Roscommon 0-11 Mayo 0-13: Cillian comes of age to seal Connacht crown

This wasn’t the first Connacht final that I’ve missed down the years but it’s probably the first where the temperature in the part of the world that I’m in is bordering on three times as high as it was at the match. I may have the weather but the Nestor was won over there: oh, to be wet and cold and even happier than I am.

I listened in to the game on Midwest, where Paddy Henry proved a poor substitute for Mike Finnerty but the Twitter feed and a few chats on the phone with PJ and The Brother kept me reasonably well in touch with developments back at the ground. The latter also provided the photo above of the scoreboard which confirms the county’s 43rd Connacht final success as well as the cracking one below of Alan Dillon hoisting the Nestor Cup. Thanks for that, Bro.

I’m not going to attempt a match report today – my absence from proceedings, a family commitment to play a game of crazy golf over here straight after the final whistle sounded at Hyde Park and the need to ingest some rather nice red Moretti beer later on over dinner all meant that the words were never going to flow in any kind of coherent way today. Instead, what I’ve done is jot down a few random thoughts about what today’s win might perhaps mean for us.

The fact that we did win is, of course, the most important thing about today. Like we eventually did in Ruislip, like we did against Galway on another day when the conditions were more akin to what you’d see at a league game. If the hallmark of John O’Mahony’s Mayo was that the team seemed utterly incapable of winning any match of importance, then James Horan’s charges appear to be an outfit that doesn’t want to lose. If that is the case, then it has to be seen as a very welcome development.

Winning Connacht isn’t any longer an end in itself – certainly not under the current championship structure – but for a manager in his first year in charge, it’s still a notable achievement. It’s all the more so given what James Horan inherited when he took over the role late last year. In his first campaign as an inter-county manager, James already has silverware to show for his efforts and he has gone a long way to win back the respect the county lost last year. We’re indebted to the Ballintubber man for doing so.

But, of course, winning Connacht also gets us back to the All-Ireland series for only the second time since 2006. The last time we made it this far, we squandered a great chance to go further and instead ended up suffering what proved to be  a very wounding defeat.  Now we’re back, with a new man in charge and, it seems, a far grittier mentality.

At the start of the year if we were told that James’s first year in charge would have given us the retention of our NFL Division One status and a Connacht title, I think we’d all have been happy enough with that. As a result, we’re now heading for bonus territory and a win in the quarters would push us decisively into that happy zone.

It’s all in the lap of the gods, of course, as regards who we draw in the quarters but I think it’s fair to say that they’ll all see us as the easy pick from the provincial champions’ bowl. Given the poor showings by Connacht champions in recent years, that’s nothing that should surprise us and, in one sense, it could work to our advantage. They’ll all expect to beat us but so too did Tyrone back in 2004.

The fact that, once we got past London, our Connacht campaign has been played out in NFL conditions might also act to our advantage as we approach Croke Park. We haven’t provided the pundits with anything to salivate over as yet and so it’s likely that we won’t attract too much attention (apart from the usual lazy-as-shit ‘analysis’) in the lead-in to the All-Ireland series. The less that’s written and spoken about us in the national media between now and early August, the better.

Back to today’s game, there were a number of obvious positives. Cillian O’Connor’s performance was self-evidently crucial to the win, his eight-point haul matching that achieved by the much-heralded Donie Shine and his accuracy from dead balls effectively putting to bed all those issues we’ve been fretting about over the freetaking duties. Cillian also has plenty of Croke Park experience under his belt so we can be confident enough that he’ll acquit himself well when called upon to deal with placed balls at HQ.

Robbie Hennelly’s fetch from above the crossbar in the dying seconds was another moment that swung the contest our way. Had that gone over, it could have ended in a draw or maybe even Shine would have lamped over another to seal the win for the home team. Robbie’s save kept our noses in front and when we got our next score, it was the final nail in the coffin for the Rossies.

The bench was also vital today. Being able to bring an experienced head like Ger Cafferkey on to mark Donie Shine midway through the second half helped to ensure that the Sheepstealers wouldn’t be able to up the ante on us in the last quarter. Enda Varley came on and scored what my Dad said was our best point of the day. Ronan McGarrity and Peadar Gardiner also added experience to the cause just when it was needed, with the latter notching a vital point close to the end.

I’m obviously sorry I wasn’t in Hyde Park today but, like the Kerrymen, I’ll now be able to swan into Croke Park in early August to see the lads play their trade in the All-Ireland series. It’s very hard to know how we’ll do then but, for now, victory in Connacht is worth celebrating and celebrate it we should.

