Exiles grab famous FBD victory

As far as I know, this year is the first season in which London are involved in the FBD Connacht League. If that it is the case – and I think it is – then they made their debut in this pre-season tournament in the best possible fashion, by dethroning last year’s winners Mayo in today’s quarter-final meeting at the Dome.

It was a fully merited win by the Exiles too. They settled into the contest right from the off and the extremely experimental Mayo team they were up against looked nervy and largely at a loss about how to break down the well organised, deep-lying London defence.

Kevin McStay’s team only showed their potential in flashes. Cillian O’Connor’s goal – the only major of the afternoon – was followed by two further goal chances which, had at least one of them gone in, would surely have resulted in a win for the Green and Red. But we were wasteful throughout today and especially so in the second half when we kicked ten wides, many of them pretty awful ones.

We made two changes to the team selected in advance of throw-in. For the second successive week Tommy Conroy didn’t line out and, as for the charity game last weekend, he was replaced in the starting team by Cillian O’Connor. Rory Brickenden didn’t tog either, with Kuba Callaghan starting instead. He took up station at wing forward, with Conor Reid shifting to midfield and Donnacha McHugh going to full-back.

The Exiles opened the scoring from a free awarded for some off the ball pulling by one of our backs. Cillian O’Connor opened our account, also from a free, following a foul on Kevin Quinn.

Shay Rafter – who would end the day on six points and was named Man of the Match by Colm Boyle on the Connacht GAA stream – then put them back in front when he converted a mark.

Already the contours of the contest were emerging. The visitors were sitting deep, with everyone back, and we – like last year – were full of lateral handpassing out around the fifty, with no obvious sign of being able to penetrate their blanket.

One man who did, though, was Jordan Flynn. He dummied nicely and then shot from distance to level it up. They went down the other end, however, and bagged one from play straight away after.

They kicked a wide and we kicked two – Kevin Quinn’s effort was just off but Conor Reid’s was a long way from the target – before Jordan Flynn burst through again to fire us into the lead for the first time.

London responded with a super long-range score. Then debutant Darren Quinn, fed by Cillian, edged us back in front.

Conor Hunt was harshly penalised in a central position. Rafter drilled over the resultant free. We then got what also looked a softish free and Cillian made no mistake. That score sent us in a point in front at the break.

By then we’d made two changes. Conal Dawson replaced Kuba Callaghan in the forwards and Eoin O’Donoghue came on for Tomás Fahey in the backline.

As they’d done in the opening half, London started the second half brightly. They bagged three points without reply, controlling possession for much of this time, to open up a two-point gap on us.

Donnacha McHugh shot over the cover with a real boomer for our first point of the half. This came after Cillian had missed a routine enough free which was a bit out on the right but still well within his range.

We made two further changes then, both of them seeing FBD action for the first time. Darragh Reilly replaced Darren Quinn while Ciarán Boland came on for Ruairí Keane.

The goal we scored was pure simplicity. Rob Hennelly drove his restart long, Jordan Flynn took it and fed Cillian who finished it in a no-nonsense way. Surely now we’d kick on?

We had chances to as well. Darragh Reilly made a great burst but the goal chance, which I think fell to Kevin Quinn, was spurned. A bit later Eoghan McLaughlin shot for goal but the ‘keeper batted it away.

By then, though, London, had scored twice to edge back in front. The possibility of a major upset was now very much on the cards.

Seemingly sensing this, our shot conversion went south. Cillian hacked an effort wide, then Tom O’Flaherty and Conal Dawson both missed the target.

Conal Dawson pulled us level with a free from the right-hand side. That was, though, our final score of the day and only our second point after the break.

We came hunting for a winner but we couldn’t locate the posts. They could, with Rafter claiming the mark and the sole London player with Mayo connections knocked it over to seal victory by 0-12 to 1-8.

The fact that this was only the FBD and that we fielded an extremely inexperienced team has to be borne in mind in relation to how this game played out. But so too is the realisation that, regardless of who lines out for us for any given day, the same problems remain for us in breaking down deep lying defences.

When asked about the desirability of avoiding a National League final this year, Kevin McStay retorted by questioning which matches people might like his team to lose. I’m not sure today’s would have been one of them, the result denying us the chance of two further pre-season outings in the Dome before our opening League match against Galway at Pearse Stadium.

Those plans now have to be re-worked in light of today’s unexpected reversal. So too must London’s travel plans, as it is they who now take on Roscommon in next weekend’s semi-final. Good luck to them then and well done to them too on claiming the spoils in the Dome today.

Mayo: Rob Hennelly; Aaron McDonnell, Kuba Callaghan, Ruairí Keane; Tomás Fahey, Conor Hunt, Eoghan McLaughlin; Jordan Flynn (0-2), Donnacha McHugh (0-1); Conor Reid, Frank Irwin (0-1), Tom O’Flaherty; Darren Quinn (0-1), Cillian O’Connor (1-2, two frees), Kevin Quinn. Subs: Eoin O’Donoghue for Fahey, Conal Dawson (0-1, free) for Callaghan, Darragh Reilly for Darragh Quinn, Ciarán Boland for Keane.

207 thoughts on “Exiles grab famous FBD victory

  1. While this is not a disaster, it is unacceptable to be losing to London. We didn’t have a full strength team out but regardless of that, those on the pitch should have been able to account for London. Fair play to their lads for taking advantage but this cannot be what’s okay for any Mayo team to do. I felt last year we were a long way off the top. If anything, we’ve slipped further back than I had expected.
    As Willie Joe said, our lack of ability to beat a blanket is utterly baffling. It’s not as if it’s a new problem. Louth took us to the wire last year because they know we’re so clueless on it. Ditto London today. One long ball and we score a goal. Maybe there’s a formula there somewhere!

  2. Great Weekend, Our hurlers lost to New York and our Footballers Lost to London.
    I just know if somehow Azerbaijan got to the all Ireland football final !!
    We would somehow find a way to let them Win against us.

  3. Well done to London but It’s not good enough Willie Joe. I know it’s an experimental Team but surely when you get to wear the Green and Red you have to produce the goods. We should be beating London out the door but we can’t. It’s a worrying Trend. We cannot beat a blanket defence . Our Shots are going wide after wide. 14 Wides Today! It’s the same old story. Creating the chances but the quality of the finish is killing us time after time.What are the lads doing at Training to counter the Blanket. It’s about time now we should have come up with ways to counter this tactic? Another game v Roscommon would have been huge for Improving next Saturday but that’s Mayo. Anyway it’s only Galway Away first game of the League but this won’t Help. Disappointed.

  4. I seem to remember that in 2011 we were taken to extra time by London in the championship,we have done quite well in the intervening years,if we manage to do as well in future we will be happy

  5. Jesus Corick, I dunno. I couldn’t handle getting to another 6 finals without winning 😉

  6. I’d prefer to do better ideally and win for a change!!

    Was good exercise today in a warm up competition, and well done London again. The depth may not be what we would have hoped for panel development, especially up front which a big worry.

    Lack of tactical nuance again the worry for me. We didn’t seem to have a plan to counteract the system we would have expected and will be met with in championship in particular.

  7. I had a feeling when I saw the team Mcstay picked that we might lose this game. Does he not want to win matches or what the hell is going on? Maybe he did not want to play roscommon next weekend and it is all part of the Mcstay masterplan. Roll on Galway v Mayo in the league.

  8. We might get slagged over this one ha but I wasn’t to confident anyway with such an experimental team.

    People need to relax though including myself probably haha it’s really not the end of the world

    Sure if we went out and hammered London everyone be saying we are gonna peak to soon..

    Getting slagged to hell here though from my mates haha

    Mcstay is a shewd manager I have a feeling we will go in as underdogs to Galway and then win well I just have a feeling a good win in Galway is coming and we have the few weeks now to prepare well and be under the rador which will suit us just grand…

  9. Who honestly gives a shite about the FBD or even getting relegated from the league. I know we were all expecting to beat London but don’t be too hard on the players as lots of them may not even know lads that they were playing with today … if Management found 3 or 4 lads that would be an addition to the panel come Championship , then that’s a result.

  10. @My ball great comment totally right spot on who gives a crap!

    And sure we are well used to getting slagged at this stage. Get the feeling a lot of counties love it whenever we loose ha

    But feck it our 1st team would have beaten them by a country mile today.

    Hard luck to the young guys who played today but I don’t think they are cut out for inter county just yet. Eoin O donhue is promising player if he can get more game time he could be a good option for defence..

    I’m still really optimistic for this year… As always ha

  11. Although if we are to compare the win against London in the 2011 championship to the defeat today then clearly we are going backwards but seriously the Fbd league is a warm up competition for trying out a few new players and that’s all it ever was .The concern would be our ongoing clueless efforts to break down blanket defenses although I don’t know what level of coaching is given to these Fbd lineouts .probably very little

  12. 11 of that Mayo starting team today also started in that dome challenge against the club selection and scored 7-20. I think management going with a lot of the same team again suggest they read far too much out of that challenge against a club team that did little or no defending. London defended well through out and deserved their win but Mayo whatever the line out should not be losing against them.

  13. Ok, it’s the FBD but regardless, the lads representing us should be embarrassed about that today. But if a wake up call slap in the face perhaps

    @ Clare, you are the eternal optimist. I’d not be so certain we’ll get any result in Salthill this time.

  14. I agree we shouldn’t be losing to London in any circumstances but I don’t have any idea what level of preparation was put into this .we all saw the absolute chaotic attempts to break down Louth last summer in the middle of the championship where it appeared we had never seen these types of defensive set ups before

  15. @Mayonaze.. Can see your point but think it’s a bit harsh on a mostly inexperienced group at senior level . Many playing for the first time at senior level and no doubt nervous plus never played with the lads they lined out with .
    I’m sure they feel bad enough tonight and will learn lots from the experience ,not all positive of coarse

  16. It was mainly lads from our 2019-2022 u20 teams who haven’t made it, but we aren’t quite ready to give up on either.

    A one point defeat suggests management’s judgement on the quality of opposition was spot on; and they put out a team that was ready to be tested by such opposition.

    And today was all about giving lads a taste of intercounty football – and to see if they can build on it.

  17. Desperate stuff! No plan same old negative football laterial movement but inability to shoot! London a superior team on the day!
    What is the new forward coach doing? We were clueless!

    I know it’s the FBD but a good team like Kilmena would surely beaten the lads from London!

    I am usually optimistic but today was an all time low!
    Management must get a grip of this situation and hopefully get a decent team ready for the league

    Mhuigeo Abú

  18. We had no clue last year against a blanket defence and this year will be the same. Kevin McStay has a huge backroom team but who’s coaching the forwards.

    I was there today and cohesion and understanding between the forwards was non existent. We just make it up as we go along in the final 3rd, coupled with some awful panic shooting and a lack of confidence . Some new lads today of course but they would have been training together for the last month.

    McStay had some nice quotes in the mayo news midweek about the learnings of last year and his plans for this. All good of course and he gets my support till the end of July, but he needs a set system and gameplan for his forwards this season or it will be a very short one.

  19. FW, no they’d no other game this weekend. One next weekend. May have to have a second now FBD semi out of equation.l to give all lads a run.

