End of the road for Castlebar


Photo: RTÉ

It’s been six weekends in a row of championship action for Castlebar Mitchels but this afternoon at MacHale Park marked the end of the road for them. It took extra-time in today’s Connacht SFC semi-final before Galway champions Corofin eventually emerged as the winners on a scoreline of 0-17 to 0-14.

I wasn’t there myself and as I was at another match up here this afternoon (another final, another loss but that’s another story) I didn’t get to see it on the box either. Keith Duggan’s report for the Irish Times on the contest is here.

Commiserations to Mitchels for whom the six-week period since early October of continuous championship activity cannot have been easy. All the more so for the likes of Paddy Durcan and Barry Moran, who have had no break from football at all this year.

If there’s one upside from Mitchels’ elimination – though they obviously won’t view it that way – then the R&R they’ll now get has to be it. Plus the fact that club commitments won’t get in the way of inter-county league action next year.

Corofin now go forward to face Roscommon champions St Brigid’s in the Connacht final, a match that’s been fixed for Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, Carrick-on-Shannon, on Sunday week. As Keith Duggan notes in the match report linked above, this tasty decider pits the 2013 All-Ireland club champions against the 2015 winners and whichever of them claims provincial honours this year will, for sure, be eyeing Croke Park next March.

Elsewhere, it was also the end of the road today for the Ballyhaunis hurlers. They lost out to Ahascragh Fohenagh by 2-20 to 0-13 in the replayed Connacht IHC final. Hard luck to them as well.

The Mayo Masters, meanwhile, live to fight another day. Their All-Ireland final against Cavan yesterday afternoon, played at the Kilkerrin-Clonberne GAA club in Galway, ended in a draw – 0-19 to 1-16 – after extra-time. Top of the pops for the greybeards yesterday was Kevin Filan who bagged twelve points. Details of where and when the replay will take place will be announced later.

140 thoughts on “End of the road for Castlebar

  1. Hard luck to Castlebar. Thought Corofin were slightly better though Castlebar missed loads of chances. Durcan good, while Douglas had mixed day. Corofins corner forward was excellent. If he was playing for a club in Mayo we d be raving about him and would see him as solution to all our woes. Doesnt work like that though as theres big difference between club and county. Hard luck to Ballyhaunis also.

  2. It was a good game today between Castlebar and Corofin. Castlebar were haunted to be only two points down at half time. They looked the better team in the second half and I thought they’d win it from there. But Corofin just had the better forwards who were able to get their scores when it mattered most. Douglas did well at times but missed too many frees really. Missed four ones he should really have gotten. A good footballer but I don’t know if he’ll make his way onto a Mayo team in reality. Maybe worth looking at in the league but I have my doubts that he’d be better than what’s there. The two Durkans (James and Fergal) have pace and power but aren’t accurate enough really. Looking at today, it’s disappointing for Castlebar but I don’t know if they have the forwards really to win the thing out. I’m not convinced they are a better team than last year’s crop – in fact, I’m sure they’re not. So maybe losing today isn’t the worst thing – it’d have been far more disappointing to lose another final or semi final. A lot of those boys, particularly Barry and Patrick, need a bit of time off.

  3. 6 weeks on the go caught up with castlebar but corofin were by far the better team.forwards win games and that is where castlebar have being lacking for years they don’t have that real killer punch up front.

  4. Forwards win games. I thought Mitchell’s were too static and not inventive enough going forward. One freetsker and bad shot selection on a number of occasions. We also had the now customary ball dropped into the keepers hands.

    They battled well and maybe fitness was an issue but the team with the better forwards won through. A carbon copy of our Mayo team sadly.

    A serious discussion and plan must be put in place to ensure we have properly coached forwards coming through for the future

  5. Castlebar ran out of steam near the end. They had no games all summer and then punished with successive games due to the success of our County Team.

    Castlebar are a super running team and they will more than likely do the three in a row next year. Rory Byrne is knocking on the door for a call up next year. He has been superb. Neil Douglas has got most of the attention and rightly so, hope he gets 5/6 league games in the spring.

    Great to see our U21 team get a well deserved trip to Chicago. Ennis was the highlight of my trips this year. Also some of our volunteer under praised County Board officers got the junket, so hope that keeps them happy for another year.

  6. Its really hard to fathom about what is lacking with forwards in Mayo or is it ?

    Im not convinced we dont have the actual players with the ability , im honestly convinced its our attacking play that sees us lackluster time and time again . Its bizzare what we do time and time again, lack of composure , lack of genuine confidence , cul de sacs, taking shots you know are going to be blocked but shoot for the hell of it for some stupid reason, Shot selection is ridiculous at times from lads whos % is poor too.

    Hard luck to castlebar .

  7. Tougher proposition for Douglas today, shudder to think what Cooper or McMahon would do to him.
    Jack Reilly scored 13 of Charlestowns 16 points in their U21 win today.

  8. Jack Reilly has scored 3-19 from midfield in his last two U21 championship games. He’s not in Chicago this weekend and he’s in the famous academy.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mayo football.

  9. Keith Duggan must have watched a different game than most if he thought that game today in MacHale park was an epic end of year clash?

  10. Castlebar got caught in extra time the fifth game in a row without a break they didn’t start off well missed a few frees.Paddy Durcan had his hands full at the back he has had some great battles with Sice I was disappointed with the Mitchels forwards they didn’t contribute enough to the scoreboard apart from the sub Stenson with 2 great points.Douglas is a great club footballer Mc Hale park is his home turf in the severe heat of intercounty championship with a dogged corner back I personally don’t think he would be any better than what we already have.Our club scene is a carbon copy of our intercounty to dependant on one recognised scoring forward good at the back strong in midfield but shy up front.

  11. Bear in mind how would Douglas have got on with other quality forwards around him opening up space and creating overlaps/chances. Hope he gets all the Fbd and League.
    @East Mayo Joe I was interested in that Charlestown semi in u21 B. Thirteen from sixteen points is some scoring from Jack Reilly. Were some with his left foot again? Actually lining up in the middle of the pitch at midfield generally?
    Would be great to see him keep this up in the B final.

  12. Disappointing result for Castlebar but 18 months of non-stop football finally caught up.

    Frustrating to see another frustrating day in front of goals for a Mayo team.

    Personally I don’t believe Douglas would be any great addition to the Mayo team. His flaws showed up in this game and in the Vincents game and he offers no more than many of the fringe players on the panel. At 26/27 there is a reason why he hasn’t been involved previously at the business end. By all means give him a chance in a league scenario but he is not the missing link that will win us an All Ireland.

    For me Donal Newcombe is a guy I’d like to see get a look in

  13. hard luck to Castlebar. I think fittness caught up to them in the end. Asking a club team to play six weekends in a row this time of year on heavy pitches is ridiculous. Most top county teams would struggle with that work load. Add to that Mitchels have pretty much been on the go for a year and a half now. Corifin are a top club team and no disgrace losing to them in extra time.

    Douglas will be on the county team next year, not for FBD and a few league games, he will be on it for the championship. Regardless of yesterdays result he has been the standout forward in Mayo this year and deserves his place ahead of some current county players.

    I really hope this newly formed CPA really gets the support it needs and puts real pressure on the GAA to reform the structure of the game and give club players fair treatment.

  14. When Castlebar won County Final, the papers and media were bullshitting about this Castlebar team being the greatest of all time. The bubble truly burst yesterday. Only for all the dubious and soft frees by(a bad ref) they would be bet by 3 times as much. Castlebar got away with some dirty and niggling fouling yesterday. When you only score 3 points in 90 mins of play you don’t deserve to win. Fair play to Corofin they were a very sporting and well disciplined team, and they took some great scores. Question is anyone of this Castlebar fit for County team, only one Patrick Durcan. When the hard questions were asked yesterday it showed the men from the boys. Big Barry was made look like a junior player the way he lost and was robbed of ball along with kicking some terrible wides. Douglas( the new kid on the block) apart from frees and some terrible misses he was not at the races. I’ll give credit to sub Stenson for Castlebar he got 2 wonderful scores. I’m sure all we will read about why they lost is Castlebar is they had to play the last 6 weeks. They didn’t look flat yesterday, they had no game plan either A or B. Something similar to Mayo v Galway this year. So all the semi finalists and finalists for 2015 are out of this years competition. Is not sport a great thing. A bit like Trump v Clinton.

  15. Donald Newcombe deserves a try at corner back he is a good tackler and has a great burst of speed going forward Ger Mc Donagh was in the 34 panel during the summer management mustn’t have felt he was an option at no 3 .Corofin will be hard to beat from here on Side is only coming back from injury Lundy is only back from America like Kirkby he needs game time to catch up.

  16. True Grit, what does your summation of Castlebar say about the rest of Mayo clubs as Castlebar have dominated Mayo for some years now. Ballintubber with all their county players also had a poor run in connacht a few years ago.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said all semi finalists are out, but not in the way you intended. It is extremely tough to follow up and reach an AI final in club football two years in a row. You virtually have to be on the go for the two years without a break. Corifin, Vincents(prob the best club side out there), Boden couldnt do it.

    No one really knows how the Mitchels lads will fair out in the county setup until they are actually in the setup, getting the same training, S and C, nutrition etc, right now all they have is potential. Newcombe,McDonagh, Douglas will be pushing hard for a place next year. Douglas for me must be picked and the others will be hard to ignore also.

