Measuring Meath


It’s a blessing and a curse that the games are coming along so rapidly at us in this year’s Championship. This week-to-week-to-week schedule has meant that we’d no time at all to luxuriate in having bested Galway for the first time since 2016 but now it means equally we’ve no period in which we’re condemned to brood on Sunday’s hosing by Kerry, our worst defeat in the Championship since 2007.

There’s simply no time for looking back right now, it’s the road ahead and the test we’re racing towards rapidly where our focus needs to be fixed. This week that test comes in the shape of Meath so let’s run a quick check over them.

Mayo/Meath? 1996, of course, is the first clash that comes to mind for most people. There’s scar tissue there for us, of course, there always will be, but we’ve suffered other, arguably deeper, wounds since then so the heady events of those two final matches 23 years ago no longer carry the same potency as they once did.


If it’s history you want to talk about, then consider this: we haven’t beaten Meath in the Championship since 1951. That 2-8 to 0-9 win gained us our third and still most recent All-Ireland success but since then we’ve lost to them in 1967, 1988, 1996 (after a replay) and 2009.

For sure we should have beaten them in the 1996 final – both bloody days – but the 2009 loss was nearly as galling, albeit in a game of far lower profile. We went into that match as Connacht champions and were strong favourites to prevail but we collapsed in a heap in the last quarter and allowed a very mediocre Meath side to scalp us by three points.

Indeed, those of a nervous disposition might point to parallels between the chatter in advance of those games then and now. The blog existed back then too, but, of course, it only attracted a fraction of the traffic it does now, with the discussion also limited to a far smaller pool of contributors. The vast majority, as I recall, were very confident of victory in advance – as I was too – and so the defeat proved to be a rude shock for all of us.

Which is as good a cue as any to switch to the present day Meath side and what they’ve been up to of late in League and Championship.

Not a lot, you could say – such a summary wouldn’t be too wide of the mark there. They’ve more or less given up completely trying to compete in Leinster and their Championship runs generally have tended to be on the short side in recent years. This year, though, has seen their fortunes begin to rise for the first time in a long while.

In retrospect, maybe this trend began last summer. Their Leinster campaign ended after just one game, which they lost to Longford by two points at the quarter-final stage. They then had the bad fortune to be drawn against Tyrone in Round 1 of the qualifiers.

They lost that one too and so exited the Championship in early June. But they did so with their heads held high, as they took Tyrone to extra-time in Navan and were desperately unlucky not to dump the Red Hands out that day. The 2-14 to 0-19 AET loss they suffered then didn’t look too shabby the day their conquerors made it all the way to the All-Ireland final last summer.

Photo: RTÉ

Meath haven’t been in Division One of the League in yonks but this spring they finally put that to rights. It proved to be a really good spring campaign for them, one in which they caught the winning bug, coming out on top in six of the regulation seven games.

The only team they lost to in Division Two this year was Donegal. They went under by two points in Round 2 up in Ballybofey and they lost out by two points to them again, this time in Croke Park, in the divisional decider. Last Sunday, Donegal beat them a third time this year, on this occasion by a decisive nine points in their Phase 1 Super 8s meeting at Ballybofey.

Aside from their meetings with Donegal, Meath’s League run saw them record wins over Tipperary in Round 1, Armagh in Round 3, Cork in Round 4, Kildare in Round 5, Clare in Round 6 and Fermanagh in Round 7. All in all, that was very solid campaign for them, one that deservedly saw them promoted to Division One for next year.

They continued on their winning ways in the Leinster Championship too. Offaly, though, gave them a tough enough examination in the preliminary round, Meath only scraping through that one by 1-13 to 0-14. Carlow were, however, swatted away by 2-18 to 0-9 in the quarters and Laois were beaten by 3-13 to 0-11 in the semi-final.

But then Dublin completely eviscerated them in the final. All they managed to score against the four-in-a-row All-Ireland champions was a truly miserable four points, with Dublin racking up 1-17 as they strolled in second gear to an utterly facile Leinster title win.

Photo: RTÉ

Andy McEntee’s charges would surely have been on the floor after that pounding. Then, however, Lady Luck intervened. Last year they may have been in hard luck with the qualifier draw but this time, when they might have pulled Tyrone again or, indeed, ourselves, they got paired instead in Round 4 with Clare to contest a place in the Super 8s.

It was a game that Meath won, beating a spirited Clare side in that Round 4 qualifier at O’Moore Park by just a single point, with that 2-16 to 1-18 win sending the Royals onward to the All-Ireland quarter-finals group stage, housed in Group 1 of the Super 8s along with Kerry, Donegal and ourselves.

Photo: RTÉ

On the same afternoon that we were getting pasted down in Killarney, Meath went under last Sunday to Donegal by 2-19 to 1-13. That scoreline does the Royals some injustice, however, as they put it up to Donegal for long stretches and only tailed away close to the end.

And so our paths are set to cross at HQ on Sunday, ten years on from when we last met them in a competitive fixture. We’re both coming off Phase 1 losses and we both know that only a win will be good enough to keep our respective Championship hopes alive for this year. Something’s got to give and so, group match or no group match, this one is effectively a knockout tie.

It’s one in which the bookies fancy us to do the business – we’re 4/9 with Paddy Powers to win – but, of course, our defeat last Sunday means that victory for us the next day isn’t enough in its own right to keep our hopes properly alive going into Phase 3. Should Donegal beat Kerry, then, to all intents and purposes, we’re gone, regardless of how we do against Meath.

But, lookit, we can only mind our own house and see where the chips fall elsewhere. So let’s end, as usual, with a poll to test the temperature – what’s it to be when we square up to Meath on Sunday?

How will we fare against Meath?

  • Win (74%, 694 Votes)
  • Lose (22%, 204 Votes)
  • Draw (4%, 38 Votes)

Total Voters: 936

Loading ... Loading ...

180 thoughts on “Measuring Meath

  1. If we lose and Kerry beat Donegal, aren’t we still in it heading to the last day then? On scoring difference?

  2. We are Larry but as it stands we are – 19 points compared to Donegals scoring tally.

    Great pictures there WJ.

  3. Anyone have the latest on the Paddy Durcan, Diarmuid O’Connor and Matty Ruane injuries.Is there any chance they can play the Donegal game if we beat Meath Sunday??

  4. I seem to recall some dodgy Dublin Joe refereeing in our last game against Meath 10 years ago?
    Anyway that’s all in the past, all we can control is here and now, but we must take the Meath challenge very seriously, they smell blood, hopefully it’s their own!

  5. You’re right there, Our time has come. If you click on the link in the piece about that 2009 game you’ll find I have a few choice things to say about said refereeing and plenty more besides. I’ve mellowed a small bit in the intervening years!

  6. For those looking ahead to Donegal and saying that we ‘should’ beat Meath here’s a fact:

    In the past 12 months we struggled past Tipperary, lost to a Kildare side that have done nothing ever since, squeezed past Down and Armagh before seeing off a disjointed Galway.

    Meath are an improving team, winning promotion this year, lost by a point to Tyrone in qualifier last year and ran a much fancied Donegal team close before tiring. They also kept Dublin honest for a large part of the Leinster final where inexperience cost them.

    Need we be reminded also of other ‘should win’ qualifier games notably Fermanagh and Derry.

    The fact is our midfield has been destroyed due to injuries and some key players are underperforming – unfortunately that’s a recipe for losing to an underrated Meath team.

    The truth is we’re very vulnerable and I’m deeply worried that an emerging Meath team will scrape past us on Sunday.

    One change I’d make for Sunday is McLoughlin into the HB – his natural position.

    One other thing; I’ve been banging on all year like a Lear on the heath on this forum about the lack of new talent in the FB line- it’s coming home to roost now. How disappointing is it that there is no new FB coming through in the county – not a single candidate for the role.

    This time 10 years ago a fancied Mayo team played a QF in Croker ….and were shown the door by Meath. I hope it doesn’t happen Sunday.

  7. Only 26 comments after a quarter final defeat! Would be times that before the game was over now.

  8. I have to say Willie Joe, your piece on that 2009 match v Meath was very colourful, it seems that Dublin Joe had it in for Mayo even back then.
    I didn’t go to that game was in Mayo on holiday. I remember there was very little bite to that match, some things haven’t changed, giving up a good lead with 19 minutes to go, Parsons at full forward, I would never place him there. I had go to the semi, Kerry v Meath on a wet day, meath did well could have scored a bit more in 1st half.
    The mill by the Hill, part 2 to come on Sunday

  9. I echo your sentiments Spotlight. If our boys were tired last Sunday they’ll be tired this Sunday. It doesn’t mean we can’t win but I see it as a massive test of Horans tactical ability. He must freshen things up.

    Playing an orthodox 6 with McLoughlin named on the forwards but playing as a sweeper is a NO BRAINER call. I would also start with one of EOD and Plunkett or even both.

    Meath will be well up for this but by God do we owe them multiple beatings.

    I still remember the sign near Enfield driving up for the match in 2009. It said ‘1996, whingers’. It boiled my blood.

    I think we are due a big game from Aidan O’Sé. He’s been quiet since Roscommon. I’m going out on a limb here…AOS for MOTM on Sunday.

  10. I finished school in Meath and played most of my club football there so this game always holds a little extra for me. I can remember going to the 1996 final on crutches and being sorely tempted to use them for a much more agricultural purpose in the Hogan stand.

