Mayo Football Podcast episode: More questions than answers

As the championship moves on without Mayo, John, Rob and Stephen Drake sit down to catch up.

The lads reflect on how Galway managed to succeed where Mayo failed in terms of beating Dublin, and look at the Tribesmen’s chances of beating Donegal.

They also chat about Mayo’s overly cautious approach this year and what needs to change for 2025.

Plus, they talk about the understandable frustration among Mayo supporters about being out of the running when it’s now clear that any one of a number of teams could win this All-Ireland.

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114 thoughts on “Mayo Football Podcast episode: More questions than answers

  1. I’m not sure it’s a point worth debating.
    Con has a shot he normally nails, he misses, Galway win.
    The scorelines for both games and the pattern of both games were similar.
    I think where Galway are dangerous for next year is their young players being a year more experienced and them clearing up these injuries.

  2. GAA should change championship structure as follows.
    Presuming they stick with 16 teams for Sam then 4 provincial winners should go straight to quarter finals. Eight sam qualifying teams beaten prior to provincial final go into a draw for 4 knockout games. The 4 winners of those then play the 4 losing provincial finalists in knockout games. These 4 winners into a draw with provincial winners in quarter finals. Simple. Drawn games from quarter finals on replayed. Lose 2 and youre out.
    If they want more games expand League Div 1 to 10 teams.

  3. @Mayo Forever, why not just get rid of the provincials? They’re holding the whole thing back. What good is Dublin playing Wicklow, Longford, Offaly, Laois, etc. every year? Or Kerry playing Waterford, Limerick, Clare, Tipp? Even Mayo/Galway/Ross v Sligo or Leitrim is farcical. There shouldn’t be any more than 10 teams in the Sam Maguire.

  4. Play provincials in January as forerunner to league. Seed teams based on final positions in league. If you’re having Pre quarter finals give the same time break to all teams in QFs
    Can’t really see the gaa doing anything radical.its not in their nature.

  5. Where Galway will be most dangerous next year is if they win it this year , Its in our interest Galway dont win it now , if people want to say otherwise and roar them on thats their business . Galway not winning from here after knocking dublin out will be a big disappointment for all involved, not trying to sound ruthless/mean spirited but thats what we should want , its just better that way for many reasons .

  6. Good podcast that skims through a lot without going too deep on any one thing. The word ‘angry’ was used and quickly reeled back to ‘frustration’ as summing up the general mood of many Mayo supporters and I think that’s accurate. I actually thing a lot are actually angry or close to it. Much of it still emanates from 2021 even if several of the players now weren’t involved then. I and many others are still angry over that total ‘systems failure’ as it was described on a podcast recently but I agree we need to move on from that and I for one am not going to mention 2021 again (i’ll do my best!). I also think we all need to move away from and stop referencing the 2012-17 bunch. It’s over. There’s nothing to be gained by comparing and contrasting and many of us here, myself included, keep harping back to the last 10-12 years and we really need to stop that, but that failure to reach our destination and the fact that we went so close, and had some very bad referring decisions go against us (96 and 14 that I feel cost us All Irelands) fuels and exacerbates that frustration – and as every year passes, especially ones like 2024 where we underachieve while other teams at our own level progress, it makes it a very hard.

    2024 just wasn’t a good season and while a few have pointed out areas of progression (more just individual performances), I think it’s very fair to say and most would agree (and the sense I get from this podcast is that they would too) that the current management have not maximised the resources at their disposal and that is the main source of frustration this year.

    Compare what McStay & Co have done with Jimmy McGuiness. McStay might have a score of 5/10 at best for what he has done in 2023/4. McGuinness to date in 2024 is an 8/10 or more given where Donegal were at when he took over. For years, I have lauded his achievements and expressed a yearning that he get the Mayo job and still there were plenty here who disagreed. I just don’t get it. What he did in 2011-14 was magician-like when you look at where D’gal were in 2010 and the fact they had no underage conveyor belt. McGuinness is a wizard and even if Galway beat them comfortably in the semi final he has had a brilliant year. But back to our boys. I think there’s huge pressure now on Kevin McStay to get Mayo to the last four at least next year – a Connacht title en route would be nice, but I’m of the option that there’s only one cup that matters so it’s all about Sam.

    It’s clear as hell that our strategy in 2025 needs to change. I was glad to hear the lads on the pod reference our full back line (I think it was Stephen Drake). Our FB line was exposed and it’s arguably our weakest line on the pitch. We need more from there but they also need to be protected. There were times when we dropped 15 back in defence but still conceded soft points to Roscommon (a few of Murtagh’s the first day as an example) and versus the Dubs and Derry. Our defending against Derry wasn’t good enough. Murray kicked a few worldies but he was let. Our defence needs a lot more work in my opinion. Our energy v Derry was dreadful. Boyler referenced this previously and Drake on this pod where he was right saying that we gave Derry oxygen in that first half. Just so many things went wrong this year.

    Transition to Attack – the dogs on the street know we are so slow it’s like watching that episode of father ted with the 5 a side soccer. We need to be far more direct and faster.

    The lads discussed our lack of dogs in the middle. Can we find anyone for this sector? We definitely need to see more leadership. The lads spent time talking about John Maher from Galway and how effective he has become. He was compared with Jack Carney who let’s face it hasn’t been effective. I feel I’ve had a pop at Jack too many times perhaps this year and the reason is that you can see all his attributes and potential but bar the very rare glimpse, we just aren’t seeing anything near enough. I’d absolutely love to see him let loose and show what he can do. Does he get mean and has he aggression in him? Whether it’s a confidence thing or a concentration thing, I haven’t a clue but I think he has it in him to become a really influential midfielder for Mayo but he just has to get it going in 2025. Carney has more natural ability than Maher, in my opinion, but who would you pick on a team based on performances over the past year? Maher. So, McStay & Co need to look to get players playing to their potential – that’s part of your role as Manager.

    We also need to stop referencing to minors. These lads are kids and miles away from senior intercounty. It’s unfair to be speaking about 16/17 year olds. Anyone older than 40, how many really good minors have you seen over the years who just fall away and hardly feature at senior? Plenty! And many of those lads were 18. U20 is a different matter and 2025 is a really big year for us. It’s the minors from 2022 who should have won the All Ireland, bulked up with a few from the boys from ’23. Gardiner & Co had a disastrous 2024 season. It couldnt have gone worse. If there is pressure on McStay then there is equal pressure on Gardiner assuming he’s in the role? (if he was in Kerry I don’t think he would be). Assuming he is, I hope his 2025 is as successful as it can get.

