Down 0-13 Mayo 0-11: deeper and down

Down v Mayo final score

Frustration is rapidly becoming the dominant emotion where it comes to following the Mayo team at the moment.  There was plenty to be exasperated about up in Pairc Esler tonight where, in cold and misty conditions, we threw away yet another winnable NFL match, this time against a mediocre and very limited Down team. I know the league isn’t a target for us this year but I think it’s also fair to conclude that relegation isn’t on our spring agenda either. Now, however, having lost three matches – all of which we should have won – on the trot, we’re in a real dogfight to stay up and it’s becoming ever harder to see where the points needed for Division One survival are going to come from.

I guess the most frustrating thing about tonight – more annoying that Down’s incessant cynicality and play-acting, a bigger pain in the hole than David Coldrick’s shocking failure to ref the match properly – was that, for long stretches, it looked as if we’d learned nothing from that brain-dead second half display in Croke Park a week ago. For the first 50 minutes or so tonight, we continued to rain high ball inside, wasting chance after chance as we did so. At least the lads eventually copped on and started to vary their approach from then on and it’s no coincidence that this was when we played our best football. But then having reeled in our unremarkable opponents, we contrived – with that idiot ref Coldrick’s help – to let them get away again and to steal the points in the process.

Tonight’s match was played at a far lower pace than the often frantic exchanges witnessed at HQ seven nights ago and while we took a while to settle down, when we eased into an 0-4 to 0-2 lead after 15 minutes or so – the points coming from Jason Doherty (one a free), Michael Conroy (should have gone for goal?) and Cathal Carolan (a real belter to mark his full debut) – we looked as if we were well placed to dominate proceedings. There was plenty of huffing and puffing from the home side but little end product and their attempts to unsettle Ger Cafferkey with high balls pumped into Benny Coulter plainly weren’t working.

Incredibly, however, we then went the best part of half an hour without scoring, by which time Down had tacked on seven points either side of the break to pull five clear. One – Down’s fifth – was clearly wide and the umpire hesitated before putting up the flag, seemingly at the ref’s behest.

Down led by two at the break but a significant incident shortly before half-time saw the end of Ger Cafferkey’s night. He had just won yet another mano a mano with the all-mouth-and-no-trousers Coulter when Laverty smashed into him. Ger left the field, replaced by Kevin Keane, with blood pumping out of his nose and the little scut Laverty should have gone too but he escaped with a yellow for what was by any standards a fairly disgusting and cowardly assault.

Ger Cafferkey incident

Photo: Mayo Mick

We needed an improved showing in the second half but three points conceded shortly after the restart left us in a real hole. By then we’d missed a glorious chance for a goal, with McVeigh turning away Barry Moran’s point-blank effort, and shortly afterwards Poland stretched the home side’s lead to five.

Finally, we began to stir ourselves and wave after wave of attack yielded five points in reasonably quick succession, with two pointed frees from Jason, one from play from Barry Moran and two more from play by Cathal Carolan, whose sparkling debut was one of the few highlights tonight.

We then conceded two rather needless frees up the other end and O’Hare – who ended with eight points, all but one from frees, to his credit tonight – pointed both of them to edge them back in front. Kevin McLoughlin replied with a free for us and then Kenneth O’Malley drew a loud roar from the big Mayo following when he landed this ’45 to square the match up once more.

A draw was now looking likely but then with time almost up, Coldrick made a crucial intervention, one that swung the game back in Down’s favour. O’Hare was readying to take a free from well out when Keane and Coulter came dashing out together, tangling as they did so. Down went Coulter and even though O’Hare hadn’t taken the free further out, Coldrick awarded the home team another free, this time on the 21-yard line. As regards the rules of the game this was utter bollocks but it had a decisive bearing on the outcome of the contest. O’Hare pointed it and then followed up with another from further out soon after and that was that.

In terms of performances tonight, the backs had a better night compared to the torrid time they’d endured at Croke Park last weekend. Ger Cafferkey won all his battles before he got pole-axed and Kevin Keane did okay when he came on in place of him. Keith Higgins was solid enough, as was Chris Barrett and our goal – where Kenneth O’Malley was fine, apart from one bizarre decision early on to punch clear a ball he should have caught – was never in danger of being breached.

In the half-backs, Lee Keegan – who started at 6 and alternated between there and the half-forwards – was superb and Colm Boyle was also prominent. Donal Vaughan, though, had another night to forget and perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that injury might now force James’ hand in doing some long-overdue reshuffling to this sector.

Midfield was so-so. We got cleaned out early on but gradually won more and more ball there, with both Aidan and Barry winning a fair bit of clean possession. Aidan was targeted all night, with the Down lads transparently out to provoke him at every opportunity in an attempt to engineer a sending-off, as happened in the corresponding fixture last year. This included Kieran McKernan wrestling Aidan to the ground, with us on the attack and the match deep in stoppage time. Sometimes – especially when Nordie teams are involved – you do really wonder if it’s Gaelic football you’re watching at all.

Kevin McLoughlin hadn’t one of his most productive nights and Richie Feeney was all at sea too. But Cathal Carolan put in a real eye-catching debut display, nailing three excellent points from play, in a performance that showed he could well prove to be a real addition to the side. On a night when precious little went right for us, Cathal’s positive showing was a significant plus.

