It’s knockout from here on

Photo: Inpho Sports

It’s been a helter-skelter weekend of provincial final action – and May’s not over yet! – with four impressive champions emerging from each of their respective deciders. Impressive in different ways but all of them will head into the All-Ireland Series feeling pretty okay about themselves.

Kerry had their expected stroll in the Munster decider yesterday against Limerick. While Dublin didn’t disappoint either in demolishing Kildare in the Leinster final, their rebirth as a rampant attacking force was nonetheless a bit eye-catching.

I’ve been saying for some weeks that Dublin will beat Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final this year. While both of them still have a hurdle to get over to reach that stage, you’d have to expect them to do so. And if they do meet, I still expect the Dubs to do the business, all the more so, in fact, after yesterday’s performance.

Today’s two provincial finals were more competitive but, in truth, it was only the über-defensive Ulster one that was properly so.

A bit like our game against them, Galway allowed a decisive enough victory over Roscommon to mutate into something that looked closer based on the final score. In truth, Galway were on top for much of the day at Pearse Stadium, however, and they were never in any great danger of losing what would have been a fourth Nestor Cup decider in a row. No wonder they looked so happy at the finish.

The Ulster final was compelling even if the anti-football on display made it a far from attractive contest. It’s hard to blame Derry for this, though, and they showed enough enterprise in extra-time to get over the line. Having beaten Tyrone, Monaghan and Donegal to claim a first Anglo-Celt Cup success since 1998, nobody can deny that the Oakleafers are worthy champions of Ulster this year.

So, with the provincial Championships boxed off, the real business of the still early summer is set to begin. We’re now down to the final sixteen and, from here on, everything is on the line in every game. It’s all knockout football from here.

From our perspective, it’s tempting to start eyeing the four winners from this weekend and begin wondering about which of them we’d fancy a crack off in the quarters. Tempting but pointless.

Our only target now is Monaghan next Saturday at MacHale Park, an all-or-nothing tie that will see one of us emerge from it to go into the hat on Monday morning for Round 2. Whichever of us it is will then be back in action – against one of Donegal, Limerick, Kildare or Roscommon – the following weekend.

It’s only if we survive that short, sharp run through the qualifiers that we get to think about an All-Ireland quarter-final. That test now facing us, combined with our failure to defend our provincial title successfully this year, is why our focus right now cannot afford to be on the kind of lofty thoughts that the four provincial champions, Galway included, are now able to luxuriate in as this weekend winds down.

88 thoughts on “It’s knockout from here on

  1. Congrats to Galway. They’ve been very impressive at times. Not impressive enough to beat kerry or Dublin but impressive nonetheless.
    As mentioned, their tendency to make things awkward for themselves at the end is dangerous. Against better teams, that could bite them. In truth, they were way better than us in April and a one point defeat flattered us. Similarly, they were way better than roscommon today but somehow contrived to win by three.
    Interesting few weeks ahead. No winner next weekend will fear a provincial final runner-up.

  2. Yes Willie Joe roll on next week. With all of our injuries, this year will be definitely be one game at a time, more so than any other year in recent times.

    Congrats to Sligo and Leitrim on their wins at the weekend too. Really hope the Tailteann Cup is a success.

  3. Just a slight correction @WillieJoe, we’re not down to the final 12 yet, we have the 8 teams in the qualifiers, the 4 Provincial champions plus the 4 Provincial runners up still in the race.

  4. Thanks for that correction, all – I’ll make the change now. It is, of course, after the Round 1 ties are played that it’s down to the final twelve.

  5. I know we still have to get over Monaghan, but some wishful thinking on how the draw is panning out.

    Kerry, Dublin, Derry and Galway into the QFs. The Ulster and Connacht champion QFs on one half of the semi draw, Munster and Leinster on the other. On paper, that makes playing Derry or Galway in the QF the plum draw for both the QF and SF.

    Unfortunately, not only are provincial final pairings prohibited at QF stage but all repeat pairings are, so Mayo simply won’t be able to draw Galway if they make it to the QF. Repeat pairings used to be allowed in the QFs, changing this for no apparent reason is exhibit 1001 of the GAA needlessly tinkering with championship structures , but I digress.

    So that leaves Derry as the team Mayo would want in the QFs, you’re hoping for a 1 in 4 shot there. The chances of that draw happening can be boosted however by as many teams as possible that have already played Derry making it to the QFs. We’ll exclude Monaghan here for obvious reasons, but if you’re watching the other games in the qualifiers and want to know what best helps Mayo, it would be helpful if both Tyrone and Donegal get to the QFs. If that happens, you’re looking at a 50/50 shot of Mayo drawing Derry before the draw starts.