  17. True Grit. Castlebar may not be the greatest team of all time but they are certainly comfortably the best team in Mayo. Despite being well off the pace yesterday they still managed to draw to team that many fancy to go all the way. There was no shame in that. Then throw in the fact that Mitchels have played 5 weeks in a row and Corofin’s last game was on the 23rd of October it was a massive ask for them to win in Extra time.

    Rochford will look at a few of them in the FBD and in the League and rightly so.

  18. Wow, what a scathing report there from True Grit. It almost seems like you took pleasure from that yesterday. Bizarre analysis on the refereeing performance, and Corofin’s perceived whiter than white conduct as opposed to the dirty, dastardly Castlebar boys.

    3 points in 90 minutes of play – I’m not sure what you mean. We lost by 2 points. Paddy got one from play, Dougie got one, Stenny got 2 and Ciano, if memory serves, got one as well. After that, I’m not sure of the breakdown.

    I can’t say I share your analysis on Barry Moran’s performance. He certainly didn’t look like a junior player to me. He has been one of Mayo’s most consistent performers, never mind Castkebar’s, for nearly a decade.

    And let me ask you, what bubble burst? This was their 6th Championship game on the trot, and we lost to the 2nd favourites for the All-Ireland by 2 points after extra time, having played poorly. For 2 years running now Mitchels have won Mayo without any real hassle. Since 2015, I would love to see the average gap between all of our opponents. Because I would have a guess that it is close to double figures, but I am open to correction on that.

    Your assertion that they didn’t look flat, especially in extra time, is truly baffling. There was nothing left in the tank.

    So I suppose they are the “boys” that were found out against the real “men” yesterday. Despite the fact that these “boys” have beaten said “men” twice in Tuam in the last 3 years. And won Connacht twice, but I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded of that.

  19. The record of the qualifiers where teams on one weeks rest face teams on two weeks rest shows us that rest periods do count for a lot. So no shame for Castlebar to lose yesterday. They did after all draw in normal time. A proper rest period of another week would have increased their chances. Especially on heavy ground which leans the match a little bit more towards the fitter/fresher team.

  20. Very good comeback MayoMark. I did think True Grit made some valid points but to be fair you rebuffed most.

    I think we all agree that the forward play of our senior team and most winning club teams of recent times leaves a lot to be desired. That’s where I agree whole heartedly with yew-tree and the need for a serious discussion and plan to be put in place to address this serious weakness. Why is their a marked reluctance to address this weakness from all concerned ie county board, team managements. We’ve been told this from so many so called commentators but we refuse to accept it? Our forward play just is not good enough to win consistently at the highest level and i mean finals. Our defence and mediocre attack gets us so far and may even win an odd final (and I include possibly Sam Maguire). But for us to deliver on our undoubted potential I think we have to overcome this serious achilles heel. The potential is huge if we are brave enough.

    P.s Willie Joe, I seem to have a username identical to another poster. Can I just amend this slightly to differentiate it from the other poster?

  21. As a neutral, I would agree in the main with that True Grit says. The issue with forwards not being able to score seems to be endemic to Mayo football.

    Seven wides in the first half, one or two of which were bordering on shocking.

    Breakdown the scores – 14 points total. 9 from deadball. Removing Douglas (1 point from play), we have 4 points scored by the rest of the team – half of which came from a substitute (who by the way, is a tidy little player).

    Compare to Corofin, 7 or 8 scorers, no wides in the first half.

    On the bright side, despite:

    – The drain of defending a county title.
    – Six weeks playing in a row.
    – A near total dependence on one forward to get scores.
    – Some awful wides.

    They STILL managed to push Corofin all the way into extra time. No mean feat.

    One or two more forwards, and they’d be unstoppable. Carbon-copy of the IC team is right…..

  22. The bright hope also is if you break the Mayo team into what someone previously mentioned as Alex Fergusons grouping of:
    – Young hungry (under 24 roughly)
    – Guys at their career peak (age 24 – 28)
    – Older wise heads 29+
    I think Mayo are strong in that U24 category. The lift in Harrison and Durcan has boosted that group.
    We are waiting then to see how the younger forwards coming through improve.
    One new strong starter and a sub who can make an impact would be some decent progress into 2017.
    The pipeline of midfielders has been slow if you consider the age of the current four midfield options. A long time since we have had a young midfielder break into the panel.

  23. Was at the Mitchell’s /Corofin,game.
    Mitchell’s, are a great,team @ club,great ambassadors, of Mayo football.
    I accept, they,tierd,in the second period of extra time, but their forwards, needed to score more from play.
    If they, were a little more effective, in getting, scores from play ,@ not depending on frees, there would be no need for extra time, they would have won.
    I thought,in the first, half of normal time, the running game, of Corofin ,passed bye, Barry Moran, but he came more into it,after half time.
    He is a fine footballer, @ was in hard luck, with his, shots for scores.
    Anyway, our ,County players, will now get a well deserved rest, @ will be available, for the National League.
    Good luck, to all, in 2017.

  24. I thought it was a great game. Mitchell lost it in that they had no inside forwards. They all drifted out too far. Also when the runner went there was no one running with him. They were holding back on committing supporting runners to pop up passes to. They should have played more like Horans Mayo side. Burke was left alone too often. He got man of the match but he was given an esystem day. Patrick Durcan should have been moved onto him. The tackling and intensity was excellent. The refirst was a bit fussy at times but overall had a good game.

  25. I would also like to know where the Kerry/Mayo league will be played as I need to book accommodation.

  26. Ritchie Feeney I believe has hung up the boots, Alan was last seen heading for Dubai (or out that side somewhere). As has been repeated several times already, Castlebar’s weakness is up front. I think it would be fair to say that has been their issue since the turn of the decade from which time they have consistently been in the top 1 or 2 in the county which is a great achievement. I assume Douglas will get a go in the league, i certainly hope he does. He obviously has put serious effort to get himself into such a condition considering he is not involved with the senior panel and all the training and benefits that go with it. It is a great credit to him. Personally I don’t think he will be there come August but I would be delighted if he was.

  27. Some overly harsh comments regarding the Mitchels performance I think. Firstly, club players are exactly that, club players. Sometimes I think they are judged on their performances as if they were county players. There is a world of difference between a club and county player. They are almost different animals. Farragher and Burke stood out yesterday as world beaters but yet are almost non-existent on the inter-county scene. Also, when judging a players performance, good or bad, you must take into account what exactly was asked of that player, the system employed and the level of opponent. This is where I believe Mitchels failed to react on the line and also employed the wrong tactics with the wrong players.
    For example, in the first half they left Douglas and Moran inside against 4 Corofin markers. Fair enough. But the supply in to them was very, very poor and they played wide bouncing ball for Barry Moran to try and get? Now if you have Barry Moran as an inside forward he is NOT there to chase wide ball out to the corners! Also, when Mitchels tried to run from deep it was always up the middle where they were crowded out and eventually turned over! They failed to go wide where the extra space was as two extra Corofin backs were always retreating to help mark Douglas and Moran. So Moran looked like a very average player when he was inside at no.14 because of what was expected of him. When he came out to centre-field he was much more influential and caught ball.
    Corofin, I believe, were by far the better side yesterday however. They created scores easier, and in better areas of the field than Mitchels. They executed them better also as their shooting player was rarely under pressure. They nearly always managed to get a 2 v 1 situation from their own kick-out when they went long and therefore won a lot of ball from that. One thing I noticed and didn’t like was their tendency to go down very easy, stay down a very long time, look seriously injured but then, Lazarus like, rise and continue playing as if nothing had happened, almost always after winning a free! Their ability to con officials and win cheap frees was impressive, e.g. Burke constantly diving around Ger McDonagh, after Ger was wrongly yellow carded, in an attempt to try and get him a second one.
    Still, the best team won on the day and from the 40th minute on it was a fine game of football. Excellent long kick passes from Corofin, terrific support for their inside forwards and shooting from the scoring zone. Mitchels looked heavy-legged, particularly in the first half, but admirably hung in and scrapped to stay in the game. Even when they drew level in the 48th minute and then nudged ahead I felt Corofins ability to create chances would see them over the line. They didn’t get it handy though.

  28. Good post pebblesmeller. I think Corifin deserve alot of credit, they are a serious outfit and obviously set up to nulify Mitchels strong areas, Douglas marked heavily, crowded the middle to stop Mitchels running. I do think the ridiculous schedule worked against Mitchels. Playing six weeks in a row obviously had an effect on a team who try to move the ball with pace, they are club players after all.

    I dont know why people are thinking Douglas cant make it at county level. He puts in the work and as pebblesmeller said this is done without the support the county players get. He is the top forward in club football in Mayo and for me is ahead of a number of players on the 2016 county panel in terms of selection for next year.