    A lot of work to be done in Mayo across all levels over the autumn and winter…and maybe a look at S&C too……

  7. We are slow transitioning the ball alright but now I am having visions of Fr Romeo senseni up font with Ryan.I have to say I agree with Sean Burke .I don’t think too many Galway people were ever honestly supporting us in all those finals.At this stage I don’t really know what mcstay has brought to the table these last two years.i agree that a couple of individual players have improved but when you don’t make the last 8 then that can not be considered progress

  8. @seanBurke. Spot on. A Galway win will be another setback for us in every way. Hating to see Galway win doesn’t mean i hate Galway people it’s just the nature of rivalry in sport. Is there any team anywhere in sport who don’t have big rivals they don’t want to win.

  9. @No doubt totally agree to. Galway winning would be disastrous for us don’t know why any of us would cheer for them if that makes me bitter so be it. I highly doubt they’ve never cheered for us in finals.

    We would never hear the fecking end of it if galway win and would get called every name under the sun from bottlers to loosers etc.

    So I just can’t bring myself to shout for them but fair play to any mayo person who does.

  10. All my life I would cheer for Galway as my second team when we were out. Indeed in 98 I sat beside my Kildare wife at the final, quietly wanting a Galway win for Connacht. Never again. Their fans have changed completely since then. A nasty streak has set in. We were at a League game in Salthill a number of years ago, can’t remember exactly but a bitterly cold snowy day. To say we got dogs abuse from a group of Galway supporters is an understatement. Simply because I was wearing our colours. Went into the Salthill hotel afterwards and had the misfortune of meeting them again and they were still having a go despite winning the game. I often think that the few hammerings we gave them under James Horan was more than they could handle. What I experienced wasn’t banter, it was pure hatred.

  11. Love Galway and it’s people (and I’d always support their hurlers) but as a south mayo resident, when it comes to football no way. Would you hear of a Kerry man shouting for Cork or Meath/Dublin fans wishing each other well….bullsh1t.

    We suffered the floating and smart comments here on the border in 1998 and 2001. I don’t think I can handle a repeat and social media has driven rivalries to a nasty level.

    Even clubs within Mayo wouldn’t want to see their neighbours winning a county title. It’s the nature of sport and rivalry. I seen plenty of Galway and Rossies take delight in every final we lost and the feeling is mutual.

  12. I thought we had a great oul relationship as two counties up until recently enough. Maybe some soccer type toxicity has set in or something, or that attachment people had to their province is now gone (Ulster and Connacht tribalism was always highest for reasons of persecution)

    Honestly living in Galway city and surrounds as I did and so many do it reminds me of Woodlawn or something in New York, it’s so full of Mayo people. Can never understand why so many Mayo people would live there and yet shout against or show any spite towards their adopted homeplace. Many of these people ironically involved in Galway clubs and aiding their whole setup along while having this mindset

    Maybe I’m just too old. I always liked Galway and was jealous of their all Ireland haul compared to ours, and the dual county nature (must be great craic to have two teams). Roscommon I never felt the same but I still supported them to an extent. Loved to see Sligo and Leitrim do well. Anyway times change I suppose

  13. @Mayonaze I agree with alot of what you say in your post. For me the reflection for Kevin McStay and his management team is that they are not getting the best out the players at his disposal particularly due to style of play and it should be recognised as a poor season internally by them. For me, Mayo’s ceiling with this team is being competitive in an All Ireland semi final so it’s an interesting target for next year.

    On the u20s, I was hugely disappointed over this years campaign especially when you could see the shape of Tyrone players as the competition progressed. There are a number of u20s from 2024, still u20 in 2025, but I’d have hoped they would be appearing in NFL next season but had not progressed to where I’d hoped they’d be at this stage. Was the plan to have an u19 development squad this year? I’d be curious to know what exactly that setup would entail if it is established. I do still feel this particular group of u19s have potential if they are developed properly

  14. Galway finished the job against Dublin, we could not manage that. Hat’s off to Galway and I hope they go on win the All Ireland and I say that as a proud Mayo man. This idea of a few clowns giving a bit of grief at games, well sticks and stones and all that. God knows we have a few in this County. If people get upset by what a very tiny minority say at a football match then maybe it’s time for some thicker skin. The vast majority of supporters I have met or been beside over the years be the Kerry or Dublin or whoever are decent and passionate football people. We have no one to blame for out shortcomings but ourselves. Joyce is a better football manager than McStay for one basic reason. Galway don’t play with the handbrake on, they try and play intelligent offensive football when they can. That first half against Derry sums it up what McStay’s footballing philosophy is, play this mind numbing sterile game which is soul destroying. McStay doesn’t go out to win a game, he goes out to not to lose it. Huge difference. If players aren’t encouraged to take shots on or be encouraged to play with a bit more freedom this is what we get. Galway have better forwards than us, I get that but I bet if we had them they would be probably be restricted to the same nonsense our players have to put up with. We get same old same old because do you know what, we deserve it. I hope Galway beat Donegal because I know good Galway football people and I think Padraig Joyce is a good manager. He encourages footballers to play football he doesn’t discourage them. Anyways here’s to next year, and more of the same. If nothing changes then nothing changes.

  15. My team is Mayo-end of.I live in Galway, and in reference to PW’s point of ‘growing a thicker skin’,I imagine that he doesn’t live there.I would put a Siberian Polar Bear to shame when it comes to thick skin,but the vitriol from Galway ‘supporters’ can be staggering at times.Social media gives this narrative loads of oxygen of course.I think the chip on the shoulder started after the 18 point defeat in 2013, and quite a few haven’t moved on from that.(not including the Galway guys posting here)I mean,after a hard fought win against Dublin last W/E, the initial reaction of many ‘supporters’ was to have a go at us!!.Christ move on!
    So no,I for one won’t be supporting Galway,or indeed any other county.Mayo for now and forever

  16. Well said pw.it would be great to have all Ireland champions in our province for 2025 . For those of us who live down here, they are our friends neighbours.
    @nmayonaze, I agree with a lot of what you say. Very thoughtful post. Getting the best out of our players? Ruane has a spell where he wasn’t firing, Flynn was off me, I really wonder are they buying into this cautious approach?
    There is a great footballer in Jack Carney, but he. Is restrained by his instructions.
    No doubt we are stuck with Rochford, head coach and McStay, media spinner, for another season. We have to hope that no more players walk away, and that we see a player driven system in 2025. How does Carr feel at the end of the season, a bit like Orme from the previous year, frustrated by the lack of game time

  17. We should all apologise to Pat and Noel they were ran out of Mayo after winning a connacht final and losing a semi final to Dublin after a replay if memory serves me right

  18. Is Joyce a better football manager than McStay we will know in time but the football fair PJ has served up in his tenure has been tuff to watch and not the stuff I’d be fawning over. He tried to play an open game when he arrived but soon reverted to the shawl when it didn’t work. He has developed that shawl further IMO and their defence is tough to crack. Their offensive play has been more direct, against Dublin once the receiver in the middle / final third got the ball it was delivered off the shoulder to a runner and often the shot was then taken or maybe one pass more. They didn’t deviate to much from this in the 2nd half, 1st half appeared to be more of a containment strategy which they were lucky to be still in it. P. Conroy missed his first 3 attempts all from similar plays but nailed the 4th that will be forgotten from the overall win perspective. The difference is he persisted to take the shot in Mayo we didn’t do that when a shot was on in a number of games. We did create the chances and if we had been a little more fearless / backed themselves a bit more we’d have a couple of more scores

  19. Also meant to add the question does Galway’s style make them to predictable from an offensive perspective ? are they to readable for a Jim / Jack

  20. Galway are a top 2/3 team when they have a full squad.

    PJ is a contender with Ger Brennan and Jim McGuinness for manager of the year.

