The weekend’s games

The world keeps turning. As it always does, as it must.

The last while, when I’ve been inactive here, hasn’t been kind for Mayo clubs. All three of the men’s teams fell at the first hurdle in their respective Connacht club Championships, all to Galway opposition. LGFA Senior champions Burrishoole bowed out, also to a Galway team, in the Connacht final and Ballyhaunis were beaten last month in the LGFA Connacht Junior Championship. Yes, that was to a Galway team as well.

Better news from the women’s game came at the weekend just gone, however, with LGFA All-Star awards for Shauna Howley and Danielle Caldwell. Back out on the pitch, meanwhile, Intermediate county champions Charlestown Sarsfields went on to claim the Connacht title the weekend after last and this coming Sunday they’re in All-Ireland semi-final action.

Their opponents on Sunday are Longford Slashers (surely one of the most gloriously named GAA clubs of all time). The match takes place at Michael Fay Park in Longford town (Eircode N39 R8W3) where throw-in is 1.30pm.

This is, as all matches are nowadays, a ticket-only event and you can purchase tickets here.

The match is also being streamed live by the LGFA and the link for that is here.

Tooreen’s hurlers are also shooting for provincial glory on Sunday. They’re aiming to capture their fourth Connacht IHC crown in six years and their opponents in Sunday’s decider are Killimor of Galway. This one is fixed for Athleague with a 1.30pm throw-in time.

Tickets for the match are available to purchase here.

There’s an interview piece by Mike Finnerty with Tooreen’s Fergal Boland in this week’s Mayo News (here). In the same paper (paper and digital variants) Michael Commins has a great, in-depth preview of Sunday’s provincial decider.

The best of luck to both Mayo teams in action this weekend.

66 thoughts on “The weekend’s games

  1. Jees I cannot believe they have picked Moran and McDonagh ahead of Boland. I keep thinking there must be something I don’t know but then there isn’t because I watch the games and he is so much better than them it’s not funny.

  2. GBXI. I’m 100% with you on Fergal having done enough to be included in the training panel and as he is from my own club Aghamore we’ve seen how he performs game after game with hardly ever a noticeable below par appearance. However as I’ve said in the past regarding one or two Mayo players getting negative press I really think it’s wrong to name individuals. Bad enough when outside voices put down our players but worse when it comes from within.

  3. Fergal Boland and Darren Coen will be sorely missed. Both well able to get vital scores from long range! They were never given a proper chance really!
    Not sure who has replaced them as I did not see any better forwards in this year championship!
    I presume the 2023 panel has been published?

  4. @Oilean acla – No panel published as far as i am aware. Boland did an interview with Mayo news this week. Fergal is a super player and always a good man for a score but unfortunately he never nailed down a starting spot in his 6 seasons in the panel. I do feel he was hard done by on a few occasions but who am i to question a manager`s selection when i`m not watching the players train regularly or seeing whats going on in A v B games.

  5. There’s no panel published yet and I doubt there will be anytime soon either. A number of players have been called in as part of what appears to be a large enough pre-season training panel but I’d expect it’s all fairly open-ended at this stage.

  6. I’m a boland fan but we are probably in danger of lionising him a bit as we have done with many fringe players over the years (remember the Richie feeney clamour!).

    The broader picture that I find more worrying is that it doesn’t appear there has been any exciting attacking talent called in to the panel ,no bolters or mercurial talents with a bit of flair so we go into 2023 hoping against hope RoD and Conroy return better than ever. You would hope Towey might be the answer but I sense he is regarded with a similar mistrust as boland is

    It seems to be a mayo thing, a general mistrust of attacking flair players in favour of athletes. We have hardworking athletic wingbacks by the dozen going back generations, that will get you past 80% of the teams,but not all the teams

  7. @Supermac- I`m not sure there are many players who fit the mould you are describing. It is not like James Horan left a load of star studded attacking players out of his panel in recent years.

