Monday match reports

Mayo Derry final whistle

Okay, this is another one I really don’t want to do but it’s as well to get it out of the way early and be done with it. Comment moderation HQ isn’t exactly a ball of laughs at the moment either, by the way, but it’s at least heartening that those posting the worst kind of rubbish are the same individuals who are already snared in the process and so whose comments will never make it onto the site. Thanks to everyone else (i.e. by far the majority) who have made measured and reasonable contributions to the post-match debate.

Right – let’s start with the Mayo Advertiser where Colm Gannon has his match report and post-match reaction from James Horan. James didn’t hold back in what he had to say about his team’s display, in particular the lack of defending in the lead-up to the second goal. He does his usual “we’ll need to look at it” line but, I guess, what else would you expect him to say?

Given the result, it’s only fair to point you next towards the Oakleafers blog, which has a very even-handed match report from their perspective.

Nationals: Irish Times (match report, reaction) Irish Independent, Irish Examiner (match report, reaction from Brian McIver).

Online: GAA, RTÉ, BBC, The Score, Breaking News, Hogan Stand, Sky (only joking – think they’re still trying to figure it all out).

Make of all the above what you will.

Want a silver lining out of yesterday? All I can proffer in that regard is the fact that, despite going for a win for us yesterday, I’ve still maintained my 30-point lead at the top of the Allianz prediction league and so have retained a small bit of elbow room coming down the closing straight. Now it’s all down to the four Divisional finals, where I’m happy enough with three of them but there’s one that’s giving me some nagging worry. At least I’ve a few weeks to mull over it before the finals take place at the end of the month.

Right, it’s Monday and there’s stuff to be done. If you haven’t yet voted for our MOTM yesterday, then please take the time to do so – at this stage it looks as if Jason Gibbons is on his way to his third such gong for what has been an excellent League campaign for him.

85 thoughts on “Monday match reports

  1. Is that Horan in the shot with his head in is hands, I must admit I feel for him this morning, as it’s not a nice place to be right now. “But look it”, as he would say himself, let’s all fasten our seat belts and get ready for the ride, and where ever that takes us so be it, and remember “The darkest hour is just before the dawn”.

  2. To start with I want to nail my colours firmly to the mast. As anyone who pays any heed to my posts knows, I am a supporter of this management set-up and believe we are in a far better place than many of us care to admit. I, like many here, remember the bad old days of div 3 football and getting hammered below in places like Laois and Carlow. Looking at the full picture we are the envy of 25 or 26 other counties and while things did not go according to plan yesterday, far from it as some of the old failings reared their heads again, I think we need a bit of perspective.
    Going into this league campaign my aims were as follows…
    1. Don’t get relegated. Sorted.
    2. Look for signs that the hunger and fire is still there after 2 long hard years? Despite yesterdays worrying “flatness” I believe the desire is still there.
    3. Try new tactical switches/player positions/styles of play/fresh faces etc. to develop a functioning attack that can create and score by itself? Certainly management have tried different things, some have worked while others have not been as successful. A. Moran & Higgins on the 40′, the introduction of Sweeney & A. Gallagher, a greater focus on getting ball into the full forward line quick etc. etc. As I said, some things have worked and others have not. Yet.
    4. See have management learned from their contribution to our defeat last September? Well, management have viewed games from the stand, substitutions have been made quickly and decisively (up to yesterday!) and I believe that any player that could possibly make a contribution has been looked at and assessed.
    5. Even though we should have won yesterday, I couldn’t care less about winning the league. I think it would have been near impossible to get a squad of players that have pushed themselves to the limit, physically and mentally, to come back 3 months after losing your second consecutive All Ireland final and expect them to be fit enough to win a league final and then maintain that level of fitness for another 5 months. Be fair.

    This year for us it is only 1 thing. It is the All Ireland or nothing. That is, and has to be, our sole focus.

  3. In last years league, we needed some big performances to avoid relegation, got them, qualified for the semi, made a half arsed effort against the dubs and the following blog ensued….

    Words like Slow, unfit, disinterested, leaking goals etc etc (is history repeating itself.)

    ((AND, if I remember correctly we were conceding goals to beat the band in the 2012 league.))

    This year has almost been a carbon copy. It was from this point forward, that we became the most talked about football team in the country. Out of the blue came big big performances that took us to the final.

    The mistake, we made last year was we peaked too early, we would have been better off scrapping our way through Connaught and keeping the intensity for the last 2 games of the year.

    So my advice would be to keep Calm and patient and trust JH is learning lessons from the last 2-3 years.

  4. The bottom line is I would expect the current Mayo team operating at well less than 100% to have enough to put away a fourteen man relativley inexperienced team.

  5. I somewhat agree Berry but the reality is that we were probably 70% to 80% of where we will need to be for the Rossies in 7 weeks whereas Derry are straight out of the traps against newly promoted Donegal. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a disappointing performance and given are experience we should still have found a way to close out the game, but, it is only April.

  6. Attention can now (for us fans anyway) turn to championship fare and NY is just under 3 weeks away. Some time away as a team may do them good, air out the wrongs and go for it. Word is NY are training very hard this year, maybe put it up to us?

