Mayo 1-10 Armagh 2-10: disastrous opening costs us dearly

It wasn’t just the electronic scoreboard (hit by overnight lightning, apparently) that wasn’t working earlier today in McHale Park.  Not for the first time this year, the lads failed to get stuck in right from the off and by the time they did, Armagh had shown them a fairly clean pair of heels.  Then, to add insult to injury, when they fought themselves back into what was potentially a winning position just a point in arrears with ten minutes to go, instead they faded badly enabling the visitors to claim a three-point win on their county’s first ever appearance at McHale Park.

It was always going to be an historic kind of day in Castlebar because not only were the Orchard lads in town for the first time but amongst their number was Billy Joe Padden.  The last time the counties met – in the NFL semi-final back in 2005 – BJ was at midfield for us but today he started at centre-forward for his adopted county, although the role he played (at least according to Billy Fitz on the radio) was that of sweeper behind his midfield and, by all accounts, he did well for them over the seventy minutes.

I didn’t travel west today – scarcely in the door from my travels, there was no way I was going to undertake a 320-mile roundtrip for the match – and the godawful conditions in Castlebar, which Liam Horan described on Twitter as “a rotten, squally, greasy, wintry kind of day”, made me glad enough that I’d stayed put (where, by the by, we had a nice and sunny, albeit cool, day up here).

Midwest were slow out of the traps in getting the match commentary going but not as slow as the lads on the pitch, as it took us only 30 seconds to concede a goal we’d ultimately never recover from. Brian Mallon was played in by Malachy Mackin in a move which had started when Charlie Vernon won the ball from the throw-in and the full-forward’s clinical finish had us in immediate trouble. Andy Moran responded with a point from play but the first of what would turn out to be a six-point haul by Stevie McDonnell restored the visitors’ three-point advantage.

It was apparent even from here on the couch that the strong downfield wind, which favoured Armagh in the opening half, was going to have a big say in how the match would pan out.  Clearly, we needed to limit the first half damage and then look to a wind-assisted second half comeback to do the trick.

A free for us by Aidan Campbell was cancelled out by one for them by McDonnell but then, after 16 minutes, the roof caved in on us completely  when Paul Duffy smashed in a second goal for them.  McDonnell added salt to the wound shortly after with his third point of the day to put the Orchards all of seven points clear.

Colm Gannon was musing on Twitter at this stage that we might need to get our newly-installed Taoiseach (who was in the crowd at McHale Park today – pic from the Mayo Advertiser) to tog out if we were to have any hope of altering the direction of a match that was canting alarmingly Armagh’s way.  Not only were we failing to defend with any kind of competence, we didn’t seem to know how to account for the conditions in working the ball forward either, nor did we appear to have too much nous about how to go about unpicking a typically sticky Northern defensive formation.  It sure looked grim at that stage.

Aidan Campbell drove over a free for us but they quickly responded with a point by Toner.  Then Campbell had a goalbound shot beaten away for a fifty but Aidan Kilcoyne’s effort was deflected out for another fifty, which this time we played short but succeeded in losing possession.  Downfield came the visitors and the ball was channelled to Stevie Mac who swung it over from over 50 yards out to hoist the Orchards eight points clear.

A hiding was now on the cards unless we could do something, and fast.  We did, with Jason Doherty finally managing to get on the ball in offensive territory and despite BJP’s best efforts he managed to squeeze his shot inside the post to claim a much-needed goal. Half-time couldn’t come quick enough for us now but there was still time for another needlessly conceded free by us and another point arising from this from McDonnell.

Six down at the break and, when buttonholed on his way to the dressing room by Ed McGreal (who incidentally put in a strong shift himself for Midwest today, providing numerous informative updates from the touchline), selector Paul Jordan described our first-half performance as “ponderous”.  That’s one word for it, I guess, although I suspect the punters watching might have managed to come up with a few earthier descriptions for what they’d witnessed in the opening 35 minutes.  Paul also said we could expect to see “two or three” changes for the second half but, in the event, there was only one midway switch – Richie Feeney coming on for Peadar Gardiner.

With the wind now our friend, we really needed to tear into them on the resumption and pare back that lead as quickly as possible but, if this was ever our objective, it was one we failed to execute on. Points from Jason Doherty and Aidan Campbell (a free) were cancelled out at the other end by points from the impressive Charlie Vernon (Billy Fitz’s Man of the Match, by the way) and McDonnell.

