Stephen’s Christmas call for patience

Stephen Rochford

Photo: Irish Independent (Sportsfile/David Maher)

Speaking to Mike Finnerty in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants), new manager Stephen Rochford has called for “a little bit of patience” from supporters ahead of the start of a new year of football action. He’s not asking for too much tolerance from the terraces either, saying that “the way we’ll hopefully be playing next July, August and September” won’t be rolled out for January or February.

It’s a timely request to supporters, with the action set to restart the weekend after next when we open our 2016 FBD League campaign with a match against NUIG at MacHale Park on January 3rd (throw-in 2pm). Expectations are high – possibly higher than ever – as we head into the New Year but the new management team will need plenty of time in the early part of the year to settle into the job, while the players too will need time to get used to the new regime and the demands being made of them by Stephen and his colleagues.

Those of us on the outside looking in obviously want the same outcome as the management and players do. With this in mind, the best thing that supporters can do over the coming months is to heed Stephen’s festive call for some forbearance and, to the maximum extent possible, refrain any OTT reaction to the short-term setbacks that we’ll inevitably face over the coming months. We all know what’s possible for us in 2016 and cool heads on the terraces as the days start to lengthen can only help as the push for the summit begins anew.

32 thoughts on “Stephen’s Christmas call for patience

  1. The reality is though that anything less than an AI victory in 2016 will be seen as a failure because of where the team is at.
    It’s all or nothing at this stage for the likes of the Morans, SOS, Higgins, Caff, Barrett, Boyle.

  2. This is what I like to see – clear communication and an indication directly to supporters of the way the management team is likely to be thinking as they approach 2016.

    I think it’s called prudency, too – you can be assured that there will be no stone left unturned in the quest for Sam this year, but in the meantime it’s not unreasonable to request some patience and perspective if we lose a couple of league games on the way.

    I would not regard a manager in his first season of intercounty football management not winning the All-Ireland as a failure. Yes, it would be a crying for shame for those stalwarts who have brought us this far, and most of us would probably all give our left arms to see them win an All-Ireland. But as we well know, history is full of sad sporting stories, and regardless whether we win or lose, there is no such thing as “Sam or bust”.

    This time next year those of us for whom Mayo football is a religion will be turning our faces towards 2017. And that’s just the way it will be. Mayo football goes on – it is bigger than any one group of players or any one manager. Or indeed any generation of supporters.

    Wilie Joe, it has been a pleasure, thank you so much for everything you have done this year. Wishing all of you here a very happy and peaceful Christmas and new year (yes, even the ones with whom I’ve argued :D). And I look forward to seeing many of you in the stand in Castlebar on 3rd January as we open the next chapter in this epic adventure.

  3. Yes patience is needed. IMO our backline needs surgery–some players picked on their reputation. We scored enough to win all irelands but gave away too many silly goals. You cannot concede the CHB position & hope to win games.

  4. Good points made there by Rochy, anticipating the likely howls that will be heard if/when league games are lost (but these may be games where the management learn a lot).

    BTW in the same paper there’s a very good photo of the Johnno book launch in Castlebar. Had to say I gazed, and still the wonder grew, at the greats that surrounded Johnno: Willie Joe Padden, Tom Reilly, and Martin Carney. No further comment necessary.

  5. Check out Joe Brolly’s timeline on twitter, fair dig at Kieran Shannon, I had to laugh at it in fairness it’s a good one

  6. Agree Ann Marie, total nonsense this Sam or bust mentality. Better players than listed above have failed to win it, but if we’re lucky enough to be here in 12 months we’ll look forward again.
    And yes hopes are high and rightly so, I expect a final v dubs in sept!! So no pressure Stephen!!!

  7. Ah now Face the Ball, don’t want to sticking a negative note on this “peace to all men” festive season, But none of us have the right to call when is the final chance on any of those wonderful players who have served is so long and so well. You know the names mentioned for instance the Moran’s, well in Barry’s case in my opinion he has never been playing better, every minute on the pitch for both Mayo and Mitchles I think he has been outstanding, there is some very fine wine on some old bottles. Hopefully 2016 will be an outstanding vintage. We have the young brilliant guns of Patrick Durcan & Diarmod O’Connor, from the youngest Mayo star DOC to Andy Moran & Alan Dillon inclusive we have well over 20 players capable and able to pay and win an All Ireland,. I’d be hopeful we can uncover another nugget or two in the coming months. So wishing all contribute and readers a happy Christmas and great 2016. And we all owe a big you think to Willie Joe fruit the worth he puts into this blog that gives us a platform to, praise, decry, talk nonsense and talk sense. But one hundred years after the historic rebellion of 1916, once again next year “We will ask be on the One Road” hopefully this time it will be the right road! Nollaig Shona go léir!

