Mayo 1-14 Donegal 1-10: Majestic Mayo defeat Donegal with awesome performance of grit and guile

Photo: Louis Gunnigan

Mayo confounded the critics and bookmakers alike with a “men versus boys” display to defeat Donegal and earn their place in the All-Ireland semi-final. Next Saturday evening will most likely see Mayo take on the Dubs in Croke Park but that can wait until tomorrow. Tonight is about savouring a special victory and a special bunch of players.

It was a spine-tingling occasion in Castlebar, in what was for all intents and purposes a home All-Ireland quarter-final. The Mayo crowd were in raucous form throughout and the atmosphere behind the wire was matched by a performance for the ages. Mayo outworked, outmuscled and “out-footballed” a Donegal side who had previously been touted as All-Ireland contenders.

This Mayo bunch have shipped some criticism, more than most I would argue, but tonight they proved their mettle on the pitch in MacHale Park. They sent every Mayo man, woman and child home with two things in abundance – pride in their county and hope for what could be to come.

James Horan made two expected changes to the side originally named. Keith Higgins returned to the full-back line with Eoin O’Donoghue making way, and Paddy Durcan started the game ahead of Fergal Boland. Declan Bonner made one alteration for Donegal with Eamonn Doherty starting for the injured Neil McGee.

Indeed, it was Donegal who started the game the brighter and reeled off the first two scores of the game in the first three minutes through Paddy McBrearty and Niall O’Donnell, who was one of Donegal’s few standout players on the day. McBrearty gave a roar to his marker after opening the scoring. It would be as good as it got for the Kilcar man in Castlebar.

Some of the opening exchanges were ferocious and the hits around the middle were immense, where the two O’Sheas were ensuring Mayo were not going to be bullied on their home ground. One sensed from the start that we were going to get a hell of a performance at least from our boys, regardless of what the outcome might be.

Mayo settled into the game with Paddy Durcan tapping over after Donegal goalkeeper Patton was dispossessed by Aidan O’Shea. Patton looked nervy and a poor short kickout led to an early goal opportunity for Mayo. However, Patton made up for his error with a point-blank save from Darren Coen’s tame effort who really should have scored. It was a luckless night for the Hollymount/Carramore clubman who was substituted before half-time.

Cillian O’Connor levelled the scoring before Chris Barrett put Mayo in front with a beautiful effort from the right wing. However, Donegal go down the other end and McBrearty runs through on goal only to be hauled down by Keith Higgins. David Gough, who made some dubious calls at times, interpreted the definite foul to be a black card for Higgins and his game was over after just fourteen minutes. Michael Murphy tapped over the free to open his account and Eoin O’Donoghue came on in place of Higgins.

From that point onwards Mayo took control of the game and outscored Donegal by 1-4 to 0-1 for the remainder of the first half. After excellent, patient build-up by Mayo where they kept possession for nearly two minutes, the ball came to Jason Doherty who kicked over a boomer from the 45 metre line.

Mayo led by a point and it was a lead they would not relinquish for the entire game. James Carr, who was full of running and showed well, scored a wonderful point from play which was followed up by a Cillian O’Connor free to give Mayo a three-point lead.

Mayo had the aid of the wind and despite being the better team, there was a real concern that we were not as dominant on the scoreboard as we were on the field. There were a number of poor wides during this period where Donegal were struggling to get any foothold in the game with Paddy Durcan and Lee Keegan doing phenomenal man-marking jobs on Ryan McHugh and Michael Murphy respectively.

The crucial score of the game from a Mayo perspective came in the 30th minute in the form of a Cillian O’Connor goal. Jason Doherty didn’t fully connect with his right foot effort from the left wing and it fell short at the back post where our poacher O’Connor was on hand to palm to the net. We seem to have a got a couple of goals like this over the years.  One more next weekend won’t do any harm either!

As is Mayo’s wont to do, however, we almost allowed Donegal in for a goal immediately after scoring one ourselves. Donegal won the kickout unchallenged and Jamie Brennan was advancing ominously on Robbie Hennelly’s goal. However, Brennan didn’t account for Colm Boyle who landed an unmerciful thump of a shoulder on him to deny his route to goal. It was clean. It was fair. It was Colm Boyle!

Murphy would point another free in the 33rd minute to end a remarkable period of eighteen minutes without Donegal scoring. Donegal put 1-20 up against Kerry. They were being well and truly shut down by the Mayo defence today.

The rampant Paddy Durcan kicked the final score of the half with his weaker left foot following a lovely pop pass from O’Connor to give Mayo a 1-7 to 0-4 lead at half time. Mayo left the field to a standing ovation from their incredible support. The bond between player and supporter was sure as hell there tonight. It was a six point lead but hard not to feel it could, and should have been a few more.

As expected, Donegal came out of the blocks fast trying to eat into the deficit they faced. Niall O’Donnell scored the opening point of the second half. Mayo responded well and James Carr extended the lead again, swinging over a beautiful curling effort having been set up by evergreen and energetic Andy Moran who had come in for Darren Coen before half time.

Moran gave Mayo a wonderful focal point for their attack and his importance to Mayo is simply monumental. Mayo had settled nicely.

But then came a hammer blow! A long ball was launched into the square in the direction of Murphy who had moved inside. Referee Gough adjudged that Lee Keegan was holding Murphy and awarded the penalty. The ball was in the air a long time and perhaps Keegan could have been assisted if Hennelly had cleaned out all in front of him.

