Mayo 1-10 Donegal 0-9: Division One here we stay?

Mickey C hits the net

Photo: Mayo Mick

That was better – much, much better. Not just because of the result and the very welcome two league points, not only because we finally managed to get the ball in the net for only the second time in this NFL campaign but also – and, perhaps, more importantly – for the hunger and sheer desire to prevail that the lads showed in spades in a freezing McHale Park today when they downed All-Ireland champions Donegal by a four-point margin.

When the league fixtures were announced way before Christmas, this was the one home league match that I’d vowed I’d definitely be heading west for. A complicated domestic schedule this morning and afternoon, however, put paid to those plans, which also meant, for the first time since I started the blog back in 2007, that I wouldn’t be able to make it to any of our home games in the league. Still, TG4 were showing it live – and in HD too – and even if the sound of my all-too-frequent profanities didn’t make it as far as Castlebar I still felt that I caught the bulk of the action today.

There was plenty to catch too as the match started at a lively pace, with this tempo maintained more or less for the entire seventy minutes. Although we were first off the mark – via an early free from the returning Cillian O’Connor – Donegal had the better of the exchanges in the opening quarter, with four unanswered points – two from Murphy and two from McFadden, each of them getting one from play – putting them three clear.

We looked – understandably – a bit on the jittery side in that early part of the game, with plenty of misplaced passes and some poorly delivered ball into the forwards. The visitors, by contrast, seemed far more composed, with the man in possession looking like he always had plenty of time to offload and always had a man in space to offload to. Visions of a thumping started to bubble up in my mind at that stage.

Then, almost imperceptibly at first, the game began to swing back in our favour and, once it did, we took a firm hold on proceedings. Cillian started it with a point from play and this was followed up with a free from Kevin McLoughlin. Kevin had been one of the culprits as regards poorly directed passes early on but there was nothing wrong with his next delivery, a clever handpass that sent Jason Doherty clear on goal with only Durcan to beat. Doc’s miss looked a bad one at first glance but the replay showed that the Donegal ‘keeper’s quick movement off his line had forced Jason into a shot that was never going to hit the net.

Jason Doherty goal chance

Photo: Mayo Mick

The miss did nothing to upset our rhythm, though, as our increasing dominance around the middle saw us create further chances and it wasn’t long before we hit the front. Cillian pointed a free following a foul on Mickey Conroy and a free further out soon after was channeled quickly to Kevin McLoughlin who drove it over from more than thirty yards out to claim the lead for the first time. Cillian, showing how much we’ve missed him these last few frustrating weeks, then knocked over his fourth of the day to send us in two to the good.

The lads would have gone in at the break in good fettle too. That nervy opening quarter had given way to a real ballsy second quarter showing where the lads gave ample proof that we were really up for this one. It was clear too that there was a bit of a bite to this contest, with Marty Duffy busily waving yellows all over the place, and both sides were showing that the result was going to be of more than academic interest to them.

We’d built solid foundations in that first half but we needed to push on after the break if we were going to turn this positive showing into a win. This we managed to do, although they did get the opening two points of the half, with O’Reilly and McBrearty scoring from play to level the contest at six apiece. Another Cillian free was replied to by way of a Kavanagh point from play for them, as this increasingly tight contest remained deadlocked.

But then we broke clear and we did so through an end-to-end move that finished with Mickey Conroy lashing the ball to the net. The move started in our danger area, though, with a brilliant rob by Cathal Carolan, with the ball quickly transferred upfield via Keith Higgins and Seamus O’Shea. Keith’s final pass into Mickey was a tad overcooked but the Davitts man had the presence of mind to thump it first time and in it went off the upright to send us a goal clear.

Goal!

Photo: Mayo Mick

Ryan McHugh got a point back for them but the visitors’ task then got harder when Thompson got a second yellow for a crude rugby-style tackle. Cillian – who’d put in a really solid shift at this stage – gave way to Richie Feeney as we sought to bottle up the middle third and frustrate the current kings of swarm.

Colm Boyle then blasted over a gutsy point to restore our three-point advantage and although Donegal continued to come at us, the pressure was clearly beginning to tell with a succession of poor passes allowing us to clear our lines and take the battle back to them.

Keith went off injured, to be replaced by Donal Vaughan, and then James pulled a surprise out of the hat by introducing Brian Gallagher (who hadn’t been named in the original teamsheet) in place of the tiring Seamus O’Shea. Sheamie had put in a real barnstorming performance in the middle, where his partnership with Man of the Match Barry Moran was one of the main reasons we prevailed today.

Murphy, from a free, notched Donegal’s final score of the afternoon just before Sheamie went off but it was our late sub Enda Varley – who replaced Michael Conroy inside the last ten minutes – that had the final say on the scoresheet. He showed coolness and composure to fist one over and then banged a second one over the bar to seal the win for us.

It was a cracking win, on a day where we had a number of strong performers. Once he settled into the game, Ger Cafferkey was cool and calm at the back and, despite a few badly misplaced passes early on, Chris Barrett put in a strong display in the corner, with Keith also posting an improved showing in the other corner. The half-back line was solid too, in particular Colm Boyle at wing-back – if ever there was a man who likes a battle, it’s the combative Davitts man.

