Meath 2-5 Mayo 1-9: Kevin to the rescue

When Meath banged home their second goal with a little over fifteen minutes to go, our goose looked well and truly cooked at Páirc Tailteann today. The too-small first half lead we’d built up with the aid of the wind had been squandered and it appeared then that we’d struggle even to add to our opening half tally. A dispiriting defeat and bottom spot in the table seemed our lot at that point.

But that wasn’t accounting for Kevin McLoughlin. The Knockmore man had been named to start but was kept on the bench – Aidan O’Shea lined out instead, with Lee Keegan replacing Padraig O’Hora, who, for some unspecified reason, didn’t tog today – and was only introduced for the second half. His influence on the game wasn’t felt until he got our first score of the second half with less than ten minutes left to play but, a bit like James Durcan in Ballybofey, he then went on to make a decisive impact on the scoreboard.

But let’s scroll back to the start. We were in our seats in the stand at Páirc Tailteann well over an hour before throw-in, a stand that was filling rapidly at that stage. The pitch looked in fine shape but the underfoot conditions weren’t the problem, instead it was the howling gale blowing straight down the field into the town end. Stephen Coen won the toss and opted to play with the wind in the first half.

Tommy Conroy’s confidently struck point on the run opened the day’s scoring. When their keeper was pinged for overcarrying, James Carr lofted the free over with his left to double our advantage.

Meath weren’t idle in these opening stages, though. Hard-working and well clued-in, they ran at us and created four scoring chances, all of which they spurned due to a combination of poor shot selection and an inability to read the tricky conditions.

We had our own troubles in that regard, with Tommy Conroy and James Durcan off target. James Carr, however, split the posts with a monstrous effort from fifty yards out.

At the twenty minute mark we were five to the good, Paddy Durcan and Fergal Boland both shooting over from distance. Meath were still to get off the mark. Eventually they did so when Menton galloped through the middle and fired over.

That effort was the only one the Royals got in the opening half. We tagged on two more before the break, the first from the lively Ryan O’Donoghue and the second a trademark outside of the boot effort launched in over the cover by Fergal Boland.

Six up at the break, the obvious question among Mayo supporters was whether or not, given the conditions, the lead would be enough to bag the points. Meath had the look of a dangerous outfit, one that clearly wasn’t beaten at the half-way mark.

We made two changes for the second half. Kevin McLoughlin replaced James Carr while Conor Loftus came on for Tomy Conroy.

There was a long scoreless spell on the resumption. Now it was our turn to find it difficult to bag scores against the wind but their wide count was also continuing to creep up at the other end.

Eventually Meath opened their account and they did so with effect. They won the ball out the middle and carved us completely open with a series of rapid handpasses, leaving the static cover for dead. I’m not sure who it was who pawed the ball to the net but the score brought what had up till then been a rather dour struggle dramatically to life.

Our attacking attempts were now looking a bit forlorn as Meath, perhaps for the first time, sensed they might just nick this one. A second goal and a point in quick succession and they looked a racing certainty to do so, with more than fifteen minutes left to play and the gale showing no sign of easing.

Our cause looked a bit desperate then. We seemed a shapeless mess, a team devoid of any kind of coherent plan, up against a well-drilled outfit that now had their tails up. Surely, this one could only go one way from here?

It didn’t and we’ve Kevin McLoughlin to thank for that.

I have to admit that when I saw him standing over that free, twenty yards out on the right, my heart sank. But Kevin, fair play to him, backed himself and rammed it over into the teeth of the gale to haul us level.

Before then the home team had missed three chances to pull further clear. Just after Kevin’s leveler, though, dangerman Cillian O’Sullivan claimed a forward mark and belted it over from the fifty.

But our dander was now well and truly up. We poured forward and they sank back, leaving us to toss the ball back and over as we searched for an opening. Eventually Aidan moved in, Paddy arrowed it into the danger zone where Ryan O’Donoghue claimed it and fed Kevin who fired over.

O’Sullivan then manufactured a free for himself at the other end, Hurson falling for the theatrics. The Meath bun man skied his effort wide, though, and the game was still level.

It wasn’t for long. Meath got caught in possession near their goal and Kevin McLoughlin pounced to turn it over. He initiated a rapid move in tandem with Ryan O’Donoghue, a quick one-two putting Kevin in on goal. He doesn’t tend to miss from there. He didn’t.

Now it was Meath’s turn for desperation. Three down and time running out they made a late, frenzied effort to save something from the tie. Before the final whistle sounded they managed to claw back two points but we held on to win by the minimum margin.