  7. I would agree that we need appreciate what team and management have tried out in the league so far , ie trying out new forwards , new mid field partnerships , backs , and above all , dealing with the black card ,
    Firstly we lost our aggression in the tackle and teams are running straight through our soft defence ,
    secondly our players seem to have lost ground on other teams in bulking up ,we are been knocked over very easily when players run into our players .
    WE have to readdress our full forward line ,as other teams can mark our forwards out of games very easy . ie Dublin and Derry games .
    Midfield seem ok but we not as sharp as last few years on the breaking ball .
    SO maby yesterday was the kick in the arse we needed to address some things and re focus the mind

  8. I think this is Mayos strongest team for the championship, what do ye think?

    1. Clarke
    2. Barrett
    3. Cafferkey
    4. Higgins
    5. Boyle
    6. Cunniffe
    7. Keegan
    8. A O Shea
    9. Gibbons
    10. Mc Loughlin
    11. Feeney
    12. Dillon
    13. O Connor
    14. Freeman
    15. Sweeney

  9. Here’s a thought Willie Joe.

    Maybe House Rules should contain a requirement that the game be discussed; that is a game between two teams. For most posters Mayo seem to exist in a parallel universe and victory or defeat has nothing to do with the other 15 on the field.

    Thus the bad performances are always bad, because so an so isn’t up to it, useless etc. Bad Mayo performances never have anything to do with the likes of Ross O’Carroll or Chris McKaigue being very good players who can dominate their area.

    Giving some kind of recognition to what the other team does, can at least put Mayo’s performances in some kind of perspective.

  10. Was a flat performance yesterday, the kind of performance we haven’t been used to from this side. I hope it is just a case of league football and aiming to peak later in the year, but the lack of intensity in tackling and running did worry me.

    Some thoughts going ahead:
    I feel our half forward line is the root of our problems, as it was in last years All Ireland. We rely on our half backs to create chances which has been leaving our full back line exposed and as a result we are conceding lots of goals. When our half back line stays back as it tried to do after Derrys first goal, we lack creativity in the half forward line. This was compounded yesterday by having McLoughlin in the corner. The play is slowed around the 40 and we struggle to pick out a pass to our inside forwards.
    As a result, I am moving towards a half forward line of McLoughlin, COC, adam gallagher with freeman, sweeney and andy moran in full forward line. At least that half forward line can give us creativity in games against better opposition where our half back line will have to stay back. COC at chf was the winning of the game against Galway lastyear with 3 assists.

  11. Allirelands arent won in april ,derry have peaked for the leauge they wont get a smell ulster title .,i pity them in the final against the dubs, horan and buckley are playing the cute kerry whore card ,how many times have we seing kerry struggle in theleauge ,and then land the big one mayo are aiming to peak in august /september not april,we lose aleauge semifinal so what ,did we really the dubs orcork in two weeks time ? we did the samelast year and we were written off ,leauge and championship football are horses of two very different colours ,for theyounger bloggers enjoy this period of mayo making regular trips to crokepark , it was 1981 before i saw the sky over croke park with mayo and if you think yesterday was bad take a look at what happened that day ,im enjoying following mayoat this time ,as the say hunger is agreat sauce ,ive seing mayo go from 69 to 81 without a connaught title,leaving the bar and tuam and thehyde totally heartbroken, year after year ,the defeat to derry yesterday is like last years snows its gone . ive nodoubt mayo will comeback stronger ,and fitter for themain eentof thesummer

  12. Well done on the moderation, nice to read interesting and constructive comments. Does anyone agree with me that there is too much focus on criticizing the Mayo forwards? I think Mayo have had a high overall scoring rate over the last year. The problem it seems to me, is more that we are leaking scores at the other end. No matter how much Mayo put on the board, they are always in danger of conceding even more scores. I think its a problem, not sure where the answer lies.

  13. Didn’t bother with analysis of match yesterday but here we go now.
    First of all I’m tired of people calling for the recall of Keith Higgins to the full back line. Yesterday’s full back line were not the reason we lost the game. In total Derry scored 2-15. Of this their FF line scored 1-02 and that goal was an overlap that forced one of our FB line to advance and leave his man unmarked. The other goal was also an overlap and I don’t see how any of the full back line on display yesterday can be blamed for either. In essence limiting a FF line to 2 points over 70 minutes is quite praiseworthy in my opinion.
    The problems for yesterday lied further up the pitch and on the side-line. The Derry ½ fw line scored 7 points from play. Why is this? Part of the problem is that our ½ back line like all-out attack however because our FB line plays so deep (and not out in front like e.g. the Dubs) there is a massive void between the 2 primary defensive lines. This is suicide especially on the opposition counter attack when our forward play breaks down.
    Also take a look on TV at the first goal. The amount of space that Derry had to run into was shocking. So another question is what happens when we don’t dominate at midfield? I don’t have the stats from yesterday but I would say that Derry were as good as 50/50 in the middle of the park against us. Having that platform allowed them attack that empty space and from there they took their scores. ? But throughout the match the side-line didn’t figure out how to change this either. Also the fact that the ½ fw line scored so much as well is a worry. Where is the tight marking and pressure we had last year
    Another issue I had with the side-line was leaving Shane McHale as the extra man. AS a result he was the link man between the defence and the forwards. However at least twice he was caught in possession and overturned. At least one of these led to a Derry score. I was disappointed that Richie Feeney was not introduced early in the second half. This link role is one that is made for him but for some reason he was not tried out by management. As WJ pointed out bringing him on in the 69th minute was utterly pointless.
    Finally I think that management took the wrong option in withdrawing Jason Gibbons and allowing AOS stay on the pitch. People have highlighted that O’Shea and Andy take too much out of the ball and I agree. The one time O’Shea was forced to kick first time was the sending off and it led directly to our goal.
    I don’t want to be all doom and gloom on this but it was clear from yesterday’s display that guys were tired and that management have a lot of work to do to get them back to the peaks they were at last year. Also teams have figured us out a bit and the tactic of continually attacking from deep is not going to always work against top counties.
    But a break now will do them good I think. We have plenty of time yet to come up with alternative strategies but management must be willing to pick our best team. If they do then I’m pretty sure we are a match for anyone. But it’s up to them to look at the players in this squad and get it right.

