Spoiled rotten

A defining moment for me in the 1996 All-Ireland final came as Mayo substituted one of their forwards. On his way off he applauded the crowd on the opposite stand. They rose in unison to cheer him.

The deed was nearly done but as the stewards filtered round the ground, for Meath it was the final signal for them to pull defeat from the fire. I later read a Mayo selector congratulated the manager on the history about to be made.

We of course know what happened next. Heroism, honesty, naivety mixed with poor refereeing slashed the psyche of our tyres. We never really recovered. A year later a pale imitation of that great team went through the motions against Kerry.

In comparison to a year earlier, this final was labelled the worst ever. Some title for two of football’s blue bloods. A Kerry famine of eleven years was greater than a Mayo famine of forty-six years. Kerry learned from the trimming they received a year earlier to a fresh and liberated Mayo team. They did their homework. We helped them. An injury to Mayo’s number four against Cork in the semi final of 1993 was replicated early in the final of 1997.

All we had to do was not to do what we did four years earlier. What we actually did was replicate with nobs on the 1993 switches. From there on it got worse including a missed 14-yard free in a three-point loss.

Which brings me to the recent draw with Dublin. The result brought out the best of the half-full, half-empty in us all . Perversely both sides are correct. Mayo are an anomaly, not a single other county dwell where they graze. It’s that field that’s neither lush green nor scorched earth. Behind the brand leaders … just … but ahead of the chasing pack … by miles. Great deeds sullied by final day failure. A cut and sore opened for others with doubtful pedigree to rub salt into.

The draw against Dublin touched a raw nerve. It encompassed some of the best that makes Mayo majestic. Naturally it was sprinkled with spit and sawdust. A loss wouldn’t have been greeted with greater dismay. To me that is laudable and real. The Mayo follower is now mature and seasoned and is aware of the difference between potential and actual delivery.  A draw snatched from six points down and with fourteen men is in effect a win for the team who clawed it back.

In Mayo we are spoiled rotten. Spoiled to saturation. We, with certainty, expect to contest finals. Since 2004 we have locked horns with various counties in four senior All-Ireland finals, three League, two U21 and four Minor ones, not counting various club Senior and Intermediate deciders.

It could be argued we have become blasé about losing finals because we know another one is just over the hill. No? … in the last six months we have graced Croke Park on final day at Senior and Minor, as well as Club Senior and Intermediate. That becomes expectation thus becoming habit eventually becoming routine.

Out of the above came a single cup. Getting to those finals reflects the rude health and talent we possess and our never-say-die attitude. What we lack can be compressed into possibly 1%. But have we the nerve and the balls to find that 1%, learn from it, enforce it and capitalise from it?

The one theme we see on WJ’s site this week has been in inability to learn . Unable to close out matches has cost us. Inability to learn that the chronic turn overs against Donegal in 2012 could not be repeated in 2013.

Simple things like simple frees in squeaky bum matches cannot be missed. The minor finals of 2008/9, the senior semi-final and final last year saw bad close-in misses. Those belong to that 1%. Fix those and you fix a lot.

We have scored the most in the league, hey … who needs a marquee forward? The present guys seem to be doing okay. We have conceded the most in all of the league divisions. Who needs sorting? Well, actually both because our game-plan appears to be built around flying half-backs bombing forward supplemented by a converted wing-back and corner-back up front.

In cooking terms we are more rich Gateaux than wholesome brown bread. Nice with a cup of coffee or dessert but sickening if you overdo it. Whereas the old plain scone of bread will satisfy the appetite better and take you further. Ask Armagh, Donegal or Meath.

There comes a time when we must square the shoulders and stick out the chest. For sure, back the team because they are ours. But those that wield the power must go to the 1% and study it, drill it into heads until it’s like rote.

“Pass and run” was the Shankley and Paisley way at Liverpool. Keegan and Dalglish subscribed to it and were successful . A lot of fancy Dans since then didn’t, hence the difference. Only now decades later has Rogers brought method and simplicity . Soon the success will come.

So spoiled people (myself included) soon we gotta make a decision about ourselves. Are we happy to live in the near-certainty of final day outings and its attendant hype or will we all make the demands that will put us where the likes of Clare and Donegal recently resided?

