Down to the final four

Photo: GAA

Eight days after we made our exit, this year’s Championship is now down to the final four. One of Armagh, Donegal, Galway or Kerry will, a month from now, be heading home with the Sam Maguire.

With defending champions Dublin gone, Kerry are obviously now the strong favourites to win it out. They dispatched Derry this afternoon, the Oak Leaf County staying with them for much of the game but finding themselves powerless to halt Kerry’s decisive late surge.

Three of the four quarter-finals went the way expected and all three were poor enough affairs. Armagh, Donegal and Kerry never looked like losing and these three results confirmed that those who came into this weekend off the back of a preliminary quarter-final tie a week ago were always going to struggle against the well-rested group winners.

Of the three, Derry made the best fist of it and they made life difficult for an out-of-sorts Kerry team, a side whose last tough competitive fixture occurred as long ago as last year’s All-Ireland final. It now looks like they’ll make it all the way to this year’s decider without undergoing any kind of rigorous examination of their strengths, an outcome that shows (a) just how nuts this Championship structure is and (b) the absence of quality teams anywhere at the minute.

Which means football fans everywhere should applaud Galway’s gutsy dethroning of the Dubs yesterday evening. Five points down at one stage and seemingly sliding inexorably to defeat, the Tribesmen put in a terrific second half display, their courage and willingness to take risks carrying them to a dramatic one-point win.

The stat about this being Galway’s first Championship win over Dublin in ninety years has already been widely cited at this stage. But it’s also the first time they’ve defeated the reigning champions since 1973 – I remember it well, they beat Offaly that year – and Dublin’s defeat means they haven’t made it to the semi-finals for the first time since the startled earwigs defeat to Kerry in the quarters back in 2009.

Aaron Kernan remarked on GAA GO during the game’s frantic final moments that what he was witnessing from Galway bore a strong resemblance to our defeat of Dublin in 2021. And, you know, it did: Dublin were up to the same bore-the-opposition-to-death keep-ball nonsense and the Tribesmen tore into them with abandon, in much the same way as we’d done three years ago.

What was equally noteworthy, I felt, was how Dublin, as the extent of their troubles began to dawn on them, attacked with the same lassitude as we’ve shown so often this year and last. Their transition play was painfully slow, they kept hand-passing sideways and back, trying to conjure up the perfect shooting chance. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Galway’s approach, by contrast, was as refreshing as it was effective. They worked like tigers in defence, broke at speed and the way they got their shooters on the ball, with the offload being made quickly to the right man in the right position, was a joy to watch.

Sure, it didn’t always work – Conroy and Tierney both missed good chances – but, ultimately, it worked often enough to win the game. What more can you ask for?

Galway won’t fear any of the other three left in the race at this stage. Their semi-final against Donegal promises to be the best of the two penultimate round ties and it would now no longer be a huge surprise if the eventual winners are the team who emerge victorious from that tie.

For that reason alone, Galway deserve enormous credit for how they succeeded this weekend in blowing a hitherto underwhelming Championship wide open. It would do the world of football a whole load of good if they were now to go on and finish the job. I, for one, hope they do this.

190 thoughts on “Down to the final four

  1. Fair play to Galway. They set up rigidly and stuck with it throughout.

    They matched Dublin physically which is half the battle and got their match ups right.

    If you said before the game that Comer and Finnerty would be kept scoreless (considering the damage they done against us) and Galway still win I would have laughed at you.

    I also can’t deny my jealousy: N17 blasting in Croker and the sheer elation after the game was something to be hold. But hats off to them we have had our time.

  2. The Aura around Dublin has gone, I still don’t think Galway will have enough to win it, if we had won an all Ireland id be fully behind them but it’s hard, delighted for them yesterday.

  3. The West’s Awakez
    Wishing Galway all the best – with a full team / panel and a bit of luck they can go all the way – best of luck to them !

  4. Galway fair play to them the dubs are not what they once were they made the mistake of not blooding in younger players.

    Think Armagh will have a big say.

  5. I don’t rate Armagh at all despite the fact that’ll go in to the game with zero pressure. They’ve less talented players than Derry and Kerry will get more space. I think Kerry are actually very good and they had to dig deep to win today.

    I hope Donegal win it out. They’re a more similar county to ourselves than Galway in nearly every way. Also what a story if McGuinness does it again with them. Peadar Mogan looks like a young Lee Keegan!

  6. I have to say on reflection it’s time for new management in Mayo. It’s hard to watch Galway, Donegal and Armagh progress with a chance to the final with us not involved.

    They deserve their progress and I’m not being a bad sport but we all know we’re just as good as them. Look at the job McGuinness as done – in about 6 months- with a team who were a shambles for the last few years. That’s what good management does!

    Some people might say ‘we’re not far off’ …but I disagree . To paraphrase Oscar Wilde ‘to fail to win 1 match leading in injury time is unfortunate, to fail to win 4 is bloody not god enough’. That’s the 3 games this year and the Cork game last year.

    They’re a bit of ‘steel or conviction’ missing with us. Also, we’re not direct enough in our attacking play and some times our substitutions are wrong. Somebody asked me last week why was AOS taken off against Derry (Dubliner).

    I honestly think we need a bright young manager who will give us a new edge and a more direct attacking style. I’ve nothing against McStay but I think there’s something missing with him as a manager.

    It should be noted that all we managed to beat in championship this year was New York and Roscommon. I don’t this there will be much change next year with the same management in charge. They have done ok but ok isn’t really good enough.

    You’d miss not being involved in the latter stages of the championship and it would be hard to take watching a Donegal or Galway win the AI considering all the effort we’ve made over the past 13 years.

    It’s 3 years now since we’ve been involved in a semi final and I’m a bit fed up with us looking on at teams that really are no better than us.

  7. Another thing…. the GAA has a lot to answer. 5 football matches on GAA Go over the last week, the hurling quarter finals on the graveyard shift last Saturday afternoon..and did you notice how an excellent AI minor hurling final clashed with the Dublin Galway game last night?

    A bloody disgrace.

    It’s hard to believe that a sporting organisation is making such a mess in profiling its own sport.

    Whatever you do as a GAA fan this summer not blink..or you’ll miss the whole season!

  8. Spotlight, I’d love someone like McGuinness managing Mayo but who is that person? Not many like him around. There’s not much difference in PJ and O’Neill versus McStay and Rochford. Galway have a few more natural attacking players than Mayo (Comer and Walsh), also Conroy is a more effective midfielder than Carney but there’s not much between the teams.

    One thing in favour of GAAGo, the analysis and production is miles ahead of RTE. Cillian, Murphy, and Cian O’Sullivan are top class. Grainne much more palatable than Joanne as well. Honestly, I’ve no problem with GAAGo but that’s just me.

  9. Spotlight. I couldn’t agree more. We are definitely under achieving under this management. Some posts on here keep referencing the mayo club championship. Ok here’s my point. If you looked at it last year… you would think mayo was playing in division 4. It was terrible but it s not a bench mark for the county team or finding new talent. The reason why. A lot of mayo clubs play negative style football and even Tommy conroy wouldn’t stand out. I hear mcstay saying.. oh he s in year one. He’s in year 2. Really Kevin. If he doesn’t cross the white line in championship football he s in year zero and so is the plan. What we have to date is a list of names. Some poster last week had them all off by heart. Fair play to him. Names names names but nothing on the pitch

  10. GAA Go in general is ok ( as not every game can be down). However one big game should be shown on main TV . e.g. the Dublin game last night.

    I think McEntee from Sligo would be a good selection as a new manager.

  11. Agree Spotlight The GAA is all about money and no one should support GAA Go. They think they are smart leaving August and September free for concerts and American Football but if they kept it to September Finals as it was they would have got Taylor Swift this weekend. They also priced themselves out of Katie Taylor fight. As the old saying goes ” the wisest of hens lay out”

  12. Spotlight it’s always time for new management when we lose a game. Sure , Jimmy’s winning matches on his return but what about McGeeney. There since 2014 and fair play to Armagh they have stuck with him and are now in AISF. Yerra Jack seems to have been with Kerry for most of this century and Galway have stuck, and rightly so with PJ who is in charge of a team who have good enough footballers to do more than reach one all Ireland under his reign, but of course the default position of lots of Mayo supporters is to change the management. When Eugene McGee took charge of Offaly, they made incremental improvements year on year, qualify for Leinster final, next year win Leinster final, next year win AI semi, before eventually landing the big one in 1982. Now maybe Mayo have not made such incremental moves, but McStay came in with a team in transition, has made them ultra competitive which not many teams in transition do, see Cork after their AI win in 2010, Donegal after Jim’s first coming etc. And while I know we got knocked out a round earlier this year, I reckon most football supporters believe Mayo were better this year than last year. So give the management a chance and let’s see where it takes us. After watching the quarter finals I am convinced there is no outstanding team in the country like Dublin in their pomp. I expect Kerry to win it out but would not be surprised to see Donegal do it, but I am convinced Galway have the ability if the get their best players on the field and go for it. As WJ said there were so many similarities between Galway yesterday and us in 21. Good first half lead for dubs in both games but when coming down home straight and under pressure the dubs malfunctioned and looked like a team in decline. To Dublins credit they came back in 22 and pushed Kerry to a point before winning in 23, but their great players are 3 years older now so don’t think they will rise from the ashes next year,

  13. There is another way in looking at it. They are all there having a reasonable championship because we are not.. But I was expecting a post similar to what I’ve just heard. God this mayo management is held in such high regard. It’s absolutely unbelievable.

  14. GaaGo gets the thumbs up from me.

    -Great value
    -Great commentary and analysis
    -Can re -watch games shortly after the final whistle.

    Compare trying to watch games back on the Rte Player . You’re to sit through a mountain of ads, each time you access it. If you want to fast forward to a certain passage of play for example, you have to go through a load of more Ads.

  15. The stars are aligning over the Atlantic way. I think McGuinness took over when so much heavy lifting had already been done by Bonnar, and Lacey, in the main. He’s a master at finessing and fine-tuning. They’ll go very close, if not all the way. Kerry might stop them alright, but I can’t see Galway doing it.
    Regarding the Dubs, the dogs on the street knew they were in rapid decline. There’s no pups being born… Leinster rugby’s gain.

  16. Sad to say but I’m finding it very hard to get enthused over the present championship setup. Even if Mayo were still involved it wouldn’t come anywhere close to the excitement and expectation of former years. Tbh the suits at GAA headquarters are entrusted with looking after our games but in truth they’ve managed to take a silk purse and turn it into a sows ear. If they had sat on their arses and accepted that there were some things not quite perfect but wait until they had the answers. Instead there was call for change and they went with change for changes sake.

  17. Absolutely over the moon this morning.

    I was very worried going into this but the maturity Kerry showed in playing against an ultra defensive team was brilliant.

    Some posters accused Kerry of being a one man team I think this season has shown otherwise.

    Derry have so much ability but I’m glad they are out as that type of football shouldn’t be rewarded.

    I named a few new faces at the start of the year and they all did well yesterday.


    Roll on Armagh.

  18. Craggy it’s all a matter of opinion. For some it’s sack the manager when we are not successful (which we haven’t been for 73 years). For others it’s about looking for a bit of consistency and giving a manager a fair chance to develop and progress a team.

