Relegation not impossible but it’s very unlikely

Okay, let’s get the bad news out of the way first. We’re still not safe from the drop in this year’s League campaign, despite having accumulated in our first three matches more points than we managed in all seven games last year.

But here’s the good news: it’s only a very unlikely set of circumstances that would see us relegated and, with two rounds of matches remaining, our fate in terms of top tier survival rests very much in our own hands.

Here’s how things stand in Division One after five rounds of matches.

As you can see, despite those losses to Dublin and Galway we’re still third in the table, still in with a shout – albeit one that has faded fast – of reaching the Division One decider. Our elevated position also means there’s a buffer of no fewer of three counties separating us from the two relegation places.

At the bottom, one of Cavan or Monaghan – possibly both – will go down. They meet in Round 6 at Clones and the losers of that game will be relegated, regardless of how they either of them do in Round 7. A draw in that match would also mean neither of them could overhaul us at the finish.

Galway host Roscommon at Pearse Stadium the same afternoon. If the Tribesmen win that one then the Rossies can’t catch us either so a Galway win in Round 6, irrespective of what happens in St Tiernach’s Park, will keep us up with two matches still to play.

That’s because, don’t forget, that the Round 6 matches are all being played on Saturday 16th and not on the Sunday, which is St Patrick’s Day. Both the game in Clones and the one in Salthill throw in at 2pm that afternoon whereas our lads don’t get going down in Tralee until 7pm.

That’s the optimistic scenario from our point of view. But, of course, if we nick a result – any result, a draw would be grand – in Austin Stack Park then we’re already safe heading into Round 7. Even if we lose to Kerry – and, let’s face it, that’s extremely likely to happen, despite our good League record in matches played in the Kingdom – a win or a draw in our final match, at home to Monaghan, would keep us up.

The wrong result in that Monaghan fixture, though, could also be the one that sees us ending our long tenure in the top tier. That would happen if (a) Monaghan first beat Cavan and (b) Roscommon beat Galway and then draw with Kerry (or vice versa, i.e. draw with Galway and beat Kerry) or if they beat both of them and (c) we lose both to Kerry and Monaghan.

This scenario comes in two variants. One sees Roscommon beat both Galway and Kerry, in which case our defeat to Monaghan – following on from a loss to Kerry – relegates us, with Monaghan surviving courtesy of the head-to-head rule. The second, less likely, variant sees Roscommon winning one of their remaining two games and drawing the other, with the points difference (we’re currently +15 over Monaghan and +18 over Roscommon) swinging sufficiently away from us over the final two rounds to send us packing on that metric.

What happens to Tyrone and Galway over the final two rounds of matches also needs to be factored in from our point of view, as neither of them are safe yet. If Tyrone lose both to Dublin and Galway – not a wholly unrealistic story-line – then we’d finish above them and so survive, regardless of that other lurid picture I painted above. Conversely, if Galway lose to Roscommon and go on to lose to Tyrone as well and assuming someone else joins us on six points, we’d also be likely to survive, in light of our points difference lead (+12) we enjoy over the Tribesmen.

So, it’s far easier to identify scenarios in which we retain our Division One status for next year than it is to pinpoint the unlikely set of circumstances that would lead to our relegation. The bottom line, however, is that if we get anything from our final two matches then we’re not relying on anyone else to help us stay in the top tier. As the saying goes, the Good Lord helps those who help themselves.

69 thoughts on “Relegation not impossible but it’s very unlikely

  1. Fair play Willie Joe.

    On the pitch it’s hard to know where we are at. The last 2 games have been very sobering but the fact that Horan keeps changing about 6 of the team per game means it’s difficult to judge & difficult to see any pattern of play. Concerning since we were back training a lot earlier than usual, but Horan is a shrewd operator so I trust him.

    Ruane, McDonagh & Plunkett (wherever he has been the past 2 games) have shown well. Others like Reape & Diskin have shown well in some games & hopefully D Coen gets another chance in better conditions.

    The form of some of our experienced defenders is most worrying though. Midfield could be a concern too, as while we have lots of mobility now, we haven’t a dominant fielder.

  2. Good man WJ, that clears it up. We should be grand. Personally I see Roscommon and Cavan going down.

    At the start of the league, we all would have taken survival and a few players un-earthed, if it was offered to us. I think thats going to be the case and im delighted. Yes the Galway result was annoying, and I have to admit, Galway have produced far better athletes and footballers than us in the last couple of years. But, the likes of Reape, Ruane, McDonagh, Diskin, Plunkett and McCormack (when given the chance) are meeting the criteria to nail a starting place this Summer. Diskin has been injured, but he is the exact type of fast direct running forward we’ve lacked…and he is a big lad aswell. Ryan O’Donohue is waiting in the wings aswell, our future no.11 imo. So im happy with our league to date, shooting needs to improve, but that can be worked on.