Cathal Carolan

Photo: Mayo Mick

Jason Doherty also continued his good form, keeping the scoreboard ticking over from frees and play, and was in the thick of the action as we sought to pull the fat from the fire in the second half. Michael Conroy had his moments but not a lot worked out for him and Enda Varley hadn’t the happiest of games either.

Subs Kevin Keane and Tom Cunniffe did well but Alan Freeman almost certainly played himself out of the reckoning for a first fifteen place, with an utterly disinterested second half cameo. Evan Regan came on late and made little or no impact.

Overall, then, another disappointing night. Tactically, we don’t seem to know what we’re at and I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever see a Mayo team score a goal again. I’m also starting to wonder – and worry – about our place in Division One, which now looks under real threat.

Maybe – as he’s done in each of the last two years – James Horan will be able to engineer another late escape to safety but the way his team is performing right now, I have my doubts about his capability of doing so. And if he fails in that, it then becomes more difficult to see how he’ll be able to succeed when faced with the far bigger summer challenges that lie ahead.

Questioned about the increased pressure following the Dublin defeat a week ago, James was quoted as saying “we like that.” It’s just as well he does because, after this latest setback, the pressure is really on now and if we draw another blank next weekend it’ll ratchet up still further. Hang onto your hats, hombres, I fear we could well be in for a bumpy ride over the coming weeks.

Mayo: Kenneth O’Malley (0-1, a ’45); Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle; Barry Moran (0-1), Aidan O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1, free), Richie Feeney, Cathal Carolan (0-3); Enda Varley, Jason Doherty (0-4, three frees), Michael Conroy (0-1). Subs: Kevin Keane for Cafferkey (inj.), Tom Cunniffe for Feeney, Alan Freeman for Vaughan, Evan Regan for Varley.

76 thoughts on “Down 0-13 Mayo 0-11: deeper and down

  1. Mayo can always be counted on to be the soft touch.
    Always the one to get those “desperately needed” points from.

  2. Disappointing this evening no doubt.
    We are really missing the those key forwards that are out injured, the sooner their back the better
    No improvement since the Dublin game really! What really bugs me is the last 3 defeats in league, those games have been in the melting pot and we haven’t kicked on to see any of them out. Relegation is staring us in the face now, so the next game is a must win.
    According to JH’s post match interview Donal Vaughan is the latest on the injury list, however Ger Caff should be OK.

  3. Can someone tell me why mayo forwards refuse to try to score goals ,at least 2 one on one chances in the first 15 mins

  4. Turnovers killed us, 3 points at least came directly from us turning over ball, maybe even more. Teams have us sussed, get 2 or 3 players around the ball carrier and we turn it over. We struggle to find space. Carolan looks promising though.

  5. Agree that Carolan looks very promising…looked strong and not afraid to run at the goal. yer man should have been red carded for the clumsy tackle on our ger, who was giving Coulter nothing. Overall though, very disappointed with this performance…soft touch as usual.

  6. I ask ? is it coaching that a goal scoring machine like Jason Doherty takes the easy option of fisting a point also Michael Conroy,at least Barry Moran had a cut.Mayo had four goal scoring chances tried one of four.How can we expect to win an all Ireland.Jh has been talking for the past two years of playing smart and taking the right options ,a game they should have sown up by the half time whistle.Im a firm believer of taking points but for God sake take a goal chance when it presents itself .Let players express themselves.The balence of the team selection seems skewed,no game plan massive posession ,Impressed by Cathal Carolan i also think Cathel Freeman has a future with Mayo, Seamus OSea shoud have replaced Richie Feeney,Kevin Keane redeemed himself.Ref made a few harsh decisions one in particular against Kevin .New man Carolan here to stay John Maughan wrote of his great potential,team will get there providing team positioning and will to win in the last ten minutes of close game come together.Lets stop the rot of losing. up mayo.

  7. Maybe “it’s time” to try somebody else at 6??? Can anyone name a single good game Vaughan has played at centre back? He was annihilated at corner back (albeit as a young lad) against Meath in an all Ireland quarter final a few years back but is shown up time after time at centre back.

    It’s literally incredible after the last 25 minutes of last years dublin game and the all Ireland final that he is still starting at all, never mind one of the most crucial positions on the field. Going nowhere with him there. He is targeted by every team we play as the weak link

  8. Agree peter, doesn’t seem he has the quick pass in his locker either. Always backs himself to break a tackle and turns the ball over more often than not, or else gives a bad pass off balance. Fittest lad on the team but I just don’t know about him at CHB.

  9. Just home … Bad day at office 🙁 … Very unfair comments about Donal Peter he has had some amazing games for us … Quarter final v cork !!! Hasn’t been the same alright since the Cork league final game … But I really think he is getting there … Proud and loud v Kildare up Mayo !!! Great Mayo support tonight we need to keep the faith !!!!

  10. After getting to last years A F our expectations for this Mayo team, were obviously sky high. Sadly and all to soon, the hype has gone and reality is slowly sinking in – that maybe, just maybe, we’re not as good as we’d like to think we are.

    That win over Kerry now looks a false dawn, and I’ve no doubt the players and manager are as puzzled as we are with the way things have gone pair shaped in recent weeks. We may or may not survive in division one this year, but one thing for sure, before we kick a ball in this years Championship, some serious coaching is required to get those forwards to click !