Mayo Donegal Action Shot

Photo: Mayo Mick

This win was, though, chiseled out at midfield where Barry Moran was back to the kind of form that brought him to the edge of an All-Star last summer. Time and again he caught clean ball in the middle and despite the suffocating attention he had to deal with having done so, he repeatedly drove us forward, helping to create a number of scores for us. Riding shotgun alongside Barry, Seamus O’Shea put in his best display for the county for a long time.

Kevin McLoughlin was much improved at wing-forward and showed more than a few flashes of what we all know he’s capable of while Aidan O’Shea – who, for a change, actually looked up before delivering the ball and didn’t invite contact every time he was in possession – was strong and aggressive at centre-forward. Cathal Carolan was busy and inventive, covering acres of ground all over the pitch.

Cillian’s five points, allied to his aggressive harrying and ball-winning further out the field, contributed significantly to today’s win. Jason Doherty – ordered off on a second yellow close to the end – was less prominent than of late (he didn’t get on the scoresheet today) but he still expended a good deal of unselfish effort. Michael Conroy caused plenty of problems for Donegal and his goal went a long way towards sealing the win for us.

Final score

Photo: Mayo Mick

It’s a welcome win and one which gives us renewed hope that we might yet salvage our place in Division One for next year.The permutations have already been hashed out in the comments so there’s no need for me to add to this analysis here. Except to note that, in the mad, mad world of the NFL, our final match in a fortnight’s time will, if we win, see us qualify for the semi-finals. We could, of course, still face the drop (if we lose and Kerry and Donegal both win) but at least we’ll head to Páirc Uí Chaoimh two weeks from now knowing that our fate rests squarely in our own hands. That’s good enough to be getting on with, I reckon.

Mayo: David Clarke; Chris Barrett, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Tom Cunniffe, Colm Boyle (0-1); Barry Moran, Seamus O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-2, one free), Aidan O’Shea, Cathal Carolan; Cillian O’Connor (0-5, four frees), Jason Doherty, Michael Conroy (1-0). Subs: Richie Feeney for O’Connor, Donal Vaughan for Higgins, Brian Gallagher for Seamus O’Shea, Enda Varley (0-2) for Conroy, Alan Freeman for Carolan.

71 thoughts on “Mayo 1-10 Donegal 0-9: Division One here we stay?

  1. Agree WJ…much better…sometimes labored, but much much better…midfield pairing were immense! Very pleased here. Will have to look at the table now..see other results.

  2. Cathal Carolan and Tom Cunniffe the big plusses from this league campaign in terms of new players (alright, Cunniffe was around for a few years before, but you know what I mean).
    Barry Moran immense today. Huge workrate from all the players today. Still a bit jittery towards the end when they hit a few wild shots, but this will be a great confidence boost.
    What say ye now, those calling for Horan’s head etc in the last few weeks 😉

  3. Permutations fairly simple:

    – Match or better Kerry’s result and we don’t get relegated
    – Beat Cork (and if Donegal win, then by more than Donegal win their match) and we are in the semi-finals
    – If we lose, then to stay up we need Kerry to lose, or failing that, Donegal to lose by more than us.

  4. That’s some win by mayo fair play mayo just one question lads what happens if we draw cork do we still stay up

  5. I think with Andy Moran and Alan dillon back in action that Mayo will do a lot of damage this year, even more is possible from them but more composure is needed, a lot more.
    Great goal by conroy, messi would be happy with that one, no time to think, just instinct.

  6. Digits

    I read it that if we and Donegal win, that Donegal have to beat our result by three points or two points in an insanely high scoring game with Dublin to get to the semi.

    Anyway much better position than if we lost today where we would have been rock bottom.

  7. It’s all in our own hands now. We have a better head to head against both Donegal and Kerry and a better points difference. All we need to do is match at least one of their results and wer staying up. Win against cork and wel have a better head to head against them too and better points difference (which we already have) and wer in te semi finals again.

    The extra game would be great but il take staying in Div 1 cause that’s a successful league campaign for me

  8. Great performance from the lads, still need a bit more composure when finishing out tight games. Our handpassing at times was woeful giving away cheap posession, but all that can be ironed out. Defence was immense, Ger had the bit between his teeth and we looked solid. With Alan and Andy coming back this team could be very dangerous, if we can beat cork we could sneak and semi final spot. Hon the Green an Red!!

  9. David…LMAO at your Messi comparison…my wife said the same thing when Mickey scored it..great volley as Durcan was on him if he tried to catch it.

  10. A massive, massive result today for mayo football and hopefully now will kick on and improve abit more for cork in 2 weeks and more importantly stay in division 1, dont care about semi,s in the league, if it happens fine, they made hard work of it at times, thought doherty shouda beem taken off though before he got sent off, anyways a wins a win……As for duffy the ref from sligo very poor to both sides….roll on 2 weeks today…

  11. I said in my last blog that when I saw Mr Duffy the referee, it would be like last year against Donegal and sure enough it was. He was the MAIN (MEAN) MAN. He made daft decisions on both sides, God help any match he referee’s when the black card comes in. It will be only a 7 aside when he finishes. To be fair to JH he made decisions when he had to. We are a long way off the finished article for the championship but we are getting there. I beleive we can beat Cork. As for yesterdays U21, if forwards cannot score from play you will be beaten. Dont keep blaming the manager. Surprise Jason Gibbons didn’t get a run today, it would have boosted his confidence.

