Recently on the podcast – Mayo Football Podcast 2023 E23

In this episode of the Mayo Football Podcast, we look back at some of the content our club members on Patreon have got access to over the last few weeks. Rob and I review extracts from these pods, which feature Kieran Kilkenny, Conor Diskin, Kevin McLoughlin and Peadar Gardiner. 

The first extract we hear comes from Mayo GAA Performance Games Development Administrator Kieran Kilkenny who explains the work being done at county level with the U14, U15 and U16 groups. Next it’s Claremorris footballer Conor Diskin, who in recent months has had to cope with the tragic loss of his baby son Cillian and who then suffered a season-ending cruciate injury. 

We then hear from recently retired Mayo player Kevin McLoughlin who explains why he never did much in the way of media interviews during his time on the county team and who also talks about the pride his family took in his involvement with Mayo. Finally, newly appointed U20 manager Peadar Gardiner talks about his footballing philosophy and how he’ll want his Mayo U20 team to play.

This episode of the Mayo Football Podcast is now online and is available to listen to on iTunes, SoundCloud, Podomatic and Spotify. You can also listen to it here on the blog using the SoundCloud player below.

All of the audio clips you hear from the contributors on this show featured in pods first released on Patreon, where our club members get access to loads of exclusive content and more besides.

The monthly rate for club membership is €5 plus VAT but annual membership is also available at a 10% discount off the standard rate, where a single annual payment is made. Details on becoming a club member are available here.

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37 thoughts on “Recently on the podcast – Mayo Football Podcast 2023 E23

  1. Your work is immense Willie Joe,thank you very much for your great information about all things to do with Mayo football

  2. Some good listening in the podcasts. The topic of there being a poor overall standard on display in the senior championship arose again and while disappointing to hear it is nonetheless important that it’s flagged. Boyler saying that simple basics aren’t being executed. One would hope that the level of coaching in academies would enhance, strength and improve the skill set of players but I appreciate this is only for young players deemed capable of inter county standard. Hopefully this though does, over the coming years, raise the bar. A major factor of the disappointing standard at club level is (and we raised this in a previous/recent thread) the focus on retention of possession in a defensive minded match. Players now are afraid to take risk. Innovation and risk is drilled out of you at club level. I’ve been to games recently and listen to managers/coaches barking instructions from the line and it’s almost always ‘recycle, recycle, recycle’, ‘keep the ball’ ‘hold onto it’ etc. This is widespread in Mayo (and likely other counties too but I couldn’t care less about them) now and you can be sure most managers and coaches at club level from underage to adult are all at it. You rarely hear ‘Kick it long’ or ‘let it in long’. Players are afraid to kick the ball now unless it’s at least 70/30 in favour of their team mate getting it but we’ve come to a point where players now aren’t even looking up to kick it long forward. It’s short zig zag cross-cross ‘off the shoulder’ hand pass drills..‘truck and trailer’ shite!! It’s like rugby or something.

    If a player shows some innovation to try a long ball in he’ll be vilified if it doesn’t work out and that’s then a black mark against him in the selection process whereas Joe bloggs who successfully completes 100% short hand passes or sideways/backwards 20 yard kick passes, his stats look great in the post-match analysis but in reality he didn’t really do anything in the game.

    As they said on the podcast teams are are all setting up defensively now and players, due to a lack of space, ability combined with the fear of losing the ball are just playing crab football. The vast majority of the time it’s boring. Its the same to a degree now at senior inter county level.

    In my opinion teams are not quick enough in transition from defence to attack. A good defensive but counter attacking team should lure the opposition upon them. Look to crowd out space in your own defensive third, force a turn over and then cobra-like, hit the opposition with a lightening attack which includes kicking. I don’t think teams practice this at all. Coaches and players are consumed with possession and stats. It leads to slow sideways build ups and low scoring. Yes, teams who kick king take risk and will lose possession but you’re also much more likely to score, especially goals (if you take risk). Slow, laboured build ups rarely if ever result in goal scoring opportunities. When the ball does finall end up in the hands of a full forward they are surrounded by defenders and the whole attacking third is awash with players from both sides. Zero space.

    Forwards love quick ball and thrive in space. How do teams expect to score by slow handpassing play? That’s what’s happening and players are being coached this way.

    Even a glance back to Mayo v Dublin. We were crying out for some long ball into Aidan and it never came when we were chasing the game. Daft stuff altogether…and then he was taken off. Stop!

