Mayo 1-8 Dublin 1-9: what a waste

Mayo v Dublin 3Well, that was the unbeaten run that was. Any game where you shoot eighteen wides is a game you deserve to lose and it felt somehow inevitable, appropriate even, that our profligacy in front of the posts at McHale Park this afternoon would cost us today’s Division 1 match against a hard working and determined young Dublin side.  It eventually did though Andy Moran came close to snatching a sensational winning goal from a free right at the death but his effort was deflected onto the bar and over to seal a one-point win for the visitors.

Eighteen wides.  320 miles behind the wheel.  Give or take a bit, that’s one wide for every eighteen miles I covered today, most of it in glorious spring sunshine.  Dublin, in contrast, recorded only three wides all day – that’s one for a little over every hundred miles travelled.  I bet they enjoyed their day behind the wheel a bit more than I did, especially the return leg.

Eighteen wides.  Several of them of the truly horrendous variety, including one from Trevor Mortimer, totally unmarked from about twenty yards out in the first half, a necklace of missed frees in the first half (more about them in a bit), an awful miss from no more than ten yards out by Neill Douglas early in the second half, a shockingly inaccurate second half ’45 from Andy Moran that had the distance but was closer to the corner flag than it was to the goal when it went over the end-line and then some abject shooting late on by a very tanned Conor Mortimer.  We had every kind of wide under the sun today and a few more besides and it goes without saying (but I may as well say it anyways) that it all made for pretty painful viewing.

The news that Alan Freeman – who was on the starting fifteen in our last NFL match, against Tyrone – was taking Mark Ronaldson’s place at corner-forward was predictable enough, given Johnno’s reluctance to engage in change for change’s sake.  The Aghamore man was, in any event, fully deserving of his starting place and – wides apart – he performed fairly okay for us today.

Mayo v Dublin 2Within two minutes of the throw-in, he already had an assist to his credit, offloading to Seamus O’Shea who thumped over the day’s opening score.  That was, however, also our last point from play in the opening half, a period where we played with a fresh enough wind at our backs.  From the off, we decided that Route One was the only way to go and, with the surfeit of possession we were winning around the middle and further back from our effective closing down of Dublin’s attacks, there was plenty of this kind of ball hoofed in.

99% of it went to waste and the most wastage occurred at the hands of Aidan O’Shea.  Most of it he failed to catch, what he did catch he fumbled and what he didn’t fumble ended up in shots that went nowhere.  And still we kept raining the ball into him, even in the second half when we now had the wind against us and a piercing sun in our eyes.  It was pure kamikaze football.

It was also noticeable that while we hobbled towards half-time adding frees from Enda Varley (who got two in that half – here’s the second one he scored) and Alan Freeman, the Dubs were getting all of their five points from play (their entire afternoon’s total would end up coming from play).  Their impressive economy of thought and movement every time they got near our posts contrasted greatly with our more aimless hit-and-hope approach.

By half-time, our wide count must have been close to ten and our miss count included two desperately poor attempts from frees by Enda Varley and Aidan O’Shea, the latter ending up being deflected out for a ’45 that Alan Freeman then screwed wide.  We needed to sharpen up significantly in the second half and we needed to come up with a better attacking plan than all those Hail Mary balls we were lamping into the unhappy Aidan O’Shea.

So what did we do on the restart? More high ball into nowhere in particular and more wides, lots more of them.  Neill Douglas made a great interception from a lazy pass out of defence but, all on his own no more than ten yards out, he blasted it wide.  Dublin were now defending tigerishly and our lads’ tactic seemed to be to try to burrow through the swarm cover, a tactic that quite correctly won precious little sympathy from the ref.  Andy did, though, win a close-in free for a quite theatrical dive, which Enda pointed but we then followed this up with further wides from Chris Barrett and Andy from that awful ’45.

It was starting to look like that kind of day when suddenly, out of nowhere, we scored quite a stunning goal.  Tom Parsons, a bit too quiet again today, rose to claim a majestic mark and then offloaded quickly to Keith Higgins (at least that’s who PJ reckoned it was) and he put Enda Varley clean through.  The Garrymore man confidently rattled the net to put us a goal to the good with ten minutes played in the second half.

