Mayo 0-12 Sligo 0-10: not vintage stuff but good enough

Except for the prevailing weather, it sounded like today’s Connacht final bore a fair few similarities to last year’s provincial decider which also took place at Hyde Park. Last year, the bulk of the support was against us. From what I could hear on the radio, this was also the case today. Last year the ref was atrocious, as today’s appeared to be too. And last year we nosed our way to a hard-fought narrow victory which we did again today to seal back-to-back Nestor Cup victories and our 44th Connacht title in all.

As I said yesterday, it’s pointless – from a remove of at least 2,000 miles – for me to try to write any kind of comprehensive account of today’s provincial decider. I followed most of it on the radio, the first half on Midwest – is Paddy Henry really the best deputy for Mike they can find? – and then (thanks to the tip-off from Colm Gannon) after the break I tuned into NewsTalk. From the combination of the two (more the latter than the former) I got the gist of what happened, but it was no more than that so what I have to say here is as a result going to be brief. Aside from this it’s our final night of the hols tonight and there are some beers to be downed a bit later on.

There seemed to be a few talking points from today that are worth recording (well, it’d be an odd Connacht final if there weren’t). Obviously you guys who were there are much better placed to provide your own take on proceedings and once this has gone up on the site, the floor’s all yours.

Barry Moran was, I think, named as Man of the Match at or about the time he received his second yellow deep into stoppage time. His encouraging performance – coming on top of his very strong display against Leitrim – is obviously a real plus for us and with Aidan O’Shea back in the engine room too, we’re starting to look formidable enough in this sector.

Springing Aidan clearly had a big impact. We seemed desperately flat in the opening half but once he was on it sounded like we had far greater urgency about us. Hopefully he’s now ready for a full 70 minutes stint because I’d say we’ll need him.

Also on the plus side, PJ expressed himself very happy with how Lee Keegan nullified Alan Costello – so much so that the Balla man eventually got the curly hook – and with how Ger Cafferkey gave no change to David Kelly. Who picked up Adrian Marren, by the way? He didn’t seem to have an enormous impact on proceedings so that seemed to be a job well done too.

Did we look as bad in that first half as it sounded on the radio? The Brother said that we were trying to walk the ball into the net all through the first 35 minutes – Going for Goals was obviously Plan A – and it definitely seemed as if it was our wastefulness that enabled Sligo to reach the turn two points to the good.

Indeed, our profligacy over the seventy minutes was pretty noteworthy. Shooting twelve wides in any game won’t do you any favours and in a close fought Connacht final it could easily have been the difference between winning and losing. It’s to the lads’ credit, then, that they still dug deep enough to eke out the win.

In this respect, our forwards didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory today. With Enda Varley and Jason Doherty in such subdued form (both were replaced in the second half), it’s fairly clear that the issue of Mort and all that is going to remain a live one between now and the August Bank Holiday weekend. We were without doubt the poorer for his absence today – he’d have made a great impact sub – but surely the same applies to Conor himself. Had he come on this afternoon and banged over some vital second half scores he’d be getting all the plaudits now and would, to boot, be a shoo-in to start in Croke Park. But, I suppose, that’s one for another day.

When it came to the winning scores, Lady Luck certainly appeared to give us a fairly outrageous wink with a wide from Colm Boyle signalled as a point to give us the lead for only the second time with fewer than ten minutes remaining on the clock. But, by the sounds of it, that was one of the few breaks we got from the officials and I don’t think Cormac Reilly will have gained any new members to his fan club after today’s performance with the whistle.

At the outset of the championship, common consent had it that the Gods had granted us a free pass into this year’s All-Ireland series. As is often the case, however, common consent was up its hole in this respect. Being left sitting on the sidelines for weeks on end and then coming into the provincial decider having only had to brush past a very limited challenge from Leitrim did us no favours at all and Sligo came close to being the beneficiaries today. But they didn’t come close enough and while I doubt that today’s match will go down in the annals as one of the greatest Connacht finals of all times, it’s another one that we’ve got in the sack. That’s got to be good enough for us.

The beers are now calling and the first toast of the evening will go to the lads who did the business for us today. Well done, lads, on another Connacht final win (and hard luck to the minors who came up short against yet another strong Roscommon team) and here’s to some more memorable exploits when we get to Croke Park.

Mayo: David Clarke; Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan (0-1), Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle (0-1); Barry Moran (0-1), Danny Geraghty (0-1); Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor (0-2, one free and a ’45), Alan Dillon (0-2); Enda Varley (0-1), Andy Moran (0-1), Jason Doherty. Subs: Aidan O’Shea (0-1) for Geraghty, Michael Conroy for Varley, Alan Freeman (0-1) for Doherty.

Photo credit: The Brother

77 thoughts on “Mayo 0-12 Sligo 0-10: not vintage stuff but good enough

  1. Today was never going to be pretty. We knew it was going to be a physical battle against Sligo and it was. We came through it and realistically today was our first real championship test. No disrespect to Leitrim but our game against them was a non event.

    In The first half we just took the wrong options time after time. Many players were guilty of this so there is no point in naming names. Obviously goals were on the players minds but it was simpler on many occasions for us to take our scores. Even our fisted efforts went wide or hit the post. In fairness we did play against a stiff breeze and that made frees etc very difficult. Our disallowed goal made every mayoman feel aggrieved. It looked perfect the replay on the big screen.

    The second half was alot better due largely to the performances of mcloughln, Keane, Cafferkey, Dillon and Barry Moran in particular. Its great to see Barry playing so well. He was brilliant. The introduction of Aidan o Shea really lifted us too. He was a powerhouse in the middle and linked up well with the forwards. We ground out an important win and that’s all that matters. Our backs were to the wall at times and we came out fighting. That’s all we can ask of our players.

    I’m confident that we will improve on today’s performance. The antics of a certain Shrule man during the week didn’t help our cause in terms of preparation. Personally I’m delighted for James Horan, the management team and all the players who were part of us winning back to back Connacht titles and getting us to equal the record of Connacht titles with Galway. While I know alot of improvement is needed in certain quarters in the team, and a few positional switches would aid us alot!, I believe we can only get better and we can look forward to going back to croke park. What’s been a tough week, has ended up with us having the cup. Onwards and upwards. Up Mayo.

