Tuesday round-up

The five-in-a-row men

I got back to the capital yesterday evening after a long and action-packed few days in the west. Between the cycling in all that rain and wind on Saturday and then the magical display the lads put on to clinch the Connacht five-in-a-row the following day it sure was a weekend to remember.

What made Sunday all the more special for me personally was how, for a change, I started and finished the day within the county as this is such a rare occurrence for me. Leaving Westport early on Sunday morning and seeing the town bedecked in colour, as were places likes Bohola, Kiltimagh and Ballyhaunis and then out along the N61 on the road to Roscommon, was uplifting and a sight to be treasured, all the more so because it’s not something I’d normally see as I hare down from Dublin for a game.

It was even better after the match.  I loitered around on the pitch for ages where I met up with loads of people (including liveinhope – thanks again for sorting out the small lad with a ticket in the seated area) knowing that I only had a short hop back to the home place ahead of me afterwards and not the usual long trek east. And then all the colour again on the way back to the county and that glorious sunwashed evening. Pure magic.

As I was chatting away on the undulating Hyde Park turf, my little fella – proudly kitted out in his treasured 2015 model away jersey – disappeared off hunting for autographs and ended up with most of the players’ signatures on his programme. Looking at the players patiently doing their stuff with the admiring hordes around them it was impossible not to be deeply impressed with them as individuals and as a group as a whole. They truly are a credit to themselves, their families and their communities and, as others have said, we need to treasure the special memories these young men have given us on such a consistent basis over the last five years.

While the rest of us were luxuriating lazily after the full-time whistle the lads from the Mayo News were busy recording their post-match podcast, an audio extravaganza which, I have to concede, puts my own humble in-the-moment audio offerings into the shade. It’s a great listen and it’s here.

Edwin McGreal in the Mayo News (which has a truckload of coverage today on the big match) credits Aidan O’Shea with having a hand in 6-15 of our total on Sunday. It was fitting, then, that Aido managed to pip Monaghan’s Conor McManus in the popular vote for the GAA’s Player of the Week. Details on that vote are here.

The nationals still have some stuff today on us. The Irish Independent has a piece with Alan Dillon (the Irish Examiner has a similar one – here) and the Indo also has a piece on Seamus O’Shea, stating that the Breaffy midfielder is a doubt for the All-Ireland quarter-final due to the groin injury that resulted in his early withdrawal from the fray last Sunday.  The quotes from Seamie appear to be the same as those we’ve already seen so perhaps it’s a bit alarmist to say that he’s a doubt for the next game but I guess we’ll know more nearer the time.

Arrangements for TV coverage of our quarter-final are also becoming clearer and County Board Chairman Mike Connelly isn’t impressed that Sky have exclusive live rights to the game, as this piece in the Connaught Telegraph confirms. This should be no surprise to anyone, though – the quarter-final featuring the Connacht champions was flagged as a Sky exclusive ages ago so I can’t see how it can now be termed as a bombshell. It will, of course, be a disappointment for those who can’t go and who want to see the game but the rights and wrongs of putting big matches exclusively on pay-TV have been well aired by now so – a bit like the decision to play the Connacht final in Hyde Park – there’s little point in ploughing up that particular ground all over again.

On the subject of the All-Ireland quarter-final, I guess now’s as good a time as any for me to come clean on the matter and declare that I won’t be there in Croke Park for it either. Our summer plans have been all over the shop organisation-wise this year (for a variety of unrelated issues) and the only relatively clear fortnight we could book something for includes August 8th. As a result, it’ll be the first All-Ireland series match we’ve played in since the 2005 quarter-final that I won’t be at, though I do expect to be watching it from afar on the day.

Before that one, the county has another All-Ireland series contest to sink its teeth into, which is the Junior All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny (yes, you did read that correctly) this coming Saturday at O’Connor Park in Tullamore where the throw-in is set for 2pm. Daniel Carey has a preview of this match in the Mayo News today (paper and digital versions) where he explains how the Cats cut a swathe through the British Junior championship, accounting for Lancashire, Gloucestershire and then the whole of Scotland to earn the right to face Seán McLoughlin’s charges in Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final.  Best of luck to our lads in that one.

109 thoughts on “Tuesday round-up

  1. Saturday’s battle should be interesting. I understand that kilkenny are very optimistic and it’s not difficult to see why, the British junior championship is a hard battle. I would not be surprised if they beat mayo! Mayo could very well underestimate the cats without the sticks!

  2. Anyone heading up to Tullamore on Saturday to watch the juniors? I’m tempted to make the trip, if only for the novel value of watching men in Kilkenny shirts playing football. You’d have to fancy our chances of making an All-Ireland final there, which, unbelievably, is also scheduled for … you’ve guessed it … 8th August. Unfortunate.

    The Sky thing is also unfortunate, but we’ve known it for ages, so I’m not sure why the outraged reaction to it now. I don’t have Sky Sports myself, so will be relying on the goodness of others for the luxury of watching the game back. The very idea of excluding viewers still maddens me, but such is the world in which the GAA now operates. The same world which decides Croke Park so badly needs the money that they send Galway and Donegal supporters to Dublin for a qualifier game when there is a perfectly good all-seater stadium lying idle in Castlebar (which *actually* needs the money). C’est la vie!

  3. Id say the Galway supporters (and players) would be delighted with getting a run out in Croker, but Donegal fans could peeved with the journey. Croker surface is like a carpet. Went on the pitch in the Hyde after the game and although it stood up well to all the previous rain, the humps on the pitch are bad, an oul roller wouldnt go astray in the off season. But all in all credit to Roscommon Gaa, it was a well marshalled event, and the stewards were friendly and helpful.

  4. I got this on the GAA.ie website. Just to confirm the possible quarter-finals B pairings:

    The All-Ireland quarter-final draw is subject to provincial final winners avoiding defeated finalists from their own province in this round and to the avoidance of repeat pairings where possible. Provincial Finals (Monaghan v Donegal, Mayo v Sligo), other repeat pairings (Mayo v Galway)

    Quarter-Finals (B)
    Option 1
    Donegal v Mayo
    Tyrone v Monaghan

    Option 2
    Galway v Monaghan
    Tyrone v Mayo

    Option 3
    Donegal v Mayo
    Sligo v Monaghan

    Option 4
    Galway v Mayo
    Sligo v Monaghan

  5. I was just speaking to a friend of mine from Donegal. He was telling me his neighbour plays for Donegal. He was telling me that the lad was gutted but feel they could beat any team in country. I asked my mage will he go to the Donegal v Mayo game if they beat Galway. He replied no because he thinks we would beat them. I asked him why so negative when your neighbour thinks they can beat any team. He replied “Ah ya but he is brainwashed” 🙂

  6. So the last time mayo played Kilkenny in football was 1985! I say it be one venue Nolan park where mayo won’t be going to play a competitive game anytime soon! Suppose we said the same about Linerick last year! Would the powers that be fix an all Ireland junior final for croke park on sat 8th August doubtful!

