Kerry 1-20 Mayo 1-11: no stirring second half this time

Well, we’re out, beaten by nine points by a team that blew us away over the course of the second half at Croke Park today. It’s painful to admit it, more painful still to sit here and write about it, but it would be churlish not to acknowledge the fact that Kerry were clearly the better side today and that they fully deserved their win over us.

But, for our young team, today’s experience in Croke Park – though bitter now in the immediate aftermath – will in time be seen as a valuable learning exercise. As a result, today should, from a Mayo perspective, be viewed as a start and most definitely not be seen as any kind of end.

We were all enormously proud of the lads – and rightly so – after the wonderful way they took down Cork in the quarter-finals a few weeks back. We should be equally proud of them tonight, both for how they went toe-to-toe with a great Kerry team for long stretches of today’s semi-final – a match where the likes of Kieran Donaghy, Declan O’Sullivan and Darran O’Sullivan were allowed to contribute far less than they would have been expected to – but also for the stirring championship campaign they’ve given us this year. 2010 was a real low point for us but this year (once we got over the Ruislip near-miss) the lads got better with each outing and so we exit this year’s championship in a far better better state than we came into it. James and the lads deserve our heartfelt praise and thanks for all they’ve done to make this happen.

We had a very enjoyble night out in Bowe’s last night and there was a good deal of confidence then – which I very much shared – about our chances today. Over our pints we were in agreement that Kerry would do their utmost to try to bury us at the outset and when the action got underway at HQ this afternoon that’s exactly what they attempted to do. With a movement that was obviously honed on the training ground, within seconds of the throw-in the ball was fed at pace to Darran O’Sullivan whose goal attempt was deflected wide by Robbie Hennelly.

Kerry persisted with this Plan A for a full ten minutes or so and O’Sullivan got through for a second shot on goal in this period but this time hit Robbie’s head rather than the target.  Having survived this initial onslaught – with Enda Varley claiming the day’s opening score – we then enjoyed a good spell, which saw us lead by 0-4 to 0-2 after 20 minutes. That fourth point was thumped over by Donie Vaughan who was already prominent at centre-back for us and at that stage it looked for a while as if we were going to gain the upper hand in the battle.

Ger Cafferkey was having an unexpectedly good time on Donaghy and Keith Higgins was keeping tabs on Darran O’Sullivan, who never got any clear sight of goal after those two early chances. At the other end of the field, Enda Varley was showing well for the ball and Andy Moran was unlucky with a goal chance that would have really set the cat among the pigeons had Kealy not managed to bat away his goalbound shot.

But despite all these positives you could see even then that we weren’t winning enough at midfield where Sheehan and Maher were content to spoil the ball and let the other lads operating in that area pick up the breaks. Kerry killed us in this sector all day – showing the kind of intensity that we had done against Cork in this sector three weeks ago – and that’s the first obvious reason why we lost today.

With Kevin McLoughlin playing sweeper, the danger was always that we’d give Kerry a platform to attack us and that’s what they did with increasing effect for the remainder of the first half. Time and again they came forward, probing patiently, and over that fifteen minutes our two-point lead turned into a three-point deficit as they hit us with five successive scores without reply. A monstrous point from way out on the left by Andy Moran left us two down at the break but you could see then that something would need to change if we were going to get on top in this contest.

The obvious change was to bring Ronan into midfield to replace the labouring Aidan O’Shea but a switch in this sector wasn’t made until Kerry had begun to pull clear and when it was, it was Seamus and not Aidan who left the arena. Ronan’s introduction, however, did nothing to alter the shape of the midfield battle and our decision to abandon the sweeper tactic and play Kevin McLoughlin as an orthodox wing-forward also meant that the space was starting to open up for Kerry in our backline.

We needed a strong opening to the second period but points for them by O’Leary and Sheehan saw them move four clear. We answered in kind with scores by Donie and Andy but that was as close as we would get to them. Three times in succession after that we gave the ball away in situations where we were under no immediate pressure and on all three occasions Kerry went up the other end and scored. And then they scored three times more as well to leave us eight adrift.

Cillian O’Connor’s superbly taken goal gave the huge Mayo following in the 50,000+ crowd a brief glimpse of hope but this was immediately extinguished when Cooper smashed home an emphatic response at the other end. We were seated down at the Hill end of the Lower Cusack and so I didn’t have a great view of it (and I’m not sure I have the heart to watch it again now) but I found it hard to see how Gooch was able to get his shot away in the manner that he did from where he was.

We were goosed then, for sure, but we kept up the fight with Andy – who had Marc Ó Sé swinging out of him as he let fly – desperately unlucky to hit the post with his third goal attempt of the day. Donie had an even more clearcut chance soon after  but he couldn’t keep his piledriver under the bar. Gradually, the fight went out of us after that and as the clock ran down Kerry added more late scores in an increasingly leisurely way. The margin crept up close to double digits by the end and although most of us would obviously feel that we didn’t deserve to lose by nine points, that’s what the scoreboard said at the final whistle.

It’s desperately disappointing, of course, to lose and, once again, to have to endure defeat at the hands of Kerry. There are things we can point to which could, if events went a different way, have altered the course of the contest. Chief amongst these would be the refereeing, where I thought David Coldrick was desperately poor and clearly bought Jack O’Connor’s midweek spin about us “playing on the edge”. No matter how you parse it, though, Kerry were the better team today and when they floored the pedal in the second half we simply didn’t have the means at our disposal to stop them.