  2. Alot of credit due to the lads, it was as hard fought battle as I have witnessed in a Connaught Final. Midfield was a battle ground & fair play to Barry Moran, he certainly delievered. Taught Dillon McLoughlin, the whole defence especially Keane & Boyle were fantastic. Aiden O’Shea gave us more power at midfield & probally was the reason we went for the win in a big way. The Sligo full back line was exellent made unbelievable block’s time aftet time. That said our full foward line will leave James Horan scratching his nose. On a day that clear cut oppurtunities were at a premium, our corner fowards could’nt get the nessary yard to shoot. Did the pressure of Mort’s depature get to them? My own opinion is that it did to a certain extent, but Sligo would have targeted that area to put doubt into Mayo’s inside fowards & that part of Sligo’s plan certainly worked well. We have 3 weeks now to devlope further, plenty of work to do especially in the full foward line. This definatly was a Connaught Final to be endured before it could be enjoyed. The weather in thr Hyde was a lot better tnan last year & the big screen is a big plus. Connaught football is is sure to get slated on the ‘Sunday Game’ tonight, that wont do us any harm, we’r well used to that. But I seriously doubt the 87/88 Galway all Ireland winning hurlers who were the special guests introduced to the crowd had any regets about choosing hurling as their game!

  3. Well done to the lads we were very wasteful in the first half but came through eventually.

    The goal looked fine and I must have counted at least another 3 ‘lateral’ passes which went unpunished.

    Need to improve for the qtrs but happy enough.

    Up the Maigh Eo!

  4. Good to win , we take any Connacht title. Once went from 1969 to 1981 before we won it back, so great. Pressure lessens now, no one will expect much from us and we tend to up it from there .

  5. Just back from the Hyde. Good to get the win – but a poor match and a poor performance to boot. Some positives – as well as negatives!

    1. Aidan O’Shea – did really well when he came in. Very powerful. Midfield is a big plus with himself and Barry Moran playing so well.
    2. Barry Moran – outstanding today. Fair play to him – finally delivering on the big stage.
    3. Full back line. – They did very well today, both Keane and Cafferky worked very well. Very happy with their performance. Keegan and Boyle did reasonably well too, good scores at the end (despite all the controversy).
    4. Moran and Dillon – as good as ever. Moran is a great man to win a ball, Dillon was superb all day. The two of them took responsibility when no one else would to shoot, particularly Dillon.
    5. One more game under the belt. Mayo were always going to be rusty today and today’s game will bring them on.

    1. Full forward line – Apart from Andy, it’s hard to see where our scores are going to come from. Varley, Freeman, Conroy and Doherty just don’t look like opening up and scoring at will. Disappointed with their contributions today – at least Conroy was willing to shoot. It’s very hard to see where the scores are going to come from against bigger teams.
    2. Cillian O’Connor – Is lost at centre forward. Might be better in the corner but this was not a great display from him, particularly with his missing frees. Good 45 at the end granted. Might do better in the corner. Any hope of getting Harte back? It’d be great to put him in at centre forward and have Cillian back in the corner.
    3. Loose at the back – Vaughan and Higgins in particular can be quite loose. Vaughan excellent going forward – but can make better efforts at tackling at times. Too many soft frees!
    4. Performance overall – generally disappointing. Too many mistakes, not enough people taking responsibility. Sligo are a poor team, their midfield wasn’t great and they really didn’t have many forwards today worth noting. Kelly got very limited supply and some of the ball into him was shocking, particularly in the first half.
    5. Conor Mort – Even though Mayo won, arguments will still rage over whether he is worth place. Today’s display won’t do anything to disprove his arguments.

    As a recent article stated (by John Cuffe, I think), these finals are to be endured and won. This was done and well done for that. This performance might dampen the enthusiasm of the Mayo supporters, which is unfounded at best. This is a good thing – we have a habit of losing the run of ourselves. Unfortunately, it is very hard to see where the scores are going to come from to trouble bigger teams. The full forward line are just not dangerous enough. I feel Jason Doherty just didn’t deliver and never really looked like scoring, to be honest. However, Enda, Alan and Michael didn’t do enough either to guarantee them automatic places on the team. Now, James has three weeks to sort some of these issues out. However, I feel they need a good draw in the quarter final to progress – playing the like of Tyrone, Kildare, Kerry at that stage (after a few games under their belt) would not be ideal for them. There is still hope – they will surely be underdogs after today’s performance. Mayo always do better as underdogs, I feel, as they tend to rise to the challenge. However, if the forwards aren’t worked on – particularly the full forward line – their match in the August bank holiday weekend will be their last championship game this year. A lot of work done – a hell of a lot more to do!!

  6. By the way – whatever about the senior final, thought the referee was absolutely atrocious in the minor final and ruined the game as any kind of a spectacle. Shocking stuff. Roscommon were deserving winners but Mayo did well against the wind in the second half and were left to rue a poor first half performance.

  7. Great to win another Connacht final, but fuck me we don’t make it easy on ourselves…

    Agree with everything said above. Our back line is as good as it’s been since ’96.
    Sure Keith can be loose, but luckily his pace tends to get him out of jail. I do worry about Vaughan defensively though. But in general we have made massive improvement in our defence. Great to see really hard tackling and to be fair we now seem to play a bit ‘on the edge’.

    Barry played well today but I think I’m in the minority to think he was man of the match. He caught some great ball but really needs to work on his distribution.
    Aiden O’Shea was absolutely immense when he came on, the main reason we won the game I thought.

    Our main problem is obviously in the forward line. I really can’t see how we can win an All-Ireland with that inside line. Get O’Connor back into corner forward for a start, he’s lost at 11. He did get on a lot of ball, but he’s a lot more dangerous inside. Actually thought Doherty did well, especially in the first half, he caused the Sligo backs a lot of problems.
    Andy Moran was great in the 2nd half, winning nearly every ball that came in to him. He’s missed in the half forward line but it seems a sacrifice worth making.

    Sort the forward line out and we’re a serious outfit, don’t and I can’t see us troubling teams like Cork and Dublin.
    But we won, so delighted. Lots to work on, but sure we knew that anyway.

  8. @ WillieJoe, pretty sure Freeman didn’t score and CO’C scored 0-3 (2f,1 ’45) 🙂

  9. Lobitin has it right, we’ll probably be slated on the Sunday Game.
    There will be the usual side remarks about Connacht football. But we’re better off going into the QF’s under the radar. No-one will expect much from us and I’d imagine all of the remainig 4 qualifiers will want to meet us. Just the way we like it. Cork found out last year what happens when we’re underestimated.

