James cranks it up

James Horan

Photo: Irish Examiner

It wasn’t planned that way, of course, but the team’s media event on Sunday evening was perfectly timed for a few juicy quotes from our camp, in light of our drawing Donegal the previous evening and Jimmy McGuinness’s ludicrous outburst following his team’s qualifier win over Laois a few hours before then. Our man didn’t disappoint, either, as today’s coverage amply demonstrates.

Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser was the first to get a report out on the Breffy press night but it’s the coverage in all three main national papers today that will grab the attention. What James had to say is covered in the Irish Examiner (in a piece by Daniel Carey of the Mayo News), the Irish Independent and the Irish Times.

The press hounds obviously put McGuinness’s comments to James and the boss wasn’t slow in providing his response. But, James being James, he did so in a nice nuanced way, playing warm tribute to Donegal’s achievements, while leaving no-one in any doubt about his opinion on the methods they’ve used to garner them. Leading with the point that Donegal and its back-room team will try anything that’ll give them an advantage, James quickly pin-pointed their overtly physical approach as key to their success in 2012 (this is from the Irish Examiner):

Last year they mastered many new skills and brought football to a different level on many fronts, particularly in the area around physicality. They really ratcheted that up last year and put a lot of teams to the sword based on their strength, power and tackling. I don’t know if any of ye have been at the end of a Michael Murphy tackle recently, but there’s serious, serious physicality in that team. They’ve been leaders on that front. 

Nicely chosen words there and I particularly like the reference he made to Michael Murphy. I know I caught some flak the other day for mentioning the Glenswilly man in dispatches about Donegal’s dirtier players but the way he uses all that muscle in the tackle, in particular how he repeatedly leads with the closed fist in a low and sneaky manner, deserves to be highlighted and it’s good to see James doing so.

James was asked about how he thought Donegal measure up this year compared to last. In responding he made the valid point that many counties are seeking to match them in the physical stakes this year and he also made reference to their injury list, though he did so in a deliciously back-handed way:

I know they’re suffering from a number of key injuries, but I’ve yet to see a top-level inter-county team that hasn’t suffered from injuries. If you look at us, over the course of this year, it’s been phenomenal. We lost eight players off our match-day 26 in the first round of the club championship, and a number of key players have been out for a number of months.

That is so true – we’ve taken several heavy blows on the injury front this year (and this following the heaviest one of all when we lost Andy at such a crucial stage last year) but we’ve kept going without breaking stride. Donegal, in contrast, appear to be coming apart at the seams with McGuinness willing to risk a patently unfit Karl Lacey – “duty of care”, huh? – rather than rely on others in the squad to step up to the plate.

James also had some really interesting stuff to say about tackling and how it’s reffed (this is from the Irish Times). He praised coach Donie Buckley for the work he’s done with the players on improving their tackling skills and he was at pains to emphasise that the tackling you’ll see from us on Sunday will be within the rules:

This year since Donie Buckley’s been involved, we’ve looked at the whole area of skills, and to us, tackling is a skill area – there’s no doubt about it. So we’ve put a huge amount of time, effort and focus into getting all our basic skills right, including the tackle, and hopefully ye’ll see that on Sunday. Left hand, both hands, both feet, pick-ups, turning both ways, the fundamentals, we’ve put a lot of work into, and the tackle . . . we’ve looked at what the tackle is, and we’ve tried to perfect that as well as we can understand it. We’ve put huge work in there, so we’re comfortable we tackle to the letter of the law.

I think that’s a really important point and if you look at how we’ve improved our tackling this year and then compared it with the thuggery that Donegal (and, it must be said, the likes of Tyrone too) get up to in contact, you’re looking at a night and day situation. If a player comes into contact with us, he quickly finds himself bottled up with no escape route out and is forced to foul the ball or have it knocked legitimately from his grasp. Any player foolish enough to go into contact with Donegal (or Tyrone) will certainly get pulled back, will certainly get held and will certainly get slapped or maybe punched as well, i.e. fouled at least two or three times, with one of those fouls at least a yellow card offence.

What amazes me is how and why refs let teams like Donegal and Tyrone away with this kind of stuff. The key thing about how Sunday’s match is reffed is whether or not Joe McQuillan is capable of seeing the difference between the two approaches and blowing accordingly. James – who made his comments on this before the ref for Sunday was appointed – made this very point in a delicate and diplomatic way, paying tribute to ref boss Pat McEneaney when doing so:

Look, we’ve just got to trust the refs that are there, that there’s consistency. I saw Pat McEneaney on Saturday up in Croke Park – I know he’s doing a lot of good work to try and bring some consistency there. Look, we’ll go out and play it that way.

