No more losing plotlines

Photo: Sky Sports

It used to be said, after each successive All-Ireland final defeat, that Mayo had found a new way to lose. After this latest, utterly deflating final loss, however, I’m not sure that particular dictum holds true any longer.

For me, this defeat to Tyrone had strong echoes of the 1997 loss to Kerry, which was also a final a number of pundits fancied us to win and a game where, like Saturday’s, we performed well below our capabilities. You could, of course, also put forward a plausible argument that it resembled the 2012 defeat to Donegal. Beat All-Ireland champions Dublin in the semi-final? Check. Get completely outwitted by a well-organised Ulster outfit in the final? Sadly, check to that one too.

When you think about it, though, it’s not wholly surprising that we’ve run out of losing plotlines. The sheer number of final losses in succession – which now runs to a truly staggering eleven – makes this a self-fulfilling observation. Gaelic football may be an unstructured and chaotic endeavour at times but at its core it’s a simple game. There are only so many ways you can lose a game of ball and we’ve now seemingly exhausted all the possibilities on the list.

I do wonder if, this time, that’s not all we’ve exhausted.

The fans’ job description is to support the team through thick and thin and Mayo supporters have certainly dined out on generous helpings of both down the years.

I’ve always been quick to slap down any suggestion that we’re some kind of long-suffering tribe, pointing with alacrity to the many good days we’ve had following the county team. And in the last decade we’ve had plenty of those, far more than we could ever have imagined before James Horan took over as manager for the first time.

Before this year’s final, Kevin McStay spoke with eloquence on the Mayo News football podcast when he paid tribute to how the county had kept the flame alive down the long decades since the Sam Maguire was last won. Victory helps greatly to sustain interest in the cause, Kevin reasoned, and so this made it all the more commendable that we’d retained so much passion for the cause since 1951 without ever experiencing the sweet taste of ultimate success.

In this observation, Kevin was undoubtedly right. Supporters can and do forgive beatings – even bad ones – if there’s a regular enough supply of silverware to provide balm to those wounds.

And there’s the problem for us. While we have had many great wins in recent years, they’ve all come in matches leading up to the main event. If Sam was doled out for semi-final wins we’d be a very happy supporting cast, as we’ve seen the lads get the better of every county worth beating at this stage of the Championship over the past eleven years.

When it comes to the final, though, it’s a different matter altogether. Defeat piled on defeat, each one adding to the cumulative weight of the ones that came before so that now the baggage we’re saddled with is bordering on intolerable.

As we approach each successive final we contest, the main coping tool we seem to employ is to pack away the memories of all the other losses (the box required for this getting bigger all the while) and, in effect, treat the upcoming game as our very first final. The other ones are all gone and nothing can be done about them. The only one worth focusing on is the one we’ve yet to play.

I’m as guilty as the next person of this kind of reality denial – to be honest, I’d say I’m more guilty than most – but after Saturday even I’m finding it hard to stick to this script. All those previous defeats have to have scarred us badly, their baneful influence must impact in some way on how we approach and contest All-Ireland deciders. Otherwise how is it we keep losing final after final after final?

It’s always hard to pick yourself up after losing an All-Ireland, though most of us have, despite the accumulation of final losses, eventually dusted ourselves down and got back supporting the team again the following year. We’ve gone again.

But for how long, starved of entry to the banquet that is ultimate success, can we reasonably be expected to continue doing this? In my own case, I was still in my twenties when the 1989 final was contested but in September of next year I turn sixty. How much more time do I have? More to the point, how much time do I have for this particular itch that seemed destined never to be scratched?

The wounds are obviously very raw right now in the aftermath of this latest, enormously dispiriting final loss. We know, though, that the pain will eventually subside and that when next year comes around we’ll have come around to another year of supporting too, at a time when we can at least hope that the worst effects of the Covid pandemic will be behind us.

Maybe hope is the best emotion to cleave to, despite the saying that it’s the most damaging one of the lot. For, without hope, how can any supporter’s dreams take flight anew?

This article was first published in this week’s All-Ireland final supplement in the Mayo News.

179 thoughts on “No more losing plotlines

  1. All I can say to you JP is have faith in yourself.Things will be fine .The sun will rise again tomorrow and the next day . We all pull together at this time ..We are Mayo

  2. Walking out of Pearse Park in Longford in 2010 not even a crystal ball could have predicted we would play in 6 of the next 11 All-Irelands. It would have sounded like the most outlandish prediction ever. Obviously we don’t know what the future holds but the weight of expectation has to weigh heavy on their shoulders. The players hear the talk about curses, the 70 years wait and all the losses gone beforehand. Surely this affects them in some way and maybe the nerves are acting up a bit more than they usually do on final day. Having said all that the opportunities that arose the last day should have been taken.

  3. Great writing as always WJ. Hope is all that is left and I am running low on that.
    There must be a thesis for some Mayo student in the study of the collective phycological trauma inflicted on Mayo supporters over all these finals. Now I know its not bereavement level trauma but it has real symptoms, lack sleep,loss of appetite,mood swings etc..The negative impact of 2013 final alone convinced me never to attend a final again in CP.

  4. Great piece WJ. Read it yesterday in the Mayo News.

    Andy Moran pointed out today that Mattie and Diarmuid didn’t have a single shot on Saturday, whereas Conor Loftus, at least, did. He made the comparison, and it’s an interesting one to ponder. This must form a significant part of James’ post-match analysis.

    Hard to imagine before the match that Mattie wouldn’t even get a shot opportunity given his excellent form all year. Diarmuid, not so surprising, as he didn’t threaten the score board too much this year. Mattie will rightly retain his place at midfield for next year, but the role/placing of Diarmuid needs urgent review. Even before the final, plenty of us flagged our unsettled half-forward line, and lack of scores from there. It’s an issue and his formline in particular is cause for concern. We’ve enough worker-types to choose from, though we need to acknowledge that Diarmuid is a clever player and has potential to add a lot as we know very well. But he’s not showing the form of several years ago. It’s a conundrum.

    Fair play to Loftus for taking the shots even though he misfired each time. He wasn’t the only one. Its testament to the fact he got on plenty ball in threatening positions. Perhaps a half-forward jersey for him next season. Time will tell how these lads pick themselves back up after such a defeat and whether or not they’ll have the appetite to go again.

  5. Nice piece WJ
    Yeah it’s hard to keep going but we will simply because this thing is an unbelievable brotherhood /sisterhood.
    Our story is unique in sports its never happened anywhere else and we all think about it everyday and no matter how bad it gets we won’t quit……because we can’t.

  6. Tyrones main men to watch included Diarmuid and Ruane, it’s no coincidence neither got a shot off. We managed to marry that type of ability with all out attacking style when in possession.

    If you want to see something nice look up Meyler performance on Facebook, conors dad runs it. His story is truly remarkable, I remember him barely being able to make schools teams being very waif like etc. Shows what hunger to improve and achieve can do, it does help to have your dad having training knowledge but that’s me making excuses 😉 it’s there for all of us but few want it badly enough.

  7. If there was a transfer market, Cheer Owen, he’d no doubt be one of the first on every other teams’ list. A class act.

  8. In some past finals we’ve had some dreadful luck with referees, but how about some kudos to Joe McQuillan, from County Cavan, for a job well done as referee when Mayo meet Tyrone last Saturday?. He was to able take charge of his fourth All-Ireland football final from the get-go and the biggest compliment we can pay to him is that his name is not coming up in match reports – always a good sign of a ref’s performance!.

  9. I have always thought the role of Loftus is a go to player, bit like kilkenny on Dub team. Get the ball to him and he will score. I was very disappointed in his vision on saturday. At least 2 occasions when ball needed to be transferred quickly to player in better position. Didnt happen.
    But the big point, scores that were taken in semifinal were missed, pathetically, in some cases in final… Theres no soft review of this game. We have to face up to a poor performance.
    The saddest thing if we did go ahead in second half and had Tyrone chasing the game, the result would have been different. It doesnt get any easier trying to swallow the pill of this loss.
    WJ, rush us on the club championship draw when available.
    We need to escape this circle going nowhere

  10. Well written Willie Joe.

    I feel there’s still a window here of 1-2 years where we still have the older fellas and younger fellas coming through and the county board and mgt need to leave no stone unturned in that period.

    Serious review of how we can improve our execution at both ends of the field is needed and what personnel need to be taken out and brought in to lift the bar.

    Would seriously consider approaching someone like the gooch as a forwards coach even on a consultancy basis. Someone like Forde or Barrett to work with the full backs. We are seriously deficient in both these areas and we need to start doing something to address it.

  11. Great article WJ
    We sure know the feelings of the highs and lows.

    For the players sake I would let them have a break this coming year. Let them have some fun on the pitch.

    Let’s face it. We conceded 2 – 14 and wasted some of our best talent in defending in the final.
    Any 6 average county footballers I think wouldn’t have conceded much more than 2 – 14.

    I would love to see Durkan, Keegan and Mullin playing on the half forward line. O’Donoghue, Cillian and Conroy inside.
    Imagine the carnage those 6 would cause. And they could drop a little back towards midfield for kickouts.

    That would still leave you with Coen, o’hora and Hession in the backs. We already need to find a full back and lads like Eoin O’Donoghue if he ever reappears, Harrison, Fionn Mcdonagh, there are plenty of options and new blood to look at along the way.

    Mattie still at midfield with a.n. other be it Conor or Jordan or maybe there will be some other rising star by the time throw in comes around again.

    While Keegan, Durkan, and Mullin are brilliant footballers we are still only seeing a fraction of their full capabilities by lumbering them with man marking jobs, sometimes even in positions where they are not suited to at all.

    Imagine those six as forwards. They would cause utter panic to any defence they lined out against.

    It’s radical but I’m betting we would have outscored Tyrone on Saturday.

  12. For me, this defeat to Tyrone had strong echoes of the 2013 loss to Dublin.

    Dublin that day as Tyrone on Saturday played good but not at the level that made them unbeatable. What proved key was both scored goals at important stages in the game and conceded none.

  13. Mick Mayo – if there’s anything worse than someone who breaks the rules in commenting it’s someone who knowingly does so and even says this when posting. That’s the last comment you’ll post here.

  14. As a friend I met after the game said to me “how do you analyse that Mayo performance?” So many didn’t perform at all, some tried awful hard, some tried, as a player collective subs included it was a long way short of a Sam winning performance, disappointing, the players don’t go out to play poorly, yet they did.

    The sideline malfunctioned, we sung glorious of their second half performance v Dublin and the second half v Galway (theme here) but nothing happened v Tyrone when the game was there to be won, nothing.

    Overall football like WJ said is a simple game. Our basic skills, handpass, kicking the ball over the bar and under totally malfunctioned on the day they were needed. We can do all the fancy warm up drills we want but instead spend 25 minutes kicking the ball over the bar…….

    I agree with @Revellino, hopefully James looks at the players we have and rejig the pack, our 1/2 forward line offers no scoring threat at all. Put Oisin as 8/9, and at all times have 1 back covering at the back, goals conceded is our perpetual Achilles heel….

    If we don’t learn from this fiasco, we’ll do it again next year. Fact.

    100% left this behind.

    You’d get fed up but I’ll still fly the flag next year.

  15. Well despite being in Dublin WJ your article above certainly captures the mood in the county, it’s depressing.

  16. To be honest Willie Joe, I think at this point it might be best for one’s sense of well-being to adopt a “que sera sera” approach. We as supporters have absolutely no control over what will happen and so it’s best not to worry about it. I’m taking solace in all the things I have to be grateful for because we never know when it all could come to a halt.

    Most of the fans here will be back at the early games in January and February, plenty of time to ponder then. In the meantime, we should probably enjoy the club championships, Christmas and whatnot until the new season comes around again.

  17. I was working in Claremorris and Ballinrobe last week, great buzz on Thursday, Friday and great excitement in Ballinrobe on Saturday, then on Sunday nobody seemed to be out anywhere, completely dead.

    For next year alot of time must be allocated by the Coaching staff to get the heads right.

    The only thing is that the journey must continue, the best medicine is to be out watching football again.

  18. Anyone know when club championship times and dates are out, and will the season ticket + work this year for championship. I’m thinking not as we got some refund on them earlier in the year

  19. Times and dates aren’t confirmed yet, Stephen, I’ll post details on the blog once this happens. There’s no season ticket this year so that arrangement obviously isn’t in place this time around.

  20. I remember hearing someone talking about the fabric of a county or a club.
    In Galway I always felt the fabric was different between football and hurling.
    The Donnellans in Dunmore, their fabric isn’t semi finals, Connachts or losing in a final.
    Corofin, winning is part of the fabric now, all the way through the club.
    I think it’s the same in Kerry and it has become part of the fabric in Tyrone now.
    I do believe that Mayo group that played minor in 2013 and U21 in 2016 are a bit different. They are winners, even Loftus, he didn’t hide the other day, you could see he wanted to win and he kept going for it. I do believe they are the guys allied to the younger fellas that will get Mayo over the line in the next few years.

  21. Personally I’ve built up some scar tissue from this, I have somehow managed to shift from being a completely rabid lunatic Mayo fan, probably up to about 2016, then slowly and gradually unconsciously separated myself from it. I went into the final on Saturday fairly dispassionate, didnt believe we would win, but thought we could. I’m just annoyed and disappointed after it.

    But to me, and I know I’ve said this before, JH cant do it. The most important man for us now is Liam Moffatt, he needs to think dispassionately about this, gather a team of serious people and try to mimic some of what Limerick have done. The answer here is not in 1 thing, we clearly have alot of the right things in place, but we need more.

    Yes I do think the right manager could turn us around and land Sam in two years, I do not know who that is but would have to think Stephen Rochford could play some part in it.