Losing to such an experienced side having given as good as we got for much of the contest is no disgrace and while it’s an old cliche for a team in this situation to claim “we’ll be back” it’s not at all fanciful to believe that we will. We’ve made enormous progress over the course of 2011 and so we’ll start next year much further down the development road. We know now that we’ve got the makings of a very good team and we can and should be confident about where James Horan is taking them. In his first year at the helm, James has sifted carefully through all the available talent and after this campaign he’ll have a better idea about what areas need to be augmented further. As a result, when we get going again next year I’ve every expectation that we’ll be a stronger and more cohesive outfit than we were this year.

Tonight, the pain of defeat is once again a raw wound but whatever pain those of us who sat in the stands imagine we are suffering from, we know that the players will be hurting far more. It’s only right, then, to sign off tonight by thanking the lads once again for all their efforts this year and for giving us back a definite sense of pride in the county team. Chin up, lads – you will be back and you’ve every reason to expect that a large following will once again be there when you are.

Mayo: Robert Hennelly; Tom Cunniffe, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Richie Feeney, Donal Vaughan (0-3), Trevor Mortimer; Aidan O’Shea, Seamus O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin, Alan Dillon, Andy Moran (0-2); Enda Varley (0-2), Alan Freeman, Cillian O’Connor (1-3). Subs: Ronan McGarrity for Seamus O’Shea, Lee Keegan (0-1) for Feeney, Aidan Campbell for Freeman, Jason Doherty for Varley.

75 thoughts on “Kerry 1-20 Mayo 1-11: no stirring second half this time

  1. Amazing how the Mayo fans came out in force today and could be hardly seen against Cork. I believe fairweather fans would sum that up.

    Overall outclassed by a far superior side with better footballers.

    Back to the drawing board lads.

  2. Don’t forget, we were never supposed to get this far. Sure there’s a massive amount to work on, but the experience was invaluable. And I’m not even an optimist!

  3. Dont agree John, ok we lost to a better team today but most of our lads are early 20s. We will improve, need to keep positive and build on a fighting performance. I see huge similarities between us now and Cork in 2007, there is an all ireland in this team IF we continue to build on this seasons progress and keep knocking on the door. Keep the heads up lads and continue to improve and our time will come. Im sure of it.

    As for fairweather fans, well thats just silly. In any sport, success breeds interest and a bigger fan base. Don’t know what county your from but our fans are no different to any one else, and in fact are probably more dedicated than many other counties I could mention. Will all the Kerry fans who will attend the final in their thousands but wern’t there today also be classed as fair weather?

  4. No, no, no… There’s no ‘back to the drawing board’ after this – that’s the attitude that’ll see Horan out on his ear and the likes of Tommy fucking Lyons in instead.

    I’m not trying to put too positive a spin on this. We were deservedly beaten and by a far better team. But we rattled them for long periods and, had we taken a couple of our goal chances (or taken points from them at least).

    We stood toe-to-toe with Keery for the first 15 minutes of the second half and there’s no shame in coming off second best. We might be lacking in certain areas in terms of quality, but the approach to the game and tactics were, I think, the correct ones. They just didn’t work as well as we might’ve hoped.

    The last thing we need is a knee-jerk reaction to losing to the best team in the country. Just think where we were this time last year – out of the championship for 10 weeks at this stage – and where we are now. The law of diminishing returns tell us we can’t progress by the same extent again, but we can improve and with a few better players in some areas I genuinely think we can push on over the next couple of years.

    There’s no shame today, only disappointment.

  5. Beaten by a better team – that’s true but it’s not back to the drawing board.

    We were down on where we needed to be primary possession wise and that was hurting us badly. Turning over possession we did get then compounded the problem. BUT we can fix that.

    The defence overall was very good. The O’Sullivan’s were largely kept quite as was Donaghy. Lack of possession cut off supply to our forwards though.

    The key is to look forward now – tough as that may be today.
    We need to build on this year – improve on our weaknesses and come back stronger next year – otherwise this year was for nothing

    Very proud and optimistic of what I saw today though

  6. John, your ‘back to the drawing board’ comment is disgraceful. Today was disappointing but there is still plenty to build on in the years ahead.

    You yourself are the definition of a fair weather fan and are exactly the kind of ‘supporter’ we don’t need.

  7. I think we have made progress,
    both our FB & CHB played very well.
    Mc Garrity did nt improve midfield & perhaps Kilcullen would have been a bettr sub.
    Forwards did very well on the ball they got.

  8. Just back in. We went toe to toe with the best team for the last twenty years and came off second best through lack of experience mainly. If we can keep this group together (management and players) then we will see the fruits in the next few years. Too often we throw out the lot and start again and we MUST avoid kneejerk reactions this time.

  9. Disappointing, glad they put in hard fought display. If we had bit of luck with goal chances in both halves it may have been different. The 9pt margin flatters Kerry. Shame we couldn’t have stopped coopers goal so soon after ours. The place was buzzing after we scored the goal and ye never knew. Kerry did seem to have plenty in tank in 2nd half and Galvin introduction did add a bit of extra bite to the match which didn’t suit mayo. Felt we got sucked into it by Kerry which suited then.

    Ah well connaught champions and a win against reigning all Ireland champions not a bad season. it was good to see the large mayo support for the team today. Fair-weather or not, lots of families with kids who may have experienced Croke Park for the first time, andre grownup to be our future heroes

  10. a lot of positives for the year, so hopefully everyone stays together and regroup and give it a good shot again next year. Mayo ABU. we will get there

  11. Yes there are many positives to take away from this excellent performance by a young Mayo team, remember we were only down by two points at H.T. when was the last time that we were that close to Kerry at H.T. The team have come a long way since last season, and I know this campaign of 2011 will give great encouragement to the Team, panel and Manager.
    Kerry have been in the last 10 Semi Finals, and we gave them a rattle in many areas of the field. What beat us in the finish, was I have no doubt EXPERIENCE, and CUTENESS, yes Mayo will be back in 2012.
    THis Kerry team gave some hammerings to the present Cork Team, we beat Cork handily, the All Irelamd Champions, won Connaught, and for long periods were very much in this game, yes we had no luck with the run of the ball.
    All we need is to improve our decision making when on the ball, my we had plenty of it, I was impressed with the spine of the team in particular the F.B. AND C.B. Ronan McG. was off the pace, felt there were other options at that stage, Alan Freeman did not deliver, should have been taken off earlier, Andy was excellent all through, a great player.

