Where to from here?

Well, there certainly has been plenty of debate hereabouts in the aftermath of last night’s latest league defeat. I’ve just been hunting around the match reports to see if there are any quotes to chew over but there are none in the ones I found – RTÉ, Mayo Advertiser, Sunday Independent, GAA Scores, Hogan Stand. I guess we’ll have to wait ’till tomorrow, then, to hear James’ latest utterances about what we’ll learn from the loss and how we’ll move on and all that.

Which we have to, of course, as we face what are likely to be the two hardest matches we’ll have in this year’s league campaign. Nobody needs any reminding that these are the two counties we were beaten by in the two national finals we got to last year and we’ve certainly got a score or two to settle with both. Our poor form in recent weeks makes it a big ask for us to make any inroads against this calibre of opposition but there’s no question but that we have to see some improvement in these two games to give us some kind of momentum heading into the championship.

So, starting with next weekend, how do you think we’ll do?

How will we get on against Donegal?

  • Lose (59%, 60 Votes)
  • Win (38%, 39 Votes)
  • Draw (3%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 102

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Finally, hearty congrats to St Brigid’s on their gutsy win this afternoon over Ballymun Kickhams in the All-Ireland club football final. The Rossie lads suffered as bad a start in today’s decider as we did last September but despite this they showed enormous heart to claw their way back into the contest. Once they got back on terms, you could see they had the momentum with them and while it was desperately tough on Ballymun to lose the match in the manner they did, Frankie Dolan’s winning point was a thing of pure joy and a worthy All-Ireland clincher. Well done to them and well done too to Kevin McStay and Liam McHale for steering their charges home. Today was the tenth All-Ireland that Liam was involved in as either a player or coach and today, at last, he got to taste All-Ireland success. There’s hope, perhaps, for us all yet.

57 thoughts on “Where to from here?

  1. Where to from here ?
    I guess it depends mostly on the man in charge.
    We have been playing rushed, headless, unintelligent football this past while but yet have been close to victory on all occasions.
    We are simply not being smart with our chances & our free kicks.
    We do have ongoing issues at 6, 9, 11 & 13, 14 ,15.
    I am no fan of Conor Mort but would we have lost those matches had he been on board?
    The answer is no. Statistics do not lie. What are the scoring stats of his replacements ?
    I personally trace the origins of our deterioration back to his non selection for the Connacht Final last year. The pretence that we have better forwards is a cock & bull story.
    It is time for management to acknowledge a mistake, sort the matter out within house, add in another player or two that can contribute (Kilcoyne) & get on with the job in hand.
    If this happens we will be serious contenders this year.
    If not we will again come up short.

  2. Well, I’ve been unable to get to any of the League games so far – just saw the Kerry, Tyrone, Dublin and Down ones on TV, so am loath to comment too much on the current state of play. All I can tell from what I’m seeing is that the team look leaderless. Some of them don’t look like they’ve hit full fitness yet, and some are still bedding in. A couple of guys out of form too (Vaughan, S O’Shea, McLoughlin) which doesn’t help matters.

    For my money, we’re gone from Div 1 now. The way we’re playing, there’s no way we’re suddenly going to beat Donegal and Cork. Maybe we might scrape a win in one, but both? I can’t see it. And even if we did I can’t see four points being enough to keep us up, even though our defeats have been narrow ones. Relegation is a bit of a setback for Mayo football but we’ve got to react like Cork did, like Tyrone did. Get back up quick as we can and get back into the mix.

    What does it mean for championship? Very little. Different competition brings different momentum. I’ll enjoy Galway-Mayo in May like everyone else but it doesn’t matter in the bigger scheme of things. All that matters is being in Croke Park on August weekend. Everything else is an irrelevance. Despite Mayo’s current woes I still believe this team is good enough to get there.

  3. We lost several games on the trot last year, culminating in the infamous collapse in Ballyshannon, and then next week hammered Dublin. The league can be funny sometimes. Of course, I’m not saying that means we’ll win, but there’s no point in talking about life in Division 2 unless we end up there.

  4. i would like to congratulate the St Bridget team on their all ireland win.

    FOR MAYO WHERE ARE WE GOING

    James Horan must have reliable free takers from both left and right sides and a free taker who can score a fifty,. Remember FITZMAURICE and SHERIDAN,

    This is basic stuff which regretfully James Horan should know also he is way too slow to make changes

  5. What ever happened to Danny Kirby? Don’t rate Kildare but credit them for going for fresh young blood. Mayo are in a rut on the pitch and off it.

    It’s gone stale and predictable. Hard to pull out of a nose dive. Horans goal now should be to throw off his conservatism and freshen the squad. Nothing to stop bringing in new blood even at this stage.