  29. MayoMark
    Barry did not look a county player yesterday plain and simple and being most consistent performers for Mayo your having a laugh, he as only started 15 champion games in his career for Mayo

  30. I agree mayomad. Douglas can win and retain his own ball, high or low. Is two footed both from play and frees (he scored two frees off his left foot yesterday) and can kick ’45’s (although admittedly his early free taking yesterday was off). In my opinion, he offers more to the senior county side than Jason Doherty. And certainly more as a forward than Aidan O’Shea.
    He makes fast determined runs into space, three went unrewarded yesterday, always does the simple things well and has good decision making. I believe, playing with better players and receiving a better quality of ball, he would thrive in the senior set-up.
    A forward is always dependent on the quality of the supply to him. Even more so at inter county level where the standard of defending is much higher. I believe we have no choice but to trust the likes of Loftus, Regan and Douglas by giving them proper game time throughout the league. Devise an attack that gets the best out of them. A simple efficient game plan where everyone knows their jobs, and, can do them. We have become too dependent on hard working, back tracking, non/low scoring forward, That will not win an All Ireland. We need 3 or 4 forwards that can chip in with 4 or 5 points from play regularly.
    For what it’s worth I would continue to bring McDonagh in the squad and I would bring Byrne the keeper in for Hennelly. Byrne seems a cool customer, controls his area, is a good shot stopper and has accurate kicks both long and short. Granted he put one over the line yesterday but, bar that one mistake, he was accurate and found the areas.

  31. Peddlesmeller, I would agree with everything you said there, I have been saying it for a while that a new forward unit and strategy is required for Mayo. The other thing that impresses me about Douglas is his work ethic, he is improving year on year and obviously desperately wants to play at inter county level. I dont think he is a world beater or that “marquee” forward pundits like to call it but he can be a really effective player for mayo. You are correct that we must trust inplayers like Loftus, Regan, Reape and Douglas.

  32. Joe Irwin – Barry has been in every squad for the best part of a decade. He has started a few games, has come on in a number of games and in a number of positions. Despite that, he is always ready to make an impact, and rarely doesn’t make an impact.

    So, no, I’m not having a laugh. I am being very sincere. And I think that anyone who can’t see what Barry has contributed to the Mayo football team throughout his career must have been looking the other way. Barry is, for want of a better word, a true pro.

  33. Six weeks out in a row. Crazy. The Mayo run shoe horned club championship football into the weeks after October 1st. Great that the county has done well but the way we organise club football means new lads cannot get a chance. I have seen Douglas play, without a doubt he is county standard as is Kirby and others but this lunatic compression of post Mayo knockout club football mitigates against those boys. Hence we have a stale bench and one dimensional forward line approach at county level.

    If we persist with the numbers 15+ of Freeman, O Shea, Reagan , Carolan , Dillon etc to the exclusion of new blood up front, we risk doing the same things as we have done fairly successful since 2011. James Horan is the last long range scorer of points at the highest level that I can recall. The two All Ireland finals saw our 10,11 and 12 work their bollox off but not score at the required rate. The full forward line saw Andy at the top of it a la Jimmy Burke of old but we accidentally stumbled on that. Doherty is a horse for work, grafter but won’t return like a McMenamon of Dubs. COC is fairly dependant on frees but wasted at 15, no real scorching pace but I believe him a great 11.

    Mayos forward issues are solvable when we trust 10-15 to do the business. We don’t, until we figure where exactly and what exactly Aiden O Sheas role is, we will ultimately come up short. Jim Gavin sorted out the issues surrounding Bernard Brogans role with Dublin. He shifted the hype around Bernard , turning him to 1/6th of a forward line, not the king of the forward line. Mayo have forwards. Free them up and force them to perform but make a game plan that all share the load and lift any illusions of greatness that exists within the squad. Greatness is measured in Celtic Crosses not photo ops.

  34. John Cuffe, I would agree with you. Andy won a hell of alot of ball throughout the summer but that means damn all if the support play isnt there to feed off it, which for the majority of the time it wasnt. AOS not a forward, I have great time for Doherty I think he is underrated and does a job that does need doing, he was a very dangerous forward early in his career but playing as a work horse has blunted that attacking instinct somewhat but there is still a place in the panel for him. 4scoring forwards and two workers is the ideal makeup of a foorward unit. We have the workers but need the scorers plus the same from the bench.

    Nice point regarding Horan, McDonald, Oneill and OMalley might argue that point though.

  35. not too sure what your logic is here John , are you calling for the lads on the bench to be put off the bench and into the stand then? O’shea who saved our holes this year and will surely develop into as good a player as his brothers. Regan who has taken his chance and is making the step up to county level. Dillon who served us fantastically against Tyrone when called and might be the cool head we need some other day yet. Carolan and Freeman who could both feel a bit aggrieved for not getting more game time. Who is the new blood that would replace these lads ? most of them are the new blood.

    Its more a case of blooding in these lads and removing underperformers from the first 6 keeping in mind you need a great bench in the modern game. If there are other lads in the county apart from Douglas who are of the required standard then lets invite them to the panel but i’d be loathe to get rid of the lads you named above.

  36. Whatever about Douglas, Diarmuids scoring ability needs to be utilised far better next summer. There is 100% a guy that can consistently produce 3/4/5 points if not kept working his bollix off down the field (often making up for others to his own detriment). As for the rest, try as many as possible but I would say there still will not be much change from the 2016 panel bar the inclusion hopefully of some of the stronger u21’s. As J C above says, until AOS is given some kind of a permanent post, a system that works will be difficult to arrive at

  37. Careful John. You may have opened the debate which must NOT be had! You speak with the devils tongue.
    For what it’s worth, and seeing as you started it!, I believe the Aidan O’Shea question is very similar to the Wayne Rooney question. Undoubtedly a determined talented player exists in both. Undoubtedly both have given all they have to be the best they can. Undoubtedly, on their day, and in flashes, they can be instrumental for their sides and are, rightly or wrongly, marked out a key men for the teams. But. And it’s a big but. Neither, in my opinion, are quiet good enough to nail down a starting spot in the team without compromising the effectiveness of the team, or, the positioning of their teammates.
    For example, Rooney can play midfield, but he’s not the best midfielder at the club. He doesn’t have the stamina, vision or quick thought processes needed to be the very best for that role. So playing him in midfield weakens the team. Rooney can play up front, but he’s not the best forward at the club. He doesn’t have the quick feet or explosiveness needed. So, again, playing him there weakens the team. In my opinion, you can substitute the word Aidan for Rooney in the above. Aidan can play many places e.g. no.6, 8, 9, 11, 14 etc. but he’s not the best player in any of those positions. So, playing him there weakens the effectiveness of the side.
    Management will have to be very creative and specific in the role they give O’Shea next season if we are to see a fluid functioning attack. Management is all about decisions, hard decisions. They have shown themselves to be unafraid to make those hard decisions (regardless if they come off or not!) and they will need to be brave again if we are to stop sledging square pegs into round holes and hoping it works. I am not disrespecting O’Shea and I hope it doesn’t read that way. In fact, I am looking for a way to get the very best out of him in a functioning attack.
    However, when Chelsea came calling 3 years ago with £20 million for Rooney I thought Utd were mad to turn it down. Utd baulked at making the hard decision then, I hope management don’t baulk at their decision now.

  38. A little story.. the actors will remain nameless…. picture a club team getting a close in free with 1 minute to go on the clock and losing by 2 points. The excitement is huge, a chance to win in the last minute. The intensity and the tension rises; players rush into the D; the free taker grabs the ball into his hands and lofts a high ball in; having the knowledge it has to be a goal….. a minute to go and two points behind… has to be a goal to have a chance…. scramble in the goalmouth… a flukey goal…. a penalty,,, those are the chances, the only chance….but, never give in, we might make it.!!!!!
    Now, the reality. Close in free, 1 minute to go, 2 points behind. Then the free taker strolls over and picks up the ball. He looks around him and carefully places it on the ground….. straightens up,,,takes a breath…. looks at post… and slowly kicks it wide!!!! Where did we see that and could it be typical of Mayo football???
    @Roger… a good Mayo friend of mine, who never misses a match always comments… ” the problem that Mayo have had for years is ‘who can we drop?’ ” So true!!! Any successful team in every code, Rugby, Soccer, GAA etc has a steam of new players coming in. They are never “just ready” but they work their way in. We are behind for years and some posters still can’t see the problem.. Well sure, what’s another 60 years without winning Sam. 😉

  39. @ Joe Mc – And therein lies the issue.

    It should *never* be a case of “who can we drop?”. That notion gives the impression that inclusion on the team has already been earned. This is not, nor ever should be the case in any team setup that aspires to be winners.

    Want to be in the squad? Earn that right. Every. Time.

    Gavin had no hesitation in putting Bernard Brogan on the bench. Entitlement is for the also-rans.

  40. Don’t quite understand your meaning on this free with 1 min to go. Kick the point and try and get the equalizer off the next kickout?
    Especially with a full minute to go and injury time. Even with one minute to go.

  41. No injury time JP. This was injury time! No guarantee in winning the kickout!!! Just a thought!!
    By the way, i agree 100% with your last post re Rooney, etc. You really bit the bullet there. Not many would have the guts to do it!!!
    We can disagree on the final free!!! 😉

  42. Oh Jaysus JP. I cocked that up badly. Old age is catching up fast !!! 🙂

    It’s Pebblesmeller i am praising about the Rooney comments.

  43. The strange thing about mayo foitball from what I have seen is they drop a player who has earned his place and won’t drop a guy who should be dropped. Until we get this right we will always fall short.

