The morning after

We can’t say we don’t know the drill by now. Hopes smashed to pieces – albeit once again by a wafer-thin margin – and another loss to add to the list. There are, I know, many kinds of pain in this world but in sporting terms this is surely the most exquisite type there is.

But the sun has risen again – I know, because I was up from well before dawn, sleep having deserted me hours prior to that – and life goes on. And we all know and accept that so many people drag themselves from their beds each morning carrying far more profound sadnesses in their hearts.

Still, my poor heart is broken today. I’m distraught for the lads and find it impossible to reconcile myself to the brutal reality that despite all that effort, dedication and skill, they’ve once again come up millimetres short.

I know it’s trite to claim that any player or any team deserves to win anything. You have to win, plain and simple, but a group of players who have come so agonisingly close again and again and again do merit some kind of recognition.

Recognition. I think that’s what it is. It drives me to distraction having to listen to the same old lines being rolled out about us, knowing that the fact we haven’t won it leaves us open to more of the same. I would, though, expect that, after yesterday, this team will, however belatedly, get the respect it deserves.

For us – the supporters – well, we know what it’s going  to be like. Today is going to be crap from start to finish, tomorrow less so and so it goes on. We’ll be grand – sure, haven’t we just had the best summer ever following the team we all love?

As we both fought back the tears on the way home from Croke Park yesterday, I joked with my son – who was born in and has lived all his young life up here in the capital but supports us with a passion I’d love to be able to bottle – that he’d picked a hard road.

“Would you have it any other way?” I asked. He was emphatic in confirming that he wouldn’t. He’s in a sea of blue today at school, the bravest Mayo supporter I know.

The road stretches out ahead for all of us. For some of you, it’ll take you to Castlebar and the homecoming this afternoon. I won’t make that but next Sunday I will be back at Croke Park – as I know thousands of other Mayo fans will be too – to shout for the ladies in their All-Ireland final against the Dubs.

Life goes on. As it does, as it must. Up Mayo.

95 thoughts on “The morning after

  1. Very well put WJ. Life goes on and your little soldier is a brave one. It will hold him in good stead in the years to come. An Ród so romham

  2. Love the Blog Willie Joe and all the bloggers – heartbroken but love the lads and so proud of the county

  3. So hard to face work today with the sadness and disappointment …. not for myself … but for the trojan Mayo Team (players and management).
    No doubt today, tomorrow and the next day will not be easy. But as days accumulate into weeks – the pain eventually eases and dims into a distant memory.
    I would urge all who are able to be in attendance at McHale park this evening to be there to welcome our team home and to remind them that they are not alone and as Andy previously said “we are in this together”.

    Give the senior lads on the Team an extended break and they can come back refreshed and with renewed vigour to make another assault on the Holy Grail.
    In any event, we need the league to blood at least another two/three players and to strengthen our overall options come championship 2018.
    I hope the management and team remain together – the ultimate reward is getting ever closer – and I remain steadfast in my belief that Mayo’s day will come and that this great set of players will receive their just reward. Life must go on!!

  4. Life goes on I hope the panel and management wait on. Have to disagree with your comments on the ref. After watching it again should have had a penalty and Dublin awarded a free for colliding with each other

  5. I know exactly how hard that is. Grew up in Dublin, Mayo mother. Mayo chose me. I only had to put up with that one Monday in school after the 1985 semi replay. Your son is indeed a brave soldier! I haven’t contributed before. I really appreciate this blog. We are still all in this together. Stay positive everybody.

  6. I could not have put it any better myself Willie Joe – right down to the young fellah heading to a Dublin school today to face the music. Very proud of the team, the supporters and the place I am from.

  7. The pain of these defeats always dulls after a few days, best to look ahead. I hope the Ladies get a good crowd behind them at Croker next week.

  8. I will be in Castlebar this evening roaring my support for the best Mayo team I’ve ever seen in 50+ years following football. This in the hope that my little contribution can make their pain slightly more bearable. I urge everyone who can walk or stand to get over there and let them know how appreciated they are.
    Proud as hell and still full of hope despite all.

  9. Back at it again so. We were marginally the better team the last two years it counts nothing towards who are the champions. However, it counts and why it counts is that we know we have the beating of every team in the country, we were a play cycle away from a replay. The game plan needs to be tinkered. The bench needs to be looks at again. There is the talent there in our youth and within the county it needs tending to and we will be back at it again.
    Very very proud of our team and happy to highlight we have the best overall starting 15 in the country.
    Mayo Abu

  10. Willie Joe,
    Yeah I am in the same boat my little fella (8) woke up crying cause he doesn’t want to go to school today in Dublin.
    He is there now and I am dreading a call cause he was so upset going in….
    Watched the game with him and my father who was there in 1951…he is 90.
    My God this is hard. Still in a few days it will recede and we can look forward. Just now though this is bad, very, very bad

  11. Just after hearing the song “Something inside so strong” on midwest. How true and apt it is for these lads. They have become stronger in adversity before and have amazed us all how they have managed to keep going, to keep moving. Keep at it lads. The barriers are going to keep getting even higher but you can overcome them.

  12. Devestated….the worst ever. However I Spoke to a few players last night….have the highest of regard for them. I’m not giving up….roll on 2018

  13. So hard to pull the legs into action. But though the heart hurts for the lads my spirit is strong and full of hope. Fair play to your young man Willie Joe… he’s made of good stuff. My daughter went off to school crest fallen but also determined. She chatted with me and says we need to learn how to ‘carpe jugular’. She watched it on TV and felt we should have had more to show at half time for our dominance. I know I’m biased but I think Mayo were the better team yesterday. Thank you to you all on this site. It’s nice to feel others feel what we feel in my home. Always Mayo. Always proud and determined to believe. Mile buiochas. Maigheo go deo

  14. the thing i am struggling with is i keep hearing that this dublin team is the best gaa team that ever walked the planet. take last years final. the best team ever took 30 minutes to get on the board (ignoring our 2 own goals)

    a mighty fine team don’t get me wrong with bench options to dream of but they will know themselves they have had the better of the marginal decisions yesterday. i’d love to know the explanation for the free given to dublin when andrews and kilkenny collided.

    i still think we would have got over the line had we finished the game with 15 men but donie could have no complaints at the sending off. he should never have given the referee a decision to make.

  15. Just want to add we outnumbered and out shouted the Dublin fans today…Mayo fans were absolutely fantastic..the Mayo Mayo chat was ringing around Croke Park for nearly the entire match. I’m fierce proud of where I come from and very proud of all of you.

  16. Today sure is difficult. As with some many other set backs, the question is: what do we take from this and do about it?

    I am struck by how much of the analyses (and we have many very astute observers on the blog) focuses on the micro. It normally extends to dissecting an incident or series of incidents that define the full in terms of the scoring difference between the teams at the final whistle. That, however, is overlook the bigger picture.

    The basic fact – and this is a source of huge pride – is that most of our players play at and beyond capacity. What we were up against yesterday is quite a cynical football machine that has more options. As a result, we can be sucked into focussing on any Mayo player making the smallest mistake. Dublin players made a myriad of mistakes, so we need to get wise to the reality that their panel gives them the capacity to make more at less cost. Quite simply, we are demanding near perfection from around 17 players first rate players to beat 20 excellent Dublin footballers.That is what makes the margin so small and the result to hard to take.