    As I’ve said before, let the Dubs win their 5 in a row and be done with it, Gavin and alot more will walk either way after this season. We should be building for championship 2020 now, and I think JH is doing that. The foundation for a proper assault on Sam next year, starts with us regaining Connacht. A win over Roscommon and Galway in this years championship would really inject confidence into the new lads, a provincial title would be a great achievment for Horan. That should be our aim with 3 or 4 new players starting.

  3. We’ll lose to Kerry scrape a draw against Monaghan and all breathe a sigh of relief and head on the session to New York. I think Horan is doing the right thing and giving young fellas a chance he is looking at the bigger picture and we won’t reap the rewards this year as it takes time for new players to adjust and chesion to emerge. I think Boyler Andy and maybe Keith will call it a day this Summer. Whilst we might sneak Connaught this year that will be the height of it but the future looks bright if we continue to rebuild.

  4. Sorry, but I don’t entirely agree that Horan is giving young lads a chance. He brought Moran on the last night before any young forward and left it to the 34th minute of the second half before introducing Reape. He left Boyle on for the full game even though everyone could see he was a liability in that second half and should have been sent off, not taken off. Galway targeted Boyle in the second half, running straight at him, and won three frees in a row from sloppy tired Boyle tackles. They pointed all three frees. If Horan was so intent on giving young lads a chance, where was Plunkett? Why has McCormack not being giving a proper run? Where is our best defensive find of the last two years Eoin O’Donoghue? I think it is safe to say that we will not see any of these lads come the Summer now.

  5. Yea – – I agree with the above and am happy also to give youth it`s fling. All the same I think it cant do a young

    lads confidence any good to bring him on in the last few minutes of a game. Surely that should only be done

    when we are trying to waste a bit of time.

  6. Good to see the permutations laid out, and if results go our way on the afternoon of the 16th, we could be safe ahead of throw-in that night.

    One point I’d like to make regarding the game last Saturday, I though we defended very naively, both during the double black card, and with the wind in the second half when we got within a point.
    On both occasions, we were man on man in defence, and beaten to the ball by faster Galway players. That left us very vulnerable, with no additional cover once a defender is beaten.
    I was surprised we didn’t use one of the spare men to shore the defence, all we needed to do was limit their lead in the first half, instead we opened ourselves and let them extend it.

    In the second half, they kicked the ball over our defenders, who were out in front of their men, but again the faster Galway men beat us to the ball and drew unnecessary frees from our perspective. This also allowed them to timewaste to their hearts content. I think I timed the late foul on Walsh at approx 31:30, he eventually took the free himself after some questionable treatment at ~35:20. That was just one example, they were doing it from minute one of the second half and Deegan never pulled them on it.
    I’ve nothing against them doing what they can and any team would do the same with a lead against a gale, but the ref should have clamped down on it, and there should have been far more than 6 minutes added owing to all those injuries that needed treatment.

    As a seasoned team, we need to be far more match smart.

  7. Is that second “less likely” scenario correct WJ? I thought if ye and Ros finish on the same points then Mayo automatically rank higher because of the round one result? I could be wrong though, those permutations read like hard maths.

    From a distance, the on-paper position for Mayo looks reasonably ok. As many have mentioned, winning the league wouldn’t have been high in too many people’s expectations compared to using the opportunity of competitive games to a establish a 2019 team that includes some fresh faces. The signs aren’t certainly ALL bad in that regard.

    The questions I had at the outset of JH’s appointment still remain though. To make the AI-winning breakthrough a team has to carry a winning mentality, has to have a reliable game-plan that delivers on player strengths and also has to bring something new or at least somewhat unique that will cause oppositions difficult problems. Of course there are a million other details but those three things have been consistent features of winning teams in the past.

    Looking at Mayo 2019 so far, the winning habit clearly isn’t present yet. Could it be engendered through a Championship run? Maybe..
    Likewise for game-plan. I couldn’t describe anything distinctive about the Mayo patterns or movement in the games I’ve seen so far (admittedly only highlights plus the Dublin game in Croker) but equally that may not be on show while the priority is to introduce and experiment. But time is running out.
    And certainly, there haven’t been any obvious innovations that would trouble opposition. If anything, some of the Mayo X factor elements from recent years are missing (e.g. dynamism, ferocious tackling) … but then again, its “only the league”…

    I do think Mayo will be competitive this year but I amn’t convinced beyond that (reaching a semi-final would exceed expectations) and the best chance for the ultimate AI breakthrough involves continually building the multi-year project. I think I said before that 2021 or 2022 seems a realistic target.