I’m sure there’ll be plenty of porter sunk tonight to mark this dogged win and once I finish up here, I think I’ll down another one or two birras to mark the occasion too. They serve prosecco for breakfast here and while I’ve managed to resist the temptation up ‘till now, I’d promised myself in advance that if we won today, I’d have a glass of the bubbly stuff tomorrow morning on what will be our final day here before returning home to the wind and rain on Tuesday. As I lift the glass, I’ll point it homewards and wish the lads all the best for what faces them next in this campaign, a campaign which now leads us back to Croke Park and the All-Ireland series.

Mayo: Robert Hennelly; Keith Higgins, Alan Feeney, Tom Cunniffe; Richie Feeney, Donal Vaughan, Trevor Mortimer; Aidan O’Shea, Seamus O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Alan Dillon (0-1), Andy Moran (0-1); Cillian O’Connor (0-8, frees), Alan Freeman, Jason Doherty. Subs: Ger Cafferkey for Alan Feeney, Enda Varley (0-1) for Doherty, Ronan McGarrity for Seamus O’Shea, Peadar Gardiner (0-1) for McLoughlin.


59 thoughts on “Roscommon 0-11 Mayo 0-13: Cillian comes of age to seal Connacht crown

  1. Well done Hennelly….helped us keep the faith in the dying minutes. Watched in Twickenham.

  2. Great win lads. What a finish. Lots of guts and true grit there 2day. Well done keeper and young Cillian. Thought manager made great calls. Good subs and a nice tidy tram now. More to come. Great to beat the rossies.

  3. Brilliant result.

    Thought Feeney at the back was a rock and great catch by hennelly at the end.

    Might have a player in o’connor.

    Onwards and upwards.

  4. That was great crack even with conditions more like what you`d expect in November.
    From 1 to 15 we had lads giving it everything.
    Did you see that catch by Hennelly over the crossbar at the end he has some pair of hands!
    The backs were excellent Keith had a blinder in the first half.
    Aiden O`Shea put in a great hour you could notice that the Rossies began to get on top a bit while he was out with the blood injury.
    The half forewards worked very hard and all scored.They also tackled fiercely when they had to.
    What about that performance by Cillin O`Connor almost flawless in awful conditions.Freeman had a poor day by his standards his handling seemed to let him down which doesnt happen very often.
    Jason Doherty seems to have gone off the boil from his heroics in the League and may be luckey to start ahead of Enda Varley the next day, that was some point he got after coming on.
    And then Gardnier came on and scored a vital point towards the end.
    All in all it was a good win.My own wish would be to meet Cork in the next round and if we could get a result there we could maybe start to dream of the big day then.
    Whatever happens i think James Horan`s first year in charge has been a success and we can look foreward to a few days out in the coming years.

  5. Even when we were 4 down at HT, I still fancied Mayo – Roscommon kicked a bucketload of wides in the first half, and there was a severe wind out there to back Mayo in the 2nd half where they have reserved their performances for this year. Just some thoughts:

    * Watched Senan Kilbride in the warmup – he’s lazy as sin, and it was no surprise that he didn’t play well and was taken off.

    * Varley showed fantastically when he came on and is seriously pushing Doherty for his starting place

    * Why oh why wasn’t O’Connor allowed take frees before?

    * Freeman seemed to play half the match at midfield?

    * The full back line held up very well and Cunnife and Higgins in particular redeemed themselves well from the Galway match

    * I was at all the matches this year and there seems to be a pattern that Mayo have had difficult picking the ball up?

    * On a wet day, you shouldn’t play daisycutter passes along the ground – it’s a recipe for disaster.

    * Hennelly acquitted himself excellently today under the high ball – it was refreshing and allays my concerns over that aspect of his game.

    * Roscommon won way too many of their own kickouts cleanly.

    * What’s with our weather over here in the west? Ever since I started living in Wicklow, I’ve almost forgotten what rain is like. It’s July and the 2 Connaught Semis and the Final were played in pissy conditions.

    * There was a sizeable Mayo crowd there today, although you could only really see them once all the Roscommon people had left.

    * The traffic control by the Gardaí after the match was farcical – the worst I’ve been at outside of Clones.


  6. Just in the door now lads, what a great comeback in the second half, keith higgins played a blinder today, brilliant catch from over the crossbar by hennelly, can’t wait to watch it on sky+

  7. Well done Mayo on a hard fought gutsy performance. Always nice to come out of the Hyde with a win. A Connacht Final win is an even bigger bonus. Cillian O’ Connor deserves immense credit for taking on such responsibility onto young shoulders. A masterful display. I also need to congratulate Robert Hennelly as I have been one of his biggest critics in the past. Well done James Horan in your first year and most of all well done to all the Mayo players. Keep the faith. Maigh Eo Abu

  8. Gutsy performance and well done to the lads.Feeney at wing back was my MOTM,O’Connor showed great poise kicking frees.What a catch by Hennelly,Claffey couldnt do the same for Gardiners point which shows how crucial a catch it was.However,the fact that our full back and starting centre half back were cleaned shows that we likely wont be going much further.Also,2 poor championship games for Doherty in a row doesnt bode well for him.Great to go there and win,you can never beat the towbars enough!

