Who was our Player of the Year?

Here we are, with August not even half-over yet, and the year’s inter-county action is already a distant, fading memory.

Before we forget completely about our 2022 inter-county year, however, there’s one job that needs to be done. Now, with the management appointment process rumbling on at a glacially slow pace and chat in the comments already veering towards topics usually only seen in deepest winter, seems to be as good a time for it as any.

That job is to conduct a poll on our Player of the Year. But where, I hear you ask, is the poll on the next manager? The ball’s in Ray Dempsey’s court on that one, I’m afraid, as it only makes sense to run such a poll when there’s verifiable information published about all four candidates’ backroom teams.

So, back to the matter at hand.

As always, coming up with the Player of the Year shortlist is a bottom-up, data-driven exercise, culled from the MOTM polls from all League and Championship matches played during the year. The only real bit of human intervention is to decide how many players to include on the shortlist – which typically ranges from three to five – but the data usually signpost the most appropriate course of action there too.

This year, the numbers point without hesitation towards a shortlist of three. And so, here they are: which of the three shortlisted players is our Player of the Year? Time to vote on that very question.

Who was our Player of the Year?

  • Lee Keegan (77%, 1,050 Votes)
  • Ryan O'Donoghue (13%, 179 Votes)
  • Oisín Mullin (9%, 127 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,356

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84 thoughts on “Who was our Player of the Year?

  1. Lee the standout here for sure. One of the few bright parts of a very dark season.
    Will go down as Mayo’s greatest player some day. Would love to think he’ll leave with a celtic cross in his pocket but that’s not realistic at this point in time!

  2. Player of the League : Ryan O’Donaghue

    Score of the League: Robbie’s last minute free against Donegal

    Player of the Championship: Lee Keegan

    Score of the Championship: Oisin goal v Kildare

    Overall Player of the Year (League & Championship): Lee Keegan

    Young Player of the Year: Enda Hession

    Most Improved Player: Jordan Flynn

    One’s to watch for 2023 (pre club championship): Connell Dempsey and Sam Callinan

  3. I went for Lee even though Ryan I thought was outstanding as well.

    Lucky to have their likes.

  4. One has to vote for Lee. But the others outstanding too. Give Ryan fair play next year. Once Cillian was recalled, I felt Ryan was on the hind tit. Not fair or right. Needs to be addressed by the next manager. A big headache awaiting him. Up Mayo.

  5. Willie Joe who was the percentage winner throughout the year from all games from the polls

  6. Absolutely Lee…but what a three when you look at it…we have great talent in Mayo. Good manager, no injuries, bit of luck and we’re right in there.
    Only one Lee Keegan.

  7. Two audacious goals in All Ireland finals. Targeted by Kerry’s Donnacha Walsh (a dirty rotten, shameful act), then the Dublin Media and Diarmuid Connolly. Sent off both times as a result. Demonstrates how much he’s feared. Keeps coming back. Still as good as ever.

  8. Lee once again, more often than not, snuffed out the opposition’s danger men and bombed forward for scores. Immense and hopefully he commits to another year.

    Ryan was great during the league, but he suffered once Cillian came back, no reason to have taken him off the frees IMO. Agree that the new manager has to find a way to accommodate both himself and Cillian, find the best way to get them both ticking.

    Jordan Flynn also had a fine season while he was fit, I thought.

  9. “It Means Nothing to Me”, I agreed that it would be great if we could acoomodate Cilian and Ryan, but I tought Cillian was slightly off pace last year, once returning from injury, which not surprising really as long lay off, and harder for a guy of his age to get back up to speed. But Cillian has to get back to form, to get back into team. For Mayo to win an all-ireland we need in form Cillian, and not the version we seen on pitch last year. But on saying that, if any one can find fitness and form, is our most consistent forward, over the last 12 season

  10. Why do you say Ryan suffered when Cillian came back? They only started one game together vs Galway and Ryan got 4 from play that day. Probably one of his best scoring displays in championship (excluding Sligo and Leitrim games).

