Dublin 2-16 Mayo 0-16: outclassed

Dublin Mayo Final Score_

I can’t recall the full ins and outs of what combination of results last weekend would have kept us in Division One but would also have kept us out of the semis but, trudging out from Croke Park this evening having seen the lads get utterly hosed by Dublin, I couldn’t help but thinking that it would have been far better for us had such an outcome been the end-note of our 2013 league campaign. Instead, we ended up in a play-off match we seemed utterly ill-prepared for, facing well-drilled opponents who knew how to cause damage. We only lost by six in the end today but you got the clear feeling that the margin could have been twice or maybe three times that had Dublin really wanted it to be.

The last time we shipped a beating like that in Croke Park was back in the 2010 league final. That defeat preceded our worst championship campaign in recent years and while today’s scalding loss isn’t quite on the same scale, it is nonetheless a fairly stark reminder to us that we’ve plenty of work to do if we’re to get as close to the summit this year as we did in 2012. I know it’s only still the middle of April but there were precious few signs today of a team that might mount a serious All-Ireland challenge later this year.

But, of course, it is only April and with key players such as Keith Higgins, Barry Moran, Alan Dillon and Andy Moran to come back for the summer (and, boy, do we need all four of them back and raring to go – an outcome which cannot, of course, be guaranteed) things undoubtedly aren’t as bad for us as today’s flaccid performance would perhaps suggest. At the very least, though, we’ve an awful lot of work to do if we’re to have any hope of being competitive against the teams that count this year.

There was, at last, a touch of spring, maybe even a first hint of summer, at a sunwashed Croke Park today where I felt a tad overcooked in my cosy Cáirde Mhaigheo jacket with the sun beating down on us in the Cusack Stand. At least I’d remembered to bring the sunglasses with me. We started with a sense of purpose too and in those opening ten minutes there was little evidence of the fate that was about to befall us as we got the game’s first three scores to open a bit of daylight between us. Cillian converted two frees and Cathal Carolan popped a nice one over from play but even then we should have been further in front with Jason Doherty and Donal Vaughan spurning clear goal chances.

Action shot 1

Dublin didn’t get their first score until the 13th minute but it was a significant one when they did. Young Mannion shrugged off Kevin Keane to win possession out on the wing and then surged inside before blasting it past David Clarke on his near side. At a stroke, then, all that good work to build an early lead had been wiped out. Connolly then pointed to put the Dubs ahead.

Worse was to follow soon after when Whelan, making his first senior start, smashed home a second goal for the Metropolitans and that was our cue to collapse. From then until the half-hour mark, we didn’t win a single ball anywhere, losing every kick-out, every breaking ball, and Dublin engulfed us in a series of hard-running attacks that yielded a flurry of points. By the time this tornado had abated, the Dubs were already out of sight as they had amassed a ten-point cushion and had utterly broken our will to resist.

But it could have been worse. David Clarke made a wonderful save to prevent a third goal – something he’d do again before the game was out – and Bernard Brogan, who’d been Dublin’s main attacking threat in last month’s match between the sides, wasn’t doing all that much to write home about. Then again, he didn’t really have to as the lads around him had already done enough damage.

We rose a bit of a gallop before half-time, landing three unanswered points – another Cillian free, one from play from Michael Conroy (which was another goal chance not taken up) and a third fisted over by Jason Gibbons – but as the lads trooped off at half-time seven points in arrears only the most wildly optimistic supporter would have given them any chance of overturning this deficit. Clearly, we were already into damage limitation territory at that stage.

Half-time score

That meant that the second half was more akin to a challenge match. We’d make an effort to reduce the gap, they’d up the tempo to slap us down again then ease off until we developed notions once more. It was all painful in the extreme.

At least Dublin didn’t put us to the sword in the manner they hinted they were well capable of in the opening half. Instead, Jim Gavin decided to use the second 35 minutes as an opportunity to empty his bench and, with little to play for either, James Horan opted to do likewise, in the process giving a first league outing to perma-subs Michael Walsh and Alan Murphy. It was, in truth, a relief all round when the final whistle sounded, just after Cillian O’Connor had stroked over this late, late free:

It’s difficult to take many positives from today’s performance on a day when few of the lads put in any kind of decent displays. As others have already mentioned in the comments, David Clarke, Ger Cafferkey, Aidan O’Shea, Cillian O’Connor and Michael Conroy were our most prominent players today but, as has also been noted by others, as a team we looked utterly disinterested, especially after the second Dublin goal went in. And I guess the less that’s said about our own efforts to find the net, the better.

And so that ends our 2013 league campaign, an odd bloody campaign if there ever was one. The major positive we can take from it is that we did succeed in retaining our Division One status but we’re coming out of it with more questions to answer about ourselves than we went into it.

All the focus switches now to the championship and, in particular, to our showdown with Galway in Salthill five weeks from now. That one never was a gimme and Alan Mulholland will, no doubt, be taking a close look at the tapes of today’s game as he plans his tactics for Pearse Stadium. But, then, so too, one suspects, will James Horan who after today has a few big calls to make about a number of positions on his starting fifteen for the championship.

Mayo: David Clarke; Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Chris Barrett; Lee Keegan, Donal Vaughan, Colm Boyle; Jason Gibbons (0-1), Seamus O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1, a free), Aidan O’Shea (0-2), Cathal Carolan (0-1); Cillian O’Connor (0-8, seven frees); Jason Doherty, Michael Conroy (0-3). Subs: Richie Feeney for Doherty, Brian Gallagher for Gibbons, Michael Walsh for Keane, Alan Murphy for Carolan, Evan Regan for McLoughlin.

104 thoughts on “Dublin 2-16 Mayo 0-16: outclassed

  1. Normally I’d be fairly upset but this one isn’t bothering me too much. Look, t’would’ve been nice to win it but its a good wake up call ahead of the c’ship, puts us back in our box so to speak. And, the old cliche is still applicable, goals win games!
    The young fella must be very happy WJ !

  2. Lack of pace in too many positions is killing us – difficult to remedy that. No doubt the team tried its best and indeed posted a respectable score but ……

  3. I know, it was awful when the goals went in but Mayo did show great spirit after that. The nice thing is that a few of the subs got game time in Croke park, and 1 or 2 might set the Championship alight yet! E. Regan, B. Gallaghr and Alan M…. and Michael Walsh got some game time which many on this site wanted. No need for alarm. Just the right preparation and we might meet again in the All Ireland?

  4. Carheenmik and Ceideboy – knock it off, the pair of you. I’ve deleted all those comments – including that pathetic first one from you, Carheenmik – as they serve no useful purpose and are just designed to annoy. Onto the naughty step for the two of you!

  5. Just back from today’s game. First time in 2013 that I’ve gone to a Mayo match and not been frozen during and after. Unfortunately, that’s about the only positive I can take from today’s game.
    To begin with, the match itself. Dublin were far fitter, sharper, won all the 50-50s, showed more intensity than Mayo and could have won by a lot more if they had wanted. None of our backs, bar Ger Cafferkey came out well out of today, with Kevin Keane showing that he has a lot of work ahead of him to garner a place on the starting 15 against Galway. Donal Vaughan tried hard to provide leadership with some good runs but was outfielded on far too many occasions and still has a propensity to foul when he tackles.
    Jason Gibbons did reasonably well in the middle of the field but Seamie didn’t have one of his better games. Aidan O’Shea was, in my opinion, our best player and tried consistently to show leadership, scoring two outstanding scores in the second half. Conroy and O’Connor did well but they were the only forwards. Doherty was anonymous, save for missing another one on one chance, Carolan started well but faded badly and Kevin had one of his poorest games for us, I thought.
    But it’s when you look at the subs, it’s when you see what was wrong for Mayo. They didn’t care. Subs that haven’t played all Spring suddenly were introduced. It smacked of a mindset that didn’t give a tuppence about the league. Regan, Feeney, Murphy, Gallagher, Forde. None of them dd anything worthwhile in their cameos. Feeney provided ample proof yet again, that he is just too slow to be played as a wing forward. Maybe as a centre forward, but not on the wing.
    Overall, a very bad performance, never got going and no intensity. But the difference between this match and Donegal three weeks ago was noteworthy. On that occasion, Mayo were up for it and fought hard. Today, there was none of that. Disinterest.
    Take for example the kick outs. Watching Tyrone and Kildare was a lesson. Every kick out was short, looking for a man on the wing. Wing backs and wing forwards made fifty yard runs to create space for the quick kick out. Dublin the same. Cluxton never looks to put it into the middle where it’s a fifty fifty ball. Mayo today, never looked to do this until the game was in the second half. The ball was consistently booted out into the middle of the field, where invariably Dublin won it and set up attack after attack. That will not be good enough for any match.
    However – some may take this as a good thing. I do not believe Mayo were up for this game and were interested in getting into a League final. It served a purpose last year when they hadn’t their first really competitive outing until July against Sligo. We are now five weeks away from Salthill. A league final would have been a distraction. James Horan will get the players knuckling down, improving fitness and sharpness for Salthill. There will be no fear of arrogance now. Which is the way it needs to be. I would have feared for Mayo if they had won today or gotten ahead of themselves – 2007 and 2001 have shown that Mayo teams do not work well with arrogance. However, I remember Mayo losing most of their league matches in 1997, beating Clare in a relegation play off, 0-8 to 0-5, and then beating Galway in a superb performance four or five weeks later. Mayo teams often deliver when they are being talked down.
    They will win little without Dillon, Higgins and the two Morans. As I have said before, no serious teams can do without key players – and they are all key players. They may say a few novenas in Knock that Andy Moran gets up to fitness and is playing well by August for they will win little without him. However, if they got those four back playing good football, it’d be a different team come the Summer.
    Mayo are still a good team and proved that this league when winning matches they had to win. The disinterest they showed today, while discouraging and disheartening, may be a good thing in the long term. But they have work to do, no doubt about that.

