Donnacha McHugh is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

The votes are in and counted on our latest MOTM poll. An interesting one it proved to be too, as Ryan O’Donoghue looked for a good while to be on course to top the poll but a late surge from Donnacha McHugh saw him take the spoils instead.

It’s a well deserved award for the young Castlebar Mitchels player too. As Mike put it on the Final Whistle pod last night, Donnacha was all but welded to Roscommon’s All-Star midfielder Enda Smith from start to finish, totally negating him in the process. He even found time to bag two second half points into the bargain.

Donnacha wins the MOTM award with 21% of the vote, just edging out Ryan O’Donoghue (20%), whose six points and all-round leadership in attack – and, late on, in defence too – were instrumental to the win.

Eoghan McLaughlin (get well soon!) and Fergal Boland (both on 11%), Enda Hession (10%) and Stephen Coen (5%) all impressed last night as well and so it’s no surprise to see them all featuring so prominently in the vote.

Well done to all of them and in particular to Donnacha McHugh, our MOTM from yesterday’s game.

56 thoughts on “Donnacha McHugh is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Well done Donnacha. All of a sudden we look well flush with half backs. Definitely gives us more options going forward.

  2. Well done Donnocha. A huge confidence booster for him to keep Enda Smith scoreless and go on and kick two scores is immense. He must have got some tips off Paddy who has also has his number in previous years.

    I thought Eoghan McLoughlin was outstanding and a very close second. Aggressive and strong in the first half and then ran them ragged with his powerful runs in the second. A real pity about his injury!

  3. – Great stuff Donnacha, well done on a great game closely followed by Coen, ROD and Mc Laughlin until he went off injured.
    – We had 53% possession and won majority of our kickouts with Carney putting in a decent shift.
    – Our intensity was way higher than Omagh, when you seen players blocking kicks and fighting for sideline balls you know the work rate and Intensity is where it should be.
    – Roscommon needed to win to avoid relegation as I cannot see them beating either Kerry/Derry ( response to Dr.Hyde)
    – That is why their mini collapse under Mayo pressure early in the second half is questionable
    – Davy Burke may have his eye on the Kildare job as the dream management team is turning into a nightmare and would be no surprise if there is an opening there. Therefore he maybe concentrating on Connacht and not bothered about relegation.
    – We have two forward positions up for grabs with Carr likely to take one assuming he can get some match time soon, very soon.

  4. A very strong performance from Donnacha last night. If he keeps that level up then it will be difficult to leave him out.

  5. Congratulations Donnacha, who was my own choice. I always felt he was underrated and he would be on my starting 15.He is good, both defensively and offensively, as he showed yesterday. Thought Eoghan had one of his best games for Mayo-hope his injury Is’nt too serious-looked like a hamstring the way he pulled up. Fergal has been very consistent and is always good for 1 to 3 points every game, but he is much more than just a scorer and is very creative in setting up others.

  6. Super stuff from Donnacha. Fair play to him.
    Roll on 2 weeks time against an excellent Derry side who will likely have a stronger side out against us compared to the Dublin game.

