Mayo 1-12 Galway 1-6: improved second half showing enough for victory

Still fired up after the final whistle today, I got into a conversation about the match (as one does) with a few lads in the jacks of the Sportlann.  I said, perhaps a bit too vociferously, that, if we were any good, we would have beaten a very mediocre Galway by a hell of a lot more than we’d done and the lads I was speaking with agreed readily with this assessment. A nearby Tribesman suggested that whatever about Galway we were maybe being a bit too hard to our own lads: after all we’d won with a bit to spare on a day that made it difficult to play good football. Maybe he had a point.

It was, for sure, a bad day for football this afternoon at McHale Park. An unpredictable swirling wind was added to by slanty rain that started to fall shortly before throw-in and it was coming down heavily early in the second half. Neither set of players seemed to be able to cope with the adverse conditions, with the result that the 19,000 odd punters at the game were treated to a plethora of handling errors, misplaced passes and all the rest. But for the half-decent crowd size, in fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a league match rather than a blood and thunder championship encounter.

From a Mayo perspective, that was certainly the case in what was a truly awful opening 35 minutes for us. We dominated around the middle from the off – where Seamus O’Shea put in a storming performance and was undoubtedly Man of the Match from where I was sitting – but our increasingly embarrassing attempts at the posts gave all of us who hadn’t made it to Ruislip an insight into just how bad we must have been there.

Andy Moran, speaking to Midwest after the game in his usual candid way, was bemoaning our failure to get a better return from the seventeen chances we’d created in that first half and our four-point tally from all that possession looked fairly pathetic, especially since what was already a visibly ordinary Galway had racked up 1-5 at the other end.  At that stage, I wasn’t enormously optimistic about our chances of getting a result out of this one.

I think we had something like nine wides in that opening half but what was more worrying was the way we were slipping and sliding all over the place (wrong boots again lads?) and were making all manner of really basic handling mistakes.  It looked for all the world like our lads weren’t used to playing in the rain, so spooked they seemed to be to find themselves out on a wet pitch in the middle of summer.

Some of the errors were truly of the whatthefuckdidyoudothatfor? variety with lads attempting clever flicked pick-ups that sent the wet leather spinning away into the arms of a grateful Herrin Choker or similarly losing control when trying to do something as simple as a solo.

But worse than that was our freetaking.  If there was one takeaway from Ruislip that had to be sorted ahead of today, it was this aspect of play, one that is – like it is for every other county – within our control to sort. Ten minutes in, however, it was obvious that the same kind of fuckology that occurred in Ruislip was going to happen here as well.  Alan Dillon started it by skewing an eminently scoreable free wide and then he passed up a shot at goal from a similar one, opting instead for a quick one-two from which he recorded a second bad wide.

Robbie Hennelly then took over and recorded the day’s opening score from a 40-yarder after six minutes or so but this was quickly cancelled out by a smartly taken free from out on the left by Bane.  O’Donnell, fed by Joyce who left a flailing Keith Higgins in his wake, should have goaled for Galway but instead blasted miles wide with the net at his mercy.

Another Bane free, the foul for which saw Alan Feeney pick up an early yellow, put Galway ahead for the first time, with Jason Doherty being played in by Kevin McLoughlin for the equaliser. A succession of wides followed, including one from a free by Aidan O’Shea, which meant that after only 15 minutes, we’d had three freetakers. Bane profited from a mistake in the backs to nick the visitors’ first from play before Hennelly landed his second of the day, this one from a ‘45’.

Things were going from bad to worse for Alan Dillon as another free from no more than 30 yards came up well short and then Aidan O’Shea scuffed a free from the same distance low and into the arms of the Galway defence.

Points from Joyce and Bane (a free) had them two in front with Trevor Mortimer firing over a nice one from play for us but then we made a complete hames of things at the back and Paul Conroy nicked in to slide the ball under Robbie to send the Tribesmen in four to the good at the break.

I really didn’t think we’d do it from there, my reasoning beforehand being that the only way we’d win this game would have been through a shock-and-awe opening. We were shocking in that first half, for sure, and the weather was becoming increasingly awful too and I just didn’t think we’d have the required stomach for the fight that appeared to be ahead of us in the second half.

I was wrong and was very happy to be proved incorrect in this respect.  We were much better in the second half and by the end of the seventy minutes we had it won with a bit to spare. How did this happen?

Well, Galway didn’t get any better – in truth, they got a whole load worse.  They managed just a single point in the second half and were all but overrun all over the field for much of the second period.  None of their subs made a difference and the fact that they finished up with a full-forward line of Joyce (who really looked like a man whose time has gone today), Meehan and Clancy told its own story.

