Sunday match reports


Holy moly, that one was close. Such was the meltdown we suffered in those final few frantic moments at MacHale Park last night that the coverage this morning could easily have been about our Championship exit.

But it’s not, we won and the media reports are all about that heart-stopping, blood-and-thunder, old-fashioned knockout Championship victory we managed to secure. Here’s what’s online about it.

Locals: Mayo Advertiser, Connaught Telegraph.

Nationals: Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Irish Independent, Irish Mirror, Irish Sun (live blog, match report).

Others: GAA, RTÉ (match report, quotes), BBC (match report, Kieran McGeeney post-match audio), Sky Sports, The 42 (live blog, match report), Sports News Ireland, Pundit Arena.

Photos: Mayo Mick, Sportsfile, Inpho.

Video: Sky Sports, Mayo Mick.

Bonus video: Aidan Forker shoving Dermot Butler in the tunnel.

The common theme in all the above is what a thriller last night’s match was and, you know, that it was. Everything was on the line for both teams and both sets of players gave it everything and more.

From our perspective, while there can be much we can point to that could be improved, we also need to acknowledge that we’re the ones who emerged with the win from that rip-roaring battle, leaving a talented and committed Armagh team vanquished. I haven’t said it up till now but it’s worth saying it – hard luck to Armagh and well done to all their supporters who travelled west in such numbers. You all did your county proud.

That’s it for now. I’ve a trek back across the country to do in a bit, the podcast will be online later on and the MOTM poll result will also be online too. And, yes, the quizzical monkey-adorned poll about who you want us to pull from the hat in the morning will be up too before the night is out. Up Mayo.

88 thoughts on “Sunday match reports

  1. This time last year many people were almost hoping we didn’t make the Super 8’s. We were stretched with the injury crisis and there was a fear we would be mauled in the super 8’s.

    What do people think about this year ?

    Tough injury situation again.

    Is everyone eager to make the Super 8’s this year ?

    Is reaching the Super 8’s now more of a chance for player development more so than a right tilt at Sam ?

  2. Have to laugh at McGeeney complaining of Mayo using dark arts in the game.?

  3. Revellino – I think getting to the Super 8s would do wonders for developing a lot ofthe younger lads on the team. We are not realistic All Ireland contenders this year. Age has caught up with a lot of the older lads and they’re not reaching the same performance levels as the past which is understandable. On top of that it was a huge ask to expect the new lads this year to carry in their impressive league form into championship and sustain it.

    Avoid Galway next round and I think we should have enough to get to Super 8s but it’ll take another huge effort given the state of our squad at the moment. In the Suoer 8s then – I think as the calibre of team we play goes up a considerable notch the games and the injuries will finally take their toll.

    But the experience the younger lads is invaluable down the road. One thing I wouldn’t like to see is us playing Dublin in first round of Suoer 8s with no rest. That could get v messy.

  4. @Turnip head. That’s the way I would be looking at it as well.

    I thought last night was a brilliant gutsy win.

    I would love to us to win again next weekend but would be expecting a very tough run in the Super 8’s.

    I don’t think you could buy the experience that the young lads would get from the campaign though.

  5. I think it’s inevitable now that we won’t be getting past the super 8s but getting there is a realistic goal. Age has caught up with some of our best warriors and we are hammered by injuries. Some of the younger lads are not at the level required but hopefully they will reach that level in years to come.

    The dublin super 8 group looks the easier but I really worry for us if we play dublin. A double digit hammering could set us back and that’s what I expect they would do to us although maybe i am too much of a pessimist.

    Keegan and Doherty would be huge losses if, as I expect, they are out for a number of weeks. Gives a chance to blood new players which will be a positive development opportunity for them

  6. I think get to the Super 8s anyway if we can – where there’s life there’s hope and all that. We don’t know how bad Leeroy’s and Jason Doc’s injuries are so they could be ok yet. As far as I can see 2 wins in the super 8s could be enough – but we need a bit of luck with the draw. If we get Dublin we might have to play a weakened team just to give the more established lads a breather and target the other 2 games. The only risk is a demoralising hammering that could derail the rest of the campaign. That’s why the draw needs to be kind to us. Keep the faith.

  7. I would take the super 8’s any day. There’s a risk we could take 1 tanking and still win the other 2 with our fighting spirit. That would give 2 weeks for some injured players to recover so a semi is still a possibility.
    McLoughlin found his mojo farther out from goal. That’s one of the reasons were still in, some of the others being Coen’s shooting and Boyler’s big performance.
    In reality 4 teams probably ahead of us (Dublin, Donegal, Tyrone and Kerry) and any of the provincial losers will trouble us but we’re capable of beating all of them.
    To win the next day we need to improve just 2 areas.. Avoiding turnovers and better supporting the player who receives the kickout. Otherwise the short kickouts was the right tactic by Horan 2nd half. Our shooting has improved a lot (0 wides 2nd half) but 20 turnovers unacceptable and the players will know that. Several turnovers were just from lazy passes but the passing player didn’t have enough options. Armagh modelled themselves somewhat on Dublin albeit without the same street smarts which is why we beat them. At other times they had big numbers back which is why we established control in the middle half of the game as they couldn’t maintain those energy levels. Lesson to be learned (answer was yesterday) against any blanket teams… be patient.

