Monday match reports


Another Monday, more match reports. I could get into the swing of this, you know.

Locals: Mayo Advertiser, Connaught Telegraph.

Nationals: Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Times (FBD round-up report).

Photos: Mayo Mick, Sportsfile.

Colm Gannon of the Mayo Advertiser also nabbed Stephen Rochford after the game to get his reaction to the performance. Audio and video on this is here:

That’s the whole load, I’m afraid. Off about ye now.

58 thoughts on “Monday match reports

  1. What are they bringing Cillian on for in a match like this? Its not as if we need to try him out to see if he is up to county standard. Risking picking up an injury that could rule him out for the rest of 2017?. For what?. In a part of the field where we need to discover a new “great white hope”.

    David Clarke for captain for the coming year is a no brainer. Perfect choice. How ironic it would be if it was him who would lead us up the steps of the Hogan in September to collect big ears. With 70,000 Mayo folk on the hallowed turf below him and millions more of us watching on from afar.

    James Horan. Why was Freeman taken off after 15 minutes in the 2013 final? He was playing hell at the time and the Dubs couldn’t handle him. What was the real reason? (not the one about suffering from flu). I’ve never heard a proper answer to that question.

  2. I would agree, no need for Cillian or any other established player to be playing in these games. Higgins picked up an injury last year in Ballina and missed most of the league as a result.

    Cillian will be the captain for the coming year, I cant see any reason for changing other than sentiment over what happened in the replay. Personally I dont like the idea of Keepers being captains as he cant run up the pitch it talk to a colleague if needed and more importantly cant speak to the ref throughout the game if needed.

    I really dont take a whole lot out of these pre season games and the result is meaningless, id say Rochford is learning alot more from the training ground. On the face of things I think Rochford has some big decisions to make in the coming weeks as he forms his squad.

    Boland looks like a serious talent and while probably too early to play championship needs to be part of the squad to develop like DOC, Reape etc. The same case can be made for Irwin. Neil Douglas has to be part of the 2017 squad, leaving the counties top club forward at home is ridiculous considering we lack scores from play. Dougie has gotten himself to a very high standard on his own, what player would he be like if he was part of the senior set up for the past two years. Can Kirby be ignored? possibly not, I think he has a lot to offer.

    The structure of the FBD league isnt doing Rochford any favours, most of the young talent are unavailable to Mayo as they are with the colleges. Over the past two games we have seen two Mayo men putting in very good performances against us, Gallagher and Shaughnassy. Considering its mainly in attack we need to improve these players need to be looked at in the league, not in token challenge games next may.

    Of course if players come in then players have to go out and this is where Rochford has difficulty.

  3. Boland did well.
    Regan as well.
    Regan’s ball into Freeman was excellent, you knew it was going to be a goal, perfect ball for Freeman and he normally does really well in that situation.
    Few stray kickouts from Clarke – it’s an area we need to work on.

  4. Not sure if I want Clarke as captain. But goalkeepers? Has there not been a ‘keeper captaining the Dubs for a while now?

  5. There might be value in Regan playing a bit deeper and being used to kick ball inside quickly and accurately. This is not something we have had too much of. Generally our players need to delay in order to help the accuracy of their pass. This small delay kills us.
    Just thinking in terms of a match day scenario.
    If you have inside guys like Diarmuid, Reape, Andy, Cillian, Aidan and Freeman. What they need is quick ball moreso than accurate ball.
    Accurate ball (80:20) that is slow, is worse in terms of the probability of scoring than 50:50 ball that is quick. You’re going to score much less frequently off slow ball that is 80:20 in your favour. By contrast you may get in for goal chances off of quick 50:50 ball. What did Freeman score off of yesterday? A quick 50:50 ball. Now, it was more like 60:40 as Freeman was much bigger and better in the air than the defender in front of him. But the catch once made gave Freeman an opportunity in on goal.
    If you slow that all down and make the perfect pass to Freeman, he wins it, but then he will get met straight away by an extra defender covering across.
    A defender can cover approximately 8 yards every second of delay. A two second delay closes the covering defender(s) in on the receiver by a full 16 yards. That is a massive amount of yardage to lose in a game of fine margins. Especially when you consider that goal shots when blocked or routes to goal when blocked usually involved some defender just about arriving in time. If that defender is even two yards later effectively they are not getting pressure on the shooter.

  6. Not sure why we have a new captain.

    We have a captain. Cillian. Why would he be stripped of it? He did well enough to lead the team within the kick of a ball of Sam. Leave well enough alone.