  7. He definitely didn’t let Enda Smith have much room especially in the 1st half and dragged him onto the back foot with his runs whenever he got the ball, not sure if he was still on him in the 2nd. Was he playing midfield which is where I think Smith played?
    I’d have to acknowledge Eoghan MacLoughlin’s performance, a couple of mistakes but his pace was awesome on and even more devestating when receiving 1 2’s. I’d have been dubious of his chanpionship chances before the match and still missed his goal chance but he also made the same goal chance with a great run. Tackled hard too and unfairly penalised at least once. Maybe turning the corner in his game management and few if any teams have someone so fast in their ranks.
    Getting back to Donnacha, he seems to have matured into a man. Last year he still looked like a boy albeit a tall one. Plenty of aggression in his marking of Smith yesterday but also kept his discipline. Also good to see him score 2 with the left.
    On Bob Tuohy, I’m a fan but concur he was quiet in the last few games. Still, has tacked on a few nice scores this league. Carney has received a lot of criticism but his distribution was very good last night, maybe ahead of Bob for a summer jersey. Sigerson may be taking a bit of a toll. We don’t have any other leftie bar Aido and McHale for the forwards, mightn’t be a problem if we get James Carr back. McHale is a good shooter but not so sure about his tackling compared to the jersey competition, more game time would be a help. Carr or Cillian to start the next day or maybe both. Very clever piece of teamwork by Cillian and Ryan in the 2nd half where Cillian told Ryan to go 1 2 with a free into the shooting zone. Ryan was delighted with that score. Aginst Tyrone Cillian set up Ryan with his last 2 points, so his influence is still there even if more so setting other up. Couple of missed chances but most days he’ll score them. As for the Rossies, Diarmaid Murtagh was unmarkable in the 1st half, he’ll take some watching come championship, a really top shooter. One positive is if we man mark Smith in summer it’s half the job done because he’s another scoring threat. Ros a bit weak with injuries as are Galway as are we so I wouldn’t be losing the run of ourselves for Connaught just yet. First 10 minutes of the 2nd half we had 82% posession. The championship quarter has come to the fore for several teams this league. Dublin have shot to about 6 points a game better than everyone else for now. That gap could close when students finish for the year and lads aren’t travelling half the Country every week and if we get to June, several of our panel are teachers (the O’ Connors, Carr, Boland) who will be freed up a lot more. That becomes an advantage if we make it to the quarters. Best thing about Saturday was the kick passing was much improved, also the willingness to shoot long, e.g. Coen just lined up his shot. Don’t know how Ryan OD manages to make so much space to shoot. Really excellent again.

  8. Maybe im reading too much into mcstays response on james carr but i thought he was kinda saying in a roundabout way , carr was back training but didnt make the 26.

  9. All of mcstays responses related to the injured players were massively positive. He could be dealing from the whole deck by the time we play the rossies again .

  10. Well done to Donnacha. A great performance last night in the midst of a lot of solid performances throughout the field. With the exception of the last 15 minutes of the first half we did really well. Only major disappointment was E McLaughlin injury. With such a condensed fixture schedule any injury is a worry. A hamstring can be 4 to 6 weeks depending on how serious it is but you also have to factor in the lack of match practice/ fitness on top of that. He was playing very well also when it occurred. While we only need to focus on ourselves I was surprised at Roscommon no show in the second half. They will now struggle to survive with Kerry and Derry to come. Davy did not appear at all impressed. In contrast PJ even managed to smile at Galway’s win yesterday. They have done well to get to 5 points , two big wins in Ulster , with an under strength team and have blooded some good youngsters. How Monaghan missed Beggan yesterday. They need to beat Tyrone next time out to stay up. If not their final game v us will be irrelevant

  11. Donnacha had my vote also and glad for him (and the squad, in terms of various lads coming to the fore in games) as it was a big test for him, one which he passed with flying colours. Donnacha had played midfield in the two games in the Dome during pre-season so it might be something that management are considering in certain situations.
    I though we had many very solid performers, e.g. Coen, Brickenden and Flynn. McLaughlin, Boland and Reape were another level up again, but for me both O’Donoghue and McHugh were the pick of the lot.
    With McStay confirming in interviews that McBrien and Durcan should be on the bench for the Derry game and Diarmuid coming back for the New York game our injury room should be almost empty come the championship game in the Hyde. Cillian and Conroy will get sharper with each passing week and if Ruane can get a few full games into his legs he will be another option for the middle third. We should, hopefully, have a much healthier squad than last year and real competition for places.
    To that end, I think we can see where the rising level is getting too high for some, and their places in the squad are under pressure. Towey is not making the grade at this level and I just don’t see in him what others do. If you are that small then you need to be really, really special in other areas of the game in order to survive in the modern game. You need to be either lightening fast, or have a real jinky, twisty cut and thrust, or have a huge accurate boot. He has none of these things and the way he was so easily dispossessed in contact is just not good eneough to survive at this level. It’s one thing kicking 15 points on an astro pitch in Chicago playing 13-a-side, but, intercounty championship football is a different sport. While Carr doesn’t inspire me with any great hope due to his terrible inability to stay injury free and fit, he at least has the raw tools to be effective if he can get on the pitch. Tuohy is another one who will be anxiously awaitng McStays call because I feel his performances have tailed off over the last few games. He probably is one for the future but along with Carr and Towey his name has a question mark alongside it.