  44. People need to move on from the idea of a player being dropped. Gavin didnt drop Brogan or McAuley he played them strategically from the bench, put them on at the correct time and it was extremely effective. If Mayo “dropped” Andy and AOS to the bench there would be uproar, even for a league game, people would be jumping over the fence to ask Rochford why. Football is a squad game, with the speed and intensity it is now played at the bench is more important than ever. It is essential to be able to bring on players of the same or even better quality than those coming off. It is essential to finish with a stronger team than started in the big games (finals). Mayo dont have that. I have said it before mayo have a starting 15 with another 3 that is trusted to preform on the big day, another 4 or so can do a job. Outside of that the panel is made up of players just there for A V B games and prob wont see championship football. This needs to change, You need a panel of players each of whom the manager can trust to come on and play in the big game.

  45. Spot on @mayomad.

    People really need to start buying into the Panel idea, and not just pay lip service to it.

    The notion of making it to the starting fifteen or bust needs to be done away with. Squads win Trophies, teams of individuals win runners up medals.

    Not having a trusted wider group of players who can be called upon to contribute is a handicap no team could be expected to overcome in the modern game.

  46. Shane Nally played most of our league games but got no game time in the championship.What is the situation with Freeman–he just cant get game time.Need some fresh faces in the panel & so i am afraid some players will have to be let go.

  47. No shame for the Mitchels yesterday. They were jaded after a gruelling six weeks of hard football. Well done Corofin – the better team for sure and hope they go on to win it out.
    Barry isn’t a full forward and anyone who has seen him at club over the last 10 years knows that. I was surprised this tactic was used in first half. He did well when he came out to midfield.
    Dougie had better days but still very much deserves his chance with Mayo. The break will do them all good. I agree Kirby will also get a chance. He doesn’t look fit right now but has a lot to offer Mayo. I also would love to see Donie Newcombe get a run with the County. He’s second only to Dougie as Mitchel’s best player this year in my book. Only thing that might go against him is the difficulty any player will have breaking into the current Mayo defense.
    I’d also be drafting in Sharoize immediately into the senior set-up. He’s the nearest we have have to the next Lee Keegan in my view. It might take him a year (two at most) but he has all the attributes needed. He reminds me of Lee a few years ago.

  48. Mayomad. I forgot about Austin and Kevin O Neill. Great players indeed but apart from Micky Moran at the end of Kevin’s career, the other managers wasted a gem. AOM should have been a championship pick for years. I wonder why not? He destroyed one of the O Sès in the 2005 QF, five points was it from play? We have / had forwards but didn’t always choose them. Schmidt has made Ireland a force by stiffening the bench. None are sacred. All either buy into the project or else they are moved. Managers manage, players don’t nor are there opinions required. Imagine Cody asking a Kilkenny player for an opinion. Stephen Rochford gets the coming season to stamp his own mark on the team. I wish him well . I believe he has the balls for the battle. Dublin are a moving force. For the replay v us Brady lost his place in first 26, Basquille replaced him. We must, must be ruthless, anything less is a betrayal of the Mayo people.

  49. I love the “ruthless” bit John. In Kerry, each player regards it as a privilege to play for the County team, every parent’s dream. The players and parents regard themselves as the lucky ones. If you’re not good enough, tough shit, goodbye!!!!
    In Mayo, the fans are ‘ the lucky ones ‘ and the players are thanked for their service, etc.
    Kerry people don’t thank the players unless they win an All Ireland!!

  50. Pebblesmeller, i have to compliment you on that post re Wayne Rooney, etc. As i said earlier, in the piece i cocked up, you bit the bullet there. It takes a brave man to come out with such a well balanced piece on a subject that many would frown on. It needs to be said and you did it. I’m proud of you!!!
    This is a time for common sense to reign in Mayo, and now, there is a lot of it being openly discussed. Long may it last. Sam is not too far away but the Mayo ship needs to be seaworthy to reach it. Work, and above all, patience for a while is needed!!

  51. Dont get the put AOS on the bench thing. Hes vital to our success . Who will replace him , Douglas?

    A midfield of AOS and Tom P.

    Cillian at 11, with the brother and kev mgloughlin .

    regan and loftus either side of Andy .

    Thats what id try for the league with fionan duffy , Jason doc , douglas and Conor o shea too for forwards in and out.
    Although if im honest i think darren coen has more potential than douglas.

  52. I suppose the following stats from the Castlebar match sums things up really:

    – Five points from 21 shots from play.
    – A success rate of 24%.

    In fairness to Castlebar they never gave up and made Corofin battle all the way until the very end of the game. Having played so many weeks in a row it was a big ask of Mitchels. In saying that they still could have won it but with Corofin losing twice in recent years to Castlebar, they were determined not to lose for a third time. Enjoy the rest lads as you deserve it after being pretty much on the go for 18 months.

    Again as with the Mayo senior team, both Corofin and St. Bridgets have players with All-Ireland medals in their back pockets from recent years but unfortunately Castlebar players do not have that consolation. It’s like the Dublin, Kerry and Donegal lads having the senior All-Ireland medals compared to the Mayo lads. Until our scoring stats up front improves we’ll continue to struggle. The two teams who have won All-Ireland titles for us, our Minors in 2013 and our U21s this year, had that extra bit of flair up front. We’ll need that from next year on in our senior team.

  53. Pity for Castlebar they really paid for the county’s good run, let’s hope the CPA will be a strong voice in the gaa’s community affairs. As that’s what it is. GAA was never intended to he this money hungry machine with an I answerable inner circle.

    Ironically there is brightness on every cloud. Some Mitchell’s have really played them selves into contention over the last two years and let’s hope that the winter rest will have them in good stead to impress in the league.

  54. To be honest I’m surprised CB even brought this to ET, this Corofin team is easily the best club team ever to come out of Galway- if not Connacht. When even their bench is littered with lads with county caps at all grades you know you’re looking at one hell of a proposition. I hope and expect they’ll win an All Ireland

    Castlebar are fine in the Mayo Championship, but don’t have near enough quality up front to go on and win an AI to be honest. Their real chance was in 2014, when King was shooting lights out and they had Cunniffe and Feeney still well at the top of their game. They were just unlucky to come up against a Diarmuid Connolly masterclass. This year I thought they were probably punching above their weight even making the final if I’m being really honest – even if Ballyboden were a highly mediocre outfit themselves

    At the end of the day it’s probably no harm to have a full contingent to choose from in the county set up heading into January. The club game is often a bit of a lottery anyway I’d be far more passionate about our county lads’ chances tbh

  55. Can you imagine the boost of Aiden O’Shea coming off the bench with 20 minutes left in a tight game. Imagine him running against a tired defence. A promising young club player who has scored 3-19 in two U21 games is part of the supposed academy that the CB says exists. The sum total of of communication he has received from them is a single text last Christmas. Do you think this text was a link to a nutrition program, a strength and conditioning program, a number for an educational tutor to help with college? No, it said “a few lads are meeting up for a kick about if your interested”.
    Why are we persisting with lads on the panel who have zero chance of playing championship football? I understand you need a panel for A-B games, but surely not at the expense of keeping potential talent off the squad. The academy was supposed to bring these lads along and have them physically ready for senior football, but it’s a myth, it simply doesn’t exist, the same way they won’t appoint a commercial director.

  56. “Personally I don’t believe Douglas would be any great addition to the Mayo team. His flaws showed up in this game and in the Vincents game and he offers no more than many of the fringe players on the panel. At 26/27 there is a reason why he hasn’t been involved previously at the business end. By all means give him a chance in a league scenario but he is not the missing link that will win us an All Ireland”

    Exactly this.

    If Doherty or Regan, for example, put up the scores Douglas did recently no-one would bat an eyelid. We all want to believe that any one who puts up a big score in a club game is our missing ingredient but lets be honest we’re a long way off finding anyone that can produce a moment of magic from nothing in an AIF – when the game is in the melting pot – which is what we need

    I personally wouldn’t bother calling up anyone bar some of the under 21s and just stick with what we have

    Maybe one of the under 21s in a few years will become a “marquee forward” – a game changer and match winner – but right now nothing will change in 2017 I’m afraid, we’re still relying on the same old forwards (and wing backs!) to hopefully hit a big score on the big day and pray that it’s enough! It’s just sods law really that our top class players are mainly all natural midfielders and backs

  57. Liam I have never seen this player in question play but have followed match reports for last few years on local players and he does seem to play well according to the reports.
    My question to you as you seem to know the player and have more knowledge of his football ability than I do at the minute is this guy ready to step up to inter county level in next year or two and what is this players best position?
    Remember Brian Fenton has made a rapid rise in the last two years could we be missing someone like that?

  58. Corofin got their game plan right castlebar didn’t and that was the extra edge. Once corofin had that edge the castlebar lads with 6 games in 6 weeks were always going to be up against it. I think some of the so called “mayo fans” having a go at castlebar and certain players must head up to mayo general and get their chips on their shoulders seen. The lads gave it their all probably against some of the sour lads clubs this year and most have given great service to mayo at various levels. If Mitchells are that poor as some are suggesting what does that say about breaffy, Knockmore tubber and the other clubs? Was connacht that bad that they won 2 titles too? It’s been between bridgits castlebar and corofin the last few years so I’m sure they will come back stronger and if it’s not castlebar good luck to the mayo team involved…and if you don’t want to support the mayo team or players well there is always the English premiership 😉

  59. Castlebar have only themselves to blame yesterday. Over the first 60 minutes they simply had too many bad wides and that cost them in the end. Considering Corofin had the extra rest and the extra motivation to beat Mitchels (after two recent defeats to them) they made hard work of it really. In truth there’s little between them but I do agree that Corofin were a bit niftier scoring from open play. It’s not true to say though that there’s any great gap between the 2 teams……and to be fair if Mitchels had the extra weeks rest it may have been a different story.

