Four more on the injury list

This week’s Mayo News (paper and digital versions) is reporting that four more players – Ger Cafferkey, Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan and Enda Varley – have been added to what is already a fairly long injury list. Ger and Lee both have hamstring trouble and the paper reckons both could be touch-and-go for the Kerry match on March 2nd. Colm Boyle went off at Healy Park with a shoulder injury – following a dunt from Peter Harte, a man who knows a thing or two about getting a shoulder from a Mayo player – but it sounds like he might be okay. Enda Varley, meanwhile, didn’t tog the last day due to a calf strain.

So it sounds as if those who feel we should be trying out other options at full-back – a wholly misguided proposition, in my humble opinion – might get their way against the Kerrymen. Careful what you wish for and all that.

In that report, by the way, James puts the number of players currently listed as “unavailable” at twenty. I’ve done a rummage round and I’ve managed to come up with a list that long too but mine includes the four players named above (all of whom might yet feature against Kerry) as well as the two Kiltane lads – Mikie Sweeney and John Reilly – who are now, with their Croke Park odyssey over, back in the frame for the Kerry match.

Apart from that six, there are the five Castlebar lads – Tom Cunniffe, Eoghan Reilly, Barry Moran, Richie Feeney and Tom King – whom we all hope will still be unavailable for the county team after this weekend’s All-Ireland semi-final. Then there are the eight others whom we know are out injured or recovering from surgery or whatever – David Clarke, Kenneth O’Malley, Chris Barrett, Donal Vaughan, Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons, Alan Dillon and Cillian O’Connor – and I guess Conor Loftus must fall into this category too, as he was mentioned in dispatches as a player who would get game time this year but hasn’t featured as yet. Add them all up and that’s your twenty.

Despite that long list of the (temporarily) fallen, that same piece in the Mayo News also states that Aghamore forward Cathal Freeman has been released from the panel, with the talented dual player instead joining the ranks of the county hurling squad for their spring campaign. That’s not an enormous surprise, in all honesty, because although Cathal started in a few league matches last year his injuries since then as well as the emergence of players like Cathal Carolan, the two Gallaghers and Diarmuid O’Connor have knocked him back a bit on the grid for now. He’s still very young, though, so there’s plenty of time for him to force his way back into the reckoning again.

54 thoughts on “Four more on the injury list

  1. More injuries means more opportunities for someone else. We all wanted fresh faces introduced into the squad, players tried in different positions and game time given to fringe players, so, whether by design or misfortune we are getting what we asked for. There is no doubt that come the Championship we will have seen a lot of players and will have a better idea as to whether any of them have the necessary attributes to make a difference in Croke Park in August and, hopefully, September.

  2. Was hopeful that Liam Irwin might get a show, I think he’s injured? As didn’t see him tog for the u 21s, I still reckon Alan feeney is good enough for cover at the very minimum in the back six, but could push hard for a starting place

  3. Backs are the least of our worries in fairness. Take our six starters from last year, add Higgins and Richie Feeney as other options and take the likes of McHale, Drake, Keane, O’Reilly and Harrison and we have a plethora of options there. 1-9 as a whole we’re the strongest in the country I feel. It’s beyond that which is the worry.

  4. Hopefully many of these knocks will clear up with a bit of rest and proper PT….however in the meantime, maybe this is a great chance for Stephen Coen to make an impression at FB?
    I though he played smart last week, for the while he was on.

  5. I wouldn’t mind seeing Liam Irwin get a start. Andy Moran looks awful slow, has he lost the yard of pace? What do ye reckon of this starting line up?

    1 Clarke
    2 Cunniffe
    3 Cafferkey
    4 Barrett
    5 Keegan
    6 Mc Hale/Vaughan
    7 Boyle
    8 S O Shea
    9 A O Shea
    10 Higgins
    11 A Moran/Dillon
    12 Mc Loughlin
    13 A Moran/Freeman/ Irwin
    14 C O Connor
    15 A Gallagher

    I personally prefer Clarke in goals, he seems more reassured and wont allow many goals in.

  6. Having conceded 2 = 19 plus 2 = 15 I wouldn’t say that we need not worry too much about defence. I know it cannot be entirely down to the defence – the pressure from midfield and forwards has to be taken into account.