  11. @Peter; Massive exaggeration re Vaughan having no good game for Mayo at centre back, he was excellent through the 2011 championship and the league last year at CB. Scored 3 points from play and kept Declan O’Sullivan scoreless (and very quiet) in the semi-final vs Kerry in 2011 and the league game against Dublin last year was another game he really excelled in.

    I do agree however that he has not really performed to the same level at CB since the league final to Cork last year and I do think Keegan is a better option there on current form.

    Vaughan doesn’t deserve his place (certainly at CB) on current and recent form but you cant then rubbish the previous great work he has done in that position because he is not performing currently. That is recall bias

  12. Donal has 6 on his back but seldom plays there. Tonights game started with Keegan marking Poland the Down 11. Donal went right half back. Is he centre back or not? Lee regularly is given the responsibility in the centre, on the danger man. Think Emlyn Mulligan last june. Leitrims danger man. They put Keegan on him. Plenty of time left to recalibrate that half back line. Boyle had a good game always involved. Delighted to see Keane get his chance after a discraceful late hit on Cafferky. When the ball hit the upright and came down into play, Keane gathered and cleared. Keegan and Higgins looked value for their all stars. Aidan & Barry provide a massive platform in the middle. And Jason’s improvement continues. Fair play to Horan to start Carolan after a poor innings against Dublin. Cathal took his chances with 3 fine points. Kevin Mc and Conroy are slowly returning to form.

  13. Depressing night alright. Again I come back to our lack of ball winning ability in the full forward line. If we want goals we need somebody to be able field a ball, in the air or chest high, in or about the square and either turn and beat his man or lay it off to on oncoming forward.Either option would do and if you have both all the better. As it is we have to play the ball low into the corner. [I thought Mort was back from the amount of time our corner men spent on the ground]. By the time they have won it and tried to work their way into a scoring position the opposition have the area so congested that we are snatching at half chances.
    I do not see why almost everybody is down on Donal Vaughan. Agreed he is not flying but if I remember correctly he was one of the stars of 2011. All star nominee? We have other positions which need more concern. Waiting for Andy is not a real option.

  14. There is alot of positivity here after down beating us which is great…… Or is it…… We beat down in the all Ireland quarter final at headquarters last August by 12 points (3-18 to 2-9). About 7 months later and we are beaten by them by two points.

    I voted in your poll WJ that down would beat mayo and I was correct along with a few others. I could go into a rant about players confidence, tactics, squad depth etc but ill wait another while…. we are in a bad place at the moment and without a fit Dillon, o Connor and andy Moran I fear it’s very possible that division two beckons….

  15. Patriot that result against the same opposition last august had no bearing on last nights result. Remember down turned us over in castlebar last year too and look what happened after that. This league campaign is bearing the same hallmarks as last years. Home wins against Kildare and Donegal will rightly set us up for pearse stadium. Let’s stay positive.

  16. I have to agree with you there completely WJ, the cynicality of Down and the utter incompetence of Coldrick (surely his family must’ve lost land to Mayo people at the time of the land commission) were very hard to watch….no getting away from the Mayo performance though either….

    Yer man hauling down O’Shea was a disgrace at the very end…a red card for him wouldn’t have done much at that stage of the game but it makes a mockery of the game….

    There seemed to be a bit of talk on the Twitter machine last night asking Mayo County Board to make a formal complaint but I don’t think that will happen….

  17. Chisel its not always about the points its how we are loosing games but probably last night we crucial.If you cast your mind back to the words of Ger Caff after the Kerry game .. his main point was about the team focusing on uping their preformances and cutting out mistakes.Has that happened No..Why is it that in the majority of games under JH we go for long periods with scoring.This is killing us.. then when we get our purple patch we are always playing catch up..Every game we have players taking the Ball in the tackle and getting caught on the counter attack. I dont want to say to much about individual players but it seems to me that certain player get more opportunity to shine that others . I could elabourate but if I did say what was on my mind W J would ban me.. IMO I dont think that we set up our teams to suit our game…..and I’ve said this a dozen times.

  18. We need to look forward now and target our next two home matches.
    If we need points in our final match away to Cork it is not going to be easy.
    We have lost our last 3 matches by a combined total of 5 points so no need to be too despondent.
    If we can create & finish some of our goal chances I believe things could change pretty quickly. It is not ok to be fisting points or blazing wide & over & against the goalkeeper when genuine goal chances arise …. I’m thinking of last nights efforts from Conroy & Moran as examples.

  19. Real concern is that we are not scoring goals ! One goal in our last six matches, scored by a corner back. We seem to lack composure in that vital area, the killer instinct isn’t there or players are taking the soft option with a point. Anytime we get a goal chance, we need to go for the jugular.

    The reason we beat Down comfortably last August was we got goal chances and we took them. That ability seems to have deserted us since. I can think of about ten or eleven chances in the last six matches and we’ve managed to convert one of them. A shocking stat and one that is costing us dearly.

    We had four goal chances last night and took none of them. If we’d taken even half of them we would have won comfortably without playing particularly well.

    I know we are missing a few key players in that forward line and we could badly do with them returning but until we start hitting the onion bag with regularity, we will struggle to beat any of the top teams

    If ever we needed Donie Buckley, we need him now to restore some confidence to that forward line and to coach them in the art of creating and taking goal chances.

