Team and subs for Roscommon game named

Ah here, can a man not have his breakfast in peace?

We’ve just named our team and subs for Sunday’s Connacht SFC quarter-final against Roscommon at Hastings Insurance MacHale Park (throw-in 4pm). Here’s our match-day panel for Sunday:

Mayo (Connacht SFC quarter-final v Roscommon, 9/4/2023): Colm Reape (Knockmore); Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis), David McBrien (Ballaghaderreen), Donnacha McHugh (Castlebar Mitchels); Stephen Coen (Hollymount/Carramore), Conor Loftus (Crossmolina Deel Rovers), Paddy Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels, captain); Matthew Ruane (Breaffy), Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber); Fionn McDonagh (Westport), Jack Carney (Kilmeena), Jordan Flynn (Crossmolina Deel Rovers); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), James Carr (Ardagh), Ryan O’Donoghue (Belmullet). Subs: Rory Byrne (Castlebar Mitchels), Sam Callinan (Ballina Stephenites), Tommy Conroy (The Neale), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole), Frank Irwin (Ballina Stephenites), Darren McHale (Knockmore), Eoghan McLaughlin (Westport), Conor McStay (Ballina Stephenites), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber), Padraig O’Hora (Ballina Stephenites), Paul Towey (Charlestown Sarsfields).

So it’s just the one change from the team that started in last Sunday’s National League final. Into the starting fifteen comes Donnacha McHugh and he replaces Sam Callinan. Sam was excellent for us at Croke Park but keeping him in reserve means we’re keeping open the chance that he could play for the U20s on Wednesday.

Bob Tuohy isn’t named on the match-day panel so he should definitely be playing against Sligo on Wednesday evening. The other change to the 26 sees fit-again Cillian O’Connor join the bench, with Aiden Orme dropping out for this one.

We’ve four Championship debutants in the team we’ve named. Colm Reape, Jack Coyne, David McBrien and Donnacha McHugh are all set for their first Championship start on Sunday.

The best of luck to all the lads in their Championship opener.

189 thoughts on “Team and subs for Roscommon game named

  1. Happy to see Mc Brien good to go. Kevin Mc not making the squad a slight surprise for me.

  2. Very settled look about the team now. Roscommon will be hard bet on the day. They’re not without skillful players and very good markers across the pitch. Looking forward to a good game.

  3. No enda Hession either 2 hops but otherwise a strong looking squad with plenty of both skilled and experienced players to bring on from the bench

  4. Kevin Mc injured, likely out for few more weeks. Some surprise inclusions on the bench…

  5. Great to see Cillian back. Bench remains very lopsided . Hope we don’t get anymore defensive injuries or an injury to either of our two midfielders
    Still a couple on that bench attacking wise that won’t feature.
    Looks like Bob has been released to u20s

    Hennelly …..

    I expected a bit more rotation tbh. We can’t go from Jan to July with same team. But his hands are tied a little with a couple of injuries

  6. Not sure lopsided is the word id use Km79 only 5 subs can be used.

    Byrne covers goals.
    Callinan, O`Hora, Doherty and Mclughlin cover the backs.
    Irwin covers midfield.
    McStay, McHale, O`Connor, Conroy and Towey cover the forwards.

    @williejoe – Michael Plunkett is named in the squad above but not in the squad on the link provided.

  7. I was convinced Hession would be available, now im more nervous about this game. Surely Callinan will start ahead of McHugh?

    Towey seems to have taken Orme’s place on the bench, which is fair I think. Not sure about a couple of other subs. The nearer it gets to the game the more I think about the perfect prep Roscommon had coming into this game, and its very hard for us to be right mentally and physcially in 7 days after a great win v Galway. Weather is going to be a leveller aswell. I hate saying this and hope im wrong but I think Roscommon will win this by a point.

  8. Any word on what the story is with Hession? Been a while since anything was mentioned on him.

  9. JKel88 in terms of midfield cover you also have carney, Flynn and loftus on the pitch who could rotate into midfield if needed. Not sure if I see Doherty as a defensive sub – think that experiment failed against Monaghan but I’d be happy to be proved wrong. Margie I disagree, Roscommons last game was against an already relegated poor Donegal side, hardly ideal preparation. Mayo by 4

  10. @Margie: I wouldn’t underestimate the advantages of having Donnacha back there. He’s a very tall lad (deceptively so, you’d almost miss it) which is one area we could expect Roscommon to try and hit us and he’s one of the best defensive man markers on the panel.

    Obviously we’d all be disappointed not seeing a young lad as talented and exciting as Sam (he can light up a pitch the same way Tommy can) or another speedster in Enda but I wouldn’t for a second underestimate McHugh and what he’d add back there to our defensive strength.

    Throw in Sam being so young, having a gruelling day out tagging some of the best forwards in the country Sunday and the potential for him to be held from a game of questionable value (winning is always great but nothing ‘terrible’ about a 5 week break in the calender either) for the do or die underage game and I’d personally be surprised seeing him take to the pitch at all this weekend.

  11. Darren Mc Hale an obvious replacement for Fionn.. I’d say if Bob was available I would be thinking Darren could struggle to make match day.. nice squad there.. more than good enough to beat Roscommon… that team on Sunday should be winning by 3+ is my view.. I always respect the opponent, and Roscommon finished 3rd in division 1.. that carries its own merits for sure.. for me however, I think in championship order I’d have them anywhere from 8-10.. where I feel we will really trouble Roscommon is our hard running from deep.. when we played them earlier this year we were physically superior (and many of my Roscommon friends felt the same) and yes we nearly got caught, however I felt that was more us just not keeping the shoe down.. I don’t see that happening Sunday.

  12. GAA Obsessed, Whatever about Tuohy, Darren is in my view miles ahead of McStay and Irwin for a place in match day panel.

  13. I agree TsuDhoNim regarding McHugh he is an extremely good man marker at club level (the best i saw in 2022 Mayo club championship) and a lot taller in person than i expected. He is just out of the U20 grade and with a run of games could easily find himself in a starting position later in the championship. James Horan rated him very highly while he was still U20 and it is obvious McStay and co do the same.

  14. You can also pick a 4 man standby list for the 26 so I’m presuming Rob Hennelly, Michael Plunkett, Enda Hession and Aidan Orme will be on that. Expect one of those to come in for Sam Callinan and he’ll join Bob Tuohy with U20’s. Players currently injured are Kevin Mcgloughlin, Rory Brickendon, Brendan Harrison, any word on Brendan? Be great to have him back in the squad, great defender. Also seen James McCormack,Ethan Gibbons, Ruairi Keane Bryan Walsh and Mikey Murray down there with the team last Sunday, any idea where there at? Would also love to see Cian Hanley in this squad, made this years sigerson team of the year with Jack Coyne.

  15. @Our time has come, I agree Donegal were not in good shape, I meant the 2 week break between the games. Roscommon had the luxury of doing really hard training in the first week, then ease off completely this week and be primed for Sunday. We don’t know what bumps and bruises we picked up against Galway. Its basically the same team we’ve named so I think the Rossies have a massive advantage.

    @TsuDoNim – Thats good to hear, I didnt meannto seem harsh on McHugh and it was a lazy comment on my behalf. You broke down what he offers well, best of luck to him

  16. Mayo4698 do not think Brendan Harrison is involved with the squad. As for others, not sure where they are at, Mikey Murray has played very little football in last few years. Rest are all playing regularly as far as i know.

  17. Gizmobob.. yes he’s probably better, however he’s more likely viewed as a work horse like Fionn.. does the job that doesn’t always get you the plaudits.. he’s not comfortable in the inside forward line unlike the other two lads (Fionn also wouldn’t be comfortable inside)..

  18. @GAA obsessed: Fionn surprisingly lined out full forward for NUIG (or whatever the modern name is) and actually spent quite a bit of time bouncing between there and out around the middle. Caused plenty of havoc in there too in the one or two games I caught.

    Wouldn’t be a natural and certainly wouldn’t expect to see him inside for Mayo in the near future… but was plesantly surprised with the skill he showed in there in the Sigerson.

  19. Brickenden out long term, as per the Mayo News.
    Think it’s as strong a team as we could have hoped for, bar Hession. Just have to trust that the coaches etc have them at the right pitch and that they’re not flat. Tuohy is a good footballer but probably best served for the future. Needs to bulk up but has a big future ahead of him.

