O’Neill’s departure confirmed + are you ready for next year?

The Irish Examiner has today followed up on the story they broke yesterday about Cian O’Neill’s departure from Mayo’s management set-up with a piece definitely confirming that the Moorefield man will not be staying on as team coach next year. In doing so, the paper reports that O’Neill has denied he’s jumping ship to join Kerry and he’s claimed instead that it’s health problems relating to his back that have forced him to resign after a year in the role.

O’Neill’s departure obviously leaves a pretty major gap in James Horan’s backroom team and I guess the hope must be that there’s something to the story the Irish Examiner had yesterday that Barry Solan would be joining the set-up. As well as developing further on the playing side, it’s vital that we’re also fully tooled up on the sideline next year – James hinted at this at the post-match banquet on Sunday night when he publicly called for greater “investment” from everyone involved in the push for All-Ireland glory – and so it’s important that this key appointment is nailed down as quickly as possible.

I know most of us are still in emotional rehab after Sunday but it seems clear that the GAA’s scheduling department isn’t going to allow us to wallow in self-pity for any decent length of time at all. This is because, as @clubmayo pointed out this morning, the draw for next year’s championship is set to take place on Thursday of next week (4th October). Moreover, with Leitrim leaping over to New York and Sligo sloping off to London, this means that ourselves, Galway and the Rossies will be in the pot for the preliminary round and if we draw either of them we’ll be facing them in an opening round tie on their home turf.

Many would say that after our handy draw in Connacht dish ear we’re due something a bit more challenging in 2013 and a Salthill date with Galway in late May, for example, would certainly fit the bill in this respect. If this does come about, it’d be a repeat of the draw we got in 2007 following our last All-Ireland final appearance. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that what happened to us that day shows that any assumptions about going one better in 2013 need to be tempered by the realisation that before we can start to think about winning Sam next year, we first have to plan for making our way through the championship minefield and back to the final once more.

19 thoughts on “O’Neill’s departure confirmed + are you ready for next year?

  1. Emotional rehab is a fine way to describe it, very delicate i’ve been feeling. This blog is the closest thing that a lot of us get to a counselling session and fair play WJ, really appreciate it. Can’t face to watch the tape back but I’ve been told that 2-7 of Donegals scores came from misplaced balls into our FF. I find that a horrible stat to take to be honest. That game was there for the taking if we got our act together.
    Why oh why is Keith Higgins being left in the corner, surely it’s time that we seriously look at getting him involved in the play more by bringing him to half back with Boyle and Keegan beside him. We’re not far away but we may as well be a million miles away if we can’t get out tactics right as well.
    If one more person says to me ah sure there is next year, I may have to give them a clip because the teeth can’t take any more grinding. It’s a long dangerous minefield to get to a final and there are no guarantees that we’ll dodge the mines next year.
    Roll on the FBD. Gulp.

  2. Lads next year’s hopes have been severely dented by the loss of O’Neill – he is a true professional at the scientific top of his game and is one of the MAIN reasons that Mayo have done so well since Horan took over. I don’t think he got enough credit, or maybe people didn’t know too much about him. But he is a major loss for Mayo. If he had back problems (which I hear he had) then the continued long drive from Mayo to Limerick would not have helped his situation.

    In my opinion O’Neill is irreplaceable, but now that he is gone we need to massively invest in our backroom team. Horan is undoubtedly a great manager but in the modern game you need a great team around you. If he has any flaw it is that that he tries to do too much himself. (I also think Mort could have been managed better). With O’Neill gone we are in trouble. We need 2 or 3 more top people to join our backroom team. This is where the County Board need to step up. If we don’t make this investment we won’t be back in Croker.

  3. Well Alf I bit the bullet and watched it ..painful yes but it showed me things I missed from the lower cusack- Hill end ,caus a lot of the time my head was down near my knees ;
    The work rate of Mc Loughlin, Keegan ,Keith ,Colm ,Caff and Kevin Keane who I would have said had a stinker but no he sorted his head out and got stuck in.
    This game was there for the taking but we weren’t taking,lack of turbo charge from O’Shea and Dillon, lack of composure, cost in the end too many loose passes and rushed shots under pressure. Donegal had this bug too but always seemed to have a man to mop up the spill, our spills seemed to end up in yellow river every time. We had to work far too hard for our scores and we did work hard very hard.
    Here’s hoping these guys move on and give it another go , easy to say that now but next year as alluded to here above may be harder still. What can we do but keep supporting i don’t share any great feeling of optimism for the near future but do feel tremendous pride in being a Mayo Man.
    and the hurt will pass.

  4. Quick question – are we not due to play the Rossies in Castlebar next year? DId we not play them last in 2011 in Dr. Hyde Park?

  5. Mayo are at home if they meet the Rossies WJ. Last game between both was the 2011 Connacht final in the Hyde, a day borrowed from the depts of winter, you were on your hols.

