Shutting it all out

A few of you have already mentioned Tomas Ó Sé’s excellent piece about us in today’s Irish Independent, which everyone should take the time to read and reflect on. I don’t think I’ve seen so many nails being hit squarely on the head in one go in a long while.

I reckon the Kerryman is absolutely correct in his analysis of the way that we as Mayo followers have come to look at each year in “All-Ireland or bust” terms, heaping undue (and grossly unfair) pressure on the lads as a result and inviting onto ourselves more severe criticism than counties (he mentions Galway in this instance) who have done nothing over the last decade. For me, though, the killer line in the whole article is the one that comes just after this where he says:

Wouldn’t it be a lot worse for Mayo if nothing was happening for them?

We’ve all known those times and it’s not just those of us of a certain age that have direct experience of this either. 2007 to 2010 was one such era, a time where we punched consistently below our weight and never came within an ass’s roar of competing seriously for the All-Ireland. I know John O’Mahony got a bit of stick back then – and I gave him a fair bit of it here, though the site hadn’t anything like the reach it has now – but compared to much of criticism often levelled at James Horan, the Deputy got a pretty easy ride as our place within the footballing world went pretty much to pot under his watch.

Tomas Ó Sé has several recommendations for us, all of which are of merit but the one I want to focus on here is where he says that James and the players need to become more selfish and think only about themselves. Which, amongst other things, means not listening to chatter from outside the camp (including social media, James!) and zoning in completely on themselves and the challenges facing them.

I think he’s right and I think there’s another angle to this too, coming from the perspective of those of looking in. Light-hearted frivolity such as Mayo flags fluttering at far-flung places such as Machu Picchu and Mayo4Sam signs daubed on mountain roads in France (at a time of year when Mayo4Nestor was all we should have been thinking about) might be seen as simply adding colour to the summer but when you look at this kind of stuff – shared incessantly over social media – on a cumulative basis, you can see what kind of pressure it exerts on the team. And when you consider that there was far more of this stuff last year compared to the year before, it’s obvious that the consequent pressure is increasing year-on-year. I haven’t got any documentary evidence to back this up but my very strong hunch is that no other county places such a burden of expectation on its team to deliver the ultimate prize.

Seen in this light, a collective chill pill may be what’s required over the next while and so this is perhaps as good a way as any to let you know about my own schedule over the coming few weeks. With a work trip I’ve on over the early part of next week and then a mad scramble to get stuff sorted before we head away on holidays for a fortnight the weekend after next, I’m not going to be focusing too much on here between now and early July.

A bit of a break might do us all some good over this period, I reckon, though I’m open as ever to anyone who wants to pen a guest post or two to fill in the gaps while I’m gone. And, of course, there’s the little matter of the World Cup to keep minds occupied elsewhere. If last night’s opener was anything to go by, however, a month of theatrical cheating by overpaid soccer players could well be the medicine required to get all in sundry into the right frame of mind for the Connacht final and whatever else the summer of 2014 holds for us.

87 thoughts on “Shutting it all out

  1. Some good points in the article alright.

    I completely disagree with any pressure from the supporters and how it effects a team. This has been proved wrong time and again. Last year by our own standards it was a solemn enough build up compared to other years. Lookit Donegal went into hyperbole in ’12 and it had no effect.

    I think he is right about the extra 2%. It’s a bit of balls we need that was shown the last day by Andy and Seamus when the chips were down. We lacked that last year in the final. It’s a leadership issue more than anything and winning tight games like the last days develops leadership. I also think Dillion will be crucial to us if we get to Croker later in the year.

    Between himself and Daragh, Ciaran Whealan, Oisin (and even this year O’Rourke to some extent) we have an all star cast of pundit supporters.

  2. A nice call for calm willie joe but there is a half empty can of green and a full can of red in the garden shed… I am heading out right now to get them because that flock of ewes that just broke through the fence won’t paint themselves.. Mayo for Sam !!

    I heartily agree with highorlow, Donegal went buck ape and won, for all the pain we had in finals at least we enjoyed the build ups.

  3. I’ll say one thing for the World Cup: it doesn’t take them 5 MONTHS to play off a 32-team tournament.

    Enjoy the break from here WJ (though I know you’re not getting a break from anything else!) – sure no doubt we’ll keep ourselves entertained ;o)

  4. I agree with Willie Joe’s sentiments and with Tomás in the article. Football means so much so every Mayo supporter it’s practically all we think about day after day, sure isn’t the success of this very site a testament to that. Sure doesn’t my own Twitter biography read “I think about Mayo GAA 24/7”. Maybe all of us (and in particular myself) needs to ease off on the tweets/posts in such places as here and Twitter, for all I know the players ARE reading this and it only adds pressure to an already difficult situation. While I wont miss a match and if you are seated near me you will know all about it, you certainly won’t read or hear a Mayo for Sam out of me this year I can guarantee you that…..and I might change my bio to “I think about Mayo GAA 23/7″……. 😉

  5. No team lives in a bubble, but these days I would imagine it’s more difficult for players to ‘disconnect’ from the madness that can surround Mayo GAA at times. I heard of a post on a certain Mayo GAA ‘banter’ page on a social media site that tagged Kevin Keane directly. To say the least it was disparaging and far short of what you would expect to find on a decent supporter’s forum. Richie Feeney got the same treatment as well. The same page also posted an update comparing Liverpool to Mayo insofar as they were both the ‘ultimate bottlers’. With that kind of support who needs enemies? Also it’s not uncommon for people to tag players in posts by Hogan Stand, Official GAA etc so they get to see all the lovely remarks made by people from all across the spectrum. Players need thicker skin than before, all too often the good reasoned commentary from the genuine supporters are drowned out by the bar-stoolers and the muppets.

