Mayo 0-11 Donegal 0-11: Robbie digs us out at the death

At half-time in this afternoon’s opening round National League match against Donegal, we looked to be in bother. When we were reduced to fourteen men with twenty minutes to go, with Donegal awarded a penalty, it looked like curtains for us. But then we did that most Mayo of things and came roaring back to claim a dramatic last-gasp draw.

The forecast for today’s match at Markievicz Park was that it would be wet and windy. That it was, though it was only when that breeze whipped up in the second half that conditions became really difficult. For a time Ben Bulben away in the distance was clearly visible but then, soon after, you could barely see across to the sodden punters on the terrace at the far side of the field.

As I mentioned in the game day piece this morning, there was a suspicion coming into this match that we might be a bit undercooked compared to our opponents, who were bouncing into the League off the back of four McKenna Cup fixtures. By half-time that appeared to be a cast-iron certainty.

We were depressingly flat in that opening half. Donegal, full of running with frequent injections of rapid pace as they burst forward, owned the ball for much of the half, leaving our lads chasing shadows. For most of that opening half, we were like the scoreboard at Markievicz Park today – we weren’t operating at all.

We were four adrift at half-time. Ryan O’Donoghue’s two frees were all we had to show for our efforts until the first half went into injury time but then Eoghan McLaughlin lamped over a super score off his left from well out on the left.

It could have been even worse for us at that stage. We were losing out badly in the middle of the field and, but for two excellent saves by Robbie Hennelly, the game could well have been beyond our reach at that stage.

The one positive we could take – or, if you prefer, cling to – was the way we’d come to life just before the break. This followed an incident when Padraig O’Hora was shunted into the railings and, needless to say, the Stephenites man didn’t take kindly to this. The big Mayo support in the 9,000 crowd perked up a bit too.

The exchanges became fast and furious in the second half. Paddy Durcan started to raid forward – he bagged two excellent scores from play in the second half – and Jason Doherty began to make his presence felt too. It was a hugely encouraging performance from the Burrishoole man on his first day back after 29 months out, as he led the line so well and notched three excellent scores.

There was no argument about the penalty. Stephen Coen pulled the Donegal man down and, while it could be argued that the first yellow he got from the fussy Cavan official wasn’t merited, there was no issue about the second one. The captain was gone and Donegal had a penalty to put the contest to bed.

Strangely, Michael Murphy didn’t take it, with Paddy McBrearty stepping up instead. He hit it low towards the corner but Robbie dived superbly to paw it away for a ’45, which Murphy boomed over.

Donegal’s next point was, though, their final one. This came from Michael Langan, his fourth of the day, in what was an impressive showing for him.

From then to the finish it was all Mayo. Paddy’s second point of the day cut the gap to three before points from Jason Doc and Ryan O’Donoghue brought the pot to the boil.

By now the Mayo support, overly hushed for much of the seventy minutes, was in full cry, chants of ‘May-OH, May-OH, May-OH” ringing out around Markievicz Park. Donegal lost a man to a black card so it was fourteen-on-fourteen for those final frantic minutes.

Even though all the momentum was with us by now, it looked like we’d left it too late. But then, deep in stoppage time, Donegal ‘keeper Patton got caught in possession and was done for overcarrying.

Up trotted Robbie for what was a difficult free from well over on the left a good forty yards from the posts.  Unlike the Dublin game last August, this time the Breaffy player didn’t need two attempts at the free. Up he stepped and smashed it over the bar to rescue the draw for us.

It was a result we barely deserved but, of course, that made it all the more delicious. Every point in this League will be a tough one to claim and it’s great to salvage one from a game in which, for long stretches, we appeared destined to lose.

This means we can now head to Clones next weekend in good spirits. That limp first half performance this afternoon shows us we’ve plenty of work to do if we’re to compete properly in what’s going to be a very searching Division One campaign. Our stirring second half comeback demonstrates, however, that we do glorious chaos better than anyone else. We may need more of that chaos over the coming weeks.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Brendan Harrison, Stephen Coen, Padraig O’Hora; Paddy Durcan (0-2), Donnacha McHugh, Eoghan McLaughlin (0-1); Conor O’Shea, Conor Loftus; Fionn McDonagh, Aiden Orme, Diarmuid O’Connor; Tommy Conroy, Jason Doherty (0-3), Ryan O’Donoghue (0-4, three frees). Subs: Aidan O’Shea for Orme, Bryan Walsh for McDonagh, Sam Callinan for McHugh, Jordan Flynn for Loftus, Paul Towey for Conor O’Shea.

