Mayo 2-15 Kerry 1-17: never-say-die attitude finally gets us past Kerry

It’s a long-awaited win over Kerry and a very welcome one at that, it was chiselled out by dint of a day of honest and unflinching work and when we did finally snatch the win it was in the most heart-stopping of circumstances. But, as Enda Kenny chided his Cabinet colleagues the other day, we all need to calm down a little. It’s still only April, it was only a league semi-final, we’ve won nothing yet. But we did get to leave Croke Park with stupid grins plastered all over our faces while the Kerry fans left with long pusses. That’ll do for now.

It was an incredible match in so many respects and it’s difficult even to sit here now and describe it. We were, by turns, excellent – as we eased away effortlessly from them in the opening quarter – and far from excellent, ceding as we did so much primary and breaking ball possession round the middle third for whole swathes of the game. Kerry pulled away from us twice and both times seemingly stood on the cusp of victory. But on both occasions, they didn’t do enough to finish the job and the second time we did just that to rob it from under their aristocratic noses.

We barely made it to our seats in the Cusack ahead of throw-in and arrived just in time to hear the teams being announced. I was actually quite relieved when it was confirmed that Aidan wasn’t starting: there was some talk in advance of him playing despite the injury, which, had this happened, would have been madness. But sense obviously prevailed and Barry Moran started in the middle instead of him.

Although Aidan’s absence robbed us of one of our trump cards, you wouldn’t have noticed in that opening phase of the game as we zipped five points clear. We were doing fine from the breaks out the field and the low, fast ball inside to Conor Mortimer and Michael Conroy was to both forwards’ liking. Conor, in particular, was on fire from the off and he bagged four of those points, with the other two coming from Keith Higgins – after a surging upfield run – and Alan Dillon.

Kerry finally got into their stride then as our grip around the middle lessened and they got the chance to probe our defence. Four points without reply ensued before Conor pointed this free following a foul on Kevin McLoughlin.

Points from play by Cooper and Sheehan brought the match all square at seven each but we finished the half stronger, scoring twice more before the break. Andy Moran got the first when he picked up neatly and smashed over a screamer that just wouldn’t stay below the bar and then Conor closed out the half with his sixth of the day.

We started the second half brighter too, with Alan Dillon lobbing one in that didn’t quite have the legs but which Kiely tipped over the bar to put us three ahead once more. Pat Harte was now on at midfield, having replaced Jason Doherty just before half-time, with Barry shifting up to full-forward.

It was immediately apparent that this tactic – which I have to hold my hand up for advocating earlier in the week – wasn’t working. Instead of fast, early low ball, we were now humping it in high towards Barry but he never caught a single ball sent in there. Instead, we repeatedly gifted possession to them and they really began to come at us.

Worse still, our hold around the middle began to disintegrate entirely, with Kerry winning what looked like every single breaking ball in the middle third. It looked, then, like it was only a matter of time before they’d rip us apart and 1-5 without reply later, it appeared that they’d done the job.

The goal was actually furtuitous enough, coming from a Hail Mary ball by Kieran O’Leary into Donaghy – who was now at full-forward where he was, bizarrely, being marked by Donie Vaughan – which skidded past the Stacks man and into the path of James O’Donoghue. The Kerry substitute beat the outrushing David Clarke to it and swept it to the net.

Five down with fifteen to go and it looked then as if we were fated to endure another hosing from the Green and Gold. I had visions of a 10+ points winning margin at that stage but instead we got the next two points – the first a real morale booster from Colm Boyle and the second a free from Mort – to cut the gap to a goal. Sheehan then thumped a long range free over to give the Kerrymen a bit more breathing space but it was clear that we hadn’t thrown in the towel, even if time and the scoreboard were against us at that stage.

Denied what looked like a penalty when Galvin (already on yellow) hauled down Kevin McLoughlin (and this after an earlier shout for a spot kick after what looked like a foot block) we then got a penalty following an utterly suicidal cross field pass from Donaghy, which was meant for the hairy Finuge lad but instead found Alan Dillon. Galvin promptly pulled Alan to the floor but even though the ref failed once again to give Paolo his marching orders he did give us a potential match-saving penalty. Penalties in Gaelic are far from a gimme but Pat Harte smashed it superbly past Kiely (who went the right way) to leave just a point in it.

Kerry then attempted in the most blatant fashion to play down the remaining time with a succession of ‘injuries’, which saw three men take to the deck inside three minutes, hamming it up for all they were worth. Our sense of injustice was heightened when it was announced there’d be only two minutes of added time – Kerry having already wasted twice that amount with their playacting – but there was delicious irony in the fact that, after a superb turnover by the increasingly influential Colm Boyle, it was Darran the Diver O’Sullivan himself, swinging out of Cillian O’Connor, who gave us the chance deep in stoppage time to push this increasingly absorbing contest into extra-time. Cillian was ice-cool as he slotted the resultant free between the sticks to level the match at the end of normal time.

