Tyrone 2-15 Mayo 0-15: not at the races


We always knew these opening two matches in this year’s National League were going to be tough. Last weekend’s one-point loss to Kildare was a bit galling, in that we could easily have won it but came away with nothing, but today, aside from the opening ten minutes, we were simply never at the races.

The trip up from Dublin was easy enough to negotiate and even though we came through a sleet shower ten miles or so out from Omagh, once we were settled into our seats at Healy Park the day was fine and clear. The pitch looked in great nick too and the lads looked to be in good fettle as they went through their pre-match warm-ups.

We’d stopped for the spuds in the Silver Birch beforehand where along with the Club ’51 meet-up and the roast beef dinner we also picked up some inside knowledge about two switches to our starting fifteen. These were confirmed over the tannoy at Healy Park before throw-in, with David Drake getting his first league start in place of Brendan Harrison while Diarmuid O’Connor lined out instead of Darren Coen at corner-forward.

Once the action got underway, we looked like we meant business and were well on top for the first ten minutes of the contest. Cathal Carolan got our opening point, a score in which Shane McHale played two cameos, first initiating the move and then offloading to the Crossmolina man to finish.

Action shot

The home side were quickly level, though, when McCurry was out in front of Ger Cafferkey to claim a quick ball in and he fairly skinned Ger before knocking it over. We reclaimed the lead when Gibbons hit a wonderful raking pass to Kevin Mc who fed the in-rushing Keith Higgins who blasted over when a clear goal chance was on.  Some neat inter-play by them at the other end finished with Mattie Donnelly firing over the first of what would eventually be a haul of five points from play.

We then missed four separate chances to reclaim the lead. First Kevin Mc was short with a free, then Cathal Carolan’s woeful attempt from play also came up short while soon after David Drake had a goal attempt batted away by Tyrone’s ‘keeper Morgan. Jason Gibbons then took a ridiculous pot-shot from forty or so yards out and that too came up short.

Over the course of the next ten minutes, how costly these misses would be became clear as Tyrone let rip, hitting us – as Kildare had done at around the same point in last Sunday’s game – for 1-4 without reply. Donnelly cleaned out Kevin Keane twice in quick succession to post two points from play and then McCurry, who was also getting much the better of his battle with Ger Caff, squeezed over a lovely score from a tight angle.

Tyrone were swarming us now and they could have had a goal when Peter Harte was allowed to stroll through the middle but he fired over. The next time they ripped through us, however, McCurry extracted full payment with a cracking shot to the net.

Seven points down after just 20 minutes, we really needed to step it up and in fairness to the lads, this is what we did for the next five minutes. Adam Gallagher got a point from play, so too did Kevin McLoughlin and then Lee Keegan kicked a superb point from out on the wing.

We couldn’t sustain this momentum, though, and instead they broke forward with Donnelly again beating Keane to it and drawing the foul, with McCurry converting the free. At this point, Keane was finally taken off Donnelly with Colm Boyle switching across but although he won his first one-on-one with the Tyrone full-forward, normal service resumed with the next ball in. Boyle – already by the looks of it feeling the effects from an earlier knock – bought the dummy and ended on the turf with Donnelly pointing at his ease.

Adam Gallagher then pointed from a free after Lee Keegan was fouled but Diarmuid O’Connor was booked soon after for a foul that looked borderline black. It was already noticeable at that stage that the ref – Armagh’s Padraig Hughes – wasn’t reaching for the cards that often so young O’Connor would have been unlucky had his afternoon been ended then.

As the match progressed, it became clear that the ref wasn’t having any of this black card nonsense at all at all. Tyrone copped onto this quickly too and in the second half it was like the good old bad old days with Tyrone funnelling men back and hauling down opposition attackers with gay abandon. I’m no fan of the black card, partly because I think it’s a stupid way of doing things but mainly because consistent application of the rules by refs in Gaelic football is such a problem. Today proved that point in spades.

The ref’s quixotic world view didn’t, however, have any bearing on the result today. Tyrone should, in fact, have been out of sight before the break when a move involving a necklace of passes ended with an overcooked final one on the edge of the square. So instead of a palmed ball to the net, we managed to get it clear but back it then came to Donnelly who kicked his fourth from play to send them in six points up at the break.


Changes were obviously needed and, for once, James Horan wasn’t slow in making them. Four subs were introduced for the second half, with the hapless Kevin Keane and Colm Boyle (injured surely) replaced by debutant Stephen Coen and Brendan Harrison respectively, while in the forwards Cathal Carolan and Diarmuid O’Connor made way for Brian Gallagher and Michael Conroy.

I’d have added Andy Moran to that list too as he’d spent the entire first half spilling ball and he looked visibly knackered ten minutes into the second half. But incredibly Andy stayed on right till the end, while his obvious replacement – Alan Freeman – had to wait until five minutes from time before getting an all-too-late run-out. Try as you might, it’s really hard to figure that one out.

We were on the attack from the restart but it was a fruitless movement that kinda summed up our day. First Aidan O’Shea stupidly decided to shoot for goal in front of a thicket of defenders from twenty yards out and after it whacked off one of the half-dozen Tyrone lads who were in close proximity Mickey Conroy, with an equal lack of nous, picked the ball off the ground. Tyrone immediately punished us, with McCurry pointing from out on the left after Robbie Hennelly came haring out and got caught in no-man’s land.

We started to come back into it then, however, with Adam Gallagher pointing a free after Kevin Mc had been hauled down (not deliberately, obviously, so no black card). Then Big Dawg was dragged down by Cavanagh (once again a complete accident it would appear) but Kevin Mc’s free, from well within scoring range, fell short and was collected by Morgan. Tyrone responded immediately, the sub McAliskey pointing from play.

Another accidental pull-down saw another pointed free from the excellent Adam Gallagher as we finally began to motor. The same player had one from play following a great forging run by Kevin Mc and then Kevin himself pointed to cut the gap to four.

A wonderful individual score by Adam Gallagher then got us to within a goal of the home side following which the young Mayo Gaels man pointed a softly awarded free. Halfway through the second half now, we were almost back in the hunt but sadly that was as good as it got for us. Sean Cavanagh came on to steady the ship for them at midfield and we seemed to run out of puff, as they tacked on two more points – the first from play by McGinley and the second a long-range free from Morgan.

One of the more bizarre substitutions we’ve made in recent times saw Ger Cafferkey make way for Jason Doherty, as Brendan Harrison and Keith Higgins shifted back in the resultant reshuffle.

We got back within a goal once more with another Adam Gallagher free but a long-range attempt from a free soon after from Robbie Hennelly fell short. Within a few minutes, the game was up for us completely when, after a McNeice free, a flowing move involving several dummies (all of them bought by our lads) ended with McCurry smashing in his second goal of the day.

We got two more scores – another free from Adam Gallagher and a late, late point from play from Andy – to one for them but we were a well beaten side at the finish.

Overall it was a very, very poor performance. 2-15, on top of 2-19 last week, is a big score to concede – doing our points difference no good in the process – and once again today our full-back line was beaten up a proverbial stick. Tyrone cut through our defence with ease, we laboured at midfield, failed to win enough breaking ball in the middle third and were generally wasteful, one-dimensional and clueless up front. It wasn’t one of the pretty ones, that’s for sure.

The brightest spark for us today was young Adam Gallagher who once again showed he has what it takes in the forward line. He showed constantly for the ball, passed with intelligence and was well able to take a score – ending the day with nine points (six from frees) to his credit. He was my MOTM (for us – I guess Donnelly or McCurry would be in the frame for the overall award) by some considerable margin.

