Mayo 1-7 Tyrone 1-11: reality-check

Final score

There are days to remember and then there are days to forget when following the fortunes of the Mayo team. This one fell unambiguously into the latter category.

Everything about today was bad. The driving conditions down from Dublin – where I didn’t finally shake off the fog until the MacHale Park floodlights had almost come into view – weren’t hectic, the cold-to-the-bone chill in the weather wasn’t exactly pleasant either and Eddie Kinsella’s performance with the whistle (which didn’t, before anyone says anything, have any impact on the final result) was on the godawful side of poor. And, truth be told, our lads weren’t a whole pile better.

In retrospect, Tyrone clearly came into this one gunning for the points, which they obviously felt they needed after losing at home to Monaghan last weekend. They were up for the battle today and came with a clear game-plan – based on an ultra-defensive approach (there’s a fog-related metaphor in there somewhere but I can’t quite verbalise it) allied to rapid breaks from the back – whereas we never really showed up and never had a clear idea of how to proceed when faced repeatedly with 15 men between them and the posts.

The visitors were on top right from the start, McCurry clipping their opener within seconds of the throw-in. They had a second point on the board soon after but we came close to opening our account in spectacular fashion only for Michael Conroy’s dribbling shot for goal to be cleared off the line. When our opener did come it was from a free from Jason Doherty following a foul on Colm Boyle.

Tyrone kept the pressure on us, though, extending their lead to three, with a point from play by McNulty and a free from Sean Cavanagh. It was noticeable even then how easily they were able to drive through us when going forward but how tough we found it to make any progress against their congested backline.

Another chance at a goal came our way, though, when Tyrone’s keeper Morgan went wandering as far out as midfield but then his misplaced pass was intercepted and we broke quickly with Morgan frantically haring back to base. The ball was fed to Ronaldson who fired over but we should arguably have profited more from the Tyrone keeper’s wanderlust.

It looked like we were getting into the contest a bit better at this stage, with Mickey C pointing, his shot deflecting off the upright and over, from a feed by Kevin McLoughlin. That cut the gap to one but we then went over 20 minutes without scoring again.

Tyrone’s next two scores came via stupid refereeing decisions. A perfectly executed rob by us was adjudged to be a foul and Morgan drove over the long-range free. Kevin Keane then did brilliantly to dispossess Sean Cavanagh out on the wing but got penalised, with the ball moved into scoring range when Kevin – understandably – protested. And so we were back to three in arrears once more.

We weren’t helping ourselves, though, with three bad wides, two from Donal Vaughan and one from Jason Doc as our frustration at Tyrone’s blanket led us to some daft shot selections.

Two more points for them, one from play and the second another Morgan free, this one from at least 55 yards out, saw the crowd get increasingly restless as half-time approached. One incident, where a ball into Alan Freeman on the 14 yard line ended up via a series of passes back out beyond the fifty, summed up our difficulties in coming to grips with Tyrone’s blanket.

We eventually got our fourth point, right on half-time, when Jason was fouled as he tried without success to punch through the cover and Kevin Mc popped over the free.

It was also from a free that we opened our second half account, with Donie raiding forward from the throw-in and after he was fouled Doc stroked the free over. Our third goal attempt came soon after, when Aidan O’Shea – who’d lined out instead of his injured brother Seamus – intercepted a handpass out of defence and bore down on goal. He shot too soon and from too far out and Morgan was equal to it. With a man in the clear to his left, Aidan could and should have made more of the chance.

The next score came at the other end, though, when they burst quickly and carved us open for an easy point. This was followed by a score of the cute hoor variety with the Tyrone attacker fooling Kinsella into thinking that a dive was a drag-down. When we gave the ref lip the ball was once again moved up, with the free tapped over.

Our first switches came then, with Colm Boyle surprisingly withdrawn in favour of Patrick Durcan and a big roar greeted the announcement that Cillian O’Connor was also coming on, the All-Star forward replacing Mark Ronaldson.

We had to make another change soon after when Aidan followed through on Morgan after he’d made a clearance. It was a foul, for sure, it was definitely a yellow and a picky ref might even have gone for red. But no way was it one of the specified black card offences, which, of course, made it no surprise that this was the one that Kinsella went for. Aido was replaced by Barry Moran.

Just after Aidan’s departure, we finally broke through the suffocating cover. I didn’t see that much of it but I do know that it was Cillian who scored the goal. Now just two points down with twenty minutes left to play, it looked for the first time as if we might carry the day.

The next score was going to be absolutely crucial and to keep the momentum going we needed to get it. Another wide, this one from Doc way out wide, was another chance spurned but then Tyrone broke and cut us open for the decisive score, finished by Peter Harte as we got caught out in a 2 v 1 situation at the back.

And that, to be honest, was that. Plenty of those in the 9,555 attendance were already making their way towards the exits as we got our two final scores of the day, both long-range placed balls scored by Cillian, the second from a fifty. It’s been a while since I last saw MacHale Park starting to empty before the final whistle was blown.

There were precious few positives from our perspective from today. Tactically, we were out-thought and physically we were out-run and out-fought for most of the seventy minutes. We lost midfield, we lost all the dirty ball around the middle and we hadn’t the first idea how to deal with their crowded backline. And we shot a bagful of wides – fifteen, I think, was the official tally.

Very few of the lads stood out today, with David Clarke, Michael Hall, Kevin Keane, Keith Higgins, Stephen Coen, Kevin McLoughlin, Michael Conroy and Cillian O’Connor the ones that I felt did best on the day.

So, plenty of lessons to be learned from today following what was, in every sense, a fairly strong reality-check for us. Instead of heading into the three-week break thinking we’re great lads altogether, we’re now left instead to ponder on everything we got wrong today and what we need to do when Monaghan come to town at the end of the month. That one won’t be any easier but we know we’ll definitely have to perform better the next time we take the field.

Mayo: David Clarke; Michael Hall, Kevin Keane, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Stephen Coen, Colm Boyle; Aidan O’Shea, Donal Vaughan; Diarmuid O’Connor, Kevin McLoughlin (0-1, free), Jason Doherty (0-2, frees); Michael Conroy (0-1), Alan Freeman, Mark Ronaldson (0-1). Subs: Patrick Durcan for Boyle, Cillian O’Connor (1-2, a free and a ’45) for Ronaldson, Barry Moran for Aidan O’Shea (black card), Mikey Sweeney for Freeman, Ger Cafferkey for Keegan, Alan Dillon for Doherty.

135 thoughts on “Mayo 1-7 Tyrone 1-11: reality-check

  1. Awful display, Well beat all over the field, we can’t keep on blaming referees, our shooting for points was the worst I’ve seen for a long time, on this display we are heading for division 2.

  2. Gosh, that was disappointing. Tyrone were ridiculously defensive, with 15 men behind the ball for most of the match but Mayo looked absolutely clueless as to how to break them down. Their shot selection was woeful and we could have no complaints about the result.
    I thought Mayo were clearly not up for the game in the first half whereas Tyrone clearly were. Our tackling was very indisciplined at times (not that Tyrone were any better). Aidan O’Shea was unlucky to be put off (I’d love to hear the reasoning behind that black card) but to be fair, Cillian O’Connor was lucky for his goal not to be scratched off.
    Thought the young players didn’t really get a chance to shine. Of them, O’Connor showed well but looked limited, truth be told. Hall didn’t get a chance to play as a corner back. Ronaldson did ok at times. Higgins and Keane were probably our best players again.
    A lot of work to do. Our composure and shot selection left a lot to be desired. Disappointing but there’s a lot of football to be played between now and June. Just a pity to lose the advantage of an away win so early.

  3. It’s a pity you didn’t get to see any football in your first game of the season,time is on their side but they have to figure out how to play against puke football,that shite is hard to watch

  4. Scrappy frustrating fare today. Shot selection was terrible. Fitness looked a bit lacking. Key players didn’t perform today. 1-3 from play won’t win many games at this level. Best that we get a wake up call at this stage as Monaghan and Donegal will bring the same kind of tactics. The blanket defence is back and it’s bigger and badder then ever

  5. Poor performance and Tyrone were well worth their win. Kept doing the same thing over & over from the first minute ’til the last, a lot of work to do but every league campaign we have some poor performances and this one is no different

  6. Bad is an understatement what the F**k is story with alll the bad wides and don’t give me it’s only the league bullshit terrible performance by at least 12 players yes willie Joe the ref was bad but it seems we are using this excuse quiet frequently there is no excuse with county footballers playing at a junior level.. Vaughan is a fine footballer but his shooting is all over the shop

  7. We were clueless in breaking down that curtain. We can give out about Tyrone deploying these tactics ( if every team played this way the game would die out ) but we should be able to say ‘right, let’s go to war then’. We should have bombarded their full back line with high balls and look to win scraps – it would be better than playing sideways passes and going for hail mary shots. Aidan O’Shea or Barry Moran should have moved in there with Freeman and Conroy should have been told to win breaks.
    Cillian O’Connor was wasted in there when he came on, we needed him on the ball in the half forward line.
    Truth be told it was a shocking game of football. Keane, Hall and Higgins did alright but there isn’t many who came out of that with pass marks. Back to the drawing board for Noel and Pat, who need to seriously work on a plan B.

  8. Saw this coming so not getting disappointed, our shooting boots were left down in killarney. Ronaldson was bullied, kmac not himself. Kevin keane is really putting up to ger cafferkey now, which can only br good for the team.

  9. Truly awful display,, no thrust or conviction. .Bullied n2 taking wrong options, no attacking moves – lateral pass the parcel & top of the head stuff, no creative forwards & no finishers. I fear we are watching end of an era.

  10. Not being flippant but are none of ye slightly worried about that performance , there might be a lot of neutrals rubbing their hands this evening .

    Hope it was just a blip but there will come a time in this cycle when the bite will go . I hope it’s not just yet but I’m not convinced either way. Some terrible shooting today.

    I’ve said it elsewhere over the weekend and I’ll say it in here the rules need to change , blaming officials is one thing and they are poor but our game is getting ridiculously defensive and this is seeping through right down to under 8 s , it’s wrong wrong wrong , we will end up with a terrible game deprived of its most skilfull beauty a natural forward. Any aul gym monkey can be trained to be a great defender if willing to dedicate himself but you won’t teach natural forward instinct that’s an art.

  11. Back to the old days of going sideways and backwards and atrocious kicking of the ball. We just haven’t got the wit to break down those type of defenses.

