Mayo Football Podcast episode: Derry too strong for valiant Mayo

A powerful first half display proved key as Derry beat Mayo today by 3-15 to 2-13 to maintain their hopes of reaching the league final and end Mayo’s fears of the same fate.

Derry led by as much as nine after half-time but a stirring Mayo fightback saw that whittled down to just two and brought the nine thousand-odd in attendance to their feet, only for Derry to show their class in the end. 

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38 thoughts on “Mayo Football Podcast episode: Derry too strong for valiant Mayo

  1. – Its was a jumped up challenge match that Derry should have won by at least 10 points.
    – Our midfield did well against the best midfield in the country. Carney got the better of Glass while Ruane kept Rogers in check.
    – Great fight and leadership shown by O Shea, Flynn in patches and kudos to O Donnell on a great debut.
    – Tommy making progress but persists in carrying rather than passing or fisting the ball over the bar.
    – Ethan Doherty played puck in the first 20 minutes he was left unmarked time and time again. Hession must have been told to tighten up on him but little improvement, it was Doherty that intercepted Reape’s kickout because he was left un-marked.
    – If there is a defensive system being used by Mayo it was well hidden today with middle of defence wide open – cannot blame Loftus this time. Seems to me they are trying to switch from man marking to zone marking and ending up doing neither.
    – If there is an attacking system aside from lateral passing one then it was not evident either. Toweys goal sparked more instinctive direct football which yielded dividends rather than the snails pace we played for much of the match.
    – Rest all the regulars for the Monaghan match and start an experimental team.
    – The ref needs to go back to ref underage matches. The 45 at the end of the first half when out for another 45 and umpire indicated this and yet the ref blew for half time…

  2. Are we championship ready after today.?
    We have problems retaining possession from kickouts. Roscommon will definitely push up on us.
    Gareth McKinless cut through us easily.
    with incisive runs
    Brickenden probably not reliable enough to to load the 3 jersey. McBrein, like it or not, will be our no 3. Sam our best option at 6.
    Midfield pairing solid enough with Jordan Flynn bolstering up that department from time to time. Carney directs our play effectively, I’d still like to see him being a bit more incisive with some of his runs, more of a McKinless, but nonetheless a safe pair of hands.
    The number 10 not sorted, we need a performance similar to our 12, and Touhy will be a great player.
    O Shea proved yet again that we can’t dream of starting without him.
    Towey is a rugged customer who knows where the posts are but Loftus was lost out there
    I think we are a much better team in the Hyde and Galway are way off the mark at this stage

  3. Not sure if Sam is the answer at 6. Does he have the experience/discipline to drop off his man at times, intercept kickpasses and go with runners from deep where necessary?

    His best performances have been when he does a man marking job on a half forward and follows them all game, wherever they go, e.g. Shane Walsh and Sean O’Shea. Similar to Lee Keegan back in the day marking Connolly. Lee never played 6 either.

  4. Anyone know why Loftus was hauled ashore again after coming on as a sub? Did he get injuried or just wasn’t able to get into the swing of things at all? It won’t do his confidence any good at all if the latter.

  5. @ wideball, I’d agree he’s probably our most reliable man marker, though he’s got a couple of roastings. We’ve had some great 6s over the years. Coen will do a good job. Not a spectacular job, but solid.
    Top 8 would be a good year, top 4 would be brilliant boost.

  6. Loftus seemed injured walking off so I’d say that was the reason.

    Ontheditch – it’s a completely different job spec marking a forward who drifts around the field, compared to a proper inside forward. Keegan had an awful day on Con in 19 for that reason. Sam would be much more comfortable marking a half forward, but he’s probably still our best option at corner back so needs must.

  7. Have been very disappointed with Sam in the league.
    Seemed to have got very slow, turned easily
    And poor at one on one defending.
    He seems to have bulked up too
    Much or something. Worrying

  8. I wouldn’t have any worries about Sam delivering for us. Once we’re in possession, he’s not afraid to pick up good positions and carry the ball at defenders rather than obsessive lateral passing.
    Others have to read his runs better and not allow him become isolated.
    Is there such a thing as a proper inside forward? Cillian, Ryan AOS, they are likely to pop up anywhere

  9. Ontheditch – I meant marking a forward on the inside line. Someone with clever movement, backdoor cuts etc. In the half back line a pacy defender will have time to recover, but inside it’s a scoring opportunity everytime you switch off.

