Matthew Ruane is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

We didn’t get the result we were looking for at Pearse Stadium, coming up short by a single agonising point, in a game in which we’d led for long stretches. Naturally, the post-game narrative is all about the negatives but that air-brushes out the positive aspects of our display yesterday.

One of those good points was the performance of Matthew Ruane. He put in a really strong shift around the middle for us against Galway yesterday, frequently pushing us onto the offensive and kicking three great points. It was his best display for the county since his All-Star year back in 2021 and you’ve voted him our MOTM from yesterday’s game with 26% of the vote.

Others to feature prominently in the poll were Tommy Conroy and Colm Reape (both on 13%), Ryan O’Donoghue (11%) and Aidan O’Shea (8%). Well done to them all and, in particular, to Mattie Ruane, our MOTM from yesterday’s game.


147 thoughts on “Matthew Ruane is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Well done to matthew ruanne he’s definetly coming back to his old form of 21 what a bonus it would be if he was to continue it.

    Tommy conroy also is showing more glimpses of his old self. Reape deserves some credit also made a magic save and some good kick outs.

    Still sickened over the result but if any team can dust them selves down after that really dissapointing result it’s mayo wouldn’t underestimate cavan but it’s one I’m hoping the guys will give a big reaction to.

  2. Well done to Mattie and well deserved.
    Just a shame we don’t have a Seamie or a D Brady type with him,to do a bit more of the grunt and hold the middle section to allow Mattie bomb forward more. Digging out dirty ball is not his strong point but is very good in open play.
    Also a mention for Donnacha Mc who I thought did well yesterday.

  3. Well done Mattie, great to see him coming back to his best. When on song, a delight to watch. Long may it continue.

  4. Well done Matty.Baffled how little credit Donnacha has got for another superb game.Gough must be wondering how he faltered so badly in injury time and it should sting him for a long time.A serious meeting and back to the ball for our lads.Postmortems are coming but we only have two real championship games played yet.

  5. Great that Mattie is approaching his best. He’s probably better in proper conditions for football. There didn’t seem to be anyone helping him yesterday as our number 8 as Ciaran Whelan said had gone into the full forward line 11 times and this was totally ineffective. Diarmuid will probably be back for the next rounds to hoover up the loose ball. I’m not too despondent about our players, it’s just our laborious slow coach play that’s doing my head in. Most of our contributors and pundits can see it so hopefully management will change things but we thought the same after the League and the Roscommon game and nothing changed. Sometimes people persist to prove a point.

  6. Well done Mattie, great performance,
    There was some great play from Mayo in patches but some woeful stuff as well, some players are just a tad slow in moving the ball going into contact & therefore there was 7 turnovers which led to 4 scores for Galway, it’s so annoying when that happens. Mayo need to tighten up in defence too, McBrien had a good game overall, I like his tenacious tough marking, he’s improving every game, D Comer is one of the top full forwards in the game & very hard to stop him scoring, McBrien will have learned a lot from that game, come on Mayo.

  7. Just sitting here thinking to myself, are the players really happy with the “system “ we’re playing or just putting up with it, so as to not lose your place. If not, surely the more senior lads have a duty to speak up. They had plenty to say in 15 it seems.

  8. I wouldn’t mind seeing Donnacha tried at corner back the next day. He is a tighter marker than Rory and more aggressive in the tackle. Tall enough too so shouldn’t get caught out on high ball. I think he would have done a better job on Finnerty yesterday.

  9. Left Boot I can’t agree with you on McBriens marking of Comer yesterday. I didn’t think he was tight enough on him or else he should have used his pace to get in front of him. McBrien is a good player but Comer is practically unmarkable. I was surprised O’Hora didn’t get a run out maybe for Coyne as he did well when he came on against the Rossies.

  10. Comer is outrageously good……Every time he gets possession something happens. Has he ever won an All Star ?

  11. We have to play Jordan with Matthew in midfield, when they played together they were excellent!!
    It should help Jordan regain his mojo too..
    Donnacha McHugh was excellent, took Kelly out of the game…
    Also this crack of taking off Aidan, Jordan and Jack Carney in the closing stages of a Connaught final against Galway with all their big hitters around the middle leaving Matthew on his own was crazy and the losing of the final stages of the game.
    Ryan O’D will realize he made a bad decision on the attempted lob but he is entitled to a pass with his form to date

  12. Sticks for the reek. I agree with you fully, surely Mcstay & coaches know what they have to do now going into the games coming up.

  13. And also as others have said Donnacha is a star in the making and he had a great game yesterday he’s one to watch..

  14. How can McStay say the referee had a good game ? Surely managers everywhere question some dodgy decisions, like the frees he gave Galway near the end. The last one was clearly a free out. Does McStay think he is still on the TV panel analysing games and afraid to upset the referees ? He is the Mayo manager and should speak up for team.

  15. McStay was wise, complaining about refs gets you nowhere.
    He will be our ref again.
    Complain about one then they all are hard on your team.

  16. I can’t help thinking O Hora should have got a run yesterday. Finnerty wouldn’t tap him on the head or if he did……
    He has the kind of aggression and defiance we seem to lack at the back. He might have given away a free or two but so did the other lads. But at least with o Hora he’d get value from the free if you know what I mean. I don’t like to see our lads being toyed with.

  17. Joyce complained enough, even during the game yesterday. It didn’t do them any harm during injury time.

  18. @2hops yeah from what I heard Joyce was going mad at the sideline and I definetly think that had an effect on gough. My mates were at the match and they said Joyce was unreal shouting at gough and I could see it on TV to I couldn’t make the game.

    In saying that I think Joyce was so under pressure he didn’t hold back but when does he not hold back in fairness .

    Anyways time to start the focus to cavan it will tell a lot about our team if we can turn it around v cavan which I’m sure they can.

  19. Mcstay was wise not to to criticise the referee oh lord god the worst ever decision to give a free in when Loftus was assaulted by two players when gough didn’t even recognise the 5 second rule with a player in possession,referees should be held accountable for shocking decisions .evening up the score on his own terrible decisions is not acceptable.we weren’t good enough yesterday to close out a game that was basically done and dusted but that doesn’t excuse gough for an atrocious display of total ineptitude

  20. @1985: There isn’t a five-second rule. It’s four steps or the time to take four steps (1.4(a)), and Conor took five steps on that play. 3 before contact and two more in the tackle with Maher & Ó’Curraine.

    The questionable stance on that one was allowing Maher’s arm over the shoulder without a free the other direction. You’d normally see that called in our favour, but a huge element of subjectivity involved in any call of that nature. Disappointing, harsh even, far from ‘shocking’ though.

    The foul on Ruane was the disappointing one. That was a mistake and missed by referee and line umpire both.

  21. Sorry Tsudho but a current inter county referee told me it’s 5 see this is the problem it’s isn’t defined

  22. Congratulations to matty. A fine game. Look Joyce was bulling at the linesman and ref over some harsh decisions they got too. It cancelled itself out. The big picture and everyone knows it is that we lost it on the line . Joyce got his early and spot on. We totally blew it and the attempted keep ball tactic thar cost us against cork. We are not learning anything. You seen brickenden get caught in two minds trying to play that negative system.

  23. @1985: I’m not a referee and I’ve all the respect in the world for anyone willing to do that thankless task today… but they’re mistaken here.

    The rule of thumb of 5 seconds is the time given for “or the time needed to take 4 steps”. Conor wasn’t pulled on that. The rule is “4 steps or…” and the second part never kicked in once Conor took the fifth step. The 5 seconds was completely irrelevant to Gough’s call.

    All sorts of debate on the Maher arm over the shoulder, but the steps call was spot on if not giving the free out.

