First bit of team news ahead of League opener


Mayo and Kerry flags

The Mayo News today (print and digital editions) has some early intelligence on who may or may not be in the frame to start in Sunday’s League Division One opener against Kerry at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney (throw-in 2pm).

According to Mike Finnerty’s preview in the paper, new team captain Keith Higgins, as well as Aidan O’Shea and Michael Conroy all took part in the senior squad’s training session last weekend and you’d have to expect that all three will be named to start in the team for Sunday. Ger Cafferkey is on the mend and could make the starting fifteen for Killarney too but this is far from certain.

There’s a fair old list of players who are doubtful for the League opener, including Tom Cunniffe, Andy Moran and Alan Dillon (with management having previously said that Andy and Alan won’t feature in the early rounds of the League), as well as Tom Parsons (out for another four weeks, according to reports), Patrick Durcan, Diarmuid O’Connor and Danny Kirby (who, of course, has yet to play for the county under the new regime).

The side for Sunday is due to be announced on Thursday evening.

This week’s Mayo News has a feature article by Mike Finnerty ahead of the League campaign (here) and the paper has also unveiled Billy Joe Padden as a columnist. On the basis of his first offering this week, BJ will be a good addition to their ranks and his piece in the paper is well worth a proper look.

57 thoughts on “First bit of team news ahead of League opener

  1. It’s great to see the league starting back up can’t wait for the trip to Killarney though I’m going to try not to get as emotionally attached to the game this year I was bursting with pride after the draw against Kerry in Croker yet floored for a week after the defeat in Limerick anyways these lads are worth every mile of the journey they owe us absolutely nothing

  2. Anne Marie it’s time move on and their is a big match on Sunday praying for them to win. Is cillian back for the tyrone game I wonder.

  3. I noted somewhere that we are due to wear our new away strip for the match on Sunday. I for one haven’t seen this jersey, has anyone else?

  4. New Jersey is class btw. Superb balance of the traditional red hoop and sleek design. For the reasonably in shape the player fit looks well. Adds three months of gym work that never happened.
    Looks like we have a strong selection available. Kerry short of players n practice so should be picking up the two points here.

  5. I see the annual report form Croke Park is full of lies about the semi final replay being moved to Limerick. It is commonly known that the head of the CCCC is a Kerryman and Limerick was chosen to give Kerry home advantage. Croke Park was available 2 wks later, but the excuse of having to keep that date in case there was a replay between Dublin and Donegal was used.
    Why do Dublin and Donegal get preferential treatment?
    I was talking to an ex Kerry player recently and he said that if that semi final had been refereed fairly Mayo would have won by 10 points. He also outlined that Kerry will nearly always get preferential treatment. Hence why that fella who took the Cork player out of it in a final before was never in danger of being sent off.
    He reckoned the last final that was refereed fairly was 2008 Kerry v Tyrone.
    Also for any of you interested in a punt. He guarantees that the final this year will be Dublin v Kerry. Croke Park is a business. and you will have games moved (to limerick) and refs (like retard Cormac Reilly). Its not about a medal its about selling newspapers. you only have to look at the number of Kerry people involved in the media.
    needless to say, I won’t be going to the listen to yerras this year

  6. I just hope we can send out a good strong signal next Sunday regardless of what lads are playing. I’d love to see us given them a good fucking hiding on the scoreboard and physicallly. I saw pic of Vaughan in paper jaysus he has bulked up.

  7. I have no doubt our lads will be up for this and will be coming home with 2 points in the bag.
    The following week against Tyrone in Castlebar may not be as fruitful though.

  8. Hoofit
    I think the ex Kerry player you spoke to must have been at the troubling end of your double barrel when he made those statements. Anyone with even a pinch of knowledge or understanding of the club or inter county games would not make them. The first screamer is that no team loves playing in Croke Park more than Kerry and the team and supporters were every bit as disappointed as the people of Mayo so trust me that’s a non runner from the get go. Kerry have played very few games in limerick, the younger players played there a few years ago and got a trouncing from Mayo and the older players have only played there once or twice in the last decade or so.
    You sound like you have spent a few years in North Korea with the paranoia you are spouting. It is almost certain that one of Kerry, Mayo, Dublin and Donegal will do the business next September because they are the four best teams in the country and not because the warlocks in GAA HQ or the newspaper bosses have contrived to arrange it. Ye are coming to Kerry on Sunday for a game that will have a bit of bite but in truth Kerry are very depleted at the moment and I am sure Mayo will be very short as well but it should still be an interesting game and it is great to stoke the fires again and get the whole thing back on the tracks.
    Safe journey to all traveling, Killarney is a very accommodating town with lots of lovely bars and good restaurants so enjoy.

