Keith Higgins our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: Hogan Stand (Inpho/Cathal Noonan)

Okay, the votes are in and counted for the Man of the Match poll on yesterday’s Connacht championship quarter-final against Galway. The clear winner in the poll is Keith Higgins, with 35% of the votes cast.

It’s incredible to think that yesterday was Keith’s first appearance of the year with the footballers. Operating mainly as a sweeper as well as being the initiator of many of our running attacks, Keith was heavily involved in the action from start to finish.

It was a super performance by the Ballyhaunis player and well done to him on winning the MOTM award for his display. Sadly it wasn’t a winning display but it was great to have Keith back on board and we’ll certainly need him for what now lies ahead of us in this year’s championship.

Details of how the votes were divided among the leading contenders are set out below.

48 thoughts on “Keith Higgins our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Well done, Keith!
    Let’s regroup over the next few weeks and go again.
    Many of us were staring into the same barrel of despair at the same juncture last year and look at how close we came in the end last September to getting to the promised land.
    Keep the faith!

  2. The whole panel should have played hurling over the winter. It would have sped them up a bit. Goes to show that mixing both codes is a help in preparation. Doesn’t say much for the training all year when a guy returns a month before the big game with little or no football training and is still the best player. Well done Keith.. However, I still feel we will go a long way this summer. It’s like we are stuck in groundhog year…..

  3. A Galway man was telling me a few weeks back that Higgins wouldn’t be back due to personal reasons.

    Keith Higgins: Positive, skillful, inspirational. Just pure class.

  4. Well deserved man of the match, pure class athlete…..I hope he will be playing for the mayo hurlers Sat in a must win match against Kildare if they have any chance of progressing in Christy Ring……..seeing as footballers won’t be playing again for nearly a month…….both codes need him!

  5. One of the best sights in Gaelic Football is seeing Keith hit the Turbo and glide past his opponent – Just LOVE IT !

  6. Team for Qualifiers Round 1 June 9th
    1.David Clarke
    2.Brendan Harrison
    3.Chris Barrett
    4.Keith Higgins
    5.Lee Keegan
    6.Colm Boyle
    7.Paddy Durcan
    8.Seamie O’Shea
    9.Aidan O’Shea
    10.Shane Nally
    11.Kevin McLoughlin
    12.James Durcan/Conor Loftus
    13.Evan Regan left footed free taker
    14.Andy Moran
    15.Cillian O’Connor
    Jason Doherty
    Fergal Boland
    Donal Vaughan
    Eoin O’Donoghue
    Cian Hanley
    Neil Douglas
    Caolan Crowe

    In my opinion thats our best goalie and 6 backs and the best attacking half back line in the country, midfield 2 O’Sheas with Tom P out.
    Would see Evan Regan and Shane Nally get a chance in 10 and 13 as both are left footers and we need options for free takers cause of our difficulty with left footed frees.

  7. Well done Keith Higgins.
    One of the best to ever pull on a Mayo jersey.
    So consistent that some of his many fine displays are almost taken for granted.
    Natural born football genius.

  8. Keith is absolute class – worth the admission fee alone. I recall the 2014 replay v Kerry in Limerick, in which he marked James O’D. A remarkable contest with both players right on top of their games. James got some terrific scores, but equally Keith dispossessed him several times, fairly as always, and counter attacked. I have often wondered how Mayo produce countless top class defenders, yet not so many forwards. In Galway e.g. at underage, most kids prefer to play forwards, and pick up the confidence at an early age. I feel good forward instincts are ingrained in the formative years 8-12. I am not for one minute suggesting Mayo coaching is any different, but could it be that down through the years producing top class defenders has become self perpetuating, to the detriment of developing forwards?

  9. Well done Keith , my hope and belief would be that Keith, Lee, Andy, colm , tom , Kevin , Chris,
    Aidan, donal, cillian , paddy , Seamus, Barry and co will inspire generations of fine mayo footballers for years to come . For this reason and so many more we have to to take our hats off to these fine Mayo Men .
    They Really make me proud to call myself a Mayo Man .

