Mayo 3-17 Meath 2-12: easy win in bloodless encounter

Photo: RTÉ

The sun shone brightly at MacHale Park this afternoon on a perfect summer’s day for football. One problem though – neither side had anything tangible to play for and the contest we got to see reflected that obvious fact.

We won comfortably to top the group with three wins from three games. Our reward is a Division Two semi-final against Clare two weeks from now, where the spoils on offer will definitely be worth scrapping hard for, as the winners there are promoted to Division One.

We made two changes ahead of throw-in today. Jack Carney was introduced, making his full League debut in the process, replacing Fionn McDonagh while Ryan O’Donogue started instead of Paul Towey. Those changes were only minor though compared to the hatchet Andy McEntee took to the fifteen they’d named only yesterday. Meath made all of eight switches to their named team, sending into the fray a largely shadow fifteen.

That pretty much stripped from the proceedings whatever significance the match might have had. Despite the many changes we’d made from last weekend we were by far the stronger outfit and over the course of the first half, where we had the aid of a lively enough breeze, we demonstrated this pretty emphatically. 

Cillian O’Connor got three unanswered points, two frees and a mark, to get us going before Jack O’Connor, after a good penetrating run down the right wing, opened the visitors’ account.

Another Cillian free, awarded when Jack Carney was nudged as he got his shot away, the ball cannoning back off the upright, was answered in kind at the other end. Flynn converted the placed ball for them.

Michael Plunkett bagged our next one. Ryan O’Donoghue seemed to have gone up a cul de sac but recycled the ball well and the Ballintubber man shot over from distance.

Then came their goal. From our perspective it was yet another very poor three-pointer to concede as they cut our backline open with embarrassing ease. Robbie Hennelly did really well to stop Scully’s initial effort but the ball spun out to the feet of Conlon, the Meath man bizarrely attired in what looked like a swimming cap. He had the simple task of poking the ball into our empty net.

All our good early work undone, we quickly moved to make amends. By the water break we were two in front, Mattie Ruane chipping over a nice one off his left and then Fergal Boland, after a great Mattie fetch from the restart, raiding forward and shooting over.

On the resumption we got a penalty, Bryan Walsh getting shunted in the back as he bore down on goal. Cillian sent the ‘keeper the wrong way from the spot.

Our next score was another goal. James Carr, who’d hit two bad wides with his first efforts at the posts, was on the end of a move put together by the O’Connor brothers.

Cillian played it into Diarmuid and he popped it up quickly for the Ardagh man to palm to the net. James then hoisted over a cracking score from way out as our lead stretched to nine points.

Wallace and Cillian traded points from play in a match that already resembled little more than a glorified challenge game. Not that the over-fussy Martin McNally noticed, the Monaghan ref constantly whistling, pulling us up repeatedly for what seemed to be not a whole lot.

One of these decisions saw a soft free for them forty yards out then succeeded by a fourteen-yard one when no foul at all had happened. Lee was yellow carded for the first of those and was looking as bewildered as the rest of us as to what rule book was being followed.

Darren McHale notched his second point from play after being picked out by Diarmuid from a line ball. Diarmuid then smashed an effort from distance off the outside of the boot but it hit the upright and bounced wide.

Another head-scratching decision yielded Meath another close-in free, which they duly converted. On the GAA GO live stream, James Horan’s animated bellowing was getting louder by the minute.

Before the break, though, his team conjured up something to calm him – and us – down. First Bryan Walsh clipped over a tidy point from a tight angle and then James Carr let fly with a shot the ‘keeper should really have got to but which ended in the net. That ended the game as a contest too as we retired at half-time with a twelve-point cushion.

We sensibly withdrew Lee and Cillian for the second half, Colm Boyle and Paul Towey coming on. They rang the changes too but the lads they brought on were first fifteen men so it was perhaps no surprise that Meath were far stronger in what was admittedly a fairly soporific second half.