    I watched the 2009 match in an Irish centre in upstate New York and I don’t think I was ever as frustrated watching Mayo. That was a decent side knocked out by a very average Meath team. The referee was poor but we really shouldn’t have left it in any doubt.

    I’m back in New York this week but will be flying home for the game on Sunday. I’ve got too much skin in this game to watch it from distance.

  11. Very informative Willie Joe …We can’t take the 4 point’s scored by Meath versus Dublin in the Leinster Final as anything close to a true reflection of their true worth .. The rest of their previous years work is indeed very impressive! That’s what we are facing. . ..A one point Win for us would be fantastic!

  12. Mayo to win. Kerry to win. Shootout in McHale park. Semi final spot achieved after a mighty battle, some of the forwards on the bench and development squad trained up next season, and deployed in the backs, a out and out scoring full back discovered in the process, with a formula 1engine, corner backs showing real promise. All injuries cleared up. And after getting knocked out in the semi final. We are all good to go again in 2020 it’s all fairly straight forward really ??

  13. Well done Rock, safe travelling.
    Most important on sunday is a composed performance where we control the pace of the game. We gave the ball away cheaply, inaccurate foot passing, becuase, imo, the game was played at a pace we were not comfortable with.
    Anyone check out PP re odds on both games?

  14. Mayo 4/11 and Kerry 4/5. Hate to say it but a Meath /Donegal double looks like a very tasty bet!

  15. the only couple of crumbs of comfort is that it’s meath now not donegal and that it’s meaths 3rd week in a row

  16. With you on that Viking, always thought it’d come down to the last game in Castlebar.
    Haven’t beaten The Royals since ’51?
    I didn’t know that it was that long…….jaypers that’s cruel.
    Soon to change!

  17. My abiding memory of that 2009 game is watching from the davin end of the Hogan and Keith standing 10 yards off Sheridan and Sheridan won the game for them. He wasn’t a man marker or corner back then and 10 yrs later he certainly isn’t. In 2014 semi finals we had his epic battles with O’Donoghue Who scored something like 3.4 off him, but o’do Didn’t score against Donegal in the final. My point is Keith is a class middle third player (now past his best), yet there is no other option but to play him at 4 next Sunday. As a county we’re too slow to re-vamp the panel, Caff was full back 10 yrs ago and since then have we given any new face a decent run at fullback, I can’t think of any.

  18. I expect this to be a very open game where either team could build up a decent lead and then blow it. If there was ever a day that the timely introduction of fresh players will be needed it’s Sunday. Both teams will be out on their feet in the last quarter. I expect our management to be very aware of this and if they execute properly I expect our stronger bench to close out the game. Mayo to shade it, just.

  19. Puckout. There is an option, drop him and start Eoin ó Donoghue. Spot on re full back, 3 successive management teams have failed to find or make a full back.

  20. It’s going to be nice to be back at Croke Park and our lads always seem to enjoy it. Meath hasn’t faired well against the better teams (we are one of the better teams). We just need to stamp our own authority on the game and make sure they do not get a foothold. Like the Galway game, getting an early goal will help us allot. If we do that than watch it!!!! We will go for the jugular and start chipping away at our own point differences.

    Anyway, I’m putting Super 8 competition aside and making this a grudge match for 1996 & 2009. Knocking Meath out of the Championship will be reward enough 🙂

  21. I can’t believe the arrogance..what have we shown this year that we will beat Meath?it all reminds me of Kildare and Roscommon..we were out on our feet Sunday and can’t expect to anything but more fatigued Sunday..unless lots of changes and fresh sure anybody who knows Mayo club football agrees that letting Jason gibbons go was a major mistake….

  22. Open game at Helter skelter pace? I dont see horan going with that. Nor do I see him allowing our fb line to be exposed to one to one situations. The kickouts, I dont know how you solve that one but it should be a bit easier to retain possesion in croke park.

  23. Of course its quite right that we are strong favourites with bookies, after all Meath have been camped in division 2 for a long time (until next year), decimated by Dublin, and scraping by Clare. So on paper we really ought to be easy victors by 6 or 7 points. However this is Mayo…

    Down could have beat us
    Armagh should have beat us
    Galway our best performance by far and we let them back into it too

    Thoughts on Meath, i would say they have 5 very good players we need to plan for (Keogan, McGill, O’Sullivan, Newman, Menton) then a lot of average/mediocre ones. They seem to having their own goalkeeping issues too so a high press on opposition kickouts would seem to be the way to go. I would actually rate armagh and galway higher than them in terms of quality. Donal Keogan is an exceptional player and heading for an allstar nod but he is a halfback so im not sure if he is worth making special arrangements for.

    We should have too much for them though, croke park suits us and we seem to perform better when the noose tightens. Mayo by 5

    would start as follows…
    S Coen,
    D Coen

  24. 2009, such a frustrating game. The game turned on a line ball that should have been ours underneath the Hogan, that Meath then scored a goal from. Looking back now, that game certainly feels like the appetiser to the 2010 main course in Longford, which ultimately led to a change of focus that has led us all on this crazy ride. I sense we’re at a significant crossroads, and whilst I expect a huge response, there’s the potential for a cruel kind of symmetry, should Meath be the ones to put the stake through the heart of this group, 10 years on from where it all began. My heart says we’ll go out and tear them a new one, a la the Ross replay in 2017, but my head says the end is nigh for many of our soldiers. I’ll be there to support and salute them regardless of the outcome, these soldiers gave us our pride back, and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude! Hon Mayo!!

  25. I agree – this is a stern challenge on Sunday and there are no guarantees here. Meath are a good strong team that won’t show fear of us and have shown they can mix it with the Tyrones and the Donegals – and have just won promotion to Division 1. WJ’s roll call above of who they have beaten recently should focus our minds. This is a stern challenge and only treating it as such can allow us to overcome it – with our team hit by so many injuries it’ll take a supreme performance especially by management and a clever performance by players to even have a chance of coming out on the right side of this one.

  26. I’m not looking forward to this. Meath are confident about taking a scalp here and why shouldn’t they be? No one fears playing us anymore, which is testament to how beatable we are of late.
    Even more than that, I’m not looking forward to the Donegal Kerry game. Donegal will win that one and then that will be the end of that.

  27. I was at the 09 game and remember two things very distinctly from that game. First was Joe’s howler of a refereeing call that swung the game and second our reaction to this. We dropped the heads and lost our shape. The comments afterwards were “typical Mayo”. I cannot imagine that ever happening with this team. We are a different animal now and a lot of that is down to the “consistently competitive” attitude Horan instilled in his first term.

    I think we’ll win this one because we have to and when this team have to they usually do. I don’t mean that as arrogance more a reflection of the players for the last 8 years. Meath will be a very different proposition to Kerry. We aren’t sure what kind of animal they are yet really. Going by the league form they are in a group with Galway, Armagh, Cavan, Kildare, Cork, maybe the Rossies. I think Donegal are a level above them (Donegal beat them 3 times this year). I would put us above most of those teams on recent form (beaten Armagh and Galway, should have beaten Ros). We can’t say we are in a league with Dublin or Kerry on current form. I hope we are on a level with Donegal and Tyrone but Saturday fortnight will tell that tale.

    So overall on form and talent we should beat them but we’ve injuries, off the back of 4 games in 4 weeks and a terrible beating. Mind you they have a good few games played recently as well. So what else can we do but plug the gaps were we can and play to our strengths.

    We had three big flaws the last day in my eyes: kickouts, giving cheap turnovers from poor kick passing and losing the battle around midfield.
    Kickouts – if Meath do a full court press as well as Kerry did for as long as they did we will be in trouble no matter which keeper we pick as if we haven’t developed a smart strategy around it now we don’t have time. I haven’t seen that press from Meath for extended periods but I’ll be honest I haven’t seen enough of them. So all we can do is change players.
    Turnovers/kick-passing – generally this has been good all year and was possibly down to tiredness and the absence of Paddy Durcan. Again HF line were poor here and changes should be made Boland would help and maybe Treacy too. In for any of the three who started the last day. Perhaps switching Keith to wingback and Coen into the FB line would help here as well.
    MF – Seamie has to start to allow us a foot hold in MF and our HF line have to work harder for breaking ball. Meath do not have a David Moran so that should also help. Doc and Kev Mc are usually excellent on the breaking ball and McDonagh was an option during the league. But they simply didn’t do it against Kerry. I fear Kev Mc is not at full fitness (didn’t start against Armagh and taken off against Galway and Kerry) so I’d leave him off for Boland. Doc is at risk form wise but I’m not sure if Horan will go with a HF line of McDonagh, Boland and Treacy

  28. Exiled in Dublin.
    What sort of steak do think meath will use and how do you think they’ll cook it?

  29. I can’t see how you’re putting us in the same league as Donegal & Tyrone, right here, right now Kevmy. There’s no evidence to suggest we’re moving with anything like the consistency, shape or game plan, of either. I have to agree with justoutsideballagh, if you’re a betting person, the Meath Donegal double looks like serious value. I also think this notion that we “should’ve” beaten Ross is an utter fallacy. They outscored us when it mattered, and applying the “shoulda” rationale can as easily be applied the other way for us against Armagh, and we gave Down & Galway chances to get back into it also. Donegal haven’t looked like losing any of their games thus far, and the only one Tyrone looked shook in was against Donegal. Maybe this weekend and being back in Croke Park will light the touch paper for us, but I’m struggling to see us as being anything other than vulnerable.