  6. Fourtyfive, would it not be a 1 in 3 shot of getting Derry since we wouldn’t be able to draw Galway? By this rate of going, if both Donegal and Tyrone get to the quarters, along with ourselves, the only team we could possibly draw is Derry!

  7. Of course this all depends on the result in what I see as a completely 50/50 game against Monaghan on Saturday!

  8. FourtyFive – are you sure that all repeat pairings are prohibited at QF stage? Obviously a repeat of provincial finals would be. It would make the draw extremely complicated if every repeat match up had to be avoided!

    Anyway, as WJ said our only target is Monaghan at the moment.

  9. I do think repeat are to be avoided, if they weren’t you could end up having mayo vs Galway and Tyrone vs Derry again, which wouldn’t be something the GAA would want I don’t think

  10. Fingers crossed we’ll be having this conversation this time next week. As Willie Joe says, our only target is Monaghan. This is probably wishful thinking, but when James said “we’ve worked on many things” in his interview last week, I feel it was a bit of a response to the anger over the tactics against Galway. Was it his way of saying look I got it wrong, and willing to alter things going forward?.Hard to know, but maybe we’ll see a few tweaks to Horanball next Saturday.

  11. Not sure what Roscommon was at by leaving themselves so open defensively , Comer Walsh,Finnerty impressive but they won’t get that much time and space on the ball to cause damage in the remaining games. I think a semi final at best is how far Galway will get this summer.

    Derry in fairness to them won a very impressive Ulster title beating three Div 1 teams, the way they are set up will be tough to beat but will their current game plan work in Croke park against Mayo or Tyrone, i have my doubts.

  12. That’s my line of thought to as regards Derry , croke park in the latter stages is a different sphere to tactics used in provincial grounds during provincial championship.

  13. A few thoughts: Provincial losers look easy meat. Dublin were sensational – five goals in twenty minutes, and a point tacked on in the second half for every Kildare score. Some provincial winners are going to be worried about facing the possibility of Tyrone, Monaghan, or Mayo on a roll. Armagh? I’m not so sure.

  14. Derry are worthy Champions of Ulster, but that’s as far as they will go. They are setup almost as a containment team. They will never win or lose by big margins – they are defense focused, and risk adverse. A team with a good deadball setup will simply pick them off.

    Galway are no great shakes either. Defence seems to be about mindlessly clogging up the D and hoping nothing makes it through the congestion. There doesn’t seem to be an organized plan, no push at repelling attacks – just gum it up and make sure the ball breaks to a maroon jersey. The inability to see out games by maintaining a built up lead is also concerning. That said, the 3 & 6 spine of defence is as good as it has ever been.

    Kerry have their 83rd Munster, no idea where they really are, and now heading into a month layoff. Against a battle hardened team coming in hot from 2 qualifier games, they might get caught out. Clifford unavailable as he was this weekend would pretty much scupper any chance they have of silverware.

    Ditto Dublin. Con and Costello in blistering form, but against opposition that thus far that have clearly given up even before the ball is thrown in. Cooper not fit, Murchan limping off, and no sign of Paddy Small are minor-ish concerns.

    Of the 4 remaining provincial losers, only Donegal would have any real hope of progressing to the QF. Limerick and Kildare just don’t have the setup or real self belief. The Rossies defence is WOEFUL. They just watch teams stroll by them, tracking and tackling is non-existant at times.

    The Mayo/Monaghan clash is really the one to watch. You’d expect Mayo to shade it, but Monaghan won’t go down without a fight. I expect the kick of a ball to decide it.

    Tyrone should have enough for Armagh, but again, it will be tight. Interesting to see if Tyrone can rebuild this year from what looked like an implosion within the team.

    I hate to be so dismissive, but Cork/Louth and Meath/Clare are just filler games. The winners of both games are just fodder for the next round.

  15. Am I right in saying that if we find our way to the quarter finals that we would can’t play galway again at that stage and we would have to play kerry/Dublin or derry?

    Nothing to be too scared of from the provincial losers group, donegal would be the toughest but serious question marks about how brittle they are at this stage after another under performance.

    If we get past monaghan then it could well open up for us again

  16. If Donegal and Tyrone both make it to the quarter finals along with ourselves, this would give us a much greater chance of drawing Derry I believe. However, there is a long way to go before we should start talking about quarter finals.

  17. The long wait is coming to an end next Saturday. The break between games is way too long. Usefu if you have players recovering from injury but far too long to have a bad taste in your mouth after the last game not to mention the AIF and League Final.
    We really have no clue what to expect from Mayo the next day but it will need to be like the Donegal game in 2019. As supporters we need a performance to stir the blood and reignite the passion and get us involved in the game from the start. It is extremely difficult to get excited when the ball is going around in circles. Derry v Donegal yesterday was a bore fest with the occasional spark of life in extra time. I congratulate Derry on the victory and after 24 years in the wilderness it won’t bother them in the least. The antidote to that was the Dubs performance. Who will beat them this year? Hard to see anyone even the mighty Kerry. James has basically dismissed us supporters in his recent excuse for an interview. Your true mettle shows when you are under pressure. Time to do the business or get off the pot.