The main point of note from our point of view after the break was the second goal we conceded. Menton’s emphatic finish was top class but our defending in the lead-up to it was little short of comical. It’s something we simply have to address for Championship as, at this rate, better teams will make hay in that department against us.

When Conlon, who claimed possession totally unmarked thirty yards from our posts, followed up Menton’s goal with a point from play, the gap was down to seven points. With almost half an hour to play at this stage, the game still had the potential to rouse itself from its slumbers but when Meath picked up two black cards in quick succession that put paid to those notions.

We didn’t exactly wreak damage in that brief spell when we had a two-man advantage. Meath fell back in numbers and we were content to play the ball over and back out around the middle.

A large virtual cheer rang out when Aidan O’Shea, unexpectedly named on the bench, came in for Jack Carney. The Breaffy man promptly pointed from play with his first touch of the ball. Eoghan McLaughlin had replaced Fergal Boland at the same time.

The highlight from our point of view before the second water break was a fine score from Mattie, dispatched via the outside of the boot. We took an eight-point lead into that halt in play.

The contest died on its feet in the final quarter. Meath continued to defend deeply, while we probed in a languid and utterly unhurried way. Paul Towey, who bagged three points (two frees) for us today, got a nice score when the ball was played quickly into him after Aidan was fouled while sub Mickey Newman swung over an even nicer one for them.

With Meath lads falling round the field with cramp, it made sense to blow the bloody thing up as soon as the seventy minutes were played. But no, we had to have four minutes of added time as well before the Monaghan official blew his pernickety whistle for the final time. We won by eight at the finish.

There’s very little more to say about what was an utterly meaningless contest. From our perspective, the main takeaway has to be our porous defence, which today leaked two more bad goals. If the red lights aren’t going off in warning all over the joint about this then something really is amiss. We simply have to tighten up at the back and we have to do so straight away.

Aside from that Mattie Ruane put in another powerhouse display in midfield and Kevin McStay, on co-commentary with Mike Finnerty on GAA GO, was right to be cooing about the Breaffy player’s blossoming partnership in the engine room with Diarmuid O’Connor. Kevin awarded them a joint MOTM and he has a point.

Clare’s one-point loss to Cork today meant that they did enough to claim the second semi-final slot in Division Two South, elbowing the Leesiders out of the promotion race in the process. We now face Colm Collins’ Bannermen in two weeks time, with the winners of that one claiming one of the two spots on offer in Division One next year.

So, it’s three wins from three outings in Division Two North for us. While there’s plenty to take encouragement from out of those three games there’s clearly loads that needs working on too, most of it relating to our colander-like backline.

Here’s hoping we see major improvements in that area when we take on Clare in a fortnight’s time. And, of course, that we also seal a quick return to the top tier of the League at the same time.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Eoin O’Donoghue, Óisin Mullin, Lee Keegan; Michael Plunkett (0-1), Stephen Coen, Fergal Boland (0-1); Matthew Ruane (0-2), Diarmuid O’Connor; Jack Carney, Darren McHale (0-2), Bryan Walsh (0-2); Ryan O’Donoghue, Cillian O’Connor (1-4, penalty goal, two frees and a mark), James Carr (2-1). Subs: Colm Boyle for Keegan, Paul Towey (0-3, two frees) for Cillian O’Connor, Aidan O’Shea (0-1) for Carney, Eoghan McLaughlin for Boland, Darren Coen for Ryan O’Donoghue, Jordan Flynn for McHale, Tommy Conroy for Carr.