  3. @Mayonaze, agree with you completely the curse of endless recycling possession ..but v Dublin when we were chasing the game we could’nt kick the ball into Aiden , even if we wanted to, because Aiden was replaced 5 min into the second half.

  4. If you have a club team with decent forwards then you enhance their chances of scoring by giving them the ball with as few as possible players in and around them. It’s pretty much impossible to do that without kicking the ball to them.

    Scenario 1; if you have a strong full forward line and you lump 10 balls into them from midfield. Even if these are 50/50 balls and there’s a sweeper there too, there’s still a reasonable chance your forwards will win 4 or 5 of these and it’s highly likely a goal scoring opportunity will present so let’s say you score 1-2 from the 10 balls that go in.

    Compare this to the standard slower possession based build up.

    Scenario 2; Your half backs have the ball and in the 10 attacks the ball gets to your full forwards 8 times. Yes, this is 3 or 4 times more than in scenario one but they’re completely crowded. By the time they get it, 12 of the opposition are in their defensive third as well as probably 8 or 9 of your own team. Forget about goal opportunities and kicking a point is very difficult. From the 8 possessions your full forward line get, you’re probably doing well to get 3 or 4 points.

    One might argue that during the time your have ball in scenario 2 that the other team can’t score. The ‘they can’t hurt us if they don’t have ball’ line. Ok the flip side, with the scenario 1 approach you’re committing less of your team into attack so are better structured defensively at all times and with scenario 1 your full forward line are far more likely to get possessions.

  5. Sorry, that last line should be that in scenario 1 your full forward line will get more meaningful possessions during a game. In the slow build up ‘recycle’ approach the full forwards regularly get the ball near the ‘corner flag’, utterly useless and surrounded.

    @ leantimes, yes I meant that he should have been on and inside with direct ball going in. Once he went off the game was effectively up given how the game was going and the patterns of play etc.

    Too many managers in Mayo club football (at all levels) are obsessed with possession or rather obsessed with not giving the ball away. It’s like that’s the no.1 rule

  6. True Mayonaze, agree on speed of transition as well. The slowness of the county team moving ball forward this year was very notable especially after earlier league rounds where we were able to get ball in quicker as teams were set up more openly/were not up to speed as early as us.
    If counted the number of 35 yard plus passes in league and championship and graphed out over time I’d have a fairly educated guess what graph would look like.

  7. Willie Joe, I would disagree with you coment, regarding Mayo, should more not be in converstion regarding All Ireland. Last year won the National League, beat Galway in Salthill, (as a person living in Galway, they were giddy with thinking they could get to another all ireland final). And could make the argument that loss to Roscommon, was the unfair game schedule after league final. And loss to Dublin, ran out steam, agian game schedule off playing week after beating Galway, while Dublin has two week off.

  8. Yes I agree Mayonaze. But club footballers are not up to that level of fitness to transfer from defence to attack on continuous basis.
    Slow build up in my opinion is a tactic used to give players a breather as much as anything else.

    The best we can hope for is some kind of balance and variation in play. At the moment we get an overdose of slow build up.
    Good posts Mayonaze. Hopefully we will see more of what you are looking for from here on in.

  9. Thanks Ontheditch, but I actually think the Strategy 2 approach of going long much sooner and taking that risk of pumping direct ball into an ‘expectant and well drilled on receiving long ball’ full forward line actually conserves more players energy. You don’t have any of your 6 defenders or midfielders going forward in circumstances where you employ this tactic and in fact maybe only 2 of your half forwards; going in as runners for 2nd or 3rd phase play (ie: a full forward line player wins a ball and lays it off to an onrushing half forward. By doing this your entire defence and midfield players are saving energy, both physical and mental, because the slow ‘recycle’ stuff which far more often than not fails to result in a score is using energy and saps mental morale when it breaks down. It also generally pulls your entire half back line and midfielders into the opponents half and leaves you extremely susceptible to counter attack if and when the ball breaks down. You can only properly reset if the ball goes ‘dead’. Whereas with the direct/long ball strategy you are more likely to score goals; more likely to score, full stop (provided the lads inside are capable of winning 40-50% of the ball going in). Obviously you will have phases of play where you mix strategies otherwise you become too predictable, that is unless one strategy is continually reaping rewards.

