Lee out for Dublin game


Photo: Irish Times (Inpho)

It won’t surprise anyone to hear that Lee Keegan has now been ruled out of Saturday evening’s Division One clash with Dublin at MacHale Park (throw-in 7pm). Malachy Clerkin has a piece in today’s Irish Times (here) on the concussion incident – which, by the way, is well worth reading in full – and in it he confirms that Lee definitely won’t be playing any part in Saturday evening’s match. Proper order, you’d have to admit.

Discussion on the incident continues to rumble on today – there are also pieces about it in the Irish Independent (here and here) and the Irish Examiner – and the clear consensus from all this was that management (at Dr Sean Moffatt’s insistence, according to Malachy Clerkin in that piece linked above) were right to admit publicly that they’d erred in not taking Lee off sooner. At least we got something right on Sunday.

Lee’s unlikely to be the only absentee on Saturday night either. According to this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants) both Kevin McLoughlin and Mikey Sweeney picked up hamstring injuries at Páirc Uí Rinn (in fact, Kevin came into the match with a hamstring issue) and while neither of them have been definitively ruled out of the Dublin game at this stage, they’re both on the doubtful list.

In better news, the Mayo News is reporting today that Alan Freeman is available for the first time this year. Keith Higgins might be okay for Saturday evening too but the emphasis there is on the ‘might’ – caution should surely be the watchword in relation to Keith as there’s nothing to be gained by rushing him back and risking his incurring a more serious injury.

I’ve no idea when we’ll be naming the team to face Dublin. I doubt very much, given our outsized list of those currently injured or unavailable, if it’ll be any time before Friday night and it could be as late as an hour or two before the match throws in.

In other news, the death of Fr Peter Quinn has got coverage in the nationals today too – Irish Times, Irish Examiner. The best piece I’ve read so far, though, on his passing was Seán Rice’s eloquent tribute in the Mayo News. It’s worth picking up a copy of this week’s paper for that alone.

PS: Just realised that yesterday was the blog’s ninth birthday. A bit like myself in real life, though, it’s easy enough to be forgetful of birthdays at this stage.

Support the lads through thick and thin: play the Mayo GAA Players Welfare Fund Lotto – here.

41 thoughts on “Lee out for Dublin game

  1. Every good wish to Lee. Give him as much time as he needs and he’ll be back with a bang. He never holds back and will never let us down. He deserves to lift Sam some day.
    And he will.

  2. Don’t know why Kevin McLoughlin was played if he had a hamstring niggle. IMO he’s a guy we could be resting more this time of year given his record of appearing in practically all our games the last 5 years. We know his strengths and he will probably start come championship so why be risking him in his normal half forward role. We need to figure the options for if he gets injured.

  3. Those articles on concussion make for very interesting reading, particularly Clerkin’s where he describes the immediate aftermath. The Examiner one is particularly interesting too and at times, alarming in terms of the potential implications for management should something go badly wrong.

    I can’t see our management ever making such an error again, and hopefully others will learn from it too. Credit to them for acknowledging it so quickly, because they clearly recognised their responsibility to do so, and that in turn, has helped to move the discussion on at a broader level.

    “If in doubt, sit it out” has to be the way to go here and hopefully from now on, these decisions will no longer be players’ to make. Every good wish to our soldier Lee for a fast and full recovery.

  4. Despite the fact that it is a very sensitive issue and obviously Lee was not in a right frame of mind is his refusal to leave the pitch an indication of lack of respect for the sideline? In my opinion when in battle do exactly what the bosses say unquestioning and have the argument afterwards.

  5. Come on shinabhui, he’s a warrior through and through, he’s obviously not going to throw in the towel, he was probably asked “U alright Lee?” And we all saw the response, its not a case of lack of respect for the managment, its the will to (rightly or wrongly) give everything for the green an red jersey!!! On a side note, Connolly will be delighted to hear he won’t spend another 70mins inside Keegans pocket.

  6. I hope Lee recovers fast. I think Saturday really is about damage limitation…..you never know I suppose but it will be hard to contain Dublin and they beat us more often than not.

