Where we go from here

Full time Mayo Dublin

It’s Monday and thankfully this week we’re already done with the match reports from Saturday night. I think we might be done too with the worst of the post-match outpouring of anguish and so we should, I hope, be able to start moving on to thinking about where Saturday’s result leaves us and where we go to from here.

The first thing to put to bed is the whole Pat and Noel issue. It’s understandable, I know, to lash out in this direction and, by extension, to aim a few blows at the County Board, digging up in the process the selection procedure and all that. But there’s no point – it’s all done, we have the management we have and nothing’s going to change there for at least the remainder of 2015 so there’s really nothing to be gained from ploughing that furrow all over again.

That’s not to say that there aren’t questions about the tactical acumen of the current regime – which I’ll get to in a bit – and that it’s not valid to wonder about where they’re leading us. I think supporters have every right to question how Saturday’s collapse was allowed to happen and what Pat and Noel are going to do to ensure that nothing like this happens again. But there needs to be an acceptance at this stage that they’re the guys in charge and with whom rests the responsibility of getting the maximum out of the players at their disposal.

Leaving aside for a minute the walloping we suffered on Saturday (but I’ll come back to it again shortly), it needs to be recognised that after five matches we’re not badly placed in Division One of the League. I don’t think we were ever on more points than this after five rounds any year in the James Horan era (though we often were in the reign of Johnno II – don’t get me started there) and more than once between 2011 and 2014 we went into the final Sunday needing a result to stave off relegation. Which, of course, we invariably succeeded in getting.

This year we may already have done enough to survive, depending on how results elsewhere go. The wrong combination of results over the final two rounds could still see us isolated with either Tyrone or Donegal on 6 points, in which case we’d go down due to the head-to-head rule, but they’re the only scenarios I can see that would relegate us and both involve us losing our last two matches, the final one a home fixture. So the bottom line is that we’re not badly placed as things stand now and we have our ultimate destiny firmly in our own hands.

Our League position, then, is a positive for the year to date and so too is the way that different players have been tried out in various positions over the five matches we’ve played. An infusion of new blood was needed after last year and the talent pool has been widened since the start of this year, though you’d be right to question the extent to which it’s actually been deepened. Still, it’s been heartening to see the likes of Kevin Keane being reborn at full-back and Mark Ronaldson coming back in up front, while the blooding of Michael Hall, Stephen Coen, Patrick Durcan and Diarmuid O’Connor is, aside from anything else, good succession planning.

So far, so good but then the whole horror of Saturday night’s thrashing comes back into focus and demands an explanation. And the concern I’d have is that it’s hard to find one.

The first thing that the 2-18 to 0-10 result did was to blow out of the water entirely James Horan’s dictum about making us what he termed ‘consistently competitive’. We had several great, great days under James but even an avowed Horanista such as myself can accept that we had a fair few not-so-good days as well. But under James we never, not once, suffered a trouncing like the one we shipped the other night.

The other thing that James did was to enforce a style of play on the team. Not everyone liked this or accepted that his playbook was the right one but he decided it was and he was the boss. His way turned us into a serious power in the game and we all know how close he came to leading us all the way to Nirvana.

My great fear – which is probably more pronounced now than it’s ever been – was that the post-Horan era wouldn’t see us building on all that James has done and adding to it but that instead we’d fail to match the achievements made under his watch and start sliding backwards. It’s too early, of course, to say that such a negative scenario is now coming to pass but it’s also surely too soon to be happy that it isn’t.

In both the Tyrone and Dublin games we weren’t at the races tactically. Faced with two very different kinds of opponents – who had common traits of being able to pass and move the ball confidently, defend with conviction and attack with venom – we were visibly all at sea. Tactically, we seemed to be operating on a different planet – wide open at the back and only one angle of attack, which involved running the ball at speed right into the opposing cover – and too often, especially the last night, we looked lacking in conviction too.

The bottom line is that, our solid League position notwithstanding, Pat and Noel haven’t done anything like enough as yet to convince that they have the tactical awareness to manage at this level, given the way the game is being played now. Instead of augmenting the style of play laid down by James Horan and making it more effective, it’s as if we’re now reverting back to the off-the-cuff approach of previous eras. There was certainly more than a hint of this at MacHale Park the last night.

In terms of adopting a smarter playing style, Billy Joe Padden, writing in the Mayo News prior to our first League game this year (no link to this I’m afraid – it was in the paper and digital editions), said that we need to be able to deploy a blanket defence, not all the time but as required. Billy Joe was absolutely right but despite the fact that every other serious inter-county team is now doing this – and it’s not just getting bodies back, either, it’s tackling hard (fouling it’s really called, but everyone does it and they seem to get away with it) and stopping teams from running right through your backline – we’re not. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that, unless we cop on sharpish, we’ll pay a heavy price for this naïvety over the coming months.

It’s not too late, though, to get things going in the right direction. Some issues – like our stupidly one-directional kickouts – should be easy to fix and much of what was good about the hard tackling approach we deployed so well in the Horan era could be used to good effect in defining our version of the blanket. We’ve lots to work on in many different areas of play but we’ve also got plenty to work with. And lest it be forgotten, we’ve still got Donie Buckley in our backroom.

The focus now is a twin one – steadying the ship to keep us in Division One and firming up plans and tactics for the summer. We could have done without that trimming we got on Saturday night but we can’t at the same time undo it now. The defeat has, undoubtedly, dented Pat and Noel’s credibility but it’s now up to them to show their mettle and to prove their doubters – myself included – wrong.

As supporters, though, we shouldn’t forget our primary role in the scheme of things. Sure, we can question and we can point to all that’s wrong but what the team needs most of all right now is support and lots of it. It would only take a fraction of the support that turned up in MacHale Park on Saturday night to ensure that, not for the first time this year, we’re in the majority at an opposing venue when we pitch up at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday week. We should aim to be there in numbers where hopefully, following Saturday night’s horror show, we’ll get to see the start of our road to redemption.

150 thoughts on “Where we go from here

  1. Do we know what the status of Parsons, A Moran & Feeney are?
    Could do with getting game time into these lads + Kirby + B Moran.

    The new lads really dont look ready for this level yet

  2. I had the same thought after the Dublin match as the tyrone match, are the management completely inept or are they willing to give that impression, particularly to the dubs. I’m clinging to the hope that come summer and if we face a blanket like Tyrone or make it to a semi final v Dublin, both will have a false sense of security. It’s the conspiracy theory that keeps me positive, otherwise how does one justify making no change in either game until the 2nd half. Grasping at straws!

  3. The biggest problem we have is the middle eight players being laborious on the ball and running the ball straight into a crowded defence. Jim Gavin commented that it was nice to see things coming off that were worked on the training pitch. There’s the essential difference between the two sides. One side was coached into and had practiced a game plan for attack and defence.

  4. Very level-headed analysis WJ and refreshing to read after all the doom-and-gloom that has been in abundance over the past two days. I think it’s fair to say that some people here are simply very sensitive to the fortunes of the Mayo team and almost take it personally whenever we have a bad day (or worse still, a horror show like we saw Saturday night). This is probably more pronounced in Mayo because of the suffering we have endured down throughout the years, at least when other teams lose they can console themselves with memories of victories past, unlike us where every year we don’t win the despair seems to mount up in a cumulative fashion! Then of course you have ‘journalists’ like McGee sticking the knife in at every opportunity. It’s not easy but crack on we must.

    It’s hard to get past the niggling feeling that our expectations are simply too high and that the team is stretched too thin. We have probably relied too much on AOS and COC to carry the team and did not have the depth required to compete the last night. However, I still think it’s too early to make definitive assumptions about how the year is going to pan out. It’s Noel and Pat’s fifth competitive game. Neither have the relevant county experience (Pat’s stint in the early 2000s doesn’t really count, it’s a different game these days), hopefully they are quick learners. We still have a significant amount of key players missing. It could be that we were simply unfortunate to come up against a behemoth like Dublin playing at their best when our form hit rock-bottom. We’re simply not as bad as how we played and the team could well surprise us yet. Let’s hope the management are cute enough to make the required changes in tactics and personnel. I’m not throwing in the towel just yet.

  5. Maybe now is the time to resurrect ask Noel and Pat and do another youtube interview!!

    So many questions!

    Everybody should be supported and decisions made in July or August once we bow out.

    Talk of Sam is nonsense sadly. It looks like damage limitation. However, a 5 in a row in Connacht is very realistic.

  6. Good piece of analysis there Willie Joe – as usual.

    As I said before, most teams have got turned over at least once in this league. Eamon Fitzmaurice was delighted with the points yesterday after the Cork ‘trimming’.

    I would have been quite happy with current management up to this. Don’t think they did much wrong and think all the new players they have tried have been the right calls.

    On the Tyrone match, this was hugely positive (!!) compared to Saturday. Lots of pressure, lots of chances missed and lots of frees missed – until Cillian arrived, which could have made a difference.

    Management’s focus has been to make the defence tighter, which had succeeded until Saturday. And the full court press tactic had been employed as far as I can see; certainly Doc, Cillian, Aidan, and Diarmaid O’Connor turned over plenty.

    Nothing worked on Saturday. When Dublin play like that they are hard to stop. Donegal got a lot of that in the semi, but Dublin didn’t goal and they hung in and then got a goal. I think Dublin are brittle if they go behind, but that’s not easy to do. Crowding midfield, pressing up on the kickouts, turning them over, would certainly dent their armoury.

    Really important now that we show something in the last two games. These are often the games where teams come good, with harder and faster pitches, training regimes, and general focus all coming to the fore.

  7. James Horan in the western people today says it was mostly down to attitude on the night: their willingness to work their asses off in order to win a vital 2 points and our slightly comfortable approach having 6 points already in the bag. He also points to a lack of preparation which I’m sure Noel and Pat will thank him profusely for pointing out! I’m not sure having the former manager passing judgement on you week after week is necessarily good for morale or confidence but sin sceal eile.
    As I pointed out in a previous post its all about the reaction now and the game in cork! It will tell a tale one way or the other. I have a feeling the pain of Saturday night will be purged with a powerful display from the team because unless I’m badly mistaken these lads are a very proud bunch who won’t want to be remembered for what happened sat night. Watch out cork!

