Fergal Boland is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: Irish Sun

Right, the voting is done on our first Man of the Match poll for 2024 here on the blog and we have a clear winner. By a wide margin, Fergal Boland is your choice as our MOTM from yesterday’s game.

The Aghamore clubman didn’t take long to make his presence felt at Pearse Stadium yesterday, firing over Mayo’s opening point with barely a minute on the clock. He ended the game with three points from play to his credit and he assisted a number of scores too, including for Eoghan McLaughlin’s goal, a score that gave us a lead in the match we’d never subsequently lose.

Fergal topped the poll with 29% of the vote, followed by TG4’s choice of MOTM, Paddy Durcan, on 14%. Both Fergal and Paddy were also included in the GAA’s Team of the Week.

Others to feature prominently in the MOTM poll were Sam Callinan (13%), Eoghan McLaughlin and Jordan Flynn (both on 8%) and Jack Carney (7%). All of them played major parts in yesterday’s win at Salthill.

Well done to them and in particular to Fergal Boland, our MOTM from yesterday’s game.

36 thoughts on “Fergal Boland is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Boland is a playmaker that we have lacked over the last few years and of course is capable of long range points .hopefully he can nail down a regular place .he certainly is well worth his place in the squad

  2. Well done Fergal Delighted for him and well deserved. Always a good man for a few scores and good to link up play. Of course a few posters used Fergals positive performance yesterday ( first league game in January) as a stick to beat management with for not playing him last year. Maybe a bit of credit for bringing him back wouldn’t go amiss. He was good yesterday as were his fellow half forwards. FF line not so good. They worked hard but Tommy wasn’t on his game, Ryan should concentrate on football alone and give Reape the long distance frees and Aido worked hard without much end product. Towey got two lovely points but by that stage the Galway defence seemed to be in the dressing room. A good display but no one should or will get too carried away. Galway who I said earlier in the week were a top four team looked anything but that today. Well done, move on Dubs next is a game to look forward to.

  3. Galway may or may not be a top 4 team with Kelly, Comer and Silke on the pitch but miles off without them. Kelly is their most important player, his absence is substantial.
    Conroy didn’t dominate when he came on with only 35 mins required although it’s only January and he’s been one of their leaders. Heaney taken off on 20 or so mins. Their only real positive was O Congaile who scored some nice ones and missed a few too under pressure from our backs. Bar that , nearly every Mayo man beat his man.
    Re mom, I thought Flynn who influenced for 70+ but Boland for sure did very well especially in the 1st half: similarities with Alan Dillon in playing style. Diarmaid or Mattie could still get in ahead of him come summer.

  4. A few weeks back I posted that I was worried about our middle eight but lo and behold in our first competitive match the top 7 in a motm poll are from the middle 8. In fairness the only one missing is Conor Reid who on his league debut was alsobrilliant. Shows how quickly things can change and now people are wondering where the missing players will be fitted back in.
    Well done to one of my favourite players Fergal Boland and I hope he is persevered with and appreciated because along with Ryan he’s our best playmaker.

  5. Our full forward line were out in front winning ball and laying it off to runners coming at pace. In Winter conditions it is harder to take on your man and score. Tommy did fine winning some ball and passing it on.

  6. If I recall correctly Fergal has been in and out of the team over the last number of years. Never reallying nailing down a position on the team

    What is different about Fergal this time around? or maybe a better question, what was his weaknesses that led to him being dropped by successive managers?

  7. @to win and @fortycoats, management deserve criticism for not including Boland last year. I’ll stop criticizing when they have the humility to admit their mistake. And it it is a glaring mistake. I wish Rob had had the courage to ask McStay straight out, why did you see fit not to include Boland as one of the best 30 players in Mayo last year? McStay gave a snarky response to Rob, in my opinion, about his hunger to play for Mayo and how he tired in the second half, he literally ran the show for Mayo. 3 from play, 1-3 in assists. I like McStay and Rochford but leaving this lad of the panel last year was lunacy that makes you question their judgement. The other crazy decision was to start Padraig O’Hora corner back with no sweeper against Dublin. They then had to take him off before half time.

    He hasn’t nailed down a position because Mayo had previously been very strong in the wing forward positions with Diarmuid, Kevin Mc, and Jason D. However, other than Flynn – who spends a lot of time in midfield these days too, Mayo are chronically weak in the 10 position and they are majorly lacking a playmaker in the half forward line. Boland fits the bill. And don’t give me this, “lacks physicality”, lots of players do and lots of players have other weaknesses that doesn’t prevent them being picked. On the whole, Boland is a big addition and is so reliable for scores from play. We just are not in a position to turn that down.

  8. There are greenshoots that Jack Carney and Jordan Flynn are strong players for us at 10 and 12. This helps have a smaller more mobile between the lines playmaker like Fergal Boland at 11.

