Senior county final preview – Mayo Football Podcast 2022 E45

As Ballina Stephenites and Westport count down to this Sunday’s novel Mayo Senior football final, we set the scene in the first of this week’s podcasts. Host Mike Finnerty is joined on the pod by Stephen Drake and Colm Boyle to look ahead to a fascinating final between the Stephenites, who are bidding for their 37th county title, while opponents Westport are aiming to get their hands on the Moclair Cup for the very first time.

Drakey and Boyler start by talking about their own county final experiences before moving on to chat about two of the big personalities in Mayo football who will be on opposite sides next weekend, Lee Keegan and Padraig O’Hora. They then look at the key match-ups, how the tactical battles are likely to unfold, and how Martin Connolly and Niall Heffernan are likely to set their teams up. They finish by giving their predictions for how they think the big game will go.

This episode of the Mayo Football Podcast is now online and is available to listen to on iTunes, SoundCloud, Podomatic and Spotify. You can also listen to it directly on the Mayo News website as well as here on the blog using the SoundCloud player below. 

The podcast is also available on Patreon, where club members get access to loads of exclusive content and more besides. In the clubhouse section at the end of this pod, the lads discuss the latest additions to Kevin McStay’s backroom team and look at some of the players who have been included in his first squad for pre-season training. The show concludes with Stephen and Colm picking their winners for next weekend’s Intermediate and Junior deciders.

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The Mayo Football Podcast is also on Twitter @MayoPodcast, so if you’re a Twitter user you should follow us there to make sure you get the latest podcast-related updates, including new episodes. podcast-related updates, including new episodes.

117 thoughts on “Senior county final preview – Mayo Football Podcast 2022 E45

  1. Padraig O’Hora really has become almost a living legend in a short space of time as can be seen by the way the lads talked about him on the pod. Most importantly he has become an absolutely outstanding footballer who can do multiple jobs. Keegan on the other hand is simply Lee Keegan and nothing more needs to be said. I was pretty confident of a Ballina win before listening to the lads but now I see it as a genuine 50/50 game. Ballina will surely play their expansive attacking game which should give Westport forwards more room to cut loose. These games rarely end up in a shoot out but maybe this one will. Here’s hoping!

  2. Hope the weather is good for all the match’s, ..It’s a shame really that all the county finals aren’t all done and finished really by September, considering the weather for player’s and fans and the preservation of good quality pitch’s. Especially when Mayo are out of the Championship since June. There has to be a better solution than what the current situation currently is. I know that, several Mayo player’s went to America and good luck to them after Mayo’s exit from the championship,..I fully understand that their clubs wouldn’t want to start the championship without their services… However in the sheer numbers game, over 98% of players are not County players (and only about a quarter of the Mayo squad travelled to America) and the entire club championship being held up because of a handful of players doesn’t seem right..

  3. I note that the GAA football All Star’s have been named,..I would like to wish Galway’s Shane Walsh the best of luck in hopefully winning the GAA Footballer of the Year award, I believe that he was the best player in Ireland during the 2022 championship, I think had Shane Walsh been missing for either of the Galway/Mayo or Roscommon/Galway championship matchs I very much doubt that Galway would have prevailed. .. However I believe that David Clifford will win the award, but David’s and Kerry’s (Similarly Dublin) run to the All Ireland semifinals was a walk in the park in comparison Galway’s or Derry’s..It will all be revealed on Friday night!

  4. @Leantimes- Walsh wasnt even Galways best player, it was McDaid. There is only one winner based on 2022 season and it’s Clifford.

  5. @Seanie CH… it’s a matter of opinion I suppose..McDaid was outstanding all right, but for me, and for the GPA/GAA Walsh was by a mile Galway’s best player!

  6. @Leantimes- That is fair enough, id argue if you took his Final performance out of the question he wasn’t even a top 3 player for Galway in 2022.

  7. Leantimes, the argument about the start of the club championship is an annual one at this stage and here is no solution that will please everyone. To be fair scheduling the start of the championship after the All-Ireland final was the correct one, there was a good chance Mayo could have reached a semi or even a final.
    The 98% of players you referenced also need certainty early in the year, they deserve to know exactly when the club championship starts so they can organise work, family holidays etc. Clubs also need to know so they can plan for training, getting pitches ready etc. We can’t have a situation where club players book holidays for June/July only for the dates of the Club Championships to change because Mayo get knocked out early, that would be a disaster and totally unfair to the club player. Club championships were not held up because a few players when to America, those guys only went because Mayo got knocked out early.

  8. Forget about the All Stars. They are a joke as the best defender in the country last year didn’t get one.
    Hopefully Lee gets his County medal on Sunday and the first for Westport. Come on the Covies.

