League permutations

Photo: RTÉ

It might all be forgotten about in a few weeks once the Championship – with all those lopsided provincial ties to look forward to – rolls around once more, but it must be said that the National League is great fun. And this fun is set to continue this year up to the final round of regulation matches on Sunday.

Division One has been mad from start to finish this season. Aside from Kerry, who have dropped just a single point and are in the final with a match to spare, everyone has been pretty much beating everyone else, so this means it’s largely all to play for in Round 7.

This is especially so in relation to the two relegation slots. Usually by now one of these berths would have been filled but not so this year, with every county in the danger zone fighting for dear life.

Five of the eight teams in Division One – basically, everyone else bar Kerry, Armagh and ourselves – go into Round 7 with the threat of relegation hanging over them. To add to the complications, three of those in danger – Donegal, Tyrone and Kildare – still have a chance, albeit only an outside one, of making it to the final.

One of the few things already decided ahead of next Sunday is that one of Dublin or Monaghan – who meet in Round 7 – will definitely be relegated. Both of them could be, regardless of how their clash in Clones goes, but this depends on what happens in the matches involving the teams above them.

From our perspective, a place in the final is there for us if we manage to rouse ourselves from our current funk and beat Kildare the next day. Even if Armagh – also on seven points – also beat Donegal in Round 7, we have them on the ludicrously unfair head-to-head rule so, regardless of what the Orchard lads do, a win for us and we’re off to Croker to meet Kerry.

But if our destiny is in our own hands, then the same is true of the Lilywhites. Everyone’s tip – mine included – for the drop this year, Glen Ryan’s team have shown admirable battling qualities in this campaign, with landmark results to their credit – the draw against Kerry, a first win over Dublin in 22 years and then a nine-point win over Monaghan yesterday.

Kildare’s away record is, admittedly, poor and our home-from-home results this year have been a whole load better than what we’ve managed at MacHale Park in recent years. We’ll be favourites to do the business at Páirc Seán the next day but it wouldn’t be the shock of the century if the free-scoring Lilies turned us over either.

Even if they do, however, we could still make the final, providing Armagh lose as well and the points difference remains in our favour. Which it might, or might not.

There are a few good pieces online today that go through all the various permutations in the detail – John Harrington on GAA.ie, Colm Keys in the Irish Independent and Paul Keane in the Irish Times.

The GAA League Tables account on Twitter (here) has a veritable mine of information so anyone interested in a serious way in the various permutations could do a whole load worse than checking this out as well.

The bottom line regarding Division One heading into Sunday is that everything, bar Kerry’s guaranteed place in the final, is still up for grabs. It promises to be an interesting – and, for some, a nail-biting – afternoon’s football. Even if it is only the League.

94 thoughts on “League permutations

  1. WJ If Kildare beat us wont they finish above us on head to head. They have 5 points now. A win woulld leave them on 7 and therefore above us if Mayo and Kildare are the only teams on 7. If three teams finish on the same points it goes to score difference ( I think) Does that meann Kildare can qualify for final?

  2. If it comes down to teams on 7 points, you have to fancy Armagh, unless they lose fairly heavily in the last round.

  3. @Paddy Ban, I don’t think you’re correct there. Yes if Kildare beat us by 3 or more points and Armagh lose then we cannot get to the final but it doesn’t mean Kildare automatically get to it either.

    If Kildare were to beat us by 3 points and Armagh were to lose by less than 7 points then Armagh would make the final.

    My understanding is that if more than two teams finish on 7 points and at least two of them have the same scoring difference then the team that has scored the most will be the team who will go to the final to meet Kerry.

  4. Viper, yes, but Tyrone could score a landslide win, highly unlikely(!) and in theory qualify. Right now, the probability is that Mayo or Armagh make it, odds with us.

  5. We Mayo supporters will probably get a much better insight as to regards the likely outcome of our upcoming home/away from home fixture versus Kildare, after the team are picked, usually Thursday… I think we will know if we are up for it or not, long before Sunday…Our neighbour’s, and Rivals, Galway v Roscommon another interesting conundrum for Galway.. Simple for Roscommon, they have put out their strongest possible team, to secure a win and definite promotion.. Galway on the other hand, don’t need to play a full strength team at all, they are already in the Final, if they play a weakened/experimental team, and the Rossies win, the Rossies will definitely have something tangible to show for their 2022 efforts with promotion to Div One, and Galway will almost certainly play a full strength team in the final regardless. Interesting, which version of Galway that is named, will it be the Dr Jekyll Galway, or Mr Hyde Galway that turns up at Dr Hyde Park?

  6. Exactly right Leantimes. We will know exactly what more we want from the rest of the league when we name our team/26 this week.

