Facing the music

Action shot Mayo Galway

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

Another day on from our unexpected defeat to Galway and the end of our quest for six Connacht titles in a row and there’s been plenty of introspection at this stage – both on here and in the wider world – about why we lost and where we go from here. Two separate pieces today are worthy of highlighting as this period of reflection continues for us.

The first is with Aidan O’Shea, which is an interview he gave in conjunction with some media work yesterday and it appears in a few places today – Irish Independent, Irish ExaminerGAA, The 42.  Take your pick from amongst these.

Before looking at what Aidan said, I feel compelled – because I can sense what might be coming – to make clear that anyone who has anything to say about these pieces with Aidan needs to stick with what he actually says in them. No more than Rob, Aidan appears to have emerged as a bit of a lightning rod for those focusing on everything that went wrong on Saturday night so I just want to make sure than any criticisms that anyone wants to make relate to what he had to say and don’t take the form of pops at him personally. The ball not man rule, in other words.

I thought Aidan fessed up fairly well in what he had to say (the piece I’m parsing is the one with Colm Keys in the Indo). He accepts that the team “didn’t perform” and that they “need to seriously get ourselves together for three weeks’ time” for the Round 2 qualifier tie we’ll be playing then. Maybe it’s the Kerry blood in him but he also talks about the “hurt” and the need to “rectify” matters after “losing a type of game that we haven’t lost for a long, long time.”

Given how badly we were off on Saturday night – from a fitness point of view, from our lack of intensity from start to finish and our madcap tactical formation – I’m not sure I buy Aidan’s line that the team weren’t complacent going into the game or that there was nothing wrong in terms of our preparation. There have to be major question marks in relation to both so I guess he was erring on the diplomatic side – with good reason, you’d have to admit – in terms of what he had to say there.

The bit I liked best, though, was where he pointed out that, unlike every year since 2011, defeat this time won’t be followed by months of waiting to get back in the ring. Instead, the team has the chance to regroup straight away and go again in three weeks time. He says:

Previously we’ve lost in August or September and had to wait nine months or longer to get back to where we had been the previous year. We’ve a three-week window now to try to get ourselves back playing good football, enjoying our football again and get a bit of momentum. If we don’t rise to it, it could be a short summer.

And that’s it in a nutshell. This backdoor campaign could, all going well, be the making of this team and it could see them coming into the quarter-finals with serious momentum and a burning desire to prove a point to the many doubters who are now gleefully writing their epitaph. Or else we’ll do what we always do in the qualifiers, in which case it will be a short summer’s football for us.

Where we go next is also the topic of Jim McGuinness’s column in today’s Irish Times (here). I really like the Donegal man’s approach to how he analyses the game, eschewing as he always does the sly dig or the opportunity to put the boot in (unless he’s dealing with Donegal, I should add). Instead he usually takes the forensic route and, as ever, his analysis make for compelling reading. He doesn’t provide any definitive conclusion about where we’re headed but does sketch out clearly the challenges facing us on the road we’re now on.

Jason Gibbons injury

Those challenges won’t, unfortunately, be helped by the news in today’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants) that both Jason Gibbons and Ger Cafferkey are likely to miss the remainder of this year’s championship. Jason dislocated his shoulder on Saturday night and is out for at least three months while Ger suffered what the paper says is “a reoccurrence of a hamstring injury” and he’s also expected to be out of action for around the same period. Here’s wishing a speedy recovery to both of them.

There’s loads more in that paper today, as there was in yesterday’s Western People too, but there’s other real world stuff on my agenda today as well so that’s all for now. Have a good one.

118 thoughts on “Facing the music

  1. Best of luck to Jason in his recovery .. He’s had no luck with injuries ..

    Ger being gone for the summer is a bit of a disaster

  2. Bernard Flynn made a fairly accurate account in RTE. Seen it in GAA sports piece.
    Very good account.

  3. As others have stated in the previous post Caff in particular is a serious loss. Along with Cunniffe that is two experienced but more importantly pacey defenders that will be missing. Harrison did well on Cummins and Keane is very strong, but lacks some pace and balance. Keegan Is usually a good man marker. The defence needs an overhaul and Kevin Mac as sweeper is not the answer.

  4. True Grit I read the Flynn piece and thought it was full of generalisations and digs. he loves to put the boot in Mayo. Personally I pay little attention to him. A good footballer but part of the cosy Mullingar set of Tom Tommy Carr, and Barney Rock that RTE turn to for drivel.

  5. Puckout is right. No Cunniffe Caff or Barrett is a tough loss in this annus horribulus on the injury front. No break at all on that front and may be it’s just meant to be a down year. Our first choice full back line has been exposed enough that it’s hard to be hopeful with our second string. The wait will go on until 2017 at least for Sam it seems, but we should go down fighting

  6. True grit Flynns piece is fairly spot on and I like him even less now. The hardest part of the defeat and the response to it in the media is that theres truth in it all. It reflects what we know ourselves. But like the old saying says, it’s not what happens it’s not how you respond and my hope is that we’ll come back in three weeks and flither whom ever we play. Come back and play like we did against Donegal in 2013… A full on display of the football we are best at…..a hard fast running game all the way.

  7. Jon, TJ Reid did the same promotion with Aido so Brian is tolerating it.

    Obviously a pre-arranged gig and good luck to him. If he plays has he is done since after the Donegal game last year for long more he won’t be wanted for any promotions so the ball is in his court.

    What’s the point in hiding, and based on your logic he should spend the next 3 weeks training and be a busted flush for the qualifiers.

  8. Jon – I wish you’d have read what I said in the post about playing the man not the ball before you pulled the trigger there! But you didn’t so now you’re off to the sin-bin for your troubles.

  9. Cafferkey gone is shite.

    Aw man this week just keeps getting better doesn’t it. 😀

    Just want the back door to hurry up now! And the draw gods to be kind 🙂

  10. The criticism for aidan is laughable. He’s not my favourite mayo player but half the internet warriors all over the net these past few days would only be dying to get their mugs on the telly for a few quid. Fair play to him !

    Same people would be the first to idolise him when he scores a big goal in croker no doubt

    As a high profile footballer in the county it can be incredibly hard to win whatever you do at times. I wish people would lay off the players tbh. They’re making far more a contribution to winning Sam than any online commentators. And I’m far from a sensitive sally or anything but that’s a real bugbear of mine!

  11. I’d love to get a draw above in Tullamore or Newry for the next round. At least there I can shout “Come on Mayo!” without having people look at me as if I just murdered a puppy.

  12. Yes, Jon, I deleted it and, yes, this site can handle the truth. What it can’t and won’t handle – and there are clear ground rules set out for what can and can’t be said here – is people coming on to make personal attacks on players. For God’s sake, I even gave prior warning about this in the bloody post! So, Jon, if this is what you want to do why don’t you go and shit on your own proverbial doorstep and regale your wide circle on your social media account of choice with your personal attacks? I’m not interested in hosting that kind of crap here.

  13. I got fairly vocal in the last few minutes of the game Saturday evening and I really did get a few looks from people. “Whats wrong with that fella, sure doesn’t he know it makes no difference”, ” dya hear yer man…Jesus he’s a bit of an embarrassment” I dunno but it seemed all too subdued for me. We were a bit flat too.

  14. Terrible news – gutted for both who are very honest and hard working players ( never any media courting from either of these two men). Rochford needs to act quick now and bring in replacements TODAY. Danny Kirby and Eoin O’Donoghue please.

  15. We mightn’t need a replacement midfielder for JG because we already have a really good one and it’s his natural position….AOS.

  16. Fair enough, O’Shea probably had a pre-arranged gig that he couldn’t pull out of.

    He most certainly didn’t have to do the interview though…

    Furthermore, he states that he hasn’t got around to watching the game back yet. So he hasn’t had time to watch it, but he has had time to give an interview to the press, again. Probably, in a nutshell, sums up why he is still making the same mistakes in 2016 that were flagged up in 2013 – repeatedly carrying the ball into the tackle. It begs the question, where is his primary focus? Is it on his own game? It doesn’t seem that way.

    Id like to see a rule brought in in the squad, no talking in the press until such time as you put in a good performance for the team.

  17. MayoMark – I would also love an away day somewhere different. That will sort the real fans from the bandwagon brigade. MacHale atmosphere has dipped recently for me.

  18. Lads, be reasonable. O’Shea can hardly turn up to a publicity event (that would have been arranged long before Saturday) and then not speak to the media!
    That’s the whole purpose of him being there…
    I think his comments are reasonable, he certainly didn’t fan the flames. Let them knuckle down now, the knives should be put away until we see how they react in the qualifiers.

  19. Newsflash AOS is not the property of Mayo fans. He is an amateur sportsman who is entitled to do what he wants in his spare time. As long as he turns up for training with Mayo and tries his best when he puts on the jersey then we cant ask for anymore. He wasn’t at his best on Sat but loads more weren’t too.

    Initially I thought the comments were great, relatively positive but they have deteriorated rapidly in the past few days.

    There should be a siege mentality on here. Everybody is laughing at us and sticking the boot in. Im sure the players are hurting and hopefully the sight of Galway players been carried off shoulder high in Castlebar after winning a semi final will be the image that will stick in their minds and motivate them to go on a run.