    Anyway, excellent article by Ó’Sé, full of constructive criticism and a good antidote to the negativity that has been rampant since Sunday. Interesting that he reckons the struggle against Roscommon will do us far more good than the blaze through Connacht last year, the team may have had a close one against Tyrone in the semis but in truth it was really all over by the end of the third quarter. Serious questions were asked of the team right up to the final whistle last Sunday and really it was the first tight championship game won since Dublin 2012. A lot of people on different forums have said that anything less than a comprehensive win over Roscommon would mean the team weren’t mentally or physically fit for another lash at Sam but in reality that’s nonsense. We won against a defensive team in terrible conditions where we played no-where near our best. Confidence has been boosted and the team has a month to take stock and further tweak the game and iron out the kinks. Bring on the Connacht Final and the rest of the summer is what I say!

  6. Sorry WJ.. could not agree less..
    Hype never lost an All ireland, and if we don’t get excited about getting to Finals and Semi finals, whats the point supporting them. I remember seeing a picture on RTE of a Kilkenny fan walking out on his own of the AIG with about 3 minutes left in the game and they were on the way to 3 or 4 in a row (can’t remember exactly) and I thought if that ever happens Mayo it will be a sad day.
    “Mayo for Sam” etc all over the worls is what SETS US APART from the rest of the country and I for one think thats good. When we take AIF’s for granted, without the hype, build up etc, we are well to follow snooker.
    Crazy crisitism after medicaore performances like sunday is pure stupidy.. but getting excited isn’t…. Mayo for Sam 2014! 🙂

  7. Sorry, but how can people be saying hype makes no difference, when Tomas O’Se has just stated that it does? Surely he is the guy that would know better than us. In fact he says he was helped by it while facing our mayo team – that is 100% definitive proof for Gods sake!

  8. Good man Roger Milla, I am still laughing at those flock of ewes 4 hours later!

  9. O’Shea’s article was terrific.

    One of the things though that I think might also be a negative, is the hype we generate outside the county. Everyone loves us!

    Most of my pals were so insistent and confident last year that the AI was in the bag fpr Mayo that I actually began to believe it. The Donegal match for them was something that was only confirmation of what had been self-evident all year if you don’t mind. Media people too followed this line a lot.

    And the fact is that we still haven’t fully expressed ourselves in finals, whatever about winning them. Maybe O’Shea should be brought in for some psychology lessons. The Kerry lads are a class apart in this department.

  10. I agree WJ that O’Se got it spot on. This is a man with a wealth of experience and medals telling us that we are not far away. We will always have the 50 per cent who turn on the team and management at the first and every opportunity. I like to look back at the 2007 to 2011 period as the Proportional Representation years. It suited a lot of our followers down to the ground or so it would appear. There was no need to to look at our selves in the mirror too closely. We were out of the limelight with not a indecenting voice to be heard. For Mayo as for Kerry its us against the other 31 and a half going forward

  11. Hi all. Seldom poster, avid follower and reader. Agree with Roger and the rest re: support before we’re there. I think thats what defines us as Mayo supporters. Sure the lads playing today would have grown up to the same “trumpets” and have seen the teams before them, win and lose, only to trip at the last hurdle. We are the 16th man. Are we not to be now? Anyway, I’ve a stray cat to catch and paint (if Roger will share) that escaped me from last year. Maigheo Abú

  12. It is great to get the views of the 2 OSheas rather than listening to that Clown Brolly, they have done it all and it is heartening to know that we are viewed in this light
    It is important that we should not go over the top and put un necessary pressure on our players, it only natural that we have this yearning to win the AI and naturally we are going to go a bit giddy the further we pprogress
    There is no easy answer. All I will say is that no player should be castiged and exposed if he has had a bad game there are ways to express your opinion without being personal

  13. My wife is a Dub and she put up the blue bunting with the kids one day I was at work last August.

    I gave it a week or so and took off out of work one morning and painted the window cills and jambs red on one side of the house and green on the other. Then nailed the mother flag to the chimney.

    The house was a mess! The banter was great!

    I think that even if we won, the laugh i had with neighbours, family and passers bye would still have been the highlight last summer.

    We probably all agree that there is a feeling we are near the end of a great run but I think we have a long summer yet, otherwise I would paint the windows now.


  14. Themaestro. With all due respect that’s an absolutely crazy statement to make. Just because one guy says it doesn’t make it so. If he said we need to start training in our feet would ya believe it? He is paid to give his opinion. 100% definitive proof it most certainly is not

  15. Good article surely.
    Given how the the past 2-3 years have unfolded, and the impact it has had on us, I think our following of the team this year will evolve its own natural trajectory; and I dare say we may be impervious to even the best advice when it comes to how we’ll react. That said, I feel the highs and lows of what we’ve been through will give us a certain perspective on things – and will leave us better placed to take the good with the bad in 2014. Who knows, we might just become the perfect supporters this year! … .as if we weren’t that already!!….:)

  16. I actually heard two of the Dublin players talking about this before and after last year’s All-Ireland final. Michael Darragh MacAuley talked about seeing some Hollywood stars etc. wearing Mayo jerseys, he said that the Dublin players used this as motivation in the build-up to the final to say, hey not only is all of Ireland against us but the whole world as well! What Ger Brennan said was, we do our talking on the field, remember he was the man who kicked a long range point with his weaker foot to put the final nail in Mayo’s coffin in last year’s final. I don’t think anyone has a problem with painting sheep etc. thats just a bit of good natured banter between neighbours, there is no harm in that. What Tomas O Se mentioned about was seeing the team flying out from Knock Airport for the 1989 final and I remember Darragh O Se talking before about seeing some of the Mayo players wearing white boots etc. against them and that none of the Kerry players would get away with that in matches, their teammates would slate them. I suppose at the end of the day its the philosophy of not giving the opposition any extra motivation to beat you. You would think that Kerry players would know a thing or two about this based on the number of All-Ireland titles that they have won.

