The weekend’s action

Donegal-Galway

Photo: RTE

I’m at a bit of a disadvantage having not seen any of the weekend’s action to say anything vaguely relevant about what transpired over the last two days at Croke Park and what it might mean for us. Here goes.

The headlines in the morning will obviously be dominated by Kerry and Dublin. With the former having shot the proverbial lights out against Kildare (the worst ever team to reach the All-Ireland series?) while the latter cruised to victory over a game (and pushy-over-the-line) Fermanagh, the stage now looks set for a September classic that only the aristocrats of the Kingdom and their Liffeyside rivals are capable of serving up to the masses.

If that’s how it’s to be portrayed, then fine. To be honest, all the Kerry/Dublin orgiastics should be of no concern to us now anyway. The only match from the weekend that should be of interest to us (which, due to my absence from home soil, I didn’t see any of) was Donegal’s ultimately comfortable win over Galway on Saturday evening. That win sets up what will clearly be the most eagerly awaited contest at the quarter-final stage.

There’s much, even for the neutrals, to lick their chomps about in anticipation of this one. We lost the 2012 final to them, carrying home with us a bagful of regrets, and then we proceeded to tear them asunder in the quarter-final the following year, a match where they can – perhaps with some justification – claim that the result that day was freakishly unfair to them.

It’s also a meeting of two teams contesting a match at the business end of the championship under new leadership, with both having lost their talismanic managers last back-end. Up until the Ulster final last month, I felt (somewhat to my surprise, I have to say) that Rory Gallagher had, if anything, taken Donegal to a higher level than Jim McGuinness had left them. Going into the Connacht championship, in contrast, I thought we were a shadow of the team James Horan had sent out to battle in previous years but the no-nonsense way we claimed our fifth Connacht title on the trot has made me think otherwise.

Which of us has progressed since last year, a year when arguably we both should have beaten Kerry but neither of us ultimately could? We still don’t know but Saturday evening is set to reveal the answer for us.

We’ve no idea, of course, how Saturday’s match will go – my tuppence is that we should have enough to take them but it wouldn’t exactly be the shock of the century were the result to go the other way – but I think we can be sure that the coming days will see more spinning from both camps than you’d get in the week running up to a General Election. I understand that Jim McGuinness started it after Saturday evening’s game and that’s surely just the beginning of it.

The weekend’s action saw all three of the teams that stand between ourselves and a handy All-Ireland title demonstrate their capabilities to the nation. If we do manage to get by Donegal then Dublin await us in the semis at the end of the month and, if we’re still in the saddle after that, our great nemesis from the South will surely be there to greet us in the final in September. At least if we get that far it won’t be with those asinine questions still ringing in our ears about whether or not we’ve been tested yet.

Thoughts of matches in late August or mid-September aren’t, though, on the agenda for us now. Our entire season – all of our hopes and dreams about what this remarkable bunch of players can do and how far they can take the county – now rests on what happens when the ball is thrown in at 6pm in Croke Park next Saturday.

This contest could easily mark the end of the road for us for this year. We’ve grown accustomed in recent years, however, to seeing the team gain an extra pep in their step once they reach HQ. Four years in a row we’ve followed up our Connacht championship successes with a significant jump in performance levels at the quarter-final stage. We’ll need to do this and more next Saturday if we’re to get by Donegal and set up a semi-final meeting with the Dubs.

Although Saturday will see me missing an All-Ireland series match involving us for the first time since 2005, I’ll still be roaring the lads on from afar.  I hope – and expect – we’ll have more than enough in our locker to get past this trickiest of assignments and keep the dream of ultimate success going for a while longer this year.