  7. Galway will pick a fairly strong team for Roscommon I imagine..

    While the manner in which they’ve walked through the division has been impressive, I think the most satisfying thing for Galway fans is that Joyce has more or less found the bones of a settled team – for the first time in quite a while. He won’t want to disrupt too much at this point I suspect

    Whether the 15 he’s gunning towards is good enough to truly challenge for championship is another story, but its a world away from the situation of the last two seasons, where he came into championship without a clue as to their best personnel/strategy

    To be fair to them the shorter league format was not good to them at all last year

  8. I’ve been reading a lot of posts over the last few days and the common theme seems to be talking about championship v Galway.
    The league is a great competition, and if Mayo win on Sunday the will be in a league final, which is a tremendous proposition. Galway despite winning all their games still are by no means the finished article.
    In relation to the championship, Mayo have at the moment a better keeper , definitely better 6 backs and definitely a better midfield partnership.
    Having watched the Tyrone game it shows there are severe issues in the forwards, but they can be rectified with a few changes. James Horan has the upper hand on Joyce also so Mayo will still be strong favourites for April.

  9. JH has to play his strongest available team on Sunday – if we lose to Kildare then its 3 losses on the trot in competitive games going in to Galway game. Hardly ideal. If we play our best team and win it’s a league final. A League title would be a serious momemtum boost at this point. Experimentation time is surely over now.

    As bad as we were on Saturday (and it was really poor) the addition of Hennelly, Harrison, Durcan, Do’C, Hession etc would be a serious boost to any team. Bench options of AoS, KMcL, Coen (tough to leave out), Loftus etc
    Possible team
    Henn,
    O’Hora, Harrison, Keegan
    Durcan, Mullin, Plunkett
    Ruane, Flynn
    Hession, DoC, Carney
    RoD, Orme, J Doc

  10. We need to be winning this one lads, three defeats on the bounce ahead of Galway would not be good for confidence, especially with Galway in form at the moment. In spite of being in a relegation battle, Kildare have been very unlucky to have come narrowly out the wrong side of a few tight games (against Tyrone in particular) and they have some dangerous forwards in Daniel Flynn and Jimmy Hyland. Hyland especially did a lot of the damage when the Lillywhites beat our U-20s in the All-Ireland final a few years back.

    I suppose no word has come concerning the fitness of Cillian, Diarmaid, Brendan etc.?

  11. Dont shoot the messenger here and i know im jinking things, but am i right in saying that if we qualify for the League Final, tickets will cost extra for Season Ticket Holders. ?

    Even though the Season Ticket costs 25% more this year, various ‘perks’ have being removed. Admission to the league final being one of them, at least that’s what the Ticket Office has just told me after emailing them. I asked if access to the finals would be included regardless if your county was involved or not, as i would go even if we weren’t playing.

    Its a bit of a kick in the…. if you ask me.

  12. Absolutely agree with those who think we have to go out with intent to win this game. We do not want to have lost 3 on the spin before our big game next month. Getting Paddy and Diarmuid back alone will hugely strengthen that team. Will be a very difficult game to win as we tend to struggle against Kildare.

  13. Hadn’t known that paddyjoe but it wouldn’t surprise me. Very disappointing for season ticket holders from the competing counties. League finals were always covered in previous years

  14. Looks like the League Final isn’t covered under the Season Ticket, specified below only the round matches are covered.

    The GAA Season Ticket covers the following for your county:

    GAA 2022 Allianz Leagues round matches in selected code
    Opening match of GAA Senior Football Championships
    Opening two matches of GAA Senior Hurling Championships
    For the remainder of the championship, the Season Ticket holder can log in to their account and purchase championship match tickets for their County. There are a variety of routes to the All-Ireland Final in both codes and the prices for each game along the way do differ.
    All Ireland Senior Club Finals

  15. That’s disgraceful- didn’t realise that we’re not covered for a league final. Look at how expensive the ticket has become.

  16. The first round of championship used to be covered by season ticket also.

    So, that’s 50 euro extra and 2 games less.

    We have 2 tickets in the house costing 500 euros. It’s a lot of money!!

  17. Very poor value and I was blinded sided that also, so increase the price reduce the perks. What’s the logic? The GAA never fails to surprise.

  18. Very sly by the GAA & I completely missed this.
    Would this count as our only opt out if we didn’t purchase the ticket for the final? (all hypothetical of course). One to note for the season tickets, only one opt out allowed. Its annoying too, tickets have to be purchased for championship matches, as opposed to just being billed for them. Very easy to get caught if one was away or otherwise engaged

  19. I was checking the results archive to see if a JH team had suffered 3 consecutive defeats before in all his years in charge.

    We lost 3 on the bounce in the 2012 league campaign.
    Down
    Donegal
    Cork.

    We made a good recovery to then beat Dublin and then draw with Kerry in the final game to get to the league semi final where we beat Kerry and
    then went on to lose the final to Cork.

    We also contested for Sam in 2012.

    Someone had made a comment on a previous thread that Loftus had enough chances and shouldn’t be picked to play again.
    From last weekends game I would ask, in the case of maybe 5 of our starting forwards.
    What did they do to merit been selected the next day ahead of Loftus ?

    At least Loftus has shown, many times, that he can kick points from distance and is a very good long kick passer, all of which was lacking last weekend.

  20. It not, Maigh Eo Abu. Yet again, the Dublin match is being shown live and there’s a hurling game on too. That’s it as regards live TV coverage on Sunday.

