U21s snatch sensational All-Ireland semi-final win

Full time

Well, that was fun. Not good for the heart, perhaps, but definitely of positive benefit to the soul. As a county we’ve come out on the wrong side of more than our fair share of closely-fought classics over the years so it felt very sweet to emerge from this one on the right side. The happy side, the sloppy grin side, the I wonder where the final will be played? side.

Today’s U21 All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin at O’Connor Park in Tullamore – am I not right? Isn’t it a small gem of a venue? – was the first I got to see of this team in the flesh. I had, of course, heard all about their never-say-die attitude, which they’d demonstrated so forcefully in relieving Roscommon of their U21 Connacht title a few weeks back, and was eagerly looking forward to seeing them for myself.

We made it into the ground just prior to the 2.45 pm throw-in and as we settled into our seats in the stand the lads settled nicely into this contest. Very nicely in fact because after just eleven minutes we were 1-4 to 0-0 in front.

All of this opening barrage came from play. Fergal Boland clipped over our opener after two minutes and Fionan Duffy pointed the second. Then Diarmuid O’Connor got on the end of a through ball from Liam Irwin and fisted it past the stranded Dublin keeper. Two more points – from Stephen Coen and Shairoze Akram – followed within a minute to complete a dream opening for us.

DOC goal

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

It would have been great had we built on this and put the result beyond doubt before the break. At that stage we looked stronger all over the field, winning every individual battle, and Dublin looked more than a little at sea.

Instead we reached half-time with a six-point lead, 1-7 to 0-4, following a second quarter where we’d allowed the Leinster champions to find their feet in the contest. True, it took them 29 minutes to register their first score from play but they’d pointed three frees before this. The three points we’d added to our opening barrage came from Diarmuid O’Connor, following a blistering upfield run, and two frees from Conor Loftus.

Still, a six-point cushion at the break left us in a great position. What we needed to do now was continue to exert the same dominance on proceedings after the break and our place in the final would be assured.

Dublin had, though, other ideas. They turned the contest completely on its head in the third quarter, during which time we utterly lost our way. All of a sudden, those warm and cosy thoughts about an All-Ireland final appearance started to give way to dark mutterings about the slump to defeat that seemed to be unfolding.

It took the Dubs just ten minutes to haul themselves level. They’d outscored us by four points to one (our one coming from Liam Irwin) when they broke through for the equalising goal, booted to the net by their main dangerman Con O’Callaghan.

For the next ten minutes, we looked completely shell-shocked. Midfield went to pieces for us, their runners cut through us at will and we had difficulty getting the ball past the half-way line.

With ten minutes left on the clock we were four in arrears and looking like a beaten side. At that stage it was 1-13 to 1-9: we’d added a point, from Fergal Boland, but that was only our second point of the half whereas they’d tacked on 1-9 since the break. That ten-point turnaround looked to be decisive then.

But that’s where the lads’ indomitable will-to-win began to kick in. James Carr’s introduction added a bit of extra zip up front and driven forward by the likes of Stephen Coen, Shairoze Akram and the peerless Diarmuid O’Connor, this fascinating battle began to turn again.

Liam Irwin knocked over two frees to halve the deficit facing us. Between those scores, though, came the worst of a series of cack-handed refereeing decisions by Fermanagh official Niall Cullen when Diarmuid was felled as he bore down on goal but was instead incredibly penalised himself for overcarrying.

DOC fouled

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

But the lads’ dander was now decidedly up and the big Mayo support at last found its voice too as we all suddenly woke up to the reality of the grandstand finish that was now in prospect. They’d snatched the fat from the fire against the Rossies: could they do it again against the Dubs?

James Carr was next to be hauled down as he charged forward. This time the ref did award the free and Liam Irwin once more pointed to cut the gap down to just one.

The Breaffy player – fouled as he tried to get the shot away? – missed a chance to square the match but Matthew Ruane stormed forward soon after and blasted over the leveller on the run off his left.

Into injury-time and Colm Basquel – the Ballyboden player with Westport roots – pointed at the other end to put Dublin back in front. Funnily enough, though, this late, late score never felt like the winner and our lads clearly didn’t think so either as they continued to pour forward at the other end.

A Conor Loftus free brought the match back to stalemate and with extra-time now beckoning we launched one final attack. This ended with Diarmuid getting dragged down within scoring range and once again Conor Loftus was unerring with the free. This one really did have the look and feel of the winning score about it:

Dublin did get the chance to restart but the ball never made it as far as half-way before the ref blew the full-time whistle. 1-15 to 1-14 it finished, a result that sees us into our first U21 All-Ireland final in ten years.

That 2006 decider was against Cork in Ennis and the bulk of the team that won the All-Ireland for us that day went on to form the backbone of the senior team that has represented us with such distinction in the years since then. That group was a special one and with every match this U21 team plays they’re showing hints of exceptional quality too.

On they now march to an All-Ireland final showdown, which will be held this day fortnight, possibly in Ennis, where they’ll get the chance to write their own piece of history. Although Cork have been installed by the bookies as 8/15 favourites to win the thing out, it’d be a brave person who’d write our lads off at this stage.

Mayo: Matthew Flanagan; Eoin O’Donoghue, Seamus Cunniffe, David Kenny; Michael Plunkett, Michael Hall, Sharoize Akram (0-1); Matthew Ruane (0-1), Stephe Coen (0-1); Fergal Boland (0-2), Conor Loftus (0-4, frees), Diarmuid O’Connor (1-1); Liam Irwin (0-04, three frees), Fionan Duffy (0-1), Brian Reape. Subs: Eddie Doran for Cunniffe, James Carr for Duffy, James Kelly for Plunkett.