    Ryan had a bad day with the frees in the league final which might have played a part in that decision. In any case, it was the long range frees vs Galway that cost us. Ryan isn’t great with those tbh, hennelly was a big loss that day.

  11. It means nothing to me. Agree. A brutal decision to take Ryan off the frees. It would never happen in Dublin or kerry. The man has carried us for so long and yes cillian was well off it as anyone would be coming back from a serious injury so why did we make that decision.

  12. Need proper competition for places which will improve the quality of the bench. No one should be guaranteed a starting spot if their form has dipped. Mattie Ruane and Paddy Durcan were below their high standards in 2022 but guaranteed starters when fit. Essentially places for 14 players because Cillian was going to start whatever condition he was in, which was well below his pomp. Rory Byrne is keeping Rob Hennelly on his toes, both did well in 2022. Starting from the bench has revived Aidan O’Shea’s form. The threat of real competition for places can only benefit the team. Any new management team needs to find some new prospects, improve them and who they keep from the current squad and pick the best team based on form, not on name or reputation.

  13. @Greenandred – i think we have healthy competition in the squad (with the exception to the half forward line) when injury’s are kept to a minimum. This year was ridiculous with injury’s so hopefully next year we have a bit more luck.

  14. Wasn’t a brutal decision to take Ryan off frees. Cillian our No 1 freetaker. Ryan was excellent all through the league. A shame he missed so much of championship. An insult to him to suggest he was impacted negatively by losing free taking duties. I am certain he is mentally stronger than that. . As regards Playrer of the Year. Leeroy by a mile.

  15. To win just once. Your basing cillian is our number one freetaker on past performances and just like green and red has correctly pointed out nobody should be guaranteed a starting place on previous year’s standard. As I pointed out cillian was returning from a serious injury so why take frees off Ryan when he was an exceptional deputy in his absence in fact probably had a better return from close in frees

  16. I feel another hennelly/Clarke v the dubs coming up but for me it was right for cillian to takeover the frees again even though Ryan was very good. He deputised while cillian was out and maybe with hopefully a long career in front of him even improve being the understudy for a while and take over even with more confidence regarding players to watch jarlath Mullin (oisins older brother) has a lot to offer the forwards if he’s prepared to put in the effort. He has a massive kick off the ground every bit as long and possibly longer than hennelly and is accurate.

  17. Whar dio u mean. No doubt. This blog is about debate and opinion s. If we all agreed on everything it would be pointless having one. When the new manager comes in he will surely look at some player s that have not been performing like they could. Perhaps a new voice or a change of position s for some will re energise them. No manager can pick a team on previous performance s.

  18. How strong is Towey on distance frees – 45 plus?

    If he can bring that to the table and improves over the winter on the strength/power front he should really be pushing for a start.

  19. @craggy boglands. Don’t throw out your toys. I’m well aware it’s a debate sure didn’t i give my opinion on the freetaker issue and also the goalie debate yesterday

  20. I voted for Ryan,he carried us through the league and was the top performer in most games.Our championship could have looked a lot different if he was fit.Anybody trying to make controversy about Cillian taking over on the frees is not posting from a place of knowledge and facts.Ryan and Cillian only started one match together,Ryan had a brilliant game and was top scorer from play,at least 3 kicks Cillian took that day would have been taken by Robbie had he been on the pitch.I don’t think there’s much between cillian and Ryan in terms of free taking,they are both good but neither have long distance frees in their locker (cillian did years ago) Cillian edges it on experience for me.I don’t think it make a huge difference either way as one of them will take the frees and Robbie the long range ones and 45s.Maybe in terms of succession planning Ryan should be taking them next season,it’s much of a muchness though and we’re lucky to have two high quality free takers now.

    Although I voted for Ryan I can see how Lee is the runner away winner on the poll.A great season by him and crucially when it mattered most,in championship. He’s the best to play for Mayo that I’ve seen and I’m confident he won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

  21. It’s Lee Keegan for me by a long shot. There are so many positives you could post about Lee as a player but what I admire about him most is his sheer determination to win and never say die attitude. The amount of games he has dragged Mayo back from certain defeat and others he has won for us almost single-handedly is incredible. It’s just a pity we have only one of him! The complete player for me and the best Mayo player of the modern era by some distance.