    Agreed though, I’ve no worries with Sam. The fact he’s been given so many big marking jobs shows how highly management rate him

  10. @Brian you are a negative poster, never seeing a positive, do you or did you ever play the game, maybe you should have a chat with McStay , you clearly have opinions?
    Don’t get me wrong I would love to see a substantive post to back your opinion up? You are mad for gravy, could you pass it around?

  11. @Olive Kerrigan, great post
    Next game is a chance for fringe, returning from injury players to make a mark. Being part of any inter county team is an honor but sacrifices are made so all squad members should get a run

  12. Even allowing for our absentees, that was a woeful performance and Derry gave us a football lesson. We started brightly enough, but then completely capitulated, not helped by Reape’s meltdown. We made a bit of a fight of it when Derry took their foot off the gas and, spurred on by pride I suppose, we threw caution to the wind and and took the game to them, and, indeed, if Jordan’s great effort had gone in, we might even have nicked it. Hopefully it was a wake up call if there are any still deluded enough to think that we are genuine contenders for Sam this year-we are most definitely not. We are in transition with a lot of young relatively inexperienced players, who are still developing. A QF,with an outside SF chance, if we get a favourable draw-that is the best we can hope for. Our kick-outs are a shambles and our much vaunted improved defensive structure wasn’t in much evidence. I never really saw this so called improvement-I ‘d say teams love playing us, as we must have one of the loosest and easiest defences to play against. The system/structure may be partially to blame, but we seem to have very few of what I would call proper defenders. We don’ t get close enough to our opponents and pressurize them with aggression and intensity. We just stand off and shadow them. Teams are getting scores far too easily against us. There were some positives today, Aaron McD did well and looks a good prospect, Carney had one of his best games, Mattie and Tommy beginning to look like their old selves, Towie, who I have had my doubts about, put in a good stint and deserves another chance and Jordan was excellent and close to my MOTM. My vote for that goes to Aidan, who put in a serious shift for 75 minutes and kept going when others were wilting-he is still important for us. Lastly, while not blaming the referee for our defeat, I agree with Willie Joe. I thought that he was poor and the decision that most annoyed me was when Tommy shook off 2 or 3 tackles and attempted fouls and was bearing down on goal and the ref. called him back for a free in, instead of playing the advantage-Tommy was fuming and rightly so.

  13. Agree with most comments here. Our defence was appalling. Never saw a forward get time to solo and hop a ball before burying it in our net. Compare with the couple of goal opportunities afforded us. Derry were on top of Tommy in a fleas in one incident .Their defence was so impressive. Ours was a disaster. Is Buckley the so called defensive coach? I still maintain that lads such as Rocheford and Buckley are also-rans and should not be part of the staff. Mcstay needs to take control and follow his own beliefs if he is going to prevail. Can’t see us winning an AI on the weekends performance. We were very good defensively at the beginning of the league. Now we are standing off players coming thru. Don’t really understand the tactics.

  14. The most egregious defensive moment for me was where our kickout ended back towards our goal on the side and McGuigan was able to run in and gather it unmarked. When he touches the ball the nearest defender coming in from the wing is maybe 10 yards away. How can that happen at this level? How is McGuigan effectively unmarked with our kickout in contest?
    A modern defense coach is needed. Yesterday Derry knew how to pull us apart and they did it on almost every attack.

  15. Muckle Agree totally but you might have to add McStay to make a trio as someone pointed out to me that Mayo are playing like Ros under McStay. McStay said before he got the job that he would keep Aido inside but this has not happened. Obviously sounded good at job interview.Remember the County Board also as Mickey Harte and McGuinness were available when they appointed McStay. The positive Management surely will have picked up is when we went direct we caused problems.Dissappointed we won’t make the League Final. Connacht doesn’t matter any more so we must now build for the Round Robin and get a settled team.

  16. We’re a million miles away from a serious tilt at Sam at the mo. We’ve been hammered in our last two championship visits to headquarters and I wouldn’t be confident that it won’t happen again, judging by how easily Derry pull took us apart yesterday.

    What’s also worrying is the lack of any coherent defensive system at the moment.

    A Nestor Cup should be the summit of our ambitions this year, IMO. And I don’t think that will be easily won either.

  17. It Means Nothing to Me – in fairness we also opened Derry up fairly easily. We created way more goal chances yesterday than the rest of the league combined. Off the top of my head…

    Flynn’s goal
    Tuohys chance
    Tommy’s chance
    Toweys goal
    Flynn’s chance
    Ryan’s chip

    Boland should have set Tommy up for a goal chance instead of taking his point.