113 thoughts on “U21s snatch sensational All-Ireland semi-final win

  1. That was unbelievable. Diarmuid OConnor is one tough hardy buck who refuses to accept defeat. Such calm heads for our last three points.

  2. Outstanding!!! Well done lads, what a match. They certainly did it despite some puzzling calls from the ref. There were a couple of shocking phantom frees given to Dublin and I don’t know what Diarmuid had to do to win a free. What a player he is.

  3. Well done Mayo I am the happiest man in the Phillipinnes the locals don’t know why this lunatic in a green and red jersey is so happy great win

  4. Dodgy refereeing aside (which also affected dublin, to be fair), it’s great to see such character on the pitch. They have to go and finish it off now.

  5. Well played Solan, he played a blinder and Thanks Dublin for being a great opponent to bring the best out of these players. And boy did they respond. To all the players, you did your County proud tonight, Its one of the best displays I seen from a Mayo team and at 46 I seen a few.

  6. Referee was a joke and nearly cost us the game. We had a pint in the 2nd half waved wide as well. Something has to be done about this clowning about.
    Amateurs Ted. Amateurs.

  7. Wow is all I can say. Thought it was curtains midway through second half but these fellas won’t be beaten. We are witnessing the development of some serious players, ones that will win the big prize in due course, for certain.
    When you look at the depth of talent and resources that Dublin have you have to say that this is a very scary Mayo side, they just won’t stop or take no as the answer

    Well done

  8. Courage, bravery, skill, class! Doc is awesome, a true leader among leaders, well done Mayo!

  9. I wonder if the Dublin senior team had to play more games outside Dublin would they win as much? I doubt it!

    Well done to the boys, my heart can’t take these come backs!

  10. Some serious character in that team. Not only did each and every player have to use every Joule of energy remaining in their bodies to claw back that lead from the high and mighty dubs in the closing quarter – but they also had to beat the referee as well. These lads are winners. Well done to all.

  11. This team refuse to accept defeat. Super win….now let’s roll on and win the bloody thing.
    Why the GAA are getting rid of this grade amazes me…..always provides great entertainment. Second game is a thriller too.

  12. Apart for not giving oconnor a free i thought the ref was fair. Perhaps o connor gave back chat after getting the yellow card.
    Our last free was soft
    Should be a great final

  13. Agreed yew tree. A real shame they’re doing away with this grade. It’s really produced exceptional football this year.

  14. JR, with respect, fair is not a word I would use to describe the ref. Any word I would like to use could get me in bother do I won’t say it.

    Other than that, Diarmuid O’ Connor, take a bow young man!

  15. The lack of constant fouling and cynical play which we get in the senior grade. Ames the u-21 more pure football and more entertaining. Bad move by the GAA I reckon. Anyone think our goalie lost the head when Dublin came back at us? Was the only negative but maybe I am being harsh in the lad? He did pull off massive saves in the Conn final. I hate to see a keeper drive a kick out over the sideline and our senior goalie does it too often too.

  16. Dublin’s mistake in last 5 was conceding frees too far in, either tackle properly or concede further out.

  17. I think the spirit of a certain young lad whos no longer with us, may be guiding this team over the finish line

  18. What a win wonder who got tg 4 man of the match. Wonder is on tg 4 player does anyone know.

  19. I’ve said it for the last 18 months and I repeated it last night, we are witnessing the birth of quiet possibly Mayo’s brightest star in the last 50 years in Diarmuid.

  20. Often tg4 put the games online afterwards.

    MoM went to DOC. No argument there (although it was far from a one man effort).

  21. eddie doran was also immense

    This guy is the best corner back I have seen in years.. He never panics

    Reminds me of a certain denis Irwin

  22. Outstanding heart shown by these young lads. The dubs had the benefit of the strong breeze in the second half and for most of that half the benefit of the ref too. I do think the free we got to level it was somewhat fortunate but it really only made up for a number of blatant frees we should have had in scorable positions prior to that.
    Well deserved win by our lads, the margin should have been greater in the end.

    Willie Joe, it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance in person today. And may I say once again, thank you for all the work you put into this blog. It really is a fantastic resource that does admittedly make my post match Monday’s considerably less productive than they should be.

  23. I’ve seen posts here from Paul and Liam in relation to Diarmuid OConnor

    I couldn’t agree more. Shortly after having been hugely involved in preventing a Dublin goal he appears at the other end of the park and with speed of thought and action flicks the ball over the Dublin keeper. The kind of goal which has become a central ingredient in our diet of adulation of Pat Spillane and the great Kerry teams of the last quarter of a century.

    D O’C’s ability to put the boot down and solo forward beating anyone and everyone is also a joy to behold, most notably because he can do it successfully unlike many of our Mayo seniors who solo into traffic and either are dispossessed or are blown up for over- carrying.

  24. I agree with the comments about Duirmuid .IMO he is the best all round footballer I have seen play in the green & red. With the heart of a lion. I forget which match it was but he got lost in possesion and he ran the length of the pitch to tet win ball back.We are not far off getting our best forward line.

  25. A game over the 60 mins played that Mayo should have won by 4 or 5 points but TBH a little disappointed with the manner that the game was won with a very dubious free. I said on here yesterday that i fancied a Mayo v Cork final and thats how it work out. I think Mayo should go on to win the All Ireland now as Dublin,Roscommon are better sides than Cork.

