Player of the Year award – the nominees


For the last two years there’s been an end-of-season poll run here on the site to identify the Mayo Player of the Year. Cillian O’Connor was voted as the winner of this accolade in 2014 and his brother Diarmuid won it last year. With the year’s action now over, it’s time to think about who should be in the shake-up for the 2016 award.

This year, like last year, I’ve tried to go about compiling the list of nominees in a data-driven manner. As I did last year, I went about this task by making use of the results of the Man of the Match polls run here after every competitive match involving us to identify the players who performed best for us on a consistent basis over the whole championship.

Because we played so many championship matches this year and because summer action far outweighs in importance what happens in the League, I decided this time to restrict the data-mining to the MOTM polls in our nine championship games. Having collected all the raw numbers I then applied different weights to the games played, with the result that performances in matches at the business end of the championship ranked higher in the scheme of things than those that occurred earlier in the summer.

The other change from the POTY polls conducted last year and the year before is that I’ve decided to go with a shortlist of five this time rather than the longer list of ten nominees used in previous years. The rationale for this is that we’re looking to identify the outstanding county player of the year here and so I reckon the cohort of performers in contention for this has, almost by definition, to be a select one. In any event, I think the list of the five nominees for this year’s award is a self-evident one.

So, then, are you ready to vote? Here’s the shortlist for the 2016 Mayo GAA Blog Player of the Year Award:

Who was our 2016 Player of the Year?

  • Lee Keegan (58%, 641 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (18%, 194 Votes)
  • Andy Moran (10%, 111 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (10%, 108 Votes)
  • Cillian O'Connor (4%, 44 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,097

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124 thoughts on “Player of the Year award – the nominees

  1. Fantastic to see Durcan & Harrison there bearing in mind their rookie status, but it has to be Lee Keegan for his immense contributions in the All-Ireland series matches. Contributed crucial scores to go along with unerring defensive displays

  2. If Footballer of the Year was based on the All-Ireland final only then Lee Keegan would win hands down. But for the whole series Andy Moran’s tireless play, judicious points and general acumen were vital. So I have no hesitation in giving Andy the nod. Just think what our attack would have been without him.

  3. Keegan is ‘the’ elite player for us at the moment. Absolutely peerless across the country. As good going forward as he is defending.

    Our POTY and should also be in the reckoning for the big gong too. Won’t get it but he’s in that sphere in my opinion.

    Durcan and Harrison had terrific seasons for us and can look to a bright future for Mayo. Harrison was immensely consistent all through. Durcan had a tough opener but steadied himself and just got better as the season progressed.

  4. Lee is class, but for me I just think Harry shaded it. At corner back there is less spotlight on you than wing back, much less opportunity to launch forward and most likely less time on the ball. I think back through the games we played and we kept most full forward lines quiet, Dublin, Tyrone, Tipp etc… Harrison played a big part in this. Consistent throughout.

  5. Lee keegan for me with Andy a close second.
    Parsons had he spent more time on the pitch would have been a deserved nominee. Sadly he just didn’t get the minutes through injury.
    the two young bucks making the list bodes well for the years ahead.

  6. Delighted to see that David Clarke (at 5/6) is a clear favourite with the bookies to win an All-Star. Cluxton is 9/4. So there! Lee Keegan is an outstanding favourite to garner his 4th All Star at 1/50.

    Keith Higgins (1/3) and Brendan Harrison (2/5) are just behind a shoe-in Johnny Cooper (1/16) in the full-back line.

    Apart from Lee, Colm Boyle is 8/11 to take a half back award with Patrick Durcan mysteriously only sixth in line at 9/4/ Could be worth a good bet? But Cian O’Sullivan seems destined to win a berth at 4/9 while Peter Harte is at 4/7.

    For midfield Brian Fenton is clear winner at 1/100 with Gary Brennan ata2/1 and Matthew Donnelly 9/4. Tom Parssons and Seamus O/Shea aren’t given much of a chance: Tom is fifth in line at 14/1 and Seamus vcan be had at 20/1.

    Kevin McLougfhlin is in fourth place in the half-forward placings at 2/1, closely followed by Diarmuid O’Connor (7/2) and Aidan O’Shea (9/2). Surely Aidan is worth a little flutter at those odds? But clear favourites here are Ciaran Kilkenny (1/10) and Diarmuid Connolly (1/4) the latter despite being decisively beaten by Lee in their one-and-a-half engagements.

    For the full forward line Michael Quinlivan and Paul Geaaney are shoe-ins at 1/20, followed by Kevin McManamon (1/3) – despite being reduced to a peripheral role in his two games against Mayo – and Dean Rock )1/2). Cillian is at 15/8 and Andy at 11/2. Jason can be had at 25/1.

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong but Harrison play every minute of league and championship this year?

  8. Fenton and Quinlivan will pick up player and young player of the year. Do the players really care about the All Stars? Personally I find it very hard to take any notice of them.

  9. Harrison is my poty. He cleaned out Brogan so much that the marquee forward is now looking at the bench if he stays playing. Harrison just oozes class, quietly going about his business. With the age profile of our team so low, we are going nowhere….despite some journos wishing we’d just piss off now and let some other team through, it ain’t gunna happen for a long time.

  10. I went for Harrison but equally could have gone for Leeroy.

    However Harrison shaded it for absolute consistency over the whole year, hard to think of him putting a foot wrong all year, and the fact that he’s really brought something new to the team. For so long we’ve been blessed with a roll call of fantastic half-backs (Lee, Boyler, Donie, Durcan, Keith, Nallen, Connelly, etc) but a really tight marking, sticky corner back who loves defending and doesn’t seem to get caught out with any sort of ball is something I can’t remember us having since perhaps Kenny Mortimer.

  11. Having the like of Harrison and Durkan impressing and coming through gives me hope.throw in the likes of Cien, Ruane,Hall, Loftus, Reape….and maybe the future is not as hopeless as national media will tell us.

  12. I asked the question at the start of the year if Harrison was going to make it. A couple of years S&C with little game time didn’t look good for him. He has answered my question completely. Cian Harrison may be a younger sibling who plays U21 is not far behind. SOS had a great championship as did Andy.

  13. I mentioned after the Galway game in all the hoo-haw after that that I believed David Clarke wasn’t just our best goalkeeper, but in the country’s top 3. I had a couple of fairly patronising scoffs thrown my way. He is now favourite to be named the country’s best keeper in 2016. Excuse me while I go look smug!

    I really, really hope he doesn’t hang up his gloves. Frankly, I don’t believe we can do without him.

    As for the poll, it’s a hard one. Cases to be made for Harri, Lee and Durcs.

    Just goes to show what a year we have had defensively. We need to hone that again next year.