    To keep Galway in D1 with the bones of a team was some achievement.

    If they can get their best 15 on the pitch they’ll be hard stopped.

    While defensively they are very solid they are a kicking team and you won’t win in croke park unless you are a kicking team.

  21. The guys on the pod are forever telling us we overreact when we win or lose and yet one half of good football from Galway and they have them as world beaters.
    I actually think Galway are decent and could even win the AI this year but not because they’re exceptional, more to do with the opposition being weaker than usual.
    Kerry are weaker than normal, Armagh are very average and Donegal defend in a very unMcGuinness way.

  22. Pure nonsense to say Galway play nice football or play with the handbrake off.. Their football is boring as hell to watch. When I got home after the mayo v dublin game my wife (Galway woman) said “that was a great game to watch compared with the rubbish i watched before it” referring to the Galway v monaghan game.. Anyone who wants Galway to win the all ireland good luck to ye.. A quick piece to show how supporters change. Before the Horan era mayo played cork in a league game in cork and at half time cork were about 14pts ahead and a mate of mine watching it in a pub in cork went to the toilet at half time and met a fella who told him mayo have nice footballers and lovely lads until mayo made a comeback and won and the same fella told him mayo are a shower of wankers.

  23. Joe,

    Why do you think Kerry are weaker than normal ?

    Finished joint top of D1 missing out on score difference.

    Played in the last 2 all irelands and lost last year marginally.

    Won all our championship matches in the group stages by an average of 13 points.
    I accept the group wasn’t great but Louth have shown they are no poor team.

    Beat Derry at their own game.

    Fully fit squad going into the semi final.

    I’d be very disappointed if Kerry didn’t win Sam in 4 weeks.

    Kerry are not naive anymore and can play it anyway you want and are no longer dependent on DC for the majority of their scores.

    Apologies if the above is appearing arrogant but it would be disingenuous for me to suggest otherwise at this stage.

  24. We never said Galway are world beaters on that pod, JoeG! All we did was acknowledge their good performance last weekend and we did make the point that they’ve further hurdles to get over to win it out.

  25. I can see Donegal being able to mix it up too. They could afford to be cavalier playing Louth. The game they lost to Cork shows them actively trying at least 3 game drills. They’re going to be very hard to beat. They’ll beat Galway and who knows after that. Definitely an All Ireland winning side in their squad.

  26. Agree with West Kerry – all the hype will be on the winner of Donegal v Galway and assume Kerry get over Armagh they are in the perfect position to take another all ireland.

    Kerry have found themselves in a great position without any of the clifford’s, o’shea or geaney shooting the lights out. There is definitely another get in them.

  27. @JoeG agree with you there.

    Galway got easier draws then us and where lucky to win the connacht final tbh but anyway.

    Actually think it will be a donegal v armagh final and donegal to win it. Hold my hands up though Mcguiness has brought donegal back to life so you have to say fair play to him really.

    Kerry only beat Derry by 4 points in an awful game to watch wouldn’t call them amazing but they still got the job done which we couldn’t do.

    Think Armagh will take them. But donegal might have to much for Armagh.

  28. It’s utterly amazing the stuff you come out with,

    Galway had an easier draw ?

    They beat Mayo in the Connaught final.
    They beat Derry ( who beat Mayo )
    They beat Westmeath
    They drew with Armagh ( Should have won )
    The beat Dublin ( Who Mayo should have but didn’t )

    Easier draw ??
    All with a team with lots of injuries.

    I’ll take your predictions as a vote of confidence as their generally that wide of the mark.

  29. @ West Kerry, unfortunately ye are held to a higher standard than most. I think its more a case of we haven’t seen Kerry perform against a decent side in the championship until Derry last weekend. Myself I expected Kerry to really turn up the heat, but we well know how difficult it is against a 15 man defensive system. They are in with a great shout, as per usual and are almost underdogs if that’s possible for Kerry. Don’t think Armagh will have enough to beat ye unless they go for it from the off and get goals.
    For me Donegal in the final will be the acid test assuming ye both get there.
    Best of luck.

  30. @Clare – Galway did not have an easier draw, they beat two teams that we couldn’t.

    The only teams we beat in the championship was Roscommon (twice) and Cavan. Both will be playing Division 2 next year.

    Galway have beaten 3 x Division 1 teams for next year in Mayo, Derry and Dublin

  31. Whatever about anything else, an easy draw idea is an incredible thought

    Easy draw is what Kerry get (no offence to Kerry posters). This year as reward for winning Munster Kerry got Louth, Monaghan and Meath. That’s the draw you deserve for winning your province

    Galway got Armagh and Derry, a horrendous draw for winning the province. Same last year also, Tyrone and Armagh. Then they get Dublin in quarter. Galway been screwed by draws more than anyone

    Mayo draws been tough too getting Derry as a no.2 seed with Derry 3. Can’t have any complaints about being in Dublins group though, that’s what you get for not winning a province (usually anyway). Same last year but then we went and beat Kerry

    I was going to say maybe they should alternate who the provincial winner gets each year as Connacht have now got the tough Ulster runner up twice while whoever gets Leinster and Munster runnerup gets it easy. But they’re changing it all next year anyway again so a moot point

  32. @Tony freeman well I would say that monaghan were an easier draw for them then derry tbh..

    But anyway it it is what it is.

  33. I think it’ll be Galway in the final. Donegal haven’t faced a better team yet. Donegal are inexperienced, they conceded 18 to Louth and 3 goals v Cork. Galway wouldn’t have conceded more than 13 v Louth and there’s no way in hell they’re conceding 3 goals against anyone! Donegal will put it up to them but Galway will win by 4+.

    Armagh are a banana skin for Kerry but I’m still edging to a Kerry win. I’m finding it very hard to predict it. Kerry could lose but they could also win by 10. You just don’t know. It’s hard to read that Kerry team. They put in some impressive showings but then can look very average too like the drubbing v Dublin in the league. But I wouldn’t read too much into league football.

  34. @Rocco88, thanks, but I’d not put a ceiling on where Mayo can go. With the right tactics employed by the right manager they can win an All Ireland. Look at the teams left. On our day, we could beat any of them. And that’s the part that makes this all so bloody frustrating! Our current squad are underachieving.

