The road ahead for us this summer

So our Connacht Championship campaign is over and, on our return to MacHale Park, our execrable home record remains unchanged. What, then, does the rest of the summer hold for us?

The first observation is that we are, of course, now back in knockout territory in this year’s Championship. In light of how we tend to perform – or at least used to one time – that may be no bad thing but now one slip will mean our inter-county year will be at an end.

And it could end for us this year as early as 4th or 5th of June. That’s not the earliest we were ever dumped out in the summer – back in 1998 that happened on the second-last Sunday in May and that’s not our only May departure from the fray either – but it would be the earliest since the qualifiers were brought in 21 years ago.

Round 1 of the qualifiers will be played off this year on that first weekend of June. It’s the first of two qualifier rounds, with the Tailteann Cup sending everyone from Divisions Three and Four (unless one of them reaches a provincial final, which, on the face of it, is unlikely) in that direction. That leaves sixteen counties in the hunt for the Sam Maguire, eight of them provincial finalists and the other eight in the pot for Round 1 of the qualifiers.

It’s an open draw in Round 1, so no bar then on repeat pairings. Should Andy Moran’s Leitrim beat Galway, by the way, that means we could be paired with the Tribesmen in Round 1 and it would also necessitate a qualifier preliminary round, as Leitrim would have done enough to join the Sam Maguire party. That, though, is unlikely to happen.

The team drawn first in each pairing has home advantage in Round 1 and all ties have to be decided on the day. Indeed, every Championship fixture up to – but not including – the All-Ireland final is now played on this basis.

Round 2 sees the four survivors from Round 1 paired with the four beaten provincial finalists. This, again, is an open draw – so, once again, we could pull Galway here and this time it’s a more likely outcome – and the venues for Round 2 ties will be set by the CCCC. I assume, though this isn’t confirmed, that this means neutral venues. The Round 2 ties are down for decision on the weekend of 11th/12th June.

The four teams who make it through Round 2 qualify for the All-Ireland quarter-finals where they’ll be drawn against the four provincial champions. For this draw, repeat pairings will be avoided where possible. Venues for the quarter-finals will also be set by the CCCC.

The All-Ireland quarter-finals are set for the weekend of 25th/26th June, so that means a two-week gap after the first two matches. It’s the same interval then until the semi-final (which takes place on 9th/10th July) and between the semis and the final, which is set for 24th July.

That’s actually not a bad schedule and is nowhere near as onerous as the inhuman four-round qualifier campaigns we’ve been faced with before. The first two rounds – bearing in mind that with one slip we’re gone – will be difficult for all involved but, if we make it past them, the gap between the games is pretty much ideal.

So that’s the potential road facing us. Providing we get half-decent draws along the way, stay on the horse from round to round, get some of our injured lads back and develop some kind of coherent plans for defending more tightly and attacking with purpose. And sorting midfield. It all sounds simple when you say it like that.

All that information on the dates for matches etc. comes from the GAA’s Master Fixtures Schedule 2022 booklet, which is available here.

175 thoughts on “The road ahead for us this summer

  1. Just on the preliminary round point Willie Joe, if I’m reading it right it is only Div 1 and 2 teams who do not make provincial semi final that may play in preliminary round. Tipp look to have a fair shot in Munster of upsetting balance and that would have us playing in 4 weeks

  2. That would only be the case, Paddy Ban, if we were actually drawn from the hat to play in the preliminary round which may not happen under that scenario (though it could). Also the two teams who might potentially get drawn in a preliminary round are those who don’t make a provincial final, not a semi-final. Even if you reach a semi and lose then you’re in the pot for Round 1.

    While I have you there, by the way, whatever happened with your tall tale about our possibly not playing at MacHale Park last Sunday? Your so-called “fact” on that one proved to be anything but …

  3. WJ- Question

    Can we still end up in the Connacht Ulster semi side of the draw- in other words can we still avoid Kerry Dublin ?

  4. Thanks for that info, very informative. I don’t imagine we’ll go deep into the championship summer of 2022 but when is the draw for the 1st round of qualifiers due to take place Willie Joe? Is it the week before?

  5. Agreed with seanie ch, avoid the ulster teams and we will cruise to a qf.
    Any of the ulster teams left in it could beat us on a given day, and mayo could beat any of them on a given day.

    I suspect tyrone will be in the qualifiers too, there’s no way they beat all of derry monaghan and donegal. Thats a bruising run

  6. Hard to know, Spotlight – I think it depends on who’s left in the pot at that stage. In 2017 we ended up back where we wanted in the end so I guess it could happen again, if we make it that far.

  7. The best thing for Mayo now is for Galway to win Connacht which would make us odds on to either meet Kerry in the QF or Semi, all things taken for granted of course.

  8. It appears to me that really there’s not much of a disadvantage to being in the qualifiers this year. Ok, we’ll have to beat a decent team or two to progress, and that’s no guarantee in our current form, but I’ve a funny feeling both team and management will be confident enough of getting to a quarter. At the very least.

    Maybe I’m seriously deluded, but that might be the time to meet a Kerry, Dublin or Tyrone. Sure who knows in sport. There’s no shame in hoping is there?

  9. I recommend ye all read Pat Holmes today. It is a serious analysis piece on Sunday’s loss. He also speaks about the recent fundraising function and asks a lot of questions about the whole event. ‘Despite a couple of their top officials in attendance, the Mayo County Board has officially distanced itself from the organisation of the function, saying that any money collected would not making its way to Mayo Gaa. Is everyone ok with this” .

  10. @Viper, the best thing for Mayo supporters is that we go out in the next round or Quarter finals, this crack of hoping to avoid the “big Guns”, sure they will destroy us in a final again.

  11. @Spotlight, we need to be hoping to actually get on that side of the draw rather than avoid it.

    We could end up on the original side of the draw if we were to be drawn against the Ulster champions in the QF and beat them , then we would face the Connacht champions or the team that beat the Connacht champions (in the QF) in the semi final , so yes is the answer but we would be substituting the Ulster team.

  12. If we reach the second round of the qualifiers and the ‘CCCC’ then decide where we are to play?. Don’t be shocked if Mayo are again expected to drive through the County of our opponents and play in another “Neutral” venue, the far side of our opponents County. Like happened with a back door game V Westmeath, amazingly played in Croke Park, and Galway amazingly played in Limerick..And some will again post on this Blog, that is acceptable, and Castlebar is a Graveyard and so on… But if no one turned up, it would be the last time Mayo supporter’s would be abused in such a manner by the GAA. It would never happen again! .. I wonder do they realize how near to killing the Golden Goose the ‘CCCC’ have came. Our esteemed opponents of last Sunday ,a few years ago played a backdoor game versus Derry in Salthill,.. Only 300+ souls turned up… The GAA should be mindful of this, we have by far the biggest capicity Stadium in Connacht, now with a pristine playing surface, maybe they should also keep that in mind as well;

  13. @ Mayo88, I’m not saying avoid the big guns , I’m saying get the big guns at the QF or Semi , there is only one real big gun this year and that’s Kerry .

    We have no chance of beating Kerry in a final but if we can knock them out without the pressure of a final then consequently it gives us a “chance” ,a chance that will not be there otherwise.

    That’s my strategy.

  14. Firstly Willie Joe, mea culpa, but what I said was well informed and although you may not appreciate the matter was touch and go at that stage with a very clear directive made. The pitch looked amazing on Sunday.

    If you check page 20 of the guide linked any preliminary round is limited to counties who do not make their provincial semi final. So, Mayo, Armagh, one of Tyrone and Derry and I guess one of Kildare/Meath/Louth/Dublin depending on semi draw in Leinster. It’s a long shot but we need to shout against underdogs like Cavan and Tipp over the next few weeks.

  15. Goagain – as you should know, the focus here is on on-field issues, not off-field stuff like that, as that brings all manner of odious creatures crawling out from under the rocks. If you want to stay out of moderation, I’d ask you to remember that.

  16. Paddy Ban – now it’s my turn for the mea culpa. I’d skimmed over that bit too fast. You’re right, the odds on our ending up in the preliminary round (if there is one) are actually short enough on that basis.

  17. First time for everything, and I’m with Viper on this.
    The 4 weeks + will help with the various knocks and injuries still plaguing the panel.
    After a couple of the obligatory, ‘skin of the teeth’ qualifier wins, we might encounter a Kerry slightly off the boil after not having to tackle anyone of any consequence before ourselves. Although, I can’t see that happening under resting bitch face himself.

  18. Round 1 is likely (for arguments sake) to be us, Limerick, Louth, Cork, Meath, Derry, Monaghan and Armagh. 4 good draws and 3 bad.

    Come through that it could be Donegal/Tyrone, Kildare, Clare and Roscommon (if they lose). Again, we’d take 3 of those 4 as draws. So it’s not that bad of a run, especially with a long 6 weeks break.

    The problem arises in QF if Galway win, you’re against Dub, Kerry or Ulster winner. So likely one of the big 2. I know some do prefer to meet them earlier rather than later. Anyways the 6 week break helps hugely and we could get a lucky run again like 2016

  19. @Seanie CH nothing to fear about the the likes or Armagh or Derry (if they lose to Tyrone) both IMO a level below Galway.

  20. We should be mentally preparing for the likes of Armagh or, (takes very deep breath), Derry in Celtic Park. Properly focused, we should relish the chance to kick-start our season.

  21. Derry in Celtic Park!! No don’t think so we lost there in 2007 in a fourth round tie. Let’s not forget 2016 they had us bet only for Lofty to hit the top corner of the net.

    Nah we are no great shakes at the moment. Since the Tralee game we have gone on a downward slide.

    Can’t put my finger on it exactly, maybe injuries maybe not, who knows maybe we will come good again.

    Bar injuries, the other concern on the pitch is wing forwards. No players on the panel to play that role from what I’ve seen. A contributory factor to our flatness I’ve no doubt. Two aggressive, combative players are needed either side of DOC to win possession from the breaks, drive forward, either lay it off, draw a foul or score.