  20. I think that is the team most may have expected. It’s seems right to give Sam a chance to play with the under 20s . If we can’t beat the Rossies without him then we might as well forget our ambitions to bringing the other Sam to Castlebar at the end of July! minus 3 points at evens is a decent bet as I think we’ll win by 6 plus. Up Mayo!

  21. You would still think there should be a place for Fergal Boland in this squad…..unless his form went compleatly

  22. Mayo4698 Unless Callanan has a confirmed injured or has covid he cannot be replaced by one of the stand in players.

  23. I thought they had to name the stand ins as well? Would Hession be near that quartet I wonder. Also interesting 4698, to see those players name checked and good that they are in the squad

  24. I would have preferred to see Cillian start and have Aido on the bench for this one. That’s what we did against the Rossies in the league. We lose pace if both are on at the same time.

  25. I think they should drop Callinan out for U20s especially as Plunkett and O Hora in reserve can both fill nearly any gap.
    Besides that, happy with the selection. I expect McHugh will start because he’s another young gun who needs championship game time.
    Good enough cover all round both on the pitch and on subs. Great to have Cillian and Tommy as impact subs, some players to have coming in. My only concern is the short turn around and recovery but we’ve been there before.

  26. @Catcol: The stand-bys have to be submitted to HQ but possibly not released as part of the programme/release information? Never spotted any of the specifics to that level of detail.

    @Done Deal: Needs a doctor’s report to cry sick out of a game alright.

    Without impinging on the integrity of anyone in the medical field or the brave footballers of the country I’d consider it very naive not to assume we’ll see many players come down with a dose of food poisoning or otherwise pick up a 24 bug to accommodate changes throughout the year.

  27. Disappointed not to see Bob Tuohy there. I was impressed with Conor McStay at club level, but he hasn’t done anything of note at intercounty.

  28. Expected a bit more rotation. Who knows maybe we’ll get a bit more rotation come Sunday like we did in the last league encounter in the Hyde. Hennelly would seem to be third choice, that broken toe in early January seems to have had an effect?..No Hession available for the 26 that’s disappointing . McStay in his time with Roscommon never seemed to play, or possibly include in the 26 anyone with even slight injuries, looks like that policy is continuing with Mayo .. Good to see McBrien named.
    Very strong 26 overall.

  29. Can’t argue with that team. Injuries ansd un availability is obviously impacting selection. We do not have as strong a panel as some here believe. We are well stretched with a fair bit of inexperience as well so have no great hopes of winning Sam this year, but we are definitely heading in the right direction. Not too surprised to see McHugh replace Callinan .Sam Callinan is a super talent, but young and though he did some good things on Sunday was also under pressure at times. Defensive cover is a worry at the moment but stripped of Mullin and Leeroy that is hardly a surprise. Good enough to win Sunday but certainly not a banker in my opinion

  30. To win just once, we are serious contenders this year one the 3/4 genuine contenders.
    No serious long-term injuries on the cards, unlike last year, other teams not as strong either.
    Bar Dublin, who I would have as favourites, Kerry and Galway ( I have not seen much of Tyrone so hard to judge them) who else could beat us?

  31. I wonder will there be more stewards on duty for game after the bad recent press and reserved seating in operation

  32. Agree with earlier post about Darren McHale being streets ahead of McStay and Irwin
    Plus I’m guessing plunkett injured again as he surely worth a place on the bench

  33. Aiden O Shea, Jordan Flynn, Mathew Ruane and Stephen Coen are all starting 4 games it a row, on 4 successive Sunday’s…all 4 well worthy of starting places . But is it wise or has Mayo the player’s to cover for those 4 player’s? I don’t think any team be it Dublin, Kerry, or even Galway could play 4 game’s in a row and play a number of the same player’s in every match, if they were up against first division opposition.It just goes to show the.massive advantage Dublin or Kerry has in the current race for Sam as I is now structured, and indeed was , in comparison to either Mayo or Roscommon… When will either of those two first class teams get to meet first division opposition in their race for Sam..I think it has to be, back to the drawing book for 2025 .I don’t like this new system at all, and I believe their are just too many games to negotiate!

  34. Regarding Sam Callinan, he is on the bench so he can be available for U20’s, had Hessian been available like Bob he wouldn’t have been involved at all. I have no problems with McHugh starting, he is an excellent player who has done very well during the league. Overall pleased with the team announced, we have more than enough to take care of Ros.

  35. Agree with that @gizmobobs. What other county would leave Tommy Conroy and Cillian O’Connor on the bench? Enda Hession one of our best players missed the second half of the league yet we still won it. Rory Brickenden started off the season in great form before getting injured. Rob Hennelly not even making the bench.

    I would say our panel is pretty strong by any measure.

  36. Expected starting 15 very much a settled team. As for rotation that won’t happen until the All Ireland group stage and if Mayo happen to win their opening two games and already into the quarter finals. Winning Connacht makes that more of possibility as round 1 would be at home to a 3rd seed and round 2 could be away to Louth or Westmeath.

  37. We’ve three Championship debutants in the team we’ve named. Colm Reape, David McBrien and Donnacha McHugh are all set for their first Championship start on Sunday.

    Jack Coyne not a 4th?

  38. That thought hit me too, MO2021, as I was out on the bike just now! Jack is the fourth alright. I’m blaming Mayo GAA – their announcement only named the three. I’ll sort it now.

  39. To correct myself, Jack Coyne made his championship debut v Leitrim a few years ago

  40. Jack Coyne came off the bench vs Leitrim in championship 2021. That was the game when a chunk of our squad were ruled out with COVID.

  41. I’m very surprised to see McHugh starting at corner back. He really struggled in that position against Monaghan the first half before being withdrawn at H/T. Not sure if he is suited to that role. Corner back is a very specialised position and I would have thought the lad was more suited to a half back position. Management seem hell bent on continuing with Loftus as sweeper. Not sure how many times we have been opened up down the centre, but you’d be expecting to see some sort of improvement at this stage on our defensive play. Worse we seem to be getting if the Galway game is anything to go by. Irwin and McStay are very lucky to make the 26 ahead of the likes or Orme and Boland, who would still offer more I feel.

  42. Very positive post @The west is best. Good to see you enjoying year 1 of the McStay era.

  43. Great to see Cillian on the bench and would love to see himself and Tommy on with Ryan – the dream team. Ticketmaster is so annoying, tickets for the middle of the stand on sale now which is surprising!

  44. That 2021 appearance – which I’d totally forgotten about as well – was as a sub so Sunday will be Jack’s first time to start in a Championship game. That means it’s still a full Championship debut for all four, coincidentally, the first four names listed in the teamsheet.

  45. Of course @JKEL88, it’s always great to see a team that’s evolving and learning from previous mistakes. The poor aul Rossies wont know where to look.

  46. JKEL88 I’m still very optimistic about this year given how strong our team is matched up to the other 3 genuine contenders and being so much stronger than most of the others.
    I’d also tend to agree with West is best, we have been found wanting defensively, very little of that to do with the inexperienced back 4.

  47. A great thing for us right now is the fact that Cillian is really coming under the radar. He could absolutely scream into life come summer. Here’s hoping. The focus will all be on the big dog, but if Cillian stays injury free he could also be a serious threat for us looking ahead.

  48. Not having the encyclopaedic knowledge of some fellow posters, I searched Jack Coyne on the archive after the team was announced. Sure enough, it told me he came on as a sub v Leitrim.
    First time I used the search on the archive.

    Thank you Willie Joe for the archive and to your colleagues who made it searchable. It allows more mortals such as myself to access all the interesting stats and facts.

  49. Gizmobobs & The west is best- I am also very optimistic and i feel the Management have earned the right to play who they want in whatever position. I am sure they have weighed up the risk / reward and so far with the exception of the Monaghan game it has all been rewarding.

    I can see people`s concerns about runners down the middle and it is no doubt being worked on by Management.

  50. Wouldn’t worry too much about a lack of midfield cover on the bench, sure we have arguably 7 midfielders in the starting team if needed (Loftus, flynn, doc, Carney, aos, mcdonagh, ruane).

    Very strong squad, tough on orme not making the squad after becoming a starter under JH buy its a good sign of how competitive a place is 26 is now

  51. JKEL88 you are right, it’s managers prerogative 100%.

    I think the concern most people have is on the second part, is it being worked on? We are 12/13 inter-county games in and out Middle 3rd has been mostly same, with half backline almost constant.

