Kildare 2-19 Mayo 2-18: edged out in a shoot-out

Final score

We could have won it, we looked for a while like we might ship a whipping, we probably did enough for the draw in what was a high-scoring shoot-out of a contest but then we lost it to an unbelievable last-second long-range point from Kildare’s Paddy Brophy, whose mother hails from Newport. For an opening NFL encounter at the start of February, the entertainment quotient was certainly on the high side even if the result was a little disappointing from our point of view.

It was great to meet up with the Club ’51 people in the Liffey Arms before the match, where the large Mayo turnout had the bar staff under pressure for a while. There was a big Mayo crowd in St Conleth’s Park too where just over 6,000 punters filed through the gate to see what turned out to be a real ding-dong contest.

We shaded the early exchanges, moving a few points ahead, getting pegged back, edging in front again, back again, on again. An early setback for us came when Tom Parsons went off injured after only a few minutes. When the Charlestown man was seen being shepharded to the touchside ambulance soon after, it was clear his day’s football was over, with Jason Gibbons coming on to replace him.

We were two points to the good when Kildare’s impressive no.7 Paul Cribbin also had his afternoon cut short, when his trip on the lively Adam Gallagher saw him off on a black card.  You might have thought that this enforced change would have upset the home side’s play and for a while it seemed that this might have been the case – as we moved into a 0-10 to 0-7 lead – but then in the last ten minutes or so of the first half the Lilywhites really began to motor and seized control of the contest.

In that patch, they hit us with 1-3 without reply, the goal a wholly preventable one where Tomas O’Connor (who lined out instead of Padraig Fogarty) outfielded Kevin Keane to win an overhit Hail Mary ball and then got the better of a one-on-two situation to roll the ball into the net. That put them a point up and they followed it up with three well-taken points, two from play, to put them four up at the break.

Just before the short whistle we suffered another blow when Aidan O’Shea got black-carded for a stupid challenge. I haven’t seen the replays yet so I’m not sure to what extent the Kildare lad made a meal of it but Aido should really have known better. His premature departure meant we’d have to play the second half with Brian Gallagher alongside Jason Gibbons in what was effectively a second-string midfield.

We needed to regroup after that barrage but it was the home team who continued to pile on the pressure after the break. Two quick points from play, the first from Brophy and the second from McNally, stretched their lead to six, at which stage we looked to be in real bother.

But then we forced our way right back into the contest, via two well taken goals within the space of a few minutes. The first one, superbly-taken by Jason Gibbons, came at the end of a flowing move, which was initiated by Brian Gallagher, with his namesake Adam then offloading at speed to the galloping Gibbons who thumped it to the net to halve the deficit facing us. Minutes later we were level when Andy Moran picked out Darren Coen with a pinpoint pass and the Hollymount/Carramore man made no mistake from close range.

I thought we’d power on from there but with Gibbons and Gallagher failing to make too much inroads in terms of primary possession, our backline continued to feel the pressure. We managed to sneak ahead briefly when Shane McHale bombed forward to notch a point but soon after O’Flaherty had the ball in the net at the other end and the Lilywhites were back on top once more.

From there to the finish, it was end-to-end stuff. Scores were traded a few times before an Adam Gallagher free followed by a wonderful effort from play from sub Diarmuid O’Connor pulled us level and then another free, this time from Kevin McLoughlin, edged us back in front.

But they hit back immediately to level and added two more for good measure. Two late frees from Kevin Mc – the second one almost a minute into the allotted one minute of injury time – hauled it back to stalemate but one last surge from Kildare resulted in Brophy landing that glorious winner for them from way out on the right.

It was disappointing to lose – isn’t it always? – but I wouldn’t be pressing the panic buttons after that display. Kildare clearly had way more work done coming into this match and their neat, well-drilled passing game paid strong dividends for them today against what was obviously a rusty enough Mayo outfit. I was never a fan of Kildare under McGeeney but I think that in Jason Ryan they’ve now got a manager of real substance and with those promising U21s starting to show what they can do at senior level, they could do alright this year.

When we got motoring in the second half we looked good but I think it’s fair to say we’ve a lot to work on to get us back up to the level we know we need to get to. It is, though, early days yet.

Too early, I reckon, to be drawing hasty conclusions about anything based on today’s performance. It is worth noting, though, that we conceded a rather shocking amount of scores today, as we invited Kildare far too deep into our territory and then seemed happy to stand off and let them shoot from distance (and, to be fair to them, they were well able to do so). Our set-up at the back just didn’t work today – as I remarked earlier on, playing Colm Boyle at 4 is akin to using a prize bull for ploughing – and an obvious switch for Omagh would see Keith Higgins, who seemed totally lost at centre-forward, back in the corner and Boyler restored to where he needs to be at wing-back.

Positives from today included the strong second half displays by the likes of Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan, Cathal Carolan and subs Jason Gibbons, Brian Gallagher and David Drake, as well as Adam Gallagher’s very encouraging League debut at wing-forward. Robbie Hennelly’s Cluxton-esque converted fifties, three in all in the first half, were also noteworthy.

I hope too that Tom Parsons is okay – his comeback appearance unfortunately lasted only a few minutes and it looked as if he spent more time this afternoon in the hospital than he did at St. Conleth’s Park. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and with a bit of luck he’ll be back in action soon once again.

So it’s one league match down and six to go, with the focus shifting to Healy Park and the significant challenge of Tyrone next weekend. After today’s patchy opening to the 2014 season for us, we’ll now have added incentive in seeking to get something tangible from our second away match of this league campaign.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly (0-3, ‘45s); Kevin Keane, Ger Cafferkey, Colm Boyle; Lee Keegan (0-1), Shane McHale (0-1), Brendan Harrison; Tom Parsons, Aidan O’Shea (0-1); Cathal Carolan, Keith Higgins, Adam Gallagher (0-3, two frees); Kevin McLoughlin (0-8, six frees), Andy Moran, Darren Coen (1-0). Subs: Jason Gibbons for Parsons, Brian Gallagher for O’Shea (black card), David Drake for Harrison, Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1) for Coen, Alan Freeman for Higgins, Enda Varley for Adam Gallagher.

