Mitchels master neighbours to land Moclair

Mitchels champions

Photo: Mayo Mick

Castlebar Mitchels have plenty of county senior football titles to their credit but they’ve also had more than their share of heartbreak in recent years in their attempts to add to that list. This afternoon in a rain-sodden and windy MacHale Park they finally managed to reclaim the Moclair Cup, bridging a twenty-year gap as they landed their 28th senior crown with a six-point victory over near neighbours Breaffy.

This year will long be recalled as one of the best in living memory from a weather point of view but it was such a pity that today’s decider ended up being played in such dreadful conditions. The rain fell in heavy sheets and the wind howled around MacHale Park all afternoon so there was never a chance that the county’s premier football event would produce a classic encounter, despite the fact that it was a local derby, with Breaffy’s first ever senior final appearance adding a touch of novelty to the occasion.

Pre-match parade

Photo: Mayo Mick

One of the main reasons Breaffy got so far this year was because they had the county’s midfield pairing in their engine room but today the O’Shea brothers more than met their match in Castlebar’s centrefield duo of Danny Kirby and Barry Moran. It was Kirby who put daylight between the sides in the first half when he poked a loose ball to the net for the game’s only goal, while Big Barry was the most prominent midfielder on display, capping a storming centrefield performance with two excellent points from play. Seamus and Aidan O’Shea looked jaded by comparison, which, in truth, shouldn’t be all that surprising, given the amount of football they’ve both played this year.

Big Dawg meets Big Bird

Photo: @Inphosports

This was a final that Mitchels never really looked like losing. Despite a very wasteful opening period – which included an utterly horrendous penalty miss by Neil Douglas – once they got their noses in front they didn’t have too much trouble staying there. The gap between the sides at half-time was five points and the closest Breaffy got to them in the second half was when they cut that margin back to three points. They never really looked capable of getting back on terms and instead a flurry of late points at the other end saw Mitchels ease home to a 1-11 to 0-8 victory.

Final score

Photo: Mayo Mick

Pat Holmes’ charges don’t have all that long to rest on their laurels as Galway champions Corofin await in the semi-finals of the Connacht club championship in a fortnight’s time. Let’s hope the weather is a bit kinder then.

Match reports on today’s decider are available from The Score and the Mayo Advertiser. Mayo Mick’s collection of photos from MacHale Park, a few of which I’ve used in this piece, is here.

151 thoughts on “Mitchels master neighbours to land Moclair

  1. Great day for the Mitchels. Would have been scary if the Mitchels forwards had clicked like they did in Breaffy in June

  2. Yes dreadful conditions ended any hopes of good contest. Breaffy were a little light weight up front to cause a shock and they will be very disappointed with the 0-8 return. With their underage success i feel this could be the first of many county titles for this Mitchels side. TBH a 6 point win today could have been a much bigger win but for a penalty miss and about 14 wides.

    Corofin will be huge challenge for them but i’m sure Pat Holmes will have his side well up for it.

  3. Mitchels will trouble Corofin big time…they have a lot of quality all over the field, however, a big improvement up front will be required if they are to take down the Galwegians in two weeks time.

  4. Did anyone spot any future potential talent for James Horan next year? I didn’t apart from Liam Irwin it was a pity he didn’t get a bit more quality ball so we could have a better idea of his potential
    He definitely is a good free taker.

  5. Went down to it (and drove straight back to Dublin).

    Pitch was like a bog, and had deep puddles in places; add in a gale force wind and some thunderous showers and you would have to give a lot of credit to the players for a goodish game, but not a great game.

    Mitchels deserved it but it was there for Breaffy if they got their A game together and if their big names had shown that real passion that is needed to pull a game around. Three points behind, with the wind and rain at their backs and Mitchels under pressure, they should have laid siege to the Bacon Factory end. Instead it was sporadic stuff with a lot of aimless balls going astray. Why they couldn’t have had the O’Sheas barging through to feed McNicholas and Irwin I don’t know. And then, substituting both McNicholas and Irwin was baffling.

    Mitchels instead showed the grit and the fight. They seemed to up their game when those showers arrived from Clew Bay. Barry M, Tom Cunniffe and Danny Kirby and indeed all the backs really stepped up. Tom King really caught the eye all through at left half forward. They were battlers, particularly when you consider they had a lot of wides and a missed penalty.

    I was really disappointed with Breaffy in the second half. Five points was a very manageable gap. Liam Irwin though was very impressive, with two great points and a great free in the first half against the gale.

    Looking at the wider implications, Irwin is a prospect, Durcan and King perhaps and Danny Kirby showed a lot of commitment and nabbed a messy goal. Pat Holmes himself is a class act; nearly all his switches and substitutions were effective.

    What worried me was the lack of real leadership and commitment from Breaffy’s big names when the game was there to be won. It would really make you think hard, just looking on and seeing the body language and the absence of passion.

  6. If you’re looking for a forward who can take on the big shots and score from any angle under pressure (the type that all other top teams in the country have in their forward lines) – then NO !!

  7. Aidan O’Shea looked shagged throughout and not interested in running. Seamus looked far more workmanlike………..What the hell was with Aidan’s heading of the ball to control his overkicked solo ?……I’m not one of those ‘….the foreign game….’ fanatics as some people in my club would say in denouncement of soccer, but heading the ball certainly doesn’t look the part in gaelic football……..I’ve seen that done before in a match and the ‘offender’ bore the wrath of the spectators. Looks too cocky, particularly when the exponent is a leader who should be showing leadership, in his club’s quest for their first senior title (……am I correct about that title ?)…

  8. hope castlebar beat corofin i missed the match i sure it was cold in the stand knw castlebar missed a lot but the wind as at fault.

  9. Yesterday’s game was poor and of course the weather had alot to do with it. Aidan O Shea repeated his all Ireland midfield performance. He stood in the middle and did nothing to help them forward. Barry Moran stepped up for mitchels and was my man of the match.

    I’ve seen corofin this year and they are a top side. I think they could go all the way. Stephen Rochford will know Castlebar very well and I’d say corofin will beat Castlebar by 6-8 points.

  10. Re AOS, he has lost his focus since the Donegal game where he played incredible , somebody needs to sit him down and tell him straight he needs to get back on track and worry about celebrity status in a few years time .

  11. Do we really expect AOS to get an All-Star based on just the Donegal game? Right now, I don’t think he will get one at all.

  12. SeΓ‘n,

    You’re absolutely right………Aidan played a blinder against Donegal, a real masterclass midfield performance. He commanded the full length and breadth of Croker that day and turned up in the FB and FF lines in equal measure……..a real leader’s display for sure.

    So, the point I’m trying to make is that he has the talent, the ability to switch that on again………..Let’s just hope he grows up, wises up and realises the asset he is for his County and delivers the goods maturily next season.

  13. He lost 2 finals in a month, cut him some slack.
    He obviously didn’t wish for that, but sometimes these things happen. He needs a break from football for a few months, just keep his fitness and food under the control. I think he’s burnt out, a few of his mayo team mates are too. It’s an amateur game being played at a very high level for the last 3 years so something had to give.
    A good rest needed by for the whole lot of them.