  10. Anyone looking for a pick-me-up this morning to raise your spirits – just check out Tom Parsons tweet he sent out a few mins ago.
    You know what – fuck all these wankers writing us off. Fuck this terminal decline shit. We will be back in a few weeks and we’ll have Leeroy and cillian and a few others raring to go. 7 games in 8 weeks for an all Ireland semi?? Bring it on!!
    God help whoever we draw in round 1. There’s a long way to go in 2018 yet.

  11. I wonder do all the posters who used to decry our lack of opposition in Connacht still feel the same way. People saying they’re delighted that there’s 3 teams in division 1 and how a good challenge in the province is what we need. I much prefer beating Galway by 17 points in Salthill than losing to them in McHale park. The days of friendly rivalry are long gone, the days of the Mayo lads carrying Dermot Early off the pitch are yesteryear stuff. Those billboards convey the thoughts of 99% of Galway suppprters and if it was the other way around they’d be my thoughts also. I hope we both progress to the super 8’s not for the betterment of Connacht football but so we can do the same to them that we did to the Rossies in Croke Park.

  12. The lowest point Sunday was seeing Toms injury. The high point was watching Keith, the guy is a pure athlete and superb footballer. Inspirational footballer

  13. Well done Keith. Outstanding performance. Hope you can join hurlers at weekend.
    Is Connor O Shea out injured?

  14. @larry duff, are you sure you didnt dream he sent that tweet, he sent one thanking everyone in the gaa for their support

  15. Liam….. that is the best comment I have read on this forum in ages.. sums up my feelings as well. This talk about supporting our neighbours when we go out is pure nonsense.. Galway are the same as Wicklow, Down or Donegal as far as I am concerned… once Mayo are gone… every other county is the same to me, I don’t care about them. Let me tell you this, I live in Galway, and they love when we loose All Irelands… they love it! My brother in law said to me the Tuesday after the final last year that he was hoping we would win all week… but once the game was in the melting pot he was up for Dublin…. hoping we would “loose just one more”. If they win one before us, they will NEVER let us live it down… they will lord it over us forever.. I have zero animosity towards them, I live around great people and love where I live, but in GAA terms they mean nothing to me.

  16. What hurts about last Sunday is that this day was earmarked since last October. There was no complacency. There were grounds for revenge. A best chance at progressing through the championship and we blew it. No excuses. We knew their gameplan and we came up with nothing new to counteract it.

    3 years without a Connacht Final appeaeance is unacceptable. Yes, we made finals but somehow rode our luck. Stephen has got praise here, but overall his record is worrying.

    Our County Board officers have other distractions and their neglect of underage football risks us going the way of Meath much sooner than people think.

    I hope the guys can raise it for the backdoor. Maybe it will excite them. Having Lee and Cillian back will help. However 2018 from the first night of the FBD has been nothing buy sluggish bad football with us riding our luck somehow to stay in Division 1.

    The same posters who said that staying up was not vital, now claim that losing to Galway is not the end of the world. That’s a losing mentality(being kind). Somebody needs to take control of the situation very quickly with some hard talking.

    4 wins is a bigger ask than the last two years. We scraped lucky wins v Derry and Fermanagh the first days out in 2016 and 2017. We need to hit the ground running this time

  17. – Class display from Keith
    – As for the billboards they were set on fire in the film, however I would leave them in situ and just change the wording to something like
    “Two Extra Men ”
    “Still lost, why Galway ?”

  18. Chris Kelly would have to agree with that team. Every single selection is spot on for the right reasons. Another option would be to shift Kevin Mc to his natural position of wing back(where he was MOTM against Donegal) and throw someone else in to the HFL like Doherty/Boland.
    I feel Bolands excellent kick passing could have been used to break down that Galway blanket in the second half. He is a bit slight but should be used to the rough and tumble from the small ball. Hindsight is a great thing and its easy to talk but Rochfords second half changes did not work.
    Another thing I cant understand is the positioning of Aidan O’Shea. He was playing in a quarter back role but was not as influential as he could have been, He should have been further forward on the D drawing men in and breaking tackles. How many times did he break the line against Galway?