    Look we should take all the positives from a great Summer for the Senior Team, they gave us great pleasure since June.

    Roll on 2012 for this panel of players.

  12. To be sure, it’s a disappointing day as several of you have already said but we have to keep plugging away at it.
    Horan and his team have done a wonderful job this year and if he keeps doing the same thing or similar next year and the year after that then the team will improve even more and those two extra games we needed to win this year might be down to one next year and none the year after!

    I don’t give a damn if someone’s been at every club match in the county this year or just the one semi-final up in Croke Park as long as they care about the team in their gut and in their heart. Who’s to say who the “better” Mayo fan is!

  13. have to agree with wardjnr and others in the same vein.

    we had a very good first half, but Kerry just have better players, more experienced at this stage of the season.

    we got tired in the second half and had to chase the game as we were three or four down so something had to give and gaps started to appear.

    the tiredness led to sloppy fouls, Aidan once and Ronan McGarrity twice in particular, though he was only just on. they couldn’t sustain it today because Kerry are a better team than Cork

    Kerry were favourites in everyone’s opinion and rightly so, they and Tyrone have dominated the last 8 years – we are in year one

    it is a young fearless team and we should be proud of them all today – losing to one of the best teams in history is no disgrace

    look at Donal Vaughan’s stamina to get into goal position twice, Cillian’s goal, Aidan’s burst through for goal – we gave a huge effort and we have a potentially great young team to compete with the best over the next 5 years

    you don’t throw out the whole system just because we lost to a great team – we’ll be back, wiser and smarter and improving all the time and i’m sure most sensible supporters would realise that

  14. Firstly, very disappointed that we were beaten again, by a what i can only say was a very good kerry side. The mayo team and manager done us proud today, and i do believe that if not next year this mayo side will win an all ireland.
    Today it was the experience of the kerry team that won them the game. Working well to gather this young mayo team can and will get stronger. So on that note lets not knock them and look forward to a better result next year.

  15. Just back home…tired and proud of a great effort. No shame in being beaten by a superior team when you have given your all. I thought the loss of Gardiner as an impact sub was significant when you compare it with the impact Paul GAlvin had on the game. Thought we abandoned the sweeper system too early in the 2nd half giving Gooch too much room to work his magic. Awesome diplays by Cafferkey, Vaughan and Moran. Great spirit, great heart. If they hold onto those qualities and learn from experiences like today we will be very competitive over the next few years. Well done lads.

  16. We can certainly take heart from the way we played, with a bit of lick some of them goal chances would have gone in and Kerry would have been broken. We need to build on this for 2012, keep focusing on the positives and eleminating the real points. Well done to the Mayo lads and all the fans that came out in support.

  17. Today was disappointing but only because this team has genuinely given us grounds for hope and raised our expectations again. Horan has done a fantastic job in less than 12 months with this panel. They will end the year ranked in the top 4 teams in the country – this is a long way from Pearse park in June ’11.

    Today felt different after this defeat. It feels more like the start of a journey than the end (unlike ’04, & ’06).

    The positives this championship were many:

    – Physicality: this was superb – so many man on man big hits. Mortimer & AOS in particular put in some beauts this afternoon. This has added a new dimension to our game & has earned us a new reputation.

    – Accuracy: this team are better now in front of goal. Less wides this year. Also not afraid to shoot for goals.

    – Spirit: never-say-die attitude. Even today they never gave up. Us supporters showed our appreciation & stayed with them until the final whistle blew.

    – Intensity for turnovers: I felt it was lacking a little today but there were a few glimpses. However it was there in abundance v Gal. Ros, & Cork though. More of the same in 2012 please.

    – Key positions sorted: MF now sorted. CB too; Vaughan excellent this year (esp today). FB found; Cafferky came of age this afternoon. Freetaker found.

    The negatives can all be addressed over the winter:

    – Decision making: on more than one occasion we simply chose the wrong option in scoring positions. Kerry always appear to take the right option. This also goes for giving the simple pass after we’ve broken through a few tackles. AOS & SOS must learn to ‘give and go’. Ditto Alan Dillon. Slowing the play down gives the opposition time to regroup and we lose momentum.

    – Lack of Experience: This will happen naturally. Our run this year will stand to us.

    – We need a no.11 – ideally a pacy center half forward. If he’s big & strong all the better! Maybe Aidan Campbell is worth a proper run here.

    All in all a great summer with plenty of grounds for optimism.

