Injuries now the main focus + Diarmuid’s U21 award

Diarmuid O'Connor

Photo: Irish Times

With the London match out of the way, the sole focus now for Stephen Rochford and his charges is the Connacht semi-final against Galway at MacHale Park on the evening of 18th June (throw-in 7pm). In one sense, it’s a match that can’t come soon enough – as it’s only then that we’ll really start to see how team and tactics are shaping up this year – but on the other hand there’s a danger it’s coming at us too rapidly, given the outsized injury list we have at the minute.

The good news, I guess, is that none of the players currently listed as injured seem to be properly crocked. I’m only guessing here but I’d reckon that most – though probably not all – of them will be available for selection for the Galway game. If this is the case then I’d be fairly confident we’ll live up to our 1/3 odds to win that one and, if we do, there’s a good chance we could be picking from a full slate for the Connacht final.

Sure, some of these injuries could prove more troublesome than expected and others could occur either during the Galway game or in training. Dealing with such problems is obviously part and parcel of how things work in team sports, though it certainly does appear to be the case so far this year that we’re being weighed down by more trouble than is normal on this front. The sooner the reversion to the mean happens for us in this area, the better.

Mike Finnerty in the Mayo News today has some more detail on the current injury situation in the squad. In this piece, Stephen Rochford says he’s “hopeful” that most of those currently in sick bay will be okay in time for the Galway match. The list of the walking wounded in that article includes Chris Barrett, Alan Freeman, Barry Moran, Diarmuid O’Connor, Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons, Brian Reape and Donal Vaughan. As Mike notes in that piece, those eight injuries meant we were only in a position to tog 25 players in Ruislip.

In separate news, huge congrats to Diarmuid O’Connor who was yesterday officially announced as the Eirgrid U21 Footballer of the Year. The award was decided by public vote, with the Ballintubber dynamo beating off competition from Cork’s Sean White and Con O’Callaghan of Dublin to claim the accolade. In total, six Mayo lads were included in the awards, with Eoin O’Donoghue and Michael Hall included in the backs, Matthew Ruane and Stephen Coen at midfield and Michael Plunkett alongside Diarmuid in the forwards. Well done to all of them.

80 thoughts on “Injuries now the main focus + Diarmuid’s U21 award

  1. Lee Keegan had ice on his knee when he was subbed. Seamie was wearing one of those slipper yokes on his foot instead of a shoe. Tom was in the warm up and at one point almost looked like he was about to come on as a sub. Conor Loftus went down hurt towards the end of the game and I thought he came off before the end, or certainly came over to the sideline. Freeman’s ankle musn’t be too bad, since he stood right in front of me for the whole match!

  2. I am not sure about a reversion to the mean in this case Willie Joe,
    if you recall the controversy over the Arsenal players there were some specific charges leveled at Arsene Wenger about how he trained the team.

    I think we are asking an awful lot of players at club , county and for many even at college level, this must be contributing to the injury crisis.

  3. Far too many of these injuries for me to feel comfortable.

    On this basis we will struggle against Galway because:

    1. We won’t have a full panel
    2. This will make the bench that bit thinner in experience
    3. Galway, haven’t been great, but they are good footballers and the U21s having been maturing for a couple of years now.

    Taking this game for granted would be a major mistake.

  4. Well done to Diarmuid, thoroughly deserved.

    The ongoing injury problems are concerning, to be quite honest. It feels as though it’s never ending. When one clears up, another gets injured. I really hope this isn’t the thing that ends up throwing a spanner in the works for Mayo’s chances this year.

  5. I really don’t think anyone will be taking any game for granted, even the London game is a potential disaster if one or two things go wrong on the day. Galway are a team that can never be underestimated, and above anyone else, Mayo, are the one team they can raise their game to meet.
    that comer fella is one that I hope we can stick Keegan or Boyler on for the game, no point having a nice guy marking him, I watched him recently in games against us and he’s a tough customer.

  6. The idea that Mayo will take Galway lightly is daft. What we fans say here has zero bearing on the outcome of games. Injuries are a bit worrying but it’s early and hopefully they clear up

  7. Comer is a very capable performer and had Cunniffe in all sorts of trouble last year before the ball into him dried up. Also worth remembering that Shane Walsh is back in situ and he’s a serious operator. I think Keegan is the man for him though.

  8. I think that the idea of Mayo taking teams for granted is old hat, thinking from a bygone era. BH actually [Before Horan] as James seemed to radically change the thinking from players being happy to just win a game to looking at the overall performance. The outing at Ruislip in 2011 must have been a watershed in this change of attitude. The change from results driven thinking to performance driven thinking prevents any likelihood of taking a team for granted as each player is under pressure to deliver his own performance in each game.

  9. The Galway game is massive as it comes at a time when we are unlikely to be at optimum flow with injuries hampering the training camp, game plan development, match fitness and even our ability to have our best 15 on the field that evening. Galway have planning for this game all year and be in no doubt that they will be in peak condition and primed to ambush us with pace and aggression and no little skill come 18th June. It will be a major wake up call for any Mayo player who approaches this game lightly. Hopefully Rochford and McEntee can have our lads equally primed. Win this one and we will win Connacht.

