Paddy Durcan is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Photo: GAA (Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile)

On a number of occasions in last night’s game, we reverted to our bad old home venue ways by getting the ball up too slowly to their ’45 and then proceeding to pass it over and back with little attacking purpose.

More that once, however, team captain Paddy Durcan took the fight to Dublin with fast-paced direct runs, punching holes in their defence and sending them back-pedalling. These thrusts were a prominent feature in the second half comeback that eventually led to our one-point win.

Paddy was named as Man of the Match by RTÉ after the game. You’ve also now voted him as our MOTM from the game here on the blog, with 29% support in the poll that has just now closed.

Others to feature prominently in the poll were Jack Carney (19%), Ryan O’Donoghue (17%) and Fergal Boland (12%), all three of whom were central to the win. Jack grew into the game really well in the second half and claimed a crucial high ball from a late restart, while Ryan made and Fergal converted the late, late chance that won us the game.

Well done to all of them and in particular to Paddy Durcan, our MOTM from yesterday’s game.

67 thoughts on “Paddy Durcan is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. It was Paddy by a country mile…and a half.
    Let’s hope he can have an injury free season. Along with Ryan our most important players now.

  2. Every county has its heroes. Fenton, Clifford Mc Manus but so do we. An absolute gem. Well done Paddy.

  3. Paddy is having a great start to the year after a fairly quiet year last year by his standards.
    Hopefully he can keep up this form – he really took the responsibility last night when the team just seemed so passive early on.

  4. Pity we didn’t have a prime ciaran Mcdonald at 11…he’d surely weave his magic to unlock the blanket

  5. Well done Paddy, saw Keegan getting a lot of abuse on Twitter for picking him, most saying it should’ve been RoD, who was very good but I don’t think we’re winning that game if it wasn’t for Paddy grabbing it by the scruff of the neck

  6. 4 points puts us in a nice position But >>>
    How many of our forwards can win 50/50 ball – 0
    How many of our forwards can win 60/40 ball – 2 ROD and PT
    How many of our forwards can kick long range points from distance consistently – 1 ROD
    We play passes to more players running way from goal than going forward.
    We ignore players coming off the shoulder going forward and instead play backwards .
    How close are our defenders to getting a hand in to a forward receiving a pass – minus 5 metres.
    How many players do we have with the confidence to run at the oposition – 1 PD
    AOS will never score by kicking the ball yet he is reverred – too slow winding up to kick and too easy to block. Great athlete and big man but has severe limitations for top level football.
    So we won’t beat Kerry, Monaghan, Derry or Tyrone. The game against Roscommon will be for survival in division 1.

  7. Well done Paddy much deserved.
    Just watch highlights of our game v the dubs on match of the day and I must say I’m really annoyed.
    Hardly a word about Mayo and how they performed but more about how far down the road the dubs were as regards fitness at this time of the year and what players still have to come back…we might as well not be there!

  8. The less they talk about us @John+McHale the better. I watched the game back this evening as I knew the small ball would be on before the football analysis, and I can’t believe we won it. Dublin got into strides in both halves and in other years they would have run away with a couple goals to finish the contest. A lot to learn, but last night was a positive regardless of performance. Its a box ticked, and a very valued two points as I can’t see us getting anything down in Tralee.

  9. Paddy by a mile. Excellent performance from a top class player. Looked at the blog after I got home from game. As usual the pessimists were out in force during the course of the game. Presume a good few of them didnt make it to Castlebar.. A match lasts 70 plus minutes so maybe hold off on the criticism until game is over. It is over now so here is what I think. We were lucky to win and did not play great but we were up against a very strong team. McCaffrey and Fenton are two of the greatest ever players and showed their skill last nigh in first half t. We were far from perfect but got a good result. Our backs did not concede goal chances and we were economical in general with our attacks. The last point was top class, bravery from Ryan and accuracy from Fergal. Had we missed people would be cribbing as to why Ryan did not go for his own score. We hung in when things were going against us and got a lucky break, but we have had a lot of unlucky breaks v dubs so no issue there. Big game v kerry next. Win that and we will probably end up in league final but I dont expect that to happen. Kerry had the Clifford brothers in action today and I am sure they remember what we did to them last year

  10. On a serious note, what is with the negativity it’s the first two games of the league and we’ve won both of them. Healthy scepticism is one thing, negative comments about the mayo team after winning their opening two matches is just ridiculous

  11. Well done paddy well deserved. I’m constantly criticising the negative comments but I’m going against my usual Narrative and come with one now. I’m just after watching the game back on the player and i hadn’t realised that the only score mayo kicked from play in the 2nd half was bolands winner. I would like to see the very minimum 3pts from play in a half. Just think it needs attention. Other than that I’m delighted for the lads they stuck in and played to the final whistle.