Murphy stepped up and coolly slotted the ball to the left of Hennelly who had dived the other way. It was well and truly game on in MacHale Park now.

Hugh McFadden nailed Aidan O’Shea after the penalty was scored and you have to wonder how Gough only deemed it worthy of a yellow card. Donegal were doing everything they could to upset Mayo’s rhythm – by fair or foul means.

Things got worse for Mayo when Jason Doherty, who was having a fantastic game, was stretchered off after superbly gathering a kickout. It looked a bad one unfortunately. Fingers crossed it looked worse than it was.   

Doherty’s replacement, Kevin McLoughlin, weaved in from the right sideline and curled over a typical left foot effort to settle Mayo nerves. Donegal however were starting to motor now and, between the 48th and 51st minutes, they would reel off three scores in a row from Daire O’Baoill, McBrearty and Murphy. Murphy’s influence on this Donegal side was starting to show and the deficit was down to just a point with a scoreline of 1-9 to 1-8.

When Mayo needed someone to step up, man of the hour and my Man of the Match Paddy Durcan did so in immense fashion. As well as keeping Ryan McHugh in his pocket, Durcan scored three points from play, the last of which after a driving run through the middle, put two between the sides. O’Connor followed up with a simple free in the 59th minute and Mayo were going down the home stretch with a three-point lead.

Whilst Mayo’s wide count was poor in the first half, Donegal caught the disease in the second half and would kick a number of bad wides. Even sharpshooters such as Murphy and McBrearty were wayward with poor efforts. O’Baoill pointed for Donegal in the 64th minute to bring the margin back to two points.

O’Connor would extend the lead through another free following some excellent play from Andy Moran who drew the foul. When a wise head is needed, you would want no other player on that pitch in the final minutes than the Ballaghadereen man. It was now 1-12 to 1-9 and we were heading into seven minutes of added time. Seven minutes to survive!

Murphy, who quite simply is a phenomenal player and leader of this team, would point again to put two points between the sides. A draw would be good enough for Donegal to advance. Mayo needed victory. Only a win would do.

It was that man Andy again who would steer James Horan’s men to victory in the final minutes. Boland, who had replaced James Carr at this stage, neatly found Moran in the 73rd minute. Moran did the sensible option and fisted over to leave the score 1-13 to 1-10. Mayo were using their bench to full effect at this stage and a massive roar emanated from the stand when Matthew Ruane emerged to replace Seamus O’Shea, who put in a colossal shift.

Having Ruane back was a massive addition. So too Tom Parsons, who was an unused substitute tonight. Being able to call on the inspirational Charlestown clubman again is just another sign that perhaps the pieces of the puzzle are fitting into shape.

Mayo wrapped up this sensational victory with Moran getting the insurance point deep into added time to put four between the sides. Gough’s final whistle is greeted with massive noise from Mayo support. Their heroes live to fight another day.

And that day is next Saturday. Given Mickey Harte has made fifteen changes to the Tyrone side for the game tomorrow it is most likely our opponents will be Dublin. I will think about that tomorrow evening though.

Photo: Louis Gunnigan

For now, I want to just salute an absolutely phenomenal display from the boys in Green and Red. Tonight was special. The occasion, the colour, the atmosphere, the support, the game. Everything about tonight was majestic. Not least of all our players.

From every Mayo supporter in the country, across the country and across the globe, thank you for tonight. More again next week please!

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly, Chris Barrett (0-1), Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins;  Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Stephen Coen; Aidan O’Shea, Seamus O’Shea; Fionn McDonagh, Jason Doherty (0-1), Patrick Durcan (0-3); Cillian O’Connor (1-4, four frees), Darren Coen , James Carr (0-2). Subs: Eoin O’Donoghue for Higgins (black card), Andy Moran (0-2) for D Coen, Kevin McLoughlin (0-1) for Doherty, Fergal Boland for Carr, Matthew Ruane for S O’Shea, James Durcan for O’Connor.

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

  • Paddy Durcan (31%, 717 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (22%, 512 Votes)
  • Andy Moran (9%, 219 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (7%, 158 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (6%, 146 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (5%, 108 Votes)
  • Seamus O'Shea (5%, 106 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (3%, 75 Votes)
  • Cillian O'Connor (3%, 58 Votes)
  • Chris Barrett (2%, 45 Votes)
  • Robbie Hennelly (2%, 45 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (2%, 39 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (1%, 24 Votes)
  • James Carr (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Eoin O'Donoghue (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (1%, 12 Votes)
  • James Durcan (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Matthew Ruane (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Darren Coen (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Keith Higgins (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (0%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,208

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63 thoughts on “Mayo 1-14 Donegal 1-10: Majestic Mayo defeat Donegal with awesome performance of grit and guile

  1. The sweetest of wins – everyone stood up when needed. Atmosphere was great as well, the live music beforehand was a great shout.

    Gutted for Jason Doc who was heading for MOTM before getting injured.

  2. I thought that Brendan Harrison had an epic night. Definitely one of our unsung heroes!

  3. Serious result, well done to all involved. We must now focus on the Semi Final, plenty to work on ahead of that. Let’s keep the heads down over the next week. Our lads were really fired up for that, no way were Donegal coming to Castlebar and getting a win, you could see what it meant to the players after the game, total pride.

