The weekend’s action


Photo: @MayoGAA

The focus has been on off-field stuff all week so it’s time, I think, for a quick post about some on-field action that was on over the past two days.

Let’s start with the Mayo Masters, who had another good win yesterday. This one was a Round 8 fixture away to Longford, which was played in Drumlish yesterday afternoon. Our lads had a comfortable 3-14 to 1-8 win, as a result of which they’re now through to the All-Ireland semi-final.

That’s as much information as I have on that one, I’m afraid – I’ve no idea of scorers from yesterday’s game or who they’ll be facing in the All-Ireland semi or indeed when that tie will be played.

On the club scene, meanwhile, the semi-final pairings for the senior championship were finalised yesterday when Knockmore beat Kiltane at Foxford. A good thumping it was too, with Knockmore prevailing by 5-21 to 3-7. Colm Gannon’s report on the game for the Mayo Advertiser is here.

Knockmore will now face Castlebar Mitchels in next Sunday’s semi-final, while Ballintubber will play Breaffy in the other penultimate round tie. It was, very sensibly, decided yesterday to pull forward both of those fixtures in order to avoid a clash with the rugby. Because of this, the Breaffy/Ballintubber match will throw in at 1pm, followed by the Castlebar/Knockmore tie at 2.30pm, with both matches taking place at MacHale Park.

In the intermediate championship semi-finals today, meanwhile, The Neale crushed Moy Davitts by 2-16 to 1-8 (report here) to set up an IFC decider against Hollymount-Carramore who overcame Belmullet by 1-14 to 0-8 (report here).

Perhaps the most heart-warming club result within the county over the weekend, however, came yesterday when Ballycastle beat Breaffy by 3-10 to 2-9 in the Junior B final at MacHale Park yesterday evening. This was Ballycastle’s first county title since 1939 and the photo above shows their captain Mícheál Forde accepting the cup from Mike Connelly.

The action I got to see over the weekend, though, happened up here in the capital. I was in Parnell Park yesterday evening to witness the eagerly anticipated Dublin SFC Round 2 clash between my local club St Vincents and Ballymun Kickhams, where a rip-roaring contest was expected to unfold.

It was nothing of the sort, however, as Vincents pulled away easily in the second half to win by 0-19 to 0-13 in what was a strangely muted contest. Vinnies opened a five-point lead in the first half but Kickhams enjoyed their best spell of the game in the final ten minutes of the half, scoring four points without reply to cut the gap to one at the break.

The match was level soon after the restart but the defending champions really got into their stride after that, knocking over eight points in succession before Ballymun registered their next score. Vinnies controlled the game from then to the finish, winning by a comfortable six-point margin at the end. Best for them were wing-back Nathan Mullins, Shane Carthy at midfield and the evergreen corner-forward Mossy Quinn, who bagged nine points, eight of them from dead balls.

Vincents now play Lucan Sarsfields in the quarter-final in two weeks time, with a third successive Dublin title beginning to come into focus for them.

97 thoughts on “The weekend’s action

  1. Did you read Eugene McGees article Willie Joe ?

    Very harsh on the players and us as a county ?

    Where is this guy from ?

    He is more or less saying we are bottlers !!

  2. Anyone notice Galway are not getting as near as much flack as our players and county have taken over the past week? Typical.

  3. Sure let them at it. We need to stop giving a fuck what others think of us. The players clearly don’t

  4. I was looking back on old polls and last year from the beginning it was a two horse race who people wanted. Kevin Mc or Noel on his own. Pat didn’t appear on the first poll. When it was a straight choice Kevin Mc was 2:1 the choice.

    Guess this time it looks like it is realistically between James Horan or Stephen Rochford and it won’t be easy to find somebody. Stephen is tied up with Corofin and is unlikely to be involved with them well into the Spring. Would James come back to a situation where he would be hung out if he did not win the All Ireland?

    It could prove to be a very long process with a surprise winner.

  5. Well done to Micheal Forde and the Ballycastle team, I am delighted for them. This win was truly against the odds. Vincent’s will be hard to stop now. I have up on McGee a long time ago. Not over anything he ever wrote about Mayo but he has no style. Probably should have stuck with the Longford Leader back in the day.

  6. Ger Bohan, I know nothing about Stephen Rochfords actual circumstances despite the fact, as you say that he is managing Corofin.
    There is precedent there for doing both, Pat o’Shea did it in 2006 with Dr Crokes and Kerry, he won the all Ireland in 2006 as we well know and managed to win Kerry and Munster with Crokes the same year. They lost the AIF though, so it can be done but obviously would depend on his personal situation as well.

  7. Just read it now, Mayo51 – I thought it was the other article he wrote the other day but having seen this morning’s one, it’s clear that earlier one was just a warm-up.

    His article is trash, pure and simple. He hasn’t the first iota about the facts surrounding what went on but that doesn’t stop him from standing in judgment. Colm O’Rourke had a not dissimilar piece in the Sindo yesterday as well. I’m not going to bother linking to it as it’d only annoy anyone to read it.

    As I said the other day, there’s going to be plenty of this the sort of stuff in the months and, perhaps, years ahead. The press have done the sympathy thing so now it’s put the boot in time. We need to recognise this and ignore it. What’s written in the papers shouldn’t make a jot of difference to how the lads perform on the field.

    PS He’s from Longford. In fairness to him, he did mastermind Offaly’s famous All-Ireland win over Kerry in 1982, which prevented them completing the five-in-a-row. He deserves respect for this but not for his journalism, which over the years has become crabbier and ill-informed.

