More on Sunday’s game

Sunday’s topsy-turvy loss to Tyrone has generated plenty of discussion here and elsewhere over the past few days but, in case you haven’t seen them yet, the pieces in this week’s Mayo News by Edwin McGreal and Sean Rice are definitely worth a look. So too is Emmet Ryan’s forensic assessment over at of the tactics employed by both teams at McHale Park the last day.

Ed is absolutely on the money when he says that defeat last Sunday is likely to be of much greater use to us in the long-term if it helps to  highlight the problems we’ve currently got, problems which were so evident for at least sixty out of the seventy minutes on Sunday. It’s also the case, as Ed points out, that the post-match narrative would be entirely different from our point of view – and, no doubt, from Tyrone’s as well – had we held out to snatch what would have been an undeserved win.

Had we won, we’d still, no doubt, be drying our eyes from all the guffawing about what great crack it was and how close we’d sailed to the wind. There would, I’m sure, have been far less talk about all that had gone wrong in the lead-up to the comeback and on the areas that need to be sorted over the coming weeks. In that sense Stephen O’Neill’s last-minute penalty saved us from the luxury of being able to gloss over what happened in such a superficial way. In the overall scheme of things that’s no bad outcome.

We have issues to resolve, for sure, but equally it’s good that they’re coming out now. We’ve plenty of time and more than enough league games left to put them right and, while we’re at it, to retain our Division One status too. In his first two years in the job, James Horan has managed to get through a hell of a lot of experimentation and fine-tuning over the course of the league – in both years nailing down Division One survival with a match to spare – and we should have every confidence in his ability to do so again this year.

And we shouldn’t be too worried either about points slipping away and all those hard matches facing us. We should instead be looking forward with expectation to Croke Park and another tilt at the Dubs and then later in the campaign the opportunity to extract some revenge (though nothing like a full measure – this is still only the league, after all) when we renew acquaintances with Donegal and Cork. And the day we start trembling in our boots about the likes of Kildare coming to town will truly be a sad day for us.

Finally, I know we can’t change Sunday’s result and we can’t do anything about the penalty award either but I think we’ve had the poll on that decision up for long enough at this stage. So, with 99 votes cast, it’s time to declare the result – the Yes side have it, by 55% to 45%. Not an overwhelming margin but a decisive enough one in the circumstances.

15 thoughts on “More on Sunday’s game

  1. Following last Sundays match and after reading the many comments and articles, both here and in the news papers, I’m struggling to figure out is the glass half full or is it half empty. You see I’m of the opinion that winning matches even if ugly is important for confidence, something our County could do with, more than most.

    Had we lost by say 4 points based on the way we played, one could accept that, but after somehow grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat and then letting it slip again, can only be put down to carelessness and the loss of two valuable points.

    I had read Sean Rice’s piece “Learning on the Job” and by God he doesn’t pull any punches. You know it must be bad, when Sean uses words like “despair, been outfoxed, lacking guile, and not taking responsibility” in describing how we played.

    Maybe after getting that bit off my chest, I should take another look at the glass 🙂

  2. Noody so far has given Tyrone much credit! We have to be fair and say they put in a huge effort to frustrate us when we had possesion. It worked and fair play to them. Also they took some good scores from play. They will cause trouble for a lot of teams this year.

  3. I agree. I watched Tyrone last year and thought they were poor enough. I think they have definitely improved this year. They seem physically to be stouter than the Mayo players. When they break they break very quick. I thought this was a strength of Mayo but Tyrone were lighthouses better on Sunday. They defend better right from the forwards back. Saying that Mayo are up there with the best. If we didn’t give away so much soft ball we would have won. Cant blame the swarm defence for everything. No point in just saying Mayo had a bad day. This is not good enough.

  4. Listened to the first half on Mid West, lost the sound, and got the second half via RNG sound while watching the rugby and ‘saw’ the last 12 minutes on TG4. Mayo looked quite good in this phase, patient and creative and were so rampant that the Tyrone possession and last attack were criminal in terms of closing space and men.

    What we need to realise is that this year is going to be harder. Other teams are on to us. Some of them owe us one and will have huge motivation and they will have studies our videos and know our tricks. So we need to adapt all the time and take the games to the opposition and outfox them. So far there has been no sign of that – even Kerry were in the game until quite late.

  5. One key observation for be…….Many times we had possession straight through the middle but from half forward mark onwards our guys just would not shoot for a straight on point…..kept offloading to a man either side who then got swarmed by the Tyrone men…We must not be afraid to take all point
    opportunities we get

  6. Even though we have only played two games, I have been wondering about the lack of game time being given to some of the younger lads on the panel; Darren Coen, Conor O Shea, Michael Walsh, Danny Kirby, Michael Forde and Evan Regan (Particularly looking forward to seeing what the latter has to offer).