  7. i think it was later then 85 I was at a league game in Nolan Park .I think it was the year all teams we drawn from all divisions.

  8. It was in Mayo news today that they played Kilkenny in 85 in centenary good.could indeed have played them in league.a very novel pairing indeed.

  9. Well done to Mayo on Sunday, Enough has already been written and said. I watched the other matches last night and I must say the Derry manager is correct in his decision to step down. The refereeing was a shambles. Listening to Kevin McStay would make you sick, ( bite your lip and get on with it). You can be sure the Derry County Board will be fined for bringing the referee into the conversation. For far to long we have seen this type of ” Don’t say anything about referees”. This bullshit of protecting the ref at all costs is a joke. About time we complain, referees have done more damage to Gaelic Football in the way that its is now impossible to say who are the best teams. A decision like the one that was made in Kerry V Cork drawn game cost Cork a win. Likewise last year down in Limerick another ref disaster. I,m sure their will be a few more before Sam finds a home. Again the GAA is brain dead. Could they have played Galway V Donegal in Castlebar, and Sligo V Tyrone in Cavan.
    It would make sense for the supporters.
    Last year they could play the replay in AI semi final in Limerick, and now they cannot play outside of Croke Park. It,s another way of saying we cannot allow the Dubs to play anywhere else. So if its Donegal, Sligo, Galway, Tyrone, they will have to travel to Dublin 2 weekends in a row. Also its a joke that Sky now is the station that will televise the matches. Another fuckup paying a TV licence to the state. We now cannot watch our national games on our own country,s television. Between Referees, Fixtures and TV viewing, in a few years time the GAA will be a history. The GAA punter is into days word “Screwed”. GAA( Grab All Assoccation).

  10. For anyone wondering, (and im not trying to wind people up), you can get a good deal on sky sports at the moment if you have the basic package, you can get it half price for 6 months which i think is 22euro a month. Basically ring the cork based number and give out stink, they’ll offer the deal and the BEST part is you have 14 days free viewing of the sports channels and can cancel the offer within the 14 days….basically order sky sports on the friday before the match and you can watch it for free…..

  11. True grit, I agree with all you say except the bit about limerick against that shower last year. We lost that cause we weren’t good enough.

  12. haha that’s genius!!

    I have to agree that it’s a sad day for Ireland that the quarter final of our national sport will not be televised by our national broadcaster. That’s wrong on every level. The interest will be huge and it’s the older generation that I feel for most – those who may not be able to travel to the match but who would be glued to it at home. It’s a new low.

  13. In all fairness I think that anybody who really wants to watch the quarter final on TV that don’t have sky at home will watch it in a pub or a neighbours house.i do feel sorry for people in hospitals or nursing homes that wouldn’t have access to it alrite but now is not the time to be giving out about it.the TV fixtures were out months ago and the sky deal was for 3 years so when the deal is up for renewal that is the time to act and lobby county boards politicians provincial councils etc.by all accounts viewing numbers for sky isn’t huge so maybe they won’t want to renew a deal .

  14. The most recent time we played Kilkenny at senior level was in the 1997/8 league season, when we met at Nowlan Park on 16th November 1997 and beat them by 2-17 to 1-5. We were paired in the same group as them as they rejigged the league groupings that year (the season before we’d been in Division 2) and this resulted in our moving up to Division 1B the following season. We’ve never been out of the top tier of the league since, a record that lasts a good bit longer than any other county.

    That 1985 meeting with the Cats was, indeed, in the Centenary Cup. We beat them by 5-12 to 0-5 in Callan in the first round of that ill-fated (but strangely interesting at the time) tournament but then we were left fairly red-faced at losing 3-6 to 0-5 to Limerick in Askeaton in the next round.

  15. Would have put the house on it that the centenary cup was 84. Good job I’m not a betting man. Loved that piece WJ, Christ, you nearly had me crying. I really thought Sunday was something special, 5 in a row and all that. I know it wasn’t much of a match, but after 5 minutes, I could relax and watch our players, knowing we were there only for the presentation of the cup. Normally too tense and worried about the result.
    I felt sorry for Sligo , being on the receiving end of what we had to endure in the past.
    I know Niall Carew and his family for years and a nicer crowd you couldn’t meet. Really hope they can give Tyrone a rattle.

  16. Some very interesting views about Mayo and AoS on reservoir dubs.com. Apparently they think that Mayo are not up to much, hammering division 3 Sligo was too easy and having aos at ff shows our desperation at not having any forwards. There’s the worried tone in some posts, it’s dressed up as bravado but they are definitely a tad concerned. Which is nice! With a bit of luck we will have SOS and co at full tilt and show them how desperate we are.

  17. Ann Marie,

    I was speaking to a man who was involved at Croke Park for about twenty years on various committees who told me that it was probably the counties involved who wanted Tyrone/Sligo and Donegal/Galway in Croke Park as most counties want to play there as often as possible for the experience. Certainly Sligo would not get the chance too often.

    It will be interesting to see how Donegal react to their defeat in the Ulster Final. Last time it happened they struggled over Laois before collapsing to Mayo, much to our delight. Galway will certainly be up for their clash having had wins over two Ulster counties already. If it were in either Sligo or Castlebar I would be tempted to go to it but Croke Park may be out of range for me, esp. if it is the second game.

  18. Out of interest who would you prefer we meet in the next round Donegal or Tyrone or Galway?
    The Galway fans are certainly getting confident over on another forum with many not rating Donegal and another saying they can also beat Monaghan and have no fear of Kerry….and they talk about us going overboard after a win!!!!

    Amazing though what a win or two can do for confidence in a county.

  19. Nephin – the original Centenary Cup was played in 1984. However, and I may be wrong in this, I think they ran another Centenary Cup competition the following year in 1985 (which Kerry won, I think).
    Clonee Man – most of the country would disagree with you on that score. Mayo were screwed royally in that game by the ref, a game which if they had gotten any fair break they would have won. Saying that they weren’t good enough is not accurate in my opinion. Losing midfield does not mean they were not good enough.

  20. You’re right there, Connelly’s Brigade – the Centenary Cup was played in 1984. We beat Sligo in the first round but were well beaten, at home too, by Monaghan in the second round. Monaghan went all the way to the final where they lost to Meath. The open draw competition was retained the following year – I think it was branded the Ford Open Draw Cup or something like that. Kerry beat Derry (I think) in that year’s final and that was the last that was heard of it.

  21. Genuinely can’t see Galway beating Donegal. Thought they were pooor enough against a very limited Derry side (bad conditions aside).
    Donegal are just to long on the road at this point. And while they looked a bit tired on Sunday (and against Derry a few weeks back), they should have too much for Galway.

    What I’ll be interested in is seeing how Galway line up against them tactically.
    You’d expect them to try and frustate early on, possibly using a like for like blanket defence.
    We ned to be thinking of how we’re going to deal with Donegal ourselves, Saturday week should give us a few pointers.
    I’d be wary of Donegal, particularly their full forward line, but I’d expect us to come through being the fresher team.