  12. @williejoe. To explain the wine reference on the previous thread I was referring to where you said when answering @nephin.that “it was conor hunt who replaced Frank irwin and not Frank irwin “. I would imagine you meant to say not conor reid. That’s with my pedantic hat on.

  13. Summer football dry weather is also a different sport so I would persevere with Paul Towey. He needs plenty games. I would see his role as being a sub to come in and put a point on the scoreboard.

  14. Well done Donnacha.

    His two points were great, and his all round performance was super.

    Some terrific scores from both teams in the first half..I was disappointed though that Murtagh got free shots for his, good though they were. The Rossies, while being dominated, were still only a point down at HT. Maybe, as Burke said, they did use up a lot of energy in the process.

    On to Derry – thank God we don’t have to travel to that one. Let’s continue the Fortress Castlebar mantra!

  15. @Pebblesmeller: While I don’t disagree with anything you said there (for context I’d probably add that day in Chicago he was being tagged by Michael McKernon – who started the first 4 league games for Tyrone this year before injury took him out of the 5th) I do find it interesting to see how similar those Towey concerns are (all valid ones I do agree with) with many we’d all have had for a younger Fergie Boland a number of years ago.

    Genuine concerns for sure on physicality/power/top speed, but if Paul can get the attitude and aggression right (the other factors are long term, these are the ones he can change in the shorter term to potentially make an impact this year) there’s a really clever player there with enough of a 5 yard or 10 yard burst and accurate medium/long range kicks to cause headaches to any defence.

    Don’t expect he or Tuohy to be in any danger of a panel trimming, they’re both providing roles we’ve relatively limited options in & both closer to a 15 than to being cut in my mind, but he could certainly do with taking the aggression of attacking the ball or taking on his man to create a yard of space up a few levels if there’s an attempt to get into the 15, move up the pecking order to 1st or 2nd off the bench or even ensuring a place on the 26 when all the bodies are fit and able and competition is at its fiercest.

  16. Well done Donnacha and great to see one of the newish lads stepping up. A bright future ahead for him. On the Towey subject at best an impact sub for this year, he needs another year of conditioning at least as I just dont see enouigh pace or power in him yet. Look at the work Fergal Boland and Loftus seem to have done in the last year – they are different specimens physically this time round

  17. Thanks, No Doubt, that explains it! I didn’t even have the excuse of having any beer on board at that point in the evening either.

  18. Bob Touhy is an interesting one,in ad someone said he hasn’t pushed on. From his demeanor I always get the feeling he seems to being in awe of even being there. I don’t know the lad and could be completely wrong but I think he’s much better than he seems to believe he is.
    Maybe if he gets a game or two in midfield he might grasp it and grow in confidence. I’d like him to get more mouthy and really go for it. Hopefully management can instill that confidence in the young lad. He has it in him.

  19. Bob Tuohy is still U21 in 2024, anyone who is saying he hasn’t pushed on needs to have a bit of patience.

  20. JKEL88 – exactly. How many 20 year olds are regular starters in division 1? The idea Bob is in danger of being cut from the panel is mental.

    He’s started 4 games and came in as a sub once. He’s scored 4 points already.

  21. Agree patience is needed with regards to touhy he’s still young and some players need a year or 2 to get up to the physical demands of intercounty football. I’m sure most on here remember Diarmuid o Connor championship debut v roscommon when he was hauled off at half time after a poor showing and we all know how he fared after that. Regarding towey i really hope he gets more game time as he’s better than he showed Saturday and he really knows where the posts are and is a real option for long range frees off the ground.

  22. We might still be struggling to score but I’ll tell you what, its great to see us concede so little. And the lack of goals conceded is even more pleasing. Only one team in the country has conceded less goals than us so far.

    Look we don’t have the scorers, that’s just the reality, so how do we ensure we win games? Make sure the opposition struggle to score.

    If we are going to go anywhere this year, we need to be aware of our limitations and aware of our opposition.

  23. @sixty five
    Just a hunch and basing it on nothing but I have a feeling swannie could be under pressure to make the panel when it’s cut.

    Great fella and huge heart on him but his last appearance was an absolute roasting at the hands of Basquel in croker, having previously got bad roastings off Clifford, McCurry etc on big days out in croker recently.

    He’ll do a job for ya for sure in the local derbies in the connaught championship but will they bring him along knowing he will struggle on the big day in croker.