  18. Interesting we’re still 5th favourites for the AI with Galway and Derry ahead of us and Tyrone the best bookies value 6th at 20 to 1. Hats off to Galway, they look like contenders, you can only play what’s in front of you. Ros look a decent team but lost their way and defending very loose at this level. They have no chance unless changing their defensive structure.
    One chink in Galway might be the high ball, 2nd Ros goal excellent but Galway allowed a clean catch by Murtagh about 6 yards out. Besides that Galway were good at both ends.
    As for us yes definitely a case of any kind of win will do and same if we win for round 2. I’d like to see some new stars emerge from this game and win so we we’re not so worried about injuries in future. Six weeks extra championship training should do newer players plenty of good.

  19. Surely this past weekend has put a big nail in the coffin of the provincial championships. I’ve heard of walkovers but Kildare and Limerick served up something way past walkovers and both Derry and Donegal should both be suspended for bringing the game into disrepute. I say this with great regret as I have a great grá for Donegal having worked?? there for a few years back in the 70’s.

  20. I’d say it could be a while again before the stars align and neither Dublin or Kerry reach a final.

    It will quietly eat at James Horan, the players and serious Mayo football people for the rest of their days, how a team knocking on the door for so long blew the best chance they ever had.

    It’s bound to affect all involved and could be a contributory factor to all the narkiness among many at the moment.

  21. This is what’s in the GAA’s Master Fixtures Schedule about limitations in the AIQF draw:

    “Draw is Subject to Provincial Final Winners avoiding defeated finalists from their own Province in this Round and to the avoidance of repeat pairings where possible.”

    That would seem to rule out a repeat meeting with Galway then, wouldn’t it? The wording isn’t wholly clear, though, in particular that “where possible” rider.

  22. Forty five I have not seen it anywhere that repeat pairings are not allowed in QF.
    It is the case for the first round OK.

  23. Good morning all, I have a basic question – sorry it’s in the baby category.
    From the two qualifier rounds, I understand there’ll be 4 teams that come through. I think that’s right.
    Then there are the 4 provincial winners.
    Could anyone tell me what happens then?
    1. Do Connacht play Ulster, and Munster play Leinster?
    2. Where do the 4 qualifier teams fit in?
    Thank you!
    I agree with Bogman above – we need a wild supporter performance in Castlebar and a team performance to get the blood flowing again.

  24. In the Semi finals it is connaught vulster champs or whatever team beats eirher in the quarter finals

  25. It’ll be some mess if Monaghan, Donegal and Tyrone all progress (not exactly impossible is it?) meaning Derry have to play the other qualifier winner, making a mess of the draw really

    I suppose throwing in the caveat “where possible” covers the GAA in that regard

    But I guess – at the same time – we can take it we won’t be playing Galway in a quarter if we progress. So if ourselves, Donegal and Tyrone get through we have to play Derry? This just seems very messy..

  26. Hi Jr, I think I am unsure what the quarter finals are. Do the four provincial champs and the four successful qualifier teams go into a hat and get pulled out to play each other in the quarter finals? : )

  27. If we were to beat Monaghan on Saturday which will be a big ask who will we get in round two?

  28. I wonder how much say Rochford has had in how Donegal play because I have to say, I thought they were very poor yesterday and fully deserved to be beat. Negative, uninspired, slow play. Say what you want about Derry, but they went for the win in the final minutes of normal time and throughout extra time. Even if they were kicking wides, at least they had a go and it eventually paid off. Donegal, on the other hand, were conservative and were literally playing for extra time towards the end of normal time – very negative attitude.

    They looked a poorly coached team to me and very un-creative for a team with a few very good individuals.

  29. Will quarter finals be played in neutral venues,Croke Park or home venues for provincial winners?

  30. 2 Provincial champions from Div 2 – a one-off maybe? or down to the momentum gained from winning matches (no matter the quality of opposition)?

    It certainly suited Galway this year at least, they’ve been able to find a much more settled team, while winning a run of matches would bring a huge confidence boost to a side like Derry after a few years in the wilderness

  31. Not just that, Ciaran – two of them played in Division Two this year and two of them will be there next year as well. Division Two is the new Division One!

    The Master Fixtures Schedule states that the CCCC will decide on quarter-final venues but, in practice, it’s hard to see how any of those games could not be scheduled for Croke Park, otherwise basic issues of fairness come into it. Then again, fixture scheduling decisions aren’t always made with fairness as the main criterion.