    Then Tommy was through 1v1 but ref stupidly brought it back for our free on the sideline.

    Also Aidan’s yellow card in the first half wasn’t even a foul IMO so he should have been clean through on goal.

    I wouldn’t read too much into one off league games tbh. Before yesterday ourselves and Derry had the best defences in division 1.

  18. And we created all those chances without Eoghan McLaughlin, who has been our main goal threat up to now.

  19. @It Means Nothing to Me: “What’s also worrying is the lack of any coherent defensive system at the moment.”

    This keeps getting said about yesterday, and it keeps not being true.

    The structure was there to very clearly see yesterday, multiple & frequent individual errors (a handful down to poor matchups missing Jack/Paddy/David/Diarmuid’s pace – but most down to poor communication/handovers that are the base of the man v man system we’re playing) undid it.

    Chance it was the pace and quality of Derry’s attack that caused the misfires, but way more likely (a quick look at Enda/Jordan for the Conor McCluskey goal shows the mistake happened at a relatively slow pace and under no significant pressure where we should have lapsed as we did) lots of the lads just had poor days at the office and games they’d rather forget.

    Lots of praise for our defensive unit this year playing the exact same setup (with slightly different personnel or lads simply having better games), managing to win us games we played poorly in like Dublin (a relatively rare thing for Mayo sides, we more frequently lose the odd one we should have won), but yesterday was a really poor execution of the basics (potentially some fault on coaching the defensive skills there if folks want to stretch to put it on the backroom team rather than the players, but not on tactics) that cost us hugely on 3 soft goals and lots of soft points.

  20. Wide ball best defenses or best defensive records?
    Agree looking back we had some very good goal opportunities, but so had Derry, Cora highlighted just some of the glaring gaps in defense, very reminiscent of last year’s performances.

    Derry took foot off and we came back admirably, but when got close Glass upped the gears for few minutes popped a score and distanced themselves again. Which is not easy done, but to their credit they made it look so.

  21. Mayo have room for improvement and I think they have it in them.Roscommon and Galway floundering.

  22. If we have a defensive plan then how can a corner back solo through the heart of our defence to almost the small square before scoring a goal.
    Also look at the number of points Derry kicked with no pressure whatsoever on the kicker.
    Out backs have no intensity in the tackle, have no physicality and I’d say there are a dream for any good forward line to play against.

  23. Agreed SouthMayoExile…we have a defensive plan, it’s just not a very good one!! Again, our lack of goals conceded up until yesterday was primaries to wayward shooting by opponents. Dublin, Kerry, Tyrone and Ros forwards were given acres of space…far far more than their defences afforded us, perhaps with the exception of ros, but they’ll be a different animal in the Hyde.

    There’s definitely no team out there worried about trying to break down our defence. I’d say few teams are worried about Mayo at all and that’s a pity. I’m hoping we peak at the right time. With form, proper defensive structure and luck on injuries we can beat anyone and go on a run. We just need everything to come together at the right time. I’ve not seen anything to suggest it will do going into the championship more in hope than expectation.

  24. Still massive gaps up the middle, this has been a problem for years and years. We seem to adopt this approach, carry as far as here and see if you can score, teams normally do in fairness. We had the best keeper in the land for so long in Clarke, we now have massive problems with our own kickout short or long, Reape needs to address this rapidly. Tommy conroy needs to go to right half forward, he just needs to be winning breaks and running at people, o shea was impressive yesterday winning lots of dirty balls only to be let down by a ref who shouldn’t be fit to ref an u10s game never mind senior intercounty. The half backline our trademark line were terrible yesterday, got cleaned. Change it up against Monaghan, tinker with it stick Jordan flynn in full forward where I think he should have been tried years ago.

  25. @Noel McHale I actually had that same thought today of trying Jordan Flynn at full forward.
    An attacking eight like:
    Aidan O’Shea Jack Carney
    Tommy Conroy ROD. Diarmuid
    James Carr Jordan Flynn Paul Towey

  26. @wideball a lot of good points. Ref poor and not up with the play, both teams suffered. I’d like to see replay of the AOS yellow card, ref was 40m away.
    I agree, we did cut Derry open easily enough and we reward from direct ball in to ff line. Just a pity Boland missed that pass on to Conroy

    We are good enough to win Connacht and last 8 team after that.

  27. Gizmobobs – against Galway, Dublin Kerry and Roscommon we were quite solid defensively and hardly gave up any goal chance.

