Meath 2-15 Mayo 1-15: what a Royal cock-up

Meath v Mayo Final ScoreAt the end of the day, it’s the little lad I feel sorry for the most. Having seen his beloved Dubs getting hammered by the dastardly Kerrymen last Monday, he gamely pitched up at HQ today (with his two older sisters also in tow) to shout for his ould fella’s county. He’d even practised his roaring on the way up to the local shops this morning, already decked out in his Mayo jersey. When Aidan O’Shea palmed the ball into the net to send us four clear with just under twenty minutes to go, he went as mental as the rest of us but, after that barrage of Meath points in the final ten minutes, he came over and buried his face in my lap. Even he knew at that stage that the game was up for us and, in truth, so did I.

Fuck it anyway: no matter how you parse this one, you have to concede that we were well beaten today. True, the ref was a tool (just like he was in Salthill back in 2007) and a succession of poor decisions by Joe McQuillan and his officials (like missing the double-hop before Meath’s first goal, like the incredibly soft award of the penalty for the second, like Meath’s goalie getting away with taking the ball over the line in the first half) probably turned the game against us but that’s not really the point. Just like what happened against Tyrone this time last year, we had the game in our grasp with fifteen minutes to go but then went on to concede a half-dozen scores without reply. Tyrone blew us away late in the game last year and Meath did exactly the same to us today.

I read somewhere in the lead-in to the match that trainer Jim Kilty claimed this was one of the best prepared teams he’d ever worked with. Well, they didn’t look like it over that final twenty minutes today. David Heaney looked completely dead on his feet at that stage and all over the pitch our lads were rooted to the spot as Meath, sensing weakness in their opponent’s ranks, went for the kill. And we let them do it – every single one of those six unanswered points could have been prevented but, on every occasion, it was a Meathman who was first to the ball and who made things happen with it.

Meath v Mayo Tom ParsonsIn one sense, I still can’t believe we lost that game today. For the first fifteen minutes, we were in complete control in terms of gaining possession and driving forward but the concern those of us in the Lower Cusack were voicing was that we weren’t racking up enough on the board. Tom Parsons, who’d started instead of the still-injured Barry Moran, never functioned at full-forward and so the policy of raining high ball in never got going properly.

Aidan Kilcoyne started brightly – with a point from an Alan Dillon feed after just 40 seconds – and two frees from Dillon (here’s one of them), sandwiching an excellent point from play by Andy Moran, put us four clear before a Cian Ward ‘45’ got Meath off the mark on 16 minutes. David Bray and Aidan O’Shea then exchanged points before Meath’s first goal, which, when it came, completely nullified all the good work we’d done in that opening twenty minutes. It should never have been allowed, as Bray hopped the ball twice before shooting past Kenneth O’Malley but where the fuck was Keith Higgins when that ball from Joe Sheridan was hoofed in?

Cian Ward then dived into Trevor Howley and fell in a heap, an incident which resulted in Trevor getting a completely unjustified yellow card but at least there was some justice when Ward then screwed the resultant free wide. Meath were now coming into the game and we were slipping and sliding all over the place, with the pitch surface reminiscent of the godawful state it had been in back in 2006. (Remember that incident when Keith ended up on his hole as Gooch scored Kerry’s third goal in that year’s final? It looked as bad as that again today.)

Meath v Mayo action shotTrevor got a good point from an Aidan O’Shea assist, which was soon cancelled out by a point from Joe Sheridan and the same player levelled again after Killer had got his second of the day from a Pat Harte knockdown. Brian Farrell then picked an opportune moment to get his first of the day to edge the Royals one in front at half-time.

Changes were obviously needed within our ranks and it was no surprise to see Conor coming on for the ineffective Tom Parsons for the second half. Tom had drifted out the field after having got little change at full-forward early on (for much of that opening half, we’d played with the two Aidans inside and Pat Harte in the hole between them and a two-man half-forward line of Trevor and Alan) but he did little or nothing to aid the cause out around the middle either so he was the obvious man to come off.

Meath got the opening score of the half from a free which was awarded after one of our lads had been pushed in the back when the ball came in but Killer knocked over our opening point of the half soon after and then Trevor, after a superb upfield run from Keith Higgins, pulled us level. But then Killer got injured, having twice shoulder-challenged his opponent and forced him to cough up the ball, and his departure – with an injury that was later confirmed as a broken collarbone – robbed us of much of our attacking potency.

Brian Farrell, who spent most of the second half either pulling, pushing or swinging out of the Mayo backs (it didn’t seem to matter what he did, the ref took bugger all notice about whatever he was up to), then gave Donal Vaughan a hefty push, took off with the ball and overcarried before shooting Meath back in front. We were soon level, when Mort pointed, but The Thriller was in a one-on-one situation with the Meath goalie and should surely have rounded him and rolled the ball home instead of blazing it heedlessly over the bar.

