Mayo 0-14 Louth 1-10: narrow win in stifling conditions

Kevin McStay was at pains to point out before and after the Kerry game that the two points on offer down in Killarney would also be on offer for us against Louth and Cork. Our one-point win over the Wee County this afternoon – the first time we’ve beaten them at Castlebar – got us the two points from this game and pushed us closer to securing an All-Ireland quarter-final place.

But it wasn’t the win nor certainly the performance we were expecting from the lads. The hot, heavy conditions were a factor in our laboured approach today but it was depressing to see yet another team come to town and make life difficult for us by using a defensive playbook. All the more so because it was a bolted-on certainty that a team managed by Mickey Harte would do this.

It was obvious on the drive down from Dublin earlier on – the temperature click inching up all the while, hitting 25 degrees as I parked up close to the ground soon after midday – that the day was going to be a scorcher. It was and both sets of players found the conditions hard going.

I was agitated as soon as the teams ran out. Both of them, to my colour-blind eyes, were wearing the same strip – same dark jersey, same white shorts. Is it really asking all that much for the GAA to insist that teams wear easily distinguishable strips? It’ll be the same carry-on, of course, when we play Cork.

We made three changes ahead of throw-in. Out from the selected team went captain Paddy Durcan, Diarmuid O’Connor (who wasn’t in the match-day 26 at all) and Fionn McDonagh. They were replaced by Padraig O’Hora, Donnacha McHugh and Jason Doherty, all three of whom had of course been added late to the starting fifteen down in Killarney.

We started brightly and had three points on the board inside the opening four minutes. Colm Reape smacked over a free from the ’45-metre line right after throw-in, Jack Carney arrowed a nice score over soon after and then Ryan O’Donoghue fisted it over to increase our lead to three. At this early stage, it looked like we were going to enjoy a stroll in the bright summer sunshine.

But 13 minutes would pass before we got our next score, this one a free from Aidan O’Shea. They’d opened their account by then but in the first quarter they seemed content to sit deep and meet us with their massed ranks around the ’45.

We traded scores pretty much all the way to half-time, at which point we led by seven to four. Louth were showing more enterprise now, twice firing back with points right after we’d scored. Our three scores in this spell came from Jordan Flynn, Ryan O’Donoghue (a free) and Stephen Coen (a mark).

Louth would obviously have been the happier of the two sides at half-time. Their aim had been to stay in the game and frustrate the hell out of us and they’d done a good job on both fronts.

The score-for-score pattern continued on the resumption. Matthew Ruane clipped over a nice one off his left from our first attack but Downey, charging through the middle, responded in kind.

They then ended up with a point from what was a possible goal chance. Soon after Jack Carney curled in an effort from a mark, which I was certain was over but was waved wide. Chatting on the podcast afterwards, however, neither Dan from the Louth and Proud Podcast nor Rob agreed with me. Crucially, neither did the umpire.

Goal chances for us were at a premium today. David McBrien had a first half effort saved – the shot wasn’t really on – and then James Carr and Aidan O’Shea butchered an excellent chance when we’d turned them over and they were, for once, exposed badly at the back.

The gap was still at two points when we began to ring the changes. In came Paddy Durcan and Tommy Conroy, replacing Jason Doherty and James Carr.

Ryan (a free) and Sharkey, arguably score of the match, traded points. Then Mulroy missed a free and soon after Paddy somehow made space in the thicket of cover and fired over to push us four clear. The momentum now seemed to be with us.

They got the next one but, with time now running out, points from Aidan (his fourth free) and sub Fionn McDonagh stretched our lead to five. That appeared to be that.

It wasn’t, though, as we suffered a near-calamity in the final 90 seconds. They got a goal, then a point but the clock was against them and we were mightily relieved to emerge with a victory by just a single point.

As mentioned at the top, the bottom line for us today was that we won. We did that. It would have been great if we’d been able to build on the Kerry result with a commanding display but that, while it would have been nice, wasn’t a necessity for us today.

The fact that Louth ran us so close today means we’ll head into the Cork match with some unanswered questions about how we’re faring. But, then again, the same is true of every other contender for major honours this year in this much-changed Championship.

Mayo: Colm Reape (0-1, free); Jack Coyne, David McBrien, Sam Callinan; Padraig O’Hora, Conor Loftus, Stephen Coen (0-1, mark); Matthew Ruane (0-1), Donnacha McHugh; Jason Doherty, Jack Carney (0-1), Jordan Flynn (0-1); Aidan O’Shea (0-4, frees), James Carr, Ryan O’Donoghue (0-3, frees). Subs: Paddy Durcan (0-1) for Doherty, Tommy Conroy for Carr, Enda Hession for Callinan, Fionn McDonagh (0-1) for Flynn, Bob Tuohy for Coyne.

Our Final Whistle pod is hosted by Rob, with me riding shotgun and where we’re joined by Ed McGreal and Dan Bannon from the Louth and Proud podcast. Colm Boyle provides post-match analysis and there’s post-match reaction from Kevin McStay. It’s online on Patreon now.

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

  • Aidan O'Shea (27%, 754 Votes)
  • Padraig O'Hora (17%, 459 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (12%, 333 Votes)
  • Sam Callinan (5%, 150 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (5%, 143 Votes)
  • Matthew Ruane (5%, 143 Votes)
  • Jack Carney (5%, 141 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (4%, 107 Votes)
  • Colm Reape (4%, 103 Votes)
  • Donnacha McHugh (4%, 100 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (3%, 87 Votes)
  • David McBrien (3%, 75 Votes)
  • Jack Coyne (1%, 31 Votes)
  • Tommy Conroy (1%, 31 Votes)
  • Jordan Flynn (1%, 30 Votes)
  • Bob Tuohy (1%, 19 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (1%, 14 Votes)
  • James Carr (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Enda Hession (0%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,369

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94 thoughts on “Mayo 0-14 Louth 1-10: narrow win in stifling conditions

  1. I think it was inevitable that this would happen considering the heat, the fact we did not get knocked out if we lost and Louth’s defence.

