Three changes in team for Sunday

Our team to play Roscommon in Sunday’s Connacht football championship semi-final at Hyde Park (throw-in 2pm) was named a short while ago. Here it is:

Mayo (Connacht SFC v Roscommon, 8/6/2014): Robbie Hennelly (Breaffy); Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), Ger Cafferkey (Ballina Stephenites), Keith Higgins (Ballyhaunis); Lee Keegan (Westport), Colm Boyle (Davitts), Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe); Aidan O’Shea (Breaffy), Seamus O’Shea (Breaffy); Diarmuid O’Connor (Ballintubber), Conor O’Shea (Breaffy), Jason Doherty (Burrishoole); Kevin McLoughlin (Knockmore), Alan Freeman (Aghamore), Cillian O’Connor (Ballintubber).

I think it’s fair to say that not a lot of us would have seen a line-up like this one coming. The backline – in which the sole change from New York is Ger Cafferkey’s return at the expense of Kevin Keane – is as expected and, with the enforced absence of the unfortunate Jason Gibbons, an AOS/SOS midfield was also a racing certainty.

It’s the selection in the forwards that will surely cause most debate, with Diarmuid O’Connor being handed a second championship start at 10 and Conor O’Shea set to make his full championship debut in the pivotal centre-forward position. With Jason Doherty, Kevin McLoughlin and Cillian O’Connor all lining out in the same positions as they did in Gaelic Park, the final slot in the forwards goes to Alan Freeman.

This, of course, means that there’s no room for team captain Andy Moran, nor (for only the second time ever in a championship game under James Horan – the first being last month’s match in New York) is there a place for Alan Dillon. Mikey Sweeney also has to be content with a place on the bench, as does Richie Feeney and, one assumes, Barry Moran and Chris Barrett, not to mention the likes of Kevin Keane, Brendan Harrison, Enda Varley and Darren Coen. Come to think of it, that’s a fairly impressive list of replacements.

In total, then, the team named for Sunday shows three changes from the one that lined out in Gaelic Park, with Ger Cafferkey, Conor O’Shea and Alan Freeman coming in for Kevin Keane, Jason Gibbons and Andy Moran. Compared to the team that started against the Rossies in the corresponding championship fixture last summer, there are ten survivors (which, by coincidence, is the same for them, as was discussed earlier). Out from then go David Clarke, Richie Feeney, Cathal Carolan, Enda Varley and Alan Dillon, while in come Robbie Hennelly, Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor O’Shea, Jason Doherty and Cillian O’Connor.


90 thoughts on “Three changes in team for Sunday

  1. I can’t get my head around naming such an inexperienced half forward line. We have plenty experience on the bench. Lets hope we are not forced into making changes after 20 minutes again!

  2. I trust in Horan and that he knows his men better than most. I was fretting last year when he named his team versus Galway as to where the scores were going to come from and we saw what happened that day.
    However, that set of forwards astounds me. No Andy? And Conor O’Shea, who I don’t even recall seeing in the league? Alongside him a minor from last year who, good footballer that he undoubtedly is, couldn’t have the same level of conditioning as lads who have been at it for years? And the eminently inconsistent Doherty as the other man?
    I will be surprised if this is the team that actually starts at two o’clock on Sunday. Seeing the form an injured Richie was in in the club championship, those boys would really want to be flying in training. As I said, James Horan and Donie know these boys better than most so I’ll trust in their judgement whilst scratching my head!!

  3. It’ll be interesting to see if that will be the team that starts, I remember that Darren Coen and Kevin Keane were named in the team to play Galway last year but were replaced by Alan Dillon and Tom Cunniffe before the throw-in.

  4. It’s certainly an unusual one but it adds a serious element of excitement to Sunday. I was one of those who was questioning Horan’s apparent loyalty to the tried and tested, so I am delighted to be proved wrong and to see such a surprising line-up. It’s pretty clear that these guys haven’t been picked on reputation – they have been selected because they are showing well in training – simple as that. And that’s encouraging.

    Diarmuid O’Connor for me was one of the highlights of the NY game and he proved that day he is well able to hold his own among the big boys. He’s also pretty damn smart. Conor O’Shea I’m less convinced by, because he’s a relatively unknown quantity on this stage, but where’s the harm in starting him?

    My only real reservation looking at this (apart from the glaringly obvious omission of Mikie Sweeney!) is Kevin Mc at no. 13; however I have a feeling we may see a slightly different shape to this team when it takes the field. Doc has been a bit inconsistent too, but look at this chance he has been handed. If he is going to make an impact, Sunday is the time to go it.