  32. Spot on Willie Joe, and – out of curiosity – when is the last quarter final (not replay) to actually take place outside of Croke Park? Mad to think we haven’t actually had any quarters played since 2017..

    I can only remember the 2001 quarters being played in other venues.. is it actually that far back?

  33. It’s hard to see what Rochford has brought to Donegal which is surprising given how close he brought Mayo to the ultimate prize.
    If he has a lot of influence over their tactics and style of play, it doesn’t reflect well on him. If he doesn’t have much influence, you’d wonder why is he bothering driving all the way up there several times a week for the past 4 years!?
    It would be great if a role in Mayo GAA could be found for him because tactically, he setup Mayo excellently on the biggest days.

  34. @Ciaran, there have only been 5 AIQF matches outside of Croke Park. The first year in 2001, you had Kerry v Dublin in Thurles, Derry v Tyrone in Clones and Galway v Roscommon in Castlebar (Meath v Westmeath in Croke Park was the 4th). In 2002, the Armagh V Sligo replay was in Navan. The last outside HQ was the Galway v Donegal replay in 2003, which was in Castlebar.

  35. Jees, I forgot that Armagh were taken to a replay by Sligo! and then went on to win the All Ireland, beating a good Kerry team in the final!

  36. Donegal play was incredibly boring, Derry weren’t much better. I started to actually get a laugh out of the normally Uber positive remarks of RTE commentator Marty Morrissey increasingly obvious frustration at the lack of Adventure by both teams. ‘It sorta reminds me of’ if any of ye remember the episode of Fr Ted, where the most boring Priest in the world visits Craggy Island, and starts the most long winded boring tales starting with the words ‘It sorta reminds me of’…I actually started timing the possession time on the ball for both teams to entertain myself, in the first period of extra time which was 11 minutes with time added on.. Derry and Donegal had 2 periods of possessions each, that’s all… and a single point scored each. … As Russel Crowe said in Gladiator…’Are you not Entertained?’.

  37. It was a poor spectacle for the neutral @leantimes but no one can blame Derry for that, they haven’t won one in 24 years and they had to beat Tyrone, Monaghan, and Donegal to do it. That’s some achievement, defensive football or not. Donegal are a different story, and as has been mentioned, you’d really wonder what Rochford is doing there – not enhancing his reputation anyway! Also, Ulster finals are nearly always tight, defensive affairs – I love how unapologetic they are about it! I think the state of football is over-criticized. Especially, given the number of scores raked up in games these days. Watch a game from 15+ years ago and you’ll cringe at the way possession was just given away to the other team.

    I have a problem with Marty Morrissey on football comms though, so obviously biased towards hurling that his lack of interest in football is becoming very clear in recent years – he is not even trying to hide it anymore. He’s just a painful commentator. Darragh Maloney and Mike F. are the only good football commentators.

  38. Sligo nearly ran Kerry in 2009 too if I remember correctly, the latter then beat Dublin by about 20 points in the quarter and went on to win the all ireland handy

    Armagh’s win in 02 was incredible – I think Kerry only scored a point in the last 20 minutes or so

  39. I hope we have a plan for Monaghan getting numbers behind the ball; a lack of ideas against a blanket defence has been our downfall in many a game over the years.

    Is there any scheduled media engagements this week, where we might learn a bit more on the injury status of various squad members?

  40. I think Ciaran that Sligo game was played in Tralee as well and Sligo missed a penalty in the second half that changed the course of that game.

  41. You’re right Southmayo Exile…..Sligo’s Johnny Davey ran clear with a cert for goal shot that would have won the game for them but he was dragged down……The resultant penalty was fluffed by David Kelly (I think)

  42. @southmayo exile. If memory serves me right the penalty was at the end of the game and would have put sligo a point ahead but Kelly failed to score. Regarding Shane Walsh imo he’s a class act. Two footed from frees or play, great speed and almost every 45 is a guaranteed score. I’d be gutted if galway were to win the all ireland but when you see class it has to be acknowledged like with Joyce before him though Joyce has the medals to back it up.

  43. @catcol You mentioned how the provincial losers look easy meat but with how lob-sided the 1st round draw panned out, I’m sure that guarantees at least 1 (possibly 2) of Kildare, Limerick and Rossies getting a Louth/Cork/Meath or Clare.

