Player of the Year: final list of nominees

Huddle in Limerick

Okay, there’s been plenty of feedback on who should be included in the list of nominees for the inaugural Mayo GAA Blog Player of the Year award in addition to the six names I put forward earlier on. The players for whom most support was expressed were Jason Doherty (by far the most popular proposed addition), Tom Cunniffe, Kevin McLoughlin and Donal Vaughan so I’m adding them all to the list, which makes it ten nominees in all.

So then here, in alphabetical order, is the final list of nominees. Voting is now open and the winner will be announced at the weekend.

Who was our Player of the Year for 2014?

  • Cillian O'Connor (33%, 265 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (24%, 195 Votes)
  • Keith Higgins (23%, 182 Votes)
  • Aidan O'Shea (9%, 74 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (3%, 28 Votes)
  • Seamus O'Shea (3%, 24 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (2%, 14 Votes)
  • Tom Cunniffe (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Donal Vaughan (1%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 805

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100 thoughts on “Player of the Year: final list of nominees

  1. Maigh Eo, beidh ar la seo teacht (Mayo, our day is coming).
    Fellow Mayo fans, keep the faith, for our day is definately near.
    Mayo mgmt and players, we are very proud of you all, and wish ye the very best.
    This is John Geraghty Kilmeena/Galway.
    PS, i thoroughly recommend everyone who loves the green an red to read Kieran Shannons article in todays Irish Examiner, a great read.
    Up Mayo!!

  2. Its a very tough one. Its really a toss up between Boyle, Higgins and Cillian for me.
    None of them had an off day all year. None could be faulted for effort. All gave it 110%.
    Going for Boyler, but there’s really nothing in it, and its only because I’ve given Keith and Cillian a number of votes here and elsewhere all year.

  3. Oops! I have to come out with my hands up – I never put Donal Vaughan on the list earlier on (thanks Deelrover for pointing this out). He’s in there now but starting with a bit of a handicap so I’ll need to see how the voting pans out over the next few days to determine if this might affect the outcome in any material way. Sorry Donie!

  4. How can I pick one, they all gave their best. I like cillian o Connors take no shit attitude a lot, he’s going to captain mayo to a couple of SAM , I have no doubt
    He gets my vote

  5. Has to be Cillian he has improved every year and is now one of the best forwards in the country . He is up there with anyone and would be picked to play for any county.all this and he is still getting better

  6. Huh
    I hadn’t looked at the voting results before I voted , looks like he the man!

    Was the Cillian penalty incident an automatic yellow or black card for his opponent? The lads must be knackered after it all, mentally and physically. I think a break from now til march for the first 20 would do them a big favour for next year, maybe put freshness back into them.

  7. Any of the above would be a excellent choice but if one is to have a player of the year one has to be chosen above the others. I’m going to leave it a bit later in the week to decide my own mind. However if there was to be a Most Improved Player of the Year I would have to go for Jason Doherty who has really come on leaps and bounds in the past year. My nominee for most frustrating player of the year has to go to Alan Freeman, I’m afraid. He has shown outstanding ability at times, esp. early in the year, but then failed to deliver. He can, I am certain, really deliver. Perhaps a new manager may be the key to unlocking his talents.

  8. Having read through the previous thread I find it strange that while several are critical of James Horan for not having a “plan” to deal with Donaghy nobody has put forward any semblance of such a plan. Similarly many are critical off the lack of new blood in the panel this year but nobody has made any suggestions of players who should be introduced. Too often in over 50 years I have heard it said that “somebody should have been brought in” when a team is struggling but “somebody” has to be a real player with prospects of doing better. There is little point in our trying to pick teams when we do not know the form of players in training. We often seem to forget past form. Kevin Keane did well when introduced in the last two games but remember this was the same Kevin Keane who was so criticised in 2012 for Donegal’s two goals.
    Regards fundraising is everybody commenting a member of Cairde Maigh Eo? A simple form of fundraising is an on line lotto. There is an on line lotto scheme used by many clubs – I cannot recall it’s name but I am sure many readers are already familiar with it.

  9. Andyd,
    How about someone like seamie or aiden or even Gavin Duffy? Caff done his best but was outmatched physically by about 4 stone and 4/5 inches.

    Donegal will be prepared and will win Sam.

  10. Really Andy D

    Well I have seen many suggestions and people such as McStay have been rightly critical.You could have put a big man on him at some point whether Parsons Gibbons Vaughan etc.You could have double marked him as Tyrone did.In fact most counties got used to playing him.With regard who to bring on this site has been full of odeas all summer but many say oh James knows best …he sees them in training.So why Barry when he wasnt fit…why Varley …why play D..o.Connor v Roscommon and not even have him on panel v Galway.
    look.james was brilliant with this team..brought team to a new consistent level…but only those with unswerving loyalty can.neglect to see his shortcomings this year.
    I have said enough…my view is clear.James is a lovely man,great manager but with failings.If a new manager can harvest what he sowed and add something we will be in a good place.
    I.believe Keith should be player of the year but they all deserve great praise.
    Over and out.

  11. Cillian player of the year for me and Higgins w j I know this a football blog but who do you fancy to win the hurling final tipp or the cats tipp for me anything to see the snake beat that toomy walsh.

