Monday match reports



Morning all. I’ve pressing work stuff on today with no time for dawdling so here then is a very quick gallop through the coverage (such as it is) that’s out there on yesterday’s comfortable FBD League win over IT Sligo.

Match reports: Mayo Advertiser, Irish Independent, Irish Times (contains round-up of all FBD action).

Colm Gannon in the Mayo Advertiser also has an audio report on the game, which contains a few bits with Stephen Rochford, as well as a post-match reaction piece with the manager.

Photos: Mayo Mick, Memories thru a Lens.

Finally, some video from @EmmaMc7 who followed up last week’s clip of that long-range free by Robbie Hennelly with a great one from yesterday’s match of Conor Loftus’s point from play:

That’s it – told you it’d only be a quick one. Have a good Monday.

75 thoughts on “Monday match reports

  1. Willie Joe , you are some man , up early to give us our fix before you head out to earn your crust.

    All the best to you and yours for 2016.

    Bring on the Rossies next week, lets put the marker down and beat them every time we play them this year.

  2. Can someone correct me if I am wrong but i believe that we found no new players from last years fbd league and certainly no one who made a great impression in the first 15….. It is vital that we unearth a handfull of players who can make an impression in the starting 15 this year, certain players last year were under no presure of losing place because of who was behind them and this led to certain players performing well below their ability, jason Doherty been one of those players, he was a shadow of himself last year compared to the previous year where he was majestic

  3. FBD League standings after Rd 2

    Section A

    Team P W D L F A D Points
    Roscommon 2 2 0 0 35 18 17 4
    Mayo 2 2 0 0 34 21 13 4
    N.U.I. Galway 2 0 0 2 21 27 -6 0
    IT Sligo 2 0 0 2 18 42 -24 0

    Section B

    Team P W D L F A Diff Points
    Galway 2 2 0 0 26 20 6 4
    Leitrim 2 1 0 1 33 20 13 2
    GMIT 2 1 0 1 22 37 -15 2
    Sligo 2 0 0 2 24 28 -4 0

  4. Was s at the FBD match Vs Ross last year, a beautiful sunny frosty day in Castlebar. But their was nothing beautiful about the attitude of Roscommon. They crossed the line with their aggressive approach. You would get a red card in rugby for some of the hits put in. Ross won that game, mind you had the game gone on another 5 mins, they would surely have lost, some personnel changes to Mayo meant Mayo were finishing with a much stronger team that what started. Next Sunday’s referee will need to have his eye peeled!

  5. @Lean times

    you must not have been at the same FBD match as I was at last year against the Rossies. They were far hungrier for the win and totally outplayed us. There was no way Mayo were going to win that game. Also this thing of everytime we lose that the opposition were rough with us. They are grown men out there. Look at Armagh or Tyrone or Donegal and Dublin. We should be well able to take it. Moaning about it is just an excuse.

    Of course the game at the weekend matters cause if we win we have an extra game against probably Galway which wud help the team considering our late start. As for other teams supporters getting over hyped, I dont know how often I have read on this blog about how we are on the easy side of the draw and should make an AI final fairly easy. I believe we do tend to lose the run of ourselves at times but its all the years of hurt I guess. One game at a time and I dont want to hear of “Mayo for Sam” until at least June lol

  6. Hello WJ.

    I see my comment is gone for moderation. I have often posted on here before and with the same user name and email address. The details havent changed. Anyway keep up the good work and congrats on the continued success of this site.


  7. Slightly puzzled here. The good? Trying out new lads. Puzzled? What exactly does this management team expect to unearth by fielding McLoughlin, Doherty and Ronaldson against mediocre opposition. McLoughlin must have played every game since 2009. We need to find a way of playing without him as an experiment plus giving the boy a hard earned rest.

    We know what Doherty brings to the table, honesty, an honest shift, grafter but surely giving Sweeney or some other prospect a run now would make sense.

    Ronaldson started out Horans reign and was cut. The Duo invested game time in league last season and then more or less benched him. What exactly new is the present manager expecting to find about him? Honest lad, gifted and economic but unless you build your forward attack around him, then expect the boy to be making up the numbers in June. A little bit of the shock paddles would shorten the winter for us and sign post a new way forward. Currently I see a lot of old beans being reheated.