  8. I would not be pressing any panic buttons yet. Yes the performance was bad against Dublin and Tyrone a few weeks ago but staying in division 1 is the aim and I think we will.
    Last week we were talking about League titles and now relegation and talk of “sam” should be shelved etc….we really do go from one end of the spectrum to the other when the truth lies somewhere in between.

  9. Saturday night highlighted some in house issues that need to be sorted in house. Staying in Division One will depend on other results, but I predict we will pick up 1 point over the next two games which should be enough. Thinking further a field of firming up plans and tactics for the summer we as supporters should get back to what we do best and that is supporting Team Mayo and if I was manager with the team sheet. Kenneth O’Malley, Tom Cunniffe, Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferty, Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughen, Colm Boyle, Seamus O’Shea, Aiden O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin, Keith Higgins, Diarmuid O’Connor, Mark Ronaldson, Cillian O’Connor and Jason Doherty. Hon Mayo

  10. I don’t believe we’ll beat Cork, so get yourselves ready for “squeaky bum” time V Donegal which is not really a game you want to go into having to win, but there it is.
    Its too early to tell from the league whats what, so no need to lurch from the “aren’t we brilliant” post Derry, to the “aren’t we useless” post Dublin just yet.
    However you would expect the management team to be able to spot, without the help of a stats man, that when the opposition is winning 90% of the 50/50s at midfield that you then don’t send your kickouts to that area consistently anymore. Its not compulsory to do so!
    You’d hope players would recognise that on the pitch and react to it but I don’t know what the rules of engagement are, if they are even allowed to make those decisions, if they are not its a sad reflection on the game, but theres U-12s managers around the country telling their goalies to change kick outs if Plan A is not working.

  11. I would agree pretty much with all of the above. Our lads have courage and character.

    We all know that. Sure ….. it was a `hard days night` and difficult to watch. Galway

    also scored ten points yest. and lost but the sky did`nt fall.

    When people talk about making changes during a game it`s not just about personnel.

    We should be able to re-shuffle the pack already out there and change the course of

    the game as it unfolds. Cool heads and the ability to adapt to change..

  12. eugene mcgee reckons that Mayo dont have the depth of talent the dubs have!! im not sure if eugene knows that we have 10 times the smaller population so 10 times the smaller pick of players to match that. Today, i doubt many of our established players will give a rats ass about eugene or dublin beating them on saturday, theyll have cork in mind and training to attend to this week and theyll know that theres not many teams capable of beating them when they are at full strenght in june or july.
    any word on gibbons/ carolan and co?

  13. Agree Diehard. Scathing comments from JH will do no favour to Pat & Noel efforts ( we didn’t have any comment from him on Duffy farce..choosing his topics !)
    Time to stay calm and composed.

  14. A good post from Willie Joe there. I’m guilty of being skeptical enough towards this management set-up but there is no use calling for their heads now, they’re here for the foreseeable future and they need to be backed. It’s on Noel and Pat to get us in gear and they have that chance.

    The team has until Sunday week to prepare now. With Cork already safe, hopefully they won’t be going hell for leather and there will be an opportunity there for us to get the two points we need. It will be interesting to see what sort of reaction the players will give.

  15. I am surprised that so many people here are talking about relegation at this point in the league. Under JH we were under much more pressure at this point and we still turned it around. Personally I feel that Derry and Tyrone are the ones in trouble. I also believe that we will beat Donegal at home even if we do not need the points. The vast majority of Mayo supporters wanted us to maintain our div 1 status and try out new players. That plan is very much on track. I have a pain in my head reading comments like we can win the league or which team we should beat in the AI semi this year. The Master has departed, we are back in uncharted waters. As WJ said now is the hour to play your part.

  16. We tend to be very parochial and blind as a result at times.Firstly McGee is correct we do not have the strength in depth of Dublin.Even a cursory analysis of our bench will show that.We are very reliant on Aidan Keith and Cillian and when they are missing or not playing well we are in trouble.
    Diamaid is not ready yet.Vaughan is not a midfielder.Durcan is too loose.Keane is only back after being left on the sideline by the venerable James and Noel and Pat are dealing with tired and somewhat lacking in confidence players given that when James had the chance he didnt take it.
    I regret this serial harping back Willie Joe to James made us consistently competitive. Simply we won nothing league or championship in his time so maybe its time to stop harping back to James.By the way dont remember James giving much of a chance to Ronaldson!
    Saturday night is a learning experience and one that was needed. We can learn from this but not if we keep looking back.
    Lets fix what is wrong or allow the lads a chance at least to do so.

  17. What did you expect If dublin had lost they have to starring relegation am not to disappointed I prefer to see aos in midfield I not to kenn on him changing from midfield to forward and to midfield again let him stay out there.

  18. Saturday night was a bloodbath. Midfield was awful. Keeper was poor. Defence was cleaned and forwards had no clue. It was only when Dillon came on that balls were kicked into O Shea. A bit of intelligence goes a long way.

    While the management didn’t cover themselves in glory the lack of effort from many mayo players was more than disappointing. We stood off them. We made them look good. There was no bite. No passion or desire. We didn’t press up on them. Remember that the players that Horan had on the pitch didn’t just play for mayo. They played for him. Because James instilled confidence and made players believe they are better than anyone else the players never have up. They played with high intensity. Anyone who didn’t show a high level of intensity or toughness got dropped. No sentiment was given.

    We can only improve I hope after Saturday. Some players need a kick in the hole and should be dropped. No sentiment. Doesn’t matter who they are. I think Pat/Noel need to take a few guys aside and question their commitment. This is a new era and we will soon find out whether the same standards that James brought to the set up can be continued. I was embarrassed leaving mchale park like many others. I don’t mind losing when I know players and the sideline have gave their all. Too many didn’t on Saturday and it can’t be allowed to happen again.

  19. Well if players are pouting because JH is gone, then there’s no place for them on the panel.For god sake managers come and go and as stated above JH won nothing (connacht c’ship aside) .Pat & Noel are the managers now and they deserve the time and respect to be allowed a chance.
    Lot’s of area’s for improvement carrying the ball into the tackle must be one of the most annoying things to see repeated over & over

  20. @ letsgomayo and patriot, I agree with you both on all counts.

    I am repeating myself once more and hopefully for the last time..I am sick and tired of the parochial and personal comments about Eugene McGee. He was my boss for 25 years and now happens to be my next door neighbour. We were never friends, almost the opposite. He is not against Mayo, never was. Actually, he would often want Mayo to win and became frustrated at them losing; (like so many more neutrals) He calls things as he sees them.
    The year Mayo beat the Dubs in that fantastic second half comeback he said it was the greatest game of football he had ever witnessed. Nobody here comments on that. Some posters cannot take reality checks about Mayo. Look at the personal and infantile abuse directed at Donaghy since he helped Kerry beat us. Grow up people!!!!

  21. Brilliant analysis WJ hitting nail on head as usual. Some posters having a go at JH for giving his opinion. Why. Surely he more than anyone is entitled to give opinion. And as for the poster who said we won nothing under JH , well four Connacht titles in four years is not bad, Four AISFs and two AIFs is not bad for a team who have not won Sam since 1951 and going to matches KNOWING that you had a right good chance of winning or at least being ultra competitive was quite a bonus. That is not a criticism of present management. They deserve to be given every chance.

  22. Hello, J.Horan also writes in the ‘Star’. Interesting piece on Donaghy and Kerry midfield. He thinks Mayo were a little below their normal standard – enough to make big difference. He says Mayo will be more worried about missed goal chances.
    Paddy Power does not think mayo have regressed.

  23. You can learn an awful lot after a severe beating. It’s how you respond that matters. As I said in a post after the game, they cannot have turned into a poor side only six months after their heroics in the semi-finals.

  24. Four Connaught titles beating the powers that are London and New York and the worst Galway team I have seen is setting the bar quite low in my opinion. Fact is Mayo lost three national finals under his management. During that period Jimmy McGuinness won three Ulster titles and an AI. He also came up second last year, Being a winner I am sure he would see that as failure.

  25. Remember the line from “We’re on the one road”, that night is darkest just before the dawn.

    If the lads can put the Dublin defeat behind them, and history clearly shows us that no team has ever come back again,and again, and again, as often as Mayo, then that inbred resilience and confidence will re-assert itself. We are a proud footballing county and will never give up the ghost.

    My main worry is that we allow AoS to literally run himself into the ground. Management need to protect him.

  26. Sooner cillian comes back the better he was really missed on sat. Hope they keep hype ing the dublin up.

  27. To win just once
    You ask why shouldn’t James Horan give his opinion. Because when the previous manager passes judgement, in the press, on the current regime, there is always a danger of undermining the present manager(s), perhaps unintentionally. That’s why it is normal practice for the old boss in any organisation to stay clear of affairs and let the the young fella have a clear run. It’s a bit like the Alex Ferguson in the stand syndrome. I am a fan of JH and appreciate what he has done for Mayo but if I was Pat or Noel at this point I could do without this additional pressure. They are under enough pressure as it is and rightly so.
    BTW Joe Mc I completely agree with you about Eugene McGee. I also know him and he has no genda against Mayo. Quite the opposite in fact but he does call a spade a spade and that’s no harm at all.

  28. Just realised I have invented a new word in the English language ‘genda’. Apologies folks!

  29. Agreed on JH. Very soon for him to be all over the media commenting on mayo’s performances. Too
    Close to the bone. I think he should keep
    His opinions to himself about mayo for this year at least.