60 thoughts on “The weekend’s action

  1. he full back position is between Caff and Keane. Caff did well on Murphy when moved after Keane was in trouble in the first 10 minutes in 2012 Final . SOS or Vaughan playing out of position if moved to Full Back. Put Keane or Caff goal side on Murphy and play a sweeper in front to cut out supply. Maybe Higgins as Donegal destroyed Dublin last year by running at speed through the middle in the final third of the field, If you look at the two games against Kerry last year Caff did well on the Star and got some bad calls from the Ref and of course Brolly went on a bit. i would play the following team .
    Hennelly,
    Full Back Line : Barrett, Cafferty Cunniffe ,
    Higgins Sweeper.
    Half Backs : Boyle Vaughan Keegan
    SOS. Parsons
    Half Fwd’s : D O Connor. Doherty Mc Loughlin
    Full Fwd’s A O Shea C O Connor
    Higgins staying directly in front of Murphy,
    1. Blocking Murphy gathering clean when Donegal use the long ball
    2. He has the speed to close down Donegals attackers runnig through the middle
    3. He has the pace to be first to any loose ball in front of the Mayo Goal

  2. Fair play Willie. That’s a fairly grounded analysis. Donegal is the team we have to focus on. There is nothing beyond next weekend until the final whistle. We have not been tested yet. The championship begins next weekend for us.

    It’s a big ask for Donegal to turn around in 7 days so even after the final whistle I’d be cautious about our chances to land Sam.

    There is nothing between Dublin, Kerry, Mayo, Donegal, Cork and Tyrone on the day.

    At this stage it’s down to the ref, physical conditioning, mental conditioning, the management, luck and the weather – probably in that order.

    I am looking forward to Saturday – we are extremely lucky to be on a par with the best teams ever to play gaelic football.

    Donegal first! Look no further. That’s for another day. Up Mayo!

  3. Murphy will do x amount of damage and is hard contained. It might be easier get the win with Leeroy droppin out of action and focussing on MacNiallais. Then also JDoc marking McGlynn in a man marking role. With Lacy injured, McGee injured a lot now rests even moreso on Frank McGlynn. McGee/Thompson/Docherty/McGrath are not as good in terms of counter attacking.
    We need to be conscious of their potential height advantage on our 6 backs overall especially if Toye starts which I think he will for that reason.

  4. Looking at the first Fermanagh “goal” v Dublin leads me to despair about refs. It does not really matter as it turns out but in a tight game that would have been the equal of Joe Sheridan’s “goal” v Louth in 2010. How on earth one could be confident of anything with that type of refereeing I do not know. What discussion took place between ref and umpire I have no idea but the fact that the umpire did not put up the flag at first should have indicated to the ref that there was something wrong with the “goal”.

  5. Another issue which I do not think got any airing was a pull down by a Kerry defender on a Kildare attacker. I was watching in a pub and did not get the names [I think it was Kerry’s Killian Young]. But it looked like a clear black card offence to me. Not that it mattered in the long run but another case of different rules for different folks? Especially Kerry folks.

  6. I think Mayo V Donegal has the potential to be the game of the season I admit I’m a bit nervous about this one but to be fair our boys have never let us down in the last four years in Croke park my heart says Mayo but my head says Donegal are still a serious outfit with a very shrewd manager and will take beating if they get over us I think they will win Sam

  7. Mayo need to copy Monaghans tactics in dealing with Murphy & crowd him out. Have 1 compete with him then 2 waiting for him when he comes down.

    Watching the DL v GAL game & the long periods DL go without scoring i think we can capitalise on that with Cillian, Aidan etc racking up a nice load of regular scores. Once we get the lead all bets are off. DL have to come out to play, this freeing more space for our forwards.

    I was very impressed with Odhran MacNiallais (excuse my spelling) the last day. We’ll luckily have a player of Lee Keegan’s class to put on him. Lee won’t allow him handy tap over points on the run.

    DL midfield cleaned GAL out in 2nd half. GAL have done this all year )not turning up for 2nd half). We can be sure SOS and Tom will still be giving it plenty up to the 70th minute & beyond too.