  19. @West Kerry good luck to ye, but be wary of Armagh. They will have no pressure. They have Donaghy on the line and they are a team who tend to up their game when playing better opposition. If ye get over then, and I’ll be hoping you do, then regardless of who emerges from the other side will be a very tough opponent. A conversation for another time. First, just focus on avoiding that banana skin ahead of you…Armagh.

  20. Look at what Armagh did to Derry at Celtic Park. Let that be a lesson to ye…

  21. What is not acceptable to me is comparing Donegal’s ability to execute scoring plays, they are plays now folks and it’s only out of date teams like ourselves that think it’s about “having the forwards”.
    You literally need a coached playbook of different types of scoring play patterns.
    We are not doing this and that’s why we can’t punish teams on turnovers.

  22. Armagh will come out top I’d say may be armagh v galway I expect Galway to get over donegal wasn’t that impressed about donegal v louth I think galway will actually win Sam.. I’d love armagh to do it but galway do look that bit better.

    Armagh v Galway final.

  23. Love to see Galway doing it (sort of,) but, unfortunately, McGuinness’ game plan will probably revert back to snuffing out Galway’s key players and ploughing through the middle on the counter. If PJ and co can nullify McHugh they’ve a chance but Walsh must be on fire for them to progress. I wouldn’t read too much into their performance against Louth Clare… they did enough as did Kerry. Vast array of very good young players and some big units indeed. They’re a handful, make no mistake.

  24. @mark Dempsey yeah true enough. Could be 2 northern teams in the final.. . I’d be very weary if I were a kerry one facing armagh if I were them.

  25. An Armagh route to victory over Kerry could be on long kickouts. Armagh are exceptionally good catching long kickouts and they have far more players over six foot than Kerry. In fact pretty sure Armagh carry in a sizeable height and strength advantage on Kerry.

  26. If Mayo had known how to close out games this year (and it’s a big ‘if’), I think we could say we had progressed.
    I do believe there was work done in our team but it’s hard to see with how things panned out.
    I’ve been enjoying following the quarter finals but I felt somewhat humiliated for us that we are out of it.
    At the same time, if we can feel this, and let it pass through, I do believe we’ll be in a better place next year. Our self-respect and pride requires it. And we will have had to confront reality in some areas, like finishing games and pushing out a lead.

  27. When one looks at the year as a whole we did make progress.
    1. We were better defensively. We held quite a few big teams quite well.
    2. We were better in midfield. We were competitive in every game.
    3. We seemed more competitive in physicality and conditioning. Makes sense as we have a young team.
    4. We got much more out of Aidan and used him better.
    5. We finally arrived at a good decision with Tommy Conroy moving to wing forward improving one of those jerseys.
    The one big area left for improvement is in how we attack. Specifically that, not about player personel, what need to sort first is how we attack, the tactics and strategy around that.
    We should put a lot of time into that over the winter.
    I think it is fair to see a new member of the coaching ticket is needed to work on the attack as it wasn’t good enough this year two years into the project.

  28. Cillian on GaaGo. Is he dropping a hint of retirement there. I hope not

  29. @Robe Green and red why what did cillian say?? I’d be shocked if he retired only just coming back to form and he’s not to old for the game tbh

  30. Galway have a great opportunity now, they can beat any of the teams and I’d expect them to beat Donegal. Galway are much more seasoned and experienced of Croke Park. Galway will sit back and be really defensive. They’ll keep Donegal to 14/15 points and kick a few more to nudge through.

    But I hope Kerry win the All Ireland now as it’ll feel less of a missed opportunity for Mayo. I know a few of the Galway’s lads on a personal level and the vast majority are sound, very decent fellas. But I still remember the day in Loughrea Plaza, getting fuel ahead of the ‘17 final and a certain high profile player walking from his car to the shop, glanced at our car decked out in green and red and spat onto the ground in the general direction that we’d be driving out in. It was horrible. Whether it was meant or not, it was disgusting and seeing him lift Sam would sicken me.

    Also dropping my young fella to Cúl Camp in Galway this morning…plenty of slagging ‘we won’t bottle it like ye’…‘it’d be hilarious if we win it before ye’. Exact quotes. So, fair play to any of you with your goodwill extending toward Galway and maybe I’m just not decent enough to wish them the best of luck, but life will be much easier for me if they don’t win. Perhaps that’s just the bitterness in me after decades of failure. That’s what walking out of Croke Park 13 times (11 defeats and 2 draws) will do to your mental health! The issue is, I think Galway are in a really strong position to win it and if they do then at least my bet at 8/1 that I did two months ago might soften the pain.

  31. I’d say Cillian is disgusted with the lack of game time he got this year. He has worked incredibly hard to get to fitness and was hardly used. Brought in with 2 mins to go against Derry was nuts.

    I really want him to stay another season or two.

  32. Some of the decision making by mgnt was really poor this season, team selections, in game strategy and substitutions….

    the calibre of games over the weekend has really amplified the missed opportunity.

  33. In reply to you mayonaze I completely agree with you.
    I’m on another forum to the foreign game that’s on in Germany!
    The pure poison directed towards me from people who should know better has been nothing short of pure hatred. So from that point of view I will not be shedding any tears for them if they don’t win it out.

  34. In fairness over the totality of Cillian’s minutes he was okay.
    When we were playing the top teams it looked to me like Cillian no longer had the pace to get open. My viewpoint is that he is good to have around the panel for player development and as a player to use in early rounds. He is also good to have for penalties and penalty shoot outs which are a reality. I think Cillian has never missed a penalty in a county game. People might laugh at that, but it’s actually a valid selection point if you have a player who guarantees the scoring of penalties. I don’t know why Ryan is let near penalties, sure he played soccer, but as a defender, he’s pretty poor at them. He missed a penalty u20, missed v Tyrone and missed v Derry. The one he scored v Derry was completely saveable if the keeper didn’t guess.

  35. @Mayonaze that’s all very true pretty petty of the player to spit in your direction is well jaysus. I’ve a feeling they will win but praying Armagh or even donegal do it.

    I felt bad for cillian this year unlucky with injuries and if he does retire it’ll be a sad day for mayo. But I think he’ll stay on.

  36. We’ve had our opportunities to, so good luck to those left. Getting Tipp in a semi twice. Can’t ask for more. And then the 2021 Final without Dublin or Kerry.

    Fair play to Galway but Willie Joe I cannot share your joy and hope for their success. They are our biggest rivals that like to look down on us. I remember the 90s and 00s and the cries of ‘show them your medals’ being thrown at great Mayo players who came up short, and the smugness over the years at our failings. I will be jubilant if they fall short but I think it is only Clifford that may stop them.

  37. Can we please stop the negativity. Truth is after this weekend its clear theres very little separating top 10 teams in the country right now. Fair play to Galway for a magnificent second half but as ive said before theyve real quality players. McDaid, Walshe, Comer, Conroy, McHugh etc. They should be winning Sam with this team if all were fit.
    But its sickening to see the negativity regarding Mayo. They just dont have the stand out quality players other teams have at the moment and yet they have been very competitive. Was talking to a Galwayman this morning who said it was how Mayo made Dublin look ordinary in the Hyde that gave Galway and others the belief that Dublin were beatable.
    Yet if O’Callaghan had pointed his last effort which he so nearly did then Galway could easily have lost too on Saturday. Would there have been the same degree of negativity as is directed towards Mayo. Doubt it.
    As regards management, who knows would anyone get anymore out of current Mayo crop than McStay? If you make a direct comparison with say Joyce, you could argue that he has failed up till now to get the most out of a far better group of players. McGeeney the same with Armagh.
    But anyway good luck to Galway. Hope they do it this year. Theyve nothing unsurmountable before them.

  38. @JP,
    I’m not sure of the stats but from my experience Cillian has to be the best penalty taker in the history of the game.He did miss one (that I can remember) 2019 super 8 game v kerry in Killarney, he hit the crossbar.

    I hope he stays on for not just next year but the next few years,his game was never about pace.

  39. I think Donegal will take out Galway, there’s no way Sean Kelly is making that game and he is just the man they need with donegal running hard from all over the pitch.

    What is very impressive about Donegal is their shooting accuracy, from pretty much all over the pitch, out of all the top sides they seem to be the only one with a high % accuracy. They are routinely finishing games with 9/10 different scorers, McGuinness seems to be heavily focused on skill execution which should seem blindingly obvious but lots of other team’s are failing to grasp that

    Can’t believe how good Galways defence is these days, was at the game on Saturday and had a good look at them, they were rock solid. McGrath is nailed on for an allstar and Glynn, mchugh won’t be far behind him

  40. @Supermac, and it’s that properly organised defence that’ll be the reason Donegal will lose to Galway.

  41. Well said Mayo forever. Nothing between the apex teams at all, except controlled and calculated game management. That in itself is a skill though.

  42. JP, interesting points on penalties. Cillian did miss in the 2019 game in Killarney but up to that I don’t believe he missed a penalty for club or county. By far the best penalty taker I’ve ever seen. He routinely hits the top corner. You right about Ryan, he’s absolutely terrible at penalties. I’ve yet to see him hit one with conviction. If the O’Connor’s are on the pitch, either of them should take it.

    People are over estimating Galway and under estimating Donegal. Galway are good no doubt but need their big players fit and they keep getting injured. Also, Donegal are capable of over powering anyone. Their running ability is incredible. And as someone said, everyone of them can score. 1-21 from play v Louth. Not many teams can do that in training never mind a championship match. Should be a great game and occasion.

  43. @Mayonaze. Secret is with the element of Galway fans who make a win for them against some one else about us is to say. “Jaysus lads, well, done, that was some shift from McDaid. He’s some leader. Now tell me, why is the first first thing ye think of Mayo when ye have just beaten Dublin, rather than focusing on the rest of ye’re Championship”

    It is only some Galway fans though. Remarkable thing is though in years when they are out of the championship and we are still in it, we don’t give them a second thought

  44. Wouldnt let remarks from a minority of Galway people towards our county affect your judgement of Galway in the round. Every county has its yob supporters.
    Their hurlers have underperformed big time. Likewise as I said previously their current footballers.
    Yet one has to congratulate them on putting Dublin out. Nice to see it opened up a bit. And if Galway can win it out we should be proud to see Sam coming west. That said twould be nice to see McGeeney rewarded for his persistence too. Donegal too, a county similar to Mayo would be nice to see. Kerry on the other hand have won enough.
    As for Mayo, will the Derry game in Castlebar be beaten for pure entertainment this year. Itself and Dublin v Galway the 2 best games of the year when all is settled.

  45. Not often I agree with Pat Spillane but his column about Mayo in the Sunday World yesterday is spot on. Harsh truths and sad realities we would be better to accept and learn from instead of moving on and repeating the same mistakes. It makes for grim reading but before you can fix a problem you have to accept you have one

  46. Id have no fears of Cillian retiring , i asked him straight out sat night i hapoen to bump into him and he ssid no chance .

