Stephen targeting League survival

Stphen Rochford NFL launch

Photo: Sportsfile/Brendan Moran

The formal launch of the 2016 National Football League took place yesterday and Stephen Rochford was involved in it. What he had to say is covered in all of the nationals today – Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Times. There’s also coverage in The 42 and Hogan Stand.

The Indo focuses on the point Stephen made about the number of players we’ll be missing at the outset of this year’s League campaign. While this is portrayed very much as a negative, fifteen players out for Cork won’t come as a shock to any well-informed Mayo supporter. As they say in the financial news, this information has already been priced in by the market.

In fact, you could argue that the news on the injury front is actually quite good. This is particularly so in relation to Keith Higgins, about whom Stephen had this to say yesterday (this is from the piece linked above in The 42):

Keith Higgins is very very unlikely to play this weekend, we’ll just have to see how things go for him over the weekend in terms of his rehab for whether he’ll be available for Dublin the following week.

While I’m all in favour of Keith being eased back gently into action this year, it’s great that it doesn’t look like the timing for his return to the fray will be dictated by an injury requiring several weeks of rehab. I’m not sure we should be rushing him back in time to face Dublin but it’d be a real positive if he were fit and raring to go then.

In all of the pieces linked above, Stephen made clear that his target first and foremost for this spring will be to secure our Division One status for another year. In the Indo piece, he’s quoted as follows on this point:

It’s really looking to be able to accumulate whatever, six, seven points as quickly as possible and maybe that will go into the last couple of games as well.

Unsurprisingly, the journos did a bit of poking about on last year and the heave and all that but the new man was savvy enough not to provide the Fourth Estate with any tidbits to plaster across their articles. He stressed that his sole focus is on looking forward, not “peeking in the rear-view mirror”.

The article in the Examiner is particularly interesting, as it touches on Tony McEntee’s role as coach/selector in the new set-up. According to Stephen, the Crossmaglen man is already having a positive impact and that “the players have responded greatly to his voice in the dressing room and more importantly on the training field”.

Speaking of Tony McEntee, the Mayo News had the first part of an interview with him last week (here). In this, he made the point that he doesn’t buy the notion that the current squad have too much mileage on the clock and he reckons there’s every chance that this team could yet scale the summit. Much like the Armagh team he was part of finally did, after so many years trying, back in 2002.

The second part of that interview is, by the way, included in a special League supplement in this week’s Mayo News. I’ve spent a good portion of this morning pigging out on this supplement and it’s well worth getting your paws on it. There’s an in-depth interview with Jason Doherty in it, some good tactical stuff from Billy Joe Padden and loads, loads more. The paper also has, as you’d expect, extensive coverage of the heroic wins recorded on Sunday by Hollymount/Carramore and Ardnaree in their respective All-Ireland semi-finals.

The Mayo News (paper and digital variants) even has a positive story this morning on the player availability front. Aidan O’Shea, David Drake, Mikey Sweeney and Michael Hall, as well as long-term cruciate injury absentee Cathal Carolan, are all back in action and are all expected to be named in the match-day 26 for Cork. The team is due to be announced on Friday night after training.

Show your support for the lads ahead of the start of the new season: go to the Mayo GAA website (here) and click ‘Play Now’ to contribute to the cause via the Mayo GAA Players Training and Welfare Fund Lotto. The current jackpot stands at €7,100.

33 thoughts on “Stephen targeting League survival

  1. I see on Mayo GAA official web site. Jan 31st Cork V Mayo at 2.00 pm in Mallow.
    Is this the venue now.

  2. Good interview by Rochford and as you would expect, not giving much away. By all accounts Tony McEntee is feeling very confident about Mayo for this coming season and, if he’s half as good as some people say he is , then it should be a real positive for the team. Still it could be a tough slog to stay in Division One and will probably come down to the last one or two matches.

    On a more light hearted note, I had the Sam Maguire Cup on my kitchen table last Sunday morning, courtesy of my good friend and the incoming Chairman of our local GAA Club here in Dalkey. Not sure if it’s a good omen for the year ahead – who knows, but I couldn’t help thinking how in Hell it’s been sixty five years since the great Sean Flanagan last hoisted this famous cup on the steps of the Hogan Stand ?

  3. As regards the Lotto I feel that the county board are missing and opportunity by not having small prizes every week, even if this is only merchandise. I feel people would be more inclined to play if they spotted names of people who have won prizes – bad marketing IMO.

  4. Just heard on Shannonside that Ros v Monghan is switched to Kiltoom and that Mayo v Cork is Pairc Ui Rinn.

  5. Help needed! I am a new season ticket holder/ 99 euro . I have tried to log onto my account online. The response- you are not an account holder? Going to the Cork game. How do I activate my a/c or do I just turn up at the season holders gate?? Advice appreciated. Contacted but no reply.

  6. Re: your account login Mayoforever, sounds like you are not using the email you provided for your season ticket to login to your account?

  7. It depends on what team Rochford chooses on Sunday but as far as I know up to 11 of the starting 15 v Dublin last September is available for selection on Sunday. Those out definitely from that starting 15 is SOS COC Higgins and Barry Moran.

    I’d say behind closed doors Rochfords aim is much higher no harm talking that way to the media however. Targeting league survival is a headline for Down or Roscommon.