    In the championship panel you are looking at a defensive pool of Coyne, brick, callinan, coen, eoghan mcg, plunkett, mcbrien, durcan, hession, mchugh off the top of my head. Will he really just come back in ahead of all those? I have my doubts

  24. Your on the ball there Supermac – he has had a few consecutive bad days out in croker so could struggle to make the cut unless he ups his game big time..

  25. @Unstoppable

    I’ve said on here may times “Mind the House at all costs”. Generally if we haven’t conceded a goal we will be in with a chance coming into the last 15 minutes of games. The Dublin game and the Kerry games this year being prime examples. We could have won both, lost both and drawn both. The thing is we had a chance late in those games to win as we hadn’t already been blown away.
    Our defending has been good so far. We seem to have bodies around when there is trouble and haven’t been wide open as we were last year. Derry will offer a different test and have runners from deep so we will need to be wide awake.
    We have relatively young defenders learning on the job. Brick, Mcbrien, Coyne, Enda Hession, Callinan and Mchugh are all open to improvement. I thought Coen did well at 6 on Saturday.

  26. @Supermac: Can’t see any of the 10 you’ve mentioned being cut (Plunkett probably the most at risk but a high ceiling if/when he finds form again so I’d be surprised if he was)… so then we’re probably looking at how large a panel they intend to carry & how they want to break it down in terms of options.

    PO’H, Eoin O’Donoghue, Aaron McDonnell, Ciarán Boland, Conor Hunt, Ruairí Keane, Fenton Kelly, Tomás Fahey & Sean Morahan the names we’ve seen/heard/likely involved that haven’t yet seen minutes (or in Boland’s case more than injury time) in the NFL. So those lads are probably fighting for 3? Maybe as high as 6? spots on the panel brought forward.

    It’ll be rough. You can see why Kevin was saying he hated this part of the year. It’d be brutal cutting any of the lads after the effort of the last few months.

  27. Towey should not be judged on his performan on a wintry night on a gluey surface.
    Imo he will be different gravy on a dry sod. In addition he is equally adept with his left or right. (Nobody appears to have noticed, on Sat. night, in 2nd half, another forward couldnt take his score and had to recycle to a colleague, in a less favourable position and all because he was a one-sided kicker.
    Towey should take comfort in how Boland has overcome his trevails/ detractors (including some çontributors to this forum)
    God knows we have had an over dependence upon hit-and-miss merchants bombing forward from the back, over the past decade and we know where that got us.
    Past time to cultivate and encourage out & out finishers and see where that gets us – the disparity between pass-the-parcel players and scoretakers needs addressing or have all the disappointments of the past decade been in vain.

  28. I think we shouldn’t be getting too far ahead of ourselves with regards to our improved defending. Yes we have conceded only one goal and kept our two local rivals to a low points score. However, we still showed a naivety in how we allowed Clifford to drift away and get himself free in order to score the winner down in Tralee. Roscommon had 6 attacks in the second half where they will be very disappointed that they failed to score on any of them, and Murtagh had the freedom of the pitch in the opening half too. So, while we have improved a little, it is only March and a little deeper digging into the games will show that we have been a little looser than the scorelines have suggested. However, there is a young group developing in our backline and if we can rebuild that while remaining competitive and suffering the losses of generational talents like Barrett, Higgins, Boyle and Keegan then we can be very happy with the work being done.
    On the other side of the ball I think we saw glimpses of a better shape and plan in attack. I think we are begining to see the benefits of some of the work being done. I like the way we held the full width of the pitch and had dummy runners breaking forwards pulling the markers out of position, opening holes for scorers like O’Donoghue and the Hession mark. By my count we had 42 attacks, 27 shots and 15 scores, with only one real goal chance created. So we had plenty of ball in attack but still fell a little shy in creating the shots and scoring them. 56% success rate in our shooting needs to be higher and we probably should have gotten another 3 or 4 scores on the board that our dominance deserved.
    Yes I’m nit picking, and on a bad night for football those stats probably read pretty good. But, let’s not get too excited yet. Roscommon will not be that poor in 6 weeks time in the Hyde and when Galway get their 5 injured players back their squad will be a different animal if we meet them again. But target one is met, league division one survival is almost secured.