    I think people are jumping the gun a bit and making assumptions of what the starting team will be before the Management even know. Plenty of new faces will get a chance to impress regardless if their rumored to be involved at the present time or not, we have an experienced management team put in place and they will tweak things as they see fit.

  8. Good points Supermac. We seen to have trouble integrating that type of player. It’s telling that numerous management teams have followed suit. It’s an age old problem that has been covered at length many times.

    Regarding Fergal, Stephen Drake rightly notes on the recent podcast that he may not have been suited to James Horan’s intense running/pressing style. Ironically, he may be more suited to a style that McStay may very well set out, ie an open expansive style that favours using the boot more.

    As others have said, the panel is open-ended so Fergal may yet be called back in. But it can’t be doing any favours to the lad’s confidence.

  9. What about diskin. Has he been left out too. I’d love to know who is considered better than diskin and boland if only to give them the respect to be looked at

  10. Regarding ROD and Tommy Conroy coming in better than ever, while I sincerely hope they do – consideration must be given to the long layoffs both had and their injuries. They might not be the same players they were pre-injury.

  11. Another man who has never got a shot at a Mayo Senior Panel is Mattie Flanagan. I see he has been recruited as the Mayo Minor Goalkeeper coach for the year ahead and he is only 25/26/27 years old. He spent 4 years as u21 goalkeeper, and was vital in Mayo’s u21 winning all Ireland team in 2016, getting MOTM in the Connacht final and also got MOTM in an all Ireland junior final in croke park that year. Has had great success with his club Balla going from Junior to Senior in 3 years. He hasnt been seen on a county panel since 2016.

  12. If James Horan was so against flair players, in favour of athletes then how come Ryan O’Donoghue became one of the first names on the team sheet? Conor Loftus wasn’t put in midfield for his physicality either. It was to give us more of a foot passing option.

    I like Fergal Boland too, he’s clearly in the top 35 Mayo players IMO. However, he hasn’t got close to nailing down a starting spot despite 6 years on the panel. There probably is an argument to give some young player a chance instead of Boland, Conor O’Shea, Darren Coen etc.

  13. Towey is going to have a big role to play next year. The best forward I saw in Mayo this year anyway and by some distance too. He’s a long way ahead of Boland and coen for example.
    I can see about 10 forwards having a meaningful role with Mayo next year:
    Cillian
    Ryan
    Tommy C
    Diarmuid
    Towey
    Carney
    Orme
    Carr
    Kevin McL

    They are probably the top 9. Don’t really count players like Aidan or Flynn as forwards.

    People like Loftus, Bryan Walsh, Mark Moran, Frank Irwin, Colm Moran, McDonagh maybe Ethan Gibbons, Dylan Prendergast, Oisin McL, those are the guys fighting to be involved in the last couple of spots in the panel in the forward line.
    Hard to see Jason Doc playing a major role this year, I thought he dropped off a lot last season after a fantastic career, as for Diskin I don’t know enough about him.

  14. Dont like to have to say it but I think Cillian has lost the little speed he had with his long lay off.
    Hope I am wrong and those that saw him in the County championship this year are best placed to know.

  15. Joe G, I wasn’t naming individuals for the sake of it but just comparing the players Boland is in competition with for a place. Someone compared Boland with D. Coen but that’s apples and oranges. Coen is in competition with Cillian, Towey, ROD, Conroy, Carr, and Doherty (who’s way past it in my opinion). Boland is up against Diarmuid, Walsh, Loftus, maybe Flynn, Oisin Mc, Kevin Mc etc and I think only Diarmuid is clearly better than him from that list. It’s such a strange one.

    Hoping him and the Tooreen boys have a big win this weekend.