  22. East Cork Exile.. Stephen Rochford and James Horan as joint managers maybe. But remember Stephen has not got a talented Donegal team too far for the last number of years. Nor did he win a Connaught Title which resulted in us travelling the country in the back door games picking up needless injuries and needles on the way

  23. W.j were is the evidence of a sideline malfunction.c Mac sat up and observed and sent Burke down to inform Horan. O’hora could not give anymore,watch him coming off he could hardly catch his breath.jordan switched with loftus and diarmuid went to wing back mullin to full back line.loftus had plenty of chances after this switch but they didn’t work out.D coen missed j Flynn missed and rod missed.if most of them went over after that switch then the game was ours.jesus there was some bad misses in that game but I think it was down to serious pressure from Tyrone defence.couldnt believe how small croke park looked the way Tyrone set up and far play to them.There is a lot of youth in this side and don’t think they are finished yet.

  24. There is too much baggage for Mayo teams in finals and its getting more and more difficult with each defeat. I remember leaving Croker after 15 final defeat to Kilkenny I was close to tears, dumbstruck and in a kind of daze. A woman said dont worry there will be other days but I felt we would never win Liam again. Due to illness I couldnt attend 2017 final (if I was lucky to get a ticket) I clearly recall the strange feelings that came over me in last 10 minutes of that game as I realised we were going to win. I was outwardly happy for family in room watching with me but really all I felt was a sort of numbing relief. Mayo people need that numbing relief jaysus at this stage if we give ye Finnerty and Mattie tierney ye could give us a few defenders. When the day does come when Mayo win and as long as its not a weird final versus Galway I hope ye all get some relief from the affliction of following a team and lets be clear about this no one is getting off the bus you like me are in it until the real final whistle for us all.

  25. O Sullivan, the idea of Rochford and Horan as joint managers is a non runner, neither would go for it and for good reasons. Horan is manager and will not accept sharing the role, Rochford won’t be available to Mayo next year (expect an announcement on his next managerial job in the very near future), and couldn’t see him coming back to Mayo anyway after the way he was treated the first time.

  26. It seemed to me that the decision making on the sideline wasn’t good. Aidan should have stayed at ff for the full game and offered a target. It was working fairly well in the first half. Kevin McLoughlin should have been outfield kicking passes into Aidan, Ryan and Tommy. When it was obvious that Aidan was exhausted he should have been replaced by possibly Carr or Coen offering a target up front. Putting Oisin to FB line was a mistake – I would have put him at MF where he might have had a big impact and where we were struggling.
    But having said all that we still could have won with a small bit of composure:
    1. If Aidan had turned back and popped the ball to Conor Loftus for that goal chance.
    2. If Tommy Conroy took a few more steps before taking his shot
    3. If Ryan had slotted the penalty
    Any one of those chances would have changed the dynamic of the game entirely.

  27. A few people have said Rochford won’t come back after the way he was treated. Anytime I’ve heard him speak on podcasts, he doesn’t seem to hold any ill feeling towards Mayo. Compared to Pat Holmes in the Western People who clearly has a massive grudge over how his time finished up.

    The tradition in Mayo football is that every manager gets a second go! I’ve no doubt we’ll see Stephen back at some stage, but it won’t be next year.

  28. As bad and all as we played, and factoring in management errors, we still could have beaten them, and beaten them well.

    Surprised by Andy saying on the pod that Tyrone are a bit ahead of us. Isn’t it amazing how a narrative suddenly changes after losing. Suddenly we’re back in development. Andy dismisses the weight of history as rubbish, pretty much. I feel he’s still too tied emotionally to the team. I wonder what he truly thinks.

  29. Wasnt suggesting joint mangers, was saying he could have been consulted specifically for the final on a tactical plan.

  30. Most curiously of all, when Andy was asked what can Mayo do over the winter to improve he was simply stumped! So, if he thinks we’re still a bit off the top guns like Tyrone I don’t know why didn’t just say ‘we need to unearth a few new players, review tactics, blah blah’ etc etc. If he hasn’t a clue how to improve Mayo then we’re truly f*^ked!!!

  31. Whats this obsession with going back to managers we had before? Maughan had a few stints, as did o’mahony, as did horan and now people calling for rochford. None of whom managed to get over the line

    There are other managers out there you know without dipping into past managers all the time

    Anyways its a moot point as Horan has earned another crack at it, he has managed the transition very well. After the hiding we got off Dublin in 2019 it was clear rebuild was needed so we are only really in year 2 with this team so he is probably probably progressed ahead of sched. There are still serious reservations about his in game management and his willingess to engage with backroom team but he has earned another crack at it.

    I go back again to the tyrone management backroom setup – Dooher/Logan/Donnelly/Holmes/McMahon, Thats a heavyweight backroom. tons of coaching experience, tons of medals, if any of those lads give their opinion you will listen to it

  32. @supermac, The gameplan is the same game plan as 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
    Are we going with the same game plan in 2022?
    Doing so will extinguish any mental energy left in the squad.
    When the game plan is proven by six ecits to not work then change it.
    Horan has to develop a kicking game and better cover of our own goal.
    We concede too many goals.
    We don’t score enough goals.
    We work too hard for our points from play.

  33. I am a firm believer in keeping things fresh, the obsession with past managers is not to my liking. A new management brings a fresh outlook and has no great ties to the current panel members.
    A ruthless guy that doesn’t give a shite in dropping players that are not performing.
    Some guys are good coaches but just cannot read the game as it unfolds.
    Kerry may be about to make the mistake of going back to Jack O Connor.
    I have always thought that a good manager doesn’t have to be an ex County player, ie, Mickey Harte, Sean Boylan. But in the recent 11 years All Ireland’s were won by management that have won as a player.

  34. Mayo were anxious to win instead of being anxious to perform, Paul Flynn rightly describes. Why can’t Andy Moran see this?

  35. JP i think we are broadly in agreement…

    I think Horan deserves another crack because he had handled the transition well, we have had a lot of retirements in past 2 years so for him to keep us thereabouts and getting to finals in that time is commendable.

    BUT as you say he only has one way of playing, its enough to blow away teams who cant match our conditioning (we will win the next few connaughts handy enough for this reason), but relying on ‘chaos’ and emotion to unfold in a game is not a sustainable plan. There was so much smartness in the Tyrone play that you would never ever see from Mayo, as Andy pointed out on the OTB pod the 2 tyrone goals came straight off the training ground.

    He has had 4 finals now and 3 of them have been lost by 5 points which are comprehensive defeats in a final. He has clear blind spots for some players and his in-game management is questionable, you would hope we would see him changing things up and learning from mistakes next year

  36. Because he is too close to them and protective. And so so disappointed. You could hear the deflation in him. Reminded me of ourselves. Jesus I had no form on me at all until today.

  37. …@Mayo88 i also suspect that kerry would be making a mistake going back to Jack o’connor. Its not 2006 anymore, game has evolved a lot. I know he has won all irelands but as with Mayo i dont understand the need to only go back to old managers

  38. This is a hard one to take .Certainly compared to last year I was ok in myself 2 days later. Today 5 days on and I feel complete and utter shite and going by the mood on the blog its not much better than mine .
    Ill be back to myself soon enough im sure but for now the pain of this defeat is very much being felt.

  39. Buckley and moynihan have put their names forward on a joint ticket.if they get it god help the rest of us.

  40. Excellent article Willie Joe. Perfectly sums up my feelings after Saturday. I attended my first Connacht Final in 1968 as a nine year old and was at both games v Galway in 1969. I then lived through the blank seventies when we could not win Connacht despite having some wonderful under age successes in that period. . I regard 1985 as the year Mayo were reborn as a football force and we have been there or thereabouts ever since without finishing the job. After Saturday for the first time I felt that I might never see Mayo win an All Ireland final yet know come next year I will be filled with the renewed hope of Spring. After all I cannot nor would I want to change where I come from.

  41. Don’t we live simply too much in chaos? Our attacking play has always been pretty under coached. We work top hard to get our scores. We have too much of a democracy as to who shoots. Setting up our shooters in space we only seen glimpses of it with Rochford in 2017.
    We then get a mark rule, Mayo footballers always famed for their hands and we pretty much make no usage of a mark rule.

  42. Regarding Aido at 14, the outfield players cannot be blamed too much for not kicking the ball in. Look, he got several easy chances in the semi when good ball was kicked to him. He missed badly. In the final just gone, Ryan kicked one of the best passes I’ve seen in Croker in a while. Perfectly gathered by Aido for a one-on-one goal chance. He missed.

    So, with his colleagues seeing that sort of poor return would you blame them for hesitating to pass to him in advanced positions? Stop the madness. Please.

  43. Interesting point made in a previous article about the value of someone like denis kearney. Is he currently involved with any team?

  44. @Liberal role… agreed 100% and i was saying that long before saturday. We have tried AOS at full forward on countless occasions over the years now, and every time it fails to pay dividends you will have lots of commentators lamenting he didnt get ball into him. Why do we persist with something we know patently doesnt work?

    On Saturday he was fed a number of balls at full forward including one absolute peach of a ball from ROD that left him with an open goal, he got blocked down somehow for that and then missed another very scoreable point attempt shortly afterwards. In Dublin game we squandered the first 40 minutes trying to feed ball into him, a lot of the play was directed to him and he missed about 3 sitters. We had 0-4 on the board when he was hooked.

    Im trying not to be too critical of him as there is enough morons on that twitter cesspit gleefully sticking the boot in but it appears the only position left to try him in is impact sub, it didnt do McShane any harm on saturday

  45. Agreed supermac. I think this is all fair and evidence-based criticism. He’s still got a role to offer.

  46. Anyone who looks at the game again on youtube, have a look at the passage of play which lead up to the penalty and freeze it on 39:35, it will tell you everything you need you know about our lack of forward structure.

    Paddy in in possession, Aidan is in at full forward and Ryan is hovering around the edge of the D.

    Including Morgan there are 8 Tyrone players inside their own 45, we have 3, it sums up our forward structure, or complete lack of it.

    Same situation when we were getting cleaned at midfield, no action taken to flood the area and move our half forwards into that area for Morgans long kick outs as well to.

    This is all simple stuff and it’s incredibly frustrating to think that at this stage and with all we have been through that we still do not have a tactical team in place for when we face the big teams and especially in the biggest game of all.

    If a group of five good football men with tactical minds could not have sat down for the day on the Monday after the Tyrone v Kerry game and figure out a game plan which would have given us the best possible chance of beating Tyrone then we really are only wasting our time.

    I’m not casting any assertions here because I’m talking about structures and not individuals but for me there is a clear and obvious lack off managerial structure in Mayo GAA which is contributing significantly to our failure to win a final.

    The question is, how are we as supporters going to help change things and if I for example was to meet the County Board and the current management team to try and advise them on steps that need to be taken to increase out chances of getting over the line what would their response be ?

    Would I be shown the door or would I be listened to ?

  47. I have been sent a link just now by a friend of an analysis piece by former Mayo player and manager John P. Kean on his facebook page. I would urge all posters to read it. Excellent points and questions raised.

  48. Great piece WJ, and one that sums up my mood entirely.
    I was angry as hell leaving Croke Park last Saturday. And so were my co-pilots on the journey West. Angry at myself for finally, truly believing that we would win it (whilst acknowledging how good Tyrone were), angry at the terribly sub-par performance that the team put up, and, angry that yet again we will have to suffer the humiliation of being patronized, laughed at and derided as being losers, chokers and bottlers. From Galwaymen and Rossies, of all places.
    To be honest, those feelings haven’t subsided much since, and while admitting that they are extremely selfish of me (as it’s not me who has parked his life in pursuit of a Celtic Cross) I will make no apology for it. No more than many on here, I have spent the last 40 years of my life following Mayo the length and breath of this country. I remember, as a 7 year old, sitting in between the drivers and front passengers seat of my fathers car, heading to Laois on an 8 hour round trip to see us struggle to win a div 2 game, and the car wedged with 7 of the finest Mayo supporters that Ballyhaunis has ever produced. I remember when we were total shite and there wouldn’t be 100 Mayo supporters at a game, I remember us getting wiped out by Cork in ’99, Kerry in ’04 and ’06, I remember the truly awful days. But yet I kept going. My father and his friends, then became me and my friends, and now my kids and their friends are following suit. They are lucky they never saw the dark days, as there were many, but I have wondered if the next generation would be so forgiving and patient? Are they are daft as us? Have they other things in their lives that will commit their time, energy and money to? I’m beginning to think so.

    I believe something was broken last Saturday evening. It was in me anyway and while I hope it mends between now and the league next year, I don’t know if it will. A trust or sort of faith in the team has been broken, in the way that I don’t know if I will ever approach an All Ireland final truly believing, really truly believing, that we will win. I fully accept that that’s all on me. Many will say “just shut the fuck up, you’re a supporter, support or get out of the way”. And I get all that, I do, because I’ve said it myself over the years to others. But now I wonder were they right, and I’m the idiot to believe?
    I certainly am at the point where I am asking myself are there other things that I could be doing with my time and money that are “easier” on the body and mind? Do I want to write off 10 or 12 weekends a year in the feverish pursuit of success when, almost certainly at this stage, it will end in heartache? Do I want to spend €500 a year on season tickets and hundreds more in accommodation and travel? Have I done my stint, my mileage, my screaming and roaring support from Northernmost point in Donegal to the tip of Cork, from Castlebar to Croke Park via Thurles, Limerick and all the other arenas our warriors have battled in? Battled in, in pursuit of a dream that I now believe I will never see.
    I get it that there are 28 or 29 other counties that would love to be us. I get it that it’s sport, without guarantees of success. I get it that there is only ever 1 winner, and many losers. I’m involved in team sports myself and I know full well that you can try, try and try with all your heart, and still end up a loser. I suppose, today, I’m weary and exhausted at continually walking out of Croke Park on All Ireland final day as a loser.
    It’s a long time until next years league. And thank God it is.