As a result, with 15 minutes of the second half gone we were no nearer to them than we were at half-time and it was fast becoming clear that this match was unlikely ever to come within our grasp.  Another missed Fifty, this one from Richie Feeney, added to the frustration with Club Mayo noting on Twitter that we’d used four separate kickers for the six ‘45s we’d been awarded and had missed them all.

But, as Enda said in the Dail last Wednesday, the darkest hour is the one before dawn and, after that last Armagh score, we kept them from adding to their total for a full twenty minutes or so while we tagged on five points to ours.  That was a crap analogy, I know, because, unless you’re in Lapland in winter, after the dawn arrives you expect to see a full day’s brightness stretching out ahead of you.  Continuing the crap analogy, though, what happened to us today was that nightfall arrived just as the dawn began to break.  If you follow me, like.

That fruitful period coincided with Ronan McGarrity’s introduction in place of Tom Parsons and points from Alan Dillon, Andy Moran (whose pass inside bounced, in the manner of Colm Coyle in 1996, up and over the bar), Aidan Kilcoyne, Dillon again (this time a free) and Andy again cut Armagh’s lead to the bare minimum.  Ten to go and the wind behind us, the match was now screaming at us to be won.

But then we just, well, faded away.  Sure, Armagh wasted as much time as they could and, sure, the ref should have added more on at the end but in that crucial period in the final ten minutes when we should have been ripping them limb from limb (poor old Billy Joe along with the rest of them), we went completely flat.  We failed to add to our total at all in that spell and instead points from Murtagh and McKeever clinched what we have to accept was a well-deserved three-point win for them.

As I wasn’t there, I can’t say too much about who did or didn’t do what this afternoon.  Ed McGreal on Twitter pointed to the performances of Jason Doherty and Ruaidhri O’Connor as positives while Billy Fitz on Midwest reckoned that Andy Moran had been our best player.  What’s clear, though, is that overall we were flat and disappointing – once more we were achingly slow out of the blocks at the start and then, when we’d managed to claw our way back into the match, we spurned the chance to go on and win it.

Today’s result, while a setback, shouldn’t, however, alarm us too much.  It is just the league and James Horan is, not without a fair degree of courage, still sifting through the talent at his disposal as he looks ahead to that part of the year where his reputation as Mayo manager will come under real scrutiny.  That period is still several months away and we know from the previous regime that spring joy, while pleasant at the time, is utterly worthless when it gives way, as it always did in the Johnno II era, to summer flaccidity.  It may be that disappointment will be our lot this spring but if this also means that we have a summer to savour then there’ll be few complaints out of us then.

For now, though, it’s a case of a game at a time and our next one (one I’ll finally get to) will see us firmly in the spotlight as we take on Pat Gilroy’s high-flying Dublin in Croke Park.  We’ll have our work well cut out to come away from this one with anything (not least given our proclivity to concede goals and theirs to score them, especially at HQ) but, after today’s no-show, the least we can expect to see is a Mayo team playing somewhere in the region of its potential.  Otherwise,the crowing out of my miniature Dub about how much gooder his team is compared to mine could get out of hand entirely.

Mayo: Kenneth O’Malley; Tom Cunniffe, Cathal Hallinan, Chris Barrett; Peadar Gardiner, Ger Cafferkey, Ruaidhri O’Connor; Tom Parsons, Jason Gibbons; Aidan Campbell (0-3, frees), Alan Dillon (0-2, one free), Kevin McLoughlin; Aidan Kilcoyne (0-1), Andy Moran (0-3), Jason Doherty (1-1).  Subs: Richie Feeney for Gardiner, Ronan McGarrity for Parsons, Enda Varley for Kilcoyne, Aidan O’Shea for McLoughlin.

29 thoughts on “Mayo 1-10 Armagh 2-10: disastrous opening costs us dearly

  1. You couldnt help but feel that today we were just not good enough. Here are a few of the problems I think I saw:
    1.poor kicking out against the wind
    2. a lot of handling and passing errors
    3. holding onto the ball and getting hit hard so that we were unable to lay it off properly
    4. some forwards not showing for the ball and unable to lose their markers and as a result unable to win clean possesion
    5. low work rate in the first half – support running was poor
    6. a few players just not up to IC football yet
    7. some experienced players very flat
    8. physically weaker than Armagh in some areas

    I also felt James Horan was nice to one or two of his clubmates: Jason Gibbons could well have come off instead of Parsons.