  24. Sorry lads ye are is over carrying defined if you can’t hop or solo the ball .watch it back Loftus receives the ball .he takes no more than two steps before being tackled by two Galway of the them makes contact with his head while the other one tackles him by the leg and while I’m not sure was it gough or another top referee who said recently that they don’t count steps they use time as a barometer.Not officially in the rules imagine that

  25. Well done Mattie.

    There’s a story about the time Micko was with Kildare, and he was beside himself with rage at the ref’s performance during the first half of a Leinster championship match. As he was crossing the pitch at half time he bumped into the ref, grabbed him and told him it was the best reffing performance he had seen in ages. Kildare got everything that was going in the second half.

  26. The tactic of Coen running into the box by management , like what is he trying to do, Ciaran Whelan took it to pieces on The Sunday game.Thought Stephen Coen was really poor again.How the hell is he midfield for Mayo.Seen him for St Colmans and Hollymount for years and never could he field a high ball.
    Brickenden too very poor roasted by Rob Finnerty ,soloed out the field on another occasion and turned over the ball which led to a Galway score. Another time Finnerty rubbed him on the head and he didnt even react, lacks aggression for a full back.
    Yet another poor championship performance by Fergal Boland, he was really quite, game passed him by,Silke had him in his pocket.
    Jack Carney another player not playing well but gets picked every game under McStay ,a player who takes very few risks and goes lateral every time and seems to lack leadership.

    Really would like to see a shakeup for Cavan game and we need to try the Tuohy /DOC partnership at Midfield the only pairing capable of matching James McCarthy and Brian Fenton and bring Matty out the half forward line.Sumday was his best game since the Dublin 21 Semi Final.


  27. @Achill75 that’s a bit harsh to be fair on some of the players you mentioned. Stephen coen is an under appreciated later he does what he’s told to do by management.

  28. Do fans think the excitement around games is slipping away year after of football,timing and a lack of enjoyment seems to be around gaa from what I encounter from every county ,great crowd yesterday but same passion and rivalry not there as in years gone by

  29. @achill75 i thought stephen coen was excellent, really calm presence. I do agree with brickenden though, i don’t think he’s suited to full back.

  30. @achill75. Not sure if you were in Salthill but Coen had an excellent game again .!!
    You seem to be enjoying having a pop at management , at last .
    Go easy on the players. Amateur lads giving their all for Mayo .
    Well done Mattie ,
    I also thought McHugh had a great game on Kelly

  31. Achill75, Whelan showed that Mayo used Coen in the small square to pull one of Galway’s two sweepers out of position.
    Galway used a double sweeper – as in 2022 – as part of their master plan to stop ball going into the Mayo full forward line and so to stop Mayo scoring.
    If Mayo don’t score much, or struggle to score – as is levelled at us – and Galway forwards do, they win the game.
    This ‘double sweeper’ tactic is now a Galway tactic against Mayo and The Sunday Game showed that Galway used it successfully in Connacht against us in 2022 (I think that year).
    Whelan was saying the Stephen Coen tactic was used to occupy one of those sweepers. Coen circled into the small square 11 or 12 times. So far a brilliant idea, I think.
    BUT the problem Ciaran Whelan had was that Coen didn’t do more there to actively pose a threat to Galway. The Galway sweeper didn’t follow Coen or get agitated by his presence. Whelan was making the point that to be effective Coen needed to do something more in that area of the field, maybe show for ball, instead of just circling in and out.
    It was an important ploy to send Coen in there but needed to be done better. Another lesson! We’re getting lots of them.

  32. @Achill75
    Your idea to combat Fenton/Mccarthy (maybe the best midfield partnership in history) is to play two lads who actually aren’t midfielders in a young Bob Touhy and a recovering DOC?
    Jesus wept.
    The great thing about the blog is everyone gets to air an opinion, the worst thing about the blog is everyone gets to air an opinion.

  33. Interestin about stephen coen. But for me he would be better used at other end of field protectin fullback line. Leavin comer 1 on 1 was madness. I just could not understand that.

    Eoghain should have layed that ball off too player in better position instead of blastin the ball. A few teams were guilty of that at weekend. The player in best position should recieve the ball. Make it easier. I know gough had a qware game himself but in truth we should have been out of site by additional time. We done alot right on sunday. Goals win games. We need more of those

  34. Watched the whole game again last night and it’s hard to see how we managed to lose it. However a few things were obvious. McLaughlin is a real weapon for Mayo when played on the left but putting him on the right was criminal. Setting up without a sweeper against Comer and Finnerty defies logic, almost as if we’ve never faced them before. We also look unbalanced without a leftie or two in the forwards.
    Decided a while ago not to get involved in debates about referees but David Gough who generally is a top ref would get no more than a 5 out of 10.
    Mayo management unfortunately would also struggle to get more than a 5. Their job is to help the team with their decisions not hinder them. Must do better!
    Well done Mattie, great to see some of the old form back again but needs to follow it up from here on.

  35. Well done Mattie Well deserved. Actually quite a number of Mayo lads played ok in flashes Sunday. You have got to realise they are up against serious opponents and are not going to get the better of them all the time. For example Comer is a top top player so McBrien had a serious challenge. He held him to 2 from play but he did win some frees, the first one also dubious. Likewise Tommy C scored 2 from play and won a few frees, but his marker did ok as well. The criticism of Coen is incorrect and thinking that Whelan was over critical of him is also incorrect. Whelan outlined the huge amount of times Coen went forward in an effort to occupy one of the Galway defenders. The point was he moved out again rather than got the ball in his hands. Coen has captained Mayo to minor and u21 All Irelands and also captained a Sigerson winning team. He has been an incredibly versatile player for us and his versatility is matched by his selflessness. He is no Brian Fenton, will rarely kick 3 from play like Mattie and won’t pluck them from the sky like the great Willie Joe, but he does a solid job for the team which has been acknowledged by all his managers since he broke into the senior panel

  36. True to win just once, but I think JoeGs points are valid. McBrien was left isolated on Comer with no sweeper protection, despite it being clear what Galways intentions were from early doors, just like what has happened to O’Hora, Brickenden and Callinan in previous games I think it was.
    Similarly with Eoghan, his speed is his strength, missing out on so much football at underage with the cycling means it is not fair to expect him to have the higher levels of skills some other players have on the ball, so try and play to his strength, playing him off on his weaker side seems counterintuitive.

  37. Hey Willie Joe, I used to be a contributor to the blog a few years back and we fell out over something I posted which resulted in your booting me out. Just wondering if enough time has passed in your estimation for me to be considered for readmission to the action….

  38. Achill 75. Great post and I agree 100% with you. I certainly think your team is better and worth a shot but obviously it won’t happen. Mayo have the habit over the years of sticking with the same players who keep failing. As I said before some players are like bad racehorses great on the gallops but don’t produce on the track. I for the life of me can’t understand why some players keep getting picked but they obviously train well when things are not flat out. Interesting comment from James Horan that we need more risk for reward so maybe to shake up the selection might be a good place to start.