  10. Tough game. Knew it would be and rightly so.Sligo went for us and we had to dig deep. I was very impressed with our composure at the end. We closed out the game nicely and professionally. What an amadan of a ref. Boyles point was wide just as Andys goal was grand.
    Just a few points

    Defence was excellent. Clarke another clean sheet.
    Keane was strong and secure. Very good coming out. Finds his man very simply.
    Caff was excellant. Another sound shift.
    Keith was everywhere as usual. Surely one of Mayos best.
    Lee had a mighty game. Grt score at the end. A winning score.
    Donal cud have been MOTM if he fired a few scores over the bar. He owes Jason a few pints after that hospital pass.
    Boyler you are a grt bit of stuff. Keep it going.
    Barry MOTM. Getting better every game. A big player now.
    Geraghty is honest but limited.
    Kevin was kevin. A 100% game with bits of brilliance. What a grt worker he is. Very important player for Mayo.
    cillian had a poor game with frees but handled a lot of ball. Still learning, Im glad Horan didnt sub him. Pressure 45 but what a score. Can he not take all frees from ground so?
    Alan was class all day. Very hard worker. So important to Mayo.
    Enda was a non event. I would love to see him do well but its not happening.
    If Medals for bravery were given out Andy would have his chest full. Sometimes he should use the head better. A scoring return of 1-3 from a Mayo FF would be a refreshing change.
    Someday Jason will explode but its not happening at the moment.
    AOS saved the day. Power, Skill and strength. But please no more dyed hair!!!!!!
    Conroy sorry lad but same old story.
    Horan. you had a difficult week. Keep head down and sort out FF line. You have strong defence, Midfield and Half forwards. Butbwe will win no Sam without a scoring FF line.

    No team looking likely yet bar Cork. So we are still in the mix. Bring on Kerry!!!!!!
    Hello to Dad and Bro.Hope ye both feel better soon. Hup Mayo.

  11. Horans Brigade, great summery, you called it well. Don’t want to steal amother mans thunder though, the great Spailpin Fanach penned that the final was for enduring and how right he was . Still I saw too many good Mayo teams go home empty handed over the years, gladly I take this one poor or not. Up Mayo

  12. Poor game but a win is a win and its tit for tat again with galway re connaught titles. Not that they are worried with the differnce in all irelands being well in there favour..

    However one thing i learnt today is that apart from dillion and moran the rest of our forwards havent the mentality to bring us a all ireland.. For sure the whole conor mortiner situation placed unwanted pressure on everyone today but mainly the forwards. Considering the extra little bit of pressure and the performance of our forwards today im not one bit confident that these guys can stand up to the pressure of the big games in croker. Management want to change the way mayo apporach games both mentally and physically and i can see improvements in both these areas but from what i saw today there is still to many players who just dont have the mental strenght to perform when the pressure is on.. Its been the case now for years and in my view we still havent mastered that mental aspect where pressure should bring out the best in you. Today i saw people not wanting the ball. yes we see runs from time to time, but i cant remembering seeing many people DEMANDING the ball such as andy moran. How many shots where just hit in hope compared to drilled over with confidence.. These are the things management should be noticing when reviewing the match. will they? im not sure, it ll probably be more about statistics and the paramters of the game such as lost possesion, wides, tackles etc etc..Then they will go back training working on all these and again when bank holiday Aug comes around or maybe shortly afterwards and we get a poor performance out of people we wondering where did it all go wrong.. I often wondered how people could practise shooting in prepartion for a all ireland final. Imagine playing in one and your so nervous your legs just feel like you ve run a marathon after the parade. Bit differnent to kick scores then as oppossed to taping them over before training in castlebar…

    Anyways i dont ever post of forums although i do like reading some of the posters views on here so decided to add one post. Its sad for me to see the one team that brings out so much emotionin me , yet again just treading through each year doing the same things over and over and never looking at the real causes..

  13. Both games were affected by the cross field wind and poor refs. Why does Connacht championship always get the worst refs?

    A hard fought game like today will bring on the seniors credit to Sligo for giving us a game. well done to them on winning another Connacht title. Minor’s have up hill task v Tipp but you never know with that level.

  14. Look lads, pundits are paid to come up with inane comments and tired cliches – what the Sunday Game verdict is doesn’t cost me a thought. We won the match and in fifty year’s time the record books won’t say it wasn’t a pretty game, they’ll read that Mayo won a 13th Connacht final.

    That’s not to say that there are a few shortcomings that need to be addressed before the next match but, hey, we’re in a quarter final – bring on the big guns to give us a real challenge, that’s when we’ll know just how good Mayo are!

  15. Like last years final thought Mayo were the better team and did just enough to win. 3 corner forwards used had really poor games and Horans decision to effectively exile Mort looks a very bad one. Danny G is not intercounty standard, Moran did well. What was Vaughan thinking of in the first half trying to manufacture a goal when a point was the only option. Good luck in rest of championship
    If the Rossies were unlucky to lose 2 Connacht finals in 08 & 09 to Mayo, the reverse could be said today, after a great start we were plain shite and had Mayo any decent scoring forwards we would have been bet.

  16. Today was a great win for Mayo. No All-Ireland was ever won in July – that’s a mistake that Mayo have made too often in the past. This is a Mayo team with problems, and that’s fine. If a team with problems can win against a tough outfit like Sligo, imagine what they can do if they can solve the forward conundrum.

    I know that midfield is evolving in football now, but a pairing of Barry Moran and Aidan O’Shea is mouth-watering prospect. If Mayo can solve the inside-line issue they’re in a very good place. And why can’t they – didn’t Kerry only discover Kieran Donaghy in the qualifiers against Longford? Up Mayo, roll on the quarters.

  17. bravo mayo-we won -it may not have been pretty but we showed steel which I feel will make us a team that will take stopping-we,ll be there on the third Sunday

  18. Good win to-day, great to see Aidan O’Shea introduced, AOS and B. Moran,
    our best centre field option. I agree with Dan’s comment about Cillian O’Connor,
    he should be corner forward, and maybe Pat Harte at centre.
    Cillian is not a centre forward, why not play him in his best position.
    Andy Moran had a good game, but we still do not have a target man at full forward.
    If we take our points, the goals will come.
    Great to see less of the solo run, although there were one or two solos too many.
    Cathal Henry.

  19. Great to win back to back C. titles.Not a great game but a win is a win. We are still there Galway and Roscommon are not.

    Unusual acceptance speech by the Captain in naming individuals from supporters clubs. It was a good idea as it will make others buck up and look up.

  20. Barry moran-at long long last, injury free and fulfilling his underage promise. massive plus to see o shea back, couple weeks training will see him in prime condition and ready for anything in croker. this game will stand to us later on and i would agree with posters our ff line needs some work altho i thought doc did ok in first half, showed well. overall well done lads on a conn title, hopefully no injurys between now and croker and we’ll be ready for anyone. up mayo.

