Ends and beginnings

This is the piece I wrote for the post-match All-Ireland final supplement in this week’s Mayo News.

This one won’t be as easy to accept, I fear. It could, indeed, become the most difficult one of the lot to live with. We left an All-Ireland behind us back in 1996 – when we also lost by a point, though only after a replay and in far more controversial circumstances – and it’s no coincidence that up ‘till yesterday this was the only one of the six that most of us would, I think, have had any real sense of self-reproach about. But now it’s seven and we’ve got a whole new collection of regrets to pick over at another painful near-miss with Sam.

We lost this one for a variety of reasons and it’s only fair-minded to acknowledge up front that Dublin’s stamina in the unseasonably hot and heavy conditions – where they kept coming at us as we began to wilt visibly the longer the second half went on – had a fair bit to do with it. They also seemed to be able to juggle their resources throughout the game to far greater effect – we may bemoan the loss of Alan Freeman after half an hour, for example, but they lost Paul Mannion to injury only fifteen minutes in – and from my vantage point high in the Cusack Stand they seemed to hold their shape far better when the contest was really up for grabs.

But much of the regret from our perspective will surely focus on the simple fact – which James Horan readily admitted after the match – that we committed far too many mistakes ourselves. Time and again we shot ourselves in the proverbial foot through handling errors, misplaced passes – some intercepted, some just poorly directed – and a failure to keep targeting their areas of strength, in particular Cluxton’s kick-outs.

In order to win this All-Ireland, we needed to have kept our finest performance of the year for the final. This showing was, sadly, some way short of that and it never came close to the coruscating displays the lads put on over the course of the summer, in particular the manner in which we so comprehensively dismantled the likes of Galway and Donegal.

There were hints early on – when we settled into the match right from the throw-in and when it was obvious that Dublin were nervy and scrabbling to gain a foothold – that we might see a similar shock-and-awe first half. We had the chances then to do a good bit of damage on the scoreboard but the greatest damage was done when Bernard Brogan goaled at the Hill end for them, completely against the run of play.

The goal, like the defeat itself, was wholly preventable and when generalised regrets about the day turn to match-altering specifics, that moment will, I fear, live long in the memory. On a more positive note, so too will Andy’s calm-as-you-like finish into the same net in the second half – when, in an instant, I began to believe again that we might be able to push on across the winning line – but sadly that one was quickly overshadowed by the fatal blow of Dublin’s second goal soon after.

Overshadowed too as we trudged out wearily into an incredibly still-balmy late September evening was the bright and brilliant glow that the minors had created at the outset of the day. Their All-Ireland winning performance was far from perfect – they were a bag of nerves early on and then sat back far too defensively in the last quarter and lost most of an eight-point lead in the process – but the crucial difference between their day and the seniors’ was that when they got on top they moved in swiftly for the kill. They also showed commendable coolness to grab three late points, which gave them vital elbow-room coming down the closing stretch, and were worthy champions at the finish.

Last year’s final loss for the seniors felt like a missed opportunity but one we could take energy from and which we could use as a kind of launch pad for a redoubled push for the summit the following year. I don’t sense that this year’s defeat will carry within it the same positive properties – in many ways, too many perhaps, it felt more like an end rather than a setback to a work in progress. But the minors’ great success – a win that will grow in significance for us as the days shorten and the winter closes in – surely carried with it the sense of a new beginning. After a day of otherwise crushing disappointment, that has to be seen as something tangible to focus on and which, when we rise again (and we will, in time), we’ll be able to point to as the genesis of our renewal.

107 thoughts on “Ends and beginnings

  1. Just as a bit of context for the piece, the more downbeat tone I’ve adopted in it may be explained by the fact that I wrote it at around 6am yesterday morning when my post-match mood was close to its lowest point and when I was still under the assumption (now hopefully misplaced) that James Horan wouldn’t be staying on next year. Thirty-six hours and more on from then, I’m now a good bit more optimistic about our ability to rise again strongly next year.

  2. We can make all the excuses in the world for loosing this AIF but the truth of the matter is, the best team over the seventy + minutes won the day. And our lack of mobility in the middle of the field didn’t help either, will need tweaking before next year….

  3. Ah i still think it was a honest opinion.Think quiet rightly you didn’t attack any players for short comings and still ended on a good note.
    Shar what else could ya say WJ

  4. We all know why we lost, but hardly anyone seems to be interested in finding out why, which is a recipe for the same all over again. We might as well go for 8 in a row, sure why not, we will just keep telling the lads and the manager how great they are and how much we deserve to win an all Ireland. We need bloody steel lads, not patronising.

  5. I’m not insinuating that your article WJ is any of the above, just a general comment on some of the well meant words by many posters.

    I actually believe that all the media back patting of Aidan O’Shea went to his head and affected his game badly.

  6. Lads don’t turn this into the Hogan Stand site. Tensions are obviously high, but no need to be turning on each other and players.

  7. Good call Juan,tensions are still high and im still wound up,wont apoligise for defending players though.I was on Hoganstand a few times,WJ would never let that happen here.Great blog and read by my friends all over the world.There’s a few good sites (Hoganstand not one of them,full of kids and idiots) that really bring you close to home.Ive been lucky enough to be back for while now but i was gone for 11 years.The blog wasnt here all that time but have always thoroughly enjoyed it.

  8. FW, you are perfectly entitled and right to defend the players commitment but I never questioned that at any stage so you are creating an argument.

  9. To be fair tom61, your right about the steel factor, we need forwards that are a bit more physically intimidating and also more pace, i think cillian will come on again next year as he is still very young, freeman was a terrible loss on sunday, having watched the game again (reluctantly) he had the beating of O’Carroll, whether he was sick or that is a diffrent story, but i think we would have won the game if he stayed on. We’re not far off Tom, id rather be in our position compared to Cork, Tyrone and even Donegal. We didnt become a bad team over night. Just lack that one maybe two killer forwards.

  10. juan, don’t think Freeman was sick as he was very angry to be hauled off and threw his jersey from him. He certainly wasn’t playing like a man that was sick either.

  11. FW, i cannot read Hogan stand, gave up a couple of years ago. This blog is a credit to WJ and Mayo people, great fans one and all, we are hurting, angry, and grieving all at the same time. But we have fantastic footballers, we’re just that couple pf players short. Our defense and midfield are top class. We had more good games than bad this year, that has to count for something goin into next season.

  12. Sorry but have to respond to that,its great that all your post seems to be is about your eating habits and the fact you dont drink alcohol(truly amazing) Only lad in Mayo Id say.

    No time for clowns giving players grief unless you play with them.More Steel? What does that even mean? Dont have a burger and a pint and tell the world about it,enjoy not having them but dont tell me or anyone else on here,what do you want? a medal,i dont eat fish by the way….

    Love Mayogaablog and the fact we all stick together,have to call it though when you think you see a bullsh1tter.

    Sorry WJ but i think im not wholly wrong here

  13. Tom61, jesus i didnt see that, if thats the case thats shocking. He won the two decent balls that came into him.

  14. Tom,just saw your post,I think im still wound up a bit.The day Mayo lads start arguing on here is the day it urns into Hoganstand.Apoligies.

  15. Juan ur right about needing another killer forward…killer Kilcoyne? The lad can certainly score. Worth another shot I reckon. I’d love to think one of the younger forwards such as coen, the doc or regan could step up to the plate but I’m not sure they are at the standard required. Time will tell…

    Our lack of mobility at centerfield is also a slight concern at centerfield but easily remedied. As Kevin McStay said, we need to find lads who can kick the scores. It’s much harder to make a scorer out of an athlete than it is to turn a scorer into an athlete. The inside forward line of the minors was the best we’ve had in years…Doherty, Irwin and Conroy. A bit young yet but would be great to think one or two of them might make the breakthrough in a couple of years.

    As I’ve said in earlier posts ..we must build upon and increase underage success. It is key to future senior success.

