Mayo 0-12 Donegal 1-9: stalemate secures top-flight status but not semi-final slot

Mayo Donegal final score

Photo: @JMelvinConTel via Twitter

The men from the Hills arrived to Elverys MacHale Park to face Mayo in the final NFL Division One game of the year. The game had so many possible outcomes for six of the eight teams in the division that ranged from Mayo being relegated on one hand, or progressing to a league semi-final on the other.

We’ve been here before, of course, and the much improved performance from our lads in Cork last weekend had done much to have the Mayo contingent in the large crowd, stated at 12,304, hopeful of another good showing and the two points that would see us in Dublin next weekend in a semi-final decider.

Donegal lined out as per the programmme in a strong experienced side that even without their captain Michael Murphy still had an impressive look to it. Mayo on the other hand were forced into a number of changes to the starting fifteen that was named on Thursday evening. Out went Tom Parsons and Alan Dillon and in came Seamus O’Shea and Diarmuid O’Connor respectively. An even later change saw Brendan Harrison come in for Ger Cafferkey before the throw-in.

David Coldrick started the match and Donegal, playing with the aid of a gentle breeze into the bacon factory end, started like a house on fire that saw them two points up, both scored from play, inside the opening 52 seconds! It was to be their last score, however, for the next 17 minutes.

Jason Doherty scored in the second minute from a free and Barry Moran pointed from play three minutes later. In between these two scores was the heartening sight of Eamon McGee being dosed with his own medicine. McGee had followed the roving Aidan O’Shea right from throw-in and had displayed his vast repertoire of cynical tactics in order to put Aidan off his game. Aidan, had other thoughts, and when Coldrick had his back turned he dropped McGee to the deck where he stayed, holding his face, for a couple of minutes. Job done.

Ronaldson and Lacey picked up yellow cards in the seventh minute and for the next ten minutes the game saw Mayo generally dominate possession, run into the deep lying Donegal defence, struggle to get through and then be counter-attacked at pace by Donegal. Keegan kicked a wide, Donegal responded with two of their own. Seamus O’Shea kicked a wide and MacNiallis did likewise.

Vaughan picked up a yellow in the 14th minute and Doherty pointed a free two minutes later. McLoughlin pointed a beaut from 30 yards out after being picked out by a fabulous Kirby pass where he drifted wide under the stand, won a long direct ball and drilled a pass cross-field to Kevin who tapped over unmarked. It looked like Mayo were getting to grips with the game and beginning to force the agenda.

But, in the next six minutes Donegal hit 1-3 without reply and Mayo were getting ragged. The Donegal goal resulted in direct running through the middle after building from the back, using quick hands and an overlapping runner with a sharp finish high to the Mayo net. Quick, incisive, efficient and direct … everything that the Mayo attack was struggling to be.

Mayo hung in, though, and responded with three points from play in six minutes from Barry Moran, Vaughan and Aidan O’Shea. A wide from both sides saw the first half finish Mayo on seven points to Donegal’s 1-5. Mayo kicked three wides to Donegal’s four and our defence had restricted them to 1-3 since the first minute.

Some notable talking points from that half were the misplaced final balls for Mayo. On four occasions as we counter-attacked the final pass was intercepted by Donegal defenders as we choose to run into congested areas of the field. However, when Donegal did likewise on three occasions they got scores from that tactic, one of them being the goal.

A notable change from the Horan era was the sight of Mayo holding back two half-backs as cover to their two-man full-back line. Mayo were determined not to be opened up on the counter as they had been against Tyrone and Dublin. Also, the early influence of MacNiallis and McElhinney had faded as Seamie and big Barry got up and running.

Michael Conroy came on for Ronaldson for the start of the second half and immediately Mayo were on the back foot. For three solid minutes! It was as impressive a display of defensive shape, discipline and structure that I have seen from a Mayo unit in a long time. Donegal went through phase after phase after phase of possession, probing and moving from side to side but it was all to no avail as eventually their efforts at goal resulted in a wild swing from McBrearty that went wide. The communication between the Mayo defence, the alertness and the “passing off” of Donegal attackers as they came into a zone was very, very pleasing to see. This will stand us in good stead for the year ahead.

Barry Moran got his third of the day in the 40th minute, O’Malley put a ’45 wide and Donegal had a goal ruled out for a push in the back of Higgins. Jason Doherty pointed from play in the 43rd minute, a score that put us in front fro the first time.

Seamus O’Shea was growing into the game and was at his tenacious, muscular best as his defensive duties were best exemplified when he tracked back his marker, harried and harassed him into losing the ball and then dived and blocked the resultant effort on goal. He looks like he thrives on dirty physical contact and he was in his element at this stage. Hugh McFadden was black carded in the 44th minute and, at this point of the game, Mayo were the fresher dominant side and the game was ours to win.

But as has been so often with Mayo over the last four years, just when we have our opponent at our mercy, we let them off the hook. In the next six minutes Mayo kicked three wides from as many attacks compared to a McFadden point in the 53rd minute, their second shot on our goal in the half!

Mickey Conroy and Kevin McLoughlin both then pointed from play and Donegal responded with two of their own from play also. However, an unbelievable decision from Coldrick denied Mayo what would have been a tap-over free and a black card for the offender. Instead he decided that Diarmuid O’Connor should have been able to carry the three Donegal defenders on his back as he made his way to goal.

The crowd booed the decision of the Meath man and, to make matters worse, the inaccuracy of the Mayo forwards worsened as Kevin McLoughlin missed a simple free and Mickey Conroy kicked two wides from play. Eventually, a McLoughlin pointed free ended the 12-minute scoreless drought but another Mickey Conroy wide and a black card, correctly so, for Vaughan had this observer feeling that today was not going to be our day.

I felt we needed a goal to be certain and we never looked like getting one. Even when we had a 2 v 1 counter-attack in the 70th minute with Keane and Durcan sallying up the field we failed to raise a flag of any colour. Instead, the effort fell tamely into the keeper’s hands and, what could have been the winning score, was gone. Instead it was left to Donegal, amid all the fists, off-the-ball sledging, wrestling and total confusion from the officials, to work the final chance, two minutes into added-on time, and score the equalising point.

Mayo have no-one to blame only themselves. The platform that our midfield created in the second half – where Barry Moran was immense! – provided enough ball to our attack to win two games. The inability of the full-forward line to retain the ball in danger areas resulted in us kicking from our half-forward line. The defence was structured and disciplined, turning over ball on five or six occasions. The half-back line were terrific and Harrison counter-attacked at will. I’m afraid when the game was there to be won, between the 44th to 53rd minute, Mayo kicked it away.

We have a number of quite weeks ahead of us instead of one or two much needed competitive matches. I hope management have a few shooting drills lined up otherwise it will be a short summer.

Mayo: Kenneth O’Malley; Brendan Harrison, Kevin Keane, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Donal Vaughan (0-1); Barry Moran (0-3), Seamus O’Shea; Kevin McLoughlin (0-3, one free), Aidan O’Shea (0-1), Jason Doherty (0-2, frees); Mark Ronaldson, Danny Kirby, Diarmuid O’Connor (0-1). Subs: Michael Conroy (0-1) for Ronaldson, Stephen Coen for Harrison, Andy Moran for Kirby, Mikey Sweeney for Andy Moran (blood), Patrick Durcan for Boyle, Neil Douglas for McLoughlin.

132 thoughts on “Mayo 0-12 Donegal 1-9: stalemate secures top-flight status but not semi-final slot

  1. 12 wides for us and 5 for them. That tells ya all ya need to know.

    As mayonaze said elsewhere, not good enough up front. Simple as that lads.

  2. I totally agree with you and the McLaughlin miss and conroy misses were cricual sooner cillian comes back the better.

  3. Unfortunately found wanting up front again. Last week Parsons weighed in with 3 today big Barry likewise for the last four years our half backs have scored well. Long wait now til mid June. Having said that Div 1 secured and some good things again today but we still very unsure heading into June.. Scores very hard to come by in last few games. No goal scored and five conceded in last three.

  4. Poor display really.Depending on Aidan more and more.Ref did NOT cost us game but did us no favours either.
    Forwards not able to score when needed…nothing learned that I can see.
    Galway and Rossies coming up the inside.

  5. Well, that didn’t go too well near the end but at least we are in division 1 for 2016. Those 13 meter frees being missed are a bit of a joke at this level,maybe they are too easy? And the focus is lost?
    Though after the score Dublin posted today I think they’ll win this league title easily. It’s amazing to think that every game Dublin will play from here in in 2015 will be in the home ground. It sticks in my throat in a bad way that they get such a favour because of who they are and what they are. Anyway, as I was thinking to myself we would know where Mayo stood after the last 2 league games , we do know , Mayo are wobbling and will do well to see a semi in August. Just not enough top class players and that’s the unvarnished truth. Roscommon and Galway are improving and could stop us in Connaught and after that a qualifier team like Tyrone or cork would fancy the chances against us. I suppose that’s the way it is, we must deal with it.

  6. I agree our forwards were bad but we had a few new faces there & they need a chance to get to the pace of intercounty football. Kirby worth persevering with. We need a bit of muscle up front. This may be a blessing in disguise.