  9. Kerry might not even be able to field a team if you were to take heed of Eamon Fitzmaurice’s utterings over the past few days. I am sure they will though, it would be terrible to get a walkover….

    There are still a few scores to settle from Limerick in particular what occurred just before the start of the second half, unfortunately the Kerry player in question will not be playing on Sunday so may have to wait for another opportunity to see retribution.

    As for the league itself we need to:
    – Maintain our Division 1 status at all costs, 6 points will ensure it.
    – Give meaningful game time to players trying to make the breakthrough to the first 15, 5 minutes here or there is of no use to any player trying to make an impression.
    – Mix the tactics, carry and run v long ball etc
    – Pat & Noel were quoted at the start of their tenure that we needed bigger more physical players in key positions let’s see this in practice starting Sunday.

    Assuming we are a little bit further down the line from a fitness perspective there are two points there for the taking, let’s take them.

  10. We should be looking to bring home 2 points from this one. Kerry’s league form hasn’t been great over the past few seasons, the last two years they’ve been slow out of the blocks, hopefully with the aftermath of the All-Ireland they’ll be even slower this time round. But one thing they’ve been cute about is blooding the players, something that obviously has worked very well. We should be aiming to do the same, it’s a fine line between giving the new players a run / trying established players in new positions and going out to win the games but it must be done. The squad badly needs new firepower up front and reinforcements at the back. We are capable of beating every team in the division but realistically we should be looking to win 3/4 games, with 4 games at home it’s perfectly doable. I can see Cork and Dublin tripping us up and Tyrone have the knack of bettering us in the league.

    I know it’s getting old at this stage but will we ever see Gavin Duffy pull on the jersey for the seniors or would starting him in the league be too much of a gamble? I’m genuinely curious as to what he could bring to the table. Also is Tom King completely off the radar at this stage?

  11. Olive could you enlighten us on the incident and the Kerry player you are talking about. Was it captured on video or just hearsay? First I’m hearing of this.

  12. Gamechanger Welcome back. Kerry depleted in Killarney that will be the day, believe me. I am hoping for a good game of football, with nothing more that 2 league points at stake. Talk of settling old scores is childish. Its about football in Feb and league points. I would like to see some of the new players get a run against the AI champions. Simply can’t wait. Last year should be confined to history where it belongs, Only the lessons learned are of any use to us now. Tomorrow is our most important day. Best of luck to Pat, Noel Micheal and the lads. We still have a great team to follow so don’t take it for granted. Best wishes to the Stacks in the semi’s, I think they will need it.

  13. I wont be wishing any Kerry team of any sort any positive wishes anytime soon, I only hope that Mayo get to meet them at some stage of importance very soon and give them their comeuppance in a big way. Even if its only a league match I think we should really make our presence felt in kerrys minds and bodies. Same for the dubs, no let up and target their fiery bucks, we know who they are.

  14. Possible Mayo team Sunday.

    D Clarke

    K Higgins K Keane C Barrett,

    D Vaughan C Boyle L Keegan

    S O Shea A O Shea

    K McLoughlin , Jason Doherty A Gallagher

    E Regan A Freeman M Conroy

    Should be a strong enough team to beat Kerry especially when they are apparently missing M O Se , A O’Mahony, D Walsh, P Crowley, Brian Kelly, J O’Donoghue, A Maher K Donaghy,C Cooper,D O’Sullivan.