  8. I think that what many are overlooking regards Barry Moran is that he has had an injury free run over the last couple of years and is benefitting hugely for from this. He always had talent in bucketfuls but with injuries interrupting him every few months in his mid twenties never got a chance to display it in full.
    Hopefully the same can apply to Cillian who has also had a fairly torrid time as regards injuries over the last few years.
    On a positive note I have finally had my long running problem with a password in my Mayo GAA lotto account solved. An email to our new Co PRO seems to have prompted action and Elaine from Smart Lotto has sorted me out So thanks, Paul and Elaine. Elaine promised me that she would do likewise for anybody else with similar problems if the contact her at
    I hope Santa comes to both of you and also to you, Willie Joe, for all your work on this site. Some of us try you sorely at times with comments which go over the top and require moderation.

  9. I absolutely agree with the sentiments expressed by Ann Marie and others while it would be nice to win Sam it’s not fair to put a timeframe on it lets be as competitive as we can and see where it takes us I can’t wait for Jan 3rd only 11 more sleeps yes I am counting them since my season ticket arrived. We go again 2016 that’s the way it is when you have green and red blood. May I take this opportunity to wish you Willie Joe and all your readers and posters a very happy and blessed Christmas and healthy new year

  10. With 2016 approaching I think the following should be banned! “Sam or Bust” and “Sh*t or get off the pot”. They drive me insane. I’m not even sure why but they just do. Maybe due to the lack of patience they show. Anyway, good to hear from Stephen before 2016 rolls around. Personally, I think if we blooded 2-3 new players & stayed in Div one that would be great. Even if we blooded 2-3 but (heaven forbid) got relegated it still would not be the end of the world. Look at Kerry. They never give a fiddlers about the odd relegation so long as they are producing the talent. Finally, wishing everyone on this blog a very merry christmas and a happy green & red new year. Mayo forever. Trevor.

  11. Happy Xmas to one and all and a special thanks to W.Joe we are truly in a good place with our fine team and excellent management,and we should support them as I know we will, and give them the space and time to complete the job.
    I think this is the first time that I have looked forward to the first round of the FED.

  12. I hope we don’t see those “Mayo 4 Sam” signs at every major world event in 2016. I know it’s only a bit of craic but at this stage it’s tiresome and follows the mantra of Sam or bust which is not helpful least for new younger players coming through. Time and patience for the new management should be observed.

  13. Patience is something that is often in short supply on this blog!!!!..I know of a medium profile hurling team training hell for leather 5 weeks ago which was a timely reminder that the life of intercounty players and management is a 365 day commitment.

    Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and all Mayo teams the very best in 2016

    Thanks to WJ for providing such a superb service to Mayo GAA supporters.

  14. Wiilie Joe just to join with fellow bloggers in thanking you for your wonderful services and to extend the goodwill of the season to you all.

    It is hoped that if we are to compete in an All Ireland Final in 2016 that you lads living in Dublin will let us know about it not like ye did with the ‘Rising’ a hundred years ago!!

  15. Patience yes but lets be honest its 2001 since a national title was won which is too long. Mayo have reached five in row All Ireland semi finals which included two final appearances, With that type of consistency Mayo should be aiming to win the league and before someone says it.. every county in div one will have to deal with their own injuries and trying out their panels during the league.

  16. WJ – Just a quick note to say thank you so much for the work you do on this blog. It must be an unbelievable amount of work required. May you & yours have a very merry Christmas & all the best for 2016!!

  17. Happy Christmas folks. I’m a grinch but lookit…every county needs one, if only to hop stones off.

    Two things slightly get under my skin. One being the new manager trying to manage expectations as well as the team. The Mayo News seems to be the organ of choice for the pronouncements. Under Horan it was the Western.

    What Mayo needs now is not flowers, champagne and soaking baths with candle lit dinners. They actually need a jolt from shock pads to finish out what this group have aspired to. Do you think that after a draw and a possible good 50 minutes of a replay v Dublin that the players are seeking softly softly easy easy catchee monkey?

    They made their statement, they wanted the Duo out. So Steve, you focus on the team and let us decide to just be ourselves. It’s not rocket science, it’s simple and we are not stupid. We will allow for a work in progress but please, don’t try and dam a deluge. It doesn’t work. Mayo people are passionate, leave us our passion.

