Mayo Football Podcast episode: Final Whistle – Mayo v Club Stars charity game

Our final Final Whistle pod of 2023 took us back to the Dome for this afternoon’s fundraising game in aid of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association which featured a Mayo selection up against a Club Stars team. In a high-scoring encounter played in the weather-proof conditions under the Dome, Mayo ran out the winners by 7-20 to 0-17.

After the game, John chatted with Club Stars co-manager Niall Heffernan and he also caught up with Rob Hennelly, who lined out for Mayo this afternoon for the first time since the National League match against Monaghan earlier this year.

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54 thoughts on “Mayo Football Podcast episode: Final Whistle – Mayo v Club Stars charity game

  1. Great podcast! So good to have some kind of mayo match been a long time coming feels like forever ha..

    As I said know only a charity match but thought mayo looked fit and they were all looking to impress mcstay & Co..

    Brickendan delighted to see him back and got player of the match well deserved!

    Cillian O Connor looks back to his top self again..

    Ryan O D class act as always paddy durcan eoghan mcgh show why they are still crucial to us in how we go about things next year..!

    Was really impressed with Paul towey hope he gets some game time this year, bob touhy will be a star for mayo in the future no doubt about it.. I could name others to but it’s really not as negative mayo football as some thought even though just a charity game lots to be optimistic about!

  2. What a lovely Christmas present and New year’s present,ROD back,apologies to Achill,I didn’t know that he was back,he will certainly strengthen our defensive set up, now please no injuries and a couple of bolters for our forward set up,I have no worries about our midfield set up ,with players like the OSheas,M Ruane,J Flynn,B Thowey DOC J Carney ,C Loftus,S Coen,we will be fine there,but it is the strength in depth that we require,Mayo for Sam

  3. Would really like to see more of Kevin Quinn after today.thought he was impressive , looks comfortable kicking with both feet? the half back for Kilmaine impressed me to with his pace.
    What happened Brian Reape was he injured?
    Would a Mayo North/East 15 v Mayo South /West 15 be a more competitive game than the Club All Stars v Mayo next year.Alot of clubs not represented at todays game e.g Claremorris , Kiltimagh , Ballyhaunis , Garrymore and too many from other clubs Kilmeena .It definitely looks like there are a few players good enough opting not to play for Mayo which was unheard off 5 or 6 years ago.Aidan Orme and Oisin McLaughlin come to mind.

  4. @Achill75 the all stars team today were the players that stood out in club championship so if they weren’t picked from those other teams you mentioned they simply weren’t good enough.

    Regards your point of quite a few opting not to play for mayo who are good enough I don’t believe that. Aidan orme is a good player but he didn’t get much game time and I think others were ahead of him if I’m honest and he probably realised that and opted to drop out. Others might opt out as they don’t want to put in the commitment it takes a lot of scarafice to play intercounty..

    So it’s definetly not a question of players who are good enough who just don’t want to play for mayo it’s the same as it was 5 or 6 years ago they either have other stuff going on in their personal life or realise they probably aren’t good enough to get enough game time to make that scarafice for intercounty.

    There were lots of players there today trying to do their best to put their hand up to mcstay and Co saying give me a chance they want to play for mayo….

  5. Well done to all involved today who took part in this charity event in support of those who suffer from that horrific disease motor neurone.. we should be grateful for the health we have to enjoy life and sport.
    From a football perspective i cant believe anyone is making assumptions on todays kick about. The real season starts in April for Mayo and we know from last year that anything that happens before then has little relevance..

  6. Clare some of those who were ahead of them in pecking order may not necessarily be better than them lads, but they knew others were going to get game time ahead of them regardless.
    Good fundraiser today, hard on club lads when they not training, game could do with being sooner for them. But wouldn’t suit county and so on.
    Kevin Quinn did look like one possible bolter for senior panel that was not there last year.
    But as Lahanman says, can’t really read much into today.

  7. Very well said Lahaman. Today was all about raising money for a fantastic cause to fight a horrible disease. Great to see such a good turnout and I’m sure many more people purchased the game online.
    Hopefully the funds raised can continue to support those in need.

    In relation to the football, absolutely nothing to read into as to what we can expect come the league. Today was as far removed from an inter county game as we will ever see due to the purpose of the game, the venue and some of the club players on show. Whilst all the players who played for the club stars today are very good footballers, there would still be a big step up for inter-county for them so it’s impossible to judge, or even look to analyse the mayo players today. Nevertheless great to see the mayo jerseys back on screen.

  8. @Gizmobobs why is that though do you think they have favourites for certain players and what club they are from.. ?

