End of another campaign

Mayo team AISF replay 2015

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

So it’s the end of another year of inter-county action for us. For months now – in reality since the start of the League campaign at the beginning of February – it’s been a case of moving on from match to match, always with an eye to the next one, as the tapestry of the long inter-county season gradually unfolded. But now, with a sharp suddenness, our inter-county year is over.

On the Monday morning after a game – win, lose or draw – I’d normally be ploughing through the match reports and analysis pieces. Not today, though – it’s all still a bit on the raw side for my liking. I’ll have to face the reports at some point, of course, as I need to gather up the various links for the results section. Once I’ve done this, the 2015 list can then be added to the archive, taking its place with the 114 years of results that are already there. It’s all part of our history now.

I’m not going to go back over Saturday’s match again now either but I can see the debate is still going on in the comments about it and about wider issues relating to where we go from here.  It’s great to see so many people still so engaged and enthused about what we need to do to ensure that we give ourselves the best chance of success in the future.

Things will obviously start to quieten down a bit here over the next while. Although the flame will dim over the coming months, it won’t ever go out entirely. Indeed, once the immediate pain from Saturday’s loss begins to subside (a week or so and the worst of it will be well absorbed) I’m sure it won’t be long before the sense of anticipation about 2016 and all it might hold for us will start to build.

We’ll keep coming back, of course we will. Up Mayo.

98 thoughts on “End of another campaign

  1. I have enjoyed this year:

    Very satisfying win in Salthill.

    What a way to win 5 in a Row!!

    Complete dominance over Donegal

    Comeback of all comebacks against the dubs.

    these were all great days.

  2. They were, indeed, Tony and it’s important to remember them. These lads have given us so many good days and on an incredibly consistent basis too.

  3. Hard believe it is over for another year. Great bunch of players. At this stage hard to see how we will improve next year but we live in hope. ???

  4. Well said WJ. We’ll be back, we always come back for more. It’s what we do.

    Some great posts from JP in the other comments. For us living outside the county (well, country in my case), it’s hard to have much first hand knowledge of the club scene, young players etc.

    JP’s comments on some of the young players in the county certainly perked me up no end. Of course there’s no guarantee with youngsters, it’s all pretty much raw potential at this point, but it’s encouraging none the less.

    I’d love to see Regan and Conor Loftus get an injury-free run for the next few months, the potential is certainly there for them to shake up our forward line.

    A massive thanks to all the players and staff who’ve given us so many more memories this year. They gave their all and let no-one down.
    When you look at the age profile of our squad, it’s still pretty good. Dillon, Moran and Clarke are the only ones who are 31 or over I think.

    And congratulations to Dublin. They deservedly beat us. No excuses.

  5. i find calls for McStay as manager somewhat bizzare to say the least. It is not as if he is a Jim McGuiness or Jack O’Connor that is laying in wait. Yes he managed a club team to an All Ireland title but its not as though it was a team that came from nowhere – they had won 2 or 3 connacht titles so whether he helped finally push them over the line is open to debate – they were already a top class team before his arrival….and lets not mix up club and inter-county football and demands and standards of same.

    I do remember a stint for McStay as Mayo u-21 manager and them drawing against Sligo on a saturday evening in Ballina in the championship in a match they let slip away – in the replay 2 days later in Markevicks Sligo beat them by 18 points….so please tell me all the McStay advocates – does being an analyst on the Sunday game really position you to be a much sought after manager?

    Would Willie Joe on this site not be a better option if analysis is the cornerstone of intercounty management? We certainly live in the age of celebrity.

  6. Starting to look forward to next year already. We are the 3rd best team in Ireland and if we learn our lessons from the Dublin match and inject a few new players into the team hopefully next year we will be number 1.

    League fixtures will be released in mid October and it’ll be time to start booking the hotel’s for the trips around the country.

    Looking forward to the county championship’s to distract me for a few weeks.

    Thanks W.J. for all the articles and analysis. I think you deserve a break it’s been a hectic few months.

  7. It’s over for another year, we have to move on and improve on what way we do certain things in the game. This years final has not even been played and it’s possible to see Mayo winning Connaught in 2016 and with a decent quarter final draw them meeting an ulster team in the semi, none of which are up unbeatable at the minute. I hope Mayo players and management see this for what it is, and that they prepare themselves by having a long rest and laying the plans ASAP to get the help in, in the form of players and game management.
    Thank you to them all

  8. Again Willie Joe, many thanks for giving us this fantastic blog and a platform for us to be able to share our thoughts.
    We need to be able to stick together through the tough times and the good. I don’t remember ever feeling this low too often but this defeat has me really hit hard. I was in better spirits after the ’04 and ’06 finals I think.
    I still think we’re on this journey that will one day soon see us bringing Sam west.
    I, like many other Mayo expats feel very distant from home in times like these but know deep down that we do have what it takes to take the holy grail one day.
    I’m already looking forward to next year. I was actually almost ready to make the trip from home from Australia if we made the final on the 20th but it wasn’t to be.
    I hope the players either read this blog or are at least aware of it but I cannot thank them enough for their efforts again this year. Training on those cold winter nights and the sacrifices they make definitely don’t go unappreciated.

    We are all in this together. That is what separates us from all the others. I know this team will come back. A few tweaks and blood a prolific forward or two in the league should be our main aims.

    Ar aghaidh linn.

  9. 2winjustonce if mayo learnt from there lessons they would have 3 or 4 all Irelands since 2004.. There’s nothing between mayo Dublin and Kerry its just mayo cant finish teams off and management making bad calls.. They will be there next year again I’m certain of that but so will the same problems..

  10. Use whatever lobbying power we have to get Stephen Rochford in as U-21 manager.
    Calls for McStay are irrelevant, he will be the Rossie manager tomorrow night with Liam McHale in as coach.
    We have the players at that level and a guy like him could make something out of them for a couple of years and if successful (I’m taking a big leap here) be a good eventual replacement for Pat and Noel

  11. Dec.. Agreed we do take a long time to learn and adjust. I don’t know why this is because it doesn’t take a genius to work out what’s wrong.

    I fairness to H&C and Horan their hands have been tied because of the lack of a really top class forward line. Excluding the Sligo game if you analyse our league and championship scores we rarely score more than 20 points and our average score would be around 15 or 16 points. It’s very tough to win matches when your only scoring 16 points and constantly conceding a couple of goals.

    Our forward line will not be significantly better next year and in fact we could be without Andy and Alan (good possibility). There’s nothing we can do about that. However even the worse teams can set up a defensive structure that is effective at stopping the opposition scoring goals. This is the most obvious way we can improve our chances of winning.

  12. Thanks to a great bunch of players for giving us so much enjoyment over the past few years, the game was there for the taking another point or two and the Dubs were gone.We are not capable of closing out a game when on top . management should have pulled back players to offset goals being scored and heed the likes of Mcguinness and Can a van and put a proper sweeping system in place .This is the difference between winning and losing and for God’s sake contest the kickouts,we did not learn one thing from the first day,and how did we finish with none of our established centre field on the pitch apart from S O She a Those players deserve better management than this.