  14. Well said Peter Murray, I wouldn’t be too harsh on mayo just yet . They have giving us some great days out in croke park over the last few years. League semi final win against Kerry in 2011, beating the reigning all Ireland champions cork in 2011, beating the reigning all Ireland champions Dublin in 2012, beating the reigning all Ireland champions Donegal in 2013. Narrowly missing out on all all Ireland final win last year by one point against the Dubs. This team has been very consistent over the last few years and has played some great football. I’ve seen people who haven’t gone to a game all year and then give out like shit that they wont go to an all Ireland final again because mayo lost on the day. Its disappointing for fans that they didn’t win yesterday but for most fans its like nothing but an all Ireland final win will do , Why not take pleasure from the games they do win in style and see where that takes us. Maybe this loss is just what they need to get that hunger back again.

  15. I am like everyone else a little disappointed with yesterdays result it is not the end of the world. I don’t know if a league final would have suited us, granted winning silver is great but winning the all Ireland is the primary focus for this year. We play New york on May 4th so we travel a few days earlier . If we were in a league final we would have played it the Sunday prior. Too close for comfort .
    Baring in mind since James has taken over this actually has been our best league. We got nine points where in previous league campaigns we earned slightly less. In this context we are doing well. I am not going sugar coat the issues. There is no point but i dont think things are as bad as i or others have felt. Taking the New york adventure out of the way we will not play another game for nearly two months. That is more than enough time to rest and iron out the issues that have presented throughout the league

  16. the ability is there for sure. Mentally we are not right yet but i do believe we will come right .One thing for sure is we will find out soon enough . Someone mentioned in a post yesterday i think it was Joe Ruane who said it that yesterday we didnt just loose but we were beaten . Id go along with that and in one way it is a bit easier to take. I cant recall the last time i saw mayo look so flat and static especially in the forwards. At times i was thinking will ye run in for the ball but there was no movement. However if you look at the goal we got the build up was class .It was fast and precise and that is how you get the goals and breakdown a defense and we have showing these moments in all our games so there is no doubt we are still a top class team and the ability is there. We have a lot of work to do . In all of our games the opposition had a few inches so getting up to speed will have to be a priority and getting the bascis right as horan has always said. Few concerns about Hennelly. appreciate he has put in some good saves but some of the goals he conceded i felt were due because he was too far off his line and i noticed this a few times. Anyone else agree on Hennelly?

  17. Looking forward to the championship and reflecting on the whole league campaign I believe that there are a number of worthy discussion points.

    Firstly, in terms of match fitness two things stand out for me. Is it the case that we are still in hard training mode with the view that we will peak later on the year or is it the case that we are juiced physically and mentally similar to Donegal last year.

    Secondly, the defense has not been good enough throughout the league. This does not mean that it is all just down to our defenders, as for me defending starts at number 15 when you dont have the ball. Here we seem to have taken a step back in out tackling/pressure up the pitch and would like to see this increased a lot. I do also think that Keith Higgins needs to be brought back as for me he has not made the forwards anymore dynamic and he contributes more coming from the defense. I would also have questions about Robbie Hennelly under a high ball, line position and distribution from kickouts. I bit biased here having played with David Clarke for years but in my opinion he inspires a lot more confidence in out defenders. I do think that unfortunatly that ship may have sailed at this stage of the season. In terms of the Half backs positioning I think they just have to be more sensible and let the ball move quicker, even the best of athletes cant continuously do the running they do going forward and be able at the same time to defend 100%.

    Lastly, and sorry for being long winded here, in terms of our forward play the most basic thing before any tactics are introduced is that forwards need to be able to be out in front for the ball to win it and create options for the passers (Lee Keegan not having options in the second half and putting out his arms to say pretty much where are the options lads springs to mind). With this in mind I would love to see Alan Freeman play from the front more as to me he seems to be behind his man when battling for the ball. I also think that Kevin McLoughlin needs to be in the half forward line both for this winning of breaking ball and his late runs into the scoring area which cause great damage. I think that ball needs to be much sharper and quicker into the forwards so that they can maximise their scoring threat. Andy Moran I can see it trying his best to make it happen by getting on the ball but he needs to release it much quicker. Shot selection has to improve drastically before New York/Roscommon.

