Mayo 0-13 Cork 0-14: cruel conclusion as Cork just nick it

The sun was out, the sky was blue and there was more than a hint of summer at McHale Park this afternoon. But having led Cork for most of the seventy minutes only to see the game swiped from under our noses right at the death, this evening Mayo supporters could be forgiven for thinking that it’s raining in our hearts as we contemplate a third NFL defeat on the trot, one that sees us slip that bit nearer to the relegation trapdoor.

This was also the third match in succession that I’d failed to get to in person (is there any link there, I wonder?) with camogie matches my two girls were involved in up here earlier today – at two different venues –  having to take precedence on this occasion. Well, the GAA is all about what happens close to home, isn’t it? As a result, I was barely back in the door by the time the ball was being thrown in at Castlebar as I scrambled to get Midwest going on the laptop.

It took a while for either side to trouble the umpires this afternoon. Eventually Alan Freeman (wearing a fourth different shirt number in this league campaign today) latched into a knock-down and landed the day’s opening score from well out.

Ten minutes had almost passed before Donncha O’Connor got their first of the day and a Colm O’Neill free, which took a deflection off the upright as it went over, put them briefly in front. Then Donie Vaughan went raiding forward to thump over a nice score from over on the stand side and Michael Conroy lashed over an even sweeter one from well out on the left to put us back in front.

Alan Dillon then ended a pass-the-parcel exercise as the ball went pinging around from one Mayo hand to the next about 30 yards out. Lee Keegan eventually fed Dillon who popped it over. The Westport man’s involvement in the match ended soon after, however, as injury forced him off with Peadar Gardiner replacing him.

Cork got one back but then Conroy skinned his man a second time and shot over from close range. We had made a second substitution by then, with Conor Mortimer coming on for a distinctly out-of-sorts Cillian O’Connor, the Ballintubber man having missed two fairly routine frees and having failed to make any impact on proceedings. Mort soon made his presence felt, though, pouncing on a loose ball and firing over to stretch our lead to three.

With the break approaching, the game took a dramatic turn as, for the second week in a row, the opposition had a man sent off on a straight red. It appears it was well merited too, with Cork’s centre-forward Mark Collins felling Donie off the ball with a knuckle sandwich and our old friend Joe McQuillan – having consulted his umpires – sent the Corkman on his way. We then closed out the first half with another Alan Dillon point to leave us four clear and a man to the good at the break.

We started the second half brightly too, with Conor feeding Andy who fairly belted it over to stretch the lead to five within two minutes of the restart. It should have been six right after that but Alan Freeman kicked a scoreable free well wide. Instead, the gap was back to four soon after with Donncha O’Connor pointing a free after Pearse O’Neill had been wrestled to the ground.

Kiely cut the deficit still further a few minutes later but not before we’d wasted a good opportunity when a series of short handpasses – each of them a tangible abdication of responsibility by players taking the easy option – led us to lose possession.  Once they’d got it Cork moved the ball swiftly downfield, where it eventually reached Kiely who fired over from distance.

We then showed the benefits of taking a more direct approach with Andy picking out Conor who turned and fired over. Soon after that, the Mort inched to within two points of Joe Corcoran’s scoring record when he pointed a free after a foul on sub Danny Geraghty.

The big Ballintubber man had come on for Seamus O’Shea who’d pulled up with what looked like hamstring trouble. Another change had to be made not long after when Michael Conroy fell heavily after a challenge from Ray Carey and when he dived into a tackle himself soon after, he hurt himself again this time sufficiently so for him to have to leave the field. Jason Doherty came on to replace the Davitts man.

Donncha O’Connor from play kept the scoreboard ticking over for Cork but Kevin McLoughlin – steaming forward on a mazy run which evoked memoroes of the All-Ireland quarter-final last year – increased our lead to five once more with twenty to go.

Cork had a clear goal chance just after but Ger Cafferkey was alert to the danger and turned away Donncha O’Connor’s rasper for a fifty. The same player took it and his kick just made the distance, Barry Moran helping it over as he attempted to snatch it down from over the bar. Little did we know then how vital that one would be for the visitors.

A mistake by Danny Geraghty, who inadvertently passed the ball straight to a Cork player, was punished in full measure soon after that. The ball was fed to Paul Kerrigan who still had it all to do but he landed a glorious score from well out to bring the Rebels to within three of us. Andy responded in kind, though, with a monster of his own from way out on the right to keep us in the driving seat.

They cut through us with quite alarming ease, however, for the next score with a necklace of passes down the field ending with Kerrigan feeding sub O’Driscoll for the easiest of scores. Our next attack,although more laboured, ended with the unmarked Danny Geraghty having a clear shooting chance less than thirty yards out but he ballooned it badly wide.

Kelly turned the screw with another from play for them and so with 8 minutes to go we were now only two ahead and the first signs of panic were starting to appear. Jason Doherty did his best, though, to dampen down any such feelings with a fine score from out on the left.

I’m not a great believer in Cork’s experiment of playing out-and-out midfielder Aidan Walsh in the forwards, not least given the Kanturk man’s hit-and-miss record where it comes to shooting. When Kerrigan offloaded to him as Cork broke upfield right from the kick-out, however, Walsh thumped it over and the lead was immediately back to two.

A bad O’Driscoll wide was a let-off for us but it the game’s momentum was now all with Cork. Then our extra man advantage ended when Alan Dillon clumsily bundled over Alan O’Connor right in front of the ref, the stupidity of the challenge compounded by the fact that it was perpetrated well within scoring range. Not only did Dillon get a second yellow for his troubles but Donncha O’Connor nailed the free and we were now clinging on for dear life.

With the match going into injury time, Paul Kerrigan then smashed over a spectacular long-ranger to square it up.  Worse was to follow as deep into stoppage time Donncha O’Connor caught a rebound off the upright and booted it over to complete Cork’s smash-and-grab win.