    This year, unsurprisingly, its Dublin or Kerry. Kerry are coming with a refreshed group, a young core that know how to win, some real individual talent, a variety in their game-plan and a pressure game that would suggest the influence of the backroom overlap from Mayo’s past.

    That said, there is plenty of drama and excitement to come, with Mayo in the middle of it, no doubt, and I look forward as always to witnessing some of that journey via this excellent blog and community.

  8. We just need to stay competitive and avoid a hammering by Kerry and that should see us home. Monaghan not big scorers or great travellers either. It would be a serious bonus to get something v Kerry and would restore huge confidence.

  9. When you are losing in a tight game there is now an oft missed reason why you should put on all of your subs by around the 68th min mark before the timekeeper calculates injury time to be announced. It is 30 seconds per sub. What is worth more, 30 extra seconds in which to get a score or the unlikely extra ability of a starter playing in injury time on 70 min legs?
    Similar if you are winning in a tight game I have yet to see a manager be smart enough to put on three subs at the same time. Cutting 1 min off the injury time calculation. What better way to be defensive than reducing the time available to score 🙂
    I did see a game where a team lost a narrow lead and if they had put on their subs at the same time there wouldn’t have been enough time to get the late equalizer.

  10. Great post Willie Joe, but I’d query your scenario where both ourselves and Galway are in the drop zone? Galway would surely be ahead of us as a result of head to head, which I think comes into play first, before points difference (assuming of course that any defeats we suffer are of the 1, or 2 point, variety.

  11. Never heard that thirty second rule per sub applied to GAA , I always thought that was just a soccer rule .

  12. Mayo news reporting an ankle injury for SOS….any info on length of time out?

  13. Thanks WJ. I did a quick check before seeing this and decided I’d literally not spend a second worrying about relegation. It ain’t happening and it will hopefully be in the rear view mirror before we even step on the field again.

  14. Since Saturday had a few discussions on James Horan and his policy of young players. I’d agree with Pebblesmeller above, i don’t think he is at all giving it a chance, In fact i think Stephen Rochford was better at it. If you look back at last year’s league there were lots of players tried, Eoin o Donoghue, Conor Loftus, Michael Hall Adam Gallagher amongst others. Cian Hanley, O Donoghue, and Loftus got championship action.
    This year either Andy starts or is the first on with Kev Mc. Like for a young player to see a 35 year old coming on ahead of him what signal does it send out? When i see Colm Boyle starting and playing full games at centre back as an opposition i am happy, he fouls a lot, and by 50 mins the legs are gone, as proved by Heaneys goal last year and on Saturday night.
    I saw Diskin, plunkett Reape in the FBD in Tuam this year and i thought they looked energetic and good ball players, he has to stick with them.
    If all midfielders are fit for the Rossies in the summer will Ruane start? Likewise if all the forwards are fit will Fionn Mc Donagh start? Id have my doubts.

  15. Have to disagree with you there Tuamstar, loftus, hall and Gallagher had been in the squad before last year, possibly O donuhoe too. You can’t pick out the number of players introduced over the 3 years Rochford was there and compare them in number to the amount Horan has introduced over that last 5 games. You’re not comparing like with like there.

    So far Horan has brought in Plunkett, McCormack, Reape, Diskin, McDonagh, Moran and Ruane, he’s making 6 changes per game. It would be senseless to play 15 new players in every game. The mix of youth and experience needs to be right. And at some stage he’ll have to start thinking about a settled 15.

  16. Have to disagree with you there Tuamstar. The players you mention from last year, were not new last year; all had seen action in 2017. Adam Gallagher was brought back, which was good. This year the following newbies have seen action: Macdonagh, Reape, Diskin, Plunkett, MacCormack, Ruane, Treacy, Moran, Coen, D, – that’s 9 and there will be more. Horan was right to bring on Kevin Mac, Seamie and Chris B. against Dublin as they had no game time. Of course, it is a critical question: will all/some/any of these newbies see championship action?

    I take your point on Boyler – up to a point; his strengths outweigh his deficiencies. It’s always interesting though to see Galway fans give an objective assessment of our players. @Big Mike was insightful too in his assessment of Darren Coen. I hadn’t rated him at all, but on reviewing the admittedly, skimpy, highlights, he did do good things, though a knowledgeable pundit in the pub (!), maintained he was well off the pace fitness-wise.

    And on Galway, Walsh, as I said earlier flatters a bit, but he did nail the late frees very well and that stuff matters. Galway have had a range of free-takers in all these Mayo games (Walsh, McHugh, Armstrong) who have been accurate at short and long distances. O’Laoi also looked good.

  17. Well said NiallMC1983, Horan has also given time to Ciaran Treacy and D. Coen (who never got a sniff under Rochford). Tuamstar, with respect, your only trying to stir the pot with a comment like that. Im sure other readers wont take the bait. Rochford was an excellent manager, and was treated very unfairly, but introducing new/young players was his biggest negative. Anyone with the slightest interest in Rochies reign knows that.