  12. Has to be Cillian for me. Our ‘go to’ player in each and every match. Hard to believe he’s so young given he has already won two YPOTY awards.

    If this team are to stay at the top table and make the ultimate leap, Cillian will be leading from the front.

  13. I was also really torn between Colm, Keith and Cillian. I decided to go for Boyle in the end just for his tackles, throwing his body on the line, refusing to buckle and those vital points he pops up with here and there. The one against Kerry the first day will live long in the memory.

    If I could have picked all three I would have. Keith is one of our best ever players in the green and red and I admire Cillian for his ice cool finishing and leadership qualities that make me see him climbing the Hogan steps as captain in the future.

  14. Not to bore everyone with repetition but I just want to pick up on that point made by Mayoforsamthehardway, i.e. “if a new manager can harvest what he [James] sowed and add something we will be in a good place”. I’d suggest this is a very big if.

    It’s widely accepted, I think, that James changed the county’s mindset – all of us: players, County Board, supporters. But now that he’s gone are we all going to stay in this altered state? Ger Loughnane did this (and more) for Clare back in the Nineties but he wasn’t long gone when standards dropped and they were back as the whipping boys of Munster once again. It took another manager with an equally driven personality to get the county back where Ger had them many years before.

    What I’m trying to say is that we can’t simply take for granted that everything James put in place – which resulted in the record he leaves after him – will remain as something for his predecessor to build on. It’s not simply a case of sprinkling a bit of fairy dust on what was there in order for us to reach the Promised Land. We’ve been here before, remember – in 2006 we were delighted when John O’Mahony, recent two-times All-Ireland winning manager with Galway, took over a team that had just contested an All-Ireland final. One more push with the dream team at the helm and we were at last home. Instead all we got after four frustrating years was one Connacht title and defeat in an All-Ireland quarter-final to a mediocre Meath team.

    With Donie Buckley gone, James’ backroom team is already starting to break up. There’s talk of funding being cut back. Pat Holmes has distanced himself from the manager’s position and Kevin McStay has, in his Mayo News column, rowed back significantly on what he said on The Sunday Game about taking on the role.

    The bottom line is that we don’t yet know who the manager will be, we don’t know what kind of funding will be available to him and so if he’ll have the resources to put in place the same kind of backroom team that James had. We don’t, of course, know what the chemistry will be like between the new man and the players (will they buy into his methods like they did all the time with James?), we don’t know what players will drop off the panel, we don’t know what new ones will come in or how they’ll perform compared to the lads they’ll replace.

    All of which means we are truly at a crossroads in terms of the county’s footballing fortunes and it’s not at all clear where the road will take us next. My fear (which I hope is groundless) is that soon enough we could be looking back on the James Horan years as an exceptional era for us.

  15. Cillian O’Connor. Does the business every match against every opposition.

    If we had just one more like him we wouldn’t be worrying about referees, full back problems or anything else.

  16. I think you have hit the nail on the head there WJ. There are simply no guarantees for next year at all. One only has to look at some of the players twitter accounts to see the high regard the players had of James Horan and his departure is hitting them hard. I also think Aiden O Shea’s interview on Off the Ball yesterday was very revealing in this regard. Another interesting point made by AOS was his answer to Colm Parkinson’s daft question about “Should the players have an input into the next managers appointment”? AOS’s response that its not really the players decision but that the players have built up a great relationship with the county board tells me in a very subtle way that the players hope that there is the same level of professionalism in the next set up, and puts a bit of pressure on the powers that be to come up with the goods in a whole host of areas.

    What I am about to say next enters into a world that some dismiss straight away…….Sports Psychology. To me the philosophy of ‘Che’ Mcguinness of “Commit, Focus, Believe & Achieve” is rather apt as we enter into this crossroads. For us at the moment the new manager will soon be at the commit phase. This phase essentially is the manager getting the players to buy into the new plan such as JH’s one of being consistently consistant. On a practical level this means new training, new tactics, new vision, new background staff, different players with new roles etc. Simply put if the players don’t believe 100% in the process/plan no matter how hard they train the will to win won’t be there, resulting in dropped performance. I don’t envy the new mans position in the slightest, much tentative work to be done by all sides.

  17. I agree with Mayoforsamthehardway, the point of not dealing with Donaghey is the hardest to take. As regards the new players, i think once they didnt work against Rosscommon he decided to try to get over the line with the tried and tested as he knew this would be last throw of the dice. However if hes was to throw his name in again in a few years time i would be the first to welcome it he has left us in a good place.

  18. I agree largely with what you’ve said above WJ, other than to point one big difference between when O’Mahoney took over in 07 to now, and that’s the fact that we have a considerably better team/squad now than we had back then. It was also an ageing squad in general, where as this squad is at it’s peak with some very talented youngsters expected to make a break through in the near future too. With the right management team in charge next year, Mayo have a very good chance again.

  19. The Dongahey situation is clouding all my judgement unfortunately. Still cannot believe our inaction. Why get 95% right and leave the extra 5% of tactical planning undone. Painful.

  20. Would poeple ever give over about Donaghy and Ger Cafferkey? The fact is that Donaghy will win or contest 90% of all ball into him no matter what full back is marking him. It wouldn’t have mattered on Saturday if it was O’Carroll, McGee, Cadogan or anyone.

