The morning after

Monday morning, it’s raining and I still have the bunting that’s strung from the front of the house to take down. It’s over for another year, with Sam gone to Donegal, the winter ahead of us and thoughts of what might have been. Cruel this may be but this is the reality this Monday morning.

I haven’t gone near the papers yet and, to be honest, I’ve very little appetite for doing so. I’m sure most of you feel the same way in any case. Reading about how and why we lost won’t alter the outcome, won’t undo the defeat. There are more productive things to be doing today.

What’s heartening, though, this morning is to reflect back on last night’s post-match bash at the Regency where the mood was both upbeat and defiant. James argued eloquently that this is only the beginning for his young team while Andy – who had more reasons than most to be down in the gob – declared that the only failure would be not to return again. It was great to hear such positivity from the camp so soon after the final whistle had been blown, good too to see this mood shared by the large attendance at the event.

So – chin up, hombres. We’ve had a great year, we have a team that did us proud and which has the potential to go further in 2013. While we didn’t get across the line yesterday, we weren’t outclassed and we know now that we’re not far off the summit. There’ll be other days and, hopefully, ones with better outcomes than yesterday’s. That September road is still there for us.

But, rain or no rain, I’m afraid the bunting has to go.

57 thoughts on “The morning after

  1. Its good to hear that the mood was positive in the Regency but I expected that,regardless of the result it appears to be a great bunch of players. Considering the start yesterday, the wheels could have come off completely.

    Watching it again this morning, (purgotory) while the start was bad, we missed some relatevely handy frees and one or two good chances. We never looked like scoring a goal. Its a long way back and other teams (Dublin especially) will be strong next year.

  2. Yes raining here too. dropped the kids to school and came home and took down the decorations. Glad to hear that the mood last night was not totally negative. It was another tough one to lose but fuck it we have to get on with it. Had a glance at the papers but quickly gave up.
    Are you going to do a dissection on the game later WJ? Will personally leave.my own thought a until then if you are. Cold here now so going for A cup a tea.

  3. It’s good to hear that the squad members are upbeat after this setback. While Mayo supporters may look on this as a sixth All-Ireland defeat in a row, these guys can only take responsibility for the one they were involved in themselves. And losing is part of the game – you deal with it, learn from it (hopefully) and move on.

    To get to two finals in his second season in charge is of enormous credit to James Horan and his squad, particularly when you consider the train-wreck of a Championship campaign they’d just had. If in 2012 they’d had a mediocre League campaign, and an exit from the All-Ireland series at any point before the semi-final, they’d be going backwards. Instead they are progressing.

    Mayo are a force to be reckoned with. No team will want to have to meet Mayo next season, because they’re improving all the time.

    By the way, Mayo are not the only team to have continuous heartbreak in finals. The rugby club Clérmont Auvergne contested the final of the French championship ten times between 1937 and 2009. They lost every single one of those finals, including three on the spin from 2007-2009. What did they do then? They came back in 2010 and won the damn thing.

    Mayo will be back, and it will be sooner rather than later.

  4. Feck it anyway. The two goals were a disaster. I’m not sure the personell were the problem for the first goal, it was the fact that when murphy came down with the ball there was no one else there to stop him. Hindsight is great, but Feeney on from the start at centre forward could have made big difference. The loss of A Moran proved too much as well.
    I see what’s being done at underage football in Dublin and fear that the whole country is falling behind them in terms of coaching and playing population. We could end up with another Kilkenny situation in the football. That may be our biggest hurdle in trying to get our hands on Sam.

  5. Thank you thank you thank you James.

    That is exactly what i wanted to hear . A man who like me sees a future and sees an All Ireland in this team. Now its off to develop them into a team that wont be beating next year. My friends i think we will be in for a good surprise .

  6. while i dont want to blame him, i think maurice deegan had an absolute stinker. for both sides. having watched the game again i cant understand how cillian did not get a free right before donegals second goal and worse i cant understand how he gave away a free in that scenario. Im afraid to think of how the game would have turned out minus that goal. ontop of that i think he gave mayo frees where we didnt deserve them but no decision was more crucial than that one.

  7. Totally gutted today but not like last time thank god! Those missed frees in second half nearly as deadly as the goals. Back to the drawing board but with hope.

  8. Firstly – well done to the lads for giving it everything by way of heart and effort and physicality – sad today but still proud of them all and hopeful for the future! And yes we are a real threat to anyone from now on. Many positives!

