Treadmill

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It’s not dropping back that worries me, no, it’s the standing still that makes me nervous. Mayo are at a level comfortably ahead of most counties and on a given day equal to Dublin and Kerry. That they will remain there bar a collapse of catastrophic proportions is a given. But remaining there no longer cuts the mustard.

Kerry, Kilkenny, Dublin, Tyrone and Mayo are the brand leaders in durability and longevity for the last fifteen years. In Mayo’s case four All-Ireland senior final appearances in the last ten years with sundry runs across all the grades attest to the rude health of the players we possess.

Where we stand is alone and apart is the quest for the big one. Galway hurlers did an awful lot right in their final last Sunday, they were in live contention with five minutes to go but came up against a variable you cannot buy or teach. It’s called belief, mixed with expectation and demand. One becomes two, seven becomes eight like Eoin Larkin, nine became ten for King Henry and ten became eleven for Cody.

The single common thread between the likes of O’Dwyer, Harte, Boylan, Loughnane and Cody is also longevity. Also no-one is/was in any doubt about who is in charge. Mayo differ in that area. Since 2004 Mayo have had five managers. Mickey Moran got less than a year, O’Mahony got two years too long. It’s knowing when to hold and when to fold.

After the 1996 All-Ireland final I came up with a simple equation. The sourcing of another scoring forward and a more reliable keeper would take us to the Promised Land. We got both: Ciaran MacDonald and Peter Burke. What I never factored in were the bad injuries to Brady, Cahill, O’Neill, Sheridan and Flanagan and a loss of form to Horan and Casey. Throw in the removal to full-forward of McHale and a new midfield pairing, we went back rather than forward.

Diarmuid O’Connor was the find of the championship, young  Durcan stepped up to the mark but the impression of recycling old wine still remains. Tactically we were a mess this championship. Aidan O’Shea for a second season peaked against Donegal in the quarter-final. It’s not his fault that a coherent game plan is not settled around him. His restructuring tilted adversely Cillian O Connor’s game until they met Dublin.

It doesn’t matter who wears 3. Teams nowadays attack and defend as a unit. What does matter is the systematic leakage of goals – five against Dublin, four against Sligo/Galway. This is a recurring theme since 2011 but it has its roots as far back as the Connacht U21 semi-final on a wet Kiltoom day in 2006.  Mayo’s defence that day was O’Malley, Howley, Cafferkey, Higgins, Barrett, Cunniffe and O’Boyle.

Cathal Cregg for the first twenty minutes sliced that defence to shreds. Roscommon scored two walk-in goals, then Cregg went off injured on twenty and from that second on, Mayo were driving towards an All-Ireland title. Most of the same lads still serve, their heart and football ability is not in question but Mayo managerial nous and tactics certainly is in the dock.

Working at weekends allows me to listen to the radio. Anyone who wore a county jersey is now permitted to assail my ears. Two in particular give me a pain, one being Bernard Flynn and the other being Curran from Roscommon . But what gives me a greater pain is that there is more than a grain of truth in their analysis of Mayo.

Curran likened us to an experiment with bees trapped within a glass jar. On release they are so conditioned that they never fly above that glass ceiling even though they are in the open air.  Sitting at my desk I prayed that Mayo would release me from my urge to put some wasps into Curran’s pants but alas no. In fact his analogy, whether Mayo people like it or not, is uncannily accurate.

The county operates to a level, high, but ultimately fated to crash and burn, be that gloriously or ignobly. A crash of either type is just that, a crash. The coming weeks will allow for retrospection. Ultimately it will be rendered futile because the levers of Mayo football is concentrated with the few. Like De Valera before them when they want to know what’s best for Mayo football, they look no further than their own hearts.

The group of players have served us well. Where previous good Mayo teams were dragged down by Connacht ennui, this bunch refused to be sucked into that morass. They punched at a very high level but they hit a ceiling. Of course I have solutions that I believe could drive us that vital extra mile but I am too long round to believe that they would ever be considered.

What behoves the Mayo county board now is one single issue. The past is a foreign place, the only issue to be decided is this. What do they do next? Going on previous important calls regarding our team, my feelings are not of the fruitful variety. Change in playing personnel is a must. Why? Because this group unfortunately failed to finally deliver. They are now trapped at semi-final stage. Not all of course but a clear-out will always lead to renewal and fresh challenge.

The defining elephant in the room is, of course, the management. Offering an opinion from here is irrelevant because it won’t count. However as Brian Cody and Loughnane have shown, if you believe in the manager then you believe in the team. Going back to the bee and the glass ceiling fills me with dread. So too does running on an eternal treadmill with the end product getting more elusive each year.

198 thoughts on “Treadmill

  1. That is the harsh reality, however you look at it. Recurring themes that have not been addressed. And the question is why. An ageing, burnt-out Donegal team gave us a false sense of hope. Remember all the wides in the secon half? A polished scoreline in the end. Realisation and implementation are two vital components of any progress with Mayo, and one other factor…balls to carry this out from the management and the players. Otherwise we are stuck in semi-finalville

  2. Good article john, the same issues have cropped up as the last 4 years.
    McGuinness in times is so right it makes me unwell! Good enough but not smart enough, on or off the pitch. The one positive he has is that he feels the team is good to win one, I’m not sure about that now.
    His article just makes this year’s loss harder to get over.

  3. Great post John I want to go a bit further and thank them for their efforts and call on them to resign they have taken us as far as they can we are at a crossroads now as a team and we need a fresh voice a proven winner to lead us and a new plan I know a lot of people won’t agree with me but I am passionite about Mayo football we need a new approacoj

  4. Puckout, I agree I felt worse than ever after reading McGuiness’s article. One thing though I cannot agree with him on is the fact that if Lee scored that point, Dublin would go away.

  5. Thats a very well written piece John and sums up what a lot of our problems are.

    The feeling is that we have fell off the horse and that we want to get straight back up on the horse and go at it again, thats understandable. Talk of winning the league and of some of the elite teams been on the other side of the draw is starting to rise again but we have to look at what we are feeding and fueling the horse with or else we will fall at the final hurdle again and again. There is no doubt that we are doing a lot of things right but we also seem to end up doing the same things wrong time after time. It probably is time for everyone to take a step back and try to get to the root of our problems rather that just treating the symptoms i.e. heartbreaking defeats on the biggest days. Its almost like we just sweep these problems under the carpet and say, ah sur we lost again, there is always next year.

    We are one of the top teams but we never seem to manage to be the no. 1 team. We need to figure out in general what our style of play should be, what are our strengths and what do we do well. We need to do more of this in games. When we ran hard at both Dublin this year and Kerry last year we caused them major problems. This cannot be sustained for a full game though so we need to be adaptable in games as well, which we were to an extent this year like using Barry Moran as a sweeper against Donegal. Barry Moran as a sweeper against Dublin was not as effective though. As well as looking at the smaller picture of these big games we also need to look at the bigger picture of our underage structures, development squads, club championships etc. and figure out what changes we need to make.

    I remember back to the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final between Dublin and Kerry, in the sixty ninth minute the teams were level and Kerry missed a chance to go one point up. Dublin ended up winning that game by seven points by scoring two goals in the closing minutes. Dublin can do this to you as we found out last Sunday. The killing thing for us is that we always end up with hard luck stories like this. Kerry learned from their mistakes in 2013 and came back and won the All-Ireland in 2014. 2013 was Eamonn Fitmaurice’s first year in charge. So we need to take a long hard look at where we want to go and not just think that making a couple of small changes will get us the desired result. We need to do a root and branch assessment of where we are and where we want to get to. We are on the right road but we need to make sure that we take the right turn on the way to success in the very near future.

  6. One problem I see for our young players is that Mayo club football is a bit suffocating in terms of trying to develop your talent. A lot of low scoring blankety football.
    Then a lot of minor and U21 is just simply hoping to have 15 players to be able to put out a team.
    One place Kerry get a lot of their coaching done is in the schools. They have just won the Hogan cup with a school with a relatively small size. Tommy Griffin by no coincidence was the coach. If I am not mistaken Eamon Fitzmaurice was previous coach. Thats a huge gap to what is happening in Mayo.
    Mayo schools football is not at the races. Basically the harsh reality of a lot of our schools is that they don’t even train. They just put out teams picked on the knowledge of the feeder clubs to that school. If they do train its nothing more than a lunchtime game with no skills development.
    I seen the Kerry minor team and they have an identikit of Paul Geaney coming in the full forward line. Sprint out, catch the ball above your head, turn and slot it from 35 yards. I’d be certain that lad was getting good coaching in school every week of his five years in Secondary school.

  7. It’s a very good piece John, I have watched the match twice in full now and was there as well. It’s still the same. Mayo cannot afford to stay on this thread mill. I hate listening to Brolly, mostly because he can point out time and time again where we’re going wrong. Our management came up with this,AidenO Shea in full forward but the quality of ball going in when a sweeper ala Dublin’s system was appalling, against Dublin for all the first match and 3/4 of the second match we persisted with this failing plan. Hope long does it take to see this. Of the plan wasn’t working

  8. I hear the Dublin Team went to some kind of oxegen tents the day after the first game to help them to recover but as this cost a few grand it was ruled out by Mayo Co Board for our boys.

  9. Mayo flagged mainly because our tactics were a bit more attritional in terms of our players stamina.
    – AOS. The kickout tactic demolish Aidans stamina over the two games. He should never have been an in between chaser of defenders. He would have conserved energy if only had to mark one player
    – Parsons/Barry Moran/Boyle had too high a workload in terms of soloing, getting forward and back
    Dublin were playing it within 2 or 3 passes into the corners. Much less running.
    I’d be confident if you checked the GPS units Mayo covered more ground up to the 55th minute. But a lot of this was soloing and chasing down Dublin.

  10. John you only seem to appear here in times of woe and I wonder whether you revel in it! but you also talk a lot of sense.

    I think this team has been badly served by a management who have been shown to be way out of their depth. The only times they were called upon to make big calls this year they came up short. From the Tyrone game where they were shocked by a blank to the naive lineup against Dublin in the league to the shortcomings on Saturday I don’t think they have shown that they are the men taht will lead us to All Ireland glory. We saw that at under21 too. They did very well in 2006 but disappointing tactical performances against Kerry, Down and Laois in the years after saw us fall short.

    So the hard question has to be asked. Jimmy McGuinness would be the dream but he is not available. So is there somebody better out there? I don’t know. Maybe it is Kevin McStay. Maybe it is James Horan or Enda Gilvarry or Stephen Rochford or Pat Fallon.

    Kerry won an All Ireland with Pat O’Shea. He lost the All Ireland the following year. The players did not warm to his management and he was quickly moved along and they brought Jack back. Fairly ruthless. That is the cold approach we need to ask.

    If we don’t things won’t change.

    The players should be talked to and a decision made as to who is best to develop the squad and maximise their potential. We have a small window. Luckily there may be a final chance. It would be shocking to waste it.

  11. Agree Ger, but there is zero chance of the management being told to go. Only hope is they learn. But the players need to be able to play the situation too, they should know by now when to kill momentum and when to pick it back up..

  12. It probably tough to be calling for the management head after one season but under Horan i felt slight tweaks was all we needed, now i feel we need major changes to get to the promise land.

  13. Puckout there may be little hope but we are not well served if the best options are not considered. The majority of supporters I have spoken to think we need change. It seems the players are quietly of the same view.

  14. Good piece John. On a different topic, I heard a rumour that the DRA’s decision to rescind Diarmuid Connolly’s red card is Ultra Vires and should not stand. As a result, Dublin fielded an ineligible player and technically Mayo could have the game overruled. As I said this is only a rumour and an appeal is not something I would favour as we were beaten fair & square, however the interesting issue was that the attitude from the GAA was that its only Mayo and they will never appeal. Apparently Dublin considered not playing him as they were aware that the decision was Ultra Vires of the DRA but decided to play him, again because its only Mayo. May be only a rumour but I wouldn’t be surprised after the Limerick fiasco last year.

  15. Just watched the 1st half. We effectively played without a full forward line, hence all the long range efforts and long kicks into no one in particular.

  16. Can anyone here suggest a suitable management replacement. It’s all fine and well pointing out problems, we’re all great at that, but has anyone any solutions?
    Tier 1 managers like McGuinness and O’Connor are unavailable so what next? Our current managers have taken us to a replay semi in their first year. They have made mistakes but have also shown good promise. Do we abdon them and go with another manager who has potential but is also unproven such as Rochford (McStay is gone). What if the new prospect turns out a dud, that’s another year gone as well.
    I haven’t heard from either John or Ger since the Galway game and all of a sudden, up they pop soon as we lose, pointing out problems but offering no solutions as usual.
    Pragmatism is needed at times like these, not hurlers on the ditch who revel in misery. Anyone on Facebook should have a look at Johns comment on the lads enjoying a few pints in Matt Molloys yesterday and see what he thinks of this generation of footballers who’ve given us so much.

