Where to now?

We are comfortable amongst our own. This blog is our blanket, our family, our haven. All our highs, our lows and doubts are ventilated and assuaged back into belief and faith. There comes a day, though, when we can look inward and forget that life outside our personal bubble goes on and maybe, just maybe, that the bus and journey may continue with us on the roadside.

Small things herald upcoming change. Small and appearing insignificant, are the carriers of change. Here in Dunboyne as I walk around I have a Mayo badge sewn to my various accoutrements that I wear. They badges have never provoked comment in the years worn. But since the Dublin game as various people pass me, people that I don’t know more than often, a certain refrain emits.

One word normally. It’s “Mayo” and they keep going. It’s not said with malice, it’s not said to goad me. No, it’s said almost as in recognition that those very people see a changing of the guard in the old order. My badge, my presence, remind them of perhaps this change. I reply with one word as I hail them. It’s also “Mayo”.

Colm O’Rourke in today’s Sunday Independent almost ruefully signalled this outside view of Mayo. He described some of our players in the recent League match against Dublin as “ratty”. That was fair comment. Certainly I saw quite a bit of moaning on the pitch against Dublin.

I also saw for the first time – but not from the runes – a certain moving from our once tight script. After Cillian O’Connor missed the second ’45 of the night Andy Moran came out to take number three. O’Connor arrived out after him, pulled rank and promptly put the resulting kick wide.

Small? Yes. A sign … possibly. The week before the Dublin match the Mayo manger spoke of securing six points for the league. The indications being that survival was the goal and we would then focus on what really matters. Micky Harte of Tyrone deals with that type of question with a firm “We want to win every competition we are in” style answer. Stephen Rochford couched his answer in an each-way bet.

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

As I drove home from Croke Park last Saturday evening I listened to the RTE? interview with him. “You will find it tough to make the semi-finals now” said the interviewer to our man. First mistake. There are no semi-finals this year but both men missed this.

Not a mortal sin but a sign that the brief was slipping from both. Rochford replied that ten points were now on offer. “Hmmm,” I thought out loud, “you weren’t saying that before the Dublin match. You were happy with six, now we have no choice but to keep the great unwashed off our backs, let’s go for ten”.

We won’t get ten, we will get the six. But not for the first time that I posed myself this question: who is in charge of this Mayo team? Rochford certainly made the hard calls, witness the goalkeeper issue for last year’s All-Ireland final replay, an  understandable decision such was the poorness of Clarke’s kick-outs the last evening at Croke Park.

And yet, whilst Rochford has made hard calls, I get a feeling that we are without a clear plan as to what style we should play. We have players that, no matter how bad they play,are never taken off or dropped. A bit like Eddie O’Sullivan’s Irish rugby team at the World Cup in France.

Dublin, in contrast, roll their team effortlessly. Not doing it on the pitch … off. Who would leave out two recent Players of the Year plus a corner-back for an All-Ireland final replay? Dublin did.

I watched as a clearly hungry Kevin McManamon limbered up below me for fifty-five minutes. Four All-Irelands in his pocket but looking lean, looking motivated, waiting to get out on the pitch, McManamon personifies the gears that drive this team.

McHugh, a cub like Costello last October, took us for 1-3 the last night. I watched as Regan clearly struggled to impose himself physically for the fifth time that I have personally watched him.

I watched as a clearly out of sorts Cillian O’Connor was left on the pitch, I watched as I saw him drift back to our full-back line to collect a kick-out. Jim Gavin has warned Micheal Darragh that he is not allowed to kick the ball anymore, he is to fist-pass to a better placed colleague who can kick accurately.

I watched as I saw Dean Rock, once in there for his frees only, develop into a leader of some import on the field. I saw Dublin’s two new wing-backs slot in seamlessly as if there forever. For a second time inside a year, a Mayo team’s inept tactics (Castlebar were the other ones) allowed a corner-back to score two points and claim the Man of the Match award.

The winners in this for Mayo? Well, the reputations of the senior O’Shea brothers have risen without kicking a ball. We should be worried. Seamus is as good a battling midfielder as there is in the game but, as Fenton and MDMA clearly displayed, mobility and suppleness are today’s calling cards. Tom Parsons has slid back to his 2009 form again, his lack of pace at the very highest level once more exposed. James McCarthy from five yards behind him in last year’s replay out-sprinted Tom for a vital ball.

Photo: RTÉ

We can say it’s only the league. Fine. The last four league title winners? And three of the last four winners of the All-Ireland?

I am not not picking here, I am not looking for controversy and I’m not looking for war. But the sands have shifted.

Last year’s run for us is not an option. Reaching a final without firing properly until that final won’t occur again. Beating, in that order, teams from Divisions Two, Three, Three, Two and Three won’t happen again. We used up our luck.

What do I see? It’s more what I don’t see that troubles me. I don’t see a full-back, I don’t see us resolving our kick-out strategy, I don’t see why Ireland’s best two wing-backs are anchored in the corner, I don’t see why young Drake is humiliated game after game by being named and not played. We went through the same rubbish with Chris Barrett last year. Cui Bono?

What I do see is a forward line now operating like piece-work operatives. Each doing his own thing, none connected. A kick-passing strategy against Roscommon was eviscerated by Dublin. Is Donie Buckley still with us? Where has the almost violent strip tackling we had perfected two, three seasons ago gone?

Has Tony McEntee been promoted in the field as lead tactician? Peter Burke has stepped up as a selector. Should he not be better off dealing with our kick-out issues? James Horan set the bar high after 2011 when he brought in Cian O’Neill and Donie Buckley. We are lacking a fresh tactical face in there.

Jim Gavin in his interview after the match against us for once dropped his excellent mask. Replying to a question about the amount of space his team were afforded by Mayo, Gavin replied that in the three previous games Dublin had come up against very good tight defences and were hemmed in from cutting loose. “Tonight” he said “we had space to try new things”.

Devastating. Winning an All-Ireland has enveloped our very lives since we first breathed green and red air. Let’s be very careful that in looking at that Golden Fleece we don’t squander the hard-won reputation we have garnered since 2011. That beating by Dublin wasn’t an aberration. It was a warning.

74 thoughts on “Where to now?

  1. I very much enjoyed reading this piece. Most, if not all of it is depressingly true. The attitude of “6 points in the league and we are safe” is fundamentally flawed. So too is the notion some people have that that match against Dublin was some sort of ploy. The League has proven over the last 5 to 7 years to be a stepping stone to All Ireland Glory, it certainly provides a forum for not just learning to win but further learning to actually put teams away completely, not just get our nose in front and then try to hang on. Anyway we will see what 2017 brings, probably a quarter-final place, no certainty re Connaught title, Galway seem to be resurgent and will want to hold on to the title they won last year. Optimism still abides!!

