Monday match reports

Derry final score

Photo: @MayoClub51

Early start, early flight coming up so here’s a very brief round-up of the reports on yesterday’s win over Derry.

Mayo Advertiser (match report, quotes from Noel Connelly), GAA, RTÉ, BBC, The 42, Hogan Stand, Breaking News, Irish Times (paywall), Irish Independent. No sign of anything on the Irish Examiner website at this early hour.

That piece with Noel Connelly confirms that Cillian O’Connor is a major doubt for the Dublin match on Saturday night due to what Noel calls “a slight knee knock”. On the flipside, though, he also confirms that Chris Barrett, Tom Parsons and Evan Regan could all be back in action in the next two to three weeks.

The two dailies linked above focus on Derry manager Brian McIver’s unhappiness with the ref. I wasn’t there so can’t really add to this debate but I’m sure plenty of you can.

On the subject of refs, it was confirmed last night that Kerry’s Padraig O’Sullivan is the ref for the match against Dublin. I can’t recall us ever having the pleasure of his company before.

Right, that’s all I can muster at this ludicrous hour. Back later (hotel WiFi permitting) with the results of the MOTM poll. If you haven’t voted in it yet there’s still plenty of time to do so.

63 thoughts on “Monday match reports

  1. It was one of those games where you just want to get the win and move onto the next match. The result in these kinds of games is often more important than the performance. We showed great character to win the game as Derry were fighting for their lives to survive in Division 1. Its a pity to hear about the injury to Cillian, you’d wonder will this mean Alan Freeman will come back into the team, as he would probably be our main free-taker when Cillian is not available. You’d expect the Dubs to field as strong a team as possible, so it should be a very interesting game on Saturday. The U21 game against Leitrim on Wednesday is a very important game as well, we really need to start winning games at this level again. Best of luck to them.

  2. Think it’s not the worst thing in the world Cillian picking up an injury, to be honest. He has been playing football non stop for the last 12 months, playing for Ballintubber and then Jordanstown in the Sigerson. A few weeks off will do him no harm. At this stage, Mayo look sure to stay up, which was always the number one objective. They probably only need one more win to seal a play off so on harm to see a little experimentation and give the likes of Freeman an extended run in the team.

  3. I don’t think we looked particular great but it was a deserved win yesterday. I liked how we cut off options for Derry goalkeeper after restarts, and after some frees. We won less midfield ball than usual and this did put us in the backfoot a little, but a massive performance at the back bailed us out. For me Cunniffe was the stand out man. His man marking of Lynch was great and he managed to intercept a few passes like he was playing a sweeper role too (which he wasn’t so that shows how much ground he covered) !
    Lastly, imo ref did ok or at least was consistent with other refs (is that a backhanded insult). I wasn’t feeling Mayo got the decisions and in the first half Derry got a load of kickable soft frees.

    To be honest the implement of black cards is a little mystery to me. Players tend to get away with offensive at the start and than later on get pulled up. Once one team receive one the other team tend to get one as to balance it up.

  4. Happy enough now, staying up, experiment now and get ready for summer, let the Corks & the rest blow themselves up fighting for league honours.

  5. I thought the ref had a great game to be honest. He was up with the play, let a few early possible card offences pass with a tick and a warning but dished out the cards when they were deserved. He played, and indicated, the advantage rule perfectly and never let the game get out of control, unlike Hickey last weekend.
    Ronaldson deserved his black card and can have no complaints. He “took one for the team” as they say, when he stopped a developing Derry counter attack at a point in the game where they were on top and we were finding it difficult to get inside their 45. I thought where the ref was very good was in the area where a man is on the ground over the ball and is surrounded by defenders. This can so easily develop into a schmozzle if left go on too long but Brannigan gave the man on the ground enough time to play the ball or else he called the free. I can’t see what McIver is complaining about in todays papers to be honest.
    Mayo deserved the win in what was a tough, close game, away from home against a side that were desparate for the points. A point that has not been overly highlighted is that when Derry drew level with ten minutes to go Mayo went up a gear and scored 1-2 in reply. They also held out and cleared the last high ball into our square.
    We are set up nicely for a hum-dinger in MacHale Park on Saturday evening.

