Mayo 2-12 Derry 1-7: job done

Final score

Photo: Mayo Mick

As the old saying goes, you can only dance with the girls in the hall. It was Derry’s decision to pitch up for this match with their second-string team and this ensured that there was a large element of farce about today’s contest. This wasn’t our fault, however, and we still had to stick to our job of winning the match in order to reach the League semi-finals. This we did and our reward is a re-match with the Oak Leafers (presumably their real team this time) in the penultimate round of the competition next weekend, most likely at Croke Park.

There was a nod to experimentation in the team named on Friday night by James Horan but this became more pronounced ahead of throw-in today when it was announced that neither Lee Keegan nor Kevin McLoughlin would be starting either. Shane McHale – who started at centre-back with Donal Vaughan switching to the wing – and Mikie Sweeney lined out instead.

There’d been a fair bit of rain around earlier in the day but the skies had cleared well before throw-in and so we decided to head across to the far side of the ground where the noisy and flag-laden Club ’51 fraternity were congregated. There was plenty of wind to make those flags flutter too, with a stiff breeze blowing straight into the bacon factory end of the ground.

Club 51 flags

Photo: Mayo Mick

We played against the wind in the first half but immediately went on the offensive. Mikie Sweeney fired over a smartly taken point from a great ball in by Keith Higgins to put us ahead. Chances to extend this lead were spurned, though, with Tom Parsons and Andy Moran failing with goal attempts while Jason Doherty’s fisted effort at a point went wide as well.

We were forced into a very early switch when Cillian O’Connor went off. I heard afterwards it was a calf injury but I’m not sure if that’s the case and although he looked alright as he made his way around to the stand side of the ground, I’ve no idea how serious the injury was. Darren Coen came on instead of the Ballintubber man.

There had been a bit of a lull in scoring after that opening point but we then added a number of scores in quick succession. Alan Freeman pointed a tricky free from the right-hand side after Mikie Sweeney had been fouled and then Tom Parsons made the next one with a great fetch, burst and offload to Darren Coen who pointed.

Darren Coen point

Photo: Mayo Mick

Derry kicked a free wide – their fifth wide of the game with only 15 minutes played – before we added our fourth point, a real boomer against the wind from well out by Freezer. The Aghamore added another from play soon after when, although fouled, he kept going and popped it over from out on the right.

Derry’s wide count got as high as eight before they finally opened their account with a point from play after twenty minutes but we immediately responded, via a Tom Parsons point from play. A long-range Alan Freeman free and a second point from play by Mikie stretched our lead still further after Jason Doherty had missed another goal chance. We had two more good opportunities for goals that came to naught as well before the half-time whistle blew.


Photo: Mayo Mick

The match was as good as over at this stage and with the tempo of the contest several notches lower than at last Saturday’s helter-skelter clash with the Dubs there was a pronounced air of ennui about the place at the break. Most interest at that stage was focused on the other matches taking place around the country with the resultant semi-final permutations for next weekend being actively debated.

We made our second switch of the day on the resumption, with Richie Feeney making his first appearance of the year, replacing Keith Higgins. With the wind now behind us, a duck-shoot looked to be on the menu for the second half but instead it was the visitors who doubled their first half score with a point from play right from the throw-in. They almost broke through for a goal soon after but, with Robbie Hennelly beaten, Ger Cafferkey pulled off an astonishing save to keep the Oak Leafers out.

We had the ball in the net at the other end a few minutes later. Alan Freeman made a great leaping catch and was hauled down as he prepared to shoot for goal. It was as certain a black card offence as you’ll ever see but David Coldrick – who added further to his already strong reputation as an utterly useless ref today – failed to produce a card of any colour. He did, though, award the penalty, which Freezer converted with considerable ease.

Now it looked as if the contest was definitely over but we failed to push on and add further to the scoreboard. Darren Coen, Mikie Sweeney and Tom Parsons all missed scoreable chances and when Derry hit us with 1-3 without reply in a five-minute spell, it looked as if the match was back on again. The goal was a particularly poor one from our perspective, with McGuckian wriggling clear of at least four defenders before booting it to the net.

By now, we’d made two further changes with Barry Moran coming on in midfield for Jason Doherty (with Tom Parsons pushing up to centre-forward) while Michael Conroy replaced Mikie Sweeney.

It was Alan Freeman, though, who underlined his importance to us in the forwards, when he blasted home our second goal. The move was initiated by Barry Moran who surged forward from midfield and although Andy Moran’s goal effort came back off the Derry cover, Freezer made no mistake with his piledriver into the corner.

Freezer 2nd goal

Photo: Mayo Mick

Donal Vaughan got our next score, amazingly also our first point of the half, with only ten minutes left to play. Kevin Keane forced a great turnover to set up the chance and Donie pointed from distance to complete the move.

The visitors added two further points from play to close out their account for the day but we had the final say on the scoreboard, with a point from play by Andy and two further placed balls from Freezer completing a comfortable eight-point win.

As the scores came in from the other grounds, it was soon confirmed that our opponents in next Sunday’s semi-final will be Derry. The real Derry team this time and, one suspects, a Mayo team that’s likely to feature a fair few changes too.