I’m not sure this was a game we deserved to win, in all honesty, but win it we did. What was gratifying was that when faced with adversity – having conceded those two goals and with all that time to play against the wind – we were able to dig ourselves out of the hole.

Kevin will obviously get plenty of plaudits for his match-altering contribution to the scoreboard but he wasn’t alone. Fergal Boland was lively and involved throughout and Ryan O’Donoghue showed too why so many speak so highly about him. Further back, Paddy Durcan drove us forward repeatedly and Lee Keegan showed he’s still got plenty of appetite for the fight. In goals, Robbie’s restarts into the wind after the break were as steady and composed as they really had to be.

So instead of facing into Round 4 looking up from the bottom of the table, we’re now on three points, the same tally garnered by a Monaghan team that has earned such praise already this spring. It’s the Farney lads away up next for us – that’s another one we’ll need a result from to help push us closer to safety in this ultra-competitive top tier.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Lee Keegan, James McCormack, Brendan Harrison; Eoin O’Donoghue, Michael Plunkett, Paddy Durcan (0-1); Stephen Coen, Diarmuid O’Connor; Fergal Boland (0-2), Ryan O’Donoghue (0-1), James Durcan; Tommy Conroy (0-1), James Carr (0-2, one free), Aidan O’Shea. Subs: Kevin McLoughlin (1-2, one free) for Carr, Conor Loftus for Conroy, Eoghan McLaughlin for McCormack, Ciaran Treacy for James Durcan, Bryan Walsh for Boland.

Who was our MOTM against Meath? Pick your top three performers

  • Kevin McLoughlin (40%, 583 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (16%, 233 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (14%, 200 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (9%, 129 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (5%, 80 Votes)
  • Robbie Hennelly (3%, 49 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (2%, 34 Votes)
  • Eoin O'Donoghue (2%, 25 Votes)
  • James Carr (2%, 25 Votes)
  • Michael Plunkett (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (1%, 15 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (1%, 15 Votes)
  • Conor Loftus (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Tommy Conroy (1%, 10 Votes)
  • James Durcan (0%, 5 Votes)
  • James McCormack (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Eoghan McLaughlin (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Bryan Walsh (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Ciaran Treacy (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 819

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73 thoughts on “Meath 2-5 Mayo 1-9: Kevin to the rescue

  1. Tough watching on TV. Thank God for Kevin McLoughlin. Strange substitutions again.

    Where did Eoghan McLaughlin come from? Haven’t heard of him around the panel before

  2. Well done to the team for digging out a win in terrible conditions away from home. Not the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last. There was a lot of crying earlier on about team and management having no forwards-plan and some even had us relegated with 60 minutes played, but honestly how are you supposed to analyse a game like that… we’ve seen numerous seven point swings over the entire weekend. Yes we should have been out the gate at half-time and yes there’s no way Meath should have been able to cut through for two goals in the manner that they did but this is a young team on their third competitive game of the year, Horan is experimenting as best he can and there’s no way to do it without the risk of losing games. In a division this competitive it’s a very fine line to walk but what’s the alternative, go back over match reports here from years gone by and you will regularly find complaints about certain managers not fielding young enough teams and not giving such-and-such a player a chance. Well this is what experimentation looks like and it’s a long hard road back to Croke Park…

    Standouts for me were Fergal Boland, Ryan O’Donoghue and of course the legend that Kev Mc. Aidan O’Shea put in a hard shift and Hennelly didn’t do much wrong when it came to the kickouts. Work is needed in the backs, Meath should have had a goal in the first half were it not for a DOC challenge that definitely wasn’t a foot block.

    I can’t say I’m super confident going up against the likes of Monaghan, Kerry, Tyrone but it’s all in our hands, let’s see where it takes us

  3. People must understand how the weather dictated everything. Similar to Donegal game we’ve managed a late grab again – consider other results this was a huge win.

    Overall the team applied it self well, however the area that needs most development is the FF line – and that’s not maybe!

    Was at the game and cannot emphasise how sticky last few minutes were.

  4. Pitch looked great fair play to the grounds people. Very hard to kick a point into the hospital end and the winner was likely to be the team that would score a goal at that end. Great to have the brains and skill of Kevin McL to come in. Couldn’t fault anyone for effort and both teams will take positives from the game. Fergal Boland is the new engine room of this team now, MOTM and fast becoming a guy we cannot field without..