    Hopefully some lads will be coming back into contention soon: Keith Higgins, Alan Freeman, Seamus O Shea and Donal Vaughan and Trevor Howley – we need them all! I would also like to see Ronnie get another chance even as a late sub.

  2. When are we going to realise the importance of a reliable free taker. James Horan must be aware as he plated in a team with Maurice Sheridan who (despite his limitations from open play) was consistently worth 5-6 points per game. Today we had 6 45’s taken by four different men none of which were scored!!

    Also, for the last four years we almost without exception start games slowly giving teams an early advantage. While we got away with it in particularly the early o’mahony years (his first league campaign we won many games after being well behind early) it us baffling that this problem hasn’t been rectified. In all 4 league games we have been 3 points down before getting a point on the board. One of the four finished as a draw, and our 2 defeats were by 2 and 3 points. Much easier to start the game strong than play catch up throughout and try to salvage something in dying minutes.

    Very frustrating day out

  3. Here we go again pedalling the idea of a pro Ballintubber bias from jh.Grow up and let the manager manage

  4. Bottom line is that we must have squandered 8 scores( with 4 different free takers) from the 45 or thereabouts. It was actually embarassing watching all the candidates looking at each other to see who would take the next one. We’re making it up as we go along and sorry but thats simply not acceptable. If we had 8 from the 45 then 7 of them must have dropped short! why isnt the keeper given this role eh??? Distance certainly wont be an issue. Its infuriating. We desperately need to sort out the Full back too…drop cafferky back or bite the bullet and bring kevin keane in( if injury permits). Until we sort the two issues above we’re going absolutely no where.

  5. Apologies for being so negative…it wasnt all bad…cunniffe and Cafferky did well enough at the back. Campbell looks the part. Andy worked his socks off and really seems to be leading from the front! Doherty looks like a good find….hes some finisher and anytime he gets the ball there is only goal on his mind – very exciting prospect indeed!

  6. It is not looking good for playing the Dubs, again short of ideas, game plan looks all over the place and some players looking like they could have been on the Father Ted soccer team! I don’t think diehard is saying there’s a Ballintubber bias, don’t be so sensitive, but if a player is off form he should be replaced and that’s a manager’s job, to see the difficulties and sort them out.

  7. In the Kerry match we had four free takers, none doing any good. The same yesterday from 50s. This is becoming a huge problem for Mayo. Add in the amount of bad misses from close in and teams know that despite all the possession Mayo get it will be wasted. All the opposition have to do is take their own chances and the job is done.

    Having said that we have to recognize that football goes in cycles and we are in a downwards loop at the moment. O Mahoney wasted four years and Horan has serious remedial work to do. With Armagh we know what to expect, hard work, Ulster grit, a good return from their forwards. However they rank behind Tyrone and latterly Down up North.

    With Mayo we are not sure what to expect. We seem to try and copy the latest trends, hard work, men behind the ball etc. Perhaps James Horan’s greatest contribution to Mayo might be the Mick Doyle style of giving it a lash. Ireland won 2 improbable Triple crowns in the 1980s by playing a game suited to the psyche of the nation.
    There is a Mayo style but I have not seen it too often. Currently we are physically short of the bigger guns. Then we should adapt to a running and quick movement game, in your face flat out. Its our only hope.

    The cycle is with Roscommon and possibly Sligo. Galway and Mayo are out of sorts. We need power in 3, 6,8,9,11,14. Part of it is there, most is not. Already we are awaiting the return of Howley, Seamus O Shea, Vaughan and Keith Higgins. Throw in the two Morts and Barry Moran and that leaves us with a perfect snapshot of our football stature. The kindest way I can put it is this; a work in progress.

  8. For the first time in years i’m quite happy with this league campaign, we’re testing alot of players in difficult circumstances than they’re used to, giving alot of young players a chance. I’m really impressed with James Horan. Really good league form has never suited us. From yesterday’s performances nothing really was learnt bar feeney will be there come championship and doherty will not be far away. Every game we seem to unearth a new player with big potential which is something we have not done since 02/03. Big dissapointed was Tom Parsons once again. Why he gets chance upon chance is still strange. I’ve never seen a guy with less heart.

    p.s. Good to see billy fitz has a new hero after the demotion of trevor mortimor. Andy Moran. Andy has improved but i still have serious doubts about him, league form has never being a problem for him but when i look at his game i don’t see a whole lot different. He’s not a captain, he will run all day but most of that is into trouble.