    We are playing the Rossies – we hammered them last year, and in my mind we are a better outfit than we were this time last year, so there is no better time to get these guys out and get them some proper game time. If we have to make changes after 20 minutes, so what? If the manager recognises that and makes the changes, then all the better. Plus we have a hugely experienced bench to draw from. I can’t see many negatives here if I’m honest.

  5. Really excited now, one thing we learned from last year is that our forwards were simply not good enough,,,, bring on the rossies

  6. Have to take these teams named early in the week with a pinch of salt. Remember last year Dillion late change vs Galway? i hear Conor O’Shea really stood out in the A vs B games and is probably worth given a run out against a fairly patched up Rossies half back line.

  7. Seemingly conor was flying at the training camp last weekend so greatpto see horan selecting on form and not loyalty. Still not sure diarmuid has the strength needed yet but what better coach than his big bro!! Can’t wait for Sunday!!

  8. (Copy of post on previous thread)
    I’m happy enough with this selection, now is the time to blood a few in the championship. As mentioned above I can see a few positional switches and some game time for veterans, am one of those that would have liked to see Sweeney line out but am glad that Doc is in, he has workrate ,passion and can put it over or under when the chance presents itself.
    Ross at the Hyde is never easy but I bet those young guns are well primed and itching to go.
    If we have ambition of making it a long summer we need a full squad with championship experience to get us there.
    I’d expect it to be tight for the first quarter with the Rossies pushing as hard as they can but I feel with our lads greater experience at the higher level, we will take control and should finish 6+.
    That said, it would be no harm for our mettle to be tested with a tight final 10 mins and us to come out on top……….something like that (though not good for the fingernails) would put to bed any hangovers of the Dub, Derry, NL performances.
    We need to be able to finish out tight games.
    MaighEo Abú

  9. No harm to shake up the forward lines from last year- got to find improvement there to bring home Sam- give youth a chance

  10. Is there something happening on Sunday ???

    Just kidding, nothing beats being there

  11. Good to see new faces on the team,gives it a fresh look.Truth be told we have been having problems in the half forward line for a long time. I like many others would have Kevin Mc at no.10 .And what has happened to Adam Gallagher our best half forward in the first two league games?
    I think Doherty deserves a run out I think himself and Freeman work for each other very well no selfishness in their play . Mad to get going now .COME ON MAYO!

  12. I go to alot of games in county and was in ny and a few things stun me. Jh seems to have alot of fate/allegiance in o sheas. I thought aos has had a terrible league and was by no means spectacular in ny but yet horan does not take him off. And from appearances with breaffy I dont know has conor enough experience in/for mayo jersey. He has been injured for long spells too.
    Thats 4 breaffy men. I thought the 2 os in midfield were beaten comprehensively in co final. Mitchels are connacht and county champions and all ireland finalists but only one in team. Lads what is going on? Other counties bring in more from dominant club (ie crossmaglen, naomh gall in armagh, and years ago corofin in galway and nemo in cork) and jh doesnt seem to be doing this especially after 1st round to tubber which seemed to determine cbars position. What about moran, feeney, young durcan and possibly eoghan reilly and neil lydon on panel but im hoping moran and feeney can prove themselves. ..great players. Anyway we have to have fate in 15 but as I said before on here. Are we utilising best players? We lost derry game and all ireland to poor line management so I hope to god we do well this year as i am of the opinion it will be jhs last year

  13. While there may be a change or two when the team takes the field on Sunday I would be very happy with this lineup. James and the selectors have the best view of form and all those selected are capable of doing the job. Diarmuid O’Connor earned his place with his form in NY. I have no fears for Conor O’Shea. He was the outstanding player on our U21 team this year and I could not understand why he was left in the corner when we were struggling at midfield. By the time he was brought out the game was gone. When was the last time we had three brothers starting in the championship?
    The defence is as solid as we can get while with Gibbons sidelined midfield picks itself. And we have some heavy weapons in reserve.
    The only question is do the team still have the hunger. I believe they do but if it is in any way diminished the fall can be fast and severe.

  14. Surprised but happy with selection as it shows a willingness to change things or freshen things up as people have been saying. Let the form players loose!

    I’m delighted to see a big man at CF, I hope he has the football brain to make it his own. It’s been a persistent problem position for us so i hope he can grab that jersey. The spine of the team is looking stronger and the three O’Sheas pack a lot of physicality.

    And why not throw a few young lads in there, we need change and we have plenty of experience on the bench if needed.

    That should be a hungry forward line, 2 newcomers, Doc who missed the championship last year, Cillian who missed a good part of last year, Freeman with a point to prove after last year’s AIF and McLoughlin who was out of sorts last year.

    Roll on Sunday, if we have the hunger, we’ll prevail.