  9. A good win to day.The players certinally put in the effort, it was a gutsy performance, plenty of mistakes that can be improved apon.
    Killian O Connor did very well on the frees, thank God for that.
    Richie Feeney had a great game in the half backs,he is full of heart, reads the game very well and was a contender for man of the match.
    Alan Freeman slipped a lot,especially in the first half, he must have a look at his cogs.
    I thought Trevor Mortimor gave away a lot of ball with poor distribution, I wounder is he good enough for the half backs.
    Seamus O Shea won a lot of dirty ball in midfield and Kevin McLoughlin was buisy as usual.
    I wounder why was Alan Feeney taken off, was he injured ? .I thought he was playing ok.
    Great to win in Hyde , we will improve again ,as we will have to, for Croke Park.

  10. Just watched a re-run of the game from TV3. Is Liam Hayes for fucking real?? Arsehole.
    Anyway, well done lads. Great victory in terrible conditions. Once again we’ve done just enough. Nothing will be expected of us, which has seemed to suit us so far this year.
    A Connacht title is good progress for this young team and manager. But we’re not done yet.

  11. Dan your lucky if you didnt hear him on newstalk Thursday night. i nearly broke the fecken radio, prick.
    i dont mind criticism, but what he was saying was bordering on racism if such a thing exists between counties. His “analysis” had nothing to do with the facts and the teams as they are today, more with tired old cliches regarding 2004 and 2006. It was absolutely pathetic. I dunno how DB can sit next to him.
    if he was able to say something about the team as they were selected out I’d say fair enough even if I didnt agree but he didnt seem to have a clue. Eugene MY Gee wasnt much better. I expected better from off the ball, any owl gob shite can go on the radio and be controversial, we expect some intelligent analysis, is that too much? hes done the same with most other counties, calling Kildare forwards B or C class. Hes a clown.
    The mejia’s script this year is that the Rossies are an upcoming team with a great manager, we dont rate, but they’ll change their tune if we beat someone in the quarters and put in a good performance, but feck them, no hype is good for me. Rossies are over hyped, if theres one young team on the up its Mayo, 7 connacht final debutants and a manager in his first year. That should be the story but they are too one eyed.
    Aidan O’ Shea was concussed according to his tweet a few minutes ago, he also dedicates this one to Liam Hayes. Classic Aido.

  12. In the door, we just did enough have Roscommon 9 first half wides to thank for this win.

    Was disappointed by the poor Mayo support today & a lot left before the cup was presented.

  13. A good win. The backs played well except for Alan Feeny who I thought was poor and was second to every ball. Was rightly substituted after Shine missed the goal chance. His brother had a great game and was my MOM. We are not that great a team but the conditions they have played in for the last two games have been absolutley dreadful. Cillian O’Connor came good today which is no surprise considering how good his free taking was for the minors last year. No great expecation going into the quarter finals which is the way to have it still it’s great to get a day out in Croker. The Rossies must be sickened.

  14. Really proud of them, they dug in and got the job done. Reading through the posts, i’m surprised T.Mort didn’t get a mention, i thought he done very well today. Varley has to start the next day surely, he’s got the guts to take a shot on and hit with conviction.

    Not sure at all if we can win another one but either way, mission accomplished for Horan and this teams goals, nestor will do me for this year.

    For the first time in a while, go raibh maith agat, Maigheo.

  15. Liam Hayes outdone by Spillane, cant believe Mcstay let the comment go “Connaught Football reduced to Junk Status”.

    Not a great game but the conditions were dreadful, keep on trucking.

  16. And McStay had to get the adverstiement in for the Roscommon minors at the end as well, wtf is with the Rossie love in? I know he lives there but a bit of balance, Cavan minors won as well and they are a county that hasnt exactly been gushing with underage success.
    I’d encourage anyone who hasnt, to listen to last Thursdays off the ball on newstalk to hear what Liam Hayes had to say. It’ll be pleasent listening now that the job is done, he reckoned Rossies by 6 or 7, I dont mind that, its the insults about mayo football he threw around before and after that that you have to listen to. Its on the newstalk website

  17. A fierce hangover today but christ it’s good to be back as Connacht champions. Fair play to both teams yesterday, it was one of the better provincial finals down through the years. As for Liam Hayes, we need that though, we need to be told we’ve been given too much respect. It’s who we are, we need to be the underdog, we revel in it.
    I thought Richie Feeney was man of the match, does anyone else think that the 2 Feeney’s need to be on the pitch to bring out the best in each other?
    We’ve shown lots of balls in the last 2 games, it’s something that was lacking under O’Mahony at times. Enjoy the holiday anyway WJ, good man.