    Yes, we struggle against blanket defences…but doesn’t everyone?

    Our biggest concern is the concession of goal chances…it’s a pattern that has to stop.

  2. Have to agree WJ on the colours.
    Like you I’m colour blind but find it particularly difficult with red vs green.As you say it’ll be the same for the Cork match.
    Maybe even some compromise like different colour shorts would make a big difference.

  3. It looked to me like Carney converted his mark. McStay certainly thought so and let the linesman know about it. Conditions were unforgiving. Louth locked down their ‘D’ very well and we found it hard to break through. It seemed our plan from the start was to counteract their blanket game by getting ahead as quickly as possible. Mayo got an early lead but could not keep Louth at arms length. Needed a goal to bring some daylight between us but our forwards found it tough going. I though Carr was quite subdued. O’Shea and O’Donoghue were quite deep at times. Is there anything to be said for deploying the tactics that Derry used against Tyrone last year, where they stretched the defence by keeping 2/3 players close to the 13m line? We need to shake things up as the ‘How To Beat Mayo’ playbook has been well and truly passed around by now. All that being said we came away with a victory but too close for comfort. Should be our last game in McHale park this year. Maybe that will bring an uplift in our fortunes

  4. I would take 4 points after 2 games but not the performance. However the real football championship will only start with preliminary 1/4 finals. I would be confident that management still have something up there sleeves like long ball into Aidan. Cillian starting. More long kick passes. Playing at higher tempo. This league will only eliminate Louth Clare. Westmeath and Sligo. No need for panic station’s yet.

  5. I don’t get some of the tactical play though against the blanket when it comes to Mayo . So we get a turnover , there are two big men in and around the D with only two Louth players but we choose to not pop it it but recycle it again till Louth are able to organise . I find it crazy , why not lob it in from time to time especially in that scenario?

  6. I agree Sean. Thought management were well off it today tactics wise. Very negative in the first half and nearly paid the price for all the lateral play. Quarter final front door is not a foregone conclusion. We looked like we didn’t want to build up our scoring difference which absolutely baffles me. Coen and aos the best. Flynn struggling. Doherty poor today. Should have been off much sooner. Ohora was good also. But midfield was absent with diarmuid. A win yes but not a good day.

  7. Final Whistle pod is now up on Patreon. Rob and I are on it along with Ed McGreal and Dan Bannon from Louth and Proud. Colm Boyle and Kevin McStay also feature on it.

  8. Terrible poor play from Mayo ,very poor day for Management, only O Hora played up to standard. Defence just not good enough today, midfield beaten all day, no scoring threat from any of forwards from play. Why doesO Shea go to midfield for all throw ins, he hasnt caught one for ages, if he picked at 13 let him/ tell him stay there, nothing new I suppose after one good performance back to terrible next game.

  9. Today’s performance was a collection of many past games, ie Ros 2 months ago, All Ireland final 2021, V Kerry last year and in 2019 and all the big games in Croker for many years ( where a lead was not protected ).

    Management looked clueless also, there will be the need for a few different starting players going forward.
    Goal scoring opportunity not taken in first few minutes.
    Mayo are down the pecking order after today.

    Just not learning fast enough.

  10. Yeah Dubs into clear fav now with Kerry 2nd and Mayo/Galway joint 3rd at 4/1. Derry odds cut plenty into 9/1 but Donegal were wide open at the back. I dont bet on it but Derry probably best value bet.

  11. Sean Burke you’re spot on. All we needed to do was put on the Donegal jerseys from last year and wind the year back. Donegal had one of the finest full forwards and they would not release the ball. Today had all the Rochford coaching manual all over it. Over and back and go and put on the kettle and you have missed nothing. Paul Flynn said it was too slow and we should have kicked the ball into the corners and draw them out and then go for the overload. So apparently that’s how the Dubs did it so always be willing to learn.
    Our backs were also opened up too easily which still makes me wonder about Loftus at CB.
    I’m not a great Coen fan either even though he was better than usual today. Anyway today should keep the feet firmly on the ground. Hopefully management learned a bit today. The one thing that great Italian soccer coaches learn is that you set up your team to suit the players you have. Dublin always played the game on their terms and Mayo should do the same

  12. Strange how we can beat Dublin or Kerry but we can’t play Mickey Harte despite him being a one trick pony when it comes to playing Mayo

  13. On the colourblindness issue, about 8% of males and 1% of females are estimated to be colourblind. That is a significant, as it means, with a total of 4.5% out of the 11,000 plus at today’s game, the GAA completely ignored its own published policy of inclusiveness for about 500 of those people who paid in.
    They do this all the time and will probably do it again in two weeks time. As a result, I think it is high time that the GAA is called out on how good it is doing the inclusiveness thing. They even have ads on TV about how good they are.,vid:Ypz5y4vBFD0

  14. Again we press up on opposition kick outs but have no one to win the kickout clean .Aidan o shea goes to midfield for the throw in because the management clearly don’t think ruane can win it .there was alot of praise for ruane after the Kerry game but that was because of his strong running game and scoring ability.he is simply not a ball winner and won’t become one now.again i don’t understand the number 6 experiment.maybe I am missing something but he doesn’t appear to tackle and seemed to slow down the play today by kicking across the field and dallies on the ball to long .the best centre back we had in recent years was colm Boyle who was the very opposite of this .very frustrating watching that today.If the plan was to dampen expectations and make everyone think we haven’t learned anything about facing these systems then it’s totally mission accomplished

  15. Sticks, they have played nearly same team and formation/tactics in every game.
    When we play weaker teams/teams not fully fit or with no serious defensive set up (aka Kerry week before last) we will kick ball and look like galacticos.
    When a team sets defensively v us we do not seem to have changed a thing from the last 10 years. We revert to what what amounts to a type of Horanball, maybe less punchy due to changes in personnel, Aido comes out deeper and we kick tack all in quickly.
    Despite this as have said again and again, their is an all Ireland there for the taking this year with very few genuine challengers, none of them exceptional.