  7. I’ve seen nothing in this league to say that the team/squad has shown any signs of improving under the present management. They are trying guys out here and there and yes, there have been some injuries, but every county suffers this. I don’t think we can look at any new player who has shown anything that will force his way onto a starting 15 – and Kevin Keane doesnt count as new. Diarmuid O’C has been ok – time will tell how good he turns out to be. Regan was unfortunate with injury. But when championhip comes in June, it’ll be the same bunch – but I am far from convinced that management have any clue what they are doing. I think this group of players has one last hurrah in them – that being the 2015 championship – but we are well behind the dubs, as are most.

    People can come on here saying I and others are being negative, but our relative success at senior level has papered over the cracks at underage where we are distinctly no.3 over the past 5 years when you combine minor and u21 results compared with our neighbours.

    Our senior team who have really given everything over the past 4/5 years has one last shot at this year. From 2016 on – I predict we’ll be slipping down the ranks until we getr some fresh blood through.

    The county board (God help us) need to put far more emphasis on underage.

    That starts with assigning decent tactically adept managers at u21 and going all out for an All Ireland next year.

    Is there any plan at all????

  8. 8 weeks to the Galway game. No competitive football until then. Disaster of a result. What the hell the management are at with the subs they brought on, I’ll never know. We needed experience on the pitch not brought off it. The O Sheas, O Connor, Mcloughlin and Barry Moran were very good. Why out forwards are back in the backs and our backs are up in the forwards and can’t put the ball over the bar is just clueless stuff.

  9. Goals win games and we are seriously lacking in that department..on a positive note we secured our division one status for next year without our star forward..as for league semi spot, we got there last year and lost a forgettable game against a ten man derry …wouldn’t lose sleep over missing a place this year..

  10. The past 6 weeks have been horrible. We are playing awful football. 13 men behind our own 45 and on at least 4 occasions today we had 15. That is shocking. That is not Mayo football. Blaming our forwards for missing chances when our full forwards are being dragged 40 meters from goal. The way we have been setting up has been horrible. If we set up like this against Galway, there is a strong chance we will lose.

  11. How disappointing that we couldn’t convert our midfield dominance into a bigger score. The team worked very hard but just couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. Midfield and backs put in a very hard shift and great to see McLoughlin regain his form, despite the missed frees he was up and down the pitch like a yoyo and put in some great tackles. One of the substitutes looked seriously off the pace today. A lot of work to be done in front of the goalposts in training.

    A shame we couldn’t get another good competitive game or two in Croker before June. An anti-climax to what was a very mediocre league campaign for us. No wins against any of the big teams except for Kerry who are famously apathetic when it comes to the league and still we seem unable to close out the big games. Still too early to say if Noel and Pat are shaping up to be successful but so far it’s difficult to get overly-enthusiastic.

  12. Depressed after watching that on TG4. Yet again we had enough possession to win 3 games. Not enough scores in our forwards, and that’s the truth. Our backs and midfielders can only keep us competitive for so long.

    We’d better wrap Cillian in cotton wool and hope that some of his composure rubs off on his fellow forwards, or we can forget about it for 2015.

    So dispiriting to see Mayo teams blow winning positions over and over and over again. It’s not like this is rocket science.

  13. Very poor league for Mayo aside from Kerry game , going into the championship without a set team or style of play I seems.I have a feeling we will come up short in Connaght and depending on qualifier draw could be a very short summer but I live and hope.

  14. We must had 65-70% possession today.barry was outstanding.kevin mc did some work.but as I say time and time again we lacking natural scoring forwards in the inside full forward line.kirby and Ronaldson tried but at this level they not at races! It’s a bad sign when 25% scores come from a midfielder! I know we have cillian to come back and evan regan but the bigger point of the strategic review needs to be looked at.roscommon have won 4 out last 6 connacht u21 titles and being in 2 finals and galway have won one under 21 in that time.we have won connacht minor last 2 years but there’s a major problem in bringing players on past this age group.now is time for people at the top table to act and implement some sort of plan for the future! We are loosing a good generation of footballers that were good at minor but that it!!!

  15. Maybe it a blessing in disguise the spotlight be off màyo and all the hype is the Rossies can any please tell me what’s the story with cillian is out for the season theirs rumours going around. I don’t want say something that’s not true.

  16. For me the most worrying thing is that we seemed to have learned very little since the Tyrone game about breaking down a blanket defence. Today Donegal did not set up as an out and out blanket team. Their forwards were marking tight on our kickout and gave O’Malley very little opportunity to use a short kickout but we were so slow in moving the ball upfield that they were easily able to funnel back in defence. Seamus O’Shea in particular was a major culprit here, constantly soloing at half pace but going nowhere. In my young days there was a song where some guy [American] sang about “driving around in my automobile with no particular place to go”.Seamus too often looks like that guy in his soloing.
    The inaccuracy of our forwards is also worrying. It seems that we are going back to the bad old days in this regard. Kevin Mc seems to have lost his mojo on freetaking and since we tend to depend on his kicking from the right even when Cillian is playing that is worrying. Nor do we seem to be able to deliver quick accurate passes by hand or foot when on the attack.
    We had abundant chances to seal the in in the final ten minutes withpout being able to take them while Donegal were able to break upfield and make one attack count.

  17. Marquee forwards we dont have them with the exception of cillian, our last 2 attacks would have killed the game very disapointing, but we can improve.

  18. Very disappointed with way team is playing. Getting more northern like by the day. Forwards are playing everywhere but in front of goal. 13 & 14 men behind the ball.

    Kirby looks like a good option up front but needs to add muscle. We also need to keep him in front of goal and give the ball in quick.

  19. We drew today – we didn’t lose by the way for anyone off the planet for a while – against a bloody good Donegal team. McBrearty unstoppable, and they tore us apart at times in the first half, with Lacey directing operations.

    On that basis this wasn’t a bad result, given 3 withdrawals before the match, Cafferkey, Parsons (very disappointing that), and Dillon. Barry Moran outstanding; his fielding as good as I’ve seen for a long time and good points.

    Forwards did let us down, no question. 13 wides I counted. Free taking misses particularly galling – this really wins or loses matches. But, Donegal were opened up with some good running and passing, and the Durcan move was very good, apart from, a big apart, the finish.

  20. Seamie O’Shea and Barry Moran were outstanding around the middle. Aidan O’Shea put in a decent shift and McLoughlin had a fine game apart from the frees.

    Where did it go wrong? If Durcan had put that ball over we’d be talking about a fine performance. And what’s happened to Keegan’s rampaging runs forward?

    No focal point in the full forward line and that really hurt us. Moran put some super ball in there and it didn’t stick.

  21. Avoiding annihilation against Dublin next weekend only positive. Also crazy as this may seen today could of been our last game this YEAR in McHale Park. Hard to believe that as its only Easter Sunday but a defeat in Salthill and away qualifier draws (if came to that) would see us not playing in our county ground till 2016!!! Hard to pay bills that way.

  22. Defensively we were much more organised today and made a number of brilliant turnovers. Midfield were also superb. However that’s where the touch of class ends – despite all the huffing and puffing we simply do not have the forwards to win a national title of any kind. At this stage its looking unlikely that we’ll have the wherewithal to outclass an up and coming Galway in Pearse Stadium in June

  23. This time last year there were people saying that Andy and A Dillon were past it and JH was being criticised for persisting with the same players. Well maybe people now realise why James made so few changes. The facts are clear. We simply do not have better players waiting on the wings. In fairness Pat and Noel have tried new players. Regan got injured in the first game so no conclusions can be drawn on him but other than that I m afraid there have been no major finds so I reckon Andy and Alan have to be there in June and we can only hope that the rumours about Cillian are untrue. he is absolutely vital to our hopes.While we stay the same Ros and Galway are on the up. No point saying U21 is irrelevant and pointing to Kerry as proof. The fact is we would be much better being successful at this grade than being hopeless over the last 4 years. Some of these Galway and Ros lads are serious players and have not tasted defeat v Mayo. Our magnificent senior team have papered over the cracks for years and may do so again this year but as another poster said I fear for us going forward. This team has been wonderful and again gave everything today with some great individual performances but how long more can they go without reinforcements.

  24. Can someone explain what all this switching positions in the forward line is all about with the exception of Kirby no one seemed to stay in one position for more than 20 min today in the forwards.There’s no way the forward line is going to function that way.Though this doesn’t excuse them scoring 9pts with a mountains of possession.

  25. Ok we are division 1 again mission accomplished on that end.

    Not too dissapointed were not going to Crocker. We’re not ready for it or near ready.
    Better get away and work hard behind the scenes.
    Better than being in spotlighted and exploited but the dubs in corker.

    Least now they have a chip on their shoulder and a chance to push the hard yards to show they are actually useful team and not chokers.

    From what I have seen live and via tv etc this year
    I think we need few changes but there is a team there

    ———Clarke
    Cunnife—-Keane —Higgins
    Keegan—Boyle–Vaughan
    ——–SOS —–Moran
    —————parsons
    Mcloughlin—dillon —doh
    ———-Cillian –AOS

    I think we need to win primary possession and need I make ourselves hard to beat. We have fine midfielders and if they stay in midfield ala Neil Gallagher they are the finest.
    Shame is they are being pulled all over the field.
    Let them stay midfield and mind the house when Vaughan and Keegan go forward.