  8. Revellino, we have to aim for Super 8 and be up against the best teams, very impressed with the young lads last night, it’s most encouraging,
    Thing is where would we ever find another Boyler, my heart swelled with pride to see him burst out of the pack with the ball,
    One thing tho Dublin never refused Sam cause they only bet us by 1 point, a wins a win
    Second hopefully going forward our lads STOP carrying the ball into the tackle
    8.30 will reveal our destiny, I suppose Sean Cavangh is doing the draw, ?? Odd given his obvious connection and the amount of neutrals guys that could do it
    Maigheo abú

  9. Last year I never felt good about Newbridge or Nowhere.. the expectation was unrealitic and we simply were not playing well. This year I feel better about our lot for a number of reason. For everything that has happened you have to give credit to our guys.. they dug it out with a cobbled together outfit of young and old and everthing in between. We have witnessed some fabolous scores and plays mixed with some awful stuff but you know there’s massive potential there if we can tweek a few things. At the same time the expectation has evaporated with the immediate goal of just trying to make the super 8’s. A favourable draw and you never know.. and at the same time no one would be surprised or blame anyone if we imploded.. it would be put down to injuries.. too many injuries. So I would say to James, throw off the safety shackles and stabilisers.. whatever ones of them are left anyway.. and just go for broke. As I said on a previous thread we have nothing and everything to loose now but this is often when we play our best

  10. Anyone hear James Horan been questioned about his training methods after the game by Off the ball.
    Needless to say he didn’t take it to well and couldn’t believe the uproar last week after Diarmuids injury.
    He quoted ” we take a games based approach to training ” 30 players involved.
    He said the criticism coming from all sides last week was ridiculous.. Which in fairness I totally agree.

  11. “This time last year many people were almost hoping we didn’t make the Super 8’s. We were stretched with the injury crisis and there was a fear we would be mauled in the super 8’s.

    What do people think about this year ?”

    I was still disappointed not to make the Super 8s last year – even more so in hindsight. Despite all our injuries, Kildare was still a very winnable game, and they’ve shown very little since that day. The round 4 opponents were Ros, Fermanagh, Laois and an awful Cork.

    This year the round 4 opposition is much tougher, and I think we’re struggling even more this year. I’d still like to get through though but I think even the most optimistic of fans wouldn’t expect us to make the semis. But it’d be a good experience, and a league win and a super 8s appearance would be a decent year

  12. Tuamstar – stay tuned for the podcast, there’ll be more about that particular issue there. It was fairly clear to us where James’ ire on that point was targeted!

  13. Fair play to Armagh they put it up to us and this is what this Mayo team needed in their development .
    Armagh will be serious contenders next year in the Ulster Championship they have much improved over the last couple of seasons
    This game will have brought on the Mayo team and management big time we hopefully will look back on this game as a massive stepping stone

  14. Is Jamie Clarke around next year though? I see he’s transferred to London

    I liked the look of them all right, they play nice football, but they sneaked past down and couldn’t beat Cavan, and I think they’d lose comfortably enough to Tyrone and Donegal, so I don’t see them troubling Ulster for a while really

    For some reason the back door seems to galvinise them but McGeeney probably can’t take them any further and will possibly walk

  15. Hats off to Kieran Tracey. While he did nothing spectacular he was an outlet for lots of ball in second half, albeit in our own half but still, it was important as our backs were leaking water big team. His energy is phenomenal and boy will he have learned from yday. So will all of the young lads and well done to them. Given injuries, it wasn’t easy for them coming in, replacing some of our best ever players to wear the jersey.

    Going by Horans comments Lee’s injury is ankle. Mightnt be too bad. Heres hoping him and Jadon get back asap.

    Jason did himself proud yesterday.

  16. Jesus that was some introduction to Senior intercounty football for young Mikey Murray last night. Thought he did well considering how raw and inexperienced he is at this level. That game will have brought on so many of our new players no end.

  17. Murray has a great side step for such a big man. Similar to Brian Howard. Would like to see him start again next week but I’ve a feeling JH will play Vaughan.

  18. Well, we escaped with a win, but some of the analysis here leave me to wonder if I was at the same game at all???
    To throw away a five point lead with ten minutes to go is far from good enough. We clung on and only for their miss at the end did we survive.
    Higgins was way off form, so too Doherty and Keegan, the latter, in my opinion should have been taken off before his injury.
    Now to all the comments about Horan and his tactics. Absolutely rubbish.
    The only reason in the second half we won the short kick out was because Armagh didn’t press high. They let us get the ball and sat back to turn us over in mid field as they did on many occasion.
    The decision to take off Andy five minutes before half time baffled me and every mayo supporter within eat shot. The one man that was causing problems to the Armagh Defence gets withdrawn with at least three others left on the pitch that should have gone off. A lot of lads were lethargic and slower than there counterparts, the same last weekend, so until we can compete for speed we are fighting a losing battle.
    Horan is one if the slowest readers of a game that I’ve seen for many a year and like most other Mayo managers, leaves on NAMES rather that people playing better football. His decisions to leave Clarke on the bench for any game beggars belief and has resulted in where we are now.
    And, as if that wasn’t enough, what the hell is he doing in training???? It’s bad enough that we lose players to injury during a competitive championship game, but to lose two influential players to recent training ground incidents is simply irresponsible of any management/training team.
    Yes, our lads gave a battling performance and yes, one more win will get us to the super 8’s but come on, unless a lot of things change we will be humiliated in the super 8’s especially if we get Dublin first up.