  14. Wille Joe, Quick question for you, you mentioned earlier in the year that you had heard what our plans were for full back. Can you elaborate on that further now? Thanks

  15. Given the success of Harrison and Paddy Durcan this year I firmly believe we will have two similar young players tearing up Croke Park next year.
    I’ve said it a few times this year, but I believe that this management team were building a defensive platform this year and will add the attack next year.
    With the same level of effort and determination from the players, and indeed the fans, we will win the all Ireland next year. Its year two of the management team and they will have a full year with the lads. Remember they only really started in December and the improvement has been remarkable.
    Key thing is that they all stick together, its a huge ask for Tony McIntee to be going up and down but I really hope he sticks with us.

    Guys like Barry Cahill and all the rest of them are just complete toolboxes who don’t have a clue. The papers would be as well off to go down to the local pub and ask the nearest drunk what he thinks, they would get more sense.

    For next season, ignore all those fools. There wasn’t one of them who came anywhere close to calling what would happen for the two biggest games of the year. If any of us were as wrong as they are when it came to the important parts of our jobs then we wouldn’t be in those jobs. Mute and ignore needs to be the order of the day from here on. Then when we win it, listen to them fawn over us. Clowns!

  16. @Mayomad – people can never seem to understand the fact that YPOTY is U21 only. Quinlivan is not that, D O’Connor is the only viable candidate

  17. Does anybody else get the feeling that Rochford never really thought we would come so close this year. I got the feeling during the run in the qualifiers that he was trying different things out with a view to next year and the fact that we got to a final and nearly won was just a coincidence?

    I know people are saying that this team wont come back but surely all the evidence from the last few years shows that they will. They are a seriously resilient bunch. I would be very positive about the next few years.

    UP Mayo

  18. Lee Keegan, is the best player in the country, and has been with two to three years.
    Ask any Kerry / Tyrone / Dublin, player ,or supporter.
    The x Dublin player pundits, by targeting him, before the replay, proves this.
    Brendan Harrison /Patrick Durcan, really came of age, this year.
    As for Andy Moran, he has been our leader, the last 4 or 5, years.
    Hope David Clarke, gives it another year, he is a top class goalie, and deserves his all star.
    When Get Cafferkey, returns and the under 21, forwards, get loads of game time, in the league, we will be even stronger. With Evan Regan, as well, our forwards, should b flying. ( hopefully)
    We need all the management team to stay.
    Good luck to everyone in 2017

  19. Yes across the semi finalists and even quarter finalists I can’t think of an U21 better than Diarmuid.
    Mention was made of tight corner backs. I’m excited by the prospect of next years U21 defence. It really is a quality group of defenders available.
    Full back line:
    Eoin ODonoghue – No nonsense from the Boyler mould.
    Seamus Cunniffe – Should be a lot stronger now
    Ciaran Harrison – Similar in style to Brendan

    Half back line:
    Shairoze Akram – A year further on is an exciting prospect
    James Kelly – You’d figure he will be much stronger a year on.
    Donovan Cosgrave – A dominant minor. Probably a bolter for the U21.

    Five of those were involved last year and will be stronger and Cosgrave is very strong for a minor.

  20. I am just reflecting on the personal hurt suffered by David Clarke and his family when he found out he was not trusted by management to play in the All Ireland football final replay,especially now that he is one of the favourites to be an All Star. I wrote on this blog before that Mayo would not have been in an All Ireland football final but for some great goalkeeping by Clarke. We certainly shot ourselves in the foot! Mayo management should be down on their knees begging David for one more year between the posts!

  21. If Barry Cahill is so dismissive of Mayo, I’d love to ask him to give me the fourth placed odds on us with €5k each way. What’s the odds Cahill would start stuttering and stammering and find an excuse fairly sharpish.

  22. Strange not to have Vaughan in the reckoning, the way he played against the dubs and when he got man of the match earlier souls have had him in the mix IMO.
    a poor league and being played out of position earlier might have hurt him maybe.
    Still for me he would have just came short as Lee Keegan was brilliant this year and where my vote would have gone anyhow.

  23. A few things for next year:

    1 – Need to introduce real viable options in attack, but we are unlikely to produce a marquee forward in one year especially when there is no obvious candidate there anyway. What we need is real options, it really is a 20 man game now. The only real possible option we had the last day was Regan. Lofuts just has not been bedded in yet. Freeman dont seem to be in the plans (although he was probably the best option the last day for the last quarter). But overall don’t expect dramatic changes upfront, it will need to be a 2-3 year process to really change the main personnel. One thing though, is we need to keep Andy for the short / medium term – our attack this year would have been totally diss-functional without him and he would be key to bedding in younger players.

    2 – Any new players – give them proper game time. I often feel that players that have come through have got sufficient chance because of necessity rather than giving them proper opportunity. We need to give new players proper opportunity in the future, especially forwards where it is traditionally a lot more difficult to establish yourself

    3 – Decide on where we are going to play AOS once and for all. We could end up ruining him as a player or at least not get the best out of him.

    4 – I would be against changing our full-back set-up if Cafferky comes back. He needs to be an option in the current system, not a conventional full back

    5 – Keep Clarke. Enough has been said about the error the last day. But Clarke is, and always has been the best keeper we have. Stop messing with what is working. We could potentially be in a situation as a fall out from that crazy decision to have Clarke retired and Hennelly in no state of mind to take up the position

    6 – We have a lot of people on the line – lets make sure to many opinions are not leading to indecision

    7 – Game management – really feel a reoccurring trend over the last 5-6 years is that we have never managed to master the close out of big games. It is no coincidence that over the last 4 years we have been level or ahead down the home straight with Dublin and Kerry in 7 games now, only to ultimately loose it. This to me is the most important (and difficult) thing to get right

  24. KL, I would agree with most of your points bar the first one. I think there needs to be dramatic changes to the forward unit, at least 3 if not 4 new players need to be in there. Its been 6 years now with the same players bar DOC and its the same debates each year about the forwards. Dublin defended easily on saturday as they knew we had no player to shoot from distance, they just sat on the 40 and let Mayo try and run through them. Irwin, Reape, Loftus need to be starting every game next year plain and simple with other emerging talent given serious game time. It may not result in winning AI, but we know for certain the forwards we have now dont have the scores to win the big games. It would be crazy to go with the same players 6 years in a row and expect a different outcome.

  25. KL Winning coming down the home straight will require a change of mindset from everyone involved. Kerry can hold back Donaghy and Dublin can hold MDMA and it is tactical and acceptable. In Mayo it would be called shabby treatment of a fine player not to start as it has always been seen. We would have people on here sorry about the families of these players and what they might be feeling. Getting a strategic advantage has always costs us. Unwillingness to change and do what the Kerry and Dubliners do is still costing us.

