Rory Byrne is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

Yesterday at Croke Park was an extremely difficult day for us, a day where, with a fair degree of similarity to last September, standout performances within our ranks were pretty thin on the ground.

Despite the heavy margin of defeat, however, we had a few players who did well for us yesterday. Chief among them was goalkeeper Rory Byrne, whose two first half saves kept us far closer to Kerry at the break than we’d any right to be and whose all-round performance on the day was an impressive one, so much so that he was included in the GAA’s Football Team of the Week.

Rory wins our final MOTM award from this year’s National League campaign, having attracted 17% support in the poll. This was narrowly ahead of Michael Plunkett (14%) and James Carr (13%), as well as Padraig O’Hora, Ryan O’Donoghue and Jordan Flynn (10% each). Well done to all of them.

51 thoughts on “Rory Byrne is our MOTM from yesterday’s game

  1. Rory did well yesterday on his shot stopping especially,but s 5’8” corner forward being the last man back to try to prevent the follow up for no.1….thats where your f.b.line should be showing up surely.

  2. Padraig O Hora gets a good vote, I think several voter’s must have noted the sheer brilliance of Clifford, the extraordinary efforts of O’Hora in doing everything possible to curb the influence of the Fossa footballing genuis mostly left in a One on One position..I think almost every time there were a few player’s around Padraig actually won the ball and came out with it .. In fairness it must also be pointed out the Padraig never resorted to fouling David, even though the verbals don’t look great on TV. .. Fair play to Rory Byrne, he made a few very good saves, and it’s looks like that Rory may well be in Goal for the upcoming Galway fixture.. Yesterday has to be put behind us now and can’t be changed.. Hopefully no one else gets injured… You could probably do a thesis on why so many players are getting injured for Mayo, last year was similar.. We certainly could do with a break on the injury front, a break of about 6 months, not any other type of break!

  3. Agree totally with last comment I thought Swannie was good yesterday I’d definitely have him in my starting 15 in 3 weeks. You can’t beat class and Clifford is a class act. Maybe if Oisín is back when we meet them in All Ireland Final end of July a player with more pace will rattle him a bit better and Swannie can do a job on a lesser imortal. Chin up tiocfaidh ár lá

  4. Very fair analysis Leantimes. All this crap about O Horas verbals is sickening. He competed manfully, didn’t resort to physical nastiness and had a few words in Clifford’s ear for good measure. Not only is Clifford a fantastic player, he is also a big lad who can take care of himself and Id say verbals will be the least of his worries later in the summer. The only nasty thing I saw yesterday was the hit on Jordan Flynn, totally unnecessary as well as a late tackle on O Hora, who promptly got up and on with the game.

  5. Has there been any word on Flynn’s injury, some Twitter commentary suggesting there was tendon damage which would be a disaster?
    Also is there a question mark over the S&C side of mayos setup? I’d love to know how many soft tissue injures we are getting especially hamstring. Were Mullin and EML withdrawn for that reason too… it feels like our rate of soft tissue injures is far higher than normal and you have to start looking at the S&C when that happens.

  6. Regarding O’Hora, he surely knew those verbals towards Clifford were going to be caught on the big screen, given both players are now so high profile (for the right reasons). However now O’Hora has drawn attention on himself for the wrong reasons, placing a target on his back. It was pointless. Different story if we were actually playing well and ‘in’ the game.

  7. Maybe O’Hora needs to psyche himself like that. If it spurs him on for the rest of the year I’ll be delighted to say I was wrong.

  8. Sledging is a black card, why did ref not issue one. Give the lad a break. When Clifford plays that well in a big championship match with I will laud him

  9. Be good to get an update on injuries to get a picture of where we will be at for Galway.

    Paddy durcan
    Rob hennelly
    Diarmuid o Connor
    Oisin Mullen
    Jordan Flynn .