  10. well said 45, the galway crowd know full well that this is the best chance to get MAYO, while us fans are yapping about dublin and kerry, lets hope the Mayo players are talking about shane walsh and comer, etc. Theres no question, galway could easily catch Mayo out if our fellas were not fully locked in on the day.

  11. I know we have to be on our guard for the Galway game but at the end of the day we seen Armagh play Cavan at the weekend, Galway drew with Armagh and lost to Cavan in Division 2 this year, so that’s where they are at, at the moment. So far all of the games in the championship have gone to league form, there has been no real shocks.

    Anything can happen on the day and Jim McGuinness did say in his article a couple of weeks ago that Galway have been working on a specific gameplan to take us down but if we have serious ambitions of doing well this year then we should really be winning this game even if we do have injury worries. As I said anything can happen on the day, like we seen Cillian getting black carded against London, so we don’t want to lose any of our big players early in this game.

    Stephen Rochford managed in Galway for a no. of years so he should know all of the strengths and weaknesses of this Galway team. The Corofin boys will have some insight into Rochford’s methods as well, so that’s something to think about. Getting these injuries to clear up is the main priority now.

  12. I have a feeling if it was Galway we were playing last Sunday some of those 8 would feature. Looks like a strong panel who are all pushing for a place on the 26 never mind the team. The trial games must be fairly feisty affairs!

  13. At the begining of the year I did think Galway could be a big obstacle for us and they do have some good individual players like Walsh. But in looking at the league they are just not at our standard. They have been in div 2 now for a number of years where teams like Ros, Cavan, Down, Monaghan have been promoted ahead of them.if that team has any serious ambitions they should be back in div 1 at this stage, especially with an U21 title under their belt in that period.They are not staying in Div 2 just so they can get one over on Mayo. Galway are at their level, they will give us a scare or two during the match but we will run out comfortable winners.

    Regarding the team taking Galway lightly, Mayo have not taken anyone lightly since 2011 and that will not change, I have no fear of it. They dont listen to supporters or take any notice whats being said in the media. They will do as they always do, be focused and work hard, take each game one at a time.

  14. Injuries are getting to the point of frustration particularly for SR. and his management team. I know how difficult it is to get game plans and strategies embedded when some crucial players are actually on the sideline looking in rather than being involved. The only comfort on the injury front is that we have very good replacements. Its a great position to be in and to be honest I don’t think we ever had that kind of strength in depth. I would have a lot of confident in these lads but if we get to the latter stages (Aug/Sep) we probably need a full deck to play from.

  15. If we can shut down Walsh, Sice and Comer we will beat Galway. I expect Rochy and co to have a plan in place so we meet our objective.

  16. Chicago,
    Mayo supporters may have concerns about closing Walsh, Sice, Comer et al but Galway will be trying to figure how to close down AOS and a few more. I think I know who has the bigger problem.

  17. Well done Diarmuid, an outstanding footballer who delivers time and time again and is well deserving of any accolade that comes his way. Congrats also to Eoin O’Donoghue, Michael Hall, Matthew Ruane, Stephen Coen and Michael Plunkett.

    AndyD
    Couldn’t agree more……………..The problem I see is’ if’ (and we should) beat them, we will be in the same situation post the London game i.e. if we hammer them then ‘we have only beaten an ‘average’ div 2 team and if we scrape a win, then the same will apply………….we havn’t been tested yet etc. etc.
    What we can’t do this year is play our best football in the Q.final (assuming we get there) and then peter out on from then, as has been the case since 2011, we have to have steady clinical improvement game on game——-stop the leaks (soft goals) by first and foremost preventing high balls into our area or players let through our HB line at ease ( that has been more a flaw than our FB or goalies shortcomings.
    Yes! there is a concern with our high count of wides but we do have much better firepower up front this time and we seem to have an improving score count…………I’d prefer to be wide and long than short and into the opponents hands.
    In the past few years we have racked up decent scores for, only to let it be eroded away by soft and very preventable scores against.
    I think we have a much improved individual skill level now but just need to meld that into a collective that can play as a unit both on the field and from the bench…………we’ve been oh so close with less.
    MaighEo Abú

  18. I think this fear of Galway mainly comes from an older supporter who remembers their supremacy in Connacht for years. People here going on about Comer, Walsh and Sice would do well remember that Kevin Walsh is lying in bed at night thinking how he’ll deal with Aiden O’Shea, Cillian O”Connor and Diarmuid. Unless Finian Hanley has come on leaps and bounds he’s not within an asses roar of Aiden or Cillian and should have got road last year on numerous occasions such was the roasting he got. Indeed, Keegan done such a job on Lundy, the inform player after Corofins All Ireland, that he buggered off to America after the game. It’s also worth remembering that Aiden O’Shea has never lost a championship game to Galway at any grade.
    Respect them yes, fear them, NO.