  6. Somebody could well get relegated with 6 pints. Not safe yet. In any case we should collect 2 more on Saturday night against an overrated team that have only won 1 of their 4 matches so far. Dont listen to “Who ate all the cakes” telling us how unbeatable they are.

    Mayo have the best support in the country (per head of population). Must be embarrassing for other counties when they are outnumbered at home.

    Could be a massive crowd at Mchale this weekend to roar us to glorious victory.

  7. Peter, given that we don’t start the championship until the middle of June, the addition of another two competitive games in April would be very beneficial to the team and the confidence gained from winning the league would give us a huge boost. Don’t forget it’s 14 years since we last won a national title. No other big team has such a barren spell. I hope Mayo kick on and really make a go for the league.

  8. McIver should look at his own performance before he comments on the referee. What manager would leave James Kielt on the bench? If he had started with Kielt, Derry might have sneaked that game or at least got a draw. His comments that “they got a jammy goal”, ridiculous stuff. Balls will come off the upright at least once in game and Ronaldson was far from jammy, it’s what’s called ‘quick thinking’.
    The main area I think we need to improve is in having let’s say six nailed down defensive players. Finally we need far more involvement and danger coming out of Seamus O’Shea’s midfield partner. Whether that be Vaughan, Parsons, Barry Moran, Kirby.
    Yesterday there just wan’t enough happening partnering Seamus O’Shea.
    Cillian could do with a rest. When he is fit again it would be good to see him out around centre forward. He’s struggling to get on ball deep in the blanket. Ronaldson, Regan and Freeman are quicker than Cillian so they’re more suited to coming looking for layoffs from Aidan O’Shea.
    Cillian could be a great go to guy for our counter attacks with him roving between the 45’s using his good passing to give the ball in early and long. We’re lacking a director of operations back there. If you watch Sean Kavanagh a lot of his value is his instructions and on-pitch management of the players around him. We don’t have someone like that back there yet.

  9. It was Danny kirbys first real outing and it’s understandable that he wasn’t too spectacular. Equally Michael Forde who looked good early on but faded a bit. With 6 points secured we can afford to experiment even more and see who can deliver at this level. I wouldn’t worry about Lee keegan. When the championship starts he’ll get the coiligin up again! I would like to them give a couple of other lads a run against the dubs, cork and Donegal – Conor o Shea, Neil Douglas, Harrison and drake. Then you have chris Barrett, parsons and Andy Moran returning. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone!
    We are certainly not short on talent. It is now a question of seeing if one of these lads can bring a bit of magic to the mix perhaps in a different position that they are accustomed to. It’s tempting to try to win the league and why not have a go but more important is getting the best 15 on the field come summer when all these games are long forgotten and the real football begins.

  10. Was our black jersey a novelty for one game? From what I see it was green and red that was worn yesterday
    Well done to the lads, 6 points and a possibility of another one or 2 should be enough and if we do win another and get the opportunity I say go all guns blazing to win the league title.

  11. If we can get a win in the Dublin game it would be great to increase the experimentation and game time afforded to new and returning players.
    We need to keep being bold with a few moves. You couldn’t say yet that 6,9,11 are nailed down places.
    Centre back – Front runners Cunniffe/Coen. No harm giving one/two other physical players a run at it. e.g. Drake, McHale.
    Midfield – Vaughan still the front runner most likely. Parsons/Kirby/Gibbons/B. Moran to be checked.
    Centre forward – AOS plays more as a roving threat. We need another playmaker player who is involved in our counter attacks. Cillian maybe?

  12. Willie Joe, to add to your morning roundup, snuck a look at the Irish News in my local Spar. Very disappointing report, short on a lot of match report detail, concentrating, as other reports have done, on McIvor’s outburst. He must be a reporter’s dream – you can build a whole report around his rantings.

    If Seamus Mullen’s piece has a theme, it’s that there were controversial reffing decisions, which seem to focus on his interpretation of the rules, though as Pebbles has pointed out, he appears to have been consistent.

    I did note one incident in the Mid West commentary though. They seemed certain that Derry had got a point at a critical stage in the second half, and that the umpires didn’t have a clue and waved it wide.

  13. That ‘point’ was about three feet wide Catcol from where we were sitting – though the umpire did look very confused until he eventually signalled a wide.