  21. So what is the solution in the forwards? We need to find two who can settle down as first team regulars but it’s hard to see where we can get them from.

    Should we put Cillian in the corner and have someone like Seamus O’Shea on the 40 to mop up breaking ball around midfield? Maybe Alan Freeman in the other corner but with licence to roam out the field to win ball? Was it a good idea to let Kirby go from the panel, he’s an unknown quantity so it’s hard to say? How about Evan Regan – young but talented, could have the element of surprise?

    I don’t know if any of the above is the answer but I know we need to try something different with the corner forward positions because what we’re doing at the moment just isn’t working out for us.

    Congratulations to the team and management though on a hard earned but well deserved victory today.

  22. James joyce, James Horan has not effectively put the mort into exile. He has chosen that route himself. Mort walked away. He wasn’t pushed, shoved or discarded. It was his choice and he has to live with it.

    I agree that Cillian should be in the full forward line. He is not comfortable at 11. I personally would put freeman at 11 supported by Dillon and Mcloughlin. With Andy at 14 and Cillian and 15 we have two men who can win ball and score. Aidan o Shea and Barry Moran together can be a formidable pairing. It’s not fair to say Geraghty is not inter county standard. He is only 20 and he will improve. Give the young players a chance.

    Pat Harte has a broken metatarsal. He’s out for the rest of the season as far as I know. Hes a loss because at 11 he could flourish. Could Seamus o Shea, Jason gibbons or McGarrity be used as a target man inside. Could Seamus fill the no 11 jersey to allow Cillian and freeman to go inside and support Andy? We need more penetration up front. Whoever we play on august bank holiday there needs to be a couple of changes up front.

  23. Congrats to all involved from the team and management on yesterdays gritty performance. Overall they had to be drag it out of themselves, as they were their own worst enemies. Going for goals when the easy point was available was the obvious issue and it continued throughout the match. As JH said in the post match interview maybe it was down to nerves and lack of match practice, but we nearly threw it away.

    I mentioned to a Sligo supporter at the end of the game that they should write to their County board and demand to get Markievicz Park upgraded. If that match were held there I’m pretty sure we would have been bet out the gate. Not a lot but maybe it’s some consolation to take for the Yeats men.

    From our side I was delighted to see Barry Moran play so well. We needed a to win the middle area and he delivered in spades time and again for us. Disagree with the point regards his distribution. I thought it was more than adequate. It was further up the field aligned with the poor decision-making that let us down.

    Agree with the problem regards Cillian. Perhaps its second season syndrome but he looks rather jaded at centre half forward. Maybe a switch back into the corner would be a solution but it leaves a pivotal vacancy open and it’s difficult to see who can fill it other than maybe bringing Andy out.

    If we do that though we are goosed inside, as he wins 70-80% of ball that’s put into him. Align this with his unselfish nature it produces most of our scores from play. Only other option I can think of is maybe moving AOS to Centre-Half-FW and maybe bring in SOS or McGarrity to middle. It’s a tough puzzle to put together but they have some time to work on it now.

    But a win is a win and we’ll damn well take it. As An Spailpín spoke of, it was endured, but now we are champions of Connacht and this team has won back-to-back titles for the first time in 5 years.

    So again well done to them.

  24. After semi final defeat last year I felt we were probably a little below Cork Kerry and Dublin due to lack of scoring inside forwards. But with Conor Mortimer coming back this year I thought maybe with a bit of luck we could bridge the gap this year. Pat Harte too was looking good this year so we seemed to have options a plenty in the forward line. Not so much now
    I don’t know how anyone can justify selecting Doherty ahead of Mortimer or Freeman. He never even looked liked scoring. Varley spent most of his 45 mins in behind his man.Conroy looked livlier but was very erratic.
    Can’t for the life of me understand Cillian being played CF. Given out problems in the corners move him back in there !!!
    As I said it’s a pity about Pat Harte as he could perhaps have filled the no11 slot then.
    Aidan O Shea was immense !!! Looks a bit heavy but has 3 weeks to get fitter. If not fully fit then maybe he could play CF and Seamie in the middle replacing Geraghty.
    We are still probably in the chasing pack and need injuries to clear up and hope no more crop up. And we need a good draw and then sure ya never know

  25. willie joe you are right it was very similar to last years final , brutal game in a brutal ground with a brutal surface and a brutal ref… brilliant to have won it and J-HO has plenty food for thought now as regards forwards, barry moran has stood up to claim his midfield place beside aidan and the backs were all very good indeed…

  26. Well done to the lads, the corner forwards are a concern but James is right to stick with them. He sees them in training and I presume they must have the footballing ability. Jack O’Connor said once that no team ever wins an all ireland without a settled full forward line. I think we have found 14, the other two should be given time. Remember we’re building here lads, yes we all want an all ireland now but I’ll take second place so long as we appear to be heading int the right direction, Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that. Sometimes you need to look back to appreciate where you are, the debates about the back line and midfield have largely stopped (presuming its a fit AoShea, Barry Moran midfield) and there is really only discussion about some of the forwards. The question marks are lessening, this is progress.
    Having said that its hard to know what we need in the quarters, meet someone like Meath who we should beat and there is always the chance we’ll go weak at the knees. Meet Kildare or Tyrone and we’ll be the underdogs against a harder team and we could do very well. Even then I certainly am starting to believe that there is a harder edge to this team with more belief, on another day yesterday with everything going against us, we would have caved in and lost. Thats what happened in 2010, we have now had two similar days out where silverware was on the line, last year and this, and we dug deep, didn’t panic and got over the line on both occasions. Winning becomes a habit.

    I see Eugene Mc Gee has dusted off his “the poor state of Connacht football” article, well it is that time of year. How that sad old man still gets paid for literally, posting it in, I just do now know. Please do not waste your time reading it, go find a public toilet and see what is written on the back of the jacks door, it’ll probably be more entertaining and will certainly make more sense.

  27. There were a good few positives to take from this game such as our doggedness, our work rate & our cynicism at the end when closing the game out. These are all traits not associated with Mayo over the years and reflect great credit on the management and on James Horan.
    However I want to refer to some negatives that I feel must be addressed before we head to Croker. We have problems at 11,13, & 15. I am not sure what the solutions are but we definitely need to do something different in these positions.
    I think James has made a significant mistake in looking at Conor Mortimer & seeing only Enda Varley. Whilst I realise that a manager has the right to pick his team a player has the right to expect that the manager picks the best player for each position regardless of non football issues. For me based on his football record Conor should have been a nailed on certainty for 13 since the start of the Championship. I wonder is there any way Conor could forgive James for the ultimate insult of non selection & James could forgive Conor for the timing of his protest ? Over to the diplomats.
    As I said I dont know what the solutions are but I will make a few suggestions. Move Cillian to 15 the position from which I believe he should have started the Championship.
    Personally I would try what some might consider a drastic move & relocate Donal Vaughan at 11 with Keith moving to 6 with a newcomer coming in at 4.
    Harte would have been an option at 11 but now has an injury . In Conors absence I would go with Freeman at 13 with Doherty next best. There are also options at 11 involving McGarrity, Seamus O Shea or even Aidan from midfield. Such are my thoughts this Monday morning.