  13. Hard luck to all our players-as usual you played your hearts out for that jersey.Another brutal loss but deservedly beaten by a better team.Diarmuid O Connor is emerging as a very good player and Patrick Durcan looked lively in the two games.But its still obvious we are seriously lacking a couple of ball winning forwards.Playing Sligo and the current Galway side is one thing but when you step up to the level of the Dubs and Kerry you have to be raise the bar even more.But O Connors emergence is a big help and maybe if we can find another forward who can win his own ball we will be close.However I think the management is way out of their depth at this level.Some of the decisions and lack of them were very strange.Why in gods name did they start Vaughan when he was obviously not fully fit and how did he last 34mins when he clearly was stuggling mightily.A complete waste of a substitute which could have been used later.The defence had no structure at all and was epitomized by Colm Boyle who looked completely confused which is very unlike him.He was chasing shadows all day.
    For a defence to concede 3-5 in fifteen minutes tells you enough.Horan had every player buying into his system and they all knew their jobs to a tee.Why wasn’t Higgins moved off his man after he scored four points from play? Can anyone tell me who was actually playing full-back? No one manned the position all day-Mcmahon had acres of space in front of him when he was clean through.On the other side O Carrolls return for Dublin added so much composure to their play.Why did we start the only 4 midfielders on the team-why not keep Moran in reserve and then they took him off for Alan Freeman! And then the biggest question all summer-what happens if AOS gets starved of possession inside?Answer-there was no plan B.The writing was on the wall in the league game against Tyrone in Castlebar.Everyone and their mother knew that Tyrone would play the Blanket defence and yet the sideline looked as if they were totally surprised by it and had no way to counteract it.I don’t want to sound too critical but these things are the difference between winning and losing at the highest level.These guys have the backing of the county board so that means they are here to stay.

  14. I would echo all said above. Players need a deserved rest and a break from everything. Probably should all take a week off and head off and do a few different things together. E.g. go play a few rounds of golf in some hotel and have a few pints if that’s your thing.

    Mayo county board should be generously giving them something outta what they get from that replayed semi.

  15. It was a great year with great moments to treasure. Shame about the result against Dublin, but they gave it everything they got.
    I don’t think we are that far away from winning it. On our day we can beat the best. Next year, we can definitely win Connaught again and if we get through the quarter finals (which we are certainly capable of) we would be due to meet the Ulster Champions. There is no team in Ulster we should fear.
    This year we got a hard draw and it could so easily have been us facing up to Kerry in two weeks time. Dublin are a very very good team and I think they will beat Kerry in the final. I don’t think Dublin will get a harder game than the two games they got against us.
    These Mayo players are amazing and I expect them to be back next year.

  16. Just watched the Sunday Game and while it was really a bad weekend for the west of Ireland, I am still very optimistic about the future of Mayo football and our chance at reclaiming the All Ireland title.

    Mayo were in the football wilderness for many years, now we are consistently in the top 3 or 4 in the country. While there are no medals for that, what it does do is build a culture of high expectation within the county and that extends all through the county into every home and every GAA club. The future is bright because there are young fellas out kickin balls today all because they want to be like AoS of Cillian. Success breeds success. The talent is there and will be here in the future too, but it can very easily disintegrate if not nurtured and coached (JP talked about this in a previous post here) Which brings me to the coaching.

    Looking at this past season, and particularly the two games against Dublin, it’s rather obvious we need one or two more forwards who can kick a point on sight. Realistically our opposition is not in Connacht for the foreseeable future. Wins over our neighbors give us bragging rights and sure makes us feel good, but in all honesty they are just warm ups. We all felt great after Aidan’s demolition job on Sligo and then to a lesser extent on Donegal, but the final four is where it’s at! None of the final four teams are turned over like that and that’s where I think we were found out yes, a few players short, but more tactically naïve.

    Yes it’s H&C first year and it’s still mostly the team that Horan built so they haven’t had time yet to build it the way they want to. But as the game was slipping away from us yesterday I couldn’t help but think this wouldn’t have finished as it did under Horan. We looked rattled and disorganized and truth be told, I couldn’t wait for the final whistle because that team didn’t deserve a beating like that.

    Now the odd thing is, I hadn’t had that feeling/fear in a long time and it got me thinking its a long time since we got beat like that in the c’ship by anyone! And as this campaign slips into the memory, that’s the one thing that’s sticking in my mind. In those final few minutes players looked dejected and our much vaunted management duo looked bankrupt of any ideas to stop the bleeding or rescue the game. I know the managers don’t step over the white line and it’s the players that ultimately must do it, but we just looked so lost and void of what to do in those final few minutes.

    So what to do? Many ppl I’ve talked to since say we should get rid of H&C and hire McStay before he goes to the Rossies. I have to admit I was hoping McStay would get the job last year but he didn’t so I rowed in behind this selection. What’s troubling me is that those lads looked so indecisive when the chips were down and that indecisiveness crept it’s way onto the field and into some players minds in those last few minutes. Dublin sensed it and were ruthless in hammering the hammer.

    So while we may be short a player or two in the scoring department, we are still IMO tactically naïve in big games. Having said that, it’s way too premature to call for any change with this management team. This was their first year and truth be told, we didn’t expect to make a final, but next year will be different. We expect to make the final and finals are only for winning. Anything short of that is a failure and would be grounds to try a new management setup.

  17. I agree with all that, especially with the leaking goals.. I still cant understand why for 2 games against Dublin that mayo kept launching poor balls into Aiden o Shea with no support, why not put o Shea centre forward charging at teams and have players running off him, that’s where Dublin are weakest.. I’m not saying it would have worked but launching hopeless balls was a disaster. Anyway lets hope they spend more time working on what needs to be done because the talent is there..

  18. James horan says in his piece in the western the team need to go away and relax for a while.they certainly deserve a break from hard training and schedule,I think we need to let them have a spell of normality.

  19. I think Pat and Noel will have learned a lot from this year and will be back cuter than ever next year.

    Personally I have drawn one big lesson , you get no second chances against a big team.
    Kerry last year and Dublin this year should have been put away on day one.
    We are not a big team until we crush these lads first time out.
    We are upper middle tier right now. I have confidence Pat and Noel can make the break through. The key will be the elimination of bad decision making during a game. This has to be coached out of them . Nothing on the sideline can prevent this , its too late then.

    bad marksmanship , balls falling into the goalies hands , hit and hope passing to the forwards, this stuff gets coached out in the winter, plenty food for thought for our managers.

    As for mcStay , bring it on , if he proves himself with the Rossies then he strengthens his case to be Mayo manager, if not then we get a free pass.

  20. These are players we can be proud of whatever the result. Great heart and grit and a lot of fantastic play in the first half esp.. Agree with other that perhaps you could question tactics and management calls but that has been well argued elsewhere. One thing I did notice about this team though (similar to 96/97) team is that their basic skills were not as good as Dublin.

    The unforced error count was 20 vs 9 to Mayo. Many of those unforced errors were skills failures i.e. poor foot pass, poor hand pass, foot/handpass on weaker foot. People talk about players making ‘poor shot selection’ in Game 1 vs Dublin. It’s more accurate to say these are execution mistakes – the players didn’t have the range or balance to kick accurately over 35 yards, or had poor technique of the weaker foot.

    a number of times, esp in game 1, Mayo forwards had the chance to fist the ball over the bar from inside 20 yards – they couldn’t do it. Others have pointed out that very few of our points came from the ‘classic’ corner forward positions on left and right where the ball is curled over the bar. Compare that to Andrews, Brogan and Kilkenny – who could kick these with ease.

    Botton line – we have great team players and some great footballers. TBD on management, but, Dublin had more players with higher skill levels and over 70 mins that does add up.

  21. I agree with James Horan. Thanks to the players and management for their efforts this year. I think we all walk around a little heavier after a championship defeat.

    Have just played the payers lotto fund there again. They deserve a break away, be that together or separate with their own partners/friends etc.

