Mayo 2-21 Down 1-11 – dominant opening round display

Photo: Edwin McGreal

If momentum truly is an important factor in this year’s condensed inter-county season, then the early evidence from Mayo is already looking positive. Once we got on top of this National League opener at a rain-soaked MacHale Park today we fairly showed Down a clean pair of heels and we won pulling up well before the finish.

We were never behind in this contest and led inside the first minute. Ryan O’Donoghue – so clever and inventive all the time, forever looking to carve open the opposing defence when he has ball in hand – was fouled and Cillian O’Connor slotted over the free. Cillian would go on to contribute eight points to our tally, all from placed balls, today.

Down were back on terms quickly. A great long ball was pumped into Daniel Guinness who was on an advantage when he shot over the visitors’ opening point.

Ryan had a hand in our next score, passing to Tommy Conroy – who put in a really dominant display for us today – who claimed the ball under pressure and shot over. Soon after Michael Plunkett found himself in space within range and, with the Down defence standing off him, took a neat score on the run.

Down got some more profit from a long ball in at the other end. McKernan was the supplier of this one, Quinn claimed the mark and fired over. The same tactic was tried again just after but this time Óisin Mullin was equal to it, blocking his man from getting clean possession and forcing him to knock it wide.

Up at the Albany end, meanwhile, Ryan got shunted over close to goal. Cillian popped over the free with ease.

The Mourne lads then enjoyed a small spell of dominance. They bagged two points on the spin in as many minutes, the first from Quinn coming on the loop at speed and firing over, the second after a hard run down the right by James Guinness. This now had the looks of a hard-fought contest about it.

In an instant, though, that all changed. Tommy Conroy – who has bulked up significantly since last winter – won possession and bore down on goal, under pressure all the while. He showed pace, power and great finishing instincts as he blasted to the net on the ‘keeper’s near side.

We took that goal lead into the first water break. Ahead of then we traded points, with Fionn McDonagh leaping high to claim the ball and hook it over off his left and O’Hagan, from a free, responding for them.

If the opening quarter had been even enough, the second quarter was anything but. As the weather deteriorated – by half-time the rain was spilling down by the bucketload – we began to turn the screw to effect.

Óisin galloped forward, gave possession, got it back and shot over. Then, after we won a free when Ryan turned over the ball and Jordan Flynn was fouled, Diarmuid O’Connor fired in a free-kick that bounced in front of the Down posts and flew over the bar.

Another sweeping move ended with Ryan pointing as we eased six clear. O’Hagan pointed a free for them but we responded with two further scores before the half-time whistle sounded. Jordan wasn’t much inside the 50-yard line when he let fly in the monsoon conditions and straight from the restart after that score Tommy bagged another as we took a 1-10 to 0-6 lead into the break.

It was obvious even then that we were going to win this one. With that in mind, James began to reshuffle the deck and the first two switches saw Bryan Walsh introduced for Jordan while Eoghan McLaughlin replaced Rory Brickenden.

Mattie Ruane got us motoring on the restart, finishing a trademark surging run down the right with a point. Cillian got the next one, pointing a free from well out on the right after he’d been fouled.

Our next score ended the contest definitively. Tommy once again caused consternation in the Down defence as he bore down on goal, offloading to Ryan who, despite the presence of several defenders flailing about in the square, found a gap through which he thumped the ball to the net.

Bryan Walsh then picked up a loose ball and swung his leg at it for a score that put us a full thirteen points clear. This was now bordering on a real mauling.

Like a slow puncture, however, the air began to go out of our performance and we pretty much free-wheeled from there to the finish. While this may have been frustrating for the fans – as it was too for James Horan, who could clearly be heard over the live transmission, bellowing like a bull at his players – it was also perfectly understandable. The game was won, it was our first competitive match of the year and the conditions were of the kind you’d hesitate to put the proverbial dog out into.

As well as that, James was all the while running the bench. The changes brought fresh legs onto the field but we also lost a fair bit of cohesiveness into the bargain. Plus, Down bucked up and decided that they wanted to avoid the mother and father of a whipping.

It was the final quarter before the visitors stirred themselves, however, as they trooped into the second water break fourteen points in arrears. By then, we’d added further scores from Cillian (a ’45), Mattie and Cillian again, this time a free.

Fionn McDonagh had been replaced by Conor Loftus before the end of the third quarter, with Aidan Orme coming on for his League debut just as play resumed after the second water break.

An O’Hagan free followed by a good goal belted home by sub McConville finally gave the visitors’ backroom team something to shout about. We got our first score in over ten minutes when Tommy booted over after an Aidan Orme free from way out under the stand came back off the upright.

They added two more without reply – Horan was really fuming now – but on couches all over Ireland the fans were swooning as one Mayo legend, Lee Keegan, gave way for another one. Boyler!

Down had a second goal chance soon after but they butchered it, O’Hagan opting to attempt a punch it to the net and miscuing his effort. He had the time to collect it and bury it so that was a real let-off for us.