Who was our MOTM against Donegal? Pick your top three performers

  • Robbie Hennelly (37%, 1,097 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (20%, 605 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (17%, 511 Votes)
  • Tommy Conroy (5%, 153 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (4%, 133 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (4%, 118 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (3%, 76 Votes)
  • Padraig O'Hora (2%, 63 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (2%, 58 Votes)
  • Eoghan McLaughlin (2%, 47 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (1%, 37 Votes)
  • Paul Towey (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Aiden Orme (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Sam Callinan (0%, 12 Votes)
  • Donnacha McHugh (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Jordan Flynn (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Conor O'Shea (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Bryan Walsh (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,438

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70 thoughts on “Mayo 0-11 Donegal 0-11: Robbie digs us out at the death

  1. I commented on the other thread but forgot to mention Brendan Harrison,he had a great game and certainly looked back to full fitness.With Lee and Oisin coming back into the back 6 things are looking a lot more solid back there!
    (Although I’d like to see Oisin at mf personally)

  2. Problem was in first half we couldn’t get our hands on the ball in the middle third- hence Orme, McDonagh and later COS being taken off.

    AOS did well in second half and it was very much a point gained.

    COS has yet to convince me of his ‘productivity’ in a Mayo jersey- and B Walsh needs to stop snatching at good chances.

    Big shout out for Doherty- 3 points after over 2 years out

    This game showed how ridiculous the possession game has become- too much sideways passes even when in good stacking positions.

    For example, why the hell didn’t Donegal launch the ball forward in injury time at which Mayo would then have to come back up the pitch with the ball- instead they played into our hands by holding on to it 30 yards from goal- and had an extra man.

    A rule change is required to ban backward hand passing- it’s got even worse now with the latest trend ‘moving it across the pitch to spread the play and stretch the opposition’ – doing a ‘Dublin’ if you like.

    It’s boring and the possession game is over cooked now- time to reward and encourage offensive foot passing.

  3. Other point- half forward line needs some reconstruction- weakest point of the team.

    Can not rely on 32 year old KMcL- Fionn McDonagh needs to stand up now.

  4. I watched the match today on TG4 but did not see it. The camera work on TG4 was terrible. People will say the conditions were awful (and they were) but it should be possible to engineer out the weather conditions. I watch soccer matches and the conditions can be attrocious but you would not know it. TG4 have to decide whether if they can get the camera work right with the co-operation of the county grounds they cover matches in or just not cover at all in poor weather. The current offering makes them like total amateurs. However I do commend TG4 for all the sport they cover but something has to be done about the most important aspect of coverage and that is the cameras.
    Great to get a point out of that game.

  5. We really got out of jail in this one. While the lads showed great character it was still a disappointing performance overall. The midfield line looked very weak in the first half and we handed possession back to Donegal to much in that half also. On another note Hennelly was very good and the D’OC looked very solid in the second half. Great to see Doherty back and he played well which is good to see.

  6. Robbery in Sligo. Didn’t go into this game feeling too optimistic and the first half went as expected , but oddly had a funny feeling at half time we’d see a bit more bite in the second half.

    Well done to Robbie, very pleased for him. And for Aidan who had a real impact. I really hope something changes soon in our midfield, and yes, I mean in terms of personnel.

  7. Donegal, for most of the game were let play exactly the way they wanted and boy was it boring stuff. Boring but effective.
    The way we played for most of the game was less boring, more predictable and riddled with poor decisions. Even harder to watch.
    The last 15min from us shouldn’t paper over the cracks in a game which could have been embarrassing. And it would have been, had it not been for a string of saves from Hennelly, one of maybe 3 or 4 consistent performers we had over the 70+ mins.
    Overall we absolutely did not deserve a draw with that performance. But we got it, and how valuable it looks already. Imagine if tonight we were the only team on zero points.
    After round one, it looks like this could be the tightest of leagues. Anyone could beat anyone, certainly after today, anyone can at least draw with anyone.

  8. The TG4 commentator apologised repeatedly for the poor picture quality but said that the cameramen were afforded no shelter which would be provided in other venues. There was terrible weather in the other games covered by TG4 but the same problem did not arise.

  9. Sure it feels like a point gained when any team comes from behind but in reality it’s a point dropped because it was our diabolical performance for the majority of the game which lost us the point against a bang average Donegal side.

    We seem to have an issue getting the team primed for battle before they leave the dressing room because if this team actually put in a 70 min + shift they will have no issues staying in Div 1.

    This has been an issue for the last number of games.

    Our tackling has also dropped through the floor since Buckley left the set up, no coincidence that Monaghan are making progress.

  10. Its true isn’t it. Have a good meal in a restaurant and 2 or 3 might hear about it, have a bad one, and 50 will be told. Time to give TG4 a bit of a sos, they’ve more than looked after people over the years.

  11. Overall a positive result.

    Big shout out to jason and brendan great to see them back on the pitch and having an influence in the game.

    Also congrats to donnacha and sam on their first of many games in the green and red, both should be proud of how they preformed today.

    Overall we didn’t preform in the first half but made up for it in the second half.

    Half forward line and midfield needs some improvements but its early days and plenty of time to click yet.