Sheridan then rugby-tackled Liam O’Malley (who had replaced Donal Vaughan in one of the game’s odder substitutions) and, hearing no whistle, drove on to reclaim the lead for the Royals. At the other end, Keith Higgins went on another mazy run and this time he pointed himself before this free from Alan Dillon put us a point ahead with twenty minutes to go.

Then came the goal that should have sent us on our way. Conor won the ball, fell over (Conor did a lot of falling over in that second half) but managed to offload it to Trevor who looked like he was going for the point from out on the right. He might well have been but the ball hung beautifully in the air and was met by the inrushing Aidan O’Shea who gleefully palmed it into the net. Four up once again with nineteen minutes to go – surely we’d now kick for home.

Within two minutes, however, that goal was cancelled out, and in controversial circumstances too. There was a sideline ball to us which was given to them and from this the ball was drilled in to (I think) Bray, whose shot came back off the upright. Liam O’Malley was adjudged to have fouled him and, having seen it again on TV, it seemed to be an incredibly harsh decision by the ref who hails from a county that borders Meath. Cian Ward fairly thumped the penalty home and so it was game on once again.

Joe Sheridan was then allowed an unbelievable amount of time and space by the Mayo backs to make acres of ground into the danger area and his offload was fed back to David Bray whose point tied the game up. At this point, I was wondering aloud about our ability to win the match for a third time, having already twice lost four-point leads, with fifteen minutes now left on the clock.

I didn’t have to wait long for my answer on that score: although Conor did edge us back in front one more time with a free on 57 minutes, that man Sheridan – with a punched effort that could as easily have ended up in the net – levelled matters five minutes later. The remaining eight minutes of normal time was car-crash stuff, which all started from a bone-headed clearance by Kenneth O’Malley who inexplicably opted to punch the ball out to nobody in particular when he could just as easily have fielded it and given a pass to a nearby colleague. Instead, one of their lot got it and knocked it over to put them one clear.

Crawford then waltzed through the middle without as much as a glove being laid on him and pointed to send the Royals two up. Now the alarms bells were really starting to go off. We looked static, dead on our feet and with an injured AOS having given way to BJP, our second Twin Tower was no more. Not that the ball was getting anywhere near our forward line as instead Meath came at us with the confidence of a team that could see the winning line in sight.

Farrell burst through and and looked certain to score Meath’s third goal of the afternoon but Kenneth O’Malley was down quickly to deflect it over the bar. Bray then lamped over Meath’s fifth point on the spin and they went five clear when a ball destined for Andy Moran was intercepted (I’m not sure by who) and walloped over from almost fifty yards out. Our goose was now well and truly cooked and two late points from Mort did nothing more than reduce our margin of defeat to a slightly more palatable but still hugely dispiriting three points.

Mayo team photoI don’t have the heart, nor indeed the inclination, at this stage to go through any kind of detailed assessment of the whys and wherefores and how individual players did in today’s game. On that latter one, it’s actually easier to point to those players who did well today: only Keith Higgins (although we got further proof today that he shouldn’t be operating at corner-back – his man bagged 1-2 from play), Andy Moran, Ronan McGarrity, Aidan O’Shea and Aidan Kilcoyne played anywhere near the level that was required in a contest such as this. Seen in this light, the fact that the latter two went off injured while the game was still there to be won obviously had a significant bearing on the outcome.

The most disappointing thing, I guess, (apart from the cretinous refereeing but, God knows, we’re used to that at this stage) was our failure to compete for loose ball in the middle third. In this respect, we learned absolutely nothing from our shortcomings in this area in the Connacht final. Meath were smart enough to realise that they could profit from our looseness in this facet of the game and they also had the forwards to exploit the chances created by claiming so many of these 50:50 balls.

The bottom line, shite ref or no shite ref, is that we deserved to lose today. Both of Meath’s goals may have been questionable and it looked like we had another that wasn’t given when the Meath goalie carried the ball over his goal-line but Meath themselves suffered a broadly similar fate two years ago against Dublin and they still managed to claim a draw in that game. Despite all the calls that had gone against us, the match was still there to be won as the game entered its final ten minutes but we simply didn’t have it within us to grind out the victory.

Fair play to Meath, they did have the balls to do so and I for one wish them well against the Kerrymen in three weeks time. Kerry will, of course, be huge favourites but that won’t bother Meath one iota; it might even egg them on. I’m planning to be in Croker that day (the Combo tickets, remember?) as our minors will feature in the curtain-raiser and I’m expecting to see a bit of a contest between this year’s backdoor kings.