  9. Will extra time be played over the weekend ? Or is it straight to replay if level after 60 minutes?

  10. @Sean Burke, On the contrary, I think that Ciaran Kilkenny was a worthy of his All Star ,..His 6th All Star ( avoiding Lee Keegan in the championship probably sealed the deal for him) .. the other Dublin player who I think was very unlucky to lose out is Brian Fenton who I still believe is the best Midfielder in the country…

  11. Don’t think any Dublin player stood out that much, but they were probably the second best team in the country so had to get at least one.

    A lot of competition in the backs this year. Rodgers, McCluskey, Tom O’Sullivan, Sean Kelly and Lee could have got one but you wouldn’t quibble too much with the lads who were picked. Much less options in midfield and the forwards.

    Clifford the clear player of the year. Don’t see how there can be a debate on that.

  12. Walsh outstanding for me and he did not have the star-studded players around him that Clifford had. The fact that Clifford was on winning team likely to tip it in his favour. I thought Kilkenny dug deep for Dublin against Kerry, he’s up there in my book.
    Ballina open style of play will prob suit westport but westports county panelists are going to have to stand up and be counted. Reluctance to pull the trigger v Castlebar will cost them.
    More heavyweights added to mayo backroom team. It must be costing a fortune….

  13. Our Intermediate/Junior finals preview pod is now online on all podcast platforms. Rob hosts this one and he’s joined on it by Ed McGreal and, making his debut as an analyst on the podcast, Anthony Jordan of Moy Davitts.

  14. Something special about Walsh, he had an off day in the Dublin club final v Na Fianna, even with head the bandage and cut he was the sole player on the pitch that had the winning of the game, he teases defenders, so comfortable on either foot from play, he got 4 points and missed 2 or 3 more.

  15. My friend from Kerry, Na Fianna man was surprised how powerful and dominant Walsh was in club having only seen him in inter county previously. Will be great to see Sean Kelly further up the pitch in 2023 with Mulkerrins at 3 and Daly at 6 and McDaid 9 Galway will be a big ask for most teams.

  16. Don’t think Walsh or Clifford are playing in the Mayo county final on Sunday. I’m more interested in how Keegan, McDonagh, the Mcloughlins, the Lamberts, O’Hora. McStay, Murray and Regan perform. After all that is what this thread is supposed to be about.

  17. You right I suppose Joe G, it seems very quiet here given it’s finals weekend and two the largest populated clubs with massive memberships involved in senior final.
    Ballina bookies favourites and with Moran and McLaughlin out for covies that sounds about right.

  18. 4 games in McHale Park this weekend. Senior final the so called showcase last of them. Big test of the new surface a cut up pitch doesn’t lend itself to a good game of football. The subs will decide this final. Unfortunately I think the Stephanites will have the stronger bench . Low scoring game might suit Westport better but the legs in the Ballina bench just might get them over the line. Hopefully I’m wrong but here’s hoping. Looking forward to it either way. Best of luck to all teams involved.

  19. All Stars are a load of bollix. Its all about opinions. And people bound to disagree.

    Onwards to this weekend.
    Cill Chomain to win Junior.
    Haven’t been following Junior B, so won’t call that one.
    Ballyhaunis to finally seal the deal in the intermediate.
    And the senior I can’t call it. Ballina have the better form, but Westport have a huge one in them if they click. I hope the 2 teams go at it from the off and let the shackles off. Slight nod to Westport I think

  20. I have to agree with Leantimes and pull Mayomad up on this idea that the club championship couldn’t have started a bit earlier.
    No ones asking for drastic changes. The all Ireland final was on 24th July yet it was a full 6 weeks later, before a ball was kicked in the Mayo club championship.
    Six of the very best weeks of the year for football. Perfect pitches, a dry sod, a nice bounce in the ball, Summer football.
    There was nothing in the world to stop the championship starting on the weekend of 13th august. We could have had the round robin stage done by the end of august and enjoyed nice dry weather in September as the showpiece games in the club calendar in Mayo came to the boil.
    Instead we had an intermediate semi final literally washed out and having to be moved due to a flooded field in mid October, and county finals scheduled for a weekend of cold and rain.
    Who is making these decisions?
    I heard ger flanagan of this parish defending this scheduling on a podcast here a couple of months ago where Mike questioned him about the 6 week run into club championship after the all Ireland final, and he was kinda half saying it was all needed. Six weeks!! Premier league professional soccer players don’t even need a 6 week preseason let alone amateur club players.
    I remember years back, county finals were played in late September and early October. And that was with the old intercounty season that ran to late September!
    Since when did it become accepted to play the county final on halloween weekend?
    Knowing the way things are done in Mayo – I wouldn’t be surprised to see next years club finals played in mid November.

