Monaghan 1-14 Mayo 2-13: late burst wins it but injuries a concern

We’ve ended our National League campaign with a win, our fourth from seven starts, which places us fourth in the final Division One standings.

Today’s two-point win over already relegated Monaghan wasn’t without its difficulties, however, despite the fact that the Farneymen were reduced to fourteen players well before half-time. With a much-changed team, five pre-match switches adding to the mix, we didn’t really get going properly until the final quarter. We eventually overhauled the home team – now reduced to thirteen, as they’d used all their subs so couldn’t replace an injured player – to win by two points.

Even then it took a last-second save from ‘keeper Rory Byrne to prevent what would have been a winning goal for Monaghan, which, by the sounds of it, might arguably have been the fairer outcome. We’ll take the win, though.

What we also have to take, however, is more concern about injuries, just at the time of year when we need to have our key players on the pitch. Sam Callinan limped off in the first half, David McBrien – who had to have a HIA after the hit that saw Andrew Woods pick up a straight red for Monaghan – didn’t reappear after the break and then Ryan O’Donoghue limped off in added time.

It’s not clear if any of this trio will miss game time due to the knocks picked up today but, needless to say, we could have done without this kind of worry as we approach the start of the Championship.

I wasn’t at Clones today myself and only followed the action via Mike’s virtuoso live blogging of the action over on Discord so there’s little point in my attempting any kind of match report here. Most of you know the gist of the game’s narrative yourselves.

The welter of changes we made before throw-in are worth a mention, though, not least the fact that three of the named forwards were replaced by defenders. Aaron McDonnell, Michael Plunkett, Frank Irwin, Cillian O’Connor and Paul Towey were the players who didn’t start, with Eoin O’Donoghue, Padraig O’Hora, Stephen Coen, Enda Hession and Jack Coyne lining out instead. Go figure all that out.

The goals we got from Darren McHale in the first half and Matthew Ruane in the second are also worth noting. Both were obviously important, with Darren’s strike putting us briefly in charge of the contest before we then thoroughly lost our way after the Woods dismissal.

We’d pulled level in the second half, with points from Fergal Boland and Darren McHale, but then Monaghan goaled at the other end to surge three clear once more. Despite their numerical disadvantage it looked like they were well set to prevail.

But we struck back in kind straight away. Mattie Ruane’s goal hauled us back level once again – what an asset to us a rejuvenated goal-scoring Mattie would be – and, with the home side now flagging, this gave us the platform to push on and claim the win.

A pointed free from Ryan O’Donoghue and one from play by Padraig O’Hora did the business on the scoreboard. As already noted, though, it was heroics between the sticks from Rory Byrne that eventually ensured we’d leave St Tiernach’s Park with the spoils this afternoon.

Mayo: Rory Byrne; Eoin O’Donoghue, Rory Brickenden, Sam Callinan; Paddy Durcan, David McBrien, Padraig O’Hora (0-1); Matthew Ruane (1-2), Aidan O’Shea (0-1, free); Darren McHale (1-1), Ryan O’Donoghue (0-5, frees), Jack Coyne; Stephen Coen, Tommy Conroy, Enda Hession. Subs: Michael Plunkett for Callinan, Cillian O’Connor (0-2, a mark and a free) for McBrien, Fergal Boland (0-1) for Durcan, James Carr for Eoin O’Donoghue, Bob Tuohy for O’Shea.

We’ll have a Final Whistle podcast episode from St Tiernach’s Park up on Patreon a bit later this evening.

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

  • Matthew Ruane (30%, 631 Votes)
  • Darren McHale (9%, 190 Votes)
  • Tommy Conroy (9%, 185 Votes)
  • Rory Byrne (8%, 173 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (7%, 150 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (6%, 133 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (6%, 127 Votes)
  • Padraig O'Hora (6%, 119 Votes)
  • Cillian O'Connor (3%, 67 Votes)
  • Michael Plunkett (2%, 44 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (2%, 43 Votes)
  • James Carr (2%, 41 Votes)
  • Eoin O'Donoghue (2%, 37 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (2%, 35 Votes)
  • Bob Tuohy (2%, 32 Votes)
  • David McBrien (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Enda Hession (1%, 19 Votes)
  • Rory Brickenden (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Jack Coyne (1%, 15 Votes)
  • Sam Callinan (1%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,118

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79 thoughts on “Monaghan 1-14 Mayo 2-13: late burst wins it but injuries a concern

  1. If the championship (hope it does) does not work out for us; that management team do not have enough credit in the bank for a third year. Making a good group of players look collectivy poor and the supporter community in the dark is not a smart strategy.

  2. One good thing to see is mattie Ruanne seems to be coming back into form he’s been so on /off but that’s the 2nd good game from him in a row now.