  17. It has been said by a few who has sources within the panel all not happy and some clubs are not either watch this space there could be a players revolt sooner than later? We need a good tactician that’s not there I was surprised the strength and conditioning was peaked for August or Sept what happened?

  18. Its a good point liam, but trying to tweek a defensive plan half way through the champinship does not make good sense, what Rochford did in Corafin was amazing but i know there is a differance between club and county mannagerment

  19. If the players are unhappy then it must be down to the style of football we are playing . IMO the lads did not look comfortable . Management will be there for another year at least so there is no point thinking different. They do however need to sit down think about how best to go for forward and to talk to lads and get their opinions. I do believe that a fresh approach needs to be taken . The game has developed and we need to keep up . Tactics need to be drawn up for each game along with a Plan B or C. Every player needs to know their role for given game again im not sure they were fully aware or confident in role. I think the county board needs to start looking to future and maybe .Whats the craic with Mayo Academy ?

  20. @Treadmill

    You mention the 1996 all Ireland – you would have your All Ireland now if your best forward wasn’t sitting in the stands watching the game because he didn’t fit into Maughans way of thinking. Kevin O’Neill won an all star the year he burst on to the scene in 1993….13 years later he scored 2 goals in an all ireland final…..but when he was at his peak, one of the few marquee forwards Mayo has produced in the last couple of decades sat in the stands.

    I felt Mahoney put Ciarna McDonald out to pasture early too. While a lot of people wouldn’t have sympathy with Conor Moritmer and his antics pre 2012 connacht final v Sligo would a more nuanced approach to dealing with the issue have brought him peacefully back into the fold with a good attitude. No one thought Roy Keane would play for Ireland again after Saipan….but he did albeit past his peak.

  21. You know that some players covered over 16kms in the drawn game. Considering premiership soccer players on £150,000 a week cover 13/14kms in a 90 minute non contact game then spend the week recovering while our lads go to work, it maybe understandable why they flagged in the final 15 minutes.
    Amazing how all the bottom feeders appear after a defeat with rumours of unhappy camps and castigating players who have led monastic lifestyles for the past 9 months in order to entertain us on a Sunday afternoon for having the temerity to smile in a picture.
    I for one will be putting forward a motion at the county convention that in future players must commit hari-kari in McHale park if they lose a game. That’ll teach the bastards.

  22. The Academy was raised at a county board meeting, a two page spread in the Western dutifully ensued talking about the great work Billy and the academy was doing. All the young lads got a text telling them to be ready for some serious coaching. That text in February was the last anyone involved in the academy has heard.

  23. Here we go again! Another defeat and another lynching of managers!
    Do people really believe that management has that much influence over what goes on the pitch once the players cross that white line and the ball is thrown in? Go back to the 2013 AIF, was it management that kicked 6 score able efforts wide from 9 attempts??? Had those efforts gone over we would have been 7 clear and a whole different ball game ensues. Was it management the first day v Dublin that kicked shots from low percentage areas of the field? That dropped efforts short into Cluxtons hands??? Last Saturday, was in management that misplaced hand passes while breaking through Dublin cover, the turnovers resulting in scores for Dublin? Was it management that injured Parsons that necessitated his removal, was it management that picked Jonny Cooper up and turned him upside down RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE LINESMAN!!! No, it wasn’t. Poor decision making from the players and poor execution of some skills, allied to a much improved Dublin, led to our defeat. End of.
    We might just have to accept that we are not the greatest team of all time, that sometimes the other team, on the day, is better than us and deserve their win. They had a stronger bench with far more pace which exploited the space in our half back line, particularly against tiring legs.
    Management were messiahs after Donegal, but now they should be ran out the gate! tactics and style of play can be argued until the cows come home but with 20 to go and 4 up the tactics and management seemed great then!

  24. What was baffling the last day was a few things that the players cannot be blamed for:

    1 – We were unclear on what to do with the Cluxton kick-outs, and after the COC goal we should have had a plan in place to place more pressure up the field.

    2 – Keith Higgins should have been moved off Andrews.

    3 – Donie should have been brought off earlier, whether he should have played at all is one for the managers to answer.

    4 – We should have kept at least one midfield in reserve to match Dublin [this was the most baffling move by the managers]. It was obvious MDMcA would not start and would be a danger yet again when he came on.

    5 – James Horan said on UTVI on Friday night that we would expect to see AOS out the field more, this didn’t happen and we played with similar predictability as match 1.

    At the end of the day managers won’t get everything 100% correct but you would expect that some knowledge would have been gleamed from match 1. This didn’t appear to be the case.

    Its hard to know if it would have made a difference anyhow as some of our turnovers were as bad as they have been over the last 5 years, management can’t be blamed for that.

    As the author above has said I would also like to see us move forward with new players in the camp.

    We are still a top 3 side and potentially have a final awaiting for us next year.

  25. I wouldn’t be one for asking the players for their opinion on who is best to manage the team! That’s dangerous and would be a disaster. County Board like em or not, with all their warts, are the only ones who make those decisions.

  26. In respect of management teams I think we need to leave personalities out of the equation altogether & go solely with what is best for Mayo.
    Performance should be reviewed at the end of each year & a decision made for the following year.
    I do think that giving 2 & 3 year terms is always a mistake especially for a team repeatedly stuck in semi-final & final mode. We are not really in re-building mode … we just need someone to get us over the line. In that respect our managerial needs are different to almost all other teams. Our players need to have confidence that the manager knows his stuff & can offer tweaks that will bring about the 5-!0% improvement that will get us over the line.

  27. Not sure when you appeared on the site Mr Bohan but my roots go back on this site to 2007. My first Mayo game was 1961. I contributed with regularity on this site but long ago gave up the red and green tie mentality. If this site is about only what’s palatable all the time then it’s no wonder we are still miles of the big one. I have written effusively about this great county over the years and in many outlets. However even I got a pain in my bollox with the amount of times we shot our balls off. I’m at an age where I actually couldn’t give a fuck about what the other guy thinks. You haven’t a clue about me, my thoughts and outlook but like you, nothing would give me greater pleasure than winning Sam, in fact I would die happy. And when the time comes to stop highlighting our woes , I’ll be the first to raise a glass. By the way I predicted Dublin by 5. Not because of some perverse sense of evil but from almost 55 years of watching stupid mistakes being made ad nauseam.

  28. @John Cuffe

    By any chance did you write the Al Pacino scene at the end of Scent of a Woman – because thats what that monologue reminded me of….and for the avoidance of doubt that is a compliment 🙂

  29. I feel that recent posts are beginning to get to the nub of the issue, a lot of it prompted by good external analysis like that from J McGuinness. What we don’t need is to just get back up on the horse again & have another go. Doing the same things again will lead to similar outcomes. I would do a thorough, in depth analysis of the past number of years, using views of external pundits if necessary, getting inputs of players, having a good facilitator of process. It seems to me that the core issue is to do with smart game planning & flexible, adaptable tactics. We are blatantly lacking in these areas. We will only improve with honest, smart critique & a determination to plug the areas of deficit. We owe it to a wonderful, skilful & committed group of players.

  30. A o Shea should stay at midfield for next year where he should have being that’s his bes position actually he did start out there last sat didn’t he. James horan is right about that.

  31. You are either getting closer to Sam or further away. If one single person can say to me we are closer to winning Sam after this year then please come forward.

    This group of players deserve management with ability. This management have no game plan, made a number of errors this year, and their role has to be questioned.

    One poster above said management didn’t kick the wides etc, that to me is an idiotic statement. When there is no solid plan to run with, when there is no confidence in the management setup, this permeates onto the pitch.

    Jim McGuinness won an All Ireland with the same team that couldn’t win two games in Ulster in a row in the previous years. But he had a plan, and instilled belief, and that empowered the players. Fitzmaurice did the exact same with a Kerry team many questioned were past it.

  32. As i’ve disclosed since I started making contributions on this excellent site – I wish we had one like it – I am a Sligo man – and I would give my right bollox to have the problems ye have. Losing Connacht finals has been our equivalent of ye’re all Irelands for a long time now – 97 by a point, 2002 by 3 points, 2007 we snuck it, 2012 by 2 points, 2015 by a cricket score….in between there has been 5 u-21 final loses and 4 minor loses. As I said i wish to chr*st we had your problems.

    The bottom line though, I think, is Mayo lost because they are the 3rd best team in Ireland and this Mayo team may well be destined to go down as the greatest team not to win an All Ireland – but there was no year over the last 5 that I would say as a neutral (often rooting for ye) that ye were the best. I know there is plenty here still raw from the events of Limerick as i’ve read in recent weeks and many may feel that Mayo were the best team last year – but personally I don’t think so. Mayo led by 5 points with a few minutes left in the drawn game and didn’t close it out. In the replay they were 7 points up at one stage – a massive lead in Gaelic football. In extra time in Limerick, Kerry sprung subs from the bench, one or two I hadn’t even heard of before, to kick winning points from distance – that highlights the strenght in depth and it is ultimately what brought Kerry over the line.

    The cork team of 2007-2011 came close not to getting their all Ireland – they may well have been one of the few that snuck it while not being the best team in the country. They were fortunate to beat a Down team that were 40/1 at the start of the year (I remember because I backed them). But that cork team got a bit of luck and fell over the line by a couple of points – and I’m happy for that team, I think they would have been one of the best teams not to win one had it not happened – and those players don’t give a jot that clowns like me are saying they weren’t the best side….

    …the moral of my story is that this Mayo team can still win an All Ireland – but the way things are going I think they might have to do it while not being the best team in the country and that is going to require a little bit of luck coming your way – which I will be the first to admit hasn’t really happened for ye much in recent years. Either that or you need to unearth a couple of top top class forwards capable of having a game like Peader Andrews on Sunday or consistently big scores from play like Bernard Brogan.

  33. Cait – by my count, that’s the fourth time since Saturday that you’ve made the same point about Aidan. Don’t feel you have to keep repeating it from here to eternity – I think four times is more than enough.

  34. And Mike Connelly talking about bullshitters etc and having to row in behind the management, firstly, we have been shown nothing to suggest these two deserve to be supported for another year, and secondly, Mike is clearly conflicted on this issue and should keep his counsel to himself and remove himself from the review process.

  35. PJB Mayo: Is taking the team to an All-Ireland semi-final replay, having damn near got them to the final at the first time of asking, not enough for Noel and Pat to get a second year? For what it’s worth, I’m with Cantini on our standing this year. When the race was down to three counties, we were the 3/1 outsiders to win it so it’s no real shock that we didn’t make the last two. We had our chance to upset these odds and came very close to doing this but ultimately not close enough. As others have said, there’s a serious amount of revisionism going on since Saturday about Noel and Pat and I don’t see how the level of criticism being aimed at them can be justified.

  36. Maybe Mike Connolly should consider his own position after a statement like that.

    Some of the “knockers and bullshiters” are only making very valid and honest points and know their stuff. They are pointing out some of the shortcomings on the sideline which became evident in the 2 games v Dublin.

    So it looks like Pat and Noel are here for another 2 seasons at least. Ah Christ.

    Is there anything to be said for saying another mass?

  37. No I don’t think so Willie Joe. As I said above, in my opinion we are further away than last year.

    Over the previous three years there were two finals and beaten by the eventual winners. We had a poor league, and were shown well short in the replay vs Dublin. I don’t like Brolly but he is bang on by saying you cannot try to implement a sweeper system two weeks before an AI Quarter Final. And they didn’t seem capable of learning from the first Dublin game. Continued with Aido in FF getting poor ball, didn’t challenge Dub kickouts despite the dividends rewarded late in first game, took off Barry Moran too early, dropped Jason Gibbons knowing we had only three midfielders all year, starting Drake in a game like the Dublin game, among other points.

    This group got as far as they did in spite of the management in my opinion.

  38. Absolutely Willie Joe. The lads ran their hearts out with no clear game plan, they did their best.

    Why was Barry Moran taken off for example? Utterly crazy decision knowing Seamie was gone and Parsons had run what seemed like a thousand kilometers at that stage.