    No question about it, robbie was MOTM closely followed by any one of tommy, ryan or paddy.

    Great crowd there today and stealing a point made the journey home a bit easier, onto Monaghan next week who will be a similar battle.

    Up mayo!

  12. I think the GAA have to step up to the plate in providing adequate facilities for tv coverage. Very unfair that TG4 have to take the stick, cameramen worked in atrocious conditions today. Hopefully the GAA witll accept their responsibility to provide facilities.

  13. – Is our slow start in games due to poor warm up. I was at the pitch at 1pm and at 1.10pm Donegal came out for their warm up and stayed out. We started our warm up at least 10 to 15 minutes later and our warm up was more going through the motions and haphazard.
    – Roasted at midfield, Conor Loftus is not a midfielder he cannot field a ball over his head. Best place for his foot passing is on the HF line. Conor O Shea failed yet again to bring any of his club form to inter county.
    – Fionn Mc D way off the pace, Orme never engaged in the game. Eoghan MC needs less of the back chat and more emphasis on his tackling and football skills caught twice for elementary errors.
    – Robbie brillant , Aido and Flynn bought much needed steel while Walsh bought intensity. Durkan influential in second half as was Doherty, O Hora kept Mc Brearty quiet. Deserved a draw but only just.
    – Conditions were poor, honestly you would need goggles to watch from the Terrace towards the end.
    – Absolutely agree rule change with regards to the handpass has to be made to prevent keep ball. This is the biggest blight on the game now.

  14. I know we got out of jail but based on the last 15 minutes we could and maybe should have won that. Don’t think Conor O Shea adds anything, I know he has a history of some discipline issues but why not Jordan Flynn in midfield when Mattie comes back? Conor loftus needs to be on the half forward line I think.
    Jason Doherty is an absolute legend

  15. I would probably try Docherty, Flynn, Loftus in HF when Cillian is back.I think that’s a best spot for Loftus.
    With ROD, COC, TC in FF line.
    Also guys can change around.
    Flynn can go to MF and AOS can go to FF or CF Oisin I don’t see at MF but possibly 6 or 11

  16. Ah now.
    Don’t think we’d be alone on zero points if we lost.
    Dubs have that all to themselves tonight.

  17. Absolutely stole a point off Donegal. Just like 2018 and 2020.

    As I’ve said before, Robbie is the best goalkeeper in the county. We’ve far bigger problems to solve than finding a better keeper. Does today prove that Aido as an impact sub works or that he should start? 🙂

    Badly lacking in physicality around midfield first half. Unfortunately the county just seems to be short of big midfielders currently. Ruane will help, but he’s not the most physical. Jack Carney is a good prospect, but it might be a year early for him. Mullin is only 5’11” so he’s not the answer either IMO. Flynn was very good when introduced, hopefully he kicks on from this.

    The main positives are Harrison and Doherty slotting back in like they were never away. Ryan, Tommy, Paddy and Eoghan played well too. Still none the wiser on our half forward line. You can’t just put it down to Horan’s tactics either. I guarantee if Ryan was put centre half forward next weekend he’d demand the ball and make things happen.

  18. Spot on Nephin.
    How could I have forgotten Armagh toppling the dubs. The best performance of the weekend.

  19. Also, a lot of people seem to be complaining about our first half performance when playing “with the wind”. Well I was at the game and can guarantee we did not have the breeze. It was blowing straight into my face and I was under the tg4 cameras.

  20. Mattie and oisin in the middle for Dublin game , if we can afford to try others n midfield that have not set the world alight surely we can try oisin with mattie , what have we to lose by doing so? Nothing .

    That was torture at times on the terrace , must of been an absolute nightmare to play in .

    So poor in first half , donegal looked like a minor team playing an under 14 team.

    Last 15/20 mins was heartening though, Aido made an impact straight away, robbie hennelly was massive today as everyone has said (pretty sure he was eager to take a few frees in first half too that wasnt given to him ) .I thought tommy c played very well too , very talented footballer . Who did he pass the ball to over on the stand side when he soloed through ,was it bryan Walsh ? (scuffed the shot ) jason doc was very good especially for the circumstances of such a lengthy absence, probably should of went for a goal on one of his points.

    Look six teams on one point, Armagh sit top and the poor aul boys in blue lookin up at us all .

    I think it’s pretty obvious its wide open both league and championship. Well at least more open than it’s been in a while , some quality teams about . Inter county football is an amazing entertaining spectacle that really should be played on a league basis as main competition.

  21. If we play like we did in the first half up in Clones, we will get hammered, simple as that. The Monaghan- Tyrone game was much more intense than our match and we simply cannot concede two thirds of the possession to a team boasting McManus, McCarron and co.

