Kerry 1-12 Mayo 1-12: heroic holdout seals semi-final spot

That was fun, wasn’t it? We go from being a full eight points up on the Kingdom, and in their own backyard as well, to a position where, down to fourteen men for most of the second half, we end up hanging on by our fingertips over the metaphorical cliff with the Kerrymen stamping down hard on us. But hang on we did and for our troubles we get to play them again next weekend, only this time in Croke Park in the league semi-final.

This match was never on my radar as one to go to, seeing as we always spend a few days over Easter in Mayo so unless it was a home fixture I was never going to go to it. PJ’s entreaties about joining him on the 8.30am rocket from Ballinrobe this morning fell on deaf ears – the photos here are courtesy of him – and so, once more, I had to make do with following the action in Tralee via the Mike, Billy and John Show on Midwest.

The story that they had to tell for most of the first half was a very positive one. Despite having to line out without Colm Boyle – Danny Geraghty replaced him at wing-back after the warm-up – we took an immediate hold on proceedings. A point from play by Jason Doherty and a free from Cillian O’Connor, following a foul on Jason, got us going and after Bryan Sheehan thumped over a free from at least 60 yards out, Cillian got his second – also a free – after Kevin McLoughlin was fouled after he’d pounced onto a poor Kerry kickout.

Two misses followed – one from a Cillian free and a bad shot into the side netting by Andy Moran (who should simply have taken his point) – and this profligacy was quickly punished when Colm Cooper swung over two points at the other end in as many minutes.

Kerry then had a goal – scored for them by Cooper – disallowed for a pick-up off the ground and, after another another pointed free by Cillian, Jason palmed home a hotly contested goal for us from a cross by Cillian. This one was allowed to stand, despite Kerry’s claims (which Billy Fitz – who seems to concur with most calls against us these days – backed up) that the Burrishoole man was in the square before the ball arrived.

With the game now flowing firmly in our direction, we proceeded to make the most of it with further points from David Clarke (from a fifty), Kevin McLoughlin and two frees from Cillian to hoist us eight clear of the home side.

After that last score, Aidan O’Shea made a marvellous block to deny Kerry a certain score but the home fans soon had something to purr about as they tacked on four unanswered points to halve our lead to four at the break.

With the wind at our backs for the second period, however, we were still in good shape at that stage. The sight of the first of the cavalry arriving on the scene – with Darran O’Sullivan and Paul Galvin on for Kerry at the restart – let us know, though, that we weren’t exactly going to be handed the win on a plate.

We enjoyed a bright start to the second half, with Cillian’s sixth free and a wonderful long-range effort from Alan Dillon – it’s great to see Alan nailing a few from distance again, isn’t it? – stretching our lead to six points once more. In those early minutes of the second half, we were looking very comfortable but that quickly changed when Lee Keegan was red-carded ten minutes into the half.

The Westport man was already on a yellow and he ended up in a bit of a scuffle with Paul Galvin. The Finuge fashionista has a record of making the long walk after such incidents but this one led to a second yellow for Lee, which, at a stroke, altered the game’s trajectory.

Both managers didn’t need to be told twice that we now had a whole new ball game on our hands, with Jack O’Connor pitching Declan O’Sullivan into the fray while James withdrew Eoghan Reilly in favour of Kevin Keane.

Andy Moran fired over a real morale-boosting point, after a neat pass from Jason Gibbons, shortly after the sending-off to put us six clear again. But it also proved to be our final score of the afternoon as Kerry used the extra man – with Marc Ó Sé now on the pitch as well – to telling effect as they swarmed all over us from then until the final whistle.

The goal from the penalty – won when the Gooch went down in the square (wasn’t there, didn’t see it but the Midwest lads were happy it was kosher) and dispatched with ease by Sheehan –  was obviously the score that put us under real pressure. Now only two ahead with plenty of time left, it seemed as if there was no way we were going to be able to staunch the flow sufficiently to hold out.

When Sheehan scored again, from a free, to cut the gap to the minimum, there was still more than ten minutes left on the clock. But Kerry had failed to add anything more to their tally as the game entered injury time, with our defending becoming increasingly dogged and determined. Captain for the day David Clarke epitomised our mindset by plucking down a ball that was narrowly heading over the bar, so denying Kerry the leveller.

They eventually got the equaliser – another Sheehan free – deep in stoppage time but by then there was barely enough time left for the kickout. Somehow we’d managed to hold out and, in doing so, claim fourth place in the Division One table and a place in the semi-finals.

