The football’s back and so too is The Mort

It may only be very early in January, it is just the FBD but nevertheless it sure is great to have the football back again. Matches at this time of year always tend to have a raw, elemental feel to them and today’s opening outing in the 2012 FBD was pretty much of that kind. The exchanges were often hard and uncompromising, there was precious little fluency in evidence from either team and the grass at Ballyhaunis was way too long. But it was a good workout, with a number of new and returning faces faring well and we came away with a hard-earned four-point win.

Given the hour that I’m writing this at and bearing in mind that, like the football, school is back for the kids in the morning, I’m not going to dwell too long on today’s match here. We didn’t get back from the west until close to eight this evening and we were no sooner in the door than the locality was plunged into a power cut-induced darkness, which obviously wasn’t helpful for report writing purposes. In any event, Colm Gannon of the Mayo Advertiser has already got his match report online as well as some post-match audio with James Horan.

It was a low scoring match and so the blow-by-blow account of what happened is easy to set out. We establised an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead, with points from Danny Kirby, Enda Varley, Darren Coen and Colm Boyle, but the vistors got the next three points to leave it all square at half-time. Indeed, Leitrim were unlucky not to go in ahead as they had a goal ruled out for a square ball (it would seem that refs are now going to blow for this infringement if there’s any doubt at all about where man and ball are) and then a close-in free just before the break came back off the upright.

Enda Varley got our opening point in the second half from a free, which was quickly cancelled out by a similar score at the other end but a second Darren Coen point and another free from Enda sent us two clear. Then Conor Mortimer, who had replaced Pat Harte early in the second half and who had provided the assist for Darren’s point, belted over a glorious left-footer to the delight of the home crowd.

When Enda knocked over another free it was obvious we had the game in the bag and, despite losing Donal Vaughan to a second yellow from the over-fussy ref Michael Duffy, all Leitrim were able to add to their tally was another free which Mort responded to at the other end to complete our 0-10 to 0-6 win.

Overall, it was a satisfying performance today, with solid outings by Eoghan Reilly, Lee Keegan, the evergreen Peadar Gardiner and Colm Boyle in defence, Barry Moran in midfield and Danny Kirby, Enda Varley, Darren Coen and sub Conor Mortimer in the forwards.

I’d expect both Eoghan and Lee to be pushing strongly for starting slots later in the year, with Lee obviously a candidate for a place in the half-back line rather than in the corner, and both looked strong and uncompromising today. Colm Boyle also showed he has plenty to offer and has the ability to make the selection  process for those half-back slots a difficult one for James Horan and his colleagues.

Barry Moran’s performance in midfield – where he made a number of eye-catching fetches, including this one – was great to see. Poor old Bazza has had wretched luck with injuries over the last few years and while his tendency to get crocked so easily makes it hard to see him becoming an integral member of the first fifteen, he showed today that he could well do a job for us in the middle.

In the forwards both Danny Kirby and Darren Coen enjoyed positive debuts and it’ll be good to see both getting more game time over the spring. Enda Varley wasn’t always accurate but his four points (three from placed balls) were a major factor in why we won today.

But the man whom everyone would have been talking about when trooping away from Ballyhaunis in the gathering gloom of a dull and misty January afternoon was, of course, Conor Mortimer. A big cheer went up when The Mort came on for Pat Harte early in the second half and an even bigger one resounded around the place when he knocked over a delicious point from out on the left with his trusty left boot.

Conor last played for us in the qualifier defeat to Longford back in June 2010 but he showed today that he has every intention of forcing himself back into the reckoning for the no.13 jersey when the serious stuff starts later this year. How the cutthroat battle for starting places in the full-forward line pans out will be a fascinating sub-plot to our football year but it’s great to see that we have plenty of talent available once again in this sector.

So, we’re up and running again, with two more FBD matches to come – next Sunday against GMIT in Ballinrobe and the following Sunday away to Roscommon – before a possible FBD Home Final appearance and then the resumption of the NFL the weekend after that. Yes, it’s great to have the football back once more.

MAYO: David Clarke; Shane McHale, Eoghan Reilly, Lee Keegan; Peadar Gardiner, Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle (0-1); Barry Moran, Seamus O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin, Pat Harte, Danny Kirby (0-1); Enda Varley (0-4, three frees), Darren Coen (0-2), Michael Conroy. Subs: Conor Mortimer (0-2, one free) for Harte, Ger Cafferkey for McHale, Richie Feeney for McLoughlin.