  26. Careful there mayomagic, I travelled to croker on paddy’s day with similar sentiments.

    Anyway the future of mayo football looks in good hands

  27. Just back from the match. An enjoyable drive back when you win!
    Terrific win today. The senior players really showed their class today. Loftus, after a slow start, Coen, O’Connor were all superb.
    Positives: Never say die attitude. When the Dublin chap curled over a superb point with ten minutes left, I thought that was that. To come back and score five of the last six points was superb.
    Composure. All throughout they were composed and never panicked. Other Mayo teams would have crumbled in those last few mins but they never once lost their composure. Even when fans, myself included, were screaming for the ball to be kicked in, they held possession, waited for the runners, worked the scores. Very impressive.
    Fitness. Towards the end, they looked a good bit fitter than Dublin, who couldn’t cope with their running game at all. Powerful stuff.
    Leaders. Coen, Ruane, O’Connor, Akram, all were superb and lead from the front, I was extremely impressed with Akram. Running at them constantly, extremely composed, supremely fit. Only a matter of time before he’s playing senior football too.
    Diarmuid O’Connor. Can’t throw any more plaudits at him than what has been said previously. A class above everyone else on the field.
    Freetakers. Irwin didn’t do a whole lot from play but when frees needed to be put over, he stuck them. Same with Loftus. I hate his style of free taking by the way, wouldn’t have been at all surprised if that last one had been ruled wide, the height of it!!
    Subs. Carr and Duffy were superb when they came in. They were badly needed too.

    Negatives.
    Opened up too easily in the second half. They were luck to only give away one goal.
    They went missing for the first fifteen minutes of the second half. Can’t afford to keep giving teams that kind of latitude. Cork will punish them.
    Midfield woes. Good in the first half. Anonymous for a long time in the second but did come good. Need to be more consistency.
    Finally, I thought their warm up bordered on the ridiculous. A drill which had most of them standing around for the best part of ten mins? Crazy! Might sound silly saying that given that they started so well but it looked dreadful to me.

    Hopefully now they can seal the deal in a reprise of 2006 all over again! Roll on Cork!!

  28. Showed some balls today. Looked dead on their feet ten minutes into the second half. Then stormed back into it only to face defeat again into injury time. Got right back up the pitch again and demanded the win. It was fantastic to see that kind of desire, no feeling sorry for themselves and an absolute refusal to accept a fucking gallant defeat.

    Huge credit due to all of them. Finish the job now lads.

  29. Thouroughly enjoyed today.. it was my first time in O’ Connor Park and it sure is a fine facility. I would echo all that has been said above about Diarmuid and this team and I would like to add another compliment that I feel helped deliver this win and that was intelligence or craftiness. When the chips were down this team never panicked.. you always felt there was time, that they would fight back and the manner in which they did it was just sublime. There was intelligence in possession.. constantly making plays and working the ball into scoreable positions or drawing the foul. Intelligence in reading the game and adjusting to win ball in midfield at the right time which for long periods was lost to us. Craftiness in reading the referee (hard done considering how inconsistent he was but all in all I don’t think he had that bad a game). It takes skill, guts, never give up attitude and smarts to win games and this team keeps giving and giving.. and long may that continue

  30. Behind this great success is a functioning talent development process from clubs to divisions to county. Not only that, but clubs working with kids from 6 or 7 years old. If every club did this consistently we would be even better. It’s great to see junior and intermediate clubs so well represented. Achill, Balla, Ardagh, take a bow. But not one player from the four biggest towns? Bloggers have a look at the Mayo underage leagues on mayo gaa.ie to see which clubs are doing this.
    Anyone watch Cork? I don’t think they are as good as us around the field but they have a few awful dangerous forwards at 11,12 and 15. And a few huge lads as well. It’ll be interesting.

  31. Akram had a great game, speed to burn but needs to work on his distribution, there were times when his foot passing was careless. A lot of good reinforcements available on the bench today in defense with Doran, Kelly and Duffy showing up well when needed. James Carr has came out of nowhere, but anyone surprise that Val Roughneen has disappeared from the match day squad for the last 2 games. I did feel our midfield went to sleep for over 10 minutes at the start of the second half. i didn’t see a replacement on the bench.

  32. Great too see a mayo team tearing out of the blocks and dictating the game. The first half was the best defensive display I have seen from a Mayo team of any level. Tactics were spot on, closed down space, danger men were marked out of it. Cunniffe was missed in second half as he had OCallaghan in his pocket.

    Credit is due to Dublin, they made some changes and put a marker on DOC which did curtail him for first 15mins of second half. But we rallied and showed a never say die attitude. As long as we dont get a little complacent and think the hardest is over us then I think we can finish the job in two weeks.

    On DOC I think he is going to be our best all round footballer ever and one of the very top players in GAA. If the seniors make a semi final this year I think DOC will pick up the young player of the year again and an all star. I maybe wrong but if we have the summers of summers DOC may end up our most decorated footballer of all time apart form the 50,51 guys.

  33. Had to listen to the match on the headphones working, my compliment s to midwest fully enjoyed their coverage,fair play to all who travelled today,population of mayo would not be the same as 2 of tge county’s today but as usual outnumbered the combined support of other counties. Young diarmuid never fails to amaze me. Don’t think it’s fair to compare him to his brother different beast altogether. A summer of him and Aiden in the half forward line running at defender’s is not a bad prospect

  34. Yew_Tree – to be fair, I felt he was trying his best not to hammer balls into the middle of the field. We were losing everything in the middle of the field for the first fifteen minutes of the second half so I can understand totally why he was trying short kick outs or trying to put it to the wings.
    Have to say, though I do like the players running at pace with the ball, as done correctly it’s very hard to defend, at times Mayo need to give the ball in more earlier to their forwards. They seem very hesitant to kick it into our corner forwards. They need to mix it up a bit more.
    I do like Tullamore as a ground. Shows how a good ground should be set up. Excellent stand, even a lovely type ‘cafe’ where one could sit down with a very reasonably priced tea and sandwich before the game. Plenty of other grounds could take note!