    In relation to Douglas the bottom line is that he deserves a run out with Mayo and then we’ll know whether he’s good enough at that level. However the uncomfortable truth may be that the reason there has not been a big change in the Mayo forward line is that they’re the best we have. After all, there’s a huge difference between club and county standard

  60. @Aiden, centre forward is probably his best position. He will have to be in the U21 squad next year and I feel he should have been there this year. As for the senior panel, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be brought in and given access to the medical, fitness and nutritional programs. He may not be the messiah, but he’s a six foot plus, two footed, natural forward who is regularly clocking up double digit scores in games and as far as I’m aware, there isn’t a glut of those within the county.

  61. Well said PK, I’ve noticed that there is a huge chip on the shoulders of many on here when it comes to Mitchels, as you alluded to, why were none of the other top clubs in Mayo not playing Corafin instead of Mitchels, ah, yes none of them were good enough, even though they had a fair sprinkling of county stars in their midst. The Mitchels are our county champs and though they failed to progress any further than the Connacht semi, doesn’t mean they should be sneered at.
    Neil Douglas had an off day but he still made good account of himself off both feet and little support up front, oh! and he was still top scorer in the county championship, what county player playing for club came nearest to his tally??? whoever it was, they were both ONLY playing at club level.
    I agree with John Cuffe, Pebblessmeller and others who say that those showing the best should be in the county panel and those who do or can’t perform at county level any more should go back to the bottom of the pile………………..one of the reasons Mayo are so good defensively is the simple reason that the forwards are defending aswell and expected to cover ground from goal to goal thus out of position and slow buildup needed to get up the field again……….if the defence and midfield is being propped up by the forwards then we are going nowhere slowly, saying that our half backs are the best in the country but our midfield and 50% of our forward line needs serious changes.
    Lets hope in 2017 we play and use the best we have not those who ‘think’ they’re the bees knees.
    MaighEo Abú

  62. Good to hear Liam will keep an eye out for him! Your right two footed players are of a short vintage these days!

  63. Some posters are correct I think, there is alot of sour grapes when it comes to Castlebar, club loyalties and such. But Castlebar are by far the best club side in Mayo.

    I really dont know where some of the negativity comes from regarding Douglas, he is the top forward playing club football in Mayo, out scoring most of the county forwards for a couple of years. I dont agree that he should get a run in the league to see what he is like. He has to be on the 2017 panel along with any other player the management thinks can step up to intercounty. A player needs a prolonged run in a team to settle in, example DOC and COS, both were brutal in their first championship game v Ros but were kept in the panel and now we are seeing the results. Paddy Durcan was average enough at the start of the championship but improved greatly as the summer went on. The real work is done in April and June coming into championship with a weeks training camp thrown in. This is the time potential players need to be included. Im convinced talented players have slipped between the cracks over the years beacuse they were given the token FBD or early league games and deemed not good enough without being given proper time especially in the Championship training atmosphere.

  64. Just read the piece with our CB Chairman in the Mayo News. The one great thing the County Board have done is the Season Ticket. I do despair. A Croke Park administered 32 County initiative and its a great thing we have done.

    Sort out Club Fixtures would be a good starting point. Several clubs have had league games called off at less than 24 hours notice this year.

  65. Tend to agree with you Mayomad. At least Douglas is in the shop window with Castlebar, there are many that didn’t get a fair crack and are now left with little or no opportunity to impress once they have left the underage system.

    Management are human and its a fact of human nature that people will favor certain players over others, that’s life I guess. Plus there is limited opportunity to give game time to players in any inter-county season – unfortunately a player has to impress in some way straight away. Given that so many players dont have shop window so to speak, the onus is on county to have some sort of possibles team or b-team set-up to ensure no potentials slip through the net or later maturing players are captured. Ironically the best thing for Douglas is that Castlebar were knocked out, so now he will be available at the start of next year for the county

  66. KL, I would agree that management would prefer a certain type of player and that a player would have to show some potential.

    Over the past 6 years only Diarmuid have broken into the starting team forward unit. Regan and COC have gotten onto the panel but are far from considered starters and in Regans case has dropped down the pecking order dramatically. I just cant accept that a county as football obsessed as Mayo with little hurling and a very competitive club scene cant produce at least 2 forward players per year that would be pushing for a senior panel position. Players are being lost along the way no question.

    We are fantastic at mining seccessful underage teams, U21 of 2006 is still the backbone of the senior team 10years on.this years U21 will most likely form the senior team for the next 10years. But what of the 10years inbetween? Even the most avarage minor team would have 2-3 very good prospects. The structures in place are not adequate enough, talent is being lost from underage to senior and talent is being overlooked at senior level.

  67. One of the key reasons we haven’t likely won Sam yet has been that lack of development of players problem after the 2008 minors.
    After 2008 minors we have had:
    – Cillian OConnor
    – Diarmuid OConnor
    – Brendan Harrison.
    – Patrick Durcan
    Four players starting from a group that are our U25’s, Stephen Coen is breaking in there.
    No young midfielder has established himself and that has been a problem.
    No young forward with electric pace and that has been a problem.
    No backup freetaker and that has been a problem when Cillian was missing.
    Just really hasn’t been enough coming through in terms of midfield and attack.
    I think we will get such players in 2017/18 however.
    I’m also liking the skill level of the young Westport players. You could see great development happening in that club.

  68. Mayo don’t have 15 footballers better than AOS so stop talking rubbish that he’s a problem. 31 other counties would love to have this problem

  69. JP, I agree with you there. I just cant accept that a better stream of players isnt available in the county. Maybe they are not as good as the starting 15 but surely there should be serious competition for the panel 16 -34. The midfield position is also an issue. Midfield players have evolved big time over the past 3 years or so. Its more about mobility and endurance, gone is the need for the tall lad jumping into the clouds, he really has to get around the park.

    On a different note McHale park has been nominated as a ground to host the rugby world cup in the IRFU submission. I would be thinking this would mean funds made available for further upgrading. Surely the CB wont let this opportunity pass without securing a deal.

  70. No shame whatsoever in Mitchel’s defeat on Sunday. They gave it everything, and it was only to be expected that the 6 games in a row would catch up with them. I would put money on Mitchels winning Mayo next year and beating anything they might come up against in Connaught. Suddenly they have no forwards, while a couple of weeks ago Dougie was being lauded to the skies and earmarked as our go to man for 2017. If Mitchels have such poor forwards how could they reach two finals in 3 years and beat Cross, Brigids, Corofin, and Crokes in the process?

    And the much lauded Corofin forwards? Good club players, but I’m scratching my head to remember any stand out performance at county level, I mean a level that might get Jim Gavin rubbing his chin in puzzlement.

    New blood is fine and should be sought and tried. But don’t bet your house on say Conor Loftus shooting the lights out on AI final day. If he comes up against O’Carrol, Cooper et al, they will have a plan for him too, just as we did for Diarmuid Connolly.

    If we’re back next year it’ll be a game of inches and I have confidence in Rochie (and I hope the current selectors) being able to squeeze that bit extra out of the lads.

  71. @JoeIrwin
    If referring to myself I made no mention of Aidan OShea.
    My point was from 2009-2012 minors (four minor teams) we have had only one starter in midfield or attack. That really isn’t enough.
    Aidan hasn’t been midfield the last two seasons and was minor in 2008 anyways.
    2013/14 minors still early yet on those lads – Diarmuid being exception.
    I don’t know if it was a development problem or just a bad run. But you would expect from four minor teams more than one starter in numbers 8 – 15. At least an impact sub making a big impact which isn’t the case either.

  72. Joe, I didnt see anyone saying Aidan isnt good enough and we def dont have 15 players better than him. But I think the majority including myself agrees that he isnt a forward and he should be positioned elsewhere like midfield.

    Catcol, id agree with you re Mitchels. Yes new blood is needed. Loftus may not shoot the lights out in AI final but if Mayo go with the same set of forwards as this year who are pretty much the same as the past 6 years then i would bet the house that we will see the same outcome and be back on here next year saying the same things like lack of forwards, no scores from play etc etc.

  73. This time last year i was very worried about our backs but this year they were coached well and we saw a vast improvement. Where can we get a good forwards coach?

  74. jr, agreed big improvement in defence, I think Rochford has concentrated on defence this year and hopefully now that this is set he will focus more offensively. No coincidence the improvement in defence coincided with the introduction of fresh players Harrison and Durcan.

  75. And five of the forwards playing in the backs helped too! Only man that played is position was Andy Moran, say it was the main reason we did not see more of Regan too cause he holds his position

  76. MacHale Park included as a venue in the Rugby World Cup bid. If Ireland win’s the bid it will be good bye to the concrete benches id say. Although MacHale Park will look odd as an all blue stadium when our colors are green and red. Still can’t get over that decision along with the poles in the new stand.