As it turned out, even if Kerry had beaten us at the death, we’d still have made the play-offs by virtue of our superior points difference over Dublin and Donegal. It was obviously better, however, to have have taken something from today’s game, regardless of the qualification mathematics. Even with the draw, James Horan sounded well pissed off when interviewed after the game on Midwest as he bemoaned how we’d let victory over the Kingdom slip away.

Given the circumstances, though, I think we have to view it as a league point won rather than an opportunity to win that was spurned. True, if you go eight ahead in any match you should end up in the winner’s enclosure but holding Kerry to a draw when having to play against them with 14 men for most of the second half – during which time all of their top men were on the field – has to rank as a good achievement. It also demonstrates, perhaps, just how important a player Lee Keegan has now become for us.

And so we get to do it all again with Kerry in a week’s time, this time at Croke Park in the NFL semi-final where throw-in is set for 2pm. They’ll have their main men on the field right from the start this time and they’ll obviously feel very much at home when they take the field against us at HQ next Sunday. But the way we’ve performed over the last two weekends against both of last year’s All-Ireland finalists means that we’ve earned the right for this tilt with the aristocrats in their natural habitat.

Regardless of how this one goes, the fact that we’ve managed to make the play-offs at all represents a fairly dramatic change in fortune compared to where we seemed to be in the pecking order just prior to the Dublin game. But, then again, this has been a very strange league campaign all round and I guess we’ll now be looking to see another twist added to the story at HQ next weekend.

PS: Today’s match was, of course, tinged with sadness at the news beforehand of the untimely death of Kerry great, John Egan. Winner of six All-Ireland medals and five All-Star awards in a glittering career during Kerry’s golden era in the 1970s and 1980s, John didn’t hog the limelight but still carved out an enduring name for himself as one of the finest corner-forwards to grace Croke Park. May he rest in peace.

Mayo: David Clarke (0-1, a ’45); Eoghan Reilly, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan, Danny Geraghty; Jason Gibbons, Aidan O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-2), Andy Moran (0-1), Alan Dillon (0-1);Cillian O’Connor (0-6, frees), Jason Doherty (1-1), Michael Conroy. Subs: Kevin Keane for Reilly, Conor Mortimer for Conroy, Evan Regan for O’Connor, Shane McHale for Doherty.

72 thoughts on “Kerry 1-12 Mayo 1-12: heroic holdout seals semi-final spot

  1. as it turns out we still would have qualified for the semi final with a loss.Horan sounding very dissappointed with the draw on mad west

  2. well done lads. Great result. Hard earned. Sounded like we made Kerry work hard. Aos motm again. Defence very solid. Attack a bit off but we scored our usual 13/14 pts.
    Another day out. Interesting to see how that goes.
    Another step closer!

  3. Great to hold them to a draw. While a narrow loss would have seen us through it would have been a confidence blow ahead of next week to lose to them late on today. By the end they had nearly all of their big hitters on the field whereas we still have a few to bring in. Next week should be interesting. A chance to play Kerry in Croker away from the heat of the all Ireland series should be seen as a bonus. Aidan O’Shea has become a serious player but we are becoming more reliant on him all the time. Keeping him fit and on the park is key to anything we intend to do.

    Onwards and upwards.

  4. Looks like Horan achieved much of what could be reasonably expected to the end regulation league matchs to date. Overall we learned alot about many of those not on last years srarting 15. Most aquited themselves very well, Boyle, Keegan McHale & Conroy made very important statments af intent for the forecoming championship. Also Conner Mortimor played some exellent football working hard for the team. We certainly have more options than last year. Gives James Horan something of a delima, Whats to happen when Tom Cunniffe, Trever Mortimor comes back, and the 2 Feenys. Enda Varley showed very well also in the earlier part of the league when selected, Cillian O Conner was so good so young last year, he will be hard to ignore too. Probally our best goal scoring options would be Dortherty & Freeman.So we got alot of options in alot of positions. So some good footballers are sure to be dissappionted at not making the cut when JH finally has hard decisions to make. As I see it, Clarke Cafferky, Higgins, Vaughan, AOS, Dillon, A Moran, McLoughlin, C Mortimor are in pole positions for our first 15. Barry Moran gives the oppisition alot to think about either as No14 or midfield, should either area need a change. I think if we start something near our best 15 next week v Kerry, got every chance, but I noticed something in the last 3 or 4 league matchs our sciring rate seems to drop in the last 20 minutes. A draw was good enought today for Mayo but not for me because my wallet is 100 euro lighter, I’m convinced that Sheehan is Kerrys most important player & so it proved today. I wont be placingany bets next week so hooefully that should be enough to,get us over the line, so C’Mon Mayo

  5. The ref gave everything to Kerry in the second half – soft frees, soft bookings, allowing Kerry overcarry drastically. I was hugely impresserd and encouraged with Mayo’s discipline throughout the match, especially after going down to 14.

