Locked and loaded

Mayo senior panel 2016

Photo: @MayoGAA

Less than three weeks to go now until our championship opener against London over in Ruislip and you get the sense that the metaphorical rubber is starting to hit the proverbial road.

The painful task of finalising the squad for the summer has been done and Cillian’s been appointed captain. A bunch of the victorious U21 squad are on board and, aside from a few knocks and bumps, we’ve no significant injuries worries or absences as we head into the summer campaign. Not wishing to tempt fate or anything but I can’t honestly remember when we last faced into the championship with such a fair wind in our sails.

The Mayo News reports today (paper and digital versions) that Stephen Rochford and his selectors have finalised a squad comprising 33 players for the summer. This is the list that the paper has:

Goalkeepers (2): David Clarke (Ballina Stephenites), Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy).

Backs (14): Chris Barrett (Belmullet), Colm Boyle (Davitts), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Caolan Crowe (Garrymore), David Drake (Ballaghaderreen), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels), Michael Hall (Breaffy), Brendan Harrison (Aghamore), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis), Kevin Keane (Westport), Lee Keegan (Westport), Shane Nally (Garrymore), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe).

Midfielders (4): Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber), Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy), Tom Parsons (Charlestown Sarsfields).

Forwards (13): Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina), Alan Dillon (Ballintubber), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina), Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Andy Moran (Ballghaderreen), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber, captain), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber), Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Conor O’Shea (Breaffy), Brian Reape (Moy Davitts), Evan Regan (Ballina Stephenites).  

As far as I know the four complete newbies on the list are Caolan Crowe, Michael Hall, Shane Nally and Brian Reape. Cathal Carolan and Evan Regan didn’t feature last summer due to injury and Jason Gibbons was also injured late in the League campaign last year and wasn’t included in the panel thereafter. I can’t remember if Conor O’Shea was in the squad last summer. Conor Loftus was but from what I recall didn’t feature in the match-day panels.

Best of luck to the lot of them. A fine bunch of lads they are and I’ve no doubt they’ll represent us with distinction in this year’s championship.

Talking about distinguished service, our all-conquering U21s are commemorated in this week’s Mayo News in the form of a glossy poster (which looks like this). Between that and the first half of the top 40 club rankings, not to mention previews on this coming weekend’s club championship action and plenty more besides, the paper is definitely worth getting hold of this week.

60 thoughts on “Locked and loaded

  1. Being involved in local soccer here, things are flat to the board, so the weeks are absolutely flying. And with the Mitchels out this Saturday it won’t be long until London. Having to give London a miss, it’ll be the first match I’ll miss this year and the first championship miss since 2012 🙁

    Can anyone confirm or disconfirm that this game is on TV? I was certain I had heard it was live on Irish TV. If not, MidWest will have to do. But if so, so be it.

  2. Would love to have seen Irwin brought in. He has something special about him and if da worse were to happen and Cillian got an injury/black or red card an excellent free taker. Would have a better conversion rate than Hennelly.

  3. Interesting to see Reape included up front..

    Agree on the comment on Irwin. He is a finisher… his lack of pace off the mark might work against him however but he is a clever footballer

  4. Agree with Billybong, I cannot see us without Irwin in the longterm, if he stays with it. With all the upcoming talent I cannot see Breaffy going much longer without a county title. Perhaps Irwin and Ruane can lead the charge there in the absence of the O’Shea’s with the county this summer. It would be the perfect grounding for them to enter the county scene next year.
    The other thing is I woulld like to see a third goalie included, Matthew Flanagan being in my view the outstanding candidate. Remember 2013 with Clarke and O’Malley injured – we were extremely lucky that Hennelly available to come in, for all the criticism he took for the final.

  5. Best of luck and well done to all who made the panel. A fine bunch surely , it has been an absolute joy to follow this team these past few years . The amount of times they have swelled our hearts with pride will live long in the memory . To win the all Ireland is all that’s missing in this great era for Mayo football , go and win it now to do yourselves justice and your names will never be forgotten . Maigheo Abu .