I really fancied us to push on and win it from there but it was Kerry who claimed the ascendancy once more in extra-time. They ended the first half of extra-time two in front, our sole score a neat one from play from Cillian. But it was two bad misses from frees – in particular a relatively straightforward one from out on the right ballooned wide by sub Enda Varley – that had done the damage, these misses contrasting with the routine way that Sheehan had stroked over two placed balls for them.

When sub Barry John Keane scored his second extra-time point, fed by Darran O’Sullivan after a Donaghy fetch, our goose looked once more to be sizzling on Gas Mark 5. But once again we simply refused to give up, even if now we needed a second highly improbable goal to have any chance of claiming the spoils.

The goal we got will obviously now become part of Mayo folklore. The way Colm Boyle – Midwest’s Man of the Match – claimed the ball from a slightly overcooked handpass from Andy as we swept forward was impressive enough but on the floor and surrounded by three Kerrymen he looked like he was going nowhere. Instead he somehow managed to get to his feet, swing his leg at the ball and in doing so thread it through a thicket of bodies and into the right-hand corner of the net.

It was an outrageous score and an utterly uplifting one too because now the Mayo team and their supporters – and, one sensed, the Kerry team and their meagre band of followers – could see that, at last, they now had Kerry on the block. Smelling the delicious odour of aristocratic blood the lads moved in swiftly for the kill, with the coup de grace applied with some aplomb by Richie Feeney. Fresh off the naughty step, the Mitchels man – who just before had screwed a shot badly wide – broke the Kerry cover, steadied himself and thumped over a delicious winner.

There was still time for Kerry to win a last-ditch fifty at the other end and with Bryan Sheehan the taker, it seemed certain that Kerry would – undeservingly at this stage – live to fight another day. Sheehan is one of the sweeter dead-ball specialists I’ve ever seen and you’d have bet the proverbial farm on him nailing it but on this occasion he drove the ball wide and so the day was ours.

It was a super win, made all the better because it was claimed by a really gutsy never-say-die attitude. It wasn’t by any means a perfect performance – for example, there needs to be in-depth analysis of our failure to win so much breaking ball around the middle and we urgently need to sort out what to do at full-forward – but it was one that in the end was good enough to get the better of a Kerry side who, by their own stupid playacting towards the end of normal time, gave us that chink of hope from which we wrestled the upper hand in this contest.

We can’t get carried away by this win. In the grand scheme of things, it means very little and, if you analyse the whole day’s action dispassionately, you’d have to concede that the really big winners today were Cork: back in a league final without the annoyance of having to play Kerry. And Cork will be tough to beat in the final, just as tough – if not even more so – than Kerry were today.

But we can be happy and we’re entitled celebrate just a bit tonight – I’ll be doing so with a nice bottle of Thwaites Double Century Celebration Ale (just the one, there’s a busy Monday morning upahead) when I’m done here. And I hope the lads who are now enconsced in the Algarve have one or two themselves tonight, as they reflect back on a fine day’s work and the county’s first win over the Kingdom at Croke Park since the team James Horan played in did the business in the 1996 All-Ireland semi-final. Well done, lads and enjoy the thoroughly well-deserved week in the sun. Saúde!

Mayo: David Clarke; Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins (0-1); Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle (1-1); Barry Moran, Jason Gibbons; Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran (0-1), Alan Dillon (0-2); Conor Mortimer (0-7, four frees), Jason Doherty, Michael Conroy. Subs: Pat Harte (1-0, penalty) for Doherty, Enda Varley for Conroy, Richie Feeney (0-1) for Gibbons, Cillian O’Connor (0-2, one free) for Mortimer, Danny Geraghty for Barry Moran, Aidan Campbell for Harte (ET).

72 thoughts on “Mayo 2-15 Kerry 1-17: never-say-die attitude finally gets us past Kerry

  1. Great result, the football warming up an otherwise very cold hogan stand.

    Mayo tool scores well most of game. Good to see forwards doing the business. Felt Ref was very poor. We got fortunate with the donaghey mispass but played with great spirit and fight and deserved it. Galvin very lucky to stay on pitch IMO.

    Really enjoyed today.

    Hope the extra time doesn’t make players miss their flights. 🙂

  2. Great to beat them in croke park. Can’t wait to watch the replay on sky plus. The heart shown by Colm Boyle/Vaughan/Keane/Dillon and everyone was something to treasure. Hats off to James Horan and his team. These lads have a confidence and most of a steel nature that only he could instill. Well done to one and all. Up Mayo!

  3. I thought Kerry were winding down the clock in a very unsporting(but typical) fashion in the last quarter of normal time,when their players were fouled

    Well done Mayo,the boys stood up and fought like their lives depended on it,typfied by an extraordinary performance by Colm Boyle

  4. Colm Boyle MOTM, should be very proud of his performance! Seems like our conditioning program paid off in the latter parts of the match.