  17. Interesting point,but honest question…which Hollywood stars were wearing Mayo jerseies?

  18. Kerry certainly know about motivation and what it takes to win. As regards things like white boots – if that motivates you to beat your opponent, well so be it. If you are the guy wearing the multi-coloured boot, then you have to be able to back up that statement about your confidence in yourself and that you stand out among the team for a reason.

    As regards the plane from Knock I remember that and it was a big thing and a lot was made of it. But I have to say that I think it was really an advertising assist to help out mainly becasue the airport was only after opening a few years. And in fairness to the players and the team what they were doing was trying to help promote the service. Again if the opponents get motivated by this, well I think all you can say is good luck to them.

    In terms of Kery another instance was the whole Paul Galvin thing and his public fashion persona. But Galvin did not let this affect his own game when he was playing for Kerry. Some argued that it actually helped the team as it focused people on Galvin and took the pressure off some of the other guys.

    At the end of the day I think it’s up to the team to deal with their own expectations and the image that they want to publicize nationally. If they want to keep it totally under wraps then it’s up to the management to adopt that approach. And really nothing that the ordinary fan on the street does should have an impact on how the team view themselves as contenders.

  19. The whole hype thing is just another excuse. Wexford in 96, Clare in 97 and Donegal in 12 were more full of Hype than Mayo at its worst. They all won. If it gets to players, then it shows a weakness. Its a poor excuse for management to troop out, covers other inadequacies in terms of psychology.

  20. @FW I remember that was the phrase that Michael Darragh MacAuley used when he was been interviewed on Off The Ball on Newstalk, it was just a figure of speech really. Chris O’Dowd was one of them anyway, a Hollywood star, although the Rossies fans were not to happy about that either as he is from Boyle!

    @JPM I suppose my main point was that Darragh O Se said, that seeing Mayo players behave as they did made the Kerry team even more determined just to blow them away by as much as possible as early as possible in games, as they did in two finals.

  21. …………I’m not a weekly premiership ‘foreign game’ man at all, but love the big international tournaments. Just watched Holland V Spain tonight, and so much like our Mayo situation. Is it three WC finals already for Holland and no win ?, yet they’re always considered a top tier international side, and always ones to watch. Same as Mayo, same as Tomás O’Shea is saying, that most of the time we’re ‘….there or thereabouts…’ Holland savaged Spain tonight, the world champs, a bit like our demolition of the All-Ireland champs last year, but like Mayo, the Holy Grail for Holland has to be a WC title… see it through to the end.

    Like WJ, I think the key line in Tomás’s piece is wouldn’t it be a lot worse if nothing was happening for Mayo !……….To be honest, final losses and all, I’ve relished all the big days out in Croker over the past 30 years, since the ’85 semi against the Dubs, when WJ Padden didn’t give Brian Mullens a smell of the ball at centrefield. If you’re not winning All-Irelands, any big game wins in Croker…….semis and quarters against the best in the land, have to be pleasing……..and for me always are. Our green n red teams have delivered some of the most elegant, flowing football on the big stage……as well as the odd clanger, of course !

    My belief, as I’ve said here before, is that when we least expect it….we’ll go the whole way……..Keep an eye on the Dutch too… could finally be the year for the bridesmaids !!

  22. I haven’t had a chance to read Tomas O’Se yet, but on the subject of supporters and supporting the team, I don’t quite understand what the issue is. For sure some are over the top when things don’t go well, but surely that’s not exclusive to mayo. If we are to use Kerry as a benchmark, they are very critical of their own team as well, just think of paudi.

    But what differentiates Kerry supporters from Mayo supporters is the fact that no matter how bad Kerry are, they rest knowing they have more AI’s than anyone else ( recent ones too) and that any dip in Kerry form will be short lived.
    We in Mayo have no such optimism because of the famine we continue to endure and after every AI loss we fear that we will fall off the cliff and into eternal mediocrity!

    I don’t know if MDMA got motivation from seeing Kanye (or whoever) wearing the green and red, or from seeing the green and red on the Tour de France, or on the Freedom tower….who cares? Are we to ban the green and red and our world wide diaspora from celebrating our home county?
    I for one, love the hype, I love championship weekends, watch all games regardless who’s playing, but when Mayo are playing, the flag is out in front and on the car!
    Interestingly, was at the Ireland Portugal friendly the other night in MetLife stadium and course was sporting the green and red jersey. Met many others too from Cork, Tipp, Dublin, Kerry doing the same. Even though it was a soccer match, the conversations turned to GAA and our win against the sheep steelers. To a man they all admired how Mayo actually won that match! I found it interesting that while many in Mayo were bemoaning our win, those GAA folks from other counties saw it as a real positive despite the poor performance!
    If anything, maybe we expect too much from Mayo footballers, in that we expect perfection! It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to be pretty, what matters is that we win and until then, we will continue to live through the hype!

  23. Fair enough HSE but I would still maintain that examples like these should not deter or even have any effect on individual players from the bigger picture of an All Ireland final.

    If Darragh O’ Sé and Kerry were able to use this as motivation – well fair play. But I don’t think those examples should have any effect on how the Mayo team displayed or performed in either of those finals.

    If it was assumed that it had an impact then obviously it should be dealt with by the management and the county board. But it’s a dangerous route to go down. You start to focus then on what might be motivating your opponents. Where do you stop?

    Maybe instead you should focus on what motivates yourself and look from that angle at what you’re doing and what you’re aiming for.

  24. @MartyK Yeah and don’t forget Spain’s history too, they were always a team that were surrounded by a lot of hype but the pressure always seemed to get to them. They always had the talent and the potential to win major tournaments but things just never seemed to go their way. Then once they managed to win once, they couldn’t stop winning major titles, can we do the same? Only time will tell, if we could just break down that door once, who knows what could happen then?

  25. I’d be amazed if this squad let hype deflect them, after what they have gone through. You can’t spend time worrying about what will or will not motivate opponents. I’d anticipate that Mayo automatically act so that they don’t feed the opposition.