  7. @Catcol, yup. Cluxton has lifted Sam three times as captain. I think it’s been a century since it was done last. I would have felt that a captain is best served coming from the backs or midfield, but his record speaks for itself.

    I learned that Ger Caff’s injury was literally the hamstring being shorn from the bone, hence the huge layoff. Will he be around for the league at all? Round 7 at home to Donegal would be a nice return game.

  8. That was what happened alright, Jaden – as I recall it occurred during that mud-bath fixture against Roscommon at Hyde Park at the end of March last year. The local papers are saying Ger should be back in action in early March so in theory he’d be okay for the Round 4 match in Croke Park against yourselves but I assume the plan will be to ease him back gradually ahead of the summer.

  9. Hold Clarke in such high regard after the way he has dealt with the events of last season..No rants on twitter, no media interviews..No toys out of the pram..Just got on with it..and if we found it a difficult October can you imagine how he was??

  10. @Digits.
    Yes. Quick accurate ball would be the ultimate. More trying to explain the point with the two extreme ends of the scale.
    Rare enough in fairness.

  11. Good stuff there JP. if forwards won 50-50 ball 50% of the time, that could give us a lot to play with. And if they could win high ball! Our players (other than the usual high-fielding suspects) seem to have lost the art of catching high ball; this feeds into defensive problems as well.

  12. I see Paddy Durcan and Stephen Coen were up against each other in the DCU v UCD game yesterday. Paddy scored 0-1. Conor O’Shea scored 0-1 in DIT’s win over Wicklow. Since all colleges are out of the O’Byrne cup now, those 3 lads will be available for next weekend.

    Is Conor Loftus injured? No sign of him on the DCU side.

  13. Clarke was captain as the game was in Ballina

    Cillian will still be captain but everyone needs to be leaders

  14. It would be too controversial a move to appoint Clarke as captain especially if the other buck were ever to be dropped. Plenty of players deserving of the captaincy as some have mentioned already. Remember the heroes performance that Boyler put in as captain for the Monaghan game last year…

  15. Nice to see David Captain at his home, loved the red jersey, wasn’t the goalie jersey white last week??? Good point Mayomad, Captain needs to be able to “speak” with the ref, Cillian was awesome at that and it helps lead to more frees (and he does that well too)! For the equalizer in the draw, he took the opportunity and did it, then immediately gave direction. Seems mature beyond his years! Great to see so much talent in Mayo!! I see good thing coming this year! Maigh Eo Abú!

  16. Can anybody answer Jim Flags question above about Freeman being substituted in the 2013 Final……………I have often raised that same question………….a sbocking decision in my view but can anybody offer some rationale for it ?

  17. I agree with Jim Flag, twas a dreadful decision on the evidence of what I seen that day in 2013. Also on the evidence of the semi final v Tyrone the same year when Alan Freeman was MotM To make that decision even worse Cillian had suffered a reassurance of his shoulder dislocated in the semi, he should not have been played at all in the final, if it had occurred again and it easily could have done so, Mayo would be without a free taker, in that seneario, what would Horan have done? Would he have brought Freeman back on?? I can’t see him doing that, after all that would be admitting to a dreadful mistake. Sometimes managers make dreadful mistakes, but rarely have I ever heard any manager admit to such mistakes. On the day in question, Cillian was his usual reliable self with freetaking, but contributed very little from play… On another matter not strictly GAA except for the fact that the event is taking place in Croke Park, U2 are playing there in the Summer. Tickets are sold out, but you could have bought a ticket at a multiple of the face value if you went to a website advertised on the website that sold the tickets in the first place.. Of course this is legal in Ireland, (it not legal in most countries) I had hoped that our FG/Ind government , who are in power at the moment with the blessing of FF, might bring in legislation to put end to this ‘ticket touting’. Pat Hickey and others spent some time in jail in Brazil for the alleged offence of ‘ticket touting’ while this made headlines in Ireland and across the world I naively taught that some of our ‘Public representatives’ eg the minister for justice might, bring in a bill that would protect the public they are very well paid to represent from the legal ‘ticket touting’ you see in Ireland, whether it be, by someone shouting ‘Buying and selling tickets’ outside the Gresham Hotel, on All Ireland Sunday, or on the screen of your laptop… I wouldn’t have the slightest interest in going to see U2 again in any case, I already seen them on the Virtigo tour, in Barcelona, it was cheaper to fly to Barcelona, stay in Barcelona and buy the ticket at face value there, than see them in Croke Park last time they played there,. Is it any wonder? our politicians don’t seem to care about rip off Ireland!. Check out the prices of Dublin Hotels for the weekend in question.