  15. Anne Marie,
    Thanks for putting that clip of ’89 Connacht Championship on twitter. Brought back old and happy memories although I missed those games because of club involvement in another county

  16. I’m happy enough with that team, yes surprised to see the half forward line, but I think Horan is taking a leaf out of the Jim Gavin play book and is picking on form, and building a championship team of ~20, not 15.
    Having said that, I’m surprised to see Doc starting….ahead of Andy or Mickey. Honestly I’d love to see Sweeney get the opportunity!
    However we may see a few changes I suspect before throw in. Really looking forward to it now.

  17. Glad to see Keith back again at no 4 and the switch between Boyle and Vaughan is once again a smart tweak to the half back line IMO as Boyler can be better trusted to hold the centre. Like everyone else on here I’m quite surprised with our half forward line and would not have seen the three named as our first choice players for these positions, however, if they have been selected on recent form in training then good luck to them – O’Connor and O’Shea will certainly get to experience the white heat of championship battle if they do in fact start as opposed to being brought on at the end when a game has been won. I suppose it also leaves us with a very strong bench to choose from should the going get tough. Neither player stood out during their recent club games….so lets see what they can do in the county colours against tough opposition next Sunday.

  18. Not too surprised O’Connor is getting another run but O’Shea starting on the 40 has come a little out of the blue. As many have already pointed out, this may change before the throw in on Sunday.

    It might be no harm to shake things up though. Give youth a chance and if required we have some serious experience to call upon in Dillon and Moran. I think this game was always going to be a little early for Dilon after a long lay off.

  19. I have no complaints with this team , if these are the lads showing well at training then thats the managers call. also it means we have lads on the bench who will be coming on with points to prove , no bad thing at all.

    I wouldnt rule out Horan changing it a bit on game day however , he has pulled that stunt twice before in the championship i think.

  20. Delighted with the team, a bit fresher looking. People have been giving out, us using the same forawrds all the time so here we go. I still think we might see Kevin Mc drop back to the half forward line, at the expense of Doherty who may go the opposite direction.

  21. We need to start thinking of the Mayo team in terms of the 20 players that will take to the field on any given Sunday as opposed to the starting 15. If we want to be considered in the same breath as other likely all-ireland contenders then we must have a panel capable of deploying en route to Croke Park. Impacting on the game throughout the course of the 73 minutes is probably the most vital ingredient to winning big games, and for Sunday the prospect of springing Andy, Mikey and Richie certainly ticks that box and whets the appetite. I too have been a little apprehensive as to the management’s ability to move to the ‘Jim Gavin’ model, but I think Sunday could be the start of the 20 man team and heralds James ability to refresh his thinking and develop changes to their game necessary for the journey ahead.
    As to that man Tom who accurately predicted the team selection yesterday, any chance you might throw up the lotto number selection for Saturday..!!!!!

  22. Hopefully this will be the team.

    This nonsense of changing the team before throw in is insulting. What’s the betting Alan or Andy (or both) starting in place of Diarmuid O’C or C O’Shea??

    Will be interesting to see the subs list and will there be a G Duffy included……….

  23. Very curious team selection. So little experience in the 1/2 fw line and no idea what game plan we will play to. For instance who is going to deliver ball into the FF line? No point in having a top class FF line if they don’t get ball fast enough or else have to come too deep all the time.

    Also I don’t buy into this idea of going like Jim Gavin and not starting his top 15. Gavin will undoubtedly start (what he thinks is) his top 15 each time barring injuries. Also what happens for instance if we are chasing the game ? Do we then introduce the ‘old reliables’ that are expected to save the day ? That’s a big gamble though and didn’t work for us against Derry.

    Personally I would expect changes before Sunday. Either that or this team is unbelievably confident.

  24. Good man JH. That’ll put the cat among the pigeons in Roscommon!

    Like others, I don’t see this being the line-up come 2 p.m. Sunday. But I do think that Diarmuid O’Connor will hold his place. Conor and Jason – not so sure. It’s hard to believe that none of Kevin Mc, Andy Moran or Cillian O’Connor will feature in the HF line, for example.

    I WOULD be delighted if this was the team that started, as it would indicate that JH wasn’t just ‘talking the talk’ last December about picking teams on form rather than reputation in 2014. Jack O’Connor in Kerry was a great believer on picking the boys who were doing it in training, not the ‘big names’. It lost him a few friends but it gained Kerry football a lot of success.

    Should this selection start, it would give a much needed shock to our ‘established’ forwards and force them to start doing much better in training and in matches. There’s nothing wrong with our selection from 1 to 9 (though Gibbons’ form would merit a start if he were fit) – but from 10 to 15 we need more than we got in 2013 if we’re to reach our paradise.