  12. Must say WJ, and I know I gave out to you for complaining about refs before/after Mayo matches, but that was one of the worst referring performances I’ve ever seen. From the very 1st minute he was intent on handing out yellow cards. Terrible ref.

    Great win, well able to get another in Cork in two weeks. Fair play to Seamie O’Shea, had a great game. I’d start Varley ahead of Conroy the next day.

  13. Mister mayor,
    All we need now is Ronaldo and we”re all set for September.
    It was a nice score at any rate
    Good man Mikey

  14. It would have been a awful one to lose, CoC made a difference to the threat from the ff line and in fairness brought a little bit of leadership in the forwards, Its a starting point to build the 2013 season , the Cork trip is back on the adgenda. overall alot of huffing and puffing from both teams and both lacked the quality of all ireland finalists, did not like donies late challenge at the end,

  15. jeez was this the same match I was at ? Great to get the win but some of the Mayo play was quite simply shocking
    – no shape in the forwards
    – inside forwards getting the ball in the corners with 3-4 players between them and the posts
    – shocking freekicks- AOS & Carolans come to mind
    – overpassing & carrying the ball into the tackle was unbelievable and I lost count of the amount of times that a quick look up would have seen a player in acres of space
    – how long does the management need in a game to make changes
    honestly think after watching this & yesterdays U21 that Mayo are going backwards

  16. Good win,but a lot more to do. A lot of people went ott last week when we lost and conversly going the other way this week talking about semi etc…As I see things we fid s lot of things well, but by jesus we made a lot of silly mistakes that we were lucky to get away with.lets hope we stay in div 1-anything else is a bonus.Id like us to sharpen up on our basics and be in good shape for galway

  17. Have to agree with you there throwintime. Was scratching me head when I saw Aido lining up to take that free, and then Carolans punt from the side line into oblivion! As you said, shocking really. Both were at critical times in the match. One would think either Doc or CoC would have been directed to take either. Elementary stuff at this level.
    Nevertheless, there’s many positives to this match, not least the result. The ref was shockin’, for both, again.

  18. throwintime, I’m sorry but I dont agree, it is hard to play in conditions like that. Barry Moran was awesome today as was as was Keith, colm, chis and a few more as well. We are stronger than last year now.

  19. Well, good win lads. We deserved it. Thought it was a very gritty win. Fair play to the backs. They couldnt do much more to make us win the game. Boyle is some detail. What a great lad. Midfield was excellant. SOS is worth his place and complements Barry very well. Great physicality there. Half forwards were very hard working and FF line is more of a threat with Cillian there. He is a super player.
    Well done to Horan and Backroom staff. We are not a bad team overnight. Think we should be safe now. Dont really want to make league semis. Better to surviv in Div 1 and focus on Galway.

    Coiuldnt help wondering if Caff was on Murphy from start in All Ireland would result have been different…………..

    Ah well roll on Galway.

  20. Agree with Throwintime – The win is very welcome and the lads worked hard, but, let’s not paper over the cracks.

    Negatives
    – We have to work so incredibly hard for our scores. Teams like Dublin just seem much more dangerous once the ball passes half way
    – Still taking the ball into contact way too much and still too many turnovers.
    – The only ball in the forwards that stick is when it goes in to the corners, any direct ball in towards the square comes out just as fast.

    Positives
    Seamie o’Shea – big game, huge work rates. Has to start if he plays like that
    Defence was tight, Cunniffe is a def plus. Caff had a good game on Murphy.
    We scored a goal. I know, I have said this before, but, for me Kieth Higgins should be in the half forwards, his pace and ball skills could really give us a new dimension in attach ( we need it.)

  21. I have never been so cold at a match!

    Some good points today, Barry Moran was excellent and Seamus O’Shea gave his all but still has to carry the ball into the tackle. Cillian O’Connor showed a little of what we have been missing up front, and in the fullback line were a lot tighter.

    Still gave a lot of silly ball away and ran up blind alleys as in previous games but I think it was clear that there was a motivation in the camp to beat Donegal. I have to say that I really hate what Donegal have done to Gaelic football. They are the ugliest team to play against. Much of the talk was about AOS been picked at no 11 but really it made little difference where he was picked as positions mean little when playing them. Their frustration at their bad performance was evident at the end and Murphy wash my not to be shown the line. However they will be there or there abouts in summer on harder ground.

    A win is a win and it’s now in our hands again. We haven’t become a bad team overnight but there’s a lot improving to be done.

    Finally, as a Mayoman in exile in Sligo, believe me that not all Sligo men are as hard to understand as Marty Duffy. Brutal display for both sides. God help us all when the black card rule comes in.