  21. We’ll all have to tune into MWR by the sounds of it! Truly, the GAA is in the stone age as regards the potential of streaming services (which they charge plentifully for abroad, I might add).

  22. Donegal will beat armagh so I have been told by a Donegal player and he is very confident too he thinks mayo will draw with kildare

  23. @Revellino – I don’t want to be overly critical of Loftus, he was a promising player back in 2017, but there is no strong reason to think he should command a place at this stage.
    He is physically unimposing and not very fast. His tackling is not very good by intercounty standards and he cannot field high ball in contested areas.
    The reason for his selection last season – as far as I can tell – was for point taking and long range passing. Thinking back to 2017 he gave a brilliant long pass to Andy for his goal against Kerry in the semi final and presumably the hope was that could recreate this. Unfortunately, during last season his level of score taking and the standard of his long passing were nowhere near effective enough to warrant selection when you consider the other weaknesses in his game. This was particularly evident in the final where he kicked 3 awful wides that sucked the life out of us at important times in the game.
    The emergence of Jordan Flynn as a more powerful midfield presence with long passing and score taking in the locker means that door is effectively closed on a starting place at midfield for Loftus.
    That leaves the question of whether he warrants selection in the half forward zone. Unfortunately, I don’t think so.
    Our half forward performance on Sunday was very poor but there are reasons to persist with most of those players nonetheless. McLoughlin has been a hero for Mayo for years and is coming off 2 long club seasons with no break. He has earned the right to play again. Towey, Carney and Hession are all guys on the way up. They need to be given more opportunities. Fionn McDonagh is more marginal but in light of his injury the question of his selection won’t really be an issue for Galway in April.
    We need to be clinical about this. The is no way that Loftus would still be under consideration if he played for Dublin, Kerry or Tyrone. I struggle to see him getting a place in Galway either. Why should it be different in Mayo?

  24. Technically Horan lost 3 games in a row in early 2014.

    Lost the first two league games, and in the FBD league before that.. however if you only count “competitive games” you could include the 2013 All Ireland final as the first of the 3

  25. Think some of the reaction here has been a bit over the top. Essentially we were missing half our championship team the last day and other lads out of position. Horan tries this often during the league – have guys play out of their usual/natural position to make them better footballers. Remember Paddy Durcan in the full back line and how his marking out the field improved from that.

    I reckon our championship team is shaping up as follows:

    Hennelly
    Keegan O’Hora Harrison/Plunkett
    Durcan Coen Mullin
    Flynn Ruane
    Carney DO’C E McLaughlin/AN Other
    RO’D J Doc COC/Orme

    Think goalie, backs and MF nearly pick themselves. A couple can swap in and out depending on fitness. Hession, Plunkett, McLaughlin, Brickenden very close. It looks like AOS is being lined up for an impact sub/defensive-holding midfielder role as it goes. FF line again nearly picks itself with Tommy C out but would be worried about lack of pace there. Cillians injury also a big question mark – all being fit Orme hasn’t done enough just yet in my view. HF line is my big worry. DO’C is playing great and has 11 nailed down. After that it’s a fair drop off in performance. You could throw a blanket over what Walsh, K McL, Boland, McDonagh and Loftus have done this year, very up and down. Carney has impressed me most in his relatively short time playing there so he gets the nod. Then I’d give the other wing to E McLauhglin – for his pace alone. Otherwise we are a pretty slow unit, albeit one where the FF line can all win there own ball so maybe quicker, longer ball would be needed.

  26. @ P
    On recent evidence I don’t think Tyrone, Dublin, Kerry or Galway would straining to sign many of our forwards bar Ryan O’Donoghue, who has been exceptional and would walk on to every team in the country.

    Taking a look back at Conor Loftus and how he did last year, he was generally chipping in with 2 points per game, mostly from midfield I think.

    Saying he had a poor game in the All Ireland, there were three Mayo players who didn’t play poorly in the All Ireland.

    As Billy Joe said previously on podcasts, at least the lads who kicked wides backed themselves to take on the shots. We have lads on the team now who don’t even do that.

    We should go with players who can kick scores until better options come along.
    Currently some of the players in the mayo forwards might be able to win a ball which isn’t much good if we have no one to kick the damn thing over the bar. Loftus has proven in the past that from distance he is maybe Mayo’s best or at least one of their better point getters.

    He should be used until we have other and better score getters.

  27. Revellino, I agree, Loftus actually took on shots in the All-Ireland last year when others were crowded out.
    That’s a big plus in my book. He had the courage, tenacity, confidence, leadership awareness and gumption to do it.
    I give marks for that.
    I noticed something similar in Jack Carney last day against Tyrone. He went for the target. That’s attitude and a touch of doggedness, and something admirable.
    ROD also has this dogged attitude.

  28. Like the look of that team Kevmy and would agree with the comments. The idea of being creative with one of the HF positions makes sense, doubt there’ll be much more than that. Would like to see Hession have some game time as well. With Eoghan if he can work on distribution when under pressure (not running into cul-de-sacs) that would bring him on loads.