  2. A very negative blog john , I don’t see the need it is only March we need to relax a bit on here

    I disagree totally with your opinion on clarke , he has been our best player in the league so far and we would be all Ireland champions had he been on the 1st October

    Out back and midfield were way off it last
    Saturday night , giving him zero options

    Disagree as well on your opinion re parsons also , he will come good

    In suprised you allowed this posting Willie joe , it will just bring up pulls wounds again when we should be moving on and looking ahead .

    I’m not trying to cause a big debate it is just my opinion

  3. All eras come to an end , maybe as much we don’t want to believe it this team is dying away , we have to keep with them though till the fat lady sings or whatever that saying is. This group deserve our full support and I’m sure they’ll get it. Sure look go all out to win back the Nestor cup and see what happens , bags of experience in there most likely still capable of getting to a semi final showdown with what will probably be the kingdom .
    They owe us nothing that’s for sure .

  4. Well I would agree with pretty much all of that but I also think there is life in the old dog yet Rumors of our demise

    are slightly exaggerated. I just got the feeling the last night that Dublin were waiting for us. They were anxious to

    prove a point I reckon. Caught us slightly on the hop.Some people were hyping us up as well before the game and

    that did`nt help. We don`t carry the banner of favourites very well. The dubs are a very very good team. But they

    are not unbeatable. There are three counties this year that believe they can. We must be the fourth.

  5. Excellent article as always Thought provoking and spot on. I have never understood our reluctance to go out and try and win the league. We seem to be still haunted by what happened in 1970 and 2001 when we made early championship exits after our triumph in the league.
    There is no doubt young Drake has been treated disgracefully been constantly named and then getting no game time. Anyway who is been fooled by these shadow teams. Certainly not the opposition. ( I appreciate Rochford is not alone in this )
    We have to now go and give the young lads like Irwin and Loftus substantial game time. We know what Andy and others can do we need to find out what the next generation can produce at this level. The team that lines out next Sunday will tell us a lot about where we are going.

  6. It’s an opinion piece, Mayo 51, and I think readers of the blog are capable of handling different opinions. Quick question back to you: is there any small chance that you might consider posting a comment that doesn’t make reference to David Clarke?

  7. Thats hit the nail on the head John..Dublin looked like gazelles on the pitch..Kudos to their hunger..Hard to work out what’s going on with Mayo football at the moment..Maybe there’s a master plan for the championship and writing us off is a part of it..

  8. Just stating my opinion Willie joe, I am entitled to do that, I have great admiration and respect for the Trojan work you do with this blog

    it’s very doom and gloom on here since last week

    I agree though that we need to try something new next week , Conor loftus , Liam Irwin or someone like that,

    What is the story with Neil Douglas do any posters know ?

    Also David Drake he has been named to start the last two league games, but hasn’t even togged.

    He was also taken off after 15 mins v Kerry

  9. Clarke got a lot of slack after the Dublin game for his kick outs. I think outfield players made no effort to win kick outs and that management appeared to have no plan in place for them against Dublin. Could it just be a case that management were trying to show up kick outs last day to try and justify their decision last year that cost us a final? I really hope not but can see any other reason for what happened against Dublin.

  10. That is one great piece.. I have no quibbles with it whatsoever!! Please give us more of the same and F….K the detractors!! Common sense reigns!! 🙂

  11. Excellent article and very accurate. The performance against Dublin was totally unacceptable and there is something seriously wrong in my opinion that we did not have the fire in the belly to give them a real rattle to remind them that last year’s AL was no flash in pan. Senior players and management need to answer that question. I agree with your observations on tatics and team formation particularly on FB situation . All last year without one and again this year.
    A reaction is needed next week against Cavan and we will secure our Division one status that is supposed to be so important but is it if your not going to try against the better teams ..what are you going to learn..what players are going to develop….

  12. Great piece John. I agree wholeheartedly. Its looking more and more like a tenacious and improving Tyrone and a work in progress young new Kerry team are going to be fighting it out to be the heirs to the throne in the coming years. Where we go from here nobody knows but it would be shameful if we end up slipping back to the levels of performance of the not too distant 2007-2010 era. Its up to the players and management together to get back to the standards we’ve all become accustomed to – starting with the Cavan game.

  13. I’ve no problem with people voicing opinions, Mayo 51 – in your case, though, it’s been the same point over and over and over again for the last number of weeks so it’d be good if you gave that line a rest for now.

    It has been a bit doom and gloom on here since the Dublin game but that’s only to be expected. To be honest, I expected more negativity after that thumping but the reaction to it has been very measured, all things considered.

  14. This kind of negative stuff is very unhelpful. There are enough journalists in the media peddling this kind of comment on Mayo for years. Yes we’ve had a bad performance but on the first Saturday of March. Some of your comments John may be valid but I search in vain for anything positive.

  15. A good article.i still believe come summer that we will be a different machine and that’s what we are working towards.
    Last year we didn’t introduce a sweeper until the Galway game and to be fair it didn’t work that evening but come September it was perfected.i imagine we will revert to the sweeper come summer and also our wing backs playing as wing backs.
    I also believe we will see Cillian inside during the summer and I expect a few changes to our forward unit as well.

    Presuming we beat Sligo the Galway game is of huge importance.a win in Galway would set us up nicely for the rest of the summer.the only thing I would be fearful of is if someone took Tryone out in Ulster and they ended up on our side of the draw!

    Remember Championship is the only game in town and everything we do good and bad between now and then is a learning curve!

  16. If I’m honest with myself I’m starting to worry a bit too …

    Been realistic this year is make or break … last chance saloon for this team,

    We need to chance neil Douglas , Irwin or Conor loftus in the last few league games

    Agree totally – umpire , I didn’t see the need for John to post this we read enough shite in the papers in the week just gone

  17. Excellent piece John well done to you, I really enjoyed that also. One little point if I may please. It is a small one but gets over looked this time of the year. In my book that was the Dublin B team last Saturday night. I know what everyone is saying now they started 7 or 8 of the AI team, sure they had another 3 subs from that AI team to come on blah blah blah. In my book without Connolly, Flynn, O’Sullivan et.al, they are not the the Dublin A team.Since Gavin came in Mayo have had great difficulty with their B team at this time of the year. Only briefly in n 2014 the night K McL marked Cluxton off the park did we compete with them. Anyone have a good reason. Think carefully about the answer to that question

  18. We don’t have 30/35/40 footballers of the quality that Dublin have and so it can be hard to compete with them this time of the year but come summer time over last few years we have competed with them and took them to 2 replays.