31 thoughts on “The football’s back and so too is The Mort

  1. First step in a long season…but a big first step it was. From what I could tell from radio reports, we played pretty well for the first outing of the year. Well done!

  2. Just a quick trawl WJ through the papers. Austin O Malley kicked a point for Wicklow…remember old Austin? Hennelly was in goal for DCU who seem to put out an All Star lineup…must be a great place for education.

    John Maughans UCG (like John Maughans Mayo/Clare/Fermanagh?Ros/Crossmolina) had Ronan rochford, Neil Douglas K Conroy, Cathal Freeman and Jason Doherty play for them, douglas got 0-5.

    Aiden O Shea and Alan Freeman played for DIT and Freeman kicked 0-6 frees. If UCG are John Maughans, who is GMIT, Sligo IT, MICE…aghhh all those fcking initials and we still with all that brains thrust are worse off than Greece , Latvia and Iceland. Best stick to football!!

  3. long as he is kicking scores i couldnt care less about his socks, which they will surely make him change in the championship ( if he is picked…)

    nice start to the season , for those of us overseas many thanks to ed mcgreal , colm gannon and of course WJ himself for keeping us posted.

    am getting through laffeys book , it really is a fantastic read.

  4. Opt 2 miss teek is right. Either you are part of a team or you are apart from the team. Everyone wears the same. Conor is good but not special. Time for his football to talk not his hair, socks or other such shite.

    Joe Kernan gave a talk a few years ago at a Mayo News dinner for their all stars. Nobody on his Armagh/Crossmaglen teams wore anything other than what was laid down by Joe and his kitman. Nobody was special and nobody was above the collective. What next ? a snood?

    Time we all sang from the same hymn sheet. Its not that we are exactly short of talent and at 29 the only clock ticking for Mortimor is his age.

  5. even if he was special he wears the team socks, shorts and Jersey just like his team mates. I hate this type of shyte

  6. is that not just tape around the ankles? or maybe it is the mort been the mort anyway good to have him back. Fro

  7. I’d go easy on Conor, lads – it’s only the first game in the FBD and even if he wasn’t wearing the right socks at least he had the right jersey on (as Colm Gannon points out here, there were two Leitrim players listed at no.12 in the match programme). The essential point for me about Conor yesterday was that he came on and made a visible improvement in a forward line where Pat Harte and Michael Conroy had struggled and his introduction definitely swung the game in our favour.

    Roger – re being kept in touch, make sure that you’re also following the official Mayo GAA Twitter feed (@MayoGAA) where PRO Aidan McLoughlin is playing a blinder. Regardless where in the world you may have been yesterday, you wouldn’t have missed a score from Ballyhaunis if you were tuned in there. I didn’t bother doing any tweeting at the ground myself as the other lads doing so had it all well sorted.

  8. My point is that we dont need reasons other than football to be talking about Conor Mortimer.Paul Galvin has chosen the fashion industry as his career, yet when he puts on the county jersey, its not with bells and whistles,fake tan,bleached hair or any other such shite-his football ability does all the talking thats needed.We dont need any ‘side-show-Bobs’ to distract us-Give me the silken skills of Cillian,the steel of Donie Vaughan,the determination of Alan Dillon,etc etc.Hopefully the scribes and media will have enough with that to fill their columns/TV without having to resort to distractions

  9. used tweets to keep up to speed yesterday and they came thick and fast ed mc greal was out in front from the off.
    Poor Conor 20 minutes back in the colours 2 points on the score sheet and 3 comments about his socks.
    Well for me.. I’d Like Conor to look after the scoring and Let JH or one of his deputies look after the uniforms.

  10. The socks are a symptom. Freeman scored 0-6, Douglas 0-5 and its their understated returns that we note. Mortimor scored two points against Leitrim and its like Moses came back from Croagh Patrick. Mayo god help us alright.

  11. agree fully albany.

    The same Galvin has plenty detractors in kerry as well as in other counties, personally delighted to see conor back , if he doesnt make the starting 15 he will certainly push hard the lads who do.

  12. Happy New Year to you all.
    Great to have the football back, it was a tough Christmas trying to watch soccer and rugby. Nice to start with a win as well.
    Finally got round to reading that JH interview from the Western, it was great stuff.

    As for the ‘sock debate’ – Jesus Christ, really???!!!

