Monday match reports

Mayo umbrellas

Monday morning, start of another week and all that and what with work and one of our girls playing in a schools’ final at Croke Park a bit later on, it’s a busy day here so this needs to be a quick one. There’s plenty in the papers and elsewhere on yesterday’s seat-of-the-pants victory over the Rossies so here’s your one-stop-shop of what’s out there.

The Irish Examiner has a match report from Mike Finnerty and some quotes from James Horan, where the boss talks about Gavin Duffy and not picking Andy Moran to start. That same piece, by the way, also states that Donie Shine was seen walking from the home side’s dressing room after yesterday’s match so it looks as if the injury he picked up perhaps wasn’t as bad as it looked when he was stretchered off.

The Irish Independent has a match report from Cliona Foley, while the Irish Times has a match report from Ian O’Riordan and quotes from John Evans and James Horan.

The Mayo Advertiser has a match report from Colm Gannon and post-match quotes from James Horan.

Others: GAA, RTÉ (match report, quotes from James), SkyThe Score, Hogan Stand (match report, quotes), Breaking News.

Pics: Mayo Mick, Sportsfile, Inpho.

Finally, a quick word about the county’s hurlers who yesterday got the day off to a flying start by chiselling out a gutsy four-point win over Roscommon in the Connacht Intermediate championship final. The hurlers rarely get a mention here (there’s only so much this site can cover) and they don’t often get to play in front of the size of a crowd that was in Hyde Park yesterday.

They certainly made the most of it and in an entertaining and well-contested contest, they fought back doggedly from a goal behind to emerge as worthy winners at the finish. This fightback was, by the way, watched also by the senior footballers who soon after had their own late fightback to engineer.

Mayo hurlers

It was great for the hurlers, following their encouraging run in the Christy Ring, to end their year on a high. Well done to Christy Phillips, Kenny Feeney and all the lads for all the hard work and effort put in this year.

84 thoughts on “Monday match reports

  1. Folks I was not at the game but watched on GAA GO/ RTE. For a few minutes I thought my hubris in booking flights for the connacht final would come back to haunt me.

    A few things.
    Went through all the comments but only pee wee mentioned the surface. Massive factor!

    John Evans is one cute hoor. You can be sure that pitch was left long to drag us down to the rossies level. The ball was not bouncing true. Boots were sinking well into the grass. I believe Mayo trained on the hyde on Thursday and should have been better prepared for this. There were lots of slips reminded me of the league final against cork where mark Ronald son was never heard from again. Croke park was flooded that day and the lads were like Disney on ice.

    Andy moran. I was one of the many happy with his being dropped. He came in and bestrode that park like a boss and pulled us out of the qualifier draw. What a man.

    Richie Feeney. Good player but a great player? He is now the cause celebre of some of the mayo fandom. I wanted to see Moran ,Dillon and Sweeney before I saw Richie and I am glad Horan did too.

    The debutantes. Tough auld game for the lads with less experience and perhaps too many started together. But individually they all showed they will be good players for us.

    I will agree with the gist of the comments here that we need to move the ball faster. Fellas held on to the ball too long . That was a massive contrast to out early games in the league that I watched. We need to offload quicker to a running man or let it in to forwards who can win possession or a free. I hope we are not regressing.

    I was a very happy man at the final whistle. If fellas want to be spitting bullets after a win in the hyde well then best of luck to them , makes no sense at all. We barely won there on a horrible day three years ago and then came up and gave cork their medicine. Roll on game 3

  2. Oh and can I echo the congratulations to the hurlers. Fair play to them. A nice day in front of a large crowd and a good result. They earned it.

  3. Having watched the game on tv late last night, i noticed how bad the surface actually was, a good example was cillians free from the left corner in the second half, the ball was literally on a elevated hump of ground, , dont know how he managed to connect so well with the ball. I know its the same for both teams etc, but that pitch resembled something out of the third world! I’d love to see how the dubs would get on playing there!!!. Completely unfair the advantage they have playing every single game in the wide open pristene surface of croker.

    As the wexford player Adrian Flynn tweeted “we’re a bunch of amateurs coming up against professionals”

  4. On a day that was set up perfectly for us to lose – We won. Just think about that for a minute.

    If John Evans had control over how conditions would be for 2pm he couldn’t have organised it any better. It was hard to control your balance, your accuracy and the ball. All set up for making it a tight match. And given all that it was still hard to believe we were only a point up at the half because we should have been at least up by 4. Our backs had restricted them to 3 points and were easily on top but our shooting was poor this was what gave the Rossies hope.

    The second half they gave us their best shot – got the goal, got momentum got ahead. But its all about the squad these days and we brought on experience, game changers and positive attitude. Joe Brolly was saying we needed to get stuck in. Well – we did. And then when the game was to be to won in that last ten minutes it was Mayo that had the answers. You can’t ask for more than that.

    Well done Lads.

  5. The grass was very long yesterday and the surface was like ice. I even noticed a water carrier falling as he ran on the pitch. I don’t know what the hell Brolly was on about Mayo being arrogant and looking down on Derry, whatever that had to do with yesterday’s game anyway.

    Look we got the win and are in the Connacht final in Castlebar in 5 weeks….roll on

  6. ” Richie Feeney. Good player but a great player? He is now the cause celebre of some of the mayo fandom. I wanted to see Moran ,Dillon and Sweeney before I saw Richie and I am glad Horan did too. ”

    With all due respect Roger no one has hardly seen Richie Feeney start in the championship since the Ros game last year where he scored a point. All he has done since is generally come on the last few minutes of games. But he got voted Connacht player of the year and best player in Mayo last year. And he was a massive benefit to Castlebar getting to the final. So he must be doing something right to influence games.

    On the other hand we have seen quite a lot of Andy and Alan throughout Horans tenure. Andy was definitely good yesterday and his 2 points were obviously vital. Alan was less of an impact – won a couple of breaks and had one shot attempt that went wide.

    Sweeney is only a newcomer to the squad again this year so a little unfair to bracket him in the same context as the other 3.

  7. I hear you JPM but my point is that Sweeney was the horse for that particular course as James saw it, likewise it was Richie that James trusted to come on only after a few minutes to do another job, I am trying to say the Feeney thing is being blown out of proportion, James has seen him a lot more than I have, that’s for sure.

    And I thought Alan Dillon was poor, some bad decisions. No way did he do enough to deserve a start next time, unlike Andy who treated his dropping in the way all class players do, they come back and claim their starting berth again.

  8. Fair enough Roger.

    But personally I would like to see him start against either Sligo/Galway in the 1/2 fw line. My line would be McLoughlin, Feeney and Moran with Dillon/Doherty/Sweeney starting in the corner. I know you have Parsons maybe there as well and Gibbons who may or may not be back.

    But I would like this finally put to bed one way or another to see if he is worth his place on the team.

  9. I think here is a better place to post this than in the match report.

    I know Richie Feeney and have absolutely nothing against him. A stylish, hard-working and intelligent footballer. But the cause celebre that he has turned into is ridiculous. I know I’m banging the same drum as with Sweeney before, but would people think about what they want. Feeney was brought on yesterday with 3 minutes to go, primarily to run down the clock. Also, should he get the ball he could be trusted to do the right thing.

    The management felt O’Connor and O’Shea Junior needed to be withdrawn so the two most logical subs, given the circumstances, were Moran and Dillon. Why? Because they offer more than Richie, and less be honest, they are better players. Next off was Freeman, and given the excuse for passes he was receiving, they felt Sweeney might offer more of threat. Again, it’s the correct option, rather than bringing on Richie in the full forward line.

    Richie is unlikely to start unless playing out of his skin in training. He is getting on and I think offers a lot more from the bench than from the start. However, when your competition on the bench for a half forward spot is Alan Dillon and Andy Moran, well that’s just tough luck. To sum up, players get brought on late in the game to run down that clock, not to insult the player.

    A few observations on the game:

    – Like in the league, when our running game from deep isn’t working because teams sit back and defend in numbers, we seriously struggle to deliver accurate longer passes into our FF line. This is compounded by a lack of movement in the FF line who are so used to waiting for runners to come flying in and lay a hand-pass off to them for a score. I have no doubt the management team are working on this.

    – The conditions yesterday suited Roscommon down to the ground. The wet ball and surface evened up the contest and it was a day suited to defenders. Having said that, Roscommon’s tactics were excellent and it very nearly paid off. Mayo are clearly a team suited to dry conditions.

    – I have so much sympathy for Alan Freeman. He is by far the best full forward in Mayo but the service he gets is, at best, average. Mayo play a predominantly running game and so he sees little of the ball for long periods. Hopefully he begins to see more of the ball because he is a nightmare to mark and for me, is Mayo’s trump card in the forward line.

    – Colm Boyle made some mistakes yesterday but I very nearly gave him my MOTM vote. He is so important to the team, especially defensively. Crucially stopped Roscommon’s last attack and he wins so many frees and balls that he has no right to. Very under-rated player.

    – I gave Kevin Mc the MOTM vote, ahead of Cillian (who was atrocious in the 1st half) and Boyle, because of two crucial points from play and two tough pressure frees as well as having a decent general contribution.

    – Horan’s Mayo teams have shown fight and belief in themselves that I haven’t seen from any Mayo team prior to his arrival.

    – I don’t think Sligo or Galway will be able to set themselves up defensively as well as the Rossies did yesterday, and if the weather is dry I can see nothing but a Mayo win, especially considering how good we are in Castlebar.

    – Jason Doherty is a good player who is well able to score from distance. Had a very solid game yesterday and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t keep his place.

    – I’d like to see Conor O’Shea at 11 again, assuming he’s doing it in training. I like his direct running style and he has a bit of pace, he speeds up the game more so than Feeney, Dillon, Moran, or O’Connor Snr in that position.

    – I thought Aiden and Seamus had good games yesterday. Aiden is an absolutely brilliant tackler and made a crucial turnover in the second half. I wish we could see Aiden get forward more, though that license seems to be with the half backs.

    – Mayo need to improve their performance a lot but I highly doubt that they will get anywhere near the test they got yesterday against Galway or Sligo.

  10. Fully agree with you RM. I think some of our fans are a disgrace to the county if I am honest. Maybe before rating the performances of the players, they could rate their own… This thing with Richie Feeney is beyond a joke. Never before has a guy who has never stood out for his county had such demands for him to be in the team. Feeney is a solid player, but so are a lot of guys. Feeney got a serious skinning against Kerry in 11, forgetting that is only fooling ourselves. The thing is, he was actually coming on early doors for Aidan O’Shea as a blood sub, but he was ok and it didn’t materialise. If he doesn’t want to play him, then why was he ready to come on? I am sick of hearing about Richie Feeney and rumors and all this crap. No way should he be guaranteed a starting place, he has had chances and he hasn’t taken them.

  11. Well, that wasn’t easy on the nerves.

    Firstly a big ‘well done’ to the Connacht Council for directing season ticket holders to the Golf Links road entrance, and then not having any scanners there when the ground opened at 11 a.m. Then when they eventually did get one over there, it scanned the Croke Park season tickets, but not the Cáírde Mhaigheo ones. Truly, we are in the presence of genius.

    They followed this up by allowing a ridiculous situation to develop in the stand whereby a ‘reserved’ section in the middle (apparently for VIPs, sponsors, and the Connacht Council themselves) lay half-empty while the stairwells were jammed with people standing up, hoping that seats would magically appear in the unreserved section. Meaning those of us sitting had to stand up to see the pitch. Eventually it took the Gardaí to clear the ‘standers’ – those who hadn’t already snuck into the ‘reserved’ section behind the backs of the stewards, that is.

    All told, I’ll be glad to see MacHale Park again for the final.

    The hurling was hugely enjoyable and fair play to them for digging out a win when they looked second best for a long time. Little did we know that this was an omen of sorts.

    Well done too to Club 51 for their colourful flags and buzzing support – especially when it was most needed in the second half of the football. They got the stand rocking like days of old and hopefully it helped the team.

    As for the match:

    – Conor and Diarmuid both worked very hard, and both offered no scoring threat. James Horan must decide if that’s a weight we can afford to carry in a half-forward line.

    – Jason Doherty scored a marvellous monster point. Then shot again a couple of minutes later and missed. Then stopped shooting. Why?

    – For all the praise – fully deserved – for Andy Moran’s cameo, Cillian O’Connor won this game for Mayo. Kept showing for ball, kept moving, won his own frees and pointed them. Superb.

    – Alan Freeman’s performance was desperately disappointing. He’s standing on the FF spot waiting for a hanging ball. He’s got to show for ball if he wants to get some. That means running into space.

    – Great work rate and tackling throughout the team. The ‘hunger’ question was answered in the final 10 minutes too.

    – Midfield was beaten in the second half. If Barry Moran or Jason Gibbons are available for the final, put one of them in instead of Aidan. No-one should be undroppable.

    – Tip of the hat to Kevin McLoughlin for nailing two pressure frees from the right wing, then making up for dropping a shot short by pointing with his right a few minutes later.

    – Mikie Sweeney, a small corner-forward, put in at full-forward with 10 minutes to go and no ball sent into him: it was never going to work. It’s hard to believe that Mikie in the corner with Kevin Mc moved out to the HF line is not at least worth a try in the final.

    – I don’t know what was up with Lee Keegan but he wasn’t himself. Walked into tackles, gave aimless passes, didn’t track back. Donal Vaughan at wing-back is not pulling up any trees either. Colm Boyle was as dogged and fearless as ever. But Roscommon had a three-on-one (Tom Cunniffe) for their goal, and looked very dangerous whenever they ran at our defence down the middle.

    – No more so than in the dying seconds. Again, nobody was prepared to take down the man and take the black card. Why? It doesn’t matter that we got away with it – this time. If we do not become ultra-cynical in this area it will cost us later. Hard to imagine Dublin failing to goal in a situation like that.

  12. “Feeney got a serious skinning against Kerry in 11, forgetting that is only fooling ourselves.”

    Very unfair that comment. I was at that game and Feeney started at wing back. He was substituted later for Keegan. Also it was Gooch at corner forward who destroyed us – scored 1-7. No word on Tom Cunniffe (voted our MOTM yesterday) who got scalded that day by the Gooch!

    Also that day we played a sweeper system but allowed Kerry to build from the back. Plus they introduced Galvin and the whole Mayo team (who were doing ok up to that point) lost focus on the big picture and started to concentrate on Galvin like he was some sort of punch bag. Pointless task hitting trying to target Galvin with physicality as he thrived on it. And in the end Kerry romped home.

    The point is singling Richie Feeney out for this game is utter nonsense.

  13. Are we now at a position where it is time to declare Hyde Park unsuitable for championship matches full stop. If it is not fit to host Mayo v Ros in a Connact final, surely it is also not fit to host the same two teams in a semi final. I know that there is work going on in Roscommon at present to remedy the situation but in the mean time I think we are now at a stage where the ground shouldn’t get any more championship games until they get the place in reasonable order.

  14. 🙂 Thanks DavyJ – the crew really got stuck in yesterday and everyone around us joined in – really glad it was noticed. We are currently looking for sponsorship from Halls Soothers and Boyne Valley honey 😉 Great to see so many people bringing flags too.

    You’re spot on in my opinion about the black card – and I said that at the time – if there is ever a good time to get yourself a black card, it’s when you’re holding a slim lead, are running down the clock, your opposition is bearing down on goal and you have a sub who’s been ready to go for 68 minutes waiting on the sideline!! Damn right the Dubs wouldn’t have failed to goal, and the cynic in me feels that if they were in our situation facing down an attack they wouldn’t have hesitated to do the needful either.

    Agree that Lee wasn’t the powerhouse we’re used to seeing – but every player can have an off day and I wouldn’t be too concerned. But I hope there’s no burnout issue which is obviously a concern three years in.

    The crowd management was an absolute joke, as was reserving an area that size in the middle of the stand. I am getting heartily sick of this hierarchy rubbish within the GAA and the way paying customers and fans are treated. The game was advertised as unreserved, it was first come first served and if the “VIPs” (who are the VIPs? Are the people who pay week in, week out to go to games not the real VIPs here?) the Connacht Council and the sponsors want the best seats in the house they should get off their arses and get there early like the rest of us.

  15. @GBXI

    After Doherty scored his point he was compltely anonymous for the rest of the match. seemed to be ambling around a 10x10M square and neither helping out his defence, getting on breaks or making any runs.

    at this point we only hav mcl for the half line need try Gibbons/Parsons on the wing and possibly SOS or O’Connor at 11. Also BMoran at 14 should be looked at

  16. Hurlers season over on June 8th. What a farce. No wonder hurling in the weaker counties is not improving.

  17. Overall a win is a win but a bit of a disappointing performance. Yes there were contributing outside factors to the display (slippy conditions, Roscommon’s tactics, etc) but the truth of the matter is we lorded the first half in defence and in midfield, in the possession stakes and in shots on goal but we failed to make use of the opportunity and gave Ros a chance going into the second half. We scored nine points in the second half and easily had the chances to score that (at least!!) in the first half. People are saying Ros left it behind them but to be honest we should have won the game by 5 or 6 points.

    Positives
    – Defence much tighter than the league; Cunniffe and Higgins make a huge difference back there
    – Midfield (in the 1st half); thought we were comfortable here early on
    – Andy looked great when he came on
    – We have options on the bench; when was the last time we had so many forwards capable of making an impact from there (Andy, Dillion, Sweeney, Feeney, Varley, Conroy)
    – Showed bottle; and won a game we could easily have lost
    – Doherty was the pick of the forwards in the first half for me; scored a great point, showed ball and won it. Cillian and Kev Mc improved a lot in the second half but Doherty faded out of it

    Negatives
    – Tactics and positioning; fair enough we’re a running team but when you’re getting stuck around midfield/half-forward you need to kick good ball inside. We didn’t do this well, partly down to selection (I don’t think any of the starting half-forward line had the composure to do it and having Kev Mc inside was a poor selection imo), partly positioning (both Cillian and Freeman were a bit too static and Kev Mc continually drifted out)
    – CF; we need one as I’ve been saying for two years. I think only two players on the current panel have the ability to play here in the way we need (ie. an intelligent ball player who can kick points and calm things down as necessary) Andy or Cillian. Personally I’d have Andy there with Doherty/Feeney and Kev Mc either side of him.
    – Subs; they worked well and were the right ones to make but I’d have liked to seen them made 5/10 mins earlier. Also if Barry was fit he could have come on in the 2nd half to boost us around there.
    – General decision making; it just wasn’t great from half-backs up. A lot of 50/50 balls played in, balls spilled, running into traffic and shooting from poor positions.

  18. There seems to be a lot of commentary which suggests that those who question tactics or make suggestions are not loyal to James or Mayo. There also seems to be a lot of negative commentary on what was actually a satisfying win yesterday. So where does the truth lie.

    1. I think a blog such as this is a good place for all to have their say. I think constructive criticism which always appears harsh is also useful. For example James Horan has made mistakes in the past and there are enough long suffering Mayomen around to know he is not the only one. Many cannot understand his treatment of Richie Feeney and I do not concur with posters above on this. Also his starting half forward line yesterday were not in my view good enough yesterday but of course people are free to disagree. I do object however to the labeling of those who take this view as poor supporters or disloyal. That is just silly.

    2. Yesterdays performance was half forward line apart not that bad. No Aidan didn’t reach dizzy heights but I feel midfield did ok. Cillian didn’t win every ball but he is a very good forward. The backs were soild with the full back line very good indeed. Again just my opinion.

    3.Of course Mayo people crave an All Ireland. To suggest we should not think in those terms or that criticism wont reflect that is not real. So people point out mistakes as they see them or weaknesses ..well that is healthy.There seems to be a trend to try and stifle that. That is not support that is just adherence.

    4. All Mayomen including players and management and supporters want the same thing. Those who are fulsome in their praise and those who criticize will join together when we eventually succeed. In truth many of us have doubts and we veer sometimes towards optimism ,sometimes not. But we are always Mayomen and women and our hearts are in the right place.

  19. I was busy all weekend here with a U10 tournament and then end of season party yesterday evening, so haven’t had a chance to read or see much comments. Maybe it’s just as well 😉

    Anyway, given the time difference, I did get to see the match live. I wasn’t expecting too much to be honest, although I did like the selection Horan had made to start. As ti turned out, neither the younger O’Shea or O’Connor impressed me. However, I think I understand what Horan is doing (expanding his options etc) and this was a game where he could do it.
    Doc scored a massive point from way out which means he can do it…but didn’t do much from there on in. I don’t have time to go through each man, but I’m beginning to question the wisdom of having a FF of the caliber of freezer when we just fail to exploit his capabilities! Time after time, again yesterday, out half back and MF carry and solo the ball into the 45 then, when faced with 14 defenders, have to back pedal! I just don’t understand why we can’t quickly dispatch that ball from our own half back line or MF into the FF line….shaking my head.

    Having said all that, we did what we had to do and that was just win. It didn’t have to be champagne football…this was just a match that we had to play and win to continue on the road back to the All-Ireland final. Galway (assuming they bate sligo) will be a sexier encounter and it’s the Connacht Final, so the I’d expect a better more cohesive display from the team, plus we’ll be at home and the playing surface will be better too.

    Anyway, onward and upward..and keep our eye on the big prize in September
    .

  20. “@GBXI
    After Doherty scored his point he was compltely anonymous for the rest of the match. seemed to be ambling around a 10x10M square and neither helping out his defence, getting on breaks or making any runs.
    at this point we only hav mcl for the half line need try Gibbons/Parsons on the wing and possibly SOS or O’Connor at 11. Also BMoran at 14 should be looked at”

    I shouldn’t respond to this but anyway. After Doherty scored he was not completely anonymous, I clearly remember him winning three balls at mid-field, at least 2 of those were Roscommon kick-outs and one was a clean catch laid off for Andy Moran. So, your 1st statement is completely incorrect!

    Gibbons and Parsons are best at midfield and neither has had any particular success in the half-forward line in their career’s so far – and that’s at the age of 25/26. They are not half-forwards. Why would Barry Moran be any better at FF than Freeman? What needs to be done is Alan Freeman needs to receive some decent ball that he can work with. His talent is obvious to everyone.

  21. JPM, Im not singling anyone out. The point was made specifically about Feeney, I just pointed that he has had as many bad games as anyone for mayo. It seems the less he plays the better he gets. Yes Cunniffe had a tough time of it that day, but he was marking the best player of all time, and has shown form since. I don’t believe you can say the same of feeney in a mayo jersey, and at the end of the day, if he hasn’t shown the form then he shouldn’t start the matches. Before anyone says it, yes he has had chances, he featured extensively in the league the following 2 years and never nailed down a place. I don’t think intercounty football suits him. He lacks strength, but doesn’t have any real pace either. Can anyone say they could see him breaking tackles in the Roscommon blanket defence on Sunday? Or knifing through them off the shoulder at pace? Because if they cant, then what was he going to offer? Creativity? Alan Dillon is a more creative and better player, and so is mcloughlin for that matter. If it wasn’t happening for them, then we can assume he would have struggled also, cant we? Or does that just make too much sense? I have nothing against the guy, but we have to be reasonable here. The less he plays, the better he seems to get, and that just isn’t reasonable…

  22. Maestro, I have disagreed with a few of your posts on this site, but the above is completely accurate.

  23. Does anyone know what Brolly actually said when he had a cut at us at half-time yesterday? I had a look at the live programme on the RTE Player a bit earlier and the half-time jabber gets cut off at a point where Brolly is winding himself up to what sounds like a proper rant. There’s no sign anywhere of any insulting stuff aimed at us – RTE trying to pour oil on troubled waters, I wonder?

  24. The Maestro & GBXI

    I do not consider this is fair on Feeney. He has certainly had outstanding games for Mayo and it seems that your opinion on this is quite harsh. I feel he has both strength and pace. In any event you are entitled to your view. I just wonder what is the point of him being on the panel if he is not going to be used?

  25. Maestro – what I learned yesterday from the game was that teams now have a clear picture of one way of how to pay against us. Roscommon should have beaten us. In the end if they hadn’t given away those needless frees I think they would have won.

    I think we badly need some sort of a plan B to counter these tactics. That’s why I could be calling for Feeney to get an opportunity. He can pass the ball 20/30 yards and is able to score as well from distance. Apart from Docs point yesterday we had no one in first half who could put the ball over the bar.

    Instead we had aimless kicks inside trying to pick out men who generally had 2/3 guys immediately surrounding them becasue of the blanket. We needed someone who could direct the play with accurate kicking. As the game wore on Cillian and KevMc came deeper and deeper looking for possession and crowding up the middle third even more.

    In the secon half JH introduced Andy and Dillon. Andy was effective immediately and he showed he can score from play. Dillon was much less so I thought. Maybe it’s a toss up between them but I would prefer Feeney in there as well.

    Overall yesteray we were lucky against the blanket defense. We wouldn’t have survived against Donegal based on yesterdays performance.

  26. @JPM Mayo weren’t lucky yesterday. They are were the better team for the majority of the game, i.e. all of the first half and the last 10 minutes also. They also were the ones who reeled off 5 points in a row when the game was in the melting pot, didn’t give away silly frees like Roscommon did, looked like they had more in the tank, and arguably had more 50/50 decisions go against them than the Rossies did. The 1st thing Colm O’Rourke said after the game was that Mayo were not lucky, they deserved their win. It was Mayo’s poor shooting in the first half that let them down.

    As an aside, it was interesting listening to the RTE panel in the brief analysis after the game. There wasn’t anywhere near the doom and gloom that a decent amount of Mayo supporters seem to have on here. I think it was Brolly who said they’ll definitely be at the business end. Spillane complemented them on their character, and O’Rourke seemed to imply that Mayo won a hard-fought game without having to be at their best.

  27. I watched it back as well. O’Rourke also said that if Mayo are to be contenders then we will have to deal with teams who setup a system to counteract our running style. And there can’t be any complaints about the pitch or conditions or the oppositions tactics.

    He said instead we will just have to deal with it and come up with alternative tactics ourselves. His point to me was that he didn’t see anything yesterday that would indicate we have that ability, especially in the style we rigidly stick to and what was on display in the first half anyway.

    Also at the end Brolly was shaking his head and specifically pointed out that soft Ros frees were a major reason that we won the match. I agree with him. I think we were lucky Ros were too indisciplined. For instance there was no need to shoulder Vaughan in the back 30 yards out with his back to goal. There was no need to trip Cillian on the end line at the corner flag or put in a late sideline tackle on him for a free from where the ball landed for the point Kevin Mcloughlin converted out on the right.

  28. Willie Joe it’s up on GAA GO. He called them pompous and said they had a “who do you think you are” attitude against derry. O route started laughing and Spillane said you should only have that attitude if you win an all Ireland

  29. Brolly said the mayo team were looking down their noses at Derry in the league semi displaying a “who do you boys think you are daring to challenge us” kind of attitude. Felt it was on display again v Roscommon. In fairness Pat interjected and said he was talking absolute rubbish. That was it willie joe!

  30. WJ, Brolly said (approximately from memory) that “one thing I’ve noticed about Mayo recently, and it came up again in the League semi-final, is that they have a habit of looking down their noses at teams – it was as if they were looking at the Derry boys and saying ‘who do you think you are’?”

    IMHO, he was in effect accusing Mayo of having an attitude of arrogance on the pitch without having All-Irelands to back that attitude up.

    To be fair, Spillane and O’Rourke, while agreeing that no team is entitled to have an attitude like that without All-Ireland medals in their pockets, rubbished the notion that this applied to the current Mayo team. (And made Joe look like a prize tool in the process.) This all was part of the half-time analysis.

    For good measure, Spillane returned to the theme at full-time, upbraiding Joe for accusing Mayo of being ‘prima-donnas’ and praising Mayo’s hunger and attitude in the second half. Joe duly went into his denial-waffle mode, which he has been using a lot lately, particularly when he tried to deny being sexist towards Rachel Wyse.

    If Sky do any kind of decent analysis on football I’ll be switching my allegiances to them. RTE need to move these attention-seeking windbags on, and quickly.

  31. Thanks Roger, got it now. God, he’s some tool to be making up nonsense like that just to slag us off.

    On a separate note, Eamon O’Molloy in the Irish Post has taken some of you who have posted comments on here to task in this article.

  32. Brolly said that he thought the Mayo team had a ‘who do you think you are?’ attitude when they played Derry and ‘looking down their noses’ on the Derry lads.

  33. Thanks, Davy, I’ve seen it now. Brolly continues to plumb the depths with the rubbish that he comes out of his gob and, as you say (I like that ‘denial-waffle mode’ term, by the way!), he was left hanging by the other pair at the end.

  34. Great piece in Irish post and the ” lunatic fringe” will also be the first ones clapping James on back if we do come out on top in Sept!! Short memories to where we were when he started. ( Sorry if that breaks any rules, but if the cap fits!!!)

  35. I think the piece makes a number of fair points about the damned-if-he-does-damned-if-he-doesn’t way that James Horan is currently being criticised by some people. I’m just a bit disappointed, though, that the writer has used a few quotes, two of which had bits deleted from them before they were allowed on the site and were marked as such, which were in no way representative of the spread of opinion (the vast bulk of it intelligent, measured and insightful analysis) expressed on the site after the game, simply to make a point. I’m annoyed that the site’s name has been unfairly tainted in this way and all those of you who have taken the time and trouble to comment in the thoughtful way you have have every right to be too. I’ve no issue with the wider point of the piece – much of which I’d agree strongly with – but he didn’t need to stray from somewhere like Twitter to find more appropriate quotes to use.

  36. Best summary of the doomsayers ever from Eamon. Hope they read it over and over – and then try to make a logical reply to it. Save the reply and read it twenty four hours later. Then publish it – if you think it makes sense.

  37. Brolly was fairly out there yesterday. Watched it back when I got home after the match and thankfully there was a transmission failure when he started talking. Good move on RTE’s part I reckon!

    Overall i was pretty happy with yesterday(once my heart rate returned to normal that is). Fair enough Diarmaid O’Connor and Conor O’Shea didn’t have the greatest game but in fairness it shows that the competition for places is increasing in the camp. The lads will only improve and we’ll have greater depth when it comes to the latter part of the championship.

    On Lee Keegan Midwest made the point that he’d been ill the previous week and I can only imagine he still hadn’t fully recovered. Full back line were fantastic and there was definite evidence of hunger across the park that a lot of us had wondered if it was still present. I’m pretty confident we’ll still be in the thick of it at the end of August start of September!

  38. Leaving all this aside, and moving on to the really important stuff, what I want to know is where I can get my paws on one of those Mayo umbrellas (as featured in your photo WJ). I’ve trawled the county looking for one!

  39. I think that guy Eamonn Molloy misses a very crucial point. I believe in Mayo we see ourselves now as rightfully up there at the top. And the majority of us wants the county up there to stay and not to fall back like he predicts we will.

    In that respect this current Mayo setup are open to proper criticism and questioning. If you were to go the other route and say nothing all the time except “It’s great etc” or “wait until the next game to judge them” then I’m pretty sure we will end up back in the 70s a lot faster.

  40. Twenty four hours plus later my feelings are the same: Thank God for Andy Moran and save him from all harm. He is an example to all footballers, young and old. Captain and not started for the first time since he became a regular and was fit he did not sulk and moan like so many others do but was ready and mentally tuned in when called upon and made the vital difference when introduced.

    Roscommon had the ambush well planned and to a large extent we fell into it and for much of the match continued to dig ourselves in deeper with our continued solo running and attempts to hand pass our way through a packed defence. Much of our inaccurate kicking into the full forward line was, I felt, because we only kicked under pressure and when the Rosc had thirteen players well inside their half. Then Alan Freeman seemed to be too static in the square and when he did not win clear possession early on began to fade from the game. Some have suggested that he was being fouled but it was not obvious to me and perhaps not to the ref either. While Barry Moran was named on the team sheet was he fully fit? He, to me, seemed the ideal replacement for Freeman.
    I would like to see Kevin McLoughlin restored to the half forwards for his ability to get broken ball around midfield – which Rosc seemed to monopolize yesterday – and his kick passing ability. He also seems to be more of a scoring threat when in the half line.

    Somebody suggested that since the Mayo team trained in the Hyde on Thurs they should have been ready to deal with long grass. Not so. There is a long time between Thurs and Sunday in terms of grass growth and esp. grass growth this summer. And if Rosc had been planning for long grass they would probably have given it the boost of a little fertiliser about a week ago. In our own club pitch the policy at this time of year is to mow on Thurs to have it in best condition on Saturday/Sunday. Maybe I am being unfair to Rosc suggesting that they were being so devious but it would not be unusual for teams to try to make the most of home advantage. Apart from that Hyde Park is way below what one expects from an intercounty championship venue nowadays. I left home at !0 am to get there in time for the hurling and, apart from a chocolate bar could not get a bite to eat until on my way home sometime after 5. I haven’t been in a venue where at least a burger/hotdog hasn’t been available in years. Surely there are vendors available who would have provided a service. And there is plenty of room for them behind the stand. Back to bringing the sambos next time .

    With the unallocated seats [apart from the VIP’s, of which there seems to be many] I was drawn into a row between people trying to hold 5/6 seats for late comers while others were trying to get seated. When stewards were called I was called on to witness that the seats were occupied by people who had gone to the shops I declined and the ‘compliments’ to myself and my ancestry afterwards were not for children to hear. [They were from a two Roscommon supporters, naturally. Mayo people would never have done that].

  41. Having got to the Hyde in time for the hurling I forgot to compliment them on their well deserved win. I had them as strong favourites being a Christy Ring Cup team as opposed to a Nicky Rackard Cup team but like the footballers they had to come from behind when it looked like they were going to lose. It’s not so long ago that Mayo hurling would have been at the bottom of the pile and a match with Rosc an inevitable defeat. They seem to be going from strength to strength and while it will be a while until the top tier begin to notice good luck to them. I know that there is an All Ireland Intermediate Championship including all counties. Do Mayo now qualify or is it confined to the Kilkenny’s and Tipp’s? It would be a tall order meeting them but I think the Connacht Champions have a s much right to be there as some counties in the Senior have a right to contest the McCarthy Cup.

  42. Btw, I voted for Andy…he came on and took command, showed tremendous leadership.
    Tom Cunniffe a close second IMO.

  43. Mayo were not good yesterday and Eamon Molloys article does not change that.Glossing over poor performances is not sensible or indeed positive at all.The team would be the first to say they need to improve.
    Also If James selection was correct yesterday it will be repeated but I sincerely doubt it.
    Guess we will have to wait and see.

  44. Well done to the hurlers yesterday. Playing before a big crowd done them no harm, and long may it continue. I believe that they should be the curtain raiser before the big games more often. The run out for Conor and Diarmuid was a good idea as it will give them invaluable experience. They are better footballers than what we saw yesterday and I hope they get another run out if their good forms holds up.

  45. Good post GBXI.

    John Evans won the tactical battle and made Mayo look very ordinary. We are so dependent on running the ball out from the back, Roscommon left one forward inside but they didn’t sit deep, instead they pressed us aggressively on our forty and we struggled big time – the plan was to let the ball in long to Freeman but it was rushed and hit too early. Conditions and pitch didn’t help. Alan got maybe one decent ball during the whole game. It was only when Cillian started working the left corner that we started firing.

    I would drop both wing-backs for the final, very disappointed with them. Andy’s won his place back, Dillon for me too, (looked bright and inventive). Conor O’Shea was brave at 11 but is there an end-product there?

    Tactically Horan got some things right. No.s 2 to 4 look eager. McLoughlin’s stint as a midfielder was impressive, great fetch in the first half and the subs turned the game. Sweeney might not be Jesus Christ but he is perhaps the most natural forward on the panel, (doesn’t mean I’d start him though).

  46. It is a very rare thing for Mayo to come from behind in the last ten minutes of a game and win a match that they look destined to lose. Can this be the catalyst for the future and can Mayo do it more often? You seen the reaction of the Mayo players after the game, it was akin to the celebrations of a team that had just won a major title. I was reading an article a few weeks ago with Eoghan O’Gara, he spoke about their comeback against Kerry in the 2011 All-Ireland final. Until that game, Dublin had lost a lot of matches in close finishes. Once they won that game against Kerry, they have not looked back since, can we do something similar?

  47. Mayo3G
    You would drop Lee Keegan? Wow……one of the best half backs playing football right now. He has been sick for the last couple of weeks and possibly shouldn’t have togged on Sunday.

  48. Glad with the win and I think Digits has covered all in his great post on the previous thread.
    The only thing I think needs emphasising is that Jason Doherty gets a lot of unfair critisism, he has vision,great heart and can play, his letdown is that of all our forwards, not enough quick accurate ball. I think his display yesterday was on a par with Tom Cunniffe and Andy Moran in his efforts and will to win.
    MaighEo Abu

  49. And another thing! It doesn’t matter a sicín’s shyte who wins the tactical battle it’s who wins the game that counts. We really must give credit to a brave Roscommon team who did their damndest and nearly won. But they didn’t and we did and that will help us. I also hope Galway or Sligo do the same – give us one hell of a battle.

  50. I didn’t know Keegan was sick but he was well below par on Sunday, as was Vaughan. There’s a case to drop both of them, I thought they were that bad. Barrett and Harrison on the wings?

    I was a little amused by all the bro hugs at the end of the game, a big problem with Mayo is that we get caught up in the hype so easily. When we get ruthless, that’s when we’ll bring back Sam.

  51. Thanks for the link to the Eamon O’Molloy piece in the Irish Post. 2 quick points
    1) Its a shame that this fine blog is becoming akin to Hoganstand with the abuse that is being posted and directed at management, players etc. (Though I have no doubt that many on here are not actually from Mayo)
    2) I would happily argue the toss with anyone, that yesterdays performance by the Mayo team was better than any of our championship performances last year. (And when I say team i’m referring to all panel members and management)

  52. Brolly’s comments never bothered me much. Like the runt of a mediocre litter he just keeps yapping and yapping until some other slightly better runt shuts him down with some other hyperbolic and inane selfie diatribe. I have to make an exception for O’Rourke and must add that most of the pundits were in their day serious players but that does not translate well sometimes when their playing days are over and the heads are destined to be stuck forever up their own assholes, veiwing todays game through brown tinted glasses. Enough said.

    After the match I left with three positives.

    1 Mayo won.

    2 Mayo have within their own grasp the opportunity to win FOUR consecutive Connaught Championships.

    3 Mayo did not lose. I realise that this one harks back to number one but somethings are worth repeating twice.

  53. Hoofit – I don’t accept that claim that abuse is being posted and directed at management and players. There are clearly laid down house rules about what is and what isn’t acceptable and while it’s difficult to keep up with every comment from a moderation perspective at a time like this, I’m happy that the vast majority of comments are fine. Criticism isn’t outlawed but abuse is so if you’ve any specific examples of abusive comments that I’ve missed, I’d be glad if you pointed them out.

  54. I’m sorry, Mayo3G, but the notion that Lee Keegan should be dropped after yesterday is stark, raving, bonkers. The man is a two-times All-Star and the best no.5 in the business. Sure, he was under par yesterday (and there’s a suggestion that he may have been ill which would explain why he was) but suggesting to drop him on the basis of yesterday is just insane.

  55. Well done Mayo and all concerned.
    Andy M will lead the attack from now on, and Richie Feeney should be on more.
    Sundays game was worth twenty training sessions.
    More good ball should be channelled to O’Connor and Freeman.
    Cathal Henry.

  56. There were times when Boyle single-handedly held that half-back line together. They probably won’t be dropped, (and I think Vaughan’s move out to the wing has been positive for him) but on that performance they deserve to be dropped. No one should be guaranteed a place. Would Cody tolerate a performance like that? No and there’s nothing bonkers about how Kilkenny go about winning All-Irelands is there?

  57. Lee Keegan has consistently been our best player for the past two years. The last time he didn’t put in a top drawer championship performance for us prior to yesterday was in Salthill last year when he was replaced in the second half by James Burke. David Drake could have been brought on for him yesterday, and probably should have been if Lee was under the weather with something, but I’ve no doubt that Lee will be back doing what he does best in the Connacht final. No manager in his right mind – not even Brian Cody – would be tempted to field a Mayo team on July 13th without Lee Keegan in it.

  58. I understand what you are saying WJ maybe I didn’t make my point too clear. What I’m referring to is comments such as – everyone could see that the half forward was inexperienced bla bla, surely James could see this with the side named. Pure rubbish. When Dublin make a change and the game is influenced, management are geniuses. When Mayo do the same. It’s why wasn’t it so from the start. Not abuse as in calling someone a plonker. But the kind of constant negative jibes that unfortunately are the downside of social media.
    My ref to hoganstand (and I don’t even bother with that any more) is that once it was much easier to read the comments following the threads and enjoy the views that the many knowledge Mayo fans out there put forward. For instance if it’s penned by John Cuffe or Ann Marie etc you know it’s worth reading. Now there is a lot of skimming req’d to avoid the bs. Not being negative. It’s still the best site by a mile. Does wordpress allow a rating to be applied to worthwhile posters?

  59. Love the site WJ and have done so for some time.

    Delighted and relieved to get out with the win yesterday.

    On Doc, I think to be fair he did just enough to get the start the next day. The one thing that impressed me about him was the way he refused to be bullied by his marker. After he took his brilliant point, his man was trying to push him around but Doherty was having none of it landed him on his arse. Exactly what we need to see more of. He needs to be more consistent though regarding general play.
    Role on 5 weeks time……come what may…..

  60. Thanks for the clarification, Hoofit. I know what you mean and those kind of comments aren’t greatly to my liking either but, a bit like the much-maligned refs, if I don’t let the debate flow a bit then there’d be precious little debate at all. That said, I do wonder about those who only bother to post negative stuff. Why do that for a team anyone claims to support?

    I’m not an expert on the ins and outs of WordPress, I’m afraid, so I don’t know if that functionality is there. Something like the thumbs up/down might be but then again when you look at some of the muck posted as comments by some people in places like The Journal, I’d question if anything of that kind would have any appreciable impact.

  61. Okay, Whitey – you’ve had your chance to substantiate that claim you made but you’ve have chosen not to and so I’ve deleted the comment.

  62. Hi WJ, looks like I’m a little too late to the party, but I was going to back up Whitey’s claim there – when I had watched it back I had spotted what he termed “niggly shit” on three occasions from the player in question. I’m trying to remember what they were now – pushing a Rossie on his knees to the ground after he had won a free? Tapping the ball out of a free-takers hands? I can’t remember exactly.

    I would have brought it up, but then I thought, as long as you don’t stray too far, a bit of edginess doesn’t hurt. We weren’t complaining when he did it to Cluxton, were we?

  63. If we dropped players after one bad game we would have a new team every few weeks. Such nonsense suggesting Keegan should be dropped. There were about ten Mayo lads who didn’t play too well on Sunday. These guys are human beings not machines that can be programmed to play well all the time.Molloy in the Irish Post was right to have a go at some Mayo supporters a minority I hasten to add.. Just think back to our last 3 visits to the Hyde Scraped by Ross in 2011, scraped by Sligo in 2012 and survived an ambush yesterday. But if were not winning by 10 or 12 points someone has to be blamed our manager or some of our excellent players who might have the temerity to have an off day.

  64. Was in ros and watched the game back. Now we had 13 scores and 13 wides so that was 26 ros kickouts I believe and we had a high number also. And out of ALL kickouts we only caught one cleanly and it was kevin mcloughlin a smaller man who did. Can someone answer me this…surely that’s a first in history of mayo football?

  65. It could well be! A related issue I’d have from Sunday was the complete lack of variation in our kickouts. On almost every one of them Robbie just hoofed the ball high and long out the middle, leaving us with no better than 50:50 odds of claiming primary possession. This continued right up to the final whistle and is something we simply have to address, as we know all too well from last September that other teams aren’t as charitable to the opposition on their kickouts.

  66. I love that ‘edginess’ in Kevin Mc, love it. He gets away with blue murder because of his size but he’s one of the most underrated tacklers on the team.

    He hassles players, makes them feel uncomfortable – he’d be a nightmare to mark. I wouldn’t call him dirty he’s more of a menace.

    On the flip side, another great tackler is Aidan O’Shea but he gets pulled up so much by refs for the opposite to Kevin Mc, he’s so big it looks to refs as though he must have fouled the opponent when really it’s just pure size.

  67. Have to say I’m all for the kind of niggliness that has been mentioned. Would be more inclined to call it competitiveness.

    Haven’t watched it back yet due to kitchen refurbishment in progress which makes finding the TV a problem, never mind getting to the recorder – but I’m working on it!

  68. Totally agree with the above comments re “niggliness” – Kevin Mc is excellent at making a nuisance of himself and frankly I’d like to see a bit more of it. Winds up the Connollys and the Cluxtons no end! Aidan can on the other hand look a bit clumsy in the tackle and I’d agree that he’s been hard done by more than once.

    While I think we’re generally a classy bunch and I wouldn’t want to lose that (and I don’t advocate dirty play) I’d definitely like to see us psyching out our opponents a bit more.

  69. Was out of pocket due to work for past 24 hours so didn’t have a chance to respond to my niggling allegations.

    On Sunday, I had the benefit of an unimpeded view of the game on a 50 inch high def screen in a pub in Boston.

    There was one incident in particular where the Mayo player stuck the knee into the Roscommon opponent after the play had ended. With a finicky and inconsistent referee, like we had on Sunday, I felt that the Mayo player in question was straying into black card territory

    I am a big fan of his and would hate to see him watching the game from the stand when the game was in the pot

  70. Jack McCaffrey and Ger Brennan were dropped for their game against Laois, two stars of the Dublin football team. Eoin O’Flatherty, (best no.11 of the national league) and Tomas O’Connor, (one of the best full forwards going) were both dropped for their respective game. Result – two comprehensive victories.

    Gavin and Ryan have no problem dropping star names if they’re not performing. Brian Cody too. What’s the point in having a panel if there aren’t lads pushing for places?

    Both wing-backs along with Diarmuid O’Connor performed well below par for whatever reasons and therefore, (stay with me now, this going to be a completely bonkers, crazy insane statement, completely alien to team sports all over the world… ahem)

    …there is a case for them not starting the next game.

    It’s nice to have All-Stars on the team but said players do not yet have any All-Irealnd medals but then again football is a team game isn’t it?

  71. I don’t think those examples stand up to scrutiny, to be honest. Ger Brennan has hardly played at all for Dublin this year, what with his off-season surgery and his Vincent’s commitments. The Boy Wonder hasn’t, as far as I know, started single game for them this year either. Neither have ever been All-Stars (despite the huge number of such gongs showered perennially on the Dubs, though McCaffrey did undeservedly get YPOY ahead of Cillian last year) and neither are the two Kildare lads, both members of a team that got relegated this spring. I doubt if many would share that lofty assessment of them and maybe Jason Ryan doesn’t either! The bottom line is that Lee Keegan is currently the best no.5 in the business and unquestionably deserves to start the next day for us. As someone else has pointed out, there are many others that could equally be dropped arising from Sunday’s match if that’s how the team for the final is to be selected but thankfully this isn’t how it’s done.

  72. “As someone else has pointed out, there are many others that could equally be dropped arising from Sunday’s match”, yeah, like I said Vaughan and the younger O’Connor were both poor aswell.

    “if that’s how the team for the final is to be selected but thankfully this isn’t how it’s done.”

    So players are no longer selected based on match performances?

  73. My point is that the kind of analysis that concludes Lee should be dropped for the final would inevitably see an enormous turnover in players in a short space of time. Good luck with that kind of team selection policy.

  74. I was in the stand on Sunday on the 13m line as Roscommon defended in the first half. I could see Alan Freeman trying to make runs, but ball was either slow coming in, or else he had the full back all over him as the ball arrived. Some of the tackles I could see he deserved frees but the ref just waved play on. Ya know the way some players cant buy a free at times. I know he got us 1 or 2 frees but there could have been more. Or more from play from Alan if the ball was played fast to match his run.
    Regarding James Horan, I just want to put on record here that I have faith in him that he is the best man for the job. We tend to lose the run of ourselves in both positivity and negativity. I was delighted with the win. I acknowledge we were quite poor but by God we showed character. That bit at the end with Andy and Aidan was sheer relief personified.
    PS: I was sat in front of Fergal ODonnell ex Ros manager. He had a full time job stopping his daughter kicking my chair on purpose. The poor man was mortified. I just turned around and said Ah ref push in the back.
    PPS: The people next to me turned out to be Donal Vaughans mother and also his uncle and Auntie (who came up from Cork for the game). Lovely people!!. It reminded me again these players all have family at the games so easy on the abuse in the stands guys.

  75. I would agree WJ on our kickouts they were poor and predictable but with the strength of midfielders in county why wasnt fielding seen. If we didnt win any or one of roscommons kickouts what hope have we vs cluxton or others?

    One thing I will say that is worrying is our learning curve is flat, subs arent been utilised, changes arent being made quick enough, players have been played out of position or not given any game time when the dogs on the street can see what changes needed to be done?

    If nothing changes which from last September and throughout league it hasnt we will remain tactucally poor and some of our bigger names will have a possible he’ll never take me off attitude. The end result will not be croke park but possibly one or two more trips down the country. If JH cant see these things that what selectors are for and are they not speaking up? I think enough has been said about individual perfornances for now so what needs to be looked at is why players are only a shadow of themselves and why others arent getting in.

  76. I was sitting beside Fergal O’Donnell. A chap behind us got into an argument with him. Sometimes I wonder about Mayo supporters! No VIP area for Mr. O’Donnell. Shook his hand after the game. Reminds one of all the sound passionate Ros people who left the game disappointed. Their day will come. However, I really thought that the Ros support was muted. No real belief. Many even left before the final whistle. They could have been very disappointed if the last attack had wielded a goal. Winning does become a habit.

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