It’s official: Mort’s been dropped for Sunday

conormortimer70307The rumours are true (and thanks to Claire for giving early notice of this last night): Johnno has obviously parted company with his senses and has left Conor out of Sunday’s team to play Galway.  This is the same Conor who has been our highest scorer on a consistent basis every year since he first came on the scene, the same Conor who famously bragged that he’d beaten Galway on his own in 2006, the same Conor who – living just over the border from Tribesmen territory – always relishes meeting his near neighbours on the football field.  To drop such a player – irrespective of his recent form – for a match such as this against a team such as Galway is completely, absolutely and totally bonkers.

I’ve the world of time for Mikey Sweeney and I’ve every hope that the Kiltane lad will be a big player for us in time.  But to stick him into the side and then partner him in the full-forward line with Austie and Aidan O’Shea (that’s the same Aidan O’Shea, by the way, who’ll be sitting his Leaving Cert in a few months) is just daft, especially when you look at the hard-boiled nature of the Galway full-back line.  Austie switches to Conor’s position at top-of-the-right (if we remember Johnno II for nothing else, we’ll remember him for this), while Mark Ronaldson moves to no.10 where he unseats Barry Kelly.

The third change from the last day sees Ciaran Conroy (a midfielder) replacing Chris Barrett (a half-back who was pressed into service at corner-back the last day) at no.4.  There’s no change at midfield and, with the Herrin Chokers fielding the combative (I’m being nice here) Barry Cullinane and big, long, lanky Joe Bergin in this sector, we’re unlikely to see Pat and Ronan getting too much change in Tuam either.

Here’s the team in full (courtesy of Midwest, which appears to be the only source so far for it):

MAYO (NFL Division 1 v Galway, 29/3/2009): David Clarke; Liam O’Malley, Ger Cafferkey, Ciaran Conroy; Peader Gardiner, Tom Cunniffe, Andy Moran; Pat Harte, Ronan McGarrity; Mark Ronaldson, Trevor Mortimer, Alan Dillon; Austin O’Malley, Aidan O’Shea, Mikey Sweeney.

I’m heading West in a few hours so I’m unlikely to be on here again ’till I get back up later tomorrow.  I do hope I’ll have calmed down a bit by then but somehow I doubt it.

31 thoughts on “It’s official: Mort’s been dropped for Sunday

  1. O Mahoney is playing to the gallery with this one. He should have dropped Mortimer a year ago, not try and build a team around him. With all his talk about burn out and such like; how do we expect Aiden O Shea to sit a Leaving cert, play county U21, county senior, probably club underage and club senior as well. Will be burned and scorched at 22.
    Conroy was the guy that cleaned out our MIDFIELD at F>B>D match when he played with UCG. Drop McGarrity and put Conroy in there not corner back.
    There is a rapidly approaching dose of the 1970s coming down the line for us.

  2. Fair play to Johnno, Morts efforts the last day were pathetic. Missing the Galway game might give him the wake up call he deserves, but somehow I doubt it.

    All WJ’s MORTSTATS prove are (1) He is our free taker and (2) He plays closest to the goal and therefore should score the most. Sure if you try hard enough you can find figures to prove anything!

    Anyway, it’s only the league and giving some players a kick up the arse is part of the course. There is no point over analysing results, selections or performances.

    How you can describe this decision as “completely, absolutely and totally bonkers” is beyond me. Any reasonable person who witnessed Morts display against the Dubs would have to agree. The only surprise is that he hasn’t dropped more of them.

  3. As I said in the entry, Shane, and something that I think anyone who was in Ballina the last day would acknowledge is that Mort got nothing off the ref despite being fouled all afternoon. He may have gone down soft the first time but thereafter the ref was interested in giving him anything no matter how he was being swung out of.

    We started without Mort for the Derry game too and the attack was completely toothless without him. I do hope I’m wrong but I don’t expect this to change on Sunday.

    I think you’ve made the point yourself about how important he is in the scoring stakes, i.e. he takes most of the frees and he plays corner forward and so scores from play. Does this devalue his scores in any way? I think not and his record since 2002 speaks for itself in this regard. He might be in a dip now but he’s still our top scorer in this year’s NFL and he’ll come good again, given the chance.

  4. WJ, I’m not suggesting he should be dropped long term but he certainly needs a wake up call. So what if dropping him means we loose to Galway – if it means he pulls the finger out for championship it’s worth it.

    The only pity is that we don’t have more competition for places so he might take this kick up the arse seriously.

  5. about time mort badly needed the kick in the ass but one game will not be enough ,he should keep him out of the next game as well .theres no doubt that conor is very important to mayo football hopes ,but not the way he was playing something was needed to refocus him,who cares about the league and i think this is by far the best game to give him a jolt, dont see any future in the team thats been picked week in week out come c/ship id say there will be lots of changes,higgins,howley nallen and heaney plus more ,interesting times ahead

  6. If it’s kicks up the arse we want to give, then Conor’s the wrong man to start with. Midfield is where all our troubles emanate from and I’d certainly put Ronan ahead of Mort in the queue for a wake-up call.