Alongside him, Kevin McLoughlin was lively and productive in spurts, showing further tentative signs that his form of old may be returning. Lee Keegan put in a decent enough shift too and Jason Gibbons worked hard but never came close to putting in the same kind of storming display as he posted the last day. Aside from those, there were precious few who stood up today and I think it’s just as well we did bin the players’ rating idea as I fear we could have ended up with a few (or maybe more than a few) with numbers close to zero against them for today.

Mayo team and subs

But it’s still only early days and, as we know all too well, those flying in February can often crash and burn before August comes around. Our league campaigns in the James Horan era have always mixed the rough with the smooth and it could be that this one will prove no exception.

Don’t forget that last April we were in the drop zone until around ten minutes from time in our final round match down at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and yet we managed to end the day in fourth spot so we shouldn’t, I reckon, be drawing any dire conclusions at this stage about our Division One status. We’ve still our three home games, as well as what should be a handy trip to Cusack Park in Mullingar, in which, once again, to secure safety in the top flight. We’re more than capable of getting enough out of these games to do this.

Our first home game is our next one, where a struggling Kerry side – who also lost today – make the trip to Castlebar in three weeks time. Getting a result in that one still isn’t, to my mind, absolutely essential but it would, of course, be very welcome. What’s really important, though, is that our performance level starts to improve on what we’ve seen so far this year. We were very poor today – far worse than we were in Newbridge – and we need to use the three-week gap now facing us to get us back to a level at which we can once again begin to look on the year with confidence about our prospects.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly; Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Colm Boyle; Lee Keegan (0-1), Shane McHale, David Drake; Jason Gibbons, Aidan O’Shea; Cathal Carolan (0-1), Keith Higgins (0-1), Adam Gallagher (0-9, six frees); Kevin McLoughlin (0-2), Andy Moran (0-1), Diarmuid O’Connor. Subs: Stephen Coen for Keane, Brendan Harrison for Boyle, Brian Gallagher for Carolan, Michael Conroy for O’Connor, Jason Doherty for Cafferkey and Alan Freeman for Keegan.


Kiltane’s defeat in today’s All-Ireland Intermediate club final is, of course, also deserving of a mention tonight. Monaghan’s Truagh Gaels had too much in the tank in the end for the Erris lads, for whom today must be really heartbreaking, having come so far only to fall short within sight of the summit. Enormous commiserations to them and well done on the stirring and gutsy campaign that got them as far as Croke Park today.

126 thoughts on “Tyrone 2-15 Mayo 0-15: not at the races

  1. Conceding goals coupled with our inability to take goal opportunities, leaves us with big mountains to climb. We’re always it seems chasing, when it matters. Anyway, MOTM is easy for this one, young Gallagher showed a lot of heart but more importantly he has the ability to take on his man, make something outta nothing and score, TG. Anyway…

  2. Painful to watch. Mayo have a serious problem with lack of forwards. Absolutely toothless up front

  3. It’s only the league and am not to disappointed when is the Kerry game and anyway tyrone where miles ahead in fitness what do you think

  4. Was at the march today, despite playing badly we could still have won that game, if we had actually taken our goal chances when they came..instead we took the easy option and went for points. This is what cost us the result today. Having said that fair to Tyrone! Young Gallagher did himself no harm. Expect Mayo to come good over the next few games as fitness levels should come up to the required level.

  5. A bad day for mayo in general. Kiltane and the seniors beaten
    A break of 3 weeks to get the show on the road. Forwards are not right and defense is leaking badly, maybe the last 2 years are catching up? Or maybe these guys have bigger goals in mind. Either way they’ll have to improve, which they will I think.

  6. That old saying take your points the goals will come sometimes doesnt ring true, we had several oportunities to score goals but took the point instead with free men in better goal scoring positions, Maybe we should learn something from Dublin who always score goals, goals win games.I expect us to be a lot sharper come the Kerry game in 3 weeks where a win is a must if we want to stay in division 1.

  7. Watched match on TV. Mayo seemed to have more possession than Tyrone, missed too many goal chances. What’s with taking off top drawer players, Boyle, Keegan, Higgins, cafferkey….were they all injured?? As for ongoing saga with Freeman….someone please explain. Adam Gallagher is a class act.

  8. Forwards can’t score if they are forever back trying to shore up defence, I think we are blinded by the forwards issue and are in danger of ignoring midfield and defence problems, on one occasion 3 of our defenders and the goalie chased a ball in the corner and a lone Tyrone player came away with it and nobody at home.
    I know its early days but if we keep playing scrappy football and keep carrying into the tackle, we are in trouble, Tyrone gave us a lesson in get it and move it today while we just got in our own way.
    We are however much better on drier, firmer ground and this may be our saviour later in the year.
    As alluded to above, no problems with our MOM this week, has to be Adam Gallagher by a mile.
    Hard luck on Kiltane, after 51 minutes when they pegged back to the minimum, I thought they were going to do it but it wasn’t to be (had to settle to listening online via Midwest Radio) but it still got the heart pumping.
    MaighEo Abu

  9. That certainly didn’t go to plan. I’d say that there were some strong words to accompany the substitutions at the break. We had problems at both ends of the pitch especially in the first half. A big positive was young Adam Gallagher. He’s a natural and was able to show his more experienced teammates the direction to goal. We’re in a backs to the wall situation in the league now but the little break will allow us to regroup before taking on Kerry.

  10. Was in Croker and devastated for Kiltane.

    Certainly a game that could have been one. By my reckoning missed 7/8 good goal chances. And as JJ said, it was only a point between them with 9 minutes left.

    The opposition were older, craftier and tougher in the tackle. Plus they had a couple of very good scoring forwards with great movement off the ball by their front men.

    Lost Darragh Carey from the back line to a serious injury early on which didn’t help matters. And Kiltane didn’t win their share of breaks around midfield, but it was the several missed goal chances that made the difference.

    Well done to Martin Barrett and all their team on their success over the past year and looking forward to seeing them back in the senior ranks in the near future.

    On the Mayo match, we need to get that winning feeling back soon. Relegation from Div. 1 would be a disaster and poor foreplay to the Championship! JH needs to get back to as close to his best side and slot in Adam Gallagher and one or two others.

    Someone asked what’s the story with Freeman? Does anyone know? Does JH know?

  11. It’s hard to know and I’ll be accused of sensationalism if I suggest we could possibly be showing signs of tiredness after two long hard years both physically and mentally.

    It’s against the ethos of this blog to slate players individually but wow how long more do you give a guy who has proved time after time he can’t man mark any above average quality forward.

    Our lack of composure in front of goal is incredible , junior b stuff at times with lack of natural forward instinct.

    As has already been pointed out, Adam Gallagher was the one positive from the two games so far.

    Some of our more senior players need a serious dose of reality , they are starting to develop a strolling about attitude that is of the thinking , it will all cliq into place when it matters.

    Worrying times imo.

  12. Don’t know what the hell is happening with Freeman. To bring him on for the last five minutes is an insult to the player and is of no use whatsoever. I have serious reservations about this even though James Horan won’t admit it.
    As Judge Judy says, “if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and swims like a duck, it has to be a duck!!!”

  13. Hard luck Kiltane. As for Mayo, no need to panic but serious work required. Hopefully the 3 weeks will enable management and team to iron out mistakes and improve fitness and tighten up at the back.

    We lost four on the bounce last year and qualified for the semi finals. Kerry lost their first four games last year and stayed up so nothing is lost yet. That said the Mayo v Kerry game is now huge for both teams.