  7. Andy Moran and Alan Dillon have given us great service. But their best days are over.
    If we are still looking to them, we’ve got problems. And we have. Give the young fellas their chance. Mol an oige agus tiochaigh se.

  8. i don’t think it is Sean. I think he should be given a good shot and Stephen Coen should now also be given a shoot at full back too.

  9. lumping moran in with Dillon isn’t quite right IMO. Andy has shown time and time again, despite his injuries and lack of fitness that he is deadly and delivers. His experience and smarts is needed on this team and I believe he will again play a key role in our march to the final in September.

  10. Good job the league is on a mid term break! reading between the lines it sounds like Ger Cafferkey, Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan will be ok for the Kerry game. Up to 20 players missing was a strange comment by Horan unless he thinks Mayo are allowed to have a squad of over 50 players this year?

  11. A few things here.

    1. Ger Cafferkey is the best fullback in the country. People wanting to replace him is ridiculous.
    2. What is even more ridiculous is suggesting a 19 year old lad fresh from the minors is a suitable replacement. Is he going to mark Michael Murphy? We still refuse to forgive Horan for putting Keane on him, yet we are suggesting he same thing. At least be consistant.
    3. Re Andy Moran, he never had pace. Neither did Dillon. If both are fit they should start. Although Moran should really be encouraged to release the ball quicker. He has a habit of soloing for the sake of it. There is no time for that in the FF line.
    4. We lack guile when dillon isnt in the team and playing well. If he gets back our entire forward unit will be a bigger threat. Look what he did to Dublin in 2012. We should stop writing these guys off and instead get behind them and give them every chance. This habit we have of suggesting they be replaced, and by guys who simply are not up to the job they can do, is something we need to reign in.
    5. Liam Irwin’s game at minor was built around his strong frame and his size, put him into the seniors and he wont have the same effect. He is one for the future for sure, but at 19 it wouldnt work. There are better options already in the squad.
    6. I believe Evan Regan has opted out to go travelling this year.

  12. While it would be difficult to disagree with point 1, let us look at the facts. In 2012 Horan decided that he wasn’t capable of handling Murphy and in 2013 he showed that he wasn’t capable of handlling Brogan. He is a good defender and eeads the game welll but does not have the commmanding physical presence in front of goal and Hennelly’s reaction is the typical reaction of a goalkeeper who doesn’t really trust his fullback. That is why I proposed that Seamus O’Shea should be tried out in the position. He has the physical attributes to make an impact there. We have an abundance of midfielders in his brother,Parsons, Kirby, B. Moran and Gibbons. There is a great dearth of top class fullbacks at present. You would not mention any of the present crop in the company of the peerless Paddy Prendergast, Kevin Cahill, Noel Tierney,Darren Fay, Martin Dempsey or Barry Owens to name just a short selection of the quality No.3s that I recall.
    Point 2: Totally agree with inclusion from tespose to above.
    Point 3: I regret to say that I believe that both will struggle to make an impact. Last year was the third final for Dillon to be completely anonymous while he has shone on semi-final days. Moran is struggling to regain form and it looks as if the years and injuries are taking their toll.
    Point 4: Sentiment or loyalty will not win trophies.alas!
    Point5: Many physically developed minors have made the transition seamlessly and I would give Irwin a shot at No.13. If for no other reason he would do far better on the acute right sided frees than any of the other options that have been tried.
    Point 6: Can’ comment for lack of knowledge, and please don’t say that that didn’t prevent me from commenting on the other points.

  13. 2012:It’s a little misinformed to assume that Ger Cafferkey couldn’t handle Murphy. In final he started off marking Colm McFadden. McFadden was Deongal’s top scorer all summer that year having scored 3-28 up to the final. This is why Cafferkey did not start on Murphy. He was switched onto him them after the first 15 minutes.

    2013 – you say Cafferkey couldn’t handle Brogan. How can you blame Cafferley for Brogans first goal? That was clearly Hennelly’s fault for coming off his line to attack the ball but not getting it. The second one was a 3 on 1 overlap. Cafferkey had to go out to meet Bastick the attacker who had then a simple hand pass to Brogan who was standing a yard from edge the small square to palm to the net . Would you have him stay on Brogan and let Bastick keep going into through? Look it up on youtube.