  26. Lee Keegan gets the vote. Best player in Ireland by some distance.

    The Dublin/national media aught to be ashamed of themselves for their behaviour in the run up to the replay. Maurice Deegan let them get into his head with all the shite they were spewing out about Keegan.

    Not a word about the guy he was marking or the incident where in an unprovoked attack outside a pub he fractured the eye socket of somebody on 06th August 2012.

    (Hope you dont mind me mentioning that fact Wille Joe. Will understand if you delete).

    At the next GAA congress, Mayo should table a motion that in future the referee for an All Ireland final will not be from the same province as one of the finalists. Same too for a semi final and quarter.

    It would be interesting to see who supports that motion and even more interesting to see who opposes it (along with Dublin). That would tell you all you need to know.

    We might have the best player in Ireland but until we get fair play in a final we will win nothing.

  27. Mayomad – take your point, but we have to be realistic about our forward potential. We have brought Regan and Loftus to first championship starts, now bring them to be real options next year, and hopefully one of them can nail down a place and start to make a difference. Like Regan is 23, the prime age to break in, let’s not discard him now in favour of the next great white hope. My point though is that it will really take 2-3 years to get some of the younger lads up to big time championship. But we need to have a concerted plan to do that, not just write off a player if he has a poor game or two trying to establish himself. Meanwhile, we still need to field a championship team next year….and right now I’d still like Moran in it!

  28. We will have an embarrassment of riches in the backs next year with Caff’s return hopefully and Barrett getting an injury free run along With Coen, Hall who is rumoured to be a serious talent and maybe even the return of Tom C. Expect Barry Duffy in panel thus year or next too.
    For that reason I would expect we’ll convert a defender or 2. Diarmaid in FF line is probably the answer as a converted back is more likely to play in half forwards.
    Of the new talent I think Regan and Loftus are the 2 most likely to make a big impact. Regan especially as he now has some big game experience and he has everything except senior intercounty strength which management will identify. Serious goal scoring ability and accurate point kicker, plenty of pace. Some 12 stoners are stronger than 13 stoners or better able to harness their strength.
    Of the U21 lads I think Akram is the one who could be best moulded into a top forward as he has serious pace. Irwin has all the skills and really top free taker but much like Kirby has he AI final pace? Conor Loftus is a natural forward and Conor OS can play a role similar to Diarmaid’s present role as he has lots of mobility and good carrying the ball.
    I think Aido should be used more as impact sub or for up to 50 mins per game alternating with big Barry. Without Aido our FF line may lack ball winners, Andy being the only one to consistently achieve good returns.
    I say this acknowledging Aido has a lot of ability but in last 3 or 4 years mobility is dominating along with tactics. Present day top teams would beat 2009 2010 teams by about 6 points. That’s how much the game has evolved.

  29. Off the pitch is going to be interesting too.

    Will Stephen look to shake up the backroom? Will McEntee stay on? What about Buckley? Solan? All could be lost quite easily and hopefully are not.

    Can the players build themselves up for another long season? Do they believe that they can close the gap? They were very united since last October and came through the season strongly. Are they still as strong and united a group in terms of their desire?

    Then there are the new options. Who can make a quick impact? Who will take a few years but is worth patience? Look how Brendan Harrison served his apprenticeship the last 3 or 4 years and is now a top player. Conor O’Shea likewise is benefitting from his perseverence. Diarmuid and Paddy hit the ground running.

    We could be left with a situation where both our goalkeepers leave. Or both come back to make a mark. Will we look outside this.

    A fully fit Ger Cafferky and Chris Barrett would strengthen our defensive options. What would that mean for the likes of Shane Nally or Kevin Keane? Will Higgins stay on? What about Boyle?

    Midfield might need more pace. SOS, Parsons and Barry are great options but are hitting the 30 mark. Is Vaughan an option? What role best suits him? What about Ruane? Who else might have the engine as a modern midfielder?

    And then the forwards. Our return from play over the two games has been criticised. Dublin didn’t not manage much more. Loftus was unlucky with an early championship injury and never really got a look in after. Irwin. Reape. Regan. Conor O’Shea. All names that will hopefully push on in 2016. Will Andy stay? Is he a better starter? Is he the type of impact sub we need? Was Cillian fully fit this year?

    So many questions. Never a dull moment in Mayo GAA. We will come back strong so can others catch up. I remember Tom Tommy Carr and Eamonn O’Hara ridiculing us and writing us off on league journies home last winter. We showed that we have not gone away. But the hard question is who did we beat bar Tyrone? Our final performances showed that we do have the quality but why were we below par for much of the Summer? If we hit the form of the last few weeks we are a match for anyone but the likes of the Fermanagh, Westmeath or Tipp performances will just leave us vulnerable.

  30. Leeroy for me, but it could have been any of the other lads and one or two others. For me at this stage Donie Vaughan is an integral part of the team. All season a top, top player. The last thing we needed was him not coming back for the second half.

  31. First of all congratulations to Dublin.

    I agreed with the Rochford appointment and see it as a three year stint. Never saw him going this close in first nine months. Bad call on goalkeeper aside I think he had a very good first season.

    Going forward team on pitch and management have to be more ruthless. When on top close it out. If somebody is not good enough or just cannot handle the big day then leave him at home regardless of whether or not he is the nicest fellow ever to come out of the county. Dublin or Kerry or indeed any other winners do not give a dam about your feelings.
    And that goes for everyone’s feelings. D Connelly has another AI medal and is celebrating with the cup this week and you can be dam sure could not care less what anybody thinks or writes about him in Mayo.

    If Dublin are going to push for the three in a row I see no reason why we cannot push just as hard for our one in a row next year.

  32. Jim flag a fair point. I’m sitting here in the kitchen still gettin a bit bothered by “that” tackle on Cillian by that thug and don’t get me started on the wrestling/grappling on him again the other day. How can that be missed? If it’s seen by an official then we all saw the same thing. How can they be interpreted anything less than red. I don’t know. It’s annoying.

  33. MayoMad….just a small point again but really this is ‘the’ point. Running through defences is not what it’s about anymore, agreed !
    We have shown enough awareness of that but we haven’t brought enough smartness/cleverness/precision to our running to top the best. If we do this in in the next campaign I’d put my shirt on them right now to get our first in a row!

  34. Leeroy, it is for me but it’s a hard call when I think of the shows put on by so many…Sos, Kmc L,Durks, DoC, Colm Brendan Clarke Cillian and all the rest!
    What a year and what a facility this is WJ …congratulations on all your continuing commitment. You’re an absolute topper as me father used to say!