  14. Sean, I keep bringing up, no cover at the back. How is it that every team can find yards of space from our backs and our forwards seem to be suffocated with defenders? Is our build up too slow. I flinch every time the ball goes in; who is going to slip, who is going to drop the ball? Keith Higgins is a back and always will be.

    Adam Gallagher was great. He fought hard for several scores.

  15. Maybe James Nallon coaching at the back is a loss as defending is non-existant at the minute even allowing for crazy black card ruling (or lack of it im confused). Plus whats the deal with Horan sitting up in the stands these days??

  16. I keep hearing about fitness and other teams ahead of us this time of the year. Funny Dublin don’t suffer same. Likewise Tyrone who went out a championship game earlier.

    Pat Gilroy scrapped the project with the ” startled earwigs” and re shaped and focused his team. We are too cautious , predicatible and unable to spring a surprise.

    We miss easy frees in finals and unless O Connor is around we are now missing them long before that. Too many defenders converted into front men, McLoughlin and Higgins. Moran was also a wing back. Side is stale and needs to be challenged and fresh blood in and old out. Otherwise it’s Div 2 and slipping from the pack

  17. Every single minute of that match should be analysed by the Mayo players and management (as I am sure it will be) as it showed up the good, the bad and the ugly.
    Pitch in good condition and not much of a breeze so conditions as good as could have been expected this time of year.

    The Good:
    – Adam Gallagher, took on his man, scored frees and went for it even if he did not track his man back the field and spelt the ball a number of times when caught in the Tyrone blanket defence. Better than ALL of our other starting forwards today and will improve.

    – Lee Keegan, Man of the Match for me. Showed the forwards how to do it even if he dropped some short, broke up field time and time again. Had more work to do when Sean Cavanagh came on but best Mayo Player IMO today.

    – Lot of new players in new positions, team that ended up on the field at the final whistle a long way from our strongest.

    The Bad:
    – Full back line except for Boyler who was best of a bad lot. When is an experiment deemed a failure ? after 2 years or 2 league matches or 6 league matches ?.

    – Forwards: Andy desperate bad in the first half turned over a huge amount of ball improved in the second half. Carolan did himself no favours today when he faded after a good opening and blew a goal due to lack of composure.
    – Why were Freeman and Doherty introduced so late, one of them should have come on at half time.

    The Ugly:
    – Slow on the line, subs should have been made before half time.
    – Balls dropped short and tap over frees missed, unforgivable in a non- pressure game.

    One final comment, where was the BLACK card today ??? Did Hughes just bottle it. ?
    As I said before this league started I think it will be time to starting judging our actual worth after we have played 4 games, I would not go with the suggestion that the players are tired.

  18. Willie Joe, that was a fantastic audio report. Terrific, Really great stuff. I always say, “credit where credit id due!!!”

  19. We certainly need our best available players starting the next few games in order to try to pick up points. Not sure what the story is with some of the guys on the injury list and whether any will be back in the next 3 weeks e.g. Seamus O’Shea, Chris Barrett etc?

  20. In terms of the goal chances in the match, the Tyrone forward was just so composed and relaxed when he scored his goals. He was totally comfortable in his position. While on the other hand when Mayo got their chances, they were the total opposite, not composed, not relaxed and just uncomfortable in the position that they found themselves in. Tyrone had scorers, poachers, players who really wanted to score up front. At the moment Mayo don’t have players like this up front, apart from Adam Gallagher today. In saying that, Tyrone did look that bit sharper and fitter than Mayo today. Its probably time to go back to basics now, play Keith Higgins and Colm Boyle in their natural positions and play Alan Freeman at FF.

  21. My worry at this very early stage of the season is, that James Horan is still suffering from a severe lack of confidence following last years AIF defeat. He doesn’t seem to be himself at all and this is shown in his decision making and most worrying of all, it seems to be filtering down to the players, who must have their own issues to deal with as well.

    What James and the team need now, is to take advantage of the few weeks break, reassess their priorities for the season, and start a fresh. Having established players, playing out of position is not helping either and could end up fucking their minds up.

    They all as a group must take a long hard look at them selves, come up with some system, that will tighten up the defence and prevent conceding the many soft goals and points that is killing them. I firmly believe if they could fix the defence the rest of the team will in time fall into place – remember that all good teams are built from the back – my own opinion of course….

  22. I think it’s definitely fair to say that out of the 4 provincial pre season competitions, ours is by far the least intense. It isn’t the same as the McKenna and O’Byrne Cups. I do think that has a big bearing on where we are fitness wise. Today was our last day of pre season, we have 3 weeks to fill the gaps now and hit the ground running against Kerry with a slightly stronger and, hopefully, significantly fitter squad.

    Don’t think we should be panicking just yet. We have a long way to go, and we have had 2 very tough away trips to start off our league campaign. Beat Kerry, Derry and Westmeath and we will stay up I reckon.

    What Is the situation time wise with:

    Chris Barrett
    Seamie O’Shean
    Tom Parsons
    Donie Vaughan
    Alan Dillon


  23. That was quite depressing today. I came away from Kildare last week with some hope. 2 18 was a nice score to rack up and there were some positive performances.

    Today was desperate stuff for the most part. 3 goal chances blown in first ten minutes and another at the end.

    Positives for me were A Gallagher, keegan and I though kevin mc loughlin did well (although he has to be taken off the frees). Some very poor performances in the full back line and I am now worried that Andy won’t come back to form.

    I think the experiments of Boyle at cb and Higgins at cf aren’t working although Higgins did look lively in spells today.

    Next 3 games are kerry, Westmeath and Derry at home. 6 points are very achievable there and that should see us safe.

    We still need to experiment but not as much as today. The kiltane lads and castlebar lads need to be looked at.

    It’s early in the year yet but signs aren’t good

  24. It was a slobbery display but no need to panic just yet! We figured it would be hard to start the league on a winning note given where we are coming from. Most would have agreed that if we survived Div1 and unearthed a couple of good forwards and had the appetite for another long battle in the summer it would count as success. It was also going to be about experimenting. We needed to do that and still do. However, the thing about experiments is that they are only valuable when they actually work. It is beginning to look as if the Keith Higgins at CHF one is not working as well as we would like while we seem to be very porous at the back. Keith looks tired!
    Adam Gallagher is the real deal as far as I can see but none of the other marginal players have claimed a jersey yet. Gibbons is there or thereabouts but needs to build on his current form.
    I worry about Aidan O Shea! He is a huge man with a huge talent but are we getting the best out of him? He needs to be given a chance to play in the forwards where he can use his massive strength to burst through the middle and either score or lay it off. ( I really worry that he may not have the mobility and stamina for a rapidly evolving midfield game. And this may be exasperated as he gets older given his build. )
    Appetite was always going to be the worry and still is and only time will tell but we need to mind our key players and keep them as fresh as possible for summer and that is very difficult.
    Still very confident despite some awful stuff.

  25. Didn’t get to Omagh but i went to the Galway and Donegal match.Im glad i did now even though it was woeful stuff it makes you appreciate the level Mayo are at even if we didn’t have a good day out.But its the same old fucking story with us we don’t take our chances.Its not just the forwards its our build up play in attack its too fucking slow.When we do get it to our forwards its like they see roundabout in front of them instead of just going straight and playing direct.Look at how the dubs attack its fast and direct and there are always players showing for the pass.We can play like that we did it against Donegal last year so i don’t know why we cant do it again.The first goal we conceded i don’t have any problem with it was a great goal but the second shouldn’t have happened was it McHale that was run around? But marking was slack.I didn’t understand Dotherty on for cafferky and i also didn’t understand Freeman getting 5 mins for a lad of his abilities.Refereeing was brutal today .GAA need to sort their shite out with black cards.Adam Gallagher played well .He is a really fine footballer i think keegan is an underestimated he is consistently putting in a good days work and can take a point.So bottom line is same story as every year but it is soo fucking simple.Fast direct ball in attack and plenty of runners showing for ball.

