Higher ground

I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m still walking on air after Saturday’s win. Not even a day of rain over here yesterday could dampen the rampant optimism that threatens to engulf me right now. I know, of course I do, that this could be short-lived but, hey, I’m going to enjoy the feeling for now.

That article by Kieran Shannon in today’s Irish Examiner (here), which has already been linked in the comments, underscores what I’m on about. Kieran was a member of James Horan’s backroom team and his warm praise for what the current management team are doing to build on and enhance what went before is uplifting to see.

So too is Jim McGuinness’s analysis in today’s Irish Times (here). As ever, the Donegal man’s take on things is essential reading and he clearly believes we’re on the right track as we close in on another possible shot at glory. For me, the one word that jumped out from that piece in describing Saturday’s performance – one I think I was trying to haul from the dark recesses of my brain on Saturday night but couldn’t locate – was “relentless”. You got the feeling watching that second half that we’d have been happy to continue playing till midnight, safe in the knowledge that the lads would have continued to grind it out, inch by relentless inch. There, I’ve used it.

Maybe it’s a bit late in the day to be posting this but the Mayo News post-match podcast is still, if you haven’t listened to it yet, well worth the 38 or so minutes it’ll take you to do so. This is a fantastic innovation by the Mayo News this year, getting immediate and informed analysis of the game literally as the ground is emptying and it was great to hear such insightful in-the-moment analysis from the likes of Stephen Rochford, Seán Rice and Edwin McGreal (and I’m not only saying that because of the kind shout-out the latter gave me at the end of it).

If you want to listen to the podcast, it’s available here:

Speaking of the Mayo News, there’s a barrowload of coverage on Saturday’s match in it today. Here’s some of what’s there: analysis by Billy Joe Padden, post-match reaction by Daniel Carey, match-day sketch by Willie McHugh and Seán Rice’s column. Obviously there’s plenty more in the paper itself.

On Sunday I provided a link to Aidan O’Shea’s opening goal for us on Saturday so I think it’s only fair – not least given his MOTM award and his selection as the GAA Player of the Week – to do the same for Lee Keegan’s one. He definitely meant it, you know:

Finally for now, picking up on Ger Bohan’s suggestion, it’s time to give another plug to the Official Mayo GAA Players Fund Lotto. This is a hugely worthwhile initiative and one where all of us sitting on the sidelines can make a tangible contribution towards the cost of preparing the team.

So, to paraphrase Bob Geldof from all those years ago – give them your f*cking money. Not all of it, mind, but a contribution on a regular basis wouldn’t go amiss right now. Full details on how to do this are on the Mayo GAA website – here.

82 thoughts on “Higher ground

  1. Feckin raining here on The Costa Blanca too, but now amount of grey cloud can dampen the spirits at the moment. I’ve watched the goal a few times and there’s no doubt that Leroy looks and then lobs the ball over Durkan, he definitely was gunning for goal.
    And with ‘Blue skies’ on the horizon it seems that the team are hitting top gear at the right moment. Relentless indeed.

  2. Response from Croke Park as to whether bring a friend will be available to season ticket holders for the semi; “This has not been decided yet. We will send you an email to notify you closer to the game.
    Keep an eye out for the email as these tend to have limited availability and are available until a certain time to purchase”

  3. Great performance WJ. Really ran them into the ground. Don’t think Keane will be a big loss. We have cover. Real in a position to give the dubs their fill. Hopefully Tyrone turn over Kerry. Onwards. 2 more games .

  4. I have had a time to mull over the game .Very satisfying is how I would put it. I’ll be honest when Noel and Pat took over I had my reservations but on Saturday they really impressed me with their sharpness .Whatever doubts we supporters had coming up against Donegal the players had no doubt that this was going to be a victory for the green and red. I heard Pat when he was asked about the defensive strategy and he had a little chuckle and I have a feeling there could be a different defensive strategy for the Dubs.We have a lot more options now and the Dubs will be given us serious consideration my money will be on us to come out on top.What was very impressive with Saturday is how we controlled the game for most of the second half and I believe we could have gone on to hammer Donegal if we wanted but another tactical decision was to play defensively .This team has not hit top gear yet and looks like will peak at right time. There was so much brilliant solid skillful performances by all the lads Keegans run to get the ball for his goal really impressed me. Some of the scoring was sublime and we still have Cillian to start racking up scores which he will next day out as he will get more space. Like you WJ I am still buzzing from the win .Ready now for Dubs!