  49. @Mayolass, It’s a waste of time to be perfectly honest with you.

    It’s over two weeks our own tactical team should have been analyzing Tyrone and coming up with a game plan.

    The problem is we don’t appear to have a tactical team or if we do they have failed miserably.

  50. Fully sympathise pebblesmeller. We took 40 steps backwards last saturday. All the suffering that weve endured would have been banished. The losses to Dublin would be part of the learning curve, players would be rewarded for their total dedication to the cause….. What a disaster, how it affects us going forward, who knows. Fortunately we have a blog to vent our frustration

  51. Viper – its truly frustrating how poorly we were prepared tactically for what we knew Tyrone would bring and they certainly had their work done on us. Sure i thought the whole point of having the media night so early was to fully prepare in every aspect for the final, no distractions etc. That All Ireland was there for the taking – that is why so many are angry and upset. Its now over to the county board and clubs….

  52. @Mayolass, we do many things right, but we are simply not professional enough in a number of key areas and in my opinion this has contributed significantly to our pattern of losses.

    I think people need to focus their energy on finding a way to change this rather than having a mish mash of opinions because if we do not get the whole managerial structure right to begin with then we will pay the price later.

    As I said, many things are working well but we are cutting corners in other areas and ultimately paying the price for that.

  53. Like pebblesmeller I’m still angry as hell, but I have rewatched the match for some sad sadistic reason, as if the first time wasn’t painful enough.

    What did I learn on second viewing?

    First half:
    AOS good for the most part although he should have dummied his blocked shot and offloaded to loftus.
    We did not kick the ball enough into our forwards, playing right into tyrones hands, literally.
    Mattie Ruane, Oisin and Kev Mc all guilty of over carrying into contact and getting turned over on numerous occasions.
    Keegan and Durcan good first half and s.Coen solid.
    Loftus got on a lot of ball.
    O’hora was lucky not to be black carded.
    ROD and Tommy lively and good in patches.
    O’Hora denied stone wall penalty at end of the half – didn’t realise how clear a penalty it was – high tackle inside the 14 yard line.
    Tyrone execution of shots excellent and game plan the same as v Kerry – very frustrating

    Second half
    AOS started to mark morgan near his goal in open play, he had been used as an out ball in the first half by the Tyrone backs.
    Tconroy should have taken an extra solo or squared to the free AOS for his goal chance.
    ROD penalty almost perfect but the penalty prob shouldn’t have been given as was a square ball.

    Morgan kept aiming for his 11 with long kickouts, they scored their second goal from this and at least another point or two. We didn’t react to this tactic.

    Hennelly should have taken man and ball for their first goal. Would have been a nice hardy welcome to the fray for mcshane but instead he scored a goal and his confidence grew.

    Brian Walshe – awful miss, should have got at least a point.

    Second Tyrone goal, keegan left goal scorer Mccurry to close down McKenna – error. Very similar to COC leaving scully unmarked for dubs second goal last December.

    Loftus left shooting boots at home but he did create chances.

    We were within 3 points on 65 minutes despite the two goals conceded. Crucial misses from d coen and Flynn at this time were costly. Ruanes marker conn kilpatrick had a great game but should have also been red carded.
    Tyrone finished each half stronger than Mayo.

    Horan could be seen speaking (calmly) with James Burke (selector) numerous times throughout the match and also to McDonald after penalty miss.

    Conclusion:
    All in all Tyrone deserved the win – they had a plan to negate our strengths and it worked. We got turned over far too many times – we learned very little from Kerry’s defeat which is the most infuriating part. Had we been adaptable and avoided carrying into contact we would have won as this provided a platform for many tyrones scores and gave them oxygen but suffocated us. Going forward Mayo need to adapt our style to include more kick passing and we need a defensive plan to stop conceding these avoidable goals in big games. We are far too predictable for other teams at present. AOS had a pretty good first half but should have been subbed off in the second when our style needed to change. O’hora was growing into the game but was on a yellow. We need a renowned sports psychologist with us too.

  54. Mayolass,
    The dogs on the street knew exactly how Tyrone would play. And they did exactly as they have done all year. I’d say they were sitting in their dressing room after the final, looking at each other, smiling, and asking, “what was all the fuss about Mayo?” I’d say they can’t believe how handy an All Ireland they got.

    A bad junior club manager could see that you do not counter attack Tyrone by running the ball. They always had another player back, they are very good one-on-one defenders anyway and they always protect the “D”. They would always have numbers behind the ball so we were never going to “out-run” them. So what the hell was our attacking plan once we got the ball? Conroy and O’Donoghue spent more time inside their own 45 than they did in Tyrones, and, our complete and utter failure to move the ball through the foot, at pace, like Rochfords sides did in ’16 and ’17, meant we were never going to beat their defensive cover. Either Horan and the sideline didn’t see this, or didn’t know it. In either case that is terrible tactical awareness from the sideline. Or else, they did see it, tried to change things, and either the players didn’t or couldn’t. A further indictment on the set up.

  55. I don’t think we’ll ever develop the snarl required to win the All Ireland. Incredible to think given all the hurt, heartache and sneering endured. What’s wrong with us?

    Next year it will a Kerry or a Dublin, or even an Armagh perhaps, ie ‘it’s been coming for McGeeney; Armagh got their structures right; it was their time; a special group of players’ etc……..

    I think its reached a point where we’re running out of sympathy for our own team.

  56. Could someone tell me this? If Tyrone were as good defensively as the majority on here are saying how come they coughed up 4 decent goal chances and a penalty. The fact no goals were scored is down to poor composure and execution and has fuck all to do with tactics.
    If a couple of those chances were converted like they should have been there wouldn’t be a word about failed tactics today.

  57. @Our time has come from you watching back the game again and fair play for being able to do that did you think the Morgan by passed our midfield line on his kick outs and on one occasion led to a score ?
    Im pretty sure the goal came from when he was out the field and he huffed the ball well over our midfield .

  58. @Pebblesmeller, I certainly understand where you’re coming from, you have articulated very similar taughts on the subject as what I’m currently thinking as well.. I suppose this Mayo GAA Blog is the nearest thing where genuine loyal Mayo supporters have a forum to express such taughts and because of moderation its not allowed turn into a sewer.. I taught about writing several long posts myself, and would not have spared some individuals because such was my anger in the end decided not posted them because, I understand that some individuals and their families are getting some terrible abuse online, and that’s terrible,I don’t want to do anything to encourage that type of appaling behavior.. So how do you critise what everyone knows was wrong.. Ask yourselves honestly, What was the evidence of your own eyes as to what was happening on the sideline on Saturday?.. What was was your opinion on the merits of the starting 15? . Forget the big household names, should selection be made on performance and form? .There is a curse, and it’s the curse of tolerance of the same mistakes again, and again by the same people again.. Maybe we’re just not good enough to win an All Ireland final, but we were good enough to beat Dublin, their first defeat in 46 games, but Dublin of 2021 are 20% below where they were in 2015-2019, mind you the ref for the semifinal was worth about 20% to the Dubs so I guess it evened itself out.. Look we missed 4 goal chances, Ryan O Donohue, set up first two with great vision, his vision to spot the run of Bryan Walsh one on one with Morgan was excellent, Morgan smothered it but it fell kindly for an open Goal,his long range kick pass a thing close to perfection, giving a chance of an open Goal with Niall Morgan racing back to his Goal, To miss one open Goal in an All Ireland final is bad but to miss two is careless and they were the easiest chances I ever remember,..Ryan contributed greatly to Mayos efforts and gave everything, as did everyone else but they didn’t deliver as much as Ryan. Tommy Conroy effort was far from a gimme, a chance he created all by himself taking on the Tyrone defense from distance with his great pace, Mayo needed a goal at that stage, and that’s always the stage it’s hardest to get, especially with Tyrone, and even though Tommy took on his shot too early and was wide on his near side, Tyrone had already gotten another man back on the line to help Morgan with the save if nessary , and making Tommys attempt all the more difficult, .. Credit the Tyrone defense for making it more difficult. .. We didn’t deserve to win, The player’s gave it everything but composure.. Mind you there wasn’t much composure on the sideline either!

  59. Thanks OTHC for watching back. Just can’t face that prospect.

    Almost perfect for the penalty wasn’t good enough, but it’s better than a blazing wide. Twice Conor Loftus was whistled for over carrying, taking the ball into a tackle and falling down – it looked awful, and McQuillan was right to penalise; it was a good position with the possibility of something coming out of it.

    Talk of playing into Tyrone’s hands makes it sound like they were very naive. But, we have played Dublin and that’s exactly what they do too – turn you over and counter attack like lightning. What Tyrone were able to do was win individual battles, catching ball where we couldn’t either in defence or attack. We need to work on that, but we were good with low fast ball in a lot of the time.

    And, we made Morgan look good. We really needed to do a number on him.

  60. @catcol..I have to disagree on the penalty and this is no pop at ROD who I thought apart from Lee was probably our best player. There is very little difference to blasting it wide..the goalie doesn’t have to make a save either way. You have to at least make Morgan make a save. A penalty does not have to be perfect to score but it has to be on target.

  61. @Our time has come, your conclusion more or less sums up everything I have said since joining this community.

    What Mayo need is a ruthless “Project Manager”, the project being winning the All-Ireland, I know it’s an unorthodox approach and some people may scoff at this idea but I’m deadly serious.

    Someone who has absolutely no connection to anyone in Mayo GAA, is friendly but never becomes their friend, has no sentiments or ego whatsoever, is highly intelligent, ruthless, who commands respect and understands how to get a project completed and knows what key components are needed to maximize potential and has the ability to put all these key components together and leaves absolutely no stone unturned in his or her pursuit of success.

    The project manager would also be responsible for appointing the team manager.

    People may react to my post and say the County Board will never do that but when you think about it logically it really is the only route to take, it does not diminish their authority in any way, because ultimately they are the ones who will be employing the project manager to put all these pieces together for them and I wont say it will guarantee success in year one but I would be surprised if it did not deliver an All-Ireland within five years.

    The question is, who is the man or woman for this job, because they must tick many boxes.

  62. Walterwhite – the result dictates everything unfortunately. Kerry had at least 4 goal chances in the semi final, one of which was just a matter of putting the ball into an empty net. They missed them all and Tyrone scored 3 goals from 3 chances.

    On Saturday, we had 4 or 5 goal chances of varying difficulty and came away with nothing. Tyrone had 4 goal chances and got 2-2 from them. Our tactics weren’t as bad as some are making out, although it was a bit one dimensional.

  63. I’m hoping someone can educate me on this as I’m at a loss. There’s been a lot of talk here about performances in finals under JH compared to Rochford in 16&17. People seem to suggest that SR had Mayo playing a better or different type of football in these finals. Did SR employ a vastly different style of play those years? I don’t recall anything radical myself – the same positive & negative traits remained to my mind. I’d be of the opinion those final performances came due to the following factors – the majority of that Mayo team, which was stronger than the current outfit, being in their absolute primes those seasons, the team were battle hardened from the qualifier runs & had zero pressure on them in both finals as they we’re playing what turned out to be a truly exceptional team. Just wondering is it really a JH v SR thing or merely some things aligning nicely for SR in those years?

  64. As mentioned in an earlier post JP Keane references that infamous strategic plan 2011 – 2016 in his latest Facebook piece.

    Always intrigued by this ill fated plan and what may have happened if it was adopted at the time by the county board.

    Would you have any interest (or see any merit) WJ in a couple of weeks time, resubmitting that post from 2011 and getting peoples views on it now? Is there anything that can be resurrected even at this late stage? Maybe get views from some of the contributors, Liam Horan, John Cuffe, yourself (WJ) etc

  65. Some of the failures were still visible in ’16 and ’17 finals albeit luck truly wasn’t on our side either day.
    Cillian and Jason Doc both had opportunities to win it, ie free-kick and goal chance respectively. Any other match, ie a quarter or a semi and I’d fancy them to nail those. They are good enough players to do so.

  66. @Wide Ball, that is the point I am trying to make. It is extremely difficult to win any game when you miss that that many chances and granted some of them were better than others but there is no way we should not be scoring two goals in that game. Tyrone took their chances and we didn’t. We can discuss everything else to death but that game was there for winning and we didn’t take our opportunity.

  67. I’ve read that post too Mayomagic2000 and I can’t see how that’s relevant to winning or losing a match in 2021. I’ve no appetite to re-watch Saturday’s final and even less to go exhuming events from over a decade ago.

  68. Yes, Catcol, I agree with you on Morgan – I’m no expert to know *how* to do it but we needed to take Morgan out of the game, frustrate him. This idea was on a plate from the semi-final. He had little influence in the semi versus Kerry but was still a vital cog. You could tell from body language after that game how warmly he and one of the joint managers were celebrating even though certain people said he had a woeful game. A person could tell he would be having an influence the next day out.
    Likewise McShane, on body language, swagger and personal charisma alone, he needed to be completely negated. He gives a huge lift to that team with his confidence alone.
    I feel bad saying it, because we are wise after the fact, but Tyrone are a team that need their key attributes (aces) stopped. They are so strong otherwise in their system. It is no accident that so many teams this year thought they could win against them….but didn’t. Quelle mystere!
    Maybe we needed AOS in the middle AND up front, in the absence of Cillian.
    I believe there are a lot of small things that went into our ‘non-performance’ and loss.
    We all need to steady ourselves now.
    Maybe a psychologist is needed to deal with the fall-out of this, and so we can all learn lessons. Mayo football is so intense. We need some patience too – have we asked ourselves why patience feels so hard?
    Perhaps we do need something extra in the management team or backroom.