  14. mayomanindublin – I’d prefer if you’d leave the comment moderation job to me and also please refrain from attacking others when responding to them. House rules 3 and 6 apply, the rules are here if you need to refer to them.

    All – this is a point that needs to be made more generally at this stage as some comments of late have started to drift towards playing the man/woman and not the ball and a number have had a few visible barbs in them too, which only serve to antagonise others.

  15. JPM – Yes, that 3 on 1 overlap didn’t give Cafferkey a chance. I remember him looking as much as to say, ‘what can I do, who will I mark?’ A case for a sweeper???

  16. Willyjoe as mayoforever is an approved contributor to your blog, perhaps you can inform him/her of house rules 3 also.

    “3.Comments should not be of a kind that are likely to provoke, attack or offend others and should not be of a kind that are aimed at antagonising, abusing or picking fights with others. If you’re the subject of any such comment, don’t respond in kind as this only leads to an escalating row.”

    Why did mayoforever state “i reckon with nine forwards in the starting line up we could be hard to beat.”? Is this a form of antagonisation?

    Why wasn’t mayoforever comments also deleted, as they broke rule 3 of the house rules.

    Are there double standards in place here?

    I look forward to your comments.

  17. I’m not getting into a debate on this with you, mayomanindublin, and it’s up to me to interpret the rules at my discretion. For what it’s worth, I took his comment as a joke and didn’t see it as an offensive one whereas your reply clearly was.

  18. Trying SOS at FB is just daft in my mind. He has not played there at club level, or through even FBD let alone trying him in Division 1 of the National League. Also it’s a no win situation. Take for instance he played there the next day.

    1: Say he does ok. His advocators will say it was a success and he should be moved into that position. His detractors will say it’s only one game and one game makes no one a success. You can only judge a player over the course of an entire season.
    2: Say he is a failure. Detractors will call for JHs head saying it was a daft idea in the first place. Others will defend SOS saying it was his first game back after injury etc. and he’s just rusty.

    If you want a more clear cut example of how it will divide supporters look at the Keith Higgins switch. He has now played at least 4 games at centre-half FW. And these were top games against top level opposition.
    And still the jury is undecided. Half claiming he should be in the FB line and it is a disaster. Other half asking for more time.

  19. On the issue of a sweeper. We have played with a sweeper system before. 3 years ago. Did ok against Cork and were destroyed by Kerry once they got ahead.
    Sweeper is justifiable in my mind if you are defending a big lead (Im talking here about 5 or 6 points in second half).
    However against the Dubs in last years final the game was level before that goal. So we needed all the attackers we had. It was difficult enough to get scores with 6 forwards. 5 would have been near impossible.

    Also in modern football (past 2/3 years) it is all about defending high up the pitch and counter attacking at pace when you regain possession. Most 1/2 back lines are encouraged to bomb forward and 1/2 forwards are expected to track back relentlessly.

    I think this is one of the reasons Paul Galvin has retired. the level of speed and fitness required for a position in the middle third is now nearly beyond you once you are in your 30s.

  20. I’ll say it again. Andy Moran: 1-2 in the All-Ireland Final, and he wasn’t even match-sharp. The only forward that backed himself to score in that second half.

    To say he’s finished is ridiculous.

  21. So you think it’s ridiculous to give Stephen Coen a shot, but makes sense to give Irwin a shot? I agree with you on Irwin btw, but your reasoning on Coen (assuming its he you mean) doesn’t make sense!
    That lad is a natural leader and captain of that winning minor team.

  22. Some interesting views above about possible sweepers & possible improvement.
    In my view we have been playing with a sweeper at the back for a very long time.
    Perhaps what we need is an old fashioned full back with a healthy dislike for people who wander into his patch, one who is willing to accompany his opponent stride for stride, shoulder to shoulder out the field to smash incoming ball away, one who never allows his opponent to rise uncontested for a flick-on close to goal but would instead demonstrate to his opponent that it is easier to punch the ball out into the entire width of the field than it is for his opponent to flick the ball on into the width of the goals, one who if he ever gives possession to his opponent responds by getting so close to his opponent that his opponent cannot get a shot off & is forced to play the ball out the field not goalwards, one who faced with with say a choice of Bastick or Brogan would always let Bastick take his chances.
    If people want to wander into the Mayo kitchen they need to expect to feel some heat !