  77. Joe Irwin – if you want to continue contributing to the debate here you’re going to have to refrain from telling others to “stop talking rubbish”. It’s not that difficult to express disagreement with others without having to resort to insults.

  78. Joe Irwin, expand you point please.
    If you are referring to my point, I never said that Aidan is “a problem”. I stated that “Management will have to be very creative and specific in the role they give O’Shea” this coming season. I will expand.
    Aidan doesn’t have the engine to last 80mins at midfield so don’t put him there. It’s not his fault, he’s just too big to carry his frame around the middle third at AIF intensity levels to be efficient. That is not to say he is not fit! There’s a difference. He doesn’t have the accuracy of foot pass so therefore, DO NOT have him taking sideline balls, 30m from goal, in an All Ireland final looking to find Barry Moran inside when we are searching for a goal! He doesn’t have the decision making ability of a no.11 so DO NOT have him scooping a ball high, wide and handsome 30m from goal when he got confused between shooting for a point or chipping it in to Barry Moran! He isn’t the most accurate kicker from distance (although he did get one v Tyrone) so therefore DO NOT have him swinging at shots from 45m out into the Hill and putting them wide on the near side.
    Now, I think it is safe to assume that in all of the above instances he decided to do what he did. He wasn’t following instructions from Rochford. That’s fair enough and you want your main players to take decisions on the pitch but in all those instances he was wrong and it cost us.
    He should have gone in beside Barry and let Cillian chip the ball in from the sideline, to two big high fielders. He should have held possession until a better option was free and available. He should have carried the ball further up the field and laid it off to a more accurate shooter. Instead of trying to do it all himself he should have played the percentages. That is why his role must be very specific and creative to get best from him. Then if he does not follow his managers instructions, he sits it out and watches from the bench.
    Who the hell am I to criticize him. I’m a nobody with only an opinion as I was never good enough to play for my county and I’m not blaming him for us losing the replay or anything like it. But a few little tweaks here and there in his role in the team, and the team around him, could make all the difference. However, our reliance on him, and therefore the pressure on him to perform, must be greatly reduced if we are to win the big one.

  79. What tablets are are some of you guys taking, can i have some, take aos out of that team and you wont see croke park anytime soon, it was not the forwards that lost the final ,it was the backs that lost it ,the drawn game 15 points scored , dublin scored 6 points 9 on the score board ,ahead at half time by 5, put that in a pipe and smoke, and most people still cannot see through the haze, who gave the pass for the goal in the replay,who gave the ball to coc for the equaliser in the drawn game ,who gave the pass for the second last point, 17 points scored in replay , a moran had a brief excursion to the backs as well ,Mayo were defending with 7 backs a goalie and a midfielfder that = 9 ,playing with all those backs i think 17 points was a great score for 4 forwards ,add doc and ja.d to this backline and you have 11 backs ,why is a sweeper needed with all those backs, present sweeper should be positioned past midfield in the same area as aos and d.oconn ,those 3 will keep the opposition busy and more scores will be the result ,if the backs are that good let them man mark the opposing team ,what one man can do ,so can another, who are the fast backs in the panel ,is there any in the county,

  80. pebblesmeller
    What can he do so, how did he make the panel?? Just put him back to midfield he did get an All Star there. You are judging him one game the 2013 final

  81. Yew tree.

    The list of stadia for the world cup bid will be whittled down a bit to a smaller number nearer the time.

    Mchale or Pearse could be one of the ones to lose out i feel.

  82. Catcol,

    The only plan we have for Diarmuid Connolly is a certain Lee Keegan, superior footballer, better player etc.


  83. I believe mc hale park will make it to last 8 for rugby world cup, due to the space available at rear for hospitality and international TV crews. Also hotels in Westport and breaffy house is a big plus. Also it is all seater unlike other has grounds.

  84. Agreed Paddy in Dublin; my point really is that modern defences and defensive methods blunt the edges of the best forwards; even Cooper, and O’Donoghue have found that out. That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to find a new star, but I think the real gains may come from the management trying new things.

    Speaking of which, are we all sure that the same management team (I’m talking really about McEntee, and Buckley) is in place for next year, or have I missed anything?

  85. We can all argue among ourselves, justifiably i will say, about everything under the sun but, let us just have a real good look at the Dubs.
    I don’t care what anyone says, they are the best team in the country and deservedly so. If we could just look at them with no hangups whatsoever and learn any lessons that we can learn, i.e. they don’t depend on any one player; they play as a unit at speed; forwards defend in the defence; defenders attack as forwards, eg. Philly Mc Mahon.. They have systems, a defensive one and an attacking one. They do not use one sweeper, they have a system.. Look at them, they defend in groups. Galway did that to us and it worked!!
    Look the bright side…. Donegal developed one of the best defensive systems ever. The first time, they used it against the Dubs, they couldn’t score and the Dubs couldn’t score. The Dubs managed to win. The next year, they got the forwards right as well. That is what Mayo can do now, but a single sweeper just will not work…. look at the gaps we are still leaving,, then look at the Dubs!!!

  86. @Joe irwin with your logic throw him back in ff.. that’s where he last got an all star. Don’t think he has the fitness as could be seen this year in last minutes of game for midfield. I think after the hennelly experiment in the replay I wouldnt be doing too many changes in the summer. A manager should use the league to experiment and should really know his best 15 to 20 come summer

  87. Westportman, I hope your right and that McHale Park is choosen. Croke park, RDS, Aviva, Thomond, Ravenhill are definite. Pairc I caoigh will be one and Casement (if completed). Then its between Killarney, Galway and ourselves for the 8th. Id be thinking Kilarney would be fav. Thats of course if the go with 8 grounds which I believe is the usual number.

  88. Joe Irwin, in order to get the best from Aidan O’Shea you have to play him to his strengths and integrate his strengths into the teams style of play.
    For me, and I have felt this for a while, I would use Aidan as a “pivot” to the attack. I would NOT expect him to be shooting from distance (yes I know he has scored from distance but the %’s tell you that more often than not it’s a waste of possession), I would NOT expect him to be covering 10km to 12km in midfield (yes, he can do it but not for 75mins at the required intensity), and I would NOT expect him to be foot passing 40m to 50m passes to his teammates.
    I WOULD, however, expect him to use his incredible physical strength, bravery (in contact but more importantly in demanding the ball), work rate, handling and the fact that he will always be a marked man, to benefit the team. The “pivot” player and the role is the same in any team sport that involves a ball (it’s as relevant in American football, soccer, rugby and basketball as it is in football). It is the role that knits the defensive side of a team to the attacking side. I would use Aidan as a free-roaming “pivot” operating between midfield and 30m from goal. Our half backs and midfielders would be instructed, when in possession of the ball, to immediately look to Aidan and play ball to him. Any high ball he will win and, considering his size, he is brilliant at going for low ball and retaining it. One thing is for sure, if the ball played to him is of good quality Aidan will win it and retain it. His job then is to pop quick, short passes to the runners coming from midfield or the half forwards running into space. Now, his job is done. It’s up to the forwards ahead of him to do the rest. By using him in this way you are not expecting him to shoot from distance, kill himself out running in the middle third, or asking him to be a creative No.11 like McDonald who could land a ball in your back pocket with a foot pass from 40yrds. You are however, playing Aidan to HIS strengths.
    Of course, he will be a marked man. That’s normal. But I would give him free roam to move across the full width of the pitch thereby keeping his marker totally occupied. If his man is getting the better of him, or if he is double-marked, then the team and Aidan need to be street smart and quick. In this situation Aidan becomes a decoy. His role now is to become a dummy pivot, making runs wide and into the corners thereby bringing his marker(s) with him leaving loads of space in the attacking part of the field for our forwards to exploit.
    He is as brave as a lion on the field. He takes untold punishment knowing full well that most of it will go unpunished by the referee. Defenders know this too so they go harder and more cynically because they know the will get away with it. But Aidan never shirks that side of the game and, more commendably, he never goes hiding in a game either, regardless of how badly it may be going for him. I think it’s time we played him to HIS strengths, in an attack that knows how to function around him.
    It may be a long winded answer but it’s the so-called logic behind my argument.

  89. @pebblesmeller
    That would be an interesting role for Aidan and not something that has been done.
    He could also do the odd attacking run but with Aidan arriving at pace running towards goal when he receives the ball. Most of the time Aidan is running away from goal when receiving the ball.
    For it to work well the average speed of the forward line needs to go up. When he would lay off the ball the player receiving cannot be forced into going laterally due to a lack of pace.

  90. Everyone has an opinion on AOS and where to play him. Its a sign of how important a player he is to the Mayo team. If Mayo are to win the AI then AOS will be a big part of that, no question. However beacuse everyone has an opinion shows that there is as isssue with the position he plays. Mayo are a a stage where our main rival is Dublin, that is the team we have to beat to secure Sam and therefore AOS must be judged on his performances v Dublin over the past number of years. AOS can get away with playing in any number of positions v most teams, ff, cf, mf but not against Dublin.

    This year playing at hf he just ran into wall after wall of Dublin Defenders, they knew exactly who to tackle him and how to set up against him, they knew he was going to run all day at them. Yes he passed to Cillian in first game and to Lee in replay but theses are only two passes over two games. To play at hf he needs to pass the ball, lay it off, make the ball do the work. Not try to barge his way through time after time, it only ends in turnovers.