    I feel sorry for Kevin Keane – Croke Park on AI day is a cruel place to be exposed. I hope he can bounce back from this and learn from the experience. I fairness to him Carl Lacey got through our midfield area far too soft and was able to pitch the ball perfectly for Murphy.On the tactical side – popping in high balls to McFadden and Murphy should have been no surprise. They did the same against Cork. I feel we should have been better prepared for that.
    I wonder are BM and AOS the type of midfielders required in the ‘modern’ game or would we be better with more agile and mobile players – rugby league type fellas! It is hard for very big men like them (especially amateurs) to get around the field persistently putting in tackles and making plays which seems to be what is required now.
    And finally (I have posted about this for years) – you need a couple of ‘killer forwards’ to win an AI. If yesterday proved anything it was that. I cannot name any AI winning team in recent history that hasnt had at least ONE forward that would put the fear of god into any back – no matter how good he is! Andy is near enough that calibre but we need another.
    I’m sure there are many valuable lessons – and I’m sure we will learn them! The trouble is can we put 15 players on the pitch who are going to be superior to all the rest?

  9. The goals were the difference, its the start I hoped we would get. I hoped they would come out and hit them with everything we had. We did really well and never gave up, and at stages they did not know what to do or where to go and we robbed possession. We did miss chances, and we also did not make the most of our possession but you could see Mayo gave it everything. I did wonder what the feeling was in the team hotel last night, and I’m glad to hear it was upbeat. I have a good feeling about this group and while its hard now I think they will come back strong again next year. Well done to James Horan and the team.

  10. Ahh well – Great team effort overall though. We’ll be back – we must’ve been to more finals that most so it will come and we know it.

    In other news we’re due a baby this week and for his outstanding efforts for Mayo this year we will be naming him after Cillian O’ Connor. So all raise a glass for baby Cillian when he arrives later this week

  11. Kevin keane didn’tdo a lot wrong for murphys goal I don’t no a defender who could have stopped that catch and shot,as for da second he should have put a boot to da ball.but recover he did with at least 2 massive catches over mcfadden and Murphy in da second half,like the rest of them fought to the end,really proud af their efforts all season bring on 2013

  12. Just looked at the Sunday Game on RTE player. Cillian could well have walked after his punch into the stomach of a Donegal player after about 15 minutes. He was a very lucky boy.

  13. Once again unbridled optimism with very little real analysis. Maybe that is why we don’t win All Irelands.

    And the team was upbeat? Over what? Don’t get me wrong I am proud of the lads but you have to learn from mistakes and this is not a good sign.
    People have been pointing out since the start of the season the lack of progress of some Mayo players- it has gone unnoticed. People also pointed out how matchups would be important- journalists and posters- but the match ups were shocking. Donehy first- now murphy- who next time?

    And it seems we had subs. Gibbons ,Feeney and Seamus O Shea were brought on too late.

    Now the team and James can take constructive criticism or can continue to bury heads in the sand.

    It is a long way back and another chance has gone!

  14. @ Makingprogress or we can be negative like you .I think you are wrong . I believe they have a lot to be upbeat about . Its the first time i can say hand on heart i was proud of them in the final. A the start of any game anything can happen it could have just as easily being knock into the mayo forward line and mayo have scored the goal. As it happened it was Donegal. I don’t think anyone would have stopped Murphy from scoring it was a fantastic shot . As for the second one was very unlucky . To be honest i don’t think Donegal done anything great after the 2nd goal . I believe at times and certainly for the last 15 minutes of the first half we did break Donegal’s system down. Another reason why James Horan is upbeat is he has a fantastic bunch of players that he has and another 12 months to develop them into his team and he knows that .Most of these are are in there early 20’s now its important that their skill sets are nurtured .So chin up makingprogress what is another year 🙂

  15. The long and the short of this is, Donegal were the better team yesterday. I heard so much crap yesterday, poor old Mayo, the curse thats on them and all the other shite.

    Football is won by winners ,fit, strong, tactical play, passion,,hunger and a desire to win.
    Did Mayo show any of these yesterday, no, same old, same old. Happy to turn up and put up with the pat on the back, a nod and wink and listen to the oldest,most tired saying imagineable. ( NEXT YEAR)
    It is getting a little bit embarrassing. The management needs to do some home work.

  16. Makingprogress and magicmayo, hats off to you. Spot on the money. Next year, next year and next year is all i heard. There is no effing next year only the 70 mins we earned and sadly Donegal a well organized, committed but not special team did what they had to.