  18. back to the drawing board my hole ( sorry wj ). The lads gave 100%. Scoreline hurt a bit but the effort was so encouraging. We can take a lot from this, future a lot lot brighter than 12 months ago! Thanks to all

  19. A great learning curve, was always going to be a great upset or a battlehardening loss, the disappointment I have is only slight because the dream didn’t come true. No nightmare of a capitulating defeat defeat here though, just an educating exercise on the road to future glory.We made errors,yes, but we also learned a lot of what needs to improve for us to go the whole way………..no witch hunts or complete overhauls necessary……..when the doctor gives a bottle of pills it is not with the instruction to take the whole bottleful at once.
    If Mayo can keep this squad together over the next few months and years, then success will come……Kerry would have beaten anyone today because they had ‘the gooch’ in top form and the older (maybe slower paced) but,wiser heads , not to mention ALL the luck………..our lads snatched at it a bit and were a bit too goal hungry……….kerry took their points and were more clinical……that comes with experience and with making all possession count. Aiden carried the ball into the tackle once too often, again , but that is also a learning point, Andy was great but need more close support, Ger Caf was supreme and is probably the only one of a few in the whole of the country able to deal with Donachy……it wasn’t easy there today and we did get sucked in to the Kerry game but this will cahnge, I am sure of that………..As for the supporters……..well all of them, ‘fairweather or not have had a lot of disappointment over the last decade and all need that spark to set the spark in their hearts again to become the flame that this team has delivered to date this year and which,I’m sure will burn brighter and brighter over the next few years to come……….Mhaigheo Abu,Abu

  20. Back to the drawing board was perhaps too strong a comment- but realism would be a good attitude. Mayo will reflect on this year and look at the job as being half done- some successes this year and progress made- esp when you consider what happened at Pearse Park Longford last year- but the gulf in class needs to be bridged. That said, their new found tougher attitude and physicality gives good grounds for optimism.

  21. Proud of the lads – real progress has been made this year. Today was a learning curve for players and mgt. – however the heart and no small amount of skill shown by the team is encouraging. Better forward line won it for them, no complaints! Just contrast it to where we were last June, and very early July!!!

    Am watching the Sunday Game – galling(!), especially from the Mayo man on the sofa. No emphasis on our positive play or Cillian’s goal – instead over-blowing of a few manly tackles by A.O’S & Vaughan, and to crown it all, talking about protecting some of the Kerry golden boys! No mention of Kerry’s general time wasting, unnecessary bringing on of physio to break any momentum he had, third man tackles on the half-forward line and deliberate blocking of quick-free taking. Lazy analysis in my book!

    Maigh Eo abú – proud of players and management. Roll on 2012!

  22. You said it all WJ. Diaapointed, kinda proud. Something to build on for the future. Enjoyed Bowes.

  23. Well threre was a kick in the hole. Lads were good in first half. But turning points were kicking hard earned ball away, goal chances not taken and galvin murdered us. Thought Caff and Vaughan were brill, and fair play to cillian and andy in keeping us in game. Very disappointed now but i know we will win sam someday, maybe we are one step closer 2nite.
    By the way thought McStay was sickning on Sunday game. He is no Mayoman.

  24. well done to mayo team today ye be back again ye a yong team stay together and ye win an allireland .

  25. Very Proud but disappointed and hurting.
    Back to the drawing board? Perhaps but at least there IS a drawing board now and a pretty good draughtsman in James Horan as well and some of the bits are already in place.
    Now we know the level at which we have to play to win an All Ireland – and boy oh boy that level is very high indeed – Kerry scored 20 points with seemingly no fuss whatever. I wondered afterwards where the hell those 20 points came from but looking at the Sunday Game they took almost every opportunity that came the way (except for the early goal chances!!! WOW!)

    As regards our forward I wondered what Freemans role was – he seemed lost and could well have been replaced. He needs to establish himself as an out and out scoring forward near the goals.

  26. Just to second Willie Joe’s comments and thank the team and management for a year we didnt expect. There have been days I have nearly headbutted every tree and lampost coming out of Croker my head was so down but today was certainly not one of those days. I saw a great effort from the team with certain individuals giving performances I never saw coming. The plan was there – they gave it their best – they adjusted things but you have to say we were the 2nd best team today. Hopefully lessons can be learnt that will bring us further in our quest for the Holy Grail.

    Thanks again lads – I’ve really enjoyed Mayo 2011

  27. Great balance in those (25) comments lads……And I’m delighted to see there’s no bullshit reference at all there to ‘….a loss is a loss’ etc as a friend of mine will unfortunately always say in these circumstances……No it’s certainly not ! A loss where you fail to stand up to the opposition, where you lie down and get slaughtered is one thing. But that Mayo team today showed absolutely no fear of Kerry. They got stuck into them gamely and manly from the outset and impressively held out for that initial 10 minute phase where Kerry intended to bury us with goals…..What a ruthless strategy, fair play to them, but we defended like dogs, with a bit of luck thrown in, and weathered that storm. Our fellas gave everything during that phase and I was very proud of their determination not to let the Kingdom through. In the past (I.e. 2004/06) we’d have crumbled and it would have been game over well before half time. I think ‘First Gen Dub’s ‘ specific observations above are spot on. This was a performance full of positives to take away and build on, the energy sapping running and covering by our guys was serious. Donaghy was so well marked and neutralised for the whole of the first half. The Moran point to pull it back to 2 just before half time was massive.
    And the scoring chances we missed were great chances, well taken, but so unlucky not to go in.
    When Kerry did get pulling away, to be fair, it was down to their experience and determination. Gooch scored a few beauties, Donaghy at midfield was more effective, but Mayo battled to the end. On reflection, it was nothing like the 2004/06 efforts. This is year 1 of a new young team. If James H can keep that belief, workrate and determination going, they’ll get better and better.

  28. I wonder is this the end of the road for Ronan McGarrity? He didnt add anything today when he came on.
    Also who might be challenging for a pace next year?

  29. Absolutely heartbroken! I really thought in the first half we had them!! I am so proud of the Mayo team – they are definitely made of a different metal and they are young and I honestly believe they will be the team to bring Sam home – It will happen and when it does – oh how sweet that victory will be! Fair play lads! The people of Mayo love you.