It was far from a flawless display today but there was no surprise in that. In a team that featured a number of changes from what might be regarded as our first fifteen, our strongest performers today included Tom Cunniffe, Ger Cafferkey, Kevin Keane, Colm Boyle, Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons, Mikie Sweeney and, for my money at least, MOTM Alan Freeman.

Mayo team v Derry

Photo: Mayo Mick

And so now it’s onto the League semi-finals, the third successive year that we’ve made it this far and the second year in a row where we’ve recovered from a poor start to the League campaign to seal a place in the play-offs. Despite the repeated heavy psychological blows James Horan’s team have taken on big days, they just keep coming back and it’s impossible not to admire the strength of character this utterly driven bunch of lads have shown in doing so. It’s that kind of character that Derry’s first team will now have to do battle with next weekend for a place in this year’s League Division One final. I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m certainly backing our lads to do the business then.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Tom Cunniffe, Ger Cafferkey, Kevin Keane; Shane McHale, Donal Vaughan (0-1), Colm Boyle; Tom Parsons (0-1), Seamus O’Shea; Keith Higgins, Andy Moran (0-1), Jason Doherty; Mikie Sweeney (0-2), Alan Freeman (2-6, penalty goal, three frees and a ’45), Cillian O’Connor. Subs: Darren Coen (0-1) for O’Connor, Richie Feeney for Higgins, Barry Moran for Doherty, Michael Conroy for Sweeney, Diarmuid O’Connor for Parsons, Lee Keegan for Boyle.

105 thoughts on “Mayo 2-12 Derry 1-7: job done

  1. I delighted James mad so many changes to the team , a least we did not so too much of our hand for next meeting with Derry .

  2. Well as they say, a win is a win is a win. It reminded me a bit of last year’s game against London, very hard to figure out what we learn from a game like that. A bit worrying that we went 17 minutes without scoring in the second half with the wind at our backs against a second string Derry team. I wonder whats the story with Adam Gallagher? It’s a pity that we have not seen much of him in our last few games. Well done to Alan Freeman, great to see him bounce back after his performance last week. It just shows how important Kevin McLoughlin is to our team, he really makes us tick, when he is playing well. Aidan O’Shea also is very important for us. Will Keith Higgins return to corner back now? Hopefully Docs form will return too. Last year’s game after the London game, was our match against Donegal and we all know what happened in that. We’d settle for a performance like that next week.

  3. Good win for by the lads, Freeman really is a class act. Also Parsons had a fantastic first half and gives us another great option going forward. Boyler fantastic as usual. Felt Doherty needed a good game today but was largely anonymous, always felt he was more of a corner forward but somebody else deserves a chance in there now in my opinion.

    The wind made it difficult for both teams coupled with a lot of changes let to a disjointed effort at times, but I think Horan will have learnt a lot about some players today. Good day at the office overall!

    Also, Im comforted by the fact Dublin would have made semis even if Mayo beat them lastweek because of how results went today!

  4. Lack of consistency is the big trouble with Mayo, you just don’t know who in the forward line will show up on a given day. Some days they all show up and other days just one or two. Mike Sweeney has jumped ahead of one or two seasoned campaigners even though he only scored a point, he’s a busy fella and does score.
    Judging by today, aos and jg back to midfield for next Sunday, or maybe jg at chf and parsons at mf? If coc is still out.
    Today showed again how fallible Dublin are, gave up a massive lead and got a lucky Hail Mary point to win the game
    This league is definetly there for Mayo if we are set out right and the players want it badly enough.

  5. Poor performance today lads. But not as poor as the performance by the ref. It was absolutely shocking . Anyway as for us there was 2 occasions in this game that Mayo could have let Derry into the game. We are not closing games out and if we are having trouble closing games out against a second string Derry team we have problems. So we will need a better performance next week and ill be looking to see if we start closing games out and not letting teams back into it. I thought Caff played very well . Was it my imagination or did he slot back into the number 2 position ?Boyler was on form today and i was pleased with Keanes performance as well .Moran played well when he came on.Freeman played well when he got the ball and he is a confident player. Can someone please explain what the situation with Keegan was ?He was named on the team to start.If he changed his mind and decided not to play him fair enough but why get the lad to tog out on the 70th minute bit of a joke if ya ask me.

  6. what was getting on my goat David was when we got direct ball into our forwards there was no players looking for the lay off .Forward line was far too static

  7. Should be an interesting game next week, we cleaned up in MF in the first half, I guess there was no point in running up a big score as it would prove nothing.

    I was glad the Keegan got time off, I thought that Boyle was outstanding in terms of his attitude, was taking no crap even towards the end. Caff was great in the first half, although disappointed that we conceded a goal, not sure how the Derry forward managed to work his way in though!

    Next week’s game is just what we need, cannot wait!

  8. Ref was poor but the game overall lacked edge and both teams went through the motions in a glorified training session….the real Derry team will provide a stern test in croker next Sunday. I assume we will be on at 2pm? May provide a dilemma for us Liverpool fans with a massive game against city next sunday.