  22. WJ
    Paddy Ban was right in a way…we didn’t play at McHale Park on Sunday…..
    Anyway thanks for the article it really explains the road ahead well along with the comments that followed…..
    Look despite everything injuries are massive and we might still spark yet this year and if not we do have a team that can get there over the next 3 years I believe…and who knows who will come along to improve things in terms of additional squad players etc.
    One thing for sure if guys like Cillian and Docherty can get back fit after those injuries and ga guy like OShea is still going like he is…..then really we have no right to give up as supporters either

  23. Think that Derry game in 07 was only a 2nd round tie, we hammered Cavan round one after losing to Galway in May

    Still have awful scars from that 07 season..

    I wouldn’t be overly concerned about them though, Galway hammered them in the league, but then again as you say they nearly caught us when we had a better side and they had a worse one in 17 so you can never take it for granted either to be fair. We’ll obviously learn more this weekend

    Hard to know with Armagh, I was very disappointed with them Sunday, but I do believe there’s a good team waiting to break out there, maybe the “backs to the wall” nature of the qualifiers will help unleash their full potential

    In theory Meath and Cork are well manageable but the qualifiers can be funny, I remember Meath nearly ran Tyrone a few years ago and did make the 2019 super 8s, Cork seem to be in a crisis of sorts but they still have talented players and who’ll forget their shock win over Kerry in 20

    Anyhow as they say a lot of ball to be played before all that

  24. That’s it as supporters we are just waiting for it to gel together for the bucks and maybe it will but the elephant in the room for me is this flawed tactic of continuously slow lateral and back . We harp on about the “Galway shawl “ or the ulster teams who produce a blanket type defence but shur what else would they be doing v Mayo if we continue to give opposition ample time to stroll back and form some kind of shield .

  25. @JR – You would imagine 2 of Dublin, Meath and Kildare will make the Leinster final no matter what the pairings are in Leinster semi final.

  26. You could technically be left in a situation where you only get 5 or 6 days notice regarding a Preliminary Round, this could happen if Westmeath or Longford beat Dublin, Kildare/Louth or Meath in a Leinster Semi final .

    The most likely team that will cause a preliminary round to take place are Tipperary because assuming they beat Waterford then their semi final game v Clare or Limerick is their last chance to stay in the Championship proper whereas Clare or Limerick have the cushion of the Qualifiers and on top of that not have to worry about the preliminary round because they’d be excluded from the draw even if that happens and they’d go straight into Round 1.

  27. Be sensible we have not a hope of beating Kerry at any stage this year, there is only one plan and when as happened Sunday that fails we are goosed, Kerry 3 steps ahead of the rest including dubs, I hope we exit before we meet, get the likes of Eamon fitzmaurice that knows a thing or two about winning to take charge.

  28. @ viper – Tipp have no Michael Quinlivan this year, i cant see any team causing an upset before the provincial finals in 2022. Clare have some good footballers and didn’t fare out to badly away to a full strength Galway team

  29. Clare will definitely be eyeing a Munster final appearance this year. They’re the second best team in the province at this stage and they’ve finally managed to avoid being on the same side of the draw as Kerry. Tipp could cause them problems but Clare should have enough to handle them.

  30. Kickhams man – there’s more going on than just the injuries. Our tackling has regressed, we are flat and un-creative, we have too many afraid to take the shot on (seems to be a clear lack of coaching around forward play), too many key players who are just out of form. When was the last time Matthew Ruane, Stephen Coen or Oisin Mullin had truly great games in a Mayo jersey? Games where they really influenced proceedings? Last year for all of them, I’d say. And one of those is even supposed to be our captain!

    The injuries only explain so much. The team is out of sorts, not playing well and look completely lacking in self-belief or any kind of conviction. I don’t think players returning from injury is going to change anything about that. There’s a problem with the coaching and management which is now affecting mentality and performance levels within the squad.

  31. Does Knock do flights to Lourdes ? Might be no harm send the entire panel there for a few weeks, might help with the injury list .

  32. Has our tackling regressed or are players smarter about not going into contact?
    Dublin, very smart about not going into contact.

  33. I too would like a link to thar pat holmes article please. In Dublin so don’t get the local papers

    One thing is for sure Cork should not be treated as a tricky tie if we draw them, they are a complete and utter shambles, would be expecting a 20+ point victory if we drew them

    Basically it’s any of the ulster teams left that would present the greatest challenge, anything left from munster or leinster is mediocre

  34. We probably should give a shout out to Alan Costello for wicklows win over laois at the weekend. There enjoying life at the other end of the championship

  35. @Paddyjoejohntom.

    That made me laugh. Long injury list and seemingly, Knock healing powers not as good as Lourdes from your post.

    I met a cork man in Clare at the weekend.
    He was lamenting corks bad loss to Limerick in the hurling the week previous. Bet by 11 points.

    I said Id give him a pointer for guaranteed success for future matches.

    I said ” we’re playing Galway tomorrow in the football “. I told him I was going to light a candle in the morning for a Mayo win.

    He said ” You might want to light two “.

    He was right of course.

  36. I don’t think our tackling has regressed at all. Some great individual turnovers won even the last day from Mattie Ruane, Cillian and Aidan. Plenty examples during the league too.

    JP makes a good point that teams are smarter now. You won’t get players naively walking into a crowded area like 2013.

  37. Maybe I am missing something but who are all these players that we are wating for to return to fitness? What match winners are we waiting for to return from knocks and bangs? Paddy and, to a lesser extent Jordan, but who else?
    There is certainly no forward that we are waiting on. The front 6 from Sunday is as good as it gets. Their bench support, likewise. There is no one else going into that front 6 that will make us significantly better. To be honest, we could have Clifford, Rock and O’Callaghan in there and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. All they’d be doing is waiting inside, marked by 8 or 9 players, watching the ball being handpassed 80 yards up the field towards them. Then, when it comes into the scoring area they have run out on a loop 40 yards away from goal to get on the ball to recycle it in again. We’d be better off with Bundi Aki and Garry Ringrose.

  38. @no doubt

    Is that Ballas Alan costello?
    That was the result of the weekend, serious score to put up as an underdog

  39. Inclined to agree with pebblesmeller above re falling back on the injuries excuse

    You are probably only realistically looking at durcan/flynn as guys that make a difference to Sundays performance.

    In terms of matchwinners, something different, what was there Sunday is what we are working with.

  40. If we had to play Galway again, or, another team who drops their two wing forwards and 1-2 of their full forward line back, what could we do differently?
    Interested in ideas, especially player selection and position idrad. They don’t have to be ideas couched in selection by our manager reality.
    Assume we have all of our players available.

  41. Really interesting discussion around injuries on the otb pod with paddy andrews, says when the dubs were going well there was very little hard training/gym done in summer, all about workload management and players knowing their own body

    Mullen is becoming a bit of worry with recurring injuries in his first couple of years

  42. @WillieMac Pat Holmes article is on yesterday’s Western People. No link that I can see.
    Essential reading is all I will say!
    Would you consider having Pat on do a guest piece on the blog or on the podcast WJ?

  43. I had said on threads a few times that the qualifiers and the way its set up this year might suit us better,primarily because I didn’t believe we would beat Galway with the injury crisis and players not being match fit.As it turned out I was giving Galway far too much credit and even though it was a very poor performance from us we would have beaten them had it gone to extra time.
    The loss of Robbie was monumental,we we’re very much restricted in our restarts (although I thought it was Rorys best game as regards restarts but he just doesn’t have the same options in his locker that Robbie has) The absence of him as a long free taker or 45 kicker was probably the winning and losing of the game.
    Paddy was badly missed for line breaking runs,a few scores and maybe a man marking job aswell.Diarmuud wasn’t fit (but I thought he did very well under the circumstances) neither was Cillian but again he did as well as he could,that game will bring him on a lot.
    All these things were obviously going to decide the game and were flagged by most posters.
    Oisin going off was a kick in the balls,we just couldn’t afford to lose another one of the faster,more direct runners.
    The negatives have been done to death on here (some real,some imagined and some away with the fairies stuff) and it was disappointing, the bottom line however is we played terrible with half a team fully fit and could very easily have beaten Galway (who celebrated like they’d won Sam) we’ve seen that before in MacHale Park more than once and they went on to have short summers.

    We have a lot of key players to come back and a lot to get to match fitness,bar long term injuries they have plenty of time to do it,we have a point to prove after that performance and Horan will be seething.We are one of the best teams in the country and 3rd favourites to win Sam.Give me a wounded,backs against the wall,last chance saloon Mayo any day of the week,we’re not out of this yet.

  44. I’ve been thinking (I know – that’s scary ; ))

    In our current form (‘20-‘21), we seem to be a team that like to *get a run on* other teams.
    See CF versus Galway and SF versus Dublin (both last year). This is what I take from Horan’s comment pre-Dublin match last year “when we get going we can be dangerous”.
    Dangerous certainly.
    Except – Tyrone tied us up in the AIF. If you do that by either (1) tight individual marking, (2) a dense defence, or (3) starving our forwards of ball or close-in scoring locations, we’re not able to cut through you like a sword.
    So: we like chaos or an open game.

    Anyway, I was thinking – how do we get through this blanket defence issue? I know other teams have found ways but over and back passing, prising for openings is tiresome and eventually it demands a lot of accurate shooters (that we cannot easily sustain, currently).

    My thoughts – get ahead early and by a good bit. Make the other team come out to play, get a bit scared, and we then defend well and tightly.

    Am I remembering wrong – ye will tell me – but were our forwards fully set on scoring one or more goals (get ahead early) in the first 7 minutes last Sunday? I seem to remember Doherty and Carr going in with intent.
    If we work up a lead there, is it a different game?
    Another recent bugbear of mine – why don’t we stop opposition scores from the throw-in set play? It’s predictable now that teams try to get a point from it. Dublin started this trend off, I think, in 2019 or 2020. Ditto the second half throw-in.
    We don’t need to be conceding early.

    I still remember that Mayo v Galway game in Limerick in 2019 when we got ahead early (helped by James Carr, who was still dangerous against a tricky defence team on Sunday). Then we didn’t need to worry about Kevin Walsh’s shawl for the rest of the game.

    Finally, off topic. I was preparing language students to do debates as a class exercise one or two years. There were key pieces of advice to prepare. One was obviously to know the two or three arguments you were going to make. But another was to anticipate the arguments your direct opponent might make (including against you) and have a counter.