This should have been the moment where we put all that crap shooting behind us and seized control of the contest.  Instead, though, we let them back into it.  A good breakout from the back – led by Keith Higgins – ended up in our fumbling the ball, ceding possession to them and conceding a point converted superbly by Dublin’s impressive midfielder Ross McConnell.  Worse was to follow as the Dubs carved us open in their next attack, with sub Bernard Brogan put through one-on-one with David Clarke (at the game I thought it was Keaney but it was Brogan) and he finished with ease to edge the visitors back in front again.

Mayo v Dublin NephinAndy then levelled with our second (and final) point from play but soon afterwards Trevor Mort lost the ball out round the middle and McConnell was there to snap it up and fire over a wonderful score from a long way out.  That was the signal for the Dubs to perk up their lugs and hit for the finishing line and further points, from McAuley and Keaney, put daylight between the sides.  The Dublin following on the terraces at the bacon factory end had now found their collective voice and were in good spirits as those final, decisive points were knocked over into that end.  All we could do, meanwhile, was gaze at the alluring backdrop of a snowcapped Nephin.

We did pull one back when Aidan O’Shea – still battling gamely – was fouled and Alan Freeman slotted the free over. Alan then gave way to the tanned Mort but all he did was remind us that he’s not exactly infallible from frees either.  In the end, it all came down to a late, late free from Andy Moran who – fair play to him – went for the goal that would have secured a wholly undeserved win for us but it got deflected over and so the Dubs prevailed by a single point.

Our desperate shooting today will be the most talked-about feature of today’s game and so it should be but, in retrospect, we can, I suppose, recognise that our failings in the forward department were amplified by Mark Ronaldson’s absence.  Not only was Ronaldo our top scorer in the NFL to date, he was the chief marksman in the whole of Division 1 and we really missed his attacking prowess today.  We’ll miss him equally badly up in Celtic Park next Saturday night.

The other mitigating factor was the early injuries suffered by Peadar and Ronan – which saw both of them gone from the fray with only twenty minutes played –  and whose loss certainly upset our rhythm.  We missed those surging runs that Peadar loves to go on and while Seamus O’Shea thrived at midfield, his absence further forward didn’t help us either, even if Neill Douglas did put in a decent shift in that sector.

Mayo v Dublin 1In terms of good points, I thought that we were sound enough defensively, with Keith, Donie Vaughan, Kevin McLoughlin and Trevor Howley our strongest performers at the back.  Ger Cafferkey had a few early wobbles but he improved as the game went on.

Seamus O’Shea was superb around the middle and was, by some distance, our best player today. He’s as strong as a bull and once he gets moving, it takes a hell of a lot to knock him out of his stride.  His emergence is a real plus and you can sense that he’s on the cusp of becoming a key man for us.  Tom Parsons was less effective but he worked hard and his part in the goal was a significant one.

The forwards were, as you’d expect with that wide count, all over the shop but, as PJ noted afterwards, it was the newer guys who did better.  Varley, Freeman and Douglas were the three who showed most for the ball and they could have done with more support from the other guys when they were getting all that swarm attention from the Dublin backs.  Andy’s performance was nothing like the stellar shifts he’d put in against Galway and Tyrone while Trevor Mortimer had a complete stinker and should not have been left on after half-time.  Aidan O’Shea had another very poor outing and I really think it would be in everyone’s interest if he were now allowed to concentrate on his U21 duties over the next few weeks.

So, now that we’ve got this rather rude reality check, we’ll get a chance to see what this team really is made of.  Those wins over Galway and Tyrone never meant we were world beaters and today’s one-point loss to the Dubs doesn’t mean we’re a bunch of chumps either. Two tough away matches are up next and, if we lose in both Celtic Park and in Tralee, we could, I guess, find ourselves facing Monaghan at McHale Park in three weeks time with relegation worries on our minds. Going into today’s match, most of us were, I think, under the assumption that our graph is an upward one.  After today’s setback, we now need to show over the course of our remaining four league matches that this really is the case.