  52. Cillian and Tommy Conroy both capable of coming off the bench and consolidating a game for us. No problem keeping Conroy under wraps. I would like to see O Hara and McLaughling getting more playing time. McHugh, definitely a player of the future and can do a good job for us on Sunday. All round very strong team McBrien starting is a hugh plus.

  53. Gizmobobs – What players on the bench this weekend come into the middle 3rd to make us less vulnerable with runners down the middle and provide us with the same impact going forward ?

  54. JKEL88, hard to say when no one else has been acid tested in battle bar Doherty, once. What is the impact going forward you refer to? Our half backs are not exactly splaying ball into our forwards, from what I can see, it is mostly lateral or short distance hand passes forwards with occasional long runs. Which maybe what’s being asked of them to be fair. Our best quick balls inside from deep came from Aidan which led to 2 goals..
    If the role is mostly holding and controlling play the following are possible options for a sweeping/sitting role with additonal defensive duties:
    – Plunkett
    – McLoughlin
    – Flynn
    – McHale
    – Callinan
    – O’Hora
    – McCormack

    Be nice see them given a try at the role see how they go. we have at least 3 more games that are not do or die we can try things out in.

  55. This naming of our team early has really upset my Friday night routine.
    I usually have my first beer after the team is announced or at latest 9.30
    You would think they would have more consideration for one their Seventy years old supporters!!!!!

  56. Mayo look to be the “real deal” this year. It’s all about pacing yourselves and maintaining the peak for a few weeks in June/July. You’d also have to be impressed with Dublin’s performance v Derry – In 2nd gear for 1st half and finished in 3rd gear.

    One thing I note that has crept into Mayo’s psyche is the “booing” culture. Maybe it has stemmed from the contests with the Dubs in recent years, and what many of their supporters brought to the table. But, imo it has no place in Connaught football. Place kickers should be afforded due respect, as is the case in rugby. So, imo, Mayo should be above this disgusting practice/habit..

  57. Funny you should mention that JR. I spoke with McStay earlier today on the very subject. Can’t say I got much satisfaction. He just said, all ye auld bucks are always whinging about something. He then said, if you’re awake at 10/30 in the morning, sure have a beer. It’s not that ye’re doing much else. Half sorry I rang him now.

  58. To those complaining about the sweeper position, we’re not playing a deep sweeper like Dublin when they had Cian OS. For me that’s been the only truly successful example of a team deploying sweeper apart from us with Kevin Mc which took a few games to iron out. Others had systems E.g. Kerry “double sweeper“ vs Donegal in 2014 AI final; Tyrone had loads back vs Kerry semi in 2021 but don’t recall a specific sweeper or a deep lying one at any rate. Then when a deep sweeper is used someone needs to be covering opposition’s no 11 (a midfielder or HF). In 2016 drawn game 1st half Dublin were 2-0 to 0-4 or maybe even 0-6 before they got even half motoring mostly because aside from the 2 freak goals Mayo had probably 13 behind the ball with only really Andy as an outlet and he did very well out fielding taller players while double marked. I think it’s more of a team job. How often did Cian OS have to execute a last minute tackle – seldom I would say because others further out were watching the CHF space indeed Dublin flooded the middle channel most of the time.

  59. Gizmobobs – Sound`s like you feel the issue is coming from the half back line / CHB position and not the middle 3rd collectively. I think Kevin and co have enough credit in the bank for us to keep trusting them with their selection.

  60. Yes JKEL88, MidField and HF line is fine. Diarmuid in particular is our most indispensable player.

    Agree Shuffly deck, I just do not know what system we are playing after 13 games. we have rode our luck to date, we may continue to ride it to the promised land. Lord knows we have had enough bad luck.

    Nephin, you are dead right, it is discriminatory to consider early morning not suitable for drink, all hours of the day should be treated equally.

  61. One option would be for Loftus to wing forward and go with a more defensive 6 e.g. O’Hora or McLoughlin with loftus dropping back to sweep or rotating with the 6.

    Loads of options available to try out, next 3 games are our best chance to do so as we can technically lose all 3 and still win Sam 🙂

    Mayo by 5+ on Sunday, happy Easter all.

  62. Imo, to put it simply, we need to slow down, hold up, force laterally, physical players who come at us through the pivitol CHB position. This gives any backs that have gone forward a chance to get back, gives our midfielders a chance to get back and give defence a dig out, and also protects our full back from the dilemma of ‘Do I close the man coming through or do I stay on my man’
    If we are not slowing down attacks through the centre then we are open to conceding goal chances.
    Because McHale is so narrow, it should not be a major issue on Sunday, but every chance we will get caught out sooner or later.

  63. I agree with Gizmobobs above. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel give McLiughlin/OHora more game time, get them back to playing their A game and let Loftus sweep from ’10’

  64. Am I missing something in this passionate debate about Loftus at no. 6?

    We are now playing from the Dublin playbook imo, and that means positions are pretty much meaningless. Diarmaid and Mattie were to be found blocking up the Galway access time and again last Sunday. At one stage a Mayo attack broke down and I watched Mattie run the length of the pitch to get back into a defensive position. Everyone expects that and that other positions are interchangeable. The only one we don’t want doing this is Aidan – for good reasons. What Loftus adds is to get on a lot of breaking ball, make ground and spray accurate foot or hand passes. This he does pretty effectively.

  65. We are given up 4/5 goal chances a game from runs straight down the middle Catcol
    That’s the issue
    It may be more of a system than personnel issue but the absence of our centre half back during these raids is raising serious question marks as Loftus is a novice in the role

  66. How fair is that on Mattie or Diarmuid. Any forward sweeping up can collect loose ball, give accurate foot and hand passes. That’s bread and butter

  67. I don’t agree Km79 that it’s an issue solely re Loftus.. its an issue where 2 and 3 guys coming from deep are causing overlaps and this can’t really be stopped unless we have 6 defenders plus a sweeper.. that’s not our system however, so it’s a system fault as opposed a particular player fault.. the players are working to the system.. say if we look at the system Derry deploy.. not a hope in the first half that any team would come through for many goal chances.. but that then means a low scoring Derry first half with their forwards in particular being very tired in the second half as they are running the most by getting back, then driving forward.. and it looks shite tbh! We don’t go near as deep and we gamble more.. I like our way!!! We can overlook the fact that we are playing the best teams in the country week on week so it’s natural they will get chances.. but so are we.. I agree Galway got through twice from coming deep and that was great play from number 9.. yes number 9, not 11 who Loftus was marking! Number 11 got through with Loftus pulling him and doing his absolute best to put him off, which he did as he put the ball wide and got to know Reape up close and personal for his troubles.. I’d ask however, if Loftus was pulling at number 11 stopping him getting away fully, where was our full back line if Loftus was last man back!! So again my point is it’s the system we play we should focus on, not so much the players

  68. The template on how to defend and stop giving up goal chances is there with Tadgh Morley of Kerry from last year where he patrolled the area around the D.
    What is wrong with that system??

  69. Haven’t been convinced by Loftus at centre back.he has done ok but it’s difficult to define exactly what his role is .I don’t recall him spraying any meaningful passes into our forwards nor do I recall him dispossessing anyone in a tackle.this is not a criticism of the lad but I struggle to see what exactly his role is

  70. @ South Mayo exile,I agree but he is a bit of a tiger fearless like Galvin and Seamus Kenny of Meath.
    OHora springs to mind.

  71. Don’t understand all the stick Loftus is getting. Against Galway it was Kelly, Daly and Maher that were cutting open our defense. None of them were Loftus’s man. He probably could have put in a stronger tackle on Heaney leading up to that goal chance. Galway had 7 defenders on the pitch last weekend so it’s not surprising they conceded less goal chances than us. Ultimately it didn’t win them the game.

    The idea that one man can stop runners from deep makes no sense. It’s a team game. O’Hora and McLaughlin haven’t shown anything to suggest they should start.