    There’s beeen a lot of talk about a defensive plan that we have waiting, well if there is, we’re likely to see it on the 8th.

    To win Sam, we’re potentially looking at having to beat Donegal, Dublin and Kerry. It doesn’t get any harder than that, but it would also be even sweeter.

  22. Back to Sunday’s game.

    After Sligo’s second goal (from where turbo had his 2 hands on the ball and still conceded possession) , Tom Parsons switched to full back for the last 10-12 minutes of the game. I think he would be perfect for the position going forward. If bird stays fit, I wonder if this could be a more permanent move?
    It was certainly interesting that the sideline chose this option to shore up the back line. 2 balls came into the square in the last 10 minutes and TP got in front of his man both times.

  23. I think if there was a quick turnaround and Galway were playing Donegal this weekend then maybe they might have got a result but not now with Donegal having time to clear their heads and refocus.
    Donegal will beat them and beat them well to make a statement .

    I do think Donegal arent the Donegal of old and I wonder deep down if they believe in Gallagher the same way they did with Jimmy.
    Gallagher talks alot of shit, he promised something completely new for the Monaghan game, that shit only upsets the camp and with such strong figures like Neil Gallagher , Murphy and Lacey not showing up the last day, I think there is more going on there behind the scenes.

  24. If Cork, Tyrone and Donegal make it through the last round of the qualifiers, then you will have 7 of the teams who played in Division 1 this year in the last eight. Derry, who got relegated would be the only one not to make it. On our side you would have three of the four teams who made the league semi-finals: Dublin, Cork and Donegal. So it just goes to show, so far the form lines have gone to plan. There will be nothing easy from here on. Donegal kicked 14 wides the last day so if a few of them had gone over, it could have been a different story. There was talk that Michael Murphy wasn’t fully fit so if he is back to form the next day that will be a big plus for them. After the Derry match, Rory Gallagher was saying that he was going to have a few very tough training sessions, so maybe they over did it. In saying that, Donegal have already had a lot of tough games and would have another 4 tough ones ahead to win the All-Ireland title, there could be a few kicks left in them though.

  25. Write Donegal off at this stage at your peril. I would love to be meeting any of the other teams but I believe it will be Donegal with their August gameface on.

  26. Agree PJ, Donegal will be our toughest quarter since 2011 and even Cork were cack that day. It’s a balls of a draw really, but still we should be good enough beat them

    Would be over the moon if galway pulled off a shock but I can’t see it in a million years

  27. AndyD, that’s the line that’s always trotted out alright, and I do know it’s an honour for players to play in Croke Park and for fans to have the day out, but at the end of the day these are qualifier games. Aim to get to a quarter final and earn your trip to HQ! In the meantime, there are grounds and areas outside the Pale who could do with the boost to their economies. Like Limerick, for example 😉 Of course the other side of that argument is that we should be giving as many counties as possible to play in the national HQ and there is merit in that too. Anyway, it makes no odds at this stage and it’s not a complaint, just an observation – Would like to have attended though.

    I can’t see Galway taking Donegal either, as much as I’d love to see it happen. Though that Donegal team has me in a perpetual state of confusion – potentially brilliant but they are so inconsistent. They don’t have serious depth on their bench but neither do Galway.

    Can’t even dare to bring myself to dream of reaching another final at this point, though it’s a mouthwatering path …

  28. I’m surprised that so many people are quick to write off Donegal. They say a week is a long time in politics but Jesus it hasn’t a patch on football.
    Donegal missed a shed load of scoreable chances last Sunday and Monahan put over some massive points from distance. There was nothing in it but all of a sudden Donegal go from favourites alongside Dublin to also rans?
    Donegal are disciplined and have a serious forward line. They will I believe beat Galway and give us one serious test in the qtrs
    Likely to be Dublin next and then Kerry. If we win it this year we’ll have beaten 3 out of the top four teams in the country. I remember Donegal doing something similar not so long ago.

  29. I wouldn’t even have all the Quarters in Croke Park myself never mind Back Door games! 🙂

    I always thought the Provincial Champions should be entitled to a Home QF

  30. Does anyone else think we should have jason gibbons back in the panel? Thinking of a situation where SOS is needed to shut down a big forward and we are left to count on tp and Barry at midfield, wouldn’t it be good to have a mobile midfielder to put in when legs are tiring? Aos will need to be left at ff unless it’s an unlikely runaway victory, so who’s to cover midfield?
    Add in the fact the dubs have athletes at midfield as much as footballers and it’s even more important to have runners and ball winners out there.of course that’s planning 2 steps ahead but we should always plan 2 or 3 steps ahead anyway at this stage.

  31. Personally, I was disappointed not to be getting a run to Castlebar, I haven’t been in machale park in donkey’s years and I was getting excited when I heard talk of the Galway qualifier being staged there. I think I’d be confident of a win on Saturday week but then a quick turnaround to face a fresh Mayo, not so confident! Anyway, I won’t think about that til we see what happens next week. Jaysus, I’ll be lucky to get back home by one in the morning with it being a 6 o’clock throw in.

  32. Dave. I fully agree with you in bringing Jason Gibbons back into the panel. I,ve even seen where GAA reporter Sean Rice of Mayo news said his return is required. Sean Rice is a reporter who calls a spade a spade. Right now the report is SOS has a groin problem and may not be fit in 3 weeks, we then need someone who has played in Croker and wont be easily pushed about. Gibbons has speed, good pair of hands, can read a game and most of all he is a good passer of the ball, able to pinpoint his passes,.
    His tackling back may be a bit awkard at times but otherwise he is a talented midfielder. If SOS is unable to play and if anything goes wrong at midfield who is on the panel list a midfielder better than Gibbons? Its now time to take stock and don’t be saying in 3 weeks time, if only we did this, that may not have happened.

  33. You’ve hit the nail on the head there Dave.
    After what we’ve witnessed from our FB line for a considerable time & the quality of opposition we’re about to face then one of our current midfielders has to be re located to full back as soon as possible. It may be a risk but staying as we are is a bigger risk.
    As you say we would then be getting short of options for midfield.
    Another mobile midfielder is required in the panel to do a job for at least 30 minutes.
    There is going to be murderous pace around midfield in the second half of the upcoming matches … we need to be ready.

  34. Im sure Gibbons will be called in, if he is’nt back with them already. I rate him highly and i think hes a similar fitness to parsons. I see McStay takes a swipe at Kerrys “strong voice” in the media, in his herald article. Good to see someone highlighting this, also talks of Kerrys double standards. I found it a good read, dont think Gamechanger10 will agree though lol.

  35. I was actually in Nowlan Park for the 1997 Kilkenny league match. Arriving at the ground there we remarked that there was a decent crowd in attendance. The opener was a Leinster club hurling match, and yes you guessed it, most of the crowd upped & left before the main event. A few weeks earlier we had played in an All Ireland football final! Anyway, the game itself was tight enough for the first half, only for scoring machine Colm Mac to take a grip on things and save our blushes.