MAYO: David Clarke; Donal Vaughan, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins; Peadar Gardiner, Trevor Howley, Kevin McLoughlin; Tom Parsons, Ronan McGarrity; Andy Moran (0-2, one free), Seamus O’Shea (0-1), Trevor Mortimer; Enda Varley (1-3, three frees), Aidan O’Shea, Alan Freeman (0-2, frees).  Subs: Chris Barrett for Gardiner, Neill Douglas for McGarrity, Barry Kelly for Mortimer, Conor Mortimer for Freeman, Mikey Sweeney for Aidan O’Shea.

38 thoughts on “Mayo 1-8 Dublin 1-9: what a waste

  1. I really feel for you now wj making that journey back to Dublin after that game.. In a way im glad we lost(im not an anti mayo fan) just if we think we can win and miss as much as we did lessons need to be learnt, after all the talk about andy i felt he went back to his old self today. As good as a performance i have seen in the green and red jersey since the mc in 04′ vs galway, was Seamus O Shea, he was omni present today, really stood up and was counted,pity the same cant be said for the other 5 forwards.. Better to learn lesson this time of the year tho.I would not worry about meeting the dubs later in the year…

    A word for if any dubs read this, i know alot came down saturday and there is a reason most of their games are in dublin, they should not be allowed out of their county, an absoloute disgrace.People say the west is uncultered and thats true to a certain extent but as for the dubs,Thank god i do not live there

  2. I agree with what you say about the performance, both the good – Seamus O’Shea was our best player by some distance – and the bad (our shooting truly was something else). I don’t know where you’re coming from about the Dublin supporters, though, and I think perhaps that, in statistical terms, you’re generalising from a very small sample size. Every county, including our own, has its quota of idiot supporters but there are plenty of sound, committed people following Dublin and the actions (whatever these may be – you don’t specify) of a minority shouldn’t be used to tarnish everyone else. There’s are far worse places you could live, believe me, than Dublin!

  3. I dont want to single out any of the forwards for mention but Aidan O’Shea was particularly disappointing. His fielding was appalling, he has a very odd way of trying to catch the ball. I would love to know who is coaching him in basis skills.

    As bad as the forwards were playing I was still a bit suprised to see Conor M coming on.

  4. Dublin worked so hard, brought on good subs in Brogan, Keaney and McGee. They could be dangerous later in the year when many of their regulars return.
    I thought that Varley did well in the corner, AOS needs a good U21 championship, we need an alternative as so much good work undone when ball did not stick in the ff line. Lack of reliable free taker is a concern, but I thought that our backs played well as did midfield. We need a good result next Saturday, otherwise could be a nervy run in to the league.

  5. Twas poor stuff today lads. Two soft league points lost to bad Dublin side. Mist ronaldson badly, he would have knocked over the few points that would made the difference. However apart from the forwards having an off day our backs seem to be gelling nicely. Although i am not so sure about cafferkey, he seems to lack the presence on the edge of the square and gets caught ball watching a lot. By the way willie joe-great web site.

  6. A reality check & the right time to get it.
    Hope Mc garrity is ok-we need to bed down a midfield partnership.
    We can not survive wiyhout a fee taker.

  7. Aiden O Shea needs a break…end of story. He has been burdened with too high expectations fpr the last 18 months. I agree with Willie Joe. Most Dub fans are the salt of the earth. I have a few of our own that would make a person cringe as well. Lucky to have 4 points in the bag. Nothing handy v Monaghan, Cork, or Kerry. We will pick up points v Derry to keep us safe.

  8. Back to ground level. Good to get a reality check in March and not july. Still though, losing can be a bad habit. On the plus side I thought our defenders played well. Howley was ever present and hoovered up an amount of ball. Parsons and S O’Shea combined well. Parsons fielded a few nice ones and showed some of his earlier promise. Varley is gaining a reputation as a dangerous forward- took his goal in devastating fashion. Keep those heads up

  9. Great audio post WJ. Very frustrating day well captured by your good self. As many questions as answers from today. More questions in fact.