    Maybe we (the supporters) need a break too…

  22. Who were the standout players on that Junior team this year? There must be one or two good enough to make the panel anyway for the FBD at least?

  23. AOS has to go back to 11 where he was great last year. Our attack is way to focused on him when he plays at 14. Let’s keep three guys in the full forward line who will consistently score three point from play in every game like COC. You are just not guaranteed that from the likes of AOS, Doc or Kevin Mc which really is a problem. You can only have so many forwards who are “workers” on your team. You cant carry three. We need the likes of young Regan and Loftus coming through who really know how to score and it is their primary job.

    We also need to employ a proper sweeper(and system) from the start of the league like Dublin did this year with COS. It really paid off for them against us. We had not it practised enough and it showed.

    We are not that far away. Full back and forward lines need most work.

    Thanks WJ and to the Mayo Panel for the last 5 years.

  24. Interesting what Brian Cody said yesterday saying he never saw a match that was won from the sideline. It can only be won between the 2 sidelines. I wonder what he would have said if they had asked him had he ever seen a match lost from the sideline.

    Anyway next year in Connacht we will have home advantage if we have to play either or both Roscommon/Galway with a good chance of the Connacht final held in Castlebar to clinch the 6 in a row. Then a quarter final and a semi against the likes of Tyrone, Monaghan, Donegal, Armagh, Down, Derry. A realistic path to the final where either Dublin or Kerry will be waiting for us to inflict more misery on us on the 3rd Sunday of September. Unless we surprise them. Ya never know in a final.

  25. I agree with Horan.The lads need to unwind and let some steam off.Young Durcan and Duirmuid O ‘Connor in my opinion are great additions to team. I have a feeling we may see more of Mikey Sweeny next year. As I said yesterday we can talk about tactics,management, performance but the bottom line is we need to learn to close a game out against top teams. I firmly believe we will win our 6th Connaught title in a row next year .Keep the head up lads we will back cheering on these lads in Croker in no time. These young lads believe they will win an All Ireland all we have to do is enjoy it and support them .Until 2016 ……

  26. I fully agree Roger Coen as well. A Mayo man in crowd asked me who the hell is Stephen Coen as it was being announced he was coming on 🙂

  27. Above anywhere else, we need big changes at FB line. Just look at both Dublin games (even the sligo game) to understand why.

    And I agree Roger…I’ve said it for a long time…IMO Stephen Coen is a perfect fit for FB, he’s a fine young lad, well built, great with the ball, plus..he’s a leader and can marshal that FB line..we should have made that change this year, first in the FBD, then the league…but stuck with what didn’t work before.

  28. It’s been a privilege following this, the best Mayo team that any of us have ever seen. But life and support is cruel. To those who say next year that manager will be better cuter. We learned nothing from the drawn game, absolutely nothing. Connelly & Homes had nothing to what so ever to do our great come back from 7 down No change, tactical structure. Just great courage, and urgency by our great team, allied to a Dublin melt down. Management left out until the 60th &65 min to bring on Freeman and Barry and we were 7 down by the 55th min, that’s dreadful decision making For such an attritional game we didn’t even use all or subs. On Saturday we persisted with long poor balls into Aiden that he had no chance of winning, it was far from a success the previous Sunday, that not good enough. With all our brilliant midfielders we ended up with none on the field, no wonder Michael Darragh looked so good, this is the area of the field where Mayo has a decided advantage. In last year’s county final Patrick Durcan was left on Alan Dillon no change was made, hardly a success for Holmes, In the previous year All Ireland club final Owen Reilly was left on Diarmod Connolly, again nothing was done to improve the situation. I don’t like saying this but there is no room for sentiment, Holmes and Connelly have given an awful lot to Mayo football down the years & are very honest and hounerable, no doubt they love Mayo football as we all do.But for me they have to go. Now I want to thank all involved, we played some magnificent football along the way had many great days I want to also thank Mayo’s brilliant and abundant supporters, never seen as many of the Green &Red as on Saturday who have cheered on our team time and time again. Long may it continue. We are a resilient bunch. What will be will be, but will never win Sam unless we make changes, the bar is constantly being raised, the time to act is now!

  29. Like all genuine Mayo supporters I too feel gutted with the result but very proud of the team and honoured to have such men represent us. Being at the game, I did not get to hear the dribble commentary from the pundits. I watched Sunday Game highlights last night and it is worth mentioning that once again Ciaran Whelan came across as a thoroughly professional and decent individual.
    As to next year, it is tough for a small few supporters to go again for various personal or other reasons and that is for them to consider. However this team is extremely close – a few new recruits, a solid league run out for those boys in the squad who need more game time and a return to action for the core of the team after a well deserved break and we will make it to the very top next year. The reality is that to make it, these lads have to re-engage once more in the hard slog training – if they are willing to go there again and the management are willing to take their lessons from this year then we as supporters will go along with them again in 2016 every step of the way.

  30. For those who are gutted, it could have been worse. All things considered, (our setup, our sideline, our continued leaking of goals) we weren’t ready just yet, to face Kerry in a final.
    Based on Saturday’s performance, they could have handed us a good baitn’ and that would have been truly devastating.

    The players will continue on, for most of them believe they can win an AI with this group. Some will have to make way for new talent and that’s a good thing. But the future for talent is bright…(although I have some reservations about our management)
    And as Mayo people, as supporters, we will also continue on, supporting this team because for us, there is no other..John 6:66 comes to mind….”Master, to whom shall we go?”

  31. On Saturday due to an unavoidable family wedding, I missed my first Mayo game in Croker since 1967.

    Didn’t even get to see the second half – yet. I’m steeling myself for this later in the week.

    Roger Milla – seems to me you have hit a lot of nails on the head. Plus, the team gave us some great joy this year.

    It’s still a great time to be a Mayo supporter. The big losses are very hard, but that’s the level we are at, and must stay at.

  32. End of Another Campaign ?
    Well actually it’s the end of our 5th campaign with the same basic team.
    And this time next year it’ll be the end of our 6th campaign if we don’t make rapid changes.
    With such an experienced team to start with I think all management teams should be given just 1 year to get us over the line. If it doesn’t happen then the management moves on & another management team tries. Brutal & ruthless exactly the way modern day football is.
    If the management team were unable to make good decisions this year where is the evidence they’ll make or facilitate good decisions next year ?
    I agree with the post by ‘Lean Times’ above.
    We just have too much acceptance of standards that won’t win us an All Ireland.
    The time to act is now.

  33. Watched the game back, had to be done. Few things caught up with us.

    Starting Barry leaving no recognised midfielder on the bench meant the black card to Seamus O’Shea really hurt us.

    Vaughan going off hurt us in terms of a substitution down the home straight in contrast to Dublin who had the legs on us. Can understand the reasoning to start him as he’d be fresh after going off early in the drawn game. Didn’t work unfortunately.

    Being authors of our own misfortune is slightly easier to take than the debacle in Limerick last year but not much. Introspection is needed as to why we continue to write such novels but that’ll come over the next few months no doubt.

    I’ve been perturbed by some of the managements comments throughout the year. Who can forget “we never envisaged Tyrone to play so defensively” following the league game and ” I didn’t realise we only scored 1 point from play in the 1st half” after the Dublin drawn game.

    So much time for the lads, the amount of work they’ve put in and will continue to is incredible. Some played through the pain barrier on Saturday for us all.

  34. I’m totally disgusted with the GAA officials and the appeals process. Its a total shambles and Mayo were at the receiving end of this for the second year running. It feels like it does not matter, its only MAYO, and sure they will role over and take it like always!!!! Its like what Spillane said the GAA officialdom have the final they wanted from the outset. Before anyone comments that Connelly had no impact on the outcome, I would suggest that due to Connelly starting allowed Dublin to keep McM in reserve who overran us in the end, when we had no midfield.