We finished well, however, adding four unanswered points to win by 2-21 to 1-11. These scores came from sub Eoghan McLaughlin and from Cillian, who converted three further frees as we closed out an emphatic thirteen-point victory.

It’s impossible not to be happy with today’s performance. Sure, it wasn’t perfect and, yes, we got sloppier as the second half progressed but I’ve already laid out the case for the defence there. Taken in the round, this was a very solid display, one that yielded our biggest home win in the League for an absolute age and our first win in this competition at MacHale Park since March 2019.

We had plenty of strong performers today. Óisin Mullin gave another barnstorming display at full-back but I was also impressed with new man Enda Hession who didn’t put a foot wrong beside him in the corner. He looked more than comfortable in today’s company, which is just what you want to see from a young lad pitched into battle at the deep end.

Others who were prominent included Mattie Ruane at midfield, whose surging runs recalled his many strong performances in the League in his debut season two years ago. Mattie could, though, do with taking the ball into contact a lot less and moving it on earlier but he definitely showed signs today that he’s a man coming into form.

There was a good spread of scorers in the forwards but – aside from Cillian on the frees – the main men for us today were Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’Donoghue. They have the look of a pair of gents who’ll terrorise a fair few backlines over the coming weeks.

So we’re off and running, with one eye already fixed on a Division Two semi-final which we need to win to bounce back to the top tier at the first time of asking. Today was a decisive first step along that road, now we need to maintain this momentum when we take on Westmeath in Mullingar in a week’s time.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Enda Hession, Óisin Mullin (0-1), Lee Keegan; Michael Plunkett (0-1), Paddy Durcan, Rory Brickenden; Mattie Ruane (0-2), Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1, free); Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Kevin McLoughlin, Jordan Flynn (0-1); Tommy Conroy (1-3), Cillian O’Connor (0-8, seven frees and a ’45), Ryan O’Donoghue (1-1). Subs: Eoghan McLaughlin (0-1) for Brickenden, Bryan Walsh (0-1) for Flynn, Conor Loftus for McDonagh, Aidan Orme for O’Donoghue, James McCormack for Diarmuid O’Connor, Colm Boyle for Keegan.

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

  • Tommy Conroy (38%, 805 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (18%, 379 Votes)
  • Oisin Mullen (15%, 319 Votes)
  • Mattie Ruane (13%, 280 Votes)
  • Cillian O'Connor (4%, 84 Votes)
  • Enda Hession (3%, 61 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (1%, 27 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (1%, 25 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (1%, 24 Votes)
  • Fionn McDonagh (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Robbie Hennelly (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Michael Plunkett (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Jordan Flynn (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Aidan Orme (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Rory Brickenden (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Eoghan MacLaughlin (0%, 8 Votes)
  • James McCormack (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Bryan Walsh (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,088

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80 thoughts on “Mayo 2-21 Down 1-11 – dominant opening round display

  1. Good solid performance, but first a rant. The coverage was terrible – you could hardly see at times. Why can’t they have a box in the stand for the TV coverage. It looks as if it comes from another age.

    Liked the movement all through. Although I couldn’t see, McStay’s perceptive co-commentary mentioned the footwork a few times and how he noticed big improvements here. The middle third was very strong and Mattie was very dominant – he seems to have bulked up quite a bit I like Jordan Flynn’s contribution too – there was a confidence there that reminded me of his U21 season. I think physicality played a part – I saw Down men down and looking unhappy, which made me happy of course!

    Very sloppy for final quarter. I think this is frustrating and gives teams some hope – long after they have become a beaten docket. Eoghan looked very rusty, but I did like the contribution of Aidan Orme. That was a mighty kick from the sideline and unlucky to hit the post and he did a few other good things.

  2. Hard to be too upset with the final quarter, game was over and conditions were atrocious
    Ryan o donoghue and Tommy Conroy were absolutely brilliant
    Orme looked good when he came on, no sign of Paul towey though which is a shame

  3. Good day at the office, put up a big score. Tommy conroy motm, seems to have kicked it up another gear. Nice spread of scorers too to take the slack of cillian
    Lets face it we are a cut above anything in this division,lets take care of business ruthlessly.

    The big story of the day for me was the absolute battering handed out to our neighbours down in kerry, couldnt believe how bad of shape some of the galway players were in,must have been the only team in the country actually not training….and they seem no closer to identifying a single top class defender. That should chip away at their already brittle confidence.
    I think the rossies will beat them in connacht semi

  4. I was not impressed with the TV coverage either. For one thing, the distance between camera and field seemed to be huge and, secondly, I’ve rarely seen so many raindrops on the camera lens which really obstructed the view. It was probably a fault of my mobile coverage but I only got to see snippets of the second half. That happened last year too when I was trying to watch a hurling game.
    Re the game itself I think that come championship time Jordan Flynn will be in midfield with Mattie and Diarmuid back on the wing. Where will Cillian fit in if Aiden is back at full forward because on today’s performance neither Tommy or Ryan can be shifted. Fionn Mc looks likely to make a real push for a wing forward place too.
    It looks like we are building a really strong panel.
    Congrats also to our hurlers on a big win over the Rossies – there is nothing I enjoy more than a win over the Rossies, even if it were only at Tiddlywinks [whatever that is].
    Our new found Camogie team did quite well too against the same Rossies even if well beaten in the end. Will somebody please tell me who Na Bridoga are – I am assuming it is the girls version of Tooreen.