  8. True Grit – as Mayo Mick has already pointed out, that appears to be the ladies’ match. The GAA website lists the mens’ one for Pairc Ui Rinn.

  9. Hello, This McEntee seems to be the real deal after readind thd Mayo News. He met Cillian O Connor’s brother Padraic by chance coming out of Croke Park after the Dublin game.
    He seems happy to travel even to FBD games and Friday training. Apart from his influence on the Coaching he is aware what he could bring to the dressing. room with his experience and is very enthused with the players. He expects disagreements with Stephen Rochford without losing the plot. A happy camp and i am sure they have discussed just who will be hanging around the dressing room.
    He is coming across as a Godsend.
    Will watch the Cork on tv after all and am already getting ready for Croke Park.

  10. Big ask to go down to Cork with nowhere near our full team. That said the first round league games can be a lottery so hoping we can get something from it.

  11. I’m inclined to agree with WJ that the injury situation could well be a positive. Fringe players need to play in tough competitive games against top teams so that we can see what they are really made of. When the regulars are around these lads can be ignored. Maybe a couple of lads will really surprise us.

  12. Agreed. We know what Keith Higgins is capable of, likewise Cillian et al.

    Can’t wait for this weekend!

    Are Cork at full strength? 2 points, while not a necessity, would be brilliant. Mayo are 2/1 this weekend as well!

  13. Hennelly
    Crowe/Vaughan /Mc Hale
    Mc l / Gibbons/ COS

    Nothing too shy about that bunch if they can all make it to Cork.There are options which could turn out interesting and fruitful for further on!

  14. It certainly will be interesting to see how the team perform without Cillian. Its time for someone else to step up to the mark and take on the scoring mantle.

  15. Best wishes to all for the new Gaa season players and fans alike. This is my first salvo on here this year not that I am much of a contributor by any stretch of the imagination. From my perspective SR didn’t actually say that he was just targeting survival. Did he not say he was targeting 6 or 7 points as quickly as possible. Is this with the view to then pushing on to the business end of things. I think Mayo should target winning the league . Dublin Kerry etc have won league and AL in same year recently so it might create winning mentality for Mayo to win league this year.

  16. Looking forward to the game on Sunday and hoping to make the trip Leeside thank God we have wintered well and are all set to go again

  17. Listened to AOS interview on newstalk , he kept outlining that concession of goals at crucial times killed us in big games.

    How can we rectify the problem … Who would people like to see at full back and in goal ?

    I would like to see someone tried at no 3 , but what options do we have ?

  18. Willie Joe and Mayo Mick. I,m going into the OFFICIAL Mayo GAA website, and not some blog or 51 club, and I am commenting on what I read. Nowhere does it say that this a Ladies fixture. You would think if it is, the website would have also included the Men,s fixture as well. I,m not trying to be smart but its the official site that has put this up, I have made contact with the irrelevant authority and they said it would be sorted.

  19. True Grit and others: I’ve checked the CorkGAA website and it says clearly that the match is in Pairc ui Rinn at 2pm.

    It also has the following ‘special offer’ which I think I might well take up:

    Advance Ticket Purchase

    Admission for the game is €15 for adults but buy your tickets before Sunday either online at or and at Centra/Supervalu stores (see list below) and you’ll only pay €10!!! Usual concessions apply, and U16s are free

  20. Fair enough, True Grit, but I’m going on the official GAA website (so HQ rather than the branch office) and this clearly states it’s Pairc Ui Rinn. That’s good enough for me.

  21. True Grit,
    I was going by the master fixtures list which was published last December which was uploaded to the club 51 site (I cannot speak for WJ but his fixtures are also correct). I sensed a bit of panic there so I tried to put your mind at ease, (Its obviously a typo on the Mayo GAA website).

    I apologise for trying to be helpful, it won’t happen again.

  22. I have just checked the Cork GAA website and found the fixture unchanged at Pairc ÚI Rinn at 2 pm Sunday. No mention of Mallow. So then I went to the LGFA website to find their fixtures and right enough our Ladies are playing Cork in Mallow at 2 pm.
    I hope that puts everybody’s mind at ease.
    Just a thought – any chance of cooperation between the two associations and travelling together – to help save costs and shorten the journey, apart from anything else.

  23. Pity it’s not a double-header AndyD, though to be fair, it appears there’s barely a ground in the country capable of hosting a double-header at the minute with all the rain we’ve had in recent weeks.

    Can’t wait to get on the road. I hope we don’t end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory like we did last year .. two points from the first game might not be essential but they might make our lives far easier in six weeks’ time ..

  24. We played a club match there before Christmas and Pairc Ui Rinn is a bog. It wouldn’t surprise me with all of the rain that has fallen over the last week that it did get switched. I haven’t heard a suggestion on that so don’t panic yet.
    Either way, it wont be a day for a nice hoppy ball out in front of the corner forward.

    And if we do lose this game, lets remember Cork have had more time with their management team, have feck all injuries and looked quiet good during the McGrath Cup, lets not go all Premiership on it and lose the heads. As the late great P O ‘Shea used to say “toughen” and look at performances, not the results.
    Having said that a result on Sunday (either 1 or 2 points) would be a fantastic result.
    Come on Monaghan! 🙂

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