  19. Agree with Puckout – if it were Galway we were playing last Sunday most of the injured would be available – it’s just a case of a risk analysis – all these players have knocks / are recovering from injury – it’s a case of the level of risk in not making them available vs. the strength of toe opposition. Even for the Galway game there may be one or two not risked. Come a AI Semi Final there will be a full deck! Barrett will be available! Sure COC played and AI Final with a dis-located shoulder! It’s just the way of things early season……

  20. Liam, put me down as ‘an older supporter’. Older supporters know a thing or two about statistics and those stats show that Galway were able to beat Mayo regularly; very regularly, until recently.

    Bliss it has been since 2011, believe me, and these really are glory days for Mayo football.

    But all good things do come to an end. Six in a row would be an incredible achievement, but that means that we are six years on the road. And if these injuries are real, I mean not just the precautionary rest these lads until the serious stuff starts, that means our team is depleted and our bench is further weakened. Our bench is strong – when we have a fully fit panel. Anything less and the fatigue factor could be exposed and exploited.

    All our opponents are desperate to take us down, and why wouldn’t they? Galway have been poor enough in the league, but then Cavan have been shaping up pretty well and Tyrone and genuine contenders, so Galway will take heart from that. And as I said, these Under 21s are more mature now – more mature than our highly talented but fledgling Under 21s. I felt they had Donegal on the ropes last year, but didn’t know how to finish it off.

    Summarising, I feel that Connaught is very competitive this year and I haven’t got to the Rossies yet, whom we have seen more of. Sligo too had a good enough league – beat Kildare and were in the hunt for promotion.

    So we need all our panel fighting fit – for starters.

  21. What I’m looking for out of the Galway match is the development of our systems. Both in attack and defence. Galway have good forwards, at no stage do I want to see them with one on ones with our full back line. I’d rather see us keeping Galway to a few scores then racking up a huge score ourself and conceding goals. I think if we put a couple of clean sheets together it would really give confidence to our defence.

  22. Off topic I know, but does anyone know how to use the “opt-out” option on the season tickets? And, if I opt-out, do I still get charged for the tickets? Looking like I’ll miss the Galway game.

  23. For all the injuries Mayo have Galway have some massive ones too. Cathal Sweeney their best defender will miss the Mayo game and Fiontan O’Curraoin is also off the panel at the moment. You wont see anything different from Galway this year than you did last year where I think Mayo played firmly in 2nd gear.

    People saying that Galway are very quiet but this isn’t some sort of mind games by the Galway supporters genuinely know that they currently have a poor team. At the moment Galway football is in a bad place. It would be a huge shock if they beat Mayo.

    As Liam said Mayo should respect Galway but the 100% should not fear this current team.

  24. Agree with Liam on this.

    It’s not complacency or cockiness that has us believing we will beat Galway, it’s just a logical assessment of where both teams are at based on the information we have and the performances we’ve seen to date, and we shouldn’t be afraid to express that belief.

    Of course, we all know anything can happen on game day but the old fears haunt us still, it seems.

    Dave, spot on re Comer. As I recall things got a little heated between himself and Lee last year, and he showed his inexperience in the incident that followed. Doubt there will be any love lost this year either somehow 🙂

  25. Thanks MayoMick. I’m getting nervy already.
    I slipped up big time with the holidays. Booked to come back the Sunday morning (supposedly in time for Mayo v Galway in MacHale Park) but never copped the Saturday evening throw-in 🙁
    Red card offence.

  26. I would have to agree with Liam, peoples fear of Galway seems to stem from historical results and the fact that Galway are “way to quiet” Galway have been mediocre for a few years now and have shown no evidence that they will be a threat to anyone this year. Mayo will respect them as they should anyone they play but there will be no fear. Mayo will win by a comfortable margin and much like the London game it will be far from a top performance just beacuse a top performance will not be required.

  27. All those comments about Mayo not having to get out of second gear may have some validity, may have, if we have a full panel.

    My point is we don’t seem to have such a panel at the moment; with luck we will have, but if we don’t it’s a different situation.

    FYI, Aidan O’Brien’s horse, the brilliant Minding was practically unbackable for the Irish 1,000 Guineas – all the talk was how she would hack up at the Epsom Oaks after the Curragh. She came second to a unfancied horse – had excuses, but still second.

  28. Ah Pebbles, to be fair, the dates were released first in October I think and they changed a little, for us anyway. From the Sunday to Saturday evening, to accommodate Sky I ‘d say. Also the quarter finals I think or semi’s, (if we got there) changed weekends too. I know I’d the yearly planner done in October and had to change 2 dates when released again in December.

  29. O’Brien filly went off at 4/11for the Guineas, which is not as short as Mayo are for the Galway game. The winner was third in the betting and not unfancied given the soft ground. Sport throws up all sorts of surprises and that’s what makes it interesting.

    Galway will have to be a lot better than they have shown to surprise Mayo. Its not impossible but I think Roscommon are a much larger threat to the 6 in a row.

  30. Mayo mad. I hope you are right and I think you might be. I’m just trying to beat the rush from the “Mayo better not take Roscommon for granted ” contingent before they gain momentum.