  20. Its three days on and the mood is not much better. We could analyse for ever more and be very little wiser as to what went wrong.
    We really need a hard qualifier match to see where we stand right now – to know whether this was a once off awful performance or something worse. We need a ‘reaction’ form the team and management by laying down a very definite marker in our next game.
    The positives are that
    1.We are still in the championship – we havent gone away you know!
    2.We have three weeks to sort out our problems,
    3.Most of our panel are available and we have reasonable cover for Caff and Jason Gibbons
    4. The players certainly have enough hurt, embarrassment and pain to bring real fire and brimstone to our next game
    5. We still have good players
    The negatives are that:
    1. Our setup and preparation for Galway doesn’t inspire confidence in the management
    2. 5 or 6 years of hard slogging without winning an all Ireland is wearing – perhaps too much so
    I can’t wait to get going again to see if we still have it in us. Hopefully the answer is yes but if not then we must look back with some regret but also a lot of pride.

  21. What a disaster loosing Caff, just as he was hitting top form .
    Cunniffe, Caff and Barrett are some lose to any team .

    I think we have to make Coen play in the fullback line or else revert Higgins to the corner.
    For me McLoughlin stays sweeping unless he play no.6 , he starts attacks and is accurate in passing.

    All that could go wrong went wrong Saturday, time to move on .
    3 weeks of hard work and sharpening our fitness for likes of SOS Parsons, Freeman, Loftus, Cillian and Diarmuid .
    Those men fully fit will make a massive difference to the team .

    I do worry we are extremely exposed at Fullback but its up to Keane to prove that point that he is in fact good enough.
    Who will he bring in for Caff? Safe bet would say Shane McHale but a Liam Irwin or Danny Kirby could attack to a rather blunt attack .

  22. Commiserations to Jason and Ger, both are big losses to the team. I think we can discount the likes of Bernard Flynn, Paul currant and the rest of the people dying to see us fail do they can say they were right, idiots. We lose a game to the one team that can always raise their game to meet us, above anyone else we should have been aware of it and indeed some were, we lost by 2 scores and despite the frantic talk from the media, Galway did not win Sam maguire on Saturday night last. They are a good enough team but still play in division 2.
    Too many people listened to the media hyping Mayo to the ceiling and also to poor mouth Kevin Walsh and Galway media saying how bad things were out of the side of his mouth, and top that off with how we managed our game and it was always a battle that we could lose.
    Also remember in 2011 and 2012 we won Connacht titles by 2 points each of those years, we were never Dublin (bar the Sligo roasting last July ) that dishes out 20 point beatings regularly.
    A 1 point victory from here on will do fine, lets manage ourselves properly, no free opposing defender allowed to collect the kickout and lets really get that shot selection problem under control. Another thing is, put Alan freeman near the goal and actually look for him, give him the ball and let him do what he’s capable of doing.
    Too many times you see him wide open near goal but he’s left waiting while the ball is driven wide or turned over.

  23. There is nothing we would like more than to come through the back door and maybe just maybe reach September fook the begrugers
    It either s.it now or get off the pot

  24. The last time we played that badly was against Cork in the opening round of the league. I remember the lead-in to the next league game, Dublin at home, was one full of trepidation for most as many predicted another trouncing. Some suggested that if we kept it to less than 10 points we would do well. In fact, we produced one of our best defensive performances of the league, using Nally in the sweeper system, and ran Dublin close for much of the game. I know we lost in the end but we were revved up for that one and aggressive with it. A similar response will be needed no matter who we get or where we go in the qualifiers. If we get it, and I believe we will as there is too much talent on the sideline not to, it should see us get to Croker in August. From there on we will see where we truly are.

  25. I would concur with the sentiments regarding the crowd on Saturday, very quiet. I got those looks too when trying to roar on the team as much to say sit down you idiot. Its a long time since the Mayo! Mayo! Mayo! Chant got an airing.

    We do have cover for Gibbons so I would think about either Kirby or Douglas being brought in to increase options in attack.

    We have zero cover now for Keane, plenty of players who might and I mean might do a job there but no tried and tested fb. This is a big concern and someone needs to be drafted in.

  26. Can’t say I was totally surprised on Sat so not going to freak out now. That game always had ‘banana skin’ written on it. if we are honest the London performance was not much better, so, it’s not a complete bolt from the blue.

    Is it a case that training has been geared towards peaking in Aug/Sept?. Could that explain why so many players looked off the pace? Was the thinking that we could beat Galway @80%? Are we working on things in training that are geared for Aug/Sept and not intended to be unveiled in June?

    Overall I thought McLoughlin was a success as sweeper, I would continue with that and keeping Galway to 1-12 wasn’t that bad. He reads the game well and has great engine and distribution (our Cian O’Sullivan?). We lost the game with our 14 wides and failure to create even 1 goal chance. 40% shooting range just not good enough.
    I am still prepared to give Rochford the benefit of the doubt on this and let’s see what the qualifiers bring. Not too many teams will want to face us in the qualifiers even allowing for poor performance last week.

  27. Mike, I initially thought KMc did well in the sweeper role however Jarlath Burns on the Sunday game really changed my mind on that with some good analysis on his preformance with plenty of video examples on Kevin patrolling the D and allowing the play to progress infront of him. O’Sullivan would have read the game, attacked the space and shutdown the attack before it got into a scoring position.

    I agree with you regarding the attack, too many wides, alot of which were very scorable and offered zero goal threat.

  28. Kevin Mc is our best playmaker and best foot passer. He is utterly wasted back the pitch in my opinion.

  29. I think it’s time now to move on and look forward to the draw Monday morning on Morning Ireland we all have bad games now and again we all have bad days footballers are human too I suppose were all disapointed and looking for someone to blame we have a qualifier too look forward and we are still alive In the championship so it’s time to be positive so we can roar on the team when they emerge from the tunnel in 2 and a half weeks wherever that tunnel is and I hope it’s an away game so we can get on the road and blow out the jets and the lungs.

  30. By the way does anyone else find it a bit odd that they hold a draw on the radio?

    Only the feckin GAA

  31. Caff a massive loss , was told this on sat evening and didn’t believe it , same buck who told me said DOC wouldn’t be involved for a while either but he came on so that’s why I put that to bed as rubbish .

    A couple of men gone long term surely means we have to bring a couple in , Danny Kirby , Darren Coen is two I’d look to, hardly like for like of course but I believe we have defensive replacement already there in Keane and S Coen to a more natural position at the back .

    As supporters (inc myself in this ) we have to be careful not to get too negative and start joining in , in the slating of our players . Always stick with your own , we all want the same thing . Our reaction in the first qualifier is vital , I wish I could find a link to an article Tomas o se wrote about the year they went the back door and how when they ran on the pitch the roar that greeted them he knew the supporters still believed in the team and this had a very positive reaction for the players . We need to do this , a massive full on hearty roar when they run onto the pitch the next day and let them know we are behind them and refuse to let this era end in this manner . They are too good to not be in croker in August but it’s going to be tough to get there .

  32. Hi folks,
    It’s not easy to put last Saturdays derailment into correctly processed sentences in a way that it can make sense and can be analysed with a view to correcting the on pitch calamity.

    I watched the game and the thing that struc me was that Galway clearly believed that ye were vulnerable and they could beat ye. Despite the Mayo lads best effort to keep the mind in sharp focus I feel strongly that Mayo could not see this Galway team turning them over and going from last weeks posts neither could many others in Mayo. Galway in truth could have been well ahead in the first half were it not for some woeful shooting but in saying that Mayo were not exactly splitting the sticks either.

    Perhaps if Galway had been more accurate earlier on it would have set a fire under Mayo and the old bear would have realised that something dangerous was poking it. When Mayo dis start to fire it was the half back line that opened a few necessary locks to allow space and time to pop a few over. Galway played very defensively and did not afford Mayo the space they expected in the scoring zone. Aiden and Cillian were well marcheled and perhaps Aiden should have been moved out and used in a more supporting running roll to give options to Keegan, Boyle and such players who were causing problems for the Galway set up when they were ran at. Targetting Aiden with ball when he is isolated and unsupported was butter and jam to defenders who were buzzing around him.

    Some of the posters seem to be suggesting that your high profile players should concentrate on football and keep away from the media as if the distraction was the cause of their ills. The media want the word from these players as has always been and always will be, if I see an article quoting a high profile player I am usually going to have a look at it and that’s why the papers and media target thesp guys. I don’t think they should be criticised for this and I refuse to believe that experienced players are effected as a result of it. Fair enough if a youngster is all over the papers because of an exceptional game out of the blue as this often heaps expectation on the un experienced shoulders with negative short term results.

    Instinctive forwards are hard to come by and when space is tight they are worth their weight in gold, on Saturday night ye lacked the type of player that finds space or uses his wizardry to create the opportunity to pop one over. With that in mind the set up should have been changed a little but in all honesty Mayo were getting the better of Galway at a critical stage and I’m sure Rochford was thinking we will let the hare set. When the short kick out was intercepted and the goal resulted it came at a bad time and Galway were inspired and Mayos foundation shuck. Short kick outs are like throwing a grenade with a very short fuse, it simply has to hit the target as there is no time to make amends if it falls in the trench. Hennely is a good keeper but it was a costly mistake to make with fifteen minutes to go, in saying that Thomas Flynn covered a fair bit of ground unmolested and this was a failing. Cafferky was missed in that back line, his experience and the way he ensures the other back set up was costly and I fear a little for the back line without him.

    Cillian seemed to be collecting the ball very far from the Galway goal and he was taking unnecessary pot shots which resulted in deflating wides when perhaps more clever options were on. I believe this was due to lack of quality ball inside where he was receiving special attention and perhaps a subconscious notion after five years of dominance that we will weather this storm. If the opposition were wearing green and goals or blue and navy I think that Mayos focus would have been 100%. I can’t imagine a mentally strong player like Cillian missing that vital tapp over free in the 64th minute if his mind was in the right place coming into that game.