    Re Branagan – I think we did okay out of him yesterday to be honest (probably a bit better than Derry) but if we’re going to talk about inconsistency, Colm Boyle was hauled down in front of us in the first half as he was heading in the direction of goals and no card of any colour was shown.

    Aidan O’Shea was being poked and prodded by Holly (a very appropriate name when you think about it) for most of the first half until the crowd started objecting. That lad takes more abuse and provocation on the pitch than any player I know and yet still manages to keep the head. Serious credit to him for his restraint.

  14. Thanks for clarification Anne-Marie, and thanks again for offers of transport to Derry.

    Is it true though, as some others have suggested, that we coughed up more frees, and subsequent points, for dissent from defenders?

  15. I think at the moment, we should just be focusing on the Dubs. We have not beaten them since the All-Ireland semi-final in 2012. They beat us three times in 2013 and we drew with them last year. In that game we were well ahead and they were down to fourteen players. We had our foot on their throats but allowed them back into the game. They then went on to win the League. If we get the chance to beat them this year, we really need to take that chance!

  16. Sorry folks, terribly badly organised this weekend. Will be a couple of hours before I get the match photos up. Have to sort through nearly 600 taken yesterday!

    What a weekend, what a win, what brilliant Mayo supporters we have! We’re mad!! Thank’s to all the crew in Frank Owens out in Limavady for looking after us so well on Saturday night. If I lived there that would definitely be my local! Fair play too, to the guys in the Bogside Inn before the match, looked after us well too. Full of Mayo supporters ( and some stars of the past!) Official attendance was something like 3716 I think, definitely 3,000 of those were from Mayo!

  17. I thought the ref did OK yesterday as well. As far as I am concerned, the sign of a good ref is if you don’t notice him during the game, and compared to some of the numptees that we have experienced lately, I passed little to heed all afternoon.

    I didn’t hear many complaints about the ref from the Derry folk in the crowd, but maybe that’s because there weren’t too many of them…

    I must say that the two O’Shea lads were powerful for us yesterday, and go through a mountain of work. Mark Ronaldson’s addition to the forward line this year has been like a breath of fresh air and Tom Cunniffe’s sharpness yesterday was noticeable as well.

    Bare-bones of a squad for Saturday next, any word on how long Mickey Conroy will be out for? He was showing some good form in the first two games.

  18. It has been suggested in some of the comments above that we need to nail down certain positions and ear-mark certain players for those positions. I would take the opposite view in that every geansai should be up for grabs and they should all be knocking the shite out of each other in training to get the that geansai on match day. It works for Kilkenny! No-one in the squad should be so comfortable or complacent that they know the jersey is theirs (and I’m not saying for one minute that they do!). Players need to know that they must be doing the stuff in training and then on match day when they get their chance, they must take it. The starting 15 need to know that they must perform otherwise they lose their spot, and the subs/remaining squad must also know that if they are performing in training then they will get a chance to prove their stuff.
    It was a failing of the last 3 years that our starting 15 had become easily predictable and less pragmatic, there was never really a surprise and for an opposing manager that is a dream. Jim McGuinness and Jim Gavin knew exactly how we would line-up and who would play where. That makes their job easier. The Monaghan game is a prime example of what can happen (it won’t always go to plan like that, for sure) when you (a) are a bit more pragmatic in that you consider your opponents likely tactics/formation in deciding your own – horses for courses, and (b) spring a surprise in your own tactics/player roles with your starting fifteen.

  19. Agree 100% Pebblesmeller. Kerry players and Dublin players have to earn their jerseys.

  20. I agree with you Pebbles, in previous campaigns our league selections/tactics carried forward relatively unchanged into the championship.
    When I say nailing down places I mean keep trying players till someone really fits the mould for championship. Given the amount of returning players and new players I don’t believe this Mayo team till be settled until well into the summer time anyways.
    I believe strongly that one game time improves a new player. I would have no problem us barely surviving in Division one if it meant we had the rawness played out of several of our new returning lads.
    We know we have a good solid first 15 (whomever they may be).
    If we can get a solid bench who can come in and hit the ground running. Players who can get on the ball, stay calm and win a championship game in front of 82,000 facing division one standard players. Beating Dublin on Saturday will allow us to really put gametime into lads.
    As long as we survive in Division one I would be same as yourself I’d like to see us keep evolving and giving lads experience. With certain players though like Kevin Keane/AOS I think it is no harm to let them really learn and command their new positions.