  19. Thought provoking article. I too noticed that moment last year when Mccarthy outsprinted Parsons. By contrast Tom made back ground in 2015 to force flyer Frank McGlynn wide.
    However James Mccarthy is much lighter and aerobic than Tom, it was late in the game and he has been timed at a 4.72 40 yard dash from a standing start in runners, which puts him nfl fast if prepared.
    The rattiness doesnt suit us is true. Especially when we end up flung around the place by Rock. Just looked childish and a distraction. Hard edge is what Colm Boyle or David Clarke does going for ball with no brake pedal.
    Iv watched Tyrone closely this year. Their players are the most mobile even more than Dublin. Conor Meyler must be the best overall runner in Division one. I struggle to see us matching their energy over 75 mins.
    Something new is needed for sure in terms of a fresh approach. We lack speed and it keeps being mentioned ‘punch’ up front.
    Leaning myself towards this being a transition year with a stronger panel potentially available next year. It’s why the u21 campaign is so vital this year.

  20. Dublin are better than us Simple as. When they really put their minds to it and other teams are not quite at it , they ll destroy you. They weren t too pushed about tyrone and donegal and scraped draws, but no doubt see Mayo as a threat so put their foot on us Alas we couldn t respond and in fairness the dubs are a great team. Like Sean Burke I think this could be the end of an era. Those great men have given their all since 2011 and the sad thing is that , with a small few exceptions, DOC, Harrison, Durcan etc their forces have not been replenished. The fact that we are still reliant on Andy at ff tells you all you need to know. How much longer can Boyler Keith and Donie man the gaps and keep driving us on. These men need a break in the league but if we line out without them its hallo to Div 2. We keep talking about the new kids on the block, but they appear well short of whats needed. So our championship team will probably include close to 10 of our 2011 team. Personally I am glad we wont get to league final. Wouldnt fancy dubs in Croker in April. Better just stay up and gear for the Conn championship where Galway away if we beat Sligo is a hugely difficult challenge. While I agree with many of the sentiments in the article by J Cuffe, the fact is that John has been more downbeat about Mayos prospects on occasions in previous years and they have come storming through in the summer. Hopefully they can confound the critics again and give us a run for our money until August or even September. Maigh Eo abu

  21. A very good piece and quite refreshing in that a lot of what you have said is true but only if you look at the result in the context of another defeat. Personally I like that Rochford is brave, that he makes the big calls and that he is willing to fail.. how else do you learn? What’s to be gained by us setting up in the same old way with the same predictable tactics like say Monaghan and getting beat by two points.. it’s not going to get you the golden fleece. Yes.. it will bring you so far, it will help you save face and it certainly will keep the detractors off your back.. but you are still on a slow boat to nowhere. Rochford tried the the long kick passing that worked so well against Roscommon and it failed spectacularly.. at least now we ask the questions why it went so horribly wrong. I for one believe there is far more to be gained from our game than that of either Donegal or Tyrone games against Dublin. I often feel that when we are at our lowest we see the true nature of ourselves and sow the seeds of the unpredictable dangerous force we have become. This is one game in March.. as others have said.. let’s not analyse this to death and move on to the Cavan.. a game I’d really like us to win.

  22. It is with regret that I admit I agree with every word in your post John. This nonsense about David Clarke and his kick outs gets under my skin. A goalkeeper’s role is defined by his name….to prevent the ball from going between the posts and beneath the crossbar. In this regard, we have the number one Number One in the country. Clarke also does overtime as a full back. Embarrassingly often.
    Kicks out? A time there was when we had the princes of midfielders amongst our ranks. Kilgallon, Padden, McHale, Fallon, Maher, just some of the names to come to mind. None of our goalkeepers who played with those guys came in for any criticism about their “restarts”.
    It may be time for us to face the unpalatable truth. The golden generation have, for one reason or another (luck, referees included) not delivered. And. Loathe though I am to say it. It looks likely they won’t.

  23. That’s a fine piece John Cuff and if the truth were known, it’s probably what most Mayo supporters are thinking too, but are not prepared to admit it. The team as of now seems to be at a crossroads and Stephen Rochford and his Management team have a big task on their hands, to steady the ship for the remaining League matches. Staying in division one is a must and the Cavan match must be our best chance of securing those two points that should make us safe.The remaining two matches, against Tyrone and Donegal, can then be used to test out whatever system we are going to go with for the Championship, and as of now Stephen may not know what that’s going to be.

    Over the next few weeks hopefully, many players will be returning to the panel from layoffs and injuries, and it should become clear very quickly if these guys still have the hunger in their bellies to give it another go. It’s crucial also that we have unearth some new talent that can step up to the plate and give a bit of freshness to the team. As of now, nobody can be sure how the year ahead will unfold, but if things don’t go our way, then it will have been such a shame that those gallant lads who have given us so many great days, should now ride into the sunset, without having reached the promised land – hopefully that won’t be the case.

  24. Wow! Just checking the death notices on Mad West to see what time is the funeral for Mayo football. We haven’t gone away you know.

  25. Amazing to read this post and all the comments here. Geeezzzz everyone!! Don’t you think the team and players are beating themselves up enough? Do we really need to do this here? Just sayin….this is the time that character is built. Yes, we can take an honest reflection, but we also have to be supportive of OUR team. They give countless hours of training and one can only imagine the mental impact of this last game. Let’s be that “16th man” they have positively named us so many times and provide that faith and spirit they need. For me, I know at times I have had a “bad day at the office” and messed up on something myself, but moving forward is easier when others understand. So let’s give this team that we support, just that, our support and belief that they are the Mayo team we love. May you all have a good week in whatever you do and may our players and management also have a good week and know their fans continue to support them. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone… maybe we all need a pilgramage up The Reek…that climb is tough and can cause self-doubt, but at the summit, life is good! Maigh Eo Abú!

  26. John, it’s a good taught provoking piece. As always, I am convinced that you love Mayo just as much as I, and would dearly love to see us all celebrating the best day of our Gaelic-football lives. BUT, and seriously BUT we will get nowhere by buying into your stated views, (If indeed they are your real views or not,? , or are you trying to jolt us into some type of imanagry creative solution to Mayo’s particular problems) Look, there is no other, formula, but positive conviction about our chances s.It suits our Mayo collective philosophical mind set. I am not remotely worried about the Dublin performance, the O’Shea were not playing, we have other players! but inside the Mayo camp their value has not increased by not playing, maybe it has not decreased either, but the latter is the most likely. Whether we were beaten by a point or twenty versus Dublin is at the end of the day neither here than there.. Look Dublin’s (C) team won the O’Byrne cup with incredible ease, we know for a fact that no B or C team in the country can compete with the B. or C of the Dublin equivalent. But Dublin like ourselves can only put 15 on the field of play at any time. Mayo at their best can match Dublin’s best and maybe surpasse them. It is a a fact that this Dublin potential team may have many of the best footballers never to win an All Ireland final because they never get selected but we as Mayo will have to go for glory if and when the opportunity presents itself, if our best 15 can surpasse the Dubs best on the day, we will prevail. Hey, and let the Dublin B.& C fight another day!

