Harvest time

Setting the ball rolling on a mini-season of guest pieces on the All-Ireland final and its meaning in the scheme of things, John Cuffe sets out some thoughts on the issue.  

Mayo team 2013 AIF

Photo: Mayo Mick

“Now it is autumn and the falling fruit

And the long journey towards oblivion

The apples falling like great drops of dew

To bruise themselves an exit from themselves

And it’s time to go, to bid farewell

To one’s own self, and find an exit

From the fallen self”

DH Lawrence folks wrote that, not I. September brings autumn, All-Ireland Sunday and the harvest. We in Mayo are very lucky; we tend to be around for all three events more times than most other counties. Last May the planted seeds of thirty-two counties plus London and New York, those frontiers of émigré Ireland, were tended and watered for their football crop.

Sunday September 22nd saw just two counties stand in the field to harvest the corn. We, thank god, were lucky enough to be one of them. Many prominent farms were choked in weeds and bramble, many lasted until they ran out of water but we got to the thrashing day.

Where we were

Four games in May/June 2010 left us a miserable pile. Cork hosed us in the League final, Sligo with a grinning gum-shielded Eamon O’Hara beat us for the fourth time ever in championship football. Longford ended our misery but it was a game between the league final and the Sligo match that displayed our misery to me.

The opening of Belmullet’s new ground saw the arrival of Cavan to play Mayo. Out on the pitch a Mayo forward soloed the length of the wing followed by a Cavan marker. The man in front of me, we weren’t acquainted, turned back and said “Watch this, our man will now solo back down to us”. He did and promptly essayed a forty-yard pass across the pitch which was intercepted by a Cavan midfielder who promptly drilled over the bar for one of their few scores from play. We were in the basement of ideas, heart and tír grá.

Turn around

Tommy Lyons was to be our man. Good manager but not the man for us. This blog and any other forum available made their feelings known that we might prefer one of our own to have this shot at spinning the bottle. Lo and behold amid mild to serious shock, James Horan got the gig. He has not disappointed. Three successive championship semi-finals, two successive finals along with two league semi-finals and a league final are not a thing to sniff at. Ask Kieran McGeeney and Kildare.

Where we are

Actually in a great place but a steady hand and head are now needed. Above I outlined our rate of progress but next comes the difficult bit for those who steer our ship. Dublin won the All-Ireland two years ago. In winning this year’s title they dispensed with the 2011 style and modus, they dispensed with at least five of the actors on that film. Sentiment played no part in keeping the famine to a two-year snack. We must stop sentiment. Ours is a famine of real proportions with tantalising glimpses of a huge feast.

Where we must go

After last year’s loss to Donegal I believe the consensus was to find three forwards that could write their own music. We didn’t. This is not a criticism of the men who played but it is a fact. We recycle six from about nine up front. Three are out and out half-backs. We cannot succeed that way.

Like in 2004 when the destruction of Tyrone became our high water performance, so too was the annihilation of Donegal this year. Tyrone showed cracks that we choose to see as positives when they should have been alarm bells. We also underestimated Kerry. We felt they were old and that Dublin struggled to put them away. We were wrong.

Kevin McLoughlin is central to this Mayo team of the last three years. The lad’s engines are over-worked. We need him flying again but we also need another outlet. Straws in the wind were ignored. Three easy goal chances spurned against Roscommon, a fourteen-yard free tossed casually away against Tyrone was dismissed as a glitch. It wasn’t, nor were the goal misses. They indicated a problem.

Half-time in the All-Ireland final should have seen us with at least five more points on the board. Kickable frees were missed. But kickable frees were missed against Donegal a year earlier at the same stage. In a game of inches those were yards and cushions. At the death when a touch of madness and gung-ho was needed we opted to make a play when a blast was needed. It should never have come down to that.

The men on the pitch are to be commended. They live the dreams we dare. To make the dream real the manager must now don a mask of inscrutability and do his pruning in November. Up front it just hasn’t happened for certain lads on that big day … that big day that really matters. They should be let go. To go back again and repeat the sins from the past would be unforgivable. And mark this … Mayo are easily capable of going all the way to next year’s final. The slash and burn, the pruning done in November will make that dream real.


Oh I will survive. Six decades wraps the old soul like a worn but welcome blanket. I am free to give out and not worry who I might offend. No one owes me and I owe no one. After last year’s final I made two mistakes. I wrote a piece for publication alluding that maybe Mayo lost the match inside the first ten minutes. It didn’t fit the narrative nor was I on message. On enquiry I was told that pressure for space saw its demise, strange that the same organ had no problem asking me for an opinion piece for the semi-final.

My second error was that for any future articles I would now require a monetary acknowledgement of perhaps thirty or forty euro for my pieces. The right noises were made, indeed I was asked could they use an article they had on file from me … for free. Soft Mayo man that I was I said ok. I am still awaiting the phone to ring since.

So folks the nuts and bolts of the article are this. We are all right, we will survive. If a bit of stiff will is shown, a forward or two found then we will be back in the rich meadow cutting the harvest soon again. The minors are back in the winner’s enclosure after a few years absence and Mayo has the health and the youth. Maith sibh a gasarí, ta múid an bróduil as ibh.

DH Lawrence ended with these lines:

“Oh build your ship of death; oh build it

For you will need it

For the voyage of oblivion awaits you.”

Careful handling of our football stock will ensure that Mayo never sails in The Ship of Death … to give the full title to the excellent poem I quoted from.

94 thoughts on “Harvest time

  1. A very good piece John and it has helped to portray the end of this season and a time for reflection and hard decisions. I hope however, that the management and side-line reflect as much on their own performance as they do on that of the players. I am a great supporter of James Horan, his backroom staff, his belief in the way football should be played and his straight talking attitude. I will continue to be a supporter and I firmly believe that we will get there. However, and I believe that it cannot be refuted, he and his assistants are as much at fault for the defeat as the players. The handling errors, poor passes, taking the ball into contact and badly missed efforts of the first half are down to the players. But the poor reading of the game, ineffective and delayed use of substitutes and the failure to alter our tactics when the momentum of the game was firmly with Dublin are all down to the side-line and, in the end, to James Horan. I am not laying the blame solely at his door, unlike the ridiculous column by Aiden Henry in the Connaught where he totally absolved the players of all blame (I suppose it was Horan that kicked 9 wides, 6 of them very scoreable, in the first half? I suppose it was Horan that that handed possession back to Dublin by poor hand and foot passing?) but I am highlighting the fact that, to me, it was a systematic failure on many fronts that led to the defeat. A 1 point defeat. That’s all it was in the end.
    There is a job to finish here. Let’s stay together, do whatever has to be done, and finish the fucker.
    Hon Mayo.

  2. Yes John, there’s quiet a few of us Mayo men, with our souls wrapped in six decades of living – tired and weary we might be, but still living the dream. Amongst the many disappointed Mayo folk leaving Croke Park last Sunday, were two men of long standing, one could tell from their weathered looks, they had stood on many a grassy bank down the years, roaring on their hero’s. Turning west off Jones road, one guy said to his mate, “this is it for me, I won’t be coming back, I just can’t take any more.” I wished them a safe journey home and watched with a little sadness, as they slowly made their way down the North Circular Rd and I just thought to myself, what a difference two more points would have made…..

  3. I agree with the points pebblesmeller and John.i believe there was an element of self destruct by both management and players.however this being said the football that This mayo team can play is second to none and must stay together and give it another shot.they owe it to themselves and we the fans must stand by them all the way.if James stays which I hope he will along with his back room team and players I firmly believe we will walk Sam across the Shannon next September.

  4. Great post John, well done. And a great picture.

    Folks, Willie Joe especially, how can I get in contact with Mayo Mick?

  5. The dust has now settled for me ,but still the same questions remain not just from me but from any other footballing person I speak to .
    1) Why was Freeman taken off.
    2) Why the need to bring Higgins back.
    3) Why was it Shamie that was taken off.
    4) Why was Feeney not brought on.
    5) How come 2 players that had hardly played all year are brought on in an AIF.
    6) How come Higgins was left for the last 10 mins on the edge of our square marking O Gara who could barely walk never mind run.Even Aidan on him would have been a better move.
    7) Was buckley wired up to Horan as the Mayo News reports there was no contact between the 2 during the first half,

    NOW. We knew last year that we should be playing a sweeper for the first 10 mins.We now ask all these questions about 2013 .What is going to make 2014 any different if something doesn’t change.We all know the definition of madness.