  31. The Rossies seem to have lost a few players to the States, with more high profile names to join them if reports are true. Not something you would expect to hear this early in the year. I think the Minding comparison is more apt to the boys in blue than ourselves.

  32. Galway have a lot of height in the forwards. I seen Shane Walsh recently and he looked some athlete. Its how well they can get those big men playing that is their main weapon.
    You have young emerging lads like Michael Daly and the other u21 6’4″ type lad, Irish name, Cuinneagain or similar.

  33. Liam, I heard those rumours this week too, I even heard one from people I know well in Ros that a high profile forward was leaving the panel to go travelling. Personally I dont take much notice of that stuff until its made official. But there does seem to be something going on there.

  34. An interesting insight into the Indian Sign we have over one of our neighbours. In January this year the team sat down to a talk with a sports psychologist about their hopes and expectations for the year ahead, along with the usual answers of winning All Stars and Connacht titles, one high profile player on the panel stated that his wish for the year was not to be beaten by Mayo by more than 6 points.

  35. A tatic that I would expect to see over the summer is the return of Aidan O’Shea to Mayo’s midfield. His performances from the middle of the mayo team were never in question and I personally feel the forward role really limits him. When a player leaves the pack and ventures like a forward must he leaves himself a far more accessible target to the defending line of the opposition. Aidan in fairness is a very good attacker of a man with a ball as well as making piercing runs through the field ball in hand. To put him into the role he was in before would prove dividends.

    Looking at the forward line the O’connnor brothers, Regan, Moran, Dillon, Loftus is a enviable head count.

    I would note that Moran and Dillon are older but they are as good as any impact sub out there and some of you might well wonder if they should be considered more than a mere sub role. Moran especially making a call to feature more, the Gooch is back down below like. The more game time this man gets the better he will be for us in September. Everybody outside of the Kingdom of Kerry wrote off the careers of many fine players, questioned management tactics and that team went onto win an all Ireland not too long ago.

    One thing that Mayo has always greatly benefited from in the past is the integrative purring engine of Donal Vaughan, an intelligent player with visionary passing, tracking, tackling and froward running ability. A man seen as one of our king pins in James Horan’s highly successful ever so close to glory years at the helm of Mayo Football. So much so that his face is still adorning the Elvery’s Mayo Bus. His runs and hard work so successfully evasive of the opposition that it managed to evade the limelight too until the keen football minds in the country directed it at him. A focused and preforming Donal Vaughan will bring so much to this team, I say focused because the skills and the brain have been very obviously on show on county colors in the past, I can’t think of anything else, nobody cares about a little fisty cuffs in a training park moving on will do every proud. I think we will see the performances we are used of from Vaughan with Rochford’s management style, the ideals are more aligned.

    Dublins weakness…. it has to be Cluxton, I’m sure he can be affected by the crowd we seen it in the second half of the first semi, he either gets angry of nervous with the crowd but what ever it is his performances drop. It will be a big task to beat dublin if we make it and that is far from set in stone, the Tyrone’s, Donegal’s, Kerry’s and indeed the Roscommon lads would only love us to overlook them.

    Am I right in thinking if Kerry loose Munster they have a better chance of avoiding the dubs in the Semi’s, I still reckon Kerry for Munster it is not their style.

    Finally I will say this, Galway are quietly confident, they are going to give us a right good game and we are conditioning ourselves for a later peak, put your bets on Mayo and Sam Maguire to unite this year after that game if you didn’t before the Christmas.

  36. When Mayo walloped Galway in Salthill last time I thought G had some fine young prospects on board and said they de be the next team up in Connaught …..in about three years time!! I think that was last year!!It was a reasonable expectation at the time but where are they?
    As someone rightly said the sight of that maroon jersey has a jitters effect on many who were around in the sixties. The younger folk have a different perspective altogether and that psy factor does not pertain any more for the majority and it can even be seen on the faces around you at the matches!History is indeed hard to deal with and Ros + G have great battling to do on the home front before they can even dream about any success abroad!
    But so too do we have to come to terms with the perceptions of what we have in front of us! It’s no small task either but we are abs privaledged to be confronted with those immense challenges ahead!

  37. Bulltoe. I would agree with a lot of that.

    Aiden back to midfield for me too.

    Cillian, Loftus and Regan up top.

    Diarmuid. Moran and AN Other.

    Plenty to choose from for that 6th spot. I myself would have liked to have seen Irwin in the panel and getting a chance. A few accurate U21s who know where the back of the net is and throw Andy Moran with all his experience in there with them. Replace Moran with Dillon in 2nd half. Keep one experienced head in there with the new fellas. We need 6 sharp shooters up front. We cant afford another 15 wides v Galway or we could leave it after us.

  38. On a recent Seo Spoirt programme, Seán Óg from Galway said that he doesn’t know what has happened in Galway, but, once, most of the team were from a particular part of Galway, (don’t remember if it was North, South, East or West, but it was one of them, 😉 ) Now all those footballers are gone and it’s all changed!! Even St Jarleth’s aren’t supplying them. Just a thought.