The expectation that final day outings is a passage of rite for Mayo folk won’t last forever so as the time changes once again and the clock ticks, perhaps we all should refocus once more. The lessons painfully etched on our souls need to be learned before this present egg-timer runs out and all we are left with are regrets and “what’s is with ye in Mayo at’ll?”

77 thoughts on “Spoiled rotten

  1. Thoughtful and eloquent as always John.

    This is exactly why I went ape on my post-match post the other night. Like yourself, I know full well that we have to be taking our chances now before the tide turns and we are washed away from the top table again for however many years.

    To those who might consider that unneccessarily negative thinking, ask yourselves this: who among the Galway supporters leaving Croke Park after the 2001 final could possibly have known that 13 long years later they would be without a single win in that ground, in league or championship, since that day?

    The hurt doesn’t run as deep for them though – because they took their chances when they had them and apologised to no-one.

    And so it kills me that in a game like Saturday’s, against our current nemesis, we leave behind such an obvious chance to win and win well – doing ourselves psychological damage in the process. Be in no doubt that should we and Dublin meet in the championship, they will hold the mental aces as a result.

    Perversely, I hope we can meet them again in the League – assuming we beat Derry on Sunday. Another crack at Dublin would be very welcome in my book, if only to try and get some kind of win over them before we meet again in championship.

    But the bigger, deeper problem remains. Mayo football teams, as long as I have been watching them, do not have a killer instinct. This is what we HAVE to develop. When you get on top of a team, you bury them alive. No lead is ever big enough.

    This team can do it if they want to, if they discipline themselves – mentally – to never, ever let up. The quarter-final performance against Donegal last year should be taken as the template.

  2. Great piece. Agree totally. The level of frustration vented over the last few days is for this lack of 1%. The silly misses, loose passes, panic for no reason. I was 15 when ‘that player’ clapped his hands walking off. It is scorched in my mind. I often think of it in games when we are in control. I often speak of teams ‘doing a Mayo’ on it in various sports. Safe to say, against Dublin, Mayo Mayo’ed it. That 1% is within a hairs breath, so attainable, but time is running out. Carpe Diem.

  3. Good piece John but what exactly do you change. It is like telling a pessimist to be happy. Telling him to be happy changes nothing. Telling the Mayo team to embrace the 1% means nothing. I am sure that they tell themselves this every year but it still changes nothing. You have painted a picture – well done.

  4. Just saw this in mayo news any truth in it?? The Mayo News can exclusively reveal that D’alo Folprisay from the tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has been added to the county senior squad by Mayo manager James Horan after he witnessed Folprisay star in a club match in Achill two weeks ago.

  5. Very funny am sure many Aprils fools will buy it nice try tho

  6. Well written John…..this won’t last forever. You need to make hay while the sun shines and the Mayo hay turner is spinning on the spot with a light crop brought home so far…as you say the single cup.

  7. Yeah, he was at training last Friday night, was not named on the team for the Dublin match as James was fearful of showing his hand too early. He will most likely play him on Sunday against Derry, as there will be very few people at the match after the weekends performance. There won’t be any TV cameras there either, so he will be able to slip in under the radar so to speak. As was said before here, we are not to mention what goes on at training, so we shouldn’t say any more about it.

  8. Well spotted when it happens…………thought if I left out bit about playing barefoot it might be more believable!!

  9. I’m not sure if we are spoiled rotten. More like the kid that gets brought to the ice cream store and taunted with all the flavors but not allowed to have any.
    If we win on Sunday they should throw everything at winning it all no matter who’s in their way.
    4 senior losses in 9 years is very hard to take, it’s no wonder people go nuts when we give up a big lead to a team we had beaten

  10. Personally, I think to move forward we need to realise that Dublin are just another team. Im not sure we would have tried that ridiculous keep-ball (and the instigator and captain should have really known better) had it been someone else against us. We would have gone at them again and got another point. To do that we need to consider our own mentality, and maybe these overly romantic essays about what was simply a mistake in a game of football, are something we can do without. Stop building these things into more than they are – next time take your chances and dont try to play keep ball on your 45, that’s it. No need for the lament, we didnt have one after losing to kildare or tyrone…

  11. Good post John. For me that missing 1% comes under the heading of ‘lack of street smarts/dark arts/ menace’ etc

    Man for Man, in football terms,, we are probably the match of Dublin. Dublin have 6-7 players however who have characteristics that only 1-2 of our players have. Cluxton, O Carroll, McMahon, Brennan, MDMA, Flynn, Connolly, are very aggressive, intimidating players. These are players who exude confidence and nastiness.

