Reviewing the Rossies

Photo: Irish Times

No Monday morning theatrics were required this time to learn our next opponents in what, by any measure, has become a rather amazing championship campaign for us. No sooner than had our collective heart rates begun to stabilise on Saturday evening but it was already apparent that Galway were in the process of whipping Donegal. That outcome sent them off to face the Kerrymen, ushering Roscommon in our direction.

Before running the rule over the Rossies, it’s worth pausing to consider the comedy value of Galway having the decisive part to play in who we would face next weekend. Having targeted our match and succeeded in tipping us into the qualifier abyss for a second successive year the Tribesmen then took their eyes off the ball and get thumped by Roscommon.

So no Connacht title for them and no handy All-Ireland quarter-final (like, lest anyone forget, they had last year) either. Instead, it was Kerry or elimination for them last Saturday, knowing that if they won they’d divert us away from a possible last eight showdown with the Kingdom and onto a meeting with the Rossies.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I find how all that has worked out to be rather amusing. The joke could, I know, yet be on us – we might beat the Rossies, then lose to a Galway team now with rampant self-belief having taken Kerry out in the quarters or, indeed, we might lose to the Rossies. So, stop that sniggering and let’s have a look at what the Sheepstealers have been up to of late.

Photo: Irish Independent

Winning Connacht, that’s what. Kevin McStay’s side annexed the county’s 21st Nestor Cup win, their first since 2010, after executing a pitch-perfect ambush on Galway in the provincial final at Salthill earlier this month.

They won that one by an impressive nine points (2-15 to 0-12), having thrashed Leitrim by 2-23 to 1-9 in the semi-final at Hyde Park last month.  Those are the only two matches the Rossies have played in this year’s championship. Saturday’s showdown, by contrast, will be our sixth outing of the summer.

The sparkling summer form showed by the neighbours contrasts greatly with how they fared in this year’s League campaign. To understand this, though, you need to go back to last year and see what befell them then.

Back in 2016, the newly-promoted Rossies were the talk of the town in the early rounds of the League. The if-the-All-Stars-were-picked-now brigade no doubt had plenty of primrose and blue in their March line-up and when they rolled into Hyde Park to face us in Round 6 at the end of that month the Sheepstealers’ tails were certainly up.

Not only were Roscommon all but assured of a play-off place at that stage but a win over us would relegate us, ending our two decade sojourn in the League’s top tier. Instead, we bossed them and Kerry then beat them out the gate in the League semi-final, to end their spring on a sour note.

They then had a near-death encounter with New York over in Gaelic Park in the preliminary round of the Connacht championship. Having survived that one and with ourselves and Galway on the other side of the Connacht draw, a clear path to the provincial final opened up for them. Victories over Leitrim and a topsy-turvy one over Sligo got them there.

The drawn Connacht final against Galway was a case of caution on steroids and maybe if the Rossies had shown the kind of invention they displayed this year they’d have claimed the spoils then. In the replay the following weekend, however, they shipped an absolute hiding and their summer implosion ended six days later in Round 4 qualifier defeat to Clare.

As we well know, it’s very hard to remain competitive in both League and championship. It’s even harder for counties with smaller playing numbers. Going great guns in the League might be good for loose talk among the more excited end of your supporter base but, as Roscommon found out last year and Kildare did too before them, giving it socks in the spring can really come back to bite you in the summer.

Kevin McStay’s decision to tailor their 2017 preparation differently was, for sure, brave – not least in light of the imbecilic criticism levelled at him by Gay Sheerin this spring – but it was also completely necessary. I think it’s fair to conclude that the Rossies wouldn’t be looking at a big day out in Croke Park this coming weekend if Kevin – and his back room partner Liam McHale – hadn’t opted to sacrifice the League with the aim of doing better in the summer.

Roscommon’s League campaign this year was, for sure, a tough one. They ended up rooted to the bottom of the table, losing six of the seven games they played and heading back to Division Two after two years in the top flight.

The six defeats came in a straight sequence. First it was a 0-18 to 1-9 loss to Tyrone up in Healy Park, then an unlucky 0-16 to 2-9 reversal against Donegal at Hyde Park.

At first glance, our 1-19 to 0-14 win over them in Round 3 at MacHale Park in late February could be viewed as a facile one. But recall that David Clarke was our MOTM in that one, preventing a number of clear goal-scoring chances as the Rossies repeatedly carved open our backline.


We won by eight at the finish that night – our second win over them this year, having pulled off a truly hilarious smash-and-grab FBD victory over them down at Kiltoom in January (style on you, Andy!) – but that match wasn’t as easy for us as the scoreline suggests.

That win hoisted us briefly to the top of Division One, plunging the Rossies to the bottom. Things didn’t get any better for them in Round 4 either, though they gave Kerry a decent enough rattle at Hyde Park before going under by 1-19 to 1-13.

Round 5 brought another defeat, this one a dispiriting 2-17 to 1-13 loss to Monaghan up in Iniskeen, that lovely venue tucked away in Kavanagh Country, with those nice green and red seats in the little stand. There was nothing lovely or nice about Round 6 for Roscommon either, as they suffered an unmerciful flailing by Dublin at Croke Park. It was that 2-29 to 0-14 hammering that also consigned them to Division Two football next spring.

Relieved of the burden of battling against the drop, though, the Rossies rallied in Round 7. We were facing Donegal ourselves that day, knowing that if we failed to get a win then we’d be looking to the neighbours to bail us out by getting a result over Cavan, which would relegate the Breffni County.

As events transpired that April Sunday we didn’t need that get-out-of-jail card. But the Rossies produced it all the same, beating Cavan by 1-13 to 1-10 at Hyde Park, to end their League campaign on a positive note.

They’ve come on in leaps and bounds since then, tailoring their short Connacht campaign to perfection and they’re now back again with the big boys in Croke Park. It’s a place in the shake-up that they fully deserve.

So now they face us for what will be the first time in the championship since 2014. That meeting took place in the Connacht semi-final at Hyde Park when, under John Evans, they came very close to pulling off what would have been an enormous upset. We had Andy Moran to thank for our survival that day, the Ballaghman coming off the bench to guide us out of a very tricky spot.


What, I wonder, are their feelings about playing us now, this time in the All-Ireland quarter-final? Back in 2001, Roscommon were put in a similar position when, having won the provincial title, they then had to face Connacht opposition in the quarters.

That meeting, in the first year of the current championship structure, remains the only all-Connacht one in the All-Ireland Series. Roscommon, fresh from mugging us to claim the Nestor Cup, found all their newly-minted provincial happiness washed away when Galway upset their apple-cart in the quarters, beating them by 0-14 to 1-5 at MacHale Park.