  16. Ya that’s a fair call Catcol, I did forget Darren. To me he’s a useful sub option to come in with 20 min left and try unlock defences with that distinctive 30 m foot passing game style he has. I think that’s his best role, his lack of pace is a negative but he does see those threaded foot passes though heavy traffic better than nearly any player on the panel and I’d see him as a useful bench option when struggling to break down a blanket defence.
    Especially if you are looking at a first 45 min of those powerful runners from deep that we seem to have in abundance struggling to break down a well organised opposition. A scenario that has played out very often over the last few years for Mayo.

  17. Yes he’s gone to Aus to the Geelong Cats, it’s hard to see Oisin going off to Australia but the very best of luck to you Oisin, great footballer.

  18. All the best to Oisin Mullin. We had him for 2 All Irelands so can’t complain. He’s deserves all the success he gets over in Australia.

  19. Good luck to him. Have to take those opportunities when they come up to be fair to him.

    Who knows, maybe he might return in a couple of years time and do a conor mckenna/tagdh kennelly on it and land an Ai medal upon his return :-p

  20. Realistically it takes a lot away from our chances over the next couple of years .

    I follow Glasgow Celtic we are a feeder club if we happen to have a star in our ranks he will be snapped up by a big club in England or elsewhere . Bigger clubs can hold onto their star players . Kerry and Dublin can offer more than Mayo unfortunately.

    Best of luck to the young man now the decision is made though .

  21. Best of luck to Oisin as he heads off I hope he does well over there. I think no one is in doubt of the enormity of the task facing Kevin McStay. I think we can forget about Sam for a few years id be happy enough to see our forward play improve and us playing to some kind of game plan. As an aside Lee Keegan is the highest scoring defender of all time so if he stays for another year why not try him in the forwards?

  22. Sean Burke, one of Oisín’s team mates in Geelong will be Mark O’Connor from Kerry.

    Who are the two most famous Iirsh AFL players – Brian Mullins from Dublin (albeit a long time ago) and Tadgh Kennelly from Kerry.

  23. Mullin is a massive loss and no confirmation on Lee Keegan either for 2023.
    I think we are on for a rough year to be honest.Galway on the rise and Dublin also resurgent

  24. Best of luck to him. He owes Mayo nothing and needs to make the decision that is best for him and his family.

    However this is a disaster for Mayo. He’s an elite player and is irreplaceable for us. Very despondent about our chances now.

  25. GBXI. I understand what you’re saying and meant no offence and in truth I was thinking more of the way some other players got awful abuse at different times and was hoping the same wouldn’t happen again. Despite a lot of what’s been said I think Fergal will be recalled although he obviously took being left out very hard. We’ll see.

  26. What a huge loss. Similar to Hanley except we got to have him for 2 finals as someone else already said. Hope he’s a big success over there.

    Terrible start for McStay!

  27. Very best of luck to Oisin. A great lad by all accounts too.

    But when one door closes, another one opens. Someone else now has to step up, simple as that. Hoping Jack Coyne steps up…he had been in panel for a couple of years up to 2022, so should have the requisite conditioning

  28. A big loss no doubt. Good luck to him.
    We will never know what Mcstays thinking might have been for Oisin. Whether he would have continued to have played him at 3 or further out. I would have have played him at 6.
    Either way we now need a number 3 and it creates an opportunity for somebody else.

    The show must go on and remember it was just over 12 months ago that we beat Dublin without Oisin and Cillian which not many would have predicted.

    The fitness of Cillian Ryan and Tommy will be critical to our season. Get them all on the pitch at the same time and we will still be a handful for most.

  29. @Tubberman: I’d say Jim Stynes was bigger than Mullins in AFL, won a Brownlow medal, the only Irishman to do so afaik.

    Obviously it’s very disappointing to lose Oisín, but we just have to plan without him now, alas. A lot of Irish people have gone to Oz in the last decade or so, many of my friends included. Many of them are very well set up over there and have Aussie partners and kids, few seem inclined to come back. It really is the land of milk and honey and with the present economic conditions in Europe, it’s hard for Ireland to offer a comparable standard of living.