  72. Well we have gone from crying about conceding own goals,to crying about almost conceding goals,we have now got a system in place to stop concession of soft goals throughout the early part of it,Conor Loftus has played his part in our defence,stop carping get behind the team and management,some people saying that we should lose games ,will you stop ,I have following Mayo since the early sixties I have seen plenty Mayo lose far too many games,we have a management team who are born winners ,they won’t want to lose any game, Mayo by seven

  73. Sorry another point re Loftus.. I would imagine its the sum of all his abilities that’s ensuring he got a chance at number 6 and staying there.. from what I’ve seen, in person and TV, I see him as a very intelligent operator.. can read the game and that’s crucial as he knows immediately when to cover others, take up a different position without being told etc.. I’ve seen others time and time again having to be told go there, go over there etc.. just different skills etc.. what he also does is makes dummy runs re kickout strategy.. he increases the pace of the attack when required, and slows it down other times.. himself and coen are very similar in that they are thinking of the whole team non stop, where others, aren’t (it’s not that they are selfish, they just don’t have that skillset).. so the likes of coen and Loftus might not set the place alight at any given time, but remove them and not put in a similar leader, and you will know then what they were bringing!!!

  74. I don’t think anyone is pinpointing Loftus as the main reason we have given up numerous goal chances but as I said earlier I struggle to define what exactly his role is .it has been suggested that one of his roles would be to provide accurate kick passes into the forwards but I just don’t recall that happening.Loftus Is a fine footballer and we have to trust the management with this decision and in fairness they haven’t got much wrong up to now

  75. Loftus can’t work miracles, if we want him as sweeper we have to sacrifice a forward to mark his man.

  76. To add to GAA Obsessed’s point, even on TV you could here Cian O’Neill roaring at Sean Kelly to “join the attack”. I wonder if he’d have caused as many problems if he had to make his own decisions

  77. I agree with JKEL88 that management has cxx earned the right to make judgement calls. As I said in an earlier post leave the team positioning to them, they have done well up till now. Remember we have just finished the league and the championship is a different animal with tight marking and space at a premium. This is when I believe you see Loftus even in a better light.As others said he is not to blame for been open down the middle when runners come from the backs and midfield. So sit back and enjoy the journey with our fine boys.

  78. If we’re open down the middle, how can the centre back be exempt from responsibility?
    The benefits aren’t outweighing the negatives for me at the moment.

  79. @1985.

    Is it just the number 6 position that you find hard to define or are there other positions you find hard to define as well.

    I think Gaa Obsessed has explained it very well above on what it is our number 6 is supposed to be doing.

    I believe people have a picture of a number 6 traditional role in their heads, and cannot get their heads around seeing the game been played any other way.

    Some people often question what Fionn for example is supposed to be doing or what Coen is doing. Probably two of the hardest working players on the team, but many people continually fail to see this.

    We have the smartest footballing brains in the county in charge of our team at the moment, and believe me, if they didn’t know what Conor Loftus’s role was on the team he wouldn’t have a role on the team.

  80. I was at the league final in 1970 when we beat Down and the late Fr JJ Cribbin scored 2_1.
    We were beaten by Roscommon in Tuam on the day of his ordination.Walking down from the altar he asked who won the match,I won’t repeat his alleged reply RIP

  81. Been reading and commenting on here for many years and I can never remember a time when people weren’t questioning our CHB.

    Maybe James Nallen?

  82. GAA obsessed, was it Galways number eleven who fisted the ball into the back of net a few weeks ago?
    I’d agree it’s a systems issue I’d have concerns about, not the individuals, we are blessed with a group of great players, over the past 10 plus years in particular. They are presumably operating as instructed or wouldn’t be there.

    I hope I’m proven wrong, as we possibly will be favourites to win out (or one of) with the players we have. While some maybe inexperienced they are all, bar Tuohy, in senior set up a while, and have benefit of resources most county teams can only dream of.

  83. Tubberman – nobody is saying he’s exempt from responsibility. However I don’t see how playing Padraig O’Hora, Stephen Coen or whoever else at 6 will automatically improve things.

    It’s up to the whole team to block up the centre. Take the Heaney goal chance for example. The other Galway forwards went out the field or to the wing and all our defenders followed them. That meant we’d no full back line in place so Heaney was straight through on goal, aside from Loftus trying to track him.

  84. Fionn isn’t there as a worker, he’s there to score. We’re tripping over ourselves for workhorses, ie Mattie, Diarmuid, Carney, Jordan, all in the middle third. And that’s not even mentioning the work Aido does, and our back 6.

    I’d be gravely concerned if this is management’s expectation for Fionn.

  85. For me the development of Jordan Flynn into the Mayo team has been massive and seems to be constantly improving, when he plays well I feel it’s Mayo’s day, he is such a pivotal player in this team.
    He had that something extra and I noticed this in the U20 final v Kildare a few years ago.

  86. Stand ticket for sale, face value at €25. (104, G). Send me an email if interested.

  87. Management are sticking with him because they believe in him as he’s very likely doing it in training. That’s fair enough and I respect that, but I would think he’d need to increase his scoring rate fairly soon, or increase his assists and/or contribute meaningfully to the attack. That’s not happening enough. It may well happen for him yet. He has shown excellent quality a few years ago so it is there.

  88. I’m finding it very hard to get up for this one. It’s a strange feeling. I think I fear injury more than a loss. I also think it’s because I can’t see the pros of the extra games. I seem to be in the minority in that regard though and that’s fair enough.
    I think we should ease off now on questioning individuals. We know the panel and it’s time for mgmt to come up with a strategy for Sunday.
    I think roscommon will be really up for this and will look to start fast. We will see fairly quickly where our heads are at.

  89. Revellino I wasn’t attempting to define the centre back position but rather the way Loftus is being asked to play it .obviously Kevin mcstay Stephen rochford Damien mulligan and Liam McHale know a hell of alot more about it than I is not in any way a criticism of Conor Loftus as a footballer but am just not convinced that he is a defender but hopefully he has a stormer on Sunday

  90. Mayo did look to be very organised the last day especially in the 1st half with players communicating and passing on responsibility for marking especially Loftus and Coen who were pointing and shouting to their team mates what space to cover. It looked like very good organisation from management. Galway did create 3 or 4 good chances during the 70+ but pressure was applied on each one. So was it that Galway are a top team very good at spotting openings or that there’s still too much space down the middle channel? Both Diarmaid and Mattie did some serious covering and Carney was back a good few times too as were several forwards. But the template is Tyrone vs Kerry in 2021 or the Dubs with Cian OS as sweeper. Kerry always found 1 additional defender to get around when they broke the line in 21. That said we created a load of goal chances in the 21 final so Tyrone didn’t maintain the system to the same level. It’s probably fine lines between defending really well as a team and getting caught out when the championship hits top gear with the best teams. Don’t want anyone 1 on 1 with Conn OC bearing on goal or Clifford, needs another defender flying in with extra numbers to stop the easy pass.

  91. @Moose79

    When you actually think about it, it’s really only one extra game.

    The Connacht final would be against the weakest team we’ll play all year and we’ll likely use it to minutes into the lads who haven’t played a lot of football. Something which could really stand to us later in the year.

    The Connacht champions will have a 50% chance of hosting one of their neighbors in the first round of the group. Having beating them, in our cases, twice already this year might give us crucial edge.

    We could have everyone injury free and souped up on steroids, and still not win Sam, or we could half a the team out injured and luck our way to the promised land.

    Personally I think Connacht is an excellent test. A league and Connacht double, while not meaning much to the fans, would be huge for the playing group.

    But most importantly, battling our way through the neighbors, will almost be the most entertaining route. I’ve a feeling that the group stages could be a pretty dull affair, best to enjoy things while we can.

    Finally, six weeks with no football, after a beating from the neighbors could make this place pretty toxic. I certainly hope Conor Loftus avoids the comments section were that to happen

  92. @Liberal Role in the tie.

    You say Fionn is there to score and not to work. So are all the forwards.

    Yet I saw somewhere that we only scored 4 points from play in last Sundays final.

    If nobody is scoring isn’t it great that at least somebody is working their socks off.

  93. @ 1985.

    I think the management want a player in that area of the field who plays with their head up.

    I don’t think Conor could be described as an out and out defender either, although in one of the schomozzles on Sunday in front of our goal it was Conor who got down and came out of the pile up with the ball.

    He always has the radar on taking the play away from the danger area.

    He was left frustrated on Sunday last, found himself open in front of goal for what would have been an easy tap in but the player with the ball didn’t notice Conor open. That in a nutshell should sum up why we need players on the team who scan the surroundings to determine what is on and what is not on.