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

  • Matthew Ruane (31%, 624 Votes)
  • James Carr (19%, 382 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (12%, 235 Votes)
  • Darren McHale (7%, 141 Votes)
  • Cillian O'Connor (5%, 103 Votes)
  • Oisin Mullin (4%, 81 Votes)
  • Bryan Walsh (3%, 62 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (2%, 50 Votes)
  • Robbie Hennelly (2%, 45 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (2%, 42 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (2%, 40 Votes)
  • Michael Plunkett (2%, 37 Votes)
  • Paul Towey (2%, 36 Votes)
  • Eoin O'Donoghue (2%, 33 Votes)
  • Jack Carney (1%, 22 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (1%, 19 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Jordan Flynn (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Tommy Conroy (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Eoghan McLaughlin (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Darren Coen (0%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,010

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62 thoughts on “Mayo 3-17 Meath 2-12: easy win in bloodless encounter

  1. With the Rossies and Galway bother pushing Kerry and Dublin respectively, if we think we’ll have it all our own way in Connaught again this year we can think again. They have invaluable Div 1 matches under their belts now, and we won’t have lived with that intensity yet this year. It gives them a massive edge over us now.

  2. As Meatloaf might sing “2 outa 3 ain’t bad”… but that’s for Meath, and it might be even better than Mayo’s 3 outa 3, if we fail to make it 4 outa 4 versus Clare in two weeks time… In the regulation Div Two League North, we have done all we could reasonably expect to.. Tried out allot of player’s, some getting their Mayo debut, some impressing, and so far so good we haven’t picked up any new injuries…It would have been nice, to see the hopefully soon returning from injuries Jason Doc and Brendan Harrison fit enough to get some game time… Not that I’m complaining, but the only others I can think of that it would have been nice to see get some game time are James Durcan, Mark Moran, Ciaran Tracy and Padraig O’Hora…It goes to show just how big of a playing panel Mayo has at it’s disposal…Willie Joe you have been very hard on the referee, I taught he handled the toss of the coin, and the two throw ins very well…He might have been one of those keystone cop’s in a previous incarnation, blowing his whistle as he tried apprehend the bad guy, (Maybe a lookalike of Lee Keegan, even though our Leroy was at his saintly best today) or he might have gotten himself a brand new whistle and was keen to try it out, a bit excessive, but he probably won’t need to be returning it to the shop, it’s in perfect working order…The next game is a real game versus Clare, but it’s a long long way from Clare to here, so I hope it’s played in Castlebar, where we are on a roll now, 2 outs 2, it’s not quite catchy enough for a song, but it ain’t bad either … Have to go now, I’m expecting a call from Bob Dillon !


  3. We got the job done as expected, well done to the lads.
    Major problems at the back, Division 2 teams scoring goals against us at will.
    James will have to keep the fullback line intact and stop them from roaming too far up.the field
    Place Oisin Mullen at centre half back with Durkan and McLoughlin, and Stephen Coen at fullback, they will take the pressure off the inside line.

  4. Very accurate match summary and specifically our defensive concerns. Dreadful defending all league long. If we do that against a Div 1 calibre side we’ll be out on our arses.

    And as Liberal Role in the Tie has said above, the rossies and galway have 3 solid games under their belts and they’ll have another again too before they meet us (assuming we get there of course!). Let’s assume we do, we’ll have played Clare, Sligo and Leitrim. Not exactly ideal games to accurately gauge how we are going. I really hope management and players prioritise defence over the next month. It’s crucial they get it right

  5. As it stands at the moment I’d rather be Mayo playing Clare to play in division 1 next year than either Galway (playing monaghan) or Roscommon (playing Armagh) for the same reward

  6. When will we know when the semi final is? Great to see so many new faces in the mayo team.. also great to have Aido back after injury.. ??

  7. Oisín Mullin a suberp athlete, potential to be a natural in Australia. Hard to believe he is only 21. Capable of being much more influential further upfield. The damage was done when Meath players carried the ball at our defenders, brushing them aside.
    Ruane getting closer to being as influential as Fenton thats a definite positive. Eogan McLoughlin lifted the game immediately he came on. Towey is definitely a player for the future and the calm headed Fergal Boland was a revelation.
    Annoying that referees seem to target Keegan for infringements, the booking was hard to fathom and a free kick later against him was a total mystery
    Horan will have learned a lot in last 3 games.