Meanwhile, it’s back into the shadows for us, back to thinking about what might have been and how long it’ll be before the action starts again in the New Year. Some Mayo inter-county careers ended at Croke Park today but next year will be, as it always is, a new beginning for others. We made some progress this year, but we didn’t make enough; we looked, at least for a while, like a team going somewhere but we didn’t get far enough; we seemed to be building towards something good but today showed we just weren’t good enough. Roll on 2010 and all it may hold for us.

MAYO: Kenneth O’Malley; Donal Vaughan, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins (0-1); Peadar Gardiner, Trevor Howley, Andy Moran (0-1); David Heaney, Ronan McGarritty; Pat Harte, Trevor Mortimer (0-2), Alan Dillon (0-3, frees); Aidan Kilcoyne (0-3), Tom Parsons, Aidan O’Shea (1-1). Subs: Conor Mortimer (0-4, two frees) for Parsons, Mark Ronaldson for Kilcoyne, Liam O’Malley for Vaughan, Billy Joe Padden for O’Shea, Tom Parsons for Heaney.

26 thoughts on “Meath 2-15 Mayo 1-15: what a Royal cock-up

  1. I did say it hear after the Connacht Final that things were not as god as we seemed to think so. Galway won a huge amount of possession in the connacht in midfield and in the breaking ball but were not good enough in possession, Meath were, unfortunately. The Jury was out on our new full back and centre back until today, but they were shown up badly. Meath won every ball into our full back line today. I was so dissapointed in Cafferkey as I thought he was the solution to the full back problem as Howley might be at 6 but both men were very poor today. You need these two players leading from the front as Cahill and Nallen used to do. Harte, poor again today, as was the rest of highly rated half forward line. K Higgins(for the most part), A Moran, O’Shea and Kilcoyne the only ones to play well. Another disastrous performance in Croke Parke.
    Dear, oh dear. Where to from here.

  2. Look on the bright side [allbeit very small] maybe it was better to be beaten today with a little dignity intact than suffer another humilating defeat to Kerry in three weeks time as we would have if we had won today. Whats another year when we have waited for 58 already?

  3. thank god mayo dont have to play kerry the defence was awful why nallen was not on i don t know but he woukd have a better job

  4. Spot on there by facetheball. i agree totally. was at the game and it was cat.
    Was astounded by GerC at FB. I was wathcing from Lower Cusack and the man spent the entire second half looking at his shoes !! I can’t understand that lack of interest !! I can’t !! You’re FB on yur County team. You have inherited the position of being the Rock that no one should pass. How many times was the FB line beaten today ? Allowed their man to get the ball, turn and face them, take them on and then go by them !! That should not happen.
    Keith Higgins played well. Make no mistake. Half back line. Andy Moran made runs – PG – where was he ? saw 1 run i the first half and went for another point like Galway game. Missed it and made probably 2/3 other runs for the entire game. Tom Parsons – start af FF, moved to midfield – ended up substituded. Was remarked to prior to game how fine a player he was. today he should have stayed on the Bus !!
    Ronan Mc – tried his best but he can’t do it all.
    1/2 forward line – didn’t exist in second half. What did they score in second half ? I can’t remember at all I was doing was holding my head and shaking it in my hands.
    FF line – AOS played well, so did Killer and both unlucky to get injured. However an awful lot of runs they made were not reposnded to. Running off the ball while fella with the ball soloing ball up the field and instead of making the quick pass into the space he was looking at the Ground.
    What was the story with their Boots today. I counted over 20 slips on the surface by Mayo players. How come ? Did they forget to put the cogs on the boots ??
    oh man it was cuck !!! Only good thing to emerge was being beaten (how sad of a fact is that) as playing that way against Kerry would be open invitation to another annihalation.

  5. if we had played the way we played against the rossies we would have won today.How many times did mayo lads have the ball and there was no one showing inside for it.Where did all the good movement off the ball go?Bloody hell a big open pitch and were stuck to the ground.Just 2 more little rants.1,were the lads wearing the wrong studs,seemed to be slipping more than the meath lads.2,why like last year against tyone when we play to a system that works against a team do we go and change it.?

  6. gutted. As bad as ever. thats the worst team that has beaten us in croke park in my opinion. Dont get me wrong they fully deserved to win and pushed for home in convincing fashion but they are very very ordinary and will be shown up for what they are in next game. So where does that leave us…..in the shyte bucket?? I really dont know. We have lost to many teams in croker but they all proved to be eventual winners. Todays loss was gut wrenching because we lost to nothing.The first fifteen minutes showed meath for what they were which is a very average side….but despite our dominance we didnt have the balls to go in for the kill. Meath showed us a lot of respect at the start but you could almost see them realise as the game went on that we really werent up to much and then their began to grow and sure we just helped fuel their belief and they ran out deserving winners. As i have mentioned we have lost in croker before but to champions…this time its differenet…we have lost to a bad team and i really dont know where we go from here. Manager could well go i could understand why…its a bleak outlook.There were some postives, higgins, moran led but didnt defend, mcgarrity tried and tried but needs a better deputy, dillon did all he could as did mort snr, but for me the 19 year old was the only shining light. I wont give up but this one is going to take a long time to get over.