    As a neutral I was sad to see that noble team stagger and fall but I happy to see that Roscommon and Galway will now contest the final. While its hard to swallow for Mayo it well ultimately be good for them in time and it is good for the game in general and in particular in the province. Mayo have been wonderful Champions and I hope they regroup and come out fighting, I think if this defeat is handled properly and the people in charge have the experience required it will bond those great players and has the potential to make them. If it descends into scenario of rancour and recrimination it will destroy the team, after last years upheaval I pray it is intelligently dealt with.

    I fear for the next team that meet them, Mayo are a top three team and I sincerely wish them well. Sam is in the parlour and both the front and back doors are open, great teams collect themselves and ready the warriors for the next battle, after all the war is not over.

    Good luck and I hope that the lads with injuries make speedy recoveries.

  33. Another thing is, put Alan freeman near the goal and actually look for him, give him the ball and let him do what he’s capable of doing.
    Too many times you see him wide open near goal but he’s left waiting while the ball is driven wide or turned over .

    I am a Freeman fan but much like Richie Feeney before him Freeman is becomin ght esolution without actually having done anything of note since the Tyrone game .
    In that time scale three different mangers have not found a plac efor him in their championship teams?

    Are we missing something or is Freeman that good that 3, (well 4 with the Pat and Noel) managers have all turned up their noses at him .

    I think we shout ourselves in the foot with all the wides and thought we had the game won after 10 mins of second half and that lead to us dropping a gear and Galway credit to them stepped up two gears .

    I think its a lesson we can learn from and certainly prefer it happening now than later in the year .

    But what I will say and maybe get slapped on wrist for it but some same failings remain and same time there are new improvements which may become more apparent in future;

    – GK needs to keep concentration for full match or else get another keeper who can do so , doesnt inspire confidence with punching ball rather than catching it. that to my mind is putting a big red target on us as regards the highball between fullback and keeper..

    – Fullback line were fine and with Kevin Mc hopefully we can station Keane solely in the middle and not haing him running out to corner.

    – Halfback line need to be unleashed and allow to attack .

    – SOS when fit is a big addition to Midield, it was a perfect storm as regards SOS and Tom P not being 100% fit and in fairness to the Galways lads they have two quality midfielders .

    – Halfforward line was non existent and this dropping off not tackling wrecked my head, not one ball fielded by halforward line, no movement in open play, no ball carrying, very poor .

    – Fullforward line are fine but need to be stationed inside and giving proper support as Cillian is top class but not fast enough to do it on his own, Regan is fast enough but not yet strong enough but together we should have a nice mix .

  34. I was at the game on Saturday evening.
    My reading on the whole game atmosphere & afterwards is this.

    I live amongst the Galway people & not one of them gave their team a snowballs chance of beating Mayo which I found very strange to say the least.
    Speaking to many Galway supporters on the pitch after the match they couldn’t believe they won the game.
    Their own players would have picked up on this during the past number of weeks & im sure many of the Galway players would have been hurting from all the negative vibes from within their own county & what the media was saying. What more bloody motivation do you need to perform on the big day against Mayo.

    From a Mayo perspective what happened Saturday evening.

    Simple – supporters & players I believe thought all they had to do was turn up and hammer Galway.

    It’s called – Going through the motions & complacency.
    I believe that’s why everything felt so flat in Castlebar Saturday evening from the supporters on the terraces to the players performance on the pitch.

    I also don’t believe in this thing of peaking for August/September

    You go out to play your best in each match you play & that’s the bottom line.

    If players & management are gearing towards August & September at this stage then they are in cloud cuckoo land.

    You can’t turn it off & on like a tap.
    Momentum has to be created & a belief that you have to perform to the best ability you can whether it’s Galway Kerry Dublin whoever.

    We have all become to fixated about winning the bloody all Ireland.

    Concentrate on getting the basics right get everyone singing from the same hym sheet & go out & enjoy & play to your maximum potential & take each game on its own merit.

    It didn’t appear to be that way Saturday night.
    Also to many new systems with sweeper etc etc being tried out. players being switched around into new positions. If you ask me Mayo are trying to do to many things to fast.

    I hope I’m wrong but I think a lot of the lads who have been around this squad for the past 5-7 years are getting mentally & physically fatigued with the whole thing.

    You build up momentum over a period of time & you reach the peak. You either grab the prize at the peak stage or you just miss out.
    You maybe lucky to get 1 more attempt which Mayo did but they narrowly missed out again.
    After the peak has passed you loose momentum & you end that particular cycle.
    I think many of the players who have been on board for 5-7 years have reached the end.

    Maybe it’s time to give some of the younger blood from u-21s a go now & build a new cycle of momentum & freshen the thing up again.

    Finally well done to Galway on Saturday. I think that victory is the kick start they needed to get their momentum going & for Connacht football in general it’s not a bad thing Galway footballers won.

  35. Fair enough MayoMad, I’ll look for Burn’s analysis on the Player as I think he usually pretty insightful. All I would say is that KMc definitely has the potential to do a good job for us there and he’s (hopefully) going to get 2-3 games now in July to grow in to that role.

    MayoMark – I know your point and agree that KMc is a great passer, but, his value to us as sweeper will be seen when we meet a Dublin, Kerry, Cork or Tyrone down the road (again hopefully). I think you could make an argument that Cian O’Sullivan is possibly the best player in Ireland , but I don’t think Gavin feels he is wasted as sweeper. Granted they are a team full of accurate passers.

  36. I’m a big Freeman fan, and it frustrates me that he never seems to get a clear run at proving himself but at the same his positioning in games always unsettles me – he tends to usually be behind his man when trying to collect high ball. In general, the positioning of our FF line is usually pretty poor too – we struggle to get ourselves into scoring positions and time and time again our runners are left with no option inside. That’s a drawback of playing a defensive game but it’s a nut that Dublin have managed to crack.

    That said, the quality of ball coming into to our FF line is generally poor – we tend instead to over carry from HB, MF or HF and either panic and shoot – usually disastrously – from distance, or overcook it entirely. Bit of chicken and egg there.

    Our best football is fast, direct football, with good kick-passing and men running off the shoulder. The conditions on Saturday weren’t exactly conducive to that.

    Speaking of Dublin, a number of commentators on various podcasts have made the excellent point about Dublin having a “base” standard – one which below they never drop, regardless of how poor the opposition is deemed to be. That’s why they’re dishing out clatterings in Leinster against vastly inferior teams – they don’t let their standards drop, regardless of how sure the result is. And they deserve credit for that.

  37. Any Mayo player or anyone else is entitled to do what they want in their spare time. However if you look at the performance and the recent form of particular players. No player whoever they might be are not entitled to play for Mayo, Especially when there are better players on the bench, (on current form) and I can think of the two players that aren’t currently in the top 50 player’s in Mayo taking up space on the panel as well, better players out there, younger and with a future….. I do not include Andy Moran, Andy is our GoTo man when we’re in big trouble…. He should have been brought on immediately when Galway got their goal, if nothing it would break Galways momentum…. If Aiden hasn’t yet watched the match again? He won’t see much of himself in the last 20 mins when our need was greatest! …… But in saying that, an uninvolved Aiden, was nearly as good as ineffective and rarely involved Aiden in the first, 50 mins. If anyone out there doesn’t believe me, watch the video of the match again!…. Now Aiden has the capability to be one of our best players, no doubt about it. If he had the athleticism of his brother Seamus or Tom Parsons, he could conceivable become one of Mayos all time greats. But he’s currently nowhere near that… Now only Aiden can answer that himself,? I wish him well in his efforts to give his critics the positive answers needed for Aiden to get back to his best form. Now Stephen Rochford has to take responsibility for picking him. to play in the first place. Removing him from the fray would only emboldened Galway. But still that should have been done…Of course Aiden didn’t go out to lose the match, neither did Rochford and Co, pick him to play badly Aiden is now going to get allot of unfair criticism for his fondness of the media….. But as an individual, same as anyone else, he’s perfectly entitled to do what he wants. In this imperfect world that will bring negative comment motivated by jealousy…. Look media didn’t do Dublins Bernard Brogan any harm, he is rightly seen as one of the top GAA forwards in the country. But there was a time not that long ago when Bernards form deemed a spell on the bench, he stayed until the medicine cured him of his ills…… Bernard came back, won three All Irelands, four National Leagues, several All Stars, a player of the year award, and again in 2015 was nominated for another player of the year award… Our next match is always the most important one. Mayo and all Mayo players and fans deserve our best player on current form to be giving it everything on the pitch for us collectively. You can be sure the Mayo public will respond to such efforts, we who were at the match on Saturday can do better too!

  38. I have no big worry for this Mayo team. For Galway to beat Mayo on Saturday night the Galway Players felt that they had to be at full blast , 100% for every ball. Naturally the Mayo Team and supporters did not think the same and as the saying goes ,’INCHES MATTER’ Thats all it takes for this happen. 4 points between us last year but everything Break Wise went our way.Lucky against both Roscommon and London in the past

    What matters now is the commitment from the panel and any dent in confidence Really this should not be a problem as we have been lucky enough in Connaught in the last five wins. Something that many of us on this blog forgot about last week. Even James Horan. To me Cafferty is a huge, huge loss. Rochford was very sluggish in making either tactical or personell changes. Freeman should have been on much sooner not bringing him on with time up.He also persisted with the sweeper when we needed scores

  39. BJ Padden’s article in The Mayo News well worth a read. Back to basics is his mantra and after watching a very confused and rudderless Mayo performance, I think he’s right.