That’s it – consistency is everything and it’s all we ever want to see from a ref. If we get that from Joe McQuillan on Sunday we’ll be grand.

On a side note, it’s pretty clear that the palpable sense of build-up ahead of what’s likely to be a shuddering clash on Sunday makes our quarter-final the undisputed tie of the round. It’s all the more curious, then, that RTÉ – who had first dibs on what matches to broadcast this weekend – incredibly opted to cover the Saturday matches, leaving TV3 with the weekend’s main event the following afternoon.

No doubt RTÉ took this decision based on projected viewing figures but it’s yet more evidence of how little those who run the sports department in the so-called national broadcaster actually know or understand about the beating heart of the GAA. This is the same organisation that has allowed The Sunday Game to sink to the irrelevant depths it has reached in recent years and which sees fit to appoint a national eejit like Marty Morrissey as its GAA correspondent. At least this stupid move gives TV3, with its fresh approach and its welcome lack of egotistical pundits, the chance to take centre-stage for what is certain to be the biggest clash so far in this year’s football championship. Good luck to them with it.

67 thoughts on “James cranks it up

  1. Spot on WJ! Last year McGuinness and his sidekick Brolly was let away with it in the lead up to the final which cost us early yellow cards. Great to see JH stand his ground and fight fire with fire. It’s a pity we don’t have someone in the national media to stick up for us. McStay is spineless in this regard.

  2. I reckon the Jimmy is a genius!
    Builds up an entire county to believe they cannot be beaten for at least 5 years and then starts building the victim mentality when the cracks begin to appear.
    If they lose on Sunday, the entire county will need therapy. And him a psychologist. He’ll make millions.
    Genius. Pure genius!

  3. God you Mayo folk live in your own wee world. So Mayo turn over the ball legitimately whilst Donegal foul every time. Utter nonsense.

    And go back to the All Ireland and it was Mayo that brought the most cynical fouls with Lacey & McHugh getting tackles that a braver ref could have shown red for. Lets hope the ref on Sunday is not afraid to show a red card even early in the match for any clothesline tackles.

    One comment I’ve read a few times that proves you live in your own world is the notion that you feel Mayo were a better team last year. Only the most biased red & green can think that. Donegal were the best team last season & deserved our All Ireland. We beat FIVE division one sides to claim title & in final Mayo never got closer than 3 points on us.

    That been said Donegal are not at same level whilst this season Mayo have improved and are rightfully favourites. Donegal look battered & off a few yards off the pace and will need their biggest performance of the season to win. Mayo are a top class team that have a great chance of ending 62 years of pain but lose the blinkers guys. You really seem to hate Donegal(typical Irish begrugry) and are making silly claims to that point. I hope if ye do win on Sunday, ye’ll celebrate with a little class and none of the #Jimmyslosingmatches I expect to see trend on twitter

  4. So it’s only our kind of tackles that are the problem, Kevin? And you think it’s us that’s blinkered? Also from what I’ve seen at close quarters of your county’s supporters, Mayo fans have no need to take any lectures from Donegal about class or the lack of it.

  5. Bit harsh on McStay Puck Out. I don’t think he should get the flack for not standing up for us or letting Brolly and RTE away with that nonsense last year.

    Mc Stay is a Mayo legend and decent football pundit. Doesn’t deserve to be called spineless.

    On another note, you can be guaranteed if DL are beaten on Sunday, Brolly would gladly stick the knife into DL players and management if the opportunity arose. The man is completely self serving – more controversy more attention bigger ego.

  6. Hennelly, Cunniffe, Cafferkey, Higgins, Keegan, Vaughen, Boyle, AoS, SoS, Mcloughlin, Feeney, Carolan, Moran, Freeman, O’Connor……

  7. I still think Willie Joe there has been far too much anti Donegal rhetoric on this site over the last few days.
    It has been embarrassing at times and really comes across as sour grapes.
    I do not like their style of football one bit, but they won deservedly last year and fair play to them.
    Don’t forget Cillian should have walked early in last year’s All Ireland and McHugh was clothes lined as well.
    So can we please forget about Donegal and concentrate on the strength of our own team.
    What will be our line-up for Sunday ?