  30. I’m always reluctant to compare League form to Championship Form. But after reading WJ”s piece on Meath, a few things jumped out at me.

    Meath have now played Donegal 3 times in 2019, and apart from their late tail off last Sunday, they gave Donegal their fill of it in all 3 games….the same Donegal that national commentators were up to last week, heralding as the most credible challengers to Dublin this year..

    Again, giving a health warning about League results, it’s noticeable from WJ’s piece above, that Meath secured league wins against Armagh and Cork, which given the events of this summer ,was very solid form.

    If Mayo deliver a performance, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be winning this game by 6 points.
    But if we are to see any repeat of the worst of this season’s form on next Sunday, then Meath are just the type of team who could turn us over.

    The outcome of this match, basically rests on what Mayo turn up ?

  31. Ah now…chips on the table, medium rare….Mmmm
    Mayo by a whisker in a dog fight. Meath gave Dublin and Donegal good games. Would have done better against dubs but their finishing was woeful. They were afraid of the dubs but won’t fear us at all. It’ll be close but I hope we release the animal.
    Steak and chips all around afterwards!!

  32. I remember that game for all the wrong reasons. I was living in the North beyond Bangor. Came down to go to the match with my dad but never got to it or watched it (and even had forgotten result). My father came up to Dublin from Mayo the night before and went out for a few drinks. He got jumped on on his way home from the pub by young fellas. Found him in an awful state when I arrived at my brothers house and had to drive him home to Mayo. Lucky he wasn’t killed. Left unconscious on the M1 flyover at Santry. That’s my last memory of playing Meath.

  33. I was at that match in 2009 and I recall a few things about it
    1 – getting ruined on kickouts
    2 – a most inept refereeing performance, with a couple of things that stuck out in particular being a free given for a double hop that wasn’t, a sideline that never was resulting in as soft a penalty as I’ve seen given, the Meath Goalkeeper stepping back over the line with the ball in hand and no goal given (he was behind the line as I was in and around section 310 and had a clear view of it. I recall Kevin McStay outlining a number of decisions that evening on the Sunday game that showed it was effectively a 7 point swing from those and other decisions. I try not to remember about refereeing decisions. I should know better after Limerick 2014 that really, we have to just control the controllable and nothing more.
    3 – the heads going down after these decisions and effectively giving up the ghost.
    4 – we were heavily fancied going into that game.

    There are too many parallels in that game with the upcoming to ignore. Meath didn’t secure promotion from Division 2 into Division 1 for the next season for the craic.

    We have to take their threat seriously, but we certainly have the talent and the wherewithal to beat them. We certainly owe them a good hammering but owing a team that and dishing it out are 2 very different things.
    Nothing would please me more than giving them a Roscommon-Replay-2017 style thumping to make sure that any notions of Meath returning to the days of ambushing us in Croke park are killed off and buried. By the same token, Meath would love nothing more than to continue their unbeaten streak over us, which is probably the longest of any team against us. They will rightly feel that they have a good chance against us and that is something that they certainly do have.

    Here’s hoping that the familiarity we have with Croke Park will work in our favour and that the lads can be sufficiently motivated to rack up a good score in order signal that we’re not out of it yet.
    I won’t be there unfortunately but best of luck to those that are making the journey and make sure you make the noise.

    Up Mayo.

  34. Christ I remember that 2009 game like it was yesterday.
    I was praying we’d get Meath beforehand, as I couldn’t see anything other than us giving them a right ‘royal’ beating.
    Absolutely gutted to lose that one. Have never forgotten Dublin Joe since that game, although looking back, the way our players folded was just as deflating.
    I also remember reading that match report a few hours after the game, was too sick and too busy drowning my sorrows to make any comment on the game myself.

    I’ve never wished to draw Meath since, no matter how badly they’re doing. Learned my lesson.

  35. wj’s match report from 2009 makes for fascinating reading

    this line was interesting…
    “Keith Higgins (although we got further proof today that he shouldn’t be operating at corner-back – his man bagged 1-2 from play)”

    That was true in 2009 and even more true 10 years later, fantastic front-foot footballer but KH has never been a cornerback.

    6 players from that 2009 team still in squad today which is interesting, doubt there is any other county team that has more than a handful (if any) players still around from 2009

  36. @Sinead 37…. I wish you and? your’s ‘Tranquility’ for the build up and afterwards, this coming Sunday, hopefully you will have much better memories of Next Sunday’s Match, wheather you are in Croke Park or watching it on TV…. But I wish you all the ‘Excitement’ and the ‘Fun of the Fair’, while the Match is on…. Fingers crossed, this will be an occasion you won’t want to forget for all the right reasons!

  37. Brannigan is the ref for Sunday’s encounter..Honestly I dont know where the energy is going to come from after last Saturday..Those lads will have to call on everything in the tank..

  38. Jaysis I went on some rant after that game. I’ve mellowed a lot in the meantime in fairness. I.put it down to always being periodically at the top table whcih is where this team has brought us for past 6 or.7 years. It sure has helped lessen the pain of that defeat anyway. At the same time i do worry about this one. Meath are underdogs with nothing to lose against what looks on paper to be a very fragile Mayo team. And where they can regroup in time after last week’s humbling is the big question.
    Personally I thibk there was a hang up after Galway win and not having time to celebrate that properly did effect the team focus. After watching game back with all the basic errors we made I’d have to say that there’s no way Kerry are that much better than us. I think they might get a rude awakening against Donegal.
    As to our lads I hope they win. It wouldn’t be a bad season to win a nation league reach super 8s and also, beat Galway and Meath in championship. I’d be satisfied with that for 2019 with all the new faces and injuries we’ve had.

  39. @ Supermac

    I count a lot more then 6 in the squad back in 2009 that are still part of the squad today, most still part of the CORE group of players

    I make it 11 players:

    David Clarke
    Robbie Hennely – Played FBD that year
    Donal Vaughan
    Keith Higgins
    Ger Cafferkey
    Chris Barret played in the league that year
    Kevin Mcloughlin
    Tom Parsons
    Aidan O Shea
    Andy Moran

  40. Mayo should win next Sunday in my opinion, Meath have a recent history with donegal and they would have played above themselves last Sunday and still went down by nine points. I had a fancy for Clare over them to be honest and they nearly got the better of them, a little more cuteness and they would have won that game. For anyone watching the game the skill levels displayed by both teams were a little shy of what’s required at this level. Don’t get me wrong as they are two dangerous teams that will put it up to anyone that underestimates them but Horan and his players will be acutely aware that their brief period in the clam waters is now at an end and they will be back in the white water come Sunday.

    It’s a little difficult to see where those odds are coming from for Kerry, perhaps the gurus who suggest these odds are of the mindset that Tyrone were both naive in their plans and unfortunate in their loss of Harte to that black card so early in that game. Bonner and his staff are good strategists no doubt but it’s difficult to make a clear assessment of their true worth thus far. Personally I would rank Tyrone above them but I think they will be difficult to score against next Sunday and I would be a little anxious about the strategy they will employ for the likes of O Shea and Clifford, I’ve no doubt that they will need the two week break to for the bruising to subside.

    Kerry will find it difficult to collectively have their finger on the pulse for this one as I have no doubt that winning their home game against Mayo last week was huge for them. Retired players were writing in so many different ink colors that they were being doubted, encouraged and had their pride questioned. Some truths and a little cute hoorism in most if not all that was written. They got the response and mayo found themselves in the perfect storm. Allied to this mayo were tired from their own all or nothing game against the enemy at the gate the previous Saturday and were playing in their first game in a while where the result wasn’t absolute, little things snowball in the Championship.

    Mayo have old wounds here and they know what’s on the line, I feel they will bring what’s required next Sunday. I think Meath will give ye a belly full but ye will have too much for them when all is said and done. Horan will have the dressing room for this one and the players know why and what they have to do when they pull that jersey over their heads in Croke Park, rousing speech not required. Hope ye do it.

  41. Game changer – I would take a one point win right now. We have not shown anything like the sort of form in championship that made us the team we were since the 2017 final…that’s a huge worry.

    IF we win then we will all equally be on tinderhooks hoping yer boys beat Donegal.

  42. Tiredness , physically and mentally drained . Ultimately our ship sailed in 2017 . Realism now has to set in and the men behind the project have to revise why we didn’t win an all Ireland in this period , whether it’s been management, structures , logistics or whatever reasons you don’t come that close with the same group so often by default , we should of won at least two imo . I hope to Christ we don’t just fade away now over the next half dozen years. Personally I’d like to see Andy Moran involved in management , a football director of sorts if there’s such a position

  43. @Exiled in Dublin – I HOPE we are at a level with Donegal/Tyrone but very few form lines crossing over so far. I’m far from convinced that we are. I’m HOPING that a two weeks rest and some players returning from injury will bridge a gap to Donegal. But first we have to get over Meath.

    I know with the should’ve on Armagh and Galway but realistically we owned the ball at MF against Ros, kicked 17 wides and gifted them 1-1 off kickouts under little enough pressure. I don’t think Armagh or Galway can say that.

