How and why we lost yesterday

Meath v Mayo_Oh man: it’s like having a hangover without the benefit of getting drunk in the first place (I thought about doing so last night but then thought better of it).  Could it have … did it really  …  oh, holy fuck, it did.  Well, here we are again at Heartbreak Junction and all I can offer you this morning is a One-Stop Shop for the acres of words that have now been written on what befell us yesterday.  Okay, here goes.

Match reports first.  Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser was first to hit the online pavement well before midnight last night.  Keith Duggan in the Irish Times gets more ammunition for an updated version of his book.  Then there’s the Indo and the Examiner.  And RTE and the BBC.  And Hogan Stand and Setanta.  And that’s more than enough, I think.

After-match quotes are in the Times, where Andy Moran and Johnno provide the soundbites and lay the blame squarely on themselves for leaving the result behind them.  Admirable honesty, you’d have to admit, not least given all the shouts that went against us yesterday.  There are more quotes from Johnno and Andy in the Examiner and, for good measure, a few from Peadar Gardiner as well.

Match analysis comes in a few different forms.  Eugene McGee goes for the “it’s hard to beat tradition” line in the Indo but I prefer the wonderfully elegant, nail-on-the-head assessment provided by An Spailpín Fánach.  If it’s raw meat you prefer to chew on, however, then the match thread on gaaboard.com is clearly the place for you.

And that, hombres, is that.  It’s time, I think, to deal with that no-drink hangover.

34 thoughts on “How and why we lost yesterday

  1. You could look at it in two ways, Roger – on the weather front (apart from June) it never began or else, because the minors are still involved, there’s a bit more to go before we declare summer officially over. Hard one to call, on a day like today …

  2. Where to from Here?
    At this stage we can say that we are a top 8 team. Going on the results of the QF, there is a large gulf between the top 8 and top 4. We fell along way short against Meath, failing to protect a 4 point lead is bad, doing it twice in one game is scandalous. JOM and his selectors will have to think long and hard about the future. I would say that we are short about 5 players in key positions.
    The club championship will in full swing in the coming months, anyone know of any players that could fill the voids. D. Heaney and J. Nallen will most probably retire.
    The FBD and National league will have to be used to unearth new players.
    On a positive note the underage structures seem to be working Well. 4 Connacht U21 in a row. 2 Connacht Minor championships, and now in the semi on the 30 Aug. so the players are there, to compete with the best.

  3. living overseas willie joe i actually had a great summer weatherwise but once our senior team are out of the championship that spells the end of it for me.. hope the minors get to the final so i can watch that and will be delighted if we win it, but it is hard to take today, we didnt lose to a better team , we have the personnel and the talent to put meath away , what was lacking was the belief that even though all the breaks went against us that we could make our own luck and win out regardless.

    I hope Nitram is right and the talent comes up through the ranks over the next few years.

  4. You’re right, Roger – despite everything that happened yesterday, we still had the chances to do it but were simply unable to. I’d agree with much of Larry’s take (his comment is in response to the match report): we didn’t keep going till the final whistle yesterday and we’re never going to win anything if we fail to do this. I’m still looking forward to the minors though – they were a fraction away from an All-Ireland title last year and it’d be great to see them go one better this year.

  5. Didn’t want to comment too soon after the match, I’m not usually too rational at that point.
    In the clear light of day, it’s obvious we’re just not good enough.
    Sure, the big calls went against us yesterday, but a victory would of just papered over the cracks (cracks that were visible in the Galway game). Our backs were all but destroyed by Meath’s forwards. Imagine how they would of fared against Cooper/Donaghy and the rest if we would of progressed. A proper beating could of had long term detrimental damage on our younger players.
    But that’s all scant consolation on what was one of the most disappointing days I’ve know following Mayo (and that’s some statement!).

    But now it’s all about the minors. Let’s get behind them and ensure we have something to cheer come September. I’m still optimistic about the future of Mayo football. We have to be. We can all wallow in self pity and curse our luck again, or we can just keep going, hopeful that one day it’ll all come right.
    I think we’ve all realised after yesterday that we’re not good enough yet, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be one day. I may be delusional, but I find that a better way to be than terminally depressed and negative about the state of football in the county.