  16. The upload speed of yer posts is causing half the trouble on this. Things get said on days like this because tensions are high. But we all want the same thing. We have to stick together, we all get the piss taken out of us no matter where we are in the world, we all get the same choker jibes, the sarcastic version off “sam maguires coming home to mayo”, all that shit. But look it we are Mayo, we are proud people, we’ll bounce back again next year, we’re like that annoying swarm of midgets on a fine summer evening…we just wont F$CK OFF.

  17. Mayonaze, kilcoyne could be the answer, but is he going to come back from London? im sure hes working and settled over there. I personally have great faith in jason doc. He had a good sigerson and league, just unfortunate to pick up an injury. Played well sgainst the dubs last year too. Coen looks like he has the potential and needs to be given more game time. Evan Regan may return next year with a point to prove. I wouldnt rush the minors, let them develop physically for another couple of years. Roscommon had great hopes after ’06 that the majority of there minors would automatically transform them into a top 5 or 6 team, but realistically the only one to make an impact was donie shine, and even at that he doesnt look anywhere near the top level players.

  18. WJ will not be impressed when he reads this, ye could be looking at a yellow card id say lol. I must also congratulate the fans who out numbered the Dubs in the hill,was a great sight to see from the davin end.

  19. well lads another year gone we came close it wasnt our best performance of the year by any means, but lets not be fooled dublin had an extra gear and it was hardly dublins best performance of the year either.

    we could of done with a bigger test this year before meeting dublin we kind of cruised in to the final without any great test you have every right to argue donegal were a big test but they didnt show up and were not on it this year. tyrone started well but lost their best players to injuries and were unable to get scores on the board.

    we have a great bunch of lads and nothing can be taken away from them they are still young and can improve and the future still looks bright.

    what next year brings us is anyones guess? will donegal rise from the ashes? do kerry have one more in them? will cork step their game up? will dublin polish their game and dominate? and will horan and our heroes make it to the final for a 3rd year running?

  20. Don’t bother too much with the supermacs since they done away with the chunky chips. The supermacs up the North are a bit like Northern tayto anyways, it’s just not the same.
    There was a fella called the million dollar man back in the seventies and they put a heap of steel into him. It worked a treat and made that lad faster, stronger etc. Could be worth a go.

    Can’t sleep right at all make you feel for the lads who sacrificed so much over the year. Dublin and Mayo are the best teams in the country. It was always gonna be close to call a winner on the day. Somebody had to loose. Fcuk I wish it had been a draw, like the hurling.

    Anyway there a great bunch of lads and hopefully they’ll take us there sooner rather than later.

  21. Negative Tom. I am not the same poster as FW.

    Googling “steel” you say? An alloy of iron and carbon according to wiki (see. I can be a smartarse too).

    Andy Moran suffered a serious injury and came back to score 1-2 in an All Ireland final 13 months later.

    Cillian dislocated his shoulder 3 times and worked incredibly hard to come back each time and scored 8 points in a senior final.

    In fact, this same bunch of players are starting a fitness program in 2 weeks time to prepare themselves for next year.

    That is inspirational stuff. “Steely” I would have thought.

    You have this bizarre notion that the team owes you something. I said it before on a different thread but it was removed by WJ. Bad language probably in fairness.

    If you think spending your money meas these players owe you something, then you are better off staying at home.

  22. FW and Tom…….Can both of you quit the shit, go for a virtual handshake and get back to constructive comment…….

  23. I’m only looking at this site now, this was indeed another all Ireland left behind us. We had too many wides in the first half. The game was lost at half time. There are a couple of things which lead to mayos demise. Why wasn’t Richie feeney brought on instead of varley or b moran. Seamus o Shea was the better of the two o Shea’s, why was he taken off, Aidan looked wrecked from 50 minutes onwards. Richie would have been the player to run at Dublin and he can score long range. Eoghan o gara pulled his hamstring around 50minutes into game and we still kept Keith Higgins back there. All these contributed to why we didn’t bring Sam home. So where to now for next season, we need 3 new forwards to can cause backs problems. K mc loughlin had a very bad campaign this year, compared to last year, he really didn’t perform. Disappointing as he is normally one of mayos leaders. I hope James Horan stays in charge. What do ye think lads?

  24. Good morning everyone! Jesus, that was an intelligent debate between Tom and FW. Fair play to ye both lads, ye solved all the things that went wrong for us on Sunday. Burgers, fish, supermacs, porter and steel. An interesting combination but not one that you will find in any recipe for All Ireland success or any coaches manual for pre-hydration, dietary nutritional requirements for elite athletes or guideline for calorific intake for high performance athletes. This is all we need, right at the very point where we all need to stick together (players, management, backroom staff, supporters, players families, players employers, etc) we start arguing among ourselves.
    We are all extremely disappointed, hurting, angry and, I think someone mentioned the stages of grieving as being relevant, feeling empty. But this will pass. In time. It will take weeks and possibly months, but it will pass. We will bounce back from this and it will make us all stronger. However bad we feel it is nothing to how the players feel. Just remember that. We are a stubborn shower of fuckers and the disaster that was Sunday, in time, is only going to strengthen us.
    Despite Sunday, I know they are good enough but ALL involved are going to have to hold their hands up and admit where they got it wrong, learn from it and move on. Because if what I am begining to hear is true then there is a clear-the-air, cleansing process that will have to be gone through before we can re-embark on our tortuous journey for Sam. Sometimes, you have to break it down and rebuild from the bottom again. As The Joker said in Batman, “you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs”. Well, it’s time to start cracking those eggs.

  25. Hi all,

    Was at the homecoming for the minors in Hollymount last night. Good event with plenty of kids present and Gary O Malley on hand with the tunes. The young lads enjoyed a day at the races and deserved there moment in the light away from the black cloud of the senior team.

    One would worry though looking up at them on stage how many will make the breakthrough to senior in the next 5 years. College, social distractions and fecking emigration will all play their part. I was not even born when we last won a minor title so saluted them with a few pints.

    Aside and talking to people last night, the debate seems split 50/50 on people who want to see Horan continue. I would be of the opinion that we need to take a step back and think for a while. In the aftermath of defeat, hasty decisions and views can be expressed.

    On thing that is sure, I personally ain’t feeling any better as we enter midweek. Will take a while I suppose. It would lift you though to see so many positive comments on this blog.

  26. Tom/FW – it’s yellow cards for you both, I’m afraid, for that late night ding-dong between you. And in your case, Tom, it’s the second warning in less than a week so one more and it’ll be red. You’ve only recently begun posting comments here so you clearly aren’t used to the standards expected when doing so. I’ve already pointed you in the direction of the house rules for comments – they’re here – so if you haven’t yet read them then you need to (as do you, FW) to before posting anything else. Just so you know, it was Rules 1 and 4 that were repeatedly broken in the small hours of this morning. I’m taking a leniant approach on this one, given that emotions are still clearly running high in Sunday’s aftermath, but I won’t be from here on.

  27. Pacar – it’s yellow for you too. I’ve deleted that comment imparting inside information (which may be true but which may be not) about specific players. You should know by now that this isn’t the place for posting stuff like that.

    All – can everyone also hold back on announcing players’ international travel plans until it’s known for sure what’s happening? God knows, they deserve a bit of time and space at the minute to think through what they want to do without having the implications discussed here at the same time. Alf – I’ve deleted that comment of yours for that reason.

  28. I never read so much bullshit as those two clowns trading insults which has no place on this site.If anyone does not understand steel in a footballing sense then they have not played too much hard competitive football where you put your head in where you shouldn’t. Our backs namely C Boyle L Keegan D Vaughan to name a few have this quality in abundance We lost the game because we were too timid in attack our efforts at scoing was pathetic A sweeper should have been employed to starve Brogan of quality ball particularly when we abonded our plan to outsmart Cluxton Freeman should not have been taken off neither S O Shea B Moran J Doherty A Feeney should have come in at half time A O Shea should have moved in to Centre or Full Forward particularly when Freeman and Higgins no longer occupied those positions High balls werebeing pumped in to a small FF line We all appreciate the fantasti efforts management have put in and the great joy they and the players have given us and we as Mayo supporters owe them a lot and I am sure they will analyise this and hopefully learn from it .I see that a lot of you are saying we need a few marquee forwards which I agree with whole hartedly but you also need to rember we had a panel of players the last day that if they.were utilized to the best of their potential Sam would be at home in Mayo with Tom I dont intend this as negative critism we all can and should learn from mistakes nobody went to Croker to lose the game and lets hope that we have most of the players back together with a few new ones with abit of steel (that word again) in them and of course James and his management team
    In conclusion a big thanks to all involved for a memorable year and please God we will be back supporting you next just like every other year.