  7. Another performance that reinforces the stereotype of Mayo football. It is galling to have to listen to pundits repeatedly characterize Mayo as ‘naive’, ‘innocent’ and ‘soft’. Worst of all, its true!

    This really has to stop. What is wrong with Mayo teams that when games are there to be won they just dont have the aggression, hunger or leadership to take control of the game?. Players who were trumped up as leaders were marked absent today.

    Lets be brutally honest. Since 06 we have won one game of importance. (i.e. this years Connacht Final) and that was a game in which we stumbled across the line after leading by 7 with approx 10 minutes to go.

  8. I think the argument about Connor should be put bed now, if he is good enough to be on or near our team we are not good enough. That chance when he was one on one with the keeper is a chance any forward worth his salt has to bury, not maybe, has to bury it in the net, that’s the standard needed and he is not up to it.
    Another point is the keeper, killed us today, you need a brave keeper, what was that punch, chicken stuff. His kick outs were terrible, David Heaney had to talk to him after just 5 mins, 2 midfielders on either side of the field and he kicks it down the middle to where 4 Meath men and Trevor are waiting for it, and it never improved for the rest of the game either.
    I will leave on a positive, Trevor was a leader out there today, the amount of running and quality play the man put in was immense, pity was not replicated across the rest of the field. Johno is not the messiah

  9. Totally shattered after that today, to be honest a little disgusted aswell … sorry I know tht sounds terrible but Im fiercely annoyed at the thought of us not being involved anymore and meath who I feel we are better than are still. … left wondering what if …. anyone else think we were lethargic today at times ? maybe this is where we are at …. A decent division one team and last eight in the championship ? … i am beginning to wonder if winning provincial championship is the way forward …. did we loose momentum over the 3 weeks ? oh i dont know … im lost guys … LOST

  10. have to say i fellt stunned at the end of todays affair with a feeling that i last felt in 96. and it wasn’t because it was meath. it was because we didn’t do what we were capable of and left it behind because of lack of killer trait to close out a match that we had the winning of a number of times. even with bad ref decisions and the team not in top gear we still had the winning of it. That just shows how average meath were and we couldn’t do it against them. best of luck to meath as they showed us how to make the best of what you have (and they were not at full strength remember) . they deserve the win on the day or maybe we didin’t desrve to win.
    Stunned and disappointed !!!!

  11. Our midfeld were absent 2 day . Ronan is 2 much of a chicken when it come’s to the big games seem’s lost since d brady retired . We need to get a midfelder like him in the team . We allso need 2 corner back’s . What must happen now is that every player in the county should be seen in action(not only the senior player’s) by the end of the year by j o m or one of the selector’s and the best 40 under23’s in the county put in to a panel(excluding curent county player’s).What micko said about dublin go’s 4 us

  12. Very disappointed! Thought we might have the basis for a decent team in 09/10 but sadly not after today. JOM has done his best more or less but the truth seems to be that we have mostly average players. We lack size and aggression in our backline as well as fundamental defending skills. Even Keith Higgins who is praised elsewhere was disappointing. He slipped for the goal and his man breeezed by him to score a punched point late in the game. Andy Moran did ok but stood with his hands on his hips when he failed to collect a poorly placed footpass late in the second half and watched as his man set up a point! Gardner is a nice attacking half back but can he keep a top class forward quiet ….I dont think so.

    Midfield is a problem. depending on Heaney at his stage to cover a big pitch like Croker is daft.

    We have one top class forward – AOS – with Dillon a decent supporting act and that is about it. The rest would not trouble good IC backs.

    These lads have done their best and we should not be hard on them but most are simply not strong enough in either the physical, mental or skills department to win an All Ireland.

  13. John O’M is definetly not the answer, I think he should go now. He made huge mistakes and it wasnt just yesterday!
    Not putting on an experienced tall defender like James Nallen when it was obvious to the dog on street we badly needed him!!
    Leaving some of the players on when they just couldnt cope, and been very slow to sub some of our injured players.
    I am so gutted, I think John O’M didnt want us to win and meet Kerry, is he secretly looking for a
    We were also robbed in so many ways by the Ref, he should not have been a neighbour of Meath!!

  14. Jesus lads I m really starting to wonder if its part
    of our DNA to be eternal chokers . Bad enough our Back Line playing with absolute fear on the field but then having to listen to the parting shot of nearly one l I talked to last night. ” Just as well cause Kerry would have wiped us ”
    In other words Most Mayo supporters were afraid to play Kerry. I tell you I bet Meath are nt afraid to play them. And there lies the crux of our problem.