    All in all i’m very confident. I think we will have the legs on this DL team. We’re fresher. We’re hungrier. They lost last years All Ireland. (Sonething the media don’t remind them about half often enough by the way, whereas Mayo….); they’ll have doubts about themselves & our boys will pounce and destroy them if they sense any weaknesses. This MO team are developing the ruthless streak. When have MO ever had a game dead n buried inside 10 mins (regardless of opponent). Great to see.

    Mayo by 4-6 points (or more)

    Yes, i am bullish!

    Mayo forever

  8. Donegal havent beat us since 2012 in league or championship.big barry will start mid field seems to have the beating of Gallagher. Think we will win with a bit to spare.croke park will suit our boy’s.

  9. Keegan will probably pick up Mchugh as he did in the league game Trevor.

    I expect Aidan o’se will be completely crowed out and I worry he won’t do the same to murphy. It will be a tight game.

  10. Lee has the engine for that duracell bunny McHugh alright. It’s just McNiallais kicked a lot of his scores from Lee’s position on the pitch.

  11. Dublin use interesting tactics. Players in middle third gather the ball continue running straight n layoff to an already full speed support. Then they use a lot of low long ball outside of the boot. This is from their analysis team. They want to avoid tackles n turnover and minimise hang time of the kick pass. Defenders can’t tackle or cover space in time. Sunday game have not properly described this yet. But look at their unusually high number of outside boot passes. That is usually a rare pass.

  12. Never before, Eddie – this is only his first year reffing at this level so Saturday is by far his most high match. Big test for him.

  13. At the end of the day Mayo players will have to win their own ball.We will see if Aido can overcome the pressure put on him orwill he break.Cillian and Andy will have space and time for Jason and DOC to do a Stephen O Brien.
    There can be no excuses…I feel we have had a lot of them.Good teams step up.Hope Pat and Noel dont show hand until Sat.All teams now making last minute changes.
    Frankly I dont know if we have the players to match Kerry or Dublin or even Donegal.I doubt it but Saturday will reveal a lot.

  14. Donegal players much too tall for mayo therefore will win all the aerial battles. Mayo need Jason Gibbons back on team.

  15. That was a turkey class goal donegal got.
    They are capable of that as well as the donkey work and the damp blanket tactics.

    I think we must pay them every respect but not be overawed at the same time.
    This will definitely be the game of the year thus far.

    I am worried from out point of view as regards the form of players more so than not having a plan. I am sure we have a plan to play sweeper etc but worried about form of cunniffe and faff and even Boyle to certain extent.
    I think Chris Barrett would be an ideal player to start as he can play corner back or roam out field if you need.
    They will probably line up against each other in some form or another as.

    2 Barrett marking Leo mcloone
    3 keane marking Murphy when full forward otherwise stay fullback hold position
    4 Higgins marking mcbreaty
    5 keegan on macnichlas
    6 Vaughan sweeper/ follow Murphy around midfield
    7 Boyle marking mchugh
    8 Seamie on Gallagher
    9 parsons on
    10 Doc on Thompson
    11 Jason doh on Mchugh
    12 Kevin Mc on mcglynn
    13 Andy come out to the 40 play quality ball inside to the duo
    14 Aidan McGee
    15 Cillian McGee

    I think Leo mccloone will start for his power and physicality.
    Pat Holmes is a massive fan of Cunnifees so I think he will start him but I am worried about toms form todate. He is a class act and has great traits but just not on it at the moment.
    Keane I would start under strict orders not to leave fullback.

    Kevin mc will have to have the game of his old self too if he is to make mcglynn firstly a defender and Kevin is well able to do this but also looks a little of colour and maybe too top heavy ??

    Anyways really looking forward to it confident that if we’re on our game and sharp we will win but it will be a titanic battle that might not be decided in 70 mins.

  16. Before our game against Sligo a poster raised concerns re two of our back line who they felt would be cleaned out..considering we are one of only six teams left I really hope pat and noel are basing the team on present performances and not on personal preference or loyalty..agree that tc is just not on it at the moment and I’d be nervy if he is starting..