  6. Mayo did show good spirits but the leaking of early goals is becoming a pattern. I thought Dublin were streets ahead of us and Mayo looked not too bothered for some reason. Good to see Walsh and Murphy given a run.

  7. It’s not the end of the world. The whole island knows Dublin are ahead of all teams in the county in terms of fitness & preparation. The positives today is that some players were found out and I doubt they will be near the team come championship. With mchale, Higgins, Cunniffe, Barry Moran, andy (hopefully) and Alan Dillon to come in 5 or 6 of today’s starters don’t deserve to be there.

    One startling thing for me was the amount of ball Paul Flynn won from kick outs. No change was made. Macauley did the same thing last year against us and mayo didnt look clued in to what was happening. Only 5 players performed today, Clarke was brilliant, Caff did a good job on brogan, Aidan O Shea got stuck in and Cillian and Conroy ran all day long winning frees and taking the majority of their scores.

    The goal chances that were missed hurt us badly. Cluxton made good saves but Doherty and Vaughan should certainly have taken theirs. cillian got the ball too late for his chance and cluxton was out quickly on him. its something that needs to be addressed before championship. Goals win games.

  8. Yes some good goal chances not taken again today however 0-16 would been enough to beat most sides. Dublin in fairness to them are already at championship pace they scored freely and could have scored more if it wasn’t for our keeper having a fine game. Kevin Keane has probably won’t start v Galway on today’s display and Higgins,Bary Moran were both badly missed today.

    Overall it was mixed league and at least Mayo have Div 1 football for next season when it didn’t look likely a few weeks ago.

  9. Not the end of the world but the alarm bells are ringing.

    That was a humiliation. Dublin toyed with us, ran through us like Cork did last week, and we had no answers.

    Yet again people are on here making excuses for mediocrity. Yet again it’s a national title we won’t win.

    How could anyone conceivably expect us to win three Summer matches at HQ? It ain’t going to happen. We might get one good day but we don’t have the quality or bottle to cross that line.

    The sideline have a lot to ask themselves. Why have we ignored Donal Vaughan’s poor poor performances. Dire defending, turning ball over in attack. How was Kevin Keane left on to be roasted. Jason Doherty [deleted] cannot win ball, and so it comes back. The league has been wasted. Empty the bench today for token appearances but we have been so average – lost 5 of 8 games remember – its hard to see any different come high Summer

  10. Look, the better team won on the day. I’ve said since the start of the year that Dublin are the team to beat in 2013, and I saw nothing today to change my mind on that. However, they are beatable, and more composure in front of goal might have proven that.

    No shame in what I saw today, we will need a lot of luck for us to go further than last year in the championship, but don’t give up heart, I think this bunch of lads have brought us to a level we weren’t at before. I only hope we haven’t reached our level and go no further.

    I thought Clarke, Cafferkey, Aidan O’Shea and Cillian O’Connor were our best performers today. I hope that AOS has proven once and for all that his best position in at midfield.

  11. Agree with ya there Horan’s Brigade, well said.

    Thought I’d get in here before the whole negative shite started up – we’re going backwards, Horan needs to go etc etc…

    I agree with the above, we didn’t seem too intrested today. I really don’t think a league final was in our plans at all.
    Now I know people will say that we should be trying to win every game and keep momentum going, but let’s look at the bigger picture here. Let’s just win Connacht and try and make our way to Croker in September – that’s all that matters.
    I might be in a minority here, but I’m really not going to lose any sleep over losing that game. Just as I’m sure they’re all sleeping soundly in their Donegal, Cork and Kerry beds tonight.

    A few concers though would be our inability (once again) to take goal chances. Now fair enough Cluxton is probably the best shot stopper in the game (along with Clarke), but jesus those goal chances were telegraphed. As soon as Doherty had the ball in his hands you could see what he was going to do. Cluxton is no fool and he could see it too, only one outcome after that. We need to be cuter in front of goal, way too predictable.

    Thought AOS was great today. Worth keeping at 11, if only becuase I can’t think of anyone we have that can do a better job. He’s the best midfielder we have, but he’s also probably the best centre forward available. Similar to K Higgins in that it’s not his best position, but he’s the best we have there.
    B Moran should be a shoo-in for centrefield but who to play with him? SOS didn’t have a great game today and doesn’t look the answer. Thought Gibbons played well enough, but kept fading out of the play.

    So a lot to think about, but sure it’s better to be thinking about it in April than in a few months time.

  12. Can everyone posting comments please avoid terminology such as “isn’t good enough” when making reference to specific players? As I’ve said numerous times, I’ve no problem with people voicing criticisms of players’ performances but please stick to specifics.

  13. Just thought id amuse myself reading the comments.

    Tis all very simple , we can’t score goals, we can’t win it out.sin e

    Keane !! is there actually people still saying ” ah god love him , he made a few mistakes in last years final and everyone has it in for him…..No ,he’s beat everytime by any quality forward ,wrong side/two yards behind ,take your pick, he ain’t [Deleted].

    Another era of heartache ahead.

    I love Mayo football and wish I didn’t.

  14. Going to be a busy night for you Willie Joe people don’t listen or read back. Mayo were outclassed and simply not good enough end of. Attention switches to Galway game and at least Mayo won’t be facing a side of Dublin’s quality until August. You learn more in defeat as they say…

  15. Wj,I have a feelin your in for a busy night with that delete button.some guys are just trying to take the piss,

  16. We were outclassed today. 6 points was not a fair reflection. You had the feeling the if Dublin needed 4-5 goals, they could have got them today. Trying to be a neutral, I have to say I like the way tis Dublin team plays. Lots of fast interplay, lots of accurate foot passing and lots of great scores. Great to watch.

    Its hard to imagine that we could beat that team next August or September (remember they have guys like A Brogan. Kilkenny, McCarthy to come back). On the plus side, I dont think any other team (bar Kerry) have that kind of firepower up front. Our attachs looked really slow and laboured in comparison. We worked so hard for our scores, but in fairness we scored 16 points. I’m a broken record on this, but, our lack of pace in the forwards in killing us. Maybe James just does not have the options up front and Alan and Andy dont solve that problem.

  17. Ease off on the negativity and put some perspective on it.

    That was a full strength Dublin outfit with all panellists busting a gut to impress the new manager.

    Mayo were minus 4 regulars /top performers.

    2 kicks of the ball was the difference. Alot of snatched shots in the 2nd half too especially straight after half time.

    Relax about the goals – at least the team is now creating goal opportunities – I counted at least 5. The management, I’m sure, will be working hard to address that before championship.

    The Dubs will be favourites this year which never suits them. Tyrone were impressive earlier. Mayo will be no pushover in August.