    It manifests itself in small ways, pushes, shouting in players faces etc, that on their own have little impact, but taken together, throughout a match send a message that say’s ‘you wont beat us, we’re tougher than you’. You still see it in teams like Meath who although not having a team in the top 8 have this aura of ‘Meath are tough to beat/Meath are never beaten’ etc

    Case in point is O’Carroll – He outplayed and dominated a bigger man in Freeman . Freeman is a very good footballer and some of the ball played to him was poor but even looking at body language and facial expressions OCarroll looked to be reveling in the contests whereas the Freeman looked uncomfortable. Caff is a great FB too but I dont think he intimates opponent like O Carroll does.

    Again, we have skillful players, physical and strong players – but very few of these intimating players, who regardless of their size, exude an aggression and menace that makes such a difference in tight games. These characteristics really contribute to this perception that ‘Dublin are never beaten’/We can win with 14/we can win from 10 points down’. When faced with these guys it has to have some impact on opponents.

    I don’t think you can blame Horan for this. I think this is innate to the players and for whatever reason don’t have fewer of these guys than other teams in the Top4/5. I think back to 97 and Maurice Fitz complimenting Mayo on ‘Allowing him to play football’. I know it was meant as a compliment but it has a nasty sting in it’s tail that is still somewhat true.

  12. I think we’re getting into the ‘paralysis of analysis’ realm here…

    Mayo have put away plenty of big teams in the last 3 years – Donegal, Cork, DUBLIN!

    I think if you ask a Dublin player they wouldn’t want to meet Mayo in the championship this year. In fact no team will…

  13. I agree Puckout. We were ruthless against Donegal, I think a lot of the Mayo players were disappointed when Donegal got the late goal. Its just a matter of implementing that ruthlessness in every game, we are capable of getting the scores, we need to continue until 70 mins plus.

  14. Some good points above from DavyJ & Mike in respect of a perceived lack of ‘killer instinct’ & a perceived lack of intimidation in our ‘meet & greet’.
    When you get to Croker and when you get on top you keep driving the nails home …. all day long ….otherwise we’ll have more endings like Saturdays’. The big teams will come back at you if you don’t ruthlessly finish the job when you have the opportunity.
    On Saturday we got presents from Cluxton & Cluxton’s replacement … sure we didn’t even have to worry about the Cluxton Kickout or even Cluxton himself.
    We have defensive frailties & have been conceding way too many goals & goal chances. Dublin in particular seem to be able to get a goal whenever we start to threaten them.
    I do have concerns about our defending as it seems to be from ‘outfield in’ rather than from ‘goalkeeper out’. It seems way too easy to knock a ball over the top of our defense
    or else split us with lateral passing. We may need to group closer to the goalkeeper & defend the killer pass from there.

  15. Or a blanket defence this won’t go down well but mayo need to stop leaking goals also can mayo and dubs meat again in the league would not mind a another chance against them

  16. As usual John Cuffe delivers the goods. Harking back to that Meath game does tell you one thing though, that was the last time until sept 2013 that we were in a final at the death, all the others were pretty much over at half time.

    These lads have taken two tough final defeats and are back again, roaring for action. They are to be admired and supported.

    I have a very good feeling this year, bring it on.

  17. Can’t agree with this. If it were the case then we wouldn’t be in the top 2/3 teams in the country. Its not down to being nasty and mean that is the difference in the games. Also I think most of our current fellas are too long in the tooth now to be intimidated by this sort of sh*te. Maybe there are 1 or 2 guys who are. You point out Freeman. If this is the case with him then I’m sorry but he’s not good enough for the team.

    But for the majority of our guys though I would think the opposite and that they would actually revel in it. I know I would, if someone was shouting constantly at me to try and put me off my game then obviously I’m doing something right and also they see me as a serious threat.

    Lastly the fact is that Dublin might have those kind of guys on their team but when the antics you describe above are not working then more than often guys like this actually lose it, blow a fuse and do something daft ala Cluxon the last night.