  12. Well the lad on here that watched the game back on match of the day must have found it very confusing

  13. Im disappointed with our lack of coverage on match of the day too. I was confused why Míchael Arteta is so hell bent on winning the league, it didnt do us any favours last year…..

  14. It’s hilarious, most comments coming from Mayo fans are negative and lots of comments from Dublin and Galway fans after beating them are pure bitterness saying we are losing the run of ourselves and think we won the all Ireland after two league games.

    It’s very toxic out there at the moment towards Mayo both internally and externally and it is sucking the enjoyment out off following the team.

  15. I wouldnt pay much attention on the sunday game. Twas always farcical and unprofessional. We can draw our own conclusions. Great win. Sharpe thinking by rod to pick out boland. Also sharpe thinking by boland to get into the right position. When the ball goes dead u gotta be alive. We have been short of that over the years. Id like to see tom conroy at 14. Big strong and fast. Speed. U gotta have speed in that full forward line. Well done towey. I thought he may have been left on longer as there were others that needed replacing much more.

  16. Just watched the game back. Yes we were lucky. A reasonable performance by a number of lads. Durcan excellent followed by Carney, rest of the defence including Reape, Ryan O, Boland, Callanan.

    Towey needs more minutes.

    AOS and Cillian huge servants but can still be used as subs.

    Need a mobile full forward-MacHale from Knockmore needs to be used!

    Huge improvement needed but early season.

    Can’t understand the negatively on the blog! We’re on top of the table!
    Let’s get another 2 points and then experiment with fringe players to see what they can do.

    We need to get behind our team.
    Nearly 15k fans on Saturday and clearly they were behind the team!

    Let’s hope we can discover another 2 scoring forwards before the championship ?

    Mhuigeo Abú

    Bígí linn

  17. Agreed Tony Freeman
    There is a weird atmosphere around the whole team now. A lot of supporters spoiled over the last decade or so

  18. Tony, the dislike/mockery/animosity from outside the county stems largely from a lack of respect. Opposing supporters see a massive crowd for a league, a pitch invasion (albeit predominantly kids and teens) and they laugh at us. Success breeds respect, even the most begrudging type. Our failure to win has brought Mayo from ‘everyone’s 2nd fav team’ (well not those in rival counties but you know what I mean!) a decade ago, to a bit of a national joke. It won’t end until we lift Sam, and even then we might need to win it a 5th time (within a decade of the 4th) before that national opinion of Mayo changes. If anything it should fuel a siege mentality and resentment in Mayo to shut them up, but there’s an large element in the Mayo psyche that craves praise and acceptance from the outside. It’s why we lap up positive feedback from media and also why we react in an overly defensive fashion to even a hint of negativity. When you win your self belief soars and when you have high self belief you care a lot less about what those ‘outside’ think of you. That’s what Kerry have, Dublin have and Galway also have a good bit of it too.

    All of this should drive Mayo on to prove how good we can be but wining games in Killarney, the odd National league and then being talked up and too many Mayo supporters losing the run of theirselves doesn’t help! And that stat that always bugged me but so many Mayo fans latched onto like it was something to be proud of, I can’t remember it exactly, but you know the one where we knocked out the current All Ireland holders or how the champions were always a team that had to beat Mayo…something along those lines!? Real loser mentality stuff. The only stat that counts is lifting the Sam Maguire. Did you win the All Ireland? No? Come back when you do.

  19. Tony Leen on a recent podcast kinda, politely and delicately, alluded to the outside opinion toward Mayo and it was basically that until we win the All Ireland, we won’t really be taken seriously. We might get thrown the odd bone of praise but sin é until Sam is in Castlebar!

  20. Mayonaze, you’ve hit the nail on the head there.
    Until we win one again, we’ll be a joke to many outsiders.

    That being said, why are Mayo fans so bothered about being everyone’s second favourite team? Why do we have this desire to be loved? It really annoys me. Spoke to a girl last month in Salthill who said she hated that the Galway fans hated Mayo because she liked seeing Galway win if we’re out. They’re our neighbours and rivals!
    Some of our fana need to stop being so needy. Support our own team and stop looking at supporters from other counties to find out if they love us.