  36. I see where ye are coming with Gibbons but what about 2 sweepers at the back?

  37. I cant imagine Gibbons being brought in and up to pace in 3 weeks for Croke Park, I dont know, do people think this could happen?, I cant understand him being dropped in the first place, Its strange seeing a starting player falling to outside the 30 man panel, especially when noone replaced him,3 midfielders is hardly sufficient cover in the team, be disaster if we were forced to play AOS midfield.

  38. At the risk of annoying some people our ongoing problems at the back are simply due to sub standard defending … defending that is not up to the standard required at All Ireland level.
    When Kerry had sub standard defending in their first match against Cork they reacted ruthlessly & dropped some people including the man who scored their last minute equalizing point. I can’t help thinking that if that man had been a Mayo player we would have been too busy praising his point that we would have completely missed his earlier contributions. We would have been calling for sweepers & the ‘blanket’. That is the difference at the top table.
    We must remember that if we use 1 sweeper that’s 1 man less elsewhere and if we use 2 sweepers that’s 2 men less elsewhere.
    The ‘blanket’ & ‘sweeper’ ideas are being put forward as solutions to sub standard defending ….. we’re treating the symptoms & not the disease.
    I’m in favour of 1 additional defensive player but one who can transition quickly to attack as well. This player should be able to ‘read’ the play & know when to transition quickly from defense to attack & back again.
    We have solved a problem at one end of the field & can now attack in two ways …. our traditional ball carrying running way and our new Route 1 way ….. if our opposition put 2 people on our Route 1 guy that’s one player less for stopping our running game.
    Well done to Pat & Noel on broadening our options.
    We now just need a ruthless approach at the back.

  39. Seen gibbons for ballintubber v crossmolina in championship a month ago he was outstanding.dont know if he training with mayo or not he was out injured for a long part of the year which was unfortunate for him.it just didn’t happen for him last year in championship after he had a wonderful league campaign.still think he has a lot to offer look at parsons as an example someone brought back in last year after a few years off panel.form is temporary class is permanent!

  40. I was thinking about that Joey.The way I see it if O’Shea is left on the square he won’t have one man to contend with. If we drop OK let’s say one player back his marker won’t stray too far from his 40.Agreed that the sweeper needs someone who can transition up the field with pace someone who is a good tackler. I just see C &h having another role for Doc and Kevin Mc . O’Shea had his job done in first half but C&H left him on for duration for a reason .If he has 2 or 3 men around him for game it will leave space for Cillian and Duirmuid.

  41. The defending has been sub standard is true. Rewatched the game. Certainly Parsons was moved back as a full back type role. But Parsons is needed outfield for mobility. He made up 3 yards in 20 on a Sligo player for a turnover. That is needed for the teams coming up.

  42. Parsons is an attacking midfielder in my view. Not a defender – remember his tame effort at stopping Gary sice for galways goal. Hard to base much emphasis on what we saw last week in terms of player form – we won’t find out for certain if DOC and parsons are the real deal until the White Heat of battle in Croker against dublin or kerry. Signs are promising though.

  43. It might be interesting to move DOC (Jason Doc is now JDoc) to midfield.
    It frees him from direct marking and moves him closer to Higgins/Boyle/Keegan. As he uses the ball so well and can pick out players from 30-40 yards that will be a two pass quick transition with huge accuracy into the scoring zone. He also has mobility for the role. Only weakness would be opposition kickout, could result in 2 more kickouts to opposition being won on theirs. But his counter attacking and speed might make that back.
    James Kilcullen looks now like a huge hit to us. Cast aside too quickly.

  44. So far in two games we have given game time to 10 defenders: Tom Cunniffe, Kevin Keane, Ger Caff, Keith Higgins, Chris Barrett, Brendan Harrison, Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle and Patrick Durkan. Tom Parsons has also spent some time back there too. So its now up to Noel and Pat to pick the best six. As Joey said above there is no room for sentiment anymore as there are no second chances. If you look at the changes that Eamonn Fitzmaurice made for the replay against Cork, he nullified the players who were Corks best performers in the drawn game. Anthony Maher took care of Alan O’Connor, Paul Murphy kept Donncha O’Connor out of the game, Shane Enright kept Colm O’Neill quiet and Aidan O’Mahony added some steel at the back. Barry O’Driscoll wasn’t given the same room as the first day out. We’ll need to do the same and learn from the mistakes of the previous games, tighten up at the back and get our defensive structure in place.

  45. For no particular reason I happened on highlights of the London C/F in 2013 yesterday.

    We scored five – BTW Cillian got 3-3 in 35 minutes – and conceded 0-10.

    Lorcan Mulvey (one tough customer) was through on goal a couple of times but was firmly dealt with by two or three defenders – he really felt those tackles. On Sunday when Pat Hughes was through, he brushed aside three defenders including Tom Parsons. Granted game was over, but he had a lot of work to do and he did it.

    I think, pace Joey, that we need better defending AND systemic sweeping or supplementing by forwards. Kevin Mac has a role here as well as the two DOCs.

    Tom Parsons, great though his performance was, may have some toughening up to do for the upcoming games – think Gallagher, Moran, or Macauley (if back to his best).

    Still, we are in a good place to work on those challenges

  46. That light touch defending that we saw on Pat Hughes really concerns me.
    There is not much benefit in ‘sweepers’ or ‘blankets’ if we defend like that.
    We had plenty of players around him but nobody was as determined to force him back out as he was determined to get in.
    This lack of urgency & aggression in front of our own goals has cost us dearly in the past and it needs urgent attention or another year will pass us by.
    I suspect that Noel & Pat are thinking of deploying one of our midfielders at Full Back to add physicality & contest high ball ….. from here on in I think it reasonable to assume that our opposition might rain high ball down upon us !
    The other concern I have is the relentless pace that our opposition will bring around midfield especially in the second half when the likes of Dublin empty their bench.
    We need to be ready with serious pace of our own on our bench to counteract.
    I am quite happy with other aspects of our play and our forward play has definitely improved. Also our attitude was quite good the last day …. when we got our foot on their throat we kept it there to the very end ….. I love it when we go all relentless & merciless !

  47. It seems that the management must be happy enough with our midfield and forwards as the same players have started in both matches so far. Also Alan Dillon and Mark Ronaldson were brought on in both games and Barry Moran fitted in seamlessly as well. Our goalkeeping position is now sown up too. All of those positions are pretty settled now. Therefore at the back four names should be certainties: Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan and Colm Boyle. Deciding on the last two places will be the hard part.

