Donie staying on?

Donie Buckley

Photo: Hogan Stand

After days of dark mutterings, it was good to see this report by Danny Carey in the Mayo News today providing something in the way of tangible information about the senior county set-up for next year.  It’s good news too, pointing towards the likelihood (though not yet the certainty) that Donie Buckley is set to remain on as team coach and selector for 2016. S&C man Barry Solan may also remain on, though his situation is complicated due to his day-time job over in North London with Arsenal.

That Mayo News story is based on the report presented by County Board Chairman Mike Connelly to last night’s Board meeting, in which Mike said that Noel and Pat “don’t foresee any change to the back-room team” for next year. While this cannot be chalked down as unequivocal confirmation that the Kerryman will be with us for 2016, it’s better than nothing and it does indicate that there’s at least a strong chance that Donie and possibly Barry too will still be on the ticket next year.

In fact, the bone I’d pick with that quote is that it appears to rule out any additions to the backroom team for 2016. Do we need someone specifically tasked to coach the forwards? Or someone to work exclusively with the backs? Or someone new on the tactical wizardry side of things?  Leaving aside the rather large H&C-branded elephant in the room for a minute, do we have the full skill-set we need in the backroom team right now? I’ve no idea what the answer to this is but I’d be a little bit surprised to be told that we have.

Mike’s report last night did little, either, to plug the rumour-filled vacuum about unrest within the camp. All he did was re-iterate the point about how everyone is going to have to do better in 2016, which, on the face of it, is absolutely correct. And, in truth, a County Board meeting isn’t the place where the kinds of stories that have been swirling around all week can be met head-on.

On that whole side of things it’s still a case of more heat than light. No evidence (in the form of letters or emails or whatever) has fallen off the lorry in my direction to support the proposition that a palace coup is afoot. This doesn’t mean that something isn’t happening but, if it is, you’d expect some solid proof to be emerging. Aidan’s tweet from last night doesn’t fall into this category – one fairly plausible explanation I’ve been given for that one (which chimes with what someone has already said in the comments) is that it wasn’t a reference to the senior management situation at all. In truth, though, it’s anyone’s guess what he was on about.

Just imagine it – had things gone differently for us over the last few weeks, we’d be dizzy with excitement now, contemplating another All-Ireland final appearance. Instead, we find ourselves plunged into a kind of half-life, marooned under a penumbra of discord, back-biting and rancour, having almost forgotten that the final is even on this Sunday. The devil makes work for idle hands and all that.

I haven’t forgotten it’s on, though, and I’ll be posting something about Sunday’s decider at some stage tomorrow. Hell, I’m even going to be there myself on the day, courtesy of those kind people in Chill Insurance who’ve sorted me out with tickets for the game. Given all the dispiriting off-field stuff that’s been going on in our neck of the woods of late, it’s great to have Sunday’s final to look forward to. Even if only to think, once again, about what might have been for us.

52 thoughts on “Donie staying on?

  1. i have already stated my views on this site re my issues with this management
    1 Starting D Vaughan who was injured
    2, Taking off B Moran when they were aware that S O Shea had been sent off and that T Parsons was already playing with a broken finger and unlikely to last but proceed to take off B Moran
    3 Playing the long ball into A O Shea in the replay who was marked by two to three players which was leaving some off our Players unmarked and we should have been playing the running game but leaving Aidan inside keeping two to three Dublin players busy and our runners free
    4 Not going man to man for Dublins kick outs

    Playing the long ball gifted Dublin position as we did not contest Dublins kick outs

    Remember Mayo players revolt in the 1990’s eventually led to changes and John Maughan . It did take a wasted year with Jack O Shea but worth it

  2. If a CEO of a trading firm told his shareholders and board members that information couched in “Not foreseeing any change in the back room team” I’d say a few eyes might be raised to the roof. It’s their job to foresee and give facts in concrete. That immediately removes any ambiguity .