    It’s unusual that he got a second bite at it, given his age and his about-face to stay with us last year. But best of luck to him out there, hope he does well.

  30. All the best to Oisin over in Aus. Big loss to us though. I think it’s a bit strange, usually you get that new manager bounce, a new wave of optimism and so on. Bit worried as it looks as if that might not be the case with Oisin and the heavy rumours surrounding lee. Galway look to be adding to their panel whilst ours looks to be weakening. Early blow for Kevin.

  31. Teams need to be finding youth and time moves on whether it’s a senior player or a star youngster. Kerry lose stars to Aus more often than us. Ours is an amateur game. Andy wasn’t a great player in his early days with Mayo but became one so it’s not all about finding top players, some can be moulded. Of the backing cast in recent years, Ciaran Treacy has blinding pace Mark Moran has pace and 2 great feet, Jack Carney looks a nailed on Mayo player going forward. Paul Towey was stated as best forward in club championship so give him an extended run. He has pace and is small but that pace is a great weapon. ROD is small but strong and tough so it shows you don’t have to be big. As for backs, McBrien, Callinanan look good. Hession still very young. Could Diarmaid OC do a job in the backs, he’s hard to slip. Could Lee do a job in the forwards? We need 25 or 26 top players to compete, not 30+. There are 2 potential star forwards from the U17s so there must be quite a few between 17 and 21 who didn’t catch the eye yet because our underage teams weren’t progressing in the championship. Are there more players with great skill but lacking S&C or players with great speed but still raw on skills? There must be. Eoghan Mc a bit raw in shooting but added taking scores to his game last year so progress visible. Next step is taking goals as he gets a lot of goal chances.

  32. Good luck to Oisin.i think Cillian injury was a bigger blow to us.
    He would have nailed the penalty against Tyrone with his experience and game would have taken a different turn.

  33. @It Means Nothing To Me – thanks, I meant Jim Stynes!
    Think I mixed up his brother Brian, and Oisín Mullins, and ended up with Brian Mullins 🙂

  34. Tubberman, not getting into it too much but Kerry are all Ireland champions. If they wanted Clifford I don’t think they’d get him .

  35. Oisin was no doubt on his way to becoming a once in a generational talent similar to Lee but now is time for a few other lads to step up over the next few years.

    Eoghan mclaughlin, Enda hession, Jack coyne, Rory brickiden, Donnacha mchugh, Sam Callinan, David Mcbrien, Ruairí keane are all just starting their senior inter-county careers and more than capable to make a step up to the next level. Throw in the likes of Paddy Durcan, Stepehn Coen, Padraig O`Hora, Michael Plunkett, Brendan Harrison and i think we will still be competitive in the backs.

    It is midfield and in the forwards we couldn’t afford to lose a player of their caliber.

  36. Sean – I don’t understand that argument at all. Kerry have lost more players to the AFL than any other county. Dublin have lost a few and had to deal with Mannion, McCaffrey and Rory O’Carroll walking away on numerous occasions while in their prime.

    By comparison, we’ve done a good job holding on to players.

  37. Ha ha, no worries Tubberman! Mullins may well have excelled at the AFL if he had gotten the call, was no slouch in the air or in a ruck either…

    Kerry fans were raging about losing Tommy Walsh and then Mark O’Connor to Aussie Rules a few years back, we had the likes of Tomás Ó Sé publicly taking Tadgh Kennelly to task about over-recruiting down in the Kingdom. I think all the stops must have been pulled out to prevent Clifford from going.

    Tyrone seem to have been a lot more successful at this than we are, with McShane and Cavanagh having turned down AFL, and Conor McKenna having come back to win an All-Ireland.

  38. Galway have a massive sponsorship deal announced , Dublin have a 6 million plus plan for a centre of excellence, Kerry talking about a 72 million stadium and their already newly built centre of excellence is outrageous. Can’t help feeling the upwardly mobile brigade are on a bullet train and we are standing still at manulla junction .

