Down 1-11 Mayo 1-16: one down on the qualifier road

There’s one thing about the qualifiers that’s more important than anything else and it’s a simple thing. You have to win your matches. This we did at Páirc Esler in Newry this evening and so we’re into the Round 3 draw on Monday morning.

We controlled this match for most of the evening. True, when Down rocked us back after just seven minutes, Caolan Mooney waltzing unchallenged through our backline before sticking the ball in the net, they were briefly in the ascendancy but we worked hard to re-establish control after that. We reached the halfway stage with a three-point lead.

Conor Loftus, on freetaking duties, landed our opener after Fionn McDonagh had been pushed in the back thirty yards or so out. A rapid downfield move by Down yielded their opener but Andy Moran responded quickly at the other end for us.

It took us a while to settle after conceding the goal but Kevin McLoughlin’s point had a calming effect on us, though Darren Coen’s departure just after on a black card – I didn’t see the incident and have no idea what it was for – was a blow we could have done without. Evan Regan came on for the Hollymount/Carramore man.

Fionn McDonagh – who showed flashes this evening of the style with which he’d graced our early matches in this year’s League – blasted over a screamer off his left to level the match. They then hit two wides before Havern put them back in front.

But the next two scores – from Conor Loftus, after a nice flowing move, and Fionn McDonagh, who was pulled around the place before hooking the ball over off his left – came for us and after that Down would never lead again.

We pushed two clear when Conor banged over a long-range free from out on the right, having missed a similar one a few minutes earlier.

Down’s wastage continued, with two more wides, and we pushed on further, another free from Conor after Kevin McLoughlin had been fouled. They pulled one back straight from the kick-out but then Aidan O’Shea powered forward, took a pass from Andy Moran and fired over.

Down responded in kind immediately but we had the final say before the break. Kevin McLoughlin took an indelicate number of steps before offloading to the charging Chris Barrett who pointed with glee.

Down recorded two more wides on the resumption before we got the half’s first score. Lee Keegan took the sensible option, fisting over as he bore down on goal from the left.

Down were nearly in on goal just after, Mooney leaving Keith Higgins for dead. The point that resulted looked like a let-off for us.

Jason Doherty smashed a piledriver off the woodwork when, as Lee had done earlier, a fisted point was probably the more sensible option. But, soon after, we got the goal that put clear water between the teams.

Andy was fouled out on the right but was up smartly and popped the free inside to Conor Loftus. The ‘keeper charged out and clattered into him but Conor did really well to ride the challenge and slip the ball to the net. When Andy fisted over a few minutes later, after taking a great ball in from Evan Regan, we were seven up and looking like easy winners.

But then we lost our way and let them back into it. Two points for them started to make the game more interesting and the rising panic in our backline as a combination of high balls into the square and renewed hard running by Down made us look more than a bit vulnerable once again.

Lee Keegan stabbed a point over to steady us with fifteen to go to put us six up again but ten minutes later the gap was back down to three and suddenly this match looked anything like closed out.

A point from Diarmuid O’Connor, which only barely made the distance, finally steadied us. We weren’t home and hosed yet, though, with Down once more cutting the gap to three and, with six minutes additional time to be played, they still weren’t completely out of it.

But they weren’t able to add to their tally and instead we bagged the final two scores of the game, finally sealing the win. The first was a delicious outside of the boot effort from Lee Keegan, while the second was fisted over by Ciaran Treacy after a wonderful mazy run by Aidan O’Shea to close out a five-point win.

Champagne football this wasn’t but then again that’s not the type of football one often encounters in Round 2 of the qualifiers. We were good in spots this evening, not so good in other spots but good enough overall to get the win we came for.

It’s a win that gets us into the hat again on Monday morning, which was, after all, the objective from this trip north. Job done, on we go.

Mayo: David Clarke; Chris Barrett (0-1), Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan (0-3), Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan; Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1), Aidan O’Shea (0-1); Fionn McDonagh (0-2), Conor Loftus (1-4, three frees), Jason Doherty; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Darren Coen, Andy Moran (0-2). Subs: Evan Regan for Coen (black card), Mikey Murray for Diarmuid O’Connor (blood) and for McDonagh, Fergal Boland for Doherty, Ciaran Treacy (0-1) for McLoughlin, Michael Plunkett for Moran, James McCormack for O’Connor.

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

  • Conor Loftus (27%, 465 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (24%, 424 Votes)
  • David Clarke (15%, 268 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (11%, 196 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (8%, 146 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (3%, 59 Votes)
  • Andy Moran (3%, 54 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (2%, 27 Votes)
  • Chris Barrett (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Mikey Murray (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (1%, 10 Votes)
  • James McCormack (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Evan Regan (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Keith Higgins (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Darren Coen (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Michael Plunkett (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Ciaran Treacy (0%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,031

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98 thoughts on “Down 1-11 Mayo 1-16: one down on the qualifier road

  1. Would Loftus have converted the last minute free against Rossies if allowed to? Me thinks so!

    Unfortunately AM was our main go-to man up front – he’s 35!

    Down had 3 great goal chances in 2nd half- our FB line is weak and no new talent coming through there either. Harry is not a commanding FB; he’s just makeshift.

    What if Down converted half their chances?

    Ruane badly missed in midfield.

    We were also far too blunt up front.

    Lots of improvement needed

  2. Off we go. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Winning is all that matters. Some housekeeping to be done it seems, I couldn’t make game.

    Now let’s see who we get on Monday.

  3. Well we won..phew! Worried going forward: How is Aido (especially in a “warzone’ of midfield and without Matty), Lee , Keith and so many more of team going to cope with games with such a quick turnaround, knocks, recovery, rest, travel, work – it exhausting. It will be so late even getting home tonight. Well done Conor Loftus. Delighted to see the big numbers of Mayo fans. Ye were mighty!

  4. Wide open when they ran at us all night. The problem is more than our full back line, it is our defensive set up or lack of one. It was like Down had watched the Roscommon game and kept running at us. We seemed to have learned nothing in 4 weeks. Another performance like that against a stronger team and we are gone. We seemed to have gone a long way backwards from our league final performance.

  5. A win is a win, but pretty much all the issues that were evident against Roscommon were there again tonight, slow to make changes, leaving on players for too long . Ultimately we are missing O’Connor , Vaughan, SOS, Parsons & Ruane, we cant afford all those absentees . Unless we get some of them back before round 4, I can’t see us making the last 8.