  18. A big issue today, as before is what to do with AoS given his physicality and drive. Seems that he takes or is given a roving brief when things start to go wrong. That might not be the best use of him. Agree with others that he is best anchoring midfield where he is more likely to stay fully involved in the game. His positioning will be key to future success of Mayo, which will come!

  19. Painful stuff as you said earlier WJ but two scores is all that was in it. And we had the opportunities for goals. Dohertys in the first and COCs in the second were the opportunities,

    It’s funny how games change. If we had scored that goal in the fist half – what would the score have been? 1-3 v 0-0? Instead it went the other way.

    But on the bright side out lads never gave up. In fact even in he second half when it was obvious we were not going to win there was that example where COC was being held by one of the Dublin backs. So he got his arm up and fucked him out of the way and turned and drove the ball over the bar.

    On first sight it looked terrible and a red card but on closer viewing it was sound. He didn’t use the fist. What he did was make sure he got the space he wanted.. I have to say I was delighted to see it.

    Rugged stuff but It’s more of this we need !!The sort of determination that’s not to be upon. All the other fellas in the team should be looking to that sort of example because frankly that’s whats needed.

    We’re not like Dublin, Kerry, Cork or Tyrone. We don’t have their players (and they don’t have ours!!) We’re Mayo It may not be pretty but it’s rugged stuff but fuck it.

    If that’s what it takes then so be it.

  20. We learned nothing new today. Inability to take two early goal chances cost us. Those two in the net the confidence would have risen, its a Mayo thing. We will come back to a decent level again fairly quickly but equally we will then throw in a performance like today.

    A man whom I respect for his football knowledge said Mayo flat out are unbeatable, the problem is how to fire the engines on a regular basis. Solve that and we will take out two big outfits in a row. Now a question. Why for as long as I am watching this present team, why do we drive every kick out straight up the middle? Could we not vary the kick out, hell you don’t need a tee to flick a short kick out.

    i got my hand slapped here during the week about our game plan. I ask again, what exactly is it? If its playing pure open football then good and well but currently we are behind the elite and ahead of an average pack. In the eight competitive games we played including today, we have won three. Fine, we lost the others by a cumulative eight points but today saw it by six. If your win ratio to loss is 3:8 then you got issues.

    As I said had the goals gone in we might be having a different conversation. They didn’t and that’s alarming, two in eight games is not good. We don’t get them because we don’t unload rockets. Doherty had no choice when Cluxton came out on him but the trigger should have been pulled earlier by the incoming player not by unloading on top of Doc.

    For sure we missed players but Cork resemble a hospital, all the top guns are missing men. We assume they will come back at the peak of their games, that doesn’t always happen. We have now a few weeks to recover. This is not 2010 but a few new planks need to be put in the ship otherwise the entire , as Rafa might say, project will go stale.

  21. I think the ou things to come out of today was Hiran realising who is and is not good enough to make the starting 15. You’d assume that Highins,Dillon and Moran (x2) will go straight into the starting line up. I think Kevin Keane has played himself out of the 15 and Gibbons over the entire league has played himself out of the squad. Not up to scratch at all, especially today.

    On the plus side, AOS stood up to lead when it was needed of him and if he can do that in the championship wel all be happy. Ger Caff, COC and Mickey Conroy all looked too class today and Keegan/Boyle should be at their best come May

    Defeat today was not a tragedy, as WIllie Joe said, its a game we clearly wer not prepared for while the dubs had been looking forward to it for about a month. The team who wanted it more won today. Come championship it will be a different Mayo team with a very different approach

  22. Was there today. Let’s not panic. Dublin are a very decent side and Croke Park suits them perfectly. Hugh pace and they can score at will. The reality is that we will need A Moran and Dillon back to have any chance of winning the big one. They are huge players as they would be for most teams and we do not have their equal in reserve. If you got Andy back in that teams the goals would come. We pretty much need the two Morans, Higgins and Dillon all back in. We just don’t have the quality in reserve to match the Dubs at the moment.
    Novenas needed in Knock alright for Andy Moran’s recovery. We could win Connacht without him but need him for August onwards.

  23. Mayo are playing Galway in Salthill in five weeks time, that’s the only game that matters. Mayo will have to improve a lot on today’s performance to win in Salthill, remember we have a poor record in Connacht after appearing in An All Irleland Final. Serious work has to be done between now and the 19th May but it can be done. Talking of August and September is foolish in the extreme. Remember TREAT EVERY TEAM WITH RESPECT BUT FEAR NONE.

  24. Hard to know where to start! We don’t get goals because 1] our forwards do not seem to have the ability to go past a defender at pace as Mannion did for their first 2] we cannot win direct ball into the ff line, every ball we win is won going away from goals giving the opposition the chance to cover back and 3] too often we seem to have a reluctance to shoot first time for either goal or point. To say that there was only two scores in it the end is delusional – they hand passed two good goal chances over the bar in the first half.
    Aiden O’Shea’s best position is definately midfield. The big bustling centre half went out of use ages ago – who can tell me who was the last to perfect that role? We also allowed Cluxton to exploit the short kickout far to often. Close marking of defenders on kickouts should eliminate this option as it would be far to risky. No that we won much in the midfield area esp. in the first half when we won hardly any breaking ball.
    I still think we will have too much for Galway if our attitude is right – their failure to get promoted says a lot about their quality. I would be more worried about Roscommon who can have a stubborness which can take a good if slightly casual team down.
    .

  25. I would agree that the best performers today were Caff, Cillian, Conroy and Aido, who I thought was our best player. You know it’s a bad day when Kevin Mc and Boyle, our two hardest workers and scrappers, just didn’t seem up for it.

    I hope we see Aiden in midfield full time. He’s in the half forwards cos there is no one else as good at the moment (in Horan’s opinion) but he’s a midfielder, it’s his best position. Kevin Keane was on thin ice this year and will probably not get his place following the display today. Vaughan also showed why he will probably not get a start either, he carries the ball into the tackle and can’t seem to see the pass to a better placed colleague.

    A lot of pressure now on Dillon and Andy to come back. Not sure about Alan but it’s hard to see Andy being ready to start before the Connacht final. Even with the two lads, I can’t see us progressing past the AI semi, as things stand.

  26. Just remembered hearing Aiden O’Shea on radio during the week say that having secured Div 1 survival the team focus was now on the Galway game. If so it might explain a lot – but not everything – about today. Using subs who had not got game time to date would seem to fit into this pattern.

  27. poor mikey conroy working his socks off every game no other forward apart from cillian management should have worked harder in finding forwards in the league wud like the team and management to stop using the words we learned from today dont seem to learn should be the words, any way we still are a decent team and fair play the lads will give us a few good days yet..

  28. Hard luck lads today dubs where good but their are over hyped Dublin I know they where good today but they missed few goal to put mayo out of sight if that was Kerry od Donegal Dublin where playing Dublin would be beat

  29. I cant see andy being ready until very late in the summer if at all. alan dillon has missed a lot of football this yr and I would worry about barry moran if he misses took much training.
    I have a feeling this is not our yr. we need everyone and everything going right to be in with a chance. But then again as I said before ….football is a funny old game!!!

  30. I’d say at least 4 lads from today won’t be starting come May. Don’t need to name them, fairly obvious. We’re flapping in front of goal, snatching at the chances, seems like the players know themselves that it’s a problem and that’s only adding to to panic.
    Grim day at the office, did get a laugh when I heard a lad shout “Next score wins ref” before Cillian took the free in jury time.

  31. Parsons would make a huge difference at midfield. Don’t tell me he got his chance…that was then, this is now. He was overplayed then and is mature now and playing great football. But Horan has left it late. By all means stick by youth, when they are worth persevering with. And what about Parsons’ clubmate Mulligan. What life he would put into the full forward line. Then we might see some goals. If they were in any other county they would at least be on the panel. Imagine McGuinness ,Fitzmaurice ,Harte ,Gavin,Coonihan etc ignoring them! Hopefully its not too late.