  8. This made me laugh so hard:

    “bizarrely attired in what looked like a swimming cap”


    Well done for calling it out WJ

  9. Galway and Roscommon have got no advantage over us from their league fixtures.

    All they’ve got is well beaten by everyone they have played (except themselves) with a points difference of minus 21 and minus 20.

    There is a chasm between Mayo and the rest of Connacht. We will account for which ever of them emerges to play us in the Connacht Final. We are going up to division 1 in two weeks. Both of them have their work cut out to stay there and I expect at least one of them to drop.

  10. Momentum is a massive thing is sports. Especially is a short season. I’d rather go into championship having won all previous games than getting relegated and downright embarrassed in some games. We won’t have it all our own way in Connacht but one of or both Galway and ros will be relegated and that’s not good prep when championship starts a week or two later.

  11. @NiallMc 1983, both Galway and Roscommon can stay up provided they both win their relagation semifinals.. Galway v Monaghan.. and Roscommon v Armagh. Nothing easy about either but very possible..

  12. A good day, but sterner tests ahead. Connaught will be no stroll in the park. Towey should have started. He gave some very good passes…a lot more than he got. Stick with him. He has a bright future ahead of him.
    Up Mayo.

  13. Delighted to see towey do well. Well balanced, accurate, cool on the ball and a good freetaker. He was probably ahead of Conroy in the pecking order before lockdown now we could soon see them both lining out together. Should beat Clare with a few points to spare as long as complacency don’t set in and as someone pointed out earlier momentum is crucial going into championship

  14. Agree with Padraig Joyce on his take about the GAA effectively rewarding team’s who broke Covid 19 restrictions… With Galway having to make the long trip to Clones for their relagation semifinal.. I have nothing against Monaghan, but my strong feeling is that the GAA don’t want to discomode the Sacred Cow of the GAA, Dublin.. who if the Div One final goes ahead wouldn’t want to be without the home comforts of Croke Park.. Of course, neither the Div One final and definitely the Div Two final won’t go ahead, you have to say that the CCCC made a complete bollix of the fixtures, and it does devalue the competition.. No reason on Earth that Mayo couldn’t play Clare next weekend, ditto Meath and Kildare and the Div Two final played the following weekend!

  15. We should have home venue since we won the group and it would have been simple enough to organise a final for the winners of our game. A bloody coin toss and nobody even knows when it takes place.

    Is our problem in defence coming from further up the pitch?

  16. You’re right Leantimes, they made a balls of it. No need for semifinals, let the two winners of North and South play the final and winners get the cup.

  17. Agree WJ hard to take much from today as Meath decided not to contest it. We would take Clare all day long in a promotion play off. We should win pullibg up.
    We will be going into Connacht final after 6 straight wins but never really tested. Galway or Roscommon on the other hand will have had meaningful games. If is Roscommon i would make us stronger favourites but the Rossies have a fair chance. If its Galway its more 50/50;.
    The reality for this years Championship is that there are only 4 games that matter. Galway v Roscommon. Mayo v Galway/Roscommon. Donegal V Tyrone and the final between Krry and Dublin… i know people will say look what happened last year ut that was just a surreal situation and look where Tipp and Cavan are now..

  18. If we lose to Galway in a Connacht final, it wont be down to us playing 4 games in Division 2. These players contested an AI final 5 months ago, you dont forget that intensity in 6/7 months. Galway and Roscommon haven’t got anywhere near that level in years, never mind a few months.

    I think Galway will beat Monaghan, but Roscommon are in bother, cannot see them getting past Armagh. Ross look a bit of an old team tbh, Enda Smith is too soft and lacks any pace, looks a superstar against Leitrim but thats it. Cregg and Devaney well past it. I think Galway will destroy them in a few weeks.