  9. Steve you have only two options , into croker with the radio tuned to BBC or into anfield with the radio tuned to rte or Midwest .

  10. In relation to Lee Keegan, I’d say it was to keep his consecutive appearances going, I think they said on the radio that it was his 35th game in a row between league and championship for Mayo.

  11. Well done Mayo today. Job done and fair play to Horan, mentors and players. The winners of all Ireland this year will come from these four teams if stats prove right.
    Just a few observations……..Dubs won away today and O Gara played full game. Score 0-0. Against us he played 6 mins and scored 2-0. WTF?
    Keep going lads, Weather getting better and I think we will too.
    Lastly whats story with Cillians injury? Vital we get full season from him.

  12. Hi David,
    Well done to Mayo today on a good win, you say ” how fallible Dublin are” and got a “Hail Mary point”, we had no Cluxton and had a man sent off and DC scored an excellent point to win the game. Given the fact that Paddy Power had Tyrone at Evens and the Dubs at 11/10 before the game I think we had a great win and are far from fallible. Just my opinion that’s all, best of luck next week.

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  13. Mikey got one anyway not 100% on the second. Freeman got 2-6 . Great for freeman but a bigger spread of scores would be better 🙂

  14. that must be it cant see any other logical reason for it. Is Andy still off the pace i wonder? and any word on Dillon?

  15. Despite me being a mad liverpool fan Roger Mayo always come first so it will be the Mayo game for me. Be some year if Liverpool won the league and Mayo won Sam.

    Just heard Marty on radio say venues to be decided tomorrow….but surly it’s croke park

  16. Dublin show great character again. Sign of a great team. Ye will be hard stop this year in my opinion.

  17. Yeah you feel Andy is just holding onto the ball for too long at times, hopefully the more games he gets the sharper he will become. You’d think that Dillion and Barret must be getting very close to been back. You still feel that we lack natural forwards up front, its these type of games, when its a real struggle to get scores, that really shows up our lack of out and out scoring forwards.

  18. i agree . Players with that killer instinct for a score. I have watched some of our forwards at time when they get the ball they hesitate at times and other times instead of going straight towards the goal they have a habit of taking the ball out towards the wing and your thinking to yourself where you off to. Natural scoring forwards dont do this. I posed this question before but how much effort goes into nurturing and developing forwards at club level ? I remember when i played for my club at under age level there was no emphasis put on developing forwards talents and abilities. There was more of a focus on how to defend.Now maybe that has changed . But if not it would be a shame imagine how good COC or Sweeny and the other lads would be now?

  19. Martin
    10 point leads being given up point to a softness. Don’t worry Martin, Mayo have it too, in abundance. Mayo,
    9 point lead handed back to Westmeath, similar handed back to cork and same 6/7 points to your own crowd last weekend.
    Dublin had to win today, so a fade out like that shows the dubs are not an all conquering monster like last year. And from what I heard Connolly shouldn’t have been on the pitch with some of his antics but that’s the way
    Hopefully it’ll be a mayo vs dublin league final and that cluxton and all dublins panel are available for the game.
    No excuses from either side

  20. You just feel at the moment Dublin have those players up front who can get the scores when the pressure is really on, that is what seems to be separating them from the chasing pack. Diarmuid Connolly took his chance while Sean Cavanagh missed his, at this level it just comes down to those margins. Dublin have the players who can take those chances, to have the right man in the right place at the right time. But the Dubs are not unbeatable!

  21. Hard to say what JH has learned from today. Should Mikie Sweney start or come in as an impact sub? Possibly the latter.

    Colm Boyle had a good fighting attitude in how he played. Seamus O’Shea had a good shift too.

    Some of our subs though didn’t do there chances much good though.

    We were a little laboured at times but an eight point win probably reflects the performances on both sides.

    Can’t see either what Derry’s manager learned from putting out a second tier team but all will be made clear next Sunday!!!

  22. You’d wonder whats the story with Adam Gallagher, early in the league campaign he was looking like a player that would be well able to take his scores but we have not seen much of him since.

  23. Can someone in the know advise me on the black card rule. Last week against Dublin, there was a couple of times when a Mayo player was running through and he was pulled back by a Dublin player. I noticed Diarmuid Connolly do this on 3 occasions. I watched the Dublin Tyrone game today and I noticed Connolly repeat the same tactic. Now he didn’t pull the player to the ground and he didn’t body check the player. I have not seen a referee act on this infringement so am I right in saying that this is allowed?

  24. i agree with the lack of consistency we show David, but disagree on your characterization of Dublin and Connolly. They showed some balls going to Tyrone and winning and Connolly, love him or hate him, made something outta nothing to grab the winning score.
    Would love a Dublin Mayo final though.

  25. will Carroll miss out on the Cork game? I think Cork ill do a number on the dubs. Why cant we attack like the dubs? its not rocket science . The dubs run at you at pace and have lads showing for the lay off. Simples 🙂

  26. How come when Mayo lose a big lead and still win the game it’s a “collapse”, but when Dublin do it, it’s the sign of a great team, character, balls etc.?