  35. @West Kerry One potential weakness in Kerry is a lack of height compared to a team that togs tall.
    One reason I thought we won against ye last year is we togged our team that day around the middle pretty tall and Kerry made no adjustments. In my view Armagh should make switches before throw in and put in a few tall subs before Kerry are prepared to respond in kind.
    It’s not that I think Kerry don’t have tall players, it’s just that I think the starting 15 they’ve been going with would be vulnerable to a team that togs quite tall across the board.

  36. JP,

    I have thr exact same concern,

    I fear for our HF line as i don’t think it’s big enough.

    You are spot on.

  37. I’d say our players must be feeling pretty crap now when they reflect on matters. Out of championship much sooner than they would have planned. Frustrated with performances, results, and absence of any coherent and more importantly, effective attacking plan. And it’s not like our defensive plan is good enough either. If we can see this watching from the terraces then the players know this too. I’d say there have been some interesting and robust internal conversations being had. There’d want to be!!

  38. @Mayonaze so true 100% I would say they are feeling disgusted at the way we have gone out no wonder Ryan O D is the first off to America he’s probably like I’m not sitting around looking at galway for sam crap.

    We are a much better team then what we displayed this year but one thing I know is as I said if this doesn’t make us come back stronger then ever next year nothing will.

  39. A poster said yesterday or recently to forget about the 2012-2017 team. I tend to agree that it’s pointless to keep referring back. I’ve been doing it too.
    Maybe this disappointing, ‘crappy’, underachieving year will be a coming of age for this team, will help them find who they are and will galvanise them with a purpose. They might find out who they are in adversity, something along the lines of ‘we are better than this’ and ‘we won’t stand for this.’

  40. The problem is if we come back with the same game plan or lack of then there won’t be any improvement next year.The players have to play within the structure they are detailed with.Kevin mcstay has a choice now does he waste the opportunity he has been waiting for all these years or take command of the situation which includes a shake up of the backroom team .craggy may have over emphasised this but the comparison of what went on in Donegal and the sort of football we played this year cannot be a coincidence.The fact that mcguiness in a short period of time could turn it around so quickly is extraordinary with the same group of players.Having said that I still think that we are 3 or 4 players short in key positions to be contenders.what Kevin mcstay does now could have huge consequences for mayo over the next few years

  41. Structures , plans , tactics etc etc doesnt explain our shit show in the first half v Derry. It was a shocking display , needed to take it by the scruff from the get go instead we were all timid and invited them on . Like a few have alluded to if we werent a good side youd accept it a lot handier , its the frustration knowing theres the makings of a class side there .

  42. @1985 id agree in my view we are a few players short to realistically win out an All Ireland. I think we’d compete/beat Armagh/Donegal but wouldn’t get past Kerry or even Galway in a semi or final

    Right now I think we are too lightweight between 5-12 particularly midfield

  43. Willie Joe it was a bit more than just acknowledging a good performance which was in fact a good half performance. It certainly came across as over blowing them if not calling them world beaters. On that I stand corrected.
    West Kerry. On the performances so far it seems as though the Kerry backs aren’t quite at the level of recent years and the full back line in particular look a lot looser.
    Just observations and opinions guys.

  44. I agree with the posters who alluded to a change in sentiment from Galway supporters to us.
    I wasn’t bitter when they won the AI in 98, in fact, I remember having a great night out with them In Tuam after the Mayo v Galway Goal charity game the following week.
    I live in Galway , married a Galway girl and my kids were born and raised in Galway. I have noticed a change in Galway football supporters’ attitude to Mayo folk in recent years.
    There’s a lot of us in Galway, particularly in the city and I suppose you can’t blame them for feeling a bit inferior! I say that in jest but I remember a few years ago a poster listed the number of influential positions in Galway business, local government, and cultural organisations held by Mayo people.
    Galway Club Football owes a lot to the Mayo people for the positive influence they are having. Every City GAA club has coaches and administrators from Mayo. Not to mention the players & managers. It’s the same in Dublin I know.

    Regarding Mayo 2024 & 2025 I just have a few points I would like to make:
    • Colm Reape is underrated by Mayo supporters
    • McStay needs to turn off the player GPS and add a tactical advisor to management to stop them from making mistakes with subs. I believe taking off O’Shea v Galway & Derry was fatal.
    • Would a return to old-style GAA management suit Mayo in 2025. A la Moughan, O’Dwyer, Loughnane & McGuiness – Run the Sh*t out of them to find the ones with steel?
    • Sometimes I think the influence of sports science, Psychologists and the limits on player “loads” has made players mentally soft. A lot of S & C coaches I know have never played Gaa and yet they have a big say in team preparation. The influx of specialists hasn’t prevented injuries.

    Rant over.
    Maigh Eo Abu

  45. We don’t know how players can suddenly bold into view.
    So let’s say we have an u20 midfielder who is 20 or 21 next year, this year he was 6’2″ and 13 stone, he knuckles down to weights and Mammy cooks him two dinners say. He’s togging in Spring closer to 14 stone. Yer not dealing with the same physicality of player anymore.
    We have a young left footed forward, he’s 5’10” and 11 stone 10lbs, too light. He knuckles down to work and he’s tipping the scales 12 stone 4lbs. He’s not a physical force but he’s far better able to mind himself physically.
    The overall point I’m making is year on year the picture of our panel players can change.
    We can be here talking next year and Finbarr McLoughlin, Niall Hurley, Conor Diskin, Dara Hurley, Jack Keane, Matthew Morris, Ronan Clarke, Jamie Clarke. We don’t ,know. If you look back let’s say over posts from the time we got beaten by Kildate, I mean it was absolute despair of the mind that we have no players coming through, and we’re doomed and you can’t get a yound lad to help you move cattle these days. Despair stuff.
    The picture can change suprisingly quickly and we can be here next year going “Wow, we have a strong midfield now” “Wow, we had no left footed freetakers and now we have two”.
    It doesn’t need a huge addition of players. If you give me a choice.
    – One young strong midfielder
    – One left footed scorer.
    The addition of those two gives you so much more flexibility in how you select your 15/21.

  46. @Roco88, I’d agree we are light in midfield and it’s absolutely an area we need improving in, but I also think our corner backs can be stronger and it’s an area we don’t have many options in. Jack Coyne has been first choice at right corner. He’s done ok, but has taken a bit of a cleaning a few times and is someone we definitely need more from. He needs to be getting to a point where he is able to do a job on a top inside forward. I’ve not seen that yet. A problem for us, is that he doesn’t seem to have much competition. EOD came back into the fold in 2024 so it’ll be an interesting 6 months for him. There is a position in the full back line if he can reach his potential. No. 3 is McBrien’s and he should be left there permanently. I think his switching him around the half back line and midfield did us no favours in 2024 and I couldnt understand management’s thought process here (add that to the long list!!). In the other corner, Brickenden. Is he a corner back?