  27. I agree with almost all of what John Cuffe said there let’s face it and I mean this with the utmost respect to all involved in the Mayo panel and management but compared to Dublin we don’t have the forwards to win an all Ireland and that’s the truth in my opinion and it’s always been the same in my opinion since 89 96 97 etc same thing we had great defenders midfielders but no real killer forwards. We don’t seem to have a tactician on the sideline who can devise a plan either to make us in to a well oiled scoring team. We will be once again depending on Andy and Dillon to resurface. i wish I had the answers to help this team out all I can suggest is bring in a top class forward coach

  28. While I debated commenting on this piece not because I don’t fear there is plenty of truth to it, but because the negativity after we ship a heavy defeat, though measured, hurts my heart, I don’t agree with the line that the stock of the O’Sheas is rising as a result. While we have a tendency to canonise absent players (remember the Richie Feeney phenomenon?) I genuinely don’t feel that this has happened here. This, however may have something to do with the part of the county in which I’m based, so perhaps I’m insulated … No more about that.

    John, as always your love for your native county shines through, as it does most weeks in the Western People. Regardless of all our differing perspectives, we all just want the same thing so badly, and it’s not about football any more; it stopped being about football a long, long time ago.

    One of my biggest gripes in the Horan era was his consistent failure to use the bench, whether it was to replace players for whom it just wasn’t clicking, or to give us a shot in the arm at crucial moments a la Jim Gavin. Sadly while I think Rochford is better in this regard, and we don’t have the depth of power that Gavin does, those feelings of frustration still remain. We’ve just had two (contrasting) games in which our young guns could have benefited from some more game time and while I do understand that you can’t rush this process, I think there is room for improvement.

    As for the rest, that performance the last night really disheartened me. Not the loss – the loss I can handle (haven’t we handled plenty of them?) but the manner of it. I don’t think there was any ploy involved. It was disappointing and humiliating to watch (I mean Jesus, the sheer naivety of it alone was mind-boggling) but I do agree with Granuaile4Mayo that there have been bad days at the office before and that the lads will be feeling this far more than us.

    I haven’t read any match or media reports either because I feel we have been here before, and read and heard it all before and it counts for little come showtime. Also, while it’s easy for us to say we should be targeting the league, I would imagine it’s not exactly high on the list of anyone within the camp because really, in the current context, what does it mean? All we want is the big one, that is where our focus is, perhaps somewhat to our detriment.

    Ironic, because given the current championship environment which is an absolute joke, the league has the potential to be a far more prestigious prize, as it should be a truer indication of merit. But I digress.

    I really hope that we put in a performance on Sunday.

  29. I think that it was the comedian Des Bishop that coined the phrase that some Irish people are never happy unless they are miserable. That’s the thought that comes to mind when I read articles like this. They say that a week is a long time in politics, it’s the same in sport. In the Roscommon game Mayo were looking as sharp as they have ever been at this time of the year and then in the Dublin game we were the total opposite. As Stephen Rochford said after the Dublin game, we are somewhere in the middle. If we beat Cavan at the week-end we will have secured our Division 1 status with two games left for the first time in a few league campaigns.

    I had seen those comments by Colm O’Rouke as well, saying that we seemed ratty in the Dublin game. Would you blame them if they were? At one stage there was pretty much an article or a story in the media criticising us every day of the week, for weeks on end. Mainly in the paper this guy writes for. You almost feel like they want us to give up. Reading articles like this one here on the blog, gives you the same feeling as well. Why should we give up? If Keith Higgins at 32 or Andy Moran at 33 or Alan Dillon at 34 etc. are staying on and not giving up like a lot of players their age all over the country then I think that they and the rest of the players deserve all of our support.

    We seen Corofin fall short this year at the All-Ireland semi-final stage, yet we were lead to believe that they had the players and that Stephen Rochford was lucky to be in charge of them when they won the All-Ireland title. So I’d be giving Stephen a bit more time before we write him off, remember it was in his second year that Corofin won the All-Ireland title. He must have been doing something right there.

    In the 2014 league semi-final we were very poor against Derry even though we had an extra man for a lot of that game. Dublin then hammered Derry in that league final, yet later that year we all remember the infamous games we had against Kerry at the All-Ireland semi-final stage. We lost to Dublin by 12 points in the last game. In last year’s league final Kerry lost by 11 points against Dublin yet Kerry ran Dublin to two points in the championship and we only lost by a point after a replay so that tells all we need to know about Dublin at this time of the year compared to the other top teams.

    Since 2013 we have managed to win 3 All-Ireland titles: Minor in 2013, U21 in 2016 and Westport this year. Apart from Dublin and Kerry not many counties are winning silverware so it’s not all doom and gloom for us. Of course not everything in the garden is rosy. We have to improve up front if we are going to win an All-Ireland title but we are capable of that with some of the young lads coming through. Roll on the games!

  30. Excellent piece John. Hits the nail on the head. Someone mentioned that they think the high water mark of this team has gone. I agree with them. I know that we’re all proud as punch of these bunch of lads, but time and again the same mistakes have been made. There’s a lot of people complaining about the lack of new blood. Perhaps they’re not good enough? I mean, Diarmuid O’Connor is, Patrick Durcan is. If the others were good enough they wouldn’t be fringe players. The way Dublin toyed with Mayo in the last 10 minutes of the game was embarrassing to be honest. It was as if the team gave up. I don’t know if thid yesr is a write off after one weekend in early March, the optimist in me says ‘it’s only March’ yet the realist in me reckons that Caff won’t be the solution straight away when he comes back and that the team is on a downward slope now. Unless the team/panel/management pull something out of the fire, then we’ll be in for a short summer.

  31. Its very hard to know, performance was very poor no doubt as were the tactics. However we have been here in MArch before looking at bad defeats and thinking they show the measure of us. Only then to see we were wrong later in the year.
    However, you would be concerned that its very difficult to see what our plan is, if we were trying something that wasn’t working but you thought it might come off later on with more practice or more fitness, then you would say fair enough. The sweeper system with kevin Mc was a bit like that last year.
    I agree we did get luck with the draw last year but we did beat a good Tyrone team and could have beaten Dublin if we had gotten any rub of the green at all.
    However what concerns me most of all is that we only seem to wait until “the big days of the championship” before getting ourselves up to the right level. The performances that put us toe to toe with Dublin would have blown away the teams we struggled with up to that point.
    If that was a tactic or a mindset its a dangerous one. Are we now a team who can only really go for it and give a big performance on all Ireland final day. I don’t see us getting away with that again this season if it is the case. I certainly cant see us even raising a gallop on June 11th. And yes I know we have to play Sligo first but its at home and history would dictate that we should win that one.
    Anyway lets see what happens against Cavan first

  32. Against Dublin our system was completely wrong—you need sweepers to play them. Why should we show our hand.in my opinion this thrashing has taken a lot of pressure off Mayo.we are now written off.lets close ranks and concentrate on Sligo

  33. I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s becoming harder and harder to actually enjoy supporting Mayo anymore, especially when you read articles like this.