    Mayo have strengths – good.
    Let’s know the conditions we need to have/make to utilise those strengths.
    And let’s know our weaknesses and engineer that that scenario doesn’t come about where they are exposed. (Teams defending densely or in a mass).
    Anticipate what the other team will do to counter our strength and have something to repel it.
    And lastly, simply, anticipate what the other team’s own independent preferred game is.
    Sorry for the excessively long post.

  45. If anyone wants to know how to beat the blanket or shred the shawl just replay the last few minutes of Sunday’s game. The question is can we sustain this type of play for long enough to win. Don’t know!

  46. Diehard, thanks for this.
    I wonder did Galway “switch off’, trying to see out the game, and did this give us the opportunity to “get a run on them”?
    I do think having Kevin Mc on the field helped.
    That’s the type of thing I meant above when I talked about us being a team that liked to get a run on other teams.
    But I think the conditions have to be right to allow us to do this.
    (I heard S Rochford speak once in the League along the lines that the game isn’t over until the very end, and even if we’re behind, “there’s always a chance they’ll (the other team) try to see out the game conservatively”. By that he meant – try to protect the lead, play down the clock maybe. This could give Mayo the chance to swoop. A perfect example was our comeback v Donegal in the League 2019 to stave off relegation.)

  47. There was an interesting military tactic line and I heard it voiced regarding GAA.
    Think what your opponent wants you to do and don’t do it.

  48. I could see those Second Round ties taking place in Croke Park if they’re set in neutral venues…

  49. Mayolass – you’re clearly not listening. I said last night that off-field stuff isn’t a topic for debate here, due to all the heat and absence of light it engenders and the way it exercises so much those who claim to have the interests of Mayo GAA at heart but transparently do not. Please don’t attempt to post anything in that vein here again. You’re in moderation until this message sinks through to you.

  50. Goagain – yourself and another poster seem very exercised about that particular article, to the extent that both of keep posting repeat comments about it for some reason. It was just one of many to be published since the game and people can read it if they’re interested.

  51. Great post @ Swallow Swoops. Those students were well prepared.

    There are not an infinite number of ways in which a team can be playing.

    a) A team starts well and indications are they are well up for the win.

    b) A team starts poorly and the gameplan does not appear to be working.

    How long should it take to realise that a certain team formation is not getting the business done.
    Surely after 20 or 25 minutes it’s obvious if

    a) a player is firing on all cylinders.
    b) defenders need to be switched or an opposing player needs to be double marked.
    c) a forward is having an influence on the game and causing the opposition problems.

    How long does a player who hand passes and kick passes ball to the opposition, how long does it take to decide whether they be hauled off or not ?

    If we could sharpen up a little on the pitch we could yet have a good summer.
    That cannot happen until the manager, sharpens up his decision making and makes calls in the 25th minute instead of the 65th minute.

  52. Fingers crossed, Revellino.
    That’s a good point too – the timing of substitutions.
    It’d be fab to have a long summer.

  53. Interesting post above Swallow Sccops, so here’s my tuppence worth …..

    “Anyway, I was thinking – how do we get through this blanket defence issue? I know other teams have found ways but over and back passing, prising for openings is tiresome and eventually it demands a lot of accurate shooters (that we cannot easily sustain, currently).”
    You beat the blanket by getting ahead of the blanket. And to do that you need speed. Nothing moves faster than a kicked ball. SImple as that.
    I was at a coaching conference in Croke Park a number of years ago. One of the stands that grabbed my attention was promoting the use of stats in football and, in particular, creating optimal scoring systems. Long story short, the researcher had looked at 100’s of inter county games, studied and took into account the varying styles employed by each team, e.g. sweeper systems, +1 defensive cover, man to man, long ball, short ball, kicked passes etc. and came up with optimal scoring stats. That is to say, the type of attack that gave you the best chance of scoring. The findings were…
    1) When building from your full back line you had 6 passes and 30 seconds to get your shot off. Any fewer passes meant you were kicking too many long balls which favour the defender, and, any more passes meant you increased the chances of pass incompletion and turnovers. Any time greater than 30 secs meant you were too slow transitioning up the field with the ball and had allowed defenders to retreat into the half back line.
    2) When winning a ball inside your opponents 45m line you had 3 passes and 12 seconds to get your shot off. Any more passes or time taken most likely meant that you had butchered the chance.
    3) You were twice as likely to score from a turnover inside your opponents 45m line.

    These figures are optimal stats so, in reality, there is a bit of leeway. But what they scream out to me is that handpassing the ball up the field is THE WORST WAY to move the ball into attack. Yes you will have a high pass completion % and loads of possession, but, as we have continually seen from Horans teams, we will also have 50% scoring average and too few scores for all the possession.

    “Another recent bugbear of mine – why don’t we stop opposition scores from the throw-in set play? It’s predictable now that teams try to get a point from it. Dublin started this trend off, I think, in 2019 or 2020. Ditto the second half throw-in.”
    The thing about the throw-in is that players must be in their positions, e.g. half backs and half forwards just inside the 40m, full backs and full forwards on the 20m. This means that if you win the throw in, straight away you have one-on-one inside in your forwards. If you have a set play in this situation, e.g. your 11 clears out of the way and 14 bombs out from the 21, then your midfielder knows immediately where to place his foot pass. Exactly as Galway did. the trick is to either win your throw in, or foul immediately and prevent that quick ball inside.

  54. Pebblesmeller – very inciteful post. The scores from the throw in now looks easy to stop so you’d wonder why a fine tuned Mayo machine hasn’t already planned for this. Also worth noting looking back on the league final Kerry followed your point 1 (or better) throughout that game

  55. Very interesting post, Pebblesmeller, especially your first part where you share what you discovered in the study about optimal number of passes and optimal time from starting from the full back line to scoring. Also the other scenarios. That’s fascinating and good material to chew on.
    It makes sense to beat the blanket with speed and seems crazy to build up slowly and laboriously, hand passing laterally.
    Why do we do this? I know it’s possibly part of Horanball.
    I thought Ciarán Whelan’s analysis on the Sunday Game discussing Galway’s defensive approach to Mayo was interesting too. He said that Galway conceded the kickouts to Mayo, not pushing up. Galway used a double sweeper on Sunday and he showed in a diagram where those two players positioned themselves (one on either side of our half forward line, it looked to me). Not pushing up, they used two extra players to pull back and congest the space. Mayo’s runners wouldn’t run into those channels. He also said Mayo don’t tend to like to kickpass “unless the pass is on” and, in those cases, they opted to move the ball through the hands (didn’t end well). He said in cases where a Mayo player did win a ball inside they were surrounded by several Galway players and dispossessed.
    There’s a lot in it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts above and I also learned details from your explanation about scoring from the throw-in set play.

  56. Swallow swoops – it’s all about mental preparation for these 50/50 games, and the start is everything. I realise teams have their own psychological gurus giving talks beforehand. But, like the top golfers that play Augusta, each individual has to concentrate on how he’s going to execute his own game for the maximum benefit of the team. I mentioned in an earlier post that the early goal effectively decided the game.. I think you’ll still have a long summer, after all the swallow enjoys our climes until late Aug/Sep. And there nothing more enjoyable to watch on a summer’s evening that the sight of a swallow swooping for insects on the meadows…

  57. One of the positives for me on a Sunny Sunday was to see the thousands of kid’s both Galway and Mayo on the pristine turf of McHale Park deciding spontaneously to go out on pitch at half time last Sunday, and have a bit of fun.. I know and understand why the Steward’s were not too happy, but I don’t think they done any harm to the sacred sod either with such good weather..But after so long with Covid restrictions, wasn’t it great to see?… Interestingly 25K+ was the official attendance, but there was room for several thousand more. Was the game officially sold out, due to health and safety restrictions?.. I know in this Country some policy maker’s on high to try to regulate everything that shouldn’t be regulated, and not regulate what should, from Government to Sport and the GAA, wouldn’t know sensible regulation of anything if it bit them in the arse. I’m reminded of one of the reasons (excuses trotted out) why ‘Newbridge or Nowhere’ shouldn’t have gone ahead according to a Director of Communications of the GAA,. ‘There might be blood in the Streets of Newbridge’ .. presumably too many Kildare and Mayo supporter’s might have violent clashes if they meet, and it’s not in the controlled environment of Croke Park…. Hopefully we will see a full 34K in McHale Park, and a bit spontaneous play from both teams especially Mayo.. And thousands of kid’s again spontaneously having a bit of fun at half time on the pitch… And if Mayo win, the adults might get on the pitch again , before the regulators of everything, try to stop everything!

  58. Man of Aran, your post has put a big smile on my face. My handle comes just from seeing swallows swooping in the air above Mayo fields of a summer’s evening (just like our footballers might swoop, if we get a bit of a chance).
    Thank you for your thoughts on game prep too – all of these ideas help me to understand more. I do think your point is solid that the early goal decided the game.

    Pebbles – I think your scenario no. 2 above is the one we might have tried to use from the kickout.

    Quoting Pebblesmeller:
    “2) When winning a ball inside your opponents 45m line you had 3 passes and 12 seconds to get your shot off. Any more passes or time taken most likely meant that you had butchered the chance.”

  59. @Pebblesmeller: It would help to avoid the concession of scores directly from the throw-in if the referees actually enforced the rules. Aido used to win those without exception, but some time around 2020 opposition coaches started devising tactics to put an end to that.

    Invariably, one of the opposition midfielders will barrel into either Aidan or Matty, eyes nowhere near the ball, but as the referee will also be following the flight of the ball, they miss it every time. Meaning that if the opposition can win the break, they have a clean path through the middle.

    It happens every single game, without fail, as it did at the opening whistle of the Galway game. Either our lads get smart about it (a good haymaker might sort it), or it will continue to be a pattern.

  60. With all the experts out there, ive yet to find out how exactly a team is meant to beat a blanket defence.

    Outside of taking pot shots from distance, or trying to ‘ break the line” ( which invariably requires multiple hand passes in the build up ) , no one has explained how its done properly.

    As those required hand passes in the build-up are frowned upon by lost Mayo fans , im itching to find out the alternative. Especially when kicking into an over-crowded space is a 50/50 option, at best.

