Mayo 0-8 Dublin 1-11: red card travesty swings contest away from us

Photo: Louis Gunnigan

We know just how hard it is to beat Dublin. But whatever ambition any team might have of doing so, it can only realistically hope to succeed if it keeps fifteen players on the pitch against them.

Tonight, however, an incredibly harsh straight red card issued to Jordan Flynn after just fifteen minutes meant we had to face the five-in-a-row All-Ireland champions down a man for the bulk of the match. It was only going to go the one way from there.

More’s the pity because we started the game really well, outplaying and outworking them for the bulk of the first half. We looked well up for this one, with Dublin, by contrast, appearing extremely sluggish for long stretches.

In front of a monstrous MacHale Park crowd – that numbered more than 15,000 – we were out of the blocks straight away tonight. Aidan O’Shea, who lined out instead of Kevin McLoughlin, finished off our first attack with our opening score after just thirty seconds.

We owned the ball in the early stages. James Carr quickly proved himself a good outlet inside as we tackled and harried further back to win possession and set up a succession of attacks.

We had two wides apiece before Dublin got the equaliser after eight minutes. Ciaran Kilkenny burst clear of his marker and shot over off his right.

Michael Plunkett hit our fourth wide of the evening – after just nine minutes – before Aidan O’Shea was pulled down on the 45 metre line. It was borderline black but Barry Cassidy kept his book in his pocket. It wouldn’t, though, stay there for long and his paws were never far from it thereafter whenever any of our lads put in any kind of physical challenge.

Diarmuid O’Connor rammed over the free from off the ground to edge us back in front. Then James Carr lofted a monstrous effort from way out that fell sharply to earth out of the night sky, with just enough legs on it to creep over Comerford’s bar.

We were well on top then. But suddenly, out of nowhere, came the incident that changed the course of this game. Jordan Flynn barged in high, late and clumsily on John Small but no way was it red. Barry Cassidy thought otherwise, however, and we were down a man with just fifteen minutes played.

There and then Dublin had been handed the winning of the game. They knew it, we knew it, the 15,000 supporters in the ground knew it. They all knew it wasn’t a red either, as did all three pundits on Eir Sport at half-time.

Despite this, Dublin still struggled to rouse themselves. A close-in free was converted by Rock after 19 minutes, ending a barren ten-minute spell for them.

By now, our wide count was starting to mount. James Carr was off target three times in succession, the third after he’d claimed a mark but put his effort wide off the post, to push our miss tally to seven. It would reach double figures by the end.

James Durcan finished off a nice intricate move to edge us back two in front ten minutes before half-time. But our period of dominance was quite clearly at an end. Now Dublin owned the ball, languidly tossing it around over and back as they figured out how best to break us down.

It was obvious that it was now just a question of how long it would take them to reel us in. Their lethargy meant that this didn’t happen as fast as it should have done. Ominously, however, by half-time they were level.

McManamon and Fergal Boland (a converted mark, converted exquisitely off the outside of his boot) traded points and then Dublin got an extremely soft free well within range. Small was already falling when he was adjudged to have been fouled by Colm Boyle. Worse still from our point of view was that Colm hurt his knee in the tangle.

Rock pointed the free. Then, after Fergal Boland had a shot for a point blocked down, Dublin broke rapidly, the downfield move finished off by McCarthy to level the match on the stroke of half-time.

We made two changes for the second half. Boyler had hobbled from the field at the conclusion of the first half and it was no surprise that he didn’t reappear, with Lee Keegan replacing him to get his first bit of action in 2020. James Carr was also withdrawn at this point, with Tommy Conroy coming on for the Ardagh man.

Our only hope in the second half was to prevent them getting a decisive lead on us. That worked for ten minutes, when a succession of Dublin attacks only yielded them a single point, converted by Dan O’Brien a minute after the restart. But then Rock connected brilliantly with a ball in along the line from McManamon and guided it past Robbie Hennelly to the net.

There was simply no way back from there. How could there be? Sure Kerry couldn’t master Dublin when they were a man up so expecting us to do so hobbled as we were with them finally motoring was more than a bit fanciful.

We didn’t help our cause, I know, with the number of chances we missed – comfortably into double-digits when you count wides and shots that failed to make the distance – but these misses weren’t the main factor that turned this game in the direction it went.

Barry Cassidy was. The sending-off was ludicrous and the Derry official went on to issue six yellow cards to our lads for nothing more than innocuous challenges. A number of the frees given to Dublin were also extremely charitable – not that they needed such help – as we were subjected to a refereeing performance that, from our perspective, would have made Maurice Deegan look even-handed. It was appalling.

In all likelihood, Dublin would still have won this game had it remained a 15 v 15 contest. When they finally woke from their slumbers they were the better team but it took the bulk of the first half for them to rouse themselves. Once the goal went in, though, they closed out the win with increasing confidence, as the world and its spouse would have expected them to.

After they’d pushed six ahead we sensibly withdrew Aidan O’Shea on the 55-minute mark. James McCormack came on for him, with Kevin McLoughlin having replaced Ryan O’Donoghue a few minutes earlier.

All the life had been sucked from the contest by then. We eventually got off the mark in the second half when James Durcan pointed a free after Lee Keegan was fouled.

Soon after Dublin were reduced to fourteen players for ten minutes when Mick Fitzsimons was black carded. That decision was wrong too, as the foul merited no more than yellow. Which just goes to show that Barry Cassidy wasn’t rubbish solely because of how he treated us, though, for sure, we suffered most from his incompetence.

Tommy Conroy shot a nice point under pressure to cut the gap briefly to four but it was back out to six again soon after. In injury time we had both Stephen Coen and Michael Plunkett yellow carded within thirty seconds of each other as the card-happy ref kept flashing the paperwork in our direction.

They pushed seven ahead via sub Aaron Byrne. We had the final say on the scoreboard, however, with Fergal Boland – who was excellent for us tonight – shooting from distance to cut the final losing margin to six points.