    All said and done though agree that Meath are on an upward curve in general and are at a level that could catch us out if we don’t play to our ability.

  44. I remember being at the Meath game in 2009 and some Meath fan beside banging on about Mayo being sh1t and spineless etc etc, all this before the game and then again afterwards, I have been waiting for us to draw them again ever since . Really hope we can do it.

    Funny how I can remember a lot of the game well, almost ten years to the same weekend and you think about everything that has happened in the ten years since.

  45. I agree with you Sean on all. When this campaign ends Horan needs to re-build, mileage as much as age is affecting many of this squad. The re-build should start with 2 new goalkeepers and take it from there.

  46. Anyone see the Facebook competition for the lucky winners to hand the keys of a new 192 car to both Lee and Aiden THIS Friday. Hardly ideal preparation. Bad timing imo.

  47. Sunday presents a simple question, win we still have a chance, lose and it’s done for 2019 bar the dead rubber ultimately against Donegal.

    For all the years following this Mayo team and teams gone before them their is a spirit there that to quote Diarmuid “drive on” the squad and JH.

    We faced a fresh and massively pumped Kerry team last Saturday, lost midfield and damage was done in first half.

    2nd half they fought and never gave up, the goal blunted our realistic hope but still we ploughed on.

    The scope is there to perform, we’re back in Croker, our 2nd home since 2012….

    We will make mistakes, yes, will we win 100%.

    This will go down to the wire in Castlebar.

    Roll on Croker. Can’t wait.

  48. Willie Joe! I read the 2009 report and you fairly cut loose for sure. And then I was tempted to read a post I put up myself the same day. Jazus ! It was a bit like finding an embarrassing photo of myself from younger days.
    I have no idea how we will get on against Meath.
    Logic would say that if we were suffering from fatigue last Sunday we will be even more fatigued next Sunday. Apart from the physical exertions of playing in such a big match in hot conditions we have had a lot of travel time and little opportunity to rest properly. And we are away again on Saturday afternoon for another long journey and an over-night.
    As well as the physical we took an awful pasting on Sunday and that must have a psychological impact on our lads.
    But with this Mayo team when did logic ever come into it! Given our past experiences we could possibly turn up and beat the lard out of Meath. You never can tell. I have heard it said that after our defeat to Kerry that Meath smell blood! Good for them. At 3:30 on Sunday I hope it’s their own their smelling.
    This team, having been on the go for so many years, should be dead and buried at this stage. But there is still a bit of a pulse. Not quite dead yet.

  49. Ah now, in my opinion, your comment is “bad timing”.
    Just my opinion of course.

  50. Hennelly






  51. Agree with most of that TH apart from the FF line – Darren Coen has to start. Diskin is way down the pecking order IMO.

  52. @Crossflan…

    11 players still around from 2009? Not sure if thats impressive or terrifying, bit of both i guess. Huge mileage put up there.
    We have always been quite lucky in Mayo with player retention, you very rarely hear of lads opting out,
    If nothing else happens this year at least we have begun the process of introducing some fresh blood, should have started 3 or 4 years ago but better later than never

    Donegal and Kerry have managed their transition much better

  53. TH I thought Aido and Seamie were well off the pace and when they were chasing back they never looked like getting anywhere near their man .I thought the same about Vaughan .This is what really concerns me .If we are not winning the battle in the middle third Meath will come at us and they will cause damage .

  54. I think we will beat Meath but they’re won’t be much in it but I think it will be irrelevant because Donegal will beat Kerry so it could be The last time we see Andy Keith maybe Boyler and Clarke in Croke Park. We owe Meath a beating we haven’t beat them since 1951 so it would be nice to get one over of them. We have been very unlucky last season and this with injuries were still missing Tom Parsons from last season and Seamus is just back and throw in Lee and Aido not fully right and Diarmuid, Paddy and Matthew out injured they are huge losses. A win against Meath would cheer us up Not looking beyond that really

  55. Agree wholeheartedly Mayo 13BG.
    Big changes since 2009, and what’s past is past and leave it there.
    We can overthink everything too much.
    While these lads are around Hope will always Spring Eternal.
    I also hope for you Sinead37 that Sunday will bring happier and better memories in every way.
    Best of luck to Team and mgmt.
    We thank you for great days too.

  56. Agree we need to rebuild, but I think are ship had sailed when we lost to Kerry in Limerick in replay.
    Can Horan build what he did the last time and will he be given the time to do so.
    Everyone is ón about Kerry again but as I’ve already said Fitzmaurice had to make the sacrifice to build that team.
    We have to start from scratch, but let’s see how we get on this weekend first
    Horan still best manager we’ve had imo

  57. Ah I don’t think that’s true Supermac, Donegal have made little impact in the All Ireland series since 2014, the quarter finals being as far as they’ve made it.

    It’s taken them five years to get to this point where they are potential realistic challengers, by that barometer we are at year two so we have a long way to go.

  58. Donegal bit the bullet 2 years ago.
    They tried out a lot of their younger players in the league and ended up getting relegated, then stuck with them through the championship, getting hammered by Galway in the process. They’re reaping the benefits now.

    We need to continue the transition now, not revert back to the tried and trusted in some vain hope they can miracle a few wins for us.

  59. i just getting my wind back after is onwards to croke park on sunday for a very dicey game against meath.we should win it .I hope james horan is not too proud to phone john maughaun to pick his brains re meath who played offaly earlier in the summer .he should have a wealth of USEFUL information about meath. P.S. I see jim gavin has brought diarmiud connolly back into the dublin tent ,a smart move i if dublin dont win the 5 in a row nobody can say ‘we would have won it if we had diarmuid connolly’

  60. Cant argue with any of that Gamechanger10 especially the point about it been a perfect storm. I hope Kerry raise their game for Donegal to something coming close to what was brought to Mayo. I could be wrong but my fear is that they will not be able to replicate that intensity on consecutive weekends which I don”t mind so long as yee dont loose to the feckers as scoring difference will make it nigh on impossible for us to catch them. I still firmly believe if there is something to play for we will take Donegal in McHale Park

  61. its only a matter of time til they are back Joe, mightn’t be this year but they will be there/thereabouts for AI in next year or 2

    They have managed their transition very well, talented u21 players from last few years were blooded very quickly so now they are in the very healthy position of having well established talented youngsters like Jason McGee, Brennan, Langan, McMenamin, McFadden Ferry,Patton, Ban Gallagher, This is complimented by a group of early 20s leaders like Ryan McHugh, McBrearty and then a handful of experienced all-ireland winners in Murphy, McGee and McLoone to lend a guiding hand if needed

    Reading wj’s 2009 match report drove this home to me, seeing so many of the same names still there 10 years later. A transition needs to take place in 2020/2021, even if it means a few years of pain

  62. Very good article by Billie Joe Padden in Mayo News
    Moving forward Mayo must
    *Control the pace of game.
    *have a system in place wherby no member of the full back line is left isolated one on one
    *Improve possession retention from kickouts
    *Finish out the game in the last quarter.
    I have no doubt we will win and get the showdown we are looking for in Castlebar
    A big point of interest in the other game is how Clifford is contained.

  63. What do people think Horan has been doing this year? He’s tried a huge amount of players. We have 3 def new starters in Coen, mcdonagh and Ruane. We have other like plunkett, McCormack, Carr, treacy pushing for starting places. Then we have the likes of Boland, loftus and Coen who are young but should be further along then they are. After every loss there’s a narrative that we need 15 new players, we don’t. Clarke, Keith, Andy will likely retire at the end of this season. After this year we need a new goalkeeper, options for the full back line and then to improve the players that are there. We are currently in transition. Winning the league and making the super 8’s is a good year. If we make a semi it will be a fantastic year.

  64. i think Donegal are overated.They have some fine players but also some very average one eg CHB. I think Kerry will beat them . We will beat Meath if we shore up our back line–Meath will have 10 men behind the ball

  65. @NiallMc 1983. .. I think that the player’s and or managnent might decide when they will retire themselves!, …Who knows, most of these guy’s are in far better shape than your average fit 21 year old!..

  66. That’s true lean times, but Andy has said he was thinking about retiring this year so I’d be surprised if he’s around next year. It’s not only a fitness decision, it’s time away from family, work etc.

  67. @ontheditch, the items you mentioned that Billie Joe Padden are there for anybody to see, my question is why does Horan and his management team not see this ? and why not change things around faster.
    Mayo need to fine bucket loads of energy for Meath on Sunday, alot of comments I have read this past few days, are, sure they are tired, sure they are drained, poor fellas, I am going to play indoor soccer tonite ( in 49 in August ) against fit / fast / skillful guys mainly from Eastern Europe, sure I will also get tired but will keep pushing myself for the 1 hour and 15 minutes.
    No more excuses, this goalie or the other goalie, or this press or another press, if we as former footballers can see the problems early in a game, and recommend the changes that may work, why cant Horan do likewise.
    Mayo need a conductor in and around the middle of the pitch, one player that can win the ball and set up an attack with a clever pass, Andy morran fits this profile ( remember Alan Dillon v Tyrone in 2013, in that cat and mouse game where they sat back ).
    A few other questions,
    why is there so few midfielders on the panel ?
    Could McCormack or Plunkett do a job at centre back or midfield ?
    Would Aidan O Shea benefit from a move to full forward ?
    How about kevin McLoughlin or Drake at wing back ?
    Mayo must go for broke, all players must find that extra edge v Meath, hard to believe that we have such a poor record against meath in the championship.
    Croker park is huge, surely Mayo can pick a strong attacking wing from corner back to corner forward, maybe condense things a bit more for our kickouts and use the smaller fast guys to take the long kickouts, loads of options.
    Tell Horan to give me a call.