  10. To be fair if I was Horan, I’d want to keep Galway in the dark re our injuries. That unfortunately means keeping us fans in the dark too but it’s a price worth paying to disrupt Galway’s preparations and tactical set-up

  11. Sean – you can add to that list the following:

    Brendan Harrison
    Eoghan McLaughlin
    Bryan Walsh
    Fionn McDonagh
    Mark Moran (I’m told he’s ‘close’).

    Your list is, I know, confined to definite first fifteen players but it’d be good to have at least some news about all of those on the list.

  12. Too much of an attack being made on O’Hora.

    In mitigation of the lad, he was left totally exposed on the best player in the country, that wasn’t his fault and it’s not the first time management have thrown a defender to the lions in a national final.

    So it was a suicidal set up from the get go, that’s not O’Hora’s fault.

    Where were all these cameras or exposure when we were were having players cynically pulled to the ground in All-Ireland finals and constantly sledged ?

    Nowhere, because the media were having a love affair with Dublin, there must be some truth in the seven year itch after all.

  13. Totally agree there viper , the image in 17 after dean rock got the point from looking down on the pitch and the image the cameras picked up was totally different .

  14. Thanks, Just a Thought – there’s so many of them and zero information from management about the situation. I’ve never seen anything like this current wall of silence from them. The only news is what’s being leaked from inside. Nature abhors a vacuum as they say.

  15. Plus Tommy Conroy, of course, which brings the list to twelve. If any other county has more than 20% of our current casualty rate I’d be amazed. Certainly no-one else has the kind of first fifteen attrition we’re suffering.

  16. I’m not sure I’m buying this story of James not caring about the league and easing off in anticipation of the Galway game. He surely would not have risked Ryan O’Donoghue getting injured if that were the case. The one forward who has performed consistently for is over the past 18 months or so.
    It was a huge risk leaving him out there for the whole match and really nothing to be gained from it either, as that game was over well before halftime.

    There is no possible way now that we can have an even half settled and practised side for the Galway game, and I think our fortunes are nearly down to how things pan out for us (by chance rather than by design) on the day.

  17. Having reflected on Sunday’s match, we were on a hiding to nothing right from the start. There were a number of factors that can only improve come the Galway match.
    Firstly, it is worth noting that, on Sunday, we were missing 9 (nine!) players that would be in our starting XV. Here is the list – and I think many would agree that they would start all things being equal
    1. Rob Hennelly
    2. Brendan Harrison or David McBrien
    3. Oisín Mullins
    4. Paddy Durcan
    5. Eoghan McLoughlin
    6. Diarmuid O’Connor
    7. Fionn McDonagh
    8. Cillian O’Connor
    9. Tommy Conroy

    Also, for the first time ever, I thought our players to be very “leggy”. I think our training emphasis is visibly different to Kerry’s right now. I have never seen Mayo players beaten for pace all over the pitch, like I saw on Sunday.

    Finally, I feel that, psychologically, we were not in the right place on Sunday. I would think that Horan really did not want to be in that final. I also think that the total mental and physical emphasis around the trading sessions, right now, is on the Galway match. We have to win that.
    For Galway,
    – Can we hope that 8 of the above players will be available? We will need them all. – And we will need a sweeper
    – And we will need the right man-markers on Walsh and Comer
    – And we will need to ensure that we don’t let Galway players run past us, and beat us to breaking balls, without laying a hand on them.

  18. Willie Joe, don’t forget Conor McStay, either. Isn’t he supposed to be injured? Also, Pearse Rutledge has not featured on the 26 since the first couple of games.

    I’m no expert, but I’d imagine this new physio Garrett Coughlan is adopting an ultra cautious approach, so any niggles or strains probably mean a player doesn’t get back to the 26 until full fitness is proved, particularly with our div 1 status wrapped up from an early stage.

  19. Only a league match but still coming to terms with it – the comparisons with the feeling of the 04 and 06 finals would be where I’m at with it.