  21. catcol, I can’t say I noticed us giving up frees for dissent. It was more a case of the occasional bit of sloppiness / lazy tackling at the back that handed Derry their frees. I’d put that down to some of our defenders not being match-sharp – yet. The ref, to my mind, gave Derry a LOT of soft ones in the first half, but then swung in our direction in the second. Certainly there seemed to be an element of ‘Swan Lake’ about the frees won by Dillon and Boyle when the game was up for grabs in the last 10 minutes! But we got them, we pointed the frees and we put our experience to good use.

    Would agree Anne-Marie, that ‘point’ was never a point, even from where I was sitting (between halfway and the Derry 45 in the second half).

    Have to say that I’d like another look at Drake. When he came in he looked very solid and he wasn’t shy about dishing out the punishment.

  22. Looking forward we are without Cillian, Mickey C, Parsons, possibly Vaughan, Barrett, Regan, A Moran (I think) and J Gibbons (I think) for next weekend. Leaves us with a lot of slots open e.g. I can barely get a panel together from the names left because the U21s are gone.

    So very tough game for a lot of new lads to shine in especially against Dubs. They will have got a severe lashing for their performance against Tyrone and will be coming with only victory on their mind as they are now seriously under threat of relegation.

    Goalies, Clarke, O’Malley (ok here)

    FB line: Harrisson, Keane, Higgins, Cunniffe, Cafferkey, McHugh (should be ok here)

    HB line: Boyle, McHale, Drake, Keegan,
    (very weak on bench. Only 3 from 4 although Tom Cunniffe could play in half backs as well.

    MF: SOS, Kirby, B Moran, Vaughan (OK if Vaughan fit and no problem with hamstring)

    HF: KMcl, AOS, Dillon, DOC, Forde, Douglas (OK – but tough test against Dubs for Douglas and Forde if they are called upon)

    FF: Freeman, Sweeney, Ronaldson, Conor O’Shea.
    (Only 4 in FF line and Not sure if COS is even an out and out FF so this line looks very weak and small to me.)

  23. Agree with you JPM about our threadbare panel at the moment

    This is a point I was making all last week, which makes our win yesterday all the sweeter.

    In fact we have had to improvise in every game due to injuries and non-availability, and the management haven’t been put off by that and have run the rule over quite a few newbies and quite a few positional experiments.

    That’s what makes it all so pleasing just now.

    But, Division 1 is so tough we are not safe on 6 points. Lose the rest and we could still be on six with possibly tying with Dublin, Tyrone, Monaghan, Donegal. Then it’s the head to head clashes that determine placings I think.

    But why should we accentuate the negative?

  24. Even with injuries and U21 duty you’ve put together a good panel of 26.
    It would be great if Conor O’Shea could stay injury free and get the fitness work in to get more mobile. That’s what will really get his game going. If a man with height can be agile and mobile it’s huge for what they can do on the pitch. Allows them beat coverage and win ball on the run. His brother Aidan is much lighter on his feet now and you can see how he can use it to skip around last defender/goalie.

  25. Don’t mean to accentuate the negative but it should be pointed out that a lot of posters seem to think its a nailed on certainty that we should beat the Dubs (outta Croker) next weekend. It’s gas because after the Tyrone defeat there was nothing but pretty much despair to be read on the site. We are a really fickle bunch.

    Also personally I would love to win as well because if Dublin were to lose this and Monaghan beat Derry (in Clones afaik) then they are in a very, very bad position. And I think it would be the shock of the GAA year if they were to be relegated.

    (Note to Martin the Dub. Nothing against ye but I think the GAA big wigs would be aghast and devastated at the thought of the Dubs being relegated outta Div1. And I don’t much care for them so from that point of view I’m okay about it.)

  26. Personally I’d like Dublin to stay up. Their games are usually good to watch and I think they’re similar to ourselves in their approach to the game. Also Mayo – Dublin games in league and championship are usually the most watchable games of the year.
    The games are usually 20 points versus 19 points and similar scorelines.
    I think people think we’re something like 60% to beat Dublin, nobody has said it is a nailed on certainty. Given that it is in Castlebar we will likely be slight favourites.