    Aidan orme is an goodish player but for me personally I never thought he was an exceptional player lots to improve on if I’m honest but very young to maybe in a year or two he will be better and get more game time.

    Will be interesting to see how we go against London and what the team is for that..

  9. Good to read reports of Brickendens performance today. He is capable of doing a job at full back with McBrein marshalling the defense at CHB. Both of them have lots of pace and have a physical presence but McBrein is a bigger threat going forward. Orme a loss to the panel imo, streets ahead of McStay but that argument is no longer relevant.

  10. Great to see the new season kicking off! Anybody know if D McBrien is fully recovered from shoulder injury?

  11. Great way to end a disappointing year. The Dome is an absolute blessing in this kind of weather and to be able to go home and watch it again on Mayogaa tv is terrific. It’s always possible to see things on a recording that I didn’t catch live. Finishing off with a pod rounds up an overall good experience, thanks John.
    While it doesn’t fully reflect what outdoor football brings and may not be great for assessing players it is at least entertaining. So a big thanks to all involved in both panels, to John Gunnigan and to Mayogaa tv. Hope the venture was a massive success for such a worthy cause and finally wishing everyone involved in Mayo Gaa, Mayo lgfa, Mayogaa blog and all Mayo supporters a Happy and successful New year.

  12. Jack Carney and Jordan Flynn looked very polished at midfield. Bit of a concern to hear Ryan O’D limped off at the end. Hope nothing serious.

  13. Bob Touhy was the clear stand out player. I’d say McStay and Rochford were delighted with him.. Hopefully he can bring that performance into the national league. Jordan Flynn looked every inch an intercounty player.

    I disagree with those that say nothing can be learned from this. Much can. Conditions are perfect, so the players with the best skill set should standout easily and they do. Dome is a superb facility. More games should be played there throughout the winter.

  14. I think we will we more depth, top quality and size/physicality this year.
    On the depth front think the key to depth is in moving older players in slight decline to be strong impact sub players.
    Top quality, think we’ll have Ryan O’Donoghue, Tommy Conroy, Paddy Durcan and David McBrien.
    Size /Physically, we’ll have Rory Brickendon back and the younger players will be a year on.
    I could see something like :
    Colm Reape
    Jack Coyne Rory Brickendon Eoin O’Donoghue
    Paddy Durcan David McBrien Enda Hession
    Jordan Flynn Jack Carney
    Bob Tuohy. ROD DOC
    Kevin Quinn Aidan O’Shea Tommy Conroy

  15. Goes to show you can’t judge from the club championship even though it was really poor when our best players play together we still have some great talents yes only charity game but it was really entertaining obviously guys were trying their best to impress mcstay & Co to!

    Definetly even more optimistic for next year we will be back up there again after that
    dissapointing year!

    Bob touhy is definetly a star in the making!

  16. I like the look of that 15 JP. Except for Bob Tuohy at RHF. Think future blogs are going to see debates about Bob’s best position!

  17. @JP

    I’d be shocked if that 15 were to win a trophy or reach an All Ireland semi.

    Hession McBrien Coyne
    Durcan Callinan Coen
    Ruane Flynn
    Doc Carney McLaughlin
    Conroy Aido ROD

    Looks far more like an All Ireland final team to me.

  18. @JP that your team for FBD and league? Certainly not for championship…

    @Frost the hammer good 1st team but I’d go with reape instead of hennelly. I would put cillian O Connor in instead of Aido.

  19. That’s just a team I think might get selected by current mgnt. It’s not how I would line us out.
    @Frosthammer I don’t see much difference between the two teans in terms of quality and experience.
    Personally I’d have :
    Diarmuid at 6
    McBrien at 9
    Aidan impact sub.
    But, I think none of those three will happen.

  20. @JP

    Nearly half your team has less than a season’s intercounty experience in the positions you have named them.

    It’s a clean slate team, and not a “we’ve a good solid few years in the bank”.

    Your team would need a league campaign to gel enough for championship – and it’s kind of exactly what we did last year; and you would expect similar results.

  21. I’d say it’ll be the same team we had most of championship last year but having

    Tommy conroy / Ryan O D / cillian O conor (Aido impact sub)

    And also enda hession starting to if fit other then that I don’t think their will be to many changes.

  22. @Clare

    Hopefully we’ll get the answers to those questions over the league and maybe even Connacht championship. Aidan’s positional flexibility is giving him the edge for me. I thought the way that the All Stars moved him around was really interesting.

    I have no idea what Eoghan McLaughlin’s best position is – I do think he’s primed to be a big player for us, if he can stay healthy.

    I’m not sure what the best arrangement in the backs is.