  25. JPM – our brilliant half backs, Aidan & Seamus, Conor O’Shea, Doherty and D O’Connor will all deliver ball into the full-forward line. Or McLoughlin will if he goes out the field and Doc goes into the corner.

    Also, Horan, Gavin, and who ever else will always start what they think is the best team. They pick the form players, always. Thankfully for both Dublin and Mayo, they have subs that would start for nearly every other county in Ireland. That’s how strong their panels are.

  26. Tubberman – the same goes for jumping the gun on announcing the list of subs as for the team itself. If it’s not published through official channels then I don’t want to see this kind of info being posted here, end of.

  27. Why not give mickey Sweeney a chance on his day he’s the best forward we have.

  28. Congrats to Conor and Diarmuid. I am delighted with this selection. For too long these two boys have lived in the shadow of their more successful brothers. This a great chance for them. The Hyde can be a tough spot at the best of times, but this where Cillian grew a pair in 2011 IMO. Conor has been a star on the half forward line for his club for a long time, when he was not injured. He was the missing link in last years County final where he was a sub. This is also a great chance for Jason. I saw him recently playing for his club, and he was flying then. I believe we failed in the half forward line in 2012 and 2013 AI finals. I understand a lot of followers of this site do not like to see change. Change is part of what is needed in order to progress from here whether we like it or not. We need to bulk up a bit up front. We need to change via evolution not revolution as the saying goes. Above all we need to stop making the same mistakes over and over and expecting a different result. I am delighted to see we have a management team in place that realise this. Are we moving in the right direction. I believe we are. Time now to let Roscommon worry about Mayo

  29. Have to say I would be very sceptical of what’s in the Irish Times relating to the panel. Times not known for getting inside story in cases like this. They also maintain that Barry Moran’s injury has cleared up completely, which sounds very dubious. Print version was speculating about the team, and online version is not much more forthcoming. Does JH know at this stage himself, who his 26 are?

    Furthermore, given that bloggers are forecasting, rightly in my opinion, about whether the named team will be the one that starts, I think we can take it all with a pinch of salt, from 10 onwards anyway

  30. I have mixed feelings about our selection assuming this will be the team that actually starts. On the one hand I am delighted to see new talent coming through in the forwards. On the other hand I feel a bit sorry for the likes of Richie Feeney and Andy Moran. It must be hard for Richie to keep going at this stage.

  31. And talking of speculation, Mike Finnerty in the Mayo News (dateline this morning 11:15) is forecasting that Barrett and Andy will be on the bench – which sounds much more plausible.

    He also states that Keegan will captain the side, which does suggest that Andy at least won’t start. Which is interesting given that Sean Rice was raving (well very positive) about him in the club match two weeks ago.

    Link is here:

  32. Interesting (if this is the team that starts) that none of our five thirty somethings are picked to play. It is a very young team for a squad that is considered to have a lot of miles on the clock – I’d say the average age of that 15 is below 25.

    Perhaps JH thinks we can keep a lot of experience on the bench this year to use in the second half when teams are tiring. Andy, Alan, Richie and potentially Gavin Duffy would be seriously strong bench options to be able to bring on in Croke Park later in the year.

  33. 2014 could be the year of the O’Sheas!


    Kickouts – Conor on top of that midfield diamond will suit Hennelly who drives almost all his kickouts down the centre but who will win the dirty ball? No natural half-forwards there. Would not be surprised to see McLoughlin coming out to midfield for kickouts which brings us to…

    Full Forward Line – McLoughlin will float about the 40 but where will Cillian play, off Freeman where he can capitalise on goal-scoring chances or in a free role where he can make space for the midfielders?

    Diarmuid O’Connor could be bullied by a strong midfield but he’s such a shrewd operator on the ball – he finds space so easily.

    Horan’s game-plan – bulldoze our way through the middle and rack up the points!

  34. mayo news podcast is up as well folks , was a very good discussion in my opinion, fallout from new york , gavin duffy, roscommon past v present etc etc

  35. Catcool, your right there about the Times. Look no further than the sub-heading under the Headline – ‘James Horan gives championship debut to Conor O’Shea’.
    When we all know he made his Championship debut last month v New York, when he replaced Andy in the 54th minute.
    Is it just Gavin Duffy that they say isn’t in the match day panel (even that could be guesswork?) or does the print version actually name the subs?

  36. Not at all Cloud9. Barry Moran mentioned as set to return around the middle. Written before the team was announced in any case.

    On Conor O’Shea, they all go in for this lark – you come on as a sub in a first game for your county but you only make your debut when you start. Same for the league. A new player plays all the league games that God sends, but start him for the championship and statisticians come out of the woodwork.