  44. For anyone talking up Rochford for mayo… I hope ye watched the most boring rubbish possession based nonsense yesterday. Even the commentators couldn’t wait to get out of there. 3 years of failure. I bet Gallagher couldn’t believe where they lined Murphy at . Had he been inside they could have kicked over the blanket to him. Some refer to Rochford as a tactical genius…. I fail to see it. Dublin were very good but with no con all league they get relegated. One man of that calibre is not replaceable. Tommy conroy is the same. We are in serious trouble with injured Players all year. It’s hard to blame jh for that. . Bowed but unbroken

  45. Yes MikieJ, division 2 opponents will be waiting for two of them, but they will be winners coming in to meet losers. Losing a provincial final is very hard and takes a while to process. If Meath were to get through and meet Kildare, they would fancy themselves. And Cork versus Limerick say – that would be a nasty one for Limerick

  46. @Craggy boglands.. Take a look at s
    Stephen Rochford when he was manager of Mayo…He didn’t play boring low risk football..He certainly seemed to understand the Risk/Reward ratios very well, and Mayo always played with Risk .He certainly tried a number of inovations on big Match days, …Some worked some didn’t…He collaborated with highly respected coach’s… None of the big team’s knew exactly what innovation Mayo might try on a day, (except for one occasion that came back to haunt us) and Mayo weren’t as predictable as they certainly are today…The Robbie Hennelly /David Clarke change didn’t work but according to Dublins Paddy Andrew’s, Dublin had somehow gotten wind of the impending change a few days before the game, and certainly virtually everyone around the environs of Croke Park seemed to know hour’s before hand… Now yesterday I don’t know what was going on, it was horrible to suffer through, low risk, low reward, zero inovation, and deservedly got no reward for their effort!…I suppose Donegal had for years been a low risk exponents of the game, but yesterday was mind boggling,.. Derry weren’t really much better either… And under Stephen Rochford Corofin were brilliant, positive and on the front foot always,.. And of course Stephen Rochford can’t all the credit for Corofin success, because they definitely continued in that vein after Stephen had left for pasteurs new… Going back to previous Managers, something that Mayo have done time after time..Has it worked?.. Kerry have gone back to Jack O Connor… will it work?.. Who knows?

  47. Leantimes, good post. I admired Stephen Rochford’s courageous spirited management choices with Mayo.
    He must still have that in his locker. Please God he has.
    He is a tactician, above all. Maybe Ulster football is a different kettle of fish to what the rest of the country are used to. Maybe a tactician there thought they could win on outliving the opponent.
    But in my view, bravery and forward momentum trumps overthinking every time in football.
    Perhaps a variety of factors come into play in Ulster football.
    The Mayo teams of 2016 and 2017 had that forward drive as part of their makeup (thank God).

  48. The Mayo teams of 2016 – 18 lost to a blanket defense Galway not too dissimilar to Derry yesterday. Hard to know what influence Rochford has in Donegal but they’re a very frustrating team to watch.

  49. Hello All,

    Have not posted for ages but do keep in touch with all comments. I do not have all your expertise about what is happening here and there.

    Relieved that Saturday is nearly here and have faith in JH to bring the best out of the team.

    Watched the Derry/Donegal game ln BBC NI yesterday and enjoyed it and the post match analysis. Their full back was assigned to man mark, Michael Murphy and scored 3 crucial points. The commentary was excellent..

    As regards a change of management you can rest assured that a defeat on Saturday will bring that about. I still recall how JH resigned after the glorious/painful defeat ln the replay against Kerry.

    Bye for now


  50. It’s very hard to win the ball back now with the risk averse, highly patterned, highly coached ways of teams.
    Kickouts and defence and lack of errors and game management have now reduced to a tiny % the unexpected or the highly skilled.
    A team would now take a top class goalie over a top class forward in a transfer market.
    My own view is the 15 a side needs to go to 13 a side. The players are too well coached for 15 a side to be enjoyable anymore.
    Very few enjoyable games even in tight games.

  51. 25 euro for tickets James and John Prenty is expecting a crowd of 13 to 15,000 attend.

    So one of Dublin,Kerry or Derry (i expect Mayo to win on Saturday) in the All Ireland quarter finals in Croke park obviously hoping for the latter and then perhaps playing Galway in the semi final, My money would be on Mayo to reach another AI final if that happened

  52. Would the three hand pass rule help JP?
    A lot of turnovers in games when introduced a few
    Years back. They rule Should never have reversed.
    But the inter county managers disgraceful got their way on that one. The game is now a mixture
    Of basketball and rugby league. Awful to watch.
    Expect more of the same on Saturday

  53. @JP… actually went down a bit of a rabbit hole on some of the stuff you mentioned there recently. Found one very interesting article on it from Christy O’Conner in the Examiner.

    The whole article is well worth a read and shares the view of the majority of folks commenting (I personally loved aspects of the Ulster Final and watching the small minute tweaks the sides were making trying to open and close pockets of space, Derry’s 5 up inside the 20 was a notable feature I’d love to see Mayo utilise with some well timed running patterns setup off it on occasions we can’t move fast ball before a defense is set) but the stats at the very end stood out.

    “With data collected by analysing all 33 teams for the complete 2016 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship (64 games), the paper detailed how the average team had 48 possessions, but lost nearly half of these as turnovers (48%) and converted a third to scores. Winning teams had more possessions (49), but lost fewer turnovers (45%).