  94. See a lot of comment about there not being a great advantage in winning connacht with the new format. But in my understanding there is:
    – avoid provincial winners in group
    – hence much higher chance of winning group
    – which would avoid the prelim quarter
    – winning group avoids a group winner in quarter
    So winning provincial seems to offer a significantly easier potential route to semi?

  95. Revellino, I think in that instance Carr could not pass to Loftus as he was inside the square when Carr received ball.

  96. Strong team named and good to see subs to disappointed not to see hession named but I would say he’s nearly back to being fit again after his injury hopefully.

    Isn’t it great this year we have so many options to put into the team after all of last years horrific long injury list?? Great to see cillian back he makes a fab impact sub.

    As others have said I can’t wait to see Ryan d O D Tommy C and cillian start the dream team or aido to so many options.

    One thing you have to give it to mcstay &co we were written off completely at the start of this year and now people are tipping us as favourites along with kerry/dubs/ Galway.

    Though with myself I am taking 1 match at a time learnt not to get my hopes up tbh haha.
    But fair play to mcstay and Co I remember loads outside and some within the county laughed when he got the job are they laughing now ?

    Anyway tough test on an Easter Sunday ha good luck to the guys ye can do it home ground advantage mayo by 5 or so…

  97. Yea I realise that is what the management are looking for and they well be right.I have noticed that in rugby terms he appears at the breakdown quite often and comes away with the ball.I am just interested in what peoples opinions are on his role.on the Heaney goal chance last Sunday Loftus clearly was tagging him as the move developed and was the last man back .as we know missed goal chances don’t count for anything.might be more relevant to look at the two goals conceded against Roscommon in earlier league game to see how they came about and the positioning of all our backs

  98. In fairness to management they haven’t done too badly so far in team selection. They invented a new role for Loftus and 8 league matches later he is still there so he must be doing something right. Watched league final back again and thought he did ok without being spectacular. Most of our players did ok without being spectacular. He was fouled in possession on 3 occasions in a short space of time in second half , in right place at right time to pick up possession. No doubt if he has a bad game(as all players do) the I Told You So brigade will say it was inevitable. Speaking of Fionn, watching in Croker , I felt he didn’t contribute much, but watching a recorded version of the game afterwards I thought he put in a serious and honest shift. We have a lot of hard workers in the team. Hopefully we can get the scores also to add to the hard work.

  99. Thank God all the heat seems to be taking from Aidan at the moment but Conor at number 6 seems to be the new target even though he is always voted in the top 10 every game, a Class footballer and doesn’t deserve this criticism, would love to see his critics playing in this team.

  100. To win just once, Loftus has being playing there for Crossmolina Deel Rovers a while now.

  101. @ Meath Exile I agree with you, another Meath exile
    At least our adopted County are quite now and going nowhere with O’Rourke.
    Cora fairly called him out after the Dublin game

  102. @JR agree to .

    Fair play to cora .

    Have no time for O’Rourke sorry but he was always so dismissive of mayo any chance he got dont know why haha..

  103. Sorry for the double posting see some are predicting the rain on Sunday will suit roscommon more then mayo on Hogan stand Forum? Really is a bad Forum need to stop reading it haha .

    As if it doesn’t rain at all in mayo ? Got to laugh… Haha anyway hears to a good game and no injuries either side on sun while we are all eating eggs haha!

  104. Looks a good team on paper and, if we are up for it and play to our abilities, I am quietly confident of victory. This is probably our best available team and bench, at the moment, based on availability and match fitness. If everyone was available and fully fit, I would expect Enda would play, with Plunkett, Brickenden, Kevin Mc and Harri in the subs. I think also that Tommy will start when he builds up his fitness and also Cillian will get more game time. A lot of debate and opinions as to who should be on the bench, between McHale, Orme, McStay, Towey, Walsh, Boland, Irwin etc-in my opinion, none of them have grabbed their chance and put their hand up, when given the opportunity-hopefully a few will yet. I also expect Sam and Bob to feature strongly, when finished with their U20’s duties. It is obvious that management have decided on our system and style of play and most of the personnel to implement it, at this stage and there will only be tweaks from now on. Conor is there to stay at 6,not as a traditional CHB, but more as an orchestrator/quarter-back to distribute and start counter attacks. He has done a decent job, so far and will have to do,until we discover someone with his attributes and the defensive abilities of Boyle or Chris Barrett. We all know that we are too open thro’ the middle and giving up too many goal chances, which will cost us. The immediate way to improve in this aspect, while I don’t like it, is to stop the momentum earlier in the moves, by tactical fouling, as Galway, Tyrone and others do-I don’t like it, but needs must. Others will be doing it to us-goals win games and we must do all we can to limit them. PS. Reading a summary of all teams in the Championship, in the Mirror, where they gave each country a nickname, the attributed “The Westerners” to Mayo-must say this was news to me and the first I heard of it. Obviously hope I am wrong, but I feel Sam may be a bit beyond us this year, but I am sure all the many competitive games will hugely benefit the new young players we have introduced in the last few years. Good luck to the lads on Sunday and here’s hoping for a good performance, a win and no injuries.

  105. I sincerely hope Conor Loftus doesnt read this blog because it wont do it confidence any good. At the end of the day its the managements decision what team lines out and after winning the league last Sunday i think they are doing a pretty good job of it

  106. Darren McHale should be starting for Mayo in my opinion.. he has been one of the best forwards in Mayo for the last number of years and was mayo’s highest scoring forward from play in the 2021 season. Unfortunately injuries have cost him. His movement and finishing is as good as anyone in the Mayo panel.. hopefully for our sake he stays injury free for the rest of this season!

  107. Maybe the management and players do read this blog and if they do they would probably see it as a discussion forum on all things related to mayo football.people have been speculating on the origins of the goals we have conceded and the chances we have given up .ignoring an issue rarely makes it go away soft goals had been our undoing in numerous all Ireland finals.I would assume the management have been trying to address this .I certainly don’t know the answer to it but that isn’t a criticism of any individual player.all in all it has been a hugely positive start to Kevin McStays management and he may well be the man that finally gets us to the promised land

  108. Obviously very few on here heard McStay’s comments about Loftus after the final last week. Think it was the Midwest interview, I’m not sure.
    But anyway, he basically said they’re really really happy with Conor at 6, and he referenced all the media noise about it, that it’s all nonsense or words to that effect. Conor is their centre back now. Check it out.

    As another poster noted, I think management are looking to the Dublin template, ie positions don’t really matter as such. Instead, McStay is looking for the “crispy” (his very description of Conor) players like Conor who are excellent on the ball and can cover ground with remarkable speed and ease, breaking the line.

    I’d share other’s concerns about us being so open at the back in the last couple of matches. But the Loftus experiment is interesting, and I can see Kevin’s rationale. I could see Stevie Coen playing the Cian O’Sullivan role.

  109. Kevin McStay’s comments about Conor were –

    ‘What Conor brings to it is he’s a gorgeous footballer,”

    “He’s a forward in a former life, he’s very accurate. He’s also very crispy on the ball, he covers ground very quickly. People just think he’s in there for kick-passing the ball, but he’s doing so much more than that.”

    “He’s a very good reader of the game. He’s a natural footballer, he knows where danger is. We’re very pleased with him. I know there’s a debate, but that’s just noise as far as I’m concerned.”

    “We’re very pleased with Conor, we got a great show out of him in this League. That was only his eighth big game in that position so he’s going to get better and better, I’m sure.”

    Asked about putting the responsibility of playing such a pivotal position onto a player adapting to that role –

    “Well, he’s around a good while. He’s 27, 28, he’s around a good while. He’s a confident young man, a very together fella, so nothing out there would frighten him too much.
    “He’ll get stuck in, he has that honesty we’re trying to get into the team. Good, strong attitude – he’s definitely a strong centre back for us, we’re very pleased with him.”

    Kevin knows what’s going on and he’s dead on about all the noise. He’s Obviously looking for and getting more from Conor than just a stopper through the middle. Based on what Kevin says re Conor’s honesty and attitude and what other posters have said re the direction he and a Stephen give others on the field he is giving way more to the team than the traditional No. 6. Sounds like Kevin sees Conor as a leader in the panel. The game has changed and Mayo have to adapt and Kevin it seems has a plan for that and whether posters like it or not players like Conor and Stephen are part of that.