  6. Sweeper needed for full time employment. Previous experience preferable. Applications to mayo GAA, closing date: tomorrow

  7. I’m afraid that calls for a sweeper are going to fall on deaf ears under James Horan. It goes against his whole philosophy so far. You have to remember that we had to wait for Rochford to see McLoughlin employed in a sweeper role. Horans last game in charge in his last tenure was marked by the failure to give Caff any cover dealing with Donaghy.

    That said, the summers of 2013/14 under James were the best of this team and marked by memorable drubbings handed to Galway, Roscommon and Donegal.

  8. Was an entertaining game. Down cleverly fouled Mayo whenever they looked like they were going to beak into the scoring zone and were content to give away slightly better than 50:50 frees. Difficult to look good when playing teams with those tactics. Enjoyable game with plenty to work on.

  9. Was at the game with my son and he like all youth speaks the truth.
    While I was panicking he was confident of a win throughout as he kept saying we have better players.
    He loves Andys movement and Aidos power and how Lee shows up when needed. Thought Loftus was excellent tonight and his intelligence is clear to see. He drifts into space all the time. More to come please. McDonagh good too.
    True we can improve but its job done tonight.
    Met Laois and Armagh fans afterwards in Burger King queue in Applegreen. We had a good laugh that it was qualifier queue.
    Lets lay off criticism of players now and accept we are what we are.
    Roll on next game.
    Thanks Willie Joe for all your patience this week. Thought the blog went a bit mad for a few days.

  10. Away so I had to settle for radio , thought we would win by seven and I wasn’t far off however it sounds like if down had shooting boots on it would have been tighter
    If we can get through next game with similar result we will be hard to beat, defense will need some tweaking

  11. I see James Horan made a statement for the TV tonight where he admitted Down caused them a lot of problems with their running game but followed up by saying it was an easy fix. I nearly fell off the couch when I heard that, now I can’t wait for our next game to see what magic formula he’s going to come up with that will plug the gaping holes that have appeared in our defence – McLoughlin in a sweeper role, who knows?

  12. Spotlight you are correct, our FB line are not at the races, but not helped by in tonight’s game down runnning through the middle and would appear no one able to cry stop them, there goal a carbon copy of Rossies first goal, second half kick outs we must have lost most of them, I thought Regan had a good game when he came in, andy is the brains in the FF line, hopefully avoid armagh,Tyrone, kildare and laois, that’s a tall ask

  13. Higgins is made to be a sweeper and can break at pace. He is Not a man marker but still has a lot to offer us and should be in the starting 15 just needs be utilised correctly

  14. Ah for fecks sake Peter why bother so if we just want to avoid everyone. ideally wanna avoid Tyrone and Armagh (for now) but feck it the rest of them should be no bother. Look what dublin did to Kildare. Look what Meath did to Laois. That’s not being disrespectful just realistic, we need to be tested to grow and develop so we can contest down the road

  15. Great to get the win . Unfortunately I didn’t get to travel in the end due to sick little girl … Nothing serious but Daddy was needed ..
    Listened to Mid West .. Sorry but thought co commentator was an absolute dose , couldn’t relay sub’s , decisions, or , at times correct score.
    Box ticked and hopefully kick on and improve ..
    Nobody will be talking us up after 5 point win BUT that’s all we wanted ..

  16. If AOS isnt in the nominations for POTY this year I’ll ate me hat. More than likey the media will create a more favoured poster boy to give it to. The man has been immense this year.
    The Antrim linesman was a bit of a bollix tonight. Directly involved in harsh bc for Coen and yellow for McDonagh. Thank God we had Neilan on the other side.

  17. A win is a win but far from convincing from Mayo against a Div 3 side that are poor at home. Down had 4 good goals chances along with the one scored not taken, Clarke making 2 outstanding saves from a few of those chances and lucky for Mayo had no free taker tonight.

    Draw Laois,Westmeath or the winner Offaly,Sligo and Mayo will reach round 4, draw anyone else and i feel Mayo will make another round 3 exit.

  18. Captaincy is a key decision for management and I thought at the start of the year Diarmuid was a wrong choice. It was proved with his decision in telling Conor Loftus to go away when he approached the ball for the crucial kick v Roscommon. Delighted to see Conor kick frees similar to that one tonight and impress all round.
    A win is all that matters. Only one game away from a possibility of a Galway Mayo game, which right now is a dreadful thought for a Galway man..

  19. Seems like there’s improvement to be made but still in the mix so well done .Need more from mcloughlin and Doherty. Sorry for Coen, by all accounts he was in hard luck. Does anyone know why cillian didn’t appear as I thought he is fit again.

  20. Sweeper needed badly,Mcloughlin or keith are made for this.I couldnt believe what i was seeing with every Down ball in ending up in 1 on 1s in the fb line.For some bizarre reason Down didnt seem to notice this and only did it about 5-6 times in the game,very naive on their part.No sign of Cillian is a worry.The young bucks playing with clubs last night and not on the panel today raises questions.
    The positives are Clarkie (that second goal line save was unreal) loftus giving a bit of consistency from frees,leeroy having a great game and scoring 3 points.I dont care what age Andy is,hes our best forward by a mile the crafty auld fox.
    Aiden o shea will never get the full credit he deserves.My mrs who only started coming to games in 2015 calls a throw in “an Aido”,its a given that he wins them.Hes the heartbeat of this team and in my opinion the best player in the country.

  21. I thought we were lucky enough. They had 5 goal chances and ran through us all night long. Keith was miles off his man and we don’t have a natural FB. They had a big lump of a FF that reminded me of Comer and it looked like a physical mismatch.
    I think we will lose to the likes of Tyrone or Cork or Armagh if when we play them. Ultimately we have just lost too many big players.
    Cillian, Tom, Seamus OShea, D Vaughan,Mathew Ruane. That’s just not sustainable.
    Positive is Conor Loftus and also Darren Coen who was hard done by but was doing well.

  22. Just back, I am in the camp that we won and move on, we tend to play at or just above the level of our opponents. Happy with improvement in forward play, I think that Coen going off will have disrupted some of our attacking plays. Aido dropped back to thwart the high ball, Jason and Kevin did not really get going, and we switched off in middle third for a 10-15 minute spell in the second half. No one will want to play us, away to Armagh or Tyrone would be tricky but confident against any other team. Onwards to next weekend.