  27. I suppose the difference Digits is, despite the give back, they closed it out.

  28. Good to get win . In fairness to mayo its sometimes hard to kick on when ya know game is won especially when your playing a B team. Mayo have lots of work to do which is not a bad thing . Did anyone else pick up on anti James Horan sentiment at match to day or was it just the crowd near me . Think he is doing a good job ………..

  29. Hi Mayomaningalway,
    2 yellows so O’Carroll will play and Cluxton back, see you in the final.

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  30. I’d say O’Carroll should be playing next week against Cork, he got two yellows today so I’d say he will probably not get a one match ban. I suppose the thing is we can attack at pace too, like the goals we scored against Cork, so some more of that would be great! Of the last four teams, we have beaten Cork (maybe a bit understrength) and Derry (they were very understrength) and drew with Dublin (even if they were down to 14 men for a lot of the game). We have nothing to fear anyway. The odds with Paddy Power to win the Division 1 title are now Dublin 5/4, Mayo 9/4, Cork 7/2 and Derry 11/2. So its all to play for.

  31. we certainly can attack like the Dubs. We done it against Donegal in the quarters last year but unfortunately its not consistent.

  32. All we needed today was a win and we got it. Derry didn’t need anything and they got it. What do we want next week or more importantly what does James want? I am glad we are not firing on all cylinders as long way to September.

  33. It seems that James Horan prefers hard working forwards as well rather than out and out scorers, it’s a pity that Brian Gallagher has not got some more game time as he seems to have a scoring left boot. It’ll be interesting to see if Keith Higgins will continue to play up-front.

  34. Mayo got 2 league points today and thats all that matters. The semi final will take place next week more than likely. up mayo

  35. It was a bit like a glorified challenge game, lacking any real cutting edge. There were a few interesting cameos, all the same. Mikey Sweeney’s opening point showed what a real forward should be about when in the main scoring area, win possession and shoot. The more elaborations introduced the more chance defenders have in defending. Alan Freeman’s second goal was very well taken and his penalty and free taking very good. He was my man of the match. I always feel that Seamus O’Shea is a bit clumsy in his ball control when going forward and today was the same even though he played well.
    Next week will be interesting, hopefully it will be in Croker as the more experience we get there the better. Emmett McGuckian could prove a handful in the full forwardline judging by his second half fielding.

  36. Before this game it was said that the top two teams would have home advantage for d semis, so if we won by 9points wed have home advantage. That was presuming that Tyrone won today. Now wit the dubs n the semis, sutprise surprise, its talk of a double header n HQ…. tough on mayo fans, potentially 3trips to Dublin in just over a month (all going well next week) but no doubt we’ll travel!

  37. My take on the Derry goal after seeing it on League Sunday is that it was a free out.The Derry no8 floored McHale with a straight arm across the chest but our friend from Meath missed it.A guy from Derry apologised to me and reassured me that McColdrick(you could leave out the ‘R’!)wasn’t from Derry!.

  38. Don’t know what I took from today really. I was delighted Horan rested Keegan and McLaughlin, sensible decision in fairness. They did the hard work in the first half, working very well against a very strong wind and Freeman’s penalty finished the game. It was just a matter of seeing out the game after that, which they did albeit conceding enough to allow Derry make a game of it. Still and all, job done.
    It was hard to read who came out of today well or badly. Thought Cunniffe and Caff did well all through and Boyle was excellent. Higgins was outstanding in the first half, got on an ocean of ball. Moran won a lot of ball but was guilty of slowing up the play. That said, it was very hard to kick the ball accurately and with purpose in that first half against the gale. Sweeney looked very lively and took his scores well, Freeman was excellent throughout. Parsons and O’Shea looked good too at times. I’m just going to ignore the non event of the second half.
    Doherty was anonymous throughout and will be disappointed. Conroy also didn’t offer enough when he came in and one would feel that Sweeney has now crept in ahead of Varley and Conroy for that spot. Sweeney is still a little light for my liking and might be better used as an impact sub. Barry Moran did very well when he came on and will feature strongly in the summer, one feels. Feeney did well also.
    I do feel that Mayo have to win the League now. Losing another semi final or final will not bode well for the Championship. Last year, they fell into the Semi Final and the focus was always on the Galway game. This year, they have clearly gone all out for it, with some very strong teams named in the last few games. Another loss to Dublin, for example, would be a disaster. Mayo need the lift that a League win would give them. For all our talk, confidence is still not all that high as evidenced by last week’s outpouring of emotion after the draw. It would give them the boost they need to really come good in the Championship, as opposed to the last few years where it wasn’t really necessary.
    Anyway, here’s to next Sunday and the end of the silly shadow boxing that was today.

  39. Dublin won the league final against Tyrone last year by one point, they won the All-Ireland final by one point against us, they beat Tyrone today by one point to make the semis, they drew against us last week, can they keep this up as it’s a very hard thing to do, finishing on the right side of a close finish, only time will tell?