  10. wj hang onto your knickers,I was talking about the travelling dubs and maybe a bitta heat of the moment stuff.. as for mortimor coming on at least then i felt the forwards were a bit more purposeful.. When are mayo fans going to learn, leaving and treating our best players badly is not the soloution, apart from the goal i didnt think varley payed well, he was very weak and kicked bad wides, Trevor cant hold onto the captaincy, anyways come on mayo.. When we get mort,dillon,harte,twin towers back and fully going theres no doubt we’ll be going alot further than the dubs, who have they to come back, word is they have givivg up completly with last years full 15..

  11. I don’t need to hang onto anything Arsene – it was you who started throwing rocks first! (BTW might I suggest that the Hogan Stand message board is a more appropriate place for that kind of stuff). Totally disagree about Enda Varley – the wides were well spread round and I think he’s been one of our real successes so far this year.

  12. My prediction was sooooo wrong, so much for an open free flowing, high scoring game, and a win for Mayo!!!. Was at the match, heavily sanded pitch killed the ball and the sand-coated ball was very difficult to handle (for both sides!!). This slowed the play down and created a lot of rucks/scrums (that’s what it looked like at times) that suited a physical and marauding Dublin approach. Dublin are mastering the art of puke football keeping 12 players in their own half, once in the 2nd half, they had a free 60m out from mayo goal, ball kicked in to 4 forwards v 6 backs, easy enough for our backs to look good with so much space and numbers to counter attack. Once we carried the ball up to their 45 we met a wall of steel, were pushed wide, clattered and dispossessed. Persistent dub fouling once they knew they would not be punished by our poor free taking and an over lenient ref who only issued 2 yellows. I thought there should have been at least 6/7 dub yellows, if the ref had any interest in improving the flow of the game, it pays to foul!!

    No excuse for at least half of the mayo wides, ronaldo badly missed! Agree that SOS had a stormer and maybe the kid brother could do with a few cameo appearences to take the heat off. Had a dub friend with me at the match and he was delighted with the win and, like gilroy, knew damn well that the dubs were steeped.

    No need to panic yet, but lessons need to be learned, we cannot carry ball through a blanket defence, need to mix long balls with carries, and get more movement off the ball in the ff line, aimless bombs dont work when AOS is off form!!

  13. Jeepers fellas cop yourselves on !! It was rubbish. Full stop !! We had 18 wides. 18 !! dublin are really poor but they only had 3. our free taking was abysmal (and that was with the breeze !!) not to mention T Morts display where he was 25 yards from goal with not a man within 10 ards of him in any direction – and he manages with the wind to kick it Wide.
    query yourselves truthfully on some of these kicks missed with the breeze….Could ye have kicked them over the bar yoursleves ?? I believe I could. At one stage in the first half those around me were speculating on 3 planes corssing the sky. they were wondering where they had come from and where they were heading. In other words the fare on the pitch was so bad !

    the second half was as poor. Again all the free kicks we couldnt take. An open goal (when cluxton went wanderin) which was blazed high and wide. Some Fellas said it looked like rugby – when you had the ball you looked straight away for some opposition group to run into with it. Mauls and rucks !!
    I can sum up as follows……in the second half high above the pitch again a crow was chasing a seagull for some reason. It struck with me. it was seagulls and crows out on that pitch today. We’re always ‘crowing’ and shouting about how good we could be. The Dubs were the seagull – way out of their own usual safe environment today. Today though the seagull was still good enuf to avoid being caught by the oul crow.

  14. Lads we`re not as bad as we looked today.Did you ever go out playing pool and miss every shot by the same amount no matter how hard you tried?It was like that today not only was the shooting out but the passing was that yard out too. You get days like that with teams as well as with people.The one good thing was the new lads did alright Seamus o Shea Enda Varley Alan Freeman Donal Vaughen were our best players (and Keith sorry for doubting you son!).It`s as well we had a game like this in March and not in August when Sam would be in vogue!Fuck it lads go up to Derry on Saturday and play like ye played all year and shut Joe Brolly`s gob for once and all will be forgiven!