  19. Our decision making up front and shot selection when the game was in the melting pot was the worst i have seen in years,not just from the newbies but from some of the most experienced players.
    Theres no point making subs if they dont make an impact especially late on it just causes confusion at the back which was the main cause of the goal.
    Chris barretts yellow card plus cillians should be challenged could cost us later on.
    Cillian i thought should have came on sooner because jason struggle all day.
    They talked about getting that extra percent after the allireland well we are down a least 20 percent without tom.
    Time for subs to step up big time and management to sort out our forward play once and for all.
    We can only ride our luck for so long.
    Lets hit the qualifiers full tilt and cut back on these systems a bit.

  20. Also forgot to say I wish Tom Parsons a speedy recovery. A man who should have won an all star last season. Mr. Consistent. A leader and ledgend. You just have to look at his All Ireland final performances. He has performed in the big games when some of our so called bigger names haven’t showed up.
    Keith Higgins deserved MOTM. What a natural to just come back playing football and to produce the goods in such a big game. We wont realise how great he is until he’s gone.

  21. well deserved by Keith, only player to run at Galway . Never thought I would see Mayo with 13 players behind the ball playing with the wind. How can you win a game if you don’t attack the other team, only way to win is get some scores and you cant score in your own half of the field.

  22. Tom’s tweet finishes with “my comeback will be stronger than my setback”……..wonderful positivity , please God his recovery will go well without complications, best wishes to him.

  23. How are the lads? Just back from the match and so haven’t seen all the comments that have been posted up, but in case some hadn’t seen it – when Tom was being stretchered off he was giving the thumbs up and pumping the fist – a real inspiration and great to see that tweet from him. Best wishes to him and prayers for a speedy recovery. It’s mad when you think how much these guys put into an amateur sport for our enjoyment.

    In terms of the Caff point, I think (and sincerely hope) that as others of said that cheer was more to do with Chris Barratt making his comeback. I’ve Belmullet roots and was one of those people cheering, but I’d never do so to lay into someone who’s been a Mayo stalwart and given so much effort for the squad.

    On that note, whilst there’s a real debate to be had about how wise it is to have runners / link men coming into a forward line that needs scorers, this groaning shite when a player comes on has to stop. Plenty of time to discuss those choices on places like here, why would any fan want to risk causing their own player a distraction in the heat of battle? Completely different point to the Ger / Chris announcement in my opinion.

    Gutting to see same mistakes again, but to have stayed in that match right up to the end shows to me that team’s fighting spirit is nowhere near done. When you consider that a lot of key men are coming back from injury, hopefully a gentle path in the qualifiers gives these guys a chance to reach match fitness. Also hopefully a chance for some of the new additions to put their hands up (and for the like of Cian, to get reacquainted with intercounty football).

    It won’t be easy, but it never really has been. Last year was one of the best summer’s we’ve had and as long as they don’t give up on us we shouldn’t give up on them.

    Bring on June!

  24. Pretty much all has been said here, however I think management, in the next 4 weeks, need to take a big step back and review exactly they are trying to do because any reasonable analysis over the last 2 years or so would highlight poor decision making is largely contributing to us coming up short if not causing it. Sometimes I think maybe there are too many ‘clever’ opinions on the line, maybe it’s time for a bit if autocraticy from management.
    A few pointers:
    – Please stop naming players on the teamsheet that the world and his mother know are not going to start, it’s not fair on the players and treats us like mugs. A very begrudging compliment to Galway the last day is that they started the team they named – surely that gave their lads a %’age or so during the week.
    – We need all the emerging talent we can muster, but I still can’t get my head around the collective management wisdom to parachute two players, both who have never played senior football for Mayo (one has played FBD but was dropped off for the league!) into the bench and then bring both of them on in the space of 5 minutes when our biggest match of the year??? Oh man, well it MIGHT have worked, but surely, after all the time they have spent with the squad, 7 league games, strategizing for this game, they CANT be just taking reckless chances like that. And what does it say to the rest of the squad that have toiled since January? It may turn out the two lads may be better options going forward, but surely this is not the way to manage a squad? If Murinio parachuted to rookies into his team that never played for the team before for a major match we would say he was nuts and he would probably be sacked!
    – Added to the above – and this is my biggest bug-bear – is the teams we end up with on the pitch in all our crucial games – that IS the biggest factor why we are falling short and the reason we have lost our AL finals. With all the time spent planning, preparing, strategizing…..we constantly end up with a miss-match of rookies, players lacking game time and lads that management don’t deem good enough to start ANY league game, yet they are thrown on at the end of an all Ireland final in the HOPE that it happens. Same the last day. And Andy Moran has finished only 1 of our final games (either finals or semi-finals) over the last 7 years despite being our leading scorer from play in these games in that period. He didn’t finish the last day either. Surely management are aware of that statistic?