  26. Trouble in the neighbour’s camp?

    “Johnny Duane and Eoin Concannon have been dropped from the Galway semior football panel. Management took the decision to axe them for “internal reasons” during the week.
    Both players featured in Galway’s win over London last month.”

  27. Yep HopeSpringsEternal……..certainly Spain too are in that club…….eventual glorious Final winners…….its all possible if the hard work is done and critically the belief on the field sustained for 70-plus minutes….

  28. This Thomas O’ Se stuff seems to have gotten everyone in a tizzy and I wonder why? Does it suggest we as Mayo supporters are not sure of our role in this quest for Sam or are we afraid to just be ourselves? I’ve no doubt these high profile guys are happy to put pin to paper and what better subject matter could a former Kerry footballer have than writing an article about the endless battles of poor Mayo. What he says of course makes since but don’t we all know that our selves and don’t need any outsider to tell us. If supporters want to go a-wall in supporting the County well fair play to them, that’s their way and good luck to them. It’s what’s done here in Dublin and every other County as well. So I say fly the flags, shout from the roof tops and the top of every mountain if you can get up there and it’s up to the Manager and players to do the rest.

  29. Hadn’t heard about the Dubs being motivated by the Green and Red in LA.

    Well, by God if that’s the case, Dublin ought to be providing enough motivation for Mayo (and everyone else) at the moment. It’s hard to walk around Dublin these days without seeing mugshots of Bernard Brogan, McCaffrey, O’Sulivan and others flogging everything from cars to sports gear. Not to mention the social columns where they turn up regularly.

    And if Mayo want to add to the motivation, why not buy, direct from Dublin’s PR department, The Evening Herald, where news and comments is dedicated to telling us how good the boys in blue are and by how much they will win any game they play.

  30. Mayo supporters are unique…………….year on year the green n red legions are ‘ …up for it and fully behind their teams………’s alright for the Dubs and their fans these days riding the crest of a wave with recent years’ AIF wins………..there isn’t another county in Ireland with the pain and angst and baggage that Mayo have to bear……….8 AIF starts since 1989…….1 draw and seven losses……some very very close………..not to mention famine, oppression, penal laws, landlordism, immigration…….weeping and gnashing of teeth…..and all that before a ref even blows the starting whistle on each new seasons’ campaign……’s a feckin wonder Mayo can manage to fill a team bus at all, for the big days out……….What a marvellous County……..marvellous supporters…….Stick at it………don’t change the formula………tiochffaith ar la……!!!!

  31. Some good obsevations on here about the whole hype / psychology debate. Personally I can’t see how the hype doesn’t get to them with our history in finals. It’s very hard for a player not to be affected if the signs of hype are all around in the lead up to a big game. That’s where the psychology comes in, I guess. Agree with previous blogger about most Dubliners belief that all they have to do is turn up to win Sam again this year. I doubt though that the team itself is being allowed to fall into such complacency by Jim Gavin and co. but they are only human like the rest of us so who knows what impact their own hype will have on them.
    In the end I still feel the Mayo fans at a match have the biggest influence in how our lads do – the sixteenth man and all that. We were very quite at times in the Hyde last week. We should channel all our pre-match energy into the seventy plus minutes of each game just as the team has to do. Push them on like Andy did last Sunday. Never give up on the roaring and shouting until the final whistle is blown……and then some more. They deserve it and we owe it to them and ourselves to do it.

  32. Do we need a Kerryman, pocketful of AI medals or not, to enhance our sense of self worth?

    On the subject of hype, teams win AIs because they are good enough. He knows that well, but he his getting paid these days for filling out space on tomorrow’s chip paper.
    Good luck to him on that and likewise to Daragh.

    A resounding ‘No’ as far as I am concerned to my earlier question.

  33. There is a discussion going on in my local regarding Gavin Duffy whether he has to play club championship either in Galway or elsewhere before he is eligible to play for Mayo.I personally think that there is no need as the last place he played was with the Stephenites and of course Mayo Minors so I dont think any of this is relevant at all
    Your opinion would be most appreciated as my knowledge of the rules are rusty to say the least

  34. As far as I know because he is from Mayo there are no issues like those that affected Seanie Johnston

  35. The gas thing about it is, if we hadn’t gone so long without winning the blasted thing, no-one would pay a blind bit of notice to the hype, because guess what? Most other counties do it too. And if we ever lost that sense of fun, excitement and anticipation, it’d be a sad day.

    But if we made as much noise on All-Ireland final day when the team was behind, and actually got behind them in a meaningful way, it might have been more in our line.

    Tagging players – and indeed, the manager himself, as happened last week – on social media is idiotic and abhorrent, and you’d really have to wonder whether these people have anything at all between their ears. Hard enough job to moderate in a place like this but the likes of Facebook is a different animal altogether, as we’re learning ourselves …

  36. While it may be somewhat uplifting to read of Thomás O’Shea’s portrayal of the Mayo squad in a largely positive light, I would caution against cute Kerrymen bearing gifts! Our team needs to focus fully on their own game, address the lessons learned from last Sunday and improve for the Connacht final.

  37. @45 I was actually thinking about that today, if Mayo win the Connacht title and Kerry come through Munster, there is a big chance that Mayo could meet Kerry in Croke Park later in the year. Are the Kerry boys trying to lull us into a false sense of security, they’d never be that cute down in the Kingdom, would they! Remember the other O Se brother, Marc would actually be playing against us.

    @Catcol I’d agree with you there too, a lot of the Dublin players seem to be taking part in a lot of advertisements etc. lately. The more that happens, for the rest of the year, the better it is for all of the other counties.

    Just one other point I’d make, a couple of weeks ago Aidan O’Shea made some comments about RTE having to up their performance due to Sky coming into the equation. There was no real need for him to say this, as it only puts more pressure on himself to perform better in the big games. This was the point that Ger Brennan was making, that at the moment the Dublin players are doing their talking on the field. I suppose we all have lessons to learn, supporters, players and management. We must be doing a lot of things right in Mayo, as we have got to seven finals since 1989, only Kerry have got to more. But we also must also be doing some things wrong as we have lost all of these finals. Putting in their best performances, on the biggest day, is the final ingredient that we are missing, only time will tell if this will change in the future.