    Any body else here think that Aiden O Shea has lost even more weight to change his play so that he can cover more ground (to combat last years all ireland display)? He was burnt out after 50 minutes yesterday and should have been taken off.

  18. I dont think I could read them just yet. As I’m slowly calming down I’ll try make a few more points.
    The worst performance on the day I thought had to rest with the sideline. We were tactically very poor and failed to make changes. Had we a gameplan? as we looked like a group of individuals who came together. The decision making on the day was pathetic. Snap shots from crazy angles, taking into contact especially from short kick outs and overturning and how many free kicks did we give away. I was stunned. We were a poor outfit yesterday.
    Without trying to sound irrational but has horan something against the castlebar lads? Again and again he has failed to use barry moran and richie feeney. I noticed that dublin had brought vincents men into the dublin panel…who have we brought in apart from sweeney or parsons? They were around before. Surely we have young lads coming up.
    Our lack of u21 success too is worrying. There are massive issues to be addressed in the county.

    There is a good crop of players there at moment but are they being mismanaged. Running a team costs massive money. If the team was a business there is not doubt there would be serious enquiries made.

    Lastly its important to view the game as a whole. As I said in a previous post players were played out of position. You wouldn’t get a doctor to audit accounts would you so why is he playing corner back and wing back all stars in other positions. As a group of fans we seem to go mad when our half back line go and attack…that is not their primary role. We were badly caught for second goal and derrys 10 11 & 12 inflicted massive damage to us.Another thing I noticed is some fans jump and roar with excitement when the like of AOS and others try to plough through a few. It’s not rugby and we’re not watching cian healy. But of these players arent being told at training then it’s going to be another painful year.

    just thought id mention huge issues I see. Hope it doesnt offend/break house rules

  19. That’s meant to read if players aren’t being told in training.

    Also think yday is a better reality check for us as i would have been worried if we were going to have to play dublin in another final at this stage

  20. There was something BADLY wrong yesterday – that is for certain. We did not play anything near what we are capable of. But what exactly is responsible for this is difficult to say. Energy, fitness, hunger all seemed below par for a lot of the players. Missing Cuniffe, Barrett, Caff and Cillian O C may also have contributed to the problem? Positional switches may have unsettled lads? And it may just be that it was one of those days that happen from time to time. And then maybe Derry are better than we think. Whatever is the explanation I dread to imagine that we may be going to an empty well but that could also be the case and it wouldn’t be surprising. Only Time will tell.
    Bottom line is that Dublin have recovered really well from the AI and are getting even better all the time. (According to the general wisdom they were supposed to,have an off
    year in 2014 because winning back to back AI is said to be very difficult.) It is clear to me that even if we play to our absolute maximum potential Dublin will be very hard to beat. I just wonder if that reality is beginning to dawn on our lads and draining their limited energy out of them.
    I hope not!

  21. i actually raised similar questions re Hennelly . I didnt mention how he is too slow taking kick outs getting his tee ready its so frustrating to watch. Just get the ball on the ground and pick a player out as often as ya can. I take your point are we like Donegal were last year . But we looked more fucked yesterday than we had before in other games and the thought came to mind after game that these lads have being ran like fuck in training. Now i dont be at the training sessions but that was my opinion so hopefully i am right and its just that they have upped their the intensity in training. I believe the hunger for Sam will keep the minds focused . Of coarse mentally the slog of last few years is bound to have some affect .Cloud9 posted before ths game that he believed we were going to peak later this year and i would go along with this. So will be interesting if we will go through the front door or back door this year 🙂

  22. Would ye give over about Hennelly. He was solid as a rock yesterday, constantly picked out his team-mates when they showed for the ball, and has a massive kick-out when he goes long. He’s also a lot quicker to get the ball on the tee than Clarke.

  23. I think Aido just needs more coaching…it seesm to me that, more than any other player on this team, he is trying to play all over the field. Just take the time to observe the amount of ground he covers and where he pops up, he’s all over the place. No wonder he’s shagged by 50 mins ( feck it, I constantly coach one my girls about this in her soccer matches, not trying to be everywhere and play every position)
    He has massive ability and IMO, wants to be the leader, wants to step up….but he needs coaching on how to get there.

  24. The problem sean is if we had an all star full forward line we still wouldnt put the ball in. Our players go on stupid runs and dont move the ball quick enough. Just look at how the ball was moved in the second game and the overall movement

  25. Blessing in disguise-league final followed by a trip to the Big Apple a week later would be a disaster waiting to happen

    The team looks fatigued

    I’d leave a bunch of them at home for the trip to New York-let our fringe panelists battle it out. If our. B team can’t beat NY by 10 points, they’d be shag all use coming on as impact subs against Cork or Dublin later in the year when it matters

    Finally-we have arguably one of the best cornerback in the game-yet play him everywhere except corner back. Anyone notice a connection between this and all the goals were leaking

  26. Just given my opinion GBXI thats all and in my opinion a few goals that we conceded was because he was too far off his line. I did also say he has pulled off some fine saves. And again in my opinion he can be slow to kick the ball out.