    It’s about being clever and for some reason in Mayo and elsewhere no doubt, retention of possession [‘keep the ball’…’recycle’] is deemed the clever thing to do even if that means giving time to the opponent to drop 12+ players behind the ball inside their own half. To me, allowing the opponent to re-set and time to build a defensive wall is the opposite to clever!? Surely, getting the ball to your ‘scorers’ asap and in circumstances where they have optimum space is a recipe for success – even if this means an increased risk of losing possession (and if you do lose possession you’re giving them the ball in their full back line with your own team solidly set up).

    Maybe I’m missing something!??

  10. Sorry, I’m confusing matters now, I should have said Strategy 1 approach in above message (ie: the long ball in).

  11. No one is giving Breaffy a chance in the QF’s. Their main man is Aidan. They need 2, maybe 3 goald to beat Westport at the weekend. The only way to do is is quick ball to Aidan, even if he is double marked. If he is forced to go to the middle of the field to win possession then Breaffy can forget about any chance of a win. The game is up. Their only chance is by hoping he can cause havoc on the edge of the square. Breaffy should, by now, be incredibly well drilled on direct ball in and be using the strategy I mentioned. Don’t tell me that Aido wont win half the ball kicked in, or even if doublemarked be capable of breaking the ball to an onrushing team mate and if he does then Breaffy have possession close to their opponents goal with most likely less defenders in place (as many will be further out the field, marking their men etc). if Breaffy go with recycle football then they have no chance.

  12. Fair enough, Mayotillidie, but I would still argue strongly that getting beaten out the gate two years in a row at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage means we’re simply not currently part of the discussion where it comes to the All-Ireland. That can, of course, change but the manner of those two defeats are such that, for 2022 and 2023, we weren’t serious competitors where it really counted.

  13. I do see your point, Willie Joe. I think the loss against Cork, was very alarming, in group stages. That set up, a very difficult quarter final. But even the team of 10 years ago, use to only scrap thru qualifiers, and get better as they went along. It been a issue with Mayo for long time, they seem to play, to level of opposition, more average opposition, the more average we play. Better opposition, the better we play. If you look at Kerry this year, played Louth, hammered them, and we play them and nearly lose match to an inferior opposition. I can give numerous example of this, over the years. This is possible why we nearly everyone’s second favourite team outside of Mayo. Alway drama

  14. No, Mayonaze, you’re not missing anything. Coaches don’t like the mention of calculated risk. And therefore you have the drift back, casual in most cases into basketball style zones of your 6 forwards. That’s what coaches want to see. And we, the spectators get boredom.
    I guarantee you no one in Westport is writing off Breaffy. They offer a different challenge and are unlikely to rely on the predictable “packed defence” approach.
    Well keep the faith in that we might see more of what you are advocating. The present style hasn’t got anyone past winning county championship.
    Let’s see what we have to say on monday

  15. @Willie Joe.
    The 2022 QF against Kerry was a strange game. We were a point down with 20 minutes left and well in it. We managed just 4 points in the second half from 16 attempts and although Kerry got away from us in the end I thought the final score flattered them. They were there for the taking. It is of little consolation though. Our shooting was shocking in that second half. Turn Kerry over Mayo wide repeat repeat repeat

  16. I was thinking about our most significant wins in recent years. Galway in the league final and in Salthill. Kerry in Killarney. Dublin in the 2021 semi final.
    The common theme in those games was that we didn’t concede goals in any of them.
    One day the penny might drop that we need to Mind the House at all costs and stop conceding soft goals. We are too charitable and get very few if any freebies from others.
    I still think we are close to the top table but the collapse against Cork bothers me. The game was in the bag and it just needed a few calm heads.

  17. @Mayonaze,I completely agree with your analysis and thoughts regarding getting the ball forward as quickly as possible as opposed to this slow possession based build-up. You don’t need to be a top football coach,know a awful lot about football or, indeed, know anything about football. Under any heading, science, mathematics, logic and, especially, commonsense, getting the ball forward, as quickly as possible gives you the best chance of scoring-it is a no brainer. Well set up defensive teams get as many bodies back as possible into their own third-their objective is to limit and clog up space available to the attacking team and thereby significantly reduce their chances of scoring. The corollary is the more space gives the attacking team a much higher chance of scoring-you don’t need to be Einstein to figure that out. There is of course a balance to be maintained, but at the moment, this balance is all wrong, with the emphasis on safety first, keep possession etc. I would love to Mayo, in the coming season, being more direct, getting the ball forward to the opposition third, as quickly as possible, using kick passing and the natural speed of our players, of which we have many-this is especially important when we win turnovers, as this is when the opposition are most vulnerable to quick counter attacks. In addition, maybe the GAA will belatedly take the bull by the horns and make changes that will encourage more adventurous attacking and discourage these ultra defensive systems. And maybe a new Messiah will surface at some county and turn everything on its head and play enterprising attacking risk-reward football that is both successful and entertaining and confine this boring defensive stuff to the bin, where it belongs-we can live in hope. ?.