  35. Great to grind out the win. Never say die attitude… Plenty of room for improvement still…

    Bit open at the back at times and need more from the inside forward line

    Well done to all. Very proud of them.

    Go and win the thing now.

  36. Different types of players cait but DOC could turn out more valuable to us this summer!

  37. The inside line in fairness are nearly always double marked as we let the ball in too late. They won several scoreable frees also.
    Irwin won three, Reape two and Carr one.
    Duffy had a point.

  38. Mayo deserved to win, no question about it. Dublin Management very very naive, did not have a plan to try and take Diarmuid out of the game. Maybe they read too much into their own hype. Diarmuid is a great player and will prove it in years ahead .

  39. Great win for the young bucks today. Not to piss on the parade but I think cork got all their scores from play this evening. That’s some fire power. Caution is advised…..we haven’t won anything yet, if you know what I mean?

  40. Great open game, no reason the new version can’t be as good
    Enjoyed our display, great half backs, midfield control for a lot of game, good foot passing and forwards who can win their own ball.
    .
    Long way from perfect display, but believe in them getting better enough.

  41. O’Connor ( let the pair fight for that title) impressed me first against Ross in last years fbd. A couple of rossies tried to soften up the new boy and prevoke. He took a quick free.. Mixing codes he now is a mix of Roy, Damien and Paul Mc.
    Mix again, what of Connacht?

  42. Great recovery and great win but for goodness sake Can we move the ball forward rather than sideways and backwards across our own 45. We need breakers to sprint out of defence and to give them the ball in full flight. This nearly finished us in the third quarter.

  43. Only now been able to continue catching up with the blogs.This has been some experience…….to live a match from words and words and words from so many exultant sources!! And what a game …. I feel almost that I was there. Have to admit I was nt seeing clearly with the first few telling comments due to a bout of a watery welling around the eyes. Thanks to all for the special treat.
    HopeSprings , you got your wish ….wan pt…..in tight finish.
    Great to hear about Carr and Akram and Reapes contributions as well as Doran.And what is it that the young OC has…? Could it be put in a bottle!
    Great to hear especially the two words Intelligence and Composure mentioned.If they are to be part of our game then we re well set for the future!

  44. Hi, i also thought Shairoze Akram was very influential in the way he showed for ball, was there for return pass, went forward and raced back when his work was done. He dazzled a bit as just when you thought he would offload ‘took off’ and effectively took 2 Dubs with him. A few times i really hoped he would go on goal but he seemed to know when to pass. Very good hands.

    To top it all off i shook hands with him on the pitch afterwards.
    I took the chance to go on pitch as might not get another chance.
    The players were delighted in a non-emotional way.-it seemed to me. No expert but t was just like a job done, moreto do attitude. Clinical?
    Yes i appreciared a place to sit down for a cup of Tea. A very comfortable Venue and left the stand for the second half and stood just behind the Dublin Bench. What a joy. I was not sure what song tobsing as i would be no advertisement for Singing. Ciaran 2.

  45. Wow! Some game, some win. Have to disagree though Paddy in Dublin. Dublin did have a plan for Diarmaid. They sat on him, pulled him, dragged him, got him booked (he was lucky he didn’t pick up a second yellow), and the ref did nothing.

    But, as a Monaghan man beside me said when DOC got no free after being hauled down and Mayo fans (and Monaghan) boohed to the echo: ‘ yiz’ll get all the decisions from here in’. He wasn’t far wrong.

    If naiveté there was, it was the Dublin goalkeeper who displayed it, though Matthew had a few hairy moments too.

    Massive character shown; four down against a gale and your opponents overturn a seven point lead. And, having the balls to go for the win when playing down the clock to extra time seemed the safer option.

  46. Re our midfield “disappearing” in the second half it was a case of Dublin breaking almost every ball. Beforehand I was hoping that we would not have a slow start as v Leitrim and Rosc. We didn’t, we saved it for the second half and gave Dublin far too much room for the fist 20 minutes.. I would give our goalie a lot of credit for the way he varied his kickouts in the second half which I thought went a long way to getting us back into the game. Granted a few went astray but who is 100% successful in any game?
    Regards the Cork v Monaghan game I thought it very open. When all of 2 = 14 or thereabouts comes from play something has to be very wrong with the defence which concedes like that. Remember we won very comfortably against Monaghan in the 2103 minor QFs.

  47. Great win, pure ballsy, DO’C is a player for the ages, like Cillian, temperament, class, and an unrivalled work rate. Very different players but cut from the same cloth, an absolute credit to their families and their clubs. am I the only one thinking something’s stirring?

  48. I agree Catcol,
    I definetly think that the ref softened a bit towards us after that decision against Diarmuid, the stand went apocalyptic after that call. On another note, while I’ve been at plenty of games where we as supporters fell short, today wasn’t of them. Finally, we may have had the Mayo bull in Limerick, but Dublin had some she devil in Tullamore. Her husband went on to remonstrate with the ref and got tackled by two stewards, then she landed on scene and got stuck in, the two lads weren’t long backing down. By Christ, you wouldn’t want to tell her you were going for two quick pints and land back 5 hours later……

  49. proud to be a mayo man to night after that wonderful win annaytime you win aganst dublin these years is a job well done

  50. Exiled in Dublin

    Still nothing won. This will be a mayo team making a final appearance for the fourth time in 2016, it says a lot but we need to win this one. Galant runner up is not good enough for Mayo anymore.

  51. Come on Mayo Mayo
    Come on Mayo Mayo
    Come on Mayo
    Come on Mayo Mayo
    Come on Mayo Mayo
    Come on Mayo Mayo
    Come on Mayo
    Come on Mayo Mayo!