  22. Great gutsy performance. Lots of polishing needed but with this kind of spirit I have no doubt that it will be effective. Granted there was a lot of “sloppy” play and we need more method in the forwards in particular. Some of the options taken were ridiculous and there was far too much handpassing in too tight situation resulting in turnovers. Then again the same could be said of Donegal.
    It should not go unnoticed that both our goals in this campaign came from Keith Higgins raids. Can he be more usefully used closer to goal? His pace coming forward is a real asset and a threat to any defence.
    All in all this can be the springboard for the rest of the year.

  23. Did anybody else notice that Keith Higgins received the ball in midfield for the goal. It was carolan who chasing his man back turned the ball over near our goal. Once Higgins received the ball it created both panic and confusion in the Donegal defence. While Higgins is an all star corner back I have to agree with Andyd that a new role further up the field whether it be in the half backs or half forwards should be created for him.

  24. Mayo showed some metal today. The Mayo team worked hard and it was difficult at times to watch them squander their hard work away with silly mistakes. Mayo chased down every ball as if lives were on the line and it was so infuriating to see them literally hand the ball back to Donegal with an under thrown hand pass.

    Work needs to be done on their hand passing skills when the team is running at speed. Attacking momentum was stalled time after time through very poor use of the hand pass. In the heat of the game it is vital to Mayo’s ongoing campainge that they improve this aspect of their game.

    I wouldn’t be worried in the slightest about Carolans kick to oblivion or OConnors miss hit 45etc, minor glitches that can and will happen. Pointing these out is pointless rubber necking and serves nobody .

    The Mayo team did us proud today. We beat The All Ireland Champs by 4 points. I do realise that we have improvements to make but lets not over analyse their faults but rather focus more on the positives.

    In James Horan we have a good un. He’s not out there patrolling the side line looking for votes or to raise his profile, James is (as he has stated) honoured to there and we are fortunate to have him.

    Let’s get fully behind James and this good and serious Mayo team who I believe have within them, the makings to be great.

    Come On Mayo!

  25. Relieved with the win and more relieved i didn’t lose my toes to frostbite!!

  26. Still trying to warm up after today’s game!
    Quite pleased after the match. Plenty to work on but these were the All Ireland champions and we looked quite good at times.
    Moran and the two O’Sheas were immense. Immense. Moran was back to his best today when they really needed him. It just showed in spite of our panicking that once these guys got football and games, it was only a matter of time before their performances followed. Thought O’Connor looked good, has a bit of a cutting edge to him. Conroy was really good also. Out in front of his man every time, particularly when they were under pressure in the first half. Carolan looked good at times but needs to contribute more. Doherty was poor and should have scored the chance Kevin set up for him in the first half.
    Thought the backs were good – Cafferkey did well with Murphy after the first point and Boyle did quite well. Cuniffe, whilst a tad slow, mopped up a lot of ball in the second half. And Varley again added to the belief that he is a great sub to bring on when the game has started to open up.
    Now Donegal were poor, and judging by their bizarre substitutions at time, they weren’t too bothered by the outcome. Particularly their no. 12 – named in the team, not started brought on after 20 mins, then taken off after. What?! However, Mayo still had to beat what was in front of them – minus Dillon and Andy Moran – which is no mean feat. Their wastefulness in the first half was shocking – however, I thought they looked good in the second half when breaking onto handpasses at pace. McLaughlin and O’Shea are still a little ponderous on the ball, but this can be worked on. They need a mobile and big full forward – it will be interesting to see if Horan can work on this. Whilst I did not agree with Aidan O’Shea being posted at centre forward, if Seamus O’Shea and Barry Moran continue to play at that level, it makes sense to include him in that midfield triangle.
    Overall – today was a good day at the office. There is a bit of steel to this Mayo team and if we can sort out our forwards deficiencies, things aren’t half as bad as was feared previously!

  27. Mixed views on today’s match, good to win, defensively much better than previous games, mf upped their performance but there is still plenty of work to be done with the forwards. However, there is still time to work on this, With Cillian back in, and Andy and Dillon to come back, there is potential to improve.

    Ultimately, we need to be right for August but it was critical that we got a confidence boost before the league finished up, and we now have probably a 50/50 chance of staying up, even if we lose in Cork. So positives from today but plenty of work required over the next few weeks to make necessary improvements. May 19th now becomes the focus, this is more important than any league semi final, onwards and upwards…..

  28. great win,team showed massive heart,B Moran,SOS massive at midfield,we know things are far from perfect but its early in the year yet,lets stay in division 1 and concentrate on championship,dont need worry of league semifinals

  29. Thanks to all concerned for a gutsy performance – we had a bit of luck today, hence the win. (had no luck on the previous occasions and lost but the performanes havent really differed) Alas as usual it was all too frantic and off the cuff, no evidence of patterns of play or ball retention. Why do our players feel they have to immediately shovel the ball off to a colleague or as so often happens, to an opponent.
    Would dearly love a few players who can take time on the ball, size up a situation and pick off the killer passes, rather than hastily ballooning in so many high balls into diminutive forwards.
    That said, thank you all for bringing back the feel good factor and remember to bring a swagger and a slightly contemptious air to Cork – we owe them too.