  6. Great piece John,like you said there are a few lads that need to be let go.I just hope JH has the balls to bite the bullet and do it.Now is the time to bring new lads in and give them the game time needed in the FBD and league.If we can keep the management team together with the best of our players plus a few new forwards surely there is at least one All Ireland in this team,roll on the league

  7. another great piece john cuffe , you should be charging a lot more than 40 euro for your pieces in the paper in my view.

    now sorry to detract from debate on your piece but i had to repost this piece off the GAA thread on YBIG.ie by a poster named sid waddell who knows his stuff .

    as coach d’amato says in “any given sunday” “the inches we need are all around us ” …

    see below

    Sad basturd that I am, I have conducted a comprehensive analysis of Joe McQuillan’s performance and every decision he made in the match. Mistakes and borderline decisions in bold. Frees to Dublin in italics. While he did make a lot of mistakes, none was especially obvious, and overall I believe he did a decent enough enough job in what was a very tough game to referee.

    01:45: Michael Darragh McAuley crashes into the back of Donal Vaughan – free correctly awarded. 1.

    03:08 – Paddy Andrews late slap to the chest on Kevin McLoughlin – foul and probable yellow card but not given

    04:30 – Paul Mannion fouls Tom Cunniffe – free correctly awarded for leading with elbow rather than shoulder. 2.

    06:25 – Michael Darragh McAuley brings down Seamus O’Shea – correct decision. 3.
    08:04 Paul Flynn adjudged to have fouled Donal Vaughan at kickout – borderline, but incident not fully covered by camera, so debatable. Free given. 4

    08:22 Jonny Cooper fouls Andy Moran – incorrect decision. 5.

    11:35 –Philly McMahon picks the ball off the ground – free correctly awarded. 6.

    12:40 Tom Cunniffe fouls Paul Mannion – free correctly awarded. 1

    14:01: Diarmuid Connolly tackle on Lee Keegan – free given, slightly soft but still probably a correctly awarded free. 7.

    15:47: Chris Barrett closed hand tackle on Ciaran Kilkenny – foul not awarded, incorrect decision, Dublin got the goal seconds later so McQuillan’s incorrect decision in this case ended up benefitting them.

    18:28: Eoghan O’Gara push in the back on Ger Cafferkey – free correctly awarded. Free correctly moved up 13 metres for obstruction by O’Gara. 8.

    19:19: Ciaran Kilkenny fouled by a combination of two Mayo players, free correctly awarded and correctly moved up 13 metres for knocking the ball out of Kilkenny’s hand as he was about to take the free. 2.

    19:50: Alan Freeman fouled by Rory O’Carroll tackle to the face and Jack McCaffrey tackle to the face – correct decision but McQuillan could have allowed advantage – Freeman worked a goal chance but in the referee’s defence a goal did not look on when the initial foul was made and it was in a clear scoring area so any advantage would had to have been a obvious goal chance. 9.

    21:35: Seamus O’Shea held up by Cian O’Sullivan – free correctly awarded. 10.

    22:30: Lee Keegan gets a yellow card for dragging back Diarmuid Connolly – correct decision. Free given. 3.

    22:57: Bernard Brogan blown up for overcarrying – correct decision. 11.

    23:55 Paddy Andrews penalised for push on Keith Higgins – free awarded, borderline decision, certainly softish. 12.

    26: 20: Eoghan O’Gara pulls back Tom Cunniffe and gathers possession before setting up Maichael Darragh McAuley for a goal chance. Not spotted by McQuillan.

    26:30 Dublin incorrectly awarded a 45 (which Stephen Cluxton pointed) when Michael Darragh McAuley’s shot was saved by Hennelly but rebounded off McAuley. Umpiring decision.

    27:45: Alan Dillon caught in possession and tackle around the head area by both Diarmuid Connolly and Ciaran Kilkenny – free correctly awarded. 13

    27:57: Andy Moran falls over theatrically in an attempt to win a free but McQuillan correctly ignores it. Correct decision.

    33:13: Lee Keegan pulls Diarmuid Connolly’s jersey – free correctly awarded. 4.

    35:16: Cian O’Sullivan takes 11 steps – free to Mayo should have been given but wasn’t.

    35:28: Cillian O’Connor puts his arm around Jack McCaffrey’s neck – free correctly given. 5.

    36:05: Andy Moran clearly fouled by Cian O’Sullivan and Rory O’Carroll – free incorrectly given to Dublin. 6.


    37:25 Bernard Brogan catches Keith Higgins around the neck in an attempt to tackle but a free is not given.

    38:53: Cillian O’Connor drags down Philly McMahon as the two go for the ball but McQuillan gives Dublin the advantage and allows them play their way out. Correct advantage.

    39:20: Chris Barrett leaves a boot in on Ciaran Kilkenny as Kilkenny attempts to pick the ball up. Free should have been given to Dublin but wasn’t.

    40: 46: James McCarthy leads with the elbow on Colm Boyle. Free not awarded. Probably not serious enough to warrant a yellow card, though.

    40:50: Eoghan O’Gara cynically pulls down Colm Boyle and then leans in with the knee to prevent Boyle getting up quickly. Free correctly awarded, but a yellow card should have been awarded too. Would have been a black card offence next year. 13.

    41:07: Paul Flynn trips Andy Moran just outside the penalty area. No free given.

    41:10: Moran is crowded out by three Dublin players. All tackles look fair, and Moran probably overplays the ball. Free incorrectly awarded to Mayo, perhaps to make up for what had happened a few seconds earlier. 14.

    42:33: Keith Higgins pushed over by Eoghan O’Gara. Free correctly awarded. 15.

    44:55 Cathal Carolan fouls Darren Daly. Free correctly awarded. 7.

    45:53: Diarmuid Connolly fouls Lee Keegan. Free correctly awarded. 16.

    47:00 Michael Conroy goes down under pressure from Jonny Cooper in a scoring area. Cooper and Rory O’Carroll both lay hands on his neck during the incident. Borderline free, but not given.

    47:57: Eoghan O’Gara tackles Donal Vaughan around the neck and then drags him down from behind. Yellow card correctly given. Should have been a second yellow offence for O’Gara. 17.

    51:00 Cillian O’Connor pulls back Rory O’Carroll. Free correctly awarded. 8.

    54:22. Paul Flynn pulls Kevin McLoughlin’s jersey. Free correctly awarded. 18.

    54:31. Cian O’Sullivan fouls Andy Moran. Free correctly awarded. 19.

    56:08. Ger Cafferkey adjudged to have pushed Bernard Brogan in the back. Difficult to see from camera angle but McQuillan seemed quite certain of the decision so was likely correct. 9.

    57:59: Rory O’Carroll gets a yellow card for a tackle on Enda Varley. This was a very marginal decision. On the live viewing it looked shoulder to shoulder, and it’s an honest attempt to tackle fairly, but O’Carroll does get very slightly above Varley’s shoulder and crashes into his head. Purely on a live viewing I would have called it as a wrong decision. But either decision would have been understandable. 20

    62:35: Darren Daly fouls Colm Boyle and throws ball back to stop it being taken quickly. Free correctly awarded. 21.

    64:23 Darren Daly fouls Enda Varley. Free given. Attemped shoulder to shoulder, but probably a foul. Debatable yellow, I probably wouldn’t have given it. 22.

    64:57: Bernard Brogan drags Aidan O’Se down around the neck and then knocks the ball out of his hand before he can take it. Free correctly given and correctly moved forward 13 metres. Yellow card should have been given. 23.

    65:57: Dean Rock fouls Colm Boyle. Free given, but looked soft and I would not have awarded it. 24.

    66:13. Andy Moran fouls Cian O’Sullivan from behind. Softish, but still probably a free. 10.

    67:20. Colm Boyle lunges at Kevin McManamon. Free correctly awarded. Yellow card awarded, slightly harshly. 11.

    68:40: Kevin McManamon rugby tackles Lee Keegan and holds him down with his body to stop him getting up. Free and yellow card correctly awarded. Would be a stonewall black card offence next year. Worst foul of the match. 25.

    69:10: Darren Daly pushes Enda Varley. Free correctly awarded. 26.

    69:51: Keith Higgins pulls Kevin McManamon’s jersey on the Cusack Stand side 35 metres out. Free not given.

    70:14: Ger Brennan fouls Ger Cafferkey around the neck and repeatedly obstructs him from taking a quick free. Free and yellow card correctly awarded. 27.

    70:36: Dean Rock pulls back Aidan O’Shea in midfield. Free correctly awarded. Should have been a yellow card. 28.

    70:43: Donal Vaughan fouled by Darren Daly (I think) in a scoring area 25m out. Philly McMahon is fouled by Colm Boyle and free to Dublin is given.12.

    71:27: Dean Rock fouls Chris Barrett. Free correctly awarded. 29.