  15. It never ceases to amaze me, the way the Kerry lads always try to plant seeds in the subconscious minds of their opposition. Ah sur I expect a few of the Kerry lads to come out onto the field in Killarney on crutches or with their arms in slings! They played a challenge game against Clare last Sunday so they will be well ready for the game against us. Notice how they have kept so quiet about Tommy Walsh or about Conor Cox. Cox scored 9 points for UUC yesterday in the Sigerson Cup, five from play. I don’t know if he will feature against us but my point is, they always try to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Give away nothing, stay under the radar, talk up the opposition, is their mantra. Just think back to last year. Kerry beat Cork by 12 points we beat them by 1 point, yet we were strong favourites to beat them. They love this and really thrive on it. Its like a national sport down there for them. Think back to Kieran Donaghy last year. They could have easily brought him on against Galway in the quarter-final but they didn’t. There was no talk about him at all, yet he was flying in training. Then they pulled the rabbit out of the hat against us and we know the rest! They are just so cute, both on and off the field. They want to lull us into a false sense of security but we really have to avoid falling into that trap. We have to start learning from our past mistakes.

  16. It is time to forget about last year. Kerry won the AI, not for the first or second time. They must be doing something right. Still referring to playing in Limerick at this stage is getting tedious if not ridiculous. I always thought the reaction to that was completely over the top. Limerick is on the island of Ireland and not inside the Arctic Circle. When Cork brought Dublin to Parc UI Chaomh in 1983 for the SF replay, the Dubs went there and did what they had to do – win. Having said they had Kevin Heffernan as their manager.

    Sunday is about getting two points out on the pitch. No point in over complicating it by dragging in who works in the media or who is playing mind games. It is only January and there is no point getting ahead of ourselves with our excuses for this year already.

  17. HopeSpringsEternal Yea dead right. I remember in 2006 all the talk was of Mayo flying on the run up to the AI final. Blonde haircuts and white socks stars abound. Wall to wall media coverage, it was great!!. Kerry trained in secret as they did for much of 2014. We found out to our cost on both occations what was happening off camera. Have we learned anything, are we going to

  18. I think you are being very generous to Fitzmaurice about Donaghy.
    There was less than 10 minutes to go , they were losing badly against 14 men.
    It was a desperate last throw of the dice by Fitzmaurice and it worked better than he could ever have expected. Nothing cute about that at all. No great master plan.

    Dongahy would not have been brought on (that day or in the final either) if they were winning both matches. An accidental hero.

  19. I thought that too facetheball but I have learned since he was always going to play a part , being primed to do a certain type of job at a certain stage of the championship ! Sure it’s a Kerry thing and they are masters of it. Some Mayo support like to brush this stuff under the carpet as if it’s a myth of some nature but it’s not they know what they are doing all the time to gain an inch or two be it in the papers or on the field . (Tomas o se, played a foo kin blinder last year)

  20. The truth of the matter is this, and it’s hard to accept, but there should never have been a replay in the first place. Mayo were miles ahead in Croke Park both on the scoreboard and in every other measurable facet of play on the field. And we blew it. Simple as that. We had both games in the bag and yet we found ourselves, for the third consecutive year, looking at the only team to beat us in that year go on and win Sam Maguire. Losers find excuses for losing, Winners find a way to win.
    Reilly, Limerick, black cards, head clashes, penalties, soft frees, etc. etc. etc. These are all excuses for losing. If we choose to hide behind them and not face the reality then we will never learn and we will find ourselves in the same place again this year. I am not saying that these issues did not have a part to play in the games but the fact remains that we were 7 points up with 5 minutes to go and did not see it out.
    Our forwards are always taking the brunt for our defeats. “If only we had a marquee forward!”, “we need a Donaghy”, “if only Bernard Brogans father had stayed in Mayo!”. In actual fact our forwards over the last 2 years have been as efficient as any other forward division in the country. It is our defence that lets us down, and in particular our defensive structure, as opposed to the individual players. The old saying is as relevant in gaelic as it is in soccer, “forwards win you games but defences win you titles”.
    Until we have a mean aggressive, clean tackling defence that keeps clean sheets regularly we will not win a national title.

  21. So true, Pebblesmeller – Billy Joe in his Mayo News column makes this point as well. He reckons we’re perfectly set up to adopt a far more defensive approach, not all the time but at key moments in games. Last year’s drawn semi would be an obvious example.

  22. But Pebblesmeller, the forward argument is relevant too. Putting up big scores in Q-Fs and S-Fs is fine, but on the biggest day we have been found out. One point from play in the second half of the 2012 final. One score (Andy Moran’s goal) from play in the second half of the 2013 final. That’s not good enough either.