  5. Absolutely sensational game, and fantastic win. I hope all the Mayo supporters who lost faith and decided to attack the players and management after the Donegal and Cork games feel as stupid as they look now, and that includes a lot of people who commented here.
    Monumental efforts are being put in by people and players involved and some of the fruits showed today.
    I know it’s only a league game but it’s one of the most important wins in years for Mayo. The so called hoodoo is broken, and we can take confidence and grow from it.

  6. Brilliant absoloutly f***king brilliant such heart and belief and no little ability ok thank you very very much mr Donaghy but we suffered from refs awe of kerry to day luckily we wernt buying into that shite

  7. Well done lads, great,great performance today. Hope they don’t miss the flight because of the extra time.
    Good piece in todays sunday world by david brady, fair play to him!

  8. I don’t think i am overstating things by saying this win is huge for this team. For too long we stood back and admired Kerry. Excuse my French but Fuck Kerry! Mayo are every bit as good ss them and you don’t see Mayo players surroundingthe ref complaining about every decision. Kerrys official twitter page stated “kick off at 2pm”. Maybe they take the lead from soccer a bit too much? Anyway a great game to be at. Mayo fought like lions and thats all we can ask. Great win grest day. Only blot could be 2 penalty points for going 55 in 50 zone on way into city centre. Mayo forever!

  9. Totally agree with optamissteek in relation to the winding down the clock, I found it totally infuriating and think the GAA should step in and stamp it out. Credit to The Mort for taking his scores especially from frees although his little routine before each free is a bit head wrecking and slow like a rugby fly half although if it works I suppose keep it up!

  10. Serious serious performance today, great battling qualities displayed by the whole team, which is all of us supporters ever ask from our players. I for one had my doubts going into the game but i was delighted to be proved wrong. Colm Boyle MOM in my opinion. He brings an aggression and leadership that i think we have been missing in years gone by.

  11. Mayo I love you.
    What a great bunch of lads, ye done us proud.
    Long live James Horan.
    Living in Kerry,and married to a Kerryman. I feel 6 foot tall.
    Mayo Abú. Next the Sam.?? can’t wait.

  12. Just home. Floated most of the way. What a grt result.
    We deserved that and hope the players realise this could be the start of something big.
    The whole panel showed a fantastic will to win. Thought this game showed what we have been doing in the league is paying off.
    What a display by Colm Boyle. What a man. He refused to be beaten and thats it. Defence were excellant at times despite a brutal ref(again) but please Clarke no more 45s pls.
    Midfield were under pressure all day but we still competed well. must have used 5 different midfielders. Half forwards were brillant, take a rest lads, ye deserve it.
    Full Forwards had a mixed day. Mort did well until they marked him out. Conroy marked out. Doherty not a ff. COC wes very good when he came on, what a pressure kick. Varley not doing the bis. Again we have players but are not putting it together.
    JH and co well done. Mayo are proud of ye. God it felt good to beat Kerry, a full strength Kerry, no excuses lads.
    They were a disgrace delaying time in second half, no class at all. And O Shea showed true colours attacking Andy. Nasty stuff. Bad losers.

  13. has the final fixtured for the 29th at 4 in croker… currently says kerry vs cork though… thats awkward.

  14. Great result and performance. Colm Boyle was the real MoM. He made a number of great tackles and interceptions that really inspired his team and the Mayo crowd when the game was slipping away from us; Vaughan, Caff and Mort also very good today. Overall, today proved Horan’s basic thesis: if you keep working hard then good things happen.

    Hate to be critical on a day when we beat Kerry, but we are still very much a work in progress. There were moments in normal time and extra time when some old failing were in evidence: Poor wides, Aimless ball in to the forwards, turning over possession cheaply. Plenty to work on before we play Cork. Beating Cork and thereby completing the Big 3 in 2012 would be a big statement that we need to make.

  15. Brilliant stuff, by christ that team has heart. Defensively hundred percent, thought midfield was our weak link but not ca night to be moaning in fairness. Really proud walking out of croker today, hope we can keep it together for the summer ahead, and the l final of course. Well done to everyone involved today.

    Lets get more bums on seats too, like to see a lot more at the final.

    I really thought that ref was brutal today, was it just me or did anyone else notice how he rewarded Kerry for blatant barging numerous times, why didn’t Galvin walk?

    Also that Kerry tactic of been in the refs ear constantly ,needs to be addressed,it is bordering on intimidation, when kh complained to ref he was carded, yet Kerry were at it all day, it had me baffled.

  16. Well done Mayo. Proud of them all. Disgusted with Kerrys antics of falling down everytime we scored or they scored just to break our rhythm.