  29. Congrats to the lads for another great journey.

    Here’s hoping we can do what that ’96 team did and come back for a final next year and this time win it.

    Andy had a brave and honest interview yesterday on newstalk. 17 of the panel were phoning the strength and conditioning coach yesterday morning looking for their diets.

    As strange as it may seem the bloody relative ease with which we got to the final didn’t help us. The Dubs had a tough game against Meath and Kerry where they improved on their weaknesses.

    Fair play to them, they had a really solid display from their fullback line right through the day which was crucial to the winning of the game.

    Congrats to the minors and some of my clubmen on the team and the sideline. The future is bright with youngsters coming through and supporters sticking together through this. There is an All Ireland in this team.

    Sam is only in storage here in Dublin for 12 months, we will be up to collect him next year.

  30. Honest questions, given all we have invested in this team, it represents us, should we not get answers to the following questions which to me were key:

    – Why was Alan Freeman taken off?
    – Why was Tom Cunniffe taken off and Keith Higgins moved back to corner back? Was it because we thought Coen would give us another option – or was Cunniffe injured?
    – Why was Seamus O’Shea, one of our best players on the day, taken off?
    – Why, did we not consider putting Barry Moran in at full forward when he came on?
    – Why did we appear to stop trying to disrupt Cluxtons kickouts after about 20 minutes? We were doing really well on that and then appeared to stop working as hard on it.
    – Why did we change the style of play that had worked so well for us up to then? We appeared to stop having the backs make those runs up the field that had served us so well. Many times players on the ball were looking up and had few options to pass too.
    – Why was Andy Moran, who was already on 1-2 taken off?

    None of this has been explained, and yes I know they need to do a review of the whole year, but those to me are key questions, most of which were decisions made on the day and therefore they must have ready answers available to them.
    None of them appear to have been asked by the media , maybe the Mayo papers this week have more on it, but, while we’re not entitled to anything, until we can get on with the healing process I think we need answers to those questions, as to me, while we are just armchair fans (well armchair fans who get up off our arses and follow the team), we have a stake in this too.

  31. At least MM and FW can share their yellow cards WJ which is handy. Hope you show Philo one as well, if there is to be a bit of fairness.

    Its all grand if you can have shoulda, woulda, coulda, posts like philos but they don’t really move things along and they are rather patronising.

  32. Fair enough WJ but if this sort of crap is the reason some of our better players are left on the side line then I think us genuine paying supporters have a right to know.We pay hard earned money travelling up and down the country to watch them playing and not sit out the games where there needed most

  33. Kilcoyne is a brilliant forward, as good as any of them but bringing him back (if possible), would mean shifting Andy Moran or O’Connor further from goal or stalling Freeman’s development and while Horan made some bad calls on the sideline the reinvention of Moran into a mobile full-forward has been a masterstroke.

    Look at Dublins full-forward line – Brogan and Mannion played together for the league, while the partnership with O’Gara was already there from Gilroy’s term. Give Moran and Freeman time together during NFL 2014 and there’s the makings of a lethal double act.

  34. Tom – a word of advice, if I may. Can you please stop making constant derogatory references to what others post? Everyone has a right to express their opinions without having them critiqued in the manner you’re constantly doing (of which your comment about Philo’s comment is but the latest example). This all falls under House Rule 1, which doesn’t seem to be sinking in at all with you. You’re skating on thin ice at this stage.

  35. But the point, Pacar, is that we don’t know for sure if this is the reason and I’d prefer if the site wasn’t used to spread unsubstantiated stories (which inevitably only provide one side of the story) about goings-on within the camp.

  36. Eastcorkexile. Well said. Mayo people would like an answer to them questions from management. Simple genuine honest questions which have left many of us scratching our heads. We are not having a go at anybody or criticising anybody. I would add a couple of more questions.

    1. Why was Feeney not brought on at all. Surely on such a warm sapping day, all 5 subs should be used up anyway.

    2. Why was Cillian not given a clear indication from the sideline that we needed to try for a goal right at the death.

    Anyway can i just say well done to the thousands of Mayo folk in green and red who stood their ground on the hill and did not swap their tickets. It was a great sight from the canal end. We have the best support in the country. Its incredible really, considering all the heartache we have put up with. At times like this we need to close ranks and pull together. This thing is not finished.

  37. Tom – I’m not getting into a debate with you. House Rule 1 states “Comments should not be of a kind that are likely to provoke, attack or offend others”. That comment critiquing Philo’s comment did that. You’re perfectly entitled to express opinions but it would be more helpful if those opinions weren’t constantly focused on taking issue with what others have to say, which I guess is why Philo said what he did when he did. And by the way I’ll moderate how I see fit so you can keep your advice on that to yourself as well.

  38. eastcorkexile, these are all valid, fair and reasonable questions to ask.
    To me, it seems that Freeman was taken off for not tracking back his player and closing him down from kickouts. There is no other apparant reason. He did not have flu. He was a handful for their full back, had scored and nearly got in for a goal. For Horan to sub anyone after only 26 minutes is very unlike him and it certainly seemed odd at the time. It is a fair question though.
    Cunniffe injured his hamstring 10 to 15 minutes from the end of the first half. This was not unusual as he had failed to complete a number of championship games this year with the same injury. Moving Higgins back was the logical change to make at the time. However, once it was clear the all the Dublin subs had been used and that O’Gara was essentially a passenger, Higgins, in my opinion, was a better attacking threat than Varley or Doherty and should have been switched back up to the forwards with Keane or McHale coming on to keep an eye on O’Gara.
    Seamus O’Se undoubtedly had a much better and more influential game than his brother but I think he was subbed because he lost Bastick in the build up to the second Dublin goal. Bastick was his man and he ran through free to pass to Brogan for the goal. Like the Freeman situation, if this is the reason it seems petty has Seamus had fielded more clean ball, carried more ball forward and had responded to the first Dublin goal with a fine point.
    The whole Barry Moran/Aidan O’Se at full forward issue, to me, does not work. But, in the circumstances we found ourselves in with 10 minutes to go, Dublin had 5 or 6 players spread across their half back line and were constantly fouling our runners to prevent us from building attacks. Aidan O’Se, who was largely ineffectual elsewhere, should have been told to go in to full forward and we should have by-passed their half back line and gone “over” it. This would have penned back their defenders, turned them towards their own goal and forced them to drop 1 or 2 players deeper to cover. The tactic is crude but we may have won a couple of handy 14m frees, we may have created a scrappy goal chance or even a penalty. At the very least it would have forced Dublin back, allowed our attack to come up another 5 or 10m nearer to goal and given us the option of kicking long range points.
    On Aidan O’Se, was I the only one to see him struggle to get up on the Cusack side of the pitch midway through the first half? He was moving very gingerly and holding his back and certainly did not look comfortable. It might go some way to explaining his, by his standards, poor performance.
    To finish, I don’t go along with the argument that we are entitled to anything from these lads, or that they owe us anything. However, I do agree with you eastcorkexile in that we deserve some answers to the fair points you raised above.

  39. We only ever hear one side of the story after these games and thats the story from managment and we just accept it.?
    Surely its time for honesty. In my opinion I dont think all the desisions from the sideline can be just explained away.
    I think we all agree there were bad performances form Mayo players yesterday but with the right decisions and support from
    the sideline it’s my firm belief we still could have won the game. Dublin too had poor performers but they moved quickly to change
    things and you would have to say were very affective from the sideline. If we are to have the full and meaningful postmortem then it needs to
    include every part of the squad otherwise we will have learnt nothing.