    However next year i dont expect Galway to lie on the oars, a team called Kerry will have an opinion, so too will a Dublin team with a big squad. I am leaving out others like Cork, Armagh, Tyrone and god knows who else that might have a cut at it. we too will be in the mix to a point. Starting the six forwards with the excellent McLoughlin the biggest around 5-10 and COC a similar size was not the way to beat Donegal.

    They had Mcfadden and Murphy…big and mobile. We choose to keep ours in the harbour . Next year the board and the manager needs to be ruthless and as cussed as McGuinness. Will they?

  17. We are behind both Donegal and Cork at this point and on a par with Dublin and Kerry so we are somewhere between 3rd & 5th in the pecking order.
    In truth this is the position we have occupied for most of the last 20 years. This has left us forever competing but unable to get over the line.
    Yesterday we had a power deficit in both the full back and full forward lines. Our start was way too timid for a team competing in an AI Final especially considering our starts in 2004 & 2006.
    Michael Murphy showed us how to take Game 5 by the scruff of the neck and Colm McFadden showed us how to put a game to bed early on. Two goals to nil and you cant survive in Croke Park with those statistics. Game over. After that we were gallantly punching their cushion until time ran out.
    The first goal was only partially Kevin Keane’s fault as there was no outfield pressure on the delivery. Due of the lack of pressure and resultant trajectory of the incoming ball Keane could not risk challenging in the air. When Murphy took possession Keane’s positioning was good but his attempted challenge was too weak and Murphy was able to get his shot off.
    In the second half Murphy was allowed punch another ball goalwards(point) despite the presence of two challenging defenders.
    We are not powerful and composed enough in the full forward line either and yesterday our substitutions came too late and dare I say it Mort was missed.
    For the future we need to do what we have not been doing …. learn from our mistakes.
    I was in the Regency last night and noticed an upbeat mood despite the defeat.

  18. Been following this website for the past while now but this is my first post. Have left Croke Park following finals in the past completely dejected with no hope of anything different the following year but I felt a strange optimism following yesterdays game. I travelled to Croke Park yesterday hoping for a performance, whether we would win or not I thought depended on Donegals performance, which would need to be sub-par. And we did get a performance, from the 10th minute onward we really challenged and rattled their cages at times like I felt other teams hadn’t done in the last few games. In my opinion the defeat came down to two things:

    1. (obviously) the mismatch between Murphy and Keane for the first 10 minutes. Cafferkey has proved himself as the man to mark the oppositions big forward over the last couple of years like he did to O Connor and Donaghy lastyear and Brogan this year. 1 point from play for Murphy after Cafferkey went on him.

    2. Full forward line. Between 50th and 60th minute when Mayo were dominant in midfield and gaining enough possession to claw back the deficit, the corner forwards just couldn’t win a ball. We missed Andy and I felt this was the only area where Donegal were physically stronger.

    But the key is to learn from these things… theres no point talking about this Mayo team saying this is the 6th final theyve lost. For Horan and most this team its their first… its progression from a semi final defeat lastyear…. theres 12/13 players in that team capable of winning an all ireland. For next year Id like to see Doherty playing in the corner,with Andy able to offload to a prolific goalscorer. We need a centre half forward and more competition in corner forward. Rest of team is pretty much set, disagree with people saying midfield needs to be changed… won a huge amount of possession yesterday.

  19. THIS IS MY LAST BLOG ON THIS, IVE HAD ENOUGH AND IT WONT CHANGE THINGS.

    MAYO ARE A YOUNG TEAM, AND NEED TO BE WORKED ON.
    TO THE MANAGEMENT, YOU HAVE TO BE MORE RUTHLESS ON ALL FRONTS.
    FORGET ABOUT BEEN THE BEST BOY IN THE CLASS. THEN SAY 2 YEARS TIME
    WE WILL REAP THE REWARDS.

    THATS IT FOLKS.

    PS TO MY NEPHEW WHO WAS ON THE BENCH YESTERDAY, YOUR DAY WIILL COME AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND YOUR TEAM MATES.

  20. Mayomaningalway….

    Amazing how anyone who calls for analysis is negative. Anyone who calls for lessons to be learned is negative.

    This is not hindsight. These matters pointed up in advance. I heard the same ‘positive’ comments after 89,92,96,97,2004,2006. Thoe who do not learn from the lessons of the past are bound to repeat them. Long ball to Doheny- surely Moran would foresee that- he didn’t- Putting Keane on Murphy- Horan will see that- he didn’t.

    Horan and Keane and the others are good decent people whom I admire and love but they MUST learn from the mistakes made or the All Ireland wion’t come.