    71:38: Colm Boyle slapped around the face by Denis Bastick. Free correctly awarded. 30.

    72:52. James McCarthy blown up for overcarrying. Free correctly awarded. 31.

    73:27: Darren Daly holds up Enda Varley. Free correctly awarded. 32.

  8. Actual free count:
    Mayo 32 Dublin 12

    Correct decisions by Joe McQuillan:

    Overall mistakes by Joe McQuillan:

    Free count should have been:
    Mayo 36 Dublin 13

    Actual yellow cards given to Dublin players: 5
    O’Carroll (wrongly awarded in my view)
    Daly (wrongly awarded in my view)

    Should have been given a yellow card – Dublin: 4
    Andrews – late and deliberate slap to the chest of Kevin McLoughlin
    O’Gara (before his actual yellow card) – cynical pull down on Colm Boyle
    Brogan – neck high tackle on Aidan O’Shea and knocking the ball out of the hand, stopping a quick free
    Rock – cynical pull back on Aidan O’Shea

    Actual yellow cards given to Mayo players:
    Boyle (wrongly awarded in my view)

    No Mayo player wrongly escaped a yellow card.

    Frees Mayo were wrongly awarded: 6 (3 of which resulted in points)

    08:04 Paul Flynn fouls Donal Vaughan at kickout – borderline, not fully covered by camera. Free given. 4

    08:22 Jonny Cooper fouls Andy Moran – incorrect decision. 5

    23:55 Paddy Andrews penalised for push on Keith Higgins – free awarded, borderline decision, certainly softish. 12.

    41:10: Moran is crowded out by three Dublin players. All tackles look fair, and Moran probably overplays the ball. Free incorrectly awarded, perhaps to make up for what had happened a few seconds earlier. 15.

    57:59: Rory O’Carroll gets a yellow card for a tackle on Enda Varley. This was a very marginal decision. On the live viewing it looked shoulder to shoulder, and it’s an honest attempt to tackle fairly, but O’Carroll does get very slightly above Varley’s shoulder and crashes into his head. Purely on a live viewing I would have called it as a wrong decision. But either decision would have been understandable. 21

    65:57: Dean Rock fouls Colm Boyle. Free given, but looked soft and I would not have awarded it. 25.

    Frees Dublin were wrongly awarded: 2 (0 of which resulted in points)

    36:05: Andy Moran clearly fouled by Cian O’Sullivan and Rory O’Carroll – free incorrectly given to Dublin. 6.

    70:43: Donal Vaughan fouled by Darren Daly (I think) in a scoring area 25m out. Philly McMahon is fouled by Colm Boyle and free to Dublin is given.12.

    Frees Mayo should have been awarded: 9 (4 of which would have been point scoring oppurtunities)
    03:08 – Paddy Andrews late slap to the chest on Kevin McLoughlin – foul and probable yellow card but not given

    26: 20: Eoghan O’Gara pulls back Tom Cunniffe and gathers possession before setting up Maichael Darragh McAuley for a goal chance. Not spotted by McQuillan.

    35:16: Cian O’Sullivan takes 11 steps – free to Mayo should have been given but wasn’t.

    36:05: Andy Moran clearly fouled by Cian O’Sullivan and Rory O’Carroll – free incorrectly given to Dublin. 6.

    37:25 Bernard Brogan catches Keith Higgins around the neck in an attempt to tackle but a free is not given.

    40: 46: James McCarthy leads with the elbow on Colm Boyle. Free not awarded. Probably not serious enough to warrant a yellow card, though. Advantage accrued to Mayo.

    41:07: Paul Flynn trips Andy Moran just outside the penalty area. No free given.

    47:00 Michael Conroy goes down under pressure from Jonny Cooper in a scoring area. Cooper and Rory O’Carroll both lay hands on his neck during the incident. Borderline free, but not given.

    70:43: Donal Vaughan fouled by Darren Daly (I think) in a scoring area 25m out. Philly McMahon is fouled by Colm Boyle and a free to Dublin is given.12.

    Frees Dublin should have been awarded: 3 (2 of which would have been point scoring oppurtunities)

    15:47: Chris Barrett closed hand tackle on Ciaran Kilkenny – foul not awarded, incorrect decision, Dublin got the goal seconds later so McQuillan’s incorrect decision in this case ended up benefitting them.

    39:20: Chris Barrett leaves a boot in on Ciaran Kilkenny as he attempts to pick the ball up. Free should have been given but wasn’t.

    69:51: Keith Higgins pulls Kevin McManamon’s jersey on the Cusack Stand side 35 metres out. Free not given.

    Umpiring mistakes: 1 (which resulted in a point)

    26:30 Dublin incorrectly awarded a 45 (which Stephen Cluxton pointed) when Michael Darragh McAuley’s shot was saved by Hennelly but rebounded off McAuley. Umpiring decision.

    and finally

    Having looked back at it, the foul on Bernard Brogan by Ger Cafferkey at 56:08 was also very borderline and may well not have been a foul at all. Difficult to judge on just the one TV angle provided.

    That was a crucial score for Dublin.

  9. Agree with the sentiment that it’s pruning we need rather than a slash and burn revamp.

    However, re needing a scoring forward. I was vocal in my astonishment that Evan Regan was cut from the panel before the championship. Through underage, with the minors and even with Ballina seniors he looks one of our best scoring forward talents in the county. Apart from Cillian, I don’t think there is an inside forward who has an eye for goal like him in the county.

    Still shocked how he wasn’t kept within the squad, ok..maybe he might not have played but the experience would have been invaluable.

    Look at how Carolan improved from his first appearance against Dublin in the league to later in the championship. Improved no end and I put that down to training methods within the squad and having better players around him.

    We decided to to let Evan go off to the states for the summer and I sincerely hope that he’ll even want to come back into the squad after the way he was let go.

  10. can only agree that the forwards have top be looked at, if its danny kirby , mark ronaldson , mikey sweeney or even tommy conroy! we need a marquee forward to add to the line , i reckon just one will do it , we need to use the FBD and the league to find him. we scoffed as all the pundits said we needed this but the hoors were right , brogan turned up for dublin and left us for dead, we cannot go out and buy one like man utd can, we have to breed them, coach them develop them.

  11. Also folks we need to know how to mark the opposition marquee forward. Two league matches v Dublin this year along with the final saw Bernard Brogan notch 3-19. That was in three games, a veritable one man destruction of us in a single position. Lessons in that area from last year?…none that I can see.

  12. Very good piece John. I agree with a lot of what you say.

    But first I think most of the Senior players from the championship deserve a rest. Ger Caff, Keith Higgins, Tom Cuniffe, Chris Barrett, Seamus O’Shea, Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Donal Vaughan, AOS, Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran, Alan Dillon, Alan Freeman and Cillian O’Connor should probably not play again until next March or so.

    As to the call for forwards that has been issued. The FBD is the place to start. But in this competition you should see players who will have the ability to stand the heat when things become really hot later on in September. Not easy i agree as you are playing on a heavy damp pitch most of the time but if a classy player does appear then he should be consistent throughout the FBD rather than one brilliant game here or there. And he should be able to carry that level of ability into the League.

    Most of the team should be aspiring U21s alongside the likes of Shane McHale, Michael Walsh, James Burke, Darren Coen, Jason Gibbons, Richie Feeney, Barry Moran and whoever else management wish to have on this team that needs to be viewed.

    finally I think it’s important to say that we should be winning it as well. There is a much larger problem looming for all teams in the country that has not been examined yet and that is the Black Card.
    The only team capable of surviving it at the moment are Dublin simply because of the size of the panel they can support. Other counties that have aspirations need to fin a massive panel that can cover the Black card issues. And we need to have experts who can fins the flaws in this new system quickly and learn how to use them to our advantage.


  13. Major disappointment alright but its done now. We have to move on and learn from it. The game for me boils down to a few things.

    1. Dublin had experience of winning sam and it is no coincidence that their main men, Cluxton, Flynn and Brogan led the way.

    2. We do need more scoring forwards but mainly in the half forward and midfield. Moran, Freeman and O Connor when all fully fit are a good a ff line as we can get.
    Higgans should stay in forwards for league and maybe look at Boyle at wing forward or Vaughan in midfield. McLoughlan could do well as a wing back as he is not scoring from play and can still get forward. Just a thought

    3. The management did not lose us the match, our simple errors did that but they didn’t help either. Horan and co need to have a good look at what went wrong and not repeat the same mistakes.

    4. The issues surrounding Richie and Freeman puzzle me. Sometimes we don’t know the full story but Horan stood by Freeman when we was going bad and Richie has always performed as impact sub. No logic to it.