    Squad availability obviously had an impact, and training load could have done as well. But I think you’d have to be very confident to say that if we had a full deck the one of the one-on-one defensive match ups we had won’t leave us massively exposed against top teams. Fair enough having Barrett against Walsh in the 19 league final, but hopefully yesterday hammers home a message that we have to put more defensive cover in place. If the press up the field works then it can be great, but it feels like we’re taking way more risks on goal concessions than any of the other big teams at the moment. It did look like Hession was plus 1 a few times, but something more permanent looks like it will be needed.

    Where the kick passing was well executed / sensibly used it was effective in small doses – both of Plunkett’s points included a good pass as part of that.

    Also there were a few times (Carr and Ruane) where running at the Kerry backs was a effective. Even Ryan’s point off the passing with Aidan worked well when there was still a lot of Kerry bodies around them. But those are isolated incidents vs. the majority of times were we kicked the ball away terribly, got turned over way too much and were slaughtered on breaking ball.

    It’s definitely not as bad as that match suggests, and planning will have to take into account which squad members are available, but I’d personally hope there’s a slight tweak to our tactics for the Galway game. I think a double sweeper isn’t how we’re going to play, but having a single sweeper could really do with looking at. If Galway have Walsh, Conroy, Comer playing to a high standard that’s plenty of live threat to deal with anyway. If we can find a way to stop getting our forwards sucked out of position too that would be massive (but Ryan dropping back to us his kick passing ability is different if we’re in control of when that happens, rather than moving back to try and get into the game).

  20. Conor McStay (somewhat bizarrely) was added to the 26 the last day so that would suggest he’s okay. Bench was all forwards bar Colm Reape, Donnacha McHugh and Conor O’Shea so maybe Pearse couldn’t squeeze his way in there.

  21. Pity Connell Dempsey didnt get a run out over the league, if Jordan is injured for the Galway game it would have given us another option.

  22. With the value of hindsight, it does now look like the AOS at 6 and keeping McHugh from the U20s were done more out of necessity than anything else.

    I will be interesting to see if Callinan plays for the U20s. JH releasing him suggests he was confident most of our defensive injuries would be cleared up prior to the start of championship, but that was before Oisin. We can’t go into championship with so few bodies in defense, if there’s any doubt I’d be taking Callinan back.

    Also puts a different spin on the late naming of the team

  23. Who do we have to come in for Jordan? Conor o shea came on for him the last day,Coen and DOC have played there for us,even Leeroy (and he did very well there)
    Other options might be Oisin (if fit) or Carney as they both play there for their clubs.
    I must say I’m drained of any enthusiasm at the moment, every team has to deal with injuries, some teams have to deal with a lot of injuries,then there’s Mayo….we’re completely decimated.
    Hopefully we’ll have Robbie,Paddy and DOC back for Galway.

  24. If Flynn is ruled out , we are definitely in a weakened position, I think you’d have to throw Oisin in to partner mattie

  25. FW – Bit confused about Jordan, looked like a high challenge that knocked the wind out of him, but he seemed to wobble limp off. I would have thought a week or 2 recovery unless there was something innocuous happened as a result of the challenge

  26. FW – hold off on those kinds of conclusions, would you? I know we’re operating in an information-free zone right now but it’s not helpful to be putting unconfirmed stories out there as fact. What do we know? Jordan went off injured on Sunday. It seemed to be a problem with his ankle. He could be a doubt for Galway. That’s about the height of it for now.

  27. Players may not wish to have their injury situation put into the public domain so issuing such information may not be at the discretion of management.