  6. Best of luck to everyone involved with the mayo project,I am very optimistic,I really believe this is the year

  7. Best of luck to all the lads that made the panel and commeserations to those that didn’t the amount of work these guys put in and sacrifices they make is unreal for that reason alone id love to see them do themselves justice and win Sam

  8. Best of luck to the lads chosen. It just shows that the management team are looking to the future, they have Reape in the squad ahead of Conroy, Sweeney or Ronaldson. Rochford’s tactics with Corofin required finishers and high quality finishers at that. In Loftus, Reape, Cillian, Freeman, Andy, Dillon and Regan, we have a good mix of finishers there.

    I always think in sport that you need a good mix of workers and the odd flair player thrown in. Horan loved workers but wasn’t a big fan of flair players. We seen that the two All-Ireland winning teams that we have had in 2013 and this year, had that extra bit of flair included, Tommy Conroy and Darragh Doherty RIP in 2013. Loftus and Irwin in 2016. Irwin probably is a bit unlucky not to make it but at the moment Rochford sees Reape as a better bet. For this year Regan would be seen as that main player with something a little bit different.

    I agree also that it would have been nice to have an extra goalie in the squad as Clarke can be quite injury prone. I would have also liked to have seen another out and out corner back included, as again Barrett can be quite injury prone too and we have also lost Cunniffe this year as well. It’ll be interesting to see what role Keith will play this year. Best wishes to all involved and many thanks to those who put in such an effort for the pride of their county.

  9. I too have been surprised by Irwins exclusion….We know that what he can bring to the game, even at this stage when he’s just getting back,is what the teams been short of….unfazed presence around the goal when he has the ball! A bit short of pace ok and not yet using his stature to the full but wouldn’t these only improve over the weeks!

  10. Fitness an issue with Irwin; my guess is he won’t be called on.

    It’s Interesting that they have gone for Reape, who didn’t really have a great U21 season and missed the final. But he was an excellent minor and if those performances can be reproduced he could be very useful.

    A word of caution though. Notwithstanding the McGuinness’s and Tomás O’Sé’s and their optimism about our prospects we really have to focus on Galway (and London initially). Galway haven’t been great, but they have good footballers, and they had a reasonable run last year; I thought Donegal were on the ropes for a while in the qualifier in Croker, so they will be giving it one mighty lash in Castlebar.

    And, going for six in Connaught is one hell of a challenge, and won’t be achieved if we are thinking August and September thoughts in June. We really did nothing in the league except survive and it may well be that the required change of style won’t be achieved smoothly. Certainly we have shown we can be as defensive as any team, but we need to achieve this consistently, so that teams really hate tangling with our backs.

    I would like to see us take a leaf out of the Dublin defensive playbook. Dublin’s backs half foul, even three quarters foul the opposition, and get away with it.This is a technique that has brought them huge rewards, and we need to hone that one.

  11. I think there is a fair bit of difference between the musings of some diehards online and the mindset of the management and players. While we might be day dreaming of September, I would be very confident Stephen and the lads are looking no further than two weeks Sunday. We only need to look at our formerly noisy neighbours to see what complacency can do.

  12. Irwin is a great prospect for the future, and that future is in his own hands. I wish him luck with that. Best wishes to that squad. I believe that some of the guys we saw during the league will have a big year ahead. One or two of the new guys are championship footballers.

  13. Yeah, Irwin is the one name that you notice missing. He has that bit of class and an eye for goal that others don’t have. He can also kick a 45. Look at how shambolic our free taking was during the league…it was ‘pull your hair out’ stuff.

    I’d have Irwin in ahead of one or even two other named forwards(who did absolutely nothing in the league and never did much underage either) but a really big thing now and I agree with PJMcManus on this, that it’s in his own hands. Irwin…go and nail down a starting place in that senior Breaffy team…light up the club championship and you’ll be on the senior county team before you know it.

    The same goes for all the u21’s…now is when the really hard work has to happen…if they sit back and soak up the plaudits this chance will pass them by before they know it.

  14. Delighted to see management investing in youth. I hope Reape and loftus can make an impact for mayo this summer, would be great if these two could add to the scoring power of O’Connor and Regan

  15. Winning underage is one thing but a player needs to be performing at a consistently high level at senior club level before they are ready for senior intercounty.