  17. I agree with alot of your points there outside of the boot,…but, keane on murphy?? Are you seirious? Your not the only one to put keane on him in your selection, but jesus christ have we not learned anything?. Murphy would destroy keane. How does that einstein theory of insanity go again?

  18. Murphy is too good for anyone man. I’m saying we play Keane tight to him with Vaughan on front.

  19. I personally would’nt start keane for this, i think they’d destroy him mentally with sledging etc and could even get himself sent off if he snapped. But i agree with you that vaughan should be infront of him at all times, and just crowd him out. I would’nt be surprised either if parsons lines out at centre forward, with barry alongside seamie, but parsons sits infront of full back line at all times only venturing forward on the counter etc.

  20. Keane is the only option if going man to man from the defenders.
    It’s not that we haven’t learned anything it’s just I think a lot of us don’t expect us to do anything dramatic if even play a sweeper at all.
    If we do play a sweeper it won’t be a SOS or Parsons. So Keane on Murphy is more who will be the doorstopper in behind who has power enough to stop him him up. Murphy would bulldoze through all of our backs bar Keane. In that first yard when two lads get into that kind of pushing contest you can’t be tall and rangey and you certainly cant be small. Of the defenders available there is only Keane with the necessary stopping power. Clearly evident in the league, we dont have any other defender would stop up Kevin McManamon pumping the legs with a few yards run in. Check the league game where Kevin Keane stopped him up. Murphy is a much more powerful player, but in this case yer stopping a guy with just at the most a 2 yard run on you.

  21. I would not start Keane at all remember 2012 with Murphy catching ball getting goal off its game that’s what will happen they must be other options

  22. I know what you are saying Cait but if we were playing Kerry this weekend everyone would say Higgins has to pick up o donoughe but yet in two games he scored 3-9 off him last year.

    It’s seem poor keane is branded with being a failure having not fielded that ball off Murphy and not holding the ball that McFadden scored off.

    It’s true there must be mental baggage for one so young for that to happen to but credit to him he is back was out best player in league and in my opinion deserves his start as he is only one with physical presence to play fullback v donegal.
    Be it mccloone Murphy or McFadden at full forward. Keane will do a job and if he gets proper support he will keep any of them quiet.

    I think the big thing is there is an all Ireland to be won as Its wide open as we have addressed our former failings in scoring department so if we are on our game and street wise it’s all there to be won.
    No point being to nice of a team see soccer it done nothing for Arsenal until they adapt to Chelsea’s tactic and then beat them.

  23. I was surprised when Caff was taken off against sligo. He didn’t give Kelly a smell all day.I think he’s an excellent corner back a great man marker but he can be caught out under the high ball while at full back on a big full foreward.
    I would start Patrick Durcan instead of McLoughlin and play four half backs for the first half. At half time i would bring on McLoughlin for whoever is either booked or under pressure in the half back line.I think we will have more left in the tank for the 2nd half and with McLoughlin fresh in we could run hard at them for the first 10 minutes and hopefully build up a lead.
    If that works out we could park the bus for the last 15 minutes like we did against Galway and happy days then!
    COME ON MAYO. .*

  24. Re the players, I don’t want to personalise things and it’s counter productive in any case.

    However, our FB line is a cause of concern and particularly if left one on one, but that said, I think Murphy isn’t fully fit. For a lot of the Galway match, and I watched him closely, he seemed to be drifting aimlessly, kicking wides, or mis passes.

    He does have that ability to hit a vital score either from play or placed balls and once a game is going Donegal’s way he can be unstoppable – as happened on Saturday.

    Overall, it’s surprising how talked up Donegal are. That last goal put a veneer of invincibility on what was a pretty laboured performance overall.

