Mayo Football Podcast episode: talking football with Tony Leen

With just days remaining until the National League starts, it’s time to ramp up our coverage.

So who better to join us to speculate and ruminate about the next few months than Tony Leen, Sports Editor of the Irish Examiner.

Rob and Mike chat with Tony about the lie of the land among the Division One big-hitters and he gives us some insight into Jack O’Connor’s state of mind in Kerry.

They also cover topics like Kevin McStay’s approach to the media, what Liam McHale’s departure from the set-up told us, how Mayo’s squad is shaping up and what a good League might look like for Mayo.

Plus, Tony picks his teams to beat for the All-Ireland title of 2024.

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

121 thoughts on “Mayo Football Podcast episode: talking football with Tony Leen

  1. A young Derry team were close to Kerry last year. Beat Dublin in the league. Won Ulster.
    They have a good underage pipeline.
    For these reasons I think they are genuine contenders.

  2. Tony hasn’t lost any of the Kerry arrogance anyway. Answers the first question about Mayo with a soliloquy about Jack O’Connor and Kerry.
    Goes on to tell us we have an awful lot to say for ourselves for lads who can’t win an All Ireland, and you wouldn’t get that in Kerry.
    A hard man to listen to.

  3. I mean different viewpoints.
    There are those in Mayo who throw around brilliant and unbelievable player. Andy did this a lot, not saying he can’t, but it seemed every Mayo player was an brilliant player.
    In Kerry they tend to be pretty reserved in throwing around that height of praise of a player.

  4. Agree JP.

    Paidi got a lot of flak for the famous ‘f*ckin animals’ remark about kerry fans but tbf their demanding/entitled nature means nothing less then all ireland is considered success, they don’t put their players up a pedestal like we do unless they can point to their all ireland medals.

    Always makes me squirm mid-season when mayo are showing some good form and kerry media contributors (the O’Se’s, Darren o sullivan, JOD etc) will come out loudly plamasing Mayo and declaring we are all ireland favourites, whipping up the hype and the press pick it up and our fans get giddy. I’d say they are laughing amongst themselves when everyone takes the bait. Cute hoors that they are

  5. Tony Leen fancies himself all right.

    Still, Mike’s info would seem to point towards this team – and I’m making a few assumptions as a result:

    Hennelly
    Coyne
    Brickenden
    Plunkett
    Durcan
    McBrien
    McHugh
    Tuohy
    Diarmaid
    Boland
    Carney
    Flynn
    O’Donoghue – because he is vital
    O’Connor
    Quinn – No Carr, Conroy Sigersoned, Aido impact

  6. I’d say you’re not a million miles off with that team Catcol. Did Mike say anything about McBrien? Hadn’t heard his name mentioned at all regarding friendlies or warmup games so assumed he was carrying an injury.

    I’d say both conroy and RoD will start. County managers historically aren’t too bothered about sigerson conflicts so I’d say both will start.

    Think only 1 of COC or AOS will start as both them in the ff line at same time leaves you with zero pace inside. I suspect COC will start having played some recent games and AOS not long back from hols, with AOS to replace him around 50 minute mark.

    Reape would be my preference in goals but I suspect you are right that hennelly will get the nod. Also I could be way off the mark but I get the impression McStay doesn’t fancy plunkett so would be interested to see him start

  7. @Catcol – is that Ballinrobes Kevin Quinn or Garrymores Darren Quinn ?

    I wonder will Towey get in ahead of ROD , he will also have the same Sigerson commitments next week as Conroy.

  8. @Supermac, couldn’t agree more with your second paragraph. It galls me how many people here in the county buy into what pundits say.

    I think Derry and Dublin will be the Kerry mafia’s targets this year. Dublin will do their best to counter act it by stuttering and spluttering through the league and Leinster championship. They won’t like Harte getting the Derry job, i think they suffer from ptsd at the mere sight of him, so expect them to tip Derry to win sam after the league, and pile as much pressure as possible on them.

  9. All time TV Show 15

    Ted Hastings (Line of Duty)

    Steve Arnott (Line of Duty)
    Lincoln Burrows (Prison Break)
    Jon Snow (Game of Thrones)

    Sir Jorah (Game of Thrones)
    Michael Scofield (Prison Break)
    Ned Stark (Game of Thrones)

    Tony Soprano (The Sopranos)
    Dot (Line of Duty)

    Kellerman (Prison Break)
    Ghost (Power)
    Tommy (Power)

    Pat Mustard (Father Ted)
    John Mach (Power)
    Mahone (Prison Break)

  10. I think Brickenden and Touhy are both playing Sigerson as well.

    TBF we’re probably not going to know what approach management are taking with the Sigerson lads until throw in on Sunday.

    @JP – thanks for clearing that up – I thought it was Andy Moran you probably meant but wasn’t fully sure 😀

  11. @Nancy Parsons

    You have a lot of lads the wrong side of 40 there.