    Decent start to the league, hopefully we see a few more lads used now over the coming weeks.

  21. Id say some of that mockery etc stems from begrudgery and possibly envy. 15000 at a league game in February is a colossal crowd. Our neighbours to the south wouldnt have a hope of getting a crowd like that even if they were going well. When they are going poorly they get very small crowds. The mighty dubs have a decent hardcore following. Then the summer time boys come out when they get to semi final, final or when we come to town. There is this sense of amazement that despite our lack of success, we still draw huge numbers so the best they can muster are the jibes etc that we think we are great, we won our AI in February etc. Most genuine GAA fans admire the Mayo team for their resilience, ability and doggedness. They are not the type of people who populate social media and sports forums hurling abuse at players. teams and so on. Yes a victory will eventually shut those guys up. The slightly worrying thing is the negativity which has seeped into some of our own support. Sure, we are all disappointed by our inability to claim ultimate honours, but this present generation need support and an opportunity to develop. It takes years to get to the top level and some of our lads are only in their second year. Mistakes will be made, inconsistency is inevitable, but when you beat your greatest rivals followed by the AI champions in your first two league games, without playing outstandingly well, then surely you are on the right trajectory.

  22. Mayonaze, your comments would be spot on – if we were losing the run of ourselves. Our first two league victories against respectable opponents have drawn more negative than positive comments – on the blog!

    If ‘supporters losing the run of themselves’ was a factor in ‘89, ‘96, and ’97 we have wised up a lot. Our attitude towards finals has gone from over the top to one of heads down and don’t even mention it. I recall thinking Donegal supporters being somewhat over the top compared to ourselves in 2013, and thinking it would undermine them big time. Well, it didn’t. And we were as near an All Ireland in ‘89, ‘96 (nearer), and ‘97 when we were as giddy as goats.

    What does all that prove? Not a lot. Keep winning, and we’ll get there.

    Now bring on those press reports Willie Joe, and we’ll see what they say about us – and it better be good!

  23. @Mayonaze, take a bow, genuinely that was the best post I’ve ever seen on here. Nail on the head in so many aspects. Posters on here craving praise for the team, is whats off putting. Cringe stuff.

  24. I also should have said, I think there’s a jealousy too from others in our exuberance, loyalty and passion for the green & red. We are very overt in our love and pride of Mayo and there’s definitely a hint of jealously mixed with disdain towards that.

  25. Nice one Catcol.

    On the sensitive supporter syndrome (sss),I think those of us who work/worked/lived outside of the county are more used to the banter and piss take that goes on between rival county supporter and know well it’s swings and roundabouts and wouldn’t be inclined to get too wound up by the jibes coming out way. But yes the only currency that matters is of the Celtic cross variety,some be prepared for a bit more.

  26. Already it would look like our team and subs in is shaping up something like.
    Colm Reape
    Jack Coyne David McBrien Rory Brickendon
    Paddy Durcan Sam Callinane Eoin McLoughlin
    Jack Carney Diarmuid O’Connor
    Mathew Ruane Fergal Boland Jordan Flynn
    Ryan O’Donoghue AOS Tommy Conroy
    Cillian for Aidan
    Stephen Coen for Eoin McLoughlin
    Paul Towey for Tommy Conroy
    Enda Hession
    Bob Tuohy
    The Dublin game showed clearly that we are still a year or two out from some of the younger players being physically strong enough for the very top level. That’s fine, we know that.
    Think we’ve a stronger team than last year looking at above.

  27. Agree Mayonaze. Our defeat to Tyrone blew away all sympathy for us, and ‘Mayo for Sam’ will remain a flippant comment. Many of what are construed as negative comments are simply pointing out facts or areas where improvement is needed, for example one point from play in the second half.
    I definitely think we need to continue with Reape as first choice keeper. I think we held possession from all but one of our kick outs in first half. That’s impressive statistic.

  28. @Win just once, that’s it. I hadn’t read your post but as we’ve both said, there’s a kind of twisted envy in it too.

    Catcol, yep, they completely out sung and out roared us in Croke Park in 2012. I honestly felt ashamed. We made it up for it a bit in 13 but costly errors on and off the field were the problem that day unfortunately. We shudda beaten Dublin.