    Hennelly has the jersey, and it’s difficult to drop his experience – I’d be giving Colm Reape plenty of game time though; I’d like to know I have Robbie match ready though.

  23. Apart from Kevin Quinn, the rest of JP’s selection have lots of game time. And some of your selections FrosT, would be in my match day 20 in any case. By all accounts Quinn is promising, and must be given a chance. He may even prove to be a reliable scorer!

  24. @frost the hammer yeah I don’t know what position best suits eoghan mc but he could be a big player for us as you said if stays fit…!

    Just I have some doubts around Aido he missed a few points yesterday one free which was right in front of the posts pretty much.. Cillian for me.

    Regards hennelly I think it would be unfair to drop reape to bench just because he’s back and hennelly had one or two loose kick outs to reape can make some amazing saves that I don’t think hennelly Could tbh.

  25. Is going back to hennelly really the answer.he has been a great servant to mayo but unfortunately he tends to make the same mistakes in big .caught under a high ball in 2013 and 2021 finals where he appears to lose the flight of the ball .Anyway as a new year starts I am starting to get optimistic again

  26. @1985, you can hardly forget 2016 when you’re listing out those unfortunate events.
    Having said that, Reape still has a lot to prove in terms of kickouts when the pressure is on – Galway and Dublin champ games last year showed that.
    The starting jersey may come down to how much he improves in that dept.

  27. No I didn’t forget 2016 but no point going over the top.he has had good moments but as they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

  28. @1985 totally agree with you hennelly is just not the answer been great to mayo football but as I said it’s time to let reape take charge reape has stuff to work on for sure but only with game time will he improve he’s a top class goaolue in the making with some of the saves he makes… if they drop reape to bench over hennelly I will be surprised and dissapointed for reape tbh but I think they will stick with reape.

  29. Lads , Touhy, Brickenden and Quinn have no experience of being championship starters.

    Reape, Coyne and McBrien are in their second year and you have McBrien learning a new position.

    And Eoin O’Donoghue hasn’t made an impact in 5 or 6 years.

    Just adding Stephen Coen doubles the experience in the back six; and I can only imagine that JP forgot all about Sam Callinan when making his team.


    Reape’s inexperience caught up with him and us at the end of Championship. Robbie himself is fantastic example of how badly things can go wrong for a young goalie. Colm needs game time to develop, but it’s 9 games to win an all Ireland now, and I don’t yet think Colm has shown that he can perform consistently over a period like that yet.

  30. Good points FrosT. However, experience isn’t everything.

    Coen is too slow IMO and should be scoring more – did he not have a bad miss against Dublin? McBrien is quality and can adapt. Fair point about EOD, but maybe management are seeing something there – O’Hora seems to have become a problem rather than a solution. One of our problems is catching ball – we seem to be beaten in the air time after time. Bob Tuohy can rectify a lot of those problems.

  31. But has hennelly has shown he can make big mistakes in championship games to when he was playing for mayo….

    Reape needs time yes but we need to give it to him now as who knows when hennelly will call it a day and then we wasted a year by not investing time in reape it’s reape all the way time for some fresh younger guys to step up now.

  32. Like in 13 & 21 those mistakes cost us.

    I don’t recall reape making same big mistakes in league final but he made some amazing saves and helped us win that game… No point going backwards time to go forwards now with different ideas from younger guys who have a fresher mind set!!

    Sorry for double post

  33. Hennelly has been a great servant. And agree on the kickouts room for improvement there, but Reape hadn’t the midfield targets Robbie had in his day.
    Robbie also had some kicks go awry yesterday. Albeit on a very small pitch.
    We also didn’t seem have any structured plan on kickouts last year. Hopefully management will have worked on this.

  34. @Frosthammer No, didn’t forget Sam Callinane. Think Eoin O’Donoghue can go on to take the 4 jersey ahead of him. Experience is overrated.
    Go back and watch the first half of Dublin Mayo last year and two experienced players in Mathew Ruane and Stephen Coen were majorly culpable of killing our momentum with lots of safe backwards passing. Yet, they were very experienced.

  35. Stephen Coen was one of our most consistent performers last year, and has playing at 6 brought Mayo to All Ireland finals.

    We have enough now to take a right crack at an All Ireland. League and Connacht can be about building for the future, but championship is all about the here and now.

    You guys seem to see falling at final hurdle as a failure but these lads were good enough to clear all the previous hurdles; the sensible plan would be to try and get that final hurdle out of the lads who have proven capable of reaching that level. Instead of starting all over again with lads who have never cleared an inter county hurdle in their life.