  26. juan comment about Adam Gallagher been overrated and not up to it after scoring 9 points with 3 classy scores from play! Its more young talented players like this we need. Adam has big future in the game. The treatment of Alan freeman disgraceful! Donnelly and mcCurry caused havoc and no changes made 2-9 between them. Horan needed to make chages after 15 mins.We had enough possesion to win game and 5 clear cut goal chances and also kicked 5 balls in to keepers hands.Picked the ball of ground illegally on 3 occasions. Basic mistakes will we ever learn very frustrating…

  27. Willie Joe, I think the quote of the week from you is “Mickey Conroy did his all-too-frequent collect the ball and fall on his hole routine.”

  28. We all know! that’s an issue and holdover from last September but nobody talks about it in Mayo, it’s taboo.

  29. It’s hard to know and you’d hate to ask. One thing is for sure, you’d never believe that Mayo were the beaten All Ireland Finalists of the last two years. It is early days but Mayo looked ruderless and clueless. Mayo played without conviction or belief right throughout the field. Mayo lacked composure and played like they were just hoping for the best. If there is a tortoise and hare thing going on in the Mayo camp, Mayo are making a damn good role play for the tortoise. A tortoise thats lugging a massive ten tonne shell on the back.

    Look it’s early days and as the man says it couldn’t get much worse. I spoke with a man today. A man who hasn’t missed a league nor championship game in twenty years. The man lives in England. His analysis was that Mayo would never win the All Ireland again. I asked him why would he go through all that time and expense too support a lost cause. “Just in case I’m wrong and they do, I’d hate too miss it after all the time I’ve put in. It’d be great to see them win although they never will.” And on that note, “Get the fingers out boys and stop with the shadow boxing, if ye can.” Time will tell.

  30. Ah look for a young lad you cant say he is over rated. He has been our best player in the two league games. Anyway lads, no need to panic we obviously were very tired today and looked very leggy which suggests to me that they were ran into the ground during the week as they didnt look this tired in the kildare game. Anyway its only february and with 3 home games and a very winable game against westmeath to come, i still fancy our chances to make the semi finals. Keep the faith lads.

  31. Not at the races atm. Fitness and conditioning is off the rest and playing football more so on memory than any sort of structure. Good to see a promising footballer in Gallagher doing well. 3 weeks to sort out the kinks and who better to get our first win than the kingdom!

  32. There does seem to be a lack of appetite and the only ones that showed some today were Keegan, Adam Gallagher, Kevin Mc, Drake, Gibbons and Doherty for the while he was on.
    We have to remember though that we are without some great players, the likes of Barrett,Cunniffe,Vaughan, Barry Moran, Richie Feeney and Seamie O,Shea all to return, should shore up MF and defence not to mention Cillian up front.
    As mentioned before by many, Freeman has not been given any time, so I think he and Doherty should start next time, that said, we do desperately need to get the ball in quicker.
    Am with JoeMc on your description of Mickey C, WJ, very funny but also very accurate.

  33. Keegan was MOTM for me, brilliant point near half-time and gave a cracking shoulder to Cavanagh. Looked far fitter than he did last week. I’m getting the feeling that with most our shooting backs unavailable our forwards are being found out. Same story with the final when Dublin had all our backs tied up. The subs were completely ineffective, Doherty and Freeman should have been on at half-time, if not from the start even. Why not give Freeman more game time, is the lad carrying an injury? Caff had a bad day of it as well.

    The one big positive we can take from these two games is Adam Gallagher, we’ve unearthed a natural forward who can step up when needed, something that was lacking over the last few games.

  34. The Lads have put in 2 hard shifts in away games and have nothing to show for it and once again its down to our composure in goal scoring opportunities. By my count we have messed up 7 clear chances between the 2 games. It must be as frustrating for them as it is for us to watch – after all, they have done all the hard work and created the chances and despite all the talk about being unfit they are still playing good enough to take something from these games. Hope to see some clear thinking on and off the pitch in the next game and 2 points bagged.

  35. Cillian should be back by end of March, Parsons around the same, Vaughan,Barrett, SOS and Dillon should be in with a shout for Kerry game from what I understand. nothing concrete on that though

  36. And why is Gallagher not taking all the frees – McLoughlin even though left footed is simply not county standard when it comes to this aspect of the game.
    A lot here saying Gallagher has no great pace – It reminds me of when Cyril Farrell was talking about Martin Storey – ‘Ya we all knew he has no pace but sure he always arrived on time ‘ – tis one of my favourite GAA quotes.

  37. I have to stick up for Micky Conroy & Andy in the sense that with the lethargic build up they are on the back foot as soon as they collect the pass.While Ger Caff & Kevin Keane are suffering badly with QUALITY,QUICK,CHEST HIGH BALL being sent in to their men!.
    Swap the Kildare/Tyrone midfielders with ours & you’d have the ending we want…Andy & whoever free scoring with the opposition going up blind alleys.
    Anyway-get our sick bay healthy,get peace pipes for Horan,Richie Feeney,Evan Regan & Alan Freeman and someone hypnotize A.O’S to give first time ball and we’ll be perfect!

  38. We just weren’t good enough today in so many positions. We need Tom Cunniffe and Chris Barrett back quickly as they quick on their feet to stop the fast forwards twisting and turning before they shoot. We were ate alive in the full back line. Boyle isn’t a corner back and stick to his normal position in the half backs. Keegan was mighty today carrying the ball time after time to the forwards but we just don’t have anyone to lay it off to that can score, got one himself and tried a few more that were short. Carolan has taken himself out of the panel with poor shooting today. Diarmuid O’Connor isn’t ready for the senior squad from what I saw today. Keith Higgins should be back at No. 4, twice tried here this year and its not working, if he was a natural forward he would have scored a goal today instead of his point, he is a class back. Adam Gallagher is a fine player and its great to have found one good forward this year, I just wish Evan Regan would join him in there, we have to get him into this panel rapid. Finally why is Alan Freeman not starting at No. 14, bringing the player in for the last 5 minutes is a disgrace. It will be a tough game between Mayo and Kerry with each of us on Zero point!!!

  39. if any mayo supporter thinks come championship time that nmayo will be in contention come late september are only kidding themselves sadly our ship has sailed

  40. I am a disappointed but proud Kiltane man this evening, in fairness, Truagh were a very strong team, very fit and got a few breaks that any team needs to win.
    Have to say that this was a great match, and reflects well on the intermediate grade.
    I am sure that the team is getting a great reception in Bewleys tonight, and hopefully will come strongly in the senior championship, btw, I thought Mikey Sweeney played really well, and hopefully gets another chance in the national league

  41. Yeah ruanejos, you get the feeling that Kevin McLoughlin is just not comfortable taking the frees, it seems to affect his overall game then, when he is missing frees.