  5. Thanks WJ for the info on the lotto fund, have been playing it since the start and though I’ve not won anything it’s what a lot of us abroad have been waiting for for ages as it gives us the chance to contribute something to this great squad of ours.
    Not bothered if there are no monetary returns so long as I can pay into something that has given us all so much over the years.
    Enjoy the rest of the hols and MaighEo Abu

  6. I would be grateful if someone could explain the Kevin Keane situation. For the life of me, I cannot see why Michael Murphy was not carded as well, if indeed red cards were justified. Did something happen earlier that some of us missed?

  7. The players welfare fund is a great chance for all us Mayo supporters to show another way of how much we appreciate what they give to us year in year out

  8. Big fan of the lotto fund – mainly because it’s going directly to source. My contributions to date have been small until permanent work comes along down west but every little helps. Great prizes this week too.

    Just read Edwin McGreal’s player ratings in the Mayo News. Diarmuid O’Connor was on the ball 32 times! This is why not having Sky and not being able to watch back is a killer. Based on just seeing the game on Sat I’d have said he’d had a far quieter day.

    I thought I’d be calming down at this point. But no, not yet. I’d say Saturday’s sideline antics will have made a bit of work for Dublin. I remember talking about Pat & Noel’s unpredictability earlier in the year in the run-up to the Dublin league game, and they have certainly resumed that form … and I like it a lot.

  9. I would never have blamed Caff. The goal that stands out for me was the one the Dubs scored. One of the other Mayo lads slipped and Caff was faced with two forwards. He had no chance. Mayo had no cover; man to man marking wasn’t working and it wasn’t dealt with.. Thankfully it is now.

  10. We’re really moving in the right direction and can look towards the semi with real confidence. There was a lot of nervousness and doubt amongst supporters going into the match against Donegal. The performance on Saturday seems to have dispelled much of the negativity but it’s important not to lose the run of ourselves. I was confident going into the Donegal game and remain convinced we can really rattle the Dubs. They’re a very different proposition though and we’ll need to improve again.

    Can we do that and can we shape our system to suit? I’m inclined to think we can. We’ve shown resilience, resourcefulness and, as stated earlier, we’re still f’cking relentless. We’re coming for you Dublin……

  11. Relentless is right. I had described it as incredible levels of fitness, but relentless fits much better. It was clear to me that there was more in the tank, held in reserve for now, ready to be unleashed on another day.
    It’s nice to see Cillian’s lay-off to Leroy in the lead up to the goal. He might have had a relatively quiet day by his standards, but he still made a significant impact. We all know what he’s capable of, and with his mental toughness we know that we will see his brilliance again very soon.

  12. Why don’t ye try the GAA Go subscription. I watch them back on a laptop with finger on the pause button.
    It’s class for looking at complex things like what peoples role was when Donegal counter attack.
    Nice moment you can only appreciate like this is McGlynns first wide from the right. Our right flank was totally exposed. You’d want to see the sprinter technique of Parsons driving full on to make up 5 yards on McGlynn to force him wide.
    Diarmuid only lost the ball once in three games so far. That’s around 70 possessions only one turnover. Great bet for young player of the year.
    Keegan may have meant the goal. He does have a look over. I know a player who scored similar at club level. Yer drifting it to the far post. Not impossible for a guy of Keegans two footedness.
    The wicked dip is yer cutting upward on the ball else you just do a harmless low pace lob.

  13. 2 things that struck me on Saturday evening ,how well conditioned our lads were , Lee Keegan when been interviewed after the game had hardly a drop of sweat on him . This showed how easy they controlled the last minutes of the game . The poor ref looked as if he was about to have a heart attack, trying to keep up with our guys . This Mayo team is so well focused on the job in hand , they don’t get over excited when they score or drop heads when they con seed a score .The seem to have unnatural mind focus .

  14. Thanks WJ, for putting up the link to Lee’s goal. I was actually just watching it there now and it was amazing the distance that Lee made up. He was actually just slightly behind Seamus O’Shea, outside the 45, as Seamus was making the initial pass. The distance he made up to receive the pass from Cillian was nothing short of phenomenal. There were 10 Donegal players in the vicinity, inside the 45 but not one of them could get a hand on him. That was some speed from Lee. It was a peach of a goal!

  15. I was a bit disappointed when we did`nt get into the league semi-finals. But not any

    more. We would have been facing the Dublin lads too soon after the mauling in

    Castlebar. Hindsight is a great thing. We prob would have too much brimstone and

    not enough fire! An anyway…. revenge is a dish best served cold.