  28. The way we have been going as regards injuries.. Training must be very hard, I know training has to be very hard in Kerry as well. We have been most unfortunate with injuries in Sigerson Cup game’s, Mayo games and apparently Mayo training as well, even though as Willie Joe say’s, with no official information coming from camp. Reading the Kerry GAA forum, they are very positive and tell us that Seaní O Shea another terrific player, unfortunately currently injured has to return yet.. From reading the Mayo GAA Blog, anywhere between 6 and 9 first team player’s are out injured, depending on a person’s subjective opinion on what actually is our first 15… Small wonder RTEs Colm O Rourke and Ciaran Whelan question if James Horan knows his Championship team?.. I wonder would one of our better performer’s on Sunday, James Carr be starting if we did have a near full strength squad to choose from?, I genuinely doubt it.. At least he looks like a forward that the ball can be kicked in early to, OK James has had a fair share of wides in his very limited playing time with Mayo, but he also has had a much higher score put up in his very limited time with Mayo than several others who apparently are first choice when fully fit, and that’s better than getting turned over any day, and it also saves our overworked half backs from having to make yet another support run time and time again, and they remain in their defensive positions, for when our opponents attack the next time.. Two game’s in the national league really frustrated me for the same reason, the amount of times we ran the ball into traffic and turned over the ball time and time again.. V Tyrone in the narrow confines of Healy Park Omagh, when we repeated the same failed game plan as the All Ireland final, and even worse in the League Final, when our depleted team set up similarly. Kerry definitely wanted to kick pass fast and long into both Paul Geaney and David Clifford and we continued to mostly run the ball into traffic again and again.. Colm Cooper made the point in his analysis last Sunday evening, the amount of times Kerry kick passed, the receiving Kerry player, no bounce no solo, immediately kicked the ball on..The fractions of a second saved, by the two or three kicked passes giving the two accurate arch predator’s , David Clifford and Paul Geaney , more time and space in the wide open spaces of Croke Park to do their stuff…You know on a number of occasions last Sunday when we did have numbers back in the defense we came out with the ball.. Galway coming to town shortly.. It was an excellent enjoyable game with Roscommon last Sunday, Shane Walsh probably as important to Galway as David Clifford is to Kerry, my guess is that Shane will be fully fit for Mayo.. Damien Comer also had a very good game and looked his fittest for years, he put in a powerful performance for the 70+ minutes, we are used to Damien Comer playing in bursts for the last few years, but last Sunday Padraig Joyce would be happy with his performance.. Paul Conroy was outstanding, his long range point scoring was immense… We’d need a tailored plan for those 3 player’s on the 24th of April.. So much now focus on the Galway game, we live in hope!

  29. Didn’t know that Conor McStay was added WJ – tv viewing is so frustrating. That’s good news in any case.

  30. Definitely one of the main positives to emerge from the league is that we now have a back up goalkeeper who we can have confidence in.
    I have to say in all my years (63) I cannot remember any county team suffering so many injuries. Adding Jordan to the list we now down seven starters and of the rest Cillian is just back from his serious injury and a long way from full match fitness. Either we are seriously cursed or questions need to be asked about our strength and conditioning training.

  31. Hard to know, Kevin – the match day panel they’ve published only lists 24 names so I guess there could be a few more added on the night.

  32. Comer, Walsh and Conroy have been playing against Mayo for years now and we have never been afraid of them, ,, no need to panic about tthem this year.

  33. Kind of true culmore but they did beat us twice in recent years in fairness.

  34. That trio have to be watched; they’re playing very well at the moment. Still, we have a psychological advantage if we use it: wins in Limerick, Galway and Croke Park. Absolutely vital we start off successfully in the reseeded home ground.

  35. JJ Kelly, I’ve been saying for a long time that the strength and conditioning program has been a problem for years now. We keep getting told they’re all freak injuries but it’s happening too often and it’s not just freak injuries.

  36. It’s extremely difficult to predict cause of injured list and not knowing . If we had a full deck you’d still be confident cause they can still be ran at like the rossies did on Sunday with success , they’re nowhere near as tight as Kerry and Tyrone type set up plus they seem to struggle on their kickout. Walsh although not classed as gifted as the boy wonder is absolutely lethal on his day , look back on the first half of last years game and just look at the way he cut us open , he’s a speed buck who can control his solo with top drawer skill .