  40. Mayo have over come the threat of relegation and reached another league semi final. Let’s hope that we go on and win the league without too much fuss. As I live in Tyrone I went to the Dublin Tyrone match. A very entertaining game that initially looked like it was decided after only two minutes. Dublin waltsed through tyrones MIA defence to score two handygoals. Tyrone eventually settled and despite missing countless easy scores (in fairness the wind played a factor) should have walked away winners. I was very impressed with Tyrones fight back and in my opinion they deserved the win. You don’t always get what you deserve. Dublin deseve credit for getting the win. Tyrone will be disappointed for handing Dublin a win on the plate. After settling down in the mind a week later, I can see that despite Mayo having the ability to annihilate Dublin, Dublin perservered and earned a draw. Fair play to them.

    If this current Mayo team, play to their full potential, the only other team that are capable of beating them are Mayo themselves. I hope that this Mayo squad realise how good they actually are not too frightened by their potential. Embrace success and enjoy. That’s no half past ten talk.

    Exciting times ahead.

  41. not the only thing he missed. Shocking decisions that were blatant.We only had put a hand out and he was given the free to Derry There was at least 4 very clear occasions he should have given us a free but he didn’t.I wasnt booing but he really pissed me off.

  42. I was seriously impressed by the way we shut shop in the first half today while playing into a very strong wind. Derry didn’t get within an asses roar of the danger area. One of the reasons for that was the way that Sheamie played as a defensive midfielder.
    I mentioned a few weeks ago about a hole that existed down the middle of our defence. I think JH should seriously consider playing Sheamie at No. 6 next Sunday, and for good measure, give Gibbons the No. 11 shirt. With Aido at 8 and Parsons at 9, we would then have the best controlling/attacking diamond in the country.

  43. the main thing i learned today is how valuable Kevin Mac is to our team, he gathers so much ball between half back line and half forward line then picks off points it all seemed a bit rushed up front except for freezer who uses his weight to great advantage, so we off to croker next week and on from there maigheo abú

  44. We lost the 89 final because we had too many midfielders in pivotal positions rather than footballers. Playing four midfielders would not benefit us. In my opinion, Andy did well at No. 11 and has done in the past when fit. He wins an ocean of possession out in front of his man. Once fully fit, he will probably occupy this space and could do very well there. We do seem to have a huge amount of good midfielders at present – Aidan, Seamus, Barry, Parsons and Gibbons. The mistake would be to try accommodate them all in the team.

  45. Absolutely – and I thought the lack of attackers picking off the breaking ball was poor. Putting in the long ball into Freeman is fine but he won’t win all of them. We need to be ready to pick up the breaks which we a) didn’t do today and b) never looked likely to do. It’s all well and good having the long ball as an option, (not the only option which it would be if Barry or Aidan was put in there), but the forwards need to be ready and willing to win the breaking ball off it.

  46. HQ my foot, home ground to the dubs, but holds no fear for us either AM, and we WILL travel

  47. Have to disagree with you WJ on a black card for the penalty foul, there was no pull down. He tugged his jersey back (not a black card), Freeman kept going anyway, if anything, he pushed him in the chest/clattered into Freeman’s knees.

    People are looking for black cards for offences that are not black cards.

  48. Hmmm….. But isn’t that accommodating another centrefielder in a forward position? I thought your earlier reply suggested you wouldn’t support doing that?

  49. Difficult to see it clearly in a split second but when it was on the TV tonight it didn’t look like a black card. Having said that a ref could easily have given it as a black card. that’s one of the problems with the new rule. some refs will and some won’t. I would be curious to know if umpires and linesmen are in contact with refs to offer their opinions on whether it was or not.

  50. The point is that Sheamie steadied the centre if the defence when he was there. He is a viable option for the No 6 shirt. That is about adding strength to the team rather than accommodating anyone

  51. I do not support doing that. I have said in my post the long ball is good as an extra option and can be utilised as such when Alan is in there. If Barry or Aidan was in there, as what a lot of people on this site are suggesting, the only option would be to put it in high to them, which I don’t think would benefit Mayo. Freeman is a proper forward who can be used as a target man with both low and high ball. Putting Aidan or Barry there would not work because they don’t offer both options and can be easily defended against, when facing quality opposition.

  52. I take your point about Seamus, though for my money he is too slow for No. 6 and would be found out at some stage. But putting midfielders at No. 11 also really wouldn’t work in my opinion. When Aidan played there in the league last year, there was a clamour of people shouting for his return at midfield. Myself included! I just think that the skills required at centre back and centre forward are quite different than what’s required at midfield. I still have faith in Donie, though he undoubtedly needs to focus on defending first and tighten up a bit more!

  53. Couldn’t make the match but reading through the comments here I have a couple of questions / observations that maybe people could help me out with ?

    Keegan was out and Vaughan moved to wing back. And Seamie O’Shea played as a defensive midfielder. So were we playing with effectively 7 defenders with Shane McHale or Kevin Keane being a spare man ?

    How did Richie Feeney play? I read somewhere that he was nearly caught for another black card. Is that true ?

    By sounds of things we also missed both Kevin McLoughlin and Cillian from FF line. Leaving Freeman on his own. He was very impressive I must say. But as some pointed out he cannot win everything every time. He needs support there. From reading here none of Sweeney, Conroy or Coen are entirely dependable for this. Was this because we again had only a 2 man FF line with someone playing off Freeman (but not as successfully as McLoughlin) ?

