Game day – no-drama win the objective today

Every county in the country is playing a football Championship game of some sorts this weekend. For us, it’s an All-Ireland SFC Round 2 group stage match against Louth. The game throws in at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park at 2pm this afternoon, Cavan’s Noel Mooney is the ref and the match is live on RTÉ.

We’re coming into today’s game on a bit of a high. Our win over All-Ireland champions Kerry down in Killarney a fortnight ago felt like a real statement and the result leaves us perfectly placed to go on and top the group and advance directly to the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Much of the discussion after the Kerry game revolved around how poor they were – which, by extension, questioned our true worth – with the Kingdom’s sub-par performance against Cork yesterday amplifying that point. That particular narrative suggests we still have to prove ourselves, with today’s game our first opportunity to start doing so.

No matter how you cut it, we should be winning this game with a bit to spare. While Louth enjoyed a very solid Division Two campaign this spring, if we truly are Sam Maguire contenders this year we should be winning this one with a minimum of fuss.

Louth and ourselves may not have any direct recent experience of playing each other but Mickey Harte knows plenty about taking teams to Castlebar and frustrating the life out of the home side and its supporters. A deep-lying defence, allied to rapid counter-attacking, would appear to be the obvious template facing us from Harte’s charges today.

That approach has often caused us trouble in the tight confines at MacHale Park and Roscommon executed a strategy based on it to perfection against us back in April. Louth will, no doubt, be looking to do something similar today.

That could prove difficult, though, for a variety of reasons.

For starters, Roscommon are a serious Division One team and they faced us just days after we’d won the League final. It was a game they’d prepared for over a period of months, whereas we’d had no more than a few days to get set.

The weather then, cold, wet and windy, was ideal for the tactics Roscommon employed. The baking heat that we can expect this afternoon won’t be as conducive to such an approach.

The other factor which influenced the result of the Roscommon game – which, to my mind, hasn’t got enough attention – was the absence that day of David McBrien, Sam Callinan and James Carr. All three are, in different ways, vital to our game-plan this year and all three were influential in Killarney. They’re all named to start today.

What I think we can expect to see from the lads today is a controlled performance. Rob has remarked more than once on the podcast of late about the absence of chaos in games involving us this year. One time that was our trademark – we dug a big hole for ourselves and then hit the opposition with everything we had to get ourselves out of the hole and away to victory. I think we can now safely conclude that this is not the McStay way.

Instead, there’s a much more structured approach to our play this year and we can expect to see more evidence of this today. In addition, we showed impressive variety in our attacking forays in Killarney and a similar approach today could and should reap dividends for us early and often.

The bottom line is that we should win today, ideally without a whole load of trouble. Indeed, after the heroics down in Killarney, anything other than a comfortable win for us today would be viewed as something of a setback.

A win by a large margin today would also all but guarantee that we’ll top the group. While a win of any kind is a prerequisite for us this afternoon, a big win is what we should be targeting, not least in light of the momentum it would give us, in a year where momentum has added importance.

Right, time for me to hit the road west. Safe travelling to all on the move today, including those from the Wee County who are heading west to shout for their team.

Here’s to fun in the sun for our lads this afternoon, here’s to a win to build on the result we got in Killarney. Let’s get it done. Up Mayo.

167 thoughts on “Game day – no-drama win the objective today

  1. And with the arrival of the match day preview I can start to really look forward to the match. Hopefully the blanket is set and we can gauge where we are at against this type of defence. Like many, I don’t place much store in the Roscommon result. A week after league final, without some key players, brutal weather and still, had we finished our chances we could have won it.

    Today would be a glourious day to rattle in a few goals against a blanket. We have created plenty chances, hopefully we are a bit more composed if the chances are fashioned today.

  2. That’s it in a nutshell surely Willie Joe. A few points to spare and no drama.
    Good luck to the team and everyone travelling.

  3. Best of luck to the team today, should be a victory and 2 more points on the board. Safe journey to all.

  4. Another big examination of our players today for a very different reason…..mindset. How are players going to deal with the tag of overwhelming favourites? Are they going to face this game with focus and determination or allow themselves to be lured into the complacency trap ? Louth will make it tough going for long periods, so attitudes must be right.

  5. Good luck guys mayo 5 or so might be tough in some periods with me hiding behind my cushion haha as can’t make it to castlebar!

    but mayo 5 or more be interesting to see how we go about this one!

  6. Very good match preview Willie Joe. Think you’ve gone up a level in your match previews.
    The three players absence against Roscommon had slipped my mind.

  7. The form line took a bit of a dip yesterday with the Kerry result in IMO but still expect a decent result today. Would like to have seen Cillian on the panel as we will need him at some stage at least just to know he is fit and ready to go.

    On the other games yesterday if Armagh kept O’Neill on the pitch the’d have won, they missed a lot of chances. Didnt see or listen to the Galway game but someone mentioned they got some injuries – anyone got the details on those ?.. Dublin were comforatle yesterday so the Roscommon form looks better now to

  8. I think another factor against Rossies, was Jordan’s tiredness. The six week ‘rest’ has been a blessing.

  9. I still think our performance against kerry deserves credit weather kerry were off form or not takes a lot to go to killarney and beat them under the odds against a huge home crowd of kerry supporters. Fair play to cork yesterday that will be a test for us to.

    Will be a one for all the players today hope they give them water breaks !

  10. Shane, Rob and Tommo got knocks in the game. Not sure how serious but hopefully not too bad. Mulkerrins and Molloy close to a return. Not 100% on the way its set up but if Tyrone beat Westmeath and Armagh beat Galway it appears its based on scoring difference but in other places I read its head to head.