  18. It is possible that Horan is keeping Eoin O’Donoghue, Conor Loftus and Caolan Crowe aside until Championship, assuming them to have been adequately tried and introduced on the playing field previously. We have introduced and given solid game time to a whole raft of new players this year – Fionn McDonagh, Conor Diskin, Brian Reape, Ciaran Treacy, Mattie Ruane (and to a lesser extent Michael Plunkett) – and adding these to Conor, Eoin and Caolan previously mentioned that’s not bad in terms of regeneration for the years ahead. A future team has to be built and here it looks like it is being built. We may only see some of this year’s newbies introduced as regulars properly next year but they’re getting their experience already. Although we got a ‘pasting’ versus Dublin, for example, two weeks ago, I can’t imagine how valuable a baptism of fire at the top level that was for our newbies to possibly gear them for more regular starts next year.
    It’s interesting to me that Horan has started Higgins in every game. A player who some think might retire next year is being seen as a key part of the Mayo strategy this Spring and I’d imagine into the summer. It looks to me like Horan is sharpening core players for the season ahead – Higgins and Keegan being two. Our defence is being seen as a confident area not needing major rebuilding as yet. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mayo really are going to go for a whirl this year once they can get themselves going properly – remember we have to regain form after a terrible year last year and difficulty of collective training so far this Spring. It’s hard to know, of course, and only time will tell, but I’d wager there’s life left in the old dog yet and along with that let’s hope there’s a good supporting cast of new players being built up to take over positions as older players eventually retire.
    I’m sorry for being a bit controversial here but as good as Galway certainly are, with top class individual players, and although we’ve lost to them many times now early in the year, I’d wager that Mayo in full flight would outdo them with tempo. This is why I’d like to see the team later in the year get that ‘sputtering plane over the Atlantic approaching land’ described in an article by Keith Duggan in the Irish Times in late 2017 get their act together and show us what they can do.

    I know this is a strange post – apologies in advance for it. It’s not a fully rational post but it’s not completely unlikely either : ) We’ll see.

  19. The key reason for losing to Galway was not taking our chances in the second half……but this of course is a recurring theme and in general the biggest criticism of Mayo teams past and present. It’s arguably the No.1 reason we haven’t won an AI since 2012.

    My point is, notwithstanding all the frenzied debate on this forum re tactics, selections, bad luck etc;….must there be an acknowledgement that we don’t produce the top class forwards required to beat Dublin/Kerry?

    After all, look at the forward talent available to Kerry right now! Geaney, Walsh, Clifford, O’Se etc……..I hate to admit it but we don’t compare.

  20. Am I right in thinking WJ, that Cavan can’t overhaul us regardless of what happens, because with 4 points between them and us, and 4 points to play for, we would finish above them in any case on the back of our head to head win over them?

  21. Good post Swallow Swoops.
    On our current defensive form I’d be surprised if Crowe and Eoin Odonoghue are not certain starters come summer.
    Maybe it’s wishful thinking but perhaps Horan is thinking let’s just keep rotating, knowing fairly well who he be calling on come cship. I’m pretty sure though that he didn’t bargain on the team playing as poorly as they didin the last two matches.
    Time will tell.

  22. Richie H – if both ourselves and Cavan finish on 6 points then by virtue of the head to head we stay up but if three teams finish on 6 points including ourselves and Cavan then it reverts to scoring difference and if Cavan posted two decent wins and we got turned over by decent margins then they could prevail on scoring difference.

    That’s my understanding of how it works.

  23. I think it was 2016 when we finished on 6 points along with Cork and another team. Even though Cork had destroyed us in our game, they got relegated as we had a better scoring difference.

  24. All The Way, that is correct. Tyrone drawing one of their remaining games and Cavan winning their two remaining games will have three teams sitting on six points which means scoring difference will decide the positioning. That would require a win over the Dubs for Cavan however with a big score in either of their remaining games. More likely that Monaghan would be the ones to relegate us.

  25. Mayo dunphy its called a debate, i only offered an opinion, hardly trying to stir. He has given game time to guys but after 5 games the only two definite starters are Ruane and Mc Donagh. Will he start Plunkett in Kerry? I think Diskin should start as well. I just dont see the long term benefit of starting the likes of Andy and Colm Boyle and Vaughan.
    I would have been a lot more excited to see a midfield partnership of O Connor and Ruane.

  26. Wide Ball, had the Rossies not destroyed Cork that year we would have been relegated! Thank you Roscommon!

  27. Swallow Swoops – No way are O’Donoghue, Crowe and Loftus being saved for championship. If they don’t see some game time in the next 2 games we can assume they’re not in Horan’s plans.