  35. KL, think we both agree that new talent is needed in the forwards, not discounting Regan as he has undoubted talent, worrying how he dropped off badly in the later stages of the championship. I cant see Andy being more than an impact sub next year (will he be back, the child on the field after the final game is now the code for retirement) surely Irwin will be seen as a first choice ff next year. Loftus barring injury should be a starter. Reape will be a year with the senior set up next year the same as Diarmuid when he broke into the starting line up. Thats three forwards that should be ready for starting next year, four counting Regan. Will another one put their hand up for selection, quiet possibly. There is no point holding these guys back in my mind they will be ready next season. They may not good enough to win AI just yet but they will never be good enough if they dont get the big games in croke park (not fbd inBallina). I dont think its unrealistic to see these changes made next year. As I said 6 years with the same forward unit and the same conversation after each year. Is Rochford going to go into another season fielding the same forward lineup, IMO I doubt it, he has shown that he can be ruthless when it comes to selection, it didnt work for him on saturday but it worked alot throughout the year.

  36. I voted Lee as he really was outstanding all through the championship. The main competition for Fenton for footballer of the year. In truth either could get it.
    Andy had a great year too and Paddy Durcan and Donie as the year wore on. Boyler was a huge driving force earlier in the summer and was tough as nails right through the 2 finals.
    However I do think Keith should also have been shortlisted for our POTY as he was very influential all year too.

  37. Its increasingly difficult to score from play because defending has become more sophisticated or effective in recent years. Defensive systems or techniques have rendered even the top forwards ineffective at times. Think of how little Dublin’s famed forwards scored from play in the drawn match and for most of the replay. Drawing fouls and winning scorable frees has become increasingly important and we have done fairly well on that front. Maybe we need to exploit this further by having lads run hard at defenders in the hope of getting even more scorable frees.
    Looking to produce another marque forward or two for next year is a bit optimistic I think. I’m not sure Conor Loftus, Evan Regan or any of the U21s will suddenly become the lethal forwards we crave. However, they don’t have to. Any improvement on this year might just be good enough. Small margins and all that!
    I do think Irwin could offer us something different. He is enigmatic and could really worry a defence if he got enough posession in close. He can score goals and might win frees or an odd penalty. I would be trying him in the league as a poacher close to goals maybe beside a big man like AOS or COS.
    Players like Alan Freeman, David Drake and Shane Nally must be wondering if they have any meaningful role to fulfill next year because of how little game time they got this year. I think we will see a very different panel in 2017.

  38. I actually don’t think Keith was good defensively in the replay.
    – He made a mistake losing Rock for Rocks handpassed point early in the game.
    – He got drawn to the ball when it was already covered leaving Costelloe unmarked for Costelloes first point
    – He was not tight on Costelloe for his second point
    Against Tryone he got caught ball watching badly for their final goal attempt.
    Of the six defenders I thought he was the loosest in the big games.
    Very good going forward with the ball but quite average defensively in terms of preventing his man scoring.

  39. I hope Leeroy wins Player of the Year award at the All Stars, I also hope David Clarke wins an All Star. John McHale has given us the odds on the likely All Stars, but I offer a note of caution, on the odds and personally I would completely ignore them. In 2006 Ciaran McDonald’s was shortlisted as one of the 3 player’s for Player of the Year at the All Star awards . Ciaran did not even win an All Star in. 2006. How can you be nominated for Player of the Year and not make the top 15 player’s? However, he did win the GPA Player of the Year award the same year! ,.. The GPA and the All Stars are now allagamated, but the choices are still subjective… Is Connor McManus of Monaghan not the best Corner Foward in the country by a mile?. What would Mayo give for Connor McManus?. But will he win an All Star? ..I wish every Mayo Player nominated the best of luck, I think we should get 5 and another Young player of the Year award for Diarmuid O’Connor,. Leeroy, Harrison, Durcan, Mcloughin and Clarke have all great chances, with Leeroy as close to a certainity as it is possible to get!

  40. Tough one to call this year and I don’t entirely mean that in the most positive way- for the long part it was an inconsistent and up-and-down season

    I think O’Shea was possibly our best performer overall in 4/5 of the 8 matches, but when he doesn’t perform to the gargantuan levels he has previously shown then his support will always be dwindled.

    Andy Moran is worth a shout, but his contribution was far more unexpected and surprising than, for example, AOS and COC. Like if we’re honest the latter two still have much more influence on our games but we’re so used to seeing them performing well for years now. It was a return to form for Andy more than continuing on a trajectory

    Paddy Durcan is a more recency effect vote. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was very close to being dropped for the quarters. But I’m a huge fan of him and he really stood up from the 1/4s onwards so is a good candidate overall. Keegan is similarly a recency effect option, I was disappointed with him until his solid man marking job of Cavanagh

    But if we are measuring it on a fully relative scale I’d possibly give it to Brendan Harrison. But it’s very hard this year. I get the impression we were never going at full tilt until the Tyrone game (and in the Tipp game) and so I think a lot of the players were saving themselves also and it did affect performances
    But I do think we’ve found a long-term corner back in Harrison so he gets my vote!

    I’d love to give it to Donie though. There’s no way he gets the plaudits he deserves. His unorthodox running, head-up, style of play doesn’t endear him to the purists but he has always been an absolute warrior for us. He’s always been the unsung hero out of Boyle, Keegan and himself but he’s been at least their equal on far more occasions than given credit for. His scores aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as Keegan’s for the most part, but more often than not they end up being more important. He is one hell of a beast for turning up in the dying minutes to give us a crucial score

  41. Similar to the All Stars, I don’t include the league

    I always feel it doesn’t really suit our style of play, when we’re not at max fitness yet. There’s too many cases of lads being played in daft roles and easing their way back from injury too, to fairly assess their performances

  42. Regarding forward play – we have to fully bear in mind that our defensive structure would not allow you to have say and Irwin, Loftus and Regan on the team at the same time! We either continue with our current defensive structure and use some imagination in getting the balance right in our attack. Given our current forwards (and bearing in mind our defensive structure), there are really only 1 or 2 max places up for grabs, however I would like to think that we need to be thinking of 6-9 players in the forwards with each able to make a real difference. Like this year in the last few games, we have been effectively operating without a conventional corner forward, that’s what the structure dictated. And I think that’s where Regan lost – he is too conventional corner man for the set-up. But I think we need to have one out and our corner forward and tweak our attacking strategy to bring him into the game. Lot of talk about dropping AOS, but I still think he is a massive asset to have in an attacking sense, just need to define best position for him.

    Really think its very difficult for a scoring forward these days, and especially one to break into the squad / team given the current structures on most teams these days. Even Kerry are playing a lot of defensive type forwards these days ahead of more scoring types.