  39. Joe Mc

    Dead right JarlAths are not supplying them because there are no Mayo’s there anymore. Once that great establishment dececrated the lovely blue jersy with maroon piping they were doomed!!

  40. AOS imo at midfield is ok too but the ball can be kept away from him by smart kicking. If he has to do a lot of running we know what that leads to….and they ll make him run!!
    Rochford obviously is trying to knit him into a role up front which I think is the smarter option. There he’ll be a part of a set up in which Regan,OC bros. McL+ An Other will find each other regularly and with precision to get the ball into scoring hands and positions.
    I’ve seen many forward set ups in the past which looked great on paper but didn’t deliver. What is emerging now looks great too and promises much and let’s hope that the work is being done to fulfill these promises!

  41. Rober – I’m afraid that comment crosses the line in a few respects so I’ve had to delete it.

    In relation to the first player you’ve named, how can you possibly assert that he’s “not fit enough”? Where’s your proof?

    What you’ve posted about the second player reads, I’m afraid, like a straightforward hatchet-job and I can’t allow you to post that kind of stuff here, plain and simple.

  42. I like the idea of AOS blocking off central channel around centre back as a low mileage midfielder i.e. stays back most the time.
    Then around 50 min mark when 7th or 8th defender on and defence tiring /on yellows.
    Aidan then moves up to cause their defence a problem. Against the top defences against the fresh, no cards starting defence they can wear him down and deal with him better.
    Aidan moving up combined with a fresh Andy and likes of a fresh Freeman is a nice push for the line in the final 20 mins.
    I used not believe in idea of Aidan as defensive midfielder but its probably been his most consistent role when he has carried it out.
    We’d be very hard to break through centrally.

  43. I think that when we are discussing player positions we have to think in the context of mayo V Dublin. Dublins midfielders are much too mobile for Aidan O Shea to play in midfield, Cluxton is too good with his restarts and Aidan will not be in a position to challenge, S O Shea has the same lack of mobility at that level. Remember the Final against Dublin – Cluxton kicked several balls to each sideline around 40 meters out and the O Shea;s were out paced. They are both powerful men and have their own strengths.
    Conor O Shea has not clicked to date and hew has got several games under his belt . Aidan maybe at C.H.F. drifting into Full Forward at times depending on what is happening. Aidan passing the ball immediately sometimes and keeping defenders guessing. Seamus also passing quicker sometimes. Both brothers tend to rely too much on their strength rather than mixing it and giving quick ball when it is on. Maybe playing Keith in some other position other than corner back . He is excellent until he marks a excellent corner forward for example O Donoghue He had a great 60 minutes on him but took his eye off him two or three times and he conceded 1 goal and two points. I know he is brilliant and a ALL STAR corner back but if you are playing in Final you are likely to marking equally brilliant forwards and that takes total concentration

  44. O Sullivan, I agree with you regarding AOS. His best position is CF where he can operate around midfield and attack through the middle. I too would like him to distribute the ball better quicker. Regarding the Dublin Kickouts, our half forwards need to track the likes of McCarthy and Caffery(his replacement) Cluxton continuously finds them hugging the touch line. Mark these guys and you force Cluxton down the middle, where we are strong.

    On Higgins, there is advantages having him further out the field but who makes way as DOC, AOS and KMc are nailed on at hf. Also who replaces him in the corner beacuse I dont see a corner back of the caliber of Zippy on the bench.

  45. Talk of semi finals and finals is far too premature. We need to cop ourselves on and focus on the game that is in front of us. Galway.

    Being at home it is a game that we should win but when you consider that they only lost to us by 4 points last year, after we got a fortuitous goal, and went on to have positive results against Derry and Armagh, and Donegal on the rack, they must get respect.

    We are there to be shot down. We have consistently come up short at critical times the last few years, so full focus needs to be on this game. If it is we should win a close game. If it is not we will lose and those talking about finals can look forward to planning to get a ticket for Tyrone v Dublin.

  46. I remember listening to a very good interview with a top tennis player years ago. He was saying that in one tournament that he was playing that he was playing against a player that 9 times out of 10 that he would beat but he lost the match. His match was on in the afternoon and his main rival was playing in the morning. He rival lost his game and he was saying that subconsciously this got into his head and he ended up playing one or two percent below his best as he was thinking about his next game.

    From then on he said that he concentrated 100% on his own game and didn’t take any notice of what his rivals were doing until he had to play them. So the lesson for us is to get our own house in order. We almost know off by heart now where our problems lie:

    1. Take more of our scoring chances
    2. Concede less sloppy goals
    3. Put a defensive structure in place, i.e. use a sweeper when needed
    4. Develop a stronger bench and make more use of it
    5. Do not give up winning positions

    It sounds easy when you list it out like that, lol. Best of luck to all involved with Mayo GAA for the season ahead. Our destiny is in our own hands!

  47. Ger, I am pretty sure Stephen Rochford or anyone on the Mayo team are on here reading these posts and I am certain they dont take a blind bit of notice what the supporters or media say. Whats said here has zero effect on the outcome of the Galway game or any other game for that matter. There is nothing wrong with discussing future possibilities this team may encounter. Its the nature of being a sports fan.