  14. Congrats to the Mitchells on their well deserved win. Irwin is the one player who stood out for me. There’s something about him. He’s showed composure and a bit of flair yesterday. In terms of the result, The Mitchells seemed to want it more.

    Irwin could be a serious asset to the senior squad? What do ye think?

  15. Cian O’Sullivan,Sean Cavanagh have been moved out of midfield All-stars to accommodate one of the O’Sheas i hope Seamus wins one because he had better year than Aidan.

  16. I totally agree have already made this point he is a very serious prospect as long as he is able to handle the attention that will come with the job
    Cillian O Connor is a perfect role model as he came on the scene at a relatively early age, you dont see him being interviewed on a regular basis I think James Horan should veto interviews by players and let.them concentate on the job in hand

  17. Ok the guy is a good player but I must agree. I dont agree with the tiredness after a long season. If you look at Keegan and Boyle Saturday night they were flying. A county player should stand out like Barry Moran did. I am disappointed with Horan for not giving BM more game time and keeping the two O’Sheas on their toes. I agree with some of the comments that the lad needs to be spoken to. An All star would be too soon and we dont want him to be the new Mort. Anyway BM for no.8 all going well 2014…more consistent player, always shows heart. Bring in a few new lads too if we’re to win sam

  18. Philo

    You’re bang on about interviews.
    Jh should reel them in until they have something to say about how they finally won a major trophy.

  19. A lot of unfair comments being posted on here about Aiden O Shea.I can never understand how we always love to rip our star players here in Mayo.O Shea is one of the best midfielders in the country and every county would love to have a player of his caliber playing for them.The man is well able to talk and comes across very well in interviews so for some posters to say he should not be allowed to talk to journos is crazy.He was never going to reach the heights of the Donegal game again as Tyrone and Dublin were going to make sure not to kick the ball in his direction from kick outs but still played reasonably well.The man gives it all for his club and county and to say otherwise is totally unfair.

  20. Dont know what amateur player has got to do with it. They are all amateurs and O Shea is clearly struggling. He was made into a myth after the Donegal match and peaked in that match but flatlined since. Others haven’t. Sean Cavangh, MDM, The Gooch deliver week in week out as amateurs. AOSs game needs modification and may not be the template for every county match. Moran was more mobile than him as was his own brother. With a physique and body like he has then its a crying shame if its not maxed but it may not be in midfield and it may have to be done by AOS following jockeys instructions for the entire game. Midfielders are now athletes, its a running game where they drift out to the wings looking for possession. Dublin did that, Cavanagh does that as well as Aiden Walshe. AOS is an asset without a doubt but his attributes may need relocating for us to benefit.

  21. For me, straight into the senior squad for Irwin from next year.

    As you say, he has ‘it’. He’s not perfect and he doesn’t have pace but he’s already a lot better, from both play and frees, than say Enda Varley.

  22. Why is it deemed unfair to just tell it how it is? Maybe he does need a rest .

    The last two years he has improved his game greatly, he is a credit to himself the way he pushed himself to get his fitness right, we all have known his potential since minor grade and all Mayo need is for him to fulfil that. It’s not selfish for supporters to express slight concern over his recent dip, surely?

    Football is revolving every year and this year Dublin has shown us how the traditional midfielder can be exposed through a running game in the centre , probably not a revolutionary thing but something we still have to deal with and find an answer to.

    I still maintain AOS can be moulded into an effective ff role but I will be met by many counter arguments for such a move.

    We have to stop being afraid of change, there is nearly an attitude out there among some of our faithful that they’d rather lose in the present than win by dropping some of the loyal servants , for example.Time to wise up, no room for sentiment , it’s a Mayo cause not a cause for any individual

  23. Aos is a very good midfielder problem solved. We need a centre forward. I am sure jh will find one. Cant wait till next year

  24. I agree, he can be used at ff. name a fb that would be confident of winning a high ball against him near goal? None, because he is a midfielder and knows how to win it and hold it. An option for Mayo is have him at midfield and switch him in for a while to cause mayhem when the right ball is played in to him at ff.
    Watch the videos of this years championship games, he threw the best and biggest players to one side when he was on the ball. Near goal and not crowded by his teammates he will do damage if he’s given a few pointers on how to do it, or Barry Moran can do the same. Not for 70 minutes, maybe a half a game, just to keep them guessing and have our other players aware of what’s to be done if they spot him isolated near goal, a high pass.

    And his dip in form is likely fatigue, ,mental and physical , it happens to players in all sports. My bet is that after a break he will be back to prove a point next summer and if jh has learned anything from these last 2 years he will know where and when to place the big physical players in his ff line during the games.

  25. Keith Higgins was a very effective CHF in all the games he played there. This decision alone vindicates that the management and backroom team are unafraid of change. more is required though.
    Personally I think every game is a “horses for courses” match i.e. depending on your opposition and how you want to target them, you hatch your game plan and play the team that can beat them accordingly. This may mean though some players are unhappy in a rotation system.
    But the modern game is now a 25 man panel and the team should be bigger than the individual.

  26. Midfield play has evolved & at the top level is now an area populated by athletes rather than the traditional fielder. We need to grasp this or get left behind.
    We need to try lots of different things in the early part of 2014.
    The O’Shea’s need a rest at this point & I would like to see some game time for the likes of Jason Gibbons, Danny Kirby & Barry Moran.
    We need at least three new or returning faces upfront.
    Watched the County Final on TV & thought Eoghan Reilly at Full Back for the Mitchels was interesting.

  27. It could be argued there is contradiction in what you’re saying in relation to kh , after all he was put back on a one legged man in the most bizarre tactical switch I have ever seen in an all Ireland final the most important game of the year.

    I totally agree with you in the horses for courses part of your post.

  28. Joey,I was at the game and was really impressed with O Reilly.He’s filled out and was very assured in every facet of the game.

  29. With respect to posters, I think a key point is being missed here. Players can have an off day or be jaded at the end of a season, but they could still do a few things to turn a game.

    The game was in the melting pot; Breaffy had a gale behind them and driving rain into the bargain. They had got it back to 3 points. Mitchels were under extreme pressure. Breaffy had some very big names, including Marty McNicholas as well as the O’Sheas.

    What I wanted to see and didn’t see, was passion, big players taking on responsibility: barging through; plucking them out of the sky; keeping the opposition hemmed in; urging on colleagues (think Henry Shefflin in 2012).

    I wonder is this kind of thing being coached out of players. Managers talk of systems, keeping going, not letting a goal or whatever sink your spirit. All well and good. But you need an individual on fire at certain stages of certain games. Not necessarily the star player – Chris Barrett and Tom Cunniffe exemplified it in the Tyrone match, and the minors last three points in the final were examples also. Someone saying – over my dead body are that lot going to win this one.