Losing this game to Dublin was, ultimately, no great shock. That kind of outcome was well priced in ahead of throw-in but the encouraging way we tore into them early on certainly wasn’t. The heart and workrate we showed in the first half was hugely encouraging and against other opposition in this Division – allied to a ref who can do his bloody job properly – such an approach will reap its rewards.

There’s no way, then, that we should be despondent about this defeat, even if it’s yet another one to a team we’ve been losing against constantly for the best part of a full decade at this stage. We won’t have to face Dublin again for a while and, if we show the same attitude against the teams we will be facing in the coming weeks as we did tonight, we’ll do alright.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Padraig O’Hora, Oisin Mullin, Brendan Harrison; Michael Plunkett, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan; Stephen Coen, Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1, free); Fergal Boland (0-2), Ryan O’Donoghue, Jordan Flynn; Aidan O’Shea (0-1), James Carr (0-1), James Durcan (0-2, one free). Subs: Lee Keegan for Colm Boyle (inj.), Tommy Conroy (0-1) for Carr, Kevin McLoughlin for O’Donoghue, James McCormack for O’Shea, Conor Loftus for James Durcan.

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

  • Padraig O'Hora (23%, 339 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (17%, 253 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (16%, 234 Votes)
  • Oisin Mullin (13%, 187 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (7%, 105 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (4%, 61 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (3%, 45 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (3%, 44 Votes)
  • Robbie Hennelly (3%, 42 Votes)
  • James Carr (3%, 40 Votes)
  • Jordan Flynn (2%, 33 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (2%, 24 Votes)
  • Michael Plunkett (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Tommy Conroy (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (0%, 7 Votes)
  • James Durcan (0%, 5 Votes)
  • James McCormack (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (0%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 803

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99 thoughts on “Mayo 0-8 Dublin 1-11: red card travesty swings contest away from us

  1. When all’s said and done question Mark’s remain over FF line- frees missed unforgivable.

    Yet again undone by poor discipline however it was only a yellow card offence.

    Frustrating as you felt we could have put it up to them tonight. Don’t forget they had a much stronger middle 8.

    Need to best Meath next week

  2. We didn’t get any 50/50 decisions go our way. Never ever a red card, stupid thing to do at the same time. We don’t need to rush players back such as Keegan. O’Hora did very well considering he was on a yellow the majority of the game.

  3. Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly meet a bigger asal from Derry,now we have asal MHOR. Terrible decision. Might still not have won,but robbed us of any chance. Fair play to the lads. Battled gamely. Onwards &upwards.

  4. It wasn’t a red, but the same failings are still there. Our shooting was terrible once again, easy shots and frees being missed again and again. We still don’t have any real quality up front. Players overly cautious, don’t want to take the shot on, running into traffic and getting dispossessed too easily.

    But the ref certainly ruined the game as a spectacle and all the bite went out of it in the second half when Dublin made the extra man count.

  5. Spirited performance Woeful refereeing not just the sending off which plainly wasn’t and the Dublin black card wasn’t either. Was enough having one Derry man as an ANALyst on TV but then having another of them with a whistle in his mouth. I know we do a fair share of whining in Mayo about refs but Cassidy really was dreadful. Some decent performances from some of our lads with O Hora and Mullins looking good but we still really struggle to get the scores and that is something that has plagued us for years. Big game next week v Meath. A win would put us in a good position, a loss would leave us in trouble. Quite a few positives from the first two games but only one point to show so far.

  6. Very simple in that if you elect to strike at the posts for a point with a free or 45 you should be 80% + sure of converting. We were not and are not. Just like Kevin Mac against Ros back in June. This needs to be sorted.

  7. Incredibly frustrating after that, positive start, confident and working very well but not converting our possession was going to come back and haunt us.

    Never a red and Small went down like a building demolished by 1000kgs of C4. With 14 we hadn’t a hope.

    Dubs just cruising along.

    Ref was beyond fooking useless, Stevie Wonder would have been better or my 2 year old daughter. Shocking.

    Still, bad wides from open play and dead balls, shots into the goalies hands, and brutal goal to concede. They fouled the ball twice in build up, Hennelly should have come off his line to intercept but instead was flat footed. Sigh.

    Some good performances but haven’t beaten this gang since 2012…. They also started 10/11 of their team from the final last year, says a lot.

    Regroup and beat Meath.

  8. Aidan O Shea was magnificent tonight & easily the best player on the pitch !! I thought Diarmuid also had his best game for some time.
    O Hora & Mullin also impressive & I like the look of Conroy. Lack of new forward talent however is a huge concern, We also need significant work on our discipline particularly our forwards tackling.
    I must say I getting increasingly annoyed with Billy Paddens comments – if we win a free then we were lucky or there was nothing much in it & he seems to be in absolute awe of the Dubs & Kerry !
    Overall I think Horan is struggling to put a really competitive team on the pitch & blend youth with experience.

  9. Positives: Good defensive effort especially the younger or newer defenders. Early, but Padraig OHora and Oisin Mullen look like starters so far. OHora is rapidly becoming a fan favourite.
    Freetaking just not this standard. Complete reliance on Cillian. Surely someone like a Killian Kilkelly is worth carrying for frees alone. We left at least 3 points behind us that a lad like Kilkelly would slot.
    Regardless of that all frees should have been Diarmuid from the ground. Much less likely he would have missed those 25-35 yarders.

  10. Rock was trying to catch that ball but it flew off his fingers into the net – Hennelly very slow to react, Also McMenamen took a rake of steps before crossing the ball

  11. Good performance under the circumstances. O Hora here to stay. Need a reliable free taker. Where’s Cillian.

  12. Hard one to analyse properly really. Red card was huge and Dublin went on to win in 3rd gear from there even though exchanges were close before that

    Don’t even think cassidy was particularly biased against us. He is just a really bad referee. I thought that about previously watching games mayo weren’t even involved in.