  40. Oh Jaysus WJ, I love no 5 in the house rules. I’m still laughing. Everyone should read it at this sad time, a breath of fresh air!!!

  41. We can have no quibble about this loss. We stopped doing what we were doing for the first part of the game and alllowed Dublin into it. Then we removed freeman and a scoring threat.
    Barry Moran should really have been stuck at ff on the edge of the square and drop it into to him, how can people not see the need for size up front?
    My team for 2014

    Backs, as they were
    Midfield. SOS ,Barry or gibbons

    Up front. Aos at chf
    CoC at ff and fill the blank spaces with any combination you want but the OPTION has to be there to plant someone 6″5 or 6″6 near the goal. That’s a definite requirement, a target near the goal to win it and hold it for a runner or turn and barge their own way towards goal, how we were crying out for a big target near the Dublin goal.

    In the Tyrone game we had some forwards not up to it, same thing in the final and to be honest they never will against the top teams. Some of our better players like k mc are at the stage of being burnt out, a 3 month rest from football is badly needed, just keep the fitness ticking over.

    And a major factor to Mayo winning Sam in 2014 will be jh having proper tactical help in his ear during a game.
    Hindsight is 20/20 but we made bad mistakes on the line and still only lost by a point.
    It’s a cliche, but worth saying, this is a game of inches and we know today where the inches are.

    I hope jh and co and the players really do rest up for a few months, mind themselves health wise and look at January as the starting line. CoC should have his shoulder fixed for once and for all very soon.
    There’s no doubt that this panel if tweaked a little and given rest will be back in the business end in 2014 and can actually get over the line next September .

  42. Just in case most of you won’t read No. 5 in the house rules , here it is.

    “Bad language is perfectly fine, up to and including the bad ‘f’ word, but context is everything, e.g. “for fuck’s sake” is grand, “fuck you and fuck your mother” most certainly isn’t.”

  43. Why in the name of God was Freeman taken off? I was right beside him in the Davin stand, his movement and general play was really dangerous, even a Dub beside me said so and was really worried about him in the early stages. That’s what’s really frustrating. He even shook his head while been taken off. I firmly believe he was gutted for being taken off, not becasue he was feeling unwell (which there were no signs of) but because he thought he didn’t get a chance. I also feel that Conroy was going to be the surprise impact player that Horan had been holding back all year to shock the supposedly weak Dublin backs in the final, which didn’t work out at all. I thought at times the team looked quite lethargic, was it the heat? was it nerves or were they overtrained? but Freeman genuinely posed a threat in that opening half and that’s hard to get over. Also, the fact that the team just didn’t perform. They could have been slated actually…

  44. Joe Mc. I just read house rule 5 alright. Its a beauty. First time i laughed since Sunday. Fair play to ya Willie Joe. I think you got the balance just right on the owl language issue.
    However i will be sticking to using the “feck” word. If its good enough for Father Ted its good enough for here. As for the result on Sunday, ah feck it anyway.

  45. “The lads played out of their skins on Sunday, gave everything, AOS is an absolute super star, and James Horan is a tactical genius, never seen a bunch of men with such mental strength, so lets all toe the party line and give 3 cheers for the lads”

    It’s a sad bloody day if all we are allowed to do is patronise and mollycoddle.

  46. “The lads played out of their skins on Sunday, gave everything, AOS is an absolute super star, and James Horan is a tactical genius, never seen a bunch of men with such mental strength, so lets all toe the party line and give 3 cheers for the lads”

    Jaysus Tom61, I don’t remember reading that so, I’m not sure who said it but it has to be the greatest load of shite ever. My comments on the game, when they come, will not add to my popularity.
    I wonder are you a young fella, your comments are accurate and realistic, maybe expressed a little too enthusiastically. I am ancient so I have no excuses.

  47. Some new posters on here and you’re welcome.However,some of their posts so far are way below the standard we’re used to and I personally find them quite ignorant.

  48. @ opt2misteek- “quite ignorant” is a relative term and a personal oppinion. What’s “quite ignorant” for one person can be something totally different for another.
    I welcome new imput into everything, it stifles arrogance, smugness, and a sense of importance. It also creates new debate and can impart a freshness into everything, even into a football team. As I said before, I am ancient!!!

  49. Now you’re starting to act the idiot, Tom, so I’m soon going to be left with little choice but to direct all your comments into the moderation queue before they go on the site. In fact, it’s final warning time for you now. The point you’ve made in your last comment is, by the way, an utterly fatuous one – there’s plenty of latitude with the rules for those commenting to make fair and objective criticisms of players and management (which needs to focus on specifics and not lazy-minded generalisations) but that obviously requires a bit more thought before posting.

  50. Joe Mc, no I’m not a young fellow unfortunately, even though my comments my be correct, they are not welcome here. I have noticed a trend of entrapment as soon as I make non party line comments and that is that an anonymous poster is allowed to insult me and insure I am yellow carded while standing my corner while he then disappears off the scene.

    I am only saying what many people feel inside them, because if we don’t address the issues I have mentioned and continue with this back patting then I’m afraid none of us here will ever see Mayo winning an All Ireland.

    I have acknowledged the hard work and commitment put in by all involved including the management team but if we are not allowed to be critical with fear of hurting someone’s feelings then that also tells me a lot about the whole psychological aspect.

    I refereed to injection of steel last night and was again attacked, which resulted in another tit for tat with an anonymous poster who of course vanished.

    We left this behind us, I think we are at least entitled to be angry about that and debate with those who think otherwise.

  51. Only getting back to the blog now as I couldn’t do anything these past few days.
    Some great posts above from EastCorkExile, Pebblesmeller & David.
    I think that one of the fundamental problems we’re having these past 24 years is that we’re not properly distinguishing between the type of football/footballer that can win us the FBD/Connacht Title & the type of football/footballer that can win us an All Ireland.
    In my opinion only two of our forwards (Andy & Cillian) fit the latter category & we need a root & branch overhaul of the others.
    We have been consistently in the top 5 or 6 contenders but always one or two of these have been better than us in any given year.
    Our game management on the big day has been a big negative for us as well & Sunday was a right shambles.
    Can’t understand why Freeman & SOS were taken off, why Higgins was taken out of a non existant half forward line, why the speed & accuracy of Cluxton’s kickouts were continually catching us out, why we only used 4 substitutes & no Richie Feeney at all.
    Similar issues were identified last year but despite all the politically correct talk of being the best we can be, trusting the process, continual development etc we still find ourselves back with the same issues.
    I listened to the speeches on Sunday night & when our Hydration Experts were thanked for their efforts I hydrated myself with the last few drops from my glass but nothing seemed to work.
    It’s truly amazing that posters on this blog can identify in advance matters that need attention in a particular match yet these very issues still become decisive in the match.
    I posted myself last week that we needed to pay particular attention to Cluxton, Macauley & Brogan.
    Well done to all the Mayo travellers who spent many Euros to come from overseas at the weekend … indeed I met a few who didn’t even have a ticket … and I also met a few people who did have a ticket but didn’t seem to know much about football !
    Well done to those who brought a serious amount of green & red to the hill !

  52. Anyway, regardless of what is said on here in relation to tactics, unearthing new talent or whatever that may possibly help Mayo football, it doesn’t really make a blind bit of difference does it, so what’s the point in falling out about it.

  53. If I was manager of Mayo on Sunday I would have won the All Ireland! No question about it.
    1 . I would have ensured Hennelly stayed on his line
    2. I would have left Freeman where he was
    3. And I would have left Keith in the half forward line

    All I would have needed was the hindsight I have gathered by reading all the posts saying what should have been done. But I’m not sure I would have known all this and was able to act on it in the cauldrons that is Croker on AIF day. Would many others either?