    Nobody questioned it, nobody questioned them on Drake starting the first game because they drew. Why replace Seamie with Andy knowing we needed to solidify the game, why not Coen then, or Carolan, or Drake seeing as they saw him fit to start as sweeper the first day? Don’t get me wrong, I think Drake has the makings of a top player

  39. IMO, Willie Joe, getting this Mayo yea team to the semi is not nearly enough. I think they don’t exactly what Jim Gavin wanted, not once but twice,. His praise of Aiden O Shea before the drawn match days as much to me, Of course Dublin had detailed pans to deal with Aiden

  40. Cait, can you tell me how a 6’4″, 16st man is meant to be able to cover the 15-16kms now required of a modern day attacking midfielder. As was clearly demonstrated by Dublin in 2013, he will be simply ran into the ground.
    I have yet to see one poster put forward a name or names of people who they believe can sort out all the myriad of problems you are pointing out. I don’t for one second doubt that the author of this post or the vast majority of people here want Mayo to succeed, but I sometimes wonder if some posters here are really in touch with the reality on the ground.
    It’s typified by the annual call to locate the mythical 6’6″ full forward who’s languishing away on a junior B team who could change our fortunes but the big bad senior clubs are ignoring him.
    I was at an U21 game recently were the supposedly brightest star to come on the scene since McDanger was playing and I didn’t even know he was on the field till someone told me afterwards.
    I know that people are living away from the county for a plethora of reasons, I was away for years myself, however, just because people are mentioning player A or player B on this blog and saying they’ll solve all our problems doesn’t make it true.

  41. At the start of the year I always felt the realistic limit of our potential was to go on and meet Dublin in a semi and likely fall short. This is in our first year with a new management team. I think most people saw this as probably our most likely result. So personally I’m satisfied with how the year went, as we actually achieved more than I thought- by drawing this semi!!

    What transpired was we got a trickier QF than initially expected, and had to play a Galway side away from home who had two championship matches under their belt before we kicked a ball. So getting to this semi became much less a gimme than expected

    we indeed took care of Galway then got a bit of a lucky break when Sligo took out a potentially dangerous Roscommon and they were no match for us. This combined with a far easier than expected win over Donegal had some fans absolutely delirious over the past few weeks. Suddenly they lost sight of our initial expectation and then had us down as almost certainties to in fact beat Dublin, despite very little changing from early on in the year when most of us agreed the semis was the most likely result, judging by the hard cold analysis- not intagibles

    As a result of these wins suddenly- by august- so much more was expected of the mgmt team by some of our fans and quite naturally now, when we have indeed lost this semi, after a replay no less, some are now seeing them as actual failures of sorts which is mental

    I think we justified our seeding this year so to speak and achieved all we could. I recall predicting we’d lose along with some other posters before the semi and actually getting lambasted by some. this in a match we were underdogs in!!!

    i feel very sorry for the players and mgmt when some seem to expect near miracles from them. We are not the best team in Ireland and as much as this clearly mystifies some of us, I’m afraid it’s just the way it is. This notion that the mgmt are costing us and we have a God given right to win AIs is way off imo. Only one team can win the AI each year and we haven’t been good enough and we aren’t just quite good enough, sadly

    I personally think it’s super making semis every year and a few finals, these give us supporters super days out and makes supporting the team a wonderful experience. Am I disappointed we don’t have an AI? of course. Were we the best team in Ireland over the past 5 years? No, not in one of them. Where we second best? Yes, in my view and this in itself is one hell of an achievement

    All we can ask of the mgmt is to maximise our potential. And 2nd/3rd best team in the country certainly ain’t bad. The test for them now is to bring us on even more next year. And by God they deserve a chance to do that

    We have a far easier potential draw next year and should really be right in the mix. But once again, we won’t be favourites, yet of course the mgmt will get lambasted by some if we don’t do it. As if AIs are actually easy won!

    To win an AI right now we need intangibles to go our way and that is the long and short of it. Of course it can happen, like with Cork in 2010

    But by getting this team as far as they can, the mgmt are doing a great job in my eyes. Can you imagine if we went out to Longford in the qualifiers this year 😀

    A bit of optimism is zero harm and we all like to think we can win the big one, and it’s great to see a real buzz and good feeling around August each year, but in retrospect when analysing what went wrong i think we do indeed need to be realistic

    It’d be quite a different story if we were indeed the best team in Ireland and always falling short

  42. Actually you can pretty much ignore my point above and just read over Cantini’s I 100% agree with him, he puts it better than I ever could

  43. Don’t agree with last few posts, we can only accept we’re second or third best or whatever (sound like Holmes there…”or whatever”) when we have a game plan and stick to it. Otherwise we’re accepting mediocrity from management. We have no game plan so we’re at disadvantage immediately.

  44. I’d agree with a lot of the chriticism towards management, I’d have to ask the following :

    1 . Was o Shea left isolated in the full forward line
    2. Why did we revert Back to hennelly , when he has made crucial mistakes previously .
    3. Why did drake start the first day ? Played minimal in the league and was making his championship debut in front of 82,000 people
    4. Why did Dillon not get any game time , the dubs brought on Alan brogan.
    5 why did we start 4 midfielders ?
    6. Why was there not a change in full back line to counter the potent Dublin forward line …. Paddy Andrews got 6 points from play .

  45. well said John Cuffe! I’d like to know what the manager’s say to the team lf they get say 4 or 5 points up, like do we put an extra man in midfield protect the running lanes and when possesion to keep driving forward and go all out or to just hang onto the feckin ball and make teams werk for the ball. I mean these lad’s are not school boy’s no more I’d love to know were the head goes when they hit the front, sorry for using horse racing again but when we get to the front we always seem to idle, and grab defeat from the jaws of victory!
    time we sacrifice the lot for Sam next year! has to be done or else I’d say its another 15 to twenty years in the wilderness. Imagine that, cause don’t forget lad’s Cork will re arm so will the teams up north, Meath will come again, so it ain’t just Kerry,Dublin, Donegal, and Mayo. alot to be done no time like the present to sort it out, as Clint Eastwood said any which way you Sam!! ha ha come on boys and all the young buck’s coming true for lovely County of Mayo!

  46. This is an excellent piece and I totally agree . It’s time to change a good number of players, they have served well but have not delivered on big occasion too often and some new ideas needed . The management over numerous years has not helped either and particularly they have been poor this year . The players have been good enough but it’s not been clever enough and that’s the frustrating thing .

  47. Agree 100% with those sentiments, Ciaran.

    PJB – I’m all for playing to our strengths and having a coherent plan for every championship game we play (which doesn’t need to be the same one incidentally every time). To be fair to the current management, it looks like they had a coherent plan for the quarters, which was executed very well, and they also had one for Dublin, which very nearly came off. Jim McGuinness is probably the best tactician in the game but his best-laid plans last September came unstuck against Kerry – does that mean Donegal were happy to see the back of him? I don’t think so. We lost the replay for a variety of reasons, some within our control and some outside it, but that doesn’t mean we had no game plan worked out to give us the best chance to do it.

    I’d repeat the point (which others have made) that Dublin were favourites both days to win and also that all year (up until we beat Donegal) we were no better than fourth favourites for Sam. That we ultimately failed to reach the final despite our best efforts isn’t a surprise and I don’t think it’s accepting mediocrity either. We had bucketloads of the latter when John O’Mahony was in charge and I don’t recall hearing a huge chorus for his head when his first year in charge yielded a defeat to Galway in Connacht and a thumping by Derry in the second round of the qualifiers.

    Thankfully, we’re light years away from that kind of mediocrity now and hopefully we can push onto greater things in the years ahead. But, as others have rightfully pointed out, we can only be really bullish about our prospects for landing Sam when we’re confident that we’re the best team in the country. It’s obvious we weren’t this year but next year’s story is one that has yet to be written.

  48. @ Mayo 51 7. What were they thinking when they chose to start Vaughan. That in itself shows the incompetence of the two men in charge. I wonder how our defence would have performed if Cunniffe had played though.

  49. Think the comments are very much 3 to 1 anti the management.

    Dont think we need Noel’s brother telling us what we should think. That’s a bit insulting to supporters.

    Noel and Pat are decent Mayo men but I don’t see them bringing us across the finishing line. We have a limited time with these players. Waste it and we’ll regret it

  50. I think we need a bit of time to reflect on Sunday, now we read that our management team are not up to scratch, and someone else would get us over the line.as someone who feels that James horan was outstanding, and am behind Noel and Pat some of the criticism is over the top, we have an outstanding back up team, our medical team is one of the best in the country, our strength and conditioning coach has been recognised elsewhere, so do we not think that they input into Donie starting, I believe he would not have started if they not think he was fit.our management was hailed for using B Moran against Donegal, the clamour for starting against Dublin was overwhelming, when he came on he made a difference so they were criticised foor not starting him, so they started him on Saturday , when he ran out steam they were wrong for starting him.i believe we should be critical if it helps but I dont see much wrong with the decisions made so far, I believe we need to give the management another year at least. We need some more players to put their hands up for selection, some players reputations improve by not playing both now and under James Horan they need to make sure that they make themselves indispensable when they get their chance. I was very optimistic on Saturday but looking back I think only one Mayo forward would make that Dublin team, that is no reflection on the Mayo players, finally all the best to this team and management who certainly deserve some R andR look forward to next year, with this wonderful site which keeps us all up to date and exercised with our opinions right or wrong

  51. Jc , what players do you feel have not delivered and you feel we should change ??

    If he allowed say this on the blog willie Joe ?

  52. It is a load of crap to say we couldn’t have won last Sun. When we were 4 points up with 12 mins or so to go, do you not think if we had McGuinnes or Harte or Fitzmaurice on the line that we would have lost , they would have put 14 men behind the ball and we would be looking forward to the A I

  53. Being 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th in the country is one issue.
    Changing your position is another issue & is heavily influenced by decision making on the day.

  54. Good piece John although i did find it a little depressing. Personally I don’t buy into this theory of where we are in terms of best in Ireland etc. I think we could have beaten Dublin the last day but due to a variety of reasons the game went away from us.

    But for long periods we dominated them as much as they dominated us. I think one big thing was the bad PR from the first game. I think the second game suited Dublin’s style more than ours because of all that went on the first day. I also think management got it wrong with several decisions the second day. But of course if they had won well I wouldn’t be typing this.

    The biggest problem I have though is why we cannot close the deal against the top teams especially in a replay. Yes we did it against Fermanagh but in all fairness they are not classified universally in the same breadth as Dublin, Kerry, Cork etc. Why is that and what are we missing. This I believe is where tactics are vital.

    Secondly I see the game evolving again after the blanket defenses of the previous couple of years. I’m not going to go into it here now but I will pen a piece on it later after the All Ireland. If it does evolve as I think it will I would hope that we evolve faster than others and adapt to these changes at a greater pace as it is very fine margins that are separating this team and the overall goal they aspire to.

  55. Who’s saying we couldn’t have won, Philor?

    I’ve no problem with players being named, Mayo51, but the normal rules apply when critiquing individuals.

  56. Will keith stay on or will he go he was the last to leave the pitch I really hope not he looked tired out there on sat how he keep going I don’t know,

  57. @ philor I agree. We probably should have gone with 14 men behind the ball (as much as I hate to say it) when 4 points up. Forcing them to shoot from tight angles and from distance plus under pressure would have probably killed the game off.

  58. Let’s have a bit of craic here lads and lassies. I would hold management responsible for most of our problems!!!! (Before anyone looses their abbreviations, I said “most”). Lets get logical and realistic for a little while. They took over Mayo for this year. [Deleted].
    They saw this Mayo team perform for the last number of years, thus, they saw all the problems that were surfacing; the main one being, leaking goals, again and again. A few on here just seem to have forgotten our leaking goals!!! Now, they did nothing about it and they had a full fucking year to sort it out!! When i saw man to man marking against Galway and Sligo, I was gobsmacked. They made a too late, pathetic attempt to do something at the last minute and we fucked up. Of course players have a responsibility for their own performances, but the tactics, training, etc, etc, are the complete responsibility of the management.
    I would sack them; don’t know who would replace them, but they couldn’t be much worse. Of course, this is Mayo, so i can only dream.. 😉

  59. It might but it might not. Billy Joe’s analysis in the Mayo News points to Seamie’s black card as the turning point, with his departure altering the team’s balance at a critical stage in the game. (I don’t want to be overly critical of Seamie but would point out that it wasn’t Noel or Pat who picked up Cooper and flung him out of the way). He also makes the point that the team was out of gas with 15 minutes to go. Would a blanket defence have got us over the line if you accept this analysis? We might not have lost by seven but I think there’s every danger we’d still have been beaten.

  60. Like we conceded two sloppy goals on Saturdag ….One from a terrible kick out and one when the keeper had the ball in his hands

    Would the dubs have beaten us , without these errors I don’t think so

    Sloppy goals …. As brolly loves to point out its our shit defending and basic mistakes … That kills us at crucial times ….
    And we don’t seem to learn from them year after year .

    Like I 100 per cent feel this is the best group we ever had

  61. The awesome power of supporter expectations never fails to intrigue.
    We’re all sore after Saturday, and it’s natural to try and find scapegoats to blame. How can we possibly blame H&C in their first year? How do you follow James Horan? H&C have a formidable collective football intelligence, and vast experience of our game. They are closer to the players than any of us. Give them a chance.