  39. Well done Mattie. Coen had a good game as he nearly always does. He actually found 5 or 10 yards on many of those runs inside and we could have scored several points from marks if the tactic were used. Because of Galway system we had 2 free backs, Coen and Coyne. McHugh was playing midfield (not Coen) marking Kelly so Coen was a free agent on our attacks. Galway banked on Coyne not taking many risks in attack and it worked. The did the same with Kevin Keane a good few years back. Another man criticised was Carney who injected great pace in a pass setting up Mattie for a late point. Probably doesn’t do it often enough though and there’s a strong case for Loftus, Tuohy or McHale in the HF Line. Tuohy hasn’t shown enough confidence in championship cameos but perhaps a start could fix that. Galway had their homework done on Ryan and Fergal despite Ryan still doing well. Jordan Flynn also criticised by some here (if I recall he missed some training around championship time) but still scored a great point at a crucial time. The Coen tactic was not executed correctly but will yield dividends if used again properly. Doesn’t have to be him, could be Diarmaid. Coen did little wrong bar losing patience and drifting back out. Hard to blame much when the out field players didn’t use him and his primary role as a defender meant if we lost the ball there would be a hole in our defence.
    The reason some didn’t perform was down to Galway doing a damn good job.
    McBrien conceded scores off Comer but still the best man we had for the job. One of the points he applied decent pressure and Comer got it in off the post anyway. Another time he was turned near side he forced Comer wide or for a 45. The goal chance yes he was turned far too easily. After that point the only thing Comer got off him one on one was a few frees, some borderline. Maybe a bit too aggressive but we’d have people here going mental if he wasn’t aggressive enough. It’s risky playing Comer from the front, if he gets in behind it’s serious trouble. Comer also took a great mark beating McBrien to it in one 2nd half aerial duel, something we rarely see but it was a great piece of play by Comer who also kept us guessing by moving around the park. Deserved RTE MOM, Our one on one man to man system is brave but probably naive. No one else is doing it. I’d like to see Coen or Diarmaid as no 6 sweeper for the rest of the championship probably Stephen as Diarmaid better in the midfield half forward zone and will track anywhere it’s needed including when Stephen for any reason abandons sweeper 6. Hope we don’t abandon Fergal Boland after 1 quiet game. Was quiet enough vs Ros too but still made an impact. We need a play maker so Boland vs Loftus, take your pick. Stick with the jersey at least 1 more game.

  40. To Win Just Once, inspired by your recognition of Stephen Coen, I want to add – I’ve noticed he has started to score! Not all the time but I’ve seen it start to happen. First time I noticed it was in the 2021 final and he has started to get forward a lot since then. Notice how it was he who was coming forward into the D on Sunday. He also got a goal recently because he was coming forward and was in the right place at the right time. I’m interested that he kicks accurately over the bar when he does take on the shot.
    It’s a bit fascinating to me that he is being instructed or given a licence to roam forward. How cool is that. He mightn’t be a Leeroy or an Eoghan McLaughlin with pace from the half back line but in his own understated deadly way he can do unexpected damage.
    It’s kind of inspiring to me that such a long and well established player as Stephen Coen is adding new parts to his play like this after so many years. For the inventiveness, imagination, strategic thought and guile to try this, we have to thank the management (Horan and McStay).
    Now let’s get Conor Loftus back in the half forward line and reap the reward of his talent there. I have ideas of him scoring buckets of points.

  41. Time is a great healer, Seán! I can’t recall what it was about but I’d agree that enough time has now gone by. Welcome back.

  42. Watched the match back. Think the draw was the fair result.

    Few comments from me on general discussion points:

    1. PJ was dead right to be livid with the ref and his behaviour was exactly what I would want to see from a manager. Gough cost Galway two certain points and one ended up being a Mayo point. (He was awful for the last 10 minutes too so it all evened out).

    2. We didn’t create a single proper goal chance which is worrying.

    3. Starting McLaughlin on the right wing made no sense, he could have had two points in the first 10 minutes if he had a right foot.

    4. Galway were brilliant at letting Mayo players who they didn’t rate in possession get on the ball (Coyne, McLaughlin, Coen) but zoning on our dangerous players.

    5. Finally, we don’t have many big players anymore, only ROD and Durcan are top quality. Galway definitely have four in Comer, Walsh, Kelly and McDaid and maybe have six with Heaney and Finnerty. This for me is the most worrying point, with the game on the line Galway got big players on the ball while we didn’t have any one. Our team is full of above average players, Galway do have some weaker players but their best players are so much better than ours.

  43. FW
    Bob Tuohy and Diarmuud O’Connor arent midfileders???
    Another one who never watches a club championship or Mayo Under 20 games to say Bob Tuohy isnt a midfielder.So you arent going to play Diarmuid against Cavan and Roscommon to get him up to match fitness, and is one of our best players.thats very smart that is.You have even named the 2 players you would start midfield.

  44. Youd have to be concerned over fergal boland and is he more of a league standard player rather than championship . Even against ros his safety play ,slowing it down was very obvious , if he is going to make a differnce he will have to up the ante and take a few risks imo , go for it more , attempt that killer pass . I still think we are too slow to give diagonal ball into our ff line .

    I thought stephen coen played well but it seems im in a minority . Ill have to watch it back in full .

  45. Thanks man! Good to be back! We need positivity in this county now more than ever and that’s what I normally bring to the party! ?

  46. Congratulations to Mattie, well deserved and should be great for his confidence going forward. I wouldn’t be too despondent here. We were OK Sunday but not our best. The group situation might work out all for best yet. I don’t think we need a major overhaul. A lot went right for Galway – playing at home, getting the full squad back, all forwards clicking on the one day, getting the best of the calls from the Ref and it was still only a 1 point game, that we could have won. Joyce also went back to Kevin Walsh approach (Kevin Walsh 2.0). A big issue however still remains the strategy of closing out games, when we are in a strong position. Controlling the pace of the game and killing the game when we need to.

  47. There has to be changes for Cavan I’d get rid of Brickedon, McLoughlin, Coen and Carney for a start
    1 Reape
    2 Hession
    3 McBrien
    4 Coyne
    5 Durcan
    6 McHugh
    7 Callinan
    8 Diarmuid O Connor
    9 Bob Tuohy
    10 Jordan Flynn
    11 Ruane
    12 Boland / Darren McHale
    13 Tommy Conroy
    14 AOS
    15 Ryan O Donoghue

    When you defending drop McHugh back in front of McBrien , Diarmuid drops back to Centre Back and Ruane Drops back towards Midfield then you drive back up the field and all fall back into their original positions it’s simple Dublin had something similar with Cian O Sullivan

  48. Agreed with Mattie as motm. Well done to him. Was very good right across the 70.

    Surprised by how low Donncha McHugh came in the polling, he would have been my 2nd choice, completely snuffed out Sean Kelly after recently doing a number on enda smith, he is becoming a go to guy for these jobs

    There seems to be a few names who consistently poll high on these things regardless of how well they play

  49. @seamie good post agree with you!

    Seeing some of the reaction the rossies really believe they will be able to take us now and give us a hammering. (living in dream land some of them)

    It was really dissapointing no doubt about it but not the end of the world.

    When we crashed out last year everyone thought we would get a hammering to kerry yes we flopped after but that was due to the loss to Cork. I am expecting a big reaction from our guys they will be hurting like they were last year and they will come bouncing at cavan and wouldn’t be surprised if we managed to beat the dubs either we always up our game against the dubs..

    Onwards and upwards as I said if anyone can dust themselves down after that it’s mayo!

  50. Mayo21 – I’d imagine we won’t know till after the weekend. That was the way they did it last year, which is really inconvenient for supporters as it’s difficult to make any plans.

  51. I have to say I agree with Achill75”s views and team selection. We all know Stephen Coen is an excellent player but it will always and ever be horses for courses. He is a defender, a man marker. He is not a midfielder and when he runs into space or a scoring position the opposition don’t see him as a threat which says it all really. He doesn’t pull players to him, he doesn’t create space which is crucial in this game. For midfield/half forward you need to be able to compete for the ball in the air, transition the ball quickly, be an attacking threat by running at defenders. If you find yourself in the opposition box the defenders should be terrified that you could pluck a floated ball out of the air. We have an extensive panel with more becoming available so we need to start selecting players with the correct skill sets in the right positions.

  52. @Mayo21/@Willie Joe: Michael McMullan (journalist with Gaelic Life & proud Derry man) had the early chatter on Galway/Derry being the 18th and suggested we might know the details today. Hopefully that suggests they’re looking to get out ahead of the fixtures a little earlier this year. Fingers crossed.