    You can of course argue that Donegal would have competed. But the reality is that they there would have been at least 3 extra players there then to help out the full back line.

    The problem for Cafferkey was further out the field. We couldn’t (and didn’t) compete adequately in this sector. We were well beaten in midfield and that gave Kerry the platform and time to pick out long passes and put those balls into Donaghy. Sure just look at the stats. We only won 11 out of 30 of our own kickouts.

    And what is a more damning statistic I think is how many breaks in the middle we didn’t get. Kerry wiped the floor with us on the breaking ball in the middle third.

    And when you don’t have enough of the ball your full back line is going to come under severe pressure time after time. Ally that with poor and very dubious refereeing decisions and we were goosed.

  21. Read Breheny in todays indo – he’s saying Mayo were badly treated on both days against Kerry by referees, and that this Mayo team is by no means finished. Yes, hard to believe!

    Must be all the dirty looks I was throwing his way as I was a few yards away from him in the Mackey Stand in Limerick…..

  22. WJ, you make a key point there. We can’t assume that this relative success of the last 4 years will continue. We cant assume that we will be in a semi final again next year.

    The appointment of the new Manager is key. I have nothing against McStay but I do think the CB should assess all options. The temptation is to only look at Mayo born candidates and I think that’s a mistake. While that may be the preference, I do think there are a lot of young ambitious guys (30s, early 40s) outside of Mayo who should be considered. – I know Tony McEntee has been mentioned, but also Rory Gallagher and our own Billy Joe Padden are guys who have a lot of insight and fresh thoughts about how football should be played. Perhaps none are even interested or ready but this shouldn’t be coronation for McStay.

    James will be a hard act to follow. McStay strikes me as the David Moyes option. A ‘safe’ option, good guy and a good Manager no doubt, but will he be able to win the confidence of this bunch of players and convince them that his approach will bring an AI. This current group of players seems very tight knit and close. The new Manager will need to win confidence from day 1 and that’s not an easy ask.

  23. Martin brehney in today’s indo seems to sum up the whole thing. No matter how well you prepare you cannot plan for the bounce of the ball or referees. This tactical nous thing from the line is great when you win but when you loose the other guy was cuter. Did sean Boylan win every side line battle? No! Yet he was supposed to be a ” genius”. Like wise mick o dwyer in his day Some poster has said Brian Cody changes his coach every 2 yrs. on the strength of this it might be a good thing for Buckley to go. Things must always be kept fresh with new ideas and new blood. I’m hopeful for the future. I’m concerned about the financial problems with the county board. This is worth a discussion. What can we do. Don’t let’s slide back ways over money. From my point I’ve rung willie Magee to pledge some product for auction at his next fund raiser golf classic. Any ideas on what else we can do. Let’s get proactive on this issue. It would shorten the winter also until the league starts. Give us something to do

  24. So Donaghey will win 90% of the ball against McGee in the AI final. Let’s see ….
    He won about 30% against McMahon who is no giant.

  25. Agree with GBXI and not to mention we are still well and truly the strongest team in Connacht so it’d take a huge step back of mighty proportions or a suddenly vastly improved effort by one of the other counties to topple us here. Having Ros (always a banana skin in Hyde) at home helps hugely. Leinster runners up or (more likely) a back door team in quarter then

    Gee poor aul Alan Dillon is a little unlucky not to be included ahead of a certain player here (very unfair to name so I won’t but I was a little disappointed with him I’m sorry to say- lets hope he’ll be back better than ever!) . That’s nothing on you WJ by the way I know you’re only selecting based on popular consensus, it’s just my own opinion 🙂

    On Cafferkey v Donaghy it was 100% the right call to start Ger on him I feel. But when things didn’t go right (and it was 100% obvious after ten minutes that it was a disaster waiting to happen sadly) he should have been moved immediately. Cunniffe, Keane, O’Shea whoever and keep changing if necessary, as sad as I am to say it Ger was way off the pace. It happens- he’s been a great servant, just had an off colour season. He’ll be back!

    Lads I recently looked back at WJ’s brilliant report after the AIF last year (just to kind of gauge the disappointment from then compared to now). the doom and gloom in the comments (pretty understandable imo at the time) was remarkable. It was pretty impossible at the time to see how we’d challenge in 2014

    It’d be very interesting a few weeks down the line to get people’s real perspective on 2014 and how it went, sort of in relation to how they thought we’d do at the end of last year.

    personally I felt we were just that small bit off the pace compared to 2013 and it showed big time. I’m in no doubt our 2013 selves would have beaten Kerry with a bit to spare. COC the only real major improvement sadly. All very understandable I’m amazed these lads could pick themselves up at all after that awful day last year. What they may have lacked from last year in quality and ruthlessness they completely made up for it in hard work and determination

    Think semis v Dubs will be about as far as we’ll go as things stand next season (which would be a solid first season) but I’d never write off this team and with the right man in place we’ll be very close again over the next few years

    The first challenge will be to stay up in league, win Connacht and maintain “top 4” status at least!