  16. Great result when one puts it into context. First of all a number of people looking down their noses at Louth saying we needed to win by 10 points to make a statement. Let’s make the statement in July and just win our games now. Secondly lots of people talking about us being close to A I favourite. Based on what. True enough we played well v Kerry but Kerry are not up to speed yet as was in evidence yesterday. Yes we won the league final but that’s no predictor of championship. We lost to Roscommon, but that was the rain of course. Today it was the heat. Can we not just see that we struggle hugely with a massed defence as in Roscommon and Louth. Kerry allowed us to play and we were allowed to play in league games as it’s not do or die. Galway set up their defensive structure better than Ross and Louth and they have far more potent attackers to take advantage of turn overs. No game is easy in our group Cork beat Louth by 2. Kerry beat Cork by 2, we beat Louth by one. Cork is ya difficult challenge on the horizon. The fact is that we have lots of inexperienced players especially in defence and in fairness they have done ok. Mayo management were lauded for their tactics v Kerry but imagine if we lost, imagine the grief McStay would have got for not starting Duncan, Coen Conroy, Hession etc. Already there is criticism of his tactics today .. We are on the right track. We have struggled with defensive systems for years and it’s going to take quite a bit of fighting out. I the meantime we sit at the top of the table with 4 points and the only other county with 2 from 2 are our neighbours in Galway. Still plenty to play for. Maigh Eo Abu

  17. Two factors here that makes it difficult for Mayo – one being the fact we struggle against a blanket and secondly our county pitch is a disgrace. It’s way too narrow and makes it so easy for even weak teams like louth to clog up the middle.
    Can’t solve the pitch issue without losing a few rows of seats (I don’t have an issue with that). Tactically, we need a better plan to break that down.
    I’m not buying the heat argument. It was the same for both teams and Louth had to play a really tough game just a week ago, while we had a two week rest.
    Big kick up the backside for us and shows there is still a huge amount to do. Very important that we beat or draw with Cork so we don’t have to play in Castlebar again this year.

  18. O’Shea did practically win both throw-ins today. I agree with Tenacious Yew. The management knew an assertive start was key against this type of team. Watch Aidan’s body language for the first throw in.
    We got the first score of the game – and went ahead – from the throw-in and Aidan winning it. A fortnight ago, I mentioned a trick I thought was valuable to get ahead or score versus a blanket team – that is – win the throw-ins and score from them.
    They’re marginal gains and a fifty-fifty chance you can prepare for. Dublin did it against us in the past.

  19. Really felt like ciaran whelan & Joanne cantwell were only delighted at mayos poor performance today definetly muting their commentary next time !!

    Felt bad for reape when the goal went in he’s been so good and still my number 1 goalie choice thought he actually injured himself at one point..

    Yes poor performance but I’m glad we didn’t hammer louth keeps us level headed I was iffy before this game and it was the blanket defence why I was so hard to break down but it ruins the game was such an awful game to watch don’t think anyone should be praising loyth using a system of blanket defence just my opinion but it ruins the game . They were better no question but the blanket defence makes an awful watch we saw it with rossies/dubs and dubs played kildare in a much more open game and hammered kildare !

    When we got going on our runs we did look the much better side. Tommy conroy made a big impact as well as paddy. Be great to when Tommy c is back to full pre injury form when he starts what a player . Ryan o D and aido were leaders also today .

    I wouldn’t be panicking yet long way to go a win is a win and we move onto cork whenever that is ha!

  20. When see marks on Tommy’s face, you’d wonder how he wasn’t taken off.
    Felt subs in general were bit slow. In the heat could have done more like Louth and made couple changes at break.

  21. Worst Mayo performance under McStay and against the weakest opposition have face this year on paper. Type of display to keep the feet firmly on the ground and probably was needed as some was getting a little carried away after winning puling up in killarney. Can imagine will be more switch on display for Cork next.

  22. The butchered goal chances are what cost us winning “comfortably”. This talk of us not being able to break down blanket defences is a little bit OTT. We can break them down, McBrien showed his lack of experience with his chance, a cool calm head would have seen Carr unmarked a simple hand pass…game over.

    Carr (again) makes the wrong decision bearing down on goal. Hospital pass to the unmarked Aidan gave the goalie every chance. A bit of composure from Carr, and all he had to do was draw the goalie a step or two towards him then pop it over to Aidan….game over again. Carr put his hand up straight away to Aidan acknowledgeing he messed up.

    These things are easily fixed, the worry is we don’t seem to be learning our lessons. Be it managment or the players but someone is at fault.

  23. I just think people should give the guys a bit of a break they are young players go out and play for free and give up their spare time to!

    Everyone has bad days and today was dissapointing and we still got the 2 points I’d just go easy on the guys they are still a pretty young team and learning under a new manager brighter days ahead it’s not all doom and gloom.

  24. I am also green-red colour blind. That was torture for me to watch and at half-time I had to just listen to it on Mid-West radio instead. Disgrace by the GAA.

  25. I agree with Clare we should give the lads a break. Have a look at Tommy Conroy’s face after the match he is badly marked. Most of us wouldnt last 5 minutes running round in that heat in MacHale park today much less kick scores over a blanket.

  26. Win game ,Learn ,move on .
    Back under the radar again.
    Really hard conditions on the players so don’t be too hard on them .
    Job done ,onto a decent Cork team now .
    Again, win , no serious injuries and hopefully we will have the 2 O Connors , Brendan H and Plunkett pushing for places on the 26 .
    Hard game to watch entertainment wise but once we went 3 points up early on we never looked like loosing the game ,

  27. Clare, on Sunday Game commentators, newspaper or website GAA writers, a huge part of what I see them doing is creating a story.

    So many times, these commentators make a story around Mayo or other teams. A result is turned into a point of drama that will get people talking. It’s mostly a simplistic slant that misrepresents a team’s development. It’s taking advantage of teams for entertainment value.

    In that regard, it’s 100% excellent for us that we scraped a win today – no one is making us the centre of a story. Let the media talk up Dublin, Kerry, Cork or whoever else. It genuinely gives us a rest, players and fans.