  34. Valid point HSE. Corofin people were full of it last year.” When you have the players anyone can manage our team “. Fact is Castlebar could have won after the year they had. Corofin only showed the value added by Rochford in 2016 after he had left them behind.

  35. Good piece and I agree with much of it. To me a manager talking about a semifinal that isn’t going to happen with currents setup is a bit shocking at the level we are now at. If basic off the field stuff isn’t right you wonder about the whole setup.

  36. We are not a league team.

    Every year since 2012 we have had full-length championship seasons. In the years we didn’t get to the final we ended up in semi-final replays. Semi-finals we could have won. Five strong consecutive championships is unprecedented in modern Mayo football. Since James Horan took us over we have been transformed from a mediocre team capable of occasional brilliance into one of the behemoths of the game. No-one wants to play us. We expect to get to semi-finals and finals.

    However this comes at a cost. Conflating Dublin’s league titles with their AI success is, IMO, a red-herring. Dublin can go out and perform in spring because they have the strength, depth and resources to do so. Even then, if there had been no league-semi finals over the past number of years they wouldn’t have got to some of the finals. Our talent pool is far smaller. Factoring in injuries, fatigue and the need for recovery, can we honestly expect the same levels of performance in the league than what we see in the summer, even close? It’s asking too much.

    For us, the league should be primarily about maintaining Div 1 status, blooding new players and sharpening our gameplan. Kerry at their zenith in the 2000’s and today are masters at this.

    That’s not to say I don’t agree with John in some respects. Tactically we have been at sea in this campaign. Too pourous at the back, underperforming at midfield, no fluency in attack. The younger members of the squad badly need more gametime. What was concerning about the Dublin match was not the fact that we lost but how utterly naive and clueless we looked. We lined out as if we were playing a Division 2 team, instead of the best attacking force in the game. The players looked beaten after the first goal went in. We’ve been in this position before and likely we will again.

    What’s important for Mayo is to ensure that the consistency and workrate that made us a team that was very hard to beat under Horan is maintained. It seems to have slipped in recent years. Thankfully we still have three games in which to get our season motoring. It’s not all doom and gloom.

  37. How has the reputation of the O’Shea brothers risen without kicking a ball?

    Was Aidan not there for the entire league last year, with Seamus missing the first game or 2? How much better did we get on in the league last year with them present. We were lucky to stay up in Division 1 last year thanks to a superb injury time save by David Clarke V Down in the final game.

    Did Aidan and Seamus both not play when we played Dublin in Castlebar in 2015 when we lost by 14 points?

    Hopefully we will secure our division 1 status next Sunday with 2 games to spare.

  38. People talk about the team being on a downward spiral and some disagree.

    However one person that does agree is Aiden O’Se. He said as much in an article before the All ireland last year to the Examiner I think and that 2014 was probably the high point for this team.

  39. John’s article tend to be on the negative side, but he gets people thinking. Dublin is built on pace, and at this time of the year with their continuity of training they are well ahead of us. Later in the year the gap narrows. Yes we do have a problem with replacing these successful players and when a team is successful it’s harder to drop guys – joe schmidt has a similar problem.
    Regarding kickouts, every goalie will suffer if Dublin get time to put their zone push up in place. That’s where they move up, cover the zones and leave forwards free at the back. Clarke suffered, hennelly same way. If Clarke doesn’t get the kick out away quickly he needs to stop, take a few steps back, and that should be the signal to Mayo forwards to push out midfield to contest a long lockout. Worse outcome is Dublin win the kickout but Mayo have pulled everyone back. So it’s a low risk strategy. Trying to pick out someone when Dublin are zonely set is very high risk, as we have witnessed painfully!

  40. And I hear our dear old darling Dessie has danced off into a dazzling sunset….and not before time! There’s a line in a certain play which goes something like …’ there’s nothin that riles me so much as someone tryin to do something he can’t do’…and you can add a Dublin accent to it, a sausage or two on a plate and a pair of characters who just never get it because they’re busy avoiding the real issues of life!
    And they end up in a fallen pile of drunken pity and despair.
    J Cuffe, you’ve drawn away the veil and lifted the lights to remind us, as though we needed it, that we could possibly be in the last act of our drama. Many reflect on the fact that it’s an ongoing process and in its engagement lies the true meaning of being on board ship…. in the journey is the joy.Yet others have their eyes plied to the horizon with only one concern in their minds …colours, buntings, bands and bugles and crowds of cheering revellers.
    And the Admiral himself is on deck with his glass which some feel needs a rub to clear away the fog.

    All games change with time for this reason or that and to deal with this do you resist it or do you just engage with it or would you ever consider embracing it? Tyrone, Donegal and Dublin I believe have embraced it as well as many of the lesser lights including clubs at all levels. Everyone wants to play the close hand pass game and do I wonder why? Surely they’ve decided it is the way to go. Get the ball and bring it to bed with you until you can pass it with speed and accuracy in the dark and even without your glasses on! This is what the Dubs decided after being caught by Donegal back then and they’ve gone on to enhance it and give free lessons in the art.They adopted the new style.
    Kerry and Mayo on the other hand are out on their own in the belief that they know a better way.In their wisdom they are opting for the near traditional catch and kick game.It is a compromise gambit which they believe gets the ball up the field faster than by the sole hand to hand. Well that can be true but there’s more to come. You also have to score more often than the opposition and as far as I can see the teams that are most often short of scores are those of the old school!
    I believe that as long as we refuse to really take on the running game we ll be left behind.If it’s a question of not having the calibre of player who can compete in the possession game then that’s it…a complete admission of subservience and a prospect of a dire future!
    We are looking to the bench to see which of the young fellas is warming up.We joke about having a Willie Joe or a Willie McGee dashing in with the bit of paper to bolster our forces when we should be thinking of team cohesion. It has been pointed out correctly that our fellas don’t seem to know where colleagues are most of the time. A Mayo player gets the ball and all his friends run away from him. A Dublin player gets the ball and his friends all dash into a queue to relieve him of it/ help him out/ further the purpose of the exercise…. to securely escort the ball up the field to plant it between the posts. And that’s the way to do it and so will it remain imo so long as the possession game is favoured by the authorities in charge of the rules and regulations!!!

  41. John,

    Very well written piece. Difficult to argue, to develop one point that personally drives me crazy, COC did not pull rank, he is our free taker period.

