Rochford era begins with a win

Rochford and McEntee Inpho

Photo: The 42 (Inpho) 

Mayo eked out a two-point win over the Galway students in cold and wet conditions at Elvery’s MacHale Park earlier today, coming out on top on a 1-12 to 1-10 scoreline. It was not a vintage performance from the men in Red and Green but on January 3rd that was not necessarily the top priority.

It was far from an easy victory for the county side against the NUIG students as they found themselves three points down early on and two points down early in the second period.

Early scores from Owen Finnerty, Micheal Daly and Criostar Davey set the students on their way before a brace of points each for Conor Loftus and Kevin McLoughlin pushed Mayo into the lead after 20 minutes. Loftus found himself through on goal on 21 minutes and just as the Crossmolina forward was about to pull the trigger Kevin McDonnell came across with a pitch perfect tackle to stop the corner forward.

Darren McHale edged Mayo further ahead two minutes later before Adam Gallagher shot his first score of the day, and NUIG’s first in 21 minutes. Jason Doherty restored Mayo’s two-point lead but a quick fire triple from Gallagher (2) and Peter Cooke had the students ahead by one at the break.

A Gallagher free early in the second-half pushed them two clear before Mayo went on a scoring run between the 37th and 45th minute which saw them open up a five point lead.

Points from McLoughlin and Mark Ronaldson levelled matters before the Knockmore man intercepted a ball out of the NUIG defence and fired to the net for the first major of the Stephen Rochford era. A brace of points from Colm Boyle and Loftus followed to leave the scores 1-10 to 0-8 in the home side’s favour.

The students found their rhythm again after that run of scores for Mayo and closed the gap to three with ten minutes remaining through scores from Cooke and Conor O’Shea. Tom Parsons had a chance to wrap up the win but his shot at goal sliced off his boot and wide, on another day it probably would have hit the roof of the net.

Parson’s miss was highlighted just a minute later when Brendan Harrison fouled Daly in the square and the referee correctly awarded a penalty. Gallagher converted into the bottom right corner and the teams were level again with just nine minutes to play.

That proved to be the student’s last score of the game, however, as they just couldn’t find a way past the Mayo defence to get themselves ahead. Two late frees from McLoughlin and Robbie Hennelly saw the Stephen Rochford reign begin with a hard fought win against the students.

Mayo NUIG final score

Photo: @EmmaMc7 via Twitter

On a day when individual performances were as important as anything else it was Kevin McLoughlin, Tom Parsons and Colm Boyle who really stood out for Mayo. Considering the disappointment these guys went through at the end of last season it was great to see them back in action, and looking fit, early on.

Of the new faces Conor Loftus had a good first-half but tired towards the end. Shane Nally and Padraig O’Hora found themselves in the thick of things as well and will no doubt be given further chances to impress throughout January.

For now it is a winning start for Stephen Rochford and Mayo in 2016. IT Sligo are next up on Sunday at 2 pm in Ballina before a trip to Ballinlough to face Kevin McStay and his Roscommon side.

Mayo: Rob Hennelly (0-1f); Brendan Harrison, Kevin Keane, Padraig O’Hora; Colm Boyle (0-1), Shane McHale, Shane Nally; Jason Gibbons, Tom Parsons; Kevin McLoughlin (1-4,4f), Mark Ronaldson (0-1), Darren McHale (0-1); Keith Ruttledge, Jason Doherty (0-1), Conor Loftus (0-3,2f). Subs: Mikey Sweeney for Ruttledge (41), Keith Higgins for S McHale (51), Caolan Crowe for Gibbons (54), Ger Cafferkey for O’Hora (57).

NUIG: Donal O’Cullivan; Kevin McDonnell, Dave Cunnane, David Murray; John McManus, Lee Cullen, Adrian Nolan; Conor O’Shea (Mayo) (0-1), Peter Cooke (0-2,1f); Eoin O’Donoghue (Mayo), Micheal Daly (0-1), Adam Gallagher (Mayo) (1-4,1-0 pen,2f); Kevin Finn, Owen Finnerty (0-1), Criostar Davey (0-1). Subs: Sean Moran for O’Donoghue (20), Enda Boland for Nolan (41), Eoghan Lavin (Mayo) for Gallagher (54), Andrew McCormack for O’Shea (59).

Ref: Barry Judge (Sligo).

37 thoughts on “Rochford era begins with a win

  1. Thanks very much for that Mike – interesting to see the newbies make a positive impression.

    BTW, very interesting interview with Aidan O’Shea in the Indo today (Marie Crowe). It’s here:

  2. Adam Gallagher throwing good shapes today. Hope he gets back to the form of two years ago. Too early in the year for a ‘Storm Frank’ performance.

  3. How did padraig o hora from ballina play ?

    Was very impressed with him against ballintubber in last years quarter final , marking cillian o Connor .