  53. Mattie definitely our man of the match, scored with ease at time. Thought Coen was solid as usual and goes unnoticed a lot of the time. Most of Mayo’s best runs have come from the back door route so i am still optimistic we have a shot at a Semi F. No time to lick the wounds as WJ pointed out on the podcast. Get Cavan lined up and blitz them and take it game by game.
    Welcome back @ Sean Harrington.

  54. We abandoned our defensive system – McBrien as the covering defender, and it cost us. Galway scored in the second half 11 points – that was their expected full game total based off the league.

    Nothing new about the kind of runs Coen was making into the full forward, we’ve been doing that for awhile, although it hasn’t always been Coen – Brickenden did a few first half against the Rossies. Whelan is not wrong to criticise Stephen for not doing enough on those runs, but the bigger problem for me is that without David to cover it left us hugely exposed – as JH pointed out on the examiner podcast, we had two lads in Coyne and Callinan who weren’t really performing an attacking role. One of them could have been making Stephen’s runs and Stephen could have provided cover for a counter attack.

    This feels to me like a bit of an oversight, and I would expect that next time we use David man marking, we will be more organised at providing cover.

    I think it was Fitzmaurice on the TV that gave the stat at halftime that under McStay we had only lost one game of 12 where we were level or leading at halftime, so I don’t feel that we have an issue closing out games – WTS it’s not the first time we have been caught after withdrawing our best fielders, and we can’t be getting caught like that again – in fairness I’m pretty sure Jack Carney picked up a knock towards the end.

    I don’t think we left everything out there on Sunday, which is a little disappointing, but hopefully that will leave us in a better position moving forward – Galway by contrast imo will struggle to reach the same level again against Derry. Another clean is positive, and if we can do that again against Cavan and Roscommon we should be able to face Dublin in a winner takes all clash for a quarter final.

    Last thing from me – I think we have a different team at the moment to what we have had in the past, and I don’t believe that we are a “chaos” team anymore.

  55. My bet is that the Dubs game will be in Croker along with another game.

  56. I think you could be right there, Bate the Blanket. It’s easy to see this developing as management wanting us to play it in Croke Park (can’t play there often enough, it’s where we want to be, gives the newer lads experience of playing there etc. etc.) and the County Board going along with it but with supporters pathologically opposed to any such notion …

    As others have already pointed out, however, it’s the Cavan and Roscommon games that should be occupying our minds for now!

  57. My team for Cavan (so that I can move on)

    Hession Brickenden Callinan
    MacLaughlin McBrien Coen
    Ruane McHugh
    Diarmuid Carney Flynn
    Cillian Conroy O’Donoghue

    * Boland and Coyne I’m rotating out to give a rest to.
    * Diarmuid, Flynn and MacLaughlin need minutes to get back to their best.
    * As does Cillian, but I also feel we need another forward when facing the blanket.
    * Aidan to come in and finish.
    * I’d be giving Bob Touhy a start in one of these two games, and I’d love to see a wildcard Conor Reid or someone come in and bring some youthful exuberance.
    * I’m not risking Paddy Durcan.

    In theory this is a must win – but the problem for me is that I don’t trust the Rossies to beat this lot, potentially bringing the whole thing down to score difference (again) were the Rossies to beat us.

  58. Agreed Bate the Blanket and Willie Joe, think it will be in Croker too.

    But realistically, the tide is slowly turning on this management ticket and whether we like it or not, the bubble has burst a little for Mayo fans. Probably hasn’t been the same since 2021. So an easy win like insisting the game is played outside Croker would be my advice to the county board and management team.

    If we don’t perform well against Cavan and Roscommon, I couldn’t see more than 10-12k Mayo fans going to a group game in Croke Park against Dublin. And the backlash to the game being in Croker could be visceral.

  59. It won’t be in Croker – they set their stall on that last year by not only moving the Dubs out, but also by not having any of the neutral games there.

    Won’t be the Hyde either – with Roscommon in the group it’s not really neutral and we’d be playing two games in a row there.

    Tullamore most likely. Otherwise I think it’ll depend somewhat on the other fixtures – going north Cavan or Clones. South Limerick (if available) or Thurles.

  60. TBC but likely our first game be on the Saturday from chatting to people.

    McHugh done well again yesterday with a caveat that Kelly does not appear to be 100% right yet, and not moving freely. Whether he ever comes back to peak is another question, he has had a lot of injuries.

    I’m with Willie Joe, I think it will be Croker, and possibly double header as that’s best way to say there was a middling attendance when combine totals for both games, helps keep corporates happy as well with the boxes. but agree with unstoppable as well that people will give out about Dublin home advantage etc. but playing in Croker is no harm and should suit us. we well used to it.

  61. I remember being in Croker when Mayo beat Kildare in a double header, there was approx 22,000 people there.

  62. Well god damn blast it if its in croker for the dublin game, it will send a lot of our support over the edge of that cliff someone mentioned altogether.

  63. In the first half we were lacking a shooter from distance. Galway targeted our inside lads well so when our half backs arrived with the ball the options were limited. Fergal offered himself well in the league but the same time and space is not afforded to players in the championship. So who can kick points from distance? Ryan… Diarmuid… Conor… Mattie…. so we need to have at least one of those lads if not three in our h/f line, not ball carrying….
    Maybe Jordan should be in the middle. His shooting hasn’t been great this year.
    I thought Jack Carney played well but again, not adding scores. Paddy is a big loss as he runs direct but has to be guarded as he’s likely to score..
    Still sickened about Sunday but it is what it is.
    I was really impressed with Cavan against Monaghan and Tyrone. There will have to be a defensive plan for their ff line.
    Galway finished with their strongest team, will we be tempted to do that and bring aido on?
    Expectations need to be adapted and respect should be given to the next two opponents. We assumed we would coast after beating kerry last year. We will need big performances to get going again. Particularly from our management.

  64. I’m so sure about boland struggling in the championship. I think he got a point which is no less than what Rod. Flynn. And carney nothing. Had we had boland on the pitch in the last 10 minutes it may have been different. He s being kicking from distance all year. Contrast that with so many mayo player s who declined to take the shot on . We play with fear. A possession game. A so called safe game. Alot of pot passers on the team. Nobody willing to break the line apart from Tommy and Rod. Durcan is good at line breaking. We don’t even launch a high ball in just to mix it up. A total rethink required by management from here on in

  65. No reason whatsoever that Dr Hyde should not be the neutral venue for Dublin v Mayo game. .Mayo County Board spent millions on McHale Park and when was the last time there was a big neutral game held there?. McHale Park would a easily could be very good venue for the Galway v the loser of Donegal v Armagh Ulster Final. Likewise Roscommon County Board spent big on refurbishing Dr Hyde Park. Good Provincial Grounds around the Country and money spent the the local GAA should be rewarded . An earlier poster said that because Mayo had played already at Dr Hyde Park it wouldnt be accepted presumably because it would unfairly advantage Mayo.. What utter baloney. How many times has Mayo played against Dublin in a so called Neutral Venue Croke Park in the last 12 years?. There were some advocating on this forum a few years ago wanting an upcoming Mayo v Kildare and Roscommon v Clare game to be held in Croke Park . Those game’s went ahead in Croke Park , people voted with their feet and something like 15K turned up. Thousands stayed at home that would have gone to a more local venue. And then just factor in Hotel ripoff prices for both our team and supporters. Enough is enough.

  66. Leantimes is MacHale park pitch still being spray painted green? May struggle to get external games if pitch quality still an issue.

  67. Last time I was at a match in McHale Park was only a few weeks ago . Mayo minors v Roscommon minors. The pitch was pristine.