99 thoughts on “Kildare 2-19 Mayo 2-18: edged out in a shoot-out

  1. Its a pity paddy brophys mother didn’t stay in mayo and raise her son there!! We could do with a buck like that. Some performance!
    Wouldn’t panic about the defeat seemed our lads well up to speed and new lads playing well, Kildare are always the best team in Ireland in early spring. Adam Gallagher played well, sounded on radio like some of our defenders got a bit of a hiding though?

  2. Disappointed with result but no need to panic. Great open high scoring game. Everything Kildare hit seemed to go over. Boyle should be back in the half back line. No points in Omagh next week would put pressure on us though.

  3. Pity we didn’t hold on for the draw, with time up on the clock we should have at the very least coughed up a black card, will we ever learn. Lost it in the last 10 min’s of the first half – from three points up to three down in that period was crazy stuff, centre field and defence were all over the place during that period. That said as the poll here suggested, Kildare were favourites and they did look that bit sharper than us today – but as we know it’s early days…..

  4. Disappointed not just with the result but several things today.

    Here are my observations from the game.

    Major Minus Points
    – Manager left Kevin Keane in the full back role right through the game when the world knows he can’t play there. Couldn’t believe it!
    – Similarly, Kevin Cafferkey’s best position but he had him follow Kildare’s best forward who score six points from play and was man of the match. Couldn’t believe it! Kildare won the tactical battle hands down today !
    – Still losing half our own kick-out and more of the oppositions – have we learned nothing from Cluxton and Dublin in this regard?
    – 10 players scored against us today and all but 2 points were from play.
    – we had three starting forwards that scored today, and of those one was Coens goal ( his only contribution). Take McLoughlin’s frees out of that and we are really going backwards. The FBD taught us nothing and it does not look hopeful looking
    at today.

    Major Plus Points
    – Manager is with selectors in the stand – talking to and listening to them.
    – Gallagher is good enough to challenge for a starting spot.

    What else did we learn from today?
    – Coen is not ready for this level yet – albeit he took the goal well.
    – Don’t mess with your backs – far too loose today.
    – McLoughlin was the Mayo player most guilty of turning over possession

    One other point
    Black card nonsense continues with sending off of Aidan O’Shea.
    Kildare No 12 Tackett to the ground on Carolann was much more
    A black card than the O’Shea incident. No consistency !

  5. Adam Gallagher certainly has the look of business about him, gibbons too was really good. They all were good and must be commended.
    the Kildare goalie better buy a pint or two later for mr brophy that kicked the winner, talk about saving your blushes!!!!!

  6. Delighted with Adam Gallaghers contribution. Coen took goal well but was quite ineffective other than that. Hard to watch a team like Kildare kicking so many long range scores – why isn’t this being coached into the Mayo forwards? I suppose its not too bad only losing by a point with only 3 weeks of training under their belt…

  7. I sure Kildare will get what coming to them a good beating anyway it’s only start of the league I wonder will cillian be back for the dubs game or Kerry.

  8. Looking around at other scores there seems to be a lot of high scoring games. Could the black card be working to counter act body checks and cynical fouling? That said the black card dished out to O’Se was a joke.

  9. How did Brophy put that over? Great finish from the lad. Hard luck to the lads involved, nearly snatched it from a Kildare team miles ahead in terms of fitness. I think young Adam Gallagher is being over hyped on this site, i think the lad was’nt great today at all, and judging by that performace, in my mind he wont be challenging for a summer start any time soon. Having said that he scored a brilliant point from play, and i hope he can prove me wrong!!! Going to be a tough day in omagh next weekend. Jesus the fixture list does’nt do us any favours at all.

  10. Can anyone tell me, where was Keith Higgins? Some of the Kildare points were unreal. If only we could do that!! Gutted with last score, Was sure we had a draw. Still with a second string centre field we hung in there. Enough said!!!

  11. Sure disappointed with the loss after thinking we had secured the draw at least! I think mayo Machale said it above, if ever there was a time to take a black card it was when in the 71’st minute with the ball in Kildares half and how brophy got that shot off was unbelievable really. He was on fire today.
    The loss is not the end of the world, but there’s still a lot of work to do it seems up front. No stand outs today.

  12. Game was won and lost in the middle of the park. We seemed to dominate their kick-outs and breaks and vice-verse. And whenever the kick-outs were won the attacking team had a serious advantage running at the opposing defenses who were afraid to tackle hard because of the black card rule.

    Overall thought we were unlucky not to get the draw however after scoring the two goals we had the momentum and should have pushed on. New guys did ok however decision making again was poor. Only for Andy Moran setting up fellas we were running down blind alleys.

    What anyone new hoping to make their mark needs to learn simple. It’s as important to have a guy on this team who can choose to pass rather than go for the low percentage shot.

    (We have plenty of those already)

    This composure doesn’t automatically come along with every fleet footed forward but its one of the ingredients we’re missing.

  13. We did look to loose in the back line today the loss of nallen coaching was clear to see today. We could do with another tactican like connelly or o neil on the side line. The last ball kicked out after mcloughlin had equalised should have been ours we didnt win or fight for it. We allowed posession and backed off . We could have done with seamus o shea or barry moran. We need to go to omagh and try to get some points next sunday but that will be extremly tough. Adam gallagher was good needs more games has great potential . Petty regan isnt on the panel could have contributed today in coming on as a sub. I dont have faith in varley wasted a ball today in trying to go for a super score on his right foot when he should have looked up for a team mate.

  14. Great game of football for first game of league with the good weather helping. Super Mayo support. Andy getting sharper, Adam Gallagher should start next Sunday. Higgins needed in full back line and Boiler needed out on the half back line. AOs was text book black card happened right in front of me. In summary the difference Kildare were fitter as we thought but they also more surprisingly fired over long range points from all angles.

  15. Kildare play cork next cork could bring them done a peg or two the will be very cocky now hopefully mayo beat tyrone next week.

  16. Just back from Newbridge. Traffic brutal coming from Dublin. Got there at 4 all.

    Hard to know where to start. Mayo coasting towards the end of the first half – and should have had two goals to boot. Then lucky not to be 6 behind at half time. Kildare’s policy – or Jason Ryans – of shooting on sight worked nearly 100% for them – will that always be the way?

    What impressed most was the comeback to go 1 up from being 6 down and on a hiding. Jason Gibbons really showed during this period and all through indeed. But we turned over far too much ball around the middle which gave Kildare real momentum going forward. Turnover for last kick out criminal, when we had them on the run. This also answered the question of Mayo support – very vociferous when Mayo were making a game of it; that’s the way it works.