The manner of our defeat today was desperately cruel and, still in its immediate aftermath, there’s little point in going overboard about it. On the positive side, the lads gave a real performance today – something they palpably failed to do in Ballyshannon last Sunday – and for long periods this afternoon it looked like they might in fact win with some ease.

A mitigating factor today was the fate we suffered with injuries. Lee Keegan and Michael Conroy were big losses and while Danny Geraghty did fairly well when he came on for Seamus O’Shea, his rawness cost us, both in terms of poor shooting and ball given away. The only sub who strengthened us today was Conor whereas every replacement Cork brought on – and in particular Paul Kerrigan – seemed to add to the threat they posed us.

Another positive for us was on the sideline where James Nallen was a visible presence, thus showing that those stories that were circulating during the week about his supposed departure were wide of the mark.  Note to rumour-mongers: “sources” can’t always be trusted.

But despite the day’s positives, it’s another defeat and the fact that, for the second match in a row, we failed to make any use of the extra man for virtually the whole of the second half is a fairly damning indictment of our tactical naivete. Looking at the deferred coverage of the game on TV earlier on, there’s no way you’d have any reason to think we had an extra man for all this time and the fact that we were once more badly outgunned in the second half (0-11 to 0-6 over the 35 minutes, 0-8 to 0-2 over the last twenty) would suggest fairly strongly that James Horan and his colleagues on the sideline learned precisely nothing from what happened Sunday in Ballyshannon.

As I said, though, there’s no point in going overboard about today’s defeat. We’ve still two matches to go – albeit ones against the two strongest teams in the country right now –and our fate still rests very much in our own hands. This league campaign has seen all kind of insane results and we just need to add one more mad one to the pile to secure our Division One place for next year.

So, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we need to make sure that we put in another committed performance next Saturday, only this time one that lasts the full seventy minutes. We’ll have Aidan O’Shea back for that one and I’ll be there too where I’ll be hoping to see the lads keep up their 100% success rate in matches I’ve attended this year.  Well, you have to hope, haven’t you?

PS: Thanks, once again, to Mayo Mick for his great photos taken at the match today.

Mayo:  David Clarke; Colm Boyle, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan (0-1), Shane McHale; Seamus O’Shea, Barry Moran; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Cillian O’Connor, Alan Dillon (0-2); Alan Freeman (0-1), Andy Moran (0-2), Michael Conroy (0-2). Subs: Peadar Gardiner for Keegan, Conor Mortimer (0-3, one free) for O’Connor, Danny Geraghty for O’Shea, Jason Doherty (0-1) for Conroy, Aidan Campbell for Boyle.


87 thoughts on “Mayo 0-13 Cork 0-14: cruel conclusion as Cork just nick it

  1. Dear God, we’re a frustrating lot. We definitely played better, but mentally, what does this do for us? Aughhhhh!!!

  2. A hugh disaster where is the leadership Dillion, Mortimer and gardiner god James we all can see why have those that only know defeat in your panel. I

  3. A hugh disaster where is the leadership Dillion, Mortimer and gardiner god James we all can see why have those that only know defeat in your panel. I thought you have seen that already. I wonder what have other players to do to get on the panel. We are going no where with who we have I am afraid. quiet summer in store. Nothing has been learned from last year. To much loyalty to the old boys.

  4. Relegation is on cards now for us and laois, I believe head to head still comes before points difference, mayo on 4, Donegal have 5 points , so we need 6 points to stay up, that is hoping Donegal lose to Armagh in the final game.

  5. I have no idea how anyone could criticise Dillon today. He had a fine game. I don’t think it matters how well Alan plays anymore, muppets maybe with an agenda will always try to criticise him.

    I’m very disappointed with that result. Its clear we lost it in the middle of the field. I dont think the sideline covered themselves in glory with some of the subs brought on either. Thank god Aidan o Shea will be back for the Dublin game. He is crucial to the middle sector. A better performance but still lots to do. Great to see Shane Mchale, Mickey conroy and Colm Boyle playing well. Hopefully a few more will be unearthed before championship comes.

  6. Donegal are still bottom as they only have four points so it’s a 3-way tussle between them, us and Laois which, because it’s 3-way, is decided on points difference. Our better points difference means we’re still in sixth but I’ve no doubt that if we lose our final two games we’ll go down and, having lost five out of seven by then, we’ll deserve to do so if this is how it pans out.

  7. bit like last year mayo lost to kerry dublin armagh and monoghan and still stayed up so dont give was o connor injuredby the way mayo could have a good year yet

  8. Don’t lose the faith……..We need to win when it counts.Let,s correct all the mistakes now.No Mayo player goes out to lose……

  9. Midfield is not funtioning at the moment we looked laboured and our handling of the ball is not
    improving. We dont seem to have a plan how to play our forwards into play missed hit passes. When we did play the direct ball Conroy got scores. I cannot understand how Management got it wrong again in using the extra man. We seem to be one dimensional no plan b. Look at the way Dublin use their forwards to good use the are constantly interchanging and able to make and get room.

  10. we got a performance but im dissapointed wi tha manager,tha team has no cohesion go,n foward,midfield poor today,wen gearghty made 3 crucials mistakes lead to cork scores, i woud hav thought harte woud b tha man to replace oshea.ths problem wit free taken s a problem since horan took ova bar afew games n las years championship wit o connor who did,t look fit r was injured,if tha tha case why tha hell start afraid i hav lost faith n horan n cannot see go,n as far as las year.we,ll b doin well to win connacht n cant see horan bring,n ths team on.