Buoyed by their latest provincial win, it’s not in any way outrageous to claim that the Rossies will feel a tinge of déjà vu at the prospect of once again facing a Connacht team in the All-Ireland Series. It would, in truth, be hard for them not to, even if this is a very different time and they can, with justification, claim to be a very different team.

But what they won’t be able to avoid is how this contest will inevitably be billed as the real Connacht final. Win it and, for sure, they’re top dogs in the province and, I know, we’ll never hear the end of it. But lose it – how would they feel about their 21st Nestor Cup win then?

And lose it is what the bookies expect them to do. Paddy Power have us priced at 4/11 to win on Sunday with the Rossies on offer at 3/1 – match odds here. It’d be a brave punter, I accept, to stake the farm on us at those odds but, if they fancy a walk on the wild side, that’s the tariff on offer for doing so.

Forget about the money, though – let’s end this one by speaking to the heart (if it’s still functioning properly after last Saturday). How do you reckon we’ll do against the Rossies?

Will we beat the Rossies?

  • Yes (78%, 979 Votes)
  • No (22%, 271 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,250

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92 thoughts on “Reviewing the Rossies

  1. Great run down on the Rossies WJ.

    What really surprised me about their annex of the Connacht final was how they mangled the Galway midfield. This was an area I expected Galway to really dominate so kudos to McStay and McHale for that.

    The Sunday Game last night suggested we’re struggling around the middle, not something is entirely agree with. We were fairly poor against Cork but overall I think we’ve been decent in this area of the pitch.

    Enda Smith provided a tour de force in the Connacht final and is a huge player for them. I still think we’re superior in this area of the pitch, with AOS to lend a hand when necessary. I think we’ll go after them here, pushing up a little earlier than normal and look for turnovers.

  2. wow wj,thats some run down on the rossies, my heart rate was starting to escalate a tad just thinking about our next trip to the east coast,

    roll on sunday

  3. Interesting one, fascinating even. All things equal Mayo will win this by 5 or 6 points but there are quite a few factors at play. That 8 day turn-around won’t be easy (will mayo even train properly this week!?) after an energy-sapping, mentally-draining Extra Time win. The Rossies now have a spring in their step like no other, which they have never had before playing us.

    I don’t really think they’re up to much though, but they were a division 1 side the past two seasons and deserve respect. The win against Galway was admirable but many are forgetting how wasteful Ros actually were at times.

    Still it doesn’t take any sort of genius to realise our main weak point and unless Rochford has the balls to make a change, Roscommon will have goals for the taking. And goals win matches and all that

    That said overall the Cork performance was our best all year and we are growing. COC is definitely hitting form again and AOS is flying.

    Not as nervous as the Cork game, Croker will suit us, there is a mental block for Ros against us and I think we’ll pull away late in the second half here

    James O’Donoghue and paul geaney to have a field day in the other match. kerry 7-33 to Galway 5-29 in a clash of the two most exciting teams and best forward lines of all time in the great open spaces of Croker {source – every cliche-driven Sunday Game analyst ever)

  4. Thanks for that WJ.

    You get the feeling that Roscommon will try to move the ball as quickly as possible to test out our weary legs, so we need to be ready for that. Remember back to the Clare game, we were a bit sluggish in the first-half after the extra time win over Derry the previous week.

    Roscommon like Tyrone last year are coming into the game after winning the provincial title for the first time in a few years so that’s good for us as that will probably take a bit of an edge off the Rossies, as no matter what they say, they would have done a bit of celebrating since the Connacht final.

    It’s all to play for anyway, so roll on the game!

  5. While I believe that we will win this, I think it will be hard fought. The Rossies have had 2 goals all year, to win the Nestor Cup and to beat Mayo… They are half way there… Add to that the fact that Kevin McStay will be eager to teach the Mayo CB a lesson following the managerial appointment debacle of 2014. Yes, I have a really bad feeling right now, but not sure if that feeling is me still getting over last Saturday or nerves about next weekend!!!

  6. I think we will win this as long as we don’t make the same mistakes and put them to the sword, O Se is right as it was only after the changes that it all went wrong for us, I also cant understand why Mayo defense did so much back pedaling as cork ran at us, I know you don’t want to commit to early but they were almost in on goal at some points before a challenge went in. Maybe someone cam explain the reason

  7. Now that the dust has settled, can I open a new debate please in terms of Lee Keegan, and what peoples thoughts are in playing him in the middle of the field alongside Parsons? When you look at the way James McCarthy for example is thriving in that role for the Dubs, Lee is built of similar stuff. He has the mobility, running power, athleticism and pure and simple, the ability to play there at the highest level, no doubt about that. I also would love to see the shackles loosened somewhat from him, as he has so much to offer going forward, breaking lines, and kicking scores for fun. People may say he dosnt have the ariel ability to compete, well don’t forget we’d still have Big Tom and Aidan around the middle third, and we dont exactly “go long” regularly anyway, such is the nature of the modern game I suppose. My undertone is one of disappointment there by the way!! God be with the days of lads plucking them from the skies! Moving Lee, also allows us to bloody start Paddy Durcan!! Him and Boyle either side of Boyler would be my half back line all day every day or until the famous GPS’s say they need to be stretchered off! A balance of raw aggression, “smarts”, pace and power. Barrett’s absence from 6 really evident when he departed. Keith back in the corner, Harrison in the other, and full back….well unless a transfer system is introduced in the nxt 6 days we may struggle there. Thats in no means a dig at Ger Caff, a wrrior for so many years, but he simply has not come back from injury the same player as he was before. His centre of gravity and ability to turn quickly is a concern, almost like he lacks faith in what his own body can do, and that is purely injury driven. I repeat. Not a criticism really, nothing but respect for all he has given over the years, just the wide plains of Croker, and the possibility of him been dragged from sideline to sideline is not a thought I like.

    McLoughlin to revert to sweeper? Can that be implemented and mastered in 6 days? I hope so. That full back line will need protection but I also regard him as probably the “smartest” footballer in our ranks. Positionally hes usually on the money, and in terms of foot passing and line breaking, hes top notch. My 2 cents anyway.

    Doherty to retain his jersey, Cillian and Andy inside, Diarmuid on the other wing, we are bursting at the seems with mobility and staying power. Which we will need long into August and September I hope.

    We will beat the Rossies. I am extremely confident. We are where we want to be. It just may have been a bumpier ride than we envisaged!