    The GAA need to sit up and take notice or they will completely destroy the game, too many time have we seen officials deciding the outcome of games – it is soul destroying for supporters, what must the players be feeling???
    Its a game of half rules and its so so so frustrating

  35. Well said Cantini it wasn’t indeed like J Mcguinness coming to Donegal , K Mcstay coming here to St Brigids. They were a good team thanks to Mr O Brien, and only needed little tweak here and there,there wasn’t a need for ground up building.as I stated here yesterday morning people please stop about a new manager, Pat and Noel are the managers , not to long in the job so please give them a chance, and remember nobody’s perfect.

  36. Whatever about anything else, being outside the county and one of only a few “Mayos” around here, you sometimes get treated as if you were almost one of the back room team or the panel. Everyone’s got an opinion, and everyone’s an expert. “Why didn’t Hennelly learn to tie his laces” was one of the better ones I heard today at work, alluding to him perhaps rushing his kickout that led to one of their goals. pointing out the fact that our midfield had at that stage left the areana was of no use, and truth be told our backline had been fighting an exceptional fight up to that stage so it wasn’t as if the warnings weren’t there.
    The media are all experts as well, but I wont waste any more pixels on them, its all been said before. I use the quote below from Teddy Roosevelt to console me on days like today, because it sums up my feeling towards our players, and they are our players, never forget that. I’m sure they don’t give a damn what people might say, but it consoles me as it excellently puts into words why, in life, its always better to have tried and failed (not permanently hopefully), than to have sat on the fence and never have even given yourself the chance of glory. For moments over the past 5 years we have dared to dream, and to believe it could be done, I’m sure we will again until finally our day dawns

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

  37. Agree with Mayo Man in Roscommon and Cantini here.
    In Horan’s first year in Charge we nearly had an early exit from Connacht but for a last minute point in London, and we managed to get to the Semi Final only to be well beaten by Kerry. I appreciate that a lot of good ground work was done but Pat and Noel are only in the door under a year. They deserve a bit more support and they certainly deserve another year at the helm.
    There are a good crop of youngsters from the 2013 Minors, as well as the likes of Adam Gallagher and Regan who have played at senior level.
    If Cathal’s Freeman and Carolan can make a comeback into the senior level we have a lot more to choose from there.
    There are no doubt many others who I just don’t know about due to lack of exposure to Club games that we could be looking at too.

    I’m still pained over the result on Saturday but unless we’re playing again in the Championship this year, which we’re not, we need to start looking forward to 2016 and plan for that.

  38. Mister Mayor, when you say big changes in our full back line do mean individual positions or the formation of our defence. IMHO I believe the defenders did all that realistically could be asked of them.. tired legs with Dublin running at us from deep getting the overlap is what caused the goals this year as it did every other year. doesn’t matter how good a defender u are if u are left in a two on one situation. I agree with others that we need a well rehearsed sound structural defensive system that seamlessly transfer into attack. As game dictate AOS to be brought back to 11, extra cover for midfield in Gibbons.. but the really crucial thing is support for Cillian. Are Evan Regan, mikey sweeney, Freeman good enough? If we set up right, have plenty cover and forwards who can win ball and take their scores then we can beat anyone.

  39. Thanks to the lads for the work they put it this year. Durkan and DOC real finds. I can accept this easy enough as we were beatin by a better team. A few more players required. FB line had a tough time on sat. AOS no utilised prop IMO. Gud luck to Dublin in the final.

  40. Ann Marie was not having a go a o Shea by the I just said he was not at the races I have nothing against but his May position is midfield full stop.

  41. @toe to hand
    I mean both personnel and system. we were found seriously lacking pace and smarts on that line yesterday again…for example, one play in particular was almost a carbon copy of Brogan goal from 2013 that sealed our fate in that final….same three actors, Brogan, Hennelly and Cafferky. Ger was clearly caught out again but this time Hennelly advanced quickly ( taking Ger out on the process) and punched it away to safety…was comically similar to 2013 really, minus the goal.
    But it foreshadowed what was to come later. Paddy Andrews turned both Donnie and Ger too easily and got some scores too easily….Vaughan looked as if he was injured so I’d question why he was even on the filed to start with. Bad reads by the FB line overall. Yes we can blame the lack of a proper sweeper, but that FB line has the responsibility to prevent goals and..

  42. I don’t agree with the Holmes & Connelly bashing these past few days.

    We were 4 points up with 17 minutes left to play. The game was firmly under the players control to close out. The Dubs were dead on their feet and were unable to put any coherent attacks together. The Hill was quiet. In fact our defence broke them on more than one occasion. Blaming the side line is horseshit. A forwards primary role is to score. Our returns from play from our 6 forwards all summer has been poor. In my view we have 2 natural forwards (2 O’Connor’s) in our attack. To win an All Ireland we need, at the very least, 3 natural forwards. It hurts to say it but I’m talking about a hardcore instinctive forward like a McManamon, Brogan, Andrews – players whose first instinct on receiving the ball is to glance at the posts, shoot, and score.

    Also were H&C to blame for 3 poor decisions from Hennelly? At the highest level matches are often won by the side that makes better judgements on the ball – i.e. less mistakes.

    So for the positives. The personnel is there to win Sam. That includes the Managers. The talent, the conditioning, the skill, and the bloody will to finish the job is still there. Introduce and stick with Loftus from Crossmolina, Regan, Coen, Byrne – give them game time. Let them learn their trade in Div 1 of the League not in A v B matches or on development panels. D O’Connor wasn’t even a Sigerson nailed on starter for his college last winter. He’ll win Young Player of the Year in 2015. As I said the difference will be the 2 new faces in the forwards next year. Minor adjustments needed.

    Great site WJ (you should take Horan’s advice and take a few weeks off yourself!!) – it’s been a while since I posted but I visit it every day.

  43. I really liked your post East cork exile, ‘we have dared to dream, and believe it could be done’. I love this team I love how we get up again and again and again after knocks. This journey is part of us all and maybe we will never do it but would i want to be from anywhere else, Hell no. While we as supporters are disappointed, my feelings for the team is gratitude, for the commitment and dedication required for the cause. And the wonderful days when things went right and all was happy with the world. And hope, I’ll still hope. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Looking forward to 2016.

  44. Far from bashing Connelly & Homes, “First Gen Dub” I stand by all the facts I stated, if anyone thinks that a team can win without any midfielders in the last 15/mins of the match. The strength of Mayo’s midfield is no doubt our ace card, we finished with none. I further my point, Jason Gibbons was not even on the panel. It’s a 20+ man game nowadays. It’s where we had a huge advantage over Dublin, yet they ended up in total control there with only one midfielder, Micheal Darragh McAuley. When that happens with Mayo holding all the aces in that crucial area of the pitch. IMO any one with any knowledge of Gaelic football would know better than that. I acknowledge that SOS black card has nothing to do with Connelly & Homes but Mayo are so we’ll served with so many midfielders to end up without any is disastrous. Mayo has 6 days just like Dublin to learn and put into place something plan that would work better, they came up with the same wasteful long ball failed strategy of the previous Sunday. That’s just not good enough.