    I’d have concerns about Tony Soprano at midfield being fit enough for 70 minutes in Croker :’)

  12. Frost ya I think Tony might struggle. He’d have to take plenty of rest periods at full forward!

    2 Hops – you might be confusing Dot from Line of Duty with Dot Cotton from Eastenders? 🙂

  13. When it comes to the reality of the mindset of your Mayo supporter , nobody believes we will win the all Ireland imo , the damage done in 2021 will never be repaired in that sphere . Just because some young lad writes it on a placard at a darts match or whatever it doesnt gauge the tone of gaelic football supporters of the county . If you were to conduct an opinion poll sat week at the entrance to the stand and ask all did they think Mayo would win the all Ireland this year ,i bet over 80 % of sound minded people would say no . But thats not the box office hype the media and kerry/galway/dublin gaa people want to hear .

  14. Interesting contrast between the fortunes of Mayo and Derry in 2023.
    Mayo when the league, Derry easily dismissed by Dublin in League 2.
    Lessons learned for Derry, they sorted themselves firstly by putting in a zonal defence system, everyone knew their roles, brilliantly marshalled by the outstanding leader Gareth McKinless
    We tinkered with a system that players did not seem to buy into, totally confused our midfielders in the process,we were vulnerable to direct attacks up our centre.
    Derry pipped by the smallest of margins by Kerry, Mayo hammered out the gate.
    Four all stars for Derry, three of them in core central positions.
    I think our clash v Derry in final league match of 2024 will be the most interesting. By then we will be close to championship starting teams.

  15. The very best of luck to the Mayo team and Management on Sunday, God be with the times we could take these games with a pitch of salt and be confident of a result, unfortunately those times are gone,
    It’s very early in the season for high pressure games such as this, but all I can hope for is a good performance and the 2 points will be a bonus.

  16. JKEL and Ontheditch, going for Kevin Quinn of Ballinrobe. Just think he will give a new corner forward a try out.

  17. Yes I’d go with that. I just feel Darren falls a little short of county and is not getting any younger .but you never know. I think he’s quite happy at the level he’s at.
    McBrein could be the leader we are looking for at 6. McHugh and Touhy have big futures and you have them in best positions.

  18. We have Derry coming to Tralee on Sat and it’ll be Kerrys toughest game of the league.

    Derry are a top 3 team,

    Top championship scorer in McGuigan
    Best midfield in Glass and Rodgers
    Best man marker in McKague
    Back to back Ulster Championships and promotion to D1.
    Added to Glen winning and underage success Derry are in a very strong place.

    They should have beaten us last year I think it’s fair to say.

    I don’t think it’ll take any Kerry pundits to be hyping them up as the expectation is already there nationally anyway.
    Dublin
    Kerry
    Derry
    Mayo
    Galway
    Tyrone
    Donegal

    In that order.

  19. Catcol, thats 10 of the team that played Westmeath last week so I’d imagine most will start Sunday.

  20. Derry are not ahead of us I don’t get why some people think this.

    Yes they nearly beat kerry in semi but couldn’t close it out. They have been a division 2 team let’s see how they go in division 1 as I said before I think them bringing harte back is a backwards step for them.

    Kerry are in the top 8 but certainly not top4 in my view anyway.
    kerry pundits are hyping up the Derry train.

  21. @Clare – back to back Ulster champions and ran Kerry a hell of a lot closer in the semi final than we did in our 1/4 final in 2022.

    I think its fair that Derry are considered a top 4 team going into the season.

  22. West Kerry Monaghan made an All Ireland semi last year. They’d be ahead of a few of the teams named above imo.

    That said, I’m a bit unsure on Derry. I think bringing in Mickey might not be a good move. But I could be wrong. I think they’re a great team & would back them to beat us handily to be honest

  23. You’re entitled to your opinion Clare, but the opinions of the all star selection panel would not agree with you. Have we anything to compare with Gareth McKinless as an inspirational central defender? Have we a midfield pairing anywhere remotely near top notch? Most of all have we defensive stability?
    And remember, we’re not able to finish out games either.
    Derry’s star progressed upwards as 23 passed, ours barely flickered by the time the Dubs sent us back to the west with our tails between our legs.
    It’s great to look at things through the green and red tinted glasses. We have talent coming down the line, how quickly they can be welded together as a formidable force is anyone’s guess but it’s not going to happen overnight.

  24. Bringing an multiple all ireland winning manager in is a backwards step.

    You understand how that actually sounds when with the greatest of respect you haven’t won one yourself.

    Derry have been far more consistent and have won more and have better individual players and that makes them a top 3 team.

    I haven’t listened to the pod but based on what Tubberman said that attitude / opinion maybe what Tony is referring too.

  25. Just to clarify my post is in no way a dig at Mayo so please don’t interpret it as that.

    But Lord god some people go out of their way to be argumentative.

  26. West Kerry I am aware of Mickeys credentials.

    But perhaps his best days are behind him? I could be wrong.
    I think Derry have all the ingredients needed for a go at Sam

  27. Thanks JoeG, I probably missed the reference to Diarmuid. Mattie would probably be the go to man in that case. Mattie has taken a lot of stick lately, but I think he can find form and where better to find it than Salthill.