  37. Anyone know if Dillon has a full 70 in him? I have a feeling there might be a change or two before 2 o clock on Sunday. Either way we are still a stronger team as the Rossies . Id say the Rossies are hoping for a good run in the qualifiers . Anyway roll on sunday

  38. John Evans is reverse psychology-ing the shit out of it in that Irish Times article. All the more reason to be on our guard.

  39. I thought that alright Anne-Marie. Talk about ‘an béal bocht’. You can take the man out of Kerry…

  40. Course Evans was going to talk like that, what other way could he? Im delighted with that team, we dont need to be on our guard, we just need to put in the performance we all know we are capable off, thats what jh comes out with before games-performance, performance,performance!! im not worried wat the rossies do once we play to 85% of our ability. JH is doin his best to ensure that we stay at the top table for many more years with a youthful selection like that. Fair play to him, hes probably goin after this year regardless so it would have been easy to play the safe “reliable” options from the start, but he’s giving youth a chance, and blooding them for bigger days ahead. Get our performance right on the day and i see a 7-9 point win. Keep the faith.

  41. I think there’s no question Kevin McLoughlin will drift out around the middle to pick up ball and distribute it to runners coming from deep.

    There’s definitely merit in leaving Freeman and O’Connor isolated inside as both are capable of breaking free for goals.

  42. Anyone listen to the Second Captains podcast?

    Sherlock and Curran really laying into JH in terms of his tactical awareness and performance to date.

  43. Expected a few changes,and got them, positionly cant see any merit in leaving Kevin McLoughlin in the FF line. McLoughlin has been Mayo’s best link man for years, with an engine that just keeps going. i’d like see him given a free role somewhere around the middle with Jason Doherty sniping into the danger area, getting on the end of things. after the other Jason (Gibbons) he has to be the most improved player in the Mayo set up this year, its time for a big one from the Burrishule man in Connaught. Hope we have Gibbons back fully fit for the Connaught Final (assuming we get to it) But further down the line Croke Park is where we need Jason Gibbons, his atlethisism pace and shooting is the best of any of our potentail midfielders, plus his fielding ability is on a par with the O,Shes, B Moran or T Parson. Anyhow I still expect one or two changes to our starting line up come 2pm on sunday, Cant Wait good luck to all involved!

  44. Very dubious about that Times report as well, the quotes they are using from Horan and Evans to justify it are days old, like on Monday or Tuesday or something. Match programme for me, I think.

  45. @ Rock , yeah I listened to Cake and Sherlock giving it to Horan alright. I think they went a bit too negative but at least Sherlock did have a bit more logic to his criticisms than Cake as he sited the lessons not learnt from the Dublin game to the Derry game which I am not sure there is a direct line you can draw there but I can see his point.

    Also in fairness to Curran he did say at the outset of the year that he thought Horan was staying on a year too long and that McStay should have been given a hot at getting us over the line so it is not as if he is just going off on one for the sake of it in the run up to the game.

  46. @Rock… I heard it and if I could have put my hands through the radio to throttle Curran I would have!! The cheek of that crazy fucker!!!

  47. Andy not starting but his attitude will be top class and he will be raring to go when he comes on. Looking forward to seeing DOC and COS in action. Kevin Mc will be causing them bother everywhere (my tip for MOTM) and one of Freezer and Cillian will grab a goal. Mayo by 4-6. Good luck lads! Mayo forever.

  48. Adam Gallagher was named among the subs for the game against New York but was replaced by Alan Dillon, who came on in the second-half of the game, so you just never know until the game is about to start, who is in or out of the match day squad. One thing that I would have a bit of a worry about is that James Horan still does not seem to trust having more natural scorers in the team i.e. Mickey Sweeney and Adam Gallagher seemed to fit the bill this year but they didn’t get the start. It was like in the past Enda Varley was picked before Conor Mortimer and Evan Regan was let go from the panel last year. It seems that he prefers the hard workers rather than the flash players. Does he get the balance right up-front, i.e. every team needs a couple of flair players, only time will tell if he gets it right this year. Nobody can argue with his record in Connacht, Mayo have not conceded a goal since the 2011 semi-final against Galway in the first-half of that game. Hopefully that record will continue on Sunday. Do we have the players, in the team, who will get the scores from play when needed most, as James did himself when playing. He scored 10 points from play in three All-Ireland final appearances (against Meath twice in 1996 and he came on a sub against Kerry in 1997).