  45. It’s bitter disappointment once again and it’s as difficult as ever for all of us to adjust. It’s devastating for the players who have given absolutely everything to the cause and it’s hard to even contemplate at this point where we go from here.
    The most painful thing of all to take is the fact that we clearly had Dublin on the rack when 4 points up. It was hard to watch the following 5 minutes or so when we simply did not know what to do. We had them – at that point they could not stop us – but it was as if a paralysis overcame us and we let them back in. The amount of unforced errors was torture to see in that short period and it was easy then for the Dubs to regain the belief they needed. Perhaps they would have still beaten us if we had gone 5, 6 points up, but the greatest pity is that they didn’t have that challenge put up to them.
    I thought up to that point we were doing really well and the scores from Diarmuid and Cillian were outstanding. Fair play to Andy when he came on – he just drove at them. He was really primed for it and I feel there was much more to come from him after that. However, for some reason we just stopped functioning as a team and were completely on the back foot after their first goal.
    People will criticise the backs but I think that is grossly unfair. It was in our forward approach that things really began to unravel (when 4 points up) and the lack of belief from the midfield up seeped through the team. I think the lack of a clear, rehearsed, forward strategy, might have been a factor here, and it came home to roost especially when the game was in the melting pot.
    In fairness to the team and to management, it was never going to be easy to get this right in their first year together. We didn’t manage to get nearly the best out of Aido over the two games and when the high ball didn’t work, we were out of ideas. It’s still uncertain where his best position is. I still think it’s worth trying him again at FF next year with proper support play, but there might also be merit to trialling him at no. 6. It’s something to work on over the winter.
    I’m as proud as ever to be a Mayo man, and even though I’m totally gutted now and winded from the whole experience, I will look forward to wearing the green and red again next season, that is for sure. We have a wonderful county and unreal support.
    I don’t buy the argument that we don’t have the players to win an All Ireland. We definitely do and that is why it’s all the more difficult to take these defeats. Again, the example of Donegal has to be highlighted: you could argue that apart from winning the big prize, we have been far more consistent and stronger than they have. However, to my mind, it’s that impenetrable bubble that Jim McGuinness created that made them what they were. The energy he created in the whole set-up stood to them when it was needed most, on the biggest stage, when the toughest questions were being asked. It’s easy for Brian Cody to say that a title was never won on the line. When a manager is as good as he is he can say what he likes really and I wouldn’t expect him to say anything other than that. As Ger Loughnane said last night, it’s incredibly difficult to get that first win, and in fairness to Pat and Noel and to James Horan, they did everything they possibly could to take us there. At this point in time, I can’t even begin to suggest what could have been done differently or how to instil that belief at the crucial times. However, the harsh reality is that in all our big games over the past 5 years, we have failed at the critical stages. And as I already said, it is so hard to take because we got so much right and had brilliant team displays at various times. But please let us be clear that the problem is not just with our backs.
    I felt so sorry for Seamie O’Shea yesterday and could understand fully why he reacted the way he did. Thankfully it was a very sporting match and the Dubs were deserving winners, but shame on Johnny Cooper, who in two games in a row, showed the whole country the type of player he is. I noticed how Tomas O’Shea failed to highlight Cooper instigating this, as he so pointedly did with Lee’s incident last week.

  46. I honestly feel we are at a crossroads, some of the best players in our history are coming near the end of wonderful careers. Our U21 system has failed us in the last five years and therefore replacements are thin on the ground.

    We might only get one more year out of our golden generation. Do we stick or twist. We have a management team, who I believe would do anything to see us reach the holy grail.

    After the quarterfinal they were being declared tactical geniuses and after Saturday they are being vilified for tactical naivety. I believe the truth lies somewhere in between.

    But do joint managers work. History suggests that this policy is doomed.

    We will definitely need some reinforcements to bolster our squad. Hopefully, the latter stages of the Club Championships will throw up some new faces.

    The current panel have gave a tremendous commitment over five years and must be commended. We need to bring an injection of new blood or the project will go stale.

    Let’s keep the faith, and that glorious day will come our way .

  47. I work in Dublin so I didn’t sleep much last night. I was absolutely allergic to work this morning where, to be fair, the Dubs gave me the space I needed to grieve. Half of me wanted to take them on and declare we had them but for [littany of reasons], the other half was grateful for the reprieve.

    A couple of green and red soldiers gathered at lunchtime and comforted each other without having to discuss the game. We then got a bit braver and began to discuss the performances of young Diarmuid, the potential of Regan and the likely emergence of others.

    The time to return to work arrived and with it came the realisation – fuck it – we’ll be back. It’s what we do and it’s who we are. If we were going to give up we’d have done it by now. There’s not much anyone can say to us that hasn’t been said before. The usual bullshit analogies will be rolled out, there’s no question they’re painful but who gives two fucks.

    We know what has to be done and we go again. No point bitching and moaning about it.

  48. Disappointed we took Barry Moran off and SOS was blackcarded. We sent on a forward in Andy Moran. Thought Aidan would come out. We had no centrefield and Dublin strengtened their mid field. Resulting pressure on backs from supply to Dublin forwards from midfield resulted in the goals. Game over.

    Sorry for the lads. Sideline lost the game. If it was Kerry the management would be sacked.

  49. “You can only have so many forwards who are “workers” on your team.”

    Thank you . Been reading comments in here for a long time and I was starting to wonder do these guys watch the same game as I do .

    The whole ethos of Mayo football has to change , we have managed to perfect the whole work rate/determination/hunger/fight and balls but you cannot win an all Ireland without a couple of dare I say it “marquee forwards” . Honestly before the experts start raving with their statistics and so forth , shut up already . Ye don’t have a clue in reality , you will not win an all Ireland without star forwards . Sin e.

  50. The substitution of Barry and Tom P was not tactical, they were both running on empty from what I could see. Blaming management for this is wrong, what were they supposed to do leave them on the field just to make up the numbers.? As i said in previous post this allowed MDMA and Fenton to run riot.

  51. I brought my 2 young lads to the games over the last number of years. At the age of 11 and 9 respectively, they have nearly been in croke park as many times as me. That is a measure of Mayo’s recent success

    We have to pay great tribute of fine team and each and everyone of them are players to be proud of. When I look back at times when Cillian, Aidan, Keith & Co stood out on the pitch signing jersey’s and standing for photos on cold spring days after FBD and league games. They way my 2 young lads wanted to be each and everyone of the Mayo team; speaks volumes for the men and players they are.

    They need to know that they have developed a relationship with both young and old- a relationship that brings together young and old.

    Everyone out there must remember it’s the players, management AND fans that are Mayo.

    I will never forget the lump in my throat when we bet Tyrone in ’89 to make it to our first final since ’51. The edge of the seat games against Meath, Kerry, Donegal and Dublin. The way they beat the defending champions on a number of occasions. Kieran Macs point against Dublin, Anthony Finnerty’s goal against Cork and Cillians penalty against Dublin. The list is endless.
    I hope everyone can add to this list here and hopefully it will be enough to get us through to the FBD league for the madness to start over again.

    I am proud to be part of Mayo football – Mayo ’til I die!!

  52. If you’re taking off 2 of your midfielders after another midfielder had earlier been blackcarded you need to make damn sure you have replacement midfielders on your bench … that’s where responsibility lies.

  53. Mike Quirke and Oisin McConville fairly scathing in their critisim of Mayo management in the second captains podcast today. Worth a listen.