  21. Mickey3, I think you missed the point I was trying to make. I was pointing out that starting the club championship after the All-Ireland Final is the right way to go as it gives certainty to club players as to when they will be playing. It would be wrong to link the club championship to when Mayo get knocked out of the championship as this means club players have no idea when they start their championship. It would have been wrong to start the club championship in July this year just because Mayo got knocked out in June, club players dont know where they stand in that situation. I have no problem starting the club championship on the 13th Aug as you suggested as long as the start date is well communicated to the clubs early in the year, so players know for certain when the championship starts.

  22. I’m calling it for Ballina, Ballyhaunis and cill chomain this weekend but really all 3 could go the other way

    Westport have obviously a coming team with lots of talent but i fear their players are all a bit samey and they may struggle for a plan b if their hard running game isn’t on, I think ballina have more ways to hurt you and will also have the upper hand in the physical stakes so stephenites by 3.

    Although as a country boy who is naturally begrudging of the big townie teams I’d be happy for both of then to lose if I’m being honest ?

  23. Think a lot depends on Westport having a fully fit Kevin Keane available and a plan to utilise him. Would not be surprised to see Eoghan McLoughlin play some part. I know he shouldn’t but it wouldn’t be his first Lazarus moment. Even so I’m going to go with form. Ballina, Ballyhaunis and Cill Chomain for me.

  24. Not a great attitude Supermac, strong teams in the big towns is essential.
    I would love to see Divional teams from the junior and intermediate clubs play in the Senior championship, it works in Kerry.

  25. Sure Westport is an amalgamation already and might as well be called a divisional team. Correct me if I am wrong, but a lot of their better players are from the parish of Aughagower. Isn’t their new pitch in Kilmeena and their best under 16 lad is from Louisburgh.

  26. I’d guess Supermac is being a bit tongue in cheek there!

    Not as many flags, signs etc. as expected up around Ballina and hinterland. From what I hear Westport seems have gotten more colour out, one contractor I deal with very impressed with amount of Dublin flags about 🙂

  27. I think people who are complaining about the county championship starting too late are forgetting that the county championship is first part of the overall championship journey. Regardless of when the county championship finishes, the provincial matches are fixed for November and December and the all-Ireland series in January. I would think the pitches will be under more pressure, weather wise in those months.

  28. “Níl gaeilge go maíth” ag Marty Morrissey interviewing the fluent Kieran Kilkenny on the All Star’s right now on RTE 2, but he understands every word according to himself..

  29. Geographically which club in mayo has the biggest area. ?Must be Westport. Aughagower was a club underage with some class acts too. But due to issues nothing to do with football that was done away with.

  30. Can’t see past Ballina for this one. Haven’t they score 13 or 14 goals?
    6 against Knockmore and B’tubber. Evan Regan seems to have changed his physique a lot since his inter County days and plays with a good deal of confidence. Maybe his county days aren’t over…….

  31. Look at the map below at the bottom of this page its Westport the largest area of an parish in Mayo and Ballycroy and Crossmolina a close 2nd and 3rd.But Ballycroy is mostly all bog and very lowly densely populated.

  32. Anyone make an attempt at the top 8 picks based on kids born in the area?
    Not based on actually togging.

  33. JP – Westport, Mitchels, Ballina, Claremorris and Breaffy would be in the top 8. Hard to know after that.

    I think Ballinrobe would have a decent pick. Swinford covers 7 or 8 national schools but some of them have very low numbers. Knockmore probably in the top 8 just about.

  34. Westport, Ballina, Castlebar, Claremorris, Ballinrobe, Breaffy, Moy Davitts and Swinford be my guess.
    Louisburgh, Knockmore, Kilmeena be close enough then.

    Big towns always have big numbers naturally e.g. Ballina is it 110 under 7s?
    Kilmeena and Louisburgh growing with Westport overflow. Similarly the likes of the Neale, Davitts etc. Will benefit as inside Galway commuter belt.
    Knockmores population and pick going down year on year for past number of years, with one school closed and two other smaller ones barely hanging on. Lot of other rural clubs like them be in same mode.

  35. I’m thinking in order :
    2. Castlebar
    3. Ballina
    4. Ballina
    5. Swinford or Moy Davitts
    6. Moy Davitts or Swinford
    7. Breaffy
    8. Knockmore or Ballinrobe
    Swinford and Moy Davitts have the schools to be 5 and 6 after the obvious top 4.
    Swinford town, Killaser, Meelick, Midfield, between the town and Charlestown. it’s a lot of kids.
    Moy Davitts Foxford town, most of Attymass, Callow, Toomore, Straide, Bohola. A lot of kids again.