  25. The question was never really properly asked at the time. On that specific diagonal kick pass from Lacy that was straight from the training ground in the 2012 final what other defender would have outfielded 6’3″ Michael Murphy?
    It’s not even a question of height if you’ve played the game you’ll know that a guy like Murphy dominates his ground when going for a ball. Only an AOS type figure can contest him. I don’t even think SOS or Parsons would have any option but punch the ball. Murphy was coming strongly onto that ball, don’t think anyone would have even got a punch on it.
    I would suggest Jason Doherty stopping Frank McGlynn could end up being just as big a gain for us as holding Murphy. McGlynn IS the Donegal transition almost, gets on 25+ posessions a game, drives almost all of it straight down the oppositions centre.
    JDoc has that aggressive tackling power to make your day a jostly broken up affair. JDoc is also good at running at a fella to force him into fouling. Wins plenty frees.
    I just can’t see Mayo doing anything overly dramatic in terms of switches. If we play a sweeper I think it will only be something like on their posession our midfielders and two half forwards race back. So we risk it a bit in terms of that window where our 4 sweeper options have not had time to race back into place.

  26. Not technically a sweeper, moreso we have 4 options who are going to race back to create extra zonal and double coverage from our square out to the edge of the D. We have been tending to do this anyways with Kevin Mc, Diarmuid, SOS and Parsons.

  27. Let’s not get caught out by obsessing
    over the Invincible.
    He’s strong and aggressive and can
    pluck the ball out of the sky – see the ball
    he grabbed v Galway, he was like a rugby full
    back.
    But we can’t keep talking about Murphy
    then get caught by Mcfadden, McBrearty and NcHugh because we were over concentrating
    on the former.
    Tired of hearing of that high ball in 2012.
    Time to stop crucifying Keane for that.
    Let him show what he can do on Saturday.
    Mayo to win but we will need to have Nos
    back to cover quick breaks and also
    our workrate / turnovers will have to
    be at a high level.

  28. What turned the match on sat was varley missed goal what happen if that had went in would we bo lookin at different game and Donegal easy free afterwards that was crucial too.

  29. Murphy on the square with Donegal obviously looking to play high ball in. But we should not forget about Mcbrearthy either. This is a tired Donegal team .I hope we can run them all over the park.

  30. We have physically the smallest team left in the championship with 10 of the team 5.8 or less therein lies our problem.
    J.S

  31. J scanlon with all due respect there isn’t 10 players in the whole panel under 5.8.I’d say Boyle and Barrett at 5.8 Ronaldson and Sweeny slightly under.
    If you said there were 10 players under 6′ well you might be closer to the mark .Ok count them Clarke Caff Cunniffe Keegan Vaughen 2 O’Sheas Parsons 2 O’Connors Doherty all 6′ Higgins Andy McLoughlin 5.10.Is it the girls you were talking about?

  32. Who are the ten players under 5 foot eight , are there even any players under that?

  33. 10 goals scored in to the hill out of eleven, flynns fisted effort into the canal the only odd one out.

  34. The only change I would make for Saturday is Conroy for Andy.I think he would be better suited than Andy playing off Aido.He is quicker and can win a lot of frees,also I think we could get more out of Andy keeping him for the last 20 minutes and it gives both supporters and players a lift to see him coming on.Going by a lot of comments on here we have major worries ahead of the game and Donegal have nothing to worry about.I might be wrong but I don’t see it that way.Yes Sligo scored two goals against us and Clarke made a few good saves but I don’t think that the management were going to be too bothered about that or were going to show any defensive plan they had when we were scoring so easy at the other end.Yes Donegal will be the toughest test we have faced yet this year but we have had 3 weeks between games,no injuries and plenty time to work on the defensive side of things where as Donegal only have a week to recover and 3 of 4 players not fully fit.Our lads know the Donegal team and know what it takes to beat them.Mayo by 6 or 7 points