    I dont miss many Mayo games from under 16 up and would be confident that we have the talent to seriously challange for Sam inside 5 years if things are done right.

    As for the comments that this was the best prepared team to go up to Croker and that Johnno s attention to detail left nothing to chance.
    Well I,d like to apply for a job beside your Dietician and Statistician and Tactician and that would be ” Have The Right Fucking Cogs In Your Bootstician ”

    But anyway I never thought we were ready to win it this year but I just hope my roadmap has nt taken a step backways.
    Hennelly will our goalie when we win it so after yesterday he should be blooded now cause KOM chickened out . Keith has to go to centre back cause what happened to him round the house yesterday happened against Stephen McD , Gooch ( x 2 ) Alan Brogan and nearly happened v Nicky J last Month. He s explosive going forward
    but needs to not just stop after he gives it but be told to keep going looking for a return.
    Shane Nally and Kevin Keane need to both start
    and also Andy Moran needs to be shown a transcript of Maughans first press conference in 95 when he said that ” I cant guarantee success but the one thing I will guarantee is that no player wearing a Mayo jersey will stand up when he is beat ” ( The Cork Massacre ) .

    Anyone wondering how Tom Parsons has gone from Our great White Hope to virtual obsurity.
    Well the answer lies with Johnno.
    He has the confidence sucked out of the lad , telling him he goes missing and that he does nt
    work hard enough.
    Well Johnno let me tell you ( cause I know you read this ) . Tom Parsons is the future of Mayo football and how in your wildest dreams that you thought that the Midfield that you picked for this year championship would operate outside Connacht says a lot about you.
    This lad is twenty one years of age and now I hear has no time for you .
    So you better get bridge building for the sake of
    thousands and thousands who travalled yesterday.

    Besides all this we would have still won the game if the lines man did his job . This was the turning point. He has one decision to make , it happens right in front of him and he gets it wrong .
    Unbe fuckin lievable.

    Where to from here.

    Well personally I d like to see Johnno step down
    but I dont think he will . I actually like the guy but
    hate the way he has always tried to show a county that he has spotted something no one else saw.
    Like putting DH midfield or moving A Moran back and then come hell or high water sticks with it cause he thought of it . Same with Decky Meehen
    in Galway.

    I like Dempsey s style of Management along with T o Grady . Dempsey has nt got the DNA I mentioned earlier and would do anything he thought it took to win . I also think P Holmes and Noel Conn are great assets to our county.

    SO FEAR NOT

  15. Hmm. Not great. Mayo in faltering fashion regain 4 point lead with 20 mins to play. They could have closed it out. What went wrong?

    Well Aidan O Shea limped around for about 10 mins unable to run. Moyles copped this straight away and started to sally forth as far as midfield helping to set up attacks, returning at leisure to mark AOS whenever the ball drifted towards the Meath goal. Wtf was that all about?

    Dodgy lineball, dodgy penalty – no point blaming poor decisions and officials’ mistakes. Tough teams rise above that stuff.

    Meath’s warmup consisted nearly entirely of kicking long range balls over the bar under opposition. At the end of the game they rattled over several great points from play without reply. Not unrelated facts.

    By this stage Mayo’s ability to win any sort of clean ball in the middle had long since disappeared. Many had expressed fears last week about the breaking ball issue and they proved to be well founded. New centrefield required.

    I was actually impressed with C Mortimer for the first time yesterday. Apart from slipping all over the pockmarked turf, he did the right thing taking 2 points at the end. All the Mayo support behind me were howling at him to “drop it in to fuck”. Drop it into what? Meath totally bossed the area in the last few minutes. At least there was only one score between the teams in the last 20 secs.

    And he did well to get the ball to the brother for the kick that set up the goal. As regards the point which should have been a goal, I think he was a bit off-balance and made a very quick decision to stick it over rather than lose it. I’d have to see it again but he took it very quickly. If he stops acting the bollox like he did against Galway, he still has a role.

    Apart from that – Keith Higgins, Andy Moran, Aidan Kilcoyne, Trevor Mortimer and Aidan O Shea
    were the only ones who appeared to play with the intensity required. Mark Ronaldson looked impressive when he came on. He’s quick.

    All the rest looked like the humid day was getting to them. Maybe it’s always cold and windy down there and it’s a struggle for lads to come up here and play in our eastern subtropical weather! Or maybe they were worried that Waterford wouldn’t be up to it against the Cats.

    Whatever the reason, there were too many red shirts walking around looking at the ground yesterday. For midfielders to do it while kickouts are taking place is inexplicable.