    Noone will hand us one – we have to earn it. Unbridled optimism after defeats serve NO purpose.

  21. makingprogress

    I agree mistakes need to be looked at of coarse they do and lessons need to be made. But at the start of any game anything could happen . Lesson for next year would be not to give away eaIrly goals. I think its good to take away from this year that we did perform in the final the lads now have that off their back. Bottom line is Donegal was that bite more developed with there style of play Horan now has another 12 months to advance Mayo’s style. The mood was very upbeat in the mayo camp there is a reason for that they believe they can win an All Ireland and they will and thats not just optimism . James Horan has surrounded himself with the best backroom team you could imagine i feel he has a fantastic team who are who are talented ,and can now use yesterday as experience . Did you see some of the points we got ? top class in years gone by we had a problem. I think another area needs to be looked at is closing games out a problem which reoccurred this year a lot.

  22. Agree there needs to be a deep dive on what happened. It’s just common sense. Nobody though is questioning the commitment or indeed the effort put in by the whole squad. But if we are to WIN we need to look back, identify the strengths and capitalize on those. Furthermore, the weakness’s must be dealt with ruthlessly. We are still short in some positions. By the time we get back, if we get back, the big guns will have improved and upped their game so no standing still.

  23. And now I must depart it
    And reality is plain
    May the time not pass so slowly
    Before I set sail again

  24. So disappointed after yesterday. Gutting to walk out of Croke Park, be among the thousands of dejected Mayo fans on Jones Road, some crying, most just gloomy and depressed and listen to Murphy’s speech in the background and him shouting ‘Jimmy’s winning matches’.. Awful.
    However, it’s not as bad as ’06 and ’04. And it had potential to be. 7 points down after a few minutes, the lads battled all day long, never let their heads drop and were the better team thereafter, in my book. You just can’t give any team, particularly Donegal given their defensive set-up, a seven point head start and hope to win. The lads can hold their heads high – they’re a team to be proud of.
    A few points to be made though.
    Some lessons do have to be learned. If Mayo do get to another All Ireland, it might be worth ensuring that an extra man is put in front of the full back line for the first ten minutes. Leaking crucial early goals is important to stop. Just let them settle and go from there. While Keane was well beaten for the first ten minutes, I’m not as inclined to hop on the bandwagon and say it was ridiculous by Horan to start him there. They were reasonably well suited in stature, and the ball flighted in by Lacey was perfect for Murphy. They needed someone else back covering. Kevin was obviously suffering from a lot of nerves (he was nervous in the Dublin match too) because the second goal was horrendous – he should have caught it. However, I thought he had a great game after that, to be honest. It’s the match up i would have had myself at the start, so I wouldn’t be overly critical about James on that front.
    I’m afraid I would have a few issues about Jason Doherty though. While he produced a couple of fleeting moments throughout the championship (goal against Down, wonder point against Dublin) he was never consistent. It could not be said he played well in any game really. James showed unbelievable loyalty to him but it wasn’t repaid (not through any lack of effort, it has to be said). This was highlighted since he was picked for the Connacht final – that was 4 matches ago.
    Varley put in a good shift yesterday for a finish – he struggled early but recovered well. He will have nightmares about his missed free though. Vaughan wasn’t at his best yesterday and hasn’t been all year. He will come back I think.
    Overall, Mayo really suffered from injuries, more than they realise. They kept losing forwards, an area they could ill afford to lose key players. Moran, Harte, Mortimer’s ill timed exit, meant they had precious few options. Freeman looks a man who has lost all confidence – he didn’t play well at all when he came in.
    There are many positives to take away from yesterday though.
    The game plan worked after the first ten minutes. The only way to play the system was to go down the wings. This worked time and time again – not every team will have a defensive set up like Donegal.
    Midfield did well. The defense was excellent, I felt. Keegan, Cafferkey, Higgins, Boyle all enhanced their growing reputations. They are a player or two light in the forwards and they could do with a few more players to come in. The likes of Conor O’Shea, Alan Murphy, someone to come in and share the load etc.
    The subs were good – even if one of the midfielders was to lose form next year, Gibbons looks a serious player as does Seamus O’Shea. We have a young team – unlike ’06 – we can regroup, learn and come back stronger. Dillon is probably the oldest player on that team. There was a fighting spirit there yesterday that was not in evidence in ’06 and there is hope for the future.
    Overall though, it’s hard to be optimistic on this gloomy Monday. Thought Kevin McStay was right yesterday – I never really felt Mayo were going to catch them and always felt Donegal were comfortable. Only a goal was going to save them and they never really looked like getting one (bar the chance in injury time). And I feel that it was an opportunity missed. Donegal are certainly not unbeatable – I thought Mayo outplayed them at times but just couldn’t make up the 7 point deficit they had handed Donegal. Next year, the draw might not be as kind to them – we will have to wait and see.
    It is good to see Horan making postiive speeches yesterday though – I still believe in him and this team. That wasn’t the case after previous All Ireland defeats.