  11. What do you expect after another load of blunders by Mr Horan and Co, Again with the subs,its a joke, Last Wednasday night Roscommon under 21 hammered us, Both O’connor and Geraghty were bad and what does Mr Horan do again plays them, From their dismal displays today its no wonder we lost 21’s, As I said yesterday O’Connor is not a centre half foreward, Geraghty wii never ever be a midfielder.( A bit like James Gill of old) He is not mobile enough. I must admit Alan Dillon was good to day. Again to day midfield was wiped out. Barry Moran was again ineffictive. O’sea as always head down and hope to plough through. Again when we had extra man we did not know how to use him. As i said before to day was the day he required big men, and again he left Jason Gibbons on sideline, he would have been a way better choice than Geraghty. Again James( experiance is education but its fees are high) So day you will learn but it may be too late. Look at Cork today, all big men and thats what got them over the line. Fit to score direct and no pussie footing around. Thay scored 8 scores to our 2 in last 15/20 mins or when Geraghty came on as our midfield were completly wiped out and Dillon missing. after to day we are again pissed of with sideline.

  12. Disappointing to lose today after been five ahead in the second half. You can’t defend a lead in GAA- which is one of the reasons it’s so exciting to watch of course.

    Still though this was a big improvement on the last two games. O’Shea was a big loss when he went off but we still had an extra man and should have pushed on. We never finished Cork off and they stayed in the game and Kerrigan killed us. Higgins was very good all day, boyle showed great hunger. Barry M didn’t impose himself on the game unfortunately – just didn’t happen for him. Conroy was excellent and when the forwards got ball to chest, it stuck, and they were dangerous.

    We lost this one by a point, on another day we’d win it. Lots of scores from play too. Looking forward to the Dublin game already!

  13. Much improved performance, I thought that our forwards played so much better than last week, Conor played well, plus Conroy has potential.

    There were probably too many changes, majority due to injuries, and midfield definitely struggled. Cork had a strong breeze in the second half and Kerrigan made a big difference.

    I think that this was our best chance to get points, Dublin will want to win to confirm sf place and Kerry are Kerry. AOS can make a difference as his bro is probably out in any case. McLoughlin played very well, I would have made him the extra man.

    While it would be nice to stay up, I think that the performances are more important, here’s hoping that we make further improvement in the next two weeks.

    By the way, looked like Nallen was more involved this game!

  14. Folks some of you need to ease up on the team a bit. They put in a fairly good performance against a team that are clearly a notch above us at present.
    We lost the game (and that is disappointing) because:
    1. we made far too many basic errors that led to Cork scores
    2. Cork kicked some superb points in the second half
    3. AOS was badly missed
    Very harsh on Alan Dillon! He had a good game in my opinion.
    We learned that Danny Geraghty is not ready yet for IC football. He certainly looked raw today.
    We should have deployed Donal Vaughan as a third midfielder – it was the simplest and most obvious use of the extra man as we were in trouble there all day.

  15. hope mayo will beat dublin i would still have cillian in at corner forward instead of the mort i

  16. hope mayo will beat dublin i would still have cillian in at corner forward instead of the mort he got two points accept that cillian is strong not a center forward and we need him and he was injured i think great to see nallen back

  17. Positives:
    1. FB Line was very good especially in the first half and Colm Boyle in particular had a good game. Also thought McHale was good in the first half.
    2. Direct ball played in to the forwards in the first half and the scores taken by Conroy in particular. Hope he gets a run of games.
    3. Best game of the year so far for players like Moran and Dillon. Hopefully coming back to form. (BTW – do we play a FF anymore, Who is our FF? What is Freeman’s role in the team? He had an OK game but just curious.

    1. Midfield. Wiped out. Not mobile enough and when they did get possession their distribution was poor. Cork not only won clean ball in MF but the vast majority of the breaking ball in the HFs too.
    2. C O’Connor. A talented player but his attitude this year looks poor. (Possibly not fully fit) In the first half he made 2 very token efforts at chasing his man which looked downright lazy (Taken off shortly after this). In fairness to Mort he did chase down his man on a couple of occasions and forced a turnover.
    3. Turnovers: Not as bad as the Donegal game but still a lot of turnovers. Cork just looked physically stronger in almost all positions
    4. Missed frees. Cost us in the end.

    Overall: Big improvement but sickening loss all the same. We still look physically weaker than the top teams and (Higgens, McL aside) much slower than teams like Dublin and Kerry when we attach. So far, no noticeable progress on 2011. Slightly worried what score the Dubs might rack up after seeing the against Donegal and remembering the first half in Castlebar.

  18. Cork won in second gear.Played brilliantly for 20 mins and rolled over us.Cant really blame management,we just don’t have the talent to compete with the big boys.Also,a very poor attendance at the game.People are getting fed up.

  19. As far as i’m aware Cillian has been carrying an injury for some time, and you must remember he also has played 2 U21 game (+extra time) over the last few weeks. Give the lad a chance hes only 19 years of age.
    I also agree hes not a center forward.

  20. Well, we blew it again. No centre field and no Target
    player in at full forward. Yes ,Aidan O’Shea is coming back and not before time.
    We handed at least four balls to a Cork player,
    how gratefull we are.
    Where are the following players: Ronan McGarrity,
    Tom Cunniffe and the Feeney brothers?
    Cathal Henry.

  21. Exactly what I was thinking Cathal Henry re:the two feeneys & Ronan McGarrity esp as our midfield hasn’t been wow for a long time now.
    Not wanting to single any lads out as I’m a fan of both but Vaughan was very laxy daisy defending in the second half in the sense he didn’t try & block a kick / tackle when close to a lot of them tackles.Also Barry Morans failure to pluck that ball from over the crossbar baffles me-smaller guys than him can manage it.
    We’d need a very off the boil Dublin or a very experimental Kerry to survive now

  22. I’m going to have to disagree with you Willie, and go a bit overboard. Despite there being a lot of positives, knowing a loss probably means relegation and to have a 5 point lead and a man up with your full forward and full back lines on top with 15 minutes to go and lose is absolutely unforgiveable.