  18. Great result in very difficult circumstances, the conditions were worse than it appeared on the Sunday Game. I thought that O’Connor was great, especially when he was not put off by the ref penalising him for delaying a kick. The poor Mayo support was the only dissapointing note from yesterday.

    On the issue of the media and especially Liam Hayes, the important thing is that we won and it appears that his comments were a source of motivation. Until we win it all, some in the media will not take us seriously.

    While we have so far achieved a much as we could have hoped for in 20111, we need to put in a creditable performance in the last eight.

  19. Great win on a bad day for football. Mayo looked very hungry and won a lot of dirty ball around the middle. Mortimer and Cunniffe were outstanding in defence. The two O’Sheas at midfield put in a very decent shift.

    Up front O’Connor was solid from placed balls but it was a tough day for forwards to show. McLoughlin was very busy as usual and the elder statesmen in Dillon and Moran showed constantly.

    We’re in Croker in August so that’s progress in itself. Lets help the weather is better for our next day out!

  20. Credit where credit is due. At the start of the year I didn’t expect us to be in this position and it’s down to the management and players that we are going in the front door into the AI series in August. So congratulations and fair play to both the team and the backroom staff.

    In doing so we have beaten the other 2 traditional big guns of Connacht and while the national meeja wtite that off as a “so what scenario” it’s a lot more significant than most pundits view it.

    In both games we had to come back from nearly double scores and grind out victories. Doing it in the Hyde and winning the Nestor cup in the Rossies back yard against the reigning champions is all the sweeter. Not to mention that it was achieved as stated with 7 debutants as well as a new manager in charge.

    Personally I couldn’t give a toss who we meet in the 1/4s becasue from what I see this team has got serious spirit and a fearless nerve that has grown within as the championship has developed.

    Are we the finished article? No – but sure doesn’t the whole country know that? So rock on boys. The bloody skys the limit now. Don’t see why you should fear anyone now after what you have achieved thus far.

  21. Well said sixpointsup. Hayes, Spillane, McGee(see his comments in today’s Indo), et al are simply doing their job. They are being paid to give their opinion and the more controversial & unpleasant the better that is for their media profile. Mayo bashing isn’t anything new. However it certainly appears to motivate Horan’s team though!

    I was at the match and was surprised with the poor Mayo support too – in fact the crowd barely raised a cheer when Mayo ran out. Reckon it was 4:1 Rossies to Mayo support.

    Higgins have a masterclass in defending in the first half. Feeney at half back was solid for the 70mins. Thought Mortimer had a super game too. Horan won the battle on the sideline – Gardiner & Varley proved match winners! Kilcullen’s cameo emphasised that he is out of his depth at this level. Dillon had a good 2nd half when he decided to let go off the ball. He slowed play up and disrupted momentum a lot in the first half.

    Mayo have played 2 matches on live tv in atrocious conditions and have coped v well. We are an unknown quantity to all remaining teams & will arrive in Croker with confidence but low expectation from our supporters. This is all very positive!

  22. Islandeadygaa – It was Hayes’ comments before the match that I thought were out of order. He wasn’t even asked a specific question about Mayo, he just went on a rant about how we are given too much respect (?!) by people and don’t deserve any. I can’t remembner the whole rant, as I’d had a few by the time I watched it after I got in. He started off by saying “I hope I don’t get a belt from my left here” (David Brady was beside him). I was praying Brady would lamp him.

    But like Sixpointup says, there’s only one way to shut our detractors up. I thought we did that to a certain extent by winning Connacht, but until we win the big one we’ll have to put up with this.
    Winning the Connacht title is a great achievement for our rookie manager and what is by and large a young group of players. It’d be nice for us to receive some credit for this, but all we here is how bad Connacht football is. It seems any victory we have has to come with a proviso.
    Shame Brady and McStay don’t make more of an effort defending Mayo football. Maughan is about the only one I’ve heard in the media who fights our corner.

  23. I don’t know about defending Connacht football. As far as I can see Connacht football has to defend itself. Does anyone anctually care today what Liam Hayes said. I don’t anyway. when I heard Pat Spillanes coments on the “junk status” of the Connacht championship I did get a little prickly however today I believe that this could and should be used to our advantage.
    Let them talk us down all they want. The more the better as far as I’m concerned. Then when they get shot down by a Connacht team the knife can be twisted slowly back through their gut.