    Why the hell does Andy Moran feel it necessary to take every line ball, to pick up the ball every time Mayo have a free or a penalty as if he is going to take it. We have a free taker, he is not it. He tried to take a short free V Dublin at the beginning of the second half on their 21, made a balls of it, luckily Ref called it back. Last Year V Tyrone in first half, COC was taking a fifty, out trots Andy from end line to have a word in his ear, WTF, what was he saying to him, Cillian go for a point. He has been a great player for Mayo and other that COC, has been one of best forwards over the past decade. It is simply daft, I wish he would stop this silly shit.

    Our potential failure as I have mentioned before, will come down to our lack of forward development over the past six or seven years. We simply don’t have forwards who can score on a consistent . I think that is the bottom line, IMO it comes down to poor coaching at u16 and minor level. This needs to be addressed ASAP or we will be in the same situation in six more years. Please don’t use our U21 team of last year as an example. We scored 0-7 pts over 60+ minutes in the final. Thankfully we won the game.

  42. Yeah PJ, some Galway people did talk like that alright about Stephen Rochford’s time with Corofin. In saying that the Corofin players themselves had nothing but good things to say about him. I remember one of them saying that every player from the youngest to the oldest improved under Rochford. Again as I said before he must have been doing something right there.

  43. What’s all this fuss about Tyrone? If this same the same group of Tyrone players were from another county and hadn’t won 3 all Ireland’s in the 2000s there wouldnt be a word about them. Seems many people are blinded by their pedigree rather than actual ability. I was listening to the same kind of guff before we beat them last August. As far as I’m concerned they have done nothing of note in the championship the last few years. Still well behind Kerry and ourselves in the pecking order to challenge dublin.

  44. I would agree with everything in this article. I think everyone would agree that the team needs some new blood particularly in the forwards. I mean can we possibly be heading into the championship with Andy as our only ff with no experienced backup to come off the bench around the 50 minute mark. Andy has be resurgant over the past year or so but he doesnt have 70mins in him.

    Rochford came into the job under very difficult circumstances and really was in no position to make any changes other than tactical. Getting so close last year has probably made it even harder to made those necessary changes. With a team having been so close it must be difficult within the group to say certain things or even personnel need to change in order to take the next step.

    Had Mayo won in 2011 or 2012 im sure we would be seeing a different team lining out as that monkey would have been off their back and offered more flexibility for the management to try new things. As it stands do they say keep going we are nearly there or accept that changes to the panel are now required to invigorate a tiring outfit.

  45. Mayo GAA is a goldfish bowel and every defeat and victory is magnified from inside and out. I think we have been saying “it’s now or never since” 2014 with this particular team. That evening in Limerick was certainly a milestone but since then we have been there or thereabouts…

    Some of this team are in the last chance saloon there is no doubt. This summer will tell a tail but I get the feeling also that choppy waters are coming and we may be entering a plateau or transition period as it natural with any team.

    Hopefully they can go out and prove me wrong and finally knock the door down but I get the feeling this team may have missed that particular boat. Of course if we get positive results in our remaining games, the tail will be up again but my focus would be on Salthill right now.

  46. Negative article as usual John, well written none the less, so fair play for that. Could’nt disagree more to be honest. We’re in the middle of seirious heavy training and put in a stinker against the Dubs, an its all coming to an end apparently? Not a chance. Could ye imagine the shite that would be talked if we’d won? Hype would be through the roof. We never perform in the league yet every year we’re told its the end, chance is gone, yet there we are slogging it out in September or October.
    I’ve found this blog to be a haven at times. But with negative articles like this, i’ve also learned to pay no heed, the league will end and be forgotten about come June, and the real football will start. The day we’re knocked out before the last 4 is when i’ll accept we may be seeing the end of a great team, not some sat nite game in early march, that doesnt matter a jot in the grand scheme of things.

  47. All this talk of new blood needed .. where exactly is this new blood going to come from in the current environment? If it’s there in our clubs at this point in time, I for one am not seeing it.

  48. Havent had a chance to read through all the comments yet so apologies if this has been asked already.

    Does anybody know whats the story with Chairde Maigheo gear this year? Only 3 league games left and no word.

  49. Excellent posts HSE, couldn’t have put it better myself.
    Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. This is not the first time this narrative has been put before us about this team being finished. They’re another kick or 2 in this lot yet .
    As regards Clarke’s kickouts, these are a problem, and as a keeper, he’s the only one that can take them. It’s all great being a shot stopper but if you’re kicking the ball out to the opposing team then you’ll have more shots to stop and more kickouts to make. He is in my view a better all round keeper but we do need to have a plan for his kickouts unless he can get more accurate from distance.

    My own view of the Dublin game, to sum it up:
    Kickouts were bad and we had too many of them – a collective issue
    Durcan and Keegan are Half backs, end of story.
    We need a sweeper, that’s what Kevin McL should have been doing
    We’re missing Jason Doc, Aidan and Seamie more than we’re willing to give them credit for. Jason will keep smacht on any Dubs that get out of line and you can be damn sure of that. Aidan commands the attention of 2 Dublin defenders which frees up our sweeper, and Seamie is a better midfielder than the rest of the options we’ve had available this year – himself and Parsons are first choice for me.
    Aside from that, it’s March. I’m not getting too worried. I’d rather we tried this out and got hammered in Croke Park in March, rather than getting hammered in August or September.
    We’ve plenty a good Saturday and Sunday to look forward too. Let’s have less of the ochóin and hand-wringing, sure the clocks haven’t even gone forward yet.

  50. Slightly off topic,

    Anyone looking to go to the club finals on St Patrick’s day? I’ve 3 tickets going in 314 (together) I’ll give them to a good home. DM me on twitter or on my site contact form.

  51. One here for the Doom and Gloom Merchants! Mayo schools have won Connacht A B and D championships this year!

  52. A few things id like to see versus Cavan. Our half back line restored, improved performance from parsons, he got a first class lesson from fenton. COC offering some leadership upfront in a disiplined manner. COC not taking 45m return just not good enough at top level, start Irwin for Andy and let him take 45m. Give Boland a well deserved rest and start Loftus. Use subs Gallagher, Reape, give them plenty of game time…they will do as well or better than current who are not contributing enough scores….

  53. Good points there, Juan.
    John, I always thoroughly enjoy your writing – it always comes from the right place, and brilliantly penned. But now is not the time for this type of reflection. As others have noted, we’ve already nearly secured division 1 status with a few winnable matches to go. The match against the Dubs was another strange one from us. We had exactly the same thing in McHale in 2015. I wasn’t particularly worried then and I am not now either. Reagrding our lads being narky, who bloddy cares?!! I’d be narky at this stage if I was in their shoes, very very narky indeed!! Sure they could have harnessed it a bit better in a more constructive way perhaps but it certainly didn’t signal to me some sort of sign that the moment has passed for this bunch of players or that everything is unravelling. No chance. I’m glad to see that the fire is still there. A word of warning though: It’s key they maintain their discipline during the summer, while still playing on the edge, especially in key games at key times. The Dubs may get away with it but we won’t be so lucky, you can bet your bottom dollar. We wittnessed that last year with Lee.