  11. Be lovely to start well, push on and win well but deep down I know it will probably be a tight affair. I just hope it’s not one of these anything can happen going in to injury time scenarios.
    Impressed with James Carr’s point taking last day out. Would love to see a few more taking scores from distance as some times it’s the only option with certain set ups.
    Hopefully too the 45s can be nailed today so that doesn’t become an issue. Somebody posted earlier that today is about attitude and I agree. It’s not a day for going out all pumped up and in to every tackle hard as we would burn out but more about composure, fast ball in and really running their defence as we should be fitter…
    Louth have a couple of very good forwards so the backs will be tested.
    Safe travelling to all, bring the factor 50 and enjoy.

  12. No need for any fear today, Mayo will certainly win by the exact margin I’m no so sure, probably with a nice bit to spare, 5 – 10 points.

  13. Winning today is all that matters, really. Will have to be patient against a side who will try to force turnovers and hit us on the break.

  14. Maybe Louth will go ultra defensive today, but their last 3 games were open and high scoring.

  15. That’s a good point Willie Joe, about the boys that were missing for Rossy game. James Carrs outside shooting was definitely missed along with McBriens and Sams presence in our defence that day. Perfect day for football. Let’s hope we see plenty of variation in our attack along with the an aggressive attitude and intensity when we don’t have the ball.

  16. It’s an ideal game to try out and perfect things such as
    Long distance shooting
    Pull Louth defense around, make gaps
    Pick out long ball to a player in front of goal, look for those gaps that will occur especially in 2nd half
    Maybe more foot passing in the warm conditions
    A good spread of scorers
    No injuries hopefully
    Different free takers left and right

    I think Galway had 6 or 7 scorers yesterday.
    Anyone notice the size of Galway players in comparison with the Westmeath players?

  17. I think it’s still hard to tell where teams are actually at but yes if we have a good win over Louth then we’re very likely to top the group
    I expect it to be tricky but fingers crossed.
    Scoring difference will come into it, and I’m not making presumptions here, I expect Louth to give us enough of it, If we win today and God forbid we lost to Cork then it’s essentially a mini table of 3 teams on 4 points to see who tops the group.
    If we won by 2 points today for example then in the last game we’d be going in with a +7 difference, Cork with 0 and Kerry -3. A 1 point loss for us v Cork and say for example Kerry having a thumping win over Louth would put Kerry through as winners of the group!
    So we really need to win, first, but ideally win well to go some way to cementing top spot

  18. East Cork exile. At last someone is talking sence. Men talking about winning all Ireland s and we have plenty to do yet if we are thinking of topping this group to get out the front door and avoid a preliminary and a fixture pile up. Yes we would need to win well today because cork are a potential banana skin in a one off match

  19. I noticed in the Kerry game that when they had 15 men behind the ball our forwards came away from goal but still within shooting distance and our backs ventured into full forward positions. A couple of times Callinan and Mchugh were our most advanced players. It must have been pre planned and perhaps we could expect similar today. We would have to be wary of the counter attack and mind our own house at all times.
    AOS is the way around the blanket. . If Louth are sitting deep then ball into the right hand channel and Aido taking and kicking marks off the left boot is the way around it. In addition he occupies more than 1 defender and creates space for others. He needs to play close to goal today. Let the younger ones do the running on a hot day.

  20. Very clever @ mind the house, no blanket is impermeable, sure Louth may come today with a totally different game plan, this is why players and management need to adjust to any situation in the next few games.
    This is what is required to land the big one.

  21. Save travel to all today,an easy win for Mayo,thank you again Willie Joe for such an informative blog

  22. Watching from Spain and I have to say, having to pay 15 euro for the privilege is a bit off a rip on the part of the GAA. Price point feels excessive and, quite honestly, incorrect. 9.99 a fairer price for one off match access at this stage of the competition. Looking forward to it all the same, expect us to be bouncing off the ground like we were in Killarney.

  23. @Exiled in Dublin: Buy it on the website, not the app, and it’s €12 per game. Buying in app just donates the extra €3 to apple/google marketplace.

    If you watch the odd game (and think you’d watch more than 3 of the ones available on GAAGO) the mid season pass at €39 bringing it back down to a little over ~€2/game is a great deal. They’d done a poor job pushing the early bird deal at the start of the year so legitimate complaints on that… but with the mid season deal (especially following a weekend when dodgy boxes/IPTV was under the limelight for all the wrong reasons) they’ve done a solid job on price point/access (even as someone familiar with getting it free I’d suggest friends/family buying the pass).

  24. €15 in fairness is nothing. Expenses of running a county panel in this extended format are savage. Be glad you can get it.
    Play with pace to get space in McHale pk. It’s the only way

  25. One only thinks of this when injured, Jason Doherty deserves great credit for making his way back from the Cruciate injuries particularly at his age.

  26. Three changes for Louth as well: Bevan Duffy, Conall McCaul and Ciaran Murphy in, Dermot Campbell, Paul Mathews and Craig Lennon out.

  27. No quarter given to us colour-blind folk: all I can see is two teams wearing a very similar top and white shorts. It’ll be the same, of course, when we play Cork. It’s bloody ridiculous.

  28. Hope the heat is not a leveller, hard to go full pelt. Hope the teams get a water break, ffs

  29. What kind of a clown wouldn’t allow players water breaks in the current weather conditions?

    Al players in all matches today should agree water breaks at specific times in 1st and 2nd halves.