    The players don’t look comfortable with whatever system we are trying to play so we should park this till next year and go back to our high intensity running game with players in positions that they are familiar with and try and tweak that slightly.

    And to hell with all this talk of a tough away draw, I hope we get a handy home one to steady the ship because the team is rattled now and it needs a game to get back to ourselves. There’s plenty of time for tough matches as they’ll get progressively harder after that.

  40. Freeman has the knack of finding himself unmarked, I don’t know how he does it but I have it on recordings of games. He’s wide open in front of goal but his colleague decides to not take that second to look for the open man, then it’s either a crazy wide or turned over. It might seem mad but someone should look at it, he has that ability and he will do damage. The disallowed goal against Tyrone in that semi a few years back was as good a goal as you’ll see anywhere.

  41. Have to agree with you there O SULLIVAN re the tough draws. If we won Sam by dishing out hard fought one point victories against the likes of Carlow, Antrim, Louth, Wicklow, Leitrim and Waterford, it would still mean that elusive trophy would reside in God’s own county for the year afterwards. While it would be nicer to perhaps hammer Kerry, Donegal, Tyrone, Dublin and maybe Roscommon (3 or 4 times for good measure) on the way, the history books rarely reflect the route taken, but rather who was the winner in the end.

  42. “We were punished against Belgium and I actually quite enjoy that in sport. I like that side of it,” Keane said. “If you’re not at your best, you get punished. We had a bad day at the office but we’ve had setbacks before. You have to deal with them and I think we will. I’m looking forward to the next challenge. That’s what sport is about. It’s like a boxer when he gets knocked out. You get back up and start swinging.”

    From Roy Keanes pres conference yesterday in France. A different sporting code but the basics are the same! Very apt given our current circumstances I think.

  43. Yes, apt is right. And I hope you also heard dunphy ranting very correctly about Iceland and Northern Ireland with tiny populations and how good management can squeeze such results from them. There’s lessons to be taken from other sports and I’m sure aos and sos being basketball fans will have watched lebron James heroic game on Sunday night and told themselves they can do it too. Lebrons team were in the same position as mayo are, one loss and you’re out. Nobody game then a chance in hell because it was all going wrong for them and they were 3-1 down in a best of 7 series, this had happened 32 times in nba history, a team goes down 3-1, 32 times they lost the series and were knocked out.
    Lebron blocked shots that he had no right to but he did and is a champion and a good one at that.

  44. Overall I think the less public talking the better from now on.

    The Caff news is depressing, but I note Hogan Stand yesterday, which seemed to come from the Western, reporting that Caff, Barrett and Loftus should all be fit for the qualifier. So, take your pick.

    The McGuinness analysis was very good; in summary, as he says, we ticket some of the boxes some the time, while we need to tick all of them all of the time.

    Rochy would have an easier time if he was dealing with the U21 team, where they would all do his bidding instantly, but here he is trying to change the style of play and the positions of some players, and to my mind the body language looked very poor on Saturday. And, it’s not easy to adapt from something that has brought a lot of success and has enable a lot of scores to be racked up.

    BTW did anyone see Donie Buckley there on Saturday? I didn’t spot him during the warm up, which wasn’t impressive, but he may well have been there.

    All in all, coupled with the limited amount of hard training we have done, I am feeling more despondent now than I was on Saturday.

  45. I’m sorry, I neglected finish the story in regards to Dublins Bernard Brogan. The National League final. of 2016 ,the GAA honors the men and women of 1916, the two most successful teams and greatest rivals in the history of Gaelic-football meet in decider in front of 82,000+.Kerry & Dublin. Dublin win easily in the end. Bernard Brogan again wins a well merited MotM award. Absolutely cleaning Kerrys, Mark OShea….. . The very next competitive match Dublin play, their first year competitive championship match in a decade outside of Croke Park, Nolan Park Kilrenny. , Laois meet the Dubs, Bernard Brogan is surprisingly ineffective,… All his recent form had been brilliant. Jim Galvin decided Bernard will finish the match on the Bench. That’s where the bar is at, for management and players.. Star players won’t get to play a full bad match with Jim Galvin never mind 10 in a row.

  46. Think we should all supporters should take a deep breath I suppose and move on. We lost a game that we shouldn’t have. Dust ourselves down and get back on the horse. It’s happened before and will happen again. It’s how we react is the real measure.

    Mistakes will be made in every match and indeed in every walk of life – I made mistakes this week in work and I’m paid for it!
    The main thing is that we know this group of players can perform at the very highest level and that gives me great hope for the season.

    To my mind, the real focus here is on management. For whatever reason, SR as manager and collectively as a management team, they got things horribly wrong the last day. It just proves that management is critical – the margins of being a good manager and a successful one is small in one way, but massive in results. Being straight, with the same group of players, JH got these guys performing consistently at the level required when required (albeit without winning the ultimate prize). In fairness this was followed on by H&S last year. Maybe the role of management was under estimated by this group when they ousted H&C. What we seen the last day is that SR and his team did not achieve this. JH used to bore us with Game 1, Game 2, etc. but you can now see why he applied this mantra. I firmly believe that our management were looking too forward ahead, believing what the media and supporters were saying and indeed what the players probably believed in that the real task this year was to come up with a plan to beat the Dublins or Kerrys and that the Galways and Roscommons would be dealt with sufficiently as we ramped up to that late summer peak. While planning to win the war, they lost the next battle so to speak.

    Whilst I believe that this team can deliver, I am very worried whether management can as taking the eye off the ball last Saturday was a fundamental error. I am assuming this was the case of course, but by deploying a sweeper system in its infancy, by not picking our strongest 15, by only introducing key subs very late in the game)still believing that we would still pull through when Galway scored the goal and by what it appears having the team at fitness level designed to peak in late summer, I can only deduce that this was the case.

    But let’s judge the management team when Mayo conclude this season. Cometh the hour, cometh the man – step forward Stephen Rochford!

    I have said this many times before – I was very uncomfortable with the cosy relationship that there appeared to be from SR with the ‘panel’ from the off. From all the soundings it felt that he was taking the panel from Holmes and Connelly, would try out a others in the FBD / league and make tweaks as felt necessary. Rather I felt he should have set down a marker from day one that he was his own man, a new regime and that everyone, irrespective of service or past record had to prove themselves to make ‘his’ squad. Yeah, he may have ended up with by and large the same panel as he has now, but that marker should have been set nonetheless. Think this was especially important given how the last management were ousted.

    Through the league, let’s face it, we were all looking for signs of a new brand / stamp being put on Mayo’s set-up and style of play and let’s face it this never became apparent, to me anyway. We could only put it down to players not being available or that management did not want to show their hand early. Come the London game, and I was totally convinced that management were definitely holding their cards to their chest given the dis-jointed looking team they picked and the positioning of the players and indeed the pretty poor performance that resulted.

    Then comes last Saturday, well it’s been well cross examined here. From a management perspective it was a total mess. Yeah mistakes were made, but its management’s job to minimise there and minimise the impact of mistakes if they do happen. Mayo were just not right at all the last day and that has to fall on management. Players that you can normally back your house on are totally underperforming and the team structure is all over the place. As some guy in the WP said, the confusion with the seats in the stand was only bettered by the confusion that appeared to be the Mayo set-up on the field – thought that really summed it up!

    Finally, even though the post-match comments from SR were a bit languid – if they didn’t take the eye off the Galway match and the way the set-up was for this match and not down the line, well then if I was manager I would be seething after that performance!! Hopefully he was in the dressing room!

    So step forward Mr Rochford, your time is NOW!

  47. Now that cafferkey is out kevin keane will be our full back. Does any one here feel that shane nally could cover the position. He is good ball winner. Strong and good distributer. Instead of looking back on what went wrong we should look forward to what we can put right. I think we should find a place for stephen coen. A young man with winning mentality and loads of energy. Conor loftus into corner forward. A few changes here and there with our restored intensity we can improve. Im not saying we will win sam but lets restore our belief that 1 day we will.

    An idea of what i think might be good. provided all men are fit and hungry as lions


    Aiden can drop back into defensive position and alternate with Coen. Coen has loads of legs and great leadership quilities. Fully fit diarmuid will drop and help out defensively as usual. K mac is great ball carrier. Good passer and gets on alot of breaks. He also gets on the score board. Am i doing well here guys lol

  48. I am hoping for an away day somewhere we are not used to. This may sound stupid but I would rather we get knocked out early then suffer another semi final or final heartbreak…well maybe not but you see where I am going with this?

    Getting away from home might be just the tonic…we don’t seem to be able to break teams down at home lately. A bit like Liverpool at Anfield.

  49. Can this Mayo team pull it together this year and have a run in the Championship? I believe they can. Can this team do it next year? I dont think so. For me this is the last chance for this current squad. Rochford with a full off season in the winter will be looking at new players and really stamping his mark on the team, an opportunity he didnt get last year due to late appointment.

    Its an end of an era for this current team so hopefully they still have the hunger to make it a memorable one.