  23. Paul Galvin retired because he was travelling from Dublin to train in Kerry and trying to start his business. He could have played at 6 or occupied some kind of sweeper role.

    There’s an obsession with pace in the modern game and while it’s kind of understandable given the impact of sports science in recent years, for the last three years traditional kicking teams have won the All-Ireland – where the ball has done most of the running.

    Maybe Moran’s looking a little sluggish which is why he’s playing deeper but someone suggested he never had pace – wind up merchant!

    Injuries will really test us now, relegation is a possibility and Horan has to take responsibility, his selections have been baffling. Find a settled forward line, move Higgins back to defense and give Stephen Coen a run in the backs, he looks a serious prospect, physically able for senior football.

  24. Joey, well said. Btw, those of you paying close attention at the Tyrone game, would have seen Stephen Coen do something, that when executed properly, is the textbook way to defend a dropping diagonal ball in your “patch”. If you missed it, I suggest you go take a look, it’s in the 51’st minute.
    Now that’s not to say he’s ready for prime time, but boy it was impressive because the way he followed through.

  25. Have to agree with you on Coen there – high ball coming in, no messing, he punched it with all he had, high and out to the wing, no danger of any Tyrone man getting a flick or even a hand near it. Was nearly the highlight of the game from a Mayo perspective!

  26. Joey, was just thinking the same myself. Your definition of a full back is spot on. That’s why Seamus O’Shea occurred to me. He would fit the profile, bringing great strength and speed to the full back line. I realize it may not work but supposing it does. Lump it or like it our defence is porous.

  27. Yea, Mister Mayor. I didn’t get you for a second, I was picturing him in the forwards. Tuberman reminded me. That was a fantastic flick!!!

  28. Actually Tubberman, he punched it away from goal alright, to Higgins who scooped it up, Coen then made himself available for the return pass from Keith, he then galloped out to about the 30 where he delivered a spot on fisted pass to Aidan, who was on the 45. AOS was fouled immediately, free to mayo….threat eliminated. Others should have noticed, the TV crew sure did for they replayed the sequence of play immediately!

    Joe, I’m a big fan of SOS, but I’m just not in favor of your placing him in FB. No doubt he’s big, strong and smart, but I just don’t think he’s suited to that role. If we must experiment with a midfielder in full or half back, I would try Gibbons. But neither are natural backs, unlike Coen, who when he got to the 30, offloaded and went back to protect his patch. He’s a fine build, gets in front of his man and seems to have the smarts.
    Again, I’m not saying this lad is the holy grail of FB’s but I think we have been exposed there several times over the past few years, when it matters most, that’s its reasonable to look at and try other options.

  29. Caff did a decent job on him alight but I think Brogan has said recently he was only half fit for the championship, he flying during the league then his form became patchy.

  30. Jeez maybe Caff would have been better off heading to Oz working as he is obviously deemed surplus to requirements in the minds of more than just a minority of Mayo fans online anyway.
    I just can’t understand it myself especially after our long search for a genuine no.3 since Kevin Cahill who funnily enough took a huge amount of abuse form a large protion of Mayp fans but was eulogised by all when he retired such was the gap he left!!
    Must have something to do with playing for clubs that begin with the letters Ball !!!!
    Seamus O’ Shea should be kept in the middle as he is a powerhouse there and Stephen Coen should be let find his head in the half back line for this season and see how he goes as I think he will be our centre back for years to come if he stays fit ala Jimmy Nallen.
    The days of sticking half backs our midfielders back there are gone imho as we have the likes of Shane MacHale( I know he plays 6 but is a good no.3 as well) , Kevin Keane and Alan Feeney who would all be more comfortable in the last line than Seami or Stephen Coen.