  68. We got caught playing down the clock. All of 5 minutes and I warned against those tactics after the roscommon match. Same tactics that nearly caught us against louth and did against cork. Now galway. Why didn’t we push on instead of putting 15 men behind the ball and invite them on. That and the calling ashore of boland and aos is where we lost the game. Coupled with the reluctance to take the shot on.

  69. Agreed, Leantimes. I walked across it after one of the Minors the other week and it looked in great condition, better than it’s been for years. The pitch isn’t on the list of things to be complaining about this year!

  70. It’s funny looking at people’s bias towards certain players. Boland getting lots of criticism, Coen mostly praise. Ryan nearly always praise. Coyne, rarely ever a comment (which is strange for a regular Mayo starter!). A few observations.

    Reape – best game in a while. Stunning save from Comer.

    Coyne – not a particularly good man marker, doesn’t have the elite pace to take the ball off Reape under pressure and get us up the pitch – and he missed a sitter at the weekend. Lucky to keep his place.

    McBrien – roasted. But only Clifford is as good an inside forward as Comer.

    Brickenden – absolutely no fault of his but I do not see what the management see in this guy. Utterly roasted by Finnerty, poor turnover, and soft free conceded, and not an option for kickouts in the full back line because of a lack of pace. Just start Hession back there.

    Callinan – quite a while since he played well. Needs to do a lot more.

    McLaughlin. I think only one assist but I’d pay to watch his athleticism alone. An animal. His 3 turnovers, especially the one on Glesson, were top class. I think Buckley is improving his discipline in tackling too. I’d honestly put him on Fenton for all the Dublin game except kickouts.

    Coen – so poor. Like a passenger. Whelan is correct. If you are going to do dummy runs, then at least look for the ball sometimes. We’ve better players.

    Carney. Usual performance, our best option for fielding – and he is good at that. But lack of pace is killing him. He’ll keep his place though.

    Flynn. Always has the courage to shoot. He’ll get better.

    Ruane. Best game in ages. Superb going forward. A little soft in the tackle sometimes.

    Do not drop Boland. He is the only bit of creativity they have in that half forward line.

    Ryan. Average. Good mark and point from play. Some poor turnovers in the tackle and awful decision and execution to try lob Glesson when Ruane was free.

    Conroy. Mixed, but he’s dangerous and defenders are scared of him. Fisted point was superb. Could have gone for goal?

    Mayo are in an OK position. If they don’t react well to this it reflects terribly on the management.

  71. GBXI. Pretty much on the money with that post. And not many people have said it but brickenden struggled way more than mcbrien. Comer is a top top player. Finnerty was made look like a super star

  72. “Do not drop Boland. He is the only bit of creativity they have in that half forward line.”

    What did he create /contribute /assists ?

  73. Sean. He may have contributed more when the game opened up last 10 minutes as in long range shooting. Before that he was very quiet as was flynn.

  74. Ye could be right lads but it looked very yellow in patches on rewatch of minor game and much greener day or to later. Do not want get good white runners ruined with food dye again 🙂

  75. Mayo were the better team Sunday, they really made a balls of it in the end, even though Gough had a bad last 10mins, Mayo should have had it wrapped up before that.
    Funny to see the Galway management and supporters celebrating like they won the All-Ireland something they have ridiculed Mayo fans for doing previous. Its being said that Galway subs changed the game and Galway won it on the sideline, but Galway were 2 points down at half time, and were still 2 points down at the 70th minute so not sure how they can say there changes helped. Mayo were too slow at making changes and maybe took off the wrong players but hard to know if lads were injured or not.

    If Mayo want to stay the same with inconstancy, no scoring threat and open at the back then some players need to be changed. Coyne needs to improve, Carney gets on alot of ball but not direct enough. Tommy Conroy was disappointing in that he had plenty of chances to run at Galway and didn’t, the few time’s he did he did well, he was one on one near end of the first half and he ended up turning back and he def at the pace to get through.

  76. Probably won’t be on GAAGo, as these rounds are scheduled to be, as clashing with Galway v Derry. Probably not a bad thing, should boost attendance levels a little

  77. It’s not Stephenite. A long time since a Mayo championship match was not on tv

  78. After a period of mature reflection ….

    I think our position is not as awful as some think.This team below is one that is available right now. Here’s why I picked it that way.


    Callinan /D McHugh

    Solid keeper. Did v well under pressure v Galway. One needle threader of a kickout need not be repeated(if only for my heart )

    Full back line:
    McBrien at full back is non negotiable.Callinan and McHugh have talent,speed,are forward moving at all times,and can do man marking (McHugh superior in that department)This full back line would pull any forward line down the field and be able to beat them back in a race into position in the event of a turnover. They are also quite tough as a trio and this is a line which would age well imo.Also they can all take a score.

    Hession/Durcan/McLoughlin: Speed speed speed is essential here.Marauding and ball carrying half backs who can all score and can get back into position in the event of turnovers. All man markers too.

    Overall I believe this combination of players(if available) are as good as any defense,faster than most,able to score more than most.

    The big downside is that we don’t have defensive speedsters to replace them on the bench.O’Hora and Coen are good man markers( within reason)but they don’t have speed to neutralize a Cormac Costello for example.



    My basic tenet is that if Mayo have a functioning midfield we are hard to beat. Ruane back to his best is highly encouraging. Diarmuid back to his best also would make these two competitive against anyone.

    Touhy /Jordan Flynn/Coen as midfielder replacements.

    The downside is that we are still not a high fielding team (except Tuohy-but Aido could help out here )so we have to focus on breaking the ball.

    Half forward line:

    Ryan O Donoghue
    Jordan Flynn

    I can understand why this would be controversial when our best individual player is being played out of position. But what I’d like to emphasize is how Ryan can bring others into the game, his vision, his kick passing,his leadership,his fight,his ability to win frees.He is very hard to mark at this position. His overall contribution to the team would be greater at number eleven. He is potentially a genius footballer if played properly(imo)He makes everyone around him better and that’s got to be good for any team.

    Carney is playing a quarter back role it looks to me. Very good distribution and fielding and Kick passing are obvious strengths. Jordan is a great player with very consistent form and he could also play back up midfield.

    Replacements:Loftus /McHale

    Upside Downside here is that it’s essential for this line of the team to stay focused the whole game and that’s where I think we fall down here a little.

    *It’s such an exhausting position in the modern game but -and this is key as far as I am concerned-when this line fatigues(or is replaced en masse- like against Galway)it puts unbearable pressure on the rest of the team. This was a tactical error which I have pointed out before about this management team.

    Full Forward line: Picks itself really
    It is what it is. Very good line.More direct ball in is what we all want.

    James Carr
    Tommy Conroy

    I’d be optimistic that 55 minutes from this team and we would beat most teams.

    O Hora
    Eoin O Donoghue

  79. 5pm game. , probably on TV.
    Stations like good TV facilities like we have in Castlebar.
    No hassle with scaffolding etc

  80. The more I think about this the more positive it gets. Into a nice group and it means we shouldn’t meet the Dub’s again until the final.

  81. Food4Thought, unfortunately it does not seem we will see much of Carr this season, AhRef Podcast had update on his status. Seemed to confirm other sources on it.

  82. Confirmed that it’s not on TV. Saturday at 5 is a great time for a game in my opinion, albiet that is subjective

  83. Not on the telly , high stoolers might venture as far as castlebar now anyway .

    I dont think our game v Dubs will be in croker .

  84. GBXI Great post. What about McHugh and Aido. McHugh to me was fine and he tried to go forward instead of sideways but they will probably try and correct that in their eyes. Aido won a lot of 50/50 ball but he must be hugely fed up with the slow ball into him. Forwards need quick ball as we all know but we seem to want to give the defence time to reset. I still think if we change our style and play more direct we won’t have a bad year but we need to pick players that can win 50/50 ball that have pace. The Brian Cody philosophy. They were the 2 things he looked for and it served him well.