  12. The only time to be worried is if they are relegated from Division One, then you’ll know we’re going backwards.

  13. There was no plan B today, I still reckon we need a big man at 14 the likes of Barry moran or my choice Aidan o shea. Alan freeman is a lovely footballer but when u are not given room to play football you need another dimension. We made it so easy for them today, yet on the rare occasion we did kick long we scored a goal and had another cleared off the line. They were panicking when this happened. I hope our management team at least have a look at this option because we looked clueless. Even if Gavin Duffy in there for last fifteen minutes long and high and bypass the blanket and let our corner forwards feed off the breaking ball. We need to mix it up and at least try it. More teams will be using this game plan against us, anyways early days yet.

  14. First of all I’m sick to death of the “ref” comments. This type of match is difficult to referee at the best of times, I thought the ref was fair enough apart from the black card to AOS (which actually did mayo a favour as Aido was about as effective as tits on a bull in that game – the “soloing through 15 men from a static position” aspect of his game was back with a vengeance today). Yes we had some harsh frees against us – but there was a foul against Morgan and a square ball in Cillians goal, neither of which was spotted.
    Worryingly, our management did nothing to counteract the very predictable blanket defence. We OWNED the ball, but time and time again soloed into a brick wall and lost possession. Some people will point towards all the wides. Yes there were some bad misses. But the reason the tally was so high is not because our forwards are poor. It’s because we were under ferocious pressure every shot we took at the posts. That’s because our style of play was wrong. Short kick outs and carrying the ball the length of the field do not work against ultra defensive teams. I wouldnt worry too much about the result. It’s meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

    I prefer to look at individuals at this time of year – especially ones with a point to prove. We all know Higgins, Aidan o Shea, Boyle, keegan, Cillian, cunniffe, Doherty, seamie, Vaughan, Kevin Mac etc, can and will deliver in late summer. I’m more interested in the Freeman’s and Barry morans of this world, and the likes of ronaldson, Diarmuid o c, Kevin Keane. Keane was the only fringe player to play well today, although Conroy was ok in the first half in fairness. Durcan also did ok when he came on. Freezer has got to be running out of chances now, was very poor today. I’m also very uncertain about Diarmuid O Connor – although he has youth on his side, ditto Hall and Coen. Tyrone are an average outfit who will not be anywhere near all Ireland contention, yet they beat us easily. At the same time I wouldnt want us playing too well in February, as the cute kerryman would say! We beat a Kerry junior team last week – the few seniors they had playing were only off the plane from Cape Town so it’s silly getting excited about that result. However the 2 points gathered last week could be very valuable in April. Onwards and upwards.

  15. We don’t have forwards who can kick points from 30 metres, with the noticeable exception of Cillian O’C. Maybe Jason D and Kevin McL. On a good day! It’ s a major problem and has been for many a year. James Horan could kick points in his prime but I am struggling to think of another player from recent years who has had that innate ability! Why are Aiden O’Shea and Donal Vaughan getting on the end of so many moves? They are great players but not natural point scorers. Mickey Harte won the tactical battle / force Mayo forwards to shoot knowing that they are too erratic and eventually attack breaks down and they hit us on the break. Early days but omens are not good….

  16. Spot on Joe. Nothing to worry about long term. Its february, cobwebs still being knocked out and three weeks of hard training ahead no doubt.

    Shot selection wasnt the best but Tyrone made it that way and in Feb players are not going to be too busy figuring out a way around a blanket defence.

    The main thing to take awah, for me, is that we know to work on shooting and we know now what doesnt work against a blanket defence so we can work on what might work next time. Staying in Div1 is the main thing and finding one or two new players.

    I have 100% faith that both will happen but unfortunately iv no faith at all that the GAA will do anything about the deplorable standard of refereeing

  17. Sean Burke I totally agree with everything you said..end of an era I hope not but the point of gym monkeys is spot on maybe instead of lifting weights they should spend some time shooting balls over the bar

  18. If we are not careful we will end up talkin bout ref as a big factor each time AOS was actually lucky he didn’t get red card instead as he clearly came down on keepers neck/shoulder. Intentionall.
    He had great chance to lay pass off to Ronaldoson for a handy goal but decided to go for glory.
    And he should be letting ball go much quicker besides trying to hold onto it and break through tackles.
    Mind u, with this hand passing game over.and back de.pitch, shouldn’t it have become more obvious a lot sooner that letting ball go directly in might yield more dividends?
    Of course u need high calibre ball winners in there and.I honestly don’t know if we have.enough of these

    So it’s round and round we go!

  19. I am the classic happy clapper and always try to see the good in every performance.

    Let’s get the ref out of the way first. He was utter shite!! Miles behind the play, unfit, inexplicable decision making against both teams , utterly incapable of controlling the game. Utter dung. Should not be on an underage list nevermind an inter county list.

    Next the mayo defense, shockingly bad , every Tyrone kick pass led to a Tyrone chance, way too loose on their man , passes out of defense intercepted. I would have nearly taken them all off. Brutal!

    Forwards and midfield , running into trouble , too much hand passing, 8 chances from 22 taken, bullied and beaten by apart from Seanie C much inferior players.

    We need to buck up our ideas or Monaghan will beat us as well and then we are staring at the dubs with only 2 points on the board.

    Very annoyed today, no one can take a free kick off the ground anymore and they can barely take them from their hands, the management had better learn from this.

  20. “Your never as good as they say you are, your never as bad they say you are”.
    Poor display but let’s not panic yet.

  21. I watched a real game of football on tv last night with Donegal and Dublin, man to man stuff, with some well organized defending and some great scoring. Today I watches a well organized Tyrone team doing what all the better teams are now doing, defending well and break with pace. Watching Mayo playing today, reminded me of an under eights match in the local park – no system, no structure, no idea in the world of how to defend, and the less said about our attack the better. If we choose to call a well organized defensive system, that Tyrone, Donegal and indeed Kerry to some extent in last years final, puke football, then we better start learning how to play it very soon, or this team is going no were. The way I see it, these lads who have served us so well for going on four years and more, should be given the best possible chance to win a national title, and whether we like it or not, our present defensive system such as it is, is in my opinion, not at the races.

  22. Naive.

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.

    Tyrone dropped everyone behind the ball and we ran sideways and into brick walls and cul de sac’s and throw in plenty of simple handling errors. How on earth Management or the more senior players on the team didn’t see that the thing to do was to stick AOS on the edge of the square (cos freeman was poor) and leave two corner forwards either side of him and lamp a high ball in on top of him…at least we’d have a 50/50 chance of possession – but no, we were clueless in possession. Very disappointing.

    The only plus and I’m scraping the barrel here, was that Kevin Keane played reasonably well. The rest of our defence were only average.

  23. Agreed Mayo McHale – our present defensive system is naive and old fashioned. I wouldnt go as far as saying we have the best defenders in the country, but we are up there…but the system we play cost of an All Ireland last year.

    It’s too cavalier…we leave gaps at the back.

    We need shrewd men on the line.

  24. Frustrated, yes. Despondent, no. 8 out of 22 suggests that more accuracy would have seen Tyrone needing to change their game plan. Kicking points from 30 or 35 makes the blanket defence redundant. Tyrone had nothing like that number of opportunities. Fair play, they got the win, but come the championship then I feel we are serious contenders.

  25. No reason to believe that the Pat Holmes that made a hames of the 96-99 team, marked Diarmaid Connolly with Eoin Reilly, is going to succeed with a great group of players.

    As I said before the soundings from the panel are not good and the County Board fiddling of the process is coming home to roost.

    Relegation beckons

  26. Bad day for the management – Tyrone did nothing today that could not have been easily forecast and yet we played in to their hands.
    Our FF line is a big part of the problem. We simply can’t win ball played quickly in to the FF line, therefore we have to try to run the ball into scoring positions 25/30 yards from goal and that’s played in to Tyrone’s hands.
    Many of the 16 missed chances (8/22) were no hope shots taken under pressure because we had run out of ideas. Which contrasted markedly with the relative ease with which Tyrone were allowed to shoot (12 from 17)
    How longer are we going to persist with Freezer at FF when it plainly isn’t working? Freezer may have a role but it’s not FF. (although I know many seem to disagree).

    We need new ideas and fast in the FF line, because it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that if you double-team Cillian, Mayo have no other scoring threat.

  27. I think there was an classic example there today of two teams playing at different intensity and with different expectations.

    It looked like our fellas had still not finished the back slapping of last weeks victory whereas Tyrone got eaten by their supporters (and management I think) for last weeks disastrous performance against Monaghan.

    So they came to Castlebar upset and with a serious chip on their shoulders to prove they are good enough to compete. And prove it they certainly did. They got in our faces, competed on the edge, and bullied and hit our guys whenever they could.

    We on the other hand never got to the pace of them and in the arm wrestling that ensued fellas ended up taking panicky shots which went astray. Watching it again on the tv Tyrone actually several better easier chances they missed than we did.

    Today’s game also showed you need physical guys who can take the hits and still compete. none of that really existed in our FF line although i thought Mickey Conroy was effective enough in the first half.

    Management though have a lot to do after today’s display as it shows our team can easily be found out if the correct system is played against them.

  28. Don’t know where to start.i start with the fact we kicked 15 wides to tyrones 5.we owned majority of the ball.i said it before im very concerned with lack of natural scoring corner forwards take cillian and regan out we are in major trouble in these positions and have being for years.ive never seen anything like a blanket defence like that is was a blanket defence by 5.but we need to be able to counteract this when does happen.roscommon tried it last year and we struggled to break them down.if they didn’t park the bus that day and decided to go out and play ball they could bet us.thought Michael hall did well on debut.d o Connor Kevin Keane did well as did Coen at times and Durkan looks a fine player to.but we were moving the ball like a rugby team across a line a lot today without going anywhere.teams will target our platform from half back and we need to be ready for this.inside scoring forwards is a major issue and lads that can take scores from 30 to 45 yards least it’s only February today could be a blessing in disguise in the long run.i was also reading somewhere over the weekend that a large number of our minors from the last 2 years are suffering from this osteio pubis groin injury which is from over training.heard the number is around 9 and this injury is very series and can end careers.just wondering what people’s thoughts about this injury are we over training minors to much physically?

  29. I presume Ger you’re unaware that it’s a dual management setup that’s currently in Mayo. There is another guy called Noel Connelly who is equally responsible for this Mayo team.

  30. yea….. everyone in a green jersey seemed to have the dithers today. Handling very

    poor throughout. There is not much point in complaining about referees or congested defenses.

    That is a new reality. I know that we all learn more from our mistakes so there needs

    to be a sharp learning curve this Spring in dealing with that scenario. Mentors on the

    line especially,will have to think on the hoof and make the necessary changes to at

    least try to alter the course of a game when it`s dour as this.

  31. I’m not going to troll through all the comments. I’m sure I am thinking of a lot that has being said.The biggest disappointment for me I’d that I saw no leaders there today. That’s all I have to say on this game.