    One interesting thing – off the top of my head – players I remember being on championship squads over the last 3-4 years who have been subsequently dropped: Conroy, Varley, Ronaldson, Sweeney, Coen, Gallagher, Forde, Kirby, Douglas, McHale, Walsh (Cunniffe and Feeny left themselves) – the vast majority of those are forwards. Obviously many of them could be said to have been tried and tested, but it’s interesting to see the much greater churn in the forwards and wonder have they all been given ample opportunity? No point in trying the Reape, Loftus, Irwin, etc. for an FBD and a few league games, and them discarding them if they don’t shoot the lights out straight away or have a bad game or two. We need to make a conscious decision that we need new forwards and not have the tried and tested coming in during March and taking the opportunity away from potentials – feel this has happened every year.

    And lets forget converting backs to forwards – thats dodging the real issue again

  43. I said early in the year that Lee Keegan is by far the best player in the Country and there is no doubt about it. A Kerryman with a good knowledge of football said to me on Sunday that he was like Tomas O’Shea and Seamus Moynihan rolled into one…enough said, he should also will the POTY ahead of Fenton.

    Great year for Durcan, Vaughan, Harrison and Andy Moran also

  44. A front 6 of

    Loftus, Reape, Irwin, Regan, Cillian & Diarmuid.

    In whatever positions is what i’d like to see in the league. Juggle them about as need be.

    Imagine if they clicked and caught fire. Could be spectacular.

  45. Jim flag, agreed.but id play them in the championship too, you cant judge a player until they have had an extended run of championship games. If it takes a season for them to bed in then so be it, mayo football will be the better or it in the long run. As KL pointed out plenty of players have been in the squad but have they been given the opportunity? Lots of players have been given the token fbd and an early league or two, definitely some talent has slipped through the net.

    Agreed converting backs is not the way to go.

  46. KL good post. Agree…and also agree that converting a defender to a forward is not the way. Despite the fact that we have surplus defenders we must strive to be the best defensive side in the country. Like Donegal were in 2011/12. Championships can be won in such fashion. I’d like to see Rochford build upon and tighten our defence even further. In the final quarter against Dublin I felt we were opened up too often, even with Keegan and Vaughan off the field there’s no excuse for this. Dublin should have scored a few times during this period.

    I agree too re: AOS. Massive asset if used properly. Keep it simple for him. Find his position and master it. He was a jack of all trades in 2016; a master of nothing.

    Doherty can score. Add I’m to that list Jim Flag…he also has bags of experience now too and physically very capable. He and Cillian need to be operating closer to the opposition goals.

    The big thing that needs to be remedied is how we attack. Our shape, movement and build up. Dublin make it look easy at times…some of their scores were easy tap overs. We need work on this.

    I also agree that our system will allow at most two changes to the starting forwards. It’ll be interesting to see who puts their hand up and grabs a jersey. I’ve heard some rumours (sorry WJ!) of one or two of the u21’s thinking of going travelling for the year.

    The reality with senior intercounty football, particularly with a team as competitive as Mayo is that if you’re a young lad, and you want to seriously play senior for the county, things like taking a year to travel aren’t really viable. It’s not just a year gone, it’s a year of S&C…etc. You lose much more than a year. Ages 19-22 are career defining. It’s grand for someone like Jack McCaffrey to head off… With medals in his pocket.

  47. As a Kerryman looking in I must say the dignity and positivity shown here over last few days is a credit to supporters and to the ‘encouragement’ of respect by the hard working WJ. Just to share a thought that struck me when I saw Harrison destroying Brogan and Durcan flying in drawn game I said to myself 2 forwards like that and the rest of us are in trouble. This team has to win an AI in next few years

  48. For me Brendan Harrison gets my vote just in front of Durgan, he’s had a very solid year and has taken his chance when given.
    The future is looking good with lads like Reape, Irwin, Seamus cunniffe who is improving all the time and Ciaran Harrison who has potential to be up there with his brother in time

  49. Keegan is far and away the best all around player in Ireland, his goal against Dublin said all that needed to be said about him, top class. If I was Rochford I would rest the fellas that started last Saturday until April and put a lot of those u21 players into a team for the league and leave them there, they are good enough to maintain division 1 and that’s all that’s needed at this stage, Mayo don’t need a league title.
    Final point, it’s over now, but Robbie being drafted in was a terrible move and I was blown away by this when confirmed by a reliable source outside Croker before the game. The fact that we knew it meant that there was a leak and that was a big surprise, I thought it reeked of annoyance in the camp. Fingers crossed that Dave Clark can be the bigger man and not take it to heart and does return in 2017.

  50. Lee for me was the standout player from any county in 2016, he truly was unbelievable for us. Second and third place for me got to Harrison and Andy Moran, the workrate from both of them was outstanding. Patrick Durcan also showed this year that he is going to be in the heart of this Mayo team going forward.

    I see a lot of people on this and Mayo supporters I’ve spoke to since the replay seem to agree that they’d like to see DOC played closer to goal but I’d like to know what people think of him possibly playing midfield next year with Parson’s starting alongside him and SOS, AOS and Barry Moran there to make the impact at the crucial 45-60 minute stage?

    Not to dwell to much on the final but I think Rochford and his team need to start making a plan and practising fairly soonish on how to stop Brain Fenton’s influence against Mayo, specifically in the third and fourth quarters of the match. DOC has the height, legs, tackling and ability to pop a score over from the middle, as well as experience playing there.

  51. Jim Flag.About 50 per cent of that forward line have done very little training and S&C. I could go with the line wishful thinking but I suspect you were not really serious.

  52. Diarmuid I don’t think would bring the power in the tackle and in the air that SOS and Parsons bring. I could see Mccauley/Flynn/Fenton getting through him. SOS and Parsons are able to stop up runners.

  53. SOS and Parsons are great tacklers and very strong men, I just think sometimes that Seamie lacks the speed to get onto the ball and be the man on the shoulder especially in the oppositions “D” onwards.

    Don’t get me wrong now I love SOS I do think he has a huge amount to offer this team next year I just wouldn’t mind a bit more speed and attack in the middle, especially when up against Dublin. I thought Coen showed well there for the u21’s, possibly an option.

  54. Coen I think will be a starter next year in the defence.
    One thing I think we could do next year is switch to a fast foitballing midfield late on.
    AOS + Ruane for the final 20 mins.

  55. Pjmcmanus, of the 6 forwards Jim mentioned, only Irwin is not apart of the current panel and he wont take long to get up to required strength levels. All the rest have a min 1 season of S&C under their belts, how much do they need?

  56. Is it not a bit premature to be even mentioning Ruane. He’s u21 again next year…yes, he was an important player for us at u21 in 2016 but he wasn’t even 1st choice in the first round in Carrick on Shannon. I like the look of him but he has a bit to go before he’d be ready for senior intercounty…

    Does he start for Breaffy?

    JP mentioned Coen starting in defence next year. He might, and hopefully he’ll continue to improve but play him instead of who? If he is in, someone is out…

    Jammer Cee….I get your point on DOC in the middle. He has the ability, mobility, engine and football brain to be there , yes. He can score though and go past players. If we had a few more scoring forwards no one would be mentioning putting him closer to goal.