    Other lads who have been played here at some point – Hession, McHugh, Callinan. I think it’s very important we get a settled back line with the right players there. That’s the starting point. The personnel in attack won’t change much from 2024 – maybe with Carr back and Cillian getting more game time, but is there anyone waiting in the wings to make a big breakthrough in 2025?? Get the defence really solid, tight and aggressive and build from there. It’s what Galway have done and it works.

  47. @ Mayonaze agree in terms of building from the back and getting a solid, tough back 6.

    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of natural corner backs available so it could be case of continuing a project such as Callinan in there. Donnacha McHugh is someone I’d like to see given a shot at the gig of man marking inside forwards. Complete left field but John McMonagle might be worth a look in the league next year, thought he had a really strong u20 campaign.

    Also would like to see a lot more of Enda Hession next season. Don’t know if it’s tactical or form but I’d rather him in the half back line than some other options we see

  48. JP fair point about those players there and how we need to find a few more lads to impact, at the very least the starting 15, which will naturally strengthen the bench. Under Horan we had a development squad, 7-10 lads who weren’t in the main squad but were on S&C programs and fitness regimes. Is that still going or has it been dropped? The concern I have with the management is do they really know the club scene well enough in Mayo. It’s fine going to the odd championship game and making a call on a lad but you need to see him on a repeating basis. Club league games could tell you just as much as a championship game. Like McStay, Rochford and Buckley have never been a coach or manager with a Mayo club team for as long as I can remember. So do they really have their finger on the pulse at the moment. I still struggle to figure out how there at one stage 5 Ballinrobe men in the panel last year and only 1 Kilmeena lad. I just feel the management aren’t getting into the granular detail needed to find club players who could make the step up. Like take Mikey Murray for example last year. He was in the panel off the back of 2/3 good championship games for Ballina. But his injury record is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. I’d say if he played 5 club championship games in the previous 5 seasons that was the max. Where is the homework there, other then the fact that he’s a club mate of McStay. And btw I like Murray as a player but unfortunately his injury count means he won’t make it at IC level.

  49. The difference between Galway and Mayo in my opinion. Galway have players who can think on their feet, Gamechangers, Mayo have players who are coached.
    When Joyce brings on a sub, the player knows what he has to do and Joyce trusts him. Rochford spends 5mins coaching before bringing on Loftus. Unbelievable. And you have Mayo players running to the sideline when there’s a break in play. What nonsense.
    I’m not faulting players, but they have to be allowed breathe on the field. The only breaths of fresh air on our side are McLaughlin and Durcan. Even the Galway subs were iconic.
    McStay and co. have a lot of reflecting to do, before we face another year. Right now, there is no evidence than we will be anything but cautious next year.

  50. @Rocco, yes, I’d be definitely open to McHugh being in the FB line. Try it out. Or even at 6? Push Durcan (assuming he’s back and ready when real championship starts) to right wing and put Hession to left wing with McLaughlin as an additional defender (but with 10/12 on his back). Where does Callinan go then? We have lots of wing back options (and I think Brick is better there than closer to goal) but FB line is key. It needs to be a solid well established wall which opposing teams hate the idea of having to face. With respect to our current FB line but I don’t think top intercounty forwards have any fear of Coyne or Brickenden marking them. I’d hope this can change.

  51. In reference to the “shit show” in first half against Derry then who was responsible for the timid lack of engagement and if they didn’t issue those stand off cautious approach instructions why did they have to wait to half time to change it.Alot of excellent points being brought up here .i wonder are our management as deep in thought

  52. @1985.and at half time we bring in Conor Loftus to replace McLaughlin. What’s Hession doing? We spent a year last year proving Conor is not an inspirational defender.
    The turning point of the game was the 3 almost identical points Derry scored down that wing in second half…

  53. Potential corner backs:
    1. Alfie Morrison Louisburgh. He seems a natural corner. He’s got power, he’s got sufficient speed over 5 yards, he’s physically tough.
    2. Ruairi Keane Mayo Gaels. To me he’s very similar to Alfie Morrison. Stocky build, sufficient speed over 5 yards, physically tough.
    3. Conor Ryan Swinford. Very athletic, unheralded. I can’t imagine what a year in county development would do for him as he’s already a natural athlete. Probably struggles as a taller heavier player on small nippy corner forwards, but ideal as a corner who can mix it with big corner forwards.
    4. Eoin McGreal
    5. John McGonagle
    Two midfielders.
    1. Jack Keane Hollymount. I thought he was one of the better underage midfielders. Can take a score.
    2. Oliver Armstrong. Very athletic, physically tough. Imagine what two years of senior development would do.
    Wing forwards.
    1. Lee Traynor Ardagh. A player we should be going back to. Got injured. Stocky build, can take a score.
    2. Frank Irwin. We need to be patient here. Where will he be with two more years senior panel development? I know he’s been on the fringes, hasn’t grabbed things, but he’s worth persisting with.
    3. Keith Taylor Swinford. Totally unheralded player, unstoppable 1 v 1 as he’s simply too quick and too strong. I know what my eyes seen and I seen a player who can cut through the lines with pace and power and is not afraid to shoot. Again, put two years panel development into him. He also could be played as a wing back, but to me he looks a natural wing forward.
    4. James Maheady Crossmolina. Looked a very high potential wing forward, big frame to him.
    Scoring inside line players.
    1. These are all pretty similar Niall Hurley, Dara Hurley, Finbarr McLoughlin, Ronan Clarke, Jamie Clarke, Dara Beirne,. A big group of young scorers that will be getting better and better.
    Target man inside.
    1. Tom Lydon. Still a bit raw and he might be 3-4 years to really get his decision making on point. But has a high ceiling as he’s naturally strong.
    2. Dylan Coleman. We don’t have too many 6.3″ forwards who can move. Would love to see us go back to him in development. He’s playing soccer with Mayo to give you an idea of his coordination for a big lad.
    3. Luke Feeney. Needs work to improve his speed over 5 yards. Doing well with Ballina for a young player.
    Where I worry is that our mgmt are only going to be looking at ex u17s and ex u20s. There are players who shine who sometimes are not part of those panels.
    Who is doing the business in matches? I really don’t want to hear again “Flying in training”. Totally different story in any sport when you are in actual competitive competition.

  54. I need to comment on some of the posts in here, probably against my better judgement but here we go..

    JoeG – I’ve seen some strange takes in my time but belittling Galway performance this year because other teams are perceivably “weaker” with nothing to back it up is a strange take. As for Clare – Galway got the easier draw? I have read it all now. SweeperKeeper – Galway feeling “inferior” to their Mayo counterparts, I thought I had read it all with Clare’s comments, but I think you might take the gold medal now.

    The truth is, Galway have an inner confidence hardwired into them (rightly or wrongly) that they believe they are destined to win All Irelands, fair enough they “only” have 9 to their name after over 125 years but there is always a belief there. Do Mayo have that? When it comes down to it I don’t think so, and that’s a serious conversation that needs to be had.

