Squad departures for summer

The Mayo News (paper and digital variants) has confirmation today on a number of departures from the senior panel ahead of this year’s championship. And a possible arrival too.

In a piece by Mike Finnerty in the paper it’s stated that four players have been released – Jason Gibbons, Alan Freeman, Ger McDonagh and Donie Newcombe. Of that quartet, only Jason played any significant part in our recently concluded League campaign. He started against Monaghan, Kerry and Galway but, after being withdrawn in Pearse Stadium, didn’t feature thereafter.

Ironically, the man who replaced the Ballintubber midfielder in that match at Salthill was Ger McDonagh. That was one of two appearances off the bench that the Castlebar player made for us in this year’s NFL. The other was late on up in Clones in the opening round, when he came on for Colm Boyle.

The game time enjoyed in the League by both Donie Newcombe and Alan Freeman was even more fleeting. The Castlebar man only got a short gallop under his belt against Galway, when he came on briefly as a blood sub for Ger Cafferkey, and he never featured after that. The Aghamore player was sprung from the bench in injury time up in Ballybofey in the final round, coming on for Jason Doherty.

It’s tough on any player to be cut from a playing panel. All four players mentioned above are seasoned performers – the Castlebar lads at club level, while Jason and Alan have played plenty of inter-county football, including appearing in All-Ireland finals – so it’s doubly difficult on them. The hard truth, however, is that numbers on the panel were always going to be reduced heading into the summer and one of the tough aspects to management is making the calls about who is in and who isn’t. Life, including sport, is full of those kind of choices.

In more upbeat news, that piece also states that James Durcan has been added to the development panel heading into the summer. Rochy’s clearly been reading the comments on the blog of late so!

This week’s edition of the Mayo News, by the way, is yet another jam-packed one. Coverage of all the weekend’s club action, as well as the Colleges’ finals and the ladies’ league action, runs to a full fifteen pages in the sports supplement. Plenty to pore over there over the coming days.

136 thoughts on “Squad departures for summer

  1. WJ, is the full panel list and development panel list available. I’m not sure anyone like myself knows who’s in and who’s out at this stage. Thanks

  2. Are Danny Kirby and Conor O’Shea still on the panel. They only made one brief appearance each from the subs bench in the league

  3. Dunno how to feel with that news, long been an admirer of Freeman, but will have to concede he obviously is’nt up to it anymore. We’re hardly stacked with midfield players, so Gibbons and McDonagh can feel very unlucky.

  4. I feel the same about Freeman Mayodunphy. I’ve always been a fan and I’m very disappointed for him. But we are not at training sessions and don’t know the ins and outs of it all so we have to trust the guys who have to make these tough calls. It’s not easy for anyone and I’m sure SR doesn’t relish having to make those phone calls!

  5. Rochford bringing inform players in is a good thing. Brain Gallagher must be on his radar too. Plenty of experience, good athlete with a sweet left foot. If looking a ready made midfield to spring from the bench he wouldn’t be out of place. Wasn’t really surprised with Newcombe, a member of last years panel. The emergence of Crowe and o Donoghue had pushed him out really. Manager may feel young Hall has more to offer or even a young Akram. Not sure who is in the development panel if late Stephen Duffy from Crossmolina didn’t play last Sunday against Westport may be injury.James Carr still injured. Gallagher most probably is in the main squad. Only leaves Cunniffe Ruane and Reape form last years. Maybe Akram Treacy Naughton Ryan I Donoghue gets added to it with the already mentioned James Durcan

  6. Agree theview, we’re not there an I do trust the managment to make the right calls. Dont want to break rules here, but IMO Freeman was never the same player after Horan wrongly pulled him off in that ‘13 final. I hoped he’d regain the confidence but it obviously never worked out. A great servant like them all who were cut.

  7. I still don’t understand Kevin Keane being released from panel feel he has alot more to offer Mayo ! he’s had Comer’s number past few years physically more than a match for him

  8. I’d agree management sees the players in training and they are best placed to make the decisions. The Freeman one seems to be a particularly difficult one for Rochford. Alan looked to be gone earlier in the league but Stephen brought him back for the Donegal game for another look. Tough calls for any manager to make.

    Ann-Marie, I’m actually not one bit surprised by the Keane decision. Rochford went the 2016 championship without a recognized fb instead of playing Kevin. Kevin is a good player but seems he doesn’t suit rochfords style of play.

  9. Hard on the lads personally, i’m sure they all have put in huge efforts to impress recently. Would like to have seen McDonagh get a full game or two at full back in the league , has had a few great years with Castlebar in the no. 3 shirt. The midfield cover was always going to be between Gibbons and Big Barry, i’m sure it was a hard call not much between them. I know that its said there will be an open ended panel but I think realistically if you not in the 30 squad by the end of April its unlikely that you would make a match squad over the summer months.

  10. Would love to see Rochy call in Brian Gallagher from Claremorris like James Durcan has.One of the top ballers in the county and about 6ft 3 in height never got a fair chance by Horan.

  11. I’ve no doubt Stephen & co have a plan for may 13th … but just feel Kevin’s physical strength will be missed … hopefully he can play his way back roll on the 13th …

  12. Best of luck to the lads gone from the panel, they give their time and efforts to the county like all the rest… it’s tough for them but I am sure their clubs will be delighted to have them back!

  13. Irwin is one that could really have been used. He is a big physical fella with the scoring touch that not many have. That punched goal in the u21 final was a sign of intuitive thinking of a poacher and he is a loss to Mayo and I hope he does get a chance sometime in the next year or two.

  14. Correct me if I am wrong but squad feels pretty light going into championship.

  15. Players never 100% on first year back from Cruciate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kevin back next year.
    As for Irwin, gifted, possibly not fast enough and playing in London. Along with Kirby the big FF role redundant unless you have even more bulk like AOS and even then it often fails in big games where teams plan for it.

  16. Could anyone tell me what the story is with season tickets for the match on 13th…do we get stand tickets or is it general admission? And will there be a ‘bring a friend’ option?