    Finally – I have a great time for Tom Parsons. But one thing he always was suspect about was his shooting. How was his overall shooting or did he just play the game as a primary ball winner and line breaker and move it to the better player when he was through ?


  54. JPM – we had a three man FF line but neither corner forward seemed to be close to winning breaking ball off Freeman. Both Coen and Sweeney in particular showed well for the ball in general though. Sweeney seemed to always be out in front of his man.
    Parsons did well in catching – definitely his shooting was appalling though, particularly in the second half. Feeney did well but was very lucky to me not to get a black card. Silly challenge for which he got a yellow. Certainly, the crowd drew their breath when he made it. He showed well and linked well too.
    Seamie dropped back from time to time but I don’t think we had a spare defender – I could be corrected in that though? It certainly didn’t seem that way?
    Hope that answers more questions than pose them!

  55. OK. We both basically want the same thing (i.e. a bit more strength at the back). You suggest that Donie can adapt to provide the answer, I suggest a different solution. One thing is clear though, it needs to be solved or we’ll start leaking goals again.

  56. To some degree it’s a moot point as the defender committing the foul was already on yellow and should have got at least another yellow for the foul that led to the penalty. I agree, having seen it again, that a black card isn’t as clearcut as it looked at the time, though this doesn’t lessen in any way the point about Coldrick’s shocking performance. Also, having seen the highlights, it’s clear that Derry’s goal shouldn’t have stood, given McGuckian’s forearm assault on Shane McHale as he was going through. Right in front of the ref as well …

  57. Yeah when Alan Freeman is on form as he was today, he is one of the best full-forwards in the country. I suppose we should also think about when he is not on form as in the drawn game against Dublin. I think it would be no harm to give Barry Moran some game time at full-forward, just to have another option in case Alan Freeman gets injured etc. at some stage during the season. Barry Moran did really well against Dr. Crokes in the club semi-final for Castlebar. It would keep Alan on his toes anyway and add some competition for that position, as we have lots of options at midfield. At the moment we have no direct replacement for Alan Freeman. Adam Gallagher for Doc too would give us some extra options on the half-forward line and some more scoring potential.

  58. Ah yes. I see now. Sorry HB, I misunderstood your point. One of the things that drives me to distraction is the way some of our attackers stop and hold up the ball. This allows defenders to get back and fill up the spaces preventing the runs. Holding up the ball is something learned from soccer. It has no place in gaelic football.
    Dublin has coached it out of their game – that’s why they seem to break so fast. They keep offloading to yet another man bearing down on goals.
    It cost us a number of scores today and our holding up the ball led directly to Dublin’s 3rd goal last week. We need to coach it out of our game – and quickly!

  59. Based on what we learned today (on top the season so far, as well as taking injuries in to consideration), the team I’d start against a big, physical Derry first team next weekend would be:
    Higgins – essential he moves back
    A. O’Shea
    S. O’Shea
    Feeney – to fill a jersey that no one has put their hands up for.
    A. Moran – needs to impose himself much more as the games go on
    C. O’Connor – hopefully he will be fit. ( If unfit, I’d put Barry Moran there)

    First sub for the forwards:
    Sweeney – he’s pushed himself ahead of a number of others with good intelligent football

    Disappointed the Doc didn’t put in a good shift today – he needed to!

  60. it seemed to me on occasions that when the ball went into freeman our ff line had pulled out the field. if freeman had being caught in possession there was no one anywhere close to help him completely isolated.There should be lads close by looking for the breaking ball or the pass.Other posters have said it and i have on plenty of occasions we need to stop over carrying the ball and bringing into tackles.It is the most frustrating thing to watch.Drive straight at them.We also need to start showing some consistency .Mind you this will be our third semi final in a row thats pretty consistent 🙂

  61. Interesting selection, but all the evidence of JH’s thinking shoes that the Higgins move is now a permanent fixture. And much as I would like to see Sheamie included (see my comment above), I don’t think he will be starting at No. 9 next Sunday.
    Also, the Doc has started the last few games, he’s likely to be in the 1st 15 next week.

  62. Replace ‘shoes’ above with ‘shows’

    %&®©?@$x predictive text, my ……!

  63. Why would you throw Jason gibbons into a position he hasn’t played for us all year and move him out of a position that has shown him to be one of our most prolific players all year,for me he has a mid-field position nailed down,yet a player who has played the last 6-8 games out of position you want to move him back,in my opinion he should never have been moved out plus and start Richie and barry(in the corner)ahead of Adam Gallagher,one of our best players in the early league games,and Mickey Sweeney?????

  64. Semi Finals – 1 v 4 and 2 v 3. Cork v Dublin
    Derry v Mayo in croke park should be played in that order(unless it doesn’t suit the dubs)!!! Which would mean 4pm kick off, time to watch liverpool beat city in Quinns or McGraths celebrate then head to croke park.

  65. Experience of playing at HQ is invaluable. The more often we play there the better feel players will have for the place and more at home they will feel. Meath, for example, when they were going well always took up the opportunity of playing Dublin in Croke Park. If we don’t believe this there is no point in pointing out that it is a”home” venue for Dublin as its location in the county is irrelevant.