  30. Do tom king or barry moran or even danny kirby not spring to mind in last Sundays game? Showed their worth in shite conditions. You’re also forgetting mitchels midfield without barry Moran dominated the o’sheas in group stage so horan should have plenty of competition for midfield and giving the likes of barry moran no game time vs donegal and 6 mins vs Tyrone and jason gibbons none vs donegal is inexcusable. The fact is we lost an all Ireland when our ‘big players’ didnt show and if there was more competition the players might have been more on their game or should have been pulled to the line. That goes for the forwards too. Bringing jason doherty on after no game time too? Anyway the man is there for another year so should target league and championship this year like dublin did last year. The man has to deliver

  31. One thing I noticed at the County Final or didn’t notice would be a better way of putting it was some white paint.. the eye sight is not as good as it used to be.. and sitting way up at the back of the stand, trying to keep in out of the rain, it was very hard to see any of the markings.. some sideline balls were given and I don’t think the ball went out at all..

    Again not a great referee performance.. I don’t understand why advantage isn’t given to the team that is attacking and is fouled in possession.. go back and give the yellow card afterwards if necessary but don’t penalise the attacking team by holding up the game and allowing them to get defenders in place..

    My overall impression of the game was that Mitchells were more clinical and moved the ball much faster than Breaffy. Midfield was very crowded with both teams trying to carry the ball through to kick-able positions. No memorable forward play for me, but still nice to see big Barry take on the O’Shea’s.

    If possible I think all three should be certainties in the Mayo first team.. However my preference would still be for AOS to stay back as a defensive Midfielder/half back, Barry as Central Midfielder and SOS as attacking midfielder/half forward. As strong a central spine as possible and build the rest of the team around that.

  32. Aiden O’Shea and his brothers – talented footballers. Mayo need more like them do you not think so???????

    Corofin will beat Castlebar and are good enough to win Connaught.

    No new immediate talent to be seen in the County Final. Some will mature for 2015. But where will be then?

  33. I think the key thing is to be able to adapt your game plan when things aren’t going your way, and that’s when we struggled most this year – when they didn’t. Tyrone being a half exception to that.

  34. Absolutely agree John and have been saying that for a very long time. Aidan is not designed for the galloping game that is now midfield play. It is hard for a very big man like Aidan to have the stamina for 70+ mins of non stop running. Move him to a position that maximizes his natural talents. Otherwise his life expectancy as a top class IC player could be shorter than we think.

  35. “Near goal and not crowded by his team mates he will do damage”

    Ye think that against the likes of Donegal or Tyrone that AOS or any full forward for that matter would have loads of space?? Its the easiest thing in the world to defend a high ball into FF line, just crowd the area with lots of defenders. We saw Moran and AOS at full forward loads of times before and it didn’t work! Have people got selective memories or what? What about Alan freeman I thought he was excellent all year at FF for us AND he is capable of a few scores unlike AOS or Moran. They are both midfielders and bloody good ones too! People need to get off Aidos back he just needs a break for few months and then a big season in 2014, remember he’s still only 23 years old, big future ahead of him.

  36. Mac

    Lots of space if the forwards stay out, no defender will leave his man unmarked. Barry Moran or aos are both more than capable of winning a high ball into the square or that area, and taking a point or better or else holding it up for a team mate to arrive.
    It’s all about the corner forwards staying out that bit and whoever is passing it to the ff to know to pass the ball correctly, I.e high or dropping rather than on the ground.
    As I said, not for a whole game but just to throw a spanner in the works for a donegal or Dublin in the big games in croker next year and the years after, you know, give them something to think about.
    We know that we cannot be counting on our corner back to carry the can when we get to the real business in August or September. And it doesn’t need to be Barry or aiden, it just needs somebody physically capable of winning the ball in that area and breaking tackles to get a shot off. Aos done that for his point against Tyrone this year, remember? after Michael conroy was stopped by the defender and aos dragged his defender with him before throwing him to one side
    We have the players, we’re just not using them properly in my opinion.

  37. Sean, cluxton bate us in midfield, not the Dublin midfield. We didn’t adjust accordingly.

  38. In fairness Sean Kavanagh. MDM and the Gouch are in a different category. It is called winners. They have turned up in their time on the day and contributed to closing the deal.

  39. Yeah they won by a point, score-line above is correct. Last minute winner from a side-line cut by the wing-back. Connacht final on November 17th in Athleague vs Galway team.

  40. Don’t disagree with a lot of that PK – but I still pose that question of lack of Breaffy fire at the vital stage. Is it a Mayo thing – county thing?

    Agree totally that we didn’t really have a functioning subs bench in the way Dublin had. I think our subs were better but, as you rightly say, had no game time. To Barry, Jason and Jason, you could add Mickey C. Seamie O’Shea in 2012 also springs to mind – all their injuries notwithstanding.

  41. Lads and ladies, looking at all the postings, I think the prevailing mood down through this thread is one of end-of-season weariness all around, and on the evidence of the County Senior Final, people understandably pissed off with the error level on that windy wet day and the perceived lack of serious new blood coming through.

    As people rightly intimated to me above, in reference to my critical AOS comments, a good rest could be all it will take to revitalise the key men and get them looking forward to everything that comes at them in 2014. And I agree with posters that Barry is really looking good for selection next year, and that the two O’Sheas, if used in their optimum positions, could be the key to success.

    Having been a dedicated and emotional Mayo follower all my life, I know we’ll rise again as we always do, we’ll dust off the cobwebs, forget all we said, and focus on the new Championship season.

    So here’s to 2014 !!…………..The Green n Red abΓΊ !!

  42. Leave AOS alone ye seem to forget he helped DIT to win the sigerson cup this year ,I think hi year lasted too long he played his best football earlier in the year and peaked on the donegal game it’s a shame,our amateur athletes are expected to perform like pros ,for me this was another case of over exposure ,the gaa season lasts too long please tell me any other sport where it’s athletes have to maintain peak fitness for 9-10 months ,management should be on top of this ,I’m not counted in the “in James we trust ” clan .i think he has made numerous mistakes in 2 all Ireland’s and in true mayo fashion has’nt answered any of the questions ,still on sites like this players who put their lives on hold for years are criticized

  43. Totally agree with Oyam64’s summary above.
    The O’Shea’s should not be asked to play again until April 2014 at the earliest.
    Time for a rest, recharge the batteries & peak again when its required in late summer.
    There are a few others who should join them.
    Time for a proper look at other panel members in the FBD & League.
    With James’s policy of continually playing the same people our team is now jaded.
    We have been peaking too early in the year every year.
    We do not need more of the same now.
    ‘More of the same’ has failed.
    Time for a new start from both team & management.

  44. Did Dubs not peak early? Destroyed most teams in the league and won it. Did they not have to peak against Kerry?

    On the question of peaking surely we had the ideal scenario in 2013.

    Take the point about AOS in Sigerson.

  45. They probably did peak too early as they kept their worst performance of the year till the final.

    On another note Cillian has spoken in the examiner this morning , what his interview says to me is he doesn’t understand the rules of Gaelic football.

    ” how long left ref?’

    Thirty seconds lad.

    Ahh that’s grand , I’ll just dilly dally a bit here, put it over and sure cluxtonis bound to be in a mad rush to get it back in play, loads of time”

  46. Cillian O’Connor doesn’t have a grasp of the rules of gaelic football?
    Fair play to him, he’s done a great job of fooling a lot of people so, winning YFOTY twice in a row.
    When he learns the rules we’ll be in for some treat so.

