Poll: who’ll win the League?

vote

Our League race for 2015 is run and so, continuing the analogy, the pace facing us changes from sprinting from one Sunday to the next to a long, slow jog all the way to June 14th and our likely meeting then with Galway in Salthill.

With little or nothing to report on here at the minute, I’m going to be AWOL for the next few days though I can see there’s still plenty of appetite for discussion on the League campaign that’s just concluded for us and on our prospects for the summer. Long may the debate continue.

I’ll leave you for now with a poll focusing on the four remaining contestants in this year’s NFL Division One. Which one of them do you think will win it out from here?

Who'll win the League?

  • Dublin (68%, 167 Votes)
  • Cork (20%, 50 Votes)
  • Donegal (7%, 17 Votes)
  • Monaghan (5%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 247

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159 thoughts on “Poll: who’ll win the League?

  1. Easy decision for me anyhow and that is of course the Dubs

    Donegal almost fell into the semis by accident and I can see their minds already being on Ulster Championship which isn’t far away at all.

    Monaghan will probably be just happy to be there and to get an early Croker run out

    Cork generally have shown their best form in the league in recent years but the way they lied down v the Dubs last year wouldn’t fill me with confidence. And on paper I still don’t see what is special about them in any way bar the two boys inside. That said they’re my bet to make an AIF on the “other half” of the draw this year, but that’s for another day

    Dublin have all their main men coming back, are definitely the best side in the country in my view, are playing at home, are hungry and motivated and have nicely played themselves into form. Barring a miracle and/or freak day like the 31st of August last year, I think they’ll win both matches with a nice bit to spare

    And everyone will be suddenly re-aboard the Dublin bandwagon, after plenty writing them off a few weeks ago 😀

    Anyhow in all honesty I couldn’t really care less who wins, cannot see myself watching any of these games, with no Mayo involved.

    Roll on June 14th

    It’ll be interesting to see the All Ireland poll when it’s put up! 🙂

  2. We are well covered for Backs and Midfield. I would like Higgins to keep concentration for full games , tends to let his man drift a few yards away from him on one or two occasions in games and he usually marking the best forward. A lot of talk about our Full Forward Line. For a Full Forward Line to work they must get early low ball if they are small and for AOS , Kirby a little higher but it must be early and quality, AOS was on the edge of the square four or five times last sunday but the ball was not delivered, SOS and our half backs “first option” is to run with the ball in hand rather than first look to see if a early delivery to the Full Forwards is on. Full Forwards as result get frustrated and start to move away from the danger area in order to get into the game, It is much easer to let the ball do the work and it preserves energy. All I’am saying is to mix it more and keep the opponents guessing. We have become a little easy to read and running with the ball in hand makes it much harder to score as we are helping the other teams with their blanket defense as our runners are tracked as they run forward leading to congestion and no room to shoot and few goal chances. It may be worth a try for Freeman to work off AOS or Kirby as once he has the ball in hand he is quiet good

  3. I am glad that all the uncertainties about the future of this team seems to be moving on.We are in no worse situation than this time last year,and I am quite happy with this position.
    Going in to the Connacht championship after shipping a possible heavy defeat is not my idea of an ideal preparation. We play far better in the championship and have not suffered a heavy defeat under James Horan.
    Regarding the management I feel that they are doing OK. They have given a lot of new players a chance and it is not their fault if they are not good enough once the players go out between the white lines the management have very little control after that.They didn’t kick the ball in to the goalkeeper the last day when it was easier to put it over the bar thus winning the game.The were not responsible for conceding a late goal against Cork giving them a soft victory it is time the players copped on and learn to make the right decisions on the pitch.
    What I will say it is past time for them to have decided on the two best goalies it is complete nonsense and extremely unfair to the 3 lads concerned.In their favour they are getting backs and C.F. okay and have solved the F.B.situation as Kevin Keane is a revelation there. As I have said previously there is no place for small players going in to the championship as they will be pushed aside.We need commanding players at C.Forward and F.Forward say Parsons at C.F. and Aiden at F.F. Barry and Seamus at C.Field the rest will pick itself and there are options there, the main thing is to keep the faith.