  27. Dublin will be very hard to beat especially when they have everything going their way. Home advantage, crowd, players who can say what they like to refs and get away with it. (Note to Martin the Dub) Kerry (particularly Gooch) and Tyrone when they were used winning used to do it as well and used this to their advantage. Dublin are champions now and they are doing the same thing.

    E.g they have marquee players who I think (becasue they are big media names) are allowed that extra leniency and benefit of the doubt in refs mind. They intimidate the opposition and the referee – it’s one of the facts we’ll (and eceryone else) will just have to deal with. For example – I would say that 9/10 times when/if Brogan, Connolly or McCauley go to ground they will get a free.

    As for us – well it’s a blessing in disguise that we’re not meeting them again so soon. It’s possible we will have to meet them later on in the year and frankly once more this year is enough to play them.

    When/if that stage comes our team (whoever management pick) must be able to handle the Dublin physicality, put it back up to them physically (and mentally) and punish them at every opportunity.

    That’s a long way away now but getting to that stage is enough to focus upon now

  28. James horan stated publicily his intent to win the nfl .privately id say he wasn’t too bothered as long as mayo weren’t relegated, imagine theoutcry within the county if he said he wasn’t bothered about theleauge,managers are like politicians ,say what the public want to hear ,not what he think,s

  29. GBXI, I would echo what Mayomaningalway says in that I believe he is a fine fine shot stopper, however i do think that there is more to goalkeeping than that. Maby I am being over critical re the kickouts, as maybe the instructions from the sideline to bomb them out all the time and/or team mates are not making the runs. I also acknowledge that the second half was different yesterday as we had an extra man. I would just like to see more variation here in the normal course of 15 vs 15. Under the high ball, in the AI final last year Clarke takes Brogan and Cafferky out and the ball doesnt go in. Similarly yesterday wasnt there a high ball punched straight to a Derry man for a score, again I think Clarke takes what is in front of him out of it and the ball is secure.

  30. I agree with the coaching part, or perhaps he needs more definition in his role in the side. For instance I think Dublin have this sorted with their partnership in that they have MDMA doing the forward running with O Sullivan or who ever covering up. Now obviously there are times when that can be reversed in some game situations but in general thats how i see it. Now its only my opinion but I think a few sessions with him distributing the ball within 3 seconds into the forwards, off the shoulder runners could work wonders for him. In a way the same could be done for Andy to speed up distribution. It would also make our attack much quicker off the mark.

  31. I agree with you. Dublin are very much in fashion, and refs are giving them a lot of calls. We have seen it before, particularly with tyrone, where they could foul at will under the guise of the blanket defence and it would be a free out for overcarrying. It is because of the media and how teams are portrayed. When dublin go to ground it is a foul, when dubin foul it takes another couple of seconds before it is given. They get the benifit of the doubt every time. Connolly and O’Carroll are cast as these fantastic hard but fair footballers, when really they arent half as wholesome. I was actually stunned when Gavin stated – in both their last meetings with mayo – that the ref was against them. I cant remember a single call that has wrongfully gone against dublin in the last number of years.

  32. Re goals and corner back – no not really. We forget, higgins was actually in the backs when dublin scored their 2 goals… The goals haves far more to do with our halfback line going ahead of the ball too often and sitting too high up the field.

  33. Dublin are absolutely purring at the moment. And it’s April.

    It’s the age old GAA cliche but it’s far too early to peaking. I absolutely agree that it’s very difficult to maintain that form until September.

  34. Fair enough lads, but I think there’s a bit of selective memory going on with Clarke or maybe that thing where when a player doesn’t play for a while and they don’t particularly like the incumbent, the missing player’s value goes up! Clarke was not perfect under the high ball by any means, and yes Derry got a point from one high ball yesterday but that’s 1 point from 3 dangerous high balls – he did well. I’m a big fan of Hennelly’s kick-outs, 2nd only to Cluxton for my money.

  35. High ball not his strongest point but he did alright yesterday. It can easily be forgotten that he made three or four super saves in the final last year that kept us in that game.

    I’d still have a preference for Clarke but Hennelly is a very able keeper.

  36. Just on the issue of over carrying, Dublin and officials, do ye think that Dublin get away with murder in these stakes?? It appears to me that they have it perfectly down to a tee that they take 4 steps into the tackle and then 2/3 more before passing/scoring with hardly any referees pulling them up on it?

  37. I thought Hennelly did fine yesterday. He punched a couple of times (which was the right thing to do against the big FF) but it was more of a indictment of our 1/2 back defense that the break from the punch went to a Derry forward who duly scored the points.

  38. We’ve been extremely consistent under JH in the league. We maintained our division one status without any great fuss. We tried a few new players and have given Higgins a sojourn into the forwards. Lost to a decent Derry side and no doubt disappointing that we have not learned to utilise an extra man.

    Cause for concern. Yes. Cause for unmitigated panic. NO.

    It’s April. Almost four months to the quarters (where we hopefully will be). I actually think we peaked too early last year. Showed our hand, picked up a few injuries and never really looked like getting back to that flow again.

    Would we have taken a league final against the Dubs? Yes. Do we really need this game at this point of the season? I would argue definitely not. We have lots of work to do but I think we’ll get there. Had to talk the oul fella down from the ledge in Croker yesterday but he’s on board again today. A think a little trust is required. That squad of players have earned it.