  47. Ahh tubber you’re too sensitive , a bit of banter is all. Great admirer of Cillian tbh, he has been brilliant and still so young, sorry if I offended , will have to work on my banter as it seems to offend a lot of the time on here.

  48. How often in the past did we see teams like Meath in a situation like that go for goal? And very often it worked. Whatever about a knowledge of the rules of Gaelic football it certainly shows naivety and/or an unwillingness to go for the win. I know the player in question is young, but younger stormed the beaches of Normandy.

  49. Sean
    coc is a great man for frees and an eye for goal, that’s a fact. Another fact is that game should have been over after a half hour if the other mayo forwards were worth their salt.
    I’ve watched the final and semi final a few times lately, our forwards are poor, in some cases really poor and won’t be invited back in 2014 if right is right. Basic football mistakes is not down to peak fitness, it’s more down to not being able to perform under the spotlight.
    Passes to men with two or 3 defenders surrounding them is just madness, taking a shot that’s not on when a teammate is open and screaming for it is the same madness. If Mayo could cut out just some if the very simple mistakes we make, there wouldn’t be many to stop us in 2014. It’s the basic mistakes, very expensive when the top teams are there waiting for you to make them.

    So frustrating its maddening !!!!!!!

  50. Sean/David et al,
    I watched the final recently as I mentioned before.

    The problem wasn’t really the forwards. It was the backs – again. Dublin scored one substantive point in the first half – O’Gara’s fisted effort. Rest were due to Mayo backs unforced errors, such as: pass to Dublin forward x2; mess up for goal; 45 conceded which Cluxton scored.

    Michels showed that you can win a big game with a shocking amount of wides, many of them bad, and missed a penalty. But they worked their socks off to blunt the opposition’s scoring attempts – just like Dublin.

  51. Some rumours emanating from the Mayo camp today, regarding more resignations from James’s Management team, makes one wonder what the real story is…..

  52. Happy Halloween folks…..the Boston Red Sox won their third World Series last night in 10 years. Their win in 2003 came after an 80 odd year famine….now they have three in 10 years.

    There is something there in that for us. I have always felt we if could win one,we will win 2 or 3. One of the Red Sox fans on TV last night alluded to the 03 win being a monkey off their back.

  53. Think we are better off waiting for official word before discussing any possible departures lads! πŸ™‚

  54. Lord Jeez-I’ve had it to the neck with rumours,especially from people who ‘know for a fact’.Has anyone left the panel because of these ‘rumours’……..NO!

  55. Lets hope you won’t have to do the 80 year famine.
    Joking aside, horan is only there because he knows full well what he had at his disposal.
    It would be a crime punishable by death to allow this Mayo team to slide away without at least a few allireland medals. My gut tells me they will win at least two in the next few years. There are tweaks needed but the major parts are already there to win a few big ones. Dillon and Andy should stick around no matter what they are thinking today, both are going to be integral parts of our championship winning team.
    And some of this years minors need to be notified today that they will be playing in next years league, compound exercises and a proper nutrition will see them right for the big games in Croker when they will produce the goods.
    No more worrying about Kerry or Dublin, we are their equals or better from here on.

  56. The New England Patriots spent a long time in the wilderness as well. I’m convinced that when we win the first , we will dominate and be real force.

  57. Just a note on COC opting for a point at the end of the game.

    He’s 20 years of age in an AIF playing for Mayo and all the history that goes with Mayo.

    The instruction to go for goal should have come from the line, simple as!!!!

    Take all the pressure off his young shoulders and clear his mind of doubt.

  58. Folks, anyone got any info on cairde maigheo season ticket, two people from overseas have asked me to find out and im not at all sure where to look, there is nothing from what i can see on the official Mayo GAA page.

  59. Tony,
    If he went for goal and missed it would have been this ” why didn’t he take the point and they had a chance to win the kick out and draw the game”

    No win situation really, and as he said himself it wasn’t there that the game was lost.
    They had ample opportunities to win the game or at least draw, the shot dropped short by lee Keegan was the killer, just a little bit more sauce on the kick and it would have set it up very nicely. Unfortunately, we screwed up too many chances and handed Dublin some very easy scores throughout the game. Just have to figure out how we can cut out at least some of those errors.

  60. So now its Keegan who carries the can? Last year it was Keane. What about the full back who gave the perfect pass to Connelly from our free to kick start them. What about the half forward who turned over a ball that was then flicked into our net . What about the other half forward who screwed two chances wide. What about the early frees that went a begging. The more we dig the more we see that we weren’t mentally at the races in this final. And that’s a disgrace bearing in mind we sat the mocks twelve months earlier. I assume the sideline had a plan for situations like that last seconds free. Bear this in mind, did anybody in the ground actually assume that Cluxton was going to kick it back out to a mayo man bearing in mind the scissors job he had done up to then. By the way the last kick from him found a Dublin player. It has nothing to do with COC, we were not a point worse than Dublin, we had blown it long before then. We need four forwards to go with COC and assuming hes left up front Keith Higgins. Presently we lack a serious cutting edge.

  61. Castlebar wont come within 5pts of the corofin……To be fair to AOS he has a lot of football played, but he was dissapointing yesterday and in all ireland. Agree with your points made above john but we also lack a cutting edge on the line and thats were it was lost for me, hopefully he,ll have learned from his own mistakes goin foward this year. Cannot believe he was,t asked at county board meeting not one question by any club delegate on any of his decisions in all ire or indeed any other game, surely he shoud have to answer some questions on decisions he made during all ire final no matter how far he,s brought us from the longford game…………As a supporter dont like it and would have preferred a clear the air and never mind all this hush hush…………..Time will tell

  62. True Joe, the Pats have been a consistently TOP team for the past 15 or so years since

  63. John,
    Im not saying it was leeroys fault, at all. It was lost in the first 20 minutes but we still could have drawn the game with a fraction of luck.
    My point was that lees shot seemed like it took the wind out of us, even in the stands I could feel the thing slipping away when it dropped short.
    You know the feeling you get at a certain point in the game when you know you have it won or lost, well that shot was the losing moment for me.
    That’s all, Lee Keegan is one that will win an allireland with Mayo in the next short while.

  64. Clear the air? We came out of the doldrums to compete in two AIF since Horan took over. We didn’t get the results but we did compete. We were not blown away ” the near but yet so far” claws even more on the inside.

    Some say we don’t have the hunger. We have been starved and watched others gorge themselves on the feasts that we had been invited too. Only the victorious will feast. The starved “must watch on”. The hunger builds.

    If we’re not hungry now, we will never know what hunger is.

    John Cuffe was spot on with the “Cluxton Scissors” kick out analogy.

    Mayo need to think smart through the rumblings and play from the outside in.

    What I’m saying behind the bullshit is that we should have won but the hunger got in the way too much.

    Start next year with a clean slate and clear air. The hunger won’t define us, unless we let it.