    The most obvious weapon we’re missing from our forward line is a big, tough option at FF. That should have been Freeman, but he has not made it happen. Without that option, we’re relying for scores on relatively small, tricky forwards – or on Aidan O’Shea for the occasional bit of bulldozing to drive defences back – or on our half-backs, which is not going to get us to the Holy Grail. It’ll get us close, but no closer than last year.

    Someone has got to put their hand up to be the battering ram in the FF line.

  23. Think back to the 1982 Final when Kerry were four up on Offaly [one point less than us last summer]. Kerry went defensive and it cost them the game. And Seamus Darby was no Donaghy in physique either. Ok,1982 is a good while back but the basics of football have not changed since.

  24. I actually completely disagree with you Pebblesmeller on that defensive structure being the reason we lost the replay and in general Mayo’s problem over the last 4 seasons.

    Our defenders couldn’t be much better tacklers – clean, aggressive tacklers at that. And our structure under Horan defensively was superb, particularly tackling higher up the pitch, which is where you get goal opportunities from. If our defense let us down it was individual errors, Keane dropping the ball for McFadden’s goal in 2012, Caff/Hennelly not dealing with a high ball into Brogan in 2013, and Caff/Higgins not dealing with another high ball in the drawn semi-final last year.

    Either way, the margins in all those games were so small that I think it’s a bit silly to come out with a sweeping statement like “until we have a mean aggressive, clean tackling defence that keeps clean sheets regularly we will not win a national title”, when it’s minor details that will ultimately make the difference.

  25. Interesting thoughts.
    I am of the opinion we should forget about Limerick now – it got enough airing last year and it only smacks of sour grapes even referring to it at this stage. I was amused to see it crop up in Duffy’s report yesterday but it was only when I saw people commenting on it afterwards (On the Journal and the like) that I realised that people are starting to use it as a stick to beat us with. Anyway.
    I don’t care where we get in the league – my actual preference would be to end up 5th or 6th, as i don’t think winning a league title makes a blind bit of difference. Maybe the fact that we’re not out until June might make a difference to Pat and Noel’s thinking. My thinking is that we should focus on finding one or two new players. I’ll be surprised if Stephen Coen isn’t in the thinking come the Championship, so it’ll be about finding a couple of new forwards AND a more consistent midfielder. Up until last July, I wasn’t a fan of having Aidan no. 11 – but after seeing what he brought to the table there, I’d be inclined to leave him there as he’s a massive asset for kick outs and that. However, this only works as long as we can find a consistent midfielder beside Seamie. Parson, Moran and particularly Vaughan are contenders for this, though it’s really a thing of last chance saloon for big Barry. It’s been too long for consistent performances from him in a Mayo jersey.
    On another note, are these cryptic messages from MayoGAA on Twitter to do with a black away jersey?! Really?!

  26. battering ram indeed Davy j. Size and middling ball handling skills are all that’s needed if you have have skillful forwards like oconnor or Doherty or regan there waiting for the pass near goal. I don’t think Alan Freeman is aggressive or niggly enough to be a battering ram, you need a fella that really loves the thought of physical and mental sledging. I don’t know if Mayo have one of them, maybe barry moran? he let eamon ohara know in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t be pushed around a few years back in the championship. Key to the big ff in my opinion is playing the right type ball to the man, ive seen aos at ff and ball being played in along the ground to him, crazy stuff. High ball in and let the other forwards give him room to do battle. look at how we have been caught out by big ff isolated near goal.

  27. Jesus lads, we have some inferiority complex regarding Kerry. Doneaghy was a last gamble by Eamon Fitz, nothing more. They were on the ropes and 10 minutes from getting a serious hiding by a 14 man Mayo. Talk of conspiracies and great master plans by GAA HQ and the Kerry media at best make some of you sound bitter and at worst slightly disturbed. Read Pebblesmellers as usual excellent assessment and it says it all.
    All this fawning awe of the cute Kerryman is getting embarrassing.