  19. I would give Mullin a sweeper role similar to what Cian OSullivan did for Dublin and play 3 out and out full backs. Also play O Shea as a deep lying midfielder with Ruane and DOC allowed to attack.

    What’s worrying is there’s absolutely no progression in stopping goals going in.

  20. Some great and funny (and spot on observations!). A few random thoughts:

    Damn near jumped off the couch when AOS came in => was quite the playmaker too. Great to see all he adds, loved his harassing on D.

    I’m a Michael Plunkett fan. Rarely out of position and does all the small things a cagey player does = reliable.

    Towey is a player to watch. Has that “intangible” quality you either have or don’t.

  21. Agree with all about our defence – or lack of it. I felt every time Meath went forward, a goal was on. Coen looked very rusty. Robbie was fuming there after those goals, and no wonder. Aido steadied the ship when he came on. We need to play him in a defensive role.

  22. @Niall1983, relegation may not be ideal but I dont think it impacts all that much on championship performances. Two of last years provincial winners were relegated from Div 1 & 2 respectively. Too much heed is given to the league. Championship is a different animal.

    That being said, having a colander-like defence is not encouraging

  23. Amazing the difference Aido made when he came on,hope his detractors noticed.He is the man to lead and help the younger players,note how he laid on the ball to Paul Towey who immediately called the mark.Lots of mistakes today from the younger players but they’ll learn from them.We have a nice blend of players now and a good management team so the future looks bright.Conceding goals a worry but I’m sure that will be sorted So hopefully back to Div 1 where we belong and maybe a Connacht title After that anything is possible, unlikely but keep the faith all.Maigheo Abu

  24. We are giving away massive scores in every game.Its not new 2-12 will win most games.The best defence can be attack but when the opposition is getting a score like that it’s clearly not working.

  25. So pat what do you recommend,that we should go into a defensive shell where the opposition will score less but so will we,as long as we are out scoring the opposition that means we are winning games,admittedly it can be hairy at times but I would rather be watching exiting football than defensive crap.

  26. Problem is sleepwalker we can keep playing the way we’re playing and will probably win connaght but the Dubs will bang in a few early goals and then see out the game, similar to what they did in December. Yes that old definition of insanity!

  27. The problem is puck out if we go defensive against the dubs we have absolutely no chance of beating them,a lot of the reasons we lost all irelands to Dublin wasn’t because of our defensive frailties but our failures upfront,when we were dominating possession but not making it count on the scoreboard.

  28. Mayonaze, in a regular year you could have 4-5 weeks from the end of the league to the start of the championship. That gives plenty of time to work on different aspects of the game and fitness. This year the division 2 league final won’t go ahead because it clashes with the start of champ. You will not see teams transform from league to championship this year as there simply isn’t enough time.

  29. Do we really need players from our full back line inside the opposition 21 trying to get scores?
    At a minimum our three full back line players should stay back and mind the house. Maybe then we wont need Cillian defending inside our own 45.
    With Tommy, Cillian and ROD playing inside – our backs should be looking to get quick ball into these lads.
    Clare will sit back the next day and suck all our defenders up the field – like Westmeath did – and then hit us on the counter attack. And Clare have some nice forwards who can score.
    A proper defensive structure is the minimum required at the top level.

  30. Lads, we might be able to tighten up a little in defence but under James Horan we will always leave space in front of our FB line and cough up goal scoring opportunities, its a symptom of his style of play going back to his first stint as manager and this isnt going to change. Talking about sweepers, AOS playing at 6, full back line staying put etc etc is a waste of time because its never going to happen. Horans game is high intensity, high pressing, forcing turnovers, creating overlaps for deep runners, its impossible to implement this and keep a tight defence. therefore for Mayo to win an AI we need to be more efficient up front. The good news here is we are putting up big scores and that it looks like our wide count is down on previous years, we now have a number of players with can score particularly coming off the bench.