  29. Loftus offered no leadership in last years final. Missed a great goal chance, on 2 other occasions did not have the vision to move the ball to unmarked players in a better position and was ‘breezed by’ in midfield as if he wasnt there. Impact sub only imo and i would have preference for Boland in that respect. Carney has another year to go and needs to continue developing. Knockmore produce good ones and im convinced Orme is another. ROD sets the standard in leadership, we need more.
    What an opportunity we ate getting to reavh a league final, go grab it on sunday.

  30. @Ontheditch
    You could have picked any number of players who offered no leadership in last year’s AIF but you chose to zero in on Loftus.

    Yes he did have poor wides and so did several other players. Some didn’t because they didn’t get in to positions to shoot from.

    Outside of Ryan the other five forwards scored 3 points in the AI final.

    No scores from midfield

    And a few points from the backs and a point from Rob.

    You mention Conors vision.

    Vision: We had players caught miles out of position which led to Tyrone scores.

    Vision: We had players soloing in to contact and turning over the ball.

    Vision: We fell in to every trap Tyrone set, so no vision from the sideline either.

    Last year’s abysmal AI performance could not have been perpetrated by one individual player. It was a team and management malfunction, so you should have more respect for players than to go singling out one particular player to give out about when you could have picked out any number of players who didn’t show leadership and didn’t perform.

    I think there were three players who played well in the 2021 AIF for us.

  31. The negativity continues, people being bit hard on some players. I would wait until after the Kildare game. I’ve no doubt we’re in heavy training season which might explain Monaghan’s aberration at the weekend. Mayo didn’t fade but mentally we were off. I expect Tyrone also had a heavy training session or 2 done so it balanced out.
    There were a few chances we didn’t go for , I’d be more critical of players running down cul de sacs like Aido did. We know the Tyrone tactic at this stage. The next day is a chance to put the performance right. I think Plunkett at HF worth a try as his game decisions are good. A better option there than Eoghan Mc who still has a tendency to run into trouble. Come championship I expect Jason Doc to play in FF or HF line if fully fit. Kevin Mc could also likely play especially if no bolters. Both can score and not afraid to shoot. Carney showing well enough and has high work rate. Orme showing well too with not quite enough scores but game intelligence is good. We need a sharp shooter or 2 to emerge or else fall back on Darren Coen who has the range. Get him good ball and he can score fairly heavily. Against Dublin we used the long ball well. Croke Park is well suited to that game.

  32. There’s too much expectation/anticipation around Cillian and even Jason Doherty. Getting back to form will take time. What’s the story on Darren Coen – he may lack blazing speed but he’s scored some spectacular long-range points that our starting forwards cannot even dream about. Most of them struggle to hit the target from any range!

  33. Shuffy Deck I agree Horan could not let the opportunity of Thursday and Friday off for all his players without heavy training sessions with the entire team. They looked mentally and physically fatigued against Tyrone.

  34. Still can’t believe that the streaming of matches was lost this year. Really hope that’s fixed next year.

  35. I think James Horan knows pretty much 13 of the team he would like to start in the Championship. He probably knows his starting 15 but has to allow for injuries, Covid etc. He probably has an idea of the five or six players he will keep for impact subs who due to age or recovering from injury will not make the starting 15. So again he may try out five or six players against Kildare and see what they have to bring to the table.
    At the start of the League most fans were of the opinion that what was needed was for Mayo to secure their place in Division 1 and give a chance to some new players in the League and that is what has happened. . Because the Championship is starting in five weeks time Training has to be geared differently to other years and I don’t think playing a Final 3 weeks before meeting a Galway Team who are quiet capable of beating us is ideal. It is different for Kerry as they are in a completely different position to ourselves. They will win the Munster championship at their ease and a League Final is the only Competitive game they will have until mid June. If we are to beat Galway we will then be playing a strong Roscommon Team. If Galway or Roscommon were in Munster instead of Kerry or Leinster instead of Dublin they would both win the provincial finals in both these provinces. They are both on their day capable of beating Mayo if Mayo are not at their best.
    That is the reason that James Horan may not be too worried about a League Final

  36. Totally agree with Revellino’s comments as regards Loftus, the only cause he missed scores was because he had the courage to take on the chance which cannot be said for some others. Also could people give Aidan O a break please.

  37. “That is the reason that James Horan may not be too worried about a League Final”

    How does that actually work , does horan instruct his players to lose the game or does he just play a team he thinks is incapable of winning? Im honestly not been flippant , i just dont believe it actually happens

  38. Sean. Horan naturally does not instruct his players to loose the game but the fact that he made five and six changes for the Kerry and Tyrone games shows that a League Final is not a priority for the Management Team. Galway game is the 24th of April and the training at the moment will be designed for to have the team ready for that date.

  39. Of course Horan didn’t set out to get to a league final but surely it can’t seriously be said that when the opportunity arises that he’s not going to put the strongest team possible out against Kildare and have the ambition of getting to a final and then trying to win it.

    I can’t think of any better preparation for the Galway game than playing Kerry in Croke Park, the players are trained to death, it’s rock n roll they want in HQ, not zigzagging through cones in Castlebar looking at the calendar.