    On another point – Joe Brolly is an absolute prick. His comments at half-time and full time were a disgrace. What is his problem with Mayo? I never really liked the man anyway, now I loathe him.

    Anyway, chins up. Up Mayo

  6. nallen should have been brought in what the point of having him in the panal if you not going to use him

  7. I’m with you, Dan – I’d sooner be delusional than terminally depressed!

    By the way, what did Brolly say yesterday that was more objectionable than his normal shite talk? I was at the game and didn’t record the live TV coverage.

  8. The pundits on RTE that cover football are cynical and arrogant and I would not place much store on anything that they might have to say. Despite yesterday we will remain proud of our lads and stand behind them whatever our disappointments might be.

    For me I thought Heaney was at sea the whole game and the team did not reach the pitch of earlier games. We are better than yesterday. There is plenty to be positive about once the clouds have ifted.

  9. Well WJ, it was just his usual shite talk to be fair.
    Stuff like how Mayo are over-rated and their fans are delusional thinking they’re anything but an average side. How we always just fall apart when we get to Croke Park (now unless I’m very mistaken, to get to 2 finals in the past 6 years, we must have actually won QF/SF’s at Croke Park??) and the players have no heart.
    Now I know his comments might actually sound accurate to some, but it was his dismissive and arrogant tone that got me. It was actually left to Spillane (of all people) to give us some support. He pointed out the decisions that went against us but Brolly was having none of it.
    I know I may just be feeling victimised here, but I was with a couple of Cork and Limerick lads. They turned to me and said “fuck me, that Brolly despises Mayo”. So at least that made me feel less paranoid!
    Right, rant over!

  10. Brolly got it completely right before the game. Take it on the chin lads.
    I recorded the pre match analysis as well as the match and he said more or less that Mayo wont be a good team unless they start finishing games off..

    You go four points up after 17mins, you allow them back in it.
    You go four points up again with 20mins remaining-you allow them to go on and out score you by 1-7 to 0-2 for the remainder of the game.

    Dan-‘his usual shite talk’??? how could he be any more accurate???? The reason he might be critical is because I think we are deluding ourselves, we have to be. Like, we bet new york and roscommon to get to a provincial final. We bet galway, playing what one player said to me was ‘the hardest they played in a mayo jersey since 2006’. Then lose to a team that are mediocre at best.

    People talk about under performance–i dont subscribe to that view. Mayo dont have any leadership on that team. Im talking about players who will push on and kill a team off. Players that are ruthless. Not nice players. We have no spine to that team–its no where near as physical as other counties. Crawford and Meade totally dominated. They are just big physical players-there is nothing at all wrong with that. Sean O’Domhanil won two all irelands with Galway partnering Kevin Walsh. A total mulleker.

    There are too many question marks over a lot of the players who played or came on yesterday — i think it leaves Mayo football in a different place. We should build a different type of team.

    Are they the best 30 or so lads in the county??? I hope there are others who can contribute because too many of the present bunch just havnt got it-simple as.

  11. Seán Fada only started the 1998 final for the heron chokers – Michael Donnellan was with Walsh in 2001 I think. And nobody rated Walsh until he retired and Galway suddenly found a great big hole that they couldn’t fill. Hindsight is the quare man.

    Does anyone think Johnno is getting away lightly? For a man noted for his preparation, it certainly was odd that the Mayo players couldn’t hold their feet and the Meath players could.

    It’s hardly like the Meath boys have cloven hooves, after all. Why were Mayo sliding all over the place? Will anybody be asking questions at county board level?

    No. I didn’t think there would either.

    I think there’s hope for the future, and a lot of that has to do with Aiden O’Shea. I think he’s a great bit of stuff. He looked a cracker as a teenager on a senior team, and he’s a leader at minor and U21.

    The question then is can Mayo build on that or will we lose him as we’ve lost Conroy, Campbell and, if the deeply worrying post on a previous thread is correct, are losing Tom Parsons. I’d like a few more searching questions being asked of Johnno. And if the Deputy were to limit me to just one, I would ask why the Mayo players were sliding and the Meath players were not. You can’t do much about an eccentric ref, but Jesus tonight you can surely sort out the damned boots.