    People pay a lot of money, travel huge distances on dangerous and invest a lot of time to support the players and our county team – and the players do likewise on top of training like professionals – and on the basis of the last few weeks, they are being let down by coaching and tactical management which currently isn’t up to the standard necessary. We have 3 matches left this season (Dublin, Kerry, Leitrim) and we need to have mastered basics by then or serious questions need to be asked.

    – Why did we not have a plan for having a spare man following last week? Basic.

    – Why did we not use our spare man to guarantee possession from our kickouts? Basic.

    – Why did we boom our kickouts towards Pearse O Neill and Alan O’Connor when they were absolutely murdering us at midfield? Basic.

    – Why do we not place any player on the “far side” of breaks from kickouts? – the ball often goes through … Basic

    – Why do we not have any general tactics for our kickouts? It’s not that radical.

    – Why are still kicking wides in double digits (11 today?) Basic.

    – Why are we moving Alan Freeman from Billy to Jack? – I actually feel sorry for the poor lad.

    – Why are we passing up shooting opportunities in order to run into trouble? Basic.

    – Why are we not kicking in the right sort of ball into the forward line? A forward wants to be taking the ball on the bounce. Basic.

    – Why is our handling so poor? The ball is bouncing off our hands instead of being trapped in the chest. Basic.

    – Why have we no big man to aim at in the full forward line?

    – Why does Danny Geraghty think he’s Ciaran McDonald? Trying not one but two easy shooting opportunities off the outside of the boot and putting them both wide. Kick with the instep. Basic.

    – Why does Seamus O’Shea not look up when he has the ball? Basic.

    – Why was Barry Moran left at midfield when it was clear that he wasn’t mobile enough to keep up? Basic.

    – Why do we lack that killer instinct to put teams away? We need to be ruthless!

    – Why did we collapse in the last 15 minutes?

    Huge amount of positives from today, including McHale and Boyle, good performances almost all round.

    Discussion point 1: Barry Moran at 14, Donie Vaughan to midfield, Keith Higgins centre half back?

    Discussion point 2: Does anyone know the whereabouts of Tom Cunniffe? The Feeneys were sitting on the bench today in tracksuits, to answer your question.

    Discussion point 3: Why does the crowd in McHale Park never sing Amhrán na bhFiann? It’s completely inaudible, compared to the model observance of the Northern crowds.

  23. Well said digits took the words right out of my mouth – big improvement on Donegal alright but still alot of questions after today.

    What is the craic with mcgarrity, where is he ? MF needs to get sorted out quick, if we even broke even there today we would have won this one. So far this year I can’t say we’ve improved on last year.

    But on saying all that and as I’ve few pinteens on board, it wouldn’t surprise me if we were to kick the shit out of the Dubs or Kerry and save our season ….. The Joys of Following Mayo through the years eh ….

  24. Its worth noting the poor results have coincided with a period when Aidan O’Shea was absent from the team. It was a very costly error on his part when got sent off, he has missed 3 matches in effect. He is a player with plenty ability and potential who surely would have made a difference against Cork in the middle of the field. Hopefully lessons will have been learned when he returns.

  25. Lads after ta days game i came to the conclusion tat the present MAYO panel have not got the strenght in depth to compete wit the top teams in this country…. We can all fine faults but in certain areas of the pitch we just do not have the quality.Full stop.In this pass week i have ask one person who is well u to speed wit the gaa scene in mayo to name me at least 2 midfielders that could cut it at county level other than the ones on the panel at present. I’M still waiting 4 an answer…

  26. Nothing at all overboard in that Digits, fair points all of them. I agree with you that tactically we don’t appear to be at the races and what’s maddening is that no lessons are being learned from one match to the next. The spare man is an obvious one and it’s almost beyond belief that we’d waste this advantage a week on from doing so in Donegal. Likewise our kickouts – as you say, are we even trying to do something about tactics here? It certainly doesn’t seem as if we are. As regards Tom Cunniffe, I thought he was still on the way back from a long-term injury but I’m not 100% sure on that. I think Ronan is recovering from an injury too but I’ve no idea as to when (or if) he’ll be back.

  27. A performance tha was good n some aspects but tha game was lost on tha line ,have little faith n horan at ths stage,c nallen was more involved he mus hav been read,n these mess. gearghty at c.f. was a disaster gibbons r harte for me.why has it been a problem wi free taken since horan took ova bar las yrs champ.alot tha fowards dnt seem to know wat tha nx s go,n todo.2 r3 times a foward had beaten es man on goal side n instead keep go,n for killer goal r mayb a handy free turn bk n try a spec.point[a gooch] also wats wit mort. n he did play well wear.n those white socks who tha hell does he thinks he s. tha nx thing he,l come out wear,n es own jersey.only n mayo..

  28. I don’t like having a constant go about the panel all the time but it needs new blood and in certain areas we need to do not have the cover.If we are realistic we are finding it difficult to gel a starting 15 never mind a back up bench.ROGERMilla stated to me tat we do not want to change our style only stick to it. WELL the style on show the last coupla games will remove us from the top division and tats facts. WIILE JOE are we the only county in the divison tat have not scored from midfield and a rough guess probably scored the least from our backs..

  29. on tour. you are 100% right. As for Cathal Henry bringing back Mcgarrity, This [deleted – WJ] guy has his best days long behind him, He was another [deleted – WJ], At least the guys on todays panel have a football future (midfield players). Great to see James Nallen involved. Cian O Neill is doing a good job. I still think we will come good but players and Management have to engage with each other to become a sucessful team. I’d rather get beat with a team that are young and will learn than a team of guys whose better days are history.
    Especially in McGarritys case. He’s gone,let him be.

  30. Very disappointing loss. Definite improvement in the performance, but we really should have finished off Cork. We seem to still lack that killer instinct.

    We lost the game in midfield, completley wiped out there. I know Vaughan is growing into the centre half position, but we really should think about trying him in centre field. Doesn’t he play there for Ballinrobe?
    It’s getting to crisis point in that area now.