    Loftus is not a primary ball winner and needs a bigger man alongside him to feed off the breaks. We also looked extremely ponderous in attack and almost afraid to kick the ball into space at times. We also conceded a worrying amount of goal chances during the first half especially. Stephen Coen unfortunately got roasted by Big Murph.

    The big pluses were the return of Jason Doherty and the fight back in the second half. Hopefully in round two some of the cavalry will return and shore up the middle of the field in particular.

    As a long time critic I also have to give it to Rob Hennelly, who was excellent today. Hopefully he can maintain that sort of form and prove myself and many others wrong.

  22. More positive than negative with lads to come back and digging it out. Our intensity was much better in 2nd half but we nearly left it too late. Stephen deserved to be sent off. The negative side was some snatched shots that weren’t on and half forwards in 1st half although we had ok possession wasted a fair bit of it. Also Langan a good player but we should have put more pressure on him.
    Some of the new lads or lads out for a while weren’t great but probably deserve some more chances.

  23. Great sight to see Doc and Harrison back in the jersey again today – I would argue the options this will provide the management with will have as big an impact as Mullin will have on the team. Great recovery against a side a week and maybe 2 ahead of us in match fitness in deplorable conditions – take that all day long to start with. Best of luck in Clones lads

  24. Great to be back following the team . A superb last 20 mins but we really seem to struggle with blanket defences each year. First half we seemed to have no real plan .

    Just a quick overview of how I saw the team today.

    Goalie: Great game from hennelly today and really showed up in second half . I still think teams focus on him as weak under high ball and you can feel nerves in crowd once a high one goes into him. Kick outs improved after first half.

    Full backs:
    o hora is solid and a warrior, Harrison looked to be traveling well for first game back . Coen got roasted but I’d stick with this tactic as he is defensively minded unlike some players we have back there.

    Half backs:
    Our strongest line on paper. Durcan and McLaughlin are nailed on starters. McHugh did not do himself any harm .

    Midfield:
    non existent until Aos came on and in summer the game moves too fast for him unfortunately. Id like him to be used in midfield impact sub role. Really need to find Ruane a partner but not sure who. Time to give Flynn a go as loftus just ain’t a midfielder. Love to see mullin given a role here.

    Half forwards:
    Now easily our weakest line. In fairness to orme and mcdonagh, first half was terrible so they barely saw the ball. Dunno how o Connor managed to stay on instead of them as he seems to have completely lost his scoring threat. Walsh coming on did not inspire me either and his shot for goal well we saw similar in final last year. I’d stick with mcdonagh , and give Boland a role as he always scores at least. O Connor position needs to be up for grabs .

    Forwards:
    We know our best three, Rod, Coc ,Conroy. Doherty looked good today but it was rod pulling the strings with those passes. Need to sort out our shooting , you never see Clifford or McManus shooting for top corner when one on one . We had 3 great goal chances today that ended as wild shots for points

  25. Brendan Harrison looked the business again.Touch wood by April we might have an injury free panel for the first time in a very long time.

    Also just have to say after today what a brilliant footballer Michael Murphy is.He is probably the best footballer of the last 10 years

  26. Robbie was our best and our worst player. We got a point. We didn’t give up. Donegal should have trounced us out the gate and beyond. Strange opening. I thought Orme played well and tried to show. The only way is up.

  27. I thought Diarmuid O’connor was one of our best players today, especially in first half when very few others were getting stuck in. But it’s true he doesn’t seem to be a scoring threat anymore.

  28. Great to get a draw but the truth is we were very poor in that first half and didn’t deserve to get anything out of that game. And this was no surprise when you look at how we were set up. We started with two midfielders who were never likely to dominate. We also had two very inexperienced players at CHB and CHF. So the crucial middle diamond was weak and the outcome was predictable and obvious. This is no criticism of any of those lads but their combined presence was never going to be effective. On comes Aidan O Shea and Bryan Walsh with Diarmuid having a more central role we became competitive around the middle.
    As others pointed out there were positives in the second half and hopefully we will get the rest of our best players back in action fairly soon.

  29. @Tubberman
    I in no way am taking a shot at o Connor as it’s clear to see how much effort he putting in . He chases all over the pitch and did same today but we need half forwards that influence game through scoring or setting up chances. He has not done either now in many years. Make his position available to best player in training is all I’d ask .

  30. Pat201 – if you look at the midfield and half forward line that started today, diarmuid was the best on show. Obviously it would be better if diarmuid was threatening the scoreboard more, but I don’t see his place on the team being in danger anytime soon.

  31. Great to get a point and probably could have stolen it had Doherty or Walsh slotted their chances. Walsh is making a name for himself blazing shots wide on front of goal so often. Hopefully Boland is fit for next week. Doherty, who played well, has lost that killer goal touch he had at the start of his senior career.

    Coen got absolutely roasted. I’d like to see him tried a few more times at full back, only because he’s not going to meet Murphy again during the league, but I’m not hopeful. Don’t understand why Horan didn’t drop Aidan back and move Coen out for the second half given he was on a yellow already.