    Parsons should come out around the middle to assist and so keep AOS inside.
    He is currently got between two stools midfield and full forward so keep him inside to assists Cillian

    Dillion and or Andy are needed to play no11 as the other half forwards are not ballers or not near cute enough.

    Kirby has shown well and would like to see more of him. He is a unit and can play. Maybe him no .11 and dillon or Andy at 12 with doh losing out.
    For all his work we aren’t seeing enough scores we need a pacey running like odhran Mac niollais or Connelly and Flynn do.

  26. To win just once are the rumours true then i see galway won today to day s walsh scored to goals galway are dangerous too.

  27. Yet another game where we should have won and no one to blame but ourselves,namely far too many wides.
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if we had converted just 2 of those wides from last week and today we would be off to Croker next Sunday brimming with confidence even if we would still be papering over a few cracks!

    Some good performances which have all been mentioned elsewhere are all positives but I get the feeling that the managers do not know who there best 15 are and how to play them.

  28. Horse… That is an excellent point you are making. I do not believr we will loose to this Galway team in Salthill any time soon, but your point is a valid one. A fifty million gig in Dublin was cancelled last year because they did not have a venue. We are a comical lot really.

  29. C and H are developing the blanket style for Mayo, we were v good much of the time in defence, excellent at midfield, created lots of chances and if we converted 50% of them we would have won by 5/6 pts. So we shouldn’t be overly negative. However, our fullforward line just not good enough today, and McLoughlin from frees unreliable. Our tackling and tracking back was excellent, I think counted 4 from McLoughlin. So any worries that this team has lost the hunger is in my opinion unfounded. Andy Moran way off the pace in my opinion. Sweeney should have being the sub that came on instead. He was v good in his short cameo. So onwards to Pearse stadium for a great battle. They are off to Portugal next Friday for a week. A bit of warm weather training will do them good. Keep the faith.

  30. im not surprised lads got injured in the warm up we were warming up nearly half an hour before the Donegal teamcame out,
    The Donegal selector running onto the pitch telling his players to go back into their blanket was annoying delighted Tyrone & Derry have gone down puke nordie football is horrible to watch
    Shame on the Mayo u21 management for trying to play that sytem with us

    Fair play to Mayo players who stay on the pitch for ages signing autographs for kids

    Maybe our lads could do with a few weeks off & train with their clubs come back refreshed for the championship in June

  31. Joe – ‘managers do not know their best 15’.

    They don’t because they haven’t had their best 15 at any one time, all through this league.

    Tom Cunniffe and T. Parsons weren’t even togged today, our right full was by my reckoning a fourth choice, Dillo out at start, no Cillian etc. So, overall retaining Div 1 status is quite a good achievement and this division has been dog eat dog stuff.

    What does seem to be emerging though, and it is a worry, is that the smaller forwards haven’t made an impact over the last few games – in contrast to the earlier phase. This is a worrying trend and it has dampened my more bullish view of the situation a month ago.

  32. Good points to date
    New players tried
    Players tried in new positions
    And that’s it

    Negative points to date
    Standards dropping. Players have become used to playing League Semi Finals.
    3 wins against 3 poor oppositions
    2 serious lessons taught against defensive and attacking teams
    Management are clueless plain and simple.

    Outlook
    Connaught final hopefully then beaten in qualifiers

    This is not a knee jerk reaction but based on the fact that an average Tyrone team an experimental Dublin team and an under strength Donegal team can inflict 2 humiliating defeats and a draw against us at home. Plus a Cork team can miss a shed load of easy chances and still inflict a last minute defeat against us.
    I hope I’m wrong I hope I’m so wrong but I just can’t see any other outcome

  33. There are a lot of negative views being expressed here today, for the sake of being negative. We had secured our Div 1 status this year after the 4th round. Its the first time we have done that in years yet some people call it a disappointing league. We set out to secure our div 1 status and try out some new players. Mission accomplished, and now we have people crying about the very guys that were given a chance to compete against the top teams. Some of the comments have us written off in the Championship even though the competition is several weeks away. Clearly some guys have an agenda against the new management.
    We were good today in most areas of the pitch today, not withstanding the 12 wides. Our defense was the best I have seen in the league so far. Every guy worked hard and shone against their opposite number. The osheas worked very hard. Diarumid O Connor was good also. DOC was solid and Mc was excellent. We drew the game hitting 12 wides. Every shot on goal was taken under intense pressure and I credit the Donegal’s workrate and tactics for this outcome. Dublin are likely to win the league with either Cork or Donegal meeting them in the final. I see no tactical advantage in playing a game against the Dubs at this time of the year given our relative positions in terms of fitness and preparation.All any management team can do is set realistic goals and work hard to achieve them. In their stated objectives they have been successful, whether we like them or not. There is a lot of good footballing teams would love to be in our position. I am just trying to add a bit of balance to the debate, while at the same time being disappointed that we did not get the win today in Castlebar

  34. The thing is lads our forwards play the way we played today even when we are playing open teams.This crack of carrying the ball into tackles is just not good enough and we consistently do that and that is what seperates our forwards to that of Kerry or Dublin.Build up play is too slow not worth a fuck.Two other big problems we have is not being able to grab the game by scruff of neck and closing the game out. End the end that’s what happened in the 2 games with Kerry last year. It happened in league last year v Dublin .Nearly came unstuck in Connaught final v Roscommon , Against Cork last week and this week Donegal. Very frustrating.We are also very weak when teams run at us.We retreat instead of standing our ground with an exception for Boyler he a hardy buck and lads won’t get much change out of him.Anyway disappointed now after that performance.

  35. Amusing to read that Mayo’s retention of its Div 1 status is somekind of achievement and that we may be better off to have exited the competition at such an early stage. Such logic would lead one to believe there was a menu of alternatives out there which may be more engaging to our boys. Oh yes of course, silly me, I was overlooking a plethora of challenge games which are far more conducive to skills and character building.

    On a separate issue, it should have dawned on us all by now, that we just dont produce enough quality score taker, so stop the pretence and admit we have to starve the opposition of possession by a strategy of unremitting ball retention and plunder more scores than our opponents are likely to achieve in such a scenario – nothing else has worked to date.

  36. The overall gameplan is haphazard. Buildup play is too slow and the target men have no runners and are left isolated.

  37. Some many questions not answered, we really needed more games.

    Does it ever baffle people how we manage to put such easy scoring chances wide in games that matter? Some of our lads don’t do themselves justice , the lack of composure at vital times is ridiculous . What is going throught the mind of a county footballer when he’s about to take a free kick from 25m out .

    Let’s take Mickey Conroy for example, he’s well able to score , we have seen him do it over the years yet he’s prone to shooting 3/4 25/30 m shots wide on the trot on a given day . Is it because hes a fringe player and he’s nervous from time to time wanting to impress , is that why our only nailed on inside forward Cillian shows more composure and confidence. We really need to sort this out .
    What was kirbys role today, seemed to be out the field way too much . What are we at , trying the blanket , it really doesn’t work for us , completely out of our comfort zone, one man breaking forward and noypthing to aim at.

    Pat and Noel will obviously have my support as they are the managers but so far they have not impressed. Usually can’t wait for championship to start when the league finishes , not as enthusiastic this year and there is some noise coming from our noisey neighbours toobut well done to them for backing it to div one.

  38. Was finding it hard to regain any sort of perspective on today until I came in here and read the comments. Doom and gloom and misery it may be right now, but it just reminded me that not one of us no matter how knowledgeable we might be can predict what will happen out on the field from June onwards.

    So I think the best thing to do is just not worry about losing until we’re beaten, which unfortunately I feel we probably will be, before September. But that won’t stop any of us going along and hoping for the opposite.

    In the meantime, what in the name of Jehovah are we going to do with our Sundays for the next 10 weeks?

  39. Very disappointed after todays display. OK, backs were good, as was midfield. Maybe I underestimate Donegal, they did well in Kerry and we’ll see how they get on next Sunday, but its time the line and our forwards were showing improvement. Or do we just not have the men we need?
    I hear they are off to Portugal for a week soonand they certainly deserve it. Could I offer some advice. Leave the football at home. Give them a break, until May. They need a good rest. Then all out for one last effort.

  40. That’s not a bad first attempt at the Mayo blanket.

    The shortcomings are easy to spot. Vaughan and Keegan are not the men needed to join the counter attack. This needs to be Higgins and Boyle. Real pace with footballers is necessary on the counter this is where Higgins and Boyle are strong and despite the odd point from Vaughan and Keegan I don’t think they cause enough damage going forward and are just as capable of been dispossessed as they are scoring.

    Vaughan remained in defence in the 2nd half and our defence was far better apart from the McBreatery goal.

    We held them to very few clearcut chances in the 2nd half and kept our discipline well inside the fifty. I don’t remember too many scores from frees for them.

    If we can get 2 inside forwards capable of adjusting to the blanket arrangement and use Higgins and Boyle to better effect then we might go places. It’s a pity Regan got injured so early in the league as I think our new system will suit him. The forwards today looked to be heavy legged and unable to take on their markers at times, I’d hope this is more to do with the training regime than poor play. I’d imagine teams from now until the 1st round start to focus on speed training which is an area I’d hope we can improve on.