  50. IMO it’s now all about who is in control of this Mayo team.
    – SR takes full control of the dressing room, he is the manager and he needs to manage and be ruthless. Underperformers on the Dublin team are taken off by Jim Gavin without further ado. I bet I could guess who would not start the next day if Cody of Gavin were in charge.
    – You want to play for Mayo then you give up all of your media gigs, you close your twitter account and you cease those daft adds (Eir one springs to mind)
    – The fitness issue needs to be investigated, unacceptable that top two inter-county footballers would go down with cramp on 55 minutes, you would expect this in extra time in 80 deg heat, this happened in 15 deg with the rain pelting down.
    – Those that were the leaders of the coup now need to show that they are real leaders this time on the pitch where it counts. On the evidence of Saturday night last we have more egos than leaders on our 26, this needs to be reversed.
    – If you have a short to medium term injury you should cede your place on the panel to a fit player so that we always have panel of players that are fit to play.
    – It’s all about July 9th now and how this team and management respond to what was really a laughing stock display last Saturday. They can man up or fade away, it’s in their control not ours.

  51. You weren’t offended by my bad language so….. I was fit to be tied. There was a fella within earshot who wasn’t used to GAA asking his buddy about the offside rule. I could have wept.

    Anyway onwards to the draw and we’ll take it from there.

  52. Some very salient comments from BJP today in the Mayo News –

    “As supporters, we need to give these Mayo players the chance to redeem themselves.

    Every team, at one stage or another, has taken their eye off the ball but they can only truly be judged on how they react.

    There’s no better place to learn about yourself as an individual or as a team than when your back is to the wall.

    These Mayo lads need to remember that they’re footballers who live or die by what they do with the ball when it’s in their hands, or what they do to get it back.

    It’s time for the real Mayo to stand up again.”

  53. Hi all, after 5 years of dominance in Connacht it had to end sometime, however like most Galway fans I didn’t see that coming, but I was very hopeful. The newcomers are all young fast, fit, excellent ball players so I was always hoping for a good performance and a close game. in Relation to Mayo the thing that would worry me the most is there over reliance on Cillian and his frees. No score from play in the second half tells it’s own story. The qualifiers can be a tough run, especially if you get away draws, one week after another. a Years rest might be no harm for this Mayo bunch at the moment..

  54. Olive, I have nothing against players doing media work, ads etc. Most of these were filmed ages ago and only aired around championship time. If they can make a few quid out of it then fair play to them, the GAA isnt going to give them a living. Sure an envelope in Dublin cant be opened without certain players being there to take a selfie

    It shouldnt matter what the players do off the field, its an amateur game afterall, as long as they put the work in while on the field.

  55. Olive Kerrigan. The Brogans from Dublin have done many adds on tv and it had nothing to do with how they perform on the pitch. The Mayo panel have given much of their life for the County and if they can get a few Euros I would have no problem with it. Look at all the top players in different codes . It all depends on the attitude of the Group and the Management ability to change thing on the line in a time to make a difference to a game

  56. I’ve taken a day or two reflect on our defeat to Galway and I am wondering if anyone has any more thoughts on how to deal with cluxton’s kickouts which was the msin topic of conversation here the last couple of weeks as we will have to face him about 6 weeks sooner then expected now! I am joking of course but to make the point we all lost the run of ourselves and got complacent as did the whole of Ireland
    and some that seeped to the players perhaps.

    As for the match itself we were very poor as were Galway and I’m just thank full we weren’t playing a better team on Saturday with better forwards as we could have taking a bit of a tanking and may yet before end of summer if we don’t improve.
    During the league I was concerned particularly after the Kerry game as we were shapeless lethargic and appalling in tge forward play.
    Not being an expert on football I bowed to the superior knowledge that they weren’t interested in the league, we’re behind in training, hadn’t enough time with new management etc etc. But on Saturday it was exactly the same against Galway. So something is not right and I think it may not be rectified this year. To reach an AL semifinal Mayo would have to play 4 progressively harder games in 5 weeks. Based on the energy levels displayed on Saturday after 5 long years I think that is to much of an expectation. …

  57. Olive Kerrigan – you are hard, but you are right, 110% right.

    On one point though, I think there is a bit of a conundrum. Is management in control or is management over controlling? I mentioned to a friend that McEntee was on the field for most of the game and his response was, to the effect, that players would find it very hard to buy into a situation where their freedom to act was so constrained.

  58. Ps a further reflection. I thought the Mayo supporters were very latergic aswell on Saturday night. Very little animation even when we were winning. We really need to adopt the green and red of mayo from saw doctors as our song !

  59. Olive, Catcol. lighten up its an amateur game, surely they are allowed to have a life. Nothing wrong with doing media work, they should squeeze as much as they can out of it, its the least they deserve for all the effort and sacrifice they put in. As for tweeter accounts, the only tweet I seen that was any way controversial was by a former player.

  60. We are where we are and can get through qualifiers if we go back to what we are good at…..driving at opposition, bringing intensity into tackles and forcing turnovers. We did little of this the last day. We lost crucial matches the last three years through basic defensive errors but this shouldn’t mean abandoning all that was good in place of a poorly structured and executed game plan……if plan is the correct word. If we are going to play a sweeper, at least get the right man to do this and let he and every other player know his role. No player looked comfortable the last evening, apart from Boyle and Regan, both tried valiantly. Agree with some earlier comments…..we have one or two players who seem to be immune to substitution. Any player can have a poor game but Aidan O Shea, who has done so much since 2009 is not performing well and I feel could get hunger back by not starting the next day. Some of his efforts at tackling the last day are what Jim McGuinness might term “hope you miss” tackles.He is not the player he was over the last three years and instead of waiting for him to change things, put in another player with a point to prove. True Hennelly made two good saves but his mistake sucked the life out of us the last day, against Dublin last year, and against Kerry the year before. It is a pity but management need to be ruthless.
    The people seeing these players in training are better placed than me, but team I feel should start the next day from what I have seen in league, championship and u21 to date would be: Clarke, Harrison, Keane, Higgins, Keegan, Boyle, Vaughan, Parsons, Coen, McLoughlin, D O’ Connor, Loftus, Andy Moran, C O’ Connor, Regan.

  61. Looking at the potential qualifiers. Thinking the home teams are most likely to win.

    Most likely a trip to a far corner of Ireland, either north or south.

    Really looking forward to it. Feel like I want to go there more than the last match.

    Stay positive and opportunities present themselves.

    Always thought the quarter final is the most important game of the year. Anything can happen if you win it. Test your luck.

    If you get there, you get there. Doesn’t matter how. Qualifiers/Connacht

  62. Well the knives are well and truly out and surprise surprise its our own who are doing most of the stabbing! We didn’t perform on Saturday but its not the time to turn on a team that has given us so much in the last 5 years. Sticking the boot in after one loss in not “supporting” a team. I personally am looking forward to the qualifiers and attending some new grounds around the country. I would prefer if these games are as far away from mayo as possible to weed out the bandwagoners and I told ya so’s of which there seems to be far too many based on the comments I’ve read over the last few days.

    As for Aiden O’shea dealing with the media so f***ing what? If someone paid me 2k for and hours work I’d sure as hell do it. Do people expect he should be locked up in a room somewhere training and nothing else. It reminds me of back in the day when Ciaran Mac got braids in his hair and half the county was in uproar! Aiden is a magic player and he WILL perform again and when hes gone we’ll wish we could have him back.

    Rochford deserves time to sort this out, I don’t think we’d be in this situation is the county board hadnt made such a heams the managerial appointment process 2 years ago but we are where we are. Turn up and make some noise at the next match and if we get knocked out I say good luck to the players, go enjoy your summer and I’ll see ye back next year refreshed and ready to go again.

    By the way it has to be said there has been some good honest analysis on this blog in the last few days, much better then the bile and insult being spewed on other sites, but lets leave the rumours and attacks on players out of it. None of us are on the panel, hence none of us know whats really going on.

  63. Just about recovering the power of speech after last Sat, and KL you been reading my mail, management need to toughen up and make hard decisions, look to the future, Shane Nally, Hall , Reape, etc, some of our most senior and beloved players have to make way, it’s a young mans game no doubt about it

  64. I wonder will Steven drop a few of the big names that did not turn up on sat. They will be under fire to preform.

  65. Just read Bernard Flynn’s piece today; think he really hit the nail on the head with all the nonsense going on. The senior players need to knuckle down and play with hunger to win an all-Ireland. I do feel this was suitably highlighted on the Sunday game. I stood by the players decision to move on the last 2 managers if it was a forward step. I also highlighted AOS and all his good work with his adoring young fans after each game. Cillian is another that gives great time to the fan Base and does a lot of good things BUT – last Saturday they and most of that team let themselves down. When player power gets too strong, you need strong leaders both on and off the pitch – last saturday showed we have neither.
    I will still go and support the team through the qualifiers but I do hope the proper lesson’s have been learned and the senior players remember the thousands of fans.
    Let them put aside their differences until the championship is over and sort it out in the closed season.

    Is there any leaders at all let in this group????

  66. A route through the qualifiers might do this team no harm. It will give the team time to regroup and regain focus for the year ahead.From following this team especially in the last 5 years I’m sure they will not want to go out with a whimper.
    SR must now stamp his mark on this team and I believe the backdoor is the ideal opportunity for him to do it.
    I would write this Mayo team off at your peril!

  67. A friend of mine lost a friend who had the same illness as himself, having soldiered through it together for the last few years,leaving a young wife and kids.My friend is on borrowed time also,and would love to be able to kick a ball around a pitch-no matter how badly.
    Nobody died last Saturday. Maigheo abu.