    On the losing the run of ourselves, after Killarney last year there were far too many who couldn’t plainly see that Kerry were no where near the races that day. Yeah we played well but they let us. It was ideal for us. Open end to end but we actually didn’t defend well that day at all, in my opinion. The sense of overhype is largely the perception that we do this too, often fuelled by national media who love ratcheting up the Mayo Hype machine. There’s an accepted public perception now we lose the run ourselves; even if we don’t. That’s happening now. Most Mayo supporters know that Galway were missing key players and just weren’t at it last week. And most Mayo supporters know we didn’t play well on Sat night in Cbar. But that’s not what the rest of the country think we think! Darren Frehill (Galway supporter) on RTE often adopts a bit of a mocking tone about Mayo whenever he gets a chance. The papers talk us up etc but there’s still a large element of what I call the Mayo silly brigade who willingly oblige in cementing that national opinion.

  29. So our last League match is the 24th March. We’re out again against New York in Champ on the 7th April. So I assume the League final is the 31st March. So IF we get there we’ve only the week to prepare for the Yanks. It’s still hard to fathom that the GAA are that stupid to not allow teams two weeks between end of League and start of Championship. It’s making a right mockery of the League yet again.

    It’s very hard to aim for third place in the League, the coveted spot. As everyone knows, there’s a fine line between being in a League final and getting relegated as happened Kildare I think it was a couple of years ago.

    So, what I’m trying to say is that it’s probably best for us to try and keep winning. We’re in a terrific position now so we can experiment, but not too much. Maintain the spine. We can still afford to lose a match or two, but no more than two I would say. Winning is a habit, and it might be hard to get momentum back. Being too cute is extremely perilous in the League and we could end up with egg on our face.

    We need to win minimum one more match to be safe at 6 points (7 really is safe ground), but winning two more at 8 points could easily put is in the final. It’s a hell of a tough League and we won’t have it easy in any of our remaining matches. For instance, we could lose our next two and then it’s a different conversation coming into the last three matches where there’s a bit of pressure.

    It’s very hard then for management teams to plot a course, but at least we’re where we want to be at this point. It’s still very early days.

  30. Jesus Mayonaze your on fire. So refreshing to tead posts that just hit the nail on the head.

    The quabbling in here, is posters confusing constructive criticism as being negative. @Onthe ditch fairly nailed it there aswell.

    Their’s zero hype on here in all fairness. 15k at a game just annoys other Counties, and their default reaction is “ah they think they’ve won the All Ireland”.”the hype will be off the scale” etc. As an example, I’d urge anyone to look in the Roscommon blog – stolensheep. Their absolutely obsessed with us, its kinda creepy. We genuinely live rent free in the posters heads. The hatred is at near pyschotic levels. On second thoughts, if your sensitive stay away from it lol.

  31. No one is losing the run of ourselves.

    But there are 12 months in the months in the year and some of would like to enjoy our January and February.

  32. Every team would want to win the league – if there was no league final to interfere with championship preparations. There could be great excitement on the last day of the league if the team that finished top won the league. There could be 3-4 teams in with a chance of winning and the scores changing and winners changing as the games developed.

  33. The championship fixtures seem to be designed to make it very hard for Connacht Counties, ie, the championship starts too soon.
    Why is this the case given the fact that there are more Counties in the Leinster and Ulster championships?

    I would prefer to keep away from finishing the league in 1st or 2nd position, no league final at any cost.

  34. It’s not really a sense of amazement, it’s almost pity in some quarters as they think we’re soft in the head.
    It’s not seen as loyalty,
    A lot of Galway fans will essentially say why would we waste our time watching a poor team, let them get it right and we’ll come back again.
    Cork people, maybe a bad example, wouldn’t go across the road to watch their footballers, but if they produce a good team which looks like it could win an all Ireland they’ll have no shame in jumping on the bandwagon and clamour for all Ireland tickets.

  35. No matter how fans of other counties try to dress it up, their sniping at Mayo and our supporters is based purely on jealousy. Dublin and Kerry apart every other county would love to have had the last 14 or 15 years we’ve had. The snidiness on other forums says so much more about the posters than us, so ignore them let them get whatever pleasure they can from their bitterness.

  36. Nailed it mayonaze re hype . From being a fairly dedictaed supporter like everyone else in here and knowing irl a few more , i can confidentely say there are none of them shouting mayo for sam in feb but it doesnt suit the box office hype narrative dished out by media so they exagerate and create this fake hysteria .

    I actually think weve been poor to average in the league so far , Galway were brutal the first day out and missing so many also . It was still a positive to beat them and its a dangerous game to keep losing to your nearest and dearest .