    I see Dillon and Mortimer are once again being used as the scapegoats after a defeat. Mortimer kicked 3 scores when he came on and Dillon had a great game. Yet still the same old shite, get them off the team. Crazy.

  31. Paddy – the rules here are that if you want to criticise players you do so in relation to particular failings you think they’ve displayed in specific matches, not by generalised trash talking. Please bear in mind for future reference.

    Raz – that’s correct re scoring from midfield. We haven’t got a single point from there since the league began and only got two from that sector in the FBD as well. I don’t know how that stacks up with other counties but not very well would be my guess.

  32. For F sake lads, how many of these comments have been made in hindsight.The league is for trying things even if they fail, better now than in the championship. I believe we are in a good place, players under performing when it is acceptable. Better now than in a connacht final. James is trying things out and thats something Mayo have not done for year.It’s not like we lost to a cavan or westmeath, Cork would be my favourites dor sam.
    P.s. Couldn’t make it to the match yesterday and had to listen to mid west commentary. How John Casey got a job there is beyond me, he seems like a guy that should be at the end of a bar. Truely awful.

  33. I’d agree with the bulk of what digits has said.

    Especially in relation to the use of the spare man.

    On another note, I thought we looked ridiculously good and effective when moving the ball at speed. We have enough naturally skilled sppedy footballers to do it more often than we do at present. The point where we get turned over is when we try to hold it up and someone like o se takes a clumsy toetap,move it on if you’re not fit to tap it from toe to chest.

    I thought Dillon improved yesterday, ,Conroy was good so was mort. Midfield is a serious concern.

  34. Here we go again, rooting amid the debris for signs of life. I know, Ill be the first to apologize when we hit the next mother lode of gold but in the mean time we got major problems.

    For the 4th game we had a player sent off in a Mayo match. Dublin, Donegal and Cork lose men to us and we lose to them. We lose a man and buck the ffffing trend there as well…we lose again.

    We are besotted with whether people are nice to Jimmy Nallen. We seek through rumour to paint other men in a bad light. Either James Horan runs the show or we have a *Moving Hearts. Sean Boylan and Mick O Dwyer shafted , switched and chopped selectors, players and any one who came in their way during their hay days.

    Does anybody think that Alex Ferguson gave a toss deep down for Brian Kidd, Walter Smith, Mike Phelan or Stheve McClaren. Does Arsne Weger loose sleep in case Pat Rice gets a dose of the flu. Would Celtic have won the 1967 European cup with Sean Fallon sweeping out the team bus instead of sitting beside Big Jock?

    David Clarke is excellent but someone must be telling him to boom them up the middle. We have no real tactics and yes I know its only March and the league but I look for progress not some ill defined shock down the road hopefully in August.

    We beat Cork twice last year. We drew with Down last year. On any scale of comparison we have slipped this year and I don’t mind that if I saw some ffffing progress. Yes we might beat Dublin and Kerry and I will look foolish and will be happy to don that idiots cap but folks I dont see the green shoots.

    Someone wrote that Conroy showed potential. He played in the 2004 All Ireland final, that was 8 years ago. His potential was always evident, he should be in the team. But we have sacred cows in the team and on the side line and don’t bother asking me to name them, until all places are up for grabs, until we are defined by a single boss and not give two hoots who gets to say grace before meals and hand out the jerseys or wipe the players noses we will never fulfill the place where I belive we should dwell in. A sunny morning, a stone, no two over weight , I gotta ago.

    * Moving Hearts= Great band, Christy, Donal, Keith Donald, Decaln Synott et al. But they were a fcking co-op. The bus driver and the roadies got the same cut of the takings. Brilliant, brave but ultimately doomed.

  35. While disappointed by yesterdays result and our lack of Physical / mental resolve in the last 10 minutes
    The performance by the team was improved and really thats where we must keep the faith I thought James was rattled in the post match interview and a bit tetchy, he above all need to keep the head and believe that he is heading in the right direction
    Glad to see Nallen’s Presence.
    Willie Joe I am offended by the comment above insulting a player who ( regardless of his ability etc) has sacrificed more in his playing career that most of us will give in a life time. I would respectfully suggest a delete

  36. Trying to figure whom I have insulted. No offence towards Jimmy Nallen. He is held in the highest by me as is James Horan. I did comment that James Horan is the manager. The buck stops there. To him the glory and the kudos and he also knows the downside.

  37. going on current form and players needing to be rested I would love to see the following team tackle the Dubs next saturday

    1-David Clarke and him varying kickouts
    2-Shane Mchale Thought he was solid yesterday
    3-Ger Cafferkey himself and Higgins developing a good understanding
    4-Keith Higgins-Superb first half yesterday. Becoming a real leader
    5-Richie Feeney- needs to be brought back. End of
    6-Lee Keegan-nice footballer, good head
    7-Colm Boyle-Excelled yesterday. Very brave.
    8-Seamus O’Se-Needs to off-load much quicker
    9-Donal Vaughan- Great engine. Can take a score
    10-Kevin Mcloughlin-Coming back to some 2011 form.
    11-Aidan O Se- Can help out midfield. Strong going forward.
    12-Andy Moran-Dependable and good under breaking Ball. Rarely gives ball away.
    13-Connor Mortimer- Did well yesterday.
    14-Alan Freeman-Should be given a run here as he well able to win high ball. Needs to be our target man.
    15-Michael Conroy-Real livewire yesterday. Needs to be given an opportunity to build on this.

    Here’s hoping the likes of Dillon ( bar the first ten minutes played ok yesterday ) O’Connor ( class act when fully fit ) Varley, Keane, Gibbons Reilly, B Moran and Geraghty will be pushing hard for a starting place cum June.

  38. If we finish level on points with Donegal will we be behind them due to head to head or will points difference be the deciding factor?

