Those panel cuts

I’ve been away over the last few days and so haven’t been able to post anything about the panel cull that took place on Tuesday night. There has been, I see, some debate in the comments here about who is in and who is out arising from what transpired on Tuesday night so I’ve just had a look at the media reports that have been written on the issue to see if it’s possible to provide some clarity on what’s been going on.

Mike Finnerty in the Mayo News makes clear that the decision taken on Tuesday night was one which was confined to telling a number of players that their services wouldn’t be required for the championship and that no decision was taken then to firm up a definitive panel for the summer.  The report on the RTÉ website is more specific in explaining that no decision has yet been taken about who is in the championship squad.  Quoting a report in the Irish Daily Mirror, that RTÉ piece says that James Horan said the following:

Before we play London in the championship there are six rounds of club games in a row so we’ll be looking at all those games, at guys playing well. Guys in form will be brought in, guys that aren’t doing it in training will be let go, so it’s pretty simple.

In short, then, Tuesday night would have seemed to involve telling Aidan Kilcoyne, Barry Moran, Tom Parsons, Mark Ronaldson and Brian Benson that they wouldn’t be needed for the forthcoming championship campaign.  In addition, RTÉ reckons that Trevor Mortimer (who hasn’t been involved with the panel since the Longford débâcle last June) has also been told that he’s not going to be in the panel for the summer.

Further speculation on who else might not feature is, I guess, a bit pointless at this stage.  As James Horan says, there’s a raft of county league matches to be played before the London game at the end of next month, giving players the chance to (a) impress or (b) get injured.  There’s also the question of what happens when those suffering long-term injuries – in particular Pat Harte and Conor Mortimer – declare themselves fully fit again but I guess this is something that can be considered further down the road.

As regards the quintet (or is it a sextet?) who were told on Tuesday night that they’re not on the panel for the summer, I can’t say that the decision to omit any of them is a surprise.  If we want to bring new players through and give them a chance to shine, there have to be casualties and, after last year’s shockingly inept championship campaign, it was clear that major changes were needed. That’s not to saddle all of last year’s failings on the lads dropped earlier this week (far from it, in fact) but it just means that, under the current regime, underperformance has a consequence.  That can only be a positive thing.

I’ve always felt that under James Horan we’d get the kind of radical surgery to the squad that Johnno had always blathered on about but never had the balls to undertake properly, preferring instead as he did to bleat on in that querulous manner he had about the side forever being in transition.  Under Horan, we’re seeing transition for real and my guess is that when the team takes the field against Galway in late June (sorry, London) there’ll be, at most, seven (eight at a push) survivors from Pearse Park last June and, of that, no more than two or three will line out in the same position as they did that fateful June evening in Longford.  Now, that’s what I call a real transition.

8 thoughts on “Those panel cuts

  1. So WJ it seems that no actual panel has been announced. In effect a number of lads were let go. More may or may not be. I see somewhere speculated that James Horan made a brave call. He didn’t. He made a practical call, one as you said that should have been done under O Mahonys reign.
    Hopefully guys will now step up to the plate for every match, not like up for Cork and lie on the oars for Monaghan. We should have a base line we do not drop below. I would love to see Pat Harte back. There are a few more that could be cut from the panel in order to freshen the whole set up and give it a new sense of direction. And lets hope that in James search he finds a proper free taker not the present four even five who would find it difficult to hit a barn yard door from 30 yards.

  2. I think players need to feel that their position on the panel is in danger if they dont preform, even in training. James Horan has started a real team building job, and is bringing some excellent players through.But there should always be the option to bring players back that have picked up their form,the door should never be closed.Its all about creating a real competitive atmosphere that will bring players on, and more importantly bring that competitive edge onto the field in a Green and Red Jersey.

  3. That’s right Yew tree. Most of the lads who have been let go are still young enough to make a contribution and I hope that they were told that the door is still open for them even this summer. Kilcoyne and Moran have suffered with injuries and that seems to have affected their form but a good run with their clubs could put them back in the picture. It’s not so long ago that these two in particular were instrumental in putting the Rossies to the sword.

  4. As usual WJ a lot of sense in your post, as opposed to some characteristically Mayo over the top reaction we’ve seen before.

    Horan has done what most managers around the county do – trim it down to the lads who are performing well and let the others who aren’t go back to their clubs to, hopefully, regain a bit of confidence and form.

    Most counties don’t name official panels in the media at this remove from the Championship. I presume as well that most here will remember the furore that erupted under Johnno when he announced an official Championship panel excluding Kieran Mc around this time of the year. This kind of low-key, yet pragmatic change is whats needed in Mayo.

  5. I believe that some players in particular need to introduce a bit of aggression into their game to match the football skills they have. Mayo have for too long been described as “nice footballers”. From what I have seen to date, six of the NFL games, the players introduced by James Horan seem to have more of it than those in O’Mahony’s panel. Most of all I believe we need a convincing full back, good in the air and with pace. I do not get to see Mayo club football so I do not know if there anyone out there? Alan Feeney seems the best so far. I believe that both Barry Moran and Aiden Kilcoyne have a lot to offer if they can stay injury free annd would expect to see them back in the frame if they can do so.

  6. I used to believe that a manager could coax applied aggression into players. Sadly I now believe that they cannot. Either a guy has the necessary steel. If not then they either overdo it with the result of a sending off or else they bottle out.

    Meath were the example of aggression that was harnessed and occasionally loosened as the need arose (we being amongst the recipients). To do that it takes years of working on. Eventually referees allow the Tyrone’s, Armagh’s and Meath’s to play that type of game. However when someone like us tries it referees quickly clamp down and make a name for themselves. We then pull in the horns and revert to type.

    John McEnroe the former Meath player had this to say. “Sean wanted men who cut deep, problem was that I cut too deep and was of no use to him”. Therein lies the conundrum. You need to balance the act to perfection and that takes men and time.

    Perhaps if Mayo went to break the mould for a change and stopped copying what was yesterdays stale bread and go for innovation then we might actually achieve something of note. We don’t do “heavy” well. We don’t do the “swarm” well but we might be able to play a high-line game that suits us. That is attack the ball from the deep, play ahead of your opponent and use the natural speed and football ability that is in the county. Trying to out-muscle other physically stronger counties wont bring home the bacon.

  7. When dealing with players, some do need to know that if you drop below a certain standard your in danger of being dropped. However, that doesnt work for all – some players need the arm around them and told that they willl be ok, especially younger players, some of them just wont develop if they are, or feel they are, under pressure for their positions. some will say sure if they cant handle that pressure sure they are no use, I wouldnt agree, to some of those players, playing a match isnt pressure, not knowing where they stand in the scheme of things is.

  8. I don’t think its any harm to drop seasoned players. At their club level they are the superstars and see around them lads who are dropped all the time. But it never happens to them.
    So maybe its no harm to let them appreciate what its like to be told you’re surplus to requirements this time out. If they don’t like it let them go back and work on your game and make a proper case for inclusion.

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