  32. Hi All,
    Firstly can I just ask Cc why he or she would make such a comment as it only reads as if he or she is from neither Mayo or Dublin but just dislikes the Dubs (also his spelling and grammar are poor to say the least) Ref was poor today for both sides, Mayo were unlucky with the goals but best of luck in the Championship and we had some craic with the Mayo gang today great banter…….Kind Regards, Martin from Dublin

  33. I would not be too worried about to day. Its not the AI semi final. I thought we made a lot
    of mistakes in our passing game. As with Donegal we gifted the Dubs 2 goals, and when we got it easier to score our goals we were terrible. Mayo Mike is writing out Kevin
    Keane and Jason Gibbons from panel. What game time did they get in the 8 matches we
    played in league? I thought Gibbons wasnt bad to day and he scored from play. Keane is not fully fit but both of those lads have not got game time. We stayed up in Division 1.
    Also remember JH gave everyone a run this year. Summer didnt come yet. Our subs today wont make JH have a nightmare on selecting championship panel. If the subs today were better than Gibbons then I was at the wrong game. Kevin too will come good.

  34. Sorry about spelling and I don’t dislike the dubs I just think they are overhyped I wonder how dublin would get on against Donegal at champhionship time hard luck on the mayo lads

  35. [Deleted]. j gibbons was only played against cork and dublin he was sick the last three days and still put in a good effort today there was alot more who should be taking off before him

  36. Goal chances many, no player able to put the ball away.
    I have to ask : what kind of coaching do our forwards get?
    Even taking into account of the players missing, we shoud have
    put Dublin away.
    We have no final finishing power.
    We do not seem to have natural forwards anymore, why?
    We still have too many attacking half-backs, leaving the defence weak.
    Cathal Henry.

  37. Main observations from today:
    Aidan o Shea. Absolutely anonymous in the first half, our best player in the second half. The difference? He was at number 11 in 1st half, midfield for 2nd. I am sick to the teeth of fellas saying he should be full forward, centre forward, blah blah blah. He is the best midfielder we have, and should be played there and nowhere else, full stop. The man is not, and never has been a scoring forward. He’s a ball winning midfielder and that’s where he plays his best football, end of story. With aidan Alongside Barry Moran we have in my view the best midfield in the country. We need to play to our strengths. Dublin and Kerry have probably the best sets of forwards in the country. Mayo have the best midfield. Donegal have probably the strongest defence. I think jim Gavin actually has a weakness at centre field in that mac Auley is the only elite midfielder they have, unlike us. You won’t see him bringing Bernard brogan or Paul mannion out to midfield to fix the problem though. Do mayo fans think o Shea will suddenly kick 1-05 and set up scores all around him from 11 or 14?? Get real people. Moran and o Shea at full tilt win 60-70% of primary possession in nearly every game. Unfortunately our forwards are not like Kerry’s or dublin, who can get enough scores to win games on 40% possession. We need more chances than other top sides due to our weakness up front. Could you imagine Kerry’s front six being fed ball from Moran ando Shea?? They would be unbeatable. We are not far away, and defensively can be strengthened by Higgins return. Also you can coach a defence to improve, but you can’t coach guys to become sharpshooter forwards, that’s our Achilles heel and means we will always only beat big sides by a point or two. Still optimistic for season ahead!

  38. Its no coincidence we are lacking in the goal scoring department when for the majority of the league campaign, Mayo have played with an isolated full forward line due to a bare bones/non existent half forward line with McLoughlin the only stand out player at 10 with some credit to Carolan but not consistent yet. We need a creative link man (Dillon?) but its a worry that there really is no centre half forward to push this Mayo team on more. Its vital position and that IMO has been a main downfall in the attack. Would like to see COC deployed there as I believe he’s getting wiser and has the composure to see what’s in front of him and help dictate the play ala what Kerry have/are likely to do with Gooch this year. Trust Horan to sort it out though

  39. It sounds a bit stupid but i think losing this game will benefit us for many reasons
    *I don’t think any team can sustain a run through league and championship after playing a full season before, look at Cork and Donegal for instance.

    * We have not peeked whereas Dublin, Kildare and Tyrone seem to have. while people argue Dublin have a big squad, I cant think of too many in the squad breaking into that first 15 bar Rory O’Carroll.

    * As utterly dismal as we were we could have got relegated but we could just as easily won every game playing at 50%.

    *Our flaws are there to be worked on. With Andy and Barry Moran, Alan Dillon and Keith Higgins, we’ve four of the best players in Ireland in their positions arguably to return. There is going to be a serious desire to put things right for Salthill.

    *And finally, no one seemed to take into account how tired we looked today, for the last 15 we weren’t able to walk, I imagine the hard training is only kicking in now. From what I hear from inside is training is only starting to get serious.

    We’ve over a month until Sallthill, that is where football 2013 starts.

  40. Good man Aussie, all fair points. One has to wonder though, Is there no prolific scorer in this big football mad county of ours?

  41. We did not want to be in Croke Park yesterday and it showed.
    We really did not want to be there when the goals started coming …. same old story … early goals & then we’re playing catch-up with the opposition keeping us at bay like a bold child.
    Six goals in Croker yesterday but none for Mayo.
    Eight games in the League for Mayo …. only 3 wins & 2 goals.
    Despite all of this I would still be reasonably happy going forward & would be in agreement with Aussie Exile’s assessment above.
    When we make it more difficult for the opposition to hit us for goals & start hitting the onion sack ourselves, the confidence will come.
    Sixteen points yesterday was not a bad return but the goals situation both for & against is repeatedly killing us.
    We need to look to the short term now & focus just on getting out of Connacht.
    We need the management to make a few big calls & I still think we are going to need a few additions if we are to trouble the big boys.
    A few token substitutions like yesterday will not cut the mustard.

  42. the last thing mayo needed was the distraction of a leauge final before galway ,yesterday was as bebeficial as any A VB training match horan knows where mayo’s weakness is

  43. I don’t know mister major, I guess the best forwards in the county (that are available) are on the panel already?? I mean there are no Bernard brogans or colm coopers hiding in the mayo club scene that are not getting a chance, that’s for certain. You always hear fellas from around the county claiming that player x and player y from various clubs should be on the county team, but I haven’t heard of any forwards not currently on the squad who could come in and be a massive improvement on what’s already there.
    Top class Natural forwards are very scarce in mayo, always have been to be honest. We have compensated for this in other areas of the field, but it’s so difficult to win an all Ireland without a match winner forward.
    The last 3 seasons we have discovered a new forward who made a real impact that year. Alan freeman in 2010, cillian in 2011 and mickey conroy last year. Who can step up and be that man in 2013?

    One slight criticism of Horgan this year is his use of Subs. Alan Murphy, Evan Regan in particular, really didn’t play much in this years league, one can only conclude that James horan thinks they are not good enough?? Don’t think Murphy got a real chance though, think Regan started 1 game. Wouldn’t have minded seeing a bit more of Cathal freeman too.

    Anyone else struck by the quality of the Dublin bench yesterday? Cullen, macmenamin, bastick would all make most county teams, and then they were missing ciaran Kilkenny, james maccarthy and Alan Brogan too! They have unbelievable strength in depth, will take some beating this year. Hype will be their biggest Danger I think, and it’s a trap they have fallen into many many times before, which gives the like of us hope. At least if we meet them again this year we will be totally written off, one positive from yesterday’s game.

  44. gfg – I had to delete that first bit of your comment. The point you’ve made is a fair one but there’s no need to insult someone else when doing so.

  45. Jesus, I hope to God none of our footballers are reading some of the negativity on here! Lets put some perspective on this for everyones sake.
    At the 55 min mark against Cork last weekend we were relegated to Division 2 for the first time since 1994. Yesterday, in the league semi-final we got smacked by a full strength Dublin side who have been flying all season and have been the team to beat since the start of the league. We were missing 2 of last years All Stars, more than likely 3 if Andy had remained fit and in my mind, as he displayed against Donegal in Castlebar, 4 as Barry Moran should have got one. We had a long hard Summer, thankfully!, and had to get over the mental effects of losing an All-Ireland we all know was well within us to win.
    The stated aim at the start of the league was to try to bring a few new faces into the squad, add experience to the new faces already there and improve physically and technically on what we had. I think these aims have been achieved and that in the bigger scheme of things we are in a good place. Barrett and McHale have taken their chances in the league and have proved themselves as real challengers for positions in the Summer. Cunnifee is a welcome and badly needed challenge to Vaughan, albeit a very different player, and is in many peoples opinions a better alternative. The much hearlded Walsh has gotten a very brief taste of first team action as well as a run in Croke Park. Like Barrett and McHale, Carolan has taken his chance with some strong running and point scoring displays and Regan would have seen more time on the pitch bar a few early season niggles. Add to this the addition of Brian Gallagher, the injured players returning to the squad and Donie Buckley having more time with the lads (he is only there since very late January) I believe we will be a more clinical and cohesive unit later in the Summer.
    Sure we lost 4 games on the bounce, the first time since 1998 that this has happened. We lost these by a cumulative difference of 8 points! 8 points! This included a stellar display by B. Brogan earlier in the league where he scored 1-10. The same B. Brogan who was very quiet yesterday as a result of Cafferkey terrific display. We all know that there is improvement needed. Thank God there is because if we were the finished article now we would have a very short Summer. So let’s settle a little and keep a sense of perspective in where we are in the bigger scheme of things.