  18. My own theory is as follows.
    Freeman missed out on a 40:60 ball just before he was substituted. It was an irrational reaction to that.
    It was a poor day on the sideline. That’s the match where James Nallen walked away in frustration from Horan.
    Anyways, it’s done and Horan did lift us out of the mediocrity we had fell into.
    What I’m liking with Rochford is the eye to the future this year. He’s bringing in young lads with an eye on 2018.

  19. I think the reason Freezer was taken off was because O’Carroll was out in front of him all day long and it was the common problem that he faces – for a big man he does not seem to have the appetitie for and shys away from the physical battles. I think it frustrates managers and the crowd because we know what he can do

  20. @Ger Bohan
    That simply isn’t the case that Freezer was playing second fiddle to O’Carroll. Up to the point where he was taken off Freezer was winning that battle.
    1. He made a solo run with the ball powering through OCarroll and one other defender actually kicked the ball over the bar before the whistle but it was pulled back for a foul on Freezer (wasn’t much in it) and the close in free was scored by Cillian from 14 yards, a pure tapover that was 100% Freemans point.
    2. Mayo’s first point it is Freeman who is one of the players who helps win the ball back.
    3. Freeman is tall and good in the air. He was providing a threat in behind OCarroll and was well capable of winning ball in the air. I recall Freeman being free in behind OCarroll, Dillon was on the right wing, seen him, had time to pass it inside and soloed back out to his left for a conservative handpass.
    In 20 minutes Freeman had directly helped in the scoring of two points.
    The mistake has been in managers bringing Freeman in off the bench around the middle of the pitch. He has to be in the full forward line or nowhere.

  21. iI also think that Freeman has a big part to play. Smaller lighter forwards are OK when playing the lesser teams or against students in the FBD but we have seen too often for ourselves that the small ”LESS POWERFUL” forwards are just not allowed to play when we come up against the Kerrys and Dublins of this world

  22. I live in Meath & the football people could not understand why he was taken off.Also it looked lik CoC was very tired when he missed the last free in AF–he is only human–would Freeman have been an option?

  23. Cillian stays as captain for me, the man done nothing wrong and lead by example .

    Clarke can be vicecaptain .

    Freeman I like but dont see him improving anytime soon or being the world beater everyone ewants him to be and the player we know he can be at times.
    The problem is these performaces are to infrequent and at this stage of his career he should be an important fiqure but hes not .

    I like him and would love to see him do the business but he didnt do it for Horan, C&H or Rochford so they all cant be wrong .

    This may sound controversial and I am not just saying it to be so but one player who I think struggled last year in the All Ireland was Boyler . Yes he does the heroic block and kicks a good score in particular the Tyrone game but I do wonder if he is on the wain or may need time out to refresh .
    Coen was superb last year on Connelly and was never phased by the large task on front of him, Barrett too is rock solid no.6 and I think that 6 or in the halfback line will be Kevin Mc’s position too .

    So maybe if Boyle had time to rest during the league that he could come back all the better for it , he has fair mileage on the clock .
    I think a spell at cornerback would be ideal for him too but again competition is stiff there too with Higgins and Harrison having done little or nothing wrong .

  24. @Outside of the Boot
    Those cameos Freeman has had off the bench at half forward have also coloured our view a bit. Freeman is and always was an out and out inside player (perfectly aware he is often midfield for Aghamore). He was always lost when brought on at half forward. I don’t think we have any Paul Geaney or Diarmuid Connolly type world beaters, but Freeman yes he does have that percentage to go in terms of consistency even when in the inside line.
    Boyler does have a tendency to give away scoreable frees each year. So I don’t think your point is that controversial. It is only last year where I thought his kick passing got better. He tended to always run the ball.
    Barrett I don’t know if can get in ahead of the younger guys now as a starter. But is always a good steady sub.
    Agree with you on Coen. I see a big year ahead for him.

  25. JP, I have to agree with you there about Freeman in the final, I have spoken to a relative on the Dublin team about that substitute, and they couldn’t believe they took him off that day, as he was the only danger man they were worried about, and he was winning his ball against o carroll.