  30. Good luck, Mayo! Enjoy the game everyone.

    Still nervous – that’s just from the memory of tight games.
    But I believe in us. Go Mayo! We have what it takes. Have a super day.
    Imagine playing Louth for the second time in 70 years. And it feels like summer.

  31. Where is the GPA boss in this, ie no water break?

    The pitch looks in shite, was there big money not spent on in a year or two ago?

  32. Considering the pitch is dyed it must be in some state as still looks like beach 🙁

  33. Yes Lahanman, there is a long way to go but McHale Park doesn’t suit Mayo for some reason.

    Cannot put back to back performances together.

    It is Louth here after all.

  34. Exactly how I thought it would plan out cagey match so far myst be hot to. Bad call by officials not to allow water breaks.. Still think we will win this though

  35. Very sloppy. Started off very composed and worked nice scores and then we retreated to old habits. Not enough movement inside or quickly shifting the ball side to side to stretch the awful blanket. An awful game to watch. When you see 14 players running back into their own half from the kick out.

  36. We need Hession and Conroy on early in the second half to punch holes in this blanket. We’re giving them way too much respect with the way we’re standing off them.

  37. Dreadful spectacle.would be more atmosphere at a dogs funeral.why is Aidan o Shea and James Carr so far back and no one to hit with out ball .mcbrien has to be more aware of his surroundings with goal chance

  38. Lazy Mayo display…..regardless of packed defences why can’t fellas inside the 45 take a shot for a point when they get one second of space ????…..No….look back and do a back pass……horrible stuff

  39. So so boring. Blanket defence still not figured out, when this is what Louth are going to do.? Hope I don’t fall asleep in the sun during the 2nd half.

  40. Aido falling in to old habits. Our full forward line are too deep. Hoping Louth will tire but attack is too lateral

  41. Folks, let’s hold the head. It’s only half time and a full half to go yet. We have to keep our energy.
    This is a further test for Mayo and a blanket.
    We are making a few sloppy mistakes but this is OK. Lots to work on.

  42. Louth will leave gaps as they will have to go and get scores in 2nd half, But, as others here have said many times, in McHale Park Mayo cannot handle ultra defensive teams.
    No real leaders on the pitch so far, D O Connor is badly missed.

    The Mayo goal opportunity was desperate, a free man, no quick hand pass.

    Tyrone the best at slick and quick hand passing I have seen so far

  43. I was worried about lack of pace /line breakers in middle third without durcan and Diarmuid . It’s gone the way I feared .
    But they will tire and we have plenty of pace to bring on. It’s a 70 minute game
    No need to panic

  44. @martyk it’s shocking alright but we just don’t do well against blanket defences look at the dubs v rossies same awful game to watch then they hammered kildare yesterday in an open game this blanket defence ruins the game

  45. Mayo are doing OK, Louth are totally defensive today with everyone inside their 45, pretty awful stuff altogether, Mayo are struggling to break them down, poor shots into goalies hands, hopefully Mayo will up the intensity in second half, if not Louth could cause an upset because they can break & score very well. Come on Mayo, have a right go at them.

  46. Take the two points and forget about it.We were never going to get a big win here we all knew louth would hit us with this blanket defence.Our boys just need to stay calm and keep tacking on the scores and not let in a goal and we will win.Think Hession and Conroy should be brought on just to give fresh legs as it is very warm out there players will tire and our bench will prove stronger then louths.We have some big names on it.

  47. A lot of sloppy play but there’s some revealing aspects in this game too about us.
    We need our best ball handlers on the field against a blanket defence as we spend most of the time in possession of the football against these type of sides and that’s where Hession is an obvious addition. He’s more confident and comfortable in possession with opposition men around him than the likes of o’hora or Callinan. Conroy is an option to just punch holes in them though raw speed.
    Some very poor turnovers from a few lads so far in our team.
    Don’t understand why the forward mark is not utilised more too against these blankets – the ball only needs to travel 20 m and be kicked from play from outside the 45 to inside the 45. Should be capable of manufacturing several chances similar to the one that Coen scored from.

  48. Very frustrating so far. Many of the old ugly habits resurfacing, slow predictable build-up, with no variation, 3 bad wides, sloppy passing to players under pressure, running into traffic, blowing a great goal chance(I know full-backs get excited when they get close to goal, but should have passed to James Carr) and most annoying was two shots dropped short into goalies hands. We need a huge improvement 2nd half.

  49. I’m not at the match, what changes are needed in 2nd half.

    Bring on Hession, Durcan, Conroy

    Take off Loftus, Doc and maybe Aidan if the marks not working.

  50. If we had one or two half-decent point scoring forwards from out the field, blanket defences would be a mere irritant – on the evidence of the 1st half, we don’t. Can only improve with the help of the bench.

  51. We still can’t beat the blanket defence. Having said that the hand, kick passing and decision making is shocking.

  52. Dire stuff at a snails pace. It will be interesting to see if Mayo can finish strongly now and win by 8+.

  53. True enough Chesneychet, maybe you coming in here now just to try and shit on us, but it is a big test right now, at 54 minutes Mayo will win, a big work in progress for the next game.

  54. Not at all. Galway were down yesterday on 43mins but ran out 8 point winners I would expect Mayo to wear down Louth but its very hot and ye have them at arms lenght probably enough in the conditions.

  55. God this is dreadful. Louth goal and should have had another one or two. We’ve let them score far too easily in the 2nd half

    Criminal defending from Mayo. Saying it all season. We’ll go nowhere until we implement a proper defensive structure (like Galway have worked clearly on all year). It’s so frustrating.