    .

  40. I agree with comments re Loftus at least being willing to take a shot. What was dreadful on Saturday was some forwards being totally unwilling and fearful to go for a score. Passing it laterally before beoing dispossessed is soul destroying for players and supporters. On the merits of getting to a league final I have mixed feelings. Its grand if you win but would we defeat Kerry whilst thinking of the upcoming Galway game. It was ok in 2019 because there was a big break between league and championship. Coming off a bad league final result can have very negative consequences for a team. I remember in 2010 we played well in league and got to final v Cork. We were quite confident of winning (as always) but got an eight point hiding . That was at the end of April. On the back of that we lost to Sligo and then London. I know a league title is not to be sneezed at as we have only 2 in the last 50 years but I would prefer not to get to a league final than get there and lose yet another final. Winning in 2019 was lovely but we pretty much stumbled into the final and JH did his fair share of experimentation in that league as well. I know that you have to be in it to win it but a poor performance in AI final v Tyrone followed by a similar performance and result in a league final would not be good for whatever bit of fragile confidence we have built up

  41. Galway will also be playing a league final 3 weeks before championship match. For the life of me I can’t understand not wanting to win the league. Better than any amount of training and a run out in Croker. I listened earlier to Darren ó Sullivan on podcast and they also couldn’t believe that way of thinking saying players would prefer preparing for games rather than training and getting a big day out and all that goes with it. Personally I won’t be going to kildare game if team selection looks like they have no interest in winning. When I go to the games I would like to to think the team and management are fully invested in winning.

  42. @Revelino – Loftus started every championship match for Mayo in the last 2 seasons. That’s 10 games. His total return in that time was 11 points. An average of one point per match. 6 of those points were in cake walks against Leitrim, Sligo and Tipperary.
    If the major reason for his selection is attacking threat I can’t see how those stats justify a place.

  43. Scoring stats don’t really count for much in Mayo .

    2019 .4 championship starts , scores 2-3

    2020. 0

    2021 .0

    League 2019 , one start in league final , 0-2.

    League 2020, three starts , 1-3.

    League 2021, one start , 1-2 .

    2022 vanished from team sheet in fbd v Galway , never heard of since .

  44. James Carr I’m guessing Sean. Would be nice to see him getting more game-time. Wonder is he injury-free.

  45. @p you seem to have a very short memory.we actually wouldn’t have being in an all Ireland final only for Loftus last year.he kicked a monster of a point v Dublin just before half time to keep us in the game.
    You are gone overboard with you critical analysis.
    Start looking at the positives.

  46. I think that Mayo will name a strong team for Sunday, we put in a strong performance versus Kerry, cannot explain Tyrone but think that JH always knew that Kildare was winnable. Kildare are athletic and could win on Sunday but are a bit more open than other teams and will give us some chances.

    On the league final, Galway targetted promotion which automatically leads to them playing a final, I also think that Joyce will be happy to get a chance to build a winning habit in CP. We do not have a great record post league final appearances but that may not be our concern if we do not turn up on Sunday.

    Regarding Loftus, a talented footballer who did try hard in last years final, comes across as a confidence player who appears to be lacking that at the moment, maybe needs a harder edge but that is not something that can be coached.

  47. Conor Diskin another FF option. But he’d need to be stationed there. Not sure if he’s even on the extended panel. Since Tommy’s injury everything has changed, changed utterly! All options should be explored. One things for sure, we’re seriously lacking physicality in the FF and even HF lines. Diskin is strong and a natural FF. Equally Carr, if, he’s fit.

  48. @Sean Burke – Always touting James Carr!! They are hardly prolific stats for an inside forward. Go back to his last few outings – my observation is he is not clinical enough. He needs 3 chances to convert one. He regularly snatches at shots and lacks composure (often from only 30m out). Last year he completely bottled it when faced with a 1:1 and blazed a ball over the bar. Does he shoot the lights out at club level? Maybe? But isn’t he operating with a junior club. Another guy that showed early promise and hasn’t grabbed his chances

  49. @First Gen Dub… James Carr ‘Blazed over the Bar when faced with a 1.1″ however it was in the final 30 seconds of a match v Galway when Mayo were already 4 points up at that stage… So in the end we won by 5…. I recall in the All Ireland final if last September, on two different occasions in the first half, different Mayo players had One on Zero (no one in the goal) chances and didn’t manage to get to even get a point.. didn’t even get a mediocre shot off, and a mediocre shot would have good enough for a goal. From the very limited time James Carr has gotten in Mayo game’s, I don’t think any single player would have as high of a scoring average as James Carr..And James Carr has scored the greatest goal I have ever seen in a Gaelic Football game. I like to call it the ‘Carradonna’ it bears such close resemblance to the famous Marradona Goal v England in the 86 World Cup.. and only one other goal in Gaelic Football comes close to it, the Eoin Mulligan Goal v Dublin in 2005…. I say a fit James Carr has more Gaelic Football ability than almost anyone else…. To get him fully fit and playing has been challenging.. Hope to see him in the Green and Red very soon!