  54. Would be a lovely time for pearse hanley to take the year out that hes been talking about …soft talk i know but its been done before ..thanks wj for stellar job particularly the past week …

  55. Still really hard to take that we lost on Saturday.better team won but when 4 points up with 20 to go and blow it is really disappointing.
    In the last 4 years 2012 final v Donegal we conceded 2 goals.2013 final conceded 2 goals.2014 semi conceded a last minute goal and conceded 3 in replay.saturday conceded 2.
    We just cannot be conceeding soft goals at this level and expect to win.we hit 1-14 Saturday and 1-15 the previous Sunday which will win you a lot of games.talking to different football people and most people are saying we got it tactically wrong as I believe we did the ist day it was the players going for the jugular that got us the replay!
    It really gets me down to see us being tactically naieve in big games.decisions made and decisions not made have cost us a place at the top table.im not having a go at managements here but when it comes to the big games we have to be tactically spot on.i have the greatest admiration for james horan wow did he take mayo football by the scruff of the neck and drag us out of quicksand! It up to pat and Noel now to be ruthless get the people in make the tweaks that are needed! And we need to back them as supporters give them the chance everyone makes mistakes! Remember only one manager is going to get it right at the end of each season!

    Watching the hurling yesterday and huge admiration has to go to Cody how he can continue to build all Ireland winning teams.even Kilkenny people would say it was the worst team that they won an all Ireland with yesterday and 2 of there major players carrying injuries into it! Cody has this magical touch to get the best out of each player.he has got rid of huge players down through the years Charlie Carter Tommy Walsh etc dropped for not performing! A ruthless streak and maybe that’s what we need in mayo we need to be ruthless on and off the field!

    Onto under 21 management we have got to get the appointment and structure in place! There should be a que of top class young aspiring coaches looking for that job but that doesn’t seem to be the case.i hope the county board will not be cost cutting and looking for someone a yes man that would suit the county board and its budget! The best people should be appointed!
    Liam horans review needs to be looked at agin! A new review carried out by astute football and commercial people and this should be done every 5 years and the recommendations implemented in full by county board.

    Finally to the football on field was so so disappointed by Saturday result and supporters leaving with 5 min to go.but these great great players we have will get back up again and bounce back and so will the true supporters! Looking forward to seeing some new faces in fbd the likes of Evan regan Conor Loftus Darren coen Michael hall Stephen coen tj Byrne Brian Reape Eddie doran padraig prendegast to name a few I would like to see !

    We are a great proud county we will be back!

  56. As mentioned above in 1 or 2 places, can i just say well done to Wiilie Joe for keeping this website running smoothly over the last 10 days or so.

    Emotions were and still are running high with 1 or 2 people even losing the run of themselves.

    You only have to take a quick look at some other websites to see how quickly and easily the debate descends into the gutter. On here there has been some great comments and knowledgeable posters giving their opinions.

    We hope, Willie Joe, you will keep this place open for business and thank you sir.

  57. @ Sean Burke – I agree with you 100% – that is and has been our biggest problem. We need to find and develop at least two more top class forwards who have the pace, size, strength and skill to win their own ball and score from distance and all angles. Unfortunately, as someone who goes to quite a few club games, I don’t believe we have such raw talent out there just waiting to be discovered and what we have in the current squad are the best there is in the county right now. Couple this with the number of aging defenders that we have in our squad I wouldn’t be as convinced as some other posters that we’ll be back competing in an AI final in 2016

  58. A o Shea should stay at midfield he is a natural midfielder and b Moran should have being in full forward that was the biggest mistake h & c made.

  59. its time to be honest here,the fact of the matter is that mayo have slipped back from last year.mayo got to a semi final by beating very poor teams in galway and sligo,a donegal team that had only scores from 2 players,murphy and toye,magee taken off hurt and k lacey only about 30% fit.To me the warning signs were to be seen in this game,donegal were still in it after 50,55 minutes.Against dublin 4 pts from play from our forwards,3 pts from 2 subs,not to mention the dublin kick outs.Off the 4 teams in the semi finals i believe that mayo would also have been beaten by tyrone and for sure by kerry.For people to say that mayo will be in next years final because there avoiding kerry and dublin is foolish talk.If u want to win a final u want to beat the best.If kerry win this final they will have beat every top team in the country.Last year cork,mayo,donegal this year cork ,tyrone,dublin.And donegal and tyrone could be a lot stronger next year

  60. @45 , that’s fair enough that there aren’t the type of forward in Mayo but I think it runs deeper than that . Everybody can’t be wrong , we have two forwards in Evan Reagan and Conor loftus that need concentrating on .

    I haven’t even watched the game back yet but do we all remember when Andy turned his man and went direct towards goal for cillians goal . That ability to just turn your body directly in front of your marker and head direct to the goal is something the likes of docherty and mgloughlin don’t have . I’m sick to the teeth of people telling me how hardworking and great tacklers some of our forwards are , so bloody what ,sure anyone can train to do that , don’t get me wrong it’s great to have all the other stuff and it is also vital you have it in today’s game but again I say it you need the other stuff too like kicking accurate and forward play instinct . Some of our kicking over the course of the two games was bloody dreadful .

  61. i agree with Mister Mayor, some of hennelly’s decision making was shambolic……

    stupid mistakes at crucial times……

    this is not the first time, 2013, last year……… i agree with some posters here that he does have good games,………

    but would I consider him a liability ?? most definitely yes

  62. Alf, remember51,
    Good to see ye back! Couldn’t face the post match chat after Sunday but seeing ye have had the appetite helps. A few dubs at work had a go today, and I said “well if Dublin had lost they’d just have appealed until they were awarded the win”. Can’t face the Sunday game yet. Too raw. Three goals. I’d have gladly taken three bullets, would have been less painful. Mayo for Sam 2016.

    why were the Dublin kick outs not contested especially when it worked well in
    the second half of the drawn game ?

    Why was A OSHEA left isolated at full forward-is he expected to cope with 2/3 players?

    what do people mean by “we will be back”.? is “back” the same place as we have been
    since 1952?.

    Again no fault to the players -they deserve our sincere gratitude.

    God luck to all

  64. @face the ball
    COC doesn’t get 3 points from play per game I’m afraid….not this year anyway.

    Galway 0-1, Donegal 0-1, Dublin 0-0, Dublin 1-1….that’s 1-3 from 4 games. Listening to the media I would have thought u were right myself.

    I didn’t list sligo in that because it was such a joke of a game… but even then that was 1-2.

  65. Eremaldisle… I.could not agree more. The logic that we get to final because we avoid Dublin and Kerry is nonsense. That’s straight out of the John Evans “we’ll win an all Ireland cause every body will eventually come back to our level ” way of thinking. If we see relying on that, then our goose is cooked.

  66. I know when I use the words we be back mean it as we be back as supporters to support we be back as players to be the best we can and be there to contest at the business end.loosing in a semi final or final is a cruel hard place and it takes time to get over and it’s not an easy place to get back to but with enough belief and determination we will be back contesting! Quitters never win winners never quit!

  67. Trap, you’ve got to face up to it. If we as supporters aren’t able to, bit rich to ask the management and team to learn from mistakes.

  68. I feel deeply sorry for the players.

    In my many long years following the fortunes of my beloved red and green I’ve seen so many wonderful Mayo players emerge, come on the scene, become core players and achieve national recognition and then begin to gradually slip towards the exit gate of retirement. All, to a man, without having achieved what it was they wished most to achieve.

    Each year, none gave less than what was given by their peers in the counties whose names ended up in neon lights.

    This is not the time for recriminations or rancour but I feel that that we’ve always had the players to match any in any other county. A better organised Mayo could have and should have beaten Dublin on Saturday last. Especially given the glorious situation we found ourselves in following Cillian’s goal.