  17. AnnMarie Livinhope.. Agree with your take on Kevin Keane, when he rejoined the Mayo panel in January,.. I taught he’d be the man to mark Comer on the 13th of May…Surprised also to see Ger McDonagh not making the cut…. It’s not as if we were rock solid in the full back department in the majority of our league matches. But Keane is young enough to come back still even if it’s a big ask…. Around this time last year, several were dropped including Michael Hall and he has made the cut into the existing panel of 2018 at the very least… As for Freeman very disappointed for him, the road back is probably longer,.. Yeah Horan did wrong talking off Freeman in the 2013 All Ireland final (he should have been looking closer to his own home club) likewise Jason Gibbons , he was playing brilliantly a few years ago and injury in training struck him, don’t think he has got back to that form ever since then… I’m not privy to what happens in training and A versus B,.. But it has to be very fine margins that decides who stays and who goes!… Rocky Road, we should get stand tickets with our season tickets…But, If it’s a fine day I might just opt to sit on the McHale Road side of the Stadium, remember the total hash Connacht Gaa made with the seating arrangements the last time Mayo played a championship match versus Galway in Castlebar… Still tough all the VIPs and Politicians got the plum seat’s in the middle of the stand.. Many of which, you won’t see too often in McHale Park or Pearce Stadium.. Even if some of the loyal Mayo season ticket holders had to be moved into the corner and get drenched wet…. I for one wouldn’t move for them…..

  18. Well I asked Rochy if he was listening on James Durcan. Glad he has been studying the blog closely, and good to see that the sages who post here are being listened to!

  19. Leantimes, Horan should “have been looking closer to his home club” Really? If memory serves someone from his home club scored 8pts that day. Always amazes me when so called loyal supporters take cheap shots at amateur players giving up huge amounts of their free time.

  20. James Durcan is a good choice to draft in. ‘‘Twas clear from Saturday’s batch that he has bulked a nice bit.
    Positive to see Evan back on the pitch also getting through a full match without a bother. Ballina were awful so he didn’t see much ball, however he seemed to be fairly sharp considering

  21. Hard luck to the lads let go and best wishes to James Durcan. If he has the same mentality as his twin brother Paddy, then he will be a good addition to the squad. I remember him coming on in the All-Ireland club final that Castlebar were well beaten in but he still popped over a nice point, so that’s a good sign of the man.

  22. I am suprised and disappointed Alan Freeman is gone from the panel. I would have kept him on and let Ger Caff go (because of his poor performances in the league in my opinion) even if we are very thin on fullback cover. Anyway I trust Rochford and the boys to get it right on May 13

  23. Freeman showed great potential when he was younger but it just hasn’t happened for him at county level the last few years. I don’t think it’s any real surprise he’s been let go. He wouldn’t have got any game time this summer so Rochford probably feels it’s better to invest in the likes of Durcan and Treacy for the future.

  24. @Mayomad,.. Horan, certainly should have been looking to make a change closer to home… And not take off Freeman.. Who started well, had actually put the ball over the bar, only for it to be disallowed for an earlier foul on Alan Freeman , Freeman won the MotM award in the semi finals versus Tyrone, and he did score from play… . Regardless More than one of James Horan home club were playing , and besides I didn’t name anyone..But none of them closer to home from James Horan scored from play…In the final, and that’s a FACT.. So it’s milk well spilt by now… Also I have NOT taken any, shots cheap or otherwise at any amature player’s… I have, taken issue with the decision to take off Alan Freeman in the match… Another thing, I know well that amature players give up loads of free time to play, Gaa, so did Alan Freeman… But in any case, there is no conscription to force anyone to play for Mayo.. And player’s of all codes, give up their time to play their chosen sport, usually tough the manager will leave on a player that is playing well, and might consider taking off someone who isn’t playing so well… I’m going by the evidence of my own eye’s, and I always support whoever playes for Mayo, but sometimes it’s pretty obvious that mistakes were made… Maybe, my expressed opinions make me a ‘so called loyal supporter’ in your eye’s? …. But I do try to base my opinions on fact.. That might amaze you as well.

  25. Well done to James Durcan, another set of brothers on mayo panel. By 2021 could we have Lambert, Moran and MC loughlan brothers from Westport, then maybe both hanleys might be back playing for mayo. Any more brothers for mayo championship side 2021.?

  26. Irwin was magic underage. Scored an outstanding solo goal v ros in the 13 Connacht Final and a sublime fisted effort in the 21 AIF, where the majority of players woukd have tried to gather the ball. He has great football intelligence but bulked up a bit too much and was he making the senior breaffy team?? If you’re not a star on your senior club side then forget about county. I was always a big fan of Irwin but if a player doesnt really want it, then he’ll never make it. Still time for him and some others from that underage side but time waits goes fast.

    I saw Brian Gallagher in mullingar when we beat Westmeath a few years ago and for me he stood out as a natural scorer and a guy who had plenty of talent.

    Looks like end of road for Freeman and I agree with previous posters re: his untimely withdrawal in 2013.

    What’s the story with James Carr? Andy Moran specifically name checked him in a radio interview last year and it’s like he’s disappeared. Has he a long term injury or has he just not made it.

  27. Would take Gibbons over Moran any day. Same with McDonagh vs Cafferkey. Not surprised about the other cuts. Would have felt that the likes of Drake, C. O’Shea, Douglas, Regan would have been under serious pressure for this season. Why the likes of Vaughan be allowed to waltz back in while powerful, disciplined, skillful players like McDonagh and Gibbons get dropped is beyond me. Do we ever learn?

  28. Ah now 45, black card coming id say buck, thats highly unfair on Vaughan, he’s well entitled to his place on the panel. The most powerful athlete we have, can cover every blade of grass with ease when he’s rightly tuned in. Can also play in numerous positions. Also contributes far more to the score board than Gibbons ever did….who for the record I think is unlucky to be cut. McDonagh was’nt given the game time for whatever reason which is unfair to him. Would like to have seen more of him in the league.