    Overall, JH’s comment about only having two training sessions is the one to go on. A lot of our new guys looked a bit green, though Brian Gallagher did well overall. Adam Gallagher disappointed; one great point a good free, but faded in the second half, and doesn’t seem to have great pace if a race with a Kildare defender just in front of me is anything to go by. Harrison struggled, and Boyle needs to be in the half line. Agree with others that Coen did little, but did take the goal well. Free taking kept us in it, including 3 beauties from Robbie.

    Overall we didn’t impose our game on Kildare, like Dublin did on Kerry, even when Kerry were on top.

  17. I was thinking before the game, we could struggle in midfield if anything happened to Aidan O’Shea, with Barry Moran and Seamus O’Shea been unavailable. That was the way it worked out. To lose Tom Parsons as well was very unlucky. In saying that, the lads who came on, put in a great shift and battled away. That old trait surfaced again though, Mayo leading the game, concede a goal and a few more scores, then end up going in behind at half-time. Again not enough scorers from play up front and giving up some cheap scores as well. Lastly losing by a point in a tight finish. Where have we seen this narrative before! It seems to be the way Mayo football has gone for the last 25 years…. In fairness, it was a great game of football at this time of year and Kildare having a lot more work done in terms of hard training, were slightly the better team. In saying that, Mayo have still not learned to eke out a result in these types of situations. James Horan said before the league started, that these were the games we would like to win, tough, hard games away from home. Overall with four games played over the week-end, two games been one point wins for Dublin and Kildare, one draw and a win for Cork, it really shows there will nothing easy about Division 1 this year. It was interesting to note that it was the home teams who got the wins, so with Mayo having an away game again next week, things won’t get any easier. Roll on the next game…..

  18. Just in door.Ya some good points and some bad.Gallagher,Gibbons,Keegan,Cafferky i thought played well and made less mistakes than others.
    I was very disappointed with AOS.Im not going to question his integrity but his fowl crazy even if this was just a league opener.These lads in sure are all trying to impress the manager.Anyway moving on.
    you could they were big huge fellas we looked very comparing to them to them but we still stood off them and weren’t able to track their runs.Id say Kildare were fitter but considering there training since before Christmas we ain’t too bad.
    Disappointed we didn’t get another couple goals Keegan had a great chance and AOS had 2 lads free but he went himself.
    Finally what was most frustrating of all was we are still fecking around with the ball holding onto it,playing into trouble instead and over carrying and taking too much out of it that is very hard to watch and they need to cut that out and be sharper when in possession.
    Still over all in happy enough:)

  19. Bolton also should be playing for Mayo as father from Kilmovee!
    Very frustrating as usual from a Mayo perspective. Can’t close out games. Tactically beaten again. Only a matter of time before O’Connor hit the net. Caff should have been in full back. Higgins not in the game. Subs did well. Parsons very unlucky. Lost midfield when O’Shea got stupid black card. Refs will decided games this year as not consistent. Draw would have been a fair result. Added pressure next week in Tyrone. Looks like it’s going to be a very high scoring league so if you don’t have the forwards you need an outstanding defence. Roll on the Cship!

  20. From TV, it looked as though Carolan had a good game too putting in a huge amount of hard work. Every team needs lads like that.
    Adam Gallagher has earned a place for the league. One of the things that you want to see from a young player is composure and good decisions and he showed plenty today. His pop to Gibbons for the goal was an example as was the way he forced Cribben into the black card foul.
    Higgins seemed strangely subdued today but Andy and McLoughlin kept going all day showing good energy and appetite.
    Our gameplan went out the window when we lost both starting midfielders although it looked very much like the Kildare lad grabbed AOS when they went to ground to make it look worse than it was. There was a much more blatant fowl by the Kildare 12 that went unpunished.
    As for the defence, we were outfought and outthought by a fit and confident Kildare set of forwards. Our defence lacks a bit of size to cope with bigger teams and especially on winter fields where our speed is blunted.

  21. Give your head a rest. Two replies about Kildare getting beat next week. They beat us fair and square in a good game of football.
    You come across as bitter and immature.
    Onwards and upwards to Tyrone.

  22. Jez, did no one notice Caff being dragged all over the shop by Brophy, who slotted 6 from play. Caff is a superb front of goal dominating full-back and the management let him spend 70 minutes playing outside of his comfort zone.
    There are much better man to man markers further away from the goal area than Caff. Micky Harte will be brewing more tricks, which I hope we will faster reactions from our sideline!

    And Higgins should be at 6, not 11, with later on Cunniffe and Barrett either side of Caff.
    But the elephant we spoke about last September is still in the room. Pitiful return of scores from play from our forwards – 3 starters didn’t score and other than the well taken goal, Coen might as well not have been there.

    Where was Jason Doherty – played the full game and got 2 points v the Rossies in the FBD and didn’t feature at all today? Is he a possible if given a run?

    Looks like Andy might have to end up at the problem 11 position, picking up breaking balls at midfield and setting up the forwards with go-forward passes. But who will those forwards be?

    Hurry back Cilian, and they should give Freeman a good run. Adam Gallagher looks promising, It’s anyone’s guess……

  23. You can include Ollie Lyons there too, Ballyhaunis father and Lahardane mother. Sure if we got them all back the All Ireland would Mayo A v B .

  24. Really good game but disappointing to lose. Have had my doubts about Keith at CHF, Think he is brilliant defender and was really missed at the back today Conceding 2 19 is a major concern. Shouldnt rush to judge on one game but thought Adam Gallagher did well and will be better when he strengthens up a bit as he was dispossessed a few times. Good scores and plenty of character from the team. Looks like the black card is going to be a joke. How O Shea got one and two Kildare lads avoided them in second half baffles me . O Sheas was not cynical just awkward while Kildare denied us blatant scoring opportunities. I thought that’s why the black card was brought in.

  25. The backs were very loose all day. Kevin was roasted, Shane looked a bit lost, Lee isn’t fit, as he showed in the second half, when he stood and watched his man go. Colm needs to go back to number 7 as most scores came down that wing.The two Gallaghers did well , even though Adam spilled a fair few balls in the first half. Overall not too worried considering Kildare have three months training done.if Sam was given out in February, Kildare would win every year.