    If more fight is shown by whatever team is named sat night then that will be good enough for now. With away trips to Donegal and Monaghan coming up after the Dublin game we are in for a rough ride ahead.

  7. Lee showed a distinct lack of concern for himself and his own welfare not disrespect for the medics. He may have acted a little foolishly but boy he is a warrior for mayo. Im full of admiration for lads like that.

  8. Careful, Sean – I know some excitable source over on gaaboard has posted that claim and you’re only reporting what’s been said there but it’s not a story I’d like to see given legs here until such time as it’s confirmed for sure. It’s the first I’ve heard of it at any rate.

  9. I doubt lee will be out long, he should be rested for this next game at least and let him recover, likewise anyone with hamstring issues. For this game Mayo will need to be defending en masse and preventing Dublin goals. It’s not a game we could really be aiming to win with the depletion of the panel at the moment, my money is on keeping the dubs to a low score and maybe try to be level with them at the end, or even sneak/steal it by some miracle. The dubs just have such a depth of athletes that can run all day and are much stronger than everyone else, Kerry included. Stick freeman/regan and aos near the goal and feed it in, whatever comes of it will come,but, we cannot allow Dublin to destroys by playing them as equals, we need to defend heavily and don’t worry about the aesthetics of it.

    Dublin 12
    Mayo 8

    something along those lines is what we might see.

  10. Jasus lads, who will be available for the game on Saturday, we have a skeleton group of players already without these injuries. They wont be able to hold off Dublin.

  11. Mayomainindublin – here’s a stab at who is available for the Dublin game:

    Robbie Hennelly; Matthew Flanagan.

    Brendan Harrison, Ger Cafferkey, Shane McHale (I suppose he’s ok), Colm Boyle, David Kenny, Padraig O’Hora, Caolan Crowe, Shane Nally, Michael Hall, Donal Vaughan, David Drake.

    Tom Parsons, Jason Gibbons.

    Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor O’Shea, Aidan O’Shea, Evan Regan, Jason Doherty, Darren McHale, Keith Ruttledge, Cathal Carolan, Alan Freeman.

    That’s only 24 but it’s all I can think of, though both Keith Higgins and Conor Loftus might be available as well and I suppose Brian Reape could be added to the list too. And there’s Mark Ronaldson, who didn’t feature in the 26 last week so must have been out injured. He may or may not be back for Saturday.

  12. The wise counsel regarding Keegan would be to rest him for Saturday, regardless of whether he is still feeling the affects of the impact or not, and, regardless of return to play protocols. Just kill the entire issue by resting him, removing any potential for debate and ensuring we have him fit for Ballybofey. To be honest, no more than rushing Higgins back or chancing Lee I don’t think it will make much difference in the end. We may only end up making matters worse for ourselves regarding injuries.
    We are better off fielding as fit a starting 15 as we have, regardless of experience or perceived ability. The fringe players must realize that this is their chance to show what they can do, in extreme circumstances albeit, but a chance nonetheless. What we want to see is effort from start to finish and a fearless attitude in attack and defense. If we lose, we lose but we have to insist on a better performance than we produced against Cork.
    I’d go Flanagan, Harrison, Cafferkey, Boyle, Vaughan, Nally, Drake, Gibbons, Parsons, C. O’Shea, Doherty, O’Connor, Regan, A. O’Shea, Ruttledge.

  13. Congrats on the ninth birthday, Willie Joe. While you say you are at an age when forgetting birthdays is an occasional occurrence at least you are not at that stage when you actively want to forget them. But that will come too, hopefully. The alternative is early death.