    Regarding the minor appointment I see the board did it their way. A proposal by the looks of it for another managerial team to be considered perished on the rocks before clubs and delegates got a chance to view the field. Bear in mind that our minors once described as “as sure as the swallows come in summer, Mayo have their eternal minors”. Summer gone by saw them hammered by their biggest margin ever, since the start of minor football in Connacht. In Mayo it seems if any one questions results, the board seem to bunker down and close the shop up.

    Seeing as the board itself or executive, the GAA seems to have many wheels within wheels , proposed John Maughan for the U21s . That being so, and he is a manager with an excellent record, I would think that the other two lads, admirable and capable without doubt , will quietly withdraw.

    I think the crisis has passed and we can face the winter without further upheaval. I’ve no doubt that swords were drawn but no one wanted to swing them. Into the winter we head and this time next year we will await another episode of whatever arrives on the table for digestion. WJ I think your banner headline has the most apt symbol on it. ??????

  3. [Deleted].

    This management team represented mayo with honour and with dignity both as a players and as a management team the least they deserve is respect. They have done more for mayo football this year than the majority of mayo fans can say in there lifetime.

  4. Mayoforsam – I’ve left the last paragraph of your comment there as it’s fine. The rest was just hateful bile that has no place here. If you want to spout that kind of crap, please find somewhere else to do so.

  5. Surely they need to bring somebody in to work with our forwards,somebody who knows how to organize the forwards around a target man like Aido and not abandon him at the edge of the square.Somebody who can watch a game and realize what was done didn’t work and change it for the next game would be handy too.I sat in Croke Park with my 10 year old son for the Dublin game and again for the replay and he asked me why are we letting them have the ball from the Kickouts all the time,we’re not even trying to get it,if I did that in a game I’d be taken off,now surely if a 10 year old can see this then two or three grown men with years of football behind them should be able to see it.Why did they not learn anything from the drawn game,why if Barry was starting to tire was he not moved to full forward,why was Alan Dillon not brought in when we were 4 points up and Dublin were there for the taking,why was Donie started when clearly he was injured,so many questions and so few answers and now all this speculation,hopefully things will be sorted soon

  6. Should we really be that bothered whether Donie stays on or not I know he’s a good coach and everything but he’s been here 3 years now and we still haven’t won Sam we need a forwards and a backs coach if such a person exists I wish they would join the Mayo set up

  7. In my opinion we don’t need a tackling gain to be made in the squad anymore. You could argue the case that the huge focus on this has been to the detriment of a focus on attacking play. The gap in performance is our current level versus Dublin and Kerry. You often don’t get the opportunity to tackle Dublin or Kerry as they move the ball quickly. There weren’t as many tackling turnovers of Dublin as there was of Donegal.
    Cilian stated in an interview that Aidan was learning hand position and that kind of stuff for playing full forward. That is indicative of a mindset of Mayo being coached in the individual nth level of detail of body position before we have properly covered the much more important basics.
    1. The kickpass to the target man or forwards is way below Kerry/Dublin standard
    2. We don’t have an inside line. When we did have an inside line in the league they could not time their runs with the outfield players soloing so much.
    3. Kerry and Dublin have runs perfected to setup goals Kerry in particular, witness most of James ODonogues goals where he receives the ball first time with no solo. That is not instinct, that is the training ground work being replicated in a match.
    4. Our counter attack is not direct enough. Dublin were crossing our 45 within 3 or 4 passes we were often taking up to 10+ passes. While we were taking all of those extra solos and passes the Dublin defence was turning from being 7 defenders, to 8, to 9, to 10, to 11. Literally every second an extra defender gets back in place. The very same happened against Tyrone and Donegal.
    Clearly someone is needed to properly coach this stuff.
    We also need someone to coach the sweeper system. How can the players buy into any coaching of the sweeper system when it was disastrous in 2015. It is not a complex system we are only talking about having one sweeper to prevent goals.

  8. JP analysis some of the most interesting I’ve seen on the blog & goes beyond usual commentary. I had the impression that team this year were going on what had been built over previous years with little new development. IF players want management change, I suspect there is a lot more to it than the semi final matches & has to do with what they saw week in, week out & how that built/did not build confidence. The paths of Jim Gavin & E Fitzmaurice to senior management give them a much better grounding than H&C. Mayo among the elite & elite management required, just not sure where it will come from. Personally always felt K McStay had the attributes.