  29. I agree that Westport will be huge for Mayo football over the coming years.
    It’s clear to anyone who’s seen them that for the last few years there is bundles of talent there , importantly a lot of it on the forward department which is key.
    Perhaps this current Mayo team may not get over the line. It would be a huge shame given the talent there also and the wonderful non-stop fighting spirit they’ve shown.
    But make no mistake about it, all is not lost if we have a lull for a year or two. The players are there, and a significant amount of them in Westport. Horan will mentor this no end and really bring them on. It has the potential to be massive for Mayo.
    Add to that the O’Donoghues, Loftus, James Durcan’s and so on, players that have tons more room for further development and one can see that the future may be brighter than we think. And the likes of the O’Connor bros, aido, Keegan, mcgloughlin are still only now in or around their peak.
    I think the doomsday commentators should bear this in mind and start being positive about Mayo football.
    This current Mayo team have done absolute wonders for football in the county. There’s a whole new generation of supporters there and no doubt more youngsters will take up the sport and be inspired by the journey they’ve seen. And what a journey!!
    Roll on the summer, and next summer, etc etc!!

  30. I agree .MayoDunphy re Donie. He’s an Outstanding and versatile athlete who is unafraid to take a shot- most of the time they go over. He is committed to the cause and fully deserves his slot. Every day of the week.

  31. @Leantimes – I think Freeman’s performance against Tyrone has been overstated as the years went by. He got one point from play that day. If Cillian hadn’t done his shoulder early on, he wouldn’t have been on the dead balls. I’d agree about his substitution in the final though. We were well on top in the first half so I don’t know why Horan felt the need to make any change. All water under the bridge now in any case.

  32. We badly need an athletic option at midfield (remember the last 15 minutes in the AI final last year). Would C O’Shea be a viable option?

    It appears the only real option at FB is C Crowe. You’d have to say that it’s a tad dissapointing that someone wasn’t given a few games in the league at FB other than Caff.

  33. @Wideball.. You are right, Freezer would not have been on been on dead ball’s but for the injury to Cillian O Connor and the Mayo manager saw fit to play an injured player versus Tyrone??? …There is a question never answered either. But, in my opinion Alan Freeman role was underestimated if anything on that day versus Tyrone, No way would we not have won without him? ,.. Not a snowballs chance in hell,.. He was absolutely superb,.. .. It was a real tough type of of a match to win… But win we did,.. Chris Barrett, Tom Cunniffe, and lastly but by no means least due to Alan Freeman! Anyways I accept that James Horan selected Cillian to play in the final ,..A controversial decision to again pick an injured player to start, but I can understand it, Cillian is and was an exceptional player, However with Alan Freeman off, Cillian had to stay on, unless whether he aggravated his injured shoulder? , And if that had happened what was James Horan option’s,,? I’ll tell you what , bring back on Alan Freeman. Who else would take the frees,? And we were winning our fair share of frees.. But regardless of that fact Cillian was not the player who should have been replaced first …Cillian actually played well, without starring, and with his injury managed to stay on the pitch, but your depending on luck way too much there.
    I am certain that the facts back me up on this… But, why Freeman was taken off? ,… Horan, post match stated that he wanted to bring on Michael Conroy….. If he was watching the play, he would have noticed someone from his home club who met the President alright, and that was a his last involvement in the final alright!… I will be balanced, James Horan involvement with the Mayo team, was overwhelming positive, but it does not take from the fact that his decision to replace Alan Freeman, and not one of his home club player’s was the worst single decision that I have ever seen a Mayo manager make!.

  34. Wideball – amazed you think Freeman performance overstated against Tyrone. He stood up to the task when needed and dragged Mayo through that game. As for mentioning he scored one from play, well Cillian got no points from play in the final that year and once again it was only Moran who was able to get scores from play with a goal and two points (scary to think where points from play will come from when he finishes). It was poor decision to take Freeman off in final and it’s a shame he hasn’t been more involved with Mayo as he has a lot to offer.

  35. Delighted to hear that Cian Healey is joining the Mayo panel… according to sports news on rte this morning!! The old Leinster winning mentality will be a tonic!! But really… it’s hard to see lads being dropped from panel. I still have total trust in Rochford and his team. Heads down now lads and ENGAGE…

  36. Can’t believe there’s people placing Vaughan in the same bracket as McDonagh and gibbons. Donie is an established leader, a key utility player for us. Was the best player on the park in the 2016 drawn AI final against Dublin. Consistently a quality performer in the biggest games for Mayo. Ask Johnny Buckley about him down in kerry, I’d say he’s still having bad dreams after the job Vaughan did on him across 2 games last August. It’s a bit like saying “how does Keith Higgins just breeze back in here after missing the league?” Yes, it Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it.
    We have 17-18 players operating at AI winning level based on last season and donie is one of them. We need to get to 21 or 22 and keep everyone fit.
    To be fair, Jason Gibbons has had ample opportunities over the last 7 years to make a place his own in that Mayo squad. It hasn’t happened, for whatever reason, and we can only assume Ger McDonagh has not done enough in training the last few months to convince rochford either.

  37. Others have, correctly, pulled you up, 45, about that cut you took at Donal Vaughan. Don’t forget he’s ‘waltzing back’ after having undergone surgery and, as others have pointed out, he has contributed greatly down the years. The man deserves more respect.

  38. That’s a good debate on Alan Freeman. He’s had plenty of WOW games for Mayo. He also had the reputation as the man who could get you a goal as well.
    Confidence has to be affected if a player is substituted and it’s not due to injury or that he has run himself in to the ground. I think Alan wasn’t done any favours with regards to this over the years. Not really given a fair shot to restore his confidence when it had been taken from him. Sorry for him and the other players who are not with the squad.
    Re Donie, a man surely that Mayo could never do without. He’s a great player, multi dimensional and an engine on him that must frighten the shite out of the opposition. A fit Vaughan makes my Mayo team every day of the week. Built for Croke Park.

  39. Can’t believe inclusion of Vaughan in squad would be questioned, such a versatile footballer who gives so much to the team. Superb athlete , when fit will make a huge difference to team and provide much needed physical presence too

  40. Vaughan is one of my all time favourite players. A stand up guy that any manager in the country would love to have on their team. If I had my pick of all the players that have played for Mayo down the years and was naming a team from them Donie would definately be on that team. Worth his weight in Gold.