    Does Parsons merit a second chance. Where is Harte? What about Kilcoyne , now is the time to empower young men and to stand up.

    Last year is gone but the shock of the All Ireland loss has shagged this squad. Soon voices and eyes will look to Kiltoom and the green dnd red connection there to maybe steer the ship. Good that we have that possibility.

  6. In the end Kildare won comfortably, by a point. Teams have figured Mayo out. Hit them on the break and the gaping holes they leave at the back, make it relatively easy to pick off scores. Then shore up your defence and let Mayo pass the parcel. Mayo press and press, but when they don’t really care about defending their patch, so quick breaking teams can kill them on the counter: Donegal, Dublin, Tyrone, Down and now Kildare.

    Plus there was an air of complacency about Mayo – bloggers here demonstrated this in spades. Who the hell are Kildare, summed it up. Well they are a composed team who now move the ball very intelligently and have found/acquired some real talent in Kelly, Flynn, and the much maligned Seanie.

  7. [Name deleted] not intercounty standard harte i believe is injured kilcoyne fine footballer but he must lean to pass the ball mo hes too much of an individal as oposed to a team player ,having said that id give him a shot at 11 cant do any worse than whats being tried already what about mulligan from charlestown surely hes worth a run out nows the time to experiment not may in galway

  8. Spot on catcol….your first paragraph is right on the money. And after struggling for years, Kildare have now adapted the same tactics as the better teams, namely, defend in depth and break at pace. It seems a simple enough system but like everything else, it must be worked at on the training pitch…..and this is where coaching comes in. I’m sure our lads are as capable as every other County, at adapting to change, but it’s quite obvious J H does not want to go down that road….

  9. Lads we lost the game because we kicked/fisted 15 wides. It allowed Kildare to hang on. Every wide gave kildare confidence that they could keep their noses in front. The game didn’t hinge on tactics in the slightest, we had loads of possession and loads of chances.
    Tactics should only effect the amount of possession a team wins and a teams ability to create chances so in that respect it must be concluded our tactics (at least on Saturday) were fine. We just didn’t punish Kildare.

    If we had the same number of chances as Kildare and still lost then yes we could point to tactics but that wasn’t true on Saturday night. It was just a bad shooting performance.

    Two years ago we had similar free taking issues and it was also costing us games. If we can improve that stat then we will improve. Though in order to leap forward our goal taking ability must also improve – a little bit more composure is required that’s all. Very interesting game on Sunday now in store.

  10. Agree with you 100% fearmaigheo, we won’t win any games by shooting more wides than scores and by missing kickable frees. As i’ve said before we didn’t need Kildare to beat us, we beat ourselves.

    If we convert our chances, kick our frees and with a little bit more composure, create and take goal chances, we will see a big improvement.

    Changing our style of play is not the answer, sure take some of the good things from other teams, work on turnovers and fast delivery of the ball etc, but we have enough possession to win games but our conversion rate is woeful.

    The worry now is confidence levels in the team seem to have dipped so we need a big performance on Sunday to lift the team and lift the gloom. I still say we’re not that far away, the recovery of a bit of confidence is key now.

  11. Out of shock, anger and frustration I have purposely stayed away from commenting on that shambolic leaderless and inept performance from our senior team. For once I believe that the blame for this performance lies squarely on the players, and in particular our more experienced players. After a blistering start which has been so unlike us, 2points in the first 85secs, and after holding Kildare scoreless (despite them kicking bad wides) for 19 mins we rolled over and fied in our own back yard.
    The selection was good, the opening play excellent and being totally dominant at midfield, all meant to me that Horan had the tactics and formation spot on. However, our players failure to go for goal (O’Shea handpassing wide when a goal was on??) displayed a lack of ruthlessness that will ensure we go nowhere but down to Division 2 and out of Salthill with our tails between our legs. I know Horan has his critics but he can’t kick the bloody scores for them.
    I have highly supportive of this team since Horan took over and I have been very reluctant to criticise the players individually, but, I believe that a time comes when the players have to stop looking for excuses and instead look to thier own performance. That time is now. Up to this game I could see where things were patchy but good, I could see where certain things were working and that with a bit of luck we could have come away with wins in Downs and against Tyrone. Hell, even against the Dubs we had them on the run for a period. But this was pathetic.
    Once they goaled, which only for a brave Clarke save minutes before they would have scored sooner, we lacked leaders and authority on the pitch. completely headless. We were guilty of so much, overcarrying, running into tackles, failing to get the heads up and look for runners, failure to support the man in possession, all the things that you work on to prevent from happening with U-14’s for Gods sake we were guilty of.
    I was shocked also at the complete lack of leadership and communication between our players whe things started to go against us. Bar Higgins at the back I didn’t see anyone else get animated, shout instructions or try to re-organise things on the field of play. Lord knows Horan was doind enough shouting from the line and Nallen covered more yards than if he was playing.
    Sorry lads, but this headless leaderless performance lies squarely with ye.
    On a positive, great to Regan make such a positive and bright contribution but i fail to see why he was removed when Conroy was left on after kicking 4 terrible wides.
    Time has passed to get the finger out lads and take responsibility for your own performances.