  15. Very bad indeed. We did kick some awful wides but half of these were under serious pressure from the dubs. THey were shots that should not have been taken. THe other half were pathetic. I had to laugh at our attempts from dead balls yesterday…they were pathetic attempts and Dublins werent much better. The GAA have managed to kill off the skill of kicking off the ground…well done Boys! How we could do with a freetaker of the calibre of Maurice sheridan. Anyway we were found out yesterday….there is at least a handfull of guys that started/came on yesterday that just arent up to the standard required. As for Aidan O SHea, his best football has always been played at CHF….time to try him here…the FF experiment has failed im afraid.

  16. Didnt see the game lads and thanks to willie joe for the tweets and the report.

    Personally I take consolation from 18 wides , sure if we had even converted a third of them we would have won well. It’s better to be creating lots of chances than none at all. Dublin with 3 wides could be seen as clinical but I would see it as not creating a shed load of chances. Johnno will take a lot from this , I imagine.

  17. That being said, i am not going for the majority verdict on your poll WJ , personally i will look to the next few games to reveal more..

  18. Roger…a lot of those wides werent chances believe me…they were real hit and hope type shots….kindof bicycle/reverse drop kicks type shots!!! Thats how crazy things were. We didnt come anywhere near to deserving to win the game. id go as far as to say that if Moran did get the goal at the end, and it could have snuck in, it would have been embarrassing and maybe given johnno a false sense of where we are at. Yesterday might stand to us in the long term.. we now know starting without a free taker is a non runner amongst other things. Still though not a disaster…the response will be interesting to see.
    BTW I thought the ref did well yest….made a few errors but in general he was one of the better ones i have seen. He was very consistent in applying the law….Well done whoever you were!

  19. As for the atmosphere….there was none for some reason??? Even at the start when there was resonable expectation that we might have a decent game on our hands. Wonder what the crowd was, 8-9 K???

  20. The lack of atmosphere was a bit odd alright – I’d say 8-9k is about right for the crowd size so there were enough of us there to make some noise but we were all a bit hushed. It was left to the travelling Dubs on the terrace at the bacon factory end to liven things up shortly before the end but, then again, they had more to sing about at that stage.

    As refs go, Pat Fox (Iarmhi) wasn’t that bad at all. He was certainly far better than a lot of his higher profile colleagues.

  21. Listened to the game on Midwest. Even our normally positive duo were stumped to think of anything positive to say. “Brutal” was one word used by Billy Fitz.
    I’m trying to see things like RogerMilla and say it’d be worse if we couldn’t dominate possession or create chances, but our shot selection was shocking. Dublin put us under a lot of pressure, but that’s how they played the past 2 games also. Were we not prepared for this? We were just running into the tackle the whole game.
    Johnno is supposedly this great tactician, so time to think of a plan B or C when the opposition have found a way to stop us playing.

    Dillon needs to come back on to this team, he’s our most reliable free-taker. Good as Ronaldson has been, I’m not convinced by his free-taking either.
    We still lack someone to nail long range frees, so lets hope Kilcoyne comes back soon, and plays to the level he did last year.

  22. Just heard there that Ronan Mc has pulled his hamstring and P. Gardiner hsa a broken shoulder. So both are probably extremly unlikely for at least the rest of the league.
    There was no atmosphere from Mayo suporters becasue they never got a chance to raise there voices. We did once after the goal but that again was silenced a few mins later after more terrible play & another dreadful wide.
    It’s hard to blame the supporters though. I was listening on Radio 1 after the game and the analysis on Mayo was “the same old malaise” in front of goal. It is this chain around our neck and it is not in any way broken w.r.t how outsiders view us. So its hard to be a mayo suporter knowing this will always be thrown back in your face and there is nothing you can do but grimace and hang your head.
    The simple fact is that yesterday showed our very SERIOUS weakness within the team ….. and….. This is it !!
    We (our team) does NOT have someone who can show leadership when things are going very badly. Someone who can grab & grasp the game and turn it and as a result the whole teams belief and momentum around !! We needed that there yesterday and no one stood up to it. We did not have this last year either against Meath. I thought this year this problem would be looked to be sorted out as it is the most CRITICAL issue we have.
    Some might argue that this is only March – however I put it back to you that the team yesterday was not far short of the starting summer Championship team …. was it ???? Mark Ronaldson, Aidan O Shea…no… its their first and second years respectivly as serious serious inter county players so no they’re not the guys for this. Has anyone any thoughts on this ???