    5. Every year I look at mayo and ask myself are we good enough to win the all Ireland.
    The answer is yes but we need to shake up the team a bit with one new back ( McHale), one mobile midfielder ( Vaughan), Two scoring half forwards ( Keith, Carolin), and two scoring forwards( Coen, Doherty, Regan, Minors)

    I hope no one quits now. Its now we need everyone……..and a bit of bloody luck as well.

  14. @John Cuffe..

    True but we did a decent job against McFadden and Murphy this year. I couldn’t blame Caff for either goal last Sunday.

  15. I agree with most of the blogs about mistakes made all round and what needs to be rectified.One area where Dublin dominated was in the physical stakes our forwards were thrown around like rag dolls.Not one of our backs gave Brogan a decent rattle when a high ball comes in to the square like the one where he got a soft goal Hennelly should have called it and took man and ball with him and let Brogan know he was not welcome in his
    patch.We need to toughen up all round the pitch play on the edge and know how to play the ref.When K.Donaghy was destroying us at full forward I think in the 06 AII Ireland David Brady was brought in to mark him with the result Mr Donaghy soon vacated the area in front of goal I presume as a result of some friendly exchanges with David we need a few like him particularly inthe forwards a number of our backs are quite capable of looking after themselves just to make sure we are bullied in the future.I notice some subscribers are advocating some players who in my opinion are too small and light you will win nothing with that type of player they will shine in the FBD or in Connacht but that is that they will just be fodder to the opposing backs when you get to the serious end of the business.I would like to pose a question here as a matter for discussion would Conor Mortimer have made any difference tp us the last day.I fully agree that he should not have walked because he was dropped and James Horan handled it in the right manner
    But if this never happened I just wonder would he have made a difference
    Just a thought
    Nice teams dont win AIS just look at Kerry over the years Tyrone and now Donegal and Dublin.I am not advocating dirty play just the right level of physicality

  16. Well Philo you braised a lot of points.
    First of all you say we need more physical players because we were bullied. Personally I don’t necessarily subscribe to that. I know Dublin are big and physical however most of our team were able to handle them. The loss of to Cuniffe through hamstring was a big blow as then Keith Higgins was required in FB line.

    Maybe Shane McHale (if he bulked up) would be able to physically handle the likes of O’Gara or Dean Rock. I know we need physical guys but one thing next year that’s going to be crucial is how we (and other teams) manage the black card. So discipline is just as important.

    Brogan did not bully Ger Caff either. Cafferkey played very well on him. His first goal was poor play on our behalf. I think Robbie Hennelly will have nightmares. Either the call was mixed up between himself and Caff or else he should have stayed on the line. I don’t know although to give benefit of doubt it’s very difficult to hear anyone shout on a big day in that crowd and in that intensity. Personally I think he should have stayed on his line. He came off it and didn’t get the ball. Result was a goal that kept Dublin in it in first half.

    In second half Brogans goal had nothing to do with brogan. all he did was tap it in. Ger C had to leave him because Bastick was tearing down on goal 20 yards out. Once hand pass went over him we were goosed.

    Biggest problem I think is that Gaelic Games has gone so fast now in middle third that if a good team breaks through your 1/2 back line with a man over then they will always go for goals. Killer goals always give the opposition momentum. The second one for Dublin last Sunday (when both teams were wrestling with each other) was in my opinion the deciding score as it changed the momentum of the game completely.

    As to Conor – personally I think it’s time to move on. No way he is physical enough to play against that level of opposition. He had his day.

  17. I agree Philo on the physical stakes and its the only issue I have with Caff. And yes when BB came in backing in on Hennelly for the softest goal he should have sent back out with a good thump. He’d think twice about it again, he had no fear of that.
    what we need is physically imposing forwards, not the likes of Mort and please don’t mention any of the minors. They’re good but need 2/3 years of S&C before being considered.
    Unless someone surprises us in the club championships we’re left with fringe players like Gallagher, Cathal Freeman, Carolin, Coen to come in and make an impact. There’s no glaringly obvious forward who hasn’t had a chance..

  18. cant agree with that JPM , from where i sat in the corner of the cusack and the davin Brogan was signalling to bastick to hold the ball , hold the ball , hold the ball i am moving in with you , hold and then release , the goal was alsmost all brogan as far as i could see , he lost his man , bastick drew them and then BAM!! i was watchign Brogan and knew how it would end… 🙁

  19. Another frustrating thing…as if there wasn’t enough already…Bastick has just come on the field and had nobody marking him whatsoever.

  20. Not sure what your argument is Roger.

    Exactly what was Ger Cafferkey supposed to do? Stay on Brogan who had drifted naturally over to corner edge of square and let Bastick drive on through the middle for a shot?

    Cafferkey had no choice but to go and try cut him off. So there was no way in my mind it was his fault. All Brogan had to do was rely on the pass which was fine. Let’s be honest. My grandmother could have put that one away from that distance.

    fact is that Brogan for getting MOTM scored those 2 goals with his hands.

    First – a lucky (unlucky from our side) flick that found no one home.
    Second – a simple tap in because of a huge overlap.

    I know he scored 2 points as well – one in first half was good but it came from a breaking ball. Took it well enough though. Second one was again an overlap 3 on 2 side to side passing that gave him the space. Other 2 points he scored were both from frees as far as I can remember.

    But it comes back to the overalp . If the overlaps are there then good teams will inevitably score. Simple as.

  21. Thank you Roger Milla for the very interesting referee stats. They show that the referee’s performance was considerably worse in the second half:
    – 7 frees not awarded to Mayo (2 in first half) and 2 frees not awarded to Dublin (1 in first half)
    – 6 yellow card errors in second half (1 in first half)

    They also prove that Jim Gavin was wildly inaccurate in his comments, probably deliberately. I think that he continually and successfully spins about the Dublin brand of football. His comments may be examined more closely from now on.

    As it is clear that a particular approach on the pitch influences or is ignored by referees, is there an obvious message for the Mayo style here? Should we now adopt an out and out win at all costs mentality? Which is preferable……an All Ireland win like Dublin’s in 1983 or another gallant loss next year? I know which one I would prefer. After two, possibly avoidable, All Ireland defeats, a changed attitude is needed. The new players being tried out in the FBD and League next year will tell us which way the team management are thinking.

  22. Well lads its been great, but much like the team I need a rest, although in my case its from talking about it. Whats done is done,and the powers that be will do what they can, or they wont. Not much any of us can do about it anyway.
    See ye around Christmas when the appetite might be back, time to get the boots back on for the oval ball game and make the trek up to mecca again this Saturday (how odd will that be) to bring the young lads to see their heros in action against Clare.
    Slan for now.

  23. I’ve held off on commenting over the last few days due to not wanting to make knee-jerk reactions, depression, anger, fear and then a small bit of apathy.

    First off major congratulations to the minors. The first Mayo county side to win an AI in Croker since 1985. On most other weeks we’d be going crazy about them.

    Second huge thanks to the seniors, player and management. They’ve given us a lot over the last few years and hopefully will again next year. The time and effort put in is massive and appreciated.

    As for my two cents on what went wrong and where to improve here they are for what its worth.

    There were many factors that caused us to lose the last day; the heat, too high a wide count, not winning/disrupting enough Dublin kickouts, a couple of possibly questionable subs, Freemans illness, the ref, some players not good enough or out of form, passing accuracy, luck, some big plays by some of the Dubs but really we have to drill down and look at where we are strong, where we need improvement and what can to do over the next year to try and bring Sam home.

    For me and a lot of others here the quality of forwards is brought up. I’d raise a slightly different point. It’s about having a quality panel and having the right options in the right areas.

    In my view we need a centre forward. We need a Gooch, a director of the orchestra, that is calm and collected, preferably can shoot from long range and give good quality ball inside. No inside man can operate to his best on bad ball. We didn’t have a real CF last year or this year. I believe we should redeploy Cillian out here. He doesn’t have pace but he has all the rest. I’d then flank him with the likes of Keith, K Mc or Carolan. Other options of the bench would be Richie and Dillon. There is your options for the half forward line – if one isn’t on form they are replaced, if the opposition requires a different style of play the options are switched.
    To enable CoC and Keith in the half forwards we need to work on our options elsewhere. I think Barrett, Cunniffe and Caff are as good a FB line as is out there but we cannot keep shuffling Keith back when something goes wrong. Therefore we need to bring on and improve the likes of McHale, Keane and Walsh in the league.
    We’d also really need to find options in the FF line. We know what Andy can do in there and I’d say Freeman is our best option at FF but we need to bring on and improve Regan, Gallagher, Doc, Coen, Kirby and possibly others. We also need to look at who hasn’t worked, unfortunately if there is a place up for grabs in the squad I think it’s Varleys – he just hasn’t performed at the highest level.
    We may also need a more mobile option at midfield – I don’t know if it’s Donie but I’d loath to move him as we struggled for so long without a centre back after Jimmy Nallen left.