  22. Lee.

    If Armagh are getting nominations, I can’t see why Lee isn’t getting a shout for an All Star. If he was left to just defend, he’s one of the best, but added to that he’s scoring regularly..
    We had a shitty year, that’s okay, can’t fault anyone but if you are picking the best footballers in the Country this year, he’d have to on it.

    Anyway, that’s only my opinion.

    Jesus the flies are annoying

  23. My overall vote for our best player of the year for Mayo goes to Mayo No1 in both senses Robbie Hennelly,…2 Lee Keegan..3.. Oisin Mullen…. most improved.Jordan Flynn…. but I feel that had he been fortunate enough to avoid injury and actually get to play in the Championship, very possibly I would be giving my No1 vote to Ryan O Donohue.

  24. @craggy boglands. Had Cillian been the one taking the penalty in the 2021 All Ireland it would be in the back of the net. Ryan may yet be the number one free taker but he has a bit to do yet . I cant recall Cillian missing a penalty .
    For some reason Cillian is not as reliable on the long range frees as he used to be but Ryan is limited as well. Hennelly was the big loss for them long range frees in the Galway game this year.

    Lee Player of the Year for me

  25. Maybe O’Sullivan, but I’ve yet to see Cillian thread a pass from play in an All ireland final like Ryan did for Aido. That should have been a goal, made out of absolutely nothing. Audacious, different level stuff. Granted Cillian probably would have stuck the peno. But arguably Ryan was more accurate from frees over the past two years than Cillian has been since before or after his injury. I don’t have the stats on that but I’d say Ryan edges it.

    Look, Cillian had multiple chances to fire in All Ireland finals and hasn’t exactly shot the lights out himself in any of them. He certainly hasn’t been close to a gamechanger in any of them. Like many of his other colleagues. So it’s a bit harsh comparing.

  26. Irish Examiner are now reporting that Stephen Rochford is being eyed by Roscommon for their Senior Job.

  27. Liberal – Cillian scored the equaliser in the drawn game in 2016, an absolute screamer from about 40 yards out to get us a replay. One of the biggest clutch moment scores I’ve ever seen. So I’d beg to differ that he’s never been a game changer in a final.

  28. Anyway, our player of the year was of course Lee Keegan. Same as every year.

  29. Cillian is the best and most consistent penalty taker I’ve seen at inter County level,I’ve only ever seen him miss one (super 8 game v kerry on hot day in 2019) that game was over at ht anyway.His conversion rate must be around higher than any other regular modern penalty taker.

  30. I think Cillian scored 9 points in a couple of finals.

    Now. When Dean Rock does the same he’s some sort of wizard and a winner and a gamechanger.

    When Cillian does it there hasn’t been enough scores from the rest of the team so he’s not a winner or a gamechanger.

    I would say when you are on the verge of relegation, that is also a clutch position to be in.

    Cillian scored 2 points, one from each sideline against Cork some years ago to stave off relegation. That was as clutch as you can get.

    It’s a great position to be in to be able to argue who should be taking our frees.

  31. Yes, but in ’17 he’d a chance to win it with a scoreable free by his standards at the end. He’s a great player for us obviously. I just think we need to be balanced. All the heat shouldn’t be on Ryan for missing a peno. He’s a young player.

  32. We’ve yet to see ANY of our forwards palm in a simple gamechanging goal like Bernard Brogan or McShane when the game is in the melting pot, or score a clutch of suberb points like Sean Cavanagh. In finals. Then we can talk. We’ve been in plenty finals for those opportunities to present. It’s all about the final 15mins. Where we’ve been found wanting. I’d like to see the solution to that in the new manager applicants’ 10 minute PowerPoint presentation. That’s what Mr Touhy needs to focus on.

  33. Liberal. Last year we had about 16 chances to win it. We drove them all wide. Why focus on one chance from 5 years ago when you can go back just one year and see the multitude of missed chances.