  50. I don’t think James Carr is fully fit, I presume that’s why we haven’t seen him?

  51. @ P.

    Question:
    I’ll ask you, where did Loftus start those matches over the past two years ?

    Answer:
    Mostly midfield.

    Why:
    Because Mayo were short of midfielders.
    They didn’t have anyone to play alongside Mattie.

    Loftus was able, had the game, and was asked to adapt his game to play at midfield, which he did.

    How did he do ?

    Answer:
    When we had nobody else capable to play midfield alongside Mattie, he stepped up, and we reached the last couple of all Ireland’s due in great part to Loftus’s ability to adapt and play at midfield.

    P’s analysis on other players performances and their scoring averages over the past two years ?

    Answer:
    Zero.

    Reason:
    No body of proof that moves most other players ahead of Loftus in the pecking order.
    Actually, probably the opposite.

    Playing in forward roles: Loftus has been outstanding and played a huge role in bringing u21 all Ireland glory to the county.

    He has rescued us from championship extinction in the past, a la Derry in Castlebar when we were gone. Gone until Loftus saved us.

    Main architect in engineering some of our biggest championship wins in recent times a la v Kerry in the championship, and Pass of the year to Andy in that particular championship year.

    Observation:
    P is correct.
    Loftus has played in a high number of games in the past couple of years.

    Why ?
    Because he was picked by his manager, James Horan.

    Question:
    Why is James Horan manager ?

    Answer:
    Because he knows more about football than P.

    Case closed your honour.

  52. Well said Revellino,as someone who used to get very worked up about players and management a good few years ago I realised that the management are the players most days and see who is playing well and who are carrying injuries will pick the best team to win matches,does anyone seriously believe that if a player can add something that they won’t be picked?,as for the other idea that we don’t produce good fowardsnonsense,down the years since I started following Mayo we always had top class fowards so I don’t doubt that our players now can do the job as well all the best for Sunday Mayo for Sam

  53. Ravellion how can you not expect to hear some criticism on Conor Loftus on current form he has not been impressive and he has started our come on in fbd and all league games this year

  54. Our backs lost most all Irelands for us
    Our forwards put up enough scores to win most games but we leaked goals.

  55. We can argue till the cows come home about where the problem lies in past all Ireland finals and of course there’s merit in we leaked goals but to not recognise there was also a problem in lack of scoring forwards is farcical. There’s a reason why Tommy conroy being out for the season is constantly been highlighted as a massive loss , he is a top class forward with speed and accuracy, a focal point of attack .

  56. @Lucero.
    I just find it strange that in a week where I think Conor was the last sub on last weekend, and had least chance to influence the game, that it is him that is been criticized.

    There were 5 starting forwards who failed to score last weekend. It just seems strange to me that the man who is catching the heat is the man that came on as last sub and also a man that has had plenty of good games in the jersey.

    He was been criticized last night for his AIF performance, a game in which 10 or 12 players had nightmares.

    I just don’t think it’s fair when you have multiple players underperforming to start singling out single particular players.

  57. If you don’t shoot, you can’t score. And to be fair to Loftus, he isn’t afraid to shoot.
    Would rather that over a lad who won’t shoot

  58. @Leantimes – that goal was 4 seasons ago! No doubting it was excellent and a real touch of class. I’m not arguing the case for other players over James Carr. and yes I agree that some other players lacked composure on AIF day. I’m focusing on James Carr. Give me facts over feelings any day. Look at the archive top right and search his contribution from play. It’s poor. Talent is there, for sure, but the reality is he hasn’t stepped up.

  59. In fairness to James Carr I believe that he has suffered quite a lot of injuries,I am sure that if he was fully fit that he would have played a lot more,but some people just appear to get a bee in their bonnet about certain players,Evan Regan was supposed to be our star player some years ago

  60. I don’t think it’s a bee in their bonnet type thing at all . As a supporter you’re always wanting that star forward to come through , Carr has shown promise in games he started but sure he has had injury problems since he came into recognition but I don’t believe it’s fair to say he’s been given ample opportunity to shine either , whether that’s through injury I don’t know but games he has strayed apart from super8 game v Kerry he’s been pretty decent . As a sub not so much .

    Gaelic football enthusiasts differ , personally I just love natural forward talent , I’m one of those of the unpopular opinion it can’t be coached , I just believe it’s in ya or it isn’t , that natural drive for goal , it’s a beautiful thing when executed by a player with natural FOOTball skills.

  61. First time poster, reader for years

    Why players like Conor agree to represent our county is a mystery. They get no pay, give up a substantial portion of their lives, delay and sacrifice their careers – all for our enjoyment. The majority appreciate what they do. But there is a sizeable minority in our county who think they have a right to criticise and often just target our team either collectively or individually with abuse The abuse is sometimes referred to by the abusers as constructive criticism from the heart which it seems allows anything to be said about any player.

    The criticism and trolling directed at Conor and others after the AIF on this and other websites has been OTT. Much of it was in anger and a lot of it was sheer bile. If I faced what they faced, I’d say ‘feck it’ and move on. But these lads don’t. They keep striving for something that we all want. The rest of us wouldn’t even get near to what they’ve achieved or work the way they have.