  26. Crazy game of loose defending, when was the last time Mayo conceded 2-19? the 1-3 from play for the six Mayo starting forwards tells its own tail also. Early days and plenty of dirty diesel to be blown out yet.

  27. This black card crap is just going to bring more confusion and inconsistency into a game that is rife with inconsistency all ready.

  28. AOS wasn’t too far from me either and I thought it was more clumsiness than a deliberate foul. He did bring down the Kildare man but I thought it was more a case of falling over him. There was no reason for a deliberate foul where it happened.
    There was a trip on Carolan late in the second half which looked far more a black card than AOS’s. Maybe as the year progresses we may get more consistency but I won’t be holding my breath.

  29. Very disappointing to see us so vulnerable still to the high ball in the full back line.
    And our forwards turned over a power of ball today. That being said we were down some regulars and today’s result showed the strength of our panel. I think it augers well for competition for places this year and hopefully we can strengthen the problem areas from the AI final

  30. These points have been made already, why 1) did Horan sit on his hands and allowed Cafferkey to be dragged all over the field, and 2) Higgans who was having a stinker in the forwards, not be dropped back to help the defence who were getting a roasting? Add to that a point I’ve made already – why when having drawn level with almost time up, did we not cough up a black card to prevent Kildare breaking up the field for that last ditch winner – when will we ever learn ?????

  31. The high scoring over the weekend may be down to the black card, if so not a bad thing. First one was worthy of it. O’Shea was the wrong side of the pitch for me, but again it may have been a blessing as it allowed Gibbons and Gallagher grow into the space. Could have been at least one more for Kildare. Think it could settle into a good idea.
    Adam Gallagher looks like the deal, allowing for swallows and summers. McLoughlin seems to be on upward curve, and free taking confidence returning.
    Stats on starting forwards scores frightening
    Still glass has got a fair drop in it. This is going to be a tight division. Down to the last games, this then we will find our metal.

  32. I was really focused on our forward play today and took a few stats, especially seeing if we improved on some of the area we had problems with in the AIF. These might no be 100% correct, but hopefully close enough.

    we had 40 attacks (17-first, 23.decond half) (20 scores, 10 from frees /45s), 11 turnovers in attack, 7 wides and 2 shots dropped short.

    Turnovers -Kev Mc, who overall had a good game, was responsible for 6 turnovers, gallager 2, carolan -2

    Despite the overall 2-18, our starting forwards scored only 1-4 from play. Hardly shooting the lights out.

    On the forwards
    We are playing without a FF. We have no target man and Coen and McL suffered as a result. There was no one to play off.
    Andy played well at CHF and offloaded well.
    I would stick with Keith in the HFs – this was his first full game and neither Andy or Adam G have much pace.
    Gibbons – I think he is too good for the bench, could he be turned in to our Paul Flynn? Could he play FF? He has good balance for a big man.
    Adam G – took two nice scores in the first half and looks promising.

    Kildare showed the benefit of a big yet mobile FF line. When nothing else was on they could hit O Connor and Brophy. We didn’t have that option which , in part, might be the reason for some of these turnovers

    Most annoying, that we allowed that last score. Where was that bit of ruthlessness or street smarts to stop that attack and give away a black card – imagine if that had been the last minute of an AIF. really disappointing. Very enjoyable game though.

  33. Disappointing result Today thought that we deserved a draw. thought Brian Gallagher had a good game, his distribution was excellent. He should be played at centre forward against tyrone.

  34. Many of the posters to this site are like weather vanes – you can tell from them which way the wind is blowing but they cannot forecast tomorrow. Since last Sept we have been hearing why Keith Higgins should be CHF, One poor display we want him back in defence.
    We already know we have six solid defenders [even without Keith]. We need alternatives to prove themselves for emergencies, injuries etc. That cannot be done if the regulars are always played in their best positions. Checking our strength in depth is just as important as winning game – the ideal is to do both but that will not always come off.
    I do agree that Caff is best posted on the square rather than following whoever seems to be the most dangerous forward [Brogan for Dublin etc.] If that had been the policy in the 2102 final he would have been where he was needed when Donegal scored their two goals rather than 40/50 yards away. However, as I said above, we also need to test alternatives.
    Looking forward to better luck next week.

  35. Thought Drake did well when he came on. Great block at one stage to save a certain goal and a few good runs up the field.

  36. Great to meet u today Willie Joe even though I didn’t realize it was you till afterwards !!! Thought it was a great match but half back and full back line not great atall atall Kildare able to get in far too easily the breaking ball also needs to be worked on but considering all that were missing in action and in wrong positions not too bad a day at the office …. Thought Jason Gibbons had a fantastic game and I wouldn’t normally be a fan and Robbie H keeps getting better am hoping Jason Doherty gets a chance to prove himself could be our seceret weapon yet !!!

  37. Look, it’s just the first game. Kildare, a credit to them seemed to always have an answer when Mayo threatened to dominate. Brophy’s courageous point in the dying seconds was the killer blow for Mayo. Kildare overall on the day were just about the slightly better team and fair play to them. Kildare found a way to win and nobody can take that away from them.

    I hope that they can progress and become a real force. Kildare have been honestly knocking on the door, with their pure football since 98. I wish them the very best and hope that they can replicate the intensity of today when meeting the arrogant surity of Dublin, both in the league and championship.Time will tell. It always does. No harm in abit of softening from the others.

    Mayo did try hard and all credit to them, but they never seemed like winning at any stage, but it is an early stage.

    Looking forward to Healy park next weekend. it’s just a hop and a skip for me. A private message to the Mayo management. Would you in the honor of God let them loose abit , I have to continue living up here long after you’re gone

  38. Exactly what I took from the comfort of croaking & coughing on my couch Jucer-Brian G was spraying ball around like Gooch v Dublin last year.The other plus was David Drakes work rate & that block should’ve been a game changer…& Mike you’re spot on-nobody had the cop to take a black card for the team in that final build up (whether anyone was close enough was debatable!).Alan Freeman seemed to be ignored once finally brought on & Conroys cameo was pointless & insulting.
    So in short try Zippy at 6,Drake somewhere,Boyle at home at 7,Brian Gallagher at 11 & leave Andy’s cuteness near the goals

  39. It was mostly a good day for the other Connaught teams, apart from Galway who lost narrowly away to Meath in a high scoring game. Sligo and Leitrim had home wins, while Roscommon won away. London also lost away from home. After the first round of games in Division 1, Mayo are in sixth position with Kerry and Westmeath below us. As long as we stay in this position or better (with ideally us making it into the top four, to make the semi-finals) thats our main priority, not getting relegated. Checking through the results, the home teams won most of the games or else drew. So winning our home games and trying to pick up some points away from home, is key as well, if we want to make the latter stages of the competition and not be relegated. Uncovering new talent, off course, is the main objective….