  9. JP you hit the nail on the head with that analysis. We need to be as ruthless as Dublin and Kerry in selection of our Manager and Backroom Team. They dont accept getting to semis and finals as good enough. Pillar Caffrey was not good enough so they replaced him with a team that could do the job. Imagine what we could achieve with this bumch of players if we put a team in place and implemented the changes you outlined. So close and yet so far as we continue to let down our players with below par management.

  10. It’s a case now of “go big or go home” for the players.

    The two boys won’t step down. It seems that their biggest selling point is that they have Donie Buckley on board.

    Why is everyone so hell bent on keeping Donie on board. For Pat and Noel they have no alternative without him, and will struggle to get one. It is for that reason that the Chairman is nailing that issue.

    If he goes they are in bigger bother.

    But how successful has Donie been? We hear about him training the players to tackle and we have definitely improved but after three years do the players need a new voice to bring along other skills? I think so.

    This needs to come to a head and be sorted quickly

  11. The points I laid out a few others on here have referenced those also. To be fair to Noel and Pat these are not new problems none of that has existed in Mayo football full stop. Conor Mortimer is the only forward I recall who had perfected coming on loop runs to pop scores off of layoffs.
    I’m only advocating small coaching change in terms of having an attack coach. This coach sets out a practice routine for our attacking strategy.
    The sweeper system probably can be coached by Buckley in fairness. It is not rocket science. The failing I think we have overall is that Mayo football is very star driven, we believe still that inter country players are born not made. In Kerry they believe the opposite. They’ve been coaching players better than the rest since 1903. Due to their success no team, coach, player or even pundit is ever able to get ahead of themselves in declaring any player the real deal. They have a big coaching advantage in the schools then. There are a whole load of ex players in the schools who have their players on 5/6 year development programs from 1st year through to leaving cert.
    They’ve done this with roughly the same money in Mayo football. It’s just they have a culture of coaching stronger than any county. Their kind of quiet about it to not declare it as the main difference that sets them ahead. But if you look into it reading various sources it is the difference that sets them apart.

  12. Some on this site are saying that we need a forwards coach do we not put up a score to win games,our problems are at the other end,and it’s conceding goals,8 out of 10 balls that go in come back out but 2 in up in the net.I said earlier we need to spend the back-end working on sweepers proper positioning,if we play a sweepers (we have no choice)let’s do it right.we always score enough to win these game’s

  13. JP – very true. There is no secret in Kerry, no special water or genes. Its good proper coaching from an early age. Practice, prepare and adapt which in fairness Kerry have done. It was not that long ago some (Brolly the loudest) that Kerry had no adapted to the modern game and the production line was finished….its took them a few years but they are back now.

  14. PJ That the most sensible thing I have read here in a long time.For 2016 we ned something different and I think you have nailed it. Now are you available for the next few months. There is a job for someone like you with your ideas and I would back that approach fully. The ponderous way we moved that ball was our ultimate failing. Alot of people here trying to point the finger at Aido and the forwards but look at the timing of the ball in and you have the real problem. Quick ball to someone like Diarmuid of Tom would be the making of us.

  15. “Instead, we find ourselves plunged into a kind of half-life, marooned under a penumbra of discord, back-biting and rancour, having almost forgotten that the final is even on this Sunday.”

    That’s it, in a nutshell. It’s probably a testament to the lads and previous (and present) management that we find ourselves in such a state of irritation on this week of the year, because it demonstrates how our own expectations have risen, but speaking for myself, I just want Sunday to be over so we can start moving on.