    Laughed as I saw Brosan act the hard chaw trying to get Campell or Feeney back the 14 yards for that last 45. O Connor was going spare in front of me as well, then Andy Moran slipped in from the side about , lets say 13 and half yards away!.

    Kerry play the ref and linesmen and in fairness they oblige them. Three minutes gone when two Kerry men put the ball out under the Hogan stand. The Mayo man called for it, so did the Kerry boys. Linesman paused, hesitated and then gave it to Kerry.

    Also they have perfected the foul of flattening the man who has just passed the ball or leaving a hand in for a trip. Ref was poor and this is where we will have to inch the hard yards.

    Anyway the Kingdom is bet and the turf and hay isn’t cut yet!

  17. proud as anyone could be not because we won but HOW we did … -what is the craic with us and referees though and especially against Kerry we couldn’t as much as look sideways at a Kerry player and hey presto a yellow card … And as for the soccer style tactics by the ‘Kingdom’ disgraceful .. Well done all had colm Boyle picked as man of match in first half … Thought Pat Harte was excellent too …

  18. Fantastic performance. The half backline are currently the best in the country – they do the basics very well but have added a whole new dimension to the attack. On the highlights have a look at where Boyle started his run before he banged in the goal! These guys are opening up a lot of space for the forwards. Mortimer had a great first but he tired a little in the second half. Himself and Conroy ran riot at the start. Clarke is a safer bet between the sticks – more composed. Pat Harte made a massive difference when introduced (bar one wayward hand pass). He took the penalty well under a lot of pressure. McLoughlin causes alot of damage when he runs in straight lines.

    Thought the Sunday Game analysis was a joke – both panelists obviously had their notes prepared for a Kerry win. Lyster hadn’t the liathroidi to challenge Davis on his comments about a certain Kerry v Cork final.

  19. Well done to all.
    A great day in Croke Park – beating Kerry.

    Great display by everyone.

    One item that deserves mention – If Conor was on for the start of the extra time we would have scored two more frees. Should Ml. Conroy have been taken off?? – Thought he played very well. We should all thank Donaghy for that perfect pass he delivered to us which resulted in the goal.

    Nice to see that Eddie Cuffe was fittingly remembered.

    Cork had an easy ride – Down poor in Croke Park. Now for the final. Understand that the party are due in Faro at 10.05.

  20. Just back in the west, as already said, great performance. Defence has come on so much in the last few weeks, such a difference from the Donegal debacle. Just watched highlights on RTE, Boyle had some game, amazing goal. Cork will not be easy but would be nice to over turn the league result.

    Hope the players enjoy Portugal, they deserve it.

  21. Congrats a win that was coming, yes this was true grit by all the panel. The sideline played a huge part, well done.
    Kerry were poor losers, and their antics wasting time was a disgrace. so were the panel tonight Tony Davis analysis was all about Kerry and why they lost, he gave no credit at all to a fine Mayo Team, he was very biased.
    Had we a strong cntrefield and a target man at Full Forward, we would have won by more, the half back line were superb.
    We should have no reason to fear Cork, as we should have beaten them in Castlebar. The pundits will have them as favourites, and that will suit Mayo. Andy found it hard to get into the gametoday, theball never ran for him.
    Looking forward to another day in Croker and Mayo win.

  22. Important to go on and win the thing. These last few games will do wonders for the confidence, hopefully when we find ourselves in tight spots in August/September these games will stand to us.

    Its great to see the progession in the team from last Summer, the management deserve credit.

  23. Delighted – brilliant lads!

    Sorry to have missed it but will be back for the Final

  24. Well done lads, Paul Galvin will regret that one. What a shot to beat them in Croker, so well due. What a poor ref today….Well taken penalty. Well done to Colm Boyle, well deserved MOM.Ye can do against Cork….

  25. credit to horan he never feared kerry when he played and neither does his team. there was evidence of this last august and last sun. all very positive stuff today , ther was a ten point swing in that game 5 up to 5 down and we still kept playing. agree with all of above boyle was immense. but to a man we wanted it more today. and all this without either of the o sheas. kerry wilted near the end. enjoy portugal lads, few days rest needed!

  26. Top display it’s going to take a good team to beat us in the championship & we have the momentum to beat Cork in final will be pay back for 2010 final.

  27. great win today. All the backs played well. They know about Boyle in Kerry now. What a performance by him. Half backs and half forwards are now very strong. Very impressed by McLoughlin again today. Very composed, stylish and has lots of pace with ball in hand. A fine player who gets on loads of ball. Did not work out for Barry Moran at 14. I thought he did ok at midfield. Championship 15 almost settled. Maybe Kirby at midfield and Freeman at 14.
    First big win against the Kingdom since 96.
    Well Done.