  8. Forever the optimist, Doherty was actually very good last year until he met Dublin’s blanket defence, but then our tactic in those games was just lump it into O’Shea, so it was hard for the other forwards to do a whole lot. Plenty Kerry forwards with bigger reputations had quiet games against that defence also. You are being unfair on the guy.

  9. Roscommon will come out all guns blazing on sunday, they will probably put out a close to full strength team. I hope we play the likes of Kenny, O ‘Hora, Nally, Rutledge and Loftus and see how they perform against a team that is probabably a month ahead of us in terms of preperation. I believe whatever team we put out can do a job!

  10. Maybe the management want to try out Donaldson in a Ciaran Mac type role, rather than as a small nippy corner forward?

    Agree that resting Kevin Mac would be a good idea.

  11. I’m inclined to agree with John Cuffe about playing Kevin Mc Loughlin and other long serving players. We need them fresh later in the year. We also need to give scope to new comers to make their mark. The only thing is you do need some of the more seasoned gents around to see how the new lads work alongside them. You also need to get game time into everyone before facing Cork and Dublin in the league. On the other hand if we were willing to totally sacrifice the league and prepared to suffer a series of losses in order to uncover some new talent then we could leave the heavy hitters out until April. However, that is a fairly high risk strategy particularly for a new manager.
    We probably need enough experience on the field to be competitive and enough new fellas to build for the future……a difficult balance to achieve.

  12. John Cuffe, in fairness, the new management team has fairly limited scope in the players they can bring in at this point with the amount of players held back for club action and U21. I’m not sure there is much more out there. I imagine the rationale for including players like Kevin McLoughlin, Jason Doherty, Mark Ronaldson is to ensure that some consistency is kept within the team in the absence of the rest of our more established players. New players have to get game time alongside existing – else there is little point. We cannot really argue that we are overusing our old guard in these games – the teamsheets speak for themselves. I too would certainly have been in favour of giving Kevin in particular a break; however his performances in both games have been excellent and he is clearly happy and available to play and willing to contribute.

    That said, I agree with FTO above – let as many of the new guns as we can at it against the Rossies and see how they fare. But it’s pointless doing that without including our more established players too. It’s all about the balance I guess and what is more important – and indeed, how badly we need that extra game.

    Diehard, a risky strategy indeed and I wouldn’t be surprised if it came to pass. I don’t expect to see that Mayo team playing “real” football until next July at the earliest. Expect a rollercoaster .. but or course, it could turn out to be a smooth upwards ascent … as long as we aren’t rudely plummeted back down to earth later in the year!

  13. Four senior inter-county debuts against NUIG and three more yesterday against IT Sligo – I don’t think that can be fairly termed as old beans being reheated.

  14. @ John Cuffe, apparently Mikey Sweeney is injured which is why he was cut from the match day squad.

  15. I have no problem with some of our established players playing in FBD. Alot of them are not in student competitions and were out of Mayo championship early. You cannot expect new players to play well without some experienced colleagues. However i hope all our players buy into whatever system the new management put in place.

  16. So he did, Done Deal – well spotted! That makes it two senior debuts in yesterday’s game, I’ll edit the match report in a bit to reflect this.

  17. Stephen Rochford’s stated aim was to be ultra competitive in EVERY game so it will be very interesting to see how we get on against Roscommon. Last year Dublin managed to be flying in March against us in Castlebar in the League and were still going strong in September. They even won the O’Byrne cup in January. Then the League title was garnered followed by the Leinster title and of course the All-Ireland title. So it can be done, playing close to full tilt for the whole season.

    Dublin have the resources and the panel size to do it. Can it be a realistic aim for us. Is it possible to play at close to your best for the whole season, whoever the personnel is. Therefore maybe this misnomer of having to peak at certain times should be banished. A peak is usually followed by a trough, as we have found out to our cost after big quarter or semi-final wins. Reaching and maintaining a plateau of excellence should be our objective for the year ahead or has been stated, been ultra competitive in EVERY game.

  18. Some early Eamonn Dunphy itis flying around concerning the playing of a few of the old guard and we haven’t made it to mid January yet! Was going to respond with my opinion but Anne Marie just summed it up perfectly – you fairly know your football girl.
    I would expect to see two or three established players and three or four fledglings making up the six forwards next weekend.