  23. A truly awful display, and that was just from listening on the radio! Dublin won’t be too happy with their performance, but our wides total is a shocker, and the “shot selection” woeful. Skills coach might want to up his game a bit! AOS needs a break or a change of position, if this keeps up we’ll be wiping the ground with him in June.

  24. I’ve uploaded some pictures I took at the game yesterday, for anyone who is tiring of words in relation to yesterday’s performance. Click on the ‘Photos’ tab above to view them.

  25. The young O Shea looks like he neads to get his head right.Was talking to himself alot yesterday after his fumbles.Maybe a A break might be what he neads. Any word when Barry Moran or Tom Cunniff will be back?

  26. I think you could be right there, Mossy. He certainly needs to be shifted from FF but I think it might be better to leave him off altogether for a few matches and let him concentrate on the U21s. I’ve no idea when Barry and Tom are due back but I doubt somehow that we’ll see them featuring in the NFL campaign this year.

  27. jpm, I think there must be different factions within that camp and has been for years. I have no evidence for this except that it’s how it looks to me from the outside. We have had loads of players that have shown the required leadership qualities at club level and we even have players with AI Club championships and U21 championships to their names on that panel. You don’t win these titles without leaders. The senior team always seems to lack the confidence and leadership required to win on the national stage. When all is going well, we can mix it with the best but we have never thrived through adversity. We don’t do backdoor a la Kerry for example. When the going gets tough we seem to lack the ability to pull together.

  28. I agree with jpm and Richard, leaders are so important. Kerry always seem to have about three of them covering all parts of the pitch. Mort is our leader but when he’s off his game no one steps up.

  29. Hi WJ. Great website!
    Just wondering if you noticed how late the mayo team left it to come out of the dressing room before the match? It left very little time for a warm up. Could this have contributed to our dismal display?

  30. Hi Sam, thanks for the kind words. I don’t know if that had an impact or not but they left it late to come out for the start of the game alright. Mind you, they were back out very quickly for the second half and the Dubs kept them kicking their heels for a fair few minutes, returning the compliment I guess.

  31. Mayo came out early in 2004/06 All-Ireland finals. Makes no difference really. A win yesterday and we would see it as a alucky omen. The consensus seems to be drifting towards a lack of leaders on the pitch, shouters as oppsed to big mouths. Something important is lacking in this team. Perhaps Seamus O Shea and a returning Barry Moran might give us that bit of real big and bossy around the middle as opposed to the nice stuff we currently specialise in.Also the loss of Cunniffe, is now on reflection a bigger loss than I imagined. Expect more turbulance on this league flight.

  32. Don’t have the stats but Mayo posession must have been at lesast 65%, mostly garnered by an under stretched defence (1-9 wins feck all matches on a dry sunny day at this level). Dublin frees conceded must have been twice that of Mayo as well but they knew after 15 mins neither the ref or our free takers were going to punish them. No one has commented on Dublin’s lack of ambition and negative tactics throughout the game and their unwillingness to play an open game. yes one can say that the end justifies the means but the Dubs tactics contributed hugely to a very poor spectacle. Remember, a couple of weeks ago, Mayo were scoring for fun against Galway, but they had wing backs running unmarked into acres of space.

    I got the impression from the Dubs approach to the game that their main focus is on not being hockeyed as they were by Kerry (we know all about that too!!) I said to my Dub pal who came to the match with me (when he was getting uppity!!) that the Jackeens reminded me of the Faroe Islands in soccer, getting bodies behind the ball and stopping the opposition from playing, it could be summed up by ‘we might not score much, but we will make damn sure that ye will score less’. But mark my words, 1 or 2 outfield marksmen or a good free taker will reduce Dublin’s game to catch-up and they will be found out in a big way.