  57. PJMcmanus.
    Serious as cancer with them 6 forwards. If they know where the goal posts are and the back of the net as well, that will do me. Lifting weights wont kick a ball over a crossbar.

    Get them started in the FBD, then all seven league matches and as mayomad said earlier, get them starting in the championship as well. I think we can finish above Cavan and Roscommon in the league. I think we wont be caught cold again in Connacht in June/July. I think we can arrive next August with a freshened up and young attack. The old guard do not have to be discarded completely by the way. We cannot expect Andy Moran to carry us next year though.

  58. It is a hard call but in the end I went for Harrison for his sheer consistency all year Already looking forward to next year Just hope we go for proper experimentation in the league and give new players a good run especially in the forwards Would like to see Cillian at 11 orchestrating things.

  59. Agree with you Mayonaze about Ruane, he was only playing freshers for DCU in February so another good year u21 and part of the senior training panel would do him no harm.

    As for Coen I disagree with him in defense next year unless someone gets injured or Rochford tries him in the role Vaughan was playing this year, he has too much to offer further up the field.

    A lot of the dubs I work with are already talking about pairing James McCarthy up with Fenton next year in the middle and keeping MDMA for the final 20 minutes. If that does happen the big strong lads that can pull a ball out of the sky but can only run in straight lines will become less and less.

  60. The management need to do what Dublin has done and appoint a top class basketball coach. They appointed mark engles in April 2015. Did ye notice that all four of Dublin’s last scores from play were taken from within the D. Basketball is all about creating space and a combined team effort to get the shooters in the scoring position. Also basketball has benefits as regards defence systems. Time to get with the game or else we will be left behind

  61. In relation to players for the future we should probably be looking for players with strong mentalities as well as having the requisite ability. For example a player like Stephen Coen, who captained our Minor and U21 All-Ireland winning teams is a player with a great mentality and has a bright future ahead of him. The same goes for Diarmuid O’Connor of course, players who are always looking to improve themselves.

    We seen Conor Loftus and Liam Irwin score two goals each in this year’s U21 final and again this shows that they are made of the right stuff. They also scored crucial frees in both the semi-final and the final. This shows a great winning mentality. Tommy Conroy scored 1-3 from play in the 2013 Minor final and is a man who is not afraid to shoot, in fact he loves to score. That’s the kind of forwards that you want, players who love to score rather than being afraid to miss. Players who have done it in the big games that they have played in.

    These are the type of players that you want in your team, players who grab games by the scruff of the neck, when the game is there to be won, like Cormac Costello did for Dublin last Saturday. Darragh Doherty, may he RIP, did that for us in the second-half of the 2013 All-Ireland Minor final, we need other players now to do that for us in the future. He showed how its done.

  62. John Kelly (2) – I’ve added that number onto your name because there’s another, earlier poster already trading here under the John Kelly name. Feel free to come up with another variant, maybe a middle initial or something, just to differentiate yourself.

  63. Can our Dublin posters confirm if the basquel brothers are part of the dublin set up. If the opportunity was given to them could they join the mayo set up, or would they have to join a mayo club?

  64. Diehard . You know what you are talking about, I agree 100%. I think that if we are all of opinion that we need a forward like a Peter Canavan then trying to convert men who have played in defence all their lives as backs will not solve our problem, Sure good players will in time play anywhere but if it is a forward who will be marked by the best backs in the country and that is what you come up against in a Final then this is not the way to go. Irwin showed he has a Forwards instinct in the Under 21’s this year. I have seen a Forward named here in the last day or two (not under 21) and he is lucky to be making his club team he has gone back so much. I must say that I was unsure about Rochford when he got the job but I was very happy with Rochford and his selectors up to the Replay. I trust the management to get the best players in the county out on the field next year

  65. Fair enough Willie Joe Thanks for that Will use my middle initial and make it JJ Kelly

  66. I went for Brendan Harrison. Always thought of him as a solid defender but was pleasantly surprised at how much he’s improved. He was massive for us this year. Definitely our most improved player. To mark out the likes of Brogan to the extent where he gets dropped for the next game is some achievement.

    I must it say it bodes well for Mayo that our conditioning and training is bringing on players in such a fashion. More of it please. If we could get similar gains in a few other players…

  67. I shudder when people on the blog say not to start AOS and to bring him on with 20 mins to go.i do not think aos would play on them terms.DO people not remember what happened when JAMES HORAN told our conor he would not be starting in the 2012 connacht final,enough said………

  68. Interesting theory Westportman about basketball I know Donaghy plays basketball in I used to go watch Liam McHale play basketball for Ballina he was unreal in his day probably the best Irish born basket baller ever we should always be looking for that extra one or two per cent. I hope Buckley and McEntee stay around I think we’re not far away. The rumours going round are disheartening but I don’t think there’s any truth to them and I hope not anyway. I suppose most of the lads are involved with club games this weekend I hope they get some down time too and get away from the pressure cooker for a while

  69. Hi Westportman……Basquels very much a part of the team I believe…..take care

    Kind Regards
    Martin the Dub

  70. I think of the six backs that started on current defensive form Coen would come in for Higgins. Now before there are quick replies. The match is on youtube. Use the pause button and check out three separate instances of being drawn to the ball and losing his man. Rock fisted point. Costelloe he didn’t close down twice first two points. Tyrone badly lost his man as drifted towards the ball. Coen has a better defensive mindset to tighten up our defensive system.
    Regarding Ruane obviously he hasnt played senior yet. But I did spot Lee Keegan once in a Michael Walsh league game and said he was good enough for Mayo :). I predict Ruane will come close next year to a sub role. The driving pace and scoring on the run will be helped by an extra years strength.

  71. Reading the blog this evening is so encouraging for me. It’s day 4 after the heartbreak and already heads are up again and and strenghts and weaknesses(not too much of that in our team)are being discussed.
    How do we choose our poty, they all played so strong in their positions,but attending all the games this year I feel Andy saved us in a lot of those games. Then I think of Lee, Aiden in Tyrone match,Diarmuid in Kildare match, it just goes on and onn not to mention the newer lads Brendan and Patrick D.
    I then think of the MUCKS on the sunday game
    Who were asked if Mayo will an AI. All of them say no. Brollly sat in the fence and even our own Martin Carney made no effort to contradict them. The fear of the Dub mob again.
    I believe it is a duty for all of Mayo to object against Leinster officials at main games ifLeinster playing. If it was Connaught and all Connaught officials does anyone here think they’d play. We have to do something bout this.
    Is there an official complaints procedure to stamp this out. It’s so so unfair.

