More upbeat talk about Cillian

The team’s pre-final press night was held yesterday evening down in Breaffy and all three nationals this morning have similar quotes from James Horan about Cillian O’Connor and his chances of lining out on the big day. Here they are: Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner.

As you’d expect, all three reports cover much of the same ground – James says he’s being looked after by the experts, he’s doing rehab and the aim is to get him fit to play on the 22nd. In that Indo piece, James confirms that the determining factor in this regard will be the internal match that’ll be played by the squad the weekend before the final. James also stresses in that piece that any decision to play Cillian will be based on medical advice and that if there’s “any risk to the player whatsoever, we wouldn’t entertain it”.

In the course of the Cillian discussion, that Examiner report says that James made a left-of-centre reference to a scene from the film Lethal Weapon which the intrepid Daniel Carey of the Mayo News reckons relates to this. Ouch. Newstalk’s Oisin Langan has also had some fun comparing Mayo with Mel Gibson – here.

Both of those pieces mentioned above in the Indo and the Examiner, by the way, have quotes from James reckoning that Joe McQuillan will be appointed as ref for the final. As well as last year’s semi-final between the two teams, the Cavan official also took charge of this year’s league semi-final between us so there would be a certain logic in giving him this one. It’d make far more sense to do so rather than to give it to Meath’s David Coldrick, who seems to be the other name in the frame for the job.

Final quote from James from this coverage – when asked what he thought about the best game of all time last weekend, he had this to say:

There was a bit of everything in it. There was some good stuff and there was some stuff that maybe wasn’t so good.

Which, as Mister Mayor noted in the comments last night, has to go down as a classic deadpan James Horan quote.

Finally, just to show that we’re not completely partisan where it comes to All-Ireland final songs, here – via Thailand – is one from the other side:

Video: Thai Tims (via YouTube)

56 thoughts on “More upbeat talk about Cillian

  1. As regards David Coldrick in the running, correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think they can give the final to a ref from one of the provinces playing in it. Anyone bar Deegan or either of the Duffys and I will be happy enough.

  2. one of the posters on this site brought up lethal weapon a few days back , cillian will be pulling another houdini act if he stays on the pitch for the whole game.

  3. Just checked back at the records over the past decade, Pebblesmeller, and I think you’re right – they don’t seem to have a problem with refs from the same province for any matches up to the final but not in the final itself. If that’s the case, it looks like a straight choice between Joe McQuillan and Clare’s Rory Hickey (who hasn’t done a final yet).

    I need to go back to the DVD I have of the 2006 match, Kevin, to get O’Rourke’s exact quote. I thought it was the match he was referring to but it could have been the comeback. Leave it with me!

  4. Willie Joe how can you say give the whistle to McQuillan.

    He reffed 5 of Dublin’s games the year they won the All Ireland and basically brought them over the finish line.

    James is clear in what he is saying – anybody but McQuillan. Read between the lines.

  5. A fit Cillian O’Connor togging out for us in the All Ireland would be a huge boost for everyone. Of course the worry would be that he might come through the internal match ok but like in the Semi-final, the shoulder wouldn’t last the rough-and-tumble of the real thing.
    It could be a hard call for James when the time comes – let’s hope for all our sakes it’s the right one…..

  6. As long as the team are expecting him to go off at any given moment they can chance using him. He is a real problem for Dublin if he’s near goal.

  7. That shoulder can’t be right, if he gets it hurt 5 minutes into the game, were he to start, the last thing Mayo players would want is bring ruffled by it. They would need to have it in the head that he’s on borrowed time and that’s it.
    I imagine that he will have it surgically repaired soon after game 6.
    This has been one long week, December as a 5 year old was easy compared to this, I’m only hoping I don’t end up with a lump of coal on the big day.