  36. Lads, Claremorris Parish area is very small, much smaller that the adjoining clubs.
    For one club the Parish boundary is only 100 metres from the edge of the town.
    If the Parish boundary was strictly enforced that Underage Gaa would be weaker in Claremorris.

    There are other Sports competing with Gaa especially in any Mayo town, Soccer and Rugby.

    Where is the boundary between Breaffy and Castlebar, likewise Garrymore and Hollymount.

  37. True Mayo88 but the player numbers the club has not the area size that key. Claremorris based on B/C teams underage would dwarf lot the neighbouring clubs.

  38. 1. Westport/Aughagower 2. Ballina 3.Castlebar 4. Claremorris 5.Ballinrobe 6.Ballyhaunis 7.Belmullet 8.Breaffy 9.Moy Davitts 10.Crossmolina 11.Swinford 12.Ardnaree 13. Kiltimagh 14.Knockmore 15. Parke KC 16. Ballintubber would be my guess.

  39. What I am trying to say is that players that should be playing for the club in their Parish are playing for other clubs, it was like this back in the 1980’s also. Players living in the roads heading out of town but actually in a seperate Parish to the town itself.
    This is the very reason that small clubs ( Junior and Intermediate ) stay small or otherwise have dwindled and amalgamated with another club.
    A classical example was two half parishes under the Barony of the one Catholic Church Parish, but half of the players in one half of the Parish ( the larger half ) actually played with two clubs, and the guys from the small half of the Parish made up the teams over the years.

    Is the Parish boundary enforced in Mayo Gaa ? certainly not the case in Dublin where one can sign up to any club, this is why there are a number of middle Class super clubs now that attract many players have A, B, C, and even D teams, creates a lot of membership Income for those clubs, but the once traditional clubs are on the way down, and attract less numbers as a result of this.

  40. @TH.. Very interesting the maps you provide. I notice that a large part of the the Parish of Lennane lies actually north of Killary Harbor and thus in County Mayo. In terms of the GAA and parish border’s sometimes I am reminded of the movie ‘The Field’ and the words of the Bull McCabe ‘this is deep, very deep’ and if he didn’t know it already ‘the yank’ was about to find out just how deep, and he met his fate in the north of Lennane parish, at Asliegh Falls in beautiful County Mayo, but the yank never got the time to admire the vista. Just because someone or some institution, Church, State, the GAA or even our tyrants and overlord’s the British Aristorcy (who kindly actually drew most of the lines on the map for us) drew lines on a map a long time ago, it doesn’t mean that the youth of today should adhere to them, play wherever you like, the future is yours.

  41. I think Swinford and Moy Davitts are comfortably the 5 and 6 slots. Ballyhaunis don’t have much pick outside the town. Aghamore maybe get in at 8 as they seem to get from Kilkelly to Knock.

  42. I would be very surprised if westport had more members than Castlebar or Ballina both towns have twice the population and up until recently Soccer was the number 1 sport in Westport.

    Well done to Ballyhaunis, Jack Coyne outstanding.

  43. @Seanie Ch, we’re basing the question on total kids living in the area. Not how many of those kids tog out for GAA.

  44. Yeah, Jack Coyne was class. He got the better of Jack Carney, although Carney came into it in the second half. Kilmeena missed a trick by not playing Carney in an advanced position. This would have kept Coyne back, preventing him from aiding the Ballyhaunis attack. Huge mistake Kilmeena. Carney had a very quiet first half.

    Kilmeena very unlucky not to get a couple of goals.

    Very little between those two teams, only Ballyhaunis’ experience.

  45. Seanie CH, Westport have third or fourth teams at some age groups.
    A lot of Westport players are also Aghagower parish, and I led believe some high profile Westport players may have been Kilmeena originally…. Similarly several of the Ballina panel would have played for Ardnaree previously.

    I don’t soccer and rugby in towns as been a bigger issue for town teams compared to rural teams. In rural clubs, lots of players play soccer, rugby or both.

  46. @JP – Understood. Seen figures recently that the new primary school in Castlebar town has 800+ students. I would imagine there is around another 500 then between the irish school and educate together, these would be just the schools in the town itself and not include breaffy, derrywash etc..

  47. @Gizmobobs – They have done a great job in Westport over the past 10 years in growing GAA in the town.