  68. Agreed Niall. 3 or 4 new starters in one year is good going. The same again next year would have us in a great position. There doesn’t need to be 2 years of pain just to transition a few young players on to the team.

    We can’t blame everything on bad luck but losing Durcan, Ruane and Diarmuid to injury in the middle of championship is a hammer blow. We’re not Dublin, so missing 3 of our best 6 or 7 players will weaken us considerably.

  69. NiallMc1983 – I saw a graphic on Twitter that shows we’ve tried out more players than any other county this year, 32 in total.
    It’s by @gaelicstats and was posted on 15/07 at 20.41 for anyone who wants to take a look.

  70. With your fitness levels Mayo88 maybe he should call you to see if you are available to play…

  71. Great Post Mayo88. You have plenty of sensible and well worth trying options listed there.

    I would love to see a raft of changes to the starting 15. The team needs an injection of energy more than anything else. Let some of the newer lads do the hard running and tackling for the early part of the game. If there is 1 or 2 of them that look overwhelmed they can be substituted.

    I think it would be a mistake to send out the same starting 15 that started in Kilarney. Even psychologically for themselves I think they would look at the line up and say “well this line up didn’t do too well last weekend”. 5 or 6 fresh faces and let them off. I would bet some of the lads that have played all the games to date would do very well coming in off the bench with 25 minutes to go.

  72. Considering we are in transition, I think we have done fantastically well. If you told me we would be in the super 8s at the begining of the year, I would have accepted that.
    I think Horan is generally getting it right tactically, but he can’t control how players execute a plan. Bit slow in making substitutions?
    Yes but he’s learning.

  73. Mayo 88..Its just a matter of debooting and reprogramming the lads and they’ll be grand to go again..No bother to them.

  74. All this Mayo vs Meath talk has somehow led me to watching youtube videos of highlights of the 96 finals. That wasnt a good idea.

  75. Meath will be perfecting the press on the kick outs all week. Shame that the keeper seems unable to kick with the left foot – not a long kick required but an accurate short punt to give more options. The press up just has to cover the left side and if our centrefield is not functioning then there is trouble. I fear for our chances on Sunday.

  76. how can a group of players that have been training together for nearly ten years with the best of coaches both fitness and S & C go out against a team who they had beaten twice in the previous six months fairly easily go out and not be able to catch, kick , pass a ball ,not be able to catch the opposition in a sprint or keep close to them to mark is a mystery to me, while the Management stood on the line and took very little action , even a blind man could see we were beaten out the gate at midfield and nothing done till halftime. Can anyone explain this total collapse for me

  77. How does the kick out rule work ? I know it has to pass the 20 for the defender to legally touch the ball. Can the opposition touch the ball before it gets to the 20 ?

  78. No disrespect to Meath, but they are the ideal Super 8 opposition for us. Second game, after a defeat in the first, against whom would you like to play? Dublin, like the Rossies, Cork away, Donegal ( home or away)? No thanks. As posters have pointed out, we’ve struggled against lesser teams, but here we are, at our favourite venue, with a chance to bag two points.

    We should be ravenous on Sunday.

  79. Is the kickouts rule from the 20 and must pass the 45 unless intercepted before the team kicking out can touch the ball ?

  80. What Twitter account are you referring to, Mayo/Meath man? It’s not the official one so I don’t see the point in posting stuff like that from what must be some random Meath source. In fact, I’m just going to delete that comment of yours – this place isn’t the right spot for that kind of nonsense.

  81. Culmore,
    There is no explanation as such, in GAA terms one would be tempted to say its “The Championship” and teams reach within themselves to play like never before or to flatter or deceive as regards form or the expectation thereof. If we beat Donegal and Meath and ye do the same we could potentially meet on the first day of September. Who would win that game,,, O Connor and Ruane descending into the middle eight and Durcan growling with menace on the back line. If this came to pass where would you put your money ??? From here on just make sure the belt is on as it will throw up a few curveballs for sure.

  82. We will bounce back from last week but I worry about the Donegal game they will have revenge for us putting them to division 2 but what will be will be

  83. Ahh will ya give over game changer with all due respect that comment is ridiculous. We have absolutely no chance of reaching the final this year , we are out on our feet , it’s painful to watch it unfold .

  84. Goodman Wills Joe, thought that was a bit below the belt, and uncalled for, your doing a fantastic job, and many thanks, it can’t be easy at times, but you seem to take it in your stride. We will win on Sunday.have no fear, and if Kerry beat Donegal, which i think they will. We will have a massive game in McHale park, full of drama, expectation and excitement, with a few twists and turns thrown in for good measure. Just the way we like it, a semi final spot, sure why not, We are Mayo and anything is possible.

  85. Sean Burke,
    You won’t win if you don’t even bother to bring your boots, I feel ye have two winnable games ahead. One due to the fact that ye have a little history and the fact that Meath are only crawling out of division two after playing lesser teams for many seasons, your team will have a few warriors there or thereabouts come donegal Sunday fortnight.

    I’m sure re you have watched Kelly’s Heroes and if so remember Oddball’s words of wisdom ? There you go again with those negative vibes Moriarty, head up as there are still some bridges standing…..

  86. Culmore, I’ll try. We had lost midfielders Ruane, o’Connor, S O’Shea had no game time, Jason Gibbons was let go-an error-and Murray drafted too soon. we ended up with Vaughan at midfield, not a noted fielder even at club level and AOS was dominated by Moran for whatever reason, injury, bad day, a superior opponent, maybe all of the above. So we lost every 50/50 ball in the first half as Clarke had only two kick-out options, long floating ball or short kick-out. Kerry knew this and pressed accordingly.
    They also have the best one-on-one forwards in the game and from the league final had a match-fit Clifford who is pretty much unmarkable, Moran and several new defenders while we were down Durcan, Ruane and O;Connor in that disastrous middle third. Put them in the mix and it’s a different, closer-to-call ball-game. I agree that Horan should have introduced Seamie after about 15/20 mins and we should have played a sweeper but James never does.

  87. If I was Andy McEntee I would be saying’ boys, Mayo are out on their feet, They looked shattered against Kerry well off the pace their midfield is f**ked and their backline is slow .
    What is Horan going to say to our boys ??

    I’m worried that if we cannot get the intensity levels up and the heads right we are going to struggle.

    Apologies for being negative.

  88. We shouldn’t be looking beyond the Meath game. It’s all that matters right now. If Donegal beat Kerry then good for them. Nothing we can do about that.

    We have a bit of history with Meath and I don’t think that’s lost of the lads. Supporters certainly don’t want to lose to them again. I fully expect us to be tuned in and ready to rock on Sunday.

  89. Think JH made a mistake by not bringing in natural scoring forwards like Liam Irwin, Jacko Reilly and Ryan O’Donoghue into this years panel, heard both Irwin and Reilly performed really well in trials last October but werent picked .I fancy Breaffy to win the Molclair cup this year cause I think Irwin can make a difference to there forward line where they have been lacking down through the years. Dissapointing to see both Brian Reape and Conor Diskin not making the match day 26 in the last few games.

  90. Have to laugh at my comment in 09 . I expect a similar level of guttedness if we don’t win Sunday . We owe these lads .

  91. @Skorzeny- Yeah you can buy tickets at Super Valu, Centra or online at Ticket’!

  92. TH

    I’m reliably informed by someone close to the London setup that Irwin was without one of their best players by that his ‘conditioning’ was not even close to a top class intercounty footballer. Now that’s down to Liam himself at this stage. Tom Parsons went to Wales with work and committed to getting as fit as possible to play for Mayo. The standard required is pretty clear at this stage.

    Ryan O’Donoghue is probably unlucky in that he sustained a foot injury and was never in a position to make a serious case for inclusion. He’s a young guy and has plenty of time.

  93. TH Ryan O Donoghue was on the Mayo panel this year but he managed to get himself dropped for reasons he is best left to explain himself if he ever chooses to do so. No doubt Liam Irwin would be a good addition but he would have to knuckle down and seriously condition himself. It’s easy to forget being on the Mayo panel is a huge commitment and you have to put the rest of your life on hold and be hugely disciplined

  94. I was studying Clark’s kick-outs over a few different games. If we are to win the next 2 games, we have to give our mid fielders and half forwards a chance, but to do this his kicking must improve. His kicking style is definitely more pronounced and he tends to telegraph where he’s going to send it more than most. Having said that, I’m sure the kicking coaches have been working tirelessly with him to improve, but looking back over a few years and in big games, his kicking hasn’t improved much, if at all!
    One small thing I noticed is that he tends to use a rather elevated T for the ball. I believe this to be a contributing factor to his “ballooning” most of his long kick-outs. One the other hand, if you look at Cluxton’s kick-outs and the T he is using, its much smaller and has a different form. As a result his kicks are rarely “ballooned” and in most cases have high velocity, with a a low trajectory, therefore very little hang time. This one item seems rather trivial, its all with the kicker right? but I believe there’s more to it and changing that T would be worth trying for Clark.