  5. Quayman,
    Let’s see how the Rossies get on with Dublin tomorrow before writing them up.
    Granted a lot of the shine must be gone off the great maroon hope, Padraic, now. When did we lose to Kerry by 22 pts? There are no Galway people in my neighbourhood who I could ask, unfortunately.

  6. Rossies won’t be expecting to get anywhere near Dublin tomorrow, but they will make sure to put in the best performance possible to relegate Galway and maintain division 1 status for the first time since 2016. A lot of question marks over Galway for the short-term, still feel they will get it right come championship, but something is a miss there currently.

  7. I wouldn’t write Galway or Roscommon off yet. We played a Div 2 team today and our performance has to be tinted with that reality. Div 1 is a different animal and no team had any idea of form before today. Galway have operated behind the shawl for far too long and their club and underage have followed suite. They need to regain their man o man game, and loose the fear of taking a trimming.

  8. Superb display. Enda Hession looks a real baller. Hugely impressed by him, and he’ll augment that backline. Skillful and composed. Kevin Mc struggled a little to get into the match I thought, but he’ll come good. I’m sure we’ll see a nice rotation of players over the coming weeks. It’s incredible to see us putting in such a cohesive display given the relative lack of training. Well done all.

    We’ve a nice mix of players with different skillsets, and most importantly, all look comfortable on the ball. Our movement simply terrorised Down. Horanball. The killer instinct was there from us today, and for me that was the most pleasing thing.

    Great to see Leeroy looking lively. Past couple of seasons it’s taken him a while to get up to the pace, but not this year. He looks in terrific shape.

    Aido to come back too, so all in all a really positive day. Cillian seemed to play closer to goal which obviously paid off, and he simply must continue to do this, otherwise its a complete waste. Tommy Conroy certainly taking up where he left off past year. A class act.

    Kerry’s win over Galway will be noted by all, and they’ll likely be subject to a nice bit of hype, especially Mr Clifford who bagged 3-6 I think. Deserved hype, of course, especially in his case.

  9. AndyD, you raise good point there re ff line. Ryan and Tommy had a great game and having two corner forwards full of skill and running really showed, there were loads of options available going forward. Ff line came away with 2-12 which is massive. Only one game but that ff line looks very promising. It’s a real head scratcher for Horan, AOS obviously comes straight back into starting lineup when fit but cant see Cillian playing anywhere but ff line (not quick enough to play half forward especially with the amount of pressing and tracking hf line are expected to do). Does AOS move back to midfield? Next two games will tell alot.

  10. Willie Joe. I’m nitpicking here but Colm Boyle came on as sub also in the 2nd half (not on the team at the end of the review). Regarding TV reception I switched to my daughters iPhone (cast to TV) for the 2nd half and it was alot better but I don’t know was it due to the phone or did they improve things in the 2nd half.

  11. Agree PJMcManus, different kettle of fish altogether and no matter how many hammerings we dish in the interim, the winners of Galway v Roscommon are better placed for what would be a 50/50 Connacht final if we make it unscathed. Very little to be got out of division two other than promotion and an odd provincial title.

  12. GAA Go coverage was flawless for me which given the state of broadband in some parts of the west is no mean feat.

    Can’t be anything but happy after that performance. Game was over after Ryan’s goal. Even with AOS’s absence we were dominant in midfield. There were long-stretches of the game where Down could not move the ball into their own half-forward line. Bar Cillian some of the more senior players seemed to have off-days whereas the youngsters were running rampant. Good to see us getting out of the traps and tearing right into the league, in marked contrast to previous campaigns. We should be pushing on for promotion at minimum and aiming to win the division outright.

    Roscommon can’t relegate Galway next week as the bottom two teams in each group play a ‘relegation semi’ which determines who gets relegated.

  13. Good performance but too many misplaced passes particularly up front. One thing about football that irritates is where a player in possession is surrounded and tries to break through a gap and is clearly being held the free is given against him. Usually the surrounding players are not tackling at all and know that by holding the player they will get the free.

  14. Am I right in saying that if Mayo reach the division 2 final it wont be played due to the proximity of the sligo game. It seems ridiculous, if this is the case why do they not just dispense with semi finals and the 2 top teams play in final

  15. Chesneychet – trolling comments are not welcome here as you well know. Today was a bad day for your countymen but you’re going to have to work your frustrations out somewhere else.