  16. A lot of praise has been handed out to the team managers and rightly so. I know it’s early days yet but so far so good. Don’t know if any other county have co-mangers but here are some reasons why I think it’s a great idea. Of course you need to have the right personalities in place and it helps to have worked well in the past as in Noel and Pat co-managing the U-21 All Ireland winning team of 2006!

    – .Divides the work load. Managing a team is a huge commitment for one person
    – .Two heads better than one. Better decisions will be made when you have someone ready to critique ideas
    – Results in a lot more advance planning for decisions that inevitably need to be made during a game
    – Less stress on game day resulting in cooler heads
    – Tactics are less likely to be revealed in advance. Much easier deal with the media.
    – No egos involved. Team philosophy on and off the field.

    I have some experience of this from coaching under age teams and cannot imagine the pressures of an All Ireland series. Every bit helps in getting us over the line, so let’s hope Noel and Pat keep their cool heads together!!

  17. Was reading Sean rice column in mayo news he made a valid point that Vaughan has 2 black cards this year and another one the next day and he misses final.

  18. Aidan as far as I know players won’t miss an All-Ireland final, see below:

    (In inter-county competitions, players who receive a cumulative total of three black cards or three double yellow cards will be given a one-match suspension. These suspensions will not apply to an All-Ireland Final however and would instead be carried over to the next match.)

    As far as I know this is the rule anyway.

  19. Sorry Aidan and Sean Rice too, I could be wrong there! Maybe that rule didn’t come in afterall, someone else might be able to confirm if the All-Ireland final is exempt from a suspension?

  20. watched keegan’s goal again. I am beginning to think he meant it. He looked up at the goal before he took the shot. A peach.
    Going back to the sky thing and spreading the game to the masses. Why are we bothered if they are watching GAA in Hong Kong, New York and Sydney. I would much prefer if the people of Mayo were able to watch the 1/4 final from the comfort of their own home. I think it is a disgrace. The GAA should really be trying to do something about creating more employment in rural Ireland to actually keep GAA players in Ireland rather than worrying about people viewing matches overseas. Priorities all wrong.

  21. Just watched Keegan’s goal again there now and I suppose I’ll give him the benefit of my previous doubt and say that he did spot a glimpse of goal before taking his shot. However, (not sour grapes, I repeat, not sour grapes, genuinely delighted for Mayo) that was a LOT of steps. Free out!

  22. Was able to watch full match this evening ! Couldn’t pick man of match honestly couldn’t Colm Boyle & Barry Moran were actually throwing their bodies on the line Kevin Mc Loughlin & Jason D were unreal delighted for Jason always been a huge fan ! Have watched Kevin Keanes incident over and over no way a red even the commentator said stuff like that had been happening all year and no card issued Murphy started it and was like a big baby going to umpires ref didnt see it is it still possible it can be revoked? I know Kevin shouldn’t have raised his hand but it really was harmless ! Anyway the most thing besides the team performance on Saturday that impressed me was the way they were when final whistle blew … cool calm collected … Only one thing on their mind … Compare that to the way Tyrone were at the end …. This year is different … Very different

  23. If they appeal which I believe they should, the case is that there was no malicious attempt to hurt Murphy, just to break free from the provocation he was receiving. Ref didn’t see it and TV camera is not conclusive if hand was open or closed so should get benefit of the doubt but even if it was closed the action was a light slap followed by a push to get free.
    No guarantee that umpire saw it clearly either as it happened very fast and Murphy was asking umpire for Keane to be carded bit like D Walsh last year asking for Keegan to be carded. This soccer stuff needs be stamped out, we don’t was a game full of prima donnas. The hurlers don’t complain like this.
    Would be very hard on a lad to get banned for what Keane was sent off for.

  24. Just watched it back there now – Sky camera work was down right shocking!! The amount of stuff they completely missed or important moments they only showed from one very poor angle and with very little replays of anything.

  25. Just got a ticket. Cusack stand sold out.
    I hope that it’s correct that Vaughan will be eligible for the final should he get another black card and we reach the final. We will need his physical presence and engine. He is some player.
    Dublin are an excellent team and play much like ourselves. However, for the first time we showed against Donegal that we can adopt the tactics used by other successful teams. Therefore, skill and fitness will be the deciding factors. Eighteen days and counting.