  19. So we want a greater focus on our U21’s with a view to being consistently competitive and achieving greater success plus bring through the minors from ’13, and, we want an entire new look to our senior team with fresh faces in to replace the oldies? Jesus, how many players do people think we have in the county that are good enough to compete at that level? Just how big do people think our player pool is?
    Let’s be honest and reasonable about this. Talk of bringing in “3 or 4 new faces” to get us “over the line” is complete nonsense. If those 3 or 4 “new faces” were that good they would already be involved. 4 players is 27% of the team, even Dublin with all their player resources would not be capable of player turnover like that! What we are more likely to see is a tactical change in how Rochford wants us to play (already evident from last Sunday as we kicked a lot more ball from our half back line and center field positions to our full and wing forwards) and possibly a different view in where he sees certain players playing and what he expects from certain players.
    Of the players we have seen so far I believe that Rutledge, Loftus, Nally and Flanagan have done enough to warrant another look. All you can do as a manager is give players the opportunity and it’s up to them thereafter. I believe these 4 have shown that they may have something to offer later in the year. They have something different that we currently lack in the Senior team. Rutledge has a real turn of pace and good balance, a willingness to take his man on and GO AROUND HIM as opposed to THROUGH HIM and not afraid to shoot. Defenders hate to be caught one-on-one against a player with these qualities and if Rutledge can be isolated, one-on-one inside 30m he could be dangerous. Loftus has strength and a swagger that all corner forwards needs allied to a very accurate shot. Plus, as he is young he can expect to only get better. Nally, physically, looks like he has been part of the set-up for a couple of years. Serious power and an appetite for contact that all half backs need, confident in his passing and alert. Flanagan has an assuredness that I believe Hennelly lacks. When you then include Conor O’Shea (who is performing very well with NUIG) and Evan Regan (1-3 v Monaghan) plus Barrett, Cunniffe, Vaughan, Keegan, Moran, O’Shea x 2, O’Connor x 2 there is a serious panel of talent to work with.
    I do agree however, that the return from our forwards in terms of spread of scorers and regular scoring, ie no long scoreless periods, needs to be improved if we are to win the big lad. Doherty in particular does not contribute enough on the scoreboard in the bigger games.

  20. Good post Pebbles. The only thing I would add is that the available talent is the strongest I’v ever seen it (U21’s/new mid 20’s lads/existing fringe lads in 34). Coupled with that some of the existing 15/26 are starting to encounter injuries/age. So while I only expect two new starters, I wouldn’t be shocked if by mid summer that was as high as four.
    Logically there are going to be some tight calls. Three year mgmt team might decide on a youth wins the tight calls policy. Im not saying they will, but personally I would go with youth where nothing between players.
    On Conor Loftus when I seen him last in summer he wasn’t so heavily built. Has he strengthened up since?

  21. So far the FBD has offered us:

    Conor Loftus scoring 2 from play and one from a free. A young man with great potential getting scores.

    Jason Gibbons showing this week and last why he should never have been off the panel in the first place

    Tom Parsons getting early season game-time for us

    Mark Ronaldson impressing in a different role

    4 debutants, most of which held their own

    Jason Doc and Kevin Mc doing well and, hopefully, building consistency from here

    Set to another feisty battle with the Rossies on the Hyde next Sunday.

    And hey, even Tom Parsons playing full forward looked ok to me!!

    All in all, a decent pre season, playing one decent side and one poor one. Next week is a proper game. Win it and we will have a proper one again next week

  22. Constantly pro Roscommon posts from the same poster , ummm.

    They were completely ott in the aggression stakes last year for anFBD game but the poor craytures were trying to put down a marker for the Connacht final that Sligo made it to instead. Most likely they won’t make the same mistake this summer and they’ll get their chance to win Nestor against either galway or ourselves . As for Sunday , I really couldn’t give two hoots so long as none of our bucks pick up injuries from the noisy neighbours.

    “Hungrier” lol, let them eat all they want in January .our bucks will save their appetite for hotel dinners in Dublin in late summer .

  23. Interesting posts there Pebbles and co.

    The consistent thrust of the analysis is that four players are emerging and have potential to make it. Great.