  8. Goochopper, I agree he’s a good pundit and yes a legend, but on that issue last year with Brolly’s comments because he’s a respected pundit he was in the ideal position to come out and defend his county. JH couldn’t do it as thats exactly what Donegal would want. Spillane does the necessary for Kerry when required, McStay should do the same….

  9. Hennelly, Cunniffe, Cafferkey, Higgins, Keegan, Vaughen, Boyle, AoS, SoS, Mcloughlin, O’Connor, Feeney, Moran, Freeman, Dillon

    Will be difficult for forwards the next day. Donegal will defend in serious numbers. Do we push up on them or not. If we do are we leaving too much space at the back. a lot will depend on the free taker. If COC is taking them he needs to be accurate.

    That was one of the major factors that cost us in last years All Ireland.

  10. I don’t think anyone has said Donegal didn’t deserve their All-Ireland win last year, facetheball, so I can’t see how sour grapes comes into it. Cillian could maybe have got red last September but McGee could equally have walked as well for the same incident and of course he kept committing yellow card offences with impunity after his booking. Lee Keegan got a yellow (standard punishment) for the tackle on McHugh so I’m not sure what point you’re making there. At a wider level, the whole issue of Donegal’s physicality and their approach to the game has only come up as an issue because of McGuinness’s comments, everything else has been a reaction to this. As regards the team, I’d guess there’ll be an announcement at some point tomorrow.

  11. loved mcstay as a player but on the telly he looks down into his stupid folder and fails to ever stand up to the rot that comes out of spillane and brolly , i heartily concur that he should be sticking up for his home county , all the other pundits do it along with brolly who seems to have purvue over the whole of ulster ! you can be damn sure David Brady wouldnt take it. ” as the man says… ” 🙂

    kevin breslin you wont find too many on here who thinks we deserved that final last year, we didn’t. But a bit like Donegal , we’ll take any advantage we get in Sundays game. your analysis of where we both stand at the moment is fair , if we lose sunday i will be far more disappointed than i was last September.

  12. God it’s only Tuesday….I think I’ll have my teeth grinded down by Sunday thinking about this match.

  13. The all Ireland last year was won by Donegal and deservingly so, i have yet to meet a Mayo supporter say any different. (people that go, not high stool fans) Of course it is natural for supporters to do a biteen of their own analysis and ultimately that usually ends in ”we could of win it , IF” sure for crying out loud it ‘s ones duty to find an angle we can work on.

  14. Kevin Breslin, you are right about the tackle on McHugh and there is an argument to be made about O’Connor and a red card but what about McGee kneeling on top of Varley and punching him in the face several times while the ball was 30 yards away, what about the well executed, and perfectly timed in fairness, third man blocking runs that were made time and time again against Tyrone earlier this year, what about the repeated infringements when preventing opponents from taking quick frees. Anyway, all of the above should have been punished by strong clear refererring. Whatever about anything else, I just hope the best team wins on Sunday and that it is us. We can all be sure that there will be disputed ref decisions and we will all be on here again giving out! 3 million hits by Monday evening?
    I have a feeling there will be a surprise or two in the selected line-up for Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andy Moran on the bench and I think there may be a trick up Horans sleeve with the defense. Monaghan showed how to expose the McGee brothers in the full back line, by isolating them in a one-on-one situation, and there may be a lesson for us in that. Regardless of the Donegal injuries, they still have a lethal full forward line that can win a game by themselves and on limited quality ball. Our full back line needs to be at its best and we need to prevent good accurate supply to their forwards by our lads tracking and tackling further out the field.
    I think that Donegal are going to look to start fast and furious and get out in front straight from the off, possibly by going for goal at every opportunity. They will do this to rattle our belief and possibly ignite some flashbacks from last September but also because, given their fitness concerns and their reduced recovery times between games, they will not fancy having to chase a game against us on a big, wide, fast playing pitch. We need to stay in the game right from the start and still be there with 15 mins to go. Then our fresher legs should come to the fore.
    Can’t wait.