    Anyway, roll on 4 weeks time!!

  25. A fit Donie Vaughan is vital . With him & Leeroy back it links our play . Our strength is our running off the shoulder and the bigger the pitch the better . When Galway set last Sunday we couldn’t penetrate . Keith was told to sweep Comer and we were missing our other two vital linemen ( Donie & lee ) . What most people don’t see is we have always 2 or 3 coming off the shoulder and invariable Donie is one of them and even if he doesn’t get feed his running strength is going to create holes . That’s how we set up picks to create shooting chances . It only happened on two or three occasions last Sun . Regarding our schedule we will be better prepared mentally with our lads coming back although Tom is a big loss . Buckle up we re not done yet

  26. Well done Keith, he played immense Sunday.
    Have to say I couldn’t agree more with @Liam seems like a lot of people wouldn’t like anything more than to see us getting a good trimming and knocked out of championship none more so than our lovely neighbors!! Think that’s why this defeat hurt all the more, was really hoping for revenge Sunday and to put Galway back in their place, all I can hope now is that we meet them in a Croker later on this summer and show them how much of a difference there actually is between the two teams!!
    On a positive note,Toms tweet this morning brightened my day, what a legend he is.

  27. A final point from me . That Sean Kelly who came on as sub for Galway is a serious underrated player . His reading of the game is brilliant . A Galwayman beside me said “ he is no good “ as he warmed up . I watched him closely this year . No more then Comer I would love to have him

  28. KL I couldn’t agree more. I have been saying similar for 2 years but have only been accused of “sly digs”
    I don’t do sly digs. I say clearly what I have to say. Rochford, in spite of his support here, has serious questions to answer, which have cost us dearly.

  29. I live in Galway and by and large they support us. Fair play to them they have improved over last 2 seasons despite a performance last day that won’t win a Super 8 or semi, they won’t care about that, May 13 was about winning.
    Would definitely appeal Barrett’s yellow as was beside 4 Galway players in a local cafe last night one of whom was Comer and they had a bit of laugh how Barrett ended up on yellow and Comer didn’t. They were also divided on whether Diarmaid meant it, guessing they’ve all been in that split second reaction at some stage. Rekon if ye asked Diarmaid he mightn’t even know himself as it happened that fast as Conroy charging in at pace. So I’d cut the lad some slack, his first straight red I can recall. An experienced star like Keith saw red last year. Cillian had to charge down the Galway lad for his yellow as it was opportunity for a turnover. I thought it was fair tackle but was across the pitch so not sure. General comment Cillian and we’ve said it before does need to address discipline but wouldn’t fault him for just being physical on this particular occasion. It almost yielded a goal chance. But we do need to learn a lesson on straight reds the last 2 years.