    However, I note that very few posters, if any, have identified tough, hard, fast, ball-playing talent in the full back line, the type that can sicken Gooch, Brogan, Jamesy, Michael Murphy and whoever else. The type that catch high ball over a big forward and lay it off cleverly, and then stay put. The type that you hardly notice, but that the opposing forward dreads.

    Good talent that has emerged, or is emerging at the back is focused on the half line. Think Durcan, Drake even, Stephen Coen, and now Shane Nally, Ger McDonagh, Eoin Reilly, and more, To echo Paddy Kavanagh on Irish poets, our standing army of half backs never falls below ten thousand!

    Where are our emerging Philly MacMahons, our Ricey McMenamins, even our Francey Bellews?

    I’m not advocating eye gouging, Oscar-winning sledging, or straight lefts, but someone who can dominate his man and help make our backline lean and mean. Someone who will really help deliver opposing scorelines of 0-12, 0-11, or 0-10 at the business end (or any end) of the season.

  24. Catcool, was at the dub v dcu game last Sunday and I watched Philly McMahon closely , his man marking is class , now smith got a 1-3 (I missed the goal tbh) but that doesn’t tell the story . DCU plan was to bring nearly everything through to smith but McMahon had him covered nearly every time , it was interesting to follow the battle and see how smith drifted out of the game at times because of the in your face approach by McMahon , not facing the play at times but just shadow dancing around smith , annoying the fook out of him.

  25. Roscommon were allowed to play that way because of disgracefully poor refereeing and weak linesmen. The Rossies saw their chance and they took it, fair play to them. There is no point whinging about it 12 months later, Mayo should have responded with similar tactics to put them in their place.
    I suppose the bigger question is, which team was kicking leather competitively late into the Summer and which team was parking it’s shiny new bus!

  26. It looks like we ll be having to do with what we ve got in our defensive line up. From what we know there’s no dominant type FB in the county at the moment.So,I hate to say it at this stage but we ll have to continue suffering the willies when a ball goes towards our square in particular. As regards our two corner backs of the last day…. grand footballers but so light and need time to mature for this level.
    S Nallen looked fairly at home in his position but I feel he’d have awful trouble with some of the fliers he’s likely to encounter there.He seems kinda heavy in the legs and thereabouts.Maybe I’m wrong and hope I am. If the OSheas can trim up as they ve done then there’s a chance for most!

    McHale behaved well in no 6 and it’s good to see him out there. If there’s a spot for him it’s there. Again, nice to see him over a few games. He might be left behind a bit too at times.
    P Durkan is fine…no worries there at all!
    So,as from here it’s as we were in defence personality wise but hopefully,dare I say it,maybe this time around we’ll be a bit cuter in the way we manage things back there!

  27. With Sunday in mind and the need to have a good mix of experince and the need to see more of the new faces in action, I have decided on a 15 that i would like to see start, all be it not overally important but just a rough team guide with the local derby approaching.

    1) Hennelly 2)Kenny 3)Keane 4)Higgins 5)Keegan 6)Vaughan 7)Nally 8)Gibbons 9)Parsons 10)Crowe 11)Ronaldson 12) D McHale 13)Rutledge 14)Doherty 15)Loftus

    We know what the likes of Boyle and Mc Loughlin bring to the table, but i believe both need a rest for the start of the league bot las have played an unreal amount of football the last five years.

    Would be nice to get a look at Kenny, Nally, Crowe, D McHale, Rutledge and Loftus against this hardened Rossie outfit and also have a look at O ‘Hora, S McHale and A Farrell of the bench in the 2nd half

  28. How many times does it need to be said. Full back is probably the most difficult position to learn. Takes a career to do it.
    Sean Walsh was not a great full back and John OKeefe was barely at midfield and had already played in defense.
    The late Cormac Mcanallen switched for one game and so did David Brady.
    Name a modern non defender who switched back to full back at division one level?
    I cant think of any since 2000 and I’v a decent enough memory of each season.
    All of these options continuously put forward are an insult to actual full backs.
    Some you’ve never heard of.
    Any Knockmore’s recall Noel Ward who was born into that position. He went abroad then.I seen Dec Sweeney do well at full back. A defender for his club. As a full back you usually never think you have it mastered. Your next match might finish your reputation.