  20. Whether we like to admit it or not Mayo are rebuilding and in my opinion it will be the next management team that gets the best out of this panel of players

  21. What beggars belief is other teams at the top end can blitz teams from the lower divisions who play ultra defensively but we nearly always struggle . Louth game is the ultimate example

  22. Im a harsh critic of McStay most of the time, and I personally feel he won’t be manager this time next year…thats just my own opinion. BUT I view todays result alot different to most posters.

    It seems they have learned some lessons from last year. I haven’t the time to go scrolling through team sheets, but from memory i’d say 10-12 of the players that played our first FBD game last year, lined out against the Rossies in championship. Out of todays team, maybe 2/3 will start our first championship game this year.

    We were fit as fiddles for FBD and League last year. The players knew it too, they put the work in…we peaked far too early.

    As regards the blanket, we done alright in Salthill last June didnt we? Also, if you did have a formula to beat a blanket, why deploy it in a game of cage ball in January?.

  23. I still don’t think we are re building sure mcstay said when he took over that we are not rebuilding…

    It was a very experimental team the result today should not be a shocker..

    Yes was poor no doubt about it.

    I do wonder why mcstay wasn’t giving the team talk at the beginning but it was Rochford giving it and people say Rochford doesn’t have a huge say in things..

    I do still think when our first team is playing we are still one of the top teams in the country and I still think we will bounce back with our 1st team in salthill and surprise people and beat Galway…

    Today was nothing to get so worked up about even though I did earlier ha

    It was Fbd and that’s a nothing competition a cometition that some players wanted to get rid of…

    Not all doom and gloom!

  24. Sure look at the pick London have …Nearly 10 million people… not as well funded as the Dubs though!!!

  25. Thanks Gizmobobs.

    I was at the match,definitely disappointing.
    I felt McStay wanted an experienced spine with Robbie, Jordan,Cillian and Eoghan starting and the lads around them then were given an opportunity to put their hands up for a place in the squad.Unfortunately those 4 were the best players for us.I felt it was a bit of a risk playing so many lads that have zero experience, not even squad players and at least one i know who never even attended a senior Mayo training session.It might have made a bit more sense if Mayo were simultaneously playing a challenge today as they did for some FBD games last year.

    When I saw the team and saw London were playing most of their first team I knew this game was not a gimme.

    The online meltdowns are somewhere between funny and tragic.

  26. I think if we had a formula to beat a massed defence then we might have seen some evidence of it in the last year.David mcbriens goal against Galway was the only time we attacked at pace through the middle playing a rapid one two .Claire to what year are we going to bounce back to or from.we haven’t really shown any championship form in quite some time.I have no issue with mcstay but what I told is that there is little or no input from him behind the scenes in a tactical sense.He appears to more and an administrator or facilitator

  27. Don’t mind the result…Mayo won everything early last year and fell come summer. However the setup of the team and style of play would depress and bore you to death.

  28. Well boys and girls lets face facts, our first fifteen are not just good enough to win Sam as has been proven over the last few years. our second or back up 15 have been beaten by London a team made up just to play in the FBD League so we have nothing coming through to first team. 2024 looks like relagation and early exit from Championship. Hope I am wrong but if McStay doesnt take charge and get rid of Rochford its all over,

  29. @1985 I just like to stay positive I’d rather be optimistic then negative we can’t take much from today’s game at all I certainly won’t be.

    It was FBD with a Very experimental team end of no point in being all doom about that.
    The real stuff starts in April and we all know it.

    I get that the feeling that Rochford is running the show here it has Rochford written all over it the style of play.

  30. @culmore totally agree with you regards Rochford mcstay needs to step up if we flip this year again they are gone I would say.

  31. Jesus Christ it’s the FBD league relax ! Bigger picture. Don’t get too high with the wins or low with the losses. It’s a long season ahead.
    Although the newcomers were poor today we don’t know what block of training they have done before it. They have barely played a game together before so that can be blamed for the lack of cohesion and inability to break down London. We also kicked 20 wides or whatever ur was in the end.

    Calm down everyone and buckle up for the ride. We have to accept we are in transition and this sort of things happens during transition. We have Hurley/Clarke and the Beirnes to compliment the likes of ROD and Conroy in years to come. Let’s stay positive and back the players and management to have an enjoyable year

  32. @Culmore…”get rid of Rorchford” you must be joking?. The man under whom Mayo played their best games (plural) of all time..the man under whom Corofin won an All Ireland final .. McStay also won an All Ireland with St Bridget’s (by the way Congratulations to St Bridget’s today and hopefully they bring back the All Ireland across the Shannon (just about) to Connacht ) ..If things need changing or improving..the buck stops with McStay, that’s why he’s the manager .

  33. Fbd is meaningless , i dont see much meltdown from any poster in here tbh, think its disengenious to suggest otherwise . Its way more important our county lads come through siggerson without injury midweek tbh. There should always be pride though and losing to london is not a proud moment .

  34. I see loads of other people from different counties laughing at mayo tonight totally ridiculous sure we can’t win we get slagged off for getting carried away the beginning of last year and through league and still get slagged for loosing haha

    Fuck them. Sorry for the language but I mean it haha

    I think we will always get slagged off now haha

    @sean Burke great comment fully agree with you.

  35. Clare – no pint getting wound up…Mayo football is a laughing stock for the rest of the country. Who cares. Until we start winning All Irelands that will always be the case.

  36. @yew_tree yeah that’s very true!

    Sure we are all used to it by now I guess haha

    Ah well it’s only January 1st match like I think most players wanted to get rid FBD to.. Might be a blessing we went out.

  37. Not bothered about the result today in the slightest, great that we avoid playing Roscommon and Galway as we have upcoming League games against them in the coming weeks, very easy get low key challenge games the next 2 weekends and prepare for Galway in Salthill to get 2 points of the 6 to keep us up. Theres no point in getting excited anymore till June , we are going to be in the last 16 Group of 4 whatever happens .Dissapointing part about today is no one is putting up there hand up.

  38. Lads the FBD like our own McGrath cup is only glorified challenge match.

    McStay is only looking at fellas that’s all.

    From the outside I’d say McStays may goal is to have them peaking at the correct time.

    Mayo were hoping off the ground last Jan and Feb and then went a wee bit flat.

    Hopefully all the lads for Mayo and Kerry come through Sigerson this week.

  39. Leantimes, Rochford had the same role in Donegal as he has now with Mayo, second in charge but running the show and see what hwe did to Donegal football. There is a reason McHale left.

  40. Listening to the game on midwest.. I take issue with Martin carney s comment about Jimmy mcguinness and hoping he will change his style of play. We’ll Martin I don’t know where you have been in the last few years because donegal under bonner and Rochford were absolutely dismal to watch. Also Jimmy has a proven record. Two direct high balls in to our full back line won him the all Ireland. Maybe Martin would be better off looking a bit closer to home. Didn’t hear many direct balls going in from mayo today. One went in and cillian done the business but it seems to have stopped after that. Not bothered about the result just a pity management didn’t get another game against roscommon to try out more lads. Still worried about our style of lateral football

  41. Despite it been FBD its still a shock..
    You’d expect any Connacht team to beat what also was an inexperienced London team..
    What’s worrying for Mayo is the wides , and a win would have given a lot of newbies another competitive game..

  42. @Tuamstar it’s not a shock At ALL

    Typical reaction there from a Galway point of view.

    It was an extremely experimental side it’s nothing to worry about from a mayo perspective as much as Galway would like us to be worrying about it…haha

    It’s January FBD seriously get a grip we are not worried and doubt mcstay is worried either.

    Jeez we were slagged last year for getting carried away for blitzing teams in Fbd and league and now slagged for loosing by a point in JANUARY

    Nothing to worry about fully confident we will get a result in salthill….

  43. I don’t buy the theory Rochford is more in charge than McStay. That result today will be on McStays mind right up to the start of the championship and he’ll now play a more experienced line up in the champions opener against New York having seen Leitrim suffer a loss out there last summer and indeed the Roscommon team he was managing in 2016 was lucky to avoid defeat in the Bronx.

  44. For any mayo senior team picked to represent the county it is a shock to lose to London and did Kevin mcstay or whoever picked the team believe their selection was good enough to win the game or otherwise what is the point.yes the Fbd is not a major competition but surely the players picked would be gusting a gut to make an impact if they think they are good enough to represent the county in the future

  45. Clare… anytime London beat Mayo in a senior intercounty game is a shock.. ( can’t recall it ever happening competitively)
    Yes ye were experimental, but as Kevin stated they had a lot of conditioning and fitness work done as a group and they just couldn’t break them down.
    Extremely experimental does not include Rob Hennelly, Jordan Flynn, Eoin Mc Loughlin, Donnacha Mc Hugh and Cillian o Connor.
    Extremely means none of them play…
    However in the grand scheme of things in it means an extra challenge game next weekend as Kevin said..

  46. While it’s disappointing to lose there’s no point getting too worked up about it. The Christmas decorations are only down and what happens in early January will have little bearing on what happens in Summer. Division 4 Wexford beat Kildare while Div 4 Longford beat Westmeath this weekend .I doubt those results will happen when it really matters. Having said that, losing to London is not good and more worrying is the fact that it was our older players who were our better players. Our replacements are not as good as one would hope. We could have done with at least one competitive game next weekend. Looks like both Galway and Roscommon will have 2 games before league starts.

  47. @Tuamstar eh for starters hennelly has only just come back was never number 1 last year reape is our number 1 goalie.

    Don’t know what your point here other then trying to make us feel bad here tbh.

    It was a very experimental team yes we had few 1st starters on here today but it was an EXPERIMENTAL team for crying out loud.

    Fbd in In January like…

    All ill say on this to you Tuamstar for now is wee ya at salthill I can’t wait….

  48. Galway playing Meath next Saturday in a challenge.
    I understand it is part of a weekend training camp.

  49. @1985 that’s a bit much tbh not nice to say.

    You may not like my posts and that but you don’t know if I may have dyslexia either.

  50. Sorry Claire but your last line just came across as funny.if you have dyslexia I apologise but I don’t think tuamstar is trying to annoy anyone but if London beat Galway I think we would be saying the same thing

  51. @1985 I do have dislexia and find spelling and that hard so my bad but I do.

    I was literally just saying I don’t get all the doom and gloom it’s January and Fbd and really experimental side.

    @tuamstar sorry for any offence the phone has been non stop slagging messages over this match since we lost ha

    But it was really experimental side and no one can deny it.

    If our first team played today do you honestly think we would have lost??

  52. Apologies again Claire.didn’t mean any offence.I wouldn’t take any heed of people slagging off mayo.I have been getting that for years from people who don’t know where croke park is let alone been there.it’s water off a ducks back at this stage

  53. No matter what the circumstances are, today’s game was a huge embarrassment for all concerned, firstly regardless of it being an FBD league game we should have gone out and won that game if nothing else for the pride of the Jersey, our management was well aware of the problem we have with blanket defence since our last two championship matches last season and it seems they have done nothing to rectify it, plus the number of wides inside in a bloody dome can’t blame the wind for that, so it appears to me it’s a coaching and management problem, does McStay and company realise they have made history today being the first ever Mayo manager to loose to London,,
    I think this is a serious set back for our County and I also think Mc Stay and his Management team should seriously considered their position,

  54. @1985 it’s no worries at all just wanted to say I had as I know sometimes my posts have spelling mistakes!