  35. Mayo51 says:
    August 3, 2015 at 9:41 am
    On what basis would you go with hennelly o

    Well Mayo51 i think it is a close call between Hennelly and Clarke

    Hennelly because he has a great pair of hands and he has the ability to catch balls on their way over the crossbar and saved points which many keepers would not. Remember his catch in the Roscommon game last year We won that one by as point. Also he is a option for frees over 45 meters. He made one mistake against Brogan in the All ireland Final but remember all the super saves he made in that same game Other than that mistake he is solid and was just short in the last free kick in normal time in Limerick. He overall just shades Clarke in my humble opinion

  36. There is a serious danger of obsessing about Murphy. He has certainly done a few clever and outstanding things in a few matches this year but he has usually not been the reason why Donegal have won matches. We need to have either a big man marking and have a sweeper covering our gaol line. It’s as simple as that. Can we rely on our Management team to get it right? Please don’t have Tom Cunniffe marking the full forward as was inexplicidly the case against both Galway and Sligo. That is what is giving me nightmares.

    Practice matches should alert the managers about Kevin Keane’s ability under the high ball now that he has bulked up.He did well in the early part of the league but has not been fully tested. Pity Murphy didn’t play against him in the Donegal match and that he was injured against Sligo. Pat Hughes would have been a good challenge. The jury is still out but hopefully they are trying AOS on him in practice and have the answer. The same holds for Caff who was our natural full back until he was left alone on Donaghy.

    It was Colm Mc Fadden who won the match for Donegal against Galway. He was the supplier for the goals and scored 2 outstanding points from play. I thought he was brilliant and was the gamechanger. Donegal would have been four points down at half time only for him. He ghosted past Galway backs on many occasions and used the ball very cleverly, spotting openings. He, in my opinion, is a real danger for Mayo and needs to be man-marked out of the game. It can be done as I feel he doesn’t like close attention.We have the backs for it but not if all the concentration is on Murphy.
    This is a brilliant Mayo team and I expect our running game will be too much for Donegal along with our new forward dimension Our backs also will do fine if they tackle as hard and relentlessly as they have shown in the past. But please, Pat and Noel have a strategy to stop the easy goals that have stopped this great team from achieving their full potential.

  37. The only flaw i see in clarkes game is the hang time he puts on his kicks, it didnt matter against sligo because we wer so dominating at midfield but against Donegal it could cost us. Id stick with clarke for continuity but hennelly must be damn close to getting the nod, for the reasons outlined by o’sullivan above, i.e distribution and long range frees.

  38. I’ve been enjoying all the various comments surfing the waves over the last while,while entertaining the thought ‘ where would we be without this fine facility’? Ok , I know it’s old ground but still the thought occurs. And really it is a gem , like the team and like the dream. Then low and behold dont I feel a litt blog comin on and that coming on feeling is a joy in itself.
    I believe whatever will be will be next sat. That,we can be sure of. To go further, for me , is to dabble in futility, such is the volatility of the modern gamel. I almost fell that it doesn’t matter who plays where. Put Clarke FF and A OS in gaol and you still have to deal with those possible injuries unexpected, the weather, the sleepless nights , that tackle, that score, that foul, that wide , that shot,that linesman,that pickup, that penalty , that fffeckin ref.!
    Isn’t it always the same ? Anything , not only can happen but does happen and I suppose that’s part of what brings us back again and again.
    And there I’ll leave that cept to say that if they do their stuff with pace and more pace with plenty of patience, they ll be hard to beat next sat or on any day.
    By the way , is it acceptable or fair for Dong to be out again this week? Surely that’s a bizarre situation that should be corrected .
    Also , is it fair for goals to be allowed that obviously are not goals or is it how we value the laugh too much that rings around the room? It’s time isn’t it that the GAA fixed a few basics. Arnt they big enough to sort out the leaves from the trees . And I don’t want to mention the glory involved in witnessing the walloping of a member county by 20 or thirty points. That is just beautiful !!