    I’m heading up to the match myself but with very little enthusiasm; in fact I fervently wish they could both lose. 🙂

  16. There is a lot of talk about McStay & JM as the best possible options for Mayo going forward. The folk that are proposing these guys have short memories or don’t know their football. Mcstay was training/coach of the senior team in ’95, ended in a connacht final drubbing by Galway, was involved again at U-21 level and lost to Sligo. Its not as if Mcstag has not got a chance in the past to prove himself. As for JM remember the playing of an known injured player in 1997 all ireland who lasted as long as the parade and them JM made 5 changes when he was taken off!

  17. There is a chink of light that could come out of the Kerry V Dublin and that’s if Kerry get well beaten. This will force whole scale retirements and kerry will be in a rebuilding phase for a year or two. This leaves Dublin, Tyrone along with Mayo as the main contenders for 2016. That said we will not win an All Ireland hoping the standard will fall but there are the facts!

  18. Arah Logic, Kerry were meant to be in rebuilding phase last year as well! Never ever discount the Kerry boys!

    And Anne-Marie, I have to ask why you’re taking a ticket to the All-Ireland final if you have very little enthusiasm and hope both teams lose, and you’re not from either county!?
    Surely a Dub or Kerry supporter would gladly take the ticket – I’m sure they’d have much more enthusiasm and would care dearly that their team won.

  19. Good point well made Tubberman! Probably not the most diplomatic of me, having been on the other side of the fence in the past despearately seeking a ticket. I know when I get there I’ll relish it. All-Ireland final weekend is special, I rarely miss one, and it’d be hard to go into a a game like this in such a negative frame of mind; such is the prospect of a classic. I’ll just hold my hands up though and admit that right now, at 11.30 on Friday morning reading through the board I’m (childishly) still bitterly disappointed that we’re not there.

    The “both lose” comment was obviously a bit tongue in cheek ….

  20. And Logic, Kerry are no more in rebuilding phase than Pompeii. Sure they have a conveyor belt down there. I’d go so far as to suggest that if any team is in danger of being well beaten it will be Dublin!

  21. First trip to CP was to watch Mayo beat one of the great teams in the 1970 NLF. Following year I saw Mayo minors win the AI there. That was the expectation of the time and has been mine since. Now it seems one should feel gratitude to a team or teams regularly coming up short at national level for ‘raising’ one’ s expectations.

    As regards Sunday AI, I am looking forward to it and hope it is a really good game. Best of luck to the winners. Am surprised that any sports fan or indeed any non sports fan would wish both teams lose. Maybe it is the times we live in.

  22. On the Vaughan point, am I the only one who thought it was absolutely the right call to start him? He had came through a fitness test and clearly was able to play a part. I’d much rather have him start and have to come off than bringing him on during the game and then have to haul him off again, thus wasting 2 subs. The Dubs did exactly this with Alan Brogan against ourselves in 2012 and it went quite a way towards them losing the match that day. Vaughan is too good a player not to play some role even if only at 75%

    People read too much into starting teams nowadays, when now- more than ever- it is truly a 18/19 man game (we won’t go as far as the “20 man game” cliche we so oft hear).

    In fact I have a very heavy feeling that a selection of the substitutes on Sunday will have a huge say in the destination of Sam Maguire

  23. well said, well said, well said Tubberman! spoken like a true G.A.A Supporter no point with that craic hoping other teams lose and what not, your dead right! Anne ~Marie you really should only be going to that match if you have a real interest, some poor man or woman would give the world to go to that match, and I’m afraid Anne there will be a winner and if I’m honest I think the Dubs will just by pass Kerry in mid field and will have to much fitness on the day.

    Kerry are nearly 4 weeks without a game and you can’t beat match fitness, but all in all Anne~Marie I take it your an Irish Woman and very proud of our great game so I hope you enjoy the game.. let us know who your shouting for?

  24. Great article FDBinashui, thanks for sharing it. Colm Gannon on Twitter has just confirmed that the incorrect byline is on the website and that in fact it was John Casey who wrote it.

    Berry, you got me. I don’t even like sport, sure. I do like making jokes though. Sorry about that, I forgot that that some things are sacred. 🙂

  25. I hope your last comment is a Joke Anne? like surely your not gonna go to the biggest event In the World and not even like it??? please tell me your joking.