  25. In 2016 when we still haven’t won an AI, everyone will look back on yesterday as a great opportunity lost. Donegal way underperformed, easily their most error ridden performance of the year. There is a long standing pattern in Mayo of a serious lack of ruthlessness when it comes to managing teams, we handed the game to Donegal through overly optimistic matchups & not yanking fellas off after 20 mins when they were clearly not performing. Serious stone cold analysis is needed if we want to progress, we have major personnel issues at centre back, midfield, centre forward & corner forward. We either unearth real talent or keep trying to turn water into wine with predictable results. We will never get a handier route to the final & against such inexperienced opposition. How is it that we can continuously find ways to lose these finals? Supporters are absolutely feed up losing finals, this aul “next year keep the faith” is pure mule. [Remainder of comment deleted].

  26. Agree with some of what you say, An Ciotog, but not with the last point. Aidan O’Shea was very good yesterday, I felt, and to question his priorities and how upset he was is unfair and not warranted. If we all feel so disappointed, I can only imagine how the players felt. That’s overly harsh and unfair.

  27. It is said, that in sport as in life, one must seize the moment. Yesterday before kick off, after 61 long years of waiting, our moment had finally arrived – sadly 10 short minutes later the dream was dead ! Anything that happened after that, and to the teams credit they made a game of it, was merely a face saving exercise. Donegal were never going to loose the match from there, they knew it and I would safely say, the Mayo players knew it too !

    That effort put in to get back into the game, must have taken a huge toll on the lads. For instead of building up a lead and going on to win the match, they were playing catch-up. How those brave lads, who had put in so much work all year and carried the hopes and dreams of their County must have felt, I will never know.

    Can we come back again next year ? Of course we can, for football is in our blood and in our souls. But having successfully navigated ourselves to a position where we had only one team left to beat, to finally take home Sam, this must go down as one massive missed opportunity. Next year we will start that same journey – in the meantime we must prepare for one long winter 🙁

  28. I’ve deleted the last bit of that comment, An Ciotog – that was an unfair, unwarranted and unacceptable thing to say about a young lad who gave his all for the county yesterday.

  29. Your right willie Joe. We are all disappointed about yesterday and we might say things now that we might not mean once the disappointment lifts .

  30. A lot of mixed feelings going on here, some of which are spot on and others are way off the mark.
    Yesterday’s game was extremely disappointing in the manner that it was nearly over before it had begun. Giving Kevin Keane stick about conceding the goals is not on, he has been very strong all year and has filled a birth in the full back line that we have been highlighting for years which has been vacant. Murphy’s goal was top class end of, I’d actually question the amount of time Lacey had on the ball to pinpoint the pass. KK is the type of player we have been crying out for for ages and has done very well in his first year at senior level.

    Early goals are a killer and we did show great courage and desire after conceding them. But to say we won the game after 13 – 11 after 12 mins is nonsense. you have take the game into context that human nature will kick in on both sides, had Donegal not of scored the 2nd goal and needed more scores to win the game they would have approached the remainder of the game in a different manner. We needed a goal to get back into the game and lift things so to speak but it never happened. We huffed and puffed trying long balls and opting to run the ball into the net, the only half chance that fell our way was SOS in added time.

    James Horan will learn from this, it is a project that has plenty of potential in every aspect. This group of players is not responsible for previous AI defeats in the past nor is JH, this year was still progress on the previous one regardless of what way you want to look at it.
    It’s obvious that we need a couple of more players upfront plus a fit Andy Moran, in particular ‘Centre Forward’ is one that stands out. People have been crying out to see Keith Higgins playing a more attacking role at wing back which must be trialled. Richard Feeney played most of his football in the half forward line this year as a sub and has done considerably well, so maybe this can be looked at on a more permanent basis as a starter.

    Well done to Donegal, to be fair they have been the most impressive team in 2012 and have had to defeat most of big names along the way. “Deserve” is a word in sport that means nothing prior to a game, you can only use it after the match/season is over, and that the did.