  29. It looks like we have a safe pair of hands for the future anyway in Seamus Cunniffe, maybe he will even get a run out with the seniors in the coming weeks, he is still a bit young but who knows. This is how the Mayo News described the full-backs play for the U21s at the week-end: (Seamus Cunniffe was particularly good at full-back. The Ballagh man’s reading of the game was exemplary throughout.)

    For our defence in general again the Dublin template is one to be examined. Cian O’Sullivan was selected at no. 6 all year but the role he played was as a sweeper. He was filling in between the half-back and full-back lines. Therefore any low fast ball been played into the danger area was mopped up by O’Sullivan. For us you’d think that Keith Higgins would be the perfect man to play this role. At times this year Colm Boyle found himself in this role but Keith is probably better suited to this position.

    What Dublin did then was use one of their midfielders, usually Denis Bastic, as a deep lying midfielder who slotted into the centre-half position. Remember against us in the league he made one unbelievable block on the goal-line to prevent a certain goal. Again for us at times this year, especially in the Donegal match, Barry Moran did this for us. He also played there in the replay against Dublin, it was when he went off that we were left with a gaping hole down the middle of our defence. Seamus O’Shea should be well capable of playing this role as well.

    Therefore in simple terms, you have one big man to cover the high balls coming into your defence and one mobile player to cover any low balls and cut out any dangerous runs from incoming speedy players.

    Paul Flynn was then allowed to play a free role for Dublin, back in defence at times, winning kick-outs and still getting forward to kick crucial scores. Diarmuid O’Connor was able to do this for us as well and Kevin Mc, who started his career in defence should be well capable of doing this job as well.

    The key thing then is to ensure that you still have at least three attackers very close to the opposition’s goal and get the ball to these players as quickly as possible. This is where we failed in that we left Aidan O’Shea isolated far too often. So the thing is, even though the Dubs shored up their defence, they didn’t let it compromise their attacking flair. We have the players, now can we develop the required methods.

  30. jr,

    Crossmaglen to Cavan, 40.5 miles [AA routeplanner]
    Castlebar to Cavan, 101 miles [AA routeplanner].

    No cause for complaint then?
    Or does every Mayo complaint have to be a “whinge” regardless of merit. Or are Mayo people supposed to be so downtrodden that they are expected to accept whatever is thrown at them.
    I agree that the Castlebar team should get on with it – they have no other choice. Supporters are under no such obligation.

  31. I just thought of one player who made a switch to full back but it was safely tucked inside a blanket. Joe Mcmahon went back full back for a season or two. But he’s the kinda versatile footballer you would imagine had played full back/centre back coming up at club level.
    Dublin do strike a good balance keeping three close to goal. Three strong accurate lads. Brogan is not big, but he’s all in it.
    Kevin Keane has been doing quite well.

  32. Pebbels Great post really enjoyed and agreed with it. Two new players for the Championship would be immense. While I acknowledge we have a decent looking U21 team, I would like to add a bit of caution to all the wishful thinking that is going around about this group in January. Most of these guys were successful in 2013 and 2014.teams At this tender age that is a lifetime ago. This year will spell the end of the underage journey for many of these lads. Many will go on to have successful careers with their senior club teams. Some will drift away from football altogether as they chase other goals in life. As U21 players they have won nothing yet. They look good on paper I will admit, but I am tiered of looking at Mayo U21 teams that look good on paper since 2010. When they put a successful run behind them at this grade they will command my full attention. I will be supporting them all the way and wishing them well, but I will also be asking myself which one of these players will show the ambition that DOC and Patrick Durcan is showing at present, and I don’t know the answer to that one yet.

  33. Philly has had a great year fair play to him. He is the talk of the town all year, the main man, “yu da man” as it were. He posses a mountain of ambition and a positive attitude. He has served his time warming the bench and working on his game. Guys like this are winners because they do not know how to give up. The sheer power of positive thinking I want to believe.

  34. JP
    Castlebar always got on with it.
    I agree this game should be played at a Leinster venue. However complaining about the venue takes away your focus–i think this happened us in Limerick. We should have concentrated on stopping Donaghy

  35. Fair enough JR but why is it we never seem to get favour in venue schedule . Limerick was a disaster , the absolute farce of not having Connacht finals v Sligo in castlebar every other time (tough shit if there ground is not up to it , Hyde for their year so and back to mchale for the next one).