  55. @on the ditch Conor Loftus isn’t a defender full stop.I used to rate Loftus but his performance in the 2021 final was shocking.so casual with the early goal chance and horrendous wides .How the management came to the conclusion that he was a defender is anyones guess.again he came on against Dublin and kicked a point followed by two horrible efforts

  56. Green&Red add in Eoin O’Donoghue there as well, a fine baller but straight in after what 2 years away? Looks bad for other lads who have been playing well over that period.

    Management went through significant changes in backroom after year one already remember with a new psychologist, new forward coach and new media management team.

    We also have in place a high performance director or something fancy title like that.

  57. That missed goal chances was from a player who had lost confidence, and sadly he has never regained self belief.
    Are the management not watching the same game as we are?
    I’m at the stage these guys are doing more harm than good.
    We really do need outside management with no interior agenda.. There are ex Dublin players out there, that have come up in a rigorous system. Surely someone likes a challenge? I’d love to see Colm Boyle getting onboard.
    Someone needs to rescue us from ourselves, put aside silly excuses like key players injured and tough end of the draw, we have to accept our performance against Derry would never win an all Ireland

  58. Wasn’t aware there was some kind of High Performance role person in our mgmt setup or county board.
    Was that not something connected with The Academy?

  59. I don’t mean to be negative but it will sound that way – what will happen if Galway lose next day? Will Galway’s players still be masters of thinking on their feet, will PJ still be seen as the excellent manager he has been in the last week? Will Galway’s team, defence and system still be the one to measure ourselves against?
    Or will it be Donegal’s? And that Jim has done wonders there versus our seemingly lacklustre management?
    And if Kerry win it out, will it be that we need better forwards as ours aren’t good enough at present?
    Galway have a system that works for them and that gets the most out of their scoring forwards, which is the great strength they have, in my view.
    Our system is built on pace, power and man on man defending.
    Donegal’s is a defensive counter attacking system.

  60. Concerned. Not sure how saying I believe Galway are decent is belittling them but that’s your take and you’re entitled to it.

  61. @concerned are you from Galway….Ye did get an easier draw with monaghan in pre quarters that’s what I meant way easier then having to play derry a week after playing the dubs. Obviously your group for round Robin was harder. It’s our own doing for loosing connacht and not being able to close out v dubs.

    @Joe G I agree with what you said.

    Galway have an inner confidence that they they are destined to win all Irelands? I’ve heard it all now.

    If a mayo person said that we would be laughed at and saying that people would say we think we are entitled to win an all Ireland. As I said well done and fair play for beating the dubs but I will be cheering Donegal on all the way.. Am I petty enough to go out and get a donegal flag even maybe..

  62. As with many giving opinions about Mayo, Pat is right until he is wrong.
    And when he’s wrong, he’ll do a side shuffle and adjust.
    We have to wait til next year but the best and only answer is on the field of play.
    I wonder which teams Pat considers to be the top 4 now.
    Are Dublin gone too?
    Kerry, Galway, Armagh and Donegal seem to be the top four now, by Pat’s logic.
    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure we’re in the top 4 now either but it doesn’t bother me because we have the capability to be a lot better. Just not this year.
    Did anyone tell Pat that Kerry got to the All-Ireland semi final untested except by a Derry team out three weeks in a row?
    Personally, I think it’s a bit soon to be talking about Cillian, Diarmuid and Aidan retiring as well.

  63. opt2misteek,worked all over and heard it all. Example was working in Navan in 1997 and all we heard was ‘ ye may have our land but ye don’t have Sam. Heard a lot worse but didn’t upset me or make me lose much sleep. Had the pleasure of playing a bit of football there and met some great people.

  64. Yes, it’s all opinions.. And pat is in the media a long long time, I’m a South kerry man originally so I have a soft spot for pat.. Nothing to do with his media work but what he did inside in the pitch for Kerry football.. Was a phenomenal selfless player, a great kicker of the ball.. Some engine and had stamina that would rival today’s players. Anyway onto the semi finals and I’m sorry Mayo aren’t there.. But an interesting game in Galway v Donegal awaits.. Not a great championship so far really but maybe rule changes will help, it has too.

  65. JP, maybe academy have someone as well. But one I’m referring to is for senior team. Forget name, off top of head. But if look at any of the reels on Instagram of team and management coming off the bus you’ll see the crew there. The one from the Hyde probably the best.

  66. Sorry, Norm – I was a bit prickly in my reply to your comment. Pat has said similar things about Mayo for years and there are other ways to look at things. I don’t believe Mayo lost All Ireland Finals to Dublin because of a lack of marquee forwards or a lack of ruthlessness (Dublin bench is a stronger factor). And there’s no call – going on the evidence -to once again be pressing down on Mayo because we made mistakes this year and went out of this strange Championship structure early.
    I am thankful for your comments about Pat as a footballer – it must have been beautiful to watch him. Nothing like seeing these amazing players in the flesh.

  67. No worries swallow, I understand his comments can rub the wrong way, nature of it isn’t it. Yes, first and foremost I’m a football fan, a kerry fan of course but with a great affection for mayo gaa too. They bring something no other team does, the passion and colour and optimism.. Ok didn’t get Sam but the rollercoaster is unbelievable, heartbreak joy etc. And they’ll keep going. Ah its always nice to see the truly great players.. The great golden year’s team to the 90s and Maurice Fitz, moynihan Darragh o se side to Gooch to now Clifford. Hard to beat a player who makes you feel good with a fetch or kick or pass.. The skills are prob being neglected because of the way it’s gone but hope springs eternal.. Times and things change and hopefully the Gaa will too.

  68. Bring back the skills! I think you’ll find lots who’ll agree with you here, Norm.

    It’ll be good to see Kerry show us what they can do in the next game. Yer forwards were quiet the last day due to the style of play and it was interesting and a novelty to see Kerry defenders stepping up to score or trying to take on the responsibility.

  69. Thats very true.. We don’t exactly know yet where we are. You had Paudie Clifford coming deep collecting a lot of ball to set up attacks.. And when you get to midfield.. It’s slow, slow over and back looking for gaps.. Hard play that way against a team who has everyone back. Doesn’t give forwards a, chance to show what they can do.. Maybe Armagh will attack more and be more ambitious.. Hard to tell. Our midfield worked hard and half backs needed to step up but you need space to open up to make a right game of it.. You know yourself the way it is.

  70. I really think kevin Mcstay should get Andy Moran onto the Mayo coaching ticket as fowards coach. This needs to be done pronto as Andy will be snapped by another county.