  8. I agree WJ. We need to separate McGee the journo and McGee the former All Ireland winning manager. McGee the journo is a bitter, despicable, opinionated old little man. We all have the choice of reading his trash or not, we can after all skip his article or, better still, refuse to buy the paper. McGee the manager however is a different kettle of fish. He took an unfancied county with no history of success and only 4 or 5 outstanding players all the way to All Ireland success by beating what is generally considered to be the greatest team of all time. He did so by utilizing some very canny methods and no little belief. You wouldn’t think it now but he was very much an “outside of the box” thinker in his approach to training and team preparation. In the build up to the final he carried out the final Offaly training sessions in the most remote pitch he could find. Out in the middle of nowhere, pure silence. The only thing that could be heard was the snipe. Not even passing traffic. He carried out the sessions in pure silence, players were not allowed to call for the ball, call their names, warn of incoming tackles, nothing. Pure silence. His reasoning being that on All Ireland final day in Croke Park the noise will be deafening and therefore the players will not be able to hear anything anyway so they had to know, instinctively, where each of their teammates were positioned at any given time once they had the ball. They had to move the ball quickly and play with their eyes, all the time trusting that their colleague would be where he should be.
    I decide not to anger myself by reading his articles. I vote with my pocket and neither buy the Indo or the Connaught.

  9. Anybody know who makes up the panel of experts as mentioned in Vincent Nearys due process?

  10. It is becoming more apparent on this blog that any opinion contrary to the masses is deemed a load of rubbish.This constant McGee bashing is getting pathetic ( I’m not backing him by the way), he’s a journalist who’s paid to have an opinion and it says a lot for Mayo fans insecurity when he has everybody worked up when he questions Mayo’s ability.

    The fact that this squad is in a position to pick the manager is a joke. And indications that they will only play for Horan or a manager of their choosing is an even bigger joke. The Mayo team is bigger than any of the players and they are privileged to wear the county jersey

  11. Time to leave past behind whoever is right or wrong. Future is all that matters now, all working together.

  12. Regarding the possible return of Horan? I think that would be a backward step. Horan brought us from a county that no-one took serious and considered us as “nice players” to being one of the most physically imposing, hard working, and resilient teams in the country. We are a top 3 team behind Dublin and Kerry. That is down to Horans organisation and his backroom team.
    However, we must not forget, whilst looking back through those wonderful August days in ’12 and ’13, that it was also Horans refusal to have a plan B style of play that led to our final defeats, particularly in 2013 which was a very winnable final. His unbend-able believe that a man-to-man defense, hard-running hand-passing attacks from our half back line and, a focus on hard working half forwards as opposed to more natural scorers, was the ONLY way to win, made us predictable in the end, and easy to counter attack against. There was no pragmatism to cater for our opponents strengths or weaknesses.
    In fairness to H&C they showed that there were at least ready to devise tactics and a style of play that took into account our opponents. The defensive display v Donegal in the league and the performance v Donegal in the quarter final were signs of this. The tactics in the first Dublin game were almost spot on also.
    Horans comments as a pundit would indicate that he has not changed his opinion on how the game should be played. If we go back to what we had we can only expect the same outcome.
    Ideally for me, and it’s not even a runner, I would have McGuinness. McGuinness or Harte would have won 2 All Irelands with this squad as their pragmatism, their non-emotional investment and their tactical nous would have got us over the line. Next in line for me would be the former Armagh player and current Crossmaglen selector McEntee. Proven success with one of the biggest clubs in the country where attacking football and success is expected and demanded. Proven ability as a player, Celtic Cross in his pocket and a hard nosed tough bastard that would not stand for any breaches of protocol or players breaking rank. An outstanding coach and one of the most innovative thinkers in the game, as his “inverted blanket” had proven with Crossmaglen.
    The next appointment MUST be from outside the county as we have to break this emotional attachment that binds us to our history of failure.
    If nothing changes, things stay the same.

  13. That’s your opinion,throwintime, but it’s not one that I think is either fair or correct. A wide variety of opinions get expressed on here all the time and long may that continue to be the case. McGee’s article (and he was the one doing the bashing by the way) was ill-informed and pathetic and people are right to call that out.

  14. throwintime, I don’t believe that’s a fair comment. There have been plenty of times where fair, balanced journalism, critical of Mayo but based on the facts or logical conclusions, have been highlighted on this blog.
    When someone just wants to bash all the time, and from their writings and commentary over the years, you assume they have some sort of negative bias, you cant help but call that for what it is.
    Personally I’m of the view that there is no point reading that stuff as it is 5 minutes of my life I’ll never get back, but others do read it and subsequently get wound up by it, presumably on the basis that people in other counties will also read it and assume that there must be something to what the journalist is saying, which is justifiably annoying.

  15. My point being that constantly reacting to his articles is adding fuel to the fire. He knows his analysis hits a raw nerve in mayo and sure enough #mayogaa this morning is all ranting about McGee.
    I think people from other counties are more likely to make up their minds on Mayo football from watching them play aginst Dublin, Kerry etc than reading an article in the paper. Personally ‘Mayo for Sam ‘campaigns do more damage to the image of Mayo than any journalist
    We have to grin and bear it.. until Mayo win an All Ireland we are always going to be the easy target for the pundits. Time to walk the walk if we are to be considered as good as the best all the jaw-jaw in the world is pointless the only talking is to be done on the pitch

  16. McGee is some tulip; I’d say nothing if he knew any of the facts but he doesn’t, any more than the rest of us outside the circle.

    He’s entitled to his opinion that the players were out of line in their actions (even if you disagree), but the trash talking of our team is a bit much, particularly in light of the pattern east cork exile mentions.

    Throwintime, there are no masses here. There is never a party line, never a single point of view. That’s what makes it what it is.

    Pebblesmeller, I’d heard that story about the silent training before – I can’t remember if it was you who told it or not. Fascinating stuff. I think McEntee would be well worth a shot too. I don’t think a return by Horan is the way to go; and I fear it won’t win us an All-Ireland but lookit, as the man says, if it happens and I’m proved wrong I’ll be the happiest woman alive.

  17. Have some sympathy for Throwintime. I have yet to meet anyone in Dublin, where I live and where I know a lot of sports obsessed people, who is supportive of what the players have done. This, after explaining to them as much as I know.