    Although I did get a good laugh outta McStay (and that rarely happens) when he said that Mickos achievements with Kildare and Laois outweighed anything he ever acheived as manager with Kerry. I could sense Pat bristling in the chair beside him after that shot.

  24. Personally i would dispense with doherty and allow him to make a subs appearance in croker. but i am not the man calling the shots ,

    great point JPM , let them all be hoping for Mayo in the draw and have us beaten before the ball is thown in at all

  25. A good win in horrendous conditions.

    I thought Cunniffe, Higgins, R Feeney and Mort were outstanding in defence. AOS had a good game as well. O’Connor was obviously the difference with his free-taking. All of the lads tried their hardest and showed plenty of toughness which is great and a bit of a change from the JOM yrs.

    It’s hard to know how good or bad we are after playing two games in horrible conditions. We won them both and seem to be improving. If we have McGarrity back for the quarters we might give someone a good rattle

  26. What was the story with the Roscommon fans. I heard they were throwing some abuse at the Free takers for both galway and Mayo. James even alluded to it in a quote on hoganstand.

  27. Good luck to Mayo in the Quaters, thought Mayo were the better team. They moved the ball to unmarked players who were taking the ball at pace. More intelligent team aswell, brought the ball up the stand side of the pitch, which allowed them a better chance of scoring.
    Our lot had loads of the ball but kicked aimlessly and should have been out of sight at half time, the second half was always going to be difficult for the style of football we play, bringing the ball into the tackle against stronger men is futile at the best of times, however on a wet day its suicide. Shine had a bad miss for goal, such is life time to prepare for a qualifer game we can win. Best of luck again in the All Ireland series, hope yee can shut a few people up.

  28. The booing from the Rossie fans was very disappointing yesterday. There are always a few fans at it but it seemed to be a concerted effort in Hyde Park. Not that it made much difference but it does not reflect well on them.

    I just listed to Hayes piece on Newstalk. Pathetic. Complete rant about Mayo with absolutely no objectivity. I didn’t see his article in the Daily Mail because…well because I don’t read that muck.

  29. Surprised by the result and proved wrong. Nobody has mentioned Collins the referee who did something we will never ever see again on a pitch. He pulled up O Conner for taking too long with a free. Bear in mind the only time being wasted was Mayos and this suited Roscommon I was shocked but not surprised by the idiots decision.

    Mayo seem to take the worst out of referees. Expect Collins to get the All Ireland if Cork dont make it.

    My we have a soft skin. Liam Hayes commented on us. So what!. Liam Hayes is a dour man who never ever liked Mayo. Its an opinion, that’s all, an opinion fostered and festered and hard boiled in Meath. Either Dave Brady tells him publicly to grow up or cop on (which he wont) then I would ignore dour, sour, bitter twots like Hayes. This was the clown who managed the Trindad and Tobago of the GAA, Carlow.

    I actually respect Spillane. I don’t like how he puts things but wipe away the smart comment and you will find that he speaks the truth. Fact is this: until Mayo win a senior All Ireland we will be the butt of jokes, gibes and abuse.

    Either we grow a thick skin and get on with it or react like a nine year old who has been upset everytime some arse hole from Offaly, Sligo, Meath or Tyrone upsets us. I would be far more worried by the treatment we get from referees than the pundits. All I envy about the pundits is the handy dosh they get. The worry referees give me make me grey and old before my time.

  30. @ First Gen Dub I was at the match and was surprised with the poor Mayo support too – in fact the crowd barely raised a cheer when Mayo ran out.

    * I was in a tiny Mayo enclave amongst a battalion of Roscommon supporters, and it was virtually silent when Mayo ran out.

    * Kilcullen came on for a few minutes and didn’t look up to the speed of the game – let’s not write him off just yet though.

    * For anyone interested on the Newstalk show, it’s a few minutes in in Part 2, and another couple of sections later on –

    * I was looking through the ages of the squads and people keep talking about how young the Rossies are etc etc

    Mayo have a new manager, our full forward line are 19, 22 and 22 respectively. Our midfield is 20 and 24 respectively, Hennelly is 21, McLoughlin and Vaughan are only 22.

    The oldest on the team are T.Mort at 30, R. Feeney and Dillon at 28 and Moran at 27.

    The bench in Howley, Gardiner, McGarrity, Clarke and Cafferkey have plenty of experience, and Varley, Ronaldson and Campbell are 24/25. Something to be hopeful for (not overly hopeful of course) and let’s just ignore the naysayers (even those amongst us).