  18. Yeah Roger, what I think is, we can either use this as a positive or as a negative for the season ahead. We seen Kildare losing a game against Tyrone when 5 points up in the last few minutes of the game by conceding two goals, in their league game in Newbridge. It has almost been like they have being shell shocked since, that have really gone backwards since that game. At least we didn’t lose the game, are we going to let this late concession of two goals define the rest of our season? If we are, then we have to use it in a positive way. We had warnings against Westmeath and Cork, we didn’t heed these warnings. Dublin gave us a rude awaking. They are league champions, they were like a prized boxer on their last legs fighting to hold onto their title. They tried with all their might to knock us out but we were still left standing, just about. You’d love to see us getting to the semis, I think we need to get a win in Croke Park under our belt before the summer, no matter who it is that we have to play. The ghosts of last September were still in the air on Saturday night, we almost extinguished them, if we get back there in a couple of weeks time, we really need to rid them from our system for once and for all.

  19. Im afraid Its because of our inability to retain possession that Dublin was handed the opportunity – the tactic was spot on, its the poor execution that was the problem. Would much prefer to play close quarter ball retention than hitting 50/50 balls in the hope of getting another score.

  20. Having been full of apathy about the league I am now changing my mind, I think our win against Kerry a few years back really stood to us and now I hope we get into the semis and go for it!

  21. Can anyone explain how we’ve leapfrogged Dublin in the league table after our draw last Saturday? Prior to Saturdays game Dublin were in 4th position with ourselves listed as being in 5th place with both teams on 6pts each and equal scoring difference. I had assumed that we were being ranked behind Dublin because we had conceded more scores than Dublin, despite having a superior scoring tally over the previous five games. However, after Saturdays game we are now being ranked ahead of Dublin in the table even though nothing has changed in scoring differences: both for and against? Can anyone help shed some light on this for me?

  22. Yeah, it’s just that, if we don’t make the semis, then what happened last Saturday night would have time to fester and be like a hangover for us going into the championship. If we get back to the semis, we have the perfect time to right the wrong and get back to winning ways in Croke Park. If we don’t make it and then make it back for the All-Ireland quarter-finals in August our last memory will be of us throwing away a lead that we should have kept. Especially if we came up against a really good opponent, it would make a tough game even tougher. We want to get back on the horse quickly.

  23. If we lack ability to retain posession, then how was attempting to retain possession the correct move? This rarely works well in gaa, and never for the length of time that we needed to do it for. We should have tried to move the ball forward through the hands, get it out wide and then move it backwards, and sideways , again through the hands, playing for a free in scoring range. Whether that goes wide or goes over, the game is done at that point. You dont slow the ball down on your own 45, ever. Teams push up onto you. If you get turned over then they have the numbers up the field from pushing up to really hurt you, it is a disaster.

  24. According to sky sports we won sam last year.

    I knew it had to be a bad dream. Long wait is over.

    All hail james horan!!!!!

    Can we defend our title????

  25. 1st: Head to head
    2nd: Scoring difference
    3rd: Who has more scored

    That’s the process it is decided I think.

  26. Any table showing Dublin ahead of us before the weekend was incorrect. We had the same pts difference, but were ahead by virtue of having scored more over the course of the league. The draw changed nothing in that regard.

  27. What do you think of black card now it’s really inconsistent. What do ye think should be gotten rid of.

  28. 45, I noticed that too and nothing has really changed since draw.
    Then I just had another look on the GAA site and Dublin are back in fourth,
    But I’d say it’s in alphabetical order, as opposed to conceding less scores.

  29. I think we lost it on the line again on Sat night. Caff was calling to come off and it took 5 mins to get him off, during which time we let in a goal. Then he was replaced by Varley. After O Shea came off, Dublin were walking through us every time they attacked. Nothing was done from the line eventhough we had 15 against 14. When the pressure came on, nothing was done to shore up the defence. The Management Team need to sit down and look at the video and learn from it. I also agree that Dublin bullied us. A lot of stuff went on off the ball and the ref lost control. However we have to be tougher mentally and physically when playing the Dubs.

  30. Conscious ball retention is obviously not part of the average GAA followers’ DNA. Its all about moving the ball between teammates in a manner which maximises the intended receivers chances of getting hold of it and depriving the opposition. If that means utilising those awful handpasses more than we would like or at times taking a free to oneself then so be it.
    I recall in the closing stages of the recent Kerry game in Castlebar one of our star players, kicking both a free and a sideline ball, in quick succession, to the opposition. Lapses like that arent as obvious as hitting two wides but have the potential to be more destructive and often times have been just that.