  30. To be brief it was great win from the div.1 status point of view, not quite there yet!

    -Horan is still lacking when it comes to substitutions, How Conroy & O Connor were replaced before Doherty i’ll never know
    – Higgins has to taken out of the corner, he had a hand in 1-2 in the second half when he pushed forward into Donegal’s half.
    – I thought the free taking issue was put to bed nearly 2 years ago???

    Hon Mayo!

  31. Could I appeal to everyone to keep a balance. Last week calls for jh’s head were simply ott. now we are talking all ireland again.
    The lads and management did well to beat donegal. But the difference between this performance and previous ones wasn’t that big……the goal being the big one and a few key players upping the performance.
    We have a good team that I enjoy following despite the frustrations. As I said in a previous post things will come right if we are patient and persistent and god knows where that will lead.
    I have been going to mayo v galway championship matches since the 60s. I have rarely had reason to be confident during that time. But I have few worries about may 2013. These lads will not let us down.

  32. Joe Ruane Well said I agree with what you have said on this game. The will to win was very positive. SOS Moran Higgings Boyle Conroy Caf Keegan Cunniffe immense. After Cork we do not need any more league action this year whatever the outcome of that one. Today was a red letter day and the boys delivered, that’s it

  33. This is a serious Mayo team. I don’t want the penny dropping on them in twenty years time. words of advice Mayo, Play in attack with the same drop dead intensity that you do in defense. You have it “Well within “Yourselves” to move our mountain. You are the sword, just use it.

    Come On Mayo!

  34. You know what, even if we do go down, I feel alot better now than after the Kildare game. This afternoon we showed everything that we lacked last week. Intelligence, patience, team work, communication, Mayo men backing up mayo men all over the pitch and when it looked like the game was getting away from us we didn’t panic – unlike after Kildare goaled last week.
    Far from perfect but, at this stage of the year, it is exactly what I have been looking for.
    Proud as fuck of the lads tonight.
    P.S. McGuinness let himself down with his cheap comment on League Sunday that they are not at any serious training just yet and didn’t regard the defeat as anything to write home about. Does he think that we are at Championship fitness levels ourselves?

  35. I think also that Horan and the sideline got the tactics spot on and have shown how to defeat the Donegal “funnel-back” defense.
    By playing the ball laterally between the half back line and our midfield might not look pretty but it drew their defense out towards us, this in turn allowed us to play direct ball into our forwards where there was more space. It didn’t always work but it prevented us being counter-attacked against when our attacks broke down, and it created a little more space for our forwards.

  36. Fair point Pebblesmeller, there was one other difference, we were mainly doing this when we got ahead so the onus was going to be on Donegal to pressurise us. Our big chance in the final was to try and get ahead and then see what Donegal are made, unfortunately, this did not happen. In any case, McGuinness is right to play down this defeat, no more than ourselves, they have a big game in late May as well….

    In reality, by using this tactic, and given our midfield dominance, there was a failure on our part that we did not win by more, but that is a tale for another day.

  37. One of three serious contenders will go down to division 2. Of the three we have the hardest game as Kerry and Donegal (playing for survival) are playing teams in the semis, while Cork need a point. We have to assume we need a win. Championship style in April. It will be an indicator of what May will bring. More spark on show today gives a bit of hope. Not a swallow but a few spring buds.

  38. Memo to James: Get our players to be as intense and secure in attack as they are in defence and you can create something special here within our team. Don’t listen to the clamouring crowd, that’s just sincere smoke up the chimney.

    Championship time, we can show them what Mayo are made of. Under the banner of a calm clinical and well guided relentless fortitude, this Mayo team can finally turn all that PRESSURE into real steam.

    Come On Mayo.

    Silence the wind swept

  39. Mikey you are correct in saying we should have won by more. Some of our efforts were not just off target but they should never have been attempted in the first place, e.g. Seamus O’Shea and Keegan efforts early in the first half, Barry Moran and Carolan wild efforts in the second. However, I think those efforts must be judged against the determination and intensity that the lads went about their work. It is difficult to remain calm and level headed in those circumstances and while it is only a league game in March, it was a must win for us against the All Ireland champions and opponents that we felt we owed.
    By my reckoning we created 22 chances scoring 1-5 from play and 5 frees. A 50% conversion rate, They created 13 chances scoring 6 from play and 3 frees. A 70% conversion rate. Very similar stats to last week v Kildare. Restricting McFadden and Murphy to 3 points from play between them is promising and so is the partnership of Seamus O’Shea and Barry Moran at midfield. I cannot remember this side winning a game of this importance against quality opponents without Aidan O’Shea having a major influence. He was very ordinary today and yet we still did the business. This is another good sign.
    Higgins vastly improved, Cunniffe looking better and sharper with each outing (Vaughan must be worried!), Moran brilliant in the second half and well supported by Seamus who carried alot of ball forward, Carolan worked his socks off and his steal in the full back line started off the move for our goal and O’Connor has a real maturity and confidance to his game that belies his years.
    All in all we are O.K. Scrape by in 2 weeks time, go to ground for the serious work and re-emerge in Salthill. A good turnout today that was vocal when the lads needed it and it was nice to see O’Connor returning the compliment to Mark McHughs jaw after his dirty snide belt that should have been a straight red.