  5. We missed boyler today and also the grit of O’Hora. We dodged a bullet for sure and I don’t know if its good or bad that there’s only 1 point separating 7 teams. One good thing to come out of this fucking horrible game is how young O’Donoghue linked up with Kevin Mc for the last 2 crucial scores. ROD might be on the small side but he’s courageous and wily and himself and Boland are stepping up. Carr too is showing promise.

  6. Yet again the pitch at McHale park claims another Mayo victim to a long term injury. “A bad knee injury” usually means one thing. Depressing.

  7. Good to get the win as we were the better team out there. What an impact k mac in 2nd half. But the day was all about the gale force blowing up the field. Should have scored more in the first half with wind at our backs. Meath tried to run down the 1st 35 mins with injuries requiring treatment on the ground etc. Meath didn’t do any better in 2nd half apart from the 2 goals. Loads of wides. But we can take heart from the way we play right to the end. This will be necessary in weeks and months to come. Patient build up in 2nd half for about 4 mins before Aidan broke the line and Kevin pointed. This was a critical phase. Well done to all on a bad day for football. I thought the ref Hurson was a joke. Blatant free in to Boland 1st half and he gives free out.
    Nice touch at half-time announcer invites all the local kids onto the field for a kick around. And called for a round of applause as it finished.

  8. Any update after the game on why padraig o’hora didn’t tog today ? Hope to see him back on the pitch for Monaghan game.

  9. Sinabhuil think Tommy Conroy was injured didnt look right just before half time took a few belts! was playing great too!

  10. Thanks Annmarie due to heavy cold I was not there. This is what you miss when you dont go.

  11. If it’s true about Boyler then that’s terrible news. An absolute and utterly fantastic player for us for years. The heart beat of the team. Anyway we’ll done today to the lads. Interesting to note the comments seem a bit more positive now than earlier. Is that possibly because those commenting now were at the match where as some earlier comments may have emerged from the armchairs. I think it’s a great win and anyone freaking out about performances in early February should calm down The one thing I will say is that those older fellas are fantastic Rescue us time and time again. Take a bow Kevin. Great learning curve for the younger lads. They need exposure to games like today and we the supporters should live up to our name and support them and give them time. Tough series of games left but we have done well to get 3 points already so keep the faith.

  12. Kevin Mac to the rwscue once again. The most underrated player over several seasons.

  13. We got out of jail there! Thought we were gone when they got the second goal. Kev Mcs free was top class as well. I was in stand so didn’t have a great view but looked to be well out against that wind.

    Lovely touch to let the kids on pitch at HT. brought the young lad out and he was delighted with himself.

  14. Ryan O’D had a stormer in the second half but I thought he was not suited to the first half conditions. A bigger, stronger man would, I thought have done better. Fergal Boland too, for all his qualities – and they are many, was a bit light for those conditions and was too much inclined to turn back when in possession giving Meath time to organise defensively. We need a man in the full forward line who can win ball – and that man is not Aiden O’Shea.

  15. We got out of gaol. The things that stood out for me was how strong the wind was and how good the pitch was despite a deluge before the game. Any judgements about the team or individuals have to be tempered by the conditions.
    Again like yesterday we didn’t seem to know how to play with the wind or use it to best effect. Seven points for the first half was completely unsatisfactory. We didn’t create any goal chances and not nearly enough point scoring opportunities and we missed two very easy chances. I thought moving Aidan in and out of the ff line didn’t work and probably put James Carr off his game.
    I was surprised that James Carr and Tommy Conroy were replaced at halftime although McLoughlin had to be brought in and thank goodness he was. He has rescued us a good few times at this stage. I was also surprised Brian Reape didn’t get a run ahead of one or two who came on. At this stage he must be thinking his boat has sailed if he’s not getting a chance in conditions like this which would have suited a big strong player.
    Fergal Boland played really well and Ryan O Donoghue showed well but it was the lad soldiers who stood up when most needed.
    The final word goes to the referee ………..but I don’t think I should print it here!!!

  16. Dreamysleepy… – There were numerous league games during Donie Buckley’s time where our tackling intensity was poor. Remember the league game v Dublin in 17? Or the whole 2018 season?? Don’t know why people keep bringing him up. He was there for 6 years and a change was due.

    A number of our players (Keegan & Aidan) looked short fitness wise today. I’d be optimistic that can be improved over the next 2 weeks and beyond. Also, is James Carr being minded for injury reasons? Can’t understand him being taken off at half-time the last 2 weeks otherwise? A couple of poor performances out there from players that needed to make their mark.