    Any one of many uncontrollable factors could have made the difference. A missed point when we were four ahead; a poor kick-out that fell into the wrong hands; no fresh legs to contain MDM or Kevin Mac, and Seamie’s foolish (but provoked) action against J.Cooper. Who are we going to “blame”. The question is nonsensical and unworthy of us as genuine supporters of a great team. Let us be grateful for the vast number of rewarding hours we’ve had. Mistakes were made but for my money “blame” is a non-starter. Let’s hope that all our heroes can learn from these mistakes, put them behind them and move forward. We are so close.

    I consider myself extremely lucky that in my 78th year, most of them as a Mayo supporter, the lads of Mayo keep on coming back, again and again and again. This is a source of enormous pride. I do not know of any other county with such resilience. We are going to reach the Promised Land!

  62. @Ciaran
    ‘Were we the best team in Ireland over the past 5 years? No, not in one of them. Where we second best? Yes, in my view and this in itself is one hell of an achievement’

    Both yourself and Cantini make great points which I agree with however with regards to your above statement, I have to disagree. Second best is not really an achievement. Particularly with our level of participation and tradition. Of course we all respect the players and acknowledge their commitment however with great honour comes great responsibility. In Mayo players are celebrated and treated like All-Ireland champions and other young players see this. We have created a second best culture and until we change this attitude within our county, Sam will always remain a distant dream.

  63. Was it not Shankley that said “I want to build Liverpool up and up until they are the best and most feared team in Europe”. Does anyone have any info on the Mayo academy? One thing Shankley and Bob Paisley done was replenish the team with 2/3 new players every season. Coady does it, Kerry have done it always.

    It’s not to say get rid or cast away any current first 15 or squad players but nobody should be a given as starting any game.

    I think a few posters need to pay heed of James horans advice and take a break. We all want what’s best for Mayo football but some of the suggestions border on too any chefs in the kitchen.

  64. Joe Mc – I’ve deleted a bit of that comment and I’d appeal to you – as someone who repeatedly fails to keep your comments between the right lines – to moderate the language you’re using or else I’ll be forced to do so for you.

  65. The Irish lads went to coppers last night. Thats professional athletes going on the beer after beating Georgia a team rank 138th in the world and gilbrator who aren’t even ranked. Yet our lads can’t go for a couple of pints in Westport after a full season without people abusing them.

  66. Willie Joe, wrong choice of words by me just got the impression that most people thought we weren’t capable of beating them, totally different thing and I am just as frustrated as we all are.

  67. We should remember that last year only for Andy Moran we would have lost to Roscommon, we only won that game by one point. Also in our league game against Dublin in Croke Park, we were six points up against 14 men with only a few minutes to go and we ended up drawing that game by conceding two late goals. We also lost to Derry in the league semi-final as well again we had an extra man. You could say that it was 2013 when we were at the peak of our powers. In fairness to the current management they gave a lot more players game time this year. Last Saturday the big mistake was not having midfield back-up on the bench. We seemed to panic with our changes because of this when Seamie went off. We were left with a big hole in front of our defence when Barry Moran went off and it was hard to know who was playing where. Aido seemed confused with his role late on and Philly McMahon profited from this scoring 1-2 in total. In saying that some of our players were out on their feet at that stage. Dublin can kill you in this situation as they did against Kerry in the 2013 semi-final, scoring two late goals, Eamonn Fitzmaurice learned from this last year, their defence was much tighter and they won the All-Ireland. We will have to learn from our mistakes this year. You could say that it was one fatal flaw that cost us the game, such are the margins at this level.

  68. @ Totto “In Mayo players are celebrated and treated like All-Ireland champions and other young players see this. We have created a second best culture and until we change this attitude within our county, Sam will always remain a distant dream.”

    Absolutely the best comment I’ve seen so far on this blog!

  69. One word.
    Respect.
    Second – Thanks Mayo Squad for great days out this year.
    These lads have given every ounce they have this year & for the previous 4 years.
    Third – Unreal
    They need a good break now & live life a little. It brings a bit of freshness & perspective to things again.
    I was there last Saturday & feel down in the dumps like most Mayo people.
    But time is a great healer & the supporters will get over it quick enough.
    It will take the players a lot longer which is why these guys need to take a long break until well into next spring if indeed they want to return for 2016.
    I will talk about what I think needs to be done to freshen things up next year later.
    But for now thank you Mayo Football senior Team. Total Respect?

  70. John, your articles make for depressing reading. ‘The county operates to a level, high, but ultimately fated to crash and burn, be that gloriously or ignobly.’ Really? Is that any more insightful than the ‘bottlers’ and ‘chokers’ tags that get thrown at us ad nauseam?

    I find it difficult to pick up the thrust of what you write sometimes. If you think the county board should sack the management team then instead of putting out tedious analogies about feckin bees why not just come out and say it? What are these solutions you have that you are so sure will never be considered? You’ve been given a forum on a prominent Mayo GAA website so put them out!

    It’s not fair on Noel and Pat to call for their heads. Winning the AI is simply too big of an ask for any management team’s first year in charge, particularly in a partnership where one party has no inter-county experience, and the other by his own admission should never have been given the job first time out. I am as disappointed as anyone else but upon reflection over the last few days I am not despondent. The better team won and who knows, Horan may have already got the best out of this current group of players. I still believe however that the nucleus of a team who can seriously challenge for honours is there, and with the addition of fresh blood and better tactics we can finally break the duck and burst the damn! Who in their right minds would take over a team knowing that unless they deliver the ultimate prize their position is untenable? We have grown too impatient here in Mayo. We need to step back, acknowledge we are not yet good enough to win Sam and pragmatically implement the steps required to bring us to the next level. It may not be as far away as we think. The league will be around before we know it and then we will have a better idea how astute this management team are.

  71. I see the usual suspects with an axe to grind are back here trying to start rumours. Ger Bohan I’m looking at you…

  72. @jason b…there will always be the small number of supporters who cant /wont appreciate what is involved in the life of a gaa player..the other side is that a fab photo of players taken in westport doing the rounds on social media today and every single comment was positive …

  73. The most depressing thing on Saturday was the failure to push up on Cluxton’s kickouts, despite it working well when we did it in the drawn game. No wonder the players were shagged out by the 55th minute when they gave Dublin free rein on their kickouts and were chasing them all over the place.

    Another point I wonder about, and it hasn’t been raised is why was Kevin Keane kept on the bench for the two games? Surely he would be better, or as good as Vaughan at marking somebody – namely Kilkenny the last day. Vaughan was injured into the bargain so that was a sub-in-waiting to be used on Saturday.

  74. Not everyone Regina. A prominent poster here seems to have a problem that they were smiling in the picture and that one of them had the temerity to wear a hat. Reckons the Kerry players would have been ashamed to be photographed smiling having lost a game.

  75. We are all disappointed and extremely sensitive. Imagine how the players, management and backroom guys feel?

    I think some of the criticism is fair and if we are to progress and improve we need to ask the hard questions and look for the honest answers.

    Is now the right time? Probably not because everyone’s clear passion and craving for success will cloud our thought process.

    Good luck Willie Joe I’m sure you’ll be busy over the coming days keeping all in check

  76. Correct liam ..but me thinks said comment was deleted ..oops ..i guess some people would rather they locked themselves away in a room with re runs of where it all went wrong ..

  77. Let’s call a spade a spade the Mayo team owes us nothing and are entitled to go out and enjoy themselves and if I meet any if them out I will buy them a pint but we need someone to come in and teach us how to defend and stop conceding soft goals and someone to teach us how to push on when we are a few points up and someone to teach us how to kill the game now Pat and Noel are sound guys and are doing their best but have they the smarts to win us Sam? And I mean that with the greatest respect to them because they have given loads to Mayo football but I don’t believe they can get us over the line

  78. Just wondering from people that attend club games regularly from junior to senior what players would you think management may want to look at?
    Another concept I wonder could we look at bringing back in is the divisional teams into senior championship? It seems to work well in Kerry and it would give junior players a chance at a higher level of football.
    West Mayo came within a kick of a ball of beating crossmolina the year they went on to win the all Ireland in the ist round in mayo and it was knockout then!

  79. There’s quite a bit of criticism on here about the decision to take Barry Moran off. From what I could see from way up in the top tier Barry clearly signalled to the line to be taken off. So he was either injured or tired or both. Anyone else notice this as it might explain why he was substituted? That said some of the previous comments about having too many mid fielders starting and no one to bring on to counter Dublin’s mid field substitution makes sense but then hindsight’s a great thing! We can only hope that H & C learn from this. They certainly deserve another crack at it next year.

  80. The people who know the game better than anyone are the players themselves and they will have a big say in the end of year analysis which will determine where things go next. As a collective group they will analyse where things went wrong, what could have been done better.. etc. They would not be doin this if they felt they could not win the ultimate prize. Individual players will ask themselves are they good enough or willing to commit again. They will assess whether they feel if management have what it takes and I’ve no doubt Noel and Pat will walk away if they feel they didn’t have the support of the team. I would ask that everyone allow players and management time for this to happen and not become a mob seeking our pound of flesh. This is one for the players and management to work out, after there’s is the greatest sacrifice

  81. I’m actually sick of keyboard warriors, and John cuffe is exactly that! John, your deep rooted issues with the county board are well known. Instead of a cloak and dagger approach at mutiny. Why don’t you just come out and speak your mind! Willie Joe, I really don’t know what articles like this are ment to achieve? I’ve no doubt some players cast an eye on this from time to time, and I’d be horrified if they have done in the last few days, think of their efforts this year, and over the last few years and we pay them with rubbish talk!

  82. This is not a good place to come when you’re trying to get over Saturday’s defeat so I’m leaving this blog until next year. I just can’t stand watching most of you slate each other. Some people have made really good points though. I hope we come back stronger next year, whether it’s under new management or not, I will support my county no matter what.

    Thanks WJ for creating this blog. You deserve an award for all the work you put into it!

  83. Mayo 51. I am not going to name players as I was criticised for this previously . I just feel there are at least 4 players who have continuously underperformed in big games in last few years and it’s time for some on else to have a chance .

  84. Mayo 51, you’re out of order singling out players you think caused the loss. No one player caused the loss, and each and every one tried their heart out.

    That “terrible kick out” as you call it was still 70 yards from our goal, where were the other 14 players after Dub won it?

    And the second goal likewise, Dublin walked in along the end line after winning possession 70 yards out with another player coming in unmarked to wrestle it in.

    I have no time for players being abused here, disgusting from some nobody with a keyboard and a chip on his shoulder.

  85. How are we going to react when we start losing to Galway and Ross ? Haha it will be some shock to the system after all these glory years .

    Are we obsessing over Sam Maguire , I’m starting to think (self inc) we are , we have become consumed by the quest for Sam. Enjoy the few months off and we will meet in balinlough next January hopefully. Thanks to the panel , management and county board for another enjoyable year.

    WJ, without sounding like a stalker , I was walking down Griffith avenue around 7.10 am this morning , a guy passed me with mayo jacket on , I thought! yer man that does the blog lives out this way , was it you?

  86. A internet blog/forum not the place for unsubstantiated stories and rumours, then where else could we indulge in our insatable appetite for this type of shit ??

    With regards a previous post of the Dublin team useing oxygen tents for recovery after the drawn game, to elaborate further I heard they decamped to the Wicklow mountains for high altitude training and drank nothing but Michelle Debruynes piss for five days.

    Shur with these type of resources at Dublins disposal what hope have we ??

  87. There are some shortcomings, though whether they rest solely or jointly with team and/or management is for debate. What is beyond discussion is the dedication and effort both have given to succeed.
    What I do not agree with is determining Mayo’s place over the past few years on how championships played out. 3rd-4th? In 2013 and 2014 they were the best.

  88. Look at this stat. since 1970 Mayo have won, 1 national title at senior level. Who are we kidding? A single league title in 2001, by a point over galway! we are a laughing stock, all big and brave and thinking we can win things. I am 44 years old, in my lifetime we have won 1 measly league title, lets get a grip on ourselves. dublin battered cork by 1.21 to 2.07 last april to win the league with the same players that are in this years championship final, and that was the third league in a row, top it off with sam in 2011, 2013 and easily again this year. What have we done? 1 league n 44 years. meanwhile we have been in division 1 for 14 years running, great, how many times did we win it in the 14 years? 1.

    All these lads are busting their asses training, someone of them better make a stand if they are not happy with the way its going. And I mean a big name in the group, not a sub thats just happy to be there and playing for Mayo. It would be a crime for cillian, aiden, alan, diarmuid and others to go the way of macdonald and mchale, and pass a legacy onto the kids of Mayo that we are galant runners up while kerry and co sit and smirk at us, and we cannot fight back because we have 1 league title to show since 1970 and no Sam to show since 1951. I was in the mind that we had a shot this year and when we went 4 points up last saturday that we would shut up shop and let dublin try for long range points under massive pressure, we couldnt even see our way of doing that.I know today that Mayo have a strong chance of making next years final, id put money on it, i would also put money on us losing it gallantly. We just have so little credibilty that its easy to see kerry beating us next year only because dublin won it in 2015 and kerry believe its their turn.
    3 goals allowed in 9 minutes last saturday, 9 goals allowed in 4 semifinals in the last 12 months. 2 goals allowed against a sligo that were being battered into the ground in july.
    i dont know, maybe i/we are just expecting too much? brolly might be right, we are masters of disaster and have been for such a long time.