  19. I noticed that about Mikey Murray as well, for a lad 6’4″ he is surprisingly quick. A huge huge thing for him will be this year’s Winter pre-season. His skill level is pretty decent just to get stronger and bigger.

  20. Glad to see some sense talked on here, I thought at the start of the season a good year would be stay up in the league, make a Connacht final, make the super 8’s and find 2-3 new starters.we won the league, didn’t make the Connacht final, are one game away from the super 8’s and in Ruane, mcdonagh and Coen we def have found some new starters. If we got there I couldn’t see us making a semi but big games in croke Park will be invaluable for the younger guys win, lose or draw. That game last night will have brought on the likes of Ciaran treacy and mcdonagh no end. We’d have serious options now if we had a full deck to chose from so overall I’m happy with the squad development.

  21. Cheer up Tomas we won by a point and are still alive and in the draw tomorrow morning. A win is a win it wasn’t a perfect performance but give the team and management and fans that roared them on some credit as an aside I thought the Mayo fans were magnificent last night such a roar the Mayo team got when they came out for the first time its a while since we heard that in Castlebar

  22. No worries, Thatsthats – I’ve removed both of those comments. Just for info, the rules on commenting on the blog are here.

    I try to be scrupulously fair in terms of moderating comments and, as you can imagine, at a time like this, when large amount of comments are flying in continually (and new contributors appear out of the woodwork all the time) it’s far from easy. As I well know, there’s a fine line between making criticisms and simply dumping on people and my aim is always to thread the debate along the right side of that line. That invariably leads to criticism of me that (a) no proper debate is allowed at all and (b) that everyone is allowed to say whatever the hell they like. I would hope that most fair-minded readers would agree that neither of these criticisms are true or valid.

    I’ll maybe comment again another time on James’ outburst last night, which I found disappointing, though perhaps understandable in the heat of the moment. I don’t think that simply asking a question, which I did here on the blog and on the podcast – i.e. what’s happening in training and could this be why we’re getting all these injuries? – should be seen as a hanging offence. It’s a valid question, albeit one posed from the standpoint of not knowing all the facts, which I’ve always readily admitted was the case. Blasting the questioner for simply asking a valid question is what I find disappointing. We’re not all the enemy and shouldn’t be portrayed as such.

  23. Brent Pope on RTE always uses WC fields line that you should never give a sucker an even break. Mayo with our profligacy seem to always do it ! Why can’t we go ahead and stay ahead ! At this stage we need a sports psychologist in to sort this out. It’s becoming self fulfilling and teams know that even when 5 points down they have a chance to come back .

  24. I agree with Horan,
    I doubt his philosophy on training has changed massively since his first tenure yet can’t recall double training injury at key time in the season first time around or if there was the same level of “questioning” wasn’t there with fans. I’d say it’s simply bad luck which a team gets from time to time. I remember other seasons we were thanking the gods lads were all available to be picked. Also the ground in McHale didn’t cause Lee’s injury, looked like a tangle of legs running alongside oneill. So stop blaming the pitch. No one ever criticises Cody for his players flaking the daylights out of each other in A vs B games. Most preparation in 1 week turnarounds will likely be to game tactics practiced by playing.
    Some of the negativity on here is getting to me. We actually won the game.

  25. @Roger Milla, think you’re over complicating it a bit 🙂 We simply concede quite regularly goals or runs of points. It’s not a sports psychologist we need, simply patience until we will get a modern full back from underage. That will help lockdown the defence better.

  26. Delighted to see Jame Horan call out the ridiculous comments and statements made in the media, the blog and the podcast re: training.

    99.9% of people haven’t a bulls notion on what is required to prepare a team for senior intercounty Championship football. Unfortunately it requires training to a match level intensity, so that you know, when your playing a match, your body is conditioned to the demands placed on it. Sometimes this means tackling and jumping and landing and falling. And SOMETIMES you can get hurt. It just bad luck. Nobody’s fault. Just lady luck.

    So can we draw a line under it. Accept that is bad luck. Shut up giving out. A focus on supporting the team. Mayo fans are the best in the country when it suits them.

  27. In JHs defence WJ ,Mayo training sessions are open to the public if some of the local reporters wanted to see whats happening in training before assuming it ,he stated that in the interview and earlier this year when he was criticised for selecting Ger Cafferkey v Cavan in the League.It must be abit insulting and silly to assume that his training methods were the result of injuries to the panel when they happen all the time in Gaelic football which is a physical contact sport played on hard ground in Summer.We seen how simple Lee got injured last nite and Tom Parsons last year.

  28. I heard from a few people now that keegans injury is nowt to worry about, just twisted his ankle, might even be back next week so that’s a positive if true