    2014 he played at ff, no score over two games and was completely marked out of the game, for me ff is just a non runner.

    2013 played midfield, Cluxtons kickouts took AOS out of the game. However not enough pressure was put on Cluxton that day to force him down the middle where we are strong. Also he was with SOS in the middle that day which also contributed to lack of mobility.

    IMO Aos is not a forward and should not be playing there. I think we have players who can play more effectively at cf, id play DOC there with Loftus coming in. I would play Aidan in Midfield in a more defensive role beside Parsons. Let Parsons cover the ground, AOS position infront of the fb line, clean up any ball that arrives in that area, this position will get him away from a defensive double team, he can always make a run or two now and again but more measured, when the opportunity presents it self not forcing the issue. The alternative is playing him from the bench like Dublin did with McAuley, he didnt mind as he got his medal. where to play AOS must be for the good of the team at the end of the day.

  91. @Pebblesmeller
    I agree with your assessment of Aidan O Shea and the role he should have. As I pointed out in a post a few weeks ago, he provided the perfect template himself as to how he should play when he set up Keegan for the goal. Focus on that and get good at it and cut out the rest (like taking frees) and he will become the great player we know he is.
    Aidan himself needs to change. He has to stop trying so hard to put in ‘the big’ performance’ and meet the media expectations of him and focus on doing the basics really well. He need to retreat completely from the spotlight because all it does is put undue pressure on himself and impact negatively on his play.

  92. The positioning of AOS has to be for the good of the team, not how to get the best out of him individually. Pebblesmeller, AOS could play in the position you suggested and with work it could be very effective. My only fear would be this would become our only form of attack, kick long to Aido and feed off it. It would make us predictable, much like we are now. Dublin have shown numerous times that they can keep Aidan quiet (legally and illegally). Mayo need to have variety in attack, have multiple options, movement to create space. I would play DOC at cf (he has alot to offer on the score board) and he is capable of varying the play alot more. Personnally I would like to see a forward line like the following play throughout the league.

    KMc, DOC, loftus
    Reape, Douglas/Irwin, COC.

  93. I think we expect too much from AOS he’s not Superman. He’s not really a scoring forward but he’s a good provider and worth his pace in the team maybe his best position is between midfield and CHF. The reality is we don’t have enough firepower up front but the lads we do have have given everything for the cause and trained hard and given 100% commitment and came up short but only just and after a replay. We should try some new forwards in the FBD and League and see if we have any better than what’s there

  94. The introduction of the mark next year will recall most of our big men back into the central diamond positions – so the AOS question will undoubtedly answer itself..

  95. 45, I have read interviews by AOS himself and other midfielders and the common thinking by players is the mark will have the total opposite result than intended. I would tend to agree with this. Modern football is all about ball retention, managers will not allow kickouts to go down the middle and risk a free against. Kickouts will either go short or out wide to half forwards falling back. It would actually be safer to kick the ball over the side line than send it out towards OShea or Fenton.The mark was introduced by people who are out of touch with modern football. It wont promote midfield play, it will actually isolate players like barry moran even more.

  96. Yeah Aidan, I was wondering about that too. According to the Mayo news the full line-up is as follows:

    The new Mayo Minor manager is Swinford clubman Damien Gavin. His backroom team includes Padraic Costello (Ballinrobe), Brian McLoughlin (Burrishoole) and Michael Doocey (Cill Chomáin).

  97. Good luck to the new minor management….the wheels keep on turning! New faces new hopes and inevitably new figures to add to new equations!
    Talking about our lack of scoring potential in the county brings up a few thoughts.
    We havnt had the fire power up front because it simply was else where…..back the field over defending! We look to the defence of this last year and rejoice at the amount of success we’ve had but to what cost? Is it a great wonder that our All Stars were all gained in defence? How often in games would you find DOC,JD and KMc L all together at the same time at the wrong end of the pitch? And we still wondered how we were so shy in the scoring stakes! The game has changed a lot but one thing remains…you must score more than the opposition. Something had to be done to cut down on scores conceded! The Mayo option had to work and it did in spite of those few screwy instances.
    Looking back now though, it appears that we were expecting miracles to happen up front…..scores to get scored without the necessary or adequate ingredients in place! Looking back,how many times can we recall players taking the wrong options? Maybe we should ask , how often did they take the only option on offer…..in the absence of that assist perhaps that was late arriving!
    So outside of what new players might emerge in the coming year, where AOS is best played or what bearing the mark will have there will have to be some serious thought put into balancing the team in light of what I’ve said above!
    For how can we get the ball into scoring hands if they are not where they should be at the right time. We can’t have the much sought after rapid movement of ball if we don’t have the conveyors in adequate numbers to do the work!
    IMO there’s nothing wrong with having a big chap in the FF line no matter what he’s called so long as he’s not all on his ownio! There has to be the full quota in that line as often as pos. as this is where the majority of scores are most likely to come from! You need to have the bodies for the build up of a score. Youll have a few from distance as confidence surfaces and also that great score from the odd well chosen dash from the back but most scores are necessarily of the mundane hard won type!!
    So, wheel on the wagon and soon again we ll all be on board!!!

  98. After watching Castlebar for the last few weeks I think Rory Byrne needs to be looked at by Mayo Management. Assuming our all star goalie commits for another year it’s the number 16 jersey that would be up for grabs. Question is would mgt drop Hennelly for Byrne?

  99. Done Deal, I would agree Byrne is an otion as is Flanagan. Hennellys confidence must be at rock bottom and only management will know how he is after speaking to him. As far as im concerned no one can be dropped from the panel as there is currently no Mayo senior panel. 2016 is done and dusted. The manager is free to choose any player he wishes for the 2017 panel.

  100. I would love to see Byrne get a go.

    sadly we need an option other than Rob. October 1st was one disaster too many and it will be hard for players or management to trust him again when it really comes down to it.

    With Clarke getting near retirement we need other options anyhow, so I suspect Rob may not even be in the panel come the business end and we might have a threesome of Clarke, Byrne and Flanagan involved

  101. Byrne does seem a steady keeper alright. Agile build to him too able to move like an outfield player.

  102. Mayomad, I don’t disagree – the mark could be counter productive in that it will give the opposition the chance to get men back if the man in possession delays, however, if the ball is played quick or an opposing player fails to retreat immediately allowing the ball to be moved forward it may be very beneficial. Who knows – like everything it will take teams a good bit of experimentation to figure out whether it will be an advantage to them or not. Interesting times ahead.

  103. Loads of post’s, loads of topics discussed, was tempted to respond to one or two of them to disagree with them in the strongest terms, only by the time I read the disagreeable comments (to me anyway) someone else had responded and more or less articulated what I was going to say, only done a better job than I could have done.. For the record, some very harsh and unwarranted negative comments about Castlebar Mitchles , don’t in any way want to take away from another excellent performance from Coraifin,. It should be a wonderful Connacht Club final, between two superb and very recent All Ireland Champions. But 6 weeks in a row, take their toll..Aiden OShea has loads of posters exercised, and my take on AOS is simple, some day’s he has been irrepressible, some day’s not, Aiden is not always the same player, sometimes that’s down to the opposition, down to some brutal refereeing where it’s apparently open season on Aiden and other times its down to Aiden, whether he’s brilliant or otherwise. The thing is that I have never seen Aiden taken off, by the three different management teams in league or Championship, at least I cannot recall it happening.. Now what that means to me is that if Aiden is having a bad day, Mayo won’t replace him. Well in my opinion, no player is that good that they should be immune from withdrawal, or for that matter a certainty to start every match either.. Management job is among other things to give Mayo the best possible chance of success, by managing our resources the best we possibly can, in 2017, it could be concivibally be the case that some other player is actually better than AOS or indeed any of our player’s no matter how renowned that player may be… However If Aiden is close to his best , not many opposing players will be able to live with Aiden. , But, Aiden has to learn lessons, no more running into tackles, Club teams, now that they have learned are able to cope with Aiden doing that, so hardly surprising that Inter County teams can cope. Can Aiden finish a tough 80 min championship match like this year’s All Ireland final at full tilt?. Has he the engine? If he doesn’t he should be replaced, same as with any other player, or maybe not started, he would be some powerful explosive player to be brought on around 40 minutes, ala Michael Darragh McAuley for Dublin, only Aiden is younger and better. Management needs to be brave and flexible, this year’s league saw very little in terms of, experimantion. Hope to see some more imagination, courage and flexibility in 2017 league. Mayo will again have a panel of more than 30 players, over the course of 2017 Rochford and Co will have to look at approx 40 player’s, some established player’s will have to left out or taken off, many of us posters and fan’s won’t be happy when that happens, but for me it’s absolutely necessary. It’s not only AOS I expect to see in the dugout for a time or two in 2017,. We will never know unless we give it a go.. As for the Rugby World Cup and the possibility of Pearce Stadium and McHale Park being used. Every publication that I have read gives the capacity of Pearce Stadium at 34,000..and McHale Park at 31,000..is it the IRFU or journalist to lazy to check out the facts. I think if they take off about 9,000. from Pearce Stadium and add most of that number to the 31k for McHale Park, they would be much nearer the accurate mark.. Never mind that all but 8,000 would have to stand at Pearce, at least everybody can be seated in McHale Park, Castlebar, right beside the Railway station excellent parking in the vicinity, access to the roads, no comparison really as to the best venue, it’s not even close.