  16. I was shocked and gutted we came unstuck at this stage of the championship but despite the hype all Mayo looked like was a good U21 team. When the strong men from Meath came driving forward we ran around like headless chickens. Meath seemed much bigger and stronger. They had a greater hunger and ruthlessness. They kept going for goals like it was all a bit of a laugh. They had obviously noted our weakness and practiced different goal drills.

    Our players? McGarritty put in a good effort, at times you saw him on the FB line getting stuck in and he was always working. Killer and Mort Senior also looked good, they moved and kept working. But we were sorely wanton in other key positions in the field. The biggest problem being the FB line. The position of CB is almost soccer like in its technicality, a good CB is worth their weight in gold. Our boy’s were lacking, at times badly caught out of position. Maybe Kevin Cahill should be brought in to some technical coaching with our younger lads?

    I was very annoyed to see Mayo ice skate in the first half why were Meath not having the same problems? More “Mayo naivety” perhaps. But when they started doing it in the second half I was screaming What the F**k???? You knew it was slippery did you not change your studs? Maybe I’m missing something here, I admit I’m not that up on this sort of thing but why were Meath not having the same problems?

    This leads onto the management – should we change? I think it should seriously be considered.

    On the linesman – I head some boys giving him some jip before he made that woeful decision. I wondered at the time did it affect his call. Jeering the LM is not always the wisest thing to do but it in NO WAY excuses his dreadful call that was right under his nose. That said it is no excuse – the better team won on the day.

    On the season as a whole I definitely think there were positives, we are a young side with good youth coming through. We can use this experience to learn and build and be back. Maybe we are not a top four team this year but definitely a top eight. From this position the only way is up. We will be back again next year – we always are and we will be stronger. I actually am upbeat about our future…

  17. Its the day after the night before and its not getting any better.

    Whats really dissapointing is that we done the exact same as the Galway game except this time we didn’t get away with it. We put the tools away with 15 minutes to play. Meath seemed to get stronger in the last 10 minutes.

    The 2nd really dissapointing aspect is that we have been knocked out by a team that hasn’t a cats hell in chance of even making the final so we can’t even console ourself with the fact that we have been put out by a potential champion.

    Parsons from the start just didn’t work and the officials performance was dubious to say the least but we must take postives from this which I feel are that in terms of ability I think we have shown in bursts that we can claim a All Ireland but there is still serious doubts regarding our mental toughness. I don’t think that even half of our starting 15 yesterday believe that they are capable of winning an All Ireland and until that is resolved by the management then we won’t succeed.

    When we have possession and we are on top we have to go for the throat not show the opposition chinks of light which only encourages them and show that we are mentally weak. I think Meath sensed that yesterday which is why they got stronger and stronger.

    Its tough to take but we’ve had plenty of practice.

  18. I personally am more disappointed with the Mayo supporters than the players that performed yesterday (yesterday was obviously not a fair reflection of them). Since I moved here from Meath three years ago, I’ve gotten nothing but abuse when talk turns to football, re 96 and how we ‘robbed’ Mayo of an All-Ireland. The fundamental flaw with the attitude from Mayo, is that a win, any win, whether it be the first round, a 1/4 final or the All Ireland, needs to be earned and needs to be played for up to the final whistle. Games aren’t robbed, they are won, and it’s a matter of stepping up to the mark to win them. I don’t to assume, but perhaps this is something that has seeped into the team pshyche from sideline talk.

    Any supporter I had spoken to since Meath came through the Limerick game had spoke as if they were already meeting Kerry, yet in the same breath, were not wanting to meet Kerry in the next round. And since yesterday, that Meath did them a ‘favour’ by beating them. Such cockiness lined with negativity, is both a contradiction and a cop out. You either support your team with conviction, or don’t do it at all. This kind of support is bound to get back to the team, and they themselves must have wondered if they really wanted to meet Kerry again..and purely based on one game against Dublin.

    Having had 4 point leads at one stage in both halves, perhaps Mayo thought that this was enough of an advantage for them and sat back, when these leads should have been capitalised on further. Who knows? But that’s sport. Padraig Harrington ‘could have’ beat Tiger Woods yesterday had he not sunk it into the water. Who knows? That’s sport.

    Yes, for sure, decisions didn’t go Mayo’s way. However, at one stage or another, every county has had a game like that. Meath surely have aswell, so I really wish that folk would stop with the ‘poor me’ attitude. The bottom line is that Mayo really didn’t perform yesterday and blaming ref/umpire decisions is just more of the whingeing that I’ve learned I have to tolerate here. There is nothing to say that Mayo WOULD have won had those decisions been different…they were what they were. Perhaps the scoreline might have been different, but who is to say that the outcome wouldn’t have been the same?