  17. In all fairness though lads and lassies I’ve been thinking about this since the final whistle earlier. Its early February and the ground is well soft now plus lads are not even close to peak and teak tough fitness. We are on 3 points and have some very winnable games ahead and it has to be said we are fairly bloody hard to beat it appears. The Galway game on 15th March is gonna be a cracker by the way!! Ironically we are like that Meath team of the 90’s where they were never done until the final whistle.
    We are 20/1 by the way with paddy power to win Sam…thats actually 20/1!! Perhaps we are merely waiting in the long grass folks

  18. Mention of a cruciate for Boyler in the Connaught telegraph online page. Sickening if that’s what it is.

  19. @ youngfella,
    Eoghan Mc Loughlin plays wing back for Westport and is a very exciting young player, big engine and carries the ball well. Has scored some great solo goals at club level and is not afraid to mix it. Delighted to see him get a run.
    Thought there was a lot of positives from the game, hard to find the balance between bringing through young players and winning games with our seasoned campaigners. all to play for and still in our own hands.
    Keep the faith.

  20. Whew!
    We did an awful lot wrong, but still, our second half performance was terrific. Not enough on the board by half time, and helped by Meath’s squander mania we were on the rack when they got those, terrific, goals. Our running game really had them in trouble, but of course the wind made it all but impossible to score. I was though disappointed by Conor Loftus’s effort, but elated by Kevin Mac’s free which was really difficult.

    Ryan O’D impressed hugely, Fergal Boland did a power of work and Kevin Mac will get MOTM. For me however, Robbie was the man today. His kicks in the second half were perfect in the most challenging circumstances. He just stroked them for the most part and found his man continually. This really gave us a platform because possession was critical.

    Meath’s tigerish performance impressed. They turned us over constantly and their tackling was teak tough. Ref a joke – some of the non frees to us were shocking.

  21. – Typical Mayo performance with lots of possession, scattergun forward play and great character when required.
    – The wind though was unreal not so much for its strength but more for the angle which meant that the simplest of shots into the hospital end were sent wide by both teams. Why not try to fist the ball over the bar in that wind ?
    – Totally agree Andy D, The Aido at FF experiment failed again today and our HF line were too light for those conditions and I for one was disappointed that we did not make a change there before throw-in.
    – The Meath goals came after they made two quick substitutions with our guys to slow to pick up their new Men.
    – The Meath number 6 was free for the entire second half and he got on a lot of ball and nothing done to correct it.
    -We never threatened the Meath goal until Kevin Mc’s brilliant shot with the pass from ROD who made an impact in the second half.
    – Div 1 is very very tight so far this year. 3 or 4 more points should see us safe.
    – Walked across the pitch after the match and it was in great nick considering the weather.

  22. We started too many light similar type players in the forwards – Boland, O Donoghue, Durcan and Conroy all light inexperienced. We saw how O Donoghue benefitted from Kevin Mac coming on and making himself available for passes.
    Our forward game plan is not working at present. We seem to be trying to kick more ball in quicker to full forward line. But we are not getting players up in support when lads inside win the ball.
    I would have taken a one point win before today’s game.
    Not looking good for Boyler. Didn’t look good coming off last week. Hope for best for him. Great warrior.

  23. How many more injuries to our players in McHale Park before something is done about the playing surface. Boyler, Jason, Tom P and SOS have had possible career ending injuries.

  24. When did Seamus O’Shea get injured in MacHale Park? We play there more than anywhere so it stands to reason more injuries would occur. Andy Moran tore his cruciate in Croke Park in case anyone has forgotten.

  25. The news of the day with all that’s going on to me is Colm Boyle. You always feel with him in the team mayo can do anything. At his age a few months out will mean the end. A sad day a true legend I hope every young fella and squad member follow in his great footsteps and have the same passion and desire that he has shown for several yrs. He eats sleeps Mayo …

  26. Listening to Pat Spillane.. He talks manure really…marquee forwards and mayo’s constant lack off is his favourite talking point when it comes to the red and green

  27. One thing that we should all remember over the years is that Mayo usually play at the level of the team they are playing. This is why they rise to the likes of Kerry and Dublin and struggle with the lower teams. The wind was very difficult to manage today and loads around me were shouting “will ye kick it in” not realizing doing that was the same as kicking the ball away in the second half. I thought Eoin Od and Paddy did well running to support us from the back. Diarmuid ran is heart out again and tried to give Hennelly options in the 2nd half, but wasn’t seen as Hennelly was fully focused on kickouts towards Aidan. Kevin Mc is our Hero again and has saved us on manys a day. Like you Willie Joe I was thinking please kick it to someone else for the free and gladly ate my words afterwards. The bench was light but this was a good eye opener for the youngsters. Its pretty early in the league to panic. I remember years ago going into play a game against Cork thinking we are getting relegated to Div 2 and we came out going to croker for the semi. There is plenty of time to pick up points yet.