  9. Not disagreeing with you GBXI. Just curious as to what might be the reason we see him in the early part of the year then fades away when championship comes around. Strange that its not just the current mgmt that made same decisions.

  10. Unpopular bit of analysis here but valid nonetheless, and I’m not trying to slate the lad, I’ve always been a fan and want to see more of him come championship time as well as league. But if you look back at Boland’s first point, he takes way too many steps (8 or 9). He gets the ball and sidesteps a Galway defender, it was at that exact moment he should have given it a quick hop or solo and then taken his shot.

  11. I like Fergal he has many good attributes and he also looks in terrific shape, from recollection his tracking back (probably pace related) and getting dispossessed too often were his weaknesses under the Horan setup. That doesnt mean they will be an issue under a different setup as such. Hoping this is not the marmite subject for 2024 !

  12. GBXI, surely recalling Boland is management, in effect, admitting their mistake?
    Nobody can change last year, and we were too far off the required standard for Boland to have made a material difference to the outcome anyway.
    He still has to prove that the pros outweigh the cons when we’re up against stronger, hungrier competition than we had last Sunday.

  13. In fairness to James Horan, fortycoats, he picked Boland and brought him on early in the 2nd half in the AI QF v. Kerry in 2022. McStay saw fit not to even include him last year, and this was a player that was in the form of his life. Sometimes I feel certain players have to prove themselves more than others and that is the case with Boland. He is slight and there is a perception that he lacks physicality for championship but this just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. I expect, if he stays injury free, Boland will be an important part of the matchday squad for the championship this year.

  14. @Tubberman, of course you’re right, it is an effective admission and they have no obligation to explain any of their decisions to the public. Also, management teams rarely make decisions that we can safely say are crazily wrong so this isn’t often a topic. But with Boland’s dropping from the squad last year, it was like management were the only ones who couldn’t see what they were doing was wrong. I have spoken with some members of the panel since, and Lee Keegan said the same, that said he should absolutely never have been dropped. What confidence does that give you in the management?

    You’re also right that he wouldn’t have made a material difference on us winning Sam last year because we were so far off the pace – though he could have been the difference in beating Cork and topping our group. Regardless of what he has to prove to be a consistent starter, and I mostly agree with with you there, he has absolutely nothing to prove to be in the championship squad. There just are not 6 half forwards better than him in Mayo.

  15. Boland is been talked very highly of over a game against a terrible Galway performace . Obviously i hope all the ” told ya he was class ” wans are right but i honestly think ye should hold off till we are deep into championship .

    Gbxi , you said physicality is not an issue . I remember a game in omagh not that long ago where i thought himself and towey were completely blown out of in that regard . Hopefully theyve improved that way and i can eat my words (as usual ) .

    I expect a big dublin performance the weekend and a heavy defeat for our bucks, 8 point margin

  16. Yesterday was the result of a successfully applied year away from the panel for Fergal – management are under absolutely no obligation to explain decisions that work out so positively.

    Whether the decision was correct or not is immaterial – What is important is that once it was made how was that decision actioned.

    And mistakes quite frankly do not work out this well.

  17. Fergal needs to back this up next weekend. Performing consistently at that level has always been the challenge for Fergal in a Mayo jersey.

  18. The mistrust of Boland down through the years comes back to a major bugbear I have with Mayo football, ie we will always favour athletes over footballers.

    I’ll reserve my praise for management till they hold their nerve and play him in the big croke park games, instead of reverting to mayo type and picking some 6’3 middle distance runner

    In other news, I see James horan not sparing galway in the examiner today

  19. The biggest issues I had with boland being dropped was i think he was let go in the 1st couple of weeks of management b4 players even stepped out for their 1st training session. If I’m right then it’s even more mind-boggling but I credit management for bringing him back again and maybe it goes in the “no stone left unturned” catagorie. No guarantee he’ll be on the championship team but he’s definitely good enough to be a match day panel member. It’s looking like he’s gonna be the new conor Loftus as regards the talking point for the year.

  20. Last year’s squad carried Diarmuid, Kevin Mc, and Jason D, Flynn, Carney, McHale, Orme, McStay, Irwin, Walsh, Touhy and McDonagh.

    Written down in front of you it’s not so unseemly a decision – particular given where Fergal fits in age wise and having worked previously under a large chunk of the management team.

    With hindsight there are guys there who Fergal could have replaced but he could easily have ended up having the kind of injury hit seasons Walsh and McHale had.

    Similarly we could possibly have given Fergal the kind of game time we gave McDonagh last year but Fergal has already had that experience, and would we really have learnt much from that?

