New faces for the FBD

This week’s Mayo News (paper and digital edition) has a piece by Mike Finnerty in which James Horan talks about the new faces who are likely to be given some game time in the FBD. Names mentioned in this context are Brian Gallagher and Keith Rogers (who were both involved last year), Mikie Sweeney (who played for the county a few times in the league back in 2009 and 2010), Castlebar Mitchels’ duo Tom King and Eoghan O’Reilly and U21 captain Adam Gallagher, as well as Stephen Coen, Diarmuid O’Connor and Conor Loftus, who were all on last year’s All-Ireland winning minor team.

According to James, we can expect to see “an array of new talent in action” over the coming few weeks, which would suggest that the above list is only a partial one. James added that in sifting for talent in the FBD his aim is “to find three to five players that will stand up and push for a place over the course of the year.”

More on this is available in the paper itself, which also has a match report on Saturday’s U21 Hastings Cup win over Longford, a great, in-depth piece with Aidan Kilcoyne on his heartbreaking injury travails and plenty more besides.

56 thoughts on “New faces for the FBD

  1. I suppose he has no other choice but to blood new players.No surprise regarding the under 21s mentioned.O Connor and Coen are names i thought would get a run out at some stage.

  2. Maybe hewill slot rogers in and move Keegan or vaughan further up the pitch.Im pretty sure that was the intention for a couple of league games last year but if my memory serves me right Rodgers was named for league opener v Kerry but got injured before hand.Im not 100% on this but.

  3. With all these new faces its going to be tough for some lads already on the panel. One or two lads lost form badly in the semi and final just when they were needed the most, I think they knew it at the time so maybe it won’t shock them too much to be dropped.
    It would be very interesting to see lee Keegan in the forwards, he kicks beautiful points with both feet and knows how to break a tackle, maybe he will end up as a half forward.
    And about those minors being given game time, if you’re good enough your old enough. Mike Tyson was a world champion at 19. And Clare’s hurling hero is 19 years old, 3 goals and a few points in the final proves if you’re good enough age won’t really affect you.

  4. Has anybody seen the article by Liam Kelly in today’s Irish Independent where Niall Moyna outlines the effect of over training and trying to serve too many teams on young players, including players in their twenties needing hip surgery. This is something which needs to be taken much more seriously by both team managers and all involved in games promotion. If a young man needs hip surgery at 25 what condition will he in in at 55, 65, 75?. Perhaps some medical person may contradict Moyna but I doubt it.
    I saw a report on the Wexford Chairman’s dismissal of their minor county manager for using players who were already involved with their secondary schools in college competition. This was a rare example of somebody paying more than lip service to player welfare.
    The issue of the potentially very serious impact of concussion has also come to the fore in the past year and while it mainly affects high impact sports like rugby it can also affect Gaelic players. It appears it necessitates not only being taken off on the day but monitoring and a period of rest before the next game. There is a great need for coach education esp. at club level on these issues.

  5. Lee Keegan was tried as a wing forward for most of last years league and it did not work out. He was like a fish out of water in the position. Regards young players, of course if you are good enough you are old enough but the problem I see is players being asked to serve too many masters. I have said before that the U21s should be let concentrate on U21 until that campaign is over. There is lots of time to bring them into the senior panel at that stage. I do not want to start listing good young Mayo minors brought straight into the senior team from minor who had disappeared from the scene a few years later before they had reached their prime. There may have been other reasons for some but a primary one was a too early introduction to senior. OK if a player is not playing anywhere else but certainly if he is involved in colleges and U21 it is enough.
    While you were making your contribution, David, I was doing a note on the effect of overtraining and too many games based on an article in today’s Indo by Liam Kelly which should also appear here. It demands that we stop and think.

  6. I think he played the first coupke of games in the league as wing forward as he did for most of the fbd but rodgers took up his half back position in FBD but like i said earlier i think that plan got hindered as i think rodgers got injured and that meant keegan fell back into the wung back position after the second game v Tyrone.