  66. If ye didn’t have Duffy on yere side ye would have been beaten,should have had at least 3 players black carded.How is it when a keeper drags a player down the ref can give a penalty and no card???surely if he saw it he had to give the black or red card

  67. O gara seems to grow to 7 feet every time he sees a mayo jersey and shrink back to normal for every other game. We have always had problems with this guy. I’m still convinced if Paul mannion had not for injured and been taken off for o gara early last September we would be AI champions now. That’s how much of an impact he made that day.

  68. It’s interesting to note that each of the four provinces will be represented in the league semi-finals. It will Connacht (Mayo) v Ulster (Derry) and Leinster (Dublin) v Munster (Cork). You’d have to say fair play and well done to all involved with the Mayo team, this is the third year in a row that we have made this stage of the competition. To put last September behind them once again and accumulate 9 points in the league campaign (Mayo’s highest total under James Horan) is a great achievement, considering we lost our first two games as well. We should remember that since 1990 Derry have won five league titles while we have won just one, so we need to be very wary of their challenge. It’s all to play for, roll on the week-end games!

  69. First of all, we’re known by opposition managers to be very predicable, and they can plan against us weeks in advance.

    Based on their League performances, we need more physical strength against Derry’s best side. Fore me, having power at 11 and an in-form player would might solve two problems. SOS will not last a full match at this stage but will give it everything for while he’s there.

    Adam is one for the future for sure but he was bullied when the going got tough against good markers, but as I say, when he beefs up and gets more game time, he will be a one for the future. Not v Derry next weekend. While Keith, Doc, and others have failed to fill the 12 shirt and make it their own, I feel Richie would give us more there.

    If Cillian isn’t fit ( and we all hope he is), give Derry another surprise with Barry inside with Freezer and Andy or Mikey playing just outside them would be something the opposition will not have planned for.

    I had Doc rested because he hasn’t moved on in the last two games, and I agree about Mikey but JH wouldn’t drop the captain for a semi. Mikey has been our most intelligent forward this year and I’d have no problem starting him. His size hasn’t stopped him winning ball so far and we all know how good ( and unselfish) he is when in possession.

    Finally, the Keith experiment should finish. I cannot see the logic or any progress. He sore more coming from the backs last year. He’s the best corner-back in Ireland and cements our ball line. We still leaking goals!

  70. “Despite the repeated heavy psychological blows James Horan’s team have taken on big days, they just keep coming back and it’s impossible not to admire the strength of character this utterly driven bunch of lads have shown in doing so”.
    That says it all for me to be honest.
    For once I can’t comment on the match, thank God say ye!, as I missed my first outing of the season. Pesky kids and pesky church and pesky Confirmation. I wasn’t alone though as there were plenty of Dads anxiously looking at their watches at 2:45 wondering a) will the bishop ever hurry up, and b) maybe I could slip put unnoticied??
    Just 1 point though, as from the comments/report above added to the lads on Madwest, it seems that yet again a Meath ref screws us over. When are we going to cop-on about this? Can the county board object to a ref or do they have no say in the matter. I commented last week that it is getting beyond a joke the treatment we receive from Meath refs. It’s not our fault that Mayomen got relocated to Meath and were gifted the pick of the land! Still sore.

  71. Well done willie joe on the allianz predictor, looks like your home and hosed at this stage.

  72. I really think we need to give this one about Keith moving back to corner-back a rest at this stage. As Fourgoal said last night, all the evidence would suggest that this will be a permanent fixture in JH’s mind at this stage. Chris Barrett should be back soon and once he is we should be fine there. There were hints again yesterday, as there was at Croke Park the previous week, on why Horan wants him there as Higgins’ instinct is to head straight for goal with the kind of speed that catches defences off balance. Too often yesterday our attacks were funnelled out to the wings and too often the player receiving the ball kept going towards the corner. As others have pointed out, Andy has a tendency to take too much out of the ball and check back before delivering it in. Keith gives us something different and although I’m not the greatest fan of the experiment with playing him there, I always felt that he was wasted at corner-back (he was never the tightest man-marking corner-back either if we’re to be truly honest about it) and it is possible he could yet deliver more for us in the forwards.

  73. Pacar.
    I agree with you 100%. Jason Gibbons and Aiden O’Shea are the best combination at midfield for Mayo. Why is it that everyone wants to change Gibbons? He is by far the best midfielder I have seen on Mayo team this year. I also agree that Adam Gallagher is also a player that should be given a run. He has a lot to offer. I thought he should be brought on yesterday ahead of Diarmuid O Connor. O Connor is a fine footballer but he needs to develop his build.

  74. Thanks, Juan – it’s looking good alright (both for me and for Vincents who’ll get a €2.5k windfall if I do it) but I still need to navigate my way carefully through the remaining play-off matches so it’s not in the bag just yet.

  75. Well hopefully you’ll finish the job andbe the first Mayo man to land an All Ireland title this year…you could set the tone for the summer ahead, please God.