    Also, the usual carry on will now come to the fore about the unbeatable Dubs when they go on and win this league pulling up. Same story as last year.

  41. Agree with most of the comments. There were times today when we looked and played like a northern team, all players behind the ball. when you analyse today’s game, the big loss was the beautiful art of how gaelic
    Football should be played. The gaa need to do something soon about this type of football, if they don’t some team will win an Ireland by only needing to score seven or eight points.

    As a longtime supporter of the Gaa I am starting to not enjoy watching the game!

  42. Ten Sundays free from gnashing of teeth and gloomy posts can only be a good thing..think everyone needs a break..still waiting on someone to spill the beans on these cillian rumours..

  43. Don’t want to hear any rumours Regina – one of the scourges of Mayo GAA. Great point about the 10 free weeks though, it’ll probably do us all the world of good!

    Great post Pebblesmeller.

  44. Caught the game on TG4.
    Defensively good at times but as stated above the forwards were very poor.
    My real fear is that we have found no one. All the young players is haven’t yet come up to the mark. Ronaldson is a bit light, Conroy is probably a better bet than him. Hall, Coen, Durcan, are still all too light at the top level. It’s hard to see any of them having any meaningful roles to play this summer. They may make it at some stage but I really wonder if it will be this year.
    Regan may make the team due to his ability to kick frees off his left. I thought McLoughlin was excellent today but his free was simply shocking, I’m sorry – missing a 14 yard free with the wind is simply unacceptable at this level. I wouldn’t mind but he two screamers from play from a lot further out.
    One final point – I wasn’t at today’s game granted but I’m getting sick and tired of Mayo fans (and fans in general) giving out about referees. Gaelic football has gone so physical, it’s incredibly hard to ref. What is a bloody tackle?! I thought Coldrick did a good job in a game where fights were breaking out constantly. When I was looking at Twitter, the amount of howling about Coldrick’s performance lead me to believe we were looking at another Gaelic Grounds job. He didn’t get everything right but no ref does and we’re doing far too much moaning about it. He didn’t beat us today, our failure to score and to close out a game did. In fact, the biggest mistake he made, in my view, was to disallow McBrearty’s second goal – I could see nothing wrong with it. If he had disallowed a goal like that for Mayo, I shudder to think what the reaction would be like!
    Anyway, rant over. We’ve a lot of work to do and I don’t really believe we’ve made any progress. That said, this is still Division One, these are still tough matches and we are probably learning a lot more about ourselves than Galway are in Division Two where the standard is infinitely lower. Time will tell.

  45. outside of boot ,i have a question mark over Clarke and Higgins, today Higgins caught out for a very good Donegal Goal whaich was ruled out, last week he gifdted a goal to Cork, H e is a fine back but seems in evey game to loose his man/ Hennelly is best keeper , he is young but learining My full back line would be Cafferkey Keane and Barrett i would play Higgins in the Half Back Line

  46. PJMcM and AM glad that some are avoiding the doom and gloom, yes we retained our Div.1 status and that is a goal achieved and speaking about goals and the apparent lack of, we were second in that stat after Cork in this years league…………so not exactly a famine.
    IMO we are better off not having to compete at CP yet as it,s too early and peaking at this time of year and maintaining that peak is very difficult…………….I actually don’t think we are anywhere near our peak or a settled squad yet and a bad defeat against the likes of the Dubs or Cork at this time would only set us back much more…………………on the other hand if we had gone ahead to win those games and the league, i think we would get too far ahead of ourselves and it would be down to luck more than true ability as we are a long way away from what we are truly capable of.
    We were not good today and except for BM,KMc , DV and the backs we were ordinary but as I said now is not the time to be exceptional.
    12 wides is bad, not being able to close out two games on the trot is bad also but we are still in Div 1 .
    Lots are worrying about the Ross and Galway but both of them know they have to raise their game above Div 2 standard to have any chance and the gulf between the both divisions is huge.
    We have a break now for a few weeks and that should give Management and the Squad time to consolidate their plans for the C’ship………………………………………..

    AM. love the last line……………Go to Mass ????

  47. Ann Marie, the doom and gloom really hasn’t lifted since Limerick…which was smartly followed by the farcical managerial selection process, which painted the county GAA structures in a dismal light culminating with THE WRONG decision being made. Then we had the pathetic u21 championship performance on the back of the embarrassing defeat at the same level in C’bar this time last year, not helped by the fact that the sheepstealers, and galway to a lesser extent, are cleaning up at u21 level – the former reaping the dividends of a properly planned and structured youth development system which has seen a remarkable rise in their fortunes, culminating with promotion to division one today with two young attackers who we only wish were from Mayo (smyth and murtagh – both can score for fun and are going to be around for the next 10 years).
    Meanwhile we have drifted along at u21 level and in the past 4 years havent brought through one natural scoring forward to aid Cillian and while we have some very industrious attackers in Kev, Doc(both hugely important for us), neither are potent scorers – I mean a lad who when the team are playing badly can win a match for you. We don’t have them and there doesn’t seem to be any coming through….yet. Freeman, doesn’t have it, far too hit and miss. Ronnie, the jury is out…. Again, I ask – for such a big footballing mad county which can produce loads of good footballers, how come we struggle to bring through natural scorers? Is it just bad luck- natural scorers tend to be born with that talent, they either have it or they don’t. Our minors from two years ago were very fluid in attack – where are they now?? I know Conroy has had terrible family circumstances and we all hope to see him feature for the county again, possibly for u21 in 2016, but where are the others???

    PJ McManus – I don’t think anyone here has an agenda against the management but many would against the county board and the management, in my opinion, are county board puppets. We were fed spoof and lies during the selection process and we deserve what we get for doing nothing about it. The overwhelming majority of Mayo supporters online, offline, on the street, in the shops, on holidays wanted to see Kevin McStay get the job. None of us can look into a crystal ball and tell what will happen but we can use our knowledge of the game and results/performances to form opinions – and so far things have gone poorly in 2015. We only gained one home win from 4, and that was against a weak enough monaghan team which self-imploded on the day. Yes we have tested out out players in various positions, but nothing really has worked. AOS has been dragged all over the place – and is such a great player that he appears useful in the center, at 11 and at 14. I still believe that he and Cillian on the edge of the square would terrorize most defences – what would be required is the delivery of ball into them. The keeper rotation is futile – they are all decent and what’s hugely important is that the keeper, defence and midfield have a good working relationship and this can only be done by games.

    I think the only positives to come from the league campaign so far is that Kevin Keane has rediscovered his mojo. He was a superb minor no.3 and we have avoided relegation.

    Time will only tell how we do this summer but it doesn’t look great, does it.

    My wish is that Mayo could develop a youth structure on par, if not better, than any other county. We should demand nothing less. If this is done, we can be the best and consistently so. If this isn’t done then we’ll never see that shiny cup in Castlebar on a September eve.

  48. Pjmcmanus- how can you say each of our defence shone against their opponent?….Mc Brearty roasted his marker (way too loose) and his goal was ligIt. As I highlighted before McLoughlin’s free taking is not up to scratch for this level. Frees are something one has 100% control over. Return should be 99/100% minimum. Overall I thought Mayo showed good today in parts but still soloing into the tackle and forward play poor. We have to many ‘work horse’ forwards..eg.D O’Connor (off loads way too much)/Doherty….no forward we can rely on week in week out to get 2/3 points.
    I for one hope they bring plenty of balls to Portugal. …its time to practice practice practice at scoring! ( today missed scores were not taken under pressure)

  49. Pebblesmeller speaks sense. League has shown willing players. Scary the level of naivety on the sideline. End of first semester. Report : Could(Must) do better.

  50. lads, at the end of the day we had 12 wides. If 1 of them went over the bar we’d be in the league semi finals and everyone here would be saying how great we are! But instead ye are here slating the team because we didn’t go through. I laugh at the people who say we’ll struggle to make it to August. What do ye base this on? A good team doesn’t become bad in 6 months. It’s April for fuck sake. The performance was good today but the wides let us down. No one that started in the full forward line today will start in June. Dillon, O’Connor and Regan have yet to come back and if one of them were playing today, we probably would have won. So calm down lads

  51. Im never negative on this site with regards the team as a whole, but, i have to say we are in massive trouble, managment really seem to not have a clue what their doing, and christ above our forwards accuracy is non existent. I think our chance has passed. Dublin or kerry will win it this year no doubt about it. The only chink of light i see is that maybe moran an dillon along with cillian might drag us through connacht….heres hoping anways.

  52. Anne marie, may I just say, I’m a bit of a lurker on this blog (and an outsider) but your comments are brilliant. I genuinely didn’t think we’d be heading to headquarters next week but there you have it. It’s a mighty big gap without competitive football for mayo supporters but a tiny part of me wouldn’t mind a wee break from the stress of it all for a while!

  53. Higgins would be a good move to wing back to speed up our counter attack. He can also kick through the ball, most of our players get under the ball on every pass. Higgins can do the long raking straight ahead low flight ball. He’s often relatively loose on his man so is replaceable in the full backline.