  28. Haven’t seen any harsh comments on players .

    Is there an announcement planned about when they announce the venues for the third rd games . Like a pre announcement. Be something anyway if they said “ we will let ya know tomorrow /tues or whenever “. Instead of “ we will tell ye when we’re good and ready ya little scoundrels “ . They’d want to be careful with their long term planning , all good and well treating the supporters with contempt because of the big lolly from TV deals but the attraction of live sport will soon wane if attendances keep dropping , graveyard arenas are a hard watch on tv .

  29. This team had no firepower against a solid blanket tough Louth defense. Lateral slow build up play almost cost us today. We must have had at least 60% of the possession with nothing to show for it. Rating today for at least 10 of the starting 15 below average. Only for O Sheas frees they would have been beaten. One of his best performances in a Mayo shirt, he dragged that team over the line today. Louth unlucky not to get a draw. Hopefully the O Connors are back against Cork because that attack was limp today. Nobody took on their man apart from Durcan when he came on which resulted in a score. Looked like we ran out of steam there in the end after being 5 points up. Not good enough losing a 5 point lead. Not surprised with the way they play keep-ball instead of trying to go direct to O Shea. I know conditions not ideal with the heat but that’s a shockingly poor and disappointing performance. Expected a lot more from the team to be honest, Again holes in the back line, a better team will carve us up. Back down to earth with a thud after that Kerry performance. Lot for McStay and team to work on, far from our best today. We were lucky toda!

  30. It’s very rare that any team will be able to hammer a team playing blanket defence in a provincial ground, especially a smaller pitch like castledar.

    Louth couldn’t do that in Croker but Castledar is perfect for them.

    Mayo were comfortable bar the last 5 minutes when their concentration lapsed. A 5-6 point lead into injury time is an uncomfortable lead for a Mayo team for some reason.

    Really need to maximise the size of McHale Park pitch or this will be the type of stuff we will have to ensure for years

  31. The attendances are dropping rapidly due to the rubbish style of football being played.hard to justify actually paying to be bored rigid for 70 minutes of what we saw earlier post regarding our number 6 is that i don’t believe he knows how to play this position.the lad is a decent footballer as a forward but wouldn’t be in our starting 6 forwards at the moment.hopefully Tommy conroy is ok .crazy that he wasn’t removed immediately and finally is paddy durcan carrying a knock or is this purely tactical

  32. @Culmore
    I’ll never understand why people post things that are so obviously wrong and provably wrong.
    Aido won a free off the first throw in and tapped it down into Mayo possession on the 2nd.

  33. A win is a win and that was the important bit today. However, I don’t think anyone will be happy with the performance.
    Could it be that because we raced into a 3 point lead we assumed it was going to be easy? Did we drop our intensity and gave Louth the breathing room they needed? I dunno but I’m not convinced we played with the kind of urgency or energy we’re capable of.

  34. WJ, Carney’s “wide” was absoloutly a score. I was right behind it and it curled in beautifully at the far post. It wasn’t even higher than the post and the linesman flashed a thumbs up and nod to the ref but the umpire somehow waved wide. It was a disgraceful decision but we’ve come to expect that when Mooney is the ref!

  35. A team that is going well has a poor follow up game. Shock horror! This is sport and these things happen in sport. Mayo got the 2 points they wanted and move on. I suggest the fans do the same and stop overreacting.

  36. Certain lads afraid to shoot when opportunity presents…..opting for hand off or back pass…….We need to fix that.

  37. A poor game! We were very complacent at the end. A performance like that won’t do against Cork. Diarmuid was greatly missed. As. regards the colours, I had no problem watching on TV. Sorry for your troubles , Willie Joe!!

  38. Do Cork play an open brand of football or do they tend to park the bus as well and try to work scores off counter attacks? Haven’t seen much of them this year.

  39. We have a problem with McHale . The surface is fixable but getting 8m of width will be the problem. And it will always suit the less skillful side.
    We knew how Louth were going to play, the counter tactic is to leave 2 to 3 players forward at all times and punish with quick counter attacks. Management got it all wrong today. A big wake up call for them because we have a panel of quality players . Very slow making substitutions, no tactical change at any stage in the game. A disasterous pivotal CHB policy, which allows Loftus to wander all over the forward without any responsibility. I’m not blaming Loftus here, he’s doing what he is allowed to do. No CHB in position has a knock on effect on our midfielders and puts additional pressure on our FB.
    Hopefully Cork will test is to the full…

  40. I think the concern Joe is “consistency – can we put a few good performances together?”
    Because in a few weeks, today’s performance won’t cut it for knockout stage.

  41. @Pullhard I’m pretty sure cork play a much more open game then louth saw highlights of games and some of the kerry game much more open game and didn’t seem to park the bus at all really

  42. Well done Mayo, stifling heat, absolute blanket defence, as Pat Spillane famously said, it’s puke football, no team would break that down easily in a tight provincial ground, won’t work in Croke Park! We got the 2 points, looked comfortable throughout apart from last minute!! Just hope Cork play football, but with Walsh coaching there I’m worried the Cork shawl will be used!! Hope it’s Gaelic grounds, good wide pitch from memory!

  43. Actually the Gaelic Grounds is exactly the same size as MacHale Park. 137m X 82m

  44. @Louis
    I’ve seen that stat before but it surely can’t be right?
    A hurling pitch that to my eyes is very noticeably bigger any time I’ve been there.
    Anyway,assuming it’s Ennis or Limerick I’ll be happy enough,we’ve had good days out in both of them (with the big exception of Kerry in GG in 2014) I’ve erased that day from my memory!

  45. The only thing worse than watching a blanket defence for 65/70 minutes is not seeing it for 5 minutes that it was required to ensure the win. There is no point trying to play a measured controlled game for so long when in fact you have no control when it counts.
    Personally I think while we have aido we should pump it in once teams are set up, 50/50 all day and go toe to toe from there, good luck to any team coming out of defence from that position for a game. Not many could really out play or out run us on counter attacks from that deep. Its where j.f and fmcd would really come into there own.Turn overs high up the field general create good score changes.