  15. Would tend to agree with facetheball about the little bit of anti Donegal sentiment on the site in the last few days, we are coming across as having sour grapes and whinging about last year, lets leave that kind of stuff to hoganstand.com. Donegal were the best team in Ireland last year and deservedly won the all Ireland, we just weren’t good enough on the day, no excuses. If michael murphy was wearing a green and red jersey he would be a hero to us all. As a wily oul kerryman once told me, when everyone else in the country hates one of your players you know you he is a good one. We havent had enough fellas like that over the years. Sunday is a different ball game to last year. I feel we have improved since then, and Donegal have regressed, hence I expect a mayo win. I can’t wait till the game on sunday, the talking will be over and we will see what we are made of. I expect James horan and his panel to respond positively and produce their best performance of the season, Donegal are there for the taking IMO, with their injuries and mental fatigue. Congrats on the 2 million mark Willie joe, this blog is a fantastic source of debate and opinion.

  16. Have to agree with Kevin and the lads on the anti-Donegal stuff in recent days on these pages. Just need a little more class.

    Donegal were one of the most impressive and deserving AI winning teams I’ve ever seen. Comfortably beat anyone that they played last year, and they played all the best teams except Dublin. Proud as I was of our overall performance, we could have been there all night and we wouldn’t have scored the goal we needed. Also, I thought they played brilliant counter-attacking Gaelic football for the most part. This year they are more injury hit and probably lacking a little freshness.

    In relation to people and the blog just responding to Jimmy Mc’s comments, I can’t understand why people get so upset and sensitive about it. It’s an obvious attempt at mind-games, and judging by this site it’s clearly working. He’s trying to create a siege mentality to motivate his tiring players and also attempting to influence the officials. Just laugh at it for how obvious it is and leave the retorts to Horan.

    I still think McGuinness is a genius manager but maybe Horan will go all the way this year and get the credit he deserves. To great young managers. Congrats on all the hits WJ.

  17. A lot of nonsense being posted.
    McGuinness started all the negativity and now that it is not working for him tries to get the ref on board. If you start whinging dont be surprised when someone tells you stop. For nigh on Sixty years Mayo have been one of the purest purveyors of football going- its a bit rich to ship criticism from your own when you steel up. Donegal were arrogant and physical and cynical last year. So others have cottoned on and now Saint Jimmy wants to take his ball and go home if he cant change the rules. Give me a break.
    And its incredible that Saint Jimmy is complaining about injuries given our predicament. That is just plain stupid. Injuries happen- get on with it. Funny how we didnt hear about physicality all year until Donegal beaten by Monaghan?
    Let the best team win- Let the Ref be fair and let the games begin.
    I concur completely with Willie Joe and indeed James Horan. To Mayo people I say stop bashing our own..

  18. Finding it hard to understand where some of you are coming from with the ”too much anti Donegal” . Thats the way it is lads/lassies, it’s a rivalry now, gloss it up anyway you want , we’re not supposed to like them. I think the old school struggle to come to terms with some of the ruthless edge to GAA inter county scene , there are things that will be whispered come sunday that would probably put some off the game for life.

    Anyways a bit of solidarity people, it’s all in the name of Mayo winning .

    Its also going to be a fantastic occasion and enjoy it too, these days wont last forever cairde.

  19. Hope we win on Sunday but am surprised at how quickly people are writing Donegal off.
    Second season syndrome has effected them no doubt but loosing to Monaghan has done them the world of good. Their players are once again focused and Jim has started the mind games with officials.
    We on the other hand have beaten whats come before us, mediocre to be fair, and become the popular favourites. Why though I ask?
    I hope as I say we win on Sunday but am cautious.

  20. To be fair, I don’t think the comments are particularly “anti Donegal sentiment”, but rather that we all thought Jim McGuinness was a bigger man than his recent comments in the press would suggest.

  21. Jesus, after reading the Irish examiner peice the blood is well and truly up. Where is my Istin?

  22. Jimmy can be a annoying. However were his comments not taling out of context? I think he is worried about player welfare although he should not have mentoined his own players been targeted. As regards the game, Donegal look tired, however their could be a hell of a kick in them yet. Mayo look fresh, but they beat nothing. Galway and the Rossies threw in the towel early. If you guys are to do it, this is the year, cause the Rossies and Galway won’t be for bending over next year. Have a fancy for Mayo this year, above all other years. Where has the love gone between Donegal and Mayo? Two counties who have suffered equally in terms of emigration and general misery, talking to them up here they hate yee nearly as much as the Ballagh Rossies! On here not much love for them either.

  23. I for one don’t hate Donegal folk. I actually feel sorry for them that they are so deluded. If you had been in Ballybofey for the Tyrone game, you’d see how insular and petty they have turned. In a couple of years, they’ll be back to normal again.