    Diarmuid was solid. He did really well to set up Jason’s point. Despite over carrying McLaughlin was good, he is always an option and what a point he kicked. Paddy excellent as per. Ryan was mixed by his high standards but he has great vision. Hennelly proving again there is no goalie near as good as him in Mayo, despite his limitations. Only Morgan and Beggan are better, in my opinion.

    Murphy is a joy to watch. How many All Ireland’s would we have if he was from Mayo?!

  32. Maybe I need to look again at the game as while I was at game he seemed to be working hard but not dominating any aspect of it. I may have a opinion built up based on previous outings recently .

  33. Aidan an absolutely awesome player on a heavy slow smaller pitch or even a wet day in Croker but let us learn from all the finals, he’s not fast enough for a dry day in Croker, end of. There can be no argument with that fact and on such a day, he should be a second half impact sub when legs are tiring and he still has heaps to offer in that role.
    We therefore need to build an athletic midfield – Ruane and diarmuid or Mullen

  34. Agreed with ‘our time has come’….todays cameo from AOS only confirms for me that he is best suited to a bench role to come in and help team out with final surge in last 20 minutes, especially on a wet mucky day like today.

    His days as a starting midfielder in croker are long gone so not suree why people getting carried away with his appearance today as proof he needs to start

    With Harrison back to form he could pick up no 3 jersey going forward perhaps with Stephen coen going to midfield to be the workhorse beside ruanes attacking midfielder, I would also like to see mullin get some league starts at midfield too. Who was picking up langan today, he caused havoc

  35. I’d agree that we need to continue to use Aidan in an impact sub role at midfield….. even in the league. We need to continue to try out different options at midfield because Aidan will certainly struggle for 70mins in summer. I’d say Jordon Flynn might be the frontrunner to partner Mattie. Oisin would be my preference but doubt it will happen this year. Diarmuid O’connor also an option here…. especially since he’s not scoring at HF.

    Conor O’Shea and C. Loftus really struggled today. Time to change things up. Immediately.

  36. From the very low ebb of losing to Tyrone, today was enjoyable as a mayo fan, back on the road, full stand an hour before the game, tailbacks on the dual carriageway, broken scoreboard, national anthem singer nearly forgot the words, 5 down and a man down, score without reply to draw the game but not win , all part of following this great team , we are so so lucky
    It’s only the league, it’s all about April, relax and enjoy the journey

  37. Our time has come I agree with you re; around the middle third “ Ruane and diarmuid or Mullen”

  38. Regards the camera work, the wind and rain were almost directly into the cameras. Why Sligo/Markievicz Park organises could not provide shelter – a good tarpaulin would have done the job – considering the forecast, is beyond me.
    In my opinion the introduction of Aiden O’Shea made all the difference in this game even if it to a while to do so. People suggesting his time is done need to take a look at themselves. Full credit to both Jason Docherty and Brendan Harrison for their comebacks. They showed that they are back in every sense of the word and how much we missed them over the past two years. Please God we can now have an injury free year.

  39. Mullin and wait for it – Hession – will be in the squad next week. Whatever about Mullin, I though Hession was meant to be out for a whilst.

  40. Pat 201 I’d recommend,as you say yourself looking back at todays game as, in my opinion,Diarmuid set up at least 3 scores,was instrumental in the fightback and it was he,along with Brian Walsh, that forced the keeper into overcarrying for our equalising free at the end-one of our top 3 performers I’d say.

  41. Heard that spotlight. Great news. James also said that Leroy would be in contention next week and added that Mark Moran and David McBrien were going very well.
    Matty Ruane will be back for the Dublin game and Kevin Mc wont be far away.
    That just leaves Cillian who I’m sure we wont rush back. Please God we get a decent run with no long term injuries.
    Great to see Jason Doc and Brendan back today. Without doubt they are huge assets to us if fit.

  42. So proud of Mayo today, a very much never say die attitude at the end in brutal conditions it must be said. Well done to all involved!! Someone mentioned it earlier but Aidan still has a lot to offer and the hunger is still there with him. As Mayo supporters we’ve been through some ups and downs but I’ll take today and go with it. We may never win the big one but they really do give us some lust for life more often than not and I’m so proud to be a supporter of the red and green! Maigheo go deo!!!