  42. Was gonna write a post but think you covered everything I wanted to say

    The lack of black card was hilarious in all honesty, it was ridiculous. and in all fairness Diarmuid O’Connor should have gotten one too IMO

    No need panic yet really, staying up is the priority and given Westmeath look doomed only 1 will join them, we’ll surely pick up enough wins, probably the first in 3 weeks

  43. I agree mayoroosternan. He might fall on his hole but he is looking for ball.If he could get faster and better quality ball he will look the real deal and he wont be long on his hole i can tell ya
    He is a very zippy player and will always be out quicker to get the ball than hid marker and we would be doing well to take advantage of that

  44. I have to say i’m not that overly concerned that Mayo have lost there first two games of the league..Disappointing yes.. but consider the following.. everyone says that you have to be in Division 1A and be playing competitive football to have any chance winning an All-Ireland. All other teams are looking at Mayo and Dublin as the standard bearers and the teams to beat.. Their primary aim is survive in the league (at all cost) and they have been targeting it and us for months.. The draw has’t been very favourable for us either and Dublin seem to have exceptional strength/depth within their panel (and massive competition for places among fringe players) to do just enough to win games. On saying that, we need to be beating Kerry and Westmeath to stay up. Having done that we need to settle on our best team for the championship and take each game as it comes.

    While Adam Gallagher is doing well, Keegan for me was MOTM.

    Bring on Kerry and keep the faith

  45. Btw, and not to make too much of it, but the way that young Coen swatted (under pressure) that fast dropping ball away with his fist near the end…..very impressed..Cafferky and Keane should take note. That’s how its done.

  46. I am feeling uncharacteristically despondent after today’s result, but trying to stay positive in light of the fact that it’s still only February, and we have three, if not four very, very winnable games ahead of us (I won’t mention the other 😉 ) But some of the comments above have me shaking my head in a bit of disbelief if I’m honest. Adam Gallagher overrated? McLoughlin not caring? James Horan “not himself”? I don’t mean to have a go, but lads, really, come on.

    Firstly, I really thought Gallagher was superb today. Worked his socks off and scored three points from play. He’s not the finished article, but let’s not forget how young he is and how little game time he’s had. If that is overrated, then I’d like five more overrated forwards, please, pronto. And now, I’m not given to angry words on this blog, but no matter how poor a player’s performance (and it wasn’t even that poor) to accuse any player of “not caring” after nearly three years of putting his life on hold and his body on the line is a bit below the belt, and I really think McLoughlin deserves better than that type of criticism.

    Lee Keegan was my Mayoman of the match today – I thought his work rate and intelligence was superb – he kept us in that game for periods today. There are far too many other talking points from the game to fit into one post, but I think I’m probably too grumpy to analyse it with any degree of rationality tonight anyway.

    Stand-out talking points however have to be Alan Freeman’s late introduction (in the absence of any inside knowledge does anyone know what the hell is going on? We have a player here who has had confidence issues, and who badly needs to get a good run under his belt. If this, as some are suggesting is personal, I’d be pretty damn disappointed given all that’s at stake this year), we had the distinct lack of black cards, and our complete lack of intelligence in moving the ball forward. We had flashes of excellence but more often than not we were off the pace and carried the ball into tackles, giving the Tyrone defence far too much time to get into position. And what – what! – is it with this stage fright we get when faced with a goalkeeper and a net??

    Anyway, all things told, it IS only February. Olive I thought you were spot on, and MayoMark, as ever, you’re correct, there is no need to panic just yet. I expect the break to do us good in terms of the lads having more training time together and a couple more will hopefully be returning from injury. I think the last couple of games have really shown how exposed we are in our full-back line when you take Vaughan and Barrett out of the equation, and I hope we see them back sooner rather than later.

    All in all not the best day for the green and red.

    Neither for the blue and gold of Kiltane – commiserations to you all, but what a year you’ve had. Onwards and upwards.

  47. Yeah, if you look at the early chances that we created, the ball was played in very quickly and was much more direct, we need a lot more of this kind of ball going into our forward line.

  48. I don’t know about Conroy.. but I can tell you, when I saw him coming n for the second half..I though to myself there’s no risk taking or experimenting here, especially when Freezer is warming the bench.

  49. Very very early in the day for a statement like that to make.These lads are back training together since January.Compare that to Tyrone who have being training before Christmas and then if you compare that to the muck football i witnessed at Pearse stadium today you would see the standard of football we are playing that .All that added that we were still missing what 5 or 6 regular players .So i don’t know peter i wouldn’t be too pessimistic myself.

  50. Is Freeman going to be second fiddle this year (judging by early team selections- remember there are forwards to come back)?

    Criminal if so, he was outstanding all champ last year, was our best player in semi, was doing very well in final. Of course we’ll just have to wait and see I guess…

    Don’t care about making semis, just want to stay up, league is a lot about finding new options, and it looks like we’ve already done so in young Gallagher.

    Keegan was immense today, Caff looked scarily off the pace

    Higgins should have been put back to FB line after it was clear Keane was struggling after 15 or so mins. He’s a good option at CF in champ I think when we play at a quicker intensity. We’ve TC and CB to come back in corners thankfully

    It’s clear mayo have f-all done training wise comparing to some teams, at least 3 weeks now to prepare for what is a seriously winnable game

    Even if we play like that for rest of league and manage to stay up I’d be happy. We can only improve. In all honesty, even that dejected performance today would beat everyone in Connacht tbh never mind when we get everyone back and step up our performance levels

  51. That’s pure bullshit stuff that we’ll never win the all Ireland…blah blah…of course we’ll win it. When? I dunno. I mean how can someone say that? U don’t get to finals as much as we do without eventually winning. Absolute defeatist nonsense which should be eradicated from the Mayo psyche. It’s too common aswell amongst Mayo ppl. U never hear it from Galway fans. Never. And it’s about time mayo support increased it’s self belief. Brings us back to that article about the Mayo support in Croker going quiet after Moran got the goal. Fuck the fear. Go and win it. Sorry if I’m being course and Joe I understand ur simply saying what another person said. Growing up in galway I have noticed this defeatist attitude raises it’s ugly head from time to time amongst Mayo support and it must be stamped out.

    Mayo will win the All Ireland again.

    On league so far. I’m a little concerned with the amount of first teamers starting. They must b the tiredest squad in the country after the past few years.

    Beat Kerry and Derry and get any result against Westmeath shud keep us up but freshness in summer is what counts.

  52. Sorry about bad spelling I think Adam Gallagher is a good footballer the Kerry games is at home is it.

  53. Today was my first time in Healy Park and I was mightily impressed with the set up. The pitch looked carpet-like and the ceile music pre-match was a nice touch also. I tipped Tyrone to win by 2 but I have to admit that I left Healy Park today struggling to find the positives from the match.
    Now, before I start, it is important to say that I also remember leaving MacHale Park last year after the Kildare game seriously worried about the progress of the side and I accept that there is no way our lads are at the same fitness levels when compared with Kildare and Tyrone but, it is impossible to ignore 2 facts.
    1. We still do not have an attack that is structured to create scoring chances in dangerous areas. 2. When our forwards do get the ball they are isolated, often times too far out from goal, and left with too much to do to even take a shot on.
    Tyrones game plan in the first half was simple and brilliantly executed. They looked to create scoring chances for their 2 left footed forwards in the area of our full back line between the No.2 and No.3 positions. Most of the time McCurry and Donnelly were the only Tyrone players in our half of the field but when Tyrone broke with the ball they played quick accurate passes into that area of our full back line. With the aid of their half forwards and corner forward flooding forward causing confusing and overloading in our defense, they created overlaps and dummy runs that resulted in Donnelly & McCurry sweeping over 7 points from that area of the field in the 1st half alone. Switching Keane, Caff and Boyle around did nothing to stem the flow. The space was created in dangerous field positions for us and they had 2 forwards that took 95% of their chances.
    Against this, our first 2 attacks should have yielded goals, we dropped 3 first half efforts short and Drake had a goal effort saved. Drake!! Our wing back!!!