  8. Wow . easily amused , however nothing that happens next Sunday will take away the fact they are Connacht champions and fair play to them.. I’d expect Mayo to win well, their big game experience of Croker will be a deciding factor and then he will get your shot at Kerry (albeit one game later than expected) shame on Galway for beating Donegal..

  9. Don’t think Roscommon are capable of repeating their Connacht final performance against us.
    It was set up for them. Handy draw to a Connacht final and a long time to prepare specifically for that game against either us or ye. That was their sole focus this year – the league wasn’t prioritised like it was in 2016.
    If Galway played Ros again next week I would expect us to win in all honesty.
    Ye haven’t set the world on fire in the qualifiers but – similar to last year – ye are getting the job done, which is all that matters really.
    We won’t beat Kerry – we simply haven’t the defence to hold them – and I’d expect ye to win by 5+ points on Sunday.
    This Mayo team generally plays well in Croker.

  10. Really looking forward to this one.
    Does anyone know if it’ll be on rte for sure? Don’t sky have the rights the one set of the quarter finals or am i raving?
    My wife(a rossie, grrr……!!!) is expecting our third bundle of joy in a couple of weeks so i’m ‘on call’ and staying put at home.

  11. It was mentioned above about Lee Keegan maybe playing in midfield. So I think it is a thing a lot of people would like to see tried but with Mayo we don’t tend to do these left field ideas. Barry Moran sweeper (a success) the last one.
    Lee is doing his best work going forward with the ball. Defensively he is not out best defender. I believe that honour falls to both Chris Barrett and Brendan Harrison.
    When he is on his game Patrick Durcan is a really good man marker back in defence.
    You could even switch things up a bit.
    When SOS tired at the 50 min mark (he tends to this year) you put substitution Patrick Durcan for SOS. That kind of way. Lee finishes out the game from midfield.
    Anyways it won’t happen it just seems sticking with Lee at 5 and that won’t change.
    It is hard anyways to see who is picking up who and who is playing where. For all we know Lee at midfield is happening at various stages.

  12. It’s on Rte Pullhard The next quarter finals between Dublin Tyrone and whoever are on Sky A shame our national games not on Rte

  13. Thanks Allstar, a cuppa and separate room watching it from my wife(enemy for the day) will do nicely.
    I agree re sky have exclusivity to showing such key games. Money talks but that’s the world we live in.
    Anyways here’s hoping we’re still standing by sunday evening. It’ll be a tough one as they all seem to be this year!!

  14. McLoughlin to revert to sweeper? It shouldn’t be a problem as he done it very well last year, but I don’t think it will be implemented for this one

  15. Thanks Galway for your kind gift last Saturday, most unexpected, and not forgetting the nice poster ye had out for us in Claregalway informing us we will never win the all-Ireland. With bonfires burning one side of us and posters the other side and the sea behind us it’s not quite Israel yet but getting there! On a more serious note I think posters have covered most of last Saturday’s should I stay or should I go now episode, a lot of green shoots appeared last Saturday in the scoring department. Scoring forwards win all-irelands so looking forward to more of the same on Sunday. Let’s hope it’s ‘silent and gray’ for Roscommon.

  16. @ClubMan2016, I actually had it in my head too that for this game in particular Lee might be a good option for us in midfield. Enda Smith is Roscommon’s best player. Even though he is normally a half-forward, because Roscommon are short of out and out midfielders, Smith has been playing at midfield. So you would think that Seamie or Tom Parsons might struggle with his mobility around the park. Lee would probably be the natural choice to put Enda Smith on the back foot rather than having him running at our defence. It is something to consider anyway in this game, as they say horses for courses.

  17. See the GAA were worried about having an empty house by putting Kerry Vs Galway on at 4pm…

  18. Yes Wayne Scales,
    Just had an email from CP season ticket office saying Kerry v Galway @2. Mayo v Ros. @4

  19. I agree with the SG about our midfield. SOS does not appear to be having a good season and needs to ‘up’ his performance. TP could be doing better also. Hopefully BM will be back soon.

    I also agree with the SG re our defensive substitutions in the 2nd half. Barrett and Boyle off and Keegan’s BC destabilized our defence. It was really only then that Cork’s runs damaged us.

    Just on that; it should be noted that Cork caused the Kerry defence a lot of problems when they ran at them also and for these two reasons we should not be overly worried about that aspect of our game going forward.

    However a long with the FB issue midfield needs to get more competitive………..AOS taking affair share of the load at the moment and that’s not sustainable.

  20. I think it’s fair to say, that WE (the fans) have become a lethal weapon in this championship.

    Like the team, we have been tested and blooded and tweaked things on the road. At game we make a critical impact. Limerick on Saturday was sensational, even allowing for Cork’s no show. A Cork supporter beside me bemoaned the fact that management were in their 60s. My son pointed out to me (65) that their supporters were of a similar demographic. Mayo’s supporters cross all ages, creeds and colours. The amount of women, young and old, following the team is huge and it’s brilliant.

    Now for the real stuff. Let’s show the Rossies, what the big stage is all about.

  21. It’s up now, Km79 – I was caught in traffic on the way to the beach (First World problem, I accept). All comments containing links go into moderation automatically.

  22. It make makes sense having mayo v ros on at 4 because mayo are the biggest box office hit they have and if gaa hq wasn’t so shortsighted they would be pumping money into player development in mayo

  23. Good to see there’s 50 rossies popping in here for a gawk, going by the poll 🙂

  24. Read Billy Keane’s article in today’s Indo
    – I am so proud of being a Mayo supporter!! Brilliant take on Mayo’s journey!!

  25. Boyle was playing very well Saturday. Cork were running at us all through the Game and twice I seen Boyle knock the ball out of a cork man’s hands, as he was running straight at goal. Why was he taken off without his replacement getting clear instructions baffles me.

    It almost cost us the game

  26. While I hate placing criticism on any one player, Cafferkey starting at full back is no longer tenable, and we will be torn asunder if that selection is persisted with. I’ve outlined my thoughts on his play below WJ, sticking to actual examples of gameplay:

    The game against Cork was a perfect microcosm of his limitations. Firstly, he wins a very low percentage of ball that comes into the full forward area – either his man wins it or he breaks it down to an opposition forward. This happened a number of times on Saturday, with O’Connor getting on a staggering amount of ball for a player who has slowed considerably. I don’t know if it’s a tentativeness in him or if he feels shepherding is better than being exposed after over-committing, but it’s not working as the ball isn’t being cleared out enough. He gets turned very easily too, a number of times Cork got a free path to the posts after the forward he was on ran in an arc away from him and then back towards goal. This is a fundamental no-no for a full-back and it leaves us very exposed for goal chances not to mention the handy points created.