    I’ve seen lots of commentary about the team and management analysing their football ability, their mindset and what posters think the men are like. The only ones who really know the lads individually are their friends, family and partners. Does nobody think when posting that it is the people who have nurtured and supported the lads since they were small up to the current day that are likely to read the comments? Probably not and I think that really shows how little many of those criticising know nothing about the amateur and volunteer way in which the GAA family works.

    It’s amazing we have never won an All Ireland with all tactical genius that is available going on what’s posted by geniuses at keyboards who seem to have all the answers, no doubts about their opinions and appear to be able to read everything about every player and tactic. Maybe if they got away from behind their keyboards, cut back on the criticism and negativity they might be able to offer something tangible to back our team.

    To finish even if we never win an All Ireland we’ve had a hell of a time following these lads and will have for years to come. There is pride in the team that reflects in a pride in the county. We can all have opinions but we should all be careful in how we express them. Too much playing the man instead of the ball online!

    There’s a lot of informed commentary on this site but god knows there a lot of I’ll informed half baked stuff as well. A little bit of kindness and consideration before posting about amateur players would help.

  62. One additional item about forwards not taking shots, our play becomes to predictable when we are trying to get the ball to Ryan all the time as he’s only one willing to take a shot. Even if our other forwards attempted a shot and miss, it gives the defender something else to think about. They know that if he gets the ball he’ll take a shot if given the chance so will mark tighter, which will open up space for a runner or for another forward to run into that space thats opened up or maybe draw a foul or you can get past him easier because he’s marking much closer . What happened against Tyrone was they knew forwards wouldn’t take a shot so they just stood off and allowed Mayo to pass back and forth across the 40 metre line because Mayo were trying to work an angle to get the ball to Ryan.

  63. I think Carr is injured but either ways he has shown flashes of brilliance and some days he sure knows where the goal is, does he even have a full game in him?.
    From what I can see in the archives, he’s only ever started and finished the same game once, which was against Meath in the league last year and what was in effect a dead rubber game.
    He failed to live up to my own expectations in the games he played last year – he scored a solitary point against Leitrim – who we beat 5-20 to 0-11- in the last half hour of the Connacht semi final (coming in for Tommy Conroy who scored 1-3), and the same when brought on with 25 to go the year before against the same opposition.
    Last year against Galway in Croke park, I think he did himself no favours – he took one pot shot from near enough the posts that went wide when the game plan at that point was clearly to hold on to the ball or make sure it went over. I recall seeing Kevin McLoughlin berating him after that one. He then had the chance of the goal with the keeper to beat and sent it over, when really the correct option should have been to take the goal chance. I expect what Kevin had to say to him not that long previously was on his mind hence the safer option taken, but all the same, it won’t have done his reputation with those that pick the team any good.
    Don’t get me wrong I think the lad has talent and I certainly enjoyed and celebrated both his goals against Galway in the Gaelic grounds, but you’d have to wonder is there a bit of the Richie Feeney effect coming into play with some players.

  64. Seconded there Be Kind, a very valid post. The players owe us nothing, and as you rightly point out there’s a number of folk who label abuse as constructive criticism, and often times there is some ulterior motives which are generally to settle some perceived slight or personal scores. People need to be wary of these sort of critiques before parroting them as some sort of gospel.
    While I’m at it, Revellino’s posts are worthy reads too.

  65. Well put, Be Kind. For all the players put in and the personal sacrifices they make they deserve our respect at a minimum. Not against rational argument but there’s a tendency to get personal creeping in and abuse of players is shameful

  66. Be Kind, you have totally nailed it! The negativity and gouging of some of our players is so off putting and clearly just feeding the Egos of a lot of Keyboard Genious’s.
    We can depend on a few media celebs to hit us where it hurts on any given weekend, do we really need to poke our own fire as well.
    No supporter enjoys watching their team play below their expected level but no player deserves the verbal scour that is frequently flung in their direction.
    We have grown to expect succes, we have exceptional talent in this county, we have been on a never ending roller coaster, seemingly….for those who can’t enjoy it, maybe it’s time to get off!!
    The ride will end someday, hoping that’s a long time away. This team has got me through bereavement, life threatening illness, good times and bad. Long may it last.

  67. Well said, Be Kind. I do get exasperated at not winning the all Ireland. But I know nothing of the slog and effort these men and women put in, week after week. They deserve nothing but our utter respect, admiration and gratitude. I am very proud of our Mayo teams and everything they achieve. Thank you for putting this into words. I wish we might all read this again… just to let the truth settle into us. Thanks lads, for all your efforts for Mayo GAA. Thanks Be Kind!! A

  68. Be kind to the player’s not on the 26 and not on the starting 15 as well, even if you think maybe they should be!.. Kindness is a very good thing,.. and ‘you have to be cruel to be kind’, or so the old saying went..well I’m entirely convinced that of saying is entirely correct,if fact I’m certain it isn’t, but (sometimes) you just have to be cruel to be kind (most of the time NOT)… I’m not exactly expecting Kildare to be that kind, to us next Sunday or Galway in April.