    Derry are a tricky team to defend against, and it was our first time coming up against them. They attack with all 15 players pretty much so it’s not possible to have a sweeper. Their corner back has scored 3 goals in the league so not sure who you can leave free?

    The other side of that is they leave space in their own defence, as seen by how many goal chances we had.

  28. @Southmayo Exile: Did you watch the goal?

    Jordan drops Conor McCluskey to press the ball carrier, Enda (who had been tagging the ball carrier) passes his man to Jordan and switches off waiting to tag a runner from deep rather than realising Jordan must have left someone free and checking for them, which leaves McCluskey completely free inside to do the damage.

    That’s not a system error. Enda (a genuinely phenomenal player) just switched off and made a mistake.

    Some blame for Jordan not communicating/organising the handoff better (I’ve no idea what type of triggers/verbals they use so potentially more blame on Jordan for making that switch to begin with), some on Rory for not better blocking the path to goal (we’ve had a few cases of slow switching to scramble defence so potentially some execution issues there), some praise on Derry for pulling us around to the point the mistakes were made (that was by a margin the toughest test our MvM system has had this year) but 90% of it is on a single (usually very good) player switching off and making a poor/no decision.

    That’s a playing error, not a system one.

  29. @TduDhoNim How is what you describe realistically practical in a noisy frenetic big championship game?
    It’s doubtful the system relies on communication of such player assignment handovers.
    The players need to play on principles and playing on what they see. They don’t have ability to communicate or organize during most plays.
    You can’t hear a thing in Croke Park or a packed noisy provincial ground.
    It seemed we had no structure as to who was marking the key men as the match ups seemed to change a lot. McGuigan is good enough to have a dedicated marker who just comcentrates on that.

  30. When the Derry corner back got the ball for his goal- there were still three Mayo defenders between him and the goal. None of the three read the danger and came out to block his run and force him to either pass the ball or go around the defender. The defensive system seems to be follow your own player regardless of where he goes or where the real danger is.
    Our defensive system for dealing with elite forwards like McGuigan, Canavan and Clifford is leave then one on one with their marker with 30 yards of space to work with. No other top team is that naive. If we are going to have something better for championship- surely we should be trying it out in the league. Some people say we have a better defensive structure than last year – I just cannot see it.

  31. @JP: I included verbals along with triggers in there as a catch-all. I’ve no idea what triggers they’re using for when to make switches of that nature and if Jordan might have made a slip in going after Enda’s man when he did (I wouldn’t assume he did, it looks the right play given the situation – Just that Enda seemed to switch off momentarily and missed picking up the free man). I’m not suggesting it should be done on verbals, I’m just leaving the door open for it when I can’t be sure (and having sat on the sideline in Croker I can still repeat word for word some of the earfuls Stephen Coen or Andy Moran offered to lads around them in finals).

    Whatever the intended triggers for switches like that you’d imagine the moment you look up and see Jordan going hammer and tongs after your man you’d be looking around you to see where Jordan came from and who he’d left loose. Especially when the person involved is one of our higher game IQ players like Enda.

    “It seemed we had no structure as to who was marking the key men as the match ups seemed to change a lot.”

    You’re very welcome not to like a structure (I’m not defending it… I’m just saying it exists and is very visible) and to believe it’s not effective (especially so in this case where we went into it knowing we were missing so many of our pacey defenders), I wouldn’t disagree with that at all, but it’s very different to saying that there wasn’t a structure in place.

    “McGuigan is good enough to have a dedicated marker who just comcentrates on that.”

    Not sure the point being made here? He did. Sam was a dedicated man-maker on him.

    A handful of times Sam wasn’t around him (all from restarts, theirs or ours – where Rory or Aaron were briefly picking him up… or the one occasion where he was left completely free for the goal) but otherwise he was shadowing him (or at least trying awful hard to – an impossible task really at times when it’s a Con/DC/McGuigan/Canavan on form).

    Is the suggestion we shouldn’t move Sam off his marking assignment for restarts?

    Maybe. Big pros and cons there with no clear right/wrong answer on it. If Sam had clung tight to McGuigan, instead of pressing the man in possession on the dodgy restart, I don’t believe it would have stopped the goal so much as changed who scored it. It was just a really poor restart that caught too many of our defenders asleep on their heels, giving Derry too many options and not nearly enough obstacles to overcome. Sam pressing the man in possession and hoping one of the lads behind him successfully tagged McGuigan probably the best play he could have made in the (awful) situation.