  89. A few tweaks here and there and we’ll be fine. Most important is a revamped Full Back line and 1-2 new attacking half forwards, some cunning and we can win it next year.

  90. Dave thats horrible stat. Reading one comment above it said Winning the AI is simply too big of an ask for any management team’s first year in charge. I’m open to correction but didn’t a few Kerry managers and Jim Gavin win the AI in their first year. From what I seen this year I don’t believe H&C are improvement on team Horan.

  91. The All Ireland final will be interesting if only to see if Kerry give Cluxton the freedom of the park with his kickouts as Mayo did for most of two games. My bet is that they won’t and that Kerry will win the final, at least partly due to that weakness in the Dublin game.

    One of our problems is that our management in recent times have not been able to anticipate an opposition’s change of tactics and plan for them. In 2012 James Horan expected Donegal to follow their usual tactic of using Murphy out around midfield and McFadden as chief attacker. So Keane was deployed to follow Murphy and Cafferty to mark McFadden. We know how that turned out. In 2014 there was no anticipation of the possible impact of Donaghy at full forward. This year we tried the same sweeper tactic which worked against Donegal last Saturday although the problem wwas totally different. Against Donegal we knew that Murphy was the potential problem so Barry was an effective sweeper. Last Saturday there was no anticipating where the problem was going to come from, possibly Bernard Brogan, but it turned out to be Andrews. There was no way Barry could cover both. In any case I’m not sure that playing a sweeper against Dublin would be effective, Playing a sweeper means leaving some other opposition player loose and unmarked. With the quality and adaptability of Dublin”s players that, I believe is not viable. After all, one of their corner backs did score 1 – 2 from play. Having no cover for midfield was an extraordinary omission. Especially with a player of the quality of Jason Gibbons sitting at home. Cathal Carolan was another player who showed exceptional ability in 2013 and I am at a loss as to why he was not recalled to the panel when he had recovered from his injury. [Perhaps he did get a call but was unwilling or unable to accept it]. One way or another I’m afraid we’re tied to the same management again next year barring an unlikely resignation or a more unlikely players move for change. Mike Connelly is not going to dump his brother. I would not expect him to do so but I would expect him to have moved on the issue of U21 management for next year and I would also expect him to sort out academy issues which appear to be festering on.

  92. We have had the players unfortunately the managers have let us down on the line. John Maughan brought a very fit and strong side but his tactics on the line were not up to the job remembely the Horan substitute in 97 and the way Pat Holmes was left to suffer.James Horan inherited a mess and worked wonders but his insistence to keep faith with an out of form full back and inability to put someone in to help him cost us dearly against Kerry. This management team took over one of the top teams in the country and only small changes and better tactics were needed, we seem to have gone backwards . we need someone at the top that has the experience of winning I know we have went outside the county before but I am talking about a top notch proven manager that can think on his feet and get the team to believe in themselves . We only employ the best doctors dieticians coaches etc… So why not get the best manager available

  93. I’ll name them JC [Deleted].

    As brolly and many media pundits have outlined numerous times . It’s the silly leaking of goals that’s killing us ……

    It’s the same issues the last 5 campaigns , we tried a half arsed method this year

    Where was the game plan Saturday ?

    What was the idea of Starting Barry Moran against Dublin ?

    Why didn’t we have a smaller man inside to support the full back line ?

    Let’s be honest our full backline got absolutely roasted .

  94. Fear an chomortois – the guest post facility is there on the site to facilitate a range of viewpoints being made and is open to all. There have been loads of guest contributors on the site since I opened the doors in this way and these different voices have added to and widened the debate that occurs here. I don’t always agree with what they have to say but I’m happy for different points of view to be put across.

    PJB Mayo – can you point me to any specific examples of “players being abused here”? I make as much effort as I can to ensure that comments made here happen within the house rules and if you think there are examples I’ve missed where things have been said about specific players that aren’t within the rules then please point me to them.

    Sean B – no, that wasn’t me!

  95. I always thoroughly enjoy John Cuffe’s posts even though his views rarely mirror my own. He writes excellently and I think it’s important to remember that each one of us is on our own personal journey in the quest for Sam; it means different things to different people and no one perspective is the same.

    For example I think his perspective is overly negative; I know how badly he wants to see a win and how external factors are frustratedly impeding that ambition. Maybe he sees my perspective as wearing the green and red tie; I would see my role as a supporter of the 26 men togged out as being very separate to my opinions on the overall setup, and ultimately having very little impact.

    Sean Burke makes an excellent point about the quest for Sam having consumed us. Nothing else matters now, and it’s almost to the detriment of our enjoyment of the game. Is there any joy any more in the journey? I hope there is; those cold League days in Feb & March aren’t just a means to an end for me, I look forward to them for what they are in themselves.

    Ciaran is also very forthright in his assessment, and to be fair he’s been very consistent. Perhaps we need to accept that while we are very, very good, we just aren’t the best. Does that mean we can’t win an All-Ireland? Absolutely not.

    Finally, Cantini, you’re a very welcome addition to this place. Stay a while longer please.

  96. I was just thinking there again about the Seamie O’Shea incident, you can understand the reaction from Seamie but it again shows our lack of cuteness both on and off the field. If Seamie had made a lot more of that tackle and even maybe went to ground down on one knee holding his side, when he got the shoulder into the back, it would have been Jonny Cooper that could have got into trouble. Remember the reaction of the Kerry boys last year to make sure that Lee Keegan got sent off. Again these small margins can make a big difference. Our players are probably almost to honest to do things like this.

  97. I see Daragh O’Shea gives us a filleting in the IT. It focuses on a single point but it’s hard to argue with his analysis.

  98. I just read Dara o shea’s article in the times

    Worth a read …

    The article reiterates my question …. What was hennelly at ?

    Silly mistakes cost us in big games , that mistake cost us

  99. W.J, I know the idea was floated a while back that a subscription based service to your blog be considered. If it was a nominal fee it might prevent a lot of the new posters, that seem to pop-up whenever we suffer a disappointment, from appearing and taking cheap shots at players and management. It’s obvious that some of these posters have guillotine sized axes to grind with the county board, management and possibly even inter-club rivalry. Maybe if we all had to go through a subscription type membership a lot of the keyboard warriors would take their cheap shots and p**s off to Hogan Stand or some other trash talking media platform.
    Rationale sensible mature criticism is one thing and differing opinions and debate is what makes this blog great, but for someone sitting on his/her arse in front of a keyboard to suggest that our players are not entitled to an end of season night out is beyond ridiculous. The keyboard would want to be shoved where the sun don’t shine!
    People would want to grow up, cop on and realize that the chase for Sam is NOT about us, it’s about the players. We are meant to support – not leave Croker early just because things aren’t going well – not whinge and moan just because Dublin were better than us on the day – not take cheap pot shots (anonymously behind a computer) at men that have parked their lives and sacrificed themselves for 4 or 5 years in the effort to win that cursed fucking trophy. We either support and back them, yes whilst arguing and debating tactics/selections/styles etc. without getting personal, or else piss off to the next fashionable thing to be seen at like the Galway races, the Rugger world cup.

  100. MO2015, we are not Kerry or Dublin. Expecting an AI to be delivered in a manager’s first year, with a record as bad as ours is pie in the sky stuff.

    Of course that’s not the only benchmark. Had we seriously regressed this year then yes I would also be calling for changes to be made. But we’re in exactly the same position as last year. Dumped out after a semi-final replay. Some may bemoan the standing still but would people seriously be any happier if we had lost in the final? Was it enough to save Mickey Moran?

    While we didn’t get our tactics right this time around Noel and Pat have shown they are willing to make changes and I think they deserve at least another year to build upon the season. We’re not that far off.

    I would also like to echo what Anne-Marie is saying above. The quest for Sam has consumed us and that is manifesting in different ways, one of which is the bitterness and infighting we see here all too often after a loss. Sometimes I wish we could just win the damn thing not for the glory, but so we could move on with our lives and get back to enjoying what the GAA is all about – watching some good football, having the craic, meeting people before the games etc etc. – the things that enrich our lives.

  101. anne marie my apologies if you felt that comment reflected on you. it most certainly did not. the green and red tie brigade stand for power brokers who have an inordinate influence on the inner workings of mayo football.

  102. Hard to take heed of Daragh lately with some of his articles. He has been poor all year with his dithering. That’s a pretty shocking article on an individual player. He did the same thing to Michael Lundy ealier in the year and I’ve lost all time for the man since.

    What he has overlooked is we still had no one out there to win and challenge the breaking ball for that kick out. It was a bit like Kerry’s failure in 2011 to hang onto a lead with a few minutes left and the same MDMcA was running riot.

    I suppose now is not the time for any blame and as WJ and others have said, which I would agree with, I think we were always a bit short of the top 2 this year.

    In fact, I was surprised after all of the past heartache at how good the lads have come back again this year. Most neutrals, including Brolly and O’Shea(s) believed we were completely finished after last year, yet the lads proved these pundits wrong. I hope they will do it again.

    I hope the Dubs win and some of the older Dubs lads retire. People say we are the 3rd best team in the country, I would have us as 2nd as I think we would beat Kerry.

  103. Pebblesmeller I think your comments are pretty disingenuous.

    You are a great supporter clearly but your point of view is not to ask the hard questions of players and management.

    We have amazing players. Top-class lads on and off the pitch. Some are the best in the country, others are workmanlike. They all give their best. They all have the jersey on loan though and debate at the turn of a season is critical. Any of us here could be the next manager, the next county board delegate whatever. Mayo GAA belongs to us not to Mayo County Board or to the management or to the players.

    Year on year we keep talking about tweaks and are of the “ara shure it’ll be grand” next year mentality. That ain’t going to get us nowhere.

    John Cuffe, you did not take my earlier comments the way I meant. I’m not a wordsmith like yourself and can see why you concentrated on one part of what I said. The important point I make is that despite your critical analysis you do make sense in your articles and they do challenge convention.

    Read Dara O’Se or Mike Quirke or Joe Brolly. They all have their medals. They have done it on the big day and their opinion is a valuable one. They all comment on the sideline letting us down and talk of a ruthlessness needed.

    While we can thank and congratulate our lads, and they deserve that, we still have to ask the hard questions. This management team have shown nothing in my mind that suggests we are going forward. They ignored the lessons of game 1 v Dublin. They got away with a makeshift plan against Donegal but it was only a reaction to the Sligo game, it failed when really tested.

    In my mind the question is do we believe Pat and Noel are capable of improving this panel of players. It is not about giving them chance because it is too late for chances. We need the best people in charge now before this golden generation are gone for good.

  104. Ok, I’m trying to get my head around this whole ‘someone criticising the players having a few pints’ thing.
    I can’t see the comment anywhere above, maybe it was deleted since.

    But if someone really did say that, it is without doubt the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life.

    Personally I hope the players go out and get locked for the next couple of weeks or longer! Then back to their clubs and concentrate on that for a while.

    Whatever they do, they need to unwind, relax and forget about the inter county scene for a while. Then come back again next year refreshed, re-energised and ready to have another rattle at it.

  105. Dan – me too! I didn’t see any such comment being made here either and had I done so the wavin pipe would have been out quickly to deal with it.

  106. Read the Dara O Se article. I think he is mad at us as, I think he would rather Kerry to be facing Mayo. That said he does speak some truth. Fact is we have collapsed when ahead in big big games too often now. #I even go back to the quarter final last year v Cork which we could and possibly should have lost.
    Players are not doing themselves justice despite our shortcomings up front.

  107. I was critical of the current management’s appointment and would have grave reservations about some of their decision making throughout the year but ladies and gentlemen we should thread carefully here looking for resignations. The reason I say this is to my mind there are not to many people who are available who could improve the team. I mean would we like to see Tommy “Tom” Carr or lord help us John Evans in charge?

    Again i’m not saying that H and C don’t have their limitations and they have to ask themselves the serious questions about selection and tactics but realistically i’m not sure that there are to many people out there who could do the job. Be careful what you wish for and all that.

  108. First readable article from O’ Sé in a long time. But he singularly criticises Hennelly a lot though which is a little ott in my opinion. Seems to be trying to stoke it up more than anything else.

    Personally I don’t have a lot of time for O’Sé anymore. I think he talks an awful lot of s**te. This goes back to specifically an article prior to the Galway game when he was blathering on about Mayo.