  54. Tom61- remember i said your comments may be “expressed a little too enthusiastically.”
    Have a think about that.
    This is a great site; I had to adjust my comments in the beginning. You will be misunderstood and at times scoffed at but take it with a pinch of salt. At times the three hairs on my neck stand up but I will let a silent fart and all is well. You make a lot of sense and would be a good addition, so bear with Willie Joe. He is fair.

  55. Diehard, if a team perform like dogs off a leash, with a hunger wanting to kill everything in sight, tactics go out the window and God help the opposition.

  56. Tom61, there are truths to what you are saying. But these guys are not proffessionals, they are not paid thousands of euro each week, they are amateur players, who sacrificed alot growing up to be where they are now, representing us on the biggest stage in gaelic football, your asking for answers as if we own them or pay there wages, no we dont. No one is forced to travel the country and follow our beloved team. These lads are up all winter before work training, they owe us absolutely nothing. Granted there may be questions to answer, but we have no right to be demanding answers. Some people here are forgetting the barren years of mayo football, being fodder for galway and getting no where near an AI. Let these players AND managment get over this defeat and maybe in time questions will be answered.

  57. Thanks, Joe. That’s the point, Tom – there’s no agenda of censorship here but the one thing I want to ensure as far as possible is that everyone gets heard and that any criticisms made of players or management are logical and fair-minded. Also it serves no purpose – either for you or the debate – to engage in tit-for-tat arguments with others and it’s best to stick to the point you want to make and not to be so fast in criticising what others have to say. If you do that, you’ll be grand.

  58. Tom61, of course we are angry. Read the f*****g posts before spiralling off on a rant. There is no one more angry and frustrated about Sunday than me, I am fucking sickened to the bone. But, I along with many others, have highlighted and spoken about the same issues as you have raised, the difference being that we have kept within the house rules. I happen to agree with alot of your points but I do not see how you expect anyone to engage you in a rationale and constructive debate when they read the late night posts from above.
    WJ is not The Ayatollah. He keeps a fair house and one that I am delighted to have come across because it is visited by lovers of Mayo football who have shown they can debate, disagree and offer their own opinions about our common love. Be fair Tom61 and look back at the posts. Your point may be well meaning but the delivery was out of line.
    Now, no-one here, that I can see, has posted that Horan got it perfectly right and it’s all the players fault. Or, likewise no-one has posted that the players played brilliantly and Horan hasn’t a clue. There are differing and varying opinions that haven’t been muzzled by WJ and as long as they are well thought out and not insulting I doubt WJ will play the Big Brother.
    I think Tom61, like the rest of us, needs to take a step back, cool down, breathe and form your thoughts and opinions in a different way.
    We are all sick to the bollox and we all want the same thing but we are at a crucial point in this teams lifecycle and we need cool calm heads to steer us through it.

  59. Joe Mc, there are many intelligent fellows on here including yourself and WJ. There must be a way to harness that and use it in a way that actually makes a difference to the whole Mayo set up, I’m actually serious about that even thought it may seem an outlandish idea now whether it be through some type of think tank or a voice that their ideas are listened to.

    When you go to Croke Park as a team on All Ireland final day, its not about being the best team in Ireland, its about outscoring the opposition in the next 70 minutes, forget about what the bookie tells you, paddy power isn’t playing.

    James Horan is a good man but he must realize that he needs a top tactician at his side, there is no disgrace in that, that would be my priority because we had the players at our disposal on Sunday to win that game.

  60. Hi Lads,
    I agree with a lot of the points made about the tactical mistakes made re – Higgins moving to CB, Freeman substition, No Feeney, etc etc. Despite being angry on the day at these mistakes, I still have the highest respect for James and the staff and players. In fact my admiration for people like Colm Boyle etc has only increased based on his performance.
    I think there is a more general point though – thats is also contributing to our poor record in AIs – lack of innovation and lack of risk taking (over all the AIs, not just this one)

    1. Most of the teams that have won the AI in the last decade have been innovative in some ways. Some of it we may not like (Tyrone’s swarm defence, Donegal’s 13 behind the ball, but they were certainly innovations) Dublin also have innovated – Cluxton as a GK/playmaker, ultra mobile and relatively small MF as opposed to our orthodox 2 big men. etc, etc. We are followers, not innovators.

    2. We lined out and played exactly as everyone expected. There was nothing for Dublin to respond to. Granted we started very well, but there is no question that Dublin imposed their will on us over the game- Flynn took Vaughan completly out of the game in a way I have never seen before. How Dublin worked around our forward press on the Dublin kickouts was an lesson in precision implementation of a pre-worked plan etc (esp 2nd half). My point – there was no surprise element either in our formation or subs or tactical switches for Dublin to be concerned about.

    3. Planning – We must have (or should have) planned for the scenario of being 2/3 down with 10 to go and Dublin to start tactical/cynical fouling. Everyone knew this would be close. – There did not seem to be any pre-planned moves in that scenario. (Think Clare vs Cork) Maybe more damning is that despite the undoubted gut-busting effort that the players put in – no one (in the forwards at least) wanted to take a shot. I watched the game last night. In the entire 2nd half, when we were chasing the game, we had 3 shots for points. (1 from Andy was blocked, 1 from Lee felll short (63 mins), 1 from Micky C went wide (63 min) – No won else had a shot for a point from play in that 39 mins. While we turned over an incredible amount of ball there were still ample shooting opps. That’s that the stat that most concerns me.

  61. Tom61, that harnessing of intelligent people within the county to bring us forward was already tried after the Longford debacle. Many people, much more knowledgable than some of us, gave alot of their time and effort to come up with some good ideas, many of which were modeled on other successful counties such as Tyrone, and many which were new and novel. However the county board made a decision, as is their perogative, to largely ignore that work and go in another direction. I doubt those people, who were probably all the best placed to do so at the time, would give of their time again so it would be very difficult to get something like I think you are suggesting, off the ground again.

    Bottom line, this is still more than about James staying on for a second year and tweaking a few things with the team. We are now in a scenario where the serious counties go about their business with one goal in mind, from U-14 squads up, to developing the best players, in the best environment, to ensure that we have the best chance of winning Sam.
    I’m not sure we are at that yet, and while James and his backroom team have brought us to the top table, there needs to be steps taken to ensure we can stay there.
    Simple question, is everything that can be done, being done?
    Does the success that James and his backroom team and players have had, mask poor structures underneath that? Given we have just won a minor all ireland perhaps not but we need to be winning those, and U-21s regularly to provide a conveyor belt of confident winners to get us over the line. Thats the template that Kilkenny, Clare, Dublin and Tyrone have used. Its clear that the traditional counties will still compete without underage success (Cork in hurling, Kerry in football) but it makes it allot harder for them.
    Do we have goals such as X number of minor all irelands this decade? X number of U-21 all irelands this decade? History shows that if you have goals like that, achieve them and manage the situation right, you WILL win Sam. Any other approach is just luck and wishful thinking, and that wont work anymore.
    You may say that goals like that are pie in the sky. Might be for other counties that may or may not have the footballers, but not for us. We consistently HAVE. We are third or fourth on the minor roll of honor for all irelands, and our history shows us that we CONSISTENTLY produce good underage teams, so I think setting those goals, and putting the lower level plans in place to reach them, are realistic things to do, and are the only way we can say we are putting a plan in place to finally win a senior all ireland.
    At this stage its beyond criminal that we haven’t done so.

    I commented previously that I was not sure if JH can move the team forward in year 4. Andy Moran speaking last night said he can, he knows a hell of allot more about it then I do, so that question is parked for me.
    However, I still think we now have to start looking beyond year 4 – the county board should start looking at some succession planning and start considering other up and coming managers within the county to take over from James in due course. (I dont hold with this external manager thing unless they have won the all ireland in the very recent past and it can be explained to us how they are going to get a good knowledge of Mayo club football)

  62. Look guys Ye are all getting ahead of yourselves. Sunday was more than disappointing but I had the stomach on Monday morning before I headed off to the homecoming to watch the AI and its only yesterday & today that I am actually totally deflated. It’s not from thinking of the mistakes or the changes made or the shots selections etc…. It’s the commitment & bravery shown by the likes of Higgins, Caff, S O Shea, Boyle, Keegan, O Connor, Andy Moran etc during the game. They gave it everything & it wasnt enough. They put their bodies on the line. No one goes out to play poorly. On the day just too many didnt perform to their potential like we know they can.