    If we come back next year with those improvements we’d be in with a serious shout in my opinion, although it is horrendously difficult to come back 3 years in a row. We shouldn’t change our style of play I think – the black card will suit us in general and our style of play in particular.

  24. Great piece as usual John Cuffe, I find myself in agreement with you again on many issues. The solutions to our problems must be found from within our own resources. James Horan appears to be a man who realises this.

  25. There’s more than varley that haven’t performed when the chips were down. I count 3 that will likely be dropped.
    It’s business, nothing personal as they say. If the panel are given a rest for 3 months they will regain the drive again and will compete again in 2014 in the semifinal.
    There’s 3 new faces needed up front, at least 2 of which have to physically big and strong enough to throw a defender aside
    A goal scorer has the knack regardless of size, we dropped one last year, get him back in training today and ready for the league where we can see how his form is

  26. Totally agree with JC as regards we need to look at our options up front and another poster there Kevmy makes some very valid points especially in relation to higgans , we cant keep moving him back in the corner .

    I was left bewildered at the decision to drop Evan Regan off the panel prior to championship , i really hope he is back home from the US and wants to push for inclusion in 2014.

    Horan has done a tremendous job but he has made some questionable decisions and aq lot of them have been made in both finals.

    Rumour is not allowed here but can i just ask did all panel members travel to the game together and did the banquet pass without incident?

  27. @alf. Seriously, his man scores two goals and three points, gets man of the match and probably an All Star on that match alone. Not forgetting the roasting he gave us in the league matches.
    We all look at the failings in the forwards, but Does anyone think we need to look at FB as well? Come on now.

  28. @MayoMick

    Sorry but I’m not too sure what I had to do there! Can’t find any details :/

    I set up an email account there. Can you email me your email address to mayomark51@gmail.com ?

    Thanks Mick 🙂

  29. And btw @John C…forgot to mention your article, I enjoyed it. You brought up an important point, we needed Cillian to try for goal, a long shot yes, but we needed a blast, the whole stadium knew we needed it, yet he/they opted for a point…I just didnt understand that. I thought we were going to line up 14 men on the 21, blast it, get the rebound, crash the fuckin goal and defy McQuillan to call a spotter….seems unbelievable? maybe, but it was an option, our only option, and it was possible, but we declned and settled for a one point loss versus a two point loss.

  30. Cillians decision to take a point, still has most people baffled, he did look to the line for guidance though and im not sure if he got the nod either way.

    This line that Horan and the players are taking is a nonsense, ”he said thirty seconds” ffs the ball was still in cillians hand, Cluxton was bound to waste a few secs collecting the ball and eventually kicking it out, it just doesnt make sense and brings us back to the old old horrible word ”bottle” .

    What would gooch and Kerry have done, what would Brogan and Dublin of done, what did Meehan and Galway do.

    I have reflected on what i think of Horans position all week and i would love to pose a hypothetical question to Mayo support.. , if you were given a chance to vote and given two options, Horan to stay on or Jack o Connor from Kerry to come in, who would you vote for?

  31. @sean, apparently one traveled by car and did not play, and there was an incident by all accounts at the banquette. Who knows what’s in store for next year.

  32. Great piece John Cuffe.
    Bless you for the “Lessons in that area from last year?…none that I can see.” I have been preaching that all year and have been scoffed at. Donegal last year, 2 goals, No cover!!! Dubs second goal on Sunday, Caff on his own, 3 Dubs. No cover!!!! That’s why Mayo lose games.

  33. shakin my head…reading of possible dissent within the camp after, this points to dissent before, which led to a bad performance on the biggest of all days. How this can happen is shocking. I remember thinking during the match, shorttly after freezer was subbed, we looked disorganized…and surely, we were.

    @Joe Mc…yes, I agree. Even though I was in the Davin, soon as Flynn lobbed that ball in, my heart skipped a beat. Ger should’a knocked it away though. Thats all I’ll say on it.

  34. going for the point at the end is still troubling me…dont understand it…never mind looking to the line, common sense tells you we needed a goal.
    I havent watched the game on TV yet, just got back yesterday so trying to catch up work/life etc. Painful.

    @Sean B…you got a ticket in the end?

  35. The decisions made inside the next few months will define Mayo football for a generation.We have much of whats needed, indeed apart from the actual All Ireland winners we stand well ahead of the pack.

    History lesson. October 1996 debate centred on the addition of a “marquee forward” to take us on the last leg. We got him, Ciaran MacDonald. Also we got a top class keeper, no disrespect to the lad before him. We assumed that every one would hold form and the two new additions would grease us on.

    Fate stepped in. We moved to an All Ireland final like men walking in treacle. McDonald, a kid back then did his bit, Burke blocked hell’s gates but other lads slid back. Understandable. The man who shot out the lights twelve months earlier was thieved of his Mojo. James Horan lost form. That’s no sin, that’s an indication of the level he attained. Without him leading the front line we were shipping uisce.

    James Horan to me and my decades of watching the county, is always in my first six forward picks. He now is perfectly poised and placed to feel the temperature gauge in the camp and see who might not be clearing the dirty oil. His previous experience should leap forward and he should brook no doubt in taking the scalpel.

    We will make a final, conceivably next year again. The spade work and the surgery now will define whether that will be the winners enclosure. Posters refer to Cork and their third tilt at the windmill in 1989. That one came courtesy of us. Coming back a third time guarantees one thing. A third final, that’s all. Nothing in the small print says you must be a winner for a three final in a row sojourn.

    In 1942 Galway played their third successive AI final and lost all of them, vanquished by Kerry twice and Dublin. However don’t despair. Three successive seasons has seen Mayo knock out the incumbent AI champs. Dublin are on the far side of the draw next year. We , if we make a semi, will face a Munster outfit. If we then get by, it might be Dublin in the final. All we gotta do is knock out the sitting AI champs for the fourth consecutive time. Then we will have Big Lugs!!.

  36. Dont want to break the rules here, but what kind of incident allegedly happend at the banquet? Anyone got an idea? P

  37. There was no issue at the banquet. A lot of the players mingled and did their best to be cordial in difficult circumstances, some were having a good laugh and others were very upset. I didn’t see any issue. One player drove another player, that did not play, up on the Saturday. There is always going to be someone left out and that someone is obviously going to be upset. It’s hard on everyone. I wouldn’t have left him out, but, I am not the manager.

  38. Lads – if whatever occurred at the banquet is out in the public domain then it’s fair game to discuss but I really don’t want a discussion here on alleged happenings which haven’t been publicly reported on.

  39. I dont know John…its one thing losing, but if there’s other baggage in the camp, then thats more worrisome. I just think, Horan needs to cast the net further afield and also examine his own sideline performance.
    Another question I have is, does he have spotters positioned up in the stands? viewing the game from those positions, I imagine one see’s a different game. Would be interestign to know. The game is so fast and changes so quickly now that one needs to have assistants and spotters around the field, to communicate with players on new roles and responsibilities.
    I think its only a matter of time until the manager has headphone and is gettign real time input from the stands and sideline. Like the americans.

  40. Sean Burke, to answer your question. I would have Horan any day ahead of Jack o Connor. If and when there is a vacancy for the Mayo managers job, the man to fill it would be the Mayo man sitting next to big fat mumbling Des in the Sunday game studio. McStay is wasted in there answering rehearsed and prepared questions every Sunday night and giving politically correct answers. He is a “shoe in” in a year or 2 or whenever the vacancy arises.
    Still scratching me head about the decision to just take the pint in the 74th minute. Something isn’t right about this at all. As stated above there was an opportunity to create almost a scrum, or get a man hauled down forcing his way through and force to referee to make a decision on a possible penalty.
    Now i read on here about dissent in the camp before and after the game. This might explain a few odd decisions from Sunday. If true though it is unforgivable and not good enough. Answers are required for some puzzling and shambolic sideline decisions from Sunday. Christ did we throw this thing away?

  41. I unfortunately think we did throw away an all Ireland on Sunday and that is why it is so difficult to take this time around. A combination of players having off days, referring decisions, and decisions from our own line all contributed to our downfall. We were told this was the best prepared Mayo team ever but yet we faulted against a young Dublin team who did not fire themselves.

    I would hope we can bounce back next year and go on step further but that takes another huge commitment by everyone involved, some new faces will need to be introduced on and off the field (that does not mean horan should go). Maybe a new selector or two to freshen things up. Going out and winning the league might not be such as bad idea.