  27. I certainly don’t think we’re 60% to beat the Dubs based on what I’ve seen of us so far. Yesterday’s game could have easily been lost, and you can imagine the reaction if we had lost to an under-strength Derry team who are, after all, rock bottom of Division 1. With the Dubs bringing back some heavy hitters and much more desperate for points than we are, I think it would be a terrific result to beat them on Saturday night.

  28. Would love to see màyo win sun but with cillian Injuried I think dublin will win they bit stronger.

  29. It would benefit the game if 2 of the “blankets” from Ulster were to do down instead of the Dubs.

    It sounded like a real classic exhibition of puke football in the Donegal v Monaghan game yesterday. It would be great for us to send Donegal down on the last day too.

    Yes, get rid of 2 of them and take their blankets, fouling, spitting, mouthing, pinching, pulling hair, assaulting, punching, badgering the ref and all that type of thing with them to division 2.

  30. a bit early to be talking relegation for the dubs..they wont go down without a fight( pardon the pun!). there are four teams id gladly see go down after the dire football we have had to watch so far..dublin def not one of them..

  31. Id also like Dublin to stay up (once we beat them Saturday), and 100% secure our status, tho i think the 6 points plus points difference we’ve got should be eneough. Dublin play the game in the right way compared to the ulster teams. It might be better for the game in general if 2 off monaghan/tyrone/donegal got relegated. Maybe lesser teams will adapt a more attacking and expansive game plan as opposed to the dreaded blanket. Next Saturday will be tough, kevin keane will face his biggest test this year up against the likes of o gara, brogan, and maybe connolly. If we do sneak a win the dubs will be in big trouble, and id love to see that smirk wiped of jim gavins face, his whole demeanour really irks me.

  32. JPM, I wouldn’t have thought for a second anyone was taking Dublin for granted. Juan is right, about it being a tough game; there’s little doubt it will be an absolute dogfight and the threat of the embarrassment of relegation will be more than enough motivation for them.

    I definitely wouldn’t want to see them going down – not because I’m all that fond of them but imagine their reaction come championship?! In fact I hope they win the rest of their games (after Saturday’s) by at least 10 points so they can start thinking they are great again 😛

    I too would love to see the likes of Tyrone and Monaghan – particularly the latter! – getting the chop from Division 1 because they are god-awful to watch, but I think we’re in danger of turning into football snobs here 😉

  33. I agree dublin play football hope their supporters know what time it’s on as their always late but their great fun too.

  34. I think we will do extremely well to beat the dubs next week. They really need the win and will probably field a very strong team to help secure the points.

  35. Dublin will be mad to beat us on Saturday. They need the points and have a poor record in mchale park. As huge a loss as Cillian is I say bring them on. It’s a huge opportunity for other guys to stake a claim and put it up to the likes of Connolly, brogan, mcmenamon et al.

  36. Just to put a bit of perspective on whether we will beat the Dubs or not, the bookies have us both at evens for the game. Which I think is fair enough. Very hard game to call, could easily go either way. I’m tempted to go for the draw to be honest.

    Oh and we are favourites for the league now, at 5/2. Cork and Kerry 3/1, Dubs 9/2.

    I won’t start going into the Cheltenham betting now…

  37. I wasnt sure if connolly was fit or not. If its true that he will start then i think the dubs will edge it…he can literally be the difference to any team, absolute fantastic player. If we do lose, i certainly wont be down beat, this is all about trying players and various tactics. Nobody gives two shites about the league come the start of the championship…provided we are still in Division 1 of course.

  38. With all that’s missing for various reasons I think Mayo will be doing well to get passed Dublin, but there’s buckos looking to impress and they’ll have the opportunity this weekend, maybe ronaldson and Sweeney will keep delivering the goals? I watched ronaldson on YouTube, he’s a real soccer playing striker in one clip, you can’t train fellas to do it.
    Where’s the black Mayo jersey? Green and red against Derry

  39. We’re in a great position at the moment and I’d love to see us go on and win the bloody thing. But we have some work to do yet. I am really perplexed as to why Neil Douglas hasn’t been given a run in the league. There are players who aren’t as good as him getting game time and I’m sure it’s very, very frustrating for him. Maybe he’ll get a run next Saturday!