  31. Collins was shocking yesterday. I’ve never had much time for him anyway, but he reached a new low yesterday.
    It wasn’t even that I thought he made bad calls against us, he just made bad calls all through the game for both sides. Some of the yellow cards he dished out were unbelievable, and 11 of them as well!

  32. Exactly Rock, as to the point made by First Gen Dub regarding them, hayes particularly, just doing their jobs, well that rant wasnt doing his job. His job is to analyse and provide insightful comment, he didnt do that, he just went on a spiteful rant the content of which seemed to be based on opinions he formed in 2004 and 2006. The plank of his arguement, if he had one, seems to have been that the Rossies deserve more respect because they havent done anything in 31 years and we dont because we dared to lose some All Ireland finals in that timeframe. I kid you not.
    I know I’m going on about this, but it deserves to be brought out because what he said sounds even more rediculous now that we won, and its sweeter to listen to it now, but also because his employers shouldnt pay him when he is clearly not doing his job. Any owl illinformed gobshite can go on and say something controversial, Newstalk and TV3 pay him for his opinion, I as a consumer of that opinion feel that its just not good enough. He offers nothing insightful or educated on the teams in front of him, instead preferring to peddle tired old sterotypes that dont have any relevance. Thats just wrong and wouldnt be allowed in the paid punditry for any other sport from rugby to showjumping.
    I have no issue with controversial statements or him not liking Mayo, just do your job and study the teams a little and come up with something based on the facts.
    Either hes too lazy to do the job or hes not capable of it, one or the other.

  33. * There was a group of youngsters (ala ‘The Hill’ and the crowd you see behind the Meath Goals at matches) who were behind the goal at the town end, who were doing most of the booing. Shame really.

    * Spillane’s mantra is always the same – too much gym/fitness, too little skills. I coach underage, and I agree with him.

    * Michael ‘They shot the wrong one’ Collins was never going to be our friend, similiar to Maurice Deegan and Rory Hickey. Again I was bemused by his decisions yesterday, for both Roscommon and Mayo. One in particular, where a Mayo player shouldered a Roscommon player to the ground, and he gave a hop ball? Either it was a free or it wasn’t. And when are referee’s going to pull up for taking too many steps? Perhaps they’re all influenced by the International Rules series, but 10 steps seems to be the norm now …

  34. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not feeling insecure or depressed, as Hayes said about all Mayo people. Also, only 2 players who started the ’06 Final were starting yesterday – Higgins and Dillon. Seeing Dillon in the warm-up and in the parade, he looked like he meant business. Higgins played out of his skin (which is just as well). They don’t seem to be suffering from “football depression” as I will now call it.

  35. Good win yesterday, lot of positives to take from the game.
    Comeback in the second half again in poor conditions.
    We now have a freetaker.
    Team seem more confident, more determination/hunger than previous years.

    As for the pundits, there is only one way to shut them up, and that is to win an All-Ireland, even if their analysis is lazy to say the least, lacking objectivity, and it does sicken me that my licence fee goes to pay the likes of spillane, brolly, o’rourke
    Looking foward to the QF, hopefully we get a good draw i.e one of the big guns

  36. The problem i have with hayes is his comments aren’t just a jibe or even a dislike for Mayo, he genuinely seems to hate Mayo. I would like to see him challenged and asked why.

  37. Great win by the lads.
    I tought our backs gave their best performance in years. Cunnife give his best performance in a Mayo jersey and should give him alot of confidence. Richie Fenney and Keith Higgins were also very solid. Very little attacking play from our half backs, which is probable something J Horan is concentrating on to plug the holes at the back.
    Alot of improvements to be made especially in our handling. Maybe Varley could start for Doherty, but i think doherty will be out to prove himself in Croke Park and could have a big game. He seemed low on confidence yesterday and his marker appeared to have a good hold of his jersey whenever he went for the ball.
    I think for the QF we would be better drawing one of the big guns like Kildare or Cork just to see what level we really are at. But the presure is off them now and they should make the most of their appearence in Croke park and enjoy it and not be crippled by fear as is sometimes the case when we get to Dublin.
    Best of luck lads.

  38. Hi Sean. Ask him. His email address is I agree with you that his comments are well off the mark and misguided. However back to my original point – the more controversial the comments the more money he makes! This is the modern day appeal of pre & post match analysis – its why the punters tune in. Its’ true across all our major ball sports – ref Dunphy & soccer, Hook & rugby etc. You can be sure that Horan will use this as motivation for the next match.

  39. The stats will show Mayo as Connaught champions for 2011 and that is a cause for great celebration. In years to come people won’t be saying Mayo won but the standard of football in Connaught that year was bad, or Mayo won but the conditions were atrocious and it wasn’t a great game. Our Connaught championship was well battled and hard won. Congratulations and respect to the lads and the management team. Well done.