  46. I get that AOS is our best midfielder and his influence grew considerably once he was moved back there, but what other options do we have for 11?

    It seemed like Horans thinking was for one of Gibbons/SOS to play his way onto the team yesterday and partner B Moran come championship time. Unfortunately I don’t think either did that yesterday, so we’ll be back to Moran/AOS in the middle. Then we’re back to square one again with the no.11 problem.
    It’s a massive problem and I have no idea who can fill the position. Dillon maybe? He’s been tried there before but playes more effectively at 10 or 12.

  47. Aussie exile, Cathal Freeman broke his collar bone a few weeks ago, hence his absence.
    As regards yesterdays match I am not as negative this morning as some. I was looking for a performance from Mayo more so than a league final appearance but I left Croker yesterday a little befuddled as to where we are in the bigger scheme of things. This morning I have a clearer opinion on things.
    There were 13 goal chances created, 7 by us, 6 by them and they scored 2. They won by 6 points in the end. Goals win games, simple as. They had 3 wides in the first minute and a half but from then to the 11th minute we scored 3 unanswered points, kicked 3 wides and missed a goal. I am not saying we expect to convert every chance but leaving those scores behind you when you are in a dominant period of the game is going to come back and bite you on the ass, particularly against Dublin in Croker.
    Next up came their first goal. Now Mannion is a fabulous footballer with balance, pace and a wonderful left foot but there is no way that Keane should have allowed him out muscle him initally to get the ball, and then let him inside so easily. Keane is in a real slump since the All Ireland and he is a player I like but the fact is, at the minute, he is causing us problems at the back and to me is struggling for form and fitness. Bear in mind the All Ireland final was only his 5th championship match for Mayo so all is not lost but it is going to be a test of the management in how they get the player back to where he was last August. Their second goal came as a result of a very poor pass from McLoughlin, of all people, and was a terrific strike in fairness. So all our errors were being severely punished.
    In my view, where the game finally slipped from us was the first 15 minutes of the second half. O’Connor missed a simple free and we kicked 3 wides in succession, Keegan (when he should have run on as he had got the inside line) Conroy (off the post and wide) and Feeney. It was obvious we were chasing the game but rushing our chances in that period of the game cost us. When it came to the goal chances we created we were always going in too close to Cluxton before shooting, thereby narrowing the angle we had to shoot at and making it easier for Cluxton to save our shots. This is something that can be worked on in training. I would be more worried if we were not creating the chances.
    I can’t aggree entirely with the plaudits for Aidan O’Shea when he moved to midfield though. Yes he caught ball and scored 2 wonderful points but he was asleep when it came to the Dublin kickouts. Cluxton targetted AOS’s marker in the kickouts but it was in a wide position. What I mean is Cluxton would wait for AOS’s marker to make his run from the centre position of the pitch to the flank and he would clip it out to him where he was unmarked. Aidan never followed his man. This happened 3 times in a row and AOS was very slow to recognise this. Dublin scored 2 points directly from this move. This initself did not lose the game for us but it is the little tactical things that Dublin were so much cuter than us that helped nullify the effect of AOS switching to midfield.

  48. I’d rather get found out today than in August or September and if we can learn from the experience then it would be a worthwhile game and much better than any amount of pitch opening friendlys in the run-up to Galway.
    Having said that, the lessons from today are the same ones that we needed to take from the AI final. Once our backline is breached, we seem to become a bit disoriented and always look likely to concede more. It looks from the outside that this is a lack of leadership. Once Dublin got in for the first goal, we should never have allowed them to get another. They could sense what we all could though and they went for the jugular and got their second goal and were denied a third by Clarke before we steadied the ship.
    Our problems in the backline were amplified by our own inability to score majors at the other end despite having enough chances. We have now played 12 full games against county teams in Championship, FBD and league and have raised 2 green flags. I have had a quick look back at the archive on here and have never come across such a barren spell ever.
    I wonder if the two problems are feeding off each other a bit. If our forwards are not able to round their men and are shot shy in games, then they are probably the same in training and our full back line don’t get tested properly until match day. Alternatively, it could be that our defenders are so easy to get by that it doesn’t prepare our full forward line properly for the actual test that we meet in actual battles.
    Either way, players with a pedigree for finding the net like Doherty and O’Connor are looking like junior B players when presented with chances at present.
    A lot of work ahead and many players will not have enhanced their prospects with their displays yesterday.

  49. Ah tis great to see everyone getting het up about this, shows we still care

    We have three main problems:
    1. One of our corner backs has the ability to get burned all the time
    2. We dont have enough fit forwards who can score consistently
    3. we dont score enough goals

    Those problems have been with us since last year.
    The things that have improved this year so far are:
    1. We are better at tackling and dont give away as many frees as we did last year (check the stats)
    2. We seem more comfortable on the ball then previously, and indeed stronger, EXCEPT in the last third. Once there some players still seem a little unsure what to do.
    However it is noticeable that when running with the ball opposition teams do seem to have a hard time getting it off us and we appear to be running comfortably, heads up, looking for a good pass.
    So what? Says you, thats what intercounty footballers should do, well in the past, we had plenty of inter county footballers who looked positively panicked with the ball “in hand” to use that rugby phrase that Ryall Nugent loves. Its reassuring to see that that is no more and must be testament to have James Horan said at the beginning which is that we were lacking in certain skills such as not being able to hand pass off one side, etc.
    That can only be a good thing, we need to fix those other problems to progress further beyond last year.
    Others have said it, and its true, we really dont know what kind of Allan Dillon and especially Andy Moran we will get back despite, having complete, I’m sure massive work to get back in shape, so we shouldnt just assume that when we see them run out that it will just be a case of picking up where they left off.

  50. I was at the game and I took many positives from our display. Dublin had their full panel and their Championship team on display we were missing a third of our team. The focus was maintain our top status and we did this in Cork, two weeks ago, Dublin had a 5weeks to prepare for this game, as they had qualified early on in the campaign. The Cork and Donegal games were tough on the players. and they kept us in the top flight where we should be with the panel we have.
    Yes we need two players in the back line and they are in the panel already at centre half , Tom Cunniffe and we have Keith to come back, I am happy with the back line. I agree with the comments Kevin Keane got a roasting really felt for him, but there again a change should have been there after 12 mins.

    Also Aidan should have been moved to centrefield also after 15 mins.

    Cillian and Michael Conroy were excellent and did all they could to swing the game. Ger and Lee had great games also.

    Saw Michael Meehan sitting in front of me, yes Galway will be up for it, but really their is a gulf in class with this Mayo Panel.

    I am happy that we will have a long Summer starting on May 19th.

    Goals will come I have no doubt, and it is tough on the team, as we all know a goal sometimes is worth 4 to 5 points, as the team that scores the goal, nearly always tack on a point or two afterwards, which I notice is the case in a lot of games.

    A goal always spurns a team on and deflates the opposition, so we need goals in Salthill.

    I agree with many Comments all is not lost, quit the negative comments look at the positives, the talent is there in Mayo, we do need some luck and noticed yesterday the ball vary rarely ran kindly for us, a lot of the team, appeared to be treating the game as a challenge, and were not putting their bodies on the line.
    An All Ireland Semi, with a massive improvement to get to Final.

    On Dublin they are beatable, not a shoe in for top honours, playing their best football now, wait for Championship ?

    The ball ran very well for them picked up most of the breaking ball, yes the scribes will rubbish us that will suit the team and supporters coming under the radar again this year.

