Final thoughts: the Coach (Stephen Rochford) – Mayo News football podcast 2021 E25

It’s less than a week out now from the final so it’s definitely the right time to be talking tactics. In this latest episode of the Mayo News football podcast, as we continue our build-up to the big game, it’s tactics all the way.

Mayo News columnist Billy Joe Padden hosts this episode, featuring special guest Stephen Rochford, who knows plenty about setting up against Tyrone, first as Mayo manager and latterly as coach with the Donegal team. 

In a wide-ranging discussion, both teams are assessed in detail. Billy Joe and Stephen discuss Tyrone’s defensive set-up and counter-attacking style and the evolution of Tyrone’s play since Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan took over from Mickey Harte.

The teams’ kickout strategies are analysed and possible match-ups are considered before the discussion moves onto Mayo’s approach, in terms of the tempo they like to play at and their pressing style. Aidan O’Shea’s possible role, how the Mayo forwards will deal with Tyrone’s suffocating defending and the impact of the two benches all get a mention before the focus turns to giving a verdict on how the final is likely to go.

This episode of the Mayo News football podcast is now online and is available to listen to on iTunes, SoundCloud, Podomatic and Spotify. You can also listen to it directly on the Mayo News website as well as here on the blog using the SoundCloud player below or the one on the panel on the right.   

The Mayo News football podcast has its own Twitter presence, @MayoPodcast, so if you’re a Twitter user you should follow us there to make sure you get the latest podcast-related updates, including new episodes. 

You can also subscribe to the podcast on your platform of choice and can do that here.

The Mayo News football podcast is produced and edited by Ger Duffy Media. The show is sponsored by Ceramic City and Swinford Motors, two fine Mayo businesses with whom we’re proud to be associated this year, all the way to the All-Ireland final.

71 thoughts on “Final thoughts: the Coach (Stephen Rochford) – Mayo News football podcast 2021 E25

  1. Great service on the podcasts Willie Joe and team-really helping to crank up the excitement ahead of Saturday! The breadth of views and content is a complete credit.

  2. God lads that’s a great chat. It’s like playing chess. Sitting here sipping coffee and nibbling pancakes and trying to settle the butterflies. It’s a great feeling to be here again and I know our date with destiny is drawing closer. Simple is…if we perform, each to their very best, we will win. Important to play right to the very end, as we are accustomed to seeing from this new exciting team. Bring it on. Sam Maguire is coming west…
    Maigheo abú
    Thanks lads.

  3. People might be interested in a how a ticket draw was carried out in Tyrone club which looks like a good process and the number of tickets allocated are indicated at the start and toward end of video

    facebook page
    Fianna Oileán an Ghuail CLG

    Video post on Sept 2nd on that page

  4. Great podcast. Can anyone put names to faces to our last on that great 1951 photo when they were all there dressed in white. Failing that who were the 2 very tall guys in back row? Up Mayo.

  5. @Centerfield
    It was refreshing to see a clear and transparent process for that draw. I think it ridiculous how some draws are done behind doors. The amount of Raffles in Mayo and other counties that are not following this open transparency is a disgrace i feel. I will still probably enter a few in last few days but i do feel that some could be open to abuse by organisers.

    Sorry if i offend anyone but i think we should commend when things are done properly.

  6. Moving on from my Ticket Rant . This is a great chance for Mayo. I think if we came up against Kerry we had to plan for their best players and assign men to shutdown their game and our players game. Against Tyrone we dont have to do that, we need to plan to beat the team so that means our best players while still doing there jobs on day can go out play to their strengths .

    I think i would hold back some big players for 2nd half as that Tyrone bench is strong once they start offloading. Kev Mcloughlin , Harrison , Boyler and id be tempted to keep o shea for 2nd half too if Carr is going well in training. Let Aidan run the legs off himself for one half .