  12. And I, must take responsibility for my terrible typos and mis-spellings!
    It seems we can all “learn and move forward” from this.

  13. WJ as a matter of interest has any headin since u started this site got such response as your previours one. I doubt it
    Like myself every one is has an opinion but I have to say that there is some serious amiss with this team over the last month. Yes the players are the one who missed the scores but why has it gone so so wrong.Has james horan place to much trust in certain individuals or has he set out his stall with these group of players and is prepare to died by that decission. Anyone that was down near that sidline last saturday night would have witness things that would make your mind wonder about the whole set up in general. I will be ther again next weekend to witness another disaster i,m sure but then again where else would I be when the Red and Green are playin

  14. Peter – I’ve deleted the name of the player you said is “not inter-county standard”. I don’t like terminology like that being applied to named players – House Rule 3 refers.

  15. Raz – I think you’re right, I don’t believe that there has ever been such a volume of comments in response to any previous piece. There have been 60s and 70s before but this one is almost at 100, which is for sure a new high. Pity it’s about a low on the field, though!

  16. As someone pointed out, Mortimer should be brought in again in some form. Stats say so. Why do mayo do this to themselves? Kevin o Neil, macdonald? And now Mortimer left sitting at home.
    It’s not like the lads on the field are that much better than him, is it?

  17. Look everyone seems angry at the results in the league since the Kerry game but if we can take any positive from it all , it has to be the fact we have not been far away in any of the games.

    Surely this is something to take heart from, we are truly not that far away from being a mighty team.

    How do we piece it together and get the full worth out of this panel? Everyone has their own angle ,some want to see killer brought back ,more want to see Mort back in the fold etc etc.It reminds of a time I was in Mick Byrnes after a cf defeat to Galway and all the talk was about the same thing who should be in and who shouldn’t but a former full back from 89 team made a valid point to me “if you were to heed everyone across this bar alone you would end up with a dozen teams”.

    You can’t please everyone and I really struggle to find any justification in people slating horan ,as for calling on the kiltoom/ballina boys to take the reigns ,I find that quite ridiculous tbh.

    Horan is doing his very best and is the best man for the job.Supporters should man up and show a bit of loyalty to this set up.Come the 19 th of May we need to be a unit , there’s enough neutrals out there ready to put the boot into Mayo.Fook them and stand together.

  18. I see the same old names being bandied about to be brought back in Harte, Kilcoyne, Parsons, etc. The reality of the situation is that they have all got their chances numerous times in the past and have all been found wanting come crunch time. Horan is more or less going to stick with this core team for now.

    As for the recent performances, I was nearly more depressed after the Dublin defeat a few weeks ago than when we lost the All-Ireland vs Donegal. We just seem to have forgotten everything that was learned over the past two years. This was confirmed in the games against Down and Kildare.

    On the other hand though, we had the ability to win those two games. The only game I thought we were comprehensively outplayed in was v Tyrone. We were matching the Dubs up until they had the man sent off, and Brogan was on fire that night. I guess the point I am trying to make is that playing personnel wise we are not as bad as people are making out here. Our problems are tactical and mental. These are big problems, but are more fixable than not having the players. The greatest tactics and leadership will not win Leitrim an All-Ireland because they do not have enough skillful players.

    Moran and Dillon are our leaders in the forwards and we have missed these badly. Cillian is the only player in GAA history to ever win Young Player of the Year twice and is our number 1 free taker so obviously we miss him too. A midfield of B. Moran and Aido is as good as any out there. We had one of the best backlines in the country last year and if we can get Kev Keane back in the corner and maybe give Cunniffe a run at 6 we will be sound here too. All this is true.

    We just need it to click like it did for the first 20 against Kildare and we have the beating of most teams in the country. I just hope it will happen against Donegal and Cork. If we win these two games we will stay up and be in good shape for the Championship.

  19. The question regards Conor Mortimer is done and dusted. He wasn’t kicked off the panel – he left of his own accord. Can people not move on? Dragging up old history to kick it around again for the sake of talk is pointless. Because that’s really all it is

    We are in the middle/late March now and the panel will probably be finalized in a few weeks. Based on performances to date there are very few certainties.