    We may still have a trick or two up our sleeves. Keep fighting the fight lads, we ain’t done yet. The past 5 years should have taught us that.
    I’m looking forward to summer.

  54. Liberal role……….I agree with you 100%. ‘Unravelling’ me arse………Don’t people realise that this is a Mayo senior football team we’re talking about. A long tradition of either stunning us with brilliance or the direct opposite. We never know which version will turn up and that’s the great fun for me in supporting them year on year. When they really get their running game together they’re a joy to watch. Recall the All-Ireland final defeat to Donegal a few years back and the majestic pasting we gave them when we next met in Croker…..the very same team. The Dubs are mighty powerful and fluid right now but sure anyone could see that we were the main authors of our own doom last week in not playing them at all …..witness the inconsistency and no real togetherness and that was that, the result was inevitable. But you don’t go from a 140 minute high-intensity AIF side to a second tier outfit in a few months. Goals for 2017 are Div 1 retention and SAM ………..With an absolutely total team development and focus (….that is, with the panel and newbies we’ve got), and a serious comittment by all to run to their last breath for the cause, I believe that we can achieve both goals.

  55. Joemamas ! Tis far from silly shit a lot of the time , there is more dynamics in a game going on when a free/ penalty is awarded than meets the spectators eye . A more obvious example was the penalty v Fermanagh , Andy knows exactly what he’s doing and its all good mo chara, mostly.

  56. Maybe I’m just feeling a bit tired or something, but I just don’t have the energy to think negatively.

    The memory that ramdomly springs to mind right now is the comment from the Kerry manager after they beat us in the AI Semi in 2011. He said that he knew our scoring average wasn’t high enough going into that match.

    You could see the effort the lads put into their finishing skills for the next couple of seasons. More lads need to be able to take a score inside the 45. If we could put half the wides over the bar, then we’re in the game and we can start looking at missed goal chances, loose defending and whatever else.

  57. I’m staying positive. It’s like Spring 2016(and a few other Springs!) all over again -completely written off and the end of us. Look where that got us. Why do our supporters have so little faith?! 6 years of getting to the last or 2nd last match of the season. Yes it was a shite performance. We have one every league time. Give them a chance. If this was July I’d be worried. I do agree that we are not giving the young lads a proper chance to settle in and perform. I agree we were useless March 4th but it has not worried me. I would however worry there is still unrest in the camp. Even though I found John’s piece interesting and very well written, I’d rather not have an article completely writing ourselves off in March on a Mayo Blog. Leave that to our friends at the Indo. I do see the motivation for it and I also see past evidence for not writing it.

  58. I recall that lesson learnt Sean. Earlier that year in the league we were given a penalty against Donegal in Ballybofey. I think it was Cillian O’ Connor that was to take the penalty (open to correction on who took penalty) but he was surrounded by half the Donegal team.. a pretence shimozzel of types with the sole intention of putting him off. They stood on him, knocked the ball out of his hands, shoulders, verbal’s, you name it.. they tried it.
    By the time we got to the Fermanagh game Andy took possession of the ball when we were awarded the penalty.. and cue the verbals and all the other shite acting. Once everyone was back on the line and the ref was in position Andy throws the ball to Cillian.. bang.. goal. You learn, you adapt, you survive and that to me is all that the league is about.

  59. Toe to hand, it was Diarmuid O Connor that successfully dispatched that penalty. And Andys contribution was as you correctly point out was to take all the over the top verbal and physical abuse dished out by Donegal on that day. If the referee was adamant enough to enforce the rules of the game that day a few Donegal player’s would have seen the line. On the subject of the potential sending off, Cillian needs to be careful. I heard some musings from the grapevine about the refereeing committee. If what I hear is true Cillian has come to their attention , Cillian needs to be careful and execute his tackles in a way that doesn’t bring the wrath of the referee. Only saying!

  60. This is the Mayo senior team who are where they want to be in Aug,Sept, for last 6 years.
    If some of us have our eyes plied to the horizon as someone posted earlier, and believing our great moments will come well then so be it.Why would we bother turning up to our games if we didnt believe.
    As for this word ‘ratty’ would you bloody well blame them with what they have to put up with on and off the pitch. I do hope someone is looking after the mental health of these great guys coz if all the negativity that is written in sports media about them and even since this last match, is leaked to them they would surely need it.
    Also posting ages of players as if it’s time out is unfair imo. Remember the qualifers only a few mths ago our saviour each game Andy from the games I was at anyway.Remember Alan D in Tyrone match. They owe us nothing, but we owe them our continued support.
    To JoeMc posting March12th 9.42 while I agree John Cuffe’s piece is well written alto negative in extreme, I do have a little quibble with you saying F..k the detractors. John in that same piece says this blog has become a haven for us, we express the highs and lows,of following our team, so it is unfair imo to make a statement like that to those of us who want to remain positive even after 1 bad evenings work in March. So I would say let us be to express.

  61. Thanks FDBinashui.

    @Mairead, when I listed those player’s ages, I was doing it in a positive way, i.e. I was making the point that if those players are still willing to give a commitment to the cause then we as supporters should be willing to give a commitment to backing them as well. As the saying goes, we are all in this together.

  62. There has been extreme negativity on here since the Dublin defeat, but this article just caps it all. Yes it was a very poor display against one of our main rivals, but let’s face it, Dublin hold all the aces these days and unless you get them in your own patch and / or come up with a defensive game plan based around stopping them, well then they are very likely to beat you and beat you well, particularly in Croke park this time of year. Let’s face it, we have the resources to compete with then at one point in the year, not 12 months of the year and that’s what we must stay focused on – getting it right for the summer.

    But the extremes of reaction shown on here in the space of a week after the Ross game and the Dubs game is unbelievable. And I think it is testament to our county mind-set and a factor in why we have so under achieved throughout our history – we just can’t deal with sh1t in a rational and controlled way! Its extreme Heaven or the depths of hell with us lot! That’s why this current squad have actually came closer and are our best chance of getting over the line – because they are trying to beat the Mayo psyche and deal with sh1t properly!

    Personally I cant understand the merits or reasons for this extremely negative article. Although I do recall odes to the Cookoo and Corncrake some years back when we had won a Quarterfinal, so the Mayo psyche is alive and well ?