  48. The weight of responsbility that will fall on Aidan o’ shea going forward is enormous. Nevermind what he did to Sligo. He single handedly dragged Mayo back into the drawn All ireland semi final last year against Kerry – i have said before on this site it was the finest display i think i have seen by a player in the circumstances. i find it curious that notwithstanding the mauling of Sligo, people like mcstay can argue that Mayo have had no test yet. I don’t know what match people thought they were watching against galway – there is no question in my mind that if it wasn’t for O’shea again in this match, Mayo would have been in trouble here. If Mayo are to win the All ireland then can they expect 3 more big games from O’shea? – it would be hugely unfair to expect him to deliver to the same standard in all 3….the big question will be who picks up the baton on the occasion he does not? As an outsider that is a question that poses great interest for me over the rest of the summer and i don’t see any obvious answer although Parsons has signalled he may have what it takes…

    When you compare this with the Dubs – take Connolly, Brogan and Flynn….anyone of them can have a bad day at the office and there is still amazing fire power to do the damage. I appreciate putting this up on a Mayoblog may be highly incendiary but I genuinely feel if AOS has an off day there isn’t a connolly, brogan, flynn equivalent to picky up the baton and i know people are going to come back with CO’C but while he may be capable of it, he still has to do it when the chips are down. Maybe he needs that sort of test to define him in this mould.

  49. Interesting post Cantini.
    I guess the question is would we have won against Galway or Sligo if AOS wasn’t playing? I think we would have beaten Sligo. Galway I’m not so sure about.

    Plus we dominated both those games at midfield. How would we fare against a better midfield? Would AOS need to be brought out to assist. If so what’s the alternative then for FF?

  50. Cantini, when has COC not produced when the chips are down?
    Considering the AI semi-final and semi-final replays were our closest games last year, here are his scores:
    Drawn game: 1-8
    Replay: 2-5

    3-13 over two games is fairly productive!

  51. Cantini, seeing as your not from Mayo, you might not have seen Alan freeman and Chris Barrett step up against Tyrone in the 2013 semi final? Cillian went off injured early, or have you seen Michael Conroy tare the Dubs apart in 2012? Andy stepping up against the rossies 2014, aswell as the ’13 final. I think we’d have still beaten Galway and Sligo this year without Aidan. Dont forget we we have ran the ball for years….maybe too much at times, now we are going a bit direct and people think we are a one trick pony?…we now have two excellent game plans. I find your questioning amusing, we are far from a one man team.

  52. Not looking to cause a sh*t storm here….just a genuine outsider view. I was roaring for ye boys in the 2013 final and came away feeling nearly as down as any mayo man – i probably got over it faster it is fair to say. Agree with comment on Moran – yes, I think he has balls of steel and has done it for mayo in the past – not least in the Hyde last year. I just fear he could be gone past it a bit – not to say he stil can’t make a contribution.

    Couple of things on C’OC against kerry – yeah, did well but it was 1-4 or 1-5 from play over the 2 games – ….not to be sniffed at I grant but for me (again appreciate this is like causing a riot on this site) he hasn’t had a day like AOS in drawn game or McManus last week in Clones or James O’ Donoghue on more than 1 occasion, or a Peter Canavan…a day where he steps up to deliver the result as opposed to just playing well in general…that is that thing that marks someone out in the upper echelons….but as i said AOS might just be the man to bring the whole thing home for ye!

  53. When has Cillian O’Connor not done it when the ‘chips are down’?

    JPM- we could speculate about hypotheticals, such as would we have won if X was missing or if Y missed a penalty or whatever, till the cows come home, but no-one can ever answer it so these discussions just go way too back and forth and are pretty futile.

    I think we would have beaten Galway without Aida of coursen- why wouldn’t we, we’re a much better team?- but it would have been a completely different game, we would have set up differently, applied new tactics and so on, so it’s all just “aunt, uncle, balls” stuff

  54. If not performing like Peter Canavan in his prime or like James O’Donoghue last year is enough to categorise someone as not performing when the ‘chips are down’, then it is safe to say 90+% of footballers fall into this category so!

    To be fair you make a vastly better point in your second post, and it is far more valid, but the “chips are down” comment in your first one is just wrong!

  55. Cantini I understand your point but I agree with what one of the other lads said Mayo are not a one man. Think of the space COC will get now in the next game .If OShea is being marked by a few men Cillian will do his own damage wait and see.

  56. Guys have concerns about the physicality in our full back line. This is probably why Keane has been played in full back all year. I’m sure that hughes lad wouldn’t have brushed the human wrecking ball out of the way. It must be the reason he was preferred. It’s certainly not for his speed!

  57. I think this management team is setting out the way we play to vary as to what opposition we play . O K early in the league we got a pasting off the Dubs , but since we have changed our set up to best match the next team we play . If you look the way we set up for the Donegal league game , we had 10 of our players back in in our own half for most of the game , especially in the second half . Donegal could only 4 points of us . Barry Moran had a stormer in defence and attack . Higgins was a bit loose on mc Brearty for the goal , but out from that we marked them very tightly .So i would have faith in Pat & Noel to come up with a plan for who ever we meet down the line .

  58. If I were to raise a small point of concern for Mayo it would be that on your last day out O Shea was like Gulliver turning up for the opposition when the Lilliputian manager had his best laid plan on the board and he felt happy.

    He is a bloody monster with most of the required skills in the game and when the whistle blew and the ball rose to the sky for the throw in he turned wrecking ball and destroyed every expectation and hope of the Sligo team and their support. He was unmanageable and unstoppable simple as that.

    Now if he was playing for Kerry he would have been removed at the first moment the result was a done deal, and that was apparent at a very early stage on every line on the field. He should have been withdrawn to the half forward line to ensure the victory without showing future generals the diversity of your newest weapon. He has just become a real target and the McGee brothers along with plenty more will be sharpening their sword and and readying themselves to undo the best laid plans of Pat and Noel.

    Naive I’m afraid and they should be sharper than that, when you know what is under the hood as soon as you know what she can do park it and wait for big race, that is what the winning teams would do, I don’t think Galway will beat the Clingons but I would cheer loudly if they did. Tyrone could well beat Monaghan as the Clingons kicked a ridiculous amount of wides last Sunday.

    If that’s the case I so sincerely hope ye do what ye did in 2013 and show them how the game should be played. Good luck,

  59. Gamechanger I think you missed the point with leaving O’Shea on and instead of being nieve a very clever move. Teams will have O’Shea as a disactaction and there will be more space for the 2 O’Connors .

  60. Am sure mosses o Shea will be well marked I wonder will p and n have a plan if that’s the case.

  61. Below is part of a post by gamechanger10 on one of the Kerry forums, I take it that its the same guy who posts on here, this is his REAL take on Kevin McStay and us here associated with Mayo GAA. I know a lot of us on here might not be big fans of McStay but just read the condescending language he uses about McStay’s comments on The Sunday Game about Kerry.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
    gamechanger10

    Regarding McStay he should have had a leaving roll in the Quiet Man,, soft Mayo soupy accent accompanied with small balls and a sly opinion on a much higher perch than he deserves. As they would say in the trenches lets put a timer on this one lads and run, we might need it later to influence the referee if we meet them down the road.. How could a beauty who achieved so little on the GAA stage have such sway on what supporters contemplate.