  12. There are no leaders on the team and no one stood up yesterday when the going go tough. When it really mattered players like McGarrity, T Mort, Harte and even Dillon bottled it and gave up with 10 mins to go. Young O’Shea seems to have fire in his belly alright but that was it. McDonald and Brady were the last leaders to play for Mayo. They never hid and gave their all to the bitter end in all matches. Why can’t we produce players bar the odd exception that don’t wilt in the heat of battle. Absolutely no mental strentgh or belief that they can win the big games and I dont mean a connacht final. Tyrone were very poor last year and were there for the taking, but we did not have the balls to go on and win that either.
    There are certainly huge flaws in the team, especially at midfield and in the backs but they had more than enough ability to win yesterday, but this is Mayo were are talking about.
    What’s another year or 58.

  13. Henery Mcg Cross.Deel.Rovers to replace Heaney at no 8. a (good)hard skin that will put the fear of god into the opposition and one or two of our own lads if or when necessary. Too many lads went m.i.a after 50 Min’s. One more year is all you’d be get’n off me Jom. Having said all that i think the real problem was the whole team management as-well knew the weren’t ready for kerry, maybe it’s part of a bigger JoM plan. Don’t give up lads we’re(ye are) a step closer. Real players and real fans don’t quit. Keep the faith.

  14. Well, we lost, and its happened before, and it’ll more than likely happen again sometime. This one is worse than the last 2 years I think though I think an awful lot of us believed that if we got Johnno back, we’d surely win it. We believed, or at least I certainly did, that you have to have a man in there who knows how to win it. Johnno is that man. He needed time to build the team, this year all the signs seemed to be there that his stamp was now on the team, that he had in fact built it. He needed, and the team needed a Connacht to move on. So when the whistle went in Pearse Stadium there was a fair explosion of joy, not All Ireland Final winning material of course, but more than you’d expect for another provincial title. Sure, you could point to the fact that we’d beaten the owl enemy, and for the first time ever in Pearse Stadium, but I think for most of us, it was the fact that yes, we had ticked the Connacht Final box, our lads were different animals when they won that, and that finally Johnno’s team were coming around. That one more step towards the ellusive day when Sam would grace the sweet plains again was closer. The plan was being followed. Sure there were still massive mountains to climb, but many thought they could see, and could give a good logical arguement, why we might be contenders now that Connacht was captured. Unfortunatley all that went out the window yesterday.
    Thats why this loss feels like no ordinary quarter final loss to the underdogs. Harder to take. We’re not giving up on Johnno yet, and hopefully hes not giving up on us, but its starting to look like even he cant work his magic here. And thats what makes it feel like Monday morning 2006 and 2004 all over again. That desolate feeling that we’re as far away as we ever were.
    Still we’ll struggle on like we always do, despite what the likes of Brolly has to say, we’re made of stern stuff. And someday, maybe not next year, but someday, if the young lads keep playing a game of ball, and we keep shouting for them and encouraging them, a man in green and red with the words “Maigh Eo” on the back of his jersey will skip up the steps of the Hogan on the third Sunday of September and recite the immortal words “Muintir Maigh Eo, Ta an athas orm…..”; and then, we can all die happy.

  15. some of the stuff written here and elsewhere about yesterdays game is cringeworthy.to say that some of the players gave up with ten minutes to go is insane.just because a player looks to the ground after falling behind is not an indication that he has quit.alot of posters like to have a go at r.mcg but has he not shown great leadership in just togging out against galway. tom parsons is an excellent midfielder and proved it last year,yet some posters would have you believe that his intercounty career is over.it is clear that j.o.m has no real time for him which is hard to believe and i believe his confidence is suffering.we will get over yesterdays loss and come january we will start all over again .we have alot of talented players in the county and surly we can win sam in the not to distant future.one thing i have always admired about john maughan is that when he was appointed in 1995 he said that we would win the all ireland.at the time we were a divison 3 team and going no where.it did not work out for him but that is the kind of belief that we need in our team to take sam back to mayo.anyways rant over

  16. Eoin – Listen to Brolly’s comments again, before during and after the game. And think back to what he’s said in the past (even stuff about the hairstyle of our players). He didn’t say one single positive thing, just contradicted anything positive or constructive the others in the studio said.
    We came into that match unbeaten, hammering 2 teams and beating Galway in Salthill. Now I know Ros weren’t up to much, but imagine his own Derry team or even Tyrone giving someone a hiding like that. They’d be praised to the heavens.
    Sure we let Galway back into it against us, but we had the mental strength to recover, go up the other end of the field and fire over a winning point. That takes guts and a lot of heart, and I was proud of the players that day for that.

