Monday match reports

It’s a dreary, misty Monday morning in the west, more like November than the day on which the Spring Equinox falls. Despite this, there’s an undeniable spring in our collective step this morning.

We’re still unbeaten, we’re in the Division One decider and we’re less than three weeks out from a Connacht SFC meeting with Roscommon, on Easter Sunday of all days. What a time to be alive.

Let’s have the usual rapid gallop through the online coverage of yesterday’s emphatic win over Donegal, as well as what’s online about the other games involving the county over the weekend.

Locals: Mayo News, Connaught Telegraph, Western People, Midwest Radio, Donegal Live, Donegal Daily, Ocean FM (audio).

Nationals: Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Irish Independent, Irish Sun, Irish News.

Others: GAA, RTÉ (match report, Kevin McStay quotes), BBC, The 42, Sports News Ireland.

Photos: Sportsfile, Inpho.

Video: GAA (highlights), TG4 (Kevin McStay, Paddy Durcan/Aidan O’Shea).

Stats: Stephen O’Meara.

LGFA match against Galway: Mayo News, Irish Independent, Ladies Football.

Hurlers’ match against Louth: Connaught Telegraph, Irish Independent.

If you’re in search of audio, our Final Whistle podcast, in which Rob and I were joined on the terrace at MacCumhaill Park after the game by podcast regular Colm Boyle and by Donegal’s Martin McHugh, is just the job.

It was a hugely informative chat with two legends of the game and it’s online on Patreon – details here. Our match review pod will be online later tonight, with more from Ballybofey and also with an eye ahead to the Monaghan game and beyond.

Finally, don’t forget the MOTM poll. This one’s a done deal, I reckon, but it’s always good to give a push to the lads you felt stood out for us on the pitch. I don’t envy anyone’s job, though, of narrowing the choice down to just three players from yesterday’s game.

I’ll have the result of the poll up on the blog later this evening. In the meantime, enjoy the Monday morning drizzle. Up Mayo.

41 thoughts on “Monday match reports

  1. Another good victory by Mayo and deserved to be in league final! However, Dun na nGall were very poor!
    Our forwards looking good plenty of scores from all forwards! Conroy looks very good/ huge speed, Aiden O’ Shea reinvigorated!
    League final will be a real challenge maybe Galway/Kerry/Roscommon/Tyrone
    Onwards and upwards
    Mhuigeo Abu!
    Bfeidir go mbead se (?) ag teacht abhaile!!

  2. Great game by mayo Donegal where poor but we can only play whats in front of us…

    Great to see our momentum back and credit to mcstay and co for that.
    only early days but promising stuff.

    see other counties are saying it is only because we are ahead in fitness and come summer kerry Dubs etc will ruin us find this very insulting haha but sure we will see how they do then wont we ha onwards and upwards!

    Has Robbie hennelly left the panel? I still think colm Reape is the number 1 goalie!

    Tommy C certanily has not lost his pace needs more game to get his shooting right but he is going great..

    Well mcstay was right about Aido being a full forward it his spot !
    Ryan OD a class act again. Think when we have a fully fit Ryan O D Tommy C and Aido we will be a very dangerous team!

  3. Another great result and some top notch performance’s. One report in the Independent a couple of weeks ago called Aiden our Renaissance man. I didn’t give it to much credence at the time but he has been brilliant under the new set up. A big performance in a league final in Croke Park could really work wonders for him to I feel and bring him on even further. My preference for opponent would be Galway.