    This is nothing against Caff, he gives his all against for the cause – but putting our head in the sand does us no good. Others above, including WJ, have said that he hasn’t been given enough protection – while true to an extent, I think it says a lot that he needs such protection. When your primary defender needs so much protection to do his job, it’s a huge problem. Shaping a defensive gameplan to hide deficiency at full back will naturally create other holes in your defence; straight away your gameplan has a suboptimal focus for your other 5 defenders. Persistence here is foolish and we would be best off going in a different direction.

    Alternatives are thin, but we should definitely stay away from using non-defenders at full-back like Seamie (as suggested by some), it’s a recipe for disaster. Defending is an art and full back is such a cornerstone of the defence that throwing someone in there during the All Ireland series is asking for trouble. I think our best option would be to put Harrison there, slotting Chris Barrett back into the corner and allow Paddy Durcan back into the half back line.

  27. Really can’t understand why people are so worried about not winning well against Cork, a walk in the park would have been of little value really and to beat a traditional county by a point after a hard fought game can do nothing but good.
    I think they proved last weekend, even to themselves maybe, that the hunger is still there, could have easily thrown in the towel last weekend. You never know if that will to win is gone until it’s too late, no matter how you try to convince yourself otherwise.
    Only thing I would have been worried about is if we had to play Kerry with heavy legs from the extra time, but even with extra time 8 day prior to the quarter final we will beat Roscommon. They are a coming team but not to Mayo’s heights as yet.
    Too many things in our favour, experience of Croke Park being a major one for us, Roscommon just don’t play there enough, I know they played there earlier this year but the summer in championship buzz is different, plus they got hammered.
    Mayo have things to work on sure, but the ‘Sunday game’ has everyone told now, even Mayo. To pick out a few clips over 5 or so years is pathetic really, what player has made no mistakes over the last 5 years.
    Mayo kicked 21 of 24 chances in normal time, where is all the efficiency talk that Dublin or Kerry would get if they did that. I think our defence is fine, this is the defence that kept Dublin to a point from play in the first half of the AI last year.
    You could also see Marc O’Shea last night, he is worried for Kerry in the semi-final should they both get there.
    Mayo are now exactly where they set out to be at the start of the year, playing this match on Sunday, just via a different route.

  28. Is it possible for management to be holding something back? Like last year, I keep seeing glimmers of what we are capable of, especially in the 3rd quarter. It would be an unbelievable game of high stakes all in poker, but I think most people agree that quarter or semi finals are not the goal of this team. Are Kirby and some others being purposely held back to be sprung at the final stages? I’m not suggesting that we are playing patchy by design, but like many posters here I cannot fathom how a team that held the best 6 forwards in the country scoreless for 26 minutes can become bad over night. Our forwards are on an upward curve, Cillian playing mighty stuff, Aiden playing out of his skin, Andy on fire, basically our main men are all finding form at the exact right time. Barry Solan is well used to getting footballers recovered after 90 minute games for a game 3 days later so I’ve full confidence he’ll have the lads motoring nicely on Sunday.
    I feel that we are about to click and I think the Rossies could be about to meet a very driven team, back on familiar territory who are in no mood to play around.

    P.S. You’d have to pity the poor old Syrian refugees relocated to Ballagh who thought they’d escaped all that tribalism and civil war, Assad doesn’t have a patch on a demented Rossie bedecked in full battle colours and straw hat.

  29. I find it difficult to weigh up exactly where both Galway and Roscommon are in relation to their form and chances of progression.
    Galway fell over the line against us, in my opinion. They were really dead on their feet in the last 10 mins in Pearse stadium (despite having an extra man for 50 mins) and only for our ineptitude in front of the posts, 2 efforts cleared off the line and, as I’ve said earlier, the worst 30 mins of Mayo management in 8 years from our sideline, I still believe today that we should have won in Galway. Shudda, wudda, cudda! That said, Galway have progressed from last year and are a more fluid, dynamic attacking unit. They have all beefed up, including Conroy, who to my mind was always a flat track bully until he came up against a proper player and then he would lose discipline and interest.
    I believe that they definitely took their eye off the ball in the Connaught final. Without a doubt. They can say all they want about focus, and respecting the Rossies and all that shite but the fact remains they assumed all they had to do was turn up, play something like they did against us, and pick up the silverware. To be fair, that’s what we all assumed. By half time in that game the Rossies had kicked 9 wides with the wind and had left Galway in the game. Most assumed that a Kevin Walsh rocket up the ass to his players at half time, use the wind by getting ball into their full forward line and the rest would look after itself. When Roscommon goaled and Smith cleaned out the 3 Galway men in the middle, the fight wasn’t in Galway. They couldn’t go up the gears, lost their heads and discipline and were soundly beaten in the end.
    They bounced back impressively against Donegal but, in assessing who they beat you have to asses what they beat! Donegal were pathetic and a shadow of the fearsome, ravenous, hugely efficient machine of 2011 & 2012. Look back again at the game and see how many Galway attacks and shots were created without a single Donegal man laying a glove on a Galway player. It was sad to see such fierce formidable players like McGee and McGlynn being waltzed past. These men, in their prime, would eat their own just for the chance to take your head off! Sadly for them, and the game, their prime is in the past. Galway buried a team already laid out in the hearse. Nothing more. Galway are a coming force and no longer can we take them lightly but Kerry will have studied Galway intently. They will be well aware of the Galway full forward line. But even more so the Galway full back line where Donaghy, O’Donoghue, Walsh and Geaney will be licking their lips at the thought of filling their boots.

    The Rossies are in bonus territory and anything from here on in is icing on an already sweet cake. They had nothing to lose in the Connaught final. All the hype was on Galway. Soon to be back to back Connaught champions! They team that took Mayo down! Outside bet for the All-Ireland! Galway had it all. However, McStay has a CV as successful as anyone’s in the game. He had cleaned out the big time Charlies from the dressing room (1 way or another), had quite obviously written off the league to focus on a longer than normal Summer and the man is as cute as a shit-house rat. Quite, dignified and more than happy to lie in the long grass, peeping over at the Galway men preparing for an All Ireland Quarter Final! McStay would have seen the sieve-like Galway full back line and known that he had the forwards to do damage if they could get ball in to them. The one thing McStay has in bucket-loads is a unified dressing room and a group of lads that believe implicitly in his plan and message. That belief has been further infused with a Connaught medal. As often happens when there is a clear-out of some egos from a dressing room, the quieter, less egotistical lads come to the fore. These lads know that they have McStays trust, they will back him and each other on the pitch because they know that McStay has given them the chance to do what they have always wanted to do. Play for the Rossies. It’s the quietest pig that does the most hoking and now that the loud mouths are gone and Sheerin has been forced to shut up, these lads are going to give it one hell of a lash. They are in bonus territory with nothing to lose.
    That, above anything else, will ensure Mayo are fully focused on Sunday.