    For instance I would consider K Higgins as being poor all year compared to where he was last year and his reputation. Same with AOS and Kevin McL.

    Now I cannot speak for what level of training they are doing. For all I know they are in heavy intensive stuff and this is having an impact on their displays. If it is fair enough but if it’s not then there are some serious problems to be addressed before the panel is finalized.

  20. Have to say that i’m staggered at some of the comments about JH.
    Some people have short memories about where we were a few years ago
    The league is and always has been for the last ten or so years about experimenting with players, tactics, alternative free-takers – that’s why so many players used to go travelling at this time of year – it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things
    JH has always concentrated on the performance. If they play well but lose, it’s a shame, but he got to see what works and who fits in where
    I’m sure that he doesn’t want relegation either, but let’s see what happens from May onwards and then assess whether form in February and March was relevant.

    Keep the faith

  21. What a shambles really…Pebbelesmeller hit the nail on the head. And as I said in a post last week, leading up to this match, nobody should be allowed come into our house and relegate us to the bottom of the league and possibly Division 2…
    I just dont understand how, after winessing the first 20 minutes, six points up, with our boot on their throat, we didnt go for the feckin kill.?..I, along with I suppose thoudand more, could feel it was there, that we could hammer this rather ordinary Kildare team. And then…holy jesus, we just fuckin stopped playing, again! Shakin my head at this team.

  22. Sean B I agree with a lot of what you said..such as the Ballina boys taking the helm. That is premature. However I cant agree when you and others say we are not that far off…far off what? getting embarrassed again in a final in HQ…in front of the country, the world? Lets face it, Kerry gifted us a league final appearance last year and look what happened. And we had an easier run than Donegal did to the AI final. Look what happened. Forget about ’04 and ’06.
    There are many ppl, long gone btw, who said we were not that far off…well, I’ll tell yee, until we win the AI, we are far off, how far?..61 years and counting.
    Bruce, I agre with much of what you said, partuicularily about center field and Keane/Cunniffe at the back.

  23. I think we are being premature in calling for management change. Down the years it has been seen as the cure for all ills. Also we seem to have short memories as Liam MacHale in his playing days was one of the most vilified players we ever had. Everybody had their opinion on his supposed failings. After the McDonald/O’Shea shambles of almost 20 years ago we had Anthony Daly restore some pride in our football – only for an appalling display of wides in the CF. Then John Maughan, miricle man with Clare became available and Daly was dumped without a thought. Certainly Maughan brought us a long way towards the promised land but he fell through the same failings which ended Daly’s year. His second coming did not improve things and when John O’Mahony became free he saw the writing on the wall as good was expected home after performing miracles while away. But god was not yet ready so we had to go to the highways and byways where we found the wandering Derryman. Then when god did take up the challenge the miracles did not come. James Horan has brought us to the verge already and it makes far more sense to stick with him than start out on a fresh road when we have not come to the end of the road we are on. The difference in Brigid’s win yesterday and our failure were a) Ballymun were not Donegal and b) Brigid’s took the chances whereas we did not particularly early in the second half last Sept.
    In saying all that I would like to see Kilcoyne, Harte and Kirby in the picture. I do not think Parsons has the cutting edge good footballer as he is. But can anybody tell me that they are ready to reembark? As regards Mortimer I think he would not fit into any forward line as a team player unless he is prepared and able to radically change his style – which at 30 + I would think unlikely. In any case he never fared too well against a top defender in any of the big games partly because he was too much an individualist. Are there any other players in club football of the 2008/09 or subsequent minor teams performing.at the required standard.

  24. Mc Hale and Mc Stay, please god no. Mc Stay sat on his chair and watched the rest of the panel tear Mayo reputation to shreads. Calling us dirty and the dogs in the street know we are the cleanest team in Ireland. RTE set us up last year and he did nothing. I will never forget Mc Hale boarding the plane in Knock in the shorts, waving like Obama. St Bridgets are a quality team, the boys helped organise them, and fair play. But I’d have Horan any day ahead of them.
    Next Sun will be very interesting, a defining game in Horans term I would say. Bring it on.

  25. Kilcoyne was playing very well before he injured his shoulder. He could be given a few chances.

  26. I agree joemac ……kilcoyne still has a lot to offer. I thought it was a bit unfair to completely dismiss him at the time. However, I doubt he would be available and it would be hard for him to come back at this stage . Pity!