    On a more general note there appears to be some serious pace in this team with the potential for more and I’d go as far as to say maybe our fastest ever

  4. Having league finals is ridiculous. I don’t know of any other league in the world that does this. The first placed team after 7 rounds should win the league end of story. It’s just adding another pointless fixture in an already congested calendar.
    It’d be like the Irish rugby team now having to play France to see who wins the 6 nations. GAA need to wake up – with reduced time in a split condensed season surely this is one fixture which should be scrapped

  5. I thought Diarmuid so well for Ryans goal-the pop pass took out three defenders in a flash.Thats what you get with himself and Cillian and some others-quick thinking and speed of pass was brilliant

  6. I like those thought provokerd.
    I think it is our quickest team and it could be our tallest team.
    Both in my view are overlooked ingredients of the game plan.
    I don’t know if we should start Cillian because as I see it the game plan relies on lots of pace all over the field. If we twin Aidan and Cillian then we have a section of the field where we have less pace.
    Cillian is a better pure footballer than Fionn McDonagh and James Carr but there’s a certain comfort and quality in having so much mobility and height all over the field.

  7. Further progression from McStay and Mayo.
    Considering our league record away in Donegal and their absolute need for a win to retain their division one status, that was a very good performance in difficult underfoot conditions. There is much to like about where we are at and while we are all aware that this is only the league and it is only March, the truth is that we really need to be motoring as well as we are. Our championship will be more competitive than Leinster or Munster, and we need to be in great shape for Galway in 5 weeks time. That game is where we need to be really sharp, aggressive and set in our plays. No disrespect to Roscommon but I see us getting over them without having to be completely “at it”, but Galway will be a different kettle of fish. In real terms, what would normally have been July intensity and physicality for a Connaught game, must be brought forward 3 months to April so we do need to be shifting across the ground very lively and hitting hard by then.

    We still have work to do on parts of our game, e.g. we are surprisingly open down the middle channel when teams run at us and I felt we failed to put a proper hit in on the Donegal runners until they came well within scoring range. Maybe this is because we have 4 new players in our back 6, or maybe it is because Loftus isn’t the “traditional” centre half who can drop players coming down his channel? I’m sure it will be looked at and tweaked nearer championship. Many players have stepped in and stood up and are real contenders for starting championship geansais. Reape looks more assured with each game. His kickouts are very good, he is good for a point or two per game, looks more confident under a high ball in and is extrememly comfortable when he comes out with the ball. Coyne has been surprisingly good and has grown into the position. It’s a big step up from Intermediate club football to Division One inter county but he has ticked every box along the way. McBrien, although beaten to the first two high balls yesterday, eventually got to grips with his man and finished strongly. Callinan and McHugh have also seemlessly stepped in and look like they have been there for 3 or 4 seasons already. For the first time in a long time we have a threatening half forward line. Mobile, tall, strong and contributing to 5 or 6 points every game this has been the single biggest improvement in our play. Under Horan our half forward line was impotent, made up of grafters with honest hard running, but afraid to kick the ball and never a threat to the scoreboard. Now they all need watching. Our attacking play is totally unrecognisable from the Horan era, with the expansive use of angled runs, accurate kick passes and holding 2 forwards up top nearly all the time. The point of attack is constantly changing and that makes it very difficult to defend against.
    We’re by no means the finished article but we have a real momentum behind us and that is a great way to have things rolling into the championship. Conroy, Cillian and O’Hora to get sharper over the next few weeks is another cause for optimism.

  8. What price were we with the bookies at the start of the league to win the all Ireland ? 5/1 this morning, im near certain it was at least 10/1 at the start of the league

  9. Very good assessment above. Durcan appeared to be the hold up player in chb position yesterday with Loftus given a free role. It worked well and OHora is another player capable of holding a central position. A league final will be the acid test as its still a work in progress. No doubt the management /players are working hard at analysing /fixing problems as they arise..
    Its great that this team is being challenged to bring its A game to a ‘final’ in croke park. While i would be in favour of the comp on league basis, this is exactly what we need.