    Well done to all the supporters at the game tonight, serious noise and colour. Well done to the people who had the huge flags and flares on the Albany End, looked and sounded the part, more of the same is needed next week from all Mayo Supporters. We need to keep up this level of support.

    We march on, no step backwards, total belief in this team. Up Mayo.

    Also, best wishes to JD in his recovery, was playing very well tonight and all season. Will be a big loss going forward, that said we have had huge losses throughout the season and we’re still standing, keep the faith.

  4. Cometh the hour cometh the men.
    Make no mistake. Dublin will be afraid of Mayo. And rightly so. Whilst not trying to get carried away you have to be impressed with this victory. We should have won by more. But that’s the thing. We can improve more. With Mattie Ruane ready and Tom Parsons chomping at the bit we are up for the Dubs.
    Feel really bad about the Doc. But he can hold his head high for his huge contribution to getting us to the semi.
    Come out Joe Brolly from under the bed. There is no place for you to hide now. Finished……gone……not bloody likely.

  5. Best day ever in McHale Park! Delighted too to get a crack at the dubs, they haven’t had a serious championship match since last time we played them!
    As McStay pointed out last week their defence can be got at and Tyrone won’t test them either. (Tyrone would prefer Kerry any day than Mayo and will beat them)
    But the dubs forwards that need minding and we have the players to do it:
    Barrett on Mannion
    Harry on C O’Call
    Coen on Rock (who did a lot of damage in 16 & 17 on Higgins)
    Keegan on Kilkenny
    Boyler on Howard
    Higgins on scully
    Durcan on mcCaf.
    Our Achilles heel against the dubs has been our bench but Horan has rectified that! It’s there for us!!

  6. Great win, great performance from defence but need to improve scoring rate, some of our shot selections were criminal and some shot execution was U14 level. Having said that, this is a special team and this is a golden age for Mayo football, they have raised the standard so high for Mayo football. But there needs to be more improvement next week.

  7. What a performance when they needed to do it. Heroes all over the park, so hard to pick 3 for the MOTM poll, but Paddy Durcan was my first choice for the way he quitened McHugh and popped over 3 points as well.
    Great to have Mattie Ruane coming off the bench, how we have missed his running.
    Also happy to see Michael Murphy getting beaten again. I may be biased but there’s a nasty edge to that man that he doesn’t get called out for.
    All over just a fantastic evening to witness that win at home. Let’s enjoy this and worry about the Dubs later in the week!

  8. Wouldnt be so sure that it wont be Tyrone. 39% shot conversion rate wont get Mayo any further. Horan will bring them straight down to earth with that stat. Total joke ye have to play a semi next week sure we need to get the matches out of the way to free up Croker for an auld concert. Clubs me hole it really needs to be sorted the current system is stupid. Mayo in bonus territory now but the conversion rate is the achilles heel.

  9. What a win tonight. Great to be there. Got into the ground at 3.30pm. Was lucky to get a seat in the stand. What a bunch of footballers we have representing us at the moment. Great heart and desire shown by all. Great performances by the likes of Durcan, Aido, etc. but I think Colm Boyle has been exceptional in the last few games. He was flying towards the end of the game tonight after putting in a mighty shift. Tonight’s game and the game v Galway in Limerick were the most satisfying wins of the year. Those were the games that the experts were saying we had no chance of winning. Pride in the County. Pride in the team. Let’s do it all again next week. And don’t forget the U17s at 3pm next Saturday. Come on Mayo ?

  10. I would like to thank Dublin for filling in for us for the last 4 years but we will take it from here.

  11. Super report Tom full credit to you and the team tonight. We beat them through smart football , winning the breaking ball and a brilliant defensive performance. Andy the zimmer frame moran as a kerry supporter ( if you can call him that ) refured to him as down in killarney rolled back the years and once again put in a super shift as did the 2 O’ Sheas, kevin mc when he came on , paddy Durcan and Boyler . And if he had stayed on jason would of got man of the match such was his work rate today, lets hope that he returns to the field as soon as possible and that all is well with him ahead of next year. I truly fear the dubs and don’t believe we will beat them. But boy god will i enjoy tonight and what it gave us the most loyal support base in the country.

  12. Yet another one of those special memories delivered by this lot. Great bunch of lads and well done to all involved in the match-up decisions. Gutted for J Doc. Fingers crossed, but he seemed to be in some discomfort. Great to see the likes of Carr and McDonagh not afraid to carry and not getting stripped. Unfair to mention names I know, but Paddy D was unreal given the championship season McHugh (class player) had been having. Hopefully it won’t be too warm next Saturday. Wasn’t unhappy to see the forecast for today given the sapping conditions experienced in Killarney. Think I’d almost prefer us to have a crack at an unchallenged Dublin next. Given the epic journey experience since the Ross defeat, and given it’s likely to be last chance saloon for a number of players, you’d imagine that aside from the obvious mental fortitude this group has, there’s also a massive nothing-to-lose element in the Mayo psyche at the moment. Here’s hoping the kitchen sink they’ll undoubtedly be throwing at the opposition next weekend will be big enough to blast The Hill to kingdom come. Well done all.