  61. I think we need to put some context on just dismissing players absent through injury albeit we won’t have Tommy back but the trajectory that buck was on was massive , he was becoming THE focal point of every attack , confidence was electrifying, his absence takes so much out of our attacking game . With Carr starting to show and Ryan being excellent all year , then the expected improvement from cillian as he gains fitness levels , yeah, I’ve no doubt it would of been very good .
    Huge loss

  62. Pebblesmeller – I’d be very wary of these kind of stats. I’ve linked below the story of Charles Reep.
    Reep was the father of analytics in soccer but made a glaring error in how he interpreted the statistics.
    Reep noticed that most goals were scored within three passes of a team gaining possession. This lead him to conclude that a team should not attempt more than three passes. This lead directly to English soccer’s long ball tactics.
    Reep had though misinterpreted the data, while most goals did come from moves of three or less passes, the percentage of goals scored per pass actually increased the more passes you made. ie you are more likely to score after four passes, but less likely to successfully string four passes together
    The article explains it better than I can

  63. Paddyjoe, we’ve been trying to figure it out. I suggest get ahead early on the scoreboard and make it hard for the opposing team to have the luxury of sitting back all game in a blanket. After all then, they can’t sit back because sooner or later, they’ll need to commit men forward to score themselves. And then they’ll leave holes that we can put fast ball into and score.
    And then we can get our momentum game going.
    With a bit of a buffer on the scoreboard, we then could defend en masse.
    I admit it is a crude instrument but I think given our own game it’s an approach (score early and heavily) we should try to use.
    It’d be worth figuring something out because we’ve suffered this type of problem against Tyrone, Kerry and Galway recently.
    Our own game was probably build to play Dublin or Kerry (pre-2022).

  64. Seán, agreed re Tommy. That would have put the cat among the pigeons a bit for opposing team’s tactics. I believe some dangerous forwards keeps opposing defenders on edge and makes them move towards their men during games rather than drift elsewhere. We often rely on outfield players to score but throw a few intimidating forwards in there too and opponents have a lot to defend against.

  65. Gaelic Football is a physical contact sport. To beat the blanket players in possession need to take on their man and beat him. Avoiding contact entirely is a cop out and gives rise to the awful stuff we saw on Sunday……until Mayo threw off the shackles and took them on.

  66. But “diehard” ,when ‘ your man’ has 2 or 3 or 4 or even 5 of his team mates around him for back up, how on God’s earth or you meant to beat him ??

  67. Thought Jason Doherty should have got a few frees on Sunday. We seemed to give away frees rather easily. Is there some technique galway tacklers were employing that gave a better picture to the ref and get away with what seemed a foul while our technique was less clear to the ref.

  68. Reading about the %’s and handpasses and the best way to beat blankets.
    Dublin achieved the six in a row but they would blow that theory out of the water.
    They often handpassed 30 and 40 times before taking on their shot and held on to the ball for up to 120 seconds.
    Dublin were never over reliant on long quick ball in to the forwards either to beat the blanket. They went about it the old fashioned way, working the ball up the pitch and holding the posession until the easy opportunity presented itself.
    It wasn’t to everyone’s taste, but then again, if all you want to do is lift Sam, I suppose this worked repeatedly for them.

  69. More thoughts on overcoming the blanket or very tight comprehensive defending:
    1) get ahead early (stated already). This could upturn the blanket.
    2) take your opportunities when they arise (e.g. opponents down to 14 men as last week). Might only be one per game to exploit but we should swoop on it and make hay.
    Another example: I forget the detail but we won one brilliant turnover on Sunday, could have been Cillian that did it, and we drummed up brilliant momentum immediately after. You could see Galway wobbling. We could press such scenarios to score and gain momentum.
    3) Somehow win frees in scoring range if opponents foul us on approach. Could build on them to keep our score up.
    4) we have a very good long range shooter in Robbie. A free on the 45 could result in a score from him. Small margins could help us go one or two ahead and bring the opposing team out to play more on front foot.
    5) Dublin’s tactic of retaining possession and probing for openings. Not pretty to look at and, I’m my view, risky.
    Tyrone for me are still the best at heavily defending and sustaining it intensely across an entire game. As previous posters have said, a basic requirement playing them is not to concede goals. That gives you a chance at least.

  70. @Paddyjoejohntom there are lots of 1/1 situations in games to take on your man and beat him that many of our players refuse to take. They prefer to turn back early and ‘play it safe’ to a man behind them.
    In answer to the question ‘what if your man has 2,3 or 4 of his mates’ how do you beat your man? The answer is simple. If you are faced with that many opponents then there must be a few of our lads free to take a quick pass……or am I missing something.
    In the end of the day if you are going to score someone has to have the courage and ability to attack with intent. This is what Kerry do……they take on their man at pace, go past him and set up a shooter in a good scoring position.

  71. Pebblesmeller.
    Not being smart, a genuine question. Is that a rule that players must be in position for the throw in. I never knew that. If it’s so and we started with our 2 wing forwards in the defence, does it mean that the ref will pull us on it. Or is it that it simply makes sense.

  72. Hi WJ. Been meaning to ask, all my comments are going to moderation recently. Did I dirty my bib or is it something else.

  73. To beat the blanket you just look at how Dublin beat the Northern teams. Jim Gavin learned his lesson when they lost to Donegal. I haven’t studied it but they basically made the pitch wider by using wingers to borrow the terminology from soccer. They kicked the ball up the line or moved it quickly diagonally.
    This opened up the middle so that their shooters got into position. They varied their play and were not a one trick pony like us.
    A lot of posters worrying about who we meet which is irrelevant because we have to beat them all. You can rest assured they will be more worried about us.
    If we don’t change our style of play and start moving the ball quicker with foot passes and put AOS in as target man it won’t matter who we meet

  74. You didn’t, Nephin – I’ve been meaning to mail you about it. This seems to happen randomly and a fix that seems to work is to use a different email address (which nobody sees publicly anyway). Once you post one comment with the new email address, everything after that goes up as normal. Could be worth a try, it has worked for others.

  75. I agree with previous poster in that we have become way too predictable. Maybe on a wider pitch we may be able to find the spacebut if we’re going to give the opposition time to pull 2 sweepers back into position, we’re going to find it very difficult to carve out openings. Getting to a semi final will be a great achievement.
    Whatever happened to james McCormack? Hession, Carney, Orme are good footballers but we are expecting too much of them, if we think we are ready to seriously challenge for Sam this year.

  76. @JKEL88, There’s no doubt that Clare are a better outfit than Tipperary but what I’m looking at is if there is to be an upset that would force a preliminary round then where is that more likely to occur, it doesn’t mean it will happen, but this is championship and an upset wouldn’t be a rarity.

    Let’s see how Clare look v Limerick first.

  77. We need a target man in our full forward line for a Kicking plan to work, Jason Doherty looks to have gone back alot since before his Cruciate and and Aido just doesnt have the natural ability to play as a full forward. From watching alot of club football Conor Diskin is the best target man for a full forward in the County, has great fielding ability, strong, big and very quick why he was dropped by Horan I don’t know. How the hell he thinks Fionan Duffy and Justin Healy are ahead of Diskin, he wasn’t even at the combine after All Ireland . Also when we lack natural midfielders at the current time we have arguably the best Club Midfielder in the County in Jason Gibbons not in the current panel, he would be a perfect match for Matty now and could have done a job on Paul Conroy Sunday both players are the same age.

  78. The Dublin’s and the Kerry’s of this world are adaptable and that’s where Horan has been asleep, failure to adapt.

    Combine that with a top opponent knowing you only have one trick and the outcome is inevitable.

    Sure we got away with it for years running the legs off opponents, it could be why we seem to be picking up more injuries than others.

    People like to use the excuse that Horan is “rebuilding”, rebuilding what ? More of the same, no thanks.

    The biggest problem the whole Mayo project has is not a lack of players but a lack of intelligence, the intelligence to see the obvious and be able to fix it.

    But there’s another issue as well regarding the football culture in Mayo, it’s nowhere near where it should be in order to have a conveyor belt of youngsters who are good at the basic skills of the game.

    If you don’t start there, then you’re only wasting your time chasing shadows around Croke Park, it’s common sense, but we have too many involved with Mayo GAA who don’t seem to have an abundance of that unfortunately, history tells you that.

  79. There are a few good club payers not in Horans squad at the moment, most got a chance but maybe weren’t committed to making the personal sacrifices required under his regime & effectively rule themselves out.

  80. “No conveyor belt, not good at the basic skills, chasing shadows around Croke Park”. Yet we get to 6 All Ireland finals in the past decade Viper. Jees that must have been some fluke?
    Couldn’t disagree with you more. We’ve had the players. At times we’ve played sublime, but never quite sustained it on final day. It’s 99% a mental thing for Mayo.

  81. @Liberal role in the tie, At least quote me verbatim if you would like to engage in a debate instead of cutting bits out and mixing up what I said and which I stand by fully.

    You also omitted where I said “Sure we got away with it for years running the legs off opponents”, clearly there will always be 2 teams in an All-Ireland final, if it wasn’t Mayo then it would be someone else.

    Are you disagreeing that the football culture in Kerry is different than Mayo or do you believe it’s the same ?

    Have you been to Kerry for any significant amount of time or been involved in football there ?

    “Yet we get to 6 All Ireland finals in the past decade” – Positive Spin

    “We have lost 6 All-Ireland finals in the past decade” – Reality

    You are totally entitled to disagree with me @Liberal role in the tie, but that gets to the heart of what I believe is also an issue, too many in Mayo have an opinion that there’s not a lot wrong and it’s largely down to mentality, curses, fairies or whatever you’re having yourself.

    While there is no doubt that mentality comes into it to a certain degree, that is largely a by-product of repeated failures. Even some of the Kerry greats will tell you they were nervous wrecks going into an All-Ireland final.

    And also you cannot argue that I’m wrong regarding the gap in football culture between Kerry and Mayo when one county has nearly 40 All-Irelands and the other has 3 or my initial point that we have not adapted and that has contributed greatly to our downfalls which was there for all to be seen last September.