    He was a military man so he might contemplate this as he points to their losing run, opposing teams cynicism, dreadful referees and venues for Mayos defeats which have all been hatched in HQ,
    “NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF GAELIC FOOTBALL WERE THE OPINIONS OF SO MANY INFLUENCED BY THE OPINIONS OF tHOSE WHO ACHIEVED SO LITTLE ON THE SPORTING FIELD OF OUR GAME” run along now like a good boy, there might be a tough back in the out there in the dark ,,
    Jasus,,, if my aunt had balls she would be my uncle ,,, good man Kevin you have a nice parting like all good boys…
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    Make of that what you will. So that is his REAL take on McStay and us. We have to understand that these Kerry boys will stoop to any level to try and get an advantage both on and off the field. Take what this lad says with a pinch of salt. They are not called cute hoors for nothing. Even after all of the All-Ireland titles they have won, its almost like they think that they have a god given right to win the All-Ireland title every year. Ah yerra maybe thats the level you have to stoop to, to win at all costs.

  62. To be fair Hopespringseternal, all i get from that at first glance is his hatred for mcstay, i cannot see a direct reference to us. At the end of the day hes a man from Kerry posting on our blog, i dont think any all ireland was won or lost on this site!….or was it?? Haha.

  63. Gamechanger might have some fooled.
    But not me.
    Basically he has been having a laugh at us –
    ALL ALONG!
    Like Spillane, it probably killed him that
    Tyrone were the better team
    of the noughties!

  64. Have to agree with you both there. I wonder what he says about us Clingons on the cute hoor forums.

  65. Well spotted HopeSprings. Even prior to your post above I had that well clocked. Layers upon layers of cuteness in Kerry. They’ll flatter and lambaste in the same breath. It could learn us. We must be doing something right in Mayo to provoke such reactions though.
    Mighty use of military metaphors there, Gamechanger10, regarding O’Shea. Long way to go in Championship yet and Kerry have plenty to be thinking about themselves.

  66. That reply went into moderation too, Juan, and I don’t know why. I’m away from base at the minute so not in a position to go digging on it but I’ll do so once I’m back.

  67. I do feel that commentators on the Sunday Game who haven’t won a Celtic cross are at a disadvantage and it will always be thrown in their faces when they criticise teams.
    I agree with what McStay said and the powerful influence Kerry has in the media is obvious to all but the most biased fool, which Gamechanger is not and that probably explains why the remarks provoked such a bitter reply, the truth hurts.
    However I would be slow to criticise a supporter for having a dig at a media commentator on his own counties forum, plenty of shite spouted about Spillane and co here over the years.
    We are becoming very quick to get the backs up at the slightest perceived criticism of late. Another poster here made a genuine observation about AoS being our pivotal man and people went off the deep end. It’s probably a side effect of all the defeats and hurt we’ve suffered but it’s becoming slightly embarrassing to be honest.

  68. Why are so many posters here so fucking sensitive to comments from outsiders, putting so many stupid arguments about Mayo slights, etc, etc. If we had the common sense to realise that they may have some valid points and are not out to shaft us. I welcome other opinions from outside as they may see things that some blinkered people here cannot see. Fucking Mayo sensitivity!!!

  69. Joe Mc the sensitivity is more tribal pride than anything else. If our defence come out with as much bite as some of the comments we’ll win Sam for sure;-)

  70. When one has had to listen to spillanes bullshit for donkeys years his attempts to be funny and the amount of contradictions and u turns he has come up with well it makes McStay appear a well spoken rational analyst. Pateen would be the biggest gombeen on Sunday game were it not for jokin joe. Ciaran Whelan and dessie Dolan are a breath of fresh air telling it as the see it without the need to be funny pretentious etc. Teams are negative and engage in puke football when they defend in numbers and naïve and innocent when they don’t. Win a close match and its scrappy dour affair , win by playing positive attacking football and the opposition were useless You just cant win. Oh the exception was Kerry in AIF last year They out donegalled Donegal and Fitzmaurice was a genius.

  71. McStay has managed the Club All Ireland champions. The most modern and relevant achievement as it relates to football in 2015. Anything pre 2000 is irrelevant.

  72. You can have a fella who won 10 all-Irelands
    and a fella who won none…
    And the latter might be twice as insightful
    as the former in critical analysis.
    Whealan never won one but u could argue
    he talks a lot more sense than Spillane.

    _(how many does he have again?)

    Yes JMC the truth hurts – reckon we are all guilty of the Ol sensitivity.
    Sure G10s reaction to Mcstay comments
    betrayed a fair oul bit itself.
    Mcstay never won an all-Ireland, but for the most part, he talks a lot of sense.

  73. I think some posters here actually see what I have said is a valid opinion and not a great conspiracy or plan to somehow cost Mayo the championship. I stand over my post and it is not a good idea to reveal the effectiveness of a serious option like O Shea.

    Regarding McStay I will tell you straight I have no time for him whatsoever and likewise I would not change the post I put up on the Kerry forum. I thing that he is sly and uses his position to direct attention rather than to analyse the game on far too many occasions.
    The post is in no way aimed at the mayo people or their team, it’s just McStay in the crosshairs I can assure you. To me if I was a post man Spillane would be the dog that would annoy you and deafen you with his constant barking, McStay would be the one that comes from behind the was quietly and nips your ankle before running away barking.

    Regarding O Shea, if ye meet the Clingons and I think ye will I think consideration should be given to leaving him out field for a spell and drive at them the way only he can. It would draw frees and if ye manage to get a lead on them they might come out of the trenches which would allow Mayo to put him in full forward. At least then he might have the odd one on one situation. Remember this is not yet an over familiar roll for O Shea and it will be difficult for him not to react to what he is about to be dropped into, which is he’ll in a forward line and it could cost Mayo their best player.
    This is my opinion and I don’t have any agenda before people start taking shots at me,,

  74. McStay, no different than all the analyst on the sunday game get far too much sway in terms of setting the public debate…but that is the nature of TV. I think Paul Galvin was the one who said if you threw a blanket across the entire panel on the Sunday game excluding spillane and there isn’t an all ireland medal between them….suspect that is true of this entire website too but people still have opinions.

    Back to the analysis and assuming it is a Mayo Dublin semifinal i am absolutely certain that Keith Higgins is wasted at teh back. I would definitely have him around the middle or half forward line….so what if he nullifies Brogan, you still have Connolly, Kilkenny, Rock, McMenamin to deal with – far better to use a player of that ability giving them plenty to think about at the other end of the pitch.

  75. Yeah Higgins Centre Forward worked a treat in 2013. I know it didn’t go so well in the 2014 league but I would love to see it as a ‘surprise’ tactic if we do meet the Dubs, he caused them havoc in the AI final 2013. Hate opening this can of worms again (will give myself a slap on the wrist now) but moving him back to number 4 went a long way to losing us that match sadly in my view

    Sadly, we’re not as good as Dublin, we will be roaring underdogs, we will need to do something very special to win- I would love to see us pull a rabbit like that out of the hat!