  16. Job done. Some impressive performances but Down were woeful. Tommy Conroy is a class act.

    Has Rob Murphy left the Mayo News podcast? Mike Finnerty suggested that they would be jointly hosted by him and Billy Joe – maybe I picked that up wrong though

  17. Great to get a win. It was a division 1 claibre team playing a division 3 team. After the T Con goal went in Down gave up. Pity, game was interesting at that stage. It’s hard to really take away much from it but important to get 2 pts. When Aidan comes back he should go in at 11. Fairly clear. Hennelly will look for him / Ruane / DOC for a kickout.

    I’m more interested to see where Jason Doc will fit in when he comes back.

    On another note, so great to see Boyler come back.

  18. Great display all round, I know weather was poor but Horan needs to nip Ruane driving into the tackle too often and losing possession. He’s a fine footballer but tends to do it far too often last year and today again.

  19. – Today’s match was all about winning and giving the next generation an opportunity to shine.
    – Ruane shaded MOM for me with Conroy a close second followed by ROD, Oisin good after a shaky first 10 mins.
    – Eoghan Mc and Rory B will be disappointed with how things went, Fionn McD rusty but showed glimpses of promise as did J Flynn and B Walsh.
    – Was the ball moved a bit quicker into the forwards with no Aido ?
    – Some awful soft frees to both sides with no accounting for conditions.
    – The Kerry lads were laughing at the end of their game but it might prove a false dawn.
    – Only advantage of Div. 2 is no Dessie Dolan spouting on….McStay was his usual high standard today.

  20. One thing that really stood out today was the difference in conditioning between the Mayo and Down players. Even the young Mayo players condition wise were on a different level. The gap between the top teams and the next level is getting wider. How can you convince a Down player to out in the time and effort the Mayo lads put in.
    Hope there are 4-5 changes on the team the next day to give other panel members a chance.

  21. Pretty good performance today albeit against fairly limited opposition. Thought Brickenden did well, Hession was ok too but didn’t look comfortable on occasion in the first half, like to see him moved out the field a bit. Mullin a bit loose first 15mins but was very good as the game went on, O’Donoughue and Conroy excellent.

    I agree with the poster above, thought it was so obvious that the ball moved so much quicker without Aido in the forwards, When was the last time we scored 2-12 from our full forward line? Looked much more creative in there with so much movement. Just don’t think he is a FF, sets up a few scores but doesn’t score anywhere near enough to be considered there. Can do a job at midfield against any team bar Dublin and Kerry IMO, but only place I could see him fitting in is at CHF, played there a lot round 2015/16 if memory serves me right and had a pretty good season.

    Hopefully beat Westmeath handy next weekend and throw in a few more new lads for the Meath game then as we’d have nothing to lose. Like to see more of Orme and Towey, McCormack and Eoin O’Donoghue wherever he has dissappeared to.

  22. Looking at some match reports and pics there, has Tommy Conroy put on a huge amount of muscle? The guns on him!!!…I wouldn’t want to owe him 50 euro now.

  23. When Aido is fit, Ryan OD moves back to
    half forward his natural position especially as our half forward line miss fired today. Would love to see Mullin at midfield as his power and pace would create havoc in opposition defence.

  24. We played three lads in full back line today – and none of the three are natural full back line players.
    Why not try Coyne, Eoin o Donoghue or OHora in full back line – natural full back line players.

  25. Mattie had a fine game overall but totally agree with you WJ, he really needs to stop carrying into contact.

    Tommy Conroy tortured Down all through and was MOTM. Oisin was nigh on flawless too and the challenge for us is where do we position him to get the most out of him for the team. Really impressed with Ryan O’Donoghue as well. He’s a very clever footballer and plays with his head up.Young Hession did his cause no harm at all.

    Down were poor but we put them away early and with very little fuss. Good solid start.

  26. Good win but Down were poor to say the least. No point getting too worked up by a game v a team who were in Div 3 a short time ago. People wondering whether there will be a place for Cillian and Aido. Well that’s a bit of a laugh. Two automatic starters if fit and available. Stiffer tests await even in Div 2 not to mention Connacht. Galway were woeful today just like they were v us in league last year, yet a number of weeks later they ran us to a point in Connacht final. Lots of ball to be played yet.

  27. Four teams will be in each group based on geography with three Round Robin games per team. The top two in each divisional group will advance to the league semi-finals followed by a league final.

    The bottom two in each divisional group will play relegation semi-finals with the two losers of those matches relegated. The bottom teams in Division 4 will play a Shield semi-final and final.

    League finals will only be played on June 19/20 if counties involved are not playing in the championship the following weekend. If they are, then joint winners will be declared for Division 1 and joint winners and promotion for Divisions 2, 3, and 4.

    This clarifies any confusion one may have. We play Sligo on the 26th of June.