  7. More interesting than how the draw was conducted was that they had 161 Pairs of tickets to draw out. There are 53 clubs in Tyrone so pretty similar to Mayo yet the best clubs in Mayo with county players County board ticket sales urban status barely got 161 tickets nevermind 161 pairs. Mayo supporters have really been let down by the greed of the county board. We all know its hard to fundraise but this is an exceptional year and more should have gone to the supporters. Its a long road with no turn and all this will be remembered by the supporters who have helped keep the team on the road over the past few years.

  8. Somebody on here mentioned unfurling a huge green and red flag on the Hill, possibly with James Horans face imprinted on it. Great idea for anyone with Hill tickets.

    Tyrone will bring noise and colour and possibly smoke flares. We will need to match them. Would be great to see green and red smoke drifting from the Hill during the parade while the massive James Horan green and red flag appears through the haze.

    Goosebumps. Hair standing on the back of the neck. A quickened heart rate. Somebody with Hill tickets make it happen.

  9. Ya Keepthefaith i had to go to the end of the video to double check and it seems to be 2 tickets each for the 161 drawn out that would mean 322 tickets total

  10. I watched the begining and end of the video and it has knocked the wind out of me. how did that club have so many tickets and why did they give two tickets to each member drawn out. would it not have been fairer to give one ticket to each club member first and then draw names to give a second ticket. my mind boggles

  11. What will this day week bring, more heartache or plenty of sore heads from celebrations.
    Horan must stick with young legs, no place in Croker for legs over 30 years unless last 10 minutes to keep a slender lead.

  12. I also had a look at that club’s draw – and it should be the blueprint for all ticket draws. Good on them. I am envious of the amount of tickets they had! The search continues in this house. Only hope now is that the club delegates at whenever the next County Board meeting is to quiz the top table on the clubs allocation, how much was raised by this “corporate’ donation stuff, from the Golf Classic and from the latest ‘donation to the team fund’. It seems that the local media are not going to pose any difficult questions on the ticket situation…..

  13. Mad that the Guardian have an article about us. The longer the famine goes on, the more appeal the story will have. Please god it will be over on Saturday evening and the myths and supposes curses can be put to bed for once and for all.

  14. Just by the by, Dave, I missed seeing an email from the BBC after the drawn 2016 final and only came across it when it was too late. It was a request to go on their Today programme – the BBC’s equivalent of Morning Ireland, which was based on Today – to talk about Mayo and, yes, the curse. So we’ve been on the UK’s radar for a while on this topic!

  15. @Willie Joe, .. GAA Director of Communication Alan Milton referring to Mayo supporters as ‘Zealots’ .. in the Gaurdian mind you he has said a lot worse, like when he was worrying about the possibility of bloodshed in the streets of Newbridge or Nowhere between presumably the _’Zealots’ of Mayo and the Lily White, Lily Whites.., of course it never happened, it all passed off peacefully, even on Irish Derby Day,.. Sheik’s, Toff’s, 3 card tricksters, Men with ridiculous looking Top Hats, Sultan’s, Lily Whites, and Zealots from Mayo all mingled and mixed and not a single drop of blood was shed… And “Evangelical??? Mayo are the least Evangelical people or County you could find, we never preach, yet he preaches allot, and when he preaches I find myself wondering what’s he trying to justify? ..He right about FOMO, the fear of missing out, many of us will be missing out next Saturday, if the GAA had been more prepared for the allowed increased attendance, less of us would be missing out..

  16. @williejoe. Yes willejoe we have been on their radar for a while I’m sure you have seen the piece from countdown from 2016 or 17 about the curse. Not sure if someone posted it on an earlier post or not on this blog. He had his homework done on the so-called curse

  17. Could have been your 15 mins of fame WJ. Keep checking the emails. They might be looking for a Mayo correspondent after the win on Saturday evening.

  18. Great podcast, Billy Joe asked Stephen some interesting questions, the one that stood out for me was midfield, I think Tyrone will kick a lot of ball towards middle third because Mayo haven’t got big midfielders like Kerry & may come under pressure from those kick outs, just something Mayo need to be ready for, + where to play A O S ? Maybe start in mid field & move to full forward just confuse Tyrone backs a little.