    But Donegal/Tyrone first!

  76. Ciaran we would have conceded at least 5 more scores in the second half of that 2013 final if higgins wasn’t in defence. Remember sitting in canal end upper behing the goals, some of the balls he won were outrageous that day. He had absolutely no right to win them and I am certain that if anyone else was in the position they wouldn’t have won them either. I can’t agree with you there.

  77. He was running riot at centre forward they barely even got the ball into their forwards in the first half. Taking him out of CF was the main reason we actually had so much to deal with in the second half.

    James Horan got lambasted by some when he suggested Donaghy’s dominance last August wasn’t down to Cafferkey’s ineptitude but moreso our midfield not doing their job. He made a very valid point, and it was a similar scenario

    I can’t speak for cantini but I think what he’s alluding to is that Higgins playing out the pitch can do so much damage that he will reduce opposition supply into their own forwards. And I think it’s a great point. Just a pity we can’t clone him eh?

    Anyway it was just a comment, I’ll put my hands up and freely admit I’ve never ever watched that awful match back so I am open to correction, but in all honesty I don’t think anyone wants to see a back and forth regarding our most painful match in memory, so we’ll agree to disagree I think 😉 !

  78. PS he was playing in front of the Hill in second half, sorry to be pedantic :p . Was in canal meself. And we did play a lot of the second half v 13 men in fairness, the guy he was marking was one of the two

  79. I sometimes think the “cute hoor” mentality people have towards Kerry is overblown….they have brilliant footballers down the years and as they say success breeds success. I don’t believe in a magic air or water or genes they have down there but they practice and have proper structures in place to ensure a best possible talent comes through.

  80. James Horan’s piece in the Western (can’t give a link) is interesting. He gives huge credit to Barry Solan for the preparation and conditioning of the team.

    I have commented on this before, but it is one thing that has struck me in both matches. I’m no expert in this area, but I feel there is a difference here between this year and last. Remember last year Roscommon were a Division 3 team, albeit a promoted one, and we seemed to have some difficulty with them physically. That came home to roost against Kerry, who looked stronger than us.

    I noted the conditioning of the players against Galway and it really became evident as the game wore on. Against Sligo they were simply awesome in the power, pace and strength departments.

  81. I agree with steve. Its always really pissed off with the likes of kerry when they win everyone they did everything right wether it was being cute, no hype in the county and talking themselves down or if there all confident, no hard games in munster and peaking in September or lots of hard games in back door and being battle hardend, that they play the game right (kick passing, skillful etc) or they will do anything to win (blanket defence, diving fighting etc), this is constantly the case, Then us in Mayo when we lose have done everything wrong, Everyone saying either we were to hyped about winning the all ireland or others years we didnt get behind the team enough etc and yet there might have been a bounce of a ball between the two teams. I have read a number of pieces were so called experts know what are problem is, and there not talking about the teams performance, I recall someone writing about us flying from knock to Dublin for the fina a good 5 or 6 years later, making it sound like it was nearly the reason why we lost, it mite not have been there best idea but i doubt it had any effect on the result of the final. In other words if the players heads are in the right place, which I have no doubt Mayo players are, talk will have little effect on the pitch, and single bounce of the ball will have more influence over who wins the any amount of cute hoorism or hype or people trolling on websites or the 3 stooges on the sunday game.

  82. Yeah catcol, I noticed that as well. Normally its Donie Buckley that does all of the warm-up work with the players before the game but for the Sligo match Barry Solan was there as well putting the players through their pre-match routines. Also I noticed that the players conducted a lot more kicking practice routines before the game. They were doing up to 50 yards kick pass drills which was good to see. I often notice that Kerry do this a lot before games so its great to see us incorporating that into our game a lot more.

  83. Can we just avoid the back and forth about Spillane/McStay etc.
    In general the state of analysis is non-existant. Everyone has their own opinion on who is or isnt a good analyst. In general none of it holds a candle to the likes of Rob Carroll, Dont foul, Jim McGuinness or Emmet Ryan.
    We are well aware of how cliched the analysis is. Sky sports have made big inroads in this area bringing McGuinness in as an analyst.
    Back to the original point and it is a fair one did we show too much hand with OShea there. Well the balancing point is this. Teams were going to be prepared for him in full anyways from this point on. The level of analysis is detailed. So we got some match practice in with him in that position. We didn’t show too much of our hand in the sense that we didn’t move him wider and show who the runners would be that would attack the square if OShea has brought his cover wider. But again, teams analyse other teams in great detail. From quarters on they are prepared for most scenarios.
    They would even prepare for a Mayo blanket with Aidan at centre back as he briefly cameod versus Kerry. Dublin certainly would prepare for all eventualities.
    The most likely thing is he plays as this target 14 and it is well known since even the league.

  84. Regarding Horans point about a way to limit Donaghy would be at midfield. The actual point was that he said two tacklers should have stopped David Moran for his pass in. But here is the problem with that analysis. That season and this season David Moran is still slipping away from double tacklers and getting in passes. The other problem was it ignores the statistically proven need to apply direct marking or double marking solutions to a guy like Donaghy or OShea. Just go and measure how big a target zone to collect ball Donaghy or OShea have. 15 metres in front, 5 behind, 10 left and 10 right. That is almost unmissable as a target if you have practiced. Teams almost never dip below 40% posession. You cannot prevent a team on 40% posession passing to that zone. You may as well attempt to prevent a team scoring full stop which is easier than the prevent the pass into Donaghy solution. Pressuring the passer is assumed as a given, it is not a tactic in itself. That extra cover at midfield is better placed quite obviously as double cover on the target man. If we double covered Donaghy with SOS in front (who won no kickouts) we would for sure have won by 1pt. Bringing SOS back we would not dip enough around the middle in terms of performance to do more damage than a single covered Donaghy. Worse than Cormac Reilly was a single covered Donaghy by a 6′ full back in both games. Stats bear that out in frees won, layoffs and scores all direct from Donaghy. I expect usual non statistical replies about the ‘loss of SOS workrate’. Workrate does not linearly go on the scoreboard. The closer you move cover to your own goals the more goals and scores you take off the board. In a linear manner when direct double on an OShea or Donaghy. Easily reduces by 70% their frees won, layoffs and scores if the cover in front is 6’3″ with good hands .. like SOS. Cover in front with a doorstopper to get underneath and holdup like Keane behind. That would have been SOS ball in front for those frees and Keane could keep his hands down instead of being pinged harshly for those tussles, similar Caff.

  85. Fair enough Tom and I see what you’re saying but there is a hint of irony in your post believe it or not. It was Tomas o Se who was ranting about the flight from knock , I would not underestimate the Kerry media machine along with their cute hoorism. They are absolute masters , you might laugh at me but I genuinely believe Kerry people are the smartest people in Ireland in general terms overall , very quick to apply common sense and logic to all situations .