  39. Dublin play a very high tempo game. Someone said recently (on this site) that the guideline for the steps rule now is not exactly 4 steps but how long it takes for a player to make 4 steps.

    It seems looking at the modern game that this is the case as loads of the top players take 6/7/8 steps before shooting/hopping/soloing to get into their desired position.

    If it is true well we should be adapting this rule as well to our own advantage. Sauce for the goose etc…..

  40. I just wish if mayo are playing a 14 team that mayo know who there extra man is at times you wonder that it was Derry who had extra man really annoying that my rant over for today.

  41. Haven’t read any comments yet since the game, so thought I’d throw my tuppence worth in before that.

    It’s hard to know where we are after that insipid display.
    Generally speaking, I’d be in the positive camp when it comes to this team, but there were some alarming developments in that game.

    Our forward play was so disjointed and lacking in ideas, while the full back line (again with no protection from our half backs) looked all over the place. Surely moving Higgins back should have been an option once Caff went off. His experience was needed back there.

    We seem incapable of tackling anymore since the introduction of the black card, teams are just strolling through us at will.
    Other teams seem to have adapted to this, why are we taking so long?

    All in all, it was “only” a league game, so no need to press the panic button yet.
    But I really hope this is just a reflection of a pre-determined training plan aimed at peaking later in the year.
    If not, then we look like we could be suffering from burnout. Some players looked so lethargic.
    So let’s just hope this is a training issue in comparison to Derry, who have a massive championship game in just 5 weeks.

    Some good performances from a few – Gibbons, Boyle and Sweeney in particular.

    Keeping the faith.

  42. Are Dillon and Clarke realistically going to get out of injury?
    is COC an injury risk also?

  43. I do like the word “insipid” however i dont like what it means especially when it relates to the way we played yesterday but that was how it was. I think you said it Dan and i have said it earlier and so has some others. Time will tell if it is burnout from last year or just the training developments. My own feeling it is the latter as they looked more shagged the last day than in other games and to me they looked like they were being put through the paces in training last week.

  44. I don’t know how you do it WJ. The red pen must have been flat out yesterday. Emotions run high after a beating like that. At it’s core it’s tribal war out there. When you see the green and red of Mayo take the pitch, it does something to the heart. The blood pumps through your veins just a little faster. There our boys out there! That’s our lads! The green and red of Mayo. On top of their own hopes and dreams there lumbered with mine as well. They carry abit of me with them. There our boys. The green and red of Mayo. Where would ya be without them.

    There a great bunch of lads.

  45. I’d question keeper’s position on the line or off it more like. McMen for dub caught him off the line that’s how he was chipped. As he is slightly smaller than Clarke he needs to be more aware of the crossbar. I mightn’t have played in nets since u-13 (!) but being smaller than average I was always aware of my position in regards to the goal

  46. Well I’ve gone through most of the comments now, it seems we’re all pretty much of the same mind.
    There are some worries without any doubt, but no need to jump off the ledge (as Rock put it so well) just yet.

    I agree with many posters who are citing us peaking too early last year and how maybe we’re taking a different view this year.

    Well done on the moderation WJ, made going through the comments a lot more enjoyable. There was criticism (rightly so), but none of it was ‘below the belt’ and all constructive.

    This is the team I’d like to see for us this year –

    Clarke (only if he is 100% fit)

    Higgins (but let’s face it, he’ll be in half forward line, so time to accept it)


    A O’Shea

    C O’Connor

    A Moran

  47. Dublin have managed to cynically foul when required without breaking the black card rule. Maybe we need to do the same. We certainly need to inject the urgency and aggression into our tackling that we used to have.

  48. Was at match and could not argue with result. Derry were more phyical and more hungry team . QUESTION for you true mayo supporters. Did you hear a lot of anti James Horan comments during and after game,,,,,,, I don’t agree with Keith being in the forwards and some of his all Ireland decisions BUT still think he is the best manager mayo have ever had! Some of mayo supporters seem to think that Mayo have a right to win all Ireland’s .BUT as most of us should know by now the team with the most naturally talented players wins the all Ireland

  49. Numbers 1. 2. 6, 11, 12, 13 and 15 have not played a lot in the league this year. Clarke is still injured as is Barrett,, Dillon played first club game last week. Cuniffe and Feeney were involved with Castlebar, Cillian out a lot through injury and Sweeney got some game time towards end of league. This might not be a bad thing as they may be fresh I. thought we looked stale and tired yesterday.

  50. Peewee 09 – no need to apologize for been long winded, your post above is in my opinion a very accurate reflection of where we’re at, at the moment and what might need to be done to get us moving again. There’s no need for me to add anything to what you posted as you’ve said it all, well done again !

  51. For those who assume Clarke is watertight under the high ball check out 11:37 in the Donegal V Mayo 2012 highlights on youtube.

