Will the real Mayo team please stand up?

Guest-slot_

Watching back, listening, and reading again through what has been said in the papers, online and other sources it would seem that we are progressing okay as a team since the Galway jolt. However I don’t buy that at all and below are the reasons why.

In my mind it is simple. We were soundly beaten by a better Galway team who were fitter, faster, hungrier and smarter on the day. After that it was the back door and we were then very fortunate to win at home against Fermanagh. Looking back at the Fermanagh game and the performance especially in the first half I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest that they would have beaten us on their home patch given the way the team played.

However on the day we got a bit of good fortune and progressed in the end. Having got through that we were handed another relatively generous home qualifier match. A Kildare team plying their trade this spring in Division Three who have no form in the championship for the past number of seasons. I thought that our Mayo team would be better but I was disappointed again. The match was turned on its head in the ten-minute spell with the goals but Kildare won the second half.

Yes, certain individuals did turn up but others I expected to have increasing impacts as the championship heats up were visibly absent. Perhaps it’s just in my head. Maybe Aidan O’Shea was subdued that night because of what happened the previous weekend versus Fermanagh. Others argue he had a more strategic role in defence to play and he did prosper somewhat in that role. But overall I was disappointed in his contributions for the three games in the championship this year. Hopefully he is saving himself for the big game as I think he has so much to offer this team when playing at his peak.

Also maybe Cillian had another low-key game because he is still recovering from injury and still getting back to speed? But he’s rapidly running outta time because at the top level (and it’s closer and closer we are getting to it) players are going to have to make an impact on the game with the correct decisions at a faster pace or else they simply won’t cut it.

And it will be the big players like Aido and Cillian that are expected to be making these impacts. But so far this year they have been at the very most haphazard if not alarmingly absent in all the championship games to date.

In their absence others have stood up. Colm Boyle has been wonderful but is now walking a fine line with the cards. Diarmuid O’Connor too has been a revelation since his debut season. But what of the rest? 1– 4 and 1– 5 from play says a lot for the two forwards. Evan Regan will be happy and possibly even a little disappointed he didn’t score a second goal against Kildare. Should we have scored a second goal?

In my opinion, yes. And it could well be down to this lack of ruthlessness and clinical cold bloodedness in front of goal that may cost us against better teams. But it’s unfair to pick on a newcomer. So let’s not forget that two others also had one-on-one opportunities to score goals in that game and failed to deliver.

Watching back on TV I heard the experts say that it was unusual for Mayo to be so well beaten at midfield with Barry Moran, Seamus O’Shea and Donal Vaughan all operating in that area. In my head I agreed. Why was that though? Okay, you can argue that Kildare have a fine midfield but surely our team are up there with the best of them and should have the wherewithal at this stage in their lifetime to be at least be on a par with a team from Division Three?

Stephen Rochford asked for patience at the start of the year. Where now is this team at because this week we are coming into Croke Park? I have been patient but to date in the both League and championship I haven’t seen anything dramatically different other than Kevin McLoughlin starting as sweeper.

Also why does the team, when attacking, have to take that extra solo or hop? Okay, it’s a possession game and patience is required but what is wrong with sometimes delivering it first time or at least a little bit earlier to give the forwards a fighting chance? The best score of the game the last day was from a long ball into Andy who duly played it to Diarmuid first time and he in turn played it to Evan who fired over the bar. That is the sort of transition football we need to get to. The penalty in the Fermanagh game also came from an early ball in and several of Evan Regan’s scores against Kildare came from early balls which gave him a chance to turn and run.

Let’s turn to the bench and look at the subs impact. Alan Dillon played well in the first ten minutes after coming on against Kildare but then he faded and by the end of the game I had forgotten he was there. Alan Freeman came on and scored a good point. Okay but what else was on offer? Did either consistently for the period they were on show and win any ball in front of their man? If they did I missed it.

Of all the subs who came on against Kildare possibly only Jason Doherty proved himself. The determination he showed in breaking the tackle to score his first point was exactly the sort of drive you expect when a fresh pair of legs is introduced and especially one who is supposedly hungry and fighting to get the starting nod in the first fifteen.

Overall when I add all this together it worries me. Because the simple reality is that form cannot be turned off and on like a tap. And right now the team is playing only in fits and starts for ten-minute spells. And if they are depending on playing like that to win it will simply not be good enough.

Team before throw-in

To have any chance to progress this year against the top teams they will have to get that team ethic and overall winning determination back. So this is my question for players and experts out there: is what I have seen so far the sum of what is on offer this year from our senior team?

Or is there something more that this panel of players offer together? Because if there is then from now on is really the time to show it.

102 thoughts on “Will the real Mayo team please stand up?

  1. JPM. Fully agree with all you have said.We have had all the luck we can get so far. Home draws against poor teams. Handy frees ,The peno, The only bad luck is the loss of Cafferkey and we dont have anyone as good to replace him.
    I am only hoping that all will come good as we progress as I hope we can beat Westmeath

  2. I believe Mayo will beat Westmeath and announce their arrival in croker this weekend and fire a shot across the bow on whoever we meet in the 1/4 finals. Team selection will be very important, if we progress against Westmeath, Mayo will only have a 6 day turnaround until the 1/4 finals. 3 out of 19 teams have only won their game in the qualifiers, so I hope this will be considered when selecting the team, we need as fresh a team for the 1/4 finals against the likes of Tyrone/Donegal, and if that means resting players and giving fringe players game time in positions we can afford to without putting the result in doubt then so be it.

    In response to your comments, I thought Aidan had some powerful runs from the back driving through midfield and offloading the ball before contact in the Kildare game. Cillian is playing half forward and not in his natural position, but he is a class passer of the ball and this should play into his hand in the wide expanses of Croker. I thought Andy was superb against Kildare, intelligent runs and clever offloads which brought Regan into the game, a nice partnership. I thought Dillon played a masterclass the day against Fermanagh, intelligent passing and timing of the pass. I hope Rochie gets the right blend of experience and youth for Westmeath game. Roll on Sunday. Maigh Eo Abu!!!

  3. I’d prefer Mayo just do enough to win on Saturday then stand up in the quarter final and burn their opponents if we get there

  4. JPM, agree with some of your points but I also have an opinion that while we are winning – granted not in a perfect manner to which we might desire we are still progressing, sometimes winning ugly is enough. I think a lot of us have a notion of Mayo football being played at the highest level and we have seen this throughout the years where the team shows up big time to win a semi final or a quarter final only to fall at the final hurdle. This year they have stuttered failing to connect the dots on a perfect display all year but maybe imperfect is ok so long as you get the job done. I agree the further we progress the more dots we need to connect but who is to say we couldn’t win a final not firing on all cylinders (Dublin did it to us). We have seen this Mayo team reach extraordinary heights and that adds expectation, but at this stage would you take an All-Ireland title running on 70% of the teams potential, I certainly would. If you were to say to Portugal a few weeks ago that you can either win the European championship playing above average football or turn in magnificent displays and get knocked out in the semi final which do you think they would take? Maybe this Mayo team are learning you only need to do enough and sometimes that’s a game-changer in itself.

  5. Meant to say Saturday, is it Saturday yet? Great to be going to Croker, can’t wait!!!

  6. Nally_Stand, I agree with your comments, Mayo are improving, look at Roscommon peaking in January. We should know about peaking too early. As long as we improve game by game, that should bring us on like our replay games against the last 2 all ireland winners.

  7. Not a very balanced post to be honest. I’ve no problem with a disparaging view or one that’s different from my own, but looking at 3 games and only picking the bad points is hardly reasoned analysis.