  86. Sean, Ya I suspected it was Kerry player we played in that final alrite that sed it

  87. Chill boys,
    The lads on Sunday Game are there for entertainment not education
    We have enough media players on the pitch to mark any county, they will mark their men.
    That is a game for another day.
    Now, let’s see who wins the battle to meet us.
    We deal with that, then move on.
    Doolally is a place in India called after Lads who lost the run of themselselves waiting, waiting.
    I’ts getting to me too

  88. It looks like Karl Lacey will be out for a few weeks with a knee injury so he will be a big loss for Donegal against Galway.

  89. Good post Tom. On Keith Higgins, he came back into defence in 2013 and was definitely defending the canal end in second half. I was sitting on that side of stadium and was pleased to see him come back to be honest eventhough I thought he did well in forwards in first half. As for taking him out of FB line now I think it would make no sense as we are so vulnerable there at the moment. Imagine if he had not been in FB line last year v Kerry. I don’t think anyone could have done near as good a job on Donaghue as Keith did. I like Caff and Cuniffe but to be honest they wouldn’t fill you with confidence at the moment and removing Higgins from that line could be catastrophic.

  90. Wouldn’t be great if freeman caught form and made a difference when everyone will be double marking Aidan and cillian.. Andy can also reap the benefits of this also.. Sorry if I insult anyone but can u imagine Kevin o Neil in his prime with Aidan and cillian no disrespect to Andy who imo is one of the best to ever wear the jersey

  91. Freeman indeed, he might catch fire but he d want to leave his manners on the bench and start using his physique like aos and coc do.

  92. Defo too many Kerry boys in the media. Ya can’t open a newspaper but one of em is staring out at ya. And as usual, all of them talking out of the side of their mouths.

  93. Yeah Clonee Man, I know where your coming from alright. Is there a reason why the Kerry pundits, former players, supporters etc. always prefer to be talking about Dublin, Donegal, Mayo and Cork etc. Every team has strengths and weaknesses. The more talk about a team the more people know about their strong points and weak points. The less talk about a team the less people know about their strong points and weak points. An good example is as follows, the talk in the media is always that Mayo have a weak defence or their forwards can’t score enough. When this is talked about so much does it then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand Kerry have conceded a lot of goals in the last few years but nobody talks about them have a porous defence. In the semi-final replay against them last year, we kicked two high balls into their goalmouth, one a miss-kick, and we scored two goals from this. They have a small goal-keeper but again thats not mentioned much. I couldn’t believe that Donegal didn’t put Micheal Murphy on the square and bomb high balls into him in the final. If we were playing Kerry in the morning would they prefer not to see a well practised Aidan O’Shea in around their square along with Cillian O’Connor, I think they would as O’Shea and O’Connor might cause havoc against them.

    Teams running at the heart of their defence is another weakness, as we seen with Donal Vaughan winning a penalty against them last year and Flynn from Galway scoring a goal as well after a 50 metre uncontested run from the middle of the field. Jim McGuinness started Darach O’Connor in the All-Ireland final to run at the Kerry defence and try to get goals that way but it didn’t work out for him on the day. McGuinness probably thought that Kerry would think that Donegal would go long early in the game as they did against us in 212 so he opted for a runner at their defence instead. They have two players well into their thirties in their full-back line but again that won’t be mentioned much by the media, just in case the opposition might put a fast young nippy player on one of these boys to try and exploit their lack of pace. Yet our defence contained four All-Stars against Sligo and its still called a weak defence.

    Most of the top teams are now on our side of the draw so that gives Kerry a great opportunity to put in few patchy performances and make the final again, off course trying to come in under the radar. In public, they’ll say the weaker side of the draw won’t suit them but in private they are delighted with it. So I do feel that there is a method to their madness of always talking about the opposition rather than their own team. Keep your own gameplan under wraps to keep the other teams guessing and learn as much as possible about the other team’s plots and plans. Does that happen by accident, I don’t think that it does. But for us at the moment the quarter-final game is our only focus so roll on the next game!

  94. Think you misunderstood me Ciaran Mayo played into the hill alright in 2nd half in 2013 v dublin but keith higgins was in defence at that stage and therefore spent most of his time during the 2nd half at canal end side of the field.
    I don’t agree with playing higgins in the forwards, I felt ultimately it was a failed experiment – he never scored much and as brolly said it was robbing Peter to pay Paul. Anyways it’s immaterial now as doesn’t look like H&C have any intention of puttin him up front!

  95. As I have often stated here, I do not much like the blanket-style 13 men behind the ball stuff.
    But It is nothing near as bad as the pulling and dragging stuff and 3 men wrapped around the attacker
    I have also said, however, that if Mayo were to
    tighten up significantly and play a more defensive / not as open a brand of ball – And then went on to win
    Sam, I would gladly sacrifice some of the “pure football”!
    I seriously believe we can win it if pay more attention to the defensive side.
    To be honest G10, though I think you are way
    over the top reg Mcstay , I have to admit I was wrong to comment as I did as you hadn’t posted those 1st comments you made on this site, but
    elsewhere – and they were transplanted here
    by a 3rd party.
    You are indeed entitled to your opinion as I criticise
    Brolly and Pateen quite a bit too.
    And yes, JoMac, it is pretty stupid getting
    annoyed over criticisms of those who aren’t
    Even PLAYERS!
    But if I’m entitled to my opinion G10 as I understand
    you are, I feel you reacted to something
    negative about your county as I would about
    mine.
    Let them talk all the codswallop
    they want between the lot of them –
    It’s what the players do that counts.
    And on Spillane I don’t always think
    he’s wrong – he gets a lot right too.
    I just thought he betrayed a childish begrudgery that
    time Tyrone won their 3 ( and hadn’t won
    one up to 2000)
    For the record, I wish to say that I hate
    when players goad the opposition after
    scoring goals.
    BUT I could totally understand
    when ë turned to Shields in triumph
    as Shields was the one who spent
    about 5 mins on the floor in
    the 1st half, pretending he had
    been busted – (correct me if I got
    the details wrong) – when he was clearly acting
    the maggot!
    I’d take rough play before that oul playactin
    Shite!

  96. Yeah fair point Overthebarshouting,
    one thing a forward shouting or unloading their glee on the shoulders of their deflated opponent after their adrenalin makes them do something they wouldn’t normally do. I personally hate to see defenders with their veins bulging on their necks as they scream abuse into the ear of a forward who has just missed a shot. Years ago there was probably a sly comment or a bit stronger but with some teams it is now almost the norm.

    Now I know that a picture speaks a thousand words and all too often everyone of them are completely wrong or misleading but it looks terrible. I know that in the fighting pit of championship football there is no room for the faint hearted and they are all bloody tough hard men but I don’t like that aspect of the game. Tyrone are the masters of this stuff inthe modern game and sadly they seem to be encouraging it at all grades within their county.

    Despite this I do respect their never say die attitude and I think Micky Harte is a gentleman and is clearly a very compassionate and good natured man.

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