  29. Well done to mchugh. He took on the two shots that he would normally pass off. We need more men taking on shots instead of over passing. Wonder what’s canny the forward s coach s theory on this.

  30. Inter county game has a real crisis now on its hands where they have an 11 week competition were neither the teams competing or public have a real interest in it.Provincial Championships also coming up which have also been devalued with the new championship format.Hopefully Jarlath Burns makes some changes before there is real damage done to the game.

  31. Predicted team for Derry:

    Coyne Brickenden Callinan
    McHugh Coen Hession
    Ruane Carney
    Touhy Boland Flynn
    O’Shea O’Donoghue Conroy

    Dangerous picking a team two weeks out at this time of year, but assuming injuries remain the same.

    Derry a very athletic team. They’ll eat anyone who isn’t match fit. Not a game to throwing in guys coming back from injury.

    Strong side. Final league game at home and three wins and clean sheets would be a really solid leagues work done.

  32. Obviously, if we get most or all of our injured established players back, which, hopefully we will, a number of our fringe players are in danger of being cut. So to be fair, I would like to see those fringe players getting significant game time, in the remaining league, to give them a chance to stake a claim-it’s the only way to find out if they are up to it. I honestly don’t think there is any danger of Tuohy being cut-he is a young developing player, who gives us different options and is always good for a score and he will improve with every outing. With regard to Towey, a lovely tidy footballer, who can score of either foot and he may have a role as a late sub. when defenders begin to tire. But unfortunately, I agree completely with @Pebblesmeller, I don’t think that he has the physical attributes required for the intensity of championship fare, such as explosive pace, strength and power, which are needed to win and keep possession and shake off defenders. While these can be improved with S & C etc, they are mostly natural traits. Paul is small and contrast him with, for example, the young Canavans, who do possess these natural traits. I really would love to be proved wrong about him, but It seems Paul falls into the category of player, who the less they play the better the are, in some people’s eyes. Still, I would like to see him given plenty more time, in the remaining two games and then we will see. One thing sure, if you can’t do it in the league, you will not be up to it in the Championship.

  33. I think whoever looses between Donegal and Derry will work out best in the championship.
    After getting beaten by Roscommon last year we were fresh and beat Kerry.
    Only Mayo could follow that with a loss to Cork.
    The championship now like the league gives you a chance to pick your battles.
    Next 2 league rounds all teams will be at championship pace.

  34. There are serious flaws in both our competitions when everyone is wondering , is it better to be not in a league final , did derry throw the game v dubs , six points and we should stop trying to win games etc etc , its just ridiculous . Championship isnt much better as in provincials ,personally i briefly started wondering today ” perhaps wed be as well send a development panel to new york and lose ” far fetched that one but is it any different to contemplating losing to ros as best way of going about championship . Far too flawed , needs revisiting .

  35. It appears to me that .we are looking more and more like Corofin when Stephen Rochford had them play an exciting attacking game we are in a very good position

  36. @Pebbles, some great posts there. You’re reading my mind! I agree fully with you re: Bob. His performances haven’t come on from last year although I do take on board others who’ve pointed out his age. Nevertheless, you’d think or at least like to see progression and I don’t think we’ve seen that at all with him, yet.

    I also echo your remarks about our defence. We’ve been wide open on far too many occasions and I think our conceded goal count is more down to poor attacking than anything we’ve done. Dublin and Kerry’s forwards were afforded too much space but both had ‘off’ nights with the shooting boots. Last Sat, Murtagh had the freedom of MacHale Park in the first half and indeed at the start of the 2nd, Ros hit two very poor wides where their shooters had far too much space. Then we took control around the middle and starved them of possession but I agree they’ll be an entirely different animal in the Hyde and even Davy Burke’s comments after we’re far too over the top in praise for Mayo and his defeatist comments about his side were clearly aimed toward an ambush next month. Regardless of what happens over between now and mid April you can be absolutely certain that Roscommon will be like demons when they face us. Mayo better not be naive.

  37. I’d like to see them scrap the league final and crown whoever tops the league table champions and maybe it would entice teams to go for the top position and leave a two week break to the 1st championship game. I wonder would there be any way to reward the league winner in the championship maybe all home games in the round Robin or top seed in the group or maybe a back door should they get knocked out early or even a team holiday. I’m only thinking out loud but something needs to be done to make the league more of an attractive competition.