  63. David Clarke commented after the Kerry match to the effect that when we play with full intensity we can beat anyone but when that intensity isn’t there anyone can beat us. And that’s what happened against Dublin. For whatever reason our level of commitment, aggression, intensity and work rate were below par. And no better team to exploit that than the Dubs. Can we up our game? Of course we can. Whether that’s enough to remain in the top two or even win an all Ireland remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain it is getting harder and time is definitely running out for many of our lads. The game against Cavan will tell a certain amount and I expect a very big reaction because these lads have too much pride to just go away quietly!

  64. I would agree that there are some varying posts here some hugely negative some positive and KL is correct it seems Mayo are either ecstatic over a win or in the depths of dispair after a loss. While the last game was hugely disappointing it was a league game in March and Mayo will undoubtedly be fitter, sharper and overall better in the summer. We should beat Sligo, Galway would be a huge test but a win there would set us up nicely for a semi final slot, depending on the draw.

    Its from here I have issues. Mayo will be better, maybe we will reach the same standard as last year in the final, but that wasnt good enough then and wont be good enough this year should we get that far. From the league so far I dont see an area of improvement in the team and thats what we need, an improvement. Mayo should have won last year in the first game, it was there for the taking, everything went our way even the weather. Yes the ref missed a pick up off the ground at the end but the game should have been put to bed by that stage. IMO we lost that game beacuse we didnt have the strength coming off the bench to make a difference in the final quarter. From the league so far I dont see anything to suggest that this has changed. We need a more experienced bench for the big games, Dillon and sticking Barry at ff isnt the answer.

    While I agree that things are not as negative as some people suggest, I also dont agree that things will be fine come the summer, Dublin are a better team than us, they are not there for the taking, they will be better than last year. Mayo need to improve on last year to have a chance. Impovements can be made but only by giving players outside the established 15 games.

  65. I have to push back on that assertion that the comments here of late have verged from the wildly optimistic to the deeply pessimistic. I’ve witnessed far, far bigger mood swings following matches in previous years (for example, people almost lost the plot entirely after that drawn league match against Dublin three years ago) and while there was, for sure, a downbeat mood after the Dublin game the other week, you’d kinda expect that after such a poor performance. I’ve no problem, by the way, with people expressing optimistic or negative opinions (as long as they’re reasonable and sensibly argued) and it’s only natural when following a team for there to be plenty of the former after a win and a good bit of the latter after a loss. What I’m saying, though, from my close observation of the comments down the years, is that the mood swings of late are nothing out of the ordinary. If anything, the most notable thing is the lack of extreme opinions being expressed in both directions.

  66. I always expect the negative from John so no surprise again. Obviously the last game had several negatives so plenty to talk about. Our failure down to two or 3 things. About 4 players lost their battles.. midfield, Cillian and Andy.
    The 2nd thing was the kicking game didn’t work, the difference between one of the weakest defenses Ros and possibly the strongest Dublin shows lots of work to do to get this right. It will take good passes and good running to make it work otherwise it’s the running game with good use of AOS or Irwin in ff line, a tactic which has frustrated us in the past. Rochford needs to try it out.
    3rd thing is long kickouts but the real problem was not the midfielders competing but the breaking ball where Mc and J Doc would normally be there we had no one. Diarmaid had a below par game but he needs to do what the other 2 do as winning possession is more than half the battle. He has the attributes.

  67. I think Regan is running out of chances. Gradual improvement yes contrast with Conor Mortimer who was an underage star is he’s behind in progress by comparison.
    I would like to see Irwin and Kirby given the big man role in last 2 games and Loftus given Andy’s shirt as we know what Andy brings. For me I’d be hoping Loftus is the one to make the championship team as he’s had a year already though Kirby had the bones on one 2 years ago whereas Irwin would need to really stand out in training to get in front. The Kerry stars JOD and Geaney had to bide their time fir a few years. If none cuts it then we need a fast half back put in the forwards come summer.

  68. One of the few things I agree with in this thread is Andy should not be annoying Cillian taking 45’s. OK if he wants to get a short free over the bar quickly late in a game but Cillian is our free taker. Seems a bit of ego thing there with Andy and he should drop it for the sake of the team. I have been consistently a great fan of Andy on here and he’s a leader but Cillian is the captain. That said Cillian needs to live up to Captainship

  69. Totally disagree that Andy has an ‘ego’ thing Shuffly Deck. The only thing Andy can be accused of is being over enthusiastic, and there aint nothing wrong with that imo.

  70. As I said I’ve always been a big fan and the Andy is one of the most positive players in the Country. I didn’t spot it on playback but no way should Andy be taking 45’s when we have a dedicated free taker who takes them all the time. If Robbie Hennelly was on the pitch he could argue the toss with Cillian but apart from that Management call the free taker role. It’s not that he mightn’t score it’s just Cillian has a track record especially in big games. I sometimes get surprised also when Andy takes them near in probably against protocol late in games but he hasn’t missed any of them and it’s to ensure no time is lost taking frees. My guess is it part ego but don’t know what goes on in anyone’s head. 45’s are a different story and Cillian is the Captain.

  71. I don’t want to join in on beating up on Andy but in this respect Ed McGreal has a very interesting piece in this week’s Mayo News analysing our attempts at goal (one successful, a penalty, from 19 efforts) and identifying the main players in this respect. Andy features strongly in this and not for positive reasons either. The piece is worth a look.

  72. One last comment on the Dubs for the moment! I was doing some maths there earlier in relation to Dublin’s winning margins in League finals compared to All-Ireland finals. It’s as follows, League final results first:

    2013 1 point v Tyrone
    2014 15 points v Derry
    2015 11 points v Cork
    2016 11 points v Kerry

    2011 1 point v Kerry
    2013 1 point v Mayo
    2015 3 points v Kerry
    2016 1 point v Mayo (after a replay)

    Average League final winning margin: 9.5 points (4 games)
    Average All-Ireland final winning margin: 1.2 points (5 games)

    So it does show that you have a better chance of beating the Dubs in September compared to April.

  73. I did not want to comment on this but I think John is getting unfair criticism, he is much better than me in been able to defend himself, but he always writes from the heart and makes good points,on the performance against Dublin it was poor but I have no doubt that we will improve and be back in Dublin in September, as A gentleman from where John hails from said I am not as good as I once was,but I am as good once as I always was,so I believe it will be with Mayo,our biggest problem is kick outs ,and we will have to try and find a solution to it,and for people to say it is a goalie’s job to save a shot,time has moved on a goalie has to be muçh more now,as even Dublin struggle when they don’t get a free kick out,as for the team otherwise we have brought B Harrison, P Durcan,S Corn DOC,C Loftus,F Boland,C O S ,through so I think that the future is bright and when the O Shea’s and Jason, and hopefully Ger are fit we will be well fit to take on the Dubs

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