    Until then, looking forward to the U21s Wednesday!

  40. I think Dublin will beat us (hope I am wrong) but just the feeling I have. Nothing will go to plan in every game we play. Except more experimenting this weekend. Things were never as bad as people were making out when we lost to Tyrone and not as Rosey as two wins against the two poorest teams in the division…a bit of perspective is needed…add in a few injuries and minus the U-21’s and its avert difficult game sat night. Great if we win but no need to panic if we dont

  41. Dave, I think away jersey is only used if there’s a colour clash. Not so yesterday.

  42. A lot of theses games take on a life of their own in the league. It’s all well and good saying some of us overreacted to the tyrone game but it was what it was , we really struggled in that game and pats after match interview was hardly inspiring .

    We now find ourselves in a great position because of two good results and although we are not settin the world on fire we are doing very well .When Derry equalised we showed great character to turn it in our favour again.

    Dublin could be a different animal next week to what they have been so far but so could we , it could be a right good battle . Cillian is a big loss obviously but as others have said no harm in him putting the legs up for a fortnight either. Players that are shaping up well are Tom cunnife and SOS , would like to see keegan pick up a bit .

    Massive opportunity here to add a national league title to our honours list , no team standing out as such. Cork could be a bigger threat than kerry this year not just because of yesterday’s win but they have always been a very good side last 5/6 years ,underachieved imo.

  43. If Dublin and Monaghan both win at the weekend, we are right back into a dogfight! Really tight group!

  44. As good old Podge &Rodge said “who’s the shitehawk now”??? Mr mc Iver had no B team yesterday or should I say no A team!!!!!! A tough test but we came out the right side of it!!! Savage support up there fair play to all

  45. Anybody know what has happened to the clocks which were normally fitted to FSL scoreboards in the past. There was one in Derry which was not working on Sunday. There was one on the Bacon Factory end scoreboard in Castlebar a few years ago but it was removed. I ask in the light of the Congress decision to revoke the plans to introduce the hooter clock to end games recently. The excuses/reasoning? for that decision did not make sense to me.

  46. If we can beat Dublin, I’ll be delighted and more hopeful for the future.
    But I’m afraid I don’t think we will.
    We could get a reality check.
    And a worse one from Cork.
    But hope springs eternel, so one step at a time.

  47. Andy D – prob the same reason they didn’t want extra time- Replay=Repay supporters are then only keeping rough idea of time left with no clock!!!

  48. Another 2 points in the bag and no matter how we went about it, it’s all that matters, listened to it on MWR and thought they covered it well.
    A win against the Dubs would be great especially for the newer players and the experience they can gain from such big games. I am one of those of the opinion that it is important that the Dubs stay in div 1 for the good of the game going forward.
    As mentioned by Sean B. above, Cork are a good side and have underachieved, they have some fantastic footballers all over the field and will be in the shake-up later on in the summer.
    Hope Drake, Kirby and Douglas (if fit) can get some gametime on Sat. this could be the big chance some of them get to impress and to give us those extra options later on.
    MaighEo Abu

  49. Its amazing that when we lose a game, that we could have won, we think it could be the end of an era. Then when we win a game, that we could have lost, we feel that we’re going to win the lot. It’d be great if we could just take it game by game and see where it takes us. There have been a lot of unpredictable results so far in this League and will probably be a few more before the title is decided. So far so good for us, we are doing well and showing great heart and character too. Plenty of players are getting game time and competition for places should be fierce, as more lads come back from injury, which is just what we want to see. Roll on the next game!

  50. I don’t think it a good idea to drop one of the goalkeepers as mentioned in Connelly’s Mayo Advertiser comments. After all it’s only two years ago we had to call in Hennelly and Brendan Walsh in an emergency when both Clarke and O’Malley got injured. It could easily happen again that a goalkeeper gets injured and there would be no guarantee that the emergency would be so easily filled. I suppose fitting in a third goalkeeper into a squad at training can be awkward but having only one is even more awkward. And if you have a panel of 32 in training having three keepers still leaves lots of outfield players.