  65. John Cuffe Another great post. As I left the ground last September my own thoughts were along simular lines with the points you raised here. I remember last year our full back line being blamed for the failures in the midfield and half forward line. It appears to me we rush in to find scape coats too easily in defeat.

  66. No shortage of scapegoats, a few if our panel/team are not able for the very top level. No shame in that, but they’re not up to it. I mentioned lee Keegan’s shot that dropped short and it’s being taken as I am scapegoating him, not the case. I could name 2 or 3 that nowhere near able for the later games of championship football, all forwards . Keegan and co are very comfortable at the top level, himself and Boyle, cunniffe, Higgins and caff are top quality.

  67. Was it just me or was their a very poor attendance at the county final last week? I saw a picture of Donal Newcombe lifting the cup in front of what could only be described as a pathetic crowd. Barely 150 people. Surprising given that the county town club had just won their first title in 20 years. There was a much bigger crowd on the field for the junior final presentation 2 weeks earlier. Where were all the castlebar fans? I hope they get out in force for the corofin match, after all they are the most populous club in the county.

  68. Actually there was a fairly good attendance at the game despite the dreadful conditions. The stand was close to full, however, not too many folks spilled onto the pitch afterwards probably due to the rain.

  69. Castlebar have an awful poor following for some reason. Barely any supporters at most of their games.

  70. As I type this I’m listening to kiltanes intermediate semi vs Drumcliff, Mikie Sweeney playing very well and surely will get another chance with mayo in the league. Definitely James needs to have another serious look at him, a natural forward.

  71. Mikie Sweney putting in another exhibition of forward play today, surely a no brainer that he will get the call up to James Horans panel next year? We can’t afford to not have players like that on the squad I think

  72. His team almost lost it. In fairness a great come back by Drumcliffe Rosses Point. Connacht final v Boyle in two weeks.

  73. I hope he does get a call up and gets a decent amount of game time in both FBD and National League to prove himself at footballs’ top table. It will be interesting to see if he can make the big step up to Division 1 senior inter county standards…

  74. I am a Castlebar Mitchels club man however I find it is difficult to understand some of the negative comments about AOS & the O’Sheas in general, our near neighbours, who we beat in the county final last week!
    In the first instance we are blessed in Mayo to have midfielders of the quality Barry Moran, Jason Gibbons & the O’Sheas.
    AOS has been one of the best 5/6 footballers in the country in 2012/2013 however no matter how good a player is, he cannot be expected to perform at his optimum level in every game he plays.
    Sean Cavanagh has had an excellent season for Tyrone & is rightly considered one of the best midfielders of his generation but even he would admit the past 2 years haven’t been his best. Darragh O’SΓ© likewise had some ordinary games in his career.
    AOS had an excellent league / championship & his performance v Donegal was of an exceptional standard but do really believe he can produce that form in every game?
    The fact is that Tyrone & Dublin had to tailor their game plan to limit his influence in the s/f & final, I happen to believe that he had an excellent game v Tyrone, despite being overshadowed by his brother, just have a look at the stats again & see his contribution. In the AIF, yes his performance level dipped as did other players after about 25 mins but he was crucial during May#s period of dominance when it was our lack of scoring ability i.e scoring forwards that let us down.
    As regards, media comments, the team management clear all media arrangements & decide which players talk are available on press nights etc.
    All the comments which appeared in the press prior to the AIF were from the official press night, which took place about 2 wks prior to the final with jourNalists then drip feeding articles in the days leadinG up the game. JH obviously allowed AOS to be available to the press.
    With regard to Breaffy, a first county final was a massive achievement despite not performing in the final they wouldn’t have got there in the first place without the 2 O’Shea lads & will need the younger brother back next year also. Castlebar Mitchels deserved to win last week but even we have found it difficult over the past few years, losing in the s/f last year & the 2 previous finals.
    AOS deserves our credit rather that some of the snide comments on this site , yes he will make mistakes, like every player but if he can avoid injury he will continue to be one of the most important players for Mayo over the next few years….cut the guy some slack…

  75. Not sure if Horan will pay much attention to many of these new guys, however promising they may appear to be. Bar a few on the panel who didn’t see eye to eye with him, I’d say he’ll take his chances with the devils he knows. He will know too, how close they came to winning and with another year’s training under their belt and a bit more street cred, he may feel they deserves another chance. Call it loyalty or blind faith, I feel it’s the way James will decide to go……..

  76. Unfortunately, mayo mchale I’d say you’re right. The close closed circle!

    But the truth of it is that JH needs to give every chance to Mikie Sweeney and anyone that has shown the talent and form that he has displayed this year.

    And in the Kiltane star’s favour, he has been the standout forward in the county this year.

    He’s also the most natural attacking in the county. He can can win ball, tackle, finish, and something else that no one in the current senior squad can do – he’s a super playmaker.

    If JH doesn’t want to give Mikie Sweeney every chance, what hope is there that he will go for an experience tactical selector that won’t be a yes James man when the boss is taking a wrong selection option for a big match or not reacting with the right decisions when it isn’t going right in a tight game.

    Hopefully, it won’t arise and JH moves us on to the next level with the right moves. That is what everyone wants after all !!

  77. Closed circle will mean a rerun of the last 2 years. At least 2 of them aren’t up to the highest level played in August and September and new faces definetly needed to get them over the line.
    How tall and strong is Sweeney? And how tall and strong is Danny Kirby?

  78. They’re tall enough and strong enough – conditioning with individual programmes will make up the difference fast enough.

    Not putting Mikie Sweeney in his bots but Gooch is only 5′ 11″ and he’s not built like a rugby centre. Class is permanent and you must start there. Ability, skill, intelligence, judgement and even patience are key attributes for a finishing forward. And in Sweeney’s case he’s a super provider as well as finisher.

    Of course JH is right when he demands work-rate from all players but it must be measured in proportion. An inside forward shouldn’t be expected to cover the ground of a wing back or midfielder, but he should be first to most balls and have a good shot conversion rate when the opportunities arise.

  79. Sweeney has already played league football for Mayo but many here seem to forget that. Remember this is Intermediate football compared to senior intercounty – it’s a very different world.

    Don’t think he has the skill set for the top level. Probably too small. He is not a hidden Gooch or the top class forward we need. More likely very similar to other forwards we already have who can be good one day, cold the next.

    Definitely worth a look but do not build him up as some kind of Messiah.

  80. Darren Coen I see kicked 9 points for Holly yesterday. He seems to be playing well. Hopefully he can also improve next year and push into a more regular starting position. His cousin Stephen (minor captain) could well see some FBD action in January.

  81. He was on the panel when he was 20/21 got a few league games and then got dropped. That attitude of “he was tried before, he’s not good enough then, he’ll be no good now” really irritates me. Colm Boyle, Barry Moran and Mickey Conroy would all not be playing for mayo if that were true.

    It’s typical of mayo football in the past to expect a fella to make it at 20 then toss him on the scrapheap if he’s not good enough and look for the next 19/20 year old on the conveyor belt. I hope that day is gone.