  26. Will it not be the same backroom bar one.
    the education has to continue the team is
    good .it will be easy for the new manager
    like going into a new house. We cannot and
    must not go back to the old ways of chop and change
    this has to be a must for the new manager if he is not
    willing to do this please dont apply. A solid foundation is
    there now the corner stones are in place we dont want the
    marble- the team has beaten all the big names and some of them
    twice .championship- forget the scoreboard-this has never happened
    before and i am many years on this earth. the team has backbone we cannot
    lose this -rewind to hyde park against Westmeath i cant recall the year exactly
    there wasnt a mayo flag in sight.there is a buzz around now like when George Best
    came to town. there are plenty flags now we have to continue on this road
    for if we dont we are doomed to fail.make no mistake about this
    was this the first time Mayo played a championship game in Munster
    it has to be the last.this is another must .

  27. I don’t want a manager who comes in just becasue there is a chance of cash he cash help himself to. Mayo need a manager who will do it for the love of the county and include what’s good for the team. Not many managers will do that from outside the county.

  28. I was at that 2008 final, facetheball, and Joe McMahon had a very simple strategy for stopping Donaghy – he had two hands on his jersey for pretty much the whole game. Donaghy got a few frees but that was all he did with the ball he got and Joe Mac never got a card for seventy minutes of fouling. There was a Kerryman sitting beside me in the Upper Cusack and I thought he was going to have a heart attack looking at what was happening. How far would such a strategy worked for us in Limerick, I wonder, given all those soft frees Reilly awarded against us in the full-back line as it was? I agree with JPM, with midfield lost and that ref we were goosed no matter what we did.

  29. Not sure why you’re cherry picking stuff from my sentences FacetheBall. I actualy said Donaghy would win (OR CONTEST) 90% of the ball against all the top rated full backs in the country.

    Also I made direct reference as to the rest of the Donegals defence in the next sentence which is critical to the marking of Donaghy. (Something you choose to deliberately ignore for some reason?)

    Finally as regards McMahon – ok fair enough but again you’re talking about Tyrone here who were really the team that invented the swarm and blanket defence.

  30. Bencasey – I don’t know if you’re trying to express your thoughts in poetry or prose but if it’s the latter can you please do something about the layout (i.e. stop hitting the return key every time you pause for breath) as it’s kinda hard to follow.

  31. Ger is a bit like Andy now. He’s the new kid on the block. He’s gone from one of the finest full backs ever to play for the county to not existing at all!! (“We don’t have a full back”)

    Ger will recover just fine. Just like the rest of the lads. It’s done now, and we move on.

  32. The reluctance to admit caff was roasted by Donaghy is just plain daft. It happened right in front of our eyes , Kerry weren’t even cute about it , they started him ffs after he was the cause of Kerry getting a draw the first day. We didnt have a plan for him and worse still we didnt change it up after 10/20 mins , we were like a team of masochists just wanting to be hurt.

    Going forward as already alluded to , no need for wholesale change as such, just find an imposing full back (easier said than done) and build a new forward line around imo, Cillian, Gallagher and evan regan. McStay might just do that , he was a natural scoring forward himself and you can tell he has a gra for the silky type player , add that into what we already have in terms of work ethic, determination, fight steel etc and we could have an even better time ahead never mind more of the same.

    I hope the guy in charge of S&C stays on, ed Coughlan.

    Last year it was said after the final, the players were bouncing round straight away looking for winter progs and diets . I hope there is not a void here due to the management issue.

  33. FWIW I think McGee will be more than a match for Donaghy. Outstanding player, the roasting he gave our FF line in 2012 remains in the memory sadly 🙁

    There could well be a certain two-trick pony to spring in the last ten minutes to win the match for the Kingdom though

    It’d be so worth it just to see Martin McHugh’s reaction

  34. Yes Hill St Boy….I very strongly agree with the financial discussion. As supporters, hardcore ones at that, we don’t have much control or input really into the affairs if our team. Reading WJ’s last comment on how things aren’t guaranteed to progress it made me realise that so much is out if our hands and that all we can do is show up, cheer, support ad go home.

    But supporters can influence matters on the financial side. No way should we stand idly by and see our senior team(and u22/minor too!!) be affected by a lack of funds.

  35. That’s a bit harsh willie joe it’s obvious Ben Casey is going for the iambic pentameter 😉

    I wonder will we see James on the Sunday game for the all Ireland final? Surely RTE or SKY will be looking for his services?

  36. I voted for Aiden. I think he has been the heartbeat of our team this year and leads by example. When Aiden plays well, Mayo play well. I’d actually go as far to say that he is probably the most complete player in the country.

    If he hadn’t got concussed on Saturday, I have no doubt mayo would have won that game in ordinary time. (ref or no ref)

  37. I would like a supporters club president or whatever to be on the county board or have at least input and have meeting with the county board. Alas I can never see this happening. I know if you take Liverpool FC as an example the supporters clubs do get to meet with the club board on issues such as match day planning, stadium, ticket prices, travel to away games, abroad etc. Now I know its a different sport, world away from GAA and is a professional setup but I am trying to paint a picture.

    I sometimes think supporters are taken for granted sometimes. There are plenty of us out there as demonstrated here with ideas on how to improve Mayo GAA. I don’t think we are looking to pick teams, but there are ways we can help and funding, raising the profile and interest in the Mayo team’s here and especially abroad.