  14. Whichever new guys are picked for Sat have to realise the magnitude of the task in facing Dublin. Last year in C’bar we were destroyed by cooper racing from corner back to create overlaps while the corner forward he was marking stood still. You could pick out the inexperienced guys a mile off.
    Looking forward to see a more motivated Mayo team on sat, if they’re not up to a fight the dubs will gladly put up a record score

  15. It’s definitely a game to leave AOS on the square , reasons being its a good a tactic we have and he’s only back training a couple of weeks , Tommy Walsh exposed a weakness there last week too with fitzsimons beat for the high ball (maybe Philly McMahon will be good to go this week though ) . The way this game is shaping up ,it’s nearly a nothing to lose game for us as everyone has us wrote off for this one . Hope the newbies go out and express themselves , no need to be nervous ,you’re well capable and now is your chance to shine lad.

  16. Lee Keegan was not in a proper frame of mind to decide whether to remain on playing or not. This is one of the consequences of concussion..players are not aware of how badly injured they are .. This is why it is so important for management to make decisions and take responsibility out of players hands in situations Luke these. I wish Lee a speedy recovery.

  17. Folks,
    I was in Croke Park on Sunday and I was impressed by the following from Dublin:
    1. They were very good in defence. The rotated the sweeper duty and used this ploy to pull the Kerry backs out of position. Even Connolly did a shift as sweeper in the 1st half. This tactic also meant that simply running at them didn’t work.
    2. Their start up from frees and line balls was very quick and Kerry had no time to set up to defend a Dublin free.
    3. Their use of the diagonal ball and the running off the ball was very good, but Kerry’s tactic of standing off their men made the Dubs look better than they might look against a packed defence.

    On the negative side, the Dubs were very lucky to get the penalty when they did. It took the wind out of Kerry’s sails and the result was never in doubt beyond that. They were weak enough under the high ball – Fitzsimons is not a big full back and Tommy Walsh caught a good few because of his size. However, when Walsh got the ball, he was a bit like a dog that had caught a car – he didn’t know what to do with it. Being slow to release it, the Dublin sweeper quickly reduced Walsh’s options and changes went abegging. Walsh really doesn’t have the fast hands of Donaghy and as a result, is unlikely to become the same type of threat as the year progresses. Kerry’s other tactic was to use Darren O’Sullivan to constantly run at them. Invariably this ended in a shot from a bad angle and a low level of return.

    So how should we play them. 4 things will pay dividends:
    1. Fast kicked passes into the forwards will yield scores, as they won’t have time to set up the defence
    2. Winning our own kickouts is crucial and quick transition of that ball to the forwards is a must
    3. A big man on the square and runners coming in support will put pressure on.
    4. Close down the passing options. Tight marking is essential.

    Will we win it? I’d say that the fitness level of Dublin and the fact that they have a deep, fit panel would suggest that they will be strong for the entire 70 mins. As a result, we would need to go hard at them early on and hope to unsettle them.

    It’s a big ask, given that so many of our lads are out of action.
    Having said that, we owe Dublin more than one at this stage.

    Keep the Faith!

  18. Of course, that last comment should have started by saying I was in Croke Park on SATURDAY. I was 170 miles away in Cork on Sunday!

  19. Lee being out for the rest of the league is a slim possibility but unlikely. No one can really predict how long it will take a concussion to heal. People are just gradually progressed based on when the symptoms subside although generally people are given a minimum time away from contact.

    The vast majority of people will be back to normal inside a month, most of those will be back to normal inside 2 weeks. For some people they will have no symptoms after 2-3 days. I once met someone who was still having symptoms over a year later though. It is a brain injury.

    On the issue of Lee showing a lack of respect for management or for himself. No one with a concussion is thinking straight and cant make a rational decision in the same way they normally would. Thats why it should never be left to the player to decide whether they should play on.

    Its a complex issue and thankfully people are taking it seriously.

  20. Congrats on the 9th birthday WJ.

    Looking at who’s available, where is Stephen Coen? IMO, we could use his strength and youthfulness at FB against the Dubs…he did play well when he was subbed against them last year and he’s a very clever player.

    While I’m not a doctor or expert on concussion, I do have some personal experience with this. Its now taken very seriously this side of the water, whereas one time it was not. Just this past season one of the girls on my daughters soccer team sustained a concussion from a head clash. She was sidelined on medial orders for about 10 weeks, much to her dismay.
    The point is, it wont be Lee’s decision to play or how soon he can play. It will be the medical teams decision so we should plan accordingly. I wish him well and hope he makes a speedy recovery.