  27. Andyd – is it Anthony Egan you are referring to? I have a very different memory to yours of his reign – were Mayo not absolutely walloped by Galway in Tuam? 0-17 to 1-7, scoring the goal in the last minute?! I do agree that people should not be so quick to want to get rid of Horan. He has brought us a long way in a relatively short period of time. Though I too am extremely disappointed with the recent results, this team will be judged on championship and nothing else. Also, we are missing our two best forwards at present in Dillon and Moran. Few teams, if any, will cope without their best two forwards. Mayo, a team who has always lacked class intercounty forwards, were never going to make hay without them.
    That said, if Mayo are to make a serious challenge this year, they will have to win on Sunday. I haven’t seen such a backlach to a defeat in a long time (going by the amount of comments in the last post) and morale is low. They really need to deliver.
    I would like to see Kilcoyne and Harte given a few more chances – I do think they are good footballers. I do believe, though, that Horan is a calculating man and that he has thought of this. There is obviously a good reason they have not been called into the panel – I am willing to give Horan the benefit of the doubt, based on what he has achieved in the last two years, when I certainly didn’t think they had the players to achieve what he achieved.

  28. I think when some people look back on comments they have made on this site over the past few days, they should hang their heads in shame and should not consider themselves as supporters of the Green above the Red.I am sickened by the vile, vindictive, slanderous crap spouted by so called followers.Sure, I too was very down after Saturday, but I’m certainly not going to become a monkey with a machine gun…shame on you.

  29. I agree with above. It seems always to be the managers fault. Talk about bringing Mort back is crap–he made his bed now led him lay in it.This is a different year to last—we have a serious championship game in May.Getting to the latter stages of the league would be a hindrance rather than a help.

  30. A lot off people are calling for James Horan to go. I have watched alot of Mayo football since 1963, Im sure before James was born and I have seen a lot of Mayo cock ups.
    We always blame the manager when we loose, and praise players when we win. It works both ways. Managers field the team, its players who perform. Last Saturday night a lot of lads made silly and stupid mistakes, and played below par. Dont blame J H for that. He has given nearly all the lads a run between FBD and League and I’m sure he still has not his 20 players for championship against Galway in mind. From now on we have to take the men from the boys, and against Donegal and Cork they wont get a better chance to prove their metal, We are up against reining All Ireland champions and National League champions. The best teams in 2012. Its almost a case of shit or get off the pot. I still have faith in JH and this group of players. I am sure we will be still in Div 1 when league is completed. Roll on championship. We still wont show the white feather.

  31. I’m not sure I’d agree with you there, opt2misteek. There has been plenty of criticism – of both players and manager – voiced here over the last few days, some of it in fairly trenchant terms, but I don’t think it’s fair to characterise what’s been said as “vile, vindictive, slanderous crap”. I’ve had to moderate only a very small proportion of comments, where the content was clearly unacceptable, but to be fair to the vast majority of those who have provided comments, what they’ve said has been reasonably measured. Most comments have, for sure, been of a critical nature but a fair number of them have been constructive too and I don’t see why anyone should have cause to hang their head in shame for voicing strong opinions about a subject matter that they care deeply about.

  32. The very last thing we need right now is a change of manager. Horan is the best we’ve had for many years and getting rid of him due to a minor crisis in the National League would be a disaster.

    As contributors have already said we have the makings of a very good backline, a very good midfield but the forward line needs work. We have been missing half of our forward line for the opening league games, Dillon, Moran and O’Connor. Getting these three back will make a big difference. If Harte or Kilcoyne can be brought into the squad to fill that problematic CF position then Horan should go for it or if some of the U21s are good enough like Kirby then bring them on.

    The players need to get stuck in on Sunday and the following week against Cork. What we need are two good performances to build on. We may not win the games but if we get the right attitude, we have something to go forward with and wait for Dillon/Moran to return with the possible addition of some other forwards.

    I’m sure the players and manager were bitterly disappointed by Saturday night’s performance. They have a chance to make amends on Sunday and show they are serious about the summer with a big performance. Let’s hope they take it. One big performance can turn the tide !

  33. Wj, I care as deeply as the next, but comments posted in the immediate aftermath of a poor performance are often spat out in anger without much thought.I still maintain that quite a few were ott.

  34. That’s very true op2misteek and, as you can imagine, it can often be uncomfortable for me to see the site being used as the means by which some work off their frustrations after a poor result (in this case, results) by the team. It was because of this that I drew up the house rules and I think (at least I hope) that this has helped to keep the tenor of comments on the straight and narrow. It’s inevitable, though, that when things aren’t going well the vast bulk of comments received will be negative in nature. I don’t want to stifle debate unduly and if I adopt a more heavy-handed approach then it all becomes a bit meaningless. Ultimately, it’s up to those who post critical comments to do so with restraint and with a sense of responsibility and while some have skated close to the edge in this respect over the past few days most, in my opinion, have been okay.

  35. Grt comments its a trap. Im sure ur 500 euro is safe.

    Well done to Brigits yesterday. Grt match and what a finish. Dont dismiss McStays and McHales role. No team ever won anything without a steady ship.