  28. Tuamstar, I completely agree with ya re: Andy and Boyle. My grievance with your first post was, that you alluded to Rochford playing more young/unproven players than Horan, which is factually incorrect.

    Id have started a whole host of youth against Dublin, and got slated here for stating that. As you say their isnt much point starting so many “seasoned” players. I would start Vaughan though, he still only 30 and has probably the best engine in the squad. Andy and Boyle should be impact subs imo, maybe come championship that will be the case.

  29. Wide Ball, we’ll have to wait and see about those players. As you say, there are two games left to play and that’s lots of time for players to feature. It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to me if O’Donoghue, in particular, didn’t appear this year. We saw his reliability as a defender in last year’s League when Keith was absent. We even saw him raid forward to score points including in that game against Kildare in Newbridge.
    Crowe was excellent in the game against Donegal in last year’s League. And Loftus has played several times in Championship and is a proven goal scorer, indeed has even shown composure to kick frees in that Donegal League game already mentioned. We’ll see what the next games bring but I didn’t think we had the luxury of overlooking players of that ability, hence my assumption that we’d see them come Championship. Of course, I’m only speculating though, not really arguing.

  30. I don’t think you can compare Horan and Rochford in terms of introducing young players as both are managing under different circumstances. Horan obviously has an aging team which needs rebuilding while Rochford inherited a side at the top of their game (in very difficult circumstances which limited team selection) and proceeded to get to two All Ireland finals, very difficult to change a team after losing by a pt. Also all the players Horan is trying now we’re too young and not ready under Rochfords reign. Comparing the two scenarios is not straight forward

  31. I agree with Swallow Swoops I would not write us off this year. How often in the past has this great Team come back again and again? I think we have a great chance in Tralee. Kerry have one foot in the League Final and Keane may use this game to blood some younsters.
    For once can JH start Aido as FF and use some direct ball into him. Ruane and O Connor for Midfield. Id start Higgins in the half forward line and start Plunkett, Reape and Mc Donagh. Hennelly in goal. Vaughan in FB v Tommy Walsh and have a right cut at Kerry. Kerry as usual will be arrogantly confident of victory so Mayo need to hit them hard from the start.
    Our Forwards need to shoot on sight of the Kerry goal and take responsibility not just hand pass it off to someone else. Its a night for Leaders such as AOS and KH and DOC and LK to stand up to Kerry and show example to the young lads.
    IMO Team to start v Kerry
    O Donoghue, V aughan, Coen
    Keegan, Plunkett, Durcan
    Ruane , O Connor
    Mc Donagh, D Coen, Higgins
    Reape, O Shea, Doherty.
    Go neirigh an tadh le Mhuigheo.

  32. Horan reminds me of Brian Cody in his assessment of effective IC players. First and foremost, are they made of the right stuff – out and out, selfless competitors? He decides on players very quickly. If they’re not, then he moves quickly on. There have been a few players that Rochford tried – but ultimately weren’t suited to the physical/psychological rigours of IC fare. Horan won’t waste time trying these players again. Harsh? Maybe, but he knows what he wants from players, and is decisive. He operated in the same way with Turloughmore hurlers, and got results! He has held numerous trials, and will always put out his most competitive and trusted players. Supporters need to be patient..

  33. Surely conor loftus needs game time now , we need to work on his potential. You can’t be going into championship with all similar type forwards . We need a good kicker of a ball in there .

    Yes there were plenty of different reasons why we didn’t best Galway , daft fouling, not setting up properly against 13, wides, etc etc but the one thing that was special was the pass from the Galway forward that created the goal , that bit of magic . Some mayo folk just don’t appreciate that stuff ,it annoys the hell out of me , it’s like they are not really Orthodox football people .

  34. SOS out for rest of league – RTÉ News website. Caff and PD expected to be back for Kerry match.

  35. Conor Loftus hasn’t been involved since the FBD game against Galway in which he was withdrawn at half time. He touched the ball 2-3 times that day. He;s not injured so hes obviously not in Horans plans at this moment in time.

  36. I agree Sean Burke, that pass form O’Laoi was sublime. The weight of the pass, considering the strong wind blowing from behind him, was inch perfect and took 2 or 3 Mayo defenders out of it. The pass was that good it left a 2-on-1 attack through on our goal. Not once did we look like carving anything open, with or without the wind.

    Cullinane said it on the podcast, we don’t have one player that can do that.

  37. Loftus played brilliantly against Kerry when they were chasing the game, and left lots of space for our forwards to operate. That suits Conor. He’s always struggled from play against tight defences, similiar to Regan in the sense he just cant win his own ball or loses it when the pressure is on and its compact. He is a lovely natural footballer, but it is’nt the 90’s anymore, you need to be bull strong now and able to with stand the hits in contact. I feel he struggles big time with physicality of it all and maybe Horan has identified that. Still relatively young, and may play a bigger role if ups the physicaloty big time.