    PS Good to see a new forward with potential emerge, Carolan – one of very few positives to bring back from Newry.

  20. Couple of things after watching last nights game and reading the comments above

    – Down were hungrier for the breaking ball – we seem to have lost this desire compared to last years campaign where we fought tooth and nail for possession.

    – Goals do win games and again we failed to capitalise on at least 3 good goal chances, Barry should have rolled his effort along the carpet but at least he had a pop, Vaughan had a clear shooting chance in the first half but hand-passed it to on to Doherty and Doherty himself had another chance and again fisted it over the bar. Goal opportunities don’t come around often so when there is a sniff I say lets be ruthless!!

    – half backs, half forwards and midfield need to contribute more scores

    – Was good to see that we didnt prevail with hitting the corner men out in the corners last night i though a lot more ball came into the centre and the danger area, one great catch from conroy who laid it off for a score, we need more ball like this or else more direct running which started to happen last night from O’Shea and Moran.

    – Dont agree with the witch-hunt Vaughan is getting id rather see him repositioned before being dropped cant believe he still hasnt got a shot at midfield or centre half forward I think he could benefit from this.

    – Carolan had a much improved showing and he needs to build on this!

    – ball distribution from the half back line coming out was poor, 3/4 occasions of kicking it too loose or directly to the opposition.

    – lets stop moaning about the ref lads its lazy and first point of call when we lose, lets try more constructive criticism about how to improve our performance.

    – thought Cafferky bounced back well – hope his nose is okay!

    – Keane too looked composed when introduced, think he needs more game time too!

    OK that’s my lot lets see how the other teams fair today and then look to the next encounter

  21. To be honest I dont have to spell out the names . to me the only name that I need to mention is James Horan . No player picks himself in any position or does he go out to play badly. But the manager job is to recognise some players limitation and he leaves players on the pitch who are under preforming for to long.Why is it that we keep taking the ball into cul-de-sac.. and last week pumping ball high into forwards who were being marked by 3 players with a man down. Willie IYO has the sideline disappoined you ..I said in in previous post that i am loosing faith in this management set up and last night did not help to restore it. We are papering over cracks for along time .and before some said I am being negative just look back on the last 3 games…

  22. Hows the top scorer in last years Mayo club championship last year not getting a chance in the senior set-up?? secondly, he only played 3 games in the championship. South Mayo is always getting the raw end of the stick!

  23. In a word, Raz – yes. Team selection has been haphazard and lacking adventure, substitutions have been ineffective and have come too late (although at least last night the changes came a bit earlier and worked a little better) and tactics are a bit all over the shop. As well as the lads on the field, the sideline has to take responsibility for recent results and it has to play its part to steady the ship. Notwithstanding all that, James is still the man for the job in my opinion and his fine record over the past two seasons contrasts greatly with the dismal failure of the Johnno II era.

  24. When Jock Stein took over Celtic they had a persecution complex. The Scottish league had it in for them, referees had it in for them, the Celtic board and the Kelly’s were renowned for the “biscuit tin ” syndrome. Pay peanuts for the honour of wearing the jersey. Or so the supporters thought. In the main the followers were correct but Stein realized you could never beat the system.But you could take it on.

    Jock was his own man and for nine years he kept the Celtic Board at bay,along with the refereees and the Scottish hierarchy by following his inner beliefs. Simpson an old man was restored to goal. Weight was trimmed of the transfer listed Murdoch, Johnstone was unleashed and the rest is history. You need only look at the way that Celtic slipped back in later years before they were saved by Fergus McCann to see that nothing lasts forever.

    Mayo are like Celtic. Great history, great followers and great aspirations but no Jock Stein to take on the excess that surrounds the county. Until a man that everybody fears and respects comes along expect seasons in the sun and equally dismal winters like last night in Newry.

    Mayo’s pain goes deeper than the 15 lads on the pitch or the bench. Singling out a decent kids like Vaughan or Freeman is a disgrace. Two seasons ago Vaughan missed an All Star by a whisker. Three seasons ago Freeman (Alan) was looking like Willie McGee. What has happened to them? Mayo off the pitch don’t have the smarts or the vision. Don’t ask me why or how, only that decades of squander mania has proven this to me.

    I live outside the county, have for over forty years but saunter home occasionally. Perhaps its a bit easier to view from afar but something is not right within the entire system. Surely there has to be radical young men and women out there that care about this county of ours, that want to see it achieve what it is capable of, that will stand up and fight for Mayo? I don’t see it happening today.

    Last week I got chided because I suggested we stand up for ourselves, maybe develop a meaner streak. It was interpreted as I was advocating dirty play. Cafferkey last night got a blow and I doubt if the old Marquis of Queensbury would have approved. However if we treat mature young men like kids like where the pocket allowance was not paid out over the Christmas lest they spend their US holiday gratuity before departure, then don’t expect them to man up on the pitch.

    A great Mayo man summed it years ago. “What we achieved was despite , not because”. Plus ca change, plus c’est la méme chose.

  25. Im beginning to think we are in a motivational dip as a result of last years all ireland. The works rate is down …we are not winning breAKING ball. This is a sure sign of lack of real hunger. also other teams are more used to our style of play and are countering it more effectively.