And we did get better, showing much more accuracy in front of the posts and a clear appetite to get the job done.  Points from Kevin McLoughlin, Alan Dillon (a close-in free which even he couldn’t miss), Alan Freeman, Cillian O’Connor and Andy Moran put us ahead before Eoin Concannon blasted over with the goal at his mercy for Galway’s sole white flag of the second half.

It was still level with twelve minutes to go but when Andy Moran set up Alan Freeman for the coolest of finishes, that goal into the Bacon Factory End had all the hallmarks of a match winner.  A helter-skelter period of play followed, with the ball pinging around all over the place but, crucially for us, this period ended with Alan Freeman hoisting over a glorious point to put us four clear. Ronan McGarrity, who replaced the tiring Sheamie O’Shea, then smashed over a long-range point and the match was well in the bag before Enda Varley, who’d come on for Cillian O’Connor a bit earlier, squeezed over the final score of the day to complete a six-point win for us.

It was far from a vintage performance but then again Dublin didn’t look too hot today in conditions far more conducive to good football in Croke Park and, from what I gather, the tussle between Donegal and Tyrone wasn’t all that much to write home about either.  So before we go overboard in flailing ourselves, we need to remind ourselves that today we beat Galway in the championship with a bit to spare and it’s been a while since we’ve managed to do that.

We now head into a Connacht final (which, incidentally, I’m going to miss as we’ll still be in Italy on our holliers that Sunday) with expectations about us still at a fairly low ebb and with Roscommon no doubt a bit bemused to find themselves being installed (by us if not by everyone else) as clear favourites to retain their provincial title.  That’s about as far under the radar as we could ever hope to come into a Conancht final.

Turning to individual performances, Robbie Hennelly certainly had an interesting afternoon, spending a fair bit of it in opposition territory.  His two long-range pointed frees were important but he landed on his hole taking two more and I’m not sure someone like Andy Moran would have done any worse in that particular role.  He was solid enough when he was between the posts, however, and couldn’t be faulted for the goal so overall he did okay.

Alan and Richie Feeney, playing together in the county jersey in a championship match at McHale Park for the first time both put in strong enough shifts, Tom Cunniffe didn’t do a whole lot wrong and Donie Vaughan showed a few positive flashes.  The day was made for a battler like Trevor Mortimer and he revelled in the foul conditions, blasting over a fine first-half score.

The O’Sheas battled hard too and Sheamie gave his best performance yet for us in the championship, one that was all the more noteworthy given that he’d taken a knock in training during the week and was a doubt going into the game.  He went off with about ten minutes to go and he deserved the warm round of applause he got as he did so.  Aidan got stuck in good and proper too and although his freetaking wasn’t anything to write home about it was a long ball from him to Andy that led directly to our goal.

Kevin McLoughlin had a fine game too, mopping up loose balls around the middle (and further back too), providing assists for a few points and scoring one himself early in the second half.  Along with Sheamie and Alan Freeman, he was, for me, one of our strongest performers today.

Alan Dillon, by contrast, had a poor game and certainly didn’t put in the kind of display you really need from your captain on a day like today.  I don’t know what it is about Alan but some days, today being one of them, he kicks the ball no better than a girleen.  How on earth can a senior footballer fail to make the distance from a 30-yard free?  In fairness to him, he upped the ante a bit in the second half but overall he’s had far, far better days for us.

Andy Moran wasn’t his usual busy, busy, busy self either but he did, once again, get onto the scoresheet and I also counted a few assists for scores from him, including the excellent way he played in Alan Freeman for the game-clinching goal. He was MOTM on The Sunday Game and while I wouldn’t necessarily concur with this, he was still one of our better performers today.

Alan Freeman recovered from an uncertain first half – where he twice lost control of the ball when attempting a routine pick-up – to bag the scores that made the game safe for us.  Jason Doherty and debutant Cillian O’Connor weren’t as prominent but they both got on the scoresheet on a day where every score counted.

A major black mark for us today was Keith Higgins’ clear strike on Mark Hehir shortly before half-time.  There’s a world of a difference between playing hard and playing dirty and to see an experienced player like Keith – who, I thought, didn’t have an overly comfortable afternoon otherwise to boot – landing a sly blow on a young opponent after the ball had gone isn’t one that too many Mayo supporters will treasure.

So, it’s on to Hyde Park for us in three weeks time where James Horan has, in his first year as an inter-county manager, the chance to steer us to a Connacht title and, with it, a place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.  At the start of the year, I think most of us would have viewed as more than acceptable our staying in Division One of the league and winning Connacht. Despite the near-mortification of Ruislip and today’s less than satisfactory first half, James is still on course to get us to Croke Park on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

While there’s much to find fault with about various aspects of how we played today (not to mention how we performed in Ruislip), it’s important to recognise the progress that James is making with the team, not least given the situation he inherited.   Maybe your man in the jacks in the Sportlann was right – perhaps we are being too hard on the lads.  And maybe, while chilling out on the Venetian coast on July 17th, I’ll find myself raising a few glasses of chianti to the team as I rue the fact that I wasn’t there to see our lads lift the Nestor Cup dish ear. Ciao!