  8. I think Horan is playing this brilliantly and I believe he is sending out the signal to the Dublin camp that Cillian probably will make it, or maybe he won’t. This is important to keep Dublin guessing because whether Cillian is there or not will have a huge bearing on the defensive set-up that Gavin employs.
    If Gavin knows that Cillian is playing then he will also know 85% to 100% of all fouls within 45m of goal will be punished. This will weigh heavy in his thinking when he is selecting his defense as he will want his best and cleanest tacklers on the field. If Gavin knows that Cillian is out, well he can then choose to go with a few “diggers”, i.e. McMahon and Brennan, safer in the knowledge that there is a much better chance that any defensive misdemeanors will not be as severly punished. Gavin has enough to do to re-jig his defense anyhow, never mind trying to second guess James Horan.
    As always, our man is playing a blinder.

  9. I dunno if Jim Gavin is that bothered about Cilian O’Connor playing or not. I would say that Gavin has his plan and it seems to be all out attack. Difficult to see him changing that strategy now so whoever lines out in the Corener FW position will be marked by
    regular corner back – whoever he names there.

    Only question regards COC is if he were able to play is in which corner would you start him in. Personally I think Michael Conroy has done enough to merit his place once more in the FF line.

    Also David – don’t worry about the lump of coal. Think about squeezing it tightly. You might end up with a nice Jewel.

  10. JPM – interesting question on the positioning of Cillian if he were fit enough to start. By playing him in the left corner forward position would that give the left arm that little bit more protection as his marker would most likely be trying to cut off his runs on goal from the inside right? It would also allow Conroy to play in his more usual right corner forward position. Although I still think the rate of Andy’s progress over the next 2 weeks will have a big bearing on who starts where..

  11. I think we have to risk him if the medical team, and more importantly Cillian himself, feel that he can contribute even for a small part of the game. His three 45s into the hill last year will be etched in Dublin’s memory.

  12. I believe one of the refs mentioned above is married to a Dublin woman would that not bar him form reffing the game.

  13. I could see Hickey from Clare getting he nod for this one..

    Very interesting this situation with Cillian. WIll he or wont he? I dunno, but as you said David, that shoulder cant be right…it just defies logic.

    I suspect its just posturing, although I dont think it will have much impact on the team Gavin selects. Dublin will setup as they usually do, we wil do the same.
    Yes, we (and they) will deploy counter-measures from time to time, but generally we’ll do our thing, and they’ll do their’s….(that could have come straight from Horan’s mouth btw…as WJ said, deadpan!, nothign to see here…move along now.;-) )

  14. I thought McQuillan was fair enough in the semi final last year *hides behind keyboard*, granted he rode he in previous games.

  15. Lads, anyone else think that Gavin will throw a spanner in the works and start some of his “super subs”. More likely that he won’t change a winning team but we would be well drilled to expect to see these lads coming on with 10-15 to go. Might try to unsettle us from the off knowing that early on would be the time to go for the jugular.

  16. Was thinking about that 45 and ya that was reason I posed the question. Personally I would position him in Left CFW as well to give him that little bit of extra protection. Although didn’t do him much good against Tyrone. Mind you it was when he was going into a defensive position against Tyrone that it happened. If he were to make the final I would assume he would have to forego and defensive manoeuvres. If so do we need Andy Moran in the FF line for his defensive ability on the Dublin quick kick outs. Also to think about when he does get the ball and wants to shoot primarily off his RHS so he is leaving his left shoulder slightly exposed. Lots to ponder.

  17. From what I’ve heard in Meath, Coldrick will get it. Think he’s a good referee, in fairness. Hickey is poor and McQuillan can be a bit erratic. After Brolly’s and Gilroy’s comments last year, I would hope McQuillan doesn’t get it – he could very well be influenced by those comments unfortunately. Anyway, as I said, think Coldrick is a done deal.

  18. Alf, Gavin will definitely have learned from the semi final and will start some of those subs, I’m sure of it. Rock, McMahon will definitely start and Bastick might not be too far behind him. Gavin is no dope and will have learned a lot from that semi – that will surely be reflected in his starting team.