  47. Sean Burke, you are a tonic (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible). Thank you.

  48. I hear on off the ball they were going on about how many U20 players from 2020 have come through.
    Checking the archive here, a hell of a lot of Mayo lads that lost on penalties to them have come through as well. The disappointing stat is the 2019 Minor where Mayo beat Galway. McGrath, Hernon, O’Flaherty and Culhane all heavily involved this year for Galway. Frank Irwin was exceptional in the Sigerson this year, surprised he’s not featuring more for Mayo

  49. @Big Mike: Happened to be doing a bit of looking at our minor > 20 > senior progression over the last 10 years yesterday (spotted some comments that the u17 switch could be detrimental to young lads progressing and didn’t know any numbers around it so wanted to take a glance)…

    14 of the 26 that saw minutes for the ’19 minors went on to play for our 20s & 7 of those on further to feature (briefly in a few cases) at senior (Sam Callinan, Conor Reid, Frank Irwin, Ciaran Boland, Ruairí Keane, Ethan Henry & Paddy Heneghan).

    Conor (showed really well in the Galway match, with the injury picked up 5 minutes into the next Dublin game) & Frank (injured just before the Monaghan match he was due to start in & didn’t feature again for the year) both had their years interrupted by injuries. Unfortunate not to see some more minutes & potentially push up the pecking order a little.

    The other lads that have featured at senior all at a decent level where they could be involved, just slightly pushed out of the panel/starting 26s at the moment. With a number more (Luke Jennings, Oisín Tunney & Dylan Thornton jump out with some great club performances) unlucky with outstanding competition for positions not to have featured (yet, at least). Aaron McDonnell from the ’17 minors only made his breakthrough this year, so wouldn’t rule out a few more making it yet.

  50. @Glorydays, it is a tough read alright. But that’s the perception of Mayo from outside the county and unfortunately it’s hard to disagree. Reality is until we win it, there’ll always be that lack of respect.

    I think we have enough decent players to have a proper tilt at Sam but our tactics are well off. Until that changes we can forget about it with the current bunch. I think mgnt got a lot wrong this year, unfortunately.

  51. A thought provoker is whether a much better kickpassing half backline would contribute better to performance than the solo running half backs we tend to pick?
    It’s like if a player can sprinkle in a few impressive solo runs all is forgiven for any other errors.

  52. @Mayonaze

    “we won’t bottle it like ye”. Wow. Such fine banter. Did you remind them about what happened in 2022?

    Was in a Meath pub on Saturday. Overheard the group next to us referring to the Irish rugby team as the ‘Mayo of rugby’. I’ve heard the same remark made on Newstalk. Sometimes I wonder if we would have been better off not making any of the finals since 1989. But that’s loser talk. We only become losers the day we give up. We are good enough to compete at the highest level. We have to shift the baggage and keep at it.

    I would prefer to see any of the teams other than Kerry win it if only because they are already the most successful county and it doesn’t do anything for the sport to have the same two teams winning all the time. That includes Galway. Maybe it’s because I’m not from a border town and don’t pay any heed to the nonsense that gets thrown around. The way I see it, we had more chances than most over the years and didn’t get over the line. If another team is good enough to go and win it then good for them. It’s not all about us.

    While I’m throwing out stories. Years ago I was in a Mayo pub after we beat Galway in a Connacht Final. Both sets of supporters were in there. Someone put the ‘Green and Red Of Mayo’ on the jukebox. We all join in. Next song was put on by a Galway fan: ‘To Win Just Once’. They sang it even louder again. I can’t remember what the song after was

  53. Do we need to approach the league completely differently next year?

    In hindsight, more by accident than design Galways injury crisis meant that pretty much everyone in the squad seen significant gametime in the league or connaught championship. New guys were blooded, some were tried in new positions, some played themselves on/off the team.

    It means that when it comes to games like Saturdays all the subs are ready and well tested when they come in and it guarantees an impact from the bench.

    For 2 years in a row now we have gotten nothing off our bench, probably down to the fact McStay doesn’t seem to trust his squad. Playing largely the same 15 by and large in every round of the league championship.

    Do we really stand to learn anything by playing lads like AOS/Coen/ etc in the league?

  54. Haha catcool , non stop meet ups , them bucks cant get enough of my charasmatic character . He said when he does consider retirement he will bell me for advice .

  55. If Galway had a clean bill of health I would nearly fancy them outright to win Sam. Even over Kerry. What let them down 2 years ago in the final was lack of.a bench in the final 10 minutes but they’ve improved their bench options massively since then. Can you trust them though given the fitness concerns over Comer, Walsh, Kelly & Finnerty? You never know when one of them will pull up lame in the middle of a game. I doubt Kelly makes the semi-final anyway. He looked like he did his hamstring again against Dublin. At his best he’d make any team in the country but he’s actually not been playing particularly well this year anyway. Probably due to lingering injury issues. Would not surprise me if Galway turn to Cian Hernon to replace him. A young player I am always impressed with when I see him. Usually comes off the bench.

  56. I just looked a clip of the last minute again. If one of our players played a free like Conroy did in the last minute there would have been calls for him never to play again. 99 times out 100 Con kicks that point in the follow up. Small margins and Galway would have done the exact same thing we did against Dublin. Yet we are told here its the game management of Paul Conroy and the likes that won it.

  57. In relation to the 4 managers left, it’s of no value comparing them to McStay.

    First of all McGuinness and OConnor are a million miles ahead of McStay, anyone can see that. McGeaney is very average. This is his 10th year with Armagh, no Ulster title, no All Ireland and a terrible style of play. Anyone that thinks McGeaney is a good manager needs their heads checked. And then you have PJ, who I also think is well ahead of Mcstay. Cian Oneill as his coach has won 2 All Irelands as well. But when looking at Galway, they got to a final in 2022 and since then they have been ripped apart with injuries. Look at the excuses people have made for McStay this season in relation to Paddy and Diarmuid’s injuries. PJ has had far more injuries then McStay and has still won 3 Connaught titles in a row.

    We do need a fresh approach. Some said McEntee but he was there under Rochford. I think we need a complete reset, with an insider as a manager but some very good outside helpers and coaches. Who those people are, it’s hard to tell. Ray Dempsey put together a very fresh ticket last time round. Barry Moran is doing a good job at Mitchels. Andy going steady with Leitrim (but is he too close to current team). John Reilly has done an excellent job with Kilmeena. These names may not sound amazing or spotlight but it doesn’t mean they aren’t bad. Possibly someone like Malachy ORourke as an outside manager would be great but he would need very good inside people with him to help find more players.

  58. First time poster, long time reader of the blog. Apologies for the long winded post in advance!

    I found the weekend a tough watch overall particularly with Galway’s triumph. I know a lot of fans on this forum are happy for Galway however I’ve endured alot of torment since 1998/2001 and I don’t think Galway winning an All Ireland is going to be any help to me or Mayo fans in general. 1998/2001 was certainly no help to Mayo GAA

    From living and working in Galway alot of my life, there is a hardwired self belief in Galway football fans when it comes to winning semi or finals. I remember being told in 2022 when Galway got to the All Ireland final “we win finals, we won’t bottle it”. Even though they didn’t win it, that mindset/arrogance is still there and the big worry I have (and had for the past 12 months) is that I do think Galway have a team good enough to win it out.

    I’ve been supporting Mayo for 28 years trying to win Sam and I feel so frustrated that Mayo don’t seem to be addressing issues that I believe are hindering them from getting over the line.

    For starters, this year Mayo lost 3 championship matches largely from being naive towards the end of the games. No lessons appeared to be learned from the Cork game last year or from one game to the next yet I’m sure we will hear in the Autumn about learning lessons from 2024. It’s been a theme across a lot of Mayo throughout my life, it’s not just this team but it’s never been resolved. I would have thought after the 2017 All Ireland final any mayo footballer watching that would have been educated on the dark arts to win a match but appears not.

    Another issue is the quantity of two footed class forwards! I think Mayo have had better forwards than given credit for over the years but through the years have generally had 2-3 really tidy forwards at one time. You prob need 4-5 of a high standard certainly for winning AI finals. It’s no coincidence Mayo’s best All Ireland final performance in 2017 coincided with 4 starting forwards scoring 0-10 from play between them. The question is, why is it so hard to produce forwards in Mayo. What’s being done to address this? We need to hope players in recent minor teams can be progressed rapidly in the next 1-2 years to complement the existing forward line but what can be done to ensure year on year, young talented forwards are being produced? I’d love this to discussed in a podcast when the topic presents itself

    Related to the first issue, I think there’s a toughness lacking that needs to be instilled in the Mayo psyche . For example, I’ve only really heard Keith Higgins acknowledge the mental baggage of lost finals or the monumental nature of mayo lifting Sam and how it could be impacting players. I remember reading that Tyrone used their all Ireland semi defeat in 1996 to Meath to fuel a hostility that served them well 7 years later. I want to see a more hardened edge in this Mayo team. Would Colm Boyle or Lee Keegan have allowed their head to be petted by an opponent! For me it doesn’t appear present in the Mayo culture today

    Ultimately I want to see Mayo win an All Ireland and at 35 I’m beginning to think I won’t see this happen unless something radical happens at a county board level in terms of an assessment of 2024. I feel if the current regime continues into 2024, it will be more of the same. Are the county board as frustrated as I am at where Mayo are ? Maybe they should live in Galway from July onwards

  59. At Green&Red. I think a new voice is definitely needed if not a full reset. We were so far behind this year that some tweaking may pay dividends, or maybe put more like we were not awful so would not be adverse to giving McStay his last year to see can he fix the remaining problem. But would not complain if we went for a fresh start.

    Year 1 – we were too open. This was addressed this year
    Year 2 – attacking structure and systems were poor. Also, leadership at key moments that saw us give leads in injury time. Maybe Andy coming in as a specialist attacking coach focused on developing an attacking plan. He could potentially then become the heir apparent if successful. The leadership one is more difficult. Andy’s experience would definitely give benefit in this area. But its really about leadership and mutual trust from coaches and players and fostering that environment. Its more intangible but also more vital. No obvious solutions.

    There is no obvious candidate to take over either within or outside the county, so I do feel changing without a clear succession plan could be more trouble than its worth. I do hope some local coaches in the Senior championship this year move away from the hyper negative stuff we have seen recently though.

  60. Can’t see the county board advertising any time soon. They’ve had a few headaches with it over the years.

  61. We all know what’s going to happen now, don’t we. The poxiest team in the championship will end up with another “Kildare-like” opponent in the All Ireland Final. Just like in ’98. Kildare were possibly the weakest All Ireland Final opponent of the last 30 years and of course Galway get them in ’98.
    While everytime we make a final (bar ’21) we meet a generational team like Cork in ’89 (having lost the ’87 & ’88 finals they went on to win the ’89 & ’90 finals), a truly great team. Kerry in ’04 & ’06, (they played in 8 of 10 consecutive All Ireland Finals from 2002 to 2011, winning 4 of them) and let’s not go there with the Dubs!!
    Galway however, do nothing for years, pop up to a final v Kildare, win it and go down the road again. Us though are fecking about for 20 years with nothing to show for it!
    They were gifted a gimme free in the Connaught final to win it (a truly awful decision by the ref). Sligo and Westmeath both had Galway beaten only for two terrible errors that led to Galway goals that breathed life back into their game. Derry were well in their game until that stupid red card reduced them to 14 players. Even v Dublin the last day, O’Callaghan misses an effort to force extra time that he nails 99 times out of 100, with his eyes closed! You can bet your last dollar if it was against us he would have scored it!
    You can only imagine the abuse that will be hurled our way if they win Sam after all our wasted trips to Croker.