  8. I think this is a very negative article why don’t we stop over analysing and get behind the lads. What will be will be at this stage I think we are improving with every game lets enjoy the journey and see how far we get

  9. I don’t care how Mayo play next weekend as long as they win. That team has learned a lot of lessons over the last 5 years, one of which is there is no point sticking 5 goals past the likes of Sligo and having the whole country talking about how sensational AOS is. Steady as she goes will do!

  10. Backdoor Sam, I agree. A hugely negative article and to be honest I stopped reading half way through, nothing there that most of us already know. As fans we always want our team to be flying in each and every game but that is not how it works in the marathon that is the championship. Mayo have been steadily improving (admittedly from a very low base after the Galway game) but doing enough the progress. Who really has played well so far, Dublin playing well within themselves as Leinster is unbelievably poor. Kerry strolled through Munster and have been waiting around for a game for what seems months by now ( This may suit their dads army brigade later on). Tyrone are the only ones who have come near top form mainly beacuse they had to, will this have a negative effect down the road? Possibly.

    I dont expect Mayo to come out guns blazing, making a statement, setting a marker etc on Saturday and I dont want them to either. An improvement on the Kildare game is all I want to see, increase the period of domination by a few percent and we should win. That is all that is required. This is a marathon where peaking in the home straight is the aim. A marathon im quiet enjoying, Games almost every week, give me the qualifiers or a similar structure every year.

  11. Agree that this isn’t really balanced. I think there are some people going into every match with a negative mindset, with certain ideas already embedded in their minds before the match has started – that the team is out of form, the management doesn’t know whay they’re doing, the system isn’t working, etc. These opinions are being egged on by the media who have just been incredibly negative about Mayo recently. This results in people only seeing the negatives in every performance.

    Mayo are visibly improving from match to match and the qualifiers have benefitted them. Are things perfect? No. Are they at a level where they could call themselves All-Ireland contenders? No, not yet. But I do think there’s a big performance brewing in this team and I’d rather we see that performance in the latter stages of the championship than in the qualifiers.

  12. As it’s a guest post i’d go easy on the poster. That said i do agree it’s on the overly negative side of things imho

  13. Agree with you there Nally Stand – as long as we beat whats put in front of us that’s all we can do.
    This analysis does appear to be a bit on the negative side, I expect it may be so in order to generate debate and commentary, I’ve no doubt the Author is taking some of the positives they have seen over the past few games and perhaps leaving them from his submission.
    Let us not forget Kerry Won an All Ireland having Lost to Cork initially, met Longford, Sligo and Antrim, Dublin (not the team they now are), Meath and Cork 2009. It if wasn’t for Wikipedia I wouldn’t be able to tell you who they beat, I’d only be able to tell you they won it in 2009. And I’m sure those that have a Celtic cross from 2009 don’t care who it was they beat, or by how little or much they beat them by. I’m fairly sure that if Mayo managed a similar feat neither the players nor ourselves as followers would give a couple of hoots either.
    We certainly do look a little disjointed over the last 2 games but that is to be expected with a new system, particularly when you compare it with how we played under Horan. What is becoming apparent is that on the last 2 outings, we still had gas left in the tank whereas neither Kildare nor Fermanagh had any. That was not the case against Galway, we were well beat. We do appear to be finishing with a strong field more so than in previous years when it would have been all out attack for the first while and then replace those most in need of replacement with a lesser light while holding out for the final whistle.
    I do think that Aidan and Cillian did a lot of work against Kildare that went unnoticed as perhaps their positions on the scoreboard were less than we have come to expect. However their offloads and positioning were quite strong. The fact that we are not depending on those 2 entirely as we appear to have done during 2015 for scores is a big improvement in my view.
    We are trying out a new system and while I may not be its biggest fan, I have to put faith in the management that they know what they are doing and what they see as the potential results of this means its either worth continuing with, or dropping when the time to do so is right. I have no other choice, as my contribution and influence to the team and how they do things is literally from what screeching I can do from the comfort of my seat on match day. I would hasten to add that my roaring is most unlikely to have any influence whatsoever on whether Kevin McLoughlin plays in Sweeper or if Hennelly gets the nod over Clarke. If my shouting or a combination of mine and many likeminded souls happens to give the team a lift on the day, then I’ll have influenced in the only way I can. So I’ll place my faith in management of the team as they have a lot more exposure to who is playing well in training and who is more suitable for their positions. I can safely say they know a lot more about football that I do, or am every likely to know.
    So – did we look tired and leggy with a bit of bunny in the headlights against Galway? We most certainly did.
    Did we look like a team with a lot of work to do against Fermanagh? absolutely, however the result of that game was never in doubt, Penalty or no penalty.
    Did we look as if our entire midfield got their dates mixed up and assumed they were playing the following day instead? Yes, but given we had only 1 of our first 4 choice midfielders starting we probably conceded that. It also belies the fact that Kildare’s Midfield aren’t just Junior B players either. That is something to work on for the next day certainly.
    Some Negatives – concession of midfield. Dillon didn’t have the impact I expected, and Coen’s confidence is likely to be taking a bit of a knock. A few unforced errors throughout the game, we could have defended better in parts.
    Some Positives – Regan and Diarmuid getting 2-9 between them, Andy Moran’s contribution overall, versatility of the players, with Aidan in FB and Vaughan in midfield (less than ideal but fine against that opposition). Kevin Mc’s footpassing. Our Tackling particularly that of Higgins was once again superb. Improved play from Durcan, and others. Freeman and Doherty tagging on 3 points at the end to maintain the daylight between the 2 sides. Our Half backs coming up to either try for or contribute to the score sheet is something I’ve personally missed from our game and I’d like to see more of it, but I’ll conceded that if we were to win an all-Ireland as a result. I’d concede more than that and to be honest I’d happily concede lot more than I’d be willing to admit here but I digress. Improved Fitness levels were apparent when compared with the Galway game. A confidence on my part that if this team starts firing on all cylinders, we will beat whoever is unfortunate to be in front of us while we are doing just that.
    Lastly -The fans finally found a voice. That if you ask me is the single most important thing that we as fans can do, and to make sure we keep that up. I’ve long moaned about this but I’ve sat in games many a time and listened to myself as the sole source of noise around me roaring on the team. I’m not a man who likes the sound of his own voice, but if you don’t want to hear me braying on my own, then drown it out with your own loud roars and get as many other followers of our team to do the same, for the full duration of the game. Please. Make the noise folks.
    Up Mayo.

  14. JPM, that’s a very interesting analysis there! We will all know whether you are right or not,? sometime in the future when we are looking back in hindsight!. I think your right in taking a close look at our shortcomings, one of our shortcomings has to be that this is the sixth year in a row for this team, competing at the top table. The silver lining has to be our back door run, with our lucky two home matches against teams we were expected to beat. But coming from a very disappointing defeat to the the Tribesmen, but it’s no easy task to win those (easy games on paper). But a win is a win, is a win. It also gives us a chance to remedy a few things, obviously we were not at full speed, what were the reasons for that? And have they been sorted out?.. Well for me, there’s nothing like games to get things right. There’s nothing like competition for places either, now look at the moment competition for the two midfield berths, will Tom Parsons be back? More intriguing will SOS hold his place? Or will Donal Vaughan get the nod again at midfield? Or indeed will Donie go back to the half back line? where as before the end Galway game, it looked to settled in maybe even complacent. I’m sure Mayo were guarding against complacency, but how do gaurd against complacency against a team that had 50 something players who wouldn’t play for them? Or so we were led to believe, even our own exmanager was publicy expecting Mayo to win easily! . We have to accept that can happen once every six years. Killkenny certainly gaurd against complacency by dropping big names the moment they fail to reach the bar and young unknown often comes in and excells. Mayo seem to me to have definitely improved in that regard . Now as for ‘our tactics’.Im never comfortable with Mayo playing’ tactics’ we seem to be at our best when we are just going for it full tilt. Yesterday in the hurling Davy Fitzgeralds Clare continued to play the short game, definitely the correct tactics for 2013,but by 2014 the competition had learned how to deal with that particular tactics, so why are they persisting with it in 2016?. So I for one would like to see some evolution in the Mayo’s tactics for Saturday. If we get that, and a win I will be happy Mayo’s progress to date. Looking forward to it immensely. 304,Cusack, I’ll be there!