    The reasons for that imbalance lie in fundamental differences in terms of population and resources that the GAA is incapable of reacting to. That should not be read at taking from Dublin’s wins. Their three in a row is a super achievement. They are entitled to use all of those resources, but there are huge fault lines within the game and they have been papered over for a while by a number of things. First, and foremost, Mayo have never accepted the conventional wisdom, have great respect but no fear of Dublin, and through superhuman effort have duelled them to the end always. Kerry too have had a hand in resisting the tide, but were well beaten by us and may need more time to properly revive. Ulster through Donegal in particular have added some extra defiance (and ultimately success) but they are probably still in decline and there is nothing out there in Ulster not least considering Tyrone’s recent surrender.

    Watching quite a testy Sunday Game panel discussion last night, the most telling thing for me was the obervation about our Under 21 All Ireland winning team. The progression through has not yet come and probably requires serious reinvigoration otherwise we will loose momentum quickly. We all know what doing that will mean: possible League demotion and perhaps a much shorter run through qualifiers for a number of years. Above all else, our younger players need to make big strikes in terms of physicality. Expectations will need to be lowered; not easy in a county used to big days in Croker in August and September. But that also means that Mayo may well leave the ranks of the top competitive counties for while , which could leave the GAA with a real problem very soon, a broken competition. The GAA is a microcosm of our political system so don’t expect a quick or effective reaction.

    I was feeling really sorry for myself an hour ago, and then though it is our players disappointment that really matters. We have been brought on a magnificent ride by them. I have never seen such a restoration in county pride and in Mayo people’s sense of themselves achieved through the medium of sport. I can only do small things to show these lads my thanks, one of which will be to be at our first away League game.

    Use today to turn that anger, disappointment and above all else, sadness into doing some little thing that will take us over the line.

    Among the dying ashes of defeat is the spark for the next Rising.

    Muigh Eo abhú

  17. Know that feeling WJ, living in the capital with children born here who will face down the sea of blue in school today just like your young man. I had one of the kids with me at the game yesterday only interested in wearing one jersey, and another young nipper at home who faced down that sea of blue in school on Friday last on jersey day proudly sporting his green and red signed down in Limerick a few months back and only too glad to bat anyway any slagging that came his way. We are getting stronger, it might be hard to see it this morning but that cauldron of noise we made yesterday, we outnumbered Dublin again in our support, massive sways of Mayo people outside the ground without a ticket and thousands upon thousands of kids now only interested in one jersey. By the way WJ, I was seated in front of you yesterday, you were busy and I intended to turn around at full time and shake your hand and say thanks for all you do. Unfortunately the throat was full and I had to pass you but just to say now thanks a million for all that you do – perhaps we will get a chance to meet out on the bikes somewhere clearing the heads and getting ready to go again for 2018. We are not giving up now, absolutely no way, we are only getting stronger.

  18. Well Said WJ and i think your young will be in for a surprise because there is so much respect in Dublin for us now after hammering all before them they know our starting 15 is better than theirs…
    I hope our lads take a good break enjoy their club football and like Aiden Oshea who had his best championship ever take the earlier league games off and come back next April ready for the summer ahead
    Give the more fringe players more league game time and the development panel more game time and our bench next year will be so much stronger
    Going to the homecoming this evening and there will be thousands like me there too
    Very proud of this Mayo team amd management…..

  19. Tough one to take again. They lads were magnificent, as always. The tight margin makes it harder because there are any number of incidents you can look back on and say what if. I felt near the end though there were a couple goal chances there for Dublin if they need to go for it, they opted for the point but you would think if they were 2 or 3 down they would have gone for goal.

    At the finish up, the subs made the difference, basically McMenaman and Connolly. This was the fear beforehand and it came to pass. Dublin needed the old stagers to pull them through despite all the talk of the new generation.

    We need to get one or two new lads bedded in as starters for next year. If Nally and Loftus were up to speed, wouldn’t it be great to be able to spring Andy and Boyler from the bench? Only ones I see leaving are Dillon and possibly Barry Moran.

    Couple of other observations. The most annoying thing is that a large proportion of the Dublin support will have forgotten about the win in 2 weeks and will be back following Man U or Liverpool. I know it’s a cliche but feck it, its true. A Mayo win would mean unimaginably more to the people of Mayo. I know living in Dublin, it’s impossible to explain to people here what this team means to us.

    Secondly, fair play to the fans. I overheard on two occasions leaving the match Dublin fans wondering how we had ended up with more support in Croker than them. I know any neutrals would be cheering for us but once again, we brought the colour and the noise. I took great delight in the hill being silenced. I can’t remember a single “Come on you Boys in Blue” after their goal.

    It’s heartbreaking today, but we’ll be back. Maigheo Abú.

  20. Of all the finals this was by far the hardest to take. Like so many of you – 11 in total for me including replays that I walked back up the steps and out of croke park wondering what it must feel like to be champions. A silent and numb drive home last night. A sleepless night. Feeling utterly broken today. But there’s so much more to life than sport. Waking up this morning to my young children running around full of the joys of life, they’re too young to understand the pain in our hearts today….thank God they’re too young to understand. Maybe some day they will get to see a Mayo man walk up the steps of the Hogan stand, they will get to feel what its like to be All Ireland senior champions. After yesterday’s gut wrenching loss, I feel its just been a bridge too far for this brave team of warriors. Time is no longer on the side of so many of the leaders who have dragged us to the edge of heaven. Yesterday was so so cruel for them. They deserved so much more. But life goes on. In time others will take up the Mayo jersey and wear it with pride. Whether another golden generation will come along some day and take us that one step further nobody knows. Maybe in my lifetime, maybe not. Maybe in my childrens.

  21. My little fella, 9, went up to his room with Red eyes when the whistle was blown and as the Ms tells me would not come down for an hour, so upset. We’re living in Wicklow. Still today we need to rally behind them. I am heading to Castlebar this afternoon from Dub and going to show the support which is well deserved. If you can crawl I would urge all to attend.

  22. Broken.

    Finding this one really hard to stomach. Was never so close to tears walking out of Croker yesterday.

    A heady mixture of raw disappointment and pure pride. Enormously proud of the lads. Actually it goes beyond pride.

    Heard a man asked last night where in Mayo he’s from? Answered deadpan – “tonight I’m from all of it.”

    We’ll be back. It’s all we know.

  23. Final whistle yesterday, about ten seconds “hmmmmmpph f*ckit, Jesus give us a break”.
    Then “Right let’s get out o here”. Fell in with our full crew then and I made a conscious effort to move everyone on and be positive. I think I was one of the most ridiculously positive supporters yesterday after the game.
    I met clubpeople I know from Knockmore, Moy Davitts, Swinford, people who’ve played various county and senior club and underage. Hard working callous handed farmers sons who are not easily impressed by footballers and they all to a man agreed with me that there are the players ready to come in next year. The players who were in Chicago and others at home.
    More power to the young lads, they’ll be not able to travel again for years.
    What did we need yesterday? About two to three players between bench and starting.
    I follow club football along with MayoMessi and El Tod and MayoMarks closer than almost anyone you’ll meet. I spotted Lee Keegan at Michael Walsh level. When I say that we will be better next year because of two to three new young good players I say that with absolute conviction. I’m not going to get into names (pointless and too early) but a fictional Mayo U23 2018 is a serious team.
    The other point I want to make to close. Look at the trendline of how Stephen Rochford and his management have improved the individuals and the team.
    The collective is getting better all the time. We are a force that is only gettong stronger.
    JP has not lost faith, will not lose faith and will be pushing forward nothing but positivity and my cash support until I’m not for this earth.
    That is me and tens and thousands of others.
    We will do this.