  3. Agree with @MrTed. Hopefully, there’s a lot of learnings taken and we hit our stride come championship. Some very strange decisions being made though, very little player development (from what we can see) and not playing a good brand of football. Plenty of time for their worth to be proven this season however, fingers crossed.

  4. Alll the changes before somewhat bizarre What was the point of naming people to start word
    Hdrawing them to the subs and in some cases withdrawing players( iItwin for the second time) from the panel altogether. Injuries or niggles could not explain the total number of changes and surely we were not trying to hide our hand or confuse the opposition for a challenge match.the only people confused are the paying fans

  5. Just home now. Happy Enough with what was in reality a challenge match .
    Mattie coming back to form which is welcome
    Also game time into Paddy ,Eoin, Carr ,McHale , David , Padraig etc was all positive for me .
    The injuries didn’t seem too serious, more precautionary to come off but time will tell .
    A worthwhile workout for lads .
    Better day than the Rossis had !!
    Well done to Andy and Leitrim on their promotion

  6. What is this management team playing at. Name a team, then replace forwards that can score with defenders. No settled team. If they mess up this year, bring in Andy Moran.

  7. We are a month away from.a tough championship match and can anyone name any line on the team with. Certainty even without injury doubts..I wrote on the blog after the current manager was I installed that he would resign after 2024 season, I expect that to happen..

  8. Lahanman – how many lines on the Dublin championship team could you name with confidence right now?

    Don’t really see that as an issue tbh.

  9. Back in the day during our u-14 training sessions to relieve boredom our manager would sometimes say for the training game today all backs will be forwards and all forwards are defenders. In those days there were no marauding corner backs to could crash one in off the crossbar,so the game would turn in to a pantomime with backs unable to score and forwards just running aroun like headless chickens…he eventually dropped the experiment. Not saying that’s what our management tried today but it did sound a bit familiar.

  10. Posted on older thread, I’d say fullback and full forward lines are fairly consistent:
    Ronaldson on Midwest had it fairly well summarised on Midwest. Teams fairly settled, no bolters, no real experimentation.
    Championship team looking like:

    McHugh, Hession, O’Connor, Carr, Tuohy, McHale, Coen main sub options.

    3 & 6 could be swapped around mind.

  11. @Gizmobobs agree with you I’d say that’s pretty much our championship team.

    Great to hear Diarmuid o conor back training and Eoghan mc back training 2 important players for us!

  12. Sam and Brick not suited for FB line. Brick to bench Sam to HB line. Mcbrien to FB Flynn to 6. Other than ROD np one in Ff line in scoring form.

  13. Fairly broad concensus that having McBrien at 3 and Calinan at 6 would make the most sense, and that would definitely be my preference if possible.

    Curious who everyone on here would have as a man marker role?

    Will also be interesting to see if a true sweeper system comes in for championship or will system rely on Reape staying out.

    With the game going forwards and back, turnovers will be absolutely crucial to snuff out.

  14. 16 comments hours after a national league game must be some sort of record!

    I wasn’t at the game so don’t have any real insights.
    As per usual a little of negative comments online from a vocal minority of Mayo fans.
    Some strange decisions with the changes but there’s probably understandable reasons for that and supporters aren’t privy to that.

    From what I’m hearing the injuries aren’t too serious (I don’t know about ROD though)

    The fact remains if we’re playing with a full deck we can beat any team in the country. A lot of teams and supporters would love to be in that position.
    A bit of luck and form and we could go far in the summer.

  15. Gizmos selection is probably close enough.i would have mcbrien at full back and callinan at centre back .not sure callinan is a particularly suited to close man marking in the keegan mould.when you look at our available players then we are in fairly good shape but there has to be some structure to it all .god only knows what today was about and can’t see what the management learned from the exercise

  16. I’m happy enough with the league this year. We have performed reasonably consistently enough to ensure division 1 mid table survival, while giving as much game time to as many fringe players as possible and yet a core team is becoming evident. Last year we were flying in the league up to the first round robbin game against Kerry and then we ran out of steam. We peaked to early, whereas this year I think our timing is better. You can only really properly peak once in any given year and I think we have been poor in recent times in managing that. Im glad players like Mattie and Cillian are only now starting to get up and running just in time for what really matters. Best result of the league was us beating Dublin at home. As always Dublin wanted to lay down a marker, sow that seed of doubt for later in the year. They did not like being beaten!

  17. Agree Lahanman/1985, wouldn’t be my team setup/formation. That’s the one I think Management will start if all fit based on league games and challenge games to date.

  18. For me the players I thought could add something Aaron McDonnell, Kevin Quinn and Paul Towey were given a season so far that set them backwards or at best, at the very best did not help them improve.
    There was no rhyme nor reason to how those three players were used.
    However if you were part of the panel in the 2010s you were automatically involved regardless of form when fit.