  13. Tremendous achievement to make semi after position the team were in after losing to Ros.

    The starting point against the Dubs is to not concede goals. When they were beaten in 12 and 14 Donegal and Mayo kept clean sheets.
    Take yellow/black cards whatever is necessary. Then winning the middle 8 battle is the next piece of the jigsaw.
    Would pick Durcan on Mccaffrey and put Higgins in the half forward line also

    Something along the lines of








  14. Never out of the fight. Our warriors showed an intensity and desire that our much hyped opponents could not match. A semifinal awaits next weekend in Croker and we will wipe the smarmy smiles off their faces.

  15. I highly recommend reading Keith Duggan’s piece in The Times about the game. It is pee in your pants funny !

  16. 10 times our population.
    18 times our gaa funding allotment.
    Hand picked friendly referee.
    All Ireland semi final and final played on home pitch.

    Fuck it, I hope our lads go easy on the poor devileens. Sure didn’t Dublin do mighty to get this far, and all they have going against them.

  17. Still reeling from that performance this evening.
    How can we ever thank these guys for ‘ Days like this. What a group of players. Awesome.
    To see Mathew Ruane back and chasing up the pitch at the end, and to see Tom togged in his Mayo jersey. It’s all so surreal.
    I’ve been saying all year that there’s something spiritual about this year and Mayo. All those tough injuries and here we are heading into AI semi.

    So so bloody proud, proud of you all.
    Wishing Jason a speedy recovery. Having a unreal game before that.

  18. Well done Mayo. I expected a big Game from the Green & Red. Apologies to Rob Henley, you did well this evening. The Black Card to Kieth Higgins was a joke & so was the penalty. Mayo by far the better team , Aidan, Colm Boyle, ?ee kieth, Chris, Jason, Andy ,Cillian, what a group of men ! Best of luck in the semi final next weekend.

  19. Following the action from rural Pennsylvania.
    Looking forward to being in Croke Park next
    Bring on the Dubs

  20. Is that them gone?

    No. That’s them taking over Hill 16 next weekend with flags and smoke flares.

  21. Was really impressed with Fionn McDonagh this evening. Kept running at them and was vigilant in the tackle. Very impressive. A team player

  22. Great report Tom. A very good account of happenings. Well done.

    I loved the intensity of James Horan on the line tonight. He did a great job on the line and his preparation and decision making this evening was top class. Well done James. You led by example.

    I’m so proud tonight. These nights are so unbelievably special. We are the luckiest supporters in the world.

  23. Superb performance by all, 13/8 what odds. So So sorry for DOC was having a amence game regardless who they put on him. Hope its not as serious as is expected. So so frustrating to be losing players at this stage. I can’t remember a better response to the dume sayers in RTE, Joe Brolly, Donal Reid, McEniff .
    Kevin McStay: ‘Donegal shaping up as the biggest danger to Dublin’ – DONT THINK SO KEVIN not in 2019

    However I was really annoyed going to the match today listening to RTE1 radio and the teams that Dublin & Tyrone have named for tomorrow! In reality Dublin & Tyrone have a free weekend (as they are playing their B Teams) and Mayo have 6 days to recover for an All-Ireland semi-final. Where is player welfare, where is the fairness, where is the equality. Its bulls*it, teams who get to the semi-finals should be awarded the same rest and preparation time. Therefore the semi-final should be put back by an extra week.
    It’s a great day today but this is hugh injustice……..

  24. Great piece Tom, well done to you for ably filling in. It was a day for defences so I wouldn’t read to much into the conversion rate Chesynechet. The wet ball, the confined space and the shear intensity effected both teams. With a dry ball and space in Coker the conversion rate will fix itself.
    Felt sorry Darren Coen.. it just simply wasnt a day for his skill set.
    You have to play the ref you are given.. Gough is very much by the rule book.. so if he see’s a defender ahold of a jersey in the square he’s going to give a penalty.. likewise Higgins was on top of McBrearty and looked to bring him to the ground.. black card (sure.. Gough didn’t see that McBrearty had a hold of Keith’s hand but Keith shouldn’t have been caught like that either) In my mind he’s still the best ref out there but we have to be smarter in playing him.. if we do we will get 50/50 from him and you can’t ask for more than that.
    Kerry foke might not agree with this but Tyrone or Dublin won’t want to play Mayo next weekend after us coming out the right side of a tough battle with Donegal and will see Kerry as the easier draw. If Dublin and Tyrone send out a second string team tomorrow/today to play out a facile result then we will beat either of them.
    Role on Saturday week.. can’t wait

  25. Nice piece Tom – well done. What a performance tonight – far from perfect but the intensity and sheer hunger to win every ball was a delight to see. Great to see a full MacHale park with our fans in full voice – a really special and memorable occasion. Really hard to pick a MOTM – Paddy edged it for me but every single player out there was immense. Delighted to see Brendan and Seamie put in stormer performances. Great to see Eoin get some decent game time in there too and thougt he did a really fine job also. Tonight is to be savoured before thoughts turn to next weekend.

  26. Puck out like your match ups crucial v Dublin we’ve always done these well. You have to be ruthless for success even though Seamus was excellent today we have to go with Ruane on Fenton in Croke Park

  27. Hand on heart, I didn’t see that coming.
    Is there nothing these lads aren’t capable of?
    I’ve given up trying to work us out.
    “Controlled madness” as they say.