  34. Seanie CH says:
    August 11, 2022 at 8:31 pm
    Irish Examiner are now reporting that Stephen Rochford is being eyed by Roscommon for their Senior Job.

    As suggestion by John Fogarty that McStay won’t be getting the Mayo senior job again or if he does Rochford won’t be on his ticket?

  35. Revellino, I’d be a big Cillian supporter obviously enough, and I’d point to that 2016 equaliser, and Dublin 2012 45s in semi final to anyone that doubts him.
    But a league match, however great the points might have been, does not compare to the white heat of championship.

  36. @Mayomagic – I am sure Roscommon will move swiftly to get him on board rather than wait around to see if McStay gets the Job. Would be a big blow to the McStay ticket if he pulls out but it is hard to blame him either.

  37. I must say this is disappointing. I like Stephen but this is very odd. Does he want to be involved with Mayo, Roscommon or Meath? Surely he could say no. There isn’t much substance in the article but none the less there is no smoke without a fire. That’s twice now that Stephen has been linked to other counties. It shows little respect to the other candidates, CB and players of Mayo not to mention Kevin Mcstay

  38. Green&Red, it says Ros are interested in Rochford, which he can’t do much about. It doesn’t say he’s entertained them in any way.
    But in general, I’d agree with you – I don’t understand the logic behind the rumoured meath role, or why he stayed with Donegal for so long when they were going nowhere under Bonnar from day 1 from what u could see.
    You’d have to question his judgement

  39. @Green&Red – It is hard to blame stephen if he gets approached and takes the job. He could hold out for another 2 weeks hoping to be involved with us and the McStay ticket doesn’t get accepted / ratified by the CB. He then will likely have no involvement with a team in 2023 season. He could on the other hand take the Roscommon job and be the head man of a div 1 team for 2023.

  40. Rochford sounds like one of those bucks on love island who’s in a friendship couple but is open to finding love elsewhere too

  41. @Micky3… Paper dosent refuse ink, and I can certainly understand why the Rossies would be interested in him… Dosent mean Stephen Rochford has sought out the gig..or anything really…I definitely don’t watch ‘Love Island’..has it anything to do with Gaelic Football?, Just wondering because when Pat Spillane was saying his tearful goodbye’s from the “Sunday Game” , he mentioned going on ‘Love Island’ himself!

  42. @Tubberman.
    In the white heat of battle Cillian has scored 9 points on a couple of different occasions in AI finals.

    That’s the same as Shane Walshe scored this year and a point more than Clifford scored this year.

    Its not really his fault if he hasn’t enough fire power from his team mates, to go along with what he has scored to get us over the line.

  43. In a County in very short supply of top quality forwards Ryan O’Donoghue has to get it, eventhough he missed the big Championship games against Monaghan,Kildare and Kerry.

  44. But sure of course Rochford is been eyed up by Roscommon.. I don’t understand why people wouldn’t think he would be. The man is at the top end of his field. The important thing is that he has put his name forward with McStay for the Mayo job because he clearly really wants it, he believes the partnership with McStay and co will be a winning formula, he believes Mayo have a great chance of winning the big prize (otherwise why bother) and would there be anything better than winning Sam with your own county. If McStay and Rochford are offered the Mayo gig I’m sure they will take it. If not.. what ever else happens for him is frankly none of our business and good luck to him. We can’t really be having our cake and eating it here

  45. Another way of looking at it is…. has Dempsey, Shaw or Solan or any of their backroom team been approached by outside counties.. possibly, maybe, who knows.. but it’s not been mentioned by anyone, media or otherwise which in itself speaks volumes of how highly rated Rochford is. Meath, Roscommon and probably Donegal would look at it as a major coup if they snuck him out from under us

  46. I think Donegal have probably seen more than enough of Rochford after his 4 year stint as their head coach. It was hardly a success @toe to hand. Meath too looked elsewhere, even though he seemed to be on the Flynn ticket. The other way to read it is that Dempsey, Shaw and Solan really want the Mayo gig and are concentrating their efforts there, where as Rochford might want any gig.