  40. Delighted with that. Some great performances , most of which have been mentioned in other posts, I would add kev Mcgloughlin though to the list of decent performers.

    Its fifty five days till Salthill (I think) , can’t vision us having any problems tbh.This league has been fairly intense and it will stand to us come Galway .

    Would you be that surprised if we managed Cork next week , pp have finally included Mayo as an option for winning the league 14/1

    Jimmy s not winning in 13.

  41. I want to add my tuppence worth regarding the issue of “carrying the ball into the tackle” which has been well commented on above. I take all of the comments on board and I agree that it can look disjointed, stodgy and almost uncontrolled at times, but, in the modern game of football which is primarily based around running and hand-passing ability it is a very important tactic.
    This style of play is almost rugby-like in its use. You maintain possession of the ball and carry it forward whilst having support around you. You commit your opponent to attempt to dispossess you, but you “off-load” (to use the rugby phrase) just before your opponent tackles you. In doing this you have kept the attack going, your team is still in possession of the ball and you have taken out an opposite marker leaving them short in numbers defensively. If you do it correctly and often enough, you also have created an overlap and have broken through a line of defense. This gets the opposition turned and running back towards their own goal in chase. Just where they do not want to be. If it is executed properly you will either be fouled in a scoreable area or will create a scoring chance from play.
    The downside to this style is that it takes alot of accurate completed passes to make it work. However, the percentages of success are greater than if you lump a long ball into the full forward line where it will, more often than not, be punched out by the full back into the hands of his half back and possession is lost and you are then on the defense again. When you have someone like Keith Higgins (known in Ballyhaunis as Zippy, for obvious reasons) he can turn the defence almost by himself by attacking from deep at pace.
    To keep your opponent guessing I suppose you have to mix and match the attack between the long ball in, diagonal ball into the corners, hand passing through the middle or just saying “here Keith,off you go!”

  42. Just had a look at the Div 1 table and fixtures for R 7.
    It appears we could qualify for the semis or be relagated depending on the final round results.
    If we beat Cork I think we should be in the semifinals as we have won the head to heads against all possible rivals [Cork, Donegal or Kerry]. On scoring difference if it applies in a multiple tie only a big win for Donegal against Dublin could put us out as we have a 5 points better scoring difference against Donegal. Against Kerry it is plus 23 and against Cork a win will give us at least plus 8. Of course a loss to Cork would give both Donegal and Kerry the chance to overtake us resulting in relegation.
    I believe a league semifinal and possibly a final if approached in the right way would be much better preparation for May than any number of challenge games or training sessions.
    Planning for the long trip south has begun!

  43. Donegal looked very poor and we were marginally better than them. The win will as usual cover a multitude and keep most happy. Now here is an interesting challenge for us. Win the next three games and its possible we could win the league. That is a target and an aim worth pursuing.

    Those that succeed in the league do likewise in the championship. Kerry 2004/06/09. Cork 2010, Tyrone 2003 are recent examples. Either we are a top team in pursuit of top trophies or else we are like Arsenal of recent vintage, win the soft ones and choke when the big challenge comes up.

    Spare me league survival and peaking later on in the year, who do we think we are? Every match should be as if its the only one that matters from here on. Some of the mistakes and handling made at the back early yesterday would be punished by a form team against us. Donegal are busted now. The efforts of the last two seasons has drained them.

    The disconnection between the seniors and under age squads is starting to widen. Its vital that this senior squad do the business in the time frame left to them otherwise on the basis of the U21s and minors of the last three/four seasons , we might struggle. Also Sundays win will now sweep away the disaster in Tuam with the U21s. That would be a pity but no good blaming the manager. The blame rests with those who chart Mayo football at the top. We need vision, we need planning and we need passion.

  44. I can’t agree with you John regarding your opinion on our league survival and becoming the new Arsenal.
    I know statistically the argument can be made that league success is crucial for a successful championship campaign but, I believe that where Mayo are now in their development and where we want to be next September calls for cute planning regarding the physical preparation of our players. In my opinion getting to a league final, or even winning it, would hinder our preparation for the championship.
    The only way that this team can improve on the last 2 years is by winning Sam. Anything else will be regression. Nothing else matters now, not the league, not a league final appearance and not even division 1 survival.
    Let’s say by some twist of fate we were to reach the league final. It will have meant that our physical training would have to be ramped up earlier in the year than management would ideally like. So you end up going to Salthill in May almost at full pelt from a training point of view. How do you expect the players to maintain that level of fitness from May to the end of September? It cannot be done, especially when you consider the effort the lads have put in last year. They would be burned out.
    Even taking all that into consideration, let’s say they get to a final and lose it. The blow to our belief would linger into the championship and there would be a negative vibe around the place. If they were to win it? Big deal, so what. We won a league in the early 2000’s and it did absolutely nothing for us.
    We need to go to ground, and prepare to be right, but only “just” right, to come out of Salthill with a win. Then steadily ramp things up over the summer for the more difficult games where, on drier harder pitches, speed and agility will be crucial.
    We need to aim to be at our peak physically for the 3rd Sunday in September and not the end of May. As the saying goes, you wear your overalls to get to a final but when you get there, you put on your Sunday best.