    That’s the core of the McGee argument, the O’Rourke, John Maughan and Martin Carney argument. It may be old fashioned, they may be old fashioned, and as former managers they are likely to take a managerial line and have less sympathy with player power. They are mostly concerned with the principle of the players throwing out the management. Other arguments of anti-Mayo are beside the point here.

    So, why is this equated, as many posters allege, with trash-talking, anti-Mayo bias, spite, bile? Why is having sympathy with H&C and not with the players, seen as something that is contemptible?

    And Pebblesmeller – McGee did not take a county with no history of success. Offaly had won back-to- back All Ireland’s in 1971/72, and still had some of that team during the McGee regime – Martin Furlong and Sean Lowry to name but two. Furthermore, their hurlers had won in 1981.

  18. If McEntee is so wonderful why has he never been mentioned for any other county job? Armagh have had a number of changes of manager since he retired from playing as have several other counties nearer to Armagh than Mayo.

  19. Agree Trowintime/Catcol it’s the principle that matters not the subjects involved. There can only be one sherrif in town.
    On the media comment – why feed into the negativity. In this modern age there is so much opinion, who’s really matters.

  20. Catcol, fair enough. 2 titles 10 years previous. But I did mention “4 or 5 outstanding players”!
    As for the hurlers??? What’s that got to do with anything? Kilkennys dominance hasn’t exactly helped their footballers.

  21. AndyD, McEntee has been interviewed for 2 county positions over the last 3 or 4 years. However, for one reason or another nothing came of it.

  22. What i find fascinating now going into 2016 – is where you have the juxtaposition of Mayo who successfully sought managerial regime change and Galway hurlers who appear to have failed in this regard – the outcomes for both teams will be closely watched by everyone and “absolute” conclusions will be drawn from those outcomes, whether they will be fair or not.

  23. Pebbles – agree that Offaly had a number of outstanding players, as indeed they did in 71/72 when they had no history of winning anything at senior level. Fr. Gillooley, head coach – now there was old fashioned.

    As for the hurlers – very relevant in the Offaly situation. Liam Currams was a dual player (just think of it: Currams won a hurling AI in ’81 and a football in ’82), players from both teams lived in close proximity to each other, many from both teams were colleagues working for ESB and Bord na Mona who were big employers in the area.

    The hurlers really came from nowhere in 81 so the win was a massive psychological boost for the footballers.

    Different times, different people, different systems, but by God I still think we could learn a lot from the raw passion and will-to-win that Offaly displayed in those days.

  24. Throwintime – agree somewhat, but McGee is a total runt. Wouldnt even comment on such an article, its the fact that he sees himself as some GAA Overlord that has the end word on everything. And worse the GAA seem to look to him in that respect, appointing him as chair to nearly every committee. His involvment in introduction of the black-card and their selective ignorance to the damage it is doing to the game is criminal, just because they are pig-headded about conceding that they got it wrong.

    And please not an outside manager, No,No,No. Its one of us or nothing. Its not that complicated, Stephen Rochford is the obvious choice, go get him. Mayo man but a clean sheet really in the fact that he has not managed a Mayo team before (and has had as much success as McStay for that matter and at a much younger age).

  25. I agree Teamsheet there can be only one sheriff in town! However in the last year there was two Sherrifs in town and apparently a third Sherrif showed up High Noon style in the dressing room before Dublin replay.. Mayo should appoint Rochford asap, young fresh coach with a vision of how he wants his teams to play!

  26. McEntee’s story of management / non management reminds me of the story of a candidate for European Parliament some years ago.
    A neighbour was asked “How do you think Seanie will do?” The reply “Ah, I don’t think he’ll make it, he’s not well enough known. And those who do know him won’t vote for him.”
    If McEntee’s neighbours won’t have him why should we?

  27. It is increasingly clear that if the players have not lined up a replacement then they are placing themselves as hostages to fortune! If you think logically about it the only option is James Horan! Would this group of players buy ‘a pig in a poke’?? Hardly! They know his ways and it appears to me that his appointment will be announced shortly! Why would they chance an unknown entity? Stephen Rochford has never been an inter county manager! Someone for the future maybe!

  28. Andy,

    thats sounds not unlike the take the Hardy bucks had on the fiscal treaty a few years back

    “if you vote yes i think it means like sort of people will be coming and going like…. and if you vote no like, you’re more or less happy to stick around doing a few bits and pieces…”

  29. I’m a long time reader of this great blog but never have I posted. Mostly at least someone makes my point.

    I want to say that I’m 100 percent behind the players and their actions. I am sure they didn’t take the decision likely but I trust their judgment. Whatever was wrong was apparently unsurmountable and for that they had no choice and had to be true to themselves and their dreams.
    That the players were unanimous in there opinion and their subsequent action speaks volumes. These guys are very experienced and mature and for that they have earned their right to have a say in who might be best qualified to take them or try to take them to over the line. They are not a group of youngsters throwing the toys out of the pram when they didnt get their way. They are very focused on their all-Ireland goal and they know better than anyone else what they need to achieve it and who they need to give them the best possible chance of success. If they know who that is then it is incumbent on the CB to go and get it done. If not, then the the CB need to listen to their views.

    They had to take the initiative and if some people inside or outside the county don’t like it then that’s too bad.
    Let’s use the whole experience to steel ourselves and to provide that extra motivation to go the extra mile next year or the year after.
    As regards N&P it’s unfortunate and just bad timing for them. It is tough on them. An other time they might be the men to do it.
    I, for one am excited about the prospects for next year. We are so lucky to have players of the caliber of the Mayo lads. They dont lack the passion or the drive to succeed. It’ll be easy for any manager to lead them.

  30. Why not James Horan? This year highlighted to me how many things he had right. He made some mistakes, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t, but he’s smart and I think he would/can adapt and innovate. I rate him as a top class manager.

    Stephen Rochford may prove to be a great manager, or indeed could be one already, but IMO he hasn’t near the credentials of James Horan. People might say he has won Club AI with Corofin and from what I read he did a great job but a Club AI is a different beast than competing Senior Intercounty.