  56. I got that one wrong.
    Louth were better than I gave them credit for.
    However, most worrying, other better teams will have seen that we aren’t able to break down team defensive set-ups like Louth and Roscommon. Now that’s a real worry.
    None of us forget how a poor enough Tyrone team figured out prior to our last Final, that if you stopped our backs coming forward, you’d beat us.
    Working on direct running with runners on shoulders is the way to go. You get frees or through to shoot.

  57. Deja Vu, again, again and again.
    Nearly caught out at the depth but still a 1 point win.
    This Louth team are much better than we thought.

    Huge restructuring needed for next game.

  58. Any prizes for guessing how the next few teams are going to set up against us

  59. If I never watch a Mickey Harte team again it will be too soon
    Every cynical trick in the book

    The highlight today has been slowing down every kickout to get 15 players behind the ball AND the maor uisce in a red bib out there too
    Pure puke

    Two wins out of two and no more games in McHale park
    That will do for now

  60. @David: Louth will be in Division One next season. Nonetheless, a very sloppy performance from us, lucky not to get caught at the end.

    Fair play to Louth, I was based up there for a few years, their GAA area is very small, with Drogheda and Dundalk largely being soccer towns. They got their tactics down to a tee today, forced us to play around them.

    We still haven’t learned how to combat the mass defence, although maybe the tight confines of MacHale Park plays a part in that.

  61. Loads of space in around the Louth square all 2nd half and aido was out around midfield.
    No improvement since roscommon game in terms of beating the blanket.
    The media will be all Galway now which is grand.. Let them

  62. Taking time off after results like that are always worth while, but very disappointing to concede that goal as it’s the only possible way we risk not picking up the two points at that stage.

    Good for dampening expectations as others have said.

  63. Got away with murder there today. Had Louth took half of those chances we were in big trouble. Not a great day at the office at all. But it’s about winning however I’m very disappointed that we didn’t really kick on from the Kerry game. A better set of opposing forwards and we were done.

  64. @Mayo88 totally agree his commentary was hard to listen to .

    Hard to watch today . But I was iffy before this match . We don’t do well against blanket defences

    We got the 2 points and we did start to play better when durcan , hession and conroy came on.

    Let’s not forget how hard it must have been playing in that heat 25 degrees time to move on and lessons to be learnt at least we got some good experience

  65. Have to wonder when we are five points up how there isn’t a double sweeper in place to stop an attack. In comparison to the Kerry game we looked very lethargic. No harm to come back to reality after the Kerry game. Two points and move on to cork and thankfully away from MacHale Park.

    Tommy when he came on did very well for us inside. Great to see Aido nailing those frees. Cork will come with a blanket and we will hopefully learn from today but the movement, ball handling, runners off the shoulder all need to improve.

  66. We are well equipped to adapt to the opposition’s style of play but trying to walk the ball into the net against A 15 man defence with the talent we have is just plain crazy

  67. I’m sick of watching RTE, Ciaran Whelan doing his best to prove Louth should have got a penalty and then Cantwell ( another Dub ) also throwing a dig at Sean Cavanagh when he was ( defending the Mayo goalie ) about Tyrone, they must be sick that Louth didn’t win.

  68. My God RTE analysis my arse. Penalty !!? However, nobody will be giving Mayo a chance going forward which is a good thing. We mostly controlled the game but couldn’t really penetrate. Never shot once from distance and butchered the goal chances. Terrible pass from Carr and McBrien needed to pass across.

  69. I am actually glad we didn’t hammer louth. It brings us back to earth after the kerry game surely Galway favourites for sam now :p haha

    The commentator on rte 2 is well who who the score wrong at the end said ohhh louth have made the equaliser in the dying seconds then goes oh we were looking at the wrong score like honestly haha …

    Wouldn’t worry about our under performance mad heat and blanket defence was always going to be a massive issue take the 2 points learn from it and move on!!

  70. @clare. The heat applies to Louth too, and they came within a whisker of a draw or beating us, if there had of been another two minutes, it’d be curtains. Roscommon will be dumping us out on our ear again if we’re unfortunate to meet them in knockout stages

  71. Louth are no slouches.
    We won the game on a hot day.
    We’ve won two games from two with a very challenging game to come against Cork.
    We did not cover ourselves in glory today. It is far from the desperation picture I see in other posters’ views.
    If we are going to learn to break down and WIN against a blanket, we need to be getting the tests.
    Today was a test.
    The likes of a Galway are waiting in the wings.
    There’s ample room to improve – sloppy mistakes can be eliminated. Reape will hopefully be able to convert his 45s too.
    We need to be able to probe deeper into the D when the blanket is set. All is not lost.

  72. I know you do this for records Wj but there’s no need for a MOTM performance poll. Honestly we need to call a spade a spade when mayo are poor and they were. Credit was given when due two weeks ago but apart from o hora there was very little to be positive about including on the line.

  73. For whatever reason mchale park has become a massive milestone around our neck the last 8 years or so. How many times did we nearly get caught in the back door previously by lesser opposition?

    Cork will be tough but it’s not at home so reckon we can win by 2 or 3.
    Should have closed it out at 5 points up, would have put us at +10 going into the cork match. Now it’s only +6
    A 4 point win for cork would put us second and maybe even third. Louth are now gone as even if they beat Kerry they lose out on head to head with cork if cork stay on 2 points

  74. The amount of space and gaps we left open in the danger zone was criminal. Its too late in a season to properly implement a defensive structure. Mayo seem to just have a policy of getting players back when we lose possession but no real plan. Simply not good enough. I said it after the game in Kerry that we were too open. Same today. Shame, because we have the players.