  82. @viper “At least quote me verbatim if you would like to engage in a debate instead of cutting bits out”

    Coming from you that’s funny,you don’t get to dictate when and where you debate in good faith and when you get to twist what people say to suit your narrative and agenda.
    The latest thread on here has been refreshingly honest and there has been some great football and tactical talk.I dont agree with all the view points and I’ve butted heads with a lot of posters over the years but I think they are coming from a place of honesty and genuine interest in Mayo football.
    Your agenda driven,relentless, repetitive bile is no addition to any debate on here

  83. @FW, I know you don’t like me, I don’t know if it’s because I’m younger, more intelligent or what but it matters not to me, perhaps if the previous couple of generations done things better we may not be in the mess we are now regarding football culture.

    But clearly some want to hang on to antiquated ideas, not me matey, you carry on with your old ideas that haven’t worked in over 70 years and don’t interfere with mine.

    Your post is clearly antagonizing.

  84. I think above all, we need to hold our past decade of Mayo football in high reverence.

    Regardless of whether an an Ireland was landed or not, even Kerry people will tell you, that some of the greatest footballers they have ever seen were wearing the Green and Red.

    We should always respect what our footballers and indeed our managers and indeed our mighty supporters have achieved over the past decade.

    There was only the toot of the referees whistle between us and AI glory on more than one occasion and on more than one occasion that toot of the whistle did not favour the brave.

    There are two sides to the Mayo football story.

    Of course there is the heartbreak and the tears and you can multiply that by five for the players and managers.

    But never forget the other side of this story.

    Maybe in ways, the greatest ever story in football, where when deemed impossible to recover from heartbreaking losses, our mighty players left life and limbs on the green playing fields across our land, and carried us on their mighty shoulders back to play in Gaelics greatest games.

    Any conversation about Mayo football, that
    comes from a chest, that is not beating with a mighty pride for all our lads have achieved over the years, is not a conversation worth having.

    Hon Mayo.

  85. Can everyone please back off having a go at each other? It should be possible for contributors to disagree with each other without poking each other in the eye. One contributor in particular seems determined to do this at every turn and I doubt I’m alone in getting a bit tired of it at this stage.

  86. JP, thanks for your point above on beating the blanket. I like it.
    Quoting JP: “Dublin had specific little plays to setup runners through on goal or shooters in space.”
    I could see us developing and implementing small moves that might open up space.

    Sticks for the Reek, yes, thank you for including the following information: to get the better of packed defences, Dublin tried to make the pitch wider to create space.
    At close range, even, we’ve seen them hug the sideline, and then pass the ball quickly from one side to the other to try to drag men out of position.
    I heard Paddy Andrews last year on The Football Podcast (Off the Ball) say it takes an awful lot of focus from all players to keep moving the ball like this without losing it for maybe a minute or more until a scoring chance presents itself.
    (Then for Mayo, we need the accurate shooter there to avail of it).
    I also heard none other than the bould Ciaran Mc talk about dealing with packed defences by *using width* and getting your best shooters on the ball that can score from 40 yards (long before he joined the Senior Team management team) – see the Second Captains interview with him in 2015, available on You Tube.

    The whole point, I suppose in the above, is to get a completed score or put the ball dead, not to get turned over and for the other team to start a counter attack.

    A target man in a packed defence can often get swallowed up and overpowered, causing him to lose possession.

    Having said that, James Carr was brilliant last Sunday.

  87. Sam og I don’t agree with your assessment of Aido. He can field the ball, has strength and quick hands from the basketball. Admit he’s not a scorer but he can lay it off quickly. He is the best target man we have at the moment and they are killing him out field as he doesn’t have the pace. The problem is Mayo are so programmed they won’t let the ball in quickly and at the right height.
    I agree with you on Conor Diskin but he must have had some issues with James Horan but it’s a managers job to get the best players playing. It’s a huge commitment for any player and some may not be in a position to give that.

  88. Swallow Swoops some good points there and agree with you on James Carr but of course they took him off on Sunday. They probably looked at GPS and saw he had the miles up and took him off. Same thing happened in 2017 Final Rochford took Andy off and him the most likely man to get a score.
    The only game this year that we played the wings and moved the ball quickly was against Kildare but maybe that was because it was a more open game. Maybe it was because JH was at home but I imagine he was linked up to his assistants by some means of communication.
    Anyway Peter Canavan thinks the 6 weeks break will be good for us and still thinks we will be in the shakeup for Sam. So keep the faith.

  89. Debate away with me, but @FW clearly played the man there whereas @Liberal role in the tie did not, he said he disagreed and that’s fine.

    I don’t think it right for someone saying another has an agenda without spelling it out.

    The idea of a debate is that there are opposing arguments, what was @FW’s opposing argument “Your agenda driven, relentless, repetitive bile”, that is antagonistic.

    There are plenty reasonable people here who can see the difference.

    Anyway, I have more important things to be doing than wasting my time stuck online when the sun is shining.

  90. Fingers crossed, Sticks for the Reek. It would be brilliant to be involved when the sun in shining later in the summer.

  91. Nephin, yes is the answer. Players must be in position when the ref throws the ball up.

    As for Dublin beating the blanket? Gavins Dublin only got obsessed with holding possession in the last 2 years of his reign. They evolved their play over the 6 All Ireland wins when teams started dropping extra defenders back to cover Brogan, Flynn etc. Prior to that, quick diagonal balls were played inside to Dublin forwards with players coming off the shoulder on the run…e.g. Bastick v us, Brogan countless times against us. How many examples are there of Brogan, alone, 1-on-1 with Cafferkey or another Mayo defender, and taking handy points from 25m out or worse, for us, palmed goals at the back post? How many examples have we of Connolly pinging 40 or 50 yard cross field passes to open up space? All those chances were created by rapid attacks and playing ball into space. Isolating defenders 1-on-1. Given their best shooters (initially Brogan, then Rock and now Kilkenny/O’Callaghan) the best ball to score with. They also had/have absolute speed demons in Kevin McMenamon, Jack McCaffrey and now Murchan who are freaks of nature as regards pure explosive speed.

    In the last two years they became more concerned about holding the ball, not risking it. Playing little 15m to 20m passes laterally across the pitch, working set plays and little triangle movements. “Back-door cuts” where a forward drifts out from the 20m and takes a 1-2 but then spins back in along the endline to receive the return pass. More often than not a fisted point soon follows. These type of “set plays” come from Jason Sherlock and his influence from basketball.
    The Chicago Bulls of the late 90’s/early 00’s, and the Lakers before them, devised and refined an attacking strategy called the Triangular Offence. Basically it involved short intricate passes with players moving and rotating through a triangular shape, the end result being that a deep lying, crowded defense would, evetually, lose their markers and runners and a Dublin forward would be free 20m out from goal in the scoring zone. In effect, the defense would be dizzy from the movement of the Dublin players and a hole would appear in the blanket defence. To get this fit for use in a football match takes a huge amount of time and organization, but Dublin have loads of that and can do it.
    So, in my opinion the only thing that could restrict peak Dublin was a blanket defense but they still found a way around it.

  92. Ah you’ll be okay viper. You’ll get over it.

    Sure wasn’t it explained to me by a few at the start of the week that I was an ungracious embarrassment, not only to myself but to everyone here on the blog for suggesting that Galways time wasting tactics were over the top.

    I was more than greatful to Stephenite and a couple of others for pointing out to me the error of my ways.

    How dare I suggest that there was alot of time wasting going on in our recent match with Galway.

    Of course living here in Galway and telling the Galway football fans what I thought of the amount of time wasting that went on brought me respect for been honest about the whole saga.

    I’m still friends by the way with all my Galway football friends. They know they will always hear whats really running through my mind and not some politically correct pre prepared after match statement that was put together by Kofi Anan years ago.

    For the likes of anyone who thinks I’m an embarrassment to them, I speak on behalf of myself and I’d appreciate it if they didn’t consider themselves under the umbrella of any of my posts.

  93. Rewatched the first half last night and I thought we were actually fairly decent.

    Caught napping for the goal but stuck at it, battled our way back into the game.

    Thought we showed great patience with the ball, and worked some good scores.

    We are not though playing Horanball anymore. We’re a possession based team now. We don’t run over the shoulder of the man in possession, we stop and offer a standing option to recycle. This is something we can do more often, and would add some variety to our play.

    I’d agree with other posters wrt Dublin having little plays to open up the space. Thought we saw some of that during the league with the little dink passes in from out wide but my feeling is that the injuries have wrecked havoc with things like this.

  94. Really good stuff there from Pebbles and FrostT. I need to sit and chew on this for a while.
    Revellino, you’re some boyo.
    Have a good day, all.

  95. @FrostTH,
    Good observation,I’d probably agree with you there.
    We didn’t play or to a lesser extent weren’t let play full on Horan ball or Horan ball 2.0 which is with a little bit more kick passing quickly into forwards.Weve only seen this in fits and starts all year and never a successfully against a blanket defense,I’m sure James had a plan for April 24th since the draw was made and everything including heaving training blocks towards the last few games of the league was geared towards that. Unfortunately it didn’t work out,
    I’m not sure but I think this was a combination of not having personnel to go full Horan ball, being on the tight pitch, generally not performing up to standards individually,and a combination of lots of other factors.Ive no problem with galway blatantly time wasting,we’d do the exact same,the ref needs to take responsibility for that.
    After watching the match back I’m not as down hearted,we really could have won that had we taken half our chances or had our long range kicker on the pitch (which we will for next game) Bear in mind that’s against our greatest local rivals playing near enough their peak and us not being far off a full system malfunction. That kinda puts it in perspective for me and gives a bit of hope going forward.
    Nobody will want to draw Mayo in the new qualifiers.

  96. Would love to meet Kerry in the quarter finals.
    A free hit. We would be written off by all.
    Would be the time to beat them.

  97. Last Sunday was hugely frustrating. We are too predictable and I am concerned that James Horan is too tied to the all action, high octane running game to consider a bit of variety. Variety that is badly needed at both ends of the pitch or our season will be over before we think.

    We continue to leave our inside defensive line exposed. Its a lonely place for the likes of O Hora with acres of space against a top inside forward.. We need to develop an attacking plan that enables minding the house at the same time.

    It was also very concerning to see our u20s get done the same way against an organized Sligo team with some decent forwards..

    James Horan’s time feels like its coming to an end one way or another.. Did he bring Mayo as far as he could in 2014? His 2nd stint in charge would lead me to believe that is the case.. very close, but lacking that extra inch of tactical nous to land the big prize..