  54. I think I’d drop Aidan tbh when Seamus and Moran come back/get fit.

    Fairly impress ed by Gibbons today tbh. I think it’s definitely a year or two to early for DOC though in fairness his brother came in around the same time

    Mickey C and Moran were huge disappointments IMO sadly. Was impressed with McLoughlin tbh, though he’s not a free taker. Just give them all to Cillian in champ (Gallagher now) please (Hennelly long distance)

  55. Have to say on the Dublin game that they didn’t over awe me.Westmeath wasted so so so much ball today and if they had been more clinical they could have won.

  56. Agree with you…Carolan, while a great trier,just doesn’t have it at this level. Its a shame really cause I like his heart and determination. But he finds it really hard to score, turns the ball over by running down blind alleys etc.He may have played himself out of a starting spot but then again, its not like we have a bunch of sharp shooters ready to take his place now is it?

  57. Agreed.

    They’ve lads to come back though. Bit OT obviously but Ciaran KK must be one of the most overrated players I’ve seen IMO.

    Problem is Alan Brogan can come in here and brings so much more

    The thing is Dublin looked suspect even in the bloody final last year at times!! Forwrads more often than not will carry them through though.

    Team to beat in 2015. It looks like Kerry clearly have nothing coming through like I suspected

  58. Disappointing day all round with defeats for Kiltane and Mayo. The more I see the more convinced I am about a number of things. Keith Higgins is possibly the best corner back in Ireland. Colm Boyle is one of the best wing backs in Ireland.Play them in their proper positions because we have conceded a staggering 4 34 in two games. Am loath to criticise our players but K Keane is struggling at moment and Caff not having great time either. Adam Gallagher did quite well but hes only a young lad so shouldn’t expect him to do it every day. The year is young, its not easy for Mayo to pick it up after the disappointments of September and we have lots of good players to come back so we shouldn’t be over critical. Mach v Kerry is crucial now.

  59. I learned today that when you kick the ball up and over the bar it’s 1 point, and when it’s under the bar it’s 3 points. It would be good to kick the ball under the bar, between the two posts and not hit the goalkeeper. I wonder what the best way of doing that would be?

    Maybe placing the ball with an appropriate amount of power rather than blasting it? Sure seemed to work for that team in white.

  60. Careful Ciaran, before the Al Final I said that Ciaran Kilkenny was overrated, and one of the contributors here said they lost all respect for me.

  61. Some folks are giving Andy a hard time of it and I understand that, but what he needs is game time and match time to get back to fitness and sharpness. The league is the time to do this. For we know that if he regains that fitness, he has the skill and smarts to reek havoc in the best of defenses. Lets be patient with Andy, I have a lot of faith in him. He’s be grand come summer and will orchestrate everything from his CHF position.

  62. Ya they this is it like their forward are clinical and there attacks going forward is fast and they always have 2 or 3 lads running and looking for ball.Its very simple stuff but very very effective.There not good at tackling in my opinion.But i suppose when their game is all out attack its bound to get neglected.Mind you i do believe that will be a weakness for them if they can come across a team that can cut out their attacks.

  63. Higgins’ miss was criminal tbh

    I watched the game “live” (avoided result online somehow) on tg4 and said the minute that went over the bar that could cost us. Would have been a completely different game had it gone in most likely

    Need to be bloody ruthless. Cost us (well cost is the wrong word- let us down is more apt) a few times in champ last year too

  64. When Donnelly and McCurry got their hands on the ball they were 21 yards from goal on almost every occasion. When McLoughlin and Moran got the ball they were 30 to 40 yards from goal. This is the difference.
    Now, I am not overly concerned. Our league form over the last 3 years has been patchy, we are trying positional switches, we are integrating new faces in O’Connor, Gallagher, Drake & Harrison into the set-up and we have plenty to come back from injury and club commitments. There are positives to be taken in the fact that for the first 20 mins of the second half we restricted them to 3 points, 2 from play. McHale had another solid game and is certainly showing consistency in all his games this year. Gibbons, while not as influential as last weekend, was still good and is showing better form than at any point in the last 2 years. Moran got through a lot of work and although he lost a fair bit of ball in the first half, he was much more efficient with it in the second. But Adam Gallagher has been the shining light for us so far this year. A very good debut last week and 9 points to day as well as setting up numerous other chances. The lad is a natural and needs to be minded
    On the down side, Keane was bet up a stick all first half, Carolan is wasting the chances Horan is giving him to prove he is worth a starting spot and McLoughlin will never learn to release the ball BEFORE he gets outnumbered and turns over the ball.
    The ref was poor, but equally poor for both sides I believe.

  65. Indeed, it’s a long time since we were still in champ in September and lost 4 league games.

    Oh wait

  66. Slow ball into our forwards is not worth a fiddlers fuck.Jaysus tis simple stuff. If we decide to play like the way we did against Donegal last year in championship we will get more goals .

  67. In fairness we scored plenty last year. It will come. These 2 games were always going to be our hardest and, despite Horan saying we were targetting the league, I don’t believe for one minute he is. Priority for our league campaign is don’t get relegated, try a few things out e.g. positional switches to prevent us from being so predictable etc., bring a few new faces in and offer something different in attack and defensively in midfield. Todays result, while disappointing, doesn’t alter that.

  68. Agree with post
    Added bad decision making in going for goal when point appropriate and vice versa

  69. I think your right about the back line, in that with their return, Barrett and Vaughan will bring some sense of order. Also, move Keith back there and stop effin around with that! Some wont like this but Ger hasn’t exactly been owning the square for a long time now either.
    Your point about freezers late cameo is spot on..why he’s not starting is baffling, but I don’t know if its because of last years issue or not ( the worst kept secret in Mayo). Whatever it is, he’s our best option at FF and an effin disgrace he’s being relegated to 5’th sub.

  70. Yeah, we are getting and not taking a lot of goal chances but we have to look at the players that are getting the chances. They are not natural finishers. McCurry is a natural finisher, so its just like shooting fish in a barrel for him. Like it is for Bernard Brogan or Michael Murphy or dare I mention his name, Evan Regan. They really really want to hit the back of the net. Its their bread and butter! Its like a striker in the premier league that might not touch the ball for 89 minutes but then he’d score in the 90th minute. Keith Higgins’s bread and butter is sweeping up around the full-back line. Cathal Carolan’s bread and butter is picking up breaks and hassling the opposition. We need to get our finishers into the finisher’s position as Bernard Brogan usually is for Dublin.

  71. Another possible reason for playing a player out of position to improve aspects of his game- was that the story with AOS last year
    Today not day to judge

  72. What I can’t understand. Conroy usually gets the ball but he never gets any support. Surely they know he needs support and the player who supports him also needs support and so and so on. Isn’t that what training and tactics are all about. They’re not thick!!!

  73. MayoMark, I agree 100%..Far too early to hit the panic button. You don’t become a bad team overnight. I predict a much more focused team in 3 weeks time and a much better display. Home support will be a big factor too.

  74. The next 3 weeks are crucial in terms of fitness and preparation for mayo. Its fine however running the shite out of the lads but if the selection of the team isn’t perfect for Kerry etc then we will struggle like today. I said it during the week that I was worried about the young Tyrone forwards and our full back line. Some of our defenders aren’t up to it but in fairness there’s no protection there. We have a lot of injuries and some players are still with their clubs so therefore why isn’t a solid back 6 selected from the off rather than experimenting?