  30. James did not like outside interference yet he seems to have no problem interfering at all.
    Winning Connacht titles is great if that is your horizon…it is not mine. Fact is All ireland or leavue title was not delivered.That is the real.barometer surely.
    I really think it is rewriting history to eulogise James.Did O Mahony (who is pilloried on this site) and Maughan and Moran not win semi finals and Connacht titles?
    Lets stick to analysing current manager without comparing them all the time to James who did his best but did not deliver.

  31. The reason, we are comparing them to James Horan is because he was our best manager in the last fifty years.

  32. In the Western, James Horan calls for Donie Buckley to ‘step up and bring some order to proceedings’

    Players obviously telling him of their unhappiness. Something that I have been rubbished for saying. The dogs on the streets know it. The bloggers have their eye off this ball and are naive as to where our year is going

  33. We are absolutely Blessed to have Roscommon at home this year

    Sadly while I think we may be heading for another semi, I fear we will be blown away by The Dubs who I think will win the AI pulling up

    Trying not to be too pessimistic but I think it’s all setting up for Roscommon to reclaim the Connacht Title in the Hyde next season. They are the coming team, while we can only really go backwards

    Wouldn’t worry about Galway this year, apparently their farcical performance yesterday had to really be seen to be believed.

  34. Sorry but I think as his job is to give his opinions as a columnist in de WP, he has every right to express his views – as honestly and as open as possible.
    Do yous want him to say nice little insignificant things, steering away from criticism?
    Would that be better for Mayo football? For Holmes + Connelly? Don’t think so.
    They are big lads, should be well able for a bit of criticism.
    Of course Horan got some things wrong – but knocking him for being a failure for “nearly winning us a couple of All-Ireland”, methinks is a tad over the top.
    And for de record, very best of luck to N & C in their challenge ahead.

  35. That’s one hell of a piece there Willie Joe, fair and balanced, and telling it as it is, and calling a spade a spade. Not holding back either, in holding the Management Team somewhat responsible for the debacle of Saturday night. For sure they are now finding themselves in the eye of the storm, a lot sooner than they had hoped, when they took on the job.

    It’s only natural that Pat and Noel would want to put their own stamp on the team, introduce some new blood and make some tactical switches in the hope of freshening things up a bit. The problem here though is, that these lads have been playing together at the top level for a few years now, have gotten used to a certain system and might not take to kindly to change. Or is it, that after so many near misses, some of these guys have no more to give. Either way, right now, there’s definitely something wrong with the energy of this team and it needs to be put right very soon.

  36. I think that expectations were to high for mayo this year. After the exceptional performances of the last few years that still fell short it is physically emotional ally and psychologically impossible to expect they could be repeated this year. The league should be ignored this year even if we went down we’d come straight back up. Give the players some down time and they might be in a better place for the championship I think it was telling that there were so few nominations for the management role. The expectations are to high anything less then Sam is a failure in Mayo now. I think perhaps potential managerial candidates knew that the team had peaked for a year or two and to wait until the next vacancy to apply. However I agree that the players and management deserve respect for their commitment and effort and hopefully show respect in return by being teachable and open to change.
    Cork are not the team you want to be facing next after the Saturday debacle as they are in excellent form racking up big scores and owe us a beating so I would be worried that it might be another difficult evening.

  37. Have just watched it now on Setanta (took out a temporary subscription BTW as it’s a pay channel):

    * Intensity totally lacking – tackling non existent and forward movement ponderous. But I knew that from being at the match.

    * Didn’t realise, or had forgotten, that we created quite a lot of chances in second half (Dubs did have foot off the pedal), but far far to slow in movement or support and that includes Aidan.

    * Free taking: this was back to the old Mayo, exemplified by Rob H coming up to tap a 45 to Doc who put it wide, with no pressure from Dublin.

    * I think we stood still for one Dublin move upfield after missing a goal chance. Easy Dublin point resulted.

    * Didn’t watch analysis as time was against me but there was plenty of it.

    * Overall, less despondent than after the match.

    * Display against Cork will be critical. Result is actually less important.

  38. Should have added: Liam McHale’s co-commentary quite good. I’m normally critical of him on media duty. Though with McHale, Mike Finnerty, Billie Joe on the sideline, and JH as analyst Dubs could be forgive for feeling besieged. Not that I’m feeling sorry for them.

  39. maybe Horan should write a column one of these weeks explaining the rationale for putting
    Cafferkey marking Donaghey,
    Keane marking Michael Murphy, refusal to play blanket defence against dubs in AIF and making sure there was a plan for Brogan etc

  40. ^^^You might be right about the others but refusal to play blanket defence v Dublin? :O

    We had them beat out the gate in the first quarter, only for that goal…

    Ah shag it that match has been erased from my memory, lowest I’ve ever felt in sport

  41. I agree with Patriot’s analysis of the match. Its the same as James Horan’s. The amazing thing about the team was the lack of intensity. They played it like a challenge match whereas Dublin were at championship pace. Sure its only the league but this time last year we watched the same teams play out a brilliant draw in Croke Park, one Mayo let slip.
    What was the difference? It was the attitude of the players. Over the last number of years Mayo have ceased to be a soft touch. There was a toughness in the tackle and a hardness in attitude. Last Saturday Dublin players sailed through our players. Keith Higgins is a great player but twice in that match he was brushed aside by a player bearing down on goal. That was amazing to see. The other backs were the same. Despite the fact that Dublin were racing through us there were no black cards issued, The backs didn’t even bother to foul. The forwards didn’t tackle and there was no turnover ball at any stage. Has Donie Buckley gone away or what? That was what made us so competitive. We know we haven’t the forward skills of Dublin but for the last few years we fought and harried other teams for every ball. We were like a finely tuned engine and with our half backs charging forward to make up for forward weaknesses.We were an exciting team to watch. Nobody looked forward to playing us.
    Have we now reverted to old days when Mayo were a pushover?

    In some ways it is maybe a good thing that the fault is with the attitude. That is the easiest thing to change. However, if it comes from a lack of confidence in our game plan then it is terminal. The machine has to be tuned right for players to give their all. They have to feel its worth it to bust a gut, like Denis Bastick did in getting back to save Ronaldson’s certain goal.Only AOS showed that kind of relentlessness on Saturday.
    Lets hope we see it against Cork. We have a great team, and a system that could have won three Sams. Lets get back to basics. It can be tweaked afterwards.

  42. At this point in time, I don’t know how beneficial it is to be even bringing James Horan’s name into the conversation about how the team are currently doing. I was a fan of James and admire hugely what he did for Mayo football. More often than not, he made the correct calls, proving us all wrong on numerous occasions. But looking at it coldly, he failed as a manager with a group of talented footballers, and failed to win a National title, as a poster has already mentioned. He has to be given massive credit for honing them into a well-oiled, well drilled machine – one that went to war for him time and time again. However, he also made very poor tactical calls that were baffling to many. It could be argued that this ultimately cost us. That is all debatable, but wherever the real truth lies, he had a period of 4 years where he can be fairly and squarely judged and critiqued.

    Your piece is balanced, WJ, but I just feel it’s too early in this management’s tenure for them to be measured in any way against the Horan era.
    Pat and Noel obviously still have it all to prove, and a lot of the concerns and questions being raised by people are reasonable. However, overall we are in a good position in the League and they are entitled to be given the opportunity to see how it pans out. I strongly feel that all of this talk (on blog, and from people on the street) of it being all over now for Mayo is far too hasty and quite frankly, a bit ridiculous. Sure, we were tactically inept against Tyrone and this was worrying; and the Dublin game was of course utterly abysmal, but I just feel we are overlooking the context of this one too much. It was a must-win game for the Dubs and I feel this impacted our lads attitude to it from the outset. Perhaps this wasn’t a conscious or planned thing, and I would agree that no player/team sets out to have a bad game. I was as amazed as the next person at the amount of missed tackles, terrible passes and general lethargy of pretty much our entire team, but it doesn’t entirely tally with the way they have performed thus far in the League, or their overall attitude. At the very least, they deserve another match or two to see can they make amends.
    I also feel that we aren’t giving enough credit to the positives we have seen to date; tightening at the back (obvious exception of Saturday) and blooding of new players (already mentioned). In relation to Durcan, I felt he was overawed by the occasion but will be a serious player for us. The one player I would have concerns about is Donie. Like many posters, I expected a big game from him on Saturday, and felt he could make a superb midfielder if he really bedded into the position. However, not so on any evidence to date.
    I certainly don’t feel that 2015 will be defined by Saturday’s performance. I’m still seeing fight in this team and they will come good. I agree that talk of Sam or anything like it is completely fanciful at this point, but the least the team and management deserve is for us all to get behind them and not to be questioning them after one bad League game in March. I agree that it will be terrific seeing the Dubs, yet again, being hyped to the last – beating teams by huge margins in March. It all starts in June for us and I am sure that this is Mayo’s main focus, even at the present time. The League will come and go. Time for a bit of perspective.

  43. WJ, that’s a very balanced and very fair analysis. Saturday was one of the low points on this journey but what can we do only pick ourselves up and keep going, and get back behind the lads? Good input also there Ultair as always.

    Ger Bohan, I’d rubbish you less to be honest if you presented evidence for your assertions, particularly when you’re implying that players are involved, but you seem determined to prove that you have the inside track. To what end? One of the truly irritating things about Mayo football is the eagerness of supporters to gleefully spread rumours of malaise within the camp. Regardless of whether or not it’s happening – it may well be – it makes us look so bad not just at home but outside the county. But hey, I’m not the mayogaablog police, so carry on. It just strikes me as poor form and pretty unhelpful at a general level.

    Horan isn’t technically interfering by commenting in the media, and it’s his prerogative; but I can’t imagine his high profile is helping matters much either. I do agree re the eulogising – he has of course earned his place in history and brought something to Mayo football that had been missing for a long time, but ultimately, we’re still 64 years without Sam, and god knows there were plenty of days here where his decisions and lack of action on the sideline were questioned and rightly so.