  28. Agree with both west Kerry and Mayo focus. Derry are a hardened outfit, outstanding players in key positions and offering serious leadership. Having a swipe at Harte is pointless, he’s in charge of a highly motivated talented group. We need doses of reality in mayo at times, we have a good supply of youngsters for the next few years. Harden them off and we will be monitoring again
    I wouldn’t be worried about dip in Conroy’s performances, his trump card is scorching pace and that will be to the fore come summer.

  29. No I wouldn’t agree that Harte is a backward step for Derry, same as I didn’t agree that Dubs bringing back Cluxton, McCarthy,Mannion last year was a backward step even though it was reported as such by some commentators here and elsewhere.

  30. Mayo Focus,

    It’s not Mickey alone but his number 2 Devlin is considered one of the best in the game.

    Look what they did with Louth.

    Promotion to Division 2
    Leinster final.
    All Ireland series.

    He was never a defensive manager, His teams always played good football.

    He’ll be under serious scrutiny in Derry being a Tyrone man.

  31. Derry would be the wild card to win Sam this year. They lacked experience when they should have beaten Kerry last year. Kerry dont have any big players to come into that squad this year and Barry is gone from midfield but they will still be thereabouts. Dublin are of course favourites and no surprises to see them win it again. After that you would expect maybe 2 teams of a group including Mayo, Tyrone, Armagh, Galway, Roscommon to have a good run in 2024 but Dublin, Kerry and Derry would appear the strongest.

  32. To clarify I never said Derry are not a good side I was really impressed with them last year and felt bad for them in the semi they deserved to win v kerry they were much better.

    I just don’t see how people think derry are ahead of mayo but we shall see come league.

    And when I say mickey harte is a backwards step for derry I meant that derry played exciting open football last year you hardly think that mickey harte is going to bring that to derry? He will bring his defensive style and loads in derry have said it was a backwards step to as I know quite a few derry supporters who said the exact same but as I said we shall see how they go!

  33. The winning is by any means necessary.
    That’s why I give my vote to Nancy Parsons first choice number 8 ,Tony Soprano.I mean when we talk about killer instincts and ruthlessness,who could be a better pick than Tony ?
    When graft is at a premium there is no better box to box number 8.

    But how anyone as eminent a commentator as Nancy Parsons could leave out Yosser Hughes (boys from the blackstuff)from their first fifteen-is a serious oversight.He is the ultimate teak tough corner back. Allegedly,even Boyler checked his words when Yosser was around.

    But worse than that Charles Bronson got the “invisible” treatment from the highly partisan Parsons.I assume this is racist against his name (son of the dark man)but I don’t want to put that in writing

    At least Anthony “Quinn “ got the nod at corner forward in a version of the twin towers strategy alongside Richard Kiel (“Jaws” from The Spy who loved me )

    No mention though of Quinn’s amigos Eli Wallach or Lee Van Cleef rendering this selection a caricature of the good ,bad and ugly.

    I see no mention either of Bruce Lee at wing back -he’s not even a named sub which will definitely have hurt his feelings. All that training and he didn’t even make the first 26 for Mayo’s first game of the league. In fact he wasn’t mentioned as an FBD selection either,which is baffling.This could be clear bias against Lahardane.

    Strategy wise,Parsons has it all wrong. If Tony Soprano moves in to full forward surely that means MR.T moves back out to midfield ? I mean you simply have to lay down the lumber there and no better man to do it.

    But the worst ,and I mean the worst, omission is of Vito Corleone. I know I know the town of Corleone hasn’t won a junior championship match in decades.But that takes nothing from Vito’s own attributes.Any opposition forward would always have the option of taking a score or,ya know, not taking a score.It would be a shame if anything happened to his knees.That’s the beauty of having him at centre half back.A rock at number 6.

    Speaking of rock ,how about The Rock. I’m thinking full back is his best position.There are some who would advocate for Vin Diesel but the Rock has better hair (which is important in a full back imo)

    Others who will be hurt by Parsons’ egregious oversights include Clint Eastwood(“Go on ,make my day Scully”)Chuck Norris and Arnie.

    My team :

    Joe Pesci

    Yosser Hughes
    The Rock
    Clint Eastwood

    Charles Bronson (or Lee Keegan)
    Vito Corleone
    Bruce Lee

    Tony Soprano
    Vin Diesel

    Eli Wallach
    Sonny Corleone
    Lee Van Cleef

    Anthony Quinn
    Mr.T
    Richard Kiel

    Subs:Arnie

  34. Ontheditch agree on Derry and your point about them finding their weak areas and sorting them is a point iv made about other teams too. O Connor came in to a below par kerry defence, made appointments, we know what happened there… Tyrone the same.
    We have become very predictable.
    One thing that I cannot understand is our lack of progression up front over decades now. When is the last time a young Mayo player shot the lights out at any level. There always seem to be forwards coming through in Galway and other counties…. is it a coaching thing? Is it a confidence thing? We seem to have the type of player coming through all the time…

  35. Going back to the Division 2 league final last year Derry v Dublin, there was very little between the sides till one Conor Glass went off injured. Then Dublin took control at midfield and the rest is history

  36. Food4thought that’s brilliant.

    The spine of that team.. getting nothing soft there!! 🙂

  37. Paul – ageee with your two points above. Derry have the central spine of thier team sorted with big physical good footballers. We haven’t a clue what the spine of our team will be.
    Based on our championship performances last year – and championship is where it is at – we are a ling way off it.