    David Clarke put in a storming performance , especially plucking one from over the bar late in the 2nd half. His communication with his defenders was superb.

    Huge credit to Jason Doherty – after the sending off, he put in a huge shift out the field and won some great ball.

    Other great performances from Dillon, McLoughlin and Moran.

    Negatives, apart from the referee, Jason Gibbons did grand but didn’t seem to know what to do off the ball, he kept having to be told where to go. Reilly didn’t seem to be able to get to within two yards of his man. Zippy didn’t really get on top of Gooch. We couldn’t score when we were down to 14.

    Jack O’Connor was delighted he got Mayo in the semi final. Listen back to the Radio 1 interview, hilarious.

    In other news, parking tough to come by in Tralee. No one singing the national anthem. RIP John Egan. Poor poor Meath relegated to Division 3.

  6. Digits,I thought that,other than the keegan incident,the ref was fairly kind to us

  7. hello to bro and missus following the blog in sunny Scilly ( ya lucky hoors ). See ye next week at Hogans before we kick some Kerry Butt. Usual place, usual time. Would love to stuff Kerry next week. They are too smug.

  8. Was at the match today. Good performance. Half forward line top class as were doherty and O’Connor in 1st half. Mort totally clueless when he came on. The short free he took at the end was beyond belief. Ciliian is in a Different class to Mort. he should never have been subbed. [Deleted – WJ]. Barry Moran or SOS to Partner Aiden. Well done today.

  9. Facetheball – I’ve deleted the “X is not good enough” sentence. It’s the sentence that isn’t good enough! Isn’t anyone listening to me at all at all? Specifics, lads, specifics!

  10. Listened on laptop, it sounded like Kerry do not have such a deep pool of talent that they can replace players just like that! For me, it would be a winner if mayo played well next Sunday and left the field knowing where they stand with Kerry. Mayo are capable of winning the big prize this year if they can suss out Kerry’s weak points, they certainly have them.

  11. David they may have a weak point or two but good god they have one strong point that we have never really come to terms with.
    If there is one lesson we must learn from all our outings against Kerry – we MUST learn how to contain the gooch.

  12. A long journey but thanks lads we really enjoyed the match today, we showed a bit of steel and deserved the two points, loads of turnovers. Next sunday will be a test our management, Did they learn enough to pick up where we left off after twenty mins or will it be a replicia of the second half ? The chance to get Kerry and croke park out of the baggage needs to be grasped with both hands. The warm weather training better be worth it.

  13. Long day but we got a result and will learn from this game.We could have won it had a couple of different options been taken..Clarke should have taken that late free..Andy could have taken that early point etc. but we still got the result we needed.
    Sheehan was the reason Kerry stayed in touch with us in the first half 3 frees from 60 yds out, ended with 1-6 all frees.
    Our defencive play all over the field was ferocious at times the amount of ball we turned over in the 2nd half alone when we were down to 14 men was very encouraging.
    I think Aiden O`Shea got knock in the 1st half that slowed him up which coincided with Kerry getting 4 points on the trot we need him very badly at all times.
    All in all I`m heading to Croker fairly confident we can get a result next Sunday.We held on for a draw with 14 men and Kerry bringing on the big guns in the 2nd half, so well done boys you should finish off the job the next day.

  14. Back from Tralee, a whore of a job getting out of it. I thought there was great intensity from all the players today. Was I the only one impressed by Jason Gibbons? How many all Ireland medals were tucked into the Kerry bench. The Gooch won’t be as easy to handle come the summer. All in all job done, hopefully enough lessons learnt to give a good account next week. Sorry that Galway didn’t get up to Div 1, Connacht need it.

  15. I thought Jason gibbons had a fine game considering that’s his second full game this yr. Aidan and himself compliment each other well. They work hard, earn turnovers and most of all they are capable of winning ball in the air and when it’s breaking. We played our hearts out for long periods and we are in a good place at the moment. Still work to do but the squad is looking stronger all the time with the good performances we have seen recently. The aim was to get to the semi finals and we have achieved that…. Now is the time to kick on and beat Kerry.