  28. Black away jersey will be togging out for the first time on Sunday and offically launched on Monday. An aside, the refs had their big pow-wow in Croker last night. The only established referee not on duty this weekend is our Meath friend Cormac Reilly. got a smack on the wrist for his efforts.
    Davy J, I agree to a point. But we expect our forwards to have a success rate of +60% which is very high and even more so later in the year when you are playing against fitter and better defences. As for the single point from play v Donegal in the second half? Donegal had their lead and were never going to give it up. The employed a 2 man sweeper system that choked the life out of most of our attacks, we were either forced wide or rushed into taking shots and taking the wrong options. Only when Feeney came on with 5 mins to go did we start to create chances again. In fact, Mayo were the only team to score with more than 50% of their chances against Donegal that year. So our forwards performed better than most against a formidable defensive unit.

  29. Excellent analysis lads. Forget about 2014. It was a bittersweet year. Massively proud of the lads but we must move on.

  30. Time to forget about Kerry beating us last year, if we can’t accept losing we shouldn’t be competing, first it was Meath, then Donegal, Dublin, now Kerry who cheated us out of All Ireland’s as stated above if Mayo had concentrated on closing out matches then there would have been no replay. Game in Killarney should be taken for what it is – 1st round of the League and not a grudge match

  31. Berry, you’re a breath of fresh air. It is great to hear such common sense. If we had less emotive and ego-wounded comments there would be some great discussions.

  32. GBXI,
    You say that “our defenders couldn’t be much better tacklers” – but I didn’t say anything about our tacklers being poor! What I said was “our defensive structure, as opposed to the individual players”. I don’t mean that player A is a poor tackler, and I admit now reading back that it is not well phrased or clear and that maybe “clean tackling” is not the best choice of words. What I meant to say is that our defence, and in particular our full back line, was always left vulnerable and exposed by the structure used and seen by opposing teams as being weak, mentally and physically. “Send in a high ball, sure they’re scared of the shite of them!”
    As anyone who has read my crap on here will know that I was, and am, a huge admirer of Horan and his time in charge. I am not knocking his achievements. However, the defensive structure he choose to apply always left the full back line exposed and, individually, the defenders in a 1-on-1 situation. In that situation any intercounty forward worth his geansai will either get by the defender and shoot, or, win a free in a scoreable position. Horans idea was to dominate the middle third of the field by using hard tackling half forwards and by pushing his half back line up into the middle third. The aim was to isolate the opposing ball carrier and force the turnover. There was sense in this as 42% of all scores from play come as a result of turning over the ball on your opponent. And we are brilliant at doing this. However, our full back line is left wide open and vulnerable.
    Teams feel, and have proven it, that we are weaker under a long high ball inside our 21, than we are on the ground against a running game. They are targetting us that way. If we were dominant in that part of our game our opponents would switch tactics to a running game, but we are not, so they don’t. The results from last year prove this when you consider that the only games where we kept a clean sheet in league and championship was in New York and against Galway where they had a penalty saved and missed another open goal. Look at the scores against us in the league, Kildare 2-19, Tyrone 2-15, Kerry 1-13 (not bad), W’Meath 3-9, Cork 2-14, Dublin 3-14 and Derry 1-7 and 2-15 (a defensive shambles). Championship was not much better Roscommon 1-9 (alot of wides and missed a sitter for a goal), Galway 0-16, Cork 2-15 (hanging on and should have had a penalty against us) and then Kerry 4-32 in two and a half games!
    Donegal in 2012 was built on their lung bursting non-stop running game. However, in the 2012 final, McGuinness knew that Mayo had the legs and the lungs to stick with them. Instead he went long and direct and the first four attacks Donegal had all went high and long. The result was 2-1 from play and the game was as good as dead after 10 minutes. Kevin Keane did drop the ball and that is an individual error but he should never have been left 1-on-1 against a much bigger and experienced man. That was the wrong match-up. As for the high ball into Brogan, and the Caff/Higgins high ball v Kerry? It’s history repeating itself. I believe we need to have a defense that opponents almost fear, mentally from the point of view that they know they can’t get through too handy (think of Armagh in their pomp) and physically from the point of view that they won’t fancy their chances in sending in high ball (think Donegal 2012). We need clean sheets, an intimidating defense and force the attacks wide.
    As for the minor details? Can you explain how come it is the team that conceeds the least that always gets the minor details right?