  52. big fan of Barrett but needs game time soon. Great to have attacking half backs but thought Vaughan was best defending half back when opposition were running at our half back line . Dillion great man to bring in with his experience ……

  53. Disappointed with the comments about Hennelly. He is a brilliant shot stopper and was solid all round yesterday. As for being slow to kick it out well if I have a criticism it is that he appears in too much of a hurry to kick it out. He came in when our other 2 goalies were unavailable and certainly has not let us down. As for mistakes, well Cluxton is the best goalie I have seen but he has made bad blunders in the last two games. Sometimes in Mayo it appears that its the man who is not playing who is always the best. Andy , when he did his cruciate, Ritchie and Clarke now and so on. Im sure the management do what they think is best . That is not to say they get everything right far from it but they see guys in training and I m sure pick the team based on that. Some guys play well some days and poorly the next. That’s life. Theyre humans not machines

  54. Just to throw a question out there re the Higgins in the forwards experiment. Since he moved there which was at some period in the London Connacht Final match – by my count Keith has notched up 4 points in 12 forward starts (not counting the Kerry game where he started at 4) . I was looking at him run through to score his point on Sunday and the thought ran through my mind that he is not a natural scorer – it looks very contrived in fact. One of those points might actually be a fisted point too – I don’t have any stats for assists but you’d have to say 4 points in 12 games is not a great stat for a forward. In fact i’d be inclined to go another route and try What O’Mahony tried in the 89 Final by playing a midfielder at 10 who is pretty mobile – James Gill was the last person in this role and I think the options today would be Gibbons (who takes some nice scores) and Parsons (not as good in the scoring dept) .

  55. I think the best we can hope for from Dillon this year is being an impact sub.

    He played his first game in over 6 months only last week, I just can’t see how he will get up to the fitness level required in such a short space of time.
    I’d love to be proved wrong, as he’s been one of our best over the years and owes Mayo football nothing.
    A fully fit Dillon would be a great man to bring in late in the game, particularly if we need to close a game out.

    Doherty I’d have on the bench too, but I think he needs to be played closer to goal, maybe to replace a tiring A Moran.

    Adam Gallagher is another that is close to the first 15, surprised he hasn’t seen more action in the past few games. Thought he looked excellent at the beginning of the league.

  56. Shake it up with barry moran in for andy
    Also needs a clear substitute plan, any ideas?

  57. yeah, I try Jason there too…but someone must move to make room. I think we need mobility and a direct runner there…Gibbons could do that. I’d try it in NY and against the Rossies too.
    Of Dan’s team above, I’d replace Andy, put Jason at CHF and replace Jason with Barry Moran at CF. Keep SoS on the bench when Aido runs out of gas.

  58. Good man Joe…..good or bad, they’re still our own. And we’re proud ppl.
    Now, if only we could get the win….it’d be grand!

  59. You have three men there who have yet to kick a ball in 2014 intercounty yet, indeed only Dillon has played, one game, at Club level. Does not make sense.

  60. I have being trying to figure out something today. We are all agreed that Dublin put in a really great display against Cork in the second half of their match and really blew them out of the water. Did we not do the same thing against Cork a couple of weeks ago? So my thinking is what has happened us since then? Have we being putting in really hard training sessions since that match? Against Cork we were five points behind early on but then we played some really great football and totally wiped them out until the latter stages of the game. We moved the ball really quickly against them and I thought that this was the template that we would use to beat Derry yesterday.

  61. A pet hate of mine is the illegal handpass with so many players from so many teams getting away with it. The speed of the layoffs are making it difficult for the refs to call with the result that illegal hand passes are the order of the day. Just watch the dubs as they offload at speed many of the passes are illegal. Refs seem to have given up enforcing this rule. I would like to see the rule enforced or removed……

  62. Andy, my selection is based on them being all fit, the experiment of Harrison and keane as wing backs hasn’t worked, Vaughan needs to be told not to go past the halfway line or else play cunniffe. Andy and doc haven’t nailed down their places as of yet.

  63. Hi JPM,
    Thanks for the note but to be fair it wouldn’t be the right thing for me to make any comment. I appreciate and respect what you and the other people posted about the Dubs and that’s an opinion which you are entitled to. I wish Mayo the very best of luck in the Championship, all the best.

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  64. ah im not saying he is a bad keeper. I just noted that some were let in because he is too far off the line. That is something that could be rectified im sure. As for the tee i dont think he needs it .

  65. Martin the dub well done yesterday. The dubs were magnifigent. That Connelly is so composed on the ball. He was so pissed off with himself when he sent a screamer wide of the posts.I’m kinda luke warming to the fella. He has a hard man reputation but my guess is Connelly the man is probably the most hardest when it comes to himself. It seems to me that the dubs are well able to fight ttheir own corner and were worthy winners with or without the referees assistance. The dubs are well able to do it for themselves. I gotta hand it to ye, the dubs will fight on regardless when others might choose to lie down for a while and a bit.

    I’m not gone too soft in the head cos this Mayo team have not gone away. I hope to see you in the long grass.

  66. Mikey Sweeney had a good game – great movement, good battling, and a natural forward. His first instinct is to look for the posts which is a welcome development given the short change we got from this position in recent years. He is a good bet to feature this summer. Credit to Horan here.

    Gibbons is a great fetcher and distributes the ball well. Unlike AOS he favours the quick offload rather than the frustrating habit of taking on all around him. He is the form midfielder in the panel.