    And not one long ball into AOS 2nd half. That needed to happen once or twice just to switch things up.

  75. We won – 2 points and move on. Poor display in McHale Park once again.

    Back under the radar.

  76. Why oh why can’t we break down that defensive set up it’s literally been out problem for years now ,am I over simplifying it or can a man not try run at a defender beat him and with a man off the shoulder make some space maby I’m wrong but paddy did it once and scored like is it that hard basically we were bad today the worst performance I’ve seen from us in a long while teams no our weakness now but it’s the same 2 points we got in Killarney we didn’t become a bad team over night we top the group and move on

  77. By the way, I liked Paul Flynn’s co-commentary on RTE. Never thought I’d be saying that.
    Up Mayo!

  78. Happy that Mayo were ran so close
    as leased now they will know they must
    make major improvements before quarter

  79. We won.
    Next game.
    Cavanagh reasonable in his assertion of today.
    Whelan is simply biased, deluded or both

  80. Huge space in front of our goal when defending last attack.there clearly is something I am not seeing with our number 6 .besides anything defensive I can’t remember him giving one meaningful pass forward also hit one shocking effort into the goalkeepers chest in the first half .there appeared to be no structure whatsoever to our attack .the Louth full back wanted Aidan o Shea to follow him down the field and we obliged them.

  81. @David never said the heat didn’t apply to louth did I? We always knew a blanket defence would be hard and tbh was a terrible flat game anyway louth ruining the game with blanket defences like the rossies puke football if anything

  82. What is really concerning is that whatever team talk for improvements was made in dressing room at halftime had no effect.
    Unless the players were told they were doing grand!
    Louth won the second half and we’re the team that looked tired at the end.

  83. Mayonaze, I thought our defence was good today.

    But it looked to me like the defence switched off when we went five up with a minute or two to go. To me that was why Louth got that goal in the dying minutes. It was a preventable goal from Louth and we had players nearby.
    If our defenders kept their focus and defended properly in the last two minutes we’d have closed the game out by four points, thereby ending with a higher margin to most of the game.
    Switching off like that is unforgivable but quite juvenile. We can and must do better.
    That’s my take on it.

  84. No panic…..I believe the talent is there but for some inexplicable reason, our fellas were lazy as hell today…….Secondly, I don’t think its about breaking down blankets, it’s just that fellas who are clearly inside the opposition 45 should shoot for points of they get an inch of space/sight of posts…..don’t mind wides, just shoot, but no, what do they do, look back and pass back and eventually opposition gets the turnover…..horrible stuff

  85. Ye can make all the excuses ye want but a 5 point lead should have been maintained in the final few minute
    . If there was another minute or two Louth could have won as they had the momentum.
    Who were the Mayo leaders on the pitch today?

  86. @mayo88 I’d say the leaders today for me were paddy durcan Tommy conroy and hession who made a big difference when they came on also thought Ryan o D was always trying hard.. Yes we def under performed no question typical after we beat a big team.

    I wouldn’t be to harsh on the guys certainly wouldn’t be panicking either great that no one will be giving us a chance going forward and back under the radar now as others say!

  87. Tommy Conroy should have been taken off immediately after his head colliding with the post. I seen him going in the tunnel after the match, the evidence of the collision was there on the side of his face. At least he was smiling and a great smile he has as well. Frustrating match , I feel Mickey Harte definitely got the better of the tactical battle. Still a win is a win is a win!

  88. Positives from today –
    – No injuries on the hard ground;
    – Diarmuid rested for the day
    – + McStay says that McLoughlin is fine.
    – Came through a tight game on a tight pitch in 25
    – Lads like O’Hora, McBrien, McHugh, got good
    game time
    – Younger players get another lesson in patience.
    – Got the two points – Lead the group with a 7
    points difference advantage over Kerry.
    – Realise that we have to learn fast how to beat
    the tight defensive set-ups.
    Bad News – I’ll have to go back on the extra-strength
    blood pressure tablets

  89. @leantimea totally agree should have been taken off couldn’t believe it after all he’s been through thank goodness he was smiling as you said after and seemed Ok !

  90. Mayo 88 I agree with you but have to say Aidan O Shea was our leader today he was brillant and played his heart out in that heat

  91. We won lads. Not a great performance so plenty to work on. Heat was something else. Any team would find that blanket hard to break down. Not saying we were great, we weren’t: but the sky isn’t falling down all the same. Move on. Learn the lessons.

  92. I may be a bit naive, but the way to beat a blanket defence is to put two big men inside, keep lobbing balls into them and on the percentages we win some. Have runners coming from left and right half forward, that’s four players, have the other two forwards funnelling back to midfield in case the ball isn’t won inside !

  93. That game today the way it was played the way it ended was the perfect scenario for mayo,
    let’s cool things down and move on

  94. Also we also missed diarmuid o Connor I felt to he does so much but as others have said to time to move on and a win is a win in tough conditions they will learn a lot from this game and keep us all level headed!

  95. Hard to see that defensive unit winning an all Ireland. The loss of Mullin and keegan is going to tell eventually this year I fear. I’ve seen enough of this Durcan off the bench experiment too, play the man from the start of the game and stop trying to be too clever for our own good. 14 Mayo men behind the 45m line but still no sweeper for the Louth goal? That’s basic stuff any intermediate club team is getting right nowadays. A lot to work on.
    Diarmuid O’Connor is the man who’s reputation was enhanced most today and he didn’t even play!

  96. Myth is believing Louth are a good side and out of the other side of yer mouth some say Dublin are not contenders whilst they made bits of Louth .