  19. Only “saw” the game thro’ the eyes of the Midwest commentary, so can only comment based on that. Acknowledging that it was a game with nothing at stake, between two weakened teams, with ours particularly lobsided, this was still a worrying performance, as we get close to championship action. We seem nowhere near solving two of our biggest problem areas-too loose and open in defence and totally flummoxed by blanket defences. I don’t know why we made so many late changes to an already much changed original selection, but I presume that there were genuine reasons for the late changes-we were hardly engaging in any psychological nonsense for a game like this. There were some positives, return of Paddy, David, Eoin and, especially James, more game time for Plunkett, Enda and Cillian and the continuation of Mattie’s return to his form of a few years ago. Also, the overall injury picture seems to be quite good.

  20. Starting team was complete nuts. Im starting to feel sorry for Towey, their wasnt a breath of wind up there, and after his cameo last week, I was sure he’d get 50-60 minutes. Not to be.

    It seemed to me that a lot more ball was kicked into FF line, than last few games, especially in the first half. Challenge game or not, our defensive structure is non existant. Brickenden 4 yards of his man at all times. O’Hora more often than not had the ball inside their 45 in 1st half, they let him have it because he was no danger with it. But in fairness he kicked a nice score towards the end of the game.

    A sweeper was employed at certain stages, usually Ruane or Hession sitting on the D. But when real pressure was on, no extra defender back, couldnt make head nor tail of it.

    Few sloppy hand passes and unforced errors, which is expected with the amount of changes. McHale’s stock went up big time i think. Could be a potential starter ahead of Tuohy and Boland. Has a nice burst of pace, and will give McStay plenty to think about. Tommy, Ryan and even Aiden are invaluable to this team.

    I posted in January here that I feel the manger will be ran back up the N5 in June. Hope to God he proves me wrong and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and see where we finish up after the AI seiries. But theirs just something missing tactically, both defensively and offensively. From what I’ve seen over the last 7 games. I fully expect Roscommon to beat us next month.

  21. Margie .I wasn’t at the game so interesting to hear your take on it .mark ronaldson seemed to be of similar opinion on Midwest.I have always said if mayo were 10 points up with 5 minutes to go in an all Ireland final I would still be a nervous wreck .the fact that we struggled against 14 men for the majority of the game is concerning and then as happens so often we offer up a goal chance in the final seconds.I just cannot understand the logic of fielding that particular lineup unless the management intend to use it again which is fairly unlikely

  22. Before the league people wanted us to do well,blood some players and finish mid table,not have to play league final.
    When this exact scenario plays out the same folks are complaining.
    It was an ideal league for us the highlight beating Dublin in front of a huge crowd in MacHale Park.
    We’ve added to last year with Boland an automatic starter now along with Callinan,Brickenden and McBrien and arguable Touhy.
    Again I wasn’t at the game but we scored 2-13 against the blanket, that will win most games.

  23. Just to add,a bit disappointed we didn’t have a plan or we had a plan and it didn’t work well to be a man up.

  24. @FW totally agree with you.. We’re going straight into championship pretty much under the radar which is where we want to be let all the hype be around Derry I don’t think they will be able to keep the tempo up come summer Dublin will be able to but they can walk through leinster..

    Today was very odd game and odd tactics for sure but I think management where thinking ahead to new York I do really feel they should have rested Ryan O D though. But all is not lost I’ll see what hapoens comes championship and reserve judgement till then..

  25. What do people think of Boland taking on free taking duties from around the 45? I notice Reape doesn’t is not so accurate when kicking from an angle.

  26. Not naming our subs may have been a gimmick to get people to buy program. But there is no point at all buying one at this stage. And for people who like to collect and keep records, it’s a nightmare. Feel sorry for Towey.
    We came very close to switching off and let Monaghan back in at the death today. Old failings creeping back.
    I think Rochford will have the jigsaw puzzle solved after today and we can look forward to a reasonable championship. I have to agree with others, the safe option will be McBrein at full back. Callinan/Diarmuid O Connor will fill 6 Carney will call the shots and be the main ball distributor.
    The open spaces of the Hyde will suit us, I can only see a win for us there.

  27. In reality , the league was fine but I fail to see how Mayo have improved from last year . Every game we saw lengthy periods without a score. Hopefully we’ll see a different team next month, but currently our safety first approach to the game leaves a lot to be desired.

  28. We started three defenders in the forwards and none of them scored so I don’t know what we were trying to prove. Michael Jordan said “Talent wins games but teamwork and intelligence wins championships” I’m seriously worried about Management after today.