  26. Seems to be alot of hype creeping in to this blog. I certainly think we’ll need the performance of a life time to beat the Dubs in their home ground. They have the ability to destroy us if we are off our game or our system is’nt right, they’re the best team in the country followed by Kerry then us. A mammoth task infront of us. I live in Dublin and the genuine supporters seem to be a little bit scared of us, which is a bad thing really…id rather we be written off from all sides and quietly tip toe into the game like 2012. Even betfair have shortened our price to beat them since Sunday!!!

    Reseveoir dubs is worth a look for anyone interested. Lots of shite talk tho from the West Brits..(i mean dubs) about us being whingers and moaners, one poster would prefer “to take a beating from kerry in the final, than to lose to us whinge bags”.

    Good to see a plug for the players lotto, played it from the start and its a great way to give something back to the players…personally id donate my life savings to win sam this year, Id even remortgage the house to see us get over the line.

  27. Think there was a similar situation with aidan o shea in Tyrone semi 2013 that if he got booked in that game he would have missed final? The black card is something I never agreed with and should never being brought in.its so hard for refs to implement.i heard a good story in a club game that a sub was brought into game and the person being substituted was on far side of pitch and was walking around the pitch back to dugout but the man that replaced him was in the dugout quicker than he was as he got a black card straight away! I suppose if ya had a rake of pints the night before it might be a good way getting out a game! Onto the lotto fund it a great idea great way for people to contribute in any way and all funds go to players not just seniors but our other county teams to.

  28. Gee WJ

    That Mayo Lotto application is a disaster; no instructional headings in the boxes plus only allowing for one brand of debit card. I clicked on your hyper link for it or mabey it’s this ageing brain that was accustomed to standing on the highest ditch to roar across the fields or in a more modern era the dasterdly ‘party lines’ on the phone when about six neighbours would answer together i.e telling the PP his daughter was pregnant.

    ‘Memories of Mayo’

    ps I hope you have the ‘red roaming on your hols.

  29. Thankfully before going out to the game, I had the presents of mind to press the record button. And having watches it several times since, I’m more convinced than ever we will beat the Dubs. Up here the view was that Donegal would be more of a threat than Mayo, but now they are not so sure anymore. Take away the few shots into the goalies hands in the second half, and the cards we picked up, it would have been the perfect game. And don’t let anyone tell me that Donegal were a tired team. Had we not stuck to our guns in the second half, and resisted the temptation to pour forward as Donegal hoped we would, the result could have been different. But Noel and Pat had their battle plans drawn up, and the more you watch it, the more you see the understand there was among the players, as to the job of work they had to do.

    From here, I see this Mayo team as on a par with anything left in the Championship, and if we play our cards right, Noel and Pat could well be the luckiest Managers in history. I’m saying this based on the fact, that James Horan and his backroom staff, handed over a very formidable and loyal group of players, who were only to willing, ready and able to follow their new leaders. It’s in your hands lads!

  30. I’m with Mayo Mick… Whoaa there everyone. We beat a team that was out on its feet with 20 mins to go.

    We did good but that’s it. Would Sunday’s performance be good enough to beat Dublin?
    No.

    Keep the celebrations for winning a trophy. Too many times we get over excited. I not saying don’t enjoy victories but keep a lid on things. While the performance was pleading, there’s a whole lot of room for improvement.

    The dubs are still favourites in the bookies. Are they beatable? Yes but it’ll have to be a massive display.

  31. One thing that we need to look out for against the Dubs is what they call in Rugby the choke tackle. They used this tactic against us in the League game in Castlebar. I remember at one time Donal Vaughan was coming through the middle trying to burst through the Dublin defence (like Lee Keegan did to break through two players for his goal) but the defenders held up Donie by surrounding him and bottling him up. He was then pulled up for over carrying. Johnny Cooper and Philly McMahon are hardy corner-backs for the Dubs and you can be sure that this will try to do this to Aidan O’Shea & Cillian and try not to allow them to get any space. For us we should try to get James McCarthy and Jack McCaffery on the back foot and launch some high balls in on top of Cluxton as that could be their weak points to be targeted.

  32. To play the negative card on the Donegal performance, we scored 15 out of 29 scoring chances. That will not be good enough against Dublin. I believe our second half performance after Keegans goals was ok but not great. Kicking in the goalkeepers hand and into Cluxtons the next day will be fatal as it will allow them a quick launch up the field. Much to work on and I was glad to see Connelly say the second half performance was not good enough. Also we need Cillian back firing.

    It keeps everyone grounded I suppose. Much more room for improvement.