    On a side note gutted for Boyler. Such a warrior that always lifts the team and us supporters when he comes on. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope thats not how he ends his career in a Mayo jersey.

  28. Wide Ball, did SOS not miss most of the league in 2019 because of an injury in training. If it wasn’t in McHale Park then I stand corrected. But 3 knee injuries is more than than a coincidence. Anyway I hope than Boylers injury is not too serious as we badly missed him today. Best wishes to him

  29. Andy McEntee is some tool. Comments on RTE about a player with a head injury as if his players didn’t lie down deliberately in the first half against the wind with some very soft trees.

    Maybe he should take the plank out of his own eye first….

  30. It was interesting that there was no Tom Parsons or Keith Higgins on the panel today. The news about Colm Boyles injury is sickening because he brings so much to this team. They play with a different level of intensity and ferocity when he is on the field. I would hate to think we would be without himself, Tom Parsons and Keith Higgins this year. It would be hard to replace that level of experience.

  31. Great character displayed n the second half, but mixed performances overall from both some of our experienced and newer players.

    Our newer forwards need to develop more teamwork, hope this comes with time but we will see. It appears to be a strategy to replace two forwards at half time. Overall I thought that the backs played well, and DOC and Coen put in a huge shift, and agree with comments regarding Hennelly’s kick outs. Ì

    I was disappointed with Meath, their shot selection was poor, they struggled on kick outs and I thought that the weather conditions probably suited them. They stayed in the game after we missed a few good chances early in the second half, but they should have closed it out once they got the second goal, given the conditions.

    Important win but is still a battle to stay up, will probably need 3 more points but I would not write off our chances at this time. Monaghan will be tough, but we have a good record there so let’s wait and see.

  32. Tom Parsons freak injury was caused by another player falling on his leg, nothing to do with the pitch.
    This shite about McHale Park needs to stop. We play half our games there so on average that should mean half the injuries. We also train there and you can be sure there’s no shrinking violets in training games. The same thing happens all teams. Players get injured because it’s a physical game.
    One of the recent season’s FBD should have been called off because of terrible weather leading to a few months with a bad pitch, apart from that the pitch is fine any time I walk on it. Enough of finding reasons to moan. We won today deservedly but also with some luck. We should be happy. Yes very tough on Boyler but the pitch ranting really pisses me off.

  33. Pull hard he came out with the same rubbish in 17 and Mayo beat Kerry in Kerry a week later.
    Looks like trying to be controversial to keep himself in the spotlight or else it’s really poor standard analysis.
    For me you can read almost nothing into performances this time of the year except possibly that certain fellas may not be able handle IC level football, some fellas have potential etc.
    This time a the year Squads weakened, heavy pitches, less pace/intensity/pressure, squad not together as much,playing outside croke park and so on. Look at Rossies in some previous years really competitive early in the league then got some hockeyings at the business end of things later in the year

  34. Dooniver swifts – I believe most of the training is in the pitch behind MacHale Park. But if you’re including training then it’s pretty obvious that more injuries will happen in Castlebar than say Navan, where we’ve played 70 minutes in the last 18 years!

  35. We were lucky today, we did just nick it. Pullhard I dont take any notice of Pat Spillane any more.He likes the sound of his own voice and he likes to put the boot in. The conditions that they played in today were not easy but I did think we should have been up more at half time. They ran through us very easy for their goals. O’Hara and Mullin have looked steady in and around the back for us in the last 2 games.
    The lads will hopefully learn from these games.
    They have a two week break to work on things. Heres hoping for a better performance in Clones. MaighEo Abú

  36. Pity about Andy Mcentee, I was advise to call to some pharmacy tomorrow and buy himself a bottle of copon
    And poor pat Spillane, does not suffer from loss of memory, Cilian o Connor, top scorer of all time , o but forgot he passed the gooch

  37. I watched the Monaghan Dublin game and while not a fan of Dublin I have to say that taking into account the stoppages in injury time the ref played the correct amount of time. Today I did think he would have played maybe another 40 secs after the final kick out but for McEntee to claim bias is just stupid on his part

  38. Conditions made football a lottery today and criticism of our performance is a bit harsh. It was great to dig out the win when all seemed lost and that can only stand to the team going forward. Wouldn’t get too hung up on the Spillane comments he shoots from the hip and usually tells it as he sees it and I’m sure there’s lots of Mayo supporters who would have the same opinion too!