    To the tune of ‘Those were the days ‘ Mary Hopkins.
    I’m tellin ye I can hear it in the rafters!

  52. It was played in Ennis in 2006 and I don’t see why it would be any different this time. Ennis would be easier to get to for mayo fans than thurles.

  53. Have to agree with all that was said above, namely;
    1) Tremendous guts and character to fight back into strong wind after being
    outscored 1-9 to 0-2 in second quarter
    2) Referee made some terrible decisions against Mayo, seemed shaken by the reaction of Mayo supporters and in the end gave us the benefit of a few close and crucial calls
    3) Diarmuid O’Connor was sensational today and to be so far superior to everybody else on the pitch in an All Ireland semi final shows just how special a player he is
    4) Stephen Coen also showed tremendous leadership
    5) Despite one two unforced errors,Sharoize Akram was outstanding today
    6) The introduction of James Carr was crucial today as he brought a great energy to a flagging attack
    7) O’Connor Park a credit and I particularly liked the fact that they had café below the stand to sit down and buy a sandwich – a lesson for McHale Park (not to mention Dr. Hyde Park)
    Finally, Michael Solan’s appointment was greeted with little enthusiasm but in fairness to him he has done everything that was needed so far.

  54. I have just about come back out of orbit after that … what a win!! It had everything. When your knees are shaking at the end of a game you know you’ve been on a journey!

    Feel very privileged to have witnessed the sheer defiance of this team not once but twice within the space of a couple of weeks – two days that will be remembered for many a year.

    It was hard not to wonder if our goose was cooked after going four points down and the clock was starting to go against us, but oddly I always thought they would come back and for once I was right.

    The ref was poor, there is no two ways about it. He made at least two dreadful calls against us, the second (where Diarmuid was hauled down) coming at such a critical time that I thought the crowd would combust. Their reaction spooked him a bit I think, and he overcompensated a bit in our favour after that – I felt the free that led to the equaliser was dubious in the extreme. But am I complaining? Not one bit; too often we have been on the wrong side of those margins.

    Diarmuid is a maestro. Liam, I first said it in New York that he would be massive for us and I think my companions at the time just humoured me, but even I couldn’t have predicted this. He took the brunt of what Dublin were dishing out today and still managed to boss the game through to the end. He is a sensational footballer with razor sharp vision and just the right amount of edge. The real deal.

    Very, very proud to see an Ardagh man out there making such an important contribution for the second game running – well done to James Carr.

    Tullamore is a lovely ground and beautifully kept. Not wildly different from MacHale Park to be fair, just as Baltic but with fewer, less invasive pillars. Loved the cafe area too.

    To the final now. Watching the second game, it’s clear we will have our work cut out for us. My head says Cork will have too much for us. My heart is castigating me for even dating to doubt these lads. One way or another, it’ll be one hell of a contest.

  55. Yeah Inbetweener, it was great to get the win alright and especially in those circumstances! The team showed huge guts to come back the way that they did. It was by scoring points as well. If we had scored two goals rather than getting six points at the end, you’d have said that it was a lucky win but to win it like that was all about doing the right things at the right time to get those crucial scores.

    I thought that some of the scores in the second game were of a higher quality than in the first game so Cork will be a hard nut to crack in the final. They have a good mix up front of a few big lads along with a few lads with pace. Their no. 10 is very fast so his battle with Sharoize Akram should be a fascinating one to see. They also have Hurley up front who is a brother of the Hurley who plays for the seniors so he will take watching.

    You still get the feeling that there is a bit more in us up front and we will need to see that in the final. It should be a great game. Best of luck to all involved!

  56. Ahh what a day to be from Mayo and Connacht – O’Connor outstanding but it is not really fair to pick out any one of them above the others, from O’Donoghue at corner back (who is a bit special too) to Carr they were all superb. And boy it was great to see Solan loosing the head and giving it loads when his charges were being unfairly treated on occasion. An all Ireland final and maybe even a trip to the Sports Grounds might just herald in the perfect Summer……

  57. Agree AnneMarie, HopeSpringsEternal Cork looked a serious proposition in the second game, some of the scores they got were brilliant. They were a lot better than Dublin tbh, who I think we would have beaten by 7 or 8 points if it went to a replay

    Our lads have the experience from 2013 minor and have some serious momentum built up this campaign, should be capable of giving it a mighty go.

    Just get the feeling our lads are capable of grinding out any sort of win.

    How good was young Carr who came on by the way? I’d go as far as saying he was crucial in winning it for us

  58. Yes Joet, Cork got all their scores from play. They look better footballers than our lads pound for pound, but intensity wise our lads were outstanding bar that awful ten/fifteen minute spell in the second half. Couldn’t call it

    They’ve no-one in DOC’s league either, although Hurley looks a fine prospect. Faster and livelier than big brother

    Can’t wait, sure it’s mighty to be there!

  59. I thought we were gone with 15 to go but Teams from Mayo can always win Semi Finals no matter who we play. We must acknowledge that we have a problem winning Finals. Three lost already in 2016. No point in burying our heads in the sand at this stage and pretending that there is no problem when we reach Finals.There is. We must accept it as a fact and deal with the problem. It is a Problem but someone with more intelligence than myself will have to come up with the answer to this Question.

  60. O Sullivan, yes we have lost alot of finals, 3 club finals this year, not county and a serious astrix has to be put next too junior and intermediate as the convoluted Kerry structure meant that our guys were playing teams packed with county senior medals.