  69. I agree Liberal Role regarding the ‘snarl’ required to get the job done. It also can’t be coached either. A Dublin friend of mine, who would be very fair in his summaries, thought Tyrone would beat us based on the element of savagery they would & always bring that Mayo wouldn’t. Now that wasn’t the only thing that cost Mayo of course but it was an interesting viewpoint

  70. Logan’s role is to act as a CEO of sorts. Excellent communication and doesn’t belittle anyone, listens intently to whatever is being said. Was very nice for him considering the ‘95 ghosts.

    The media will try I’m sure to put their spin on it but Tyrone people are grateful to Harte yet relieved that regime is no longer in force. Many of those guys lived in the shadow of noughties team and I think were intimidated by it.

    Then there’s the whole RTE debacle and the string of tragedies. Look at how open the players are with media now & you really get to see them express themselves. It all adds up.

    Andy Moran and Paddy Andrews have it spot on IMHO, the more i watch it back the more it looks Tyrone controlled the game despite early shakes. Let the dust settle a bit more, Mayo similarly to Tyrone outperformed expectations for the season esp with Cillian situation.

  71. Casual Observer – Our style of play was very similar in those 2 finals under Stephen Rochford. It was still Lee Keegan’s running off the shoulder that got us goals.

    There was a bit more focus on a kicking game, but that could be down to Andy Moran being in such good form and having a good understanding with Cillian, Jason and Kevin Mc. Due to injuries our forward line has chopped and changed a lot this season.

  72. @Wide Ball, what were our tactics ?

    I’m involved in football a long time and I haven’t a clue what our tactics or forward structure was.

    As I pointed out earlier, 3 Mayo v 8 Tyrone inside the Tyrone 45 in the lead up to the Mayo penalty, not one Mayo support runner when Paddy had possession out wide.

    What sort of tactics are those, someone might know, but I don’t.

  73. I haven’t watched back the full game @viper and don’t plan to anytime soon. Didn’t the mayo penalty come from a free dropping short and Diarmuid punching it towards goal (his trademark)? We weren’t perfect but still created plenty of chances, so the tactics worked to an extent.

  74. That is some piece of writing by John P Kean and tough questions asked. Good to hear from someone who is not afraid to speak his mind on all matters related to Mayo GAA. More of that is needed. And as he said its now over to Liam Moffat. I would like to see him doing a guest piece here on the Blog Willie Joe.

  75. Mayomaningalway the second Tyrone goal came from Morgan’s kickout – they had tactically targeted going long to bypass midfield and he tried this numerous times with good success. We never reacted to this or foresaw it coming despite them using that tactic in the league match last year. Morgan did blaze a long ball from his hands in the first half that was flicked on by McKenna into the path of mccurry where his soccer style shot was well saved by robbie

  76. @upperhogan absolute waste of time bringing in someone like D Kearney, we know JH is stubborn in his gameplan and doesnt tend to work well with others. He has had shake ups in his background team before because of this rigidity. Also chris barrett clearly alluded to JH insistence on playing the game his way.
    With Kearneys experience he would best placed in a managerial position for a mayo minor or u21 where he could make a genuine impact and mould players for a senior team. Dublin did it with jim gavin and he then took over the team that had players all of whom he had previously managed.

  77. Casual Observer, we played differently, more kick passing, more direct play.
    Tactically he also mixed it up, Kevin McLoughlins role v Tyrone, totally bambozzled them, Aidan O’Shea in at full back on Donahey, there were others and they all worked. James would never do any of that.
    Some will point to the Hennelly – DC switch between the drawn game and the replay as being a fatal mistake, in fact its what people outside the county remember SR for, not the other stuff. I think that was a fair call based on analysis and it just didnt work, those are the chances you take but you cant fault his logic (more accurate kickouts)

  78. This oul crack of having “only one plan” may have been our downfall, Plan A, B and C always needed in any football game.

  79. @east cork exile. I think in the drawn game, Dublin had started to really focus and close in on Clarkes kick outs. Even the short ones. They were within a hairs breadth of picking some of those kick outs off towards the end of that game. I think that’s the reason the keepers were changed for the replay.
    I never laid any blame at Rochford’s door for that decision because I think the reasoning for doing it was very sound. Unfortunately though, Robbie played poorly on that replay.

  80. east cork exile – it’s a bit of a stretch saying all those tactical switches by Rochford worked. We were poxed lucky to beat Tyrone in 2016. Morgan and Darren McCurry missed far easier chances than they scored last weekend. A 34 year old Donaghy was probably Kerry’s best player in the drawn game when O’Shea was marking him. JH has made plenty of left field decisions that worked out, like putting Paddy Durcan marking Ryan McHugh and Jack McCaffrey. Putting Conor Loftus midfield as well.

  81. Fair points East Cork Exile, SR seems far more tactically aware when you provide those examples. There was merit in the DC RH switch also albeit it backfired badly. However, I do ultimately believe the team was in its zenith those years hence the level of performance. 2017 was particularly hard to take of all the years, I don’t think any other team in history would have beaten Mayo that day. It’s still the best game of football I’ve seen, not that it provides much solace!

  82. I think we the supporters and myself Included have overreacted a bit after our loss. I watched it back today after work and in the cold light of day we could easily have won that match if we didn’t miss the penalty and didn’t rush our shot selection. 3 things I think Horan and his management team needs to do for next year. (1) bring in Caroline Currid or a sports Psychologist and admit we have a problem sealing the deal and putting teams away we are not ruthless enough. (2) forget loyalties pic half forwards that can score if your not scoring your not playing no matter what your name is. (3) sort out our defence easier said than done but we need a specialist full back there’s one in Ballaghadereen who I believe would walk on to the team if he is prepared to commit in Seamus Cuniffe. Pick forwards that can score and defenders that can defend and your almost half way there

  83. @Wide Ball, yes it did but it was the play just before the free was given while Paddy was still in possession, if you exclude Paddy it was 2 Mayo forwards v 8 Tyrone, unbelievable stuff.

  84. @Glorydays, we cant keep at this next year craic, long enough at this stage knocking on the door we should be experts at what is needed.

    Have we reached a situation where a few men on a very good blog are able to identify what’s needed, but those we expect should be are unable to do that ?

    Is all this management lark totally overrated and in reality all you need is common sense and smarts, I often find that with certain positions in various industries.

    Without common sense, you’re at nothing.

  85. @Mayomagic2000, what difference would the strategic plan from 2011 have made last Saturday when all we wanted was a plan to beat Tyrone.

    As good and all as Tyrone are they are not a Kerry or a Dublin at the peak of their powers.

    We only managed to score 2 points more against them than Cavan did, a team who’ll be playing in division 4 next year !

    No wonder people are angry, and if they’re not they should be.

    We did not prepare properly for Tyrone and it’s that simple, because if we had we would have beaten them.

    It was Tyrone we played, not Dublin and not Kerry.

  86. For some reason all 2nd half finals turn out similar under Horan.
    There’s never enough support players to take the pass inside the opposition 45m line.
    I noticed this in 2013, 2020 and 2021 finals.
    In last year’s final Conroy was going it alone v 3 Dub defenders on a few occasions early in 2nd half.
    Again Conroy had no support to give away the quick handpass last Saturday, he shot from a bad angle.
    Tyrone have learnt from the Dubs, the quick one, two handpass and the palm to the net.
    There’s seems to be an issue in that the half forward line are to deep and don’t get forward fast to help the full forward line, is this a fear of management? Sure how can they score when they are more like defenders.
    The full forward line are ordered to cover too much ground, where is the energy going to come from to get a score when sometimes I see them back defending in the half back line ?
    Football has evolved further this year, the long fast kick pass is back.

  87. @Wideball, 2016.. Tyrone should have beaten us.. it was no masterclass accepted from Stephen Rochford far from it, What it was was a reasonable tatical game that Rochford won on the sideline, kept us in the game until Tyrone had Sean Cavanagh sent off and Lee Keegan done what he does best, went out and was the difference between winning and losing.. as I said about Niall Morgan, so often on this Blog, when he’s hot, he’s hot, and when he’s not he’s not.. He wasn’t hot that day at all.. Tyrone had enough of the ball and enough chances to win the game by about 8 or 9 points,.. While it wasn’t a masterclass, we didn’t need a masterclass, that day what we got was a reasonable sensible class from the sideline that kept us that game.. Last Saturday as well we needed a sensible game plan, but Tyrone did and they got one.. all be it, a masterclass that was so risky from a Tyrone point of view, had we exploited their vunerability with Morgan out the field so much, it wouldn’t have looked much like a masterclass at all. .. We didn’t exploit their weakness, and their weakness was their for all to see.. If you cast your mind back to the Connacht Final, James Carr has a guilt edged chance of a goal well into injury time, Mayo have the game already won, James opted for an easy point.. So many posters on this Blog were saying James Horan won’t pick him for not taking the goal chance.. Now it was a more difficult chance than either of two Mayo butchered in the first half, and the right thing to do was score a Goal in those circumstances.. Now James Carr is a big guy, he has an engine, skill and a burst of pace and can kick scores, and miss a few as well.. I can garuntee you his conversion rate of chances in comparison to his misses is miles ahead of at least two forwards who started ahead of him.. But the posters on this Blog after the Connacht Final, James Horan wouldn’t pick James Carr because he scored a point instead of a goal in the final minute of a game Mayo had already won.. What was the criteria for picking those he did ahead of him?

  88. @viper common sense and smarts goes a long way Ibelive James Horan has both in abundance but it’s no shame to ask for help or specialist advice

  89. @viper. You say we only scored two more points than Cavan…Well maybe if we didn’t butcher so many chances we would have racked up a far greater total…Is that Horan’s fault too?

  90. @Glorydays, absolutely, that’s been my point all along, all the really smart people surround themselves with the best team they can.

    You can also have a situation where people are head strong though and can feel threatened by other brains as well, I have seen that happen.

    A my way or the highway mentality, which usually ends in being surrounded by yes men and not necessarily the best people.

  91. The Connacht telagraph has a harsh piece, saying the buck stops with JH, I don’t think we would be in the good position we are in without him, he will hopefully stay one more year and learn from this, after that next guy will have a good panel and hopefully he can seal the deal, but I hope Horan does it.

  92. Sure when Connelly/Holmes took over they interviewed senior players at the start of their reign that gave feedback along the lines of tactical awareness needed to improve and analysis on opposition had been poor in the few seasons prior (this was cited in that infamous interview H&C gave to the Indo a few years back)

    Its clear Horan hasn’t learned from previous failings from his first reign in big games. There wasn’t an ounce of analysis into how Tyrone suffocated Kerry’s attack (otherwise Mayo wouldn’t have carried aimlessly into dead ends throughout), and again decision making was poor on the line during the game. The arguing amongst the management team in the second half really was galling to see

    I don’t see Horan ever winning an All Ireland, but at the same time a change now could mean serious regression – to be fair his man-management appears top notch, and he certainly gets results against teams Mayo should be beating. Given Mayo are probably 4th or 5th best on paper in Ireland, its unlikely anyone will deliver an All Ireland next season without a real stroke of luck, so getting rid of him now isn’t exactly productive.

    Its a pity Rochford couldn’t get us over the line, he always had a plan for Dublin, actually had a defensive system, wasn’t afraid to make a few left field selections to counter the top teams. With Horan its just a “lets see what happens” approach

    Rochie would be mad to even consider the option again though, given how he was shafted in 2018

  93. @Walterwhite, well in Kerry it has cost Peter Keane his job, because he was blamed for inadequate preparation for Tyrone and not having a game plan to beat them.

    We had the hindsight of seeing what they done against Kerry or did we learn nothing from the Kerry game ?

    Did we butcher the chances because we have poor players or because our performances were down because we were not psychologically prepared and if the latter is true, then who’s fault is that ?

    I said here already that to give yourself the best chance of winning you cannot afford to leave any stone unturned.

    It’s not as simple as saying “we missed goal chances and that’s why we lost” what people need to look at is why we missed goal chances.

    I’ll give one quick example of what I mean for anyone who follows soccer ,Timo Werner of Chelsea.

    A striker well able to score goals but a number of misses and a lot of media pressure turned him into a psychological wreck in the end who managed to hit the crossbar from 1 metre out so don’t underestimate what being psychologically unprepared can do for your performance.

  94. And one more point, a fairly obvious job requirement for a manager is to pick as close to the best 15 as possible (taking into account a few variables like fitness, opposition, form etc.)

    But if there are 9 or 10 better forward in Mayo than Fionn McDonagh and if james Carr is only worth a token minute in an All Ireland final that we’re losing and badly need scores in, then I’ll eat my hat

    The former was one of the players of the club championship last year and definitely one of Mayo’s star performers in 2019. James Carr is direct, has an eye for goal, can kick a score from anywhere and has proven himself in big games before. Neither are all star material or anything but certainly better than plenty that were given more game time the last few seasons.

    Also Mark Moran and Darren Coen put in man of the match performances v Galway in league last year and Leitrim this year respectively – I don’t think both even started a game since.. why were they used at all so? Bizarre stuff

    Its clear he has his favourites and there are certain players he simply does not fancy.. but he may need to swallow his pride and put some differences aside if Mayo are to claim the big prize. A clean slate heading into 2022 would be most welcome as well as a commitment to more tactical planning and in-depth opposition analysis. I don’t see either happening though

  95. What smart men or tactical geniuses were needed on Saturday to realise that we were butchering every goal chance and most of our very scoreable wides ?

    Everyone in the country could see our execution was shocking.

    It doesn’t take a smart man or tactical genius to realise that you have a man sitting on his arse right behind you that scored as good a goal as I’ve ever seen, in Limerick – skill in abundance.

    It doesn’t take a smart man to realise that this same man reacted the quickest to a spilled ball in the same game to drive it to the back of the net – game awareness.

    Everybody in the country could see that changes were needed and needed early, not just geniuses and smart men, and yet a man who is been proclaimed to be very smart decided to leave James Carr out of the game while the Titanic was sinking. 3 minutes into injury time was deemed to be the right time to bring on James Carr.