  31. My view of it.
    – Darren McHale, Eoin ODonoghue and James Carr put themselves in the picture for the match day 15/21 (The players who come on)
    I just don’t see an alternative to Eoin ODonoghue, he was solid and played like a corner back. Not saying he was much more than solid.
    Darren McHale had two good points, made his passes. Solid.
    James Carr, mixed the good and the bad. Games might bring him on more.
    – Still think we need a bit more experienced solidity and physicality in the side. Aidan OShea and Jason Doherty come to mind.
    – Matthew Ruane in some good form, we have a good partnership with Diarmuid.
    As the team settles and more players return I see a path to being strong in that chasing pack behind Dublin and Kerry

  32. We were turned over a number of times yesterday after receiving a ‘pass’. This is due to standing still for the reception of same. These ‘passes’ should always be attacked so to facilitate being a moving target.

  33. I think Bryan Walsh has a great chance of starting come championship. Flynn and McDonagh haven’t done enough for me and Diarmuid looks to be staying at midfield this year.

  34. I am hearing here in Meath that the Mayo panel care in very heavy training at present so give some leeway. Horan won’t change much before the Connacht Final. He will hope to get there without showing his hand.

  35. Wide Ball, I’d agree Bryan is playing very well and looks to be the most consistent of the fringe forward players. Also agree that midfield will be Diarmuid & Mattie. There isnt many starting forward positions available for championship, Cillian, Tommy, AOS, Kevin Mc, Ryan O’D are nailed on starters for me, that leaves one hf position up for grabs and right now Bryan would be a good choice, though I thought Boland had a very good game yesterday. This also means we probably have our strongest ever bench with Doherty, Carr, McHale, McDonagh Loftus, Boland, Towey, Orme, Moran all fighting for a place.

  36. Agree on Bryan Walsh. I think he’s done enough to start and is the best ‘footballer’ of the fringe forwards.

  37. I totally agree wide ball and mayomad. The problem for mayo is defence and if you look at the bench. Where are the defender s. I also think Bryan Walsh is a decent player. But in defence yesterday we were cut wide open. S coen not at it yesterday unfortunately and a lot more of our defence

  38. Withdraw a forward and let Aos sweep in front of the back line, the best tackler in the game.

  39. Our scoring efficiency has defintely gone up a lot. One thing I noticed is we are getting more shots on our weaker foot.
    The defence might improve when we settle on our 2-12. Right now something is not working in terms of the middle being protected.

  40. I wonder have Dublin stolen a march on other teams this year besides training before the allowed date.
    As NiallMc said above about a condensed campaign it’s going to be hard to change players and styles of play in the shortened campaigns.
    Dublin had a really strong team out yesterday.
    Kilkenny, o”Callaghan, Fenton, small, in fact they appeared to be almost at full strength.
    I know we were all shouting about trying different players but I feel Dublin have gone the other route and I think taken the time factor for settling on a championship team in to account.

    The rest of the country might be even further behind them this year than in previous years.