  28. A good test and one that we passed in the end. Our midfield dominence was lessened when O’Hara came on, started spoiling, and we started to lose the breaks from then on. We still won most of the clean ball though thanks to AOS coming on and giving us another target. It must be said though that the two starters for Sligo didn’t compete at all so that must be borne in mind with regard to future tests.

    At the start of the year we were wondering how JH would manage to fit all our riches in the ff line into the best combination possible but we are further away than ever. It reminds me of a saying by the late great Vincent O’Brien. “If you think you have two derby horses, you probably have none”. Our forwards are all much of a muchness and unfortunately seem to be short of the very top standard. Varley had a poor day and Doherty spent most of the time too far out the field to be a threat. Conroy snatched nervously at a couple of decent chances too.

    The backs are beginning to take shape nicely and Keane showed again that he has the physicality that we have been missing in the corner for years.

  29. Good to win back to back Connacht titles,
    It was a poor game and Mayo played poorly, but still won, leaving plenty of room for improving.
    I thought the ref was poor, in the first half he gave most decisions to Sligo, that they did not deserve, while in the second half he gave decisions to Mayo, that we did not deserve, so I suppose it balanced out but it was frustrating to watch, what must it be like for the players.
    I was surprised at the line up’s starting the game, with Keane taking Marren and Caffrey taking Kelly, but James Horan was spot on, how well they both did and I was delighted to see Keane out fielding Marren early on and to see Cafferkey high fielding in front of goals as well
    I agree with previous comments that Cillian O Connor would be best used at corner forward and he would strenghten this line.Great to see Barry Moran doing so well at mid field, at last.
    Aiden O Shea is a powerful player and is a great asset to any team, he is a mid fielder but could be an option at centre forward , moving in and out to full forward, he will win his own ball and bring other players into play.
    We will have to keep tapping over our points, as used to be said, back in the day , it takes two points to beat one, and that has not changed with time.

    It was very dissapointing that Conor Mortimer made the decision that he did , when he did, so close to the Connacht final.
    I wounder could he be persuaded to return to the squadl,( pride swallowed) all could benefit and that’s all that matters.Just a thought, maybe it is too late for that but in the interest of Mayo football why not, but he would have to buy into, working hard and waiting like everyone else, for game time.

  30. As regards Conor Mortimer, there is no way Horan will have him back, did you hear his post match interview? Horan is trying to build a team of Men who will fight their corner. If you look at the panels he has selected since his arrival this is plain to see. Any player who cannot be depended upon to fight to the end is not wanted.
    This is Conor’s problem and it has always been. Conor has skill, he can take a score better than anyone in our forwards (O’Connor possible execption), but when the chips are down he will not stand up and fight.
    Horan cannot have a player like that in his team, as that attitude spreads and it would undermine everything the team now stand for. Listening to the post match interview, Horan expressed very strong view re Conor’s responce. Crazy Stuff and Untrue was some of the words used. Conor is history.

    As regards Geraghty, he was thrown in V Dublin in league and has been there a fair bit since, hes a big strong lad who makes the big hits and slows down the oposition. Its a pity he wasn’t playing V Cork in league final as we lacked for physicality that day.
    I think he’s done well in all the games he’s played, now very stylish, but his marker will know he was in a game that for sure.

    Very happy with yesterdays result, a real fighting display to see out the win. The national media will again right us off, and that suits Mayo fine, the last thing we need is hype.
    A low key qualifer draw against a less fancied side would be lovely, as there is a lot of improvement needed before we face the big boys.
    There are scorers all over our team, Higgins, Keegan, Boyle, Vaughan, AOS, Barry Moran, Geraghty, Dillon, Mc Loughlin all regularly get on the score sheet. The problems in the ff line are there to be seen, however if one of Doherty, Varley or Conroy hit form we could be in business. Cillian and Andy will end out in the ff line for our next outing I believe.
    We are not in a bad place at all, the team will grow in confidence and togeatherness as a result of the last 7 days.

  31. Normally I wait until I have watched back the match before making an essay-like comment, but feck it. A couple of yesterday’s themes for me:

    – Shooting ourselves in the foot

    The Minors kicked the match away, 10 wides to Roscommon’s 2. I saw a lot of fit young men, but not a lot whose skills levels were up to scratch or who displayed football brains. I was reminded watching it of manager Tony Duffy’s interview in the Western this week where he said our preparations were “as good as what’s taking place in the country”. As the risk of sounding like Pat Spillane, at underage level there’s too much running and not enough skills. Plenty of time to be professional athletes when they reach senior, it’s a long 3 year wait. At that stage you can coach fitness, not skills, and it’s too late, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.

    The Senior’s were clearly going for goals, trying to physically manufacture them rather than taking opportunities when they arise. Take your points and the goals will come. You only REALLY need to MANUFACTURE goal chances when you’re behind in the 2nd half. If you’re ahead in the 2nd half (as we would have been if we hadn’t missed 10 opportunities in the 1st), then goal chances will come naturally as the opposition have to come out to play. Tactical naivety on our part, we nearly shot ourselves in the foot and hopefully for JH, it’s lesson learned.

    And one man whose foot is literally bullet-ridden now is Conor. Very few on his side now, JH put it right when he said it was farcical and unbelievable.

    – On referees

    You can always tell the performance of the referee from the state of my match programme. It’s sitting here beside me in tatters. When I took a look at the programme pre-minor match, it jumped out at me. How could I have forgotten? Cormac Reilly was reffing the match. Up there with Barry Cassidy, Rory Hickey et all in terms of being a reffing nightmare. He ALWAYS, without fail, takes a side and sticks to it. And I’ve been to several of his matches where I was a neutral. I knew we were in for a rough match. Meanwhile the linesman on the near side didn’t report several off the ball instances to the referee even though he plainly saw them, and on one occasion when the Sligo man plainly touched the ball on the ground not 2 feet away from him and him staring at it – not a word said. It was like that Euro 2012 one with the assistant behind the goal.