Mayo: Robert Hennelly (0-2, one free, one ‘45’); Tom Cunniffe, Alan Feeney, Keith Higgins; Richie Feeney, Donal Vaughan, Trevor Mortimer (0-1); Seamus O’Shea, Aidan O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Alan Dillon (0-1, free), Andy Moran (0-1); Cillian O’Connor (0-1), Alan Freeman (1-2), Jason Doherty (0-1). Subs: Ronan McGarrity (0-1) for Seamus O’Shea, Enda Varley (0-1) for O’Connor, Peadar Gardiner for McLoughlin.

59 thoughts on “Mayo 1-12 Galway 1-6: improved second half showing enough for victory

  1. Well done to the lads today – recovered a tricky situation in a good manner after a very bad 1st half- but I’ll put that down to terrible conditions.
    A lot of talk about the use of Hennelly on the 45’s but i’m watching Cluxton doing the same for Dublin and not a word of negativity around Dublin using this tactic.
    Referee’s ! The standard in in FREEFALL – Hickey had me scratching me head but Cormac Reilly geezer in the Dublin Kildare match has me very angry after that last minute free for Dublin. A F***ing Disgrace !

  2. good luck to the lads

    start to put the wides away and we won’t be far away.

    From an exile in glasgow

  3. As I said in ruislip it’s ridiculous we have to bring up our keeper for these long distance frees and 45’s ,

    Other than that, great stuff , let’s get ready for another Connacht final!

  4. Great win we beat Galway one of the top 12 team by 6pts without getting out of 2nd gear! Roscommon are a Div 3 team & i can’t see them getting within 10pts of us. it’s in the bag!!

  5. I honestly don’t know if ye’re being serious or not but all that over-positivity will result in us falling flat on our face. We were poor in quite a few aspects of our game particularly in the first half. The free taking situation is getting ridiculous at this stage.

    Galway were tragically atrocious though today and we should have hammered them in fairness. Happy with the win but also that there is still a lot of room for improvement. We’ll have to up it to beat Ros in the final but the further we go the better we’re going to get in my opinion.

    Lets be cautiously optimistic and not lose the plot.

  6. 2 very average teams in fairness.Better teams will roll over us.Happy for Moran,not the most talented but works his ass off and played well in the second half.Dillon was poor,doing his usual holding on to the ball too much.Moran showed when we are direct we are more productive.Centre half back a serious problem area.Higgins lucky to get away with a cheap shot.The O’Sheas were decent but are very immobile.We are too light physically,the towbars will fancy their chances against us in the final.On the plus side,we showed more hunger than Galway and Freeman is the real deal.

  7. we were dogged around the middle third i thought the o sheas did well in the first half. mcloughlin is a cool footballer with a great head on him. worst galway team iv seen in a long time they threw in the towel from a long way out. let the rossies hype themselves up now for the next few weeks that suits us. nice to be looking forward to a connacht final.

  8. I would say there is a real problem with confidence in the squad. When you see a player like Dillon mising a 20M free and Freeman tripping over the ball twice in an attempt to pick it up you begin to think.
    Confidence grew as the second half unfolded and the win will have done a power of good.
    I wonder has the criticism of Mayo football the Media Pundits (and the likes of ourselves on fora like this) done harm in this respect.
    In any event the only way to rebuild pride and confidence in ourselves is by winning and doing so convincingly, building a settled team and getting the basics fairly right.

    Roscommon is the next opportunity to progress this agenda! C’mmon Mayo!

  9. Poor game but great to win. We need to improve a lot, especially in free taking.Conditions were poor in castlebar and did not help.
    When we get all our players fit , ie Ronan Mc Garrity, Pat Hart, Conor Mortimer( may solve some of our free taking) and James Kilcullen we should put it up to, a much improved, Roscommon.
    It was nice to win playing poor leaving plenty of room for improvement.

  10. Confidence must have been very low after London, so the win is far more important than the performance. The Rossies are not world beaters, they were very poor against Longford in the Div 4 final and I have no idea why some were raving over their perfomance against a very bad Leitrim team.

    I heard that Dillon was MOM on Mid West? Would have put at least 3 others well ahead of him.

  11. Well done lads today on a hard fought win. The football was not the prettiest but its nice to come out on top against Galway. Am happy for James Horan and his backroom team and to his credit he made some very good calls on the sideline today.