    As for Hayes, well maybe he still has a hangover from the Meath scandal last year. When people look back over the Leinster Final stats and see Meath there in 2010 they might just say “But wasn’t that the year they just threw the ball into the net?”

    “It was and wasn’t yer man sitting in the box at the time?”

    Well done Mayo –

  40. This was the type of game that Mayo desperately needed to win. Brutal conditions against a confident team with massive support and it was in the pot with 10 to go, before we pulled it out with a bit of grit. Not often you’d say that about a Mayo team.

    I confess I wasn’t too confident at HT even with the wind advantage to come. Roscommon had a game plan, move it quick out of defence and feed their full forwards with early ball. I couldn’t identify any specific Mayo plan and didn’t think we would use the wind well.

    I’m delighted I was proven wrong. I thought midfield contested well throughout, but the backs started to get on top in the 2nd half (though Higgins was excellent all day) and the usual suspects up in the forward got scores or fouled and fair play to O’Connor for slotting those in range.

    Anything more is a bonus really but let Hayes, Spillane et al blow a bit of hot air, they may be right but we can use it as a bit more of a gee up. Time for those who haven’t the flags in the garden or on the roof to show their colours, Mayo is going to Croke Park and these days that’s something to enjoy.

  41. Well done Mayo. I would be slow to change the Full Forward line for Quarters, remember Doherty had a great game in Croker against the Dubs in the League, and knows where the goal is.
    Was in the Abbey Hotel after the game, as were both Ros. teams, the Seniors gutted there, a very sombre mood, the talk there from some of the Ros. panel was that the Lads, played a cuter game, on the day.
    Yes we deserved this win, and please forget about the pundits and the scribes in particular as the majority of them never played Gaelic Football. Eamon Dunphy was never heard of as a pundit until 1990 , the Media took him under their wings as he was controversial, and he is still there, Spillane, Brolly, Hayes, and E. McGee, have joined that Club, so lads thats where they are making their money, and thats what the Media like, in the written and visual.
    Roll on the quarters, we have a team who are now playing with guts, confidence and a lot of football ability, this team will not lie down.
    Trevor drove them on, I felt he showed a lot of leadership from his new role in defence, We should fear no team, and we have been in Croker already this year , and the forwards acquitted themselves very well in that game against the Dubs, so this sextet have no fears of Croke Park, the defence have greatly improved, and really tightened up, and the O Sheas are blending nicely into a good midfield pairing.

    So lets be positive the next day.

  42. well said covie. If ross won that game yesterday they would be seen as genuine contenders by the media. We win it and we’re seen as a handy draw for opposition in the next round. There is lots of football in this team and if we get the middle of the defence sorted( lets face it our CHB and FB had bad games yesterday) then we will put it up to any team.

  43. I see the Round 4 qualifiers are getting a double header at Croke park. Its bad enough for Provincial winners heading into the quarter finals without out giving the advantage of Croke park experience to the team they will be playing.

  44. Yesterday was a great day for Mayo in the context of Connacht Football. No more or no less. In fairness to the lads and the management all they can do is beat what is in front of them and yesterday they dug out a win which has somewhat redeemed our national standing after our dire failings of last few years, particularly last year.

    Great credit needs to go to James and his back room team for the work they have done in such a short time to achieve yesterday’s win but it needs to be reviewed in the context of Connacht Football. Rather than Hayes and Co lashing out at Mayo maybe they should point some of their verbal’s at the Connacht Council’s failed Football Coaching Strategy. Martin Breheny wrote a good article in Saturday’s Independent which very much sums up Connacht Football and in fairness not just Mayo’s position. In fairness to Breheny he views Mayo as “genuine All-Ireland contenders” if we were to win yesterday and can push on from this victory.

    Connacht Football is now the ‘very’ poor relation of the game and in many ways the insults, as much as we may not like them are fairly accurate. Respect is earned and our failings at the highest levels in ‘04 and ‘06 will not earn the respect we crave. As a County we should drive on and use this negative commentary as a motivator when we come up against the big guns, who in fairness to them have earned the respect.
    Before we start believing that we are ‘great again’ we should hold fire and wait for the QF’s and see how we perform against one of the stronger Counties in Croke Park. It is at this location and against this type of opposition that we need to assess progress.

    Once again, well done to James, his back room team and the players for the victory yesterday and the best of luck to them in the QF and let’s hope that they do themselves and the County proud. We need it!

    Let’s hope the travel and hotel arrangements in Dublin for the QF do not have to take in Derry or Cork en route and that the County Board don’t book the lads into a ‘Hostel’ in Temple Bar with an English Stag party in full flow.