    It’s sad really, a bit like the Celtic Tiger syndrome. They’ve had some success, they’ve jumped on the bandwagon, but soon the myth they have created for themselves will come crashing down, and they’ll be hit with a dose of reality. Maybe then we will see a modicum of humility.

    They might think now that people are begrudging and jealous, whereas what’s actually happening is that they are being called out for being “bad winners” and also somewhat hypocritical. The recent backlash isn’t just by Mayo folk, this is nationwide.

    Is it anti-Donegal sentiment? Personally, if I see bullshit, I call it out.

  24. Not fair to call mcstay spinless, he is equally fair to all counties and as a pundit that what he is been paid to do. If a player even from Mayo does somthing nasty the he calls it as it is and there are alot pundits who wont do that if the player is from there own county.
    As for Brolly, i think hes been fair enough to us this year, these guys are been paid to talk and entertain and good luck to them, at the end of the day its only the players that can stand up for themself on Sunday

  25. Me thinks everyone needs to take a chill pill…particularly the supporters. Jimmy and James are essentilay doing the same thing, taking the focus off their team/players thereby bringing it upon themselves. Furthermore they are raising awareness of the elements of play that may very well decide the outcome of this match…that is the oppositions tackling, blocking/interference tactics etc. This is par for the course.

  26. I don’t hate Donegal either, how can you hate people you don’t know? Mind you, me and my assorted companions were lucky to escape out of Donegal town on my stag a number of years ago, but, let bygones be bygones. I have to admit though, at half time last September in Croke Park, the ones I met were arrogant and disrespectful to the hilt. Laughing in our faces and constantly interupting our chat. Maybe it was the copious volume of alcohol in their system or maybe the excitement of a trip to the big smoke and looking at the tall buildings and flashing lights, whatever it was it was really fucking annoying. All our bitching and moaning will count for nought on Sunday so, instead, let’s all get to Dublin, get our voices in order and roar our lads on to victory.
    H’on Mayo.

  27. Well when it comes to football and Mcguinness I have no great love for them.sorry

  28. PY MAYO I said in regard to not reacting to Brolly’s comments he was spineless. It was blatently obvious what Brolly was up to but no one answered him. I’m not attacking his punditry skills but when his county is unfairly treated in the media then yes he has a responsibility to stand up for his county.

  29. Time to start focusing on match lads. Nothing else matters. Doesnt matter what Donegal do or say. Its all about us now. Shit or get off the pot time. Big big game. Is it Sunday yet?

  30. Kevin u can’t make sweeping statements…if u read this this blog regularly u’ll find many of us ‘mayo folk’ have high admiration for Donegal. But mcguinness’ outcry on Sunday was mistimed. Take it up with Monaghan about mchugh(it looked 50/50 to me) … James Horan was posed his opinion on mcguinness and I think he answered quite well.

    Enough about mcguinness..it’s getting stale. Lets concentrate on ourselves.

  31. With all the bloody sideshows, i’m a tad confused over who exactly is out for Donegal, is Lacey available and what about McHugh has he recovered from the life threatening tackle?

  32. Expect Donegal to target Cillians shoulder , We should have plan b if o conner has to go off ,We as supporters should have great belief in this much improved team since September 2012, Our tackling , body strength,ability to read the game as to what ever is put in front of us .

  33. I agree Mayo/mayo man…..also something else, they will no doubt try to rough him up, frustrate him, …ala last years final…Cillian was fortunate to stay on at one point. He should be aware of that, and not lash out for he is absolutely vital to our success. Dongel lads know without him, we’re finished.

  34. Let’s not start feelin sorry for donegal,a couple of them came on our site and said we were the ones dishing out the rough stuff,and it looks like us good ole mayo folk are starting to soften our stance. Come an lads,the dogs in the street know donegal are dirtier than anybody else Jh knows what he’s doing and I feel its all going our way, by the way do those don supporters not have a site of their own. Clear off lads your shit stirring don’t work here,its a gaa match not an old firm game

  35. Kevin
    I suppose you didn’t see Anthony Thompson kneeling on Kevin mc Loughlin and gouging his eyes in the league game in Castlebar this year.

  36. Well said mayo/meath and mister mayor. Be in no doubt that plan A for the hills men will be to get cillian o connor off the field as early as possible in the game. Either on a stretcher clutching his shoulder or walking with a red card flashing at him after the “red mist” descends when he receives an off the ball clinched fist to the kidneys and retaliates. Even if he takes one of their lesser players with him like mchale in 96. The lad needs to be taken aside before the game and told “dont retaliate no matter what they do to you”.