  29. I read James Horan comment’s as regards training sessions… James is entitled to decide on whatever he sees as the best way for Mayo to train… I attended a number of training sessions when ‘Mickey Moran and John Morrison’ were in charge and it was Game based as well, but many of Game’s played were not ‘Gaelic Football’ ..a mixture of several different games, devised by the creative mind of the Late Armagh Man, John Morrison…. and each different Game, employed some of the skills of Gaelic football … I am certain that injuries could occur with either… but with John Morrison’s method’s I would say injuries would be less likely…. Anyhow we now have several on the injured list, some in actual match’s and some in training match’s… This is just a question in my mind, was it nessary for another competitive training Match last Tuesday evening, just three days after a Championship Match in Newry?…. I hope we take it easy on the full contact training this week… That was a tough hard hitting Match yesterday evening and we will need as many as possible of the guy’s who played available for whoever fate decides that we will play next Saturday….In the meantime continued good wishes to all on our injured list, and I know that the Mayo Public are impatient to hear good news, but it’s just reality we might not see some of our Player’s playing again this year… I certainly hope that we do… but I think that without a number of Players just now, it’s more difficult to sustain our stay in the Championship long enough for those Player’s to have recovered….. Mickey Murray came in and looked like a very good footballer, but need’s more experience at this level, it was so hard yesterday evening Aiden O Shea even struggled at times… Finally I read that, Kieran McGeaney Reckoned Mayo employed Dark Art’s to win the Day… There was a fair amount of Dark Art’s employed yesterday, and 90% of those Darker Art’s came from Armagh….Of course totally ignored by Maurice Deegan… Again and Again Aiden O Shea was targeted for special attention and to his credit Aiden didn’t react, he must have the patience of a Saint…All over the Pitch, senagaions were talking place that had nothing to do with the game of Gaelic football… I took particular notice of the attention given to Ciarian Tracy, five Black Card’s could have been given out to Armagh just with what Ciaran had to put up with… Another poor Game from Maurice Deegan I taught!

  30. No matter who we draw tomorrow. And I hope it’s cork. I’m confident we will make the super 8s In the closing stages of last nights game I thought our goalie showed an alarming lack of confidence I seriously would not rule out a recall for hennelly I think Vaughan has to partner OShea at midfield i. If Keegan is out then bring plunkett in. Keep Moran as an impact sub. That’s my tuppence worth for now Up mayo

  31. Think the criticsm of Horan here is well wide of the mark, tactics etc etc all being criticised. The fact is that players have to stand up, in the Rochford era the same thing was happening game after game in the qualifiers until we miraculously pulled it together in Croke Park. Both managers hardly have the same failings and at the end of the day, if Mayo are to remain a force in football, Horan is one of the few people around who is capable of turning decent players into good/great players. People need to get a grip, you’d think we’d lost, the going on here – we have no divine right to anything, we need to take these hard fought wins and enjoy them. There is far too much negativity and lack of support for a manager, who is clearly the best we have had in modern times.

  32. Supermac – If Lee Keegan is available next week or indeed the week after I’d be astonished. A simple twist of the ankle wouldn’t see a player being carried off, not able to put any weight on it and leaving the ground on crutches. More likely ligament damage of some nature done.

  33. I was just reading your piece on the fine line of ‘(a) no proper debate is allowed at all and (b) that everyone is allowed to say whatever the hell they like’. I very much agree that neither of these criticisms are true or valid and you efforts on a daily basis in this area is very much appreciated an what make this blog so great.
    It has made me think of what a massive responsibility all this is and now in addition to the latest defence by James. Clearly his feathers have been ruffled and I often find in life that the stronger the defence to a question asked usually indicates that the answer is often a little more closer to the truth than is liked. But that should not stop the question been ask or tailoring the way its been asked for fear of upsetting someone. So what I’m trying to say is that in opening up a debate and inevitably being the face of that debate there is the additional responsibility not to been seen to lead it. In this I have found this blog to be very fair and debate ebbs and flows, changes direction and evolves as all good debates should. The title simply evokes conversation, stirs the imagination and asks the question. The title should never be seen as the answer as an enlightened poster can change the narative and a persons way of thinking in an inkling.. That’s the beauty of it. I can understand but I too am dissapointed with James’s reaction

  34. I agree Joe, blaming Horan for the training methods is ridiculous, injures are an unfortunate
    fact of life in relation to contact sport,
    Lee Keegan’s injury is another example.
    We need to let Horan get on with his job
    and stop this negative rubbish.

  35. It’s funny how people keep commenting on how our younger, inexperienced players need more big, competitive games under their belt before we can get the big performances that we need out of them, and then at the same time criticise the training sessions when they involve A v B games. I don’t know how management can be expected to please everyone or win that battle…. They are giving their all and doing their best, maybe we should just give them our trust! In fairness it was James who turned this team around after a defeat to Longford, a distant memory now. I for one have loved following Mayo football, both the ups and downs, over the last 2 decades. We should be immensely proud of all our players and hugely grateful that we have so many young players and top calibre management who continue to do the job, despite knowing the pressure and expectation that is and will be constantly on their shoulders! Well done Mayo on a great win yesterday!! Worth every penny just to be there!!

  36. Good point Joe.
    Were stretched and struggling at the moment and thus have a right to nothing whatsoever. Armagh, a very good team, would absolutely love to be where we are. We are still in the shake up and I agree if anyone can inspire its Horan.
    I particularly liked the way he dealt with Kevin Mc. He was underperforming, he benched him, thereby giving him a firm message, but brought him in early as first sub as much to say you’re still my guy, now go and do the business. Kev obliged. Gotta love that.