    The QF will be another great event for the Embassy in Dublin when all the Red and Green Ties will be removed from their Dry Cleaners wrappers.

    Finally, the victory of yesterday will do much to satisfy the ‘Powers’ that be in Mayo Football that they were right to SHRED Liam Horan’s Strategic Plan. Who needs Strategic Plans any way.

  45. a game that produced more positives than negatives in horrendous conditions. Horan has instilled heart and fight into that team. we simply would not have won any of the 3 games the way they went if JOM was at the helm. standouts for me yesterday were our 2 wingbacks Mortimer & Feeney , Andy Moran and of course Cillian O Connor who showed the value of a free taker. He also won his own ball which Freeman and Doherty did not.
    Again i thought Alan Dillon was very poor giving his first 5 possessions away. He was lucky not to be hauled ashore and must improve.
    I cant see Doherty starting the next day Varley may take his spot or even M J Mort….
    Midfield just about broke even but it was a good battle and I would persist with that pairing.
    Full back had a tough day but Shine is some operator.
    Finally, the turning point in the game came from someone I had doubts about under a high ball 🙂 Hennellys catch from over the bar was superb. Not many would have risked it so fair play to him.
    regarding the quarter finals we might be as well off draw the likes of Cork and be tested fully.
    we have a decent record in Croker outside of finals…..

  46. Good solid win – Horan got it right on the day – the Mayo subs made a much bigger impact than their Roscommon counterparts. Worrying that the entire selected 6 forwards only scored 3 points from play and that none of the full-forward line scored from play – Doherty seemed to have very few scoring chances – but maybe the slow deliverery of ball into him had something to do with this. The jury is still out on whether he has what it takes for championship football or not. As regards the pundits – Brady was a good man in his day to throw in a hard tackle – it is dissappointing to see him “standing off” Liam Hayes and giving the Meathman a “free run” to continue his ongoing verbal diatribe against Mayo football on both Newstalk and TV 3. Ditto with McStay who sits back and almost seems to admire Spillane as he goes on his rant about the”junk status” of Connacht football. About time they put the boot in and remembered where they are from. OK Willie Joe – time to forget about the Moretti beer and de pasta – get yourself back to the auld sod for a few pints of the blackstuff and a good feed of bacon and cabbage. There’s a lovely flavour from those organic ones reared on he rich natural pastures of Achy Mor ! !

  47. Good to hear Mr Hayes having to eat his words on news talk tonight, i think mcdevitt let him have it after his comments lst wk and he fairly backed down.
    Mayo are perfectly placed now, coming in under the radar with no pressure to win no matter who they get in the draw, specially with a team so young and without any hang ups about being croker chokers which hopefully will be a thing of the past
    To win just once!

  48. From a neutral perspective ye deserved to win without playing brillantly. Always a good sign. It is better to have a curve going upwards than a brillant performance in the province and on a slide downwards for the business end of the season. I would not mind the pundits. Eugene McGee called us fancy dans in 1998 yet we threw it right back down his throat by powering to the all-ireland. He wrote in one of his columns after SAM was won that the ’98 winners were among the most impressive he had ever seen. Bottom line is if Mayo win an all-ireland some of these so called pundits will be raving about ye. I would disregard most of their opinion. On your chances ye are in a good position. While it was not the best Connacht cahmpionship this year most of the fare in the other provinces was hardly much better. IMO the championship is wide open and although most opinion will veer towards Kerry or Cork i am not so sure.

  49. fair play to horan and his team its a sweet victory and one that was a million miles away with 2 mins left in ruislip. we improving with every game much like the galway hurlers and the team will not fear croker or any team in it. Feeney was immense at wing back and cunniffe was not far behind. 3 played 3 wins 3 to go. we came out of nowhere in 96, it is possible. as for the pundits, gave up on them years ago. we know ourselves where we are at better than anyone. UP MAYO.

  50. Good Point KC, they really havent a clue and are always wise after the fact.
    Dara O’Cinneide is the only one for my money who knows what he is talking about; the preview show on TG4 with Sean Fada, SBB and others is really excellent. Lads who know what they are talking about and analyse the football instead of just trying to come out with smart controversial shite.

  51. Great comments/dig at Liam Hayes on Newstalk by Andy Moran last night….

    While I dont agree with them, Hayes/Spillanes/McGeeBag’s comments are meat and drink for any manager wanting to motivate his team?! Play that Liam Hayes interview from last Thursday on Newstalk back once or twice and I dont think a manager needs to say much more!

  52. mayoman just digging out the podcast from offtheball. How minutes into the show was it?

  53. Em I think it was literally after the 8pm news when Hayes came on and they went straight into the Connaught Final discussion….Andy came on the line shortly into the conversation…

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