Poll: who was our Player of the Year for 2020?

Photo: Irish Examiner (Sportsfile)

With New Year rapidly approaching and the Covid-era Championship season only recently ended, it’s time to consider the Mayo GAA Blog Player of the Year for 2020.

Past winners of this award – chosen by you, the voters – are Cillian O’Connor, Diarmuid O’Connor, Lee Keegan, Andy Moran and Colm Boyle.

As was the case in previous years, this year’s shortlist is derived from the votes cast in the Man of the Match polls that were run here on the site for the seven National League matches we played and the five Championship games. Weights have been applied to the raw data so that greater emphasis is placed on Championship performances.

When I sorted the data – with or without the weights – three players stood out well clear at the top of the pack (a big pack it was too, in total 38 players made appearances for us this year). In other years, I’ve had shortlists of five or six but I think that, by definition, such a list should be short.

The way the numbers came out this year lends itself to such an approach and so this year’s shortlist comprises three players. In alphabetical order, the nominees for the 2020 Mayo GAA Blog Player of the Year award are Eoghan McLaughlin, Oisín Mullin and Cillian O’Connor.

The poll is now open and the winner will be announced early in the New Year – best of luck to all three nominees.

Who was our 2020 Player of the Year?

  • Cillian O'Connor (73%, 1,009 Votes)
  • Oisin Mullin (20%, 282 Votes)
  • Eoghan McLaughlin (7%, 94 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,385

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30 thoughts on “Poll: who was our Player of the Year for 2020?

  1. Before reading the shortlist it was either Cillian or Eoghan for me. Cillian got my vote in the end given how well he did this year. With 5 goals and 40 points in 5 championship games and 10 points in his sole league appearance this year, it would be harsh not to give it to him.
    Eoghan did exceptionally well in his debut season though, he wasn’t far behind at all.

  2. Superb breakout years for Oisín and Eoghan but Cillian led the fight for us this year. He looked better than he has done in years and remains vital to Mayo.

  3. We are blessed with Oisin, Eoghan, Tommy, Mattie and Mark to name but a few, but Cillian is one of the stand out players in the Country this year and his achievements in his career to date can not be overstated, I therefore have voted this year for Cillian .

  4. Sharp , focused , lean and injury free cillian is the most important footballer in mayo ,poty sin e. Best year in a while . Hope we can get another four seasons out of him , hes our ticket to winning it , we will struggle when he hangs the boots . Conroy and carr to make up the ff line for me ,hope carr works his hole off to make it in 21 . That ff line can do damage .

    We need to stay completely focused on winning now . I dont give two shites what anyone has to say outside of mayo , this team is good enough to do it .

    Go out and annihilate this div two , every game ,keep winning . Win win win , just keep winning.

  5. How we start the decade versys how we started the last one is a lot stronger. Decade long push to take home Sam.
    – North strong clubs Knockmore, Ballina and Belmullet. This decade we should face up early to the amalgamations needed in the North. It works at underage, Naomh Padraig, Ardmoy McHale.
    This decade the obvious thing is to support better Muireadachs and Gortnor Abbey schools. Mayo needs a strong A grade school in the North and Muireadachs is the only capable drawing from Ballina, Ardnaree, Knockmore and Bonniconlon.
    East – Strong clubs Aghamore, Ballaghadereen, Charlestown. There is no school capable of being A grade. There are schools where GAA is badly lacking. Not since Aidan Campbell Swinford has a Championship Mayo senior starter/sub come out of the neighbours Swinford, Kiltimagh and Moy Davitts. We don’t need a Lough Lannagh, we need to stop player deserts developing where we are getting zero players. The actual available underage pick of those three clubs as an example would regularly win and contest A grade finals. I’m blue in the face explaining how Swinford is a top 8 available pick and yet the County board seem happy to ignore their slide. Swinford did try to fundraise for a GPO, commendable. Great people in Swinford who need support.
    South – Strong clubs Claremorris, The Neale, Garrymore, Davitts. Schools very strong Colmans and Ballinrobe.
    At this rate of development Mayo Gaels will become a strong club this decade based on their underage and player retention.
    Amalgamations like Carras seems to work.
    West – Strong clubs Westport, Castlebar, Breaffy, Ballintubber. Schools Rice College is strong.
    Overall in my view this decade lift Muireadachs up to A grade, support North Mayo Amalgamations and work with the club’s in East to lift standards. All of above would produce 1-2 more strong senior county players each and every year.
    We are producing lots of fringe players who are simply not athletic enough or good enough.
    To win Sam this decade the solution is nothing in the Mayo senior setup of coaching or facilities. It will be in the player pipeline.
    The player pipeline is club and school not the Mayo academy. If it was the Mayo academy then explain why Colmans, Geralds, Rice and Ballinrobe were attended by most of our new players? Would Oisin Mullin be senior now without Ballinrobe CBS? Eoghan McLoughlin Rice College? Tommy Conroy without Ballinrobe CBS? The four A grade schools have lifted Mayo. Build a fifth one.