  4. One of managements main responsibilities is to establish an attacking game plan. They have failed in that regard. The players look completely under coached in terms of what should happen once we have posession of the ball.
    Our middle eight are generally running the ball up to the opposition 45, disastrous against the blanket.
    Give how chaotic our attack looks I would say the problem lies in the coaching.
    If we look at the Donegal and Cork games. Our forwards have scored very little from play in 140 minutes of football. That is concerning after a full FBD and league.
    We are still reduced to pot shots from distance and having to handpass the ball around in the thick of the blanket.
    If you are looking back at games, take your eyes away from our man in posession and just watch the blanket increase in numbers and get organised as we delay our counter attack.

  5. Our forwards have been far from convincing but to be fair we’ve not had Cillian O’Connor, Evan Regan, Alan Dillon or Andy Moran for the majority of the league. It’s disappointing no one else has put their hand up, with Freeman being particularly lacking in this regard.

  6. Dublin by a million miles, , for the league and Leinster titles. Quarterfinal time they may get a game from a team on the back of some sort of a run but with the numbers they have to pick from and the way they are organized, they will be hard to beat this year. 1,200,000 vs donegal 160,000. , mayo 130,000, Kerry 135,000 or similar.
    Take this as a fact, Dublin have the show to themselves today and will for the foreseeable future, nearly all their games in their home ground and ten times the population of players to pick from of the like of mayo, donegal etc. They should dissappointed to not be winning every competition once every 2 years. I pity Monaghan having to take another pasting this coming Sunday, and after last Sunday’s pasting of Monaghan I am certain that Mayo are better off leaving the dubs until they have to face them for something more than a league title.

  7. Based on League performances to date we are probably looking at a team (if fit) of

    1. Hennelly (Clarke would be my choice)
    2. Cafferkey
    3. Keane
    4. Higgins
    5. Keegan
    6. Boyle
    7. Vaughan
    8. SOS (Parsons would be my choice)
    9. Moran
    10. McLoughlin
    11. AOS
    12. Doherty
    13. COC
    14. Kirby
    15. Ronaldson (Regan would be my choice)

    Not much change from last year but not many put their hands up for selection. Would still like to see Mikey Sweeney get a full game as we won’t get many goals from the forward line above.
    We look to have gone backwards from last year but its a long time to September.

  8. Tirawaleybarron, I’d go with your choice selections in them 3 positions and Id try and bring cillian out to CHF somehow , we need an accurate kick passer of the ball out there. I’m really hoping Regan is given a shot in June , we desperately need it to work out that way , Ronaldson not of the same standard imo.

  9. Hey Folks, according to the Mayo News, one Ciaran McDonald will be appearing on Second Captains Live, tomorrow at 10pm on RTE 2. It will be well worth tuning into that.

  10. I’m going against the popular vote on this one and am opting for Cork……….yes some will declare me mad but they have been the most consistent in the League to date and know how to play football, they also owe the Dubs one after last years disaster.

  11. Clarke
    Cafferkey
    Keane
    Higgins
    Keegan
    Boyle
    Vaughan
    Barry Moran
    Seamus o shea
    McLoughlin
    Tom parsons
    Jason Doherty
    Evan Regan (left footed free taker)
    Aidan o shea
    Cillian o connor

    Jason Doherty

  12. This particular segment of Willie Joe’s excellent blog is headed “Who’ll win the league?”

    Of the ten contributions already posted only one adresses the question. The other nine refer specifically to the Mayo football team.

    So here’s my answer to the question and to the theme of this thread. I don’t expect Mayo to win the league.