    Regardless of what he did or didn’t achieve with Mayo U21s years ago we’ll probably see what Kevin McStay’s “package” is like in 2016. And then we’ll sit up and take notice.
    But by then, unfortunately, a couple of our wonderful golden generation players will probably have decided to go the way of their illustrious predecessors and retire. Empty handed.

  69. after 2 days of depression I’m beginning to appreciate again how lucky we are .
    These are a special bunch who give us many many more good days than bad. We only have to look at our near neighbours to see the other side of the coin.
    I really hope the likes of Higgins, Moran , Dillon etc get THEIR reward next year
    I’m not getting into the game or the crazy subs
    I’m looking forward to next year already

  70. I actually think our aim for 2016 should be to win the National League.
    Blooding new players during the league is obviously key and this is not necessarily going to weaken our chances of staying in division 1 or of winning the thing outright. And, equally importantly, we need to try and formulate and stick to a method and philosophy of play. We can do this and still maintain a degree of flexibility, but it has to be something the team buy into. That will be the biggest challenge given this panel are 5 years on the go and have come so close. I think the injection of new blood can only help with this.
    I was of the opinion this year that the league was irrelevant, and given the way 2014 panned out for us, it made sense that our sole aim in 2015 was an All Ireland and nothing else. However, on the evidence of Saturday, I feel we are still missing belief, and a League title may actually go a long way to embedding a winning mentality – and it’s on the national stage that we have to prove that we can do it.
    I love jumping on the Mayo for Sam bandwagon as much as the next man, but I’m beginning to see that it really can only be suffocating.
    We may not win the league or even Connaught next year and if not, so be it. And there’s no telling at this point where the players and managers heads are at and I know it’s far too soon to be really thinking about it. The coming months are definitely a time for reflection, but they are not without hope. I know we said it last year, but we do have talented young players in the squad. They need to be given every shot and to be given the chance to carry on league form into the Championship. Loftus, S. Coen and Regan are obvious choices. And I’d also like to see more of Harrison and Drake being given more consistent runs in defence. We shall keep at it…

  71. Disappointing times and as always on occasions like this fingers are pointed at management. Well someone has to get the blame because a lot dont like to admit that perphaps we were not quite as good as the opposition. I was and still am a huge fan of JH Think we have so much to thank him for but he is now gone. I wanted McStay but Mayo Co Board decided otherwise. However I think some here are very harsh on H and C. Some give them no credit for come back but blame them for collapse. Now while I dont think they are entirely blameless I think they had an average first year in charge. Other things concern me more. We leak far too many goals in big games and dont seem to have done much to rectify that. We lack absolutely top class forwards with a few obvious exceptions. We havent had a big enough turn over of players over a period of time to bring a new freshness with exception of DOC and Durkin. Our more senior players who have been outstanding may be dipping in form a bit. Andy and Alan, fantastic servants must be nearing retirement. Our U21s have been hopeless for four years now. I feel our Junior team should be our B team similar to Kerry. Lots here are saying we will be ok next year, home games in Connacht, semi v Ulster etc I wish I could share your confidence. This team have been superb, given everything they had and could not make it over the line. I feel so sorry for them. Can they come back for Year 6. I sincerely hope so but I am not so sure.

  72. Thanks its a trap. I havent been on this year as i thought i was jinxing it for last four years but guess that didnt work either.
    Its amazing how people are queing up to kick us and have very short memories. As far as the year goes its unfortunetly same result as last five. Nearly but not quiet. I dont think i was ever as low as i was on sunday morning. The wife said I had aged 10 years! And I was feeling very sorry for myself until I thought of how close we are. We are overdue a lorryload of luck at this stage and its up to everyone to keep the faith. I still think we will suprise a lot of people and have made a good few teams sweat this year. We will be in the semi next year. There are only four teams capable of winning next year and we are one. Lets see what happens.
    As for this year which flew, I have very good memories of Castlebar, Salthill, The Hyde and Croker. Like many others as time goes on it seems that the calender is dominated by football rather than work and home. How long until next match and all the craic that goes with it. If thats my life then I am happy with it and would rather be going toe to toe with Dublin and Kerry for the next 20 years until we crack it. And we will. And I will be there. Maigh EO abu.

  73. Emeraldisle, to say Mayo can be in the final next year is not daft, it’s perfect sense in fact. The 2 best teams in Ireland are in this years final, both will be on the opposite side of next years draw to Mayo. The fact is donegal are going to slip with the loss of some big players and tyrone are debating about Mickey Harte so all is not well there and even if it was, they are a shadow of the tyrone from a decade ago, perhaps that’s too simplistic but the way the game has gone there are only 3 to 4 teams that can even compete for Sam anyway and Mayo are in that group. Look at poor Kildare, or Meath, or tipp, or Monaghan, or Galway,or cork, not even at the races. Leinster is the worst, Meath and Kildare are the next leinster teams in order to Dublin, the pick of both wouldn’t keep it kicked out to Dublin. Roscommon may get mcstay but they are picking from 65,000 population and Sligo are the same and don’t have a hope of dislodging Mayo if CoC and aos decide they will stick at it next year, Galway may but even they will need vast improvement.
    Mayo will get stronger in the spring with the return of cathal Carolan, evan regan, conor loftus and the arrival of the likes of Fionan Duffy and co, they need to nail aos on at chf and leave him there for good while a few of the older boys will move on or be pushed out at this stage, it’s sad but that the way it has to be.
    If h and c have any ambition they will straight away put these younger, less developed players on proper training and nutrition plans and have them ready for February with an eye towards winning the league as a starter. And honestly, since we avoid Dublin and Kerry theres every chance we make it to next years decider, we need to be planning and preparing our systems and players and fixing the small things they are getting wrong today so that if we actually do get the chance we can win it out next year.

  74. Ok I’vegot over it slightly. And I have the following comments to to make about the management team . Firstly moving Adain O’ Shea into the forward line was a good idea. Secondly what cost us against Dublin was there high balls into the square .The lads have worked on doing that and if they persist with it we won’t be to far off the top table again. And thirdly I feel that this team is good enough to win SAM but just need go back to basics.

  75. Another excellent article from Jim McGuinness, he still believes that we can win an All-Ireland title, he says the following:

    (Will Mayo win one? I don’t know. The age profile, the football ability, their unbelievable honesty, their midfield, their athleticism: they have so much going for them. But it is not quite enough. They need to box clever. If Mayo can introduce that tactical flexibility to their approach to next season, then they can still win the All-Ireland medals that this team deserves.)


  76. Love that post Remember51. I can certainly empathise with you on the calendar being dominated by football. From January to early April in particular. I have a wedding coming up in the early part of next year that I am quietly hoping won’t clash with a game at the other end of the country. Ridiculous when you think about it but I think it’s an illness.

    I know it’s been referenced elsewhere, but James Horan’s article in yesterday’s paper is well worth a read, particularly in reference to the knee-jerk reactions and lashing out that happens immediately in the aftermath of a defeat. And there has been a fair bit of revisionism here over the past 48 hours with regard to the management team.

    James Horan also referenced the importance of underage structures and their importance in the quest for Sam. He knows better than most what needs to be done in this area and how best it should be managed. Some long-term strategic planning and better integration in that area would not go amiss. Didn’t someone write a strategic plan there a couple of years back, or was that just my imagination? 😉

    Likewise, a long-term multi-faceted fundraising plan; the Player Welfare fund is an excellent initiative, and I would like to know at a later stage how much income it is generating and how that money is being spent.

    Fail to prepare; prepare to fail. And while I know long-term plans might not pay dividends for this team, they are surely the way to provide us with a brighter future.