  36. I agree Sean but this time i think TG4 might have had an influence. Navan has no lights & i think the same is true for Mullingar & Longford. Not sure about Tullamore. Our CB knew in good time of the possability of a replay in Limerick—they did not complain then. The situation with Sligo is a farce—it rewards a county for not developing a pitch.

  37. Corick,I think both of us will die if we don’t have a look at S OS at no 3. And JP will have the remainder of his hair pulled from the roots.The boss says it would nt work but any of the present arrangements hav’nt lit up the world either.Our insecurity there always gives the opposition a mighty psychological boost and at the same time it instills uncertainty in the whole back division . So, JP and the other real notables on the site, what is your mind on that one issue? How can what happened so many times before on big occasions be prevented??

  38. Cavan a home venue for Cross. But… remember our U21s (Barry, Sean Conlon of Cbar and most of the current senior squad) beat Tyrone in Breffni in ’06 in a memorable semi final, and went to Ennis and beat Cork in the final. Castlebar beat Eire Óg in a semi final in Longford which was nearly a home venue for them.

    C’mon the Bar and bate those bastards all the way back to South Armagh.

  39. Kevin Keane is doing perfectly fine in my view .The defensive strategy and likely defenders wont be apparent until after the league.

  40. catcol,

    Don’t know how you reckon Longford is nearly a home venue for a Carlow team. Longford is in Leinster alright but is much nearer to Castlebar than to Carlow. I don’t see that the location is an issue unless it disadvantages one team by way of travel distance, which Breffni does in this case. Nor do I see any reason why the game has to be played on Saturday or in the hours of darkness. As far as I am concerned those fans prepared to travel to a game should get first consideration, not those sit at homes.

  41. The second week of January is not over and the noise about match locations has started already. Crossmolina played Ballaghy in Enniskillen and beat them in 2001. No moan, no whinge they then went to CP and became the first group of senior Mayo footballers to win an AI since 1951. Maybe different times or that is how winners behave.

    Corofin played St Vincents in Tullamore last year. No great difference in distance I would imagine, but venue is in Leinster.

  42. “As far as I am concerned those fans prepared to travel to a game should get first consideration, not those sit at homes” Great post Andy D. That alone brings the whole Sky deal back into focus.

  43. Berry I did not get your reference to Corofin having to play Vincent’s in Tillamook last year. Since Galway borders Offaly and Tullamore is just down the road from Eyrecourt. I know this was a particular advantage to all those that travelled from the Tuam area of the county. A preferred venue in fact if memory serves me correctly.

  44. I think Tullamore suited both sets of supporters last year. It was an easy enough trip for both Corofin and us city folk. Plus it’s a cracking pitch, great stand, easy in and out so it was a good choice for that match.

  45. Andy D – venues can be important, and can give a psychological advantage to teams, though good teams and good managers can turn a negative into a positive.

    Longford is about 90 miles from Carlow, but significantly is in Leinster. This matters – Carlow teams would be used to playing there regularly in league and championship. If Castlebar were playing a semi in The Hyde, I would regard this as a home venue, for much the same reasons.

    As it happens, living in Dublin, Cavan actually suits me well, but this is not the point; the majority of fans will be travelling from Castlebar, and, as you pointed out earlier, the 6:15 throw in means it’ll be all hours before they get home.

  46. Catcol, Sean Conlon of CBar beating Tyrone in 06, I think he would have been 10 or 11 years old in 2006. I don’t think it matters where the game is played, Castlebar have acquitted themselves very well away from home this year

  47. I referred to there being no great difference in distance as far as Tullamore was concerned. My reason for bringing it up was the earlier point that the C’bar game should be played in a neutral province. Obviously that was not a problem for the Corofin team.

    Personally I do not believe the location will create a problem for C’bar. If they are good enough and want it they will win.

  48. Wasn’t at the “rough” game in Castlebar but if Roscommon did rough up Mayo and they were let get away with it by the referee then fair play, Mayo should have done the same. At the end of the day no judgement should be made on the result of a FBD game as it is not a barometer of what a team will achieve further into the year. Both teams seem to be in the same mode for Sunday, in defense experienced players involved in both defenses although we need to get a full back ahead of Sunday, 2 are with colleges and 2 are injured, however with DIT out of O’Byrne cup Neil Collins will hopefully be available. Up front both teams appear to be in experimental mode, we will be missing Enda Smith, Ultan Harney, Diarmuid Murtagh and Donie Shine who will probably be all starters come championship. The winning and losing of this game will be in midfield where we are in bad shape, we only have one fit midfielder and he was playing full forward for the last couple games, with the experience Mayo have in this sector this will be the difference and should see Mayo win.