  40. Spot on Andy…Jeez when Horan moved Keith in AIF he was lambasted.When he left him today, ditto.Over the last week, I hadn’t seen any comments suggesting that James start Higgins at corner back.Sometimes we have to think a little before we type.Keith was a little lost today n Boyler wasn’t too comfortable but hey, we appealed for experimentation and we’re getting it.Mabye we need to give the camp some space

  41. David Drake looked quite impressive for the while he was on. He deserves a start in the next match. That block of his showed great determination and he was a tough cookie when he tore upfield. We need a few like that.

  42. Look I am sorry about what I said about Kildare but I am not bitter more disappointed more then anything cause mayo had that game win.

  43. Before anything, Happy anniversary to this site and many, many thanks once again WJ

    Very high scoring game and as alluded to in earlier posts, it’s a bit worrying to ship 2-19 albeit that a lot were from distance I thought we backed off them too much, could be ‘black card’ syndrome but we let them come on to us .
    They are a big side and we had a lot of players out of their better positions but as said by many before, we need to blood others.
    David Drake is a real prospect and is similar to Kervin Mc and Boyler, he never gives up.
    Again the forwards are getting flak but we need to stop shipping goals, long range points are not so much a defenders poor play.
    That said, it is the first real game of the year and though we lost by the narrowest it is by no means a disaster.
    Gibbons, both Gallaghers, K Mc,Boyler,Leroy, Carolin, Drake and Andy M showed the spirit that’s needed, Kevin Keane would be better further forward as his height is against him but he has the heart.
    Keith H just had a bad day and we are all allowed one of these at this time of year, no doubt he will come good.
    So it’s off to Tyrone next week and in some ways I think it will suit us better, they owe us one and we owe them one.
    MaighEo Abu

  44. Good to see brian gallagher get in to day .,he needs these games at this level to reach his potential

  45. Fair bit of wailing and gnashing of teeth here tonight. I went to Newbridge today expecting to lose by a few points and in the end was disappointed we didn’t come away with the win. Clearly in the minority here but I took a lot of positives from that game.

    Look at it this way. We were without most of our “big” players, we’re how many weeks behind Kildare in terms of training?, we had a rake of new faces in there, we were playing in Kildare’s back yard, and we scored 2-18. That’s the positive take on it and I left Newbridge today feeling far more optimistic than I did going in.

    Obviously there is stuff to be worked on. I thought Andy was immense today and showed excellent leadership, I thought Brian Gallagher was superb when he came on, and Gibbons, Drake, and Carolan showed well. But Keane unfortunately was out of his depth and was left in position for far too long. Boyler needs to come back up. McLoughlin conceded a worrying amount of turnovers but I did think he was playhing with more confidence than he showed last season and I hope the tide is turning for him Higgins didn’t find his rhythm in half-forward today – I’d quite like to see Andy tried there with Freeman up front – but that said, I wouldn’t rule him out of No. 11 just yet. Weren’t we all crying after September when he was moved back?! Overall I thought we stood back off them far too much – there was a serious reluctance to take on their men – and marking was dreadful – too often Kildare were finding free men and they were more than happy to capitalise on it. Agree we should’ve gone for broke and taken a black card in the last minute – it was sickening to concede that point.

    But compared to last year’s lacklustre start in the league I’ll take that any day. And what is the league for, if not for a bit of experimentation? And with the best of our panel to come back in, there are plenty of positives to take out of that performance on the first day of the league. Mind you, next weekend will be a challenge and a half and if we don’t get stuck in, we will be leaving there with our tails between our legs and that will be a lot harder to take.

    Thanks to all who stuck their heads into the Liffey Arms too, including yourself WJ – good to see you. Nice turnout and lovely to meet a few new faces. We’ll be arranging a meeting point for Omagh during the week for those of you travelling next Sunday.

    Big, big week for Kiltane – enjoy the build-up folks and safe travels to those of you making your way from afar for it.

  46. Some here think Keith much better as a defender and have said it. And I certainly don’t think we have 6 solid backs. Having said that I have no issue with James experimenting. That’s what the league is about.

  47. 6 turn overs is a huge amount.Technically they could be 6 possible score chances .He was turned over in the Donegal game last year and Tyrone and again in AIF.This is something that needs to be addressed. The back line will sort itself out but worried up front even with people return.The majority of games more times than not we over carry ball we get turned over its a serious fucking problem.Surely if i can see that Horan can.We need to be more clinical in forward line and convert possession or i cant see us being successful.
    A Galway man rang me to nite and said AOS should not have gone off.This man was,watching it in tv.So maybe i was a little harsh on him.

  48. Surely you can’t be on about Adam Gallagher??? 3 points (2 from play) fouled 3 times that resulted in 1 black card and 1 pointed free and had an effort deflected out for a pointed 45. He set up Gibbons goal also.
    Basically when he wasn’t fouled he either scored or set up a one.

  49. Well put Anne-Marie but it’s not really wailing and gnashing of teeth, ( I couldn’t gnash my teeth if I tried). I think it’s seeing the same terrible mistakes over and over again in a new season with new players. We don’t seem to be correcting them.
    Surely they have to be obvious to both players and management. If you notice now the majority of posters are saying the same things. If we don’t begin to make progress at correcting them from now on, we will be in trouble later in the year and they will certainly come back to bite us. It’s just common sense. I know we may be behind in fitness, etc; but this isn’t to do with how fit we are.
    Otherwise I agree completely with you. 😉

  50. Great game for this time of year and a draw would have been fair result. We scored 2-18

    for early feb not a bad return. It was very obvious kildare fitness levels were much greater

    than ours which contributed to us conceding such a big score. While its gud to experiment

    great to see so many new faces today like gallaghers ,coen,drake,harrison etc. Horan has to more ruthless players like keane, mickey c, varley, jason doc have been tried

    and just not up to it. Keith at cf not workin just not comfortable there has great pace and

    will break the tackle but lacks composure when gets into scoring positions. Brian Gallagher should be tried here gave some lovely passes to inside forwards which led

    to scores.People being a little hard on coen got one chance and scored a natural finisher.