  23. Just home now after a good day at the office but I can’t help thinking if we defend like that again and let teams run at us we will be knocked out well before the super 8’s Downs forwards were very speedy and at times we had no anwser to them. Horan has work to do, hate criticizing Evan Regan cos he tries hard and wants more than anything to play for Mayo but he coughs up possession far too easily and cannot win his own ball. What can you say about Aidan O Shea the man deserves an All Ireland immense again tonight. Hope we get a kind draw and avoid Armagh and Tyrone and I never want to see the inside of Newbridge again either

  24. Our defensive frailties are fixable James. Did you miss the 2016 finak…the one where Kevin dropped back? It was an excellent team performance. The guy looked like a fish out of water at 13 this eve, fumbling the ball and just not playing well. Few of our lads played to their potential again. It wasn’t needed tonight it may not be needed next wknd depending on the draw but it’ll be needed soon!

    Squad rotation is also key now key.

    We are missing too many players….some are injured. Others aren’t. It’s baffling!!?!

  25. Clarke was excellent once again, what a catch in a crowed goal month and a few good saves in the second half, hope there is no question of who our number one keeper is!!! Vaughan, Shamie O’Shea, Carr & O’connor to come in to the team playing well and we will be hard to beat. But defence need improvement, donel buckley absence is noticeable

  26. The fight and hunger are still there so this tells me there is a togetherness. I’ve seen nothing tonight to think otherwise.

    Kudos to Andy but he wont have the same space or luxury against a division 1 or even 2 team. Thats just the reality. So I wouldn’t be counting on him starting the next day. Horan needs to trust the younger players regardless. Top class defenders have Andy well sussed, but he had a cracking match nevertheless tonight and was a threat right up to the end.
    Really cant blame Horan for not using sweeper. I respect that hes going with the philosophy he believes in and it does suit us. We saw glimpses of it again, moving ball fast which bamboozles opposition. The final incision and decision is sometimes missing, but we’re doing a lot right in my eyes. Hone it a bit more and we might be on to something.

    Doherty for sure needs a rest. Hes simply not on form, and even the physical/tackling side doesn’t seem to be there. Thats a couple of matches in a row now. Diarmuid too was very average bar a crucial score at a crucial time. I’d retain Kevin Mc. While he’s far from his best, he’s probably still our one player that opposition fear most. If he gets motoring in the middle third he can win a match on his own. Even when not playing well he takes minding. We still haven’t anyone remotely with the same skill level so for me he keeps his place.

    I still find it hard to see us making a semi final this year. We are far too reliant on Aido truth be told. Players are constantly looking to lay it off to him in the middle third, for good reason, sure, but more support options are badly needed. He wont carry us in every match. The way he’s playing right now, opposition simply cannot disposses him and this is why his team mates look to him so much. Its not an exaggeration to say that without him we’d fall apart currently. That’s a huge worry in itself. But while we have him we have hope. A leader by example and an out and out beast!!

  27. I was in Newry and for the life of me I cannot see where the “six clear goal chances” Down had were. Maybe i fell asleep at crucial stages. Yes they had a few half/quarter chances along with the one Mooney blasted over. That was about it as far as I could see. But then Doherty’s one off the woodwork [or was it steelwork] was, according to our folk, not the equivalent of Mooney’s v]chance at all, at all.
    Agreed if Down’s shooting, particularly from 50’s, was anyway accurate we would have had a tighter game. But overall I think the game will benefit the team hugely. Clarke had a fine game and should close out the argument with Hennelly for now anyway. I would not be surprised to find an unchanged team for next weekend.
    Finally Ido not know what a sweeper is supposed to do versus a running team. Perhaps somebody will enlighten me.

  28. I wasn’t there either, yesterday which was only the second time this decade that I wasn’t at a Championship (in Ireland) Match.. Those who were, and there was certainly plenty, fair play to them know the score far better than I do who listened on the Radio… before the Match, (which was a far more difficult affair than most in the media had acknowledged) I would have gladly settled for a one point win….No injury’s is a bonus, and another bonus is actually that we have plenty still to work on….. So well done to all involved, including Manager’s and selectors, and of course those loyal Mayo fan’s who once again made the long journey to Support Mayo… I don’t think that we who weren’t there will get to see too much of the Down/Mayo Match on the Sunday Game, who will have no less than 11 Championship Match’s 8 qualifers and 3 Provincial Final’s to cover….Roll on the Draw on Monday morning, and next weekend when I will be back with the Mayo Supporter’s Fold at whatever Venue fate decides!

  29. Avoid Tyrone and possibly Armagh (not sure what to make of them yet) but everyone else is well within our grasp. Bit of revenge against the Lilly whites wouldn’t go amiss.

  30. Well done Good win away from home. Move on. Get a reasonable draw and try to be a bit more upbeat. Reminds me a lot of 2017. Scraping through matches and people saying we were on life support. Remember the game v Cork in Limerick Going nicely then Cork hit two goals and guys saying our defence is easily cut open. Roscommon did the same to us in the draw in Croker and then Bang we hit form, hammered Ross, beat Kerry in replay, played well v Dubs. There are no cups or trophies handed out for performances in back door. Its just about winning. Monaghan a team who have been hanging around like ourselves are gone. Kerry are lucky they are not joining us in the back door lottery. We are in the pot for Monday’s draw. That’s all we could have asked for over the last 4 weeks.Maigh Eo Abu.

  31. Our time has come says:
    June 22, 2019 at 11:17 pm
    Sweeper needed for full time employment. Previous experience preferable. Applications to mayo GAA, closing date: tomorrow
    That vacancy has been left open since the 2004 all ireland final!

  32. I would rest Higgins Boyle and Doherty from start next day and start oDonoghue SCoen and Tracey.
    Half forward line: mcDonagh McL and Loftus

    FFLine Tracey Coen and Andy

    We have a strong bench to bring on then.
    The 4 forward subs last nite – Boland Regan Tracey and Durcan – were all similar players. If fit surely one of Diskin Carr and Reape who all have a bit of strength and power should have been in bench.