  28. Great heartwarming performance today. Colm Boyle a great find.Awesome first 20 mins with intelligent ball played into Mort and Conroy.Went downhill after we changed tactics,put the big man in at full forward and booted aimless ball in. Hope James has learned that tactic does not work.Bit unfair comments on Kerry timewasting,if it was us we would have done the exact same which is a good thing as we have now added that bit of savy to our game.We were too nice for too long.Vaughan is becoming a bit of an enforcer at the heart of the defence.

  29. I’m a very proud mayo man tonight, and i couldn’t have chose a better day to introduce my son to croke park. Some boys became men today and really stood up and met the challenge head on. Fare play to them! I cant help but feel that if we get our best 15-20 fully fit(ronan included) a bit of momentum could take us all the way. I know! keep the feet on the ground and don’t book city west yet, but we are definitely headed in the rite direction.

  30. Sorry to disagree but Kerry started time wasting from the beginning. It’s a filthy habit of theirs and that comes from a man who respects their great past.

    They tried to ref the match and the tried to run the clock and it has cost them dear a few times.

  31. Well done today .Great result. Dont see the point of being critical of Kerry here. They went defensive when ahead near the end same as they did against dubs in AI Final but thats their problem and their tactics. Time instead to praise a great win for our county.

  32. Great stuff today all around. I wouldn’t get to wrapped up in the time wasting chat. Common tactic which we would have employed in the same position.

    Very proud mayoman like everyone I suppose. They showed great heart and this team looks the business. I hope it’s not a false dawn. We need midfield sorted pronto. O’Shea is a big loss for the final. You could count on one hand the amount of primary ball we won.

  33. Absolutely thrilled!!!!
    This is a great boost to morale for the lads and indeed all Mayo supporters. I hope they let the hair down tonight in Portugal – they certainly deserve it.
    I was surprised that Conor Mortimer was taken off – we would certainly have got two more points from frees. It is strange to sub your top scorer! Likewise Michael Conroy. Both had the beating of their men when the ball was being let in properly. Perhaps they were tired.
    Moving Barry Moran to FF did not work at all and it didnt really solve the midfield problem either. How we won having conceeded so much posession around the middle is amazing. It was just down to dogged hard work which was brilliant. However,midfield is an area we need to sort out badly or else we will loose games that otherwise we should win handy enough.
    Lets celebrate a good win but for Gods sake lets learn from this also and move on to better things which I think we are capable of.

  34. Great display congrats to all.Time for gaa to stamp out players having influance with refferies.Mayo county board and management should make official complaint to croake park.This is not WHINGING as Mayo have been on receiving end of poor officiating going back to 96 ,97.Every MAYO player to day gave 110 per cent.Good luck in the final.

  35. Mighty display from everybody from 1 to 26.
    It may only have been a league semifinal but we did show that we can play quality football with heart and courage.
    There is room for improvement of course particularly when moving the ball forward. Of course Kerry expected the high ball in when Moran moved to the square and they always managed to get extra cover, often Maher as I recall, back by the time the ball came in. Then there was no Mayo forward in the vicinity to contest breaking ball.
    It was a pity more supporters were not there to enjoy it and support the team but I suppose that is the result of the recession and lack of spending money.Still, I would have thought that there would be more Mayo – and Cork and Kerry – people in the Dublin area to boost the crowd. Certainly a Dub would tell you that there are far too many – but that’s where Dublin get their footballers from.
    Looking forward to summer.

  36. Very pleased Mayo man here in the US. Its real sweet to get a win over Kerry anytime, but its all the more meaningful when its a knock-out and in HQ. Having said that, we haven’t won anything yet and Cork will be a real tough and confident bunch playing what, their fourth final in as many years?
    Its hard to be critical of anything or anyone today, but we must figure out the mid field pairing. Sure, AOS is injured, so depending on how severe, and how long he will be out, may pose a real problem come c’ship time.

    Fair play to all the Mayo folks who made the effort to drive to Dublin today…its days like this I really miss home and the GAA and wish I was one of them being there.
    Thanks WJ for a great blog, keeping us honest and well informed!

  37. Great result. For once we didnt stand and admire but took it to them from the start. Was the Gooch playing? JHs calming influence and willingness to learn from times of strife is paying of. This team should never fear Kerry again !

  38. The reason Moran was moved into ff, was because Doherty wasn’t working in there. Maybe ff is not Docs best position, but there are not many places left up for grabs. As regards midfield, Moran and Gibbons will not be the pairing come championship we have 2 O’Sheas, Harte and possible Mc Garrity to come in.
    Portugal is not a week long holiday. The lads will be doing their most intense week of training. I do hope they are allowed cellebrate a little tonight, as this result is pivotal. Demons were banished yesterday. We drew with Kerry twice in a row and bet them in extra time. In Tralee and Croker remember. These are real achievements and will stand our young team well in the years ahead.
    As regards AI success, this win is a help, but guarantees nothing. One game at a time people.

  39. Must say a big thanks to Kieran Donaghy. We could not have done it without you bud. Now i see why they call you “Star’. Our best player yesterday.