  39. @Sean Burke – People are just looking for stuff to give out about and be negative about at this stage, it is getting ridiculous.

    Whats wrong with McHale park ? It`s far better than 90% of stadiums in Ireland. I`m pretty sure Fitzgerald stadium doesnt even have floodlights or a decent stand.

    Dublin have €6m PLANS, mayo also have plans for for a €5m Training Centre.

    Mayo have big sponsorship deals with portwest, elverys and hastings insurance.

  40. Good luck to Oisin hes going to be a full time professional on good money in a country with great weather all year round with beautiful women who could blame him for taking the opportunity.

  41. Interesting read @Gizmobobs. You would have to wonder if mayo have someone of even a quarter of the wealth of JP McManus or McDonagh. The reality is the county board over the years and at present don’t seem to have the business heads needed to support Mayo GAA. Our lack of income vs expenditure is terrible. Kerry GAA are able to get funding for a centre of excellence whilst Dublin are now getting a grant for one too. We have a highly leveraged stadium that is draining all our resources. Our ability to refinance is low and in this interest rate environment the cost of debt is only going up. We are the Man Utd of the GAA world and it’s definitely going to impact our ability to compete on the field soon.

  42. 1969. Pity you didn’t post about all the beautiful women in Oz a couple of weeks ago. Oisin’s partner might have pulled the plug on the move !
    Seriously though best wishes to Oisin for the future.
    Mayo will be just fine. Others will step up to fill the breach and we’ll have many exciting days ahead.

  43. Best of luck to Oisin in OZ…He could return some day to Tír na Og …Some day, this country might be worthy!.

  44. Joe Henry played hurling for Tooreen. He was at his peak in the seventies/early eighties and was the only non Galway player selected on the Connacht Railway Cup team and was also selected as a substitute All Star on the 1979 All Star team that went to America. After scoring Tooreen’s total of 1-07 against Ardrahan in the Connacht Final he was approached by Galway to join their senior panel. He turned it down. He wouldn’t leave his club and he wouldn’t leave his county who were at the time down in Division 4.The following year, 1980, Galway won the All Ireland. So while we will follow Oisín’s career with interest and wish him a glittering professional career, it would be no harm to take a moment to acknowledge and admire such unwavering loyalty and commitment to club and county which surely is what the GAA is all about

  45. I’m glad a line has been drawn under it now so we can move on from Oisin.

    Nothing more tedious than endless Mayo GAA gossip mill sagas that run and get played out publicly every year. It’s very tedious.
    Decision made. Great. Move on.

    Hopefully the keegan thing gets settled soon one way or the other too, don’t need that to become another saga

  46. “What’s wrong with mchale park “ not a lot bar the massive debt that’s hanging round our neck and will be after most of us are dead .

    “Mayo have plans” Dublin have plan permission.

    Honestly I don’t want to be giving out as you put it , just a feeling of our curve is not as upward as a few of the top counties at the moment .

    On the positive side we still have a talented bunch of players and a good minor side last year . I’ll be in mchale park in nine weeks time like everyone else and I won’t be giving out I’ll be getting behind mcstay and the team to beat Galway.

  47. I agree with you JR no slight on young O’Donoghue but Cillian would have nailed the penanlty and we might have went on to win Sam although Mayo being Mayo we might not have won either. I put all fanciful notions of Mayo winning Sam again comind out of Croke Park after that Tyrone game and itnwas rammed home again coming out of Croke Park after coming out of the league final after Kerry took us apart. I think some Mayo fans like myself are finally realising that its time to enjoy the journey even if we never get to our preferred destination

  48. I agree Sean. No doubting we have a solid bunch of players but I’d wonder if we have the right structures and plans to keep mayo competitive. Kerry Tyrone and Dublin now all have their own centre of excellence’s. I’d say it’s only a matter of time before Galway land one too, considering they have the hurling and the football behind them. Unless mayo county board start putting good strategic plans in place, correct management of money and an ability to generate different forms of revenue then I’d be a bit worried. I love how Kerry CB raised money from wealthy Kerrymen living abroad to help their funding efforts. Why can’t Mayo do the same?