  68. Time to think productively. Two things I’d like to see happening: I’d like to see Michael Hall come in, perhaps not as a starter but the first sub to come in to the backs. I know he’s young but the lad can play, he has pace and is an excellent reader of the game, attributes we are missing at the moment. He needs to see some game time. I really like Nally too but he’s not as quick as Hall. It’s time to try things.
    Also, I really think there is merit in trying Aido at no. 6 (if Lee is remaining at 5). Durcan would have to move to the bench for now. We have all seen Aidan play very well defensively for Club and County in that position and he appears to read the game better from that position. I’m afraid I can’t see his positioning at FF being any merit to us any more. It’s crystal clear that neither he nor any of the Michael Murphys etc will get anything from refs. Also, in terms of shooting, Aido hits far more wides than points. I was encouraged on Satruday by the first ball that went in to him. He caught, and straight away laid off to Cillian who pointed. Unfortunately, this didn’t continue and it won’t as far as I can see from previous matches. I don’t think he’ll work at 11 either for the same reasons. It might have worked a couple of seasons but he is very easily marked now. I’d prefer to see Freeman or Loftus taking over Aidan’s forward duties. Freezer, for instance, can turn far quicker than Aidan, is far more accurate and I believe has better vision. They actually are equally effective tacklers.
    We need to start being positive and forward thinking… Enough of the crap. In fairness, I think most posters and Mayo people I’ve spoken to have taken this on the chin. I hope the players and management do likewise. Life and sport are strange and who knows how things will roll over the summer.

  69. Team I would pick for next match:





    D O’C


    Half back line instructed to attack.

    If the players shooting is so bad at the minute serious level of practice needs to be done around this

    10 wides in a half is entirely unacceptable at any level

  70. I like the optimisim with posts.
    However, we need to have improved on where we were last year and previous to win Sam, we have so declined which is big problem. We have been average at best in league and weekend was no different.
    It just doesn’t look an aligned squad now and I’m afraid it will be 2-3 years before were back.

    Just the way I see it and would be delighted if proved wrong in September.

  71. Really bad news about Caff and Jason. I wish them both well . I am sick of so called Mayo supporters stick the boot in to Mayo players when we lose a game and of course its usually the talented players who are targeted. I remember back in 1989 people having a go at McStay and in later years McHale and of course we all know the crap aimed at C Mortimer Even the great K Mac was not immune to some of these critics. Is it a case of begrudgery of people who are a bit different or have some sort of media profile. These guys are amateurs. They go out to do their best and of course on occasions it doesnt work out but they go back out and try again. This team of ours have tried exceptionally hard over the past few years and they have got far more right than they got wrong. Now it appears to be the turn of AOS for the critics. Yes we know he did not perform well last Saturday. Im sure he knows that as well. And he has every right to give interviews to the media and launch cul camps or whatever and to be honest we as a county should be glad that a Mayoman is chosen to do this. There have been years and years when we got no coverage or publicity because nobody wanted to be associated with us because we were nobodies. At least that has changed in the last few years. Support the team. They represent us and carry our dreams each time they go out to play.

  72. Strong management now required to remove the bulls*** that’s going on. Didn’t take long for what Horan removed to seep back in again. I find it easy to except defeat when you’ve been beaten by a better team (which Galway were) but also when you know you’re team gave their all which our lot didn’t do the last night with the exception of the usual. Maybe we expect too much and in fairness this combo of being beaten by better team not trying hasn’t happened too often in the past 5 years – anyone can have a bad day.
    However,there has been a common thread throughout the league which manifested itself again on Saturday. Our lads have been dying in the last 10-15 minutes of their league matches but I for one was prepared to except this in the hope that this was all part of this year’s prep but then the same thing happens again on Saturday which leaves me asking the question as to what kind of prep have they being doing? I looked at my watch when Keane first went down with cramp and there was 20 minutes left! And then to see Harrison shortly after……
    The clock is ticking very loud for some on this team and not just the elders and I include management in this as the buck stops with them.
    Let’s use this setback to create unity and PMA.
    PS toughnup I like the look of that team but would make room for 100 percent SOS.

  73. I think there’s a big difference between poor performance and not performing at all ( and not trying). Think everyone on Saturday night picked up on this as did every form of the media. When you DO NOT PERFORM, you leave yourself open for the appropriate critical analyses. These players have the best of training facilities – I work in Sligo and have listened to how the Sligo player have to get local business’a to sponsor their training camps.
    This Group Of Players Need To Wake Up Before THEIR Best Years Have Passed.

    Remember; Pain is temporary – Regret is permanent.

    So get on with it!

  74. centerfield, nice team but i would switch durcan out for freeman. freeman and regan in ff line and coc at chf to put the passes in to them.

  75. Some interesting statistics on the dontfoul blog. Mayo had 29 shots resulting in just 12 points. we won 9 Galway kick-outs and 2 turnovers in their 65, none of which resulted in a score. this was undoubtedly one of the worst attacking displays by Mayo in a long time. In the build up to the game and the general atmosphere in McHale park was that this would be a Routine win for Mayo, even Galway people i spoke to were surprised with the win. i think that complacency had a big bearing on the performance. Perhaps it will act as a catalyst for the team and management to improve attitude and performance the next day out.
    I think that the management have to make p their mind about where to play AOS. He can play midfield, center foward of full foward, but not in the same game, his game is suffering as a result of all the changing, i think AOS and mayo would benefit if he stayed and developed in one position.

  76. I have read all the blogs but the blog by KL has me puzzled. The reason why is he seems to belong to the JH brigade, and JH made mistakes too. He says SR did not put out his strongest team, and yet he failed to name this STRONGEST TEAM. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder about the present management team. Management manage and players play. Ireland got well beaten in soccer on Saturday but I didn’t see anyone tearing the management. Those games are OVER. Move on. It would be nice if he names his strongest TEAM.

  77. I think some people need to lay off the players. These lads put their whole lives on stop, work/family/friends basically everything plays second fiddle to football. And what do they get for it? They’re not professional athletes, these lads have to go to work every day. If some of them get an opportunity to make a bit of money from their high profile, then they should be encouraged to do so. The commitment they make is extraordinary.

    The performance at the weekend was awful no doubt. But let’s not forget we were very lucky to beat Galway last June, yet we had Dublin on the rack in the All Ireland semi in August. Those performances were poles apart, and I’m hoping that was the reason we were so poor last weekend (The last 3 years I would argue we weren’t anywhere near full tilt in Connaught – though that’s not exactly a good thing either) I’m not trying to take anything away from Galway, they were full value for their win and could have won by more. If the hunger is gone however, then our goose is cooked (but I’ve had enormous pleasure following this team, and they owe us nothing). Hopefully, we can get a bit of momentum in the qualifiers, get to Croke Park, and then who knows.

  78. What killed us last year in the replay was our bench or lack of it.management have to get the right balance of different players for each qualifier nothing to drastic.
    We need the sweeper but not all the time we need to know in games when to use it and when to play or running game.
    Read all as well wj don’t envy you.

  79. I find posts about ‘these lads giving us 6 great years’ and ‘they owe us nothing’ very puzzling. If you were following Dublin, Tyrone, Kerry, Donegal you would also have had great times but you would also be the proud owners of some silverware. I know county players and believe me they love the sporting life. Yes, there are sacrifices too and its hard at times but they would not have it any other way. Its the followers that cannot understand the discipline that it takes to be so focused. We are fans following a football team, quit the lamenting. If we continue with this mantra we will be similar to the Irish fans, singing, laughing, drinking, having great fun, great times, yes but alas no titles. And lets face it no one takes them seriously!

  80. The reason they owe us nothing is intercounty players put in huge sacrifices to train to almost professional level often travelling the length of the country to train. Cillian is based in Northern Ireland, several panellists in Dublin. We have had many entertaining days out over the last few years.
    Most players will know themselves Saturday was a poor performance and don’t need us to point it out.

  81. Time to call out some of the daft suggestions.
    1) Top of the list is bringing in Reape and Ruane, time enough next year. Use players with at least some exposure to panel time ffs.
    Writing off Kevin Mc as sweeper, he won countless ball especially in 1st half many of them dirty and used it well every time.
    2) Dropping Durkan after 1 start. The lad has talent and pace, guessing there were some nerves but he didn’t make any obvious mistakes. No sign of him getting cramp.
    3) Writing off Keith in position other than corner back. It’s either him or Kevin Mc as sweeper unless Alan Dillon our other playmaker is restored. They are the 3 best kick passers in the team. I would be big fan of Keith picked in forwards as sweeper at J Doherty’s expense but lack of cover in FB line may render it too risky. Depends on whether Drake is natural corner back or else Hall who has pace but us young.
    4) Why can AOS not play 2 or 3 positions in a game as needs arise. E.g if picked at 11 or 14 and we’re losing midfield, use him as 3rd midfielder. However suggestion of him at no 6 is seriously daft. Ball winning is his no 1 attribute and distribution is not… so at midfield or 11 convince him to win ball, break tackles if necessary and offload as soon as daylight emerges. At FF bit more leeway to go for goal but again offload to Cillian, Regan, Freeman who are natural instinct forwards would be generally more productive. AOS and SOS both need to be told to offload quicker for the sake of the team. Also convince SOS not to go charging into multiple tacklers, something J Doc was also guilty of a few times on Saturday. More guile, let the ball do the work and it’s a 15 man game.

  82. Shuffly Deck, I agree with you in some regards but would disagree in others.

    Reape is on the panel therefore should be ready to play, why is he there then while Micky C, Sweeney, Irwin, Kirby, Douglas sit at home. Especially with a panel with a number of injuries, you cant carry a player who is not ready for action.