  37. I believe mchugh is gone for a month and Lacey is ok to play but not100%.
    donegal are suffering from the fact that it’s really hard to win two in a row because they have the medal in the pocket already, and it’s fresh.
    I pick Mayo by a few points
    Kerry by a good bit
    Dublin by 1 or 2
    Tyrone by 1 or 2

    Horan best have a plan b for if Cillian goes off, this could be a tough physical game, the unstoppable force and the immoveable object type of affair. I would like to see Barry Moran at ff for a while in this one and give him the right type ball, just to keep them honest.
    Not a whole half of the game but a 15 or 20 minute spell, and keep him near goal and on his own, no crowding.

  38. Now you’re talking David, i’d love to see Barry on the square, no offence to freeman whos had an all right year so far but untested and the intensity and ferocity McGee wiil offer is something i’d fear would dampen Freemans spirit.

  39. Nervous about who they will target … Aiden Kevin Mc and Colm me thinks hope they all come through ok …. Tighten the belts everyone it’s going to be another roller coaster …

  40. If Barry m fit I’d put him in midfield and seamus at 11 … Just a thought 🙂

  41. I’d love if people concentrated on the match on Sunday instead of all this personal bitching about Donegal, McGuinness etc. Someone said it’s a reaction to what’s being said. The best reaction is to ignore it, it’s only bloody words. This is Parish pump stuff and only lowers the tone of the whole blog.
    All ye young ladies, don’t read the next sentence in case you take offence; I am of the older generation and can say that a lot of the comments are like a crowd of auld women rattling on after Mass on a Sunday.

  42. This is my first post on this site but I have been visiting the site for the last three years, congrats W.J. on the success of the site. I believe we have a great chance to put down a serious marker here by comprehensively beating a tired, found out and demotivated Donegal team. We have geared all our training for this weekend and the run in from here, everything has gone to plan for us aside from a few injuries, our key injured players are very close to the pace of the game and I think we are been cute here by not showing our hand on this one. We will see how Andy, Cillian and Dillon(if he starts) are moving when they hit the vast open fast surface of Croaker. On the other hand Donegal are coming into this game with big problems, they have lost their aura of invincibility, they have injuries to I.M.O. three of their top five most important players to their system. They hadn’t planned on playing a provincial winner this weekend and that game last weekend on a poor pitch will not have been part of Jimmy’s peak fitness preparation. They looked a little leggy to me against Laois. They got to the top of their Everest last year, they certainly don’t look like a team on a mission to me. We need to start at 100 m.p.h. If we can get a run on them their confidence is low we can beat them by 6+. They obviously will target our fullback line from the start, we will need to be ready for this and have two sweepers for the first 15 or 20 minutes but be ready to break and counter at speed. I don’t think they will be able to match our intensity for the the full 70+ minutes. I know my heart is ruling my head but all the key indicators are pointing to a Mayo win, our hunger, preparation, fitness, team spirit, skill levels, deeper strength squad and revenge. I hate been wrong so I hope I am on here next Monday with a major yet manageable hangover saying I told you so. We will need a better showing from the fans than in the final last year. For anyone undecided on going, where would you rater be than in Croake Park when we dethrone the champs for the third year in a row on our way to a historic year. TO WIN JUST ONCE.

  43. Dont agree joe mc.Horan saw fit to respond and he is right.Donegal trying to get an advantage…Horan coming out has neutralised that.
    Brolly was ignored last year and it did not help.Concentrating on the game and telling it like it is are not mutually exclusive.
    Insulting Mayo followers Joe not the way to go.

  44. Horan was right to lay down a marker, he has done it before to some effect.

    This will be a seriously tough match, I actually think that we have too many question marks in our attack to win, how fit are Andy, Alan and Cillian? While Freeman is playing well, we are also missing Conroy from last year, Donegal have a more potent FF line and this will be important if a low scoring game.

    This game could be very significant in terms of the teams evolution, will James be back for another year if we lose? the same applies for Jim McG, there is a lot at stake so not for the faint hearted, this could be decided by who wants it more, I cannot wait…..

  45. From the off we need to plan to mark and double mark Mc Fadden and Murphy for the 70 mins…….If that can be achieved…….even to half neutralise their impact, I feel the rest of our team can push on and win it…….I was very impressed with the way Monaghan pulled this off last week……..

