James Durcan our MOTM from last night’s game

The votes are in and counted for the first Mayo GAA Blog Man of the Match poll of 2020. For economy of effort, not to mention decisive impact, there could only be one winner – our top performer against Donegal last night was, by popular acclaim, super-sub James Durcan.

On the field little more than ten minutes, James bagged a match-altering 1-3 in the closing stage of last night’s tense tussle at MacCumhaill Park. His goal – firmly struck as he emerged from a ruck of defenders, wriggling clear to get his shot away – will live long in the memory and it sent the large Mayo following home in high spirits.

Well done to James and congrats on bagging our first MOTM award of 2020. Details of how the poll went are set out below.

35 thoughts on “James Durcan our MOTM from last night’s game

  1. A MoM award for playing just over 10 minutes…when did that last happen? He deserves it though for one reason… we wouldn’t have got a point without him!

    Himself and Conroy need to start on Saturday night.

    One thing bugs me about the Dubs (apart from the fact they fielded such a strong team last night) and its this… they came from 3 points down with 4 minutes remaining to go one ahead. They still have the hunger to win and that’s our biggest problem next weekend.

  2. Well done to James, also Conroy did well and Ryan OD improved a good bit in 2nd half. Also J Carr went for the goal, it was a precision ball.
    Thought we raised our intensity noticeably in the 2nd half when we were the better team. Donegal did well to keep pushing a few points ahead and Murphy was huge with his frees.
    I thought Tom P did reasonably well apart from 1 brush aside and Jordan Flynn though involved did look inexperienced. I’d more blame others rather than Tom in 1st half for not getting in fast enough on the breaks as Donegal were deliberately punching rather than competing for 40 60 ball. Likewise Clarke was not as bad on kickouts as some said. The stats disagree but we need a management plan and some decoy tactics with hand signals as Clarke isn’t a pure natural at it like Patten. O Hora is ready made and Mullin has pace and should be very good with more S&C. Walsh was quiet enough but stuck at it and got a point. Boland very good but was quiet by the time he was subbed.

  3. Ps I thought the ref was fairly poor though the calls probably cancelled out. Donegal would be right to be peeved at the extra injury time but gotta play the whistle.
    Ciaran Mc and James Burke were having a great laugh at the end with the robbery we got away with. Still we kept plugging.

  4. I hope Horan starts all 5 newbies on Saturday night. R.O.D is built for summer ground, and i think thats when we’ll see the best of him but the league would bring him on no end. The experience these lads will get from playing Dublin will be invaluable.

    I think James Durcan could potentially be our version of “Kevin McMenamon”, there’s alot of similarities between them, great burst of speed, low centre of gravity, and an eye for goal. Its a 21 man game now, and having a raring to Janes Durcan coming on to a tiring defence could work wonders.

    I thought before the weekend we had a good chance of beating Dublin in castlebar, but after seeing that game with Kerry, i think it will be a step too far at this point in time. I thought Dublin would be sluggish and lots of regulars rested for a month or so! How wrong was I?. They’re absolutely flying. The standard of the League is going up and up every year, I think teams are focusing on it far more now than even 2 or 3 years ago.

  5. 270 mile round trip worth it thanks to James Durcan! Donegal should have been out the gap at halftime. AOS has a lot of work to do to get up to speed. Dubs and Kerry quite a bit ahead of us so hoping for a decent performance from us and stick with the newbies. Look forward to seeing the Dubs in the flesh.

  6. noticed in the first half a lot of Mayo players slipping and falling even when not being tackled , they obviously had the wrong boots on for the conditions on the pitch. This is something the Manager or McDonald should have noticed during the warm up, small things like that can be the winning or losing of tight games.

  7. It was disappointing that we continued to give away frees in the second half with Murphy in such form.
    DOC did kick a couple of good points and may be our answer to long range free taking.
    Our kickouts were woeful, every team we play will now push up on them including the Dubs next Saturday.
    Very satisfactory debuts for Flynn and O’Hora. The other debutants deserve more game time also.
    McHale park is a tighter pitch than Croker and that may help us to contain the Dubs. Great opportunity to give newbies experience of the top level. The league is now an excellent competition

  8. Honestly a lot of the frees Murphy got were very soft. Agreed that these were balanced up by the few cheap ones we got at the end. I cant see where Donegal are going complaining about the time. The referee correctly identified the time wasting that they were doing and added time accordingly. Funny the contrast between O Hora and Boyle/Higgins. Boyle and Higgins stand off but O’Hora went real tight. As a result he got suckered a few times but overall him and Mullin had good games. I feel that Donegal took off a tiring McGee as they were afraid of Conroys pace. This meant he was not there to deal with Durcan right at the end.

  9. Culmore – It’s unlikely that every player brought a 2nd pair of boots to Ballybofey so don’t think management could do anything after the warm up.