  36. @JP

    I’d have Ciaran Boland ahead of Eoin O’Donoghue at present. Based off of yesterday, and go back and watch Eoin’s most recent contributions in a Mayo jersey – there was a reason Horan wasn’t playing him.

    I’d be surprised if Ciaran was ready to make an impact at the business end of 2024 yet, but I’d be giving him league time with an eye on 2025.

    I haven’t watched the Dublin match back again, but was there for it live – and I don’t recall there being much of the game where slow things down and take a bit of control weren’t the correct things to do.

    We’re not a “momentum” team anymore, our best performances, and results, are now coming when we control games.

  37. @frost the hammer it’s just don’t know why you’d go with hennelly over reape a young great goalie in the making.

    We need to invest time in him now not in a year or two when he’s lost interest.

    Well failing at the final hurdle hasn’t done us any good has it? It is certainly not good anyway.

    As @Gizmobibs said hennellys kicks were off yesterday a few of them and that was in the dome with no bad weather or wind.

    Reape has proved after this year that he deserves another chance for his first year in county he’s done pretty well considering.

    Time to move on and maybe hennelly on the bench but it’s time to give reape number 1 spot and byrne 2nd and invest in the young team that we do have we might be kicking ourselves in a year if we gave hennelly number 1 spot ( who’s not amazing tbh) when we could have invested time in reape in developing him into a top class goalie which he does have the potential to be!

  38. Hopefully eoin o donoghue gets a good run of games in the obviously see something in him to bring him in straight away after time in Australia

  39. @Clare

    Reape can get all the time he needs in the league, Connacht and even group stages, but he understandably tired towards the end of last season. We over used him last year and we should try not to do the same this year.

    Teams who win all Ireland’s rarely have such an inexperienced goalkeeper – as either Reape or tbf Byrne.

    Plenty of games coming – we can give Reape the time he needs to develop, and Hennelly the time he needs to be match ready – and hopefully Kevin has a decision to make in the run in to a quarter final or semi; but I’d prefer that extra experience down the home stretch – Reape had an excellent year last but he’s only been to Croker twice in a Mayo squad.

  40. @frost the hammer yeah I do get that reape did tire towards end of championship no doubt about but our whole team did get tired out…

    Yes rear is very young and inexperienced and maybe not many other counties would have such a young goalie but we didn’t have a choice as hennelly wasn’t available. The point I’m trying to make is was hennelly as good as reape at his age? I just honestly have my doubts over hennelly.

    He’s been great for mayo over the years but when he did come on the last time for mayo his kick outs were poor I think he kicked one right over the side line to and yesterday is well we shall see what happens though…

    Here’s to a better season next year I think we will bounce back the guys looked so eager yesterday to get going again.. Happy new year @willie Joe and everyone on the blog who puts up with my mad optimism haha!

  41. What does being a ‘great servant’ even mean. If it’s that he has shown up for training then yes, I’d agree in relation to Hennelly. He has shown a certain degree of dedication in that regard. If it’s, that he has been a great player for Mayo then I’d definitely disagree. He has been ok. Good days and bad days and unfortunately for all of us, his bad days overshadow the good ones. The facts are there. Hennelly is unreliable under a high ball. It’s not only that he struggles to win a high ball. He struggles in the contest of preventing the attacker from directing the ball toward the goal but also has questionable decision making ability in these scenarios. 2013, 2016 (when he wasn’t even contested) and 2021 all being examples. I also remember early in the league final that we won, him punching a ball away when he easily could have caught it. No Kerry forward was near him. He lacks composure in these critical moments and it’s an area of his game that hasn’t improved or certainly it doesn’t appear to have. He is a good shot stopper with quick reflexes. His kickouts are ok. His free kick taking very erratic and this I always felt was something we’d see him improve on over the years, but he didn’t, for whatever reason.

    Unless Reape’s form dips, I’d be giving him the benefit of the doubt after a solid debut season. I’d also be be nurturing David Dolan. With the right attitude, dedication and training, he can really challenge to be Mayo’s number 1 down the track. He appears to have the attributes to be our best keeper since David Clarke.

  42. @Mayonaze exactly! Totally agree!

    Reape is far more confident in going out to do anything he can to try and save it yes had off days but not as many off days as hennelly has had tbh.

    I remember in league final the commentators were like and Galway can’t believe they still haven’t got a goal in passed reape and said is this what mayo have been looking for as in Reape..!

    We would be absolutely mad to go backwards.

  43. One of the most important lessons a goal keeper learns with experience is how to minimise the impact your f ups have on the score board.

    Rob Hennelly has learnt from bitter experience how costly his mistakes have been – he’s probably cost us AIs in the past – but the most recent example is 2021 – where he made mistakes but ultimately was able to damage control effectively enough that we could have overcome Robbie’s errors.