  19. Cannot get this vision out of my head that a battle hardened, match fit C Boyle will play a part in proceedings en route to a glorious Mayo win……..As a veteran hanging in, would be lovely to see Colm in all his glory bouncing them off him and lifting Sam…….

  20. Great podcast and insight how coaches think. Curse or not, one plan. We have the men on the field and on the sideline. Roll on Saturday. It will not be easy, but that is when we are at our best.
    Best of luck Mayo

  21. Brilliant pic, John Martin. I never saw that 70s version. Paddy P looks fresh still…hope he’s smiling this time next week!

    That’s the big question @ Left Boot. Where does O’Shea play. Got a stat today that I didnt know. He hasnt ever scored in a final. That 0-0 from six games….

  22. Thx MartyK and Mayonaze – I’ve never put names to faces before – as one of nature’s pessimists I’m unusually confident – we haven’t seen the best of these young guys yet!

  23. Does anyone know is the situation the same where the cup will not be going home with the winners ?
    It’s a load of bullshite if it is . Fair enough little or no people were vaccinated . Only today on the radio they confirmed no Covid outbreaks from any of the semi finals in Croker .

  24. Some amount of favourites losing in last couple of weeks.
    Dublin favourites to beat Mayo
    Kerry favourites to beat Tyrone
    Dublin Ladies favourites to beat Meath Ladies.
    Each one of them, put shoulder to the wheel, got stuck in, grit, passion and no little still. But still think this a 50/ 50 game against Tyrone.

  25. @mayotilidie, those games you mentioned had one team overwhelming favourites. Completely different. Sure, plenty of pundits have already called it in favour of Tyrone, so this game is as close as you can get. Most say 50/50 and based on thos years championship performances that’s not far off. In fact, if looking at this year’s championship in isolation then Tyrones performances and results have been more impressive which is why Mayo need a huge performance to do it next Saturday.

  26. Maithiú Mná na Mhi.. Fantastic game, , tremendous pace two superb teams.. But a bit like Mayo v Dublin, .Meath had to beat the Ref as well as the Dubs… Those interested in what will happen with the Sam Maguire Cup next weekend, might just keep an eye on what happens with the Brendan Martin Cup tonight.. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves in Mayo..A week of anticipation, anxiety .. and who knows who will be lifting Sam, let alone what happens with the Cup !

  27. Is that not Dr Mick Loftus from crossmolina in the picture, if so still very much alive, think this mayo team has the bottle to win on Saturday, best of luck to them

  28. Yes it is Dr Mick Meath+Exile………. A legend. I saw a lovely pic of his granddaughter wheeling him into the centre of the Connacht C of E ‘dome’……empty but for the two of them and Dr Mick marvelling at it all……….a man who no doubt togged put under many ditches with the kit in a plastic bag……….

  29. I’m cautiously confident, however McQuillan over Gough has dampened my enthusiasm a little.

    I think Mayo will start poorly again. But through a combination of indiscipline, poor shooting, and just not going all out from Tyrone, will be well in it at half time. In the second half Mayo switch into 6th gear and I think over the course of the half they have too much for Tyrone to live with. Pull away in the end to win by ~5 points.

    I think if Tyrone give away the amount of soft frees they did against Kerry it could be crucial, but I would’ve relied on Gough to give them more consistently.

    I expect Mullin to start and McLaughlin at least to be named on the 26.

    The keeper match up will be crucial. Maybe this is my bias, because I’ve always been a massive supporter and defender of Robbie Hennelly. But, while they both have a mistake in them, I think Morgan is far more erratic, and I think Mayo could make a hay on his lockouts in crucial times of the match

  30. We’ve heard enough about curses. Pure nonsense. It’s the weight of history we’re up against that’s the problem, the pressure this produces. That’s what the lads need to overcome. Maybe talk about that.

    A challenging task but the team can be quietly confident in what they have. Just need to believe, and put in a performance, and if they do they’ll have every chance. But this is easier said than done, aa I’m sure previous set-ups can attest to.