    Andy was playin very deep and kevin mac not a corner forward which did not help him

    was isolated at times. Adam Gallagher class act great football brain and great composure when on the ball.

    Boyler not a corner back has played here before under o mahoney and was a disaster need his aggression in half back line.

    Gibbons had a stormer and needs a run of games as does freeman.

    Think shane mchale more suited to full back line would have like to have seen him

    up against tomas o connor who to be honest got a handy goal.

    Tyrone next wont be easy but with keith at 4 and boyler at 6 and mchale at 2 defence b alot better.

    Mayo 2 win…

  51. Well put there Pebblesmeller. With only a second string centre field etc. etc it was difficult to pin point just how the new players performed in the general chaos. I know the expletive I used when Varley skied that terrible wide after watching the brilliant Kildare points. Imagine if we could score like that. (I dream)!!

  52. Jesus there is a fair bit of negativity about tonight judging by some of the comments. I must have read the game wrong, but, I don’t think I was ever as unconcerned about a defeat. I expected a loss to Kildare today and am pleasantly surprised with the level of our performance considering where we were against the Rossies in Ballinlough just a short while ago.
    As often at this time of year and considering it was our first proper test there was some good stuff and some poor stuff. For me, not scoring for the last 8 mins of the first half while Kildare kicked 1-4 was where the game was lost. In the second half we went another 8 mins without scoring and Kildare scored 3 points in that period. With those kind of stats it means we were playing catch-up, which we did very well, but it is not a platform for winning a match.
    I don’t buy into the argument that O’Sheas dismissal was a turning point in the game because we were not winning anything of use in midfield, on either our or their kick outs, while he was there. In fact Gallagher won 2 consecutive Kildare kick outs when he came on and Gibbons really stood up also as well as scoring a cracker. More worrying though is the complete inability of our backs to challenge and defend high balls into our full back position. Murphy 2012, Brogan 2013 and again today and all resulted in goals. This has to stop because the opposition is targeting it.
    Still, I believe we will play worse and win.

  53. Aidan didn’t deserve a card of any kind. When Aidan put his arm in for the tackle his man held it in and rolled over pulling Aidan to the ground on top of him. Look at it again on TV. When I saw it first I was sure he deserved a black card but no.

  54. Despite the turnovers that Kevin Mac had, he seems to be playing better today than the tail end of last year.
    He often turns it over when he has no one to lay it off to – too quick to keep up with

    Thought the new lads did well

    Andy looked sharp and Jason Gibbons impressed as well

    As has been said here, other teams have had longer to train for 2014 and the league is for experimenting with

    They will still be doing their strength and conditioning over the next three months so there will be days like this, like there was last year and the year before. The same type of comments appear for every league campaign but I don’t worry too much unless we get thrashed

    A few mistimed passes and bad hops I put down to sharpness and the condition of the pitch

    Thought AOS pulled him down to be honest but may have got a finger in his eye for retaliation

    Interesting to see James H in the stand with Donie B rather than pacing up the line on his own – I think it bodes well

  55. Agree 100%! Stick with Higgins at CHF for another while and see what happens. and while I’m at it criticism of our forwards poor return from play isn’t fair. Have we considered if they hadn’t been fouled they would probably have scored a heap of points from play. The last time I checked a point from a free counts the same as one from play and 2_18 isn’t a bad return and it could have been 4-18 but for a couple of great saves. If there is a criticism it is conceding 2-19.
    Settle down is what I say. It’s early days yet……….these lads will come good when it counts.

  56. Brophy led Cafferkey a merry dance and I don’t understand why Cafferkey followed him out the field and then did not get close enough to him to put pressure on his kicks! He never got touch tight to him, he stood 2 yards off him and allowed him to turn and shoot unchallenged!! He was as well to hold his position. Brophy kicked 3 points off him.
    McLoughlin, while he scored well and his frees were accurate, continues to carry the ball into contact and take too much out of it instead of passing it on. I counted 3 times in the first half that he beat his man but then over-carried and eventually got tackled, outnumbered and turned over the ball.
    The Higgins move didn’t work today and indeed Bolton carried a lot of ball forward, but, I wouldn’t rule it out and it may be a work in progress. Harrison was not as impressive today as he has been but it was a step up in quality and even though his man got 3 points off him, he will learn from today and he is one for the future.
    Our fitness levels were surprisingly good and the tackling and hassling from our forwards on their backs in the second half resulted in a few turnovers and a couple of frees. We also had a Carolan goal effort saved for a 45 and an O’Shea goal effort saved also. Those efforts came in the first half when we were on top and had 1 of them gone in it would have made for a very different game.

  57. Don’t agree lads. Caff is one of the top full backs in the country if left to cover the normal FB territory. If an opposing full forward is dragging him out and is a good player, make a switch among the backs and put a man marker on him.
    Doing nothing cost us 6 points from Brophy from play. Caff was only following orders and that chasing around does not suit him game!

  58. Just going by what I’ve seen Cloud9 over the past few seasons. Just seems he’s been roasted on several occasions, in big games, the ones that matter most. How many times do we have to see this to realize it. I don’t have the stats, but I’m sure someone with a bit more time can look at it. I happen to think we have better options, that’s all.

  59. Too early in the season to consign new players to the scrap heap.

    I do agree that Boyle is wasted in the corner. We lose so much of his agrees ion and hard running tucked away from the breaking ball. I’m not convinced by Higgins at centre forward. He’s a fantastic athlete but don’t really see him as a distributor of the ball. I think this could be where Andy ends up. I also think it would be worth placing AOS on the forty for a game or two.

    We have COC and Freeman to come back into the full forward line. No need to panic yet lads and lassies!

  60. In my view, I think there are only 2 places up for grabs in the front 6. I think Andy is the answer at no.11, Adam Gallagher in one of the wing forward positions, Freeman at no.14 and Cillian in one of the corners.
    Andy has the power and upper body strength needed to retain possession in that area of the field – as was shown yesterday by the numurous heavy hits he shipped. He has good vision, is decisive and passes quickly and accurately from foot and hand. I think he lacks the pace and acceleration to play in the corner where often you have to win your ball, turn and beat your man and head for goal. He can strike a ball from distance too so I would like to see him tried on the 40. Adam Gallagher, well, anyone who has read my opinions on him will know where I stand so I won’t bore anyone by repeating. Freeman should be, and I believe will be, our full forward as he got better with every game last season and dominated every full back he played against. He has size, strength and ball winning capabilities, can shift too and take a score. Cillian is a no-brainer it is just to decide where he plays.