  28. 3 Key guys for Dublin. Kilkenny, Connolly (Will play versus us) McCaffrey. Who takes them Probably Keegan, Coen & Durkin.
    Also Robbie Hennelley was very good tonight. Didn’t really do anything wrong.
    One mistake I guess but the Donegal keeper who was supposed to be an All Star had one too.

  29. Firstly, best wishes to Jason Doc, he done so much to set up the platform for the magnificent Mayo Victory… Never heard the noise in MacHale Park as loud and passionate as it was yesterday evening… incredible best GAA Supporter’s in All Ireland by a country mile… Great to see Tom Parsons take part in the warm-up, great to see Mathew Ruane looking just as fit, fast and agile as he did before his Injury…Both O’Shea’s absolutely immense, what’s New?… Barrett and Boyler, fabulous…Young fellow’s like Carr, McDonagh and only guy in the world who’s actually getting younger and better, the irreplaceable Andy Moran… I feel that I should keep writing name’s and to a man Everyone stood up for Mayo… But my MotM award goes to Paddy Durcan, yet another stellar performance, even better than his performance marking Shane Walsh.. Hat’s off to everyone involved, including the managnent…A few very harsh call’s went against us, was it a Penalty?… for me Definitely Not.. should Donegal have gotten a straight Red Card for a nasty third man assualt on AOS? Most Definitely in my opinion.. We were still full value for this amazing win…We have the most and the best fan’s in Ireland… Saturday evening last was our warm-up for what’s to come next Saturday… We’ll be there in full force, and I think our Minors might be there as well, so Croke Park good and Early..

  30. Two little dogs st Hennelly In report Otherwise very good I think this was brilliant from Mayo Everyone of th them did really wet The pride these guys give us in the county and beyond They are simply outstanding Maigh Eo abu

  31. What a performance. We won a huge amount of ball around the middle third sometime that’s been missing a lot this year and that gave us the foundations to build on.
    Every time we’re written off these warriors rip up the script. As someone posted above we are so lucky to have these fellas.
    Does anyone know why the tickets for Saturdays game aren’t available on the gaa website yet?

  32. Now that the dust has settled…I hope everyone has calmed down. It’s really important that the team are fresh for next weekend. Peter Canavan said he doesn’t see Mayo getting further because we’ll be burned out after last night.

    Upon reflection, the positives from last night:-

    We won.

    Defensively we were nice and compact, but for a little open in last quarter. Team showed great tenacity and hoping that momentum continues for next Sat. Great to see Ruane get a run and Durcan in full flow. Thought Seamie had good game too.

    The not so positives:- a wide count like the Roscommon match. How many wides did we have…????

    Donegal played shit but were still only 4 pts off us at the end. We should have closed that game out mid 2nd half. Anyome who knows football could see the Donegal defence were fragile. Dublin would have put 4 goals past them if given those opportunities. We had several plays where goals should have been the end result. Moran…Keegan and Mcdonagh at the end to name just a few.

    The atmosphere was great yesterday and credit to our supporters. It was super to win BUT let’s not let the emotion cloud the fact that in attack Mayo were quite poor when you analyse the game. Yes we got some nice scores, Carr, and Durcans point after what seemed like 30 passes in the build up but how many times did we make a meal of an opportunity (countless is the answer).

    Our defensive and midfield did well but a far more composed, accurate and clinical performance will be required by Mayo to have any chance next week, regardless of whether it’s Tyrone or Dublin. And I do not know who can do the job Doherty does. It was shaping up to be his best performance in a green and red jersey since 2017, when we beat Cork in Limerick. We really need Diarmuid…bigtime.

  33. had a quick look a the forecast for next weekend – potentially similar looking conditions to last night! Croke park will be even more slippery than mchale park. Not quite sure who the conditions will suit the most.

  34. Our best overall performance this year so far was v Galway. Overall we were better in that game than we were last night. The buzz and thrill from last night was electric, partly because we were underdogs but when team and management reflect back and supporte too, no doubt, it’ll be clear that there’s a hell of a lot of room for improvement.

  35. Performances like last night are what ties this team and the fans, in fairness, many pundits did go for Mayo, which is a reflection of the teams record over the last few years.

    Donegal found out that there is a step up come the later end of the championship, but this experience should stand to them. Mayo defended well and middle 8 were outstanding. Jason Doc is so underrated, last night he was outstanding, wishing him well in his recovery.

    Gough did not give us much, technically it was a penalty but is rarely given, have the refs been given a directive as there was a similar soft one given in one of the hurling semi finals?

    Next week is really a free shot, I cannot see Dublin losing today, so they will be rightly favourites but in the back of their mind, they would probably prefer not to see the green and red next week. I think that their supporters struggle to see why we have put it up to them in the past, and they could beat us comfortably but with Mayo you never know, and in many ways that is the beauty and fun in following this team. I will be there again next Saturday as we continue this great rollercoaster journey.

  36. @Liam. I don’t do days off. Ive been to all of Our FBD, league home and away bar one and championship…Im always there. We are the ones who bring the big flags and consistently support and roar on the team.

    Were you happy with our shooting and finishing yesterday??? It was head in the hands stuff! And I’ve outlined the positives. I just don’t buy into the ‘hero’s stuff. Win an All Ireland first please.