    On the one hand its just another match, but on the other it’s not really. It’s huge. It’s a huge opportunity, especially with this year’s novel pairing. James needs them to believe they can go where no other Mayo team has gone before. That’s the motivation right there. That’s the challenge management need to put to the players, both the older veterans like Lee, Aidan etc, and the younger bucks. Ignoring that is counterproductive because the players will feel it even if its repressed. Plus, the older lads will have scars from previous defeats in deciders. Process is important, but grasping the opportunity on the day and getting them into ‘that’ zone is the Key focus. I’m not a sports psychologist so I can’t comment on how to achieve this.

    Cyril Farrell talked about this in the pre match build up prior to this year’s All Ireland hurling final, obviously referencing his breakthrough with Galway in the 80s. Mentor the lads etc, try to have them right for the day. When you get to a final you’ve a good enough team to win (this goes for Tyrone too), but you cannot be shackled by nerves. (Personally I’d take Cyril over any sports psychologist out there). Perhaps this is part of the ‘process’ but there’s no hiding the Elephant in the room: The weight of history. The finals we’ve lost.

    Break that barrier James. Break on through to the other side.

  31. Motivate, please don’t suffocate with talk of curses. Talk reality only. Face it full-on.

  32. What happens if you try not to think about the elephant in the room (12 All Ireland final fails since ’51)? All you can think about is the elephant in the room….

  33. What about all the other counties who have never won the all ireland or not done so for decades is there a curse on them?i think not. In a way mayo are victims of their own success in getting to numerous finals but just not able to get over the line. Well done meath ladies today

  34. Massive weight of history on this Mayo team. It’s a massive opportunity, no doubt. I believe that 15 vs 15 we have the better footballers and the better management team. I fully believe we will win on Saturday. Enjoy the build up folks. This is our Christmas, let’s hope we get what we want for a change.

  35. A final is like a toss of a coin in that there’s only two eventual outcomes. We’ve had tails come up ten times in a row. It’s time for Mayo heads next Saturday.

  36. That was a great interview by Stephen Rochford.
    He definitely looks at the game different to most.

    I think myself that Aidan O Shea will have a great game on Saturday night.
    The decision by Horan to pull him off in the semi May turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

  37. Superb podcast. Stephens knowledge and tactical awareness is great to listen to. He has picked out all the critical match ups and how the teams are going to address the kickouts; set plays etc. Summarise his take of the game is that it’s very much a 50/50 game but we can be confident at the same time. Well done Billy Joe as well, brilliant anchor man.

  38. I really recommend on YouTube the Laochra Gael about Frank McGuigan. He was probably the most skillful of big men to have played the game, 6’2″ and a naturally powerful man although you’d figure the manual labour on their small farm added a bit of strength.
    He grew up in one of the last tiny pockets with no electricity in the late 60s and early 70s.
    Very shy, it was a clubmate in Ard Boe that said the selectors should go and look at McGuigan.
    He had a routine playing on his own of catching the ball back off their roof.
    You will see in the video clips that he seemed to be more aware than others catching the ball in crowds. He wouldn’t pull off clean catches, he’d kill the ball in the air and catch it then. You need to see it, there’s something slow motion about how he caught the ball.
    Then he had 14 stone and mobility to move left or right and he was fully equal with both feet.
    Anyways you may have heard of Frank McGuigan, really recommend his Laochra Gael.
    Possibly he was the most idolized player in a county. Rumours he would play in a club match of no importance resulted in a huge crowd of 2k at the match 🙂

  39. Jack O’Connor has stepped down from the Kildare role and judging by his comments on the Examiner podcast he’s clearly throwing his hat in the ring for the Kerry gig. As Paudí said, they’re f*%king animals below, feasting on the carcass of Peter Keane and him still in the job.

  40. @JP: Agreed, McGuigan was some player whose career was sadly cut short due to a car accident, much like another great of the period, Matt Connor. I think he beat Armagh on his own in the Ulster final one year!