  39. @ J Scanlon just to add factual information to your ridiculous comment. Our smallest player (height wise) are Chris Barrett, Ronaldson and Sweeney. All at 5.8. I can’t see anyone below that. Keegan and Boyle are 5.9 each. Kev Mcloughlin and higgins is 5.11. Next time you go to a game, that if you have actually been to a game, pick up a programme it has all this information in it.

  40. Cant understand all this doubting of Kevin Keane – he has very clearly worked very hard on his game since 2012 and has in my opinion improved every year – if its managements call to put him in on Saturday I’m sure he’ll do fine – best of luck to them all on Saturday

  41. Alot of people on this getting carried away with murphy in my opinion hes got no pace and can be marked easily he was made look good my finian hanley the latter of who is much taller than him look at how he played against monaoaghan he was non existant so i think he is not the main issue .oran macnichiolas and mcfadden are the danger men so i think we should worry about them. Also i think we showed our hand against sligo by playing aido in full forward perhaps we should have kept that as a suprise for the quarters personally i would like to see cillian aido and freeman in the full forward line and bring andy on as a sub for me id pick clarke over hennely hes a bigger man and a better shot stopper so its a no brainer i think parsons is playing great stuff and lets believe we can beat donegal in my opinion they are pretty ordinary if we get in front theyll panick bcos they have to come out and attack us so thats why the high ball in to aido and freeman will work a treat .

  42. Actually Ryan McHugh is serious threat.He sets up links and scores.
    Would like to see him get some lawful attention to stop his runs.
    Cant blame people worrying about Murphy and high balls in.We have never dealt with them and they are the reason we do not have several all irelands.It cannot happen again and though I think Horan was brilliant he slipped up beyond belief in this regard.

  43. K Keane is good but am still wary Murphy and mcf and what happens is a o Shea is marked that enough ranting today

  44. Cait,-Cillian due a big game??Hope he’s as ‘bad’ every game!.1-7 the next day ss well will do fine????????

  45. Kevin Keane is a fine footballer.hes had an impressive underage career was very unlucky for the 2nd goal in 12 final and when he was switched on to McFadden he played well.people were writing him off but from the ist game in the league in Killarney this year he’s being impressive.these mayo players put in huge effort on and off the pitch to be the best they possibly can.if he gets the nod to start I’m sure he do just fine.sometimes I think supporters can get to personally critical of players online maybe save the critism for the pub! I’m sure some players do be reading these blogs! Now let everyone get behind the team and roar them on Saturday they put in huge effort each year and are a credit to our county and aren’t we lucky to be going up to Croke park year on year supporting these lads.i know we do be giving out about structures or lack of them in the county but aren’t we in a better place than a lot of counties who would love to be playing in Croke park in August! Rant over!

  46. Kevin Keane is the man for Murphy! Just wait and see us by 5 I reckon 🙂 there was a time not so long ago mayo supporters travelled in hope now it’s with confidence that’s not to be mistaken for cocky either best team we’ve ever had let’s all get behind whoever is picked we all want the same thing! Hope to see a #seaofgreenandred on Saturday and defiance from the team and supporters Maigheo Abu!

  47. A good bit of shite being talked on this particular thread.
    First of which is player heights. I’ve seen Keegan walking down the street and he’s about 6 ft and built like a brick wall, serious gym work. Tom C is about 6ft and even Higgins is 5’11”.
    True Donegal forwards are tall so maybe we find a spot for big Barry to free another tall man back but that’s only concession I’d make. We’ve plenty of tall forwards and their backs are about same height as ours.

    Second is arguments on Donegal players to watch and doing down some of them. Murphy maybe not at his 2012 level but is a real leader and his knock down for McHugh shows his ability. McFadden is class but can be marked, McBrearty much improved from 2012 but may be bit injured from Galway game, McNailis is a serious find and the McHughs are very good link men runners who can score… though Mark well off his 2012 form is improving with game time. Gallagher is one if the Country’s dominant midfielders who 50 50 would be a good day against and their other lad is possible to dominate. McHughs good at mopping like Kevin Mc and the 2 Docs for us, so our mopping lads need to be totally in the zone.