  38. I agree with you there Mayomad, it’s hard to compare Horan and Rochford and their willingness to introduce young players.
    Rochford clearly thought there was a final push left in the old guard and stuck with them, he was a kick of the ball away from being right in 2017.
    It was last year that I felt was the missed opportunity to begin the transition. Even the most optimistic Mayo supporter could see that we were a busted flush once Galway beat us in Connacht, there was no way the older lads in the team were ready for another long slog through the qualifiers.
    That’s when we needed to freshen things up and introduce some of the younger lads, but that would have only been viable if they had some valuable experience gained through the league.
    If those younger players would have had a years experience already under their belt, we would be reaping the benefits this year.
    Still, no point harping back to what might have been. Rochford was an excellent manager and we have another one now in Horan. Patience is required though.

  39. Pebbles, we do have that player! Conor Loftus, (ref, pass to Andy in Kerry semifinal replay in ’17, pass to Andy v Dongegal in league last year, are just 2 examples that spring to mind).

  40. Dan, to be fair to Stephen Rochford last year he brought in James Durcan, Cian Hanley, Eoin O Donaghue to the first team and tried out Adam Gallagher plus carried a large development panel. So I would say he had begun the process of freshening up the team. Im sure he would have accelerated the process this year had he being given the opportunity. I do agree we do have an excellent manager in Horan and yes we do have to be patient and give him time to develop a new team.

  41. Loftus, mcdonagh, James durcan and Brian reape, all shown promise , we need to start trusting these guys with a proper run and be patient. Like all mayo supporters I have nothing but respect and gratitude to the lads who have battled like fucking gladiators these last few years and they still are to the fore yet I’m just not convinced the lads above are getting the freedom they need to express themselves when some are roaring instructions constantly.

  42. I thought that comment from Cullinane was complete BS to be honest but then, it doesn’t take much for a Galway fella to get cocky, I hope to god we get to play them in croke Park at some stage this summer. I agree last year was a bit of a wasted year but Rochford obviously thought he has one last push with the old guard. James has given game time to plenty of lads but at some stage he’s going to have to settle on a team and persist with it. Out of the newbies I’d have plunkett, Ruane, McDonough and reape in for Championship. I would have thought o’donuhue would have nailed a place down by now but unless he gets then next two games I can’t see it.

  43. I’d agree with you there on Plunkett, Ruane, McDonagh, Reape (and/or Diskin).
    It may well be “only New York” we’re playing, but it’d be a good sign to see them start that game.
    I’d have my doubts about Plunkett getting the no.6 spot though, we seem to be reverting to type when it comes to the backs.
    EOD is a strange one. I thought he was a nailed on starter after last year, but his lack of game time this year would suggest otherwise.

    I think we’ll be definitely safe by the time we face Kerry Saturday night, so the team selections for the next 2 games could be telling for certain players that have been on the fringes so far.

    Still not buying into the whole doom and gloom that followed the Galway game.
    We’ve been here before at this time of year, best to hold fire until the real stuff gets going in a couple of months.

  44. James horan has an issue as there doesn’t seem to be a sufficient number of young lads putting up their hands to try and put pressure on the established players. Nothing sharpens players more than someone showing better than them on the B team, if a player is moved to the B team and is replaced by his lesser (in his mind) he will fight on his back to regain his status.

    Sometimes in teams there are a few sacred cows who seem almost irreplaceable both in the supporters minds and on accession on the managers team sheet. A spell on the bench can often sharpen their enthusiasm and give a youngster a chance to shine. Mayo simply have to give youth a chance in the next two games, I know there is a whisper of a possibility that ye can be relegated but there won’t be much money on that particular betting slip.

    Sometimes on an older team in transition the younger players find themselves sharing the field with their childhood heroes, these old warhorses have to lead the drive for home and take active responsibility in the control of a game. The management must encourage them to lead, inspire and guide the youngsters with their experience but in that balance they must also insure that the younger players get encouragement to develop and follow their instincts. Nothing worse than a player spurning an good opportunity and trying to find the consistent score getter because of a fear of possible criticism from an established player.

    Kerry will put out a good team but we may rest a few players as we are all but in the final at this stage when one considers all the variables in the mix. One concern for us is that while we have won all our games thus far the margin of victory has been low. Coupled with this we have not yet really bossed a team throughout any game and have had nip and tuck battles almost throughout.

  45. with little chance of beating Kerry in next game, Mayo then heading for 4 defeats in a row, when if ever did this happen before.