    I’m telling you now Sweeney is twice the player he was when he was 20. Now is the time to be bring him in as a 25 year old more mature and a better footballer. And the same apples to plenty other guys within the county a similar age that are playing well and available for selection.

  82. Coen has potential, yet he fluffed his lines in the Connaught final and indeed the QF. He would have been a bit risky, but you never know – look at O’Donnell for Clare.

    I agree that Stephen Coen might be a prospect from the minors. All of this though is speculating on guys who have to progress to the completely different world of senior championship stuff.

  83. Is there any word when Cairde Maigh Eo membership opens up? Can anyone even say from previous experience what month this opened up in previous years? I have been looking at the Official Mayo GAA website and i can’t find anything there.

    Also, i was trying to find the latest league table standings and couldn’t find it anywhere on either the official mayo website or anywhere else, can anyone help me?

  84. I would imagine Horan is still trying to put together his Management Team for next year, so who knows if Buckley will be there or not.

  85. I agree with you Mac’s left boot.

    And SCSA, no one is making Mikie Sweeney out to be any kind of a Messiah of Mayo football going forward, just a great candidate for one of those missing links, which I’m sure you agree exist! He certainly can’t put himself more in the shop window than he has this year. But is JH in the market for fresh faces?

    Sweeney is stronger, more mature and a much better player than he was five years ago. He’s a solid class act that we need in the Mayo Senior Panel and to be given every chance to prove his worth in the FBD, challenge matches and the National League.

  86. Further to the debate on future prospects, here are the top scorers up to County Final as published in the programme of 27 October:

    Conor Loftus 4:12
    Alan Durcan 1:20 + 0:4 in the match
    Evan Regan 4:10
    Jimmy Killeen 0:20 & Barry Regan 2:14
    Andy Moran 3:10

    Food for thought there

  87. Apologies – addendum to previous post:

    Joint 6th with Andy were: Mark Ronaldson & Padraig O’Connor, each with 0:19

  88. Was Alan Durkan not tried unsuccessfully before? Maybe a few like him need a second look next spring in the league. Remember how Colm Boyle was let slip away before for not being good enough, there may be just what we need plonked right under our noses but not being tried for a couple of games or even brought to a v b games in the panel.

  89. It’s definitely worth taking a look at lads in the FBD. Cathal Carolan made his debut in Ballinamore last January. If we can discover (or rediscover) a couple of players its worth it. Jesus I can’t imagine Mayo with Colm Boyle. Lucky we revisited old ground there!

  90. Jimmy Killeen has been a serious footballer for the last number of years. In my opinion, he is the most talented forward on the Garrymore team by a long way. Great free taker and bundles of pace. I don’t know why he hasn’t been given a serious chance over the last number of years. He’s probably a little on the light side but, in my opinion, his pace makes up for that. I don’t know how old he is now but I’m guessing that his chance is gone.

  91. I agree with a lot of the posts but the harsh fact of modern day football is that ability is only 1 part of the package. And sometimes it may not be even the most important part. All of the players named above have undoubted ability but sometimes, ability alone is not enough. Temperment and character are almost as important and included in the deal must be a total and blind commitment to the lifestyle of a modern day footballer.
    Character, in my opinion, is a very understated factor in a footballers make up. Is the player going to buckle under pressure? is he going to worry about missing a pass or shot? is he going to fear his opponent? does he automatically consider himself inferior to his marker? when the shit hits the fan is he going to dig deep and do whatever it takes or is he going to bale out? These questions can be hidden away and remain unanswered during the FBD and league games, and indeed even during the early Connaught championship games. But in the deafening noise and white heat of an All Ireland final there is nowhere to hide and those questions get answered. Big time. The Meath team of the late 80’s and into the 90’s was built on ferocious competitors who feared no-one. It contained a few Junior footballers and their ability did not match that of the Cork team of that era. But they were one shower of mentally and physically tough bastards. They never dropped their heads and were never beaten until the final whistle. They knew they were never beaten and their opponents knew they were never beaten and that made the difference. They did whatever it took to win, no excuses. If a man had to be dropped, he was dropped. If a jaw had to be broken, there was a queue of Meath men ready and willing to do it. Do you think for one minute that Diarmuid Connolly would have held 2 Meath men by the jersey? Connolly would have been going to A&E with his jaw in a bag beside him on the trolley. I used to hate Meath but over time you have to admit that they did what had to be done to win.
    As for the dedication and commitment to the lifestyle of a modern day footballer? Well try parking 80% to 90% of your “out of work” life for 10 months of the year. Eating the correct amount of the right stuff (that doesn’t include Kit Kat Chunkies, that’s why I never made it to senior level!!), constant hydration but not over-hydration, getting the correct amount of sleep and recovery, 6 evenings out of the 7 either training, swimming, stretching/pre-hab or team meetings. Little or no gargle.
    It all takes a huge level of dedication to the cause and not everyone, no matter how talented they are, is prepared to go through it. I know of 2 players that have been approched by Horan (one of them twice) to join the panel but the players in question decided that they couldn’t/wouldn’t give the commitment.

  92. Well Pebblesmeller you sure are shooting from the hip there with that piece and no doubt a lot of what you say is true, even if the red mist once again descended on me when you mentioned those Meath bastards πŸ™‚ but point well made none the less. All this though makes one wonder why so many of our players seemed not up to the task, when they were as you put it, “faced with the white heat of an All Ireland Final day”. We were led to believe that they were the best prepared Mayo team ever, and no stone was left unturned in insuring that all the boxes were ticked, by Horan and his Management team. Could it be a case then of over confidence, brought about by our great run to the final, or is this 60 year + baggage sucking the life out of our lads, when the winning post is in sight. Would love to hear the players opinion on this………

  93. why is kirby suspanded thinks it unfair on him big lose for the mitchells also is d buckley leaving the mayo management

  94. Excellent post there Pebblesmeller.
    By reducing it down to ‘character’ you are getting very close to the heart of our troubles.
    I call it ‘leadership’ myself.
    How many of us have the ‘character’ to ‘lead the way’ in the white heat of Croke Park in August/September ?

  95. Mchale,

    It’s to do with neither. The simple fact is that we had shots that skimmed outside the post where on other days they skim inside. Remember Kevin mcloughlins point against Dublin in 2012, the one that he got when Dublin dropped it coming out of defense? well it dropped just inside the post and just above cluxtons fingers.
    In this last final he drove a long ball in by the same kevin and cluxtons was caught out badly, just barely got the tips of the fingers to it and directed a definite goal out over the end line for a 45.
    Inches are the difference, we just have to get up again in 2014 and prepare for it by trying harder and being smarter with the ball to gain these inches.
    Of course a couple of different forwards will be used and they may have a better chance of spotting an open man or decide to have a run at the goal rather than shoot hopefully.

  96. Conor Loftus one of this year minor forwards top scorer,Evan Regan deemed not good enough though is likely to get recalled and Andy Moran still recovering from injury.

    Food for thought indeed.

  97. Good post all right there Pebblesmeller, echoing some points I have been making lately, citing Breaffy as an example, where big names failed to really put themsselves on the line.