  54. ps: not trying to be ‘doom and gloom’ and I don’t really like that phrase but if you has been asked to rank teams at the end of 2014 and now – would you think we have climbed the ladder or slipped down the pecking order?

    We all want the same thing but IMO this has been a poor enough league for us, where despite chopping and changing aka testing out players, we don’t appear to have anyone new. Am I surprised? No. Everyone who comments on this site is fairly well up on Mayo football and on the players that are out there. I actually thought Liam Irwin may have made some sort of impact but he is awol. Anyone know teh story with him?

  55. God lads, Higgins is the best corner back in the country, never mind the county. One swallow does not make a summer. He might have made a mistake today but i wouldn’t dream of moving him out of corner back. Have we not realised this by this stage? The day he gets injured and misses a game will be the day people realise how vital he is for us in the full back line.

  56. Mayonaze, I don’t have any of the answers, and I agree to an extent with some of your points (particularly with regards to the underage structure), but I also find that going around feeling permanently angry about it doesn’t do a lot for my own personal happiness, so while days like today are rubbish, once I get over the initial despondency, keeping a bit of perspective works for me. No-one died.

    As regards, underage, many of the other minors you mention are still there and part of that U21 panel – we have Liam Irwin (well, up until very recently), TJ Byrne, Conor Loftus, all excellent forwards with great potential that needs to harnessed and nurtured ASAP. Indeed our 2015 minors are also looking very promising this year with decent scoring forwards. So the talent is there. Clubs also have a role to play in this process but I certainly feel a fresh approach to management would benefit the U21s in 2016.

    At this point in the season however, I don’t know about the rest of you but I am sick to the back teeth of whinging about the county board and the selection process. If you feel so strongly about it and are a member of a club, the power is in your hands. Do something about it, But the simple fact of the matter is that it’s April, we are facing into Championship and whether we like it or not Noel and Pat are here to stay, and I don’t feel we have much choice but to believe that there is some sort of a method to their madness. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    Reading some of the comments above does give a different perspective and some make me feel a bit more hopeful re our new defensive setup even if it just jars with everything we expect to see from Mayo football. I also can’t help feeling that we are just not very good at being defensive (blanket-style) especially when we are carved open down the centre and concede goals so easily. But we have 10 weeks to work on the problems that are arguably, more easily rectified (a prime example being 14metre frees!) and hopefully Cillian and Evan will be the difference for us here this year.

    Connelly’s Brigade, I have often said it here – who would be a ref? It has to be incredibly difficult to see everything and make calls on the spur of the moment. I think referees shoulder a lot of the burden when linesmen should be subject to the same scrutiny. There is always a danger however when you criticise a ref that you will be labelled a sore loser, but that in itself is lazy. There is no excuse for a referee of Coldrick’s or Kinsella’s experience to still be at such a loss at this stage when it comes to interpreting the black card rule. Every Tom Dick and Harry in the stand knows what a black card offence is at this point, and with the assistance of your linesmen, there should be no excuse for not implementing the penalty. Similarly, the incident to which Pebblesmeller referred above with O’Connor was beyond belief – and it happened IIRC right in front of him. Finally, two minutes of added time shouldn’t mean four minutes, though I wholeheartedly accept that the apparent temporary loss of Coldrick’s whistle was not what cost us the result today 🙂

    JJ, I’d be afraid of bursting into flames …

  57. At least if we get out of Connacht this year we will do so after being tested as over the last 4 they were too handy and were no preparation for the knockout stages of the C’ship.
    I know most are favouring the Dubs to take this League title but for me it’s Cork, yes, they were beaten by Derry today but for my money, when up against the big guns in this years league they were good, very good and played some lovely football.
    Don’t think they will get run over (by Dubs), like last year if both get to the final.
    ……………….Wonder are they worried in Kerry ?……….after their league.

  58. Higgins is a very good corner back. But our counter attack around the middle of the pitch could do with his presence in my opinion. We are able to tog Cafferkey/Cunniffe/Barrett at corner back. We have no one looking up n pinging it long n accurate to Aidan OShea inside.

  59. For God’s sake it’s only the first week in April!
    Personally, I felt we did a lot of good things today – we defended well, Big Barry was tremendous today and we got in to scoring positions.
    As someone who played football, as the song goes, ” you’ll have days like this”!
    Roll on June and beat Galway in their own back yard. Then the Rossies “puck” football.
    Mayo need a few good challenges between now and then.
    I think Mayo should now know who can play in different positions and who can play different styles by now, which is some serious ground work to know at this early stage.
    All we have to do is to stick by our bhoys and give them the support they deserve.
    We’ve come along way since I stood in the canal end in ’89.

  60. Massive performance all round from barry moran today. Great fielding and distribution and scoring 3 nice points. Thought sos was average today and likewise for aidan who had a frustrating day. Kenneth omalleys kickouts I thought were excellent and he has laid a serious marker for number 1. The backs worked their socks off as did Kevin mcloughlin. Would like to see diarmuid a bit more too. Ronaldson was out of his depth today I thought and the ff line was poor. Some amount of ball went in to them but this was not reflected on the scoreboard. Can anyone tell me why freeman wasn’t brought in? He can win ball and take a score which was what we needed today

  61. Just on Coldrick besides from how we feel he refereed the game he did not control the game. Right from the off Donegal tried to rattle our cage and gave nudges off the ball once fine second time card. The ref needs to be in charge .Towards the end of the second half he lost grip and lads on both sides were getting physical .Yes I know this happens in games but the referee needs to stamp his authority early .The standard of referring is poor for teams playing in top division. Of course the ref is human but they are really inconsistent. Can anyone name me 3 referees that are at the top of their game and consistently consistent not the other way around?

  62. Freeman too slow for Championship football!
    We just need to increase the intensity of our game and move the ball up the pitch quicker…. playing too many forwards behind the ball could be a problem for quick ball.
    We need another Cillian type forward.
    What I did like was we are getting stronger in the tackle and generally stronger on the ball overall.
    We need to play the hand that’s dealt, we have some great potential, as long as we have the management to optimise this potential….. its in their hands.
    It’s the golden age of Mayo football for a very long time; we need to take advantage of the skillful players we have.
    Do you hear me Noel and Pat!!!!!!

  63. Ann Marie
    The extra time played was fair…watch the game again and in fairness Coldrick was fair throughout in my view to both teams.
    We are in a crisis…its only April.yet its another April without much sign of hope really.
    If ref had not disallowed McBrearty goal the high ball would have cost us again.We will never learn it seems.

  64. There is enough in the squad to win the all Ireland just need to get as many lads fit as possible and find the right formation.

  65. Once again,when it mattered, our boys simply weren’t up to it. Admittedly they owe us nothing but sadly it’s the same old story. We’re simply not good enough.
    I’ve been shouting for Mayo since 1969.

  66. Where to start with this one?
    First, good job with the match report Pebblesmeller. Fair play!

    I’m surely disappointed this evening, but not because we drew and could have lost. No, more because even after retaining our place in Division 1, we still look so ragged, disorganized, and unable to finish out a game when ahead. We seem to be playing without a strategy or a plan and rely so heavily on one or two players. Seriously, where would be without AOS? And without Big bird, we would have been roasted I think. Anyway…

    Some other thoughts
    -Goldrick got it wrong, Mac Brearty’s goal was top notch, Keith was out muscled and out hustled, simple.
    -Barry Moran was awesome, some of the best fielding I’ve seen in years
    -We still need a full back. Keane is a good but not big enough come championship when we come up against the big lads, ala Murphy, Donaghy, (even Mac’Brearty today example)
    -we still need two reliable forwards who can score easy and often. While I’m not happy with Mac missing a 14 yard free, he does a tonne of other hard work. But the Mickey Conroy garryowens baffles the mind.
    -couldn’t follow this, was Mikey Sweeney on or not? Regardless, we should see more of him. Along with Cillian, and Aidan, he’s quick and creative.
    -we really needed to be playing competitive football for a few more weeks, so I disagree with some others that say we avoided a thrashing by Dublin
    -Kirby was all over the place, why wouldn’t he just roam the 14 yard line?
    -The build up….too slow, laborious and extremely energy sapping. All the hand passing and running. Why not let the ball do the work? Punt the effing thing into the big lads in the FF line…wouldn’t have given the Donnie’s (and dubs, Tyrone) time to retreat and setup in time..

    Anyway, all’s not lost! The championship is coming up..and we’re still the best team in Connacht, so we should be well able to take care of the tribesmen and the sheep steelers, but beyond that I don’t know. But even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!

  67. Love reading all the comments after a game don’t usually comment but after that league campaign feel I need too, (get it off my chest).
    Overall thoughts are we have have gone backwards.
    However my biggest concern is not the players or how they can’t hit a ball between two uprights. But how we have set the team up against different oppostion. I get the feeling that the team is set up to combat the opposition (regardless whether we are at home or away). The focus seems to be on the other team tactics. So instead of having a game plan to win, we have a game plan to stop the other team winning. Very negative way of prepping a game and it looks like it is rubbing off on the players. Let them play and let them play with a smile on their faces!