  38. Real tough call between Colm, Cillian , Aidan, and Keith. Seamus and Jason our most improved players. On the other hand all of Horans men improved with each outing. On the funding issue I see that Club Rossie are raking it in using a carefully crafted website and social media as their tools. I will have to say that the County Board certainly looked after their Cairde members when it came to the best tickets in 2014 IMO. Now when do Cairde members get their own website?

  39. Yesterday I put my spake for Donals inclusion, Today I’m going to say that I hope The county board act,sooner rather than later in appointing a new manager.,Many of the players will be making their mind up on,if they can give enormous commitment NOW, Sure they love Gaelic football, but still the name if the,new,man must be upper most in their minds! James Horans & his management team

  40. @facetheball..
    I like your use of facts….them facts are stubborn things….

    Fitz played his trump card in the dying minutes of the drawn match…they needed a goal, we needed to prevent a goal…they got the goal. Fitz hand was revealed. Yet he Donaghy mauling of our FB was entirely predictable …I pointed this out with facts/statistics on the Cork match the week before the game. It was shocking, shocking, that our management team either ignored or didnt see this as it began to play out on the field.
    If we think back to 2006, at least Mickey Moran and John Morrison recognized after a couple of minutes that Donaghy was cleaning Heaneys clock and made a change quickly, so entered Brady…but alas the damage was done.

    We didnt draw the first match or lose the replay because of the ref ffs (as bad as he was)….we lost it because we didnt plan and subsequently failed to neutralize Donaghy. And thats the maddening thing, yet it was predictable.

    WJ, you summation of where we are now, rudderless if you will, and into the next regime is spot on. There are no gurantees that the next man can keep or even raise the standard and committment. I also fear the same thing. So close, yet as far away as 63 years.

  41. done a little shakespeare in a previous life perhaps thats the reason for this rebuke there is a verse about previous teams .not present team – will be kept under hat for now .slan anois.

  42. Sean Burke – agree practically 100% with what you say. Was surprised that Barry wasn’t given a job of being up Donaghy’s ass.

    Kevin Keane could be the man if he’s given a clear run.

    Same for the full forwards – I’d try what you have outlined, or the possibility of more minors/youth coming through. We are blessed really with potential; the trick is to harness it and integrate it. I think James had such intentions but those coming through might have needed another year.

    I also think that what the year demonstrated is the absolute commitment and talent of those that are there. JH had indicated in a 50/50 situation he would go with the new player. Didn’t happen because the existing guys blew them away. And, changes might not bring the results. Look at how Donaghy was reinvented/reinvented himself. And all the supposed talented bench of Dublin couldn’t do it when the hard questions were asked.

  43. I beileve some supporters severly over rate some players who haven’t featured in the championship this year, it seems to me that the more games certain players don’t play the better they get!!!. Theirs no need for major surgey on the squad, a couple of tasty forwards wouldalalways be welcome but theirs plenty of talent within the current squad to win an AI. We just need a bit of luck on the big days and more ruthlessness from the players/manager on the big days. Keep the faith.

  44. Are people really suggesting that leaving Cafferkey on Donaghy was a good tactic.Dont think too many outside Mayo would agree.
    WJ I truly admire your loyalty to James but I wonder if he had it to do over again would he change?
    I do not share your pessimism for the future.

  45. Think Id give player of year to Keith or Cillian with a few more not far behind. Have to say I am a bit concerned about next year. Its not a case of just putting out players who we think are good and expecting them to storm to Sam.. The most important thing is the relationship between players and management. It is clear that there was an incredible mutual respect between James and team. James defended them at all costs and they played their hearts out for him. Some here have accused James of being over loyal to certain players. But that’s just the point. Loyalty is a wonderful trait which builds respect and honesty and trust. Will the new manager be able to build the same relationship. Will the players trust him safe in the knowledge that they wont be shafted after a few mediocre games. James created the environment to allow these players to express themselves. He may have made tactical errors but he built an incredible team who fought like dogs for one another. I hope I am wrong but I fear in the next few years we may be looking back with fondness saying that the 2011 to 2014 era was a fantastic time and longing for a return to those days

  46. Juan, i don’t know what people of your thinking want, i can’t fathom it , this idea that players are overrated because they haven’t played yet, sure we wont know untill they have been tested though either will we.

    We have a very good side but we have came up short, so something needs tinkering. Loyalty and a fighting spirit is needed and is there in abundance but let me tell you this mo chara no team climbed the hogan stand steps without classy footballers, fact. (im not saying we dont have classy footballers either, im just saying we need a couple more)

  47. I read in an earlier blog where JH told the County Board that he believed that
    Mayo had fifteen players every year capable of winning the AI. I admire
    him for his bravery in setting the bar that high for himself.

    There have been numerous references to Longford on this site, an evening that
    has never been more than aberration to me. I supported Mayo through the barren
    seventies and that was no more than aberration, a dam long one, as far as I was
    concerned. I will never set Longford or the fruitless seventies as a bar for
    Mayo football or indeed anybody connected with it. I have too much respect for
    it to do that. Mayo men won All Irelands and National Leagues. Mayo men managed
    Mayo to win All Irelands and National Leagues. Most of these titles were won
    during two of the bleakest economic decades faced by the county in the last

    I believe Mayo had the players in the seventies to have won two AIs and indeed had
    players in all subequent decades to have at least won one in their respective eras
    All managers over that time failed to reach the pinnacle and that is the bar that
    should be set for them all. Why not? It is the bar that should be set for the
    next manager regardless of who he is.