  37. Yes, I fully agree with PMAC Comment. Lets leave the management of the team it to James and his background team. Why are soem of the blogs so bloody negative! I thought that it was a great victory last evening against a very good Armagh team! Remember they beat Monaghan well.
    Bhi an tadh dearg orainn!! (we were so lucky)!
    Comhghairdes do foireann Mhuigheo. Lets hope we get a nice draw tomorror-Cavan and any team bar Corcaigh!
    Bigi le foireann Mhuigheo

  38. Good games for Murray and Treacy, they will come on leaps and bounds. McDonagh and Coen also outstanding.
    Horan and management did well, imo, substitutions were timely.
    We just don’t know what to do with ourselves when we hit the front, maybe we finally take a lesson from this game.
    We assisted Armagh with their comeback, a couple of bad mistakes and failure to close down the excellent Stefan Campbell.
    I would like to have seen James McCormack or E O Donaghue coming in for last quarter but if everyone reports fit next week for final qualifier, I fancy our chances making it to super 8.

  39. I can well understand James Horan’s ire. Questioning training methods where the facts are unknown would drive anyone mad.In AvB games for instance,should midfielders stand by while Aido plucks one from the sky…Kevin Mac allowed slalom through without a glove been laid on him…Loftus free to ping arrows into Andy’s chest???.If Lee’s i jury(a simple accident)happened at training,and the manager was taken to task on training methods because of it,you could see how James would be driven demented.Accidents happen so lets get on with it.As an ordinary punter,I am happy to leave the management to manage.

  40. Turnip Head Lee wasn’t carried off. He put weight on his 2 feet as he was helped off

  41. There are enough people outside the county waiting for us to lose to put the boot into us. I get the feeling there are nearly as many within the county waiting to put the boot into Horan and his management team and certain players who have all given great service to Mayo football. I thought Horan had a good evening on sideline last night. Great to see subs coming in much earlier.

  42. I’d say Andy was disgusted at been taken off before Half time , think he would be a better impact sub at this stage

    Drake not named to tog yday and Crowe back on the bench

  43. To be fair a good A very B game is the way to go because it keeps players sharper, tougher & sometimes the tackles can be a bit hard but surely they have strength and conditioning in abundance & should be well able for the rough side of Gaelic football, injuries happen , that’s why you need a good strong panel to draw from, no point in having fellas on the panel if they can’t step up to the level required to play at a savage intensity, unfortunately that’s not there at the moment.

  44. I’m so thrilled with the win it was heart stopping stuff. On Kevin for Andy i thought that was the best substitution of the game. Kevin mc was back to his best when he came on. Delighted to see CoC back too and shooting well. Injury is the scourge this year hoping all lads recover well and that doc and lee are not serious.

  45. Good see panel players not playing yesterday playing with clubs today. Seamie and Rob with Breaffy. Seamus def has way to go get to county fitness.
    Happy enough with most of yesterday bar the red mist in last 10 or so. Boyler excellent defensively but also gave away some bad ball going forward.
    Kevin finally played in a more natural position which helped.
    Onward and upwards in the hat tomorrow which main thing.

  46. Apportioning our recent injuries to training is ridiculous. I doubt Horan has changed much from his first stint. If we had a spate of hammer pulls etc I’d say they’re not being prepared correctly. A collar bone and wrist are simply unlucky.

    Our defense last night was torn the shreds at times. Boyler played well but the rest of the lads struggled. Higgins was ball watching for their goal. Barrett was pulled all over the pitch by Clarke – no shame there as he’s a super player. Harrison is a fine defender but not a genuine full back.

  47. Sorry way too negative and pessimistic on this blog. We won yesterday by the narrowest of margins and that’s championship football, teams down by 5 points are within reach and are expected to comeback and that Armagh team based on yesterday’s performance would put it up to the best teams.

    And of course we want to be in the Super 8’s playing the best teams win or lose will be invaluable for the development of this team.

    Positives from yesterday:

    1. Scoring accuracy much improved
    2. More timely decisions from JH. Moving Keegan onto FF. I wondered about bringing in Kevin for Andy but probably needed someone to track the defender and we know how that change turned out.
    3. Darren’s best position is in the corner. Can play FF too.
    4. Kevin needs to play in the half forwards
    5. Colm’s performance in defense, his leadership, not MOTM performance that was Darren for me.
    6. New players Fionn, Mikey and Ciaran had good games
    7. Donnie had a good game first day back
    8. Cillian is back
    9. Clark’s performance in goal
    10. Depth of bench paying dividends with injuries

    Improvements Neded:
    1. Reduce turnovers. Less taking the ball into the tackle especially in tight pitches and crowded defenses.
    2. Better score taking decisions from Aidan.
    3. Aidan not to take quick frees but rather receive create space for teammates

    Forward line taking shape:

    10. Fionn
    11. Jason
    12. Kevin
    13. Andy
    14. Cillian
    15. Darren

    Average analyst here so don’t expect everyone to agree. Let’s continue to improve and take it one game at a time. We have no one to fear not even the great Dubs. We are League Champions. Wouldn’t mind some good news on the injury front and an easy draw tomorrow morning to ease the pressure.

  48. Once we put our opinions on line, then we have to expect that others will disagree, and on occasions, voice their alternate viewpoints. There were some references from here on the Armagh blog, which is fair enough.

    Overall, I thought that our support was good yesterday, even though it is obvious from comments that there are divergent opinions on how we performed, and who should / should not be playing. That is as it should be, and I am sure that this will continue next Saturday.

  49. I have to say that I’m caught between great optimism and hard realism short term.

    Medium -Long term it looks to me like we are on a huge upwards trajectory.

    I reviewed the Sky sports scoring reel multiple times and a couple of things stood out .