  33. Interesting interview with Horan and Nathan Murphy after the game. Mentioned SOS, Donie and Cillian (very cryptic on him and not convinced all is ok on that front) as close to a return. Where have we heard that before? And no mention of Carr. Safe to say his championship is run this year. Hard to accept that seeing the form of our forwards against Ros and Down last night

  34. Don’t agree with naming individuals unless it’s positive but let’s call a spade a spade. 2 of the forwards used again tonight (1 started 1 came on) just not good enough at this level. Down had 1/2 seriously pacy forwards which is the way to go and we have one seriously pacy forward who wasn’t even on the bench. Please address this b4 it’s too late. If Aido gets injured or man marked dirty we can all say adios . Legend

  35. Yeah, it was good to hear Nathan asking straight out if there is a disciplinary issue regarding COC – James Horan said there isn’t and he’ll be in contention to play next weekend alongside Vaughan, but direct questions have to be asked at this stage. Ultimately, I think the positioning of McLoughlin has to be looked at, thought Loftus did very well along with Andy in the front six, but would like to see more of Carr and Treacy. Of course it’s true, the longer a player remains off the team, the better he gets in the eyes of fans, but we haven’t seen enough of Carr and Treacy to know where they’re at.

  36. Eoin O’Donoghue should be starting at 4, with Higgins – not a marker and not really a corner-back anymore, at 5/6/7 alongside Keegan (the man-marker option, who’d be missed going forward if marking, but Higgins in 5/6/7 could compensate) and Durcan. DOC, Doherty, McLoughlin lucky to retain starting spots after Roscommon and going by yesterday should be even luckier to retain next week – though DO’C will likely be needed at midfield if Vaughan’s not back. But anyway, anyone not performing should be dropped, that’s what a squad is for, and McDonagh, Treacy, Loftus and Boland all making cases to fill 10-12 – in fact it would be odd if Loftus and McDonagh are left off next week. CO’C’s return also could eventually displace McLoughlin from 13 – or see McLoughlin moved back to half-forward (though where there are lots of options as mentioned) or with Moran benched to come on as impact sub. Though CO’C likely to be only sub at first next week if fit. McCormack should be closer to the starting 15 than he appears to be too, better option around the halfbacks than Plunkett and maybe even a better option at midfield than DO’C, who looks badly out of form.

  37. Interesting that Horan name checked COC and Vaughan but didn’t mention SOS. Does that mean that SOS is not close to a come back? I think we could do with his power around the middle but maybe we should forget about him as he has missed so much football the last year

  38. Is Carr even on the panel and if not why not. I don’t believe Cillian will be back at tjis point.
    I can see the parallels with 2017 but we have just too many big names out now with injury

  39. All the references to no sweeper and the need for one; was I dreaming that Colm Boyle was hanging around there…perhaps the wrong man as he thrives on confrontation and Higgins with all his pace is getting scalded more than we’d like. Leave Boyler at 6 and give Higgins / McLoughlin that job as they’re shadows of their previous selves as the are.
    Durcans shooting is gone to pot / stark contrast to 4/4 in Newbridge…LeeRoy getting 3 was massive after him stalling twice in the first half when points looked “on”.

  40. Yes MayoRooster I was behind the Mayo goal in the second half and Boyler was holding the space in the middle in front of the goals at times. It wasn’t a full time role but he was effective when placed here. There definitely was some tactical moves going on in the Mayo defence.

  41. I think we could beat Tyrone if needed but I’d prefer to avoid them at this stage, any other team we are more than capable of beating, I think we will see more changes in the squad but as long as Clarke stays in goal I’ll be happy

  42. Would be nice to know who is on the actual panel.
    i don’t expect to know the team that’s going to line out etc but who’s in the panel?

  43. That’s the thing that confused me. For one play we seemed to have Boyle sweeping then for the next there was no sweeper.
    I don’t know if we were less porous when he was sweeping though. The big issue we have is major absentees and no sign of return.

  44. Armagh is the team I want to avoid. Clarke Campbell and rian o Neill would absolutely destroy our defence

  45. Ah come on supermac, talking up Armagh after a couple of wins. A team struggling in the lower divisions albeit on the up. Tyrone would be a significantly tougher assignment, home or away. Give the lads some credit, we got out of Newry after a lot of posters here were proclaiming the end was near. Qualifiers are for incremental improvement and let’s get behind them again next weekend

  46. Well a win is a win. We are as wide as a gate at the back. We will be knocked out at some stage but hopefully we can make the super 8s at least.

    And the question on everyone’s mind…where is Cillian?

  47. A win is a win as they say. Down are another team on the rise and if they can bring some good underage lads which they expect to produce in next couple of years they will be going places. Nice supporters to interact with too and it was a well run venue yesterday. Yes Aido is some man and long may we be blessed to have him, Andy too and he is a definite starter if he feels the body is right every time. Players with skill and intelligence such as Andy spot the limited space easier in a crowded zone when all others are buzzing in the first 25 minutes that others simply do not see. Seven day turnarounds will be tough but presume the management have benn through this enough now to now that its mental rather than physical training that is required between these matches now. Mixed night for some lads but on we go. As to the opposition running game, it bears mentioning that we did turn over the runners successfully on some occasions last night so that very strong aspect of our game has not completely abandoned us as some might think. However we seem to have too particular weaknesses that need addressing. Firstly when a runner is preparing to attack us from say 55 yards out we tend to have 2 or 3 players zoning him with no one really hard tackling which sometimes means that the attacker steps on the accelerator and eludes all 3 of our guys. That needs to stop, we need to cut it down to 2 lads picking up the tackler one head on and one from the side and someone has to stop him. It is an art which cannot be done or demonstrated too easily but we need to put it right. And secondly we are also very prone to the same Down attacker coming at two/three of our defenders from 50 yards, then flicking the ball over to an inside colleague 10 yards on and that inside forward laying it off to a third man runner coming specifically in support of that lay off. To me it was a well drilled and prepared tactic by Down and one would have to applaud them for it. However they might have focused on it a little too much and as a result put less long ball into their inside line where they definitely under utilised an aerial strength of theirs. Monday morning 8.35 it is now so that we can plan the week ahead, brilliant.

  48. Get in and come out with the win. Job done without setting the world on fire. There is a lot of scope for improvement next time around and only a week to prepare. Without a fit SOS and Parsons I cannot see us exploding into life like in 2017, there are a lot of questions around our defensive play and how the holes can be plugged. The marking was far too loose at times and Down copped onto this early on. We were fortunate however that their goalkeeper made a lot of silly mistakes and their free-taking was poor, much worse than us against Roscommon. You’d wonder if we were just playing above their level, can we step it up when we come up against bigger challenges?