    Yeah you are right we are well used to the slagging by now ha.

    @HILL Man I’ve not seen you coment on here much before that is ridiculously harsh of you… By God we loose by a point in Fbd to London and it’s hugely embarrassing?? And management should re consider their position??

    That’s a bit much now jeez you’d swear we lost another all Ireland….

  55. On the blanket defence debate.. we create that for ourselves by not moving the ball fast enough into the forward line. Instead we dither back and over with it. Then look up and of course there is 15 men ahead of us. There’s nothing to break down if you don’t create the blanket. That was mayo s biggest downfall in the championship last year.

  56. Admittedly an experimental team but I would have expected a better performance.Not a clue how to beat a blanket defense and shooting way off target.And as for you Clare while I think criticism of your spelling is harsh your number of posts are excessive.I counted 10 of a total of 55 posts attributed to yourself which is way more than other contributer.Have to say though Clare I admire your optimism.Wish I could share it.

  57. Mayojoe i have to admit sometimes Clare’s enthusiasm gets on my nerves lol but if she wants to post here a thousand times a day then thats her right. Keep up the posts Clare and stay positive deep down im positive about Mayo most of the time apart when they start lateral passing that drives me bananas

  58. Ah lads this is getting out of hand ffs. It’s bloody FBD in January. Last year Mayo were slagged off for winning all those league games and peaking too early and now some of ye are fretting over a Mickey Mouse event in midwinter. I think most level headed fans would agree that what happens in the Dome before the season starts matters not one iota and most want survival in the league but not to make the final. In which case we will have to lose games. Sometimes losing doesn’t matter too much when you look at the bigger picture. As for Clare and her posts, if they offend you then just scroll over them. As far as I’m concerned keep on with the uplifting stuff Clare even if I don’t always agree with you.

  59. Right so at @mayoJoe don’t worry if you’ve counted how many times I post strange I may post a lot but don’t worry won’t be for a while seeming as my enthusiasm annoys you it’s a blog where you might not like everything you see.

    @Glorydays also I won’t apologise for not being all doom and gloom and if enthusiasm gets on your nerves well I feel sad for you.

    Won’t be posting here again for a good while.

  60. Is the tail wagging the dog lads? Can’t help but see a correlation between us and the dross Donegal were playing from 2019-2022.

    It isn’t gonna get us anywhere & I for one would rather us at least go out and play football. That style of play might have suited us more back on the 2010s but we don’t have the personnel for it

  61. In response to Clares comments on my post, first of all I am a member of this group for a very long time and I contribute from time to time ,
    I am firm beliver in the concept that every body is entitled to their opinion and that’s my opinion on what happened in the Dome ,I’ll always give credit where its due,and certainly give criticism where its due,,and I wouldn’t take back one word of what I have said ,Call a spade a spade, and like wise Clare you are entitled to your opinion and I respect that ..

  62. @HILL Man I respect your opinions is well didn’t mean any offence. Emotions were running high with everyone on the blog yesterday.

    I’m going to take a break from posting for a bit anyway.

  63. Does anyone have any update on the likes of Reape, Coyne, Mcbrien, Ruane, Loftus, Hession, Coen?

    Is it strange we have seen McLoughlin/Flynn/Mchugh/Hennelly on consecutive weeks without seeing any of them ?
    I believe Fionn Mcdonagh and Aidan Orme have both stepped away from the panel this season.

  64. “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”!
    Rewind the tape 12 months to the charity game in Ballina v Sligo when we fielded 75% of our championship squad and wallopped Sligo out the gate. Yes it was nice to win but, was there really a need to field such a strong team? Especially when it was apparent that we were in so much better condition than Sligo? Should we have taken the opportunity to have a look at a few fringe players? Maybe move a few players around positionally, and see what happens? Maybe rest a few of the lads that had niggles or big mileage in the legs? Fast forward to late Spring and we are on the verge of a league final that no one really wanted to be in because of its proximity to our 1st round championship game v the Rossies. But we were hardly going to pass up on the chance of a league title so we went for it. Move on another week and we met a Rossie team that had 6 weeks to prepare for us and they deservedly beat us, comfortably in the end. From then on we were swimming against the tide. That obvious gap we had on our rivals so early in the year, in physical conditioning, had narrowed to nothing and now we were a tired team struggling for form and trying to get Cillian and Conroy back on the starting 15.

    “We’ll take the learnings from it and move on”!
    A great James Horan quote but one he never seemed to follow through on. McStay isn’t going to make the same mistake twice. He is in a different “place” now having been in the job for 12 months. He has proven his credentials by winning the league last year, has obvious “buy-in” from the players and goodwill from the supporters. He can also argue that his team, on both occassions v Louth and Cork, were in position to play out for solid comfortable wins but major player mistakes on the field put us in the shit. Those two endings were all on the players, not him. So, McStay has a general good wind at his back and knows where he needs to improve on.
    This leads me to yesterdays defeat. It was obvious in the Mayo GAATV interview that McStay gave afterwards he was real pissed and annoyed with the defeat. We all know that these games are essentially jumped-up challenge games but he still would have factored in a more competitive outing v Roscommon next weekend as part of his build-up for the National League campaign. The defeat has throw a spanner in the works and it does not look good on his CV or that of Mayos CV to see them lose to, in effect, a Junior side. But, it was still the right choice to go with an inexperienced and expertimental side because otherwise how are you meant to see the fringe players in a “competitive” and risk free environment? How else are you to try a few positional switches, have a look at some much talked about club players and give them a go? Introduce some promising younger players and see what they offer? See are there any “bolters” that could be dropped into the National League panel to give us something different? Well anyone who was at the two Dome games will have seen the answer to those questions. And anyone who suffered last seasons senior championship and sat through some of the worst football seen in Mayo in years, will know that there are no Cliffords out there waiting to be unearthed. There are no surprises, no 27 year olds who have been hidden away for years just waiting for their chance, no diamonds waiting to be polished. We have what we have and that’s that. Of the two Dome games there is only one player that “might” have a chance of making an impact in the league. It’s a long shot but if those two games were interviews for a spot on the panel then, in my opinion, Conor Reid is the only one to make through. Outside of him no-one else put their hand up. For some they’re just not good enough/fast enough/big enough/strong enough and for others they need more time in the oven. The fact of the matter is that our best scoring forward from play in the county is also the teams nutritionist and our only threat yesterday was a 32 year old who has barely kicked a ball in the last two seasons.

    I’m not a pessimist but a dose of reality is needed before people start getting on McStays back. Read Anthony Hennigans piece in The Connaught or Aidan Henrys piece in The Western for some balance. When you lose generational players of the calibre of Barrett, Higgins, Boyle, Keegan, McLoughlin and Mullin, and not one single player of similar talent comes in to replace them, then you can only do so much with what you have left.

    Fast forward 7 months and I’d be delighted if we survive League Div 1, win a Connaught title and competitively compete in an All Ireland Semi Final.

  65. Emotions shouldn’t be running high over a Jan.Fbd game @Clare , regardless of result. I’d be annoyed about it but best to get busy with other stuff and move on fairly quick.
    Any comments on here shouldn’t be taken personally as posters don’t know you.
    As for your mates slagging you or winding you up after games just laugh it off if you can, not so easy I know and many is the scrape I got myself into in the past, defending my team when it wasn’t easy to do. Eventually I copped myself on and didn’t react,it was no fun for the slaggers then so they quit.
    So post when there’s something to post about and roll with the punches would be my advice.

  66. Its going to be a long (and short) year if we can’t come up with anything but the lateral ‘safe’ approach to possession football that was witnessed yesterday. The one time Hennelly hoofed the ball long to Flynn, we had a goal from it.
    I can’t fathom why the ball wasn’t let in long on more occasions as surely repeating the same pattern over and over is obvious now wont bear fruit. The FBD is the perfect opportunity to try something different. Jordan Flynn was excellent and Eoin O Donohue looks solid at the back. Aside from them and an OK performance from Cillian, no one really stood out. Its early doors but I hope and pray we are doing a Kerry/ Dublin and timing the run for championship and don’t pick up any injuries in Sigerson.

  67. @2hops yes very true thanks!
    Yeah best not to react as I think mayo will always get slagged even if we do win Sam.

    @JoeG thanks also! sorry again if I did offend anyone.

  68. Apart from Dublin,Kerry,Tyrone,and possibly Donegal from 2012, no other counties supporters can slab off Mayo,when has at other counties even got to an all Ireland final?,as for yesterday we can thank the players for representing us,unfortunately I don’t believe that many of them will actually make the step up to the county team,hopefully a couple will with S/C come through ,but we will be very competitive this year

  69. Pebblesmeller, Reid possibly the best of the bunch seen so far, Conor Hunt as well possibly and O’Donoghue back in fold. As you say the sad reality is we have to fill the void left by McLoughlin, Harrison, Doherty and to a lesser extent McDonagh it seems and Orme from last years panel.

    So our panel will in all likelihood be weaker this year than last, you have 5 out, and 3 in and maybe Henry and someone else to make it 5, but them lads will need time to build up S&C to give themselves a fair chance.

    Result yesterday given the opposition is very disappointing (no offense intended to London who were excellent, especially given their lack of experience and unfamiliarity with the Dome). It was the gameplan or lack thereof again that was the worry, just to slow and ponderous. And while only the FBD it’s clear they wanted a win so they would not have to organise a second game or whatever next week to give all 46 or so lads a run again. While you would not want give all tricks away, practicing the system in real time is best method.

  70. Only watched one game yesterday-Glen vs Crokes. The contrast between the directness, score taking and physicality there and in the latter stages of our own senior championship was quite something.

    The last 18 months for me, have come down to resetting expectations. Particularly in the second half of last season, I felt we had moved back to the position we were in supporting the team in the 90’s or 00’s; capable of excellent performances and one-off wins, a handful of players as good as anything in the country but no confidence about what level we’d play to on any given day. The Dublin game really brought it home to me. We’re not at the really top level consistently anymore. I think that goes beyond the squad-our leadership in S&C, physicality & tackling and just never say die attitude is also a thing of the past.

    We’re going into the second year under this management with not a single settled line on the team and no clear plan to deal with the dominant defensive structure of the day. We have a young squad with some obvious talents but it seems Dublin, Kerry and Derry, to name three, are all much further along in a cycle.

    So with that in mind, there’s less checking the calendar for possible clashes in mid and late season that’s been a part of things over the last 12 or so years. I’m not viewing Dublin and Kerry early season squad lists to see if there’s any dangerously bright young things to keep an eye out for. I’m going to be watching the season hopefully, but with little expectation, starting with Galway in three weeks. Feel free to disagree, but it means any surprises are as likely to be pleasant as negative.

  71. I completely agree with 2 Hops.

    I missed the first 20 minutes of the second half of yesterday’s game because I was having a conversation with my housemate, and that imo was the proper prioritisation.

    There was nothing embarrassing or shameful about yesterday at Dome. There was nothing to be angry about either.

    But some of the response here and online to the result has been embarrassing.

    I think most of the anger has died down now, so I’d to posit a question for people to consider;

    How should a “Proper Supporter” react to yesterday’s result?