  26. Good to see there isn’t too much negativity here, as it’s not warranted and doesn’t really help.

    Firstly, have to agree with the poster who said stop giving out about the refs. It comes across very bad and just makes us look like sore losers. More constructive team criticism would help.

    The Vaughan criticism is OTT as well, he wasn’t great but wasn’t terrible either last night. Agree though that number 6 might not be his best position. Maybe Keegan at 6 and Tom C at 5 in his absence.

    Barry is definitely better at MF than Seamus or Jason at this point in time. Better fielder, foot passer, and there’s the option of putting him in FF if needed, like last night.

    In terms of the goal chances last night, I just cannot agree they we had 3/4 clear goal chances. We had one, that Barry should have stuck. The 2 fisted points by Doherty and Conroy were not goal chances and its likely they would have missed had they opted to shoot. They did the right thing. The lack of goals is a big issue though and Andy Moran is the main reason we haven’t been getting as many, massive loss to the forward line. Cillian O’Connor is a big loss too, he knows how to get a goal and is well able to win his own ball. Add in Alan Dillon and I think that forward line is 4/5 points better.

    I think we’ll get 2 home wins in the remaining games and hopefully that’s enough to keep us up. If not, we are more than capable of taking 2 points from Cork.

  27. Back in 2007 I was working with a shrewd Kerry man, who would have been close to GAA circles.

    After a few defeats in the league, I remarked that Kerry were not going well.

    He said “Don’t worry, Kerry looked like a team that were still in the gym”.

    That year didn’t turn out too badly for them.

  28. Chisel, how can you say that augusts result had no bearing on last night. a proud GAA county like down is outplayed, bullied and hammered in Croke park by us and do you really think that they weren’t hurting after that? Of course we were a target for them to get revenge. Hence the tough tackling, off the ball and cynical fouling….. Last years league result was down to the fact that Aidan O Shea was sent off very early in the first half and even though many guys were gallant it was too much for us. Down were waiting for us and required points badly too.

    With mayo playing so poorly lately, tactics not working and still persisted with, no method, injuries to key players, squad depth and so on it was hard to expect a mayo victory. Things aren’t right at the moment and that’s obvious. I said last week that it was time for management to get it right…. We are still waiting…..

  29. I was siting directly behind the mayo bench so a few observations. James definitely seemed like a man who cared, doing his nut when stupid ball was played into the forwards.
    Very slow to get Keane on after Caff got minced.
    Didn’t look at Feeney when he was taken off which I thought was a bit harsh.
    Didn’t seem too bothered that took the points instead of goal chances early on, while I was turning the Newry air blue.

    Glad to see Evan Regan, now there is a lad who will take a goal. Better option than varley, spills the ball too often and takes some pot shots when there are lads in better positions.

  30. Agree John Cuffe. It’s not just the management however, I heard a man and woman in Cairde MaighEo jackets to Down people about last years AI, “ahra, sure we’re used to the disappointment now”. I had mind to go over and tell them to cop themselves on, no wonder counties see us as soft touches when we are spouting shit like that ourselves.

  31. I hate coming on this when we loose but still have to face up to the facts. That was a very poor performance. Not one of the lads stood up and took the game by the scruff of the neck. Sure we came back from a 5 or 6 point gap. But in none of our last few games were we able to move on from that and close the game out . Our inability to close matches out is a huge concern . The lads don’t seem to know what to do. Dublin were a man down and yet we didn’t know what to do. We brought the game back level last nite and had Down by the balls and yet weren’t able to move on from that. These lads have being playing football for at least 10 or 15 years and they don’t seem to be tactically astute in knowing how to beat a team which is amazing. Not looking forward to the next couple of games. On a positive i think we were better under the high ball when it was knocked in and i think our forwards put in more of an effort to mark their opposite which we need more of numbers. On a negative we gave away some stupid frees. Ref and weather conditions aside this was a game for a the taken .

  32. Was at the match against Dublin and saw yesterday’s on the tv. Not a time for panic but certainly I am starting to worry.
    Last week’s match wasn’t as bad as people made out. Dublin seemed extremely fit for this time of year, Mayo were’t even close to them. Which is fine, the idea is to peak for May, not before it.
    However, last night was a different story. That is a poor Down team, no midfield, only a couple of class forwards and we should have beaten them.
    The worrying signs are that we are short in several key positions. Centre back is a problem – Vaughan is one of the best in the land at his running game and is a good attacking threat. But he is not holding the middle and doesn’t know how to tackle without fouling. This area needs to be looked at and maybe it is a blessing in disguise that he might be out for a while. Higgins is not the answer but Keegan is worth a shot here and should be tried out there in Donal’s absence.
    Centre forward and full forward are major problems though. Feeney is a good hard worker but just lacks the requisite pace. Doherty is playing quite well but lacks the presence that a big full forward needs to have. He might be better in the corner maybe? Regardless, last night and against Dublin the only outlet seemed to be Michael Conroy. This needs to change. And Andy Moran will not be in contention for a place against Galway IMO. He hasn’t played any football since August – the only way he might get back to any kind of decent form is if Mayo are still playing in late August. So we need to plan without for the near future.
    Carolan was a plus last night – but the forwards are causing many of us to pull more and more hair out by the day. Unless we solve our central problems, team will know exactly where to hurt us.
    BetweenTheLines’ comments are fine but I can’t see a team that’s relegated coming back to win an All Ireland. I know this isn’t the championship but we are playing a lot of our first team and not reaping the rewards. I find it very difficult to see where we are going to garner the sufficient amount of points to stay in Division One – which would be a disaster. They probably need at least three, if not four points and they’ll do well to attain them.
    However, we’ll keep the faith but it’s worrying times, to be honest.