  48. Well done to the Haunis, well overdue at this stage, mad to think it’s only a few weeks ago they looked all but beaten against castlebar B

    It’s been a super odyssey for kilmeena, there’ll be slight regret I’m sure though that they couldn’t go one further.. they’ll probably never have as much momentum and impetus as this year, but all they can do now is head off for the winter and regroup again next year

    Dunmore only fell over the line really in Galway and wouldn’t be one of the better winners of recent times , so the Haunis could have plenty more days out yet and id fancy them to have the best chance of carrying the mayo flag furthest –
    I can’t see the senior winner beating Moycullen if they dispose of salthill tomorrow, and clifden walked junior in Galway and have some very talented younger players

  49. Yeah Westport cover a massive area when you look at that map below

    Ironically – for a “townie” side – I bet 75% plus of their team are country lads!

    Would they come out as far as the likes of Delphi or is that more louisburgh?

  50. How’d the pitch hold up today? From listening to madwest it sounds like it got very wet towards the end.

  51. Mayo88
    Claremorris is not a small parish , look at the map its much the same size as the other South Mayo clubs like Davitts , Garrymore and Mayo Gaels.It has 3 National schools out the country Barnacarroll, Meelickmore and Lochán na mBan not including the Claremorris Boys school in the town.
    Yes the town is just inside the edge of the parish border with Crossboyne but the majority of the outskirts of the parish on Hollymount Road play with Claremorris instead of Garrymore.No real parish rule enforced in Crossboyne parish.

  52. 1969, generally in mayo there is no parish rule, as the inwritten rule is that the offspring usually play for the club the parent(s) played with.

  53. Very few flags up around Ballina not even the Civic offices or Library have a flag out which is disapointing youd hardly know there is a county final to be won but that wont bother the lads. Forward to the goal of victory

  54. Pretty sure there is a parish rule , so a young lad can just play with any club in the county starting off , don’t think that’s the way it works at least it wasn’t the case in years gone by .

  55. Parish Rule as currently defined in the County Bye Laws:
    A person under the age of 18 years shall be entitled to join a Club only in the Parish of his/her permanent residence subject to:

    a) A person under the age of 18 years in permanent residence in a town of more than one Club and/or Parish shall be entitled to join any Club in that town.

    b) A person under the age of 18 years in permanent residence in a County Committee designated “Open Area” shall be entitled to join any named Club in that specified “Open Area”.

  56. @ Sean Og,
    Cill Chomain bigest parish by size.
    Westoprt fastest growing club in the County.(highest numbers)
    Clare Galway fastest growing club on Connaught.
    Its about demographic, the move from rural to urban is changing the face of gaelic football in the country.
    If you look at how the group stages of the Junior championship played out,,(especially in North Mayo) difficult and all as it may be, the only way forward for some of those clubs is how they are existing at under age, by amalgamation. Not an easy decision for proud independent Clubs.

  57. @Richie+Duck
    The pitch held up really well considering all the heavy rain, The goal at the Albany end cut up pretty badly as that is the wettest part of the pitch and gets the least drying.
    Handling and errors cost Kilmeena when the power press came on from Ballyhaunis in the Second half. Jack Coyne outstanding but the old number six Keith Higgins very steadying influence on the game,and a couple of great forays foward with his burst of pace resulting in scores, tipped the balance in Ballyhaunis favour.
    Kilmeena deserve great credit for an outstanding year and represented the County exceptionally. Well done

  58. Thanks@Ger Mc. All going to plan I’ll get all jobs done and hit West by 10.30/ 11.
    Backed Ballina ages ago at 7/1. Will gladly loose that bet today if Westport do the job. Hup the covies

  59. Well done Ballyhaunis. Just about deserved it but Kilmeena left a good few scores behind that you’d expect them to get. Looks like Ballyhaunis are set to provide a replacement for the great Keith Higgins in Jack Coyne. A superb prospect. Kilmeena are a very young side and won’t be going away anytime soon. Pity the weather spoiled the last 20mins but fair play to both teams for great entertainment.

  60. No boundary as such between Hollymount and Garrymore. Same parish and there are actually roads with houses side by side playing for either clubs.

  61. Junior final entertaining so far.

    In senior expected match ups:
    Murray on Keegan (may switch to Callinan)
    Callinan on McDonagh
    D. Tighe on Keane with O’Hora sitting in front
    R.Tighe on Mark Moran

    Ger Caff warming up the alternate option for Keane?

    Brick on Regan?

  62. Disagree Lahanman, think it’s a good game between evenly matched teams. It’s low scoring but thats down to good defensive play more than poor forward play.

  63. Congrats to Westport, definitely the better team and deserved the win. 3 north mayo teams in finals this weekend but none brought home a title. Westport character has always been the question over them but they showed it in spades today. Ballina never got going bar Swanny.