  68. It’s April we have drawn a league match yes they are a few problems to fix up front we are creating the chances Barry moran Shamie tom p will realease the pressure on aidan we haven’t realistically have gotten all our players together at one time all season so the league will give the younger guys a chance yes I know Goin to hear we found know body new but we had to try we have a big panel of players the management need time try different things we weren’t in such a great place last year after the league so give it a chance we played some good football in patches in the league and played some very poor football all is not lost the negativity hear is unbelievable yea swear we were gone down give this panel of players and management a chance and support

  69. The negativity of some posts is almost infectious.Games are won and lost in a snapshot. Cork don’t get the goal and donegal don’t equalise would result in a change of tone from 90% of the above gnashing and wailing.

    Bottom line, no team has ever won anything worth remembering at the start of April. That fact will always remain a constant.

    The last time I checked my calender today it told me that it was April 6th. That’s a good thing.

    The aul “We’ll give it a lash Jack” mentallity is embedding itself once more into even the most ardent mayo supporters psyche and it’s only early April. Why would anyone even bother supporting Mayo wearing that kinda head?

    No doubt, managers real and over looked will be wheeled out and paraded around as some try to stab some sense into what’s going on in a time that will never be remembered. My thoughts on this one is that it would have been wiser to to search outside the county lines for another leader, a leader who could inspire his charge to be the best that they could be. Pat is a lovely decent man but he’s as inspirational as a weight lifting lobster in a sea food restauraunt.

    May and Kerry both retained their division one status yesterday. One team is straddled with the burden of belief and expectation, one with a faltering fickle hope.

    How can people support something that they don’t really believe in?

    It’s not even early days yet and some are talking about last home games in Mchale park. It’s almost enough to make you burst out crying.

    Take a break

  70. Anne Marie asked what will we do for the next few Sundays. Would it be an idea to make a list of topics (blanket defence for Mayo, yay or nay; AOS best position, tactics for Connacht championship and beyond, etc, or to be honest, anything that isn’t giving out about Holmes or Connelly) that we could debate each Sunday.
    It’s obvious everyone here cares about Mayo football (with the exception of the outsiders snooping) so perhaps we could talk/type about the changes we would make to the team (in terms or personnel or tactics) or coaching structures at county or club level.

    Maybe it’s a stupid idea, but it would give us plenty to talk about on a Sunday for the next few weeks.

  71. I thought we would win yesterday….we didn’t….we could and should have. We were the better team with the most possession but we didn’t have any real class forwards out there today and that is why we didn’t win, no two ways about it. Its too early to predict what will happen in mid June but let Galway and Roscommon worry about us. We are in the long grass now.

  72. Why was c Boyle taken off yesterday that was another turning point in the he was really good b moran man of the match for me.

  73. We have great support but we can’t lose that either , the flags, the club 51 thing, the belief and pride we have in this team cannot be lost. It will help drive them on to five in a row. The crowds in Castlebar have been unreal, the away support is second to none.

    Yesterday we made some awful mistakes especially in our shooting but when you reflect it was a very high intensity game and we had some positives from that, we didn’t lose either . The high fielding of moran was back to its best too. Some real options around the middle. If you throw cilian into the mix along with a fit Evan Regan , Dillon , Andy, Tom cunnife and an injury free tom parsons , it’s really not that bad at all.

  74. Team for Championship with everyone fit:
    OMalley

    Higgins
    Keane
    Cafferkey

    Keegan
    Boyle
    Vaughan

    SOS
    B Moran

    Parsons
    Dillon
    MCLaughlin

    OConnor
    AOS
    A Moran

  75. It might be a good thing that we don’t play at mchale park again because our performances at home have been horrible this campaign.

    I don’t thing we have learned anything during the league if we had we wouldn’t be still losing or drawing close games. I can’t believe we don’t have someone who can’t take frees besides coc surely if cant be that difficult to sort out in training.

    It’s been a very poor start for Noel and pat but no one should be surprised by that very soon people will realise if it not already dawning on people that they were the wrong choice. I hope we have a long summer campaign supporting Mayo but it’s not looking promising. It would be sickening to loose our Connaught crown to the sheep stealers when we know there’s an all ireland win in this team with right schooling and management which I’m afraid is currently lacking.

  76. It’s only the first week in April and reading the comments here we’re fucked,our year is over.We lost three of our starting team yesterday before a ball was kicked,this in turn robbed us of two great subs for the second half(seamie and O’Connor)Had they been able to start I have no doubt that we would have won the game.Dillon was a big loss when we needed a cool head in front of the posts and always chip’s in with a point or two.Donegal were missing McFadden,we were missing Cillian but if they lost three before throw in like we did we would have won handy and imagine what the comments this morning would be.After the cork game last week everyone coming out from the game was saying why did we let them in for the goal,why was’nt he dragged down out the field,take the black card sure everyone else is doing it,why don’t we?We did it yesterday and what happened to us,Donie saw red and O’Connor saw black and they still got the equalizing point.Fucked if you do and fucked if you don’t.All these things make a big difference.Barry was top class yesterday,Aido was hassled and thumped for 75 minutes,Kevin Mac was back to near his best.You can do all the defensive drills you want but the first five minutes of the second half will have done great for the confidence of our defence,some of the best defending I’ve seen in a long time.Maybe I’m looking at things differently to others but I don’t think things are as bad as people say.A win yesterday and we’d be meeting Cork next week minus 4-5 of our starting 15 with a good chance of an 8-9 points loss.We don’t need that,better finish the league with a draw than a hiding.Hopefully the break will give all the lads a chance to come back fit and ready for a long summer

  77. Thank God it’s Masters week and we can sit back and enjoy a bit of golf and take our mind’s off yet another disappointing result. Sitting behind the goal and witnessing at close quarters especially in the second half, what was probably one of the worst forward displays by a Mayo team in many’s a day.

    Here we were, playing in our own back yard in front of our own supporters, with a fresh breeze on our backs and the game there for the taking, and not a notion of how to engineer a score. Yes we were playing against one of the best defences in the game, but with our centre field winning more than there fair share of ball and our own defence holding up quiet well, this was the time for those front guys to show what their made of. But sadly all we saw was fumbling confused guys, seemingly not having a notion about running off the shoulder, or running into space to receive a ball. In fact we were so bad at times, the Donegal lads even looked a bit confused as to what to expect next.

    The one good thing to come out of this game might be, that Galway would under estimate us, and in the meantime Pat and Noel might realize that it’s not just our defence that needed sorting out. Looking back, maybe James Horan knew about our short comings in the forward division and hence the reason for the all out attacking policy by the half backs. Some very interesting training sessions should be coming up over the next two months, and with time on their hands, who knows ?

  78. The one thing I learned about the match yesterday is that we don’t have the balance of the blanket just right yet. While effective at times it was simply too suffocating and possibly the greatest regret I would have from this league is that we didn’t get the opportunity to fine tune it fruther in CP. As JP and others have said the game was crying out for Higgins to be moved out into a more break away attacking option. Injuries probably necessitated he stay where he was but come Championship management got to be able to see this. Again teams are trying to isolate Higgins on his own at the edge of the square and yes he was nudged in the back.. very slight but just enough to put him off.. The ref saw it but on another day he will not. I’d better not ask what am I going to do for the next two months without football.. me thinks someone would provide me with a list very quickly ?

  79. I’m all for supporting and getting behind the lads 100% no matter what but I think it’s unfair to deride people for feeling a little uneasy as how things are shaping up….or lack of shape when it comes to our pattern of play.

  80. On another day Conroy would have bagged 3 or 4 points (just one of them was a poor shot choice). Seems that when a team hits a few wides it can become infectious, that was the case for Keegan’s miss when he went about 50m and hit what looked like an inspirational scoreboard it was wide. Ditto for Kevin Mc’s free. Not as simple as some say but it was one you’d expect to go over 80% of them. But hey even Goulding missed one or 2 scorables last week and Cillian has the odd miss. The misses did knock some confidence. At this stage I would give up on Kirby and play all 4 midfielders, 2 in the forwards. Keith was not just caught for disallowed goal but for the final point where the young forward drifted one was and then the other to make space. Although the disallowed one was a really excellent floating pass just too long for most full backs to reach. One of the best passes I’ve seen in a while. One option not mentioned is Keith in half forwards and Kevin Mc inside. Keith could do the trojan work Kevin Mc does in same area of the field and get the long range passes in which people say is one of his best skills. All our new finds are in the backs so give Coen, Durkan or Hall a chance and set Keith free. He’ll still tackle like a demon and make blocks. SOS solved too much but very little to aim at. Aido struggled to stay in square and Kirby worked better as a link man passer than a ball winning FF. That said McGee is the best FB in the Country. Only Aido had the better of him.

  81. Have looked at my programme notes again and by my reckoning Donegal scored one point from a free which suggests that our defence was extremely disciplined and conceding 1-8 from play is reasonably good too.

    On the disallowed goal, my Offaly friend watching on TG4 reckoned the ref got it right. That’s good enough for me!

    If I get time during the week I will try to do some stats on the number of players used in all positions. My theory is that management used a considerable number of players in each of the 15 positions during the seven games. We’ll see how the evidence stacks up.

  82. Think we have created more problems than solved issues this league.

    The goalkeeper position is now a shambles.

    Our strongest line our half backs are defending a little better but scoring far less. Thats a negative return. Did Keegan get a point all league. Last year he scored in each game.