    A win is a win regardless of the quality
    We fought for and won a lot of dirty ball
    Some of the tracking back by defenders was very impressive
    Took important scores at crucial times
    We didnt panic at all when we went four points down
    The subs made a big impact when introduced
    We have some very natural footballers who are very comfortable on the ball-Kevin McLoughlin has a huge future with Mayo
    Very impressed with both Feeneys-they show little or no fear going into tackles

    Freetaking is a major problem and is now just embarrassing. We wont win anything without a settled freetaker
    I dont rate Robert Hennelly and frankly think he is a liabilty. David Clarke should be number 1.
    Shot selection is terrible at times
    Give away too many stupid frees and Higgins stupidity today could cost us big time
    Alan Dillon seems to have temporarily lost his form and didnt play up to his usual standard today. Cant believed Mid West gave him MOTM.

    All in all a good day at the office but lots of improvement needed before the Rossies.

    Keep the faith lads

    Maigh Eo Abu

  12. Mayo were better thanI expceted and Galway were much worse than I thought they would be.
    I thought we played quite well today and if we had taken more of our chances and taken a few more of the frees in particular we would have been out of sight well before the finish. SOS played very well and covered a lot of gound. I thought AOS was only average. I thought the half backline played very well and can’t understand previous criticism of Vaughan who was good throughout. A connacht title is well within our grasp but that will probably be the height of it. Still, it is better than last year.

  13. Would agree with a lot of the previous comments, I think there were a lot of doubts in the players minds at the start of the game, resulting in many examples of slobbering, turnovers and players scared of shooting or afraid to put their foot through the ball and instead feeding the Galway keeper with backpasses. In fact a more nervous manager may have taken Freeman off after he threw his 1st 2 possessions over the line. Only when Mayo realised that their opponents were so poor did the confidence lift.

    On the flip side, we’ve beaten Galway by 6 points without Dillon or Moran performing anything like their best so we know that on their day they would up our level a bit more. We won the vast majority of possession in midfield and only when Galway brought Blake on did they get any foothold on breaks there. I thought Vaughan, Alan Feeney and McLoughlin did well, the people they marked were taken off.

    As far as I can remember we’ve never had it easy in the Hyde, the horrors of 2001 still stick in my mind as one of the worst days I’ve had supporting Mayo. Roscommon will be confident, we still have scars that one game won’t totally heal so I’d be thinking the Connacht final is 50-50.

  14. i think it a gross dis service to the O’shea brother’s and their fine performance to point to the return of Pat Harte when fit as being a guaranteed improvement, in the team,,, well done to the 2 lads today, for young fella’s they were outstanding and showed some real heart which this team had been missing,

  15. “Roscommon no doubt a bit bemused to find themselves being installed (by us if not by everyone else) as clear favourites to retain their provincial title.”

    Have to disargee willie, was talking to alot of Mayo fans today & they were all confident of winning in Hyde park sure only two years ago we beat them by 20pts surely we can beat them this time.

    Did you see how Longford,Cork took them apart also? We have to be clear favourites to regain the provincial title.

  16. A win is a win . Horan can now show that he has the cojones to make the hard but ultimately correct decision. Dillon is not an asset to Mayo and hasnt been for a long time. He can be replaced and that will allow the other forwards to breath because I believe they defer to him too often.Free taking is dire and Roscommon wont lose any sleep. London could still travel as far as us.

  17. think we’re very hard on the boys – and im a guilty as anyone. They scored 1-12 in the most atrocious conditions. Remember Dublin could only manage 1-11 in perfect conditions! Even more impressive was the fact that our defence only conceded 1-6. The ball was like a bar of soap….dont ever remember seeing conditions as slippy in mchale park! I was very impressed with the backs….they really worked for each other and i have to say that the 2 feeneys were excellent. All the good work done yesterday must be followed up on in 3 weeks time to convince me that we’re heading in the right direction( there i go being all negative again). Seriously though we have a great chance to beat an unproven ross outfit

  18. What! The final is not for another three weeks>? Jesus is this the Connacht councils attempt to keep as many teams from Connacht playing until the autumn. One game again next week. The fixture setting is in chaos and the Connacht championship should have been finished by now.

    Who ever loses the Connacht final will be out in the qualifiers six days later. Well done to the collective that run the province but then what has passed at county level this does not surprise me.

  19. In defense of Aidan Higgins, after watching it a couple of times( joys of sky plus) it looked like the galway lad was going to give him the elbow, before aidan gave him the box. I,d love to know what the referee booked him for, because as far as i could see, neither he nor the linesman saw the incident!!