    It’s bloody ridiculous how much we take days like Saturday to heart. I’ve been like a cut cat since! Went out for a pint last night and was accosted by a girl I know from Galway who proceeded to lay into Aidan O’Shea and tell me how overrated he was. “Sure come back to me when he wins an All-Ireland”, says she. I had to remove myself from the situation fairly quickly…. god above, but listening to that shite would put years on you.

    Roll on Cork and hopefully some sort of exorcism … And of course our U21s on Saturday who will hopefully do the biz.

  44. Some aspects of the Mayo–Dublin game, were terrible from a Mayo perspective.
    1. Some prominent players are not able to fetch the ball over their shoulders
    2.Again, at least three players overused the solo run, solowing into cul-de-sacs,
    over and over again. have we no players that can give a kick pass?
    After all the game is football not handball. Where is the coaching???
    3. My old bug bear: No target man at full forward, every other County team has one.
    4.Centre field: Aiden O’Shea and Danny Kirby, and leave them there.
    Aiden had to play every position on the field, why?
    Cathal Henry.

  45. Ann Marie, I feel your pain. Theres no comeback when they mention allirelands, it drives me nuts and i know other Mayos feel the same. I had to listen to a wally from Clare telling me about football, he knew nothing about it but could talk all day about all our losses in finals, I finally told him where to go and he wont be saying much to me again about football or anything else.

    All we can do is back the likes of AOS and co and let them know we are shouting for them.

  46. All I have to say is thank b to jaysus for your balanced view, measured response and clarity of thought Willie Joe because I think the wave of emotions on here sometimes (Whether we win or loose) is starting to impact on my sanity.. The depths of highs and lows are quiet extra ordinary. Where do we go from here? We go to Cork, we support the team and let’s just see what happens

  47. I feel we are like a ship on a long, tough journey, with a lot of holes, low in fuel and an engine that needs tuning. Unfortunately, this is not easily fixed in a hurry, it takes time. The ship needs to be brought into dry dock, the holes properly repaired, filled up with fuel and the engine tuned to full capacity. Then and only then can it retake the journey.
    We need to forget Sam this year, the talent will still be there, and the ship will be ready to sail again!!!

  48. There appears to be a bit of reality coming into the debate at last. A reality that maybe reaching the dizzy heights of recent years, might not be attainable in 2015. I’ve already suggested that after the huge effort of recent years, some of these lads may have no more to give, or at the very least need a bit more time to get going.

    For Pat and Noel, this League is turning out to be a baptism of fire, on one hand we appear to be doing ok, and before you know it, the house comes tumbling down. I’m still trying to figure out, could this be a valuable health check for both Management and players, or will it have a detrimental effect on all concerned going forward ? This is what makes our next match with Cork all the more interesting, not so much will we win, as this is surely a bridge to far, but of how well we perform as a team. Restoring some confidence before our final game with Donegal, would be important.

    Anne-Marie you say it’s “bloody ridiculous how we take days like this to heart” But surely if we don’t feel sickened and shite following the bad days, we certainly won’t appreciate the good ones when they come. Sadly for us Mayo folk, we have learned over the years, to suffer in silence.

  49. There has been a lot of debate in here and everywhere since the defeat but not one person has mentioned the biggest mystery of all from the weekend.

    What happened Tom Cunnifes hair?

  50. Alot of sense being posted on this thread which is great to see. The one thing that is annoying me is this “too much mileage on the clock” talk, the players are’nt 10 or 14 or year old vw passats with the turbo gone and the flywheel rattling, they’re human same as gooch, bastick, cluxton, neil gallagher, joe canning etc, all the afore mentioned men are training just as hard and as long as our boys and no talk of burn out with them, its a fucking myth and an excuse to cover over poor displays. Their is no such thing unless you start to enter your 32nd year and then the turbo starts to go alright. Im just sick of hearing it at this stage. The players will be at the same levels of fitness and intensity come summer as the last few years, no doubt about it.

    We definetly will win connaught again this year, im sure of it. After that is anyones guess, but these boys will have learnt so much from saturday that it could be a blessing in disguise, yes, they didnt seem up for the fight but none of us know what training went on during the week, and we were missing more possible championship starters than dublin for that game. i wouldnt put it past our boys going down and beating cork in two weeks, an maybe a league semi as reward?. Lets hold judgement untill summer, thats the real test for players and managment alike not the middle of march under lights.

  51. @Sean, I heard speculation that he was hoping to use the shine from the floodlights to blind his opponents!

  52. Still trying to figure out how we could have allowed ourselves to be beaten so comprehensively the last night and other than the lethal cocktail of burnout, injuries and an incompetent sideline, I’ve begun to wonder if our one dimensional ‘gameplan’ was actually an intentional tactic by management to keep the opposition thinking that’s simply the only way we can play the game and lure them, once again, into a false sense of security come the summer. There’s a fair chance we could be playing the mighty Dubs again in a few weeks in a league semi and, all going well, we will face them in August in an All Ireland semi so why give them any sense of an alternative gameplan at this stage in the year. Man for man Dublin are a better team than us so the only way to take them is through the element of surprise as Donegal did so brilliantly last autumn. I’d rather keep any alternative gameplans under wraps at this early stage in the year and catch them cold when we have our full squad primed and ready to go and when it’ll really matter. I really hope that is what is really going on…..or am I just as naive as our management ??!!!

  53. I’m worried after our display at the weekend but seen as it was Dublin that did this to us, I’m still giving the benefit of doubt to our new management. We should think back to the league semi-final last year. We lost to a fourteen man Derry team who were then hammered by Dublin in the league final, yet we were still very competitive come summer time. If we have a similar display in Cork then I’ll be getting very worried. We should also remember that last week Kerry lost to Cork by 11 points but beat Donegal a week later. Hopefully we’ll have a few more lads back from injury in the coming weeks. Keep the faith, for the moment anyway!

  54. Leaving aside the cork game the team I would like to see line out against Donegal in what will let’s face it be a relegation battle and getting back to basics would be

    Clarke, cunniffe, Keane and Higgins.

    Coen, Vaughan and Boyle.

    Keegan and Seamie o Shea

    Mcloughlin Cillian and Doherty

    Ronaldson Aidan and freeman.

    Subs: cafferkey Duran Kirby parsons Andy and Dillon

  55. I would love to know where the opinion that Donie Buckley has any say comes from.James would not even refer to bim on the big day so staying he should step up seems to me like a way of undermining the two lads…actually three lads.I hope I am wrong .I may be of course.
    League is league….let the hare sit for now.A lot of football to be played.

  56. I didn’t see Donie Buckley on Saturday. Did anybody else? He is listed on the programme as a selector.

  57. The day is long gone when you receive the ball and then decide what to do with it
    We are lacking a coach (coach not manager) with a modern vision to place us ahead of or even with the chasing pack.
    I’v long since believed coaching a kickpassing game into your forwards would benefit from studying how American football coaches an entire team to be in sync for a single throw of the football from the quarter back.
    Donie Buckley has been out in American and studied American football and I don’t know how he hasn’t seen the paralells. It’s the same basic strategy at play. You even have about the same length of time to kick or throw the ball <2.5 seconds.

  58. Juan, as regards burnout, the guys you mention above have all experienced the sweet smell of success along the way – and that’s the difference. Talk to anyone of our golden oldies, all who have come up short, and they’ll tell you it matters a lot.

  59. I think its time we restored Aiden o Shea to midfield for the cork game . we have badly missed his fielding ability out there .Teams are now running through the middle at us . we have to go back to basics and to build from the bottom up with this new management team .Just look at the work and fielding that David Moran does for Kerry , without him Kerry would be a very average team . I am all for a big strong full forward but not a the expense o Aiden .We have plenty of other big lads who should be tried in there . We really need to cop on re our kick out , we were so clueless at this last year in the semi final , kicking everything down the middle when David Moran was cleaning us out .

  60. Re the kickout, there was plenty of times in the second half Hennelly had no options available but to kick it long and hopeful. We also seemed disinterested in winning the breaking ball , Dubs were far hungrier/quicker and tuned in.

  61. I also hope it doesn’t get all too much for AOS , management and supporters seem to want him to do everything , he’ll be mentally exhausted come the summer . Lay off him , I’d go as far to say let him have the Cork game off .

  62. You are right there Mayo Mchale, regarding burnout for Mayo players as opposed to some of de other big teams who have tasted success.
    Got to be a lot more of de psychological type with us, rather than physical.
    3 yrs in a row, to have put in such a massive, massive effort, and still come up short. This has to have a huge tiring effect mentally.
    Possibly after all these travails, lads might even have needed a break from it and “go at it again” refreshed. But it don’t work like that.
    If it didn’t work out this year, it wouldn’t be end of world – but with certain players showing huge mileage on de clock, we may have to “go away for a period” and work on our overall game – underage development, developing a clinical style and bringing new quality players tru.
    Not de end of de world if this becomes de case either. After last 4 yrs – and a lot of u guys have alluded to this already – it is a very very tough ask for H & C to keep guys fresh and to maintain their work ethic.

  63. I think people need to get Horan out of their system. I foresee a time will come when people will be calling for him to come back much like people who were shouting for Maughan and Johnno to come back.

  64. @ OvertheBARshouting. Those are my sentiments exactly. Football in the last three years has changed like never before and this is here to stay. Never mind the “puke football” crap, there are positives too. Look at the Dubs’ defence last sunday. This is new, their play has evolved and so must everybody’s, including ours. As Billy Joe Padden said the weekend, “man to man marking is gone”. My point here is that we need a new defensive system and from that a new attacking system. Note the word “system” !!!
    This cannot be achieved overnight, it has to be coached and learned. Players need to know their role in all of this. That’s why we need to go back to the drawing board and build from a new blueprint; otherwise we will continue to have so many ups and downs, as well as huge disappointments. This has to have a terrible psychological effect on the players. This will also have an effect on any new players coming in. New players joining the Dubs have a great incentive, have ours? As i said above, “forget Sam this year”; get our house in order; give the players breathing space and they will come back all fresh and fired up. This is just common sense.

