Fill up, then move on

Kernan_It is Monday morning and we did kick some serious hole against the Tribesmen yesterday so let’s get all that enjoyment out of the way, shall we?

I like the heading in the Indo’s report, I like seeing Keith Duggan get to write a report bereft of Mayo pain in the Times and I like the point that Club Mayo make about how our start to this year’s NFL compares with the lassitude we were showing this time last year.  Like TIALTNGO, I’m happy to take a seven point margin even if it could have been seventeen.  And I’d like to see what Seaneen over on the Galway football blog has to say about his countymen’s implosion at McHale Park when he gets around to writing up his full report on proceedings. If all those words are too much for you, you might like to have a look at a few of the snaps I took in Castlebar yesterday afternoon.

And that’s it – time to move on now.  It’s great that we’ve made such a positive start to the year and Johnno (quoted in the Indo report mentioned above) is right to pull up anyone who’s been saying that we’re going backwards.  I’m not the only one who came into the New Year in a downbeat mood about the team’s prospects and I’m delighted to have been proved so wrong about how the team might fare yesterday.  At best, I thought we’d see another close fought encounter but I did have some fears that we could take a thumping.  I never thought we’d be the ones dishing the thrashing out.

What we need now is to keep going at a nice even clip.  There’s no point being the best team in the country in February or March – Galway have proved this point amply over the last two years, as did Donegal (and, to some extent, ourselves as well) the year before that. With away trips in the league to come against Tyrone, Derry, Cork and Kerry, we could still have our work cut out to retain our Division 1 status but obviously if we go up to Omagh next Sunday and put in a similar performance to yesterday’s we could be most of the way to safety then, with eminently winnable home matches against Dublin and Monaghan to come.

The ideal scenario for us would, I think, be to secure our Division 1 status early on in the campaign, which would then enable us to give more of the squad some proper game time as spring develops.  We’ll need to bring in someone for Trevor against Tyrone the next day and I think we should be looking to give the likes of Neill Douglas and/or Alan Freeman a start.  We could also do with a little rotation at the back.  My sanity has already been questioned concerning my suggestion that Keith might be allowed to put his feet up for a game or two but I think such a move might have some merit.  I reckon we could do worse than to do a bit of rejigging across the backline to see if there a tighter and more secure formation we could come up with.  Now’s the time of year to be road-testing these kind of options.

And we’ve still got lads like Tom Cunniffe, Pat Harte, Barry Moran, Alan Dillon, Aidan Kilcoyne and Conor Mortimer to be integrated back into the set-up as spring progresses, which means that there could be a few fierce battles for places in the side as we head towards championship time again.  One unexpectedly emphatic win doesn’t mean we can start to get all dewy-eyed about what the summer might hold for us but it does mean that we (myself included) can and should stop being overly pessimistic about where we currently stand in the scheme of things.

25 thoughts on “Fill up, then move on

  1. WJ, I think your assesment of Keith Higgins was very harsh, MM scored 1-3 the goal was when he switched to ff and it was gers responsibility and two points from frees, apart from the goal he did not do much, Keith always had the better of him which he normally does. I felt keith won alot of ball most he had no right to win, he likes to stand a forward up and ask the forward to beat him which rarely happens, a race to a ball keith wins every time, without doubt mayos best defender and go as far to say best defender in connacht

  2. I am, I know, being deliberately provocative here but it is a fact that Keith stands yards off whoever he’s marking when playing in the corner and time and again his man does damage on the scoreboard. I could be wrong but I’m almost sure he was still on Meehan up to and after the goal yesterday. I accept, of course, that he has loads of positives and brings a lot to us but not as a corner-back and if we persist in playing him there, we’re asking for a repeat of what happened to us against Meath when we have our next big day out at HQ.

  3. Im kindof with WJ here but dropping him is not required. He has it all….just needs to avoid the odd slip( literally ) and this can be avoided by sticking closer to his man.

  4. Great win but i feel we were vulnerable under the high ball in the backs.
    Serious competition for places in the forwards.
    It would be nice to secure Div 1 status & then experiment.
    Perhaps Feeney should get a start in one of the away games—less supporter pressure.