  47. O sullivan. I agree. No better man for penalties that is for sure. Let’s hope cillian comes back next year refreshed. But Ryan is now our top top forward. Passing scoring from play. A real handful for any defence.

  48. That’s the point, you don’t see Solan’s or others names being mentioned for other senior county gigs cos they have no track record and are not in demand whereas Rochford is. He was in two All Ireland Finals with Mayo and had the team playing far better in those two finals than any Mayo team since perhaps 1996.

    WJ are you going to do a poll?

  49. I believe @Mayonaze that WJ is holding off on the poll and rightly so, until all of the management teams are publicly announced. One could argue now that only Shaw and Solan’s teams are at that stage. Dempsey has yet to declare his hand and now there has to be serious question marks about the Mcstay’s ticket as there is a possibility that Rochford might jump ship.

  50. More darts being aimed at Stephen Rochford, I see, which, for someone who has given so much to the county, is wholly undeserved and disrespectful. Would it be too much to expect that all four candidates – all of them fine Mayo GAA people in high standing – and their named backroom teams to be afforded the respect they all deserve? Call me old-fashioned but I don’t think that is asking too much of people commenting on here who would doubtless proclaim to be Mayo supporters.

  51. Mayonaze – I’m not going to put up a poll until details of all four candidates’ proposed backroom teams are available. To be honest, I’m doubting the value of putting up a poll at all. I just wish the appointment process would move on at a faster rate and get completed as soon as possible. As has rightly been pointed out, nature abhors a vacuum and the tone of many of the comments on here in recent weeks bear that out.

  52. In an effort to fill that vacuum, the latest podcast episode is now available on all platforms. Colm Keys and Billy Joe are on with Mike in this episode and it’s a good, informed discussion about the process (and how it compares to how other counties do their business) and about what attributes the new manager will need to have.

  53. @ the west is best.. you are correct that Donegal were unsuccessful during Rochfords tenure but generally I hear that the Donegal people put this down to selection and favouritism to certain clubs which was the remit of Bonnar. For me I think its a case of Donegal don’t have the players right now and the same can be said for Meath and Roscommon.
    I agree with Willie Joe.. should we not be very proud to have the calibre of candidate willing to put their name forward and leave it at that. There’s nothing to be gained at having a pop at any particular ticket in the thinking that it will improve the prospects of the other candidates.. it won’t and only serves to try and put down proud Mayo people.. our own people
    Have patience and let the process decide

  54. Criticism towards Rochford for being headhunted is absolutely crazy. It should be seen as a compliment and hopefully we’ll tie him down soon. Sometimes maybe we all should read our comments out loud before posting

  55. No problem with the process for picking the manager once he is in place before the Senior championship.

  56. Kinda surprised to see a ROD v. COC debate break out here, my OP was just saying that hopefully the new manager finds a way to get them both back to top form, IMO we need both of them firing on all cylinders (and ideally a fresh and recovered Tommy Conroy) to be in contention for Sam next year.

  57. @it means nothing to me

    “Ryan was great during the league, but he suffered once Cillian came back”

    You wrote that and then it was pointed out that the only game both cillian and Ryan started that Ryan was Mayos best player on the day and highest scorer from play with 4 points.
    You did follow that up saying you hoped the next manager can find a way to get them both back on form but that doesn’t erase your original statement above.

    I had offered not to engage with you but I can’t let blatant untruths like that go unchallenged.

  58. Fw. You say cillian edges it on experience and don’t think who takes the free s make s alot of difference. I cannot agree with thar statement. Ryan took frees in the last 2 years in big pressure championship games and was clearly the man in form. Its should always be about the man that’s going well. I posted on here about 6 months ago that if Ryan got injured basically we were in big big trouble and unfortunately that’s how it transpired. And yes it makes a massive difference who takes the frees. There was some bread and butter ones missed this year when we had momentum in matchs. The free taker is massive in tight matchs. No controversy been stoked up here.