    Anyway on positives, defence was good as a unit. Coen and Doc subdued Fentons influence quite well

    Motm for me a 2 way battle between o’hora and boland. Gave boland the nod. Both excellent

    Its yet another defeat against Dublin though. We need to get a result against them soon. They are there to be got in the league. Can’t call it a rivalry if only one team are winning

  13. Claremorris Native, said the same thing myself about Billy Joe. Actually said halfway through 2nd half that I’d rather a Mayo man wasn’t commentating when we are playing as too down on us and too in awe of Dublin.
    I thought Rock was trying to catch it too. I thought Carr meant his goal last week but was deemed freaky and lucky. This week of course it was the genius of Rock that got their goal. In fairness he is a great player but still ……… it annoys me!! Same with Kerry they regularly can’t beat a 14 man Dublin and they are amazing.
    Feel better now.

  14. Not too bothered about the result , didn’t expect to win or even be as competitive as we were . Thought aido was magnificent, o Hora very good also looks like a big player in the making along with Mullen too . Carr showed signs of brilliance (his long range point and out in front a few times ) but mixed it with terrible shooting , just needs to work on composure and stay more focused . Ryan o donoghue decent shift , Conroy looks as though he could develop into a starter over time . We need to keep on with playing these lads .

    Red card seemed very harsh , fook me small made some deal of it .

    Hennelly kick out was an improvement on Clarke more so in first half tbh , I thought he was a tad too quick to give up on potentially getting to rocks goal and he also dropped a high ball which could of turned into a howler .

    Free kicks are getting ridiculous, why not continue with Diarmuid off the ground , surely it was the percentage inside 40m or so ?

    We could really do with beating Meath next week . What size is the Navan pitch ?

  15. Worst reffing performance since Cormac Reilly in Limerick in 2014. And yes, we were wasteful, no question. But we created enough chances against a near full strength Dublin to draw that game, with a man down & a fairly cobbled together team. I said before the game, let’s try and outwork them, see where it takes us. 15 v 15 would’ve got us right close to taking the spoils IMHO. I love the attitude that Swanny O’Hora brings, never a step back, not a care in the world about who he’s up against. Oisin Mullin also impressed me with his touch tight performance. Our forwards need to play with a bit of that freedom, back themselves, they’ve all the tools.

    All in all, I’m positive about where we are headed and see enough green shoots for us to head to Meath next week with a more than decent chance of getting out first win on the board. Well done lads, ye worked your socks off tonight, and that’s all we can ask of ye – onward!

  16. don’t think Hennelly did a lot wrong tonight apart from the dropped ball.
    Think Clarke is the better keeper and would pick him everytime but that goal was impossible to stop.its not Hennelly or Clarke’s fault if lads out the middle are getting cleaned out in 50:50 60:40 contests. we don’t seem to have proper kick out strategy we should have worked out kick outs where 2-3 lads go into certain zones for kickouts that way you never would get outnumbered when the ball comes down and have bodies there if you lose the kickout

  17. Another big game where we were competitive and guess what, a lad sent off. The last few Connacht champ games against Galway lost Higgins and DOC. 2017 final Vaughan and tonight Flynn.

    All these games tight and close and there for the take. Going a man down beat us!.

    Mutual feelings about the game good defensive displays wayward up front. Carr and Conroy have the makings of good inside men can win their own ball and turn their men.

    Another should have, would have, could have

  18. Never a red card today. Thought hennelly kick outs were very good today. Put a lot of ball to players in tight areas successfully. Need to win against meath and two weeks to next game could see more players returning.

  19. Leaving aside the fact that the referee ruined the game as a contest 15 minutes in.. There were a lot more positives than negatives tonight. The attitude of our guys was very impressive.. great tackling, great defence, great movement and link play. The kick outs tonight from Hennelly were simply top drawer and he did very little wrong. The management made the right call taking off Aido.. big game now on Sunday. The nuts and bolts are all there.. we just need to keep fine tuning to get it right. Me thinks there will be plenty twists and turns before this league is done with yet!

  20. Agreed on Hennelly’s kickouts. Still think he is shaky in the square and needs to command that more effectively. The goal was very soft and shouldn’t have gone in. But he was finding his men well tonight from the kickout.

  21. Horan rebuilding a tenacious and hard working young team, however, the sheer lack of quality forwards means that this new crop will never reach the level of the outgoing team that got to so compete in so many All Ireland semi-finals and finals over the last decade. O’Hora and Mullin are quality. Jordan Flynn looks a serious addition and will feel very hard done tonight by that idiot referee. Hope Boyler’s injury not too serious….what a warrior and servant of Mayo GAA.

  22. I think it would prove more useful for us to concentrate on our potential shortcomings in the FF line rather than bleating about the ref- he’s not to blame for our missed chances in the first half or our missed frees in the second.

    In order for us to have any success this year we need a scoring FF line- but I’m genuinely worried in this regard.

    No question but players like Carr, Conroy, Durcan, Reape etc. must come through this year.

    Bear in mind though that the Dubs fielded a very strong team particularly in the middle 8 whereas we’re missing Ruane, SOS and a fit Keegan and Parsons.

    Still be under no illusions…..our success this year will be decided by the quality of our FF line….all we can do is cross our fingers that some of the younger lads can come through

  23. Our movement of the ball was way too slow at times and it is energy sapping to have to work the ball up the field into a scoring position again and again, which we were doing frequently tonight. And then being afraid to take the shot on and all that lateral hand passing stuff. It’s very hard on the eye and almost always results in a turnover and a score for the opposition. We are so goddamn ponderous in possession.
    It will be the same old story this summer if we don’t sort out our forward play. It was abysmal to watch tonight, especially in the second half. Unfortunately, we still seem to be lacking that real dynamic forward that every top team needs to have at least one of. A good bit of ball was sticking with the forwards tonight, but they did nothing with it when they had it. For the amount of possession we had in the first half, we did very little to make it count. The Dubs weren’t exactly setting the world alight tonight either, but they still won it handily in the end.

    A bit early to be writing Lee Keegan’s obituary though. His first game back on the 1st of February. Thought he looked unfit but to be somewhat expected this time of year.

  24. I think people are being very unrealistic here. We were playing most the game with 14 men against the 5 time all ireland champions. They had an extra man sitting in front of the full forward line. Give the young lads a break for God sake. It’s very early days for these lads.