  65. A bit of calm is required at this stage,there is nothing lost,we are still in a good position in the League, we are still Connaught Champions, and we will win it again this year. James Horan is quite entitled to give his opinion as that is his new role now, he improved our football standing and brought us to a position that we once only dreamed of.
    OK he didn’t finish the job and he had his failings as in my opinion he was not a good reader of the game and didn’t like taking criticism or advice and we should have 2 All Ireland’s in the bag.That’s all water under the bridge,give the new men a chance, they are both in a unenviable position after last Sat.night. Just remember the players let us down also, once they go out between the white lines management have little control at that stage. In any event we need MEN in our forward line that won’t be pushed out of the way not fancy Dan’s that can only score when the hard work is done for them. One final word Aiden O Shea cannot be pushed from post to pillar filling in for other incompetent players not up to the mark.

  66. Some interesting comments. Not actually bothered about the result, Kerry have taken many a hammering in feb and march over the years and are always sniffing around in late August regardless. One thing Horan has done is built a culture of reaching all Ireland semi finals and finals. As always in the league I’m more interested in individual performances and here I’d be concerned about Saturday. Donie is not a midfielder. Was anonymous there and needs to be back at number 6, or else on the bench. Freeman must be running out of chances now too, Looked weak and out of confidence on Sunday. Diarmuid o Connor is also off the pace but his time may well come in future. Talk of him being a better player than Cillian is nonsense though. Kevin Mac looked very tired also the last day. I don’t think our style of football suits his game. We need Aidan o Shea at midfield full stop. He’s not a full forward. Lot of talk about us lacking a target man. We had target men plenty of times in the past and they have never worked. I remember the best midfielder in Ireland at the time, Liam mc hale, at full forward in the 97 all Ireland. He was totally ineffective. Barry Moran in 07 under johnno at full forward? We were beat out the gate by Derry in the qualifiers that year. In 09 we had the “twin towers” approach of Barry and Aido in the full forward line. Looked great against a Mickey Mouse Ross team. By summers end we were well beaten by a poor enough Meath side in Croker. Many people have been fooled by the brilliance of donaghy at full forward. In my opinion he’s one of the best full forwards in the games history. Super quick hands, excellent finishing and able to provide scores like no other player. Very few other counties have a player like that, and that’s why most big target man full forwards are ultimately failures. Copying Kerry’s tactics do not work unless you also have a donaghy, and put simply, we don’t. AOS is an excellent ball winning midfielder. Leave him there.

  67. I’m just waiting for the first comment calling for Stephan Rochford to be installed as Mayo manager…..everything else has been called for! Extreme range of emotions on site never cease to amaze me.Could I suggest a 48 hour moritorium after every game WJ-Win or lose!!

  68. Well optimistic you’re after name checking Rochford first yourself. By the way the great minds in Mayo rejected Rochford for the U21s not so long back. Winning an All Ireland club title as Tom Jordan and Kevin McStay is the kiss of death to any Mayo ambitions. As to your last suggestion , it’s risable . People don’t need social engineering with their views or emotions.

  69. Congratulations to steven rochford and corofin on a wonderful display of football to day

  70. Well done to corofin, no doubt Rochford will be getting calls from bigger entities than corofin. Well done to ballyhale as well,shefflin is 36 years old and still winning titles, that should be enough to stop the burnout talk about Mayo players for a week or 2.
    It seems like last year since ballina Stephenites won it, it’s 10 years though and we have lost 3 senior finals in that time, what will the next 10 years bring?

  71. Corofin are as fine a club team as I’ve seen. Think this’ll only be the start of their domination aswell

    Their footpassing is superb to watch, gary Sice and Lundy would probably walk into any county team in Ireland on this form.

    Most of their bench would walk onto any other club team in Ireland

  72. A well written piece wj, now let us look at some facts about mayo football, for many years in the sixties seventies eightys nineties and two thousands we were poor , in my opinion joh, john Maughan and james horan lifted us, I think we might be in for a not so good time now not through any fault of pat and noel, just burn out of players, because we have a smaller pick of top class players, they have to play more hard matches, I have argued here about k donaghy been a top class player, many fullbacks have shackled him, so ger caff got a lot of criticism here unjustified in my opinion, I think he has to be part of our team along with k keane, I also think aos is a midfielder full stop, donie is a good defender, as I have also said you wont cure one problem by creating another eg putting aos full forward, not to say we can not mix it up now and then, some posters need to understand that the managers do not leave their wit’s behind them when they become managers, so we have to believe they try most of the the idea’s that we have in training, while some of the critical comments on here are constructive a bit seems tobe abusive, both to our new managers, and also to jh, I still think that most of last year’s panel are best we have and we will have to rely on them this year, we really need a good cf but dont see anyone out there putting their hand up, also I hope when a moran comes back full forward will be ok that is two cents worth and hope I am completely wrong about burn out

  73. After all the switching, changing and trying new players I feel the Mayo team that plays championship football this August will be fairly similar to the one we have seen the last few years. Kevin Keane and Jason will be regulars by then and Andy, Alan and Alan Freeman and a few of the others….Evan and Mark R will be in and out of games as management see fit. It’s wednesday evening and saturday night isn’t as sharp a feeling as it was. Still though…..1956 and all that…ouch. The Breaffy brothers at midfield for the summer too I think. The upcoming game in cork will tell alot about how the team/management have responded to the Dublin game and I’m not sure that a victory is as important as a good, spirited, cohesive performance and i wish them the best with it.

  74. Bingo Ciaran kickpassing. They picked off scores from three passes from one end of the field to the other! Majority of what I saw was kicking!!!! Our Mayo. Lads wouldn’t be passed there 45! The Dubs in there warm up Sat night were kicking near the width of the field into a mans hands every time! Mayo in there warm up played the hand pass game almost for the whole warm up! Hand passing is important but only when it needs to be used!not 99 % of the time!!!! Mayo seriously need to be able to kick pass and they need to be able to kick a score from there own 45! Something that’s failing us miserably on an all too regular basis!!!

  75. Congratulations to Corofin. Any team that goes to CP and wins a national title deserves respect. AI Club titles are not easy to win.

  76. Yeah congrats to Corofin, they are a super team. Be interesting to see if Rochford stays with them. He wot have any shortage of offers.

  77. Back to Mayo and our problems.
    We need more power on the field.
    Pity Galvin didn’t qualify and declare for us.
    We have plenty places for him.
    But then we had some power available to us and we didn’t even look at Gavin Duffy !!

  78. I think I mentioned Stephen Rochford back when they beat Corofin as a potential future manager for Mayo (I didn’t mean to parachute him in now!). Mind you, I reckon if he has an ounce of sense he’ll run a mile if and when the opportunity presents itself 😉

    Congrats to him and to Corofin – the result today was never in doubt and they have been a joy to watch all year.

  79. Congrats to Corofin. Today Corofin gave an example of supreme kick passing. Can Mayo take a leaf out of their book? It won’t be a huge effort to modify to this approach, and use it to great effect in the wide expanse of CP in the summer. All is not lost, this team does not become a bad team overnight……does it?

  80. Centrefield,
    You seem to forget that Ger Cafferkey met Donaghy prior to 2014 without being overrun so it was not unreasonable for James Horan to put his trust in him last year. As regards Kevin Keane being assigned Murphy in 2012 I am pretty sure that that was because Murphy had been playing out around midfield until the final that year. Horan’s thinking in my opinion was Cafferkey would be marking McFadden at full back. But I think McGuinness outthought Horan and changed things around for the final putting Murphy on the square. So we had Cafferkey following McFadden and Keane on Murphy.
    Some seem to think that because we have not been successful in placing a target man at full forward in recent years we should abandon the idea. OK. if you can come up with a better idea. So far nobody has. Most successful teams have a ball winner/target man in the full forward line. Since Jimmy Burke retired we have not been consistent in trying to replace him. Liam MacHale was in and out of the position at times. Several others were tried, such as Tom Morgan, James Gill, Trevor Mortimer [and even Conor Mort] and Billy Joe Padden. More recently Barry Moran got a few occasional outings but never a run of a few games. In trying a player in a particular position one has to look at his attributes, his skills and abilities and decide if he is likely to be able to fill the role. Essentially one has to decide on SOMEBODY MOST LIKELY and give them a decent shot at it. Aiden O’Shea to me never looked likely to fill the role satisfactorily. Even more I always thought we could not afford to do without him at midfield. In my mind either Barry Moran or Danny Kirby are the most likely candidates.

  81. I think aos is overrated to. I know he was the only one who on sat whe tried but he missed a goal. He should stay at midfield and just get on with it.

  82. AnneMarie, Stephen Rochford was only available for Corofin because Mayo County Board turned him down for the under 21 job. We all know how we have fared at the grade the last few years because of their decisions.

  83. Between being busy and purposely keeping away from most media over the long weekend, I have given myself a bit of space to digest the hiding we got last Saturday. The resultant hysteria from us (Mayo supporters) is to be expected because the history and trends of our over-reactions to all things Mayo football is there for all to see. When we win a FBD game we are shoe-ins for Sam and when we get a tonking like we did on Saturday night we have a tired and worn-out team managed by chancers who haven’t a clue. You are never as good as you think you are when you win, and, never as bad as you have shown when you lose.
    To be honest, I get a pain in my hole when I read some of the stuff directed towards management in the aftermath of a defeat. It was the same under Horans tenure. Was it Horan that kicked 6 piss poor first half wides v Dublin the in 2013 Final? Was it Connelly that couldn’t complete a 10 yard hand pass on Saturday night? Was it Holmes that continued to aim his kickouts into an area of the field where we were bet up a stick? Was it Connelly that didn’t make 1 proper run into space, as a full forward should, and show for the ball to your half backs coming through? Was it Holmes that won his first 4 balls but then fell on his arse twice and got dispossessed the other two times? Was it Connelly that failed to support Durcan when he was surrounded by 4 Dublin players and he had to resort to hoofing it aimlessly downfield? The players MUST take responsibility for their part in that shambolic performance just as much as management must hold their hands up and accept their tactics failed.
    It was a terrible day at the office but we must take our hiding, learn from it and move on. Don’t lose focus.