  16. The Gooch is so difficult to mark. The reason is he knows how to move. If the defender plays from behind he’ll just stay in front and take the ball. If the defender plays from the front, he does this little jinky run where he runs one way, his marker turns to follow, then he turns sharply and accelerates, leaving his marker trying to turn back again awkwardly.

    Zippy is our best defender and faster than the Gooch, but you can’t beat smart movement. The fact that he has a good set of hands, knows instinctively where the posts are and can kick accurately with either foot is what is a pain in the hole.

    One thing I’ve always felt about Gooch though is he knows how to go down. If he doesn’t fancy his chances, and there’s contact, he does this thing where he flips his feet up in the air and twists and falls backwards. It’s essentially a dive. It’s how he won that penalty today.

    So how to deal with him. Mayo’s conundrum down through the years. Apart from stopping supply which is always the best option, I actually (unfortunately) think he needs roughing up a bit, he needs to be bullied out of a game, on the ball and off the ball, mentally and physically. Within the rules of the game, to a certain extent. Be prepared to sacrifice a yellow card and a substitution for it. As long as it doesn’t cross a line. Where is the line though?

  17. had to feel sorry for evan regan 1st big game and brough in under pressute in tralee eas too much yo ask of him.
    horam is doing a pretty good job but dome very odd decisons
    also geraghty at half back???
    mayo seemm powerless against team that hand pass thtough them. kerry today but cork donegal and donegall all did so with impunity

  18. Danny Geraghty has played corner back , full back, half back, centre back and midfield for his club. His inclusion was justified yesterday at half back with gardiner and Boyle out with a virus. He played well there too.

    Horan has lots of options with various players now. He has tried and tested many players unlike the previous management who played the same 15 in the league constantly. When the summer came then JOM had no faith in his subs and had nothing to offer. Mayo will soon be a serious force to be reckoned with and we are going in the right direction. Every team knows now that we are not soft anymore. Our physical approach and massive workrate upsets teams like Dublin and we floored them. Whatever the result next weekend, I know we won’t get trashed and the team will not give up. I’m a happy Mayo man because I know we are on the right road.

  19. That’s the minimum expected in this great county. Well done. No more “agh we will be lucky to keep it kicked out to them” crap of a few years ago.

    League finalists in 2001/07.10, semi finalists I think in 2002/05/06 and next week. So in essence we are punching a weight that we are comfortable at. Also the inconsiderable fact that we rank only behind the Kingdom in league title annals.

    The manager rightly heeded the dire no show V Donegal and the team got the message. James Horan alluded to the fact that “players dont live in a vacuum” so maybe for them to hear through sites like this etc that the natives were less than gruntled with their offerings was not a bad thing.

    We are in a league semi final. great…and that’s where we should aim for every year minimum. Our record suggests that so we should not look on it as a thing of awe but instead a bottom line bench mark. Well done to one and all and lets drive on from here. Sometime Kerry will buckle to Mayo and I see no reason not to believe that next Sunday can be that day.

  20. It’s great to see what a few performances can do to raise the spirits. There are still things to be sorted but there is great credit due to JH, his backroom team and all of the lads in the squad.

    A huge amount of work has been done and it is great to see it acknowledged here. Likewise, we have all seen many false dawns and we know that there is a lot of this hill still to climb, but the bit is between our teeth now.

    Keep the Faith!

  21. maybe a draw was the best result for our lads yesterday,if we beat them we could go to croker over confident,if they beat us we could be fearing them too much.hold our own mark tight but clean and dont give sheehan any frees inside 50 yds ,thats why we were beaten yesterday…maigheo abu

  22. Rip John Egan one of my favourite players from that era , his son is playing with Sunderland now and will no doubt represent Ireland some day

  23. Cynthia – as far as I know, the season ticket will work on Sunday but I’ll try to get definitive confirmation on this before next weekend.