  13. ontheroad you get what I’m tryin to say-If a lad wants to stand out, do it on the pitch and respect the uniform you’re privileged to wear

  14. Was at the game. Thought Gardiner was pick of the backs and mort was pick of the forwards!
    Reilly did well and Boyle looks tough. Needs to defend a bit tho. SOS was a good workhorse but died in second half. Harte was off the pace but good to see him back. Kirby is a big lad and worth sticking with. Coen has a good eye for a score. Conroy had a bad day. Hope he gets another chance. Gud to see Clarke playing. Looked a bit rusty.
    Want to comiserate with Ballyhaunis GAA club after the sudden death of one of their most loyal servants Jason Morley last wed. RIP Jay.

  15. Jack charlton said it all “the Irish f….ing wont let go of their hero’s”. We are as bad. Mort scores two points V Leitrim in January in a nothing match. BJ scores two points in the pits of hell up north but we get no comment or over the top bullshit about that.

    I am waiting for some plank to write in and tell us we would have won against Kerry last year had Mort been around. Three things to that… 2004/05/06. I see in the Western that the county board have chilled the relationship with the Mayos in Dublin and that the Dublin section are not impressed with the county board methods. Yep …life sure goes on…the clock meanwhile ticks on…60 years and counting.

    PS. In a real match, Connacht final 1951 Peter Solon scored 3-1 V Galway with the great Sean Purcell at mid along with a young John Nallen from Mayo but domiciled in Galway. Peters reward for that plus a point V Kerry in the semi? …he failed to make the bench for the final and we still managed to win. Yup different socks and a personality makes our little tummys tickle today …as the porter said to George Best …”where did it go wrong George?”

  16. well the the socks have probably triggered the reaction he was hoping for. Shame on us! Anyway good to have him back but id really like to see some of the new fellas shine in these type of matches. To hear that Gardiner and Mort were the pick of the bunch, well tis a bit disappointing. We needs some new fellas to shine in these run outs.

  17. Ontheroad, I don’t think anybody has gone overboard in their praise of Mort. A couple of people said he was the best forward on view – nothing wrong with that.
    On the other hand, I think some people (mainly yourself) have over-reacted to his comeback. Losing the rag over socks! And as mortified said, from all we can see from that photo it could be tape. The top of the socks is the same as all the other players…

  18. These matches reveal nothing. If anything they are a welcome relief for the players from gym work and high intensity training post x’mas. The playing conditions (long grass etc) are so drastically different (bar this summer in Connacht!) from championship conditions that deep analysis on player performance is irrelevant.

    League performance and the team’s attitude to away games in particular will reveal much.

  19. We should stick with Conroy throughout the league, can’t really judge on these type of games. The potential was definitely there before, so lets see if he can cut it.
    We seem to have an abundance of forwards all of a sudden, so lets see them all fight it out over the next few months and find out who wants it the most.

  20. mort is a good forward, simple as that. different socks are the fault of the kitman, assuming we have a kitman.

  21. Games this time of year, as previously pointed out are not of any real value. Good performances from players boost their confidence. It is a break from the gym and various programmes.

    As for the game itself I was disappointed with the scoring of only 10pts. Mayo should be putting up big scores against weaker opposition. It’s been said that there is an abundance of forwards this year. But besides Dillon, o Connor, Andy Moran and Mcloughlin players who get their chance have to take it. Freeman kicked 6 frees at the weekend. None from play. Doherty didn’t score for nuig. Conroy didn’t impress but in fairness I feel he could have a big role this year if he shows his club form. Neil douglas is in great form but seems to be on the periphery. Conor
    mort whether we like him or loathe him, he knows
    where the posts are. I seem him as an impact sub later in the year.

    I’m worried about our defence. There is a lack of quality corner backs coming through. We were badly stuck last year when Cunniffe and Ritchie feeney got a roasting. Dermot Geraghty stayed on the bench and keegan is a half back. Rogers from Ballagh and Mchale from Knockmore had average seasons with their clubs. They are young and hopefully will
    blossom. At the moment whoever gets their chance, let’s hope they take it and perform come the bigtime when given the opportunity.

  22. Actually and I knew it all along anyway Mort is wearing the Mayo socks but pulled a pair of them running socks over them. Not very observant are ye? but WJs site got off to a flyer over the socks….what is it 25 hits on Mortimers socks. And yes…he should wear the exact same as the rest because he aint special. Win an All Ireland this year and I will eat the socks …without salt. By the way Morts socks are the least of our problems.

  23. ah lads,cannot c mort. start,n in championship a good sub to bring n la 10-15 minutes..on anoth. subject while i agree n support tha county board n their efforts to raise money n tha change of jerseys for tha dublin match n it does look like a nice jersey n will buy it i would,t b n favour of lose,n tha hoop jersey n tha history tha attach to it.. any thoughs from any 1 on it…

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