  84. The next two games in the league are crucial. Cork are a formidable attacking team in form similar to Dublin. Donegal are similar to Tyrone in that they employ a blanket defence. Hopefully the management will have learned from the two defeats so far and put in place tactics that will win these games. one required a lot of tightening up at the back, the other requires more innovative attacking play.

  85. Dublin were sharper and more determined in competing for the ball around the middle third of the field. They won clean ball and broken ball and were a half yard quicker in every position on the pitch. Their attack played to a well practised and finely tuned method that resulted in their ball carrier having 2 or 3 options at any one time, with their forwards making angled zig zagging runs all over over defensive third. They played quick accurate ball into space where their superior levels of fitness gave them a distinct, and worrying, advantage over us. To finish they then played the ball to their most accurate players who had worked themselves free in the scoring zone. They scored a goal from a situation where we had the ball, failed to clear it, lost it and then saw their shot rebound off the crossbar and back to the unmarked Dublin forward to palm the ball into the empty net. The got their second goal after a double-hop that should have resulted in a free to us. Everything went their way and such was their dominance that our half forward line got sucked back into a defensive position in an attempt to plug the gaps and hang in the game. Personally, I felt if Dublin had won by another 15 points it would not have flattered them (they had it in them if they needed it) and I think they took their foot off the gas, and off our throats.
    Contrast this with our attempts that saw us have a goal bound shot saved on the line by a desparate dive from a Dublin defender, a 2 man full forward line that failed to show for the ball or make one intelligent threatening run and present themselves as an option for a pass. This impotent full forward line meant that our half backs, midfield and half forwards were forced to carry the ball from deep positions into our attack. All the while being tackled, out numbered and out fought by a much sharper Dublin unit. We won a few frees in front of goal and Dublin were quite happy to do that all night as the only shots from play we had in the scoring zone were our two early scores. Everything else from play was from wide positions or as a result of being rushed into “swingers” under pressure. Our passes were either too high or a yard too short that resulted in our players stretching or stooping for ball that then failed to stick in the gloves. We were blowing hard after 25 minutes and didn’t seem to cover the ground as easily as the Dubs.
    I tipped and voted for a Dublin win. What shocked me was the difference between the two teams as they looked poles apart on every level, physically, tactically and certainly from a skills point of view. The Dublin lads behind me were surprised at the performance from both sides as they reckoned we are not THAT bad and they didn’t see that Dublin performance coming either. However, there is no escaping the fact that we were outplayed, out-thought and out-fought on our own patch. We were bullied and thrown around the pitch like an U12’s side and that is going to hurt our lads. I hope it does. I hope they haven’t slept properly since because the people that they have let down the most is themselves.
    I believe that some of the difference can be put down to Dublin really, really wanting the points and our lads not being “at it”, that is not an excuse, mind. Also, there was such a difference in sharpness that I hope it can be accounted for by possibly training schedules and differing approaches. However, more worryingly, there may also be the distinct chance that there is something missing from the team and it may be difficult to get it back. Our performance, more so than the result, against Cork will tell us much more about the team and management. I remain as always, an optimist and trust the players and management to bounce back from this defeat.

  86. Pebbles I think you are going very easy on our half backline in particular putting their performance in passing down to the two man full forward line.
    Seamus OShea hits a long ball in early – Good chance came from it
    Alan Dillon hits a long ball in early – Good chance came from it
    What I was watching was a half backline who upon receiving the ball were not even steadying their feet and balance to be able to lookup and kickpass accurately. You can’t kickpass the ball accurately if you’re on the full burst for a solo run. Lads were taking the ball on the burst and turning back toward other lads taking the ball on the burst. Alan Dillon gets his first ball, does his usual bounce solo backwards and floats in a long ball. A chance came off it straight away. Dillons time in posession only one solo.
    When lads are taking the ball on the burst they have no intention or capability of kickpassing the ball accurately to a runner inside.
    Colm Boyle would be better off being more like Dillon and being willing to skip backwards 5 yards in order to buy space for the kickpass inside. Constantly running the ball into traffic is a core problem of this side and it certainly is not the inside lines fault.

  87. JP, Pebblesmeller has made the crucial point a couple of times though and I saw it myself from the stand on Saturday night: the FF line didn’t show for the ball. Time and time again I saw Freeman and Ronaldson standing behind their men, with acres of space in the corners either side which they could have sprinted into to give our half-backs/midfielders – or even half-forwards – a target to aim a pass at. If you’re in possession out the field and no-one is showing inside, you have to carry, and you become a much easier team to defend against.

  88. The Cork game will be interesting and it’s too soon to be critical of the new management.

    We are still in transition between dealing with some of Horan’s older ‘bedded in’ players and trying to blood the badly needed new lads into the team. This added to finding the right system and new systems against the top level teams was never going to be straightforward and done quickly. Are we even into double digits yet with competitive games played?

    Last Saturday could be the spark that’s needed to go on and win SAM this year. If we get a consistent midfield and some lads back into the fold we will be better then we were last year.

    Some of this league is strangely matching Kerry’s path last year. Look where it got them.

  89. We could have sent more ball towards Aidan OShea. In the league so far his percentage of 50:50 balls won is very high. With a defender beside him, OShea is still effectively open.

  90. Don’t think there has been any shortage of ball sent Aidan’s way in fairness. Aidan is outstanding at winning ball but has to start moving it on quicker. He still tends to try and do everything himself at the moment. Whereas that was understandable given Saturday night’s performance, it’s something that needs sorting if it’s not going to hinder us in the summer.

  91. Yeah, I knew that Ger Bohan. He’s proved himself now, and at this point once again it’s our loss. Pretty sure their perception will have changed having watched the developments of the past few months. Saturday’s U21 fixture will tell a lot.

  92. Overreaction ! Are you taking the piss? The whole bloody country is talking about our piss poor performance on sat night . Mayo support is magnificent and to be quite honest with you im bloody tired of listening to the likes of you telling me I’m not entitled to vent my anger, I spent my time money and effort to go to the game and have done so since I was a child , damn right im entitled to my opinion. Players and managers come and go my son , we’ll be in the stands till the day we die.

  93. “Was it Connelly that couldn’t do this that and the other, was it Holmes that couldn’t show for a ball in ff ” etc etc

    No but it was them who picked a man to play there who has scored one point in 2014 championship.

    What are Ye all raving about hennellys kick outs, in the second half I watched very closely as I was at that end, Hennelly was not given options ,we were stuck to the fooking ground man. Is everyone gone blind, , there was no dash, no direction, no real bite. We were killed in every line of the pitch, that is down to management too . Players are responsible but so is management otherwise there is no point in them being there ( irony there for those that have heard a biteen)

    What is the two boys role anyway, this is the question been thrown out there all weekend, what coaching skills do they have , are they coaches?
    Why did it have to be a joint manager thing? Could one not of taken the lead even if only for image sake .

  94. Calm down, Sean – everyone commenting here has been afforded the right to express their opinion (and to agree or disagree with opinions expressed) and nobody is questioning that right. My sole concern has always been that those opinions are expressed in a way that’s consistent with the house rules and, thankfully, despite my fears to the contrary after Saturday night’s result, that has, in the main, been the case in this instance.

  95. Connelly and Holmes won the All-Ireland with the Mayo under-21s in 2006.

    I know that everyone on here knows this, I just think it needs to be re-stated.

    Oh, and Pat Holmes won a National League too, with Connelly as his captain. I don’t care about the foot-and-mouth thing. He still had to hear all the rubbish in the lead-up to that final from Breheny, McGee and others about Mayo choking in national finals, how we couldn’t finish the job, etc. etc. And then he and his team won the national title anyway against a Galway team good enough to win their second Sam that summer.

    Championship didn’t go so well for him afterwards, that’s true. But he won us that national title then, and won another with Noel in 2006. You know, they might just have an idea about this football management thing.

    Saturday night was bad. But it was also just their fourth competitive game in charge. A bit of perspective wouldn’t go amiss here lads.

  96. The point about Hennelly’s kickouts – for me at any rate – was that when the game was still there to be won (i.e. in the first half) every single one was booted blindly down the middle, where we lost a good bit more than 50% of them. I accept the point that it takes two to tango in this respect and that outfield players have to give the keeper options but Robbie didn’t appear to be looking for any other option only to whack the ball long to the middle for most of the game. He did, I know, hit a few short ones in the second half but the game was well lost at that stage. The contrast to Cluxton’s pinpoint restarts to his own team throughout the game (and I accept he’s the master at this) was pretty stark and the contrasting approaches absolutely guaranteed them the tonnes of possession they got with which to destroy us.

  97. Look lads and lassies, it takes two to tango. The managers have a responsibility and the players have a responsibility. If either one is found wanting it affects the other and there is no f..king tango. Simple as. Some great comments here.
    Sean Burke, tea and a bun, that’s the answer and if that doesn’t work, two buns. 😉

  98. Hennelys kickouts have a lot of hang time. Our half backs/half forwards are not noted for catching kickouts.
    Dublin have three or four players in addition to their two midfielders who are tall and capable in the air. Diarmuid Connolly, Tomas Brady, Cian OSullivan.
    We had only Seamus OShea comfortable in the air and tall enough. Hence it was never going to be a fair battle contesting our own high 50:50 kickouts. The middle eight with the more men comfortable in the air will generally win the battle over 50:50 kickouts over the course of a game.