  15. JPM,

    Good piece but I would disagree on a number of points you made, which I guess is one of the strengths of debate on this great site of WJ’s.

    We were so bad against Galway that day that I don’t agree they were the better team who were fitter, faster, hungrier and smarter than us.
    Remember as bad and all as we were, we were still 4 points ahead when we conceded that awful goal and that was our own undoing. Galway weren’t that
    much better than us, what they did do was crowd the defence and our energy and concentration levels were so poor that day we were unable to break them down.
    Perhaps that game of chess came too early in the year for this team and its new management and we weren’t fully prepared or tuned in for it.

    There is no evidence to suggest that Fermanagh would beat us on their own patch. Each game is different and home advantage in Gaelic Football doesn’t always count
    especially in qualifier games. There’s a certain pressure to be handled in front of your own fans, I think after the Galway match we did that well.

    In most of the Major games we have been involved in in the last 5 years we have lost the midfield battle. Be it Donegal, Kerry or Dublin, even Galway.
    Our midfield is hyped up to be better than it is. We have Just Tom Parsons who has the athletic ability to last most of the game, but he is also Injury prone as is Jason Gibbons and Barry. Aidan and Seamus have also been tried and they haven’t lasted the pace either. So maybe until we can get some younger legs in there things have to be different for us in the middle third and we are trying to adapt a system to suit.

    The qualifiers are all about winning not about dominating all sectors of the field. Its knockout now. All you need as Derry know is a one point win. Look how many games Leicester won in the Premier League by a single goal, games they were often outplayed in.

    Too much is read into this player and that player not performing. Each game presents different circumstances. You try and beat the team your up against whoever they are.
    If the team performs collectively good then you’re in with a great chance of winning that match. Our overall work when we haven’t got the ball is starting to come good.
    We must be doing something right or else we wouldn’t still be in the mix.

    Regardless by how much Dublin have beaten Westmeath it doesn’t matter an iota.

    I’ll take a one point win the next day and also hopefully the day after that –
    No problem.

  16. I respect the analysis and when broken down as it is, it is hard to argue. However the key to the qualifiers is winning, and winning builds its own momentum. The Kerry example has already been given, but the Tyrone example in 2008 is more apt. When they beat us in the 4th round of the qualifiers, they were blessed. But when they won the all Ireland, that was all forgotten. Enough people said that Mayo couldn’t handle the qualifiers, but we’re only one match away from the quarters now. I expect us to win again on Saturday, but not convincingly and I bet that the criticisms of the team and management will not have changed. Peaking in August/September is the name of the game, and I’ll spare the rod until then!

  17. I think we are in a much better place than after the Galway game.. We have improved game on game. The graph is going the right way. we have plenty to work on but I would rather be in this position that shooting the lights out and possibly being burnt out before the real tests arrive in Croker. Believe you me, no one will want Mayo in a quarter final (No disrespect intended to Westmeath, but I feel we have too much for them)

  18. JPM sees it the way he sees it and that’s ok. I’m sure you ll enjoy the rest of what’s to come as much as anyone else.
    I can identify with everything you say and I think we de all have the same fears and hopes as expressed by you.
    Regardless of what happens as we move along the sight of the green and red will always cause a special flutter to occur inside……always did
    and always will That’s our basis as fans,supporters or just Mayo people.After that we analyse and express our thoughts according to our natures and they are of all shades and colours.
    I can see that we ve come along a bit since Galway….have regained something of what we ve had and am not too sure about what awaits. But I’ll wait in hope that the next day will see a Mayo team sharper,faster and more discerning in its movement and options all over the field. And then I’ll say roll on the next day!
    Jeez….we have ourselves killed out with all this bloggin!
    Greetings from the N Sea>>>> Holland!’

  19. surprised you allowed this post Willie Joe, you have blocked / deleted peoples comments for less

    we should be getting behind the team

  20. JPM

    Very good well thought out piece. You pretty much have put on paper what everyone one of us is thinking.

    These bunch of players have been and still are the most dedicated bunch of footballers Mayo has produced in many many decades. They just appear flat, and tired this year.

    A bigger issue for me is the lack of development of forwards over past five or six years. The coaching that forwards are getting at u16, u18 and u21 in Mayo has got to be questioned, as despite some decent success, we have maybe unearthed two or three potential forwards in that period, one being DOC.

  21. But for the goal Galway scored we would have won that game, and DOC was playing we would be easy winners.
    Without the peno we would have beaten Fermanagh totally on top in 2 no half
    But it’s all for luck, we should be more prepared for Tyrone or dubs through backdoor
    Not be sure we will beat them, they are top 2 teams in the country.

  22. Keep the faith everyone , just be there on the day to support the team. Criticism is part of our analysis these days but lets make Optimism a mantra for a change . Hon Mayo.

  23. We all know we’re not playing champagne football but ffs we are still in the championship. A lot have fallen and who would have guessed that 4 munster teams would be still there. Management are trying to bring their own style and all we want is that the whole panel buy into the systems or system that they want to implement. Mayo are still going to be very hard to beat. Having said that I’m not sure yet could they get sam this year but sho knows what twists may take place. If there was 1 positive thing from provincial defeat it was that we no longer seemed in the running for sam and that took the limelight away from us in that regard. A team with a lot if miles they were saying who may not find the legs to make another attempt at the summit. Well we are still in the running. I believe any team that’s left can be beaten. Dublin can’t afford any more upset in their defence. Jury still out on Tyrone. Kerry always tough but are only human beings like our selves. As I say if our panel buys the system that is being implemented we will be hard to beat again. So who knows ….

  24. @Redser
    I would hate seeing us go down the road of blocking any dissent from the party line. We may not agree with others analysis but they still are allowed to make it. The post isn’t a hatchet job, it’s well thought out, albeit overly negative in my view.
    It’s a glass half empty view that’s all.

  25. Come off it, Redser – it’s called debate. This isn’t Putin’s Russia! I delete comments when they break the rules, usually where personal abuse is involved. Sensible debate is always encouraged and JPM’s thought-provoking piece is clearly aimed at this.

  26. Jaysus FDBinashui, you can sit beside me at a match anytime. That is one of the most motivating posts I have read here in a good while. I think that we should all read it again around 5.30pm on Saturday next.
    I’m along with everyone who says that we just need a win and keep the show on the road. With the exception of midfield, I have seen a good level of improvement right through the field in the last 2 games. With Tom Parsons fit and rarin to go, I expect that midfield will be more contested in training now and whoever starts there on Saturday will have earned their places.
    I watched the Sunday Game last night and listened to people who week in week out change their minds as to who is the best player in the country but I saw nothing that would frighten Mayo last night. The defences were not as tight as ours, the centerfield battles were all for clean ball, the kickouts were predictable and the forwards were too often working alone. Having said that, I think that Tipp will give Galway a good rattle but we are gone up a notch from when we played Galway.
    We are gradually getting to grips with a new way of playing the game. And let’s face it, we needed a new way. The old way brought us a long way but it wasn’t enough to finish the job. We don’t yet know if the new way will bring us further, but like FDBinashui, I will expend every ounce of energy I have on Saturday roaring Mayo on.

    Saturday just can’t come quick enough!