  33. What we need is a couple of “must win” matches before Galway – that’s what my script said

  34. Christ now we are been compared to them mullarkers Celtic-at least Mayo try to play football not hoof it around like a junior B team.When all is said and done,survival in division 1 is all that matters.So lets not get too crazy here.If we capitulate in the championship like we have in the past couple of weeks then let loose on them.However,i hope when Moran comes back he can lead the FF line.As I’ve always said-the basic fundamental of being an inter county player is the ability to win your own ball.We still have 3 or 4 fowards that can win dirty ball.It needs to change.

  35. I was thoroughly disgusted driving home last night… at the ref, the umpires for giving the wide as a point, the cynical fouling by the Down players but most of all at Mayo and their tactical naivety. They allowed themselves to be bullied by the Down players and as one poster noted above any time we had a purple patch we were playing catch up. Where is the killer instinct we saw against Dublin and Down in the championship last year? Our inability to push on at the crucial moments has cost us dearly in the last three matches. I think JH’s focus should be on the forwards, defence and midfield were satisfactory last night even if there were soft frees given away at the end. Questions need to be asked if Feeney and Varley should be re-deployed or replaced until the three missing players can be brought back in. The forwards question is a difficult one to solve but unless we can open up and not allow ourselves to be pushed out to the corners then the current goal drought will continue.

    On the plus side we are certainly still capable of beating the big teams and wins over Kildare, Donegal and Cork are feasible if Horan can close ranks and shake up the forwards. It’s a big ask for the time frames involved though

  36. I am fed up with posters whinging about refs. We could have won our last 3 games but blew our superiority. Vaughan must cover the central area. Doherty has improved greatly & is now a free taking option.

  37. I am an older guy and beginning to get very depressed about this new team. Everyone makes mistakes but surely progress is only achieved if we learn from them. Mayo don’t seem to be learning.
    Another gripe, we are leaking goals – why no sweeper?
    Now to put my head on the block! I feel that this team is still too young and inexperienced to bring home Sam. Why not just concentrate on building a good solid team and when they are ready, then we can realistically expect things to happen. Shoot me down!!!

  38. Joe, this team were in an All-Ireland final last September – they are neither too young nor too inexperienced.
    They are making the same mistakes over and over though, which is frustrating and disappointing. But I wouldn’t be as despondent as some posters here.
    We’re only playing well in patches. If we extend that to the full game, we’ll be in the mix again. If we can’t, we could have a disappointing year.
    The ball into the forwards is my main concern at the moment – it’s been pretty awful all through the league. We’re missing a couple of forwards, but we’re not missing the guys that will be playing the ball into them. This is where Donie Buckley is going to have to live up to his reputation i think…

  39. I’m starting to think Jh is of the belief that all will be ok when the 3 injured forwards return ,if this theory dosent work out we will have a short championship.he now needs to go for it and throw in these young forwards I keep hearing about.if he does and it fails well he can’t be accused of being conservative,because at the moment if dillon Moran and o’connor don’t return to full fitness we are f&#$ed

  40. If we don’t beat that Kildare team on Sunday then it’s time to start getting worried.

  41. Just thinking the same thing Chisel!
    If were on the end of a beating like that, I dread to think what the reaction would be….

  42. Well JH, this time you cannot blame Seamie or Jason Gibbons for this defeat. I pity Michael Conroy, he must be pulling his hair wondering when he is going to get a fast ball in from midfield. Everytime Aiden and Barry got the ball last night as usual they had to have solo and a bit of a run and then when they did pass the ball they were away off the mark. At the match and the ref was pathetic. Its about time the managers had a meeting with each other and agree to this type of shit refeering be brought to those P—-ks who appoint them. Last year against Down in Castlebar we also had a dimwit. Its is laughable that those refs are answerable to no one and dare a manager critise the stupid decisions they make. Dont get me wrong all refs are not bad and like players and managers they can make a mistake. Last nights ref was a BIG MISTAKE. This was a match at full time at was a draw, the ref made sure we didnt get the draw. We also need to bring subs in a back for a back, fordward for fordward and not the stupid decisions the sideline make. Right now we are betweena rock and a hard place. Depending on the injured to be back and fully fit for championship is grand in theory but what happens if it dosent work out, have we a plan B? Looking at last nights performance we dont have a plan A, dont mind plan B.