  10. Our Time has Come – couldn’t agree more

    Most of the rugby club leagues have finals too – but I guess that’s a trade off for clubs needing to release their best players in the international windows, and with player welfare as it is you can’t be playing a full season with your best 15 starting all games, so teams need to “sacrifice” a few games here and there. Imagine Arsenal having to play City in a premiership final in May however and as you say a “6 nations” final in a neutral venue

    I also think the 2 up and 2 down is excessive

    It really goes against the spirit of a competition imo that a team could win 3 out of 7 matches and be feasibly relegated – some teams can actually be in contention for both relegation and promotion on the last day at times. I personally don’t think potential for drama should take precedence over fairness & common sense when devising competition formats

    I’m guessing we’ve now probably now seen the last of Donegal as a competitive force for a while. They could genuinely be in serious danger of relegation to D3 in the next year or two also by the looks of things. With Derry and surely Dublin coming up and replacing two much inferior sides we could well be looking at the most competitive D1 next year that we’ve ever seen.
    Mayo to get relegated after experiencing the mother and father of all All Ireland victory hangovers 🙂

  11. We were 14/1 to win the AI at the start of the year.

    Connacht at 6/1 to be the winning province is available as is Ulster at 12/1. Both decent value bets

  12. I got 14/1 each way few months ago.

    The half backline is one area I would like see some alternatives tried.

  13. I agree there should be no league finals.
    I would be happy enough with the two up and two down. Without this the last few rounds of the league could be meanlingless with teams mid table not been able to get promoted and not likely to get relegated either and therefore nothing to play for. Also a team in division in two for example could win 6 out of 7 games and draw the last game and still not get promoted.

  14. Galway, Mayo going great but if I cast my mind forward to July can I deep down really see either beating a Kerry in full throttle in the heat of knock-out championship? Plenty went Galway’s way in the final last year and still a nervy enough Kerry reigned supreme, they’re hard bloody won.

    As Galway found out, and as Mayo found out over the years, the pressure cooker of All Ireland finals can lead to scores being at more of a premium, and you need several of your forwards to stand up and chip in with scores but that’s always easier said than done. Guys that are doing fine in the league could look way out of their depth as the intensity rises and the year progresses

    I think we’ll be on this blog in a few months time lamenting our own lack of depth in the big games and/or criticising Galway’s. If truth be told Matthew Tierney and Carney are probably the only forwards from both (outside of the obvious) that I believe have really driven on consistently in the league and I could see making a real impact in a big championship knockout game and could truly rattle a Kerry or Dublin.

    I think both Galway and Mayo are capable of winning an All Ireland but will likely need a few breaks along the way and their odds are fair enough imo (both are 7/1 and 3rd/4th favourites with Paddy Power)

  15. Galway will never get as good a chance of winning the final as they had last year.
    Walsh will be a marked man and will be taken out of the game by fair or foul means.
    The element of surprise is gone.

  16. Walsh was already a marked man last year. Both Derry and Armagh kept him relatively quiet with man markers. Galway still won those games though. Kerry had their best defender on him. It didn’t matter as he just took his game to a new level in the final. Nobody could lay a finger on him. That doesn’t happen every game though.

  17. Are Kerry and Dublin going to be at a really top level come summer time?
    That’s not a given. One could make the case that Mayo and Galway will have more about them in terms of pace, power and jerseys 20-26. When you start to get into the depth of your panel late in the summer or in games that go to extra time.
    For me Dublin and Kerry are on the same level with Tyrone, Mayo and Galway.
    I mean that I think those are the five in the running for Sam.

  18. Just recovering from a fairly hectic weekend in Donegal…..
    Donegal are in a very bad place . It’s a pity for such a proud footballing county .
    We should count our blessings that we are competitive this year considering thev loss of lee and Oisin . Time will tell how much they will be truly missed but the lads are stepping up to the plate and hopefully we will see more lads getting game time against Monaghan but Mcstay has clearly said they want to make McHale Park a fortress.
    Think Carney is doing really well and has the ‘cut ‘ of a real natural footballer.
    At the start of the season I really thought Aiden would be an impact sub but I’m delighted to be proved wrong … whatever is being coached at training is being listened to and it’s working!!
    Other positive is different lads are stepping up each game . We have Cillian and Hession to come back and hopefully we will see more of E McL , O Hora , Kevin Mc and others against Monaghan.
    Think Mcstay and Co know their best mid field and 6 best forwards … Still places up for grabs in defence..
    Competition to make the 26 is savage.
    Still annoys me that league final on before 1st round but nothing we can do about that….
    With games coming thick and fast … the strength of our panel will surely dictate how far we go .