  62. @Mayonaze, I’m with you by the way. I’d hate to see Galway win it because for all the talk about “some of them are sound” etc, I’ve yet to meet any of those sound ones at a game. Personally, I hope Donegal rip them a new one because any of them I’ve met at a game (incld this year at the Connaught final) are a classless shower. For all their “support” they could only half fill Croker.

  63. @Pebblesmeller – I am guessing you’re from South Mayo.
    Galway were the better team in the Connacht final. We were very lucky to be in a position to win it. Ref’s decisions in the end were shocking, but we rode our luck.

    Also, that Galway 98-2001 team was a potential generational team in my opinion and ultimately under delivered on the potential. Joyce and Donnellan were only 24 in 2001, Declan Meehan 25, Kieran Fitzgerald 20. Another potential generational talent only for injury emerged in 2003 in Michael Meehan. And even so they played 3 finals in 4 years, winning 2. No need to underplay the neighbours achievements just because you cant stand to see their success

  64. Armagh are average and very flaky, they will be beaten by Kerry. Donegal and Galway could be a good game but I think Galway will win. It’ll be a repeat of Galway/Kerry in the final. I was impressed by Kerry’s mentality against Derry. They met them at their level and beat them at their own game. Very composed, no panic stations and just gradually chipped away until it was out of Derry’s grasp. I still don’t think there’s anything truly intimidating about Kerry though and I don’t think any remaining team will fear them. Galway would have a great chance against them. If Donegal manage to beat Galway, I think Kerry will win it out.

  65. @Pebblesmeller totally agree with you there.

    When I came out of Croker after we lost to kerry these guys where just hurling abuse at us and even with parents going by with young mayo fans they hurled abuse at them to classless now I know every county has bad fans including our own but to hurl out abuse at young mayo fans is pathetic.

    Never thought I’d be cheering on donegal but I will be come the semi.

  66. Well 3 months is a long time in GAA opinions .
    6 months ago . Donegal were a joke and no one talked about Galway after avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth.
    Mayo have gone through a mother of retirements and exits . To have us competitive with a young team is a bonus .
    What we need right now is to feed that team with more playing options . I think it is coming if we can avoid the likes of Australian football and GAA fatigue .
    And yes sooner or later we need to think about Aiden and Cillian . It’s not easy to develop intelligent footballers . They usually have it or don’t . Everything else is coachable .

  67. Pebblesmeller.
    The Galway team in 1998 contained 5 U21s.
    They beat a very good Mayo team in Castlebar, a team who had gotten to finals in 96 and 97.
    They were lucky to draw with Roscommon in Tuam and beat them after extra time in the replay.
    They beat Derry the Ulster and League champions in the semi final.
    They then were 4/1 rank outsiders in the final playing a team managed by Mick O’Dwyer who had beaten the All Ireland Champions from 97, 96, and 95 on their way to the final.
    It was far from a soft All Ireland

  68. Pebblesmeller that Tyrone team of 2021 is widely accepted to be one of the worst all Ireland champions of the last 30 years yet we still lost to them. So that argument is nonsense.
    Good teams, great teams, average teams – Mayo will find a way to lose to them in an all Ireland final. Kilkenny footballers would feel confident against us in an all Ireland final at this stage.

    On a separate note this championship is a joke and the split season is fast destroying the sport. Everyone wondering why no one wants to attend matches any more. Expecting hard pressed fans in a cost of living crisis to attend 6 games in the space of 8 weekends, most of them in Dublin during peak season. Most people get paid monthly, do the GAA expect them to give all their hard earned over multiple weekends in a row within the same pay cycle to attend matches with their families?

    I don’t believe the all Ireland final will sell out this year. Especially if it’s Kerry v Galway, which I think it will be. It would serve the greedy gombeens in Croke park right. I really hope there is plenty of empty seats on show. It’s the only thing that will jolt them into action to switch it back to its proper time in late August at the very least.

    But it’s all good because we can now watch our star players playing club championship games in high summer, at least thats one benefit of the split season. It’s just a pity those matches will all be in Chicago and Boston for the next 2 months. They will all be back to kick off our club championship when the weather is turning bad and the nights shorter again in October. Great scheduling by our brilliant county board. We can even play our county finals in the mud and misery of late October and wonder why they finish 0-7 to 0-6.

  69. McStay deserves another year, injuries and withdrawals last year didnt help his cause. This year he has improved our defence and has been close or has beaten the teams we’d want them to (I’m including league). The main negatives are the excessive lateral play at times and the fear of taking a shot when its on. They didn’t do this every game and there were signs at times they had gotten the forward play right (Dublin). Now folks will throw out Dublin were a busted flush but remember they left a few points after them in that 1st half against Galway so that could have ended up very differently. I don’t fully buy into that our issue is closing out games or that the subbing of Aiden off late on were the cause of our downfall – small contributing factors that compounded our overall problem. I wince at the number of times the chance was created and the shot was not taken, plus the lateral play versus being more direct. These the mgmt team can fix I believe without significant overhaul, but I hope they do what they need to do to address it.

    Also the only real barometer we have is how teams we played against fare afterwards. So far that barometer is saying we are not to bad. I get folks will say not good enough but the age profile of that team means there will be improvement in several of those players again next year. The one thing as mentioned by a poster earlier is the league must be used on the young, new and peripheral players to help improve our squad depth and find those couple of nuggets needed. I know Conor Diskin has been added for next year and has committed to it maybe they have approached others also that I’m not aware off ?

    Anyone of Galway, Kerry or Donegal can win it for me. Armagh looks the poorest of the 4 IMO. Galway although it pains me to say it will win it as they appear to have the strongest defence…

  70. @darky, how do you rate Galway ahead of Kerry? Seriously, people forgetting Kerry would have won back to back All Irelands only for a rare David Clifford off day last year, and they still nearly won it. Kerry deserve their tag as favorites and they’ll have gained huge confidence in beating Derry by 5 points when all Derry wanted to do was scrap. Kerry can play it anyway you want.

  71. Paul B and Big Mike, read my post again. I didn’t say anything about the quality of that Galway ’98 team (they went on to win one 3 years later). I said, and history has proven it to be correct, that Kildare were the softest opponent in 30 years. Where were Kildare before or since? Compare that Kildare team to any of the opponents Mayo have met and they are light years apart.

    mayo-joe, Tyrone weren’t a vintage team for sure but do you really think they were the worst team in 30 years? McCurry, Hampsey, Canavan, Donnelly, Morgan, Harte!! All members of the worst team in 30 years? Give over. They got 8 All Stars that year and while that may not be a measure of a players true ability, it is voted by people who are watching games all year.
    One point I do agree with you on is that we will find ways to lose against anyone in a final.

  72. GBXI – I said anyone of Kerry, Galway, Donegal can win it but IMO think Galway have the best defence of those. Contain Clifford and they’ll have a great chance being my reasoning. I’m also making the assumption Walshe will be playing

  73. Jaysus Pebblesmeller that’s some bitter rant. If memory serves me that ‘lucky’ team also hammered Meath in an all Ireland final, that Meath team were champions and one of the best teams we’ve seen and their current manager took them apart

    They also won Connacht and got stuck with the bogey group despite being a no.1 seed and didn’t lose to Armagh, only got done on score difference. Their two best players went off injured v Dub and they still found a way to win

    We had two all Ireland semis v Tipperary, lest we forget. The Tyrone final was a very winnable one also

    They’re not lucky in the slightest and we’ll serve no purpose throwing stones. We had a day like that in 2021 probably the best day we’ve had of them all in Croker. We’ll get back there soon . Let them off to furrow their own course for this year.

  74. Kerry are vulnerable to a tall, physical team. Which is precisely how the other three teams are built. In GAA you can’t give up a lot of height mismatches and expect to not have problems.

  75. Shane Walsh is a maverick.. Pj let’s him have free role.. Hes everything you’d want in a gaa footballer.. Like Clifford… Just pure natural ability. Diff types but on form the only 2 you’d pay to watch. Let’s hope they produce a replay of the 22 final.

  76. Keep us posted Seán Burke on your mingling with the greats!

    Good win for Galway, gan dabht, but, as of now they are in an AI semi-final, no more no less. Mayo were in nine semis in eleven years or something. We won a lot of them, and still didn’t do the big one. A lot of football to be played yet. And, btw, it’s killing me we’re not in this year’s semi.

  77. So the rule changes by Gavin and Co involves 2 pts for long range scores.. No back pass to keeper and keeping 3 in opponents half at all times.. There was mention of a hooter too… The fast players like Tommy C wud love more space you’d think.. We’ll see cos that Derry set up the last day was chronic.. As jacko said after very hard find space when they pull everyone back inside half..i remember him saying yrs ago if they did that in kerry he’d get bata agus bothair.. Haha

  78. Would like to see Championship go back to the old format of qualifiers and the August Bank holiday quarter finals no Super 8 or groups nonsence and the 3rd Sunday in September All Ireland Final.The other 30 counties can start club championships once there out in August.

  79. Has there been a slight drop in form from david clifford , he doesnt seem to be as spectacular lately .

  80. Clifford acts as a foil in some games. He’ll get plenty of back door loving from the Armagh defence.

  81. Again, I would say Kerry and probably Donegal’s defences are equal to Galway’s. Donegal have this 4th quarter push in them like the 2012 Donegal had and I think it’ll take something monumental for Galway to beat them. Walsh is an amazing talent but he can be kept quiet and I think McGuinness will have a plan for him.

  82. @Roco88 nice post and good to see a fresh voice. I agree with all you said. I’m living in G almost all my life actually (born in Mayo and stuck loyal to the colours) but it’s been tough being a staunch Mayo supporter here and frustrating as hell seeing the different mentality. We absolutely need more steel and determination. I remember in 2012 Donegal embraced the hype and really went at it on and off the pitch. Mayo should be the same. I remember walking down Main St in Castlebar before the ‘21 final and hardly a flag to be seen. Really weird atmosphere. Next time we get there, whenever that is, we should go full throttle and believe.

    Anyway, I agree with you re County Board. I’m not sure there’s half enough innovation and progressive minded heads there. I think Mayo needs something unique done to tap into the advantage we hold over so many other counties, Galway included. That is, the massive level of interest in ‘Mayo’ and the desire to win an All Ireland amongst the people. Every corner of the county in schools the kids want to play football for Mayo. Boys and girls. We do nothing more at bunscoil level than any other county…just the standard cuman na mbunscoile stuff. Nothing different. We should have a Mayo Kids Club or some ‘club style’ set up rolled out it across all national schools from 3rd to 6th which focuses solely on skills development – foot passing, shooting, hand passing, overhead catching where the emphasis is on equal accuracy off left and right. It would be run alongside the primary schools competitions and it would compliment it. Endorsed by senior county players showing a skills video sent to schools. There would be levels/targets etc for kids to reach…special skills games and dats out to promote/showcase and compete to become the top at specific skills etc in different categories. It would significantly increase the skills level of kids going into our secondary schools where it would be then a given that all players with any aspiration to play for the 1st year schools team would be strong off left and right, foot and hand. This would have obvious positives for our academies and right up the system. If I won the Euromillions I’d set this up myself!! Surely a Smyths could back this…massive advertising etc.

  83. Sam Og moving the finals to September ain’t happening. They’ve committed to the split season & it is 100% the right decision for the most important stakeholders, ie the players. Club players (which is every GAA player) have an exact starting date for championship. Messing with that is not right. I personally ratheted the finals in September, but it is what it is & we as we’ll get used to it.