  24. RIP John Egan too.Was privileged to see the great man. Would be first pick left corner forward for me anytime.

  25. Hi Willie Joe – hope all’s well, long time no speak! Was down in the Kingdom for the weekend on domestic duty and headed to Tralee for the game. Still a little conflicted about the result and the performance…
    I would have to agree with the mainly positive tenor of most of the comments, especially the fact that we didn’t get beat (after all) and showed a huge appetite for hard work, tenacious tackling and sheer doggedness. There was some fine long range shooting from the Read & Green too, and the discipline they showed in the last ten minutes was impressive. Incidentally, the respect that the Kingdom faithful (beside me anyways) displayed for Andy Moran, Dillon and Vaughan is also noteworthy, a fact that the highly irritating “analysis” on Radio Kery alluded to afterwards. For me, Moran is the heartbeat of this team.
    However, a few points should be noted:
    (1) Although the sending off was pivotal, the referee did give us serious benefit of the doubt on a number of occasions, especially in the First Half when he made some bizzare judgements. This really wound up Donaghy and kept his mind off business for long spells.
    (2) It was surprising (given that he nailed one 45 against the breeze) that Clarke wasn’t given a crack at the injury time free. At the very minimum, he would have put the ball dead.
    (3) Galvin hoovered up a tonne of ball, and if he is in from the off next week, Keegan and Mc Loughlin will have a big job on their hands.
    (4) Cooper (understandably so) still scares the life out of our backs and with the prospect of this game under his belt, he’ll be even sharper. That said, Higgins did very well on him and even made a few lung-bursting runs in the second half to lift the siege.
    (5) High ball in on top of Mort does not work – I know we have known this for years, but it must be very frustrating for him to see boomer after boomer flying past him. As this was my first view of him post-injury, his work rate (and runs) off the ball shows a guy who is really up for it this year. Jason Doherty also led the line very well, and showed great speed on the turn. I know he has his doubters of late, but he still knows has a poacher instinct.
    (6) When on form, O’Shea is the real deal. But he can’t be expected to win the middle third alone, and pacing himself for 70 mins might require some advice from more experienced guys in the set-up.
    (7) Kerry had to really call the cavalry to rescue this one. O’Conors selection next week will really show where the league lies in their priorities.

    All things considered, the more of Croke park that we get in any season, the better. We ceratinly showed (for 45-50 mins. yesterday) that we can give them a good lash, and are capabale of causing a surprise. Horan’s disapointment tells you a lot about how expectations have been lifted in the last 18 months

  26. Delighted with the display on Sunday. management should not have taken off a successful freetaker. Conor should have “let it in” -the last freebut then he won the game for us in C’Bar. Aklan Dillon the player of the league in so far as mayo are concerned??? Jason Gibbons and O’Shea great yesterday.

    Disappointed with the photograph of the Mayo team on the programme yesterday. If you are honoured to play for Mayo then you should hnour the jersey by displaying it and not cover it with a bib.
    Next Sunday’s game is very welcome and hope that the team wins before they take off for the Training Camp in Portugal.

    John Egan – May he Rest in Peace – the best corner forward I have seen in fifty years.

  27. A marvelous game, hugely entertaining and well worth the long drive.
    Regards the Gooch conundrum, there is no easy solution as every team in the country have found.
    Much as I want Mayo to win I cannot accept that the solution is “roughing him up a bit”. Nobody would consider that acceptable it he was your player, brother,son etc. With most teams double marking would be a possible solution but with Kerry you cannot leave another player unmarked to double on Cooper as they can all punish you. with a free player coming from deep Kerry would destroy any defence. The only answer is that while you may lose the battle with the Gooch you have to try to win enough battles in other areas to compensate.
    Overall I have to say that James Horan and his team seem to have done a remarkably good job in unearthing talent and giving it a chance to show itself. There is real competition in all areas of the field with at least 30 players having a shout for a championship place. Picking the correct ingrediants for the cake from that selection is the key.

  28. Good to get the draw in Kerry, to retain division 1 status and reach the league play-offs Sunday is a big plus for this Mayo team.
    We need now to travel to Croke Parke , Sunday, in the knowledge that we are well capable of beating kerry. They are just players wearing kerry jerseys and we need to adapt the attitude of the Northern teams when playing them. Show them no respect until the game is over, they wont show us any respect if they can get on top of us.
    We dont owe them any respect especially the way they have rubbed our noses in it, in the past.
    As for Gooch, a mean,, footballing corner back to make him earn any score he gets and keep the good ball from coming in to him from out the field.
    It would be a nice one to win and show kerry we have arrived and are ready and willing to match them any way they want.

  29. Keith Higgins is a top class player. He has great speed and his tackling is very good and he is probably our best chance to limit the gooch. What he needs to do is keep gooch on the outside and prevent him from getting a shot at goals. Sacrifice a few points if needs be but its the goals that kill us in every sense. Keep the gooch goal-less and we have a decent chance.
    Of course I would have nothing against the other backs letting him know they’re around when he gets posession. No dirt just pure physicality and if he gets a free or two ensure they are well earned!