  27. Erdogan’s Turkey would be more up to date WJ. Just trying to make sure you stay relevant.

  28. Every General will change the battle position of their troops in response to the circumstances that have evolved around them. Some times the sun shines and more times the rain falls, with the change of position, elevation or weather the entire scenario changes and demands tactical acumen.

    Rochford has made a change that has taken from attack but has strengthened your defence and that has been Mayos Achilles heel for the past number of seasons. He has taken the job and decided he will fight on his terms and not on the conventional table. This General is different and in my opinion he has the guts to take the black card for the team by risking the flack from the exacerbated Mayo supporters, his job is difficult and not rewarding it can be argued. Don’t forget he was woken from his sleep by beggars with lighted candles pleading with him to take the reigns of the leading chariot (I mean that respectfully as in the catastrophic demise of Mayo football was a possibility ).

    Mayo are like people stuck in a small hot overcrowded departure lounge for far too long, everyone is screaming instructions at the officials as to how they should fix the air conditioning while others are saying at least ye should be able to turn on the fans to cool us down, ye know there is a perfect mix that will bring your team an All Ireland and the frustration of not being able to deliver it is making ye impatient and tetchy.

    Everyone has an opinion and they are usually proclaimed when the final whistle has sounded, now lets hear what he should do when he meets a team that are real contenders who have trained and prepaired for every eventuality , be it panned or visited on them through misfortune or luck. I admire Rochford and I think he has grasped this poison chalice with both hands and has swallowed its contents knowing that he will be a prince or a frog when it’s potion takes effect.

    To this i would suggest that your guest speaker should be a little more respectful when he puts his dreams to print regarding the great players of the Mayo team. They have spilled their guts and put their hearts on a plate for their County., If we were meeting them next Sunday I would be very glad of the massive test they would pose but I would enter that game with massive respect, trepidation and great feart for one of the greatest teams I have seen or been challenged by, be positive as the war is far from over and your General is using the changing terrain and circumstances to your advantage.

  29. Bloody hell JPM. Off to pour myself a strong whiskey and lock myself in a dark room for a while after that. Might cancel the train to Dublin on Saturday as well! 😉

    Joking aside, one of the great strengths of this site is that all considered views are given a respectful airing, and it always astounds me just how differently we all see the game. And it’s great to see that JPM’s post has provoked a debate; none of us can claim to have the “correct” perspective, not is it for anyone to be telling others what we should or should not be thinking. I strongly disagree with joemamas’ assertion above that we are all thinking the same – we are not! For me, FDBinashui and Gamechanger10’s replies are excellent. (FDBinashui I’m not sure who you are but you can sit beside me and shout anytime and I’ll definitely join in!)

    Speaking on a personal level, I’m gone long past the “Sam or bust” stage. It has just been too bloody exhausting for the last five years. For all we know, we might not win Sam Maguire for another 65 years. If we do, with the help of god I am around to see it but if not, I don’t want to be viewing every single season we don’t as a failure and spending the winter months mired in misery like the last few (I swear, after the 2013 final I wasn’t right until the following February. No joke.)

    And yeah, in the eyes of many, not winning the All-Ireland might be a failure, but Joe Canning’s words yesterday put it starkly in perspective. As a supporter, any day I am happy enough and healthy enough to get out of bed, go along to a game and spend time with the best of people I have met down the years following Mayo football is a good day, win or lose. And if that’s too happy-clappy for here, so be it 🙂

  30. 1 point win the next day will do us fine, no need to shoot out the lights yet.
    A big positive would be that AOS and Cillian have not reached their usual standard yet – but we know they can!
    If we are fortunate we might than get Tyrone in the QF and Galway or Tipp in the Semi – that would have us playing only one D1 team to get to a final if we did – after really messing up V Galway and potentially putting us on the much harder side of the draw, that would be a godsend. Maybe luck might be on our side this year – every AI winner had a good dollop of luck. Having said that, we could still end up on the Dublin / Kerry side. Up Donegal so!

  31. @joemamas jpm’s article is certainly not the way i’m thinking and i’m sure if you read most bloggers he does’nt articulate everyone’s point of view either.i myself enjoy reading most people’s views on this blog and other pundits alike but at the end of the day i still like to form my own opinion on mayo’s past,present and future,it is the great joy this county has given me to be able to so,it’s quite easy to pick flaws in anything if that’s all you look for,this mayo team is far from a busted flush as some may suggest,and if “big if” we don’t succeed soon,i will be able to look back on these last few years with some great memories.

  32. gamechanger10 I always enjoy your posts but that was exceptional ! For Saturday I’d be happy if we do just enough to win I’d be happy if we are still being written off I’d be happy if we are no longer everyone’s 2nd favourite team being that didn’t win us anything did it? I’m sick of the sympathy and moral victories anyway Winning the All Ireland is more than what happens on the pitch with managers back room teams and players the media does play a huge part now just hope we as supporters and team keep the heads down say nothing and do all our talking on the pitch and terraces ! Brand Mayo people brand Mayo!!

  33. JPM i hear what you are saying but these qualifiers are a journey , we could get to croke park and do poorly like cavan did a coupe of years ago or we could get there and cut loose like kerry did to the Dubs that year FDB mentioned when sligo missed a feckin penalty at the death down in tralee that would have put them out.

    we wont know until we get up there but I think we have enough muscle memory and enough new blood and enough skill and experience and pride to take down westmeath, after that we’ll worry about the next opponent

  34. They could hold next weekend’s QFs in Parnell Park and capacity wouldn’t be an issue. Or they could run them all on Saturday and be done with it. Come to think of it they could have accommodated qualifier and CF replay on the same day also. 4 teams with probably the worst support.

    Remember there were c.22,000 when we played Cork in our first QF of the JH era. Kerry and Limerick BTW were the other pairing, just going to show that ‘weaker’ Munster quarter finalists are nothing new.

  35. Nothing like a negative post to rally the troops .
    Hon Mayo . Tickets in hand family heading up . Both like Mayo supporters in Croke park , win loose rain or sunshine .
    For what it’s worth there might be a big team that will fall at the hands of Mayo this year. All. I hope is that it’s in the final .

  36. If that happens, Clew Bay Bomber, and I think there’s a strong chance it will, there’ll have to be a draw to determine which of us plays Dublin or Tyrone.

  37. I agree that we still look a little disjointed but we are moving in the right direction. Its my belief that Galway caught us cold and off gaurd in our bid to peak later in Summer. Roscommon should have beat Galway in Pearse stadium the first day out but they hadn’t the balls to take their point at end of game and ended up going out of championship to Clare. Dublin did not impress me too much against Westmeath. There is huge expectation on every Mayo team and being defeated by Galway to some is a massive failure. The fact is though we are still in the championship and we are progressing .For me barring our problem at midfield all that is missing is the intensity in from defense to attack we have showed it for spells in last couple of games but we have to start showing it for longer periods .

  38. @gamechanger…really enjoyed your post.particularly the departure lounge analogy…very true..

  39. There’s a good deal of fact in much of what JPM has outlined above. We haven’t been overly impressive overall this season and we’ve been decidedly unimpressive at times.

    BUT – we’re slowly improving. In my opinion we got the warning we needed against Galway. We were desperately poor and were particularly lacking in work rate and intensity, two of the absolute staples of this squad. We could have easily pipped Gawlay in that game but that would have done little for us but paper over the cracks.

    We’ve negotiated the two rounds of the qualifiers quite well and I believe we’re developing and learning as we go. DOC continues his ascent to the absolute pinnacle of his trade, KMC is bedding into his new role, Regan is beginning to deliver on his potential and some of the old guard are back to their very best.

    We haven’t been perfect, far from it. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. We have a couple of more lads coming back into contention and travel to Croker in reasonable fettle this Saturday. We’ll need to improve again to win and to instil further belief that this squad is building momentum.