    The format – it’s going to be changed next year but God only knows what they’ll come up with!!

  84. @Pebbles, you forgot a few Rookie teams that Mayo fell to in the Final.
    It’s just one of those sad tales in Sport.

    Meath 1996
    Donegal 2012.

  85. #@Pebble that us utter tosh. We capitulated against Meath in 96, possibly the worst ever cock up ina final by any team. Kerry absolutely pissed on us in 04 & 06. We made a shocking start against Donegal in 2012. We were very close to the great Dublin team in 2013, 2016 & 2017 but we didn’t get the job done, despite being as good as them on the day in all those finals..we didn’t perform agaisnt Tyrone in 2021.

    We had enough chances. We didn’t take them. I hate Galway but best of luck to them..maybe we’ll learn something off them in the process

  86. Great idea about the skills development plan in primary schools mayonaze

  87. Aido’s comments to the Irish examiner podcast looks like he’s staying on and already planning for next year – great news. Combined with Sean Burke’s insight into Cillians plans, that’s good news all round! Would be Great to see keegan come out of retirement (unlikely) and maybe Mullen back from oz (less likely as contracted to end of 2025 season with geelong) to give it one last hurrah for the older guard!

  88. We lack self belief imo.
    The reaction to the Dublin game was poor. We were completely demoralised by the draw. Contrast that with the Rossies first half in Omagh, where they seemed to have gained so much confidence from the exact same group.
    The draw in the Hyde was an inspirational result that broke the Dubs aura for the entire country, except us.

  89. Mayonaze, your skills development idea is a good one and was rolled out in mayo primary schools in the early nineties. 16 coaches , one of them being Liam McHale ,co-ordinated the testing of the skills and every school that participated was at an awards night. I still have the photos from that night. It was in the first 5- 10 years of the formation of Cumann na mBunscol mhaigheo. Ànotjer initiative was the radio schools sports quiz with Willie the Shoe( remember him). Hard to believe we had more coaches in schools that time than we have now. Education has changed too,

  90. Club players got there way and there still going to America so they should just change it back, Mayo Senior club football has never been as bad, terrible to watch, and how far were Ballina and Westport of Corofin and Moycullen the last 2 years .Even the Divison 1 league in Mayo most clubs now dont even start there best 15 ,Club football is not taking serious enough in Mayo to much emphasis on S and C and defensive structures than skills like shooting and man on man defending which we were the best at a decade ago ,Our local media really hype up the standard of the club game in Mayo when in reality its really poor.Crossmolina 2001 team would comfortbaly beat the present day Ballina team.You would see better soccer games in Mayo at Adult level now than Gaelic.

  91. Totally agree Roco and Mayonaze, it’s the coaching all the way up from U8 and U10s that needs to improve in the clubs and the clubs need more support to raise coaching standards. We don’t have enough players coming through who have mastered all the basic skills. What I think is needed in Mayo are underage structures and supports put in place that are the envy of other counties & I think until that happens we’ll be close often enough like the last 30 years without ever winning the big one. It’s not that Mayo isn’t improving coaching and producing better footballers – other counties are at it too.

  92. It’s a Galway and Kerry final for me. Galway should have too much firepower for Donegal. Jimmy is winning matches again but he’ll have to wait another year or two. I expect Kerry to take care of Armagh easily enough. Derry managed to keep the two Clifford’s and Seanie O’Shea quiet yesterday but I can’t see Armagh repeating the dose. I’d like to see Galway take Sam west of the Shannon but Kerry to do what they do best and bag another All Ireland this year.

  93. with you one hundred percent. When Galway footballers are going bad it’s only a rubbish game sure we follow hurling and when the football improves they all jump on the bandwagon. A couple of things about the game I’d be interested in hearing from fairness there has been no excuses but are management getting any stick after bowing out. It looks like they wanted to blow Galway away in the 1st half by starting all the big guns and it backfired as they hadn’t much impact off the bench and finished with Costello, mannion, McCarthy, mccaffery and murchan on the sideline whereas they were on the field against us at the end. Also having no left footed freetaker when needed though there were 2 on the line. Galway also had the bit of luck needed like the free in against fitzsimon was ridiculous and Costello missing the free with 2 left sided takers on the line and con missing the last chance after Conroy inexplicably giving the free away to Dublin. So for me Galway had a huge slice of luck on the day combined with a good 2nd half but i think Donegal will take them the next day. . I congratulated them in an earlier post and once is more than enough.

  94. Back again.. For me derry tactics were disgusting and not far off assault and I’m delighted they are out.

  95. @No doubt your spot on agree with you to. I said fair play to them is well&congrats but my god anyone but them for sam and if that makes me a petty person so be it.

  96. @Rober be careful what you wish for with skills development.
    My friends grandson is on the Meath u12 development squad,there are 70 in the group so coaches don’t even get to know their names.
    They spend half their time doing drills and half on S&C.
    He reckons they are coaching the individual skills vout of the young lads.

  97. Some good posts above, some Mayo followers praying Galway get bet as they will find the slagging hard especially the many Mayo fans living in Galway.
    I met a Mayo man at a underage club game in Claregalway in 2022 when we were preparing for the All Ireland final.
    He said he hopes we were beaten as he couldn’t cope with the slagging.
    Straight away he went warming up his squad of under 16 Claregalway lads including his son ..
    I said to myself he is doing great work for Galway football yet he still couldn’t bring himself to wish us well..
    In relation to the game I believe it will be another tight contest.
    Louth didn’t offer much defensively and Ger Brennan admitted himself afterwards they need to work on bettering the system..
    We’ll keep them to 15 or 16 points so the key then will be making sure we get the best out of scoring forwards .
    Walsh will be fine as will Comer, Mc Daid is flying, so I’m very optimistic..
    Looking forward to the two week build up ..

  98. Tuamstar , keeping teams to 15/16 pts seems to be a very good plan imo , i think its the key to beating the top two or traditional big two . I think the dubs nearly always reached 18 plus when they beat us . Do you put this down to a better defensive structure or more individual defenders have improved ? The likes of mcgrath for example , hes like a fuckin demon , no passing him

  99. @Tuamstar, maybe all Mayo supporters are praying that Galway will be better in the next game.

    Let’s say both Galway and Kerry made the final, I wouldn’t fancy Galway to be Kerry, this is the one team that Galway always struggle with, it’s a long time since ye beat Kerry in the all Ireland final or even semi.
    Ye would fare better v Armagh and Donegal but ye will need Walsh and Comer at their best, did the Galway fullback struggle on Con v the Dubs ?, I didn’t see the game, only highlights.

    What is Galway’s record live v Donegal in the championship, I don’t think they ever met?

  100. Awful shite when ya hear oh I don’t want Galway to win.. Just because of living next door, like it’s an amateur game. It won’t be any skin off our nose if they God we had our chances. So good luck to them. Not enough coaching of proper skills to young kids.. Two feet, vision.. All drills and a match.. Saw it with my own club for yrs. There’s under 12 teams doing S&C work.. Can you believe that. Like get the skills of the game right first… But as I keep saying, sorry to annoy people.. The rules allow this defensive rubbish too… No risk back and over.. Skillful players I know have said feck this craic.. Why bother with no space and everyone behind ball.. Gooch and Brogan said as much few yrs ago.. They’d hate to be corner forwards now. As soon as the ball was thrown in the the l last day.. Louth ran everyone back behind ball… Should not be allowed..its 10 or 12 yrs like that now esp with northern teams and the lesser ones. Making an absolute balls of the national game.

  101. Best of luck Tuamstar, I truly hope yee win it outright. Enjoy the buildup and the excitement.

  102. Its a long road still to a final never mind winning it with big beast Kerry in the last four. I think Donegal will be a hard nut to crack, they look strong all over the pitch the only thing that gives me a doubt about them is the 18 points a Louth team who ran out of road with 20 minutes to go were still able to score against them. I think Jimmie will go way more defensive against us. The smart money would always be on Kerry in this situation as I’m sure they see the AI is almost on the train home at this stage. As for 1998 and 2001 so long ago now my recollection was that Galway went into both of those matches as underdogs.
    I dont mind the Mayo fans being bitter as ye have been so close so many times but just failed to get over the line, its torture and unpleasant like following the Galway hurling. We were blessed to get over the line in 2017 which has slightly glossed over a terrible record in finals. Its not like I would be hoping Tipp would win or Cork or Kilkenny and if they were in a final against each other I might not even watch it. Limerick are not the traditional big three so I get a bit of satisfaction seeing them doing what we should have been doing for years. They have made hay with a generational team something which eludes Galway.

    We will need Shane fit, I think Sean’s influence has been marginal this year unfortunately and Its unlikely he will take part in the semi final. Hernon is a serious player who luckily for us has come back into the team just when he is needed.
    Tickets out this week so hoping they are doing a kids ticket cheaper, the lads still talk about the Armagh game from 2022 and the atmosphere and that’s what the GAA is really about in my opinion.

  103. Am I after reading this post right? The top man of the Mayo GAA blog has publicly stated he hopes Galway win the All Ireland?. They laugh at ye snd despise ye more than us, and i’m a Rossie. Ye really are gone soft, no offense intended.

    I’d like to see Donegal win it out. Jim Gavins mantle as the best ever would surely be taken by McGuinness if they do it.

  104. Now that the dust has settled,

    If the last 2 years have proven anything its that we put far to much stock in league performances.

    Who’d have thought that,


    Would all be gone before the semi final.

    As a Kerry supporter if I was told that before the start I’d be pleased to say the least.

  105. @pete how is it awful shite to say you hope galway get beaten? Yes we had our chances 100% we did and that’s the worst thing. Do you not think all the finals /semis we’ve been galwegions our there been hoping the same??

    It’s that even now galway are through to the semi final they still take the time to be slagging us I don’t think they ever crossed our mind when we were in one.. I lived in Galway for a year to most are great craic to be fair but once you say your from mayo that’s another story…

    We fucked it up big time this year I like mcstay but they got the tactics wrong tbh. And I know there was lots of games at once but as even colm boyle said we can’t use that as a reason for our worst half of football v derry in first half though looking at kerry v derry yesterday thank god derry are out. Hope rule changes are brought in fir defensive play but what can you do about that??

  106. Pete,your comments are better off been kept to where they belong-in the pub.We are all entitled to a measured analysis of players, but to suggest that some of our players were “mules”,then I for one take exception to this-and before you reply with a generic reply such as, ‘being too soft on them’ or ‘too protective of our stars’,let me tell you that you should put on a pair of togs,do the training,put yourself in their boots,and then maybe you might see things a little differently, and for the love of God stay away with your Jimmy Sloyanisms.

  107. I don’t fully get the rationale of wanting other counties to win or lose games. At the end of the day mayo people should look at other counties and pick the good out of them and where possible apply it to ourselves.

    For example – the belief Jim McGuinness installs in his players.
    Jack Oconnors able to mix up different styles of play to suit the opposition
    PJ throwing off the shackles and going for the throat of the dubs whilst building a squad strong enough to use his bench.

    On the flip side if we look at some of the worrying things YTD, two outside managers in Burke and Harte seem to have disrupted their squads. Does this mean Mayo should be looking for an outsider?