  43. We were really woeful in the first half, in every respect, which I would say was partially down to our lack of competitive match practice, with just one game versus Donegal’s four-they looked fitter and sharper. We put them under no pressure and they were waltzing past us, as if we weren’t there. We improved considerably in the second half and stepped up the pace and intensity and did really well to snatch a point, which may very well prove crucial by the end of the league. The substitutions made a big difference, especially Aido, who proved once again that it is a bit early to be putting him out to grass. The return and performance of Jason(such an underrated player) and Harry are real positives-they have been badly missed,and will really strengthen our squad, along with Cillian, when he returns. Also, the experience will stand to debutants McHugh and Callinan. We still have a problem at full-back and I think we should give Harry an good run there. Midfield is another problem area and we need to find a reliable partner for Mattie-Jordan Flynn is worth a shot. Coen maybe, but my choice would be Oisin-he has all the required attributes, such as pace, engine, athleticism, physicality, determination and ability. He is also a good fielder-I see somebody earlier said that he is only 5 ft. 11-if I am not mistaken, Willie Joe was also that height and he wasn’t too bad! Also, with Paddy, Eoghan, Lee, Enda and Sam, we are pretty well stocked with pace in defence. The half-forward line is also another problem area, with the full-forward line nailed on. Jason is now an option at centre-forward and he could help out in MF, as required, Kevin Mc is still worth his place, Mark Moran deserves a chance, if he can recapture his form and, considering our range of options at half-back, we could also try Eoghan or Enda there and, of course Connor Loftus is much better suited to the half-forward line-he is not a midfielder. To start with, I would try Kevin Mc, Jason and D’O C. All in all, with Jason, Harry and Cillian back, Mark Moran and our young newcomers, we should have quite a strong squad. If we can only sort out those two problem positions. Going back to midfield, I forgot to mention Jack Carney, who I feel will definitely take that spot eventually if not this year. Also Frank Irwin and Connell Dempsey, both good fielders, are worth considering.

  44. Great to have that aulde ‘cant wait for the Sunday game feeling’ back! Welcome back Mayo, we missed ye..best of luck this year, enjoy whatever it brings.
    Delighted to see B Harrison and Jason Doherty on the pitch n full of energy..great achievement. As always DOC worked like a (unsung) trojan, he gelled well with Jason and Ryan.
    Good mix of youth and experience.
    Impressed the team had their meal outside after the game..stay safe.
    Great to be back supporting these legends.

  45. Good result in a difficult match. No world beaters but gave it everything as usual. A bit like some of the games last year such as the Connacht final when poor v Galway in the first half but a strong second half got us the cup or more like when we were woeful v dublin in the first half but a great last 15 minutes saw loads of people lose the run of themselves and thought we were bankers to beat a team who had beaten Donegal, Monaghan and Kerry on way to final. Now we have a discontented bunch who appear ready to pounce on any sign of weakness. What about the great kerry men who were unable to beat Kildare or the all Ireland champions who were lucky to scrape a draw v Monaghan or the mighty dubs who were humbled by Armagh. Any chance of giving our lads a bit of credit for showing enormous resolve and character on a dreadful day when so much appeared to be going against us. Fair play to players and management for getting out of Sligo with a point. It is not a bang average Donegal team as one poster pointed out, its a decent team as they have proved for years or maybe we only have bang average teams in Div 1. After all seven of the teams in Div 1 failed to win their opening game. Bang average or wonderfu?lly competitive? The latter I humbly think.

  46. Anyone that thinks Stephen Coen can do a job at full back got there answer today absolutely roasted, fouled Murphy numerous times, gave away a penalty and sent off, the only position he can play is Centre half back.

  47. @Sam Og

    I was one who said stephen should play full back but you are right he struggled on murphy yesterday, however, not many backs in the country will get the upper hand on murphy.

    I am glad we know that centre back is Stephen’s best position but also glad he got a run out at full back so we could see that for ourselves.

    Interesting that James name checked David McBrien and Mark Moran after the game, id imagine both will feature at some stage over the coming weeks.

  48. The funny thing about that game was for all of our flatness in the first half and Donegal’s sharpness if the game went on for another 10 mins we would have won . They had no answer to our intensity late in the second half.

  49. Well done Mayo team and management. A lot of people seem to be writing off players in January after one game in awful conditions with new lads and others returning after long injury lay offs. Donegal are obviously ahead of Mayo in preparation after a tough regional campaign. Not losing was the main target at a neutral venue surely and with Cillian, Mattie, Oisin, Lee, Hession, Kevin Mc, Mark Moran and Boland to come into the mix I think we have plenty to build with.

  50. Yesterday reminds the GAA world that it is never a dull day watching Mayo. If memory serves me right our games in 2021 were littered with poor first half performances to the extent that in so many big matches media pundits were telling us ‘game over’ by half time. For example, Galway in Connacht Final, Dublin in semi final. Was yesterday another episode in the series ? While it wasn’t a clear cut game over at half time the signs were not good. Great for the drama that Mayo always bring to the GAA stage and going to a match or watching a match unfold not knowing what to expect is the greatest things in sport. Mayo is the box office theatre of GAA down the years . It’s no wonder Mayo fans are lauded for their support because we have something worth watching. How many GAA fans around the country would love to have their emotions tested on such a regular basis by their county team ! Maybe don’t answer that !