  26. Except for public announcements Ballina as a venue was very good. Easy to park and you get real close to the players. This coming from someone living on the Galway border!. Rochford was right in that I would not worry about forwards not clicking at this time of the year. The big worry was the amount of scores we conceded. Whilst the ref did not help with his refusal to allow any type of physical contact the backs needed a bit more aggression and the midfield and half backs especially need to get tighter. Whilst Kirby showed well for the ball he allowed his man far too much space. I agree about Boland. He just looks so smooth. Someone said ‘perpetual motion’. I also think that he may be a bit early for this year as the games get more physical. Hope he proves us all wrong. Regan showed well. He would need to keep his head up more. He made some bad decisions in that he could have passed a couple of times when he shot instead and sometimes he got wrapped up when a quick ball would have got him out of trouble. Not a bad player though. Irwin looked good when he had the ball. He has a problem though in dealing with low ball and does not seem very flexible. Yoga, cardio work and dietary advice. Has the potential to go all the way. Liked his interaction with the manager when he was substituted. Cian Costello can strike a good ball. Freezer could have had 3 or 4 more points if he was a little bit greedier.

  27. Will some of ye relax a bit last week it was Adam Gallagher this week it’s freeman people raving about.its only January don’t be getting too excited yet about certain performances this time of the year!
    Roscommon were world beaters last Jan and February and look where that got them!

  28. Agreed Aidan. Mind you its natural that we might want to find our great white hope (or any colour hope). I expect that to continue each year at this time until the holy grail if finally landed.

  29. In an idle moment yesterday, I happened on an old programme from the Connacht SF v Leitrim in 2012. (Yes I know this is on the archive Willie Joe, and great it is, but the feel of paper is important too!)

    Here is the team from that match:

    Names seem familiar? All there still – 5 years later – bar Danny Geraghty and they were there for a couple of years before that.

    This is a compliment to the dedication of the guys – something we all know about. It’s also a worry. Can they really perform to the highest level again this year? The Galways of the world are looking at those names and asking the same questions, and saying they can’t – see recent interviews with Gary Sice for example.

    This is why these early season games are so important. We really must find 3 or 4 who can step up and step in. So far it would seem, the prospects are bright. Let’s hope this continues.

  30. I reckon that in the 2013 final, James Horan wanted to get Michael Conroy on the field as he had a good record of kicking a few points against the Dubs. Unfortunately Alan Freeman was the man taken off and to compound the error Michael Conroy didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet.

    Compare that to Eoghan O’Gara who came on in that final for the Dubs before half-time also and went on to kick two points. Such are the margins All-Ireland titles are won by. If Conroy and scored two points and O’Gara was held scoreless then it could have been us celebrating but alas it wasn’t.

    Managers probably make hundreds of right decisions in a season but we always remember ones like Freeman been taken off and us changing our keeper last year. The bottom line is that since 1951 we have had things like this happening. A few examples below:

    1. Why was Pat Holmes left on Maurice Fitzgerald while he was running riot in 1997.
    2. Why were three lines of the team changed when we got one injury to a defender in that game also, after we brought on one sub.
    3. In last year’s replay why did we bring on a player who wasn’t fully fit but again the Dubs brought on a lad from nowhere who kicked 3 points from play.
    4. Why was Kevin Keane started on Michael Murphy in the 2012 final.
    5. Why was no provision made for Kieran Donaghy when he came on against us in 2014.
    6. Why was David Brady not started in either the 2004 or 2006 finals.
    7. Why was Larry Finnerty started in the 1996 final replay, when even in 1989, in his prime he wasn’t a first choice player.
    8. Why did Kevin O’Neil not get more game time in the big matches in 1996 and 1997.
    9. Why was TJ Kilganon started in the 1989 final when he didn’t seem to be fit.

    etc. etc. etc. I’m sure all of our managers had good reasons at the time when making these decisions but nothing can now change any of these decisions. Most of these big calls went against us.

    2017 is a new year, let’s hope that we don’t make any decisions like the above ones in the coming year.

  31. Aidan last January Roscommon lost the FBD final to Galway and they lost their opening NFL game at home to Monaghan. When they went on winning run they eventually crashed to Kerry in Croke park and they never fully recovered from it. In fairness the same happened to Mayo in 2010 with that league defeat to Cork.

    Championship can be worried later what is important right now is the NFL. Mayo need to get off to a good start and not get dragged into a relegation dogfight again, I know some don’t care much for the NFL but IMO it’s a national title it’s done Dublin no harm winning it and Mayo should be challenging for all national titles.