  51. I really am getting very frustrated with seeing Donie line out at 6. You could never fault his effort but the basic evidence for a very long time is that we would be a far stronger outfit without him in the side.

    Its very easy to see that Donie is the biggest weak link in our team-and in such a critical position. Dublin exposed this time and time again from kick outs (and not be accident!) particularly in the first half yesterday to disastrous effect.

    I just cant believe that a year on from the Donegal game we are going to go to salthill with the same centre back. a cause for real concern in my book.

  52. Anyone that ever kicked a ball could see that yesterday’s game was just a glorified challenge. It was clear the lads were under instructions not to tackle hard and the main aim yesterday was to avoid injuries, which they appeared to do.

    After losing so much ball around the middle we still only lost by six.

    Dillion, Moran x 2 and K.Higgins back we will be a different proposition. I can picture it already, Dublin will be burnt out by August.

  53. It’s highly unlikely Andy Moran will feature this summer highorlow. I think we need to cut, “ah but wait until we’ve Andy back” talk.

  54. Alf Stewart – I’m in agreement with you on the whole Andy Moran situation. If the team and management are relying psychologically for his return to form and it doesn’t happen….we’ll get scalded come August or there abouts. Better to assume he’s not going to come back as he was and if he does and performs to his own high standards imagine the effect that will have on the team (and our opponents)!

  55. It is a shame we could not merge Cunniffe and Vaughan because then I think we would have the finest centre back in the country. They are both polar opposites of each other in that the strengths of one are the weaknesses of the other.
    Cunniffe is a much better “defender” in that he holds his position on the field better than Vaughan, anticipates and reads the game in front of him better than Vaughan, tracks his marker than Vaughan and then when he is on the ball makes a progressive pass and returns to his position. He very rarely thinks about advancing beyond the half way line. Vaughan, on the other hand is a much more dynamic player in that he is faster and more mobile, much quicker on the turn than Cunniffe and seems a much more powerful player than Cunniffe. Vaughans weaknesses have been well documented here so there is no need to rehash what has already been said.
    I think considering the perceived vulnerability in our full back line that a “steadier” presence at no.6 is needed and therefore I would opt for Cunniffe.
    This is not a new weakness in Vaughans game though because against Leitrim and Roscommon in last years Connaught championship Keegan switched with Vaughan straight after the throw-in in both games. Either way, management has a decision to make and it may well be horses for courses, i.e. when you can afford your half backs to attack against weaker opponents to go with Vaughan, and in the tighter more tactical games to go with Cunniffe.

  56. This game proved a bridge too far for a very fragile Mayo team. They were outplayed,outclassed,outfoxed all over the Field of Dreams.It was so embarrassing that I think the referee took pity on them. Another sad chapter in the House of Pain.

  57. “I think we need to cut, “ah but wait until we’ve Andy back” talk.”

    Well without Andy we are going nowhere. Apart from Conroy and AOS the rest of the forwards cannot win their own ball.

    Cillian tried and tried but he was getting bullied all day. The rest of the forwards are fine ball players but only when direct free ball is played to them. This is where Andy comes in as he attracts the opposition backs and creates space for the other lads.

    Anyone think that Vaughan should have been tried at full forward during the league?

    He is a great man to win ball and if he was just told to lay it off as soon as he gets it I think he could do damage in the FF line. To me yesterday in the 2nd half this looked like it is something Donie Buckley should be trying? One thing for sure is that Donie Vaughan wouldn’t be bullied off the ball.

  58. highorlow, “One thing for sure is that Donie Vaughan wouldn’t be bullied off the ball”, no but he would probably carry it out over the end line and into contact with the umpire where the ref. would blow up for a free out!

    It has been mentioned before, and I think even a midfield spot was mentioned, but it probably is too late in the year to experiment with something like that now. At least he would be a more physical presence and the ball would “stick” in the full forward line. However, I am sure he has been told countless times to “lay it off as soon as he gets it” in the half back line and it hasn’t seemed to register so I don’t think it would in the full forward line either.

  59. Terrible stuff I thought. Same old story conceding early goals…its embarrassing. I think the back line look good in training because our forwards inability to score goals but clinical teams are destroying us when given half a chance! Coc made a few goal chances fair play to him he is a ball winner but jason ‘the goal machine’ dohertys failure to palm a goal in from two yards and vaughans hesitence and taking a solo saw 2 easy chances vanish.

    Agree with aussie exile. Kerry would have barry and aidan any day of the week especially morans fielding and his ability to deliver ball and aidans strength and drive. I can’t deny aos is a fantastic player but in my opinion barry is still by far our best midfielder as he showed against donegal and when he more or less controlled midfield before aos was introduced vs sligo. on form sos would be next followed by gibbons.

    Anyway there must be players like aidan kilcoyne and barry regan who must be wondering what they have to do to get into horans team….those 2 and andy and dillon are very much needed

  60. We have several players who might if tried solve our ball winning problem in the full forward line – no gaurantees but we need to try something different even if it is getting late in the year for experiments. I do not see why Donie Vaughan should be ruled out without a trial. Pat Harte might also have a contribution to make if tried as might Tom Parsons or Danny Kirby. Having a ball winner there gives players like Conroy and O’Connor the chance to receive a ball going towards goal thereby increasing the chances of a goal. If no alternative is available I would be very confident that moving Barry Moran up would give us a more balanced team.
    If we do not at least make the final in Sept this year it is difficult to see this team – management and players – staying together.

  61. laughing at the harsh comments on donie vaughan at centre back when people didnt even relise he started wing back but was only wearing no.6.. He kept his marker Paul o Flynn to a single point who got taken off for being kept quiet in the second half.. He attacked throghout the whole game showing some spirit that lacked in the team and as for his defending and tracking keeping a high quality foward like paul o flynn to a point shows he mastered that yesterday. Im by no means saying he had his finest of games but he definately proved his worth in the starting 15..
    As for the O shea brothers there fitness and speed lacked during the game AOS is a brilliant player when he gets the ball but he needs to up his fitness.
    It was evident in the game that all the players seemed dead on there feet and were slkow to pick up the ball this needs to be worked on.
    COC Great game!

  62. A lot of great comments here lads…makes great reading…as I said before, it would have been nice to win, but I’m not too bothered by the loss. We are still a division 1 team and will be eating from the top table again next year.
    What does bother me though is one, our propensity, to concede early goals, again and two, our inability to score goals. I mean, c’mon…we should’ve had at least two yesterday. Instead of been up three pts after 10 mins, we should’ve been up by at least 1-3. Goals themselves not only make a difference, but when they’re scored also makes a huge difference. After Dublin scored the second one yesterday, the game was over as a contest and reverted to a challenge match mentality. But the headlines had been written, once again, mayo are vulnerable, mayo leak early goals and can’t score any of their own!
    When I think back to the semifinal in ’06…Andy had not even half a chance, a ball he had no business winning, yet put it in the back of the net. Mac got all the crdit for the amazing winning point, but Andy’s goal was the catalyst. Seems we don’t have that ability anymore…and before anyone says “wait till Andy comes back” …please, it’s unreasonable to think he will be anywhere near match fit or even on form until late summer. Until we find that type of player again, like an Andy, like a Kilcoyne, or dare I say it, a Hanley…I’m shakin me head…we can’t win the AI. Its simple really, you just have to score more than the others.

  63. From a fool, one daft suggestion………….put Donie Vaughan at 11……….we need one desperately and he can win ball and score and at 11 he doesn’t have to carry it too far into the tackle and he has passion…………..

  64. Lord there is some amount of horse shit being said here. Paul Flynn was immense for Dublin on Sunday. He was targeted time and again by cluxton for kickouts and won them easily while being marked by Vaughan, not Aidan O Shea especially in the 2nd half. He was taken off because the game was already over!!

    Hardly anyone has mentioned David Clarke who was too class. It’s typical that keepers rarely get a mention. Without Clarke we would have been destroyed altogether since only one of our defenders turned up, Ger Cafferkey.

    As for Donal Vaughan at full forward??? The lad would be lost there and would he would get in the way of Cillian & Conroy making their runs. Id try him at 10 or 12 and I’d ask him to do a Colm mcMenamon job….Cover every blade of grass, sweep & support, win the breaking ball, tackle and hit hard and drive on. He’s not playing well at 6 and I think his game could flourish as a half forward.