    Me? I’ll believe when I see six or seven of the lifers in the squad thanked and retired. Of course we won’t have a settled team in the FBD but I expect early to see a pattern of guys taking responsibility on the pitch. No more girly efforts in on the opposition goalie. No more accepting head butts and expecting the referee to wipe your bib. Sort it yourselves.

    I saw a line about Kerry relegation . I’ve scratched my head but cannot recall them being relegated recently, that’s not saying they haven’t. They however have won the double in ‘04,06, ’09. The Dubs have won the last 3 leagues and two AIs. They replaced us as the number 2 league team behind Kerry. League form fur the last ten years correlates to championship form.

    Finally this blog is brilliant. WJ has given me many spots for which I am grateful. It’s figures speak for themselves. With success comes more followers. The trick is to keep the blog radical but sane, emotional but not neurotic. WJ does that , however over the last 3 years I have noticed that a kind of “either you are with us or against us” has crept in. Dissent rises eyebrows. The blog started out as a refreshing forum for all things Mayo. This blog possibly and singularity saw James Horan over the line instead of Timmy Lyons. It played a big part in the fortunes of the Duo.

    Let it remain that, independent, abrasive even arrogant at times. It reminds me of when Moving Hearts broke in 1981. A breath of fresh air, a feeling of alive. Please don’t let it turn into something to be manipulated or used by officialdom. We are wise enough to call it for ourselves. We don’t need handling.

    Finally . Well done Joe Brolly for lifting the lid on sports psychology. It’s generally codology. The guy that cracks the Mayo psyche will earn his corn. He hasn’t been born yet and the surface not even scratched. Hope Santa is good to ye.

  18. John i agree with you about the lifers. Here in meath Crawford was never forgiven for not sorting out Whelan for giving him a box as ball was thrown in—after that Crawford could have done what he wanted on the field without being sent off.
    Thanks WJ for great enjoy from the blog.

  19. Patience? Is 64 years not enough time to wait 🙂
    I agree with John Cuffe. There’s only 6 inches between a pat on the back and a kick in the hole and I believe the players have had enough pats on the back. It’s time to put up, or shut up.
    We all want the same thing and we will all be 100% behind the players but, time waits for no-one and the opportunities are running out. All the pressure is on the players now, they made it so. Whether they will be lauded or jeered for their actions in removing the previous management time will tell, but they obviously felt strongly enough about it and held the line together, which in itself is commendable.
    Thanks to WJ and his wonderful work on this blog and a happy Christmas to all on here. Best of luck also to our Mayo teams at all ages and levels, and to Stephen and his backroom team (impressive and all as it is!).
    See ye all in MacHale Park on January 3rd.
    Hon Mayo.

  20. After reading this and the comments from respected posters in here , it’s mixed feelings I have on all this stuff.

    Does it really matter ? Not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things , it would be negative if we were going to fbd and league games booing players and giving them a whole load of stick if they weren’t performing but that doesn’t happen and rightly so . Mind you they deserved to be given stick v the dubs in castlebar last year for such a disjointed performance .

    I can also see where SR is coming from in the context of it might take a bit of hit and miss experimenting if he wants to put his own stamp on things and that is understandable , I don’t think any Mayo supporter will give two flying f. ks if we are beat out the gate in all fbd games if there are a few lads given a run and that goes for the early league games too.

    On the retirements JC , I’m not sure I follow your point here. It has been said earlier this month there will be no retirements , so until some of the younger talent put up their hands and prove they are worth more to the cause , there is not a lot more can be said on that.

  21. Happy Christmas one and all , if anyone has not seen the aer lingus youtube ad with the returned emigrants then do yourself a favour and have the hanky handy when you do.

    I’ll be taking Lufthansa myself for the first part of the trip home and I wish safe travelling to all who are cutting for Mayo.

    The Rochmeister advises patience and I hope the lads on the team don’t disregard him in the way that I am about to. Patience me hole , Mayo for Sam 2016 , this is the year until its proven otherwise. We have the personnel , we just need the plan.

    Have a great one folks.

  22. The story of Dublin’s Alan Brogan is a relevant one for us. In his first 9 years playing in the Dublin senior team, he won no national titles. In 7 of those years the team that beat Dublin went on to win the All-Ireland title, in the other 2 years the team that beat them were All-Ireland final runners-up. Then in his next 5 years he won 3 All-Ireland titles and 3 League titles. In this year’s final at the age of 33, he kicked Dublin last point of the game against Kerry. Perseverance was the key for him, even until his final kick in a Dublin jersey.