  46. Mayo were 5 up with a minute left and deservedly so. We did not play well but nothing to get excited about. We need to take our goal chances and it would have closed out this game today.

  47. Totally agree with tirawleybaron ( great name by the way ) we were never going to beat Louth by a double didget score the way they set up with our record of blanket defence that 5 point lead heading into injury time was sufficient enough even though none of the team had played a 7-10 or 8-10 we were all cruising along around the 5/6 out of 10 so we had done enough, what was a bit frustrating was the 1-1 Louth scored in injury time our game management really needs to improve and again those few goal chances maby a few half chances we got need to be buried going forward but it’s 2 points today that’s all we needed cork will definitely not be no push over need to improve again and go in to the quarters on full points

  48. The disappointing thing was the game was in the bag and we gave them a sniff. Looking back at the Louth goal it was a simple case of players not
    following runners. It shouldn’t have got to that though. We should really have got bodies behind the ball and shut up shop.
    No harm done though and a win with a good few players below their usual standard.
    It looks like we are treading carefully injury wise with Paddy and Enda. Was their any word on Diarmuid or Cillian?

  49. Disappointed and genuinely worried not to see any improvement or strategy to dismantle the packed defence today , thought we were very sloppy and generated too many unforced errors resulting in turnovers that against better scoring opposition will be fatal. When the chances fell to us they were butchered. I know that we can improve and will improve but we are always just one game away from an unexplained flat performance, we are not the only top team affected by this, Galway, Kerry have had similar days. Only time will tell if our excellent management can finally solve the puzzle

  50. Mcstay said after the game they Diarmuid and Cillian are both back for full training this week, Brickenden very close , Eoghan will prob miss Cork game but not out 109% and Harrison will soon be back in fill training. So very positive
    Every game we win and move closer to a fully fit panel (a real rarity for us ) is a good day!

  51. We don’t seem to like it when opposing teams don’t play the game we want. How dare they not make it easy. First Roscommon and now Louth. Any chance of giving the opposition a bit of credit. Louth have been competitive all year bar a bad Leinster final when they decided to go toe to toe with Dublin. Roscommon came third in the league and beat us fair and square in the championship. Some people’s default position is to blame the opposition then our own players for not being able to beat the blanket and finally our management for not figuring out how to beat the blanket defence. It is not easy to do, if it was easy to break it down, then teams would no longer use it. We as a team need to keep probing, vary the point of attack and so on. We have good and knowledgeable people on the sideline who I am sure put a lot of thought into how we set up. We have a relatively inexperienced team who have played 11 games in league and championship all against Div 1 teams with the exception of today. We have lost 2, one an irrelevant game v Monaghan and a game v Ross. I think the team and management deserve a lot of credit for the year to date and hopefully a few more big games ahead for us. Real knockout stuff coming up and it’s great to be in the thick of it.

  52. Thanks Km79. Good news about Diarmuid and Cillian. It goes without saying they are massive players for us. Fingers crossed we can get some minutes into Cillian. Even at 75% fitness he is a big option off the bench.
    A bit of despondency about. The goal made things more uncomfortable than they should have been.
    I still think we are in the mix and Croke Park suits us. If we can avoid injuries then who knows?

  53. First I had to cool down physically and mentally. The game itself was an awful borefest and qualified for the Pat Spillane description and could be used as a campaign to kick-start the GAA into making the radical changes needed to make our game a more entertaining and enjoyable spectacle. The rules and their implementation totally favour the teams that employ boring negative ultra defensive tactics, when it should be the complete opposite. Some people have argued here that Mayo do not have a problem with the blanket defence, which they clearly do. We still hav:nt figured out how to cope with it and, in fact, we keep playing right into their hands. The one way definitely not to approach it is to keep doing the same predictable thing game after game, which is exactly what we are doing. You need quick build-up, movement off the ball and variety, to keep them guessing. What we got was slow lateral passing, sloppy passing to players under pressure and running into 2/3 man contact. Our only kick passing was lateral across the pitch and I am amazed that we did’nt make more use of the forward mark. Against the blanket defence, it is vital to take scarce goal chances, but we messed up two more to add to the long list of those butchered already this year-it’s just a lack of composure. And we will probably meet better blanket defences, such as Roscommon and, especially Galway. Defensively we are still way to loose and Louth got a lot of joy up thro’ our middle where we parted like the Red Sea. We desperately need to improve our defensive structure. We limped home today and, if we are not careful, we Wil end up 3rd. in the group.

  54. What’s all this about the heat? These are the conditions our ‘powerful and athletic’ team are supposed to thrive on. We ran Galway out of Croker in 25c in ‘21. We should have run Louth ragged in the last ten minutes, and yet they scored all through. OK, we were asleep at the wheel for the goal, but how in God’s name did Louth get into a goal scoring position at that stage of the game?

    Mickey Harte had a string of psychological ‘hits’, from the half time delay, to subbing during our frees, and then not subbing. We still have a lot to learn.

  55. For those blaming the width of McHale Park for Mayos struggles against blanket defences. I would like to remind ye that Mayo similarly struggled against Tyrone in the 2021 All Ireland Final in WIDE Croke Park. In both the League Final and All Ireland Quater Final versus a Paddy Tally inspired Kerry defence in 2022 , the Mayo attack equally struggled in Croke Park. When Kevin Walsh took over Galway from 2015 onwards Mayo equally struggled against the Galway Shawl in beautiful wide Pearce Stadium in Salthill just as much as McHale Park. Is that enough recent evidence for ye ? Because if its not, I have plenty more evidence. Everyone knows the playbook to frustrate Mayo , Galways Kevin Walsh wrote the playbook . Bad news for us is that Kevin Walsh is in the Cork backroom management team, and if any of ye non believers dont actually believe me. I suggest ye get a copy of Kevin Walsh’s book and read ‘THE INVISIBLE GAME, MATHS MINUTES AND MOVEMENT’ trust me how to frustrate Mayo has virtually nothing to do with the few extra meters width in Croke Park or Pearce Stadium. Anyway we’re in good company Kerry equally struggle against blanket defences.