  38. @ Robert, Dublin were always going to beat Derry in that game, but as moose79 said, they sorted their frailties and became a force.
    Mayo producing ace forwards? Imo it’s more of a confidence thing than anything else. Winning Sam just once would do so much for us.
    There’s a lot of good young lads coming along, Dawson and Finbar McLaughlin, a natural two footed player at Westport to mention two, so the future is bright.
    Is Rochford and co the right coaching team to do the trick for us? It will be interesting to see the role of Rochfords sidekick in salthill on Sunday. McStay? I’ve written him off as our media man, he’s good at putting a spin on things That’s just my opinion…

  39. Mickey Joe Harte has probably won everything in the game with Tyrone, All Ireland at Minor, U 21,and Senior. The only accolade he has never won is probably at club, but since he has been appointed as Derry manager, Glen have won the All Ireland club title.
    I’d say it was fairly easy for Derry to decide to appoint Mr Harte…

  40. Derry have won back to back ulster titles .not an easy thing to do and they have shown constant progression in that time .They beat Dublin in the league last year and of course the second division champions went on to win the all Ireland.Mayo have been very poor in our last two championships .we haven’t a clue who our centre back is going to be .we have no idea what our midfield is going to be .we don’t have a specialist fielder and Matt ruane coming back into form doesn’t include him suddenly becoming a ball winner because he never was before.hopefully Sunday will give us some idea where we are at and we don’t waste an entire season on a system that clearly didn’t work.i certainly think that Derry are in the top 3 contenders because the evidence is there .they have a definite structure to their game and in Conor glass they have a player who is up there with Brian Fenton

  41. For this league we need to be looking for style of play and if any new players can step up. Survive in division 1 should be the aim. Mayo fans need to learn to not get too carried away in defeat or victory. Perspective needed this time of year.

  42. Im going to put a few quid on Derry to win Sam this year. I wouldnt trust Mayo to beat Leitrim or Wicklow in an All Ireland final i expect theyll exit at quarter final stage anything else will be a bonus

  43. The big question mark after Derry, is can they progress to another level and as 1985 has said, last year was very progressive for them. I think Rochford credited (to his credit) player spirit and determination to corofins success when he was in charge. Derry are that type of team in my opinion, hungry for success, great self belief and match winners throughout the team.
    Im not writing Mayo off, but we need to be patient with player development, and management need to start getting things right. Maybe the new guy from Corofin can exert an influence. We will learn a bit on Sunday, hopefully some refreshing positivity in the performance. It’s definitely a game we need to target as winnable to survive in the division

  44. Derry are definitely top 3 with Kerry and the Dubs. And there isn’t much of a muchness between them.
    They’ve earned their rep through performance and progression over the last couple of years. Strong at underage as well.
    I think Harte is a smart appointment. For a team with their potential, his know-how and experience will be invaluable. His senior titles weren’t achieved by playing hyper defensive ball either- they were the most potent attacking team in that period. Given the nature of the move, the guy is obviously still hugely ambitious. And that can only be good for Derry.
    Hard to rank the remainder really. I think Galway are best placed to close the gap but probably not with PJ. Horan to do a Harte anybody?
    I don’t think, in retrospect, we have done anything in the last 2 years to warrant inclusion in a list of serious contenders. The aspiration is there but not the game. I am still gauging our current chances on the back of performances from 2013 to 2017 as if nothing has changed since then. I guess we have to learn to moderate our expectations.
    If the new reality is last year then I would like to see some improvement this year because there’s plenty of scope
    for it, both from management and players.

  45. Urmanthere.
    That idea of Horan crossing the border south would be my worst nightmare. Can’t see it happening, as James has said repeatedly that he would not manage any team, other than Mayo.

  46. Urmanthere. Very fair comment re our expectations. We have to be patient and a positive outcome would be to see some progression this year. For coaching staff, to get the maximum out of players. Worrying that good players (Ruane, Conroy ,,Hession, Carney … ) are underperforming. We have to Keep the faith

    I could never see Horan dedicating himself to any other county, it’s such a huge commitment.

  47. Just shooting the breeze, Nephin. I’m sure you are right.
    I still think JH has a lot to offer and is still a young man. If he sought to ply his trade elsewhere, I wouldn’t begrudge him.