  51. @to win just once, Donegal are bang average, they showed that yesterday even with an extra man and we only needed to play football for 15 or 20 minutes to draw with them.

    I wouldn’t be getting too excited by Kildare drawing with Kerry or Monaghan drawing with Tyrone either or making an assumption that Kildare are as good as Kerry based on a league result in January, you’ll find out in the Championship that they are at a completely different level.

    And I don’t think Tyrone will lose too much sleep over drawing with Monaghan either, if they do they can have a look at the handy Celtic crosses they picked up last September to console themselves.

    The truth is we were very fortunate to get a draw yesterday and it has stolen the headlines but the incredibly flat performance for the majority of the game should not be brushed under the carpet either.

    I still believe had we put in a full shift we would have beaten Donegal which would have put us sitting joint top of Division 1 so in that sense I feel we dropped a point.

    We should not fear anyone if we come flying out of the traps and it’s not a fitness issue either as these slow starts are becoming too frequent, so management need to address that issue.

  52. I like to credit a player when they play well. I thought Jordan Flynn had a good impact.
    I’d be in the camp that Aidan made a big contribution precisely because he was a fresh sub. If we can extend that later with more depth, he’s fresher still versus a slightly slower pace.
    Brendan Harrison played well.
    Jason Doherty I would leave at 14, at 33 post two cruciates we want Jason in a low mileage, less contacts position.
    Promising from Diarmuid in general play.
    Stephen Coen should only be played at 6. He’s not at the level for the full backline career smarts that you need.
    When David McBrien is fit he’s a full backline type player with the pace and size to mark the bigger inside forward.
    A pattern.
    A lot of teams have one big and one small inside.
    You can’t mark a small forward with a tall player (agility) and you can’t mark a tall forward with a short player no matter their leap, there’s times in play where you are contesting just by raising up your hands from a standing position or moving backwards. Being springy won’t help you there, you simply need to have a 7ft plus reach when you put your arm above your head.

  53. Viper
    I dont think its fair to say those Tyrone Celtic crosses were won handy.They beat Kerry who were many peoples favourites and Mayo who had beaten the former 6 in a row champions. Bottom line is they were the better team last September and it wasnt even close. We didnt perform because they didnt let us. Also I am sure all the hard training they did last Winter etc didnt feel handy either. Bear in mind they have won 4 All Irelands in the last18 years. They got it done. Fair play to them. It wasnt handy though.
    Hopefully Mayo can do the same in the next 3/4 years. I think we can.

  54. I think Joe above has got it spot-on, it is only January and we have all those top-class players to come back in. In fact I would say we are looking pretty good considering conditions and having to play our home games away. As most I do recognise we need to sort out midfield and half forwards and management to make the right decision at the right time and we will be serious force for the year ahead.

  55. Just watching that game yesterday I thought it was a game that Shane Mc Hale would have been made for. I could imagine him sliding in on everything that hit the ground.
    Going forward when Mattie is back and if as most think he should be partnered by Oisin,I’d have reservations. Both brilliant footballers no doubt, both very offensive,no doubt, but who’s going to mind the house? We need a defensive minded midfield option. If Oisin plays there i think we need to look at Mattie going to no.12. He would improve this line & still be an option for our own kickouts.
    Then you would need a combo of Flynn,Aido Mc Hale if available to add the steel around the middle. Jack Carney similar to Ruane & Mullin,nice footballer but needs time to develop.
    Same with full back, if Mc Brien gets a shot there,he will need time to develop. From game 4 on we need to see the bones of our championship team in place.

  56. @1989, I think you know very well what I mean by handy, that we didn’t throw any curve ball and learn from the mistakes that Kerry made against them.

    We played the way they hoped we’d play and you seem to forget we were favorites but just couldn’t hack the pressure.

    You can’t say they didn’t let us perform, they weren’t in control of our tactics, we just weren’t prepared that’s it and hats off to Tyrone, they took advantage of that, who wouldn’t.

  57. Re Tyrone (it might have already been mentioned here elsewhere and if so, I apologise), I thought it was interesting to see that a few players have withdrawn from their panel this year including Tiernan McCann.
    Ronan O’Neill, Mark Bradley, Hugh Pat McGeary and Michael Cassidy had already stepped back. The latter four were probably fringe players, but none of them were over 30 bar McCann who is just 30. It could be just that they didn’t feel they’d make the cut this year, but all the same, it’s worth noting.

  58. A very lacklustre opening 45 minutes. Very encouraging signs with the last 15 minutes. Desire to battle was, like always, still there. Application should come over time. An area Horan could focus on is shooting for goal. One only has to remember how Gooch used to take goals, essentially passed into the net. The ‘blast’ shot rarely works, especially when coming in at an angle, Walshe and Doherty guilty of this. Great to see Doherty back though, himself and Tommy appeared to have linked well. Not to get unduly excited but I think a full strength Mayo team is a frightening prospect for any opposition this year. Gas how easily one can slip back into the realms of hope.