  76. WJ – would you care to post up your top 5 predictions ? A few punters on PP might have a nibble off an accurate prophet.

  77. Indeed WJ, well done on your current first place. I thought I was doing well in 8th position overall in the competition but no cigar. Sir, I bow to your superior knowledge.

  78. God Pebble, you’re in foul humour, your choice of language to describe your days most important event leaves a lot to be desired, lucky you is all I can say !

  79. A few observations on Mayo at the end of the normal round of league games. On the negative side, I don’t think we have Dublin or Cork’s depth in the forwards. Our starting 6 will be close to as good as those 2 teams but if, as we saw yesterday, McLoughlin, Freeman and/or O’Connor were to be injured we’d be in serious trouble.

    However, we have a depth of mid-fielders like no other county. And we probably have one of the strongest set of defenders in the country too – even if we haven’t quite fine-tuned it yet as a unit.

    I think Alan Dillon will be close to a starting spot or else the first forward sub come championship. I haven’t been impressed with the forwards that have been given a chance in the league – none have been poor but I don’t see any challenging the established forwards for a place.

    Colm Boyle is an incredible player to give you a minimum 7/10 performance every week – credit to James Horan for bringing him through like he has. Also, I can’t see Horan dropping Higgins back into defence. He offers way more to the forwards than he does to the defence as a defender, and as the ground gets harder I expect him to do serious damage.

  80. Thoughts on yesterday from section 103 of the stand:

    – Lovely touch to see the Club 51 colours lighting up the bleachers. Well done all.

    – Colm Boyle is an animal. Despite Alan Freeman’s terrific performance, Boyle was my man of the match. The very definition of ‘tenacious’.

    – Once again Mayo’s workrate and discipline in defence and midfield won this match. The shooting was desperate upfront.

    – Very promising first 45 minutes from Tom Parsons. Some tuning up to do on his shooting but he fetched a load of ball and showed great pace to drive at the Derry defence.

    – Mikie Sweeney comes up with two points from play again, and consistently showed for quick ball. Please God he’ll get the start next Sunday, and Mayo will fire it in to him low and fast.

    – Freeman scores from play into the wind, from a penalty (which he won), from frees, and from a 45. Not to mention the killer second goal. And some people still think Barry Moran is the answer at full-forward?

    – Derry were, simply, dire. With that team selection they couldn’t be anything else, I suppose, but their lack of attacking ambition with that wind in the first half was shocking. One point!

    – When Andy Moran kick-passed it first-time, he looked like a good option for centre-forward. But most of the time, he’s still taking too much out of it.

    – Good call from James Horan resting Aidan, Jason Gibbons, Kevin Mc and Lee Keegan yesterday. All four will need to be tip-top for Sunday.

    – Please God Cillian O’Connor’s injury is not serious. His composure in front of goal was seriously missed yesterday.

    – As WJ says, kudos to the team for making the semis once again – another achievement, like winning Connacht, that has become an annual one under James Horan. He wouldn’t have stayed on for 2014 if he thought that that was enough though. Unfortunately there’s only one outcome this year that will be deemed a success, and that can’t be achieved in this competition. However, assuming we get there, a League final win would be great for the heads. Especially if it came against Dublin.

  81. Excellent post DavyJ and one I agree with on every point.
    Regarding Colm Boyle, the day is going to come when that man does himself serious injury such is his appetite for contact!! I can’t remember a Mayo player who seems to get as much enjoyment from, literally, throwing himself into tackles and showing such scant disregard for his own body. The man is made of rubber. I know they breed them tough in Davitts but Jesus, Boyler is something else. I love the way he playes the game. To think, he very nearly slipped through the net !!!

  82. not the way the dubs do it. When we carry into tackles its because there not moving fast enough and end up getting caught up in the tackle.

  83. On the topic of refs….. Padraig Hughes from Armagh is reffing our league semi against Derry. Why an Ulster ref?

  84. Must say I like the Club 51 flags with their nod to the white jerseys worn in final. Would like to see us ditch the red away jersey & revert to our traditional white of Connaught away kit.

  85. Because they obviously feel we’re used to this kind of treatment at this stage – same ref v Tyrone, Leinster ref v Westmeath, Munster ref v Cork and Leinster ref v Dublin so far this year. This will be the fifth time in eight League matches where the ref will be from the province of our opponents.

  86. Juan, WJ will not be the first Mayo man to deliver an All Ireland title this year.
    The lads of Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet won the GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior D Football Final replay last Saturday, in Ballyshannon by 15 points.
    They defeated St. Joseph’s High School, from the modern GAA heartland of Crossmaglen by 5-10 to 2-4. And they took the Br. Edmund Ignatius Rice Cup back to Erris after their well deserved win.

    Pub quiz question: Which young Mayo man won an All-Ireland GAA Football medal in 2013 and again in 2014?

  87. Didn’t realise that was going on with referee appointments for our games. It can’t be right. Well spotted WJ !

  88. I sat in 103 also yesterday, the club51 flags looked very well indeed. As for Colm Boyle. The man is just a beast. I’d say he runs into the wall in his bedroom before he climbs into bed.

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