    I thought we looked a little lethargic yesterday and I find it hard to see us making the Super 8s unless we rotate some of the younger guys into the squad. Should we manage to keep winning over the next couple of weeks a very punishing schedule lies in wait.

    But negativity aside the team did what was asked of them and at this stage we can’t ask for much more. Onwards and upwards

  49. Was, like many others, nervy heading to Newry yesterday and that goal inside the first ten mins sent a shiver down our spines.
    Decent response though and in reality this is how Mayo play in the qualifiers, we don’t raise to our top level for some reason we just do enough.
    Clarke was very good and that should end the goalie issue. Horan stuck with the experienced players to see this game out and they did the job for him.
    McLoughlin wasted in the full foreward line though, he offers much more when operating out the field. Keith had better days but made an important interception in injury time.
    Why was Coen black carded??

  50. Why has no reporter asked Horan…James Carr, you started him in Croke Park against Kerry and he scored two crucial points off left and right at the start of the 2nd half. Is he no longer on the panel and if not why?

    Is obvious to anyone that this guy has heaps more natural scoring ability than arguably any of yesterday’s 6 starting forwards, with the possible exception of Coen.

    On Coen…anyone else think he doesn’t appear at the same physical fitness level as others?

  51. Coen hasn’t had the several years S&C that most of the others have had so probably is less fit. But he is a natural scorer and an intelligent playmaker which we need

  52. Let’s see what the draw brings first, Supermac, before conjuring up possible Round 3 nightmares. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen Armagh play twice this summer (against Down and the drawn match against Cavan) and they were alright, no more than that. Down were slightly unlucky to lose to them after extra-time (having played an entire half without Caolan Mooney – and we saw how good he was last night – who got a very harsh straight red) and they wilted badly against Cavan when it looked like they’d done enough to win. O’Neill is a super player, for sure, but Clarke, though talented, has to be one of the laziest inter-county players I’ve ever seen – unless the ball is handed to him on a platter he’ll do zero work to get onto it. Their big win over Monaghan last night makes Armagh a threat but every match in the qualifiers brings its own dangers and I’d say not too many of the others in the pot will want to pull us either.

  53. Mayo 67, yes I agree we need him. No doubt. Just needs a bit of catch up on conditioning

    On Carr…He needs to want it to. Like other promising players like Ryan o d. They need to REALLY want it.

  54. – Controlled that game, no injuries, no red cards and no heavy hits which means we did not add to the problems we already have.
    – Aido was MOM again but I voted for Loftus because he took his chance to impress. McDonagh good and he will get better as he has the skills, needs to improve tackling as it’s more despairing than anything else. I also did not see what Coen done but it’s a pity he was gone so early from the game. Leroy started motoring in the second half when he was needed.
    – Boyle was sort of playing sweeper, the problem with the Down strong runners is that their Mayo markers were not tracking them which is why Poland, Collins and Mooney caused problems.
    – I think it’s now obvious that Stephen Coen and Eod are going to be permanently on the bench unless someone gets injured or qualifies for the pension.
    – I posted after the Roscommon game names of 4 players that should start on the bench for yesterday’s game, only one did. Two of the three were poor again yesterday, how many times can you fumble a ball like a 6 year old and stiil be left on the pitch. Diarmuid dam lucky he was not benched because of a black card . It was precisely because yesterday was a 2nd round qualifier that we could have benched a few seniors and went with the wannabes.
    – Off to the Leinster final because I got a free ticket and for no other reason. Would wonder what would happen if Meath got 3 goals.!!!

  55. Delighted with the win and fair play to all who travelled. I was reduced to Midwest and holy God but the commentary was dismal. No score given for ages then wrong score given. Subs came on for God knew who. Thankfully will be home to travel to next game.

  56. A win is a win, and that was all that was required yesterday, roll on the draw. Positives were Clarke back in goals, rock steady, and pulled off amazing saves and commanded his square when the high balls came in. McDonagh back is a big plus, and Aido in midfield again ran the show. Barrett had a better game than against the rossies, and Boyler played well when he was deployed as the sweeper after the down goal. I think we will need to shore up our defence, as Down cut through us like butter when they got the goal, and thank god for downs woeful shooting, as this game would have been alot tighter if they had their shooting boots on.

  57. Mayonaze – you’ll be glad to know that James Horan was asked after the game last night by Rob for the podcast about player injuries and he specifically mentioned Cillian O’Connor, James Carr and Donal Vaughan in this respect. The podcast will be online this afternoon.

  58. Yes, Boyle did tend to sweep in second half, but only when his marker retreated inside their 45 as part of their defensive system. It was by no means a dedicated role, as a “full time” sweeper is usually named in forwards or somewhere and sweeps for 70 mins. However, when Boyle was the the extra man back we looked far more comfortable, Harrison/Barrett could break high balls knowing Boyle was there to (wait for it)..sweep them up!!!. I said after the Rossie game on here, an ill say it again, Horan is the only man that can stop us reaching the super 8’s! I pray that maybe hes learned now thats it not 2013, and just implements a defensive system, that I beileve this team will thrive in. Still too much space between hb an fb lines, where down ran at us hard most of the game. Lesser teams can clog up that area at all times, 1 a them now connacht champions, so why can’t we? Thats the big question id be asking Horan.

    In terms of the draw, the easiest possible team please. The winner of Offaly/Sligo would be my choice. Have to say you could see the confidence in our bucks towards the end when the result was finally beyond doubt. Never underestimate the confidence gained from a win of any description. We’re well under the radar now and its the perfect place to be, just avoid Tyrone or Armagh and that confidence will grow even stronger…we haven’t gone away ya know :).