  72. @Clare

    I can see a lot of comments from you since yesterday that are trying to calm people down and get everyone back into a more considerate head space – I have a tendency to try to do exact same thing.

    Both of us have been pretty open about how we want to engage positively as regular Posters here.

    But there are times when people need to use the Comments to channel their anger, and immediately after a bad result tends to be one of those times.

    For example; one of those angry comments may have been from someone at the game, and it may have a question of releasing that anger here or confronting Kevin McStay about it.

    I find it’s really helpful to have something else not related to football ready to go after the game in case we lose, and I am grateful I had that yesterday.

    And just in case you feel like you and I are talking into a vacuum; most Posters are here only to engage with football, but I feel like I’m seeing a little more mindfulness from quite a few of the regular posters, and I’d like to think that it’s our influence.

    I actually work with something similar to the Comments section here, at work, and our rule of thumb is;
    It doesn’t matter how dumb your post is; the point is that if anyone else is having the same concern they can easily find your post, and hopefully the answer.

  73. @InTheCity

    Excellent post IMO
    You set out your arguments very well.
    And you used yesterdays game to as a lead in very well.

    The one thing it’s missing for me is how your 2024 looks in terms of material results and trophies.
    For example; is a Connacht title a good year?
    All Ireland semi, quarter or top our group stage.

    I think I understand you points, and while I don’t agree with them, I’m not sure how we at the end of the year would decide who was correct, Frosty or InTheCity?

    (The Jam reference?)

  74. McStay and his team have over a year done in charge now, at this stage we have no idea what our best team is. Not sure who our best keeper is, no idea who our corner backs are, have a full back but most people want him moved from there. Plenty of wing half backs but not sure who will be first choice, no recognised chb. No settled midfield and certinally no back up for midfield. A half forward line of take your pick of whover who like. A full forward line that has great potential, but a full forward who wont stay there or be let stay there I dont know which. Not good enough after a year in charge.

  75. @frost the hammer thanks yeah very true sometimes people just need to vent and get it out of their system after a result like that yesterday.

  76. Thanks FTH. Appreciate you coming back on the post.

    I believe that winning the All-Ireland was the only thing that would have made a season a success for most Mayo fans from maybe 2013-2023. I’d very much have been in that number. For the first time in a decade, I don’t see that as being a realistic goal for this year.

    I’d see success as achieving a good number of:
    -A clear style of play which the players seem to know and have confidence in
    -Clarity around our best options in key positions such as centre-back, midfield, centre-forward and full-forward
    -A greater level of consistency, i.e. generally beating teams we should be beating
    -Younger and fringe players progressing to be quality squad options to at least partially replace the likes of Harrison, McLoughlin, Doherty and probably soon Cillian and Aiden
    -Signs that the team is being prepared to peak at key points in the season and that management have got to grips with the new format.

    With regard to Connacht, I’d see ourselves, Galway and Roscommon as being at somewhat similar levels. Assuming things play to form, given the draw that means we’d need to win two 50:50 games, as well as best New York, to win the title. So, nice to win, but I’d give us a 1 in 4 chance.

    Looking back, one of my biggest regrets from last season was not enjoying more the victories against Galway in the League final and in Salthill. In both cases, eyes moved straight to the next game, rather than getting the full satisfaction of winning a title and knocking the previous year’s finalists, and probably our biggest rivals, out of the championship.

  77. Any word on Michael Plunkett these days. A player Horan rated highly and started him in our most recent all Ireland final I recall. Solid defender, good vision and takes a score when he ventures forward

  78. ‘In the city, at this stage I’d settle for a season where we start to play entertaining football again,try and veer away from the formulaic,lateral, possession based game .I’d like to see a bit more off the cuff football encouraged.players and supporters actually enjoying rather than enduring.
    If we have to endure another season like the previous couple I think we should adapt the Declan Nerney classic,stop the world and let me off,as our signature tune.

  79. A lot of over the top reaction to our admittedly rather embarrassing FBD performance and defeat. As one of life’s great optimists, I usually approach each new season full of hope, probably not always justified, but as a long suffering Mayo supporter, I have learned to temper my optimism with a liberal dose of realism. So what would be my hopes for this season? Firstly, I would like to see strong signs of real progress in continuing to rebuild the team/squad after the departure of so many stalwarts in recent years. The solving of most of our problem positions, CHB,MF, and some scoring half-forwards. Developing a proper meaner defensive structure, with the concession of no soft scores, especially goals. Better point taking with a big reduction in wides. Big increase in goals scored-goals win games. And above all, please let us figure out a way to beat the blanket defences. I want to see us abandon this boring slow predictable lateral passing stuff and play with much more energy,adventure and pace and get the ball forward more quickly and more direct-I want us to do well, but I also want to be entertained and not bored stiff. I want to see the players let off the leash and really go for it in games. I would hope to see 2 or 3 new faces come thro and make a big impact and recent newbies continue to progress and develop. I don’t want much do I? So what would a satisfactory season look like? – similar to what a previous post said, Survival in Division 1, A Connacht title and a good run in the Championship, with good performances, hopefully up to and including the Semi-finals. Anything more than that would be a real and welcome bonus. And, optimism seeping thro’ again-sometimes, when we are written off, we can really be a surprise packet. ?.

  80. If Kevin mcstay knows his best team after two challenge games then he would be the most extraordinary manager of all time.The problem is that he didn’t know his best team last year with constant changes from game to game and some fairly bizarre positional moves but again I always liked mcstay and think he deserved his chance but you can only call it as you see it on the field in front of you

  81. Just on ideas for the Podcasts for Patreon members since the FBD is over. Would there be any chance of getting a preview and interviews from Captains and Managers of the Mayo Schools involved in the Connacht Colleges A championship and having updates of the games.Be great to here the inside scoop of what kind of talented players are playing for Colmans , Geralds ,Ballinrobe and Rice College and how serious Gaelic football is taken in the schools and what can be done to help Mayo teams win more Connacht Titles and challenege for Hogan Cups. I think schools football is an area that does not get enough coverage in Mayo for the talent that is on display.If you look at the 2016 and 2017 Mayo teams nearly all the players played with Connacht Colleges A championship teams.Limerick hurling and Kerry Football have targeted the secondary schools and its payed off.

  82. 4 Mayo schools involved in the Connacht Colleges A championship this week

    Ballinrobe Community School v Summerhill College Sligo in Bekan Wednesday at 12.30pm

    Rice College Westport v St Jarlaths College Tuam in The Neale Wednesday at 12.30pm

    St Colmans College Claremorris v St Geralds College Castlebar in Bekan Friday at 12.30pm

  83. My prediction for McStays championship 15 if everyone fit:

    1. Reape (I wouldn’t mind if Rob came back in)
    2. Coyne (E O’D or Plunkett could push him out)
    3. McBrien (Nailed on)
    4. Hession (Nailed on if fit)
    5. Durcan (Nailed on)
    6. Callinan (His best position imo – future All Star)
    7. McLaughlin (too fast not to start)
    8. Ruane
    9. Tuohy (if gets a run in this position in league)
    10. Tommy – (his most dangerous position, JH copped it in Dublin semi final, injury and Horan stepping down ended the experiment)
    11. Diarmuid (Nailed on)
    12. Jordan (Nailed on)
    13. Ryan (Nailed on)
    14 . Aidan (Nailed on for me)
    15. Carr (if fit, possibly up for grabs by a bolter)

    Subs O’Hora, Cillian, Carney, Loftus etc.

  84. Too fast not to start has major logical flaws. If there is a skills gap then that speed is just giving the ball away quicker. A skills gap is not made up for by all the other times one doesn’t mess up.

  85. Margie. Unless there is a big uplift in Ruane’s game he has to be under massive pressure. He was lucky last year to be picked so regularly and needs to show the form of a couple of years ago. I also think McHugh is a favourite of McStay and he may include him as a man marker. Presumably we will be using a sweeper of some sort this year. Any idea who would be best suited to do the job? I think you have pretty much nailed the rest of the team.

  86. Hard to disagree with that team. I’d be hoping E ‘OD could slot into the no.4 position ,of he recaptures old form,and release Hess to no.7. I’d have his tackling and ability to take a score ahead of McL when he finds himself in a forward position. Speed wise pretty similar too.

  87. @ Sam óg
    Great idea on schools football. Ditto the ladies school game. Some great teams there too.

  88. Margie – If that is the squad we are rolling out come championship we can expect similar results to the past 2 seasons once we meet Kerry and Dublin.

    Without naming any names, a few of the players in your team really need to find some form of old this year as they still starting based on performances they had in 2020 and 2021.

  89. I will take 7/10 skills with 7/10 pace ahead of 5/10 skills with 10/10 pace all day.
    Skill messups are costly in attack and defence.
    I don’t care for an amazing moment in attack every second match.
    We have still have not fully grasped that we need everyone 7/10 minimum as an overall footballer.

  90. McDonagh got plenty of chances and never nailed down a spot.alot more than Aidan Orme and Fergal Boland got.

  91. Great to have EOD back, think our depth in the full back line needed it. I have great time for O’Hora and think he has showed really well for Mayo at times but also think we need to move on from him.

  92. Thats great Willie Joe. Great to give exposure to talented young footballers in the County.Playing for your school is one of the best experiences of a Gaelic Football career and probably the best football you can watch even in winter conditions.

  93. Just on that I am always looking at the Irish Examiners coverage of the Munsters A Colleges Football Corn Ni Mhuiri competition.Its top class the reporting of the games.Also The Gaelic Life magazine have good coverage of all the Ulster schools McRory cup games plus Jerome Quinns media company shows highlight clips of all these games
    I also remember every St Patricks day on BBC NI they would show the Ulster Colleges A Final live.Always a huge crowd and atmpsphere at it.it feels bigger than the actual Hogan Cup Final itself.Could they at least stream the Connacht Colleges A final and give it more exposure than it gets.

  94. @JKEL88, name them…its a discussion forum. I completely agree Ruane has been out of sorts the last 2 seasons.

    He has shown what he can do, its up to management to help unlock the performances we know he can produce. Maybe he needs an extended break for example? like first half of the league, I dont know. Thats where good mangers seperate themselves from average ones…getting the best out of his players. On all known evidence, and I include Carney in this, Ruane operating at 70% of his 2021 form is still better than any midfielder we’ve had over the last 2 years.

    We need someone to really step up to that position. From what I’ve seen, Tuohy has the tools required, and definetly should be tried there in the league.

    I get what a poster is saying about McLaughlin, but for me his speed is gold dust. Speed is what sets you apart in Croke park. He’s a rough diamond no doubt. But the right coaching can get him up to standard skill wise, imo he has to be persisted with.

  95. Get what you’re saying Margie.
    My viewpoint is I have never witnessed a Gaelic footballer or Soccer player majorly improve a major skills gap once they are at adult age.
    Johan Cruyff said you needed the basics skills at a high level as a youth player or forget about it.
    If you give away the ball or miss a sitter at a much higher frequency than a lesser athlete that is more than undoing the odd great goal or pass.
    When the 70% chance or pass is there we need to nail it 70% of the time, not 35/40/45/50% of the time.