    Job done today, let’s move on to the swans next week ( swans are on their crest ) . Some decent attacks today and brilliant defense at times, although fell asleep and became rather lazy towards the end. Understandable however let’s not drop our standards and start as we mean to go on. Stand our performer for me was Ryan O’Donoghue he commanded play at times and was really calm on the ball despite poor conditions hardly gave a poor ball inside and always ran off the sholder. Division 1 here we come .

  28. Eyesontheball I’d say the last time our ff line scored 2-12 was in just our second last competitive game in the all Ireland semi 2020, and aido was playing.

    Really baffles me how people follow the lazy punditry of Spillane and Brolly and co in criticizing Aido instead of using their football brains to look at the mountain of work he gets through in every game. He’s not our most prolific scorer admittedly but he is a fantastic tackler (his turnover stats are outrageous), he’s a great distributor, he’s great at breaking the tackle and retaining possession (unlike some i could mention), his discipline deserves more mention and the refs don’t give him his dues because he is subject to repeated relentless fouling in every match, but most importantly his presence in a forward unit draws 2+ defenders to him which frees up space for our other forwards to score. Football is not one dimensional and while scoring stats are important, somebody has to be the dogs body to allow them lads to score. When aido is fit, Ryan will be back in the half forward line. As he ages he will have less time on his legs but he’s still very much a pivotal cog in the machine and we’ll miss him when he’s gone.

  29. Eyesontheball – When was the last time we scored 2-12 from our full forward line?

    I think you’ll find in the semi-final vs Tipperary, they scored 4-15 or thereabouts. With Aidan at full forward. So not that long ago!

  30. South Mayo exile. Interesting comment re full back line and I agree. But I think our game is changing. Each of the three guys name 2~4 had a shot at goal. None of the down full forward line are half backs. Our full back line is putting them on the back foot, ultimately they are all half backs and rotating.

    In saying that I really think Oisin could turn into a real super full back. I didn’t think that last year but today’s performance made me rethink it. Hopefully the Aussie scouts aren’t still watching him

  31. Isn’t it great to be back watching football.. not just Mayo… but on on Mayo I think we had a really positive day albeit a division 2 game which has to be taken in context…
    Tommy Conroy, live-wire , exciting forward, something special
    Ryan O’D
    Industrious, unpredictable in a positive way…class
    Cillian.. simple an asset
    Midfield diamond worked hard.. on Matthew he will learn about taking the ball into the tackle but that is youthful ambition, pushing the boundaries… he is doing that as a child
    Diarmuid… a special player, unsung.. needs to fulfill his endless talent.. but this is not a criticism
    Enda Hession will sleep well tonight
    Oisin.. 10/15 minutes to settle in but pure class
    Robbie, good game
    We are lucky…
    A lot of gears to go but will take it
    Finally wonderful to be born in Mayo

  32. Had no problem with GAAGO coverage (casting to TV) apart from raindrops on camera lens which, I presume, couldn”t be helped. Good display and good movement from team but Down were very poor. Early days but promising signs.

  33. I should have phrased that better to be fair! But that semi final was effectively a one man show.
    @ourtimehascome @Wideball Not criticising the lad at all, always gives it 100%, more fool you for thinking I’d listen to what those two apes Brolly and Spillane would say but Jesus lads ye are getting carried away, what did Aido score that day from full forward? Set up about 1-1, 1-2 if memory serves me right. Lets be honest about it, it was against a piss poor lower half Division 3 team at the time who stumbled past an awful Cork performance in a Munster final, same team were beaten against Limerick today…..
    Didn’t exactly shoot the lights out against Leitrim either, nor any team bar Sligo when played at full forward down through the years. A full forwards primary job is to contribute on the scoreboard, simple as that, Cillian is very effective at turnovers and can score too so your point on that is fairly mute.

    I’d just rather have genuine scoring threats in our inside line like we did today with tonnes of movement and pace, after all it has been our main downfall in All Irelands throughout the years, we’ve seen him being completely marked out of it down the years against Dublin in particular when moved to full forward.

    Pace, movement and scoring threat from the likes of Cillian, Conroy, O’Donoughue and Orme/Towey/Carr/Coen is exactly what we need down the line. I mentioned CHF for him as he can still be an option for kickouts there and that tends to be a position where he could easily utilise his skills (including turnovers) effectively.

  34. Didn’t think our 2 half lines played all that well. An area for improvement. Solid but not spectacular. FF line 2-4 from play is good but not get carried away good. Kerry FF lines often get that and more but the 2 scorers won a lot of frees aswell so credit due. Few teams will handle Conroy.
    On ref, he gave quite a few soft scorable frees to both teams so definitely were not frees which frustrates fans. At least it evened out.

  35. Solid from restarts yesterday, options at full, and half back as well as midfield. Mullin had a slow start but grew into the game. Good start by Hession, unlucky his shot drifted wide but nice to have the confidence to take it on, filling in for Chris Barrett is no easy thing to do. Leeroy at corner back is a head scratcher, not sure what Horan’s thinking is on that one. I liked the quick ball into Conroy and ROD, I assume Ciaran Mc is heavily involved in coaching that as well as influence over the amount of movement in our forward line. Concerning the ease with which Down walked through us for what should have been a goal, even though the game was over, we need to be completely ruthless closing these games out. Lots of positives but also plenty to work on.