    I know that last year James released all or most of the U-21s to train and play with that team during the league so as not to induce over training (particularly as some of them would also be playing with colleges). Does anyone know if he has done something similar this year or if some of these lads are injured as I would be surprised if he was not eager to see how they could fit in to the set up. I’m not even sure if Michael Walsh is U-21 or not this year.

  7. Also id expect Cillian to be reasonably fit on his comeback from injury as he shouldn’t be restricted from doing all of the heavy running and non contact drills at this stage of his rehab from a dislocated shoulder.

    Unlike last year where he took quite a while to get back to fitness after the fractured metatarsal. He would have been restricted from running and his general fitness and physique seemed lacking and led to some poor performances during the league.
    Hopefully will lead to a quicker return to form this year.

  8. from the irish times… not exactly wanting to start this debate again but…

    Cause a riot

    Sometimes, it is hard to believe that Brolly isn’t saying what he says just to get a rise out of people. At his worst, Brolly could cause a riot in a convent. But he insists it isn’t premeditated. His comments on what he saw as systematic fouling by the Mayo team were aired before the All-Ireland final. It is easy to understand why James Horan, the Mayo manager, voiced his grievance afterwards. It appeared as if an RTÉ analyst had deliberately singled out his team for criticism. Brolly was asked by RTÉ to do a piece on Mayo and it was only when he studied their win over Dublin that he came to his conclusion.

    “The RTÉ sports department watched the clips and satisfied themselves that it was technically right because they appreciated that it wasn’t going to go down well in Mayo. There is bad upset and good upset. There is nothing nasty in it and it increases the debate before the final.

    Conspiracy theorists

    “Then, of course, I became a hero in Donegal. Mayo got two yellow cards early in the final for fouling and the word was: ‘that’s down to Brolly’. I had delivered them a title. Yes, I visibly propelled Michael Murphy into the air to catch that ball,” he says drily. “My ability to deliver an All-Ireland to the highest bidder! I am a powerful man and people should be afraid. All those conspiracy theorists can’t be wrong! Look, I don’t go out to be not politically correct. But it is funny the stir it can cause when you say what you think.”

  9. I saw that interview, Roger. Nearly vomited my porridge up over it. I can’t see how that jackass (wonderful human being he may be and all that for what he did) can merit such a spread in the Irish Times: it goes to show their commitment to GAA coverage if that’s the best they can do. Keith Duggan was obviously in a lazy mood yesterday …

  10. Am I the only one on here who is expecting Mayo to not do as well as last year? I’m sorry to sound so bloody negative, but I just feel that other teams, such as Dublin, in particular, Donegal and even the likes of Tyrone, Cork and Kerry (when they have all their players back) may have us sussed. We went an awful long time without scoring in the second half against Kerry as well remember and we almost stole the game against Tyrone, but as Sean Rice or Edwin McGreal said, it would just paper over some cracks. Hopefully though, the team may be more ready for the Dubs, and train that extra bit harder. Playing them in Croker should motivate any man in Ireland and we’ll see a more positive response from the team the next day out I hope.

  11. Do you know, I’ve never met Sean Rice, but that can’t be him in that picture in that lovely saffron geansaí on the Mayo News site.

    Whenever I think of Seán Rice, I’m more inclined to think of a buck with big googlie eyes, big black eyebrows, a mouth big enough to swallow himself and him covered in green fur, living inside in a dustbin down on Sesame Street.

    Seán would want to cheer up a biteen. God only knows what he was like in the 1970s when Mayo couldn’t beat a bloody egg.

  12. I have had the good fortune to meet Sean. A man who has sung the praise of Mayo when it was not profitable or popular, indeed i often disagreed with Sean. But now i am in full agreement with him. Like myself, Sean is of a certain age that has seen many tides ebb and flow and leave nothing tangible on the shore behind it.

    Sundays game against Tyrone told us one thing…we learn nothing. What has been Mayos saving grace over the years has been the ability to produce players good enough on a given day to tan the best of them. Hence we had swings as dire as Donegal and the fog night in last years league polarised with the sublime strong win in late March v Dublin.

    Our problem is we don’t play with a consistant plan and change to us is shuffling the same panel around time and time again. Hence it was clear to one and all that Tyrone played a certain way and we used the back of the envelope last Sunday. Rice is reflecting the emperors clothing…not a bad thing to do and the obligation to cheer people up is risible. Perhaps Mayo might actually achieve something worthwhile if the plain unvarnished truth was painted on instead of sweet nothings and whispered blandishments .

  13. Delighted john cuffe to see you’re in agreement with John Rice. John has been around the block many times and like us all, is happy to lavish praise when praise is due. Equally so, he doesn’t beat around the bush and is not afraid to call a spade a spade. A bit more straight talking – is needed now more than ever.

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