  48. Ger Bohan I agree with you that talking of anything other than our next match is very dangerous , even silly. I remember when Joe Brolly said that Cork would wipe the floor with us.
    What I mean is that when commenting about players on this site ( We should take no team for granted) if we are making Team Selection Suggestions we should keep in mind that if we are to win a Final we will be playing against the top players. for example playing Aidan O Shea in midfield .That may be ok against most teams but the Dublins and Kerrys of this world know how to exploit his pace and mobility.

    Thats all I am saying. I have seen Mayo in several Match winning positions but to concede a goal or two in the last minutes and thats going back for the last 45 yerars of my attending Mayo Matches. I myself take Galway very serious, This is the only focus for them for the last twelve months and they intend to peak on Saturday the 18th. Several ex Galway players have been rolled out to the media in the last few weeks with comments like “They have no chance” or ‘Players don’t want to wear the Galway Jersey” . I would ignore such talk and believe me that Galway will be up for this challenge. I remember 1998 and eveyone had Mayo Connaught Champions before a ball was kicked in the Championship.

  49. Like the old saying with cops and criminals, the criminal has to be lucky all the time, the cop only the once. It’s the same with the naysayers here, just throw up a post before every game saying that we need to cop on, that X or Y are waiting in the long grass and that we’re ripe for a beating. If we win then it’s back under the bridge till the next prophesy of doom can be exclaimed, if we lose then it’s “I told you so” and “airy fairy supporters getting carried away”. We have to be lucky for 5 more games, they have to be lucky for only one of them.
    I for one love going to games knowing we’re the favourites and expected to win. I’m also glad that everyone in Connacht is gunning for us, it means we have something they want. Nothing lasts forever and I don’t want to look back in 10 or 15 years thinking, “why didn’t I just enjoy the good times instead of waiting for the fall”.

  50. I would totally agree with you Liam. We should enjoy this period in Mayo football, they have given us 5 great summers of football and I am really looking forward to this one. Supporters should dream of great days ahead, isnt that what being a sports fan is about. I for one am taking Galway very lightly, they will not come close to beating us, we are stronger, more powerful and have better players all over the pitch. Mayo will win this by a comfortable margin and I will enjoy every minute. Of course Galway have been targeting this match, its their first championship game. But after 5 mins they will find out exactly who they are on the field with, as if our lads will be thinking “damn these guys are up for it, we are in trouble” and sit back and take it. they will match anything Galway has to offer and overcome it.

  51. The simple way of looking at it is how many Galway players would make a combined Mayo and Galway team. I would say at a push maybe 3/4 players. They just don’t have the talent available at the moment.

  52. Ger Bohan.
    Agree with that. Some very loose talk on here and Galway taken way too lightly.
    Some of us even losing the run of ourselves. Cluxton wont be playing in Castlebar on the 18th June so he is of no concern to me right now. If we take our eye off the ball and lose focus or leave the door open, Galway will be in like a shot for the kill.

  53. Mayomad .It is a dangerous thing to take any team lightly in the championship and this is not talking about being lucky once and the ” I told you so’ after. From a Mayo’s point of view we have defeated several Teams who have been red hot favourites when they may have taken us lightly.
    If Mayo loose I will be in bad humour for the rest of summer and I am not into the
    ” I told you so” or being one of those who need to be right once and take satisfaction in it. In actual fact if Mayo loose I get into depression
    i live for the Games and I do enjoy this spell
    I would not say that Galway don’t have the tallent. They have a few Under 21’s under their belt in the last few years

  54. Losing the run of ourselves?! Are some people on here for real? What the hell does it matter if sports fans on a blog are commenting on what might lay ahead for a team whose stated aim is to win an All-Ireland title? The Mayo team and management are a proven serious outfit who take each game seriously and there is no doubt that Rochford and his coaches will be going over Galway with a fine tooth-comb, and preparing the squad to that extent. What exactly is the point of having the top coaches if not have the team peaking for August/September, or is that ‘losing the run of ourselves’? Should the team be aiming to peak for Galway?

    The negativity-junkies need to get real. Unless they can tell us for a fact that Rochford allocates his preparation based on what he reads here and on other forums?

    Also, given that they are most likely what will stand in our way at the ultimate stage I sincerely hope the team are thinking about Cluxton and Dublin and how they can be beaten. Not to do so would be a dereliction of duty. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.

  55. O Sullivan, do you honestly believe what is said on here has any effect whatsoever on the outcome of this match. The management or players are not on here reading it, they are not on the street listening to supporters. The team will take every game seriously. I do take Galway lightly simply beacuse we are a much better team. Furthermore I take Roscommon and Sligo lightly too as we are way ahead of either of them. The only teams in the country I would have any apprehension of playing are Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone.

    Supporters talk has zero effect on the team or any result. Where we do have an effect is in the stands on matchdays. Here I believe it is better to go in positive of a result and really getting behind the team. Instead of being cynical, waiting for the worst, going quiet when things are not going our way and leaving early (imo leaving early is the most disrespectful think you can do at a match).