    With a solid back line and a hard working midfield pairing you are 70% there. Leaving experienced forwards like freeman & Doherty on the bench for the majority of the game doesn’t make sense at all. I’ve no issue introducing youth into the team but it should be done gradually, not at the start of a league campaign where results are crucial to gain momentum. It’s a big 3 weeks ahead for the team. Hopefully lessons will be learned & our overall game will improve a lot.

  75. Anne-Marie, it might have been me who passed the comment about McLoughlin ‘not caring’. Here’s why.
    Last year when he kicked one or two of the most terrible wides ever, he turned around and smiled. Today, one or two of his frees were crazy, he just threw a foot at them and put them wide.
    When I played football, if I did that, I would kick myself from one end of the field to the other, in frustration, annoyance and embarrassment. Smile, Never!!!! I had a responsibility to my team. It is just an observation. 🙂

  76. I think you may be mistaking a smile for a grimace there Joe! I thought Kevin was one of our better performers today but none of the lads could ever fairly be accused of not caring. I think you need a better justification than what you’ve given for such an accusation.

  77. Its actually a strange one now in terms of the Castlebar Mitchels v Dr Crokes game. If the Crokes win, then their is a chance that the Mitchels players could come back into contention for Mayo for the next few games. While Kerry would still be missing the Crokes players, as they would be preparing for the final. On the other hand if Mitchels win, Mayo will be missing these players for another few weeks while the Crokes players might rejoin the Kerry panel for their crucial games ahead. Its just one to ponder on. Best of luck to Castlebar Mitchels anyway!

  78. Funny u should mention the ceili music when the first song I heard to intimidate us pre match was “Dilin o damhs”(?)!

    Was baffled but shouldn’t have been hearing Oisin mc conville & Tommy Carr rabbiting on on radio 1 how we haven’t found a forward-Gallaghers points on 21 & 47 mins are mouth watering!

    Donie Buckleys much vaunted work isn’t evident yet in 2014 & there’s no guarantees of beating Kerry / Derry in our stadium of light.

    One more thing-whatever about Horans ever changing Head dress;why is Robbie wearing a tshirt when he has yellow / red Jersies to choose from?

  79. When i saw the Tyrone team without many championship starters i thought Mayo had a great opportunity to pick up two points in this game however the Mayo performance was so bad today that even Westmeath would have won. Donnelly,McCurry were the stand forwards on show the next three weeks Horan and his team will have to work on their shooting. Time to move Higgins back to defence and Boyle back into half back and work from there.

    The last two years Mayo only needed 6,7 points to reach the semi finals and with three home games and Westmeath to play a semi final is still very possible.

  80. What’s the table look like.

    Dublin 4
    Cork 4
    Tyrone 3
    Derry. 3
    Kildare. 2
    Mayo. 0
    Wmeath 0
    Kerry. 0

  81. Can you let us in to “the worst kept secret in Mayo” please. I have heard a number of versions of it, none having any comparison to the other.

  82. Agree with WJ here. Any player who visually beats himself up every time after missing a free is mentally weak in my view, leave that stuff to the fans in the stand. Look at Bernard brogan, how many wides did he kick in June and July last summer? Did he run around cursing himself every time he missed and lose his focus? No he kept showing, hept demanding the ball and kept shooting. Confidence remained high. By the Kerry and mayo games he was the best forward on the field. Beating yourself up after a miss shows a lack of self belief that is never present in top players, but smiling after a miss means nothing. I don’t think Kevin is a solution as a free taker for us, but saying he doesn’t care because he is not cursing himself after missing a shot is nonsense.

  83. The recurrent pessimism on this site is just amazing.and just as amazing is the way contributors forget their firmly held beliefs of even a year ago. Then Donie Vaughan was being described as a complete waste at centre back, now we can’t wait for him to come back and rescue us. Kevin McLoughlin was outstanding until he unfortunately lost form late last year. His free taking was also outstanding. Give him a chance to get back to his best, I am quite confident he will take it. Last year contributors could not wait for Keith Higgins to be given his chance up front, now after just a few games we want the experiment abandoned.

  84. There is nothing wrong with Alan Freeman, he is healthy, fit, willing and able.If there is a problem its with the management but i’d say he’s trying out new players, positions and tactics which aren’t working too well and will have to revert back to the old reliables. Now, how’s that for spelling and punctutation!! Mayo didnt have a great league last year and still did enough to sneak into the play offs. Long way to go yet. Keep the faith.

  85. Yeah, you just get the feeling that Kevin is not comfortable taking the left footed frees. This is probably another reason why Enda Varley was used a lot as well, as he was taking a lot of these frees when he was in the team. This is one more reason why we need the forward from Ballina in the team to take these left-footed frees. While on the other hand, Cillian O’Connor loves the responsibility of taking frees. He really thrives on it.

  86. I believe apart from Johnny that Kildare were close to full strength rather than experiential the last day and I would say it’s likely the same for Tyrone.

    I wouldn’t be worried too much as the first rounds were clearly used as an incentive for the new lads to see who could stand up to the battle.

    I’d be more concerned looking at the Dubs who are only in 2nd gear in their matches and are also using an experimental side.

    Without freeman and cillian up front our attack options are limited to precision foot passing or solo runs through. These are easier options to defend against, particularly on heavy fields this time of year as our forwards need more time to win the ball, then turn and shoot or offload. The two lads give the high direct ball option which is sent in direct from midfield which is far quicker with runners coming through at pace. I would hope that freeman starts in round 3 and this type of tactic is used.

  87. Hopefully a nights sleep will have improved everyones mood because, judging by some of the comments, it was not good yesterday evening. I think the criticism of the players and management has been very harsh considering our first 2 opponents and the options available to Horan.
    Firstly, Tyrone have been registering big scores in the very competitive McKenna Cup and Kildare won the O’Byrne Cup shooting the lights out. Both competitions are way more competitive than the FBD and both sides have been in training for 3 to 4 weeks longer than our lads. We went into both those games at a significant disadvantage in terms of fitness, selection options (Barrett, Cunniffe, Vaughan, S. O’Shea, B. Moran, Feeney, Dillion, O’Connor all out) and playing both games away from home (even though there was a good crowd at both games).
    Secondly, we all were roaring for Horan to freshen things up tactically and make us less predictable in our selection so he brings in 2 minors, 2 U21’s as well as David Drake, plays Higgins at no.11 (everyone was criticising management for not doing that last year!), gives Carolan 3 FBD games and 1 and a half NFL games to show us what he can do as was called for last year also (IMO Carolan has failed to do enough so far to warrant a starting berth sadly as I like him as a player). He was criticised for “not listening” so he makes Buckley a selector and gives him direct input to team affairs as opposed to just a coach.
    Thirdly, I cannot understand the clamour of support for Doherty. I know he is game and trains as hard as anyone else but the fact of the matter is it is 2 or 3 years ago since he got all those goals in the FBD/NFL and he has not performed consistently well enough to warrant selection. He was very poor against Roscommon in Ballinlough for example, granted he was alone that day, but he needs to be doing what Adam Gallagher, David Drake and Jason Gibbons are doing. That is, putting in regular impressive performances that cannot be ignored. He is young and he will get his chance in the league this year but he needs to be doing more.
    It was mentioned earlier that Dublin and ourselves are considered the standard bearers and that is a good thing. But consider the starts of both sides. Dublin in Croker against a rebuilding Kerry side missing 3 or 4 of their best players through retirement and club commitments, and, scraping over the line against Westmeath. Dublin also competed in the O’Byrne Cup that allowed them to use the full extent of their panel. We will have a much clearer picture of where we are after the next 2 home games.
    On the Freeman thing, I would like to think that Horan knows full well that Alan will be our no.14 come the Summer. I think he is accommodating Andy there for now to allow the management to experiment with our half forward line, which completely malfunctioned in the latter stages last year. By trying Higgins there, giving the 2 Gallaghers game time, giving Carolan a run of games at no.10 and introducing young O’Connor he is undoubtedly looking at his available options for that line of attack.
    Tis snowing this morning, that is how early in the year we are. We will get there and it will be a gradual work in progress. Or do we want to be like Kildare? Flying in February but the feet up at the end of July??? I know which one I want.