  96. @Margie. Some very good points you make.
    Regarding Ruane he hasn’t been half the player without Jordan Flynn next to him in midfield. The problem is Jordan is needed for his physicality in midfield and for the scores he got in the half forward line.
    Personally I would have a look at moving Jordan back into midfield and playing either Ryan or Diarmuid at 11. It might work it might not but it is definitely worth a go. Diarmuid at 6 is also worth considering.

    The spine of the team is vital.
    McBrien at 3
    Diarmuid at 6
    Matty and Jordan in midfield
    Ryan at CF
    AOS at FF

    Good players in vital positions. Build the team around them.

  97. Aido should be used as impact sub he runs out of gas doesn’t seem to last a whole game.

    It’s cillian O Connor ( looking much fitter and back to his old self), Tommy conroy and Ryan O D in full forward for me anyway.

  98. Matt ruanes best season was in 2019 with aido beside him.ruane is not a ball winner and highly he will become one now and con kilpatrick completely blocked off his running game in the 2021 final which is now a blueprint for the opposition

  99. The most we can probably expect from Cillian or Aido come high summer is probably 40 mins each so they will probably be interchangeable…also I liked the idea of Tommy and Ryan playing close to each other on different lines to give them a chance to get that understanding between them going again. Tommy’s pace will frighten defenders and playing 1,2s off Ryan should bring us some joy. Hopefully a burst of the James Carr we know is in there comes to the fore too.
    If we use the league wisely and can avoid major injuries we might have a more enjoyable summer of ’24

  100. Quote from
    “Pebblesmeller says:
    January 8, 2024 at 10:57 am
    “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”!
    Rewind the tape 12 months to the charity game in Ballina v Sligo when we fielded 75% of our championship squad and wallopped Sligo out the gate. Yes it was nice to win but, was there really a need to field such a strong team? Especially when it was apparent that we were in so much better condition than Sligo? Should we have taken the opportunity to have a look at a few fringe players? Maybe move a few players around positionally, and see what happens? Maybe rest a few of the lads that had niggles or big mileage in the legs? Fast forward to late Spring and we are on the verge of a league final that no one really wanted to be in because of its proximity to our 1st round championship game v the Rossies. But we were hardly going to pass up on the chance of a league title so we went for it. Move on another week and we met a Rossie team that had 6 weeks to prepare for us and they deservedly beat us, comfortably in the end. From then on we were swimming against the tide. That obvious gap we had on our rivals so early in the year, in physical conditioning, had narrowed to nothing and now we were a tired team struggling for form and trying to get Cillian and Conroy back on the starting 15.

    “We’ll take the learnings from it and move on”!
    A great James Horan quote but one he never seemed to follow through on. McStay isn’t going to make the same mistake twice. He is in a different “place” now having been in the job for 12 months. He has proven his credentials by winning the league last year, has obvious “buy-in” from the players and goodwill from the supporters. He can also argue that his team, on both occassions v Louth and Cork, were in position to play out for solid comfortable wins but major player mistakes on the field put us in the shit. Those two endings were all on the players, not him. So, McStay has a general good wind at his back and knows where he needs to improve on.
    This leads me to yesterdays defeat. It was obvious in the Mayo GAATV interview that McStay gave afterwards he was real pissed and annoyed with the defeat. We all know that these games are essentially jumped-up challenge games but he still would have factored in a more competitive outing v Roscommon next weekend as part of his build-up for the National League campaign. The defeat has throw a spanner in the works and it does not look good on his CV or that of Mayos CV to see them lose to, in effect, a Junior side. But, it was still the right choice to go with an inexperienced and expertimental side because otherwise how are you meant to see the fringe players in a “competitive” and risk free environment? How else are you to try a few positional switches, have a look at some much talked about club players and give them a go? Introduce some promising younger players and see what they offer? See are there any “bolters” that could be dropped into the National League panel to give us something different? Well anyone who was at the two Dome games will have seen the answer to those questions. And anyone who suffered last seasons senior championship and sat through some of the worst football seen in Mayo in years, will know that there are no Cliffords out there waiting to be unearthed. There are no surprises, no 27 year olds who have been hidden away for years just waiting for their chance, no diamonds waiting to be polished. We have what we have and that’s that. Of the two Dome games there is only one player that “might” have a chance of making an impact in the league. It’s a long shot but if those two games were interviews for a spot on the panel then, in my opinion, Conor Reid is the only one to make through. Outside of him no-one else put their hand up. For some they’re just not good enough/fast enough/big enough/strong enough and for others they need more time in the oven. The fact of the matter is that our best scoring forward from play in the county is also the teams nutritionist and our only threat yesterday was a 32 year old who has barely kicked a ball in the last two seasons.

    I’m not a pessimist but a dose of reality is needed before people start getting on McStays back. Read Anthony Hennigans piece in The Connaught or Aidan Henrys piece in The Western for some balance. When you lose generational players of the calibre of Barrett, Higgins, Boyle, Keegan, McLoughlin and Mullin, and not one single player of similar talent comes in to replace them, then you can only do so much with what you have left.

    Fast forward 7 months and I’d be delighted if we survive League Div 1, win a Connaught title and competitively compete in an All Ireland Semi Final.”

    Very thoughtful and well written as always. Some others should take the time time read your blogs and write something meaningful instead of some of the non-sensical stuff they do.

    Last year, Mayo were the fittest team in Ireland for first three to four months.
    yes we won a league title, really meaningless in the grand scheme of things, the fact that Croke Park made Mayo play their opening connacht championship game a week after tells you all you need to know.
    Mayo are a mid-tier team, probably in top six to eight. It takes three to five years to build a team, especially given the transition we have gone through. So we are not in a terrible place.
    Obviously given last Sunday, one wonders how much work and effort went into the selection of the so called “extended panel”, Q what is it based off of.
    We don’t have many powerful scoring forwards. So the blue print is Make Mayo shoot from 30+ yards.
    Maybe these players are there maybe not. Paul Towey is someone who can score, he got a full ten minutes in a league game last year. I am sure there are another one or two who merited more consistent time on the field, but given his ability to kick a point, his lack of time was puzzling to say the least.
    If we stay in Division 1 and make a Q Final, or with a favorable draw a semi , then it will be a decent year, with one caveat, we develop one midfielder and at least two forwards who over the next two to three years are capable and confident of kicking a score from 30+.
    The reality is Galway will most likely not be as hampered by injuries as they were last year, and will be a lot more difficult to beat in Connacht and maybe further on for that matter.

  101. One of my definites is that Ryan must be the the centre forward. Yes the game has changed, but you still need a playmaker in that central attacking role at 11.
    We don’t have an obvious candidate for the 13 jersey so shouldn’t we just play someone like a Jack Carney or Diarmuid O’Connor or Bob Tuohy there as a third midfielder?

  102. Ryan is too short for the middle third for me.

    It might work in individual games, but if it was week in and week out, opposition would not be long taking advantage of Ryan’s lack of height.

  103. 1. Reape
    2. Coyne
    3. McBrien
    4. Hession
    5 – D O Connor
    6 – Callinan
    7 – Durcan
    8 – Flynn
    9 – Carney
    10 – Ruane
    11- Tuohy
    12 – Conroy / Loftus
    13 – Donoghue
    14 – O Shea / O Connor
    15 – Carr

    I would like to see something like the team above. I think wing back would suit Diarmuid O Connor, he would negate any wing forward and making runs forward from deep will suit him and i think wing back frees him up more than playing centre. Ruane hasnt been good enough for a good while now but i think wing forward might suit him, and midfield would suit Carney more than in the forwards.

  104. @Margie & @Tommy132

    I’d agree with your fullback line and it would also be mine; but I would be concerned about a lack of height in there. I’m unsure about Coyne under highball yet, McBrien is fine, except maybe against the biggest most aggressive guys, and Hession is brave and will go for it.

    For that I might suggest having Aidan sweeping close to the fullback position at the start of a game, until we’re sure we have our defensive matches are solid.

    I’m thinking specifically of Galway here and the threat this new McLoughlin guy will cause us. If he plays in Salthill in a few weeks I’d be tempted to stick Aidan on him. I don’t want him thinking he can bully us physically, and keeping Joyce uncertain about that might work in our favour down the line.

  105. Anyone wanting to watch some football tonight dcu v Queens livestreamed on YouTube, ruairi keane playing wing back for dcu.

  106. NUIG beaten ? mother of god but seriously with a panel like that you could have a cut at an all ireland

  107. They said that Tommy conroy was sick for the charity match and who knows what from hopefully gets back fit soon.

  108. Just want to reference one point that I found hard to believe over the last few days. Eoin O’D has been in Aus for the last year to 18 months I think? Could stand to be corrected but I think he was. Now if thats true does anybody not think it’s a bit of a joke for him to be brought straight into an FBD squad? Don’t get me wrong I think he’s a solid club player, but the last time I saw him play was against Knockmore in the county final 2 years ago, where ironically Aidan Orme did a very good job off him.

    As I said I don’t think he’s a bad player but does anyone not think it’s strange to bring a lad straight into a panel that hasn’t played competitive club football for awhile? Is there a clear bias there seeing as Mulligan was his manager in Belmullet?

    And on that same point, there are 2 Crossmolina men on the management team and there have been 5 players from the club involved over the last 18 months. Flynn (justified), Loftus (fringe player), Coggins, Maheady and Duffy. For a club that aren’t ripping it up at intermediate, I’m very surprised to see that amount of players from one club being given a chance. Maybe I’m creating a conspiracy but it wouldn’t be the first time club bias drove player selection.

  109. @Green&Red

    Eoin O’Donoghue made his debut under Stephen Rochford, and the only year he got a real run of games was 2018 under Stephen Rochford.

    He’s only played in Croke Park twice, both off the bench in 2019 under Horan.

    He’s three years experience in the Mayo panel, without ever really been a first team starter.
    FBD League is exactly the place to be looking at him.

    The only question is right now is if we are ready to give up on Eoin for 2024.

  110. You would have to think/hope that the players are being selected on the strength of what they are doing in training matches etc. Hopefully we’re left behind those bad old days of managers starting their favourites regardless of form .

  111. I don’t think there’s any bias issue in regards to eoin O o’donoghue he was actually the only one who showed some promise in those games.

    At least he’s come back from Aussie land and is putting his hand up saying give me a chance.

    Fair play to him. He showed some promise I think he cod do well in defence of he gets enough game time he’s strong and well able to stand his groh D which we badly need I defence.

    I say give him a go in league see how goes but I se potential in him myself.

  112. @FrostT I know he was in the panel under Rochford in 2018 and Horan in 2019 but that’s the guts of 4 years ago now. If he was a player who was a regular starter having a real impact in tight championship games then it wouldn’t be as much of a question. I just find it awful strange that a player who has been out of the country for 2 years goes straight into a mayo panel. Surely it would make sense to wait a year and see how he does at club level this year. I’d like to see him push on as a player but it’s more the principle of giving a lad a chance with no record of performance over the last 2 years is strange to me.

  113. @Green&Red

    He took a two year break, then came back to Ireland and contacted management and asked for an opportunity to join the squad.

    FBD is where you run the eye over lads who, for the most part have absolutely no experience of intercounty football.