  38. @Mayonaze Davy burks comments after the match were to high in praise? You honestly suggesting that the Rossies went out to loose that game to try and ambush us in the Hyde?

    He was saying the truth we were better side end of all I heard all week is they were gonna hammer us doesn’t mean that they will ambush in the Hyde.

    Yes rossies will be totally different come the Hyde but so will we as we should have some of our main guys back hopefully durcan back to. Loads to work on but our guys showed up v rossies.

  39. Clare, I thought Davy was very open about saying how “superior” Mayo were and that Roscommon didn’t measure up.
    I agree with Mayonaze that we need to take these comments very cautiously indeed. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be lulled into a false of security that we’re so much better than the Rossies and that even their own manager admitted it.
    Davy didn’t have to speak the way he did. If we’re daft enough to swallow that line, we could be complacent against them in Connacht and that’s the last thing we want in a championship that matters. It was just a bit much what he said.
    I agree with you, Clare, that we played a lot better than the Rossies on Saturday and fully deserved our win. But let’s park it there.
    Who knows but they had heavy training over those last two or three weeks?

  40. I think it’s a bit unfair on O’Hora regarding his travails in Croker against top quality corner forwards because similar to Sam Callinan he’s a half back being shoehorned into corner back and basically hung out to dry with precious little cover. I’m not saying whether or not he should be considered for a starting spot anymore but I don’t think those out-of-position games should be what he’s rated by.

  41. Comments on Davy, not sure if Ros over trained leading up but they’re now likely for the drop so maybe not and he was being honest. They like ourselves we’re down a few players but bar Murtagh were very off colour with a few easy scores missed.
    On our defence, we’re definitely reading too much into it as full back without McBrien hasn’t a plan B. Sam got a rare lesson vs Tyrone and Coyne too. Bric has attributes but not a Full Back, well off Clifford for the winner and most of Clifford’s points came off him, not McBrien or Callinan. Next day McGuigan comes to town and if they get good ball in will play puck unless McBrien returns.
    On Tuohy and Towey, think both will remain. Tuohy looks better than Carney some games but not others and can field and kick points. I think he wasn’t involved enough the last day but it’s only 1 game. Re Towey, the Canavans are the same size, Ruairi like Paul is in and out. Peter Canavan was one of the toughest guys around despite his size, bounced back up after every hit he took. Towey can weave past 2 players in tight space and shoot. He’s in competition with Cillian for 1st sub in FF line at least until Carr who’s missed a lot of minutes returns. A good shooter so he could make some very positive cameos. Ryan OD was put on an intensive S&C with has paid serious dividends. If Towey improved just 5 or 10% in that dept would be huge asset.

  42. Longer term as I’ve said before I would imagine league and championship will merge into one competition with the Provincial championships becoming the new FBD/O’Byrne cup type preseason warm up competition.

    League placings will determine round robins for the championship etc. it’s the most natural conclusion, league is probably more exciting format as playing teams closer to your level, but as can be seen in results week to week currently it’s used as training development towards championship, with teams targeting some games and throwing reserves into others.
    And once over you’ve 2-3 of the 4 provincial championships damp squibs, a veritable cool down period before the round robins.

  43. On the Panel I’d imagine Towey and Tuohy are both safe. It’s 7 years since Towey came out of minor and this is his 4th year in around the senior panel. A great club footballer, he probably deserves to start next two games along with MacHale to see what the can do.

    Panel realistically will be nearly exact same as last year and year before + Boland.
    You’ll also have couple other lads like Reid and McDonnell possibly kept to make up numbers as the leavers and retirees have left 5 slots to fill from last year.

  44. @Sean Burke,
    In my opinion the league is actually the best competition out there and is far more competitive than the championship, from the point of view of teams having a chance of succcess. In the league you are playing teams of a similar level where you have a real chance of winning in every game you go into. I think the league is done a disservice by the timing of it as it appears to be shoehorned in behind the provincial leagues and the start of the championship. There are only 9 weeks to play 7 rounds plus a final. Then the following week the Connaught championship begins!
    I believe the timeframe for the championship is far too long where there are 16 weeks put aside to play 9 or 10 games (depending on whether teams go the preliminary QF route). The AIF should be pushed back a week or two, into August. Shorten up the 16 weeks of the c’ship by a fortnight to make it 14 weeks long. That gives you 4 weeks to play with where you could leave a fortnight between the league final and the 1st round of the c’ship, and allow you to pull back the start of the league into mid February where a) you should have slightly better weather and b) the college competitions will be finished up thereby reducing the workload on student aged footballers.