    The Mayo teams that got to finals in the 2000s didnt show up and that is accepted. However since 2011 every team that went too Croke Park have showed up and gave all they had. We never acknowledge the fact that we have been beaten by some seriously good teams, Donegal and Dublin were really good sides, and they deserve some credit. Mayo will win the big one sooner than later and its determination and the never say die attitude shown by the young guys today that will finally get us over the line.

  61. a great win. glad i was there. great first half performance with the wind. Cunniffe was big loss and dublin pushed up on us to great effect in second half. We looked very dislodged in defence where cunniffe was missed. A game of 2 halves in a way and we got there in the end. James carr and James kelly made good impact when they came in and renewed our energy. What impressed me at times was the quick thinkin show by some of the players. Diarmuid flick to the net and irwins knock down to set a team mate away. Great composure for young guys.

    Ten minutes left they regained composure and the battling quilitys and bravery shown was unreal. yes we know they were out of it for long spells in second half but what heart they showed. We also showed that having 2 good freetakers is vital and they showed some composure. Fair play to all involved. My dad always says ” its not the height nor the might, its the heart that makes a man”. Its the heart that will win in 2 weeks time as well.

  62. Brilliant result Congrats to all on showing fantastic guts and character against a fine Dublin team. In the final now but we know how finals for us usually pan out. Hopefully it will be different with these lads. Thought DOC was fantastic Coen had a good first half and Loftus hit crucial frees but needs to do more in open play. Lets not fool ourselves about cork. fantastic FF line and they hit all their scores from play. If we let them play they will beat us and if we repeat our first 15 mins of second half against them we will need calculators but thats for another day. Today is all about the wonderful character and never say die attitude of this team. On a separate point why are the GAA getting rid of this grade. 4 brilliant provincial finals, Ulster final 2 points difference, Connacht and munster one point matches and leinster final went to extra time, then two excellent AI Semis with very little cynicism and loads of scores from play Ref not great today for both teams but we got a couple of handy frees at end which made up for some other poor decisions. Anyway onwards and upwards

  63. These lads have not lost any all Ireland final and they are not responsible for any finals that Mayo have lost in the past.

  64. Most of these lads have 2 Connacht medals, some 3. And a good chunk are looking to bag their second AI medal. They just don’t know when they’re beaten. What a day.

    Well done everyone. Can’t wait for 2 weeks time.

    Tullamore is a great spot. Incredible how we can outnumber Dublin fans so overwhelmingly when they are an hour away on the motorway. But however.

    H’on Mayo!

  65. One side note. Those two semi finals were just another example that the U-21 grade should not have been scrapped at congress earlier this year. All the players and the majority of supporters would have kept this grade, such a shame that the final decision was made by men in suits where their votes where influenced by Mr Anti U-21 Paraic Duffy

  66. Watched this on tg4 . Maybe the best Mayo game I’ve ever watched , the ending was straight out of Hollywood with a free to win it in the last few seconds after the comeback.

    DOC is on another level. I’ve never seen a man so possessed to win a game. He was literally everywhere ,not to play down the other performances , but he’s something very special .
    I really loved the spirit of this team , although they had my blood pressure through the roof..I will100% be at the final to cheer them on. Anyone know when the venue will be announced ?..if it hasn’t been already

  67. Loch Garman
    Comhgairdeas go foireann Mhuigheo.Bhi said go hiontach ar fad. Go neiri leofa i gcoinne Corcaigh sa cluife ceannas.
    Mile buiochas to WJ for his concise reports and commentary on all Mayo games. No doubt fellow Mayo supporters all over Ireland and elsewhere appreciate his incredible efforts. Go neiri leath I gconai WJ!
    Great to see Eddie Doran o oilean acla come on and make a big impression.Bhi muidh broduil asat Eddie!

  68. What a stirring win. Give me a comeback, stoppage time 1 point win any day over dishing out a 15 point hammering.
    Although I’m absolutely convinced that when I finally go, it’s going to be a ‘Mayo-related’ demise.

    Not much to add on DOC, he’s just a truly special player. I was unsure if he could go on to match his brother when he first came on the scene. No idea why, probably because he looked quite slight or I just didn’t notice him during games.
    Well how wrong could I be. If we could unearth another few like him from this current U21 team, then the future of our senior team will be in good hands.

    Heard something about a “point” we scored that was ruled out in the 2nd half. Missed it on the tv coverage and no-one has mentioned it here. Anyone shed any light?

  69. Re watched the game last night Dan and Conor Loftus was pretty sure he scored but waved wide. There was a cheer from the far terrace as well. But the replay didn’t show any useful angle

  70. It should be remembered that Tipperary beat Dublin last year and then went on to lose the final against Tyrone. You just get the feeling that this team is still missing that x-factor in the form of Tommy Conroy and Darragh Doherty RIP from that 2013 Minor winning team. Things have not fell Brian Reape’s way so far but a few times yesterday he almost broke clear and he is the type of player who if he gets going he can easily score 2-3 in a game. It would be great to see him get an early score in the final and that would do his confidence a lot of good. There is more in Duffy and Irwin as well so we do have plenty of room for improvement especially up front. I wonder what was the story with Seamus Cunniffe, he would be a big loss if he was out for the final. Was it mentioned on Midwest etc. why he had to go off?

  71. Agree that Cork looked good and kicked some great points but how good was the Monaghan defence? Their no 4 was cleaned by Hurley but was left on him all day! As well I’m not convinced by the cork backs. Monaghan got a big score off them.
    It’s hard to judge as the two games were completely different.
    One thing for sure is we will give it a hard go.