  39. Wide Ball, there was no injuries to our players today, no injuries in Ballyboffey, Boyler did his cruciate in McHP. Last year no injuries in CP
    In AI semi final, Jason did his cruciate in McHP. That’s our last 5 matches. That’s a pretty obvious problem. My main concern is players health and safety. It’s very flippant of other posters to say that injuries happen and that it does their head in when these concerns are raised.

  40. Do not like the comments of Peter Mulroe as Meath manager Andy lost his mother during the week and i think did very well to be on the sidelines after a few days, deserves some credit for being there.

  41. Agree Peter Mulroe.. Pat forgot to mention who the all time top scorer is, go Cillian.
    Nice touch by Aidan O S acknowledging Ryan O D play at the end of the game.
    Ryan O D had some precision passes today.
    DOC covered every blade of grass, as did Stephen Coen, Fergal Boland, Eoin O Donoghue.
    Boyler is so missed, speedy recovery, one true Mayo legend…Heart of a lion

    Maigh Eo Abú

  42. Dooniver swifts – Maybe we didn’t get any injuries in Ballybofey but I think 3 Donegal players had to leave the field. We played Galway in the FBD and none of our players got injured. None of our U20s got injured on Saturday. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game and it’s bitterly disappointing for Boyler. But I don’t think there’s any point blaming the pitch.

  43. Also, Donie Vaughan went off injured in the semi-final vs Dublin last year. Nothing to do with the pitch of course.

  44. I dunno, I think Spillane has a point.

    We’ve fallen short in all the last 4 finals and truth is had we one more reliable ‘scoring forward’ it may have made the difference. Andy was a big loss in 2012.

    Out strength for the past decade was having arguably the best defence in the country. Oozing with All Stars…Clarke, Higgins, Harry, Lee, Boyler, caff (earlier in the decade), Barrett…all all stars and Durcan last year. A brilliant back 6. A very good midfield with the O’Sés, Tom… but how many all stars have we won up front?? 2, 3? I don’t have the figure off the top of my head but the imbalance in strength is clear and obvious.

    And Spillanes point is that we didn’t have enough top forwards a few yrs back AND the lads coming through are hit and miss. To date it’s very hard to disagree with that. Unless we pull an All Ireland out of the hat this year or next, then unfortunately our chances greatly reduce for the rest of this decade and that’s based on the reality that Dublin Kerry and Galway have All fared better than us at underage for the past 7 or 8 years. If Mayo GAA are truly committed to winning an Ireland then we need to get far, far more serious and ‘professional’ about our underage structures and that starts in primary school….not at u16.

  45. Spillane is a complete knob. RTE still stuck with dinosaur pundits although Brolly at least is gone.
    Spillane at least has a duty to try and be accurate. Conroy has played very few games for Mayo so talking about consistency with him is completely irrelevant. Carr looks a good talent and very 2 footed. Boland good again today and he’s rarely bad, I would say consistently good. OK he could make claims about Treacy, J Durcan, Hanley and a few more. Most of these haven’t had a ton of chances. Spillane is correct we’ve no marquee forwards right now but Carr has potential to be. Cillian has a lot of class and let’s hope he’s in good form whenever he returns.
    Kerry have a marquee forward in Clifford and another in SOS who could be a great player and shows promise. JOD could come very good consistently for them again if injury free as could Geaney but neither are the players of the previous peak right now. Killian Spillane isn’t any better than our young lads.
    Monaghan have 1 marquee forward but keep him to 3 or 4 and not sure after that, I think several of their scores come from backs. Maybe McCarron but he probably went backwards from 2 years ago.
    Tyrone have some excellent players but some are converted backs and McShane I think was a midfielder. All teams bar Dublin are struggling to find more than 1 marquee forward who causes trouble every week.
    Donegal have McBrearty who’s class when fit and Murphy is a top player but doesn’t always play in forwards.
    All these teams have lots of good forwards but not many marquee.

  46. Spillane also putting us in the bottom 2 when there’s 4 teams on 3 points.
    Pure horseshit of a comment.

  47. A question I would ask is ‘What is Mayo GAA doing at underage that is aimed at producing young players better skilled than anywhere else? There needs to innovation at this level because if we are content with just ‘keeping up’ with the Kerry’s and Dublins etc then we’ll likely continue to fail. Tyrone won their 3 Sam’s on the back of producing an array of superb underage teams. Kerry are on the cusp of becoming a dominant force (along with Dublin) at senior with Galway and possibly Cork not far behind in a few yrs.