  29. 100% agree with you JP, starting to understand why Liam Mchale did a runner. No real development on players or offensive football whether kick pass or revert to Horanball. No real reason to have canny on board as it’s more of the same nothing new on show. Think Durkan and McLaughlin are more suited to the running game but Callinan at 6 could be our quarterback. McDonnell I was hoping to given more game time to day as I believe he has more to offer. A triangle of o Donohue at 11, conroy and Towey in the corners has never been tried but I have a feeling McStay doesn’t want to use Towey, and at times when taking him off doesn’t wanted to be shown wrong.
    At this stage I probably agreed with gizmobob personnel with a couple of positional switches Carney in MF with Diarmuid on the half forward line.

  30. There’s no doubt about it, if this current form continues for the championship, then what @MrTed said in his first post is 100‰ true, while we might not be quite at Derrys or Dublins level, we’ve too many quality players to be struggling against the Corks, Louths, and Monaghans of the world. Something isint right.

  31. Lads and lassies, I have never heard such negativity in my life. I honestly think there are quite a few here who are actually waiting for us to lose so that they can sharpen the knife. Won 4 games in league which is just about right and finished behind Dublin, Derry and Kerry who are all better than us. When we had a super team 2012 to 2017 we couldnt land the big one. Now our team is not so super but is competitive around 4th to 8th in the standings. Management have the right to pick whatever team they see fit. They know who is fit, who needs game time, etc and can make whatever decisions they feel they need to make for the overall good of the team. If we are in a bad place, which i dont think we are, imagine what Galway and Roscommon must be like at the moment. And what about Tyrone. If we lost by that amount to Dublin, there would be a meltdown. Give the team and management a chance and have realistic expectations and enjoy the upcoming championship,

  32. @to win just once . Excellent and honest post as always.
    I was at the game and happy enough with all the lads that got a run out .
    I still think that we haven’t got the depth of talent the top 3 or 4 teams have .
    Still think that the whole appointment of
    Mcstay as manager rather than Dempsey still annoys some posters here and fairly obvious with their comments directed at management.
    We got what we wanted out of the league.
    Will we win Connaught ? Maybe
    Will we win the All Ireland? Not a chance but I’m still proud of the team and Mayo

  33. Like many on here I listened to the game on Mid West. I reckon that most who voted on the MOTM poll did not see the game either as at least one of the poll toppers, according to Mark Ronaldson, did not contribute a whole pile to the game apart from a couple of scores. Rory Byrne likely up there because of his save at the end? Good to get the win but disappointing that we did not immediately capitalise on Monaghan’s red card and went down by as much as four points at one stage. But a win is a win and credit to the lads for grinding it out, even if Monaghan did suffer a self-implosion like they did in Castlebar in 2015. Good to see Mattie Ruane returning to the form of old and Swannie roaring back after such a long lay-off. Would love to have witnessed with my own eyes how such a defender-stacked lineout operated in real-time but job done in the end and by all accounts we escaped without any major injury concerns.

    Regarding the league campaign as a whole, I think Kevin McStay summed it up best on the podcast with his response to Mike Finnerty:

    MF: What did ye get out of the league?
    KMS: We got eight points!

    Mixed campaign but we ticked all the boxes. As FW mentions above, we wrapped up our Div1 status early on. Dublin beaten at home and league final avoided. Isn’t that what everyone wanted? From here on out anything less than a Connacht title will be a disappointment. Roscommon are no great shakes and Galway are there for the taking. Get a top seed in our group and see what the summer has in store.

    Also, what a damp squib the last round of the league was. Tyrone hockeyed by Dublin in Croker. Roscommon thumped by Derry. Ourselves in a glorified challenge game. It’s not that long ago when even the prospect of a league semi-final was enough to get excited over. Now I can barely be bothered to tune in the radio. And getting completely ripped off as a season ticket-holder for the privilege. Nice going GAA.

  34. My ball. Not a chance of winning the all Ireland. Seriously. This team .less keegan and mullin proved good enough to make the 21 decider even without mullin in the semi. This management team came in to get us over the line. Remember how we killed horan on here for not doing that.. I expect nothing but this team to be back challenging in 24. If we play the right football we will be there. These lads have proved that already

  35. @Craggy boglands 100%

    mcstay under huge pressure to deliver at least a semi spot. I still think we will make semi spot..

    Agree with @ to win just once great post your spot on there.

  36. Completely agree craggy boglands. How can people say we’ve no chance against Kerry, Derry and even Dublin?

    We are always underdogs against Kerry and Dublin, yet have beaten them several times down the years. 2024 is no different.