  26. Good reflective piece in Advertiser, yes, but not a reason to stop good commentary on what is needed to move team from the plateau they are clearly on. Of course there should be no abuse of players (finest we ever had) or management. But should we settle for 2nd /3rd best which is where we have stalled for 5 years now?

  27. Ann-Marie Read my post again I never said that Kerry were in a rebuilding phase right now, There in the All-Ireland!! What I said is if they are beaten, 5/6 of the current team will retire. There is no better county to replace the 5/6 that will retire than Kerry but that’s a different point!

  28. Was only half serious Anne-Marie, not doubting your devotion to the football 😉

    Interesting quotes from Aidan O’Shea in The Examiner – bit of a scatter-gun approach, everyone gets a bit of the blame (except Robbie H).
    I know we’re all probably sick of second-guessing what the hell is going on, but a couple of them struck me as suggesting Aidan at least didn’t have the same level of respect for mgmt this year:

    “You’d have to wonder why we had Cillian on their midfielder.”
    “There was also desperation. We all felt it was probably going to be James’ [Horan] last year, whereas this year it was a wee bit different”.

    Full article:

  29. @Tubberman. he is right about something, Henelly is not fully responsible for the goals.. He did not track his man for 2 of the goals. Ciaran whelan pulled AoS for this on the Sunday game. Why he didn’t raise his hand and accept responsibility for 2 of the 3 goals is frustrating to me, is he beyond correction.. all the scoring he did.

  30. Good god, BobConlon, yes, of course it was a joke!!

    What would I be doing posting here if I didn’t like sport?!

    I think I’m going to leave it at that, lest anything else I say today be misconstrued!

  31. The article by John Casey in the Advertiser is excellent. A little bit of perspective is required at the moment. The constant lapsing between elation and despair gets a little tiresome. I’m completely fed up with the derisory comments about why certain players played, didn’t play or were taken off. Common sense dictates that many of the guys were injured, carrying knocks and just simply tired from the drawn game. No point relaying this information after the fact as it comes across as excuses. But it’s the hard reality and anyone that ever laced a boot will understand this.

  32. Hmm, have read both the Casey and O’Shea thoughts.

    Both are focusing on Dublin’s powerful bench. Do we not, did we not have as good a bench as anyone? I think it depends on how you use the bench.

    On the first day we used our bench better. Barry, Andy and Freezer and Durcan all made massive contributions. And if people say we Dillo should have come in instead of Mikey Sweeney, this only reinforces the argument. Drake was a curve ball, but he had quite a bit to offer. While there has been criticism of Robbie, who would Dublin have to replace Cluxton? By contrast Macauley was ineffective coming off the bench for Dublin, and when Lownes came on they were scraping the bottom. Sure Kevin MacM was effective, but I don’t think Rock is worth his place from the start.

    By contrast, when Mayo had two big men missing in the replay, Macauley was able to be more effective and Bastick didn’t get a black card this time – we did.

    If, if if: If Seamie had been there for the second half, and we had Barry to come in fresh to make midfield a winning zone, Dublin would not have lived with that power.

  33. And it’s excellent news that Donie is staying on. The players seem to have huge time for him and that’s good enough for me.

  34. FDBinashui says: Thanks for that great read/ Colm certainly made his point very well and it is a must read IMO.

  35. Great article by Casey. Has played Co football and knows the score. Incredible bravery and committment of our players often overlooked by some people who would even deny them the pleasure of a few pints when they got knocked out. We are totally delusional when we think we have as strong a bench as Dubs and especially Kerry. We are completely reliant on our first 16 or 17 always playing well in every game they play. This simply cannot happen and when it doesnt we are in trouble, We ran out of steam and luck v kerry in replay last year and v dubs in replay this years when their benches won the day . We got 2 or 3 new players this year who did well . Another 2 or 3 need to step up to the plate again next year.

  36. Having read Colm Gannon’s article the following question arises.

    Colm says “Donal obviously passed a strenuous fitness test before the game”

    Hang on a minute. How could Donal Vaughan pass a strenuous fitness test if he could not raise his right arm above his shoulder 2 minutes into the game?