  19. I think there should be a few changes for the next game. If for no other reason than morale in the squad. Despite all the talk about everyone so happy imagine the lads close to playing what would be going on in their head thinking if i can’t get a game with nothing really at stake then what chances have i when the real stuff begins. I’d like to see towey,touhy,Doherty,Byrne McLaughlin if fit, maybe Irwin get a run, some from the start. 5 or 6 changes would still send out a good team

  20. A professional gambler once told me that they back winners, not odds and certainly with no sentiment. He said, the bookies make most of their money from passionate fans, amateur gamblers, and those unfortunates that have a bad gambling problem.
    I can see the sense in what he said, but what harm is there is a small sensible flutter (a figure you can afford to lose) for an interest now and again?

    I see the Higher Education Rising Stars 2023 Football Team of the Year was announced this afternoon, with two Mayomen honoured, not from from the Sigerson winners, UCC, were honoured.
    Congrats to Jack Coyne (UL, & Ballyhaunis,) at left-corner back and to Cian Hanley (TU Dublin, & Ballaghaderreen), at right-wing back.
    Is Cian in the county senior squad?

  21. I wouldn’t write off Roscommon chance’s of making the League Final at all. The Rossies probably need to concentrate on a better and more structured start than they had versus Mayo and Kerry. Remember this that the Primrose and Blue came within a brave last ditch block by Diarmuid O Connor of beating Mayo in Dr Hyde Park only two weeks ago,,and I would suggest that 6 or 7 time’s out of 10, that probable penalty would have been given also in the last minute in Tralee,.The scoring of which would surely have ended the match in a worthy draw v Kerry. I don’t want to be disrespectful towards Donegal, and while it is mathematically possible for Donegal to avoid relegation , it’s about the same chance of one of them asteroids flying around in Space hitting Earth and destroying all life on Earth in 2023. It’s not beyond the bounds of possiblity that Roscommon could go on a bit of a run v a demoralized Tír Chonall and if the Kingdom beat the Tribesmen by a small margin that actually Roscommon end up the best on scoring difference of the teams on 8 points . And all hail the Rossies in a league final versus their absolute favorite county, as many of ye have alluded to, Mayo. Another getting to know your neighbor session for both Mayo and Galway and possibly another phoney war. Who knows? . At the present moment I’m more worried about the possibility of that Astroid hitting Earth, it will be a bitter day for all on the Mayo GAA Blog the day the World comes to an End!

  22. Yeah on the topic of the Roscommon Penalty shout in Tralee – I could see why the ref might not be too keen to give it but by the same token I couldn’t see why he gave the free out.

  23. Will McStay be different to Horan and let panel members outside the 26 for Monaghan Sunday play for there Clubs the weekend, Joyce did it for the 1st round League games in Galway last week.they need football games in my opinion.

  24. Horan did let panel members play club league games last summer. I remember it was after that Fergal Boland started appearing off the bench for Mayo

  25. I would hope that the 11 players listed as subs against Donegal will start the Monaghan game. It’s an ideal opportunity to see where these lads are at.
    County football is not a best 15 players game anymore. It’s a panel of at least 25 players any of which can come on a do a job.
    Are those 11 players fit to start or come on in a big championship game – they deserve a start against Monagha to prove their worth.

  26. @Southmayo Exile.. I’m inclined to agree with you as regards many of our current panelists playing versus Monaghan..On an earlier post I disagree with you, it’s not possible to win 6 game’s and draw one in Div Two and not get promoted. Two teams could end up with 13 points but 3 can’t mathematically. In that scenario the only other possible team to draw with would be the other team on 13 points.. But the most a third place team could possibly have would be 10 points having lost at least twice versus the top two teams. And two teams get promoted!.