  39. John – it wasn’t you who insulted anyone and I’ve deleted the offending bits of the comment Albany referred to. I really do wish that people who post comments of that sort would make some effort to engage their brain before hitting the ‘reply’ button. It’s not asking for that much …

  40. John Cuffe it was not your post I was referring to but Paddy’s Above your post wasn’t there when I made the comment, I should have pointed the finger anyway WJ has now done the delete.

  41. JJ – if it’s just us and Donegal we’re behind them due to the head-to-head but if ourselves, Donegal and Laois end up on the 4 points we all currently have then it’s points difference. We’re currently well ahead of both on that score (we’re -1, Donegal are -13 and Laois are -17) and unless the Dubs paste us next Saturday night, we’ll still be ahead of them going into the final round even if we lose to the Dubs. If Kerry beat us as well, we’ll then be looking for Armagh to win at Donegal (maybe that lad who did the belly flop for the penalty that won their match with Down on Saturday night will oblige with another one) and Down to win at Laois in order to stay up. It goes without saying that we’d be far better to do the job ourselves and get the win we need against the Dubs next Saturday night.

  42. After watching the game again on the telly, I thought we were the authors of our own downfall. We played v. good football at times but very sloppy stuff as well.

    Thought Andy Moran was excellent and he has the right idea for this level. Instead of always looking to go forward sometimes you have to change the direction of the play.

    Twice in the second half he turned and played the ball backwards to players running in support. They duly kept the switch moving and it ended up quickly in the far corner of the pitch. Both of these led to scores (Kevin McLoughlin and Jason Doherty). It reminded me of the way Kerry play and move the ball horizontally (quickly via 2 kicks) to open up fresh space for the inside line. And it looked good. Smart play.

    As for kicking the ball out to midfield well it didn’t happen 100% of the time. Some short kickouts were taken to vary it.

    Ultimately sooner or later the boys in midfield are going to have to get to grips with this area. And it seems to me that the plan is to toughen them up for it during the League. And the approach now is to throw them in at the deep end, bomb that ball out to them, and let them fight for it. Personally I see nothing wrong with this as overall this is where we have to contest and dominate. In my opinion 9 times out of 10 whoever rules the middle third wins the match.

    It didn’t work for us yesterday but some of these lads are still coming to terms with these positions and at a much higher level of football. None of our midfielders are seasoned pros at inter county level and yesterdays experience will help them especially playing against one of the top midfields in the country.

    So what cost us the match? Well I think it was our naivety. Lads got caught with the ball several times or kicked it aimlessly because they PANICKED. Instead of laying off a simpler pass (maybe backwards ala Andy) the higher risk option was taken (and in too many cases).
    And coughing up this possession cost us dearly. Plus you have to give some credit to Cork. They fought tooth and nail for this victory.

    Yesterday was a lesson that was hard learned. The hope is that our fellas will realize their mistakes and work harder in training to rectify them. I believe if they can do this then all is not lost.

  43. I must really know nothing about this football gig. I thought the whole point of league football was to strengthen the squad, unearth new talent, give some experience to young players while trying to survive. Has everyone forgotten 2010 and our wonderful league form that got us all the way to getting beaten by Sligo & Longford in the summer!

    I don’t really care if we stay up or go down, in fairness it’s not like Div 2 is the dregs of society. What I do care about is that Kevin Keane, Shane McHale, Michael Conroy & Colm Boyle are getting game time. that Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins & Kevin McLoughlin are really improving all the time, that Cillian might get the rest now that he obviously needs and that Aidan O’Shea will be a real leader for us despite all his youthful failings. Last year he was getting flak because he was in poor shape, this year it’s because he got sent off or posts something daft on Twitter. Do ye think that Jack O’Connor will get rid of Tomas O’Se for getting 2 straight reds in the league? Give Aidan a break!

    This carry on about trouble in the camp, fecks sake this is Mayo, when is there not some daft rumour doing the rounds. If there’s straight talking to be done behind closed doors, better to do it now than in July, August or September.

    The glass is more than half full and it’s time we got off the players backs and gave them a chance to grow into what could be a exceptional team.

    Or maybe I haven’t a clue!

  44. The key to improvement is to look at yesterday and ask what did we do well and what did we do badly. When we moved at pace and kicked the ball quickly (and low) to the forwards we were a real threat. When we kicked it in high or tried to carry through a crowded defence it ended up badly.

    We did not put sufficient pressure on COrk as they came out of defence and through midfield. We did not use the extra man to bolster a struggling mid-field and thus give our forwards more posession and more scores. Instead we opted to use a sweeper. This allowed Cork to attack from deep and they simply kicked scores over our sweeper and the rest of the defence.
    Lessons to be learned but no disaster!

  45. The league matters. Using 2010 as an example shows the team who won it also won the All Ireland. in 2011 Dublin lost the league final but used that as a springboard. I think Kerry did the double in 2009. I am sure league form has a coreallation with championship success and form is not a tap that can be turned on when the ground hardens.

  46. True John – the League does matter. However you’re quoting examples from the top 3 teams in the country. And frankly we’re not in that bracket (not yet anyways).

    The other team to win the League and the All Ireland in one year was Tryone. But again they have/had reserves and (more importantly) winning experience to draw upon.

    We don’t have this experience (or this mentality) so I dont think its fair to expect as much from our boys. I think conecntrating on one area with a particular goal to bring on the team is a better direction to take.

  47. So far in the league (compared to 2011) we have added three very solid defenders to the panel (Keane, McHale and Boyle) and Keegan has established himself as a first choice. Up front we have re-discovered Mort and Conroy so we are better off in most areas. I am hoping to see Doherty get another start at corner forward too to see if he can regain his mojo.
    We are often too quick to write off players and I see that Geraghty has been victim of this after twenty minutes of competitive action for the county.
    Finally when a team goes a man down why don’t we employ the extra man up the pitch so that the opposition have to pull someone else back to mind him. Instead we invite them on to us by using a corner back in the role.