  7. All the same, he kicked some nice points. A lot more scores for the chances he had than some of the forwards who kicked 14 meter shots wide. I agree about the overtraining, for sure too much training cannot be good. And also that u21 players should be left to give winning that title a shot.

  8. I’m surprised to hear Mikie Sweeney,Tom King and Eoghan O’Reilly will be used in the FBD. They have huge club AI semi final coming up & if they were to pick up injuries it would be a big blow to those clubs.

  9. I agree that some of our backs should be tried as forwards.Kith Higgins worked well last year–remember Reilly getting the winning point against us in 96–another converted back. Why no word of Kirby ???

  10. Having checked Willie Joe’s archive it seems Rodgers played corner back in the FBD and did not feature in the NFL. Keegan played two FBD and two NFL games in half forwards scoring 3 points against GMIT and one against Tyrone. In the NFL only established defenders were used – Keane, Cafferkey, Higgins, Cunniffe, Boyle, Barrett & Vaughan with MacHale coming in for the Cork game. Scoring 3 points against GMIT is nothing to get excited about so it was one point from 3 games.
    Incidentally regards my second posting today I have just been listening to Niall Moyna on Newstalk Sport and what he had to say emphasised the issue of over playing and overtraining made worse by managers not being prepared to make allowances for players efforts with other teams.

  11. The Kiltane and Castlebar should be left with their clubs till that campaign is over.
    Bringing minors into a senior squad and the resulting physical demands of training is absolute madness. Cillian O Connor was an exception , he is so physically strong
    how many more young players will be ruined?

  12. I just read the aidan kilcoyne interview in the paper. I hadn’t realised it was such a serious injury. I hope he makes a speedy recovery and gets through the long road he has ahead of him.

    Surprised that Evan regan and Kirby didn’t get a mention but maybe it was an oversight. I’d like to see regan given a go as I think he has what it takes.

    It worried me at various stages during the league last year that Horan wasn’t experimenting enough. Carolan was the only forward that really got a chance. An example of this was d Coen not getting a run in the league and then being considered a viable option in championship although he was never tested in league.

    I hope he gives more players a real chance this year. Brian Gallagher always impresses me when I see him play and he is a big man so will be interested to see how he goes.

    I’m not sure I quite have the appetite back after the heartbreak of last September but it’s getting there. We have to remember that we are starting the year as one of the top 4 teams in the country which is an enviable position.

  13. The problem with over training our younger players is that they are the very ones that want to train and play, all day, every day. Also, when you are younger you think you will never be injured and that there will never be a bad day (Jesus I remember keeping goal with my ankle ligaments in a hoop, I couldn’t put any weight on my foot and I had a lump the size of a tennis ball where the ligament was pushing out above my ankle. And I was not inter-county level!!) Try and tell a 6′ 1″ 10st. 17 year old that he can’t play for his school/club/county because of a possible potential injury that he may or may not suffer and he will tell you to go and pro-create with yourself.
    I agree wholly that over-training and sending good younger players up through the age levels before their time can be damaging to their long term prospects. Training and pushing the physical boundaries, at whatever age, is fine as long as sufficient recovery time is allowed for. Rest and recovery is just as important as intensity and loading during training.

  14. Evan Regan is playing for IT Sligo in the FBD so I guess that’s why he’s not being mentioned as yet. Not sure if Danny Kirby is lining out for one of the colleges this month or if his involvement with Mitchels is keeping him out for now.

  15. I’d have no problem brining good strong young lads onto the panel, if they are treated properly. You can’t expect last years minors to train like Colm Boyle or Donal Vaughan and take hits from these lads. My own nephew , just out of minor spent a couple of years on the Kildare panel until after the final of 98 under the great Mick O . I often met Davy Dalton early the day after training while the young lad slept until seven in the evening. Used as punch bags, let go and bring in a new gang. By all means bring them in , show them the ropes, but remember , they are only kids. I want Tommy Conroy to score goals for Mayo, but not for just one year and say what would he be like now if he was still playing.