  30. well said pebblesmeller. i heard mcstay on the newstalk podcast earlier, hes a straight shooter, no nonsense or lip service from him. He knows that his team are evolving and will struggle with the physical power involved with Mayo next sunday. I have great admiration for him and his team, same for galway, they showed donegal the door with goals and deserve respect for that after the connaught final show.
    I cannot see ross beating Mayo however, even without my red and green glasses and allowing for the tired bodies this week after that cork bruising, the Mayo bucks will be on ice this week and just recover as their fitness will allow them to, they will be ready for rosscomon and if all goes well they will have a long break to prepare for galway or kerry. i wouldnt write galway off against kerry, its unlikely but you never know on a given day, look at carlow vs monaghan. If galway set up right they could win a low scoring game, but definitely not a shootout.
    Nobody needs to be winning by 15/20 points, Mayo especially, just do enough to be comfortable and go into the later rounds under the nose of kerry and dublin or whoever and land a punch that wasnt expected.

  31. WJ, you are a legend on and off the field. We cannot thank you enough for all you do for the Mayo GAA community! Your analysis and penmanship are top class.

    To those who complain about being reprimanded understand that this is his site where he puts in a lot of his personal time. Rules on behavior are very specific and even if you disagree with your reprimand don’t get tied up in technicalities, never take it personal, rather apologize profusely and continue to contribute to the discussions.

  32. To agree with the poster above, huge thank you to you Willie Joe for all you contribute to Mayo Gaa. I hope you know how much we are greatful for keeping this site ‘A’ ok and in order as it really is a great place to come and read from fellow countymen and women be it coming up to a match or after match analysis.

    Look forward to next week with the rossies now.

  33. Worries me that people are so confident and no one is giving Ross a chance. McStay and McHale are keenly aware of this teams strengths and weaknesses. They will know exactly where to target. What do we know about them and where are we going to target? I’m also not so sure Mayo will have the where with all to easily out muscle Ross, as many seem to be expecting, with the 8 day turnaround. If its in the melting pot leading into the last quarter I fear we will be in trouble. God I hope I’m wrong but I am mightily concerned.

  34. For anyone looking for a visual demonstration of what we achieve every year versus our better resourced opposition take a look at Patsy McGarrys article in The Irish Times.
    There is a map on there with lights showing each club. Look how bright the east coast is versus Mayo.
    It tells you all you need to know

  35. I thought Loftus did really well the other day. He looks like a man who knows exactly what he wants to do when he gets on the ball. He was only a whisker away from hitting the old onion bag too, probably should have gone for a point, but I can’t fault him for having the ruthlessness to go for goal.

  36. I would think that Roscommon will try to take the physicality out of the game as much as possible by moving the ball as quickly as they can, a kind of first touch football. They were well on top against Galway in midfield but it would be very hard to see them doing that well against us there. In the league game in Castlebar we wiped them out in the middle third. Roscommon will have improved a lot from that game though. It would be very hard to see their defence holding our attack and that should be where the winning of the game will be for us.

  37. Exiled in Dublin, I hear you but if it’s in the melting pot going down the finish line then there will be only one winner. Mayo.
    I have been critical about management and some of the players (fairly so) over the last couple of years but there is one thing, one thing that this team has ingrained in its soul. A pig headed refusal to be beaten! If you have to go down, go out on your shield and bring as many of those f**kers with you. Even when they are beating themselves, they still do not stop fighting for that next ball. If Roscommon want to win this they will have to be so far out of sight with 5 mins to go (and I mean 6 or 7 points ahead) that not even Mayo could drag them back. For Roscommon to do that one of two things will have to happen. Roscommon produce a performance way above anything we have seen from this team in the last 3 years (unlikely!), or, Mayo hit the wall and the legs are gone (quiet possible).
    We are now like Meath of the mid 80’s to mid 90’s. There was a decade where Meath were almost unbeatable. No lead was out of reach for that team. Every side that played Meath knew that you had to battle (in the literal term) for your life because until that final whistle went Meath never, ever gave up! Their opponents were always looking over their shoulder because Meath were never out of sight, even in games that they did eventually lose.

    We have many flaws at present, our form is OK-to-good but only for patches in games, our sideline does not inspire a whole lot of confidence (in my opinion), and we have yet to display any set defensive shape or style of attack. But, and this is a huge but, we are still standing and in it, so we can win it. Roscommon know full well that they will have to go the darkest depths of their footballing resolve, to a place where most of them will never have been to before, if they are to defeat Mayo. Mayos mettle has been forged in that furnace of superhuman endeavor, battle and heartbreaking defeat. Mayos mettle has been well and truly tested and is undeniable at this stage. It may not be enough to win Sam but it has got us this far.
    We (the supporters) have not let them even contemplate defeat. It is quiet plain to see that there have been two or three occasions this season where our support carried our lads through periods of games when everything else was gone from them. Confidence, belief, energy levels have, at one time or another, looked to do for Mayo. But, they find a way to claw their way back into the fight, stand up and start swinging. Sometimes it’s like we have ran on to the pitch, sponged them down, picked them up and shoved them back out but it has worked.
    It can be heart breakingly frustrating watching Mayo, especially when we have left 1 maybe 2 All Irelands behind us, but could any supporter wish for a better team to follow and represent us? Sam or no Sam.

  38. Think Loftus was right to goal for goal …..
    Without the deflection it would have been a goal.
    It would have killed the game.

  39. Gongrats to all on a serious qualifier campaign, I have to say I had my doubts that ye would get out of that shark tank again when ye plopped in. Not only did ye survive but ye got stronger, the shooting efficiency last Saturday was scary and not alone that but the variation of attacks was very unsettling as potential opponents in 27 days time.