  31. I am pleased that a debate has opened up on our defensive frailties. They genuinely need to be addressed as I would contend that we gifted 7 out of the 9 goals that we conceded on our last four All-Ireland finalls. While there were other frailties in the earlier two if the 3 goals that we gifted in 2012 and 2013 were not conceded we would hve been in with a shout on both occasions.
    The idea of converting a midfielder to the FB position is not novel. John O’Keefe made the switch very successfully, and one of the finest examples of full back play was given by Sean Purcell playingf for Connacht in the Railway Cup in the 1950s when it was a serious competition. It prompted MicheaO’Hehir to compare it to the peerless Paddy Prendergast.
    Seriously we need to add some muscle to the spine of our defense as the present incumbents are short in that department.
    I am not being critical of players, just stating the facts as they are routinely outlined to me which is one of the benifits of living outside the home soil. A Leitrim friend of mine said to me after last year’s final:
    “Ye didn’t win”
    “Ye weren’t good enough”
    I hope some day to be able to say that we were.

  32. I thought that in 2013 cafferkey showed he is fully capable of marking brogan. You could see the frustration on brogans face when time and agan cafferkey either got out in front or took the ball off him. He also defended the first goal quite well, if his keeper had done his job as well the ball would have looped harmlessly into his hands. In 2012 he marked michael murphy very well also. Frankly, I dont know what the hell you are talking about as regards him not being up to it, he has imposed himself on the very best forwards in the game. As for SOS, what happens when they dont kick in high balls? I have to be honest, I dont see that working for a second and see it as the perfect way to remove the best assets from two of our best performers from last year.
    Also, I would say cafferkey is a better fullback than Cahill was.

    Your points about dillon are miles off. Look at peter canavan for tyrone, his experience and intelligence guided them home. That is what dillon offers. Suggesting his time is passed is premature, he offers so much of what we dont have, it is crazy writing him off without first giving him every chance to get back, especially when his guile is exactly what we are missing. He was carrying an inury last year, you are quick to mention brogan’s injury, why not his?

    Name these physically developed minors. They didnt go into senior and use their strength that is for sure. Especially the way the game is now.

    As regards the points being made about coen, look it is one thing knocking the ball away from donnelly or mccurry in the air in a league match, it is quite another doing it against every full forward in the game in the championship. I find the suggestion that he should replace cafferkey at fb unbelievable to be honest. People are living in a dream world. He is 19 years old and barely in the squad a month. I have no doubt he will be a fine player, but we need to keep our expectations in touch with reality, for his sake and our own. Tyrone purposely put a small player in there and played the right type of ball into him, coen suited that particular type of game because he himself is smaller and a bit more mobile. He suited the situation, and fair play to him for doing that job, but no more than that.

  33. Crete Boom, I’m not saying Caff. should be dropped. I’m saying, as Bill Connolly is, that we need to muscle up our defence and again, as Bill says, I am not being critical of players, just trying to have a calm, and possibly fruitful debate on possibilities. Nothing is being being put out there as a given, just a maybe. Opening up our consciousness it is called. 😉

  34. A quick point on this flick away by coen that appears to be getting better by the minute. He done his job and prevented a score, absolutely. But what if a team mate doesnt do his as well, his flick drops to a tyrone forward who has been left loose and he buries it in the net? What do we say then? Too young, should have held onto it, etc etc. Well the reality is that is exactly what happened to ger cafferkey in the final. He did his job well enough to stop his opponent scoring, but his teammate let him down. It shows the fine lines at work here and how if they are not looked at in the correct manner, the total opposite conclusions that can be reached. We are too quick to say that because something ended up badly everything was automatically wrong.

  35. If Caff had punched the ball clear like young Coen did instead of trying to win the ball cleanly, then Brogan could not have scored the goal. it’s a small point and very different circumstances but we have been caught flat-footed several times in big games that have led to goals.
    Balls that hit the post and fell to forwards cost us goals in the AI 2012, League final 2012, and AI semi in 2011 for instance.
    To see one of our defenders actually looking like he had awareness of what was going on around him was novel and probably why it has got so much attention.

  36. Let him get on with the U21’s first , after that we will see if his form holds and will he be able to transfer it to senior intercounty.