    Mayo people are better than that, and the following the team gets is second to none. It’s a shame the same cannot be said for the support. Which was so apparant in the last week. I’m sure there is noone more disappointed with their performance than the lads themselves. People are naturally going to analyse, but look for areas of improvement rather than focusing on the ‘what if’s’ and ‘if onlys’. Clearly there is a lot of young talent on the team and underage..throw the weight behind that and move forward. Shed this weight of anticipation for an All Ireland and just get on with it.

    And for the record, having a Cavan ref is of absolutely NO assistance to a Meath team, because trust me bordering county or not, as much as there is no love lost with Mayo for Meath, there is even less from Cavan.

    I’m not here to rub a Meath win in anyone’s face. As a county, we’d give our support to Mayo had they moved on to the next round, as would most of the country.

    Meath may not of the same calibre as the Cork’s or the Kerry’s (of last Sunday week), but they have spine, and spine can win games when it’s mixed with hard graft, and most importantly belief.

  19. Well said Larry. I think you summed it up nicely in the last sentence.
    ‘….. but they have spine, and spine can win games when it’s mixed with hard graft, and most importantly belief.’

    Mayo need someone to insert ‘spine’, ‘belief’ and some ‘street smarts’ in to this team. I think the footballers are there but the attitiude, at all levels is just wrong.

  20. Responding to Larry here. What are your comments on Mayo supporters based on ? Is it WJs analysis of the game or is it the feedback and views given on this site from other supporters expressing their opinions. Or is it Mayo supporters in general ?
    WJs analysis is complete and rather accurate. he coments on the game as it happened and in fairness it seems reasonably accurate from what I remember of seeing and being at the game as well.
    You say Larry though that Mayo supporters blame referees descisions. WJ doesn’t blame the ref personally ( yes he calll him names and says he made worng descisions .. but you should read where it says (“BOTTOM LINE”). Bottom line is your final analysis and sum up on the on the game and in this sentence WJ doesn’t blame the ref.
    If it wasn’t WJ is it people who responded on this site that you’re talking about. I went back through the other 15 comments and I didn’t see very much references to blaming referees descisions or bitterness against Meath winning the game.
    a backlash on Mayo team certainly ( I gave my rant – and I damn well think I am entitled to it after the way they played.) And I don’t take a word of it back. why should I ? They were cruel to watch.
    Finally if it is against other supporters then sure there is a point to be made. Mayo (similarly to Meath, similarly to many other counties) has its own quota of gobshites who lay blame on others and cannot seem to get over the past – even when they themselves were not even part of the incidents).
    You also said (“Mayo people are better than that, and the following the team gets is second to none. It’s a shame the same cannot be said for the support. Which was so apparant in the last week.”) Very strange comment this. If people are saying this to you then for Gods sake will you just ignore it and forget about them.
    Yes there is still bitterness there. Heightened as well by the fact that I was told that P Mcenenay came out (was it Saturdays indo) and admitted he was wroing in sending of McHale in 96. Why did he say this? What was the point of this comment at this stage 13 years later ? And why did he do it publicly the day before the Math/Mayo game as opposed to 13 years waiting in the shadows ? All it did/does is revive and reinforce sour grapes.

    Also this (“Poor Me …” ) comment. Ya I’m feelin down in the dumps now as are most supportes of Mayo football. No one in the county (and most outside the county) foresaw this result so yes there is some poor me now as people are coming to terms with dissappointment and feeling sorry for themselves. That’s natural Larry !! That’s the way everyone feels after they are hurt, shocked and feel badly let down !
    Lastly you said you’re not here to rub anyones nose in it yet (as a Meath man and fan) you go on to tell us that we have no spine or belief. Cheers for that Larry !! It really helps.

    Finally Larry if you’re a Meath fan why didn’t you post this on GAA board or somewhere else and leave this site to those of us who use it solely for Mayo football.

  21. JPM – look, for god’s sake, what I wrote is observational..so shoot me for speaking what I see/hear. By telling me to go to a Meath forum or GAA board instead of this Mayo one, is as good as saying ‘leave us be here to bury our heads in the sand, we don’t want constructive criticism’.

    To answer your query, my point on the supporters was based on many conversations with Mayo work colleagues and friends. It’s like loving someone but not being in love with them..a lot of Mayo fans are there to follow the team, but have been bricking it since knowing the winner of this game would face Kerry, and been more than vocal about that. Saying that even if they beat Meath, Kerry would hammer them. How is that support?? I was so shocked last week when I realised that this was the opinion of the majority..I didn’t speak with one person who said otherwise. And I base this on the fact that little else was talked about since the Kerry/Dublin game. I completely understand that the defeats by Kerry in recent years are hard to swallow, but if Mayo were really serious about chasing an All Ireland title this year, surely they should have known that the Kerry team were going to be there or there abouts again, so the chances of facing them at these stages were highly probable. Should this then, if Kerry really is Mayo’s nemisis, not have been something that should have been addressed earlier in the season?? Did Mayo go into it this year hoping and praying that they wouldn’t get drawn against Kerry, or that another team would knock them out? Mental prep is as equally important as the physical prep. Sligo were able to put it up to them, and remember, Kerry had to come through the back door…this season guys.