  31. Mayo Magic……..I can’t agree with you, except on the point of being more ruthless….certainly, but our lads are certainly fit, they certainly have a desire to win….Those qualities are there for sure…

    An Ciotog…….”supporters getting fed up losing finals…” !!….I know you’re pissed
    off but I’m following the green and red for 40 years and sure I’m sad more often than happy leaving Croker, but I’m never fed up….I’ll continue to come back, and
    back until we do it….and we will…For all our sadness, can you imagine the
    dejection, feeling of guilt, the feeling of letting down the county etc etc that the boys
    on the pitch go through ?….When that final whistle goes, right through to the Monday
    night return, it’s torture, I can only imagine……..So chin up, be proud of them, the serious serious work and effort they put in in training for the benefit of all of us, and look forward to 2013 and another shot at the title !!

    DieHard…….You’ve absolutely hit it on the nail……”Killer forwards” indeed…that is the biggest factor in any All-Ireland victory…..So evident was it yesterday that McFadden and Murphy were such killers…..And I would suggest you’d need 2 of them, minimum, not just a single super forward, to drive a team home…..

    Willie Joe……..Thanks again for the excellent ‘site…….I really enjoyed the nightly log-ins
    in the build-up to the big day, and am always moved when I see the sheer passion, the honesty and openness of opinion that subscribers are willing to share among like-minded Mayo brothers and sisters……..It’s absolutely magic to tap into that positivity, and ‘God help us’ for sure when the big day finally arrives…..as it will !!

  32. Well ,here we go again, another final lost.
    We have the makings of a good team, but, James Horan needs to address the Full forward position , a target man, like Richard Feeney or james Gibbons.
    Surely in this large County we can find three natural forwards?
    Cathal Henry.

  33. Martyk. you may have miss read what I was really saying. Every player that pulls on the Mayo jersey should have all of these ingredients for the 70 mins, and as you know this was not the case yesterday, there were signs of fatigue in some players and a lot of other problems on the day. not good enough at this level. They did try and claw there way back which was great to see, but it was to late. I am been a bit harsh on the desire to win perhaps. I will take this back when they prove to the mayo fans that this is the case.

  34. Willie Joe, just wondering, now that the championship season is over, will you continue to keep the site open. It was a great way of keeping up to speed with developments in the lead up to the final, especially for those of us living outside of the County and for sure, was much appreciated.

  35. Don’t worry, Mayo McHale, the site has been going without interruption since early in 2007 and I don’t intend to stop just yet. Things will obviously quieten down a fair bit now but the flame never tends to go out over the winter months and I don’t see that happening this time either.

  36. The vast majority of all ireland winning teams have at least 2 consistent free scoring fowards.We dont even have one.Mcloughlin,Moran,Dillon and OConnor (mainly for frees) are all good footballers but you wouldnt call them free scoring,we need 2 more good ones to help them.Until we find them we wont win an all Ireland.Sad but true.

  37. Just wanted to say about Kevin keane lads that despite his horror start to the game he showed his character by having an outstanding 2 nd half, catching the ball clean over mc faddens head on more than one occasion. I would suspect he gets very nervous before games had a shaky start to the Dublin game too. Maybe something for the management team to work on, having watched the replay of the game the team were so nervous in the first half. Dillon, Higgins, and Vaughan all fumbled ball under no pressure whatsoever, while cillian had 3 or 4 handling errors early on too. By the time the guys got up to speed we were 7 down. We can’t allow that to happen again, it was at this stage that we really missed andy morans glue-like hands to win a couple of early balls in the inside forward line and settle us down. I’m certain that andy would not have made those basic handling mistakes in the first 15 mins which contributed to the pressure at the other end.

    As regards next year, I made the point on this site after the Connaught final that I had yet to see a team without at least 1 marquee forward win an all Ireland in the last 15 years. We don’t have one right now, and we need to find one, whether Mortimer can be persuaded to buy into horans philosophy remains to be seen but an effort should be made to settle their differences. Maybe Alan Murphy can do a job next year if he gets a crack at training for a full season, Evan Regan, Danny kirby, all need decent game time in the league. A fit andy moran also will be a huge boost next year. Despite the doom and gloom, we are very very close to the breakthrough.

  38. If Andy Moran was playing we would have won the match. His movement and lines of running were sorely missed. He’s also good for one or two scores every match. The team missed his leadership. I agree that another top class forward is needed. No major surgery required outside that bar a few positional switches.

    Did anyone watch the Mayo warm-up? I thought the lads looked very nervous. They dropped a lot of ball and barely put the ball over the bar and hit the net during the shooting drills. They carried this into the match – their first touch in the opening 20mins cost them the match unfortunately. The full forward line spilled a lot of ball in that period too.