  37. It truly is a day when Man of March award superfluous.
    The contrast between the team walking off after Meath and Aiden O’Shea’s leap over the form for the photos, bode well.
    Great patience shown in the build up especially in second half.
    Great courage to do the right thing, even when it hadn’t worked previously.
    In the words if Keith Duggan before the match. “”But if Mayo are still standing at the end of it all, then they will stand as something strange and frightening.”
    I hope it’s Dublin.

  38. Great win. They bullied Donegal. Should have won by more but as others have pointed out, shot selection was terrible. Some very bad wides. At halftime Mayo should have been up by 11/12 points. However on another day, Donegal could have easily won that. Last 15 minutes they must have sent 6 in a row wide. One issue I did have was the fans booing every free kick and miss from Donegal. I know others will say, but every county fans do it. We should be better than that. Positives:
    Ruane getting a run out
    Boyle and Andy are having an Indian summer.
    Intensity was on point
    The will to live never leaves Mayo

  39. We were far from perfect but what’s important to take away was the way we physically dominated a very powerful Donegal team.

    As one example mid way through the 2nd half on the stand side, some Donegal player caught a ball and legally or illegally “young” Fionn McDonagh literally wiped him out. We need this and more next Saturday afternoon.

    Yes we kicked some wides and made a few poor shot selections but I’ll attribute those to conditions and pressure. Not the end of the world.

    Also, we had free players on at least 2 occasions at the edge of the square when the attacking player didn’t lift his head and pop a little pass. This can be the difference between winning and losing.

    I’m not at all taking away from the result but chances are we’re playing Dublin next week and we need to convert all these chances. We’re also fixing problems identified in early games.

    It’ll be a long week, but we’re going back to Croker for and All Ireland Semi final.

    The dream is still alive, the fire still burns.

    Up. Mayo.

  40. Whatever happens next weekend it was a very special victory last night – especially for those great servants in the team who may well be playing their last season with the green and red. It was only fitting for those lads in particular that they got to taste victory in a massive game on home soil with such a massive crowd behind them roaring them on. I’m sure it’ll be a special memory that will live long with them as it will with us.

  41. Must say I was surprised last night,but it was a very good performance,the way players won turnover after turnover bodes well for next week, hope Jason is ok

  42. @Mayonaze
    What are you looking for? We absolutely bullied Donegal off the field. Murphy got 4 possessions in the first half with Keegan on him. Paddy Durkin skinned McHugh alive. We got our match ups 100% spot on. The crowd was electric. We were rode sideways by Gough who was approaching Cormac Reilly levels of meltdown yesterday. We’re in our 8th semi final in 9 years despite being written off by most pundits, the bookies and a large amount of contributors to this blog. It was an amazing day in McHale Park and all you can do is find the negatives, so yes, take a day off from the negative shite and live in the moment every now and then.

  43. Aristotle, who I don’t believe ever watched any GAA himself, famously wrote that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Often, Mayo have been castigated for not having the marquee player(s) that a Dublin or a Kerry or even a Donegal might have. We may have the all-time leading Championship scorer, but even then, there has been a sense that we truly lack those special win-the-game-all-by-myself sort of players.

    Yesterday evening, Mayo once more showed that you don’t need one standout player: You need twenty plus warriors who will go into battle collectively, knowing his individual job and the overall job of the team. I think back to some of our more recent big victories – Kerry in this year’s League Final, Kerry in the 2017 semi-final, Tyrone in the 2016 quarter-final – and find it hard to select just one outstanding player from any of those performances. It’s the collective effort. It’s the Mayo way. You push and you harry and you pressurise and you drive forward. You move forward as a unit – Chris Barrett dinking over a point half way through the first half being a good indicator of this – and you retreat as a unit.

    There have been some well publicised malfunctions to this collective approach in recent times: The hypothesised moral damaging hammering by Kerry last month, the humbling and stuttering defeat to Roscommon in our own back yard earlier in the summer, the nearly inevitable conclusion to the circus show that was Newbridge. On those days – and indeed we’ve seen others – the collective did not always look assured, and we fell to painful defeats that felt like the end of the world.

    Yesterday, it felt like winning the lottery. You can’t put a price on what it means to see Paddy Durcan not only do an outstanding man marking job on Ryan McHugh but also wriggle free on countless occasions to end up with a tally of 3 points [a tally that could have been double that on another day]. I believe it was John Casey on the podcast during the week who said just this – not only can Paddy do a brilliant man marking job, he can make his marker work hard to stay with him. In truth, there was no only one winner on the day. You can’t put a price on seeing the O’Shea brothers utterly dominate the midfield – with the exception of a 10 minute spell half-way through the second half when the Mayo faithful were collectively fretting “oh no, oh no, oh no” – winning turnover after turnover and ably assisted by the likes of Jason Doherty and Fionn McDonagh. [A word on Fionn, billed after the League campaign as one of our up-and-coming flair players, showing that it’s not about your skill and technique so much as your heart and your determination and utter willingness to stick your head in where it hurts and win an ugly 50/50.] You also can’t put a price on seeing a reborn Colm Boyle, freed from the shackles of the GPS tracker, executing a perfectly timed challenge to turn over an oncoming galloping Donegal man that looked sure fire to create a goal scoring opportunity.