  49. My point about the venue for Castlebar v Cross was not about the teams or any advantage to one or the other. My point of view on this is that, unless a team was very familiar with a venue, [as with Dubs in Croke Park] there is no advantage. All football fields are the same shape, approx the same size [despite what many think] and have the goalposts in the same position.
    The issue is convenience or inconvenience and cost to supporters. There is also a huge difference in a trip on a national primary road and a cross country trip, as this mostly is for Castlebar.

  50. Don’t know why you are worrying about Enda Smith, Hontheross, DCU are out of the O’Byrne Cup too. I don’t know about any of your other “stars”.

  51. HSE, you took the words out of my mouth re Seamus Cunniffe – he is a very promising (and dare I say, exciting) prospect and it is great to see him back after a long lay-off. Though PJMcManus has some wise words – as always – re over-expectation when it comes to making the transition to senior.

    The only thing I would say is that times are different now – the fact that we are performing to such a high level – “consistently competitive”, one might say – may make the prospect of progression a little more appealing. And it is heartening to see so many of that minor team either making the transition to returning from injury to step up at U21 – and in some cases, senior. I’d be quietly optimistic.

    Our focus now needs to turn to our minor team – they underperformed criminally last year for some reason and this year really has to be better.

  52. Anyone got an opinion on the captaincy for the year ahead? Some people think it’s an overrated appointment but I think if you look over the years, most winners had inspirational individuals. For what it’s worth I think either AOS or COC are the obvious choices. Top players, good communicators and always deliver on the biggest stages. Players I feel all members of the squad would respect and aid the never ending struggle to land the ultimate prize.

  53. Cillian for me leadership alone no question his little brother diarmuid not far behind or Colm Boyle.

  54. Agree with alot of what Pebblesmeller says except for Flanagan ahead of Hennelly.Both good lads but for me Matthew a long way off the other goalies.Just my opinion.Roscommon have decent team and could be a serious force this year.Thought Kevin McStay was very genuine and realistic on radio earlier.

  55. I would like to see McLoughlin or Boyle become Captain. They are always leading by example and their middle name is hard graft.I expect Leroy is not far away now given the year he had.

  56. I think the captains job affected Keith Higgins game last year. You really need to be suited to this role.

  57. Yes Anne-Marie its great to see Seamus Cunniffe back playing football again, hopefully he can keep his good form going! As you said too it’ll be interesting to see how our minors will shape up this year, they were a major disappointment in 2015 compared to the previous two years.

  58. I would give the captaincy to Colm Boyle and I think it will end up being Colm Boyle. His on pitch performances are always inspiring.

  59. For now the personal of the captain is not important, that will sort itself out in time. All concentration for now should be on our match with Roscommon on Sunday. I know it’s early days and it’s only the FBD and all that, but beating Roscommon would surely give the team and new Management a nice fillip at this time, and also give us the extra game before our opening League match away to Cork.

    Owing to many of our more established players not being available for one reason or another, gives a great opportunity for the new guys to show the Manager what they can do against a more established team like Roscommon. It would also serve as a reminder to all panel members that places on the Mayo team will not be a give, no matter who you are. This is what keeps the Dubs and Kilkenny so sharp, competition for places is cut-throat at all times. Mayo may not have that level of talent available just yet, but I’m sure Stephen Rochford has this very much in mind, and will know how important it will be to add depth to the panel before the Championship.