  13. Yes, it’s off topic as Sourceoftherobe rightly points out, but I’ll just add to Tirawleybaron’s team (to be fair it’d be way too confusing add this to another thread)

    I can’t see him going with Kirby in champ and Dillon will definitely be 15 I’d say. Ronaldson will be a squad player most likely. I also think Clarke will be in goal

    Can you leave out Tom Cunniffe too? Big call if they go with it, he’s a top quality man marker. Wouldn’t shock me if Keane were to lose out despite his solid league

  14. Sorry but getting off the topic again we need to work at our defensive set up and closing up free space for attacking teams and if that’s the blanket so be it. This has been our downfall when the chips are down and the heart rate is at an all time high. So what if we lose to Galway or Roscommon I reckon we are going to make quarters at least all be it back door and working on a system that would give the likes of Jim Gavin something to think about is not a step backwards for us. I still think back hearing him on radio before league match saying how he enjoys playing teams like Mayo because we play in a similar mindset to his Dublin team. Fair enough but I think it makes his life so much easier because he knows Dublin thrive against teams like ourselves. I think our management must have this in their minds as all going well we will have to beat Dublin on route. And as lads on mid west reckon u could put the six best defenders in the country man marking the six Dublin forwards and they would still tear u to shreds, I would agree with that.

  15. Higgins, an outstanding player. Best position? Should that be determined by the team we are playing? Use him to the best effect and not simply because he fulfils one role superbly at the back. There are others can play corner back, so if we can make hay on the day by playing Higgins further up then why not do so? If O’Donohue is against us then no better man. He goes back.
    I’ve read the comments over the last few days about the blanket defence and also the failings of the forwards to convert chances. No argument, the players would agree. Fact is, every team has found it very difficult to score against the blanket. To create so many chances is a positive.
    You build a team from the back and this team is three parts there. Eight weeks to cement the forwards.

  16. Dublin will win the league handy. Thats why everyone has gone off topic.

    The two teams who could stop Dublin in the championship aren’t in the Semi’s of the league.
    Donegal have no interest, Monaghan wouldn’t beat Dublin with a 10 point handicap and Cork aren’t tactically good enough.

  17. Anyone think a route via the back door may be no harm this year? Mayo have never embraced the back door or maybe it is a case we have just not been good enough. There is a huge amount of hype around Roscommon and to a lesser degree Galway look in much better shape than last year too…I don’t think these Mayo players will give up too easily but what harm if we go the backdoor route…..I can imagine this forum will explode with negativity if we do get turfed out of Connacht.

  18. If Mayo have a full panel fit to go I can’t see roscommon or Galway holding them this year. Even if Mayo were caught I think the conor Mortimer train of thought isn’t running through this panel, they won’t care a damn about having to take an alternate route to achieve their goal.
    Dublin will walk the next 2 games at their ease and same with Leinster where Laois and mayb e Meath are the only two that can make it interesting until half time. It’s a turkey shoot for Dublin, they have too much money, too many players and too well organised to be caught in Leinster, this will be their 11 in 12 years leinstertitle. Think backto what they done to cork in last years semi, lord god, they ripped cork apart and same thing to Derry who had beaten ourselves. I’m glad we aren’t there, we may get one chance later and we have to be ready and take it.

  19. All – I’ve had to delete two comments (which were in moderation so didn’t appear on the site) naming a player who has been dropped from the panel. While I don’t doubt the veracity of this story or the motives of those posting this information, I think it’s best for the story to be confirmed definitively before any names are posted here. Any player in this position deserves to be afforded this kind of respect.

  20. With people proposing a team for the Championship, it is interesting to look at the options. As a result, the team that didn’t start last Sunday is also interesting.
    We have quite a bit of backup and if a bit of paring down is to be done before the Championship, it will be a hard call to make on who goes. The following is the alternative team to last Sunday if everyone was fit:

    1. Clarke/Hennelly
    2/3/4 Hall, Cafferkey, Barret
    5/6/7 Coen, Cunniffe, Durcan
    8/9 Parsons, Gibbons
    10/11/12 C O’Shea, O’Connor, Dillon
    13/14/15 (3 from) Moran, Freeman, Regan, Sweeney

    If you take 2 from each line, you would have to think that the following will be retained:
    Cafferkey, Barret,
    Coen, Cunniffe,
    Parsons, Gibbons
    O’Connor, Dillon
    Regan, + take your pick!

    Add in a goalkeeper and you can see who is under pressure.
    This will make for some intense exchanges in training over the next few weeks!