    I really think we need to start targeting minor all Ireland’s. Yes, 16/17 is a long way off senior but success at that level develops a culture of success. The relative success of our senior team in the last decade was built upon 6 connacht u21 titles in 7 seasons between 2003 to 2009. In the past 11 years we’ve come out of connacht just twice. That’s an alarming fall off and anyone who thinks we can do continue to compete at the very top at senior level without producing winning underage teams is in dreamland.

    The positive thing is I believe we can rectify matters, because we have the interest, ambition and tradition but we really need to get it right and it starts with a finely tuned skills programme for 8-12 years olds at primary level which I don’t believe is there and then developing upon this from 13-15 which are essential years. We need to strive to be no.1 in the country at this level. If we do, we will reap the rewards at u20 and in time at senior.

  48. We have a very well organised underage coaching setup. I don’t believe we should ‘target U17 All Ireland’s. The target should be (As it is) a wide pool of skilled players for both county and club. Last year’s u17s were beaten by Cork, but, at u17 with Corks pick you’d expect them to have more bigger strong athletes, which they had several more of. Now, in terms of players showing promise to go on and be strong u20s, there was a nice few players.
    The u17s looked better drilled and coached than recent minor teams we’ve had.
    At senior lads like Ryan O’Donoghue, Tommy Conroy and James Carr will go up in standard a lot as the pitches firm up. We are missing Matthew Ruane around the middle a lot.

  49. People are hardly implying because Cillian has scored more in championship than Gooch that Cillian is a better player. Gooch was different class altogether. As someone said above our success has been down to excellent defence and backs bombing forward to create and take scores. Looking at the distribution of our all stars over last ten years tells us where our strengths and weakness lie.

  50. Southmayo Exile – I don’t believe anyone has ever said that Cillian is a better player than Gooch, however we are missing Cillian and you can’t deny that he would be a first choice starter if he’s available to play.
    We’re also missing a whole bunch of players and that squad including the subs named was the youngest squad we’ve played in a very long time.
    I’d commend James Horan for having the guts to go with that Squad yesterday and giving the younger ones the chance. It needs to be done at some stage and we perhaps got sufficiently lucky yesterday to justify it.
    Overall a day to forget as regards a performance and I think a lot of our players might want to put it behind them too. Conditions were what they were so it’s not fair to offer criticism given I was watching this from the comfort of my couch. Highlights for me were the addition of Kevin Mc, proof if it were needed that it’s a travesty that this man has no all Star, and further proof that sometimes you need the old dog for the hard road. Fergal Boland and James Carr were also quite impressive, as was Ryan O’Donoghue. Oddly enough these are all forwards so I’m not sure why Pat couldn’t acknowledge that but if you’re trying to be the new Brolly I suppose you’ll come out with any auld shite.

    As for the ref blowing the whistle bang on time- I noted that he blew on precisely 2 minutes in the first half. McEntee didn’t have an issue with that as they were playing into the wind, and their lads spent a good lot more than 2 minutes rolloing on the ground in the first half to slow down the game. He blew on just after the 4 minutes of added time in the second half.
    I can understand McEntee being frustrated but that was actually one thing the ref was certainly consistent on yesterday.

  51. Strange how fans are allowed to call Spillane a n*b for his opinions on Mayo and the post is allowed but criticizing David Brady for his none stop attacking in both the media and for the whole of yesterdays game from the start through to his post match comments gets taken down ,

  52. I predicted that this match would go down to the wire and that I’d take a jammy one point win. For once my predictions were spot on!

    We were blessed to escape Páirc Tailteann with a win yesterday, largely down to heroics from Kevin McLoughlin (again!) and a present from the Meath full back. Let’s not forget either that their no.6 missed an open goal in the first half, which looked at first glance anyway to be a foot block from Leeroy.

    The conditions were indeed dire and they probably did suit Meath a bit more than us, but it has to be said that we have lacked cohesion in the forward line in the opening three NFL fixtures. I think the experiment with Aido around the house has been tried more than once without success at this stage, and personally I’d like to see him around permanently around the middle as we went out of it there at times.

    Boyler also looks to be a huge loss in terms of leadership and bite, too, given that we have a lot of rookies in the side at the moment. J Doc and Ruane too.

    We just look a bit light for what is very stodgy winter football at the moment. Case in point being Conor Loftus, who is a silky footballer on good to firm turf but gave the ball away or overcarried when he came on yesterday.

    Didn’t help too much that we didn’t get many fifty-fifty decisions yesterday, one decision to penalise Fergal Boland for overcarrying when he was being fouled en route to goal was an absolutely awful call.