  48. JPM well said but I have to differ here and allow my naiveness to the fore. I did give examples of the three top teams in the country and you correctly added Tyrone.

    Now here’s where I have the problem and we will leave Kerry to one side for a moment. How does a team get the status of being one of the team’s in the country. Of course by doing what Cork, Tyrone and Dublin did. But I used to see us up there and for very good reasons.

    Since 2004 we reached 2 senior finals, won an U21 plus played in another, reached 3 minor finals , 2 league finals and won a club championship. We beat Dublin in a semi, Tyrone in a 1/4 and Cork in a 1/4. That to me across any measure of quality puts us up with the best in a any grade bar not winning the actual finals.

    I don’t see a another county with a record similar to that. And yet we seem to be in a constant flux of rebuilding, refitting and redecorating. No sooner does Aiden O Shea burst on the scene in 2008 than we have the next white hope. Then he naturally regresses a bit because he is still a young man.

    Along comes Freeman in 2010 when we had a crap season, Cillian last season but we never seem to get all the choir singing from the same sheet.

    We actually are the mirror image of Tyrone, their minors make finals and win, ours make them and don’t but at the end of the day we still possess an equal record to Tyrone, shading the overall due to our league returns, second only to Kerry.

    So I actually see us as a big team and the above shows a consistency in making finals across the grades. Dublin were pinned in 2006, went back to the drawing board, regrouped and eventually moved up. Cork were Mayoed in 2007 but did what had to be done. What we lack is a belief and conviction.

    We stand alone, good enough to heal fast but happy to cling to a blanket called tomorrow. The sooner we see that we have actually criminally wasted much gold , the better we will be. What we never did was this. We never replaced David Brady,David Heaney, Kevin O Neill, Ciaran McDonald, James Nallen,. Is their a single equal on this years team in terms of quality, leadership and class?

    To suggest that we are not a top county is fine but from the evidence of what we reach on a consistent basis poses another question…why are we not? Becasue we seem to hang around the winners enclosure a lot of times. Now I might still believe in fairies and Santa but I still think we undersell ourselves at a criminal rate.

  49. John, I think some of above post is very harsh. Are you seriously saying that you wouldn’t take Andy Moran before any of of the above? Fine players to a man but I don’t recall them bringing Sam home either and all had some very poor days in the green & red jersey in their time.

    Just for the record I also see Ger Cafferkey, Aidan O’Shea, Donal Vaughan & in the long term Cillian being just as good as any of the above.

    Whether we like it or not, Mayo are in development mode. Progress this year is winning Connacht again and pushing a full strength top 4 team all the way in a semi final or better.

  50. I think it’s very easy to go overboard after the result yesterday. After a couple of poor results perhaps it’s understandable.

    The bottom line is that our two opening wins in this years league flattered us and the three defeats on the bounce are an indication that we have lots to improve upon.

    We could and should have beaten Cork yesterday. With the game in the dying moments we were two points up and comfortable. Even when Dillion received his marching orders and Cork narrowed our lead to a point we should have seen the game out.

    We won the next kick out but instead of keeping possession kicked a long aimless ball that was swallowed up by the Cork defence. Cork moved the ball upfield but the Mayo defence did well and a free out was awarded. This should have been the cue to slow the game down. Instead somone (I couldn’t figure out who) kicked another long aimless ball down the line. Cork counter- attacked, equalised and that was us done.

    We were sinfully naive in trying to close out this game. The two points were there for us but a complete lack of nous and composure cost us on the day.

  51. To the people who say that Mayo aren’t good enough or aren’t a top team, I say, have you no ambition?

    Success is the balance between optimism, realism and pragmatism.

    To the people who say the League doesn’t matter, in a way your right. It is more important to instill a desire to win, to do the right things and to do them right and well – to win every battle, kick every score, win every breaking ball, brush off every tackle, kick every pass accurate, run to the right places and make every tackle count. A match lasts 70 minutes. That’s what you train to do, all your life.

    Every match is a chance to apply it. So the question is, are we not training it or not applying it?

  52. Our major problem is that we do not seem to have a clue what our half forward line is trying to do. They are not a line, they are a collection of ever-changing individuals who seem to double as mid fielders, half backs and sweepers.

    When the ball comes up the field we then expect them to act as battering rams to carry the ball through a packed defense. And then we give the 10, 11 and 12 shirts to relatively small men and wonder why we turn possession over. Look at this line on any other winning team and you will not see this codology. Two years ago, Dublin lost an All-Ireland semi final because they tried to make their half forwards do too many things. Last year they corrected this, won the All-Ireland and two out of three of their half forwards won All-Stars.

    I’m due a longer rant than this one and I will provide it in due course. But in the meantime could the management start using the half forward line for two primary functions, namely:
    1. scoring from ball broken out from the full forward line, and,
    2. kicking points from 30-40 yards out.

    Keep the Faith!

  53. what happens if mayo draw with dubs do they go down i still think sat match will be draw

  54. In that case it still all depends on how Donegal and Laois get on in their final games. If Donegal draw and Laois lose then we’d go down as Donegal would beat us on the head-to-head whereas if Laois also drew that would pull Donegal down instead of us on points difference. If we draw with the Dubs and all three of us lose our final matches then we’re okay too.

  55. digits ….. so now if we state our point of view we have no ambition ….. my my … WELL williie joe thanks a million for such a brill site but i’ll refrain anymore from making comments .Instead i’ll keep reading the posts so tat i can learn from the more ambitious types….

  56. Not saying that people shouldn’t state their points of view, but saying we aren’t good enough is defeatist, especially when we are such a proud footballing county.