  59. @craggy
    No issue at all with differing opinions.
    However you say Ryan took the frees in big championship games for two years.No he didn’t,he took the frees in the 2021 campaign when Cillian was injured.
    Everybody was saying we would be goosed if Ryan got injured because Cillian wasn’t on the pitch either for all but the Galway game (and last few mins of kerry game)
    I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other on who takes frees,Robbie is the only player who’s guaranteed to be taking them. I’d lean slightly towards Cillian.

  60. @FW: I did write that. I must admit forgetting ROD’s three point burst in the first half against Galway. Probably should have checked it in the archive here. That was my mistake.

    I also wrote IN THE SAME OP: “Agree that the new manager has to find a way to accommodate both himself and Cillian, find the best way to get them both ticking.” Real divisive stuff…

    Neither did I modify the above in response to corrections from other posters, as you suggest. It was written in the OP and of my own volition.

    Now, given that you’ve attacked me again, I’ve unfortunately had to break my own precept here by engaging you. This is not something I wish to repeat.

    Kindly desist. It was you, after all, who decided to walk away the first time.

  61. No probs @ it means nothing to me.

    You forgot, you made a mistake, you got it wrong,no big deal,I often do it myself.
    It would be better if you owned that and just admitted it first time round.
    As for the desist part I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you on that.I called you an eejit in another post and that was against house rules so i apologise to both WJ and yourself on that.
    I realise everybody has different opinions on Mayo football and we can be a bit overly passionate at times.However as mentioned i can’t let it go when it’s a blatant untruth (as was the case with part of your post as you have now clarified)

    Sorry if you feel attacked,that’s not my intention.

  62. Fw. When I said a mayo without Ryan will really struggle I wasn’t just talking about his free talking. He offers so much more. A lot of good free takers for instance Maurice Sheridan never offered a whole lot from play. Yes sorry 2021 he really stood up and Came of age.

  63. @FW: Jesus, who appointed you as the morality police on here, LOL? Accusing me of peddling “untruths” (a synonym for deliberately telling lies) when I’ve already owned up to a lapse of memory on the ROD issue. Let it go.

    I find it a bit obsessive that I’ve asked you on several occasions now to refrain from addressing me and you openly refuse to do so. Unfortunately there’s no ignore button function on here, so I guess I’ll just have to tune you out.

    Again: you go your way, and I’ll go mine.

  64. Agree @craggy,he’s probably our most important player at the moment.He was carying the team throughout the league that’s why I voted him num 1 in the poll.

  65. Agree Craggy about Ryan’s ability from play. Class.
    A focus for the new manager must be how to get Cillian dictating proceedings from play more. We’re all tired of saying this now but the man needs to stay close to goal, and NOT be given tracking duties. It’s crazy. Take a leaf out of Kerry’s book with D. Clifford. He wouldn’t track back to save his life, but does his lethal work up front.

    Cillian is also lethal up front. We need him running at defenders, or more importantly using his strength and footballing brain around the box, especially if his legs aren’t what they once were. It’s a no-brainer.

  66. For me it’s Lee Keegan. A maestro at pushing Maigh Eo on at crucial stages of games when they are in the melting pot.A nailed on All Star for me this year. Young Silke has a long way to go. As has Ryan O’Donohue, who I think was fairly untreated when Cillian came back on the scene. To me Cillian is not a starter from here even with his vaunted records or is his brother Diarmuid. Likewise with the Breaffy boys Aidan and Conor O’Shea. Hopefully the New boss will see this and build a team without the need that James had to include players that were never going to produce or play for Maigh Eo. In Reality James should have stepped aside after last years All Ireland. With that interview with Tommy Marren and all the learnings he took from it ,the team Regressed big time and that now is to the detriment of the new manager coming in to pick up the piceces of a failed experiment. That fault lies with the County Board and to me they don’t inspire confidence in me.

  67. @Ger Mc. You are being far too harsh re Horan’s tenure as Mayo manager, you sound like that fella on YouTube that thinks the Senior players were the actual managers of the Mayo team for a few years. The team regressed because two of the main scorers got injured, Conroy and O Donoghue with nobody to replace them.
    Let’s see if the new management team have the same impact as Horan had. Things were very quiet in the camp after the league defeat may this was to protect the players in some way.

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