    The first is that after going behind in the first ten minutes , we re-grouped and never went behind again. Make no mistake this was a serious test from a very good , smart , and well drilled team. Staying ahead against this team was a huge statement in and of itself (And Armagh do now have the killer instinct but their execution wasn’t flawless)

    The second is the sheer quality of our scores. I mean Darren Coen’s scores are first rate in every way. Likewise McDonoughs. Also it is no coincidence that in the same half McLoughlin scores a point off his right and Donie scored off his left. And we had zero wides in the second half.

    This speaks to impressive forward coaching and treating every player 2-15 as a potential scorer off right and left foot .

    Believe me , a Croke Park nightmare awaits an on-song group playing direct football including McDonough , Loftus , Coen , Andy , Carr , Cillian, Mcloughlin.

    James always talks about rate of improvement individually and as a team- well there is no group of individuals improving at the rate we are ( I include the very impressive and possible All Ireland winners this year , Donegal )

    To do what we did yesterday without Ruane , Parsons , Diarmuid, Keegan , and multiple others , to me counts as a great win. A really great win against a highly competitive team. This will dramatically improve our rate of improvement as a team ( even in the face of a potentially devastating cluster of injuries )

    Our current situation of forced changes might be no bad thing long term. The judicious use of our panel and a favorable draw means we can stay in the competition. And the longer we stay in this competition now , I believe , the better.

    Yesterday I was kind of hoping for an early end ( this coming Saturday ) to the campaign so that we don’t get humiliated in the super 8’s.

    But the evidence is there for anyone willing to see. There is real steel in this team . Incredibly talented and well coached players. A big panel being tested to its limits.

    The longer this campaign goes on the more dangerous we become ( even without any additional return of players )

    I will admit that our chosen defensive strategy yesterday was not what I would have prescribed. I thought a sweeper was essential ( and still do). Clarke ( who I adore ) has a way of exhausting his defense and putting them under fierce pressure. The full back line were out on their feet at the end. If it had gone to extra time Armagh would have won easily. Yesterday!

    As an aside , I simply have no time for any analysis that says Higgins is somehow or indeed in any way to blame for our woes. This is Puicin Asal(ism) a la you know who.

    Keith is still the absolutely outstanding player that he always has been.

    But that defense needs more help with a rotating sweeper and a different ( and less exhausting kick out strategy ) Our short kickouts mean our defense will be tired at the end of the game. It won’t have gone unnoticed that Barrett and Higgins are both in their 30’s. Smart teams now know that a high press could be really rewarding against this team.

    This is compounded ( right at the moment ) by the lack of Keegan and Ruane especially , as their lack of forward movement automatically means more pressure on the defense.

    Which brings me back to direct ball in to a two man inside line of some combination of Coen, Andy , Carr and Cillian , rotating sweeper( Higgins – with EOD coming in at # 4 now necessary to relieve pressure from our own kickouts as well as to counter high ball in tactics)

    Finally Donie is now a key cog as his forward movement from midfield is necessary . When we have a highly functioning forward moving midfield then we are dynamite . Marry this to forwards efficiency and I’m excited to see , and optimistic that we can continue into the super eights .

    Longer term – watch out for this team. We are on the right track. Tough tough team . Real steel . Real quality.

  50. We came through a tough, thrilling match last night and are still in the fight. New players are being blooded and are doing well. It was great to see so many youngsters from Feile at the match and I hope that it inspires all of them to continue to play Gaelic football and that some will represent their county one day. James Horan has one big problem in that he is an honest man doing a very good job and he occasionally loses patience with those who seem to think he is trying to stop Mayo from winning. It was good to see Cillian and Donie back in action and they will be needed for the more intense games to come. Clarkie and Boyler were immense once again. Best wishes to the injured lads and we hope that they recover quickly and completely as the knees, ankles etc. will be needed long after they stop playing football. Bring on the next opponents let us see how they like facing us.

  51. Tomas,
    You accuse James Horan of leaving big names on the field regardless of how they are performing and then say he was wrong in taking off Andy Moran. If that’s not contradicting yourself I do not know what self contradicting is. There is no bigger name on that Mayo panel than Andy and I’m including Aido, Lee etc in that. But Andy was making no impression on that Armagh defence on Saturday while Kevin Mc was sitting on the bench. Result of change: Andy Nil; Kevin Mc 1=1.

  52. Greetings again from Trieste. Watched GAAGO – 2am job here.

    A lot of positives – Chicago list is good. Turnovers though are a big worry – Sky stat at 60 mins or so showed 20 turnovers to 10 for Armagh. We should be bossing that dept, not running into trouble. Once we pulled ahead we stayed ahead, but should have stayed ahead. What was that quick fix JH referred to last week?

  53. Noteworthy that Stephen Coen – a player who has come in for considerable criticism from some here about his supposed shortcomings – has barely rated a mention post-game. I felt he did really fine when he came on and did the simple things well at the back. He also set up a score for his cousin and namesake.

  54. Horan would want to cop and stop being so sensitive. It was a fair and valid question that half the county was asking. Tough shit on him if he doesn’t like it. He earned plenty of Sky money being a pundit and seeing things from the media and PR side, so he knows the game better than anyone.
    Petty, childish, arrogant answers to what is, indirectly, a question that all Mayo supporters are asking, shows us more about his attitude towards Mayo supporters, than it does about the person asking the question.

  55. Love love love that interesting and informative post, Swahili. I like those insights and have an inkling you’re right.