  48. Horan is involved with underage now. He’s proven to be the best at picking new players. Just a question, does anyone else think he would return in a few years time to have another go.

  49. What would be a good year for Mayo..Stay in Div 1 would be a good start. Win Connacht would be great but I have my doubts. In the All Ireland series probably a quarter final is the best we can expect. We are just about in the top 8 now. Kerry Dublin, Derry and Galway ahead of us I think. Then a group of 4 or 5 similar to ourselves. We could beat them, they could beat us. I put Roscommon Monaghan, Tyrone, a rejuvenated Donegal, Armagh and possibly Cork. Any one of this group could make AI semi but couldn’t see them winning it. League will be a run out for championship but no point exaggerating its importance. I am afraid that the days when we genuinely saw ourselves as AI contenders are gone for the time being. Some may disagree with me putting Galway ahead of us considering our good record against them last year but there were certainly mitigating factors in championship game with Kelly, Comer etc not fit on the day.

  50. I don’t think so. Regrettable that colm boyle didn’t get a call up to present lot, but whose to say in the future. Not an easy job managing your own county. Padraic Joyce was an outstanding Galway player but not shortage of guys knocking him as a manager.
    All these all Ireland defeats have taken a toll on Mayo, in particular v Tyrone. Now any county meeting us at knockout stages would fancy their chances. The pattern of letting games slip, that we are left hanging on against inferior opposition has to change. That’s the one thing I’d be hoping for this year, that we push on in the last quarter ..

  51. Agree on the ditch, like it or not past losses will likely weight heavier on the shoulders of those who take on the mantle from those who went before them. Which is why moving to a less experienced sports psychologist seems a bit odd at this juncture. But far from the biggest issue we have.
    Monaghan minus Beggan, plus other players in the twilight of career I think are most likely to go down this year, their never say die attitude could surprise me though.
    My wishlist would be evidence of kickout strategy, defensive structure, and some semblance of a plan to beat blanket systems all to show signs of having been worked on.
    With Galway down some key men and it shaping like we will not have to many debutants based on last weekends game we could sneak a point or even two the weekend, which would be a good start.

  52. I’d be gobsmacked if ROD and TC are asked to play on Sunday, they’re out again with NUIG next Wednesday in the Sigerson 1/4

  53. I don’t think Tommy or Ryan will play a full game but they might be used in the last 15/20 mins.ROD is probably our most important player at this stage and a leader.

  54. Agree with all. Gizmo. The blanket defence is easy to set up in McHale because of pitch size. And our poor record at home verifies our lack of strategy for dealing with it.
    I think Hession has had some outstanding games in Castlebar all based on quick counter attacks and using long ball.simple as that.Delay the build up and your walking into a blanket

  55. Thats it though ontheditch , all this talk of how yiu deal with ultra defensive set ups , the basics have been known since we beat tyrone in 2004, quicker ball in , less lateral play . When you look back at mcbriens goal too v galway last year , its still a majestic move to go the old fashioned give and take at pace . People are near afraid say stuff like that cause youre classed as a dinosaur but i beg to differ , its worth a punt every so often in a game . Galway in that game lumped two balls in during stoppage time and one of them only for eoghan mcghloughlin on the line , galways season could of progressed a lot further .

  56. If you give me just one thing I want to see in improvement it would be having an overall elite physical presence as a middle eight.
    It’s not subtle, to some degree it’s almost childish logic, but given where we’re at and with a glance at other teans. I think the only elite thing we can bring is something like ten or eleven big players for those eight jerseys. Eight starters and two or three planned subs.
    The idea is on kickouts or running the ball through us or us through them it’s just 6’+ and 13 stone+ our entire middle with mobility.
    Then maintained or lifted with similar planned subs.
    Why would it not work? We have enough of those types of players on the panel.
    I want the likes of a now waning in speed Brendan Rogers, Paul Conroy or James Mccarthy hit when on the run by fit in form big strapping Mayo lads mad for road on Mammy’s homecooking and a whole pile of grit and hunger. I want to send opposition oldies or small lads into retirement or to the bench.
    Bring something really elite, worked on and planned for in game and have the opposition scrambling to react to us.
    If it worked there’s a certain defensive and attacking quality to it by default. Such a team is probably feeding Ryan, Cillian and Tommy higher up the field. Ryan probably as a 13 who drops to 30 yards from goal central and moves around. Cillian and Tommy stay inside.

  57. @Sean Bourke McBrein s goal a classic example.
    The big teams get a balance between quick play and deliberate build up. Dubs Kerry or Derry aren’t afraid to mix it.
    Coaching in part to blame. It’s a lot easier for a player to give a 10m hand pass than a 40m 50/50 pass. And statistically looks better, why take the risk?
    Hopefully this new assistant coach, sorry I’ve forgotten his name, will be of a different opinion to Rochford, and we’ll see a bit more módh direach in our game

  58. Ifa player gives two 30 to 40 metre passes and an opposition player somehow wins the ball he won’t get a chance to make a 3rd pass. That’s why the 10ft handpass is easier and safer. Players need to know if they make a mistake they will get a chance to make up for it. Fear and stats are a big part of the ruination of the game. I suppose it’s easy to be critical of the lateral passing but with 29 players in one half of the field it can become next to impossible to do anything else without giving away possession that’s why I think changes are going to have to be made to the rules sooner rather than later.