    The only fear you could have now is that Westport could go on to dominate? The Dublin of mayo, population, finance/facilities all helping. Not to mention the same colour jersey too.

  64. Congrats Westport.. all good saying they’ll have plenty of chances in future, but you just never know, have to seize any chance when it comes and they certainly did that this year

    Kennedy (incredible he can’t make the team) made a huge difference. Moran very peripheral again, whatever about the mayo squad, his place in the Westport team could well be under threat

    Moycullen next, Cooke won it for them late on. Salthill would have been winnable for Westport, I’d give Moycullen a roaring chance of rattling the all Ireland tbh

  65. Ya, good & deserved win for Westport. They played on top of the ground I thought, while Ballina seemed to find it heavy going.
    Not great football but great contest. Congrats to Westport & delighted for Leroy in particular.

  66. Shocking refereeing performance. Ballina couldn’t buy a free. Really terrible. Awful second half from both sides.

    Mitchells will be kicking themselves.

  67. @Liberal – I’m not surprised at all regarding the reffing. Consistency is a rare commodity these days. Mind you, you could argue ballina got a lot of calls their way in the semi final.

  68. Had to watch on tv as out of country so had benefit of replay etc but thought ref had a decent game and got most of the call right

  69. Glad for Leeroy but he was simply untouchable by the referee today. Gave away a clear free inside the D in the first half (got away with it), and was awarded a phantom free in the second half. Fine margins.
    Overall though, Ballina only have themselves to blame. So poor for the final 20mins.

  70. Disapointed for Ballina i had high hopes for our young team but not to be this year at least but we will be learn from today and come back .but heartiest congratulations to Lee Keegan and all the Westport team, management and supporters. Enjoy the celebrations.

  71. “The only fear you could have now is that Westport could go on to dominate”

    Definitely a fear alright, but that said Keegan and Keane are still probably their two most vital players and both are the wrong side of 30. Also they have a lot of lads early 20s.. they’ll inevitably lose a few of these in the coming years to emigration/loss of interest or whatever

    That said their conveyor belt was in full effect this year – Colm Moran out all campaign and Keane missed the early games but they still breezed through the group. Ben Doyle was a Mayo panelist a few years ago and can’t get near the team, Mark Moran probably only hanging on to his place now. Former Mayo minors only seeing bits of game time. Chances are they’ll keep bringing through 2 or 3 quality players off every minor team going forward, and like with Galway – where two areas who have benefitted from huge population increases over the last 20/30 years were in the final – its probably the real beginning of a real shift in power towards the urban/heavily populated areas

  72. I thought ref done well as well, few dodge decisions both ways as would expect in such a game.
    Westport by far the better team I felt, should have won by few more when 3/4 up they made few silly decisions in front of posts.

    No scores from play in second half from Ballina, and a fortuitous goal and late free will rarely be enough in a half to win a final.

  73. The ref was absolutely fine today, some people look to criticise refs at any chance, I’ve watched every single ballina game throughout the championship bar the first round V ballaghaderreen, ballina where miles off compared to there previous performances, scored massively but couldn’t replicate that today, westport deserving winners.

  74. I was at the game as a neutral and overall the referee was very good. Just shows you that some people see what they want to see.

  75. Congratulations to Westport and comiserations to Ballina..
    When the dust settles and we reflect on the club championship it was a final that reflected the entire county championship. Lack of flair innovation good forward play dominance ig defensive mindset. Basic forward skillset missing in Mayo at the moment..

  76. Lavenham 100% agree, the championship never really took off, a lot of closely contested games which will always be exciting to watch but the general quality was lacking.

  77. Agree with last two comments – good forward play and attacking skill lacking big time. Similar to our problems at county level. Players 20-30 yards out from goal afraid to shoot. Is forward play been coached out of teams in favour of the hard working defensive structures.

  78. Comhgairdeas westport.
    To the Victor the spoils and they deserved it today, a real team effort with a lot of the unheralded lesser known names stepping up.
    Lads like kennedy, kilcline and mcloughlin stepped up with big moments.

    Funnily enough they didn’t even need to bring their A game,thought ballina were really poor and for some reason didn’t come out for the 2nd half at all, save for a fortuitous goal.

    As others have pointed out westport making the breakthrough is ominous for others,very young age profile. Guaranteed starters like colm moran, eoghan mclaughlin and probably mcgraynor to plug in next year and an underage production line.They will win 4 or 5 more in the next decade.
    Would be very surprised if they get over moycullen though

  79. Thought the ref was ok, but did slightly favour Westport.

    Overall Westport were much the better team and deserved their win.

    I must add, I’m a O’Hora fan through and through but his behaviour towards the end was appalling today. He had a Westport player in a choke hold for almost 20 seconds. Don’t like seeing that in our matches.