    I didn’t spot Maheady and Duffy at any stage.
    And Coggins ever made it of the bench, but at that we are probably talking about the 50th best player in Mayo, and if you factored in injured players and those not making themselves available it’s probably closer to 100th.

    When you are that deep into your squad it’s perfectly justifiable to bring in a guy from your own club who has good experience training to a professional standard. Which I believe Retrocut mentioned in his piece on Coggins.

  114. NUIG beaten by 1 point with a keeper error dropping the ball into the net late on.

    Ryan O’Donoghue with 1-1 and had the opportunity to grab a draw in added time for the Galway college but his effort from the free hit the post.

  115. @Frist the hammer totally agree.

    As I said I think Eoin shows huge potential.

    It could be exactly what we need in defence

    He’s a strong well built guy and for him to come back wanting to still play for mayo I say fair play and best of luck to him only hope more come back from aussie land with the same attitude as Eoin as has.

  116. FrostT – so your saying a player went travelling for 2 years, came back and requested to join the panel? And then was brought in? If that’s the case then I’m deeply worried. Should we advise players like Shane Nally and Bryan Walsh to go travelling for 2 years and then give management a call? Do we think the likes of Jack O’Connor would go along with that type of request?

    Personally I don’t think it’s justifiable that when you get down to player 50 or 100, you are then free to select players from your own club. The job of the mayo management is to analyse every single footballer from Junior right up to senior and pick the best players on merit from club form. And for me, from the few games I saw of Crossmolina over the last year, Flynn was the only one that looked county standard. And I’d argue their results in championship proved that.

    I’m not trying to cause an argument but it’s just something I find very strange. As I said I do like Eoin as a footballer but a justification to bring him straight back into a mayo squad is baffling to me.

  117. Clare – the point I’m trying to make doesn’t have anything to do with Eoin the footballer. Btw I’m not sure he has “huge potential” as he wasn’t a regular when he was previously in the mayo panel. If it was Oisin Mullen we were talking about then it would be a very different story. 99% of players in mayo want to play for their county but just because they have a desire to play doesn’t mean they walk into a panel especially having not played club football for two years. Like surely the management must have principles when it comes to these sort of things.

  118. So a guy can’t go off travelling for a bit in his prime years and then decide he wants to come home for family and play for his county?

    I honestly don’t see what’s wrong with that.

    Jack I Connor would only be delighted if some the guys from kerry who went off travelling came back and put their hand up to play for kerry again…

    You honestly think if oisin mullin came back they would be like oh no can’t bring straight back in cause he was away…

    By God so if oisin mullin came back and opted to play for us again that be Ok then I guess?

    Eoin fair play to him hope it works out.

  119. Nothing wrong with taking a look at Eoin O D. He has showed promise before and now he’s back lets see where he’s at. I would be more bothered if we weren’t looking at him. I think he togged for Belmullet in the club games so it’s not as if he’s just got off the plane.
    Do you think Galway would turn Peter Cooke away for missing a year or would we turn Oisin away?
    Players give up more than a lot of us would ever know to commit to inter county football. I wouldn’t begrudge them for one minute taking time out.

  120. Green and Red
    As if there is lots of players putting up there hands up for places.The 16 to 30 bracket of players in Mayo is the weakest I have seen since 2003.Eoin O’Donoghue is definitley in the top 30 Mayo players at present even if he was in Austraila last year.
    There is bad vibes coming out of panel seeing players like Bryan Walsh, Aidan Orme , Ethan Gibbons, Fionn McDonagh and Oisin McLauglin not making themselves available to play with the County .That would be unheard of 5 or 6 years ago.Galway suffered this back in Alan Mulhollands and Kevin Walshs era.Think we are in long transition period.I think the scouting of players called in was quite poor to be honest.but would love to be proven wrong.

  121. To an FBD squad in which he was fourth most experienced player.

    If Shane Nally was interested and/or fit he’d be in the same squad.

    And if Bryan Walsh is fit then he’s good enough for league minutes, and was likely off training with the first team.

    When do you think Aidan Orme will get his chance if he wants to rejoin the panel in future.

    We’re Mayo, and we can’t have players who can’t reach the necessary standard clogging up our league panel. If you want league minutes you need to earn them, and that team on Sunday didn’t.

    It might be Eoin’s experience that keeps him around the squad, at least until lads are finished with the Sigerson. Although it’s interesting that Boland and Aaron McDonnell appear to have gotten starts ahead of him.

    None of new fullback options have really impressed me with their football skills. None look better than O’Hora who is probably our most lacking in that department.

    Lads like Conors Reid and Hunt have probably earned league time. Dawson might be kept an interesting option. Fahey is a maybe.

    There are a lot of players we haven’t seen yet this year. Sunday was a last chance to shine for a lot of those players.

    There were a few players who stood out for the All Stars who I thought might feature.

    @Green&Red if you want to talk football, talk football. It’s the only thing that people are here to argue about.

  122. Ciaran McDonald went travelling to the USA in 1996 and came back and played in an All Ireland Final in 1997.

  123. The 16-30 bracket is the strongest we have ever had in Mayo; but we’ve only seen about 5 of the top 40 or so in a Mayo jersey so far this year.

    We’ve got easily 25+ players with 2+ years experience in intercounty panels. We’ve maybe 7 more with a full year. There’s a few years of good solid professional footballers coming through. The best jumped straight to the first team but there are some good players in there and who knows maybe a late bloomer like Andy, Parsons, Boyler or Barrett.

  124. Amazing that there are over 130 comments after an FBD game v London. I fear it could be a difficult year on the blog if people are getting so worked up about the London game. It is hard to be optimistic. I like McStay but fear he got the job 8 years too late. Should have got it at the end of JHs reign in 2014. We had some serious players then but most of those once in a generation players are gone and unfortunately their replacements are not nearly as good. Yes we will be competitive and have the odd good day like v Kerry last year, but I seriously doubt we will win anything major this year. I expect Galway to be too good for us and Roscommon our equal in Connacht. The league is ultra competitive and we could end up anywhere in that Division including bottom 2. As for the championship well I reckon we are well behind Dublin, Kerry and Derry to name but a few. Sorry to be so pessimistic but I reckon it could be 2026 before we have a decent crack at it. Regardless of our success or otherwise I hope we throw off the shackles and play attacking entertaining football, the type that entertained us and all neutrals from 2012 for 7 or 8 years.

  125. I can see Eoin maybe even getting starting position at some point this year I just have a feeling about him.

    But I would never be grudge anyone for anyone coming back and opting to play for mayo after time away fair play to eoin.

  126. Frost T Hammer
    How in the fuck is it strong? 2017 panel is miles ahead of present panel.
    Our full back line and midfield were ate last year against Dublin.Very few scores in our half forward line.

  127. Clare – where did I say a guy can’t go off travelling. I have no issue with him travelling whatsoever, all the power to him and I hope he had a great time. The point that I have consistently tried to make is questioning how he goes straight back into a mayo panel. I’ll put it this way, the current mayo management have been going to club games for the last 2 years, and never once did they see him play. Yes he was in a mayo panel 4 years ago but time moves on. He could have lost a yard or two of speed. His handling skills, whilst still be sharp wouldn’t be at the level of inter-county championship for awhile. The issue I have isn’t with Eoin, it’s with the management.

    And in relation to Oisin Mullen, had you read my earlier comment you’d see that I referred to it as being completely different. Mullen left to play a professional sport similar to football, a completely different scenario. And also during his time with mayo, had a far bigger impact then Eoin.

    Achill75 makes a good point about players stepping away and bad vibes. I remember in Horans last year he played Aidan Orme against Dublin in his first ever league match, off the back of an impressive 2 years at club level. He scored 1-3 that night against Dublin in Croke park. Got some more minutes throughout the league that year and was slowly improving. The next year he hardly gets a look in. And the same with a lot of players that Achill75 referenced above. And I agree with him saying how the screening of players has been poor, but I’m not one bit surprised.

    I have no issue with the likes of Boland, Kevin Quinn, Aaron McDonnell, Reid getting a chance because their performances at club level justified it. But then there are others who you would question more. I mean the prime example is Conor McStay. Over the last 3/4 seasons, the forward players that have left the mayo panel have shown more promise than he has. Players aren’t stupid and know when they aren’t wanted.

  128. Sam Og – correct McD did go travelling in 96 but he was an exceptional player, one of the best we ever produced. Same with Mullen if he landed back tomorrow. The difference is that Eoin was a panel player 4 years ago, not like McD in his hay day or Mullen before he left.

  129. @Green and red I get that point but would you question if the likes of oisin mullin rocked up and came back and opted to play for us again?

    I of course read your post but it’s the exact same thing for oisin mullin he still left us same as Eoin weather for professional football or not he left so it is totally the same thing.

    It’s not a different scenario. OK oisin left to play professionally but he still left so he should be given the same rule if you are saying eoin shouldn’t be just allowed back into the squad for going travelling.

    We should be lucky any player opts to hold their hand up to play for mayo again after being away

    Fair play Eoin I can see him gong far tbh.

  130. Clare – it is 100% different. The only similarity is that they went to the same country. Do you think every single day Eoin was training in a professional environment, learning more skills, getting stronger, working with the best S&C coaches in the country, playing at a level arguably higher then inter-county week in week out, on tailored nutrition plans, getting access to brilliant physios and doctors, etc. and overall becoming a far more polished athlete. If Eoin was doing all that, whilst also holding down a day job, then yes it was the same. Just because they both went to Australia does not mean they are doing the same thing. It also doesn’t mean they get the same privileges if/when they come back. And again as I said if Mullen came back tomorrow he would have to be brought straight back in because he has 100% proven himself at inter-county with mayo and since then has taken his development to new levels day in day out at Aussi rules. Eoin has not yet proven to be on the same level as Oisin. Anyway that’s enough rambling from me today. Goodnight.

  131. @Sam Og – below is the 2017 team for the first round of FBD.

    Even in the final we brought in Danny Kirby and David Drake.

    We might have been better 1-20 but we fell off a cliff after that. 20-30 are much better footballers now.

    Mayo 2-16 NUIG 1-21 (MacHale Park, 7/1/2017). MAYO: Rory Byrne; Niall McManamon, Ray O’Malley, Donal Newcombe; Brian McDermott, Eoghan O’Reilly, Michael Plunkett; Shane Nally (0-2), Danny Kirby (1-0); Fionn McDonagh, Cian Costello; Fergal Boland (0-4); Liam Irwin (0-3, frees), Neil Douglas (1-3, penalty goal and one free), Brian Reape (0-3). Subs: James Durcan for Irwin, Jason Forkan for Costello, Fionan Duffy (0-1) for Reape, Dylan Cannon for McDermott, James McCormack for McDonagh, TJ Byrne for O’Reilly.