  45. Was annoyed at the crowd at the end of the game yesterday. People bawling for the backs to lash the ball down the pitch. Possession is the name of the game especially when you are 4 points up. Modern game is played with the ball in hand – not pretty but thats the way the game is played. No point in kicking the ball straight back to the opposition. Also Mayo playing the ball crossfield in the midfield and half forward area is also the right way to play. At almost all occassions that Mayo had possession Donegal had 13 players within their 45. Only way through there is to encourage them to come out and then break in. Roll on Cork. Any good hotels!

  46. While the win was great to get again & mistakes happen in any game I can’t believe that some here are suggesting some of the mistakes yesterday are isolated to league matches..”minor glitches that can and will happen. Pointing these out is pointless rubber necking and serves nobody ” – yeah these are minor glitches that are the difference between winning and losing All-Ireland’s Do you honestly believe that come Championship Mayo will suddenly find composure when taking free kicks in the midfield area or when making shot selections ….
    A lot of Mayo supporters seem to think a point taken with the outside of the boot from 45 yards out is somehow worth more than a 14 yard free… hence the basic skills such as free taking ,foot/hand passing ,quick ball are constantly lacking( evident in U21 game against Galway & yesterdays game ).
    Until these skills are coached as basic skilllsets in all young players then I honestly think Mayo are not going to win the AI.
    I’m sure some will say sure we were in the AI last year how are we that far away, well thats exactly why we lost the 2012 AI and why we’ll continue to lose them …the lack of default basic skills & composure to fall back on when the pressure is on in the final

  47. @throwintime Actually that’s not true at all about the basic skills. Our basic skills are as good as any other team in the country. The difference in winning the AI last year was a standout full forward like Michael Murphy or Colm McFadden, particularly Murphy. A lot of what they have, they were born with. Our only arguable comparison, Andy Moran, was and still is, injured.

    Would Donegal have beaten Mayo in that final without Michael Murphy? That’s the difference.

  48. Throwintime…..what would you call Cillians 45s into the hill last year, personally id define it as composure at its finest.( v Dublin).

  49. We got our long awaited goal and we won. Cant say anymore than that. Happy we won . Dont think we played to our best but yet still hammered out a win.

  50. I hear you Pebblesmeller and you make good points but we now have a problem. If we lose to Cork next time out we might get relegated, then again we might not but would depend on other permutations.

    If we win we should make the semi finals. No need to ramp up any training , no need to peak for anything other than a good work out using the rest of the squad.Looking at the bench we seem to be operating to Eddie O Sullivan who clung to the first 15 in the World cup was it in France. The extra game/s could let the manager give a run to Keane, McHale, Gallagher, Geraghty. Freeman/men, Walshe, Kirby and any other lads whose arse’s are splintered and numb in this cold weather.

    To me that would be preferable to sham stuff where Mayo back marks Mayo forward and when session is over asks “you had a good game… how did I play?” Croke Park is where we want to be playing matches not obsessing with Galway on the back pitch at McHale. No need to train any different than they are already doing. Galway U21s showed the value of real matches last Sat where our boys were caught stone cold.Galway warmed up against Sligo, we had no match. Down U21s did likewise to us in , was it 2008 or 09 where they won a Ulster title on Wednesday and beat us on a Saturday.Real games make real men.

  51. It was great to win yesterday and beating Donegal will boost the players morale no end. It wasn’t pretty and the standard of passing etc wasn’t good enough but the work ethic was massive and our players have huge courage and heart. These attributes won’t win every game but with a full team in the summer we will be difficult to beat.

    Up front Dillon and andy Moran will add alot when they return. With Conroy, Mcloughlin, carolan, o Connor etc we will have a decent forward line to take on the best defences. Carolan worked like a Trojan and I think he will improve if he is given a few games to improve his game and confidence.

    I think Cillian deserves special mention. He worked his backside off for the u21s on Saturday which was his first competive game since sept 2012. On Sunday he stepped up to the mark, working hard, taking on responsibility and leading the forward line. He really is a top player and he isn’t 21 yet. We are lucky to have him and I’ve no doubt that mayo will do big things with him on the pitch in the next decade.

  52. I think the conditions need to be taken into account as well when commenting on the quality of yesterday’s match.
    Not a great day for forward play with a cold wind like that. Not many teams racked up big scores
    over the weekend. I’m sure it will be balmy come May in Salthil 🙂

  53. Yes , great to get that win. Lads showed a massive appetite for work and fought like tigers to win back what possession they coughed up.
    In fairness they have not shirked work all year but yesterday a few things went right, Eg; the goal, and a few things went wrong Eg; rushing shots but that is sortable I think.
    Caralon is laying down a marker as a serious workhorse around the middle not to mention what he did at the back and in the forwards as well. I just hope he is given more game time to develop his potential. Easy talk about Alan and Andy coming back, no disrespect to either true servants to Mayo Gaa, but both have now to prove their worth again following long layoffs and no harm having Corolan and others there as a real options. Also we seem to be persisting with the same routine re subs ie Richie first then Alan Freeman Them with sore bums that JC alludes to must be real pissed off by now.
    So looking forward to Cork and no further thanks, this talk of semis and winning the league is taking ” Going forward” into a new realm.
    Oh ya, the ref, well nothing to add that would be useful except to wish him the best of health.