  80. Watched a bit of the Kerry final back.. it’s such an odd set up, no real atmosphere, players fairly nonplussed at the end. Compare that with scenes of jubilation across the country in other county finals and the celebrations in local pubs etc

    Club should be all about community, I’m glad the divisional stuff never took off in mayo

  81. Jeepers had nearly forgotten McLaughlin wasn’t playing… It says it all when a starting county player isn’t all that missed – such is the widespread talent at their disposal

    Eoghan would nearly carry the majority of clubs in the county on his own

  82. Congratulations to Westport. Delighted for keegan. Someone mentioned Ben Doyle. How did he make the mayo panel. Its a problem in mayo football. Some good defensive play today. Plenty for Kevin to ponder on. League is fast approaching

  83. Westport defense was very good. McStay got absolutely cleaned by Brian McDermott. I’d worry about him at county level given how he struggled against a bigger, stronger centre back.

    If Westport could get Eoghan Mc back they’d be transformed but I hear his injury is very serious which must be a big worry for Kevin McStay.

  84. I’m not too worried about Westport dominating the SFC in the coming years, although they will probably win one or two more. This year’s county championship saw Mitchels, Knockmore, Westport, Ballintubber, Stephenites all separated by the mere kick of a ball. With the possible exception of Tubber, they are all predominantly young sides.

    One thing I would be a bit concerned about is the lack of potency in the forward lines of many of these teams, most of the star performers this year were either current county or former county panelists.

  85. Congrats to Westport. Both defensives on top today. Not a great spectacle but Westport won’t care.

  86. As a neutral, I thought Westport were deserving winners. Ballina over thought it and didn’t just go out to win it. Have to say that I felt the referee was very lenient on Westport. They fouled repeatedly and got away with it. Every time Ballina tried to come out from defense, they were fouled and fouled again. There was one passage of play in the 2nd half where Ballina players were fouled on 4 occasions and while the referee gave them advantage, he took no card out. Westport forwards seemed to get away with a huge amount of fouling. It just sucked the life out of the game. Brickenden, Regan, Keegan and Swanee were the only players that looked like county standard. Sam Callinan, Dawson and Irwin junior will make it in time too no doubt, but not for 2023. For the 2nd game in a row, McStay was very quiet.

  87. @the west is best, I don’t know how you could watch that game and think Oisin Mc Laughlin is not county standard. He’s miles ahead of Brian Walsh and Conor Loftus in my book, way more physical than them as well. I can see Oisin starting for Mayo in the league.

  88. Our Final Whistle pod for today’s county finals at MacHale Park is now online for club members on Patreon. Mike hosts it and voices on the show include John Maughan, Westport’s Niall McManamon, Oisin McLaughlin and Lee Keegan, as well as Seamie Lally from Islandeady.

  89. Brickenden and Coyne need to see plenty of League games in the full back line this year.Also Mclaughlin excellent today and ahead of many of our current wing forwards.

  90. Well done to Westport .

    We can talk till the cows come home about this that and the other but we have not had a silky forward in years and despite all the modern day terminology and kinda sob stories , the truth is you can train a superior athlete to be a great defender but be fooked if ya can train them become scoring forwards and we are absolutely abysmal in that context in fact we are stone cold useless

  91. I’d agree on Oisin Mc. He has great pace which gets him out of situations. I thought he and Brian Mc Dermott would be worth a look at inter county.
    In that incident between Seanee & Kilkelly late on the Westport player dragged him down to stop his run forward….as Walsh found out last year, that’s not a wise move.

  92. Brian Mc based on his performance today is worth a look. A very steady defender, with decent pace and great fitness. But we’re in no way stuck for defenders at county level, except maybe one corner back.

    Oisin could be a big addition to the half forward line and may even free up Diarmuid.

    @Sean Burke, we have two star inside forwards in ROD and Conroy. That’s as much as Galway have assuming Shane Walsh doesn’t play like he did in the final this year in every game!

  93. Towey is the attacker I’m most looking forward to seeing in next years league. Needs a run or 4 or 5 games at corner forward to show what he can do. I though he was by some distance the most dangerous club forward in Mayo football this year.
    If he can reach the level Tommy Conroy and Ryan are at, that’s 3 high quality options at intercounty level. Cillian be with a good preseason is another solid option.
    Sam Callinan should also be a fixture for Mayo once he matures a bit and reaches 20/21 years old.
    Disappointing to hear Eoghan McLaughlin has supposedly a serious injury but I also heard other rumours he was close to playing today so I dont know which is correct?
    He’s an important player in future for us, not many in the entire country with his raw pace.
    Mayos injury record was absolutely diabolical last year. I’d hope the new management are investigating and reviewing thoroughly the protocols around training and recovery to avoid another year with 8 or 10 key players spending half the year nursing injuries.