  30. Back in my bunk in Clapham after the day in Croke Park, I can only see our team improving after this. In the first half I definitely thought we were going to do it but Kerry found that gear in the second. Very happy with how the season has gone and looking forward to next year.

  31. Genuinely gutted tonight even though as many state here, it is a learning curve but i totally believed we could have turned them over today especially on our 1st half display, i have to say as much as it hurts, what about the gooch today? unbelievable! The man is so talented and naturally so, kinda privileged to witness it even though it hurt bad. Have to say i though Kerry used every trick in the book today to play out their victory, lots of time wasting and niggley

  32. fouls, very unwelcome in the Gaa and no real mention of it in the media, ps the ref was awful today! Heads up folks!

  33. Hey Willie Joe I bought you a drink last night in Bowes and you never returned the compliment! whats the story

  34. Apologies, John – I officially owe you one now! Hopefully we’ll have another session at some point before too long (I had hoped there’d be a pre-final pints but that’s off the agenda now) where I can clear the slate.

  35. Not long home and delighted with all the support for the team here on this site after the performances this team gave us all year.These comments contrasted to the gobshite behind me on the train to Maynooth .This prick from the south of the county had his mind made up for him(obviously not too many inter connected brain cells available to him) he would never be seen in Croke Park again same old story etc.
    I was going to open up on him and start by saying that he probally wasn`t at the Cork game or probally any other game this year,but I spotted just in time that he was much bigger than me(with a big bald ugly head) so I decided to let it over my head as this type of ignorance is actually bred into certain people!
    He fucken annoyed me the moran.
    I would like to take this oppertunity to thank James Horan and his team for the crack all summer.We can have no complaints we were beaten by a better team but the lads went down fighting and thats all we wanted to see.
    Please stick together and with the set up you have it won`t be long til we have our day out.
    COME ON MAYO!

  36. Just want to say well done to the Mayo lads. They didn’t lie down and kept fighting. Something to build on for next year. And well done JH. Great work.

    Unfortunately now we have to read/listen to the tripe of the possibility of a classic Kerry v Dublin Final for the next week, and possibly more if Donegal don’t do the business. For some reason Dublin have proven themselves to be in the same class as Kerry in recent years!

  37. Would have to echo a lot of what was said in previous comments, especially First Gen Dub, an awful lot of positives coming out of 2011. We know have a serious framework of a team there, no doubt it will need 1 or 2 reinforcements and improvements in performances but its a long way from looking at the team in Ruislip and wondering where we were actually going.

    What was most disappointing was the final scoreline, I thought it was rough on our lads as I didn’t think we deserved a 9 point defeat. Could also get stuck into the analysis and start wondering if McLoughlin was deployed correctly today or whether Richie Feeney suffered for too long on O’Leary but at the end of the day we were 2nd best, no harm in being honest and looking at where we need to get better. I’ve no doubt we will and 2012 will be worth looking forward to, judging by the crowds back in Croker today (and in Flannerys last night and Quinns this evening) I’m not the only one who thinks so. One wonders what the hell we’ll be like when we win the thing.

  38. In many ways this was a strange game yet it pretty much played out as was predicted. We knew Kerry would “blitz” in the first 15 mins and sure enough they did, but with little success! Mayo seemed to have weathered the storm, albeit with a bit of luck and Hennelly’s quick reaction. Andy got a great score just on the stroke of HT to close the gap to two and we felt a little better about it.
    Brolly went on to say at HT that Mayo must have been happy going in at the break only two points down, yet even with the Kerry near misses, I was disappointed we weren’t two points up. We missed some easy ones and that turned out to be crucial. After the restart, Kerry upped it a gear and were soon cruising. Galvin’s introduction was key and I felt he upset the balance of the Mayo psyche. In contrast, McGarrity’s introduction added nothing to our middle. He was just way off pace.

    But this game wasn’t lost by the McGarrity or O’Shea turnovers, rather it was won by Kerry’s superior firepower and overall big time experience. Kerry (and especially Gooch) were expert in their decision making and deadly in taking what chances came their way. Example Coopers goal, he had no business winning that ball, yet he did and buried it. From there on in, Kerry slowed the game down, made a meal of a few fouls and suddenly couldn’t seem to locate their free taker! all the while valuable time was ticking away.

    At the end of the day we were beaten by a superior team and while its disappointing, there’s no reason to be ashamed. Disappointed in the final scoreline for it doesn’t tell the whole story of how the mayo lads didn’t hang their heads and battled to the end.

    This season was a surprise to everyone and it was brilliant to be in it in August! Yes, its over for this year, but when the game tapes are reviewed, there is plenty to be optimistic about. Roll on the league and 2012.
    Mister Mayor

  39. PJ, I must have met that guy coming out of the Davin Stand. Talking loud enough for everybody to hear, he gave a more than passable rendition of the Wests and in particular Mayo is fcuked. It was awful. Then he targeted a few young kids wearing Mayo jerseys and carrying flags and started to give them advice. The advice was “dont twaste ye’re time folling them fckers” etc. I couldn’t stick it anymore so I told him to shut up and cop on. I then became the lightning rod.

    Obviously we lost but all is not lost. In fact we now have a base to build from. No more major aim of lowered expectations. Simple and nice clean target of actually going to and watching OUR team playing and doing a fine damn job of it Sir.

    Met Samuel Maguire and it made my day.

