Mayo Football Podcast bonus column: Nestor necessity

In our latest Mayo Football Podcast bonus column for our Patreon club members, Rob takes issue with the widely accepted notion that a provincial title no longer matters within the new Championship structure. For Mayo, Rob argues, winning the Nestor Cup is now all but a necessity.

This bonus column is now online and is available to our club members on Patreon – it’s HERE. To get access to this column and to all our other great content for as little as €1 per week, join the club HERE.

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37 thoughts on “Mayo Football Podcast bonus column: Nestor necessity

  1. But we can’t win Nestor this year because Galway are going to have ALL their big guns back… in all seriousness Rob has it all in one there. Judging on past years, Derry could slip in Ulster and end up spoiling one of the top seed teams.

  2. @Quayman saw that to no doubt Galway will improve for sure when they have players back but how they are favourites above us is beyond me tbh what have they done so far to prove that they are in a better place then us.. Anyway interesting times ahead..

  3. Agree with Rob, winning the Nestor Cup is now all but a necessity. For whatever reason loads of national journalist and pundits won’t say that and I think mostly because they want rid of the provincial championships.

  4. Strong word out that Galway superstars are not injured at all and have been out in dubai on a state of the art training camp funded by a sheikh mcdonagh .

  5. In my opinion, Galway are playing it very cute for the CFinal,and for the whole Championship, who ever will be joining them in this final will surely be walking into an ambush,
    Pádraig Joyce a d Co. has deliberately stepped back big time from the league this year in preparation for the championship, all his top players are fit and injury free and overall has a good panel going forward, and will be the “Dark horse ” in this years championship

  6. I wouldn’t say Galway are playing it cute they are just managing key players and not rushing them back. It’s a long season and it really doesn’t kick off until the 1/4 final stage so that’s when you want players firing at all cylinders.

    There is bigger problems for Joyce and co other than just a few players missing, similar to ourselves they have questions around their nr 1 keeper, no kick out strategy, struggle to win possession in the middle of the pitch and don’t really know their best 15.

    McStay was missing Diarmuid, P Durcan, D McBrien, J Carr and a few other key players for most of the league but people don’t think he is playing it cute.

  7. The games we need to win now are in May.
    Loosing to Roscommon last year was a blessing only Mayo couldn’t take, beat Kerry and let Cork beat us.
    You couldn’t make it up.

  8. Agree with that Jr. We could win Connacht this year and end up in a group with Derry.

    A Connacht title gives local bragging rights but not much else.

  9. @Tony freeman exactly I don’t buy it that Galway are playing it cute either.. Maybe they are and I will hold my hands up if they go further then us in championship but I don’t think so.

    As you say mcstay was missing quite a few key players to and trying new players for most of the league who’s to say mcstay isn’t playing it cute is well? Haha.

    I agree also with JR it’s not the end of the world not winning connacht.

    Imagine if we ended up in a group with Dubs /derry I bet anything we will end up in a group with one of them was not shocked at all when we ended up with kerry in our group and Cork.

  10. If we don’t win Connacht we will definitely be in a group with Dublin, Kerry or Ulster champions. From here on it should be peddle to the mettle trying to win every game.

  11. Maybe we’ll go into the Tailteann cup and avoid all the big guns altogether.. Take on all teams sent our way to win and see where it takes us.

  12. @JoeG: *very likely but not quite definite. That would only be the case if we make and then lose the Connacht Final.

    We could pull Roscommon again if they’re Connacht Champions or Galway as Connacht Champions if they beat Roscommon in a final rather than us (or London/New York/Leitrim if there’s an upset or two along the way).

    The group stages only have a block on repeat Provincial Finals, no blocks for provincial meetings earlier than a final other than specifically for Semi-Finals (even QF & pQF only block repeat Provincial Finals and repeat Round 1 [Group Stage] meetings).

    “Each Group shall consist of one team from each of the seeded classifications in (a) to (d) above. Teams who have already met in that year’s provincial final cannot be drawn to the same group.”
    https://mayogaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/GAA-Master-Fixture-Schedule-Booklet-2024.pdf

  13. Both of our Connacht neighbours had humbling League campaigns. We gave both of them pretty solid spankings and that is why we need to win Connacht. They have caught us in vulnerable moments the last two years. We need to punish them similarly when we get the opportunity.

  14. Yeah , its all out to win nestor for me . Teams in all sports want to be top seeds , only in GAA could ya end up talking about are we better off not been a top seed . Plough into the neighbours go all out to win connacht , if we succeed and take JJ out of salthil , brilliant , worry about the group stages then . It wont be handy in the hyde though , ya know what theyre like , its their all ireland to bate Mayo .