  25. Someday we will get a break (I know we got one last week), but I have to call into question the ref tonight. It’s sad to have to do so when they are supposed to be independent, but his decision to send off Jordan Flynn was ludicrous. Also, why was Small stretched out on the ground like he had been hit by Mike Tyson, when there was plainly nothing wrong with him. How did McCarthy stay in the lurch after getting a yellow card and almost in the very next play hit McCormack in the face? Systematic, cynical fouling from Dublin continues to be accepted by the “elite” refs in the country.

    We did miss too many scorable chances, and that was another downfall tonight, but it would seem to me that the GAA (including regs) regard the Dubs as this thing beyond reproach.

    Having said all that, some good performances tonight. O’Hora and O’Shea were my 2 standout players.

  26. Good performance from young team, good to get a game like that into them, red card a total farce, but team gelled well after that, all new players looked promising, ref a total joke.

  27. Couldn’t make the Kerry game tonight as I’m toasting myself on foreign shores. I did though make my way to an Irish bar to watch the game. I was impressed with the mayo set up to defend with such structure and tenacity and it definitely asked questions of the Dubs for the first half.

    I am aware that the sending off was very significant in Horans defensive plan as every man was clearly tasked with weighty expectations but I have to say I couldn’t argue with the referee on his decision.

    Two years ago it would have been a yellow but with the very heightened requirement on officials to come down hard on perceived dangerous or reckless play regarding the head injury rule I have to say he had little option. I was hoping he would issue a yellow for the sake of the continued and enthralling entertainment but anyone without blood in this game would probably reluctantly agree that his decision was sound. I hope that ye don’t think me unfair but I think the Dublin black card was of a far more harsh decision as it looked like a poorly timed and executed shoulder attempt.

    For the remainder of the first half mayo contained the Dubs well and the loss was not as clearly felt as the second half. For me this is where the very large back room team earn their crust, they brought a different game plan in the second half, they ensured possession and guarded it well. Legs were getting tired and the dubs moved the ball with purpose to ensure the mayo legs remained at full tilt. Just as they did in the AIF against us they controlled the second half with an unsettling assurance. They are like a boa constrictor, they exert every advantage that their athleticism allows and then they squeeze the life out of you. They get a score and do all necessary things to ensure that the opposition don’t and again they secure possession. At this point this very talented team are no longer interested in moments of brilliance, it becomes about the process of frustration for the opponent and intelligent game management that affords a select few to punish with excellently rehearsed game plays.

    I will be honest and say unless the management lose a bit of grip on individual egos on that team we will continue to come up short as their team confidence has to be admired. I can’t wait to see the Dubs fall but until then I will enjoy watching them. They have the edge that’s required and to take them down we all have to attempt to sharpen ours. I hope Boyler is ok, players like him just want to make me finish my dinner on time when we’re out of the trenches and truly line up for the Championship.

  28. Well said game changer.was at the game myself and was very impressed with the likes of Kilkenny and McCarty.
    Our midfield curbed Fenton ,but the pace of murcon was unreal for such a small fellow.
    The dubs got away with alot tonight from the ref but are so well rehearsed in it.
    Thought mayo held in there alright tonight and look to be going in the right direction.
    Boland put in a good shift tonight.
    Coen ran himself into the ground tonight and had a solid performance as did doc.
    Big lessons learned tonight so on we go.

  29. Have to agree that was very poor performance from a referee . The biggest problem with referees is the lack of consistency. I thought a Dublin player could have seen the line for a high enough . The forward mark is a disaster and will make a mess of the game if it’s not removed .Its Gaelic football not Aussie Rules .
    Again O Hora really impressed me he is like a dog always looking for ball and snipping to get ball doesnt seem to hide away when the heat is on .
    I think some are overly critical of our forwards. They are young this game will certainly bring them on and its definitely the first time in a long time that I get really excited when I see them when win ball .Less side to side and more show me goal . Onwards and upwards .

  30. Gamechanger10,
    Are you suggesting that the red card on Flynn was for the first head high tackle of the year because I cannot recall a red card for such a tackle since the edict on such tackles went out from Croke Park?

  31. Great to hear from Gamechanger….In fairness, and in my opinion he’s been as fair and objective a commentator on all Matter’s GAA as we have had on the Blog….. of course him being a Kerry Supporter, as the magnificent Leonard Cohen wrote …’And I know that you’ve been faithful, give a take a time or two’. . End of the Day, in my opinion, and it’s only an opinion…Best team won, but by more than they deserved to..
    . And yes I was at the Match!

  32. Look poor performance but many positives to take…plus lads it is the 1st of Feb. Our boys will be ready come summer. Addition of o donoghue, o hora and conroy i like. Having diarmuid on frees adds a new dimension as well n a great option. I feel for jordan flynn and first glance i thought black. But watching replays i have i cant argue with red. If that was cooper or mc mahon doing that to one of ours i’d be baying for blood. Can we also appreciate the warrior that is boyler. Was playing well n making great bursts up the pitch before the injury. Should have been subbed immediately after the injury n hopefully its only a few weeks. Lastly can we show Leeroy a bit more respect – one of the best footballers in the country the last few years. He’ll be ready when it counts!! Plus….its only February!

  33. The overall performance tonight was decent. The result was decided with the red, despite us showing very well up to that point.

    Even when the game was clearly gone with 20 mins to go, we stayed competitive and trying to do the right things. Dublin are the last team you want to play with a man down, as once they get ahead their possession game just strangles the game.

    I was very impressed with how Mullin and O’Hora held up tonight. Plunkett held his own too. At midfield Coen and Diarmuid covered every corner of the pitch. Aidan O’Shea was very prominent and those minutes will do him the world of good.

    We struggled up front, especially in the second half. We had enough chances to stay in the game so that’s a little disappointing. Having said that, Boland was again excellent and has turned into a really consistent performer for us.

    Big game in Navan next week. That’s a game where the result is all important.

  34. The narrative that this was a strong Dublin Team does not stack up. They only had a handful of their All Ireland winning team on the night and clearly have not a lot of work done yet. Will see where we are at in Navan next Sunday as you could not judge much from last night.