    \\think we will beat Donegal and will meet a Cork team with all to play for. That will have to do for now. Great to see Cillian back. More forward options please.

  36. Wj, its a fine balancing act you have to do and as the yank would say “you doin good”.Too many good guys on here to have things spoiled by a few angry remarks.

  37. Just back in through the door. This eking out a living business doesn’t get any easier.

    Anyways

    I believe that James Horan is the man for the job. I do understand the anger and frustrations and this is a great forum to vent it on. I think there is no doubt that whether I agree or not with the other contributers, ultimately we all want the same thing. We want Mayo to win football games and to do the county proud.

    Let the season run its course and let James and his team do their job. He’s brought us a long way from the doldrums we were left in by others who arguably were distracted by another calling.

    Racking through the coals of the past isn’t helpful either. Mayo needs to move on and although constructive criticism can be useful, bottom line, we need to support our team to the hilt, through thick and through thin.

    Fair play to St Brigets yesterday and congratulations to the Mayo management involved. Despite giving the ball back to their opponents at nearly every available opportunity they still managed to come through. Frankie Dolan’s stumbling last second left footed point, What a way to win.

    Not surprised to see the managements names appearing on the forum. In the name of God will ye cop on and forget about that one altogether. Kevin is far safer above in the RTE studios sitting on the fence and getting bullied by O’Rourke and Co.

    Anyway, great to see Mayo men out on Croagh Park celebrating an All Ireland victory.

    Is it an omen?

    Come On Mayo!

  38. Just before I head away to the sheep counting thing can i just say I’m delighted to have come on this site. I’ve been living up in a small village in Tyrone here for the last ten years and I’m the only Mayo man around for miles. I get to as many games as I can but you can feel a little isolated at times.

    Great job on the site WJ and the in house moderation is both fair and balanced. You don’t have to scream to be heard.

  39. Just a gripe; hopefully a positive one; not only about Mayo, but it applies to all footballers.
    Jason Doherty took over the free taking duties earlier in the league and did very well. Has this stopped?
    Why do so many modern players insist on taking frees from the hands?? Is it because it is the cool thing to do? There are only a handful of players in the country who can do this.
    The first time I saw Cillian O’Connor taking frees I was in positive awe. The conditions were dreadful; rain and wind; and he didn’t miss one; one of the greatest displays I have seen.
    He is the exception!! Look at a couple of critical frees Ballymun missed in the final; from the hands. they could have won the match.
    Some of the best free takers still take the frees from the ground. This is common sense. Take the variables; the ball is on the ground, it cannot move. From the hands it is moving. The player has to have perfect balance or he will miss. Why cannot more players practice from the ground and develop their skills. Maybe it is not cool. Surely it is much better to be uncool and get scores?
    Any player can have off days and miss but if they consistently practice they will increase their percentages.
    Again, why do players not practice their goal scoring skills? What else is training for? To become good at playing a musical instrument you have to practice and the more you do, the better you become. Anyone can miss a goal, as in highly paid soccer players, but you miss less.
    It’s gas that when Bernard Brogan played Mayo all he had to do was fart and he scored. The last match he played he couldn’t score from play to save his life. That is not a reflection on Mayo!!!
    This is just me being philosophical. Some of you out there will think I’m nuts or worse; but sure It’s no good being nuts unless you show it!!!

  40. Oh Jesus, the first sign of regression and the talk starts of replacing Horan. With who? For the first time that I can remember we have a county board fully behind their manager and an excellent back room and support team behind him. A sucessful club manager and brilliant former player, (11 points from play in 2 All-Ireland finals), I for one was worried that the rumours this summer of him stepping down were going to be true.
    And before I read any more nonsense about Mortimor coming back let everyone remember that it was he that walked from the panel. He that orchestrated the media drive (that ultimately backfired) with his family and he that then resorted to twitter in the lead up to our games in Croke Park when he realised that Mayo were getting along just fine without him and that the supporters, in general, were going to stick by Horan and the lads who were willing to do what was asked of them.
    He was a fine player in his pomp and we all thank him for his contribution. But, the game technically and physically has moved on and with a squad ethos that he was unwilling to buy into, the only thing to do was go.
    Now. We have got all the negativity out of our systems and I am sure that the players are not happy either. The end result is we have 2 games to win (depending on how other results go we may not even need 2 wins) which on our day we know we can win. Sunday will come and I will be there. I will always be there. So lets turn up in big numbers, welcome the All-Ireland champions to Mayo. And win. Play shite, but win.