  49. @Grainne Uaile ‘Unwavering Loyalty’? ..All the various institution’s of man, I can’t say that I any one of them is worthy of ‘Unwavering Loyalty ‘ …Mayo GAA is not a religious cult that you can’t leave, or that you can’t come back to!

  50. @Grainne Uaile, leaving an amateur sport to play as a professional athlete in 2023 is hardly the same as switching between rival amateur teams in 1979.

  51. Is it just me, or is there unusually significant wear of the new grass on McHale Park, especially over at the stand sidelines and goal areas. Perhaps they should have waited a few more months before playing the first match to allow thicker, stronger growth. There was always going to be pressure for the Galway match to be played there.

    I mean in the above areas the grass it completely gone. It’s a problem. It may pose a risk to players on wet days.

  52. @Glorydays….I think you possibly assume too much…we probably wouldn’t have gotten the penalty had Cillian been playing and everything else being the exact same..The penalty came from a miss hit free the landed short..In normal circumstances Cillian would have taken the free, and it wouldn’t have been short, a point or wide I suggest… Anyhow both Cillian and Ryan when fully fit are outstanding player’s…I suggest that nowadays Ryan had more to offer, given his youth and pace!

  53. Go neiri le Oisin. A great player and will be a huge loss but we have plenty of potential le cunadh Dé.
    Mhuigeo Abu!

  54. Wishing Oisin the very best. He has given us an awful lot. He’s had to deal with so much recently that I can understand why he would want to go and he won’t be left wondering how a professional career might have turned out. Great lad. There will be opportunities for others now to step up, looking forward to the start of the league.

  55. Best of luck to Oisin. He’s been part of some great days and his performance in the Connacht final in 2021 stands out in particular. Interview on The Football Pod with Mark O’Connor recently highlights the attractions of the professional sportsperson for a talented athlete, I thought. As others have noted, we have a number of fine potential replacements waiting for a chance. Hopefully we might see him again at some stage.

  56. At the risk of falling foul of the rules,we had someone who was prepared to spend money on Mayo but we fell out with him

  57. And thank god we did
    He was online spreading poison again earlier
    It’s McStays fault Mullin is gone apparently

  58. That tiresome old falsehood that only Mayo lose players and Kerry and Dublin never do is getting it’s usual airing I see.
    Kerry had Mark O’Connor, Stefan Okunbar and Devidas Uosis all playing AFL last year alone. Three of the best minor footballers they have ever produced.
    As for Dublin, they lost a prime Jack McCaffrey who was on track to become one of the best gaa players of all time. They also missed out on several good years from O’Carroll, Connolly and Mannion, and they currently have James Madden playing for Brisbane Lions who is probably dublins best young talent in the last 3 or 4 years.
    Oisin will be 23 next year and it’s not a certainty at all that he will adapt to AFL, it’s a long road for him and he’s joining a very strong team that will be tough to break into. He could well end up competing with O’Connor for a place on the team. Very best of luck to him though.

  59. Three of the best minors they ever produced , quite the exaggeration there , Stefan okunbar hardly featured this year as he’s back a while now . All the Dublin players you mention have won multiple all Irelands bar madden whom I personally never heard of if I’m honest . There’s nothing false about having an opinion that Oisin Mullen was crucial absolutely crucial to Mayo , we will not find a suitable replacement for the foreseeable , I think it was seamus o Shea said the first night Oisin came over to train “who the fuck is this freak “ or something to that effect .

    It’s that level of elite , it’s such a blow to Mayo GAA .

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