  4. Apart from those mentioned by Mike Kelly above I thought that Kevin Keane had a very solid outing giving nothing soft away. I was impressed by Shane Nally who looked every bit a hardened footballer and might have been mistaken for a senior panel regular. I was expecting that and am looking forward to seeing more of him. I thought that Conor O’Shea was by far the best of the Mayo students and was a bit disappointed with Adam Gallagher. Although he took his penalty very well his freetaking was not great. Hennelly’s late free was an outstanding effort, from c. 50 m out near the stand sideline.

  5. Shane Nally and Brendan Harrison impressed me . Conor O Shea and Adam Gallagher will need to improve quiet a bit on todays performance. No point in talking about the regular players as we know them

  6. O hora played well as well as Boyle Parsons Mcloughlin. Best man on pitch was Parsons. None of the Mayo students impressed me. Missed opportunity for Conor O Shea to impress. Best NUIG player in my opinion was Peter Cooke in midfield. Surprised that Sweeney got very little time on the pitch.

  7. All be it against, with all jue respect G.M.I.T. I thought that mayo were not ruthless enough. Wide count was fairly high . Also missed three possible goal chances and should of kicked on when we found ourselves four points to the good . I agree that the new lads showed promise however tiered towards the end. I’d certainly give them a run out against Cork. Roll on IT . SLIGO.

  8. Shane Nally best of the newbies in my opinion, very sturdy on the ball. NUIG are a big physical team and had a definite advantage over our FF line as a result.

    How do they count the numbers attending ?, there were way more in attendence than the 2490 announced. Kids are free so guess they are not counted, not the first time an official attendence number in McHale park has surprised !!!!

  9. Shane Nally was the stand out new player today at wing back. Great strength and fearless in the fight for the ball. His passing was superb and made a number of great interceptions. As already commented he had the look of a player who had been in the squad for some time. Well done Shane! Conor Loftus had a good opening 20mins but faded out of the game after that which was a pity. Hopefully he’ll get more opportunities to develop in the coming months but in reality it’ll take another couple of years of S&C to become a heavy hitter at Senior intercounty level. Good displays also by Tom Parsons and Jason Gibbons today at mid field.

  10. It was good to see O’Hora recovering well from the couple of nervy blunders. I’d like to see a bit more of him. These lads have to be given chance. Conor Loftus looked good, nice movement, and it was definitely lack of fitness in second half, which I wouldn’t be at all concerned about this time of year. I was expecting a bit more from Brendan Harrison. Same for Gibbons, who didn’t really make impact up to the injury.

  11. Its a pity that its taken 6 years for Shane Nally to grace the field for the Mayo Senior panel. In January 2010 my letter to the Editor of The Western People was published where I suggested that Shane would be a leader of the future for Mayo in the never ending quest for the’Holy Grail’.
    Well done to Steven Rochford for thinking outside the box. This is what Mayo needs, keep it up ‘Rockie’ and Old Moore may well be proven correct.

  12. Well done Mike Kelly on another great match report. Its great to be back with the action again. The result is not important but the performances is all that matters. Mayo were not near as fit as the students and struggled as a consequence. Parsons was excellent and keane and Boyle were very solid. Nally, McHale need more game time but there’s no doubting their pedigree.The official attendance me arse there was a huge crowd at McHale Park today

  13. Definitely agree that it appeared there were far more in attendance than the official numbers show. Is attendance counted by ticket sales or turnstiles?

    Nally stood out most for me from the newbies as anticipated, showing serious maturity, with Kev McLoughlin marking the card good and early on. Would agree with most of the analysis above. Thought Adam Gallagher had a decent game; Conor O’Shea less so. Wasn’t convinced by Gibbons but that said, I wouldn’t be rushing to judgement on the first day out either and I really hope his injury isn’t serious. Would like to see more of Caolan Crowe next day out.

    Given that the panel has only trained together two or three times to date, I’d not be worried by the lack of ruthlessness at this point. Rather I’d be pretty impressed by the way they dug deep to get the win against an NUIG team that was very much up for it and quite fit.

    All in all a satisfying day out. God it’s great to be back on the road.

  14. First time poster. Great site.

    Had the pleasure of seeing Mitchels hollymount on top
    Pitch at 11am. Neil Douglas a man apart. Has to be given a go. Barry imperious as usual.

    Nally the stand out from the Newbies. Loftus first half good. Cooke the pick for Nuig.

  15. Wensamsuun,
    I couldn’t agree more. I was shocked when the attendance number was announced. As a regular at tender at McHale Park since 1969 I reckoned that there was at least 4,500 there today.

  16. I would agree that Nally was very impressive and physically looked like he has been there for a while. He certainly looked far more comfortably than Shane McHale at no.6 who I thought was well beaten today by Daly. I thought Darren McHale at 12 did well and considering that our entire left flank was made up of debutants it held up well. Loftus ran out of steam granted, but he was a constant threat and has a confidence and swagger about him that all corner forwards need. Defo worth another run out. Rutledge in the other corner, I think, has something about him also. A definite turn of pace, good balance and a willingness to take his man on. A drier sod will suit him but he showed something today. O’Hara at 4 was as game as a pebble too. Whether it was his distinctive appearance (white boots, no gloves or underarmour and flowing locks) or just his honest endeavour but he showed enough to warrant another run out.
    As for the Mayo lads in opposition, I was disappointed in Adam Gallagher particularly from general play but felt Conor O’Shea battled well and didn’t shirk in his running scrap with Tom Parsons.
    A good start, well done to all.