  10. I voted for Fergal Boland I think he is improving with every game he’s an excellent footpasser and knows where the posts are he’s not the biggest guy in the world but he’s brave and not afraid to get stuck in

  11. There was definitely a wrong choice of boots made by a few Mayo lads. Before the game I noticed a few of them slipping and landing on their backs and then hopping up and looking at the spot they’d slipped on. Make sure you have 2 pairs of boots do you can change if needed.
    For the next game it would be nice to have someone that could mark Fenton and just reduce his influence. Who’s the choice for that? Would
    O Hora even though he’s a lot shorter be the man for that job? I don’t mean that he would outjump him to claim the ball, rather, that he hounds him anytime he has possession and even when he doesn’t. Or is Matt Ruane ready to roll?

  12. I was convinced at the time that Carr’s effort on goal was deliberate. Still am after watching it.
    It’s a finish he’s more than capable of.

    Well done Durcan, saved the day for us, so rightly MOM. O’Hora was probably the stand out over the course of the game.

  13. Just a correction to mayo dunphy, it is no longer a 21 man game, only 5 subs allowed now due to changes in black card

  14. We had an awful lot of new players out.When we get the experienced guys on the pitch I do t think we are that far off Kerry and Dublin

  15. Voted for Jordan Flynn (I think!), but hard to complain about James’s performance. I raised my eyebrows when I saw him on the list of subs, but he impressed me in the warm up.

    Had my own debut in Ballybofey and enjoyed it hugely. Well, Donegal is the second best county in Ireland, though the footballers would be down my list.

    Thought we well deserved to draw. We had more comebacks in this game than Frank Sinatra. First, we had the goal by Carr which brought us right into it, (why is this being dismissed – look at him on video and don’t tell me he didn’t know what he’s doing)? Then Fergal Boland made it a 2 point game when Donegal were threatening really to turn the screw. Four down again, we battled back and then at least twice more. Coldrick was crap, as usual, and did us out of frees to level, while giving ultra softies to Donegal. I will give hime credit for adding on time, because Donegal were trying every trick in the book – we would have done the same of course.

    A lot of positives, quite a lot. Free taking. Four different kickers, and all on target. Very few wides. Is the MacDonald factor in evidence already? The newbies did well overall, but Donegal’s pace all over the field meant they sailed through us early and often. Dublin will be a further step up, so we might have to select conservatively to counter that. At our best we moved it very well, but we spilled a lot of stupid ball, took wrong options, took until the second half to get on top of kicks out. And, playing on till the very end – that was very impressive. I had the final score of 0-19 to 1-13 jotted in my programme and put away.

    Maybe Donegal were complacent after the Murphy MOTM announcement. Perhaps they should have amended it to James by full time. Now that’s an announcement I could have tolerated1

  16. Kerry and Dublin might not be as far ahead as we think, different game to Donegal
    as they play attacking football and donegal packed the defense. Will be interesting

  17. Just a few areas I would have a slight concern with .Kick outs number .Its a possession game now and winning your own ball now is key a strategy has to be developed where we win more ball .
    Second and I think Nephin20 made this point that as a forward you we are light and worry that as the season goes on we will have it harder winning ball when its put in especially when the kicker is going to be under more pressure getting shot off .
    Third imo we are a bit short of pace at 8 &9 coming up against Dublin and Kerry I feel we may be found wanting a bit in this area where we need pacey mobile mid fielders.
    Anyone any thoughts ?

  18. Mattie Ruane has a shoulder issue. Picked it up for NUIG v UCC. Ger Flanagan of the Mayo news replied to someone on Twitter he’s recovering from a piece of work done on his shoulder. No time frame given of his return

  19. If Clifford of Kerry scored a goal like Carr’s it would be deemed sensational and him a genius by the Brollys of this world.The pundits just want Kerry and Dublin. I heard two on radio this weekend say they were looking forward to the AI between these two counties.

  20. Totally agree Dan and Mayo man . I remember Andy kicking a serious point from close to the corner and all week all we heard was that it was a fluke. After watching James Carr’s goal several times, I’m convinced he meant it. He just floated it. If these lads were from Dublin or Kerry, they’re brilliant, but from Mayo just lucky.

  21. I think a lot of our apparent problems with kick outs is the different strategies we and Donegal took to dealing with them. Donegal challenged for each of our kick outs whereas we allowed Donegal to find a free man, usually a defender, with almost all of theirs. It’s a strategy we’ve been using for a long time now and one which I totally fail to understand. When a team marks tightly and always challenges for the ball it largely reduces kickouts to 50:50 unless the opposition has the likes of Brian Fenton who will win most contests anyway. So no point in blaming Clarke for kick out woes.

  22. Carr 100% ment that goal. If you look at the replay you can see him glance towards Patton before he makes the turn to shoot, Carr knew exactly where Patton was and went for it.

    I love this Dublin v Kerry love in all over the media. It breeds complacency. Kerry wouldn’t want to buy into it, otherwise they’ll get sucker punched in a Semi final by one of the chasing pack. Less spotlight on us the better, just hope we survive in the league (PP has us 3rd favourites for relegation), and then quietly go about our preparation for a roscommon semi final.