  53. I live here in Navan & a lot of Meath people say the Ref rode us.We were badly exposed for both goals–you could see them coming.I agree Aido was very poor in the first half.The lack of movement for our kickouts was worrying.

  54. Vital 2 points and a great win with such a young team. Credit to Horan, the gamble paid off. Very positive to get 70mins into Keegan, with Boyler now gone, Lee will be our top “enforcer”, need him at full tilt now for the rest of the season.

    Wouldn’t be worrying with what Spillane said, its actually a positive in my book! Keep talking us down etc while blowing up Galway and Donegal.

    Id be worried for our “light” forwards up in clones. I remember 2 yrs ago up there, Cillian and a couple more were pulled, punched, and dragged all game, by the Monaghan fb line. No repercussions, and the umpires just stared at it all game. We need a good competent ref for this one! So hope David Gough gets it and cuts out all the dark arts that will be on show.

  55. To be honest, even if we had a full panel available to us I’d be picking a similar team. This is what transition looks like, lads arnt used to playing with each other, don’t have the physical condition, prone to mistakes. It it what it is but we need to take the pain in the short term for the long term good. We added the likes of Ruane, Carr, mcdonagh last year, Mullen and O’Donoghue look good this year, Boland has come on a lot. I don’t expect a lot from this year. To stay up and stay in championship as long as possible but I think we’re moving in the right direction.

  56. @MayoDunphy: I often wonder what the umpires are actually there for; a fella could be murdered under their nose and they still wouldn’t see it! Half of them seem to have imperfect vision to begin with. Best to bring in technology and consign them to the dustbin of history.

  57. You might consider doing a bit of research, Jeff, before posting whiny comments like that. Your one about David Brady IS online – if you check the Game Day piece you’ll find it there. It was posted at 4pm.

  58. Mayo forwards still dissapointing .Durcan and particularly Loftus making no impact. Hope we see the likes of Gary Boylan, Paul Towey, Darren Coen , Liam Irwin and Conor Diskin in the coming weeks.These are players that can finish if given the chance.

  59. Strange given at my last visit to the opticians he told me my eyesight appeared to be getting better with age and yet the comment wasn’t there when i looked for the latest comments on the game this morning despite me checking twice when i did not see it the first time i looked back through comments

  60. Didn’tget to the match yesterday as I was under the weather. Watched it on tg4 and I thought we were very lucky to win, Meath should have closed it out with 10 mins left. But there is still fight left in this Mayo team, Kevin Mc is some player, how many times has he rescued us now. Felt a bit sorry for Andy McEntee ( commiserations to him on the death of his Mam) at the end probably should have got something out of the game. He complained about a head injury to Eoin O Donughue but that should have been a free to Mayo instead of one to Meath. Later Meath dispossessed Treacy by knocking the ball out over the line. Line ball to Meath instead of Mayo, so maybe he shouldn’t have complained that much. Thought Boland, ROD and Carr were very good today. Thought Hennelly had a good day with the kickouts too. Cillian O Sullivan must be the most fouled player in Ireland. I use the word foul since he seems to get a free Everytime.. Hopefully we improve for the Monaghan game

  61. Not really lucky , it was game of two halves , we just didn’t get enough scores in first half but got the goal against the conditions.

    Our game plan still seems a bit all over the place with nothing definite , lack of direct running at them is annoying when ya believe we are capable . I understand it’s organised to pull Carr at ht to give another a run but I’d like to see him play 70 the next day out . ROD is shaping well , some might think he’s light but it doesn’t matter when you’re tough as nails like him .

    We need points from some of these next games . Shocking bad news about boyler , he was playing as well as ever . Shur he’ll be back for all ireland semi final ( tongue n cheek)

  62. JP, I take that your opinion is that we have a ‘very well organised coaching set up’ but what are you gauging it against? It’s like people commenting here that we have some really talented underage players and they they go out and get comprehensively beaten by someone like Galway.

    Why then have we only come out of the province twice in the past decade at u21/20 level? Why have we only featured in one all Ireland minor final in the past decade and during this period? If Mayo GAA are serious about producing a wide pool of players then they should be implementing divisional teams at senior club level to allow access to a higher standard for players from junior clubs (like Kerry do).

    At underage I think the mindset needs to be about producing the best. I don’t believe that has ever been the target, certainly not in an official co-ordinated fashion and it needs to commence at primary level. The structures at the moment might be deemed good, but I don’t think they are good enough. That’s my point and the proof is in the pudding – look at the results. If we continue as we are going, we will fall further behind. That’s a real concern.

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