  6. Just to note my meaning above was that the combined underage pick of Swinford, Kiltimagh and Moy Davitts would win and contest A grade finals. Simply based on size of a three club pick.

  7. The truth is that most of teams that meet us expect to win.
    All expect to beat us in a final. Does not happen in Connaught finals all the time but all irelands!!!!!!

  8. Who cares if teams expect to beat us? Did Kerry expect to beat us in the 2019 league final? It’s 2012 since someone other than Dublin beat us in Croke Park during championship.

  9. Interesting points you make there, JP.

    Can I ask your opinion on what went wrong with the minors this year?
    Was it just an anomaly (considering Covid, stop start training etc.), or has the flow of youngsters from our schools not been up to scratch over the past few years? Was there a high drop out, lack of player development?
    Our schools have been doing well recently, so I was surprised by the poor performance. Albeit Sligo are apparently improving in that grade.

  10. Some very interesting thoughts from Paul Galvin on the Irish examiner podcast interview with him. For the last 5mins of the interview he talks about the Mayo football psyche, as he’s living here now. He speaks very candidly and honestly I feel. He notes in particular how he can’t understand why there are pitch-invasions of McHale park after we lose League games, with the Mayo supporters getting autographs off the players.

    He said that as a player its a massive deal to lose a league home-game, on par with losing an All Ireland final, and he’d be straight to the shower asking serious questions of himself. He says this feeds into a broader issue in the County, namely, how we relate to the team, how they relate to us and how the team then relates to success and winning All Irelands. Especially in the context of our mission to win Sam. He’s clear the problem lies really with us as supporters. The culture of the county.

    Everything is “100 miles and hour”, not enough “listening”, examining the games we’ve lost etc. I think he means from a team perspective in relation to this point.

    Perhaps to win we need to become the most boring, predictable team in the world. The opposite of what we currently are. Less of the passion. Think about it. Its hard to change a mind-set though.

    We’re after losing our tenth final since ’89. Something is wrong. Very wrong. We were good enough for certain, especially over the last 8 years.

  11. Galvin wasn’t being nasty in any way, shape or form and was clearly reluctant to give his opinion given he’s living here and has to walk the streets (the interviewer posed the question to him re Mayo psyche).

  12. @Dan, I don’t know enough to comment regarding the minors. Covid meant I believe there was no training. From what I seen it looked like a down year talent wise.
    Cian McHale took some good scores. The half backline kept over carrying the ball or running into traffic. The forwards didn’t get great service. Eoghan Hughes barely got a pass and didn’t look as sharp as he did with Castlebar.

  13. I think the context there needs to be looked at. The ones looking for autographs and photos are the young kids who don’t care that much about the result either ways.
    I’m sure Galvin wasn’t being nasty and he’s probably not far off the mark in some of what he says but what are the players going to do if kids are asking for autographs and photos – ignore them?.