  41. Good to see all the differing views expressed fairly and trenchantly.
    It illustrates just how much we all want to get over the line.
    There is clearly huge football knowledge on this site & great credit is due to WJ for bringing it all together & making it possible.
    In respect of the supporters the perception I have now is that two schools of thought are developing:
    1. Lets crack on with the panel we have & hope that it is good enough or
    2. It wont be good enough & we need some additions/tweaks/returns to the panel.
    I would be in the latter camp and feel that we have been weakened by most of the departures from both management & panel in recent times.
    There is also the question of why we have been having these departures.
    Blaming it all on the departees is a little lazy.

  42. if you asked me or anyone on here about division one status or a win in salthill then we would take the win in salthill.
    if anything has been gleaned by james and the team from this campaign that will help us progress in connacht then that is a price we are all willing to pay.
    we have been in the mix in every single game but have not pushed on , now is the time to right those wrongs.
    lets do our best to preserve div 1 status and then go all out to take a historic 3-in-a-row in connacht and then see if we can send a few big teams home once again…

    it can be done , we have the personnel and we have the management team , we peaked last year at the quarter final , likewise the year before . dont delude ourselves that just becuase we are poor now this implies being poor in the summer , far from it.

  43. Fair play to McStay and McHale did a great job in Kiltoom. They improved this team no end and would not have won without them. That was McHales 10th time in an All Ireland final and his first win. Great days in KIltoom.

  44. James Horan is not perfect but he is as good as most of them out there. The real concern is not getting rid of James but of holding onto him! He made come disturbing noises last Nov about work commitments and family.
    Remember, Kieran mcGeeney is a long time with Kildare with not much to show for it and Mickey Harte has had a few lean years along the way as well. Kerry were on the brink of getting rid of Mick O Dwyer before they made the breakthrough in the 70’s. We all need to support the manager and the team and be patient. I know the frustration expressed here is the result of 60+ years of waiting but we are better placed now to move to the next level that we ever were before. Conor O Shea (rugby guy) the last day on the telly very rightly said that only small things separate the best teams and that is what ultimately makes the difference between winning and losing. I believe that we are not far off a big breakthrough if we have the patience and persistence to stick with it.
    As regards our present run of bad form it is easily understood. These lads have lost an ALL Ireland that they could have won. They have had a long winter to mull over what might have been. I believe the toxins from that experience may well be in the system still. The massive intensity they showed last year is down a bit. When you see the likes of McLoughlin playing below par it is a sure sign. They also seem tired and lethargic AT TIMES during the last few games (and I have been to them all). Also of course they are missing key players. All of these things will come right. What these lads need is a good win……..and guess what………..I reckon it is coming on Sunday!

  45. We created 27 scoring chances against Kildare, so the team is doing something right, hopefully with Cillian O’connor back more scores should be coming from frees. we needed them badly against kildare. would like to see Evan Rega retained for the next match, thought he showed well and took his frees

  46. Excellent contribution there from diehard.
    I have had my own issues with JH mainly over selection & use of substitutes,etc, but in the main his performance has been excellent. Do we not remember where we were before ?
    We have always been prone to over reaction both when we win & also when we lose.
    We have no need to panic at this juncture … in fact it is really encouraging that the best teams in the country have only been able to beat us by a point or two whilst we’re playing well below what we’re capable of.
    We do not have the work rate of last year yet & when we get a few players back we will be hard to beat.
    Looking at the League Table it appears to me that we could well stay up with just 2 more points as our score difference should keep us above the drop zone.
    We need to get those 2 points at the weekend & not stress ourselves out on our visit to Cork.

  47. Can someone enlighten me as to why we are ahead of Down in the table? Is it points difference that counts or the head to head between the two teams? Last week we were further back in seventh. Now we’ve moved up to sixth even though both of us lost at the weekend.
    Overall there’s a lot to be disappointed by but let’s get behind the team and management between now and the end of September. I’m wondering already where to get the tyres for the bonfire! Probably not very sustainable but…..

  48. It’s because there are now three of us tied on two points (ourselves, Down and Kerry) instead of just ourselves and Down last weekend. If it’s a three-way tie, then points difference (and failing that, scoring averages) is used to determine placing whereas if it’s a two-way tie then the head-to-head is used. This means that if none of the three of us win our final two matches and our points difference doesn’t change radically, we’d stay up (despite having only got two league points over the course of the campaign) and the other two will go down. If, however, ourselves and Down win one out of two (and ignoring what happens with Donegal) and we end up with them in a two-way tie, then we’d get relegated on four points and Down would stay up.

  49. For the life of me I just can’t see us getting anything from our last two matches against Donegal and Cork. which means division two football for us next season. I know Willie Joe, you set out a scenario where it’s possible to stay up with 2 points,but that’s a long shot, and would be incredible, were it to happen.