    The fact is we cannot deal with an organised mass defence and at the other our mass defence is shambolic ,I don’t know what Donnie buckley is instructing but surely it’s more than just put bodies back cause that is all we do . Derry and Galway will be an impossible task if we are to meet them because we can’t combat that style of set up .

  97. @Swaloow swoops haha laughed at that! The commentators really started to annoy me though Joanne cantwell and ciaran whelan.. might mute the commentary next time and listen to Midwest haha!

  98. Players I noticed who played well – Aidan O’Shea, Pádraig O’Hora (thought he was excellent), Jordan Flynn, Mattie Ruane, Paddy Durcan, Stephen Coen (with that point!)

    Players who showed gumption (belief) – Mattie Ruane, Paddy Durcan, Tommy Conroy

    Honourable mention to Sam Callinan, who was prominent and brave but probably needs to learn more skill, cuteness and dexterity to cut through blankets, aided by sideline coaching. I feel all the attributes are there with him.

  99. Win is a win. Not pretty but still 2 points. If we won by 20 it wouldn’t have made much difference. Keeps us honest for the next fortnight.

  100. Any word on rte about the clear point that was flagged wide ? Almost proved crucial

  101. The negatives from today.the downright stupidity of the gaa to not allow a water break in 25 degrees stifling heat .they really need to cop on .the small attendance which again shows this format is too long winded with no real immediate danger to competing teams .The horrendous spectacle of a game which we had to endure.Gaelic football was never meant to be played like this .The positives well aside from Aidan o Shea and his confidence on taking frees I can’t really think of any .5 points up deep in injury time and we concede 1-1 .I thought we might see something innovative today on how to break these mind numbing defensive structures down but what we got was constant lateral passing across the field.If we hadn’t got the good start and somehow Louth had got in front what would have happened

  102. I’ve said it many times,the highs are too high and the lows are too low with some Mayo fans on the blog.It leaves little room for actual analysis and straight thinking.A few post match meltdown doom merchants on already.

    The negatives,
    Mayo still haven’t figured a way around a blanket in MacHale Park,almost anybody has a chance against us here.
    We didn’t win by a biggish margin which would have made winning the group easier.
    I don’t think the experiment at no.6 has worked all year and it didn’t today.
    I would worry about our defensive set up in general against the bigger teams.
    Reape had a bad day on the 45s and one or two kickouts.
    Subs were slow to be used.

    The positives,
    The brief was to win the game with no injuries,mission accomplished.
    Or subs bench has been the strongest it’s ever been all year and won us the game today.
    Diarmuid,Cillian,Kevin Mac and Eoghan Mclaughlin to come back (it seems for next game)
    There is serious competition to get in the 26,I think we have the best squad in the country.
    Aido has been a revelation on the left sided frees and showed real leadership besides today.
    We won’t play in MacHale Park again this year.
    There’s no hype and a lot to work on before Cork game,that’s just what we want.

  103. Organised mass defence?……get among them and try a few shots…….but not this crossfield back pass stuff…..

  104. Funny game, thought Mayo may have been a bit complacent, however never looked like losing it really. I wouldnt under estimate the loss of DOC today as he brings serious work rate and often is involved in the good things that happen. Our shape changed without him and I think that was the main reason Aiden was out field more. Louth got in behind us a couple of times on the right hand side and that is where the goal came from so the signs were there.

    Couple of other things on our play no shots from distance at all (Carr and Doherty took no shot at all if I recall correctly). There was no direct ball to Aiden as he wasnt there and the three times (think it was only 3) we got the ball into the corners and drove at them we looked dangerous. Particularly in the first half we never put a ball into the corners with all the posession we had. So the things you do to beat a blanket we diddnt really do or do well. Anyway lets keep it to one game at time now…

  105. I said last night i’d happily take a 1 point win, and thats how it turned out, and im actually happy. The bad news for poor oul Tuam Star is we are well back under the radar again.

    Impossible to pick a MOM from that, I’d probably give it to Aidan who nailed all his frees. 2 goal chances absolutely butchered by McBrien and Carr, we will not keep getting away with this. Jordan very lacksie daisy in the 1st half, needs to cut out the bulls^** and stop trying fancy sliced kick passes. Awful lot to improve on, no runners from deep, not one high ball even tried in to Aidan. Overall im glad we have things to work on, no complacency can set in now, so thats a good thing. Hope Diarmuid is not injured.

  106. Ah ya, sure Mayo will get to the knockout stages, but I’m not expecting to land the big one this year, Sin e.

  107. That was a tough watch and certainly nothing to keep any neutrals engaged. The biggest problem now is that letting that 5 point lead slip puts us into a position where we can’t afford to lose against Cork if we want to top the group.

    It looks like we learned the square root of f all from the Roscommon defeat and the template to frustrate and beat this Mayo team is now set. Coax us forward to meet the press on the 45 and then turn us over. We don’t have any penetration or ambition to break through a set defence. I wouldn’t mind if we didn’t have players who could beat the blanket but the likes of Durcan, Hession and Diarmud are well able to take a man on and run off the shoulder.

  108. Liamontherun, the Cork game will be an even bigger test, in my opinion. I read that Kevin Walsh (former Galway manager) is in the Cork backroom team as coach this year.
    He created the Galway shawl so we might see Cork playing a blanket defence against us.
    Secondly, Cork ran Kerry very close yesterday. That makes me think it might have been a good Cork performance every bit as much as a poor Kerry one.
    They ran Dublin close in the League.
    They’ll rightly fancy their chances against us.
    Maybe the neutral venue might be the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
    Wider spaces might add something extra for us.
    We’ll be presented with the same lessons until we learn them. I’m looking forward to us growing and learning.