    We’re not there yet and all Saturday holds is another test and nothing more than another opportunity to progress. If we can do that with a rounded performance and the likes of COC and AOS firing, all the better.

    I’ll take any kind of win though. Stay in the competition, learn and move on.

  40. New to this blog , great debate on it . Is there any word on the fullback situation? And if Keane were to be out ! Who then ?

  41. Interesting piece JPM, do disagree with certain points though

    Thought we were more comfortable v Fermanagh than the scoreboard suggested tbh and far from lucky to win. Even at half time there was no way I could see us losing. Granted it’s an opinion at the end of the day and the only thing that ultimately did matter is the result

    We were far better v Kildare than you give us credit for also, even if- of course- it was far from perfect.

    What we need to remember is that at times it’s very difficult to properly analyse back door games. Subconsciously players will approach them far differently to an All Ireland series knock out match. Given the home/away nature, matches are often played in substandard pitches, that don’t take well to extreme conditions, and matches can also be scheduled strangely.

    I appreciate your viewpoint, but lets be honest no-one can really judge this Mayo team until we play an All Ireland Quarter.

    Overall I do think we’re a level below what we were in 2013 and 2014, but I certainly wouldn’t rule out a lights out performance sometime later in the year. We’re probably – in theory – in a better position to last year though. We were in truth pretty overrated coming in to play Dublin, after a series of harmless opponents (Donegal were lethargic and far too many steps off the pace, and Galway were incredibly tactically naive in Pearse Stadium)

    The back door this year has at least altered our perspective a bit and given us some new tests before coming to Croke Park. If I’m being fully truthful, I can’t see us winning an All Ireland in all honesty, but hopefully we get a long summer out of it yet anyhow.

  42. Just got word from the Stolen Sheep admins there JPM. They had you pencilled in for a piece to sum up their season and to give your thoughts on their chances going forward. They’ve asked can you hold off for a few weeks.

  43. I’m coming more around to Cork winning myself too, WJ. Donegal are on a steady cdecline curve, while Cork definitely have the players to come alive in Croke Park. If they can pick their right team and get their tactics correct, I think man for man they look the better side

    Michael Murphy sadly has had a mediocre season by his standards, and guys like Lacey, McGlynn and the two McGee’s effectiveness has definitely worn off. At this stage they’re really relying on younger guys like McBrearty, McNiallais, Ryan and Eoin McHugh to pull them through. I’m not totally sure they have it in them, the team as a whole were utterly lifeless in the 2nd half in Clones a fortnight ago.

    There’s always a kick in Cork and with guys like Kerrigan, Kelly, Hurley, O’Neill – and now Aidan walsh and Alan Cadogan joining the ranks – up front, it wouldn’t amaze me if they hit form saturday. There’s always a performance in Cork no matter how bad they look- hurling & football!! Players like Collins, O’Driscoll, Maguire, and Alan O’Connor are good toilers too. In our prime a couple of years ago, they gave us plenty of it and that was after coming into the game with similar, serious question marks. Our FB line couldn’t handle them at all that day

  44. Are posters expecting any changes to the team for Saturday ?

    Maybe coen to full back if Keane is injured ?

  45. Mayo 51,. last I heard, Kevin Keane is OK. I expect a few changes. The only one I’d say would most likely is the inclusion of Tom Parsons, but for whom? , Seamus O Shea, or Donald Vaughan. On the evidence of the game V Kildare SOS would be most likely to lose out. On the other hand SOS would be a very anxious to the shake off his poor form, and he will be out incredibly determined to put his last championship experience behind him in Croker when his self discipline let himself and Mayo down,. needlessly getting himself sent off. So I can expect Rochford to use that motivation SOS will certainly have and I will expect him to the start I also expected Seamus to have a huge game for Mayo. But I think what’s happening in training might have more to do with it than the last match. Who knows, Might even be Barry and Tom? Who knows any combination is possible. , then again Stephen Rochford might want to finish with our strongest team. I think it’s pointless trying to pick the team, too many possibilities and we have to talk concede the management will know more about who’s going well and so on!… Personally I’d love to see Andy Moran being retained for the simple reason that his intelligence and play making abilities would be a great for Evan Regan. Most of the rest of our forwards have had at least a few good outings in Croke Park and Andy would be great to play beside for a Croke Park rookie. The other player I would like to see retained is Patrick Durcan, he had a very good game the last day after a poor enough one Vs Fermanagh But I expect PD will be out hugely motivated to put his last Croke Park experience of St Patricks day behind him. If I keep going I’ll pick the entire team and there’s the exact same chance of me being right as me getting the six numbers in the Lotto correct!

  46. Would be surprised if SOS was left out, then again he wasn’t deemed good enough to start v Galway in the first “proper” champ match. Parsons direct change for Vaughan is a definite switch I can see

    Wouldn’t overly amaze me though if they started someone like Doherty and moved AOS back to mid. Very hard to know really what he’ll do

    It’d be very tough on Andy if he was left out, though I’d suspect he was initially seen as an impact sub coming into the season so he might be harshly sacrificed with future games in mind. Does he have it in him anymore to hurt a Dublin or Tyrone side at FF from the start? If he is left out maybe they’d start Doherty for him or even Vaughan at 11 or something

  47. I would expect there be no changes in the team announcement. Possibly on match day there may be a change, Tom in for Vaughan if fit.

  48. Roll on the weekend got the tickets to day off a Donegal season holder as he can not make it so the woman will be happy to fly the flag for Donegal her home county as for me mayo all the way Donegal by 3 points and mayo even by one but mayo by 6 or 7 we need to put down a marker Westmeath will be no easy game but after 50 mines they will go down hill and that is when mayo will pull home safe well I hope and Tyrone waiting in the wings one game at a time

  49. Guys, as an exiled Mayo supporter, could someone explain in simple terms the permutations for the QF draw. Thanks in advance

  50. I have been disappointed with our performances so far this season (we all have) but I am not writing us off just yet. The Kildare game did show signs of an awaking.
    However…we were cruising against Galway (playing badly) before that kickout. I don’t think Roscommon would have beaten us on home soil. Small things change a game, even a season. We are though coming up the another road instead and maybe finding out more and learning as we go along.

  51. Maybe we should have gone a bit easier on the Rossies, I see that there is a Roscommon man reffing our game against Westmeath, I’d say he’ll give us nothing, especially if he has been reading this Blog! ……….. Ah no, only joking, it’s Rory Hickey from Clare in the middle for our game while Roscommon’s Paddy Neilan is reffing the Cork and Donegal game.

    JPM, I probably wouldn’t agree with a lot of what your saying but I’d probably prefer to be read what you have said, than if you were writing something like: This is our year, our Name is on the cup, everything is falling into place for us, we’ll hammer Westmeath etc. etc.

    We are where we are and we are improving in each game, which is great to see. We probably only played well for about 15 minutes in the Galway game, maybe for 35 to 40 minutes in the Fermanagh game and then 45 to 50 minutes in the Kildare match. Lets hope that graph keeps going in the right direction!

    I’d actually like to see Barry Moran start on Saturday. Westmeath seemed to boot their kick-outs down the middle of the pitch as far as possible and that might suit Barry. If they were fit, I’d nearly risk starting Chris Barrett and maybe even Conor Loftus as well. I know you’d probably want to see more of a settled team at this stage but the management seem to be giving different players a chance in different games, so maybe it will be Barry Moran’s chance in this game. There will be some hard calls to make for this game, even getting into the final 26 will be a tough battle.

  52. COH if mayo & Cork win there will be a draw to see who plays Tyrone or Dublin in QF. If Donegal & Mayo win Mayo play Tyrone as Donegal met them in Ulster final. If we get to play Tyrone & win we would play the winners of Galway /Tipp in semi. If we play Dublin & win we play Kerry/Clare in semi.

