Kingdom reinforcements for Castlebar

It’s too early in the week yet for team announcements for Sunday but the papers this morning have some news from the Kerry camp. Both the Irish Independent and Irish Examiner have reports on the reinforcements being added by Eamon Fitzmaurice to his Kerry squad since the opening two rounds of this year’s league campaign.

The Indo has an interview with the Kerry boss, in which it’s confirmed that Marc Ó Sé, Darran O’Sullivan and the Dr. Crokes contingent – Johnny Buckley, Fionn Fitzgerald, Daithi Casey and Kieran O’Leary – are all back in training with the Kingdom, though not all of them are expected to feature in Castlebar. While the evergreen Ó Sé is, I’d say, a cert to line out the next day, O’Sullivan had a double-hip operation last October and it sounds as if he’s being eased back into action so is unlikely to start against us. I’d say he might feature at some stage, though, depending on how the game is going.

There’s a piece featuring Johnny Buckley in the Examiner, where the Crokes man – who I’d say will almost certainly displace the lumbering David Moran to start at midfield along with Anthony Maher – reckons that his clubmate Kieran O’Leary is unlikely to play on Sunday due to an unspecified knock. The other two Crokes lads could also be in the frame to start at MacHale Park.

I see that the poll here on the site is showing strong support at the minute  – 77% of all votes cast – for a home win. Paddy Power seem to agree with this assessment, as we’re on offer with them at a measly 8/13 to bag our first league points on Sunday.

41 thoughts on “Kingdom reinforcements for Castlebar

  1. I know its a simplistic enough analysis but I have been of the opinion over the last few years that if you stop Maher you stop Kerry. We should be good enough at midfield to do so.

  2. Mayo will win this one by 5 plus, and all the negative talk will dissipate and chat of the third Sunday in September will begin AGAIN in earnest.

  3. I hope you’re right Rossoneri, it’s time to put a good performance together just to steady the ship and you can’t beat Kerry often enough.
    Team selection will be interesting, I want to see Freeman named at FF and Boyler returned to the half-back line. Roll on Sunday

  4. Isn’t it good to have the players that are able to let us dream about September ?
    Nothing beats the feeling of knowing we have fellas that won’t give up, representing us.
    Mayo by 3 points on Sunday.

  5. Just a hark back to Connacht winning Railway cup since 1969 . If you take Mayo from 1964 to 1988 (25 years) a period where it has been suggested we were less than the sum of our total parts we can glean the following. The Minors won 3/4 of their All Ireland finals. The U21s won 3/5 of their finals. The seniors won 1/4 of league finals.

    Take 1989 to 2014 (25) we see the Minors have a strike rate of 1/7, U21s 1/5, seniors 1/4 league and Banquos ghost 0/7 senior finals. Interestingly we were more successful cup wise in a period seen mainly as desert.

    I still believe the players like Corcoran, Morley, Langan, McGee, Cribben, Fitzgerald, Carey, Early were never replaced. WJ, Burke and McStay belong to pre 1989 for their peak years.

    A few seasons ago a debate raged here viz a viz the merits of Conor Mort v Joe Corcoran when Conor passed out Joes record of scores. Hard to credit that Conor is younger than Dillon but seems written out of Mayo history as we still struggle to find six functioning forwards who work in tandem. For sure he may not be the solution but neither are what remained after him. Kerry by four and Mayo on the trap door.

  6. Jeez John that very pessimistic of you…is it the weather?
    I agree with your statement about Joe C, Langan, Morley etc..( all before my time, but their exploits, described by me dad are still in me head) .
    However, despite our problems up front, I still think we can pull this one off and buy some more time to experiment a little. It will be close, the home advantage will play a part, I think, Mayo by 2.

  7. Can’t see why all the optimism. Very poor so far. Kildare were no great shakes and our team is weaker for Sunday. Hope all the positive noise is right but would be very nervous based on first two outings.