  21. Agree with GLC and Steve, Building from the back, as we did so well second half last Sunday, is the way to go. The qualifiers might be a better learning curve for us with more time to develop a new system. Look at Kerry a few years ago going through the qualifiers. They struggled to beat Longford in the wettest day of my life, and they won the All Ireland. If you are good enough, you’ll win, if not, simple, you won’t.

  22. Joe Mc – exactly and I am not trying to make excuses 9 weeks out but so what if we have to do it through the backdoor,the entire country will write us off but so what, so lads are made of sterner stuff that that surly. I think too many of us in Mayo are looking for the perfect performance EVERY game when reality is much different.

  23. What Donegal do very well, and they won their All Ireland using the same tactic, is develop their attacks from their half back line. They withdraw a forward, normally McHugh although Keegan did an excellent job on him the last day, and that withdrawn forward acts as an auxillary defender. On the face of it it looks like a very defensive system but once they gain possession of the ball the tactic really comes to life. They scored their goal against us the last day using the very same tactic.
    The extra defender becomes the spare man in their third of the field and the extra option for a pass. Because of the running game that Donegal employ to start their attacks and the physicality they have trained for, their half backs run the ball from deep and hand pass diagonally to the player running “off the shoulder” of the man in possession. The withdrawn forward is now attacking from deep with the half backs and Donegal out-number their opponents in the middle third because of this. The hand passing tactic ensures a very high percentage pass completion and therefore Donegal can retain the ball for long periods, maybe going through 15 or 20 passes. The disadvantage of the hand passing tactic is that progress up the field can be slow. However, their hard running game negates this somewhat.
    We did this very well on Sunday too and I believe that the new management are working towards a tighter, meaner defence. This is crucial because last year our forwards had to score 2-15 or 3-10 just to win games by a few points. If the defence concedes less our forwards do not have to score so much. As I’ve said before, forwards win you games, defences win you titles!
    The difference between Mayo and Donegal/Kerry/Dublin is that in McFadden, Murphy, McBrearty, O’Donoghue, Donaghy, Brogan and Connolly, they have forwards that can win and retain their own ball, beat their man and score. We don’t. The ball into the full forward on Sunday was good enough to expect a better return than we got. On 4 occasions I counted ball going into our full forward, he was in front of his marker, got to the ball first yet each time we lost possession. If we can sort out this “sloppiness” we will be very heard to beat this Summer.
    Hold strong and keep the faith.

  24. Pebbles, did you notice the Donegal player passing the ball, coming from deep. When he passed he went like a bomb, on his own, past the guy he passed to and took a return pass way inside the Mayo half. I have never seen such speed from any Mayo player and if you watch the Dubs, they do this too. We have lots to work on.

  25. Donie Vaughan (remember his goal v Donegal in 2013) and Keith Higgins have done that many times Joe Mc, even Kevin Keane did it last week to set up Durcan’s chance and he’s far from a speed merchant.

  26. Wille Joe, sorry if named the player who got dropped but as you can see from the post, I have the upmost respect for the player in question and was surprised by him been dropped. But your point is taken

  27. Definitely looks like much bigger emphasis on more defensive style and maybe the players finding it hard to adapt to, esp with the halfbacks not bombin forward.
    And though Kmc did have fine game, I was disappointind to see him in defence so much in 2nd half – think we needed him between MF and HF, where he belongs.
    It does seem the 2 lads asking for a lot of guys to stay behind ball and this may be where we are struggling upfront.
    I think the idea of a couple of big lads (at least) in forward line good idea – but with this approach a small buck like Sweeney (and Dillon) can play havoc. Sweeney as cute as a fox and can sniff goals this way.
    I think Andy and Dillon still have big parts to play this summer – they are 2 of our most intelligent players and after last year, I still think they have it.
    Let us relax for a few weeks, recharge and come back fresh.
    Lots of negatives with league. 2 big positives – Moran and Parsons. Let’s hope it’s a sign of what’s to come from them. They could be big gamechangers.
    And John Wayne, give them a chance. If they are a disaster in the summer u can feel free to voice those opinions then.
    But until then give them a chance and never mind the League. (League me arse!).
    I give these boys lots of credit for the last 3 yrs.
    They have more to show.