  21. Mister Mayor
    Stephen Coen not available as he is playing for Hollymount/Carrowmore in the Intermediate Football Final on Saturday

  22. Saturday nights all right for fighting.

    What a fantastic opportunity for the new lads. I know Mayo are up against it but they must not let the Dubs escape from Machale park with two points. Not after last year. Mayo need to stand their ground.

  23. Yes Mister Mayor. I’m inclined to agree with you. I think he is a real prospect and could play in either position. However, I think that CHB is the more likely of the two places for him to nail down

  24. Happy Birthday WJ and this site, that we all love. The real problem is not who is and who is not available. We have a few weeks collective training under our belts.Most other teams have a few week more and it is showing up our efforts at this time of year, This is the main issue. On Saturday we need to kick the ball more and reduce the amount of running up the field with the ball in hand. This is a great opportunity to give our fittest players a run first. Some of our most experienced players are not fit enough to start this game. This was obvious after 15 minutes last Sunday.

  25. I’d like to see Conor O’Shea placed at centre-half forward for this game with Aidan at full-forward. Take them on up the middle of their defence, put plenty of high balls in around the square. With Kevin Mc probably gone too it might be an idea to put Jason Doc back to the position he was doing so well in over the past few years at no. 12. With Diarmuid at 10, that should still see us with a fairly strong forward line. I’d be telling Evan Regan to loiter and pick up the breaks from the two O’Sheas. It would be great if Conor Loftus was fit as well and he could do the same from no.15 pick up the breaks and go for scores. Maybe Freeman might be available for this role if Loftus is not fit.

    I’d like to see Parsons covering around the area between our midfield and half-back line. Barry Moran is the best man for this role but with him not available, Tom is our best bet for this particular game. Gibbon’s main strength is going forward so I’d give him a bit more freedom than Parsons to go forward, as defensively he is not that strong. I like Brendan Harrison but like a lot of our defenders, he prefers to attack more than to defend. Maybe a half-back position might suit him better, taking up Lee’s position for this game. In saying that we are very short of corner-backs at the moment.

    I’d nearly throw O’Hora in at the deep end for this game on Paul Mannion who has serious pace. I’d love to see O’Hora getting stuck into him. It would be a major ask for a player with only a few weeks of county training under his belt but I’d take a risk with him. I’d be going for Boyle at six supported by Parsons, as Tom looks like our most mobile player at the moment and have Vaughan at 7. I’d wait maybe for a game later in the league to give more game time to Shane Nally and Caolan Crowe. Then finally I’d like to see Shane McHale (if fit) and Caff making up the rest of the full-back line. We really need to be more defensive in this game but I wouldn’t be going ultra defensive either.

    P.S. Happy Birthday WJ!

  26. Y’know this Dublin game may force us into kickpassing quickly into target men. You have COS/AOS/Freeman taller than all Dublin defenders. I’d drop Diarmuid and Tom Parsons back deep as defensive minded players.
    We have no business running the ball against the fittest team in the country.
    It’s going to be hard transition players away from the running game.

  27. Wj ,don’t know if Conor Loftus is over his injury or not, but I know his grandad passed away this week. He may be unavailable either way.
    Sympathies to the Loftus family.

  28. Reflecting on Sunday’s match, a lot will boil down to Rochford’s reaction and his response to this. It’s glaringly obvious to me that this is a key thing right now and it’s not getting much mention. I’m not fretting too much just yet but at the same times I’d be wary of the ah it’s only January mantra.
    The drubbing against the Dubs last year certainly didn’t do us any good, and I think it may well have played a part in our undoubtedly shaky periods in both subsequent championship matches last year (draw and replay).
    Unfortunately, folks, other teams such as Cork are not standing still, and have the set-ups to turn us over. They are without doubt getting stronger and more drilled every year, and it’s not as simple saying we’ll land Sam when we have our house in order.
    Our team has taken an unholy amount of knocks and it’ll take one hell of a warrior to inspire them to keep fighting the fight. The heave is a distant memory now and a new chapter has already begun.
    I hope with every fibre of my being that we do keep fighting, and I still hold out hope that we can get things right and win the damn fight. When it comes to Mayo, I will always keep this faith. However, we have to take a reality check too.