    No Doubt has some very good ideas above, to reward the league winner so maybe an actual final might not be needed, but, I’d say Allianz will have something to say about that and the risk of reduced income to the GAA coffers will make them stick with the status quo. Plus, I’d imagine for the lower league teams a run out in Croke Park for a final is a huge incentive alone.

  45. Our defence has conceded one goal in five games. Come on now people, that is a significant data set and a very respectable number. I don’t recall our goalkeepers being overly busy either.
    Our championship run is going to be about how we best operate at midfield and how we get a bit more scoring from play and in particular goals.

  46. Agreed JP. Couldn’t believe reading back over the comments when I got home last Saturday. Loads of criticism about how loose our backs were.

    We only conceded 9 points. One of them looked wide to my eye and another was from a 45 that shouldn’t have been given.

    Apart from Murtagh’s first point, nearly all of Roscommon’s other scores were snapshots under pressure or out wide.

  47. The one concern from the weekend is how we only scored 0-15 despite being completely dominant in defence and midfield.

  48. Interesting to look at some of the current model numbers of defensive performance around the country. Obviously models like this ignore the fact Galway or Dublin are without multiple members of their defensive unit (or Derry resting their entire half-back line or keeper being out, or us without Durcan and McBrien etc.), so as always big caveats on what numbers actually mean in context.

    In this case the number is a multiplier of how much a team would concede relative to an ‘average’ defence (so smaller is better).

    Derry – 0.71
    Armagh – 0.72
    Galway – 0.73
    Mayo – 0.75
    Dublin – 0.78
    Roscommon – 0.78
    Kerry – 0.8
    Donegal – 0.82

    Room for those to shift a good +0.3 or so if we looked at expected scores rather than conceded scores (lots of <50% conversion rates in Jan/Feb, Dublin and Kerry against us with some very uncharacteristic wides, where you'd expect those to be +60%) but easy see we're there or there abouts relative to other sides.

    Plenty of room for dramatic improvement (the Roscommon game was the first time this year we've seen proper intensity and competitive levels on our blocks/tackles/press/turnover counts & too often we've gotten cleaned for periods in the middle third) but from what we've seen so far we're doing solid enough job on both man to man and +1 setups and just need to sharpen up on the execution & intensity. Nothing to suggest any trips back to a drawing board.

  49. I don’t understand the Towey deserves to start discussion if we’re to be a top team no body deserves noting its hard earned.

    Loftus and Carr are both back and match ready , cillian is on path to getting fitter which demands starts, aido is battling cillian for that role, ROD is undropppable and Tommy needs games to come good . Mchale is a tidy player of great potential .

    I wasn’t going to comment but just can’t fathom the comments that Towey deserves this or that, it’s competitive squad, you have small window of opportunity take it or don’t and let’s be honest towey hasn’t taken his chance thus far so by default falls down pecking order.

  50. One things for sure. Roscommon will be a totally different prospect on the 24th April. Barring injury s we should be ready for them this time surely. I think carney is worth a go at full forward. Pull Tommy out the field and let him run at them. Mchugh has shown only in one game that he can offer us something. He s very similar to coen I think. Can do a job .

  51. Outside of the Boot – Agree with you there if he’s performing better than other forward’s at training he will start.

  52. I remember Carney tried full forward in few of the earlier games in his early days .
    He accurate and strong but do well really play that way ? Think was against kildare he was in ullforwad and worked to a degree.

    If we get carr motoring in there and add a bit of chaos by not being sterptypical full forward, let him drift out get ball and get a run on teams he’s impossible to stop with ball in hand , sometimes he’s not aggressive enough in winning the ball but with it in hands he accurate and strong.
    With that I think we can have tommy and ROD in the corners and they will benefit from space, if cillian proves his fitness he’s great option in corner too so hopefully plenty options .
    Think Jack s growing into his midfield role so be interested to see him there .
    But all good all positive , lads back in training be exited to see derry game and lineup

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