  5. great win and great performance. This is the kinda performance that we know Mayo are capable of and every now and again we see it and get all excited. !! will watch next weekend v Tyrone with great interest now to see what the follow up is.
    a couple of questions …. one mentioned on ClubMayo today as to why Jonno only used 1 sub yesterday ???
    …and second do any others out think that our goalie David Clarke does a great job but his kick-outs get too much air (read snow!) and not enough accuracy. I think our midfiled yesterday did better at winning possession from the Galway kick-outs than from our own.

  6. Yes, Ma-Yoman, we did only use the one sub yesterday, with Alan Freeman coming on for Seamus O’Shea. It looked like O’Shea had taken a knock. Freeman went into full-forward and AOS moved out to the forty; it was after this that he surged forward for that late point he got.

    I’d say if we’d had 15 on till the end, he’d have brought on a whole clutch more in the last ten minutes, as we could have been much further ahead at that stage. I’ve just checked back over our NFL and championship results, by the way, and the last example I can find where we used one sub (or fewer) was in a league game against Meath in April 2001, which we won by six points and where we brought on no subs at all. From what I can see, in every game since then (up till yesterday), we’ve brought on at least two subs in every NFL and championship match. So now for you!

    Didn’t notice that about Clarke’s kickouts yesterday but I think it’s true that his kicking can leave a bit to be desired at times. He’s one hell of a shot-stopper, though, and is worth his place for that alone.

  7. not ot put a dmapener on things but don’t get ahead of ourselves. Tyrone were beaten badly by Derry on Sat night and (unfortunatly) will have a point to prove the next day !! Good thing about the Tyrone game is that we won’t be favourites and also that it will expopse our fellas to some hard slaps (thats wht you get off Tyrone) … and a few dirty ones as well if Ryle is playing. Fellas need to know what they’re up against and I think the tyrone game soming straight away is a good thing (even if we don’t prevail)

  8. Too true, JPM, and we’d be mad to start losing the run of ourselves, which is one reason to be thankful that Trevor got sent off when he did yesterday. Imagine what we’d all be like now had we gone on to win by 20 points, which could realistically have happened if it had stayed at 15 v15? The Tyrone match will be just the kind of hard battle we need in order to test what we’re really made of and then we’ll have Galway mad as hell and gunning for revenge in the FBD final the weekend after. We’ll be well ready for the visit of the Dubs after that lot!

  9. Expected to win but never saw that result coming. I expect us to do well V Tyrone, we have a solid record agin them in the league, likewise Kerry and the Dubs. Its the Corks and Monaghans that will pose probs for us. Glad of yesterdays win but we gotta do it outside Connacht as well.

  10. THERE IS NO PLACE ON A GAELIC FOOTBALL FIELD FOR HIGH FIVES.Time and again yesterday you had fellas touching gloves after scores.Two things it`s only Febuary and we`ve won nothing.When we win something we can give the lads a good manly slap on the back.Can you imagine the effect this type of ponsie behaviour would have on the likes of Kerry in the heat of battle in Croke Park.They`d eat us without salt!So lads save the congratulations for when we win something and leave the high fives for the pre-pubicent girls

  11. TG4s snippet tonight was a disgrace. They showed 20 mins of the Laois game played behind a blanket of fog…we got about 3 or 4 minutes of the most randomly selected footage you could see. For all u shift workers the game in its entirety is being shown at 4:30 am tomorrow morning on setanta Ireland!

  12. The highlights from last night’s programme which are available on the RTE Player (20 minutes, 30 seconds in – thanks to Club Mayo for this info) aren’t too bad, about ten minutes or so plus a bit of chat with our Kev and Colm O’Rourke.

  13. Good win yesterday. Galway were seriously bad. Only for hanley and Meehan it would have been a criket score. I agree with you on Kieth, he is not a C-back. I think he should swap places with Howley for the Tyrone match. Liked the look of Freeman when he came on, he should start at FF against Tyrone, bring AOS out to half foward instead of Trevor.