  33. So in more of a simplistic type language that I can understand , you want boyler, Vaughan and keegan to stay put on the hb line ?

    Do you think we would create enough scoring chances with a more orthodox type defence ? Especially goal chances as a lot of the time they come from an injection of pace from our defence bombing forward.

  34. Pebblesmeller in fairness Kerry were the better side in the 1st half in croke park. It was only in the 2nd half when mayo were down to 14 men did they take control of the game but foolishly didn’t close the game out and whatever about the replay I really feel the last 5 mins in croke park is where that semi final was lost.

    Sunday Mayo should beat weakened Kerry if not it will be relegation battle on the cards.

  35. My thoughts on our defence would be:
    1. Need somebody at least 6’2″ with a decent leap n hands. Have always felt Caff is weak under high ball. I can’t remember him catching much ball in the square cleanly in games. If yer full back is always forced to break ball, that is breaking ball available to other forwards. Unfortunately he also seems to lack power when in posession.
    2. We need a centre back who is big/quick n will stay on the 45. Cunniffe/Crowe I’d like to see.
    3. I’d replace Boyle/Keegan late in games if leading. By that stage you’re looking for pure closing down speed. Hence maybe Barrett/ANother might be held in reserve.
    4. Station one sweeper in front of the full back.

  36. Seamus to answer your query I will not name either player out of respect for the house rules and out of fairness to the players themselves. I had a good view of what I would call very unsporting behaviour by the Kerry player as I was standing on the very top left of the Clare end terrace. I don’t know if it was possible to see on TV as remember there were less cameras in Limerick than in Croker… I was surprized as well that I did not see anyone refer to it in the media afterwards but I guess so much else happened in that game that it was overlooked.

    It would not merit a red nor probably even a yellow card as the second half had not started but what surprized me was the fact that our guy allowed himself to be bullied…

    Anyway 2014 is done and dusted and as Pebblesmeller said we have to forgot about excuses for past defeats and move on. Good luck to the new management and team as they prepare for Sunday.

  37. Looking forward to Sunday ,,,, for gods sake will some of ya move on from last year ,, ya are beginning to sound like the Rossies always moaning and looking for excuses ,, take last year on the chin and get behind the lads this year,,,,,,,,,

  38. Sean Burke, “you want boyler, Vaughan and keegan to stay put on the hb line ?” No, not necessarily. I wouldn’t have Vaughan in the half back line at all and having all 3 together is too attack minded. I would play a sweeper behind the centre back who would then step forward and fill the space left when Keegan or Boyle pushes forward. That way your wing backs can still attack but you are protected against a counter attack by having 6 defenders in place.The sweeper would also plug any gaps between the lines and help prevent any runners coming through the middle, while also helping his full back in the event of incoming high ball.

  39. Hi all

    We really need someone like that guy from the ‘Patriots’ (a linebacker or something to that effect); when questioned about the football being deflated he replied ” dunno man; I never touch the ball”!!!

    Enjoy ’15 and f**k ’14

  40. A lot of lads on here seem to be struggling to move on from last year. Kerry beat us because we didn’t have the ability to hold onto a 5 point lead with 5 minutes to go the first day out. Simple as that. Move on. This league game in Killarney will be largely meaningless. If Mayo have any sort of a decent team out, we will win. Kerry are barely back training and will be far from their best. If we do win, I won’t be taking a whole lot from it and I don’t think the Mayo team will either (apart from the 2 points that is!).

  41. Team I Expect to line out the weekend.

    Rob Hennelly
    Stephen Coen Kevin Keane Keith Higgins
    Lee Keegan Colm Boyle Chris Barrett
    Seamus O Shea Donie Vaughan
    Kevin McLoughlin Jason Doherty Adam Gallagher
    Mark Ronaldson Alan Freeman Mickey Conroy.

  42. Evan Regan had a good performance for IT Sligo beating Queens in Belfast on a snow covered pitch in freezing conditions. Game went to extra time so hopefully he’s rested this Sunday. Would have been a 3 hr bus journey to/from game n it finished late.

  43. Pebblesmeller; my overall point is that high balls into a full back line are notoriously hard to defend no matter what team it is – even more so when it’s Kieran Donaghy that’s playing full forward (probably the best full forward I’ve ever seen). Every team struggles with them, Dublin in 13′ against Mayo, Kerry against Mayo in both semis last year. Dublin against Donegal in last years other semi, and Donegal last year in the 1st few minutes of the final v Kerry.