    Who knows maybe that could be Andy Moran or Alan Dillon that could do that for us. I would think that this is where Stephen Rochford is coming from. It was in his second year with Corofin that he landed the All-Ireland Club title. In 25 championship games with the club, he had a record of won 22, drew 1 and lost two (both to Castlebar). With a record like that I’d be taking his advice on board.

    To all of the posters and readers on here, I wish you a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. To WJ, a major thanks for providing us with wonderful service! Roll on the FBD League games, one game at a time….

  23. While we patiently wait for our ultra competitive squad to kick into gear in the coming months, here is my championship ’16 panel:

    Clarke, Hennelly, Barrett, Higgins, Keane, McHale, Reilly, Kenny, Harrison, Keegan, Boyle, P Durcan, Drake, McDonagh, Coen, Vaughan, Parsons, S O’Shea, B Moran, Gibbons, Nally, McLoughlin, D O’Connor, Doherty, Douglas, Carolan, Kirby, Regan, A O’Shea, Loftus, Freeman, A Moran, J Durcan, C O’Connor

  24. T’would be great if some of our wishes came true this year. Two or three finds would do grand and I’m thinking that k. Cahill, J. Nallen , P. Fallon, appeared on the field same game v who ? in Tourmakeady or Mayo Abbey in the Flanagan cup. Am I dreaming or would that be possible? A twiggy trio they looked on a bad cold wet day and I don’t know who won but remember wondering who was that at no 3!
    Another realistic wish would be….!
    And best wishes to all at this magical time of year.

  25. “Competitive in every game”
    “Playing in September”
    means only one aim
    I could throw in doing the little things right
    In fbd and league we are looking for comittmrnt, precision and leadership
    That is purely honing the proves
    Let the games begin
    I’ve waited 60, I want it now, but do it right and it will come
    Enjoy the journey

  26. Thanks again for brilliant site, Willie Joe. All this talk of retirements is disrespectful to a great bunch of players. They are the men in possession and deservedly so – it is up to the younger players to dislodge them. DOC did that last year; P. Durkan is nearly there and will be followed by Kirby this year .If the likes of Conor Loftus, Evan Regan and Neil Douglas can step up to the highest level, it will be a massive bonus – maybe enough to take us over the line. With regard to Barry Moran, he is playing the best football of his career and has been the best footballer in the country over the past few months – why would anybody suggest he should retire?

  27. I think when he asked for patience he said don’t expect August/september football in January/february.we all know this to be the case,other than Dublin(who can put out a very strong B team for league)like it or not it’s MAYO FOR SAM/SAM OR BUST 2016 again.either way I’ll be here this time next full of hope please God.thank you WJ for an amazing blog that we’re all proud to be part of.Merry Christmas to everyone and happy New year MAIGHEO ABU.

  28. To follow on from 45’s panel, here’s a suggested panel for the new management to consider:


    O’Connors: (COC, ROC, & DOC)
    O’Sheas: (AOS, SOS, & COS)
    Durcans: Speedy Gonzales Paddy & James
    O’Reillys: Eoin & Tommy (Mitchels to the fore again)
    Coen Brothers – well cousins Stephen & Darren
    Feeneys: Richie & Alan, Mitchels again.

    That’s 14 of a team. No brother goalkeepers, so Robbie H to captain.

    And what about having on standby, from Brisbane: The Hanleys, Pearse & Cian?

  29. best wishes to everyone over christmas hope ye all have great time. just scrolled through some comments some i agree with and some i dont. thats the great thing. were all entitled to our opinion. from my own point of view im lucky to be looking forward to another season following the mayo team from january to september hopefully. many of us know loved ones and friends who have passed on during the year and all those who through illness cant attend matches. there are many. how fortunate i am like many others to have the freedom to attend games the length and breathe of the country. im proud mayo man. we all love talent spotting from jan to apr. to see can we add more to our panel. every year is new year and whatever age some panellists may be there still striving to bring sam home. look at kerry this year with alot of guys over 30 and still making it to all ireland final day. who is to say we wont get to final next year? whatever the destination im going to enjoy the journey because i know that with new management, few good additions we wont be far away. that is reality as we are up there with the best of them. so im grateful to be looking forward to 2016 as many footballing counties wont get the same excitment as we will.

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