  46. One could be forgiven for thinking this blog had turned into a Donegal bashing blog. Can the focus return to Mayo team and tactics for Sundays match. We do not want to be given the whingers tag like we were in 1996. Football is imo cleaner now than in the 80’s and 90’s think Dublin 1983, Meath 1987,1988. Remember all the broken jaws, kicks to the head, tunnel incidents and when the AIF made headlines for all the wrong reasons. More cynical now for sure but not any dirtier so accept it will be rough on Sunday but no different to what we can expect from most other teams. Mayo need composure to deal with early goals, goading,belts etc. My main concern is that Aos and a couple of other will be targeted and will retaliate and then hey we are down a man. Mayo can win this but need composure and a bit of luck. Good luck to all involved.

  47. Sorry John and Trevor, you got me wrong. No problem at all with Horan, he’s great and what he said is right. I would never knowingly insult Mayo followers.
    You tell me I’m talking shite, I’m not insulted. I call it as it is and sensitive people can have a problem with that.
    Maybe I wasn’t specific enough but some of it was tongue in cheek. Of course a person needs a sense of humour to see that.
    I never could stand Brolly. To call him a bolix would be an insult to a bolix.

  48. Ha Ha Olive you’re right…..the “tunnel incident” for sure………Ironically the man from the West at the receiving end of that went on to become a coach and mentor with the offending County, which goes to prove that at the end of the day we can all be friends…

    But a different story altogether in the heat of the battle !…..To give the lads on both sides their due, they’ll have put blood sweat and tears into their prep for the season and for each match selection……..The old saying, professional level preparation of the highest standard for an amateur code sport…..Amazing !

    IT’s certainly not easy being a Mayo supporter either…….Dry mouthed, racing heartbeat, utter belief because the football, the training ground dog work, the skill and the commitment is undoubtedly there……always, but there’s me with the head in the hands, elbows on the knees, knees constantly hopping for the full match duration……a mental ‘hoorah’ for each point, a mad jump for any goal, watching the clock, watching the clock etc……..The odd comment to a stranger on either side……..the odd look away from he action……..believing…….willing our lads on…….We’ve had big big days in Croker……Lovely to exit at 5 with the win , but the biggest of all still awaits…….Lets give it an unmercifully good shot this year and reach the promised land !

  49. A lot of sideshows. Lets hope the Donegal subs do not wear yellow bibs ( if their team is wearing yellow jersies) as they warm up. It could lead to confusion?

  50. Don’t agree with the suggestion of playing Barry Moran at full forward, or, lumping high balls into Freeman either. That will only play into the hands of the two McGees. The way to beat an aggressive, intimidating, physically punishing full back line that will goad, sledge and insult you for 75 minutes is by running the fuckers into the ground. Constant movement, cross running diagonal patterns with players making angled runs in support of each other, even a few dummy runs, and they will soon get sick of trying to rearrange your ribcage and be more concerned about tracking your run and not getting isolated in a one-on-one situation. No ball into our forwards can be over chest height and must be bouncing in front of our lads so they are between the ball and the back. Get the ball, get turned and head for goal. Pace, movement and support play will be crucial to unlocking their defense.

  51. Olive, I’d forgotten about how rough it was in those days. When you see the replays of the big matches they were trying to kill each other. If that was now each team would end up with 8 or 9 players. The rest would have been red carded.
    MartyK, that’s a perfect picture of how I suffer at matches, word for word. I couldn’t put it better myself but I haven’t got your skill of the English language.

  52. Pumping long ball in will not work. How many times do Mayo teams have to try putting Barry at full forward before they realise it doesn’t suit their style of play? Anyway, both Moran and Freeman are excellent ball winners and will do a fine job there.
    I would also be amazed to see Barry Moran play any part on Sunday. He has not played any game for Mayo since the league (Donegal match) and if he was any way fit, he would have played a part in the London match. There’s no way he is at match fitness and where he was last year. To be honest, I’d be surprised if he plays much football for Mayo again this year as Barry is a guy who needs to be playing the whole time to reach his potential. He is a confidence player and a fine footballer – I just don’t think we’ll see the best of him this year unfortunately.

  53. Don’t forget – the way Mayo outplayed Donegal last year was to go at them down the wings constantly with balls into the corners the whole time. They chose not to lump balls into the full forward or run through the middle as this would play into Donegal’s hands. They also did well in blocking up the centre so as to stop Donegal running through there. They were good tactics and succeeded. It will be interesting to see does Horan do the same again.