  53. i hope and pray that this view is wrong but I .cant help thinking that a good few
    members have given so much over the past 5/6 years that the spark is gone .

    There is a limit to what any player can give and maybe after the under 21 success
    it was time to introduce more new blood.Much depends on the next two game and there will be two as Westmeath is not a serious problem.

    Meanwhile hope springs eternal !!

  54. You often hear soccer pundits saying set out your stall early and start as you mean to go on. Don’t think this applies to gaa to be honest as it’s the team that’s going well and shows the greatest hunger to succeed by whatever means at the business end of the year that takes the prize.
    While Mayo started poorly in the league, they did manage to survive with what I thought was a careless performance against Down with CB getting the curly finger early before he got himself sent off. The performance was compounded for me by what happened to Down later in the year.
    I could throw up some conspiracy theories as to why some sections are not functioning to our liking but I’m not going there.
    What I see are lads getting up to speed following injuries, a manager with a selection headache in the forwards of AOS COC ER AM DOC AF JD AM and throw in CL and COS. With these forwards I think we have reason to be optimistic. Do we seriously believe that every other team wants to draw Mayo – don’t think they do. I personally think and believe that Mayo have been good enough to have won any one of the last 4 AIs but I have met a few clowns who have argued that I am mistaken in those thoughts.
    Bad luck and poor decision making have held us back from the ultimate prize. Mayo will win on Saturday -doesnt bother me by how much and they will go home quietly and smartly to prepare for the next challenge. I for one believe that if we get the mix right that we could have a year to remember. I’m praying that will be the case.

  55. Im not at all sure the spark is gone as sme of ye are saying albeit its been patchy but if you look at some of the tackling from boyler, higgans and AoS also the last day it seems to me they are just keeping the full blast for a bit later on. Its not that risky if youre ten points up like we were v kildare.

    A win, no injuries and still not going full tilt would suit us fine next sat. My only slight worry is cillian is not firing right at all. Regan could have a big game next sat , im expecting him to come alive in croker , i think it will really suit him . Andy has to start again , he played really well v Kildare and bar the mix up with himself and regan goin for the same ball early in first half they are a good combo inside , Andys football brain is second to none . Someone asked could he do it v dubs! Watch last years replay for cillians goal , who made it?

  56. This mayo team never gets the credit it deserves for the character they have shown throughout the years. 4 down against kerry at half time with the best half back in the country sent off came back and drew the game never got the credit they deserve. 8 down against the best gaelic football team ever in dublin with 10 minutes to go came back never got the credit they deserve. 6 down against fermanagh came back to win by 5 never got the credit they deserve.

    We always have to pick at the things they did bad in more detail than the things they have done well. They lost the midfield against Kildale so what it’s first time that has happened in 6 years. The bad first half against fermanagh was because they were vulnerable and a little nervous which is natural because this team is human and we expect them to be superhuman.

    We need to lay off aido and cillian we expect these to move mountains. When the big day comes when we need them in croke park these guys will come good.

    Think positive, stay with them this team has done more good than bad for this county.

  57. The shape and set up of the team in the championship to date just doesn’t feel right. We are in probably as good a position to push on for August and September football as we have ever been. There’s no one left at home . So why is the gut feeling that all is not right, we have been going to all the matches, its there in front of our eyes, there is a real sense in poker terms that we have a 4 of a kind but the guy with all the chips has a royal flush. We have to go all in at some stage an see if its all bluff.. This is the last chance saloon for a lot of guys.

  58. I must say I’m surprised at people saying this piece is negative. I’ve had bubble baths harsher than this piece. It seems to me that, if anything, JPM has gone out of his way to not take a pop at anyone, either management or player, while still saying what a child could see – that Mayo aren’t playing well so far this summer.

    Note the “so far” in that sentence before you reach for an ash plant. I agree with posters who make the point that momentum is more important than form in a knockout Championship. But there are different degrees of momentum.

    Mayo got better between the Fermanagh and the Kildare games, but is the margin by which Mayo got better greater than the margin by which the opposition got worse? That’s a legitimate question to ask, and JPM asking that question makes him someone with an interest and an understanding, and not a traitor or a quisling.

    Here’s a question – how would you rank Westmeath against Fermanagh and Kildare? 1, 2, or 3? Westmeath weren’t great in the League. Roscommon were great in the League but that seems like fools’ gold now I’m afraid. How good are Galway, really? Media darlings as ever, but just how much beating did Mayo or Roscommon take? How will the Leinster final loss affect Westmeath? Will they better, worse, or about the same? If this thing is about momentum, what is Westmeath’s momentum like?

    Discussing these issues is part of what makes the summer. And we can’t discuss them properly if we ban ourselves from ever wondering if maybe, somehow, Mayo aren’t the best team in Ireland this year.

    Up Mayo.

  59. If we beat Westmeath on Saturday by the same amount as Dubs beat them would that give fans confidence in this team ?

  60. The Rossies are bet and we all know what it feels like to have the summer cut short and worse still to know that the effort on the day probably didn’t match up with the potential but that’s sport up and down. Personally, I am way, way too Mayo centric to be worried about what happens to our neighbours, any of them. I wish them good luck but that’s about all I can muster.

    P.S. Well done Regina. A few mornings in Knockranny and you’ll be sound!!

  61. Maybe Cork won’t beet Donegal but I’d say there is a fair chance that they could beat Donegal !! 😀

  62. So without sounding cocky and with all due respect to Westmeath, we’re too strong and will have simply to much for them. Sure it will be close and they will match us for long periods like they did against Dublin, but we will see it through. My thinking here is that we’ve not shown enough improvement to match either Tyrone or Dublin! That hurts me to say but at the moment it’s where I see us With that in mind how should we approach Sat match? For starters, Boyle not to get black card. No injuries. Both Quarter final teams will hit us hard on the break, which I think we’re set up against to defend (obviously we need to improve more, but system and play is in place). The big question for me is how can we harness Cillian and AOS more to destroy opposition. What can we work on sat without giving the game away for the following match?

  63. I want a win in first gear would be ideal because it’s a quick turn around if we do win.

    No injuries, that’ll do.

  64. Look everyone knows we have been terrible since falling to pieces in the replay last year and not for the first time. If form does not improve we will be out in the next game or two.

    What I will say is It doesn’t matter how much you win by, but that you win. People are watching Dublin hammer teams out the gate and thinking oh well if we can’t do that then we are not up to it…sport doesn’t work like that.

  65. Donegal will beat Cork. So the road is clearly marked from there! One at a time….

  66. The view of many is that we are getting past teams, but not in a convincing manner. I agree with that analysis. Having said that, the defence is much tighter and in the few minutes when they throw off the shackles they return to type that tore opposition apart in past years. The difference, I hope, is that now they can see out a game and not be caught by a sucker punch. Westmeath will go hell for leather and deserve respect.