    – What we know

    Hard-working, disciplined, solid defence, David Clarke, Andy Moran, Aidan O’Shea and Kevin McLoughlin. Consistency we can bank on.

  32. The papers are fair enough in their calling of the match. Although the Indo headlines Colm Keys report with “Mayo find just enough in absence of Mortimer”. He then devotes the first few columns to the debacle. He should remember that Mayo reached a semi final last year in the absence of the same Mortimer.

    Keith Duggan has his usual Mayo finger on the pulse regarding the proceedings. He sees it as a step for Mayo in winning “ugly”. Duggan is very good but he goofed on Saturday. He had Conor down for playing in the 1999 All Ireland minor final for JP Kean. Conor didn’t, he may have been available but didn’t play, he did the following year though.

    The Examiner has a piece by Mike Fnnerty and Ray Silke as he always does called it well, also his piece on Conor Mortimer on Saturday was excellent. Colm Gannon of the Mayo Advertiser was first out of the blocks last night with a good piece as well. Onward and upwards now. Back to back titles or three out of four Connacht title years tend to bring at least a final day appearance. 1948-51 three finals, 1888/89 one final, 1996/97 two finals. What for 2011/12?

  33. Okay lads. Forwards need work. Hows this
    Aos at cf flanked by kevin and Dillon.
    Andy at FF flanked by Freeman and cillian.

  34. I think R51 what you say is worth trying. If needs be then AOS could allways move back to midfield. But someone has to fill that other second midfiled berth if that were the option. Who would that be?

    Personally I think it needs to be someone mobile enough to cover back as well. Yesterday we cleaned up at midfiled but that won’t be the case going forward against better opposition. Who else is a mobile guy that can take the hits at midfiled – one of the Gibbons boys ?

    I wouldn’t agree that Freeman should be played before Conroy though.

  35. all year people are sayinh mayo need oshea in midfield . so why all the clamour to move him in to half foward line ,domt forget mayo will have to cope with a lot better midfielders than letrims or sligo:had to offer if anything the fullfoward line that needs looking at oshea is a midfielder and nor a natural point taker leave him where hes best at thats midfield

  36. A gritty performance yesterday. Granted the football was poor but I thought the wind was certainly a factor in shot selection. The win typified the new attitude that Horan has instilled in the panel; never-say die along with a streak of meanness when required. Moran had a great game at midfield (his distribution looked good to me) and AOS made a massive contribution. In fact I also counted 3 occasions where he broke up a Sligo attack.

    The back unit will pick itself for the next match – the full back line was immense and consistently pushed their markers out the pitch. I thought the half backs fouled needlessly at times – more discipline is required from these 3 for Croker. All 3 are a major threat when going forward. The problem when they make these runs is that the other players don’t open up enough space for them. They should be dragging their markers to the sideline rather than bunching in.

    Dillon had a solid game as did McLoughlin. A Moran shows well for the ball at full forward and 8 times out of 10 he wins it. Leave him in there – he won an All Star last year! The issue here is that he rarely has runners breaking left & right off him – this is a good corner forward’s instinct. The good news is that this can be worked on. Conroy had two shots at goal but at least he took a shot and backed himself. He also showed well for the ball as opposed to token runs. The two boys that started unfortunately made little impact. I’d start Conroy the next day with Cillian O’Connor in the other corner. A big strong number 11 that runs in straight lines & can win breaks is the missing link. Seamus O’Shea can fill this role.

    Decision making was an issue yesterday. Plan A was obviously all about scoring an early goal but taking the easy point was obviously the better option. I thought the ball was overran and carried into the tackle too many times when a shot at goal was the obvious option. This will be addressed at the next few training sessions so no real cause for panic here. This is rustiness.

    Sligo are no slouches. They will give Kildare a right rattle in the qualifiers.

  37. Does anyone know who we are in line to meet in the quarter final? It was Munster last year so I presume it will be Leinster or Ulster this year.

  38. Did anyone notice that Cian O’Neill seems to play a very significant role in the Mayo set up. He is now a selector and his body language around the dug out and before games is that of a man who seems to be James Horan’s right-hand man; indeed he seems to be boss man at times. His geeing up of the subs just after the national anthem was something to behold. That’s not to mention his influence on the fitness and conditioning of the team which continues to improve and stood up to strong testing in the latter part of the second half.

  39. The inestimable Con Houlihan once wrote a piece about the 1983 All-Ireland Final in which 14-man Galway somehow lost to Dublin’s ’12 Apostles’. He mentioned one Dublin player’s reaction: ‘It wasn’t a great game – but it was a great game to win’.

    Sitting in front of the stand yesterday, riddled with nerves, I kept thinking: ‘This would be a great game to win’. And it was. As has been mentioned here already, many a Mayo team of old would have blown that final.

    Not this team.

    What James Horan has brought to Mayo, above all, is sheer dogged resilience. Maybe it’s a symptom of his own grounding in the Maughan School of Torture; or maybe he just recognises that Mayo have been seen, rightly, as flaky when the going got tough.

    Whatever else happens this year, it’s clear that no-one will get anything easy from Mayo. Whether that gets us into a semi-final or even further is hard to say – the amount of mistakes yesterday was worrying and we still seek two scoring corner-forwards.

    But it’s great to see, and support, a Mayo team that we know will fight to the death. Come August weekend they will stick out their chests once more for their home and their people. Go n-eirí an t-adh leo.

  40. DavyJ, regarding your last comment about sticking out chests – most importantly they will stick out their chests for each other. The home and the people bit only gets you past the first 5 minutes, its giving all for the lad beside you and the men on the line and knowing they will do the same that gets you over the line or still in contention when the “Gardai and stewards to end of match positions” shout goes out.

  41. I was behind the goal at the Graveyard End and I didn’t know there was any controversy about Boyle’s point until I got back home. The Sligo people around us did not complain either.

    It has been said before above but it was interesting the input of Cian O’Neill to the workout before the game. It seemed to me that he is far more than a fitness coach, he appeared to have a much bigger role. Mind you the pre match drill of trying to walk the ball into the net was less than sucessful in practice.

    There have been some comparisons to last years game. The conditions were far worse last year and the Rossies last year were a much better team than this Sligo team. Based on the two finals we have not improved. However a win is a win and haveing O’Se back for a full game will make a huge difference.