  35. Promising times ahead for this team. They were given an impossible task after Jordan was sent off. As it has been said over and over the Ref killed the game.
    We went to Castlebar with hope rather than expectation that Mayo might win but knowing realistically that the Dubs had named a much stronger team. If anyone had asked me before the match I probably said Dublin would win it’s a matter of by how much. When Jordan was sent off I expected the floodgates to open but lo and behold at half time we were level. Our defense worked brilliant last night. Second half I thought here we go the Dubs will surely slaughter us now but no once again our 14 lads put it up to them.
    Our lads never gave up. Ok if we had taken all our chances it may well have been a different story. We have players to come back and we have young players to nurture.
    The Ref killed the game. He was so poor.
    Onward we go to Navan. We need to get behind this team. The famous MAYO MAYO chant needs to be the only thing heard in Navan next Sunday.

  36. Stop the lights Willie Joe… “but these misses weren’t the main factor that turned this game in the direction it went”…blaming the ref so much. The basic fact is that Mayo missed copious amounts of the shots which should have been converted. Should only be looking at ourselves after the performance up front last night, no one else.

  37. Are you taking the michael justoutsideballagh? Just back they maybe, but that was as strong a hand as Dessie Farrell could’ve played last night, with the exception of Rory o’carroll and perhaps mcmenamon. That’s a fact! And I see above someone else is writing Leeroy off? On the first of Feb? After he comes on as an enforced sub? Good Jaysus, that’s as inane a comment as I’ve seen anywhere. One other thing that I forgot to mention, Ryan O’D kept popping up in the right positions for a chf. His distribution was slightly off but I really believe that once the pitches start to dry out and the ball gets a little lighter we could see great things from him. I hope james is patient with him as he has great link man potential in my book.

  38. Pressure stacking to get 2pts in Navan which is not an ideal position to be in. Meath will have targeted this game themselves and feel we will be in for a very rough day given our current lack of fire power up front. Conor Loftus more likely to start next Sunday. I hope we appeal that red card during the week as we could do with Jordan Flynn back….no question that the video evidence would see that card resended.

  39. Agree with spotlight.. In comparison to kerry, Dublin and Galway our forward line is very poor. We seem to produce the same type of player all the time. The lack of a free taker was glaring last year and hasn’t been sorted. The backs unit will be tight and we will have more options at midfield this year if all remain fit, but unless the forwards start clicking and we find target men that can break a tackle and worry defences we won’t win connacht and that’s as far as we should be looking.

  40. I was not at the game,but whilst I thought that the ref was poor the sending off was correct ,I think there was a lot of positives to take from the game ,our defence was very good our towards won a lot of ball which when you consider the defence they were up against I think will give them confidence for the future,J Flynn will be a very important player for us thought R O D did well and will be a lot better in summer ,so all in all considering that a lot of players are not fully fit and a few more to return including C O C I think we will be happy in the summer,I think Gamechanger is about right in his comments on the game

  41. Mullins, O’Hora, S Coen, j Durcan, O’Donoghue, Carr, Boland, Flynn, Reape, Conroy, McCormack, Plunkett, Murray, Ruane and Plunkett. Those are lads just new or there a short while who wants to nail down a permanent jersey and all will come very close. That’s a whole new team. It’s feb 2 and despite the massive task in delivering on that we already look like we will maintain our very high standing in a transition period and contemplate even more. Who else would attempt this? Posters talking of us being clipped and such negative sentiment just don’t get it. The day is too short for that sort of foolery, I’m off to take charge of my minors and many would want to spend a few days on those kind of sidelines to appreciate what it takes to bring kids through to have the ability and fight in them to take on the best in the land

  42. I dont have a problem with any ref giving out a red card for what he thinks is a dangerous / high tackle but he has to be consistant in his decisions which Cassidy was clearly not last night, but part of the problem is the GAA’s own making by messing around with the rules again and introducing the sin bin.

    Lets be honest under last years rules Flynn would have been given a black card along with the dublin player in the second half and everyone would have been happy that justice had been served and the game would not have been ruined .


  43. Mayo should have been 7/8 points to 2 up before the sending off such was their dominance in the opening exchanges imo.
    I’ve had my fill now of ineptitude and wanting to make the games about themselves from referees. I’m doing what I’ve been threatening to do for quite a while and that’s stop going to games and give my ST to my young lad. I’m just sick of it. Cassidys first D1 game was in Castlebar v Down in 2011/12 and he needed an escort that day-he doesn’t appear to have learnt much since then.
    Apologies to all around me in the stand at Albany end who had to endure my sarcastic vitriol towards that yoke.

  44. I agree with you Justoutsideofballagh. They had no Con O’Callaghan, Cooper, Jack McCaffrey, Michael McCauley and the player of the year Cluxton. They’re only off the plane from their team holiday too. Now is the time to beat Dublin and once again we couldnt. Our shooting is woeful. It remains our Achilles heel. Do we have a forwards coach? Red card was correct imo. High, late and close fist. Thought Robbie did well enough too. Thought Dublins goal was a fluke myself.

  45. Rock’s goal was a cracking effort and no fluke / freak goal as described despite Hennelly having no chance of saving it, but how Cassidy missed Mcmanamon ‘s 12 plus steps without hoping the ball for the delivery beggars belief

  46. Horan is trying new players & we have to give them a chance.People complained about Clarke last wk & when replaced still complain.Next week a big game for us.

  47. Very impressed with the newcomers, lot of posters typically downbeat, it’s Feb 2nd!
    Just think of who is yet to return: Cillian, Doherty, Ruane, seamie, Vaughan, Barrett, d. coen, tracey, mcdonagh, a fit Leeroy, Eoin o’donoghue.

    Horan will continue to do a good job of blending youth and experience.
    Have we a captain set in stone for the year?