  20. Well done to the Mayo lads, great win in dire conditions – Galway were bad but as Ted says, 1 12 is not a bad score.
    On a minor note, wtf can McHale Park not have a working scoreboard on a championship Sunday? Had to keep getting up out of the huddle to check the score and got soaked wet! A minor detail but considering the money they’ve spent it’s the least we should expect.
    Also, on McLoughlin, not sure he was that good lads, there was a lot of messing and fumbling but it was that kind of day. Thought the O’Sheas did well too but Aidan has a tendancy to give up at times – reminded me a little of the Harry Enfield character Kevin!!
    Higgins was stupid but looking at it again it was a bit like the “clip on the lug” you were threatened with as a kid. Still, lucky to stay on and should cop himself on.
    Finally on the goalie taking the frees, I’d have no problem if he had more accuracy – the goalie is often the man with the best kick so why not use him, but he’d need to improve his rate of success and try to stay on his feet!

  21. It was Keith Higgins, not Aidan, who was involved (Aidan hasn’t been on the panel for a few years now) and, from the replays I saw of the incident last night, I couldn’t see any mitigating factors for what was a sly, dirty belt. He’s a lucky lad, though, as it appears the yellow he got means the incident can’t now be revisited.

  22. We dominated possession for the first 50 minutes until SOS went out of the game due to understandable tiredness. At that point we could have let Galway back into it as they had a 10 minute period where they owned the ball and missed a great goal chance. Look back at the game and you will see that they had at least 4 wides as well during that period and we never had the ball in their danger zone. It was only when Horan called SOS ashore that we began to reassert and killed the game.

    All in all though, it was a good battling display all through in very poor conditions.

  23. I am surprised how optimistic most people seems to be about the Ros game. While Mayo won well it was hardly a good performance. Without a big improvement Ros at home will turn us over. Still not convinced by the defense, Missed frees will cost us dearly and we wont win 60/70% of possession against Ros, that’s for sure

    Biggest positive for me was the work rate in the 2nd half and the fact that so few frees were conceded. Quality of football (allowing for the conditions) was dire however.

  24. Don’t be worrying about an incident like that, it’s over, he got his yellow, move on. Lets hope he rattles shine a few times.

  25. PS what an Spailpín said on his blog is very true. It is hard to watch RTE these days with O’Rourke and Spillane decrying the standard of football in the first half when Mayo could only score 4 miserly points and then nothing said about the total football from Kildare that produced the same result in perfect conditions at HQ.

  26. Mike, I’m optimistic about the Ros game because we showed some spunk yesterday, effort and heart, that’s what we wanted to see. I’m not for one second ruling out the Rossies could win but I’m confident that we will at least make them fight for it.
    On another note, fair play to London for beating Fermanagh, they are really making WJ eat his earlier article! That’s probably as far as they’ll go but a great year for them. I was amused to see someone asking for Tony Gaughan to be brought home, did he make the squad before he left???

  27. Mike,

    The effort was there in the first half also (even moreso in my opinion as we dominated possession even more) except that it went unrewarded. We won the dirty ball all day. I will take a battling performance like yesterday as the starting point of our rehabilitation under Horan. If we can apply a layer of veneer on top of that we are then going places.

  28. One final thought (to paraphrase the great Columbo RIP)! The Armagh vs Wicklow will pair BJ Padden against his first cousin Brian McGrath (if both are picked!)

  29. Willie Joe, I’m glad you ran into those Galway lads in the sportlann and the match report was toned down, I thought your audio boo was very harsh.
    I understand the criticism’s around the freetaking and Galway being very poor but I have to say we still won the game by 6 points, I think on the back of that and taking into account the conditions at Mchale park there shouldn’t be too much criticism.

    In the first half we looked like a team very low on confidence after a desperate year last year with the losses to Sligo and Longford and then a poor performance against London this year but I thought there were signs in the second half the confidence was beginning to return and a couple of cracking scores were kicked and we played some decent stuff in terrible conditions.

    Remember all 6 forwards scored and Enda Varley knocked 1 over after coming off the bench. I though the half back line were very good, Donie showed some encouraging signs at centre back, I think he needs time but he has all the raw materials for the position. And midfield is actually looking pretty decent, I think we have decent options in there with the 2 O’Shea’s Mcgarrity and Kilcullen.

    Before I sound too optimistic I know where we are as a team and I think the Connacht final may well be the height of our ambitions but we have a good chance against the Rossies and if they do win then I think retaining division 1 status and a Connacht title will be a decent first year for James to build on.

  30. Before the start of the second half of the senior match it was hard to imagine Mayo GAA in a worse place. We were behind having dominated possession. We had been hammered in the minor match. The scoreboard was not working. It was wet, windy and cold.To top it all we were well beaten in both Cumman na mBunscoil matches.

    Our second half display was encouraging but what is the worth of that game yesterday?. Any day we beat Galway in the Championship is a good day. So that should be celebrated. Against that this is by far the worst Galway team I have ever seen.

    We are certainly good enough to beat Roscommon. A Connacht title and division one football next year is progress. That is as much success as we have achieved since 1951 so lets not lose the run of ourselves.