    The 5 u21’s Rochford has selected all featured as starters for the respective clubs at senior last season, correct? Hall for Breaffy, Coen for Hollymount, Loftus for Cross, Diarmuid for Ballintubber and the Grim Reaper for Moy Davitts.

  16. Irwin was the player who kept his team in the game against Ros. He it was stood out v Donegal in Sligo in terrible conditions in the NW cup. Up again with his 2-2 v Cork and 1-3 I think for the club last week. They must know something that we don’t know.

  17. I agree that Liam Irwin should definitely be involved with the senior panel, even ahead of some established lads. But, there’s obviously something missing along the line that we the fans don’t know of, maybe he cannot fit Mayo into his life at the minute or just wants to enjoy being 20 for a while. My thinking is that he should have jumped at the chance, 2016 could be a year for Mayo to win the big one and he certainly has the ability to play a part of some sort. Or maybe the management just feel they have enough youth involved at the moment and will go with that, if so, Liam has to make himself stand out even more in club football.

  18. Slightly surprised at reape’s inclusion over Irwin as I think Irwin would be good competition/understudy for Regan. He’s a reliable left footed free taker too which could be vital if anything happens Evan. Also, I think physically Irwin is more ready for senior IC.

    Saying that, there’s no doubt reape has huge potential with him only 19. Being involved in the panel should bring him on a lot too.

  19. Agree with all these comments of Irwin. Fantastic looking player and will add a lot for the future years I hope.The next year or two will be very interesting with him and other key 21’s stepping up and maturing . It’s really only a matter of time for sam. The u-21’s are revolutionary having two all-Ireland’s since minor level. Mix it up with the current squad and the years ahead look very promising.But as for this year,one match at a time.

    As I live in another county I often hear locals talk of Mayo not having the forwards of the top teams but I honestly feel like this year I know things they don’t yet. DOC has stepped up massively this season ,his brother is back too who is so key for free taking, and to add a totally new dynamic is Regan. Who I whole heartedly believed since six months ago that he’d be a household name come August . Could have done with the extra keeper to be safe .

    Enjoy the 2016 roller coaster

  20. It seems that the 5 U21 lads chosen are lads that have been in the squad since at least the beginning of the year. I checked WJ’s archive and I note that Brian Reape came on in the FBD League game against Roscommon, so he has at least a few months of county training under his belt. So based on that it looks like no U21 player was newly added to the squad in the aftermath of the All-Ireland win and you can understand that too. Their time will come.

  21. I dont have any complaints regarding panel selected. Irwin does have the potential but simply wasnt involved with the Seniors during the league or any of the training sessions so Rochford or McEntee havent had a chance to look at him properly, its a massive difference playing U21 and being involved in the senior set up. Irwin will be playing during the league next year and Im sure he will impress. Reape was involved in the FBD and was attending the Senior training sessions in Dublin where McEntee had a good look at him and obviously seen that he could contribute.

    Its a tough task finalising a panel, especially one for a top county as there are going to be hard decisions make, established players will loose out and up and coming one might have to wait a little longer. But if your good enough and put in the work, your time will come. Anyway good luck to all involved and heres hoping for a long summer.

  22. Liam Irwin will get his chance. I very much doubt he’ll have to wait too long for it. We talk about Clarke being injury prone but Alan Dillon and Andy Moran have struggled badly with niggles for the last two seasons. I can’t see that they’re going to go injury free through the summer either.

  23. Rock – Alan Dillon didn’t play with his club last weekend and is doubtful for their first championship next weekend.

  24. I’m a fan of Irwin in that I think he has lots of potential and is a very creative player, and I don’t think our senior team has many of those.

    But it’s laughable that he would make the county senior panel for this year’s championship. He wasn’t even a nailed on starter for the U21s a few weeks back when they started their campaign. In last year’s club championship he couldn’t even start for Breaffy and they’re not exactly stacked with good inside forwards (I know he wasn’t long back from the states).

    Irwin has a really good eye for goal but he doesn’t use his size at all to take on his man, lacks a lot of pace, and isn’t that accurate from play – I think 5 missed shots in the recent final. Reape is a big shock to me but it seems he is very talented and has been in the squad for a while. From what I’ve seen he has the physique for senior ball we could do with a corner forward like that in the squad.