  14. “And we’ve still got lads like Tom Cunniffe, Pat Harte, Barry Moran, Alan Dillon, Aidan Kilcoyne and Conor Mortimer to be integrated back into the set-up as spring progresses…”

    Are most of the above lads still carrying injuries?

  15. Tom, Aidan and Barry are all injured and it could be late spring or early summer before they make it back. Alan and Conor are away on their travels but due back inside the next few weeks, I think. Pat has work commitments (in the US, I think) which are restricting his involvement for now.

  16. Except that performance against meath wj i cant seem to remember Keith really ever standing off his man,the pitch was in terrible condition that day and he seemed to find it harder to deal with than most. I rarely miss a Mayo game home or away and i would say keith is one of the tightest markers in the buisness and to think of dropping him is ridiculous, I know from reading the blog daily you know your stuff but Keith is a player mayo are lucky to have. How rare is it for a player to score more tan 0-2 from play on Keith. By anychance your not thinking of Aidan Higgins? Now there was a man afraid to get within 20 metres of his opponent

  17. Fair enough but that’s not my impression of how he marks. From most of the games I’ve seen him play in the corner, he stands yards off his man (and yes, it is Keith I’m talking about not Aidan) and while he’s as fast as lightning, it can leave us very exposed with a loose man inside when ball gets channeled in quickly. I only suggested resting him in February, by the way, not in high Summer – I agree we’re lucky to have him but we need to decide how best to use his undoubted skills and speed. I’d far prefer to see him in the half-backs, a position that’s far better suited to his talents, though I accept he’s been shunted into the corner because of ongoing problems with finding players for this position.

  18. Have to stand up for Aiden Higgins, a man who got better as time went by. I probably havent gone to as many matchs as Anonymus but I regard Keith as a bit of a luxury, nice and neat when given acres to run in but not a corner back. In Mayos last championship match v Tyrone Aiden Higgins was one of the few Mayo men who got physically stuck into them. I most certainly would never accuse him of being “afraid to get within twenty metres of his man”. Indeed i would wish aiden Higgins nothing but thanks for his long service to the county.

  19. “THERE IS NO PLACE ON A GAELIC FOOTBALL FIELD FOR HIGH FIVES” Its people like you pj that give mayo a bad name, uncultured morons!! This probably would get put up any way.. I see Kerry doing it against dublin last year.. Must have a team of ‘gays’ so pj… A sign of togetherness is not a bad thing, obviously willing to put that bit extra in if playing with people you like.. Let me guess white boots are not excepted either, times change pj move on which you cant… let them keep giving high fives and we can only beat who we play and 1 down about 15 to go . Come on Mayo

  20. Jez didn`t mean to ruffle gay pride feathers annoymous but what culture were you talkin`about white boy?High fives came into being when 7 foot plus black basketballers celebrated slam dunks just to piss off the shorter white boys.Now this practice is as close to GAA as rap music is to jigs and reel especially given the size of most of our forewards (I could never figure out what a west of Ireland kid could have in common with with a black man rapping on about being oppressed by the white mon either).Where i come from a lad got a good slap on the back when he scored and a good bollicking when he was 10 paces from the man he was supposed to be marking as the latter stuck it in the back of the net wheither you liked him or not!

  21. Boys , lets not bite each other. We beat Galway in early Feb, there is a long way to go. I too may be a bit like PJ, white boots do nothing for me, saw Alan Ball wear them in 1970 and was unimpressed back then, so its not a new thing to hate white boots or red ones like Charlie Georges either.Time doesnt change Anonomous, especially if you have been around a bit. History merly repeats itself. We in Mayo shopuld be very aware of that.

  22. Nothing wrong with a high five, lads, hi-fiving and tight marking are not mutually exclusive! Some lads can even just get on with it, without getting hung up on the colour of boots they wear! This is the type of response that led Ciaran Mac to turn his back on county football for a while, yes? Should think Johnno would be more concerned about performances than boots.

  23. well said innocentbystander,im far from gay pj, but white boots or pink boots and high fives and such doesnt matter. We used to give Conor Mortimer and ciaran mc stick for it, the day of the coilltes is dying out thank god

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