  9. have to agree with a lot of posters above, all these points are blatantly obvious the worry is why they haven’t been addressed to date

    – slow starts – teams playing us now must all realise it takes us 20-25 minute to get to speed with a game so if they can deal us a hammer blow in this time we are always on chase up how many early goals have we conceded, surely this can be worked on, I would nearly put a bet on that Dublin will be a goal to the good within 5-mins next Sunday

    – Free taking, its all been said above, what happened to Kilkoyne in this respect he was banging them over from all angles and distances at U21 level we need to select 2-3 players max and then get them to start putting in the training on this

    I wasn’t that optimistic coming into the league, seems there is still a lot of work to be done and maybe come championship things will look better but at this stage it looks like there will be no Connacht teams in Div 1 next year – prove me wrong lads!

  10. We’ve plenty to chew on at the minute, for sure.

    It’s clearly a positive that James Horan is using the league to bring new talent in and to try players in different positions. Hennelly, Cunniffe, the Feeneys, Cafferkey, Campbell and Doherty have all added something in this respect. Ronan is a definite at midfield, as, I guess, are Dillon and Andy in the forwards. Assuming Alan Freeman recovers okay, he’s surely in line for a slot in the forwards. There’s a solid team emerging there but the full shape isn’t clear as yet.

    While some more experimentation is still needed – Aidan O’Shea along with McGarrity at midfield? Alan Freeman at 11 when he recovers? – the time of change for change’s sake (seen most clearly yesterday with playing Gardiner and Parsons instead of Feeney and McGarrity respectively) really has to end. The big danger I see is that with the Dubs and Cork up next, our work in progress has to face what are probably the two best teams in the country at the minute and, on yesterday’s showing, there’s a real danger we could take a hammering in one (or both) of these.

    I’ve seen as much of the Dubs this year as I have of our lads and they’re a serious proposition now. All the hot air and bullshit of Pillar’s era has been replaced by an ethic of hard work and commitment and Gilroy hasn’t a single prima donna in his squad. They defend like tigers and are fast and effective in attack and if we start in the lackadaisical way we did against Down, Kerry and Armagh, they’re well capable of tearing us to shreds. If that happens, then facing Cork immediately afterwards could be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.

    What’s vital from these two big matches is, quite simply, that we show we can compete. We need to up our performance level, cut out the schoolboy errors we’ve been making, work to a gameplan, sort out the freetaking (Hennelly for the fifties – like the Dubs did with Cluxton last year, Campbell for everything else?) and keep plugging away for the full seventy minutes. If we can do that, then we’ve at least a fighting chance of staying with both of them and emerging from the league – relegated or not – in decent enough shape for the summer. If we fail to make the step up, though, two heavy thumpings could be heading our way and such an outcome could well put us into a tailspin, one which we’d be unlikely to come out of this side of 2012.

  11. Pretty bad weekend overall. looking at the table it seems that galway are probable relegated. The final match against monaghan will be the relegation decider, unless we get something out of the Cork or Dublin matches.
    How is the league structured this year, is it still the top two into the final, or do the top 4 go into the semi finals?

  12. I don’t know what the story is with Alan Freeman, jpm, but seeing as he wasn’t listed among the subs for yesterday I’d say it’s doubtful that he’d be back (especially to start) against Dublin.

    It’s the top two straight into the final, Nitram, though I think they’re reverting back to having semis again as well next year. I’ve always reckoned it should just be a straight league (which we’d have won last year) but it’s hardly ever been played that way (think we won one in the Thirties using such a format). That match against Monaghan could be crucial alright – they’re away to Down next (difficult but not impossible) and then home to Kerry (which is likely to be tough enough for them too). It could well be that whoever wins at Inniskeen on April 10th will stay up.

  13. Even with the bad start this game was there for the taking in the last ten minutes but our free taking and forward inability to kick scores from play let us down.
    Armagh players were very physically strong, as are most good teams now , we need to select similar players who can hold their own, not be intimitated. How often in Croke Parke have we seen established forwards falling over , looking for easy frees that they take themselves. Jason Doherty is delight to watch, well able to hold his own and win his own ball and hold on to it.
    Peadar Gardiner had a bad day, I wonder about his defending, he was pushed aside and ran around for the first goal . He is good going forward but is this enough.Tom Parsons in a nice footballer but if the going gets tuff i think he would be found wanting.