  30. While Keith is our most experienced defender, I am not sure that he has ever been a great man-marker. He can be a bit loose at times and that can be fatal if you are marking the likes of Gooch, Donncha O’Connor or Brogan.
    The problem we have is that we have no-one else that has enough experience to throw into the role in a semi-final at Croke Park.
    I think we will see Keane back in the next day from the start and I think that he gives us more physical presence in front of goal.
    I see Boyle for Geraghty as the only change in the middle 8 and we have too many options up front to be sure who will get the nod. We might see big Barry to give Kerry something different to think about.

  31. Can’t ever sacrifice a few points against Kerry, sure that’s the same as a goal. They kicked 4 points in nearly 5 minutes before half time. When I say “roughing up”, I mean as diehard says “pure physicality”. He was so good the last day that Keith barely got a hand on him when he was on the ball. He did well in shepherding him though, but even in doing that he’ll still manage to open you up.

    You can’t stand off him – in front or behind. Needs to be toe to toe, hand to hand, shoulder to shoulder, 100% for an entire match. Not easy and I don’t think only 1 player can do it.

    When teams are trying to get Lionel Messi out of a game, they don’t use just one man – they switch when necessary.

    The same actually goes for Kieran O’Leary, who although isn’t high scoring, he’s a serious link man for Kerry and has caused us serious damage before.

    Shit to a blanket.

  32. A strong start will be vital, we need to hit the ground running and put them on the back foot from the start. They will undoubtedly burst a gut for a goal right at the start. Weather this early onslaught and impose our game on them! Keith can contain gooch, end of story! (doesn’t mean he wont score a few) We have to use the bench to run the legs off the Kerry backs (they are not in the first flush of youth). Make no mistake they will target AOS. If we are to rough anyone up it should be Galvin,he is susceptible and refs are not sympathetic to him. Discipline, work rate, self belief and show them the complete lack of respect they deserve. At the end of the day its 15 against 15. This crack about Kerry having the Indian sign on us is pure horse shit!!!
    Mayo to win.

  33. What makes Gooch so elusive is the way he hops the ball. He hops it to the side of his body and uses the hop to create room for himself. What we should be doing is getting one of the backs tuned in to how he actually does this and to anticipate which way he will turn when he hops the ball. If this could be achieved, it would frustrate the hell out of him and put him off his game. This is the Jack O’Connor approach of recognising the strengths and attacking them.

    I am a bit concerned that we were outscored so much when the Kerry big guns came on last Sunday. Leaving young Regan up on his own was not a great choice. I know it was 14 vs 15 and backs to the wall etc, but we needed a wildcard up front that would give Kerry something to think about. Evan did his best, but it was asking a lot of him in such a big game.

    In these situations, we have to be brave and go for the result. A small bit of unpredictability might even attack another Kerry strength, i.e. O’Connor’s ability to figure out what to do next!

    Keep the Faith!

  34. great to see jason gibbons get the start did nothing wrong as far as i could see serious contender for center field

  35. A seetled look coming to the team now.
    My team for Sunday(and championship).
    Keane Caff Higgins
    Boyle Vaghan Keegan
    O’Shea B. Moran
    Mclaughlin Moran Dillon
    Doherty Freeman O’Connor

    I see that as our strongest 15.
    Half forward line is the best in the country at the moment.

  36. Dont really agree with that team facetheball. I think I would have McHale for Keane as he has more pace. Keane played well against the Dubs I think the space in Croke park could catch him. Also Gibbons proved in Tralee that he is the most natural partner for AOS in the middle. They both have the most athleticism, are both capable of getting forward, high fielding and working defensively and complement each other well. Also I think that Conroy should be in the FF line from his last few performances.

    McHale Caff Higgins
    Boyle Vaughan Keegan
    A O’Shea J. Gibbons
    Mclaughlin Moran Dillon
    Conroy Freeman O’Connor

  37. Donaghy had the better of Gibbons the last day in the Aerial battle. I was amazed that Clarke was not aiming all his kickouts to AOS.
    Pretty much all the full forwadd line seems to be up for grabs yet. The rest of the team is pretty settled bar a midfielder and a corner back.
    O’Connor has to start.

  38. I know we had 14 men for the last 25 minutes, but history would tell you that generally the team with 14 does ok. What would concern me more was that when the “real” Kerry team were on the field they owned the ball and it was a bit of a mystery that they didnt go on to win the game, spending almost 10 minutes without scoring.
    I know we will make some changes next weekend and go back to what our strongest team is but I would be concerned it will be a similar day out to last years semi finals where we’re competivitve for 30 minutes and then Kerry just take over.
    I know getting to the semi is a bonus, but for the progression of this panel and manager, now that we are at this stage, we really do need to win this game, or at the very least come very very close. Dont mind what people might say, this wil be close to championship pitch, and given that Jack O’Connor has used the league to good effect as a springboard to a good championship in the past, they will be going all out and I’m sure we will be too. Best of luck lads.