    The average possessions now (where a team has control of the ball from the start to finish of that phase of play) has roughly dropped to around 45, which has placed a further premium on maximising possession. That has further changed the terms of engagement, but, as Allen discovered many years ago, the numbers have dictated the future.”

    Given the date of early January this year I’d have to imagine the “now” is referring to the 2021 season, though possible it’s 2020 or even earlier numbers Christy is pulling from when it’s not stated.

    (The paper cited is the article is well worth a look too if you’re into that sort of thing, – the lads behind it did a solid job)

    Now, one of the reasons I love looking into stuff like this so much is because I fundamentally disagree with so much of it on a theoretical or psychological level but constantly see it play out on a practical one so I’m always torn. In my gut I’ve always believed in big goals at the right time driving you on (folks fisting points when 1 on 1 with a keeper drives me nuts), the big hit (memories of Aido putting Paul Kerrigan on his arse in the quarter final in Croker in ’14 or Colm Boyle nailing Comer in MacHale Park in ’14 still fresh in my head) and the power of someone hitting a boomer from the sideline or from nearer the 60 being a huge part of a win.

    Sadly, looking at the stats from a game and reducing your turnovers conceded (the handpassing to death), improving your shot conversion or efficiency (again, possession footie until you’ve a tap over), increasing your opponents turnovers (blanket, high intensity swarms) and you’ll eventually win pans out way more often than not.

    It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t attract the crowds but until the rules are changed to mix things up it does win games so you’re 100% right on a big shake up needed. Personally I’ve always been more interested at looking to improve winning %’s within the current constraints rather than considering what ruleset changes might result in a different playbook but I’m imagine just going to 13 alone with further increase S&C demands without actually opening up enough space for us to return to an exciting end to end base game.

    Interesting idea though. Always loved playing inside in 13 man at underage. With a bit of pace it was so much fun.

  54. I have to say that football is getting so boring, I did not watch either game on Saturday given the one sided nature, to be fair the connacht final was entertaining but I switched the ulster final off. If things are not changed then people will not go in big numbers.

    Fair dues to Derry to beat three Div 1 teams and I think that we would struggle to beat them but I will not waste my time watching that type of a game. In the past I enjoyed going to the quarter final double headers in CP but imagine going to that now and seeing potentially three boring matches. Mind you, I would go to see the Dubs playing Kerry if that comes to pass this year.

  55. It will come and it will be one of the most epic battles in gaa history imo .

  56. The three handpass rule looked too cumbersome.
    It’s frustrating that things like the goalie coming out negatively impacting on play gets no rule change. One more coaching change that makes it harder to win the ball back. Teams now have seven defenders you need to pressure.
    No pass to the goalie should have been the order of the day. The same as soccer, no deliberate pass, a misshit or deflection is obvious.
    Players very obviously flaunting the steps rule. Again, harder to win the ball back.
    I find high scoring modern basketball also boring. Pretty much attack score, attack score, attack score. Which team can nail some threes and win a few turnovers. Plays play out to a score almost every time.
    It’s not about 1960s and 70s kick it randomly, but give the defenders some chance to disposess and create a more unpredictable sport.
    You almost can’t stop Ciaran Kilkenny with his minimum 5 steps play, the ball tucked into both hands tightly chuggedy chuggedy run.

  57. Mayo opened at 4/11 for this game but can be backed at 4/7 this evening , thats a hefty price drop . Punters are backing Monaghan .

  58. We are effectively now in a new tournament. Whats gone on prior to Monaghan is largely irrelevant. Im sure the boys and JH have used the 6 weeks to reset. This is Game 1 as James used to say. Hennellys fitness will be key, Monaghan commit an awful lot of fouls around that 45-50 area, they haven’t a whole pile of speed around that area. Robbie will be crucial, even if he only hit 2/5 long long range free’s, its 2 points we won’t have if he doesn’t start. Monaghan will also be sniffing the oppurtunity that opens up if they win this game. Going to be a seirious battle, and at this point its too close to call.

  59. 4/9 on PP Sean Buke, Monaghan 5/2 which seems big odds in a 3 horse race.