  17. @ Pebblesmeller , despite the announcers best efforts the no. 4 was my fellow Ballina Stephenite clubman Padraig ” Swaney” O’ Hora not O’Hara!!!

  18. Re the attendance, I thought the figure given was not too far off the mark. To me the stand seemed at best one third full and I understand that its capacity is 9,000. Even in the centre sections there were a lot of empty seats. With modern methods of printing tickets it seems fairly easy to get an attendance figure and should be difficult to falsify it. There were only a handful of people in the open terraces.

  19. I see Evan Regan scored 1-3 (3 frees) for UUJ against Monaghan. Good start for him.

  20. I’ve just had to delete the first comment of the year from a new poster who came on to have a sly cut at a prominent member of the panel. At the outset this year, I just want to give notice that this isn’t the place for this kind of shite and also to make clear that I’ll be applying a zero tolerance approach to comments of this kind this year. The usual rules apply: if you want to critique anyone, then do so on specifics and be prepared to back up what you’re saying. If you can’t reach that level of debate then go somewhere else.

  21. Hats off to k Mac think has missed one game since 2011.some record and real leader yesterday.

  22. Kevin Mc a class act, and we won’t win an AI without him on form. Nally was the best of the newbies, and very hard to believe he hasn’t played senior before. I thought Adam Gallagher played very well actually, stood out way more than Conor O’Shea.

    Don’t think either corner will be making the championship panel but I’m sure they’ll get another chance. Good to see Colm Boyle looks as good as ever!

  23. What are we going to do about the official attendance figure that is doing the rounds?

    Do they think we are daft or something?

  24. I’m not sure who you mean by “we” Jim. It never ceases to amaze me how, in the modern world, people find ever more arcane things to get worked up about. Really, is the attendance figure for yesterday something worthy of debate and even (in light of that VAT reference) a conspiracy theory?!

  25. for 3rd of jan i thought both teams put on good entertainment. I was excited to see how our newcomers would do. They all tried hard and was impressed with there willingness to work. I enjoyed the game and would love to see new faces breaking onto the panel for league and championship. looking forward to rest of fbd. Adam Gallagher is looking sharper all the time. HE has alot of football in him.

  26. Just a question for Mike Kelly and other posters who kindly provided comments and insight.

    Was the ground very heavy, and might this make certain players look better than others? Do you think those who shone yesterday will do so on hard fast ground?

  27. Ah yeah I think in fairness the attendance figures are nothing to get worked up about – I just thought the crowd felt larger. But then, everyone bar a hardy few was in the stand, so AndyD is probably right.

    Toughnup the appetite for work was definitely there alright. Looking forward to having not one but two games in Ballina next weekend – Mayo v Sligo IT in the FBD on Sunday and Mayo v Sligo in the North West Cup on Saturday – throw in time for that game is yet to be confirmed I think.

  28. catcol – it was 3rd Jan after one of the wettest few months ever….it was hardly fast ground. Does any player thrive on heavy ground? Can never understand that question, there are hardly any donkeys playing at inter-county level these days!. It was tough conditions for all players and it was a good entertaining game for the time of year, so fair play to all the players. some great scores and good performances by some which is encouraging. K McL, Nally, Loftus, Parsons, Boyle and Gallagher for students best of the Mayo lads performances

  29. I never undertood that one either KL.. specially at inter-county level. Last time I heard that mentioned was in reference to why Austin O Malley was not been picked for Championship football.. but, thankfully that is a bygone era. Twas interesting to read Aidan O Shea’s piece and how concious he is now about his weight, diet, conditioning, etc.. players now have a very high level of fitness all year round but time their fitness programme to be supreme athletes for July August September (If lucky enough). I know this book was mentioned here before but only got to read Thomas O’Shea’s book over the xmas.. very enjoyable and speaks very highly of the GAA grass roots.. but he also talks about how much has changed in the past few years in player preparation and what it now takes to make it at Inter-County. Player of the year Jack Mccarthy also mentioned that if you think that putting in the same preparation you put in the previous year will be enough then you will be found out.. the level of preparedness steps up year on year. My hope for the Rochford era is that we all take that extra step.. and that lady luck looks favourably on us.. MOSAM16

  30. Personally I believe that the 2 new guys from Knockmore have a lot to offer. I would like to see more of them if there is a chance. With K Mc L and S McHale already excellent for club or county it is remarkable the fine talent the Knockmore club is able to turn out t ago.ime and time again. Remember Howley and Kilcoyne and how well they played a few short years ago for this club.

  31. I walked across the pitch after the match. Twas fairly cut up alright but fair play to the groundsmen for having it playable at all with the weather we’ve gotten the last couple of months!

  32. Knockmore do a mighty job of producing footballers there is no doubt. They stick at it till their improved by minor/U21.

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