  41. Would have to agree with Larryduff on Gibbons. A ‘nice’ footballer but doesn’t have the bite required for the rough and tumble of championship.
    I think its madness to understate the importance of Vaughan. Hes the modern day footballer athletic, strong and versatile. Other counties would love to have him. People need to get over his rush of blood to the head in the All Ireland. He will be a good man to bring on and run at Galway in the second half.
    I really do feel for Freeman. I think he wanted a run of games for confidence and sharpness which unfortunately Rochford rightfully couldn’t give him. The same could be said for a lot of players I suppose. League games are too important to win to be giving lads 4/5 games in a row.
    Colm Moran (Westport) is one to watch out for. A scoring forward which we don’t have in abundance.

  42. Vaughan is likely to wander straight into (literally) Comer in a few weeks time. He is the only one of our available frontline defenders who can compete physically with him, and would also be more than suited to wandering outfield should the need arise.

    Very important player for Mayo and has been extremely consistent for us over the last few seasons.

  43. RTE may have made that Cian Healy/Cian Hanley slip-up on the radio this morning but they’ve a good overview of our squad situation on their website today, which is here.

  44. I havn’t seen him play (I think) but James Durkan seems like the kinda player we need. If the reports are true that he has similar pace to Paddy, and has picked of the odd score for Mitchels, then we could have a seirious prospect on our hands. As sorry an all as I feel for Freeman, Nobody can accuse Rochford of goining with the “same old, same old” squad mentality. Hes bringing in young bucks slowly but surely. The future does’nt seem as bleak after all.

    One last point re: Vaughan, I hope to God he’s put on Comer in May, Donie will do a job on him 100%.

  45. The Alan Freeman debate has run it’s course know he’s is a nice footballer but at the highest level of intercounty nice doesn’t cut it anymore I believe we haven’t seen the last of Alan in a mayo jersey but let’s give it a rest for know and concentrate on the players still in the panel.

  46. Freeman was taken off in 2013 because Rory O’Carroll rubbed him out. I was sitting in line with them, I saw it for myself. Afterwards we were told he had the flu. Horan picked him again against the Dubs in the following year’s league. Freeman didn’t score in that game either, even though Mayo put 2-17 on the board.

    Freeman did well in the semi against Tyrone, but there’s no point pretending he had a good final. He didn’t, it was the correct decision to substitute him, and his absence was not the reason why Mayo lost that final.

  47. @DavyJ. That’s interesting then how the majority of people came to precisely the opposite conclusion to yourself.
    What you saw was Rory OCarroll winning one particular ball in the 19th minute that more favoured him, 30 yards out from goal left of centre as you look down the pitch. I remember that one. Freeman was subbed immediately afterwards. If your claiming Rory OCarroll dominated the exchanges up to that point then you are incorrect. I was at the game and I had a particular interest in Freeman v OCarroll that day and was paying attention to it. Freeman had scored but it was whistled back for a free, it was a late whistle, Freeman had taken the shot and then the ref blew the whistle.

  48. Hi Wille Joe, sent a post earlier, not sure if it got through, its no big deal, my tablet is playing up I think. Well done on the bike treck, u must be in good shape for gruelling terrain like that, great info on the blog, good news regards team, and all the other little snippets of info, dont know how u manage to do it. Do u sleep at all? hahaha, anyway well done, it’s credit to you, and much appreciated.

  49. We’ll have to agree to disagree then JP. I know what I saw. All I’ll say is that nobody in the block of Mayo fans I was in was protesting too loudly when he was taken off.

  50. Alan Freeman isnt up to it unfortunately. Has been given lots of chances down through the years. He hasnt the bite or work rate. He was poor agaisnt Leitrim this year in the Fbd league. I know it was only January. But that was his chance that night to score 4 or 5 points and show he was going to do the business this year. Also would have Jason Gibbons every day of the week before Barry Moran. At least gibbons has an engine on him.

  51. @davyj, I spoke with a Dublin forward after the game, and the dubs could not believe freeman was substituted, as they believed he was the main threat.

  52. Vaughan mightn’t be the most natural footballer but he is very effective. I feel his energy & engine was severely missed in the closing stages of the final last year & also the second half of the replay in 2016.

  53. Re. Vaughan: one of the most underrated Mayo scores in Croke Park was Vaughan’s point in injury time in the drawn 2016 final. There was absolutely nothing on but he made it happen, and that sent belief surging through the stadium that an equaliser was possible.

  54. My understanding of the Freeman substitution in 2015 is that Horan was undecided on whether to start Freeman or Conroy right up till the last second. Both were going very well in the lead up to the final but Horan was slightly more in favour of Conroy, but for some reason chose Freeman to start. He was second guessing himself from the off and was looking to get Conroy on at the first opportunity. Homes and Connelly let a player do the pre match parade before telling him he wouldn’t be starting in the 2001 league final.

  55. I’m honestly scratching my head over the Ger McDonagh one in particular- the management team hardly gave him a run during the FBD/NFL yet persist with a full-back who’s been getting consistently roasted for most of his inter-county career.

    Jury’s still out on one or two players who’ve remained in the panel too, let’s see what happens in summer.

  56. From what I’m hearing a lot of the lads who are coming in from clubs for the first time are getting eat up and spat out the other side at training. They are simply nowhere near the levels that the established panel are at and its realistically going to take 1-3 years for most club players to reach the standards needed to compete at championship level.

  57. Most of the lads who came in for the first time were u20s and u21s. They’re not expected to be at Senior level yet.

  58. Hi lads,
    Any word on the ticket situation yet for 13th? Have a few flying in for it and hoping to get everyone sorted. Should be on sale soon enough no?

  59. Vaughan well worth his place on team , in fact he is needed on team . Think Freeman got a raw deal this last few years , there is football in him if he got a few full games to build up his confidence , surely players like that should have got plenty of game time in FBD League. A few left on the panel no names needed but if they ever appear on a starting team again or even as a sub when a game is in the melting pot its curtains for us . Surely a man in his twenties is better than a man in his thirties for the future .