    Contrast that with Reape, who when things went wrong for him in championship 2023, wasn’t able to recover consistently on the day.

    There’ll be plenty of days where a Reape implosion can be recovered from in a future fixture but the business end of the championship are not the days to be taking that risk.

    If we want to win an All Ireland in 2023; then for me it’s Hennelly down the straight – otherwise you are basically writing the season off as transition and building for 2024.

    But this is also me saying this on New Year’s day – if Colm Reape matches what he did last season, up until Cork, I expect that would change my mind when we reach that stage of the season.

  44. @Frost is correct. If they want to win the All Ireland this year then Hennelly has to start otherwise they’re just throwing the towel in. By the way Mayonaze, Hennelly’s kickouts are better than OK, there’s not many keepers in Ireland with better.

  45. Robbie’s wobbles are down around 1-01 conceded, and occurring less than once a game but still reasonably frequently – although it’s been awhile since I remember two of them in the same game. (Not counting missed frees).

    Those numbers would need to be improved to win an All Ireland, but have good enough to reach finals in the past.

  46. If hennelly is such a great keeper then why did he loose it in really big moments that cost us hugely? Also when he started for the first time last year he kicked one or two kicks straight out over the sideline and also in the charity match with no wind etc his kicks were loose.

    I just honestly can’t see us winning an all Ireland with hennelly if I’m honest. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh but I just think it’s time to give reape the chance. We’ve a totally new team pretty much from when hennelly got to finals with mayo bar Aido& cillian O Connor. so just because he got to finals before doesn’t mean it was because of hennelly we got there.

    I’ll stick with my choice of reape for now and hope management do the right thing and stick with him to I think they will.

  47. Rob Hennelly is not naturally a great goalkeeper, but through hard work and determination he has consistently put himself in a position to become one. He’s been a good servant to date and to mind has earned the opportunity to make himself be remembered as more than that.

    I don’t think Colm Reape is a naturally great goalkeeper either but his performances to date have been hugely encouraging, and he’s earned the opportunity to stake his claim at gaining the number one spot.

    But when it comes down to it for 2023; unless Colm Reape has a second national league medal around his – Robbie is edging the numbers for selection down the straight.

  48. @Clare, you’ve a bias towards Reape that makes it hard to argue with. Reape is around 28 years old and has played one season at senior inter country. He’s equally weak at commanding his square and his free taking isn’t any better. He is much better than Hennelly at taking the ball out the field but weaker at kickouts, especially mid range ones – this is especially important now that we lack height and power at midfield. Just for a bit of balance, in 2021 Mayo wouldn’t have had a prayer of beating Dublin and ending their long unbeaten run without Hennelly, nor Mayo’s first national league title in nearly 20 years. A fine keeper but like all keepers, has flaws too.

  49. @GBXI I’ve no bias at all.. I’m just stating the facts.. Ha

    But reapes kick outs isn’t really his fault if we’ve poor midfield… Ruanne has been on/off since 21.

    Hennelly just to many bad moments for me to be honest and why not invest in younger goalie that has great potential I just honestly can’t see us winning an all Ireland with hennelly no disrespect but it’s been tried a few times with him and did we no..

    Reape is the future he has the confidence to go and defend his goal no matter what even if that means getting abuse for maybe an iffy tackle on a Galway player ( which I thought was nothing wrong about it)

    And again I’ve certainly no bias towards reape don’t know the guy what’s so ever but I just see huge potential in him even my mad Dublin gaa mates were like yes reape tired at the end of championship but he’s one of the best young goalies so far to come from mayo even if he’s stuff to work on time to move forwards not backwards.

  50. I think we’d all love to see someone step up and challenge Mattie Ruane – I thought Donnacha McHugh auditioned quite well on Saturday.

    I would feel Mattie is one of the most vulnerable on my championship team – but right now at this moment Loftus and Conor O’Shea are next up in terms of experienced options but I’d be very hopeful that the likes of Donnacha McHugh, Frank Irwin and Bob Touhy can use the national league to put serious pressure on starting jerseys.

    It’ll be a bad year, either in terms of performances, results or injuries if we are relying on Conor Loftus or Conor O’Shea come championship – although I’d be delighted for them if it’s because of their performances.

  51. A lot of discussion and debate about the goalkeeper position for the coming season. Both Hennelly and Reape have their merits and weaknesses and I don’t have any strong preference for either and don’t either are top drawer. I would like to see a few of our younger promising keepers brought into the squad and given some game time and experience and maybe one of them could grab the jersey and stake a claim to the position for the foreseeable future.

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