  7. A kick up the arse? Take your pick about who needs that! The whole forward line as a unit failed against Dublin, not just Mort. As ontheroad said, I think JOM is doing this as he knows the supporters criticism of Mort lately (and some supporters general antipathy towards him). He’s not a politican for nothing you know…..
    I’d drop McGarrity before anyone else

  8. I agree McGarity needs a wake up call too. He’s been hopelessly out of form for over a year now, however every game he plays he gives his all. From what I saw last week the same cannot be said for Conor – diving for soft frees instead of trying to win the ball.

  9. Cant agree with you at all WJ, if anything this should have been done earlier, maybe Conor should have been given the league off, and under the guise of finding out if Sweeney, Ronaldson or whomever is up to the job. Where will we be come championship time if Conor is injured/still out of form? Without a single decent corner forward, thats where. Nothing wrong with experimentation and the last time Conor was dropped, summer 05, he responded as a man of such self confidence and stature should.

  10. We cant afford the luxury of consistently picking a player solely for his free taking ability. Tryed it before mid 90’s didnt work. (zero from play last 3 starts). Limited range another factor! If you foul the a Kerry player on the 40 it will cost you a point, not so if mort is kicking the free.

  11. Sweeney is too small and no good – he has been subbed in the two u21 games as well.

    Ronaldson is even smaller but has some football skills. Not strong enough to kick it over the bar from further out than 21 yards though.

  12. I see what people are saying about Mort, and I’d agree if we were sitting comfortably in mid-table with no fear of relagation. Why not rest him and see what else we have out there. We know what he can do anyway. But we’re not.
    While the league is of course not of primary importance to us this year, I would not like to see us relegated either. It seems our confidence and self belief is brittle enough as it is, I don’t want a league relegation playing on our minds as well.
    A couple of stirring performances against Galway & Tyrone would put us in good shape for the summer, I think keeping our main point scorer in the team will help us get the results.
    JOM seems to be using Mort as the main scapegoat for our forwards inadaquecies, knowing that a lot of Mayo supporters see it the same way

  13. Check out the Hogan Stand website. Interesting reading here …. interview with the very same controversial figure. Here’s the link
    Note it’s dated March 16 2009. Presume that’s when it was posted on the site. I wonder does he regret any of these answers now. I doubt it considering the character of the fella

  14. Bang on WJ anyone watching the dubs game could see that our problems all came from the middle of the the park. McGarrity won nothing the whole afternoon and if he ain’t winning it in the middle of the park then whose feeding the forwards. I think in this instance conor is being used as the scape goat when we are looking at the wrong part of the team. I am also a little conerned about Dillon taking all the frees from both sides that just doesn’t make any sense. We have deliberately weakened the team and I am praying it doesn’t come back to haunt Johnno.

  15. on the road…
    Whats that about,our best forward my 10 miles,this as a joke, this county is, the only forward any other county have heard of and he is dropped, if i was conor m. i would walk away..fair point he has a sometimes lazy attitude,still mc donald did not even play in the league.Id hardly say alan dillon has been world class.Aidan o Shea ever going to be a top class footballer???? Dont think so,he neither has the technique nor the physique to be a serious,i know he is young but thats not going to for austy he was a disgrace against dublin.. the worst expirement yet..mayo are dead with that full forward line.. galway must be laughing..

  16. also i read in a recent interview with conor mort that he did not mind that the mayo so called supporters said if mayo were better off without him.. what a joke mayo supporters are

  17. lads, lads, lads, Is there any possibility that Johnno is not scapegoating the Mort for the forwards inadequacies and is dropping him against Galway because he thinks it’s the right thing to do?
    I doubt if Johnno pays too much heed to what the supporters are saying, if the manager starts listening to the fans, he’ll be sitting with them soon enough!
    I only hope the players have not lost faith in their manager the way the supporters seem to have- Otherwise this project is dead in the water.

  18. Well….thing is though that by trade Johno is of course a politician so to a certain extent he has to play to his public. Didn’t realise that there was so much criticism of C Mort myself but there you go. Whether Johno is doing this to keep in with fans or not is a tough question as opinion on the descision seems fairly divided. One thing is of course clear and that is we are playing the Herron Chokers in their old backyard on Sunday and like it or lump it this is a game in which nothing will be spared – not by them leastways……and in fairness it shouldn’t be spared by us either. As this is the case I dont see the point of dropping him as even though I may not like him i don’t see anything beetter out there.

  19. I think JOM and many others have put too much faith in Aiden O’Shea. He’s just a big luudder. Way too many handling mistakes and much too selfish with the ball.A talented nuisance.
    Nasty drop by Johhno, he will live to regret this one. Mort has many failings but he’s probably the best free taker we have had in a long number of years. I’m sticking with my original vote – a win for the maroon & white.