  32. 15 wides.

    I wont elaborate on that and say what i want to say (in respect of the house rules).

    If its any consolation, thank God we are not located in Ulster and have to play against such puke negativity every summer. The league game between Tyrone and Donegal on 29th March will be 10 times worse than what we witnessed today and mercifully we wont have to sit through it and watch.

  33. As usual, over reaction to a league defeat. Yes it was a very disappointing performance but the desire was there just the application was poor. We’ve had these type of performances in the league over the past 4 years. Rather have them now then the Summer. I’ll be looking for a reaction from the Mayo team v Monaghan in three weeks. Big two points at stake then.

  34. out coached off the field
    bullied on the field

    How mngt didn’t try to mix up composition of full forward line give the way tyrone were setting up. i.e put Barry Moran to contest high balls, as we could not win possession today due to Tyrone numbers.

    I have been disappointed with Diarmuid O Connor, i thought his late point last week v Kerry masked a poor performance. he is not a natural forward, he cannot kick the ball over the bar from his strong side, but constantly kicks the low percentage shot across his body. He is young, so I do not want to be too hard on him. He may be a year or two away.

    Game cried out for strong on the ball players.

    Shooting was woeful, even thought it is february, goals will not be moved come summer.
    Seamus o Sheas’s importance as a ball winner cannot be underestimated.

    Rest has been covered elsewhere.

  35. Well WJs last week call for calm measured comment hasn’t lasted too long. Perhaps it’s a cyclical thing, we tend to rise every 6/7 seasons , culminating with a pair of All Ireland appearances. We might have had our spell, time and tactics won’t wait for us.

  36. Back at base after a bitch of a drive in the fog, and checked in here for a good old dose of despondency to cement the gloom on a Sunday night. By God some of ye don’t disappoint 😀

    Frustrating game today but not too much more frustrating than Omagh last year. Simple fact is Mayo thrive playing open football; Tyrone do not allow open football. Sure, we had no plan for them, but it’s hard to have a plan for every team and every type of opposition and these lads are extreme – you need to be in full throttle to battle with that type of defence and we didn’t even hit 40%. And Tyrone love putting a halt to our gallop, and they had everything to prove this week to keep themselves in contention.

    If we’d only been a bit more decisive today and driven forward with a bit more speed rather than allowing them to park the bus every time, we might have had a better chance. And if our shot selection hadn’t been so dire we might have had an even better chance. Mayonaze used the right word above – naivety – and the ease with which they drove through us at times was the most worrying aspect for me; but God, it’s only feckin February, so a bit of relaxing the cacks is in order here I think. I’ll eat my jersey if we are talking relegation in six weeks time never mind after two games.

    We are still at a formative stage of the season, so y’know, no need to panic just yet. We can start panicking if Monaghan beat us this day three weeks. Now, I’m off to get a cup of tea and think happy thoughts.

  37. First of all, did anyone see the Donegal, Dublin game on Setanta last night??? That is what I am basing my main comment on. By the way, James Horan was one of the pundits and he was highly impressed. The main feature of that game was the sheer speed of both teams, also Meath last night and Monaghan, Cork today. Before anyone says its early in the year, what’s good for the Goose is good for the gander.
    Now, did you see the speed of Mayo today? They TROTTED down the field, and up the field. Tyrone were back in place, having a cup of tea. Dublin broke through the Donegal defence at speed with at least two other players beside them; straight through not sideways.
    As for “puke negativity” (the house rules constrain me as well); Eamon Fitzmaurice changed Kerry’s style of play and only won the final. He said he wasn’t happy but he won. Dublin are now playing with a packed defence. James Horan loved the fare last night!!! Fantasic stuff. Watch at 7.30. The funny thing is, Kerry and Dublin are South of the border. I rest my case.
    Oh yes, why could we not try Gavin Duffy at full forward? All he has to do is catch the ball and give it out to one of the others. We have no target man and no spare Centre field player..

  38. The fundemental principal of a forward is to score from play, good God how long more in this era are we going to keep pattin lads on the back for a dogmatic work rate, honestly who gives a shite , that will not win you silverware. Despite a bad defensive set up today we still would of won if lads took their scores and showed composure . There is no way that our forwards are that bad either, it was like they were having pops for the craic and dithery about it . Something not right there , is training goin alright have they got the right socks yet? Wake up bucks.

  39. Time to move on its only the league better to happen now then later in the year at least we where not hammered in that game but màyo need to be a bit more defensive.

  40. Ger bohan can you please elaborate from soundings from the panel not great? One thing that was evident of Horan era and I say hasn’t changed is you wouldn’t hear a negative word coming out of the dressing room

  41. This blanket defence strategy is just dire as a spectacle to watch. It’s no wonder football is falling way behind hurling in the popularity viewing stakes. Dreadful football matches which are really just hand passing games. Something has to be done quickly by the GAA to counteract this. it’s just not football anymore. Nobody could have envisaged that this is the way football would end up. It has to be improved as a spectacle somehow.
    The hand pass has to be restricted to just two hand passes in a row and then it has to kicked. But you cannot kick it away to with 15 guys in defence !!!
    You must have a minimum of 5 players in either half at all times( not sure how you could police this.

    It’s all well and good saying teams have to just handle it and get on with it, but that it is the difficulty when it in no way resembles football as we used to know it.

    I know the management and players were not great today but I have a a lot of
    sympathy for them trying to manage and play against that awful brand of Rugby league GAA. Was in Croker last night and Donegal were doing the exact same thing.

    The puke football has been here at least a decade now and the GAA have done nothing to try and curb it. The need to wake up very fast and come up with a solution or people will give up on it.

    I hope Noel and Pat never resort to that rubbish.

  42. Disappointing to say the least. You know what you re going to get v Tyrone , blanket defence cynicism , hit you on break, yet we played into their hands and never altered our game plan. Shot selection dire and began to go across the field dishing off ball sideways and not taking responsibility as we used to do in the bad old days. Cant kick long range points which is necessary in this type of game and Mickey H won tactical battle hands down. Very few good performances with the exception of Keane. Even Keith despite playing well early on was poor in last 20 mins. We need to stop blaming refs for all our woes. OK Kinsella wasn’t great but we cant blame him for our inept performance. Please GAA get rid of that stupid black card. How AOS got one and Doc didn’t is just beyond me. Having got all that negativity out of my system I feel its not time to panic or blame management and players etc. Its only Feb its a long season and I am sure lessons will be learned. We have one or two of these in league every season. If you don’t believe me look at this blog in Feb and March in previous seasons so all is certainly not lost. Three week break now so lots of work to be done.

  43. 15 wides to their 5, that was the difference. Same old Mayo, if you keep us out of to the 40 we wont score. And we bring on the usual hail Mary artists, with no poise or composure. By tomorrow the ref will be to blame for this defeat, no change there. Some say that is is too early in the league, well by the time we are found out in the championship again it will be too late.

    At some stage fingers will have to be pointed. Look at the way Tyrone responded to their poor performance last week. Perhaps criticism does have its place as opposed to happy clappy platitudes. More heavy training crap will not make forwards that can take points from far out.

  44. It’s only February so i’m not unduly worried about today. We had a bad day in the office it’s better to have it now than in the summer. We do need to learn how to play against a blanket defence. We have to move the ball a lot quicker. There was too much soloing and bouncing of the ball in possession. The intensity in the foward s tackling was poor today as was the off the ball movement in the full foward line. We need a dead ball kicker for 45’s etc and have needed one for years because it’s costing us big time. Does anyone know what’s the story with young Irwin from Breaffy is he around. He has proven with the minors that he can pot the frees especially in pressure situations.

  45. I thought we would have tried something different, like some of the suggestions above, when it was clear that what we were doing wasn’t working. It’s February and 3 weeks till our next game so we might learn more lessons from a defeat at this stage than a win.

  46. I was at de game last night – it wasn’t that great at all. An ordinary enough affair!
    Donegal loads behind ball like Tyrone today but Dubs still found ways to break em down.
    And that was with 14 men in 2nd half.
    As someone said earlier, we knew exactly what Tyrone would bring to De table today.
    But we had plan A. And after that plan A!
    It is not illegal to play 14/15 men behind ball
    It may not be pretty but if teams are going to do it there is no point in spending your whole time moaning about it.
    Just adapt, find a way through and if plan A is not working try a B or C.

  47. Agree, Ann Marie, when we do negativity we really do it.
    However while it’s not the end of the world or of this Mayo team it was a pretty disappointing display. From the off we lacked the hunger which we showed against Kerry last week and walked right into the trap Tyrone set for us. More depressingly our management seemed to have no idea whatever as how to solve the conundrum. Sending on Mikey Sweeney was never going to solve anything for us. I’m afraid Mikey, Mark Ronaldson or any other forward I see around who is under 5’9″/5’10” will contribute nothing to winning an all Ireland. The only answer to lack of height is blinding speed and ball control and I do not see that anywhere. In my opinion Barry Moran should have been introduced at full forward midway through the first half and Alan Freeman moved to the corner in place of Ronaldson. None of the other substitutions seemed to make any difference either and appeared to be made to give the impression of doing something. Freeman today was in a no win situation. Few full forwards can win ball from Justin MacMahon because of his size and if Freeman broke a ball there was no support around to pick it up. Early on Freeman did manage to contest some ball but the lack of support made it a fruitless exercise. Our backs again gave too much space and freedom tot he tyone forwards. Giving 2 – 3 yards to most intercounty forwards is asking to be taken to the cleaners and too often 2 – 3 yards seems to be our idea of close marking.

  48. Jeez Andy d lucky your cut off point was 5 ten and not 5 eleven or else we might never of seen the gooch.

  49. Just in the door now, will have the match report up shortly. Lots of comments to wade through as well! I’ve just corrected the poll as well, by the way – I set this up before leaving this morning and then forgot to change Seamus to Aidan for voting purposes afterwards.

  50. I don’t think I’ve ever looked back at our own half when we are attacking and not seen an opposition player – but I did today – 14man blanket ! and boy a pretty sight it does not make . I think I might give Tyrone league games a miss from now on

  51. While it was sweet to beat kerry last week, and not so sweet to lose to Tyrone this week we have won or lost nothing yet, so a bit of perspective is in order, last week against kerry players were praised as if they were going to win an all Ireland even though they have been around for years, all I can say is as I have said many times before is jh gave everyone a fair chance and if they were good enough they would played, also I thought there was a lot of veiled criticism of his decisions, I hope we dont go down that road with pat and noel, if the players are good enough we will win that cup if they are not no management team will get them over the line, god knows I spent many years complaining about players, and managers but looking back the teams were not good enough, I still think our biggest problem is centre forward, who can win hard ball and pass well, I think j donogue is worth a try in the fowards, perhaps c carolan if he gets back again, c freeman looked a few years ago, but good strong natural scoring fowards are very hard to get.anyway on to the next game where I hope the players can raise their game

  52. Tyrone came to town and their tactics were no surprise even though some posters on here scoffed earlier in the week saying our half backs would run through them.