  36. Fantastic win and Horan seems to have developed more players which is an incredible achievement given restrictions.
    However we once again gave away a goal and sounds like there could have been others.Against Div opposition this will be lethal.
    This has been a persistent issue for us over the years…

  37. Hi Willie Joe and happy new year! Great to be back. I thought the GAA GO coverage was excellent and good value at 25 euro for the year. As to the game itself…..Conroy, ODonoghue and Ruane were top class. Some of the older guys…I won’t name…had poor games. We must remember that Down were Division 3 last year and probably will go back there and our performance yesterday would not be good enough to beat Kerry , Donegal or Kerry. Still let’s dream on and wallop Westmeath next week. Keep up the good work with this blog . Up Mayo

  38. You’re right Pat. I counted 5 goal chances conceded by us yesterday. Yes, it was very wet conditions and an opening league game but if you were to read through post match reviews over the past decade on this blog you’ll see it’s a common trait, our coughing up numerous goal scoring chances against opponents. This, despite us having an enviable list of top class defenders throughout this period.

    Goals, the concession of them and inability to score them has been our achilles heel in the very big games since 2012. In 2012, two quickfire goals killed us. 2013, Hennelly failing to deal with the high ball that came out/Brogan punching in which was momentum changing, 2014 Kerry’s late goal in drawn game and Keegans miss early in extra time which would likely have killed off Kerry. 2016 OG’s, yes so unfortunate but it still happened and last years final. One of the topics being discussed beforehand was that we must not concede an early goal!! Seriously!? Their 2nd goal then was a killer after us doing so much work to come back into the match and take the lead and we didnt take our chances the other end. One moment stands out, Cillian caught and claimed a mark and tapped it over from close range. In pre-mark days any forwards intention would have been to bury it.

    Sorry for raining on the positivity of yesterday but goals have been an issue for us. A frustrating one. I accept too that this is in many respects a new team. I think Horan is doing a fine job in rebuilding, still a bit to go yet though and remember we are playing much weaker opponents at the moment.

    I’d like to see Carr more because when I look at Conroy and how he is doing well, I see very similar abilities in Carr and wonder why it hasnt happened yet for him. Strength, strong runner (note: goal in limerick) and natural finisher (note: two super points start of 2nd half in league final off left and right. Made it look easy, when it wasnt). I dont have the same faith in a number of the young forwards who have been given more game time over the past 12 months. Some may be fine players but we need at least one if not two more lads of Conroys ability before we can consider winning an All Ireland. Perhaps someone may emerge from the pack over the coming games but I’ve not spotted any yet. Towey? Class in the Connacht u20 final last year but isnt at the level yet from a conditioning perspective. Some who are closer to that level dont appear, yet, to have the natural scoring ability, yet. Darren Coen oozes natural class but pace is a problem and in the modern game you desperately need that.

  39. Their goal came from a poor hand pass coming out of defence. Under no pressure so it was totally self-inflicted.

  40. ROD is improving. His best performance for Mayo last year was probably the final and yesterday was probably his best ever, again it was a div 2 game. But he was handy yesterday and one of the advantages many were saying last year of us operating in Div 2 for a spell (a brief one hopefully!) would be the opportunity it would give new-ish players a chance to gain momentum and confidence due to playing lower standard teams. So if expect lads to be up for it against Dub, Kerry, Dgal, Gal etc then they have to be giving MOTM standard displays in Div 2. Tommy and Ryan both delivered yesterday. Mattie was decent too apart from a habit of running into trouble.

    If Horan can make a corner forward of Rod I’d leave him in there. He’ll have more space (versus at centreforward) and it’s not like we are blessed with an array of talented corner forwards/finishers. You could have AOS at 14 and Ryan and Tommy off him with Cillian sniffing around at 11. Horan will always have two workhorses on the wings, ideally with an eye for a score. We have several options here and Doc too if he recovers adequately from his dreadful injuries.

    The days of AOS at midfield look over. Mite work very well in some games. Many, possibly but not against top opponents in Croke Pk. It hasnt in recent years. He just hasnt the pace and mobility for centrefield like Diarmuid or Mattie have but if deployed correctly Aidan can be a huge asset for Mayo closer to the opposition goal.

  41. Happy enough with how the game went yesterday- don’t know how we would have faired against division 1 opposition but bearing in mind we had a raft of retirements in January things are always going to change.
    First off – this was Down who recently were promoted from division 3 so hard to know what to really think there. Conditions were fairly atrocious for much of the game so lads making mistakes in a monsoon is going to happen. The consolation for us is that we made less mistakes than they did and were in complete control for large parts of the game. Tommy was outstanding and so was Ryan, to pick just 2. I think we have a bit of a headache in selection if we have all our forwards fit and available.
    But if a shaky start at the back but from the first water break on, they did well.