  38. Correct me if im wrong but did Galway not win the All Ireland in 98 and again in 2001?Many Mayo people would settle for that and Down Donegal Derry Armagh Tyrone Meath and others came and won too.
    Of course if you get to All Irelands there will be hype and nervousness until you win one.
    Completely agree about tagging players …thats mad.
    To win just once!

  39. I hope we start to realise what an important role supporters play in success. You absolutely can not put a price on positive energy. If you hear or sense your own fans turning on you, or giving up on you, then forget it. As was said above, these lads are only human, which is why I think we, as supporters, need to be as critical in analyzing our own performance as we are the players/management.

    “What could WE have done better last September? What could we have done better last Sunday?”

    Lets play our part!

  40. I said it before and I’ll say it again… the run up to the BIG game we need to be very careful about what we say so we don’t provide additional motivation to the opposition.

    One former player last year said he hopes Dublin start XYZ player, just because he was substituted in the semi final versus Kerry. XYZ goes on to score the winning point from 40 yards on his left peg, while his Mayo opponent completely is anonymous for the entire game.

  41. Agree fully with JPM, how on earth do you second guess what is going to motivate the Kerrys and Dublins of this world? If all it takes is white boots and blonde braided hair then forget about it, spend the time in training on the fundamentals and everything will take care of itself.

    Let’s face it, we’ve lost the AIs because we were deficient in some way or another. Our time will come, hard honest work and tactical cuteness will get us there.

  42. I would imagine being a winner in any sport includes a capacity to handle the presures of the build up and the occasion itself. It is well known in the snooker world that Willie Thorne scored more 147 breaks in practice matches than any of his comtemporaries, yet he could not do it under the lights and as result won dam all in terms of tournaments. He just did not have the nerve of steal required.

    Winning is a skill in itself and should not be underrated. The colour a sheep in a field is painted is totally irrelevant. If it is, then that player is not your man.

  43. The Kerry cuteness will never be mastered ,a league of their own ,I shit you not.

    Let’s see how this unfolds and come back to it, Kerry to win Munster and meet the Connacht champions in semi final.

    That’s three times now Tomas has bigged up Mayo s chances.

  44. The Media in Mayo do the Mayo team no favours, Prior to the Roscommon match Anthony Hennigan Sports Editor in the Western stated that the best Roscommon could hope for was that the 12 point margin be slightly reduced. John Casey stated early in the year that Mayo would glide through Connacht and he expressed the view in the Advertiser prior to the game, that the Mayo margin of victory would be similar to last year. John Maughan on RTE radio on Saturday prior to game expressed the view that Mayo would not have much difficulty with Roscommon. Do the above sport colmumnists not realize that talking up Mayo puts pressure on the team and can lead to complacency. Brian Cody and Mickey Harte talk up the opposition regularly prior to games. Davy Fitzgerarld pulled a master stroke in the All Ireland Hurling replay ( playing a virtually unknown player Shane O Donnell) he had to be playing with the A team prior to the match, how it did not leak out prior to the game.Gavin Duffy attended his first training session with the Mayo team the following day the whole country had the story. Eoin Liston disclosed prior to the Munster Final last year that Donaghy would not be playing against Cork. there was uproar in Kerry for Eoin disclosing this secret.

  45. Their could be a bit of that going on surely. Bigging us up on the one hand and pointing out on the other the amount of pressure Mayo will be under in this year’s C’ship, having lost the previous two. I recall Tomas said that couple of months back during the League. So, pinch of salt for sure when it comes to the Brothers O’ Se.
    Regarding giving motivation for the other team, I’d go along with mantra that the best team will tend to handle the pressure and ultimately win. We only hear about the Darragh McCauley Mayo jersey stories (and so forth) from winning teams. You can be sure if we won the thing we’d be hearing how our boys were riled up over a, b, or c and how this was central to the performance.

  46. Lads & lassies! Losing all those All Ireland’s has had nothing to do with skill, fitness, ability or anything as obvious as that. It’s those bloody sheep I tell you. They’ve been out to get us for years.

  47. Jaysus lads ye are easily taken in! Tomas and Dara, 2 of the cutest hoors to ever come outta west Kerry, saying nice things about us. Making us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s nice isn’t it?! Between the 2 of them they make a couple of valid points, but they are generally lost among all the plamas and bullshit. Tomas reckoning he always had it tough against mayo!! Seriously?? I still remember the 2004 final and big T destroying mayo from wing back on his way to footballer of the year in 04, or 2011 when they pulled away comfortably to beat us by ten odd points. As for 2006, no disrespect but I don’t remember Billie Joe Padden roasting anyone that day.
    Lads and lassies don’t think for one second Tomas or Dara wouldn’t fancy Kerry to beat mayo if they met tomorrow, it’s bred into them that they are superior to mayo!!

    Finally I’m pretty sure mayo flew from knock to Dublin for the 2004 final, Liam mc hale was a selector and the image of him standing on the plane steps in his shorts waving to the crowd was no doubt on the Kerry dressing room wall the following Sunday. His comments about ger Brennan were very unhelpful last year too. The likes of Brady and mc hale should be muzzled the nearer we get to big games. Talking shite about us and the opposition helps no one.

  48. Interested to hear people’s opinions on Monaghan? Are they realistic contenders this year? And what of Tyrone? Seem well off the pace but they are back door specialists and I see them coming through to August without too much stress, hard to see them go much further than that. Already it’s shaping up for Dublin to have a cruisy run to the AI final. Win Leinster, beat a qualifier and possibly ulster champs in AI semi.