  31. while i wouldn’t agree with higgins’s strike, i think maybe its no harm to see the odd punch being thrown, being on the receiveing end of them for long enough, show teams we wont lie down to them and bring in a more physical, harder side to our game….

  32. So am I, Barney – the audio piece was done (as I always try to do them when I’m at games) right after the final whistle was blown when the blood was still pumping. I still think the criticisms I made (especially about the freetaking) are valid but the language was probably a bit OTT alright. As I think I made clear in the written version later on, there was as much to praise as to criticise and having seen the standard of football elsewhere in the country from The Sunday Game highlights last night, we can be reasonably happy about how we stack up: I’d like to have seen, for example, how Dublin and Kildare would have fared out in conditions like those in McHale Park yesterday. I also think all this bullshit about the poor standard of football in Connacht will stand to us: we’re definitely progressing under James Horan and we now need to prove this by making sure we reach Croke Park in August and giving a good account of ourselves when we get there. If we manage to do that, it’ll be a good first year for James after the shambles he inherited from O’Mahony.

  33. Great piece from Spalpin. I do think that Mayo are judged at another level but I take that as a compliment. Mayo, when the notion takes them play with a brio only Kerry show. I know we see it seldom but when we do its a sight to behold.

    Mayo are judged because their fall often happened on the final day in front of an expectant nation…many times. Longford, Wexford, Kildare, Wicklow, Sligo etc never get within an asses roar of where we dwell but they get acres of positive print .

    I would rather be us. And that’s why we must be careful. Galway were shite and we weren’t much better. A corner has been turned, nothing more. Around dark corners await muggers. That’s what we have to avoid.

  34. I have to say, while I cringed at a few of the wides we kicked yesterday, overall, I thought we did what was asked of us, on a miserable day, under the pressure created by our last poor showing. If we end up advancing down the road, will anyone give a flying fig how we beat Galway, just that we did?
    Shouldn’t we be taking the good, rather than lifting stones to look at the bad? It’s one thing that always annoyed me about the older generation in Mayo – as soon as things went badly, there was a shrug of the shoulders and a muttering of “Typical Mayo”. That and those poxy crepe paper hats that invariably ended up melting into my ears.
    Anyway, my purpose for visiting today (great site, by the way Willie Joe – we’re well served with you and An Spailpin) is to pose a question. Was anyone else as baffled by the refereeing in the Mayo match yesterday as I was, and in particular, the yellow cards?
    I have to admit my green and red bias, but it seemed to me that Galway were getting a lot of the “crucial” 50/50s, and were getting away with an awful lot of dragging and foostherin’. In contrast, it seemed that every attempt to put in a tackle by us was resulting in soft frees, and worse, bookings?
    It seemed that the if the ref wasn’t sure, he gave it to Galway, yet allowed their half backs and midfielders free reign to stick the ball under their armpits and do their openside flanker impersonations? I defy anyone to tackle Joe Bergin legitimately when the ball is rooted under his oxter until he sees open grass in front of him!
    So, anyway, have I a point, or am I just whinging? I’d love a second opinion!

  35. Folks. No qualms with result. Better team on the day won. Galway footballing folk rarely if ever crib in fairness and the true mark of real supporters is how gracious they are in victory. Mayo have something to work on. Ours is a longer term project but there is plenty of talent so time will tell. One could be particular about elements of yesterday (the Keith Higgins incident or the sliding tackles from PJ and Aidan O’Shea)but they would have made little impact. 10 mins into the second half to me it was clear who was gonna win. I just hope that Connacht football can get out of this quagmire over the next year of two. It would be the best response to the ongoing criticism (much of it correct in fairness) from punditry.

  36. Lios I must be honest and say the only decision i thought the ref got badly wrong for us was when Doherty was hauled down in the square. i havent seen it on the tele but it looked a clear peno from where i was. Also he obviously didnt see what Higgins did so he and the linesman tried to second guess it and got it so wrong from a galway perspective so i felt those two mistakes cancelled each other out. Apart from that i dont remember having it in for him the way i did at half time in the league match V cork.

  37. Liosmeadhran I didn’t notice it so much – At times the amount of steps taken was outrageous but you’d have to let some of that go with the conditions. We are lucky to have KH for our next game

    The only Reffing that I can think about is the Kildare Dublin game – that ref should have put on a Dub jersey! He blew everything against Kildare and was so precious about Brogan, you’d swear he was his own son.

    I was delighted with the Feeney’s and the O’Shea’s yesterday they showed great heart and the bonds were strong. Fair Do’s to Mayo to graft out a good win in the storm conditions. McGarrity’s shout of joy after the point was well received.

  38. IT has to be said that the standard of refereeing has blighted a lot of games this summer. Enjoyed O’Rourke’s rant at half time in the Dubs game.