  59. @Onthditch, very good point there. The Dublin’s and Kerry’s really have the mixing it up down to a fine art.

    I would also like to see the style you mention. I just can’t be sure if Rochford is to blame for the lateral low risk stuff we saw last year. The brand of football we played in ‘16 and ‘17 was the best I ever seen from us. The “17 final for instance was full of long quick foot passes inside, i think Lee’s goal was off the back of a long ball to Andy who done a brilliant off-load to Lee. Granted that was a brilliant squad, but Rochford was the top dog not assistant.

    I know people will point to Donegals perfornances over last few years, but again none of us know what exact input Rochford had on that team. To sum it up, the teams I’ve seen Rochford Manage – Corofin – Mayo 16-18, played a far better brand of football, than the teams he is assistant/coach.

  60. @ Margie All will be revealed with Canney in the management setup the Rochford influence should be more to the fore.
    The one thing I’d like to add to the wishlist for the league is how we finish out our games in the last quarter That’s where management really needs to come into their own

  61. Rice college came up a bit short in their Connaught semi today unfortunately.
    Hopefully Geralds can get there.

  62. No Doubt I’m with you there. Players are fearful or possessions lost stats. But its Killing the game.

    Rules changes are needed. Because blanket defences & lateral possession play is going nowhere anytime soon. I hate it.

    Obviously the Rules can’t be too radical as they need to be easy to referee. But they should start with a blank canvas & welcome all input.

    Personally, would like to see two points awarded for a point outside the 45 (open play), from sideline areas (a big arc perhaps like Aussie Rules) & from sideline balls. That’ll soon draw out the defences!

    Having x amount of players in each half is an immediate fix, but would be difficult to ref unless linesmen help out..which they should

  63. Second set of uprights for 1 point outside 40m
    2 points for between regular uprights. Reduce to 13 aside

  64. Wonder will the team be named tommorow..

    I think Ryan O D will be named even though playing sigserson and Tommy c weather or not they play the whole match who knows. I expect our strongest team available to be named for this one.

    Really interested to see who’s named in number 6 as we all are I’m sure.

    At least we will get an insight to see where we are at I’d say it’ll be close and the weather as usual will play a huge part in salt hill heard there’s another storm coming in on Sunday to!

    Mayo by 2 or so.

  65. I see nuig are drawn to play UCD in quarterfinal of sigerson cup which means possibly Rory Brickeden marking ROD and Sam Callinan marking Tommy C. Interesting

  66. Galway by 12 points . Just have a bad feeling we are going to get comered on sunday . Dont think we are ready as a unit , probably without ryan and tommy through sigerson , no james carr , scores be hard got if we are without the above . No diarmuid nor hession according to M Finnertys sunday team prediction . Galway rumored to be hellbent on putting down a marker ( and a scar or two ) . We will be in better shape in a couple of years time and even championship this year we could still make a qf but the dubs , kerry , derry , tyrone , armagh fair bit ahead of us at this stage with donegal and the ros capable of beating us on the day . Id put galway in there too but they still wouldnt beat us in knockout game or league final , they just wet the bed against our bucks everytime it matters .

  67. Both teams will be down players so we will see who has a bit of strength in depth. I doubt its a must win for PJ but Mayo have beaten Galway last few times but Galway’s season was really derailed by Armagh loss and injuries. I think Mayo will reach a quarter final and so will Galway and the now dangerous Roscommon. They are deadly accurate kickers something that Mayo and Galway have work to do on. You cannot really look beyond Dublin again really and my Kerry friend not too hopeful this year as they seen to not have unearthed new talent to come into the squad. Derry if the Glen players dont burn out could be the main challengers to the big 2. Hard to know what to make of Tyrone and Armagh but both could easily improve. Donegal will rebuild under McGuinness but I doubt the fruits will be seen this year.

  68. @sean Burke. Keep the faith. At least a little bit anyway. @regarding rule changes 2pts from 45m sounds like a good idea and yes it would draw out the defence and maybe open things up a bit

  69. It’s very hard to get excited for the season ahead when before the first league game people are tipping Galway to beat us by 12+ points.

  70. Mayo will be well up for this game just as much as Galway I expect us to come out fighting for this one yes only league but league is important to we just can’t peak to soon. We have a point to prove as much as Galway have a point to prove to.

    I expect it’ll be close certainly not a 12 point loss anyway.

    As I said I expect to see Ryan O D and Tommy c playing some part Sunday our guys will be still hurting over the quarter final exit to the dubs and what better way to show we are still there by a showing v Galway in salt hill.

    Mayo by 2 or so as I said keep the faith.