    The point I’m making is that nearly everything in the national media surrounding Mayo is negative. If we beat someone, they were bad, if we lose, we are chokers etc. I honestly don’t feel any other county gets this. Look at Cork. They scraped past Limerick (who lost to Meath incidentally) but were still highly regarded by all. They’ve suffered as many heavy beatings in Croke Park to Kerry in recent years as we have, but are they called chokers? Is their character or heart called into question?

    All I want is a bit of respect shown to us all, especially the players. I know it’s an honour to play for your county, but those lads give up a lot. I hate it when their heart is questioned. If their ability is questioned, fair enough. Some of our players simply aren’t good enough to win us an All-Ireland. But what are they supposed to do, refuse to play for their county?

    I’m very proud to come from Mayo, I’ll defend us everytime we’re attacked by any individuals. But we seem to be such an easy target for arseholes like Brolly. The same shite is spouted out about us year in year out, even when we’re winning games. It’s simply lazy journalism and punditry.
    Sorry for the long ranting message lads, I think it’s the coffee I just had…
    I’m done talking about Brolly and others who constantly attack us and our players. It’s positive thinking from here on in.

    Let’s get behind the minors and look forward to a bright future for Mayo football.

  17. You want to know why we lost , well I,ll tell you…..
    Remember in 96 when we had to go home through Meath and even though they beat us the parents had send out their kids to give us the two finger sign to send us on our way .

    Well I was a 17 year old on a bus that happened
    to be caught in a traffic jam that slowed down just long enough for me to give them a perfect moon.

    Well I,m afraid it was those same kids who waited 13 years to get on the field in Croker to send us mooners on our way.

    I.ll never forget a young Joe Sheridan furiously giving me the finger and promising that one day he d get me back

  18. its true that Brolly hates Mayo and sure he has every right…
    I played in the backs for Mayo in the early 90,s and played against him on numerous occasions .
    Although he was a good footballer and deadly with ball in hand he would never stop mouthing , and it mostly would be derogatory stuff .
    And being in the Sigerson scene at the time and talking to other County players it seemingly was the way he kept himself up for it.
    But if it was it did nt work against us cause we used to absolutly cruxify him and the more belts he got the more mouthing he would do.
    But in the end he used to get so many belts and take them and keep mouthing and keep putting the ball over the bar that you have to admire him.

    But in the morning when he finds it hard to get out of bed he probably blames Mayo

  19. fair play joey you gave me a good laugh there.
    Dan i actually respect Brolly and think there is a bandwagon of detractors of his punditry style, he studies the game and he is not reliant on RTE for his daily bread so he says what he likes, i far prefer him to the rest of the pundits. I remember he was full of praise for us in 2006 all the way through the championship , i always enjoy when he calls in to des cahills show.

    Also i think if we want respect from these pundits we will have to earn it , Sunday wasn’t a step in the right direction..

  20. I’ve heard it all now, Joey – it was the sight of a 17-year old Mayo arse that propelled Joe Sheridan on last Sunday. That truly doesn’t bear thinking about!

    Glad to hear you hit Brolly a few thumps in your time, JJ – may I metaphorically shake your hand? I sincerely hope that more than a few of those thumps were to the gob: if ever a gob needed thumping, it’s his. I like that thought, too, of Brolly struggling to get out of bed and blaming us for why he can’t. You can hear him muttering away, can’t you? Fucking Mayo weather, the sun was going to come out but then it choked when it saw all those clouds coming and did what it always does …

    And I’m with you all the way, Dan, on all the negative stuff. I’m starting to construct in my head something something of a positive nature and hopefully will get it down in writing here before the week is out.

  21. As the dust settles on another disappointing result , it leaves many questions that need answering before we can be confident that the current managment team will ever take us to the holy grail.