    How in God’s name can that be explained ?

  96. I thought I was nearly over this but NO it hasn’t gotten much better. I’m finding it difficult to muster up any bit of hope or optimism. What’s really getting to me is the fear that this might be it – that it’s over and that we might never contest another All Ireland in my life time.
    I know we have a young team and that some of the old brigade still have a lot to offer but I wonder has this performance done real long term damage.

  97. Sorry completely forgot him Leantimes probably because he’s become such a peripheral player for reasons well outside my understanding.

    Doherty and McLoughlin (outside of Keegan) were probably our two best performers collectively throughout the years of 2014/15/16/17 – the latter two years we came closest to winning – Boland seemed a real natural heir to their throne – pacy, well able to pick up breaks, can take a score from distance…

  98. Great piece WJ, I’m down this week; as down as I was as a 9 year old when Galway gave us a good trimming in 1974. All the good days in recent years in CP do not fill this disappointment.

    What really disappointed me was our poor defensive performance on Saturday, even in the first half long before the penalty miss. Our backs were not putting pressure on their shooters, Jesus Christ wasn’t that 1 of the chief analysis points from the Kerry game that the Kerry backs stood off.
    A shambles, malfunctioning defence, non-existent midfield and no composure in attack. Earlier in the week I was of the opinion that Tyrone were underestimated but perhaps all they needed to be was average because we were so poor.
    Perhaps I think the demons of the 96 and 97 final disasters haunt JH on the sideline at every final he now manages and each loss piles on him and maybe he can no longer analyze the finals with a cool head as they are happening in front of him and afterwards either. He looked isolated and frozen.

  99. It’s tough hardtimes alright. Mayo didn’t become a crap team over night. They lost one match (Granted the possibly the biggest in the counties history). It’s a young talented squad. With cillian coming back and few more added to the squad they should be at a minimum in the final 4. They’ll bounce back. But we have to solve the underlying problems or we’re goosed before we start.

  100. James Carr was not well in the week of the final. He got a cut (in training I think) that got infected. Think he had to go on antibiotics and could have gotten sepsis. I can say it now as the match is over and won’t worry anyone at this stage. I’m sure many knew of this already.

  101. @Maumtrasna View, from my perch high in the Hogan Stand, you can see the game like Chess piece’s.. The fact that Morgan played out the field so much, the game was 14 Mayo outfield versus 15 Tyrone, as Tyrone played the ball around by foot or hand with speed and accuracy it must be said, our defending by everyone was extremely hard working, but by Morgan being outfield and sometimes taking the option of using him and sometimes not, despite our hard work by everyone and everyone tried their damdest it gave the eventual Tyrone shooter that half yard he needed especially in the first half.. It was very high risk from Tyrone, we had one great chance for a goal when Tyrone were turned over and Ryan O Donohue gave a 60 yard footpass for the ages to a forward with the goal at his mersey.. But we didn’t on the whole have a system to exploit the risk Tyrone and Morgan was talking.. Anyhow games are played in real time, and solutions need to be found in real time as well .

  102. Just some perspective, Kerry lost to tyrone, they were favourites to win AI
    They lost to Cork last year, if we talk about under performance than they are surely behind us, but I think alot with them is the manager and that will be fixed soon.
    Considering all the retirements we have probably punched above our weight, still should have beaten Tyrone after doing hard work on Dublin

  103. Like most mayo supporters/posters i was pretty confident last week that yes finally we would get the job done this time. We had dethroned the mighty dubs, Aiden was due a big one ,Oisin back,Tommy & Ryan flying. Confidence at an all time high.
    Then I caught Matt Cooper on Friday evening, discussing the game with Martin Carney & Peter Canavan. Martin was first up and listed all the positives in his usual ott manner (most of which I agreed with so it only whetted the appetite).
    Then it was Canavan’s turn. No high pitched excited babble here.He pretty much repeated everything Martin had to say about all mayo had going for them, despite the fact that his son was involved with Tyrone, it was still all about mayo. 3 times I think he mentioned Matthew Ruane the “player of the year in waiting ” as he described him. At that point the penny started to drop with me. O shit I think we’ve just been suckered.
    We had.

  104. @Sinead37. Thanks for clarifying that. I didn’t know that about James.

    We still waited an hour to change make a change in our forwards. Darren Coen on his day is capable of shooting the lights out. Surely it was worth putting him on much earlier to see could he nail a few and keep us in the game.

  105. I had heard similar about James carr tbh. We were 3 points down at the 65 minute mark – when cool heads and accuracy were needed, we were found wanting. That’s where your sports psychologist earns their crust

  106. @Our time has come. If we had the cool heads and accuracy up to the 65th minute we wouldn’t have needed the sports psychologist for the last 5 minutes. We would have been so far ahead.

    Don’t get mad at me. I’m just trying to amuse myself at this stage :-).

  107. 2 hops, I wasn’t pretty confident that we would get the win on Saturday. I thought maybe we would, maybe we wouldn’t, there was one chance in two.

    I was very nervous all last week and racked with nerves on the day. That was because I knew there was a 50% chance we wouldn’t get the win and we’d be horribly disappointed, despite our wonderful, child-like, lovely excitement (we should be happy and proud of that about ourselves).

    I was fairly confident that Tyrone would be strong so I knew curveballs could affect this game. I guess the only way out of this is to overprepare, and to be stronger.

  108. I believed we would win Saturday with a few points to spare.
    I still believe we should have won with a few points to spare.
    I just couldn’t get over the number of our lads who didn’t seem to show up.

    I know they all tried their best. They always do, but f**k me, its one thing if two or three have an off day. No chance when that goes up to 8 or 9. None.

  109. @Revellino, big difference in doing it in Limerick and doing it in an All-Ireland final, although I agree that if what you have on isn’t working out make the changes, but there is no guarantee it would have worked.

    You don’t have to have the best forwards to win a game but when you don’t you have to have a game plan that gets the most out of what you have and a plan to negate the opposition strengths.

    People will always point to the misses but we can equally point to our defending and our concession of goals.

    We can point to many things which contributed to losing a game we really aught to have won or at least bring to the wire.

    After the amount of finals we have been in, there really is no excuse at this stage for below par game management or a clear lack of forward structure.

    I think that’s why many neutrals are starting to turn on Mayo now because there is no hard luck story this time, only self inflicted pain.

    I’m not buying into this nonsense that Tyrone were just a better team, it’s just a release valve to try and ease the pain of losing yet again.

    At least it put talk of curses finally to bed anyway.

    I’m not angry at the players or the manager, I’m angry that there is nobody overseeing this project that can see what I and others can see.

    That’s what hurts the most and I want people to be angry but to make use of that anger in a positive way.

    I don’t want this to turn into “we’ll be back”, because I don’t want to be back to this and nobody should.

    I want to be back to a more professional set up which will give us every chance of winning an All-Ireland because we will not win one if we persist with the current structures.

  110. A really interesting and excellent article WJ. Saturday was so hard to stomach as so many players underperformed yet the amazing thing was we could have won. To be honest I was not very confident before the game There was the view that because Dublin and Kerry were gone that this was our chance. But what must Tyrone have been thinking. Though I hate to say it, if you were any other county in Ireland what opposition would you hope for in the final. Mayo of course. Tyrone knew that if they played reasonably well and kept their composure Mayo would blink first. This is not a criticism of the team or management because I constantly defend them. It’s just a Mayo thing. We will find a way to lose the final. When things are going a little awry in the final we lose our composure, make mistakes all over the field, snatch at chances and so on. Mayo needed to be patient and clever to beat Tyrone. We were patient in the first half but were never clever. Tyrone are masters of sending a team where they don’t want to be and thats where we found ourselves half way through the second half. I expected Cillians loss to be massive and it was. He is composed and clever and would not only have scored but would have organised the forwards. I did not trust that Mayo team to deliver on Saturday but I deeply hoped I would be wrong. Getting cricket scores v Leitrim and Sligo was irrelevant while Tyrone were toughing it out v Cavan and Donegal. First half performances v Galway and Dublin did not augur well for a test against a shrewd and clever team. We got great joy in beating Dublin but hand on heart the present Mayo team is not nearly as good as the 2013 to 2017 team. That team delivered big performances almost always. When only 3 players play up to the required level then it’s hard to win. The areas where we thought we were stronger than Tyrone were identified by the opposition and we were cleaned at mid field. The subs benches told their own story. We had no one of the calibre of McShane and Canavan. Losing the game is so hard to deal with as it becomes so obvious that regardless of who walks the line or who plays they are desperately scarred by past defeats. We can talk all we like about new teams not bothered by the past but history weighs incredibly heavily on our teams when they play an All Ireland Final.Some players don’t allow themselves to burdened by this such as the consistently brilliant Keegan but others shrink under its weight. An All Ireland Final for us is now becoming something to be endured rather than to be enjoyed. We are so desperate to win and so fearful of losing. Having said that we have no choice but to keep trying to do that and for this our players and management teams deserve such immense credit. We as supporters feell dreadfully disappointed with each final we lose. Imagine what it must do to the players. And yet each year they dust themselves down and go again. We must do the same. MAIGH DO Abu.

  111. @Revellino when you say:

    “If we had the cool heads and accuracy up to the 65th minute we wouldn’t have needed the sports psychologist for the last 5 minutes. We would have been so far ahead”

    Maybe if we had the sports psychologist, we would have had the cool heads !

    On a light hearted note there’s an old saying:

    “Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.”

    Seriously though, the sports psychologist is only one small part of it, it’s far from the only missing link and on it’s own wouldn’t guarantee you anything.

    We are a special case now though in global sport, can any player in any team sport be under as much pressure to perform and win a final than our players ?

    Or can any manager be under as much pressure to get everything spot on ?

    That’s why a new approach is needed and that’s why I’m not angry at the players or manager, it’s help they need, not criticism.

  112. 2 Hops: I also saw Canavan on some podcast and laughed when he began encouraging the Mayo lads to get carried away, talking about the youth and the possibility of multiple all Ireland’s.

    Ulster football is all about those types of mind games which is why the Kerry people love us so much.

    There is something endearing about it , the child like innocence. It’s hard for players esp today to avoid absorbing some of this stuff.

  113. We have the football to win it, we’ve always had.

    Tyrone were as uncertain as us going into last weekend’s final. We still had the spine of a hardened, experienced team: Lee, Diarmuid, Aidan, Kevin, Paddy, even Mattie, the latter coming of age prior to ’19 (hampered then only by injury). The newer lads this were all humming nicely.

    It’s nonsense suggesting moving the likes of Lee into the half fowards. As Andy Moran quite rightly said, he needs green grass in front of him to play well, ie attacking from wing-back. I’d say similar of Paddy Durcan too.

    That’s two finals in a row where Oisin was caught cheaply for goals (Con O’Callaghan last year). I understand why he gets a somewhat free pass given his undoubted talents going forward. If he doesn’t go to Oz, he must never be played in the FB line again. Never ever. We still have excellent defenders but there are still a couple of spots up for grabs and a reshuffle of some kind will be needed.

    O’Hora, Hession, Plunkett have loads of room for improvement and I do hope they stick with it and at least try to make amends for Saturday. Not for us but for themselves.

    We need to sift through the extended panel to find a settled and scoring HF line for next year. The big question is whether or not James possesses the required ruthlessness needed, whilst still owning the dressing room….

    I think James should remain. Interesting to see if his backroom team changes for next year. Interesting to see how James debriefs from this loss, ie Will he have learned anything from it. He needs serious reflection and introspection around how he performs on the sideline in finals.

    This is still James’ team. But it’s more hope than expectation that he’ll ever get it right. 4 attempts now from him. 4 underwhelming team performances. Questionable tactical glic on the line in pressurised environments. Not acceptable at this level.

  114. @Viper re: what you said about using subs and no guarantee it will work, I would say, not using them will guarantee that it won’t work.

    As regards my comment on the 65th minute and cool heads comment, I specifically said in the comment I was just trying to amuse myself. You seemed to have missed that part of the post.

    Where are the AI’s we won when we used a sports psychologist in the past ?

    Is there a guarantee it will work ?

    No.

    And if it doesn’t work, what added damage might that do to a team who have then to come to terms with the fact, that even with a sports psychologist on board they still didn’t do it ?

    I believe that belief in yourself has to come from within. You have to back yourself.

    Is every team that has a sports psychologist supposed to win or even perform well ?

    Did the cork hurlers have a sports psychologist this year ?

    Did I quit smoking when I went to a hypnotist ?
    Nope.

    Did I quit smoking ?
    I did when I believed in myself.

    If I sit down and talk to a sports psychologist tonight will I be able to run a marathon in the morning.

    Nope.

    If I train for the next six months I’ll be able to run a marathon and I won’t need to talk to anyone in order to do it at that stage.

    Personally I don’t believe that any amount of sports psychology would have made the lads kick the ball any straighter on Saturday. They backed themselves to take on the shots and they didn’t make the shots.

    I’m not running down psychology in any respect, but I was reared on a kick up the arse psychology. It seemed to work well.

    I know alot of people think having a sports psychologist is the be all and end all and that’s fine, but I’m on the other side of the argument.

    True self confidence comes from within. The other kind is a figment of the imagination.

  115. Forwards James Horan has tried currently in panel

    Cillian O’Connor
    Aidan O’Shea
    Ryan O’Donoghue
    Tommy Conroy
    Kevin McLoughlin
    Diarmuid O’Connor
    Conor Loftus
    Bryan Walsh
    Darren McHale
    James Carr
    Aidan Orme
    Darren Coen
    Conor O’Shea
    James Durcan
    Fergal Boland
    Fionn McDonagh
    Paul Towey
    Jordan Flynn
    Mark Moran
    Jason Doherty

    Forwards let go
    Colm Moran
    Conor Diskin
    Ciaran Treacy
    Brian Reape
    Oisin McLaughlin
    Gary Boylan
    Liam Irwin
    Mikey Murray
    Evan Regan
    Andy Moran retired

  116. I cannot believe some people over the last week. Call themselves mayo supporters. All of a sudden James horan is not good enough.. nobody said that after the Dublin match. I’m not going down the Rochford route. Look at donegal. 5 out of 15 players showed up. Horan could not go out and score the glorious chances we missed. 4 goals and gave up 2 sloppy ones. Give horan a break. No Harrison or cillian all year.