    Third is doing down Keane who is stronger and a better footballer than 2012. The lad has worked hard and deserves his chance. However whenever Murphy plays FF we should play a sweeper as he’s a better player than e.g. Donaghy. We know 6’3″ plus forwards can cause mayhem no matter who the marker is so why take the chance. Dublin FB conceded a lot on a Fermanagh player few of us were familiar with so it’s a high risk zone on the pitch.

  48. … And the Clarke vs. Hennelly debate is over, with goalkeeper the man in possession seldom loses position unless he has a really off day and Clarke has a really good track record. Captain a few years back. Hennelly also sounds like a lad with real leadership on Radio interview I heard and will get his chance again but maybe not this year. Don’t know why some people keep rehashing that one, move on. Interesting idea dropping Kevin Mc and giving Durkan a chance, but for frees on wide right Mc could be the difference in a tight game and has a long track record of playing well for Mayo. Maybe playing below our high expectations of him but not badly, don’t forget the number of turnovers he made vs Donegal in the league.

  49. To settle the debate about players heights- wherever ye are getting these stats, they are completely wrong. Chris Barrett is a good 1.5/2 inches taller than ronaldson and maybe more than mikey sweeney. I know they put heights in the programmes, but they are not accurate. I once recall seeing Cillian at 5′ 10. If anyone has stood next to him they would know he is taller than this.
    Rant over about that.
    Colm McFadden is going to be a dark horse. He needed to redeem himself from the Monaghan game, and Im thinking that redemtion wont be complete unless he follows up from the weekends performance.
    Mayo to win by 2 points. Cillians frees coming to the rescue.

  50. I don’t think Pat and Noel will obsess about Murphy to the same degree as our fans. He’s a huge threat and needs to be contained but they have other danger men too. Similar story for them in how they deal with AOS. If either team concedes too many players to marking the opposition’s talisman, it will open up space for others to exploit.

    This is a day for cool heads and calm nerves. Donegal are creaking, Galway just weren’t good enough to pull the trigger. Cillian wouldn’t have missed that free Conroy put wide at a crucial stage in the game. We have more than enough in the locker to come through this game. I think we’ll unleash a huge performance on Saturday evening.

  51. They might as well give Michael Murphy player of the year now according to a lot of people on here.

    The biggest concern about Saturday for me is momentum. Donegal will be playing in their 5th championship match and 2 of those were tight competitive games. We’ll be playing in our third and the first one was only really competitive for about 40 minutes. The other was over after 5 minutes and had the intensity of a pitch opening.
    There is huge momentum to be got from having a good performance in Croker, going home and turning around to come back the week after. especially when playing a team who you owe one too after they kicked the shite out of you last time you played at the same stage. I fear we will be cold coming into this, it might be 20 minutes before we catch up with the pace of the game at which stage Donegal will have done damage. Their inability to score for long periods of time, if it continues to happen, will need to be capitalised on. We still have questions in the full back line and we really wont know if the answers are their are not until next Saturday evening. I believe we are still an unproven quantity at this level under this management team

  52. Is someone seriously suggesting Durcan is a better footballer than Kevin Mc ?He is a good lad but in terms of experience and temperament on the big day its a pure mad suggestion in my humble opinion.

  53. Bit of a silly debate, but my 2 cents about the players heights, apart from the midfielders who’s heights do be well documented, as mentioned before, the heights in the programs do be way off and vary from game to game.

  54. 4 of our likely starting 6 forwards are 6ft or over, Cillian, the 2 Docs & Aido. Andy is about 5’10 and Kevin Mc slightly taller. In backs Boyler is 5’8 or 9 and only Barrett besides is any way less than 6′, Keith would be smallest of those at 5’11. Midfielders are both 6ft 2 or over and Barry is 6’5. Aido is 6’4. Ronnie and Sweeney are smallest of the subs and they will only be risked in 2nd half.

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