  39. east cork exile has a few good points there, the ten minutes without scoring thing is testament to the effort mayo put in. i think mayo are going to learn a lot about themselves from that game and the next, kerry have cooper and sheehan who are two of the best in the game, seeing how we contain them is going to be a lesson.

  40. Also, yes, it would seem your season ticket is good for the match on Sunday. Just got the email there from them to print out the ticket at home.

  41. Need to starve their forwards of possession as we did for long periods the last day. The Gooch is nearly unmarkable but we have a strong half backline, midfield and half forward line who can cut off the supply hopefully.

  42. I would agree with most of the team that ciderman has posted. If donaghy isn’t in the Kerry FF line I would put Ger caff man marking the gooch. He is their main threat. Mchale full back and Higgins marking o Leary. Half back line picks itself. Keegan, Vaughan, Boyle. Vaughan has to be more physical than he was on Sunday. Id stick with Aidan o Shea and Jason gibbons. They are the best combination. Half forward line is straightforward too. Mcloughlin, andy Moran, Dillon. Up front cillian o Connor is always a threat so he gets 13. Jason Doherty is always a goal threat. He Works hard and is playing well. He deserves to keep his place at 14. At 15 it’s Mickey conroy for me. He may have been quiet on Sunday but he knows where the posts are. So my team is as follows:

    Clarke, Higgins, Mchale, Cafferkey, Keegan, Vaughan, Boyle, a o Shea, gibbons, Mcloughlin, a Moran, Dillon, o Connor, Doherty, conroy.

    On the bench we will have hennelly, Keane, gardiner, Geraghty, b Moran, Harte, freeman, Conor mort and Varley. Maybe the feeneys will be back too. There is strength in depth there……

  43. I’m probably along the same lines as you Patriot now. Freeman, Mort, Varley, B Moran and Gardiner all strong impact subs.

    @ Big Tom – for the Croke Park matches I think you need to have a physical ticket as opposed to the card we’ve been using up till now. They email it to you and you print it out.

  44. @Patriot I cant disagree with you much either. Its a toss up between Freeman and Doherty for me at FF too. Freeman has been blowing hot and cold lately but Doherty is doing well in any games he was involved in as of late. I never agreed with putting Doherty in the half forward line and thought it was a lot to expect as he is more natural playing inside.
    I agree that its time to let Ger Caff take Gooch, as he is our best man marker – despite what normal supporters think. Higgins plays about 4 yards in front and marks the space, and uses his blistering pace to either get back or cut out the ball out. That normally works for him but that wont work against the Gooch who is a master at eluding defenders when they take their eyes off him. I thought Caff was brilliant in Donegal and had a great battle with Murphy. Equally Caff was exceptional nullifying Donaghy in last years semi by going man to man.

  45. Caff is the man for cooper, Higgins will be killed again. Remember that Ryan mcmenemen kept cooper very quiete when he needed to, it can be done. Sheehan is tha other dilemma, mayo need to have some way of upsetting those fellas to have a chance of winning Sunday, winning this one would be good but I honestly can’t see it. And there is no guarantee Kerry will stand in our way this summer if we were to get that far in the championship, we should be figuring out ways to beat them. Andy Moran and Doherty in the ff line would give us a chance for goal,
    With Kerry I am certain mayo will need 2 or 3 goals to have a fighting chance.
    Not to sound defeatist but mayo losing a close game would be just fine, a scutching would be something we should really fight to avoid at all costs. Good luck to the lads, they will need it.

    Mayo 2 10
    Kerry 2 14

  46. Colm Cooper scored 1-2 on sunday including goal disallowed ,he also did a lovely flip back on his arse for the penalty ( similar return to Jason Doc are Kerry websites lighting up with fervor as to how they will hold the doc next sunday ?) he is a trickey customer but we are obsessed about him, which heightens the awe in which mayo hold kerry We need to go out with fire in our bellies and play OUR game to the max for as long as it takes extra time , the lot, that is the way we will beat them 15 on 15
    Our forwards need to be more ruthless in front of goal they showed serious signs of the jitters last day Conroy and Mort both fluffed chances to taks scores and passed the ball across the park Andy made a great run on goal but failed to spot Doc on the edge of the square and blasted to side netting
    Hope they have a bit more belief the next day I belief they will take the best that Kerry can throw at them and win playing the Mayo way.
    Forget about roughing Galvin or Gooch up these guys are not soft and as we found last aug served to wind galvin up to devastating effect – Dublin learned from this and treated him most sportingly in the final. remember his game that day?