  60. Agree that Something really needs to happen re the rules. Jp, thought 13 a side might work a few years ago but seeing Derry play with 15 inside their 45 in the ulster final and the Meath ladies also playing with 15 behind the ball in the Leinster final it’ll just be a case of 13 behind the ball instead of 15.
    Anyway there’ll be plenty of time to debate with everything done and dusted in July.
    Like their style or not, nobody should want to be playing Derry. Hard to watch but 3 div 1 teams beaten already and deservedly so. If we can’t beat a regular defensive team then we ain’t going beat the most defensive team in the country.
    Kerry ruthless against poor poor opposition.
    Dublin ditto.
    Galway impressive but as in the league final and against us cacked themselves with the finish line in sight.
    Of course all we should be thinking about is Saturday and Monaghan. With injuries and form we are going to be up against it. A lot of people far too dismissive of this Monaghan team in my opinion. Got 17 scores against Derry and lost. But 17 scores against that defensive system is very impressive. Got 23 scores against down in their first championship match. Beat Dublin in the last round of the league in a winner takes all game scoring 3-13. That’s their form over the last 3 games. That’s the form that makes me more than worried about Saturday and can’t really understand the bookies odds. However bookies know their business I suppose, but we know from following Mayo that in games like these we never ever really know what we’re going to get on any given day. On Saturday we’ll need a serious performance to advance anything less and well, you know the drill.

  61. @Ah now, With 13 a side 13 behind the ball is not as effective to win a game as 15 a side 15 behind the ball. It wouldn’t be popular it’s too much of a dip in winning probability.
    One can much easier pick off scores even with less attacking players facing the 13 behind the ball.

  62. JP not against the idea at all and agree with all you say there. Just stating the obvious really that some teams will still try to defend with everyone behind the ball. Popular or not something will have to be done, I think 13 a side coupled with other easy to implement rules would be a step in the right direction before it’s too late. A few simple ones could be,
    Straight pick off the ground
    Goalkeeper not to advance past 20m line
    2pts for a score direct from a sideline
    All kickouts to pass the 45
    Team fouls (as like basketball), to combat persistent tactical fouling

  63. Swallow swoops. A quote from Rochford on podcast last year. ALL FIELD SPORTS ARE NOW POSSESSION BASED… so donegal s tactics are straight from Rochford s handbook. Talking about his stint in Mayo. Blessed that Derry didn’t knock us out. Struggling through the back door. Killing the players in the process. Introduction of new players zero. Biggest calamity in the history of mayo football dropping an all star keeper. .need I go on. No way should jh resign if we lose. No county has to endure the injury list we have. Who got rid of Rochford. Was it not the players had a big say in it

  64. Craggy, I have a huge amount of time for Stephen Rochford as Mayo manager and I’ve heard comments on the other side too. For me, the man had vision and guts and was willing to act on it. As for not developing new players, 1) he felt the team was close to winning Sam with the crop we had and 2) he did start developing some of the players we now have.
    Even the great Dublin team has had to go back to basics now to develop some new players.
    Yes, I too heard Rochford make a comment about the growing importance of possession in the game today. I believe I heard him mention possession when he was Mayo manager with regard to playing against Dublin. I didn’t understand the meaning of it then but he thought that the team that had the ball could control scoring, the pace of the game, and especially against a lethal team like Dublin ca 2016 and 2017 could slow them down and keep their scores down. They couldn’t score when they didn’t have the ball. But I think then he thought controlling possession was only one part of a plan, not the entire plan.
    I do think Ulster football in its traditions this last decade is 1) different in tactics and 2) lethally competitive. It’s a different case to the rest of the country with high stakes for teams there. He and the Donegal manager are acting within the logic of their province, I believe.
    But still it is too ponderous, too conservative, not giving their players a chance. The last minute of normal time against Derry was a prime example. Why oh why not go for the winning score when they had the ball? Inexplicable. Or thinking tactics just for the sake of it.

  65. @Craggy Boglands.. You presume too much…It’s a novel idea to presume that the Donegal dire possession performance on Sunday is down to one of the backroom team, and that the responsibility for overall tactics and strategy doesn’t lie with Senior Manager Declan Bonnar.. That’s the way the pyramid work’s, the buck stops at the top. Derry were almost as bad, but they won a first Anglo Celt Cup since 1998, so rightfully escape the postmortem…. When Stephen Rochford was Manager of both Mayo and Corofin before that, he definitely played front foot positive football trying to outscore opposition..He took risk’s, he and his excellent backroom team had a very good grasp of the Risk to Reward calculations.. Not all of his Risk’s worked out, and Mayo were certainly less predictable. Donegal’s performance and strategy on Sunday has absolutely zero to do with our current Mayo Manager James Horan..It has exactly the same amount to do with the Kildare (leave the backdoor open stragety) and one of Glen Ryan’s backroom coach’s as his has to do with Stephen Rochford absolutely ‘Zero’…All Counties Manager’s are under pressure,.. All are eventually judged by their respective County Board’s,..on performance, on results, sometimes on style of play.. James Horan future as Mayo Manager too will be judged,on his record,on the progress of this current team,or otherwise by the Mayo County Board,… and will have nothing to do with a Coach or Assistant Manager of another County!

  66. @Craggy boglands, If Horan managed to teach the players how to actually hold possession, be patient and actually create an opening instead of going on suicidal runs into traps and losing possession we would be All-Ireland champions now.