    We have the man at the helm who has brought us to a place I didn’t think possible after the Longford game in 2010. The progression we have made since that is astounding. The only criticism I have is that IMO we have at least 7/8 players on the panel who just aren’t up to scratch. New & upcoming blood is required now to put more pressure on the players who in Horans opinion are just indispensable. The players I thought whom were going to guide us to glory, just didn’t. If they knew that there was someone on the line waiting for them to mess up & who were just as good as them I feel we would have seen a different attitude in some players. And if a corner back gets injured he should be replaced with a defender from the bench. 1997 told us against kerry that too many switches were made when Flanagan got injured and the whole balance of the team was just destroyed. Same thing happened on Sunday….

    We will be back in 2014. A few tweaks in defence, midfield & the forward line will improve us and bring us further forward. More mobility, more pace and more composure in most aspects of the game will make us very hard to beat. We have to stay positive. We have come a long way.
    “Losers quit when their tired,
    Winners quit when they have won”.

  63. “In the entire 2nd half, when we were chasing the game, we had 3 shots for points. (1 from Andy was blocked, 1 from Lee felll short (63 mins), 1 from Micky C went wide (63 min) – No won else had a shot for a point from play in that 39 mins. While we turned over an incredible amount of ball there were still ample shooting opps. That’s that the stat that most concerns me.”

    Mike, above all this was the most incredible aspect. I was in the cusack stand in the davin corner and haven’t watched the match again. It was hard to gauge how far away the lads were but during the game I was urging them to shoot rather than laying the ball off. I assumed that the lads were shot shy because they were told / trained not to shoot unless they are within 30 yards? If that is the case then it’s difficult to understand. I would have rather seen the lads kicking for points and the ball going wide than doing what they were doing.

    The Dubs up the other end scored some inspirational long range points at key times in the game, which obviously turned out to be the winning of the match.

  64. Have read most of the posts….Mike – your last one is about the best and most truthful. I was amazed the amount of neutral people that have said to me after the match that ye (Mayo), after all the previous defeats, still dont appear to have a ‘Plan’ on how to win on All Ireland final day. We were just as well prepared in every aspect to Dublin – we just did not appear to have pre-determined plans for different scenarios, and in particular for the last 15-10 minutes. Whatever about Dublin’s cynicism at the end of the game, you’d have to say they all seemed to know what to do given the scenario that was there, i.e. 3 points ahead……it appears by default they proceeded to stop Mayo attacking, whatever it took, no one chanced to yellows, i.e it appeared they took turns to foul. They seemed to all know O’Carroll was in trouble, so Flynn went in as sweeper. This all seemed to happen while Gavin diddn’t get off his seat – i.e pre planned. Just thought Flynn was very quick, against the run of play to see that Caff was isolated with Brogan for the first goal, looked very smart whether it was intended or not. Whatever about the mistakes on the line, we just seemed to ‘give it absoulutely everything’, particularly in the 1st half, however we seemed to lack the smarts. Even with the scores we got in the first half, we had to do an awful lot of work to get them, indeed got a good few lucky breaks, generally the forward approach play was very poor I thought at the time. In fairness, thought all the team tried to give it everything, just very dissapointed that the planning / innovation as Mike stated seemed to be missing. All Ireland Finals are always unique games – I agree you need specific plans to ensure you get over the line.

  65. I remember the 70’s when we didn’t get out of Connacht. I remember ’81 when Willie Joe caught everything in the first half against Kerry but ran out of steam in the 2nd half and we were well beat in the finish.
    I remember the come back against Dublin in the 2nd half in ’85 the point scored by Billy Fitz at 42 years of age (Roger Milla eat your heart out! ) only to be beaten in the replay.
    I remember Tony Mc Manus breaking our hearts with 2 points with time up in ’86.
    I remember going down to Galway 8 – 7 in ’87 in one of the dirtiest games i’ve ever seen.
    We eventually got to the final in ’89 with a team that were a couple of years too old and could have won it too if Larry’s 2nd goal went in. We were over the moon just to have got there.
    Now I think we are in a way better position than we were then, those defeats in the 80’s were very hard to take.
    I hope none of this group of lads don’t have too leave our shores because they have unfinished business to look after next year.
    UP MAYO!

  66. EastCorkExile – I’ve asked already on this blog before but not received any reply to my question re: what exact structures are ther in place re : underage academies?

    I don’t live in the county.

    Does anyone know??????

    I agree with ur post.. Tedd Webb, minor and u21 titles must be seriously targeted …. These are crucial.

  67. The comments being passed now are really good and accurate, which is great to see. So many bloggers are all singing off the same hymn sheet which makes a pleasant change. They may be worded in different ways but they are saying mostly the same.


    It pisses me off no end to hear how good Dublin were. They were allowed to be good!!!

    There was no hunger in so many of the players; a hunger I was certain, this year, would carry them through. Where the f..k was it. The first time in 62 f..king years we should really have won the All Ireland and we f..k it up. I can find no excuses whatever!!! It beggars belief.
    I preached about a sweeper all year. It was either ignored or scoffed at. Look at the last Dublin goal. Ger had to take on Bastick, leaving Brogan free, but beside Brogan was another Dub and not a Mayo player in sight. Two Dubs free on the goal line. They have been doing this all year; they did it to us in the league and here we go again. Hello!!!! We had no cover, again!!! The AGAIN is the problem. What does it take to learn from our mistakes?
    The old Mayo team played a lot of the first half against Tyrone and again the old Mayo team played like the lack-lustre headless chickens we have all too often witnessed over the years in the second half against the Dubs. They were rudderless and leaderless. I honestly thought we had gotten over all that and would win, at last, this year. How f..king wrong I was.
    The cracks were there all year but the ‘positive thinking people’ severely admonished any criticism whatsoever, even though it was constructive, and nothing, but nothing, was corrected. No new players were tried and given game time, just like the Irish rugby team. Same results.
    We have an 80% first class team and if we address that, play to our potential, and get our tactics right, we might do it this time. We are still and should have been team- building. We were not the finished article.
    Now for those who are saying there are only two teams in the Country, Mayo and Dublin, I just say, well I cannot say or Willie will red card me, Happy Christmas!!!
    There are Dublin and a rising Meath, Cork and Kerry, Tyrone and Donegal, Mayo and a rising Galway, that’s 8 and those who have the sheer arrogance to say otherwise, well, it beggars belief.
    Now my popularity is gone I await the barrage. Bring it f..king on!!! By the way I saw 1951 so I have worn the tee shirt.

  68. A habit of winning titles must be established in young players before they reach senior… getting to finals isn’t enough anymore. Young kids ages 10-14 must be told and believe that they are the best in the country. We need silverware.

  69. I agree…to say there are only two teams is bonkers. Tyrone will improve, Cavan have won 3 Ulster 21’s…they will improve…..Kildare will probably improve, meath…im not so sure about. The dubs will be around for years..they have set an almost professional structure in place which must be done in Mayo, otherwise we will get nowhere. Cork will be back..they’ve had good success at underage, and qwith a new manager will definitely be competing for all irelands…and Kerry? Well despite the fact theyve little coming through the ranks, they can never be written off. They came closest in many respects to beating Dublin this year. Closer to home…roscommon are on an upward curve and have beaten us a few times recently at u21(which is totally UNACCEPTABLE) – such cracks being covered over by the success of our seniors…and finally, Galway. They have bottomed out…and will be back much sooner than people think. I hope we get an easy Connacht draw next year..something similar to 2012 would be ideal.