    After thinking about it, I too think the team is improving game on game (even though our nerves have still been getting a jangling).

    I also keep my fingers crossed we can stay in the competition as long as possible as just maybe – but no guarantees – we may be able to continue improving somewhat. I thought management did well last night too. There seem to be improvements and corrections game on game.

    Well done to all including supporters. (Armagh readers, you have a fine team).

  56. Pebblesmeller, I only heard a snippet of Horan speaking post game so I don’t know how strongly he reacted. However, I believe it must be a nightmare dealing with the media, with stories that take legs, with expectations from fans and the narratives that are so easily raised on social media. Rochford, as previous Mayo manager, had to deal with media and social media questioning and intrusion too.
    When I say a nightmare, I mean a nightmare. We’ve already seen how very easy it is for mainstream print journalists or radio podcasters to ask certain questions or spin certain uninformed lines about our team. The team and manager have to stand in the line of that fire, coexist and get on with their business. Fans raising uninformed questions also generate pressure for those running the team, in my view. Do we think about the consequences of our asking those questions and feeding into a stream of people then thinking these ‘questions’ are a real thing?

    It was the same with so many people on social media saying so often ‘where is Cillian?’ He showed up last night, no problem. Was there a need to distrust management? Was there a need to know? When did we qualify as managers to know better than the actual management team?

    Rant over.

  57. Back at you CH-icago. You made many great points and all rooted in an optimistic and realistic frame . I would disagree with your self assessment though. That was a very good analysis on your part and distinctly not average.

  58. Willie Joe , I agree about Stephen Coen’s importance to this team . I am a big fan of his “ intangibles”. He’s a winner and leader pure and simple. If Lee Keegan is out , Coen as a man marker is essential for our progress. Thanks for bringing this up. One point i’d make though is that ( imo )he would benefit from serious one on one skill coaching. He has many elements of greatness but to reach his ultimate potential he needs to relentlessly focus on skills and composure. If he applies himself to those things he could be an all time great.

  59. Swahili, fabulous post thank you,

    Lads JH is human, that was some pressure there yesterday and he kicked every ball with them can’t say I’m always his biggest fan but cut him some slack,

    As Michael Cummins would say

    ‘’ Mayo are Box Office ‘’

    Maigheo abú

  60. Swallow Swoops,
    Fair point. However, if our trainers/coaches/phsios etc are so unsure about their own ability that they would doubt themselves just cos of pub talk or social media waffle, then they wouldn’t have made it to the top of their professions or anywhere near an inter county sideline. If they can’t take the pressure then they shouldn’t be there, there’s no one holding a gun to their heads. I’d imagine they couldn’t give a shite what the general public think, and rightly so.
    However, if Horan is incapable of answering a fair question asked by an official media source without getting crabby, then maybe he needs to do a Masters in Communications as well as Sports Science. When so many players get injured in training (Diarmuid twice, Vaughan, Ruane, Carr, O’Shea and these are only that we know of) it’s totally fair for a journalist (not a Joe Soap remember, this question was asked by a journo) to ask what’s going on at training. Everyone else is asking it and that’s a journalists job. He should know, he wrote enough columns and opinion pieces!
    Asking the question doesn’t mean that we assume to know more then management either.

  61. Agree with everything you say Swahili.
    We have to be optimistic going forward now.
    The steel and determination from the lads last night was unreal. On the knees now for a better luck draw in the morn. 3rd Ulster county would be great, Cavan please.

  62. I seen it posted elsewhere that 13 of the Mayo 2017 All Ireland final starting team played last night. Just Parsons and S O’Shea the two to miss out yesterday.

  63. Pebbles from the clips of horans interview I heard I think you’re totally over exaggerating his reaction. He actually said they had a laugh about the commentary. I also remember Brian Cody getting crabby in plenty of interviews, Alex Ferguson’s wasn’t always a ray of sunshine either, even the great Jim Gavin can let the mask slip sometimes. These lads are in high pressure situations, it’s unrealistic to expect that they don’t show emotion especially immediately after a game like last night.

  64. Pebbles, appreciate your full reply and your reasoning.

    I wouldn’t say Horan, physios and others are doubting their ability and this is why they are letting media comments or questions get to them.

    It’s hard to know all the context but those questions from supporters or media can appear as undermining, distrustful, causing doubt as to his ability to do his job, don’t give him the benefit of the doubt, may not take into account his level of study undertaken to be where he is, his dedication or his commitment to player welfare.

    He may feel hurt/disappointed/overly interrogated by a perceived lack of trust in him or his abilities when he is really doing his best. It may be the lack of belief or loyalty of supporters that irks when he feels they are doing things right. He says recently that the team/ he appreciated having supporters behind them and strongly behind them.

    As we are all human, it is interesting what this may say about Horan himself. My take on it is as per the above. Maybe he values acknowledgement of effort, support, giving the benefit of the doubt in the first instance when there is no definite evidence to say otherwise.

  65. Mayomagic – that’s correct re the 2017 AIF starting team. Twelve of that team started for us last night but Donal Vaughan came on as a sub so that’s the 13. Also, both Conor Loftus and Stephen Coen were both involved last night and both of them were introduced as subs in the 2017 final.

  66. Thanks WJ for the mention of Stephen Coen. That’s a measure of the depth and strength of this team that we have that caliber of player to come off the bench and deliver!