    Anyway bad points
    Ref was poor
    Management was poor
    No leadership on the field
    Team was poor
    Bar Cillian no quality to spring from the bench

    Good points
    Keane continues to impress
    Coen good and will have learned a lot from today

    Reality check
    Its only Feb
    New players getting valuable game time
    Tyrone are further down their training schedule than us
    Get worried if we repeat the same mistakes against Monaghan

  53. Lots of people attack when someone suggests putting AOS on the edge of the square at certain times. What have we to lose by doing this in a game like today’s or the next day out against Monaghan . We have to change it up a bit at times especially if it’s not working out , we are very predictable against certain systems and so reluctant to mix it up , change it.
    Put him on the edge of the square the next day , I’m telling you it will work against a team like Monaghan , he will cause havoc.

  54. 2 points from play all game a goal that could easily have been chalked off and each wide that became wider with each effort. Improvement will come only feb and i still expect Mayo to get the required 8 points to reach the semi finals.

  55. It’s early days and a reality check in February could work wonders in August or September if by some miracle or shambolic management appointment process I was Mayo manager I would plonk Aidan O Shea and kick long balls into him all day long

  56. That should read if plonk Aidan O Shea on the edge of the square and send in good high ball early all day long it works for Kerry as we have found out to our cost

  57. Very poor mayo display. Ponderous slow hand passing up the field all day. No one on the field could kick a long range point. Our much vaunted defenders Keegan, Boyle and Higgins were poor. Higgins was badly caught out for the Tyrone goal, the other two taken off. We have shown before that you need to push up on the blanket but we never did it today.
    Taking off the full forward line is ridiculous when there is no quick ball going into them. The players hand passing it around shout have been replaced. Vaughan belongs back in the half back line. Was cleaned out again today, kicked bad wides and never once let it in fast. Tactics and selection of new management left a lot to be desired today. Holmes admitting they didn’t know what to do with the defensive system was depressing. It’s not like it hasn’t been around for a few years.

  58. It was some lump of a blanket and boy it did its job very effectively. The real trick in beating the blanket is not to let the opposition get ahead – blanket up yourself if necessary. Make it a 0-1 to 0-0 if necessary. Today Tyrone worked very hard and got a few early points and fair play to them for that. They also converted a high percentage of their subsequent attacks on the break. We then ended up chasing scores against 15 defenders inside their 45 and that is extremely difficult if not impossible. And indeed we looked silly in our attempts. You need to get ahead of them right from the start and stay ahead and force them out to play. We started way too slow.
    As well you need to break fast out of defence and run hard and direct at them forcing them to foul. Going cross field and backwards doesn’t work. Our wides were mostly down to the pressure they imposed on us.
    Hard lesson and a big wake up call but no need to panic just yet!

  59. Probably the worst mayo performance since the 2010 horror shows. However it’s just one game and early to draw conclusions. However there was a worrying lethargy and lack of ideas today so early in the new management’s reign. James Horan focused a lot on point scoring from out the field, I hope it’s still a priority under the current management. A psychological and physical hangover from the last four years is not unrealistic to expect. It’s quite possible the team need a year of down time with a renewed charge in a year or two possibly under a returning James Horan in 2017! But it’s still only one game in February so let’s not lose the run of ourselves yet….

  60. Going into this game I was very worried because Tyrone got a lot of flak for losing to Monaghan and they are ahead of us in fitness terms after their McKenna cup win compared to us competing in that shambles of a competition the FBD.

    I was surprised about the team selection. Durcan had a good game in Kerry. Fine player and he’s dropped. Young hall is not a corner back. He’s a no 5. Stephen Coen Is too young and naive to be holding down the centre back position and he was lost today. Tyrone came through the middle at ease. Not starting Cillian too was IMO stupid. He’s fit after the sigerson and he’s better than any of the full forward line that started today. Ger Caff too should be getting gametime. I felt it was crucial to win today. Home games are vital to win and the lack of urgency in some players today wasn’t good enough.

    The lack of leadership on the pitch was worrying today when the chips were down. Higgins drove us on from the full back line, Keane did well again, Diarmaid O Connor worked awful hard and Boyle was his usual brave self. The rest of the team I feel were just poor. Tyrone wanted to win more than us and they did. We can talk about the referee and some decisions but ultimately the cause of this loss is down to players shying away from a battle, lack of desire, poor decision making and shot selection and strange selection calls.

    Going forward ya have to say that there is little done and tons to do. I didn’t read much into the Kerry result because if we are all honest Kerry were just one week back from their holidays and weren’t at the races. This might be the kick in the arse that some guys need both on and off the pitch. Nothing is ever easy in this division and it’s a tougher one than last year. Today is a reality check for many and I hope it is a blessing in disguise. Time to knuckle down, learn from today and plough on. The trimming of the squad in the next couple of weeks will be interesting.

  61. I knew a very good mayo footballer once and he said when you have solved a problem by having a good midfielder or centre half, dont create two by shifting that player to another position, aos is our best midfielder, leave him there.find someone else for chf and full foward

  62. Worst shooting ever, backs able to account for themselves, but lord do we need the likes of brogan brothers in forward line. Depressing to watch.

  63. I’ve no wish to rehash many of the comments which I’ve read on this blog here this evening and with which I totally agree.
    We regard ourselves as a top four or five team. With such lofty aspirations must come the ability and wherewithal to deal with what ever presents itself in front of you…no matter how beautiful or, in today’s case, how ugly.
    I saw today’s game as a seriously interesting and informative engagement for our new management. Hindsight and the facts will confirm that they or the team failed. Don’t let anyone out there give me that bullshit that it’s only February.
    There was only one way and one way only to deal with Tyrone today and that was evident from the third minute. AoS should have been relocated to the Tyrone goalmouth and see how they dealt with an aerial bombardment. Alan Freeman could have gone to corner-forward. ( he simply hasn’t displayed the physical authority to wear 14 on his back but his goal in Killarney suggests to me that he has a role to play at 15).
    I feel we left a hostage to fortune in Castlebar today. A marker should have been left down. Today was a day when we could have let the other 32 who play in the championship know that you mess with us at your peril… The record will show that a team which plays shite football came into our garden, beat us and went home with the football.

  64. Its only February and the i told you so brigade are out.
    I watched the match on replay on GAA GO this morning

    Holmes and Connelly will be given time but they like Horan have a major flaw which is they dont make changes early enough during games when their is a clear issue. Holmes and connelly have history of this at Club level so they will have to learn fast as inter county is a diffferent ball game all together

    Yesterday we seemed to be clueless to the Tyrone 14 man behind the Ball policy. there was no plan A never mind a plan B.
    Michael Hall in my humble opinion is a nice footballer but at present is way too light and for senior but he will hopefully mature with time.
    I notice a clear vendetta by some individuals with regard to the performances of D O Connor. I for one thought he showed up well yesterday when others were totally out of sorts.
    if there is one person whose continued game time i cannot understand is Donal Vaughan. yes he is an awsome athlete but he is no more of a footballer than my grandmother as his passing and shooting is wayward and he tackles like a poor mans corner forward.

    Also i applaud the policy of giving youth and new players a chance but i am afraid to say that some of them have been tried before and failed and some of the debutant’s are also not up to scratch.

  65. Tyrone played clever football (not puke football as some blinkered posters keep referring to) today to beat Mayo comfortably. Mayo players have no one else to blame but themselves. Some of the lads (Aidan O’S, Keegan & most of the forwards) thought they just had to show up and Tyrone would roll over. We took wrong shooting option on countless occassions.
    Another point – try and do the next match report without referring to the referee. Ref’s will make mistakes but we have no control over them so we should not reflect on them. We can only fix our own performance so please focus more on that instead of the Ref. The ref. had a tough job today with lads (from both teams) diving, feigning injury, mouthing, swinging elbows and plenty of general pulling and dragging. Upside is that we’ve plenty of time to fix our problems. In my view the mgt need to be more firm with the players in order to get the most out of them. Some of the lads are taking their place on the team for granted from what I can see.

  66. Most points that need to be made have been already. However one point I would make is every player that attacked down the left in 2nd half had to turn back onto their right and were invariably kicking under severe pressure. All inter county players should be able to kick off left or right. Some of the offenders are coming off an all Ireland winning minor team, just not good enough at this level.

  67. Yes a disappointing day,very poor display,too many wides,players looked tired,unfit,no leadership today,,we need a plan b for blanket defence ,it absolutely ruins a game of football but it seems to work,Monaghan and Donegal more than likely will play similar football as Tyrone,so hopefully we will have learned something from this game today and come out more prepared for Monaghan,and it is only February so plenty of time for improvement,

  68. Today was really a day that we needed players like Seamus O’Shea and Chris Barrett. Hardy boys. You’d have thought when Cillian came on that centre half-forward would have been his best position to try and kick a few long range points. Again putting Barry Moran in full-forward might have paid dividends. Donal Vaughan’s days in midfield are surely numbered. It’s such a shame about Evan Regan, as lads who can take scores are in such short supply in Mayo.

  69. Paul – I’ll stop mentioning refs (and I frequently don’t mention them at all) when they do okay but the simple fact is that the reffing today was diabolical. It didn’t affect the result (as I said in my report) but it did make a bad game worse. I was in Croke Park last night as well and Deegan stank the place out with his incompetence. The GAA simply isn’t interested in fixing this but sitting back saying nothing about it simply invites another performance like Reilly’s in Limerick.

  70. Well the cheek of Tyrone to come here and play play defensive football and to add insult to injury, to go home with our 2 pts.
    Instead of criticising Tyrone (puke football etc.) why not take a leaf out of their book, identifiy our strengths, play to them (at the edge of the rules) and to hell with the begrudgers. Their ‘win at all costs’ attitude has got them 2 pts today and won them all Ireland’s. I for one say ‘fair play to them’.

  71. No panic just yet but you would expect better from our own lads at home in Castlebar. Complacency seemed to have set in to the team – gutless enough performance. Kevin Keane again showed a bit of passion but overall they appeared clueless as to getting to grips with the blanket defence. I think we found out today that Seamie is our best midfielder – badly missed for his direct running and aggression – – that Kevin Mc is not a centre forward.No leadership in the forwards and sideline slow to react – lessons to be learned.

  72. When we start kicking 45’s back towards on own goal, things are really bad! We were clueless today, cannot be glossed over in terms of total inability to play against a blanket defence. Its not like its something new! Very worrying, we will struggle in Connacht based on where things are at right now.