  70. Lads, them titles have always been seiriously targeted, it all starts really with the tedd webb. The county is split into 4, north, south, east, and west. The best players from every club from ballina to kilmovee to the neale and aughamore join up with there respective “division”. Trial games are played in training and the best players will stand out. Then you have a competition where north, south, east, and west play each other. After all this, usually two panels are devised to contest the tedd webb, the green team and the red team. Most of our senior players would have been on them teams, so the structures in under age are quite good. Alot of hard work is put in by coaches that goes un recognised, we also have the school of excellence in place for years.

    IMO the real problem we have is that at least two of our starting players from Sunday are not up to scratch anymore. One of them owes us nothing, but is simply too light and slow to cope with championship football, he maybe carrying an injury but was really exposed in another AIF. I hate been hard on players but it was obvious he lacks the sheer strength to get through 70mins of football. We are so close to the perfect team. Alot could be tweaked and changed over the winter, i really think this is the time to stay behind our fantastic managment team, we could be having a very diffrent discussion this time next year….

  71. Its only now that I have had the stomach to watch the match again and catch up with this site.. You deserve every bit of credit Willie Joe for having the strength to keep the debate going.. I know I wouldn’t b able to..

    Eastcorkexiles questions and pebblesmellers answers/assumptions (which match up with my own and I wud say a lot of peoples) as to why, why oh why.. sums up the game for me!

    This then leads me to JH and I am bouyed that he has acknowledged mistakes were made from the side line. Often Managers (i.e., Trappatoni) have a single minded determination/objective/plan that excludes all external influences to the point of being completely blind to what is blatantly obvious to everyone else. The one thing James is , is not that I hope.

    My one big worry though is we will here again next year having being ran over by an average height of 6ft 5″ Cork team and our solution after the fact will be to search the county for bigger, taller, stonger players. We have the players (we may need to blood one or two more forwards) but we need to be smarter and what I mean by this is..

    We need to be smarter on the field, we need smarter on the sideline, we need to time our run to the All-Ireland perfectly (peak fitnesss at the right time), we need to sort out our injuries.. The panel needs to be expanded (A,B,C and D games if necessary). We need to be able to bring in players as circumstance predict.. Cunniffe had his man beaten all ends up the last day until he pulled up with his hamstring (don’t tell me dont have a direct replacement in the county that couldn’t have replaced him) and what do we do but bring back Higgins and F*** up the whole structure of the team..

    If their is to be an examination of the failings from the last day, then the sideline management need to take the constructive criticism and more importantly learn and implement solutions to rectify these failings.. The county board needs to ask the right questions from James and help him implement the solutions..

    I for one am tired of going to the well.. I can only imagine how the players must feel.. How must Freeman feel?.. Sickened

  72. Hi,Just a few thoughts. We all have such fickle minds. The great hope before the game was that Mayo were no longer depending on marquee forwards and now there is a clamour for 2 at least, even hoping that the current minor time will provide them in a year or two. Have Galway and Roscommon not done very well in these grades. Are they not a bit ahead of us there?

    I was pleased that Mayo were not bullied out of the games. Daragh O’shea writing in the Irish Times who knows an awful lot more that I do about these things thinks that is not so. He picked 2 incidents where Mayo should have imposed themselves on the game to vallidate his point, 1 by taking a yellow card,the other by not worrying about collateral damage to Caff. The first relates to Keegan being held by the jersey during a kickout. The other refers to the fact that Hennelly should ‘own’ the square and anyone coming in there is taking a risk.

    Then Bernard Flynn who is supportive of Mayo in the Mirror (possibly) thinks it will be too hard for this team to get back for a third crack and he seems to thing there are 5 minors waiting. These columnists do have to send in a certain number of words in and have their pet theories like us all.

    What confusion! it is difficult to think that a new Manager would improve things this year. We would be again subject to a ‘team in transition” response to media questions and all the focus on the new manager. No stomach at the moment for that.

    For what it is worth, it might be good to have a No 2 for 2014 with the understanding that they would take over in 2015.

    My own choice for this role would be David Brady and I think he could work with James Horan. He might have to give up his TV3 work for 2015. In the meantime he could handle media questions and protect the players. He is not shy, has vast experience of Mayo football, and would give the sideline a dynamic which most on this blog seem to want. It would be kind of nice to see Horan, Nallen and Brady as the three wise men? Brady could give that extra zip?

  73. What a great year we’ve all just had following this class team and its mini-me, the minors. 2 of our teams in two finals and a title comes west. 3 days after and my disappointment has melted away. I hope to watch the minors game tonight to relive the happiness. Thinking of the future I’m thinking of what a great bunch of lads we have and different selections we could be putting out on the field in the league. Also of forgotten lads who through injury or otherwise could come into the panel again next year. Also the U-21’s who might come through. Just another 1/2% is all it would take if don’t regress next year on the back of two exhausting years. And if we do what about – we will rise again . Many Thanks to the team and management.

  74. Brady? He has the mouth the size of Clew Bay….he would want to learn how to be alot more glic and not come out with comments which give away/undermine ‘inside’ developments….for sure, he would be getting yellow cards from WJ if he was on this blog!!! I rem Brady after the Connacht Final in 2004..when interviewed for the Sunday Game he said ‘I didnt come back from Australia to win a Connacht Title’….you’d never hear a kerryman come out with this kind of a line. I slumped back into my seat thinking, well there goes that! And that stuff with the mic’s at training this year? No need for it. Id be wary of Brady. I love his enthusiasm for Mayo football but I dont know if he is a guy to lead/co’lead Mayo.

    I follow the fortunes of St Brigids quite closely…i have a god friend and rossie player playing with them and my g/f is from there too. They have huge time for the work that McHale and McStay did with them. Yeah, they had the makings of a serious outfit but the Ballina pair took them over the line, beating Crossmaglen and Ballymun.

    Anyway…Horan is still our man. If he decides to give it another crack he gets my 100% support. Yes, perhaps some new blood on the line would be an idea…as it’ll take an unreal effort to get back to a final next year. This team has been on the go for the past 3 years with a semifinal in ’11 and two recent final appearances…it will be a mammoth task to get back. Cork did it in ’89 but things were ALOT different back then.

    I’m reading conflicting opinions here on expanding the panel and reducing it….

    Thanks Juan on the underage update. Is there anything much being done on a formal county wide basis with 5th/6th class kids?

  75. Now is a critical point in our development as a team. Of course the team and management are down and right now it is hard to keep going. But now IS the time to keep going. We can bank a lot of valuable experience, a lot of strength and conditioning, improvements in skill and general play. What a pity it would be to squander those assets that were hard earned.
    Come the Spring those very assets will allow us to start again but this time from a much higher point on the mountain. And the summit is not that far off! Sometimes when everything seems impossible we are actually on the brink of success – and that is where we are if we keep our nerve and focus once again – believe it or not.

  76. Willie Joe – a bugbear of mine – Should Aussie rules people be allowed to poach our finest GAA players? Should they be allowed to have those trials?

    I am not blaming players for going, not for a minute, but if they hadn’t been poached they wouldn’t dream of going to Aussie land. Take young Hanley, one of Mayo’s best talents for years and he is poached. Players are developed in Ireland, often in rural parishes, brought up in the art of Gaelic football and then poached. Their County often needs them, like us, and they are gone, to make money for others in Aussie land. They may be the only class act for a team in decades and they are poached.

  77. Long time reader, first time poster. I have really enjoyed the analysis on the blog. I am devastated beyond words this time lads, really downbeat and heartbroken. From the first 15 minutes in salthill I believed with all my being that we would win the AI this year. This is tough lads and when we do finally cross into the promised land surely no other group of supporters, players and people will have suffered more for the cause. I’m a grown man with four young son’s and I started crying when I saw the picture of Lee Keegan crying in the western today. I suppose we drive on and get on with life, but being a Mayo man is a double edged sword.

  78. Diehard, i could’nt agree more with your last post, you have summed up exactly how im feeling. You are bang on. We will be as you say alot higher up thd mountain than we were last winter. Andy should be at 100% from the start of the league next year, that had to be a plus. Cillian should also be a 100% for the championship. God knows what players might step up? I was as angry an dissapointed as everyone else last Sunday. But when we look at it with a calm head, we’re nearly there, and we will definetly be in the shake up next august/september.