  56. To win just once. Fair comment but as one poster put it when horan was in charge…. whats the definition of insanity… when he never changes anything and the result is always the same.. we’ll a bit of da se vu was on offer today. We done the same routine all through the match. Never hit in a high ball. Never used the corner backs as an overlap. Never really had any plan b. It was very disappointing to say the least.

  57. Diarmaid OC was missed today. I don’t think our best 15 started and 1 or 2 changes will help against Cork and I think Diarmaid’s return is important so hope it happens. Jack Carney’s strike looked like a point and I thought the ref did well generally, much better than Ros game but he has the right to overrule the umpire and didn’t. Louth’s other goal chance I more agree with Whelan that Cavanagh, if applying the rules to the absolute letter, it could have been a penalty even though I wasn’t worried at the time. Our young guns at the back are the future and have done well (I wouldn’t move McBrien though) but I very much hope we have Paddy Ducan fully fit for the knockout games and he replaces one of the others. I also think O Hora offers a bit more than those young bucks, he was making loads of runs today and taking them on physically. A win or a draw and we top the group next time out. Coen is underrated by some of our fans, he played very well today in the 1st half and did nothing wrong in the 2nd. On CHB, I don’t think he has to win turnovers, just slow them down enough for the reinforcements to arrive. It’s possible Coen is the man for the job, it’s where he’s often played and he reads the game very well. Loftus is there for his passing game and management believe in his defensive capabilities (apparently plays there for a while for his club) but against that type of puke football it’s hard to get the ball in without a lot more risk involved. I don’t think we can win the AI with so many rookies in the defense, the seasoned lads should be coming in. On beating the shawl, Dublin under Jim Gavin had the template (running triangles and patiently swapping side to side but the Dublin triangles were more decisive than any other team and when a chance arrived they took it – we today are more althletic than Dublin so should be able to adapt this into our game). People stop mentioning 2021 as example of the shawl, we had 4/5 great goal chances and a penalty that day and that was more the problem than any shawl. I don’t blame teams for finding tactics to win but I do blame the GAA for not finding a way to nullify it. It’s in danger of ruining this championship. We may have been a bit flat too because of the huge favourites and not 100% having to win. We’re one of the few teams out there who wants to primarily good play football and that should be rewarded. Let’s hope Cork try to play football and we have a spectacle and win.

  58. Shuffly Deck – you’re correct. Tyrone were not defensive at all in the 2021 final. Don’t know why people keep bringing that up.

    Louth were rank outsiders yesterday and set up to contain Mayo. With 50 seconds left on the clock we were 14-9 ahead and the game was over pretty much.

    Disappointing to concede a goal but no harm done. I’d be surprised if any other team sets up that negatively against us this year. At least Derry would push their full back line up which leaves gaps when the ball is turned over.

  59. Cork will, and should play whatever formation gives them the best chance of winning. Whatever neutral venue is chosen or the width of the pitch I believe wont alter their game plan one iota. Versus Louth, No1 bottom line Mayo won the match, but didnt inspire confidence . N02 Cork set up similarly versus Kerry to Louth versus Mayo, bottom line Kerry won the match, but didnt inspire confidence..Both Kerry and Mayo kept a narrow advantage from early on on the score board for most of both matches, that ‘narrow advantage on the scoreboard’ has much more to do with the outcome than any perceived advantage the width of the pitch makes in implementing a blanket defence . Cork will I expect hope to get the early advantage on the scoreboard versus Mayo and if that happens Mayo will need to be a hell of allot better in breaking down a blanket defence than they were versus Louth.. On the plus side, to be forewarned we also need to be forearmed.

  60. Cork have a big strong athletic team. Kerry were under pressure but again Clifford saved the day against Cork. But Cork were exposed on counter attacks. Kerry won poorly and Mayo won poorly so lets move on. As many posters ask why not use the diagonal ball into Aiden and feed off him – not all the time of course. Maybe I am living in the past and this does not work anymore. It seems simple enough. Leaving aside our love for our county I am afraid the game as a spectacle is turning into rubbish. What a shame.

  61. The current Derry System is lauded for its ability to beat the blanket defence. However, they don’t put away top teams with a defensive system.

    The Galway template is equally as effective as Derry.

    It’s a simple system really:
    1. Play with a Double sweeper.
    2. Have 1 dedicated man marker on their best guy
    3. Keep 1 target man up front
    4. Have 1 playmaker on the 45
    5. Have 1 sitting midfielder
    6. Everyone else runs up and down the pitch all day
    7. While running back foul or play act to slow the opposition down until you own blanket is set up
    8. When you turnover the ball, move forward as quick as you can, and rotate trh runs forward amongst everyone.

    The Mayo plan is similar but with a focus on turning the ball over higher up the pitch (between the 45’s rather than inside their own 45).

    For me, I’d rather watch the Mayo system than the Galway/Derry one. Time will tell which is the most successful method.

    When a defensive system is set within its own 45, you have to move the ball around on the outside and try to work a score. When Mayo have faced that over the years it normally takes either a long range score or a fast moving defender beating his man (usually a forward) with a last minute run at pace and then a score.
    Paddy Durcan, Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Chris Barrett all had big scores in big games doing exactly they.

    We still, have Paddy but we need Hession/Callinan/McHugh/Loftus to produce these moments now

  62. I couldn’t get over Conor Mccluskey’s pace late on against Donegal yesterday. Jese he is a level of repeated sprints pace that is crazy.
    My views on what we can improve and it would make a big difference yesterday and in general
    1. Diarmuid O’Connor back on the field. In my view we beat Louth comfortably with Diarmuid on the field.
    2. We need an experienced, physical defender at six. I’m sorry but there is enough game data this season that we are not getting the attacking boost from current centre back. There can be no way the current incumbent is on the same level defensively. I suggest Paddy Durcan when fully fit.
    3. We need Enda Hession back fit and starting. He’s an All Star type player who is able to break lines.
    4. We need Cillian back as a late bench boost as he has football intelligence and would organize the attack late on. He’d clip a late important point or a difficult free. He’s a good mark option.
    5. We will need big, physical Rory Brickendon back as a sub coming in as he’ll help us close out with strength.
    Tactically we need to use the mark more often against the blanket.
    Tactically we need to get better when having a lead late on at drawing a team out and clipping a point the other end.