  19. I don’t think Gavin is too bothered who is selected for Mayo. He will concentrate on his own lads.
    Apart from one or two match ups (Brogan for one) I think JH will do the same. He is unlikely to try anything radical – just continue doing what has been succesful so far. For me this means both Andy Moran and Cillian O Connor will start if they are anyways near fit at all. Personally, I would start Conroy instead of Andy unless he has shown massive improvement in training. About Cillian I don’t know what think other than trust the medics, Cillian himself and JH.
    A real issue is how Keith Higgins is utilised. He is possibly the key to winning or losing this game.It is absolutely vital that we get the maximum out of him for the 70 mins. If you think about it the biggest threat to us is a rampant Dublin running at us and banging in a few goals that would sicken us. I would therefore say that Keith should be used primarily as a defender (which is his natural stock and trade anyway). I would deploy him as a defensive midfielder programmed to torpedo anything that looked like an attacking run by MDMcAuley or the Dublin half backs. He could also be used to mark any hotshot forward that was proving a handful for any of the other lads if the need arose. What cannot happen is that he ends up away from the play. He must be in the thick of things for the entire game. If he is he will cause huge problems for the Dubs.

  20. woudnt it be great if we had all cups across the shannon Clare hurling galway camoge mayo minor and seniors galway minors hurling whats the odds on it to happen

  21. Ggavin also knows that Mayo’s last 3 All Irelands; 4,6,12 were a done deal after the first quater so will surely go for the shock and awe Craic…..Boyler Keegan Caff and co will be ready im sure of that,
    This will, I think be a real 50/ 50 game and I dont know the odds but money on a draw is a thought? of course Im very confident that if we play our game our way we will beat dublin.
    Im a bit disturbed with the obsession re Cillian. The brilliant young man is not and wont be fit, thats not to say he cant play a part but he must be considered peripheral to the plan.
    Remember last year we were lamenting the loss of Andy with lots of if onlys , well Andy’s back but not as central to the plan and as big a scoring threat as we may have fantasized about and were still winning. We have the players on the panel .lets believe in them.

  22. The dogs in the street know that if you hit mayo early and often in the FINAL, with as Albany said, “shock and awe”, they will crumble, game over!.

    Scary thing is, Dublin have the ability to do this…and then some. A 20 minute spell lke we played against Tyrone, and Dublin will be out of sight at half time….

    I dont want to sound pessimistic, but the facts are the facts. I’m optimistic that will NOT happen as I belive Horan is accutely aware of this and will have plans to defend at all costs and luancg counter attacks when the opportunity arises.I am however a little worried about our FB speed and him getting isolated too far out from goal. He needs to be ahead of his man…probably Brogan, but thats no easy task. Not sure how we address that, drop the corner back in a bit to help ger? I dont know..Dublin will look to exploit this.

  23. Yes this Dublin team will cut you open if you let them.There is no way Mayo will play as open as Kerry did.I think its fear to say Dublin don’t want to defend or can defend.Lads these are huge weaknesses that need to be exploited.If Mayo play up to the performance that they had against Donegal then we will beat the Dubs.Its all great when you can attack but a team need to be able to defend when they don’t have the ball.From looking at them they don’t seem to be able to do this effectively.Gavin wont change the team but its good for him to focus on his full back line and try and come up with a way to fill the gaps that Kerry exploited.The thing is our lads have shown that any one of them can score.Does Gavin tell his lads to put in more of the Donkey work? He might but i don’t think they will as they just love attacking even if they do try and cut out our attack going by their other games they cant do this correctly and will give away frees.Its our year i don’t give a bollox .Once we play well and suffocate the dubs it will be our day.

  24. i agree with mayomaningalway i think the blanket defence is worth a try to frustrate the dubs and i believe mayo can win this and i think they should bring cillian on a half time.

  25. That’s it Cat and same craic from our forwards.I absolutely love seen our lads exerting pressure on the opposition’s back line and turning ball over and making it count on the scoreboard.We done it against Donegal and the latter part of league will defo have to play a part .Goes without saying about pressure on Cluxtons kick out .I looks a little funny when he is under pressure he has that bamboozled look about him.