  14. Problem with Mayo is the work is not been done at Club Level, take Swinford as an example, produced P Carney back in the 50s , next good player was D Heaney in the 90s and nothing since , plenty of primary schools and a large secondary school and a Club playing Intermediate football but heading to Junior ranks., something wrong with the way Gaelic Football is run in that town and the same can be said about a lot more towns in Mayo.

  15. Has to be Cillian. Obviously he put in enormous effort to get himself into such great shape given his catalogue of injuries down the years. If he carries that form and grit into 2021 we will be in good shape. Eoghan and Oisin were excellent also and delivered above and beyond what was expected from two new kids on the block. Happy New year to all.

  16. 2 questions Willie Joe or anybody else.

    1. When is the draw made for 2021 Connacht championship?

    2. What is the thinking behind holding the 2021 All Ireland final in July? Surely if anything it should be held in its traditional month of September or even October to allow a greater chance of a big attendance been permitted. One would think that bringing it forward to earlier in the year is the last thing you’d do. Same with all the earlier round games too. Do they want empty stadiums again?

  17. Will get to that Galvin interview Liberal Role. Sounds interesting, you’ve summarised it so well, I think I have the gist.

    I’m not so sure about whether that analysis puts its finger on the matter. If this ‘culture’ was/is so manic, how have we got to AI finals, semi-finals, stayed in Div 1, won Div 1 last year? Why should one game (THE game) be the one?

    Remember when it used to be really manic? ’89, ’96, ’97. We came as close to winning (closer maybe) as we ever did. We have become much more restrained since then; we have become used to winning everything, except the big one?
    Was there even a pitch invasion (a small one if there was) in 2015 after our 5 in a row CF wins? Galvin is comparing us to Kerry no doubt, but that’s not a valid comparison – Kerry’s lineage is a of a different order, yet, even they have lost 2 finals and 2 semis to this Dublin. Remember it took Dublin a hell of an effort to get over the line in 2011. All teams in this (our) position struggle.

    Our record at home IS bad, but if the team were so affected by the crowd, how come they beat Donegal in the Super 8’s, when everything was on the line?

  18. Cillian is a true leader and we are always better when he is on the pitch. A great all round footballer. Good man John Cuffe – writing in Western People today “It’s about time that Mayo CB took a firm stand against those who use their national platform to mock as oppose to analyse the fortunes of our football team”. Finally a local media outlet has spoken out.

  19. @Culmore, the reason I’m never too fond of club football is this, their is a type of people running those clubs, give jobs to their friends not the best person for the job, even coaching, those same people never kicked a football when they were in School or at club level yet, looking out for their own children, I am not saying it happens in all clubs but the ones I was associated with it most definitely is the case.
    In Dublin there is a guy in charge of a full u13 year group, not even Irish but a good friend of the Chairman, there you have it.
    Good coaching is vital from 8 up to 12, if you dont get it right then, there is little improvement.

  20. True FBD, Galvin did mention the positive aspect of signing autographs for kids, and how this can spur youngsters on to play the game. He just can’t understand it when we lose at home.

    For me, it shines light on the more important point about why we’re losing so many league matches at home. This is justified criticism for one big reason in my view: because we’re a bloody excellent team, and have been so consistently. We should be winning well at home. Regularly.

    Galvin also makes the point that its possible to “win the All Ireland during the league”. We take a very different view of the league generally, and more often than not we just muddle through. Although the fact that a lot of the squad are in Dublin in spring time does impact preparation etc. But still, we have the players and talent to win far more home games and this must be a future focus. Our win in 2019 was very much an outlier.

    Great points catcol, I can’t argue with any of that. And yes, he did compare us to Kerry in terms of how each set of supporters view their respective teams. Indeed we’ve been hearing that for years!

    Totally agree about Dublin in 2011. Only for Kerry bottling it in the last 10mins, and for a soft free at the end for the Dubs to win it, the last 9 years may have been very, very different. To be fair to Dublin in that match though, they put themselves in the position to win it. Strong final quarter burst. That’s when it’s needed and it’s something we’ve always lacked, right back as far as ’89.