    It’s Monaghan,Kerry first for Mayo both of those counties are motoring well right now while Mayo have yet to field anything close to a strong team yet this year and I think that should change Sunday.

  32. Hopespringseternal some good points .i like to think I could answer number 4 for you why Kevin Keane was put on Murphy.
    In the league that year in ballyshannon when we played Donegal Murphy got the better of caff that day by a good bit so I imagine that’s why Keane started that day on Murphy!
    Fine margins but if it worked great.i suppose it’s the old cliche managers live and die by their decisions some work some don’t!

  33. I’d love to see us reach the FBD final v Galway. Be another opportunity for lads like Boland, Newcombe, Byrne et al to get more vital experience.

    And there would be a bite to a game like that as well.

    It’s a tall order, I think we need to win by 15 on Sunday, but sure lets give it a rattle!

    As a side note, this has got to be the most entertaining FBD League of all time! Both games were really enjoyable!

  34. MayoMark I’ve read the margin we need might only be 9 points but I’ve heard 15 also.

    For good measure it would be nice to beat Roscommon by a combination of the 2, so I’ll be looking for a 24 point victory, just to be bould.

  35. I’ve read the 9 alright FDB but can’t figure out the rationale behind it

    We’ve lost by 3 and won by 5, so we are +3

    Rossies have won by 25 (Sligo IT) and won by 6 (NUIG), leaving them +31

    If we win by 15, we will be on +18 and they will be on +16!

    Correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

  36. I heard Kevin M stay say on mid west last Sunday that they were already in the final. Could not fathom that one

  37. MayoMark, Im just telling you what I was told. A bad move from the sideline that cost us.

  38. Whats done is done, past is past , Maughan made mistakes, O Mahoney, Horan and Rochford but all in an attempt to gain that bit extra to get across the line .

    Freeman is the new Richie Feeney who was the new Kevin O Neill who was the new Brogan, its a wheel that will keep turning and players that didnt play getting better untill such time as we actually do win an All Ireland .

  39. Regards thhe issue of Kevin Keane being given the marking job on Murphy in 2012 can I remind you that in the run up to the finaal Murphy was playing most of his football around midfield [as he still does] and McFadden was playing the full forward role. So Horan’s decision was reasonable but I always think a manager should anticipate the opposition changing things around when least expected. If Horan’s [presumed] instructions had been phrased differently “Caff at full back and Kevin to follow their roving man” it might have been a different game. Caff had, after all, handled Donaghy very well in the 2011 semifinal.

  40. I don’t think there were many backs in Ireland who would have stopped Murphy that day. It was a screamer of a goal in fairness. What ****ed us in that final was the concession of the second goal which came from a Donegal free-out which should have been a free-in to us… followed with the ball coming off the post and the ball slipping through a player’s hands… leaving us seven points behind and too big of a mountain to climb… typical rotten luck that always seems to strike us at precisely the wrong moment. We can look back at all the times when things went wrong for us, turning it over in our minds as if repeatedly ploughing a field but all that will achieve is driving ourselves demented. What’s done is done. Look to the good days ahead of us, there will be plenty to come, mark my words.

    JP I fully agree with you about Freeman, the closer he is to the endline the more dangerous he becomes. Think back to Tyrone in 2013, the disallowed goal, Kerry in the league 2015 etc. Certain players in Mayo do seem to get better the more they don’t play but I don’t think Freeman got a fair shake, certainly not from Horan. He was better than some of the players that got in ahead of him IMO

  41. Don’t understand the freeman didn’t get a fair crack under Horan line. He got lots of game time and in 13 when we raked up massive scores v galway and Donegal his contribution as a ff was poor. He has a tendency to pull out too , of course when I say this I will be told oh no he doesn’t, hide from the truth if you wish , 50/50 ball his marker will win the vast majority . nothing against the lad at all and like all Mayo players I hope he does brilliant , I just don’t think he will.

  42. Have good time for Freeman but wouldnt get too carried away by a half decent performance by him in FBD in January. He has flattered to deceive throughout his Mayo career. He is a confidence player, but its hard to build up confidence when not playing well enough. Seems to have physique and technique but, pardon the pun, he freezes far to often on the big stage. Would love to see him throw off the shackles this year and put in some great performances.

  43. Yes onwards and upwards, there is not much point in looking back now!

    The Mayo News are reporting that we need to beat Roscommon by more than 13 points if we want to make the final or if IT Sligo beat NUIG, then we just need to win our game.