  49. Unlike most here Im not too thrilled with team especially half forward line. Throwing in two young lads on the same line in the Hyde is a big ask. Having said that I wouldn’t be surprised if a few changes were made by 2 o clock Sunday. Anyway I trust Horan. He oversees the training and he knows who s doing well. At least those people who were accusing him of selections based on personalities and reputation rather than current form should be happy. I will be happy so long as we win on Sunday regardless of who starts or comes on. Up Mayo

  50. I actually dont have huge faith in Horan.I hope I am wrong.I dont think that Conor O Shea or D.O Connor are ready.I think R.Feeney is hard done by .J.Doherty would not make my 15.
    Sorry to be so obvious but that is the reality.I have no time at all for blind unquestioning faith.

  51. I told ye that Diarmuid O’Connor impressed in New York!
    Horan is obviously going for a tall half forward line but I have to say it is time Doc starts putting some consistently solid performances together as he can count himself very lucky to get the nod as he was anonymous against New York. Moran and Dillion rightly left out as Moran has not impressed and doesn’t score enough and Dillion must wait his turn.
    Found a spot to see the game, as I’m on holidays with the squealers, so am looking forward to it.
    Make no mistake, if we are not primed and focused right from the start we could find ourselves in trouble. I don’t expect that though and see us winning by 5.
    Hon Mayo.
    P.S. the flag is flying in Spain!!

  52. I’m following this from a few thousand miles away but will be back for Sunday. We want JH to be brave but unsure when he is? We want innovation but when he does something unexpected, we get nervous.
    Let’s face it. He sees the lads and their form more than any of us. He trusts them, so maybe we should too. And in any case, he now has one hell of a bench from which he can spring six more on Sunday.
    Bring on Sunday. And in the meantime, 26° in Helsinki is seriously good (even if the beer is way too expensive! )
    Keep the Faith!

  53. Take your point Hopesprings and yours too Pebbles.

    But aren’t we missing the point by over concentrating on the first 15. What we should be learning from last year is that the five who come on are equally important; and it’s equally important that they get the game time.

    Won’t look beyond Sunday, but I want to see Richie, Dillo, Andy, Chris and possibly Drake all getting game time, winning or losing.

    Also, can see the point of leaving Regan out if you are keeping Varley, Mikey S, and Mickey C around. There are only so many small players you can use.

  54. Any one hear shane curran s assessment of James horan on second captains webcast ,I thought it was right on.

  55. It has took me since September to even comment on mayo but the wound has half healed so this is my take on sunday .. I have seen most of the league and the training exercise over here in NY but I’m very happy with James selection listen everybody over here thinks that roscommon will get a hammered , I for one think this game will be very close maybe a point or two will decide it .. Evans is playing down his team so that no added pressure will be pressed on his boys .believe me this game will tell us a lot about burnout and heartache

  56. Yes NYC and others, the fatigue factor is a possibility in every game now. Speaking of which reminds me that our midfield cover is a worry. AOS after 60 mins may need replacing. Conor perhaps? But he may be tiring too, or have been replaced. We could be into Donegal territory.

  57. Am I reading this right? Cake thinks that the best, most successful manager we’ve had in nearly 70 years should step aside after getting within a kick of a ball of All Ireland success to give his buddy Kevin McStay a shot? Is he for real?

    Do people still not understand what Horan has built in his 3 years? Do people still not understand that we have arguably the second best football team on this island for the last 2+ plus years? And that before he arrived we were way down the ladder, not even making the last 16/18 in Ireland? Do people seriously forget that?

  58. Well fucking said Mayo Mark!!!! Lots of people in this County have very short memories.

  59. well Mark i dont know about you but personally i cannot wait for the day Kevin takes over bringing his big folder chock full of insight and papers falling out of it and his assistant shane curran with him , i just cant wait .. what’s that ? Nurse ! Nurse ! No please no , not the big needle nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…………………..

  60. It’s always the case that the winner can do no wrong and the loser no right. Jim Gavin right now is the second coming of Jesus(or the third if you take Jim McGuinness into account), but if he loses this year people will look at his performance more critically, the same as with McGuinness after last year. Until Horan gets the All Ireland medal in his pocket there will always be a question mark over him, whether we like it or not, and he will always be a target of criticism for those on the ditch.

    There is only one cure for this and hopefully Horan will get his prescription in September.

  61. I listened to the Second Captains podcast which in fairness is usually pretty good listening. Sherlock, who I’ve never heard before on it, was fine. Seems to know his football and any criticisms he had of Mayo were fair enough.

    Curran on the other hand, spoke just like he played – like a crazy man. Someone a few sandwiches short of a full picnic. I’m all for criticism when it’s warranted but the stuff he was talking about Mayo was bordering on pure bias. Horan for me is equally a good manager as Gavin but last September’s final was Dublin’s day. Has Horan made mistakes, absolutely, but is he the best manager this county has had in 63 years, as Mark says, too right he is. Second Captains need to leave the serious analysis to the adults and leave Curran to the funny stuff.