    The collective was there for all to see. Robbie Hennelly, who has at times over his career made even his most ardent supporters slightly unsteady with a misplaced kickout or a rush of blood, again demonstrated his strengths, maturity, and professionalism. Good kick outs – barring one heart-in-mouth moment in the first half -, sensible decision making, and two assured takes under high balls showed that between him and David Clarke, we are spoiled for choice. Chris Barrett and Brendan Harrison, often names not to be the first to cross lips after a game, put in stellar performances with clean turnovers won and a willingness to run to show for the ball, take a Donegal player away, and create the space. It’s been mentioned on this blog previously, but it definitely seems to me that Barrett, like some of his team mates, is trimmer and quicker than he has been the past few seasons. As for Harrison, I don’t believe I have ever seen him look ruffled or bothered. He is diligent and approaches the game with a determined stoicism that feeds into the collective. An honourable mention for Eoin O’Donoghue too, who had huge boots to fill when Keith Higgins took an early bath, yet who slotted into the collective seamlessly and solidly.

    James Carr looks like he could be doing his Junior Cert, but plays with the confidence of a man who has a few All Ireland medals in his pocket already. His curling, booming kicks secured us 2 points yesterday, and his overall link-up play for 50 plus minutes was tidy, neat, and vital. Like the other newcomer Fionn, Carr also is not afraid to do the dirty stuff, and I’m nearly sure I saw him on his own 30 yard line mid way through the second half winning a breaking ball. Cillian replicated what his brother Diarmuid did in the League Final and gambled at the right time to bundle the ball into the net. In truth, he is still not 100% match fit, but his influence cannot be understated and he left the pitch with a creditable 1-4 knowing that his goal meant Mayo never looked back. Andy Moran once more played like a man possessed, willing to put the past heartaches of every single bloody year behind him to drag himself and everyone else back to Croke Park where they belong. He was overeager at times yesterday, but if that insatiable appetite can be weaned slightly, he will be twice or three times as productive as he was yesterday.

    We could write about the contentious refereeing decisions. We could put a huge amount of energy into some of Donegal’s challenges [one of my best friends is from Donegal, and I text him just after Aidan and Jason were cleaned out and told him he should be embarrassed by his team’s petulant and downright dangerous display – a comment I have since watered down somewhat]. We could lament the Super 8’s wacky format that somehow means that this Mayo team play 7 matches in 8 weeks. But to do that would be to shift attention from the real story: Mayo’s heart, Mayo’s spirit, Mayo’s collective.

    James Horan has often been criticised for not responding quickly enough on the touchline. Yesterday, and not for the first time in this Championship, he made an early call and hauled off the luckless Darren Coen who unfortunately was trying to shoot through people and just could not keep hold of the ball, before half-time. His team, collectively, were prepared for battle, with one-on-one match-ups won across the pitch. Lee Keegan once more sacrificed himself for the greater good, putting most of his energy into attempting to curtail Donegal’s most dangerous player in Michael Murphy. Contentious penalty aside, Murphy was kept quiet for the period of the game that Keegan marshalled him, and in truth, Keegan himself could have scored 1-1 in that time. But it is Lee’s willingness to forego those thundering runs – not for the first time – that is truly impressive. Because he, like the rest of his battle-hard warriors, knew the ultimate goal: The whole must be greater than the sum of its parts.

    Over to you, Aristotle, to sum up this Mayo team again: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” For a man who never watched any GAA, he sure knew a thing or two about Mayo.

  44. @mayonaze Here are some other positives for you
    1.Robbie was solid in goal and in lockout, better than Donegal Patton, who before the game was being talked about as an heir to cluxton throne,
    2. Lee and Paddy man marking jobs, outstanding.
    3. The amount of turnovers we forced
    4. Seamie O Shea performance (both O Shea were excellent but wanted to mention Seamus cause for so often his work goes unseen)
    5. Colm Boyle job as sweeper
    6. Chris Barrett point (if that was Kerry and Dublin corner back the independent would have a special pull out edition on it)
    7. Jason Doc performance.
    8. The tactics for the kickouts, the way we dominated theirs and were solid on ours.
    9. The fact that Donegal were being touted as all Ireland contenders, and rightly so they are an excellent team but when Mayo have time to prepare excellent teams find it very hard to play against us. You say Donegal was crap but they have been brilliant all year so maybe, just maybe you need to give mayo credit for being so hard to play against.
    So there are a few more positives for you there.
    You’re right there were negatives, there always is in games. We had wides, should have had a least one more goal but Donegal had some poor wides and this is a team that scored 1.20 against Kerry.
    For me the two biggest negatives are Jason Doc injury and the fact we only have a week to prepare for Dublin. Give us two weeks and we would go toe to toe with them I just think it going to hard for the lads to match the intensity. One thing we are guaranteed is this mayo team will give everything.

  45. I’m sure I dreamed last night that Jamie Brennan was through on goal and ran into a brick wall or was that brick wall Colm Boyle? The drink does funny things.

    We did a great job last evening on stopping Donegal running through us. More of the same needed next time out.

    Lost in London – That is one of the great posts. Never mind John 3:16, I can just see the Green and Red banner being unveiled on the hill “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

  46. Mayonaze thank you fot the flags and flares etc. Its always great to see them at every game and yesterday was perfectly timed too. You are right too improvement is needed but a wet mackerel wouldnt wipe the smile off my face today!

  47. P.S. From my post listening on the wireless, Jason Doc really had a great game before he fell with his injury. I wish him the very best of recoveries.