  72. Despite all there is to be positive about after yesterday’s brilliant game and being able to look forward to an All Ireland, the “ya, but’s” landed on the blog as usual.
    Ya, but if we start against Roscommon like we did against Leitrim we’re doomed.
    Ya, but if we start against Dublin like we did against Roscommon we’re doomed
    Ya, but if we let Cork through like Dublin we’ll be doomed.
    Ya, but I fear Roscommon/Dublin/Cork/everybody has better forwards than us.
    I think the biggest thing a lot of these people fear is us winning and having nothing to complain about. Don’t fucking over analysis every single thing, you’ll find fault in anything if you look closely enough, let’s just enjoy coming out on the right side of an epic game of football.

  73. [Deleted].

    Great win , very proud of this team , would echo all the superlatives expressed for DOC . Some names not mentioned whom I thought have been very good last two games, Boland of aghamore very game lad for a light buck and Ruane has been very good too. Carr looked good when he came on also and has wintered extremely well . Looking forward to the final.

  74. Nice one Liam, was thinking the same myself. Every U21 game this year there has been commentary where if we play against X like we did against Y then X will punish us. Well it looks like we are fairly good at punishing X ourselves. That’s the equation nicely balanced for me. The management and players will know what has to be worked on for the final. Not a perfect performance by any means and too close for comfort but there’s no faulting the bravery and balls of those lads. Was down in front of the stand and DOC in the first half was a joy to behold. He seemed to have a hand in every play and tracked back and forth tirelessly. Himself and Coen played very well off each other. Cork looked good against Monaghan but I was impressed with the physicality of our forwards. No-one was going to bully us. Here’s to the lads kicking on in two weeks and writing a new chapter 10 years after the last one.

  75. I assume we are heading to Ennis…….or maybe Limerick?
    Won’t be hard to outnumber the Cork supporters anyway.

  76. Yew tree. There will be nobody there from Cork.
    No matter where it is played we will have the place to ourselves.

    Seeing as its the last U21 final, will the winner get to keep the cup for good or will it have to be given back to Croke Park to reside in Dublin?

    Surely we could keep it in the museum or trophy cabinet at McHale park for ever if we win it. I mean who else is going to have it?

    Anyway, hope there is a massive Mayo crowd at the final.

  77. Nice to wake up to the day with yesterday’s heroics still fresh. Can I watch the game replay anywhere? Don’t have tg4.
    This is a very special team, you can only imagine if the 3 lads not involved, actually were, what we would have in the pipeline for the senior team in the coming years. Anyway, I’ll have jersey out and about and wearing it with great pride.

    Thank you to all involved with this u21 team, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

  78. Glad to see Solan come out in support of the referee and the manner in which he did. They are trying to do their best he said.
    We all know he made a bad bad call on DOC where the Dublin lad had a hold of his arm. But there is a lesson here.. two things happened.. the Mayo players didn’t gang up on him and start giving him grief.. and the supporters most definately did. The ref clearly went “you know I probably got that one wrong” and decided to even things up by giving a softish enough free soon after. Now he probably went too far by giving us two further frees but you don’t know, players were tired, lazy challenges and possibly Dublin players giving lip about the injustices of his decisions. We would like referee’s to make the right calls all the time.. second to that is that he gives a balanced performance and this is the one and only circumstances where I believe two wrongs can add up to right. ?
    There is whole world of diference to where you get a f#$/^r of a ref who turns on the players and the crowd with a ” I’ll show yee who boss” Aka Cormack Reilly. While its not right.. it is kinda refreshing to see others running onto the field to get at a ref and bitching on social media because it means firstly it moves things on from it always us who are hard done by, secondly we are learning how to use the ref and thirdly it’s part of that bit of luck we are long long overdue which you need from time to time to win things.
    #composure

  79. Liam I missed that bit, but I would not have been able to take anymore excitement anyway.

  80. Liam you hit the nail on the head there…we really need to believe in ourselves and go out for the next game with a hunger in our belly…that was such a powerful performance by a Mayo team and I never felt it was lost. Something about this team says they believe in themselves and that is all that matters. Never give up and fight to the end. O Connor was massive cause he looked like he would win it on his own if he had to. So proud of the team and all involved. Truly inspiring. Thank you!

  81. Dave you can watch the game back on tg4 web site on their player. Just watched it back myself. Nice way to start off the day. DOC must have covered every blade of grass you could see how fucked he was during interview. Really impressed with our direct running at the Dublin defense.Would be nice to see this from senior players.

  82. Re Loftus point that wasn’t given, I also thought it was over as did crowd around me. Loftus tends to put height on his shots so it can be difficult for an umpire. I was delighted with Loftus contribution. With others he has his name on a senior jersey for some time to come.
    And dont underestimate the value of a reliable freetaker. 4 points down 10 minutes to go. Coolness from Irwin and Loftus was invaluable in those 10 mins to capitalise on the approach work of Diarmuid, M Hall, Coen and others. And well done M Ruane on a fine point following a driving run from midfield.

  83. Sean Burke – you’re commenting here long enough to know that a personalised attack aimed at another poster isn’t allowed. I’ve deleted the offending bit of your comment. From my reading of it, the original comment was no more than a plea to live in the moment and maybe not to be always looking for negatives and should, I think, have been read in that light.

  84. The last time an all Ireland winning minor team went on to win an all Ireland u21 was the Tyrone u21 team in 2001.

  85. Not good for the Ticker, What a Finnish,
    I agree the referee was a joke,
    I thought Mattew Ruanes point was excellent it made a statement to the rest of the team to say we are going to win,
    Well done Mathew ,

    I would like to see more and earlier ball hit our full foward line
    I think it is a very potent line ,
    We got our Goal from lumping in a high ball, serious ball winners inside,
    We turned over a lot of ball in the middle third first half , when the ball should have been put inside especially with the aid of the wind

    Overall a Brillant Brillant performance by talented young men ,

  86. Liam,

    I agree with your comments, but could you please refrain from using the F word, not very classy.
    Thank you willie joe for all your reporting including Audio report.