  77. Anne-Marie – I would love to see James Horan is some sort of admin role setting out a plan for underage development and here is the most important bit, ensuring a smooth transition from minor to senior for those good enough. We can’t let potential talent slip through.

    That said we had the other Horan (Liam) set out a plan that was but on the bookshelf so I won’t hold my breath on that.

  78. Excellent McGuinness article…I was just about coming to terms with it, frustrated again after that!!

  79. Well said Dave re Mayo reaching the final next year.

    There are 3 teams in the top tier. Ourselves and Kerry Dublin. Then a gap to the chasing pack. Okay we might be slightly behind the other 2 in the top tier (bearing in mind we drew a semi final with one of them last year and drew a semi final with the other this year). Next year we wont have to play either of them to reach the final. Also next year we will only have to beat one of them to win the blasted thing. Next year is a great opportunity to reach the final. Name 1 county that will stop us.

    At this stage i would say our most likely finishing position for 2016 is “beaten finalists”. We are still not clever enough on the sideline and clinical enough on the field of play to get past the winning post. We still cant close out a game when 4 pints ahead with 15 minutes to go. That will need to be fixed before we win anything.

  80. Lot of people getting ahead of themselves on results next year….Kerry were a last ditch animal of a point from a corner back away from being beaten in the munster final this….but I have read about 10 posts hear that suggest Mayo won’t have to play either Kerry or Dublin until the final next year presumbly because both will walk their provincial championships – whatever about Dublin, Cork might have something to say about that – remember ye beat them by 1 point last year. That is not to mention I see Connach has been nailed down again for Mayo…just turn up….notwithstanding only for an Aidan O’Shea tour de force it was unlikely ye would have got out of Salthill…..and a Division 1 team, Roscommon has clearly been written off as an also-ran…..

    With all due respect lads, ye don’t yourself any favours fuelling ye’re own heartache!

  81. People mentioning Carolan. Is he not the exact same type of player as Doc and Kevin Mc who I think are better. No more work horses required. Surely scoring forwards has to be the priority and not another hard working half forward with limited scoring ability. We have any amount of those over the years.
    No nonsense direct scoring forwards like Andy badly required.

  82. I think JMcG excellent article today highlights that if you don’t have the ‘marquee’ forwards there are still ways to go about winning AI – summed up best in this 2 paragraphs….

    “The general view is that All-Ireland teams contain marquee forwards. Dublin and Kerry clearly have those in abundance. If you are playing those teams and your team has a very good forward unit but not quite the same calibre as the opposition, then you have to compensate in other areas or else you will be caught.

    Rather than going toe-to-toe with a team of high calibre attackers, Mayo could have been cute and clinical and resolved to see the game out. Look at what Dublin did to control the match once they got the few goals: they played keep ball with 25 passes – lateral, backwards, forwards, they didn’t care”

  83. A little surprised at how few posts are suggesting an objective, clear headed analysis of past numer of years. Of course we have great, skilful, committed players. But there are things missing & we need to set about rectifying or we are going nowhere. While many pundits are quick to point out the failures, Jim McGuinness for me has credibility because of what he has done in Donegal as well as his forensic analysis. Just look at his recent pieces about where Mayo fall short. We need to get these things right. I don,t know if Mayo will win an All Ireland any time soon. I do know they WONT win an All Ireland if it becomes business as usual. Time for calm, forensic review & less of ‘how great our team is’. Jim McGuinness pieces a good starting point. It should not be a matter of ‘if we just keep going we’ll get there’.

  84. If we had Jim McG over the last 5 years we would have at least 1 all Ireland,because that panel of players are as good if not better than anything else that’s being around. But between bad decision from the side line and getting robbed by ref last year we have only ifs and buts

  85. Just want to say, thanks to the players and management for a great year, you would have to admire the honesty of effort, by all involved, and I would include County board with backroom team.We are a top team , continuing on with James Horan’s, high standards.
    We must keep those standards , and improve on a few small things. We are a match for the two best teams in the country, Kerry and Dublin but fall just short, year after year.
    We have everything , but one small difference and it was obvious Sat.
    In my opinion, the difference between, Mayo/Dublin and Mayo/Kerry, now , is our ability to kick points at ease ,and making space to do this.
    We need to ,practice, practice, practice, kicking points , and movements , making space around the ‘D’.
    I also agree, that James Horan , should be given an advisery position as head coach , overseeing all coaching,within the County, both underage and at senior level.
    I would suggest that the Junior team, be used as a feeder panel for the Senior team.( Kerry are doing this). This would raise the status of our junior team and give incentive to players to play junior county.
    Looking forward to improving again, next year.

  86. did we not bate Dublin 2012! we feckin did only to run into a savage of a Donegal team we just need to get that accumalator up!! does happen though, do ya ever wonder boys and girl’s that the 2 O’se boys father often does be saying to himself ” Imagine my lads toggin out for Kerry, what a team boy! or do the boys often think that them selves just wondering, cause a Dub was sayin after the match when Aidan had Connolly’s shirt on, we would defo be going for 5 in a row if we had him midfield for us! I thought that was nice complement for such a great guy, must of been mad emotins for the auld lad last year all the same, been a proud Kerry man.

  87. Kind of like after the final in 2013 i was very down for about a day but then started looking forward to 2014 as there was nothing else to do!

    Back then, as I am now again, I had a very good feeling already about the year ahead

    No juggernaut in our path until an All Ireland final.

    Back in March after a very mixed league, I would have taken an AI semi losing to the best team in the country- with a Connacht title to boot- under a new management regime, all day long. I never really in my heart of hearts thought we’d do it this year, bar a draw opening up dramatically or some real intangibles going our way.

    However I think it’s still very positive. We brought Dublin to a replay, hammered Donegal and really showed our dominance once again in Connacht. And on the personnel side of things we have found a real gem in Diarmuid O’Connor, an established midfielder in Tom Parsons and a dangerous FF option in AOS. No one seemed to lose form dramatically this year and I still don’t think we’re far away at all

    Looking to 2016, I’d love to see us give the league a real lash. Hopefully young lads like Coen, Regan, gallagher, Loftus and Durcan can get some real game time to help push for places during the summer. As well as that it’d be great if someone like Gibbons, Kirby, harrison or Corduff could push themselves into real contention for a summer spot

    In Connacht we have the other “big 2” at home, which is a real plus. I expect us to once again take the honours. Then a QF against a qualifier team, followed by an AIS against a Northern team, each one of which we have their number imo.

    So as things stand I’d have us as real favourites to make an AIF and who knows from there?

    We still have a great panel of players. If I were to have one hope for the league it’d be to find another regularly scoring forward. Hopefully regan can get a nice run of matches to emerge as an option

  88. I almost get the impression having read the Jim McGuinness article.. that if this team were to stick together, were willing to commit to another season and prepare themselves to the standard they are at now, he would get them an All Ireland.. If ye ask me I might consider it type of thing.
    Now b4 ye jump on me head I’m not saying this is what should b done, just putting it out there that that’s the impression I got. I think pat &Noel have another season to go and I doubt the County board would even consider it anyways

  89. I would keep the following players.
    Clarke, Barrett, Caff, Keane, Higgins, Vaughan, Coen, Durkan, Boyle, Keegan, Parsons, SOS, B Moran, COC, AOS, A Moran.

    The other 14+ positions up for grabs on the panel.

    Definitely think 5-6 players should be cut to shake things up a bit.

    Most critical position to fill are full back, center forward, wing forward. [Deleted].

    AOS and COC combination is fine up front if we deliver the ball properly.

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