    (Probably no harm for the kickouts to blow up so badly in the longrun. They’d been of concern in a number of games, 1st half of Kerry and 2nd half Tyrone were nightmares too, so a more focused aim of ‘fixing’ it and giving ourselves some easier go-to set plays when under horrible pressure might end up serving us well for the year)

  32. McGuigan got an awful lot of scores, especially points, and got them very easily. I wondered during the game why he was not being marked much more tightly. It became clear early on that he was a real threat.

    I didn’t think he was being marked at all as it seemed so easy for him in the first half to gambol towards the scoring zone and kick over (some were from tight angles but more were easily taken). He appeared to warrant a dedicated marker and if Sam was having bother with him he must be very good altogether.

    He appeared in the first half as Derry’s main scoring threat.

    Perhaps the confusion and chaos is that they attack en masse and that’s very hard to defend. Their goalkeeper is allowed to make an outsized contribution out the field, thus putting a lot more pressure on our defence to account for marking attackers.

    Anyway, I don’t want to see Shane McGuigan practising shots for fun against us next time.

  33. Could posters, JP, TSU, Swallow who were actually at the game (I’m still on my crutches), answer this question: were we fit enough to follow through on our effort that whittled down the lead to two points? Derry were reeling at that stage, but we weren’t able to hurt them further.

  34. @Catcol: Possibly, we did look more tired than Derry those last minutes… but I’m not sure how significant or impactful it was. It’ll always be incredibly hard chasing a game against a team as good as Derry playing the way Derry do, so competent at defending and striking on the counter.

    If Ryan’s shot/chip from Aido’s turnover had gone into the back of the net to tie us level rather than pulling us back to 2 it might have changed things a little. While Derry could sit that bit deeper with the lead and drag us out of shape having to press it gets tougher & creates more risks (think of the run Cassidy made down the stand side of the pitch with Aido chasing after as everyone had been pulled up pressing).

    We did have some decent potential chances to try and tighten it up towards the end.

    Tommy’s one bursting down the endline (I’ve watched the replay on that one and still can’t figure why it was pulled back), a couple of turnover counters where Derry were allowed to delay/sit on the ball unpunished, a decent-but-risky Coen kick into Quinn that didn’t stick first time and he got swallowed up, another Quinn chance where Shane McGuigan had raced back to make a Roy-of-the-Rovers block when he was pulling the trigger after he’d created a rare yard of space from a marker or a Donnacha chance pulled wide from within the D (under very heavy pressure to be fair) all spring to mind. With a lot of those missed chances both burning our own momentum and often allowing Derry hit us on the break from the turnover and giving a few easy chances to the likes of Toner at the other end to extend their lead rather than us closing it.

  35. Enjoy your posts and responses TsuDhoNim.
    On Sam Callinane, I don’t think he’s a natural man marker. However we need more bodies back to have our best man marker David McBrien in place if we meet Derry again.
    The call on Tommy, how can a ref go back that far. So, okay you’re going back. Well at least go to where Tommy got past the first defender.
    That would have been way more kickable.
    TsuDhoNim what would you think of a pure power runner like Eoghan McLoughlin at midfield or brought on at midfield to create an elite attacking weapon in the run game?
    Example we’re playing Dublin and McLoughlin leaves Brian Fenton for dust and breaks past John Small creating an overlap.
    Part of me thinks such a ploy works best as a sub coming in so you get an absolute huge differential in pace in the usually more loose 1/3 or 2/3rds of the game. I’m not averse to first half subs 🙂
    I think first half subs is a strategy not employed due to fear of criticism and sticking to traditions.

  36. @JP: Yeah, love the idea of using Eoghan in the middle like that. Can’t imagine anything worse than seeing any of the McLaughlin’s (Oisín and Finbar both powerful runners too) coming towards you when your legs are starting to tire.

    He’s done solid jobs there as a defensive blocker option in the past (think it was James McCarthy that started pulling all the strings against us so we stuck Eoghan on him like glue and he barely touched the ball the rest of the game – and zero frees conceded that day iirc). Donnacha a great option for the defensive side now too, with the little added aerial ability, so great to have more options there, potentially freeing more flexibility for the likes of Eoghan to be bombing forward (be it from the middle or on the wing).

    That said, was blown away with how well Carney/Flynn/Ruane/Tuohy/McHugh performed against that Derry middle third (McFaul especially so often pulls the strings for Derry but Donnacha kept him exceptionally quiet). Possible the Derry lads simply had a quiet/poor day at the office relatively speaking but it looked like it was our lads stopping them having a good day so I’d tend to offer out all the praise there. Not an area I’d really expected us to break even/potentially win.

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