  60. There’s more to those droppings than meets the eye I imagine, but, how some others were kept ahead of macdonagh is mind boggling. How nice would it be to have him in there when the shit hits the fan late in a game? A bit of power and skill that won’t be given the run around by a big forward.
    Also in that 2013 final we brought on a forward that was thrown around like a rag doll near the end of the game, yet a buck like liam Irwin is playing against Waterford, Leitrim and co next spring after getting eat alive by a Sligo or Leitrim effort in May or June. Again, I can only assume there’s a lot that we fans don’t understand but, come on, would you as a Dublin or Kerry defender like to see this fella come on with 20 minutes to go in a close game? Duffy from crossmolina was another fella that would stand the physical test of any opponent and is a good player too, is he involved in development panel?

  61. Freeman got lots of chances from lots of managers and never seem to nail down a place . For a biggish lad he was very easy knocked over or pushed off the ball . Hard to see Vaughan feature against Galway unless he comes on as a sub after proving himself at training like all the lads do .

  62. Dont really think anyone dropped recently was particularly “fook sake hes class no way should he of been dropped” . Kevin keane was the only one I was surprised at given his potential for an area we are struggling in . Maybe mcdonagh is better than I think ,bits v Galway he looked beat by comer and co.

  63. Have Irwin and Duffy got the appetite for what is required to be an intercounty player at the top level. Are they prepared to put in the required effort. Outside of frees – neither player has shown enough at club level. The year we won the u21 allireland Duffy was taken off in semi final and final scoring 1 point from play in total.

  64. I think most of the lads on that Kerry team who were bouncing off our team in McHale Park in the league were U20’s/U21’s JP.

  65. We seen the level the young Kerry players are at against Dublin in the league. They’re not physically ready yet.

  66. Anybody know what Mayo’s u20 squad looks this year? Should be in full training by now,surely.

  67. Comments of Andy Moran:

    “You see the development of Eoin O’Donoghue over the last three years, and the commitment he has put in to lifting his weights and getting himself strong enough, similar to that, Caolan Crowe, who is a bit older but wouldn’t have that much experience. He has had a brilliant league campaign without getting the plaudits Eoin has got, and he has been a two year, three-year project. All these things are great to see.”

    So that gives us a real insight into what goes on inside the squad, Andy talks about two and three year project players, so that’s something that we don’t really get to see, the mechanics of what goes on within the group. Conor Loftus/Fergal Boland probably fall into that category too, maybe Cian Hanley/James Durcan for the future as well, so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully inch by inch we will get there in the end.

  68. Achill Surfer. tickets will be for sale from first of may.there will be no problem getting tickets. that is the least of our worries.big decisions to be made before then re. team to face galway. Its an awful pity to see freeman gone from panel,I always thought he made an error of judgement by walking from panel after the kerry league game last year, but alas, you cannot put an old head on young shoulders. SUCH IS LIFE.

  69. Apologies WJ – my comment was harsh and while my opinion hasn’t changed, I shouldn’t have stated it here.

  70. Achill Surfer You will be time enough to get tickets the week of the match in my opinion. If you are going for the stand then you will be able to purchase them towards the end of the month. I was at the League Final in Croke Park a couple of weeks ago. I was surprised with so few Galway supporters in Croke Park to support their footballers. Like so many others I was also surprised that their players did not push on when the Dubs were a man down. This is a Connacht Quarter final in May after all. It is not the Connacht Final. There will be plenty of room for the world and its mother at this one. If we are lucky and make it to a Connacht Final it will be against a Roscommon team defending their title. Expect a hefty crowd that day.

  71. Stephen Coen the AI minor & U21 winning captain is not Darren Coens brother. But they are cousins I beileve.

  72. Great to see Tommy Goals back playing football again and scoring 1 O6 for the Neale at the weekend I wasn’t aware he had moved from Kiltane but best wishes to him. He’s had a lot of tragedy in his family and injuries but still has pace to burn and knows where the posts are maybe one for the development panel?

  73. Hi Backdoorsam,…. are there to players of the same name .. one from Kiltane… and the other the Neale… just wondering

  74. That’s a different Tommy Conroy u19 with The Neale. Tommy Conroy (Kiltane) is still with Kiltane and togged versus Breaffy.
    Tommy Conroy (The Neale) has been going wel two years for The Neale and two years with Ballinrobe CS at B and then A level.
    He is naturally blessed with elite pace, built almost like a gymnast.

  75. May 13th is without doubt been built as the biggest Mayo Galway game in years and as the weeks approach the hype will reach fever pitch. Despite these two teams going well over the last year there is a very strong possibility one of them could be gone out of the championship by june 9th.. The loser of Galway Mayo could be drawn against the loser of Tyrone / Monaghan in the first round of the Qualifiers. All to play for so…

  76. Tuamstar This game is a quarter final and a big quarter final is still a quarter final. McHale Park has the capacity for an event like this with loads of room to spare. Galway supporters are not supporting this team if you take the League Final as a yardstick. While there are a lot of Galway people living in Mayo that will be there I think we will not see the crowds that Galway had 15 to 20 years ago. Either way both counties will have a lot of football to play after the 13th.

  77. Yes I think there is another Tommy Conroy playing for the Neale the Western had him names as Tommy “goals” Conroy so that’s what confused me but he sounds like a class player too. But your right Willie Joe we need May 13 to roll around quick

  78. Change of code WJ, I hope you don’t mind me plugging, but my U18 Mayo (soccer) lads are playing in an FAI Cup Final against Cork on Sunday week 22nd April. It’s a home final so it’s in Milebush in Castlebar. Any support at all is appreciated 🙂

  79. I won’t name club or man but this club were having their big meeting and were announcing their new team managers. There were 2 men at the meeting of the same name. One had played for the club all his life and the other, well he had never kicked a ball but used to go to the meetings. The footballer was named as the new junior manager but the other lad thinking it was him stood up and launched in to how it was such an honour to be given the job. The club hadn’t the heart to tell him it was the other lad they were intending giving the job to and the wrong man went on to manage the junior team for a few years.