    AOS for me is a midfielder, a great ball winner. He can operate at hf but I think at this stage everyone can see that he cant play ff. Alternate from midfield to hf like ros game would suit him most.

    Durcan is class and should be given time to settle in.

    Higgins at hf is daft in my opinion. Everyone in the world at this stage knows Mayo struggle for scoring forwards. Why then put a corner back in a forward position. Higgins is a great footballer but carries no scoring threat. He carried no scoring threat in 2013 when he played hf and if I remember correctly there was a mass call for him to the returned to the corner that year. I would much rather see Loftus, Caralon or Dillan in the half forwards.

  83. There’s an awful lot of comment on AoS best role in the team and here we go again ..gfm. God forgive me!
    No 11 is his spot but but it’s got it’s rules.Do it right. He’s not expected to do everything in the book and at times he might not be seen that much and that exactly might be what’s requires from him at that part point. 11 is a pivotal position and its role is in the word. He’s in the ordhectral pit as it were and just like the good conductor or director his effectiveness is seen in the performance of the other players.
    11 can find himself in at ff and also out around the centre but only intelligently . He has to hold his general 11 spot.If he finds himself in ff he ll be et with flies but how u f get away from flies is to surprise them and move away and back and away…don’t give them too much advance notice of your arrival times!! Your few visits will be most effective the fewer they are. Your main job is abroad directing traffic. Some may think Aidan’s not sharp enough for this role but it’s like defenders back defending at times….they’re there but that’s about it…mouths open looking on!The role is defined,accepted by all on board and away we go.
    11 is an abs vital position to the health of a team now and it’s not an easy role to execute properly. You’re more a stimulant that a surgeon. You’re a bit of a hawk more than a finch or wagtail. You are definitely a magpie and also a dirty grey crow if I might take the liberty to call you so.
    I suppose I’m dwelling on 11 because we seem to have lost our whereabouts up front for a long time now with the inevitable consequences of not scoring enough to win the big games. Forwards have to play as a unit we all accept. And that word entails proximity of the parts for it to be effective..we all know this! Put pace of action with shape,centred on 11 and I can’t but see such a team being anything other than successful.
    That’s the way things appear to me at this time. So much so , it is , that if we got 11 right all else would fall in place.

  84. Inbetweener, I agree totally that number 11 is pivotal and AOS can play there but imo he is a better midfielder. Also if w are going with a forward line including Regan then im sure you would agree that good early ball is essential. Therefore an 11 that can spot the forward and deliver accurate passes is a must not one that constantly goes on long solo runs into contact which usuallt ends in a turn over. AOS can play 11 but he needs to start looking for the free man and playing the early ball in

  85. Just listened to the Off the Ball podcast where BJP provided some interesting insight on where we might position some of our more incisive players.

    1. He felt AOS is being moved around a little too much during games. He’s not getting on enough ball at full forward and we don’t get enough support around him. We then ask him to float out to centre forward and midfield at times. BJP suggests we need to station him a midfield for a sustained period, get him on the ball more and get him breaking tackles. All about building up his confidence.

    2. Keith Higgins can play as a forward but we need him drifting further back to hoover dirty ball and then break forward at real pace. We don’t need or want Higgins wandering over and across the half forward line waiting for service.

    3. Are we getting enough out of Keegan by utilising him as a man marker? He did a sound job again on Walsh but he’s one of the best attackig half backs in Ireland. Are we sacrificing too much?

    I’m inclined to agree with BJP on many points. AOS needs to build a bit of momentum. He needs to get a bit of confidence back and his mates need to see him dominating again. We’re giving the opposition too many opportunities to crowd out our totemic figure and we do need to address that. There’s still the choice to fire him inside when we sense blood but for the time being, get him back barrelling down the middle of the pitch.

    The point about Higgins also makes sense. I was pretty close to him during the first half on Saturday and he looked to me as if he wasn’t sure what to do. Should he hold his position, drift back and win ball or try to move his marker around. I get the sense this may be a moot point due to news Caff is gone and he may be moved back to add a bit of experience to that line.

    Keegan is a tricky one because, as he’s shown with Connolly, he’s an excellent man marker. He’s really pretty good at most elements of the game. Little bit of robbing Peter to pay Paul here. I do think we’ve ceded a little too much of our attacking half backs. It’s a huge weapon for us and we need to balance defensive stability with a license to go for the jugular when the time is right.

    The news about Caff is desperately disappointing. He looked to be getting right back to his best form and is a huge loss on the back of the departure of Cunniffe.

    Lots to ponder.

  86. As regards Paddy Durcan, brilliant young, talented and pace to burn. If he’s to be played at all, give him a licence to counter attack. Mayo are loosing the best part of this fine players ability if we don’t… Boyle and Keegan done it when we were in the doldrums in the first half,.. Now in the case of Boyle and Keegan it didn’t seem to part of the game plan but that particular bull needed to be taken by the horns, and Mayo for a time prospered… But Boyle and Keegan are around for a while, so they had no problem in deviating from a game plan that wasn’t working.. Those that stuck to prematch game plan, didn’t prosper as well….. Mayo are at their best when they have to go for it, but go for it with a vengeance… We have never seemed to be as good at managing matchs late on, when we were trying to defend a 5 point lead.. Just a taught.

  87. Midfield as such does not exist anymore. All the top teams play a possession game now with the kick out targeted towards a free man somewhere and the ball immediately then passed off to a team mate. All Div 1 teams play this way now.

    The biggest challenge I think should be addressed is our transition from defence to attack. Mayo are way to slow, cautious and ponderous getting the ball into the inside line and supporting them. Its always a case of cross field first for 3 or 4 passes before anyone considers moving it inside.

    And generally by the time this happens the opposition will have 12 men behind the opposing 45 and the ball, with nearly everyone double marked, making the score from play exceedingly difficult.

    I assumed this was one of the primary reasons why Rochford was brought in i.e. to improve our transition. But so far nothing has changed.

  88. Yep we’ve become far too cagey about our half backs letting loose , which is a delight to watch when in full flow .

    What is the story with Barry Moran , is he near fitness ? I think we need to try him inside at the expense of either Doherty or Regan . Regan might be suited to coming on off the bench , youngish, fresh and speedy enough too.

  89. Still think the biggest thing missing last Saturday evening was team spirit with the team and team spirit with supporters and for me that’s the most gut wrenching thing of all …Over the past few years I’ve always been confident that they / we will put in a performance and stick up for each other when the chips are down our first semi v Dublin last year comes to mind and the first semi v Kerry year before ! The Mayo support in the Gaelic grounds was my proudest ever none of that was evident last week we did get caught on the hop but we shouldn’t have ! We’ve /they’ve been around long enough now and enough lessons learned to make sure we got the win ! The next day out I’m hoping for a defiant Mayo team and defiant Mayo support I’m fed up with the same few always trying to rouse the crowd our energy in the stands effect the team be it positive or negative this is our time now they need us !!! Are we up for it? so for goodness sake get behind ever tackle block fetch and score the next day no point in out numbering opposition if we don’t make it count there was talk of passengers on the Mayo team during the week well there’s passengers with the supporters too only there for the good times ! about time they did something ! Wherever you’re sitting / standing encourage everyone beside you to get behind the team behind the chants bring the flags and wave them defiantly don’t care who we playing we are up against it now being written off in every quarter which I think is a good thing ! we always preform better when everything against us ! To borrow a slogan from Wales TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER !

  90. Mayos running game and attacking half backs is a big weapon but only gets us so far as seen the past 6 years. When we come up against the Dublins and Kerrys the half backs are occupied with marking serious half forwards like Connally, Gooch etc thus curtailing that threat. Rochford is right to try and bring in a new way of playing but the players have to buy into that or it wont work. Did the players buy into it on saturday, im not so sure. The running game is great to watch and will get us far but wont get us over the line.

    I agree that we need to be more direct, faster ball into the forwards, they are making the runs and are available.

    Again a dont think we can play defenders in the hf line there is no scores in it. For example a hf line of Higgind, AOS, KMc will score very little, there are nolong range kickers in it, against a packed defence we wont score. I would like to see the introduction of loftus, Caralon, Dillon into the half Forwards, guys who can pass and shoot from distance.

  91. Mayomad I get what you are saying but we did get to within one point of beating both Dublin and Kerry with this system and we did not get too much luck in ordinary time in Limerick. Aidan and Cillian clashed heads. Two very Doggy penalty kicks against us . We do not need too much of a change in the system . Maybe when we have a 5 or 6 point lead in the 2nd half of a game to introduce a more defensive game plan but last Saturday we kept K McLoughlin as a sweeper after conceding the goal when we needed goals. Also where was the sweeper for the Galway Goal. Hennellys instructions like many County Keepers was to go short with kick outs. That is only working for Cluxton in Croake Park which is a very big pitch. more room , and a keeper who is expert at this skill.

  92. We are in different territory now , if the men in charge thought we could dander through the Connacht championship trying out a new system well that’s over now and we are into the no more chances stage now with a mountain to climb so personally I think we need to revert to type and back to our running hard , high press type game . We are not building a new team till 17 so to me there is no sense in trying to introduce a new game plan at this stage which will take 18 months at least to get functioning right .

  93. True Grit – I was all for SR when the position came available last year and still support him 100% – all I’m saying is that there has been absolutely no evidence that he has stamped his own brand on this team to date and I don’t think you or anyone cannot but say last Saturday was not a disaster from a management perspective.