  43. To me we always seem to have to blame someone or thing why we dont win a game . Its either the lineman the umpire the ref or the hotel we stayed in or the facilities were training in or the latest one because the players didnt get their pocket money.and that not even startin on Joe Brolly.But lets just look back on the last 4 games…
    v kerry we played 2 defenders and A debutant in the half forward line
    v tyrone we played 2defenders and the same man on the half forward line
    v dublin we played I defender I out and out midfielder and a converted defender on the half forward line
    v down we played I defender one converted defender and a debutant on the half forward line………………. where are all the half forwards gone in this county…………… and we wonder why we are not winning games

  44. I don’t want to labour the point about the ref but anyone watching the match could see that he was a decisive influence on the outcome. Down’s fifth point was wide (and Coldrick seemed to be aware of this but made the home town ref decision to let it stand), their sixth probably was as well and the injury-time free in he gave for the Keane/Coulter tangle when the ball wasn’t in play (a free which I’m sure he wasn’t entitled to give) definitely decided the match in their favour. Then there was his failure to send Laverty off for the assault on Caff and I counted three separate occasions when one of our lads was rugby tackled within scoring range but where we didn’t even get a free for our troubles. It’s frustrating in the extreme seeing our lads fail to put away very mediocre opposition (and Down certainly were that) but even more so when the ref gives the opposition such a huge helping hand, which Coldrick undoubtedly did last night.

    I’ve been racking my brains all day to try to think of an instance where we were the clear beneficiaries of poor refereeing. None come to mind but you don’t have to think hard to come up with plenty of examples where we’ve taken it up the rear end from refs and last night was simply another one to add to the list. This isn’t a whinge or an attempt to deflect blame for the loss, just an observation that this is an issue that continues to haunt us on an ongoing basis.

  45. Well now, at least we did not get a hammering so far this year. Blowing away by the performance of the Dubs today and Kildare were looking good so far this year . The fitness of the Dubs is incredible.

  46. By the way, in case anyone thinks we’re not now in a relegation battle, the updated league table is here. We’re now in seventh, with only Kerry below us and they’ll surely get off the mark against Down next weekend. Kildare were rubbish today (and are damn lucky to have got those six points up on the board so early in the campaign) but we’ll still need to up our performance a few notches if we’re to take them next Saturday night.

  47. Disaponting so far but my opinion is that last year we had an easy run in to the final a bye down were poor dublin only played for 15 mins etc and we now think we are better than we actually are this is a bright team but along way from being an all ireland team things just clicked last year and alot of big teams were poor last year so i just feel theres alot more work to be done than people think not many will agree but like sky sports are to english players we are to our gaa players we over hype just my two cents on everything

  48. Nobody commented on Mayo leaking goals. Surely it has to be a problem. If we leak two goals, that means the forwards have to score more. When you see how other teams defend in numbers and make it so difficult to make inroads why can Mayo not do it. It’s a shame Bernard Brogan couldn’t miss as many last Sunday.

  49. Im not so sure i agree with you WJ on Kildare. I think Dublin were in top form and even advanced on last weeks game against us. I believe they made kildare look poor . The work rate and physicality was relentless in the second half. If mayo decided to work as hard we might not be in the bottom half of the league .

  50. About the ref, I definitely didn’t think he favoured Down in any sort of home-town or other way.

    I watched the game on Setanta and that Down point looked over the bar to me and Kenneth O’Malley definitely didn’t seem to have an issue with the decision. If it was wide the umpires should take the blame, that’s their job.

    If Laverty had been sent off he could have few complaints but again it was a tough call and very few Mayo players took issue with it (still 15 v 15, game there to be won).

    Outside of those two calls, the ref did not favour Down in any way. Down may have made more cynical fouls but Mayo were awarded frees for them and Down players were booked when deserved, in my opinion.

    Going on about the ref before and after every game, especially when we lose is poor form. They don’t have an agenda against Mayo or any other team, and when they’re poor they tend to be poor against both teams. I know people are probably just annoyed after the loss but a bit more constructive criticism and little less immature ranting would help. Given how popular this site is, I’m sure some players or players’ families read these posts every now and then.

    Up Mayo!!

  51. Not splitting hairs WJ but we are 6points the better of Down ,that table needs amending as does our performance

  52. If two teams are level on points, the result between the team determines who is above each other unless it was a draw in which case the point difference then comes in to play.

    If three teams or more have the same points, again the point difference is used.

    If Kerry beat Down next week and Kildare beat us, it is possible that we will jump up a place to sixth despite losing as Kerry , Down and ourselves will be on two points.

  53. We’ll have to agree to differ, seanod – I was there and I can tell you there were plenty of complaints from the Mayo side, from both on the field and off it, about that ‘point’. On the Laverty incident it wasn’t a hard call at all – Ger was fully committed in going for the ball and Laverty crashed his elbow into Ger’s face, breaking his nose in the process. It was a straight red, no question at all about it for what was a vicious, cowardly assault, but Coldrick bottled it. And, no matter how you parse it, the moved-up free at the end handed the win on a plate to Down. Watching it on TV I can appreciate you wouldn’t have seen all the off-the-ball cynical stuff but I can assure you that your characterisation that “Mayo were awarded frees for them and Down players were booked when deserved” is not in any sense an accurate representation of what happened during the match. Poor reffing is an endemic problem for the GAA and while I fully accept that there’s no agenda against us, there’s no doubt but we’ve more than our fair share of complaints about how our matches are handled. This isn’t “immature ranting” either and neither is it “poor form” to demand that we get a fair shake from the ref in every game we play. As I said at the top, though, I guess we’ll have to agree to differ on this one.

  54. Ahh, we’re not in mighty form but at the same time we have been a tad unlucky , injury time peno v Tyrone, i believe if we had of scored a goal in Dublin game we would have gone on to win it , Down game could of swung either way in fairness too.