  37. Some good posts there summing it up. I think having Mattie coming into good form is a huge boost for Mayo this season, hope it continues. Just on a side note I see the bookies have ourselves at 10/1 and Galway at 8/1, they rarely get those types of calls wrong. Galway can hardly be considered contenders if they are that far out. I know its not all about odds and I know they have big guns to come back, but its not ideal for them to have got no game time in the last few league rounds. Mayo are in a healthier spot on the injury front so we are not in a bad position going into championship, and bypassing New York it’s all about the Hyde in a few weeks time. Landing a Connacht title would have us on the right route, first seed in our group and looking towards a favourable last 8 draw. That’s improvement from last year, and so the hope I have is for us to make the last four. That would be a good year. I would love another crack at Derry later on in the championship, we have the athletes to go toe to toe with them.

  38. – All the changes to the starting team and subs even confused the guy on the PA as he had to make two announcements about them. Not sure what this achieves..
    – It was great to see a number of players back from injury.
    – I don’t believe Hession and Durkan on the half forward line worked. Cannot understand on McHale is getting so many votes for MOM. He lost a number of balls as he waited for the ball to come to him.
    – We had a lot more direct foot passing into the forward line with Tommie winning a number of frees as a result.
    – We seemed in the main to use our extra man in the middle but did not get much reward.
    – Boland to be fair made a difference when he came on and Tuohy bolstered midfield.
    – Noticable difference is that Monaghan went for and succeeded in getting long range points something we just do not do, instead we are continuing to try to bring ball into the 21.
    – We are on the Roscommon radar and they are very much on our radar this year.
    – An awfull lot depends on this game in 4 weeks, it will be season defining for us.

  39. @Craggy..the management and team are targeting an All Ireland. Anything less and they may as not bother showing up. It’s all about Sam. Provincial titles are secondary. Mayo should always be targeting outright victory. Look at Tyrone in ‘21. I often reference them. They won an All Ireland with arguably the least talented group of players since 2010 (perhaps a bit unfair on that Cork side). They were annihilated in a league game in Kerry shipping 5 goals and a few months later were lifting Sam and deservedly so. A great win for them. Did they have a better panel than us? I don’t think so but they performed far better on the day on the pitch and on the line.

    The point I’m making is that there’s always a chance and Mayo should always have a team that are good enough to compete. With clever tactics (Donegal ‘12), some luck and form you just never know what can happen.

  40. To Margie, you are correct. Towey scored a goal after being on the field only a minute last week. Also scored a point and played well. Why does McStay & Co keep messing him about. Also some other players , McStay is doing the same thing to them. Seems odd to say the least and no definite plan for the championship

  41. I agree this team is a long way off the 2012 to 2017 team, but the current Dublin aren’t a patch on their team from that time either, but we got to be aiming for the 4th spot at least, I don’t buy this we’ve slipped down to about 8th. We’ve better players than that, that aren’t reaching their full potential for whatever reason.
    Dublin look like they’re just going to steamroll everyone for the next couple of years and put together another 3 or 4 in a row. Derry are awesome at the moment, but can they maintain that blistering pace and running for another 4 months, if they can we need to share their S&C team.
    Kerry as always, hard to say, still better than us, but we’ve beaten them twice , and lost by a point in our last 3 encounters. I think we’re well able to give them a match, too dependent on Clifford to do his magic and get them over the line. Should be a cracking final next week, Derrys A team this time, against Dublin.

  42. To win just once. I agree that the negativity has gone overboard, which is the case more often than nor.
    On the our best team for the Championship, McBrien at 3 is essential.

  43. Good management should tailor strategy according to the players that are there. This notion of playing a certain ‘Mayo way’ is total bullshit, to be frank. If Mayo won an All Ireland the way Donegal had in 12; ie: brilliant defending and blitz counter attacks we’d have hailed them all heroes. We had the players to win an AI in the last decade. We just didn’t get the tactics right. We had the best individual defenders in the country, hands down, but never capitalised on it.

  44. In fairness and thinking more about it in 16/17 I think our tactics were very good. Bad luck went against us.

  45. I thought cillian made a difference when he came on. Hopefully management will see his worth for the championship.

  46. Good post Mayonaze.

    I still see us winning Connacht, Roscommon have several players away like Murtagh, McKeown, Daly this year and won’t be featuring.
    Galway injuries even if healing up won’t be at the pace needed for the earlier championship rounds.

    We are it seems playing with a full deck for now if Diarmuid is back in training.

  47. @to win just once, very well said. I’m not sure if it’s some form of fashion or conformity to be creating negatives, there certainly seems to be a few personalities that seem to only ever look to find the negatives.
    Today was a game with no consequences and we tried out a number of things and gave a number of players game time.
    Matty had a great game and Padraig did very well in his first game back. Bob did well apart from a bad wide and James Carr got some valuable game time returning from injury.
    Jack Carney and Jordan Flynn both got well deserved rest.
    Management certainly know more about who’s doing what in training and what the players capabilities are. There are far too many Keyboard warriors and podcast personalities that just want to whinge. As FW has stated earlier, the league worked out fine for us yet the same ones that wanted just that are probably the same ones moaning now.
    I can’t imagine the naysayers have managed any teams to any degree of success, despite the inflated values they place on their own opinions.