    You made a point about dropping a player/sweeper back into centre back when the half-backs bomb forward, and I’m not being smart here, but do you really think the management team didn’t think of that? I’ve noticed in many matches Aidan O’Shea sitting in the centre back spot when the opposition broke forward. A great tactic in my opinion because he’s such a good tackler.

    That management team of the last 4 years had the team as close to perfect as possible in my view – that they didn’t win the big one is hard to take but what’s even harder now is the job that Connelly and Holmes have in trying to keep them at that level. I don’t envy them one bit.

  44. There’s one permanently annoying thing about managing a football team! You fix the problems you had last year (or you try to) and you think you are away with it and what happens……another bloody problem arises that you didn’t expect. And then there’s luck and the longer I’m involved the more I realise you need a bitteen of luck on the big day. It’s often what separates two very close teams. Let’s hope in 2015 we will solve the problems we have, that no new (big) problems emerge and that Lady Luck will eventually smile on us.
    Now where’s me Cairde jacket until I get going to Killarney!

  45. Pebblesmeller and JP, agree completely. Why are there still so many on here who give every reason not to change the defence???? Can they not see how Kerry went defensive and won the All Ireland. Their manager said he wasn’t too happy with their style of football but it was necessary..
    I have been preaching cover at the back for over two years now and it has been ignored. Surely one of the best ways to prevent the likes of Donaghy catching a high ball is to punch the f…king thing. In my footballing days, it never failed. A player who jumps to punch with one hand can always go higher than one who fetches with two hands, not rocket science.

  46. GBXI,
    “do you really think the management team didn’t think of that?”, I’m sure that they thought of it but it was never put into practice on match day.
    The thing is, there is no perfect system of playing football. Every system has its advantages and disadvantages but when you set up your team you must, in my opinion, first and foremost aim to negate your opponents strengths while targetting their weaknesses. I go back to my point above and use the example of what Donegal did to us. They removed our strong running defense by not engaging it. Instead they went over it and targetted us where we were weak – in the air. 4 attacks, 2-1 after 10 minutes, game over.
    What works against Kerry may not be the tactics that works against Cork and that is where we have to be more adaptable during games and also have a varied tactical approach. We are in danger of becoming too predictable and therefore too easy to play against from a tactical viewpoint. The players are certainly there, there are counties that won All Irelands with worse squads, but we need to be a little more pragmatic and set-up “cuter” depending on who we are up against.
    Your last paragraph I could not agree more with. This is a new season and the blood is rising. There’s a stretch coming in the evenings, the league is about to kick-off and there are 26 or 27 other counties that wish they were us!
    Hon Mayo.

  47. Joe Mc – I’m going to have to pull you up, gently, on the tone of your recent comments, which I think risk causing offence to others. Yesterday, you said that “if we had less emotive and ego-wounded comments on here” and today it’s “why are there still so many on here who …”. Everyone has a right to their opinion so if you disagree with what others say, you need to stick to specifics and stop making generalised remarks about those you disagree with. House rules 6 and 14 refer.

  48. Fair comment Willie Joe. I do not wish to cause offence to anybody. That is a given. I suppose the reason i use generalisations is that i don’t wish to offend any one poster and in all honesty, how can anyone take offence when they are not named? Anyway, as the fella says, i will clean up my act. 😉

  49. Did Mayo not try a sweeper system in the first-half against Kerry in the drawn semi-final? Tom Cunniffe played that role, between the full-back and half-back line but we were all at sea during that time. We then pushed up in the second half and abandoned the sweeper system. During the next 30 minutes we outscored Kerry by 1-11 to 0-4, we went from 5 points down to 5 points up. So if we intend to use a more defensive structure, we’ll have to implement it from early in the league and practice it and prefect it in a number of games rather than just trying it in one game. The main reason we used the sweeper system in the drawn Kerry game was because of James O’Donoghue, all the talk was about him at that time, Kieran Donaghy wasn’t even on the radar at that stage.

  50. HopeSpringsEternal, spot on. It needs to be tried and perfected from now on so that everyone knows their role.

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