    Dublin can feel hard done by from the weekends games to not at least of got a draw , they bossed the game for longer periods than our purple patches put together , they certainly should of had a 45 awarded which led to our winning score . But again ill take the bit of luck .

    Aspects of the weekends game where i differed to common opinion , i actually thought Aido was decent overall and im convinced we will need him . I also thought we didnt look big enough around the diamond again , Diarmuid will be needed and i believe we will need hession too , id hope to see james carr get a run soon . Not as convinced as others are by towey , boland , brickeden , not saying they are making mistakes just think they will still need to improve to make a difference come the summer .

  37. I’m glad someone said it Sean as if I said Mayo were poor in both games it would appear to be sour grapes. Mayo were better than Galway who were awful, with the penalty and point in injury time, putting a gloss on the scoreboard. Dublin were better than Mayo but had no cutting edge forward play you usually associate with them and ye scraped over the line due to clever play from ROD.

    Ye have work to do all over the field same as most other counties with ambitions to win the All-Ireland. The only county that appears to be going full tilt is Derry which will be hard to sustain to July. I dont like the goalie way out the field craic and Reape is at it now too, Glesson not as much thank god. Also this mark shite is a blight on the game, a joke of a rule that badly needs to be abolished.

  38. @Liberal role in the tie: I never personally understood the chat (be it Keegan as a pundit or folks here) saying we wouldn’t want a final. There’s nothing but positives from an extra day out at Croker, whatever way management decided to handle it that close to Championship (with a date and travel against New York that’s another game that could be handled in a few different ways so no one clear path between those games).

    We’ve extended squad/u20 players & usual first 26 lads that mightn’t have gotten many minutes, all at full fitness, that would all kill for extra minutes and the chance to pull on the Green and Red for the day in Croke Park. Many that would be gaining massively from the experience of it (Just taking keeper as an example, you’d put out any of Robbie/Peter Basquille/David Dolan or even lads slightly further from the setup like Luke Jennings/Bryan O’Flaherty). Could even fully hand management over to Rochford or Mulligan and keep the rest of the setup working on different focus/goals the whole time.

    There’s no downside in getting to it, where you then get the option of what you’d like to do with it. Talk about losing momentum when a B or C team might take a loss is fluff. Wouldn’t impact the confidence of first choice lads in the slightest it’d just be filling ink on paper (or a few extra gigabytes of podcasts around the country). Knowing plenty of players over the years if anything they’d enjoy the banter of being able to joke with the lads that potentially took a loss (or vice versa if they managed a shock win even more craic to be had at training).

    That’s just looking at the route of not playing first choice lads too. Nothing at all wrong with going all out to win it either.

  39. I’d agree there TsuDho…do a decent rotation and let’s see if our 2nd & 3rd string are up to the job. I’d imagine intensity in training would up a few notches when lads realize they actually have a chance of getting a starters jersey .

  40. Excellent Mayonaze, brilliantly put. Working with a multinational it’s amazing how the external supporters attitude has changed to us in past decade from everyone’s second favourite team, to pity, to an almost annoyance.

    The Kerry game should see a pretty big overhaul of personnel. You’d imagine with same bench both days them lads should get start, especially with Reid out for month or so and Callinan and Brickenden likely I’m Sigerson final or just give them break as overused to date.

  41. I see it as a positive as Sean says we’re poor to average so far. This time last year we were blitzing teams, runners coming from everywhere and the ferocious pace of our game lasted 70 mins. Unsustainable really, as Derry will find out later.

    Be it luck and the fact Galway were so poor, we have 4 valuable points. Im really hoping we use the games wisely, Hennelly needs gametime because Reape had meltdowns against Cork snd Dublin last year when it mattered, Hennelly maybe needed.

    Hope Hession, Carr, Plunkett, and to a lesser extent Diarmuid and Mattie get minutes into the legs towards the end of the league. All 5 could arguably be part of a starting 15 in the summer. We havectje potential to have solid strenght and depth in the panel come championship.

  42. Its foolish talking about not wanting to win the League. You play sport to win especially a team sport. Winning becomes a habit and the more you win the more you want to win. If team not playing in League final on that weekend, they will have a serious training session or an A V B game that would be as tough as any league final and maybe more chances of injuries as players would be flat out to impress to make team for next game. Play every game to WIN .