    Donegal have played in two AIs since 92, won both and may very well win third.
    They do not get to play London in the Ulster final. Yet I believe Mayo should
    never be beaten by Donegal in any final. We are a much stronger football county.

    I may hold an extremely arrogant view of Mayo football, but it is the one I
    will always hold.

  48. WJ, I seen on Hoganstand a forum on Potential new players for 2015, while its unlikely to get a decent discussion there i was thinking it would be great to get a meaningful discussion on it here, which would require a short post in the next few weeks. TBH i havent many names outside the big few, Adam Gallaghar, Regan, Loftus, Oshea, Kirby, Coen, Hall, Hanley. Few of those probably being to young for the next year. Not slating any personal players, think though we need at least 4 maybe 5 players to break into this squad and maybe upset some of the more settled players. Its going to be an exciting few years thats for sure.

  49. There’s a lot of talk about donaghty and caff which I feel may be a bit unfair on caff. Sure he had his hands full with dionaghy but there were equal problems else where which impacted on caff. Hennely never varied his kickouts when he saw us loosing midfield. What was he thinking. Why were we winning so little breaking ball at midfield? Were Kerry just hungrier Despite conceding midfield and full back we still had the winning of the game. Tomas OShea said Kerry attacked us our strongest point ( mid field). Why the hell did we not work around midfield like julius Caesar. We didn’t seem to innovate on the day I’m still shattered by it all but I can’t wait for the league to start now

  50. You know what, maybe our players don’t have All-Ireland medals but I’d prefer to have Keith Higgins, Cillian O’Connor, Lee Keegan or Colm Boyle in my team 100 times more than players like Kieran Donaghy, Eoin Cadogan, Ger Brennan or Ryan McMenamin. I feel very proud to be represented by the current crop of players that we have!

    Just getting back to the game again, I watched it last night. I know the ref was really bad but the linesman Maurice Deegan was pure sickening too. He allowed Kerry to take the side-line ball that led to their first penalty from way further forward than it should have been taken. Then one of the famous Donaghy phantom frees was allowed to be taken from almost in front of our goals with the foul having been committed much closer to the side-line. Then to cap it all he moved Robbie Hennelly’s free back a few yards from where the free should have been taken from. It just sums up the cuteness of the Kerry boys. Donnacha Walsh pretty much ensured Lee Keegan got sent off in the drawn game, with his antics. I wonder if one of our players did the same in relation to Shane Enright, when he fouled Cillian for the penalty, would the ref have sent him off.

    One other thing that I noticed as well, we pretty much only played three high balls into their full-back line, two by default, which lead to our three goals. Should we have done a lot more of this, I’m sure Jim McGuinness will have taken note of this, as the Kerry full-back line is not the biggest.

  51. For me best player was Aidan O Shea. Consistent all year and his loss was shown after he got injured Saturday.

  52. I agree with you on the future direction of Mayo football. Being in the top 3 or 4 in 2014 buy you nothing in 2015. JH had serious man management skills. his loyality to his team was paid back with interest. Getting to a semi final requires a lot of things to go just right. While it is possible it is not guaranteed. Over the last week we watches a finely tuned machine go into battle. I have never felt as proud of any team in my entire life. I look back to 1990, 1999, 2005, and 2007 and realise that our ability to keep her lit fell well short of everybody’s expectation. However we done much better when our backs were to the wall. 1995 and defeat to Galway and 2010 with defeat to Longford. I wonder what was the reason for this failure?

  53. A lot of people seem to be forgetting that donaghy got every call going from Reilly – he won a number of incredibly soft frees…shocking stuff. Yes, of course, he was still a problem for caff, it’s just that it was exacerbated by the bias of the referee.

  54. I see the Telegraph is saying that Noel Connelly is the front runner. Please, please God let this be true. He is 100% the man for the job. Quiet, unassuming, ruthless and driven beyond belief. He is the natural successor to JH and in the same mould. He would have the backing of and more importantly the respect of the players. I was depressed since Saturday evening but the future has just brightened considerably with this news.

  55. I would have to agree with you Liam on Noel Connelly. He was a real leader on the playing field. He would have the respect of a lot of the players on this panel. The u21 teams he trained were very exciting to watch. He does not have inter county experience at senior level as a manager but he is still a born leader.. During the late ninties he held the respect of the dressing room. Apparently a great motivator. I watched him in a club game just before he quit playing for the first team, he was still amazing on the 50/50 ball. Definitely worth a look if he is available.

  56. With holmes ruling himself out, who would Connelly have with him as part of his management team?

  57. I have just read a piece of garbage sent to Croke Park by the PRO of Meath GAA, Mr Martin O’Halloran in defence of ref. It says” Cormac had over 100 decisions to make over the course of the game. When the rules are changed to allow referees to view slow
    motion replay then he would accept Mr McStay,s criticism”. Did you ever hear such bullshit. Maybe this prick of a ref might look at the game now in slow motion and see what a ballocks he is. Then he should get a bottle of whiskey and go into a dark room and do as ” Vincent Brown said about Enda Kenny”. Some PRO. Its wass bad enough having this jackass reffing but another donkey trying to defend him, the mind boggles.