  132. Seeing so many different team suggestions being put forward just serves to emphasize that we do not have the bones of a stable team. I would say that the management at the moment are only sure of 11/12 of their first league team and are even less sure of players positions. Because of the need to pick up early points, I suspect that the starting team will look similar to last,year, with maybe a few tweaks, hopefully a new CHB. The way I see it, there are 3 main problem areas where improvement is needed. CHB. We need a proper defender at No. 6,as this is a vital position and one of the reasons we struggled defensively. My first choice would be Callinan as I think he has all the attributes needed and could nail down that position for the next decade plus. As a back-up/alternative, I would like to see McHugh get some game time there, as I feel he has what it takes. Brickenden could also be worth a shot, if we reach early safety in the league. MIDFIELD. We need tall fielders/ball winners in midfield to give us primary possession and kick-out options. Jordan is our best, but I’m not sure if we should lose him to the half-forward line, but I think he would still chip in with scores from midfield. Would go with Carney with McHugh also worth a try. Tuohy would also be an option, but I would start with Jordan and Carney. HALF-FORWARD LINE. We need consistent scores in this line, as it has been contributing very little. I would try Ruane at 10 as he can take a score and trouble defences. D O’C at 12 from where he can cover his usual acres. Tuohy at 11-big man, knows where the posts are. All 3 could be used as auxiliary midfielders when necessary. With Tommy, Cillian, Aido and James Carr available, we could spare Ryan for a go at CHF too, at some stage-I think the position would suit him, as he would add scores and set up others. A few possible contenders for No. 4,O’Hora,E O’D, Plunkett, if fit. While I like Hession at corner-back, I think he is wasted there and would play him at 7-I think he is a natural wing-back. I’m exhausted after that-who’d be a manager?

  133. No might about that @FrostTHammer certainly had a better 1-20 in 2017 to now. A group back then full of leaders and pure warriors.

  134. In fairness to E O’D last time he was involved with Mayo when he looked up the queue and saw a Higgins,Barrett,Harrison with more experience and probably more ability it might have felt like a good time to go for a wander.
    He’s still young enough to compete for a spot at least and I would hope with game time he can nail down a spot.

  135. I see Cian Hanley scored a late goal to grab a win for TUD against UoG and ROD scored 1-1.

    Does anyone know if Hanley is opting out of Mayo panels or is he just not being selected ? Always felt like he could be a great player to have if he could get a run without injjurys,

  136. @Green and red I never said Eoin was on the same level as oisin mullin of course he’s not and I never said Eoin was away training in Australia like oisin either.

    What am I saying you can’t just say oisinullim should be entitled to his spot if he did come back and opt for a spot and say they shouldn’t even try our eoin O D because he went travelling that to me is unfair.

    Eoin O D showed promise before he left.

    @2hops totally agree with you.

    As I said we can hardly be in a position to not try out potential players for defence because they went away.

  137. Clare – Oisin Mullin is a generational talent and athlete who would walk into any team in Ireland and by the looks of it he can walk into teams in professional sports he has never played before.

    Eoin was always a fringe player for Mayo who never really nailed down a starting spot in, i think people are just wondering is it not worth looking at other lads playing club championship in his position who haven’t got an opportunity rather than bringing back in someone who was tried and tested before and never nailed down a starting spot. In my opinion, it is great that he is back playing for Mayo he and will be a great addition if he can find some of the form he had in 2018.

  138. @JKEL88 of course oisin would walk into any team he’s an amazing player and fair play to him going to aussie land.

    The point I’m trying to make is that it seems pretty immature to say eoin D shouldn’t get a go cause he was away and shouldn’t just walk onto the team at least try the guy out don’t think he’d be walking straight onto the team either there’s no favouritism going on here we badly need an answer to defence so don’t see why anyone would complain about giving eoin D a chance in it.

  139. Clare – I understand where you are coming from and i am glad to see Eoin back with Mayo but i also get the other-side of the argument.

    It is only the FDB so it remains to be seen if he makes the league panel, im sure if his performances are good enough in training he will be there on merit.

  140. Clare – I personally don’t find anything immature with questioning why a fringe panel player in 2018/2019 can go straight into a panel after being away for 2 years in 2024. What type of message does it send to good club players who may well have a case for inclusion in the panel based on their performances over the last 2 years??

    Just as an example Stefan Okunbar spent 3 years in Australia playing Aussi rules came back, and took him a full year to get back into the Kerry panel. Why wasn’t he put straight back into a Kerry panel? Jack O’Connor and Co down in Kerry must be very immature

  141. @Green and red fair enough I can see where you are coming from.

    But FBD /league is a time for trying out new players.

    Who else is better then Eoin O D then from the fringe side and clubs? Personally the only one who stood out was Eoin D. The rest won’t make the cut after the London game.

    And I’m saying is well people have been screaming out for answers for defence and when someone puts their hand up for a spot who has some potential we hardly are in a position to turn them away.

    Our defence has been terrible the last 2 years so why not give the guy a chance there’s honestly no one from the club scene or fringe who are any better then Eoin in my view.

  142. Green&Red, Stefan Okunbor was played in the McGrath cup in Kerry but was injured for most of 2022.

    If Eoin had been parachuted straight into a league or championship game I would kind of see your point but he was started in what is a glorified challenge game. Surely he’s worth looking at to see if he can add something for the league campaign at least. The fact that he has prior experience in the senior panel is a plus, no?

  143. Oh and I looked up more about Eoin O D out of curiosity and it turns out he was voted player of the league in 2018 on this blog for being great in defence so for us not to give him another chance we would mad not to at least him fight it for a spot.

    He has more senior experience then alot of the current Frisbee and club players and as I said no one else has really stood out in the charity game and certainly not London game.

  144. That’s innovative Clare, scouting Frisbee players. They might struggle with the non contact and independent refereeing 🙂

  145. @JP haha bloody typos ha. Very funny!

    Seroously think Eoin O D could be what we have been searching for in defence I say let him fight it out for a spot I think he’s in with a good chance of getting a starting spot in league anyway.

  146. Could be on to something there alright….if you can field a spinning frisbee in mid air you should have no problem taking down the size 5.

  147. Eoin may well be the best man for the job, but I totally see how it could be interpreted negatively by fringe county players/club players bursting to get into the team/panel, who have been playing and training hard for the last two years.
    Ideally he would have featured in latter stages of league and championship for Bellmullet so would not look as bad as being parachuted in ahead of lads who have been playing, young lads like Lambert, Cunningham, McLeod, Timlin.

    When see so many lads opting out you’d wonder if its a factor.

  148. @Green&Red

    It was really the language of your original comment that was objectionable. But going by your subsequent comments, I think you have probably realised that yourself.


    It’s a little bit early yet to know if there is any truth to the rumours.

    From what I’ve seen, the lads who are rumoured to be opting out, were not guaranteed a squad place based on their work with Mayo to date.

  149. @FrostTHammer you may be right in some cases but some I believe were, I think some were even discussed at CB meetings so if ask your club delegate they be able fill you in on details.

    But it certainly not an issue we have seen in the more recent past that i recall.

  150. Yeah I would agree that E O Donoghue coming straight back in isn’t a great look esp to other players, plus the number of Crossmolina players that are getting drafted in, is Carney the only Kilmeena player in with the squad?
    But also the county isn’t producing the level of defenders like it used too, maybe its down to the negative tactics that every club now seems to play, county is struggling with players of inter county level in the full back line and full forward line.
    Would Eoghan Mcloughlin be any good in the full back line? Brendan Harrison always played center back or midfield for Aghamore but he turned into a brilliant corner back..

  151. Has Eoghan MacLaughlin regressed?

    These questions were not being raised in ’21 when he was outstanding

  152. Can’t see Eoghan McLaughlin being effective in corner – has he ever had to tightly mark someone? Is he technically good at tackling? Can he read a ball coming into a corner forward?
    I’d have my doubts on all of the above.
    He’s an option in croker where he has licence to bomb up the field on an overlap. that’s about it.

  153. Niall Treacy of Davitts lining out half forward for Galway ATU v UCD in Sigerson game now.Was he in Under 20s for Mayo , surprised hasnt been called in by McStay has been in the top scorers of clucb championship the last 2 years.
    Was Cian Hanley good last night I seen he got the goal?

  154. I can see why managers love Eoghan McLaughlin, he has the engine to hurt any team but for me his skill level just isn’t good enough and he’s also a consistent fouler (poor tackle technique). For me the bad outweighs the good because I am easily frustrated!

    Think he’d get absolutely cleaned in the corner against a top level forward tbh.

    This is the least optimistic I’ve been about a Mayo season since 2011. I look at our squad and I see holes everywhere.

  155. @Unstoppable, Eoghan is on the whole, a very effective player. Also, his skill level is actually good. He is comfortable soloing the ball and his comfortable kicking inside or outside of the boot. What lets him down is decision making/focus. But that can come with experience and any manager just abandoning him would be crazy. You can teach the engine or raw pace that he has. This is a big year for him. Needs to become a big part of the team. I think Mayo have a strong 15 if everyone is fit, especially in attack. Midfield and full back line are the big concerns, which is the same as last year.


    Hession McBrien Callinan

    McLaughlin Durcan McHugh

    Diarmuid Ruane

    Jordan Ryan Touhy

    Tommy Aidan Cillian

  156. Ryan O D wasn’t bad for Univercity of Galway last night I heard probably one of the best for them scored 1 goal and a point very unlucky the free the last minute of the game he took hit off the post he never normally misses those.

  157. I think it’s better that EoD was brought in now to see what level he is at and try to get him up to county standard training asap – there is no guarantee he will be kept on the panel come championship time.
    The alternative was to let him train and play some county league games with Belmullet in April and May – if he was playing very well in these games – do you bring him in then in April??
    People will be saying then why wasn’t he brought in earlier. Damed if you do and damed if you don’t.
    If we still had full back line players of the caliber of zippy, Barrett, Harrison there would be no rush -but we don’t

  158. I agree wrt Eoghan MacLaughlin.

    I think that because he is doing everything at such a high pace, he actually needs a higher level of technical abilities than other players.

    He’s not there yet, but I thought he did show some progress last year – in particular his shooting.

    I don’t think we know how to get the best out of Eoghan yet, but that’s what we have the league for.

    I’d love to see him moving between positions and markers late in a game, and seeing what chaos it might create – basically stick him on the oppositions most tired player. Have Eoghan basically run off them and take the last bit of energy out of them. Then move Eoghan to next most tired player.

    I’d like to see us do more stuff like that tbh

  159. As for the EOD debate , its 100 % correct to give him a lash now ,absolutely nothing to lose by doing so , the slimest of risks in the sense you might be denying someone else the chance is well worth it imo . If he gets the body right and passes the s&c he definetly has the football in him and ya dont lose that by playing a couple of years of frisbie in oz .

  160. @GBXI

    I’m curious about your fullback line.
    Most people have Coyne on the Right Hand Side, but you have Hession there, and it’s not a position I recall seeing him play. Can you explain your thinking there in a little more detail please.

    For context; I wouldn’t include McHugh or Touhy in my first team, as I would feel that 2024 is their year to nail one down. I think both players have it in them to do just that, but at the same time I wouldn’t in any way be “minding” them for championship.

    I’d feel similarly about playing guys in unfamiliar positions; worth trying and they’re great when they come off but not something I’d be building my season around in January.

  161. @Frost, I picked Hession over Coyne purely because of Hession’s elite pace. I don’t mind which of Callinan or Hession plays 2 or 4. In Croke Park v Dublin last year we lacked pace in the full back line – O’Hora was badly caught out. My full back line has a specialist, physical full back with two very pacy players either side. Like the Horan part 1 years, with Higgins, Caff, and Barrett/Cunniffe. Coyne is a good player, very good ball skills but average enough speed and not that physical. I actually would love to see him get a chance at 6 as a John Daly type player. Saw him play Sigerson there and was very impressed. Read the game well and had good distribution.