  26. Jaysus Cat, thats some spake. A blanket defence? Concede the initiative from the off then? Can’t we just defend properly for the first 10mins with KH hovering close to home and then let the lads grind win their match ups, one by one.

    Its our time, lets just take stock here, we have a great team with an excellent bench. And the manager is no slouch either. Trust in the monsignor.

  27. Wound not be surprised to see Cillian score another hat trick in the final in our total of 5-12 against them. We could have 2 cups going up main street on the Monday night in Castlebar. The minors should win. Tyrone will know they cant beat us playing football and could try and drag us down into a war of attrition. More reason for anybody lucky enough to have a ticket to get in early. Also while we had a good turn out for the semi final there were plenty there from Mayo with no flags or any colours. Everybody really should have a flag or even 2. I know of a fella who wants to go on the hill and let off a flare that gives off red/green smoke during the parade at 3.25 if he gets a hill ticket. Not sure if that is a good idea. Depending on the wind direction the hill could be shrouded in red/green for a minute or 2. Could seriously stir up a hornets nest.

  28. I suppose the bottom line is this, referees and Cillian shoulder gate aside: if this Mayo team are for real and I believe 100% that they are, Shoulders and whistles won’t matter a continental, if you get my drift. We’re on the move.

    I always base anything I state on facts and not emotive induced tomfoolery.

    I know what I see and that’s what I respond too. If Kery had managed to beat Dublin and it came damn close, how many would have remembered Kerry’s showing against Cavan and the second half of the Cork game.

    No one is the correct answer. We beat Tyrone. We learned. We moved on.

    Patience is part of process. Like the poor old saints of old, former Mayo teams have called for more weight, more weight. Learning from the mistakes of the past, finally the weight will be lifted. I ain’t no prophet but I will predict that next year when we all collectively realise just how good we are. It’s then that we will worry most. It’s then when we will have the most to lose.

    That’s for another day.

    For now, I will enjoy the journey like everybody else who has that tribal Mayo blood coarsing through their veins. We have to reach the end before the real journey begans. It’s worse than Lord Of the Focking Rings, this “Born in Mayo” business.

    “Come On Mayo!!!”

  29. I know the thinking behind withdrawing Higgins back from a half forward position into a free defender role makes sense on one level. It reduces the space for the Dublin attack to run into and also to provide an extra defensive body to help cut out runs and cross-field balls. However, the danger then is that a Dublin half back, e.g. McCarthy or McCaffrey are then free to attack and provide overlaps for their forwards. I think the best way to prevent those boys attacking us is to turn them and have them heading back towards their own goal.

  30. @Jim Flag

    RE the flare, Dublin have done this before.

    People say it wouldn’t make a difference, but lets be honest here, the players are human like you and I. If I were lucky enough, or good enough of course, to be in a parade before a game v Dublin in Croker, seeing the Hill covered in green and red smoke would honestly get the heart pumping and bring a tear. It would be class!

    I hate hashtags! But #seaofgreenandred

  31. Bingo Pebblesmeller.The further away from our goal that we cut the danger the better.Every fucking ball that they get past the half way line had to be a struggle.Our defense are able and fit to take care of the forwards.Just being on the dont foul blog.Dublins key forwards were missing on average 50% of the chances Brogan missed a lot a scores. he was taking on scores that weren’t there as were others looking for the big scores.So believing that our backs can get tighter to the Dublin forwards than i would hope that they would be missing more than 50% than there chances .Blankets defense? Blanket defensive forwards i want to see from our lads.70 plus.WE WILL WIN!!!!!!!

  32. I genuinely believe we underestimate our jobs as fans in this whole thing. Andy said it himself. I managed a soccer team lately who were fairly successful nationally. You would not believe the difference colour, numbers and most importantly noise makes!

  33. I believe the time has come.

    Mayo are better than Dublin in most areas of the field.

    I have concerns over centre back and centre forward -not over the players -but i believe the system could let us down.

    Mayo do not play like Kerry-comparisons are facile.

    62 years wait is coming to an end.