    The best run a forward makes is his first one – the onus is on the half backs and midfield is to get that ball in quickly. Cork in the first half yesterday and the Dubs regularly demonstrate that. Three movements and there’s a score at the end of it. This Mayo team over carries the ball and takes it into contact too frequently. It’s kamikaze style.

    In my view the team lacked leadership yesterday. The body language was poor at the closing period – no urgency in the play. In fact I didn’t see any player get a bollicking from another for stray passes or poor shot selection.

    All is not lost but the tactics need addressing. No major overhaul required. A few basics to get right and we will make the last 8 in August.

  67. Yes FGD , it’s basic, just do it quickly.
    I think the best 30 seconds of football I’ve seen was Knockmore v Eire Og semi final of 97 if my memory serves me right.
    Eire were in on goal, great save by keeper , out to corner back. He drives it to midfielder on the left hand side , he drives it in , to forward , who puts it over the bar.
    That to me was how football should be played.
    Sorry I can’t remember the players names involved, but I’m sure Mayo Mc Hale can help me out.
    My memory is not so hot on that now, but in hindsight it might have been only 15 seconds.

  68. There seems to be a feeling Aidan O’Shea is trying to do too much and cover too much ground from the middle of the park. I reckon it’s worth parking him on the 40 for a spell and see if it works.

    We have plenty of options around the middle anyway. Seamie O’Shea and Jason Gibbons would be a solid pairing. Aidan can still compete for breaks etc and if space opens up for him it would be like sending an express train down the middle of the opposition.

  69. And Dublin have a much bigger squad of players of a similar quality to choose from. Gavin has the luxury of resting, or going easy on, his sure-fire championship starters and designing a training program for them that will see them peak in August or September, e.g. Bernard Brogan not being rushed back. Gavin can do this safe in the knowledge that he has a squad good enough to compete in the league and breeze through Leinster. He can then use the league to give chances to the likes of McMenamon, Alan Brogan etc whilst also blooding in new players like Devearaux. He can push his squad much harder and for longer than any other county because of the numbers he has available to him. Compare that to our situation where Mayo have used the least amount of players of all the Div 1 sides.

  70. It must be a thing with oul fellas Rock. I had to calm my own down as he was spitting iron on Sunday evening. His rant went right back to 1948!!!

  71. I’ve said it before on here and I will repeat myself again. To create an efficient attack that will give you the best chance of scoring, the following stats have been proven to be true….
    Building and attack from inside your own half you have a maximum of 5 passes and 8 secs to get your shot off.
    Building and attack from inside your opponents half, i.e. resulting from a turnover/counter attack, you have a maximum of 2 passes and 4 secs to get your shot off.
    Anymore than that and you are giving the defense time to regroup, get numbers back and crowd out the space you need for your forwards to take their chances.
    The 2 best chances we created on Sunday were Sweeneys point after a quick 30m footpass by Doherty, and, when Freeman won his free early in the second half as a result of a quick direct footpass into him where he won the ball and turned his man.

  72. i agree with ya Pebblesmeller . So in a sense take a leaf out of the Dubs book. I thought Cork really defended well in the first half Dublin werent getting any change out of the Cork back line. Something Mayo could take from both teams. But looking at Derry i do believe getting to the league final will be their day in the sun this year. We got to a league semi final not playing great at all and i do believe this is down to the stage of training they are at the moment.

  73. i agree lads. Less fucking about get the ball up asap . Time and time again our fowards are slowing it down . get within distance and take the fucking shot and thats that. You score goals by opening a defense up and the best way to do that is attack at speed have lads running for you . I watched how the dubs do it in fairness and this is hard for me to say but they are class at it. The movement that is going on when they attack is un real. I said it before the way we played against Donegal last year in quarters is where id love to see our lads at come september.We done it before we can do it again.

  74. Look, supporters need to lighten up. This is a team with a lot of football behind them. That takes it’s toll. Long seasons, two in a row leave players jaded. I don’t believe we would have benefited from an extra game at this stage. A break will do us better.

    We started training later than most. A poor start could have seen us mired in a relegation dogfight. Yet we made a semi-final without ever playing close to championship intensity and crucially we’ve seen young talent emerge in Sweeney, Gibbons, Doherty and co. Mayo will again be in an All-Ireland semi-final with possibly the strongest middle 8 in the country. Onwards and upwards!

  75. Look, supporters need to lighten up. This is a team with a lot of football behind them. That takes it’s toll. Long seasons, two in a row leave players jaded. I don’t believe we would have benefited from an extra game at this stage. A break will do us better.

    We started training later than most. A poor start could have seen us mired in a relegation dogfight. Yet we made a semi-final without ever playing close to championship intensity and crucially we’ve seen young talent emerge in Sweeney, Gibbons, Doherty and co. Mayo will again be in an All-Ireland semi-final with possibly the strongest middle 8 in the country. Onwards and upwards!

  76. Great performance jason gibbons.. we will come good in championship.varley not a great man in front of posts for the big day, pity killian is so unlucky with injuries, but we still have enough fowards. Mayo maninroscommon

  77. No place for Vaughan, best athlete by a mile in the Mayo setup, Can anyone remember him being ever dispossed? Maybe try him in the half foward line , but he has to be a starter!

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