    Dillon played poorly by his standards all summer. However he played a massive part in getting Mayo to the Final. Unfair to be writing him off. If he played well on Sunday he was a dead cert for an All Star.

  39. Citog1 – the other poster (An Ciotog) uses a slightly different handle and has been doing so for some time so I don’t think he can really be labelled a pretender (although I agree he could have shown more imagination in his choice of name). There’s no requirement for contributors to the comments to be registered and logged in (though I’m keeping the whole thing under review and may have to go down that route at some stage) but I’m happy enough that there’s very little in the way of people deliberately passing off someone else when posting a comment. I don’t think this is happening in this instance either but if An Ciotog is reading this I’d suggest it might be worthwhile thinking about using a more clearly differentiated name when posting.

  40. There are 2 young forwards coming through, the younger brothers of AOS and COC. They are said to be the real deal. Here’s hoping, but next year could be too soon.

    Anyway, had Andy Moran been playing on Sunday, it would have been a very different game. The first 3-4 balls into the mayo forwards were lost. I suspect Andy would have been the difference early in the game, set up a couple of points and we would have kicked on from there.

  41. Absolutley gutted – only coming round to being able to talk about it and read about it now! I know everyone here is having mixed emotions and therefore some people are inaccurately assessing the game and lashing out from an emotional perspective which they need to be careful about! I am not going to provide any analysis – I trust that Horan and his team will do that..but I do wish one thing – we MUST never accept defeat with a “there is always next year” attitude, losing is not something to take because it happened it is something to use to make sure we never lose again – there are many quotes I have read from various sports people over the years but Vince Lombardi’s outlook in sports is one we all need to adopt – I think he said it simply and as poignantly when he said “If you can accept losing, you can’t win.” We cannot and should not accept this – we should be hungrier, angrier and absolutely driven to never let this happen again. But there is one thing I am convinced about – James Horan is one hell of a manager and if there is any man to lead a team to All- Ireland victory, he’s our man! We also have a young, high quality team of players that may have come to this challenge one year too early – they have by no means hit their peak! In the midst of all the hurt and anger I still believe we WILL do it, another defeat is simply UNACCEPTABLE! “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (faster, higher, stronger).

  42. Agree with mayofan, Horans the man to bring this team back… for all our analysis you can be guaranteed that Horan will be doing more than the lot of us put together in the next few months! Also, Sundays game wasn’t one that the players will be ‘scarred’ from which I believe was the case with some of the players from 06… the players recognise they are a young team and that if they can improve in certain areas can use Sundays game as motivation and experience for years to come.

  43. Anyone feel maybe Horan had his mind set on his 3rd year in charge to be the year he took Sam back West? I think these managers now have a better idea than the rest of us of what games his team are capable winning. Just when i look back i do wonder had he really set his sights on 2013 as the year what with the way the game is gone and the time to develop a team into winners?

  44. Andy Moran wouldn’t have made a difference. The ball in might have stuck earlier and more often but Donegal had their homework done. Anytime Conroy got the ball in the left corner he had two men on him.

    Donegal play with three sweepers around the D as far as I can make out. You have to play around that, switch wings when the defence is swarming you. Play keep ball.

    Donegal made some easy scores for themselves. Mayo didn’t. That says it all.

    Anyway, Mayo are not far off and I’m really looking forward to seeing them next year. Gibbons and S. O’Shea coming through at centre field might allow Horan to play Aidan at full forward. I’m not convinced by O’Connor at centre-forward, Mayo crowd kickouts and he looks nervous around the pack… deadly forward when he gets a little space though.

    Chin up. Young, rapidly improving team.

  45. @Aussie
    Agree with your comments on keane, he really did excel as the game went on despite the horrible start. He had some massive interceptions against McFadden. He should learn and build on that!
    One final note, hasn’t been mentioned much, Murphy almost put another dagger into us late in the game when he, Cafferkey and Clarkeen went for the ball. Resulted in a point, could so easily have been a goal though.

  46. Feel there is some knee-jerk reactions on here. Yes analysis is needed and yes a couple of forwards need to be found/improved/gotten back from injury.

    I came out of the finals in ’04 and ’06, the quarter final in ’09, Derry in ’07 and Longford in ’10 knowing that those teams didn’t have an All-Ireland in them. They needed wholesale changes in either personnel or mindset. I didn’t feel like that on Sunday and still don’t now. I feel similar to after the Semi final last year – we are moving in the right direction with a good young team and one of the best young mangers around. Solving the issues that are being highlighted as we go along.