  99. we were hammered out the gate did anybody expect any diferent,ive being folllowing mayo for nearlyifty years and alli have seing in that time is mayo inplode more times than i care to remenber,kerryproved it down the years sodid the dubs nice guys win nothing ,theres an old saying hit the fuckers their no realations do a meath on teams ,until mayo wise up and get dirty we will win nothing ,any donkey can get to croke park in august taking the turf home is a diferent matter,

  100. “What are Ye all raving about hennellys kick outs, in the second half I watched very closely as I was at that end, Hennelly was not given options”. I don’t agree Sean.
    Twice in that second half Diarmuid O’Connor came stand side and into the half back position calling for the kickout. Not just standing there, he was calling as I could hear him, he was unmarked and had about 20 yards of green grass in front of him. Hennelly hammered the ball straight down the middle to an area of the pitch we hadn’t won a clean or breaking ball in the previous 35 minutes!!! This happened twice in a row. When O’Connor made his second run the people around me in the stand were calling for the kickout to go to O’Connor!!!
    On the third occasion that DOC made the same run, 3 Dublin players went with him. It was obvious to anyone that ever kicked a ball at any level that DOC’s run now should have been used as a decoy run and that there had to be space somewhere else in the middle third with 3 Dublin men removed from it. What did Hennelly do?? Kicked it wide to DOC where he was on a hiding to nothing, quite literally too.
    That, I’m afraid, comes down to match time intelligence. What to do, why you do it and when to do it. Hennelly failed that one miserably. With the amount of games Hennelly has under his belt that has to be a huge concern that the keeper has difficulty reading the pitch in front of him. Remember his kickout v Kerry last year? Straight out over the side line, uncontested. The line ball came in and a penalty resulted. Not good enough. I’m not for one minute making the case that we lost on Saturday night because of Rob, I’m just arguing the point with you. But it does remain a doubt with me that certain players, regardless of physique, commitment and ability, lack the decision making and game management to compete with the very best.

  101. @Pebblesmeller & Willie Joe – I couldn’t disagree more about Mayo’s kickouts on Saturday night. Hennelly kept bombing them down the middle because of the incredibly poor showing for the ball from our defence/mid-field/ half forwards. I watched out for it from the very beginning. There may have been 1 or 2 times where he could have picked a pass quicker but that was in the vast minority.

    As you rightly point out WJ, the contrast from the Dublin end of the field was nearly painful to watch. In Cluxton’s distinguished style, he always had 2 options to clip a kick-out to. But I have to point out that Cluxton, for all his talented passing ability, would be useless if it wasn’t for his team-mates movement. Cunnife, Keane, Boyle, Keegan, Durcan especially, O’Shea and Vaughan rarely moved enough so that their keeper could give an early accurate kick-out. This malaise went right through our team, including support play, and the movement of the full-forward line.

    I can only put that down to what Horan and other pundits did the overall result, and that’s Dublin’s hunger versus Mayo’s lack thereof. Anyone that’s watched Mayo the last few years can see, while not in Cluxton’s class, Hennelly is by far Mayo’s most natural kicking goal keeper.

  102. I take your point, GBXI, about the need for others to show for the ball but I too recall the incidents mentioned by Pebblesmeller involving Diarmuid O’Connor. And it’s not as if this is the first time Robbie has adopted this approach to kickouts either but the last night, faced with Cluxton’s lasers, it was absolute suicide. To have not planned for this – both with pushing up on Cluxton in the way we did so well at Croke Park last year and being smarter in getting possession from our own kickouts – of its own ensured we’d lose the match.

  103. if our players are making such basic errors on kickouts it has to be a coaching issue, Lord knows we have good enough players if they are directed instead of just giving it a lash. And i dont buy the burnout thing as an excuse in March, these fellas are mid twenties and
    are as fit as dublin or tyrone, If hennelly is that easily confused then he either needs a different goal keeping coach or else let clark or o malley take over, theres no way he should have hit the kick to diarmuid o connor with 3 markers on him as has been claimed.
    The fact that we are even having this discussion is not good, but maybe we arent giving dublin enough credit as they are definitely going to walk leinster blindfolded, and be in a semi waiting for another victim. We all seen what they done to cork and derry at the end of last years league.

  104. Agreed, you have to push up on Cluxton’s kickouts. Or else play a blanket defense, which of course we did neither of. I do think Diarmuid O’C shows very well for the ball in general though. Cunniffe and Keane need to show more for kick-outs, they are two very competent passers of the ball so should have no fear in receiving it. That all comes from management though, in my opinion.

  105. Obviously we all have our theories as to why we badly malfunctioned on Saturday night, which coupled with Dublin’s brilliant performance condemned us to our worst home defeat since the 1950’s.

    James Horan in his article (which I had the luxury of reading this week, as I took Monday off to extend my stay in the west before heading back to the Capital) put it down to our attitude and called it as an opportunity lost, I tend to agree somewhat although there are other factors too which can’t be ignored.
    So why then might our ‘attitude’ be off? Well in Business many people use KPI’s as a measure of performance, obviously the main KPI for us as fans is the scoreline, the first and last KPI most of us are worried about, however we are in the middle of the league and have an extended squad, it’s a known known (to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld) that our squad will be reduced at the end of the league and many of our peripheral players have been told that they have the league games to impress or else they will be cut.
    Consider then many of our players taking to the field on Saturday night, thinking about their own personal performance, how many times did we see players turning back looking for support? Not wanting to risk an incomplete pass (and a poor performance rating), Indeed even Rob Hennelly (who probably has heard that goalkeepers will be reduced to 2) probably felt the pressure.

    I am not saying this was the only factor (but it was a factor) it is akin to sending Rory McIlroy out in the first round of the masters and informing him that he will be measured on the amount of 3 putts he takes (rather than the score or how many birdies he achieved) I can tell you now that your mindset is completely different trying to not make 3 putts compared to trying to make birdie.

    It was no surprise that our most ‘secure’ player performed the best on the night. I was struck on the night how we looked like a bunch of individuals rather than a team. If we were/are measuring individual performance (and negative indicators rather than positive indicators (ie how many times I kicked the ball away rather than how many passes I completed) God we are great in Mayo measuring the negative! then this could partially explain why we were so bad on Saturday night.

    So to sum up, we need to figure how to measure performance without it affecting our performance and we also need to figure out how to adapt to changed circumstances during a game (leadership I think most people call that).
    By the way can anyone tell me if Kieran Shannon is still in the Mayo backroom team?

  106. I coach under 12’s and if the goalkeeper is giving away possession, I change the set-up from the sideline. Get a good passer of the ball to drop back, maybe even 2. This stretches the midfield and gives options to the goal keeper.
    If the goalkeeper doesn’t see this, then I tell him to see it.


  107. One of the things I thought was missing from the setup the last night was someone who can pass the ball quickly and intelligently. Its been obvious from the past few years that the Dublin FB line like to defend from the front making it harder to pass quickly and directly to the man unless it’s diagonal and into the corner.

    Dublin also use Cluxton as a sweeper behind the FB line offering them this latitude. Most of the time he’s off his line looking to get any breaks quickly. Wasn’t he very nearly caught out by it in the second half when the ball out went wrong and came straight back in over his head only for it to be slightly over the bar?

    Anyway in order to play against that you need to pull your FF line deeper out the field, out to the 21 yard line or further. This forces the FB line to play from behind more often as there is too much space in behind them and too much ground for Cluxton to cover. And it’s really only then that the Full FW line will have a better chance of winning that ball into the chest or a high one sent in directly.

    On the down side the FF line are much deeper and closer to the 1/2 fw line and the 1/2 back line but you have to have some plan to get them on the ball and create proper openings.

  108. Citywest, I kinda agree but let’s be honest. These lads are grown professionals in everything but pay. If they cannot take the pressure of competition for the geansai on their backs then they are in the wrong game. At U14 level, I encourage my players to make mistakes in training, to reduce the fear and anxiety in their own confidence and their own skills. However, at senior intercounty level the fact is that generally the team that makes the LEAST mistakes wins. Therefore, the small mistakes make up the tiny inches that contribute to a defeat. It’s the harsh reality of the game. We’ll get over this heavy defeat as I said earlier, we are a hysterical bunch. We are not as bad as we showed on Saturday night. Dublin were particularly brilliant as well as we were particularly flat.
    We move on to Cork. Hon Mayo.

  109. In regards to out lack of kick passing, i remember the ’12 semi against the Dubs and i thought we were excellent that day from the foot, all over the field quick accurate passing really tore apart the dubs at times. The pass into micky c (when he made a hames of the fisted point attempt), was as good a pass you’ll ever see!.

    Basically, we have the capability to foot pass, just seems the players and managment are opting against it at present but that does’nt mean we wont implement it in the summer.

  110. You could question every line of the Mayo team on Saturday. Very few performed to anything like their potential. It’s far too early to be calling foul on the new management team but many posters above reference attitude and this lies firmly in their realm. Losing to Dublin at home is disappointing but being trimmed is not. The reaction against Cork will tell a lot about where we’re headed.

    A worry for me is that the likes of Boyler, Keegan and Higgins have looked really muted throughout the league so far. These guys are the springboard of our team. Donie also needs to be moved back to 6. The experiment at midfield was worth a try but it hasn’t worked.

  111. we can analyse until we are are blue in the face,blame hennely blame burnout ,blame the county board,blamethe fact that we are in heavy training,but even i know as an east mayo man when we came up against ballyhaunis or swinord, or anyeast mayo club you gave it your allfor the pride of your parish,if we lucky enoughtoget to a county semi final that was our allireland ,surley to god if your privaleged to toput on the green and red of our proud county your notgoing to stand back and take such a hameringas we did last saturday night unleess management are good poker payers,and going for the bluff cork game willtellus where were atand althis bullabout we need a god howing against cork win or lose is bolox wened tobeat both cork and donegal fuckthe leauge semi finals ,what did derry doafter beating us fuck all,hon mayo

  112. @ petermurray, Peter, a lot of what you say makes sense. I have been following Mayo for well over 60 years, played a lot of football, and never once had to be motivated. My job was to beat the hell out of my opponent and by God he knew it. I don’t get this having to be motivated crap. Where is a person’s own pride???