  61. For the remaining 2 positions you have the following, McLoughlin, Varley, Dillion, Doherty, Coen, B.Gallagher, Regan ???, Feeney, Carolan, King, Higgins & D.O’Connor. From that group I believe you could adopt a “horses-for-courses” approach depending on the opposition.
    McLoughlin = good tackler and wins turnovers, experienced and good from right sided frees, but, overcarries and loses possession too often.
    Varley = no disrespect but I think he has been tried and tested and while a very good player in league and early championship he has been found wanting at the highest level.
    Dillion = still a role to play with his experience, on and off the pitch, and a cameo playmaker role could best suit. Maybe lacks the real physicality needed nowadays.
    Coen = at this stage of his development he is a finisher, pure and simple. Doesn’t add alot in general play but give him the ball in a scoring position and he will score, the attack needs to be structured with this in mind.
    Carolan = the polar opposite of Coen. Works like a trojan, tracks back, carries the ball forward, lays off at the right time etc. but doesn’t score enough. A strong direct running player.
    Feeney = a mixture of Coen & Carolan as he has the work rate and physicality of Carolan, without the speed, and the scoring ability of Coen. Very important player.
    B.Gallagher = needs more game but a very technical player that can carry the ball at speed. Accurate foot passer and an option at midfield. Need to see more of him.
    Doherty = doesn’t seem to be able to get a run of games under his belt but, so far, his big scores have been against mediocre opposition. Has however proven to be lethal in front of goal.
    Regan = frees from the right, pace, balance and movement, natural scorer and a goal threat. However, until he does it regularly in Championship and League it is hard to judge if he is really as good as we all hope he is.
    Higgins = a shoe-in to the starting 15 but just a matter of where? In danger of becoming the Mayo John O’Shea in that he gets used as a stop gap in problem areas of the field.
    So, James has options aplenty and can chop and change as he sees fit depending on the opponent. It is just a matter of getting the blend right.

  62. In my opinion the black card aided the fitter team yesterday as it restricted us in terms of slowing the game down, which in fairness we can do when its needed.
    I felt when we got back into the game we could have certainly done with slowing the game down. There was no let up from kildare and with our lack of fitness late on we could not get into our normal up close tackling game. Later in the year when things even out people will see the difference.
    With this in mind i think the black card will help the fitter running teams, we certainly fit into that catergory.
    Overall i would be happy with yesterdays performance.
    Would expect something similar in omagh next week.

  63. McLoughlin is much more of a certainty to start than Adam Gallagher. An on-form McLoughlin is crucial to Mayo.

  64. No need to pull all the hair out yet. People seem to be forgetting about all the players missing and the Castlebar contingent who surely will also provide 3 or 4 to this panel. Put Chris Barrett or Tom Cuniffe into that full back line. Both would make a significant difference.
    Kevin Keane got another chance yesterday and I think JH as correct to leave him on Tomás O Connor. Personally I think O’Connor is one of the best full forwards out there. Massive presence, big strong target man who can physically take punishment but also can score as well. But Keane has to learn how to deal with players of this quality. For instance he has to learn to sometimes punch the ball rather than try taking on the low percentage catch when he’s on the back foot and up against a big guy with the quality of O’Connor.
    But Cuniffe, Barrett, Higgins, Cafferkey are not going to be around forever. Now is the time (in Division 1 against top teams) for Keane, McHale, Harrison, Drake etc. to experience this level of football. They are the future for the county along with others. They must be given experience.
    Also in the forwards Keith Higgins is a player for a fast wide pitch. Not a heavy, tight ground at the beginning of February. Great that Andy Moran played well yesterday.
    But putting him automatically into a half forward position because of one display is questionable. It’s back to the game of horses for courses. If he were marking for instance Karl Lacey in Croke Park in the Summer. Someone who has bags if pace and likes to burst forward all the time on a fast pitch. Well he might not be half as effective. Keith Higgins might be a far better solution in this case.
    Also what about Alan Dillon, Conroy, Freeman, Tom King, COC and Richie Feeney. That’s another six forwards who are going to push for starting places on the team as the season progresses.
    As was said we scored 2-18 for first game out in February. Lost by a point that was a shot to nothing . If he had missed it no one would have complained. But that’s the way it goes sometime. Better for it to go that way now rather than in Castlebar against Galway or further on maybe?

  65. Whilst the Newbridge ground had a great athmosphere I found that the Kildare County Board were woefully inadequately prepared. Parking and traffic management was poor and overall the facilities were not good enough to charge €15.
    Mayo’s backs were very poor. I really do hope there is massive improvement. The 3 full backs and Keegan looked like they had a good christmas. If my U12s marked as poorly I would cancel their year end party!! I feel that some tactical switch was needed to prevent the Kildare forwards scoring at will. Jason Gibbons had a great game but is probably more suited to better conditions. He likes to run direct lines a bit like Dublin’s MDMc. Kevin McL needs to make simple passes. Why does he have to do blind passing? Very disappointed not to get a point. Hope to get to Omagh next weekend.

  66. 2 Positives from yesterday
    Apart from the various contributions from the others, I took two things away from yesterday
    1. Based on the number of Mayo season ticket holders who turned up, if we’re there in September, the ticket search is sorted.
    2. A sentence in Colm O’Rourke’s Sunday indo piece: “Nobody should ever dismiss the Mayo dream”. WJ, keep that line & use it whenever we are celebrating on a 4th Monday in September

  67. Cloud9-you have a point but i’ve seen him being roasted as well. I feel if we had someone to sweep up it wouldn’t be as big a problem. He has a lot of talent but man to man marking, without cover, to me, in the modern game, is suicide, but we do it all time.
    If the opposition score two goals our far from perfect forwards have to score 2 goals or 1 goal and three points or 6 points just to stay in contention. Can anyone see that????