    The standard of refereeing is not good enough. If we complain about this after a defeat we are accused of sour grapes and bad losers. Now is the time for Mayo to make an official complaint about this issue.

    To the Kerry fellas who were writing last week that they hoped Down would win the 2nd semi so that Kerry would not have to meet Cork again in the final. Lads ye will get over it. I promise.

    Finally to the Kerry fella who wrote “On a dry day in Croke Park a full strength Kerry are unbeatable and they will annihilate Mayo” can i just say that your guys got off light yesterday. The ref did his best for ye and ye still badgered him for more. A 16th man for ye. If we had a real ref we would have coasted home and your ill discipline and tactics would have been treated with the contempt it deserves. (ie Galvin off, players faking injury and blatant time wasting.) Ye were lucky.

  40. @Ceideboy – I actually think that Gibbons held down midfield for Mayo yesterday as he showed the athleticism to get forward and he linked up well. Moran worked hard but struggled with the pace of the game a bit, and when he went into FF nothing seemed to stick. But it wasnt either Moran or Gibbons’s fault that the break count was so high in favour of Kerry as not a whole lot of clean ball was caught, and while Mayo seemed to lose most the breaks in normal time, they turned that around and won a lot more in extra time as again; everything was been broken.
    I think Mayo actually finished with Aidan Campbell and Danny Geraghty around the middle in the end? Barry and Jason had given it everything they could though.

  41. Breaking that 20 yr hoodoo was sweet yesterday and it works twofold, firstly it gives the mayo boys that self belief that they can beat the ‘unbeatable’ Kerry but secondly and just as important it now sits in the Kerry players minds too that we can turn them over, go toe to toe with them and come out on top – a knee in the groin for their collective confidence so next time we meet they now know we mean business…Mayo Abú

    My 20 euro e/w bet on Mayo to win the league back in early February is now looking that bit closer to fruition ill be out of the country in 2 weeks but heres looking forward to another big day in Croke Park – enjoy portugal boys!!

  42. Well done lads. a real team effort. colm MOTM. backs solid. midfield did well, this was gibbons’s first tine evar playing in croker, thought he played very well and caught some great ball and laid off great passes, he needs another a o shea with him. andy very sluggish to day, missed a few simple scores. ref was a joke, nearly as bad as 1996. roll on the rebels we can and will overcome cork.

  43. Great result and well done on the heart and courage displayed and to have a never say die attitude. Kerry must be wondering how they managed to not close out the game (twice) with 5 or 6 minutes to go.
    Having said that I don’t have any sympathy for them. Darren O’Sullivan should have been booked at the end of the first half but by lying on the ground he got away with the foul when it was a clear yellow.
    Maybe Colm Boyle should have stayed down as well (for longer than Darren). I guess it shows how honest he is. Unfortunately it also shows the sneakier side to Kerry. Make no mistake about it people Kerry have won many finals and they do everything possible to get all advantages. It comes from experience and it’s something we need to learn big time, i.e. WINNING is ALL that matters.
    We were fortunate it has to be said but then come on it’s about time we got some good fortune in Croke Park. For years we have been unlucky there. I just hope we didn’t use it all up in this game as I believe that good fortune evens itself out over the course of a season.
    However JH has serious issue to look at. We were annihilated once more at midfield. Bringing on Pat Harte was not the answer. Even though he took the penalty with some aplomb, in terms of overall play in the middle third we were beaten out the gate again once Kerry got the upper hand midway through the first half.

    However that’s the great thing about this result. We still won!! So enjoy it lads, and enjoy at least one night in Portugal. After all people at home are enjoying it. But remember there is a lot of room for improvement. After all there’s nothing won yet and it is still only the League.

    But yesterday was memorable. 🙂

  44. @CiderMan, I agree with you Gibbons did well for the last two games. My point was the combination at midfield. My personal choice would be Aiden and Gibbons. I like Gibbons mobility, remember he only got a game in the last few weeks.
    Midfielder need time to settle into the role.
    Its great to have real options in almost all positions.

  45. It was bitterly cold in the Hogan stand yesterday but we has a performance on the pitch to warm Mayo hearts. Despite getting only sporadic possession at midfield, we managed to see off Kerry. Keane and Boyle are great additions in defence. Clarke will be a huge plus with the new square ball rule that allows forwards to get right in the keepers face now. Not too many will be eyeballing our keeper, I feel. Midfield is still the problem. We need to get the balance right. The FF line is the same. Although we seem spoilt for choice on paper, we haven’t quite clicked consistently there yet.
    It’s great to see that we are on the up though. Not too many would believed where we are today, when we left Donegal with our tails betwen our legs last month.