  25. Let’s be honest the pressure is on this Mayo team to win an all ireland. They have imposed this pressure on themselves and fair play to them for having the courage to do so. Now they must deliver or face the ridicule of many, both inside the county and outside. That’s the reality.
    The pressure is on different individuals in different ways. Barry Moran needs to redeem his poor performances in the club semifinal and final. I think the pressure is definitely on Alan Dillon and Andy Moran from the younger crew and they will need to prove themselves all over again which is the cruel reality of IC football at the highest level.
    Cillian will feel the pressure of captaincy and I hope and believe it doesn’t impact on his play. Aidan o shea is under pressure to carve out a niche and modify his approach to a different style of play instead of over relying on physical strength. Evan Regan needs to replicate some of the magic we have seen earlier. And so on and so on!

    Stephen Rochford is under pressure too in a different way. Making big calls as to who will be In the match day panel is tough for SR and he needs to be tough and brave in his decision making. He and his management team really need to assert their authority by making sure everyone buys into the the strategy and game plans. All great teams have individuals with big egos otherwise they would never be great. However getting lads to abandon those egos and work cleverly and selflessly for the team is the trick in being really successful. That’s a really big challenge for a newbie manager like Stephen Rochford. If he can do this then we are in with a great chance.
    So it’s plain sailing then!

  26. No Irwin, a free taker, an eye for goal. Strange. Hope he doesn’t wind up like Danny Kirby, great prospect left to his own devices. I’d have both of them ahead of both Morans and Dillon . But we are where we are.

  27. And still with all the talk of future prospects, all we’ve got at the moment are names on paper.Wouldnt it be a grand thing to see both Tommy Goals and L Irwin emerging in time to be included among those names.
    In the meantime I’m dying to see what tweaking will take place in our attacking /scoring set up. Whatever it will be it will not be anything major or outstandingly obvious but I do hope there is some evidence of something different!

  28. Panels are not written in stone, players can come in due to injury or form at clubs etc. Horan operated an open panel in 2014 so as not to close the door on players.

    The panel is choosen but that doesnt mean we wont see a new face during the summer, its a long way to September yet

  29. I’d say there is less pressure on this team than in 2013/2014. The sole focus nationally in on Dublin, that they’re the greatest team ever and can they retain Sam, all the pressure is on them. I think some people on here forget that the average GAA supporter won’t even remember that Barry Moran played on St Patricks Day, the heave is all but forgotten and Rochford (Liam Horan) has handled the media sublimely.
    Reading all the comments regarding Liam Irwin, I fear that he may become Mayo’s best player this year based on the Richie Feeney effect (your stature grows with every game you don’t play and you become the panacea for all our ill’s). If the common consensus is that Stephen Rochford and his team are doing a decent job so far, then surely we have to trust that he has reasons to not include Liam Irwin at this stage.

  30. I’m confident that attacking wise we will be better than last year. DOC has stepped up a couple of levels, Regan will add pace and trickery to our inside line and Freeman’s last 2 performances were encouraging so hopefully he gets back to his 2013 form when he was vital to us. COS and Loftus will freshen things up too, most probably from the bench.

    The main worry would be that we’re still prone to conceding soft goals, although we never had our first choice defence playing during the league. Hopefully the management are working on this during the break.

  31. Liam – I couldn’t agree more, on all those fronts. The majority of supporters apart from ourselves seem to have already resigned themselves to a Dublin win – pressure off.

    Particularly agree on Irwin – he has the instinct there’s no doubt about it, but there is more to being part of a senior county panel than talent and instinct. There is a club campaign coming up, and if he is performing consistently well there (and why wouldn’t he?), there is no reason he won’t get the nod sooner rather than later. I look forward very much to seeing him bossing the square in the green and red in the not-so-distant future.

  32. No Liam, I wouldn’t say the bloggers are as you say. Little bits and pieces of issues tend to be alighted upon in down time as we’re in at the moment.I’d hope there’s not much doubt around, that the management is doing its utmost for the team and its prospects as the time crawls along towards its first big outing!

    And of course MayoMad,its only sensible that panels be open at all times ….as they say’ just for fear’ !!