  109. Torrid stuff but probably reflects where we are at. The forwards should spend most of their training sessions kicking points from 40/50m. Massed defences win out because opponents are incapable of consistently kicking medium/long-range points at will – try fixing that & stop making massed defences look good.

  110. Wins a win but that leaves a lot more questions than answers in my opinion.

    Again we looked utterly clueless against any type of defensive system, our ff line very poor at punching holes. Aidan back to his bad old habits of wandering out to his halfback line clogging things up.

    If louth had showed a bit more bravery they could have won that,having missed 3 good goal opportunities.

    Struggling to pick 3 for the motm poll whereas struggled to keep it down to 3 last time out.

    Tbf none of the top contenders seem to be blitzing it through the group, so all to play for with twists and turns aplenty

    I’ve been saying for a few years now diarmuid is the most important player on this mayo team and believe that now more than ever.

    It’s wide open this. No great side

  111. East cork Exile, if Louth and ourselves win next week it means 3 teams will be on 2 points so will come down to scoring difference for 2nd and 3rd.

  112. Love that comment, Mayo Exile.

    I think I could see that on a t-shirt – “Stop making massed defences look good”.

    It could be one of our fashion looks and slogans for the summer!

  113. It’s true a win is a win now get set for Cork in two weeks. It should be a more attacking football game hopefully, I intend to go where ever it’s going to be played. I wonder where will it be played, Ennis/ limerick??

  114. Very tough watch today. I think they should put the Cork game in Ennis instead of Gaelic Grounds. I’d say they’ll be lucky to get 8,000 at it which would mean a terrible atmosphere in the Gaelic Grounds. Surely they won’t do something daft and put it in Croke Park but I wouldn’t put anything past them!

  115. @Swallow we were cut open 3 times in 2nd half. On top of this, despite have players back we just have no plan. Louth missed some sitters for points in front of our goal and punched one wide when a goal was on. I’m far more worried about our problems at the back than I am of any difficulties we have in breaking down a defensive wall. I think most teams would have struggled against that packed defence. But better teams, one’s with real All Ireland aspirations would not have conceded that goal at the end and would have locked louth down to a lower score. Top teams win that by 8pts+ today.

  116. Lads these aren’t extreme knee keek reactions. We are just highlighting facts about our defence. Like, Colm Reape saved us with his last ditch save. If he hadn’t been so wayward with his shots he was absolutely our motm.

  117. Tomás ó sé commented a couple of times v kerry “it’s the runners that’s killing kerry” well today the runners were non existent. God almighty and i don’t want to be too critical but the lack of running off the shoulder was pathetic and can’t understand not 1 ball into o’shea to mix it up a bit. At the moment derry are 8pts up v Donegal and our boys could do with watching the tape tonight and see what running off the shoulder means.

  118. Very average Louth team with good honest work ethic. They carved out 4 goal chances. I can’t recall the Louth keeper having to make a save.
    If a very average team can open our defence up, then there is something radically wrong with the way we defend. Individually we have good players but the structure is missing. I thought Coen did well and he’s a tough warrior. Loftus, one great foot pass from which we scored a point. One easy point chance which he dropped into goalies hands. Marshalled defence reasonably but no level of responsibility himself.
    When he goes forward, he lays ball off and continues a run forward. When we are turned over, he’s completely out of position and makes his way back at his own pace.
    I’m not faulting Loftus, he is allowed to do this. But management need to seriously look at how. We defend. Coughing up chances against a very average team is a serious wake up call.
    Fix it because we have an outstanding panel of players

  119. @No doubt Donegal are not playing a total defensive system as louth did today any team would have found that type of defensive system hard to play against. Though reape injured himself at one point during the game thank god he was Ok hes some goalie!

  120. Should we be surprised we struggled today?

    Our strength against Kerry was how well prepared we were. Very little knowledge of Louth anywhere in our setup. Very difficult to be as good as we were against Kerry.

    Got the two points today, fingers crossed on the injuries side.

    I was completely wrong in how I thought we’d approach this. Lot’s of learnings there today. The big one imo is to freshen things up

  121. @ontheditch
    You don’t recall the Louth keeper making a save?
    I wasn’t at the game but off the top of my head save from Mcbrien in first half (in a fairly high profile moment in the game) and save from a weaker O Hora effort in the 2nd.

  122. In a bizarre way we’re probably better equipped to knock out Kerry or Dublin in a knockout game than anyone else who makes the quarters.

    Top the group (by no means a guarantee) and it’s likely Monaghan Tyrone or rossies in the quarter – they’ll be licking their lips after today and would be more than happy to pack the defence

    Knowing mayo we’ll lose to Cork, beat Dublin in a quarter then lose a semi to Derry or someone!!

  123. Can ye not see what the real issues are, Mayo cannot put good performances back to back, they probably will show up v Cork but will they show up in knock out games ?

  124. Thats was a shocking performance, we are not going to win an All Ireland without Cillian and Tommy Conroy starting in the forwards, Very little scores from play in McStays forward line that he has persisted with all year with.Cork showed where Kerry are at, that win painted ovet a lot of cracks.Even Padraic Joyce said it himself after the League Final, we knew they wouldnt score much from play.

  125. 13 days rest, players back hopefully, good pitch ,we can do it.
    Today was the day to play badly and win.