  43. I like a lot on here was in ‘avoid a league final’ mode – just get enough points for safety and then concentrate on championship. I think everything should really depend on squad health and fitness come end of March. If the panel are fit and progressing well then why not go for the league, momentum can be a great thing to. The squad maybe in a much better place than last year to. We seemed short on defenders due to injuries etc. and now we have Plunkett, Eoin Mc, Brickenden and Hession back in addtion to the other positional covers and new boys.

    Dare I say it there is second fifteen (that didnt start the first 2 games) that doesnt look to shabby. So this should give us oppurtunity to both rest and use all players so to speak.

    I do also think that some players that have been injury prone should be minded to a degree with championship in mind. I believe looking at Cillain and Aiden that their training plan is totally championship geared.

    Any word on Eoghan Mc or Reids injuries from Saturday by the way ?

  44. @Sean B, exactly. I agree 100% with you in all the players. I think we hugely need Diarmuid. He is the reason we won in Salthill last summer; when Galway were cleaning up in midfield he was the only one winning us primary possession.Hession has been out a long time so that’s a concern but fully fit, he has a lot to offer us. Also agree with the jury still out on Brickenden and Towey. Boland less so for me, I think we know what he can do. He’s a decent player who on his day can be very useful but he also has days where he doesn’t really feature. Still needs to bulk up more in my opinion.

  45. Do some of ye not remember what happened last year ? avoid league final at all costs.
    I ask this question again, is it Connacht Council that makes the fixtures for the championship?

  46. I think that some of the negativity comes with the cumulative effect of the near misses. In the past, we have over hyped some of our players, and possibly lacked confidence and/or ruthlessness to finally get across the line.

    We have an experienced management team and need to see that they have learned from last year. I am not bothered either way about necessarily winning the league, what I want to see is players stepping up when the going gets tough. We saw this to a degree last Saturday night, and Tralee will be another great test. Can Flynn, Carney, Coyne etc continue their learnings, and gain confidence in themselves and the teams abilities.

    We can only judge where we are in terms of championship preparation at the end of the league. We need to have competition for places, last year too many were deemed guaranteed starters. In terms of what others think, so what, I hope that there is an honesty within the panel and management as to our strengths and weaknesses and not being influenced by what is on social media. Let’s get to a point where other teams fear us again, last year if teams matched our intensity then we were in bother. I would not bet on us to win Sam this year but would like us to truly be a top 4 side again, will review in April if we can say this with confidence or not.

  47. @Bate the blanket: Yes. Nothing especially different to the years we didn’t make a final or got relegated.

    A case last year to have put out a second string in the final (personally I wouldn’t have) given the Roscommon game was so close but a very different scenario to look at when it’s New York in the first round of Connacht.

    The actual damage last year was a combination of injuries (more so lads <80% rather than out injured but both hurt us a lot), questionably poor performances against Cork/Louth (plenty of chat about illness potentially playing into those, potentially just poor performances on the day be it lack of application or underestimating opponents) meaning we ended up playing the pQF which left us with the reduced numbers slightly gassed for the QF (which then had an unforeseeable bad matchup get out of hand quickly and slow reactions to fix it exacerbating the problems).

    Any case to 'avoid it' is much better made as a case to play lads in the squad needing/wanting minutes. We've lads killing themselves all year in A vs Bs that might not even make a 26 that would be fully deserving of a day out in Croker against a Derry/Kerry/Dublin/Monaghan (and a team along the lines of Hennelly/EO'D/PO'H/Plunkett/Hession/Coen/McHugh/Ruane/DO'C/Irwin/McHale/Duffy/Carr/CO'C/Quinn, just examples that haven't started a game so far, would give anyone a game of it. With lads like McStay/Keane/Thornton/Murphy/McDonnell/D Quinn/Reilly/Dawson/Morahan/Callaghan/Hunt/Fahey/O'Flaherty all [last we know of] pushing hard too).

    It's important to be realistic with where things failed. Blaming a league final that had nothing to do with the Dublin game (and even minimal potential impact on a future New York/previous Roscommon game depending on how it's approached, you can choose to use it like a challenge game) seems well off to me.

  48. What would be so awful about a league final
    …day out in croaker
    Going to NY the following week…
    Should handle the exiles (no disrespect)
    Dublin didn’t mind winning the league…

  49. As a reminder for us, the Connacht Championship dates that concern us are:
    (30/31 March. League Final)

    7 April 2024. New York v Mayo (quarter final)
    21 April 2024. New York or Mayo v Roscommon (semi final)
    5 May 2024. Connacht Final.