  85. Gizmobobs,sorry to hear that. In that case would consider Tuohy at Full forward.

  86. I don’t understand why people don’t think Stephen Coen is good enough for this team, his calming presence and accuracy as a player is very important to us. I thought he played excellent at the weekend and a large reason why ruane played as well as he did

  87. Thought time would be a good healer after the result but the omens are not good today. Went through Miltown earlier and a load of 24 G flags blowing then I went to check on the Ballinrobe races and what did I see below it a horse called ‘Mayo for Sam’ in Navan – he came 2nd of course !!!! I’m locking myself in a dark room for the rest of the evening….

  88. McHugh did well, nice point and Kelly was an irrelevance. I have to wonder if Kelly was fit though. If Kelly was fit then McHugh is starting to build a Lee Keegan style reputation for man marking. Twice he has done Enda Smith.

    I thought Aidan won every ball that went into him, it’s just a pity he didn’t swing that point over. I’d like to see him continue to shoot. When he plays for Breaffy he always shoots, I don’t get it. McStay needs to have a word with him and say, look Ryan is our best scorer and I’d say he is less than 50% with shots from play – there’s no reason you can’t have 2 or 3 shots p/game.

    On your point about pace, it is badly needed in defense. We had Coyne, Brick, McBrien, Coen, and McHugh as 5 of the back 8 at the weekend. Very slow. When everyone is fit, I’d like to see Paddy and Hession in for Brick and Coen to add much needed pace to the team. Ruane’s pace is crucial to the midfield sector.

  89. Totally agree plunkett ,Stephen Coen has had two 7 out of 10 performances in my book in the championship so far .

  90. Look Coen is a leader and can definitely do a job for us but I have major issues with his skill level and that hampers us when he plays further up the pitch. He isn’t comfortable kicking the football. Might recall he had a simple cross field ball on Sunday in the first half and shanked it out for a line ball to Galway.

    I would get DOC into midfield and bring Coen on in the half back line for impact.

  91. When am I coming out of moderation willie joe. There’s alot of naming players and managers since the galway match. Fair is Fair. No need to publish this. I just want a fair cut. A hell of alot of what I’ve been saying has came true unfortunately

  92. I don’t see it, Plunkett. Every time someone says something positive about him, they always talk about intangibles. Leadership, calm, reading of the game. I always find that the bigger the game, the more likely it is that he is quiet. The pace is not there, not really comfortable on the ball either. Also, where does he play? Too small for midfield and not a natural fielder. Can’t play him 6 against an 11 with pace. Play him at 5 or 7 but it is removing an attacking threat. Not a full-back line player. Just my 2 cents.

  93. @catcol, he is not fast over a few yards like Hession, Durcan, McLaughlin, Callinan are. He is quick in straight lines and over distance, like Diarmuid and Jordan. Result is you don’t see him take the kick-out off Reape under pressure like Keegan, Barrett, Boyle, or Higgins would and turn his man to relieve pressure.

  94. @GBXI, i don’t agree with that i think he shows up in big games. He’s not a flashy player, more of a cog in the machine, albeit are very useful one. I think him and ruane work well in the midfield together. He’s not an attacking threat i will agree to that though but i think he is very valuable to the team

  95. “Is it not even on GAAGO?”
    Galway v Derry are on gaa go , no tv coverage of Mayo v Cavan as far as i can make out anyway.

  96. @GBXI: “… look Ryan is our best scorer and I’d say he is less than 50% with shots from play – there’s no reason you can’t have 2 or 3 shots p/game.”

    Agree with the sentiment there, we need to get our 15/20 willing to have more shots when they’re on (Kevin always spoke of the 40 attacks, 30 shots, 20 scores ballpark targets prior to taking the role – we’ve been falling well short in most games), but the mention of Ryan as an example did give me a flashback to this analysis of some of the 2023 season.

    We ended ’23 with Ryan second only to Rory Grugan on xP per shot at 0.74 for his 22 shots in the analysed games (based on our 3 Group Games and the Dublin QF, the Galway pQF wasn’t included). When you consider inside the D is only a 0.69 xP it shows just how conservative/selective our shooting can be at times.

    I’d be inclined to have that chat you suggested for Aido with the whole panel. Too often at the weekend we were recycling from good positions with minimal pressure and a great chance of scoring to eventually end up kicking from deeper/more acute, with lower odds, under more pressure.

  97. Aw I’m surprised that the cavan game isn’t even on gaa go. In fairness we do get a lot of our games televised or on gaa go but dissapointed that’s it’s not even on gaa go!

  98. @Brian yeah fair point probably the way it’ll go! Don’t really know much about cavan tbh will they set up very defensively against us and park the bus kind of team? Definetly wouldn’t underestimate them anyway.

  99. Cavan are minus paddy lynch , im sure ye know that but just reminding people .

  100. @Clare: Really hard-working and well drilled & coached side. No shock given James Burke coaching there the last couple of years, following his years looking after our lads under James Horan.

    When we’ve possession, they’ll drop back and get 13/14 behind the ball alright. As will most teams in the country at this point. Their normal style of play, so they’ll be well experienced and fluent in it. On turnovers, they’ll break hard, fast and look to score. No sitting quietly in the shell stuff. They’ll play exactly how Galway set up against us or Roscommon last year, in a way we’ve tended to struggle against.

    They hit 3-12 on Monaghan (Lynch with 1-1 from play and 8 from dead balls) and 3-14 (3-16 including extra time – Lynch with 2 from play & 3 from dead balls) against Tyrone, so they’re well able to score goals and put up a decent score. Brady, Smith and Faulkner all having a great year and will be keen to step up and fill in for Lynch’s missing scores when they hit Castlebar.

    A tough game, they’ll make it a battle, but one we should be coming through. Similar to the Louth game last year, certainly a potential banana skin. That said, we’ll be rightly disappointed if we can’t crack that nut this time especially with the warning signs they’ve sent up with the results against Monaghan and Tyrone.

  101. We will have a big crowd in mchale park as the game is not televised. We need to really get the mayo roar back. Having watched back the match it is hard to believe we lost it . We controlled the game up to injury time. I would like to see more shots for points been taken from out the field ala Ciaran McDonald. It was a good Mayo performance overall ,but a bad result. They will learn from it. I am racking my brains about could anybody help to get the mayo vocal support back. It was poor enough on Sunday

  102. @TsuDhoNim thanks for the info! Love your posts You really know your stuff.

    Ah jeez ah Ok yeah that’s the vibe I was getting that they will park the bus but as you said most teams will do that against us now.

    We should get over the line against them though but if we can’t we’ll that’s bad no dis respect to cavan but we should be beating them if we’ve any hope.

    @Jimbo yeah my mates who were at the match said the mayo support wasn’t great on Sunday vocal wise people have lost the faith a bit but that’s fair enough after the last few years but it’ll come back once we get back to our best and not this boring lateral passing back and fourth.