  24. Some observations;
    1.CoC missed almost the exact same free last year
    2. W could not buy a scoreable free in the first half
    3.Vaughans acton was crazy
    4. Dublin got away with eyegoughing
    5.Clarke had a melt down in last 5minutes like last year
    6The smile on Connollys face said it all for Dublins last free

    Very very proud of the team

  25. Jeez Willie Joe I know how that young lad feels .. I’m following Mayo for 40+years , born in Dublin to Mayo parents. Spent my life explaining my Dublin accent at games !

    While everyone is of course shattered .. I never enjoyed a Summer of football like it .. the journeys to far flung parts of the country, the fans, the epic matches .. game 2 against Kerry was best day out as a Mayo fan since the ’50’s. Savouring the memory of that day to try and balance the pain today. Small consolation, but it is a sign of progress.

    Will be very interesting to see how we go in the super 8’s .. another adventure awaits !

    Thanks a lot to you WIllieJoe for your commitment to this blog ..really helps on days like this.

  26. Just want to say a big thank you to you Willie Joe for this blog it’s brillant and long may it continue to give us a platform to air our opinions and entertain us. A huge thank you too to Mayo team, management and backroom staff there’s no shame in losing by 1 point and they have given us some great days out. I honestly believe we won’t be far away next year I’d like to see some of the fringe players given more game time in the FBD and league lads such as Nally James Carr Matthew Ruane liam Irwin maybe Akram as well and Eoin O Donoghue. I see the glass half full this morning we will be back it won’t be easy the lads have sacrificed so much it’s hard on them but as Andy said we are Mayo and we’re in this together.

  27. Feel gutted for the team this morning. I hope they and management stay on. Let them back to the clubs and have a break before we start again in Feb. Batteries need recharging for everyone. It was a long campaign. Next year is a new interesting adventure with the Super 8s
    Despite the sending off, we still had ample opportunities to win this one. But , hi we will be back because we know no other way and this journey is far from over.

    On another note, and I hate having to highlight this, but I was disappointed in elements of the Mayo support. I was in Lower Cusack and trying to drive the team on with 20 minutes to go. Unfortunately, many “Supporters” in my section were far from as enthusiastic. Indeed there were looking at me as if I had 2 heads. Its easy to shout when we score a goal. But when the game was in the melting pot, we needed to lift the team. I felt many of the supporters where I was, were not representative of the true Mayo supporter, and did not understand the concept to getting behind the team. Certainly an element of the September brigade who only surface when we reach a final in September. I know this in fairness was not representative of the support as a whole as we did make plenty of noise. Just wanted to get that of my chest as I dont want it to fester!!!

  28. You have to look at our composure and game management down the straight. I felt the late subs really disrupted our rythym. Dublin outacored us 4 – 1 from the 62nd min onwards. How do we improve our decision making when level with a top side heading into injury time? Clarkes late kick outs were good examples. Fine margins I know, but it just wouldn’t have happened the other end with cluxton had roles been reversed. Against Kerry we had the buffer of a 6 point lead going into injury time to keep us secure. It’s very difficult to get a buffer like that against Dublin so therefore we need to eek out a one of two point win through greater composure under immense pressure in injury time. Unfortunately we haven’t had that composure compared to Dublin. I hate them, buts it’s no accident they keep winning all Ireland’s by one point. For me it’s the only missing piece in our jigsaw.

  29. I can only describe the feeling today as nausea – but this is definitely the lowest point of the year and I can’t imagine what it’s like for the panel. There were some great moments though – unless I’m mistaken I’ve never heard the “green and red of Mayo” used to drown out the “COYBIB” chants – really worked though! I’ll say it again, they’re absolutely fantastic and I hope that the majority of the panel are around to give it another go. Absolute bedlam where I was when Lee got that goal too.

  30. Jr, you have it exactly right. Think poor cillian has never recovered from his free in the replay of 2016. We did everything right yesterday, Keegan superb in man marking, all backs super, forwards on song, just such a pity that the John small tackle on Donal Vaughan in 2016 was not forgotten by Donal Vaughan and he stayed out of the tackle this year. On such small things are games lost. Indiscipline cost us .

  31. Can’t understand not more being said regarding non awarding of penalty followinget the advantage rule.

    The antics of the six dublin forwards for mayos last two kickouts was a disgrace. All six could have been black carded.

  32. THIS DUBLIN TEAM SQUAD HAS WON 5 ALL-IRELANDS IN 7 YEARS WHICH IS A REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT . AND ALTHOUGH THEY LOOKED SECOND BEST FOR LONG SPELLS OF THE GAME,THEY SURE KNOW HOW TO WIN.THEY WERE VERY BRAVE,RUTHLESS,RESILIENT WHEN IT MATTERED MOST,AND SHOWED GREAT COMPOSURE WHEN THE HEAT WAS ON THEM. SO PLEASE CAN WE NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE A GREAT TEAM

  33. great blog WJ
    gutted is best to describe feeling 63 years and still waiting living in Dublin amid their celebrations
    ….every mayo person is distraught today
    now is not the time to point finger for loss
    so so sorry for the team and management they gave us huge joy this summer
    we have to lift our spirits for each other
    and you are right W.J. there are so many other people would quickly swap our woes this morning

  34. 5 ins in 7 years is impressive but a lot has been made about the Dublin bench winning the last two final that bench is very old compared to our bench something that we can hopefully bring to our advantage in the coming years

  35. Good Man JP looking forward to your blogs about the upcoming club championship…..I think Ballintubber are a force to be reckoned with this year for the County title of course Mitchells and Breaffy could have something to say about it….

  36. Well said WJ and Thanks for another great season on this magnificent forum.

    Some really heartening and inspirational posts here on this toughest of mornings – – especially that post by ” yipeekeyah” – have a read of it now and walk proud today!
    Hon Mayo!

  37. Hard to take today WJ. Missed a great chance. Their a credit to the jersey. Can’t say anymore at this stage.

  38. ledinmayo.. Has that bloody team not been lauded enough??! Not in the mood to acknowledge them today.. Im more concerned about our own team and frankly you should be too..

  39. rang in sick…. my boss started laughing. could not face it today. I owe him a pint for been OK about it. not going to look on any website or paper except here… solace amongst my own I guess.

  40. For me too the hardest thing about yesterday was turning and looking at my son when the whistle went. This was the first year he was old enough to be really involved in all the games and the true emotions of following Mayo. He was heartbroken but as we talked , just like any other mayo fan it was clearly obvious he wouldn’t want to follow any other team. It hurts because you know how hard the players tried and how much they deserved something more.
    I don’t think the ref can be blamed, he gave us a fair crack at it, even the sending off was clearly considered before producing a red and he never should have been given the chance to make that decision.
    Like you say WJ the sun rises again and there are bigger things that people have to deal with than the defeat of their team.
    Instead I look to what we can learn from the team such as resilience, pride, dignity, courage and hope .