  41. Watched the game back as I was otherwise engaged with enjoyment of the weather to pay sufficient attention to the game yesterday.
    Our Defense looked shaky enough, and Meath had a number of wides -10 i believe -0 that other teams would have been scoring – had they been more accurate, the game would certainly have been a lot closer in terms of final scoreline. I won’t get overly bothered given it seemed to be a bit of a makeshift back 6 with a lads that didn’t play together for some time.
    Ryan looked very sharp – very clever movement and has a great eye to pick out another player to make the best of possession.
    Cillian was his usual self for the half he was on. He creates a lot of opportunity too.
    Fergal Boland was good, perhaps a bit unlucky to have brought the ball out over the end line about 10 minutes before half time, there was a pass on to Ryan that had him clean on goal .
    Mattie and Diarmuid were both very good. Mchale gave a good account for himself and while I didn’t see much of Eoin O’D in defense but I saw less of his man which is what you want from a defender. He did spend a lot of time going forward which hopefully will tick the relevant boxes for James Horan.
    James Carr was good and he’s physically remarkably similar to Cillian – at least when I was watching it I often had to make look for the number on the jersey to make out who was who from distance.
    I think that Leeroy must have made a move on the ref’s wife at some stage, he certainly wasn’t getting any favours from the same man in the middle. Certainly from just before half time the man seemed to want to even things up as a competition, but we shouldn’t be that surprised with that craic.
    Jack Carney had a tough day out but I reckon he’ll learn from the experience and I hope to see more of him in the future.
    The lads who came on all acquitted themselves well – Aido, Eoghan Mc, Towey, Jordan, Darren McHale, Darren Coen did as you’d expect. Tommy Conroy wasn’t really on long enough to have any sort of impact.
    Eoghan Mc is made to play Horanball, that is something I’m certain of.
    Not sure that Boyler has the pace anymore but I’d still have him around.

    Hard to know what to take from the game other than it was a good run out for a few lads to stake a claim for a jersey. The fact that it was against mainly a second string of a second division team would make it of little more value than a challenge match. No harm for the young lads to get the win and to gain a bit of confidence I suppose. Also improves our win rate at Home so that
    I do worry that we’re about to see a few years of us yo-yoing up and down between divisions 1 and 2. I’d be hopeful that we would beat Clare, I’ve not yet seen much of them but looking at what’s going on in Division 1, it’s different gravy to what’s been on our menu so far this year. We have to do something about our concession of goals or we’ll have no business being in Division one other than as cannon fodder for the other teams.

  42. Jr, can not see that happening. Withdrawing a forward means we cant press up high as opposition will have a free man, Horans whole game plan is to press high and overload midfield to win possession. AOS is not suited to playing a sweeper role, yes he is a very good tackler but isnt mobile enough to close off space and quick forwards will play around him, think 2013 when Cluxton bi-passed him by kicking to the wings.

  43. I understand Dónal Smith former Meath goalie and head of referees was in attendance. Meath people agree that ref rode Mayo.

  44. That’s the spirit FBDinashui, we’ve been consistently the second best team in the country for a decade and all of a sudden we’re cannon fodder for division one. Jesus wept, have these lads not proved their talent, ability and resilience again and again and again. Maybe it’s time for fans to be a little more positive.

  45. How many goals have we conceded to Division 2 opposition in the last 3 games?. We have to address that and as for being second best for the last 10 years, we’ve had a raft of retirements from the bunch that kept us in that position. This is a team in transition – if we keep conceding goals in the manner we have, then we won’t be anywhere near the top again for a while.

  46. Mayo don’t and have never prioritised the league FBDinashui. We’ve just about survived relegation from division one on numerous occasions over the years while shipping heavy scores only to then explode into life in the championship.

    We won our 3 games in div 2 without any real fuss while blooding new lads and are looking good for promotion. Win the match against Claire and it’s job done as far as I’m concerned regardless of the score. We have lost a few excellent key players granted but the likes of mullin, t Conroy and ROD have matured quickly and look every bit as good as the lads who have left. Coupled with the fact that Mattie is developing into a Tom Parsonsesq type midfielder. Regarding conceding chances you only have to look at the Tipp semi final last year where we were wide open versus the final against Dublin where we had a much better shape and intensity in defence (not error free obviously but much better). Horan won’t play a sweeper as it takes away from our attack – which has improved so I get his reasoning. The days of Blanket defences are gone. Horan relies on a high octane press where the protection of your full back line starts with your full forward line pressing and harrying and tackling.

    I’ll stay a glass half full person anyway, we always have hope and Horan and the team have done enough to earn our trust

  47. While we do press high, we also get a lot of men behind the ball at times. It’s here that we seem to fall down. No turnovers at all this year, until Aido entered the fray. I noted that Galway got into a good scoring position at one stage yesterday and I thought it was goal, but lo and behold two Dublin backs were on the goal line. In the Westmeath game, their forward picked up the ball coming off the post, but there was no one back, and Robbie was completely exposed.