  60. There are far bigger issues than the captaincy to be decided. The question of the full back position needs to be addressed. There seems to be a resignation to continue with the tried and failed. I would prefer to try something that might work than continue with something that has failed and will continue to fail. Having said that all our defensive problems do not emanate from the full back position. Our centre back does not hold a defensive position and no full back can block the open motorway down the centre to our goal. We must find a defender who will hold the centre back position maybe even a little closer to the goal and one of the midfielders holding back. I think I may be the first person to fly the kite of S. O’Shea as full back after the 2012 final and at that point I was a candidate for men in white coats. The idea has gained a little traction since but not yet with anyone that matters. However the only instance of full back play that I have witnessed from the present squad was SOS fielding of Brian Sheehan’s last free in last years drawn semi final. Maybe there was another example but I wasn’t present and my Sky+ didn’t catch it.
    I am very loath to malign any of the forwards as mostly McLoughlin, Doherty and D. O’Connor are back in our own half of the field shoring up our defence. It is not the ideal place for racking up a high tally on the score sheet.
    I think we will be lucky to come up with two newcomers to the team this year and for me they would be Kirby and Durcan who after all have both been panellists last year.
    Durcan is an obvious choice but for me Kirby is the type of player who can deliver at midfield and any of the forward positions, particularly both central positions. He has come on a lot this year and made both goals for Barry and Newcombe against Corofin. He is not fazed by a bit of knuckle and can give as good as he gets. He was a stand out minor for two years and was the only one who showed up at all for two years at U21.
    This would be my championship team:
    R. Hennelly,
    C. Barret, S.O’Shea, K.Keane,
    L. Keegan, T. Cunniffe, P. Durcan,
    T. Parsons, B. Moran.
    D. O’Connor, D. Kirby, K. Higgins,
    E. Regan, A.O’Shea, C. O’ Connor.
    I don’t expect SOS to be at No. 3, so both he and Barry could be interchanging at No. 9, probably with Keane going to No. 3 and Boyle coming into the back line. I would deploy Higgins as sweeper. There are many others who would do any excellent job but only 15 can line out at any given time.

  61. Looks like a good team to me bar regan and Keane. I would play caff corner back and try conor loftus instead of regan.

  62. would surely want to be on the ball to keep up with this blog.Will ye take it easy agras! I’m afraid I’m still on the full back line and I missed out on Hope Spring’s blog back a bit.Its the clearest and most stand out piece on this thorny issue that I’ve seen yet and together with JP we now have it Corick. SOS is not for FB anymore ….there’s no emergency. This is it, we have it! We now know where we’re going!

    JP X. Hope Springs (K Keane at FB or whoever). + Sweeper (K Higgins) X CF fallback + Chosen forward or two foraging back,ALWAYS leaving 3 or 4 up front to keep the score board turning over in our favour! That’s the formula now Corick and it suits me fine whatever about you!!

    But I would like to add to that,that it’s not a system to be slotted into place at the shake of a lambs tail. The boys need to be told about it some time and id say that needs be done before the league! It would nt do to have the Dubs or Tyrone do again what they did last year.Can we be prepared this time

    I wonder did we see a semblance of what’s in managements mind in playing K Higgins in HB line last day….not just a chance to see Harrison at 2!

    Cheers Corick, Hope Springs and JP !!

  63. Thanks Inbetweener, your welcome, it probably sounds a bit easier on paper to implement compared to the white heat of battle, like most things in life! We’ll see how it goes anyway…

    You would still like to see at least one other option tried in the full-back position in the coming weeks, apart from Keane and Caff. It seems that it is a year too early for Seamus Cunniffe and after that there doesn’t seem to be many other options.

    People have mentioned Seamus O’Shea and you can understand why. One major worry about him though is his tendency to carry the ball into trouble which could be fatal in the full-back position. Remember in 2014 when we played Dublin in the League in Croke Park, he lost the ball coming out of defence which led directly to Dublin’s equalising goal. The hallmark of Rochford’s management style is to move the ball quickly so that is something (holding onto the ball for too long), that hopefully will be eliminated from our play as this happens to Aidan O’Shea at times as well.

  64. While I take the point of full back being a specialist position, and am always mindful of a forward dropping back, because they will run with the ball,a lot of people seem to blame our fullback for our problems,I just trew out Conner Oshea tongue in cheek.i don’t really think it was our fullbacks fault they should defend as a unit so if a defender goes up the field someone should drop in to shield the position, also they faced probably three of the finest full fowards for many years,I would imagine that our management of the recent past tried to plan for it,because I believe we have had very good management, and think S Rochford will be just as good.on another point I M Carney , J Browne,TJ Killgallan , and going back a lot further J Farragher , M Connaghton done well dropping back to defence, although I appreciate it was not fullback,anyway enough rambling, all the best to all the panel I hope they avoid injury, enjoy the challenge, and lift that cup in September

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