  20. 1951 and Darina,
    While i agree with both of you about O Mahoneys decision to drop Mort being wrong, I certainly dont understand your criticism of young O Shea. [ a big Luudder, neither the technique nor physique to be a top class player.] You quite obviously havent seen him play as much as i have. If we had one more big Luudder like him in croke park last september we would have beaten Tyrone out the gate. As for technique and physique, If being 6 foot 5 in and strong as a horse with bags of skill is actually a hindrance in the modern game then he may not be good enough.

  21. JPM I would take issue with you on one point- I don’t at all agree that Johnno’s day job affects his football management- after all, he has being doing teh managerial thing for far longer than he has been a politician. I would think he would be very careful to separate the two.

  22. fidel….
    i have been watching him for about 3 years now.. i seen him against derry in ballina,the first thing that happened to him was been met with a shoulder by a fella maybe 7 inches smaller,he fell and lost the ball,if you seen his point at the weekend,there was a goal chance on he was 1 on 1 and was lucky to score a point,he is lazy.He will never turn a defender.Would have bet tyrone out the gate if he played?Are you serious? Alot different playing against davy harte than playing breaffy minor,watch kyle coney,a serious minor.

  23. 1951,
    Kyle Coney can be as serious as he likes but hes not one of ours. And i was referring to the minor match in croke park when Coney was anonymous and O Shea man of the match. The reverse was the case in the Longford replay when O Shea was severely hampered by injury.
    Breaffy won division 1a in the league last year losing only once to Crossmolina. Young O Shea was very much the stand out player on that team. Do you feel we have such talent within the mayo panel that he should be dropped for losing a ball coming in cold against Derry. He is the best young prospect we have, so less of the name calling please and give the lad a chance. God knows weve given enough chances to so many over the years who simply werent good enough.

  24. I’m with you on Aidan O’Shea, Fidel – this kid is making his first competitive start for the county at senior level tomorrow and he deserves no less than our full support in doing so. I can’t see how anyone can legitimately discount him at this stage, given both his tender age and the talent he showed repeatedly at minor level last year. Not only was he magnificent for the minors against Tyrone last September, don’t forget that he played both the drawn game and the replay with a fractured thumb.

    1951’s critique of his performance against Dublin is, in my opinion, way over the top. Aidan was thrown into that game having played almost 90 minutes full-tilt at U21 level the day before and was clearly still knackered from that. Despite this, he brought some shape and focus back to the attack and the criticism I’d have is that none of his older colleagues seemed to have the nous to get up close to him to take the offloads he was ready to give.

    Criticising him for failing to get a goal right at the end is just ludicrous – if he’d have gone for the goal and his effort was beaten away, you’d’ve been happy too, right? He turned both ways before getting his shot in and his point rescued something from a match that his more-established colleagues had as good as blown. I, for one, think the lad did alright there.

    I can understand where Johnno is coming from in picking him for tomorrow, as he’ll be playing the same target man role as Barry Moran. My fear is that it’s asking an awful lot of someone who is still, after all, only a schoolkid (albeit a rather large one!).

  25. Have I just got on to the Hogan Stand shite-talk board by accident??There’s people on here slagging an 18 year old lad?? Get a grip lads. O’Shea may well be a great player for us or useless, who knows.
    But he’s a young lad, give him a chance. To me he seems a good prospect. Big and strong, can win ball and knows where the posts are. And he’s 18! Give him a chance for fucks sake…

  26. 24 responses must be a p.b.WJ. Plus your own (imparshel comentery). God bless free press. keep on keepen it real lads. Still think we can get a point or two off Tyrone. And for fuck sake give O’Shea the BOTD. Hes done more for his county at 18 than one thousent nine hundred and fifty one others.

  27. I understand he is only 18 and maybe five or six years ago i might have had a better opinion of him,he is only 18 gives alot of time to mayo football and deserves a chance. Im just sick of listening this great forwards coming through(i.e. mikie conroy) and we dont have 1 well atleast not 1 that has represented his county.We got to a minor final a few years ago.Most mayo supporters can remember a forward that played that day,won an all ireland u 21,again no forwards.I promise you this aidan o shea wont be either,he cant carry his weight,in modern football i feel that his size he can only play mid field,he is too slow,too that going to change?? I usually stick up for anything got to do with this county,i hope they prove me wrong..

    wj as for the goal chance,we are in a relegation battle,at 1 stage he was one on one,chance to send dublin down,probably put us safe,the draw is hardly any use to us, could not have been more than 10 yards out,but he did well to get a point against the ‘brilliant’ david henry.. that sums it all up

  28. the abuse that aiden o shea is getting on here from darina and 1951 is an absoulte disgrace.this is an excellent website but will soon become similar to the hogan stand if these idiots are allowed to continue to post there drivel on here.

  29. Agreed, Maigheo – the last thing I want is for this place to become a forum for slagging off individual players. I’m delighted that Aidan O’Shea showed today how wide of the mark those comments were.

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