  6. Coilltemach,

    I am not overly worried about the departure of O’Neill….if we manage to get Barry Solan on board. I have dealt with me personally and we will be in excellent hands, could not ask for a smoother transition with regards to S&C. He’s an out and out Mayo man too from Ballagh and will be sure to give everything to the role.

    Thanks Albany, The game is a bit of a blur for me to be honest from my seat in the upper Davin. Sounds like your analysis is spot on with regards to what I can remember. I plan to watch all the finals back one after another when we do land the big one someday. First score of the 2nd half was a real kicker, McFadden looked like he won’t over easily.

    Time to look forward and not back and actually learn from our mistakes this time! It’s a trap pointed out on Saturday on the blog if Donegal were going to go early for their big boys inside and provide the knock out punch just like Kerry had done in 04 and 06, how right he was.

    3 or 4 changes and a bit more cuteness with regards tactics and we’ll give it a right shot.

    Chins up lads, Mayo forever.

  7. all this talk of more investment in the county team etc is begining to grate on me i have to say.

    where the hell are the co board going to get all this money to invest?

    sponsorship? after how the ticket situation for the all-ireland worked – not likely.

    the only other place left is the clubs.

    i thought the ‘vouchers’ people got with the cairde maigh eo tickets were laughable. the co board asked the clubs to go and organise businesses in each local area to provide vouchers for said ticket holders thereby reducing the clubs own potential income from the same sponsors! where is the logic in that?

    so, where oh where is this ball of money going to come from????

    you can be sure they will hit the clubs again and i for one am sick to the teeth of it. what makes the situation all the more annoying is the shambles that is mchale park. a quick walk round the premium level of Croker would tell you what it could have been – a more modestly sized animal with decent facilities (bars, shops, etc) for supporters and decent permanent offices for themselves. feck sake – the county secretarys office doesnt even have a window direct to the outside at present!!!! the massive debt on mc hale park doesnt help but i dont see them chasing after Bruce Springsteen to play there any time soon either.

    but anyway i digress, my issue is that the guys running mayo football will have to come up with a better way of getting a stable, predictable revenue stream that doesnt affect the clubs. it is the clubs who keep the show afloat and if they lean any more heavily on them than they do at present (or if they could lay off a small bit that would help too) – there might be a backlash.

  8. Club Mayo Sports reported that Mayo would be away to Ros as well WJ, which you retweeted, maybe that’s where you got it from. Also, I think someone said it earlier but Darragh O’Sé has a good article in the Times today. Then again I think any article which highlights the GAA’s lack of emphasis on good refereeing is a good one.

  9. I also bit the bullet and watched the game, thought we did superb to get back into in the first half but missed some poor chances. I think in a year or two’s time if we haven’t one the big one this will be seen as one we left behind. those donegal boys were there for the taking and for one reason or another we just couldn’t do it but please god we’ll learn from it. There was a point near the end of the first half when donegal couldn’t win a break and mcfaddens free, coupled with half time realy saved them.

    There was a lot of talk that cillian was lucky to stay on the pitch and that deegan helped us out. Thats pure shite in my opinion. Their wing back, eamon mcgee, commited 3 fouls in the first half, 2 of which we scored from, after he had been booked. on one occasion the mayo lad(varley i think) could have been in on goal if he wasn’t hauled down. Lucky boy to stay on the pitch. Also not to give us a free in before their second goal was farcical but sure its neither here nor there at this stage.

    We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out in the league and what not, but if the lads sit down and watch the tape before the connacht championship next year, I’m sure they’ll get the fire in their belly’s to put things right.

    Maigh eo abu.

  10. Seems like a lot of the bloggers myself included believe we need some addtional forwards. I have seen a list of names from one contributor but what about a certain Mr. P. Hanley currently playing Oz rules ? Is he not the man to fill our centre half forward position. If Kennelly can return to Kerry for a year, Marty Clarke to Down and Colin Begley to Laois what about Pearce Hanley coming back to Mayo even if only for a year ? I know some club footballers would be put out but if they are good enough let them challenge but surely Hanley should be pursued and now.

  11. I am ever the optimist but this year I am as low as I have ever been, Donegal were bad Sunday and still that is all we could manage. Sunday the fact that we kept going and fought to the bitter end consoled me somewhat but the more I analyze it the worse it looks. Mayo and Donegal started from the same position 2 years ago and they player badly Sunday and 3 points is as close as we were able to get to them. Donegal’s players stood up when the pressure was on and kicked the scores when needed, ours barely got over 50% of their shots, missing easy chances, that cannot be trained, its in you, winners or losers.