  117. I have to say lads missing goal chances is down to James Horan not appointing a sports psychologist is a bit of a stretch. As for Kerry I do not remember them missing the amount of goal chances we had, what I do remember is them looking for goals when they could have taken points. It is also more than that defeat costing Peadar Keane his job, I cannot imagine they were over the moon down there losing to Cork last year either.

  118. Instead of “only one plan” the catch phrase should have been “nothing won yet”…….to be honest after beating Dublin the narrative ran away from Mayo.I think this could have been better managed by Horan also directly after the whistle went in the semi…ie get the guys in a huddle and cool it down really quick.Of course dont forget Horan gave us that great win no arguments but given our history this is something that might have been planned for

  119. The “only one plan” motto everywhere also slightly concerned me. The big billboard “we’ve done it” but up in Ballina by that coffee shop was also utter stupidity. Clowns of the highest order. The “Mayo 4 Sam” crap also needs to stop with every celebrity on the planet pictured with a Mayo jersey or sign. Fans should enjoy themselves but this is Halle Int EVERY year now.

    There was not a peep from Tyrone.

  120. Just listened to the Ah Ref podcast this morning. Some great points by Enda. Interesting stats re scores by forwards and how inexperienced the team really is. A different perspective and well worth listening to the first part of it.

  121. Agree yew_tree we’re unique in the way we lose the run of ourselves before a final. Horan’s press day should have been all about dampening expectation. Look at what the Tyrone team and management said on their press day. We had a vacuum that was filled with Mayo for Sam nonsense. Enda made some great points on the podcast, had to feel desperately sorry for him.

  122. It’s been nearly a week. We’ve all gone to that dark place in our minds to cope with another final defeat. This one stung more that’s for sure.
    We move on. It’s better to talk about it and we have this fantastic blog to sit up on the therapy chair to deal with the thoughts.
    The hunger in the players will be still there no doubt.
    Hope is all we have. The day we see the green and red cross the Shannon with Sam will be some day. We could nearly smell it. The journey is great but the reward will be something else.
    On we go. Demented we are. Stephen King couldn’t write a novel, an epic like it at this stage.
    We have to learn from this. There’s no other way.
    2022, here we come.
    Willie Joe – The podcasts and your ability to keep this place going are a credit to you and the lads responsible for the podcast. Keep them coming. Hook it to our veins. We appreciate every single second of uptime and airtime.

  123. I have only rewatched the first half so far (in 10 minute slots to focus on cold analysis rather than emotion). Mayo left 2-3 clear chances on the pitch in the first half to 1-2 for Tyrone as follows (time in brackets):

    Hennelly 45 (1:50)
    Loftus missed point (12:32)
    Walsh / Loftus goal chance (14:12)
    O’Shea missed point (20:16)
    O’Shea goal chance (26:06)
    Total 2-3

    Peter Harte poor wide (3:58)
    McCurry free dropped short (23:03)
    McCurry missed goal chance (29:48)
    Total 1-2.

    By the time of the McCurry missed goal chance the score was 6-5 to Tyrone but it should have been 2-8 to 8 for Mayo. Considering the impact of the goals for Tyrone in the second half it is not unreasonable to suggest that had Mayo taken their chances in the first half the game would have been won.

    The missed chances later in the game can perhaps be explained by tension but the ones that really need to be looked at are the gilt edged first half misses that were, perhaps the losing of the game.

  124. Have to agree with everyone about the hype. I heard that piece on today fm on Friday evening. The last word was left to Martin Carney and he pretty much said Mayo are the better team and should win handy. Peter Canavan just said that he was looking forward to a close game. Not saying it was Carney’s fault that we lost the final. But for a team that hasn’t won a final in 70 years. We do exude some amount of confidence at times. I’m sure other counties are rolling their eyes to heaven at this sort of talk. We can’t do low key in this county. The 60+ page pullouts in the local paper with a full page or 2 for each player. I think that the article in the Mayo news about Padraig O Hora started with a story of a last ditch tackle in a minor game he made many years ago. It went along the lines of….After that tackle, the rest is history and anyone who was in attendance will never forget where they were that night. I mean talk about building things up. And I can’t see it changing anytime soon. If we make the final next year. We will build up all our hopes in the county as to why this year is different and the chances are that not much will have changed unfortunately.

  125. @On the one road – Ah Ref podcast certainly raised the hard questions – why have so many selectors left over the years? are they not being listened to? will a review take place? No alternative game plans and lots of other excellent points made.

  126. Summed up well Dave Johnston regarding the hype. I heard the Peter Canavan/Carney interview and agree fully with you.

    Look, we’re all guilty of being seduced by the hype. It’s as much in our psyche now as our trail of losses is. Hard to know how to break the pattern.

    Key is “not letting the outside in” as Paul Flynn described, referencing his time under Jim Gavin.

    Horan clearly failed to instill belief in his team and the outside definitely got in. It keeps getting in.

  127. In fairness 2016 and 2017 are the only years I can really remember without any real hype (or certainly not to the same extent as other years). Most likely because we were 3/1 outsiders and had indifferent campaigns to that point. Many did get quite carried away though after beating Kerry in 17 but this was somewhat dampened when Dublin ate Tyrone alive the day after

    I wonder is it any coincidence these were our two best showings in finals?

    Our perfect scenario this year was probably limp over the line against a Monaghan or Cavan or someone in the semi and play the winner of Dublin and Kerry 2021 editions in the final. The draw worked against us in that regard

    It’s clear Dublin were way off their true level this year and if truth be told if Meath or Kildare were any use they would have ran them in Leinster. We capitalised on 10 minutes of chaos to ambush them – similar to 2015. It was all a bit freakish but if we’re totally honest the fact we actually drew in normal time (any other year it goes to a replay) was disappointing – when they were ripe for the taking. Instead it was a victory probably a little bit over celebrated, with no hard questions asked – and the euphoria only ramped up further 2 weeks later when Tyrone were revealed as our final opponents as opposed to kerry (probably because the latter are the “aristocrats of football” and all that, when the real truth is they were vastly overrated and raw this particular year)

    Sadly we won’t get a chance like this anytime soon. Ive no doubt Dublin have already had a few hard hitting review sessions and we can be fairly certain dessie Farrell has already been in contact with mannion about an inevitable return. A McCaffrey return might seem less certain but at 29 years of age in 2022 he might just be tempted give it another lash. They’ll discover 1 or 2 in the league again – they always do, and basquel and McHugh are always knocking around the fringes threatening a breakthrough

    Kerry have the 2 best forwards in Ireland, and can only get better as a whole with the age profile of the team. A new management team and more tempered expectations will only be of benefit to them. 2019 finalists and league winners since it’s not too far off clicking at all

    Tyrone are fairly young, don’t seem to be getting carried away at all and have great competition for places to keep everyone honest. The return of backdoor will be a big help allowing them play their way into form

    Monaghan and Donegal wont lie down for anyone either. Both have marquee forwards, guys that can win games on their own. A push from Galway is inevitable at some stage with all their recent underage success and a decent club scene, whether Joyce is the man though remains questionable – yet division 2 will help them gain momentum next year and well needed confidence after 2 seasons only playing division 1 teams and struggling to find their best 15

    Someone like Meath or cork then could come with a run from nowhere, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time for either

    I think we’ll probably eke our way into super 8s or quarter finals or whatever they may be – perhaps even via the back door – but I suspect we’ll be a fairly marked team next year and I think there’s just too much baggage at this point to have any confidence in us generating a big win in the knockouts next year.

    But who knows.

  128. All our players went out onto Croke Park last Saturday with the sole intention of giving of their all to bring Sam back to the West.

    The fact that about 10 of the starting 15 and practically all of the substitutes failed to get in the most basic of performances confirms, in my view, that the occasion got to these players in an unprecedented manner as never before in our previous 10 All Ireland defeats did we see a collective team failure to that extent.

    So why did that happen this time:-
    1. Was it the the favourites tag, possibly
    2. Was it the undying expectation of the fans, possibly
    3. Was it the weight on their shoulders caused by the 70 year wait, possibly
    4. Was it the lack of preparedness for dealing with the intensity of performance that the opposition would bring to the game, possibly
    5. Was it the lack of experience, possibly but outside of Dublin, they are currently the most experienced AIF combatants.

    Regardless of the reasons, it is safe to say that collectively the team didn’t have the correct mindset going out onto that pitch on Saturday, necessary to win an All Ireland Final

    The danger is that this could continue and even become a greater psychological challenge unless that void is filled and the necessary help is provided to this otherwise very talented bunch of players that we are blessed to have in our county.
    A team of enormous ability that can beat and often do beat the best teams in the country except in the Croke Park cauldron on All Ireland Final day.

    Many posters have mentioned on this blog what Caroline Currid has done with Limerick and we have heard the Limerick hurlers speak in volumes about how well prepared they were for their AIF due to the tremendous work that Ms Currid had done with them.

    Hence, Liam Moffat and the Mayo GAA Board owe it to the management, the players and the supporters of Mayo football that they deploy the services of a talented sports psychologist as part and parcel of the county backroom team and that both players and management are made to avail of the service.

    Whether that is the likes of Caroline Currid or someone else of similar standing in the sports psychology field, is their prerogative.

    Otherwise, the light at the end of the tunnel will just be a train coming the other way that will wipe out any hope we have of reaching the Holy Grail.

  129. James Horan is the best Manager in Ireland at the moment

    1.He inherited a poor Mayo Team in 2011 and made us into a very competitive outfit

    2. He identified and developed players in the county who were willing to put in the effort

    3 He won a National League beating Kerry in the Final

    4. Nine or Ten really top class players ( mostly All Stars) have retired in the past two years so to reach two All Ireland Finals in a row was overachieving

    5.Cillians injury

    6. Harrison, Doherty both injured

    7.Carr ( Infection in Leg) and E McLaughlin jaw

    8. Beating Dublin after Mullin picking up an injury in the days leading up to the Semi Final

    9. Did well in the Final which all the retirements and injuries are considered and players who were only back from injury

    10. He has won a Connaught Title and promotion to Division 1 which most people in Mayo agreed would be a very good year should that be achieved last spring

    11. Mayo Fans losing touch with reality . Take all the celebrations ( Horn Blowing at the toll bridge after Dublin Game)

    12. Look at how Kerry, Galway, Cork, Donegal, all top class teams have faired out in the last number of years

    13. We used to produce top class teams at underage – Minor and Under 21 but have been pretty poor in the last fourteen years. These are the years which are relevant to the talent which is available for selection to the Senior Team at the moment . The one exception been the underage teams captained by Stephen Coen

    14. In 2014 we were robbed in Limerick

  130. By the way does anyone know have Tyrone ever actually been favourites in a final?

    03 maybe…after beating Kerry…but Armagh were reigning all Ireland champions. They certainly weren’t favourites to win their semi though

    Regardless they still have 4 all Irelands, all won this century. Incredible winning mentality since Harte took over.

    they had a bang average team in the 10s, but they still made the knockout stages every year bar 2, with plenty of semis thrown in.

  131. We robbed ourselves in Limerick. Bad decision making and the game should not have happened as we should have closed it out on the first day in Dublin with a few changes to stop Donaghy getting ball near the square.Sideline did nothing and stood through 110 minutes of football in Limerick and did nothing. Referee did not cost us that final spot……….

  132. Liberal and all, I’m wondering is there a simple reason our players didn’t perform – that Tyrone man-marked them fiercely with strong targeted match-ups all over the field?
    I asked this before but:
    Did we ‘not perform’ in the same way Dublin ‘did not perform’ in the first final 2016? Dublin players were mystified at their non-performance collectively that day but *we did not let them play*.
    Are you sure that ‘Horan clearly failed to instil belief in his team’?
    Stephen Coen’s moves upfield and his great score would suggest to me that Mayo players might well have been in the zone before the game. He is not a man renowned for coming forward like this. Maybe Tyrone didn’t concentrate on man marking him so much.
    I watched the Final on the day on TV and it looked to me that Tyrone were squeezing us all over the field.
    It didn’t look like a non performance to me.
    The only disappointing aspects at the time I saw were:
    We missed goal opportunities (could be pressure and Tyrone narrowing the space to shoot)
    We didn’t try to shoot from distance in the first half when we had space to do this.
    We looked ragged towards the end when Tyrone were shutting down our scoring outlets.
    On your point:
    “Key is “not letting the outside in” as Paul Flynn described…”, I would actually say Horan prioritised this, to be fair.
    He had the press night a few days after the semi final.
    Only one player talked to the media.
    Since the pandemic began, Mayo players have been separated from the media and fans before and after matches (contrary to previously). Horan seemed to want to keep them away from annoyance.
    I might be wrong but with McHale Park being resurfaced recently I don’t know were training sessions being held there or were they being rotated around different locations. If they were, this was more ‘going to ground’.
    There was a real sense of unknown elements to our team going into the Final and SF. This is because we have had very little access to the team.
    Horan cannot be blamed for hype or feelings seeping into the team. I don’t know if those elements actually affected the team.
    As has been touched on by other posters, when you are on top of your game plan, have good specific tactical preparation done, have the personnel to do what needs to be done, then that creates self-belief. This is the way the manager could instil belief.
    The question for me is:
    did he have the resources to do this for the Tyrone game, specifically re adequate game plan, adequate time, having the required personnel at this moment in time?
    Or do we need do add and build still?