  27. Lean times- the point I was making earlier was that if only one team got promoted each year instead of two and there was no league finals – then a team with 6 wins and a draw – if they drew with another team that had 6 wins and a draw – then one of these teams would lose out on promotion on scoring difference. This would be harsh. Two teams up and down ensure there is more to play for in the last few rounds of the league.

  28. Really enjoyed it yesterday in Donegal’s backyard. No pressure – an armchair ride, though I felt if we didn’t goal early in the second half, Donegal could have clawed their way back.

    That said, Donegal were terrible, but hold on, haven’t we been saying that about every team we have hammered in the past few weeks? I don’t think any team will like playing us, with our pace and power all over the field. Our half forward line is lean and mean – McStay was giving Fionn some TLC as he walked off – I’d say his ‘mileage’ was savage.

    Areas to improve: no and I mean NO dropping short; creating and taking goal chances; better support for runners, Tommy particularly.

  29. No TV coverage of the Mayo v Monaghan next week. I suppose we can’t complain as all other matches were on TG4.
    Mile buiochas do TG4

  30. I would still like to win the match and keep the
    Good wining run going. Winning is a habit and
    We should keep it going. Yes I also agree with playing
    Many of the 11 lads that were on the subs bench yesterday.

  31. I’d say that to give as many of the bench a fair chance I hope there’s enough of a core / spine included in the team to mean that the team’s performance isn’t disjointed. If we fling on a complete B team we’d risk treating it like a training match.

  32. Rte league highlights were bizarre. Too much focus on Donegal administration problems. Neither panellist nor Joanne really know full story of why changes yet spend 5 minutes discussing the fact they don’t know.

  33. @exile.agree fully. 4 or 5 changes max. Can’t judge the players unless they have experienced players around them. It would be unfair to expect players to be able to perform to the max with everyone on trial.

  34. @oilean acla no guess we cant complain but would have been nice. I do not think we will see a second string mayo team or will we?

    I cant decide.. as others have has said mcstay wants mchale park to become a fortress and to win a match thats there to be won..we should be trying other players next week maybe think Tommy c should start for sure.

    heard some kerry folk saying we will loose to monghan with a 2nd string mayo team? who is to say our 2nd team cant hold up just is well no offence to monghan..

    also heard kerry want revenge for the other week we hammered them course they do ha but sure do we not want revenge against kerry for last years league? haha….but I should not listen to their counties to much either haha kerry will bounce back.

    Galway will beat kerry well next weekend be an interesting weekend..

  35. As an aside I was just thinking we have another string to our bow this year, in Lee Keegan with his off field journalistic input, which will become very important to us going forward. It is something we never had before in my view.. an individual of such high gaa calibre that is strong enough to counter a lot of the tired old gaa writings of the Brolly’s Spillane’s, O’Shea, etc.. by not necessarily calling them out on their auld shafodge they write but by introducing fresh material, fresh thinking and by raising the bar on what is written. The timing of his piece on ‘no one wanting to win the league’ killed off so much other rubbish out there. Can’t wait to see what else he rights as the year goes on and something tells me it going to continue to help ease our journey wherever it leads

  36. Even though returning players need plenty of game time , a consistent 15 is now the important thing to nail down just at the right time coming out of the league and into championship that same 15 bar a couple of changes needs to start gelling , the competition for places seems top class so a bench of players that doesn’t weaken the team is great to have we hafnt had that since forever , Kerry did similar last year and worked ok for them , go full steam for league final and into rossy game with confidence

  37. Our match review pod is online for club members on Patreon. Rob hosts and is joined by Billy Joe Padden and Ger Flanagan as they look back on yesterday’s game and look ahead to the Championship, also Mike speaks post-game with Stephen Rochford.

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