    Im sure plenty on here will disagree but we need a change in management and approach as we have as talented a squad as there is out there.. we are just not getting the most out of them

  98. Niall Cullen the ref in the Louth game in Navan pulled both goalies for slow kickouts, that put an end to that.

  99. Galway Exile, I thought it was interesting what one of our Rossie friends commented on the blog following Sunday’s result and having read our lamenting and hard words about our performance.
    He said Ros had the forwards but no team behind them. I’m not going to speak about whether that’s a fair assessment of Ros or not.
    But the comment about “having no team behind them” made me think.
    I thought Horan HAS actually gone and built us a system with a bit of body to it.
    Contrary to what some might believe, we are actually not a one trick pony (I.e. a collection of isolated players). We have more substance and push than that. We have a team with drive.
    I thought – it’s the development of a system and playing style that has actually made sure we are a top 6 or top 4 side all this time and not falling out, toppled, at provincial stage.
    That’s not a small thing.
    That’s fundamental.
    What we do need is brain work now – James and co to tweak the system for the opposition and stringently prepare for each opposition, including how they might try to stop us.
    With the help of God, the Qualifiers will work for us. We haven’t had Qualifiers since 2019, and there’s no Super 8s this year to run us ragged.
    The games we’ve had recently are bound to have exposed our weaknesses to management and that can only be a good thing.

  100. Well let me tell you Revelinnio you are certainly not an embarrasment to me and always remember your opinion is just as relevant as anyone else. Sometimes its good to say it as you say it. I do think naming any player as not good enough etc should be banned as these lads are amateurs and dont set out to lose games i need to remember that myself more than anyone after the white heat of battle

  101. Time for lee Keegan at half forward line if Brendan Harrison and paddy Durkin fit in 6 weeks. Tyrone mix it up for meyler/sludden/ mcgeary in matches.

  102. @Glorydays so people cant give on opinion if a lad on the panel should or shouldn’t be there? Shouldn’t be able to question as to why some players have been brought into panels for mysterious reasons after failing year after year to make an impact? Okay maybe one or two of the lads on the panel are great craic and a good laugh and sometimes a joker or a wind up merchant is as good for a team moral wise if nothing else but people should be allowed to express opinions or are we in North Korea? I don’t think anybody questions the time effort and commitment our lads put in but there’s certainly a few in the set up that have every right to be questioned..

  103. @Jp asked for sone ideas on how to beat the blanket defences that seem so problematic.
    I know this is a small sample and it’s bringing back painful memories but anyway. Watch the video here from 29:30, specifically the play where Hennelly restarts with a kick out.

    The ball takes approx 8 seconds to move from Hennellys goalie tee to a goal chance for AOS.
    It passes though the hands of 3 players before the chance is executed (poorly but that’s not my point). Coen, Ryan and Aido.
    In that play, Tyrone’s much vaunted defence was torn to shreds, like a knife through soft butter.
    – there wasn’t a solo to be seen in the move. One bounce by coen to steady himself and an immediate kick pass.
    – the key part of the play was Ryan’s ball in. Notice how he didnt even hold the ball for a half a second. Receive, turn, kick, it was pure instinct.
    – yes Aido stuffed up the move through a poor decision to shoot instead of dummying. Not the point however.

    The point is that the Chance was created via fast, accurate kickpassing, to the advantage of the receiver.
    Almost IMPOSSIBLE to defend against that kind of football.
    It’s basically the antithesis of Horanball. No running from deep whatsoever. But how often go you see that amount of space in front of a Tyrone goal?
    At the weekend, in that kind of scenario, coen was ambling out slowly with the ball on a solo run. The Galway defence was well protected and by the time the ball arrived at the Galway 45 it was like Fort Knox inside with about 20 players inside the Galway 45.
    I would love to see, every now and then, a commitment by the team to just kick pass on instinct forward, especially immediately after a turnover is won (something we still do very well). We might lose some ball. But it would also be brave. It creates goal chances that running from deep just doesn’t give us as easily.

    A final though – someone mentioned that Mayo like chaos, it’s when their best football is played. May well be true, but what we saw last Sunday with slow soloing and hand passing back and over is the opposite of chaos, is it not? It’s ultra conservative risk averse stuff that wins nothing major and pisses everyone off.

  104. Mayo’s achilles heel over the years has been the lack of top class forwards who can score under pressure in big games. A power running game will only get you so far. If you have only one or two scoregetters up front, these can be easily double teamed. The Rossies do have much better forwards but as they can’t get enough ball to them, they have to survive on scraps. Kevin McStay’s point on this is correct.

  105. @fedup im not saying that at all and its Willie Joe’s blog and he quite rightly makes the rules. But its all fun and games until someone on here publishes a comment criticising a certain player and he takes offence and decides to sue?

  106. @Glorydays, A lawyer would politely tell you not to waste your time or money trying to sue someone for defamation regarding of an honesty held opinion on whether a player should be selected or not.

    The player would lose and be made a laughing stock of in the media if he proceeded.

  107. John McShera – which Roscommon forwards would make the Mayo team? Enda Smith definitely on the half forward line. Either Diarmuid Murtagh or donie smith might make it as a left footed corner forward. Though I would argue Ryan, Tommy, Cillian and James Carr are better all round players.

  108. Look at what Mayo football has done to people here, when Mayo lose a few here seem to get very annoyed and take their frustrations out on each other, when Mayo win everything is rosy.

    One poster in particular seems to love fighting and calls out a person for very little.

    I say move on from Football, we cannot change the past and cannot decide the future.

    The Snooker is very exciting at the moment.

  109. You can try substitute it for snooker , ball from across the water , pints , family holiday etc etc but people who have that gra for mayo football nothing compares , it dominates life , it’s near impossible to switch off . My only way out is if we win it , surely then I can draw the pension of peace and serenity from it all .

  110. @Séan Burke.. the Buddhists believe in reincarnation, which is why they believe in not harming any living creature (Admirable) .. If you had a very good life, when you die, you become reincarnated as something better.. and when you eventually have the perfect life, you stop being reincarnated the last time you die. If what the Buddhists believe is true???, Do you think it might be possible that hundreds of millions of very good people (but not perfect people) all over the world died once and we’re reincarnated as something better, (eg Mayo Fan’s) and every chance they get all over the world, write “Mayo for Sam” as an outwardly visible sign of our ‘Near Perfection’?. Think it’s a longshot myself! .. but a consoling taught, when the football isn’t going terribly well!

  111. @Sean Burke,,on a Monday morning when we are after losing another final,or being beaten by the noisy neighbors like last Monday morning for an hour or 2, I actually envy the people who couldn’t care a toss one way or another about Mayo football…but only for an hour or 2 & then you think of the incredible thrill it is to be a diehard supporter of the green n red…you just couldn’t swap it,even if you wanted to.
    We’re cracked & deluded I know but sure there’s worse kinds of daftness & maybe we’ll live to land the Big Fish.

  112. I always have to laugh when the North Korea analogy is rolled out! 162k comments and counting posted here since the blog’s foundation, every conceivable opinion provided and all manner of debates that have been had. As anyone who’s here on a regular basis will know, my aim is simply that the debate is fair and reasonable, which I believe it is the vast majority of the time. Sure, the mood can at times swing from soaring high to crashing low but that happens offline too, at matches or in chats on the street before and after games.

    Just to answer the specific points you raised, Fedup, I do have a problem with players being named and their presence on the panel or on the team being questioned in the way you’ve suggested. We’re all outside the tent and so simply don’t know what drives this kind of decision-making.

    Speculating about why certain players aren’t (or are) being picked isn’t helpful and uninformed ‘opinions’ on this subject don’t add to constructive debate. In this respect, I’d point to the talk last year about one particular player whose value was being questioned, with a scurrilous motive put forward for his inclusion in the panel. That trash-talk died away when the player in question subsequently proved his worth but what good would have come if posting shite like that was allowed here? I think we all know the answer to that one.

    Some of you may have heard the pod Mike did this week with John Maughan, which is really, really good. John touched on the subject of online commentary and what he said was very interesting, in particular the way an offhand, cutting remark made online about a player (or manager) can wound. His plea was for those who post comments online to think twice about the impact such comments can have on those who are on the receiving end of them.

    Down the years I’ve spoken with families of players and with those close to players (in one excruciating instance where I was the one who had posted something which, in retrospect, I definitely shouldn’t have – I learned a valuable lesson there, I can tell you). It’s that inner circle rather than the players themselves who often take the brunt of this kind of commentary and who are not well equipped to do so. This is something all of us who post opinions online need to remind ourselves of at regular intervals. If it’s a choice between going in too hard or treading softly, the latter is always the better option.

  113. Jesus, I felt great and uplifted after reading your post @Leantimes, only to be then brought back down to Earth after reading @2Hops ” morning after the defeat post”.

    I believe we have gone to Hell and back in that Monday morning final defeat.

  114. @swallowswoops Horans hard-running gameplan will consistently account for 90% of teams in the country no doubt and Horan has made that happen so credit where credit is due. I agree that its down to changing minor details and tactics to take the next step but I am starting to doubt if Horan has that ability. History would suggest that’s the case. I hope I’m wrong but I think we are approaching the end game with Horan. I think there is a case for Rochfords Return to build on what James has created.

  115. That’s a balanced view, Galway Exile.
    I do hope James H can take another step and the next few games will give us a chance.

  116. Dont know if anyone saw Kildare v Dublin in u20 final on tg4 this evening. Kildare won 17-15. Great game of football with both teams playing football the way it should be played- open attacking football with forwards able to score from a variety of angles. Miles ahead of the sterile rubbish our u20 team were playing this year.

  117. Watching that Match I was thinking the same as you @Southmayo Exile.
    It shows young players can play Football if they are allowed.

  118. @Food4thaught & Mayo88,. ‘Uplifting’ hopefully the Spirit’s of Mayo Fan’s…I never got such high praise before.. Do ye think I might have found my very late Vocation?.. After 40 year’s wandering in the desert!.. Sorry, I shouldn’t be telling lies, now that I am trying to lead the ‘Near Perfect’ life of a Mayo fan.. It’s allot more than 40 year’s! .. Alleluya!