  37. Keeping opposition goal chances to a minimum is absolutely crucial.
    Goals win matches & have cost us big time. Despite all our other issues had we prevented even one of the two goals that were scored against us in the AIF we could well be champions today.
    The job of the full back line is to get incoming ball back out the field as quickly as possible & it doesn’t have to look pretty. This causes a massive deceleration in the opposition’s attack & generates time for other defenders to get back & forces the opposition into Plan B.
    In my view we have lacked urgency close to our own goal trying to win clean possession & look pretty instead of getting the ball away.Too refined. If you are too lax & lack urgency close to your own goal the opposition sense that you are not prepared to mind your house at all costs, they then doubt your resolve, splinter & get behind your FB line & goals follow.
    When you play in the FB line both the ball & your opponent have to go in one direction ie. back out where they came from & the faster the better.

  38. I’m old fashioned and simplistic with football analysis , a defender should be judged on what his man scored, brogan got 3-18 in our three games with the jacks last year. That’s far too much imo

    It’s like repeating mode again but it can’t be said enough ,you have to have a plan for the big day players, you need to dish special treatment if need be. From Maurice fitz in 97 to B B last year, we have never been willing to go the bit extra ,Tyrone were a master class at not letting star studded Kerry forwards dictate their usual game.

  39. Your dead right Sean, even last week-end, the Kiltane inside forwards won a penalty and also scored another great goal, very early in the game. After this Truagh placed a sweeper in front of the full-back line and the supply into the inside players dried up. Its all about making the right big calls on the day. The teams that win usually get most of these calls right. Also the winning teams get all of the praise and the losing team gets none. Mayo made a mistake for the first goal they conceded in last year’s All-Ireland final but the Dublin keeper also made a mistake for Mayo’s goal by getting caught in no man’s land. Dublin won, so that mistake is forgotten about. The key is to minimize the number of mistakes, often its also the team that makes the least mistakes that win out in the end.

  40. I was at the game in Omagh and I couldn’t believe Andy was left on for the whole game.He either dropped the ball or ended up on his arse.I and many more around me thought he should be the first man subbed.I would love as much as anyone to see Andy back to his brilliant best but after watching the last few games I honestly can’t see it happening any time soon.I hope he proves me wrong.The six forwards I would like to see starting when all fit are no.10 Kevin McG,11 Adam Gallagher,12 Evan regan,13 Alan Dillon,14 Alan Freeman,15 Cillian o’connor,thoughts please

  41. Couldn’t agree more.

    And remember, going in to the AIF, Caff was favourite for the FB All-Star.

    He’s a very good No.3 in the traditional FB zone, but when pulled out, he’s a fish out of water, and management don’t seem to see that. They don’t move players around on the field when it’s obviously necessary, and opposing managers easily take advantage like in Newbridge. Kildare pulled Caff out and pulled Keane in to the square. The rest is history.

    Also agree Caff needs to toughen up and have the FF wondering where he going feel the next hard contact – have him looking over his shoulder.

  42. Good point Sean on Brogans tally from last year against us, I was too lazy to do the math, but its shocking really. One player did all that damage! Its an awful lot of work to get that back, even with an All star forward line.

  43. Analyse Brogan’s performance properly – one well taken poacher’s goal from an uncharacteristic communication mistake between 2 of our most reliable players, a ball that scuttered out between our defenders legs when it looked lke we’d won it – led to a soft point, a pass at the end of a coveyor belt when we opened up for once (remember Dubs high number of goal chances in every other game) a free and one brilliant long range point from a classy player at that stage high on confidence. Cafferkey’s man marking was good on the day – sometimes a player’s return really flatters the attacker over the defender.
    Murphy’s goal was a piece of brilliance and very few defenders might have stopped it Cafferkey is one of the few who might – Keane had a nightmare moment for the 2nd goal and he went on to play well marking McFadden who was also in great form that year. But we do need sub full backs – Keane maybe the best of these or else Cunniffe. Vaughan is the other one with the height / physicality – SOS would be risky – has the physicality but would require giving him good game time as a defender in the league and has he the starting pace to cope with a smaller speedster maybe but I’d use Cunniffe or Higgins in an emergency and move a speedy half back to fill the leaks unless one of our league tryouts steps up to the mark – but I don’t like the high scores we’ve been shipping although every other team seems to be suffering this too. The black card should suit Mayo with our superior coached tackling technique to any other team but it hasn’t until the Kerry game although A Moran should have gotten one too. I’m happier with the replacement forwards than replacement backs so far.

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