  30. For the record Stephen’s record as manager reads

    2016 League

    P7 W3 L 4

    2016 Connacht Championship

    P2 W 1 L1

    2016 All Ireland Championship

    P7 W5 D1 L1

    2017 League

    P7 W4 L3

    2017 Connacht Championship

    P2 W1 L1

    2017 All Ireland Championship

    P8 W3 D4 L1

    2018 League

    P7 W2 L4 D1

    2018 Connacht Championship

    P1 L1

    TOTAL P41 W19 D6 L16

  31. Happy about our increasing options in defense. Think the Drake substitution hasn’t made a positive difference too often now and training games don’t always translate to championship especially when faced with an user defensive setup, it probably needs players who can unlock (Loftus, Cillian further out or Donie line breaks). Alternatively it needs a long range shooter but guessing Nally dropped due to training form. I think James Durcan and Hanley might come good yet but unless they’re exceptional in training lack of experience could render them again ineffective. I did think Durcan looked pacey with a good side step. Not sure about Hanley too soon to judge, don’t even know how his club performances are going. Get a big lead in first round against a Div 3 or 4 team and run the subs would be the ideal situation for the next one.
    I felt for Caff who’s a great servant but all the cheers unfortunately weren’t for Barrett, some were against him because of fear of what Comer might do to Mayo but we have some fairly thick fans, I was near some who were lacking understanding of the blanket and wind impact in 1st half. They get exasperated too quickly. I think that plays a part in McHale with mostly the die hards hitting the back door road for adventures.

  32. How can Galway get away with using 7 subs – – Flynn should not have been allowed return when Galway got the black card ?
    He made a significant contribution on his return including scoring a point & won one very important kick out

    Who is responsible for monitoring this & surely there should be consequences for Galway ?

  33. Replay
    Although our county board will probably be reminded about the debt and will shuffle back to the office

  34. Galway used 6 subs, 1 being the replacement for the black card, plus Conroys blood sub which was confirmed at the start of the second half.
    This is a very, very grey area in the substitutions rule book. Each team is allowed a maximum of 6 substitutions. A black card replacement is included in these 6 substitutions but, you are only allowed replace 3 black carded players. However, a blood sub is considered a Temporary Substitute.

    “Temporary substitute
    A player leaving the field under the Blood Injuries rule may be replaced by a Temporary Substitute. The following shall not count as substitutions in accordance with rule:
    • The use of a Temporary Substitute for a player instructed to leave the field as a result of bleeding”

    Conroys replacement was most likely used in this manner. The question is, when does a Temporary sub become a Permanent sub? Or does he at all? And, if he is always considered a Temporary sub what is to stop a manager making 5 or 6 blood subs on top of his 6 “proper” subs?

  35. If I’m not wrong, I think we did the same with subs a few times down the years. I recall John Fogarty in the Irish Examiner giving us a hard time, more than once, on this very issue, though we always – with justification – claimed that how we used the rule on temporary replacements was within the rules. Looks like a bit of a sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander situation here.

  36. We exploited the blood sub rule down in Limerick. In fact, John Fogarty consistantly highlights us as one of the main teams exploiting the rule.

  37. The dublin game in 12 too I’m near sure there was a ltitle controversy over a blood sub we used .

  38. Claremorris native / neighbour of mine,
    No point in looking at technicalities at this stage, the game is well and truly over. I would like to state that Galway’s subs swung the game in their favour aided by that man going for the jugular deep i injury time in getting a brillant goal against one of the best shot stoppers in the game.
    My question re subs is simple, can a sub replace a guy that has come on as a temporary blood sub for an injured player ?.

  39. KL and Up Mayo, agree 100% with both of you. There are serious problems in management but like ye, who am I to comment. 😉

  40. @KL
    I couldn’t agree more. It beggars belief that two subs completely untested are brought on in in the dying minutes what will be one of our biggest games this year.

  41. Clarke much to slow with kickouts, players in space and all he seemed to do was place the ball on the tee.and by then there marked.

  42. No time limit on a blood sub so you can use another six .
    Wj is correct about limerick, sean burke yes we did something similar in 2012 dublin decided not to push it any further.
    We also use 7 in league game in kerry when evan got his collar bone broken.

  43. Anyone explain to me why he we took off a Corner Forward and a Full Forward and replaced them with two half backs. This is not a new occurrence with us.

    Someone posted about our half backline. Watched second half back and one of our half backs had 3 possessions in entire second half

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