  31. Agree. Didn’t see any influence from the line. Physically they were tougher and more aggressive.

  32. As regards the Sky Sports affair from what I can see, barring a run in the qualifiers, the only match of ours that “could” be on Sky this year would be the potential Roscommon/Leitrim Connacht Semi Final.

  33. I missed that match shit why am I always last to find out!! Great stuff come on mayo.

  34. Same can be said of yellow and red card some refs can be very inconsistent to say the least.

  35. Its amazing how many games we lose on the line. Maughan lost it in 1996 and 1997 and Horan cost us in 2012 and 2013 according to some. Arent we desperately unlucky to have had those managers, Conversely weren t we lucky not to have had them in all the other great years we enjoyed since 1951. Imagine if we had been lumbered with those two guys in the 60s 70s and 80s.

  36. They should outlaw the hand pass, i hate it. Especially this “slapping” the ball into the goal. Not much skill in that IMO. There’s nothing like a kicked goal, such as the two Kevin’s, Mikey’s and O’Gara second goal the other night (even though it was against us) you dream of goals like that!

  37. You are so right. A good manager will get a great team to finals. We need a great manager to win just once. If we can learn from our mistakes, we might get a great manager. On the other hand if we continue to make silly mistakes like not taking off our full back when he has called to come off and letting in a goal as he cannot move, we will not win the 50/50 games, which for us is the final with this team!

  38. Dublin were very close to throwing the ball around the place at times and it was pulled up by the ref a couple of times. Will be interesting to see if they continue with this type of hand pass in the Summer

  39. I think the black card is a good idea and should benefit an attacking team like ours. The problem with it is the interpretation of the rule by the ref.
    An example being as follows, Connolly should have gone last Saturday night on a black as he was running behind Doherty (I think), reached from behind over the shoulder and pulled the man to the ground. 1 of the 5 black card offences as defined by the GAA disciplinary system is “Deliberately pull down an opponent!. Plain as day.
    The great Michael Darragh MacAuley (who has yet to be pulled up by any ref for constantly raising his elbows and using them as leverage, at face height, when running with the ball) elbowed A. O’Shea, off the ball into the ribs, after he played the ball away early in the first half. Again, this was 1 of the 5 instances where a black card should have been issued because the rule states “Deliberately body collide with an opponent, after he has played the ball away, for the purpose of taking him out of a movement of play”!!! Again, as plain as day.
    Reilly was pathetic as his performance was so one sided in the first half that he got booed off the pitch. When have you ever heard Mayo supporters booing a ref?
    Furthermore, the umpire that called the free that disallowed Dohertys goal HAD NO AUTHORITY to call that free. That decision is OUTSIDE THE REMIT OF AN UMPIRE. He wired his message to the ref and once the green flag was waved that should have been it. In fact, the ref should have ordered the raising of the flag because in that instance, it was only a free if the ref saw it and he didn’t.

  40. Ya – but what about next year or the years after that? The fact is that since Setanta have entered the fray they have year after year poached more and more top games.

    And eventually they dictated to the GAA the matches they have wanted to show. e.g. this year they showed ever single Dublin football League game (bar one – when it was a big name Hurling fixture with Dublin) on Saturday night to support Setanta. Tough luck if you don’t have Setanta and can’t travel to the match.

    Sky will pay even more than Setanta and eventually dictate even more top games off RTE and onto Sky Sports.

  41. I for 1 would not like to have been a mayo player in the dressing room after that game.if horan and co are doing their jobs a few hairdryers would have been thrown,on the other hand if we won easily jh might have trouble keeping them focused going forward..the result might have been a godsend

  42. JPM above has it spot on.

    It doesn’t help matters when you see a different table published here and there, especially when the GAA site can’t get it right!