    Surely a high press and an attack-minded attitude, doesn’t mean we defend like primary school boys?

  48. I am with you,time has come,we have got an awful lot right against the best team in has history,but according to some posters we have to worry about teams who are not within an asses roar of us,the only team we need to focus on is Dublin,the rest of them are only cannon fodder

  49. If all other teams were only cannon fodder to us – we wouldn’t be down in division 2.
    Not sure if ye remember but we only beat Galway in last years connacht final by 1 point – and we were hanging on big time at the end.
    I think myself we are now back in the pack and there are probably at least 3-4 teams ahead of us. We are not the team we were 2-3 years ago. This is a new team now. Lack of physicality and aggression is a problem we have at the moment. Too many nice footballers who are physically not able to dominate their opposition at the top level.

  50. I don’t think JH treated the game to serious, but a second string Meath got in handy for goals, he H has to close that gap, every game is same, soft goals are leaked. I think if we meet Galway later and we closed Walsh off we be fine, Shane biggest fault is his selfishness or tries to do it all himself

  51. I would agree with South mayo exile. We are definitely not what we were. Clarke . Barrett and zippy have left a massive void in our defence. Remember this is division 2 football and we are still coughing up soft goals. We should gain promotion and get to a connaught final. Beyond that I’m not do sure. Yes Harrison hopefully has to come back but when and how fit can he be after such a long lay off. I would stick with eoin o Donohoe and see where it goes for now but we do need another man in the other corner. Keegan is a wing back or maybe he could sweep

  52. I don’t share the pessimism of the above posts to be honest. People saying we’re not what we were 2 or 3 years ago, well 3 years ago Galway beat us in championship for the 3rd successive year and we were knocked out of the championship by Kildare.

    @Southmayo Exile, how do we lack physicality and aggression? That’s consistently one of our biggest strengths.

    At the end of the day, we deservedly reached an all Ireland final last year. Something Kerry, Donegal, Tyrone, Galway et al failed to do. With the exception of Dublin and possibly Kerry, I wouldn’t say any county is ahead of us. Looking at the bookmakers, they seem to agree with me.

  53. Wide ball- physicslity and aggression was one of our strengths and that’s why teams hated playing us. But look at the physicality of players who have retired or not available – Clarke, Barrett, Vaughan, Parsons, Seamus o Shea, Doherty. These are been replaced by much lighter less aggressive type players. Players like Mullin, Bryan Walsh, Eoghan McLoughlin, Plunkett – when players run at these lads they are not able to stop them.
    We seem to be bringing in a lot of these smaller, handy type of players.

  54. Have we not seen enough teams play sweepers and win nothing? Well, maybe an Ulster championship because all Ulster teams play sweepers. But when they come to town they are caught out bigtime. When you pay a sweeper you concede possession both on your own and the opposition kickout. Trying to play Dublin or Kerry while conceding possession like that is a fools game. There is no magic solution but let’s at least try to win, not try to keep the defeat to “respectable” proportions. There is no respect to be had in that game.

  55. We’ve seen Mullin beat con O’Callaghan and Damien comer to high balls. He’s certainly not lacking physicality. Eoghan McLaughlin was one of our best players last year against Roscommon, Galway and tipp turning the ball over and driving forward.

  56. AndyD, fully agree with you regarding sweeper, i dont understand some peoples fixation with wanting to play with a sweeper, Mayo or indeed any other team will not win AI playing that way. Teams who perfected that style of play like Donegal & Tyrone are moving away from it, Galway tried it and failed, even ourselves tried it 1 year and failed. Yes teams need to have a plan & defend properly when without the ball but dedicated sweepers are a thing of the past and good riddance too.

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