  94. Mikey3 you’ve put it as perfectly as I ever could. We’re a player or two taking a big leap from the trophy. The players are there, don’t care what anyone says (barring injuries).

  95. Well I hope yer right but was that the same towey that played above in omagh last year in the league .

    I’m sorry but I really think there’s a fooked up mindset within Mayo football who can’t deal with the realisation that some of these lads been touted are a million miles away from the likes of Andy in his prime . It’s a little frightening I must say that men whom know a lot more than me or my ilk are still seeing star forwards in men that Simply are not within an asses roar of top county standard.

    In mayo in 2023 we have to be looking for men who can turn a game at the elite level .

  96. I agree with a lot of the above but thought the refwas fine. Certainly don’t think Westport are going to have a stranglehold on the title for years ahead. Ballina will improve again as will Castlebar and Claremorris and others will be bringing through some exciting young prospects in the next couple of seasons. Don’t think anyone has mentioned the loss of Dylan Thornton for Ballina in the first half when Regan was in the bin. In a tight game his loss was crucial. Moycullen getting a lot of criticism on Galway pages for transferring in players and in fairness when you look through their line-out it is pretty star studded but if Westport could get Eoghan McLoughlin fit and Colm Moran eligible again you never know.

  97. Moycullen had just 2 transferred players starting yesterday, and Clarke isnt a surefire starter

    The suburbs and satellite towns will always benefit from this though, salthill had a Kerry lad playing yesterday, oranmore and claregalway have benefitted from it also.

    I think the club game is potentially looking at testing enough times ahead in terms of domination from the bigger geographical areas and urban clubs

    One time a county player missing was a huge swing in a club game, you’d have been forgiven for forgetting McLaughlin wasn’t playing yesterday

    In ten years time Westport will be able to field a second 15 who would probably be top ten in mayo. While on the other end of the scale by that point we will almost certainly see more amalgamations at adult level taking effect

  98. @Ciaran: Didn’t Westport also have a former county lad from Louth playing for them yesterday? As well as a former Roscommon panelist playing in goal?

    IMO people are getting a bit carried away with Westport’s success yesterday, talking about them dominating the decade to come and whatnot. If Castlebar had defended one high ball into the square properly in their semi-final, we could well be talking about Westport not being able to finish the job, mental softness, lads not living up to their potential etc. Such are the fine margins between success and failure.

    Most of the games in the latter stages of the county championship have been close affairs, one to three points in it. I wouldn’t write off any of the chasing pack in the next few years.

  99. Indeed they did It Means Nothing and they probably would have had a third if mcgraynor was fit all campaign. Salthill had two starting, the same as Moycullen, so why Moycullen are being singled out for this is very odd

  100. It means nothing to me, that former roscommon panelist Is literally a westport man he has got nothing to do with roscommon

  101. I am not so confident about Westport dominating for the next decade. Thought Ballina had an off day – ya westport stopped them but also few bad wides etc s they will be back. Also Garrymore and Castlebar both got very close to Westport so there are other clubs who could beat them.
    Does anyone know whats the story with Ben Doyle – I dont think he played this year. Is he injured? County panelist noto so long ago

  102. Paddy O’Malley is from Westport, he played for Roscommon because he wasn’t getting a look in with Mayo and has family connections in Roscommon. The same as Peter Naughton playing for Sligo.

  103. Dominating isn’t an easy thing to do. Two I’m a row isn’t easy to do. Knockmore looked tired this year with no real break for two years way the covid made seasons run.
    Garrymore could/should have beaten Westport. Castlebar in end likewise.
    Ballaghadereen and Ballintubber probably should have beaten Ballina.

  104. Nothing to do with O’Malley but it’d be very interesting if transferring club meant you have to automatically transfer county allegiance also (like Owen gallagher with Galway) that would give the Shane Walsh’s plenty to think about!

  105. @onthe road14: Yes, I am aware that O’Malley is from Westport, if memory serves he qualified for the Rossies through his mother. Not sure if the lad from Louth has any connections to Westport tbh. Lee Keegan also spent a good part of his youth living in Cavan, people move around.

    What I’m saying is that it’s not just city clubs who have players from outside or external county panels, it happens even in small towns. My own club had an unfortunately warranted reputation for many years of having many blow ins on its senior team, which thankfully seems to have died away in recent times.

  106. Could be a clean sweep of players on fringe of county panel
    I fear Cillian has suffered too much from injury and may not make any return.

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