    Look, team picking is an objective thing, but in my mind we held back some players because they have recently recovered from injury – I would put my house on it that DOC and SOS would have started if it was Dublin we were playing. You can understand the strategy in fairness in holding them back, but when we lose like we did the last day it back-fired. In addition the re-positioning of players within the team made our team weaker, so it was not the strongest team in that respect. I do understand the need to have a sweeper as an option when required, but to deploy one of our main running forwards so deep, replace him in the forwards with a defender that could have done the sweeper job equally – just left you with two top players swapping roles but out of their regular positions. And did we really need a sweeper v Galway? I think it was a practice run. If it were me I would drop back Parsons as a sweeper.

    And finally COS named as corner forward v London and on the team sheet for the last day – now the lad gets a hard time, unjustly a lot of the time – but my granny could see he is not a corner forward in any respect. Then replace him with young Coen, a defender effectively making his debut as a corner forward? Strongest team? He ended up playing all over the place. We started with a forward line of Higgins, AOS, Doherty, Coen, COC, Regan. 2 defenders, 2 players making their proper championship debut. Strongest Team? No, a lot of experimenting – yes.

    Believe me, I WANT SR to deliver big time and I was a JH fan, but his time has passed. My whole point is that there has been absolutely no evidence of improvement and we need to see it now, and quickly!

  94. OSullivan, I agree with you regarding McLoughlin. Didnt work at sweeper, wasnt needed in that game and stayed there too long.

    You are right our running game did get us to within a couple of points of winning but we still lost at the end of the day. I not saying to throw the baby out with the bath water. Keep some elements of it like Keegan bombing forward but more controlled not off the cuff, there has to be understanding with the rest of the team so cover is always there in case of a turn over.

    We need to develop an alternative attack on the field, vary attacks, fast accurate ball to forwards, Regan and Moran (when introduced) created space for themselves numerous times but were not seen, it must be frustrating for a corner forward to keep making runs and finding space knowing the ball you want will never come. Develop a half forward line that can play ball, deliver passes and take pts from distance, the players are there with the capability, are we too focused on trying to fit all our midfielders and defenders onto the field at the same time? (Square pegs, Round holes)

    On Saturday there was no scoring threat from the half forward line. It makes it so hard to create scoring opportunities when the opposition know we have to run it in close to goal, allows them to sit deep.

  95. Talking about being grateful for the past five years, they owe us nothing etc etc…that is the road back to mediocrity lads, back to winning a Connaught title now and again. People should have a read of Darragh O Se in the Times today , as he says, its only when people demand more, do you get more.

    Ultimately we haven’t won an All-Ireland and until we cross that line history will regard this team – to coin the often used phrase – ‘as a good team but not a great team’

  96. Joe, personally I dont think they ever owed us anything. I hope they are doing it for themselves, to be the best possible team they can be. I think they own it only to themselves to bounce back from Saturday and play like they know the can. Its their dream to be successful and finally win an All Ireland. We are just along for the ride.

  97. Look its a tough defeat to take.. but you have to be fair and realistic.. Galway were 5/1 outsiders that’s like 100/1 shot in a race.. so Mayo I feel for ya but Sam will defo be staying in Dublin this year on all of the evidence that is available right now.. its a pity cause you use to have a really good team of the last 5 years.. but all is not well and that is really sad as I like the matches between Dublin and Mayo as it has become and East V West kinda thing..

    Look all you can do is your best and maybe that is as good as Mayo are at the minute.. anyhow you might get lucky and meet Cork in the back Door as they too are pretty bad.. best of luck and sure ya just never know ho things might work out..

  98. Rock…. BJ is right but wrong in his positional choice for AIden at CF exclusively. I’m seeing him fitting in at 11, from which position he ll help out in mopping up broken ball along with others systematically, moving ball to runners, kicking long and that he can do Mayomad. Everyone accepts that a fella needs to find his niche and be given time to make it his own. That goal against Dong turned out to be a bit of a bummer. What we don’t want to make of him is a Cora Staunton…a brill player too but expected and allowed to do too much to the detriment of the other potential contributions.
    As regards Higgins he not only came across to me as unsure of himself at times but once or twice he looked uninterested in his role…never saw that before. He’s a joy back in his corner and an inspiration when he bursts forth. That’s enough for him at this stage.
    If it were I was giving instructions concerning players coming forward from behind I wouldn’t frown on it entirely but encourage it with caution and proper timing.
    And the more you talk about one aspect of play or any particular player indeed, the more you see that it’s a team game and all have to be tuned to a proper time.

  99. Surely KMac has to be placed at No. 11. Our best playmaker and passer of the ball by a county mile

  100. Inbetweener, yeah I would agree with you. Possibly leave Aido in one position and not expect him to cover multiple areas. Not sure about his kick pass ability, he might have it and could develop it but would need to play heads up football and look for forwards not always put the head down and charge into contact.

    Totally agree regarding Higgins. Other than a couple of solo runs and a nice turn or two, he was largely ineffective and the game passed him by. He is a great defender, play him there. We need proven forwards in the forward areas.

  101. I’m inclined to agree Inbetweener – I’d like to see AOS spend the first twenty mins of a game at 11. Win primary possession, hit anything that moves coming out and try get on a few balls off the shoulder.

    I would have McLoughlin and. Diarmuid either side of him to hoover breaks and work up and down the pitch. McLoughlin not one of our most heralded players but when he’s going well we tend to play well as he knits defence and attack very effectively.

    Durcan, Higgins and Keegan are devastating on the burst. It’s a sin to waste that opportunity to break quaintly before defences regroup. The plan should be to ensure Parsons, O’Shea or half forward drops as required. Pretty basic stuff that’s applied across all field games.

  102. Management need to be ruthless now and make a call in terms of Hennelly and go with Clarke

    Hennelly can make good saves but his mistakes suck the life out of us at crucial times, the last day for example, against Dublin last year, and against Kerry the year before.

    is it worth having this risk for going forward? allowing for the fact that are no 1 full back is now gone for the season.

  103. Clarke

    Do posters think Coen could play at full back?

  104. Ballagman, not sure if Coen can play there, not sure if he played there at any level, certainly has the physicality for it, Keane would be first choice.

    I would agree in most areas of your team, im not commenting on the keeper selection as its been commented on to death.

    I would start Loftus in hfs as there is little scoring threat and put Reape in the corner, if he is on the panel then he should be ready to play

  105. Not sure about Coen at full back, he didn’t look comfortable there at all during the Roscommon league game. Long term, he will be our number 6 but possibly not this year. I would be confident with Keane at full back provided he sorts out the issue of going down with cramp (Harrisson too).

    I’d also persist with Durcan as I think he has massive potential and didn’t do much wrong the last day, although the game seemed to pass him by somewhat.

    I think Higgins in the HF line could work well but our options in the FB line are paper thin now so he needs to play corner back if we want to have a replacement, like Barrett, on the bench.

    My team for the next day:

    Harrison, Keane, Higgins;
    Keegan, Boyle, Durcan;
    Parsons, Seamie;
    Kev Mc, AOS, DOC;
    Regan, Freeman, Cillian;

    I wouldn’t start anyone who wasn’t involved against Galway, as we need guys who are 100% fit and there seemed to be a few who were off the pace the last day.

  106. Rock…..Forgot to say that Aidan’s presence mf has been nullified by keeping ball away from him and making him go here and there….doesn’t suit his pace! At 11 the role can be more multifunctional in conjunction with advancements towards goal….a more proactive role in a variety of ways.
    K McL one of my favourites , is the one player out there who is the most aware of what’s going on around him at all times and has to be an integral part of a right moving forward section.
    Whatever other business is to tax the rest of the sextet most of it ought to be confined to forward areas from which most scores are pos and major scores are created.If they are not there then the project ‘Score’ simply won’t happen.

  107. I would suggest AOS has to adapt to a similar role as performed by Murphy for Donegal. Hit hard when the opposition are working the ball out and look for a strip – something we’ve become very adept at. When we have the ball he then offers a good target and look to maraude through himself or look for runners [Durcan, Keegan, Vaughan, Higgins or DOC].

    If space opens up and we want to go a little more direct McLoughlin and Parsons are well equipped to put ball in accurately. But we need to leave space so the ball need only be put in front of the attacker and doesn’t need to be put into his hand.

    Look it all seems very simple in theory but we need to fix upon some form of shape and plan. And more importantly we need to commit to it.

    We made some piss poor mistakes defensively the last day out but still only conceded 1.12. If our attack had even half functioned we should have still won that game at a canter. No score from play in the final 20 mins is abysmal at any level.

  108. “but still only conceded 1.12”! Against a division two team that had also dropped 4 efforts short AND kicked 5 or 6 bad wides.
    We also had a 17 minute scoreless spell in the first half. So, for 37 minutes of that game we did nothing from an attacking point of view, and should have conceded 1-22!!

    It goes back to my argument. The sense of “entitlement” to wear the jersey must change to “earning the right” to wear the jersey. In team sport, you are only ever as good as your last game. Based on last Saturday evening only Harrison, Keane, Boyle and Regan can honestly look at themselves in the mirror and say “I left everything I had on the pitch”. They may not have been brilliant, but, in terms of effort and heart and giving all they had, they can hold their heads up.
    It’s time for changes, and if it means dropping a few “big names” and exiting the championship so be it. Management must lay down a marker that Saturdays performance is not acceptable.

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