  48. If we can find our way to the semi finals then anything can happen. Kerry and Galway are beatable. They will feel the same about us. Derry will be running on empty. The Dubs look the team to beat but there is a long way to go and their elder statesmen can’t go on forever.
    We need a bit of luck with injuries same as everyone else.
    The panel seems deep enough but we need our main men all firing at the same time if we are to challenge.
    You’d love to see someone like James Carr in one of those little runs of form and at his best when it mattered most in a tight game at Croke Park.

    I thought our league campaign went OK. We should have come away from Kerry with a draw and I don’t think we were anywhere near full tilt in Tyrone.

  49. Its nothing to do with being a “naysayer” or having knives sharpened. If Jim Gavin took us over last year, and played a natural born forward at CHB, i’d still be questioning his managerial ability. You don’t need to have the Banisteoir bib on to realise that was a calamity waiting to happen.

    18 months in and we have no identity under this management team, that is clear to see. We’re not a running team nor a kicking team. It seems the players dont really know they’re exact roles.Its all helter skelter stuff, sometimes theirs an extra man back, but most times it 1v1 defending. Aiden is a FF for 15 mins then hes out in the middle for 15 mins. We’re tactically all over the place. Even feckin Galway and Roscommon have a system they play to. We just seem to be relying on the players to figure it out as they go along.

    Last years championship was unacceptable, losing to Ros and Cork in the one season is criminal. Maybe some of us were hoping to see some sort of system bedded in during this league – regardless of where we finished, and its simply not there. Rosconmon will bottle us up again and turn us over, I’ve absolutely no doubt about it.

  50. I was at the game today. I thought all shape left our play when Monaghan were reduced to 14. We did not appear to have a plan to cope with the blanket defence before the sending off. Monaghan got more defensive when reduced to 14.Even with the extra man we looked to be playing a sweeper. I Could not understand this at all. Some of the guys that were getting a run out for the first time in this year league did do well. Byrne in goals looked assured at all times even when Monaghan had 15 men, his kick outs were good . O’Hora after a slow start came more into it and played well. Thought Durcan played ok as well, but felt the intention was always to give him 50 or so Min. Thought McHale was good in spots, but after calling for sever paces
    Waited for the ball to come to him instead of going to it. Thought Carr did ok when he came on, but you would know he had not played for a while, lacked a bit of fitness and game practice. But great to see him back. Cillian, looked sharper than he has done. He will be a great option in later parts of the Championship. I’m still worried about our Centre half back, options. All in all I felt we were lucky enough to take the spoils today. In fact only
    For a great save by our keeper at the death today we would have left Clones empty handed against 14 men and indeed 13 at that stage.

  51. Overall a reasonable league campaign. Certainly it feels like finishing fourth with wins over Galway, Dublin and Roscommon would have been probably the most desirable outcome for many on here back in January.

    -Jack Carney grew more into the midfield role as the league went on
    -Signs of Ruane and Conroy returning to form
    -Boland a good option for the half forward line
    -Callinan and Tuohy continue to develop, as did Jack Coyne
    -No season ending or long term injuries, it seems. This is a major plus.

    I also thought Eoghan McLaughlin could be a major weapon in summer given his impact.

    Given we lost three games, unsurprisingly there were also some negatives:
    -Maddeningly inconsistent within games as ever, with long frequent periods without scoring
    -After a strong start, defence looked vulnerable to quick movement of ball and runs from deep
    -Questions re-emerging over our first choice goalkeeper
    -Preferred style of play still unclear, with the role/positioning of Aidan the most obvious symptom. Prone to periods of pointless keep ball when facing massed defences.

    With Roscommon and Galway having poor leagues, we should be in a good position to win Connacht and get top seeding for the group stages. Having beaten Dublin, Kerry, Galway repeatedly, Tyrone and Roscommon since the start of last year we can clearly match anyone on our day. Unfortunately; some of the problems listed above means any game we’re involved in can go either way. Should make for an interesting summer for us as supporters anyway!