  16. I agree that moving Higgins into the half forwards worked for us last year but I believe it was only because he has something that none of our forwards have, blistering pace. They don’t call him Zippy for nothing. He used his pace to avoid tackles and the congestion that happens between midfield and the opponents half back line. By “breaking through” he ended up turning the oppositions defence and immediately created an extra man in attack. However we were blessed with such a good defensive unit that we could afford to lose an All Star back to the half forward line. Also, he didn’t score a huge amount but was integral to how our attack had to work.
    I am not totally sold on the idea of converting player positions at inter-county level. At that level each position is specialized and in the forwards in particular. A back naturally attacks the ball face-on, as it approaches him, and his primary job is to get a glove or boot in and clear his lines. A forward however, will receive the ball, generally, in two situations. The first being out in front of his man where he has to not only secure the ball but then turn and pass accurately under pressure or beat his man with balance and pace. The second is where the forward is running towards goal and receives a pass laterally or over his shoulder in a chase with his marker. Totally different situations to that of a back and while it may work at club level and early rounds in the championship, I believe it will get found out in September. As the saying goes, “defences win you games but forwards win you titles” and we found that out to our detriment last September.
    It is one thing turning good/great defenders like McLoughlin, Feeney and Higgins into effective half forwards when an attack is structured around them, but it is quite another turning them into All Ireland Final winning scoring threats of the calibre of O’Sullivan, Brogan, McFadden etc.

  17. Lets not forget this will be Horans last year at the helm.Im sure will want to give it one hell of a crack .

  18. Exactly, amazed that these guys will be playing FBD, especially Sweeney, kiltane are out on 26 jan (2 weeks time) in AI semi, Mitchell’s don’t play till feb I think. On plus side Sweeney should be available for most of league if kiltane go all the way as inter AI final is played in mid feb, however Mitchell’s won’t finish till paddys day if they beat Crokes.

  19. I think Higgins nickname came from looking like Zippy for the children’s television programme Rainbow more than his pace.

  20. The FBD is a poor competition and any new players who play just have to be in good form to get a run in the national league. Remember though Danny Kirby scored 4 goals in a game against GMIT and was never seen since. So once the the big guns get over their injuries and are back from club duty the new recruits are likely to be squeezed out.

  21. You’re dead right and it was loyalty that caused all the shenanigans that went on before last years final, wrapping players in cotton wool is not the answer.

  22. There’ll be no cotton wool in 2014 …. more like cut throat I would say.
    Everyone knows it’s shit or bust over the next 9 months.
    James has one more go at this & then it’s bye bye.
    This is going to be a defining period for Mayo Football at all levels.
    It is now time for walking the walk rather than more of talking the talk.
    This year will define us for a very long time.
    We are either good enough or we’re not.
    Nothing like an upcoming hanging to concentrate the mind however !
    This is our greatest weapon this year.
    I believe James will make it very clear from the outset that every position is going to be earned the hard way … no more of the injured or half injured forwards … this will be about brutal straight forward performance from everyone given a jersey.
    Interesting times ahead !

  23. Well said Joey – I really hope you’re right. I think that the national league more so than the FBD will be a good early barometer for assessing whether a mindset change has taken place with JH in bringing new faces and giving them the game time to develop and potentially outperform some of the more established names.

  24. Look whose to know maybe James might look on this his final year as having less pressure on his shoulders.As in he might think fuck it i won’t be doing in next September so ill just do my best.hopefully he will make professional and effective calls from the sideline until the final whistle blows to mark the end of championship 2014 .when hopefully the green and red flags will still be flying after the ref blows it all up.