    As for out forwards. Injuries have made it hard to judge but nobody has stood up.

    Still we have had average leagues and made the semis. Think we are as well off focussing on June 14. A huge challenge awaits

  83. To quote Anne Marie

    “In the meantime, what in the name of Jehovah are we going to do with our Sundays for the next 10 weeks?”

    Was just thinking this myself, it really is ages till we play another competitive match! We must be one of the last teams in action

    To be honest it could not suit Galway more playing us in such circumstances. It’s laughable actually- they have TWO championship games under their belt and then get to play us at home

    Yet I still cannot see us losing to them

  84. I challenged people on this site who looked for McStay back in August to back their calls with facts, Probably the best I got back from this call was an acknowledgement that he looked good on some TV program on RTE. I don’t watch RTE on a point of principle..I am not one for celebrity managers, or media people and armature football as their interests clash. I agree we need proper structures at underage which has been neglected in this county. But that is not Noel and Pat’s fault. There are a lot of things in the county that are neglected. It is a fault of a dysfunctional society bereft of leaders who have got out while the going was good, and now live and strive somewhere else.

  85. I don’t put Higgins at fault for the goal – if he stayed with McBrearty then Donegal had a clear run at goal, so he had to split them and hope for the best. The key to that goal for Donegal was that they had a spare man (McGlynn) who wasn’t tracked because Doc and Boyler both tackled the same man who got the ball away. Boyle is a tenacious footballer, but if you’re playing at centre half back, you need to know when to press and when to retreat and block off the middle channel – hence why Donegal with the spare link man were able to knife right through our centre. This is unfortunately a recurring theme.

    Keegan is best for tracking men so must be all over the pitch, Vaughan can’t stand men up in the tackle and Boyle is prone to rushing in and getting caught out with space behind him. All excellent footballers but nobody’s perfect, and no system is perfect. My tactical outlook would be that you need someone at centre half back who can read the game, hold the position and also break up the other team’s game but standing them up and halting momentum to allow your defence regroup. Do we have anyone who can do this? Aidan and Seamus O’Shea, possibly Tom Cunniffe, Colm Boyle if he didn’t jump in out of position. Could a rotating centre back with a combination of Boyle and the two O’Shea’s rotating back as they tire work? Or maybe Boyle needs more tactical direction?

  86. One of the fan I met yesterday said Pat & Noel are sticking well to County Board budget which in amateur sport is a good thing and (anecdotally – don’t know if this is fair or not that didn’t happen with previous setup). Hard to run an organisation if yer budget keeps getting overrun. Harping on about Management choice is a waste of energy, I preferred the other option at the time but the lads are there, give them a chance, move on). Yes lack of scorable frees was a big positive but I would prefer Donie & Boyler swapped as they got around Boyle twice out the field in starting the move to their goal. His main strength is his heart, will put his body on the line but not an out and out man marker. Very strong for his size but Donie much taller for the Centre and he’s in really great shape gym wise. Donie one of our best yesterday, Boyle wasn’t.

  87. If anyone hears of challenge matches being arranged over the coming weeks let us know……won’t be able to take 9 weeks without a football fix !!!

  88. Good analysis Digits. Div 4 next year Ha Ha. Tyrone were a bit unlucky this year with their 3 draws do you think. They will probably bounce back next perhaps

  89. Just a little bit of light here: In the second half, that was the best defensive performance from a Mayo team in my 70 years of watching Mayo. It was massive. They completely suffocated Donegal. Now before the “pure football ” people start screaming; from that defence, allowing Mayo 5 wides, enough scoring chances were created to win the game by 1 goal and 6 points. Now put that it your pipes and smoke it. The forwards fucked up in a display that would upset a division 4 team.
    Now, one of the best hurlers of all time, Henry Shefflin, (have i spelt it right), used to appear for training one hour before the others and finish one hour afterwards. This is fact. Colm Cooper does likewise. The question is, what are ours doing?? To win an All Ireland you have to be the best team in the country, making the least mistakes and scoring at every opportunity. Look at all the best Rugby place kickers. they spend most of their lives practising. Why no frees from the ground?? Not cool, but much higher percentages for accurate scores .To be a great musician, you have to practice, practice, practice, otherwise you are second best.
    If Mayo hold that defensive screen from now on, they will be very hard to break down, for any team. All that has to happen then is the forwards start learning how to score. Then things just might happen!!!!
    On another note about Keith Higgins, he was, against Kerry, the man to mark James O’Donaghue; He ball watched as Donaghy caught the ball and instead of being goal side of O’Donaghue, where he would have blocked him, he was field side. The rest is history. I watched that episode lots of times. Who was supposed to be marking Hurley when he scored Cork’s goal? All food for thought… 😉

  90. Oh yes and bye the way, look at he amount of terrible wides we had against Tyrone. We had enough scoring chances to beat them out the gate.

  91. Yes Joe Mc, that’s true, we had enough scoring chances to have easily disposed of Tyrone, but have we done anything about improving the situation since? Doesn’t seem like it to me.

  92. It was clear to see the hunger is back with players. Doc and Macloughlin ran themselves into the ground. From 1 to 12 I think we are in great shape. I would prefer hennley in gold because he gives us an option for long range frees. I think the back 6 will be the exact same as last year but i have a feeling that Boyle will be under most pressure to keep his place.

    The main problem at the moment is in the full forward line. We just don’t have anyone good enough until coc and Moran are back. There was no one to kick the ball into yesterday because the inside were like statues. Sweeney was mighty for making early runs but we need someone more physical than him. The other problem in the forwards is we have no centre forward who can pull the strings but I’m sure this will be solved when Conor loftus is called up.

  93. My preferred back line for the championship would be caff, Keane, Higgins, Vaughan, cunnife, Keegan.

  94. Suggestion to those who wonder how to pass the weeks until Mayo’s next competitive outing. Go out and support your local club. That’s where this great sporting obsession of ours is based. Without the wonderful and selfless work put in at grassroots level there would be no glamour county team to follow. I’ve frequently seen seriously good seats in Croke Park being occupied by people who would have difficulty in directing me to our local club ground.

  95. Hi PM_90,
    I seen your comment and I just want to apologise if I ever seemed to be anything other than sporting, sorry;

    “It’s obvious everyone here cares about Mayo football (with the exception of the outsiders snooping)”

    Kind Regards,
    Martin the Dub

  96. Local club football it is then, all the way. This my favorite time of the year. All we need is some fine dry weekends. The Club AI will be at the end of the year finally. The league 2015 will quickly be a distant memory.

  97. Martin the Dub, you’re a true sport and are most welcome here.
    Your comments are always courteous
    Keep it going.
    You were the best team in the country last year, and it looks likewise this year.
    But winning Sam is another matter as we saw.

  98. Martin the dub you gave monoghan some hammering at weekend. Good luck on Sunday hopefully màyo and dublin meet later on in the summer.

  99. So the question is where to from here. We did not play well in this league yet we could still have easily beaten Donegal and Cork. We could have even beaten Tyrone as well. With Barry Moran and Tom Parsons coming back to form, along with the O’Sheas in the team, we should be well able to win plenty of primary possession, can we turn this into scores, thats where a lot of work has to be done in the coming weeks. Probably Galway, Roscommon and maybe Meath stand in our way of getting to another All-Ireland semi-final. Three Division 2 teams. If we can get anywhere near to our best form we could still go a long way again this year. The next number of weeks will be key to getting our players fit and ready to go. At this stage of the team’s shelf-life, trying to extract a number of top level performances from them, will be what the next number of months will be all about. So full steam ahead, five big games in five months is what it would take to get us over the line. We’ll see how it goes, surely this team wants to out with a bang rather than with a whimper.

  100. with all the doom and gloom could I highlight 2 positives. No.1 Diarmuid O Connors point v Kerry in Killarney. No. 2 Diarmuid O Connors point v Donegal yesterday. I would say the best 2 points I have seen in the league.

  101. HopeSpringsEternal IF we get the 4 lads in centerfield fit it might open the option to put OShea on the edge of the square without weakening the middle too much.

    Would make us a far more dangerous opponents

  102. @ Centerfield, Yeah and if Cillian was in the forward line, it would make us much more dangerous. Doc and Kevin Mc always play better too when they have less free taking responsibilities. It’ll be interesting to see if Evan Regan can make an impact as well up front.

    If you look at 3 of the 4 teams that made the League semis (Donegal, Cork and Monaghan) we would still fancy ourselves against any of them, if we can hit form. Kerry look very strong up front but they conceded the most in Division 1 this year compared to conceding the least last year. Then that leaves the Dubs, well we just won’t think about them for the moment.

    Galway and Roscommon is all we should be thinking about in the coming weeks!

  103. 10 weeks is a long time but keep the chin up. I have lost count of the amount of players that we are due back from injury, many of whom are game changers and can lay claim to a jersey come Salthill. Time to regroup and maybe a little break is what the lads need. A lot of work to do which in a way is a plus!