  52. As I have stated before,we can beat any team on our day,but everything needs to be perfect for us,other teams can make mistakes and get away with it,but if we make a mistake we always lose,I feel that several players were on a different fitness programme and are now showing that their ready for action,as I have said before,from is temporary,class is permanent,as shown by M Ruane and T Conroy,we will get better,we should certainly win Connaught,afterwards we need luck with injuries,but I have already out one hundred euros on to bring Sam west,thank you again Willie Joe for this brilliant blog

  53. I’m actually delighted that league campaign is over..
    The whole system needs an overhaul..
    All the games yesterday in reality were dead ducks..
    Croke Park was a challenge game..
    Killarney much the same, as was in Clones…
    Roscommon had to win to survive but never looked like it at all…
    Again they should do away with league finals and finish it all on the final day..
    Yesterday teams are looking down the road at championship.
    No manager wanted to risk any player with any type of issue.
    Mayo in the best place especially physically to win Connacht, after that who knows….
    Our Injuries are turning out worse than expected and worse than last year so some in Galway are nearly writing off the season already ..

  54. We flopped against the rossies last year after a tough league final the week before doesn’t mean we will flop against them this time. I fully expect us to beat the rossies in the Hyde after we get over New York. We are in a much better place then this time last year.

    Mcstay has definetly learnt from last year that going all out for the league means nothing sure I heard kerry have a training week in Portugal booked for league final week a month ago says it all. Let Derry go all out for league they will find out quick enough that they can’t keep that kind of tempo up same we found out.

    We avoided league final, stayed safe in division 1 have players coming back from injury and others coming back into top form whatever yesterday’s game plan was it’ll all be forgotten quick enough in 2 weeks no hype us around us what’s so ever going in completely under the radar the way we want it to be we are not in a bad place at all.

  55. I wouldn’t write ye off Tuamstar. I think being honest, Mayo & Galway are in the chasing pack. But we’re both a good bit off Kerry, Derry & certainly Dublin. But would give Galway a better chance than us.

    I had thought our defence had improved vs last year but that’s been exposed. We’re no better at breaking down defences, probably worse. Slow lateral play is our modus operandi now.

    40/30/20 was the McStay philosophy. That’s been thrown out the window

  56. League is league and championship is a different sport. For me, I feel like we got out of the league exactly what we wanted. Secure our Div.1 status early, have a look at 5 or 6 fringe players over the remaining two games, get Cillian and Conroy on the field and get them nearer championship sharpness, and hopefully get through it all without picking up injuries. I think we ticked all those boxes.
    We now have 4 weeks to get to a level where we can get in and out of the Hyde with a win. Make no mistake, that will not be as easy as it looks at the minute. The Rossies had 3 or 4 players who only returned to the squad in the last few weeks and certainly have another level or two to reach before they meet us. They will be a different animal in the Hyde as, for them, it is their season saver if they beat us. Relegation and some pretty poor performances will all be forgotten if they beat us. This is their All Ireland Final. Think back to our league game a few weeks ago, I’ve never seen Enda Smith so disinterested, I’ve never seen so many Rossie players who looked completely gassed with 20 mins to go, and it’s been a long while since they seemed so placid aganist us too. That league game will have zero bearing on what will happen on April 21st. If we are not fully prepped and focused we will be in bother because we are not a team that can play at 90%. We are also a team that generally plays to the level of our opponents and can let a bad team drag us into a scrap. Under no circumstances can that happen in the Hyde.
    As for Galway, as much as I dislike Joyce, I’d say that their Div.1 survival is a very underated achievement. Considering how many key leaders he was missing for 5 or 6 rouinds of the league to then avoid relegation is something that cannot be disregarded. They have a good 6 weeks where they can regroup and focus their sights on taking either us or the Rossies out of it in Salthill. We all know that they have the players to achieve this but whether they can clear up their injuries and get some good form into the squad is the real challenge. Their season is far from over however.
    For Mayo, we must win Connaught. Anything less will considered regression and a failure. We are probably the best placed team to win Connaught though, and winning it would give us top seed in our group which “should” get us to a quarter final. Win that and you’re in a semi final, a big day out and you’re still competitive for another year. That’s where I think we should be aiming for. Nothing less.
    The fact of the matter is that no one is getting within 8 points of Dublin this year, they’re just playing at such a different level that they are miles out in front. Their demolition of Kerry in the league was as fine an exhibition of football as I have seen in years and they seem to have stopped all that sledging/off the ball shite that so marred their ability as a team for years. They’re just going out playing attacking football and wiping the pitch with whoever comes in front of them.
    So, heads down for the next four weeks, get to the Hyde early and bring your voice. We are in a good spot.