  46. Well done Mayo!
    I think its very unfair to criticise our midfield after winning against kerry. Kerry mauled most teams in the current campaign bar Cork and to win against them with a first time Croke Parker Jason Gibbons and Barry Moran thrown in to shore up an injury to AOD.I remember Maher in his first season with Kerry and he was less than adquate.See him now.
    I think JH is building well and will have options everywhere when it matters. I must also not forget our coaching staff ,who are steadily getting our players ready with fittness,teamwork,grit and intellengence to boot.

  47. Great win against a strong Kerry side. Showed real tenacity and conviction and these are qualities that have been missing in many recent Mayo teams.

    We rode our luck at times but were good enough to take advantage of their mistakes. All in all a very good win and really important for the younger members of the squad to post a win in Croker against a team like Kerry.

  48. Firstly.. well done to the full panel on a fantastic win yesterday.

    However, what can we say about the ejjets who had on the final as Kerry v Cork!!! I this what HQ wanted abd if so why? As for master Davis on the Sunday Game… what a complete plonker.

    finally (rant nearly over!!) what can be done about crap refs? Over the course of the league, there have been a few terrible and potential match changing incidents wher refs and their team have failed to act on obvious fouls (take handbags Galvin yesterday… on a yellow and he gives away a penalty… so why not a second yellow?

  49. I still think the tactic of putting a big man in Full-Forward and lamping the ball into him will never work against good defences. I would much prefer either Freeman or Doherty in there forcing the outfield players to think about the ball they play in. With a big man in the square it becomes too easy to just lamp it in without any great plan. Also with Freeman and/or Dohertyyou have natural forwards in the forward positions who might nick a goal for you, instead of converted midfielders.

  50. The game is won and lost most times in the middle third. Whoever can dominate that area can distribute proper ball into the FF line, and make it much more difficult to defend. That was the situation for us in the early part of the first 1/2. Conroy and Mort made hay when they got good delivery.

    But once Kerry got on top in the middle third Paul Galvin began to run the game. It was to our credit that we stayed with them because without the primary possesion we couldn’t and didn’t have the platform to keep the good ball available for the FF line.

    Kerry went on to dominate that area for most of the remainder of the match. But we still hung in there and got vital scores. Some were serious hard work though e.g. Colm Boyles point in the second half was a massive effort to setup.

    On the other hand we had some good long range opportunities that didn’t come off. Andy had a couple as had Richie Feeney.
    Normally these are crucial as scoring from them gives great heart to a team, and it puts pressure on the opposition to defend further out the field.

    Again fortunately we didn’t require that yesterday and we were able to keep with Kerry while still playing rather poorly.

    Overall we have to admit that Kerry left it behid them. They know that themselves and realistically they will improve probably 20% to 25% between here and the championship.

    But that’s not our fault. The question is can we improve similarly 25% for the championship and also what of Cork? I don’t think they give us the same opportunities that ‘Star’ etc. handed us.

    So overall we need to adress the middle third section fairly rapidly. Figuring out who to play at FF can wait until that’s sorted.

  51. They’re just in from the training session. There was some work in the pool earlier. No new injuries I am told.

  52. @ peter j mackin,
    Have you got someone keeping an eye on things out in portugal? 🙂

  53. you dont have the video of the levellying goal i notice disapointed at that good luck to mayo against cork

  54. Sorry about that, cc, but I’m afraid I’m not the national broadcaster and I was also perilously close to having a coronary at the time! Sure you could always bring your own camera with you to the final …

  55. If we are looking for a target man @ 14 as plan B, going forward from here.Look at Pat Harte’s scoring record in 06 close 2Nd to Mort and an eye for goals (if memory serves me correctly).thought he played well! I couldn’t find a single kerryman at work today, fucking typical!

  56. well done mayo agreat win but nothing won yet, we,i need tha same or better to beat cork. can understand wht took off mort. missed frees nearly cost us. No credit from scribes asserholes n monday papers for mayo as usual . Wats with midwest bring,n n martin mchugh to comment on mayo footballany time wer in croker, who,s wants to hear a donegal man talk,n shite abou wer we are or wer we go;n from a county tha took 100 yrs to get to croker.Just like Other gobshites mcgee n breheny .

  57. peter j,I dont think we need a running commentary on Portugal-Its a training camp and we should leave them to it

  58. Just after watching the game back there in detail. So many positives have already been outlined and indeed some negatives, so just a few other things to add to the discussion.

    On the big man at 14 – Barry Moran was completely isolated, bad ball played in, often on 2 men incl. Anthony Maher, no one playing off him. Don’t know how we expected it to go well. As well, the big man at 14 route most often works when the ball is played in early – not when the entire defence has already funneled back.

    It is an option that could be utilised – however, it must be trained.

    On our kicking – the ball played in in the first 20 minutes = excellent. Score 6-1. The ball played in for the rest of the match = by and large terrible. We also kicked at least 8 wides, probably double what Kerry kicked.