  72. Jimbo, AOS def wouldnt like being benched, I would have him back in midfield, dont think he is a forward, 4 championship games v Dublin in the forwards, how many scores? Regarding him dropping to the bench, no one should be guaranteed a starting place, its a squad game now and selections should be for the good of Mayo football. Dont think McAuley or Brogan are to bothered being benched, too busy making room on the mantle piece for a new celtic cross.

  73. It is very hard to be otimistic though many seem to manage it.I think there are many challenges ahead and teams will learn from Mayo.
    Yet again another ball in has beaten us .Itwas a goal in 96, 2012,2013 2014and now 2016
    Rochford and his management team made a huge mistake and did none of them see the danger or at least remedy it at half time.
    Where was the co.board in protesting over Keegan all week…we all predicted a blackcard for him.Bit late to complain now.
    And how did some players remain on the field.What is the point of subs if you do not use them.Regan,Freeman,Loftus?
    Things have to change and the unbridled optimism from supporters wears thin
    I exempt the team from blame ….they were astounding given that they handed Dublin 3 goals over two matches.
    Yes we are a great team and have great supporters but I for one am sick of losing from the same mistakes.
    I have watched manager after manager simply fall at the final hurdle and as you opined in your audio WJ the decision re selection was self inflicted and was incomprehensible.Yes these guys are great decent guys but that is not the issue now is it!
    For me Andy was player of the year.


    Apologies to all who have seen this a gazillion times over the years but did get a smile back on my face (just a little one mind)

    All nominees were fantastic this year. Shame that DO’C picked up that injury in the Kildare game but watching the final back he played really well. Has to be Leeroy for me though. Outstanding.

  75. If Deegan gets a league game in Mayo next Feb/March, I will certainly be there and he will hear me, no doubt about that..

  76. Mairead – Carney is not one of our own and his keeping quiet down the years when Mayo were trash talked is proof of this. He even lit the fuse of the Jimmy MvGuinness rumour.
    Also why is it when ever Mayo loose a major game the rumour mill starts? It was the same bullshit after the Galway game. The same people live being the doom merchants. Anyway my response is “you attended the semi and final well done…now duck off”
    Sorry my day was ok until I ran into someone I hate meeting after we loose and yes said person is a Mayo man.

  77. There’s always something ..Lack of scoring forwards..a bounce of a ball..a rubbish referee…our two players crashing into each other..a black card that wasn’t. .own goals..on and on and on..I am up to my eyes in freak incidents, decisions etc that change the course of a game against us over the years..When is our time??I know no one has a crystal ball for the future..This is just a general vent..grrrrr

  78. @ JP, I’d agree with you there about Matthew Ruane, he scored great points in both the semi-final and the final of the U21 Championship at crucial times and that showed that he has a great mentality. That’s what we want to see in our teams. That’s what wins you the big games at the end of the day.

  79. A number of poster’s are saying AOS should be moved to midfield, currently that would mean dropping SOS or Tom Parsons,, I don’t think Aiden is a good or as mobile as either at midfield, so that wouldn’t make any sense to me .. And when you think about it, maybe Stephen Coen, or Diarmuid O’Connor or even Matthew Ruane,hopefully returning Jason Gibbons or even Connor OShea all are more mobile than Aiden, any of these might be challenging for a midfield berth in a year or two.. We definitely need someone to run hard and win the ball in the full forward line, can turn take their score, or set up a score, like Andy… Andy has more to offer Mayo, but Andy will not be getting any younger, he might decide to go…. Who ever, it is, needs to be able to run hard against a defence like Dublins, they need to be seriously robust, they need be committed to whatever it takes to get yourself physically into that shape. it’s a bruising place. .

  80. That’s right, John – Colm Basquell was no.19 for them on Saturday night. He’s the same lad who played in this year’s U21 semi-final.

  81. I agree with Yew Tree…. I’ve been following Mayo now for 30 odd years and the only thing worse than losing an All Ireland is having to listen to the bull shit being spouted afterwards. By people predominantly who never ever go to matches. Sickening.

  82. John Cuffe, your right I have the programme at hand. Colm Basquel from Balyboden St Enda. He’s only 20 years old, but is there any evidence he’d join Mayo. I’d suggest to you highly unlikely if he thinks he’s in with a chance of making the starting 15 for Dublin.

  83. Agree. Hardly if already on fringe’s of dublin team. Some player. He scored first goal against castlebar in all ireland. A strong fast centre forward. I think I read a blog , probably on this site in the run up to that match, where someone said that the match up of him playing on Durcan could be the future mayo centre back v the future mayo centre forward. Pity

  84. Calm down citizens, deep breaths slow, very slow. We will win the all-Ireland when we are good enough,not before. There is no point blaming referees, the rain, the pothole outside Dan Murphys door. We are the East Germans of the GAA world still trying to knock that shagging wall down. Problem is the wall grows with every loss meantly. On the plus side Donnie Vaughan has grown into the midfield role and he knows where the posts are but needs to back himself more and take the pot on. Regarding Aidan, no player is greater than the jersey. Aidan should be more focused on keeping the scoreboard busy. Things to work on 2017 perhaps. It’s not checkmate yet brothers and sisters…

  85. Aiden. His dad is from aughagower in Westport. Both he and his slightly older brother play for ballyboden

  86. @ Baconfactoryend, exactly right, we seen Cormac Costello win the game for the Dubs, when the game was up for grabs and we have seen many other players do that against us in All-Ireland finals. Why doesn’t one of our players do that for a change, that’s when we will win an All-Ireland title and not before. We have seen some of our players on the way up do it at Minor and U21 Level, it’ll probably take one or two of them to drag us over the line. They seem to know what it takes to win the big games.

  87. Agree with JP on coen will grow in confidence after the last day.he is going to be a big player for us.
    I think we have to get two players for each position to cover for injuries and black cards.
    There is one position we have being taken a gamble on in championship for the last few years and its crazy and that’s cillians.I honestly think he was carrying a niggle the last day, such an important player for us.hope for the winter months rochford scouts for somebody and pair them up and maybe cillian could teach the skill he has of free taken.if cillian got injured in any game our goose was cooked and god knows he shipped some heavy hits the last to games.fionan Duffy or reape maybe just a thought.still think the sweeper should be Aidan Oshea and kmc back to the forwards and rotate them every so often.JP this has being happening to Higgins a lot the last few years especially when Clarke’s not behind him.when Costello came on I was hoping to see Barrett Boyle was out on his feet at that time.rochford is the man to get the job done I’m positive of that,but he has to use his gut as well as stats.they say stats don’t lie they did Saturday.

  88. Colm Basquil’s dad is from back near Westport, he is the Boden player who played v Mitchels this year, think his father is a selector on Boden team. His brother, Ryan, also a very good player plays for Boden.