  69. @Be Kind.
    A great post. The levels of pessimism and criticism on here after 2 narrow defeats is frightening. You’d think we had lost by 20 points. With some big players missing we should have won both games. That is a big positive for me.
    We are 1 game away from a league final. Not Mayo fans would have forecast that at the beginning of the campaign (apart from Corick Bridge!)
    The players give everything for the cause and the sacrifices they make off the pitch will go unnoticed to some.
    I believe we are going along nicely. I wonder whether Aido would worth a punt at full forward for a while. If nothing else he would take some minding and that may take some of the heat off Ryan who teams will now be targeting no doubt.
    Plenty to look forward to. We need a bit of luck with injuries but we have some serious operators on panel. We have half a dozen players I wouldn’t swap for anyone.
    There is a game to be won on Sunday and I’m sure we will be up for it.
    I wouldn’t back against us being around at the business end in the summer either.

  70. There are no players playing for any county who are not privileged to do so and it’s simply not true that they do it all solely for the enjoyment of supporters.

    The enjoyment of supporters is just a natural follow on.

    I wouldn’t want a player who was not doing it for himself and while some valid points have been made I think it’s important to treat players like the adults they are and not make an assumption that their feelings are hurt as easily as anyone here may think.

    Players know fine well when they have had a poor game and know and expect that negative feedback will follow, but of course there is a big difference in one poster saying “your man was useless the other day” or another saying “it wasn’t his best day in a Mayo jersey”.

    Any reasonable person knows which comment is acceptable and which isn’t.

    Players do not want to be insulted but they also don’t want to be mollycoddled and nothing gives a player more pleasure than answering his critics on the pitch.

    But it’s difficult to square a post which on one hand points out the wrongs of being over critical but simultaneously criticizes other posters regarding their tactical proposals or observations and describe them as keyboard geniuses and stuff like that without knowing one bit about the posters or what work they do in the background or what they may already have achieved.

    I think posts regarding tactics are brilliant and should be encouraged and if a poster disagrees with something then at least be able to put a counter argument forward to add to the debate.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a genius, I just wish there were a few more of us around who were as equally modest as I am.

  71. “ There’s nothing wrong with being a genius, I just wish there were a few more of us around who were as equally modest as I am.”

    Brilliant. Definitely one of the top commentators in here . Grown on me anyway

  72. Revelino – that’s slightly hysterical response I’m afraid.

    James Horan is probably the best manager Mayo have ever had and he obviously knows more about football than me. He also knows more than you and every other poster here. By your logic we may as well close down the blog on the basis that none of us are as well informed as him?

  73. I think Viper is correct in being modest!
    He is also correct that no player does the work they do to pleasure supporters, nor should they.

  74. @Viper.. You have the rare gift of understanding and understatement… Keep up the very good work, enlightening the masses!.

  75. I can only say – amazing.
    I see a lot of perspective in Be Kind’s post.
    In others – not so much.
    But maybe I need to be more modest.

  76. There is only one permutation for the League, win against Kildare and we are in the final. Playing your best team and winning is the only show in town.

  77. Just a reminder to any bloggers before getting upset about any individual post too,at this time of year you get the odd ‘foreign station’butting in from far flung places like Ahascaragh,Knockcroghery,Kilbarrack or even Shneeem just to stir the pot and with absolutely no interest in the fortunes of mayo footballers. So ignore,even if they go by the handle # ‘red & green to the tip of me willie’…Joe.

  78. Excellent post Viper.
    Firstly, no one is putting a gun to the heads of the players to play. They are all extremely well looked after, are the stars of their club/town/parish/village and are exceptional athletes to even be in a position on a county squad. But let’s not be too snowflakey about all this either. They can’t expect all the glamour, support and praise when things go well, but then be immune from justified cristicism. That’s not how it works. If you think it is then I’d suggest you go down to Kerry where on of their greatest ever sons, Paidi O’Shea, called his own supporters “fuckin savages”! Senior intercounty football is an elite environment where accountability and honesty are paramount. No one will be more critical of their performances than the players themselves.

    I also take offence in Be Kinds post as it paints all those who offer up critique of management or players as “keyboard genuises”. So is it OK to use a keyboard to praise and blow smoke up their butts, but not to offer criticism – most of it entirely justified and repeated? Did Be Kind ever think that some of those “keyboard genuises” might actually be club coaches, managers, under age mentors, club officers, club players, etc. etc.? I, for one, have won league, county and provinical honours with my club and competed in an All Ireland club final so I think I know a little bit about football, but certainly not everything. Most right minded individuals know the difference between criticism and abuse, and most know where the line not to be crossed is. The excellent moderation rules in force her this wondeful blog take care of the rest.
    If we can’t critise things as we see it, and are happy to accept repeated failings and mistakes, then it will be another 70 odd years before we see Sam in Mayo again.

  79. Back to the game itself on Sunday . Where do people think Horan will place aido on Sunday ?

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