  33. You’re absolutely right there Steve. There’s lot of room for improvement but I think that’s a good thing leading up to the semi. I’ve stated earlier that I believe we protected the clean sheet in preference to kicking on for scores. I’ve no doubt there was at least another 1.06 in that game for us if we wanted and in the past we’ve have gone for it. No harm at all that we’re now focussing on making these improvements, tweaking the system and keeping the opposition guessing.

    As for Cillian – he knows he can play better. He was still extremely influential and I have no concerns there.

  34. Pat Keeley, the Kevin Keane situation was a red, you can’t hit someone in the face and expect to get away with it, open or closed fist.
    It was daft from Keane but hopefully he and the rest of the team will learn from it.

    For what it’s worth Murphy probably should have seen a second yellow for it but at that stage the game was well over anyway.

  35. Ah it only took 3 days for the “jaysus theres too much hype”, “we’re not actually that good” brigade to start appearing. But to be fair it normally happens within 24 hours so Saturdays performance must really have been special!

    we should embrace this situation, as most of us have. We at the very least have fulfilled the minimum that our abilities and motivation could have brought us through. I believe that is why there was so much nervousness before Donegal, there was a real chance of us losing and it would have been a feeling of “the end”, it would have meant that Noel and Pat probably weren’t up to it, and that while they would have had at least another year and the large majority of the squad and team would have been around, Sam would have been as far away as ever. We are now in the top 3 which is where we should be, there is no hype or BS about it, this Mayo team is in the top 3, where exactly in that top 3 time will tell, but we have just as much legitimate chance as Dublin and Kerry of winning it.
    What we think as fans or say on message boards has no bearing on the team, anyone who think it does is akin to some of those tribes and cultures who think taking a picture of you takes a bit of your soul. We should enjoy this team, enjoy what has happened and hype it up as much as ye like. get the flags out, walk with a bit of a swagger as who knows, you might never see these days again. In the words of Detective Marty Hart from True Detective Series 1:

    “Do you know the good years when you’re in them? Or you just wait for them until you get ass cancer and realize that the good years came and went? Because there’s a feeling– you might notice it sometimes– this feeling like life has slipped through your fingers like the future is behind you, like it’s always been behind you.”

  36. It’s a few days since the win and I’ve watched it 2 times and was at the actual game too, we are watching a real piece of sports history I think. This time more than ever I think Mayo have an out and out target that cannot be bullied by anyone from Dublin or Kerry. Diarmuid Connolly would be planted on his ass if he tangled with o Shea, and he’s dublins strongest player I think. If we can prevent cluxton getting his kickouts to his defenders I think it’ll go well for Mayo. Also, I really hope they bring jason gibbons in for the cover needed at midfield

  37. Lets cut the debate now on the Keegan goal. Anyone that has played the game can be categorical about the fact that he was going for a point. But never mind that – his post match interview (sorry if i’m going to restart the anti-Sky debate again with those who didn’t see it!) pretty much confirmed as much as well. We had a grin as broad as the moy on him and said in quite ironic fashion that he absolutely meant it…which is Irish for saying…of course not. So while well deserving of man of the match…lets not get into revisionism in trying to create mythological heros!

  38. And anyone who has played the game can also be categorical about the fact that sometimes when you are going for a score you don’t actually think about it, from the training and years of practice you are sometimes working off instinct. You are sizing up all of the inputs available to you in miliseconds swinging the boot in a certain way without even thinking about it. So I don’t think anyone, not even him can say if he meant it or not. I think he did from the point of view of his instinct hitting the ball that way, I don’t think he had the time or inclination to think “I’m going for goal here”. Surely anyone who has played has had those “Billys boots” moments as I call them when you hit a great pass or score that didn’t really have a lot of thought behind it but your body and brain just did it. I often find thinking about things meant the opposite happened, but maybe that’s just me.
    It doesn’t matter anyway, its still worth 3 points

  39. east cork exile, your body and brain just doing it is what we are talking about.
    There are just some times when you pull off an outstanding score. It will never be known if he meant it, his reaction post match might indicate it was fortuitous. He could also be trying to joke around with it. He was also quoted “I will take it to my grave that I meant it”. That kind of quote would be from someone more likely to have meant it as there is no joking words in that quote. Club mate has got the same score from the right hand side and he meant it.
    It’s going to remain another great GAA mystery unproveable in either direction.
    I can tell you categorically that a player can pull off that score intentionally.