  47. One consequence of Mayo v Kerry next weekend is that the county senior club l;eagues are put back again, this time to the last Sunday in April ( providing that Mayo are not in the league final) If they are the club leagues wont start till the first sunday in may and three weeks later is the club championship. Not very satistactory, some clubs already reporting that interest in club training is on the wane. No wonder the club player does not get a look in.

  48. The difference that Cillian O’Connor and Doherty give you id that they go for goals even if the chance is sometimes not on. Last Sunday’s goal being a prefect example and Cillian’s goal against Kerry in the AI semi final. You need this. Mort and previous Mayo forwards will not give you this. Agreed that we need at least two goals to beat them. Perfect chance to beat them. It’s the league and it’s a semi final.

  49. Just saw on twitter reports of the death of Belmullet GAA stalwart Eddie Cuffe. Eddie was also involved at county board level. No relation but a good guy. A dheis De ar a ainm dilis.

  50. We didn`t get as much quality ball into our full foreward line the last day as we did against the Dubs.I think this was because Barry Moran kept the Dublin full back line on their toes by his sheer size.
    You couldn`t leave a man that size and that near goal with much room or he could cause problems.This opened up the space for Conroy and Mort and to a lesser extent Dillon to score several points from play.
    I think the same should be done the next day and vary the ball coming in and we could do very well.Kerry have no natural full back…we need to be hitting our full foreward line with lots of quality ball.

  51. Big Tom

    If you are not still on the MAINLINE(RS) they will exchange ticket for your cards at the venue (or have done in the past)

  52. The fact that Aiden o Shea runs out of steam late on in games when playing mid field could be used to teams advantage and give him a breather as well, by moving him into full forward for ten or fifteen minutes ,and if Barry Moran was in there, a direct switch would be a simple move, not upsetting team.
    Just a thought.
    I believe Jason Doherty should be played in full forward line as well. , he has an eye for a goal, is an honest player and does not shy away from winning dirty ball.

  53. Barry Moran must be deployed as the target man on the 14. He may not have the finishing skills of a traditional full forward, but as many posters have commented already, he offers bulk and creates alot of hassle in there. If he can learn a few tricks – timing his runs and movements better he will open up alot of space for the wing forwards to attack the open space.

    Mayo must score goals on Sunday. If it comes down to a shoot-out on points alone Kerry will win. Sheehan lethal from dead balls.

  54. I agree. Putting Barry Moran into FF is a good idea in my opinion. Marc O’Shea is Kerrys FB and while he has plenty of pace he is not a big guy. And neither is Brendan Kealy the Kerry keeper.

    Barry also did very well against Dublin and they allways had to have 2 men reasonably close by him to watch him just becasue of his size.

    It freed up space for the 2 corner forwards. Also Barry scored a great point against Dublin.
    If he got a little bit more comfortable with the position he could turn into a real asset there.

  55. I think we should definitely start big Barry at 14 on Sunday. He may only have scored a point against the Dubs but I felt his presence in there kept the Dublin backs honest for long periods and helped provide Conroy and Mort with the room they needed for those early scores. I could see him having the same disruptive impact against Kerry and I’m not sure a forward line with Jason Doherty at 14 would have the same impact (though Jason would be very much in the running for one of the corner positions) as I’d fear we’d risk creating a situation where Kerry would deal easily with our first attacks and then throw us back on the defensive when they got going. We need to attack them from the start and the best way to do this is with the team that started against Dublin (with Ger Caff back for McHale, Boyle for Geraghty and then a toss-up between Geraghty and Gibbons for the second midfield slot).

  56. I feel we have to beat Kerry sometime, and why not Sunday next, the talent is there, the motivation and the spirit. It looks like Mayo have a game plan that is working.
    We really need to win this one, we should have the legs on Kerry in the open spaces of Croker, curb Sheehan and Cooper and we make the Final.
    What coffee shop are we meeting after the game to celebrate.

  57. Now that would be nice, Kerry getting worried about Mayo throwing lots of high ball into a good full foward with two good corners working off him in Croke Park, and how are they going to deal with it….

  58. I haven’t heard any news about either of them, David, but I’d say we could rule both out for the remainder of the league campaign at this stage.

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