  95. The time for half measures is over. Only one way to look now and that’s ahead.
    – No doubt we’ll be up against it on Sunday. There will be three sets of green and gold fans in Croke Park this Sunday and that won’t be an optical or acoustic illusion for the Mayo players that take the field. I have no doubt that Mayo fans will travel in numbers but will need to be louder than we’ve ever been before. All green and gold clad supporters will be opposing us. If the theory that we only produce the goods when our backs are to the wall then that will well and truly be tested on Sunday.

    – I tortured myself again by re-watching the Kerry game. It’s as clear as could be that the match-ups were not right. S Coen on Stephen O’Brien ffs! I don’t think Horan will make that mistake again. Reckon Barrett will match up with Newman although I’d be worried by the pace of Newman in that dual. SoS looks in great shape to be fair, given he’s been out injured so long. Goes to show he really wants to be part of the set up. I believe he needs to start to get the physical edge over the Meath midfield.

    – Going to say Hennelly has to start this. Seeing him warm up before the Roscommon game, it was plain to see he was jittery. I think taking the long range frees and 45s responsibility away from him will work to his advantage. He seems to get nervous going up to take them. Leave them to Cillian to deal with.

    – Need to start this game like we did against Galway. Intensity needs to be lifted up a few levels from last Sunday.

  96. Hennelly







  97. Yes we’ll have Cafferky back for this game.

    Not sure who the man for full back is but I think Harry needs a week off.

    How about Drake ?

    Vaughan ?, no not for full back.

    Lee, maybe ? But I wanted him coming in if needed.

  98. Clarkes kickouts may not be briliant, but David Moran had no problem picking them cleanly out of the air the last day. Maybe the problem lies with our fielders.

  99. Well the only soloution I can see with kickouts if Clarke remains in goal and we are been hard pressed.

    Have our midfielders come well up the pitch towards Clarke. Almost back to where our half backs are stationed.

    One of two things will happen then.

    1. If the opposition midfield do not follow our midfield back to this position then it is any easy fetch for us on relatively short kick outs.

    Our midfielders would provide extra options on the short kickouts for Clarke if their markers do not follow them up the field.

    2. What most likely would happen is the opposing midfield would have to follow our midfielders right in to our half back line. Especially if our midfielders have come back unaccompanied and won a couple of early balls.

    Now we have moved the opposing midfield up the pitch, Clarke is now able to clear all midfielders with his kickouts and it is time for our industrious half forwards to come outfield and collect the kickouts or our marauding half back line to run through where the midfielders are stationed and get these balls.

    If midfield, or kick outs are a problem, then set up the team like this to take the opposing midfield completely out of the game and solve the midfield crisis and the kickout crisis in the one fell swoop.

    It might sound crazy but it probably has never been tried before.

    I cannot see how it would not work.

  100. I never thought I’d say this Revellino but I think you need to get back to your poetry!!

  101. Wrong. Dave Johnston…All Clarke had to do was kick the ball to the opposite side to where Moran was…But that was beyond him. Revellino.. Spot on your tactics. I would add to that. A short kickout to be played along the ground and kicked back to keeper soccer style. No hand contact Most turnovers happen when the recieving player bends to down to collect the ball,.. by passing back with the foot, the player who the ball is kicked out to cannot be caught if he’s in front of his man.

  102. Walterwhite
    Came in this site
    And said
    Go back and write”.

    So Revellino
    Came on the site
    Is always right.

  103. Correct Norris. Also I’m fairly sure that the match up for most of the game seemed to be Vaughan on Moran, for some reason. AOS was on Spillane.
    I really don’t understand why Clarke gets such a free pass from commentators, the same ones who lay into Hennelly at the first opportunity. Sure Hennelly has his faults but if people still can’t see the issues with Clarke’s kickouts then that’s a particular colour blindness that cant be cured.

  104. I’ve splashed out on Sky Sports this summer as I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to a lot of the matches… we are going to be in Holland for the Donegal match… does anyone know if the Sky Go App will allow me to view this outside of the country??

  105. Hogan stand Reporting that Eoin ban Gallagher sustained a serious leg injury for Donegal in training last night – a huge loss for Donegal and terrible for the very talented lad. Wishing him a speedy recovery – we know more than most what it’s like to lose talented players to injury

  106. FDB, if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is.

    We just can’t wait to drop our best players in Mayo.

  107. My first ever game in Croker was Mayo Meath 1988.
    Dont remember an awful lot but Meath were dominating until Mayo got 2 goals. I remember the roar when Meath came out, they had a serious fan base then, as they were a serious team. The tables have turned now of course in relation to numbers of fans..

  108. I never said anything about dropping anyone MayoMark. Not sure where you are making the inference of pot kettle and Black from my post but I’ll happily wait for your explanation.

  109. Sports reports on radio yesterday evening stated that Horan indicated that Durcan out for 2/3 weeks (from Galway game).

    The reason most people are easier on Clarke than Hennelly is because over the years (whilst both are good shot stoppers) Clarke is excellent in the air whereas Hennelly has been a liability in the air (most notably against Dublin in the replayed final of 2016). However, there were many other instances of his weakness under a high ball: AI minor replay 2008, 2015 semi against Dublin, Galway c/ship match 2016 etc. Over the years Hennelly has a tendency to ‘flap’ at high balls – a team can’t afford this. That’s why Clarke is deemed by most as the better option.

    To be fair however, I had no problems with him this year and if he starts on Sunday good luck to him – but there better be no costly ‘flaps’.

    Clarke’s kick-outs can only do so much and are often dictated by the quality of midfield he’s kicking to. Someone said above that he should have avoided Moran with them last Sunday – do you remember when he kicked out to Vaughan on the right-side……and the Kerry player outjumped Vaughan and took the ball?

    How is it in big games against Kerry and ourselves in the past that Cluxton was often forced to kick to the corners to avoid kicking long and losing possession? Do you remember 1st half of 2017 final when his long kickouts were gobbled up by us and he kicked to the corners for the rest of the game? In fact this happened last Saturday against Cork where they won plenty of Cluxton’s kicks when they forced him long in the 2nd half?

    Based on the above therefore can we not conclude that a long kick-out is as dependent on the quality of the midfield its been kicked out to as who’s kicking it? Other than that do we also conclude that Cluxton is poor with long kick-outs

    What’s more, are people suggesting that if RH was in goal last Sunday that AOS and DV would have been cleaning up? Nonsense!

    Clarke is a fantastic keeper whose kick-outs (despite the reservations) generally meet their target. The reality is our midfield is weak at the moment, we came up against a top side last weekend, they pressed up on our kick-outs ….and we got found out.

    People should not be blaming Clarke for an under performing midfield.

    Isn’t it amazing how we never have an issue with his kick-outs against weaker opposition or when our midfield plays well?

  110. Absolutely correct that with Moran catching some great ball we should have used our weaker fielder as a decoy to drag Moran out of the way towards the kicker or out to the wings. Moran is in the same league as Aido as one of the very best fielders in the game.
    Also recall that Clarke’s best day on kickouts vs Kerry was the replay where Buckley employed a doughnut strategy, everyone coming into the middle and Clarke kicking to the wings which runners flooded. He had high success percentage that day especially in 1st half.
    I don’t understand why we don’t have some secret out ball signals especially for when the kickout options look limited. Cluxton made to look even better than he is by clever runs from his backs. Clarke’s options were limited on Sunday. I saw one he could’ve got away with his left but right would have telegraphed and Kerry could be in. Apart from that he was simply forced into 50 50. Cluxton also able to get most of his off in a few seconds. Surely we need to look at how he gets ball onto tee so quickly. Against northern teams in the league they throw the ball away but in Croker we should be able to have the next ball available at all times. If we survive Sunday need to ensure we always have the ball ready in Castlebar.

  111. Best wishes to Eoghan Bán Gallagher of Donegal for as speedy a recovery as possible, …RTE reporting a broken ankle, terrible news for Donegal and the Player himself … I was listening to Terrace Talk from Kerry Radio on You Tube…One quote more or less went like this…”Anyone from Kerry from 1 to 15 could have won the Man of the Match award, them all the Kerry Men being so far superior to their direct Mayo opponent” .. It’s a show that I occasionally tune into, I wonder was that statement in direct retaliation for James Horan saying in equally OTT fashion as well that Mayo should have won the League Final by 12 point’s… Sunday is on the Horizon and Meath, I detect some over Confidence in some Mayo Supporter’s, I detected the same over Confidence in Castlebar on the Friday before our trip to beautiful Killarney… I got stopped by an ex County footballer on the Street (not exMayo, but nowadays very much a Mayo fan and very involved in the GAA) to tell me that ‘He couldn’t see anything but a Mayo Victory in Kerry by about 5 point’s’… Such is Life, this last few years, we never know what Mayo will turn up on the day…. When we have been good we have been very good, but when we have been bad we have been horrid, and sometimes, in fact even in the same Game, we have been both Good and Bad….. When James Horan first arrived on the Mayo scene at the beginning of the decade he said that he wanted to make Mayo ‘Consistently Competitive’ I think concidering the size of Sunday’s upcoming Meath Challenge, who have been in 2019 so far with the one exception of the Leinster Final versus Dublin been themselves ‘Consistently Competitive’ themselves… Nothing less than us being ‘Good and Very Good’ will do from the first second 2PM next Sunday!