  71. @Sean Burke
    The bookies are generally not far off the mark and have it Galway 4/5 Mayo 11/8. Those odds are similar enough to the games with Galway last year and we didn’t do too badly in those. 20/1 for a Galway win by 12 if you’re convinced!
    Both teams will be missing a good few. I don’t think there will be much in it. The one thing you know about Mayo is you never know. I wouldn’t put it past us to go and get a result.
    I’d be surprised if we didn’t see Brickenden and Callinan play and I think Ryan and Tommy will see some minutes but not the full game. Cillian,Boland and Towey I reckon will play.

    As for Galway being he’ll bent on beating us and putting down a marker. I heard the same all last season. They had 4 cuts at us including the FBD game and couldn’t take us down. PJ had run out of excuses in the end.

  72. Will ye stop with all the new rule suggestions folk. There was nothing wrong with the old rules if they were reffed properly and the boring sideways play of some teams is down to lazy, unadventurous coaching. As someone said above it is easy to set up to stop the opposition playing so it takes inventive thinkers to counter it. A change in rules brings a difference for just as long as it takes coaches to find a way to counteract it. These things go in cycles and if exciting play brings sustained results they’ll all be at it.

  73. Chesneychet,

    I think your Kerry friend might be keeping their cards close to their chest.

    We have unearthed a few lads now time will tell how they get on but I’d keep an eye out for the following.

    Joe OConnor – Midfield ( returned from ACL ) will start at 8 this year.

    Cillian Burke – Kerry under 20 captain, arguably the best player on the intermediate championship in Kerry.
    He’ll likely play wing forward, big strong and athletic.

    Dylan Geaney, Kerry under 20, best forward in the county championship for Dingle and YCC Sigerson winning captain. Centre Forward.

    Others to watch for,

    Ronan Buckley – Hard working wing forward
    Sean OBrien – Midfield
    Keith Evens – Wing Forward, very quick, similar to Darren O Sullivan.

    Kerry need to evolve particularly at HF and I think they have the new guys to do that.

  74. I’ve learned one thing in Gaelic football for sure. Don’t worry about the Kerry panel ever suffering from lack of ‘new talent’.
    Kerry tend to add one player per year or second year. Then every 3 years or so a brilliant player.
    Stefan Okunbar might be a player who effectively ends up as a new player.
    Honestly the division one teams are all pretty stacked in terms of depth of panel and underage. Dublin you would think would decline, but it’s moreso how much they decline?
    They have %s they can afford to fall given they were the best team last year.
    Players can suddenly decline a lot a year older when in their 30s.

  75. @Joe,G I agree we should be reducing the rules not creating more, any new rule must be easy to ref:
    I would suggest getting rid of the marks.
    No square ball and allowing tackles on the goalkeeper.
    Implement the steps rule and time on the ball with great vigor.Players would soon toe the line.
    Don’t allow more than one player tackle a player in possession of the ball at the same time, too many frees given against the player in possession, reverse this trend.
    Use a marker for frees from the hand.

  76. Dublin are a force now similar to the kerry tradition , personally dont think they will ever go into decline like in previous eras , their structures are in place and they have the resouces to maintain a certain level through producing the elite athletes neccesary . Galway are starting to motor in the structures department too investing heavy into development panel for a start .

  77. @jr non implementation of steps and barging means we don’t get the turnovers or ‘art of defending’. Turnovers are important for excitement in all field based team sports.
    They lead to the exciting unknown.
    Tucking the ball under your arm and running at a set defender in position with arms out is barging. Taking the ball into a tackle is steps if you try to play out from there with more steps.
    Moving one way, back the other and now settle to shoot is five steps minimum. Ya steps and barging already in the rulebook would help immensely. Ya, no group tackles either. Group tackles are the core of the blanket.

  78. People have been saying that Galway are starting to motor since they beat Mayo in 2016, that is 9 season ago .

    In that time Mayo have made 4 all Ireland finals and won 2 league titles. Galway have made 2 all Ireland semi finals and 1 all Ireland final in those 9 seasons.

    If Joyce loses to Mayo on Sunday it it will be 1 game in 8 chances which he has won against Mayo in league and Championship. A 12.5% win rate against your biggest rivals would not be a good stat for a manager who is over a team who sees themselves as one of the favourites for Sam..

    I have a feeling they will come out all guns blazing for this game, Joyce wont want to lose it.

  79. Salthill 2013 – Colm O’Rourke told us all about how Galway were motoring before throw in

  80. It’s more to do with underage though is it not? For a while it felt like they were fully turning into a hurling county and barely a penny was being spent on the footballers (outside of what was being swindled). Now it looks like affairs in order after 2 decades of mess

    They’ve won 2 underage all irelands since our last win

    That’s not to say the caliber they produce should be any better than ours going forward. There’s just as many football clubs in Mayo and reportedly more underage footballers in Mayo. But whereas we could bring the good ones through and there’s kept falling by the wayside, it figures to be more even in that regard in future

  81. Yes, Dublin have the structures in place to churn youngsters out like a conveyor belt. Kerry not going to lie down and there is a lot of investment in Gaelic Football in the North. Connacht noy weak either with Roscommon Galway and ourselves…

  82. Dublin will stay up near the top but the quality of player under and over 28 years of age would indicate they’re going to be more of a competing for Sam team and not a team that the entire chasing pack struggle with.
    Ciaran Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Brian Fenton and James Mccarthy. I don’t see their replacements in the Dublin panel.