  108. Pete – as a new contributor on the blog, with an awful lot to say in a short space of time and now someone who is straying from what’s allowed here and what isn’t, it’s past time for you to read the house rules, which are here. Please have a proper read of these rules before you attempt to post a comment here again.

    For your information, derogatory comments about players (and your ‘mules’ crack falls into that category) aren’t allowed and posting nonsense about what county is or isn’t despised similarly isn’t allowed. I’m afraid I have to put you on the moderation watch-list until I’m happy that you can be trusted not to continue posting daft stuff like that.

    All – I’d appreciate it if everyone expressing how much they hate other counties would kindly refrain from posting such rubbish here. It’s all more than a little embarrassing and I’ve run out of patience on that front at this stage.

  109. Right Pete, time to call a spade a spade here. You can rest assured, we certainly wont be winning Sam in the next 30 years. Our player pool is too small for a start.

    Mayo won’t be winning it either because ye are not ruthless enough as a County. The vast majority of Mayo supporters here wishing Galway well is exactly your problem.

    I doubt Kerry lads would be hoping Cork win Sam if they were knocked out? Or Tyrone rooting for Derry?. I always thought in your prime ye didnt have the minerals required to win it. Over eulogising of players is another big problem. Ye have unintentionally created a warm safety net for failure. Managers can fail year after year with no repercussions, same with players who are not up to standard in games.

    I include Roscommon in this, but the one thing I detest hearing is “ah sure the players give up their time”. Players in the top 16 counties do very well for themselves. Always sorted with jobs, get expenses, food, protein, gear. Its a privilege to represent ones County, but players and managers are not doing it for free.

  110. It’s kind of wasted thoughts anyway – with Mayo we all play every ball with the team and are so invested to the point of it being quite stressful. But now Mayo are out, we literally have no say and what we hope will or won’t happen will have zero effect on what actually happens.

    So sit back, relax, watch the games and enjoy them (something that I find harder and harder to do with Mayo games) and may the best team win. There’ll be a few twists and turns yet

  111. Western Gael, you’re talking like Mayo and Roscommon are somehow on the same level – we’re not. Using a lack of playing pool for a reason not to have won one single solitary championship game in croke park in 45 years or to have not beaten Mayo in championship in your home stadium in 23 years. Get over yourself, in the words of keano “give me a break”

  112. Apologies for my part in that @WJ. I shouldn’t have taken the bait. Everyone who ever donned the green and red has my utmost respect and admiration and I hate to hear them blackguarded.
    Anyway our day is done for ’24,so may the best team go on and win it.

  113. @wilie Joe also apologies is well for my part in it my love for the green red the last week has also taken the bait the last few days.
    We will be back as always next year.

  114. @westerngael, I’d agree on the lack of ruthlessness to a degree, but I don’t think it’s entirely true for all players, take someone like Cillian O’Connor or Keegan. Definitely ruthless types. But generally I take your point and I think Mayo and it’s supporters need more of a ruthless mentality

    What I don’t take is the line about even in our prime we ‘didn’t have the minerals’, that’s just bull to be honest. We were unfortunate enough to come up against the greatest team in the history of the GAA and only lost by a point, twice when everyone else was getting trounced.I take absolutely zero satisfaction from that it’s no consolation in any way, but to say we didn’t have the minerals is rubbish. And I remember Mayo being quite ruthless in the run up to some of those finals…you were probably there for one of them. If you took that Mayo team from 2016 and had them now I think it’d b as close to certain that they’d win an All Ireland and possibly a few. So, it was bad luck, something we’ve had an awful lot of.

  115. Green and red maybe you should change your name to maroon and white if you really think P Joyce is way ahead of McStay as a manager. He came in to Galway job in 2019 on the back of good success at underage. Galway have developed a strong squad and have some of the top players in the country. Any forward division would welcome Walsh, Comer and McDaid into their set up, 3 brilliant players. Finnerty excellent as well Conroy is a great midfielder as is Kelly when fit, and in fairness to them they have developed a strong defence. Yet despite that brilliant attack they rarely throw off the shackles and play with flair. Last Saturday in the second half and final v Kerry in 22 was something of an exception. Yet despite all their talent they have appeared in one final.They have lost to us frequently followed by an outburst of whinging and were lucky to beat us this year. McStay has taken over a team in transition , won the league (v Galway) and has made us competitive despite the relatively young age profile especially of our defence. When he is 5 years in the job like PJ, (though obviously you think 2 years is too much) then do your comparative analysis. Jack o Connor obviously has a decent record but then he has a fantastic set of players to pick from. Armagh Co Board have got some stick for persisting with McGeeney. They have been very unfortunate in losing 3 games on penalties ( he didn’t take any of them) but now have got their reward by getting to a semi with a chance of further progress. As for Jimmy, for me he is the best. He took over Donegal after the most embarrassing of knock out defeats to Armagh in 2010. Within a year he was making life difficult for the big boys and won All Ireland in 2012. They took an unmerciful hiding from us in 2013, but ambushed Dublin in 2014 and were unlucky in AI Final. Ten years later he is back performing heroics again. Truly a super manager, who is innovative and gets a county, supporters and team, to buy into his style.

  116. Sean Burke, one man who in my opinion is absolutely integral to our management is John Divilly..
    He watches every game from the stand and is the voice at the other end of PJs earpiece..A shrewd highly intelligent coach, our defence has been excellent as a unit but yes Mc Grath and Glynn are top class defenders, both All star material.
    Batetheblanket Fitzgerald struggled on Saturday, his pace or lack off doesn’t help, Hernon is some option to have to fill in there…

  117. Mayo were excellent against Dublin. It was ironic that the Dublin player who scored the equalising point was the same player who threw Rob Hennelly’s tee to the back of his goal in one AI final. The thing is Mayo are fair and play football.

    I don’t think Jimmy will win any more matches this year. They looked anaemic enough v Louth for long periods. We brought in some good lads in the league – Hernon and Tomo good to influence games. By all accounts a huge support travelling the next day – ideal throw in time. Thanks, CP.

  118. Im not sure about minerals but we coneeded 1-17 in 2017 final ,and 1-15 in 2016 replay .

    Kerry beat them in 22 holding them to 1-13 & galway held them to 16 points last weekend . When we beat them in 21 it was low scoring 0-17 to 0-14 after extra time .13 a piece in normal time .
    Its not a definite pattern of course, just seems to be a lot of the time the bigger sides are beat you dont conceede more than 15/16 points.

  119. The teams with a long-range point scorer next season will not be held to anything under 24 points. It could spell the end of “puke” football indeed.

  120. In the interest of accuracy, Charlie, I believe the tee was tossed into David Clarke’s goal! That was in the 2017 final after Rock scored what proved to be the winning point and half of our lads were about to be wrestled to the ground. What a chance we missed for payback for that in those final seconds at Hyde Park a few weeks ago.

  121. Hello folks.. Have been a fan of the blog for long time now. Willie Joe you have done a great job so fair play. Nice to see a forum where for the most part it’s very knowledgeable people, not just mayo folk who get to air their views.. Although Pete I think it was got the red card last night I was reading.. I think he was just looking to antagonise. Anyway, enjoy the posts, I’m a kerry man BTW but living in mayo for 15 yrs.

  122. How things can change in a few weeks. A month or two ago, according to the pundits, Dublin and Kerry were miles ahead of the rest. Remains to be seen about Kerry but if you ask me its wide open this year. Only shame we are not in the mix. A bit of luck (a bounce, a catch, etc.) in any one of those games – Galway, Dublin, Derry would have changed the season. I am beginning to believe in the curse.

  123. Any truth in the story about the illnesses in the Dublin camp and the meetings held on zoom the week before the Galway game? Personally I think aside from any rumoured illness there were a few things in that game that contributed to Dublin losing as much as Galway winning so I’m not sure yet how they’re fixed to win sam.

  124. Assuming the Frc get rules brought in it will be worth having a smaller panel to put as much budget as possible to:
    1.Fully understand the rules including edge case scenarios and including long dialogue with referees.
    2. Researching the best way to coach the new rules.
    3. Research the best tactical strategies to utilize the new rules.
    4. With the smaller panel having less dilution of the effort per player to be coached in the point 3.
    5. Selecting the final panel based on consistency of performance of point 3.
    A team that goes overboard in literally putting significant panel budget into being best prepared for the rules could possibly win the All Ireland.
    The more radical amount of rules brought in the more important this becomes.
    The rules would have to be understood on a performance data analytics level.
    There will be little nuances one could have locked away to unveil in late championship.
    Already we should be readying our process assuming there will be new rules. What is that full process by which to best execute on new rules. Every other big team is busy with the All Ireland series. Steal a march in preparation.

  125. @No Doubt, Whatever about Dublin possibly having sickness, I seen four Galway players on the field that a doctor would have rightly signed as not being near full health.

  126. @No doubt that’s interesting to hear didn’t hear that.. I think though their will be a few retirements from the dubs team but they dont owe Dublin anything. They will be a few years rebuilding massive mistake they made not blooding younger players in.

    One thing about our team is at least they are young have time to learn and will come good..

  127. Thanks, Norm, welcome aboard. That wasn’t a red card last night, by the way, more a black I’d say but, then again, I’m colour-blind!

  128. Rumour has it, Clare, that Farrell didn’t want it discussed as it would be seen as whinging etc. Peter Canavan is man who revealed it on RTE. There’s truth in everything if one looks hard enough but I’d say many of the panel have had it regardless of the rumour. They’re jaded and Dublin hurling has been pursuing 3 of them to give a hand for some time.. that’s the size of it. Lights out for them for several yrs. Can’t see 8 of them returning IMO. The wife is clued into the scene… so she reckons. I’ll get my coat!

  129. @mark Dempsey ah Ok.. Yeah agree with you even if they had illnesses in the camp I’d say a good few will go also!

    Think it’ll be wide open for a good few years which is great for the game I don’t think kerry will be dominating either.

  130. Eight of them not returning? I’m not sure you’re being serious Mark?
    I could see some from the group Cluxton, Fitzimmons, MccArthy, Mannion and McCaffrey walking away.
    I’m also not going to be shocked if they all stay on as they all look fit enough to stay on.
    Possibly some of the 2011 minors might retire or take a year out. They have plenty coming in.
    Lee Gannon was a great addition, got injured. Colm Basquel, Paddy Small all able to cover. Tom Lahiff is getting more minutes. Sean McMahon has improved.
    Where I see them is being in the pack with us all and no longer being able to put long winning streaks of matches together.

  131. That’s my opinion JP, take it with a pinch of salt please but I also predicted Mr Harte would be going out against the Red and Green.. enough said. I’d be very surprised if some relatively youngish players with 6 and 7 Sam’s don’t call it a day. As Clare said, they could well end up playing with complete strangers due to the oversights regarding young lads being blooded.
    I’m probably talking crap but there’s an issue there. I’d bet it depends on what Dessie decides himself.

  132. @JP I actually think a hand full of them
    Will go for sure wouldn’t be surprised if Mccarthy goes I thought he would have gone last year and cluxton us well.

    Agree with you @mark Dempsey they should be bringing in new guys dubs now anyways.. Mix it up a bit.


  133. Willie Joe
    Just wondering do you have a plan to rake over the coals of the last year or maybe even 2 years. From what I see there is a big appetite for analysis. Always love hearing from recent past players and what they think.