  71. The rumour mill will be going wild over Andy morans next move, especially given that he was doing media rounds last week saying he’d love another few years in Leitrim. Wonder if mcstay has given him the call up

  72. Although many have moved on and focused on the next stage of the AI championship, I feel compelled to return the conversation to the points made by posters like mayonaze (which were brilliant imo) etc. regarding mayo and the rest…
    A number of thoughts;
    1. Live in the present. Where are we now? Mid table mediocrity at best. Let’s be honest.
    2. Why? CB? Structures? Are we actually committed at club level to developing the playing styles and skills that can scorch the Croke park field? Are we f**k. We’re too worried about stacking the u15 grading league team so we can play in Division 7 against lower opposition and bring a trophy home.
    3. Seriously addressing the structural (financial +organisational etc) problems and parochial divisions in a county of our size requires a unity of vision, purpose, values, and leadership.
    4. Would anyone in their right mind associate those attributes with the ‘performance characteristics’ of Mayo GAA’s county board?. (Before that gets hammered please note that it’s a comment on the structure and not the volunteers)
    5. I love and would die for Mayo, but for gods sake folks, don’t be afraid to see some (not all – before the other nail gets hammered) of what holds back the amazing potential current and future.
    Go deo

  73. Have to laugh at Pat spillanes words there , how can anyone take that serious . Its a short piece with a completely obvious contradiction .

    “History will not be kind to them given the number of All-Ireland finals they could or should have won. It was almost inevitable that having found so many ways to lose tight games, they would eventually be beaten in a penalty shootout (by Derry).”

    Spillane added: “Over the years Mayo never had enough marquee forwards or a strong enough forward unit to win an All-Ireland. An over-dependence on Cillian O’Connor in the past and now Ryan O’Donoghue remains.

    And another thing why are the media still printing Mayo stuff . Christ we really are box office .

  74. I wouldn’t mind Spillane nor Brolly, nor any ex player turned aficionado. Quiet time of the year for them. The ramping up of pressure by Brolly on the Derry board is nothing short of obnoxious. Pierpoint wouldn’t get a look in.
    Andy, on the other hand, has been approached- but by whom? Is it Roscommon? A rather cynical ex colleague of mine always told us then young bucks never to believe a rumour until it’s been officially denied. The forwards coaching gig makes more sense.

  75. Ha ha Sean Burke…….we’re always box office it seems. Keep the faith and keep enjoying our Mayo football. I always do. We’ll get it together and get competitive again I have no doubt…..

  76. McStay needs to make big changes to backroom team and thats not just adding new names , the game has changed big time in last few years, teams are putting up big scores again and with new rules to come in maybe next year the game will change again. . Look at Donegal when a new manager/ background team came in with the same panel of players. Looks like McHale was ahead of the rest of that background team.

  77. Sure, won’t a few tweaks by the lads doing the management be enough to get us over the finishing line. I mean if we were just one point better we would now be in an All-Ireland semi and would definitely win the All-Ireland because in the next few weeks we would learn how to close out games and D Clifford would be rendered an NPC in the final so he would.

    Besides, aren’t Galway fierce arrogant. They’d do well to remember that they’ve only won three times as many All-Irelands as us and that’s with them having miraculous levels of luck all the time and poor us having the whole world against us. I also have it on good authority that they all wear scapulars when playing – this form of spiritual doping should be banned.

  78. I will keep supporting mayo whatever they throw at me because I know they want what I want. Proud to be from mayo and wouldn’t want to be following any other team. May be a naive viewpoint but it’s mine and definitely won’t be wishing the rivals well. All in or not at all.

  79. One thing you can rely on is pats spillanes annual article of dissing mayo sure guess we are an easy target he must not have anything better to be doing with his time..

    Interesting that Andy moran has stepped away considering it sounded like he wanted another term with Leitrim he’s done a good job there to be fair to him I doubt he’d take a job managing roscommon….

    He would be good as mayo forwards coach he must have gotten some kind of offer.

  80. What Pat Spillane said is True.
    We may like to hear it but until we accept The facts regarding our losses we will not win an All Ireland final.
    The mindset that Mayo are never responsible for losses has to stop.
    I’m always very proud to support our Mayo team
    But many of our losses are because of the same reason.
    We can ignore it if we want, but if we do Nothing will change.
    Mayo supporters have a close connection with our team and will always support our Team.
    We have had many great days with our team and we all know what the ultimate goal is.
    Contrast This.
    I live in Galway and Galway are in an All Ireland semi final next week there are Only a handful of Galway flags to be seen around the county.
    Maigheo Abu.

  81. @Mike H maybe some of what spillane said is true but does he have to go and write an annual article or write something shite about us every year? We know all this ourselves.

  82. Every word Spillane said in that article is true. It has become an annual article because we demonstrate the same habits on an annual basis I am genuinely puzzled as to why people don’t get that.

  83. @Mike H he always has something crappy to say about mayo every year he’s just as bad as brolly etc.

    It’s pathetic really that we are still being talked about in the media we are out gone maybe spillane should talk about the teams that are still left in bloody thing.

  84. @Mike H what..

    I know we messed up this year and we should have done better etc we all know it.

    It’s not that I want to’hear no evil ‘ as you put it.. It’s that why on earth are we still being talked about by the likes of spillane. He comes out with the same old stuff every year about us. It’s click bait stuff really as I said we are an easy target.

  85. Unfortunately it is hard to argue with Spillane.
    While our sideline were great against Dublin they were very poor against Derry.
    Should rest Aiden in the league and do a full and reset in our panel.
    Give guys a proper chance.

  86. @ Clare. I just smiled when you wrote ” andy moron” instead of “Andy moran”.

  87. We were never going to be all Ireland contenders this year. So who the hell hypes us up in the first place.
    We will have another year of McStay I expect. And hopefully he has learned something from this year’s effort. We were probably good enough to get to a QF. Ourselves to blame. Managing the last quarter of a game was something we were never great at, and this year was disasterous.
    We should be competitive next year, but so much depends on Rochford/McStay. I’m a believer we will win Sam with an outside management team. I’d be looking at guys whose arse pockets are bulging with medals.

  88. 1. We did not lose finals from 2012 to 2017 because of a lack of marquee forwards. True we lacked several of those forwards but that is not why we lost those games. We put ourselves close enough to win utilising the system we had at that time (power and pace and score from everywhere).

    It is disingenuous of Pat to make that point. The point he made does not support the conclusion he made. I want a better type of argument made, a better type of due diligence, and it rankles when boring, repetitive, lazy arguments are made, for whatever reason he makes them.
    We still had the all time top scorer and the Footballer of the Year in our forward ranks.
    Kerry with its array – literal riches – of marquee forwards throughout the last decade did not win a Championship game against the Dubs over the period 2012 – 2017.
    How did Mayo ‘f – up’ because of a lack of marquee forwards?
    Lazy analysis. But it may be expected from a former great forward himself.
    2. We didn’t lose finals from 2012 to 2017 due to a lack of ruthlessness on the line. We actually went above our ceiling and perhaps over performed. Rochford in 2016 and 2017 and the team were brave, bold and innovative and declared they ‘would not die wondering.
    3. This team is a different team to the earlier team and it’s at a different stage of development and it exists in different circumstances. Why is he conflating the two teams? Previous team was existing up against the ‘greatest team of all time’ and this team is navigating a strange Championship structure while it completely changes its playing personnel over the last few years.
    Context matters.
    4 We are considered to have our best forward line in years this year. It doesn’t get space against blanket defences. Kerry’s forward line didn’t last week.
    5. On Galway, I watched the Gal v Dub game last night and Galway looked great in the second half. They seem like a confident mature team. We’ve only seen this in the last two years amid patchy intervals. It’s not fair for our supporters to lambast our current Mayo team for Galway’s very very recent and so far small patch of success.