  68. Pebblesmeller, ma man! First of all Jesus doesn’t post here. He has his own site. What you are calling negativity is just what you are saying, constructive criticism and I agree with you 100%. Ma man. 🙂

  69. Have we forgotten the facts from yesterdays game that only 1-03 was scored from play from our starting six fowards. Thats embarrassing really.

    Andy Moran has a terrible day, ponderous in position, lacking modibility out the field and getting in K Higgins way for alot of the time. Adam Gallagher while still lacking upper body strength has the potential to improve but wasteful in position – spilling a few easy positions in 2nd half. Carolan ran himself into the ground but never composed on the ball, hasnt that scoring power or radar Dillon has for a killer pass. Coen and Mcloughlin were never high scorers from play – badly missing E Regan. McLoughlin is not a reliable free taker and cant afford him to be carried all year on this regard. Hopefully our best two forwards Cillian and Dillon rehab well and return to sure things up or we will have a very short summer.

  70. Embarrassing? Wow. Overreaction much?

    Why is it that frees don’t count? 3 superb 45s from Robbie that came off the back of excellent attacking play, and a number of frees as a result of the same. If every score was from a dead ball, why would that matter? It takes effort, work and good play to build up to a position where we can pop over frees.

    Thought Andy was excellent yesterday, I thought he looked sharp and some of his passing and vision was absolutely outstanding. His pass for Coen’s goal, for example, was clever and got us back into the game.

    Can’t see how we are badly missing Regan when we never had the lad. As far as I am hearing his lack of involvement in the current squad is his own decision. If so, good luck to him.

    That game will stand to us, far better for us when compared to our first outing last year against a depleted Kerry side in a lacklustre game. I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday!

  71. We had Seamus O Shea, and Barry Moran on against Cork in League Final and when they couldn’t do it then what makes you believe they would do it yesterday? Give credit where credit is due both Jason Gibbons and Brian Gallagher did very well yesterday. According to JH they are no’s 5 and 6 for midfield. We are sick and to the teeth watching
    1,2,3,4.Also Adam Gallagher has a great future. What JH has Varley for is
    hard to figure out. Another player who is selfish. Could have passed the ball to Gibbons instead of his usual hail mary efforts. This game we should have won and definatley got a draw. What was JH doing in bringing on Conroy in injury time? Stupid.

  72. Baffling selection by Horan yesterday. Kevin McLoughlin on the edge of the square with Andy Moran dropping very deep into centrefield to play quarterback.

    We’re guessing that Horan wanted to profit from the midfielders breaking forward and while it did create chances for O’Shea and Gallagher you have to wonder have Mayo become much too predictable. Horan loves this running game and while it creates easy scores and easy frees it doesn’t win you crunch games, especially in Croke Park. Dublin are masters at mixing up the kicking and running game. Kildare taught Mayo a lesson in how to utilise the target man.

    Things improved in the second half. McLoughlin dropped into midfield to dictate the tempo and Horan moved onto the forty but the lack of a target man is very puzzling. Doherty and Freeman have huge potential. Is the workrate lacking, Horan demands that from his players?

    Very, very experimental lineup and little training done but Mayo are still a very good side, posting a big score but a settled forward line is surely a must at this stage?

  73. I must ask this question on this one. Regarding the season tickets yesterday, I didn’t hear the little click sound as I was going in for mine. And I just checked the attendance and it’s down as ‘Not attended’. I’m beginning to worry again. I might have to miss a few games this Summer.

  74. Heard that “All attendance records from last weekend’s fixtures will be uploaded to season tickets accounts by Wednesday of this week.” So don’t panic just yet a chara!

  75. Maybe see Doherty, Freeman and Conroy next week and no Higgins or Moran starting. We all know what these guys can do playing together. But getting others game time at the top level (Carolan, Gallagher, Coen etc.) is important. Building an experienced squad is the best thing the county can have.

  76. An interesting stat (courtest of Don’t Foul) for those of you above who suggest the black card may lead to higher scoring – comparing the opening weekends of 2013 and 2014 (obviously a small sample but still)

    Week 1 scores. 2013 = 29-365; 2014 = 37-413.

    So that’s an extra 8-48. So on average 4.5 more points per game. Will be interesting to see does that stat hold up, although I question how much of it is to do with the black card and how much of it is to do with teams just getting a bit better at shooting.

    Still seems to be a lot of confusion about the black card offences – people in the crowd were shouting for black cards for high tackles for instance.

  77. Agree with you Martin, it is unfair and a generalization. Every County has Assholes. I was a press photographer for nearly 30 years and was at all the local matches. The abuse that was hurled at players and officials was vile, so “let he who is without sin throw the first stone!”

  78. There were a definitely a couple of calls (or lack of) from the sideline that worried me, and that’s the part that would concern me the most. In particular, I didn’t think Kevin Keane had the best day yet he was left there for the entire game; similarly I thought Freeman could have been brought on a bit sooner.

    That said, I still maintain we are much further down the tracks than we were at this stage last year.

  79. I think Digits, that there’ll be a certain amount of reticence and caution on the part of defenders to go into strong tackles for the first while, until this system beds in and the refs get a handle on it. I can’t see those types of scorelines being a a feature throughout the season, but it sure will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  80. Yeah Digits, I suppose it could also be a case of teams following the Dublin template this year, trying to score more than the opposition. Whatever template achieves success, usually means teams follow this, to try and achieve the same results. Its like the Donegal template of getting bodies behind the ball was the system in vogue in 2012. When Kerry played Kieran Donaghy at full-forward and won the All-Ireland, other teams tried to play the big ball winner on the edge of the square too. So i suppose its a combination of the black card and teams following the Dublin temple….

  81. Still think McLoughlin at full-forward was bizarre, especially with the options mentioned. You build your team around Andy Moran at full-forward and then drop him into midfield?

    I don’t think Horan’s too bothered about the league going by this experimental line-up. If Mayo make a semi-final spot it will be seen as a bonus, nothing more.

    I actually thought Higgins did well enough in the first 15 minutes, getting on breaking ball and setting up attacks but he faded badly. McLoughlin deserves a chance as a ball-winner at 11.

    Carolan was disappointing, headless chicken stuff and there’s a tendency for Mayo players to run the ball into traffic. This was a big problem in last year’s All-Ireland final and it was evident again on Sunday. When you see Tyrone playing expansive football, using the kick-pass, playing 3 men inside surely it’s about time Mayo started to mix it up a bit?

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