  40. Kerry were the better team, no question about that. However crucial goal chances were missed that really have to be taken at this level. Vaughan had a good game kicking 3 points is a great return for a centre back, howeve one of those was a clear chance for goal. Aidan O Shea went on two good runs, however nothing came of either of them, had he lifted his head and passed the second time instead of thinking about the headlines the next day, Mayo would probably had a goal. Andy Moran is a fine spirited p[layer but missed two half chances for goal. Fullback Claff had a superb game and is some find. The lack of mobility of the midfielders is something that will need to be looked at, I would not consider Kerry to be particularly strong there, however they destroyed Mayo’s. Also Kerry seemed physically far stronger than Mayo, I suppose their average age has something to do with it.
    Was dissapointed with our own minors, who were out classed by a better Tipp team, fair play for keeping the margin of defeat low and despite been second best could have won the game if passes did not go astray at crucial times.
    As for Mayo going back to the drawing board would be ludcrious, need to work on a reliable score getter from play, mobility of midfielders and God knows a bit of luck against the bigger teams would be no harm either. Good luck, the hurt and pain will go away and once the Turkey is eaten and a stretch in the evening comes, we can resume our border hostillities and dream of bigger days – to win just once.

  41. You have the analysis on the Mayo development spot on First Generation Dub, this panel will bring us a title, I have no doubt. I agree that perhaps Ronan wil be fighting next year for a place, Alan Freeman was very disappointing, I felt sorry for him, but his day will come, a lad with so much talent. Lads Kevin McStay was a disgrace on the Sunday game, he never highlighted all the good Mayo performances i.e. Vaughan, a class act at CHB, aNDYS ROASTING OF HIS MAN, AND HIS GREAT POINT, Cillians fine game and Goal, he did which I felt was wrong highlighting in a bad way the new Mayo Fight and Steel to their play, sure Vaughan was totally right his man was hanging out of him, and we were all delighted to see Galvin on his arse, another Steely to our play, and what does McStay do then but defend and talk about Galvin, who has been on the edge more often in his footballing and private life, what a sham, All these hits by Mayo were nothing different than what Tyrone, Kilkenny in hurling and Kerry do and get away with all the time.

    So lads when ye see Mr. McStay the Rebel in Ros. or Mayo dont be afraid to tell him, that he is not helping Mayos cause at all, with his cynical assessment of Mayos new breed of talented players.

  42. Good man, James, thanks for the kind neighbourly words. Disappointing outcome for both counties yesterday but plenty of positives too for 2012. Looking forward to seeing the draw for Connacht already – we must surely be due to get paired with Leitrim in the semi by now!

  43. well put,the difference was experience and cuteness.-the old dog for the hard road and all that shit.it can only have been seen by the players and especially jh as a masterclass on how to win games at this level…very proud to be a mayo man today,i think jh may have learned more than anyone just how far away[or close] we are to the finish line, what mayo learned today was 10 times greater than what they got from beating cork.cant wait for2012 MAIGH EO ABU…

  44. Good article WJ. The team and management can be proud of themselves for their work this year. Lets be honest with ourselves though and say we are still well short of AI standard. Tactics and organization can be worked on and refined and that will yield results as it has with Dub, but 4-5 starting players also need to be found to replace ones that may not be up to AI standard. I am not sure those 4-5 players are available but time will tell.

    Just some brief observations:

    1st Gen Dub, JJ and others have commented on this already. The lack of pace in our forwards was so obvious today. It might be heresy but could Keith H be converted to a half forward?

    Mobility in MF. The 2 o’Ses are not a balanced MF. Could a player like Pat Harte with S O’Se be a better ticket?

    A lot of comment in the papers and on the Sun Game about Mayo being dirty. You have to laugh. This is something we hould foster. For too long we have been a soft touch. Mayo need to become a team others really dont like/fear playing. yesterday was a good start in that respect.

  45. Better than ’04 and ’06. We really needed to have maybe 13 out of the 15 playng really well to beat them, but that was not the case. Thought we lost it at midfield and our half foward line. Freeman looks totally lost away from goal and should have been moved back in close to goal. Tomas O’Shea had a field day on him. I thought the subs could have come on much earlier(10 mins into 2nd half) as it was clear the likes of Seamus, Feeney and Freeman were really struggling.
    We need to find a few more players. What about Keane that played full back in the minor team few years back and Kirby from that team as well.
    There is hope future but I really wish that those whores down south would just go away and take up
    gymnastics, beach volleyball or knitting.

  46. Thank you Mayo for a great year. Who would have thought that a Mayo Full back and Centre Half Back would play so well against Kerry in a all ireland Semi. Remember at the start of the year these were our problem positions!!!
    We are putting togeather a talented team. Cillian is a great bonus, Aiden is only 21, and is still learning his trade. Andy and kevin are now some of the top forwards in county. And there are many other positives.
    Now is a time for us to stick togeather as a county and support these lads. We have no god given right to win an ALL Ireland. As James Horan Says, Hard work and a good positive attitude is what is needed.

  47. Leaving Croke Park yday,it didnt feel like we had lost by 9 pts and as has been said,plenty to build on.Thanks lads for a great summer,you’ve raised our spirits and taken our minds off more depressing subjects ps Sunday Game never showed Andy’s great score at the end of the first half,prefering instead to allow that wishey washey yellow McStay to pontificate about Mayo’s ott(according to him)tackling.What utter shite from a clown who didn’t know how to even give a good shoulder.Galling drivel from a so called Mayoman!

  48. Delighted to see Horan give the referee a pasting in one of the papers today. O Connor whinged about Mayos tackling being edgy ealier last week and had the ref spooked. Was obvious in the amount of handy frees they “won”. My heart sank when I saw this guy. Finally if it was Horan who bleated about Kerry tackling the papers would have devoured him but Jack is a Kerry man and you dont stick the boot in. Donaghy from where I sat went out side the line but despite the linesman sprinting behind him we never got the line ball. Apart from all the above sensible suggestions and comments we desperately need to get the problem of poor officialdom sorted especially in regards Mayo.