  134. A serious Question to all the people who are constantly worried about our team and management,what will keep you happy ,when you won’t have anything to complain about until the FBD starts,surely you will all be complaining that you have nothing to complain about,for my self I am going on a cruise shortly I intend to enjoy without complaining,a couple of visits to theatre,I intend to enjoy it,I will hopefully be fit enough to get to see Mayo next year,I will of course attend with the same optimism as I have for the last sixty odd years,I see that AOS is already preparing for next year,that is how I expect the team and management to approach next year,all the best

  135. What’s going to keep me happy Corick is watching the Corofin style of play implemented by Galway, Kerry and Donegal over the next few weeks. Great to see 3 teams with that clear defined playing style.

  136. I wouldn’t be losing sleep over Dublin retirements including Farrell himself.
    Would there be any ex Dublin player interested in managing Mayo. The job gets more challenging by the year.
    Hopefully, our management have learnt something this year
    Are there any dates fixtures for club championship?

  137. Donegal and Kerry play a nice brand of football but Galway’s style under Joyce is not easy on the eye but it gets them results and if it wins them an all ireland they won’t care.

    Outside of the london game Galway have averaged 14 scores a game, their highest return was against Mayo with 16 scores.

    Donegal have averaged 20 scores and Kerry have averaged 21 scores.

    The key to Galway this year is to suck the life out of a game, back their solid defence, keep games tight and see out a win.

    They don’t play some type of Tiki-Taka flowing football that some posters here are making out.

  138. Donegal play a counter attacking style and are devastating when they get the break and have the opposition trapped up the field.
    I find it hard to warm to that and it doesn’t particularly inspire me.

  139. Ontheditch

    I’d be stunned if a Dub wanted to manage mayo. As a man who makes the commute from mayo to Dublin on a regular basis it’s a horrible drive especially going through Roscommon that has no infrastructure whatsoever. Also I can’t see them having much love for Mayo, regardless of the money. Brennan got involved with Louth because he knew he wouldn’t be a real threat to Dublin and it’s a close county to reach by drive. No doubt he will be looking at the Dublin gig should be available. For me I can’t see any relevant Dublin man manage mayo.

  140. Green, lol ,only Galway will play that style,as well as Mayo,I fully expect Galway to win this year,followed by Mayo next year

  141. @Corick, what happened your prediction that Mayo were going to win this year?

    It’s all being set up nicely for Kerry to win, but could any of the three others win ?

  142. Corrick as a matter of interest and with all due respect can you explain what you believe to be the corifin style of play with some detail.

  143. @Mark Dempsey: Not so sure I’d buy the “complete strangers” line.

    Fitz & Cluxton didn’t play league football for them this year. McCarthy (24 minutes) had less than half an hour and Mannion (38 minutes) just a little more than it. Of the ~7350 league minutes available, Dublin had 5634 of those going to lads 29 & younger. I’d imagine the majority of those wouldn’t be on the list of 8 potentially stepping away, though the comments on hurling could include Con.

    Haven’t double-checked but from a glance I’d imagine the +400 given to the u20 lads (Clancy & McEnaney) looks to be the highest in Division 1 given to underage lads (I’d imagine Tyrone would have overtaken them on Championship minutes for Cullen, McElholm & O’Hare). Give them back a fit Gannon, Byrne & Murphy next year and they’d absorb those potential losses better than most… and not a team in the country that could take losing Cluxton, Fitz or McCarthy without losing heavily from it. Unless they lose the majority of the lads pushing 30 – Costello, Kilkenny, Scully, McCaffrey, Fenton, J Small & Mannion – along with the 3 older lads they’ll be there or there abouts again next year. Not the force they were with terror coming off the bench, but still a hell of a side.

  144. Time will tell tsudo. Most of the above named are 30 or over. The class of 93..
    Not sure about Kilkenny.

  145. Good luck getting an answer 1985 🙂

    The biggest disappointment for me is the slowness of learning from obvious mistakes. Given how many years of intercounty experience the management team were meant to have possessed, all be it none as winners.

    Someone queried if Joyce can be deemed as good or better than McStay, he’s been in IC manager for less time and appears to have had more success.

    We have the panel of players that can win an all Ireland v the current top teams. Horan getting to 2021 AIF with essentially this panel he built shows that to be the case, as does Galway’s progression this year.

    I’m thinking Galway or Kerry this year. Galway if injury situation isn’t bad. Jim has worked wonders showing what can be achieved in few short weeks if you have a plan and player buy in. But I won’t be putting any money on anyone at this stage, that’s how open it is.

  146. IF a mayo GAA centre of excellence is ever built I wonder would a site in Deep South Mayo be a runner? With the amount of players scattered around the country it would make travel easier due to the fact Claremorris/Ballindine is just 20mins from the motorway…

  147. @Green and Red. I expect a fair number of the panel are Dublin based..there’s Alan and Bernard Brogan with Mayo connections.
    But I conced the likelihood is slim. I would be all in favour of an outside Mayo manager and if I had a choice Dublin Kerry or Brolly, I’d definitely be leaning towards a Dub.

  148. Do the pre-season comps like the FBD have any use at all or would it be better to scrap them and start the league earlier to allow some breathing space come championship time? The novelty of games in the dome in January is one thing but the games are not taken seriously and they are taking up precious game days that we are short of for the real stuff. If it’s a case of losing sponsorship money let them sponsor home league games instead.

  149. JoeG they need to go and to be replaced by the provincial championships if they are even needed. Make league home and away with the top 2 in final or top 4 in semifinals.
    Hard see it soon enough, with the conservative nature of Congress though.

    There’s loads of time for the split season and adequate games if most of the pointless games were done away with.

  150. @Mark Dempsey: Kilkenny is 30 this year, 31 by Championship next year.

    Costello – 29 by Championship this year (Byrne, Lahiff & O’Gara there too)
    Kilkenny, Scully, McCaffrey – 30
    Fenton, Small & Mannion – 31

    Even dropping all 13 of the lads hitting 30 or above next year (which I’d never expect to actually happen, just speaking hypothetically here) they’d still have a relatively competitive squad – before they add any other new names. It’s basically the squad they used for the league this year, with just Kilkenny & Fenton putting up big numbers besides (though obviously 2 of their better players in league and Championship).

  151. @ No Doubt No stick to management. In hindsight probably wrong team put out, but it happens. Dessie has been a great servant to Dublin football, so majority of us wouldn’t have a bad word to say about him ( I’m sure there’s a small minority, there always is ) There is rumours of a bug going through Dublin camp the week before the game. But I don’t think thats it. I just think a great but older team have run out of legs. Galway were hungrier in the second half. The right result, the better team deserved to go to the semis. For me personally I think Cluxton, Mick Fitz, and James Mc should call it a day. Not in any knee jerk reaction. The legs have lost a yard. They are absolute legends and owe us nothing. They are part of a team that have brought me some of the best days of my life over 13 years. In relation to yourselves, lot of negativity. You aren’t as far away as you think. Remind me of us between 2005-2011. I just wanted us to win it once and said I didn’t care if we never won a game again If we did that. Get behind your side, the game needs a strong Mayo without negativity.

  152. Cheers Hill 16. I don’t think we’re miles away too, as to be honest, there are quite a few teams of a similar level. All Ireland could genuinely be shared around for the next few years.

    Perhaps Pat Gilroy might be willing to work his magic with us? It has to be worth a shout at least. It’s so rare to see All Irelands won by managers who have not either won an All Ireland as a player or have previously managed a team to win one. Club All Irelands are great, but it’s just not the same. I’m not knocking our lads but it’s something to consider.

  153. People praising joyce over mcstay should remember joyce was a couple of minutes away from being knocked out of the connacht championship by sligo only for a last ditch goal by i think finnerty. It’s amazing the criticism at management considering they only lost 1 game to a dodgy free and drew with 2 of the 3 favourites at the start of the championship and getting knocked out on penalties something that shouldn’t be in our game. By end of p/qf record shows
    Mayo played 7 won 4 draw 2 lost1
    Galway played 7 won 6 draw 1
    Derry played 5 won 2 lost 3
    Roscommon lost 3(twice to mayo) and both derry and roscommon were longer in the championship it just shows how crazy the system is. I don’t think it’s wrong to say that management were extremely unlucky not to progress and they deserve another go at it. I could understand if the year finished like last year and sometimes think it might be easier to take if it had.

  154. @Hill16 great post. Your guys owe ye and the GAA nothing did what no other county will ever do as we say here by God we would love just one of those all Irelands that ye have..

    See Ryan O D is off to play in America for the rest of summer hope he has a ball an amazing player for us who gives his all!

  155. Gizmo I know an answer is highly’s just a load of old bluster and nonsense.I suppose if you keep saying mayo will win the all Ireland every year you might get it right eventually.Anyway we need to find ball winning midfielders for starters and as stated on here by numerous posters move away from this possession based football which is not only not working out on the field but is also driving supporters away from attending games with the sheer boredom of it all .At the moment I don’t think we enough players of sufficient quality to win an all Ireland

  156. Pat Gilroy would be a dream to have in Mayo but am I correct in saying that he runs a huge business in Dublin and simply doesn’t have the time. I’m pretty sure that’s why he left the Dublin hurlers. But if you could get him as a performance coach or dare I say use him as a form of psychologist it would be a good shout. I really do credit him for so much of Dublins success since 2011. He built an excellent team but more importantly a great culture within the group which Jim Gavin took to another level. In fairness Dessie has done his level best to keep those high standards but unfortunately for the dubs (and fortunately for us) the same level of talent doesn’t seem to be there.

  157. Gizmobobs I questioned whether Joyce could be considered better than McStay bearing in mind he is 5 years into the job whereas McStay is just 2. If Galway win this year fair enough. I did not take into account McStays tenure with Roscommon just as I wouldn’t be taking into account Jack o Connors stint with Kildare when evaluating him. Managing Roscommon is different, the choice of quality players is probably not as high as in Mayo and Galway though Roscommon do compete well in fairness. If I did take his tenure in Roscommon I could point to a Connacht title as well as a club All Ireland with St Bridget’s. However if we just keep the focus on Mayo and Galway it is my belief that PJ has underachieved. He has got some absolutely top class footballers on that team, a really mean defence and quality forwards. PJ was one of the best footballers I ever saw and the Galway team 1998 -2002 were a really entertaining attacking team. The present team is very cagey, quite negative and not great to watch. If they win this year his tactics will have worked. I said last week that I thought they had a good chance v Dublin if they went after them and they did that especially in the second half. Winning without Comer playing will and with Walsh off the field for the last while just shows the strength in depth they have. At the moment Mayo don’t have such strength in depth, but there was only a kick of the ball between us and them, and they edged Dublin while we drew with them. I think Mayo have improved this year and hopefully will continue to do so.

  158. New pod up on Patreon! Rob and I are joined by Stephen Drake to chat about Galway, Mayo’s overly cautious approach this year and what needs to change for 2025.

  159. Green and Red and others… Gilroy walked and came back as a sideline man but yes, he couldn’t give any more because of work commitments. I’m sure he’s burnt out with the effort it took to take a team to those levels but remember it was Mayo that forced him to walk the first time….,2012 semi final. I recall finding his press interview peculiar. He seemed between a rock and a hard place as to their first half display. Don’t think he reckoned he could resolve it so he packed up soon after. Some say he thought the hurling gig was an impossible task…. he’s been proved right.
    He’s a big GAA man but like politicians, they age rapidly in the role. McStay’s going nowhere but Gilroy on the sideline would be an asset and a half.
    Tsudo, thanks for the reply. Don’t know where you find the energy for your stats tbh. I suppose the problem is 30 somethings with miles on the clock and careers to nail down might be hard to motivate if a new boss enters the frame.