  46. I think that particular scenario of logically illogical mathematics happened in 1984 Culmore.

  47. On a slightly different note, does anybody have any idea what/if Chairde Maigheo members will be getting this year?

  48. Culmore we lost 4 in a row in 2013 & were still not relegated thanks to Coc in Cork.

  49. Any word about Conor Diskins injury On Mayo news , Western or Connacht Telegraph this week?? Has to be in line for a start against Kerry in Tralee Saturday week if he’s fit.

  50. Don’t think Diskin is injured. He played for Claremorris a couple of weeks ago.

  51. Willie Joe said Diskin was recovering from injury the last nite, sure he hasnt been on the match day 26 since Tyrone game and he was playing really well.

  52. Gamechanger I don’t expect to get a win in Tralee this year. The main reason will be that Kerry are flying fit at the present time. Mayo wilted visable late on at the weekend once the tempo was raised. in the second half..Mayo has a sluggish look about them presently for one reason or the other. I expect us to be competitive against Kerry and we will have a couple of the new players on view also.

  53. TH – If you look on the Claremorris GAA Twitter, they put up a team sheet for all their games. Conor Diskin was full forward against Garrymore on the 24th Feb. That was the day after the Dublin game and 6 days before the Galway game.

  54. Wouldn’t be too confident in getting anything from Cairde, FW, I’d say them days are long gone. With the price of the Croke park ticket gone up and the Cairde ticket remaining the same price the last few years.

  55. @JP
    Dont believe the U20 panel has been named yet, from what I see we 13 left from last years panel of about 35 players we we lost most of the team, we still have some very good players in Oisin Mullin, Evan o Brien and Nathan Moran. We have the youger versions of the lambert,Moran and McLaughlin from Westport and Balla and Parke should be represented being the last two winners of the minor A championship. Dylan Prendergast looks like a good prospect but he is playing flyhalf for Ballina and has represented Ireland at U20 Level, availability may be a problem. We have alot of young exciting young forwards coming in and it will be hard to pick who is in and who to leave out. I believe we left alot of good players out of last years panel and if it was picked in the summer it may have had a different feel to it nonetheless quiet a few of these players have been playing regularly for their senior club teams. Expect to see a few of the Rice College team from last year, Keith Joyce if fit, Fintan McManamon who had a good summer with Burrishoole. Alot of competition at midfield where we have Parke’s due of Ronan Reilly and Jack McLoughlin up against Dean Darcy Paddy McGoldrick and Adam Carrabine not to mention where Ciaran Gavin fits in. Think we will bring in 4 or 5 of this years minors, same as last year, the two lads from Garrymore last years joint U17 Captains Liam og Horkan and Enda Hession and Castlebars Ultan Reilly and Kilmeenas Jack Carney are the most likely.

    Remaining from Last Years Panel
    FB Rory Brickenden Westport U19
    LB Basil Mcleod Louisburgh U19
    RHB Conor Hunt Aghamore
    CB Oisin Mullins Kilmaine U19
    LHB Joe Dawson Louisburgh
    MF Evan o Brien Ballinrobe
    MF Cillian Golding Balla U19
    RHF Nathan Moran Hollymount
    CF Stephen McGreal Clremorris
    LHF Aaron Murphy Lahardane
    RCF John Gallagher Mayo Gaels U19
    FF Michael Keane Belmullet
    LCF Tommy Conroy The Neale

    GK Jamie McNicholas Kiltimagh U19
    GK Brian McGuinness Claremorris
    RB Keiran King Knockmore
    RB Jack Coyne Ballyhaunis U19
    FB Matt Dervan Breaffy
    LB Oran O Malley Ballinrobe
    LB David Gannon Claremorris
    LB Dimitri Trench Davitts U19
    RHB Mickey Conroy Kiltane
    RHB Aaron McHale Parke U19
    RHB Leo Howard Bellmullet U19
    CB Gavin Durcan Castlebar
    CB Conor Beirne Breaffy
    LHB Eoghan McLaughlin Westport
    LHB Aaron McDonnell Ballinrobe U19
    LHB Tom Reynolds Balla U19
    MF Adam Carrabine Kiltane
    MF David Naylor Ardnaree
    MF Ronan Reilly Parke U19
    MF Jack McLoughlin Parke U19
    MF Dean Darcy Ballaghaderren
    MF Paddy Goldrick Charlestown
    MF Emmet Rowley Westport
    RHF Michael McGarry Eastern Gaels
    RHF Dylan Prendergast Louisburgh U19
    LHF Mark Moran Westport U19
    CF Ciaran Gavin Ballintubber U19
    CF Aidan Orme Knockmore
    CF Keith Joyce Kilmeena
    LHF Cathal Slattery Garrymore
    LHF Pat Lambert Westport U19
    LHF Keiran Conway Belmullet
    RCF Paul Towey Charlestown U19
    RCF Jamsie Finnerty Ballintubber
    RCF Brain Walsh Castlebar U19
    FF Kuba Callaghan Ballaghaderreen U19
    FF Sean Keane Louisburgh
    FF James Jennings Mayo Gaels U19
    LCF Fintan McManamon Burrishoole
    LCF Adam Barrett Kilmaine U19
    LCF Pat Harte Balla