    Due to our injury list and relative lack of training so far this season, it is of course hard to tell where we are at and how we’ll fare over next month or two. On the plus side though, we still have advantages over most of the Division 1 teams, namely, the invaluable experience competing at the business end for the last 5 years, and the knowledge we can match any team on our day. This will serve us well both in League and Championship.
    Let us not forget that we have serious players coming back into the fold when Club commitments are over. This, coupled with the injured players returning and others reaching fuller levels of fitness will mean we’ll potentially have a unrecognisable team come end Spring or start of Championship. That might not be a bad thing and may throw other teams.
    Personally, I can’t wait to see the likes of Durcan, S. Coen, Kirby, winning their starting places this year. This team needs freshening, not just for the sake of it, but so as to give those who have showed genuine promise, a chance. A couple of the old faithful may very well lose their starting place this year. As supporters, we should embrace such potential changes. But as I said, it all boils down to Rochy, firstly, whether or not he will make such changes and, if so, how then will he manage this and keep everyone unified.
    This will be no easy task for a first-time inter-county manager, overseeing such a battle-hardened and experienced squad. We know he has tactical awareness and management skill, however, it’s a whole different set of dynamics for him now at this level. His mettle will be tested to the full. Thankfully, us supporters play the easy part. We’ll continue to believe no matter what.

  29. I think Mayo will give Dublin plenty of it on Saturday, in last weekends game the Dubs were very impressive. They were faster and sharper than Kerry I’m more or less all positions on the field. Tommy Walsh showed a little vulnerability in their back line and this is an area that ye could exploit them nespxt Saturday night with AOS providing players support and run intelligently off him, maybe his brother could support him in a twin towers attack and see how they deal with it.

    One thing the Dubs have done sinse 2014 is learn serious defensive lessons and they have worked hard and successfully to correct their cavalier gung Ho attacking mentality. Remarkably they have managed to maintain their scoring threat while setting up a very solid structured defence. The defensive system is almost instinctive in their players and both Kerry and Mayo will have to take note if we are to put them tumbling down the hill while they try to fetch that pail of water.

    Their attacks still all stem from the Cluxton launch pad, he is a master and clearly there are many training hours devoted to specific running drills depending what area of the pitch the receiving player gets possession. Last Saturday night they were like loose horses running through the inadequately protected Kerry defence. The pace they displayed in the first round of the league was sobering to say the least and their skill and comfort on the ball was a sight to behold, I have to say hats off to them as good football is good football regardless of the colour of the jersey.

    For mayo to catch them next Saturday night they are ALL going to have to push up on Cluxtons kickouts and fight like dogs to put them on the back foot. Too many of the Kerry players selected last Saturday night were too light and the Dubs just ran by them in attack and stopped them in their tracks when they were defending. Mayo will have to select some hard edgy players that will draw a line in the sand and at the first opportunity and hop off them often and hard. The dubs like to give it but are unsettled when they get it, I know that Mayo are significantly hamstrung with players not back, club commitments and injury (I hope that Lee makes a speedy and full recovery, shocking clash,,) but the dubs might spend a little too much time looking in the mirror this week, they might just be a little vulnerable. The other option is a donegal type withdrawal and concede cluxtons kicking range to them, defend like lions and try to hit them on the counter which will be hard in my opinion !!

    When we meet them again we should have
    A O Mahony,
    Mark O Se,
    Colm Cooper,
    Paul Geaney,
    James O Donoghue,
    Kieran Donaghy,
    Michael Geaney,
    Anthony Maher,
    Kieran O Leary,
    Brian Sheehan,
    Peter Crowley,
    Jack Sherwood,
    Alan Fitzgerald
    At least ten of the above will feature in most championship games so we should cause them a few problems later in the year. Mayo too will be well tooled up when ye meet again but it would be nice to take the wind out of their sails, especially when they are a little unsure and unsettled by the Mayo set up.
    Good luck and I hope all the lads make good recoveries from their respective injuries.