    However, I would caution, indeed I would have a lot of reservations about adopting the Meath approach. The belt to the jaw stuff will leave you playing with 14 (or 13) men most of the time, what with tightened rules, cameras everywhere, and constant pressure on refs and the Brolly factor – some publicity-hungry idiot who will flog to death a particular foul – think Sean Cavanagh and the abuse he received for a a cynical, but not a really dirty foul.

    And Mayo were not found wanting in the tough physical stakes all year. That’s what got them past so many teams. Even Lorcan Mulvey of London remarked how tough Mayo were and how some of this team mates just bounced off the Mayo lads. Now that is a a compliment!

    Mayo too have been cynical, but we tend to forget it when we dish it out. A Sligo pal is still sore at the way we simply pulled Sligo guys down all over the field in the last few minutes in Roscommon last year. Sligo were closer there than we were against Dublin in the final. Indeed Dublin pals maintain that some of their cynicism was learned from Mayo in 2012.

    But, I do agree that Meath didn’t just bring dirt and cynicism to the table. They did have that self-belief, that a game, any game was always there to be won. But they only really developed that through winning the Leinster final in ’86. That was THE big breakthrough for them. Before that, they were as flaky and brittle as any other team and just as likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Mayo’s final hurdle is the final hurdle.

  98. I always admired Meath for their will to win and their ability to turn up and deliver on the days that mattered. It was not always good enough, but they gave it their best shot.
    The have won six AIs since Mayo won their last one. They also lost six in that time, but it is a win ratio we would love to have. It is also worth remembering that Leinster
    would generally have been a tougher path to negotiate than Connaught and also they were not hammered in any AI. They manned up and did their county proud. The also had
    some great players over the years like Quinn, Collier, O’Rourke, O’Malley and O’Connell. Can you imagine a Meath team of any era meekly tapping the last free of an AI final
    over the bar when there was still any chance of snatching the game? I do not think so.

    I do not think anybody is suggesting Mayo adapt any of the tactics referred to above. What I believe is being suggested is that Mayo be a team made up of players that will turn
    up on the day and all give it their best shot against any opposition. Maybe even have the ability as a unit to close the deal sometime. I doubt if Sean Boylan would have included
    any player that would go hiding under the lights.

  99. Catcol, you are right about Meath pre ’86 and it was Boylan that changed the mindset of the players and instilled them with the belief that they could win All Irelands. Boylan scoured the county and colleges looking for players that had the right character, Stafford was playing junior club football and Robbie O’Malley was 19 when he made his debut for Meath but both had the right stuff. Technically there were many better footballers than Stafford but, none would do it better than him on the biggest of days. I agree also that Mayo are no longer “soft” and can give and take it with the best of them. We have added a cynicism to our game that you must have if you have any genuine ambitions of winning an All Ireland.
    Going back to beraking jaws :), I coach U12’s and U14’s and am not suggesting for one minute that we go around the place lamping before and behind us. I believe in encouraging skills and ball work at all times, e.g. I never carry out any drill without each player having a ball, I believe in speed of movement of both player and ball and most importantly, I demand teamwork. So for me to suggest “taking a player out” is not normal for me. However, given that instance with Connolly, where Mayo were flat and struggling and were badly in need of something to bring urgency and fire to our game and there was little inspiration coming from the sideline, had a Mayo man dropped Connolly it would have raised our blood at the very least. Who knows what would have happened from there. Yes we would be down to 14, but so were Dublin with O’Garas injury and the concussion problems they were having. Connolly, who in my opinion is very average, was having a big influence on the game as he was a big target for Cluxtons kick outs and was tracking back and slowing our attacks by cynical methods. If we had a man sent off for a blatant punch and Connolly was subbed through injury and we won by a point there isn’t a Mayo man/woman alive or dead that would have said a word about it. The assailant would be a hero!
    I suppose I am trying, and failing, to highlight the character needed to do whatever it takes to win. Ability alone is never enough. In all successful teams of any sport, you must have piano players AND piano shifters!

  100. Didn’t see the international rules but I hope none of our boys played too well! Corks Ciaran Sheehan, a guy I would rate as one of the top footballers in the country, has just signed a 2 year deal with Carlton football club. It would appear that his displays a few weeks ago for Ireland prompted them to offer him a contract. He’s the same age as Aidan O’Shea, at least Aido played for breaffy instead of Ireland the 2nd day.

    I think that’s a hammer blow for Cork, a team I would have seen as the biggest threat to Mayo next season besides Dublin. They have lost 6 players in the last 2 weeks to retirements/AFL. Hard to see them contending next season with their squad taking such a pummelling.

  101. Again with Diarmuid Connolly and the f*cking jerseys.

    How many times does it have to be said? Connolly did NOTHING in the game. His only point was handed to him gift-wrapped by the stray pass from Cafferkey. Apart from that he was utterly anonymous.

    Can we PLEASE stop referring to Diarmuid and the bloody jerseys as some kind of metaphor for Mayo physical softness?

    I mean, it wasn’t Mayo that were down to 13 fit players at the final whistle.

    Whatever about Mayo’s psychological frailties on Final day, there was no issue whatsoever with their willingness to hit and get hit against Dublin this year or Donegal last year.

    Our team’s problem is in the mind lads. As Pebblesmeller put it. ‘character’ on AI Final day is what’s missing.

  102. Say what you want but both of them should have left Connolly in no doubt As to why it’s a bad idea to hold their jerseys. Have you seen the photograph? Carolan and mcloughlin being held like 2 puppies.

  103. David you refer above to us been only inches away – but winning tight matches is all about inches. With the absence of A I F pressure, you can be sure most of those missed chances would be sailing over the black spot. Yes, the’re good enough to beat any team on any given day, but that’s been the big conundrum with Mayo over the years. Is it a lack of confidence in their own ability? are they lacking that insatiable hunger when it matters ? or do we now questioning their character as a team ? either way this year’s final was down to inches, but how important those few fucking inches were.

  104. And what? Clocking Connolly would have won us the All-Ireland?

    Look back at the 2012 final. Mayo spent the first ten minutes against Donegal belting everything in sight. Vaughan hit Karl Lacey so hard he nearly send him back in time. And so Mayo sent out the message that they weren’t to be messed with physically.

    Guess what? it didn’t win us the All-Ireland.

    All this obsessing over jerseys being pulled in a photograph. It’s bordering on the masochistic at this stage. The incident in question was completely irrelevant to the performances of the players involved and had no bearing whatsoever on the result.

    Scores win games. Character in the forward line gets you those scores at the crucial times. Our lack of character is a mental frailty, not a lack of physical courage.

  105. Completely agree with you Davy J.

    We lost focus completely against Donegal, by trying to (over) assert ourselves. Mark McHugh referred to this recently – in a sense of puzzlement as to why we went that route.

    Donegal sure were no angels but they were focused on their objective (defending mainly and attacking when the chance arose) and didn’t let anything else get in the way. Incidentally, I felt their ‘leaders’ Murphy, Lacey and McHugh still gave it everything in the QF when we were beating them out the gate.