  59. Good to Win, room for improvement. Newry is a good ground to watch a game.

    David Clarke – No doubt now he is our No. 1. One brilliant catch in first half, and a couple of good saves. Restarts were fine

    Chris Barrett – Attacked at will, scored a point. Might need to go to 6

    Brendan Harrison – Much improved from the last day. Had a good battle and just shaded it

    Keith Higgins – Great interception near the end. Not that prominent and legs going a little

    Lee Keegan – My Man of the Match. Scored 3 points and when Mooney looked like he was unstoppable, Lee stopped him

    Colm Boyle – Few hard hits, free role for a long time and didn’t hurt them with the ball he got. Might be looking over his shoulder worrying about Plunkett

    Patrick Durcan – Ran all day but his option taking was poor last night. Needs to take a breath at times

    Aidan O Shea – Very good. Strong in the air. Scored a point and worked hard

    Diarmuid O Connor – Had a tough night. Mooney was Class

    Fionn McDonagh – He will be happy. Cemented his place on the team with a good showing

    Jason Doherty – Struggling to find his best form. Ok but not outstanding

    Conor Loftus – Best game so far from Conor. Worked like a Trojan and looked the part

    Kev Mc – Not going well, needs a change maybe back to half back line

    Darren Coen – Deserved Black early

    Andy Moran – Started slow but good second half

  60. Who was the commentator on Midwest? Also the scoreboard was wrong a couple of occasions yesterday too

  61. Great to get the win, it gets rid of some of the dirty diesel after the Rossies defeat.
    On the absences of CO’C, SO’S & Vaughan, I believe its a show of strength by Horan saying “If anybody, no matter who you are, wants to be in a matchday squad then you need to be at the fitness levels required”. Nearly all of yesterday’s squad had a full pre-season behind them bar Mickey Murray. We haven’t seen much of Carr so maybe put the brakes on holding him up as our Wes Holahan or Andy Reid, he may very well feature in the coming weeks as he too recovers from injury.
    On the sweeper, Horan often deployed Boyle as cover for our full back line in 2013 & 2014 at stages in matches and it sounds he did similar last night.
    Our shot selection & conversion rates were hugely improved, we had solidity between the sticks and our free taking was solid which are major advances on the Roscommon match so big credit to players & management for that.
    Looking forward to Monday’s draw.

  62. Why is McLoughlin being left in near the goal, when everyone knows his best work is done out the field? One of our most consistent players over the years is now struggling to make an impact, all because he’s being played out of position.

  63. We have a worrying lack of pace in our defence. We are going to get seriously caught there before the summer is out

  64. Mid west all over the shop. Gave the incorrect score on a number of occasions. Didn’t realize Mike Finnerty was in bbc, would have tuned in

  65. In defence of Midwest the scoreboard in Pairc Esler was wrong for most of the second half. We jumped from 1-12 to 1-15 at one stage and then back down to 1-14 but from there to the finish we were credited with an extra point. I thought we might need that ‘point’ until we got the two late ones to seal it!

  66. Carr may well be in panel but didn’t make the 26, may as well let him play club then. I think he’s out of 26 because Treacy is in and for me Treacy looked like a flying racehorse for that last score. His pace could really trouble teams. He also has a look of fearlessness about him. Could’ve gone for goal but no need as it put us 5 ahead.
    I never copped the scoreboard was wrong for a large chunk of 2nd half. Would have resulted in serious embarrassment if it ended up a draw or Down win.

  67. That’s a really important point made by Dreamynighty…..Our defence ain’t as fast as it once was ..all the reason why Mcloughlin is the man to deploy there. If Down opened us up so many times it has to be a concern. Keeping Kevin at 13 is just plain dumb. He’s a middle 3rd player and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t having a chat with management during the week saying as much.

    As MayoDunphy rightly if the manager gets a proper defensive plan then Mayo will definitely get to the 8’s…which, to be frank, is the very least this squad should be getting to. And that means a proper structure, not a token Boyler as sweeper. While it was a step in the right direction after the nitemare in Castlebar, it still wasn’t tight enough…down had more than enough chances to draw or win the game.

    I though Aido has one of his quieter games. He’s been very good all year but to me looked a bit off last night. Caught a few kickouts but lost others he should have won.

    Great to see Keegan get some mojo back.

    Durcan and Doherty could do with a bit of a rest. Important players.

    It’s great to still be in it. We need a kind draw tmro morning because if we win then you’ll have a serious and fresh team the following wknd. Cork are stronger than their league status would have you think. Galway…well, when did we last beat them??? Cav/Don…tough. I’d hate to come across the latter anytime soon. And meath (who I think will give dub a close run today) will be very tricky for any team. The last thing we would need is a really hard game next wknd. We need one that allows Horan to start EOD, S Coen, Treacy etc

  68. I agree with some posters on Higgins at this stage. Either play him in half backs / sweeper or leave him off altogether. That would mean dropping Boyler but someone would need to give way. 1 mediocre game for Durcan is acceptable so Keith and Boyler to complete with Plunkett for 6. Keith completely out of position for one Down point and we got away with being loose a good few more times. EOD probably good enough and Drake by all accounts had an excellent club year last year.

  69. I think a few positional changes would improve ya. Barrett to no.6 and let him hold the center. He’s more defensively minded then most and positionally is very aware. Bring EOD, drake of Coen into the FB line. I wouldn’t be dropping Higgins yet. Take mcloughlin out of the FF line and bring him back to the HF line, he’s a good man to win dirty ball and will be more of a hindrance to the opposition running from deep. Cillian, Carr or Doherty to go into the FF line. A dedicated full time sweeper isn’t the optimum way of playing against defensive teams. You will nearly always have an extra man or 2 back so picking up runners and having better communication as to whose picking up who is what’s needs. It’s actually something Rochford did well with Boyle, Higgins and Barrett often acting as rotating sweepers in a game .

  70. I don’t think it’s as simple as our backs lacking pace. Keegan and Durcan are still lightning fast and I don’t think there’s a quicker full back than Harry in the country. Barrett’s game has never been based around speed. Higgins would still be above average pace wise but it’s concentration he’s lacking to stick close to his man. He lost Havern on numerous occasions yesterday and was lucky the Down man missed most of his shots. I’d be in favour of leaving Keith out the next day and play Drake/O’Donoghue instead.

    I’ve said it before but the main reason down caused us so many problems is our half back line playing so far forward. Keegan and Durcan took several shots yesterday and on pretty much every occasion they couldn’t get back in position quick enough after the kickout was taken. That’s not a slight on them as it’s basically impossible to run 80 metres faster than the goalie kicks it out.