  25. i wonder will any of the minor lads make it on the senior panel and who would it be and hope mayo beat the dubs

  26. Cod, I don’t like that position. If we win Sam, then it’s a position to be envied, otherwise we are in the ‘has beens’ position again. Not the place to be!!!

  27. I read over on gaaboard that Evan Regan has declined an invitation to join up with the panel. That’s from a Ballina source, too I might add.

  28. I dont buy into the notion that its shit or bust for Mayo football, where as it might be the last season for a few and the spine of the team as in the 06 u -21 lads might of reached near the end of their peak, it does not mean we will just head off into the sunset for the years ahead.

    I completely disagree with that sentiment .I truly believe there are great days ahead. We have just won the minor all Ireland, we have a clatter of fantastic young footballers from age 18 to 22 to 25 from Tommy Conroy to Cillian to Aidan O Shea. We will have the likes if higgans and boyle for another 4-6 years and they will provide great experience for the lads stepping up over the next few years like Adsm Gallagher et el.

    Look if this present team won an all Ireland , it would be all our dreams come true and it would benefit our future strikes for the holy grail, my point is if it panned out that we didnt , id nit be writting the Obituaries for Mayo football in a hurry .

    There is a swagger and confidence within Mayo football and its there fir a reason, we’re good, we are very fuckin good. Teams fear us, thats never been there for a sustained period like this.

    Do you think Riscommon and Galway are looking forward to taking Mayo on again this summer, theyll be browning their togs come the summer sunshine at even the sight of a green and red jersey.

  29. It’s not age will be the undoing of the ’06 U21’s if we fail to achieve Sam this year but the effort of going to the well without the ultimate success four years in a row. I’m not aware of any team winning after three successive final losses, winning after two is rare enough. Each year under Horan’s management we have got closer, so close now that any failure will be a backward step. None of them will have reached the age of 30 by the time of next year’s All Ireland. Even if we do manage to take Sam it will be hard for them to repeat the effort so I would expect that a major rebuilding process will have to begin in 2015 in any case. What is disappointing is the failure of more of the ’08 & ’09 minors to step up at U21 and senior which creates a potential gap in the rebuilding process. However a win will take a major monkey off our backs and should be a major encouragement to young players coming on.

  30. Hard to know with underage players some will make the step up other won’t. Armagh for example won the senior All Ireland in 2002 probably should have won another one, they have fell from the top since even though they won U-21 All Ireland in 2004 and minor All Ireland 2009.

    If this is James Horans last year then his replacement must be as good as he is without a good manager Mayo will fall just look at Man United without Alex Ferguson.

  31. Couldnt agree more sean burke , with the panel we have then the next manager will have more than enough tools to get himself into position to win sam as well, regardless of whether James Horan has done it or not,

  32. Dead right Joey, and that is as it should be.
    However, I don’t agree that it is shit or bust over the next 9 months. Bar Dillion and A. Moran the rest of the squad is below 30 with Higgins being the next eldest.

  33. Has Horan actually said that this is his final year? Or are we all assuming it to be? If rumours were to be believed after the All Ireland he was definitely stepping down but, thankfully, nothing came of it.

  34. Great post Sean, yet again. Common sense, devoid of hysteria and stating the facts as they really are. We may not be the best in the country, but there are not many better than us.

  35. If it takes three years in charge to come to the realisation that it is about walking the walk, picking the best player for the job on the day, not wrapping people in cotton wool, etc then we are in the land of slow learners.