  48. Well, there lots of work for our forward coach to do with this bunch
    First 15min was quite encouraging as we were very direct and Carr and others won some good ball inside.
    Whatever people think of the inside mark I think Mayo are really under-using it, Carr, Conroy and Coen when back, can get infront of defenders if given the right ball. O’D, O’Shea, Diarmuid – well able to deliver these pass.
    James Carr – Has a lot of the attributes needed but rash shots really let him down. Can win ball just looks a little unsure what to do with it. Needs coaching and to be given a defined FF role.
    Ro’D at CHF could develope in to a top player. He is still raw but can pick a pass. Just needs to learn that sometimes the simple pass is the right one, not every pass needs to be a 30min laser. Look at K Kilkenny.
    Tommy Conroy – Again, has the attributes to be that CF we have been missing. More games he gets the better.
    Boland – Very solid again.
    – Mullen and OHora very good again at the back

  49. Justoutsideballagh – name a stronger team that Dublin had available to them last night, with the exception of the aforementioned O’Carroll & McMenamon, in that case. You say the narrative doesn’t stack that it was a strong Dublin team, I disagree. I do agree that they’re just back and it was a great opportunity to beat them, had it stayed 15 v 15 I think we’d have had a great chance but that’s neither here nor there now….

  50. Agree with everything Mike says above some great positives from last night. New lads adjusting well and these games are invaluable BUT what really fustrates is, despite all Horans talk about the simples and how Dublin do them better than anyone else [again yesterday in The Times], we start a campaign and over 2 games we have had about 5 freetakers! J Durcan came on in Ballybofey and straight away took frees….got them on the night but not so last night. He doesn’t even take the frees for Mitchel’s. Loftus was taking them v Galway in FBD….Carr…Reape…Durcan…DOC.. McLoughlin….and when did Hennelly stop taking the 45?…. Sure i’ll take them the next day if I start…..when everyone has responsibility no one has responsibility. Sort it out Mgt it’s a BASIC.

  51. If it wasn’t for the appaling red card we were in with a right chance of beating them. Up until then Dublin didn’t look at all up for it and we were playing very well. Even after that Dublin didn’t play particularly well but their quality carried them through the game at relative ease.

    A worry I’d have is that once again at the highest level like last night was it was our newcomer backs who really shone through, especially Mullen and OHora, with the forwards struggling and shooting was poor.
    I thought Carr was doing fine and was surprised to see him pulled. Must have ran out gas but if so that’s a crucial issue in itself.

    A nasty fixture awaits next week in Navan….

  52. I think some people are being overly harsh. Looking at the two starting teams beforehand I think you’d have to say a 6 point loss is ok never mind being a man down for most of the game. Contrary to some previous comments the Dubs started with 9 or 10 of the all Ireland winning team. The red card was harsh but it would have been more palatable if the ref was consistent, a yellow was brandished to McCarthy for the exact same tackle. However the stats are there to show Dublin generally get an easy run from the referees.

    There was a lot of positives from last night, I thought Mullen was excellent, he tall, athletic, a tight marker and makes good decisions. Hard to believe he’s only 19 or 20. O’Hora is an absolute dog and can see him being deployed to spoil an oppositions danger man in future. Coen and Diarmuid were good around the middle. I noted that Coen kept Fenton out of the game in the first half by constantly running from wing to wing where Fenton had to follow and keeping him away from the middle. Of course our forward play could have been more constructive but we were outnumbered back there and despite this I think o’donuhue looked lively, he’s well able to get out in front, has lightening pace and has a eye for a pass.

    Anyways, the next game is a must win. Hopefully we can improve our forward play, keep 15 on the field and get out of Navan with a win. Looking forward to it now.

  53. I did not expect a win in advance so not disappointed with the result. Some of the new players stood up which is a positive, I am in the camp that would focus on the improvements required rather than blaming the referee. To win at the top level requires taking of chances and on this aspect, we were poor yesterday.

    However, this is a work in progress. Dublins use of the ball, and waiting for the right opportunity is impressive to watch, and their ruthlessness is what they have developed over the years. Our main games are outside Dublin and Kerry, and is what will determine where we finish up in the league. Onwards to Navan.

  54. There were a lot of positives for me last night so I’ll just focus on them ………

    Full back line was excellent
    Hard to believe Mullen is so young . O hora excellent . Can see him being given man marking jobs in the summer . Great to see a full back line mark as they should . Touch tight . Do not want to see Higgins there again. Impact sub role for him now probably higher up the pitch .
    Coen was good in his own unassuming way
    Aido excellent but only had a half in him . We are in big trouble if anything happens him really.
    Boland I can’t work out. He always come up with some good scores but not involved enough ?
    Ryan O D is gonna be a serious playmaker but maybe not this year .
    Conroy showed well again

    We need to win the next two now though

  55. We’ll give Meath a right good rattle in Navan. The squad and management know there’s a bit on this game so I’d be confident we’ll get a performance.

  56. Some on the comments both on here and at the match last night really make my Blood Boil ….we all hide behind false names and make comments about players who put their whole life on hold for our country .
    The effort they put in is unreal . I heard comments from supporters last night to our own players that were fucking disgusting.. and the players familys are sitting in the stands too. And players parents and families read some of the shit that posted on social media as well.
    Rant over Willie Joe.
    Apologies but needed to be said

  57. Great start, really put it up to Dublin, but free taking so poor. The man for between the posts is David Clarke, cool man under pressure.

  58. I agree wholeheartedly with those sentiments, Raz, but to be fair to those who post comments here I don’t think what’s being said on the blog about players is over the top. It almost goes without saying that I’ve had to delete several comments since the match ended and have also edited out the worst bits from others but I think that what’s up on the site now is okay from that point of view. However, if you – or indeed anyone else – has a problem with any comment that is online here then please let me know (either by mailing me at or by posting a comment referencing it) and I’d be happy to take a look at the offending comment and, if necessary, take it down.