  42. Every dog in the streets in mayo knows at this stage what went on over the weekend and Sunday night.Its not like JH or the players are going to come out and put it in the papers but at this stage somebody needs to say something.I spoke to an ex Mayo player today who gave many fine years of service to the county and like he said if a Kerry manager made the decisions that were made on the Mayo sideline last Sunday he would be hung out to dry and made answer for his actions,why should it be any different in this county.Its time all this shite was cleared up.If any member if the management or the team is not up to it then it’s time for them to go.No disrespect to weaker county’s but this is Mayo football we’re talking about.We the supporters deserve better.Mayo football is at an all time high,we don’t want want to go back to where we were in 2010

  43. I agree Pacar…specially on the Kerry analogy. I’m going to watch it again tonight….will get me mad again I suppose.

  44. Thanks to the Mayo team, thanks to the management and complete backroom team and thanks to the Co. Board for great year.

  45. This one is hard to take, but if we got a flukey goal in the dying seconds would we have questioned any of the decision made, i doubt it.
    Dublin beat us twice in the league with 2 goals that were the differance and again 2 goals on Sunday. Dublin were the form team all year and although we could have won that game the best team probarly won the all ireland.

  46. Sean Burke,you want jack o connor in -does that mean you want Donie Buckley out…..cos o connor was the reason he left Kerry!

  47. Thanks to all who cut the grass and had it green, thanks to all who got the red colour into steak, thanks to all who bought their petrol in Mayo and last of all thanks to all those who cheered for Mayo!!!!

  48. Still don’t feel ready to comment here, heartbroken all week and after reading comments today I’m downright angry now. If there’s any truth in these rumours it would seem we are truly cursed but not by the men of 51 or some priest but our own fucking stupidity . How many times in the past has one of own derailed or tried to derail our chances . Remember 2008 A I semi v Kerry which we lost by 2 pts , last years Connacht final , and now , our best chance ever to be Kings we hear about trouble leading up to the final. It would appear some want to be crowned the week before the inauguration .
    Boys pull together, my arse.

  49. By the way was in City West , left around 2 and didn’t see any trouble by that time . Just hope it’s not true.

  50. Mister Mayor says:
    September 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm
    @alf. Seriously, his man scores two goals and three points, gets man of the match and probably an All Star on that match alone. Not forgetting the roasting he gave us in the league matches.
    We all look at the failings in the forwards, but Does anyone think we need to look at FB as well? Come on now.


    1 point came from a ricochet that could have went anywhere, another from a free ( incorrectly awarded, I was in line with it in 309 cusack…was not a push in the back.)

    Regards the goal : If keeper comes, he gets it..end of story..even if that means breaking Ger in half. Clarkie would have taken man an ball. Hennelly came for it in the semi 2 years ago V Kerry and missed and resulted in a goal.

    2nd goal was 2 on 1…Kevin Cahill or Prendergast would have been toast there.

    Caff has been one of our most consistent players all year, to lay blame at him smacks of a man who hasn’t seen many Mayo games in person this year?

    How many have attended in person by the way?

  51. Lads stop blaming the ref etc. As I said before the book has to lie with our sideline. How come dublin won all their kickouts in the 2nd half? Did ye realise they went down the cusack side every time? How come we never struggled before vs dublin? I believe this was due to barry morans absence. The reports from training pre all ireland was that he was flying. I’ve been playing and watching long enough and think I can read a game. All kickouts went to cusack wing. If you watch barry play he lines out for kickouts on wing and moves in if needs be. Have a look at this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrHT3jecIJs&feature=youtube_gdata_player As you see aos is running out towards wing on THREE ooccasions and has failed to cover space on wing.. Start wide and run in…neither of our midfielders did this and id say cluxton couldn’t believe his luck. As mcstay says at least if they lined out on wing there would have been bodies in middle to cover a kickout down middle. A big man serves as a deterrent to kick down the wing also. So I think as argued before barry should have been in at half time for aos and my argument is supported by sunday game footage there. More sickened when I see it replayed back

  52. I am inclined to agree Alf. I thought Caff was excellent on Sunday until I was told that Brogan scored 2-3 and that “if you think he was good then you fuck all about football”. My argument was exactly as you have pointed out. Maybe I do know “fuck all” but I will stand by my belief. Furthermore, it is harsh on Cafferkey to blame him for the first goal. Hennelly should have stayed on his line and waited to see what came of the dual between Brogan and Cafferkey. I used to play in goal and as soon as Flynn kicked long I immediately looked to Hennelly and thought “stay put, leave it to Cafferkey” But as the ball travelled in I knew Hennelly was going to come for it, you could nearly see him thinking “will I go, will I stay?”. I actually roared “STAY STAY” as if he could have heard me??? but he had his mind made up. And you know what, I do not blame Hennelly one bit because he saved 3 certain goals after that. we are blessed to have 3 outstanding keepers competing for the jersey.

  53. About Caff, again and again and again, no f..king cover. Dubs second goal; Caff against 3 Dubs. Rocket science?

  54. Aye, the 2-3 argument is hollow to be honest. Now, I’d never say that I’m an expert compared to some of my peers and lads here, as I’ve a fair few years left in me to be watching football but Caff has been savage this year. He was MOM in 1st game of league V Kerry in Castlebar, an absolute masterclass,,,granted he did have a poor game V Dublin in league stages but feck all else as far as I can recall…and to be honest, I’m known for my memory.

    Hennelly had a savage game after but you can’t go saying lets have a look at the FB line for 1st goal (ie..Caff is basically what Mister Mayor is saying). I can’t let that slide.

  55. I agree with above on Ger Cafferkey. None of goals were his fault. As to the FB line we actually have plenty of cover there. Michael Walsh, Shane McHale and Kevin Keane are all aimed at that line. And that’s before you take into account Higgins.

    We’re short people in the 1/2 back line and 1/2 fw line. I know our 1/2 back line is best in country but if anything were to happen to Keegan or Boyle it would be a serious blow.

    And our 1/2 fw line bar McLoughlin needs surgery. McLoughlin had a poor match however he usually has someone always coming off his shoulder to take ball off him when he is bursting through. AOS or Donal Vaughan were not there the last day for this .

    Maybe both were told to defend primarily but I would have expected a couple of attacks at least.

  56. The fault cannot be with the backs when only 1 or 2 points were got over 45 mins. Half of our midfield and 2 thirds of the half forward line had gone awol………….nothing going into the forwards……………………It’s hard to take but we can only hope that it’s a lesson that will be learned……….it’s over and while we do hurt, we have to commend this side on what they gave us throughout the year, that hopefully will also be the springboard that will launch this Mayo into 2014 and beyond………………I for one, though very disappointed with Sunday’s outcome can only be very grateful for the football played and the pleasure this side gave me over the last 3 years…………some will castigate me for that , but so be it because though we as supporters are well down in the dumps, imagine how those who had to make the supreme sacrifices feel………..so as supporters we need to be doing that and not slating them but thanking them for the year they gave us……….or years.
    MaighEo Abú

  57. I completely agree that we shouldn’t blame Hennelly as he made up for it in spades after that, we could have been staring down a 2004-6 type game only for him. His heroics set a platform for the team to go up and get some points on the board. Everyone says we got so many scores from frees, well those frees were in very good positions and it is just becasue we were fouled so bloody much in that region that we had no option but to take them. The ref stats are amazing actually, I have watched the game a few times since and there is no way in hell that o’gara should have been on the field after 60 minutes. I ask anyone to just pick him out of the Dublin players when they watch the game again, he is a pure thug and gets away with a phenomenal amount of things (hopefully the black card will sort that bullshit out) In fact the black card has the potential to change the game immensely in my opinion…but that’s just rambling..
    I think that Jim Gavin knows how influenced referees are by managers and came out with that lark afterwards to deflect attention from the fact that, yes, Dublin were complete thugs and bullies for a huge amount of the game and have been for years. He knows his stuff and in some level you have to give him credit for that. ..My point is I just think James Horan needs to be more in tune tactically (or at least have an aid a couple of rows up to recognise things) Yes, we had some major screw ups in terms of possession and wides but I do think the managerial side of things i.e. ruthlessness (and letting some of the more senior players become impact subs) needs to be adopted for next year and then I do believe that we can do it. Shrewdness, cutenss, quick decision making and maximising our forward’s potential. After all, we are still a young team. All this talk about ‘this was the chance and if we don’t do it this year’ is bollix. The lads need a well deserved break and the management also and if they really learn from these mistakes, it won’t be long. As Rob Hennelly said after the match-I fucking love Mayo