    But I guess we’ll just have to listen to a lot of noise while Kevin builds this new team adapting and playing the way he wants them to. If Kevin, Conor and the lads read these blogs let it in one ear and out the other, not too many on here that have a National tile in the bag in the first three months of competition.

  110. I’ve been to 5 of the league matches, including last week. And seen the others on TV. I don’t know why but in the matches I was especially focusing on Conor Loftus role. Maybe it is because I couldn’t rate him at all as a forward (I thought many games just passed him by), and wanted to see if this would work.
    But from what I have seen, the number 6 role has definitely been a success. He is like a different man this season in comparison to other seasons. Full of confidence to get on the ball. There was a comment above that he is not really like a playmaker. That’s incorrect. In many games, he was driving up the field – collecting a short pass off the shoulder, and then playing it in to the forwards. May not have been groundbreaking, but at least it is going forward.
    If James Carr had a bit of composure last Sunday, he would have seen Loftus in front of an open goal if he just passed it across goal. Someone commented that Loftus was in the square and that is why Carr couldn’t pass. That wasn’t the case. There was no way James Carr was ever going to pass that, once he got a sniff of a goal chance. In situations like that, he is best to consider if going for a point is the better option than always going for goal.

  111. @Liberal role agreed. Positions and numbers are very fluid these days alright. Even though loftus is named at 6 the 2 key guys back there are Coen and Diarmuid who tend to be the main stoppers in those central channels. Diarmuid (who imo is Mayos most important player by a mile) has essentially been playing as an extra centerback, much deeper than previous seasons.

    Having said that jury still out on loftus in that position for me, I suspect he is there for his kick passing and creativity but I’ve seen no evidence of it so far.

    It’s fair enough for us to have robust reasonable discussions on players and tactics (within reason) imo, not much point in us putting all the players and management on a pedestal and saying everyone is perfect. Leave that kind of nonsense for the ‘team of us’ irish rugby team

  112. Precisely @1985, and Kevin could very well be the man to lead us over the line. He has inherited from Horan a young, but possibly the strongest panel of players in the country!
    And with no real serious injuries this year, unlike last.
    I’d have us as favourites this year. While personnel have been lost, they have been replaced excellently. Kerry’s loss of Moran is more detrimental to them. Dublin I think are the team to beat, they have old heads going for one last hurrah, and like us are resourced to the teeth. But very beatable.
    Might Eo abu

  113. On tomorrows game I be surprised if we don’t see a few changes before the game, Swanee possibly for McBrien who I’d guess was more than cramp last week so may not be risked.
    Possibly Tommy for Carr for Cillian for Aidan.

  114. We need to remember as well that when facing different teams we face different challenges.. the reality is Galway have a very good defence, midfield and forward line.. a proper top tier team, so space is at a premium in our forward line.. the romantic notion of a guy always kicking in a pass of 50/60 yards into our forwards isn’t possible the vast majority of the time as defences are set up differently now.. gone are the days of corner forward having a good old 1v1 on someone… the reality is if the forward gets it he’s immediately looking at 2 lads.. hence the rise of guys like Tommy who have that blistering 4 steps to get space.. so management teams are not just looking at basic footballing skills, they need to look at all these other factors that will hopefully give us that extra edge on the pitch..
    Another factor for moving Loftus back to 6 is because if the opportunity presents itself, which is likely because of his position on the pitch, he’s comfortable taking on a shot from distance.. to tie my message together, I’m trying to make the point that because most defensive systems are so hard to break down, we need to ensure that when we do get that sniff to get a score, that as many players as possible on our team are comfortable with shooting under pressure.. I would argue by turning Loftus (and Jason) into number 6s we now have 6 forwards, 2 midfielders and 2 half backs (paddy and loftus) who are comfortable going for a score.. that’s 10 players who are on a regular basis poking the opposition defences… now.. last point!!! We also have coen and again Loftus who are both natural leaders who don’t need to be told that when Mc Brien goes forward, or Sam or Hession, them 2 lads know immediately to reorganise our defence in case of a breakdown.. so at all times, the realilty is Mayo at any given moment will always have 10 lads inside the other teams half who are comfortable with shooting!
    Gone are the days where lads are trying to recycle the ball to get it into the hands of the shooter when we need a score to level it! Our new system, and the players ability, means we can come from all angles.

  115. I think most people realise Loftus is not being played as a conventional centre back, and management aren’t expecting that of him.
    What’s not so clear is what actually IS Loftus supposed to be doing. It’s one thing bringing back the likes of DOC to cover, but you’d want to be getting something of benefit from Loftus in return.
    Maybe that’s there, but I’m not seeing it to be honest.

  116. And GAA Obsessed has gone some way to explaining what the rationale might be 🙂
    There’s an argument about how comfortable Loftus is taking a score from distance tbh, but I take the general point.

  117. Good points Gaa Obsessed but so far Conor hasn’t really been getting into shooting positions or looking to shoot. Perhaps this is something that should be encouraged.

    I’d still return to the Dublin analogy. Remember them at their absolute best. Coming from deep, it was next to impossible to get a hand on them as they were so evasive and comfortable on the ball. Loftus might not be a James McCarthy etc but I think McStay is drawing from this template, ie priority for Conor is safe and quick transition of ball, whether that’s move and pass with the fist, kick-pass, or break the line from deep with ball in hand. It’s still far from perfect as it’s a work in progress. But he’s one of the best Mayo players with the skill-set to execute this. A quarterback if you will. I’d especially like to see him kick more but as you rightly say, this is easier said than done against the very top teams who prioritise the packed defence.

  118. There is one area we need to improve on. We were turned over a few times in attack that lead to some of the goal opportunities for Galway. This opportunity for the opposition to counter attack on turnover is our greatest threat. One or two were silly mistakes on our part. It is going to happen but with the half backs attacking it does leave us exposed. We need to reduce errors. Hope the legs hold up tomorrow. It is not fair to have teams play two hard games in a week. It cost us dearly when we lost to Dublin after beating Donegal in a tough match.

  119. I’ve been making that point LiberalRITT, the Dublin template is key. Note how well we have been breaking down packed defences – Galway, Roscommon, all of them. Under JH we really struggled in that department. The scores can come from anywhere, but because half backs are not the launch pads they have posted fewer scores than previously, and the forwards are getting into the scoring zones, e.g. that kick pass last week from Ryan to Jordan, bang. We’re coming at angles, with great pace and unpicking defences, with ease or greater ease perhaps.

  120. The Article posted by Achill75 is a great read.
    It would give a sense that Kevin is a problem solver in the mould of two types, (1) Apply really good resources and logistics to the problem and execute really well (2) if the problem was solved, what would an innovative solution look like?

  121. What do we hope to see from Mayo? For me, a system that limits the concession of goal chances coming through the central channel.
    Nothing to do with personalities. Secondly, we need to create more goal chances ourselves. We move the ball around slickly, many of our chances ending up with points. We were very close to creating goal chances v Galway, the final pass just letting us down
    I agree with other posters in that DOC is effectively our CHB.
    In an ideal world our two midfielders would be free to take calculated risks going forward without having to worry about minding house, but if we have to sacrifice DOC and it blocks up leakage through the centre, then so be it.
    It’s a system that’s far from perfect but as a work in progress, let’s hope we see improvement tomorrow

  122. @gizmobobs.i think you could be right about changes especially mcbrien i don’t expect we’ll see him tomorrow. Regarding Loftus even though I think the debate is played out we have to have faith in management and what they see at training jeez not only have we the best football brains in mayo but probably as good as what’s in the country so for me I’ll go with what they decide.

  123. I must have fallen asleep a a missed all those goals that we conceded to Galway,the game I saw Galway did not score a a goal at all,I have come to the conclusion that our great Enda was correct we are world champions at whinging,but I am reassured that we have no shortage of outstanding managers to take over ,when the outstanding management team we have at the moment decide to retire,Comer Loftus is an outstanding player

  124. JP, what I like about this management group, and what inspires me about them, is that I think they are committed to analysing situations well and in detail, and then coming up with fit-for-purpose solutions. By that I mean they are also committed to finding the right solution for the problem or for the aspired result.
    I also think they have the interest, knowledge, experience, smarts and passion to do that.

  125. Helli All,

    Also liked the Article by, Declan Bogue- whoever he is (courtesy of Achill75).