  67. Martin – please stop wasting my time and your own by attempting to post comments which you must know will NOT be allowed up here. If you want to formulate some reasonable, fair-minded thoughts then fire ahead but rubbishing individual players and that other guff you came out with isn’t welcome here. There are plenty of other dark corners of the internet where such offensive commentary may be posted with impunity but you can’t do that here. If you’re still in doubt about what you can and can’t say when posting comments on the blog, please read the house rules on this – here. This is your final warning – if you try to post this type of stuff again you’re blacklisted, your comments will just go straight into the bin without any further mention here.

  68. Had a watch of the recordings and Tyrone and Mayo advanced as I expected. Kildare were very poor though so its hard to gauge how good Tyrone really are but I would like Galway tro avoid them tomorrow although Canavan says we have “potential ” and he would prefer Tyrone didnt draw us. The other match showed me that Armagh finally have a team that they can build on and maybe bring them back towards their former glory. Mayo played well at times and took some fine scores particularly Coen. McLoughlin also added to it when introduced. Sadly Andy Moran looks like a player who’s brain is still number 1 but the legs are gone and he cut a dejected figure leaving the field. The injuries continue but thats swings and roundabouts. Mayo cannot seem to close out a game and that must worry Horan but tomorrows draw is crucial and its hard to judge how it will pan out until we know who is playing who. You would imagine game time will stand to the teams out yesterday and the provincial losers will come in cold. From a Galway perspective I would like to draw Mayo for the occasion but for the chance of progression I will take Laois or Clare is it.

  69. Penbblesmeller, was it not a journalist that asked JH about the curse…..or that if Cillian was persona non grata…. Can you see why he might me pissed off-legitimate questions me arse! As he says, let those journos go to the training and then ask their questions-at least then they’re not like dogs barkin in a barrel

  70. I did not hear anything in Horan’s comments that were unfair, in my opinion, some of the topics discussed could be interpreted as questioning the ability of the management team in terms of coaching the players. I could see why this might provoke a reaction. A robust question should expect a robust response. Enjoyed the podcast and your analysis of same.

  71. -Does anyone know the story with EO’D. Really disappointed with his game time to date, especially when you consider the age of the FB line and the fact they have played nearly every game to date. If he got a run now it would be a risk given his lack of game tine to date
    -Darren Coens points yesterday were something else. Really sensational.

  72. I have a lot of time for Stephen Coen. He’s not a shooter like many of our defenders, but he is perhaps a little more disciplined. It’s no accident he has captained minor and U-21 All-Ireland winning teams, with a Sigerson to boot.

    I see him at CHB for us in the long-term.

  73. – Armagh are a big physical team with plenty of pace, they tackled hard and we lost so much possession because of this and players not coming to meet the ball and not concentrating
    – 5 points up with 15 mins to go and we should have pushed on but they tagged on easy points as no pressure put on Jamie Clarke in particular.
    – Then we went to.pieces in the full back line with everyone flapping about and nobody showing for a pass. Just as well Armagh players could not see that Clarke was free on his own waiting for a pass for a probable goal with Barret and no other Mayo player near him right at the end.
    – It would be great benefit to get to the super 8 because we are team building and our young guys need these hard games.
    – They should name a Hoover after Boyler he was brillant and Darren C made use of every ball with minimum fuss.
    – We will have 26 players traveling by Coach the next day and not in a fleet of ambulances as some would have you think.
    – Galway in Hyde park please, need to avoid Cork.
    – Best wishes to Diarmuid Matthew and all our injured players .

  74. Is tomorrow an open draw or do we have to play provincial finalist
    Clarke still number one for me, I don’t see how we can win an all Ireland but if we can get some players back who knows, if we get to 8s I’ll be happy enough this year

  75. I don’t think James Horan said anything wrong, but cutting the interview short probably wasn’t the best move , but look heat of the moment and all that, there is a huge amount of pressure on him & the team .

  76. Can people forget about All Ireland’s, Mayo are not going to win it this year. even with everyone fit it would be a stretch, too many experienced players past their best and too many in experienced players at this stage. Next weekend is Mayos most important game since final or 2017, win and young players get invaluable experience of super 8s which will greatly benfiit them next year.

  77. Agree totally Joe – the pressure on James and the team is massive. I wish them well in week ahead – Injuries, tired bodies/minds, logistics, etc.

  78. A lot of criticism about Keith’s performance today while some justified a lot way of the mark, however I can’t understand why he didn’t catch that ball that he batted down, which the goal came from.
    Other than that a solid display probably most possessions than any other mayo player.

  79. aiden does fine on frees …i think first goal came off his free to andy…oh and I think team pic should have our goalie

  80. I do feel if the situation for us re injuries remains as i our chance for this year may have faded which is a shame knowing that there may be some of our best warriors on the cusp of retirement.

    On the flip side of that if i go back only a short time ago to the day of the league final our chances of success were shining brighter than ever. We hear so little from the backroom team we have no real idea about injuries, when players are expected back etc. I think if we can pull and good fortune together and get a couple of guys back we could be competitive at the latter stages this year!

    Fingers crossed Cavan comes through for us! Would be a tough last round for us to draw but we certainly deserve at least this one thing to go our way!

  81. Injuries are part and parcel of elite level sport. Some good Mayo prospects, although unfortunately no standout forward who’s gonna score 1-4 from play on a regular basis. Toss of a coin Mayo V Galway, and Kerry won’t be looking forward to meeting Mayo should we manage to prevail.

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