    Same craic is happening in Division 2 – Galway should be ahead of Armagh as they’re both on 5 points and Galway beat them last Sunday – but I’ve still seen Armagh listed as being above them in the table in several places…

  43. Look, we have found the way to beat the Dubs. We know it and they know it. We closed down Cluxtons kick outs, both short and to the wings, and this resulted in him having to do what Dublin do not want to do. Kick outs straight down the middle! We more than broke even there also. Tactically we had it almost spot on. The fact that we didn’t win, whilst frustrating and disappointing, should not hide the fact that we have their measure.
    We failed to close out the game, in my opinion, in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. 3 bad wides from the first 4 attacks at a stage of the game where we were dominating them possession wise, took some of the imputus from us and gave them hope that they were still only 4 points down when they should have been 7. We tired going into the last 5 minutes, and after having to replace 3 of our starting 6 backs, we were not as cohesive as a unit as we should have been.
    Don’t cod yourself either. Gavin will have had a long look at that game also and realised that at 15 v 15 we had their measure. Had McLoughlins pass to Freeman been 4″ lower it was a goal, and Keegan blazed another great goal chance wide also. Docs goal SHOULD NOT have been ruled out, as the umpire DOES NOT have the authority to make that call. That’s 2 definite goals, possibly another one too, that we left behind us and, by my count, of our 12 wides 5 of them were very bad missed chances. So, add 2-3 or 2-4 onto our final score and even give them 1 of the goal chances that Hennelly saved and that is a truer reflection of the game. Gavin knows this better than most.
    We are doing fine. The hunger is definitely there and their performances are a credit to themselves, their clubs and us. 2 All Ireland defeats is enough to finish most players and teams. TWO ALL IRELAND DEFEATS. We feel sorry for ourselves and bitch and moan (rightly so at times) but it’s not us that’s busting our balls 3, 4 & 5 times a week, hail rain or shine and I believe that these lads deserve better support than they are currently getting from us.
    I said it before and I’ll say it again. This years winner is from Tyrone, Donegal or Mayo.

  44. I think James Horan is the one Mayo man who can definitely count himself spoilt rotten this year – Carolan’s cruciate was unfortunate but the impact that players like Gibbons, Doherty, Sweeney and Gallagher have made has really strengthened his hand. You could maybe add Parsons, Drake and Harrison to that too.

    Right now Mayo have what looks like the third strongest panel in the country, behind Cork (who we made look very ordinary), and Dublin (who will have to deal with difficult second season syndrome) leaving the Green and Red looking fairly good at this point in time.

    Have a hunch we’ll make a semi-final in the League and that would be some achievement for a team with little pre-season training.

  45. I see on the GAA website that Dublin are placed ahead of Mayo. Dublin 4th, Mayo fifth. Mayo and Dublin have same points, same score difference but Mayo have scored more. I think the format should be No of points first, head to head results second, then points difference, then highest scorers, then a play off. Is this the case? Does anyone know the rules for definite and where can one see them written down.

  46. Right, that’s it. I’m starting a “Pebbles for Mayo” campaign!!! Jaysus I could nearly tog again myself after reading that!!!

  47. Agree! I have been saying the same for a long time. We had the measure of them last Sep as well but we didn’t win. And there will be very little between the two teams should they meet again later in the year. It will come down to what happens on the day and not making costly mistakes.
    I was totally convinced that if our lads had the appetite to have another go then they would not be stopped winning the AI. My only worry now is that Dublin have coped really well with winning the title (much better than I had expected or hoped for) and are in good shape. We will have to move up another gear …….One way is by making sure we prevent other teams scoring goals against us. It’s as simple or as complex as that! We also need to develop a settled forward line fairly soon in order to build cohesion in our attacking play.

  48. Well said pebbles, and there wasn’t much word about Dublin letting 2 17 by them neither in any paper.
    I hope Mayo win on Sunday and make the semis, if only to give Sweeney, Harrison and the like a full game against a contender in croker. And also that all our great work is not undone by small mistakes when we do get ahead in games
    It was said that we had a fella calling to be taken off for 5 minutes near the end, if it was a dub he would have hit the deck at the first chance to stop the game, a bit more gamesmanship needed by Mayo in the bigger games if we are to do the business in 2014.

  49. All good and positive stuff above there guys and sounds a bit like James trying to rallying his troops before their next battle v Derry. But all the if’s and buts in the world don’t change results, seventy minutes + a bit, that’s what you have and what you do in that time is all that matters. Chasing a game or trying to hang on to a lead, Mayo still have a lot to learn.