  63. Not a good performance but a few things should be borne in mind, IMO. Firstly, Louth had all fifteen men behind the ball at times during the game yesterday, until they turned the ball over, whereupon most of them would go on the attack. On a tight pitch like MacHale Park (which is even one of the smaller club pitches in Co. Mayo), that is tough to break down. Granted, we didn’t help ourselves at times with sloppy handpasses or slow lateral build ups along the 45, sticking one of the goal chances would have probably drawn the Wee County out a bit.

    The funny thing for me was that we were very successful in the first few minutes by knocking quick ball to the corners, racing into a three point lead. We seem to have abandoned that tactic then for most of the game afterwards, dunno whether it was that Louth got wise to it or for some other reason.

    I do also think we missed DOC for long spells, and springing Paddy D and Tommy C from the bench give us a zip late on that we had been lacking.

    Two points is about all we can take from it. Cork will present a different challenge in the next one, we need to up the tempo considerably, but I’m sure that McStay and co. will have watched their games back and will be working on a game plan.

  64. A wins a wins a win etc etc…
    We are fluffing a lot of our goal chances. We would have games wrapped up earlier were we burying those chances.
    About the pitch size, how much smaller is it than say Croker?
    Was it not made longer a few years ago?
    I think I remember it being said a few metres were added to the Albany end but I can’t see any evidence of that work being carried out.

  65. I dont really see how we can blame Louth for their style of play. We played the exact same way with 15 men behind the ball when Louth were in procession. Many times there was 60 yards from their goal with no Mayo player. No option for an out ball and no need for a Louth player to mind the house. None of that is Louth problem

  66. I was very disappointed with the RTE coverage, firstly getting the scores wrong during the match, then the review last night, the quality of which was very disappointing. The girl on GAAGO last week (Grainne – came from Sky) was much better as a presenter than Joanne last night. Ridiculous to be questioning then whether a penalty should have been awarded against Colm

  67. Classic Mayo complaining again

    The only issue today was the concession of the goal at the end. That was poor and needs addressing.

    But besides that we were 5 points up in injury time against probably the most defensive team I’ve ever seen come to McHale Park. And in case ye haven’t seen this particular one before – Mayo struggle in McHale Park. And the crowd is a big factor. No atmosphere yet again. Mayo were 3 up with about 10 to go and had the ball. Louth needed the ball to get back into the game bit weren’t pushing out to get it back. So Mayo held it. No need to force things here- playing smart. What do they football geniuses in the stand do? Start moaning and groaning and getting agitated at the thought of controlling the game and seeing it out like a good team would.

    So don’t be crying about letting a lead slip when ye are the ones who demand braindead gung-ho reckless football – the brand that has clearly served us well in the past with our multiple all irelands. Oh wait.

    Get real people and take it for what it is. 2 points

  68. How to beat a blanket? I dunno but here are some ramblings.. a) lateral stuff wait for gap, win frees…awful to watch, not very effective. b) kick to corners, combine with intricate passing, will work sometimes but easily stopped c) long range kicks, great if you have kickers who can do this! d) same as a) just very well executed, triangles etc.. Dublin in their pomp. e) mirror it.. u bring 13 back, concede kickouts, block middle and look for turnovers, goal’s especially..this is worth trying as u are not beating a blanket any more, u are in your own blanket f) play for marks.. wish we did more of this yesterday
    .. I think Mayo played well within themselves yesterday as It’s the same team as was down in Kerry without doc so not losing faith in them..

  69. Surely Cork will opt to park the bus and look to hit us on the counter with much greater effect than Louth could muster. The entire country has us sussed. Wouldn’t hold too much confidence in management and players being able iron out our tactical problems in the short term against these ultra defensive systems. Need injured players back ASAP to give us that extra bit of throttle.

  70. I don’t get the view that we can’t beat the blanket at all. We were 5 points up with 1min 30secs left. If we had taken either of our two clear goal chances (and not conceded the very soft last minute goal) we would have ‘ hammered’ a very defensive Louth, having not really gotten out of second gear. Lot of pessimism here. I would focus on improving the issues above. Small incremental improvements is all that is needed.

  71. O Hora was man of the match yesterday. He needs to be played at centre half back from now on with P Durcan and Hession on the wings, most of our problems coming from starting half back.

  72. Trust is a big thing in Mayo.
    We beat kerry, we’re world beaters. We struggle past Louth, we’re useless.
    It’s another game. We were fairly sure we’d win it and we did.
    Cork next. That’s another challenge. Will our lads rise to it… of course they will.
    I trust the team, the panel, the coaches and trainers and management. We’re in a good spot, where we would like to be.
    Bring it on.
    And shame on the cccc or whoever is responsible for the venue and time decisions. They have little regard for us. It’s a pathetic piece of work from them.
    Maigheo Abu.

  73. Clare tbf if you read the last paragraph it is fairly obvious that SW is indeed from Mayo..
    Regardless of their county of origin they make valid points re reckless gung ho football when all that is required is seeing out the game..
    Nothing petty or immature about that.

  74. Regarding the pitch. This is the same pitch where we hammered both Kerry and Tyrone . The pitch has actually improved as for the Tyrone and Kerry games the weather was much wetter than yesterday . We played much like Donegal of last year when they played Derry. We kept moving the ball over and back along the Louth 45 line. The way to get the better of the blanket is to run at pace and have runners coming from deep and win frees

  75. Clare – I know you’ve apologised (which was the right thing to do) but you should know by now that comments aimed at others rather than the points they make – and everything SW said about yesterday was pretty much on the money, in my view – aren’t allowed here. The rule is play the ball not the person. I’ve deleted those three comments you posted in that regard as they add nothing positive to the debate.