  31. One issue I think may not be unreasonable raised by Magee – although I think his choice of wording doesn’t does a disservice to the essence of the point – and that is what he refers to as the “pets” culture.

    There is absolutely no doubt that if you give something to someone and it is taken away from them it sits much worse with them than if they never had it at all. Think of getting a parking space at work. Once you get it, it would be almost inconceivable that anyone would take it away from you…it isn’t even about the monetary value of the perk. It is about a status and a status quo you want to maintain and being told it is being given to someone else and/or have it taken away from you would be a smarting experience at best.

    Now if Horan’s, as is reputed, managerial style was to divest much more power in the players, trusting some of the big names to make calls on certain aspects of the project – and he does this for 3 or 4 years – does it create an expectation in players minds about the way things should be and works best for them. If new management then comes in an alternate philosophy and their view is that all “animals are equal and none are more equal than others”….then you have effectively taken something away from people previously empowered. You take away their parking space. Magee calls them ‘pets’ which is the wrong word but I think I understand the type of dynamic he is trying to get at. And there is no doubt these things do happen between a manager and players in every team to a greater or lesser extent. If Horan was a hands off manager then it would have happened to a significant extent and if, as some sources would suggest – and not saying they are right but would seem logic that any ‘revolt/coup’ would have to be lead by the bigger characters in the team – it is possible there is an element of wounded pride playing a factor in players actions here.

    This may all be nonsense but one thing is for sure unless it is openly explained by the players – and of course there is no obligation to do that and it may not be in anyones best interest – speculation on these sort of things and articles like Magees will continue to do the rounds for some time to come.

  32. That’s a great first post TR-MAYO. I agree fully with your sentiments. I also think the return of James Horan is the only logical outcome. I think the players feel that there is one last chance left for them and they want the man who they feel will give them the best shot. Why would they ditch the current management team if they did not have a clear idea of who they want in place? I think JH will return and I think Rochford should be part of his team and his anointed successor. The return of James Nallen would also be helpful and (maybe I’m dreaming here) Jim McGuinness as consultant / advisor. Those appointments would ensure that the current despondency would be well and truly swept away.

  33. I urge all fans to get a hold of the Western People and read the article by Anthony Hennigan – best analysis yet of the whole debacle. Rational.

  34. @throwintime
    I agree with you on M’Gees’s writing. I don’t consider him to be a serious analyst nor a good writer, therefore I just skip his columns altogether.

    But your point about the squad picking the next manager I totally get. I think most Mayo ppl are understandably sympathetic to the players and only want the best for them. Many of us have come to regard many of them as heroes/stand up guys, so it’s as I said understandable that we want what’s best. But as much as I love this group of guys, I’m not at all comfortable with what they have done here. It’s mutiny really or maybe even equivalent to the inmates running the asylum.
    But it’s easier for us to come to terms with this revolt and it’s consequences if we turn our frustration on a lowly scribe, even though it may have merit. So where do we go from here? We don’t know what the players want but it’s reasonable to assume they have someone in mind. And then suppose’ the CB say “eff U?” Or that person says no, then what?
    With their action they have created a mess as big as if not bigger than the one created by the CB last year. Put the two together and it’s hard now to see how this “current” group of players and a new manager, could win an All Ireland. God I hope I’m wrong.
    @pebblesmeller , good posts above!

  35. The only piece of information in that article by Eugene McGee that I would be taking on board is the following statistic: Since 2011 we have played in 9 major games, i.e. All-Ireland finals and semi-finals. Our record is, won 2, drew 2 and lost 5. This shows how far we have come and how far we are still away from winning major honours.

    Our objective of been consistently competitive against the top teams has now been satisfied. The next objective should be to now start winning national titles. This you could say was one of the major reasons why the team took the stance that they did. This did not feel that Noel and Pat could take them to the next level.

    James Horan’s philosophy was to impose our game on the opposition. He wanted us to be an attacking team. Noel and Pat’s philosophy was a more cautious approach. Play the percentages. An approach somewhere inbetween is probably what we need going forward. Let the process of finding a new manager now begin.

  36. In his column this weeek in the WP James Horan himself said that some interesting things, I just pulled out some quotes from it.

    “the players will feel terrible about the way things unfolded. I am pretty sure that no one set out to publicaly humiliate or to offend anyone. Because of the high profile of Mayo football unfortunatly unwanted publicity will always be one of the side effects of these sort of episodes. I think it was a hugely courageous step by the players, one they must have known was very high risk, hugely divisive and potentially carrear ending for some. This would have been discussed in deatail and every avenue explored. This was a decision that was not taken lightly and the players would have known they were leaving themselves open to public opprobrium by emabarking on such a course of action.

    “I’m not so sure that the players have a masterplan of what’s next. The players were in a place that was dark and they could not see the road ahead. They needed to clear the way, lift the weight and deal with first things first. “

  37. Catcol, I give way to your superior knowledge of the Offaly GAA situation. Interesting stuff.
    AndyD, I like that, coming up to election time and all. McEntee is just my choice and I have stated why I believe he could be considered. Regarding an outside manager, I’m sure Offaly and Galway weren’t complaining.
    As for Rochford not being at Horans level, that’s just plain ludicrous. Horan won a county title, Rochford has won that, at a younger age, plus an All Ireland club title.
    Anywho, there’ll be a lot of tae drank before we find out who’s in the running. Brendan Rodgers is doing nothing at the minute I hear 🙂

  38. TR_Mayo Enjoyed your first post and I agree entirely with what you are saying. I believe in this group of players like no other I have seen in my life time. They have someone in mind. Perhaps you should post here more often.

  39. Thanks Pebblesmeller. I lived and worked in Offaly for a number of years in the 70s. Yes, 40 years ago or so, my God.