  50. I agree Maestro – if there’s less than 30 seconds then maybe, but playing down the clock for more time than that can be fatal. Would Kerry our real nemesis (of old) have ever done that? …No they are always pressing for the next score.

  51. Indeed, I in no way support this, (even though I have Sky myself to watch the foreign game), rather I was just relaying the information for anyone that might be interested.

  52. I think that’s the point though, we know we have their measure we know were as good as them. It’s just that we’re not clinical enough when it matters and that drive everyone mental.

  53. Keith Higgins was very poor in that second half against Dublin, He only handled the ball about four times in that half. I can see some changes for the Derry game.

  54. The fact that the ref did not see the “off the ground” means that particular free could not be called by the umpire. The umpire tipped the ref off by wire and so the ref should have said that he didn’t see it and therefore the foul did not occur and he then should have instructed the green flag umpire to raise his flag. The umpire can call some fouls to the refs attention but he does not have the authority to call that one.

  55. I’m not sure you’re being fair on the ref in this instance, Pebbles – if you look back at it (from 16.30 or so in – here) you can see that Reilly is shaking his head immediately after Jason’s shot. You’re right, though, that it wasn’t the umpire’s place to be signalling to the ref about what should happen but I think Reilly had already – and correctly – decided that the score wouldn’t stand.

  56. I have to admit, I have lost a bit of confidence in Drake. He is fine bombing on over and over against poorer opposition, but against a team that will test him on the backfoot I think he has been exposed a few times. Id like to see someone with more of a nose for defending, like Eoghan O’Reilly getting a chance. A few more of those types on the pitch on Saturday night would have seen Connolly hauled down when that ball was turned over, a black card and a mayo win.

  57. I think the green flag was waved, as otherwise why would the umpire have crossed the flags in the goal to indicate a score being disallowed? Haven’t seen it since though, so open to correction.

  58. He probably should have done more to stop O’Gara’s goal but a lot of these lads look jaded. Mayo defended well within their comfort zone. They’ve had so many highs and painful lows. It’s to be expected.

    Still though, closing in on a League semi-final with the likes of Gibbons strengthening the squad shows the quality that’s there.

  59. Absolutely correct. Well apart from the freeman goal chance, O’Carroll was actually well placed to get a block in had freeman got hold of it, so maybe a point? But I agree with you, and cant understand the negativity – all the great things we are told about dublin, we had them completely snuffed out. Had we got a few scores at the start of the 2nd half, instead of all those wides, we would probably have won well.

    I think this zonal system that horan has created will be encorporated by a lot of teams facing Dublin over the summer, and at some stage it will work.

  60. We are all agreed that the missed chances at the beginning of the second half and also the chances that we missed in the first half against Dublin in last year’s All-Ireland final cost us dearly. What we have to ask is, why are we missing these chances? Do we have enough natural scorers up front? For example when Mikey Sweeney came on he had two chances, he scored both of them. If you contrast this with Donal Vaughan having five chances and scoring two. In fairness to him, he’s a defender, scoring is not his primary job. It seems to be a case of right place, right time but the wrong man. In any sport your objective is to get the ball to your chief scorers. Bernard Brogran is nearly always in the right place, at the right time and 9 times out of 10 he gets the ball. If Adam Gallagher or Darren Coen got those chances would they have being more likely to score them? I thought the miss Vaughan had to put us 7 up was the really crucial one. It was a chance that should have been taken. Then Dublin came down the field and scored their first goal to get them back in the game. Also it’s interesting to note that O’Gara, a real poacher came on so late in the game. He was brought on to score goals, which he did. In last year’s semi-final against Kerry, the sides were level in the 69th minute. Yet Dublin won by 7 points in the end, again the two poachers O’Gara and McManamon scored the two goals. Missing these chances is something we need to rectify along with conceding less goals.

  61. Not sure about that, didn’t Eoin have lots of time to do that on Patrick’s day and we all saw what happened. I saw him play a league game a couple of years ago and wasn’t too impressed.

  62. I agree
    It’s not natural for us to do the cynical stuff but when JH came in some players took to the physical stuff more than others
    Pushing and shoving and clattering into players we can do
    We don’t do the verbals and punches off the ball, and starting a fight deliberately
    It doesn’t come naturally to some and you need half the team to have the will to do it for the other half to join in.
    Having said that, no one ever says these days that we are nice to play against

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