  58. This Meath PRO should talk with Colm ORourke a Meath legend as he was critical of this ref. also.However,at this point the whole country knows of the bad calls and it is sad for our players and management but we need to move on and win next year.That will be sweet justice and of course never let this ref. near a Mayo game ever again.

  59. PJ, a term I’ve heard from a lot of former county players is that NC would have you so motivated in the dressing room that you’d sooner go out through the wall than use the door. He knows most of the core lads from his time with the U21’s. He hasn’t spent his time since retirement seeking out attention in the media or spouting his opinions. He is the kind of person who could get the players behind him and buying into his vision. If he got the right team around him then the future looks very bright indeed.

  60. Is there any possibility of getting Micheál Schlingermann playing for Mayo again, looked like a brilliant keeper at minor level?

    Noel Kennelly for manager please. Also, need someone like Peter Forde as a specialist defensive coach. Need to start at the back and build from there like Jimmy Mcguinness, no more bullshit defending.

  61. One of the players on JM’s team of the late ninties was a personal friend of mine. I asked him one time which of JM panel would be find most difficult to win a 50/50 ball off. I was expecting him to say Colm from Newport as he had a hugh body and I never saw him flinch. Without hesitation he told me that nobody on that panel would take on Connelly. That was some statement from one of the toughest teams we have ever fielded. I have always been a NC fan although I do not know the man or his family.

  62. It has been alleged on other neutral sites that we would never get a decision against Donaghey from Reilly as they are firm buddies.
    As for all the criticism of Caff , yes he struggled but his job was made extremely harder as we were cleaned out at midfield, David Moran ran the show and with it the game for them.
    One wonders of alleged curses when we have all our best available uninjured and our two best collide resulting in time without them and a struggle for both to recover fully…………..we were truely poxed

  63. Meath ref cost us a minor semi a couple of years back with terrible decisions . There seems to be a bit of a pattern with these boys from meath.hope to see connelly holmes and collins in charge.
    be a bit

  64. Meath ref cost us a minor semi a couple of years back with terrible decisions . There seems to be a bit of a pattern with these boys from meath.hope to see connelly holmes and collins in charge.
    be a bit

    But have our county board launched a complaint about Reilly?
    They should do whatever they can to ensure that lad never refs a match again at IC level, otherwise we’re the soft touch Mayo lads again

    Could you imagine if the Dubs were sent down to Limerick to play a semi and then were subjected to one of the most one sided reffing performances of all time

  65. 14allin , or whatever yer name is,
    De Valera and the land commission have
    a lot to answer for. The price of farmland in Meath is incredible.We re still paying 40 yrs later, despite having paid fully and have the deeds for same.
    Wish we had that new bridge in Tarmonbarry when Cromwell ran them over to us for sanctuary and had someone like James Horan lift the bridge as they approached.

  66. Whoever we get, we need Nallen on the line.
    He’ll sort our defense.
    And we’ve had far too much jigging around with our midfielders.
    Settle on one main pair and allow them time to get their act together.
    Have a reserve of course, but concentrate on your best two and let them get on with it.

  67. Whoever we chose must have the time to dedicate to the cause. I know it’s not a full time job but in my mind, it really is.
    Some kind of statement from the county board on the search/timeframe would be helpful if only to put the minds of supporters at ease.

  68. What about t mcentee for the back room team would he be a good coach and bring j nallen back bit of toughness what you think

  69. The man mentioned by two posts here are a hundred and one per cent correct he has fire inside him this is what is needed now .he was a battler on the field .no flinching, is there anymore guys out there who can back him ex players maybe, he is the man .plenty joy if this happens

  70. Noel runs his own business and is a very busy man. Be interesting to see how far he takes Hollymount/Carramore this year.

  71. Mister Mayor – this article in the Connaught Telegraph says a month to six weeks is the timeframe the County Board are looking at for the appointment. If they stick to this, it would mean having the new man in place by mid-October or so.

    I’m not sure what to make of the paper’s claim that Noel Connelly is the front runner for the job but if he’s interested in it and available for it he’d be a very strong candidate for sure. That last sentence in the piece, where it says “it’s also evident the county board will have to set rules for the next manager”, is noteworthy too but I guess that what this relates to (finances for one, you’d have to think) is something that’ll have to be thrashed out between the parties before any handshakes on the appointment occur.

  72. That article should have been labelled “this is a party political broadcast on behalf of those in favour of Noel Connelly being next Mayo manager”
    Not very good journalism

  73. Yeah more bad news loosing another one of our bright hopes. To be honest I am not surprised. Supposedly the Brisbane Lions have been courting him for a while and with his older brother there it was always going to happen.

  74. Im not as up to date as others but can someone give me Conneelys managing history please.

  75. I just dont get the lure of AFL over the opportunity to lead Mayo to an All Ireland. Surely all young lads growing up in the county dream of winning an All Ireland for Mayo.