  67. Yes I do think mayo would beet Donegal but cork are not the team they once were as for Tyrone if Donegal played like they did in the second half Donegal would have won but I can’t see Donegal beating Dublin but mayo v Tyrone is hard to call if we are right on the day with all the players fit I think we will win

  68. Inbetweener survival in division 1 was top priority and as Rochford had savage injuries all involved dud well to stay up. It’s the first time in years the form had dipped. Changes are being made as we all can see. Compared to the team that started last September against dublin a good few changes in personnel have taken place. Different roles for Higgins and kmac. Clarke.harry. Keane is in due to caff loss. Durkin. Regan. Andy forcing his way back. Diarmuid getting better all the time. The 1 thing I would have liked was a new out and out midfielder. Not sure coen is for that position. The midfielders we have a prone to injury. Maybe nally is our secret weapon thus year. Time will tell but change had to happen

  69. Mayoman what have Tyrone done to put us at a level at that we cannot match them?

    2010 was the last time they got further than us in championship. In fact since then they only managed to equal us last year. And we had by far the tougher semi then and brought it to a reply

    I really struggle to see how this Tyrone team has become so overrated. My guess is that people are still subconsciously seeing them as AI contenders as their 00 teams are still so fresh in the memory. Like mayo people from older generations still always fear galway no matter how bad they are. They were little more than mediocre for 95% of the Ulster final and drew with an ultimately very poor Cavan team. This forum would probably have exploded if we had a result like that in this years champ

  70. JPM fully agree with your analysis and have taken a lot of criticism on this blog for putting forward this point forward on our Championship performances year to date. We are a pale shadow of the 2015 team. It is hard to believe we had Dublin beaten last year only for a lack of composure to finish the job. This year so far we are poor and not getting anywhere near that level of performance. Yes a win against Westmeath could see us into a QF but realistically unless we start to play 1 to 15 and get our structure right, Tyrone will beat us handy. Are we good enough to step up from last year? Why not. Caff is a big loss but if our big names start to play and we abandon McLoughlin at sweeper which is just not working from a defence perspective, then we should be back in business. At the moment, think we have performed way below our potential and it is a major concern.

  71. You can only beat whoever is put in front of you. For most of the first half of the Westmeath Dublin game, Westmeath were the superior outfit. They tackled harder, won more ball, exposed the Dublin full back line with direct ball in and if they were more composed in front of goal they should have gone in at half time a couple of points up. The reality is that the top teams do not need to be performing at full tilt to win games at this time of the year. 20 mins of Dublin, fully focused, was enough to wrap up the Leinster final.
    Mayo are in a similar position. When we played like we know we can against Galway, in the final 10 minutes of the first half, we blitzed them completely and looked well set to hit for home. In truth, 12 minutes of “proper” Mayo was enough to beat Fermanagh. 20 minutes of “proper” Mayo was enough for Kildare. More than likely 35 or 40 minutes will do on Saturday evening. It’s from then on that the performance levels need to be ramped up. But guess what? The players and management know that. They know it better than us.
    The improvement in Mayos physical conditioning over the last 2 games has been noticeable and reinforces the fact that they did underestimate Galway and assumed that Mayo at 50% would be enough to get over that game and move up a gear for the Connaught final. OK, It backfired. We move on in the qualifiers. I believe we are seeing an improvement in our performances, the length of time we are controlling games is extending and the minutes without scoring from play is decreasing, e.g. we went 27 minutes v Galway without scoring from play compared to 12 v Kildare. We are getting players back from injury and the style of play is slowly evolving and being improved upon. It’s far from perfect, but it doesn’t need to be perfect just yet.
    I think it was Shankley that said during his time as Liverpool manager “to get to European Cup finals you have to wear your overalls. But when you get there, you put on your Sunday best!”. Saturday is time for the overalls again, a 4 or 5 point victory with a further steady improvement will do for me. Hopefully we can focus then on who we get the following weekend.

  72. Read article just now. Some interesting and well thought out opinions there from what I can see. Totally missed the “negativity”, though seemingly it is everywhere. Thanks to the author for taking the time to share his views.

  73. A thought provoking article JPM and certainty worth a read. However my impressions of the team at the moment is best contained in the last contribution from Pebblesmeller – very good summation all put together at 7 o’clock in the morning, well done

  74. Pebblesmeller.
    Brilliant post. That is exactly the way I am thinking. We have been doing just enough to get over the line since we underestimated Galway. We will improve again on Saturday and a two or three point win would be perfect. Hopefully by then Regan will have a decent outing in Croker and our big guns will be firing. All the players coming back from injury Will have another week to improve and most importantly our Management will have another game under their belts to fine tune our new style. It could be a good summer yet.
    Maigh Eo ABU

  75. Ciaran , agree totally with your point re Tyrone .,

    I personally think that this Tyrone team is overrated , they drew with a poor Cavan team and just about best Donegal …: a team we beat our the gate at the business end the past two years.

    However I do agree with a lot of posters above that we need to rediscover form.

    It’s very worrying , we have been poor in the league and championship

  76. Nobody really knows where we are at.

    All year bar maybe 10/15 minutes here are there we have been pretty damn awful.

    But the question is do we have the gears to go up. I suspect we do, but we may not. If we don’t we will be beaten this week or next week. If there is that energy and desire there well then the Summer might run into Autumn. Even our best might not be good enough to beat Dublin, but the longer you stay in this bloody thing you just don’t know what opportunities that arise.

    God help Stephen Rochford if he had the attitude of some of the nonsense tears here about “negative” comments. To be the best you have to peel back what is happening and see what needs to be fixed. There are always “negatives” or “areas to improve” or whatever you want to call them. I’m not convinced that he is dealing with them as well as he could but then what do I know.

    Anyhow here’s to a win against Westmeath!

  77. Ciaran – For all the negative media coverage Tyrone attract I do see them as a class outfit with great footballers along with and hard defence to break down. Surely they made amends in the replay against Cavan and the final few mins against Donegal they shown to me that that team will go far this year. The single one big difference I see between them and us is unity in play. I don’t mean to say we’re million miles away but compared to Tyrone we do have a gap in executing our system. I worry that maybe we’re exposed in a number of positions. AOS playing both full back and full forward in the same game doesn’t bode well.
    That all said, we’ve a little breathing space this weekend. We don’t need to set-up in a particular manner to counter Westmeath threats and we should solely focus on ourselves and getting our best performance without emptying the tank. I think we should use this weekend as time to get a feel for Croker (its been a while since these guys have had a good feel of it). Hopefully, our system and ethos starts to click .. and the guys start switching in and out as we need.

  78. Hopefully we don’t need to show our hand against wm. And what an advantage it is to play croker a week before a potential quarter final. This will definitely stand to us and could even give us an edge against Tyrone. The same edge the dubs get every game

  79. up donegal too ! Do not want another 6pm throw inn Saturday week with no way home 😀 And would rather stay on Tyrone galway side of the draw. the way Roscommon s defence “performed” vs Clare puts Galway’s scoring into perspective. It’s not like they shot out Mayo’s lights in our worst performance in 6 years is it. I’d LOVE another crack at them this year …..

  80. Some valid points made on guest spot. This year Mayo have not been as good as in previous years. But take a look at the other counties. Lets start with the underdogs. no disrespect here to any of them but Westmeath, Tipp or Clare wont challenge for Sam. Westmeath competed well v dubs in first 35 mins same as last year but were over run in 2nd half. I expect they will give us some problems but we should win. Tipp and Clare have had fantastic years and I am delighted for the football people in those counties. They play the game the traditional way, putting up big scores and not being overly defensive or tactics driven. But neither will progress past the big boys in the Quarters. Cork are an enigma. They should be much better but have had a rotten season, being relegated and losing to Tipp. They get such abuse from their own people But Cork are dangerous and could throw off the shackles in Croker. Donegal were strong in Ulster working really hard to overcome Monaghan and putting in a massive effort when losing to tyrone. Such tough games must be draining and Murphy is not his usual self. They rarely do well when they lose in Ulster and I wouldn’t be surprised if cork beat them though I hope I am wrong. Tyrone are motoring well without being exceptional. They were taken to a replay v Cavan and really had to grind it out v Donegal. They seem to have great faith in their system of playing and their manager and winning Ulster was huge for them. They will fear no one and are a serious threat. Galway must be thrilled the way things are panning out. They caught us, were overly defensive v Ross the first day but played some great stuff in the replay and now appear to have a handy route to Semi. Some of their players are playing extremely well and their inexperienced FB line have been impressive. Having said that, I d love to get a crack at them in AISF. Dublin have been Dublin, not having to break sweat in Leinster which is hardly ideal preparation for QF. For all their strength in depth, losing three great defenders from last years winning team must be a serious blow and I certainly think they are beatable. What about Kerry. Reaching an AISF by beating Clare and Tipp wont tell them much about themselves. They conceded 2 10 v tipp and 0 17 v clare so they may be worried about their defence but we all know that when they come to Croker they will be a serious team .And that just leaves Mayo. What can I say about this great team that hasn’t been said a hundred times already on this great blog. Other than go for it. Its there to be won. Up Mayo.