  79. Of course they shouldn’t, Joe Mc – and don’t get me started on the Aussies and that ridiculous “international” nonsense either! Obviously there’s nothing to stop any lad heading over there to try it out and similarly nothing can be done to prevent Aussie trials here – it’s a free country and all that – but there’s no doubting that Pearce Hanley is an enormous loss to us. What a difference he’d make in the forward line …

  80. Joe Mc thank you for bringing this up. I’ve been literally lambasted for years on hoganstand for voicing my strong opinion on the Hanley issue. The lad, our greatest talent in generations, unfortunately came to the scene just when that wanker Australian poacher spotted him and lured him financially to the game down under.

    Hanley was brought up playing Gaelic games ..his natural talent was quickly spotted and he was being primed to be our senior star! But money attracted him overseas to turn his hand to a game he never played in his life. Oh how I wish he would return. I have no doubt but we would have won Sam last yr or this year if he was involved. His absence actually pains me.

    I cannot understand mayo fans who delight in his progress in the AFL. To me, these people are not real fans of Mayo football. True fans want what’s best for their team/county. Hanley at home is what’s best for Mayo. Nothing else.

    I still hep he may return someday but by then the u21 boys if 06 will be gone. Aw…it’s just such a shame. He could have been our greatest ever but he chose to leave Mayo. If only he could be convinced to return. If I had the money I’d pay for it without a seconds thought:/

  81. WJ would you ever consider having a post about Hanley… I’ve often thought of a county wide petition to bring him home. Jeez we could all chip in!!!

  82. There has been alot of talk about a “Marquee forward”, excuse the spelling of it if its wrong and alot of people have said that following this defeat that its now what we need and how every winning All-Ireland team has had one down through the years, however would we be saying this if we had won on Sunday. I dont think we really need a top class forward, take the games against donegal and tyrone and indeed london and galway, scores came from a whole raft of players and I think this is what Mayo have brought to the table in terms of innovation this year. What if KMc and Dillon had tacked on 2 points each like they did in most of the others games, then we wouldnt be even talking about the forward line now or indeed the result, we would be talking about what a great team we had and how scores came from every position..The long and the short of it is that we didnt take our chances when we got them, sure there were tactical mistakes but overall we had plenty of ball and didnt use it like we did all season..Great site WJ, have been following for the last year, keep up the good work!

  83. Willie Joe, Pearce Hanley is gone, so that’s that, but seriously, is there no way players could be prevented from doing those trials, by the GAA. Forget free country etc, it isn’t right that the cream of our footballers, forget Mayo for the minute, can be poached as easily as that. It is actually an injustice.
    If only there was some way to start a campaign against it. It is not unfair to players if they are not tested. Imagine all the fantastic footballers in the past who could have been poached and would never have played in Croke Park. It’s crazy. The GAA have no case for it!!!

  84. Mayonaze, Hanley is not going to come back mate, he is a professional athlete over in Australia, playing brilliant stuff . Sin e.

    Interesting debate going on here, I’d just like to ask why are Mayo county players beyond criticism and why on earth has a supporter not a right to do so? Players come and go but we ll be here forever , ya know. We are very well known in Mayo for treating inter county players with kid gloves , no harm in telling a few home truths either. Gloss over it anyway you want they left a fookin all Ireland behind them, Dublin are a better footballing side than us but Dublin didn’t perform to their ability on the day, if we played to our full potential we would of won.

    That in itself poses some serious questions that need to be addressed.

    Dublin are 13/8 favs to retain their title, how are we going to improve to beat them in 2014? Is management going to try to change it up any bit at all or just keep at the same tactics and personal . We have to change something’s, like bloody hell it’s needed.

    We all slated the usual suspects who told us repeatedly , we hadn’t enough scoring forwards to win an all Ireland , yet they were proved right . The stubborn attitude of, we have enough in the team to win an a Ireland is really the part that irks me, we just lost two finals on the trot, to one team of average players and an exceptional team but who didn’t play to near their max on the day, there is something amiss, come on .

    One more quick question to our hypocrisy barometer in Mayo, if Conor mort had of scored a goal in a losing AIF and gestured to the opposing fans with his hands to his lugs , what would our reaction of been in the main in the aftermath. Ummm

  85. Do not know why some posters are saying that we only used 4 subs when we clearly used 5.Cathal Carolan came on for Cunniffe at half time so posters maybe forgetting that

  86. Love the site and I think a lot of fair comment. A visiting Dub but not here to cause trouble. This was a bad final with both teams completely underperforming. Why? Impossible to explain but it could be the heat of the day, the raised expectations after both team’s earlier performances, the media, is it our fault for getting so excited?….. Other counties will all fancy their chances against either team if either of us reproduce that level of performance. This final will spur them on to work very hard over the winter so we had all better watch out.
    Glad ye did not put Aidan O Shea into the square when chasing the game, glad ye brought Keith Higgins back too. Did your forwards not do as well as you might have expected? I thought they did okay, Andy Moran scoring 1-2, Cillian settled after a shaky start. I thought ye did a good job in the backs overall; our 1st goal was a bit lucky; 2nd goal came from fresh legs into a flaging midfield (nobody tracked Bastick). Deal with either of those incidents and its a different game.
    Mayo not far off. Dubs lucky to have won. Pity it was not a better game. I note some posters’ comments about Mayo fans sick of ‘chokers’ comments. I too am sick of comments about resources, ‘anyone but Dublin’ etc… Having won our first provincial hurling title since 1961 we were absolutely over the moon. It would be great for Mayo to put the curse to bed and share in that incredible feeling (unless you are playing Dublin of course). Seriously great blog and very well regulated, will drop in from time to time if there are no complaints.

  87. We lost to ‘the form’ team by 1 point we didn’t preform to the best of our ability we didn’t fight tooth and nail or play like lives depended on it like we have all year and for me that’s why I’m so heartbroken we didn’t leave our all on the pitch and neither did supporters but that’s another days business !!! I hope to God that James and Buckley stays and gives it one more lash maybe a fresh face is needed in the back room team a lot of questions to be answered no doubt about it and I hope they are but this waiting to hear is killing me

  88. No complaints at all, JustAThought – all views are welcome here as long as they’re expressed reasonably, which yours obviously are. As you’ve no doubt seen, the debate here is unashamedly from our perspective but different views are always good to get. Thanks for the kind words about the site and enjoy the All-Ireland success.

  89. Welcome, JustaThought. Good thoughts too.
    Seeing Dublin earlier on in the year I knew they were going all the way.
    And I hoped we wouldn’t meet them.
    Then to see us come within a point in a game we should have won!!!!!!!
    But “should have” is as much as we can say.
    We didn’t. Ye did. Good luck to ye.

    Horan and Co have made mistakes, but doesn’t everyone.
    Theirs were exposed and punished , unklike others.
    But look at the good and the progress they have made!
    One more year and it can be done.

    Keep it together,mind what you have, bring in 5 or 6, mainly forwards (they’re there…..try East and North Mayo too),and you need fear no one.
    Be cute. Fear no one but respect them all and it WILL be done.

  90. i was talking to a fella today whis is well versed in Mayo lore, and he said that there was about as much truth to the story of a “curse” on the Mayo team, as there was about the Devil appearing at Tooreen Dance Hall-LOL

  91. AOS back to the edge of the Square.
    Bring Kilcoyne back. Try Vaughan at wing forward cut the small lads up front off the squad and bring in some new blood. Also try to get Mclough back to the player he can be.

    Need Horan to stay he has made some serious tactical errors but he’s better than most and has made a massive improvement in the physicality of the team

    The level is not that high out there now theres a 2-3 year window to get over the line for this team I think

  92. one other thing why has this county produced so few good forwards over the last 20 years its something that needs to be sorted out at underage. no other county that regularly contends has this problem

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