  119. @Leantimes
    That’s a great bit of history and analytical thinking on the Buddhist monks.
    Do they know anything about the blanket defense ?
    You’d imagine there must be some of them monks in Ballinrobe.

    I wonder if I got on to the county board is there any chance they would put a statue of a Buddha at the bacon factory end.
    We could call him the scoring Buddha.

  120. @Revellino,. Yes I imagine Buddists Monks would know plenty about Blankets. .. They always have one, Don’t think they are Foxford Blankets,..No Blankets in the Mayo … They wear no Jewell’s, no costly diamonds no paint, no powder no none at all. They don’t wear a Bonnet, and no ribbon on it and around their shoulder they wear a Galway Shawl .

  121. #johnmacsherra,as a rossie I totally agree with you,we have superb forwards,if they were supplied with the posession mayo got last sunday I have no doubt we would have won by 4 or 5 points ,only problem is mayo are an all round better 1 to 9 than every county in ireland,and have proven this for 12 years only they dont have a ciaran mc that can score so with so little effort,just pure class and if he was supplied with ball like mayo do they would have at least 2 all irelands in last 10 years,only my opinion but I firmly believe it

  122. Where we are:
    We haven’t the best 1-9 anymore,
    If we’re honest we have 2-3 players there at most ,
    Compared to years gone(Boyle/Higgins/Barret/Vaughan) etc
    We haven’t any depth in midfield
    Our half forward line has 1 player at required level(doc), mcloughlin hasn’t 80mins, others not at level needed.
    Aos, regardless what people think is huge to us, but best years are behind for sure.
    Full forward line is ok at best, but not at a Kerry or Galway standard. COC will improve. Doherty will struggle get back to level he was, which if brutally honest wasnt the level needed to win an all irl.

    Lean years ahead in my view , so reminiscing on the last decade will be common in years to come.

  123. I’m not sure I buy that theory that if we had a few Rossie or Galway forwards we’d have won a few All-Irelands. None of those lads have ever played in an All-Ireland or have even come close to doing so. When Galway reached their only semi-final in 2018 they were decisively beaten and none of their forwards put up any kind of decent show. You’d need to see those players operating at the highest level on a consistent basis and see how they perform there before being in any way sure on claims of that sort. Absent that it’s just pure conjecture.

  124. A lot of talk about how we struggle against blanket defenses but it’s worth pointing out that there’s only one team in the history of the game who haven’t struggled to consistently beat the blanket.

    Even the teams that play a blanket struggle against other blanket defenses.

  125. Good perspective there, FrostT. That’s important to remember when we think about our lads.
    Bearing this in mind, let us get better bit by bit at this issue, and take our points where we can during a match, avoid conceding (daft goals and from throw-ins), i. e. tighten up on the scoreboard.
    I think our openness sometimes in defence is a calculated risk. I wonder do we need to recalibrate that a bit when we’re dealing with a heavily defensive counteracting team who have good forwards. They can really make gains there. It’s delicate when you think about the overall strategy.
    Man of Aran was on to something when he said the start was everything.
    I still believe in us!

  126. Oj76
    I wouldn’t agree that mayo have the best 1-9 in the country anymore, certainly we have some excellent individual defenders but our 1-9 pales in comparison to what we had between 2014-2018. Tyrone, for one, have a much better 1-9 and in con Kilpatrick have the most in form midfielder in the country (alongside conroy).

    Ruane is arguably our most important player now, if he is firing that tends to bring lots of other players into it and free up others. If he is not on it then we struggle

  127. @Skylineirl, I’d take a fairly different view there.

    Lee Keegan, Paddy Durcan, Oisín Mullin and Matty Ruane are as good as anything in the country today by anyones measure. I’d personally have Padraig O’Hora (some of the turnovers,. especially against Dublin, in the last 12 months were breathtaking) and Robbie Hennelly (only a small handful near/at/above his level) in close to as high regard.

    Eoghan McLoughlin, Enda Hession and David McBrien have the potential to push that backline to new highs in coming years rather than dragging us down. With the right setup around him McBrien has the potential to do for us what Foley has for the 3 spot in Kerry. With young lads like Sam Callinan and Donnacha McHugh already pushing at senior and others like Alfie Morrison (u20, expecting a big year for Louisburgh and Alfie to be prominent in it), Conal Dawson (very u20, Westport) and Rio Mortimer (very u17) suggesting there’s plenty of young talent with the potential to break through in both the near and distant future too.

    In terms of losing players in defense to age we’d probably be looking at Lee first, then Aido or Robbie and then back to young ‘ens like Brendan Harrison and Paddy Durcan. It’s a very young squad we’re running so age not nearly the hurdle motivation and psychology might be.

    In midfield, we’re currently in our roughest spot. Matty and Jordan clear first choices there with Aidan a clear third choice to offer a different style of play when needed. After that we’re dropping to the likes of Diarmuid O’Conner, Conor Loftus, Conor O’Shea, Jack Carney, Fionn McDonagh, Kev Mc or others whose best positions are away from the middle. Plenty of arguments that there are options available with the likes of Jason Gibbons, Shane McHale and Padraig Prendergast but if they don’t fit the managers plans or style of play (similar arguments for Caolan Crowe and Ciarán King who’ve been the best defenders in the county at club championship the last couple of years) that’s a fairly moot point. The future there looks bright though with both Ruane and Flynn relatively young and the likes of Frank and Jack Irwin, Dylan Thornton, Jack Fallon, Ethan Henry, Connell Dempsey, Liam Óg Horkan, Fionnán Ryan and plenty of other young talent with the potential to push much further and give options there.

    Our full forward line when fit is electric. Ryan O’Donoghue, Cillian O’Conner and Tommy Conroy in full flight is a terrifying prospect for any defense. Be interesting to see how many years Cillian has left but as a player who never depended on an explosive turn of pace and can drop deeper to play a playmaker role as well as playing on the inside he has the potential to push on for a long time yet. One area we’d like to see a few club lads stand out and demand some attention that might not have shown as prominently at underage but some exciting prospects like Ronan Clarke and Niall Hurley playing tonight for the minor side and a mixture of young lads from Claremorris, Ballina and Castlebar that are improving all the time I’m confident we’ll have a few more break through there over the next few years and beyond.

    Half forward line, like midfield, one of the areas we’re slightly light on options at the moment. Diarmuid is in his prime and seems to excel when allowed to at 11 but ends up having to cover on the wing more often be it a tactical choice or necessity on options. We’ll be losing Kevin when he hangs up his boots shortly but the vast majority of our options in the half forward line (Dempsey, Conor McStay, Owen McHale, Paddy Heneghan, down to younger lads like Tom O’Flaherty or Diarmuid Duffy) are young and only going to improve with years.

    The lack of depth from 8 to 12 is hurting us a little at the moment but across the entire pitch the future looks incredibly bright in terms of personnel. Huge challenge there to convert that potential into a team and show it as ability, whether that’s James and Ciarán or someone else, but it won’t be lack of player talent that would prevent us challenging in the next 3, 5 or 10 years. We have the bodies, figuring out how to hammer a tune out of them the challenge. Exciting years ahead in my view. Or, I guess, exciting current events gearing up for the minor match tonight.

  128. Skylineirl – if you go through our options 1-9, Mullin and Eoghan McLaughlin are only 22. David McBrien is 22, Enda Hession is 21. Where were Higgins, Barrett, Boyle and Vaughan at that age? True we haven’t much depth in midfield but Ruane and Jordan Flynn looked to be forming a formidable partnership during the league. They are 25 and 23 respectively. Were Parsons and Seamie O’Shea much better than those 2? Don’t think so personally.

    I don’t agree with these statements talking about lean years ahead. The evidence of the last 2 seasons is that these players are well able to compete at the highest level. Of course everything is dependant on having a strong management team in place that keeps evolving and improving things.

  129. Agree completely Willie Joe; it’s a point I make constantly: our forwards have been tested at the highest level; we’ve gone toe to toe with the greatest team of all, and came up just short.

    Let’s see how far the Rossies and Galway go, and if and how they fare at higher levels.

  130. Its an interesting one Willie Joe for sure..

    Take Shane Walsh who’s arguably the most naturally talented forward to come out of Connacht over the last decade. By definition you’d naturally assume adding him into the Mayo forward line of 2016/2017 (he only really developed at senior level in 2014 so I’m excluding 2012/13) would have gotten us over the line..

    But then you have to factor in how exactly he would have fit into a Mayo system at the time

    He’s certainly not a direct switch for McLoughlin or Doherty on the wings who were absolutely pivotal in winning breaking ball and linking defence and attack. McLoughlin also played a deeper role – to good effect – in the Rochford era. Walsh is obviously a better footballer than O’Shea, but O’Shea is an extremely effective ball carrier who draws defenders and wins countless frees. He had a fine game in the 2017 final which tends to be forgotten when people just look back at the lists of scorers, and he set up a goal in the 2016 replay. He was also needed as an extra kickout option and to drop back to midfield as cover.

    Andy was unplayable in the 2017 final, there aren’t many forwards in history who had as good a final as he did. Cillian is so valuable to Mayo you could never replace him. We only lined out with 5 orthodox forwards that day.

    Now I’m sure he would have been accommodated somewhere, so the question then is would this then have meant the likes of Andy would get less service and hence less scores? And would it make us more wide open defensively? So its not an easy answer at all.

    The obvious answer is yes guys like Walsh and Damein Comer would surely have generated the 2 point swing to win a few of those finals, but the devil really is in the detail – as you say its a far different proposition facing that Dublin defence. Walsh has been anonymous in plenty of games (he is frustrating for sure) and I don’t recall him doing a whole pile in the 2018 semi (think he got a goal right at the end). Comer had a great start to that game but drifted out of it if I remember, he did plenty of damage in the 2018 league final in fairness however

    My own answer is with those two players available Mayo would certainly have scored more in the 2016 finals, but likely conceded more also as I’d imagine the system would have needed to be changed to accommodate both. In 2017 I don’t think any forward would have made much difference, we scored something like 1-16 which is unheard of for losing All Ireland finalists. So probably still two Dublin wins

    As for last year.. adding both of those players in would certainly have won the All Ireland final. I’d give Galway themselves a roaring chance if they meet Tyrone this year…

    Will be a while getting over last year that’s for sure!