  113. when you have poured concrete in 90 degrees for 12 hours jumpon aplane fly12 hours to shannon get to limerick get such a fucking sickening result stuckupour arse and 14 hours later your backin the usa ,sick as a hospital,formonths after .fucking burnout at 20 to 30 nonsuch thing exists

  114. Everybody, please, please, please, read B.J.Padden in the Mayo News. He says it all !!!!

  115. Over the past couple of days i have been flabbergasted by the attitude of some of the mayo suporters I’ve spoken to.team written off already..always interesting to see what unfolds when backs are against the wall..was surprised to hear through team had to train in cavan last week and got a days notice..is that the norm??

  116. @ regina thats totally bull why would theyave to train in cavan if the can getto cavan surelythey could get to swinford charlestown even tubercurry

  117. Was told that today and said same bout pitches in mayo … now maybe it was the lads based in Dublin but def travelling to cavan involved…ill hold off any more bull for now!!

  118. It looks like Roscommon will be hard to beat at U21 level this year:

    Roscommon 6-18 Sligo 0-12 this evening.

    Also this evening:

    Cork 1-12 Kerry 1-9

    Longford 3-7 Dublin 2-15

  119. Prob will that was some beating Sligo got still hopefull màyo and galway beat them roses have enough.

  120. HopeSpringsEternal Thanks for that. Shaping up nicely for a Dublin, Cork, Roscommon, and who ever fights their way out of Ulster. I am looking forward to seeing the Mayo team again on Saturday, but to be honest and based on what I have witnessed so far I would be surprised if they make it to the final.

  121. Your welcome PJ, I see that Cavan lost for the first time in 4 years at this level in Ulster:

    Donegal 1-07 Cavan 0-09
    Tyrone 0-17 Fermanagh 0-07

    Hopefully Mayo will put in a good performance anyway. Having a game under their belt should help them as well.

  122. bjp padden article is well articulated but i disagree that aos should be left at 14.if one looks back to mayos last championship match scores came from coc 2-5, am 1-1 kmc 0-3.The first two lads were not on the pitch on saturday , how would dublin fare without their 2 best fowards against a top 5 team. mayo need to beef their half back line and aos in at cb would be an option, everybody knows what he can do at ff and playing him there is robbing peter to pay paul imo.
    its early days yet and sometimes a team can learn more from defeat than victory. As regards the mf donie was only back from injury and is another option for cb, and seamus will be alright, lets remember the mayo team had only 5 days recovery after the derry game , the dubs had an extra day as that is the second week they played saturday night.All told its true that the match was all but over after the second goal and all involved will have to realise that instead of letting teams run away early on it might be a matter on defending early on and trying to be in the match at half time, the dublins of this world are ruthless if they are let play.part of this defending might involve puting mayos best players on the oppositions most lethal fowards e.g aos on connolly, donie in rock etc.There is 2 weeks left until the cork game and tatics need to be brought to the table , a 14 point hammering like the last day is only going to drain confidence from the thing. wishing coc a speedy recovery.

  123. We could analyse the performance for another week and still be little the wiser. Wait and see what happens in cork and we will be in a better position to judge.

  124. That piece in the Mayo News by Billy Joe is here. It’s well worth a read for sure. Two other pieces of analysis that are also worth looking at – Sean Rice in the Mayo News (here) and Martin Carney in the Connaught Telegraph (here).

  125. So many are missing the point.. Billy Joe makes it well… Mayo need a new defensive system, one that can attack from defence. This has to be learned and organised, takes time; and when is it going to begin??? Simple, basic stuff to counteract modern football.. It doesn’t depend on one or two players, it’s a team thing; example, the Dubs on Sunday.

  126. petemurray as regards to an earlier post by you re donkeys getting to croke park in august, there are 24 counties that fail to make it to croker each august. Fortunately this Mayo team has given us the pleasure of being in Croke Park for the last 4 Augusts. Hopefully we will be there again this august but I wouldn’t put my life savings on it.

  127. @to win just one ,that was not meant to be slur on mayo ,what i meant was anyteam on theday comingthrough their province or through the qualifers willhave their day out ,in croker,im aproud mayo man win lose or draw and in no way wouldicallthese lads whohave gven so much for our county donkeys ,maybe i should have pit it more politley,for you … [deleted].

  128. sean second hand aint good enough bitlike the leauge itts the silver one with the big lugs i want

  129. AndyD says:
    March 18, 2015 at 2:48 am
    You seem to forget that Ger Cafferkey met Donaghy prior to 2014 without being overrun so it was not unreasonable for James Horan to put his trust in him last year. As regards Kevin Keane being assigned Murphy in 2012 I am pretty sure that that was because Murphy had been playing out around midfield until the final that year. Horan’s thinking in my opinion was Cafferkey would be marking McFadden at full back. But I think McGuinness outthought Horan and changed things around for the final putting Murphy on the square. So we had Cafferkey following McFadden and Keane on Murphy.

    Re Donnaghey.
    1) 6′ 5 16 stone vs 6’1 14 stone
    2) he absolutely destroyed us in 06 marking Heaney who is bigger than Cafferkey
    3) if the above wasnt enough we saw Donnaghey win a clean ball over Cafferkey to setup the goal in the first match, was that not warning enough for the second match.
    4) 28 balls kicked into Kerry forward line in the second match & they won 20 of them

    Re Murphy
    1) He caused havoc against Mayo in the leagues in 2012 (0-3 from play) so obviously enough there was a high probability of Mcguinness putting him in the full forward line again in the AI final.
    2) Also my recollection is that Murphy roved from full forward to midfield in that 2012 championship. Kavanagh & Gallagher went well that year so he wasn’t needed out there

    Re Brogan
    1) scored 1-4 in the league from play in 2013 (1-10 in all) and was brilliant
    2) Scored 2-2 in the 2013 final

    In each case above there was more than enough forewarning.
    Should have been extra bodies put in FB line and in Donagheys case one of the 5 midfielders on the panel should have been told to track him and get in his face.

    Sadly if Horan had gone all out to nullify the above lads along with Mcfadden and Odonoghue. Mayo would at a minimum have 1 all ireland in his time

  130. Peter Murray – I have to pull you up over that last comment. It’s one thing putting up comments that are barely legible but going out of your way to use crude metaphors like the one you did (and believe me, I’m no prude) simply isn’t on. If you want to keep commenting here you need to pull in your lugs a bit like a good man, and employ a spellchecker while you’re at it.

  131. willie joe sorry for any stupid comment that i made ,on this site ,didnt mean to insult anyone was off the cuff remark ,willie joe i apologise to all my county men and women ,dont blameyou ifyou bar me iwould nhon mayo

  132. Anyone have any info on injury front

    A Moran

  133. An interesting but concerning statistic:- if Mayo fail to reach the All Ireland u21 Final this year, it will be the longest stretch we’ll have gone at u21 level without getting to the last two. It’s almost a decade now since that day in Ennis. We’ve done sweet f.a since. Meanwhile Galway have won it twice and ros have been in two of the last 3 finals.

  134. Regina is correct, We did train in Cavan last week but it was to accommodate Dublin based players

  135. @ willie joe to all the people on here ,who have nothing but the love of mayo gaa at heart ,every time i hear limerick mentioned ,my blood still boils ,because thats the loss that hurts most ,i can take the meath loss the kerry hammerings, even the donegal beating, but to get shafted by not only 16 kerrymen on the field, but by our own county board on top it ,jazuz willie it still hurts

  136. The calls across the board for a more defensive system are not new.

    Aidan O’Shea noted in a number of interviews prior to the league that we needed to get far cuter in how we defend. He spoke primarily about defending a lead (he referenced how we allowed Kerry back into the game in the drawn match and how we should have never allowed Dublin back into the final).

    A couple of posters have mentioned the half backs, midfield and breaking ball around the middle. I think some simple tweaks here can make all the difference.

    We are definitely asking too much of the likes of Keegan and Boyle. Their job, first and foremost, is to defend. They need to cover their full backs, forage for breaking ball and ensure the space between the 14 and 45 is limited. To be fair to the likes of Keane, Cunniffe and Higgins, the ball being sent into their men is on a plate. Any decent forward will make hay in that kind of space.

    We also need to go back to basics in midfield. If we’re being cleaned around the middle it makes defence and attack extremely difficult. I would move Donie back to 6 and move Aidan O’Shea back out to midfield. I’d actually like to deploy him at 11 but I don’t think there is an alternative at the moment.

  137. Completely agree with Rock, I’d be hopeful of keeping AOS at 11, I think SOS and Parsons/Gibbons will work. Boyler, Vaughan and Keegan are a proven HB line.

    Vaughan is not a MF, I cannot remember him even contesting one kickout last weekend. Which leads me onto the debate above about our kickouts. Hennelly had no alternatives but to put them long, in fact I’d say that was prob the strategy told to him by mgmt. He did pick off some nice direct ones when the game was breaking up (one in particular over them all into AOS’s lap) but he simply didn’t have anyone making the runs. Don’t make a saint out of Cluxton, if Hennelly had the runners and short KO gameplan that Dublin had I’d be confident he’d pick them out just as well. He is the class keeper of the county, without doubt one of the best in the country. I laugh at the amount of coverage he gets, on the list of what was wrong the last day I don’t think our goalie should be on it!! To name a few that should I would say no movement whatsoever in FF line (except when AOS in there), HF line dropping too deep, HB line having no structure, consistent fouling by our defenders leading to easy frees, complete overuse of AOS massive ability by moving him to nearly every position, not taking goal chances when available etc.

  138. @redcol ..thanks for that.some trek to cavan for mayo based players…isn’t it unbelievable the amount of effort they have to put in…and work as well!!

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