    I always had a rather snooty attitude towards them, constantly telling anyone who would listen that Mayo had far superior footballers and an All Ireland win was just around the corner. In spite of that, Mayo didn’t win Connacht in the 70s and Offaly won two All Irelands!

    They had some outstanding footballers as you say, but in a way they had no ‘right’ to win back-to- back in the early 70s. Leinster may have been a bit weak, but Galway (not long after the 3 in a row) and Kerry were aristocrats; then Kerry in ’82 when they were in their pomp – McGee did some job with that team. Massive achievements; as I said, we could learn something from that winning attitude that defied all the odds.

  40. Just read Damian lawlors article in yesterday’s Sunday indo :

    Tactics boards been left behind

    Players been left without tickets

    24 of a backroom team been in a dressing room

    Management arguing with players

    All comical stuff really,

    What do you think of Rochford been Favourite Willie joe ??

  41. willie joe
    I find your statement calling Eugene mcgee article (both) “putting the boot in” and Secondly “trash” very insulting, and show (in my opinion) a basic lack of manners.
    If we cannot suffer some, (or none in your case)critiques, then shut your site.
    We should be above this
    I presume and fully believe that mcgee article is written in truth, and not just (putting in the boot).
    Let’s take in on the chin, and answer in a polite and dignified manner.
    tomas togher

  42. Cant see how McStay’s heart will be in the job in Roscommon.

    Just listened to John Maughan on the radio from Saturday. Even “who ate all the cakes” pulled him up on the crap he came out with.

    As for Eugene Mcgee. What he says is of no importance. Take no notice.

  43. Jim Flag

    I cant see how McStay’s heart wont be in the job in Roscommon. He has lived there for over 20 years and as he said himself his 3 daughters are Roscommon and support the Rossies. We let him go last year by mistake I think.

    Does anyone actually know if Rochford would take the Mayo job. We might have Anthony Cunningham yet. He didnt do too bad in managing club football

  44. For what it’s worth, I think it’s bloody fantastic that we’re getting swipes left, right and centre from the media, and no doubt it will continue for the foreseeable.
    Following the loss to the Dubs in the semi, sympathy was waning for us anyway, and the ‘vote of no confidence’ has now given a free pass to all and sundry to have a real go, whether or not it’s justified. As a Mayo supporter, I crave neither sympathy nor to be liked, and never have done, and I bet the lads care even less about such trifles.
    Perhaps it’s my Mayo paranoia, but I’ve always felt anyway that we’re not as liked as is sometimes portrayed.
    I thought O’Rourke’s columns were masterclasses in predictable writing. I always feel his praise for us is through clenched teeth when really it would break his heart to see us win the AI.
    What got to me most this time was his suggestion that this will divide Mayo and that it will leave a bitter legacy. He appears to relish putting the boot in, creating a most damning, doomsday picture of us, but he’s underestimating the pride and belief Mayo people have in this team. And if he thinks we won’t “weigh in” behind them, he can think again.
    I actually recall his piece in 2014, following Mayo’s trip to New York. While most of it was glowing in terms of the event and what it meant to the diaspora and so on, he commented that some Mayo supporters were very critical of their team, even though the exiles were being totally overran and it wasn’t a contest.
    I wasn’t there, but I’m full sure this was something rather benign. I felt at the time that even mentioning this was a misrepresentation of the magic of Mayo support, both locally and globally. You’ll get eejits at every game and he knows this full well, but he just had to find fault and it left a sour taste. It was an unnecessary point to make, throw-away as it may have been, especially given what is real and great about Mayo support, overwhelming so, in fact – and this is what is truly and widely known and evident every single season. This was something he did, at least, manage to charitably point out in Sunday’s column.

  45. PJB, finbar, Livenhope/Annmarie pjmcmanus Thanks for your positive feedback to my earlier post.
    Of course all will be revealed in time whether there is someone waiting in the wings to step in or perhaps return to the management post. All we can do in the meantime is speculate.
    From my own perspective Im not convinced that the team would benefit at this time by the appointment of a manager that is new to inter county football especially when the team is so far advanced.
    It’s not the same as club management. It would for sure require time to ramp, time to get to a point where everyone is on the same page and convinced by the system that is to be deployed.
    So we must decide that we are either appointing for the short term or longer term.
    Time is something we don’t have a lot of, for this team. That means that the appointment has to be, in my view, an experienced inter county manager at the top end with experience at the latter stages of the championship and preferably one that has gotten over the line with his team. I’m not saying that it can’t be done by someone new to the inter county scene but it would be a much bigger challenge.
    So where are these guys? Who are available? And I know they are in short supply. I’d like to see someone like the cunning fox Jack O’Connor come and give us a hand. Most unlikely to happen though. Jim McGuinness another very clever guy must see this as a great opportunity to be successful with a second county. And the thing is he would only have to commit 1-2 years to the project win or lose.
    For me there’s only one left (apart from a couple of ex Dublin managers -no thanks) and that’s JH if you can’t get either of those guys. I’m sure the year out has taught him to see things with more clarity. Things he could have done or should have done. He can’t leave it as it is surely. I was frustrated enough by him on match days when he was in charge but as I say he may see things a little differently this time round. If the players thought he was the man I’d go along with that.
    The guys with the lesser experience might be better advised to hold back for a year or two.
    But it won’t just happen the CB need to be active in the process they need to go after who we want and convince the prospective target to take the job.

  46. Must say I think Eugene mc gee has been dining out on that single victory with Offaly for over 30 years now, without any signs of slowing down.

    To Me it was one of the biggest flukes of all time, although I should qualify that by saying It was before my time, but by all accounts they just caught kerry on the hop with a last minute goal to snatch victory. Some would argue Darby pushed the kerry fella in the back too before scoring! It seemed that it was one of those “if they played them ten times kerry would win 9 and Offaly one” and it just happened to be the day offalys number came up!

    Regardless it’s farcical that a guy who hasn’t been involved in the game for so long is allowed to have such a major influence by effectively implementing the stupid black card rule.