  15. I’d argue Galway had a better league than us. Most of us would have been happy finishing mid table discovering a few new faces, particularly from number 8 up… we didn’t discover anyone.
    Galway ended up near us on the table but they tried out a lot of lads who contributed on the score board while resting a few. Losing to us twice last year still annoys them, they will want to right that, if they are playing us.
    Whether those lads can slot back in and be up to pace is another thing but some similar posters tipping us for Connacht this year here wrote dublin off last year, predicted an easy day out against cork and even suggested a comfortable win against Derry a few weeks ago.
    Looking beyond Rossies is pointless. That game will tell us where we are at.

  16. Thats a valid point moose79 but theres the other side of the coin too that we gave them a fair trimming in salthill a few weeks ago, totally agree no sense looking any further than the hyde with all due respect to new york we will win handy there .

  17. Moose79, Galway had an atrocious league, their bacon saved by the Rossies who were up against Derry in the last match

    We finished on eight points, and beat Dublin which was worth losing to two others IMO. On new faces, you don’t actually have to find an awful lot. Forwards have been criticised, and though Boland isn’t new, bringing him back was a huge success in the league; he can score, has bulked up and is big-match ready. Tuohy, while not completely new, and slightly underperformed, still consolidated with a lot of game time which will bring him on. Conor Reid was very impressive against Galway and seems to have what we are looking for: strength, ball-winning ability, intelligence; his injury of course was a huge setback. Irwin (not really new either) was a disappointment; I would have expected him to have been a companion to Tuohy. I still think he’s very good, and if he is not making the 26 or 15, someone else is playing damn well.

    On the backline, Aaron McDonnell is a find I think; really liked the look of him against Derry. Fenton Kelly is someone who can slot in seamlessly I think, though he didn’t get a lot of minutes. Ditto Ciaran Boland.

    One player who in my view has gone from fringe to near certain starter: Donnacha McHugh.

  18. Moose79 – It’s a bit of a stretch to say Galway had a better league then us when all their best players got injured. They had the second worst attack in division 1 as well so those new players didn’t contribute a whole lot to the scoreboard.

    We were safe with 2 games to go despite throwing out an experimental team vs Tyrone. Galway had to rely on Roscommon losing on the last day to stay up.

    Of course they’re still capable of turning things around for championship.

  19. @wideball if you don’t win it, or don’t get relegated the league is of little value really other than finding players and working on things. I am coming at it from that perspective.
    Catcol I am just making the point that saying we will win Connacht based on the league that has just been, is dangerous territory. Let’s be frank, the Dublin we beat was a very different team to the one that hockied kerry and none of the forwards you mentioned are new. Fergal was good yeah, but after that I’m not sure.

  20. I understand your point . Look Galway survived really without walsh , comer mcdaid and sean kelly for the most part .If they were all to return at full pelt for championship,thats a bigger boost in personnel than any county will have from league to championship .

  21. Sean – as has been pointed out, expecting those Galway big guns to instantly perform the way the new championship is structured is asking a lot. We can see it with our guys who have missed games – McBrien, Paddy (last year particularly), Eoghan, Diarmuid, James Carr. Tommy Conroy arguably has not got back to his old self yet. You have to work your way back and that can take a few games; you might be gone by the time, injured guys get to full tilt.

    And talking of Galway big guns – big guns who consistently play and perform: Comer, I mean, really?

  22. Speaking of injuries in general. Did ye ever wonder why so many players pick up Knocks and some players seem to be always getting injured. With all the Sports Science and S&C in general it seems unusual that guys seem to be nearly always picking up injuries.

    Back in the old days, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s guys seem to play on even when injured in games.
    Tompkins tore his ACL early in an All Ireland final but kept playing.
    Shay Fahy played in a final but could only run in straight lines, his cruciate was gone.
    Plenty of other examples of guys getting fractured ribs, broken noses, lost teeth, torn muscles, quick stitches to a head wound etc but this didn’t stop them playing on.

  23. I forgot, guys getting concussion / knocked out but getting up again and playing on.

  24. 12 yr olds used to go across to scotland from achill pickin potatoes too , where did it go wrong (sarcasm )

  25. Some players are just more injury prone than others. Even in the premier league where they have endless cash to throw at sports science, s&c etc

  26. See on the news even they were questioning the league finals and the whole structure of the league and PJ was on saying maybe if they spaced it out and then more marquee players would play in it.

    And certain counties wouldn’t want to avoid it then..

    In saying that galway def didn’t have a better league then us. But they will for sure bounce back but we shall see if they are ‘being cute or not’

  27. What is evident is that the players we have with pace have almost all suffered soft tissue leg injuries. Paddy Durcan Eoghan McLoughlin, Ryan O’Donoghue, Diarmuid O’Connor, Sam Callinane and David McBrien.

  28. @Bate the blanket: All that sports science you mentioned taught us that playing on in the situations and scenarios mentioned were incredibly poor decisions for the medium and long term health of the athletes, both in sporting terms (extending injuries dramatically and potentially causing irreparable damage) and general quality of life. Knees that clicked for the rest of their days, ankles that never stopped aching or concussions that lead to debilitating conditions (a quick look at the history of CTE for former NFL players is a horrific tale of athlete abuse – why we’ve introduced things like HIAs, though the execution of them spotty enough at times) all realities for many athletes around the globe that did similar.