  14. yes i agree peader is not a physical player and he cant defend maybe james horan needs to make hard calls . tom parson question his commitment would like to have seen aidan oshea there or james moran stronger given a chance against armagh. we need free takers thats what wins or changes games . andy moran not one .

  15. bad weekend all round for the teams, some positives from yesterdays game have to be jason doherty showed again he is a real finisher infront of goal and mc garrity has to be placed at midfield he really made a difference when he came on would agree with wj would like to see how a partnership of aos n mc garrity would fair out heard aos had a great game there for the u21’s.

  16. Yeah deffo AOS at midfield with McGarrity we need a big man there.I don`t think Hennelly would have been beaten in the first minute either.
    He`s a great shot stopper and why not try him on the 50`s he scored a few last year for the U21`s.

    I wasn`t at the game but I would hope after 4 games that James Horan would have a good idea of his strongest 15 at this stage and would start them for the next two games.The backs will need to be very tight the next day.
    I have to say I was very disappointed how both teams at the weekend fought back into winning positions only to fade in the last 10 minutes.That has happened too often in the past and needs to be sorted out badly.

  17. AOS was good on Sat,but was out on his feet for the last 10-12 mins.Needs to be fitter
    more mobile and tougher for midfield at senior level

  18. Spot on PJ and indeed many other posters on this thread. Im all for experimentation but not at the expense of Division 1 status. Yesterdays game was a game we could well have won and needed to win and should have been treated accordingly. but it wasnt treated that way. We put out a sub standard midfield plus a dodgy full back & keeper! We were just asking for truble and the first move of the game which led to the goal exposed our four dodgy selections. If we had played a strong team and won then i would have had no prob with horan trying a few options in croker but a must win game wasnt treated as that and now we’re facing the prospect of having to beat monaghan in monaghan to stay up after what most would expect to be 2 defeats V cork and Dublin. Yesterday we could have sown up our division one status and sent out whatever team they liked after that…a big opportunity lost in my opinion.

    Mayo have loads of fairly good IC footballers. We could put out a whole lot of different lads on any given day and we would do fairly well. What we dont have are 5 or 6 outstanding players – players that are better than anyone in the country in their position. We dont even know who our best player for each position is yet!
    To be successful at the highest level you need a few of these special players – nothing else will do – and to make it worse they are born – not made.
    This is no criticism of the lads who do their best week in week out for Mayo. Neither is it a criticism of JH – he is doing his best. It is just a comment on the reality of Mayo football – maybe we need to adjust our expectations in line with that reality and support the team in doing their best on our behalf until such time as a crop of top class players emerge.

  20. Spot on diehard. I was thinking the exact same thing as yourself. We seem to have an abundance of good, decent footballers but ye’re lacking guys of the highest standard. I was in awe of Stevie McDonald on Sunday and it wasn’t even one of his better days. I once thought McGarrity was one of the best midfielders in the country… thats not true. He’s good but not dominant enough. Alan Dillon was on fire two years ago but he’s been very poor this season. He seems to be a player thats excellent when things are going well but can’t be relied on to be the main man. Defensively there’s not one player I would expect to dominate their marker on most Sundays except maybe Higgins. We don’t have one player I’d be confident of earning an All-Star at the end of the year.

    You can tell that this Mayo team is very much a work in progress. I’m delighted that Horan is trying to change things up and give players their chance and if takes relegation to find out our first 15 and who is good enough and who is not at this level then so be it.

  21. I wouldn’t agree that players are Born and not made. Kerry do not have a higher birth rate than us but they do produce (year in year out) new “PERFORMERS”.
    Players of the like of Tomás O’Shea, Gooch, Galvin, Donaghy who after years of hard work begin to show off that they can perform for a team too. But they know if they’re not performing they have to put in more hard work.

    Maybe JH is trying to do this and fair play to him if he is. I agreed with strategy of not playing R McGarrity After all he’s played nearly every league game and if he keeps going all way through he’ll be burnt out by June.

    I am still very diappointed in Alan Dillon though. His club team won county title and on that basis alone his performance levels and fitness should be of a high standard. But he has not reproduced any of this at IC level.

    People criticise AM but he scores (from play) week in week out. And he does serious dog work i.e. mixes it with hard hits and physical work when he has to. I think he actually takes on too much and it would be better if he didn’t play for the team so much and told a few other payers thay have to step up to the mark as well in terms of doing the dog work.