  41. Can someone clarify the advantage rule. Lee was fouled outside the box – the ref played advantage. He was then fouled inside the penalty area – but ref calls it back for the first foul. Is the ref entitled to award the penalty when he is applying the advantage rule. I think he is Not??

  42. I don’t think, to be fair, anyone isn’t acknowledging that fact, ledinmayo. I certainly amn’t. By the way, I’m also happy to acknowledge that I can see you’ve got your cap lock on. Take it off when commenting next, I think I’ve burst an eardrum here.

  43. Unbelievable display that came up short yet again. As a supporter, I’ll get over it but I’m devastated for the players. The effort they have put in this year has been unbelievable especially considering how hard it must have been to get back on the horse after the Galway defeat. To come so close yet again and come away with nothing is beyond sickening.

    A couple of things from the match. The team played exceptionally well especially in the first half to come back from that early goal shock. But really we shoulda been more up at half time. We had good chances in the first half when we had them considerably on the back foot, to kick on a few more points.
    The second half was much more even and Dublin showed how strong they were with their critical bench players making a decent impact. Our bench wasn’t as good and it showed in decision-making at clear times when we had possession and the incorrect option was taken by the younger more inexperienced guys from the bench. We got caught and turned over at least 2 times for that.
    The sending off was critical as well and Donie will have to figure that one out. He’d been playing well too. Whether it would have changed the game in our favour we’ll never know but it did give them extra space which they exploited with their athleticism.
    I don’t think the Ref was to blame either. Or luck for that matter. They lost Jack McCaffrey through an unlucky injury after 10 mins so they had some bad luck as well.

    I think the players need our support now and some time to reflect. Whether that means giving them some space or putting an arm around a shoulder or even getting the kids to cheer them on and let them know we still believe in them will be different for each individual but everything should be done to keep them together and positive about themselves and what they have achieved and what is to come.

    The dream won’t and shouldn’t be let go away for this team or our supporters. Heads up and keep the faith. Up Mayo!

  44. Yes … ref is obliged to award free for a subsequent foul following anew advantage decision.
    End of.

  45. Dublin foul cleverer than most.off the ball or on it. And did.
    Vaughan played into their hands.
    The ref was poor, he can ignore a foul outside the box if it is repeated inside the box . Then he should award a penalty and a black card. Joe copped out yesterday under the hill.
    Mayo decision making was suspect, even A O S took a wild punt at a vital stage, missed and the Dubs scored from it.

    Next year maybe.

  46. We sing a dolorous song this morning, a dirge of passionate devastation – the utter delinquency of sport befell us again. T S Elliott said: ‘Mankind cannot stand too much reality’ – the reality of pain and tears of blood our County is going through just now has to be unprecedented in Gaelic football history…3 All Irelands beaten by a point ….We the better team but not the winners yet again and again and again. But we will come through this gethsemane, the stigmata of loss will heal..Our love for our great team and great county is truly the engine of our survival and we will storm the barricades of Croke Park because we must, we have to, we have no other option –
    starting with Cora and her fellow heroines this Sunday. Be there Green and Red – get up from your shields, get off the canvas, put on your boots again, and keep the flags flying – for we are the indomitable Mayo people and our defeats are only hard stations on the journey for Sam and bliss will that day be…and that day will come.

  47. Thank you for the great blog Willie Joe. As a fellow Mayo man based in the Capital, the blog provides a great outlet for all Mayo GAA news and insightful opinion.

    Needless to say devastated today. Sitting at my desk in City Centre with headphones in albeit they aren’t actually plugged in to anything!! Simply have zero interest in talking to anyone about the match and hearing the same rubbish.

    That being said, IMMENSELY PROUD of all the players, management and backroom team. Personally I feel it is futile to focus on individual performances, changes, referee etc etc and prefer to focus on the face that this team are an absolute credit to the county. I subscribe to the view that sport is a microcosm of society and in that respect the team exemplify everything that is great about Mayo and its people, be it at home or further abroad. In addition, I would also put the Mayo support in the same bracket as the team, a credit to the county. I don’t put myself in that bracket as unfortunately with playing commitments with my Dublin club I don’t attend half as many games as I should or would like to.

    Unfortunately the worst is yet to come for me, as I resume training tomorrow with my club which includes 3 members of the Dublin panel. If only i could wear my headphones during training!!

    Thanks again WJ, the blog is the only thing i’ve been able to read today. Looking forward to your updates on the club championship.

    We go again!! Roll on 2018.
    Maigheo Abu

  48. We can only look forward. What other option is there. I have 100% faith this team will win Sam in the next few years. The spine of the team, leeroy, aido, cillian, Harrison, Durcan, mcloughlin, Jason doc, diarmuid, all still have 3 or 4 years of top performance ahead of them, some of them much more. Leaders like Andy Higgins, boyler will likely bow out by 2020 but that’s still 3 seasons away. They still have a huge amount to offer in 2018. IMO we need to bring through more forward talent, especially in the inside line. Brian reape of moy davitts is the one player that simply MUST be given 4 or 5 league games at corner forward next spring. Matty Ruane has to look at pushing as seamies long term replacement at midfield. We need to see more of James Carr of ardagh too at this level. I don’t care if he’s playing junior football.
    Loftus looks to be on the road towards a mainstay for Mayo in the next 2 or 3 years but he has to bulk up a bit more. Likewise Fergus Boland. Players like Shaughnessy from claremorris, Tracey from Ballina, and Rutledge of knockmore should get FBD game time next spring. Minor and u21 squads from 2010-2014 should be pored over to see if talented players have slipped Under the radar that could be brought in, like parsons and boyler and Nally in recent seasons. Kevin Keane willl hopefully add support to an already strong defence in 2018. He’s a powerful man. A close eye should also be kept on Cian Hanleys exploits in Australia. If he doesn’t breakthrough in 2018 for Brisbane, he will surely consider a move home (like 75% of Irish lads that go to the AFL) and could become another serious option for Mayo.
    Akram of ballaghdereen needs to be put on an S & C program to prepare for senior in 2019 onwards. He has electric pace, which is a rare enough thing but essential against the likes of Dublin.
    We need 22 or so top players to win an all Ireland. Dublins bench saw them home in the end yesterday, esp mcmenamin and Connolly.
    Looking at our bench yesterday, loftus and diarmuid were the only real forward options. It was top heavy with defensive minded players.
    Keep the faith everyone, we are not far away.

  49. Ledinmayo

    While you’re at it don’t forget how good they are at eye gouging and punching opponents with short movement of the hand. Also don’t forget to thank the gaa for the funding which is 10 times what Mayo receive per player and while you’re at it thank Subaru for the free cars, are lingus for the flights, the food companies for the food and the clothing firm for the lovely clothes.
    I don’t congratulate dublin, I did congratulate donegal and kerry, but never this disgusting behemoth. Are you really that blind? Can you not see what’s going on?
    I’ll give you a hint, Leinster Championship.
    Respect is earned, not bought.

  50. 71st minute of a final, a free to take the lead.

    Back off the fucking post. Back off the fucking post.