  36. I think that as long as good club players are continually being watched and assessed then the “gap” you speak about can be filled. The progression of our best young players from development U14/U16 squads, through the minors to U21 level has to be the aim, as Tyrone did under Mickey Harte in the late 90’s. We have to keep as many of our best young players in the game and in the country as we can and provide them with the coaching and facilities to help them progress through to the senior squad. However, you also have to recognise and allow for the fact the young players develop at different rates. Remember, Colm Boyle was tried for Mayo a number of years ago and deemed not good enough, now he has played in 2 All Ireland finals, represented his country bravely and has an All Star.
    A 17 year old lad might be very good at club level but not quite make the inter county minor panel. But, he may develop at a greater pace from 18 to 22 and turn out to be a very good U21 or senior player. On the contrary, you may have a brilliant minor that has developed at a much greater pace than his peers but that progression may stall at the 18 to 22 mark and we may never hear of him again. My point being that we cannot, nor should we, shut the door on ANY player who is good enough and willing to commit to the “professional” lifestyle of a modern inter county footballer. An open mind is needed.

  37. Whatever about the Rossies, I reckon Galway are dying for a good crack at us this year Sean … they might have taken last year’s humiliation quietly but you can be sure it’ll the driving force for their season

  38. I have no doubt they will be hurting after salthill last year.If i were a galway man though id be still a bit worried about their level of performance the last few years, they keep producing mighty footballers but its not transpiring to the senior teams, my own personal take on this is that they are hell bent on this fancy dan culture without the s and c .I was behind the goal mayo were kicking into in the first half last year and honsetly the difference in general manliness was so obvious.

    If it panned out according to the way the bookies and most punters see it, we are looking at a Connacht final date with Galway in mchale park.I would be very adamant that the only outcome would be a very comprehensive win for Mayo in our home patch.

    Its very early to be making such predictions i know but unless mayo have run out of steam and the mindset becomes lazy, the nestor cup will be staying where it belongs at the home of the undisputed kings of Connacht football.46#

  39. It’s not just the age of the players …. it’s the repeated psychological drainage if we keep getting close but no cigar !
    We are now as close as we could possibly be ….. and yet another close call in 2014 will be seen as another failure. This state of affairs whilst cruel is a measure of how far we’ve come & what our expectations now are.
    However top class sport has no conscience & confers no rights.
    Always looking to future years & pointing out a conveyor belt of talent has borne no fruit for our county since the middle of the last century … yes … the middle of the last century !
    I believe this reality could focus the minds this year & could work to our advantage.
    If we are ever lucky enough to reach another final we may have learned the hard lessons of the past two years.
    The run-up to an All Ireland Final requires the 20 or so players who are going to feature & the 2/3 critical management personnel to focus on the job like never before,
    pledge themselves to each other & to the cause & vow come hell or high water to deliver for themselves, their families, their clubs & above all their county.
    It’s all about mental togetherness & mental hardness.
    This is the quality that we have been sadly lacking in, as demonstrated this year in the apparent lack of focus & reported individualism & self- interest pre All Ireland.
    We can have as many talented individuals on conveyor belts as we like but on All Ireland Final Day it’s about leadership & delivery.

  40. I agree to a large extent with both Sean Burke and Pebblesmeller but it never turns out that simple. Citing Tyrone of the late ’90’s developing into the senior team of the past 10-12 years is all very well but Tyrone seem to have lost the mould in recent years. As with the Mayo ’08-’09 minors Tyrone seemed to have a marvellously gifted crop of young players coming through but it does not seem to be working out. Similarly Armagh have not managed to graft their ’04 U21’s to their ’02 winning team.
    Expecting players to make the commitment to make the sacrifices needed to win Sam without the actual real prospect of winning is not realistic and if Mayo fail at this stage the prospect in the eyes of any young player will grow even more distant. That is not to say that Mayo football will die, it will not, anymore than it died at anytime in the past 60+ years since our last success. But the haul back up the hill will be a hard one and the next manager to James Horan will not achieve it. Looking among the clubs for late developers will help and can never be ignored but it will not of itself be enough to fill the gaps which may be left if, win or lose, we have a raft of retirements next winter

  41. Yep, i agree with your analysis that if we are goid enough to get back to a final this year.The whole focus becomes all Ireland final day, it does not count for squiddly what we do to get there, once we get there.