  41. @CarrigDubh, ..That particular decision was definitely a blessing, but it wasn’t in disguise.. Great podcast with Stephen Rochford, he has an in-depth knowledge of the Tyrone team, and great man to explain the naunces of the problem facing Mayo next Saturday,.. And Billy Joe an excellent interviewer,asks all the appropriate questions…It’s a long way ahead of the analysis I expect to get on RTE watching the game on TV, which is what I expect I will be doing..A bit disappointed last night with the Sunday Game that they didn’t preview the upcoming All Ireland men’s final, the analysis of the Women’s final from yesterday was first class, but it would have been interesting to hear Cora’s thoughts, without the interruptions of Pat Spillane, or Colm O’Rourke for once … I mean this as a compliment, like pieces of Lego, so interchangeable and fit so seemlessly into another position and know what to do.. Very tatical first quarter until the first water break,… Interesting stuff, but I really can’t get a handle on what’s going happen next Saturday at all.. Too much unknowable for me as yet, maybe something will begin to crystalize before next Saturday!

  42. A main takeaway for me from this pod was mentioned at the start, 4/6 of the Tyrone backs scored from play. 3 in the 1st half alone. How did this happen? It stemmed from the total failure of the opposite Kerry players to track back. The 3 scores were very soft and uncontested. There is no way at all that the Mayo FF line or whomever is marking them will allow this to occur or repeat itself.

    Also, the x 3 Tyrone 1/2 forwards essentially play as extra backs, this only leaves x 2 uptop as McKenna or Donnelly wander back.

    Maybe this was a game in isolation where the 4/6 backs scored but without these, Tyrone would have lost.

    In essence Tyrone remind me of Mayo in ’16/’17, we know how that performed. Relying on backs to get scores. We still get scores from the backs but these are bonus not dependent on them.

    Tyrone also don’t get much from midfield whereas we do with Mattie / Conor.

    The thing to consider is McShane and Canavan when they come one. McShane will absolutely not get the freedom of the park and Canavan will be met with fire and brimstone, he’s small.

    Also, the forwards we can bring on, Carr, Coen, Flynn, O’Shea – all score getters.

    Then look at the backs we have, O’Hora, Harrison. Plunkett, Keegan, Durcan, Mullin (TBC) McLaughlin (TBC) Coen, and Hession – are Tyrones back better? I don’t think so.

    Overall I think we are much stronger unit. JH seems to have really galvanised the squad. They seem more as one than brilliant individuals like we had from 12 / 19.

    Do we now have the winning formula? I think so.

  43. That’s a bit unfair saying we relied on backs getting scores in 2016/17. We had a corner forward who got player of the year. Cillian got 3 points from play in 2 finals, Jason Doc and Kevin McLoughlin were chipping in with scores too.

  44. Very realistic from Stephen Rochford. Watched the game again v Dublin. We made some horrendous passes and decisions. Couple that with shot selection and forced errors and we were lucky to get the extra time. No extra time that next day I feel will work against us if we haven’t this game in the bag. Our usual 15 min siesta needs to stop. I do now love the air of expectation in our county. time to start believing in ourselves and time for us supporters to demand, yes demand, victory. The amount of resources poured into the county squad has to start showing tangible results. Hopefully James Horan will not be forced into some mad decision on the day that will scupper us. Its only Monday and my stomach is already upset. Long week ahead.

  45. Another great listen from Stephen Rochford and Colm O’Rourke here…
    Stephen “I hope you’re not retiring Colm Boyle for us, we’re hoping to see him in the final!”
    Colm “How would McLoughlin miss the final, all he got was a double jaw break… the worst thing that could happen is he’d break it again”

    Can’t believe the silence everywhere… it’s eerie! This is going to be a long week!

  46. Key question for me is where are we going to get scores from? We never do well with blanket defences and while Tyrone dont play a typical blanket it’s still every man behind the ball at times. Rochford makes a good point on that one, there needs to be lots of inside to outside and outside to inside movement and spot on shot selection.

  47. Yes east cork, this is well covered in the interview. Ciaran McDanger spoke about this before, ways to beat the blanket. He’ll earn his keep on Saturday in this respect.