  103. Limerick Gaelic Grounds would be ideal for the Mayo v Dublin game .Neutral ground

  104. Willie Joe – how do you implement the moderation – is it time based – for example a four week suspension into moderation or is it game based – for example a two game suspension!!!
    Can a person appeal to the CCCC if unhappy

  105. Unbelievable how, even in the dying seconds of extra time, our fellas were feck acting with lateral and back passes instead of hoofing it into the ff line or trying a long range shot…..Cillian, to be fair, eventually did give it a go…..But I cannot believe the lack of leadership on the field at that critical moment…..the dying seconds. It must be a management thing, to instruct fellas not to have a go at a point when they’re inside the 45 and to instead turn round and look for a back pass opportunity. It has wrecked the game…..and our chances…

  106. It’s not run in that way, Southmayo Exile – it’s more along the lines of being barred from a pub back in the day!

  107. Can anyone tell me what exactly is Mayo’s approach to games tactically? With Horan you knew what it would be, runners and shackles off with chaos thrown in for good measure.
    Derry can turn all 15 from defence to attack with a click of the fingers and vice versa; Donegal play a crazy type of ‘heavy metal’ game with intense speed counter attacking where everyone knows their job and where to be. Kerry kick the ball way more than hand pass and massive diagonal balls that so often take out a huge amount of the opposition team from the game. And Dublin, well they just play a ‘winning style’
    But what exactly is this Mayo teams unique selling point? They seem naive at times and slow and the back and forth passing on the half forward line is so prominent now, more prominent than ever I think or maybe someone can say otherwise. I know its a young team but there’s leaders needed and dogs that will take nowt from nobody. As someone said there isn’t many backs from other teams that would let Finnerty away with ruffling their hair after he scores.
    I’d take a quarter or best case semi final now for us and be done with it. I hope that Derry win it.

  108. @Pullhard I maybe in the minority here but I can’t see Derry winning it. I think it’s Dubs for the taking.

    I think v galway we were really missing paddy durcan he’s such a leader in so many differnt ways he drives them on and gets a few scores while he’s at it. Also diarmuid o conor when he’s fully fit he’s magic.

    If we got them back to full fitness be a huge boost was great to see Diarmuid back after 3 months though! Still think we will make a semi.

  109. I hear ya Clare and by the way I love your posts. Your positivity on this blog is a joy to behold!!
    Like you I’ll keep going to the games with the gang and continue to support Mayo but I just feel a little crestfallen lately and indeed over the last couple of seasons. Then again a few positive results and who knows. It’s a long way to go yet and teams will get injuries but if we can stay healthy and fit and we get the bounce of the ball….
    I’d love for Aidan O’Shea alone for the lads to collect Sam but it’s wishful thinking.

  110. Pullhard. That’s just it, we’ve lost our identity and with it a lot of support. Mayo people like a certain type of game. Flat out, hard and fast. The last two years have drained me of my enthusiasm. Indeed other counties loved watching us too , due to our give a lash attitude. We were always attractive to TV and our games were shown very often. But that might be changing due to the shite we’re playing.

  111. @Pullhard aw thanks! : ) I like your posts to!

    I totally get the negativity we’ve not played to our full potential lately at all and it’s infuriating as we do have the players. As I say you never what mayo team is going to turn up on the day the one that can beat kerry in killarney or dubs in Croker or the one that can nearly loose to louth.

    I was deflated is well after the loss to Galway as we all were as we should have won .

    But I’ve no doubt we will dust ourselves down and come again like we always do!

  112. This team doesn’t keep coming back .we have been well beaten in our last two all Ireland quarter finals and have now lost 4 out of 8 championship games in the last two seasons.There are areas of the field that we are constantly being exposed.Unfortunately this is where we are at currently and so far this current management have added very little .we should have been able to close out the game on Sunday and in fairness we were a bit unlucky with coughs very questionable decisions but we can’t be unlucky all the time

  113. @TsuDho great post again. I also remember the 40/30/20 philosophy McStay professed but I’d say its the coaches who are making a balls of that. Death by statistics I’d say. Even the most accurate players like ROD miss, but he’s not afraid to shoot after a few mosses. We consistently turn down decent scoring opportunities & I can’t work out if the players won’t shoot because they are afraid of missing?

    In my opinion, we’d actually be better off having a pop from range, put it dead & press the following kickout hard, instead of the nauseating over and back rubbish that leads to nothing anyways. I’m convinced that players are coached to do this. No player wants to play that shite

  114. New pod up on Patreon – Rob and Mike with Billy Joe and Colm Keys, pulling apart Sunday’s game and looking ahead to the Group Stage.

  115. Didn’t someone once describe our style of football as
    ” Swashbuckling” ..Thought that was such a fabulous word to describe our style ..Miss it. Would like it back..Or a cloned version..Just a bit of attack and bite to.our game..

  116. Southmayo exile. I’m an exile myself. Being in moderation is like trying to stream the match and it starts spooling. Nothing worse

  117. Yes Regina. Give me Horanball any day, even when losing. At least it was exciting. Not going to many matches lately due to ill health, but I don’t think I could go to many if I have to watch this rubbish. People aren’t going to watch a match played like soccer. Keep possession and shoot every now and again.

  118. Watched back game in full and Fitzmaurice commented a number of times about our bravery, going man to man etc. Obviously a lot on this blog don’t agree but for a long time we had Higgins, Boyle, Keegan, Vaughan, Durcan all marauding forward breaking the line, kicking scores etc. None of our present defenders have the consistent ability to do that now with the exception of Paddy who is unfortunately injured. So we now have to mind the ball, try to work it close to goal and get our shooters at the end of the move. Hence our lateral style of play which I agree is not very pleasing to the eye. Also we are not creating many goal chances, only one in the last 2 games. We find it hard to break down defensive teams which is why I am genuinely concerned about Cavan who are very comfortable in getting lots of men behind the ball. We tend to be sluggish in our first game after provincial loss ( last year was an exception) but I remember us having a huge battle v Fermanagh before Aido manufactured a penalty, and also Derry until Loftus hit a late goal. Both of those games were in Castlebar and we grew into the competition after those hard fought wins. I will settle for a hard fought win on Saturday week.

  119. To win just once. Agreed we don’t have the attacking backs like you mentioned but Callinan and Mcloughlin could make runs forward and at least get it to one of the forwards or what’s wrong with kicking it in quickly and the odd high ball to Aido to cause a bit of panic. What I’m afraid of is we could get worse with Rochford calling the shots like happened Donegal last year. I never mind losing but if we lose playing the thripe we are playing at the moment it will be hard to take. A lot of neutrals love watching Mayo but now they keep asking me what are we at?.

  120. @Mayo Focus: Looking at numbers across the country & at the important numbers in our own games (wides/conversion % tell a tiny part of a much bigger story, they shouldn’t end up being the point of the story) the analysts will probably be (or should be) the ones screaming at folks to shoot more and faster.

    We give away far more turnovers with the high time phases (the lateral over and back boring stuff) and concede considerably more from turnovers than we do from opposition restarts (especially against teams like Galway setup specifically to hit us on the counter). Throw in the fact we’d be hitting ~40% (normally you’d say ~50% for the riskier shots and ~70% for the good positions… but we’re not getting to that desired 70% recently) of those riskier shots (and in doing so dragging deeper defences out to close down higher up and potentially open up better goal chances or at the very least creating a little more space for the even higher % shooters) and all the numbers say we’re being too ‘safe’ and not maximising our returns (depending on opposition for every 2 or 3 extra points we concede doing it we should be scoring between 4-8 more type of thing).

    There’s a time and a place for the lateral stuff. Quietening an opposition home crowd, slowing down a team on a hot streak against us, managing a black card right up to taxing a defence for a while (worked well against Roscommon, penning them in for long periods of the 1st half taxed their legs and their heads to help open up the spaces in the 2nd half). There’s also teams you wouldn’t want to be doing it against as liberally, ones that would have fewer problems punching holes through our set defence (e.g. you’d match the numbers and scale it back for teams like Dublin, Kerry and Derry depending on how the restart press/set defence was performing in the previous 10-minute spell).

    When it comes to the Cavan game (or the Galway one just gone) the stats would completely agree with your gut. Have a pop more. Way more.

  121. Thanks Tsu, great post again. There is merit to the lateral play as you outline, just feel we do it too often. It is pretty much our modus operandi!