  76. Galway are just doing enough, like we did yesterday.. Mayo as entertainment is gone.. great . 2 pts move on

  77. I take the view that we played this game on our own terms. The blanket defence is not just about keeping the likes of Mayo out. It is also designed to frustrate us and tempt us into doing stupid things like lashing in a speculative pass where the swarm defence is more likely to gain possession.
    Imagine the recriminations…
    So 2 points won and on to the next game.

  78. Both games in our group have to be played at the same time so therefore different venues.
    I am reliably informed that the Kerry v Louth game will be played in Portlaoise, no date yet.
    We could be part of a double header in Croker.
    Gaa will play 2 games there on the Saturday imo to give premium ticket holders value for their money , which I feel is fair enough.

  79. 45 – The entire country has us sussed… Seriously?!

    We’ve lost 1 game of any significance all year.

  80. I’ve heard the same about Portlaoise for the Kerry/Louth game, Jr, and I’ve heard nothing bar Limerick for our match against Cork. I’m not sure about Croker, though – the Examiner’s John Fogarty tweeted last night (here) that Croke Park is not in the plans for Round 3 and, of so, that’s clearly the right move because giving some teams the chance to play there in Round 3 hands them a very obvious advantage. Same goes for the preliminary quarter-finals – the next matches played at HQ should be all the quarter-finals.

  81. The Mid West commentary influences a lot of people. I had to listen to the game.
    Okay, slow and lateral is not great, but we were a consistent gap ahead for 99% of the game.
    Yet Midwest kept on and on belittling the way we were playing. It called “pussyfooting” around at one point. The blanket was probably cutting off almost all kickpass options.

  82. @Willie Joe, you are probably right— you make a compelling argument for stopping Dublin using Croke Park for league games and as their home venue

  83. @Mikeg: I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the same thing, Mayo started the game with the intention of attacking Louth; Louth started it with the aim of keeping the score down and pilfering the odd score from a counter attack. And while Mayo did get men behind the ball when Louth broke, there isn’t any alternative in that situation. When faced with a counter attacking team, you can hardly elect to play man-on-man in your defence when they break against you in large numbers. The likes of Meath and Galway tried that approach for several years and it got them nowhere.

    Agreed though that it’s horses for courses, I don’t have any problem with Louth playing the way they do. It’s up to ourselves to work out a way to beat it.

  84. Not sure if I fully buy into the ‘we struggled against a blanket defence’ so much as we just really struggled yesterday. It’ll always look worse against a blanket that minimises chances but it was the stuff we were in control of ourselves that was disappointing rather than what we hit on the other side.

    The lads looked flat, leggy and tired (relatively to Louth who faced the same searing conditions). Hopefully the management had underestimated Louth and ran the legs off them as if that was just how we came into the game without mitigation it’s a little worrying. All the pacey movement we’ve had at times this year replaced with slow, laboured, lateral non-penetrating jogging all along the lines.

    Hand passes frequently missed (pressured and non-pressured), easy kicks missed (42% conversion from play with 6 scores from 14 shots, one of the misses within the D at pace but with no real pressure), frequently fumbling and dropping the ball or letting it slip through the hands in the air (we’d a lovely header at one point where it went straight through the hands). Easy to blame the blanket or Louth pressure for leading to it… but it was visibly happening in the warm-up too. We came into this one all wrong.

    When we finally decided to run at them we showed what should have been a relatively easy game. Tommy late on caused havoc with 3 runs leading to 3 frees and 2 yellow cards and Paddy breaking through similarly for a great score. Left it way too late to try taking men on and even when we brought on Paddy, Tommy and Enda didn’t use it nearly damagingly enough (never once managed to target any of the lads on yellow with repeated runs).

    Hard to find many positives from that one. Aido’s frees were fantastic (2 of those I was full sure he’d go short with so fantastic seeing him have the confidence to take them on), the fact we stumbled away with a win despite all the shortcomings is some type of bittersweet positive and it’ll be sure to keep players and fans very grounded going forward.

    Fingers crossed they’ve got ‘that’ out of the system…. whatever ‘that’ was.

  85. On a different note, what is the issue with the pitch. It’s like some farmer got first cut!!

  86. Unpopular opinion here but I’m a bit baffled by the negativity. Mayo did exactly what they needed to do and no more, and in 25-degree heat getting two points was all that mattered. It’s barely even worth analysing this one.

    Win the game as expected, job done, move on. It doesn’t need to be pretty. I would far prefer us to be putting in mediocre performances at this stage and winning games, leaving the showy shoot-the-lights-out stuff to the Galways and the Dublins and Cliffords, and allowing the media to talk them up.

    That game was crying out for a Diarmuid O’Connor or an Enda Hession and the sooner both are back fit the better for Mayo.

    I would not have managed to run the length of the pitch yesterday in that heat without collapsing and I don’t blame anyone yesterday for conserving energy. Conceding the goal was an irritant but with the greatest of respect for Louth who have showed immense progression I don’t believe there was a single supporter in Castlebar yesterday that genuinely thought at any point we were in danger of losing that game.

    Tactically Mayo under Rochford have pulled a couple of strokes against blanket defences in the past and I have little doubt that similar will happen later in the year – when it’s necessary. Where’s the sense in pulling rabbits out of hats at this point in the competition? Teams play the blanket to frustrate opponents. And it works – they’d hardly be doing it otherwise. We won the game, so there’s no need for histrionics. I thought our days of swinging from high to deep were behind us after more than a decade or it, but apparently not!

    Onwards to Offaly; Cork will be up for this one and I expect a real challenge in Tullamore. And a much more open game.

  87. Culmore.. you could be on to something there. Ohora was excellent yesterday and 6 would suit him raiding forward. Because we didn’t increase our scoring average it now makes the cork match a big pressure game. A lot of talk about louth s mass defence. Remember they did manage to score also. . One day day bad will not get us to the holy grail. We need the o Connor s back. Hessian starts. Tommy also. Whether Kevin waiting for quarters to do that or not. It could be risky holding players. Cork are no easy team to beat.

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