  80. Pj. If you compare the level of support for Galway football with Mayo / Dublin etc then there is no comparison. Galway GAA county is divided. North of the county and the West are football areas, however if you ask anyone from the hurling stronghold of the South of the county they have no interest in Football. Funnily enough i thought there was a good representative of Football folk from Galway in Croker but agree nothing compared yet to 98-04 times. I still think Mc Hale park will be fairly full on the 13th, needless to say we will be well outnumbered but nothing new there, its all about what happens inside the white lines..

  81. Prediction: Attendance on 13 May will be c.21,000.

    Galway, I think would have to win an AI to really get their followers moving. And, remember our support was no great shakes in the early phases of this particular team. Think QF against Cork in 2011 (22k or so with 4 teams).

  82. 21,784 at the Mayo v Galway game in 2016 and 22,046 at the meeting last year i think it will be safe to say the attendance this year will be between 25k and 28k.

  83. Overall we do have very decent support. Its true that there is a bigger following since 2011 but to be fair that’s only natural as with any team. Witness how the famed Munster rugby support declined during their fallow years.

    Also, in relation to the 22K for the match in 2011 remember the other 3 counties playing that day were of course Cork, and Kerry and Limerick and it was a bank holiday. Anyone wish to hazard a guess where the majority of the support came from that day in 2011? A sizeable support to be fair for one county on a bank holiday weekend.

    In addition only ourselves and Dublin are sold out in either code for the season ticket (with waiting lists if you don’t mind).

    There’s no supporter quite like a Mayo football supporter!

  84. Yes Spotlight, we had the majority of support that day, but that wasn’t saying much, even with the poor support history of our Southern counties.

    Galway people have competing attractions: hurling, and rugby latterly and the numerous things a bustling city like Galway itself has on offer constantly. Mayo have only one focus – football.

  85. It sure is Dave. For.obvious reasons I wouldn’t name the club or people but it happened.

  86. Fair County . S1 Ep 3

    Operation Mongoose. Trouble in COYBIB.

    KKK otherwise known as Mongoose for his tendency to goose-step ( which delighted the Master and rekindled dear memories of his childhood in the fatherland ) was everywhere.

    In interviews to the papers and tv , as Gaeilge agus as Bearla , he cut an impressive figure especially considering that he was from the deep heart of West Britain in CastleKnock.

    He had always been the Master’s favorite. When Clucko eventually retired , there was little doubt that the mongoose would be the next captain .His consistency , loyalty and discretion could be counted upon without question. He was a process man . Hence his release to all and sundry Meeja outlets to tamp down speculation about Sponge Bob Square Jaw.

    Connolly had been “resting “ according to the Master. But everyone knew the truth . He had been sent back to the lab in Glasnevin for reprogramming . He was indeed “ resting “ but “ laying in repose “ would be more apt. The cranial bolts were off and the brain was back in the jar . The knocker technician was furtively having a fag in between scary coughing wheezes.

    Sponge Bob Square Jaw had been sent back to the lab because there were clear signs of his programme having been hacked ( suspicion fell on the Yerras because he had recently become even more gnarly just like the other genius Geaney and the rest of the Amen crew )

    He was being stroppy and difficult and could blow a fuse at any moment . It was possible he could jump the shark without warning . That would not be permitted . He was a physically dangerous specimen as the splutterer had incisively pointed out “ look at those biceps , triceps “ he had said , mouth agape .

    The Master could not allow this to continue . No , a programme update to “The Process 2.0 , The Foi’ve in a row “ , was essential . This version would “upgrade” the personality to a more docile and personally agreeable version. It was also engineered that he could never , ever see any of the officials including refs and linesmen . Because they were like a red rag to an uncontrollable bull.

    And so Mongoose did his Meeja gig saying things like “ he’s taking a rest” , “ he’s a serious footballer” and other anodyne inanities .

    Yeah right !!

    Sponge Bob was finished as was Le Bernard . There were rumors of trouble , stirred up by these two , before the 2017 final and The Master was not going to tolerate such machinations again in his preparations for total dominance .

    Notwithstanding the fact that Sponge Bob had been the difference between the teams in the AIF, had rescued a ship taking on water , and had engineered the wining score with a complicit Joe McWillin’, loyalty ran mainly one way with The Master.

    Towards him , towards “ an Chontae”, towards the process and total spectrum dominance . Ad infinitum (Dei ) Gloriam . Or A.I.G for short.

    And so the technician was instructed to delay the upgrade . Call the union . Get a doctors cert for a few days.

  87. I can only imagine the crack, they say the name and yer man jumps up, they look at him and when its not said in the first few seconds its too late. Cringe cringe cringe.

  88. Roll on the 13th.

    A Bishop was obsessed with playing golf, one Sunday it was a perfect sunny day & a new golf course had just opened up a 2 hr drive from him. Unable to avoid temptation he called a Priest to take the service pretending to be ill while he drove to play golf.
    An angel above was watching the Bishop & spoke to God saying “Look at the Bishop. He should be punished for what he is doing.”
    God nodded in agreement. The Bishop teed up on the first hole. He
    swung at the ball & it sailed effortlessly through the air & landed A picture-perfect hole-in-one. He was amazed & excited & he continued to play the whole course with every other shot a hole in one.
    The angel was a little shocked turning to God & said, “I beg your pardon,
    but I thought you were going to punish him.”
    God smiled. “Think about it-who can he tell?”

  89. Goodman Swahilli that gave me a good laugh!!!. A mate a mine in Dublin sends me the screen shots of “Aidos diary” from one a there blogs, equally as funny in fairness.

  90. Achill Surfer. Tickets for championship games (but not the All-Ireland!) are for sale in Super Valu and Centra shops nationwide well in advance of the game.

  91. Support…..I have yet to meet a Galway man that was at tge league final……and I live in Salthill-#wouldn’thappeninmayo!

  92. To be fair some of the aido’s diary stuff is a bit crass and unnecessary. Its all a laugh and a joke but really being quite mean post an already defeat depicts the dubs as really ungracious winners. I know its tongues and cheek and i did lol at some but others I do not find funny.

    [Link deleted].