    I’m just annoyed at Pat’s reasoning in his article. His argument is shakey.

    In my opinion, Mayo DOES need skilled forwards in this current environment where blankets are so prevalent. We NEED precision and we need the ability to score from distance. We need skills. Mayo’s power and pace might have served us well in the last decade where the Dubs and their open play ruled, but we can’t sidestep other skills now. I believe the way to really kill off these blankets is to marry scoring precision to the power play we already have. And I believe that our players need to show their own personalities and become LEADERS. We won’t get anywhere without that step up and I hope it comes.
    I wish Pat could be a bit more respectful of the different elements at play.

  89. In fairness to Spillane he says that much that parts of it are sure to be true. Some very interesting comments here but the one from PW about Galway playing offensive football is one I disagree with. If I was manager of a team with the likes of Comer Walsh Finnerty McDaid etc in my attacking six then I would definitely play offensive football. The only time I really saw Galway being offensive this year was in the second half v Dublin when they knew that if they didn’t go for Dublin they were out Being able to add Heaney and Tommo just add to their attacking riches. We might like to think we have equally good forwards in Mayo but with the exception of Ryan we are well behind. Aido can do an effective job but scores little . Tommy C has an odd good spell but lacks consistency Jordan has a good extra time v Derry but a relatively quiet championship. Galway have the best set of forwards left. Kerry have the best individual in Clifford though he has been fairly quiet this year

  90. Can Jordan Flynn jack carney and Sam calinan give us inspirational leadership I think in the future they can. Similarly McHugh. Not at all sure about Loftus.
    A good manager will trust them, give them their heads, develop leadership skills
    We are not a million miles away but are the current management capable of delivering?

  91. Good post, To Win Just Once.

    Ontheditch, I do believe Carney can be a leader. I saw him be direct and decisive on a few occasions last year. I noted it at the time. More please.

    I also believe Loftus can be a leader but he has to grasp it! No one will hand it to him. I have a soft spot for him as a player. He’s been around long enough, he has the skills and can score. It’s the penalty he took against Derry that really made me think about him in the leader category. Although he hadn’t seen much game time this year and although he played at half back last year, he showed great self belief to step up to the penalty. But more than that he showed cold blooded composure to bury it. This is a quality we sorely need. Let’s empower him.
    Fergal Boland is another leader in my book – he needs to step into it or be empowered. He’s skilled, quick thinking and backs himself. I’ll never forget his performance in the Tooreen v Monaleen All-Ireland Club Intermediate Hurling Final last year (seen on TV). His personal qualities shone out – these are riches for any team that should be valued and harnessed. They can change games.
    And Paul Towey? There seems to be something about him too.
    I’d like us to back character.

  92. People saying we will in an All Ireland in the not too distant future ?
    Have people not been paying attention to the conveyor belt of talent coming out of Ulster.
    Tyrone, Derry, Armagh …

  93. Not a fan of Spillane, but can’t disagree with his latest comments about Mayo. Don’t know why people get so worked up about such articles.

    Unfortunetly until we land the big one, we just won’t get respect from people like him.

    Let’s prove him wrong( if only it was that easy)

  94. @Facetheball, you’re not wrong. We have not been at the races at underage for a very long time. I’m blue in the face from saying it but our underage record over the past 14 years has been poor. Two minor final appearances and 1 win. Two u20/21 appearances and 1 win. The minors this year were talked up and got ranked in an All Ireland semi. Our u20’s last three seasons has been absolutely woeful and still fellas will get talked up and we’ll get told that we have the best structures in place and great coaches and that ‘no stone is left unturned’ etc. Mayo schools not featuring at national level either and as you’ve rightly pointed out several of the Ulster teams are really getting it right underage.

    Then we’ll hear the guff about those teams being much more physically developed, which they are, but that in a few years that’ll balance out. I don’t buy that.

    Our only hope is that we do a Donegal on it. An outlier when it comes to the argument that you must have success at underage in order to be succcesful at senior level, but then they’ve had a wizard at the helm. Jimmy.

    I’d dearly love to see a much better effort and structured underage system in Mayo (academy an schools (national school level to Second level). We have the numbers, the interest and I believe the natural talent too. It’s just not being maximised whatsoever.

  95. @mayonaze.i don’t disagree with your underage development argument but underage success doesn’t always lead to senior success. For instance the kerry is it 4 in a row minors and the Galway 3 in a row hurlers neither of which led to great senior success and maybe was detrimental to the Galway hurlers as they were waiting for the golden generation to step up but never did and they are paying the price now. interest in what you think.

  96. @ swallow swoops: I agree with you re Carney. He needs to be given the freedom to express himself. I feel sorry for Loftus but I don’t know there’s a way back for him.
    When I think of leadership, Kilkenny is the man I think of. If he had played for Mayo, he’d have driven us over the line single handedly if necessary. Cillian McDaid, such another, plagued with injury but he’d go through fire and brimstone for you. Jordan Flynn shows flashes of that leadership and then retreats into a shell again. Coaching takes the power away from the player who ends up doing in what he is told instead of doing what he believes. Jordan had two of the finest catches I’ve seen in a long time against Derry.
    Callinan McHugh Touhy and Towey, they and others can give us that steely edge. We’re not far away.
    I agree with PJ, no neutrals love bridesmaids, they don’t want to see us in finals if we are coughing them up, and Facetheball has a good point, there’s something happening in the North.
    Academy is a lovely word but what does it mean practically.

  97. I seen an underage player, a bit raw, tended to drift out of games but a great athlete.
    I actually think you need to look for athletes first at underage. That doesn’t mean only athletes.
    That player was not part of our U17 but he is physically stronger than almost all the players on that panel. You don’t need to make him a very skilled player. Look at James Mccarthy skill wise he’s pretty average for top county level.

  98. Haven’t read Spillane’s piece because I rarely read opinions of so-called experts. Whether you agree or disagree with them they are only opinions and should be treated as such. I do read post match reports as they often spot things I may have missed. However if you read them all you will find most of them differing in views to each other because they are not oracles just peoples opinions.
    Without a doubt there are far more balanced and in depth posts on here………in my opinion because at the end of the day it’s all about opinions.

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