  62. MayoMark Well said, that needed saying. Short memory coupled with a basic lack of knowledge is a dangerous combination. The day when we look to the Curran Cake for advise about our football will be a sad day indeed. When Kevin got the Mayo job last time around he hiked off to the middle east on a tour while the team he managed liked out in a Connacht Final in Castlebar. Short memory indeed.

  63. They say ‘history is written by the winners’, and it must be as the myth has grown that Dublin dominated that AIF and should have won by 8-9. Mayo controlled the first half and should have been 5-6 ahead. It was not Horan’s fault that we did not convert the chances we had and conceded a horrible goal.

    Mistakes were made, no doubt. We didn’t respond the Dub’s kickout strategy in the 2nd half and I still think Higgins should have stayed in the forwards (although many disagree, I know). It’s undeniable though that Dublin had the best forwards and converted more of the chance they made.)

    Gavin has, by far, the best forwards in Ireland and that is a luxury that can hide many tactical failings. For me, Gavin’s achievement last year does not compare with McGuinness’ s achievement with Donegal. McG took a team from nowhere to an AI in 2 years, with a very shallow panel and a real tactical innovation (albeit not very nice to view)

    I still have faith in JH – But I agree with Jayo on one point, his season will be judged on the last 20 mins in an AIF (if we reach it) Unfairly or not, that is the expectation level. My own tuppence worth is that we wont win an AI with the FF line selected for Sun. I think, come August, both Sweeney and Conor O’Shea could be starting there.

  64. Tough match for Horan to prepare for I would say. Mayo are expected to have a comfortable win over Roscommon and move serenely on to a Connaught final, should that happen then all is well with the world. On the other hand sport has a way of throwing up funny results when least expected – can this happen on Sunday? sure it can, and Horan knows that too.

    If as some of the comments above would suggest, this might not be our best starting 15, well that could very well be what James is thinking also and should things not be working out as planned he will know he has a very strong subs bench to work from and he may need it !

  65. I don’t think people are dismissing what JH has done. The facts are we came up short in two all irelands in a row where we seem to lack tactical nous to make changes or adapt. That is what people are concerned with. As Jason Sherlock said, JH and Mayo will be judged in the final 20 of an All Ire Final. Do we shit ourselves when back to the wall (which I think we did last year) or do we adapt and drive it home? Hopefully this year we can get that chance.

  66. No denying that James Horan has done very well. Better than any previous manager going back to when we won our last All Ireland. But there are questions.

    One is can he get these lads to perform again as they did for the majority of last year given all the heartache etc after losing successive finals?
    Another is can he get any more (beyond question 1) out of this panel rather than what they has already offered, as the national consensus (right or wrong) is that Dublin have improved again since last years championship? On the one hand the jury is still out based on our League performances simply because of what happened against Dublin and Derry. And on the other is a sort of curious feeling of anger towards the nation that we not to be messed with and simply dismissed.

    According to Hoganstand calculations we are second best team in the country. We were third and have suddenly been bumped up to second. And all of the country’s GAA experts will be keenly watching this game on Sunday to gauge as a yardstick where we’re at.

    Personally I feel the reason for this is that (although they would like to) they are afraid to dismiss us so easily. And that suits me fine. Hopefully it will suit the team as well. After all it’s really up to them to stand up on Sunday and show just how close to the top they really are.

  67. It will be the sad day when James Horan leaves regardless of whether he leaves an all ireland champion or not , if he hasnt brought us to paradise he has certainly brought us to the pearly gates. when he is gone we might end up with a coach who wont know the right answers for st. peter and we could be cast out once again. Huge game sunday, lets enjoy the Horan era folks.

  68. The local Galway papers have reported that Gavin Duffy will be playing a part in the club championship for salthill over the weekend…

    I’m very surprised by the selection and Ive a feeling there will be changes before the start by both teams…. This year it has to be remembered that the rossies play 13 men behind the ball. They leave Kilbride and another forward up front. Once the ball is kicked into them 5/6 players attack at will in support and provide an option. Therefore our midfield and half forward line will have to be clued in as to counter acting their runners….

    I think this will be a tough, low scoring and tense game. I expect us to win by at least 3 or 4 points but it’s going to be a battle and that’s what we need. We have a good bench but so have they with all their U21s… Looking forward to it. Up Mayo.

  69. Personally I think the Roscommon tactics for Sunday will result in them playing fifteen men in front of the ball!!!…”let them eat cake!”

  70. Agree with Mayo Mark and Roger Milla. We have had 3 very exciting and enjoyable years following this group. Lets hope the fourth year is even better.