    This applies to AOS, Tom Parsons, Peadar
    Gardiner, (and a whole host of other “Big Names”) as well. If they want to make that team they better start with putting in more tenacious effort and perseverance.
    Then they can make the move up a level to serious being seen as serious inter county performers.

  22. JPM – a lot of what you say makes perfect sense. The only question I would ask is how many of the present Mayo team would get a place on the Kerry team let alone be the stars of such a team.
    You cannot coach what Gooch has. Brian O Drioscoll is what he is because of innate qualities more than as a result of coaching or training although good coaching, training and hard work will make a great player even better.

  23. To answer your Q. Diehard as to how many would make the Kerry team – I would say 3, possibly 4. And another 2/3 would be panel players. And that’s all. The real question is Why ? Kerry only have 1 single Gooch not 15 or 20. And even with the Gooch playing to his best they can still be beaten.

    Take last year in championship. Gooch was playing for Kerry against Down but they lost. How come? Gooch was playing after all.

    The better Q. is would Kerry have lost to Down if Tomás O’Shea and P. Galvin were also playing that day? Obviously it’s an impossible question to answer. But, you couldn’t deny that the Kerry team wouldn’t be stronger with them playing, and therefore harder to beat.

    As I see it the main difference between Kerry and us is that they have fellas who will step up to the mark when others are not around. These fellas are what I class as “Performers”. If you don’t have them on your team you cannot succeed.

    So – how do you create performers ? Well it’s not an easy road. You have to have a player who first of all is willing to play foremost the Team. After he shows this consistent ability to work and work and work for the team then he is ready to move up to the level of “Performer” and showcase his talents to the wider audience.

    But this is not easy place to be (in the major spotlight). The “Performer” level can be a temporary one. Fellas will fall back – some begin to rest on their laurels or reputations.

    The point is when that happens they should either disappear or go back to being workhorses and then come back even stronger.

  24. Kerry are weak (ish) in several areas.
    Definitly Goalkeeper and we are stong here.
    FB – they have never adequatly recovered from Mike McCarthy leaving that position. They would love soeone with T Cunniffes physical presence and pace.
    Tom O’sullivan moving to CHB line would also free up a CB slot (possibly – Keith Higgins)
    Also they’re short a consistent midfielder and Ronan could cut it there.
    At 1/2 fw line – you have P Galvin, Darren O’sullivan and (I would say Andy moran would have a good shout here although he would be under intense pressure from Bryan Sheehan.
    Kerry FF line of Gooch, donaghy (and possibly A. Freeman would be phenomenal)

  25. Re-posting this last as ISP went down while sending.

    Kerry are weak (ish) in several areas.
    Definitely Goalkeeper and we are strong here.
    FB – they have never adequately recovered from Mike McCarthy leaving that position. They would love someone with T Cunniffes physical presence and pace.
    Keith Higgins could hold down a ½ back line position on the Kerry team and would provide the pace to backup Eoin Brosnan
    Also they’re short a consistent midfielder and Ronan could cut it there.
    At 1/2 fw line – you have P Galvin, Darren O’Sullivan and (I would say Andy Moran would have a good shout here) although he would be under intense pressure from Bryan Sheehan.
    Kerry FF line of Gooch, Donaghy (and possibly A. Freeman would be phenomenal).

  26. I agree JPM that even with Gooch playing to his best Kerry can be beaten. This shows how hard it is to win at the highest level. You need a few gooch-like players throughout the field………. but what if you dont have any gooch at all! That is the point I was making at the start.
    The winning teams tend to have a few characters who will come out on top especially on the big day despite your very best efforts. They’re the kind of feckers you’d love to have on your team but who would break your heart to play against. I’m afraid we dont really have any yet as far as I can see.
    When you have a few of these characters you can carry a few lads who are not that great

  27. I think we’re agreeing on several levels Diehard. Performers, Leaders, Competitors, Characters – whatever you want to call them are required to make a winning team – or as you put it better – make a team win !
    I disagree with you though that these players are born and not coached/trained. I believe it is very straightforward to coach players of this capability.

    The problem in Mayo is we don’t want to adopt a scenario that leads to these players being produced.

    Those in power can argue all they want that this is actually being done and has been the process for the past 10 even 20 years. But the fact remains that we have not tasted enough success (only nominal) to verify and backup these claims. Kerry/Tyrone/Cork can all make these claims with some justification. We cannot.

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