  83. Piling a bit of praise on galway is like throwing a hand grenade into the blog comments . ??

  84. JR. Glad you agree and I concur with abolishing the mark. Good idea too with a spray to mark where free is kicked from. The one only tackler would be great but maybe too open to abuse and interpretation, like where does one tackle end and the next begin.

  85. The chasing pack will have to raise their game because there will be no let up or dropping standards in dub

  86. A staunch Dublin mate of mine maintains Gilroy has been pulling the strings the past couple of years while in his role of “Waterboy” . He fancied them last year for Sam but expected the wheels to fall off for the next few years.
    Listening to the ROD podcast last week was a tonic as he addressed a lot of the questions I had for the past season.
    Was interesting how he spoke of the Old Guard of Chrissy Barrett et al and the influence they had on the new lads.
    Hopefully Joe Canney can make a big impact from the Start, and we see some football being played.
    Roll on Salthill Sunday.

  87. I dunno 2 hops ,is he still raving about padraig o horas hit on the superclub superstar , hup.

  88. 12 of 15 who started in the rout against Dublin start in first round of the league.
    Clear Rochford and management team not happy about where panel is at and relegation clearly a realistic issue to deal with.
    Extremely worrying times….

  89. Colm Reape Knockmore
    Jack Coyne Ballyhaunis
    David McBrien Ballaghaderreen
    Rory Brickenden Westport
    Paddy Durcan (C) Castlebar Mitchels
    Sam Callinan Ballina Stephenites
    Eoghan McLaughlin Westport
    Bob Tuohy Castlebar Mitchels
    Stephen Coen Hollymount Carramore
    Fergal Boland Aghamore
    Jack Carney Kilmeena
    Jordan Flynn Crossmolina Deel Rovers
    Aidan O’Shea Breaffy
    Tommy Conroy The Neale
    Ryan O’Donoghue Beal and Mhuirthead

  90. You’d imagine that team won’t 4 already had a game this week, and for three it would be their 3rd game in what? About 10 days with another game coming up Wednesday.

  91. Gizmobobs – Think you’re right, can see some of the sigerson players dropping out and potentially Cillian in for Aidan.

  92. Retrocut – you’re as well to go to bed and pull the covers over your head, and re-emerge in August.
    Maybe they’re putting out what they think is their strongest team to get early points on the board.
    Galway will be gunning for us, always are under Joyce even though he can’t ever get a meaningful win…

  93. Strong team and will be interesting to see which of any newbies make the bench. I’d hope to see Reid there and maybe get 20 mins.
    A team strong enough to get full points imo.

  94. Only three changes to the starting 15 from the All-Ireland Quarter final last summer if that team starts Sunday.

  95. Knew mcstay would go with a strong team! Great to see ferghal Bowland getting a chance best of luck to him.

    They’ve gone with the right choice with reape to.

    Great to see Tommy conroy Ryan O D starting Aido is great to but I would have thought more impact sub but it’s our strongest line up.

    Best of luck guys!

  96. @retrocut….

    If we went for an experiemnetal team against Galway in salt hill who will be going hard to win this game and we got hammered there would be people on here going mad and asking fir people to resign then we name a strong panel and it’s extremely worrying times apparently..

    Can’t win ha mcstay and Co are dead right in this line up shake things up after this game and the dubs game then we can experiment!!

  97. Presume it’s targeting a supposedly weakened Galway team in rd1 to get two points on board. With more experimentation in following rounds if that team does start.
    But can’t see it starting with what happened Tommy couple years ago during Sigerson season.
    Bench will probably have 4 or 5 newbies.

  98. Galway are meant to be without Sean Kelly, Jack Glynn, Cillian McDaid, Liam Silke, Matthew Tierney all championship starters. Team when published tonight should confirm it.

    Damien Comer doubtful also.

  99. Interesting! Stephen Coen at midfield, Boland getting a (re)start and Brick back in. Overall it’s strong, and panel will be interesting.

  100. Four of the staring team played sigerson last wed, picked to play this Sunday, all 4 again playing sigerson on wed and then Dublin the following Saturday. That’s 4 potential games in 12 days in the middle of winter. Player welfare will dictate that no player will be asked to play all 4 games. Professional rugby players would not be allowed to play this schedule of games.

  101. Strong looking team .Sam callinan definitely worth a try at centre back .not really sure what Stephen coen will bring to midfield but it’s a decent looking line up

  102. In other news St.Geralds came through their semi this evening with 3 to spare over Summerhill.

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