  73. Depressing and entirely predictable in 2 ways: (1) Tyrone would play the blanket, and (2) Mayo would be complacent after last week. And as godawful as we were, we still had the chances to win.

    It would be easy to get too down about this, so I’m not going to bother. Tyrone do this to us regularly in the league. The same Tyrone have done nothing of note in the championship since 2009.

    Championship is the only show in town for this Mayo panel at this stage. Get six league points on the board to stay up, see if any real new options put their hands up during the league – but above all, get everyone up to serious sharpness for Galway in Salthill. That’s what matters.

  74. A trawl through comments after previous leagues defeats will unearth the same doom and gloom.
    If we are happy just to stay up and be right for the business end, there will be days like these.
    The training regime may answer a lot
    Long road ahead.

  75. Seems the heros of Killarney have now become the villans of Castlebar, if a week in politics is hard then it is nothing compared to a week as a mayo supporter…………………..Yes a woeful display but thank God it is February and there is time to improve.
    Not a good first real outing in the new jersey, maybe we should convert to the black and lime full time, it may make for the first of many changes of attitude and execution that is so needed from the now forward to the rest of 2015.
    MaighEo Abu

  76. Football used to be about catch and kick and the teams with the best fielders and kickers usually won the matches. Not any more, now many of the matches resemble a hybrid between Gaelic and Rugby.

    We used this hybrid today by running the ball from Clarke all the way up the field, no kick-outs to mid-field why ??. This tactic simply give Tyrone even more time to retreat which helped their blanket, they then resorted to their old time wasting tactic of going down injured if all else failed.

    As WJ pointed out the referee did not cost us this match, it just once more highlighted how difficult it is to ref a match now. One wonders are the referees given a mandate to let the game flow and only pull up the most blatant of fouls if they see them. It is nearly impossible to ref a football match, for e.g Harte was pulling at Keegan and Harte then wrestled Keegan onto the ground, the play is at the far end of the field so Linesman and Ref have no view and can do nothing. Harte scores a goal 2 mins later.

    When our new management took over I had in my own mind resolved that we were in a team re-building phase rather than simply an evolving phase and that time and patience would be required. I am still of that opinion, there were many lessons that should be learned from today.

    The Mayo team got a very mute reception as they left the pitch at half time, that says it all really.

  77. These comments are hilarious, Talk about an overreaction! Some of ye should log onto the Kerry gaa forum and contrast the way they reacted to last weeks shambolic (from their point of view) defeat against us last week. A few yerras, a few amused comments at how excitable mayo fans were getting so early in the year, a snide comment about mayo getting their annual victory against the kingdom chalked down for the year, and most tellingly utmost trust in Eamon Fitzmaurice. This after they getting hammered on their own field by a team they always beat in the championship. They know a thing or two about winning all Ireland’s them fellas do too… Don’t they?
    Calm down people. It’s only the 8th of February for gods sake.

  78. Bad result today no doubt but what happens in February is usually forgotten about come summer. I was surprised at what Pat Holmes said that they were not expecting 15 men behind the ball, Tyrone were always going to revert back to type after the result they had last week.

    When Dublin come to Castlebar mid March will be a good barometer of where the team is. They were impressive last night with a lot of regulars out of the team and have changed tactics slightly. Division 1 is very competitive interesting see how things pan out.

  79. This time last year Kerry weren,t very impressive…………………we all know what they achieved come September………………….Lowliness is young ambitions ladder.

    MaighEo Abu.

  80. We need leadership as all ready pointed out.We need lads who can take a score. We need to stop letting teams carve us open down the middle. On past performances we need to start closing games out .If we are not going to play Tyrone at their game then we need to start supplying good long accurate foot passes into our full forward line.Managent need to find out players best position and all that my friends is down to Conneely & Holmes to figure out.

  81. Tip for the management team, practice kicking from 35-40 metres when playing these northern teams with blanket defence, atrocious scoring today.

  82. @ Mac’s left boot – “These comments are hilarious, Talk about an overreaction! ” The comments here for the the majority of posters are far removed from ‘hilarious’ and are not ‘overreaction’. They are an accurate account of a dismal performance by Mayo, whether it be February or any other month. If you are prepared to accept a display like that, at any time of the year, good luck to you.
    Why the hell should we read what Kerry are saying? That is their business.

  83. With Mayo fans the clichés hold true We are always over the moon or sick as a parrot. We need to calm down. Sure we were very poor today but we turn in some of these type of performance every league. There was nothing new in evidence today. We struggle to score from distance, that’s why JH played a high tempo running game. We struggle to win 50/50 ball in FF line. We have difficulty dealing with blanket defence. Yet we have not become a bad team because of this performance and there was nothing wrong with effort today. We call for the introduction of new players but get worked up when they don’t deliver instantly. I d say playing against Tyrone system is a nightmare but in the past we have dealt with them quite well when championship comes around and I wouldn’t worry too much about meeting them later in year. Having said that , lessons need to be learned and we must have more variety to our game. If that means putting a big man at the edge of the square so be it. It is demoralising to see the opposition FB line so dominant. At least a big man might cause chaos in there. Our goal came from a long delivery into the square. I doubt McMahon would have bullied AOS so easily.

  84. Olive I agree re: Holmes and Connelly and the ‘rebuilding’ can be used now as an excuse if or when we get knocked out in the summer. If the peoples favourite, McStay, had been given the job..and he wanted it more than H&C, I don’t think our team would have been anyway near as naive today. He’d buy and sell Holmes for cuteness, that’s for sure. One example would be how both coped managing teams in an AI club final. C’bar let Connolly have a field day, all bloody day long.

    It was plain to see that the Mayo tactics weren’t working this afternoon. I’m not overly worried that we lost. I’m very worried about the manner of our defeat. Clueless. Surely for our first ‘real’ home game our new mgnt should have been gunning for a win.

    They need to pick it up. That’s two senior defeats in a row at MacHale Park. A win and a decent cohesive performance v Monaghan is crucial. They will make it easier though than Tyrone did.

  85. 3 points to make;

    1) The world and his mother know how Tyrone play. The way we play we were never going to break the blanket defence (we don’t have natural forwards to shoot from 40yards). Why not an outside of the box approach – place two big men at the edges of the square(Aido & Freezer/Vaughan) and pump in high ball. Have your 3rd full forward line player goal poaching from the dropping ball.

    2) Why was Dillon brought on?….we know what he can do. Surely some new face deserved a go Douglas…/D Coen/ Gallagher.

    3) Mayo style of play is now very hard to watch. Under JH we devevlopes a atyle of play that offloaded at speed. When this is not executed correctly we have what we got today, players been caught in the tackle, ball been turned over. PLEASE for the sake of Mayo Football go back to more traditional style of play.

  86. This is exactly the sort of game we needed today, pity we lost but will learn more because we lost. Won last Sunday but learned very little. Remember last year if Galway could score in 1st half v Kerry, the most average team (except David Moran) that ever won Sam should have been out at q/f level.
    We had 75% possession today and yet conceded 1:11. Against a team playing defensively it will be always hard to score, nothing new in that, but it is very easy to defend so conseding 1:11 is a problem that is much easier to solve than looking for natural scoring forwards which is going on for the past 40 years at least. Yes I am about 40!
    Today we learnt that our half backs are either unable or more likely unwilling to defend, and this was our problem last year as well, when we conseded in particular so many goals. In 2013 they were the best half back line in the country, but not in 2014, and today it was very clear to see. The nice thing about it is that there are loads of half backs in the county so it is easily solved, provided the management recognise the problem, and I very confident they will have seen it today, where as it was not as evident v Kerry.
    Watch next Saturday how Corofin will have Vincent’s on their knees with good organised defending, sorry to be the bearer of bad news Willie Joe, but you will be in awe of how the Corofin defence is so organised, and it is the way forward for now at least.
    Kevin Keane has the full back line problem solved, so just solve the problem in the h/backs and we will do it this year at last!

  87. Team Sheet…agree. I was thinking at the game why not put two tall lads in on the edge of their square. Who says it had to be one!? AOS and Moran. There wasn’t much high ball goin’ around the middle anyway.

    On the Rebuilding topic: Mayo don’t need rebuilding. They need tweaking. A few additions. We need the conveyor belt moving along at underage…

  88. We should remember back to the semi-final against Tyrone in 2013, it took our corner-back Chris Barrett to come forward to kick two points from distance. Last year it was Andy Moran that kicked points from distance to beat Roscommon. Seamus O’Shea kicked a great one from distance that day too. So that’s one way of beating the blanket defence. We have to find other ways too like trying a big man up front. With four Ulster teams in Division 1, we should get plenty of views of the blanket defence. God help us all!

  89. Early days and it shows, maybe a lot more training to be done.
    Team lacked leadership all over the field.
    Still, no Target man, plenty of ball going into the full forward line, and nobody able to get possession and lay it off.
    Maybe we should buy Donnaghy from Kerry??

    Cathal Henry.

  90. Digits, that thought passed through my head too but why is the question, surely a bird in the hand and all that. WJ I think big questions have to be asked re refereeing and blanket defences, I am sure we are not the only county fans that want open football and correct decisions the question is how to make the gaa do something

  91. I don’t think the blanket defence will or can be broken with 2 big men (or 3, or 4) in the F line. If you see it again then Tyrone had 5 men in the 1/2 back line covering back with a sweeper in front of the FB line.

    When they won the ball they broke at considerable speed. They got ahead by a couple of pints and then became even more determined to play the defensive game.

    The game meant more to them today than to us. Hopefully that will sink in to the lads and managements heads. If they realise that now then they have something to strive for come the Summer.

  92. Re; Digits
    I did think that but I didn’t want to be the one who said it.I was trying to look for a good reason why the C &H would do that .I just don’t see the ideology of deliberately having tactics of getting our asses handed to us.

  93. Joe Mc, I remember you freaking out last year about our prospects for the season ahead when Leitrim beat us in the FBD league, so I suspect you are a slight over-reactor when it comes to mayo footballing displays at this time of year. Don’t get me wrong – I’d be worried at our managements reading of the game today and slow reactions on the sideline to things going wrong. However I’m not worried about our experienced players capacity to deliver when it matters.
    Reading these comments one thing stands out – seems all Holmes and Connelly needs to do is put a big man or two at full forward and pump it in high. I can’t express how much I disagree with this tactic, ESPECIALLY against a blanket defence. It does not work against packed defences. Ironically it works best against ourselves (see donaghy last year) – that’s because we are by far the most defensively loose of the top teams. We have seen AOS and Barry Moran at full forward before at different times, and neither was effective. If only it was that simple, we could all be intercounty senior football tacticians. To beat the blanket, you need to move the ball at breakneck speed by long foot passing when you win it back from the opposition in your half, thereby giving your forwards time and space on the ball before the blanket is in place. The 15 men were not behing the ball all the game, they did come forward when Tyrone had possession. They scored 1-11 after all. Instead of long direct kick passes mayo soloed slowly up the field, allowing Tyrone time to set their defence before we hit a wall on the 45m line. I hope our management learned something from today that’s all.