  47. Folks, anyone and this includes any players who might wish for James Horans return should recall that James Horan resigned his position at the end of last season citing family and work commitments and the grueling schedule, trying to balance all those things.
    Unless I’m missing something, he still has the same job, same wife and a couple of kids and probably is enjoying life a little more. Nothing has changed at the CB level so it seems very unlikely he would now do a “U turn” a year later. Bad optically IMO.

    It’s more likely to be Andy Moran, popular with players, CB and supporters alike. He could maybe be player/manager! Sure why not?

  48. Mayo have not won an all Ireland in the last five years so guess what that means……..five defeats minimum.
    What a bullshit stat McGee.
    Ignore beating reigning all Ireland champions and recent finalists in quarter finals. There not big games at all you arse. Last time we beat cork before 2011 was 1916.

  49. @Macs Left

    I think you are doing both offaly and magee a disservice there. I am old enough to remember the ’82 final. You must bear in mind that this team dethroned the great Dub team in Leinster and won 3 Leinster’s in a row 80-82. At the time Offaly were the only realistic chance of anyone beating Kerry. They had in my opinion the greatest forward to ever play the game in Matt Connor whose career was cut short probably before his prime at 24. Winning in 82 was no fluke, in fact it was a masterclass in self belief. They were 4 and 5 points down at various periods in the 2nd half and yes you could argue that Darby gave a bit of a nudge to Doyle but sure that sort of thing happens 20 times in a game – it was pure cuteness by Darby. Many people thought he was a one hit wonder but this guy won his 3rd all ireland medal that day – from Offaly! Kerry also 3 minutes with injury time left to get an equaliser and they panicked plain and simple because they had a couple of opportunities and blew them. So whatever about the attention Magee gets now, that was a fantastic offaly team and well worth at least 1 all Ireland.

  50. Wow, Tomas, that’s an impressive first comment! Each to their own, I guess, but needless to say I don’t accept the point you’re making. I’ve no problem at all with criticism of the constructive kind but McGee’s was nothing of the sort and I stand over everything I said about it. And, no, I won’t be shutting the site anytime soon.

  51. Agreed, Cantini – sadly, I’m old enough to remember that Offaly team and that ’82 final too. They were a super team and Matt Connor was their superstar – who can forget the 2-9 he scored against Kerry in that shootout semi-final of 1980? The 1982 final is one of my all-time favourites: Micheal O Hehir kept saying all afternoon that he thought there was a goal in it and took great glee when Darby’s bullet proved him right. I read somewhere recently that that Offaly win was the last time a county with a population of less than 100,000 won the Sam Maguire, which underlines still further what a great victory that was for them.

  52. TR_Mayo, welcome to the site.

    You mention “It would for sure require time to ramp, time to get to a point where everyone is on the same page and convinced by the system that is to be deployed”. But that is going to be the situation no matter who is appointed, whether they are an experienced inter-county manager or a novice. Any new manager is going to have his own ideas and beliefs in how the game should be played and it is going to take time to get this across to the players.
    You also mention about “decide that we are either appointing for the short term or longer term” and I agree but the reality of the situation is that any new appointment is going to get a 2 or 3 year term. Anything less will be seen as a lack of commitment either from the county board or the manager himself. For example, if a manager came in for 1 year, it could be difficult for the players and supporters to buy in completely to the new appointment. Particularly if things don’t go well. On the other side of it we all know that 3 or 4 year terms are only relevant when things are going well – see Pat and Noels situation.
    Finally, for anyone believing that we must get an experienced inter county manager that has previously won Sam, please see the list of AI winning managers since 2002. Jim Gavin, Eamon Fitzmaurice, Jim McGuinness, Pat Gilroy, Conor Counihan, Jack O’Connor, Mickey Harte, Pat O’Shea and Joe Kernan. Gavin, Fitzmaurice and Harte are current managers. Counihan, O’Shea and Kernan are off the scene and I don’t believe would offer anything to us at this stage. Gilroy is MD of a very busy business and that was part of his reasoning behind him stepping down from the Dublin job, so he’s hardly going to commit to 440km round trips to Mayo for training. O’Connor has won 3 AI, has had his break from senior football, has just won consecutive minor AI’s with his native Kerry and has moved up to the U21 post. He, more than likely, will progress with that age group to the senior position again and attempt to do a Mickey Harte. That leaves McGuinness, and as much as I’d love him to be our next manager, I just can’t see him leaving a full time senior coaching position at Celtic.

  53. I would echo Cantini sentiments about Offaly and McGee’s management achievements. Don’t forget Matt Connor was the hero of our own magician Ciaran Mac!!! McGee in fairness also reined supreme in Dublin with a brilliant UCD team before he took over Offaly so I think we need to separate McGee the manager and McGee the Journalist!!

    His latest article is unfair and full of holes but sure most of his articles are so I wouldn’t take much notice of it but I wouldn’t run down his superb coaching achievements just because he is an average to poor journalist. Personally I tend to skip his articles.

    Also Gaa has moved on from his time so I think he view might be skewed as he is looking at us through the prism of his own time in coaching when he writes about us.

  54. Mister mayor he also said if he was to come back he would manage it rugby style.he said have a head coach to look after things on field and somebody to sort out the off field stuff.I hope he comes back he’s a pure professional in his set up.maybe needs to make changes a bit sooner when things are in the melting pot.
    But for me he’s the man for the job if he’s available.

  55. 3 of the Ballycastle team who won the junior B are based in London, and flew home during the year for games!


    for anyone too young to remember Matt Connor – and footage from this time is hard to get – someone put this 1 minute cameo piece together. The last goal is particularly amazing swivel. The first dummy sequence a joy to behold as well – 3 kerry players on their backside. He bears an uncanny resemblence to the great maurice fitzgerald in looks and style of play too.

  57. Re 1982, I remember running onto the pitch with some Offaly friends, thinking at the same time that it was 30 years plus since Mayo won.