  49. going back to the title of this blog by willie joe i think it is the theme of tomas’s article that the mayo players need to shut it all out , rather than us the supporters.
    thats down to the management and to the lads themselves.

  50. I really don’t remember Billy Joe roasting anyone either though he did his bit for Mayo. The talk of ‘hype’ is starting early this year. I do not honestly think the hype will be over the top.Mayo people are too wary now having lost so many All Irelands.
    By the way Galway are in a lovely position being played down so much. I don’t believe they will beat Mayo but it is a nice position to be in coming in under the radar. They have to beat Sligo first and that will tell us more about them.
    It is important to support the team but in fairness Mayo have never lacked for support. We actually do not turn on our own at all. Come August and September people will fly from all corners to support Mayo despite awful days in Croker (2004/6/97 especially)
    Yes we analyse performances of managers and players but that is no harm at all unless we are to be like the sheep we are painting. I think we are glad when our fears do not materialize and sad when they do.
    There are more important things in life of course but we go through the whole gamut of emotions when supporting the lads. Excitement/apprehension and hope is the current one for me anyway.
    Anyone for last few choc ices?

  51. Tyrone had 2 championship games to toughen up so that would have helped. I thought Monaghan looked rusty and nervous and in the end were lucky enough yesterday. They play Armagh next and that will not be a gimme. But yesterdays game should stand to them. Hard to see them yet as AI contenders as they play a very defensive style. If Tyrone had more guile they would have beaten them. It’s a telling sign when they are still relying on Stephen O’Neill after all these years. He looked average yesterday and seems to have lost that yard of pace requires for the summer.

  52. Bottom line is, as witnessed by the reaction to the O’Sheas articles, is that, as a county, we generally don’t have alot of self confidence when it comes to football. Yes, that does seem to manifest itself in “flash” on the pitch on occasion from some individuals, but it stands to reason we wouldn’t with all the pain we’ve endured on big days. Win one and a lot of that will go away, win two and God help us we might become insufferable a la Clare circa 97.

    Anne Marie already said it, its only hype when you lose. Win any of those all irelands and the hype question doesn’t even come into it. We’re no better or worse than others with that, with the exception probably of Kerry, and that comes from familiarity with Sam.

    More self confidence would be great, but that only really comes with winning Sam. I look at Corks belief in themselves in hurling, it comes from winning 30 All Irelands. Was at the Munster semi final yesterday and Cork people in advance were quiet confident, why, “we never fear Clare, they only have 4 all irelands, we have 30”, yes, thats all historical record but it does make Cork always feel they have a chance. In all honesty they had no right to draw and nearly win the first game, the only reason they did, was, well, because they are Cork.
    I take the point that this year shouldn’t just focus on winning the all ireland, to a certain extent, we absolutely should be aware of the fact that we are in a privileged position being able to start the year, with realistic ambitions of being in the last 4, unlike most other counties out there. But, we are urgently in need of this finals losing streak ending, When it does I reckon we’ll be winning one every 8 to 10 years and that’s about right for our football abilities and tradition.

  53. Firstly, Tomas O’Se first spoke about us in complimentary terms in the aftermath of our defeat to them in 2011. He said that there was something “different” about Mayo that day and that he had never been hit as hard by Mayo players as he was that day. He said the forwards were hitting harder than most backs would. He has had his eye on us since then to be fair to him.
    Secondly, regarding the hype? If I’m to get this right, we were too hyped in the build-up to last years Final but then not hyped enough during the Final itself and that is why we lost??? What a load of rubbish. 9 first half wides, 6 of them very easy scores, in a dominant first half performance is where last years final was lost. We can talk about Freeman in or out, Conroy in or out, Feeney not playing, poor sideline decisions, blah blah blah. The facts are we should have gone in 7 points clear at half time and would have been in a perfect position to play counter-attacking football on a very hot day that would have allowed us to conserve our energy to see out the win.
    Thirdly, we, as supporters, did not perform in last years Final and deep down we know it. When Morans goal went in to bring us back into the game we, as a collective, did not roar on the lads. I know because I was just about the only Mayo supporter high in the Cusack stand, on my feet screaming and roaring like an edjit while a fair few around me just applauded.
    The best way to put all this nonsense talk to bed is just to go and win it.

  54. Pebblesmeller, RE Andy’s goal last year, you nailed it for me. It was a really bizarre, surreal kind of celebration. Not the same as, for example, Dillon’s goal in 2004 where Croke Park nearly fell down. It was subdued.

    We as supporters did not perform that day. I 100% agree with that.

  55. Pebblesmeller

    You are absolutely correct. Don’t think hype will be a factor. We need to cut out mistakes ( dealing with high ball in essential) as this has been a feature of every All Ireland we have lost in the last ten years and we should of course support til our throats are sore. Of course there is always the elephant in the room ‘Here we go again’
    I think it is a real worry that we seem to have made little progress in the forwards. So many have promised but few delivered. I would love to see more consistency. Ok we might not have marquee forwards on a consistent level and we have been unlucky with injuries to our best players, but more consistency and creativity needed.
    What’s another year, I guess

  56. Mayo14, I am not as pessimistic as you regarding progress made with our forward play. I believe that it is safe to assume that any and all players that might contribute to the county team have been looked at, assessed and maybe even trialled. We have what we have and the management have to implement an attacking plan that best suits the players we have in our forward department.
    Horan has been criticised, wrongly and unfairly in my opinion, for continuing to select his “favourites” and not freshening up things in our attack. However, against Roscommon in their own back yard, he gives a young lad his championship debut at no11 and gives another his second championship start at no10 and then he gets slagged off for being naive in thinking that these lads could influence the game! He can’t win. I believe he was correct in his selection. He said at the start of the year that selections will be based on form, fitness and whoever was doing their stuff in training. The word from training in the build up to the Roscommon game was that Conor O’Shea was performing well and pushing hard for a start, likewise diarmuid O’Connor. They rightly got the nod over 2 more senior players, Dillion who was returning from a long injury and Moran whose form was poor. Horan stuck to his principles.
    Football is a 21 man game nowadays and my belief is that neither Moran or Dillion have the physicality/power/speed to play 75 or 76 mins at championship pace anymore. They still do have a vital contribution to make however in how they can come off the bench and provide guile, experience and positional savvy to finish out a game. When the 2 lads were introduced the pace had gone out of the game a little and the Roscommon defense was tiring, this led to more space for our attack and also a decrease in the intensity of the Roscommon defending. I dont think that either player would have been as influential in the last 10 mins of the game had they both started.
    Personnally I hope that management go with the 2 young lads again for the final. I also wonder where has Adam Gallagher gone??
    Hon Mayo