  23. I think if James Carr was reading these comments on his goal,he’d be cringing.The goal was worth 3 points regardless of whether it was meant or not-lets move on.Why get hung up on what Brolly, or any other gobshite says.Let them wax lyrical all day about Kerry, Dublin, Galway or any other crowd-fuck them.

  24. Our kickout strategy is zonal based and a defensive one.
    Look at when Kerry went man to man against Dublin in the drawn AI final. Brian Howard was still picked out and the defenders were then not there to then close him down or the rampaging Jack McCaffrey who broke through for a crucial goal.
    Big teams with v good kickers from goal ala Cluxotn e.g. Morgan, Patton and Beggan have the ability to do the same. So you cant push up but this is the risk you take especially in pitches as big as Croke Park.
    You could argue that you should push up man on man in the League on smaller tighter grounds. But it is still a risk against top div 1 teams.

  25. I for one cannot stand all this Dublin Kerry hype in the media. Ya’d swear the all Ireland final was played this weekend.

  26. The reality is Kerry and the dubs will, between them, win about 8 of the next 10 All Irelands.

    The media love the Kerry v Dub rivalry, a throw back to the 70’s and let’s face it most of the country are long fed up with the sob story of Mayo, peddled out by journos. It’s a mix of patronising, token sympathy and ridicule; one which all of us are sick of. But nothing will change until we get a team who can actually win an All Ireland. Yes, we get the odd pundit/journo who admires our resilience to ‘keep coming back’ but I think we are a bit tired of that too. We should expect and demand that we are always there, at the top.

    In the meantime my advice is to get used to the Kerry v Dub love story cos it’s gonna be the story of this decade. If you don’t like it then don’t read papers/online stuff or listen to radio because it’s gonna wreck your head.

    We are extra sensitive in Mayo. Is it any wonder?! We thrive on praise from the outside but go nuts when anyone has a go at us (ive fallen for this myself). In my opinion we need to toughen up. Put the blinkers on and have the self confidence to focus on ourselves. To hell with what others think.

    I believe Mayo have a panel that can on its day beat anyone. That means we have a chance. We need form, luck and a healthy panel but I don’t buy the story that we’ve missed the boat. Firstly I believe we can win an All Ireland and secondly we must never allow ourselves fall into a situation where we fall out of the top tier/list of contenders. While we aren’t the biggest population , we have enough footballers, talent and enthusiasm to consistently challenge. We went through a phase of very poor underage results over the past decade. This is the platform for success at senior level and if we don’t get it right at u17 and u20 then it’s very difficult to get it right at senior.

    I’d like to see more all Ireland’s being won at this level. As things stand we’ve won 1 minor title in 35 years and 2 u21s in roughly the same period. It’s not good enough. There needs to be greater emphasis placed on winning. It’s grand and currently popular to go with the ‘create a certain type of player’ mantra, to get them ready for senior intercounty. That’s well and good but look.at what Kerry have done at underage. They identified what was required to combat the monster that is Dublin GAA and started winning. Mayo needs to follow suit..

    We fail to get over the line far too often. It’s an issue of mentality.

  27. Great episode of Liam McHale on Laochra Gael last night. God he was in a way so unlucky as a player, getting sent off in 96, losing that club final to Crossmaglen when they kicked wide after wide and then retiring from club in 04 and the Ballina boys winning the All ireland the following year without him..

  28. Mayonaze, Kerry haven’t done anything to beat Dublin, as far as I can see. Soundly beaten in last year’s final and it wouldn’t have even gone to a replay had Johnny Cooper not been sent off. Evidence of the same problems showing themselves in the match last weekend. Once again they played a chunk of the game with a one man advantage and once again didn’t make it count. They actually let Dublin back into the game and were clinging on for dear life at the end while Dublin got stronger and stronger. The same will happen again in the summer.

    What should worry people is that the hunger is quite clearly still there with Dublin. Loads of bite in that game on Saturday. They’ve won five in a row and they’re not finished.

  29. Mayonaze, The Dublin monster did not exist when Kerry went on their Minor run so forget about Kerry responding to what Dublin were doing. Kerry simply do what Kerry do. They have a tradition which feeds success. But it is worth noting that their U21’s’/20’s have not repeated the success of their minors. Explanations please!! It’s not so long ago since the media were crying about Dublin’s inability to mount an All Ireland challenge. Then the money pumping operation began to pay dividends and we are where we are. The monster may yet consume the GAA which fed it so well.
    JPM, If you are not good enough you will be be beaten. End of!! But why not at least compete for every ball and see where it will bring you. Or go down the defensive route as Galway, Tyrone and some others have in the last few years and we can all stay home and play tiddlywinks instead. It is also necessary to have a level playing field, or at least a playing field which has not got built in advantages as Dublin had last year with their week of rest before the semifinal.

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