    Last years final becomes if vital importance if we learn from it.You could argue we did learn from 12 final because there was no way Dublin were getting a start on us but of course there were mistkes made and crucial mistkes like not showing composure to drive home a few points to justify iur dominance in the first half

  42. Horan is saying he is willing to try different personnel , to me that is him saying he has learned from his two years that we need to unearth a couple of players.Everyone involved including every poster on this blog wants whats best for Mayo football and i believe if we really examine how far weve come since longford 2010 , everyone is doing a fair job.We are an established top county who just needs to get over the line and then let the good times roll.

  43. To be straight up if we are to get to final again in 2014 for the third year on the trot as much of an achievement as it is i certainly wouldn’t like to look back as a player and think of all the hard work for fuck all.lets be honest about it a county career is not worth a great deal when ya come so close on numerous occasions without winning the prize.We have the players but i think there is something psychological that’s stopping us from getting over the line.Certainly i think being 2 all Irelands without winning something would fuck with my head and keep me up at nite.I think if the lads can break down the psychological battle in their own heads for the big day we will win an All Ireland and a few all Irelands.im not saying my thinking is rite its just my opinion im given.of coarse there are other factors that come into play as well.

  44. mayomaningalway it might be your opinion but I think you’re right on the money regarding this Mayo team and a lot of others gong before. Certainly there were a few finals we contested in resent times where we just weren’t good enough but, there were also maybe three others, where Mayo teams had the beating of the opposition but, in the red heat of AIF day seemed to lacked the composure and belief in themselves to push on. How we get ourselves over this hurdle is now the big conundrum facing James Horan and his players.

  45. 2006 since Tyrone have won Ulster U-21 title and thats one of the reasons they are no longer one of the top senior sides in Ireland.

  46. As I said in a previous post if we get to the final in Sep we will win it. I feel the experience, the fitness, the skills and the PAIN we have endured will be more than enough.
    Getting there will be the real challenge. To do so will require a level of commitment and determination rarely if ever seen. If can manage that then God help anyone who stands in our way in the final.

  47. Danger danger. Lets win Connaught first. No all Ireland will be won by us thru back door. I expect all teams we meet to fancy their chances against us. They think we are vulnerable. Up to us to prove them wrong.

  48. Right on about winning Connaught first and that might not be the cakewalk some people might have us believe. On the other hand, saying that all teams we meet will fancy their chances against us is in my opinion, way off the mark. This present Mayo team is now a match for anyone and teams will underestimate us at their pearl !!!

  49. It’s ok to say that there will be competition for places but we must realise that competition will be limited all the same. Most of the current panel have 3/4 years of top inter county conditioning behind them.

    So you can’t expect new lads to just come into the panel (especially younger guys) and automatically be good enough to make the championship team and reach this peak in their first year.

    This is just not possible and they are just not ready and they should be told this up front. Most likely the best they can hope for is to make the championship panel and feel the pressure of what it takes at this level.

    So personally I would expect only 1 (possibly 2) changes fro last years championship team. And that includes subs.

  50. I’m glad that a few of the minors are getting a chance.
    It will do them good to experience senior football and train regularly with the older lads, even if they just get a quick run out in FBD games.

    We need to keep these minors interested and feel as though they have a future with the senior team.
    My one fear is losing some of last years minors to other sports/emigration/other interests.
    They are as talented a bunch of minors as I’ve seen, we need to make sure they stay involved with the set up.
    We have a bright future from what I saw of them last year.

    But I also agree with the above, we need to be careful with them and not over train or rush them too much.
    A run out in the FBD should give them a sample of senior football while not over exerting them.

  51. Joey, well said. I was talking to the ‘much maligned on this site’ person, Eugene McGee, (a neighbour of mine) and he said that Mayo had a good enough team in the past two years to win the All Ireland. He also feels that to keep losing is disastrous psychologically to the team and another All Ireland loss would be serious stuff. Must say, I agree.

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