    Getting over the line is a massive barrier, regardless of how we as supporters behave. I don’t know how we can overcome this and its an unenviable position for the team to be in. Less emotion might help. Like the Dubs. Focus on repetition, improving skills etc. The fear I’d have is that we won’t easily replace the talent that was there over the past 10 years. Standout talent by any standards. Circa 2013 we were beating teams out the gate. We’ve consistently reached finals. At times our form was patchy, but at other times we were magnificent. We’ve every right to have high expectations. My worry is that our chance may be gone. But I’m not without hope. All depends on how the team respond to this latest defeat and how they process the defeat. Despite the fact there was no crowd this year, you still got the sense that the weight of expectation impacted some of our players. No shame in that. I’m sure as a squad+management they acknowledge and discuss all this internally. Pressure is a killer though and the immense difficulty to get over the line should never be underestimated. If only the squad could create an impenetrable bubble of some kind.

  21. Carrot face – I think the championship draws are sometime in January. The intercounty championship had to be played in the 1st half of the year as club activity isn’t allowed under level 5 restrictions.

  22. I would like to wish you WJ your family and all the contributors on this blog a very Happy New Year .May the coming year bring ye all Happiness and joy. Up Mayo

  23. The last thing players want after a home league defeat is to spend 10-15 minutes on the pitch signing autographs.
    However, What do they do?
    Imagine if all the players ran for the dressing rooms after the game and ignored the autograph hunters. What would they be called then by our media friends.
    Most of these kids who go for the autographs probably don’t understand the implications of the result.
    Perhaps the players should be allowed tog in, shower etc and have a meet and greet with supporters then 20 minutes after the game. If supporters really want the photo etc they will stay on.

  24. Do you what? I’m kind of sick listening to people from outside the county trying to analyse us and why we haven’t won the AI. All kinds of theories emerge – yes including Paul Galvin. I think his hypothesis says as much about his own psyche as it does about us.
    Do they really want to know why we haven’t won the AI? Well it has nothing to do with any kind of bullsh*t theories. The answer is incredibly simple – Dublin! Here we have an extraordinary Dublin team that came along at a time when we have our best team ever – a team that during any other era would have won at least one and probably several AI’s.
    And I prefer to look forward – not back except to learn lessons that help improve our performance. Happy new year to you all. Roll on 2021!

  25. Paddy Durkin was being mentioned through the campaign as being in contention for Player of the Year on the national stage.
    He got injured in the Final, and that unfortunate happening coincided with Dublin regaining a grip on the game.
    No disrespect to our three shortlisted players, buts I’m scratching my head if it’s a positive or negative that Paddy isn’t on the ballot?

  26. A further point Liberal Role:

    You need a bit of luck to get over the line. We’ve drawn the short straw in Dublin (the hard, really hard thing, is that they are now much harder to beat; smarter, more confident, tougher, fitter, than say 2017), and that’s not likely to change soon.

    Consider Limerick hurlers, now being touted to emulate Dublin ( I have big doubts). To get over the line which team would you like as your opponents? No disrespect to Galway (2018), and Waterford (2020), but wouldn’t you prefer them to Kilkenny, or Tipp? Yes, I know Limerick beat everybody this year, but opponents in the big one matter. Or take Cork footballers – knocking at the door post 2006. They finally nailed it – against Down in 2010 – again wouldn’t you take Down over Kerry who had their number in that period. Similar story for Cork in ’89 – us!

    I remember when Man Utd under Fergie finally won the League Div 1. By God they really stumbled over the line to win that one, but after that… And there are numerous examples from all sports.

  27. @diehard. Yes Dublin are a reason we didn’t win but luck deserted us big time also. I mentioned in a post previously about the 2 own goals in 16, the sending of in 17,John small tipping Andys goal bound shot onto the post in the 15 draw comeback, could even talk about 13 and Dublin 1st 2 scores handed to them when they were struggling caff kicked a free to Connolly to get 1st score and brogan fisted goal those 2 scores got them into the game. My point is we were good enough on those occasions to win but a combination of bad luck and poor decisions let us down.

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