  106. I can’t put it in words other than that photo has seared itself in my mind and the fact that the aggressor has the medal that Carolan or mcloughlin could have had really eats at me. I’m a poor runner up.

  107. Pure nonsense about Connolly and the jerseys. Also nonsense about Mayo being soft and supposedly hiding when the going got tough. For God sake give some credit to these players who got to 2 AI Finals. Yes some of them didn’t play well in the finals but that’s not because they were soft or went hiding Anyone who plays football or any sport knows that some days things go badly for you no matter what you try.To insult these players by suggesting Connolly bullied them or because they didn’t put their bodies on the line is pathetic.

  108. Not meant as an insult, I have total respect and admiration for the panel of players and management and they get all the credit in the world from the me as a fan.

  109. Davy J, not sure if you read Dara O’Se’s column in the Irish times the Wednesday after the game. Look it up online if you haven’t. It’s essential reading for any mayo person. In it he referred to Connolly, how he felt that him and his Dublin team mates read the way mc Quillan was going to ref the game after a few minutes and pushed himself to the absolute limit of what he could get away with accordingly.

    He basically said Mayo were too nice, said that if there is any bullying going to be done on the field in an all Ireland final, then you must ensure that you are the one doing it. He pointed to Hennellys failure to send Brogan into row Z for the first goal (said tough luck if Caff was in the way). Here’s a man with 5 all Ireland medals so he knows a thing or two about winning, knows that its dog eat dog on AI final day.

    I’m sure all the Mayo guys are very decent fellas off the pitch, but if we have learned anything from 7 finals, its that you much be a nasty, ruthless f**king animal on the field on all Ireland day. Because the other team certainly will be.

    I’m not suggesting mayo are a soft touch. I think we have some of the toughest players in the game, some real warriors, who will fight to the death. But as someone says about its a game of inches. We could be just a little bit nastier on the big day, a little more willing to do anything, absolutely anything to win. Lets hope we learn from it.

  110. You know all this talk of inches, character, lack of focus, lack of confidence, not putting Connolly on his arse, luck, and so on…. It’s a great cocktail of reasons why we didn’t win the last two Finals.

    And I accept there were possibly all of those missing from many of our players for periods of the last two AIFs, but that is the case with most teams – it’s a matter of how long they go missing for.

    But we had a greater problem, particularly the last day.

    In the past year, JH had perfected a great defensive unit that could also turned defence in to attack at great speed and penetrate opposition defences, over-lapping with our forwards and scoring at will against teams half as good.

    But as I’ve said it before, when the opposition gets tougher like in both the first twenty minutes of the semi and in much of the final this year, our forwards hadn’t the overlapping defenders, and when they had to do for themselves, they couldn’t or they didn’t.

    A one dimensional plan that was fine until the backs where pinned back and weren’t free to kick-start the forwards.

    Then throw in not pushing 11 players forward for Cluxton’s kick-outs to squeeze the area between their 20m line and half-way, to leave him no spaces for him to put the ball in to. Those are the inches (feet and yards) that mattered.and you make your own luck most of the time by being organised and having a plan B and C.

    It looked like there was no forwards game plan, and we all know the substitutions didn’t help. It wasn’t inches, it was a matter of Dublin being there for the taking and we couldn’t take them. Gavin won the battle of the managers and he steered them through, albeit with two great individual performances from Cluxton and Brogan ( and that’s no disrespect to Caff. Who had a good game on him).

    JH is staying, Bucks is staying but who’s replacing JN. Someone with a very good tactical brain, someone JH will respect and listen to – not a trusted yes man from within the circle!

  111. Right on Trevor, great bit of chat and banter going on here, and whither it’s pulling jerseys, breaking jaws or whatever, it’ll help get us over those dark days, ’till the sap starts to rise again………

  112. Last year McGuinness won the battle of the Managers, this year Gavin a new kid on the block, won the battle of the Managers, What’s that saying about Horan ???

  113. Hard to shoot horan down, he didn’t kick those first half wides or fail to see the open man near the goal. He took off Alan freeman, maybe a mistake but what had Alan scored? And conroy was supposedly flying in training.
    It’s water under the bridge now, 2014 is our next shot and we have a contender of a team.
    Up Mayo

  114. I read the article by Darragh o Se and felt it was salutary that he could write about a team being bullied in an AI Final without any fear of it coming back to bite his own beloved county in the future. There was no fear by this multiple AI winner that Mayo would show up anytime soon and really show the men in green and gold who was doing the bullying.

    We had another AI winner in Cavanagh talking to the media immediately after the semi final about seeing fear in the eyes of Mayo players. Obviously no fear of future retribution there either.

    I suspect these men know a thing or two about winning.

    Incidently Connolly achieved one thing on that September Sunday, he left Croke Park with an AI winners medal. His one point probably equalled the total score for the afternoon of our starting half forward line. The rest no cigar.

  115. I read Darragh every week Mac. And as soon as I read that article I got annoyed, because I knew that all the people that revere Darragh’s opinions would repeat “The Pulling Of The Jerseys” as the REAL reason why Mayo lost the final. And so it has proved. I even heard it from a fella here at work who is now convinced that, yes, as soon as Diarmuid pulled the jerseys, sure the game was up, sure there was no point in playing the 70 minutes at all.

    Funny how none of them can explain why Mayo were the team with 15 fit players on the field at the end of this year’s final.

    Funny how none of them recall Donegal saying that Mayo hit them in last year’s final as hard as Armagh did in the McGeeney/Bellew/McGrane era.

    I really wonder how many of the Darragh-ciples are capable of forming an opinion of their own, rather than having it spoon-fed to them by a lad who’s never managed a county team.

    To call Darragh’s ‘analysis’ simplistic would be to give it too much credit. Darragh was a superb player, knows plenty about winning and he’s a great man for the stories about Paidi and training for Kerry and all the rest. But he’s far from superb as an analyst.

    That doesn’t appear to have dawned on too may people yet, but give it time. Take his own county – when is the last time he tipped the opposition to beat them in championship?

    Here’s three examples of the great man’s forecasts: he tipped Kerry to beat Dublin this year (semi-final), Mayo to beat Donegal last year (final) and Kerry to beat Dublin (final) the year before. Line those up against, say, Sean Moran’s tips in the same paper. Then come back to me and tell me which one knows what he’s talking about.

    Mayo did plenty of their own bullying in this year’s final. But Darragh took one look at the final score and decided that he’d better take a random example of Dublin aggression to back up his wise-after-the-event ‘analysis’ that Mayo must be soft. And so The Pulling Of The Jerseys was born.

    What a pity so many people seem incapable of seeing this crap for what it is.

  116. As regards Hennelly sending Brogan into ro? Z of the stand he would have been better off staying on his line and letting Caff contest the ball. Also wouldn’t sending Brogan into the stand involve a personal foul? And a consequent penalty?

    As regards bullying the opposition I seem to remember us trying that in the 96 replay and losing our most influential player early in

  117. The walking wounded pick up the winners’ medals and the unscathed pick up the losers’ gongs. Interesting……

  118. Anyone know when the lads are returning to training, and if Horan has is own team in place ?

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