  33. MayoDan, Defence is my main worry also, I believe we will score enough to win most games, we have been putting up big scores regularly. Conceeding soft pts and goals have been our downfall.

    There will be changes to the way we set up our defense. I dont see us bringing out the duvet or anything but the half back line will be sitting alot deeper and be more disciplined when they attack. If Keegan attacks KMc must fall back to cover, same with the other side. Closing off the space infront of the fb line is the key to success.

    I dont see us using a sweeper to often, there are times when it is required but generally we wont us one. I read an interview by McEntee a while back where he said Crossmaglen loved seeing sweepers deployed against them, he called it an invitation to score. All they would do is mark the sweeper and force turnovers from him.

    Attack wise I can see alot more kick passing into the ff line which is welcome as we are too predictable at this stage with the running game.

    A couple of posters questioning the inclusion of Dillon on the panel. Cant see him starting but he is still probably our most gifted man on the ball and you cant underestimate what he can do in the final 10mins. I for one was shouting for him to be introduced in the replay last year when we were 4 pts up. He would have gotten on the ball, taken the sting out of the game and settled the team. I firmly believe we would have won if he was introduced.

  34. I wouldn’t be calling for Alan Dillon or Andy Moran being removed from the panel. Both have been great servants for Mayo. Truth is I haven’t seen them play much football in recent times so I am in no position to judge. Stephen Rochford is in a position to judge and he must be seeing enough to include them. There is no doubt that either could contribute handsomely IF they are fit and time hasn’t yet caught up with them. And if they are better than the new lads by all means go with them but they have a fight on their hands and that’s no bad thing. Harsh as it may be there’s is no room for sentiment at this level.
    As regards Liam Irwin, I think he should be included in the panel if he’s interested. Even if he’s not used this year he would be learning his trade and improving his fitness alongside top players and that has to be a positive thing.

  35. Diehard with respect I don’t like all this talk about pressure pressure is for tyres and for tyres only. The only pressure that should be on any of the Mayo team or members of the panel is to go out and do your level best try to play to your potential and do your best to leave it all on the field

  36. Surely Irwin was part of the Dublin sessions as he goes to DIT. I believe DIT plays in the Leinster o Byrne Cup which would put him out of mayo involvement until next years National league. I have a feeling he will be involved in the panel before then. He was carrying an injury at the beginning of the U21 campaign and probably still isn’t 100% fit I believe he will be involved after the London trip.

    Great to see young Reape getting in we needed an injection of youth to prevent things turning stale. He has more versatility to his game and can play further out the field too as he does with his club

  37. As was said earlier, the ‘Richie Feeney’ effect is taking hold. Irwin has moved form a player with potential to a shoein for the Mayo panel. By the time we play London he will be the best full forward in Mayo. There will be people baying from the stands for his inclusion after the first wide 45 yard free. At this rate he will have an All Star nomination without kicking a ball.

    The management team have seen the players and picked their panel who they feel can contribute the most to the team this year. We should trust in their judgement.

    PS I see this weeks push for the worlds best GAA keeper to be made No 1has begun.

  38. MayoMad, we’ve been in a position to win”most games’ for a long time. Now we re looking for the recipe to win all games which we hav’nt done since you know when and won’t do unless we pitch for the very highest quality in all aspects of the game.
    I rem someone saying back in the eighties ….’Jaze …we de nearly want to be ten points better to win by a point ‘

  39. I understand where you are coming from Backdoor Sam but pressure is indeed a reality that cannot be denied with the often-heard cliche ‘pressure is for tyres’. In any big championship game, especially on All Ireland day, the pressure is intense. Even a gobdaw like myself can feel it in the stand – heart racing, adrenalin pumping and calmness gone out the window! What’s it like for players, especially players who have been on the brink so often?
    It’s how players and management cope with pressure that counts and this is what distinguishes the average players from the really great ones. And that’s my point – there is extra pressure on Mayo this year. And don’t worry nobody especially our critics have forgotten about the October revolt. Pressure is like any strong emotion – deny it and it jumps up and bites you and usually at the most inappropriate time – acknowledge it and deal with it and then it can become a positive force.
    And I dont like talking about pressure either but therein lies the real trap – pressure is the reality that tries to deny its own existence! What I say is name it, take it out and shake it up and then kick it to f**k out over the sideline and get on with the business in hand.