    They also report the following: Stephen Rochford is expected to send out his strongest team of the campaign so far next weekend with Rob Hennelly, Keith Higgins, Colm Boyle, Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran and Cillian O’Connor all in line to start for the first time this year.

  44. I wouldn’t be worrying about playing a strong team against Roscommon trying to make an Fbd final although I can see merit In giving a few of the senior lads a run out ahead of the league against a Roscommon team that would like to hammer us I feel it’s more Important to give our fringe players another chance to see what they can do and gain experience playing games is the only way to get it. I think results in January aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things.

  45. At 28 its unlikely to happen for him now. Its all fine pulling down a ball by positioning himself behind a small student, but how many times have we seen him try this against the top inter county full backs and get cleaned. The frustration that a lot of people that I talk to have is the fact that he does not seem to like to get out in front of the defender.
    I think that could be a frustration for managers alike. Time to move on with developing some of the younger contenders within the squad.

  46. I want to praise all Mayo players,but in saying that James Horan made a mistake in 2113 I don’t believe it,saw a couple balls that Freeman pulled out from,don’t want to criticise him or anybody else but some posters have started it,in my opinion James Horan started this wonderful journey that we have the privilege of been on,he might have made the odd mistake but nothing like 97,or Longford 2010,it seems like the less you play the better you are,but now we must look forward and give our full support to Stephen,wou will have very difficult decisions to make,not on who stays but who leaves,but hopefully this is the year

  47. This thread is turning into a reeling back the years for Mayo football…As a few of us attempted to make sense of it all that evening outside the palace bar I remember one line clearly..”Why the f**k was Freeman taken off”..He may have had his faults but no one there that day could answer. .

  48. Re Freeman, my opinion is that he is better in the corner than at full forward.
    Re last weekend i heard from a Mayoman at Galway v Leitrim that Galway were very impressive, even allowing that Leitrim were poor on the day. Galway were lucky in getting the break from a ball off the post for their first goal but then they ran through the Leitrim defence to register two more in as many minutes. 3 goals in 3 minutes, game over. But with Ó Currain and Michael Day at midfield and Thomas Flynn and Conroy at half forward they looked very strong around the middle. Add in Michael Daly and Comer and they begin to look very potent. They also have a newcomer, McHugh, at full forward who can kick score from play and frees/45’s and looks very promising. Expect to see them join us in Div 1 of NFL by Easter. Makes for an interesting summer.

  49. It usually takes 30 years for classified documents to be released, so we might have to wait until 2043 to find out the full story behind the Freeman saga! At this stage it must be up there in the top 3 mysteries in the world:

    1. Who shot JFK and why
    2. Who shot JR
    3. Why was Alan Freeman taken off on the 2013 All-Ireland final

  50. MayoMark any positive margin in our score difference would need to be deducted from Roscommon’s (and vice versa).
    So if we were to win by 16, you would have to deduct that 16 from their margin.

    That said I’ve since seen 13 points as the required margin.

    Is there anywhere apart from Wikipedia that has an online record of the FBD League table?. The Wikipedia page has our points diff as 4, and Rossies as 31. If that is accurate, my Maths tells me that we need a 14 point victory, which will lift our points difference to +18, and change the Rossies to +17.

    Just to be safe I’d like to see a 32 point victory over the Rossies, to entirely negate their positive score difference. I’d settle for a 16 point victory anyway.

  51. Just to add my two cents to the Alan Freeman debate – I watched the final back very closely. Horan was “big” into tracking back and “stopping” the ball coming in, which required a supreme defensive effort from the forwards. There was a distinct moment, if memory serves, under the Hogan stand sideline where Freeman decided to stop tracking his man, and stood and pulled up his socks instead while his man ran up the field. He was taken off shortly after for Michael Conroy, who had caused excitement with his running cameo against Tyrone in the semi-final, and who had scored 3 points from play in the league against Dublin. Rightly or wrongly, Horan made a decision.

    On Freeman as a player, he has good hands, had good feet, and a big frame. Where he needs to improve is how he uses that frame, and his movement off the ball. With the ball in hand, he is dangerous. The problem is he doesn’t get on the ball enough.

  52. I can’t believe I’m back writing about the 2013 Final but anyway…I recall that James Horan was anxious to get Michael Conroy involved, he had caused serious trouble for the Dublin defence in the 2012 semi final the previous year and the way the teams matched up in 2013 it was felt he could cause similar problems again.

    He did set up the goal in the second half. That, I’m pretty sure was the logic behind the change.

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