  18. Two each for Galway and Mayo . Jordan Flynn in as well..
    It just shows unless your still there on All Ireland final day the rest of the season means nothing..
    Funny our two nominations were our two injury prone players..

  19. I am a bit surprised McBrien was not nominated, Did DoC score at all in the championship.
    A great warrior, wish we could clone him.
    Jordan Flynn had a fine year.
    McCarthy not getting PoY ,Dubs will be furious.

  20. @wj Jordan flynn is in there too.

    Can’t have 2 much complaints about that really, in the eyes of most people round the country Flynn and Diarmuid were Mayos standout performers across the year, McBrien probably deserved a nomination too but you couldn’t really argue for anyone else.

    After all the clamour to anoint James Mc as player of the year I expect he will end up empty handed as he is listed as a midfielder up against Fenton and Rogers who are shoo-ins, though I doubt McCarthy is too bothered at this stage about personal trinkets

  21. Well done to Jordan flynn & Diarmuid o Connor on their nominations Well deserved !

    Really thought Jordan flynn stepped up a notch this year and Diarmuid is always a class act both big leaders in the team

    Agree mcbrien has been great this year along with calinan is well but both young I can see them getting nominations in the future though!

  22. DOC, been Mayo, most important player, especially this year with Lee retiring. Some engine. Jordan a up and down year, but totally deserved nomination. Think Jordan ceiling could be even higher,

  23. James McCarthy not nominated for Player of the year ???? ..Objective analysis of the All Ireland final must have done for James..Brian Fenton a far more worthy nominee..but it’s hard to see past David Clifford receiving his second PoTY award in a row now…Congratulations to Mayo’s Jordan Flynn, Diarmuid O Connor on their merited nominations.. and indeed Roscommon’s Enda Smith,..Galway’s Damian Commer, and Sean Kelly .

  24. A little surprised that Sam Callinan missed out on a young player nomination. Although it’s difficult to complain about the three that did get nominations

  25. @Shuffly Deck

    I saw that piece as well.

    The kicking figures will make the headlines but I think that the length of the games is probably the more important stats. 10 minutes longer in the space of 13 years, that’s close to a minute a year.

    Clearly that cannot persist, and it shows the change in fitness level in that period, but it also shows the change in thinking around the game. Controlling how long the ball is in play is now a valid tactical approach

  26. @Leantimes

    I’d be very surprised if the referees don’t have their own awards.

    On a more conceptual level though, shouldn’t the reward for being the best referee in the country, and thanks to Mr Gough that probably now be the best team of officials, be to work the All Ireland final?

  27. @FrostHammer it is not ordained in the rules that the ref can change a free on the word of his umpires.
    Having wrongly overruled the free should he not have given Kerry back possession from where they kicked the ball in.
    Also before CoCs ball that hit the cross bar Kilkenny took a free by handpassing the ball,not allowed.
    Linesman should have spotted it.
    Having said that I think he is the best Ref around.

  28. @Jr & Leantimes

    That wasn’t intended to be a comment on Gough’s performances.

    There was a lot mentioned, generally in commentary, about Gough’s extended match day squad. I think it’s an uncle, a brother and a childhood next door neighbour or something like that. Been working together for 20 years. And how closely they communicate during games.

    I don’t ever recall officialdom teams ever been discussed like that, but obviously didn’t quite enter the public consciousness as deeply as I thought

  29. Thanks @ Shuffly Deck…funny the timing of that piece. It’s pretty much underlining the points I was making and highlighting the fear in recent years to take any risk despite the fact that in games where two teams are relatively level that you need to take risk in order to create better scoring chances. Otherwise you get a snorefest and as much sideways stuff as rugby.

    In my opinion this tactic stems heavily from increased technology in the game showing possession stats. Post match evaluations focussing far too much on how many possessions each player had and what percentage of these found a team mate. It’s very narrow and just stupid in my opinion. Coaches who preach recycle football don’t are getting it all wrong.

  30. I’ll hold my hand up and say we’ll done Breaffy. Much deserved. Westport were awful but breaffy bullied them. A very good win.

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