  133. David moran, Kieran donaghy, James O’Donoghue (and the lack of in-game reaction on the line to the former 2) cost us in 2014!

    We can make as many excuses as we like but that’s the reality

    Horan didn’t inherit a “poor” team per se in 2011, more a team that had a shocker of a 2010 championship, but made a league final that same year and blew an all Ireland quarter in 2009 after a great win in connacht – there was definite potential and serious talent there, that was held back hugely the previous seasons

    He made them into a serious force by 2013 – absolutely, deserves massive credit for that. It’s unlikely many others would have achieved the same. Best manager in country in terms of getting most of players yes, well down the pecking order in terms of big game management though

  134. Sorry, guys, and I know this might be hard to take given all the want we have, and the investment many fans have made, but we do not have an absolute right to win an AI even with a 70 year wait.
    We must have the necessary things in place to be in with a chance to win it.
    I cannot understand how some were so confident going into Sat – it really was a two-horse race.
    I think personally that Tyrone were better equipped on the day on a few fronts.
    Were they further along than us? The question deserves to be looked at.
    We achieved a lot this year and last.
    I fully agree with O’Sullivan on his/her first few points above, especially, on what JH has done since 2011.
    On the latter, and ye are mentioning the need for experts, JH had the intelligence, wit, professionalism and innovative spirit to bring in excellent experts in the guise of Cian O’Neill, Donie Buckley, Kieran Shannon in his earliest days with Mayo. He has hardly gone backwards since then in his mindset.

  135. Swallow Swoops – Tyrone definitely focused on Paddy Durcan and Mattie Ruane. They identified them as key threats and kept them quiet for the most part. As you said Stephen Coen and Lee Keegan seemed to have much more freedom to attack. I still think some people are blaming Horan too much. Look at the injuries and retirements we’ve had over the last 2 campaigns. He probably has overachieved in that time when you take everything into consideration.

    Maybe Horan should be a bit more open with the media next year? When Tyrone beat Kerry I saw interviews with about 5 different players after the match in croke park. For their media day before the final, there were 3 players and 2 managers interviewed. Compared to our joke media event when Stephen Coen didn’t know who we were playing yet. When there’s a vacuum of information, it’s left to former players and Mayo pundits to talk and build up to the game.

  136. O’Sullivan, Horan is not the best manager in Ireland at the moment. He might be second best, but he’s not the best. The best manager(s) are in Tyrone celebrating this week. Simple as. It’s a results based industry, he didn’t get the result, so is therefore second best. He was outsmarted and out- thought tactically by Tyrone.

    The question is now what is Horan going to do to be number 1? Will he make the necessary tactical changes, which might go against his own mindset on how football should be played, in order to make our forwards score more and our defenders defend better? Something has to change. If he doesn’t, we’ll be in the exact same situation next year, nearly men.

  137. Why are we not allowed to question Horan? He’s not an amateur, he’s a manager of a county team. His tactical downfalls and decision making can be questioned and we can say if we have an opinion that they aren’t good enough.

    He has done some good things, but at the end of the day he hasn’t won with everything at his disposal in a number of attempts now.

    This narrative he brought through these young players is nonsense too. The majority are training with the development squad from a young age. What happened Carr, Moran, McDonagh, Diskin, McHale and on and on when we clearly didn’t have what was needed in the half forward and full forward position.

    James Carr scores 2-10 in championship appearances and some of that from the bench. Not on the panel for semi final last year, barely used in the league this year and given 3mins in the final at 6 points down…

    Moran not getting anywhere near the panel after some good performances.

    McDonagh flavour of month on a number of occasions and now nothing.

    This is all to accommodate the core group of players from midfield up that won’t be dropped. Heaven forbid Diarmuid starts as a sub in a big game.

  138. Eamon Coughlan used say worry about the minutes before you worry about the seconds.
    Kind of advice to club runners to have their basics in place before worrying about small % items.
    People referencing Caroline Currid with Limerick. Limerick have all their basics in place at an excellent level in all aspects of the game.
    We had no kicking game coached into the players, so that is an absolute ocean away from what Limerick are doing.
    Only a Paul Kinnerk type from outside the county could help us. The current mgmt team turned up for this year’s championship with no kicking game. I would say that shows they are not capable of coaching it.
    People going on about our missed goal chances. Conor Loftus, Aidan OShea and Brian Walsh don’t score many goals at club level either.
    When James Horan had goalscorer Alan Freeman, Alan was better off scoring no goals but 2 separate points, shaving his head and running around putting in the odd yellow card hit.
    James Horan gets goalscorers and he tries to then mould them to Horan ball and it ultimately doesnt work.
    For all we know Tommy makes a poor decision shooting as he’s tired.
    Ultimately James Horan has never delivered a full backline, a defensive system, a kickpassing game or a compete full forward line.
    What he does deliver is a fit Horanball team and it will perpetually fall short.
    For it to ever succeed we’d need to be innovative with things like Aidan and Diarmuid and Kevin McLoughlin from the bench to have a big bench impact.
    We play a high energy game without all 14 outfield players being serious athletes.
    Diarmuid no longer has his 2016 pace.
    We end up falling short on even having the Horanball strategy being ready to do damage.
    We won’t win the All Ireland until we have a mgmt that can coach a kickpassing game and has better ability in matchday selections.

  139. WeWantJustOne, I just want to point out that I think people might have jumped a few steps ahead to criticise and point to solutions before truly and fairly trying to understand what went wrong on Saturday and why it went wrong. People are describing Horan as inadequate because of this loss on Saturday, saying he won’t listen to others, that he only has one game, that he needs to hire a sports psychologist, that he needs to hire a project manager and so on.
    Those are all grand ideas, but I don’t think they’re the reasons we lost.
    JH did not go out to lose the game on Saturday.
    You can be sure the players did not go out to lose the game on Sat.
    The Mayo management team did not go out to lose the game on Sat.
    Cillian and the injured players wanted Mayo to win.
    The retired players wanted the same.
    So did we.
    But we lost.
    Why was that?
    Personally, I think we should give all the above parties the benefit of the doubt for trying to do their best and figure out why, if everyone’s intentions were the best they could be, we didn’t succeed. There could be several factors, some outside our control.
    I also think it could be useful to accept we lost and Tyrone played better. Then we might start to get answers.

  140. @Swallow Scoops A gigantic part of why we lost was the lack of a kickpassing game.
    Tyrone scored 1-7 off turning us over.
    They scored 2-7 off turnovers v Kerry.
    We had the benefit of the Tyrone Kerry game.
    To then turn up with only our running game, well I see no point on just accepting that as the mgmt team trying their best.
    We primarily at least 60% got outcoached. It’s not 50:50 mgmt:players performance.
    The running game negatively impacted our players ability to perform as Tyrone are the best team in the country at stopping the running game.

  141. JP, I accept your point. I love to see kickpassing myself.
    I’ve only watched the game once, live on TV on Saturday
    I was struck in the first half with the ***amount of long kick passes we made upfield***. I said to myself, ‘Yes! We’ve got innovation and variety here.” We were kick passing long, as I remember it!!
    We got high up the field several times, into positions where I felt we could have taken long range shots for points, but we didn’t attempt them. I wondered why. It was within a long shooter’s range.
    ***The long kick passes seemed to dry up in the second half.***
    Was this because of something Tyrone were doing?
    (We also seemed to have more difficulty finding space to shoot in the second half – see C Loftus attempts and the miracle Kev Mc point).
    Were Tyrone piling on the pressure then?
    We can kick pass long – we’ve seen it since 2019 on several occasions and we often set goals up this way (Durcan to Carr for goal v Galway in Limerick in 2019; AOS to Carr for goal attempt in League Final 2019; Loftus to ROD for disallowed goal v Galway in CF 2021…)
    This is a skill we have.
    I listened to Paddy Andrews on the Football Pod with Andy Moran on Off the Ball this week. He said the *skill execution* on some of our long range kick passing needed to be much better. He pointed out one particular example, from Conor Loftus, I think, who was in a tight spot.He said excellent execution of the kick passing skill is needed against a team like Tyrone. Mayo needed to improve a lot here.
    I also heard a commentator talk about the difference in a long kick pass delivered in straight to the forwards versus on a slanted trajectory, that the straight one isn’t very useful.
    Looks like we did kick pass long in the early stages but stopped/were curtailed; looks like we need to improve the execution of the kick pass in tight spaces, under pressure; looks like we might need to send in differently angled passes at times.
    Tyrone, with Morgan, were using the kicking game well. It reminded me of the Limerick hurlers covering the field in two pocs of the sliotar.

  142. @Swallow Swoops
    Have we not given the benefit of doubt a number of times to the same manager?
    Please don’t get me wrong I have nothing against JH personally. He has done some very good work. I feel personally he has brought this as far as he can because we only have “One Plan”. The bigger sides will focus in on that plan and stop the players that can hurt them. They identified Durcan and Ruane, shut them down and the rest is history. We didn’t adapt on the sideline, didn’t have another plan.

    Maybe I am mental. We got the match ups wrong in some capacity in every game this year in the championship from Galway onward. That’s not coincidence.

  143. JP, I watched the game only once and it was live on TV. Like you, I like to see a kicking game at times.
    **We were kicking ball long in the first half.** I remarked on it then because it looked like we were being innovative. The only thing is that we got high up the field into positions where we could have tried to score from distance but didn’t. I was sorry about that at the time.
    **Our kickpassing game seemed to dry up in the second half.** I don’t know why. Was it because of something Tyrone were doing? Piling on the pressure? Space seemed to be at a premium in this half.
    We do have a kicking game. We’ve often set up goal chances from long kick passes into the forwards since 2019 (Durcan to Carr, AOS to Carr, McLoughlin to AOS, Loftus to ROD…) We’re capable of it.
    Paddy Andrews on The Football Pod this week on Off The Ball said that our skill execution on our kickpassing needed to be a lot better. He gave an example involving Conor Loftus who tried to kick pass from a tight spot but it didn’t work out. He said kick passes with excellent skill execution were needed against a team like Tyrone.
    I heard another commentator talk about straight v angled kick passes being sent into our forwards, that too much of the former were sent in, and were not useful.
    In summary, it looks like we attempted some of a kicking game but stopped/were stopped in second half; we can do it; we need to improve execution on it: we need to vary angles of delivery.
    (Tyrone with Morgan showed what a kicking game can do – they reminded me of Limerick hurlers who could clear the pitch with two pocs of the sliotar).

  144. WeWantJustOne . Carr and McDonagh have had injury problems for the last year . Moran had one very good performance followed by one terrible performance. It was O Hora who said we had ONE PLAN not James Horan. If you remember O Hora was interviewed a couple of years ago after Ballina had a championship win and he was asked if Ballina would win their next game. He replied that Ballina had only ONE PLAN . This is just a saying he has

  145. Ah Ref & Enda Mc have floated the idea of a combine. Open to all 19-22 year olds in the county to test skills & athleticism, such as the AfL & NFL. I think it’s a fantastic idea & you never know who could emerge from that.

  146. WeJustWantOne, I agree giving daft benefit of the doubt doesn’t make sense, but I think it’s important to do it in some instances.
    For me, and I don’t know do many agree, this is a team in year 2, with many novices, some who weren’t even exposed to League Div 1 football last year. To me, this is a team learning the ropes and developing. Horan is giving them a grounding with the fast power running game but I believe he will add more to it and that he had planned to. It’s crazy not to, but can he add all of this at one time? I don’t think he or they can. It needs time (some more time). That appears to make sense to me. Maybe I’m daft meself : )
    You’re 100% right – teams, if they have the capability, can target the high powered running game and shut it down, but this is why I think it’s good to give Horan some benefit of doubt – I don’t think he’s planning to leave the team with this strategy alone as we move into years 3 and 4. He’s building and this is where we are this year, hopefully we’ll be further along next year. (Kerry have a similar issue with needing to add things).

    Another thing we have to address that is v easy for other teams to exploit – our need to spread scores relying on one or two from a lot of players. Shut some down and we’re in bother. We do need some more scoring danger up front.

  147. Never said Horan said we had one plan. I’m saying he has only one plan and that’s clear for a number of years.

  148. @Swalloe Swoops
    Willing to take your opinion on board. I don’t say sack him. But I do think we need to look at what’s the plan moving forward.
    As you mentioned, scoring power is not what we have right now. We can’t rely on Cillian next year, because we’re an injury or a non return to form away from losing in Connacht

  149. @O SULLIVAN, the best manager(s) in the country at the moment are Brian Dooher and Feargal Logan.

    This talk of we have the best this and the best that needs to be completely banished, it’s no better than the Mayo4Sam nonsense.

    You wont find a more passionate supporter and defender of all things Mayo than myself but I’m utterly perplexed at some of the frankly old fashioned and totally unprofessional attitudes regarding how to prepare a team to win both on the field and off it.

    When I first came here a few days ago I focused on the physiological preparation, some agreed and some were skeptical or more or less brandished it nonsense.

    Roll on a few days and all of a sudden “Caroline Currid” is the buzz word. Amazing.

    Before too long we will find out Caroline Currid will not be available when she is needed.

    I also made clear that they should not go out and hire the first sports psychologist they see as a box ticking exercise, right now in Ireland ANYONE can call themselves a sports psychologist, there is nothing to stop you doing this even without the education or background.

    For all we know Mayo may already have one of these, but have they a proven track record ?

    Again it goes back to my core principles of surrounding yourself with the best people.

    I also made it clear that this was only one small part of a much bigger jigsaw and will not guarantee you anything if shortcuts are being taken in other areas but I have to say if there are people who are at the top of the food chain who do not know what parts are needed to begin with then how are we going to ever succeed.

    And when I say succeed, I mean win an All-Ireland, that’s what the goal is.