    Who’ll be our starting 6 up front folks?
    Will Kev Mc start? Possibly not as he may get smotherd by the blanket set up but will be devastating coming on. It must be kept in mind that he struggled in both first halves v Galway and Dublin. Then again, Kev has class, so I’d have zero complaints seeing him start. It’s just whatever way Horan sees it and how he plans to set up tactically.

    Darren McHale may not make the starting 15 but who will replace him? And what about Aido??

    Nailed on starters up front are:


    The remaining 3 positions are very much up for debate…but most of the other positions on the field pretty much pick themselves, even if Oisin and Eoghan are injured.

    My guess is Aidan will start at 14

    Could Darren Coen start to shoot over the blanket? I’m not so sure. Think he’ll continue to be a sub.

    Could Bryan Walsh also start? Or Carr?

    More likely, Horan will pick the same forwards as started in the semi with someone coming in for Darren Mc, who did struggle. Hession will hardly start in forwards as we need an out and out forward. But there are no standouts on the bench…..

    When you consider the above, we’re far from a settled forward unit. Would be interesting to hear peoples thoughts.

    Another possible angle touched on by Rochy is possibly freeing up a Lee and bringing him out field… replacing him in the backs by a Hession. So… conceivably the only change might be Hession for McHale… (if Eoghan and Oisin start).

  48. You’re right “liberal role in the tie”, Kev Mc definitely struggled in the first half against Galway……considering he was on the bench! Lol easy mistake to make, only jiben!

  49. Returning to Eoghan and Oisin for a second.. say if both of them start, who will they replace? I can’t see any of the other back 6 lose out. Maybe Plunkett but he’s a solid presence in the corner and we need someone to mind the house. He’d be unlucky to lose out. So there might be scope to position one or both of them in the forward positions. It would be a negative move to reposotion Oisin back to the full back line.

    I’m guessing Oisin will start with Eoghan surely unable to have recovered sufficiently from his injuries. So it may be as simple as Oisin in for Eoghan with all the other 5 backs lining out as per the semi final.

    OHora, Lee, Paddy, Stephen Coen are absolute automatic starters.

  50. Thanks for pointing out @our time has come!!!!

    Kev to start so!!!! 🙂
    It’s all getting a bit confusing!

  51. The greatest comment I ever heard came from Paddy Prendergast – I will paraphrase- but it goes like this – if I thought Carney and I we’re cursed and preventing Mayo winning an All Ireland, I’d fly out to California, shoot Carney and jump out of the plane on the way back” ,

    And just one more thing, although Paddy came from Mayo, look at all the great full backs he produced for Kerry !

    Paddy, I hope you will celebrate a great win, get the monkey of your backs, and see Mayo raise The Sam Maguire Cup !

    And finally , thank you paddy !

  52. Rahoon Sean, I love this. Nothing makes me angrier (not even the t**k*t shortage) than this stupid talk of curses and the lack of respect afforded to these gentlemen and their families at times like these. I don’t care how tongue in cheek it is, it’s horrible and juvenile. I was delighted to see Paddy on the front page of the Irish Mirror on Saturday, looking hale and hearty!

  53. I hope Eoghan and Oisin are fit. These rumors of COC playing a part I can’t see them having any holding.
    I really think our bench has the winning of this game. If Coen gets space in the last 15 mins he can clock up 2-3 points. I really feel we need to play into the hill in the 1st half. It seems the Davin is the scoring end and thinking back to the games against Dublin, semi final resurrection, COC equalizer in the drawn game, McD’s equalizer back in the day, all into that end.

    I can’t even sleep anymore. Woke up thinking I had got a ticket through the ST scheme. As a vet of so many games and finals this is not what I’m like at all. I think I’ll need rescue remedy at this stage!!

    Great podcast as always. Really get the blood flowing! 🙂

  54. Podcast is fantastic, two great football men. No blather out of either of them, straight talk. ++spoiler alert++ Stephen going for Mayo by two, that’s good enough for me.

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