    He said that “any team that beat Mayo in past 3 years won the All Ireland. that’s the type of team they are”. Jaysus I thought. That sounds great. Until I said to myself.

    “Hold on – what about Kerry?”. Any team that beat them in the past 4 years did the same thing. H’mm I thought. That guy is just another spoofer.

    With reference to the papers I read McGuinness’s article yesterday and I thought it was good. And I’m looking forward to Darragh O’Cinneides on Saturday in the Examiner. He for me is the best.

  109. Dan and WJ,
    The criticism of the players having a pint was made in the comments section of Matt Molloys Facebook page under the picture of the lads having a few pints Monday evening. The comment was made by the author of this guest post and it said that Kerry players wouldn’t allow themselves be pictured smiling in a pub after a game like that and he took particular umbrage with Aiden O’Sheas hat. It has since been deleted but not before I and many others had seen it.

  110. There are certainly a lot of truths in what O’Se has to say there, but it’s a bit out of order singling out Hennelly. The whole article seems focused on him and him alone, which isn’t on.
    In any case, his options were limited enough for the first kick out.
    He doesn’t sound too happy anyway, the poor love. Chill out Darragh

  111. jaysus Darragh O Se doesn’t spare the rod for Hennelly. Bit over the top I think – agree fundamentally with the point he is making but wasn’t the real problem how Mayo were set up at the time rather than the kick out. Over the 2 games both Cluxton and Hennelly hit plenty of wayward balls…it wasn’t int he Durcan cock up in last years final realm of kicks…the ball hit midfield and a long way from there to the back of the net. So agree with O Se about Mayo not getting it right on finishing out the game but not the weight of where he place responsibility.

  112. A suggestion. Get on Mayogaa.com, the listings for the upcoming U21 championship games will soon go up. Get out and watch some club football.
    There’s a super game coming up in Ballintubber, Ballintubber – Moy Davitts. I would imagine next week but listings not up yet.

  113. I see, cheers Liam.

    Must have been a very offensive hat…maybe one of those ‘beer-hats’ with a litre of Fat Frog in each side or something

  114. Liam – I’ve always made the point that everyone is free to say whatever they want in whatever way they want about whatever topic they want on social media and it’s their own lookout when they do so. Clearly any such comments have nothing to do with this site.

  115. That’s exactly it Ultair, in a nutshell.

    I propose we start a campaign to never win the frigging thing.

    As for O’Sé, scapegoating a player like that in the national press is beneath contempt, frankly.

  116. John Cuffe, no, I didn’t think that, not at all – I meant it in a more general sense.

    I suppose the point I was trying to make (somewhat clumsily) was that we all have our own way of dealing with defeats or our own perspectives on how we’ll face into another year, while often feeling somewhat powerless to make a significant impact ourselves.

    I’d be of the school of thought that little we say or do here has any great impact and perhaps if we feel that strongly about the future of Mayo football then we should be shouting louder from within our clubs. And that goes for me more than anyone – apart from going along to support, I have very little involvement with my club for various reasons, and I doubt I’m alone in that.

  117. I think communication is a big part in our big games.can remember when James nallen was in the back room team he’d have a bottle of water in on the pitch constantly informing players what changes were going on,haven’t seen much of that since.have no real problem with management just need to sort out the sub’s against bigger teams as they say themselves horses for coarses.I honestly think the game was lost as players legs got tired and our substitution s didn’t counter act there’s.we need to get Stevie cone into the defence set up, a few different defensive plans.I’d like to see them pick four strong young forwards like tj Byrne can see a lot of potential in this lad at half forward.Duffy would be another.give them plenty of game time during the league.there’s no point and waiting till august sept to be think of the what ifs.the first 15 is there just need to get the bench as strong as who will be replaced.honestly think we’re a bit behind the top two but we can close this with a small bit of patience.to the players enjoy your down time ye earned it.wj really enjoy this site.

  118. Ger Bohan, I am puzzled as to how you can read my very genuine comments and consider them disingenuous! If you read my post again, you will see that in your own comments you have in fact actually agreed with me. Debate is critical. I’ve said that. I also stand by the rest of my comments.
    As for the “makeshift plan v Donegal” I couldn’t disagree more. It was a sign that management were more flexible tactically, were willing to adjust their own game plant in an attempt to negate an opponents strength and it worked perfectly. Far from makeshift in my opinion. And as for it being a reaction to the Sligo game, I think with all due respect to Sligo and I work with a lot of them, we never had to have any tactical plan to cater for them. We’ve had harder training sessions to be truthful. Also, it was known that Mayo had been working on a more defensive side to their game since the league – remember Monaghan and Donegal? – and we certainly didn’t have to show our hand in Connaught.
    No, the thing that bugs my hole is that when we win we are the greatest team since sliced bread but when we lose, some of the very same “supporters” are the first on the key boards/radio etc. degrading and ridiculing the teams efforts. If anyone reads back through my comments, as much as a supporter I am, I’m not blind to our faults and am far from a “green and red tinted glasses” fan. Debate, argue etc is good – not that it will change much – but digs and cheap shots at our players is not acceptable.
    P.S. as much as it pains me to admit it O’Shea is correct about Hennelly, the ball was in his hands and he allowed McMahon to push it/him over the line. Plus he was facing the wrong way! From being a keeper myself, the unfortunate thing is that a goalie is the last line of defense and therefore when they err it results in a goal. All the other good stuff will be forgotten. But, that’s life.

  119. Again for us it probably just comes down to the fact that our players are too honest! Robbie could have took his time but he felt bad about holding up the game so he kicked it out too quickly. Same with Seamie he could have got Cooper in trouble rather than himself.

    You know what I’d still prefer to have the likes of Keith Higgins, Robbie, Lee, Cillian, Seamie and Andy representing us than players like Philly McMahon, Jonny Cooper, Kieran Donaghy, Darragh O’Shea or Tiernan McCann. Most of these players have All-Ireland medals but I think that our players have more integrity.

  120. Agree with you on that HopeSpringsEternal.
    I expect the usual short termist comments about how people wouldn’t care how we win the All Ireland. Better to never win it and have class than to win it with integrity on the floor. I’d prefer to take another 20 years to win it, than win it now with no integrity.
    Also I believe what we are missing is not some cynical edge but simply players and skills.

  121. I think losing Seamie was a big loss, it forced the managerment hand to early in the game but look its a melting point out there and will just have to learn from it. As for the managerment team, J Horan got us tothe semi in first year and we were happy with that, these guys sould get there chance. constant change may not be the answer either

  122. I decided not to post anything post match until today, as I have been still choked up with feelings of anger and what if’s.

    We were found wanting again at the well. Our subsitutes weren’t the same class as the Dubs. I really hope we unearth a full and centre back with at least 2 other forwards in FBD and the league. Why cant we get some of the winning minor team of 2013 on strength and conditioning traning and blood them in the league.
    We were to predictive the last day. We need Clarke back in goals. Simple as. He wouldnt have been allowed to be pushed over the line and he would have taken a yellow to slow down the game and make sure his glove was on before kicking out the ball.
    The modern game is measured in millimeters. What if Keegans point went over? Why didnt we slow the game down when we went 4 points up, the dubs done it to us when they went ahead. So annoying. These calls should have been made by the management. Alot to ponder in the post analysis of the game.

  123. During the Crimean War a letter was reportedly sent home by a British soldier quoting a Russian officer who had said that British soldiers were like “lions commanded by jackasses” This was immediately after the failure to storm the fortress of Sevastopol.
    Jim McGuinness in his Irish Times article seems to believe that the Mayo team are like “lions led by donkeys” I disagree up to a point and am convinced the current Mayo management did their best but is their best good enough to get to Nirvana?
    How would I describe the present Mayo predicament?I am reminded of an ancient Arabian proverb that says “An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep”

  124. Interesting points about the quest for Sam consuming us!
    I can say it’s a great thing that it is because it shows for one thing that we are at a level to win an all Ireland .there are only a handful of teams that can go into this category and it great to be part of that!
    People do be giving out for mayo 4 Sam campaigns but I think there great.its great craic for the supporters and in no way does it have any impact on the team! There focused on football!

    It does hurt when we lose a big game and so it should if you are really into it.there be analysis what went wrong what went right over the winter months and this is all part of a process!

    When the fbd comes along in January we will be back on the bandwagon again watching closely at new players maybe new styles and then we be on the road again for the national league which are great days and nights out!
    And London is even being planned already!

    Not only are we consumed by a quest for Sam I think the genuine supporter is consumed by the love of there county.being realistic we are not going to be in a position to challenge for an all Ireland every year but this won’t disminish a love and pride of our county!

  125. I agree with Mayomanindublin and after reading Dara O Shea’s article and what I witnessed Saturday I don’t think we can go with Hennelly in a big game again…….he’s to much of a liability

    This team has one maybe two years left in them………… I think management have to make sure sure that Clarke is fully fit next year and stays injury free.

    In relation to our full back line, we need a defensive plan in place and need to give forwards like Douglas, Regan , Conor Loftus a chance

  126. Read DOS comments on the Irish Times, He is OTT at his singular critism of Robbie, not that what he says is not true. But failed to mention that Barry has been taken off and Tom Parsons was carrying a thimb injury. He was without midfield options making his job harder. The long ball into AOS again when it has failed the previous Sunday has much more to do with it. Consider this why was a clearly injured player started? Surely a fit Keane is better than a injured Vaughan? We had no proper sweeper system and a year to work on one.

  127. Yes Aidan – correct and spot on.

    We are where we want to be as a county in terms of team and supporters. Up there year on year “expecting” to compete and not hoping to get there. Next year should be no different.

    We should be up there again pushing harder even. Critical analysis is important but it must come from within the camp. The idea of buying into something Dara O’Sé or Jim McGuinness or Bomber or even Dara O’Conneide says is nonsense. The players and the management have to come up with strategies on their own. If they can’t well management must be replaced.

    We are now at a stage where we expect that this team (and subsequent ones) can compete with Kerry, Dublin, Tyrone, Cork, Donegal, Monaghan (whoever) and beat them.

    We are at the same level great teams are at.

    The County Board should take note. This is where supporters of Mayo football expect them to STAY !!

  128. PJ2, The management has to make sure that Clarke is fully for any stayed injury free! I would wish that for all our players. The only way that can be guaranteed of if threat don’t play any football for club or county!

  129. Is London ALWAYS the last weekend in May folks? Need to save the pennies soon!

    I’d echo what Anne Marie says about it consuming us. It’s mad. I spent all of Sunday feeling sick, nervous and shaking like a leaf, followed by an adrenaline rush I’ve never experienced before. I started crying when we got the penalty. I’m not even sure why!! I was a total mess on Monday and Tuesday. Then for the replay, more of the same, shaking with nerves, feeling sick. It’s mad! How can I enjoy that?!

    Anyways, we’ll motor on. The lads well due a break and they can enjoy their club duties. FBD league won’t be long coming around, and hopefully some more fringe players get the chance to impress.

    Anyways, if anyone has solid info on the London question I’d be grateful!

  130. Lean times – Oshea’s article is a bit critical to Robbie ??

    I watched the match again last night and I feel that its perfectly justified………….

    It must be emphasized that management made some shocking call’s too…

    Will we ever learn ?

  131. I read this somewhere:

    (A dream is what you do when you go to sleep, an obsession is what keeps you awake at night. A dream is pure and based on pride. An obsession is impure and based on compulsion. It is better to have a dream than to have an obsession.)

    Maybe that sums up us Mayo supporters, ah sur roll on the next game!

  132. My final word on last saturdays defeat is, I really hope coc and his colleagues are not afraid of causing a commotion and even taking a break for a year if they are not confident in the management. Maybe they believe that the h and c management are up to the task, hard to say, but if not, they will be in for another dose of heartbreak next august or september unless they make the changes, if needed. 1 league title (won 14 years ago) is all Mayo have to show for all the great players that we have had since 1970. Its astounding.
    McHale, mortimers, o neil, mcdonald, brady, fallon, sheridan,kilcoyne, o connor, o shea etc etc, to name but a few have been through our system and spat out, crumpled and and destroyed for one reason or another so far. And pat holmes said before he was chosen as a joint manager that he didnt have the time or inclination to be involved, what changed?

  133. Normally the London game is on the English bank hol weekend at end of May.should be on Sunday 29th may 2016 but normally gaa confirm that in few months

  134. Bobconlon – comments that pick arguments with what others have said aren’t allowed here. If you disagree with someone else’s point of view then argue the point instead of going off the deep end with a hissy fit at the person who made it.

  135. JC – that comment about a specific player strayed into trash-talking. If you want to make a case as to why a named player should no longer be in the first fifteen, you need to do a whole load better than that in term of specifics.

    Mayo 51 – the same goes for you with that earlier comment naming specific players that I’ve only now got to see.

  136. Ultair the stage of exit is the same however are Mayo in the same place now as last year are Mayo further from Sam now than 12 months ago?