  8. Morley, Langan, Corcoran et al were certainly great players but for some reason they achieved very little for all that talent. They were in their prime when the great Galway 3 in row team ran out of road. But two Connacht titles and one league [out of three finals] was all we had to show. I cannot describe my disappointment when Roscommon knocked them out in the Connacht Semi Final immediately after their 1970 NFL win. Roscommon repeated the dose in 1972 after a great first round replay win over a very good Sligo team. These outstanding players were reinforced by some excellent players from the 1966 minor winners. Who can forget Seamus O’Dowd slicing Galway’s defence open in the 1967 semifinal? Certainly nobody who was at the game. But they never came close to winning an All Ireland.
    Regards Conor Mortimer I’ve said it before and will probably have to say it again, but it was he who walked out. He was never a good team player for all his scoring achievements. Nor did he ever achieve much in the big games, e.g. the two All Ireland finals he played in. I have never done an analysis on scoring rates through the decades but am pretty sure that they have increased with each succeeding decade which must be taken into account in comparing Corcoran’s and Mortimer’s scoring records.

  9. mayoby3points, didn’t expect to pick up any points from first two games . john cuffe says trap door I say we will make league semi final se us up nicely for the championship

  10. The names you have listed out the John were in truth great Mayo players. Amazingly they won very little. League title v Down but little else. Some of them played in Connacht winning sides in 1967 and 1969. Since then our much maligned forwards have taken us to seven All Irelands yet those great men you named out never made it to one. Perphaps its time to acknowledge the great work done by O Mahony, Maughan, Moran and Horan for qualifying for finals with such supposedly sub standard forwards. By the way John I hope your prediction is well off for Sunday and even if we do fall through the trapdoor its not the end of the world.

  11. I saw all those players and they were indeed great players. They came up against one of the greatest teams of all time in Galway. However, we have players now who are as good as those heroes of yore if not better.and its my belief there is more to come from these lads…….an all Ireland to be specific.
    141MO SAM
    Now there’s sticking me neck out!

  12. Oh and there is NO comparison between Joe Corcoran and Conor Mortimer. Corcoran played fewer games……..60 min games……and all frees were off the ground………on awful pitches!
    he also broke Red Colliers collar bone if my memory is correct and that was one hard Feck*** bone.

  13. I read an interesting quote in today’s Indo, it was as follows:

    (The only reason I look back is to go forward, so I don’t look back and summarise where we are so much. I look back and try to calculate how we can get forward.)

    This was said by the Irish Rugby Manager, Joe Schmidt. I thought of this quote when I was reading the above posts. At the moment we are as close as we have ever being to winning an All-Ireland title. At the week-end we had six players involved in the first Interprovincial win for Connacht in 45 years. A final which we won by 15 points against Ulster, the province that has taken this competition the most seriously the last few years. In 2013 we also had 4 players who were voted the best in their positions as was the case in 2012 as well. Also in 2012 and 2011 we had the player who was voted the young player of the year. This year so far our Intermediate and Senior club teams reached the All-Ireland final. With Castlebar having the chance to win the All-Ireland club title in a few weeks time. We have won three Connacht titles in a row for the first time since the 50’s. I think that we have a lot to be optimistic about anyway! At the moment we have some of the best player’s that have ever played for Mayo. Their age profile is mostly very good too, with a lot of players entering their prime. Our minor team are also current All-Ireland champions. I’d prefer to be looking ahead to the next 25 years of Mayo football. So the question is, how do we manage to get forward, to win the holy grail? Fingers crossed that we will finally get over the line and win that very elusive Senior All-Ireland title. Roll on the week-end!

  14. John,despite all the heartbreak of the last number of years, I’d much rather be competing for the big one than be back in the 60s and 70s when we could barely win a Connacht title. The nearest we came in that era was the 1969 All-Ireland semi-final when Kerry turned us over by a point (and they went on to win Sam) and we missed a 14 yard free that could have drawn the match for us. It was another wasted era in terms of Mayo football when we had a team that was good enough but we didn’t believe in ourselves.

    There were some great footballers in that era and I believe (Jinkin’) Joe Corcoran was the best and most skillful footballer that I ever saw play for Mayo.

    Why not be confident about Sunday, no reason we can’t win this one and get the year rolling !

  15. By the way I just read in the Galway Independent that Keith Higgins is the first Connacht man to win Inter provincial medals in both hurling and football. He won his hurling medal in 2004 and followed up this year with the football one. Now all he has to do is add the Celtic Croos later in September t0 make the collection even more unique !