    In terms of the ‘frequency’ of injuries, the lads are pushing much further in terms of professional level training than ever before. Always closer to the line of where things go pop. Combine it with the fact they’re all but professional in training but still needing to work day jobs, so limited in available down-time/recovery, and we’ll definitely be seeing more common injuries than in the past. Very much nature of the beast stuff there with no obvious ‘fix’ (into debates on professional status, limited training time/contact [nearly impossible to regulate] & centrally enforced loading tracking/limits [again, nearly impossible]).

  29. I disagree with Rob on the necessity to win Connacht. It’s nice to win it and Mayo should be winning it every few years but the provincials are sideshows to the real deal which starts in the group stages. Of course seeding can be an advantage but winning the All Ireland is all that matters. If winning province allowed you to skip a round then that would be a better advantage and if we don’t win the AI but do win Connacht then I’d see the latter as absolutely no consolation. It’d be irrelevant.

    On Galway; having played many times against PJ over the years, I know exactly how cute he can be. He knows it’s likely his last year; and I’d be very confident that most of his ‘big name players’ are much fitter than we’re being told. Anyone who thinks otherwise is utterly naive. I’d also agree with Moose79, I feel Galway got more out of the league than us. They blooded far more players; and managed to win in Omagh and Clones (in games that mattered). I don’t think we learned anything. It was a bit of a nothing league for us. I was a big advocate of McStay getting the gig but some of the team selections and in-match decisions were head scratchers for me.

    Also, on the Dublin game, let’s call a spade a spade. We fairly poxed that result. Dublin were better than us but left their shooting boots at home. Paddy Durcan single-handedly saved us in a 15 min master show of leadership in Q2 which gave us a platform in a game that we looked completely flat in up to that point.

    Hard to know where we are at going into championship. That might not be a bad thing though.

  30. I disagree @mayonaze if we were talking about the team of the 2010s then yes it would be irrelevant, but majority of these new lads haven’t got a Connacht championship medal, & unfortunately that’s the level we’re back at, winning a Connacht this year and having a right cut at the championship this year is a successful season for this group , the average age of the team must be 25 , build on that then for next season , have to be realistic here

  31. Winning Connacht would be the focus for me.

    Best to avoid the Dubs or Kerry and Ulster champions (probably Derry) until the semi finals.

    If you don’t top your group you’re creating an extra game when a 2 week break would be of more of an advantage in the latter stages of the All Ireland.

    Wouldn’t be ideal playing a rested Dublin,Derry or Kerry after a round of 12 game the week before.

  32. James nolan – very few of our team haven’t got a Connacht medal.

    The majority have Connacht medals, division 1 league medals and have beaten Dublin and Kerry in championship football.

  33. @Wide Ball/@James nolan: Robbie Hennelly, Padraig O’Hora, Michael Plunkett; Paddy Durcan, Stephen Coen; Matthew Ruane, Conor Loftus; Aidan O’Shea, Diarmuid O’Connor; Tommy Conroy, Darren McHale, Ryan O’Donoghue, Eoghan McLaughlin, Jordan Flynn, Rory Brickenden, Enda Hession, James Carr, Cillian O’Connor.

    18 of our current 36 were involved with the 2021 & 2020 final victories, with Fergal Boland and Jack Coyne involved earlier in those Connacht Campaigns too.

    Not entirely sure what the requirement is for a medal in Connacht Championship? if it’s simply being on the panel likely all of David McBrien, Eoin O’Donoghue, Rory Byrne & Jack Carney could have medals too as they would have been in and around the squad those years missing out on Championship for injury/selection.

    So depending on the specifics on medals it’s somewhere between 18 and 24 with medals leaving 12-18 without. Not a majority but also wouldn’t suggest it’s very few, somewhere between the two.

  34. Two points…
    Catcol… An atrocious league is getting relegated .. so I’d hardly call it that…
    Technically Joyce agreed a new two year term last year so it may not be his last.
    Personally, I myself would like to be able to give it one last battle with every possible player available, something he won’t really get this summer..

  35. while Connacht medal be nice, not critical I I see it. While you could win Connacht, be drawn against Ulster runner up, and two other division one teams, depending how draw goes. And you could lose Connacht, be drawn against either one of the other provinces winners, and team from division two teams.
    Last years groups were Group 1- Kerry, Mayo, Cork and Louth, Group 2- Armagh, Galway, Tyrone and Westmeath. Group 3- Dublin, Kildare Roscommon and Sligo, Group 4- Derry, Donegal, Monaghan and Clare.
    Personally think Mayo got an easier draw in groups than the Galway (winner 2023 Connacnt SFC), and also think Roscommon got an easier draw than Galway. So while nice to win Connacnt SFC, epecially as I live in Galway as a Mayoman, over the scheme of things not critical

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