    Last year in first semi final Mayo led Kerry by 5 points with 67 mins on the clock that’s when that tie was lost however with a bit of luck Mayo could easily have won that replay. Kerry went on to win that All Ireland which tells me Mayo probably would have done likewise.

    In the drawn semi final the comeback from 7 points down has clouded over how average Mayo were I think only one point from play for 60 minutes.

    For 50 minutes Saturday Mayo gave as good as they got but faded badly and suffered our biggest margin of defeat in the championship for 4 years. Last 15 mins it was Dublin 3-4 Mayo 0-2 it’s a long time since Mayo finished a game so poorly and I think the two scores Mayo got were frees compared to all from play for Dublin.

  137. Its hard to know about last year and the Dubs. Were Donegal that good or did Dublin collapse? For it it was the latter. And they almost collapsed again this year so in essence they are brittle. OK they won the replay and are through to the All Ireland but if they don’t win it now I think they are not just back to square one but behind it.

    If Kerry win it will be a good achievement as it adequately proves how adaptable they can be plus it copper fastens Fitzmaurice’s image as the top manager in the country with the best footballing brain.

    As for us well the big thing would be to recognise that we had both these teams on the ropes but failed to put them away. Fixing this is the number one priority for this management team after this year. After that they do need to begin to blood some younger fellas especially as backup but that needs a lot of input from County board as well.

    Its obvious as hell that we don’t have proper structures in place to get the best guys coming through as our minor All Ireland winning squad have shown. Whether that’s down to changing the format of U21 and Minor setups I don’t know as I don’t have enough insight on those areas. But something needs to change sharpish to bring back the quality at that level.

  138. Dublin collapse definitely JPM, for me

    Had they replayed that match 5 times afterwards I’d have backed the Dubs in each one. their lack of a test really caught them on the hop last season

    I know Donegal took advantage well, but that game was over but for a laughable O’Gara pass and a bad Connolly miss.

  139. well willie joe sorry if it came i back that way i just thought that was a low blow to other players thats all. i wasnt tryin to pick an argument. they are just lads at the end of the day trying there best for there countys.

  140. Happen to be chatting with Conor McManus today , when someone like that tells you ” I guarantee you Mayo will be back challenging next year,they have no intention of going away and why would they” it really makes you feel a bit better.

    We will be back in croker next year . We do need change and I’m also not convinced by present management , have they got all the players in side , interviews with players this year never gave me great confidence they had bought into new management . We will see what happens there . I will repeat it again though , we have to develop two new forwards , ball hoping up to the chest thirty yards out , out in front , turn and direct towards goal . Ffs tonight man although he’s not a forward , SOS in the first game had 15 yards in front of him 35/40 m out , couldn’t handle it and went back on himself, this to me was just bizzare but sometimes typical of the culture of this panel (80% of what they do is excellent) but when an obvious route to goal comes they back out and recycle after recycle. To counter that shite as simplistic and pat Spillane esque as it sounds you need a couple of natural forward instinct players like Conor loftus and Evan Reagan , get them on s&c programme and take a chance , nothing to lose by replacing two of the similar four we have for two different style.

  141. We will have to wait until the All-Ireland final is over to get a better picture of how our season panned out. It is a hard game to call. You could say that the replay against us last year was a big reason why Kerry won the final. Will the same thing happen this year for Dublin. In saying that Dublin have won their last two big games against Kerry in 2013 and 2011 and I’d say that is a very rare thing for Kerry to lose to the Dubs three times in a row. Kerry also have a number of players who you’d have to think will be playing in their last season: Marc O’Se, Aidan O’Mahony, Paul Galvin and Kieran Donaghy. Colm Cooper will be 33 next year as well, the same as Donaghy. These boys will want to sail into retirement with another All-Ireland medal in their back pockets. Dublin will also probably have a few finishing up, Alan Brogan, Denis Bastick, maybe even Stephen Cluxton, he’ll be 34 next year, so I suppose it does show that if we can stay competitive there might be light at the end of the tunnel for us yet.

  142. peewee09 what would be wrong with john evans as manager,has c&h won a all ,ireland as managers,no they havent,but evans has

  143. Toto-I couldn’t agree with you more.This first happened in 1996 in when our team was feted in the Welcome Inn after throwing both finals away against Meath.It wouldn’t happen in any other major footballing county.No matter what anyone says this team has won nothing and is still put up on a pedestal.Sure they give their all and wear the county jersey with pride but so what,thats their job on Sundays.They are not been forced to do it.And this auld shite of there only amateurs with jobs to go to on Monday is well gone.All these guys (and rightly so) are making plenty of money on the side from adverts,sponsorships etc.If this was Kerry or Dublin the management would be absolutely slated but in Mayo we get behind a pair that left almost every supporter scratching their heads watching that game Sunday.We will have a very hard time staying in DIV 1 of the league this year.And forget the hype-we played one top tier team this year and were shown the door.The media in the county are as bad,theres nobody ever calling out management.Talking about OSheas black card as being crucial is an easy way out.Have some nuts-ask flat out why the management make ridiculous decisions throughout both games.We will always be the bridesmaids until we become more ruthless including us as fans.

  144. MO2015, we can go back and forth on this all night. We had similar problems in the 2013 final when our forwards didn’t perform on the day. The problems that we had the last day are by no means new. Leaking goals, not scoring enough from play, not closing out games.

    If you go by raw statistics then yes we are four points worse than we were last year. But we were also in a winning position in the 2nd half, just like last year. Our cuteness and composure deserted us both times. Is a 7 point defeat really that much worse than 3?

    Basically, my point is that there is no point splitting hairs and comparing last year’s and this year’s games side-by-side. Different opponents, different players. It’s more useful to compare the years as a whole, and I don’t think this year was much worse than the previous.

    Are we any closer to winning Sam? I honestly don’t know. But I don’t think we are at the stage where Noel and Pat should go (nowhere near it in fact). If anything they have shown they can mix it up tactically to a certain degree. My hope for next year is that they will continue to add strength and depth and make us more astute in defensive. If they succeed then who knows what will happen?

  145. I agree with brighton, how the management couldn’t see from the first day that pushing up on Cluxton’s kickouts actually paid dividends is beyond me and a lot of other people too. No bloody wonder they ran out of steam with 15 minutes to go. They were wrecked running after Dublin. Also, in the two games, launching high balls in on top of AOS, where in the name of Jaysus were the other forwards running off him?? He can’t do it all alone. If it was Kerry, Dublin or any other county ‘d imagine they’d be buzzing like flies hoping to pick up breaks. I think that was part of the management’s plan.

    Also, why the fuck was Vaughan starting, apologies for the language, but he was clearly injured and it meant that a sub was already gone. Kevin Keane has got a hard deal all year since he got injured. If he was there, Brogan would be shoved out over the endline instead of walking the ball in by Cafferkey.

    Maybe Dublin would have won the game anyway, but honestly, a lot of questions have to be asked of the management. And don’t start believing we will get to a final next year because it’s ‘only Ulster’ we have to play, I’m sure Tyrone would be in a final if they faced us this year. Pateen going on about how they didn’t know what to do with the blanket. I think I’ve said enough now, but it was on my chest all week. Rant over!

  146. I guess when you leak goals to the lesser teams than you dot have a hope of keeping the bigger teams out, surely someone from the north can install the puke football defensive system in to us. Dont get me wrong i dont want to see Mayo play a totaly defensive game, but we can counter attack really well and are running game is the best in the country. If we could get the balace right we would be unstopable. Or is not that simple?

  147. Cynical Cynthia – I appreciate that you’re trying to make a genuine point but you’re going to have to come at it a different way. That “dogs in the street” but was particularly problematic.

  148. All – it’s obvious that disappointment from Saturday is now tipping over fairly strongly into anger. I’m trying to be as fair-minded as I can in letting the debate flow and I’ve let a few comments that sailed a bit close to the wind go but I’d appeal to everyone to exercise a bit of restraint when posting critical comments.

  149. I don’t know willie Joe … This is supposed to be be a blog where people air there opinions and are entitled to do do so …

    And yes agree I agree with Dara o shea’s criticism of our goal keeper ..you might see such an act in a Junior b game but not infront of a full house in Croker with the nation and people right across the world watching

  150. With all due respect, Mayo51, as the person who created this site and whose time and money keep it going, I think I’ll be the one who decides what it’s supposed to be or not. I’ve absolutely no problem with opinions being aired here but I’m getting more than a bit hacked off that an increasing number feel it’s somewhere to unload cheap, nasty pot-shots at players and management. Nobody is “entitled” to do that – in fact, it’s this unjustified sense of entitlement that some people clearly have in seeking to use this place to say whatever the hell they want that annoys me. All I’m asking is that those commenting obey the rules for doing so. This won’t stifle debate or prevent a range of views being aired but it will stop the low blows being landed.

  151. People go through different stages after disappointments or grief even. First is sadness/depression, followed by anger which is where most of us are at now.

    I’m just angry at always being second or third best, pats on the back, the sorrowful raised eyebrows of colleagues and friends from other counties…fuck this is getting annoying.

    The stat of ONE national trophy since 1970 is depressing. We have lost a fair few minor, u-21 and club all Ireland’s too down the years. Fuck it.

  152. I accept your point willie Joe …

    This site is a credit to you …

    But all I’m saying is Dara o Shea’s article is the truth …. Hard read but on the money ..

    Like the mistake our keeper made basically cost us the game, can I not air my point ??

    I personally think a lot of the negativity here is down to disappointment and heart break

  153. Mistakes
    One way to analyse a game is to look at the mistakes. The team that makes the least mistakes (or the least expensive mistakes) usually comes out on top.
    Certainly Dublin made mistakes the last day including Cluxton but they seemed to make fewer and less costly ones to ours.
    Among which are the following in my opinion in no particular order of importance:
    1 Selecting Donal Vaughan (and perhaps Robbie Hennelly as well) and using up all our midfield options by starting Barry Moran
    2 Hoofing bad balls into AOS while he was double/ treble marked with no support even if he did win it
    3 Not tracking Philly McMahons runs (not AOS but our sweeper or blanket)
    4 Loosing two crucial kick outs and allowing them run through us
    5 Not hauling down Brogan as he ran along the end line before he got inside the big square and taking a black, yellow or red card if needed
    6 Lee Keegans missed point opportunity to put us 5 up followed by a missed pass to Keith Higgins which would almost certainly have resulted in a score. Other scoring opportunities dropping short
    7 Ending the game with most of our physically strongest players on the line – Seamie O Shea, Tom Parsons, Donie Vaughan, Barry Moran and Kevin Keane. All or most of our ‘muscle’ was watching the game instead of being right in the thick of it for various reasons
    8 Seamie O Shea getting sent off
    9 Not fouling Dublin out the field to stop them building momentum from the back
    10 Leaving the core of our defence wide open at times in 2 nd half ( as Brolly irritatingly pointed out)

    Any eejit could list the above shortcomings. A much harder task is to explain why these occurred – was it just one of those days, typical of what most teams do in any game – poor decision making ability – pressure from opposition – nerves – lack of tactical preparation – poor recovery compared to Dublin ( about which I posted earlier) – lack of confidence? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the squad ( team and management) probably know exactly why. They need to addresss these issues bluntly and honestly when the rawness of this defeat subsides. Good luck to them and roll on 2016!

  154. Mayo51 – where did I say you couldn’t air your point, which you’ve now done twice? For what it’s worth, I thought O Se’s article was unduly personalised where it came to Robbie and I don’t accept the point that the match was lost on this one incident, though it clearly was a factor in the result. Neither do I care for or rate O Se as a serious pundit, not least because of that stage Kerryman bullshit style his columns are written in (most likely by someone other than him).

  155. It was a bit personal alright willie Joe …

    I just think the kick out straight to the dubs was crucial … Gave the dubs momentum , had them attacking in droves …and the hill rocking

    I would respect o Shea’s judgement , he has been there before and is a winner …

    If it takes management to read a few of these articles by these high profile pundits and make changes for next year

    Would you like to be here this time next year again Willie Joe , monitoring this trend or would you like to have Sam in Castlebar ??

  156. You know Mayo 51 every pundit across the media has all the answers when the event is over. The kickout was very important but the whole season did not hinge on the one error, there were many made between our goal and their goal. I do vividly remember thinking Hennelly looked spooked when he thought everyone was waiting for him, I think he thought the substitution would take longer. He should’ve got one of the players to tie the laces for him and he should’ve taken his time. But he’s 25, he still has a lot to learn, and he doesn’t need to read that article he’s knows it all himself already,he’ll learn from this.

  157. I don’t care too much for O’Se’s writing, more like rambling tbh. Quirks writing is much better IMO.
    But In fairness it could have been worse, Robbie advanced quickly and smartly in the first half to deny Brogan a carbon copy of the goal he scored in the 2013 final.
    But it wasn’t any one single play that changed our fortunes, it was the manifestation of many.