    There is nothing wrong with being positive, expecting a result and believing we are better than the opposition. Beacuse we are better than the opposition.

  56. I have no idea what’s wrong with fans discussing future possibilities and their expectations for the team. They’re not the ones at training sessions or in the dressing room. I’m sure the team and management are entirely focused on the Galway match for now and fans speculating is not going to have any impact on that. In any case, we know that this team and management have All-Ireland ambitions and that anything less than an All-Ireland this year will likely be a disappointment for them. Why shouldn’t fans be allowed to talk about that?

  57. Yes of course at the end of the day we are one of the top teams in the country and Galway have been stuck in Division 2 now for a no. of years. We should be beating them. We want the team to have the self-belief to believe that they can win the All-Ireland title and we the supporters should have the belief in our team as well that we can win the All-Ireland title but there is no need to be arrogant about it either. I would much prefer to have quiet confidence in our team and to be showing humility rather than been arrogant and cocky about it.

    I remember when we were playing Kerry in one of the finals that they hammered us in, as we were walking past one pub towards Croke Park, there was a group of Kerry supporters walking in front of us and some of the Mayo supports outside the pub starting slagging the Kerry boys about what Ciaran McDonald was going to do to them etc. We could hear the Kerry boys saying, they are fierce arrogant for a crowd that have not won the All-Ireland since 1951.

    I suppose all counties have an arrogant element following them as there is a negative element too. Thank God most of us are in the middle of the road brigade. Realistic enough to know that we are the top team in Connacht at the moment but do not take it for granted and know that we are very close be been champions but not there yet and hopefully will be very soon in our history. Roll on the games!

  58. We may have won the last 5 provincial titles but only a single national trophy since 1971, I imagine Cillian and co won’t be looking beyond each game, and Galway even in a weakened state will not be easy to beat no matter how they looked in the league, which also should be remembered because we almost got relegated when we allowed Down into a game where we have them buried.
    Not that what anyone on here says has a bearing on the way Mayo approach games, but please, a bit of sense, we have no right to think we can automatically beat Galway just because!
    We have won sfa nationally in my lifetime.

  59. Where are we stronger now Midfield or Forward? What happened when we lose Seamus O’Shea last time round against the Dubs? Our wide’s have been a more acute issue post Horan. What was it 11 against London. Will AOS be man marked so easily when we have an improved forward line giving opposition teams headaches? I don’t think so and smart isolation passing will be used I agree but I still see it as the better option. The theories above don’t account for AOS interception ability.

    I think it is important we thing about and develop a strategy for Dublin, tyrone, Kerry etc., not to do so makes no since. the Connacht final against Sligo where we annihilated them meant very little when we were not successful in the later stages. I agree though every single team could beat us and that must be valued.

  60. Bulltoe, AOS was man marked so easily vDublin due mainly to an error in both matches by the management. While a sweeper was required, they took the sweeper from the wrong position. They sacrificed a forward to slot a sweeper in thus leaving us with a two man ff line. this made it way too easy for Cooper or McMahon to come across and double team Aido. I dont expect AOS to play much at ff but if he is in there it is important that he have two corner forwards with him stretching the opposition fb line creating one on ones.

  61. The sheer arrogance of some posters, you’d swear this was a team with several All Ireland senior medals in their back pockets. Underestimate the opposition at your peril. We should win this game, but only if the attitude of the players is a lot different to the mind-set of some individuals posting here. Only 12 weeks ago Castlebar Mitchels fell victim to a similar immaturity.

  62. Again, what supporters say on websites, on the street, in pubs has absolutely no bearing on the match or how the team performs. Do people seriously believe that the players and management notice, listen or take heed of what anyone is saying on social media or the media in general. the team will concentrate 100 percent on the match coming, I have no doubt. They will preform on the day due to the work and preparation they have put in. if they win it will be by their hard work alone, if they loose it will ne beacuse the opposition was better, it wont be beacuse some people on a website got over confident. Again do you seriously believe what is said here has an effect on the outcome of the match?

  63. How is it arrogant to say that Mayo will beat Galway? People are just giving their opinions. As so many people have said the players will not be reading this, they wont be complacent and they will respect Galway. What people say here has no bearing on the Mayo winning or losing it all depends on the players on the pitch and at the moment Mayo have the better players, simple as. This is a great blog because people give their opinions, there is no set way to behave as a fan.

  64. There is nothing remotely arrogant about being of the opinion that Mayo will beat Galway. Nothing. It is just that, an opinion. For what it’s worth, on a personal level I am also of the opinion that we will win the Connacht final. That’s not based on arrogance, or underestimating the opposition, it’s based on the evidence that we’ve seen in front of us over the past five years. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong. So what? It wouldn’t be the first time and it definitely won’t be the last.

    But I think if we’re talking about arrogance, it’s probably more presumptuous to assume that supporters’ opinions on a website can have any bearing on the performance – and the levels of professionalism – of the guys who are actually putting in the work and taking to the field. Let’s face it, we’re not really that important in the grand scheme of things 😉

  65. Highly unlikely that none of the Mayo panel ever read the comments on this site. Quite the opposite.

    I would say quite a few of them look in here now and again in the lead up to a game just to see what us lot are saying. If they see us writing that we are “taking Galway likely”, will that have any effect on the player reading? I hope not.