  71. As predicted by most on here Mayo won by 4-6 points. Any tally on the number of wides as ive read the shooting improved. I watched the Munster final it was entertaining but Kerry defence is a horror show waiting to happen. A good team wont allow them the easy scores and will rip them open in defence. They are literally wide open in defence but hoping to outscore the other team with Clifford and O’Shea. If Mayo ended up in that Super8 group I would fancy their chances against Kerry. Monaghan gone but Armagh would be a tricky draw for Mayo or is it written in the stars Newbridge or nowhere Part 2 “the reckoning”.

  72. Jaysus, Mayonaze, I think you’re underselling Aidan there! I thought he had yet another stormer for us last night. Down had no idea what to do with his hard running and his mazy, meandering run at the end followed by the pass into Ciaran Treacy for the final point was worth the entrance fee alone. He also caught several kickouts over his head that were no better than 50:50 balls thumped high and long (by the way, in the rush to praise David Clarke’s super work in the square – and it was super – everyone seems to be ignoring that his long, high-hanging restarts did us no favours in trying to claim possession, plus ca change there).

  73. Surely there some cover arrangement in place when a half back breaks out of defence and goes on a energy sapping run
    Is there not an understanding that half forward drops back as cover.
    Our game is based around backs bursting forward

  74. Good points Niall.
    Barrett to no. 6 absolutely. He drifts into the position naturally whether picked there or not and was excellent driving forward yday. Hes an in-form player and he is a confident guy, lots of self belief and has an excellent temperament. He has a very commanding presence in the central position. Drake or Eoin would be my choices to replace him in the FB line. More than capable.
    Boyler would be unlucky to lose the no. 6 spot after yday as he had a good match, but like Andy, he might struggle for legs against higher division teams.

  75. Definitely time to move McLoughlin back into hf line and play sweeper. Not effective in corner forward but would offer good cover for any half back breaking forward.

  76. That’s what makes it interesting WJ! The few Mayo supporters around me felt the same as me on Aido. Maybe we are harsh critics!! He put in a shift and for me he is easily our best player in 2019 but in comparison to the ros game I thought we didn’t dominate midfield as much yesterday. I also felt Aido could have been more direct and less meandering. He’s a beast!

    I thought those hanging kicks from Clarke would suit a big unit like O’Shea. Maybe I’m wrong. Overall I thought Clarkes restarts were ok. For me, he was MOTM. His decision to come to claim that high ball in 1st half was key. I was behind that goal and there were numerous defenders and attackers to contend with. He had a second to make a call. Backed himself and won it. That moment lifted Mayo.

    His save 2nd half was huge.

  77. Mayonaze – I think Mattie’s absence, combined with Diarmuid O’Connor’s sub-par showing in midfield, could be relevant. Mattie’s powerhouse offensive displays allowed Aidan to play a more defensive role , one that he’s ideally suited for, like a proverbial pig in shite, shielding the backline, initiating turnovers and generally dominating that area. With Mattie out he had to take on a more offensive role last night, as Diarmuid was at best peripheral and wasn’t adding anything from an attacking point of view. To be honest, Diarmuid could well have been hooked by half-time.

    The problem with David Clarke’s high, looping restarts is that they only suit the opposition, as they’re ideal to charge in on and break and way harder for our midfielders to catch. We were lucky we had the biggest beast on the field in that sector last night, otherwise we’d have lost more of our own restarts. I fully accept that his command of his area, plus those saves, makes the goalkeeper debate defunct but, in doing so, it has to acknowledged that we’re hobbling ourselves on restarts and this will, sooner or later, mean big problems for us.

  78. I thought Clarke was excellent , so what do you want to do Willie joe put hennelly back in goal again ?

  79. Did I say that, Tommy? Clarke’s way better in the square, no doubt, but his kickouts cause us problems and will continue to do so. That’s what I’m saying.

  80. I don’t know why people want to act like there isn’t a legitimate debate about the goalkeeper. Clarke played well last night and certainly commands the square better and more confidently than Hennelly. But the restarts will come back to bite us. Two management teams have noticed it.

  81. I think we should back the man we have in now you included Willie joe

    Ok kick outs going long can be 50:50 , but we have Aidan there to win them, Clarke’s short ones are excellent

    So what’s the alternative now , putting in a guy that has caused problems almost every time he’s in ?

    I think the debate is over , I think that’s the beauty of this blog … debate

  82. Coen’s BC very harsh – he could be more mobile but by God when he gets possession a score is always on. McLoughlin wasted in a forward role.

    Am enjoying the insights – we have the BEST supporters – we LOVE MAYO!

  83. I’ll make my own mind up on that issue, Tommy! I’ve said already that I feel the issue is settled for now.

    We’ve now choice but to acknowledge the poor return we’re destined to get from those high, hanging restarts and it’s asking a bit much for Aidan to win balls that you accept yourself are no better than 50:50. Against better teams that kind of an approach is one we can ill afford, but it certainly looks like something we’re stuck with.

  84. As I said what is the alternative Willie joe ??

    We have no alternative , Clarke was excellent yesterday and you come on here criticizing him

  85. Coen’s BC very harsh – he could be more mobile but by God when he gets possession a score is always on. McLoughlin wasted in a forward role. God Bless the guys on mid-West – poor MC so spluttering and tongue tied painful at times – needs to get some tuition on that score – at least Michael D is clear and good delivery.

    Am enjoying the insights – we have the BEST supporters – we LOVE MAYO!

  86. I’m not saying there’s an alternative, in the short-term at least, but I do think the time has come when we have to start looking in that direction. I’ve said already that David Clarke was excellent in commanding his square and shot-saving. His long restarts were anything but excellent, never have been and I very much doubt will ever be. And I’ll “come on here” as often as I like to say this without any lectures from you.

  87. As we know the goal keeper kickout issue is not confined to Mayo. When Mayo pushed up on the Down goalkeeper he regularly kicked it out over the sideline and was lucky not to get turned over on the short ones. We also know that Cluxton and the Tyrone goal keepers are not as good a shot stoppers as Clarke but they have frees and kickouts in their locker and it seems thereally management treasure those talents more. I think the change from Hennelly to Clarke was the correct one not because of the short kickout turnover and follow up goal (which can happen and is not the ultimate reason we lost the Ros game) but because of the lack of conversion rate of the long range frees. If Hennelly was consistently knocking these over for fun then the call would be much harder to make in fact IMHO I believe Hennelly would be nigh undroppable then.
    Totally agree that Aido had to adapt his game with Mattie not there and Diarmuid struggled as replacement. I liked the cut of Murray when he came on

  88. The reality is we need to be looking for a new goalkeeper next season. The majority of young goalkeepers now has bullet like kickouts in their locker, because that’s what expected and that what practiced from a young age. It’s a bit late for Clarkie to develop this skill at 34 and Robbie just isn’t reliable. Shlingerman and Mattie Flanagan need to be tried next year.