  81. We’ll win on Saturday even, no doubts. Guys, step up on to the GREEN PLATFORM.
    It’s all go now. Keep positive at all times. This amazing never say die team needs us no matter what. Trust them to do their best.

  82. As someone likes to say….simple as! I’ve not been convinced of Tyrones reemergence as a team to be afraid of.We may have our own uncertainties but so too do they and I’d relish the thought of such a meeting between the sides.To approach our chances from the very bright side there is nothing outlandish at all about expecting Cillian/Evan/Diarmuid /Aidan/Tom/Colm/Kevin playing blinders on the one day! What a prospect! Add in Keith and a few more and where/what do we have?Its not unreasonable to anticipate a day when these fellas will all pull together at the one time like a tug a war team…shocking hard work, shoulders heels hands brains all stuck in for the cause … what a prospect!After all isn’t it what they’re living for? Isn’t this what the management is planning for and edging towards?Why should we be constantly lamenting our downside and our failures and wallowing in a pit of near despair?Isn’t this what football history is made of?We ve done it on a number of occasions in the past as have many others over the years! It’s on the cards in our present circumstances and we de be as well to prepare ourselves for it for you know not the day or the hour !!The football Gods know what efforts are being expended by our players and are fully aware of our application and true worth more than we know ourselves.For who knows for certain what treasures tomorrow holds.We will abandon our fears and dry up our tears and hit every ball and man with all the vigour we ve got and posterity will recall that they surely deserved the great rewards that eventually came their way. Simple as!!

  83. At the risk of getting crucified – given how harsh people think the guest poster article is (thought it was pretty reasonable or are people only interested in a cheerleading site?) – and as an outsider I have to say Mayo appear to be in decline to me. I think they hit their peak on the stroke of full-time against Dublin in the drawn game last year. Had they managed a point in that last 5 minutes of injury time when Dublin were on the rack I have little doubt they would have the All Ireland they probably deserved. I fear it is now probably beyond them. I saw Keith Higgins limping off in a league game earlier this year and sensed the beginning of the end for what is surely one of Mayo’s greatest ever players. Yes, he is still good but he is undoubtedly on the wrong side of the lofty peak he reached. Keegan neither looks the force this year he was previously and only Boyle of this amazing trio appears to have maintained the standard.

    Evan Reagan looks a great prospect and the back door was a great stroke of luck for a player like that but for others like O’Shea and C O’Connor it seems a burden. The latter has managed just one point from play in Mayo’s 4 championship matches – that return speaks for itself – don’t tell me about all the work done besides – Brogan, Cavanagh, Connolly, McBrearety, Harte etc all put the work in as well and still put up decent personal tallies as top forwards. Diarmad O Connor on the other hand has looked outstanding and I think he would benefit even more from taking up a more central role – the old fashioned number 11. I think a lot of weight is on his shoulders if Mayo want any chance of going all the way.

    I think Mayo’s real shortcoming is their bench now however. When I saw Freeman, Doherty (who did very well incidentally) and Dillon as the men called on guide Mayo home I couldn’t help but feel that’s the greatest indication of Mayo’s weakness. These were mainstays in the team for several years going back several years. Usually when players of this stature go into decline they need to be moved on with fresh talent coming in rather than them simply doing a musical chairs with the subs bench. Of course they can contribute something a year or so after – Alan Brogan is a great example – but you don’t see 3 or 4 old guard players on the Dubs bench. If Moran hadn’t started it would have been 4 of them against Kildare. I never saw Padraig Joyce, Ja Fallon, a fit Peter Canavan, Stephen O Neill, Mugsy etc. playing several years off the bench. Some did a year and that was it.

    I also think Mayo’s full back line will be severely tested when it comes to the quarter finals – and there is no question they are still getting at least that far. But overall Mayo has gone from looking like the 2nd or 3rd best team in the country outright to disputing the 4th place with 3 or 4 other teams. I’d have Dublin Kerry and Tyrone clear of Mayo now and Galway and Donegal having nothing to fear in Mayo.

  84. I’d have to say JPM is spot on with some of the points raised around our forwards, taking the ball too far in the opposition’s half, and a poor show at midfield against Kildare. I’ll be disagreeing with him from now on in my comment so I just thought I’d point that much out at least!

    The statement “We were very fortunate to beat Fermanagh” – I’d have to totally disagree with that.

    How can it be that Mayo were lucky to beat Fermanagh when they were limited to 2 scores in the 2nd half…and what is more, Fermanagh had a massive wind behind them in the 1st that without a doubt contributed to some points for them, leading to the worrying score at half time.

    In fairness to JPM’s analysis of the match against Kildare, plenty of matches turn on spells of dominance lasting 10 minutes or less. If you look back to our semi final replay against Dublin last year, you’ll recall that match turned on a goal scoring spell lasting much less than 10 minutes. But I don’t think you’d say we were too hard done by that day. A blazing ten minutes and a solid 60 minutes from team of Mayo’s talent (and without a doubt, there is still bags of talent on that team) can beat any team out there.

    Our problem in Mayo is that we’ve often seen a blazing 10 minutes following a below par 60 minutes or so – resulting in drawn semi finals that were there for the taking!

  85. Thank god Willie Joe , all your points are my points but people still believe that we are Sam material . Wake up and smell the coffee , we have not got a team that is worthy of Sam’s heart . Though it pains me to say it we will not see a mayo team tog out in September .

  86. !!!!!! Not so sure, Mayo will play ball when their back is to the wall and if one or two of your players who seem to be a little out of kilter click,, that’s when the planets could line up and have Cillian making a few rehearsals to ensure he has left nobody out.

  87. In between
    Very elequently put in your last post.
    In relation to the flaws that people are highlighting; I am reasonably satisfied that the management are seeing the same things going by the improvement seen in the last 2 games.

  88. I find it a really negative article JPM sorry to say.. I agree with Liam and your synopsis. If I had that view of the world it would be enough to keep me in bed until 11.15 every morning. Too many “But” and not enough “If”. There are a lot of questions posed that I do not have an answer to, so be it. I am just as much an expert as anybody you see on TV, but I still do not have the answers. The TV analysts person is a small part of a large TV production team. Each program has an agenda and a program producer. Their goal is to fool you the punter, into believing they have the one and only, correct view of events on the field of play. Time now for real football supporters to get off the teat, get your self to the sideline and support these boys in the Green and Red. Make up your own mind about what your eyes are seeing develop on the field of play, and stop this dam over analysis.

  89. If I ever go to war inbetweener whoever you are I want you in the trenches beside me

  90. Gamechanger10 That is one of your great posts on this blog, really thought provoking and respectful of our situation

  91. We have the best tactical manager in the country. We have players good enough to win any game. I’m not worried and neither should you be because every top team won’t show their hand. Beating Kildare by 20 Pts would have done us no good. What’s there is yet to be seen. Chill the Fu* k out.
    These Men know the job and we’ll all see soon enough.

  92. Well Backdoor! If we were ever to go to war together I’d be wanting a nice soft cushion and a seat right up the front for a clear view!!!

  93. Ciaran, why do you always take a pop at Galway? Isn’t it good to have at least two decent teams in Connacht, providing competition and a good rivalry? It’s better for Connacht and for football.

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