  34. the point i am trying to say is if mayo don t use the the blanket defence mccaffery have a field day and he s already a fav for young player of the year if mayo are to win mccaffrey and carthy need to be stopped

  35. Joe McQ was fair enough in the semi last year, and to be honest gave us soft enough frees at the beginning, I think that was in response to the comments about reffing Dublin training matches. I firmly believe he was trying to ride us in response to that v Donegal but thankfully we were so superior that even he couldnt stop us that day.
    Would prefer Hickey and I think he reffed our match V Cork (the day we reintroduced ourselves on the national stage) in 2011fairly well 🙂
    I think Horan is doing his best with those comments to try and make sure its Mr Hickey

  36. Blanket defence ?
    Why change our method of play just because its a final.Play like we always played and got us here,tackle hard in their half and steal a few scores. Nothing more demoralising for the opposition , just imagine if it happened to us how we’d feel.
    Then when we attack, do the usual, in waves and points from anywhere.We should all know its too late for drastic change but thankfully the same applies to Dublin.
    With that said our first priority is not to concede any early goals and I believe if our backs are fully tuned in from the start they are good enough to do this.
    Over two weeks to go,
    Can we not just play it this Saturday.

  37. Dublin didn’t do too well early on against a slow, suspect Kerry defense and Mc Caffrey, but for a couple of speedy runs didn’t do much else. A point attempt that was dropping short, which the improvising young Mannion punched to the net was the rescue of the Dubs.
    The guys that have to be stopped are MDM and Connolly, with the supply cut off from Brogan and co. will force them to come further out.
    If our CF are on their game (and they are the best in the country) then we have the beating of them.
    I do expect the Dubs to try and hit us early but sure every dog on the street by now knows that………………..The Dubs will simply not be able to help it and we will simply have to, not let it happen……………………………What is intriguing is what their plan B will be , if any, especially when we are attacking them and they don’t know whether our backs carrying ball at speed upfield will go for the score or lay it off…………..What do you do if all 15 of the opposing side are capable of getting on the board, it’ll be like stopping a leak with a strainer……………………………..We know where their main threats are but how do they cope with ours………………….No blanket needed just play to our own strengths and we will win……….We are the only side in the country that can keep it up for the full 70 except for themselves and they will know by the end that they were in a game.
    MaighEo Abu

  38. We have already changed our method of play by putting Keith at CF. He has only had a short while there when you consider that he dropped back when Tom Cuniffe went off against Donegal. So it’s been one game v Tyrone. Now we really have to ask how effective he was that day as a CHF. I am not advocating a blanket defence but I am concerned that we use Keith wisely as He is probably our best player.

  39. I agree JJ with wat you say.I really just want to see huge pressure on the Dublin back line.Considering the game was soo open and Brogan got 4 scores from 13 shots that to me wouldn’t be a great return for a forward.They wont find the space they had against Kerry.Are the Dubs better than last year? We are better i know that.

  40. From what I’ve seen over the past 2 years is a consolidation of a team.
    Keith is a great player but this side is full of great players and the greatest worry we have instilled in all sides we have faced up till now and it’s also Dublin’s biggest worry is that we are a team. There seems to be no individuals from the management, the bench/squad or the 15 that takes the field, that is our greatest strength……………Kerry has star we have a complete unit of them that and the collective is the star Mayo.

  41. Mayomaningalway, that is our way, pressure everywhere and wave on rolling wave of forward movement………………..we are blessed……………..we have forwards that can and will defend and backs that can and will score……………..and that’s without mentioning the midfield…………………..pressure, pressure, pressure. We do what we are good at and Sam,s back.
    MaighEo Abu

  42. The one thing that stood out for me on Sunday with regards to the Dublin forwards was Brogan’s speed in leaving his marker to come and collect the ball. I appreciate that he did not make best use of it, but if anything can be done to counter that play it would prevent him making amends for his last performance in the semi final. Speed can unlock a defence in any sport. If Mayo can execute a plan as described above by Pebblesmeller then it is game over for Dublin. However, to achieve that level of defence out the field for 70 minutes in a final against this Dublin side will be extremely difficult. I would love to know how you would all counter the threat, a plan B, if you were in JH’s shoes. On 22nd each side will have periods of supremacy and it is how you maximise scores and deny the opposition during those periods of supremacy that determines the winner.