    Before Horan took over we needed a FB, a corner back, a centre back, a midfield, a CHF, a FF and another scoring corner forward. I’d say we’ve found most of them (we still need a CHF and another scoring corner forward imo). We’ve also changed the attitude and fitness levels within the team. People say we wilted a little towards the end – we did from about 62mins on. But thats after chasing the game for 50 mins and for the majority of that out-hitting and out-intensity-ing Donegal.

    Most people have said the two areas we lost it were the FF line and the FB line. Which are probably fair enough. However in defence of Horan McFadden was the man in form before the game so you put our best man-marker on him – which we did in Caff. We’ve been light in the FF line all year – we lost Andy and Mort from there and really that did hurt us. I thought Varley and Conroy done well enough but really most of our goal chances all the year came off Andy, once he got injured our goal strategy went with him unfortunately and we had to tweak things a little.

    Overall there are improvements that have to be made if we are going to win next year but imo we’re in a better position than any year since perhaps ’96. People usually say “next year” with some vague hope. If we improve 5% around the field, get Andy fit and playing well and find one more forward I can’t see anyone stopping us. I truly believe we will win it.

  47. Yes Mayomnaingalway I totally believe that Horan had his sights set on 2013, a three year plan. And how rapidly this young team are improving and developing is testament to them beating All-Ireland champions 2011 and achieving their spot in the final 2012. Yes I also believe we could have beaten Donegal but let’s think about it, if we did not have the history of losses that we currently have and were coming to this in Donegals posItion as their second All-Ireland ever – would we have all the negative analysis? we are drenched in our inability to look at this as an isolated performance – game 5? We should only be looking at it in the context of game 1,2, 3, and 4 2012 and not in the context of past losses – different teams and different time! It is a complete injustice to the tremendous work done by Horan and the lads!! This is a young group of lads with plenty more talented players who will come out of the wood work next year. The level of performances they have given us this year before the final CANNOT be overlooked or undermined by Sunday, which we got glimpses of in the quarter final against Cork last year – what will they produce next year hardened by the final and hungrier and more determined and conditioned than ever?! Yes we have a long hard road ahead of us to get to the final 2013- but I for one am now looking forward to witnessing the glorious battles to ensue that will take us there!! Theses lads have not even hit their peak…MAIGH EO ABÚ!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. i agree mayofan, i also think the other counties have a lot of catch up to do . I have seen all the finals since 96 and this is the first time i have actually being proud of them in all the finals and its the first time i have being looking forward to the following year . i know these lads can be developed further there is huge potential in these lads, yes maybe another one or two good forwards wouldn’t do any harm . There is an All Ireland in these lads that i firmly believe that. I said it about Donegal after Dublin beat them last year, now the monkey is off their back and while they may have lost again they did perform in the final. So lets keep warm for the winter months next year i think we are going to be in for an incredible year

  49. Paul C………Your comments….on mine, earlier, noted.

    I fully agree with you…………The full committment…..for the full 70 mins is definitely required at AIF level.

    In fact I suppose that’s what I really meant a few days back with my expression “…..die for the county”

    Interesting comment by AOS in one of the interviews (I think Monday’s Indo) when he said that “…it’s different for a team…” (….meaning the hunger/eagerness is there in our squad to make a comeback for another shot at the title asap)…..He was inferring the longer timespan of heartache for a fan….say, my vintage 50 (i.e. 7 X AIF throw-ins without a win)…….Lads in their mid/late 20s don’t have the same burden, it’s their first attempt at glory, and they’ll learn and give it another honest shot.

  50. Facethebal is right about the dubs…..serious amount comin thru. Im tellin ye…we need PEARSE HANLEY back thsi season and kilcoyne plus everyone else this season and possibly one r two young players to push thru….i cannot see us winning the all ireland without Hanley.

    i still rem colm o rourke’s article in 2006…he was writing about the young u-17 irish international rules team who had recently competed in australia. his son shane was on it but the player of the tournament was a young mayo lad named p hanley – he said this guy was a real hope for mayo and a serious prospect. i sat in c’bar in july that year to watch roscommon minors beat mayo in the connacht final…a rossie team that went on to win the all ireland…but the stand out player on the pitch that day was hanley..by a country mile.

    Mayo need him. soon. he can always go back down under after…

  51. I agree about Hanley mayonaze. I don’t want to start a moronic debate about Ballagh, but that lad considers himself a dyed in the wool Rossie. That plus the chit weather probably hinders his prospects of playing seniors for the Rhubarbs.

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