  87. And thank you willie joe again. One of the reasons i like this blog is that now again Ican

    say how proud I am of our lads. (lads!) … I`m old enough to be their grand father.

    Anyway….there was True Grit. I hope some of the senior boys will take a glance back

    at this video. …. Even the subs …. I thought ….. were fearless.

    Mind you — we cant afford to go missing for a quarter of an hour. This game is only

    about 60 mins long. You have burned the candle and the wick fella`s !!

    Next day if they are dead — don`t forget to bury them. Thanks.

  88. Unreal display by the lads, Jesus what else is their to say about DOC? Hope he stays injury free and gets a rest before the senior championship. I think young Plunkett is an unsung hero of that team, he gets through alot of dirty work and like loftus yesterday, he had the bottle to fire over the winner against roscommon. Leaders everywhere. Very confident they’ll finish the job again Cork.

  89. Probably will be in Ennis But I wouldn’t mind if it was in Tullamore again. Pitch and facilities are top class and loads of stewards around directing traffic etc to make sure everything ran smoothly.

  90. At the end of the day I suppose it’s all about striking a balance between been negative and been positive. So on the one hand you don’t like to see comments been made about what will happen to the cup when it’s won and before the game yesterday, talk that Dublin was going to be an easy match for us. Then on the other hand you don’t want to see the opposition been talked up too much and then going into the match thinking that you can’t win it. Its about guarding against complacency in the run up to finals and also having quiet confidence in your own ability that you can get the job done on the big day.

    So far this particular group have done all that has been asked of them. Most of them won an All-Ireland Minor medal in 2013 and so far in this campaign they have made it to the All-Ireland U21 final. They have done themselves, their families, their clubs and their county proud! Best of luck to all involved in the final.

    One thing I’d be thinking of in relation to Cork is that a very young Kerry team almost beat them, that augurs well for us, so it’s all to play for in the final. We have a great chance of getting over the line. Again all we can ask of the lads is that they will play to their full potential in the final. So far in their careers they have answered all of the hard questions that have been asked of them. Roll on the next game!

  91. Still think that Cork team won’t be easy to beat. Their forwards are strong and they have an eye for goals. I think they would have beaten Dublin too. Mayo can win this, but they can’t afford to drop off at any point during the final and need to put it away when the opportunity arises.

  92. Ah Mayomad, I think “fuck” is one of the most wonderful words ever invented. It is clear, concise and the meaning is never in doubt. There’s no argument whatsoever when it is used properly!! 😉 I would be ‘common’ of course so it falls “trippingly on the tongue”.!!! 🙂

  93. I think to be fair DOC summed up the negatives in our play in our the post match interview.

  94. Don’t understand the necessary changes to this grade, changes to U20 in 2018, the only problem i see it clashes somewhat in the built up with the 3rd level football. Sigerson was in full flow in January and February, then some of the 3rd level teams where in the o Byrne Cup and Connacht league. Solan and the previous manager has said as much it was hard to get the panel together early on. What should take precedence the growing influence of the 3rd level football or the inter County underage system. With the quality of games seen this weekend and in the provinsials someone needs to rethink. U20 is to much of a step up to senior, Should Junior be restructured to a U23 competition.

    Just looking at the panel there is still 14 of them underage next year with a few more not that far away hopefully we can finish this great competition on a high.

  95. I’m told that, after yesterday’s game they’re changing the name of Tullamore’s ground from O’Connor Park to O’Connor’s Park. Not sure if this is true.

  96. Agree 100% with Diehard. Why do we never at any level of football have runners breaking into space in the half forward line. Leaves the player on the ball with no option but to play sideways into a static crowd of players. By the time we run the ball forward the full forward line is swamped with defenders. In the last quarter when the game was almost gone players finally cut loose and ran at the dubs. Now to build it into the game plan. Some match, one of the best come backs in years. Loads of players with senior potential.

  97. Liam, I think what you’re referring to above is the manifestation of starvation. We as a county are just so hungry for a win to re-assert ourselves, too boost our pride and our confidence that we are almost afraid to look forward to a final.

    Which is utterly ridiculous because as tommyk says above, these lads have neither lost any All-Ireland’s, nor are they responsible for any of the losses of the past. They are their own men and they will write their own history – they have already proved that.

    Personally, as a supporter I think I reached “peak losing” last August. We have now lost so many times that losing again holds no fear, because incredibly, as a county, we – both players and fans – inevitably put it behind us and go again. The day we give up is the day we truly lose.

    (Obviously, I’d sacrifice a body part or two if it meant the seniors could reach their holy grail – if for no other reason than in gratitude for the five fantastic summers they’ve given us since 2011.)

  98. Agree with most of the sentiments regarding U21s great win but could not understand why FF line received so little supply from outfield players, when they clearly posed a significant threat from limited possession. Despite the understandable euphoria in the manner of the dramatic winning finish one cannot help but think that instead of incessant passing across the Dublin wall on 40 metre line an occasional delivery to the inside line who often had ample space in front of them would have brought greater dividends, and ensured that victory was achieved more easily, but then again we generally dont seem to want to make things easy for ourselves. Also kickouts at

    both ends in my view were the biggest contributor to the game being so close as Dublins kickouts were largely conceded due to our players not being close enough to their opossite numbers, and at our end corner backs especially did nt seem to spread out sufficiently to provide the keeper with options for short kicks especially noticeable during the early period of the second half when we were being cleaned out at midfield.
    While overall our performance was most admirable we need to be be more adaptable to evolving situations on the field of play to give ourselves a decent chance over what to me looked like a very formiddable Cork outfit

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