  57. As I said before Pebblesmeller Andy took the game by the scruff but i dont think Dillon did enough to warrant a start the next day, James watches them training and I dont but purely by last sundays performance i would certainly go with Doherty again , whether dillon would usurp oconnor or o shea remains to be seen or maybe richie will get his start?

  58. “Finally I’m pretty sure mayo flew from knock to Dublin for the 2004 final, Liam mc hale was a selector and the image of him standing on the plane steps in his shorts waving to the crowd was no doubt on the Kerry dressing room wall the following Sunday. His comments about ger Brennan were very unhelpful last year too. The likes of Brady and mc hale should be muzzled the nearer we get to big games. Talking shite about us and the opposition helps no one.”

    Never forgot that photo at knock he was wearing an hawaiiann shirt as well, FFS

  59. Brady and McHale aren’t going to shut up. They love the attention. The press love the ridiculous quotes they come out with. And round and round it goes.

    Of course it would be nice if someone close to the team had a quiet word and pointed out that they are hurting the team’s chances, not helping them. But something tells me the two lads might just be more concerned with their own ‘media profiles’ than the welfare of Mayo football.

    Should we progress to August and beyond, expect more nonsense from these two. It’s not going away and James Horan and his team just need to ignore it.

  60. Pebblesmeller,
    Certainly hope you’re right but I cant see any progress in the forwards yet.I am not sure Conor and Diarmuid are quite ready and I certainly would not put them in before a fit Andy or Alan. Their day will come though and if it is this year then I will be delighted.
    What is the story with Coen ,Conroy and others ?I thought these lads had something to offer as had Feeney. Of course Barry and Jason fully fit would also help and I agree it is a 21 man game.
    The manager will have a huge role to play in his substitutions and I for one was baffled by some of them last year. That said he can only do what he thinks is right on the day and take some advice from the selection panel too. It is to all our benefit that he gets it right .
    Yes DavyJ it is time Brady and McHale stopped with all the nonsense. They were fine players and we all supported them in their day and I have no problem with their views.
    It is the leaking of info,whether accurate or not,that annoys. We all hear stuff in the county but honestly I couldn’t be bothered repeating the mad rumours that surface.

  61. And my opinion of listening to DB on newstalk is that, as entertaining and all as he is, he doesnt really have much to offer that makes any sense, and he is also not very articulate.
    So besides being an ex intercounty footballer and somewhat entertaining at times, given that it is a relatively serious sports program (serious in that it takes its sport seriously, its also good craic, those are not mutually exclusive), I am not sure why he is on there.
    Its a bit like John Mullane on Radio 1, he isn’t able to speak. I know that probably sounds harsh, but its fair criticism I think. If you are on the radio, job 1 is to be able to get your thoughts and opinions across in an articulate manner. Just like the average person walking around the place isn’t going to be particularly articulate on radio or TV, I dont know why the powers that be assume just coz someone was an inter county sports star they would be good at it.
    Billie Joe, on the other hand, is very good at it and I was surprised sky didnt offer him a gig, sure who knows maybe they did.
    For whatever its worth, Kevin McStay seems to be universally disliked for his commentary down this side of the country. Not sure why, one fella said to me its because of his “yankee accent” and “basketball references”. Anyway, just an opinion.

  62. Roger Milla, I agree with you on both counts and I feel that Feeney deserves a start, if for no other reason than to put to bed all the speculation regarding Ritchie and James. Regarding Doc, I dunno, I am yet to be convinced that he can do it consistently at championship level. He did very little in NY and bar his early fabulous point from distance, he didn’t do an awful lot against Roscommon. In my opinion, when you consider that the half forward line is the place where positions are up for grabs, he is running out of chances.
    I’d like to see, and I’ve banged on about it here often enough I’m sure people are sick of it!, the following for the Connaught final. Cunniffe at 6 flanked by Keegan and Boyle, Feeney at 11 flanked by Diarmuid O’Connor and Adam Gallagher/Conor O’Shea, Barrett (if fit) or Harrison at 2.

  63. I hope Adam Gallagher develops over the next year or so, but i said this in the spring, he is not championship material just yet, needs to work on his strength, and i feel he lacks the pace required for a young lad of his age. JH obviously has monitored him closely, so its unlikely he’ll feature at all this summer. Id stick with diarmuid and conor again in the final. They’ll have learned alot from the rossie game and deserve another chance on a better quality pitch and hopefully a dryer one too.

  64. I think starting Conor and Diarmaid and Doherty is extremely risky.Maybe one of them would be fine but all three adds up to a new half fwd line fm last year.
    I think Kevin needs to be in half fwd line too pulling the strings with Moran or Dillon or both.We will need these lads this summer.
    Gallagher is too raw also but Micky.sweeney worth a run in my view.
    I for one hope Richie proves a lot of people wrong bfore year is out.

  65. Thats interesting east cork exile…I agree with you on BJP ..he’s clear and able to articulate the play very well. DB IMO was a fine player in his day but a radio/tv pundit he is not.

  66. I know quite a few of the mayo team and everytime I chat to them I never ever bring up the topic of GAA. The players always do! Even when I say let’s not talk about it, it’s the players who always want to talk shop. Like us mad yolks they eat, drink and sleep GAA.