    Read an Article in a free Independent this morning by, Philly. He writes about how all the teams are coached in the same way now, with just a few coaches who move aroundn- how to play against the Blanket Defence etc. Also writes about how players put a brave face on their losses with language like ‘Learnings’. Not unrelated to the above Article. James Horan has spoken on learning from other sports too. Borrowing from other sports. It is all news to me but it makes sense.

    On a slightet different note, I sense that the team will take the National league victory in their stride. Maybe, if I’d been against Kerry or Dublin, it would have been harder to come down from. Then surely it is Roscommon who have shown their hand in Hyde Park recently?

    So am expecting a Mayo win.

    Just a few scattered thoughts as the countdown begins


  126. Swallow and JP – great points.

    I have been making that point as well – we have the best group we could have; doesn’t guarantee success or anything, but their experience is massive, across all four provinces, and their skillsets are top notch. In short they know a thing or two. I’m even warming to McHale about whom I had some doubts. If his whispering skills are to be believed, they are adding to options in the forward line. The Dublin template I mentioned already, has a strong basketball element and this is showing in our play. Nothing overly new in that of course, and other counties are doing it, but still…

  127. There is no point trying to have an honest discussion on here about a topical issue and putting forward alternative ideas to others with absolutely no agenda other than seeking out opinions and indeed rebuttals. It’s seen as whingeing apparently.
    For what it’s worth as my final contribution for a good while – I thought Loftus was going to be an absolute disaster at CHB. I thought he was too old to be tried/taught a new position. I think and hope I’m wrong on that and it could be a masterstroke. But there is a glaring issue with the current system/set up and it’s in his area of the pitch so I thought it was worth discussing in a fair open minded manner.
    It’s worse than the Clarke Hennelly debate now . Being taken very personally by a few.

    See ye later.
    I hope Paddy Joe Burke won’t be appearing anywhere in his Rossie jersey after 530pm tomorrow:D

  128. Anyone else see Phily mcmahons article saying he thinks mayo won the league by default and he’s not convinced by mayo have changed our style and have gotten better typical haha..

  129. He’s right though in that we haven’t changed our style. It’s still Horanball style really, with Paddy Durcan, Hession, Coyne, Callinan, McBrien attacking from deep etc. The only player I can remember that has really influenced proceedings with his kicking game has been AOS when he has drifted out from FF. It’s still Diarmuid, Jordan Flynn and McDonagh working their backsides off to get back to help out the defense. What’s different? I just don’t see much change in style apart from the sweeper but maybe that’s just me. Listening to Pillar Caffrey earlier, he only gives 4 teams any chance. One of those is Mayo. The rest haven’t a hope in hell according to him and I’m inclined to agree with him.

  130. I do think we are kick passing the ball more though maybe still some Hogan style there but theres bound to be

    . But to say we won the league by default is ridiculous he said cause dublin were in division 2 and kerry on a different schedule true for kerry maybe but the Dubs would struggle against the division 1 side I did say earlier that I thought they would win out this year but don’t see that happening now might not be mayo but won’t be them either.

  131. Km 79 I have to agree.i don’t believe there is one genuine mayo person on here who doesn’t want to see Conor Loftus or any mayo player playing well but I am sure there are difference of opinions among the current management team on different systems and for all we know there may well be people on here with managerial experience .I have seen no criticism about any players only people giving their opinion on the system.hardly describe it as whinging.what else are we supposed to discuss maybe how the players look in their new kit or the stadium announcer talking while a free is being taken

  132. I’d agree with West is best. The change in style is minimal from what I can see, and that’s not to discredit management or anything like that, it’s what’s gotten us so close, so often. It’s won us the league this year, and could well win us the all Ireland despite having not worked other times, as the opposition are not as strong as what our team of last 10 years faced, and our current starting team IMO is not far off strength of our team then.
    Aidan is in great form as well, but it’s not a new invention, at FF, he’s inside more than he was, but still drifts out a lot. He didn’t get over 20 goals and 90 points bombing from midfield all through the years, he’s being inside a lot on and off.
    I seen us at 14/1 at start of year as great e/w bet. They system suits the best resourced teams, with the best players. That’s a very small pool of teams and thank lordie we are one of them.
    With my winnings I’ll look forward to investing in nice bottle of green spot and redbreast to celebrate the green and red. 🙂

  133. A certain exDublin player with absolutely no love for Mayo is only trying to raise his own profile as many do when talking about Mayo, with Mayos huge and international fan base it’s good for clicks. But normally a worthless contribution. Don’t buy into anything he says or bother even to repeat it..Why should we care what he says or thinks!

  134. @leantimes your totally right he def has no love for mayo never has but that’s with the rivalry haha your right we shouldn’t care what he or anyone outside of the county says about us sure guess I’m used to it at this stage just typical annoying articles like that always crop up ha!

    @Gizmobobs yes your right it’s what’s gotten us so close over the years and what won us the league I do hope they do more kick passing as it really works think they are trying to do more kick passing anyway !

    Yes it really is a very small pool of teams yeah thank goodness we are on of them aren’t we lucky to be nearly always in the top 4/6 teams every year !

    Haha and I hope you enjoy it I will certainly will to whenever we do cross the line and I know we will one day!

    But for now the only thing on my mind is the Rossies tough game but mayo by 5 home crowd to cheer them on and they won’t want a repeat of 2019 ha!

  135. I cant see any problem with questions on Conor at 6.Its a fairly radical move as i thought was having him in midfield last year. Fans will have opinions and its fair enough to voice them
    I suspect that there is alot of work been / being done on his game by the coachibg team too.I know for example Dublin did alot of work with Jack McCaffrey on tackling as he referanced that himself.
    It wilë be interesting to watch developments.

  136. From what i have seen we havent really changed our style i am not sure there was a need to.
    We have settled some issues down a bit more like AOS position and also i do think we are more flexible in terms of tactics and mix it up more so we are unpredictable in some ways.Rochford in particular brings that….of course its great when it works and its not whdn it goes wrong.I do feel there is a better connection with fans than the last few years too.
    Remember there was never much wrong with “Horanball”…..but it probably did needs some tweaks and a fresh approach….if we do cross the line in the big one make no mistake James Horan had a big part in that.
    Also our much maligned County Board ……i rememver around 2017/ 2018 alot of talk on here about how “there is nothibg beibg done at underage level”…..low and behold we have a new team to follow so clearly there was something being done right

  137. That’s a good point on county board 1989, in fairness to them and I am often a critic, they can’t be called out for not resourcing county teams.

    They’ve spent over €275,000 on them in the months of October-January (and that’s what’s on the books so to speak 🙂 )

  138. To me the central issue is something that is not inside Mayo’s set-up.
    I am talking about the trend that has happened in the game generally since 2021, since Dublin’s slide.
    I mean the upsurge in use of, and success of, versions of the mass defence, be that in the Tyrone guise (2021) or the Galway, Kerry and Derry guises (2022). Galway’s take on that against us in 2022 was the double sweeper system. Kerry brought Paddy Tally on board to train them up on that last year.
    Teams are using this to win, and also to avoid losing.
    I’ve found it has crept back in since Dublin have lost their strength. They were the only team to defeat it resoundingly. But then the tactics they used turned them into automatons themselves, in a sense.
    Mayo have traditionally struggled with breaking down a blanket or mass defence. When we were playing those massive games against Dublin it wasn’t an issue.
    But recently it has become an issue for us.
    We fluffed completely last year in the quarter final against Kerry, being unable to score at all for the most of the second half. I know we had injury woes but we were also kept out of the scoring zone. We had a big discussion on this blog last year about how to break down a mass defence.
    I think a lot of people thought that it was very difficult under Horanball, that that style of play was not optimum to defeat it.
    My favourite thing to overcome it is to get ahead early and dictate the game.
    But McStay and co are more nuanced!
    To me, defeating or completely overcoming this mass defensive system – while still playing Mayo football – is McStay’s, Rochford’s and co’s main task on the road to triumphing in the summer or coming summers.
    In Horan’s time, when the Dubs were setting the pace, he realised that developing an athletic team that could go up against them with power and pace was necessary for success.
    Now we need to figure out how to defeat these defensive systems.
    GAAObsessed posts above have provided great insight into the nuanced and systematic way McStay is thinking of doing that. (As he said in commentary in August 2021 – “all good running, all good lines…”, and as a poster previously said, a strong middle eight engine room, and another poster said having ten players able to shoot and score). The42 article quoted above also offered good food for thought esp. re his basketball past – see Terry Kennedy’s words re defences, screens, transitions, reading the game a few moves ahead, speed. Remember too that Conor Loftus played basketball underage with Ballina and I think coached by Liam McHale. Posters can correct me if I’m wrong there).
    To me, our neighbours Galway are offering a template that it’d be really great to know to undo.