  49. Ah Yes – On the road – the feeling is entirely mutual – delighted to see you again even if I was a little dissappointed you didn’t have the corncrake perched on your shoulder. If I had realised there was a “bloggers conference” in Bowes on Sat. night I would have gone to it – – – if only to see the heads of the mysterious pseudonyms on this site. Wasn’t too far away from you, Willie Joe at the match – was talking to your brother – didn’t realise we are near neighbours. Well we are back on terra firma this morning after the Guinness anaesthetic is beginning to wear off – – – and it doesn’t feel that bad. Mayo football is in a much better position than it was this time last year and I think James Horan has to take most of the credit for that. We are “work in progress” at the moment. Having said that I thought he could have made other changes yesterday – Cunniffe was just unable to get tight to Gooch who was doing huge damage. Geraghty was an option as he has done well on him before. Freeman was having a bad day at the office and should have been replaced earlier – – also I thought he might have shoved Kilcullen into centre forward to give us some physical prescence there and give Brosnan something to think about as he was commanding that area. Ah I suppose there is no point having too much of an inquest – – it has been a good year – we have improved and we can look forward to the end of the club championship. Onwards and Upwards.
    On the Road – – – – after your excellent contribution about the corncrake – – – – is there any possible chance you might consider doing a special feature on the curlew. As I’m sure you are well aware it appears his sperm count is fairly low as well and is also in danger of extinction – – – and you know we don’t want him to go the same way as the DoDo! Up the Green and Red ! !

  50. Hi WJ
    Great follow-up on the match. Your analysis is pretty perfect. Watched the game again on telly and the analysis from 3 amigos and in fairness to Brolly he was very insightful.
    He thought that we in the first half were playing very well and even though Kerry had got 2 scores ahead they were having to work awful hard for them and he made the point that the level of effort in getting those scores just does not last for 70 minutes. And he’s right. Pity we couldn’t keep it up. He also said AOS was cumbersome and tired and in fairness he looked it.
    As you pointed out we were bet out the gate in the middle third and really that’s why we lost the match. They had the platform here and that’s why Gooch was able to get such good scores. The delivery into him was consistent and good and it allowed him the freedom to cause havoc.
    One other point to note was the issue regards Paul Galvin.The whole Mayo crowd focussed on him and in turn our players seemed to as well and some possibly lost sight of the bigger picture as a result.
    People don’t seem to realise that Galvin actually thrives on this. Bringing him on was a masterstroke for Kerry as the negative attitude towards him solidified their team and their supporters behind them?

  51. I was very proud of the lads yesterday. I thought we survived the early onslaught well, grew into the game but ultimately the class and experience of Kerry came to the fore.

    Overall I would think we’d have to be very satisfied with the progression made by Horan and Mayo this season. We don’t have to content ourselves with defeat, simply learn from the experience and build on it next year.

    I thought Vaughan, Higgins, O’Connor and Moran were all superb yesterday. The two O’Sheas will learn from the experience and the likes of Freeman and Doherty will have better days in Croker.

  52. No shame in being beaten by one of the best sides that have ever played the game, certainly in my lifetime anyway.
    This game will bring us on a lot in the future. Trevor Mortimer is the only 30 something that played today, so we have much to build on with this group of young players.
    Thanks very much to all the players and management for bringing back pride to Mayo football. Amazing to think where we are now compared to last year.

  53. Actually Samuel I am presently working on a raré avis, especially in Mayo. Its called the lesser spotted Sam Maguire, an uncle of your own. This is my 59th year working on the project and I hope to have him in the cage before the big guy above looks to see my ticket and then punch it. Great to have seen you on Sunday.

  54. Lads, how can anyone give out that the ref was harsh on us yesterday? We were lucky to have 15 on the pitch at the end yesterday. O’Shea elbowed Galvin right in the puss right in fron of the ref. After that Keith Higgins gave the dirtiest dig of all with that knee into O’Sullivans ribs (not the first time he gave a cowardly belt this year). Don’t know why our lads were trying to wind up Galvin anyway, he thrives on that stuff…

  55. The vibe here is commendably very positive. I agree with the sentiment and praise directed at the players and management for a year where a lot of progress has been made and great heart/desire was shown. I think we did our very best and the players deserve enormous praise for that – they never threw in the towel.

    But today, I’m feeling a bit despondent. In my opinion there’s quite a large gap between us and Kerry and I think they can lift their game another few notches from yesterday. We all hope to win an All-Ireland but we don’t appear to have the personnel – which to me is a sobering thought.

    I don’t want to sound overly negative. The lads brought pride back to the Mayo faithful this year and we’re all grateful for that.

  56. Last post for this year. Overall lots of positives for this team. We are still lacking more firepower, a solid midfielder and two tight backs. Not convenced by keeper. Next year is good opportunity to develop. Won’t be easy. Keep going mayo. All stars for Keith and Andy. Near miss for trev and Cillian. Last thing, we showed Kerry 2 much respect. Next time let’s not repeat the lesson. Kerry ……..tic toc , time is running out foryou.

  57. Remember51, all star for Keith Higgins? Are you for real? He got the run around yesterday from Darran O’Sullivan, who could have got 2-3! Andy Moran deserves one and Cillian O’Connor won’t be too far away..

  58. Not sure what way to take that message,Ontheroad – as judging by the “pep in your step” marching down Jones’s Road yesterday it will be many decades before the big guy gets around to punching your ticket so it would appear that project you have embarked upon with regard to that rare bird Sam may well be a long term job. I think you might have a better chance with the good auld curlew. Over and out.