  89. We need to cast the net wide to find the next goal-keeper because there’s very few with the ability and confidence to hit space on a field that you know by the time the ball gets there so to will the midfielders. There should be an academy for it alone.. either foot facing the ball..left or right.. almost like golf with a variety of trajectories and distances. It’s a natural skill or ability and i’m not if it can be taught.. you either have it or you don’t.. and practice just hones that God given skill. Our guys reactions both in the goal and out the field are way to slow and not linked up thinking at all. Resources really need to given to this now because it’s a seriously important role.

  90. I can’t believe that Clarke isnt capable of changing the trajectory of his kicks if that’s all that is required. It’s no big deal. Now improving accuracy is a different matter entirely. I wouldn’t give up on his kicking just yet.

  91. Seriously why do some people give Hennelly such slack on his goalkeeping and Clarkie such stick over his kickouts? Does Clarkie have the best kickouts ever? No
    Are Robbies kickouts way better than Clarkies? Maybe one or two in every ten might be but on the whole no.
    Which goalkeeper has had game changing and momentum killing mistakes when pressure is apllied in an important game?
    I have tried to stay relatively quiet in the goalkeeping debate but seriously yesterday in the second half we were losing the breaks in midfield which more to do with the players in the middle third than who was in goals!! Clarkie hit 5 kickouts pinpointed to at least three different players in a row on the left wing in the first half when down had pushed up and shut off all long and short options. In the secondhalf when we were losing the breaks to Down had pushed up and closed off the short options so Clarkie went long rather than force a short kickout and risk disaster. I can see why managers are intrigued by the pontential of having a Rory Beggan style kickout but lets face it the tape shows us Hennelly aint going to give us that especially when it really matters!! Two Mayo managers have found this out the hard way!!
    I know the detractors will in subsequent posts bring up the last kickout in the 2017 All Ireland final and yes that was a terrible kickout by Clarkie but how many examples against Hennelly could I bring up in a game on onesided whataboutery.
    To use the second half against Down though as stick to beat Clarkie is clutching at straws and amazingly blind to the evidence of why he is back between the sticks in the first place!!! I understand the urge to defend Hennelly (especially after all the shite that was aimed at him in 2016) as goalkeeping is so hard at the elite level but why say for example after the Kerry match in Limerick were most Mayo fans of the same opinion as myself that the players in the middle third were the major factor to us being destroyed on our own kickouts and amazingly that same midfield were hopeless on our kickouts in the All Ireland semi final replay in 2017?
    I think if we apply the same standard of critism to both goal keepers kickouts at this moment in time David Clarke would be starting between the sticks when fit. Is there a goalkeeper in the county with better kickouts that merits dropping Clarkie? Maybe but the evidence on tape clearly shows that it isn’t Robbie Hennelly.
    It feels at this stage if Clarkie had 30 kickouts and we won 29 that there would be a whole blogpost about the one lost kickout!!
    Rory Lavell can fire a much more beautiful kickout than Bernard Power but I would have a good guess who Tuamstar would have preferred to start last Sunday!!

  92. I’m not sure, Crete Boom, it’s even an either/or debate on goalkeepers at this stage. Any fair-minded person would, I think, conclude that each have merits and each have drawbacks.

    The only point I’m making – which I do think is still worthy of pointing out – is that David Clarke’s kicking style when going long is one that gives us, at best, a 50:50 chance of claiming possession. He booms the ball so high that it takes forever to come down, by which time there’s a veritable scrum gathered round on the ground waiting for it to fall back to earth. Aidan did hugely well to claim possession a number of times from these kind of long restarts but there’s no way I’d describe any of these kickouts as ‘pinpoint’.

    An additional problem is that he telegraphs his intentions so clearly. Everyone in the ground can see exactly where and who he’s aiming at before he kicks the ball so it’s easy for the opposition to get there in numbers before the ball does.

    This is obviously a problem that managers have identified, hence the alternating decisions over which of them gets the jersey because, on every other metric, David clearly outscores Robbie. Rubbishing and belittling the issue doesn’t make it go away and my fear is that with the goalkeeping issue now apparently settled for this year, it’ll come back to bite us, maybe sooner rather than later.

    Finally, if you think David Clarke gets more stick from contributors here than Robbie Hennelly does then you’re clearly not reading all the comments! If you add in the vile abusive stuff on this topic that people attempt to post but which I consign straight to the bin – this is 100% targeted in one direction – you’d realise quickly enough how wide of the mark that assertion really is.

  93. The reason I have no time for Clarke’s kickouts is that the players receiving the ball are stationary. Leaving aside the height of the ball up in the air for a minute and if you look back on it Clarke kicks the ball out to where the player is.. so everyone knows where the ball is going to be and everyone is there waiting and crowding around it or worse still running through the player that is standing stationary waiting for it. That’s why we call it at best a 50/50 ball and the only reason we get better than average return is because of Aiden O Shea. You’re right Crete Boom Hennelly isn’t hugely better but he is better at it and is trying harder which brings with it risks but Clarke is not trying at all and is not for changing now at this stage by what I saw in Down. Any other team would be murdered around the middle on some of those kickouts

  94. There is a lot of talk about defensive play such as sweepers etc.
    All we have to do is make sure that we have 6 players in position in front of goal at all times, in other words if Paddy and Lee go forward 2 must drop back and for Gods sake release Kevin Mc. from the F.F. line and act as sweeper where he can distribute good ball.
    Eoin O Donohue should be in instead of Keith Higgins who could be deployed elsewhere.
    Conor Loftus has to be in regardless .

  95. Re, Kickouts- watching the Ulster Final yesterday…. The Donegal keeper has a tremendous kickout, and a wonderful disguise as to where or which direction or length of kickout he is going to use… even more impressive he can change which foot he is going to use at the last split second… equally adept with either left or right… For me this year he has the most impressive restarts..He will take figuring out, for any of Donegal opponents! ..

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