    This is a quality site and they could get their reading material from a lot worse places. Why wouldn’t they read our comments. I would just hope that the players dont get caught up in the “dismissing of Galway as serious opposition” that seems to be doing the rounds. If enough of us write Galway off, might a young 21 year old player be dragged into that mindset too? A recipe for disaster.

    Only saying like. Not having a go at anyone. Certainly dont want us turning against each other.

  66. Jim I agree that this is a quality site, miles ahead of other fan sites imo which is a credit to WJ and the way he operates it.

    The site is for supporters to express their opinions regarding the Mayo teams and football in general. If people think we will beat Galway comfortably then thats their opinion and should be allowed to express it. Like wise if people think Galway pose a serious threat and that we should be wary then thats fine and should be allowed to express it. Neither opinions are arrogant, silly, dangerous etc. They are peoples opinions and as long as they are not attacking individual players then others peoples opinions should be respected. Now I think we will beat Galway quiet comfortably and will win Connacht again this year. That is my opinion based on past results and the state of the other teams in Connacht. People may feel different and thats fine. Im not going to tell people what they should be thinking or saying and I wont accept people telling me what I should be thinking.

    Regarding players reading whats on here, I really dont think they are, but if they are swayed by what is said on a supporters blog then they really do have problems. This group of players are mentally tough, proven by the way they come back year after year and a few comments on a website wont change that.

  67. Wilie Joe just a reminder of an event on Sunday in memory of our club player Peter Cosgrove. Peter played with Mayo juniors and was a box to box running full back. He scored the best goal I have ever seen in a championship match versus Moy Davits. If you can publish it I would be much appreciated.

    May he RIP. Cross Fundraising group are holding a 50k/100k charity cycle and a 5k/8k walk on Sunday 5 June in aid of Pieta House and in memory of our colleague and Ballinrobe RFC and The Neale GAA club member Peter Cosgrove. There’s all sorts of other stuff going on as well. Face painting, bouncy castle. etc.. There is something to suit serious cyclists, leisure cyclists and those that just want to walk in memory of Peter. For a full programme of events see the facebook page
    https://www.facebook.com/Charity-cycle-in-aid-of-pieta-ho…/…

  68. Well all I can say is that from talking to a couple of good friends who play senior club football in Galway, this Galway team is worse than last year, so we should beat them

  69. A bit off topic but an interesting piece taken from Darrah O’Shea;
    —————————————————————————————
    Most important player
    But again that’s the wrong way of saying it. There’s no full back line now. There’s a marker, maybe two. There’s a guy patrolling the D. There are five or six across the 45, numbers irrelevant. There are no wing backs or wing forwards, just wingers. If Jack McCaffrey is up against Donnchadh Walsh or Lee Keegan is playing on Diarmuid Connolly, who’s marking who?
    Midfielders don’t need to be the tallest guys on the team. You need one giant to contest hop-balls but mostly, in the best teams, midfielders won’t be called on to catch anything above their heads. Those converted free-takers playing in goal will be hitting them on the chest from 60 yards away (on the rare occasions they haven’t gone short to the converted midfielder playing corner back).
    The most important player on the team is the link man at centre forward, which is the one position that is still broadly similar to what it used to be. You need a classy player there, a guy who plays constantly on the half-turn, taking possession while running laterally across the half forward line and sending fast, intelligent ball inside.
    Upfront you have one strike forward. You’re pushing the boat out if you go with two. At least one corner forward puts his head down and sprints back up the field as soon as the referee throws in the ball and the second one usually isn’t far behind. It’s everyone’s responsibility to work back, it’s everyone’s responsibility to get up and score points of his own.
    There’s no hiding place either. The oldest GAA tactic in the book – whipping off the corner forward when things go against you – is dying out. Now the manager has his stats team telling him who has made the most tackles, who has been on the ball the most times, who has given away the most fouls. The curly finger goes to the guy who isn’t hitting his numbers.

  70. l cannot believe how the criticism of Keith Higgins as a corner back has been allowed to go unchallenged
    If there ever was to be a textbook exhibition of classic corner back play, it was the display he gave defending against the equally classic attacking play of Kerry’s O’ Donoghue. Was that two years ago? What a contest! And he has lost none of his quality since. Wherever he plays he’s marvellous. but in the corner he is something else…not only watching his own man, but taking the broader view as well and doing the necessary covering. Credit where credit is due. What an asset to the Mayo cause!

    And I hope O’Donoghue is fully fit for this season and I wish him well. A lovely footballer and good sportsman too. Could we ever be treated to a repeat in Sept?. Stranger things have happened!!

  71. Up mayo. I would totally agree with you regarding Higgins and have mentioned it on other threads on here. He is still our best corner back and one of the top in the country. His duel with O’Donaghue was truly classic. Some people seem to think he stands off too much and isnt a good man marker, I dont agree with that. These are usually the people who want him lining out at hf.

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