    A good one for the table quizzes in years to come, they’d all be thinking Galway.

    Well Done Keith !

  16. The area on the field that I would have most concerns about, would be our full-back line. If Ger does not play, then we will be missing the 3 players who played in the full-back line in the All-Ireland final against Dublin. You’d expect Keith Higgins to be moved back, to add some much needed experience. This is the area that we have been the most vulnerable in, during our first two games. With Kerry’s best player, James O’Donoghue, being very dangerous and with potentially their best line against our full-back line, we need to be very wary. If we come out on top here, we should be in with a great chance of getting our first two points on the board.

  17. Agree there All The Way, without doubt Joe Corcoran was the most talented player Mayo ever produced – he had it all, was as hard as nails and possessed as fine pair of thighs as one would wish to see !

  18. Willie Joe, I wouldn’t worry about what Kerry team turns up on paper this Sunday.

    JH, DB and the management team have enough to do to get a winning 15 and capable subs out and impose ourselves on the opposition in front of the home crowd.

    One fact about Kerry though is that when one Colm Gooch Cooper isn’t playing, the scoring average of the Kerry forward line falls by half.

    If we get stuck in to them and impose our game plan on them, like Castlebar did to Crokes, I think we can win well on Sunday, and our year starts then.

  19. It remains one of the great mysteries of Mayo football as to why Jinkin Joe didn’t take that particular free instead of Seamus O Dowd. He would have kicked it blindfolded wearing a secondhand wellie (and still might today!).
    Our telly nearly packed in with the abuse it took as a result and the granny wanted to call in the priest to have the house blessed.

  20. Mayo will win their home games and could yet reach a semi final with half a team turning out. The negative brings out the worse in us all. As a young man I found watching JC a most exciting experience. His skills level was immense. Today we have 15 just like him. Different era different game. Hope lies in the future and not the past.

  21. Brilliant Diehard, I got a great laugh reading your last sentence. I’d say the telly repair man was busy all over the county the week after that match. And yes you’re right it is one of those great mysteries, why oh why didn’t Joe take that free ?

  22. I cannot understand the pessimistic mood of some of the posts. The performances against Kildare and Tyrone were entirely to be expected when you consider where the fitness levels and sharpness of our lads were compared to our opponents. In fact, I think we performed much better against Kildare than I expected us to. In Omagh, fair enough we were soundly beaten in the end but if we had scored just 1 of the 3 first half goal scoring chances it would have been a very different match.
    Anyway, we are where we are and I expect a Mayo win and a solid performance to get our campaign up and running. McLoughlin, A. O’Shea and Higgins should be a lot sharper after their run outs with Connaught and our first game at home should ensure a good atmosphere. Mayo by 4 points.

  23. Having seen the openers this year and last, I’m more impressed by what I see this year.
    Have memories of Willie McGee going up for the ball and coming down with it stuck to his chest. Reality or time games.
    You can be sure, though that Kerry are only talking of 2014 onwards.

  24. Agreed Pebblesmeller -I think the three additional weeks of collective training will have brought on our performance levels considerably come Sunday.

  25. I feel the three weeks training will have sharpened the lads up a bit. Think we will win by four.

  26. Hello to all. On my way to dublin airport and gutted not to be around to see the game Sunday. Havent seen much football of late and certainly havent seen much of gyms or swimming pools!! Although I do miss the competitiveness.

    Mayo have put themselves into a difficult position after the first two games played, kerry a must win..

    Any way I played against joe corcoran in chicago as a 19 year old. He must have been 40 at the time and sporting a heavily bandaged knee but he was still extremelly talented and tough.. so I can see how people here who seen him play as a young player see him as a super talent. But best ever mayo player, this has to be a joke!!