  42. Well done horans know your football.
    Great to see realism.we are a long way from winning anything.think conroy war trying at least

  43. well a win is a win and while i was disappointed wit some aspects of our game others impressed me.. like others i’m not so sure about killian at 11 and the the full forward line is way off being settled.THe one thing i have noticed that in the last two games we are getting scores from our midfield . Danny and Barry have scored in both games and the subs that came on at midfield AOS and Ronan also have chipped in wit points.. Maybe i.m nuts but i would like ta see Richie come into that side in the half f’s and push Alan D or Kevin mc into the full forward line. I think they are excellent and clever footballers and more acurate to get the vital scores we need..just picture Kevin getting the ball as last man … he is the staight line ball player we need up front… not guys who take a round trip to land futher away from the goal than when we started,

  44. raz well said.Maybe geraghty could move to 12 and let Dillon to 15 with Cillian in other corner,

    Pity about minors- ref idiotic.

  45. I aggree that our FF line is not functioning as weel as it should and I think part of the reason is that the ball is not coming into them as quickly as it should. Both Kevin Mc and alan Dillon take to much out of it soloing and looking for the best option allowing defenders to filter back. In a good forward line players know where to find each other and where to expect the delivery without looking around all day.
    Conor Mortimer was part of the problem too – when he got the ball he held it – too often until he either lost possession or took a shot from a hopeless position. Last option was to give a pass to a colleague. Defenders just love predictable forwards. I believe James Horan is finding it difficult to decide what his best options are and that No 11 is one of the problems he is trying to solve.
    This is largely because all the candidates have their good and not so good days with nobody standing out. Solutions to multiple problems rarely emerge overnight. I think that at this stage he should plump for two of the candidates and stick with the same starters for the season.

  46. I suspect Eamon O Hara was sent on to “sort out” Barry Moran but instead got well sorted himself (however it happened!). I have to say I took an evil pleasure in watching that!!

    When evaluating our FF line dont forget that this is a fairy good Sligo defence and they really worked hard. That said I’m not sure we have what it takes yet to rack up 15 or 16 scores against top class opposition on a big day. You need a bit of magic up front from at least one or two players to achieve that.
    But we are going in the right direction and will cause anyone team in the country a real headache which for me is progress.
    Well done!

  47. Id totally agree with everyone on here, a win is a win, especially in a Connaught final, unfortunately our full forward line didn’t get going at all and I find James is a little old fashioned with he’s changes in that he doesn’t tend to use subs til late on in games ala Declan Kidney, for such an energy sapping game, unlike Sligo who emptied their bench. I was sitting behind the dug out and noticed Cian has a serious part to play in the set up, he seemed to be making the changes from what I could see, no harm I suppose if we keep winning, it was weird, if a player was coming on they’d get promoted to the second bench closer to the pitch? Oh, did anyone make out the song the Sligo lads were singing about Mortimer behind the goal at the graveyard end?

  48. In 2010 the press had a photo of a gum-shielded smiling O Hara as we were covered in sack cloth and ashes. He didn’t paint a pretty picture on Mondays paper and I am delighted.

    In Mayo we seem to want to do perfect too well. A lot of comment has rained down on Danny Geraghty. Wrong, the man is a beast, a worker who does the gritty stuff not show baots when we are ten points up. Saw him V Dublin and he was fine, likewise on Sunday. We won by two points, Danny chipped in one.

    Padraig Carney described Johnny Forde as not the greatest fielder, kicker or footballer but his heart, energy and “dog biting ability” was vital to Mayo’s twin all Ireland’s of 1950/51. Get of Geraghtys back, he does what it says on the tin, look at the Dubs last year. Years of wanna be Gerry McEntee in Whelan and Mad Max in Ryan and getting nothing only misery from Mayo and Kerry, they simply got two men who worked their asses off and hey presto Big Sam is in town.

    So leave it as it is, move AOS into 11, he can drop back to mid or drive on. Push COC back to 13, stick Conroy in the corner and let it rip. We are getting warmer.

  49. First time watching us live this year. Was disappointed with the build up surrounding Conor, last year i thought we lacked a quality forward and had high hopes that the Mort could make the difference this time round. Id presumed when Horan didn’t select him that Conor had just thrown his toys out of the pram and was 100% in the wrong but after watching the game Im not so sure.
    Now i haven’t watched any games this year but have followed the teams fortunes closely through the year, and I refuse to believe that Conor Mortimer could be any poorer than all of those forwards we had on display last sunday. From numbers 1-9 we have as good a side as anyone in the country, Ive seen all the leading contenders in championship action this year and once AOS comes back in we have a good enough defence and midfield to win an All Ireland. Its in the forwards that problems arise. Firstly Cillian needs to be moved to corner forward. Im sorry but based on last sundays display Varley and Doherty will be found wanting at the business end of the season. If only Mort had bit his tongue during the week, he would have come on last Sunday, kicked a couple to help us home, and been a nailed on certainty to start the next match. Such a shame as there are very few natural scoring forwards in Mayo, but he’s gone now so no more about it.

    All of the All Ireland winning teams of the last ten years have had marquee forwards who can kick 8 or 10 points in an All Ireland final to get their side over the line. Think Joyce, Cooper Stevie o Neill, the Brogans, Goulding, D o Connor. At the moment there is no player on this Mayo team capable of hitting those sort of scores against the big boys, and the most likely scenario at this stage is that we will fall short against a Dublin or a Cork having dominated possession and wasted lots opportunities to win. This is why the whole Mortimer thing is so disappointing.

  50. put conroy in , i watched it again last night , he has unpredictability and when he gets the range will make hay ,

    oh and by the way pat spillane says donegal are the third best team in the country!

    so now we have

    1 dublin ?
    2 cork ?
    3 donegal
    4 kildare

    where is is beloved native county ? , ah play them down now for a bit of cutehoorism
    has he put the mockers on donegal now like he did with kildare ? i bet Down will have something to say

  51. Mayo about 8th at present. Anyone who thinks we are better than that an eternal optimist,

  52. Mayo about 5th at present in this optimist’s opinion. That’s not a bad place to be. We have beaten Cork and Dublin in championship in recent years. We beat Kerry in a knockout game in Croke Park this year, but they’re still at least as good as us. If we can avoid Kerry in the Q-F draw I wouldn’t fear anyone else in the qualifiers. Not even McGeeney’s Greatest Team Ever.

  53. its a long time since we beat dublin in the championship davey , not many of those lads left , andy moran was a fresh faced young fella then 🙂

  54. He was indeed Roger – back in the days when we were the ‘Brazil of Gaelic Football’! Still, Dillon was involved too, and McGarrity. All these things help with belief when the crunch comes. Memories of the stuffing of the Dubs in the League are no harm either when looking for inspiration. But sure we’ll know a bit more about the Dubs on Sunday evening anyway.