  139. What I mean by the above is that heavy defensive systems are dictating the game right now. It’s a challenge to overcome. They don’t give a lot of room for flair playing until they are defeated. If Philly and others are saying Mayo haven’t changed much, maybe he doesn’t realise that it’s this narrow issue that the management team might be trying to solve first.

  140. I have to say that I am not convinced yet that we are truly a top 4 team. We are a team that have improved player depth and a better bench but some of this is down to Cillian and Tommy coming back from injury.

    We have more structure and players and management are gaining confidence in what is working and we will be difficult for most teams but as per above discussions, we still have some weaknesses, as indeed have all teams.

    I think that it will be after the round robin before we really have a good idea as to where we are in the pecking order. Hopefully we will see our middle ranking players step up tomorrow and continue to see some game changing impact from the subs to build our overall strength and experience as this could be key later in the year.

  141. @ Sinead37 yes the ticket is still available.

    Do you want to send on your email address?


  142. Achill 75that and Stephen Rochford is why I am confident that Sam is on its way to Mayo

  143. @1985, I’m with you there, who cares what that fella says. Maybe a few from inside ‘the pale’ might, but that’s about it I’d say.
    Can’t stomach him an a few others from that neck of the woods!
    My elderly father, who as a 14 year old, listened to the ’51 game on the radio, and who’s been following Mayo ever since, thru thick and thin, has always read the Indo. Thats his choice – each to their own I suppose.
    For me, i just can’t stick that Dublin Indo rag and also it’s Sunday version. I have absolutely no time for their GAA correspondents (Breheny, Brolly, O’Rourke, Sweeney) and other contributers (McMahon, T.O’Shea etc), who constantly criticise, slander or just stick it into Mayo at every opportunity.
    F#@k the lot of them and most of the other Dublin media too.
    I love reading Sean Moran or Malachy Clerkin in The Times (east coast exception!), They know the game, an I like some of the guys in the Examiner who often give a more balanced, evenhanded, unbiased view etc
    The odd Northern paper like the Irish News gets a read too.
    I read this blog alot and other online GAA sites too, but those othe rags I mentioned, don’t start me, they haven’t an ounce of love for us!
    UP MAYO!!!!

  144. RP…….well put !!….I share your sentiments. ORourke in particular has always showed distain for Mayo football teams…….He’ll never change.

  145. Sympathies with Km79. Questioning a system is often misconstrued as personal criticism of player(s).
    The small McHale Pk (1870 sq m less of pitch than Croke) should work in favour of defenders.
    Mayo should have.
    Roscommon unlikely to start as poorly as in Hyde but very hard to see how the can win this.
    Not conceding ground up the middle and managing the game would make it a good Mayo performance.

  146. I feel that we have already made great progress under the new management team, building on the work of Horan, with the introduction of new young players, the creation of a deeper and stronger squad and a different style and system of play. This may not be our year, but we are laying a solid foundation for the future-all these new young players will benefit hugely from the run of competitive games and will be better players next year and beyond. The signs are good and we have played a lot of good stuff. Some have referenced our difficulty breaking down these blanket defences, which is a problem for most teams and a lot of these defensive minded team regularly use tactical fouling to break the momentum, slow up attacks and allow them get back into defensive shape-maybe we should consider doing some of that. But the elephant in the room is how easy it is sometimes to play up thro’our middle and the amount of goal chances we cough up, in almost every game. Galway had four clear goal chances and on another day, could have taken all of them-it’s little consolation that they did’nt-we won’t always be so lucky. We urgently need to address this or it will cost us dearly-not much point breaking down blanket defences if we continue to leak goals at our end.

  147. Is the Terrace pay on entry tomorrow or does one needs tickets for all areas of McHale Park ?

  148. @Glasagusderg think colm reape held up really well good against good Galway side and made every save and we didn’t leak any goals in that game anyway Galway had 5 goal chances and reape saved them all. But yes we do have stuff we need to work on .

  149. Ticket needed in advance for entry to all areas @ Mayo 88. Just a slight price difference.

  150. With the bad weather forecast, the stand is the only place to be. Sold out except for a handful of seats

  151. New York putting it up to leitrim at the moment. 1 point up at half time and could be more. Leitrim fitness will probably tell in the end. Good service by gaago just no analysis for this game.

  152. A few Mayo lads here in Bristol,.does anyone know of anywhere to watch to game against the Rossie’s?

  153. @No doubt.. Thanks, for the info..tune into Ocean FM for Extra Time as is what’s happening right now.

  154. 13 points apiece game going to extra time. Any bodies game now. A lot of Leitrim players going down with cramp. Astro field a killer on the legs.

  155. Of the 5 Galway chances 1 was barely a half chance and their player executed poorly, one was a Hail Mary from Cooke who had to goal but despite a powerful shot didn’t, Another (Maher’s had plenty of defenders and goalie putting pressure so wouldn’t be too critical there. For Heaney’s we were unlocked too easily but Loftus and Reape did both put a lot of pressure on him and for Comer’s Paddy was turned too easily but Diarmaid came flying back to pressure him into a near side shot. I would criticise our concentration further out for the Cooke and Heaney chances, And I don’t foresee Paddy making the same mistake again or seldom will albeit the top players can sometimes turn a speedster like Paddy so another extra defender is needed if it ever happens.

  156. Best of luck to the team and management tomorrow, a potential banana skin should have enough to do the job and ,we hafnt had a full 70 minutes performance yet and understandablely so as we’re not at full tilt yet but closing it out till the end is essentially against a Roscommon team that won’t wilt either, get it done and off to Portugal Monday morning to iron out what needs to be done and back fresh for salt hill

  157. Leitrim lose. Andy must be raging. Took and missed 4 penalties. I don’t know if it was the pressure or not but terrible penalties.

  158. There won’t be a more entertaining and thrilling game all year than New York – Leitrim was tonight.
    Yes it was full of errors, but y’know what it was full of spontaneous mad action and randomness.

  159. Sensational result..
    Terrible for Andy Moran and Leitrim. But New York were excellent.
    Eoin kerin and Adrian Varley were outstanding and what about bih Johnny Glynn, that result will go up with his All Ireland hurling medal win.. Great scenes..

  160. @No doubt, raging or not? Andy was the first manager to lose a championship match v New York.. but he won’t be the last… Penalties?.. Not so long ago , a certain Mayo team went to extra time v London..Really can any manager plan for penalties and extra time in a Gaelic Football Match, yeah sure he can, but it has happened so infrequently, it’s like planning for a new moon.. Sligo will now play in the Sam Maguire unless London can beat them on Irish soil.. personally I think not, but who knows … That’s the beauty of sport!

  161. Sorry, I should have said Sligo will now play in the Sam Maguire as at least a second seed unless New York can beat them on Irish soil . Sligo have already beat London…. believe it or not as Ripley used to said, neither Mayo , nor Galway, nor Roscommon, Numbers One, Two and Three in the NFL rankings are not garunteed a number two seedings in the later round robin game’s .I’m sure the director of communication from the GAA will once again enlighten us as to the reasons why! ..


  162. This was predicted during week. Not sure who, but possibly Peter Canavan in some pod during week?? I stand corrected on that. NY have a strong team, noted in the mainstream.

  163. I feel for Leitrim and Andy Moran.
    It was only a matter of time before NY took a Connaught team out.
    NY have gone very close on numerous occasions.
    It was a brilliant game to watch despite a lot of errors.
    Congratulations NY.

  164. At least Andy leaves gaelic park with his togs on this time. Great result for New York. Craziest penalty kicks I ever saw

  165. All the highlights Andy Moran had as Mayo footballer, tonight is the biggest possible lowlight, in history record books now as the first manager in charge of a team that lost to New York.

  166. True MayoMagic, but tonight is likely more proof that management is irrelevant if ya do not have the players.

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