    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

    Just another one to be added to the list. From a ball bouncing over a crossbar, or 2 freak own goals etc. That game was on the toss of a coin yesterday at 70 minutes and it fell against us. This is beyond a fucking joke now.

  51. Dave – you don’t buy composure and that is what it came down to in the end, no eye gouging or ref decision or funding ultimately brought about the result.

  52. Hi All,
    I honestly hope you don’t mind me commenting today but I have to say I was at the game and I met so many really sound people from Mayo it was a great experience. Then the atmosphere was electric right from the start. I’m not going to patronise any Mayo person but your Lads were excellent……take care and all the best.

    Kind Regards
    Martin the Dub

  53. Fuck me but this is tough. Heard and watched the banquet speeches but, like Wayne Scales, I’m avoiding all media bar this wonderful source of inspiration, hope and solace.
    Like many above have commented regarding their sons and daughters, the lingering image for me is, like last year, looking at my kids with tears in their eyes. My young lad (9) was crying as Rock lined up his free and turned to me saying “he’s going to win it for them, isn’t he Dad?”. I couldn’t lie because we both knew he was. I just wrapped him in my arms and held him as he wept. He gripped his flag in his hand all the way back to the car and I gripped his other hand. I told him sport, like life, can be cruel and you don’t always get what you deserve. But, the true measure of a man and a team is not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up again.
    We stopped walking on the way back to the car and I looked him in the eye. I tugged the Mayo crest on his jersey and I told him that Mayo is where he is from. Mayo is where is father is from, his grandfather, his great grandfather, his great great grandfather and all that went before him. He is a Mayoman. Wherever he ends up in his life he will always be a Mayoman. I told him never forget that. Hold your head high, shoulders back, chest out and never forget where you are from. I wouldn’t wish I was a Dub or a Kerryman for all the money in China, despite the sickening pang in my gut today.
    When I was putting him to bed he said “you know some day I will play for Mayo and win the All Ireland!”. I joked I hope to Christ we won one before then!
    That, however, will be the true legacy of this Mayo team. Maybe they will never get the Celtic Cross they so richly deserve but they have inspired a generation of young lads and girls to dream big, be the best they can be and never, ever give up. That, in the bigger scheme of things, is far more rewarding than the 15 mins of elation of winning.
    To all the players, management and backroom team, I thank you all most sincerely from the bottom of my heart for the amazing season we have all lived through. We’ve witnessed some of the best days out of our lives, some of the best football I’ve ever seen from a Mayo team (in 34 years of football) and some never to be forgotten moments of support and camaraderie. Memories we will take to our graves.
    The big one slipped away again yesterday but by fuck the foundations of Croker were well and truly tested like never before, such were the roars of support.
    Get to MacHale Park if you can.
    Hon Mayo
    Muigh Eo Abù.

  54. Was absolutely depressed coming out from the match yesterday, I can only imagine how the players were. The sight of Leeroy hammering the ground at full-time only gives a small insight I guess. The players gave it their all – hard to pick out any of our guys who didn’t perform on the big day. That’s a true sign of great players.

    The depression have given way to hope once again in the light of day. Coldly looking back on it the overall difference was the bench. This wasn’t down to the quality of players necessarily but the sheer amount of experienced players Dublin could bring in. It’s not enough I think to have good players on the bench but experienced good players. We need to integrate the likes of Loftus, Nally, Boland, Kirby and Coen so that they are truly competing for starting places in the same way that Durcan is now. This means we could be bringing on experienced guys like Andy, Boyler, Seamie or DOC would have the experience and composure down the stretch.

    The good thing is I think we are getting there. Remember it took Harrison a good few yrs on the panel to get up to the physical stakes required. The guys named above have all been on the panel for 2 full cycles now and this will stand to them. In addition the skill levels of our players continually improve. Clarke, Durcan, Doherty, Parsons and Andy are all players whose skills have improved drastically in the last number of years. This points to a culture that will drive the younger players mentioned to new heights.

    I would like to echo what some have said surrounding the tiny details. Yes, Player X made this mistake and Player Y could have done something different but lots of Dublin guys made mistakes too. In the end (over 5 yrs!) these would usually cancel out – including refs. We have to just continue to improve and get to a physical, mental and skill level where we will win regardless of luck or refs decisions or the odd mistake (that will happen on the pitch). This is where Dublin are at the moment.

    We will go again. Players, supporters, the whole fecking county. And again. And again.

    Maigh Eo Abú

  55. Huge amount been made of Lee apparently throwing his GPS tracker at the ball as Rock took the last free. Needless to say little or no coverage of the apparent eye gouging by O’Gara on Boyler

  56. Lads i feel your pain, i really do. Jesus how many times can a bunch of lads and all ye supporters take it? I have to be honest as a Galway man with massive Mayo roots and schooled in Mayo, when ye were beaten last year i didnt see any way back for this team, especially when we beat ye in Salthill in May. But the qualifiers worked well again albeit a few scares, the turning point been the Roscommon Replay. Mayo are a serious team and any other era would have the medals in the back duke. But i think in a weird way ye are in a better place now that 12 months ago. I beleive ye will win Connacht next year and take it from there, i hope Stephan uses the league to blood Nally, and a few 21s as Andy and Keith etc cannot go on forever.. Hard luck on yesterday.

  57. Personally think Coc’s leg injury is affecting his kicking style. Even with his scores yesterday looked like he was holding back and consequently looked to be pulling the ball from right to left. would have to look again but the one in injury time seemed to be one of his better strikes, however may have overcompensated to avoid missing on the near side

  58. Similar to most here – today is a bit of a daze due to trauma of yesterday and lack of sleep last night.
    Only option is to look at positives and where to next. It’s low level torture to think more about yesterday
    – Management team is strong and hopefully can be maintained. Got a lot more right than wrong this year.
    – 1 we are a match for Dublin. 16-23 – we are weaker, especially in forwards, Can we fix that?
    – We are very close – what’s to say we wont be back in a final again next year? Chance are we will
    – Stay in Div 1 and Win Connacht. Min requirement and very probable
    – Super 8s is a big carrot for next year. we have to be in that because who knows how that pans out.

    I hope Andy, Keith, Boyler, Seamie etc will continue and be given a break in the spring
    Players like Kirby, Nally, Loftus, Coen have to push on now and become starters in the league
    New players like Reape – let’s see if they are ready for this.

  59. Rewatched the game again and certainly a lot of what ifs

    The Keegan, durcan and COC gilt-edged misses will haunt for a while I think. 1 point up at half time was far from a fair reflection and we were always likely to be bailing water late on.

    Vaughan’s red hurts but it wasn’t as damning as being made out imo. The difference in decision making and composure between both sides in the final quarter was a yawning chasm really if I’m honest.

    However it was our best AI final performance and we really did have them rattled at times. We’ll be there or thereabouts next year I’m sure

    They’re a very fine team – the Dubs – and are showing zero signs of going away anytime soon. Quite ominous. Then again to be able to be so close to a team with so many advantages is quite something and while it’s scant consolation the lads deserve great credit for that

  60. One tactical error in 2nd half was kick outs. Cluxton was desperate to go short every time after losing 6 in the first half that we forced him to hit long. Dublin won 11/11 in second half, almost all short. Mainly to Jonny cooper in the corner. Why did we allow this to happen?
    One things certain in future – if you want to beat Dublin you must prevent their short kick outs.