  59. Cillian O’Connor is in with a good shout for young player of the year. Andy Moran should get an all star. What was he man of the match 3 times this year? Can’t see any others – maybe Trevor in the backs or Donal Vaughan after his performance yesterday.

  60. We have had a great year and a team now that has real potential. The disappointment will fade but it might take a few days. We done to the team and management.

  61. MuigheoGoDeo, you have summed up my feelings exactly. I have had a knot of dispondence in my stomach since yesterday and it has nothing to do with the great effort from all yesterday.

  62. Richard. Let this thought lift you. When we find out what exactly was the thinking of placing Freeman so far from danger and when we figure why Tomas O Se and Brosnan were left to their own devices , then we will be in a better place. James Horan will have learned invaluable lessons from yesterday.

    More importantly, he will act upon them. Former Mayo keeper JJ Costelloe pinioned on the return to form of Kilcoyne, Conor, Conroy and Barry Moran plus some of the better minors of 2008/09. Add in the re siting at centre forward of Aiden O Se, maybe a role for Kilcullen and we see the future is more than bright. Better , Connacht thanks to our exploits this year will be more competitive. Galway wont like to see us progressing. Roscommon will want to progress a bit more. We have no choice but to drive on. The ship is set fair and the lessons will be heeded.

    In 1993 we got an unmerciful tanking from Cork.Three years later many of the same personnel came within a kick of a Celtic cross. This team are in a good place. Cool heads, building more blocks and no sacred cows will ensure that.

  63. The likes of Conor Mortimer, Shane Nally, Kevin Keane and Kilcoyne will add to the existing panel. We lacked a little bittle of nous on and off the pitch yesterday but that’ll come with time.

  64. Lads n lassies…..agree with majority of sentiment here and I believe we have the capability to go all the way with more improvement and hopefully some of the lads that made up the 3 decent minor teams we had in 07, 08 and 10…. we most certainly need improvement in attack. BUT… i see alot of ppl refering to the fact that we beat Cork – yes, but it was a depleted cork side that were missing 3 prominent forwards and a side that were prime for the taking after being talked up all week 6 days after handing out a heavy beating to down…. we got that Cork team when they were at their most vulnerable. OF COURSE take positives from the fact that we won that day, but I wouldnt be getting too carried away with it – beating them at their best wud be an even greater challenge and if we are to get over the line in terms of winning an All Ireland then in all likelihood we will meet them again. They have a conveyor belt of talent comin thru as do Tyrone – so we need to improve, bring in more young talent and i have every faith we can. The minor team we had that lost the replay to tyrone was an outstanding team – just happened to come up against an equally class team. The minors we had that lost to armagh in a final had a very good defence and the minors that lost the semi to tyrone last year had some lovely forwards – so I think the signs are hopeful.

    Mite be good to see us have a better run in the u21 next year.

    Up Mayo!!!

  65. …and Willie Joe – thanks for the reports during the year – always look forward to reading your stuff.

    Onwards and upwards for next year boys!!!!

    Keep the Faith!

  66. Really there’s a massive gap between us and the likes of Kerry. Being honest about it, Kerry won with a burst of excellence in the second half and then when it was secured, shifted down a gear or two to slow the game. They won pulling up lads. I’m just not sure how we close this talent gap with this group iof players…and thats not knowcking the effort and comittment of the players.
    I think JH must cast the next farther and wider in the off season on a few key positions.
    Mister Mayor

  67. I disagree Mister Mayor. Comparing us with Kerry is too easy – these guys are seasoned campaigners with alot of medals in their gear bags.

    The talent is there and at James Horan’s disposal. Some notable players to come back in. The team will benefit massively from their Croker experiences this summer. JH didn’t instruct his players to kick a few balls short or into their opponents arms. This has nothing to do with talent. It’s called composure and this comes with experience – the ability to take the right option when under pressure.

    ‘Ontheroad’ is spot on with a role for AOS at centre forward. He is a handful when running straight and can be coached to give the pass at the right time. Dillon is better on the wing where he can play the angles better – he is inclined to drift out there anyway.

    McGarrity still has a part to play. He was injured for most of the year and so struggled with the pace of the game. Anyone that has played knows how difficult it is to adjust to the pace of a game when your team is losing!

  68. Very well structured First Gen. Dub. as always you have got it right for Mayo Football, plenty of talent in the County, this match yesterday was a huge learning curve for James and his backroom staff.

  69. Just want to say a BIG thank you to the lads for this year. I started off shakily but we grew and grew as each game went by.
    They put in a massive effort yesterday and for me the chances we had etc there was no way that the game felt like a 9 point beating.
    Donal Vaughan was outside Jurys afterwards, I made sure I thanked him and the team for their efforts because no doubt some gobshites will criticise.
    Whilst disappointed about the result there is a lot to look forward to in 2012. Oh and I did make my TV debut on The Sunday Game Live (as the teams came round to the Hogan Stand) and also on the End Credits of The Sunday Game last night!
    Mayo Forever!

  70. I think the margin was rough justice on Mayo although Kerry were far more clinical. As a Connacht man and obviously shouting for Mayo yesterday i was surprised at Keith Higgins. Second time this season he has been lucky to stay on the field. Although his knee dig on O’Sullivan was not nearly as bad as his punch on young Mark Hehir in the Galway game it is unlike him. In general Mayo are on an upward curve but ye will need to find a few more forwards and midfield is not mobile enough. Aidan O’Shea is a ball winner but lacks mobility although his powerful run in the 2nd half deserved an end product. Your defence was fantastic for much of the game and Vaughan had a brillant game. Your motm by a country mile. See ye next year when hopefully we can adopt some of this new found physical approach as believe me Kerry might be artists of the game but by god they are no shrinking violets when its comes to mixing it.

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