  158. Joe … , learn from this ? How many more times does he need to learn ? -2013 , 2014 , 2015

    That’s our problem we are not ruthless enough, we had safer options available

    I think willie Joe is right , people are getting more on angry on this blog as the week goes on

    As I said above I think Dara o shea’s article is an honest reflection from a man who’s done it

  159. It was interesting that at the beginning of the second-half in the drawn match, Cian O’Sullivan was tying his laces and held the game up. All of the players were lined up and the referee was ready to throw the ball in but the Dublin player took his time and didn’t rush himself but made sure that he tied his laces properly. The Mayo supporters didn’t give him a hard time either, compare this to the way the Dublin fans treated Robbie. We are all too nice.

    I thought it was interesting to hear a comment from Noel Connelly after the drawn game as well, he said something like, I suppose it wasn’t great for the supporters to watch in the first half, i.e. when Mayo were playing defensive football. I could not imagine Mickey Harte saying that, in fact he would say the opposite, that they are not in the entertainment business but are in the business of winning matches. Again us Mayo people probably worry to much about what others think of us rather than just doing whatever it takes to get a win.

  160. thanks Willie Joe for the outlet looks like no one else is bothered no more, and we are not even a full week over it! maybe its all been said. enjoy the All Ireland lads best of luck Bob!

  161. Welcome back Brighton811, we’ve missed you.

    On O’Se’s article. I don’t think anyone really disagrees with the points he’s making (and to be fair, they’re pretty obvious points), but he was well out of order making pretty much the whole thing about Hennelly.
    It shows how poor he is that he can only write about one incident, rather than look at different aspects of both teams tactics/substitutions etc.

    I made a pact with myself a couple of years ago to stop reading his shite. But unfortunately I keep clicking on the links that are posted in here.
    I’m pretty sure my laptop got a virus the last time I clicked a link to one of his articles.

    He should have a look at some of O’Cinneide’s analysis sometime. Along with McGuinness, he’s about the best there is out there.

  162. I think it is no co-incidence that the two remaining teams in the AIF this year are led by the two smartest managers currently in the business, ie Fitzmaurice and Gavin. Without doubt we have been tactically outwitted again on the side-line.I firmly believe there is an All-Ireland in this Mayo squad but we need to be smarter – need to be pro-active,come up with our own fresh ideas/plans and put the other team on the back foot. We finished this game with Coen and Freeman as centre-fielders – – madness not having Gibbons/Kirby in reserve if we were starting our 4 regular mid-fielders. O’Shea’s criticism may be harsh on Hennelly but it typifies the overall malaise – – – lack of composure. This lack of composure on the side-line translated to indecision and lack of direction on the pitch. I admit I am a fan of Clarke – dont think Robbie makes the best of decisions at times – and that certainly wasn’t a good decision – belting the ball down the middle after our 3 mid-fielders were gone.Cant understand how they selected Donie for replay after the injury he received in drawn match but his direct forceful running and strength was badly missed. Thought they would have brought on Kevin Keane to counteract McMenamon – as he is of similar build and well able to prevent McMenamon from building up momentum on those direct,penetrating runs he undertakes. Seamie was a huge loss and even though it only merited a yellow card he should have known better. Keith had an average year by his own high standards – maybe captaincy doesn’t suit him – would be an ideal man for the sweeper role – as he has such speed and can read a game so well. Dublin and Kerry have each 9 or 10 good forwards – -we are struggling to have 4 – enough said – we know what we have to do. I’m not calling for heads on a plate here – but would like to see some fresh brains in the backroom. Does Pat really want the job? Find it hard to get any inspiration from his pre or post match interviews. Noel is passionate and Mayo to the core – – but is that enough? Would like to see a Rochford/Connelly combination. Maybe some thought could be given towards getting some outside advice/consultancy assistance during 2016 from a proven winner such as McGuinness/Canavan/O’Cinneide. I think this “particular treadmill” has stalled slightly this year. We can get over the line – – – but we may need help. I suppose we could always ring the “pharmacists in Toulon” and see if they have any gear left over that could inject a bit of pep in our step!!

  163. Every year since 2012 and the disappointment which that brought I hoped and prayed Mayo would have the appetite to have another go the following year. So far this has been the case at least for most if not all of the players. I always felt that the build up of strength and conditioning, skill, game cuteness, experience etc combined with their collective will and ferocious determination would eventually ensure that they would win an all Ireland. Im not so sure anymore and I fear we might even see a serious drop off in form next year instead of an improvement even if all the lads commit to another year. ‘Going to the well too often’ is a well known phenomenon! It has happened many times before to great teams and they sometimes end up getting a bad beating. You think you are training hard, improving, learning and ready for action and then bang! It’s all over.
    I really hope this is not our fate.

  164. i think that we need to rest most of our established players for the FBD and early part of the league. We should perhaps play one established player per line. If we get a good draw we would just need to be ready for the Connaught Final Keep blooding new players—we realy need them.

  165. I dont know how long we have are Division 1 status but i know it a long time, so we will always be there abouts in the championship as long as we stay in Div 1. We are still in the top 3 in the country and im not sure Donegal can say this. Were not in a bad place, we found one new player this year and i do agree we have to freshen it up for next year but 2 or 3 players could be the differance. Only time will tell how much the managerment can improve and learn from this and that is my big concern

  166. Samuel i agree withyou i think we need someone to come in to help us ti win ugly, we have nice footballers but there is still somthing lacking when it comes to closeing out games, my mind goes back to the drawn game against kerry last year.
    They bring in Donaghy and bang, one man should not have that impact if we were smarter on the line

  167. Up for the match – just to answer that question you posed about how long we’re in Division One of the NFL: it’s since the 1998/9 League season (which was back in the days when the League started up in October and then went into hibernation over winter). We were in Division 2 in the 1996/7 NFL season and then for 1997/8 everything was re-organised into a number of groups containing both strong and weak counties (alongside us in ‘Section A’ were Fermanagh, Galway, Kilkenny, Carlow, Leitrim, Louth and Laois). We qualified from the play-offs from that Section in the spring of 1998 and later that year we started our Division 1B campaign. We remained in Division 1B until 2003 and were then in 1A from 2004 to 2007. In 2007, there was another rejig, creating the current Divisions 1-4, and we needed to make the top four that year to retain our Division One status, which we did. That’s the long answer to your question – the short one is since 1998.

  168. We did bring someone in to help this team. James Horan brought in Donie Buckley and he stayed this year. I don’t think bringing someone else in is the answer.

  169. Agree with the above comment JPM.

    What about McGuinness, the season will be over with Celtic in May, Im sure hed come on board if he was given a consultancy fee.

  170. It would be absolutely insane to be paying out consultancy fees while the forwards of 2013 and 2014 minor teams do not have an operating Academy. This is not some I spotted a young fella playing a junior B game in Lahardane kind of hearsay. These young lads in both years (13/14) went up to Croke park and were our best performing forward lines since the ’99 minors. Crucially they are the kind of forwards don’t ask your permission about scoring. They’re track record at U21 and Senior at club level is consistent, not just sneaking 0-1 per game. There are two years worth of forwards there.
    TJ Byrne and Fionan Duffy already can physically mix it. Some of Duffys points for Crossmolina are exactly what we are missing, collect the ball, take a tackle, turn and shoot. Simplicity when done well … unfortunately beyond the reach of most our forwards.

  171. Ah – I dunno about McGuiness or anyone else. Here’s the thing. If McGuiness were to come in he would have to be there from the start. You can’t change the way the team are going to play mid season.

    And anyway that’s not McGuiness’s style. He would want control from the beginning (and he would be right). But sure that means then abandoning this management team after one season which I can’t see happening.

    Others would come in for that “consultancy” fee no problem. But if we were beaten again in a semi they would still get paid and would probably point to something like “Mayo not having enough quality” or something along those lines. Bottom line – it would just be a waste of money imo.

    Donie Buckley is there and they should try an hold on to him and someone internally should learn as much as possible about the art of tackling from him. And Barry Solan should be consulted maybe on what is needed to add more pace and stamina to the team.

    People can argue all they want about this person should have played and this person shouldn’t. But we will never know if those players would have been the difference so it’s all guesswork for the most part.

    For the record here’s what I think we need (guess work as well of course)

    Pace and strength is one thing what we are missing I think in the inside line. Is Evan Regan pacy? Only other alternative is Conroy. Or else maybe Darren Coen but I’m not sure.

    Proper ball into AOS if he is playing in FF. Diagonal medium high balls in and not high skyscrapers. I think AOS was much better in the second half of the replay than the first. He got onto more ball dropping in front of him.

    More practice at a defensive system. Possibly move Higgins to 1/2 back line or use him as the sweeper. But it needs to be nailed on before the championship begins how the role should be played.

  172. Some good points JPM.
    I don’t think we have all that much more team gains to make in terms of tackling or fitness. On individual basis some injury free guys will naturally make some progress in fitness e.g. Adam Gallagher, Barry Moran, Tom Parsons. Just getting another season where they can train full time uninterrupted will add more fitness. Barry Moran looks primed to strengthen up to have a good 2016.
    Evan Regan is pacy yes, would be quicker than all current forward options.
    It isn’t about Regan or Duffy or Loftus, or any particular young player. I’d be of the mindset that 2016 is the year we back our young talent in terms of committing to developing them. There is simply no way there is not competitive senior level talent amongst our 19 – 22 year olds.
    They look naturally pacier, were ahead of current senior forwards at their same stage of development. Some of them already outmatch in terms of ball winning ability and ability to shrug off a defender.You can develop in the gym all you want, the lad who is naturally well built and has height and pace starts off stronger and has a much higher development ceiling.
    Bring in a tranche of young forwards especially with the aim of adding at least two starting. The panel needs freshness and the excitement and energy of youth.

  173. fair enough JPM I Note your points with regards to McGuinness, it would be hard to get him on board.

    Some valid points, who would you like to see as our goalkeeper and midfielders ?

    Where would you play Aidan O Shea ?

  174. Almost 200 posts by now and general agreement on the problems by the sideline
    and players.BUT BUT are Dublin in any event a better team?

    How many of our starting forwards would be on the Dublin panel?

    How many of our full backs would be on the Dublin panel?

    Somebody please answer–honesty is important

    Our players deserve our support and loyalty

  175. In response to Pj 2 . I would go with Clarke in goal next year and parsons and sos midfield

    I think Aos should be played centre forward .

    Observer … I think Maybe only Keith Higgins , at a push Chris Barrett …

  176. In the last eight years we have won 5 Connacht minor titles in the following years:

    2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 (All-Ireland winners), 2014

    In 2012 we made it to the All-Ireland semi-final after getting beaten in the Connacht final.

    Our U21 record is a write-off but based on the above we should have some new talented players available to us in the coming years.

  177. Not buying into the English soccer supporters top of the world when we win and bottom of ocean when we lose. It’s sport, we the supporters are on the rollercoaster and for me for the most part it’s fun. Hard to take going out but it happens 32 Counties each year although only maybe 10 are contenders.
    I’d be one of the people saying give management a chance but I do note a high rate of criticism in news articles so hopefully they learn.
    Re kickout strategy, can’t press for 70 and seemed we were in good stead on 51 minutes 4 up with Dublin only scoring 1 in 2nd half. Re deployment of Barry I cheered on hearing his name as I thought we’d see the twin towers but that wasn’t the plan and it proved costly losing 3 of 4 midfielders. So I’d be more critical of that.
    We ran out of steam over 2 games and wondering if they had ice bath at disposal after drawn match as Dublin would have used.
    Re Donie playing I would say start the fit lads though Solan was brought onto selectors later in year and presumably bought into the decision. So maybe they felt he was recovered.
    Re emerging and renewed talent we found Coen Drake, Durkan, Ronaldson, Kirby, Keane and may have 2 more in Regan and Loftus next year and hopefully Mickey C back though we were lucky with injuries most of this year. The idea of unearthing minors or U21’s is naive as if you look at James O’D for Kerry it took several years to establish a place in Kerry team. 2 is the minimum and we got very lucky with Diarmaid there. Would like to see Conor O’ Shea developed as he’s faster and more athletic than his brothers so with panel time.
    But would like top 40 to 50 players brought into S&C programme which I think they did do last year so will yield long term dividends. Also Solan a bit of a genius. People hailed our fitness in 1st game v Dublin, 6 days is hard ask with some players running 16km. Dublin probably had more technology / facilities at disposal for recovery process.

  178. If you rewatch the game Dublin were moving the ball with less passes into the scoring zone so they would have saved a lot of energy that way.
    Parsons was doing a lot of solo runs so that would have tired him out.
    Also Dublins subs were MDMA and McManamon who would catch the eye more than Coen and Drake in terms of running.

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