    I like the idea of going forward and playing a League Final if we get to it because I like the idea of momentum.
    However, the first two games in Connacht do present challenges after a League Final – IF, and it’s a big IF, we get to it on 30/31st March.
    New York game – stress of travelling to and from (one week after a final)
    Potential Roscommon game – need heads right and settled for our Rossie friends. Potential banana skin always. Would we be able ‘to come down’ after the two preceding games, in an imaginary world?

    It’s all imaginary but could we rotate players for the NY game – use the 5 subs – and try some players on the first 15 who haven’t got a lot of game time to date?

  50. @ Swollow Swoops it is worth noting also that our last game in the league is in Clones so Clones, Dublin New York in successive weeks.
    Dublin’s big advantage with Croker is lack of travel and familiarity.

  51. @Swallow Swoops to answer your question, history tells us no we wouldnt be able to “come down” after league final and NY, for Roscommon.

    2019 – Win league final – play NY – lose to Roscommon in Connacht Championship. Ultimately then hammered by Dublin in AI Semi Final

    2023 – Win league final – lose to Roscommon in Connacht – end up hammered by Dublin in AIQF.

    No one will change my perspective that a league fiinal this year is a really bad idea. For whatever reason, a league win just takes it out of our players. I don’t know what it is but recent history shows us we are liable to massive slip ups after winning it. Maybe the heads aren’t where they need to be?.

    My tune would be different if we had a handy draw in connacht and didnt play Ros/Galway until final. Its okay for Kerry and Dublin to go all out if they choose, they dont meet D1 opposition until the All Ireland seiries.

  52. Sorry forgot to say, McStay scraped by NY with his Rossies in 2016 or 2017. The biggest upset in GAA history looked almost certain in the final few minutes. Point is, he will not take them lightly. Might leave out a couple of players, but I expect a near first 15 to line put in Gaelic Park.

  53. I think the ‘not wanting to win the league’ is a hangover from last year when it turned out to be a disadvantage.
    This year is different, not to disrespect New York but Mayo should be well able to win that game even without a few regulars, they caught Leitrim last year but Leitrim missed an awful amount of chances.
    Winning Connacht is far more important than winning the league though, and if it came to the last few rounds of the league and Mayo are safe then I would be resting players and giving other players a chance and if that went well and they still managed to male a league final then that would be great but if they lost few games no harm either.
    Last year with the new format it looked like it took away the importance of the provincial, but really it hasn’t, Mayo need to be winning Connacht and so then avoiding a group with other provincial winners which would be Dublin and Kerry and at the moment looks like Derry.
    Then its important to win the group but thats too far away to be thinking about yet.

  54. On the League final issue, it’s also worth noting that the last four times we won the League, we then lost every time to Roscommon in the Connacht Championship soon after.

  55. If we don’t improve a lot from our first two performances winning the league will not be an issue – avoiding relegation will be the issue. We will need a minimum of 6 points to stay up. We are unlikely to get anything in Tralee, if we get nothing in Omagh a week later – then the Roscommon game at home becomes a huge game.

  56. This must be the first team that a team on top of the league is judged to on course for relegation.

  57. Personally I’m fine with losing to the Rossies in Connacht if we win a League Title – it’s worth more than a Connacht Title in my book.

    The important with a League Final for me is that it’s on our terms – I don’t feel a League Title is worth asking the first team to play for 4 weekends in a row.

    This year, as hard as it is to hear, I’d rather lose to New York and get a 6 week into Championship, than lose to Roscommon and just have 4.

    I’d have absolutely no problem with fielding a similar side to the London FBD game in the Big Apple. We might get beat, but it opens the calendar up to build to a big performance on the opening weekend of the group stage – just like last year – and I personally couldn’t care less about being slagged off for 6 weeks if at the end of I can shove a win in Killarney, Croker or Derry back down their throats.

  58. I think people are being overly fearful of a league final.

    Its a totally different situation to last year, where we were facing another div 1 team a week on. No point in trying to be the cute hoor about it we will hockey new York with whatever team we send over so really you are looking at 3 weeks post league final before 1st proper game.

    If a league final should arise then it should be embraced imo

  59. Dont think winning the league last was the reason we we terrible against Cork and Loth in the championship.
    Defence was all wrong last year for championship with wrong players in important positions. All thats needed is correct team selection and right switches when needed, that not there last year for C/ship.