  93. My Team for Galway May 13th
    1.David Clarke
    2.Eoin O’Donoghue
    3.Caolan Crowe
    4.Brendan Harrison
    5.Colm Boyle
    6.Chris Barrett
    7.Paddy Durcan
    8.Aidan O’Shea
    9.Tom Parsons
    10.Kevin McLoughlin
    11.Keith Higgins
    12.Diarmuid O’Connor
    13.Jason Doherty
    14.Andy Moran
    15.Cillian O’Connor/ Conor Loftus

    Think with the new cover of backs in the full back line we could let Keith of the leash and make him run at that Galway blanket and break the line along with Boyler and Durcan in the half backs.Remember 2013 All ireland when Higgins was punching holes through the Dublin defence in the 1st half but we did not get enough scores on the board and gave away a soft Brogan goal going in only 1 up at half time.

  94. I think that 15 is way too defensive TH. You have 4 man markers in the backs (EOD, Crowe, Harrison & Barrett) yet Galway will only leave 1 or 2 forwards up when we’ve the ball. Higgins would be much better as one of the spare defenders as he could deal with the likes of Heaney and Brannigan on the counter attack. We could also consider playing McLoughlin half back like he did against Tyrone in 2016. I’ve a feeling this could be a similar game.

  95. A good few of ye seem very interested in the Galway support.

    I was at the league final and I actually thought it was a decent following for our footballers there. It was an absolutely baltic day in Croke Park, and I think that affected the atmosphere a bit.

    I felt our lads ran out of gas against the millionaires towards the end and Galway didn’t have the cuteness to be able to get the ball off the ultra professional Dubs. But it was a big missed opportunity for Galway though and I was disappointed leaving Croke Park.

    On our support. I find Galwegians generally will follow whatever bandwagon is rolling. I’m a bit guilty of it myself at times. My first love would be hurling, although I do avidly follow the footballers. After last years league final, there was a massive crowd there to support the hurlers for our first championship game versus Dublin. Much bigger than what we were getting for league games last spring. If Connacht or Galway United are going well they will get a following as well. All four sports ( Football, Hurling, Soccer, Rugby) in Galway have a core following from various parts of the county and city and after that crowds can be up and down, simply because there are so many distractions in Galway. A league final on Easter Sunday can wash over a lot of people.

    I may have told this story before, but I remember by Mayo Auntie visiting Galway after the All Ireland win in ’98. She couldn’t believe the lack of banners/bunting/painted roads etc on the journey down to Galway. Don’t get me wrong, the celebrations in ’98 will stay with me forever. But we don’t tend to paint as many animals in maroon and white.

    On that note, pound for pound the Mayo footballers have the biggest support in the country at the moment. That certainly has not always necessarily been the case. No doubt it’s a massive help to this Mayo team, the Derry game last year springs to mind. There seems to be a huge bond between this team and it’s supporters. But the Mayo footballers are the only show in town. The same can never be said of the Galway footballers, unless there’s an All Ireland semi final on the horizon.

    As someone with strong Mayo connections, I have seen it first hand. However, at times I have a theory that it can be sometimes suffocating for them. Mayo players can’t fart in the county and it goes around as gossip. I remember a recent AI semi final against Tyrone that Mayo played. Ye didn’t start well and the Mayo crowd that easily outnumbered Tyrone that day got really nervous. You could feel it in the stand. I reckon it effected the teams performance early on, in fairness Mayo still got the job done in the end. I also find that around and in the build up to All Ireland finals, the county goes absolutely mad with hype.There’s no way that helps players imo.

  96. Great investigative reporting Swahili. Great to know whats going on in the east and south of the country. Between the skelpies and the mongoose you have all angles covered. Keep it up, keep them under tight surveilance.

  97. Ahh dont be worrying your head about Mayo supporters , I dont mean to be rude but im tired of outsiders forming an opinion on Mayo support and then proceeding to advise us where we are going wrong. It is what it is , we are a bit daft at times but sure thats part of our make up. You remember the Derry game and rightly so for an example of how brilliant the Mayo crowd can be , it will live long in my memory how the support that day refused defeat , when loftus rattled the net the mchale park roar was like the ones I remembered from years ago and I have a feeling in my gut youll hear that old fashioned castlebar roar on the 13th of May. Hon Mayo.

  98. I’ve deleted that link you wanted to post, MayoGirlTrappedinDub, as I’ve no desire to give that hate-filled site any airtime here.

  99. Tend to agree with that, Sean. The days of the county going “absolutely mad with hype” ahead of an All-Ireland final appearance are long, long gone. Anyone who knows anything at all about football in Mayo surely knows that by now.

  100. Yea, the Connacht rugby team should definitely be playing a few matches in different Connacht counties.

    Apologies, I know this is a football blog, but just a thought…

  101. My Grandmother was from Falcarragh and in 1992 and 2012 everyone went ape painting everything they could see in the run up to the All Ireland finals and it didn’t seem to effect Donegal either time as they won both!! Clare went mad in 95 after winning Munster and went on to glory that year and Wexford in 96 too!! I think the Galway footballers could do with a strong support these days to get them over the hump in Croke Park!! 17 years is big phycological hurdle for the Galway footballers and a big roaring support would definitely help get over the barrier to winning a meaningful game in Croker.
    I kind of miss the days of innocent hype like 89 and 96 in Mayo, it was mad in those days!!

  102. Heard Andy on the sports news tonight on newstalk. He admitted Galway deserve to be favourites and are in an upward curve and then said Mayo couldnt wait for may 13th. He said we enjoy big challenges. Good positive outlook. Looks like the team could be begining to.narrow their focus for the galway game.

  103. Id say they’ve being focusing on Galway for months. As I’ve said many times, Rochford and Co were secretly delighted with that league loss in Pearse stadium. Nothing will convince me otherwise. Unrelated I know, but whats the story with Diarmuid Connolly?? I see he did’nt play for his club last night, hardly gone for the year is he?.

  104. Very strange about Connolly and he was named on the program at no. 11. Don’t think he even showed up at the pitch. Seems to have fallen out with the game. He made sure he togged against us in the league though.

  105. The team are up in Carton House next week for four days. A lot will be decided up there as to who takes the pitch on 13th May. If its a fine day, I can see a capacity crowd for this one….