    Dublin played a possession game as good as any and it didn’t do them any harm did it.

    As for your last point “Who got rid of Rochford”, well what did that bit of petulance achieve ?

    More karma and waterworks.

  67. Ok lads . If Rochford is all that you think he is. Tell me what he achieved since he left mayo with an aging team. Horan has had to rebuild. Got us to 2 finals. . The keeper calamity finished him. . There’s no presumption here. I just quoted you facts straight from Rochford s podcast.

  68. Unfortunately against galway we played the same rubbish football and that’s why we lost. In the Dublin league game we were kicking early inside we have it all to do Saturday . Much depends on the injury list also our attacking style. I’m not totally blinkered on jh.

  69. @Craggy boglands, you need to understand Ulster football first in order to put any context into what you are saying.

    I would argue strongly that Mayo would not have reached the last couple of finals had they been in the province of Ulster and I say that in order to add some context.

    You ask what Rochford has achieved, well he has achieved exactly what Horan has, not win an All-Ireland.

    People are talking about Rochford, does the name Declan Bonner mean anything at all, he’s the Donegal manager and he has the final say on how Donegal set up.

    You also make reference to the change of goalkeeper, well you can thank Mayo journalists for giving the heads up to Dublin.

    The following was tweeted out to the world by a well known Mayo journalist who I wont name but he knows who he is and he’ll be reading this:

    “Rob Hennelly for David Clarke is the rumour de jour. Seems to have considerable traction. #mayogaa”

    In any case, what you are saying re. the change of keeper is pure speculation because you fail to consider the beneficial intent and do not know what the outcome would have been had the keeper not been changed, you are guessing Mayo might have won, well they didn’t win when he was between the posts.

    Donal Vaughan’s red mist a year later was in my opinion the most damaging error of judgment by an individual player and has been pointed to on many more occasions as what cost Mayo an All-Ireland, I suppose that was Rochford’s fault as well for starting him.

    You also say “There’s no presumption here, I just quoted you facts straight from Rochford’s podcast” but that’s exactly what you have done, presumed because Rochford supposedly said “ALL FIELD SPORTS ARE NOW POSSESSION BASED” that he is in favour of that and that it is he who set up Donegal in that way.

    Just because someone states a fact, it doesn’t mean that they agree with it.

    There was disappointment but pride under the Rochford losses, I think that’s fair to say, and I think you’ll agree that the feeling after the most recent loss under Horan was disappointment and anger.

  70. Viper. I cannot agree with you on this subject. I agree Vaughan s behaviour definitely cost us on the keeper situation. I actually felt sorry for Robbie. Rochford put him under severe pressure and u could see how nervous he was from the get go. Horan in transition got us to 2 finals. Rochford and Co couldn’t even get out of ulster and 2022 when Tyrone. and armagh were gone. Did u not watch the ulster final. It was possession at all cost just like he said . Reality is Rochford inherited a team from Horan that was ready to challenge for Sam. He didn’t have that luxury in donegal hense 3 years of failure

  71. Viper – apparently there was pride in being defeated by Galway 3 years in a row under Rochford, yet anger and disappointment this year under JH!

  72. Could everyone lower the temperature a bit on the Horan/Rochford debate? I don’t like accusations made about people having agendas and painting everything black and white in relation to management is overly simplistic and just plain wrong.

  73. Well said wide ball. There is a massive pull against horan lately. Wonder do many people remember 2010 and o mahony. Or 2009. Many mayo managers never even got us out of connaught in the past. Be careful what ye wish for. It might come true. James has to now potentially plan without Rod against monaghan after losing conroy. Then the lads that most impressed in the league get badly injured as well. Flynn. Plunkett. Robbie an operation. No Durcan against galway either. Give the man a break. He has built teams no other so called tactical genius s can.

  74. @Wide Ball, I’m only interested in the cup that matters though.

    One All-Ireland medal is worth more than an endless amount of provincials or bragging rights about beating Galway, chalk and cheese.

    Winning or losing to Galway doesn’t really matter because it has zero influence on how you manage an All-Ireland final.

    That’s been well demonstrated.

  75. I don’t believe there is a widespread feeling of anger at all @Wide Ball regarding being beaten by Galway a few weeks ago, it didn’t bother me one bit anyway and I looked at the six week break as a chance to regroup and get a few players off the injury list.

    Anyway the injuries are what they but that doesn’t prevent tactical work from proceeding and that’s how the time should have been used and while it would be great to have a clean bill of health, at the same time injuries cannot be used as a crutch if there is no clear evidence that there is more than one plan in place.

    We still have enough in the locker to beat Monaghan, and to paraphrase Alex Ferguson before a game against Spurs, lads, it’s Monaghan.

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