    For me, afl just doesn’t compare. Money or no money. AFL is a game we have not played in Ireland(so its not the same as a lad going to england to play soccer or a lad playing professional rugby) – AFL for irish lads is pretty much all about the money – and you can spin the whole ‘opportunity to be a professional sportsman’ bullshit. It’s all about the $$$$$$$$. In times like this you have to admire the likes of michael Murphy and Sean Cavanagh – both true GAA stars who saw lining out for their county as being the pinnacle of their sporting ambitions (both turned down AFL contracts by the way).

    It’s a very sad day for Mayo football. It’s been an absolutely horrible week.

  76. Mayonaze – let it go, the boy is gone! I think it’s very obvious why is going over there rather than staying in Ireland. It’s a professional sporting career vs an amateur one (one where you don’t even get to play that regularly due to the mess of fixtures/competition structure). Moving to one of the nicest cities in the world, to live and play with his brother. Absolutely crazy if he didn’t go.

    By the way, Sean Cavanagh has said on numerous occasions he would love to have gone over and Michael Murphy just wouldn’t be good enough for AFL.

  77. I agree who wouldnt want to get paild for playing sport, not to metion the sun, sea, sand, and sex etc. He would be daft not to and im sure his brother has told him the same

  78. Do you get a vote if you’re not from Mayo? I think I’d have to go with COC. For what it’s worth, I was devasted Mayo didn’t make it to the AI final but now that we’ve managed to get there it’s probably even more disappointing.

  79. Thanks for the link Willie Joe…after reading, there are so many things that worry me…such as.

    On the negative side..McNicholas said they (the county board) were aware that James had spoken to the players and announced his departure, yet had not contacted them…are we to assume there was nobody from the County Board present during that announcement? Sounds like it. Where were they? WTF?

    “There is a special Croke Park charter for appointing a county manager. But we are entitled to add to this charter and we will be drawing up criteria for all the applicants for the job.” Drawing up criteria? I mean c’mon…they’ve had a whole year to plan for this. Anybody with a clue knew Horan would be leaving.

    “It is also evident the county board will have some set rules for the next manager”
    Who or where did that come from? Not good.

    On the positive side, having a new man in place in ~6 weeks would be excellent. And if indeed Connelly (the telegraph seems to be boosting him) is the front runner, then I’m encouraged to know that he has been involved in the Mayo Under 19 and 20 development squads for the past two years. But that combined with his toughness as a player, and his apparent likability doesn’t mean he is the right guy to manage Mayo to AI success.

  80. Mayonaze, I don’t think every young lad growing up in the county dreams of winning an All-Ireland for Mayo. For most, it’s not all-consuming – and rightly so.

    I can’t understand how you can’t understand the lure of AFL to be honest. A full-time career playing sport, and getting paid for it? And all that goes with that? Exposure to top class training, S&C, dietary and nutritional requirements, rehabilitation if needed, travel? On the Gold Coast? Compare that to training in the rain and muck over here four or five nights a week, for no money, feck all security, minimal ‘perks’, on top of trying to hold down a day job? And lads who never kicked a ball in their lives abusing you on social media and on the field. The thanks you get over here as a player is minimal. It’s an absolute no-brainer, even if you do love your county. I wouldn’t for a second judge any of them for taking the chance. At the end of the day you have to look after number one, and take the opportunities you’re given.

    Yeah, it’s been a shit week … hard to look forward but I guess we have to.

  81. The County Board should have had their new man in place on Monday morning last … it’s not like they didn’t know this day was coming & they should have been pre-planning this for the past several weeks. Rules for the new Manager … looks like a nice way of attracting the right man!
    Only ‘one man’ when it comes to Cian Hanley & Pierce Hanley.
    Only ‘one man’ also when it comes to the ‘Player of the Year’ & to ‘Man of the Match’.
    I have to say that I personally don’t place much stock in individual awards in a collective game. We get over the line collectively or we fail collectively.
    No point in ‘sugar coating’ the pill we now have to swallow.

  82. I think that the CB were right to wait till after Mayo were finished in ’14.Imagine the talk and rumours it would have caused.We dont keep things ‘in house’ very well, and it would have had an adverse effect on team preperation.

  83. Oh im not sure about that ann marie, not everyone thinks money and glam is the utopia of life.

    Jimmy McGrorory for example of Celtic back in the day on pittance with the hoops offered a world record transfer down to London to play for the glamours Arseanl , would of changed his life and everbodys life belonging to him but he loved the Celtic and that was it for him.
    As for you have to be a footballer to comment on football, i’m not havin that one. What standard qualifies, underage club, county, junior, inter, senior or what about the poor soul who might of been born with a condition or disability that prevented him/her from ever playing? That aul chesnut just doesn’t wash.

    Inter county players are fantastic individuals and are blessed to be born with the talent but it doesn’t make them supporters, lots of ex county wouldnt go to their next field to watch the county they once played for, supporters are here forever, players management and board come and go,

    Good luck to young Hanley, im not and i have no business judging his career choice.

  84. Would like to see Noel Connelly with Micheal Collins and Colm Mc as selectors get the job. A large number of the current team won an all Ireland title with Noel and Micheal. Pat Holmes has ruled himself out of the job. All 3 played in all Ireland finals with Mayo. They have all been involved in management with club teams in Mayo for the last number of years. There is no senior, intermediate, junior or u21 player in Mayo who is good enough that these 3 men don’t know about already.

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