    Food for thought for our much vaunted management!!

  122. Mayo style of play seems to be more of control the game, and it doesn’t really suit them. Control is the new annoying term alot of coaches like to use, its more of a safe option, if you keep the ball then it means opposition aren’t scoring.
    At the start of games Mayo don’t do to bad as there is room for the forwards and there does be kick passes going in, but its when the opposition then start to drop players back and clog it up Mayo run into trouble. They start into the lateral style, ‘control’. But Mayo are poor at executing this style, the Dubs do it and they really perfected it when beating Tyrone easily few years back. they will attack down a wing, and work the ball in as far as they can, probing that side, and if they cant work a score then the ball is transferred very quickly to the other side of the pitch, and this means the opposition are constantly being pulled back and over and if the attacking team do this at pace and all players knowing what they are doing then they will find gaps.
    Mayo don’t execute it correctly, they will go down a wing and a player will stand up and solo looking around, handpass it to someone beside him who will also take a solo, might be kicked into the corner where the forward has no other option but to give it straight back to the player that kicked it to him and then its slowly worked to middle again and this goes on for a few mins and they get no where.
    Its hard to know is it the coaching that’s not good enough or its the players that don’t fully understand it and are just following instructions, as in I was told to go here or I was told to go across here, and it just looks bad.
    I was disappointed with Callinan the last day as he showed in the league he is well able to kick a score but on Sunday he turned down a chance or two. Eoghan McLoughlin is frustrating he has everything bar scoring threat, he hits the odd goal that keeps his reputation going, but if he was able to chip in with a two points a game which he should be capable of then that would be a huge difference. Flynn hopefully will come back into form now and kick a few long range points like he was doing last year and Carney is well capable of scoring so he needs to start showing it. Coyne and Coen were both in the attacking half the last day but offer no threat at all.

  123. Mayo are only playing ‘this’ style of play against teams that set up defensively, break fast on the counter attack and are stacked with dangerous forwards who can score from any and all angles.

    That was Galway’s style on Sunday.

    It is not ours. We have to adjust our natural style to contain this and try to get the advantage. It’s easier said than done.

    We are a power play team. We still are. Strong runners, blitz and score from everywhere. Rack up scores quickly. Our team is built like that. Pace is favoured in selection.

    Most other teams haven’t built teams like that.

    They reckon that if they can contain us – I.e. our forward division, and stop our runners, we won’t be able to score.

    That’s why we play so carefully and cautiously against these teams. We try to make possession and attacks count.

    We prefer an open game and then we can be ourselves.
    Or else dominate early against these teams, get far ahead early and the game is a different game then.

    *So many* teams now play a different style to us and we find it difficult. We need the game to be open to thrive. It only looks as if we have gone to sleep or changed our style but ‘we have to play the teams on front of us’.

    That’s why, I believe, against ‘these’ defensive, counter attacking, dangerous forwards teams, we need to be *at least* three points ahead on the scoreboard in the dying seconds of the game in order for us to win. See last Sunday. With the different styles of play, other defensive counter attacking teams can score much easier than us, if they get the upper hand and dominate, while we struggle, and they don’t give up scores themselves at the other end.
    Mayo style of play lives inside an ecology of other styles and the defensive counter attacking style with dangerous forwards seems to be in the ascendant at the moment. We are a kind of an outlier and our style, when we can play it, still excites.

  124. The problem with your theory swallow swoops is that the whole world and its mother know Mayo struggle to score against blanket defences. So what style does almost every team employ to nullify our style – play blanket defence often with double sweeper even if that’s not their natural approach. Our predictability was our downfall in the 2021 final and it continues to be. We can wait for things to change or we can change ourselves and start throwing curve balls

  125. Tsu and Swallow – excellent posts. Bottom line last Sunday was we had chances in that first half to shoot from shooting positions and didn’t take on the shot. There were 5/6 of those in my mind so if we got 2 of those it was a different ball game…

  126. wondered earlier about swashbuckling and wanted it back well it seems the buckling part of it is back anyway

  127. Interesting looking at posts on Cavan Gaa Forum on Hogan Stand and they think our running game with our pace at the back will cause them problems. I wish. They must remember us in the good old days. They are also lamenting that their “only” forward is not available as the Mayo full back line panic under high balls.

  128. @Sticks for the Reek: To be fair to the posts/posters, it certainly could cause teams problems.

    Assuming Durcan isn’t back (a chance he won’t see a Group Stage game if the muscle injury was significant) then Callinan, McLaughlin, Hession and McBrien are all strong and capable runners & line breakers from the back line. Coyne, O’Hora, Coen, Brickenden and McHugh have different styles, less explosive and probably less eye catching, but can all do damage up there too (directly or indirectly).

    The best way to improve the efficiency of our running game is to kick more, teams can’t set up to aggressively block just the running channels. The best way to improve the efficiency of our kicking game is to run more, teams can’t set up to aggressively block just the kicking zones (something we’re using very little with very few balls in for aerial challenges/breaks inside) or channels (the balls out in front that are +95% of our attacking kicks). At the moment we’re sadly tending to do one, the other or neither very well rather than mixing between both, and which we’re doing well seems to be more on ourselves rather than how the defence is set against us in a given phase.

  129. Our Time Has Come, we agree. We know teams know us, that the pacy power game is how we are built from the bottom up. That’s not a bad thing, in itself. But, what next?

    My entire post was meant to show the difficulties posed when we meet teams with a defensive counter-attacking style *and when those teams dominate in a game*. We are not prolific scorers when a team catches us in a defensive stranglehold and counterattacks. This is a vulnerability unless the lock can be picked.

    The thing is those teams are predictable too. But how do we wrest momentum and control back from them, if they dominate? That’s where the work is. Mayo have shown that it doesn’t seem to be straightforward easy work for them.

    I like what TSU said about using the fast long ball a lot more. I also like long range shooting with accuracy. That will get them to think twice about the effectiveness of a blanket.

    Rob the keeper too.

    And PLEASE DON’T just dawdle and allow the opposition time to set up. That is criminal and we’ve done this a lot. There is a lot in our hands.

    Eoghan McLaughlin’s laser fast sharpness and fast goals tend to frighten those teams too, if we can do that. This is one ‘tool in the larger toolbox’.

  130. Thedarkyfinn, good point that we should have taken more early chances on Sunday. I had the strong impression that the team were trying to go for goals early. But they were fluffed or didn’t come off. We also fluffed a lot of ball in general early, I thought (handling errors) and this held us back.

  131. Some really interesting points in this post & glad I’m not the only one looking at our game in this way. Aido was winning almost every ball that went into him but he almost never had a man running towards him at pace for the lay off. What the hell are we doing in training? If the chance is on, have a pop. We turned down a lot of decent opportunities. You can’t score if you don’t shoot. We got exactly what we deserved on Sunday. Imagine if Galway had that amount of possession we had?

    I would give Rochy a bit of rope as he did bring us closer to the summit than anyone, but we need to something over the next few games. There isn’t an All Ireland in this current team, but we can rattle a good team on a good day. But we won’t rattle anyone playing possession football. It’s fine if we are a few points ahead. But we looked completely at sea looking for the equaliser on Sunday, we looked out of ideas. Cillian recognised we needed to create a shot, but there was little ingenuity prior to that

  132. Closer to the summit with a ready made James horan team. This is another ready made James horan team apart from keegan and mullin. The young lads were already in a development plan. Tactics need to change dramatically. It is the reason mchale departed and who could blame him. Its pretty obvious who’s running the show here. Mcstay needs to get a grip or he will be going where he said Mcdonald should go in the o mahony debacle. Up the yard. As I’ve said before these lads have already contested 2 all Ireland s

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