  54. A good win against a Donegal side that don’t really care about the league and why should they. Away to Cork is a tough one after losing to Kerry they will be hurting and they will want to reach the semi finals. At least Mayo should stay up now as it’s unlikely that both Kerry,Donegal will away though the sides they face have already progressed to the semi finals maybe they will play weakened sides from a Mayo point of view hopefully not.

  55. Patriot says:
    March 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    I think Cillian deserves special mention. He worked his backside off for the u21s on Saturday which was his first competive game since sept 2012. On Sunday he stepped up to the mark, working hard, taking on responsibility and leading the forward line. He really is a top player and he isn’t 21 yet. We are lucky to have him and I’ve no doubt that mayo will do big things with him on the pitch in the next decade.

    __________________

    I thought he was a little of colour for the U21s he seems to play better for our seniors when surrounded with better players. That’s his last year with the U21s so he should be 21 this year.

  56. Jeez mayomagic I thought he worked his arse off on sat eve. For his first game since early Oct I thought he did really well.His attitude is an example to all-hard to believe that he’s only 20.

  57. Yes his workrate was great on Saturday however i thought he played better for the seniors on yestteday also better on frees as well.

  58. Solid performance with great work-rate, but no more than that. IMHO the main reason we won, even more than the long-overdue goal, was that we had Cillian O’Connor back to nail the frees. With no Moran or Dillon, Cillian had to lead, and he did. Not much of a scoring threat outside of him though. Carolan gave us scores in his last two games but not a great work-rate; yesterday it was the other way around. Once he melds the two, he’ll be a real option up front.

    Elsewhere, Seamus O’Shea has returned to form. He’s some ball player when he’s pumped up and in the mood. Aidan did well too, as did Barry Moran, and it’s good to see that Mayo won’t be pushed around in the middle of the park too easily. Tom Cunniffe is just minding the house so that Keegan and Boyle can have the odd raid upfield. This makes for a solid balance and that might worry Donal Vaughan.

    We’re not out of the woods though. After the Kildare game I said on this board that we were going down and I’m still fearful of that. Cork have lost Colm O’Neill and another defeat to Kerry will put doubt in their heads again, so it’s a good time to play them;. just a pity the game’s down there. But feck it, Mayo are the ones that need the result. Here’s hoping that the same doggedness and work-rate are repeated on Leeside. If they are, we can’t complain too much about whatever the outcome may be.

  59. What I loved about Mayo yesterday was their passion, determination and work rate. To continue with those qualities can win them many a match. Sure they had a list of mistakes but the can be forgiven because of their performance.
    Can I be thick and ask who Brian Gallagher is and what position does he normally play in?
    Once again too many players are taking frees from the hands, not only Mayo. A pile of scores were missed from the hand in other matches this weekend; some of them crazy misses.
    Now can we stop talking shite about Sam. The only important match now is against Cork. Depending on results, Galway are next. If we win that, most likely, Roscommon; and if we win that, most likely, Sligo. All that to win the Provincial title. So let’s do all that first.
    We had the easiest passage ever to the All Ireland last year so don’t get carried away. Donegal beat Tyrone, Cork and Kerry. Would we have beaten them all? Let us take one match at a time and if we lose one let us take lessons learned to the next one. That is the way to win an All Ireland!

  60. Hi opt2misteek -pebblesmeller mentioned Sam. There were lots of mentions over the last few weeks. I do admit that the huge majority of comments passed this week were great. Can you tell me who Brian Gallagher is?

  61. A bit more background from the archives on Brian Gallagher – he was on the U21 team in 2009 (the last time we won Connacht at this level) where he played at left half-forward. He also came on as a sub in the first two FBD matches that year and then started, at centre-forward, in the third match, which was against Roscommon. I’m almost certain he’s never appeared in a league match before now, though he also came on as a sub in this year’s FBD match against the Rossies.

  62. Hi there,
    I have been reading your comments and as I havn’t seen any of the games as I’m oversea’s , firstly I find it great for me to find a true-er reflection on match reports on games as with any report, it is just that person’s opinion, but also some debate and opinionated aggression for want of a better word on intercounty and club football in mayo.
    I’m sure the mood is better for beating donegal, I hope cathal carolan is a find, I seen him a few years ago playing against ballintubber, he was the best lad on the pitch til he got sent off and it changed the game, forwards is what is required. lads who are unpredictable and can play. I still think Mike Conroy has more to come, he is a player, Evan Regan was great at minor, He has talent, What club is Brian Gallagher from? Is he a young guy? Please excuse my ignorance.
    Just about the under 21’s, every year it is close with Galway, win or lose, Galway are good, I don’t know enough to post we should have or have not won this year but from my own experiences, they can play too. Don’t be too rough on the mayo boys.
    Take care

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