    A lot of frustration displayed by supporters on this site, is in my opinion, brought about by our failure to close out matches – matches that we should have won, or failing to build on a period of dominance – when the opposition were on the rack. With Mayo, they are at their best when the intensity is high and for as long as they can sustain that level of intensity, they are a match for anyone. But unfortunately that type of game requires a very high level of fitness, and like most other teams,at this time of year, are still only doing the heavy lifting.

    I watched the Donegal / Cork match this evening, and even though the commentators were continually ranting on, about the standard of football on show, I for one found it fascinating to watch. Here were two teams, the League and All Ireland champions, who having the height of respect for each other, were neither prepared to give an inch. Play moved up and down the field at a leisurely pace, both teams getting their players behind the ball and waiting for a turnover, then the slow build up, started all over again. What beat Donegal in the end, was Corks ability to kick some fine long range points.

    This type of football may not be pretty to watch, but it requires a lot of patience, concentration and the ability to close down and tackle the player on the ball, without committing a foul. Mayo are just not that type of team, we may never want to be, but if we can’t defend a lead, winning big matches will always be a struggle…

  50. Realistically we have to beat this Donegal team if we want to maintain any chance of staying in Division 1.

    On the permutations ahead Down have to play Dublin away this weekend and then Kildare at home in Newry. You would expect them to get at least 2 points out of this. Take your pick.

    Kerry have to play Cork at home this weekend and then Tyrone away. Again you would be expecting the kingdom to be putting up some sort of effort to consolidate their divisional status so I would expect at least 2 points here as well. Maybe more.

    As a result that leaves us requiring at least 2 points from our remaining 2 games and then it will probably go to points difference.

    And so the team must realise they have to perform on Sunday. Also it’s our last League match of the year at home and the last time these players may meet another team on their home patch for some time !

    Fitting so its the All Ireland champions who are coming to town.

  51. Any news on how Andy Moran is doing? Hope he is going to be fit for summer, hes badly missed in the team.
    Best of luck to him. I am crossing my fingers that Mayo will win on Sunday, it would be a shame to be relegated because even playing very poorly Mayo were nearly a match for the best teams going so far in 2013.
    I won’t harp on about it but mortimers scoring ability should be taken into consideration, he seemed to want to play again too
    And please, please Mayo forwards, go for goal at least once each on Sunday.

  52. After five games Mayo are averaging 14pts per game and conceding 14 compared to Donegal scoring 13 let in 12 per game. does that mean another narrow defeat or much needed win?

  53. Jesus, some of the over the top comments take some believing.
    Now I’ve only really skimmed through some of the more recent comments, so I’m hoping a few people have come on with a more reasoned opinion of where we are.
    If they have then I’ll probably just be repeating what they’ve said, but anyway…

    I wouldn’t mind if we were getting hammered and playing awful shite altogether, but we’re more than matching every team we’ve played. We could quite easily have 6 or 8 points. Now fair enough we don’t and I’d have a slight concern with our inability to win close games, but let’s not panic. We’ve lost 4 tight league games that could have gone either way.
    Who knows what’s going on in the background (the type of training the lads are doing, different tactics that Horan is using the league for etc), we need to keep the faith a bit.
    It’s all about Galway on the 19th and James Horan and the whole panel are well aware of that.

    As for a change of management?? We need to remember where we were when Horan took over in 2010. He’s done a great job and deserves to see this job out on his own terms.
    And talk of McStay and McHale…This is all stemming from Sundays club final. Fine they now have experience of coaching an all-ireland winning side, but remember so did Johnno….be careful what ye wish for lads.

  54. At this stage in the league, there should be no pressure – all the lads on the pitch can do, is give of their best and where ever that takes us so be it. What a lift though a goal or two would give this team, and especially against Donegal. That’s all it might take to ignite the spark, that would set them on their merry way. Anyway we are where we are – united in one common goal – so here’s hoping…………….

  55. Hi All,
    I hope you dont mind a Dub commentimg but I enjoy reading the blog as I find it very honest and enjoyable. All the comments are relevant so well done to you all, I just wanted to say congrats to Kevin McStay on his recent club victory with St B’s, I find Kevin to be an excellent commentator of the game and also his column in the Racing Post has bought me many pints. Best of luck to Mayo and maybe we will see you in September, cheers.

  56. Not at all, Martin, the more comments the better. A Mayo-Dublin final in September would be one to savour alright but we’d have outright civil war in our house if that happens, given that my small lad is an out-and-out Dubs supporter. Kevin McStay did well with St Brigid’s for sure but I thought the most amazing stat from that game was that it was Liam McHale’s tenth All-Ireland to be involved in, as a player or coach, and the very first one he tasted victory in.

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