    If this Mayo side plays to its full potential then nothing will stop them unless they move the netting 20 yards forward.

  43. Expanding on the above points I would say one of our greatest attributes now also is our versatility.. our range of attacking options is huge.. Freeman out of the clouds, Conroy collecting daisy cutters, Andy with the quick all-seeing pass to burst open a defence aided by our half backs and hopefully not to be left out Cillian the goal poacher.

    Equally we’re versatile in defence.. as we’ve always done we pressurise there kick outs and absolutely make them earn every yard up that field.. tracking every runner.. holding up their play in support of our defenders.. and hopefully get a turn over or two.. We can push up or bring them on to us depending how we’re playing or how they are setting out their stall

    Having said that though.. this is the All-Ireland and we should go straight for the juggler with no holding back.. We should not adopt a style of play to counteract Dublins.. let Dublin try and change their style of play to counteract us.. I suspect they are at this moment trying to figure out.. how the hell are we supposed to get clean primary possession from our kickouts so we can attack..

    The answer is your not caus we’re going to be all over you like a green and red rash
    C’Mon Maigheo

  44. They say that “attack is the best form of defence”, I do not think that we need to go with the blanket defence but continue what we have done but at a higher intensity than before.

    As has been said, we need to pressurise the Cluxton kick out, and our half backs need to be ready for any long kick out. Will the Dublin forwards track back every time? Will the young players step up or freeze? Control MDMC and DC and we will be well on the way.

    We will need goals but we have shown that we are more than capable of this, hard work, skill and a bit of luck will bring us to the promised land,

    Imagine if we bring both minor and Sam back on the one day, will make up for previous days, and hopefully allow us to fully appreciate all the works that these players (and management) put in, 16 days and counting….. Bring it on….

  45. Some great posts there.
    I don’t know what will happen if we win both games either!

    I will no longer guess as to who plays where, I’m just going to keep praying that they will all be ok to play and that last year is fresh enough in the minds to add the extra % needed.
    Dublin, for my money cannot be nearly as driven as mayo, not possible.
    If mayo keep the nerve and jh and buckley get their match ups right I think it could work out for us.
    Dublins problem is how to stop mayo, so many players like to and know how to score well. I watched Keegan’s second score against Tyrone. There’s great fitness in him and great comfort on the ball. Barrett too, they just seem so comfortable on the ball. It will mean a lot on the day.

  46. No question Cluxtons kick outs are extremely important and the catalyst for most of Dublin’s scores. Pushing up and watching for off the ball runners will be a key tactic employed by our lads. However to keep that up for an entire 70 plus minutes is unbelievably difficult and will require supreme concentration and discipline.
    As someone said already, each team will have periods of dominance. It’s key for our lads to recognize the why and then quickly employ counter measures to end that period of dominance.

    If one listened to Jim Gavins post game, he said they fully expect any game to ebb and flow but they believe in their ability to change the direction of the match. I must say, I was impressed with Dublins ability and frankly their attitude and reply, following the early Kerry assault. We should not underestimate their ability to claw back a lead!

    Just as we are plotting on how to stop Cluxtons kick outs, they are no doubt plotting how to counter act our mid field power and quickly exploit any gaps.

    It’s rare for matches to live up to their billing, although Kerry v Dublin did for sure. This one is also highly anticipated and many I talk to believe it will be another classic. I’m not so sure though ….something tells me it will be a grind and in the balance till late, with the winner coming late. …I don’t know if I could handle that tension TBH.

  47. mayomaningalway says:
    Are the Dubs better than last year?

    Clearly better than last year, sure they only bet Meath,Laois by one score and were 10 points down in the semi final before they played any decent football. I think they were better in 2011 though, back then they were more solid in defence and i think this current Mayo team are more than capable of exploiting their weakness.

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