  59. WJ I’ve no issue with 99% of the comments on here .. this site personally has been a god send for me . But when guys or girls start insulting players that’s when I get annoyed.. and I will not let them away with it..
    Our team is in transition and they younger guys out there are learning their trade.. I heard people having a pop at James Car …at young donoghue.. at Aido ..jesus wept it’s a good job the players don’t have their mentality.. that’s a savage Dublin team and this Mayoteam gave it best shot last night . Its quiet clear that we a trying to develop different plays. James Horan and his selectors are try to develop a team the will compete at the top table for years to come ..let them do their job and see wher it takes us.
    Last year he won the league and got to an alireland semifinal.. jaysus hes doing something right

  60. Up until the sending off, I actually thought we were the better team. But yet again we were undone by some criminal wides!! We can all give out about the referee and the sending off (which was harsh I admit) but that’s just deflecting attention from problems that have been our downfall in the big games over the last 10 years (and longer). You MIGHT get away with that wides tally against the likes of Meath, Monaghan, Roscommon, Cavan and the likes of that. But against the likes of Kerry and Dublin forget it………and we’ve had too many reminders in recent years!! We need to get our forwards taking all those scoring opportunities going forward to have any chance against the Dubs in future. The annoying and frustrating part of it all is that Dublin are by no means unbeatable. Sure didn’t we let them off the hook in each of those All Irelands finals! Our forwards need to bury all those chances against Dublin in future, because at the moment they have a bit of a jinx on us. If we are ever to win the BIG pot in September we will have to beat Dublin at some stage in that run. But to finish on a bit of a positive, I like the fact that we are blooding some good new lads across the pitch, especially in the forwards. But Ciaran Mac needs to work hard with them over the coming months and longer. Last night would have been a good learning experience for them, but here’s hoping they’ll learn valuable lessons from it.

  61. I know there are a few that wont agree with me but that WAS a red card..high tackle and he did connect !!

    The positives I thought Hennelly was very good today however my heart was in my mouth when he dropped that ball in the square.

    Fergal Boland played well and DOC was very good but i thought AOS was immense, the amount of ball that man gets is unreal and his presence alone must give positivity to his team mates.

    Lots to be positve about, we were missing COC, Ruane, Doherty etc .

  62. Monaghan just beat Tyrone easily and were unlucky not to draw with Galway last week. They seem much stronger than I thought they’d be.

  63. Maybe Tyrone aren’t the force we give them credit for either. I recall we trimmed them last year.

  64. Game next week is as important as a league fixture as you can get , it’s absolutely vital we are on top form . Is there no chance cillian could be back ? If not we need a definite consistent plan for place balls

  65. So Dubs missing Cuxton, Cooper, Mc Caffrey, Mc Auley, Connolly, O’Callaghan and Costello. Hardly their first team. They stayed on their own half in the first half so operating well below par and stepped it up in the 2nd half when they needed to. We will know where we are at by Sunday evening next after we play Meath in Navan and would be foolish to read too much into last nights game which was more like a friendly.

  66. High tackle yes red card no yellow at most unfortunately John small has previous on this purposely trying to get an opposition player sent off and in my book I call that cheating

  67. John Small is a disgrace. Went down last night as if Fury and Wilder had hit him at the same time. Did exactly the same when Donal Vaughan caught him. Has a habit of staying on the floor on life support until the red card is shown and rises like Lazarus once the card is brandished. He gets away with murder himself and should have been black carded for trip on Andy Moran in the final a few years back. His antics didn’t go un-noticed by Brolly and Co on eirsport last night.

  68. Well, I’ve decided after three games to comment. I’ve thought long and hard here and think it’s now time to speak.
    Nay sayers be dammed, we have to blood new players and that doesn’t happen over night. But what I’ve seen from the Galway game through to Donegal and on to last nights game is nothing short of hopeful and optimistic.
    Lack of experience let Galway back in.
    Digging deep, playing to the final whistle and the rub of the green got us a draw in Donegals fortress
    And a muppet of a ref spoiled last nights game, Ref carding for an incident he didn’t even see (he was looking the other way entirely)
    But when you see the likes of O’Hora, Mullin, Boland, Carr, O’Donoghue, J Durcan, Conroy, McCormack and the unlucky Flynn coming through to assist Boyler, Aiden, Diarmuid and the rest of the more experienced lads you cannot be anything but hopeful.


    Anyway, rant over. To the team though I will say this. Your performances to date are promising and with the older guys helping the younger ones I think ye can do great things in the years to come.
    H’on Mayo!!

  69. I am more optimistic sitting here today than I was a year ago, and 2019 turned out ok. Future’s bright friends — in the fullness of time!

  70. Is there no regulations for under armour jerseys matching match jerseys? Mayo have lads with White, Black and awful Red, no doubt when Cillian comes back he will have Grey. Other counties don’t seem to have this fashion disaster and confusion, or do they?????

  71. I was at the game in Navan–Meath v poor ,kept playing ball backwards & v poor defending.No 4 roasted
    But meath are proud & beware or a backlash,some very pacey forwards.

  72. Yep…If Mayo aren’t fully tuned in next wknd we won’t win. Its pretty simple.

    Coukd really do with Ruane seeing as Flynn will be gone. Any update on his injury?

  73. Don’t see what Hennelly did so wrong last night. His kickouts were good, a lot better than what was going on above in Balleybofey. We need good kickouts if we are going to build a platform for attack. He’s shipping a lot of very unneccessary criticism on here.

  74. Dreamysleepy and Mayonaze – that’s a yellow card for you both for (a) asking for an update about a player’s injury and (b) supplying in reply information that isn’t in the public domain. I’m blue in the face reminding everyone that unless something is published and can be referenced as such then it can’t be posted here. It’s a really simple rule and one that has prevented this place from becoming gossip HQ but it’s disappointing to see that some, who post here regularly and so should know better, are failing to abide by it.

  75. I think Hennelly lost every kickout after he conceded that soft goal – several of them straight to a Dub. Cant understand people saying his kicking last night was satisfactory. As soon as he makes a mistake he gets in a right flap – well past time we tried a new option. I really feel sorry for him when I see him under this type of pressure & feel its unfair to keep persisting with him

  76. Tomas 3003 – I’ve deleted that rant, which, as you know full well, was well beyond what’s allowed under the house rules. Although you claim you thought long and hard before commenting, clearly you didn’t think long and hard enough. You’re now in moderation for that outburst.