    To win by a goal and 10 points first game back and still have things to work on probably isn’t a bad spot to be in considering the run of games we are potentially going to find ourselves in.
    If we do manage to beat Westmeath and Meath, which by the way I’m not sure we can really claim from yesterday’s game that we would or we wouldn’t – then we have a league semi final game too on the weekend of 12/13th June. That’s 3 games with one weekend of a break. Should we win that semi final then Division 2 would be decided as I don’t believe there is a final for teams that have championship games on the weekend of 25th June.
    So all going to plan we have 5 games to play in the next 7 weekends. That’s enough to keep us busy.

  42. Well done Mayo Great win and great to see all the new players getting stronger.
    Anyone who bought GAAGO might like to look at What Games are Actually available to you.
    The next Mayo is Not Available in this “region !!!?
    I live in Galway.
    Tried to watch the second half of the Kerry v Galway yesterday but not available in “this region”. ?
    Their Website says they are showing all Matches not shown on TV.
    What Channel were showing That Match yesterday ???

  43. No disrespect to him, but that game yesterday feels like a game we would have struggled in under Rochford. Nice to have Horan back, he knows how to give teams a good hammering

  44. Mike, Eir had the Galway game yesterday and Eir are showing our game vs Westmeath.

  45. You can only beat what’s in front of you . Cant help feeling we will not be at speed for championship with playing div two . The difference is everything in modern county football , near mind these amadans saying it’s no big deal , its everything . Great thing is we should bounce back next year if we play to our ability , our natural standing with the players we’ve got is top table .

    Tommy conroy and ROD were excellent , cillian played a very good tactical roll too in allowing for space in the last line for the lads to exploit .

    Ruane was v good at times , still that habit of running into bother when ball in hand though , room for improvement.

    Mcdonagh has bags of potential too and looked good yesterday.

    I’d love to see james carr involved , hope he gets the nod soon to show his game .

  46. Thanks you FDBinashui.
    Jayus How many platform and channels do we need to watch a few Games.
    RTE. TG4. Sky. Eir. GAAGO ect.

  47. Guys and Ladies,
    It’s now 2021, we are witnessing the building of a NEW Mayo team, in order to compete with the big GUN, Mayo need alot of mobility and power around the pitch, this must involve moving current guys to a new position or more likely to a backup role.

  48. If one takes away the two league final point scores and the goal v Galway James Carr in my view is behind the likes of Brian Walsh for example. He needs to show more consistency.

  49. Was P Durcan marking caolan mooney? Mooney is their best player and I think I just heard his name mentioned once.
    Think Horan said who ever is showing best at training gets to play if your there 10 days or 10 years.

  50. I didn’t see the game yesterday but from listening to it ,it sounded like James Mc Cormack played well when introduced. I hope to see him get a shot at no.6. If he stays injury free I think he is our best option there. Flanked by Paddy & Lee/Eoghan it would become a very strong line again.

  51. Eyesontheball – everyone knows Aidan isn’t a prolific scorer. I’d still take issue with you saying the ball moved much faster without him yesterday.

    First of all it’s a division 2 game vs down, secondly you’re ignoring several games last year where we had brilliant forward play with Aidan full forward. Galway in the league, Tyrone in the league (we put up a huge score) and the Tipperary game.

  52. I thought Marty and mcstay were very harsh on Caolan Mooney yesterday to be honest. The poor fella suffered a brutal attack in Newry in late 2019 where he fractured his skull and was lucky more damage wasn’t done. It’s unfair to expect him to carry the Down side when he’s lucky to be back on the pitch at all and just trying to regain a bit of form. When our own Tom Parsons came back nobody expected too much of him, we were just grateful he was ok and back playing football after that horrendous injury

  53. Our time has come I didn’t realise that he is some player to be fair.hope he gets back to his best.

  54. Retrocut, dont see why youre having a cut at Rochford, (with the usual No disrespect line then proceeding to disrespect the man). Stephen was a very good manager for Mayo and to suggest he would struggle with a poor Down team it just after and yes disrespectful.

  55. Those of you with a GAA GO season pass might be interested in the Meath/Westmeath game that’s on the platform today, throwing in at 3.45pm.

  56. JP, James Carr scored 2 goals vs Galway which won us the match, the 1st time in 4 years we beat them in the championship. How can he show consistency when he’s not given game time with the exception of a cameo of a few minutes at the end of a game.

  57. Thanks Willie joe. Signed up for GAAGO and have to say, think it’s a brilliant service despite some games not being available to watch.

    Very happy with yday, you can only beat what’s in front of you. Strength and conditioning was excellent which is a tribute to the work the players would have done on their own in the off season. Also the likes of Tommy Conroy and Ryan O’D have bulked up a fair bit.