  65. We couda done without that game last sunday but we,v found out a few truths, AOS has to start at midfield, vaughan while playing well enough last sunday is a liability at cen. half back, doherty i,m afraid has used up his chances espec. with lads coming back, lost count all the times balls rebounds of his chest, if fast ball does,t stick [chest] a county level, forget it. Maybe jam. horan knows something the rest of us dos,ent, but why give debuts to 2 lads in a game were losing heavy against a team that was rampant [ an dont giv me sh… bout game time in croker ] what was wrong with not blooding these lads earlier in the league, it look like to me just throw them in there sink or swim attitude..As for the team itself there,s no all ireland in this team, we dont score goals or enough of them and while it may work for the donegals an tyrone [blanket football] its not our style ,never was an never will. We prob. shoud win conn. no gurantee,s ther either, the herring chokers will rise for us as we do for them and i feel the sheepstealers will be the big danger to us in conn. We will prob. give it a good lash again but will end in heartbreak again poss. at all ire. semi,s or final as we dont hav enough fire power up front simple as that…..

  66. Would have to agree with johno’s comments above.
    We simply dont have the firepower upfront to consistently make it over the line in Croker.
    We dont have the likes of O’Neill for Tyrone, Brogan for Dublin, Gooch for Kerry, Murphy for Donegal or Meehan for Galway, etc.
    The little firepower we had walked last year !
    Football is a simple game however & you only have to score more than the opposition so if there are to be no additions upfront then we have to do things differently.
    We have to place a huge emphasis on defense and above all not leak goals.
    If we can keep the opposition to no more than 15 points or so then we have a huge chance.
    We have to go for an all out running game with direct runners at the heart of the opposition defense (a la Keith Higgins) where we should be hoping to extract frees for our free kick specialist.
    Because we are weak in the Full Forward Line I think we can only afford 2 players there with an extra ball carrier/chaser around the midfield area.
    If we keep doing the same thing with the resources we have, we will continue to get the same results.

  67. Joey I agree with your premise but not the solution. We could get away with that strategy with lesser teams, but the big teams are better coached and would recognize and counteract that strategy. We’d be screwed. As you have said, “football is a simple game”. To win you just have to score more than the opposition. I agree with you that holding any opposition to ~15 points should be enough for us to have a chance…that’s why I said last week if we could score ~1-17 we’d win…but that didn’t account for us conceding two early goals!

    Still, its about us scoring more than the others…and quite frankly, right now, we just don’t have the “firepower” as you call it. Tyrone, Kerry, Donegal, Cork have it, and then some. Cork and Dublin have a larger pool of players to choose from for sure, but Kerry and Donegal are similar to us. These men are not from another planet, so I tend to believe we have them too…they’re just lurking beyond the gaze of our current selectors.
    I often wondered, if someone thinks a player is so good and deserves to get a chance at county level, but for some reason is not getting the attention of the county selectors, has anyone ever tried to put together a few short video clips of this player (easy to do) and post them to let’s say, u-tube, here! or somethin!
    If our county board and selectors are tone deaf and blind, maybe this is a way for them to either take a second look, or even a first!
    Just wondering if anyone has acted as the “unofficial scout”…just wonderin!

  68. you’ve got to remember that both kerry and cork have divisional teams that we don’t and all intermideat players can play for divisional teams not like in mayo , that’s why we don’t see a lot of players comming through from the lower levals

    also find me a player on the current pannel who has’nt played on a underage team for mayo , it’s a case that if your not good enough at 16 your not good enough

  69. So are there any players out who remain undiscovered? Maybe some that James Horan hasn’t seen to date? Maybe some that never figured in the minor or U-21 setup in the past? Lets see them!

  70. Been saying it for years. They put a panel of potential lads together at 14 and you need a passport to get off the damn thing until you are 30. Meanwhile top class players are ignored for the prototype Mayo player…5′ 8″, attacking , mainly half back, nice corner back at times as well, pretty going forward, no reverse. gelled hair helps. I blame managers, either they are too busy to source new talent or happy to work with a group they start with.

    For as long as I recall I have seen fellas given a number of years to tie down a spot…and ultimately fail and I have seen good lads tossed a meaningless game here or ten minutes there before being cut from the panel. Better men have often been outside Mayo panels in their pomp whilst god damn average ones were within.

  71. John, is there anything ordinary mayo supporters can do to begin correcting this? Will anyone have the cop on or intelligence to heed it. I was there when Sean Flanagan carried Sam across the Shannon and at the bonfires in Ballaghaderreen. There has to be something embedded in the Mayo GAA brain when a county of such talented footballers fail at the last hurdle for years. A lot of new supporters, the positive brigade, will call this a negative attitude. It is not. It is a historical fact. There has to be a serious flaw in the Mayo setup. All I want to do is to see Mayo winning an All Ireland again!!!

  72. Name me someone who should be on county panel that isn’t ?

    Maybe there is a case for players who play junior or intermediate whose clubs don’t feature in finals or semis of championship, like Cormac Rushe of Kilmovee shamrocks for example .This is more to do with our actual club structure though imo, such players need to be given an avenue to play senior club , saying that the divisional East Mayo team didn’t work our from what I have heard. Something needs to be explored though .

  73. Joe, of course there’s something u can do…..next time your at a match and you see some player who is a standout, whip out yer mobile phone, take a couple of short clips of the lad, and post to YouTube, and link to here. That goes for all of yee who attend matches on a regular basis. Sure, there will be a lot of naysayers, but that’s old school thinking and quite frankly, ignorance!
    John Cuffe is dead right, and I believe there are many talented players outside of the senior county circuit who are getting ignored simply because they didn’t figure at underage and are not playing senior county now.

  74. Sean, how can you name someone who isn’t on the County Panel when you you don’t know they exist. Seriously though, to have a polished diamond you must dig a pile of rock, find a rough diamond, cut it and polish it and then it is priceless. It takes looking for; hard work. It’s too late for this year but a start can be made. To those supporters who are almost happy with underperforming Mayo teams; 60 years is a long time to be trying without success. Willie Joe, do you have any thoughts on this?

  75. This is an interesting debate. in a perfect world every guy who plays football in mayo should have an equal chance of being called onto a senior county team if he is playing well. I don’t think anybody could justifiably say that this is currently the case. If you are playing for a powerhouse senior club like Ballina, Castlebar, Ballintubber etc, you are more likely to develop into a better footballer due to constantly playing against high quality opposition. However, if you are from Kilmovee, Kilfian, Eastern Gaels (not being disrespectful to these clubs there are 25 others i could have used as an example), its more difficult to get noticed by county selectors.

    Talented players from junior clubs have a massive challenge to develop into senior county players at the same rate as guys from the senior clubs. Ive attended many underage games in mayo over the years between smaller clubs, and I have seen some sensational young talents from junior clubs disappear into obscurity because they don’t have the development structures around them that youngsters from the big senior clubs take for granted. I believe that there are no hidden talents in any senior team in mayo that are not already on the panel (or unavailable). It is also unlikely that there are fellas presently playing for junior or intermediate teams that are good enough to come into the mayo squad and make an immediate impact, there may be guys good enough to join the squad with a view to developing their ability within an environment of high quality football, and possibly be good enough in a couple of years.

    However, are there currently any 11-14 year olds around mayo playing underage football with junior clubs in “B” and “C” championships talented enough to play senior football for mayo in future?? Absolutely yes. Is it harder for these youngsters to make the long journey to the highest level of gaelic football than their equivalents from senior clubs?? Absolutely yes. This is one of the big problems facing the mayo county board. They are not doing enough to make sure these guys don’t slip through the net. I don’t know what is the best solution, but one thing that should NOT happen is for players to have to transfer to senior clubs in order to further their career. I like the idea of Kerry’s divisional sides for Junior and intermediate amalgamated teams. They tried it in mayo a few years ago but the teams were too weak because only junior players were allowed play.

    Finally ask yourself this, if Colm Cooper or Bernard Brogan were born in small isolated junior clubs in mayo, is it 100% certain that they would have made the county senior team?? Unfortunately given the way mayo structures are presently run, I don’t think you could say for certain that they would have.

  76. Interesting debate yes but only one-way.

    This has been raised before and the fact is you will not hear anyone come out and argue it from the other side as to why this is not the way to go etc…

    The people representing the other side keep their heads underground when this pops up.