  57. Some people keep making the same futile posts week in week out.
    -tom c is not around so drop it and Ronan McG likewise (I believe he is injured)
    -what will moving Vaughan to midfield do? Only leave us isolated at bemuse back and the only other alternative for that position is howley who is in oz so go ahead and move him and leave us with a big weakness at number 6.
    -j gibbons is probably not getting a run because he’s not playing well enough. He got cleaned by our current midfielder in the county final and is probably not performing to standard at training. SOS I’m afraid I dread to see on the ball because he is like a hare blinded by the light and at times kicks it to kingdom come.

    I said we are not as good as people think at the beginning of the league and was criticised by some posters and I think this string of losses is showing that. Our backline look suspect at times. At the same time this game Saturday night is a massive one…all Ireland champs in our own back door…is there a kick in the donkey still?

  58. Jason Gibbons broke fingers after ten minutes in the county final and couldn’t catch a ball only palm it down. Of course Barry Moran is going to look great then. I don’t know if he is or isn’t playing well at training. However, the same players week in and week out are being used in the middle and we are losing in that sector badly in the last few games. He deserves a chance to impress. He is more mobile than the some of the guys who are there. I think Aidan o Shea and Jason gibbons could be a partnership that could flourish…. It can be tried against a quality pairing before the summer comes.

  59. i,v actually cooled dw. now at ths stage afta mchale pk yesterday and jus think,n woud,t it be some craic if mayo bet tha dubs n tha kingdom n qualify for league semifinals.wen u least expect anything from a mayo team, they tend to get up n bite ya for a couple games anyways. they,v done it bfore ya know.. Bring on tha DUBS…MAIGHEO till i die..

  60. I agree that it is more important to make progress rather than win games luckilly.Both backs & forwards improved against Cork.Sure midfield is a problem but with OSE back we should improve.Also Mc Garrity will be an asset—even as a sub.
    division 2 would not be a disaster,
    Did we not come up from Div 3 in 96

  61. Hi Cathal, no I didn’t get your email. Contact WJ and he will give you my email and or mobile number.

  62. gfg – I’ve deleted your comment in full, given that what you say is based on hearsay. I’d be grateful if you could refrain from attempting to post this kind of thing in the future as it’ll simply meet the same fate.

  63. I think we have improved in defence this year. More options and a bit more of a settled spine. We now have a 3 (Caff) and a 6 (Vaughan). Add Higgins, Keegan, Boyle, 2 Feeneys, Keane and McHale. The proof of this is in our goals conceded column of this years league compared to last year.

    We also have some decent forwards – even though we’ve struggled to get them on the pitch at the same time. Andy, Mort, O’Connor, Varley, McLoughlin along with Dillon, Freeman and Doherty when they’re on form and now the option of Conroy.

    Our problem is 75% down to midfield. We won maybe 15% of the ball there the last day. I wasn’t at the Donegal game but by all accounts it was the same. A O’Se will improve it but we are still weak there. This weakness means the half-forwards are trying to cover it and then not doing there job. For me our best hope is the two O’Se’s, with Seamus given the order to run himself into the ground for 50 mins and then be replaced – ideally by a fit McG.

    On another point interesting article in the Independent today about the Feeneys and Varley last Sunday

  64. The Feeneys are back for the Dub game and also Tomas O Se will miss the Mayo game due to suspension.

  65. Good to see sense prevail and the feeneys back, it would be nice if we could avoid the drop and all hands are needed for the last two.

  66. Yes I did, Ollie – I was invited to contribute a piece for the programme and was happy to oblige. I’ll put it up as a separate post on the site a bit later: to be honest, it was aimed more at those who don’t already know about the site rather than the aficionados.

  67. gfg – I don’t care what you saw or what you thought you saw and I only have your word that you saw anything at all. What I would like, though, is if you could see and digest fully what I put up earlier on today as regards what’s acceptable and what’s not when posting comments here on the site.

  68. Willie Joe – or anyone else that attended the match – what was your general opinion on Cork?

    There is currently loads of pessimism down here regarding the management’s selection (sticking completely with the older players) and tactics (we are still playing the slow methodical possession game we have been playing for the last four years) and generally the feeling is that we are going backwards fairly rapidly since we won the league last year.

    Personally I’d have Kerry and Dublin well ahead of us regarding AI prospects, and probably Tyrone and Kildare as well.

  69. Alo of ye are missing the point in the Examiner article. Probably because it is badly structured.

    It is not players that are criticised. It is administrators. 99% of people bere supported the Strategic Review Report. I dont know if that journalist ever heard of it but it is that type of plan he seems to be getting at

  70. Turenne – I wasn’t at it but watched the full deferred coverage on TV. I’m not sure you lads have all that much to be pessimistic about and although the Cork team had a familiar enough look to it on Sunday, there were a sprinkling of newer lads there too. I don’t really think Cork’s style of play is too much of a problem either – with one All-Ireland and two NFL titles in the bag in the last three years, you can’t be doing that much wrong – and, from what I saw, they mixed the running, handpassing game with long direct ball and some great point-scoring from well out the field. (Mind you,we played into your hands the last day by using the extra man too deep and failing to compete up the field in the second half but that’s another day’s work). I’d agree that Kerry and Dublin (who I think might be on course for one hell of a clash later on this year) would be ahead of Cork on current form and maybe Tyrone too. I’d draw the line well the other side of Kildare, though – there’s no way you’re behind them in the queue and you’re unlikely to be come summer either.

  71. I thought Cork were poor enough on Sunday, but they didn’t seem to be in top gear. When they had to find that bit extra they did, although we played right into their hands at times.

    Counihan made a point before the league began that he felt last years league sucess was a hindrance more than anything later in the summer. I got the feeling then that he wouldn’t be showing his hand in this league campaign.
    Cork have some quality players and I’d expect them to be around come Aug/Sept time. I wouldn’t say that Dublin and Kerry are too much ahead of them at all.
    The one thing I’d say is that there doesn’t seem to be too many new players coming through in Cork, or maybe they are but aren’t being given a chance?

  72. why does gfg use foul language and get away with it on this site -27th March 3.35 p.m.

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