  126. I think in recent years mayo thrive best on being written off too mayo88

    A quarter final as top seeds has danger written all over it

  127. Mayonaze, I will have to watch the game back and think about your point about our defence.
    It looked like tough one-on-one marking to me during the game and in most cases we surrounded the man with the ball if at all near the danger area.
    We didn’t foul often and concede frees in that danger area, while Louth conceded lots. We had discipline.

    I didn’t think we used a classic massed defence. We seemed more ad hoc, and more inclined to get in physically close to our man.

    It looked like we were happy to leave some spaces at the back if it balanced out overall in getting results from other aspects of our play.

    Paul Flynn on co-commentary was lamenting that Mayo were keeping three men back while attacking and not committing more forward to over-power the Louth set defence.

    The defence would have worked fine today if we hadn’t given away the goal at the end. I couldn’t see the cause of the goal on the TV but it looked like amateur switching off. Could be wrong though.

  128. Where will the Cork game be , presuming a Saturday evening game in Limerick? Be the the most common sense venue and day.

  129. Louth keeper not making a save? Can you recall how many FREES we were awarded close to goal or in reasonable scoring distance?
    How many did ROD take? How many did Aidan take?
    If we had not been fouled, how many of those were goal chances? We created opportunities.
    The young Louth player who fouled Coyne close to the end line looked a bit worried but was relieved when he just got a yellow card and conceded a free.
    I read that Pádraic Joyce said after the League Final that he was certain before the game Mayo would be relying on FREES to score. Why ever so? (I scratch my head.)
    If teams will pull you, drag you or turn you over it’s hard to get in for goals. That said we did, when we broke fast about twice. We need to be RUTHLESS in those chances.
    Our playing style and the styles of massed defensive teams are different with different logics (hence different approaches to a defence).
    Our MAIN AIM for today was to get away with a win – which we did.
    It’s when we meet the Galways of this world, if we do later, with their defensive system and when the stakes are high, that we need to really unlock these systems.

  130. @ fw, yes McBrien, well worked passing movement and good save. Frees close to goal are not necessarily goal chances. Some fortunate frees…

  131. From where I was sitting, Coen seemed at fault for the goal. He waa running on empty and didnt block of the goal scores run. He either didnt know he was behind him or hadn’t the pace to make the tackle. Im not blaming him for being gased at that stage of the game.

    Think its time Conroy and Hession got a start. I cannot see why Loftus is playing CHB, continuosly misses points, and just passes sideways, does not punch any holes going forward, and is extremely suspect defending.

    If we’re in the business of trying to win an All Ireland, no players place on the team should be safe. However, it seems McStay has hung his hat on certain players, and tbh its not good enough. Durcan, McLaughlin or Hession would provide way more punch from CHB.

    I wouldn’t be calling Reape a hero after that save, he should have been out to gather ball instead of staying put. He redeemed himself with the save, but it should have been prevented.

  132. @clare. true enough but they would if they were playing mayo. As you say most teams would struggle against the blanket but you could count on one hand and not get to your thumb the amount of times mayo had 4 or 5 together running at pace at the louth defence. I know this can’t be done all game long but c’mon mix it up a bit.

  133. The Louth goalie Califf was also called on to intercept a pass in the second half when otherwise Aido was in on goal. Can’t remember who hit the hand pass, but they butchered it.

  134. I think that I might be in the minority here, but I believe now that our management team have a plan in place for the blanket, but didn’t want to unveil it today because they were confident of winning regardless. That plan has to involve Aidan O Shea much closer to goal. He was all over the pitch today in what was blistering heat… I was dying in the stand, can’t imagine how energy sapping it must have been on the pitch. And I know that the temp was the same for Louth, but we seemed to be moving more from the very start. I said beforehand I’d take a 1 point win with no injuries and I think that’s what we took away.. the hype will be a bit dampened too, so all and all I’m happy. Hope there’s nothing serious wrong with Diarmuid!

  135. @No doubt yeah your right there in fairness! I don’t know we always seem to go big out for the top teams and then run into lesser teams like louth and let our guard down its like we just get really complacent or something?

    I thought Tommy conroy made a big impact when he came on. Also thought padraig o hora did really well which was good as he hasn’t started much ! Felt bad for colm reape on the goal that went in he’s been so good and still my number 1 goalie choice . I thought he had hurt himself during the match to .

    Ridiculous call by officials not to allow water breaks!!

  136. It’s not going to happen this year I’m afraid, sorry if I’m coming across as negative but it is what it is.
    Galway / Dublin/ Kerry final.

  137. It really is amazing how much people struggle with the word favorites. The favorites are who are atop the betting markets. That’s Dublin, nobody else.

    If Tony sat on his couch typing away wants to make out that he thinks somebody else is most likely to win, then come up with a different word for it because that one is taken and has a very specific meaning

  138. @Stephenite..haha perfectly put. It is beyond me how based on anything that has been seen thus far why anyone would think Mayo have no chance but yet Kerry have a great chance…the only possible reason I can see for thinking like that is our history in finals. FW hit the nail on the head when he pointed out about zero balance with reactions of some of the fans on here. We are either world beaters or haven’t a hope.

  139. A problem for management when trying to produce a new team and a style of play is what do you need to aim for. Mayo’s style under McStay and co has been expansive and belligerent, which worked perfectly against teams that will come out and play and go toe to toe with us. Dublin, Kerry and hopefully Cork will. Derry, Armagh and Galway will to a lesser degree while the rest including Roscommon would prefer to choke the life out of the game. Hopefully the semis are made up of teams that want to express themselves and if we are to fail zI would prefer to do it against a footballing side.
    I know people will say that management have to be prepared for every type of opponent but it takes a lot of work to turn a style of play around completely in 2weeks.

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