  40. Inbetweener, not sure what your getting at, but changing our keeper for example will have zero effect on the final outcome, Mayos problems lie further outfield.

    As for Irwin, he has potential, no doubt. I would have no issue at all if he was included. I was just pointing out that we have an incredible ability of building up players out of all proportions.

  41. I agree with a lot of what your saying Diehard I remember feeling the pressure in the stand V Dublin in the Replay and indeed the year before that’s prob because we are so close to this team and so supportive what I was trying to say is that we as supporters shouldn’t put any pressure on the lads they know what they have to do I would say just take it one game at a time and go out and do your best

  42. Agree with you there Mayomad – if you have a lead and need to protect it Dillon is most certainly the man to do that. This years League encounter vs Roscommon, or the Connacht Final against Sligo in 2012 are 2 occasions when I recall him standing out under those very conditions. Plus if you look at his performance in the drawn game against Kerry when we were 5 points down, it would be foolish to not have such a talent available. He may not start a game but if you need an experienced sub to bring on in the forward lines, both he and Andy are the men you need.

    As regards how we as supporters put pressure on our team – there’s audible frustration from our fans in the stands if any player makes even the slightest mistake on the pitch, be it bad pass, scuffed shot, whatever. It’s completely natural, and I’m as guilty of it as most. I’m sure the players can hear it too. Obviously where we are there in greater number, such as the under 21 games in Tullamore and Ennis it was very noticeable.
    I’ve not noticed this as much from other counties and if anything it just heaps pressure on the player when its from his (or as it was for the Ladies final, her) own fans.

    Is it just me that hears this or is it the same for all counties?.

  43. I am confident this year,more so than last year,mind you I have been confident before,even in the sixties seventies ,and eighties,but this year we seem to have added E Regan,C O S, C Loftus to our attack,so should be much better at finishing,also our defence has improved,so I see no reason to fear anybody,our management has a lot of experience,we have a lot of very confident and competitive players,which we need,we want big egos who are not afraid to take on the opposition and make them worry about us,with a little bit of luck I am sure we will get sam over the corick bridge

  44. I wish people would listen to the players more when second guessing what they think of our support , it’s a very healthy relationship as recent as DoC highlighting how he was encouraged by every roar at 21 final . We’re hardly perfect but we are up with the best of them when it comes to numbers , noise level can be annoyingly low at times but can be loud too . Hopefully two games in Mchale park this summer and we can rock the fook out of it for six in a row and show our appreciation for this historic moment (or has it ever been done before?)

  45. I would disagree totally with your opinion re our keeper

    Goal keeping issues in big games have cost us previously , Dublin 2013 and the replay last year spring to mind .

    A lot of these players I feel its nearly last chance saloon

    Why take this risk ?

    As the famous saying goes ” goals win games “

  46. Sean, I agree we have a great set of supporters and outside of Dublin we bring the largest crowd. I have been told many times in many a town where mayo have played that the Mayo fans are always welcome due to the high sprits they always bring with them compared to other supporters.

    I do also agree that the noise is low at times when things are not going our way, its like we are expecting the worst. This is when the noise needs to be louder than before. I do have a couple of bug bearers like the booing of refs which is becoming more common and the leave early to beat traffic craic but that happens everywhere. Lets hope its a long green and red summer with lots of noise.

  47. Mayo51, you are correct goals wins games, there is no doubt about it. All im putting out there is that its not necessarily the goal keepers fault, Clarke or Hennelly, we will still leak soft goals until the whole defensive system is corrected. For example Hennelly played 6 matches last year conceeeding 7 goals. Clarke played 4 matches conceeding 7 goals. Interestingly Mayo only kept 3 clean sheets last season, Hennelly in goal for all 3. Both are good keepers and which ever one starts is fine by me but changing will not necessarily fix the problem.

  48. Mayomad, crucial goal keeping mistakes at crucial times have cost us , as I stated above why take the risk ?

  49. I just dont agree that we can just blame the keeper, put in a different one and everything will be ok. I would much rather see our defence tighten up, defend properly, protect the fb line and actually stop the opposition from creating so many opportunities.