  40. @east cork ex
    Afraid i have to totally disagree with you. As one can only speak on this issue from personal experience i for one played in the forwards from my youth to my mid-30s and I never recall once not knowing whether i was kicking for a point or a goal. Did i score flukes – absolutely, did i score goals that some might have thought were genuine attempts but were not…absolutely…and likewise a couple of points when i was only looking to centre a ball….but a player always knows what they their intention was when the ball leaves their hand and even more so a player of the level of Lee Keegan.

  41. I don’t know, I’ve kicked balls and have honestly no recollection of any thought process of what I was trying to do, just instinct. Often showed there was no thought process involved with the outcome too mind you but sometimes ended well

  42. I think GAA are wrong on the McCann ban. A strongly worded statement saying that no more of this will be tolerated and there will big bans for anyone found guilty of this in the future. I doubt it is even legal what they are proposing. I would imagine they would need a rule. Make the rule change, issue a statement and take it from there.

    But all of a sudden penalising a guy for 8 weeks is OTT fro thsi offence. The Black card was introduced after the Kavanagh drag down but he was not further peanlised for that actual incident. Same logic has to apply here surely.

    Black cards are a waste of time anyway. Any deliberate drag down in the last 10 minutes of any match should result in a penalty being awarded. Any other punishment is a waste of time.. That would put an end to the cynical dragging down once and for all. Very simple.
    .

  43. @facetheball… I totally agree with your comments and the conspiracy theorist in me feels that if Tyrone were not up against Kerry next that there would be no ban. Now, instead of focussing on their semi-final clash, Tyrone are preparing for an appeal against a ban on a very good (albeit stupid) player….
    I’d say Kerry are loving this! Funny how all the niggly distractions seem to favour Kerry 🙂

  44. i like that bit of conspiracy amc but i have the feeling he will win the appeal which will basically give carte blanche to everyone to carry on the same way.

    I hope he is penalised but i cant see it.

  45. If Kevin Keane had reacted to Murphy in the same way as McCann reacted, would he be available for selection the next day?
    Tyrone don’t do embarrassed.

  46. @JP and east cork ex.

    If you slow down the link attached by WJ….between 22 and 23 seconds you will see the ball comes off his ankle rather than his instep which is why it didn’t travel over the bar.

    One could solve this easily with a lie detector machine on Keegan…but i don’t know if its important enough to call on that sort of intervention.

  47. For what its worth I think the ban ( which i have no doubt will be overturned) is well justified. He intentionally tried to get an opposing player sent off by cheating – if that was JOD against us we would be fuming and probably calling for a ban, It might discourage others from doing the same.
    Diving and blatant cheating like that have ruined soccer as a spectacle and it is now part of the GAA inter county scene, there is plenty of incidents over the last few years from numerous counties as well, hopefully the GAA will have the balls to take action before it destroys the game . They can actually do something about this problem

  48. Thats the famous ankle kick in all top footballers repertoire 🙂
    No more than the famous shin kick of Ronnie Whelan in 1988 🙂

  49. Maybe I’m just clutching at straws as I’d like an ‘easier’ final if we get there but does anyone think McCann’s ‘ban’ (which I’ve little doubt will be lifted) could actually be an advantage to Tyrone’s chances here? If a bit of perceived injustice like this doesn’t motivate them like billy-o I don’t know what will

    I know it’s a bit off topic for the moment but our match is painfully long away relatively speaking 🙁

    It’s my one gripe with the GAA personally, that matches are way too spread out

    As for Keegan’s goal, I still am fully convinced he meant it. I think his ‘brushing off’ of it afterwards was him just joining in with the slagging on RTE radio (Padraic joyce was having the craic with him). It doesn’t matter at all though whether he meant it or not!

    We’ll never know- like with Andy’s point vs Galway!

    With the hurling taking centre stage, there seems to be a bit of ‘silly season’ of sorts taking place on twitter! All I can see are lads’ potential All Stars and Player of the season so far and so on. Roll on 2 weeks!!

  50. Watched back the 2012 match for the craic and that first half may well have been the best I’ve ever seen by a Mayo side. Our forwards were on fire, with our midfield cleaning up

    I still get a heart attack watching the second half though, how we nearly threw it away! Had Bernard scored that one on one…

    I’d recommend watching it though if ye get an hour , we really were outstanding. It’s on YouTube

    The 2013 one is still being avoided like the plague though!!