  77. Really good post Aussie exile.

    You hit the nail on the head, when you say there are going to be underage players at smaller clubs just as talented but they wont be given the same opportunity tovdevelop as the lads at bigger clubs.The advice,trainning and contacts will be far inferior and as it goes to 16s and minor the intensity of the games and the overall better players will all prove too much come county trials.

    There are also other factors that i believe sadly still exist today.

    How do ya change it though to make it fair across the board? Is it just one of those things that will never be addressed with transparencey.

  78. Joe Mc – just to respond to your question, I don’t have any strong thoughts on this and as I’m not living in the county I have nothing of consequence to say about the possibility of there being hidden, undiscovered talent out there at the present time. I’d agree, though, completely with Aussie Exile’s take on the issue and would in particular agree that everything possible should be done to uncover and nurture talent from the smaller clubs at an early age.

  79. Thank you Willie Joe. I don’t live in Mayo either, gone for over 40 years but still hoping against hope!!!

  80. Well said PK.Sick of listening to all the whinging and excuses on here .Does anyone seriously think that James Horan and jimmy Nallen would pick players based on anything else other than they can contribute to Mayo being successful.As always the case players that are not on the panel are great players and when they are brought onto the panel we are wondering why they are there.I also get the feeling that alot of posters on here would like to see the back of James Horan and that he is not up to the job.He only won 2 allstars and was Mayos best ever big game player so you would think he would have some clue as to what makes a good county footballer.

  81. Now there’s a domineering post by pk and what its basically saying if you’re born in Kilmovee which borders Ballagh , it automatically makes you a lesser player.

    The system is flawed, its not really political as such , its just the way it is.

    ? Its not the players or the clubs fault , its the system/structure.

    You can try to prove your point about great players,great clubs equals big town clubs nonsense but its illogical in the sense of individualism .

    Future generations will solve these issues imo , they won’t have the same hang ups about change and society will eventually evolve into a more level playing field.

  82. PK – I’ve deleted that comment. While there is, I know, a valid point you’re trying to make in it you’ve been commenting on this site long enough to know that it’s not acceptable to do so in a way that’s calculated to insult others who comment here.

    Tom – be careful how you characterise opinions expressed by others. Just because you may disagree with what some people are saying that doesn’t mean it can be dismissed as “whinging and excuses”. And while you’re at it, can you also please steer clear of “I get the feeling that a lot of posters on here ..” type of comments? Don’t pretend you know what motivates others to comment here in the way that they do – it doesn’t add to the debate in any way and only annoys others who may not share your views.

  83. Tom I’m certainly not suggesting James Horan should be gotten rid of, I think he has done a phenomenal job in the last 2 years turning around the counties fortunes. I don’t think I have heard anyone say he should be replaced either, and I’d say that even if we lose to Galway and lose the first round of the qualifiers too, his position is still safe.

    It’s difficult to say what the best solution is to make sure the best talent is nurtured at an early age. In mayo we face different problems to other counties. The huge geographical spread of the county is a disadvantage compared to most other counties, however we probably are less likely to lose players to soccer and rugby than say, Dublin or Kildare or Cork. There are not many counties that a young lad could have to travel 90 mins each way to get to county u16 or minor training. I know for a fact that this is one factor that has put good young players off playing on county minor squads in the past, resulting in them missing out on the footballing development that would come from playing with better players. Maybe county training at all levels could be moved around the different regions of the county a bit more than it is. Players from the far reaches of north mayo in particular are probably most affected by this issue. This is one for the county board to consider, that’s their job. There is no easy solution.

    Divisional sides seems to be the best solution to ensuring adult players are playing at the highest level. Kerry are probably the most similar county to mayo in terms of geographical spread and their divisional team structure has been really successful. Players like Darren o Sullivan, Paul galvin, Maurice Fitzgerald, Declan o Sullivan all play/played on strong divisional sides that were competitive in county senior championships. I think cork also have a similar structure in place. I believe increased competition improves the standard of the established senior teams too, plus when players from divisional sides go back to their junior/ inter clubs they are better players. I would love to see the county board be brave enough to introduce this system in mayo.

  84. Tom B – people are trying to help Mayo to succeed in the future and are offering solid, logical, helpful suggestions. There are no personal, buddy buddy or parish politics involved. It doesn’t help when people go off on an emotional tirade. Everybody, including you, are entitled to their opinions but it would help if those opinions were constructive and free of accusations. When James Horan took over I was delighted and still am but in the real world every manager has a responsibility and duties, that is why he is the manager. Look at managers all over the world, in every walk of life, their jobs are always on the line, depending on their success or failure. Criticism goes with the job. nobody has anything personal against James Horan.

  85. Anyone would have to admit that Mayo are doing something very right in the last 25 years, how many semis and final have we been in? League and championship!
    Maybe we’re not as far away as we think?

  86. Why should we settle for mediocrity and/or legacy talent development system? And then leave it up to future generations to work out? No way!….we’ll get more of the same…more all Ireland semis and more lost all Ireland finals. Whatever the system is currently, it has brought us some success, moral victories if you will……but not to the Promised Land!
    Therefore we need to evolve and develop the next generation strategy for winning an AI. It’s not rocket science lads.
    Just quickly on James Horan, I’m happy this man is in charge and I don’t think anybody can question his commitment and desire to bring an AI home to Mayo. However, I think regardless of the outcome this year, he is out of runway (so to speak) and this will be his last year as Mayo manager.

  87. David – are you really happy with 25 years of nearly men? No one remembers semi finalists or finalists. I would prefer a way to win the All Ireland. Then people would say “Mayo are All Ireland champions.” 25 years is one hell of a long time to be ‘not too far away’ but 60 years is even worse. Long live being nearly there.

  88. Joe
    I certainly am not really that happy with being a runner up so often, my point was that there must be something being done right to put mayo in so many finals and maybe a bit more tweaking will see us home.
    We have been in 3 finals since Galway last won theirs, we had been in 4 since Dublin had won their last one prior to 2011, how many times have we knocked the champions out of the championship in the last decade? 3? I will await correction, but the figures are close enough to make the point
    The talent is there today, no guarantee that we will not hit a 5 year dry patch in Connaught once Ross and Galway u 21 sides push out a few new seniors, so we must put full effort into 2013 as our year, that’s fans, players and management.

  89. Well done WJ and all who post here, just hit 100 again and hardly a ball kicked in anger,can’t wait for the championship. That’s when the real football and real talking begins.

  90. Well I didnt calculate any comments and just said it as it was which differs from an insult but its something as a player I feel strongly about.

    I just made the point that people are not kept on the panel forever and if a lad is good enough to be on it often times he gets a look in. If you are at a club game county players will almost always stand out and anyone who stands out and is not county always gets talked about.

    Sean thabks for misquoting me. I never mentioned ‘big town clubs’…are ballintubber a big town? And you make it sound like I look down on kilmovee or any other small club for that matter. Alot of great county players (even managers came from small parishes) I just made the point that teams on top like cbar, ballintubber, ballagh have a few more players on county panel and I believe thats because they have good individuals…the same way a good individual from any other club would be at it. Do you honestly think especially in championship people involved in mayo dont look at all grades?

  91. Hi David. I take your point and understand where you are coming from but those stats and figures mean little. We haven’t WON anything of note, meaning Sam, for 60 years. That, for a county that has had such talent as Mayo, is a damning statistic. The rest is just covering up the cracks. I’m sure you have Mayo’s interest at heart, just as much as I have, but most likely you haven’t waited 60 years. Take my word it’s a long time to wait, lots of grey hairs, sometimes being pulled out.

  92. It’s fair to say we’ve done we’ll to get to the number of semi’s and finals over the past few years, but to come away without Sam all those times, there’s something wrong. Moral victories yes, but no Sam.

  93. Joe

    I’m on your side, maybe a bit younger but have been at 7 senior finals and still no trophy, add ballina kicking one away to the list and you could say I am scarred and a fair bit of grey hair to go with it( premature).
    I absolutely believe that this present team can win Sam this year or next if they are managed properly from the sideline and they listen to what’s been said by horan and Buckley.
    Basic mistakes from no. 1 to 15 need to be reduced and an option for attack play introduced. By that I mean a player at full forward that can win a high dropping ball frequently and hold off his marker , as a plan b.

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