  160. The only comparison I’ll do between Joyce and Mcstay is to look at our mgmt on the line in the last few mins of the Derry game. Smiling, arms folded… ‘aren’t we great lads to be still in it’
    Cut to Joyce in the last 4 mins of our game. Tearing up the line, driving on players, rising the crowd, influencing the ref, his distain for us screaming we will not lose this game.

    This isn’t everyone’s style but it’s working!

    A rossie above said ‘ye are gone soft’..fact.

    The gushing over Galway on here is cringe. They are our rivals. We don’t have to like them. They don’t like us. If u live in or near Galway you’ll know this.

    As soon as I heard Joyce stick the knife into kev walsh a few yrs ago I knew he’d be taking over with one thing in mind. He has a winners mentality. Win at all costs. The ulster boys have it too.
    Where’s ours? 3 games, last 10 mins, we flopped.
    But the narrative on here is we aren’t far away?
    I said during the league Galway had a better league than us. They built a system at the back.. Hard. Tough. Thou shall not pass…
    What did we develop? Same players as yr before…
    What is jimmy working with? Same players….
    He has them bouncing…..
    See where I’m going with this?
    You team is a reflection of your management….
    Whoever is at the helm nxt yr has to build a tight, hard defence first off. We don’t need out full backs attacking.
    I’d nearly suggest a coaching school for forwards to be working on kicking from the 40.
    As supporters, the selfies and pitch invasions need to stop. The hard luck stories need to stop. Personally I think we need proven winners at the top and a new mentality.

  161. Galway’s big transition has been in defence.
    I saw the 2018 team lately and most of the defence has been replaced.
    The full back line defend very well, we could learn from them, good defence rather than good footballers in defence.

  162. Mark Dempsey,

    I agree Gilroy has had a few odd comments in interviews in the past but his work with Dublin was outstanding. He had to do the real dirty work behind the scenes regarding a reset in player mentality. Worth also remembering he had Caroline Currid in his backroom team too. If you could have him in some capacity within mayo football he would be good. Maybe even on that committee that picks managers. He’d know the right characteristics needed.

    Moose79 100% on the money regarding PJ. People say Gough gave us a few hard calls at the end of the Connaught final. Just at the same time Joyce ripped the head of him. No one in Galway complaining with how it all panned out. He’s had to deal with far more injuries than Kevin and had integrated loads of young players from U20 set up in recent years. Look at how he has developed the likes of Johnny Mahar and Cillian McDaid. I just hope we don’t come across as Galway supporters for pointing out the good in some rival managers.

    I remember a case when Kilkenny were playing Anto Cunninghams Galway in an AI final a decade or so ago. There was a free given against Kilkenny right at the death that Joe Canninng converted. Drew the game. Went to a replay. What stood out in my mind was the bollocking Acosta gave the ref over the decision as it happened in real time. Cunningham tried to cool stop him. A bad choice. The whole Kilkenny management went at Cunningham. Whilst it didn’t look pretty it signalled that the Cats had no intention of anyone pushing them around or giving and inch. They went on to win the replay.

  163. @moose79.i’m not sure how much dancing on the sideline affects a team for the better. Look at Gavin, Jack O’connor, Harte, Éamon Fitzmaurice and plenty more sometimes you’d need to check their pulse to see if they’re breathing and they’re all winners. It’s often banded about but it really is small margins. I spoke to plenty of galweigans after the sligo game and they were telling me mayo will walk through connacht and at least joyce will soon be gone and now after a bit of luck along the way he’s the greatest. You can have all the plans in the world but something in game that seems insignificant at the time can have a huge baring on how things pan out.

  164. Moose, I agree with you on this as something we need:
    “ a coaching school for forwards to be working on kicking from the 40.”
    Or at least to build this into individual player’s training over the next few months into next year. Being able to score from distance reliably would change the game entirely for us, would negate the stranglehold and outsized influence the blanket defence has over us. And it’d remove the length of time we’re doing the slow play.
    In general mastering skills more *precisely* would change A LOT for us, I’m sure of it.
    We need more in addition to our running game, which I still like. We are a good team. More laser skills would change everything.

  165. @Mark Dempsey: “… Don’t know where you find the energy for your stats tbh.”

    I mostly cheat 😉

    The ages I’d only know for Mayo ( – where you can quickly pull minor/20 years for 99% of lads and extrapolate age on Dec 31st) & Dublin ( where a quick IMPORT function in Google Sheets does all the heavy lifting.

    A shame that data isn’t readily available for all sides. It would provide a lot more context seeing how age profiles line up across the country.

  166. @Moose 79 your spot on. A rossie saying we’re gone soft says a lot.

    We need a ruthless manager in fairness to PJ that’s what got them over the line in connacht final after he ate the refs head off.

    Mcstay deserves one more chance but totally agree with everything you said there!

  167. After reading moose 79 I really think we need Mcstay needs to change his attitude for next year. He needs to start roaring and shouting on the sideline and stop just standing passively and seemingly half afraid to shout anything. He needs to start shouting at the ref, linesman and his players and also to urge the supporters to increase the volume. It can’t do any harm after what has happened this year. “Grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory”. I predicd a Kerry v Galway final with Kerry taking home SAM..

  168. Green and Red, I read a few ex footballers musings in my spare time. One thing I do remember is one of them, possibly Brogan the younger, recalling a get to know you session in DCU and Pat Gilroy calmly telling him (and others) that not one of them will play for him if they show one ounce of ego from thereon. The poseurs were warned and more than one was kicked into touch.
    Back to earth for a minute regarding Mayo..if some Guru was to step in to assist and there were green and red flags still fluttering in the July breeze, Mr McStay would know he wouldn’t be only one receiving the plaudits.

  169. Roaring and shouting on the sideline? Jim Gavin was very quiet on the sideline. I don’t see how you keep a calm head roaring and shouting.
    I seen a club manager once wearing a polo shirt on the sideline in a match where it downpoured rain. Tell me how you can keep a clear head to think when your facial expression is grimacing from the weather.
    You’re also as likely to turn a ref against you roaring and shouting.
    What Mayo has needed over the years is simply calm, quality decision making.

  170. Let’s see in the next few weeks what Kevin has to say on this season.

    His comments after the game – that lads need to learn faster – seemed to indicate that there may be some differences between how management saw the season and how we as fans saw it.

    I’d agree with Billy Joe’s assessment that we needed to make changes to the starting lineup for Derry, but at the same time I would feel that management decided to back the same young players who performed against Dublin. Not enough of those players got their heads right for throw in against Derry.

    Deciding when to back your young players and when you need to take them out of the limelight is one of the toughest decisions for any manager. Imo we got it wrong on the day, but at the same time, I’d rather we were wrong backing youth over experience.

  171. FrostT, not sure its just the players that need to learn faster…. The Aidan substitutions at the death after how they panned out for us in previous rounds, the use of Forwards as defenders and getting stripped off the ball, player welfare issues, and the slow attacking build up v blanket etc. are not exactly new and continue to pose serious problems

  172. JP the fundamental difference between Gavins style was that he never showed emotion on the sideline, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t every bit as ruthless as any other manager. His treatment of Bernard Brogan and Diarmuid Connolly was testament to that. He also inherited a winning team who knew exactly what they had to do, like pull 7 mayo players down at the end of 2017 final.

    As for McGuinness and O’Connor are very vocal on the line. I remember back to the 2009 final after 10 minutes Donnach O’Connor had won the first 3 balls in front of Marc O’Shea. After the third one Jack Oconnor ran down the sideline and called into O’Shea whilst hitting one of his fists into his other open hand, indicating for Marc to smash O’Connor on the next ball. He did and O’Connor went on to be completely taken out of the game. There is no harm whatsoever having a bit of fire on the sideline as long as the right decisions are being made.

    But as Moose said up above, or mgmt were smiling with the hands folded with 5 minutes to go against Derry and still went on to make some terrible tactical calls like pulling off O’Shea and Ruane. That’s worse in my opinion.

  173. Was certainly shouting on Galway V the Dubs. End of an era maybe. Of all the teams I watched, Donegal looked the fittest and scored with most ease. Kerry V Derry was amongst the worst excuses for a match I have ever witnessed.
    I just hope Kerry are as bad as Derry made them look or play. Please god let Galway, Donegal or Armagh lift Sam this year. I will give Mc Stay one more year to see how he goes but possibly some backroom changes are needed at this stage. Hope Springs Eternal. Mayo Abu

  174. Managers have different mannerisms on the sideline from Davey fitz going ballistic to Jim gavins emotion less robotic demeanour.What I hear is that mcstay is not only silent on the sideline but says practically nothing in general which isn’t surprising as it would be hard to see him giving the hairdryer treatment.we saw last year how carney ignored mcstays attempt to take him off .Anyway this management will still be in place next year but my view is that if haven’t learned enough from all the years of club and inter county management before they got this job then it’s unlikely that an apparition is going to appear to them now ..The “learnings” line is getting a bit weary at this stage.we made no progress this year as the results and where we ended up clearly shows .

  175. @jp agreed. It’s not about roaring and shouting. It’s the mentality I was referring to.

  176. Definetly don’t agree with the roaring and shouting towards refs espcially but oh definetly had an influence on him sometimes you slave to be a bit like that as a manager.

    Anyway please God may it be either donegal or Armagh for sam. Or kerry even!

  177. No sure why we saying, are lesson learnt this year. That a little simple to say. If we keep throwing away lead, next year, and a pattern continues, then yes, we have a problem. But lets look at this, fairly, we were in exact same position as Galway over Dublin, Con got a shot away, and went wide. Same position against Dublin, Costollo got ball and slipped, and so did DOC, to give Costello oppuntunity to score point to level match. Are we miles off, maybe, maybe not. If Kerry go out and destroy Armagh and either Donegal or Galway, then maybe we also miles off it. But we will know answer in next few weeks. I would argue that we also better than Galway in Connaugh final, and ref gave some strange discussions in last few mins.But that was our fault as oppose to ref fault as I think we should have done enough to hold on. Our starting backline in 2021 final, Padraig O’Hora, Stephen Coen, Lee Keegan, Paddy Durcan), Oisín Mullen, Michael Plunkett. That alot of changes over last few years, and maybe that why cant hold out in matches. But maybe next year, we will be more of a killer in these games. And have to look, at what other mangers around that will improve us, that currently free, that will improve us

  178. The big problem for the mayo management is that they have not created a bench after two years in charge. It’s been a historical problem for one of the management team who failed dismally in that regard after been at the helm for 3 years. It’s no good name dropping all these players in the squad. None of them crossed the white line in Championship. Compared to horan s tenure when 5 hit the white line in a year. Hession. Tommy, Ryan. McLaughlin. Mullin. Are people beginning to understand why I’m losing patience with management. Also we blew match s on the line with bad decisions. When this team cannot make a quarter final there’s a problem. Mcstay says we are not quite there. Who’s not quite there. His management team or the players… most of whom played in 2 previous final s. I know what I think.

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