    As for our lads, we played into their hands, and even if we tried, it is unlikely that we could be so wasteful again. Prediction; Dubs will not win the league, Mayo will not be relegated!!

  33. I agree with you there topo. I was reluctant (hope I spelt that ok…) to mention the Dub’s game plan for fear it would sound like sour grapes and cover up our own very obvious deficiencies.
    Their style of play is certainly not very easy on the eye, but I think that beating Kerry gave them last year has led to a re-evaluation of their style of play.
    That style worked for Armagh in the past and to a lesser extent, Tyrone as well (although Tyrone had the attackingtalent to go with it).
    Over the years I’ve always associated Dublin with open attacking football, but how many All-Irelands has it got them? I also think it played right into our hands in that semi in 2006.
    If any team wants to play open free-flowing football against us, I’d fancy us nearly every time.
    Now I know what I’ve just said about Dublin could very easily also be written about us, but that’s for another day!
    But I agree with you, had Dublin faced a team with it’s shooting boots (or even one boot would have been handy) on, they would have been well beaten.

    We simply had no idea how to counteract their plan to stop us.

  34. I think Johnno said we had 70% of the possession or something like that – we certainly had the lion’s share of it.

    Dublin were ultra-defensive but it shouldn’t have come as any surprise to us, as they’d played exactly the same in their previous two matches. I think last year’s hammering to Kerry has had an impact on their style of play but whether or not it’ll be as effective in high summer is very much open to question. Still, a good league campaign will help them psychologically, and this should mean that they’ll face into the summer in a better mental state.

    The issues for us, I guess, from that game are two-fold. First – why didn’t we have a plan to counteract their blanket defence? Maybe that what all that Hail Mary ball was supposed to be for but it was as clear as day from early on that this policy wasn’t going to work. Ditto with the attempts to burrow, head down, through the swarm cover in the second half. The second point is related and was touched on by Andy Moran in that post-match audio he did, i.e. when Plan A failed, it was obvious we didn’t have any alternative ideas to break them down.

    This is all a bit alarming, as it means we had no smart thinking either on the sideline or out in the field last Sunday. It’s easy being wise after the event, I know, (and doubly easy being wise up in the stand) and the loss of Gardiner and McGarrity early on upset our balance but we do need to show over the next few games that Sunday’s deficiencies were a one-off.

  35. Fair play to ye dan and wj, I’m glad I’m not deluding myself re:the dub tactics, posession imbalance, and frees awarded, we all know about the scores v wides ratios but the other stats could only be guessed at. The dublin scores looked good and efficient because they came mostly from 1v1 matchps in acres of space, eye-catching stuff!!! At the other end there is nothing worse than seeing a player swatted to the ground by 2 or 3 players and turning over the ball. Even still, at least half our wides were of easier to score than miss category!! What really pissed me off was listening to the radio on my way back to galway, the experts rolling out the usual bullshit cliches about mayo and kicking bad wides. The stereotype of mayo being croker chokers and wayward shooters can only be shattered if we win an aif scoring 3-17+ (mind you I’d settle for a 1-9 to 1-8 win)

  36. We needed to move the ball down the wings and open up the game – using every inch of McHale Park – and at pace. Instead we played down the middle and this suits any heavy handed defence. Speed and subtelty and an ability to change the direction and angles of attack is the key to cracking this kind of defence and not the predictable approach we adopted.
    Having said that – creating that many good scoring chances is not a bad sign at all. It is something worthwhile to be working on so that in Aug or Sep most of them go over the bar! That’s when it really counts.
    As for Aidan O Shea I think we imagined we could create a Donaghy out of him. We (and he) needs to find an Aidan O Shea way of playing football and set his own standards. He is a really good player but needs careful management to reach his true potential.

  37. I’m an Armagh Gael and followed them everywhere over the years but unemployment last year has kept me from getting to the games.

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