  58. Hear, hear Maximus……………………….RH and all these fellas love Mayo and deserve a break away from the circus for a while………….no one can undo what’s passed but we can all be assured that the future with these fellas on board will be worth all the pain…….They will come back recharged and ready to go.
    We are blessed to have men like Robbie Hennelly,Clarkie,Caff, Cunniffe,Higgins, Chris Barrett,Kev K,LeroyK,Boyler,Donie V, Ger Feeney,KevMac,The Doc, 2 Morans,S Oshea, COC,Freezer and Horan and Buckley at the helm, these are men that would make any team in the country tick.
    Add those young guns on the periphery and we are one serious squad.
    Here’s to Mayo 2014
    MaighEo Abú

  59. Alf I’m not laying blame on Ger Cafferky but you want to get into a pissing match on who’s been to more games, yet you ignore the facts on BB?…..in 2013
    Game 1 (Div 1 round)
    Game 2 (League semi)
    Game 3 (AIF,)
    2-3 and MOTM

    just saying that’s a serious haul and painfully clear its no contest. I wish it were different too. As we all witnessed, and is debated here…it was no single players fault we lost this one. But we should be mature enough to objectively look at everyone’s performance last Sunday and over the season. There should be no sacred cows, (including James Horans performance)

  60. Figures don’t really say much when looked at isolation. If Brogan gets clean ball into him, he’s going to damage..especially if we go 1 on 1…like we did on Sunday.

    The concession of scores has to be looked as in terms of the whole team…How did McCarthy get so free to pick up a Cluxton kickout?…who didn’t track their man who the ball was fired into Borgan?….ect..

    Agree with you that everything and everyone should be looked at.


    Indeed we’ve a strong squad but still agonisingly short in my opinion. Lads need the break, hope FBD is just for younger lads to try and stake a claim and hopefully get a place in the league.

    The only changes we had during last years league was McHale getting a few cameo appearances, Cathal Freeman ditto, Keegan to half forward and Evan Regan getting a game and a bit…Need more this year, have to come up with something new.

  61. For the FBD and the league I think we need to see alot of Darren Coen, Brian Gallagher, James Burke, Shane McHale, Michael Walsh, Jason Gibbons and Cathal Carolan. We have to see whether they are viable options or not, whether they are good enough or not.
    We have to look, also, at being more flexible in our starting set-up. We are way too predictable in how we set out our team and we never give the opposing manager and team anything to think about in terms of positional switches and tactics. A different sport and a different manager but Sir Alex Ferguson always tinkered with his starting side and always threw a spanner in the works when it came to his team selection and tactical set-ups. In fact, the bigger the game, the more tinkering he did, e.g. Rooney on the left wing and Ronaldo up front in the 2008 Chapions League Final. The result, Ronaldo scores and Utd, eventually, win. My point being if we can make the opposing manager think about how we are going to set-up, where we are going to position certain players etc. it means he is thinking less about his own set-up and more about ours.
    It was mentioned here previously about Vaughan at midfield and I dismissed it out of hand as nonsense. Having seen Sundays dissection of our midfield by Cluxtons kickouts, however, I am begining to see where Vaughan could certainly work in certain situations. I prefer Cunniffe at centre back anyway as I think he is more of a “defensive” centre back.
    Just a thought on Burke. I would have thought he would have been an ideal defensive replacement for the injured Cunniffe as he plays his football in Dublin, would know alot of the Dublin players very well and has already featured in an All Ireland final this year? It’s just a thought.

  62. Agreed Pebblesmeller: I think he would have been well able to handle Dean Rock for example, playing in the same club as him FFS!

  63. I went to a game in Claremorris a few months back where Claremorris played Ballina.Evan Regan was the star of the show that day.He hit two cracking goals that day,both from the 21 yard line.The following week I heard he was gone off the panel,couldn’t believe it.Surely it’s lads like him,Tom Parsons.Danny Kirby and a few of the minors we should be trying out in the FBD league

  64. I was behind Cluxton for his kick outs in first half. His right hand side of the pitch was so open that a helicopter could have landed there without hitting a player. Who exactly was supposed to occupy that side of the pitch for us? I am not being smart here. Dillon wore 12 but operated outside of McLoughlin from what I could see.So who was covering that side for kick outs because Dublin men got flicked passes into their chest time and time again.I recall Cluxton hitting O Sullivan, MCMC, Flynn, even Ger Brennan with a few.

    Simplicity won the day allied to cuteness. Why we are not cute is for others to say. I would recommend everyone to read Daragh O Se’s piece in last Wednesdays Irish Times. When Connolly caught the jersey he should have been flattened the way the Meath boy scattered Flynn in the Leinster final. Instead Connolly caught a second Mayo man by the shirt.

    Tont McEntee great pundit by the way, got it right. After the Gooch roasted Brennan in semi where the Dubs did something about it, they took him off, McEntee said in old fashioned language that Mayo didn’t have a centre three quarters with the ability of Gooch, hence Brennan would be back for the final. McEntee saw us a tad light there. He was correct. We lost by one, I know we could have won by five but inches are miles out there. Brennan got a vital point. That inch breasted the tape. All in all he had a handy day at the office. For us the blueprints are being spread across the table again. Hard calls is what will stop this awful final day feeling.

    By the way take a look back at the first Dublin goal from our breakdown. Anyone recall something similar against Donegal last year for goal one? Half backs placed in an impossible position. Stay and get ran at, come and get by passed. Where was the cavalry?

  65. How has Tom Parsons been doing with Charlestown? Has to be worth a look again, as much as I like the O’Sé brothers…against a dynamic midfield they will be up against it. Be interesting to see how AOS gets on with that joke of a thing called “International Rules”. Hope he does well and that’ll be the height of my interest.

  66. Well worth looking at Alf, still a young man, U21 was he in 2009. Just after watching Peter Canavans goal v Kerry in 2005 final on Youtube. Master and pupil at work, Mulligan winning the ball, holding it the few seconds, Canavan’s run, hands open waiting the little pop. Mulligan finally passing and then holding back the Kerry man and keeping the road open for Peter and the little precise drill along the ground against a top keeper.Magic. We have the pupil but we await the master.

  67. Still gutted. And it’s Friday. I thought I’d be feeling better by now. Hasn’t happened yet. Maybe the hurling replay will lift the mood.

    We managed to beat ourselves again last Sunday. It was nothing to do with the ref and his 30 seconds. Nothing to do with Diarmuid Connolly pulling jerseys – what did the great Diarmuid do in the game after that? And how did his marker play? Darragh O’Sé is some mug if he thinks Lee Keegan was intimidated by anyone last Sunday.

    The business of Freeman being taken off, Richie Feeney’s non-appearance, Mayo stopping their chasing down of the quick kickouts etc. has been covered here all week better than I ever could. And yet with all of that, there was a single point in it at the end. So Dublin were no great shakes.

    For me, where the final was lost was where it is always lost with Mayo. Testicular fortitude in front of goal. Andy Moran was the only man in Dublin’s half of the field that backed himself to score, and he’s still plainly not back to full fitness. The rest appeared to think that the sky would fall in if they took a shot at goal, and the notion of taking a shot from distance was absolutely out of the question.

    I know there were wides during the first half during our period of dominance, and some think that that may have discouraged fellas. No excuse. You have to keep shooting. Look at Padraic Joyce in 2001. Miserably ineffective in the first half, he apologised to his team-mates at half time, but told them that if they kept sending the ball into him, he would win it for them in the second. That’s character. Outside of Andy, where was the character in the Mayo forward line when the scores were 1-9 apiece and the game demanded to be won?

    If you don’t shoot, you won’t score. If you shoot and it goes wide, at least you don’t die wondering.

  68. Davyj

    Well said
    Dublin are no better than mayo and they have 2 SAMs won in short order. We should have won it last Sunday, Dublin were there for the taking but we didn’t know it.
    There was a lack of conviction in our forwards bar Andy and freeman.
    2 things
    Freeman again, made himself free near goal and yet again was spurned. It’s a common theme with mayo up front, can’t see the loose man. Freeman is the best I’ve seen in a mayo jersey to make space for himself

    Brolly, daragh o se, etc are mouth pieces. They may have had the skill as players but its not transferring to the screen or print jobs

    If diarmuid Connolly caught my jersey and wouldn’t let go I’d break his arm with a wallop, what were Keegan and McLaughlin thinking about. A good crack on the arm and he wouldn’t catch it a second time.

    As the week has progressed it’s becoming clear that we still aren’t ruthless enough or sneaky enough for the big game

    In fact we are stupid , who the hell kicks a high ball to a colleague surrounded by 3 opponents? We write our own downfall script.