  131. Don’t know how people and an ex-player can keep a straight face when saying if we had Galway/Roscommon forwards we’d have a Sam or 2. These Roscommon forwards have never won a Quarter final, never mind play in a final. Had a big chance against Tyrone at home in ‘19 to get to quarter final, and bottled it, Smiths, Murtaghs, Cox, all involved. Willie Joe hit the nail on the head in the Galway comparison above.

    If pundits/fans said if we had a Darren McCurry, Brogan, O’Callaghan or Murphy id agree with them, men who have been to the big dance and won it, not players who haven’t been within an ass’s roar of it.

  132. @Line Ball, It’s not a like for like comparison though because you can’t compare how far a “team” went in the championship to the individual abilities of certain players.

    If you look at a player like Keith Beirne from Leitrim, he’s never going to make an All-Ireland final not because he’s not a very good forward but because he was born in Leitrim.

    Had he been born in Mayo we’d be raving about him and he would be an improvement to our forwards.

    Would Colm O’Rourke have won a couple of All-Irelands had he not moved to Meath, of course he wouldn’t and perhaps Meath wouldn’t have won a couple had he not.

    It doesn’t matter a toss whether an individual player or a number of players have been to All-Ireland finals or not, it’s the team as a whole who reach finals, not a few individual players and that’s why the logic is totally and utterly flawed.

    Surely at this stage most people who know football and who are obsessed by Mayo know that there are forwards from other counties in Connacht that would improve our forward line.

    Bit if you base your judgment on ability alone and discard all the baggage and are able to spot talent then yes, there are better forwards around Connacht.

    But it is actually impossible to say whether their presence would make a difference or not but it is equally impossible to say that it wouldn’t.

  133. Mayo need to develop forwards coaching as its lacking in comparison with Roscommon, Galway its hard to explain it actually. Its fantasy imagining Damien or Shane playing for Mayo sure if we had Boyle, Higgins we would probably have won manu more Connaughts so Mayo wouldnt get near the final.

  134. Rewatched the second half last night. We were not as bad as it felt at the time.

    Watching live, I felt losing Oisin knocked the stuffing out of the team but on the rewatch that wasn’t the case. They responded quite well and kept plugging away.

    We weren’t quite as patient with the ball as we were towards the end of the first half. Some of that was because we were actually getting our shots off earlier in the moves. A combination of poor shooting, poor shot selection and lack of match sharpness led to us not scoring for so long. For example, Mattie hit a bad wide from the edge of the D but also took on a shot under pressure he shouldn’t have. Cillian’s lack of match sharpness really killed us. One chance where he slipped out the right, it wasn’t an easy shot by any means but losing his footing really killed the momentum, and he got swallowed up for a chance on front of the goals, when he probably should have gotten a shot away.

    In fairness to Galway, our danger men, Carr and Ryan were well marshalled during this period.

    I’ve some sympathy for the sideline during this period. We were doing fine out the field and there wasn’t in my opinion anything obvious on the bench that would have changed things. Maybe Darren Coen but management have the benefit of seeing him in training and there’s no reason to think he’d have gotten the time and space he needs to score.

    The comeback seemed to hinge on two things, Carney’s introduction and Aidan’s move into full forward. Carney added drive on the breaking ball and won two or three good balls. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he should have started though. We were doing this first half anyway but by the time Carney came, diarmuid in particular had tired. It’s hard to tell on the tv but Aidan’s move into full forward looked as though it prevented the Galway full back line from pushing up and there seemed as a result to be more space for our forwards. Could this have been done earlier? Again it’s hard to know, Galway introduced a big man in Patrick Kelly at half time, and with him Comer and Conroy on the pitch, moving Aidan in earlier might have given them a platform at midfield.

    All in all, this is one we left behind us, and it was by very fine margins. You’d have to think on reflection that a fully flying Cillian in particular would have seen us through.

  135. Forward play how are ya!

    Horan’s style is an attacking half back life, the opposition area of the pitch is too crowded for forwards to utilise any space, too many bodies in this area of the field.
    The only possible way to score points is from distance, and goals with good movement from players with a flick into the net.

    Tyrone beat Mayo around the middle in last year’s final, Mayo put too many bodies into the middle area of the pitch, Tyrone goalkeeper kicked very long, therefore bypassed the crowded area. Our midfield pairing was well beaten also.
    The few long passes could have resulted in goals but our players could not finish to the net.

    Let us accept it for what it is, when Mayo’s best attacking players are out injured, ie, Mullin, Durcan are missing then we have a problem.

  136. Dubs impressive , no matter how bad the opposition .
    Ros easily defeat sligo.
    Limerick and Clare fight it out in extra time, limerick just got a goal to go in a point in front at ht in extra time.

  137. Limerick win on penalties. Probably increases the chance of Tipperary making a Munster final, which would mean a preliminary qualifier is needed.

  138. Hi Willie Joe, I note another Line Ball posted here on the 30th April.
    Can you adjust please?

  139. Bit of a shocker for Clare, although limerick had a great league.. so now the possibility of a d3 team in a Munster final has certainly increased given Tipp will be fancied to win that semi

    Dubs definitely looked good – particularly the second half – the main thing for them was the pace and intensity they showed.. judging by that their hunger is gone nowhere.. like with limerick in the hurling you often need to be wary of league form, the Dubs have only one thing on their mind this year. COC straight up to speed already, what a player. Far bigger tests lie ahead though, but encouraging. Their team still looks formidable on paper. They’ll still win Leinster again pulling up

    It’s sad to see what’s become of Sligo, it wasn’t 100 years ago that marcevicz park was a fortress of sorts.. poor Leitrim will get an even worse pummelling off Galway

    And maybe even sadder what’s become of Down given their tradition, and the fact they only made an AI final 12 years ago

    gulf between D1/top part of D2 and below getting bigger by the year. How is it that about 16 to 18 counties are so uncompetitive at the moment? Lack of work being put in at underage? Commitment issues? Poor club scenes? Internal politics? I’m sure all have different reasons but it’s a far cry from the 90s/ early 00s when provincial championships were so competitive, and football was just much more competitive as a whole

  140. Sligo won connacht u17 last year and u20 this year, they’re putting in the work and the tide will be turned

  141. @Ciaran, So much for Clare getting to a Munster final, they may be a better team “on paper” than Limerick or Tipperary but this is Championship football and I’m not one bit surprised that Limerick scraped by them.

    Of course nothing has changed as such regarding a preliminary round and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Limerick beat Tipperary.

    Clare being in the first round of the qualifiers will be a tricky draw for anyone.

    I still believe that the Leinster draw could have an impact on the possibility of a Preliminary round depending on the draw of course but assuming that Meath beat Wicklow then if they were drawn against Westmeath it wouldn’t be the shock of the century if Westmeath were to beat them, granted their record against Meath is poor.

    Will be interesting to see what plans Louth have against Kildare today, they are rank outsiders but so well coached that I wouldn’t write off a massive shock happening, although everything would need to go right for them for that to happen.

    Louth are an example to anyone of the importance of getting the right people in charge.

  142. Thanks, Line Ball – I’ve just checked back on comments posted now and you got in there ahead of the other contributor alright so you have the better claim to the handle. It’s a bit complicated, though, because somebody else used to use that handle in the past but hasn’t posted a comment for years so, on reflection, I think you’ve now got a proper claim on it.

    Line Ball (the other one) – I’ve adjusted your handle to Line Ball 2 but you might want to consider using a different one for future comments you post.

  143. Tyrone in bother.
    Derry 1-8, Tyrone 0-4
    Tyrone down to 14 men, Kennedy straight red.

  144. Have to say Derry moving the ball superbly. Pace on and off the ball, aggressive runs into and in order to create space and intelligent calls on when to hold and recycle.

    Rory Gallagher seems to be nailing a lot of difficult sides of coaching there fair play to him.

    That said, Tyrone look well off the pace. Peter Harte falling asleep for the penalty very un-Tyrone like. Players out there seem to look as frustrated as the Tyrone crowd are.

  145. In the Connaugh Semi with Roscommon awaiting winner. Looks like a Galway vs Roscommon final unless there is a big upset. I expect Galway to win that match. Mayo will pray they avoid Armagh and Tyrone but qualifiers look a tough road.

  146. Galway stand where we would have stood had we won that game last Sunday – with a relatively ‘easy’ run to an AI Final appearance. Win Connacht, hope for a handy QF (avoiding Tyrone etc) and then Donegal or Monaghan/Derry in the SF – assuming Ulster champs don’t get turned over in QF. Easy when you say it quickly.

    As for Mayo, if these Tipp boys beat Limerick in a 50/50 game in Semple then its Mayo, Armagh, Louth, Clare and Tyrone into a hat with 2 being drawn to play a Prelim Qualifier on May21st.

  147. Thats sound Willie Joe, thanks. Apologies to the original Line Ball, never copped, ill alter my handle.

    The way our luck has been since January, you can be sure we’ll draw Tyrone !!! Some serious sharks in the qualifiers now, it definetly adds pressure to the provincial finalists. Tyrone historically do really well in the qualifiers, no more than ourselves…don’t think Galway or especially Roscommon would fancy playing a Tyrone/Armagh in a knockout game to reach the quarters. Big pressure on the neighnours now.

  148. I wonder were Derry doing heavy training when they lost their last 2 league games. This I think happened Mayo but injuries killed us.

  149. @Longball, If Galway or Roscommon made it to the final and won it then they would deserve it in the same way that if we lose another game whether it be the next or the one after or whatever then we’d deserve to lose as well.

    There’s only one nightmare scenario for Mayo this year and that’s getting to another final and losing it, being knocked out anywhere else along the way would pale into comparison.

  150. Think Derry were missing their best player when they played us but we took them for 4 goals.

  151. @longball is that how it works? It’s not all teams that don’t make a provincial final that will be in that preliminary round draw if it’s needed?

  152. @Deel river, It’s all teams from Div 1 and 2 who don’t make it to their Provincial Semi finals who will go into the hat, if it comes to that.

  153. I didn’t know that, I thought all teams that didn’t make provincial finals were in the preliminary round draw. Badly need Limerick to beat Tipp because you can be as sure as hell that Mayo will come out in that preliminary draw!

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