  51. I think Mccanns loss will be a negative for them. Padraig McNulty will probably replace him and I think he’s just as capable a player, probably more suited to Kerry as he is bigger. McNulty is able to do the same role Mccann does of running hard at teams.
    They are fairly thin on numbers, Fitzmaurice will have a plan for Sean Cavanagh. Stop Sean Cavanagh and Mccurry and there’s no scoring threat from Tyrone.
    The only thing that could benefit Tyrone is sometimes refs can favour the blanket thing and you get this sympathetic refereeing to the last defenders of the Alamo.
    The blankets effectiveness is massively increased if little half fouls are not pinged.
    Then you see down the other end the two attackers get frees for every little tug. I’v seen that type of reffing.

  52. If JOD had done this to us we would be fuming, but would anyone else care? Cheating like this will only be stamped out when the consequences of cheating out weigh the benefits. If this is the culture in his county or club should we blame the player?

  53. East Cork exile – I take your points and agree with not always being aware that these are teh best days…but the best days for me must include a sam maguire.

    It’s not that I /we dont think Mayo are good enough it’s more that, given our history, I cant find it in myself to really celebrate until we win the final.

    I dont like reading all this stuff in todays Irish Times about AOS being unstoppable, a man mountain…and and an article below asking Philly McMahon how the dubs are going to stop him…

    It’s music to the dubs ears. The sooner this match v donegal is forgotten the better and lets not forget, donegal were no where near their best….they were a gone team after 50 mins and it wasnt because we were playing particularly well. Our 2nd half was OK at best.

    I know how well we can play but we MUST be aware of the threat of dublin. They destroyed us in Castlebar (some can say it was just the league)and it’s a few years since we have beaten them in a competitive game.

    Not a word about Diarmuid Connolly in the press – arguably the best forward in the country. Dublin have him, brogan, flynn, rock, mcmenamin, kilkenny….. serious arsenal of forwards….we need to see our team play to its best to win the semi final. That’s my opinion. It’s not being negative, it’s being realistic.

  54. Is diving to get a player booked worse than diving to get a penalty? Both are cheating and the perpetrator only does it to get his team an advantage.

  55. I actually think Tyrone could give Kerry a game, I mean the defensive duties of Tryone , speaks for itself and then they have small fast forwards inside who Aidan o Mahaney and Marc O Se wont fancy running after.

    That Kerry goalie is dodgey too, but if it does come down to the midfield battle there can only be one winner and that is Kerry.
    They have two magnificent modern day midfielders in Maher and Moran .

    Maybe a bit of Sean Cavanagh magic when he does play inside and CAliskey and McCurry will tag on a few scores too.

    The roles of P Harte and Matty Donnelly will be the main threat outside Cavanagh but might not be as dour of a game as people predict .

    One thingis for sure Kerry will know they were in a match .

  56. Great to come away from Croker on Saturday evening truly satisfied with a 70 minute performance. I was sceptical about our chances prior to the game but credit to Holmes and Connelly they really stepped up to the plate and deserve great credit for the brave move of bringing in Barry Moran. It is apparent this team has improved since last year ( when we were beaten by the eventual winners Kerry). At this moment I certainly don’t fear the Dubs. I imagine the lads will only relish that challenge as confident is sky high at the moment. Lucky with little or no injuries to contend with. Remember, Dublin to date have had no real test. Exciting times ahead

  57. I agree Roger Milla and Tyrone would be tricky enough to break down of course and certainly wouldnt be easy but I’d be lying if i said i wouldn’t bite your hand off this minute for a Mayo/Tyrone final!

  58. The only difference between McCann and JOD is that Mc Can got caught out JOD wasn’t as clear cut different opinions depending on who you ask that suspension should not be overturned and send out a message. Conor Mc Manus has a case to answer he had a dig at Cavanagh behind the refs back much worse than Keanes knockout blow on Murphy I admired Murphy as a footballer and a gentleman with a Mayo dad but he was trying to get players booked all through the game he is off my Christmas card list know.

  59. I hear Ryan McMenamon is returning to the Tryone team to Man mark/assault/throw sand in his eyes, Colm Cooper

  60. Kerry will have Tyrone beaten out the gate with 20 minutes to go, and even though I’d sooner face Tyrone in a final than Kerry, I will be cheering Kerry on to win.
    If Tyrone’s premeditated tactics of cheating, deceit and cowardly intimidation (McNamee’s punch into the stomach of a prone Monaghan player with 3 Tyrone men on him) are what’s needed to win a match then I want no part of that sport. Yes they play a style that benefits them and fair play to them, I personally admire their defensive blanket, but it is all the other shite that goes with it that makes them unbearable to watch and has nothing to do with football. Mickey Harte is not blameless in any of this either. I don’t go along with the image portrayed of him as being an angel or holier than thou! That’s all a ruse to lessen the impact of the cowardly cheating that is systematic in Tyrone inter county football, from their seniors to their U21’s and their minors. The irony is that there isn’t a real hard man amongst them, they’re all posturing and “hold me back ’till I kill him” stuff. I’d like to see any of them go pound for pound with Seamie O’Shea, or Colm Boyle, or Keegan!!!