    It is now 30 years plus since Offaly won, and we still haven’t won it. Close, but no cigar.

  58. @catcol

    well at least ye are level with them on Taoseach’s in the same timeframe and have a fair shot at doing a back to back this time round!

  59. At this stage I don’t particularly think the professionalism of the setup will get us much closer. The Damian Lawlor article stated the players had:
    – No problem with the coaching
    – No problem with the strength and conditioning.
    In terms of winning and All Ireland it is much more about gameplan and the natural athleticism and ability of the players.
    1. Gameplan, it was our gameplan that wore us down in the semi final replay. Tom Parsons who is the second fittest in the squad was visually out on his feet when you see him barely able to contest a breaking ball somewhere around the 50+minute mark. Now if you look back at the game he was worn down with all of the soloing and handpassing around the middle of the pitch. This is an elite athlete amongst elite athletes but soloing the ball 25 times in 50 minutes is a sure fire way to run out of steam.
    2. Player personnel. I’v touched on this before but some of the squad are not particularly athletic. They do intensive training and are superbly prepared but they are not posessing natural athleticism. The athletes in the squad Keegan, Parsons, Diarmuid are a long way ahead of the others when you factor size, strength, speed and stamina. Big gaping holes in the athleticism of many of the rest of the squad.
    – Quick guys who are small
    – High stamina guys who are not quick and powerful
    – High power guys with no stamina.
    If you compare to Dublin very few of their players lack in any one department.
    Athleticism is at least 50% of Gaelic football and we won’t have the requisite amount of it in place with the current match day 26.
    It’s not just a thing about age it comes down to natural athleticism. Tom Parsons first injury free season and no suprise he was second in the fitness tests.

  60. Interesting stuff JP.

    However, is it not a matter of pacing and conserving energy so that you last the game right through?

    Mayo did this better than Dublin in the drawn match; it was the Dubs who were out on their feet and we were full of running. This was helped by Mac and Bastick getting black cards.

    The situation was reversed in the replay, helped by our running game for all of the first half and our loss of Seamie for the second half.

    Even Golden Horn, who just won the Prix de L’Arc superbly, was caught in York, because he used up too much gas in the early part of the race.

  61. I would say it is a matter of having an efficient game plan that doesnt rely on high volumes of soloing the ball.
    If you remember back to the drawn game against Kerry last year a high energy soloing game plan fell apart in extra time in the second game. They couldn’t maintain that running soloing game two weekends in a row.
    Our game plan wasn’t doable two weekends in a row.
    There are 14 outfield players I wouldnt relate it to Seamus going off or anything like that.
    Had a look back at the game our running speed in closing down Dublin dropped all over the pitch after the 50 minute mark. The players were out of energy.

  62. Methinks our running out of steam in the replay had more to do with the differences in how our Management and Dublin’s handled the recovery after the first day – and I can’t help but feel was important in the subsequent events.
    I’d be very interested in the individual player mileage stats on the two games.

  63. But think back to the Kerry game in 2014. Which side had the energy in extra time? By far Kerry. Our middle eight had been ran into the ground. Kerry wouldn’t have had much superior recovery to us. Dublins recovery would have helped in some %, but there was a yawning gap between the sides after 50 minutes not explainable by Oxygen tents or Cryotherapy.
    On the player kilometres stats I would say our middle eight ran far more than theirs.
    Also I would say in terms of number of solos on the ball between the 45’s we had far more. Soloing the ball is very tiring, hence you see guys at the end of a long solo barely able to kick or handpass the ball over the bar.

  64. So, it’s a question of strategy.

    Our game has been energy intensive and so has to be managed. I still maintain that first half approach was the wrong strategy as it used too much gas.

    In the drawn game we ought to have been dead and buried when Dublin went 7 up. But we had the legs that time and it was Dublin who were on the back foot.

  65. The ball has to be kicked in from between the 45’s when the opportunity to kick is open.
    Very often when we are open to kick into the forwards we turn back inside and pop the handpass, who in turn pops the handpass, who in turn pops the handpass. By that stage a 50:50 inside for our inside line is now totally covered by 4 defenders on 2, or 2 defenders on 1.
    Then we have to rely on low percentage shots from Keegan, Cillian and Diarmuid from out on the fringes. What will we do on a cold wet day? Effective shooting range on a day like that is about 35 yards. Heavy ground as well, all that soloing even more energy sapping.
    It rains a lot in Ireland our gameplan shouldn’t be completely vulnerable to rain.

  66. “3 of the Ballycastle team who won the junior B are based in London, and flew home during the year for games!” Paul, that is serious committment. Delighted for everyone involved – it’s stories like this (and the sheer amount of hard work involved) that make the GAA what it is.

    I was leafing through a copy of the Daily Mail on my lunch break at work, and i nit, Philip Lanigan has a right go at the Mayo and Galway players – it makes McGee’s article look like fan mail 😉

    This kind of stuff won’t go away; and that’s to be expected. The common theme is about players not taking responsibility for losing thus far, which, unless they do make some kind of a statement (which I’d rather they didn’t) will be taken as the truth. I cannot imagine that the 34 players involved have not taken a long hard look at themselves and what went wrong during the Dublin game. No sportsman worth his salt does not review their own performance and there is no way on earth that bunch are sitting there solely blaming management for that loss. No way. It is far too simplistic, and a lazy narrative to suggest that this heave happend

    Such articles also place the only measure of success as winning an All-Ireland in 2016, which in my opinion is rubbish.The current players (understandably) may not agree, but if the the *only* thing to come out of this is the understanding and acceptance of a strong, reinforced message that those who pull on the green and red for Mayo (at any level, in any code) deserve the very best levels of professionalism, support, and respect that the county board and supporters can possibly provide for them, then we will have made a big stride forward.

    It’s not just a question of appointing a new manager. Neither is it just a question of money; though ultimately it comes down to generating money to meet these standards. Which is why we must come back to strategic plans and outside expertise and commercial directors once again. How long have we been banging this drum? How much longer before it’s taken on board?