  104. Leantimes – I agree that MacHale Park is the better stadium. However that is not the only consideration that comes into play. Sadly I see only one venue in Connacht and I foresee that MacHale Park will get the chop.

  105. Yew_tree, I would agree. I think it will be one out of Kilarney, Galway, Castlebar. I would think Killarney would be fav but with Connacht Rugby playing out of Galway then a venue will have to go there.

  106. I took issue with Catcol’s rather negative comment that Corofin are no great shakes but my comment was not posted up after moderation. What was wrong with what I said and why did Catcol get away with a less than generous remark about Corofin, who won the semi fair and square? I think more objectivity is needed on this site.

  107. Great post Leantimes have to agree with your comments. Personally I’d like to see us give some of our big players a break for the FBD especially and the league. We desperately need to discover some new forward talent if we are to win Sam granted the lads that were there went very close but unfortunately not close enough. If we can just about manage not to get relegated and discover and blend in some new talent as well it will have been a great league.

  108. Marybeau – it’s because this is a Mayo site so if you come on here as someone from outside the county, continually attempting to post sniping comments (as you’ve repeatedly done for several months at this stage), they won’t get past moderation. If, however, you want to contribute to the debate in a positive fashion, as a number of others from outside the county do, then you’re more than welcome to do so and your input will, I’m sure, be accorded the respect it would deserve. Because it is a Mayo site, though, I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with a lack of objectivity. It goes with the territory I’m afraid.

  109. I had a look at the IRFU 2023 site and that capacity figure for Pearse Stadium (34,000) is utter fiction. Low twenties (the vast bulk of them standing) would be tops there. They’ve listed MacHale Park as having a capacity of 31,000 but you could easily fit 35k (all-seated) into it.

  110. jr, does Pearse Stadium not already have lighting. Im sure an international rules game was played there under lights a few years ago, I could be wrong about that though. I think 8 stadiums is the number required to host the world cup, croke park, RDS, Aviva, Thomond and ravenhill are certs, Puairc I caoigh and Casement will be used as they will be new. That leaves one more wanted, I think Galway will get it even though its not the best stadium available (and that its a horror to get to) but Connacht Rugby play in Galway so a decent Rugby fanbase is there. Killarney would also prob be ahead of Castlebar just beacuse its Killarney basically.

    Backdoor Sam, personnally I have little or no interest in the FBD and think it should be discontinued. Nothing can be learned from those games and are a breading ground for injury, Higgins missed most of the league due to an injury sustained in those games, games he shouldnt have been playing in to begin with.

  111. Willie Joe and Marybeau (how’s that for a pairing!), I wasn’t having a go at Corofin in that post. I was making an argument, in line with the Master’s guidelines, that the criticism of Castlebar’s forwards was unfair, and that Corofin’s forwards were no world beaters when playing on the big stage for Galway – the stage where Jim Gavin would be sitting up and taking notice.

    Corofin BTW ARE a good team; no gripes on that score.

  112. As regards the capacity of Mchale Park said to be 31,000.

    There was 34,613 at the Mayo v Galway Connacht final in Castlebar in 2006. The one where Mortimer scored the late winner into the bacon factory end.

    Check it on you tube. Marty Morrisey gives the exact attendance just before Mortimer scores the winner.

  113. Mayomad I am looking forward to the FBD since Oct 2 almost as much as I look forward to Christmas. I think the FBD is a great workout for the fans if not the footballers. I think the FBD is a useful workout and it’s good to start the league with a few games under the belt that’s my opinion anyway and please God if the Lord spares me I’ll be there on Sunday 8th January cheering on the Green and Red for me the dream still burns brightly and i know we will lift Sam sooner or later

  114. Jim Flag, thanks for that piece of information, depending on where you look for information the capacity of McHale Park can by some sources be in excess of 40,000.according to Wikipedia it’s 38,000…as for Pearce Stadium, just like when it was recently redeveloped, end of the millennium, certain facts were ignored and certain businesses people had to be pleased, that’s why it was Pearce Stadium and not St Jarleths Park Tuam that the money was spent on. It had crossed my mind that the same force’s might be at work again, I have never met a Galway GAA fan that preferred Salthill to Tuam, Many seem have learned quickly from the recent American Presidential elections, its called ‘post truth’ facts may not be facts at all, like taxes are for the small people..

  115. WJ The IRFU fans are well accustomed to standing, especially prior to Aviva and Croke Park venues being open to them. The additional standing room that is afforded them in Pearse Stadium would be ideal for the majority of IRFU fans. The Galway venue has other advantages over McHale Park. I agree with some posters that Killarney would probably win that particular 3 horse race as they would be ahead of the other two.

  116. What about the fact that the stadium in Killarney is a kip? One of the most uncomfortable stadiums I was ever at, and that includes Roscommon!

  117. Roscommon is more comfortable than Pearce Stadium, far nearer the train station, more parking than Peace Stadium (Stadium, surely an exaggeration) OK Tuam too was also referred to as a stadium, once upon a time!. Pearce hardly deserves the moniker, either. But it’s between Mayo and Galway, the IRFU (hardly bastions of egetalisirm, more like bastions of British emperialism ). State money will be paid out, your money and mine to the winning bid from Connaught, unless their is two,.. Once upon a time, in Galway and indeed Connaught, all the really relevant facts were ignored and, North Galway, Tuam was ignored, tradition was ignored, Galway football prospered.(NOT) Galway hurling prospered) NOT) Nothing could be further from the truth, East Galway is the spiritual home of hurling in the county, they could easily hold their highest attendance in the league they ever had in Ballinsloe! They play their hurling Championship matches in Leinster, and no where else. The reason this WINDY WINDY Pearce (STADIUM) was given Galway, Connacht, Irish GAA and Tax payers funds had nothing to do with sport, not in the least, The good of Galway Gaa was not in the minds of those that made the decision to redevelope Pearce (Stadium) a place without a sporting sole.. Now it dosent suit, the Mayo Gaa, paying supporters, all tens of thousands of us, resilient and all as we are, to ignore the fact that the stadium that ends up hosting a Rugby world cup match or two will in fact benefit from a payout from the exchequer, no other fan’s in Ireland have contributed more than Mayo supporters to the revenue, by any measure, we pay for our travel, our hotels, our attendance in huge numbers, The tax revenue from Mayo supporters would even be more than Dublin supporters when everything is taken into account. Now while Mayo still boasts a Taoiseach, time for anyone interested to just give him the facts, he should know already. Don’t let the wealthy businesses interests that done so much to damage Galway Gaa with their greed, to do it to Mayo. Time for something to come back to Mayo,..

  118. Clarification, Galway hurlers, sometimes do indeed play outside of Leinster,in the championship, eg Semple Stadium Thurles, via the back door qualification system, usually a double header. Apart from that, they now play in the Leinster championship and under the the rules of engagement, Galway (a Connaught geographical team) must seed home advantage to all Leinster teams, should they meet in the Leinster championship,! Bizzare!

  119. comparing both grounds, Pearse and HcHale then McHale is the obvious choice, more capacity, better access etc. However this would be a Rugby world cup. The IRFU will definitely choose Galway to host a game or two. Galway is the home of Connacht Rugby and Galway has the biggest Rugby fan base in Connacht. If only one ground is choosen in Connacht then it will be in Galway, on a rugby view point it would be the obvious choice

  120. HSE, I wonder how much of that Kerry COE money came from Croke Park rent to soccer and rugby? In Connacht the bulk of that money went to the Connacht centre in Bekan where I suspect Mayo will make more use of it than anybody else. I can’t see a rush from Sligo, Leitrim or Galway to Bekan. Sligo have their own centre outside Sligo town, Leitrim have their’s in Annaduff on the N4 and Galway already have a centre in Loughgeorge, near Claregalway. Maybe some Rossies will find it convenient but a Rossie driving from Dublin will not see the sense of driving through Roscommon to Bekan and back again to train, will he?

  121. Good point there AndyD about other counties use of the facilities in Bekan but I wonder do the Mayo players use it much either. I don’t know much about it really, to be honest, the only time I ever hear it mentioned is when an FBD league game is played there due to other pitches been unplayable.

    The point I was making about the Centre of Excellence in Kerry is that recently we were told by our County Board that we couldn’t afford a Commercial Manager. Yet of the 8 million it took to build the COE in Kerry, 2 million was raised by the Kerry County Board in the States, our County Board went to New York with a biscuit tin.

    So if we are settling for second best off the pitch, when making decisions like not appointing a Commercial Manager, then that is probably why we are ending up in second place at best on the field of play as well.

  122. It will be world rugby, not irfu that will choose venue. There will have to be one in west, as regional locations are key to bid. Rugby support base in Galway points to Pearse but much better facilities in mc hale park gives castlebar a good chance. One of the biggest plus for mc hale park on first selection was the space around stadium suitable for hospitality and TV crews.

  123. Well done Westport and Louisburg on their wins today,2 more clubs have become Connacht Champions Mayo football marches on.

  124. Centre of excellence in Brian has great facilities and great pitches.very few club grounds match them at this time of year.more club games should be played there.

  125. Good to see Westport and Louisburgh advance. Both were pushed hard in the county championship. A good sign for the standard at Intermediate and junior

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