    Plausible starters for the year ahead: Hennelly, Harrison, Keegan, Coen, O’Hora, Durcan, Plunkett, EMCL, Mullin, Hession, Loftus, Ruane, AOS, Flynn, D O’C, KMcL, Doherty, Conroy, O’Donoghoe, Cillian.
    Possibilities: Can A fit James Carr, Walshe, Fionn, Darren C (good for a couple of points), COS, Orme, McHale etc kick on? That’s just a snapshot of the abundance of talent on the panel. Horan may unearth a couple of more new lads. Callinan looked good in FBD. Could Carney make strides after Kilmeena’s adventure.

    The age old dilemma of fb appears to be still a problem. Midfield will require a bit of work but Mullin and Ruane may yet hold the secret ingredient. It’s very early days but great to be back. Up Mayo.

  59. Murphy is an amazing talent and i cant believe people are saying Coen should be out of full back after yesterday.Look at what Murphy did to Monaghan in half a game last week.Coen was our best marker for him yesterday and was doing fine in my opinion but got caught in the wrong position for the penalty as many of our full backs have recently.Great to see Harrison back and i would try him there for a few games.Diarmuid worked very hard yesterday but really we can only afford one non scoring half forward.Conditions were awful but i thought the warm up could be telling.Seemed a new drill to me running from midfield and playing that 20-25 metre foot pass to full forward line.Tommy C needs to work on his tackling but his workrate yesterday was way up for me.ROD is turning into a mouthy leader great to see.Cant wait for next sundays 6hour round trip.

  60. Time for Mayo to pick their 26 man panel and stick with it. Mine is
    Hennelly
    Harrison Keegan O Hora
    Durcan Coan McLaughlin

    Ruane Mullen

    D O Connor A O Shea T Conroy
    C O Connor J Doherty R O Donaghue.

    Byrne , Hessin, Plunket, Callinan , Flynn , Loftus, Boland, K McLaughlin, B Walsh , A Orme , M Moran.

  61. Culmore I think panels are more than 26 players these days. You pick 26 for a match day but you need to have at least 6 others to be available for that match day 26 to cover injuries.
    Not saying there’s much wrong with that as a first choice for a match day 26 mind.

  62. Mayo will be in the mix come championship time.
    If they manage to climb their way back to a decider in Croker it’s then the whole set up needs to function properly on All Ireland Final day from the sideline to the 15 on the pitch.
    That’s where we always seem to fall down.
    I think Mayo will have a decent league campaign and With players still to come back in Mayo have the right balance now of youth and experience. A lot made about Galway’s win yesterday against Meath a game I attended and I can say that Meath were utterly terrible and if they continue to play like they did yesterday will be heading for Division 3. Galway have a lot of work done since October and will be better this year but Mayo are much further ahead in terms of the personnel available to them.

  63. The blast shots for goals is happening a while now.
    A few thoughts.
    1. Stephen Mcdonnell Armagh had a mental trick, when through in goal on a run or received a pass he would count “One ” in that moment, takes a visual snapshot at that moment, then he made his decision.
    2. There is almost never any reason for shooting high in GAA or soccer. Messi, possessor of huge power, when through on goal he would tuck it home with a pass to the net. If you concentrate on getting a good contact the power will be there anyways.
    3. Those who are capable of taking goals, their efforts always get so much underrated versus those who score three separate points.
    In a tight call between forwards side with the better goalscorer.
    4. Goal scoring can be moneyball measured like batting average in baseball.

  64. No Viper I am not getting too excited about Kildare drawing with Kerry or too worked up about Tyrone only drawing with Monaghan or even Dublin losing to Armagh. Nor am I losing any sleep about us only drawing with the average Donegal. Just feel credit where credit is due. Hitting the last 5 points to eke out a draw on a horrible day when down to 14 men deserves a bit of credit, just as reeling in a 6 point deficit v Dublin in last year’s semi final was a good achievement as well. Nothing more, nothing less. Credit where it’s due.

  65. @to win just once, of course but it’s possible to give credit for gaining a point and also be critical of the flat performance for most of the game.

    I still think if we put in a full shift we’d have beaten Donegal though.

    It was plain to see Donegal were tiring much more than us in the final quarter, so a little context should be put in the mix as well but Robbie deserves all the plaudits, and he is getting them.

    Monaghan will be a stiffer test so we’ll need to come flying out of the blocks.

  66. We definitely need to find a regular for full-back – it’s been our problem position for decades. Stephen Coen can play at half back or centre field – he scored a few key points last year. Great to see Doherty back – his eye for a score vital.
    Up Mayo!

  67. Terrible news about Tommy just when we got Jason and Brendan back. Why is it never straight forward for Mayo. Hope the injury is not as serious as it sounds.

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