  94. Not too long back in Dublin. Fog on the way down, fog on the way back, and Mayo played in a fog; lost and bewildered by it for a lot of the time.

    Still, accentuating the positive, 13 or so wides means we created a lot of chances against a foggy blanket.

    I liked the cut of Michael Hall, small though he is. Coen, Diarmaid O’Connor and the returning Cillian & David Clarke further accentuated the positive.

    But, not a day for the small men: Conroy, Ronaldson, Mikey Sweeney all floundered. The new management did not perform today I felt. A day for high balls in as many have pointed out and for big men to unhinge Tyrone.

    We must learn from this, because we will be presented with more of the same from all teams we play especially in the championship.

  95. Macs left boot, I disagree with you wholeheartedly but I also don’t believe there is any exact science in football . You say a big target man against a blanket defence won’t work I believe it could work with AOS .
    What I do believe is our gameplan was not working today and management didn’t see fit to change it so there’s a problem there already.

    Long foot passing you say,grand certainly worth a shot but ffs put Cillian on the 40 so .

    Disappointed with management today and just listened to pat there , he seems to think it’s funny that he couldn’t fathom a blanket defence .

  96. The only way to beat a blanket defence is to adopt the same tactics as the opposition. In other words stay back, bar one or two players, invite them out the field and hit them on the break. Otherwise we’re only fooling ourselves thinking we can run through a crowded defence, who have perfected the dark art of tackling over the years. What bothered me most of all, was our insistence on doing the same thing over and over again, slow build up and all of that.

    Don’t understand how some of you above seem to find it almost offensive to criticize the team’s performance. Sure we were full of praise last week for doing a job on Kerry, but as todays match was a shambles from beginning to end, then surely if we’re being honest with ourselves we should tell it as it is, and that I would suggest is all most of us are doing.

  97. Agree with the overreaction comments. Trying out players and positions. One of those days a shooting malaise caught on. Some lads who usually score from range Vaughan and Kevin Mc missed their chances and Cillian and Sweeney shot on sight wide near the end. B Moran shooting off left foot which he hasn’t mastered yet at intercounty level but no harm in February. Positive side… Keane equally good when drawn to CHB, and midfield. Good to see Caff get a run but preferably not FB where he ended up as we may need him CB and he has lots of practice at FB. Hall a nice player didn’t get to play CB. AOS had an off day with passing and goal shot choice.. he was probably trying to jolt Mayo’s game to life but there were other options. Happy also with attributes of Coen who is big fast and strong and a good footballer, Hall & Durkan. Disappointed with FF line and Freeman ‘s positioning apart from high balls. Need at least 1 pure speed merchant like Kevin Mc or dare I say it Mortimer or class merchant like Cillian in there. Wanted to see Barry Moran in FF to solve the problem but not tried. Diarmaid OC working hard but I hope he can shoot with instep as this outside of boot thing is low % unless he happens to be a genius like Kieran Mc or else the team uses drills by our previous coach now with Kerry, our shooting even with outside of boot was very good that year 2012. Have a feeling training very hard at minute, Keegan not bad but looked heavy legged and other players had poor hand passes go astray in 1st half. Not being overly negative if management learn from our problems next outing.

  98. … & I wasn’t put off by Clarke kicking short, he did so quickly, up to the team to move it fast from there. Morgan’s kickouts were poor for me, think he’s overrated. No problem with Kenneth O’ Malley getting a run either. Not much between our 3 goalies, need to figure out which is best option. Don’t need goalies kicking 55m frees if an outfield player can do it eg David Moran last week.

  99. I didnt think the Ref was that bad at all today personally.
    Shooting was an embarrassment, by the end of the match we had countless chances but the players were simply to scared to take a shot so insisted on passing the ball around inside the oppositions 45, in fairness they were right to be scared when noone was capable today.
    FF Line in general was abysmal, not saying there bad individual players but they could not work at all together.
    Im not panicking about losing today but i am very worried about our forwards, today just confirmed we need two new full forwards at least. Positives I think come summer with a bit of tweaking we will have a great back unit (full back?), also we have more depth there after the spring, Should be able hold our own mid field with seamie/aido parsons or gibbons. After that we have mcloughlin doherty and cillian in the forwards, realistically the other three places are the problem, CF or FF will probably require a midfielder, maybe aido, after that god knows who will get the other two, dillon, andy diarmuid conroy regan freeman Coshea, none of which i see giving defenders sleepless nights before a match, hope i am proven wrong

  100. Sean your correct in that there is no exact science in football. Problem for us today was that we only appeared to know on way to play, ie try carry the ball to the scoring area and it didn’t work. Great teams switch formations and styles of football mid game in response to what’s in front of them. Kerry did it last year. I have my doubts about our management teams ability to do it based on what we saw today. One thing I learned from today was that if we met Tyrone later in summer, we need to be ultra defensive and patient early on and not go behind. Chasing a game against a team set up like this is a recipe for disaster. It happened in 2013 and only for 2 wonder scores before half time by Chris Barrett we were in big trouble that day. I agree though about Cillian at CHF but remember it’s the league and we were experimenting.

  101. Its interesting to see how a 4 point loss has swung the pendulum from last weeks high to tonights low, , we kick 16 wides from what I hear , even 25% of them wides going over would have meant a draw against a 15 man defense from hell. Some things stood out today, we need size at full forward for this type game,. Aos or bm or whoever at ff and keep kicking high ball in will surely lead to a goal or two, look at our goal today, exactly what we needed to be doing a lot more.
    Meanwhile Tyrone fans are thinking its the second coming of the savior tonight on other forums, they will be picked apart by a Mayo type team this summer if a powerful ff is given the right type ball near the goal, they cannot defend like that if they’re losing by a few points early in the game. Hard luck to Mickey c, nearly got a cracking goal and also to aos, that lack card was harsh.

  102. Sean Burke,
    If you read my previous comment again you will see that my break point [regards height] is 5’9″. There are always exceptions to the rule, As suggested blinding speed is one exception. Perhaps you can remind me of other exceptions. And I do not see anybody resembling the Gooch in Mayo, unfortunately. Not even Cillian who is a different type of player.

    On reflection one thing I find astonishing about today’s performance is that it was midway through the second half before any changes were made. And that the changes made were purely personnel with no change of tactic was even more astonishing. If this is what we are to expect in future we are going to have a lean time. To have a manager say that they had no plan for the blanket defence or that they were not expecting it is even more astonishing. It is tantamount to saying we were happy to lose. If Tyrone football in the past 13 years has meant anything it meant blanket defence. While Mickey Harte is in charge there it is unlikely to mean anything else.

  103. That result maybe a blessing in disguise as WJ said we have three weeks to right the wrongs rather than thinking we will win the national league.

    Dissapoi ting there was no plan B or indeed any for thought put into out opposition however if it is to happen its aswell to be now and not in August.

    I think the debutants done well but that’s what intercounty is about.

    Harte is a shrewd man and never let’s his players get exposed. Even the most diehard gaa fans would do well to name 5 Tyrone players however did any of them get exposed yesterday.
    No they didn’t as Harte aimed to protect them and then trusted them to our score their opponents.

    We on the other hand were like a throwback to Mickey Morans ‘we will score more than you tactic’

    Centre back is a key position in gaa and we haven’t had a no6 since jimmy nallen.
    We need someone there who can Marshall the defense be physical hold his position and have a big boot for the outball when required.

    Vaughan can be that player at time but lacks tackling and positional sense.

    Keegan and Boyle are class acts but do need reminding o hold poisition and young coen hasn’t their respect to dictate to them.

    It was a complete throwback to bad days of past but how we respond will be key.

    Seamie oshea is the first name on team sheet and now shows why.
    We need to get him a partner and I think that can be parsons but need to sort it out soon.
    Vaughan isn’t a natural fielder of the ball and can’t kick in the run so I think that rules him out.
    Keegan is worth a go there I think.

    AOS as ye say need s a position and why not be full forward his insistence on carrying balls into tackles and killing himself out is not to the benefit of the team and is not quiet predicatable.

    Jason doc is a hard worker and if you put AOS and Cillian inside maybe it’s worth trying doc in the corner again or at least nearer goals.
    He is accurate and always poses a goal risk.
    I know he got suffocated in full forward previous but with AOS and Cillian inside he may get more room.

    Hal forward line must have Kevin mc in it but other positions are there for anybody.
    Mickey conroy can do a job there so maybe worth a look if we change tactics and out AOS on edge of square.
    If conroy get one two s or a run on players he is hard stopped.

    So back to drawin board again but same story really.

    Clarke is best keeper
    Keane doing well fullback so leave him there.
    Need a centre half back.
    Need partner for seamie.
    Need more bulk in hal forward line.
    Full forward poisition needs filling
    Need plan b.
    need plan c.
    Need to be aware of the blanket defense
    Can’t panic shoot and need to keep cool and win softer frees to help defeat blanket defense.

    Not unduly worried but be good to see a reaction v Monaghan who will also apply same tactics as Tyrone.

  104. On the plus side, Pat Holmes didn’t seem to be unduly concerned, chuckiling his way throught the post match interview. Other than that there were very few positives to take from yesterdays encounter.

    Tyrone are a team in transistion and they played to type. Other than beating Mayo there were no surprises from the opposition. Mayo for the most part looked rudderless, clueless and lacked belief in themselves.They merrily ran into corners and then seemed suprised when they had nowhere to turn. Mayo kicked 15 wides and were fortunate to get so many desperate attempts away. How many times did Mayo cough the ball up when in scorable positions?

    It’s early days. I know we were well beaten by Tyrone at the exact same stage last year and we would have won the All Ireland except for one of the most biased referred match in the history of the GAA. This hurt a lot more because this was home turf and the message that I got from yesterdays encounter was that if we get into bother, the solution seems to be to pour on the cobwebs.

  105. Well done to Tyrone for getting the job done. Watching a team kick ridiculous wides is also something that I would file away under the heading of puke football and Mayo over the years have given us a few grand exhibitions in that.

    A manger chuckling away through the post match interview and saying he did not expect Tyrone’s blanket defence is taking the proverbial. Maybe he should have been reminded it does cost money to attend these games. I did not see the DublinvDonegal game, but how did the Dubs fare against a team also noted for its approach to defending? They were probably shocked at its deployment on the evening.