  27. For what it is worth, this is what I would go with.
    Assuming the injuries to Barrett & Cafferkey have not cleared up and that Vaughan and Seamus O’Shea are not considered fit enough to start the game, this is my side…




    A. O’Shea

    A. Gallagher
    A. Moran
    B. Gallagher

    D. Coen

    My reasoning is this…
    I would sooner keep McHale at 6 and play Keane at 3 but lack of options at 2 means Keane has to go there. Higgins back to offer pace against O’Donoghue and experience to an otherwise unsettled back 3.
    I would have liked to see S. Coen flanked by Keegan & Boyle in the half back line but I think Keegan should go to 6 to offer a bit of protection to the full back line and Harrison deserves a run after his FBD form. We lose a bit of attacking impetus by moving Keegan inside but injuries/unavailability dictate.
    Gibbons deserves his start regardless because his form and been terrific for county & province.
    Adam Gallagher at 10 is a no brainer and I’d like to see A. Moran at 11 getting on breaking ball and delivering quick foot passes into the full forward line. B. Gallagher offers height & running pace with ball, plus he can shoot from distance. But, his primary job should be to feed Freeman with accurate diagonal ball. The fact that Gallagher is left footed means he won’t have to turn inside and beat his man to do this, it should be easier do this from 11.
    Coen needs a game and I would get him positioned close to Freeman to be available for the pass. Coen is a finisher but needs to be given ball he can work with. Conroy needs a start and his form for Connaught (1-1 in the final) should see him in good form.
    All of the above is pure fantasy of course and Horan is probably bursting his gut laughing at the non sense of it all. But hey, sure it’s only crack.
    Mayo by 4.
    Hon Mayo

  28. Full team here.

    1) Robert Hennelly – Breaffy
    2) Brendan Harrison – Aghamore
    3) Ger Cafferkey – Ballina Stephenites
    4) Kevin Keane – Westport
    5) Lee Keegan – Westport
    6) Shane McHale – Knockmore
    7) Colm Boyle – Davitts
    8) Aidan O’Shea – Breaffy
    9) Jason Gibbons – Ballintubber
    10) Kevin McLoughlin – Knockmore
    11) Andy Moran – Ballaghaderreen (Captain)
    12) Keith Higgins – Ballyhaunis
    13) Adam Gallagher – Mayo Gaels
    14) Alan Freeman – Aghamore
    15) Michael Conroy – Davitts

  29. just beat me to it JPM!

    Looks as strong as it could be I think. Glad to see Conroy and Freeman starting even if they didn’t set the world on fire so far. These are confidence players; remember Conroy was our star forward in last year’s league and Freeman wasn’t far off that accolade for the championship.

    Not sure about Gallagher as a corner forward, but it will be interesting.

    Full back line – not sure about it, but we’ll see.

  30. Well – probably just beat you just by a whisker catcol 🙂

    Glad to see Boyle back in 1/2 back line. I think FB line needs protection and we look strong in the middle third. All serious players there so should be able to defend high up the pitch. Hopefully will take pressure off the FB line as a result.

    Will be interesting to see how FF line does. Big chance for Gallagher to stake his name for a place.

  31. So Cafferkeys hamstring DOESN’T keep him out. Harrison & Gallagher in the corners is a new one and an interesting one. Gallagher to roam further out the field perhaps and leave a 2 man full forward line with space to play?? Glad to see Freeman there as I believe he is our no.14 and happy also to see Andy at 11 (as I predictated) because he lacks the speed needed for a corner forward but has the power and passing ability needed at no.11. This is the 6th game in a row for McHale at 6 and deservedly so but the man possibly must under pressure in our back 6 is Keane. He needs a solid unspectacular performance and, if nothing else, to restrict his man in having any influence on the scoreboard. I can see a lot of positional switches at throw-in though.

  32. Harking back to the aul days when to die was to die and not to dye. You can always depend on the doom and gloom merchants around Mayo to have an opinion. Fully understand that if you allow yourself to be taken by the scruff of the cuff too many times, than those times are not for changing until they change. Even if Mayo do win the bigun, some will still moan, too little to late or some other doom and gloom warblings. All are just opinions from the ones that love Mayo most. After all this time. it’s just a love/hate thing. It aint never nothing personal.

  33. I would have thought that speed off the mark is essential to collecting breaking ball so if Andy Moran lacks the speed needed for corner forward how is he going to fare on the 40? Going on Andy’s performance in the All Ireland final I have no fear of him having lost anything. If we had a full team available I would have him in the corner but given the hand we have to play with I’m OK with him on the 40.

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