  54. I agree that fast ball into the forwards is key. With that in mind, I’d employ Dillon in the corner. He’s accurate and will find space intelligently, and given his injury restrictions. Cillian’s position is centre forward. I’d go with Hennelly, Cunniffe, Caff, Higgins, Boyle, Vaughan, Keegan, SOS, AOS, KMcL, COC, Feeney, A Moran, Freeman, Dillon. Wouldn’t start Barry simply because he hasn’t enough ball played this summer, and could have an influence from the bench should we be getting squeezed around the middle. That’s just 2 outfield changes from the Galway game, which considering the injury list a few weeks ago is great to see.

    Like other poster I have no qualms with Donegal people but Jimmy McGuiness has hardly ingratiated himself to the wider public. The whole Declan Bogue/Kevin Cassidy incident last year showed him to be petty and classless. For him to prevent a man from earning his crust because of a fairly innocuous passage in a book was a bit of an over step.

    We are worthy favourites for Sunday. There’s no need for me to trot out the usual cliches about good starts and winning midfield/ dirty ball etc.. But with a good start in mind Mayo to get the first 3 scores at 4’s might be wishful thinking, but if we do and go on to win, it’ll pay for a celebratory few pints after.

  55. McHugh out? Irish times saying maybe not, i swear i could see this coming that McG is defo no ejit.

  56. Hmmm … sounds to me like they might risk starting them both not fully fit. An unfit Lacey wasn’t much use to them against Monaghan and it’s hard to see how McHugh will last the pace on Sunday if he’s not 100% ready either. This sounds like a massive gamble on McGuinness’s part.

  57. Barry Moran certainly would cause problems for the mcgees, he’s big and awkward and can score too. I think a 15 or 20 minute spell in there would be worth a shot, freeman and co are different type players, Barry is a midfielder that can win a high ball that they couldn’t and it’s an option to have as long as the ball is played in properly to him. O Connor and mcloughlin give killer passes, it would be a perfect way to upset the backs.
    I know it’s not a popular concept with some people but for a period of the game it could really work, donaghy in Kerry has done it with great effect and we all have seen Barry kick some nice scores.
    As far as mchugh goes, he can’t be 100% , and this is no place to be unless you are bouncing off the ground fit. Alan brogan was tried last year and it was a disaster for the dubs. Lacey? I don’t even know what injury he had but a week won’t make you fit.
    Maybe Jimbo is throwing out false signals, and the injuries were not as bad as we were led to believe.

  58. Frankly does it matter who they start.

    Mayo good enough to beat them on their terms.

    Dont know about Dillon- maybe he would be better employed coming on. I think Carolan or Coen will start. Both good players with some experience.

    It was always going to be a battle as with all matches. I think Mayo need not panic over who is fit and who is not. We have a panel- focused and fit. That is often forgotten.

    Unlike Joe Mc I enjoy all the comments and banter on this site. It all adds to atmosphere!

    Would love to hear from that great Mayoman John Cuffe though. Are you blogging under another name John?

  59. Think ill head up Sunday.Tickets are nicely priced at 30e and a tener back when i produce the oul student card.
    Donegal are without doubt going to go out and frustrate the shite out of us We need to keep the heads.We all know that Donegal are going to defend with numbers at the back.We need fast direct ball into our forward line to counteract the Donegal defense. With all the talk i heard from Ciaran Whelan coming in cold into Croke park I don’t see that.However if we got Dublin that would be a different story So lads i think its a bad draw at all.Fuck it Mayo to win by 6 points

  60. makinprogress – I enjoy the site and comments and banter enormously. Just because I pass a few controversial comments doesn’t mean I don’t love it. Anyway those comments keep a lot of you on your toes. You see, you’re giving me stick and that makes for a good rant.

  61. If Mchugh lines out, the messiah could be using him as bait, go down in an early tackle………….Jim’s ‘worry’ for safety of his players ringing in the ref’s ears……..tackler off, Mc Hugh (‘concussion, fractures, ruptures’) replaced……now 15 against 14. Messiah’s prediction about his players being targeted and his worries for their H & S vindicated………..AH but the Donnies have the edge they needed now and with Mayo down a man, Jimmy’s side (though lacking the Mayomens skills) may have a chance of edging it…………………….

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