    1. our fitness seems to be an issue. Jim Kielty was lauding our preparations in this area but against Meath (and Galway) we faded badly in the the last fifteen minutes.

    2. As an Spailpín has noted, our players were sliding around like dogs on wet lino. Training all year only to misjudge something as basic as ground conditions is unbelievable. Coming from Mayo, we should be well used to dealing with a bit of rain.

    3. All year our defence has had a record for meanness in conceding goals. Until Meehans late, late goal in the CF we hadn’t conceded a major for several competitive matches going back to the league. On Sunday our defence looked vulnerable every time Meath got the ball forward. Meath apparently had targetted this as a weakness, yet the stats didn’t seem to back this up prior to Sunday. What did their management see that JOM couldn’t?

    4. Plan B or lack thereof. In the CF, the signs were there that once Barry Moran was replaced by Mark Ronaldson we lost our shape and purpose entirely and just about got away with it. On Sunday we weren’t so lucky. Once AOS was injured we totally lost the plot. Did we score from play after he injured himself while scoring the goal?

  22. I have to say lads i was very disappointed i thought we’d have enough for Meath.

    From my perspective our problems lie very much in the backline & midfield to a lesser extent. In all our games excluding New York we’ve conceded a lot of goal chances. Roscommon should have had at least 2 goals against us in Castlebar in the first half.

    Galway had another couple of very good chances for goals, in particular Nicky Joyce in the first half. The only difference in the Meath game was that they took their chances, granted the second was a penalty. By my reckoning our defence on Sunday contained 4 half backs with 2 out of position in the corners, an untested full back and a corner forward. I was hoping my worries would be unfounded but unfortunately they weren’t. The county team i think needs more natural tight marking corner backs rather than half backs out of position.

    We have an abundance of good footballers in the half back line including up and coming fellas like Vaughan and Mcloughlin but that doesn’t mean they can be converted into corner backs, they’ll just have to bide their time. If I was JOM i’d be looking at every cornerback/fullback in the county over the next few months to see who could be brought into the squad to cure these problem positions next year.

    The only other thing i have to say is why can’t Mayo football teams win their fair share of breaking ball? We got cleaned out against Galway and Meath and in previous defeats in other years also. I think the stats on Sunday had us winning just about 25% of the kickouts and we won’t win any game of football with that happening.

  23. Willie Joe . Great Web Site. Very Good Contributions and not your usual rubbish.Dont know how I did nt hear of it before this. Keep up the good work .And I,m not from Mayo at all but my wife is but I m down there a lot and I love yer enthusism
    Very funny Joey . Had all the office laughing at lunch time .

  24. Thanks TJ – that vision of a ten-year old Joe Sheridan getting mooned at just won’t go out of my mind. And just when I’d forgotten about that priest in Foxford who was supposed to have put a curse on us in 1951 …

  25. I think one of the basic facts is we’re not physically big enough. that’s why we don’t win many breaking balls. It’s also why we can’t defend properly and it was a fact in punch clearance when it should have been taken into the chest.
    We won damn all breaking balls against Galway as well and lets face it they’re not big fellas when you consider the likes of Cork, Kerry, Tyrone and Meath.
    You mught argue Tyrone in stature are not Big men however they are very physical team. We’re not.
    Kerry have brought back M. McCarthy to centre back. One thing about him is he is teak tough. If it comes down to it that it has to be mixed then it will be ! That’s why JOC brought him back.

    Cork are massive all the way down the middle in every sector.

    Also we play v nice fast competitive football but that’s not enough when you have to get down and win hard games. Galway won 2 all Irelands but in that team they had 2 major stars who performed. P Joyce and M Donnnelan. They also had K Walsh in midfield who might not be a major box to box player but he was there for strength and not to play pretty passes.
    Tyrone winning their first major trophy had P Canavan who got the unbelievable scores when they had to be got.
    Kerry have the Gooch (among others).
    Tyrone last year had Sean Cavanagh.