    Look, the short of it is, the supporters (and looks like the team aswell) gave up long before the ball was thrown in on Sunday, and my point is, that kind of support seeps back to a team. If you start hearing enough of the doubts, then it’ll penetrate the mind and come through in your game. And what’s worse, Dublin getting a hiding decided it for them…when Mayo have beaten the guts of that Dub team on their home turf, Croker, in recent years.

    My comment about having spine, was referring to what carried Meath through that game, what gave them the ‘ummph’ to gather themselves and come back from being four points down..twice. You can interpret that as you please..but I see that some of your fellow countymen also felt this was an area for focus.

    At least there is talent there to work with, but the more these young lads start hearing that Mayo are doomed when it comes to playing the big guns, on the big pitch in the big smoke, the more they’ll believe it’s true. Leave the demons behind.
    Start enstilling some confidence and the Holy Grail on an All Ireland is Mayo’s.

  22. Larry – as maître d’ in these parts, can I say that you’re more than welcome to pitch up at any time and say what you want. It’s only if personal abuse starts flying that I send the bouncers in – I’m the only one that’s allowed to do that!

    For what it’s worth, I think you’re a bit harsh in your assessment of us in your last comment. I wouldn’t agree for one minute that the team and supporters “gave up long before the ball was thrown in on Sunday” – in actual fact, there was a fair bit of pre-match chat about how we were losing the run of ourselves by assuming that this one was already in the bag and so were focusing our attention on Kerry. Any year Mayo win Connacht, we generally arrive at Croke Park in good spirits, regardless of the opposition and, apart from finals, we’ve a good enough record in HQ. We came to Croker the last day in a positive mind, fully expecting the team to perform.

    I’d agree with you 100% that Meath had that ‘ummph’ in the last ten minutes that carried them through and I hope that the experience stands to them in the semi-final where I truly hope they’ll put it up to the Kerrymen. Many commentators have pointed to our failure to finish at the same intensity – I think I did too – but what was more fatal was our failure to kill the game completely inside the first half-hour. Had we done so we’d be hearing all kinds of very different theories about Mayo’s place in the world but we didn’t so we have to put up with the same lazy-minded analysis that’s always trotted out. We’re used to that at this stage.

    But we will learn from it, of that I have no doubt. In 2002, Tyrone lost to your countymen at the same stage of the championship and look where they ended up twelve months after that. I’m not claiming we’ll do the same but I’d be very surprised if we’re not back as Connacht champions again next year and in better fettle too. The supporters will be back too, like they always are, and not too many of us will be worrying about who’ll we’ll be paired against either.

  23. Hi Willie Joe – been reading some of the other comments on other threads, and have to agree, well done on a great site.

    I know patience has been frayed and people are weary of this old championship campaign, and there’s only so much that last Sunday can be rehashed. My apologies if I seemed harsh, but that is honestly the vibe I got last week…there just didn’t seem to be the excitement, or anticipation of a 1/4 final. The hunger wasn’t really there off the pitch…it’s like people were worn out. But not fair for me to generalise just on what I observed.

    Yes, Mayo for sure should have put us to bed in the first 20 mins. I was watching the game, Mayo people on my right and Meath on my left, wondering how I would face going west that evening if Mayo stayed on that course of popping over points to Meath’s nothing. Yes, Cian Ward’s first point from a 45 was wrongly awarded as a 45, and according to some reports (not on this site, I’m not getting at anyone here), that was the start of the end for Mayo – if they were that easy broke, when they were still three points up, then it wasn’t ever going to be their day. I’m disappointed for the Mayo lads, because the time and dedication they put into football, both county and club, is admirable…I don’t think they lacked heart, but none of it just seemed to come together for them.

    Anyway, wishing the Mayo Minors all the best in their next game…last year was heartbreaking for them. I’m hoping that Meath can continue to maintain their winning streak and topple one of those in the Trinity…Kerry! They’ve nothing to lose, so I hope and expect they go in with the same dogedness as they have in previous years…anything can happen in football.

  24. Hi Larry – thanks for that and the best of luck to the Royals the next day. I’ll be there to see our minors and I’ll be shouting for your lads in the big one.

  25. Just a quick note to one of the posters above…..Cavan and Meath are neighbours, yes – true…..they have a pretty strong hatred for each other traditionally, so let’s call a spade a spade….the ref was shite, nothing to do with him being a neighbour…

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