  57. Well done to all the squad, good to get a win any day in a national competition, however its hard to know where we are at the moment, do we still lack the killer blow when ot comes to in front of goal ?,I know Monaghan can put it up to the best on a given day ,but down to 14 at the early stages of the Game still we didn’t take advantage ,but a win is a win ,
    Now my main point this morning is Why didn’t RTE see fit to show this contest on the Sunday game last night, after all the rest of the Devision 1 games were aired ,in my opinion it was discrimination at its best,I think RTE should address this issue, Hon Mayo

  58. @Pebbles
    I couldn’t believe when I looked this morning that Dublin are 2/1 to win Sam with Kerry pretty much the same. The Dubs look well ahead of the rest.
    All we can do is try and get ourselves to the semi finals and see where we’re at. I still think after all the retirals of generational players like Keegan, Boyle, Higgins, Moran and co that we have done really well as a county to remain reasonably competitive.
    We have a relatively young team and you’d like to think the majority of them have their best football yet to come.

  59. In fairness Hillman I not sure if any other county got as much TV coverage as ourselves with 6 live televised games.

  60. @Miknd the House, my thoughts exactly. You can’t lose players of that calibre and expect to continue on as before.

  61. Just 5 points from play against a 14 man (Now Div 2 team) worries me.Still a good League campaign though but I wouldn’t be looking any further than a Connacht title.

  62. Tuamstar you are gas. I’d say tou got your degree in yarra from the university of yarra Tralee. ?

  63. Hill man, it was a dead rubber game – the result had no bearing on either team’s Div 1 status, unlike all other games. That’s why it wasn’t aired, there was no discrimination.
    If I had to sum up the league I’d say it was “fine”.
    We mixed the good and the bad, we didn’t look that interested at times which is fine by me once we had div 1 status more or less assured.
    We certainly didn’t look like we were as “match ready” as we did at the start of last year’s league – again, I would take that as a positive.
    We need to crank it up a couple of gears for the Hyde and then keep the foot down.
    There should be no fear of running on empty or things getting stale, because we haven’t hit our stride at all yet.

  64. I have to say I enjoy Tuamstar lol. He is consistent like clockwork, I sometimes think he has an annual reminder set on his phone for the end of the league “must go on Mayo GAA blog and attempt to play down Galways chances”. Its like old school Cold War stuff 🙂

  65. I would see yesterday as management getting the players that needed minutes on the pitch and anything else a bonus in a dead rubber.Shape was out the window yesterday and that showed in the performance.We certainly have much fresher players heading for the championship this year.The team is down to 17 or maybe 18 lads depending on opposition.The match day squad has 24 set with half a dozen challenging for the 25 and 26 jerseys.Our two biggest concerns for me are our no 1 and what actual gameplan we are going with.A fit Cillian will be the biggest hope we have of defeating one of the big names but on our day we can match almost any of them.

  66. @Mayonaze – agree entirely. Forget the “Mayo Way”, its all about winning.

    The closest we went to winning the All Ireland was 2016 and 2017. They are also the only two finals where we set up to play the team against us on the day. What I mean is, we didn’t have the “look if we play our game as well as we can, we’ll win it” attitude. We matched up against the Dubs to give us the best chance of winning.

    If we had done that in 2012, 2013 or 2021, we’d have won one.

    In 2021, Tyrone only had one focus, playing in a way that would beat Mayo on the day. Playing their best was irrelevant, they only needed to be better than us. You know what they say about the bear chasing two people in the woods, you don’t need to be faster than the bear, just faster than the other person.

    Time we learned that.

  67. To further my point in my previous post, before the 2012, 2013, 2020 and 2021 finals. The danger men were as follows, Michael Murphy, Bernard Brogan, Con O’Callaghan and Darren McCurry.

    All four won Man of the Match.

    Shows the level of work we put in to stop the opposition.

    In the years that we did (2016 and 2017), John Small and James McCarthy won Man of the Match. Because we made it uncomfortable for them and it was their warriors that had to stand up.

  68. Unstoppable, it’s only a matter of time before one or 2 posters start to chime in and find something wrong with your post. Not because there is anything wrong or incorrect in what you say, but rather because it was Stephen Rochford that was manager in those 2 years 2016 and 2017 and there are a few posters who will go out of their way rather than give any credit to certain management.

  69. Anyone know whets the story with Paul Towey? He’s been one of our best forwards in the club championship for the last few years…. named again to start yesterday and then dropped without any explanation and replaced by a defender Enda Hession? I don’t believe he’s injured? What does this do for a lads confidence? I think he has scored 1-6 so far in the league with about an hours playing time…. and we had other starting forwards yesterday that have played most of the league with 1 or 2 points in total to their name….I’m confused to be honest…. we gave Fergal Boland his opportunity with plenty of game time and he’s proven he’s a scoring forward for us…why not Towey? We risked ROD yesterday in nothing game really and apparently he could now have a concerning injury after limping out of the game….

  70. To Mayo for Sam, I’d say the only ones that know re Towey is McStay & Rockford. The lad isn’t injured, can score , doesn’t make many mistakes and still they only play him when they feel like it ? It’s not that Mayo have an abundance of forwards like the Cliffords of Kerry.

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