  55. Surely we’re a top 5 team at least? Cork and Dublin look a bit ahead of us alright, but I certainly wouldn’t be overly worried about Kerry, Kildare, Donegal or Tyrone.
    Although you never know with Kerry, maybe there’s one last sting in their tail. Saturday’s game will tell all about them I’d say. If they got through that (and you’d assume then Clare) you wouldn’t pick them as your preferred QF opponent.

  56. Cannot believe anyone would put us AT THIS TIME ahead of Donegal, Tyrone,or Kildare not to mention Meath or Kerry. Ok probably ahead of Antrim Clare and Tipperary. Not sure about Laois but probably.

    Of course we could beat anyone on a GOOD day but most would beat us on Sundays performance.

    Shocked when people say surely. Why surely.League form matters little in my view. Most people calling it right. Where will our scores come from if O Connor Doherty Conroy And Varley and Freeman don’t muster up. Time to forget about that other misguided poor man …he’s well out of the picture.

    I have a better chance of playing now and truthfully I’ve seen better days!

  57. Well said Pateen.

    Still have faith in conroy.none in varley or doherty though they are sound men.

  58. well done deighted they won any chance mayo or the galway hurlers going fa this season stll tip a galway tipp final is it too soon to say that

  59. Pateen – if it’s all the same with you, I’ll be the one to say what this site is about and isn’t. Others are perfectly entitled to comment as they see fit without being slapped down in this fashion. Please bear in mind for future reference.

  60. A win is a win and a conn. title is nice and brings us level with the ole enemy the herr.chokers from galway, it was,t pretty but then it was,t pretty last year neither[ london n ross. games] great to see barry mor. put good back to back games together and also a.oshea back, happy enough with tha team an they will improve for croker, ff line a worry though but horan n co 3 wks to work on that. GO MAIGHEO….

  61. Welcome back Willie Joe; and you thought you had left the broken english behind you.

  62. Just to pick out these 2 as an example, but why exactly are Kildare and Meath(!) rated above Mayo at the moment?
    Kildare have won nothing in years aside from a division 2 league final, then got beaten by an average Meath team in the championship. Meath should have been knocked out of Leinster by Carlow, they’ve managed one good performance in 2 years.

    Tyrone are building a decent side alright, but I don’t see how they’re ahead of us at the moment either. What’s this being based on, a qualifer win over Roscommon?
    Donegal, fair enough. They reached an All-Ireland semi last year and are going for 2 provincial titles in a row. Sure haven’t Mayo managed the same feat?

    Luckily our players and management don’t seem to be buying into the media hype around these other counties, feeling as though they’re inferior to them simply because of who they are and what they’ve won in past years. We’re not inferior, not by any stretch of the imagination.

  63. Okay so having watched the way he have played in the leitrim and sligo game I will give a little bit of a synopsis of how I see things are coming along.

    To be fair to the full forward line and the corner forwards in particular I think their lack of scoring contribution comes mostly from the way we playing in the ball and the role they are being expected to play by the management. We seem to be playing the ball in low to one of the corner forwards coming deep to collect, who is then looking to instantly off load onto a runner coming through from the midfield or the half back line mostly. This runner is then heading directly for goal looking to shoot for goal themselves or to offload to one of the other full forwards who have stayed by the goal hoping for a chance to finish the move. Doc in particular seems to be doing alot of the coming short and offloading to the runner, whilst Alan Freeman seemed to be more in the goal hanging role during the Leitrim game. In fact for both Keith Higgins point and Lee Keegans in the leitrim game AF was free for a little pop pass across and could have ended up with a few more goals if the passes had been made. If the goal chance doesn’t materialise then we seem to recycle and then try to work a point scoring opportunity from longer range with Moran or Dillon often shooting from range. Obviously the moves don’t always end up following this pattern but it seems to be the way in which we are trying to play and it lends to a higher scoring contribution from the midfielfd and half back lines.

    This certainly seemed to work against us in the first half of the Sligo game when we squandered so many point scoring chances going for the goal, along with some awful wides. In the second half when we needed the score we seemed more willing to take the points. This seems to be James’s way of trying to introduce more goals into the team and recognising that in order to beat the likes of Dublin, Cork, Kerry then we are going to need to score more than one goal per game. I agree with Aussie exiles statement that we dont have the type of forward who will score 7-8 points from play in croker against a top team so the best way to get around this is to score more goals. Or at least I think this is how James sees things. This system seemed to work against Mort, who over the years has consistently taken a point when the goal seemed to be on, whether by intention or not. Take AFs goal against Leitrim for example, would Mort ever have taken on a shot on goal? or more importantly taken the chance? I certainly never remember him converting a similar half chance.

    In any case I certainly would put Cillian back into the corner and maybe try Freeman in the 11 role. He certainly has the physicality and distribution and can also kick a point from range. I think the reason Doc played again against Sligo is because he bought into this system so much and lets face it, he can finish a goal chance so I do expect him to start the quarter final. So I will be interested to see how this way of playing works out in croker and if we could end up putting a few goals together in the QF. Obviously still a work in progress and I could be seeing patterns that aren’t there but I suppose its we may as well see where it brings us. Maigh Eo abu

  64. @ Mayo Maori, good points and probably the most insightful comments made on this article. Also, I feel we are hugely reliant on our half-backs for scores and creating scores. Nothing wrong with that though if they keep delivering!

  65. I have been on this page all through the league arguing with people (Patriot I recall is one in particular) who believed Barry Moran was not good enough and not worth his place on the team; well i believe the big man has showed them his ability to catch and more importantly get around the pitch. Great display by him. I think AOS and him would have to be the ideal candidates for the centre, which would be a strong partnership. Was great to see Ronan coming back but I think it is becoming clear he is a bit down the pecking order, and match fitness is probably a factor.

    But I am surprised that no one has mentioned Donie Vaughan and how he was beaten last Sunday and against Emlyn Mulligan for Leitrim. A centre backs job is to defend, hold that hole in the middle behind the midfielders and stick to their man. Everyone keeps going on about how good he is going forward but he lost track of his man who won alot of ball, he picked up very little ball broken behind the midfielders and going forward his decision making was poor. I thought he was lucky to be on after half time. Boyle and Keegan did well and won alot of ball and thought that Keegan was going to be moved to 6 and someone like Richie Feeney or Shane MacHale was going to be brought on at the wing but that didnt happen. Very happy with the other backs though especially Caff and Keane under high ball.

    Corner forwards had alot of nerves after the Mort scenario and Conor would surely have been brought on had he stuck around and the guns werent firing. Anyway better to win that way than the way we did against Leitrim. Lots more learned 🙂

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