    He was stellar yesterday. I remember being amazed at him directly receiving at least two kickouts, and maybe more. I thought – imagine having Jason also as an option for kickouts. All my very best to him.

  48. Yesterday before the match the word was that should we lose to Donegal there would be some retirements. Not sure how accurate those comments would have been but after that magnificent victory and even if we were to lose to Dublin next weekend I doubt very much if there are any of the players who will want to walk away from this Mayo set-up. In fact, I would hazard a guess that some of these older players will stick around for another few years or until such time as they can hand over the mantle to players who can take us that last step to the promised land.

  49. @Mayonaze, so you don’t believe in the ‘hero stuff’s and it’s all about winning an AI. I beg to differ. Derry won an All Ireland in ’93 and if I was standing beside you now I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t name 3 of the starting 15 other than Brolly. In 20 years’ time the names of these Mayo players will be still on peoples’ lips, irrespective of whether they reach the Promised Land or not. Virtually every poster here can see that this has now become more than just about winning Sam. If you haven’t got enough romance in your soul to see that you may as well go back to being the amateur Stato you seem to want to be.

  50. @Liam @Jason B @Mayonaze
    To be fair I think Mayonaze IS stating positives as well as negatives. There were clear positives in that performance but if people think Donegal didn’t underperform in that game and we weren’t extremely wasteful then they are deluded. We out-battled Donegal and that probably rattled them but we left them in that game. Dublin or Kerry would have punished us badly for that. We need to massively improve to have any chance against them. Btw @Jason B our tactic at the kick out seemed to be to hit Doc and once he went off we really struggled on our kick outs. Kick outs have been an issues for weeks now. Hardly a positive.

    Real shame for Doc, he was playing brilliantly. He’s a really important player for us and not sure who can fill that link role. Maybe Cillian.

  51. DiasMuireLinn, agreed, there’s massive room for improvement still, but the point I’m making is that this is no longer a soulless journey with only one objective, winning Sam. That’s the sort of winner-take-all attitude displayed by the likes of Bill Belichick, a man who’s won a bunch of Super Bowls and has completely forgotten how to smile and be happy about it. Most of us here know we’re on a strange, glorious journey with a bunch of men who’ve been consistently written off since 2014, yet beat the odds again last night. Yes they are heroes, more so in fact because they haven’t got there yet, but what a privilege it is to be with them. That’s why a cold, Belichick-like statement of ‘I don’t believe in the hero thing, let’s win the All-Ireland first’ doesn’t cut any ice with me, because if Mayonaze was such a winner he’d have an All-Ireland medal himself by now, which I doubt he has. He says he roars the team on and follows them everywhere. Well so do I, but it’s not only because I want to win Sam, it’s because the journey has actually made me a better person. If Mayonaze can’t buy into the hero thing and only wants to win an AI, he’s all the poorer for it.

  52. Ah Jesus Fearbolg, come off it!! We all fully appreciate what these lads are doing and they are fantastic players and ambassadors but the AI is the objective. It’s their objective. It has to be ours as supporters. This hero’s and journey stuff has most of the country laughing at us. The Kerry, Dublin, Tyrone, Galways are patronizing us and openly mocking us.

  53. Well done Tom on a great summary. Really enjoyed your post too, Lost in London.

    That was far from a complete performance but frankly I don’t give a fiddlers; it was a win to savour and savour it we will (some of us) without dwelling on the stuff we can do absolutely nothing about. It’s up to the lads to work on their conversion rate next week, not us as supporters, so I see little point in letting it drag us down.

    We all have eyes, we can all see where the not-so-good aspects are but I fail to understand how supporters must – or can – have the All-Ireland as an objective. Of course we want it, badly, but we are not on the field or on the sideline making decisions – or am I missing something here? I’m happy to have enjoyed this journey over the past decade (and far longer) and greatly appreciate the effort the players put in. The lack of an All-Ireland doesn’t weigh on me any more; I just enjoy the good days and move on from the bad ones. Why? Because aside from sacrifice my voice for two days and almost dislocate my shoulder from flag-waving during a game there is NOTHING ELSE I CAN DO ABOUT IT. And the days of caring what supporters from other counties are saying to us or about us are long over.

    Thoroughly enjoyed last night – the atmosphere, the tension, the drama, the physicality, the craic, the result. And no amount of poor conversion is gonna get me down, until it needs to. If that’s in a week’s time, so be it!

  54. All that has been lacking in Mayo from both players and supporters is that belief that we can really win the All Ireland. These are the days that make history. Stop fucking about. We are more than good enough. We have always been. Really believe. No faux belief. We were good enough in 89 and we are still good enough. When good is not good enough. Time to change is next Saturday. These men are special and Saturday will be a big day again for us. Mayo by one.

  55. Two talking points here.

    1) Who would a wet day suit more. Answer to that is Mayo because Dublin are like robots and Jim likes to control everything but one thing he can’t control is the weather. Dublin out fought Kerry in 2015 but could still have lost if fouling and eye gouging on sub Donaghy was properly punished. They only won it by 3 despite dominating.

    2) Should McLoughlin play? Answer is he’s been in our top 4 or 5 in almost every game for a very long time. Huge credit in the bank. Until this year leaving him off would be unthinkable. I would have him on ahead of DOC and Ruane despite the latter’s excellent form this year. Yes his form dipped this season but they’re all now battle hardened and he will also be fresh enough having not started the last day.

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