    Whoever let him start or whoever decided “ah sure he will be alright” has a lot to answer for. Poor Donal should not have been anywhere near the starting 15 or the bench. We inflicted on ourselves the carrying of a passenger and the waste of a sub.

    Passed a strenuous fitness test me foot. What nonsense.

  37. Kerry 2-14 Dublin 1-12
    My score prediction tomorrow.

    Why ?
    Kerry will squeeze the life out of Dublin forwards tomorrow much stronger bench & the Gooch will play his best game of the season tomorrow

    The cream always rises to the top.
    Kerry just know how to win All-Ireland’s

  38. I felt our bench was as good if not better than Dublin’s. In first game they had McMenamon who took his chances and 34 year old Brogan who has something to offer but we did better off the bench. In replay I don’t blame Vaughan for trying 100% to make the game as had we won he could have lost his place after a lot of years of blood and guts on the training pitch and he passed the fitness test. With hindsight Barry could have been held back but can’t plan for black card and the level of player fatigue leading to very good players getting benched. People giving out about Gibbons not being added but we saw last year that midfielders need championship intensity and as much winter training as possible. Cillian showed this lost training impact earlier in championship and he was approaching top form by the replay. So some of the things whingers are on about I completely ignore. Several of them were nowhere to be seen when we were building and excited and come here now with axe to grind.
    I criticise management for 3 things.
    1) Using Aido as plan A in replay was way too predictable. If Barry was picked surely he should be mainly in FF line to keep Dubs guessing and alternating to midfield which Aido could do also to avoid over predictability.
    2) Not playing a sweeper all year or at least from championship day 1.
    3) Not changing kickout strategy or at least mixing it up to compete on half of them. Sweeper system needs abandonment for the duration but surely the could assign roles.

    Stuff that went on in games, mistakes by players etc. I don’t get too caught up on as they give 100% and are human.

    I’ve heard Buckley interviews and he sounds passionate about his job in sport and intelligent. Definitely one of top 3 coaches out there. I do think Cian O Neill had forwards clicking well in 2012 and our points shooting for sure was very good that year. Conroy and Varley could hit them from very acute angles.
    Buckley very good but hope he hold up a mirror to see what he can add to them mix next year.

  39. [Deleted].

    Too much being read again into a statement by the Chairman. He wants to takke heat off his brother. Mayo News put up a lazy headline.

    The heat is being turned up

  40. Only in Mayo.When the clowns at the top table are a shambles then the rest will follow.Why is there such excitement at the possible return of Buckley.Whats he done really-showed them how to tackle?Really! Where was the tackling for the Dubs 3 goals.
    The Chairman of the County Board called Mayo supporters Bullshitters.The Bullshitters are the people who manage,tog out and fundraise for every club in the county and they know football and they know this management team has serious flaws.What a swipe at the hardcore Mayo Fan.The Gobshites in the press are no better,completely out of touch-spouting the party line.They should be doing polls among the public asking them about the management,lack of tactics etc.Most fans out there are fuming at what went on during the Dublin games.The fans of successful teams have short leashes on players and management as well as their County board but in Mayo its “Ah sure it will be all right lads” sort of attitude.Theres no accountability whatsoever.The whole set up needs serious looking at and it starts at the top-we will always be second best if it doesn’t change.

  41. I really don’t understand why people always blame the management when things don’t go their way- the players have to take ownership after all they are the ones kicking the ball. It’s very easy to point the finger but at the end of the day the players weren’t good enough. I read this blog regularly and haven’t seen anything about the players not performing however Mayo have a fantastic team with lots of really positive changes this year ie Tom Parson etc. As Jim Gavin just said ‘it’s a players game’ says it all really- up the dubs!

  42. Dublin appointed mark ingle a top basketball coach last spring to help sort out there defence. It seems to have worked. Basketball is all about covering space or zonal defending. My suggestion is terry Kennedy from ballina that coached ballina basketball in the 80s.

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