    I met a man in Killarney yesterday who knows his football and he said that he initially was hoping to avoid ye until the semi final but he reckoned after that energy sapping battle on Saturday we would have better off to meet ye next Sunday. His thought process was that Mayo were like a steam train at full throttle belting down the track and we had been parked in the station for the previous four weeks. His point was that Roscommon don’t have the physically or the strength and conditioning that Kerry have. He reckoned that if ye were playing Kerry we would have put ye away in the fourth quarter due to the enormous intensity of what has been a series of bone crushing battles in the qualifiers and the week would not have been sufficient recovery time for ye. He reckoned that Roscommon lack that couple of percent needed to make that issue count next Sunday.

    He thinks ye will get another serious test against Roscommon but that ye will be far too experienced and the knowledge of the topography of what is Croke Park will give ye the required edge. For us on the other hand the Tribesmen will ask difficult questions and I expect Kevin Walsh to set up very defensively for the opening period of the first and second halves as he wont want Kerry to rattle off quick points and plant doubts and fears in the heads of his team.

    Galway will want to beat Kerry but what they want even more is to make sure that ye are not playing ball while they are licking their wounds. I think the Kerry forward line will do serious damage if they fire but the extended period of inaction is certainly a concern in this part of the world.

    It’s hard to know where Galway and by linkage Tyrone are at. Perhaps they really got sucker punched by the Rossies in the C.F. and played as they can yesterday or Donegal are so poor that they made both themselves and Tyrone look better than they are. Galway have good players on all lines but their fullback line looks a little suspect and our full forward line is our best line so this is where the real trading will take place.
    If Galway go for a straight shoot out then I think we will be too strong but Walsh is no fool and it could be low scoring game if they park the bus and play an attritional game. From our perspective I’m praying for a dry ball and a badly needed championship edgy and hard game as if we get by them I think we would be under serious pressure with Mayo after a three week break and all the game reserves neatly stored in their back pockets, you can’t beat hard games once you survive them.
    Good luck to all, I’m looking forward to watching four traditional teams have a go on Sunday, with the help of God it will be a great day for the game.

  40. I see the might of the sky corporation have taken down that youtube channel that had the full match on it.

  41. I watched the game back on utube last night .we were well in control until boyle and barrett were substitued. the management nearly lost it for us again by their over analysis.IF SOMETHING IS NOT BROKEN DONT FIX IT.they should use the kiss motto (KEEP IT SIMPLE ,STUPID).I thought we were going to lose it in extra-time,which would have being a unmitigated disaster but we pulled through .MAYO will beat roscommon on sunday. Stephen rochford celebrated with his hands in the air after conor loftus put mayo 3 pts. up in injury time.I WOULD LIKE for management to concentrate on organising his team and celebrate as much as they like when the final whistle is gone and victory achived. P.S. THE SUPPORTERS WERE MIGHTY AGAIN IN LIMERICK

  42. I’ve been very very impressed with loftus
    He just has “it” whatever “it ” is
    He just looks a natural forward . Everything he does is so classy . Doesn’t labour like a lot of the others . Hopefully he has still has a big day this summer . He sure has an eye for goal……….

  43. Well said Pebblesmeller ….100% agree….I do think if we get to semi final that Barry Moran could come into the equation either as a sweeper or to help out in midfield as them marks come in handy for any keepers kickouts….

  44. I can’t see that Conor Loftus won’t start for Mayo in whatever number of games they have remaining this year. You can be too clever on the line sometimes – at the end of the day the best footballers should play most of the game time. CL is definitely in that category. He looks a top forward to me and looks a big threat – especially for goals.

  45. The match last Saturday highlighted a number of interesting strengths & weaknesses;
    * Why was Boland not on the 26 named, good enough to start most of the league games and some championship match this year! Would have been a real option in extra time.
    * Why did AD made the 26, almost give the game to Cork in extra time, just has not the got the legs end of story. There is no room for sentiment in sport.
    * FB a real and present danger
    * SO’S, why can’t he be coached to give the ball as soon as he get it and stop going into tackles. If he made this some change it would do his game no end of good.
    * Why was CB, CB taken off and so early in the game, big mistake by Rochford
    * Scoring rate and chances created were excellent, All-ireland winning stats here. COC, AM, JD, MOC, KMcL all played well along with the helping hand from our HF line and CB.

    If we get beaten this year I feel a it will be to a large degree down to management similar to last years replay all-ireland.

  46. Logic – my views on your points:
    Boland – too small, the Cork lads would have beat him up and down the park for the craic.
    AD – Rochford surely won’t have told him to give the ball to the Cork lad. Whether he gets the chance to do that again is another story. I thought personally the game needed his experience when he cam on.
    FB is small and would be no danger to the Cork backs, the size of them.
    SO’S – I’m sure he can be coached to do that, yes.
    Barrett was replaced with Durcan, Boyle with Vaughan – both very capable replacements. Hindsight is 20:20.
    Forwards had their best outing I’ve seen, our backs however could have done better.

    Rochford doesn’t kick points, and wont be the one laying hands or not on forwards waltzing through our back line. Worth bearing that in mind.

  47. @pebblesmeller – I hope you’re right and I’ve said on many’s an occasion that these lads owe nothing to nobody but themselves. They have been magnificent to follow and support, their resilience cannot be questioned. Had they kept their foot on Corks throat when 7 points up and closed the game out, I’d have been more than bullish. Leading on from the 2nd half of the Clare game that would have been a form line to hang your hat on. Ok, the changes may not have worked as planned and that seemed to put wind in Cork sails, but where Kerry, Tyrone, and Dublin would have closed the games out comfortably, we failed to do so, and the reality is we were very lucky to win. Ross will come in fresher and with a very specific game plan to exploit our weaknesses. I think 3/1 is a big big price for them, I really do.

  48. I think McStay will be licking his lips with this one. He is familiar with the team and how they play and will be able to figure out our weaknesses rather easily. Not sure we have the same advantage. I’d be concerned about this one. Everyone’s writing Roscommon off, but I think they’ve possibly has their eye on having a cut at Mayo all year. Probably thought they’d end up playing us in the Connacht final. It didn’t turn out that way, but I still think they’ll be well prepared for this. They’ll be looking forward to it, in fact. Not beyond realms of possibility that an ambush is on the cards.

  49. Whatever about McStay licking his lips dreamy, I think Roscommon will be pleased with this draw.

    Mayo or Kerry? Why Mayo of course. Rossies lightly raced, Mayo after a series of bone crushers and with only a week to recover.. Mayo with a dodgy fb line and Rossies with a decent ff line (though I was a little disappointed overall with Diarmuid Murtagh), Enda Smith going very well and Mayo midfield well beaten by Cork.