    Our match was very difficult to officiate given the conditions. I could not get over how poor Galway were. On a day where our confidence was really lacking particularly in the 1st half, Galway never truly put it up to us. They surely must be better than what they shoed yesterday and I hope they improve.

    Its still very difficult to assess where we’re at. The Rossies are nothing to be feared. If we match them for work rate I think we’ll win. They ahd the freedom of midfield against a very limited Leitrim team and were made to look a lot better than they are. Having said that they’re two good strong ball-winning inside forwards. Alan Feeney can take one but who’s going to take the other??

    Completely agree about all comments on free-taking. No intercounty football team with any notion of competing at the top level can go out into Championship without recognised free taker from each side and from distance. Was clear yesterday we were clueless when it came to frees. Spillane was on about Brian Stafford yesterday who was given a bag of balls and told to go practice frees. Surely some of our boys can do the same. Freeman kicked a beauty from out the field yesterday without thinking about it as did Kevin McLoughlin. Surely we can replicate this for frees.

    I’d love to think we can win Connaught and take a scalp this year. We have the players to play a nice brand. I’d love to get another crack at the Dubs a la 2006!

  39. It certainly looks after yesterday as if the Galway project is a longer-term one, KC, but the U21 win this year plus your other national successes at underage level in recent years does mean that there should be plenty of talent to work with. Whatever about future talent, though, I reckon if Meehan and Armstrong were fully fit and Nicky Joyce was back in the saddle, things could have been very different yesterday. Indeed, if Galway hadn’t so many square pegs in round holes, it might have been far closer and who knows what would have happened if Concannon had found the net with that shot he blazed over midway through the second half. As ever, victory amplifies the pluses while defeat does the same with the negatives and then, of course, the real WJ didn’t do ye any favours in the qualifier draw either.

    Will O Flatharta stay on for a second year? I’ve always felt that Galway have been badly served by the managers they’ve picked in recent years and it looks as if the way forward could be to give the job to Mulholland and provide him with the breathing space to develop a serious team in a few years. For sure the Celebrity Bainisteoir option has failed dismally and so a new approach in that respect would seemed to be called for now.

  40. Well done yesterday. Not a great game but satisfactory result even if galway were brutal. Wouldnt be too critical of Mayo. They scored 1 12 the same as dublin and more than kildare donegal and tyrone.Wouldnt pay any attention to what spillane says as he has lost all credibility and doesnt deserve to be taken seriously. Free taking is a major problem Shows how much we miss C Mortimer

  41. Willie Joe i think you are spot on in your analysis. Personally i am not a fan of O’Flaharta’s style. However i always believe one has to support who you have so i think he should be given another year after this. I would like to see Alan Mulholland given a crack as he is very fair, not into club affinity and has a football philosophy that is Galway to the core. Navan will be very tough and the worst draw for a predominantly young team. A decent performance will probably not be enough although Meath are no great shakes either. In relation to the Connacht final from a neutral perspective a tricky one to call. I am gathering the Rossies are improving. The two big men in the full forward line now have the focus on them so how they handle the pressure will tell another story.

  42. overall a lot of positives and plenty to build on. long time since we dominated the middle third and won a lot of “dirty ” ball. created lots of scoreable chances and should really have been out of sight much earlier. all 6 starting forwards scored (& varley). nearly all scores from play which brings me onto the negatives!!!
    how can inter county players miss 4 25 metre frees??? it might make people appreciate the value of Conor Mortimer when he returns instead of the usual mutterins “sure most of his scores were frees”.
    london and yesterday proved frees still have to be converted!
    also i simply dont trust Hennelly in goals. dont understand why the more experienced and reliable Clarke is not starting. Im sure he could score 2 paced kicks from 5 as well!!!!
    anyway hopefully we will step it up again against the Rossies.
    maybe we have learned our lessons of years past and peaking in April instead of Aug/September 🙂

  43. I see ontheroad your calling for Dillon to be drpped. He’s one of the best forwards in the country, where do some mayo fans get off and to think you got a feature on this blog is laughable!

  44. Everyone is entitled to their opinion here, Declan, providing they can justify what they’re saying. Ontheroad gave his reasons for what he said and you’re perfectly entitled to disagree with his point of view (as I think many would in this instance) but not by throwing insults around. I’m happy to have ontheroad as a guest contributor whenever he wants and his nicely judged pieces are always worthy of a place here.

  45. @Declan. Dillon one of the best forwards in the country? Me arse. One of our best forwards over the last few years no doubt but he wouldn’t be near some of the top intercounty teams first 15. His form this season has been shocking and he should be treated like every other player and be made to fear for his place but we all know he will not be dropped.