    A lot of ifs in that granted but still sticking with unlucky to not be on at least four points.

    Like someone has already pointed out above we are playing excellent stuff in patches but just not making them last long enough.

    Is there many counties that would not feel a bit of an effect with missing two all star players and a ypoty ?

    The obvious problem of not hitting the net is baffling, i cant fathom it at all, there must be something amiss in our tactics, is build up too slow? I dont think it is tbh, we should be scoring goals. Its a head shaker for me.

  55. Does anyone have any insight into the tweet by Club Mayo Sports last night that some Mayo fans were physically set upon by Down fans after the match?

  56. I saw that tweet Digits but can’t add any insight to it. I certainly saw no trouble on the way out of the ground after the match.

  57. Can someone tell me why that down free was moved further to the mayo goal near end of game ? Couldn’t see it on the tv thought it was for some back chat by a mayo lad . Too be honest i thought it was the final nail .

    Does anyone agree that Dublin out classed Kildare in every aspect and made Kildare look very poor ?

  58. I was at the match WJ and whereas I agree the ref wasn’t hectic I dont think he was as bad as you paint him. We were a bit dead and played poorly at times. I think things will come good when we get back our intensity that we had last yr.

  59. On last nights game … Lets not kid ourselves down a poor side made us look v poor .varley lost 5 balls in the first half and stayed on the field .too small and no scores from him either .never going to get us 2/3 points in any close game . Doherty wasn’t much good l night apart from a few frees .when o Connor comes back he will be back to either being scoreless or maybe a point or 2 max . Not near good enough . Conroy is moving well but not enough end product . That’s what full forwards are there to do simple as that . We took it for granted with Mortimer and have this thinking we can really challenge the big boys with not one natural finished . I rest my case.regan needs to be givin a chance in last 3 games to see can he step up
    Or else we will end up same as last year without an all Ireland .

  60. Fair enough Wille Joe, I’ll bow to the fact that you were at the match and there’s a huge amount I can’t see on the TV. So, I’m not gonna debate the decisions and the players reactions to the decisions.

    Though we will have to agree to disagree on the fact that Mayo are refereed more unfairly than other teams. Just based on pure experience I definitely don’t think that’s true, pretty much the same as any other team.

    I just hope the players/management don’t focus as much on the officials as those on here because there’s so much about their performance that they need to focus and improve upon.

    I think they’ll win at least 2 of their last 3 games by the way, if not all three. That should be enough to keep them up.

  61. To mayomaningalway. Kildare weren’t at the races. If Dublin had taken all their scores it would have been a massacre.

  62. Shane – I have to disagree with you about Jason’s performance last night. He was in the thick of it for much of the game, in particular in the second half and he made a big contribution on the night. In addition, his form since the start of the year has been one of the few positives of the league campaign so far.

    Seanod – I’m not saying per se that we’re reffed more unfairly than other teams, I’m just making the point we seem to have more encounters with these kinds of reffing performances than we should. I agree completely though that players and management shouldn’t be focusing on this and should instead be thinking about their own performances. Hopefully your prediction of two wins out of three will also prove correct!

  63. Two to three goal chances not even attempted. One of which would have won that game. Still think they will hold on to div 1

  64. Look, the goals will come. If anything we should be commending the lads for some excellent displays in point taking. We now have 7-8 forwards who can comfortable take a point, not many counties can say that.
    I remember a couple of years ago we were scoring goals for fun in the league and they dried up in the summer, i fully expect this this to reverse itself this year.

    As regards preparation for pearse stadium, i would prefer some hard fought, must win games at the end of a league campaign. There is still 6 points up for grabs, with 2 games at home.

  65. carolan showed well the other night ……one game never made a player ..remember our last carolan ????? …live in hope come hot heat of championship only dillon,conroy,mcloughlin moran(when fit can we trust to perform. the rest we cant simple as that. doesnt exactly install too much confidence ahead of the championship now does it ?????/

  66. Our last Carolan actually was on a rare thing, a Mayo team that won a senior national title. He also scored in that final. The lad did all that was asked of him. He was as good as a few sacred cows that parked on our pitches over the years but escaped the shepherds crook.

  67. Shane – one game never made a player but every player has to start somewhere and that was a promising start. As well as Dillon, Conroy, Mcloughlin. Moran I think you can add O’Connor and Doc. That could well be our championship forward line if they are all fit ? If all of the team showed as much improvement as Doc this season we’d be sitting on top of Division one.

    And let’s hope that Carolan gets more chances as well as Regan and Alan Freeman – where has the Freeman of two years ago disappeared to ? Does he need more game time ? And Varley is there too.

    No harm having a bit of competition for places.

  68. o connor and doherty …take frees away and you will see exactly what scores they can offer outside that and remember only one will be taking frees(o connor) have we any forward who will get 3-4 points from play on a consistent basis?? not one …top teams have 2,3 maybe 4 that can kick points for fun even when the going gets tough. we have plenty of workers but not score takers all through the games. rest my case.

  69. Shane I have to agree and we wont when this manager keeps stacking our attack with defenders.. as John Cuffe stated we dont have a system to call our own and when teams defend in numbers against us we have no answer.. all we do is assist them

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