  67. So it’ll be late next week or the week after before the County Board to even begin do anything about finding a new manager.

    While players won’t be hitting the training ground any time soon I cannot see why there is such a delay.

    Set out what the process will be and get it underway.

    We all know the answer is one of two men if either are interested.

  68. I agree the CB should lay out the process and the timeframe, be as transparent as can be and then get on with it…

    But IMO..
    A compromise manager would be Andy Moran…he’s a leader, popular with everyone and in the twilight of his Mayo playing days. Maybe a master stroke by the CB?

  69. @JP

    Not sure there was a yawning gap on fitness/stamina/pace from the 50th minute v Dublin. The real damage to Mayo that day was done by Brogan – who crucially never strays much past the 30 yard line – MDMA, substitute, KevinMc, substitute and Philly McMahon – who was simply is an energiser bunny….so 3 of the 4 main protagonists in that 15 min spell didn’t have big mileage on them when doing the damage.

  70. Maybe we should look for a manager with a true winning pedigree who has won (for example):
    4 All-Ireland senior championships,
    5 Connacht championships,
    3 NFL Division one medals,
    1 NFL Division Two medal,
    5 All-Ireland senior club championships,
    14 Connacht Club Senior championships
    and 17 senior club county titles.

    On that basis, Cora should at least be part of the new management team!

  71. A come on , now luigi , I think you are trying to stir the pot here ?

    I don’t think you could have Cora in as part of our new management team ….. We are already the talk / laugh of the country

  72. Mister Mayor, i like your suggestion on Andy Moran.
    I used to like seeing James Nallen running out to have a word with players. Was it Cian O’Neil who made him redundant?
    Still hoping An Spailpin’s suggestion is taken up.
    The older heads dont like these player’s revolt. It was not the way it was done in My Time. It is a societal problem where one wants to keep what was good but people demand more say now generally.
    I often noticed at League matches in particular how shabbily the players are treated.’ Stay there until you are called and then just taken off’. They have to develop thick skins to survive. Maybe the more gifted have a smoother passage as in life generally.
    I like that idea of Andy being Caretaker Manager. Nice to hear if Rochford is interested as surely all the journalists are trying to contact them. Ciaran 2

  73. JP, I think your are underestimating the importance of proper recovery. The difference between the sides at the end of the second game can absolutely, in my opinion, be down to the fact that Dublin got a pool session and an oxygen tank session (did I just type that?) in on Monday, while the Mayo lads were still two days away from their next session. When you play at the intensity we did on the Sunday, recovery is incredibly important. We didn’t recover enough for the bodies to go the distance the second day.

  74. Its great to see Matt Connors name mentioned on here he was an absolute legend…not just in Offaly but everywhere. He was involved in a very bad car crash when he was in the height of his footballing career and I think he lost the use of his legs which was a real tragedy. That Offaly team were a class act and stopped us getting a record run of Leinster titles….its great to see we remember the class players from every county..

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  75. The last player revolt in Mayo ended in disaster. However the one before that ended in two all Irelands – 1950/51.

  76. What would be wrong with having Cora as part of the Mayo management she has more Liathroidi than some of the Mayo team and before you block me Willie Joe ? she has all Ireland Senior medals to back up the Liathroidi statement

  77. I don’t want that to sound hard on the lads because I have the utmost respect for the Mayo football team we have no idea of the sacrifices they make I know they do them level best indeed I’m sure Cora and the Ladies team make huge sacrifices too

  78. Absolutely rest and recovery is critical. It is highlighted as one of the major differences between professionals and amateurs…… Apart from the money of course.

    @pebblesmeller agree with most of your reply. But I still mantain that the inter county manager is better equipped to prepare tactically for the big games if he has inter county experience. And especially after playing the top teams before. Learning on the job is usual but surely the guy with past experience has a distinct advantage. The lads are as close as they can smell it. A rebuild is not necessary in my view at this stage. Doing things a bit better by players and management and tweaking a few things might be all that’s needed. It’s a case of finishing what they started.
    The partnership with JH needs to be reignited. I’m sure they have the answers now.

  79. While recovery is massively important I think a bigger problem was that after we were still going strong into the last 10 minutes in the first match, people decided we could just run harder for longer than Dublin and beat them that way.

    The truth is probably a bit more nuanced – at our best we can dominate any team in the country for about 25 minutes (like in the second half of the drawn semi with Kerry last year where we did this despite being down to 14 men) but after that the legs start to go.

    Our main problem is that when we need to keep things tight we don’t seem to be able to – if we can crack this so we can keep the score fairly close until we try to kick on then this would give the best chance of reaching the holy grail!

  80. @backdoor sam

    At the risk of sounding hugely disrespectful – and i’ll take the flak on that – saying someone, albeit as decorated as Cora Staunton – should be on the management team is nonsensical. I think CS was a fantastic player in the ladies game but if we are being honest she would have struggled to win her place on most mens club senior teams if we were being gender blind – so if you are making an argument based on playing prowess, you are setting the bar quite low. No one would make the case that someone should get on a management team because they were on a club senior team for 10 years…would they?

    Now that is not to say that CS might be worthy of a place based on her knowledge of the game or having ability like a Sean Boylan (who was never a top player etc)….I am just saying that women’s AI medals should not be seen as a qualification for a county mens senior team….and I hope I’ve explained that as well as i can without causing ructions in some quarters – but i’m saying it because I think too many are too polite to say what they are thinking…..and apologies in advance for anyone offended. In particular CS who I have the highest regard for as probably the all time great in her sport.

  81. Cora is a genius player, her numbers are astonishing and she is the all time greatest lady footballer but, I doubt she would be willing to get involved in the men’s setup. It’s a different animal altogether from ladies football and Cora will probably show the young girls of Mayo how it’s done and how you win AllIrelands. The boys know what they need to do themselves at this stage and have taken a big step in the right direction.

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