  51. If cillian off for 2 weeks Injuried ho could be back for the cork game could he. Does anyone know.

  52. JPM in your panel selection you left out Hennelly who has been outstanding for us in the last few years. Inclined to agree with those who don’t want to see Dubs relegated. They have been the best team to watch in recent years and I reckon they will win AI this year. MacIver is a whinger he was at it all last year as well . Despite their brutal performance in championship it was everyones fault except their own. Saturday nights match is hard to call. Home advantage should help but we were turned over by tyrone in Castlebar and Dublin were so bad last Saturday that one would expect a big reaction. Also they badly in need of points.

  53. Ya I deliberately left out Hennelly from that panel. I think he’s a nailed on cert for the championship and its down (because of what Connolly said) between Clarke and O’Malley for that other spot.

    I hope we win on Saturday night. What i would worry about is that we might go out with an attitude of it’s already done and dusted and this is not a must win game. I think any time you play one of the top 4 it should be a must win game especially playing them at home.

    Sometimes though it does not happen anyway for various other reasons but regardless of the result the performance should be there nonetheless. It’s a hard one to figure out so what is a fair result here based upon who we have available and what we should expect.

  54. I would expect a different animal in Dublin geansais next Saturday night, as I believe they are only blowing cobwebs off yet. Take a look at Cian O’Sullivan and Paul Flynn the last evening. When fit and firing they are both tremendous athletes and among the fittest in the country. However, last Saturday evening they both were blowing hard and sweating profusely, they are nowhere near the levels they will be later in the year. When a player like Flynn looks to have a “thick neck” you know they are not “at it” in terms of intensity. I think Galvin has played it very well to be honest and he won’t panic. They have given game time to a good number of their younger squad members and given the more experienced players a rest.
    I think you will see a contest between a more settled and familiar looking Dublin in dire need of the points against a Mayo team with a number of players scrapping for the jersey. This should ensure a keenly fought contest. There is no point in having a big squad if you don’t use it and hopefully we will see whether our squad/fringe players are up to the test. Personally, I can’t wait.

  55. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be at yesterday’s match in Derry. I have to say that I don’t travel to many League matches away, but it seems we struck gold with yesterday’s one given the large Mayo contingent present and no shortage of passion. This surely is noteworthy given the disappointment players and supporters have endured over the last few years. The nice dry day was a bonus too!!
    Although it’s no secret the fanatical support the County has, I still wasn’t expecting there to be so much Green and Red. While the match overall wasn’t exactly riveting, apart perhaps from the last 10 minutes, the manner in which the lads pegged back the lead and drove on was very encouraging, particularly when the momentum was favouring Derry.
    Earlier in the game, Seamus O’Shea’s point before half-time was so crucial as there were moments when it looked like Derry were coming into it more.
    Once again, Kevin Keane was extremely solid throughout and he must now have pinned down the no.3 shirt for certain. He looks commanding. And while Ger Caff was somewhat uncomfortable at no.6, I still feel there could be a place for him on the starting 15 with K. Keane. I’m just not sure where yet. He is just too good a player to have on the bench and even yesterday there were glimpses of that I felt. I do agree with other posters from a few days ago about his less than perfect distribution with the foot. Watch this space though.

    Sean Burke, I think that’s a key point about us not setting the world on fire at the moment but still doing very well and winning games; and crucially, our defence has tightened up and we are not losing leads in the same manner as last year. This has to be positive. As other posters have noted, injuries do not appear to be disrupting things too much and it’s clear places are up for grabs and lads are putting in the effort needed. Who knows how the next game or games will go, and the C’ship is even more uncertain at this stage, but we’ll take where we are right now. Come on Mayo!!