    Well, McStay will end up choosing between McHugh and Coen, in my opinion. He will probably go for Coen but my preference would be for McHugh. Mayo are terribly weak at 10 – Flynn usually plays 12. I hear Fergal Boland is back and would love for him to nail down a spot, we need ball playing wing forwards too, not just athletes. But I picked Touhy because management desperately need height at midfield. And I think they are going all out on Touhy. He will start most league games at wing forward and Hennelly/Reape will target him, while he will be tasked with spoiling the oppositions best fielder.

    Anyway, my overall point is that when everyone is fit Mayo have 20 players that are right up there, in my opinion. OK Kerry have Clifford and Dublin have a bit more depth but after that there is nothing in it.

  162. My team for the opening day in Salthill.

    Coyne McBrien Hession
    Durcan Loftus Coen
    Ruane Flynn
    Diarmuid Irwin MacLaughlin
    Cillian Aidan Tommy

    I think I’ve left out all the Sigerson guys – Callinan, Brickenden, Ryan, Touhy, Carney – but not Tommy, because I think his primary focus is Mayo atm, and I want to test some stuff out.

    This is probably the biggest game of the league for me, so I’m starting my strongest side.

    * After Salthill last summer there’s no way I’m risking Colm Reape blowing all the confidence he’s built back up in the first game of the season. Leave him a week and give him Dublin in Castlebar.

    * Test the fullback line from last year out. See where exactly they are at.

    * I’d probably prefer to start Coen at 6 – I think it could take a lot of the sting out of the jersey – but he was very effective against Tierney last year and I would like to keep that. I went for Loftus because he next up for me is probably Hunt, and might as well see where Conor Loftus is, with an eye on the season ahead.

    * Midfield I’d be very tempted at Donnacha McHugh – who I don’t think is playing Sigerson or has done much wrong – instead of Matthew Ruane. Tbh Donnacha will probably play and at least one of my other starters injured.

    * Half forwards; I have a lot of options playing Sigerson – Diarmuid is our most experienced RHF. Irwin is probably the 11 for the moment, and I want to see if Eoghan MacLaughlin at LHF can exploit the space Galway leave, when they invariably try to keep Tommy Conroy away from the danger zone.

    * Full forward line; presumably Carr comes in next. Aidan can go do other things and Cillian should be more than able to fill the full forward position while he’s gone. Similarly when Aidan is inside, Cillian should be well able to feed off him – like Cooper and Donaghy style.

    I’d be shocked though if we that injury free.

  163. I’d imagine the team selected for the game this weekend will be fairly close to our first league team.
    The London loss will have robbed an opportunity for the wider fringe players to get an extra run in sun.

  164. Conor Loftus is not a centre half back or a plus one or whatever daft name they want to call it .That experiment didn’t work in a defensive or offensive manner last year.watch the goals Roscommon got against us in the league game in particular and the championship game and the goal conceded against cork

  165. @1985

    It’s not entirely what I want to do either – but it did get us through the league last year in reasonably good nick, and I’d rather find out in game 1 if it’s something I can rely on if I need to further down the line.

    I don’t see Conor playing that role for much of the season, but everyone who I’d like to see tried in that jersey is either wanted someplace in team, on Sigerson duty, not experienced enough or the not right fit for Galway. Other than maybe Plunkett or O’Hora there aren’t many experienced options in the back line.

    I don’t think that Salthill is a day for experimenting, and the weather will no doubt have a huge influence on affairs – it’s a day for gauging if it’s ourselves or Galway who will be the hammer or nail in our personal battle in 2024.

    I want to see Padraig Joyce either deranged or shattered in his post match interviews.

  166. Group 1
    Summerhill College Sligo 1-16
    Ballinrobe Community School 0-6
    Ballinrobe out, Summerhill go through to Semi Finals

    St Jarlath Tuam v Rice College Westport called off today moved to Bekan at 11am tomorrow

    Group 2
    St Colmans Claremorris v St Geralds Castlebar in Bekan Friday at 12pm
    Colmans through already Top of the group with 3 points and better scoring difference than
    Claregalway with 3 points.
    Geralds with 2 points need to beat Colmans to go ahead of Claregalway to qualify for Semi Finals.

  167. As I have said before Loftus is a decent forward but I don’t believe he is good enough to make the starting 6 forwards and he just doesn’t have the physicality or the instincts of a defender.The two goals conceded in the league to Roscommon were a prime example where he was caught in no man’s land with the D completely unmanned

  168. @GBXI

    I’d agree with most of what you said, although I hadn’t considered Coyne at 6 before – I was probably just happy with him in the corner.

    I’m not entirely sure on the numbers at the moment but Coyne, McBrien, Hession, Durcan, Coen, Callinan is potentially as good as anything out there. Getting them into the right jersey would be a problem most coaches would be delighted to have.

    I’d maybe be looking to guys like Eoghan MacLaughlin, Padraig O’Hora, Michael Plunkett, Donnacha McHugh to come in as an extra defender; and maybe Diarmuid and Loftus if I’m not using them in the half forward or midfield lines.

    ATM I don’t see Donnacha McHugh as an option at 6. Long term he very well could be, but right now he’s a man marking wing back or midfield engine player. I’d have similar concerns of Callinan at 6. But if it’s a Connacht final and it’s Johnny Heaney, I’d fancy Enda Hession to wreck his day.

    I’d fancy Touhy to compete this year in either midfield or the half forward line.

    It’s definitely an area we need depth in, I have 4 – Ruane, Flynn, Diarmuid & Carney that can cover those 5 positions, and if got those 4 firing.

    And that would one position for either an extra defender, or middle third player, but we don’t have much depth from the midfield and half forward lines.

    And 3 from Carr, Conroy, Aidan, Cillian and Ryan is pretty healthy.

    Diarmuid was a 10 back in the day wasn’t he?

  169. The thing with padraig O hora I don’t know he’s good player but he got eaten alive by the dubs in quarters..

    Definetly we should be trying others at number 6 then loftus tbh. But will mcstay try others at 6 or stick to the same?

    And would def agree with @sean Burke if eoin O D got up to inter county s&c standard I think he’d be great in defence.. I think he could take the starting spot over O hora if I’m honest judging from what I saw in his football skills before he went travelling your skills don’t leave you as others said just need to get up to inter county fitness level..

  170. A lot of interesting stuff in above comments and convincing reasons for proposed selections but in truth unless we change our approach and tactics it won’t matter a jot come championship.

  171. @ JoeG the most frustrating aspect of all was the Lateral super safe approach. This did not work against an albeit impressive Div. 4 team like London with the blanket defence, and will fare worse against stronger opposition. I would be happy to see Mayo play like they did in the League last year and lose every game than suffer any more of the Hand Passing Monotony we have become accustomed to.

    Some great Comments above regarding Lineouts etc. Roll on Salthill.

  172. On Callinan – I think he has a bit to go yet – if in the HB line. In the Ballina Corofin game, I thought he ran into cul- de-sacs a lot. He doesn’t score much either which for the modern Mayo half back would be something strange.

    I’m not knocking him mind you, just have cooled a little on him.

  173. Quite a few posts that we have a big deficit in defence. Bar two goal blunders v Dublin and one goal blunder non tackle v Cork we were actually pretty solid defensively last year.
    I think the two more pressing issues were being weak on fielding kickouts and struggles with our attacking style.
    Go and look at the first half of Mayo Dublin. We kept them close to us on the scoreboard with some way way too safe play with some players passing backwards almost 100% of the time.
    We had players like Ryan and Tommy who recognized we needed to attack with pace and when we did so it was effective.

  174. The Tierney goal v Galway where our corner forward was left isolated on edge of our own 6yd box in acres of space with a significant height differential and no Mayo defender near them wasn’t great either JP.

    Agree though in kick out options made available to our Goalie and the fielding ability in middle third probably a bigger issue.

  175. People say that reape was poor on kick outs I think it was more our midfield that was poor reape can only do so much def has stuff to work on and maybe had few poor kick outs but I’d be looking at what’s going on in midfield rather then reapes kicks outs myself.

  176. Ah Clare, Reape had a meltdown on kickouts in the second half against Dublin. I like him and think he’s worth sticking with but can’t white wash it.

    We do need a strong ball winner though, I agree with that. We can’t keep picking lads in midfield who are actually more comfortable in the half forward line. Once a team pushes up, we’re goosed.

  177. Unstoppable, management didn’t seem to have a strategy on kickouts last year. When we don’t have ball winning midfielders you need short options of techniques like cluster and break if going out the middle.i didn’t notice anything like that.

  178. Gizmobobs and Bonni Boyler. Exactly what I’m thinking regarding our approach. It doesn’t matter if it’s Dublin or New York, if we carry on with the pedestrian lateral crap it doesn’t take a top drawer team to counteract it. That was what disappointed me most against London. It appeared as though we had learnt nothing from last year. It doesn’t matter if it was the FBD and winning it wasn’t important but not showing any improvement in tactics and tempo regardless of who was picked was a cause for alarm. The Galway game in my opinion is massive for Mayo now. Not necessarily the result but the performance and style because if we aren’t showing signs of improvement after a whole season and another preseason then we are unlikely to get there in the following 3 months. Fingers crossed!

  179. @JoeG. Am in the same mindset regarding Galway match and the season in general.
    Reminds me of the film ‘The Waterboy’ the other teams have seen our playbook and setup accordingly.
    Rossies and Louth last year especially and continuing with London this year. We look out of ideas.
    Am frankly very surprised considering the lengths’ Rochy went to in his first campaign to counter teams and keep them guessing. We had a much stronger panel then but these days you can leave a match for 5 mins and be fairly well assured that nothing has happened on your return except the ball has changed hands 40 million times.

  180. @Giz, it’s incorrect to say we didn’t have a kickout strategy but we are challenged in that department for 3 reasons. Our current back 6 are poor at taking short kickouts under pressure and breaking out of defense. Higgins and Keegan were masters at this. O’Hora is not good, Coen very poor, Coyne not good, Loftus not good. Durcan, Callinan and Hession are very good it it and the common theme is pace.

    Secondly our midfielders are light and/or not naturally tall enough to be an out option for long kickouts. That’s why Aidan has to go into midfield to relieve pressure. We managed this very well in some games though, especially v Galway. So we do have a strategy but that’s a lot of work. Better to have a physical presence in there too. Hopefully Touhy can develop into that.

    Finally, Reape showed his inexperience as the season went on and his ability to make that mid range kickout to a team mate really faltered. Hennelly is very accomplished at this. It will be very interesting to see who is number one come championship.

  181. Predicted Team (updated)

    1.) Robbie Hennelly
    2.) Enda Hession
    3.) Padraig O’Hora
    4.) Donnacha McHugh
    5.) Stephen Coen
    6.) Michael Plunkett
    7.) Eoghan MacLaughlin
    8.) Matthew Ruane
    9.) Diarmuid O’Connor
    10.) Frank Irwin
    11.) Darren McHale
    12.) Jordan Flynn
    13.) Cillian O’Connor
    14.) Aidan O’Shea
    15.) Diarmuid Duffy

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