  61. One chance that may occur next year (in addition to the Super 8s) is that kickouts will have to go at least past the 21. This will benefit us I think as it will make short kickouts easier to pressurise and we are relatively comfortable going long (as the 1st half proved)

  62. It’s very hard to see right now how the super 8s won’t benefit dublin even more

    More matches, more opportunity to find their right team and play lads into form. And heck, they can even afford to lose a match or two

  63. Really fitting words Willie Joe (as always). I haven’t posted on the blog for a long time. As my online alias suggests I’m in the same company as your son – choosing to support Mayo, the county that he feels most connected with through his family roots. Take it from me (I’m 40 now so have witnessed 9 final defeats with my Dad) your son has made the right decision and he will never regret it. I know it’s the most recent loss but it’s the hardest yet I think. This panel are such a special group of men. They will be back. You and your young lad will see Sam heading to Mayo in the very near future.

    The blog is great comfort when we are winning but is of even greater comfort when we lose. Our own House of Pain – privacy – especially for those living in the capital after another narrow defeat to the Dubs.

  64. Senan Connell lauding Dubs tactic of fouling everyone to avoid Clarke getting kick out away after Rocks free. He points out we won the kick out but ref gave it back to Clarke to kick out again as he had blown for a free and gave a card. Next time, everyone was being fouled and ball ended up going out over the line. He points this out as street wise Dubs!

  65. Today is one of the toughest of them all. Live and work outside the county and am amazed at how desperately so many of these outsiders wanted us to win. No patronising nonsense from anyone, just genuine sadness that this group had come up short again. What a team. Hope they and management stay at it . They gave us some summer. Important that we take our defeat and try not to blame the ref or Dub cynicism or all their vast resources for this defeat. Dublin are a great team. 3 in a row is some achievement. Yes I was annoyed by their cynicism after Rock hit the winner, but if shoe was on other foot I would have applauded Mayo for doing likewise. They know how to win. Their bench is stronger. And these were the things that won it for them yesterday. Tired minds and bodies lead to mistakes and we were out on our feet going into injury time.

  66. Correct me if I am wrong – when “streetwise” Kilkenny got the black card the referee ordered the kick out to be taken again. Why didn’t he give Mayo a free from where Kilkenny fouled? This would have been more advantageous to Mayo than ordering a retake of kick out.

  67. @ Pebblesmeller , your post was powerful and emotional stuff. Brought the tears back to my eyes.
    It was a privilege to be in croker yesterday to witness such a tremendous game. Best performance I have ever seen from a Mayo team. Utterly gutted at the defeat but one thing we have learned as mayo fans, is to pick ourselves up and fight on.
    Mayo made the championship entertaining and gripping all Summer long. I dread to think what kind of championship it would be without us!
    WJ, i listened to your audio clip which you recorded after the game . Wow. It summarised exactly what I felt and thousand others no doubt.
    I would like to thank you for your wonderful blog and your contribution to building this online community which is like a huge comfort blanket for me, today more than ever .
    We are in this together no matter how long it takes .

  68. Gutted like everyone else here. Can’t imagine what the squad and mgt are going through. Was great to see the players last night post meal mingling with their kin and friends and doing a lot of smiling. Looked relaxed and although they must have been devastated, being in that company was probably just what most/all of them needed at that time.

    Like a lot of you, I live outside the county (in Kerry) and my young teenage daughter has chosen the emotional roller-coaster that is Mayo football. She often tells me she’s so glad to be following Mayo cause it’s so much fun. She got a right ribbing in 2014, but was so proud of her this year being so magnanimous in victory in the semis.

    I mentioned this elsewhere today, but when exiting Croker yesterday in our heart-broken state, she said to me if that was a semi, Mayo would have won. Thought that was an awfully intetesting perspective from a young girl. Definitely something there.

    One interesting Hugo Clerkin stat today… in the last 3 AIs between the Dubs and ourselves, Dubs bench contributed 8 points to our 1.

    All devastated now, but we all know where this is going… roll on 2018.

    Well done WJ and posters.

  69. In tears again Pebblesmeller… it brings me back to my very first time in Croke Park in 1996, I was 12 years of age. I can still feel the excitement and energy in the final minutes of the first final, we were winning by a point and the clock was running out. Then a deathly silence… I remember turning to my dad, unsure of what had just happened. It was at that moment that my journey with Mayo began and I’ve been at every All Ireland final since. Today I too am heartbroken and inconsolable but yesterday I could not have been prouder to be from Mayo. The support was the best I have ever witnessed. After the Keegan goal, it felt like the stadium itself had been suspended mid air from the roars of the crowd. I have never experienced a feeling like it! This is what it means, all if us united in pride, love and unending support for our team. I don’t for one second believe that it is the last time I will experience that surreal sensation, where there is belief as strong as that, there is always hope, anything is possible. Those lads owe us nothing -they left it all on the pitch yesterday and I for one am so proud of them. We will rise again and we will bring Sam Maguire home to Mayo.

  70. malachy clerkin has come up with a stat in the irish times saying that mayo’s 1-16 was the highest losing score in an all ireland final ever!

    talk about unwanted records.

  71. This is truly heartbreaking – I have not cried as much over a game ever.

    Pebblesmeller, you’re post had me in tears.

    I too feel truly honoured to have been part of yesterday – the Mayo support was a pleasure to be a part off – immense. With regard to the team, they would make you burst with pride.

    It was heart warming to see the lads with their heads up in Citywest last night. I hope they can recover emotionally & physically & enjoy their time off now with family & friends.

    UpMayo.

  72. Living here in US I am a relatively recent convert to following the Mayo football team, but I want you to know that Boston fans can fully identify with the roller-coaster of Mayo football.
    I was born in Massachusetts, 30 miles NW of Boston, and now a proud dual Irish -American citizen due to my maternal grandfather’s birth in Blarney.. After starting from scratch doing my family research after my retirement from education in 2005, I discovered my paternal ancestral roots are heavily concentrated in the Westport, Newport and Bellmullet area. I have since visited “home” and my newly-discovered Mayo cousins and friends many times in past 8 years. In the course of these visits I have begun to readily identify with the pride of my Mayo ancestry and the beautiful land my ancestors sadly left behind. After watching my first Mayo All Irelands finals a few years ago at Campbell’s Pub at foot of Croagh Patrick on shores of beautiful Clew Bay. I also caught the fever of following the travails of the Mayo football team. I identified almost immediately with the men in Red and Green and the passion of the fans. I did so .because I enjoyed watching the Gaelic games where amateurs hold down day jobs, but are dedicated and motivated to compete, not for millions of dollars, but simply for county and national pride and a trophy. I also identified because my father, brothers and I suffered through similar “curse” ups and downs because we were life-long Boston Red Sox baseball fans. Before the Red Sox finally won the baseball World Series in 2004 here in US they had not won in 86 YEARS. In my brothers and my whole lives to that time we never saw them win it all in spite of a lot of heartbreaking close calls. As the rug inevitably got pulled out from under our Red Sox we were often taunted by NY Yankee fans with a repeated 1918 and “choke” chants. Sadly, my dad died before the Sox won in 2004 and then won again in 2007 and 2013. But I made sure I visited his grave and left behind a championship souvenir to let him know that they finally won.