    On poor performances – Enda Varley didn’t make a good impression. Likewise Jason Doherty touched the ball once I believe. Pat Harte showed well but made terrible decisions on the ball.

    On great performances – Kevin Keane was so assured. He was unbelievable. Dillon is showing fight that we couldn’t see earlier in the season. McLoughlin everywhere. Mortimer very impressive. Andy put in a good performance, Kerry never really got on top of him. What’s there to say about Colm Boyle?

    On Kerry playacting – on at least 2 occasions players went to get up only to be told to stay down. Total time spent down by Kerry men = minimum 4 minutes, yet only 2 minutes injury time given. In the injury time itself, Kerry played stayed down for 90 seconds!

    On Kerry getting decisions from the ref – I counted 11 favourable decisions in the first half, 8 in the 2nd and 1 in extra time that had they been refereed objectively would have made a huge difference. 2 Kerry points (Donaghy knees Donie in the back, Darren O’Sullivan dive), a non Mayo point (McLoughlin brought down by Galvin) and a non Mayo penalty (Moran brought down by a rugby style O’Mahoney leg grab).

    On the lack of Kerry cards – 3 players stand out.

    Galvin – On a yellow after 3 fouls,, he fouls again, then the blatant foul on McLoughlin is not given, and then he fouls from behind denying a definite goal chance, and still no second yellow. Coman Goggins on the TG4 commentary was aghast. The referee/linesman also missed him kicking one of our players in the groin deliberately.

    Darren O’Sullivan – should have been on at least a yellow for two blatant fouls in normal time before he received his actual yellow in extra time.

    Aidan O’Mahoney – no yellow at all, despite rugby hauling Moran down in the parallelogram, and he also made a blatant trip in the 2nd half, which under new congress rules is actually a red card offence.

    The reason I bring this up is that this level of refereeing is completely unacceptable and Mayo County Board shouldn’t accept it – it’s not fair.

    On Bryan Sheehan’s 45 – Kerry fans were giving out bangs on the forum above that the Mayo players were not back far enough. However, on closer examination Kerry players were actually twice as close to Cillian when he was striking the equalising point.

    On JH – watching it back, he was remarkably vocal throughout the match – helped by the small crowd you could hear him all throughout the match shouting.

    Another good performance against the Cork will set us up nicely for championship. Good luck boys.

  59. Well said Digits. All valid points.
    I remember hearing a few years ago when Jack O’Connor took over Kerry that he was taken aside by a member of the county board and told that just winning it was not good enough – winning it with style was what was required. This message is now long gone. Now we have the playacting that we saw on Sunday. We saw the way he (JO’C) tried to influence the ref before the All Ireland semi-final last year. We saw the way he tried to influence a linesman’s judgement about a tussle between Anthony Maher and Andy in Tralee last Sunday week. Winning with style has long gone from Kerry now. Now it’s just win by any means. They have allowed themselves to be dragged into the mire and if they don’t win it is someone else’s fault. And this is getting into the Kerry psyche. I actually got a text from a Kerry supporter on Sunday saying that we would win an All-Ireland if refs were always that good to us! When I asked him if he was watching the game that had been on TG4 his response was even more unbelievable. He even thought that Galvin should have got a penalty at the end!

    And afterwards, we had the nonsense about the Kerry flu! And don’t get me started about the farce that passed for analysis on RTE later that night.

    Mark my words, if we actually manage to win something, we will be pariahs to the media like Clare were a few years ago. How dare we not be the whipping boys any longer! How dare we upset all these noble gentlemen of the press by proving that they have been talking through their collective holes!

    But enough negativity – to the match. What a performance! All we ever ask of a Mayo team is to go out and give it everything. On Sunday we got that in spadefuls. There is a huge wholehearted thanks due to all concerned. What was most heartening to me was that JH and his sidekicks can now analyse on the hoof and make changes when things begin to go awry. A particular move that symbolised that was moving Donie back out after the Kerry goal. This gave us our attacking impetus back and we forced them back into their own half. It is noticeable that, such was the Mayo pressure, that it was the Diver O’Sullivan who fouled to give away Cillian’s equalising free, it was Donaghy that hit the suicide cross to Dillon and it was Galvin who fouled for the penalty. When we can force the entire Kerry half forward line to defend within their own 45, we have a huge advantage. As was said over the last few weeks, we need to play it as much as possible in the opposition half of the field and we got that consistently last Sunday.

    It’s too early yet to talk of September, but it is good to have another game at HQ before the Summer and it is good to face into the Summer with the confidence that there are more big days ahead of us in Croker this year.

    Keep the Faith!

  60. Mayo Mick – Contact yes but I will “shut up” as directed/suggested, above

  61. Thanks, Peter – it makes sense, I think, to leave them at it for the week without having info filtering back on what they’re doing. Apart from anything else, we don’t want Cork getting any unnecessary intelligence on what kind of prep is being done!

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