    Even 2 early goals could have easily been over taken, Donegal were playing that badly. They took out Kerry and Cork and played badly in the final, what more do Mayo want to win an All-Ireland. I despair for the future. We will do ok, but thats all with this team and people thinking that they will come back again next year are kidding themselves. Everything went our way this year except Andy’s injury, that won’t happen again. That was their (our) chance, its gone, it won’t be back for quite a while!!

  12. If we have to shake things up a bit for next year, so be it. Lads can get fed up listening to the same voices for too long and fresh ideas can be added to the good baseline from this year.
    As the dust is settling on Sunday, we can hopefully now make some plans for next year and we don’t need to make radical changes.
    Moving Keith out the field would be a good step. We need to get the balance right in the central positions 6,8,9 and 11. Nobody could say that Jason D is a conventional answer at 11 and Donie had a poor enough championship at 6.
    Aiden and Barry are too similar for me and we could do with a more mobile partner for one of the lads.
    Hopefully Andy will be back to take a place on the edge of the square come the championship too.
    We can look hopefully forward to a big step forward for lads like Kirby, McHale, Regan and a few more that will hopefully put their hands up during the league.
    I didn’t think I’d be saying this so soon on Sunday walking out of Croke park but I’m beginning to look forward already.

  13. It was an opportunity Sunday that slipped away. One goal was bad but the second was terrible.It was too much of a mountain to climb, but we nearley did, we missed a couple of points, early in the second half, that if they were scored, we would have Donegal on the back foot.
    The lads played their hearts out and did us proud, It is disapointing for us, the fans, what must it be like for the players and management.
    Any way , looking forward, I believe we have a very good team.
    When Andy Moran returns he will give us a ball winner on the full forward line.The team that finished the game, Sunday, would be close to the strongest team ,in my opinion.
    I would leave the defence alone, play Seamus O Shea with Barry Moran at mid field, play Jason Gibbons at centre forward, flanked by Kevin Mcloughlin and Alan Dillon, with Aiden O Shea at full forward, and beside him, Andy Moran and Killian O Connor.
    I think this team would stand up to any thing in the country. Just my opinion.

  14. Someone mentioned above that Cian o neill was responsible for lot of our improvement over the last 2years, he has only been involved for one. To be honest gutted as I am that he is leaving, if he doesn’t go to Kerry then I won’t feel as bad. The work he did this year will not just disappear and Barry S would be a good replacement, not as good mind u as Cian has been there done that in terms of Gaelic games but Barry has a great breadth of experience and in the professional team arena also. Fingers crossed.

  15. I don’t know is AoS agile or mobile enough to play at FF, he has a lot of bulk to carry around. I was very impressed with Michael Murphy’s speed for such a big man. Considering the likelihood of packed defences, a FF these days needs to fetch the ball, it can’t just bounce off him ala Donaghy and Gooch. The long high balls we have played in in the last two years such as against Cork and Donegal in the respective finals this year, has not been great, and let’s face it, it’s never the most accurate of balls to be playing anyway. So you need great agility and mobility, as well as height and ball fetching ability, if you’re going to give yourself any chance. That’s why Barry Moran nor AoS has worked out at FF for us in the past. Of the current panel, Jason Gibbons could be worth a shout.

  16. Gibbons not the answer at centre half forward nor is Feeney as other posters have suggested. Both good players but one is a midfielder the other is a back.

    In my view an out and out forward is needed in that position. His first instinct must always be to look at the posts – must be a proven scorer. We need a no. 11 that can run in straight lines and open up space for the inside line. He must have strength, height, and pace.

    Appreciate that its a tough brief to fulfill but hardly impossible.

    For what its worth (and of course in hindsight!) Ciaran McDonald would have been a useful sub to introduce last Sunday at full forward with 15mins to go.

  17. Ciaran McD should have started at centre forward nevermind the 15 mins cameo role at full forward. Neil Gallagher carried alot of bulk 2 years ago and was one of the worst inter county midfielders, transformed into a mobile point scoring, link man, high fielder, fair play to McGuinness. Aidan O Shea has far more raw talent but needs to work on his mobility if Gallagher can, anyone can. The McGees are good footballers and nice fellas off the pitch, but as pointed out earlier are serious dirty fookers on it, hence the reaction from O Connor, who according to the rules should have seen red, but really should have received a free in for a previous foul. The Mayo management made alot of mistakes regarding the selection of Doherty at centre forward, leaving Alan Dillion on the pitch, Keane on Murphy, Higgins at corner back instead of centre half back and Vaughan is way over rated by most of you guys. Jason Gibbons looks handy and one wonders why he was brought on so late.
    I still think Mayo are a long way off and are probably the 5th best team in the country. Chat of Galway on various threads been a banana skin next year are way off, they have a good manager in place and still managed to get hammered by Sligo and lose to a poor Antrim side, Padraig Joyce needs to go. Sligo are the only team Mayo have to fear next year in Connacht, after all its not long ago since Mayo stumbled over the line in the Connacht final.

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