  104. 3 things to improve from yesterday

    Shooting – shot selection – Ball into the FF position

    The first 2 have been up and down but the 3rd is getting beyond a joke – Freeman got subbed off so many times for ball not sticking but the same thing was happening with Kirby yesterday – the ball in was just brutal – Kirby ended up on the deck cos he was becoming so unbalanced trying just to get a hand on it and when that happened he just got swallowed up by the Donegal defence. Kerry play this ball in better than anyone – one bounce and its in the hand – simples

  105. Yes, the nay-sayers could be right. Maybe its over.
    But the optimists could be too!
    We just don’t know. Thats the wonder of sport.
    If, If, If.
    If we get enough recovered in time;
    If we get our tactics right on the day;
    If we get the bounce of the ball;
    If…………….
    If…………….

    We’ll just have wait and see.
    And, please, ONE GAME AT A TIME.

  106. Great summary Pebbles, i think both Pacar and yourself nailed it.

    The sound of axes being ground on management appointment although totally predictable still grates….give it a rest until we exit the 2015 championship.

    I have not seen one player named that should definitely be on the panel that is not on the panel…we have to work with the players we have.

    Are our forwards more manufactured than natural ?

    Martin the Dub please keep posting here and best of luck on Sunday.

  107. Just to confirm what others have already said, Martin the Dub – no need to apologise for anything you’ve ever posted here, which has always been sporting and fair-minded.

  108. P J Mac re your challenge to people to justify McStay as choice of manager. He is not a celebrity manager. Id say he could have been the real deal. Won club final with St Bridgets and took Mayo to U21 final in 2001. I know you don’t watch RTE but if you did you would see he is one of the shrewdest analysts way ahead of brollix and spillane who are more interested in self promotion than analysing game. Anyway that’s all irrelevant now. Pat and Noel are in the job and we should wish them well. Their success or otherwise will define our mood for the summer

  109. To win just once… Mcstay got to an u21 all ireland but Holmes and Connelly WON an u21 all ireland. Thats the difference. I don’t know why people think that they haven’t a clue. The way our record at u21 level is now, the u21 all ireland in 2006 was some achievement.

  110. I’m puzzled as to the criticism of Pat and Noel, to be honest. Had we not been so profligate with our shooting (and that’s the responsibility of the forwards!) in both the Cork and Donegal game we would be in a league semi-final and all would be rosy. Instead in those two games we lose to a last minute goal and draw the other. In both games we had a 10 to 15 minute period where the game was ours to grab and win. In those periods (the opening 10 minutes of the second half v Cork and from the 44th to the 53rd minute v Donegal) we were totally dominant, had momentum, had primary possession secured through our midfield, had our opponent in trouble and yet, in both games, we kicked some terrible wides, 3 in that period v Cork + 1 comical missed free, and 3 wides from 4 attacks in that period v Donegal. That part of our game will come I’m sure. The most important improvement this side required was a meaner more pragmatic defence. It is clear for all to see that that part of our game is evolving too.
    It’s time to learn from the masters, Kerry. Survive division 1. Disappear and go to ground for the next 2 months, say nothing. Scrape through the provincial competition, steadily build momentum while the media and everyone else talks up Dublin, Cork and Kerry. Keep your powder dry for August when you will need it.
    As I’ve said here before, we are a manic lot. When we win we are the best in the world and when we lose (and it now seems even when we draw!) we are terrible.
    It’s time to lie in the long grass. We’ll be fine.
    Hon Mayo.

  111. Martin the Dub,
    That comment wasn’t directed at you. You’ve been nothing but sporting in your comments and as you can see everyone enjoys your comments. I was referring to the odd wind up merchant that can be seem occasionally commenting.

    I’m sorry that my comment came across that way. Never my intention!

  112. P.S. And to explain, the aim of my post was actually inspired by Anne Marie asking what we could do for the next ten weeks waiting for the championship to start. Perhaps a weekly guest post on a hot topic of Mayo football they feel strongly about?

    Anyways, apologies to anyone who was annoyed at my post previously. Not here to stir the sh1te. This is the only website I check every day because I love it.

  113. Our best year for shooting accuracy in tight games was 2012 when Cian Of Neill was coaching us and he’s now with Kerry. They’ve perfected the best kick pass for forwards which was done to perfection v Cork in last year’s Munster. Our coach is super defensively and seeing Mayo players after the game, their gym work is super, only Dublin, Donegal and Kerry are up there with us in strength, maybe Tyrone too. But kick passing which the Dubs are very good at and shooting which we were great at in 2012 (recall Conroy & Varley’s points in AIF especially) we are behind and sometimes shot selection too. Has our coach got this in his armoury, probably, hope he looks in the mirror at his strengths and weaknesses. Our turnover stats v Donegal were very good and Kevin Mc alone must’ve robbed them 6 or 7 times.

  114. The clubs league programme begins next weekend (Saturday and Sunday) so there is liable to be a few rounds of that to keep people busy for some of the ten weeks between now and the the trip to Salthill
    Head out and support your club team, give them a bit of recogniton for their efforts

  115. Donegal’s Frank Mcglynn got on a huge amount of ball and made a lot of yards. Not sure who was marking him but Doc was fairly quiet in that game and young DOC maybe a better bet going forward given the stage he at on improvement curve. Not his best v Kerry in replay last year, similar style players so maybe rotate them so both can give their best for 40 and 20 mins per game depending on who best lays down the marker in Connaught / early qualifiers.

  116. Really looking forward to seeing a bit more club action this year than previous years. It’s not quite as easy for those of us not based in the county when every league game is essentially an away game, but the next few weeks will be a welcome break in a way from the pressure cooker of county football and a chance to see who else is out there.

    We tend to forget that in the Horan era many of these problems reared their heads in the League, but Championship saw a marked improvement in many ways, so even since Sunday I am feeling more optimistic again.

    For those of you looking for an intercounty fix, our minors are playing Sligo in Enniscrone next Sunday (I think)- they are looking for a win in the Connacht League and are worth a watch …

  117. Killing time while I’m laid up with flu [curse it] I read through all the posts here since Sunday and it struck me how many contributors look forward to the day when we have all our injury hit players back. As if that day will ever come. One of our most consistent problems over the last number of years has been how injury prone some of our best players are. When did Barry Moran have an injury free 12 months? And he has been playing Senior for 10 – 11 years now. Now Tom Parsons and Cillian appear to have joined the injury prone. Chris Barrett has yet to play this year having missed a large chunk of last year too. Tom Cunniffe has had a couple of injury absences in recent times too. I know all teams have injury problems now and again but the persistence and regularity of ours seem very unusual.
    Having been at all Mayo’s NFL games this year it appears to me that our biggest problem is holding the ball around the midfield area. Donegal’s two goals [allowed and disallowed] showed two different ways of getting ball into the full forward line and giving forwards room to play. The first came from quick movement of the ball man to mman without any holding or soloing so that when two Mayo players went to make a tackle moving the ball took them out of the game. The second was the long well flighted ball direct to a forward, man to man and no covering defender. But when Mayo won possession we dithered and dallied and soloed and passed and soloed some more until almost all Donegal players were behind the ball. Then we expected miracles from forwards when space was non existent. Barry Moran was not a serious offender in this regard but Seamus O’Shea more than made up for him. Seamus might break a tackle but there were another two or three tacklers lined up waiting knowing that he was not going to release the ball. Aiden is another major offender here. Our half backs are prone to soloing to nowhere too, probably a memory of James Horan days when they soloed with a purpose.
    Finally on Cormac Reilly’s game with Cork and Derry. At least they gave him a game where he could do no harm. Long may they continue that policy.

  118. An afterthought on Sunday’s game. Donegal did not adopt an all out blanket defence approach. Their forwards did not retreat for Mayo kickouts but marked their opponents depriving Mayo of the short kickout option. They did that far more effectively than Mayo did. This made Mayo’s tactics all the more indefensible an inexcusable. Mayo’s failure to prevent the Donegal short kickout was inexcusable when Barry Moran in particular was so supreme in the air.

  119. One thing I noticed was the obvious man-marking task Keegan had been given.
    During the second half, there were many times when during a Donegal attack, Keegan had his back to the ball as he was nose to nose with Ryan McHugh – who in turn didn’t contribute at all to any Donegal attempts to break down Mayo defense when we had men behind the ball.
    I don’t know if this shows some cuteness from the sideline – taking out their link-man?

  120. Having watched the match back again there are some major differences in how we are playing now form the Horan era and yet there are some glaring failures we continue to make.

    Differences : Keegan is now a defensive player, Forwards are encouraged to shoot from wider angles (used to work the ball to the D), Full court pressure on the ball is almost gone so less turnovers are generated, wingbacks no longer used on the overlap

    Ongoing Failings : Sheamus O Sheas continuous overcarying of the ball and slowing up play, Kick out strategy is poor, no one can kick a 45, free taking is poor (McLouglin misses too many), ball moved too slowly forwards.

    We are also attempting the counter attacking game but we haven’t a reliable go to forward (like an O donaghue, a Murphy or an O Neill) for it to be an All Ireland winning gameplan.
    We used to use overlapping defenders to create an extra man to draw out defenders from the D. This gave us space infront of goals to get a high percentage shot or a goal chance. This doesn’t happen anymore and we take shots from wide angles without having the forwards to do it. Conroys attempts the last day were laughable.

  121. Credit where credit is due. Conroy had the balls to have a go, while others fannied about.
    He has scored some good points for us.
    I’d give him a lot more gametime than he’s been getting.

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