    I also detest this talk of Holy Grails, as if you have to be some god like super natural figure to even have a hope of winning it, it’s not winning the World Cup for gods sake and the sooner we get that old rubbish out of our psyche the better. We need a psyche that respects no counties’ history, name or reputation. Stack as many chips on our shoulders as we can.

    My next question is, are we too old fashioned at the top to have a vision like mine, is that our real problem, have we people that mean well but do not realize that what may seem adequate to them is in fact not adequate at all.

    Because there will be no place for egos in my template.

    If that’s the case, then we are destined to repeatedly fail, that part worries me.

  150. Anyone else spend the last few days unsubscribing from club lotto mailing lists, from around the country? Almost as difficult and time consuming as getting a match ticket itself.

  151. Alot of the posts are focused on Horan, should he stay or go, what he did wrong, who he doesn’t have in the back room team etc etc. The players themselves have also to shoulder alot of the blame for what happened in the final. The majority of them did not perform to their ability and thats their fault. Sometimes I feel people in Mayo hold these players on too high a pedestal, calling them heros, warriors etc ( its only a game, other people far more deserving of those titles). Also talk of Caroline Currid or similar has been knocking about for years, there maybe someone on board already, maybe not, but that needs player buy in to the process from the start to have any effect which may not be a given.

  152. I’ve gotten past the game, the poor display from players and management, etc and am looking to what we need to get over the line from a player perspective.
    (I’m going to leave out the backroom team side, I agree we need better tactical planning and likely a sports psychologist, but as has been said, this can’t be box ticking, it needs to have an impact).

    There’s been lot of discussion that we don’t have enough scoring forwards, where do we play Aidan, etc.
    So giving a stab at it, here’s what I think we should be looking at come the championship next year…

    1. Hennelly
    2. O’Hora
    3. O’Shea
    4. Keegan
    5. P Durcan
    6. S Coen
    7. E McLaughlin
    8. Ruane
    9. Mullin
    10. Hession
    11. C Loftus
    12. D O’Connor
    13. Conroy
    14. C O’Connor
    15. R O’Donoghue

    I would play that as Coen sticking deep as a sweeper and Hession dropping back, with him, Paddy and Eoin given freedom to attack.
    As has been said by others, we need more scores from the half forwards, so IMO, if DOC or Loftus aren’t contributing on the scoreboars, then the like of Fionn, Carr, Boland, etc should be given a chance, Doherty too if he has fully recovered and can get back to to the level required.
    If Mullin heads to Oz, I think we need to look at Jordan Flynn as a potential midfielder.
    I think at this point Kevin Mc might be best suited to come on in second half when teams are tiring and he can find the space easier.

    Anyone else over it yet?

  153. The thinking seems to be that we tried to beat Tyrone with a running game and that this was not going to work. As far as I could see it would have worked if we actually ran. Too many times lads were left unsupported as they tried to drive forward. We did this fairly well against Dublin and Galway. We had two, three or four running together and this is what’s needed. This didn’t happen on Saturday. Paddy Durkan, Oisin Mullin, Enda Hession didn’t seem to make those runs. Lee Keegan was too far back but did his best to make the supporting runs. The argument is that they targeted our runners but I’m not sure how you can do that when we have the ball. They didn’t do it to Keegan!
    A running game on its own is not going to win. You also need other approaches. You need at least one target man up front so that lads out the field when they look up can see a kicking option particularly if nothing else is on. Aidan was the obvious man with Ryan and Tommy in close attendance. This would at least keep their fb line honest and prevent them haring up the field and drawing Ryan and Tommy with them.

  154. Put your hands up all in favor of James Horan staying in the job, done many good things, great CV in so far as it goes, won the League, so did Holmes and Connelly, won multiple Connacht title’s, .. So did Moran and the late John Morrison RIP in their only year in charge, and beat Dublin but for some reason they were shafted , So did John Maughan, so did John O Mahoney and Holmes and Connelly did in their one seccond coming, in addition to winning the 2006 All Ireland U21 title.. Look at where the bar in Tyrone is, Mickey Harte won All Ireland minor titles, All Ireland U21 titles, won League titles , several Ulster titles (which is a different kettle of fish from winning Connacht) and won 3 All Ireland senior titles.. I doubt Tyrone would be All Ireland Champions, if they retained him.. Time moves on… Dooher and Logan embraced a new vision not as Ridgid as the Past, a new vision that gave them a chance of winning, and they took it, while we repeated the mistakes of old!

  155. 68:21 the Tryone vs Mayo tackle count according to Ed McGreal. Tells everything you need to know.

  156. Mayo pride themselves on turnovers and hard tackling and got utterly wiped out on this last Saturday. That’s not due to a lack of skill or ability, rather it’s a lack of belief on the day. Spooked on the day. Not ‘at it’ on the day. Whatever you’re having yourself.

  157. @Leantimes, Tyrone weren’t carrying the baggage of 10 All-Ireland final losses to start with and I’ll make this prediction, they’ll never win a softer All-Ireland again unless they play a Mayo who are unwilling to change their whole approach from top to bottom.

    Have we anyone with the intelligence required to oversee the project ?

    Someone who can put all the pieces together, I’m talking about someone above the managerial position here.

  158. @Liberal role in the tie, to some extent it tells me we repeated the mistakes Kerry made two weeks before, very similar stat.. Tyrone are absolutely brilliant at tough, watching the Kerry Tyrone Semifinal on TV it’s hard to appreciate just how good Tyrone are it, laying traps and how naive both Kerry and Mayo were at running into them.. The Dublin of a year or two ago just wouldn’t be as accomadating to Tyrone.. From my view point high in the Hogan Stand on the Canal End, Tyrone seemed to get two lines of 4 players, equidistant from each other so efficient, a master class of that type of defending.. I’m reminded of the German team of the 2006 World Cup, German manager Jurgen Kilnnsman trained his defense using stretchy ropes on a back eight, so the optium distance was kept between all defender’s at all times.. Don’t know if Dooher and Logan done anything like that, but their coordination and spacing of defender’s was immense.. Everyone has a plan until they get a punch in the jaw according to Mike Tyson, and so Germany played Italy in Dortmund in the 2006 World Cup semifinal.. Germany had never beaten Italy in a competitive fixture, and Germany had never lost a game in Dortmund, something had to give, and it did it was Jurgen Kilnnsman masterplann, and Italy beat Germany and beat France in the final.. Every masterplann has a weakness, we didn’t find Tyrone’s weakness on Saturday last!

  159. @Mayomad, It’s like this, if they don’t buy into the process they are out straight away regardless of who they are, that’s where the ruthless streak needs to come in.

    But I see no reason our players wouldn’t buy into a process.

    There’s no way so many players didn’t perform unless there was a systems failure, just doesn’t happen that way.

    Maybe because we were so used of playing Dublin that we neglected to properly analyze Tyrone and when the reality dawned it was too late and the players heads were all over the place and hadn’t a clue what the plan was, that’s not the players fault though.

    We just were not prepared properly for Tyrone and they were prepared for us, that’s the top and bottom of it and that’s why so many people are angry, and they are bloody right to be angry.

    I met a fella today who has been following Mayo through thick and thin, a normally calm man, he just smashed a cup of tea against the wall with anger.

    He feels cheated on, don’t we all.

    But I am not buying into this blaming the players narrative, no way, they don’t set the game plan to beat a team like Tyrone and when is the last time we walked out of Croke Park and said our players didn’t give it their all.

    Yes there were mistakes but mistakes will multiply very quickly if you are put in a position you were very poorly prepared for.

    It was blatantly obvious that there was absolutely no structure to our forward play, even McLaughlin was in at full forward at one point during the game !

    I hate to think what we would have been beaten by if we didn’t have the water breaks.

  160. @Leantimes, it wasn’t last Saturday we should have been looking for Tyrone’s weakness or strength, it was 13 days before that, but you do make my point in a way, too late doing your homework during the exam.

    Interesting you mention Klinsmann and 2006, I was reading a book recently where it revealed a plan to fire Klinsmann had Germany not won the first group game, replace him during the tournament!

    The Germans wouldn’t take too long guiding Mayo to an All-Ireland, they’d know what Morgan had for his breakfast last Saturday, never mind what side he was going to dive to.

    They’d look at what’s needed to win an All-Ireland as a piece of cake, no melodrama just pure German steel and efficiency.

  161. Viper, so are you saying the players bear no responsibility for their own performance, its all down to mistakes from the sideline? Come on. I’m not saying Horan didn’t make mistakes because he did, several but equally several players did not play to their potential and thats down to them, they need to recognise this. I’m sure the plan wasn’t to stop tackling, don’t force turn overs, don’t play with intensity, kick easy wides etc etc. Sometimes we are too quick to blame management or external issues and never the players. Some of the responsibility belongs on the field too and needs to be recognised.

  162. @Mayomad, too quick to blame management ? How many finals or semi-finals is acceptable to walk away from when bizarre sideline calls are made, questionable team selection, match ups or a clear lack of a plan B before a manager is put under the spotlight ?

    Will we wait until the 10th anniversary of the Donegal shambles to ask the questions ?

    Or wait for the 10th anniversary of the 2013 shambles ?

    How long would you like to wait ?

    Maybe our players knew their fate better and what was being asked of them wouldn’t work v Tyrone.

    No, I am not going to blame our players because it’s a total cop out, are you saying we should blame O’Hora because he was matched up wrong on McCurry, even McStay called that before the game started.

    So was O’Hora bad or just mismatched ? How many points did that poor call cost us ?

    You see where I am coming from here.

  163. Did no one else ( including Willie Joe) see Ciaran McDonald pleading with Horan on the side line to make changes seven days ago , i know the buck stops with Horan but why have McDonald on board if all you do is ignore him especially when the game is slipping away

  164. I was in the Upper Hogan, Jeff, and didn’t have a clear view of what was happening on the sideline. To be honest, I was focusing more on what was happening out on the pitch.

  165. If a team has six backs worth their place on the team, why would a team need sweepers, if the team has six good
    forwards all worth their place on the team ,why would you need backs coming forward to score, go back to basics, man on man all over the field, the old saying Mark Your Man , they anyone can see who is playing well and who is getting the run around from their direct opponent and changes can be made, under the present system its hard to know who is defending and who is ment to be attacking , resulting in every player everywhere and no player where they should be.

  166. 9/10 people you speak to with any gaelic football knowledge question James horans in game management, that’s overwhelming . His overall impact on developing mayo senior team into a serious side has been magnificent . So where do them two aspects to james Horans contribution leave us . What do we do , do we stick with it , find ourselves in another final next year v kerry let’s say for hazzarding a guess sake after beating donegal in a semi final but fail again to win it. Are we not good enough to win it or is it in game management that’s hindering us is my question. If it’s the latter, he has to go unless hes willing to compromise his stubborn mindset .

    I’ve not even watched the game back yet but I’m still perplexed at what happened , apart from terrible execution of shooting , if you have aido at 14 , you ping a ball in but then what , when he won it , theres no off the shoulder, where was tommy conroy for that one aido got and ended in a pathetic half hearted shot ? I just dknt understand that play, what is he supposed to do with the fokking ball. Tyrone are a decent side but I’m not having it that they are an excellent side , they deserved their win on the day , donegal had murphy sent off if my memory is correct and that’s what swung that game , kerry played poorly and still could of won , nah man , that was an opportunistic all Ireland triumph and fair play to them but they will win no more imo . This one will hurt for a long time .

    Next year if oisin is around into midfield along with mattie , (suggested last year by a few of us and laughed at ) james carr needs proper game time . Aido either needs a definite role or impact sub. Again I’d personally blame management for his poor form this year , the man must get confused himself with what hes supposed to be doing .

    Overall if Horan was to leave ,I’d prefer an outsider at this stage , bit of freshness , change it up a bit . There is something stale about Horan ball at this stage , i think most will agree with that .

    Even with all that , we should still be all Ireland champions 2021. #disater21

  167. Viper, read my posts again, I have acknowledged that Horan has made mistakes in the final several of them 8ncluding tactically and with substitutes. I just pointing out the players also need to take personal responsibility for their performance. You used OHara are an example of poor Horan decision making, is Horan to blame for Loftus missing an open goal, or Ryan missing penalty, the total drop in tackles made that is a hallmark of Horan teams or the several other clear cut scoring chances that were wasted. I’m not saying the players are fully to blame for what went wrong but they do share in the blame. If people think the players should take no responsibility for poor results and the players themselves start to believe this then we will never win an AI

  168. @Mayomad, but what good does it do after a game if players come out and say I didn’t play well, if you think a player isn’t playing well you replace him, that’s all part of in game management.

    On the subject of O’Hora, as soon as he started motoring well he was taken off !

    What does that tell you ?

  169. No luck with a ticket (even though I did have a pair on Tuesday until a committee man claimed then the following day), so I watched the game in O’Sheas in Dublin after i flew in on the morning of the game, and I can’t be bothered to watch a replay of the game but I can assure you the touch line incident is plain to see.. My slight dig at yourself was because my original post pointing out the incident was not posted

  170. This is my first note to the site after a few years of dipping in and out seeking support and enlightenment from the lively and committed supporters who run and contribute to the site,
    I had planed to stand last Monday on the spot in Convent Rd Claremorris where with my brother I had watched the Sam McGuire cup and the victorious Mayo team parade past into the Square on the back of Dominic Reagan‘S truck.

    It was with a heart heavy that I decided I couldn’t stop when I got there.

    But having read most of the blogs in this run of ruminations, I offer this: most of us supporters know – really believe- we have a team of players and the managerial nous good enough to win an All Ireland. The reason we didn’t win however we rationalise it is not fully amenable to rationally explanation – the role of chance and luck being such a central, delighting and tormenting part of the game.
    So we really have every reason to hope – to face into another footballing year shouting “Up Mayo”

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