  88. I have a lot of time for Kevin Mc, but his form over free kicks over the last 2 years is shocking. And these misses are the worst type, as they sap the energy from other players & supporters and boost the opposition.
    He should not take any, full stop. He is a classy, creative player, so why burden him with these free kicks. The first he missed yesterday, he was clearly out of breath and had no focus. He knew he was going to miss it. I knew he was going to miss it.
    We should use him for what he is good at, which is picking up breaking ball, finding his man, making space for himself and drawing the foul.
    And then someone else pop it over!!!

  89. If giving Cavanagh a shoulder and scoring a point makes him MOTM, what about the 3 balls he kicked into the goalkeepers hands? As Pat Spillane said yesterdays game by Mayo backs and forwards was “puke ” . Apart from Adam Gallagher, Jason Gibbons, David Drake Kevin McLaughlin, MOTM for Mayo by a mile was Adam Gallagher.

  90. Disappointing performance alright, particularly as there were some positive signs after the Kildare game.
    Tyrone were missing a raft of regulars, so this game was there for the taking.

    Still, I expected 0 points from our first 2 games.
    The Kerry game will tell us a lot more.
    I really feel it’s a game we should be winning and winning well.
    Take O’Donoghue out of their forward line and it’s very average.
    Their fringe players are nowhere near the standard of the players they’re replacing.

    Thought Gallagher played well today, but agree with some that Keegan shaded the MOM.

    The missed goal chances are a worry, but then we had the same problem during the league last year and then couldn’t stop rattling the net come championship time.
    The only point I’ll make about these missed goal chances is that the players seem too scared when presented with a goal chance. The ball is constantly hit high, knowing a point will be some consolation for not hitting the net.
    The 2 Tyrone goals were class strikes, hit with confidence and complete conviction.

  91. Was at game yesterday, I wouldn’t panic, but our full back line is in bother, as already stayed above, too many backs in forward. Higgins badly needed at the back. I’m afraid Andy is trying to do something he no longer is fit for, should have been taken off at half time. Gal lager is class, AOS has room for improvement.

  92. Ah John. Don’t let Mayo’s usual February turbulence send your mind into despair. Andy Moran is an all-star forward. As was Paul Galvin and Graham Geraghty, both of whom are converted half-backs. Moran showed up with 1-2 in the All-Ireland final and was our sole hope for scores from play on the biggest day.

    Kevin Mc is a critical player for us and knows where the posts are. He should have got an All-Star in 2012 and his contribution in that All-Ireland final should not be dismissed. Neither should Keith Higgins’ in last September’s final. Those are the days for passing judgement on these lads, not Omagh in February.

    The side DOES need to be challenged: that’s why Drake, Harrison, Coen, Gallagher, McHale, O’Connor (D) etc. are getting the start.

  93. It might be time to do another re-jig against Kerry. If I was Horan, I’d be looking at moving Mchale back to the fb line, Keith back to CHB and put Gibbons or Brian Gallagher at CHF. I’d consider putting Boyle and McLoughlin back to their more accustomed positions too. That would free a spot for Freeman in the FF line and there will be questions if DOC gets another start ahead of him. Although he looks like a decent prospect, he is too easily pushed aside at this stage. We certainly need some more ‘presence’ in the full back line so the addition of McHale back there would be a big help.

    Kerry is a must win game so I think JH will go conservative and pick players in more familiar positions for this one.

  94. Good man yourself Peter. Very deep analysis there. Stay at home then if that’s how you feel, and leave the tickets for the rest of us.

  95. Ya – that’s more like it. A bit of cold perspective.
    The worst thing I thought about yesterday was the way we were beaten in the full back line and in the middle third. I would be looking at moving Boyle back out to 1/2 back. We need more speed and power in that middle third, with guys who are better at fundamentally wining the breaks, punching holes, and laying it quickly off.
    This also would take the pressure off our full back line and up the ante on oppositions defence. I think we had a good system last year. Tweaking it a little is no harm but changing it fundamentally is a big ask. I know we have guys out and there is a basic plan of trying to integrate new guys into how the team is going to play.
    I worked out my table for the rest of the League and see us finishing with 8 points. Having faith in the team I see us winning all our home games and one away against Westmeath. The next game is crucial though (and both ourselves and Kerry must know this).
    Having lost yesterday I expect the Kerry team to be completely different in 3 weeks’ time with the likes of Marc O’Sé, Darren O’Sullivan, Declan O’Sullivan and Donaghy back in the frame. Not to mention the Crokes lads depending on next Sunday. Either way it’s a lot of serious firepower added to their team.
    So we may well also need a few guys back e.g. Chris Barrett, Alan Dillon, Seamus O’Shea (to replace Aidan in my mind and not Jason Gibbons). More experience is necessary and although the new guys have done well they have not consistently shown the something required you need at this level against top opposition. I.e. dominating your direct opponent, consistently winning the breaking ball, playing for the team and quickly making the correct decisions when the team is in possession.
    If they are to become competitive inter-county players it is something they need to learn. Overall the pressure is on now. The next game will show us a lot about the makeup of the team for the remainder of the League and the championship ahead.

  96. Sorry Willie Joe, my purpose there was to explain my thinking to Anne-Marie, whose posts I admire and respect, not to have a go at Kevin.
    I had no intention of bringing that up, even though I do feel there was something wrong there. My smiley was for Anne-Marie to show her it wasn’t a big deal.

  97. By the way Willie Joe the guys on TG4 thought it was very bad at this level. I couldn’t translate it perfectly but they were very unimpressed.

  98. I would not worry too much. I would say Mayo are just off the pace due to lack of training. The backs did not look pretty but there is talent to come in here. The forwards dropped ball after ball. I think the midfield supplied decent ball but the forwards were not able to cope with the better prepared and fitter Tyrone backs. Ref seemed way behind the play. I feel our forwards should have got more frees. As in the Kildare game backs were allowed to drag down attackers at will without any cards being shown. Our backs didn’t but this may have been because they were way of the pace anyway. Decent local supporters. They made us feel very welcome. Serious issue with parking in Omagh. I feel Mayo will be better prepared for the next games.

  99. Both Kildare,Tyrone was missing around 10 championship starters and more experiential than Mayo were i would reckon.

  100. That’s good to hear Pebblesmeller, as it was only when Kerry got some of their big named players back last year, that they started to get motoring in the league and won their last three games to avoid relegation.

  101. Speaking of the support, seemed there was a sizable and vocal mayo contingent there…anyone care to put a number on it?

  102. Some very good points there Pebblesmeller, we should also remember that we are the only team in Division 1 that has not played a game at home yet.

  103. Great contribution, Pebblesmeller. Have been trying to make the same points myself for the past while.
    I was not able to be at the game but looking at it on TV afterwards the referee seemed to be very inconsistent, giving frees sometimes and not others, giving frees late and sometimes against the team first fouled. As Mayo’s defence was looser thhan Tyrone’s this tended to favour Tyrone but this did not make the difference between victory and defence. Is the new 5 second advantage rule in place yet? I did not notice it being applied.

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