  50. FDBinashui I concur with you on the audible groan from the stands once a mistake is made – it was so noticeable at the ladies’ game (and I was certainly guilty of it myself more than once!) but being honest, I think it’s just natural,a gut reaction and I’m not sure there is much we can or should do about it.

    BUT – if (as happened at the ladies’ game) we can get back behind the team after a frustrating moment like that, it might just help. I’m sure you’ve all read at this stage what Diarmuid O’Connor said about the crowd in Ennis being the 16th man and yes, I know the crowd was probably 85% Mayo, but it just shows the noise that 6,000 people can make. Imagine 30-40,000 people getting behind our team in Croke Park in high season? There is not a player in the world who won’t feel something in their bones at that point. That is the biggest role any of us can play as a supporter.

    Players are human, they make mistakes – the last thing they need is to feel like their own have turned on them too – and they need that support when it isn’t going to plan, just as much as they do when it is – probably more so.

    Let us never, ever go silent again like we did in 2013 is all I can keep saying.

  51. Anyone who thinks our supporters are bad have never been to a Dublin match when things arnt going well for the dubs. They arnt long turning on their players when the chips are down! We have the best support in Ireland and there will always be the odd prick that hassles a player.

  52. Jeeney weeney MayoMad ….was not I said anything about changing keepers and the Irwin issue is well done by now.
    Just was saying most games come and go and we win so many of them and why wouldnt we? We re a major footballing county. We have to work up to winning them all and that’s really what we re after at the present time.So it’s all hands on deck,whatever prayers have to be said, whatever shrine has to be visited, whoever has to be consulted, this is the game for this year!
    And maybe we should employ a proactive crowd activator for those times when the fans are tending to wilt and rub the foreheads with frustration!
    He/She could have a trumpet or a big tuba or some such instrument to shake us up now and again! I can imagine the reaction….! Sidown sidown sidown!!!!

  53. I agree mayo mad our defence needs to tighten up

    Can you answer the question though . Is it worth the risk of having a keeper that could make a mistake at a crucial time ?

  54. Just to answer your question, Sean – no, it’s never been done before. We’ve done five-in-a-row in Connacht twice now and Galway have done the same once (1956-1960) but no county has ever done six on the trot.

    Also, on the point about supporter noise levels, I’d agree completely with NiallMc1983 about Dublin. If the Dubs are in a hole in a big match in Croke Park they’re pretty much on their own. The sunshine supporters are great for the Come on You Boys in Blue when things are going well for them but when the going gets tough they all go silent. I’ve even seen occasions when three points on the trot for Dublin is met with complete indifference but then all hell will break loose if a goal goes in! That’s what comes with having Man U supporters along for the ride on the big days, I guess.

  55. Mayo 51, that is actually a very tough question, I actually think there is nothing between Hennelly or Clarke, both are excellent keepers. Hennelly has made more mistakes in big games simply beacuse he has played in more big games. AI final in 2012 was prob Clarkes last big game (2goals conseeded there too). There is no guarantee of Clarke not having a bad day and droping a few clangers, they are all human, even Cluxton let one drop over his head against Down.
    The point im trying to make is I dont believe we have lost big games due to keeping errors.

  56. You can argue about panel inclusions till the cows come home but at the end of the day about 24 of those players max will see any sort of meaningful action barring an horrendous injury crisis. And those 24 will have been well proven in the Mayo shirt till now in big matches and in the case of Loftus for example, will be players in serious form at the current moment in time.

    Whether Irwin (for example) is better than Player X is tit for tat stuff really, it reminds me of people getting upset about Shay Given making the Ireland Squad when he hasn’t a hope of seeing action

    The keeper debate is certainly a more compelling one, and it is a tough call. I see arguments for both. I’m going to cop out though, I honestly couldn’t call it

  57. Mayo 51, honestly I have no preference who starts in goal as I dont think there is much between the two, either one Im happy with. We are lucky to have two top class keepers. Who is the one I think Rochford will start with? I think he will go with Hennelly, purely based on him playing Robbie in 6 of the 7 league games. But who knows, Clarke may suit the way he wants to play this summer. Rochford sees them everyday in training so I trust his judgement on the matter.

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