  60. @FrostTHammer

    I’d agree that the provincial championships are currently diluted in value, but imo Connacht is competitive and a summer win means more than any league title.

    The beauty of winning Connacht is that it SHOULD have you in pole position to top your group. A provincial runner up could be clare or westmeath I admit im not sure which provincal loser connacht champions have. Top your group and you get a vital extra weeks rest for the quarter final. That is a massive advantage for amateur players.

    I’d argue that it will be a while if ever that the All Ireland Champions don’t top there group in the current format.

    Connacht not as important as before, but winning it can definetley make life easier. For me it trumps the league all day long.

  61. Yeah while Mayo are top of the league and looking good so far to have a good league, it can take a turn quickly, two tough away games, I dont think Mayo will come away from Tralee with anything but would have a chance in Omagh.
    Everyone would have learnt from last year, that with the new championship format, its hugely important to finish top of the group and the best chance of this is to be the top seed in the group and you have to win your province to achieve that. So winning Connacht is more important than winning the league. I know its wrong to dismiss a national title and if they can win the league and Connacht then great, but the more games the more chance of injuries and burn out.
    Also on a different note, its great to have Keegan in the media now and his damping of the Mayo hype, all the years of having the Kerry and Dublin pundits talk down there own counties and hype up Mayo when ever they could, as is there right but it is good having Keegan in there now to counter any of that.

  62. @Margie

    I agree with pretty much everything you said and the spirit it came from but unfortunately it’s not a perfect system and it’s ripe for exploitation.

    * The system is specifically designed to be most accommodating for Provincial Final Runners Up – simply because of the stink that made about their poor record in qualifiers – so they get easier the theoretically easier tie in the fourth Seed.
    – difficult to predict ATM but Meath are guaranteed
    – and last year was the two relegated D1 teams Cork and Kildare

    * The “prize” of a Provincial Final is a home game against a 3rd; which we can already reasonably predict as
    – 3 from Derry, Monaghan, Tyrone and Donegal
    – the Rossies if they stay up. Otherwise whoever scraps into second in D2.

    And in terms of us learning from last year – those are really tough opponents after what would be the high of beating Galway in Salthill.

    The old system is gone in the group stage and there are no longer any predefined Provincial Pairing – it’s open seeded draw and the only stipulation is no repeat of Provincial finals. It really was pot luck that Dublin drew such a soft group.

    And it the statistics back that up – Galway were the only Provincial winners to win their opening group game last year and the only one not to make a Semi final.

    And that’s before you start factoring in shenanigans;
    – like if you are Dublin or Kerry you’d really back yourself to take on anyone in the country away when you have twice the lead in time.
    – and all a provincial final really achieves for you is adding Ulster teams to the championship instead of your provincial neighbours.
    – and suddenly a Provincial Final doesn’t look look as smart when Dublin and Kerry are in that group of 3 seeds and the 4 of the 1 & 2 seeds are from D2 and lower Munster and Leinster teams.

    Soz that went on a bit long, but I guess the TL;DR is that winning your province is actually really dicey.
    But you are entirely right that it should not be.

  63. Hadn’t looked at the Provincials outside of our own too much yet so decided to take a slightly closer look after that @FrostTHammer.

    1st and 2nd seeds will be:

    1 of Tyrone/Monaghan/Cavan/Derry/Donegal

    1 of Fermanagh/Armagh/Down/Antrim

    1 of Clare/Tipperary/Waterford

    1 of Limerick/Cork/Kerry

    1 of Kildare/Westmeath/Wicklow/Louth/Carlow/Wicklow

    1 of Dublin/Longford/Meath/Offaly/Laois

    1 of New York/Mayo/Roscommon

    1 of Sligo/Leitrim/London/Galway

    So outside of Connacht (pick any of Mayo/Roscommon/Galway as likely 1sts and 2nds) and Ulster (likely Armagh 2nd you’d imagine but as always toss a coin up there with Fermanagh/Down/Derry/Donegal/Tyrone all potentially 2nds) you’re going to have relatively weak sides as 2nd seeds in Munster/Leinster (say Clare & Westmeath as highest current modelled strength sides). So some potential benefit to winning despite the negatives of the timing vs 3rd as FrostTHammer points out.

    Nothing straight forward about navigating that system ‘optimally’, even before we throw in potential shocks and a Dublin/Kerry ending up 2nd. Thankfully we can just shout for the lads to win every game and hope it pans out alright without overthinking it too much (except when we have an off week like this and have nothing better to do).

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