  71. You’d reckon as Mayo manger James Horan has probably got about 95% of things right during championship games but you’d think that to win an All-Ireland title you probably need to get about 99% of things right. Can we improve that extra few percent this year? An All-Ireland winning manager can probably only afford to make one or two mistakes in a whole season. One thing that I think he deals with really well is when our most important players have got injured. When Andy Moran got injured in 2012, he did not dwell on it or ever try to use it as an excuse for losing the final. Last year when Cillian O’Connor got injured again he just got on with the job and tried to remain positive at all times. A lot was made of Alan Freeman been taken off in last year’s final but the real killer was that Michael Conroy made no impact. While from Dublin’s point of view when Eoghan O’Gara came on for the injured Paul Mannion, he made an instant impact, he scored two points in total. These are the small margins that these games are won by. If Conroy had scored two points and O’Gara had not scored, instead of the other way around, would Mayo have won last year’s final? These are the high standards that the Mayo players and management have now set for themselves.

  72. Roger/all, I agree we should all enjoy the JH era and most are.
    But you and others shouldn’t be so dismissive of Kevin mcstay. He was a superbly skilled footballer in his time, a great servant to mayo football both on the field and on the sideline coaching, plus his background is the army, so there’s a good reason he analyzes everything. That’s not a reason in itself to be critical of him. He’s widely viewed as an intelligent, thoughtful and fair football analyst and I think it’s not a stretch to say that if JH were to leave or be relieved by the CB, McStay would be the leading contender to replace him. And I for one would be ok with that.
    Having said that, having failed twice, until he wins the AI JH is fair game IMO. In the meantime we should enjoy the build up to September 🙂

  73. Some say banana skin some say a comfortable win I say just win .. Can’t wait for sunday wish I was there and hope all that travels far and wide get home safe

  74. Delighted Horan has made changes in half-forwards. Hope they work well on Sunday. The forwards definitely needed revamping after last years AIF. Here’s hoping for a tough, close game with good quality football and Mayo needing to dig deep

  75. Whatever about McStay’s expertise, this crap about marquee forwards is beginning to annoy me, and he has been at the forefront of it.

    Was Andy Moran not an All Star, Alan Dillon, Conor Mortimer, Ciaran Mac? James Horan?? Was Cillian not YPOTY twice in a row and coulda/shoulda been thrice in a row? Did Cillian not score successive hat tricks in championship matches in province and HQ?

    Who would disagree about Kevin Mac deserving one – in 2012 at least.

    And even our so called bit players can score – Conroy and Varley in particular – look what they did to bring us back into in against Donegal in 2012.

    That’s not nuthin.

    And who wants one? Joe Canning, Lar Corbett, Shane Dooley all have been easy fodder for tough defenders when the going gets tough.

  76. As far as I can see jh has been very fair to all footballers in mayo, so I think we can trust him to play his best team, they may or may not be good enough to win an all ireland but they have given everything for the last few years so enjoy them we will miss them soon enough good luck to them on sunday

  77. HopeSpringsEternal – that’s very true, O’Gara is a serious footballer. Conroy disappointed but how often had himself and Andy played together prior to the AIF? At least our midfield knew they could lob it into Freeman when he was on the pitch. If himself and Cillian strike up a partnership then we could be onto something. The rest of the pieces will slot into place.

    McStay really disappoints me with his thing about marquee forwards. Honestly, you’re probably not gonna be considered one untill you’ve got that celtic cross in your pocket. A settled forward line without the injury problems is what we should look for.

  78. If by marquee forward we mean a guy who wins a lot of ball and scores heavily from play then they are a very valuable (and rare commodity). They excite the crowd and scare the sh*t out of defenders who can often panic and do stupid things that they wouldn’t normally do. They give confidence to those around them who raise their own game a lot. If you happen to posses one of these in your team it is a mighty plus and you are very lucky. Whether or not you actually can win an AI without one is another story. I reckon you can but it involves developing a defensive system that frustrates even the most talented marquee forward. Puke football at it’s very best! Whatever it takes is what I say.

  79. MayoMark says:
    June 6, 2014 at 8:53 am
    Am I reading this right? Cake thinks that the best, most successful manager we’ve had in nearly 70 years should step aside after getting within a kick of a ball of All Ireland success to give his buddy Kevin McStay a shot? Is he for real?
    Do people still not understand what Horan has built in his 3 years? Do people still not understand that we have arguably the second best football team on this island for the last 2+ plus years? And that before he arrived we were way down the ladder, not even making the last 16/18 in Ireland? Do people seriously forget that?


    Unfortunately some won’t realize how good of manager James Horan is until he’s gone.

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