    Ya Mayo supporters are mad in the head about the county team but the players are just as bad. If things weren’t discussed and if we all went mute the players might think we have lost interest or that we think they are shit.

    I agree there is an expectation on the team and that we all can go a bit overboard at times. But that’s the passion that we have for mayo and our clubs. I like the Mayo for Sam banners in the Tour de France or on a flag when some guy is surfing in Achill. We all believe that the players can deliver the big one, (well I do anyways if they are selected properly). I just think it helps give the players a focus to win and that we are behind them no matter where our journey ends. We need our team doing well or our summers are just torture and our players need us behind them for self belief and support.

  67. @Patriot, some interesting insights there in relation to the players! I also think that you hit the nail on the head, if the players are selected properly. I’d like to see the forwards selected as follows, for the Connacht final:

    Kevin McLoughlin, Cillian O’Connor, Andy Moran
    Mikey Sweeney, Alan Freeman, Jason Doc

    I think that forward line would give us a lot of variety too, as you can easily switch the three players around, Cillian, Andy and Doc, if one or other is not doing well in their starting positions. Also that full-forward line scored eight goals between them in the league so they would provide a real goal threat. If a decision was made to hold Andy in reserve again then Richie Feeney would be the ideal player to start at number 12 to give us some more experience on the half-forward line. I think that would be a more balanced forward line.

  68. Pebblesmeller, I side with Roger Milla on Jason Doherty , most seem to be of the impression that he scoerd a ‘good’ point early on and then went absent. I have watched that game a couple of times and he was IMO and from what I’ve seen our busiest player on the day alongside Tom C and Ger Caff, he was also won and laid off some good ball for vital scores. I definately would start him next time out and instead of either young O’Connor or O’Se, might be better if those two young eager fellas were to challenge each other for a spot.
    Both the Doc and Freezer had to track back much too deep to be of any great use up front, that and poor, slow ball in didn’t do them any favours either…….ala league 2014.
    MaighEo Abu

  69. Great to see Barry Moran back playing. A fully fit Moran will add hugely to Mayo. In fact he may be Mayo’s best player when fit .
    With the injuries elsewhere this is a welcome boost.

  70. As a matter of interest who would ye rather meet in the Connacht final?
    For me, I want Galway. Ideal scenario, they beat Sligo well playing great football and are hailed a “being back” only for us to overturn them in a highly entertaining packed sun drenched McHale Park 🙂

  71. yeah, I’m with you Steve…I’d like to meet Galway, besides they would bring a big crowd to castlebar and it would be great to have a full house.

  72. Galway. We need the toughest game we can get.

    In 2012 we beat Leitrim and Sligo to win Connacht, last year we had no-shows from Galway (in Salthill!) and Roscommon before the foregone conclusion v London. Don’t think it did us much good in the overall scheme of things.

    Outside of Dublin, who are going very well, Mayo are as good a team as is out there. I’d love a hard game from Galway, followed by the losers of Kerry-Cork in the quarters, with the winners of Kerry-Cork in the semis.

    If we’re to arrive in an AIF again this year, that’s as rough a route as you could ask for. But it would be great for toughening up the team mentally.

  73. Galway all the way. There’s something special about a Mayo-Galway Connacht final. And I’d like to think they’ll be better organised this year … we’ll see at the weekend!

  74. Ah I know it’s only a bit of banter about who we want to meet in the final but maybe we should be careful of what we wish for! It’s not just our own exclusive party in Connacht, maybe some of the other teams want to create their own party as well. Was this the trap that we fell into in Hyde Park? If we play like we did in the first half against Roscommon or as we did in both games against Derry and in the last fifteen minutes against Dublin, we could be in for a long day. As Tomas O Se said, we need to be selfish and get our own house in order first. Whoever we have to play, we have to play, we can’t control that. We just have to give our opponents 100% respect and not try to give them any extra motivation to beat us. We cannot show any complacency, remember Sligo could have beaten us in the 2012 final. Just as an aside, it’s a pity to hear about Andy Moran’s hamstring trouble, should we be a bit worried that we seem to have a lot of players who are quite injury prone the last few years?

  75. I’d like a Mayo v Galway game, mainly because it would be Castlebar, good crowd, good banter , a bit of a feel to a Connacht final v Galway . ( sunny day too and bring back the tubs of ice cream, spoon is free malarkey)

  76. Out of interest, if it is Sligo in the final is it definitely McHale Park? Or will it have to be a neutral venue (the god-awful Hyde again)

  77. As far as I know sligo get the choice if they win, and as their pitch doesn’t have the capacity to host a connaught final, they’ll pick ros….. so up galway!!

  78. Mayomad,
    I think the Hydye is lamped for Connacht finals , so it’s Salthill or Castlebar .

  79. Correct Nephin. Should Sligo win on Saturday it’ll be up to them to choose between Castlebar and Salthill for the final, in which case they would, I imagine, choose Salthill. Hard to see them stopping Galway without Marren, Harrison etc. though.

  80. The last time we played Sligo in Connacht, it was in the Connacht Final which was held in Hyde Park (presumably this being Sligo’s “home” venue). So is it not our turn to pick venue?

  81. Yeah Digits, also when we played them in 2010, Sligo were at home as well, so you’d think that we’d be due a home game against them if they beat Galway.

  82. Yeah I wasn’t sure about the home and away arrangement, I thought it didn’t come into effect in Connacht finals against teams that can’t hold the final (Sligo, Leitrim, London).
    Sure we’ll find out on Saturday.

    I see Harrison and Marren have been named in the starting team for Sligo, this might be a very close game yet.

  83. Think the Connacht council made some daft arrangement a few years ago, where if Sligo or Leitrim were in the final, they had choice of venue. Can’t remember exact details , but do remember being bull thick with our County board, for agreeing to this.
    I’d imagine a few people in Castlebar would agree.

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