    Rossies willl go in with a fair degree of confidence, and why wouldn’t they? Their league was a bit unfortunate as I pointed out a while ago and even the Mayo game disguised Mayo flaws and exaggerated Rossie shortcomings.

  50. We all should take Galway seriously and not be ( grateful for them ) in the hammering of Donegal last Saturday, thereby avoiding a Mayo / Kerry clash.
    As a lifelong Mayo supporter, I was always glad to see Galway or Roscommon do well in big Croke Park games ( not at Mayo’s expense ).
    The joy here in Dublin after Galway won the 98 All Ireland was amazing ( I celebrated with my Portobello team mates, but at the same time was pondering when I could feel this in a Mayo win ). I was also at the 2000 drawn final and the 2001 All Ireland final Galway one against Meath.
    Remember the 1st quarter final back in 2014, Galway stuck with Kerry for 55 minutes and only fell away late on in the match. I see a tight affair in this coming match.
    Roscommon will prove difficult opponents but our midfield will win the day.

  51. JP – can you list them or just give me an everage? Are Mayo as “old” as the narrative that’s put out there cause I’ve been hearing it since we lost in Limerick back in 2014

  52. 7 lads aged 30 started on Saturday Yew and Dillion brought another 30 year old.

  53. Joe Mc Quillan reffing our game according to Stolen Sheep website— i really dont care who the ref is & i think it is a bit tiresome complaining about refs

  54. I agree with others here that Conor Loftus is playing great and that he has an eye for goal. The lad has very quick hands (like a hurler) and feet and doesn’t labor while on the ball, which tells me he’s thinking only of one thing, his positioning and the goal! IMO, he was correct in attempting the shot on goal, and he will be mad at himself for not scoring. That would have finished off the rebels.
    Having said all that, I really think he’s a tremendous option off the bench, as he so demonstrated this past Saturday.

    There’s been much talk about our full back and any one who knows me, knows I’ve been “calling out” this position for a long time. I’d rather focus on the position itself, the famous Number 3.
    I’m not in the camp with those thinking the FB needs more protection. While I believe the traditional FB role is not what it used to be, there are still some traditional key attributes that your Full Back needs to have.
    Chief among them is “ownership”….i.e. this is MY area, I’m the boss kind of thing. This attribute is so important because it creates an air of confidence and respect for your Full Back, that transcends to the opposition players, gets into their heads so to speak.
    Second, the Full Back must be a “leader” and be able to read the game, setup and change as needed. In doing so, he marshalls his last last line of defense and gives the goalkeeper and the HB line a tremendous amount of confidence.
    Third, the Full Back can and should ideally be a “mean fecker”. i.e. He’s no soft touch, nothing is won/given away without a battle. He leads by example and is the master of his domain, this again transcends to others and particularly the opposing team.

    Two of those attributes can be coached, while the other is naturally occurring.

    So, with those attributes in mind, do we have the player/talent to own this position? and is it too late in the season for this to be developed?

  55. I have no doubt that our management team are good enough to lead this team to Sam,both Stephen and Tony has won all Ireland’s as players and manager, and for those who it was easy with Corofin they have not won since Stephen left,as for the turn around I believe that they will be OK,they were fine last year and I think that Ros won’t be as physical, as for F Boland his time will certainly come but he needs to book up,on the full back please show some respect for someone who has given so much to the Jersey he was going to travel a few years ago but put it on hold to play for Mayo,he has suffered a really bad injury and whilst I agree he has not recovered properly it will not help him to get so much criticism, I feel certain that management will have noticed and will plan accordingly, but he was not to blame for the Cork goals as last year I believe that our goalkeeper was not to blame for our loss as if the defender had stepped in front of the attacker he would have a free catch,and our fowards scoring three points from play we could not expect to win,it was clear last Saturday that our fowards are much better because of our quick foot passing which gave them the time to get their shot off,it takes a team to win or lose a match so it is very unfair to just blame one player, thank you Willie Joe for giving us the chance to air our views and keep up with all the news about Mayo

  56. Well said corick bridge.

    Ger had his hamstring torn from the bone, that’s the injury that ended Paul O’Connell’s rugby career, a lot of players don’t even come back from that type of setback, so we can only imagine what Ger has had to put himself through to get back to fitness, so that is something to be respected and appreciated by us supporters, what these players put themselves through is unbelievable.

    I have to say I was sickened when I seen the tweet sent out about our manager and Ger by the Mayo GAA banter twitter account. They must have got a lot of stick about it as it seemed to be deleted pretty quickly. So whoever is in charge of that account would want to cop themselves on a bit. As they say, with friends like that saying things about our own player and manager who needs enemies saying things about us.

  57. Yew_tree…I read somewhere yesterday that the average age of Mayo v Cork was 29
    The average age of that Roscommon team is 24.
    Can anyone clarify that Mayo average

  58. Seems to me that colm boyle has those three attributes, on conor loftus subject I had a look on resivour dubs and could not believe how much they are talking him up saying he looks like a dublin type forward

  59. Could I ask respectfully why a great link from Maigh Eo go deo showing the Cork match was unceremoniously removed without warning when i had only seen part of the match.

  60. Clarke 33..Harrison 24 ..Caff 31 Barrett 30..Leroy 28..Boyle 31..Duncan 23…SOS 30…Parsons 29..Vaughan 28.. McLoughlin 29..AOS 27..Boland 22..Doherty 29..Coen 22…Hennelly 27…Dillon 34…Diarmuid 22…Barry 31..Higgins 31…Andy Moran ageless, but some say 33..that’s my guess at the ages.. If I could find the programme from the All Ireland final the dates of birth are in it

  61. I stand corrected Km 79, which is good if the age profile is a bit younger …thank’s for the link. I was going from memory reading the All Ireland final programmes… I think I might have left it in the Cusack Stand in the despair of it all, on October 1st last..

  62. Km 79..Jason Doherty only 26 this year, he seems to be about a long time. He might not be too happy with me making him 3 year’s older… Mind you, I’m certain that Aiden is more than 6’feet 2…tall… Your right the age profile is still pretty good, but there is serious miles on the clock.

  63. I think management is getting more stick than they deserve to be honest. I wasn’t the only one here who wanted to see us substitutions be more pro active than reactive and I think that’s what management was trying to do. And let’s look at the lads who came in, durcan came in for barret, would you expect a drop in performance there? Coen came
    In for seamie, lots here we’re debating wether he should start after his performance against Clare, and Vaughan came in for Boyle, Donnie would start in most teams. I accept that management possibly thought the game was won at that stage but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to want to take off some of the older lads early with a possibility of playing Kerry in 8 days.