  112. AMC, if it’s Amsterdam your in you can watch all the Gaelic football in ‘Reilly’s Pub’ either Damm Square or very close to it, if Memory serves me correctly!

  113. Hennelly probably comes in for more criticism, because of the significant blunders he has made in big games, these are foremost in supporters minds, concessions that have been a real sucker punch over the years… To help stop the rot, Clarke produced big saves at critical moments in games; while kickouts are obviously Clarke’s weakpoint it is naive and shortsighted to veer toward thinking that Clarke’s kickouts were the main reason why we lost to Kerry… We simply weren’t good enough on the day and Kerry put on an excellent display. Had Hennelly started and let’s say kept a clean sheet and had a great day from the kicking tee, would we have won? I think not…

    On another note Kieran Donaghy and Ross Munelly worth listening too for a few minutes from Otb a.m. last two mornings, insights on the show bring some balance to punditry which as we know is often lacking

  114. “I really don’t understand why Clarke gets such a free pass from commentators, the same ones who lay into Hennelly at the first opportunity.” He doesn’t get a free pass. There are literally dozens of comments about Clarke on this website since Sunday. The reason that reasonable people give him a” pass” is because he has 16 years of high performance at inter County under his belt, and after one average performance on a day where our entire team were well below par, he is given the benefit of the doubt. Clarke has a track record of excellence at this level which has been twice recognised by his peers.

    “Sure Hennelly has his faults but if people still can’t see the issues with Clarke’s kickouts then that’s a particular colour blindness that cant be cured.” – this is what I was talking about regarding “pot, kettle, black” and so on. A blindness that can’t be cured. Perhaps I picked you up wrong and thought you were calling for Robbie to be reinstated. If that’s the case, my apologies.

  115. Now that Cian O’Neill has stepped down as Kildare manager how would people feel if he rejoined
    The backroom team with Horan next Season? Would he add value I think He’d be a good addition but unlikely
    To come back. Hard luck to Eoghan Ban Gallagher he will be a huge loss to Donegal as we know ourselves this year with injuries but I think if Donegal make a semi final against Dublin (albeit at our expense) or as group winners against Tyrone they will give a very good account of themselves they are probably in a better position than us with all our injuries mounting up.

  116. Agree that Clarke had very few options and runs made for him were poor
    But he was slow on restart which made his job harder. But when you go long you have to expect your midfield to win its share of possession and that didn’t happen

  117. MayoMark – Apology accepted and thank you for clarifying. I wasn’t calling for Robbie to be reinstated, just referring to the fact that both Keepers have their faults, but one seems to get an amplified level of criticism, much of it vitriolic, compared to the other.

    There seems to be very much a narrative that Clarke can do no wrong, cannot be criticized and if he has a bad day, it’s actually the outfielders fault. I don’t buy that he just had an average day and it was everyone else that was below par. It’s a team game and there were a number of things that were suboptimal (to put it mildly) but it gets on my wick that when one keeper kicks out a ball to the opposition he’s the cause of a loss and lambasting (even when we have 16 wides and lose by a point), when another does it multiple times in a game it’s seemingly not an issue of concern.
    Clarke is a deserving 2 time all star and barring his kickouts, he’s the best in the game at every other aspect of goalkeeping, but ignoring the kickouts issue while the continued keyboard battering of our only other available option is like trying to squeeze out the door past the huge elephant in the room.
    For what it’s worth, I don’t believe it would have made much difference to the final result on Sunday as to which keeper was in goal, we still would have lost, and we’ll never know if a difference in Goalkeeper would have resulted in a better or worse score difference.

    Clarke would certainly be first choice in the majority of instances but if we’re going to jump all over Hennelly when he makes an error then we should be holding Clarke to the same high standard when he makes them too.

  118. When you see a fw that is only 5 foot backtracking and winning an oppositions kick out over his head against a midfielder whos at least 6ft the problem is not with the goalie.

  119. JPM – when the ball would nearly arrive faster to midfield if it was delivered by An Post it might be unwise to ignore the kicking technique.

  120. The Mayo midfield never caught a high ball last Sunday? The ball went towards A O Shea three times & he never left the ground, maybe he’s foot is still bothering him & he’s concerned about landing heavily on it, maybe?. Donal Vaughan didn’t catch a high ball either? WTF . Perhaps the Kerry hoors had special boots that would not stick them to the ground.

  121. Some good and valid points from both FBD and MM. Clarke is and always will be a one of the best Mayo keepers we have had… Henelley unfortunately has never really showed the next level up to be an all star GK, which is now what we are in need of. Clarke’s kickouts have always been an issue, unfortunately the way the game has now evolved and possession being 9/10, it’s as crucial now as it’s ever been being a GK. I was always in the opinion to have Robbie over Davo but it comes down to who can you depend on? Personally I would like to see Robbie get a start this Sun, more space for him to kick and hopefully we can utilise that. That said I do feel we lacked any real plan to out think Kerry last wekeend in the press. I’ve seen Jason Sherlock sprint over to Cluxton in many an all ireland to change his kicks outs, or shout for others to help. We need leaders leading from on and off the pitch giving the right advice when plans are not working. Last week however there were mistakes from all over the field and its unfair to single out DC. Roll on Sunday!!

  122. Lads and lassies…time to stop and reflect on the huge sacrifices that the modern Gaa player makes and the risks
    associated with that.

    Look at the amount of injuries prevalent in practically every county in the Country.
    Here in Mayo, we’ve seen bone breaks in Diarmuid O’Connor and Matthew Ruane, not to mention the severe injury suffered by Tom Parsons.

    News today of a broken ankle for Eoin Ban Gallagher in Donegal.
    In neighbouring Roscommon, Ultan Harney and Cathal Heneghan , (a 19 year old described as the best young footballer in Roscommon), both suffered cruciate ligament injuries in the space of a week, in training. Diarmuid Murtagh’s eyesight in one eye ,was in jeopardy, following a training ground accident last August.

    In Galway, we saw the seriousness of injuries to Paul Conroy and Damien Comer.
    A few weeks ago, a Tipperary hurler, who’s name escapes me, suffered a cruciate ligament injury.

    These would be serious injuries in the world of Professional Sport.
    But the players who I have listed above, and many more like them, are Amateur Sportsmen, who play the game, because of their love of it, and for no financial gain of any significance.
    Yet, if these lads kick a wide in a match, make a misplaced pass, fail to track back, or even look tired in a match, they are criticised and judged by keyboard warriors who demand perfection from them.

    Look at the sacrifices Cillian O’Comnor made to return from surgery for Mayo.
    Despite being our man of the match against Kerry, and setting an all time Championship scoring record at just 27 years old, some people on this forum, focussed instead on the few chances that he did miss towards the end, and claimed that those misses ”’ could be costly for Mayo’s points difference ”’.

    We need to remember that all these injured players, have lives outside the Gaa, and that these serious injuries affect them in those lives too, they affect their families and they affect their ability to work in their jobs and careers, when the eyes of the Gaa world have turned away.

  123. A much needed balance to a lot of our comments and commentary. Thank you Observer2 – very very well said. Part of me still cannot believe the 5 games in 5 weeks situation too. This type of situation needs to be changed from next year.

  124. Goalkeeping is a high pressure situation at all levels. We’ve seen even the great Cluxton struggle with restarts in recent years, the 2016 AI semi versus Kerry where the whole Dublin team got the jitters because Kerry had a full press on Cluxtons restarts and he was struggling. Kerry scored 2 – 4 without reply. Half time came just in time to give Dublin and Cluxton a break.
    For me Clarke keeps his composure and focus better than RH in high pressure situations and that’s the deciding factor, keeping the head is a higher priority than kickouts.

  125. Really tough on Eoin Bán and Donegal… wishing him a speedy recovery. Just goes to show that injuries happen whether in Mayo or Donegal or Kerry or Dublin.
    It improves Kerry’s chances big time, so let’s focus on our game and give Meath our best shot.
    Maigheo go deo

  126. Observer2 thank you. Truer words have rarely been spoken. Let’s give it all we have and celebrate effort and if we’re lucky the success and joy our lads (and lassies) bring.
    I’m with you all the way

  127. Good post Observer2. Agree very much with you. I think the Tipp hurler you mention is Pat the Bonner Maher

  128. The only thing of real significance for the Meath match is whether the 15 we start with have recovered sufficiently and are fresh enough for what could be a real battle. I cannot for the life of me see how they could be after the last four weeks. I’m only a supporter and I haven’t fully recovered yet!
    If I was JH I would rest a few of our more seasoned players and throw in the new lads. It’s a big risk that could backfire badly but if we don’t do this our key players will be totally wrecked for the Donegal game. I know I am jumping the gun but we must prepare on the basis that Kerry will beat Donegal and that the game in Castlebar will be the mother of all battles to get into the semifinal against Dublin. (Not sure I would relish the prospects of a terrible beating at their hands but……..)
    I would throw down the challenge to the new lads and say to them : “Show us lads that you really deserve to wear this Mayo jersey!” They might just rise to that challenge.