  77. I’m not sure if that stat is factually correct, Claremorris Native, but Robbie’s options for anything other than long kickouts were eliminated by Dublin’s press with the luxury of the extra man. I don’t know how you can label the goal ‘soft’ either. Maybe it was outrageous skill, maybe it was a pure fluke that Rock connected with the ball like he did but, either way, there was little the keeper could have done about it.

  78. – Great crowd there last night but the atmosphere very subdued from the start…
    – That red card would have been a yellow last year and could be a yellow next week and in the summer. That’s the problem, the list of fouls applicable to a red card does not include a specific reference to a clothesline tackle.
    – It meant though that Mayo had to completely rejig their tactics and it made it hard for Carr and Durkan to utilize the possession they were winning.
    -Ryan OD got through an amount of ball while OHora and Mullins did well. Coen and DOC did very well on Fenton and Howard.
    – The winning of the game was moving Kilkenny from the FF line to the half forward line in the second half. He was either loosely marked or more often than not completely free for the entire second half and no switch made.!!!
    – All in all great experience for the younger guys.
    – Robbie great at the kickouts but his confidence went thru the floor after Rock’s goal flick which meant he dropped his next catch and the was caught out at wrong post when ball flew across in front of goal to be scraped of the line by Oisin I think.
    – I dont know what caused the mini melee behind the goal , I was half hoping it was someone trying to burst those 5 balloons.

  79. All things considered it wasn’t the worst result. A 10+ point hammering would really have damaged our score difference. I really felt we could have dug out a result until the sending off. It was a very harsh red, but Jordan gave Cassidy a decision to make, so he has no one to blame but himself. He has a bright future and I like the cut off him, but these red mist moments need to stop now. Its one thing having ability, but if you don’t control your aggression, your going nowhere. Hope Horan sends him on 50 laps at training during the week.

    Thought Hennelly could have done more for the goal, in real time it felt like the ball was in the air for ages, didn’t even attempt to claw it away. The goal keeper debate should stop now, Clarke is number 1. The 20 meter line restart in his favour, just bomb it long to hell if opposition push up, no need for short kickouts if their not on.

    Next week is by far the biggest game of the league so far, we have no option but to beat Meath. This is a far bigger game than Dublin and Donegal combined. I’ll be crossing the fingers we get a win in Navan.

  80. Anyone any thoughts on the home “support” leaving early last night, yes we were never going to win it, but surely we should stay till the bitter end, our team gave it their all till the final whistle, so should we. The sight of hundreds leaving with 10mins can’t do a whole pile for our lads morale.

  81. Okay I’ve watched the match back this morning and changed my mind on some of my original takes from the game

    I still think the flynn red was probably harsh but maybe not the grave injustice I first thought. I can’t figure out what exactly he was trying to do. Jumping in so late wrapping his forearm round small was asking for trouble. It was reckless and he was probably walking for it either way, though a black card. Over exuberance probably all it was and he will learn from it. His physicality though is a big plus and he definitely will be a great option to have in the close physical games

    On 2nd viewing Mullin and O’hora were even more impressive. I’ve seen enough from those 2 already to convince me they will be championship starters. Some of the more experienced defenders will be definitely under pressure which is great

    Another positive,I have always been critical in past of JH use of subs. In the first 2 league games I think he has been decisive and correct in his subs. His substitution of AOS last night was the right move, prob realising the game was done and AOS will be needed at full tilt for next week’s must win. Last week with things patently going wrong in ballybofey he reacted with a triple sub at halftime that salvaged things. Good to see

  82. Sorry. Aiden still our best player but just need to stick him at number 14 and leave him there it will force teams to play deeper against us. No Brainer. His legs won’t last further out the field

  83. How the same young forwards keep getting a chance under Horan but yet Jack Reilly from Charlestown can’t make the panel, Probably the most accurate forward in Mayo club football with Cillian, Neil Douglas and Darren Coen.
    Sharoize Akram not been in the Mayo panel is another weird one, he was on the DCU Sigerson cup winning team last week.

  84. Strongest “available” team justoutsideballagh. I think our own first choice team would look a little different also. That was a strong Dublin team, as strong as they could muster, full of seasoned performers and multi all ireland medal holders. One thing we can agree on, next week is a must win, I’m gonna back the lads to go and do just that.

  85. Nephin20 what are you talking about?!!! Flynn and o’ donuhue started in their first year of senior inter county football, Tommy Conroy came on, another lad in his first year. The other forwards were car(2nd year), james durcan(3rd year) and Boland whose probably the longest serving but still a young man. Horan has tried out a huge amount of players in the last 14 months. Outside Andy Moran the best forwards in the county are in the panel.

  86. I didn’t know you couldn’t enquire about a players injury. Seems an obvious thing to query.

    Nevertheless, rule noted.

  87. We need to be patient with the young lads. Each one of them have shown promise for the future. That they were getting abuse from our so called supporters, last night, is shocking. Saw highlights of Kerry vs Galway on Sunday Game and Galway looked hard done by. Joyce has put a pep in their step and I’d be a bit worried about our up coming game with them in a few weeks time.

  88. Mayonaze – the rule is the one that aims to stop unconfirmed stories being spread about players. The only way this can be stopped properly is if the ban extends both to posts containing unconfirmed news about players (e.g. injured, added to the panel, released from the panel etc.) and posts asking for news about players (Is he injured? Is he dead? etc. etc.). In this particular instance, while it’s no secret that Mattie Ruane is recovering from injury, no timeframe has been put on his return but the comment in reply to your enquiry made a claim, which has not been confirmed officially, about that timeframe.

    If I don’t stamp down on this, the site will quickly descend into a place where gossip will be traded morning, noon and night. I’ve worked hard for a long time to ensure that this doesn’t happen and I’d like to keep it that way.

    This rule, by the way, in no way prevents anyone commenting on a development about a specific player once this development has been reported publicly. In this instance, the ask I have is that this reference is cited so that it’s clear the story has some basis in fact.

  89. Apologies WJ, I have familiarized myself with the updated rules and will of course abide by them in the future.

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