    With regards to ros, if I was mcstay I’d be looking for his lads to run us off the park and keep the ball moving. Who did the damage to us on Saturday, powter, small, fast and full of running. Roscommon have 6 forward like that, but I expect our power and experience to get us through.

  64. Niall Mc 1983.. Exactly the Clare pocket rocket Martin McMahon caused us plenty of problems in the first half.

  65. @FDBinashui; You are contradicting yourself, On one hand you saying Boland is too small & defending management calls; however Boland is the same size now than he was last January and yet he was played in most matches since then, did management expect him to metamorphosize into a giant!! Is ER any bigger than Boland – Nope!
    Regarding the taking off of Barrett, at least they seen the errors of their ways and started him in extra time, if he was tiring why restart him??
    As regards AD I wont comment further, we will agree to disagree!

  66. mayoman in down says:
    July 24, 2017 at 9:57 pm
    Could I ask respectfully why a great link from Maigh Eo go deo showing the Cork match was unceremoniously removed without warning when i had only seen part of the match.

    I’d say it was the sky corporation that issued a DMCA notice on the youtube account. All the videos that were there were deleted.

  67. @logic – I’m not contradicting myself at all. Boland is too small to throw in against that cork team, end of story. Yes he played in most games since January but can you honestly say he would not have done better than Jason Doherty on Saturday?.
    As for Barrett – not having played for the last 25 minutes or more of the normal time would have rested him quite well. Plus, management were obviously looking to address the tactical outlay. We were 7 points up when Barrett was pulled ashore in the second half of normal time. and he was replaced by Durcan. Durcan is a more than capable half back.

    Hindsight is 20 20. If you were manager, what would you have done differently knowing only what you did during the game, not the benefit of the knowledge you gained after it?.

  68. The simplest way to remember ages is lock down their final minor year for them in yer heads. Ger Caff minor 2005 and hence an U30.
    JDoc minor 2007 and an u28.
    Aidan minor 2008 and an u27.
    Alan Dillon minor 2000 and an u35.

  69. Dillon has been a great servant and is obviously a great asset to have around the squad …..BUT time waits for no man

    Would like to see Nally , Kirby, Boland , Conor o shea be given game time over him and a place in the squad

    He made a terrible pass at a crucial moment and got badly beaten for pace for corks last point

  70. In regards to A Dillon he has been out injured all year but his experience is valuable OK he made one bad pass but most players make a mistake now and then ,last year it was a masterstroke to spring him against Tyrone, possibly there will be a role for him before the year is regards to F Boland yes he has played a lot of games this year but he has not got the s\c of the other players it takes at least a year to get up to speed on strength, as anyone watching Galway against Mayo and Donegal could see,I am certain that F Boland has a big future with Mayo but he needs looking after as well,I must admit I always had doubt’s about E Regan but against Clare and Cork I felt he done quite well in winning ball one ball on Saturday when on the sideline he managed to knock it against his opponent and won a sideline ball for Mayo so I think his s\c his coming through at the right time,anyway who would be a manager with so many critics on the sideline,up Mayo

  71. @FDBinashui I never said that Boland should be started instead of Doherty, read my comments again, what I said is that Boland should have been in on the first 26!
    I don’t think is good practice to take off a performing player in the off chance we might need him in extra time!!!
    On you comment on hindsight is 20:20 and what I would have done differently, well I think I have stated that i.e.addressed the FB issues by bring on Durkin not as a direct replacement and having boland available.
    Sorry can’t agree with you on AD, his legs are gone, what he has done in the past is no indication of future performances. You need to believe your eyes!

  72. @Logic I still dont think Boland has anywhere near enough the physical size needed to have competed against Cork. He was bullied off the pitch vs Tyrone in the League and the same would have happened him against Cork. Rochford would have been taken to the cleaners if he allowed that to happen to the lad. Regan is physically larger than him and carries more bulk than him, and wasn’t used until extra time anyway.
    As regards Barrett and any player used – I’m certain that Rochford isn’t picking his panel based on the possibility of extra time at all, rather would be looking to close out a game in normal time. Same would be the case bringing on Regan – he only came on in Extra time. As for Barret being rested – the point is, he was rested having not played the additional 25 minutes of normal time. I’m pretty sure that Rochford as well as everyone else watching the game wasn’t expecting Lee to go off on a Black Card or that extra time was warranted. Extra time was not in the plan.
    Regarding Alan Dillon – he didn’t have a great game, granted – I’m certain that Rochford didn’t ask him to go out and kick it straight to the Cork lad if he got the chance to do it.

    The expectations are that when you send on a player is that they will perform well, not give away the ball or give away frees. If the player happens to do that, is that really the managers fault?.

    All the replacements – with the exception of Caff who in my view wasn’t getting enough of a shield from the sweeper – were done with what would have been the best available information at the time.
    Seamie wasn’t having a great day and Coen would be the best available replacement for that type of physical encounter and position. Coen didn’t have great day when he came on either.
    Durkan for Barrett would have been a like for like replacement with a view to adding an attacking threat to try to kill off the game. I’d add that Durkan did not do as well at minding his man as he is capable of doing, hence the change in direction of the game too.
    Boyle was knackered and doesn’t have a full game in him, Vaughan has played that position before and is a natural cover for that position. Leaving Boyle on would have been foolish in the extreme.
    Drake for Keegan was enforced from the Black card. Do you think Rochford wanted Lee to get sent off on a Black card?.
    Loftus for Andy was an obvious one.
    Crowe for Caff was probably one that could have been done earlier – Crowe has had little game time however, there’s no guarantee Crowe would have done any better earlier in the game.
    Regan for Kevin McL was because Kevin was knackered after running the legs off himself. I’m not convinced Boland would have done any better than Regan for points I’ve outlined previously.
    Dillion for Diarmuid – was done on the 87th minute – an experienced head at that stage of the game seems like a wise choice – he’s not a lad you’d expect to kick the ball to the opposition.

  73. @ FDBinashui You have made a lot of comments as if I have disagreed with them all, I have not! What I have said is that Boland is a far better option @ number 26 than Dillon. Boland played well against Galway and scored a nice point on the run against them. One thing you must have in croke park is legs, boland has Dillon has not, simple as! I’m not referring to Dillon’s poor pass, but his inability to run, would not happen in Kerry or Dublin guaranteed.
    The other two position of concern were GC & SOS, the full back was left for the complete game (don’t buy the comment of not getting enough protection) until extra time. SOS short comings can be coached out of him but we are still waiting! and not just by Rochford.

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