    So I know well the life-long Mayo fan’s bittersweet pain described here, and I am feeling it again as I watch each All Ireland match Mayo loss here on online via GAAGO. In consolation, all I can say is that Mayo fans can take great pride in how their team fought so gallantly yesterday and hopefully take some solace from Red Sox (and Chicago Cubs too) fans suffering and know the “curse” will end some day. As we Sox fans often said, “WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!!!” After such a close match this year, I want to say, “UP MAYO FOR THE SAM 2018 and BEST OF LUCK TO THE LADIES MAYO TEAM”

    Tom
    .

  73. mayo the force be with us says:
    September 18, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    malachy clerkin has come up with a stat in the irish times saying that mayo’s 1-16 was the highest losing score in an all ireland final ever!

    talk about unwanted records.

    ————————
    He is wrong Galway scored 2-13 in 1973 when losing to Cork

  74. Gutted. Like many of you that was my 11th time going into Croke Park on All Ireland Final day. It’s really hard to take. Avoiding all media for at least a week. At least on here we are almost so likeminded and so there’s some small comfort knowing all of us feel the same way. I’ve never re-watched any of the finals we were in and I don’t intend to now. It’s too painful. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is who’s ahead at the final whistle…and so our hopes and dreams continue on.

    To our team, they put in such an effort. I actually think they’ll bounce back OK mainly due to them being so used to this situation. They’ve lost so many finals, what’s one more! All they can do is dust themselves down and when the time comes, after Christmas..get back on the horse.

    Looking ahead, I’d be surprised if any retire at this stage. The older guys are still buzzing and at worst can offer a strong 20/25 mins from the bench but it’s absolutely crucial now that the gaffer and his management team sit down with some of the lads who were on that u21 squad plus any others who have potential and get them signed up. 2018 is time for these lads to make a breakthrough otherwise the chances of them ever contributing in a meaningful way to ‘the cause’ will diminish. Most will be 23 next year, some like Akram, O’donoughue, Ruane and Reape 22, but it’s time for them to put up their hands and burst a gut to get involved.

    I’d also expect leaders like Stephen Coen and Diarmuid to speak with their former u21 teammates and get them fully committed. I feel some in that squad has success easy at underage. In order to be successful at senior intercounty you need to work bloody hard and make sacrifices. This spring of ’18 should tell us exactly who from this crop truly wants it. These young lads should be chomping at the bit in FBD and making it impossible for Rochford not you clued them.

    We are already quite secure at the back and our defence will be strong for the foreseeable future with lots of talented defenders but midfield is now an area that needs immediate attention. To be frank, the only new face here being spoken about is Ruane and this isn’t enough. Seamie and Tom cannot keep going forever and we may just see Aido in this sector on a more permanent basis.

    Up front…we need another face. One would be enough. A scorer. Can Reape fill that gap or can some other young driven and ambitious lad come of age and stake a claim?

    Keep the Faith. It’s tough for us all. Up Mayo.

  75. I’m finding it hard, but I’m not heartbroken. Unlike you Ciaran though, I haven’t the stomach to watch it back yet!

    I’m not heartbroken because this was the best final performance by a Mayo team that I have seen. I know we drew last year, but I felt that Dublin were better overall. This year we showed how to beat them. Rochford’s set up was a tactical masterclass. This is an outstanding Dublin team (5 All Irelands in 7 years, never mind 3 in a row!) and we negated their kicks out, negated their possession game, closed them down on using the width of the pitch and sucked up their attacking stars. Meanwhile our attacking game was patient, with darts from McLoughlin or the half backs, threading it through beautifully to the on running attacker to get ourselves into scoring positions. What we didn’t do and what cost us in the end (as it nearly did against Kerry in the drawn match), was failing to go 4 or 5 up. This would have given us the confidence to motor further or hold it comfortably.

    But I’m convinced we have the know how now. All of these guys, giants really, can, must, and I venture will go again. I think the Super 8 will benefit us – Dublin will have to play an away game, which could be tricky, but we have shown the more games we get the better we are. Just one or two more guys, think Matty Ruane and Michael Plunkett come to mind and if we could get Liam Irwin really fit he could do a job, particularly on longer frees. Its significant that Dean Rock, as he has so often been is the difference for Dublin; he’s outstanding on those 45 to 55 yards chances. We need to plug this gap.

    We could take a lesson from the Galway hurlers’ playbook and lead from the front next year. Not the league, because we are not really geared to hit the necessary fitness that early, but making statements all through the championship.

  76. Thanks Pebblesmeller, a great post and Willie Joe for this blog. You’re a class act and this site is a sanctuary today. Stayed in Citywest last night and saw some of the players this morning. They are and continue to be a credit to their county as sports men and people and are a wonderful example to our children. Seeimg some of them with their own children this morning reminded me of the sacrifices they make year after year to represent our county. I have generations of Kerry blood in me and was born in Dublin but I’m Mayo by the grace of God. We are united in our losses but will be united in success someday soon. Keep the faith and thanks once again to players, management and the posters on here, there was nowhere else to turn to today.

  77. @Thomas Malone brilliant post, often heard about the curse of the Bambino but great to hear from a fan who supported the Red Sox through it. Our day will come just like it did for you guys.

  78. Thomas Malone/JammerCee the thought of it being another possible 20 years away makes me want to curl up into a ball.

  79. Well done to our lads yesterday. We got beaten by one lousy pint. Looking at all the blogs today , every one has their opinion and correctly so. I was reading through what the papers said and I came across this. A young player Brendan Reilly (38) from Co Louth and a former county player was playing in a semi final of some competition and he died after the game finished on Saturday evening. May he Rest in Peace. This made me think, what are we complaining about. This man,s wife and family have a bigger loss than us. Life can be so cruel.

  80. Nice one Mr Malone.I am still gutted.We were desperately unlucky.They are amateur players and still have to go to wor in morning.so I hope Vaughan,etc don’t get a hard time from from thick Mayo gobshites.I love those guys for their passion and resilience. Just fell short.

  81. I wouldn’t be micro analysing this one as AI final is a pressure cooker. Aido e.g. scored.7 or his 8 kicks prior and missed from his good side although out wide by just a few inches. He had the balls to take it on. As Spillane says ye have to speculate to accumulate.

  82. From a Dublin fan. You guys did brilliantly on Sunday. Hats off to the whole Mayo team and the management for a most wonderful game of football. It had everyone (including me) on the edge of their seats, and was won by the narrowest of margins.

    When your day comes, as come it must, the prize will be all the sweeter.

    Thanks for a great game.