  37. Aido at full forward could do serious damage to Galway. Based on the weekend, they have no one with the physicality to deal with him. There was a point on Sunday, where Galway had to drop Conroy into the fullback line to deal with the Roscommon attack. If we can force them to do something similar, it’d negate Conroy’s influence at the other end

  38. There isn’t a team in the country that could cope with such injuries. . Its unreal and getting worse. .o hora did try his best but in all fairness do u think Tyrone would have just let it be man to man and nobody else covering off. Let alone allow white and o Connor run at us.

  39. Paul Flynn (former Dublin star) talking about David Clifford’s performance last Sunday, on Second Captain podcast – “It was criminal to have just one player marking him”.

  40. I’d wonder does Paul Flynn have anything to say about the abuse being dished out to O’Hora on social media now, or was it only a problem when John Small was getting hauled over the coals?.

  41. @Jack Martin, they all copy what Viper says but I don’t mind.

    That’s why zero blame should be attributed to O’Hora.

    All managers need to defend their players through thick and thin and to hell with the media.

  42. I agree with most of what Claremorris 1951 has said in that we we’re definitely leggy like as if we did a lot of training recently. I didn’t expect much from the game, I did expect us to be more competitive than we were but I’m not all that bothered by the result if we are taking a leaf out of the Tyrone Donegal playbooks where they get tanked by Kerry in the league and then turn into a completely different animal come championship.. we will have to be completely different otherwise Galqay will kick our ass.
    On another separate note.. if we meet Clifford again can someone not grab ahold of his paw! When he and his marker jams on the breaks and change direction Clifford pushes the defender forward with his momentum which helps him slow down quicker and gain that yard or two of space he needs.. its a great skill but surely the defender can anticipate this and grab his hand for that split second that keep the space closer. Hopefully a time will come later this year where indept analysis will be required. For now though the focus is getting everyone right for three weeks time.

  43. I agree FDBinashui – Paul Flynn is a blinkered Dub supporter – but at least he had sympathy for O’Hora being left on his own.

  44. A big shout out to Willie Joe for this blog – reminds me of some intelligent teachers I had in the distant past – a light touch but sniffed out the troublemakers before things got out of hand!

  45. Watched the game from Lower Cusack & could see clearly after 15 minutes that Jack was winning the tactical battle hands down!
    Horans decision to play Aidan in a 3rd midfield role allowed Kerry to play Morley as sweeper where he constantly intercepted ball aimed at our full forward line leaving them totally isolated. Spillane was picking up Aidan around the middle leaving either Plunkett or Hession free on the wing. Plunkett did make use of this a couple of times with 2 nice points but mostly they were shut down as players dropped back.
    This was particularly evident in the 2nd half when Hession was the free man &was way too slow getting back to cover our full back line where O Hora was totally isolated.I have to ask what the management team were doing on the sideline to allow this tactic for the entire game.
    The other major error was our failure to deal with White’s pace which we were well aware of & while the matchup with Loftus was all wrong I would not blame him entirely as he was allowed 60 or 70 yards several times without anybody laying a hand on him – for instance for his goal Brickenden let him run right past him with a half hearted tackle & then trotted back after him with no urgency whatsoever.
    If Horan persists with Aidan at centre forward in a similar role going forward I can see other teams adopting similar tactics & the amazing thing is that even though we had that extra player in midfield we still got cleaned out there.
    I have to say I felt really sorry for our full forward line particularly the 2nd half as we failed completely to give them any sort of decent service.
    1st blood to Jack in the tactical battle – no wonder he could have a laugh at the end!

  46. No great credit to Jack for Sunday. Kerry the best team by a long shot in the country. They were mad keen to win the league and were playing with close to a full hand. Mayo had half a team missing, had ended up in a final that they didn’t really want and have a huge match v Galway on the horizon. If Jack couldn’t win that match comfortably he would be pure useless. He will get tougher games later on but I expect Kerry to win AI. As for us the way things are going we will be lucky to get 15 on the field v galway.

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