    All winning All ireland teams have physicality and at least one (most likely 2) players who can still score when the going gets tough. They are the ones that gets them over the line time and time again.
    We don’t have those dependable players (not yet anyway)

  26. This is my first time ever writing into anything into like this (broadband is new in our area, great site by the way!!). My humble opinion on the match where to from here:

    From first hand playing experience of county underage football in the late 90s (school of exellence and voc schools) and observing current county underage training around the county, there is i believe a fundemental flaw in the way we are doing things in mayo, which manifests itself into our senior teams, a lot of which most posters are commenting on about last sundays match, and has done for years. That flaw is that yes we have some very nice footballers with silky skills, what we lack is the metal, balls, guts to stick our heads in where other people would not dare to ever go. It is that coupled with the absolute single mindedness to go that extra yard, win that ball etc that is the difference.

    To back this up my evidence is this….. A few weeks ago i witnessed a county underage training session (was coaching our local girls team on the ajoining pitch), what i saw was a “nice” training, ie the stuff that was going on lacked a physical bite and real drive to it (hits going on in the 3 v 3). There was more time spent on kicking drills (unchallenged) and “nice” hand passing drills than what really matters …physical confrontation. Im a firm believer that if the training is physical enough, mental toughness and a will to do absolutly anything to come out on top comes with it. It was the same thing back in the day when i could play a bit.

    That is where i believe we as a county are going wrong (dont buy into 51 or croke park argument). If we are going to reach the holy grail, its going to take a lot of hard hard hard work to get the attitude of not settling for second best anymore. As Martin Storey proclaimed in 96 from the hogan stand “for all these years we have been the bridesmaid of hurling, but today we finally got married”, well its time for us to get married….Lets get the work done and it will happen!! Mayo for Life!!!!!

  27. Hi Peewee – now that you’ve started, you should do it more often as you clearly know what you’re talking about.

    What you say about going the extra yard is spot-on, I think. I couldn’t help noticing the last day the number of times a Meath player made a last desperate lunge to either claim a ball or make sure that one of ours didn’t; they gave every ounce for the cause. In this respect, I thought our workrate in the Connacht final was immense, although it didn’t pay off in terms of balls won. We didn’t seem to have quite the same intensity the last day, especially in the second half when it was all up for grabs.

    I’d forgotten that Martin Storey quote, which is a classic of its kind. I do recall the late Ivan Neill once fulminating in the Western (after our NFL semi-final defeat to Monaghan back in 1986) that we were always the bride and never the groom, which missed the point ever so slightly!

  28. Hey Dan

    I have the 2006 Semi on DVD, including the entire RTE coverage, the antics on front of the hill, the half-time commentry & the post match analysis. Listening to Brolly & O’Rourke prior to t the game they talked about Mayo like we where a pectulant child, they talked as if the mighty Dubs where the only team worth talking about, they made constant references to the great Dublin support, despite I wintnessing about 50-50 support that day, of course with RTE only pointing at the hill for supporters reactions you would know no better. I love watching how those boys change their tune at hald time and turn 180′ bt the end in their opinons. If Mayo football fool people, they are the biggest fools, I have the evidence on DVD, so have RTE.

  29. I also met him in a Derry pub before a Mayo V Derry game & he wasn’t very respectful of Kevin McStay.

    Anthony Tohill was a real gentleman.

  30. Great site WJ – keep it going.
    Why we lost? You need to focus on the 15 / 20 lads on the field and not get too general
    1. Backs smallish
    2.Most backs (+goalie) inexperienced at this level
    3. too much to expect heaney to run Croke Park at this stage of his career
    4. Bad officials
    5. Complacency when 4 up (twice!!)
    6. Missed golden goal chance CM

    Some illnesses but nothing terminal.

  31. Hi Diehard – thanks for the kind words. I’ll be taking it easier for a while (once the minors have finished up, hopefully in September) but I’ve no intention of throwing in the towel anytime soon.

    I agree: our situation isn’t terminal. I’m doing a longish piece now on where we got from here and should have it up later on tonight or tomorrow.

  32. Regarding the late Ivan Neil, WJ, I think his point was that we’re aways getting f*cked (the bride) and are never doing the f*cking (the groom). Things may have changed in that department with all these modern wimmin out there, but I think that was his point 😉

  33. I can’t imagine poor old Ivan Neill ever thinking in such terms, bw – this was back in the Eighties, remember, and even then he was nearing the end of his tenure!

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