  83. …What I would say is talk of U21 stars is a bit soon as it needs a Con O Callaghan type surge to 1st team. Most players take 2 seasons. Irwin, Reape and Adam Gallagher have gotten some game time before. I think Carr could take 2 years though I Ruane has had some time in panel last year. Akram is a great prospect because of his pace but may need 2 seasons because of need to acquire big game pressure. Evan Regan needs even more S&C and work on his right foot if he’s to break back in. Look at Paul Mannion this year, came of age. I would also hope that consideration is given to using COS as a defender as he has pace, workrate and height and very difficult to disposses as he usually solos with the left, all useful attributes for a defensive role. I feel he could be better than O Donoghue or Newcombe and also has plenty of experience. Hall was suggested to be the real deal before injury forced him out. Boland with a big push on S&C this winter definitely has what it takes, a very good ball player indeed. Irwin like Kirby has a lot of natural talent but unsure if either has or will have AI final pace. In that regard Rock is the template, uses brains and experience to make up for slightly less pace than his team mates. Both our lads are possibly better finishers than Rock and Irwin is one of the best free takers around but that’s no use unless he can compete for pace. I would consider using Diarmaid in midfield or FF to make room for Boland or Gallagher.
    I think S&C guys need to be creative in manufacturing certain players who they know have attributes which will yield results when allied to the increased skills set acquired from team drills. Certain late bloomers may be about. Also there was talk of the young midfielders from Charlestown, Louisberg and Westport who can all score. If any has searing pace could they be put if FF line. Often a team’s best players play in midfield.

  84. I echo the sentiments of everyone above.. broken hearted all day, not for myself but for these band of warriors. Thanks Willie Joe as always for keeping us all together.. I honestly don’t know what I would do without this place.

  85. Like everyone before me, I was gutted yesterday evening and slept very little last night but on reflection, this morning, I remembered a conversation I had with a Sligo man a few weeks ago and realised how lucky we all are, players included. He told me that he would love the opportunity to hunt for All Ireland tickets, debate the teams chances on social media and in his local pub and deck his home in the Black and White. He really didn;t care is Sligo won or lost the final, just to be there once and experience it was all he craved.
    We have to remembers that neither Sligo or Leitrim have ever played in an All Ireland final and supports of their County teams have no idea of how we all feel today. Roscommon have not had the pleasure of playing in a final for 37 years and it has been 16 years since the proud footballing County of Galway last paraded around Croke Parke on such an occasion. The grassroots people in all of these Counties work just as had as we do and their players, club and county, have the same passion and ambition as ours.
    I believe that we have got caught up in the game that is played out on our TV screens and such, which originated for the sport played across the water, the so called analysts and experts, telling us what we did wrong, how we failed and focusing on the 66 years and the curse.
    In mid 2000 the Northern Counties upped the stakes with the blanket defense and an increased level of commitment and fitness and with some success. In 2010 Dublin upped the stakes again, as a counter measure to the Northern teams, by adding an increased level of professionalism to the pot, very similar to the standards used in the premiership and other professional sports and they won five of the last seven All Ireland’s played since then using this method.
    The reality is that Mayo is the only County that can compete with Dublin at the moment, the tactical approach of the Northern Counties is no longer effective, Kerry cannot find defenders and the others are playing at much lower level of fitness and commitment for now. As Dublin adopted, in 2010, to the changes made in the North we in Mayo must also adopt in order to turn the tide in our favor. Here is what I believe we must do:
    1. Get employment for all our players West of the Shannon, preferably in the County but that might not be practical, and make that a requirement for being on the panel. Togetherness is the first step in professionalism and driving to and fro across this Country is not the way to do that. The County Board need to step up to the plate and use their influence and contacts to make that happen.
    2. Blood at least three new players each year in the league so that we can select the starting 15 in the Championship for a much larger base.
    3. Get into the habit of selecting a starting 20 for all games, by that I mean the 15 that start, who may not always be the best 15, and the impact replacements as the game goes on just like Jim Gavin does.
    4. I hate to say this but the Captain’s responsibility does not suit Cillian O’Connor. He is under enough pressure as a free taker not to be asked to take on another leadership role. I know it is an honor and he deserves it but in my humble opinion it doesn’t suit his temperament.
    Out of 32 Counties Mayo is equal to the best of them and that being Dublin, the only difference is that they believe that they are superior to us and we need to match that superiority with belief of our own. We have evolved since the management of James Horan in the line of greater fitness and strength being added to our natural ability, now it is time to add a little more, the responsibility is ours, we are the only County that can beat Dublin and it we don’t then I fear that they will dominate the stage for a decade or more.

  86. Well said WJ. I feel I’m in mourning and wore my green and red gear all day, on school runs etc. Flags still up on my car and house. Don’t know when I’ll take them down. What do our guys need to do to get over the line?! So unfair. Heartbroken for them. But I’m so proud of them. I think the better team lost. Mayo supporters were never better yesterday. Pebblesmeller, I’m in tears again.

  87. I honestly think the county board should do what ever it takes to get horan involved in the development squad.
    He has proven talent to unearth players and if it was any other county this would not be wasted.
    I totally agree with JP the future is bright we just have to stick at it.
    I would like to thank W.J for his work on this blog I believe this blog has brought a real maturity to the Mayo support over the years.

  88. Like many of you, I’m sure, I have been feeling off colour since Sunday evening. I decided today to make one more posting on the blog for 2017. I would like to thank Willy Joe for his initiative in starting and running a wonderful blog. It is always somewhere to retreat to when the blues threaten to take over. The great words of John Milton in Paradise Lost come to mind in regard to our heroic team and their recent efforts to bring Sam back to Mayo: “What though the field be lost, all is not lost, the indomitable will and courage never to submit or yield”. In short Dublin may have won the battle, but they have not won the war!
    I think this present Mayo team, similar to Galway in the hurling, need to set their sights on winning a National League. They need to experience the winning feeling. A Connacht championship next summer might also be a confidence boost. We need to put much more resources and effort also in under age development squads. Our record at minor level in recent years has not been good. We have shown the wonderful resource we have in our supporters. Could this resource be used to raise funds for coaching at under age level? Next year I will be 70 years young. Pray God I will live to see a Mayo captain lift the Sam Maguire Cup before I travel to the Pearly Gates.

  89. To a man every Mayo player did you guys proud on Sunday. Have to say Barrett was immense, such a rare commodity to have a centre back dominate quality opposition like he did!

    I shook many mayo people men and women hand as they left the stadium and afterwards! Even shared a bag of chips with a mayo man who’d flown from San Fran for the game.

    Your lads are so close and keep doing your great county proud!

    i commented here after your loss to Galway that you wouldn’t be far away, as it turned out you were the width of a post from a win/ replay.

    I fully commend your players and fans and know that you guys will be back probably stronger than ever next year !

    One point I think stood out for me this year was the improvement of O’Shea I thought he was a stallion all season, great warrior and he was influential every game I saw!

    Keep the heads up and please god we’ll renew rivalries next year !

    Ps don’t mind them clowns on hill 16 Facebook page, they’ll all slip back to shouting about liverpool and Man Utd now the business end is over!

    I on the other hand am looking forward to seeing my beloved Vincents back in action now shortly!

    Till next year lads ….

  90. Perhaps Dublin fans are right…..Mayo fans are too forgiving….Instead of having a go at the players for losing every final we continue to celebrate every loss like no other county…..I work all over Ireland and this is what other counties are saying about Mayo …Is having real go and losing by a point now acceptable in mayo…Is letting a two point lead slip in the dying minutes also acceptable….Under no circumstances would Dublin or Kerry fans accept a team of such quality not delivering Sam….Paidi o Shea once described Kerry fans as F+++ing animals when they turned against players for not delivering….We really need to lose this celebrity losers tag and start to deliver…….Derek …Ballina

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