  89. Keegan with Harrison a very close second

    We need to be smarter in how we use AOS. Not mobile enough for midfield and doesn’t score enough to be first choice as a forward. Think we need to start using him as an impact sub. Imagine him running at a tiring Dublin defence

  90. He had a series game for them v castlebar! He be an addition to Dublin! They also have con o Callaghan to come in to was very good for Dublin u21s this year!
    Anyway there seems to be very few inter county transfers these days!
    I be more interested in seeing how the likes of cian Hanley is doing would there be any chance of him coming back in next year or two also the likes of Gary Boylan who is in the ist team at Sligo rovers along with slingerman and then theres Conor o Malley in goal with Saint pats

  91. Well another year has ended in heartache for Mayo. So many scribes have written about Mayo players. The best I’ve seen written is a piece by Kieran Shannon in Irish Examiner.
    He called it as its is warts and all. No punches pulled. We are now pissed of about hearing and seeing all those great things AOS was going to be and do. Any time those last 2 years he was in Croke Park he was just a ordinary player who cannot even score a point. If we look back at the league game against Monaghan when he was sent off, all the forwards scored. Why? because they could play football.
    Again I,m sad and deeply disappointed that Clarke did not start.

  92. @True Grit. Kieran Shannons piece merely pointed out he needs to work intensively on his shooting. He laid on the goal for Keegan rather than go himself. He ran himself into the ground in a role our fitness team should be flagging that he cannot do. He did his best for the team.

  93. Rumour’s f%ck rumour’s they won’t help get over the line.there’s enough sticking the boot in from outside without turning on our own.

  94. Jp you are correct on Higgins his role is carrying ball out of defence he is too loose in full back line. Plenty of options there o donoughe seems to have right stuff as a sticky corner back. Cafferkey back along with Barrett, thought o hara from ballina has potential rugged but raw bit of polish with seniors. Higgins should play in half back line that suits his strengths would battle with Boyle for number 6 jersey also provide backup to mclaughlin sweeper role

  95. Jesus True Grit, bit over the top. Aidan is an asset to the team as is Seamie – your post reminds me of the Mayo ‘supporters’ roaring every time AOS or SOS were on the ball ‘pass it you f** pr**k’ & an array of other insults directed at them – terrible carry on & the Dublin fans around us getting glee frm it.
    Shannon frm I read said he needs to practice and practice more his shooting – he also seem to put more blame at managements door for any shortcomings than anyone else.

    If we are true supporters we should get behind the entire squad, the entire & even if we do feel aggrevied try not to be airing in front of one and all above in Croke Park or any park for that matter.

  96. Fair point about Higgin’s marking……it also happened against Kerry in 2014 drawn match where he got caught ball watching for O’Donoghue’s late goal.

    Has anyone noticed that COC’s name has not been the subject of much discussion for POTY? I have no issue with his late miss last weekend but we have to be honest and say he has struggled from open play.

    One other thing; in the replay last year the player that killed us was MDAC when he came off the bench. Driving runs against a tired defence and catching clean ball in the middle. It was he who created Costello’s points

    Btw would people agree that one fair criticism of Rochford’s is the lateness of his substitutions?

  97. The rumour machine may be in overflow about the Clarke decision but we have been here before with the nonsense after the Galway game and two top players not talking and going at each other. Summer proved that that was rubbish.

    The goalkeeper decision was a mistake that was made in good faith. It may have been no different with Clarke there. We will never know and that’s the pain of it.

    Do you think Rochford could have got this team to within a missed free of winning an All Ireland if he was being dictated to by certain players?

  98. True Grit – I’m not actually going to throw the book at you but I’ve deleted the more offensive and unnecessary bits of your comment. I think there’s a valid point in what you say, i.e. that Aidan hasn’t performed to the maximum in big games for us. I would definitely be of the opinion that we’re wasting our time playing him in the way that we are. We need to sort our forward unit and this needs to be done without including Aidan in it. His best position always was midfield, as a rampaging, defensive-minded player turning over the ball and getting and laying off primary possession. Using him as a playmaker just isn’t working, he simply doesn’t score enough or move the ball fast enough and holds onto it himself for too long. No ref in Ireland gives him a free when he’s fouled (as he always is) so it’s pointless persisting with him in that role. I think, as others have suggested, that a second half impact player – and what an impact he’d have then – might be the best role for him but starting him in midfield could also be a viable option.

  99. Thanks W.J. You are right, where would fit him in?. He now is not even fit to play at midfield. Midfield has changed so much in 2 years, and he would not have the pace or skills to operate the way its played to day. A place on the subs bench, and he could then learn what he needs to do, not what he wants to do. I do hope you read piece in examiner.

  100. I’ve read that piece in the Examiner, True Grit, and I agree it was excellent. I still think you’re being overly harsh on Aidan but I also think it’s beyond doubt at this stage that his role needs to be redefined in a fairly fundamental way at this stage.

  101. WJ, agree totally with you regarding Aidan. His best season was 2013 in Midfield, its simply not working out for him or Mayo playing in the forwards. True grit you are right that midfield has evolved and is now the domain of the athletic, quick player thats able to cover every blade of grass. The introduction of the mark will reinforce this as no ball is going to be kicked straight down the middle. Mobility is the key. However Aidan is a hugely talanted player and is still a very important one for Mayo. Rochford has the guts of a year to integrate his talents into the team and maximise them, otherwise being played as an impact sub would be the obvious choice. Its a squad game and now the bench players are just as important than those starting, probably more so as they are required to close out a game.

  102. I know he’s not on the short list but my vote goes to Boyler. Not many showed for the Galway game but he did. Crucial scores all year, took his black when we needed it and put the hurts on John small in the first game. Pure heart.

  103. Dave 2 I agree totally Boyler was immense all year where would this team be without him. If you want to emphases a team play he has it all in spades. We have a wealth of contenders that is for sure.

  104. A small point that someone might be able to clear up for me. Who was the overall leading scorer in the Championship of 2015. I could swear it was Cillian but now I am not so sure. The match day program had the Fermanagh man in the 2015 slot. Can anyone help.

  105. Yeah I saw that in the program beforehand as well. Didn’t question it too much at the time. I was too nervous.

  106. If Aidan is introduced for the final 25 minutes of the game at that point he has the pace for midfield. Aidan is actually quick just not repeatable quick over 80 minutes.
    The other thing is that 55 minutes into the game there are players on yellows and ticks. So Aidan cannot be stopped as easily. The other competing players jumping height will have lessened somewhat whereas Aidan will be fresh.

  107. I went for Brendan Harrison, fantastic all year and cancelled out some of the best attackers in the country, dont think he picked up any cards either, a solid a defender as there’s in the country at the minute. Lee would be a close second but getting the black last day after it being the topic all week was a mistake and cost us.
    Pat Durcan was a revelation also and kept getting better.
    MaighEo Abú

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