    Enda Hession Garrymore
    Liam og Horkan Garrymore
    Jack Carney Kilmeena
    Ultan Reilly Castlebar
    Conor Dunleavy Balla

  56. We currently do not have a distinctive method to our game. Galway do and are being slated for it but they are winning games and improving. Our full back line is an issue and the lack of protection it is getting is a worry. We are being exposed one on one and our lads have a tendency to be in front of their man and are getting caught by a ball over the top. We are conceding too many goals and some of these very late in the game. If we were still playing Galway we would not have scored a goal which we needed to tie the game. Every team we play know they will get goal chances as we are too loose close to goal. We are very lucky to have points as we could be sitting on two. The Roscommon game was a lottery given the conditions and Tyrone were very poor but are motoring now. This team reached it’s peak in the 2017 AI final and missed it’s chance. Realistically, winning a Connacht title this year would be a major achievement and a run in the super eights a bonus. We will survive in the first division as odds in our favour and last game at home. Not that we can put much faith in our home advantage. Will go to Tralee to have a look at this new Kerry team and hope for a better more organised showing from our lads.

  57. Bogman, I like your last line “Will go to Tralee to have a look at this new Kerry team and hope for a better more organised showing from our lads”. I think, as you say, hoping for a better and more organised showing from our lads is exactly what the doctor is ordering week by week progressively over the months ahead. I personally don’t need to see a finished product now.

    In my view, Horan has had a few different priorities to cover between January and now. Two big ones that spring to mind for me are (i) giving young players solid game time against tough teams so they can be a bit hardened come next year (2020) – if he didn’t do this, I think we could have a steep landing next year given the team’s age profile and our aspirations for a competitive next few years – and (ii) getting some of our stronger experienced players back on track – fit, coordinated, back to the level required after effectively a full entire ‘year off-form’ last year. I think it is the latter group of players that will make the backbone of a competitive team in summer 2019 with help from our less experienced players. This seems reasonable to me. I think both of the above points (i) and (ii) are actually really positive. I might be an eejit but I think the manager really does want to have ‘a cut at things’ this year AND next year and this is is method for planning ahead on both fronts. Maybe I’m in cloud cuckoo land with my speculations.
    In short, I think Horan has been planning his actions this Spring in the League to take different needs for the coming season and next year into account.
    I have a feeling the Spring has been angled towards getting game time for the new players and getting them exposed to football at this level (getting them interested and probably excited for it too). I don’t know if it would make sense to me to have a perfectly refined game strategy for every set of players for every match, if that is necessarily a pragmatic aim or indeed a priority given the wider set of circumstances he needs to consider.

    I think we might see a different approach in later March as the Championship approaches and especially in May. I think that’s when we’ll see the start of refined game plans. Let’s hope this all does work OK : ))

    As regards Galway having a fixed game plan, I agree with you there, and I agree that we haven’t used one yet, except maybe versus Tyrone. Galway are moving ahead in a linear way (I think) and do not have the same issues facing them as we do right now (I mentioned some above – get new players exposed to hard game time and get our regulars back on track – those are two big things). It would make complete sense that Galway are consolidating a game plan right now. Why wouldn’t they? We have other priorities before we do that but hopefully it’s not too far off.

  58. That looks like it’s going to be another very strong potential all Ireland winning team mayo Messi would aidan Cosgrove not be considered for selection this year exceptional talent Frank irwin aswell

  59. @Mayomessi, like your second half of your name yer nonparaleil!!!
    Wow, brilliant listing now two years in a row. I actually am challenged to think of anyone you left out.
    In my view it’s a better team than last year. It is possible to layout a 15 players that is a long way ahead size and strength wise of last year’s team whilst having an experienced core of u19s and u20s who have already played last year.
    I believe Aidan Cosgrave is u17 this year.

  60. Thanks for that Jp just looking in from the outside will that under 20 team be named soon? Will we have a good chance of glory this year how good will kerry be think this blog is a good place for discussio

  61. @Mayoforsam2k19
    both of them lads are still U17, think we will have a decent U17 side as well, in January there was a list on the official twitter site that was playing in the U17 regional cup, 6 teams involved,

  62. The u20 panel won’t likely be named until late April. They have a new small tournament the Philly McGuinness cup in May pre championship. Roscommon, Tyrone and Donegal in our group for that.
    U17 is an extremely up and down age group.
    At u20 players have a bigger body of work to judge by.
    Kerry will be good at u20 of course they will.

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