  21. Good performance from Fergal especially in the first half. I thought he linked very well with Tommy inside. Tommy sacrificed his normal turn and take on his man game to become a focal point in our attack by winning ball in front and laying off to the runners off his shoulder. I think our new forwards coach might be having a quiet word in ROD’s ear this week about same. He opted to turn inside his man the last day on a couple of occasions when a pass to an outside runner was the better option. Nice to have two points in the bank which hopefully gives us a bit more scope to rotate players over the next few weeks.

  22. Was there any word at all about Mattie, Diarmuid or Enda Hession at all. I thought i heard Mcstay saying that Carr and O’Hora were back on the grass and a bit behind the others. Didn’t hear anything about the others though.

    The more options we have the better. Boland and Towey for whatever they may lack certainly know where the posts are. Go and grasp the nettle lads. Put the hard yards in and do what Jordan Flynn did and make yourselves undroppable.

    If we go with the same team as Galway and they are all fit then we could end up with a bench of Cillian, Towey, Carr, Hession, Diarmuid, Ruane, Plunkett and Hennelly.
    Imagine emptying a bench like that in the stretch of a championship game in the summer.

  23. @sean burke, I remember that league game as well. Mayo were terrible. Towey had a stinker in what was I think only maybe his second ever start and man has he paid for that since. Boland wasn’t great either but you can’t judge them on that one game. I would say Towey may actually lack the ball winning ability to nail down a starting spot and ball winning for a corner forward at inter county level is just paramount. But Towey has everything else. He is a magician with ball in hand. So maybe he will be a good option off the bench when games are more open and defenders are giving up more space. He is miles better than Orme for example.

    Boland deserves to start 5 or 6 of these league games regardless of his performance in individual matches to see how he fares. It is not that cut throat, if it was then Ryan should absolutely be benched after last week’s performance.

  24. @Sean Burke and GBXI

    I remember that game in Healy Park as well, and with it a month away, I’m starting to make a list of lads with a point to prove up there.

    I remember feeling that we got caught out by the coin toss that day – we started a team much more suited to playing with the wind that day – and it probably has proven a black mark against a few players who started that day.

    But that’s also natural – like last month’s defeat to London will follow those lads around like a bad smell – some such as Conor Reid might put it behind him pretty quickly – and for others like Jordan, Robbie and Cillian it might be just be another footnote.

  25. Look as i said i hope my concerns are unfounded , its not jst about being light though . Kevin mcghlouglin was light but by christ he was one hardy hoor . Lets see how it develops , boland was almost flawless on sunday , it will be difficult to follow that up again next sat . Love to see him hold his own in high intensity battle and for me that would indicate great improvement in that aspect of his game .

  26. FrosT, you’ll be writing a long time compiling that list for Omagh!

    If we play like we played on Sunday, physicality won’t be a huge issue for Boland, or Towey. It was they way we played rather than who we played that was important: moving the ball at speed, not holding on, not getting caught, and having a man run into the right space so that the layoff can put him in a good position, with only occasional back passing. Towey came on when Galway were tiring and that helped his game. I felt the management could have used completely different subs and they would have slotted in equally well.

    The trick now is to maintain this innovative play, and, (this is a big one), be able to adapt to what other teams throw at us, particularly Dublin who are very good at figuring out our game, and very good also at figuring out their own game when it’s not going to plan, and adapting accordingly.

  27. Jp. Your dead right. Tommy done absolutely fine. Got a free for a point. Set up another. He shines when the daises comes up and that’s when it matters. Considering what happened to him before… should he really have started. Playing sigerson tomorrow? I hear mcstay talking about lads in year 1. 2. 3. Come on Kevin time towy was starting a game now and a.few more. No point in playing a championship team in January or February. I don’t need to remind anyone about 2023. As regards defending the league… I’d see that as a mistake. Get safe in division one and look at extension to the panel for the real deal.

  28. @Catcol – won’t take me too long at all 🙂

    ROUND 6: Tyrone 0-11 Mayo 0-9 (Healy Park, Omagh, 19/3/2022). MAYO: Rory Byrne; Lee Keegan, David McBrien, Donnacha McHugh; Oisín Mullin, Aidan O’Shea, Stephen Coen; Jordan Flynn (0-2), Matthew Ruane (0-1); Fionn McDonagh, Paul Towey, Fergal Boland; Aiden Orme, Jason Doherty, Ryan O’Donoghue (0-5, four frees). Subs: Jack Carney (0-1) for McDonagh, Enda Hession for McHugh, Kevin McLoughlin for Towey, Darren Coen for Doherty, Conor Loftus for Boland.

  29. If Rod and Tommy play against the dubs. That’s 3 games in a week including the sigerson. Also in bad weather conditions. Anyone considering player welfare. Injury s?

  30. Some the lads could be playing 6 games in 18 days if play v Dublin, and would have trained in between.

  31. Saw that piece alright Supermac…
    Horan gave it to Galway and PJ…
    Maybe he is keeping a close eye on things for next year !! ( I’m joking)

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