  56. its a bit early in the week to preview sundays game so i might overview the year ahead and how the team are faring out so far.Martin breheny wrote an interseting article recently in which he noted that the eventual winners of SAM were always one of the top four teams in division one in the league in recent years.mayo at present need one more result and they will be in the top four and this will ensure further progress in the league, which is a must this year. look at the flip side if they were were not to progress to the league play offs it would mean only three more matches before championship, which is not until june for mayo this year. That would mean an average of only one competitive match a month for march , april ,may if their fate was just three more matches in the league.However they are playing well and should manage at least 2 more points against dublin ,donegal or cork provided they have a full squad to choose from.
    with regard to how the team is faring out one would have to say quiet well . The management are lucky as the gifted minors are now starting to come of age and one would have to say that the form of coen,durcan,sweeney and ronaldson has transformed the team. the latter two have both averaged 6 points a game in the last two matches and that is a big plus. the early season form of kevin keane is also pleasing and he deserves alot of credit for getting back on the team,but will have to be at his best the next day.Aiden o shea seems to have benefitted from his new post on the edge of the square , and one feels that is mayo are to make their aim of lifting big ears a reality alot will depend on this man playing main role.

  57. I agree with Liberal Role that a place should be found for Ger Caff in the back line.He was an outstanding full back for 3 years (All Star) and is perhaps being too harshly judged on one performance in Limerick against a player who has shamed most full backs he has played on.One of our big centre-fielders should have been drafted in to mark Donaghy as David Brady eventually was in 2006 Final. Donaghy stood at least a foot taller and wider than Caff in Limerick. It was not a fair contest.
    Caff is very skillful, a great tackler and very fast on the turn. I think he would make a great corner back with Keane, in his present form, retaining the full back position. A big test coming for Keane on Saturday with Brogan, O’Gara and co. in Castlebar. I am delighted with the rehabilitation of Keane but I am also very nervous about him. Memories of Michael Murphy and Tomas O’Connor taking balls above his head are still fresh. He has bulked up and become a much harder battler for the ball. Perhaps a full back also needs an array of the more cynical arts as well. Caff always played it maybe a bit too straight in this regard.
    As has been mentioned by a previous poster I think we need to be more flexible and less predictable in our approach to various opponents. If we always play it the same way , with the same players other managers will read us and counteract easily. We need to be more like Joe Schmit and vary play to suit our strengths and their weaknesses.That might entail varying long ball game, or short passing game to suit the opponents.Put in a David Brady on Donaghy if necessary. AOS is a lethel weapon but if left at FF or CF, opposition managers will plan to counteract him. We must keep them guessing. I am tired of our coaches being outfoxed by the likes of Harte, McGuinness, Fitzmaurice, Jack ‘O Connor etc. Maybe for once we go into the championship and surprise them. We have a great group of players – experienced, skillful and determined.They must not be let down by inflexible management again.

  58. Up she flew, you want flexible management, but at the same time after four league games you want a place to be pencilled in for Ger Cafferkey? Is that not an inflexible attitude?
    Doesn’t Shane McHale deserve an equal chance to Cafferkey?
    He hardly gets one if Cafferkey just has a place found for him. Bringing things like All Stars into the equation. Great honour to get one, should have zero influence on team selection.
    We have fourteen defenders fighting for likely nine places. Give every man an equal chance. Go with the best mix of form and physical attributes for the nine.
    Exagerations such as “Ger Caff is very quick on the turn”. What are you basing that opinion on? Very quick on the turn is what we’ve seen Keith Higgins do. Cafferkey is a rangey 6’2″, hardly the kind of build which allows you to be super agile like yer making out he is.
    If he plays his way in super, but nobody should have a place just pencilled in for them and certainly All Stars should not be some measure for selection.

  59. JP, you are misconstruing my attitude if you think I want Ger Cafferkey ‘pencilled in’ irrespective of form. What I’m saying is that the nightmare in Limerick hasn’t rendered him into a bad player. There are many challenges ahead particularly in the rangy spaces of Croke Park where in the past Caff has performed superbly. I do not think that a player of his skill should not be considered in the mix just as I dont feel that Cillian or Leroy should be discarded because they had a few poor performances.
    Flexabiliy is picking the best team for the particular challenge. I hope that Kevin Keane turns out to be the full back we are all praying for. However, every set of forwards are different and may need different skill sets to counteract them. I believe Caff may have a serious role to play yet.

  60. Fair enough take your point. Great to be having these selection problems anyways 🙂
    Never seen as strong a squad.

  61. Padraig o Sullivan was the man in the middle in the Big Apple! Didn’t have it too hard that day mind ya my mate Cormac would have managed to make a balls of it!!!!!!!

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