  58. Peter Naughton scored 2 points from play for Sligo coming in as a sub against Leitrim today.

  59. TH/Mayo21 – can you please stick to using the one handle when posting comments here? I’ve switched your comment there back to your TH handle as that’s your most common one.

  60. Just watched the Meath/Westmeath match, where Meath came from four behind late on to win by one. Handpass hell, a poor quality game with no standout player on either side. Heslin for Westmeath probably the pick of the bunch. I’ll be slightly disappointed if we don’t batter the pair of them.

  61. You’re right WJ, don’t see anything to worry about in that match. We really should whip both of them.

  62. Saw the last few minutes as well. Two poor teams. The fouling and over reliance on handpassing was atrocious. You’d imagine our speed will have far, far too much for either.

  63. We might well batter the pair of them, but the format has me very concerned. I think its crazy that you could win 3 games finish top of a group, yet not get promoted if you lose a one off game? Crazy stuff tbh. I wouldn’t like to be playing Cork to get promoted, we’ve all seen how they can play in a one off game against the big guns.

  64. That’s a pertinent enough worry too, Mayo Dunphy. Cork were beaten by Kildare yesterday so there’s as good a chance of their finishing second in Division Two South as we have of topping North and, if so, we’d meet in the semi with promotion on the line. There’d be a real bite to that encounter should it come to pass, which already seems likely.

  65. hard to take much from the win yesterday. Down were very poor. Our team and management have done a great job of coming out of lockdown last year and this year ready to compete [unlike our maroon neighbors] We were good at times but too many sloppy passes even in the condition’s and we conceded too many goal chances against poor opposition. We also got sloppy when the game was no longer a contest, understandable but not acceptable as JH was loudly preaching from the sideline. You want to maintain discipline in all circumstances . Thats what Dublin do
    and you want players competing for playing time. Nice to see 2 corner forwards who take on their man and put the defense under pressure. TC is a class act and has added strength to go with speed and accuracy. ROD is a very intelligent player and like his fellow Belmullet man, Chris, deceptively strong. He attacks goal. I like players who dont always take the easy backpass but are willing and have the ability to take on their man
    We need to tighten up our defense, goals have killed us in the last decade. We need to find a balance, we have a wheelbarrow full of all stars from defense but leave ourselves open to counterattacks because we play defense on the front foot and attack from the back. Oisin was caught out a few times in the opening 10 minutes but was excellent from then on .Remember for example the long pass in the Tyrone game last year that caught our defense out of place and led to an easy and critical goal for Tyrone. Playing out in front from defense can be brilliant and can be dangerous.Its a gamble.

  66. Spot on Willie Joe. I’ll be hoping Clare do us a favour in the other group, great time for them as a team and County, but i’d sleep alot easier knowing Cork were out of our way. Hopefully thats what happens.

  67. Actually I think that it would be good if we were to play Cork, I think that while they are more limited than Kildare, while they can up their game, they were lucky to beat Kerry and flopped against Tipp but this will be a winner takes all so a good test gfor our younger players.

    Both Westmeath and Meath will be alot closer than Down, Mullins on Heslin should be tasty. We need to be tested to have a better idea as to where we are.

    Watched Sligo Leitrim, not a bad game, some nice scores, big difference is the intensity levels from the top sides though. Leitrim have a fine full forward, Sligo showed good teamwork and benefited from a sending off. Will see how they get on against Antrim and Louth.

  68. I was disappointed overall with the performance of the subs. I dont think any sub that came on played better than the player he replaced. I know a few only got a few minutes. It’s a recurring problem though – subs coming on adding nothing to our performance. Does more need to be done with psychology or something, are these lads fully tuned in. Most Dublin subs when they come on hit the ground running. We need 4-5 lads coming on taking the game to the opposition and lifting our overall performance to another level.

  69. Westmeath tried to flood their defence and hold onto their three point lead. Meath didn’t have to do much to break it down. Lots of lateral passes (would be flattering to call it patience) and little real incision. Fortunately for Meath, Westmeath were quite willing to give away stupid frees around the D.

  70. Before we get too excited let’s see this for what it is, a recent division 1 team v a recent division 3 team, in every aspect of the game. Physically, skillset-wise and also intelligence. There might have been one Down player that would have made our team, and that is at a push.
    Not being a killjoy but if we aim to be the best we must measure ourselves against the best. Cillian failed to score from play, Keegans sloppy passing led to their goal and, in my opinion, none of our subs made a noticeable positive impact.
    It was great to see the players in such good physical shape and that is a credit to the work they have done while away, and also to the S&C lads.
    We move on to next weekend, but let’s not start getting too giddy as we are in division two and Down were awful.

  71. Very satisfied with performance but yes agree with few comments above …ruane needs to stop bringing ball into tackle especially 2 or 3 players, some 1 will get a hand in….coughs it up as he did last year alot…..he can be our Brian Fenton in years ahead, has the potential for sure….
    Well done lads n keep foot on the pedal now in mullingar….

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