Murphy’s late frees secure sub-zero stalemate

Keith Higgins on the burst

Photo: Mayo Mick

This truly was one for the hard-core fraternity – a dead-rubber FBD clash with the Rossies on a January day when temperatures struggled to get above zero. It was, however, a contest that brought a decent enough crowd to Ballyhaunis this afternoon – so much so that @MaigheoforSam was complaining on Twitter afterwards about how heavy the traffic was leaving the ground – with those who made it to the game getting to witness a dour, tight struggle that ended with the spoils being shared.

We started brightly in the cold conditions today, Aidan O’Shea marking his first outing for the county in 2013 by knocking over the day’s opening score straight from the throw-in.  Jason Doherty and Seamus O’Shea added points from play to send us into an early three-point lead before the Rossies hit back with points from Donal Keane and Donie Shine (a free).

Jason Doherty point

Photo: Mayo Mick

Keith Higgins broke upfield to restore our two-point cushion and Alan Murphy – getting a first start for the county today – followed up with a pointed free to put some daylight between the teams for the first time.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as the Rossies quickly hit us with 1-2 without reply – Cathal Cregg getting the goal (“a total fuck-up at the back” according to PJ) – to claim a two-point lead. Sheamie then bagged his second point of the day to leave us one adrift at the break.

Aidan O’Shea started the second half for us like he did the first, with his second point of the day pulling us level right from the restart. We made three changes early in the second half, in addition to an early first half switch which had seen Chris Barrett (who was named to start but didn’t, Colm Boyle lining out instead at wing-back) replace Shane McHale. In came Barry Moran, Brian Gallagher and Michael Conroy in place of Seamus O’Shea, Jason Doherty and Lee Keegan.

No way through

Photo: Mayo Mick

It was the visitors who kept forcing the pace after the break, with points from Donie Smith and Michael Finneran pushing them two clear once again. We then made our fifth switch of the day, Tom Cunniffe coming on for Ger Cafferkey, and soon after Donal Vaughan cut the gap to the minimum.

The Rossies kept the pressure on with another point from Cregg pushing them two clear once more. A second FBD defeat in a week looked to be on the cards at that stage but then Alan Murphy ensured that his debut would be a memorable one, as he shot over two late frees to secure a 0-10 to 1-7 draw.

Final score (that's not how you spell Roscommon)

Photo: Mayo Mick

According to PJ (my eyes and ears at the ground once more – I didn’t get off the couch today I have to confess), this was a match where the result seemed to be of far more importance for the Rossies than it was for our lads. He was impressed with the visitors’ workrate and he felt they were a little unlucky to have came away from the contest with just the draw.

We seemed a bit lethargic, by contrast, but the fact that today’s match was our third inside a week makes it little surprise that we hit precious few high notes at Ballyhaunis this afternoon. There’ll be plenty of time for flowing football before the year’s football is over.

So that’s the 2013 FBD campaign done with and as we’re not involved in the final – congrats, by the way, to Sligo and Leitrim for making it to what will be a novel FBD decider – we now have a fortnight off before the Kerry lads come to town and the opening shots in this year’s League campaign will be fired. That should make for a far livelier encounter than this afternoon’s pre-season joust with the neighbours did.

Mayo: David Clarke; Ger Cafferkey, Shane McHale, Keith Rogers; Keith Higgins (0-1), Donal Vaughan (0-1), Colm Boyle; Aidan O’Shea (0-2), Seamus O’Shea (0-2); Kevin McLoughlin, Richie Feeney, Lee Keegan; Alan Murphy (0-3, frees), Alan Freeman, Jason Doherty (0-1). Subs: Chris Barrett for McHale, Barry Moran for Seamus O’Shea, Brian Gallagher for Keegan, Michael Conroy for Doherty, Tom Cunniffe for Cafferkey.

10 thoughts on “Murphy’s late frees secure sub-zero stalemate

  1. One point from play from six forwards in entire match. Not great. Havent got too long to get ready for Kerry.
    Ah well grt to be back and alive. Cmon Haunis.

  2. None of the forward impressed from play today the O’Shea’s had their moments in midfield but the overall performance with a strongish line up was very poor. Kerry game only two weeks away and they are scoring for fun will O’Connor,Dillon be back for that game? will need them.

  3. Steady on there lads, still January, zero temperature and in Willie Joe’s words, “a dead – rubber clash”. We must allow them some space, and don’t be expecting to much against Kerry either. I’m confident James and the lads are looking at the bigger picture…

  4. cant see us beating Kerry, not being pessimistic but think they further along at the moment for this time of year than us. As we know from experience this is a marathon not a sprint so wouldnt be too concerned about that, however its a very tough league these days and you need to win your home games. We dont need another relegation dog fight which turns into making the finals anyway 🙂
    I suppose we have the added motivation of coming up against Mr “the drive is too much and I cant see myself being involved with anyone next season”
    hopefully Donie can give the lads some good inside info for sledging to get under the “yarrahs” skins. 🙂

  5. We are probably 3-4 weeks behind everyone else at the min. There is no harm giving lads a break and trying new lads.
    We are short in the FF line, but everywhere else we hae gud players and options. We seem to have 100 wing backs and playing Lee up front might be a masterstroke. Still think Feeney has to start, Probably need AOS there at CF. With Cillian and Andy to return, Kevin Mc, Alan, we are not too bad. Just need to stick at it and it will come.
    Saw Bad Back wearing his new Kerry colours the other day. What a plonker.

  6. thought doherty did ok , won most of the ball that went into him. dont think managment were to worried about result yday , still looking at players at both ends of the field, agree with previous poster we do have an abundance of half backs…just need to get 3 lads who wont all be ahead of the play at the same time. At last iv laid my eyes on donie buckley, as far as iv seen its his first match day outing?

  7. Murphy deserves to continue. There is a buzz when Conroy gets the ball.
    Will we beat Kerry many will say no but then remember this guy Buckley knows all about Kerry. I think we will scrape home and it might be a blessing for football that we did not reach the FBD final. Blessing for the Co. Board too.

    If Leitrim win the FBD final will they have to travel to New York twice this year?

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