  106. I think Galway will bring a good support with them and sure we know we’ll have a massive support on the day. I don’t think HighKing the weather will keep too many away from this one. We’re sure to see a much different Mayo than what we saw in the league I feel that SR and his backroom team will know their team that bit more this year and I have a very good feeling about 2018. It’s going to take some animal of a team to knock us out of the.championship this year.

  107. The idea management would be delighted with a loss is a bit of a stretch. Simply they plan for the championship and if a league game is lost it’s not a huge deal. The one negative of losing too many league games can be to dent confidence. However our lads are in the main too seasoned for that. Whatever about Mayo, the Galway hurlers were doing serious training just before the Limerick game because they had to, perception being they’re 6 weeks behind. Mayo were also behind and no doubt a few league games were preceded by savage training sessions. Now a clean run should do us good with club games building confidence of many stars.

  108. As for players dropped I trust Management. Fair enough debate on 2013 final but official word was the player had flu. In any event Management are the ones forced to make tricky calls in each and every game. They won’t always get it 100% right but our last 3 management teams have gotten us consistently to high places. The main remaining criticism is subs not coming on early enough. We haven’t had the same warriors or experience to come off the bench but is growing this league campaign. Hopefully new lads doing the biz in training matches. We’re not privy to squad sessions so I say let’s just accept the the changes are mainly correct calls.

  109. @ Crete Boom: I don’t really think comparing us with Donegal, Galway, Clare etc. in that sense is the right way to go- none of those counties had the baggage that we do when it comes to All-Ireland finals, think they’ve all won more than they’ve lost.

    A number of former players have said that they found the atmosphere in the run-up to past finals unhelpful (particularly in 1989, 96 and 97) and I think we should be mindful of this. Come to think of it, 2004 was a bit of a free-for-all as well, with thousands turning up to training sessions and whatnot.

    Personally, I would say the best thing Mayo supporters could do- should the situation arise again- is to resist the temptation to dye sheep, release a song and or badger the local county panelist for a ticket.

    As for what some anonymous posters in Dublin think of AOS or anyone else, who cares? Most of them wouldn’t know whether a football is pumped or stuffed anyway.

  110. People tend to talk about population when comparing counties and who has the greater pick.

    Population density might well be a better measure of reference. Mayo have the second lowest population density on the island of Ireland, just ahead of Leitrim.

    Just compare the counties who have appeared in All Ireland Finals in the past 30 years and you can begin to imagine why we might tend to get excited if and when it happens.


  111. Good stuff there Year till Sunday and perceptive too.

    Yes, it is worth questioning if the support can be a negative at times for the players. In comparative terms Galway footballers, I would think, are not overly pressurised by fans that can go elsewhere for their kicks when the footballers exit competitions. Mayo is a pressure cooker in that sense.

    I wonder if this has something to do with the performances in McHale Park. No victories there this year is worrying – home games should by definition frighten the opposition, so why have wee been so bad there in recent times?

  112. It means nothing to Galway’s hurling final record not great. 5 wins from 24 finals. On May 13th we we be doing well to have 1/3 of the support. Our footballers have to do more than most to capture the hearts and minds of our public. Often biggest opposition to Galway football is not ye are the Rossies but Galway hurling. I am dual and believe me in a few scenarios football frowned upon even if we have serious tradition.

  113. It means nothing to me I know you were referring to our footballers but we have had plenty of hurling pain down through the years.

  114. Of course the biggest problem is getting them to put down the ipads and tablets, rather than getting them to switch sports!

  115. So I heard a few months ago that Connelly was on fire and playing the best football of his career, that the Millionaires were talking about keeping him back and then unleashing him as a not so secret – secret weapon.
    Time will tell – but do expect him to feature in the business end of the championship.

  116. I heard that he is going through some personal issues and i wish him all the best whether he kicks a ball ever again or not he was a fabulous footballer and there is more to life than football.

  117. As I said lads (or at least meant to say) was that I’m certainly not coming on yer forum to have a go at the Mayo support. Which at the moment at least, is probably the most unique in the country. Just an observation from someone close to Mayo in many respects, but still looking in.

    Agree with the poster above, I would be delighted if Galway had a 1/3 of the support on the 13th of May. For us followers of both codes, the defending all Ireland champions are out at 7pm the night before to play Offaly. It’ll will be a busy weekend for us. Thinking of heading straight to Mayo once we’re done in Tullamore on the Saturday evening.

    For anyone that loves football, we all wish Connolly well and hope to see him later on in the summer.

  118. @A years til Sunday.. Just curious, When you were at the League Final Final… The game very much in the balance, logically with the wind and an extra man in Galway’s, advantage, every reason to believe Galway could win… Would you then have liked to see Connolly coming on?.. If the answer is yes… You will absolutely love to see the magnificent Lee Keegan making his reappearance for Mayo, sooner rather than later…. But you are right, Connolly is one of the best two footed all round footballers any of us have ever seen play… We Mayo might be playing in the other match in a double header in Croke Park, when Connolly makes his reappearance versus Galway…. We will have to show him our appreciation then, and it’s nice to know that at least one Galway fan will be of the same mind!

  119. Leantimes, as a Galway fan and a football fan I’d wish both Connolly and Keegan a speedy recovery. I think all decent football fans would share the sentiment for these amateur players who sacrifice so much to play. May the best team win on 13th May. Galway/Mayo is in my opinion the best local rivalry in the country!

  120. Durcan could be a good addition, Brian Gallagher may even come in at some stage, well worth a look. Disappointed about Kevin Keane but I think he’s always lacked that bit of pace for county football. In any case full back is becoming redundant in modern day football. Versatile athletes these days. As for Freeman, supremely talented but too many chances wasted. Please revisit the 13 final, the lad appeared terrified of Rory o Carroll and his goal chance came from refusing to challenge Ger Brennan, just got a lucky break. Brilliant when he wanted to be though

  121. I’ve heard that too Oliver Kelly and I’d hope if true he gets it all sorted and we see him back playing football soon . Rivalry aside one of the best Gaelic footballers I’ve ever seen, his display in club final v Mitchels a few years ago was magnificent , a true natural of the game left and right.

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