    It may be worth remembering it is also only February for other teams including Tyrone and that some of these are also quite ambitious. I doubt many would question Mickey Harte’s ambition and that coming to Castlebar in February and winning a league game against Mayo is hardly where he sees the summit of his year. Indeed Tyrone may have done more in the championship since 2009 if they swapped provinces with Mayo and then faced the difficult task of winning two or three games against Div2,Div3 and Div4 opposition, they would probably have a few provincial titles in the bag and may have even made it to an AI final and come up short.

  106. Tom – I’ve deleted that bit in your comment that contained a derogatory remark about one of the players. It’s okay to criticise players’ performances but personal put-downs aren’t allowed.

  107. I’ll start with the positives:
    1. Kevin Keane was commanding yet again. The goal was not his fault. (I’ll get back to that point).
    2. Coen did okay but lacks confidence in himself yet.
    3. The amount of attacks and posession showed we could at least win plenty ball.
    Things to work on:
    1. We are underpowered in terms of height, size and running speed.
    Someone asked how Dublin faced the Donegal blanket … well Kevin McManamon/Eoghan OGara/John Small were very important in punching holes through it. Off loads were going to runners coming at speed.
    2. Sometimes you need a double runner as well which both Donegal and Dublin both employ. One person takes the ball on the run moving towards one side of the pitch. Then a secondary runner takes the ball at speed in the opposite direction. Most nearby defenders will be moving with the first runner and have to stop and turn. The double runner is often used where the secondary will shoot quickly or after just one solo. The defence does not have time to adjust to him. Paddy McBrearty gets many of his shooting chances in this way.
    3. We need AOS closer to goal. But don’t give the blanket exactly what it wants by putting right in the square where he can be marked by the goalie/fullback and the sweeper (3 players). I believe to counteract the blanket you leave the square empty and you have two big men left and right 20 – 30 yards from goal. They need to have support from another forward nearby who are well able to push through tackles. These big men are options for kickpasses from our own 45. Crucially all of those 4 players (2 each side) need to be able to shoot or pass well. I have serious reservations about Barry Moran in both departments. He’s slow and tends to get caught up by defenders even if has a yard headstart. He get’s turned over a lot in this way.
    4. Someone mentioned we should have pushed up on the blanket. That’s exactly what you don’t do. Tyrone were able to shoot so accurately as we left them with single matchups and also having a runner from half forward unmarked for almost all their scores. We needed one extra defender back whose job was to stop that free running half forward. The free running half forward was what opened us up time after time.I say half forward but numbers mean nothing with Tyrone, whichever player had posession and clear space ahead when they counter attacked.
    5. We have only Jason Doherty in our half forwards who has length on his kicks. Kevin Mc/Diarmuid OConnor use the outside o the boot once beyond 35 yards. Most of Dublins forwards have fairly long range, Flynn/Connolly/Rock which is likely to be the Dublin half forward line have the physical distance on their kicks beyond 40 comfortably. Physically these are tall/strong men and it is no suprise they have distance. Outside of the boot is a very low % shot when under pressure.
    6. Should we think about Keith Higgins being picked at centre back? It’s a position in which he can be the man to deliver long accurate kickpasses to big men inside. Also it’s a lot to expect young Coen to handle the centre back position. Keith Higgins is our defender with the longest most accurate boot. Not to contradict myself but he often uses outside o the boot, difference being he has a bit more time to do it and he’s extremely good at it. It’s a different kick when passing it as you don’t have to clear a cross bar and hence can strike more through the ball. For an example of such kicks he overcooked one the last day against Kerry but you wouldn’t worry too much about that if he is kicking into the heart of the Tyrone defence. Against Dublin 2012 he lands one 60 yards right into Michael Conroys chest. Conroy was nearly so shocked by it he rushed his kick even though he was in space.
    Also the forward movement of Higgins with ball in hand is much quicker than Boyle/Keegan/Coen.
    We learned a good hard lesson, let’s learn from it. We got a serious ‘landing’ as they’d say in Mayo.

  108. I think we got a taste of medicine yesterday. Everyone seemed to think all we had to do was show up against Tyrone but that should never be the thought when facing the Red hands.

    Yes they played men behind the ball but they countered very well and out scored us. We were terrible all over the field but there will be days like that and I think a three week break from games is good for the team to go back and work hard. I have no doubt we will see an improved performance in 3 weeks time.

  109. The negativity is what we do best. Football is a poor second every time. Reminds me of our game v Dublin last time where we had a draw. It’s all a bit tired at this stage. If it rained in McHale Park some people would come up with a line to blame the Co Board, or the management, or even the ref. I was disappointed with the way all the mayo players moved up to half way line. We done the same in the Hyde last summer, the same against Donegal in 2012. Still tactically unaware. Still naive and honest. Our committment to open football will be our downfall. The conservative nature of our society is reflected in our inability to change and adapt.

  110. Aside from various tactical permutations surely the most obvious key to beating a blanket defence is to tap over early chances as they present themselves and get our noses in front but of course we were careless and extremely wasteful in the first ten minutes with the number of scoreable opportunities we had.
    Considering we have plenty of midfielders I cant understand why we are trying to make Vaughan into one. Id give Coen plenty of opportunity at number 6 he has plenty of football in him.
    With the amount of media attention Tyrone got last week after their game against Monaghan, their ingrained mentality of defiance meant they probably couldnt have hoped for a better fixture than Mayo in castlebar, with us fresh from beating the All Ireland champions in Killarney the week before. Personally I thought this was a great opportunity to put down a marker for the year by winning a proper battle/dogfight. Tyrone were always going to give us a stern test and anyone thinking otherwise mustve been dreaming last week. We certainly played straight into their hands which is very disappointing as we had a number of very experienced players on the field from the start yet a distinct lack of leadership up front was evident from the first minute. Lack of any changes/ ‘Plan B’/ common sense (harsh?) is worrying no matter how early in the year this is
    Positives for me would be Keane growing in stature, and another game for the younger lads…Coen, Hall, D O’Connor, and Durcan, which should stand to them.

  111. The rest of the teams we play in the league operate various blanket defences and are even more physical than Tyrone.
    If we are to change to dropping ball in quickly and long then we need good kickpassers of the ball around the middle of the pitch.
    – Keith Higgins (centre back)
    – Kevin McGloughlin (Wing forward)
    – Cillian OConnor (centre forward). I don’t see Cillian scoring heavily from the corner against a heavy blanket. His goal against Tyrone was quiet fortuitous as the goalie was taken out.
    Dare I say we free Lee Keegan up into a midfield role? It’s something has been mentioned before. He could be a good runner coming onto ball at speed and either shooting himself or laying it off. Keegan is not so great with his back to goal he was tried at half forward in last years league. He likes to be coming onto the ball facing the opponents goal. For the kickouts then you have SOS and AOS moving into place just for the kickout. If we are facing a blanket harm we go short with our kickouts if we are confident in a tactic of getting the ball to men quickly who will kick it in.
    Use guys like Parsons/Vaughan as subs off the bench to run hard at the blanket in the final 20 minutes of the game when defenders are tired or on yellows.
    The blanket may not be peoples idea of how Gaelic Football should be played but it’s fascinating to try and think of ways to counteract it.

  112. A goal missed in each half and 10 wides in the second half says it all really. Enough possession to win 2 games but lacking the tactical vision to counteract the blanket defence of Tyrone. Possibly the worst referring performance I have seen in a long, long time as Kinsella lost control right from the off, attempted to assert his authority in petty situations and yet missed (and miscalled) the glaringly obvious. Apparantly Aidan O’Shea should have grown wings and prevented himself from obeying the laws of gravity so as not to get a black card.
    Tyrone gave us what the give us everytime we play them. A spikey, committed, cynical, effective, efficient, ugly style of play that we have yet to learn how to defeat. It is “puke football”, it is not pretty and it is frustrating to watch, but it is a style of football that suits them and they do it brilliantly. This is the third year on the spin that we have fallen into their trap and allowed them dictate the tempo and style of play from the off.
    7 or 8 of the 10 second half wides resulted from us rushing and swinging shots from silly positions instead of remaining patient and working the ball into scoring positions.
    The way you defeat a blanket defence is by drawing them out from their goal and creating space inside their 45. By retaining possession, passing laterally as well as up and down the flanks you aim to move their defensive structure around the field and draw them out. This takes great discipline and patience. You also need forwards making runs that will create space in front of their goal. You have to retain possession for long periods and recycle the ball from wing to wing but because Tyrone sit so deep, you will be very close to goal when the chance creates itself.
    Taking short kick outs to your corner backs and handpassing the ball up the field, thereby giving Tyrone pleanty of time to withdraw everyone, and they did withdraw EVERYONE inside their half, is not the way to go in my opinion.
    Still, the positives are it’s unlikely we will be so wasteful with our shooting again, Hall looked very comfortable on his debut and more than keen to get forward in attack, Coen defensively was solid but did give up 2 or 3 balls in attack and Keane was unbeatable again.

  113. Sending the long ball into our forwards simply does not work. We don’t have the forwards to collect it. JPM I prefer your strategy and agree it’s absolutely fascinating. What’s not fascinating is seeing a team repeatedly run into trouble with short passing and handpassing with no plan B. I’m not worried about losing this game and I absolutely believe that we can and will do better in counteracting this tactic when confronted with it in the championship but I am however concerned that teams will use this obvious tactical weakness of ours to their advantage in the remaining games in the league.

    The Monaghan game will tell a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing how our defence deals with the threat of Conor McManus too. Kevin Keane going for his second MOTM though? Who would have thought it? Fair play to him for stepping up and it goes to show that sometimes, some of us are wrong 🙂

    As regards reactions and overreactions we are probably unique in our propensity to swing so dramatically from high to low but to be fair, when so much is at stake and we all want the same thing so badly, it’s to be expected. Mayo McHale you make a point about some people finding it offensive to criticise the performance of the team – I don’t think that’s the case at all here. Some of the best analysis here in my view is critical of how we played yesterday and justifiably so. But it’s the keeping (or lack thereof) of one poor and frustrating performance in perspective that’s more of an issue.

    The referee wasn’t the cause of our woes yesterday or even a significant contributor – far from it – but there is of course a bigger conversation to be had about that. It’s becoming increasingly evident that spectators are getting angrier about this and the GAA should be planning to intervene sooner rather than later. But in this day and age, who on earth would be a ref? It’s a damn frightening place to be out on that field with 6000 or 7000 fans booing you and baying for your blood. While I am as bitter as anyone about what went on in Limerick (and by god, am I bitter) I find it hard to believe that any referee would go out there without wanting to do right by both teams. I didn’t envy Cormac Reilly down in the Gaelic Grounds and I sure as hell didn’t envy Maurice Deegan or Eddie Kinsella in our last two games. In the words of P Flynn (no relation) “you should try it sometime”.