  61. Good on you Pebblesmeller. Now, something totally different. did anyone see on TV3 last night, and repeated to day, the photo of the Mayo people watching the Donegal match?
    Priceless!!!!
    It showed and ordinary, i would say country, house with a small tv in the sitting room and about 20 or more people, all crammed in, watching the match on Sky. There were old and young, men. women and kids. But that’s only half it!!! There were two small windows in the room and outside both of the windows were a huge crowd looking in, heads all together. I would estimate at least 10 at each window. Now, there you are, the GAA have brought us back decades. 😉
    As well, has anyone seen the cardboard cut-outs of Fr. Ted’s Mrs. Doyle on the roads, or has anyone see the cut-outs of Garda cars on the Mayo roads, all set up by the CoCo???

    Just for the craic, re crowds watching the tv. Is anyone here old enough, like me, to remember the first tv screens ever?? Flannery’s in Ballaghaderreen had the first tv ever to be seen. The picture was black and white and all you could see was like heavy snow flakes. Cricket was on and every now and then there was a flash of a figure, dressed in white. There was a crowd outside that window, every day, all day for weeks. We watched in amazement.

  62. On the match last Saturday there were a lot of positives, but 10 point went a begging i.e.;
    * 4 interceptions which resulted in 4 points to Donegal
    * 3 very scoreable shots dropped into the goalie hands
    * Andy Moran did’t pass to DOC for a simple tap in goal
    all resulting in a 10 point difference.
    Also I thought it was an ideal opportunity to give E.Regan game time; if he has progressed sufficiently enough after his injury to make the bench he deserved some game time – could prove costly down the road, lost opportunity in my view.
    Delighted for A.freeman, scored a great left footed point.

  63. Word is Fergie O Donnell and an other, some say Mcstay but surely thats only Rossies spoofing

  64. The Mayo News is reporting that the county board will be appealing Kevin Keane’s red card. They reckon that the hearing should be heard within a week.

  65. That photo was apparently taken in Balla, Joe Mc… Absolutely priceless!! The only house with Sky sports! It’s a Father Ted moment all of its own.
    Seriously though, most of the people I spoke to had to go to hotel/pub to watch it. That should not be. If contract is renewed, game should go live on both Sky and Rte simultaneously.

  66. I’ve no great gra for Kerry and, if we were to advance past Dublin, I’d really fancy our chances against Tyrone in the final. However, because of what I’ve seen from Tyrone over the years and because of what my young daughter witnessed in Croke Park on last Saturday evening I’d love to see Kerry do all Gaeldom a favour by eliminating this blight from our All Ireland Series.

  67. I have to say, I’m amazed that Monaghan are taking no flak at all for their part in that exhibition of ghastliness we witnessed on Saturday. While they may have been “drawn into it” by the masters, they were far from saints themselves when it came to throwing a sly dig or two or going down a bit too easily.

    They have form, too and anyone who saw Ryan Wylie flinging Mark Ronaldson into the hoarding in MacHale Park last March will be well aware of that.

    I can’t see Keane’s red card being rescinded. It was a strike – it couldn’t be any clearer and provocation or not he should not have responded. But kudos to the county board for leaving no stone unturned and stranger things have happened, to be fair …

  68. It’s surely worth a try (the Keane appeal) – I never thought they’d get Keegan off the hook for the AISF replay last year. Feck it, the worst they can say is ‘no’ ;o)

  69. I don’t see any harm at all seeing it was just a reflex slap to get the other fella away from Squeezing his throat and not stuck with any venom. Raising the hand in soccer no matter how light gets ye red and match ban but it’s much less clear in GAA and they have the footage there to see exactly what happened. Surely common sense counts for something here, several neutral sports pundits commented on this red card being wrong.

  70. @Joe Mc;@liberal role in the tie: Yes great photograph alright. It reminds me of old B&W photos from the 30s/40s of people gathered around a radio listening to commentary of Michael o Hehir .

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