donegal in Ballybofey as it happens and then, of course, we lost the League final to them as well that year.

  49. @Food4thought, I was actually thinking yesterday of Tom Brady in relation to Aidan.
    I agree, in the role he plays now Aidan could play a few more years.
    Aidan is actually quick on an all out 20 yard sprint. It’s just he needs plenty recovery and don’t expect him to cover lots of ground like the other forwards.

  50. I backed Mayo to top division 1 and got some negative comments on here at the start of the season to that suggestion.

    However it was very clear that Mayo had all the ingredients but particularly more options upfront.

    On a side note I find it rather funny that many dismiss a Kerry team that won the double last year and having had a large amount of players missing so far.

    I think Kerry are getting lads back as displayed by Gavin Whites motm on Sat.

    Hope we make a final…

  51. That’s right Donegal scored an OG that day for us. Wasn’t including finals naturally but 2007 was still a better win ratio if just one regular season loss.

  52. @Joe G ??

    Yes, Kerry need to win by 3+ to overtake Galways score difference

    But if neither Tyrone or Roscommon win, any win is good enough for Kerry

    Tyrone or Roscommon would need to win by at least 6, which is the minimum required to possibly tie up score difference

    If Kerry win by less than 3, then those teams need to win by 9 minus Kerry’s margin

    If Kerry win by 3 or more, then 3 plus Kerry’s margin

  53. I think it was @Dreamy who was wondering yesterday about where Tommy C is at in his recovery….I would have no worries on that front and is probably ahead of where I would expect.
    We had this injury in our house and it is a rotten injury. While you can track the physical recovery, it’s harder to track the psychological side of it. So when Tommy belted over that one last week and pinned the ears back yesterday for a 60 m,sprint it shows there’s no scars and no fear there. As for sharpness,he’ll be sharp as a lance next month when we need him to be. Remember it took Andy a while to regain his best form.

  54. Can’t imagine a Donegal team that didn’t turn up with everything to play for at home being in a significantly better place psychologically with much less to play for away from home in the Hyde next week. Things don’t look too healthy in the camp at the moment. I’d be very fearful of Roscommon putting Kerry under some serious score difference pressure in that one if I was a Kerryman.

    Wouldn’t pay too much attention to the lack of rest, prep time or too many games in a row chat. Nonsense. Players love playing. They want to play. Playing bigger games better for getting lads not quite there yet ready for the bigger days (you can literally see the likes of Sam learning every time he makes a slight slip in judgement and puts himself into a difficult situation – Very reminiscent of when Lee first burst into the setup).

    Mentions of games 4 weeks in a row…. throw in friendlies and the FBD we’ve had a game (at least 1, often 2 to get more of the squad involved) a week since the start of year. That’s ignoring the fact that the AvB and backsVforward games at the minute are likely to be at an incredibly high intensity… especially knowing how many injuries we’ve picked up in AvBs over the years (happened to be at the back pitch in MacHale Park the evening Kevin O’Neill broke his leg. A hard evening to forget, waiting for the Ambulance to arrive must have felt like hours for the lads around him that evening. It sure did for those of us looking on). Chances are if we’d another weeks gap or two we’d be organising even more friendlies to keep lads sharp.

    Playing, especially competitively and even more so when winning, is exactly what players want to do. A large number of lads there that are absolutely screaming to get a 60+ minute run. Loved seeing Towey pop over a peach with his left foot under heavy pressure the last day. Lots of healthy competition and lads able to willing to step into an opportunity where and when it might present itself.

  55. Hoping Enda Hession is back for the championship. He’s one of our secret weapons!!

  56. @Corrik Bridge, well spotted, yes can’t be forgetting Damien Mulligan an integral member of Mayo’s back room team.

  57. Leantimesno problem,it appears that the whole management team work very well together I must that having followed Mayo for almost sixty years this seems a very focused and able team,perhaps this is the year

  58. A delightful performance, especially some great scores from play,very happy for A O S.,deserved man of the match ,was delighted to see Kevin Mcloughlin getting a run out, it brought back memories ,when we were hanging to our devision 1 status by a tread when Kevin burst forward and got the equalising score to keep us in Devision 1 for another season,same venue I think ,and same opposition, can’t remember the year, so well done to all the squad and let’s see this through and win the Final,now on critical note ,is it true that C.O Connor has picked up an injury during a challenge match last week, surely they had enough of games to play ,it’s hard enough to mind players without this extra risk ,Perhaps we should listen to Jack O Connor as regards trying to stay injury free especially coming close to the Championship. Hon Mayo, BTW here’s wishing Cillian a speedy recovery ?.

  59. Those who say it’s only March or it’s only the league need to readjust their watches, the All Ireland final is 3 and a half months away. We’re in late May/early June by the old calendar. Would we be happy with Mayo going well at that stage in the September AIF days?
    I think we would. Champo in 3 weeks

  60. East Cork Exile,

    That was more applicable last season.

    This season you have a provincial championship then a 4 team mini league, then a QF,SF and Final.

    Peaking in March is grand but you’ve a lot more games than normal now.

    Maintaining this form for 12 or so more games will be the challenge.

  61. We managed to hit 48% of our shots at the weekend, with the majority of the misses coming from good shot selections and very scorable areas rather than poor pot shots. I’d need to recheck the numbers but not sure we’ve gotten over ~61-63% yet this year. Not to mention the number of clear cut goal chances we’ve failed to put away.

    Fantastic to see the lads with huge smiles, great to see them playing exciting attacking football, great to see the movement and intensity they’re showing in games (especially the movement up front which can be dazzling, especially when TG4 are kind enough to linger on the behind the goal shots), great to see a bit of momentum but nothing to suggest they’ve come close to peaking yet. Big difference in beating what’s in front of you and reaching your own level cap with the latter still a long way off. Fingers crossed they can get close to there in and around crunch games.

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