  69. It might not feel like it to a Mayo person but there has to be something almost spiritual about following a team like that. It’s something bigger than just following a team, and as a Dublin supporter, I almost envy Mayo supporters.

    We have all the advantages. Population, money, we play all our championship matches and now, it seems, most of our league matches too, at home. It’s a pleasure to watch this Dublin team, but given those advantages and now that we’ve won two All-Irelands and will probably come back for a good few more, I find myself becoming much less partisan. The thrill of winning has gone. There is no desperation to win. We should be winning.

    When Dublin won in 2011, it was great. We were underdogs, we hadn’t won it for 16 years, we hadn’t been in a final for 16 years, and they way we won it coming from behind and winning with almost the last kick was thrilling. Every one of those 16 years was worth it for that moment.

    Now it just isn’t the same, and it probably never again will be. Dublin have had dark days, but they were nothing compared to what it must be like for a county that hasn’t won for 62 years and has lost seven finals. We may have been underdogs in 2011, but we will never be real underdogs. The feelings of disappointment must be magnified by ten when Mayo lose compared to what Dublin fans feel, the feeling of winning will be magnified by a similar amount should they win it.

    I find myself being reminded of Kilkenny people, who used to go on about the disappointment they felt in 1999 as if it was the most devastating thing that had happened to any county in history. Sorry lads, but you haven’t a clue. You will never know disappointment or joy like Mayo.

    I read in some paper that the other day that the Boston Red Sox failing to win a World Series for 86 years almost defined who Bostonians were as a people. There’s a certain similarity alright, but they were professional players, most of whom weren’t even from Boston. They might have been playing for the Yankees the next year. The Mayo team is the Mayo people, and everybody in Mayo is a part of your team in some small way.
    Mayo’s continuing quest to win Sam is a heartbreaking yet beautiful odyessy. We in Dublin will never know anything like it. In a strange way it’s great for football in Mayo. Every year without Sam reinforces that hunger and reinforces the obsession. Mayo are always there or thereabouts at underage level, and few counties have reached more senior finals over the last 25 years. As long as the odyessy keeps going football in Mayo will never decline, it will only get stronger – it’s as true a football county as there is. When Mayo finally win the All-Ireland, yes, you will regret that certain players didn’t win All-Ireland medals, but every Mayo fan will look back at every year and every defeat and realise that it was worth the journey. Until then, you have no choice but to keep enduring, keep hoping and keep working.

  70. Yeah we were hitting aimless ball into Andy esp during the 2nd quarter!

    I’m just putting it out there but Hennelly pulled off 2 or was it 3 brilliant saves? If our defence is so good how come those opportunities presented themselves?

    Anyway time to look forward… I hope freeman will continue to improve next year. I hope killer makes a return. I hope one or more of c freeman, coen, regan, the doc, carolan step up to the plate and prove that they are not only inter county quality but good enough to do it at the highest level.

    I think b Moran will really push for a starting role next year.

    Our defence could do with a little freshening up in the league. We still have a quality defensive unit but room for improvement. Cunniffe at no.6 is an option too…

    I think Kenny o malley will also feature more next season but Fortunately we are blessed with an abundance if keepers.

    Now… I would like ppl to suggest a list of potential players who might start pushing for places.. Young lads who haven’t really featured yet.

    Shane Nally capt of 08 minors.
    Aidan Walsh- excellent tee taker from that team.

    Where are they?

    Adam Gallagher looked a decent minor from last year.

  71. Nice one, hill16bhoy – there we are tearing what’s left of our hair out of our heads at yet another final loss and you’ve gone and elevated our plight to a noble one! Interesting insight, though, and it chimes pretty well with all the discussions I’ve had with friends and neighbours up here since Sunday – they’re all happy with the win but they wouldn’t have been overly distraught to see us end our losing streak either. I think the whole country would like us to get that monkey off our backs at this stage, hopefully we’ll oblige next year.

  72. @hill16bhoy …very well written, fair play. It would have meant so much to this county to win, but we will continue until we do, for we have no choice.

  73. Good piece Hill16bhoy .
    That Sam is so elusive , it is the cohesive element that keeps the dream alive…………..I sometimes wonder of how we’ll feel, if and when we land it. Will we all be euphoric or will some of us feel that we have also lost something (the dream), will it be more relief than celebration, will it urge us on to repeat the feat or erode our determined spirit. Will the kill be as satisfying as the chase.
    For me it will be an end but hopefully also a beginning.
    MaighEo Abú

  74. To anyone of you who are old enough, we’re like Cool Hand Luke, we keep getting put down but like Luke we don’t stay down.

  75. Hill16bhoy. Fair play to ya. Touch of class about what you wrote there. Well written and well informed. Humble and honest.

  76. Something not right with the mayo team[ seniors] last sunday, freeman off[ flu] dnt start em. ….cunniffe carrying injury into final and then higgins back to cover, whats the point having a squad if you cant thrust a man to come in and do a job mchale or keane maybe, it was like robbing peter to pay paul ….wrong o shea taken off and or maybe move aidan in to half or full foward, its worth a gamble for 10 miutes or so and gets you opponents thinking….the worse of all is the non use of feeney a bloody disgrace in my opinion and seems to be ova some thing happened lead up to all ireland…..brings on doherty and barry moran and no pun intended has,t used hardly in the chapionship……something smells to me and its goin to come out sooner rather than later……We know james horan has brought us from a bad place[ longford game] but he had a very bad day last week and if he left feeney on the bench ova a row then he made a massive mistake that may cost him the job….time will tell.

  77. @johno mo on tour 1963

    “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” springs to mind with the news I’ve heard and will come out soon enough. As If we weren’t disappointed enough. Christ.

  78. Firstly, thank you to the Mayo team and management for a wonderful year following the team.
    I hope James Horan stays on, but I find it very hard to believe that he or anyone will be able to lift Mayo to the same efforts again next year.
    After the Donegal defeat in ’12, while bitterly disappointing, it was threaded with hope. Mayo, were young, talented team, and only 2 years into a 3 year plan. The defeat to Dublin however is different, it feels like we have hit a ceiling. The players trained and gave absolutely everything throughout the year, and while we didn’t perform well on the day, nothing was left on the pitch.
    While we still have a young and very talented team, I feel that maybe the well is dry, are there really other unexplored options in the county that can improve the team?
    I fear the hurt we experienced this year may mean a few years in the All Ireland wilderness; it took us 7 years to reach another final after 97.
    I’m aware my post may seem terribly pessimistic, apologies for that.
    Up Mayo always

  79. John Cuffe: I agree re Daragh O Se’s column in Irish Times.

    What did Connolly and Keegan do afterwards? One won an All Ireland medal and one did not.

  80. Well I reckon there’s two positive ways it can go, either Horan realises his mistakes and corrects them , stops been stubborn to the changes that are necessary and bloody well act on them. The likes of Evan Regan, Darren Coen and Conor o Shea need full games in the league campaign , random half half games and so forth aren’t worth a fook for their development and making nonsensical switches like playing an all star half back in half forward line like lee Keegan is just a waste of time .

    If Evan Reagan was from ballintubber Castlebar breathy , he would not of been cut from panel, that aul shite has to be sorted out too.

    The other positive alt is bring in fresh management and build again.

    If we stick with the same craic, same panel of forwards, we will not win Sam Maguire in 14, we have the evidence of two final loses as proof. Logic has to start to come into play at some stage.

  81. Firstly, Regan was not cut from the panel. He had an opportunity to travel, he spoke to James Horan and the management to see where he stood as regards playing time, squad status etc. He was told, I am led to believe, that he was not in the starting 15, was an outside shot for the match day squad, but was considered an important part of the training panel and was definitely a player that the management was considering for the future. He was allowed make his own decision about travelling or not, with no grudges being held by either party. He is one for the future and I would imagine will come back into the reckoning when he is ready.
    Cunniffe did something similar when he travelled to Australia. As for Coen, Conor O’Se, Gallagher, some of the minors? I agree and have said here that we must blood these lads but they have to be given time to “bulk” up and bring their stamina and strength levels up to what is needed. Otherwise they will get killed when they come up against hardened experienced intercounty defenders.

  82. Just another point, I think it is a little unfair to accuse Horan of only selecting players from certain clubs. If anything, he has picked players from so called unfashionable clubs, e.g. Aghamore, Ballyhaunis, Burrishrule, Davitts. These are hardly the super powers of senior club football in Mayo. Horan and the line got a few things wrong the last day in the second half but let’s keep the argument fair.

  83. Jesus well people would want to stop talking pure lies to me so. Sick of people lying through their teeth, you are saying this as fact I presume , just like the man that told me the opposite a few months back.

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