    On a side note rumour is [ ….] [Remainder of comment deleted – WJ]

  46. thedonfergaloni – I’ve had to delete part of that comment: you know the bit, it was right after “rumour is”. Rumour is, my hole: this isn’t the place to go spreading unsubstantiated tittle-tattle about players. Please note for future reference.

  47. I think you need to start banning some posters around here ,WJ after that last post.Absouletly disgraceful.I agree with Declans comments as anyone who is calling for Dillion to be dropped has no credability.This is a good website but it is slowly becoming like the Hogan Stand

  48. Thanks, Maigheo – I’ve just deleted the offensive part of the comment in question.

    I’ve always tried to ensure that the debate is allowed to flow here but such a policy does, of course, depend on everyone acting in a responsible manner. 99% of the time this happens, but there’s always the odd exception.

    People arguing that Alan Dillon should be dropped isn’t the problem, it’s people acting the maggot by posting scurrilous nonsense that is. I’ve no wish to stifle debate but just to be clear: this site will not become Hogan Stand Mark II. If that means more heavy-handed comment moderation, then so be it but I would have thought that engaging one’s brain before hitting the “submit reply” button should be sufficient.

  49. Dillon was good in Castlebar – ok he missed a couple of frees – but his work rate and energy is very valuable. Give the lad a chance.

  50. When Jack Charlton finally decided Liam Brady was a hindering where Charlton wanted to bring Ireland to he stated that the Irish hated to lose their heroes. We are slow to let go in Mayo as well.

    Dillon on a fully focused team would work wonders but I have to admit that I cannot recall the last great game he had. Certainly he is as good as any other of the starting six forward but to suggest that he is among the best in the country is incorrect.

    At present and going back over the last two/three years I have not seen anything special from him. That’s my opinion and if it makes some people froth from the mouth and bark at the moon…so be it.

  51. Dillons form in front of the posts has dipped for sure however he is contributing massively to this team. he never hides and is a leader. Too early to start writing him off. If we took the field without him in the hyde i would be far less confident about our ability to win.
    One last thing, to compare this site in any way shape or form to the hogan stand is well wide of the mark. its the go to site for all sincere Mayo Gaels and am certain it will stay that way. Its policed very fairly by its excellent host. keep up the brilliant work WJ!

  52. In what way is Dillon hindering the progress of this team. He is undoubtedly the best club forward in the county what more can the lad do. Can someone suggest who would be a more able half forward. Its pretty unfair to star scapegoating one player in particular its a team game.

    Lets hope that those calling for Dillon to be dropped will be eating there words by the end of July.

  53. There are four good reasons why Dillon should not be dropped
    1) He is a leader in a very young forward line, bar Andy, it is the 1st or 2nd season for the rest of the lads.
    2) His workrate hasn’t dropped even if his overall form has dipped a bit
    3) He is a class football with the All-Star to prove it and as the saying goes, form is temporary class is permanent
    4) We have no one as good as him to replace him. Campbell, Varley and Ronaldson the only true forwards on the bench, the only option is to push AOS forward and put McG in midfield. I personally don’t think that would be an improvement

  54. Agree with hilti and kevmy.ontheroad I think ur wide of the mark with regard to Dillo.

  55. First of all I’d like to offer my sincere apologies about that comment. It was spur of the moment and in hindsight it was very poor form and it was more intended to be tongue in cheek then malacious. If anyone was offended then my apologies. If you feel the need to ban me from posting WillieJoe then I respect your decision and I won’t post anymore.

    Secondly no one can deny that on his day Alan Dillon is one of if not our best footballers. But no one can also deny that his form has dipped substantially this year. I’m not suggesting that he should be dropped but he should at least be made to fear for his place like everyone else on the team should. A new regime should mean that past accomplishes doesn’t mean a player is free from criticism. For what its worth I think it might be an idea moving Dillon back to his no.12 position where he’s preformed brilliantly for us in the past.

    Finally if this is my last comment then I’d like to commend WillieJoe on this blog and I’ll continue reading regardless.

  56. Apology accepted, thedonfergaloni – we all do things that, with the benefit of hindsight, we know we shouldn’t. Fair play for coming on here and taking it on the chin. You’re more than welcome to comment on here whenever you want – all I want to see is that the debate here is kept on the straight and narrow. As far as I’m concerned, the matter is now closed.

  57. I cannot see the logoc of dropping Alan Dillon – even if not at his best he is essential to this team.
    I thought that the team were all nervous at the start and that this – combined with the wind – led to most of the mistakes. When they realised Galway were no great shakes they settled down.
    I am amazed to see supporters so over confidant about Roscommon. If that attitude infects the team it will suit the Rosses no end – not for the first time. They have some fine players – Shine and Senan Kilbride would walk on to most county teams and several others would be in line for places. Kilbride and Shine will be a real test for our fullback line which I am still not convinced about – that goal should not have happened.

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