  30. This is what Dublin’s Dean Rock said about Mayo:

    (Mayo always bring that physicality and intensity to a game that a lot of other teams don’t do. That’s the thing that stands out for me really.)

    Whatever team we have out, we should try and do our level best to bring these attributes to the game, physicality and intensity, it will be very tough to do that, based on where we are at the moment but we’ll see how it goes anyway.

  31. Game changer says about how Dublin would of practised them drills with cluxton a lot for kick out strategy . It’s so evident they do it more than anyone else and they get so much out of it as its a massive part of the modern game . The most effective kickout strategy is the medium range one imo .people will say the short one is a far higher percentage to collect the ball but distance and momentum combined also . We don’t seem to practice it very much at all , the warm up practice for both henelly and new guy Flanagan was particularly disappointing looking at the kickout drill , no urgency , lack of intensity , ball hanging in the air , bad kick after bad kick too.

  32. Did anyone see the Aghamore U21 keeper in the U21 final? He was very accurate. He was hitting ball to chest short and mid range to moving targets. He’s a fairly sizeable lad too. Maybe 6’1″ and well built.

  33. Like lots of Mayo supporters living in Dublin, I too was in Croker on Saturday and some of the movement and skill from the Dubs was a joy to watch. That said, I am pretty fed up at this stage watching opposition after opposition concede advantage to the now legendary Cluxton kickout. The Cluxton tactic is pretty simple, anyone of up to 10/11 players are primed to be on alert to receive the ball and the most of them make some form of decoy runs particularly through the centre of the field with space left on the wings for the actual receiver. Invariable the ball is kicked down the left or right wing of distances between 25 to 40 yards. Simple solution, most division 1 teams should be more than capable of standing toe to toe with their markers and cover every conceivable run be it decoy or otherwise, and force Cuxton to kick it long. Referees are starting to get a little tetchy when Cluxton over delays looking for the runner and that is precisely when he makes a mistake, when he over delays and is then forced to pump it long and in a wayward fashion. Force him to kick long and when the ball is in the air get the wing forward not on the kick-out side to peddle back fast behind the mid-fielders so as to lay down cover on the half back line. Yes I know easier said than done, but just bloody practice it. I have no problem acknowledging the sheer class of Connolly, O’Carroll & co and Cluxton is a fine keeper and was very commanding in the goal mouth on Saturday night but come on division 1 teams, put an end to this kickout misery before the books and dvds start to go into circulation!

  34. Richard, I’d agree with you come the hard ground but dealing with this point in time , we do not have the energy to compete with the runners of Dublin . It’s going to make Saturday’s game even harder because of their edge on us fitness levels . Let’s hope new magement have a tactic for it , Diramuid o Conor is capable of running and covering one side , parsons maybe , Adam Gallagher although he’s not on the panel is very useful this time of year too ( think he does cross country running ) for this kind of game.

  35. Saturday’s game is crucial in many ways not least for Stephen Rochford. How any new leader or manager responds in difficult circumstances is a defining factor in how successful they will be. Handle it well and everyone has confidence in you – handle it badly and doubts begin to emerge. That is just how life is in leadership and management. Therefore it is crucial for SR. and his management team that we put up a real battle on Saturday night even with a very under strength team. Winning is not at all crucial or even expected by most reasonable people but a very competitive and abrasive attitude combined with a savage work rate IS what’s expected and needed. If SR. can get this from the lads then his leadership is greatly strengthened and mayos pride and morale are very much in tact. If on the other hand we suffer a humiliating defeat this will do damage to everyone. Cmon Stephen and the lads – this is a big one – ware into them while you’re fit to stand up and give them a run for their money and it’s them who’ll have doubts later in the season when it really counts.
    Wary but hopeful as always!

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