  114. The main worry for most of us is not in the performance per se although it was a bad one but the most decisive factor that we lost it on the line too with our lack of preparation for a Tyrone team who are fairly obvious in their approach , also senior players should be able to think for themselves and change it during the game.It looked like we never seen Tyrone play before , i also can’t fathom Pats interview , I just hope to fook he’s playing the clever thick because if he isn’t we are in trouble.

    Keegan has slowed up a bit the last while I’ve noticed , hopefully a lot of this stuck to the spot craic with some of them is down to training programme . But we need to stay up , relegation would be a disaster going forward to salthill. Monaghan game is a must win .

  115. In general for the tactics we were trying the receivers were not coming onto the ball with enough speed.
    Pebbles, most of the Tyrone defenders were within 35 yards of their goal leaving only a difficult shot from distance. We did plenty recycling of the ball but we didn’t have anyone coming with the speed and power to break through tackles. All inside passing options were either marked or double marked.
    When facing a blanket you need some players who can take the ball at speed and barge their way through the first tackler(s) they meet. Kevin McManamon does this for Dublin. The key thing is speed and the player has to be strong enough for this role.
    Michael Conroy might be a good option to run hard at tacklers. Burrow his way through and win frees. Especially if he receives the ball on the run.
    What we can also try that other teams do:
    – WIn it favourably with a bigger men closer to goal (20 – 30 yards).
    – Shooters coming on the loop. (Paddy McBrearty/James ODonoghue have speed and an ability to shoot quickly). Evan Regan could be a good option for that play. He is fast and has a quick/accurate snapshot. Even someone like Cillian has a much longer kicking windup than Regan. Gives defenders time to try and get a block or tackle in.
    The person coming on the loop has to be able to shoot from around 30 yards on the run without taking a solo. It’s very difficult and it’s a rare forward who can do it.
    Most of our forwards need a bit of time to settle for their shots.

  116. I think that’s spot on, JP – the contrast in our speed moving up the field compared to them was stark. Our general movement and speed of ball transfer was very pedestrian yesterday. This’ll improve, of course, as the ground hardens and fitness levels rise (and evens out with other teams) but it’s clear we’re well off the pace at the minute. Monaghan will be a big, big test for us.

  117. I watched Tyrone – Monaghan. Even a small player like Gilloogly is beefed up (the lad who scud missiled Mark McHugh).
    So if we think of the same tackling as yesterday but with lads who are bigger and stronger. Will be a hell of a test for us.
    I fear we’re a bit light for this kind of challenge.Kevin Mc is about the only lighter player I think we can afford.

  118. JP, I agree with your point but I feel you may be missing mine. My argument is to beat the blanket you must draw it out from sitting so deep inside their 45. By doing this you create space inside for your forwards. It may mean playing alot of ball around centrefield and outside their 45 but they will eventually come out to contest the ball and that’s when you play the bal inside. You create the situation where you counterattack them.
    Sure, it requires great patience and discipline but eventually 1 or 2 defenders will break rank and leave their positions to come out and that is when you make your move.
    I thought when O’Connor and Freeman were inside we were going to adopt a more direct approach but Tyrone had numbers back all the time. Freeman, in my opinion, was disappointing yesterday as the first 3 balls that went in to him he got his hands on, but, a Tyrone man ended up coming away with the ball. It’s not the end of the world as long as everyone learns from it.

  119. This idea of ‘leadership’, I don’t buy into it. We lack leaders. We need someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Complete and utter bull in my opinion. Look at the players and personalities Mayo regularly have on the pitch; Boyle, Keegan, Cillian, AOS, Ger, KMcG, Andy, Keith. These guys are quality footballers who lead by example. What else do people mean by leadership? The Mayo starting 15, whatever that 15 may be, will have a surplus of quality and no short amount of character. Leadership only tends to be the excuse trotted out when Mayo lose. Play the exact same fifteen and win by a few points and all of a sudden we have leaders everywhere.

    Looking at the game as it unfolded. Mayo were tactically outdone. It has happened before and it will happen again. Tyrone seemed to be far more motivated – something that can give you that extra few %. They crowded Mayo out, forced low percentage shots under pressure. They executed their game plan perfectly. Part of this is down to Mayo playing in a predictable style the last day. Mayo’s game, over the last number of years, develops as the year progresses. I don’t expect this year to be any different yet this year I do fear that the new management may not be as tactically astute as the previous set up. Time will tell and it’s far far too early to judge.

    This photo – – seems like a decent representation of the game the other day. Playing against a blanket isn’t easy to do but even within the 45 yard line only about 30% of the pitch is being used. Often, the Mayo lads got dragged in towards the bottle neck and were forced into panicked, rushed turnovers. Management alluded to this a little after the game, talking about recycling the ball and taking the correct option. A forwards role should be as much about creating space for other forwards and working options as a team. You only need a yard of space to take a shot. That’s one thing that can certainly be worked on. Wing forwards using the width of the pitch, corner forwards doing likewise. Choosing their moments to move inside much more carefully. This allows the runners from deep and frees up just a touch more space inside.

    At the end of the day it was just one league game in February. We beat the All Ireland champs on their home soil, we lost against a team who we would have been expected to beat. Swings and roundabouts!

  120. True Pebble. Just don’t Tyrone might come out to contest. They’ll be quite content to stay put. Of course it depends on the scoreline. If we’re leading easier to draw them out. I get your point though.

  121. When you game plan for the likes of Tyrone the first thing you address is the blanket defence-so why was there no plan?
    These guys have been in charge for 5 or 6 months now and the best they can do to bolster a very average attack is bring back a guy that couldn’t make it a few years ago.
    Horan got as far as he could with these players and he knew it.These guys have proved in their previous jobs at club level to be very very slow to make changes.Connelly looked absolutely clueless on the sideline.I fear we will be pinning for Kevin McStay come the summer time.Giving Holmes the job was a very strange decision.I also think Lee Keegan looked very disinterested yesterday which is worrying to say the least.

  122. Let’s give management a chance. Yesterday was a bad day, let’s see how we go in the rest of the league.
    Lee Keegan seems less certain of his role in the last two games. Not really doing things with conviction or speed. Clearly the half backs are not meant to attack as far up the pitch anymore. Maybe we might see Keegan tried midfield?
    – Can get end to end easily
    – Can shoot left or right footed
    – Can get goals coming through the middle
    – Is a good passer of the ball with hand and foot
    – Would free him up to move towards the oppositions counter attack when they are breaking out with the ball
    Our and opposition kickouts can be worked. Vaughan has not caught a kickout in two games, not a thing he’s expected to get involved in. I know contradictory for midfield but it’s true..

  123. Great site WJ but Man of Match selection? Alan Dillon had little impact on game simply because of his late introduction yet is it fourth in voting ! Would it not be better to shortlist nominees! No difficulty if anyone of KK or KH or C’OC got accolade but…..

  124. There was a discussion on how to conduct the MOTM poll when I first started it last year, Mayoforever, and the clear wish of those responding then was that it should include everyone who played in a particular match and not just a shortlist. I agree it’s odd that Alan features so highly in this poll but I doubt few would argue with the top three placings.

  125. I agree fully with pebblesmellers analysis. You appear to have a good football brain, and I generally enjoy your contributions on this forum. For me Gaelic football is about moving the ball as fast as possible without losing it, and creating space and one on ones for your forwards inside the scoring zone. Both of these key components are related of course. Game plans are always subject to change depending on circumstances and opposition, but generally the 2 aforementioned principles are key. Mayo did neither yesterday, and because of that we lost to an inferior football team who did both.

  126. Why are we in mayo so negative. These bunch of players are the most talented we ever produced that give there all for the county .Sure they left ther scoring boots at home the last day.If mickey had put that goal away thing could have been different.The blanket only works well when you are three or four points up like Donegal did to us in the all Ireland final.You need to get a lead early against the northern teams which means they have to come out of there defensive zone.Instead of attacking the blanket defence I would love to see a team retreat with the ball back inside there own fiftythey would have to come out and play or the crowd would be looking for there money back.Then and only then would the GAA hierarchy move for a change of the rules.

  127. When we let Tyrone get 4 points up we were already in trouble because that is when the blanket works best. Tyrone then begin to really believe in the system at that stage and hey presto it works even better because of that growing belief! Get ahead by a few points early on and suddenly the confidence in the system begins to wobble, the blanket is folded up and put away as they are forced to come out to play.
    Pumping high balls into two big guys, running hard at the defence and just about everything else is unlikely to produce results when there are 15 defenders behind the 45m line. It is a powerful defensive strategy if you have lads who are willing and able to work at that rate for 70 mins. The Achilles heel in this system is that if you can get ahead and prevent the fast break out and if necessary ‘ blanket up ‘ yourself for enough time to frustrate them by holding them scoreless or as near as possible…….. then it starts to go pear shaped for them. But this isn’t easy either……..
    I think we will learn a lot from this game and I expect a serious backlash next time out.

  128. To many if’s and butts and maybe’s, should have done this, could have done that and so on. The way I see it, we were facing into a game v Tyrone, who we always going to play a certain way and the Management team should have planed for this in advance. It was obvious from the start, that our lads were not as up for the battle, and before we had time to adjust, we found ourselves chasing the game.

    I’ve made this point already and I will say it again, this group of players under James Horan have served their County well over the last four years and more, and it would be a shame were they to leave the stage now, without having another opportunity of winning the big one. We know, and more importantly they know, they are good enough and it’s up to Pat and Noel to give them that chance. Hope lessons learned from last Sunday will be put to good use.

  129. Im not sure about all this talk of targetmen against a blanket defence. It never worked with Donaghy for Kerry – the best one in the business, so I don’t see why it would work for Aidan O’Shea or Barry Moran… They would just surround him, break the ball and their heavy numbers would hoover up all the breaks.

    What did work was what cork did a few years back. That was draw the blanket in and switch the ball back and over to a runner at pace going the other way. Then you have a static defender trying to get across to a guy moving away from him, he either gets brushed aside or fouls the ball carrier for a simple tap over for the free taker. When you consider we have ball carriers like keegan, Higgins, boyle, Vaughan, conroy, coen, diarmuid o’connor, Doherty and mcloughlin all in the side, and a free taker like Cillian O’Connor, I cant for the life of me understand why we didn’t go this route. It isn’t rocket science, slow them down, switch it to a runner off the shoulder, win your foul, tap it over. When you do that, the opposition cant afford to just give you the ball any more. So no more 15 behind the ball.

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