  129. Tyrone had an easier run of fixtures than us and haven’t had the injuries thrown in on top.

  130. I did think of that Catcol. I think they haven’t had the level of injuries we’ve had but I’m open to correction here. Mattie and Diarmuid on top of the absence of Tom Parsons puts severe pressure on Aidan who also then seems to be carrying something. That might make Aidan tired or struggle somewhat.
    Lee, some of us might think, may still be carrying a remnant of an injury so this might make him struggle and look tired.
    We’ve been in dogfights or struggles of matches for Ros/Down/Armagh/Galway/Kerry. I think Tyrone have dealt with their challenges more efficiently than us. Not sure why we made it hard.

    We’re integrating new players which may add to the level of responsibility placed on older shoulders.

    But I think the core of your question still stands- how do Tyrone seem to have managed the 5 games in 5 weeks run better than we have, without wilting?

    Who have they played? Donegal/Longford/____/Roscommon.

  131. @AMC you can watch it from your ipad/pc or phone with
    You can buy the single game if you dont have the annual subscription. Quality is HD and stream is reliable.

  132. Lookit, Catcol, I don’t know if Tyrone’s win over Kildare this year and our loss to Kildare last year helps us know about Mayo’s or Tyrone’s comparative resilience in 2019. Internal game dynamics might have something to say in that game versus our one in 2018. I see Tyrone scored 2 goals. Did they target goals? Did Kildare’s defence stand off? Cillian and Andy were shut off last year in our game. Kildare were down to 14 men with 20 mins to go. And Daniel Flynn wasn’t with them this year.

    More pertinently, Tyrone look stronger than us in general game on game.

    Is Billy Joe right that Mayo only have two gears – struggle through v gung ho (paraphrasing here)?

    And in that vein – and this might tie into your original question Catcol/Kevin McStay’s headline this week – Mayo looked “OUT on their feet”, exhausted before the replay with Roscommon in 2017 and then we know what happened next. There is sometimes mystery with them. I feared for the team like never before on the eve of that Ros game. Maybe it’s a question of the factors lining up and falling into place and they can go ahead. But I don’t know how that is working out this year because we have had injuries at a crucial time making us look sluggish.

  133. Left boot – there was one example in the first half I saw clearly on Sunday, where Moran rose majestically to claim a high ball and Aidan didn’t leave the ground, for the simple reason that Spillane had two hands on his jersey preventing him from getting airborne. Ref never spotted it and one of Kerry’s early points came from this. Aidan was targeted repeatedly in this fashion in the first half.

  134. on the discussion of fatigue….
    Lads on the excellent gaa hour podcast made interesting observation there.

    If the results in group 1 go as expected, ie tyrone and dublin winning this weekend then both teams could field virtual b teams the following week in omagh and rest up for a semi a week later, meanwhile donegal/mayo will likely going full tilt the same weekend. Massive advantage with a semi a week later

  135. @Tuamstar, would you believe the semi final in 1988 was also my first game in Croker, that football was much different from what we see in 2019, much less tactics, where the goalie sent a long 50 / 50 kickouts to the midfielders to catch in the air ( remember Willie Joe). The midfielder then sent a 50 /50 kick into the forward, all man on man stuff.
    Mayo played very well that day with Browne from Ballina being the standout player for me.
    I remember meeting a few locals from Mayo after the game and would you believe that one of them went on to captain Mayo.

  136. Anyone who says high balls are more important than kick outs are living in cloud cuckoo land

    And any keeper that loses 11 kick outs in one half has to shoulder the majority of the responsibility for same. Clarke’s kicking style hasn’t improved in 15 years, it’s not going change now.

    If Hennelly doesn’t come in against Meath he won’t play against Donegal.

    We might get away with Clarke in goal against Meath because we are a better team but if he plays against Donegal mark my words Rochford will implement the blueprint Keane and Gavin use and press the kick outs and we will lose, you can’t win games without winning primary possession off your own kick outs especially with Murphy McBrearty and Co winning them

  137. Horan’s dilemma is,

    Start last Sundays 15 – If they are exhausted and and as flat as they were Sunday we are goosed.

    Make several changes – The energy levels should be no worry but will the new recruits do the job.

    If we come out with the same 15 and the team play flat, the game could be beyond winning by the time changes are made. Then you are substituting on fresh players who were not trusted to start in the 1st place.

    If we start a string of fresher lads and 1 or 2 of them are out of their depth then I think we can still salvage the game through substutions.

  138. Supermac we will be able to field a virtual B team too against Donegal if we fail to beat Meath. Imagine that a dead rubber in Castlebar it doesn’t bear thinking about

  139. @Diehard, Your not going with that Purple and Pink one again, are ya?… You will going on until you get arrested for Crime’s against fashion!

  140. @Tuamstar and Mayo88.. that day against Meath was also my first adventure to Croke Park. I was only a young fellow. I can remember Liam McHale at full forward scoring from a high ball in. Did he also score the other goal? I remember Meath being well in control until the late goals have us a little bit of hope. That Meath team were on their way to beating Cork in the final for the second year running

    Of course back then going to Croker was a novelty. The following year I was at the semi when we beat Tyrone and the sheer excitement I felt at us being in an All ireland final.

    I have always said that we should always cherish the days this team has given us…it has been the best of times. We are truly fortunate to support a team which has given us such excitement over the years..We may not have lifted Sam but we have had one hell of a ride trying to do so.

    Oh and glad to see you are back to your poetry Revellino?

  141. Just looked it up tgere and say that it was Larry that got the other one…

  142. James Horan was a great performer himself in Croke Park. He kicked some brilliant scores in his playing days.
    Having played in the final aginst Meath in 1996 I hope there is an added hunger for him to win this one and I hope he has the lads fully primed for Sunday.
    Let’s hope it is still all to play for against Donegal.
    Your okay Walter. My smiles don’t work work for me either ?.

  143. Observer2 Fantastic well written post above.
    So so true, and all these games week in week out for last 5 weeks is making my blood boil.
    So so not right. What and where is player welfare??

  144. Is it not Sunday yet……Long week in anticipation of 14.00 and Mr. Brannigan sends the O’Neills to the sky.

    This game has now it’s own solar system in level of importance for us.

    We need to run onto the pitch as D.1 National League Champions that we are. The talent is their and as I’ve already said Croker is our 2nd home, time for another great day there.

    The Kerry game has been boxed off and the result won’t change.

    Let JH pick the team and either way it’s going to be a green and red day (same logic applies if we’re wearing blue)

  145. AMC, I was in Italy recently, and skygo worked great, saw the Mayo Armagh match on the sat and the hurling on the Sunday. I’m sure it would work in Holland also.

  146. It seems our logistics guys got it very badly wrong last weekend in Kerry! The team coach getting caught in traffic on the way to the game resulted in the players not getting a proper “prep time” and pre-game warm-up done adequately. Staying overnight in the middle of Tralee proved to be an utterly stupid call. Once word got out that the Mayo team were staying there, the locals made damn sure that our lads didn’t get much shut-eye. The food was terrible also. Surely all a coincidence???
    By itself this does not account for the 10 point beating, but allied to 4 hard games in a row, the heat and the missing injured players it might begin to shed a truer light on things.

  147. Pebbles – were the locals being noisy outside the team hotel?.
    Also – what was wrong with the food?.

  148. Point taken WJ i didn’t spot that but it makes sense, Aidan didn’t seem to be allowed to contest for the ball, good stuff, thanks for that.

  149. FDBinashui, put it this way, there wasn’t too much sleep due to outside noise.

  150. Well if that’s the Carry on that Kerry got up to then clearly they felt the need to fall to that level to neutralise a threat.

  151. Jabers, fellas here still maintaining that RH’s kickouts are better than Clarke’s when mistakes DIRECTLY FROM HIS KICKOUTS have arguably cost us an All-Ireland and two Connacht titles in recent seasons.

    Clarke has one iffy performance (with redeeming features, three saves from one-on-ones, for example) following twenty years of sustained excellence in a Mayo geansaí and fellas are calling for him being replaced.

    You could hardly make it up.

  152. Not sure how accurate the above are ‘re overnight in Tralee. Do people even know the name of the hotel. These stories tend to start and get legs. The team bus got a garda escort to the pitch. Was held up ok for 10 mins in Farranfore for a train crossing. This was hardly going to upset the whole day. I am sure the bus had air conditioning and was a lot cooler inside the bus than outside. The players were on the pitch in Killarney around 2.20 pm. That was 1 hour 40 minutes before the game was due to start – plenty of time for stretching and a warm up.

  153. Great posts indeed JPM,Observer2 and many others. But what about that blue… with that black and then to make sure the tummy rumbles you follow up with pee green stripes… .YUCKS I select Sinead to be in charge of the colors anymore Cheers to all.

  154. South Mayo Exile, my source is rock solid. In fact, there is a lot more but I am trying to obey WJ’s house rules.
    As I said, it didn’t cause the 10 point drubbing, but it certainly didn’t help.

  155. Why didn’t the team stay in Limerick instead of Kerry?

  156. I think maybe it’s best to drop this chat about the team and the hotel. It’s anecdotal at best and hasn’t been reported in the media so to that extent the veracity of what’s being claimed to have happened cannot be established for definite.

  157. Howdy Inbetweener! That’s about all I could be put in charge of football wise!!!!!! Don’t be leading me astray again 😉 Really good to see you here and hope you are looking forward to the game on Sunday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *