Monday match reports

MacHale Park July 2014

It was a bit of a damp and drizzly start to the day up here in the capital, though I think things are looking up on that front now, but any day you wake up after having seen your county complete a provincial four-in-a-row (not forgetting the minors as well) the previous afternoon is a good one as far as I’m concerned. There have, for sure, been worse days to be a Mayo supporter.

Before diving into the match reports, I think it’s worthwhile pausing on this point for a short while. I know the opinion is out there among some (perhaps many) Mayo supporters that the only thing that counts for us now is the fourth Sunday in September and our ongoing Sisyphean task of claiming a fourth All-Ireland title. And because it does (or so the argument goes) then days like yesterday are utterly worthless in the scheme of things.

This isn’t a school of thought I personally adhere to. That’s not to say I place any less value on winning Sam for the fourth time and recognise that provincial titles don’t count for much when set against the big one.  That doesn’t, however, mean that winning your province counts for nothing either.

As someone who grew into adulthood in an era when we never saw sight of the Nestor Cup at all, suffering defeat not only at the hands of Galway and Roscommon but Sligo and Leitrim too, I was happy enough to stand on the sod at MacHale Park yesterday and see the county take possession of the provincial spoils for a fourth successive year. Sure, our year will still be defined by what becomes of us once we hit Croke Park but those memories of the many dark days in the past help to put yesterday’s achievement into its proper context.

I’ve always felt that a prerequisite for our being truly competitive at national level was mastery within Connacht. This morning’s odds on Paddy Power – which sees Dublin the 4/6 favourites for Sam with ourselves and Kerry at 6/1 and the rest of the field priced at 16/1 and higher – bear out this point. Without these Connacht titles we simply wouldn’t be at the races in the All-Ireland series and it’s our lofty standing in the West that makes us a serious force on the national stage. Without the first, we couldn’t have the second.

And we shouldn’t take days – and achievements – like yesterday for granted either. It’s all well and good to sniff and say that only the fourth Sunday in September counts for us but what if this run of success in Connacht suddenly dries up? Look at the U21s – a provincial four-in-a-row between 2006 and 2009 but we haven’t managed to make a Connacht final, let alone win one, at this level since then. Galway and Roscommon are both improving – both could, with a fair wind, join us in the All-Ireland quarter-finals this year – and we’re not going to be top dogs west of the Shannon forever. We could yet, I fear, find ourselves looking back wistfully at days such as yesterday and wondering if we might ever get back to that kind of level again.

Anyway, enough of the philosophising, onto the match reports.

Nationals: Irish Times (match report, quotes), Irish Independent (match report, analysis from Eugene McGee and Eoin Liston, minor match report), Irish Examiner (match report, minor match report).

Local: Mayo Advertiser (senior final report, minor final report, quotes from James, quotes from Colm Boyle and Cillian O’Connor).

Others: GAA, RTÉ, SkyThe Score (senior final report, quotes from Cillianminor final report), Hogan Stand (senior final report, minor final report), Breaking News (match report, quotes).

That should all make for a satisfying read over lunch. Pride of place from the above, in my book, goes to Cillian’s hilarious account of the lead-up to our first goal yesterday and the way that Lee Keegan let him know where he was. By the way, Cillian – MOTM on The Sunday Game last night and out ahead in the MOTM poll here on the site – is one of the three nominees for the GAA Player of the Week so you might want to get onto Twitter or Facebook and cast your vote for him.

Right, that’s your lot. Enjoy what’s now turned out to be quite a warm and pleasant start to the week.

34 thoughts on “Monday match reports

  1. Has last years minor winning captain Stephen coen joined the Sligo panel? A Stephen Coen came on as a sub in their victory over limerick

  2. No, Stephen Coen is on our senior panel now Jucer. There was a nice interview with him in the Western People last week, indeed.

  3. @ Jucer Considering our Stephen was interviewed at the press night the other evening with Keith Higgins and James Horan, I’d be fairly certain it’s a different Coen.

  4. Please Please give us the option to vote for Mikie Sweeney as man of the match for yesterday, you couldn’t fault one thing he done when he was on the pitch.

  5. I didn’t include the last few subs as they were only on for a very short time and so there’d be no point including them in the vote, though I agree that Mikie didn’t put a foot wrong during his brief cameo. By the way, shouldn’t you be nursing a large hangover today?

  6. Took it easy last night, myself and Enda going for a few tonight. Cant wait he is just so funny.

  7. Take your point WJ but what is different about Mayo as you know is the amount of times we have come to the wedding but never ended up tying the knot. Other less successful sides provincially have managed this feat again as you know.
    Also,frankly, our county is defined for its football and by its football.It is a talking point all week every week so the ultimate prize in a system where realistically only 10-14 counties challenge in a realistic way is baffling.
    Lot of negativity around which I do not understand. Mayo are going well on the injury front and that might be a huge difference this year. It is early yet but you have to hope while you can.
    I thought James and the lads did well yesterday and even if Alan was not up to his self from a few years ago well he was substituted and others given a run as was Andy.
    I thought they got just about the right amount of game time.
    We are not home and hosed but writing us off like Anthony Moylan is always an easy but stupid thing to do.
    The referee was a problem yesterday. Frees given in Connacht are not given against Dublin or Donegal- bringing in outside refs hasn’t changed that. Really I honestly think we have to be a few points better than the ref-if you know what I mean.
    I would like to see Sweeney and Barry moran and Freeman start the next day. THat tells you who would not be playing.
    WEll done to Jason D yest -he has taken some stick-some of it deserved- most of it not- but it will help his confidence.
    Still all to play for- nothing but an AI will do me!

  8. Yes well done to Doc, I didn’t think he should be there but played really well in his newish role. I get the feeling all jh’s selections have one eye on playing dubs in sept, hence the removal of Aidan from midfield marking duties. B Moran will prob lose out to gibbons whose pace will be needed in croker. Dillon and Andy won’t start, Freeman prob will, so one other spot to fill – cunniffe in and Higgins to forwards again……

  9. Last year they said we didn’t have a marque forward which cost us the finall. According to “the Sunday game” cillian now qualifies as one. Surely Kevin mc is also one

  10. I used to believe the school of thought of not paying much heed to winning the nester cup . But as i stood in the stand watching Andy lift the cup and all the green and red flags flying i thought back to when i was a young lad going up to Tuam for a Connaught final in more of hope and in the back of my head that saying i heard from the old boys “Tuam who do ” and as you said WJ enjoy these days because we wont be dominant in Connaught all the time.There will come a drought at some stage. Was happy enough with yesterday. We always looked in charge. I was very impressed with Doc and mcloughlin. Glad Horan stuck with Doc. Aidan looking a lot fitter hence he was able to show for a lot of ball. We are improving all the time. The lads on the Sunday game pointed out that when teams get the run on us we are very dodgy and have given away goals this way so hopefully that issue it looked at. Time to prepare for next game.I do believe Horan is trying to get the lads to peak as late as possible this year. Anyone agree?

  11. oh and Barrett was solid as a rock very impressed with his first game back

  12. Some good comments but surprised at the stick Mickey Conroy is copping? A bit unwarranted I think, I thought he looked sharp yesterday, very physical player who always shows well. He can be frustrating at times but doesn’t deserve all the flak.

    Also why are people still talking about Adam Gallagher? A fine young player who has a big future no doubt, but he is well down the pecking order here, behind freeman Sweeney Conroy feeney, Varley, D o Connor and Conor o Shea, plus the 6 forwards who started yesterday.
    Yes he kicked a few good scores in the league last February, but I don’t think we have seen him since paddys day so he’s one for the future not the present I think. World of difference between first 2 rounds of the league and championship Sundays in August/sept. Just ask Kildare.

  13. Dillion and Moran MUST be used as impact subs from here on in. I have brilliant time for the two but they will serve us better being sprung from the bench.
    I think Freeman and Sweeney should take their place. Maybe even Barry Moran going into full forward and Gibbons going into midfield. Barry showed yesterday that he is dangerous around the square, himself and Freeman roaming that area in Croke Park would cause any team problems, especially with the likes of Kev Mc and Cillian supplying ball.

    Overall, I’m happy we beat our rivals and the whole team deserve enormous credit for doing 4iar, I just think there’s room for improvement with the above.


  14. I suppose people are just looking for that extra 1 or 2 % that could make the difference and Gallagher looked like he had an eye for a score. Did any of the guys you named there put their hand up in the league?, O’shea didn’t play and DOConnor hardly set the world alight in league or c’ship so far. Its a 30 odd man panel and they should all be capable of playing a part as Dublin had shown to their benefit with Costello, Mannion , Rock etc

  15. Observations from yesterday:

    – Andy and Dillon very disappointing. Andy fails to score, not for the first time in 2014. Dillon scored, but looked off the pace. That pace may improve with game time, but can Mayo afford to be trying to get lads match-fit by playing them in a QF? Impact sub roles would suit them best at this stage, once the game has slowed to a pace where they can influence it.

    – Cillian O’Connor. MoM again, running the show in the FF line as he did in Roscommon. I hope and pray that his 2014 stays injury-free. Wrap those shoulders in cotton wool young man!

    – We have 2 serious forwards; C O’C and Kevin McLoughlin, whose return to form looks complete. But that’s all.

    – Jason Doherty scored a fine goal and point. But we need that kind of return out of him every day. Is that fair? No. But championship isn’t fair. We need him to keep pushing himself because relying on half-backs and midfielders to get our scores is not going to win the All-Ireland. Jason should be targeting at least 3 points from play against Cork, especially if he is again going to have a non-scoring CF beside him.

    – Galway put 16 points on us, missed a penalty, hit the bar and missed at least one other goal chance. That’s too high. We can’t do that again in the championship if we’re serious about winning it.

    – At last, a player who’s prepared to take a black card rather than give up a goal: step forward, Barry Moran. More of that please, Mayo.

    – Hennelly’s save from the penalty was absolutely outstanding. That ended Galway’s challenge.

    – Now that we’re in Croke Park, is there any chance of seeing Mikie Sweeney? We all know that we need something new upfront. (And I don’t mean Gavin Duffy.)

    – It looks like another year of running-and-offloading, rather than fast ball in to the FF line. Perhaps that’s what JH thinks is our best shot at winning. From the stands, it looks slow, ponderous, predictable and seems to take a serious physical toll on the players’ bodies – as well as making scoring very difficult. What happened to the quick, sharp footpassing (and occasional handpassing) up the field that took out both Down and Dublin two years ago? Is there no room for that in Mayo’s strategy now?

  16. Willie Joe – couldn’t agree more with your philosophical musings.


    Carping is for another day when we know exactly the quarter final line up.

    4 in a row Connachts is not nothing. And boy do I love to hear younger fans lament the lack of competition for us in Connacht. We have set a new template that the others will have to follow no matter what we do from now on. This is one of JH’s great achievements. It is this that makes a nonsense of pundits (Liam McHale et al) harking back to Galway’s 1998 win or 50 years to their 4 in a row. Great people make their own history

    The same commentators were also saying that Galway/Mayo games have a dynamic of their own and that Galway by that logic had a good chance of toppling Mayo. Not any more – not since about 2009. We have whipped Galway in league matches, had them well beaten in the final in 09 and let them back in and the same can be said of the semi in 11.

    This year’s win was more emphatic in a way than last years. Galway may have been planning for it for ages, but Mayo were really the masters, and won as they pleased. Last year Galway had 2 sent off which killed any challenge they could mount. This year they had 15 and a gale in the second half and Mayo took them apart.

    Other plusses, were Barry and Jason getting serious game time; Mickey C looking very sharp and Chris Barrett getting a full game. All of these will improve. Even the much criticised duo of Andy and Dillo is not all negative. Dillon has had very little game time and will benefit also. Andy hadn’t the greatest of games but so what – he still has an awful lot to contribute.

    Final plus was no sign of fatigue – I had worried a little about the half back line but they were all razor sharp yesterday.

  17. Good post DavyJ – I especially agree with your point about Doherty. He has the ability but definitely needs to continue taking a few scores from play routinely in every match, without much fuss made of it. This is Championship and there will be no mercy and he has enough experience at this stage (along with talent) to stand up and be counted.

  18. Will refs stop Cluxton kicking out ball, until players are outside 21, like ref was doing yesterday?? I think not!!!

  19. We are living in a great era for Mayo football….lets all hope we can top it off by winning the All Ireland.

    Listening back to the Second Captains Podcast on RTE Radio 1 and as usual Micheal Moyles has nothing good to say about Mayo and said we should be all very worried. He nearly suggested Galway could have beaten us. Would love to wipe the smirk of his face….

  20. Steve

    It was Anthony Moyles was it not.Interesting Oisin McConville called it Mayobashing!

  21. Watched the game live on GAA Go from Pittsburgh yesterday.

    Slight improvement since the Rossies game but again I still see the same old failings. What is it about this Mayo team and game restarts. Again we lose possession from the throw in, and our half back line is left wide open, allowing Galway a straight run in, only to be denied by the crossbar. It happened more than once during this game and is a big worry particularly against the better sides out there. I recall similar incidents in the 2012 AI Final when we were caught out and punished by a Donegal side with better attacking prowess.

    Slow, ponderous, hand passing build ups, balls been dropped on the ground all over the place, running backwards away from goal, instead of measured direct kick passes into our full forward line.

    A better team than Galway could have beaten us yesterday. If it was the Kerry team which played Cork two weeks ago that we were playing, we could have been massacred. In this game Kerry destroyed a fancied Cork side giving one of the best exhibitions of kick passing in the last few years.

    If Mayo are to be be real all Ireland contenders we need to master the art of kick passing better. People seem to think that a quick pass needs to go direct to the hands of the receiving player, fact is it doesn’t, it’s all about the bounce of the ball and the turn of the player receiving it and either shooting for goal or laying it off to another attacking forward as Kerry did time after time during that game. Watch out for a brand new Goochless Kerry side we may be facing them later this year.

    We won well in the end guys, to, let’s face it, a pretty ordinary, inexperienced, Galway side.

    In COC we at last have a marquee forward, we need a few more. However what good is a marquee forward like this when he is not given the necessary early, direct ball he needs to make dividends. Running and handpassing the ball from defence to the forward line is not going to work against the Dublin, Donegal, and Kerrys of this world.

    James Horan will probably put this down as a good training exercise, but to many of us this game gives no indication in my opinion of how improved mayo are going into the qualifiers. On the flip side however James Horan still hasn’t showed all his cards which is a big advantage going into our next game.

    At times Mayo showed flashes of brilliance mixed in with episodes of pure footballing stupidity. We won well in the end guys, to let’s face it, a pretty ordinary, inexperienced, Galway side. I wouldn’t write us off just yet, it’s a case of a much improved performance since the rossies, but a lot more needed if we are to be real All Ireland candidates this year.

  22. Moyles’ smile will be on the other side of his face when the Dubs take Meath apart on Sunday,

  23. just throwing this in, mark ronaldson playing great stuff for shrule/glencorrib and scoring freely, just a thought

  24. Sorry if this has already been discussed & explained but Mayo will play either Cork/Sligo/Galway or Tipperary in quarter final yes??

  25. Still haven’t listened to the Second Captains podcast but listened to their radio show at 6pm on Sunday and it was all doom and gloom – lots of “If I was from Mayo, I’d actually be seriously concerned after that” .. etc. etc.

    It’s hard not to be defensive when you hear criticism you don’t agree with and I think that was OTT, but at the end of the day it’s all opinion and it’s all subjective. We all have our own concerns here too but as a supporter this year I have resolved to get less wound up by the guys with the mics and let the lads do the talking on the field.

    Three games, three wins – the strategy is working well so far 😉

  26. In fairness to Oisín, he did say later on in the Second Captains podcast that ‘the same boys who were Mayo-bashing there tipped Cork to win the All-Ireland’.

    Cue embarrassed laughter in the studio :o)

  27. Congrats to both seniors and minors on Sunday.

    Thought it was a good win, improvement on the Roscommon game, we won pulling up and Galway were ordinary.

    Wouldn’t be raving or ranting about the performance. Just the kind we needed and I hope (and think) that the training is being tailored towards end of August/Sept.

    HF line much better than the Ros game. Doc got a lot of stick after a decent shift against Ros but he maintained and improved that level again on Sunday. Worked seriously hard around the middle, scooped up tons of breaking ball, scored 1-1 and hit the post. I’ve great time for Feeney but I don’t think he’s as complete a player as Doc can be on form. If we persist with an O’Shea at CF we need two scoring wing forwards, which for all his attributes Feeney isn’t.

    Agree on Alan and Andy regarding impact subs. Thought B Moran was only middling but for a game coming back from injury it was worth it.

    In defence Barrett/Cummins were isolated completely in the fist half, Barrett won the majority of ball that went in (poor though it was) and a lot of the times Cummins shot wide they were in poor attacking positions where Barrett had shepherded him away. The half backs weren’t needed to defend in the first half. Barrett and Caff marked the two Galway forwards in our half and Keith swept up around them. The half backs followed their men into midfield/forwards and made hay.

    I’d like to see Freeman start at FF the next day out, which would give us two in that line who can win their own ball, turn their men and score. I think if we persist with AOS at CF there could be a case made for starting one of Andy/Alan but we can’t start both.

  28. Agree with what a lot of posters say.
    Thought Mayo were good – not great – last Sunday and always looked in control. McLoughlin, O’Connor, Aidan, Keegan, Hennelly, Barrett looked sharp. While Cummins looked dangerous, Barrett did well with him I thought. Overall, backs looked good, though Caff’s performance in the second half was a little worrying – Conroy roasted him. I will say that I thought the second half was lackluster as the game was over at half time. Any time Galway raised a gallop, Mayo just upped it a level. Fair play to Doherty, he delivered. He owed Horan that performance, he now needs to be consistent and produce it again.
    I now understand why Freeman wasn’t playing. Leaving no full forward (Mayo played with only two corner forwards) means there is much space for players to run into, which they did time and time again. Moran, though he didn’t play well, always offers an outlet. I would stick with him for Croke Park, he will come good and Mayo will need leaders at some stage. Dillon – didn’t play well and it probably is hard to argue that he deserves his place over Freeman. Even the ball Freeman won in the few minutes he was on was well done. He’s worth his place.
    Barry Moran was getting better and better as the match went on. That game will have brought him on immensely.
    Overall, it seems that Horan has decided to give it a lash with one last throw of the dice. He obviously has looked at the new players and thinks they’re just not good enough. In fairness, he gave most of them a good trial in the league and even in the match against Roscommon. I’m happy enough to trust in his judgement – Conroy is obviously still the best corner forward he has to come on etc. We all have our opinions on the different players, myself included, but we’ll have to judge in the man who sees them on a daily basis and knows them best. I do think this is the last throw of the dice and if we can keep our players injury free from here until the end of the year, there’s no reason why they won’t deliver.
    Finally, I thought the Second Captains broadcast on Sunday was very poor – Anthony Moyles, who I actually think is usually good, was awful in his analysis. One would have thought Mayo had come close to losing the game. I did listen to Off the Ball last night and I thought Tom Prendergast’s half time interview was very funny! He was hugely annoyed that the Galway midfield was being talked up before the match and told Colm Parkinson that! Amusing, though it does show the Mayo mindset – determined and bullish!
    Roll on August 3rd!

  29. Someone mentioned that we need to be kick passing instead of the hand passing as its too slow. Interestingly in the warm up the lads were doing kick passes to each other . Now i have not seen then do this in any of there other warm ups this year. I thought after seen this that that’s what the game plan could be.I wouldnt be surprised if Horan did go back to kick passing its something that might catch other teams off guard .

  30. First I thought “oh no Pendergast , don’t go on a rant here” but he was dead right, lads who had barely kicked a ball built up way too much, that was real fodder for the management team, not galways fault but a media thing.

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