  28. Tubberman, I agree with you about the three lads you mentioned but, none of them ever reached that speed. Kevin Keane’s run was terrific and it should have ended in a goal. Vaughan isn’t fast and Keith still wasn’t as fast as this. There is no need to start defending Mayo when they are not being criticized. I only passed a comment based on an observation. Surely we can comment on other players on other teams without being taken to task.

  29. Doesn’t look to me like you’re being taken to task, Joe Mc! Tubberman produced a few examples to back a counter-argument to you – I think that constitutes reasonable debate.

  30. Joe Mc, I wasn’t having a go – I was busy at work, so didn’t have time for much of a reply so maybe I was a bit short!
    Believe me, I’ve been far from impressed with a lot of what I’ve seen in the league so I’m not one who’s blind to Mayo’s failings, I just don’t think that’s one I’d agree with (certainly not above other aspects like our forward play).

  31. I’ve gone for Cork in the poll purely in the hope that their usual league form will trump Dublin, but it’s hard to see past the latter in all honesty.

    I’m heading along on Sunday (due to the free ticket) but it all feels a bit farcical to be honest. Donegal have as much as said that they have no interest in beating Cork and unless Monaghan actually get a bus to park in front of goal I can’t see anything other than a Dublin win there, unless complacency plays a part.

    Bloody annoying that we could and should be there but the more I think about it, the more I feel the management and team themselves are just as happy not to be, particularly given that the trip to Portugal had been organised prior to last weekend’s game.

    Don’t forget to watch Ciaran McDonald on Second Captains in an hour’s time. Just wondering how long it will take for the “bring him back” chorus to start 😉

  32. I think Dublin will win it…or Cork. Anyway, I really don’t care which of them…time to look ahead to our championship.

    I like some of the Championship selections named above (tirawley/FourGoal etc)…
    but here’s my starting 15.

    1. Clarke

    2. Barrett
    3. Vaughan
    4. Higgins

    5. Keegan
    6. S. Coen (or Cunniffe)
    7. Boyle

    8. Seamie
    9. B. Moran

    10. Mac
    11. Aido
    12. Doc

    13. Cillian
    14. Kirby
    15. Sweeney

  33. Just saw C Mac on Second Captains there. Comes across as a real sound fella with deep love for the game and especially Mayo football. An inspiration to a generation of fans and players no doubt.

  34. – Dubs to win on all known form.
    – Great interview with Ciaran McDonald just now. So many more questions that could have been asked.

    #ROSS4SAM !!!

  35. If this team was put out I’m Sure people Would have a few things to say.
    Clarke/O’Malley
    Keane
    Caff
    Keith Higgins
    keegan
    Cunniffe
    boyle
    moran
    parsons
    Mcloughlin
    Aidan os
    Vaughan
    Alan dillon
    Cillian
    conroy (Ronaldson and sweeney not physical enough from what I saw in league in my opinion)

  36. Well fair play CMCD. A nice oul skin indeed. What an artist. I showed my 14 yr old daughter – who’s a forward herself – a few clips on utube and she was mightily impressed with de way he kicked his pts. Jesus the flight of the ball.
    By Jaysus he could look after himself on the field.

  37. Top notch interview

    Very interesting to see his take on the modern game and no regurgitation of tired cliches or lazy analyses

    A true legend, miss him so much in the red and green. 8 years gone- an absolute outrage, when he had so much left to give, but that’s for another day

  38. Good interview, even if I was hoping to hear more about his thoughts of his career.
    He came across as big a legend as had been long touted.
    What we wouldn’t give to have him still playing. Best player I ever saw. Period. Pulled Mayo teams to All Irelands they’d no business being in. O’Mahony was nuts to let him go. Nuts.
    Very insightful too in terms of his thoughts about football.
    Class.

  39. Great insight into the man. I’m a huge fan. As a county we have more if’s and buts than most, but if horan had this guy at 29/30 then we would have 2 all Ireland’s in that time. Had ability to do things in tight matches that the rest couldn’t. One of our best and a great Mayo footballer. As my dad used to say when he got the ball on the 40 in mc hale park “the right man has it now”. Good on ya Mac.

  40. What a legend mac is, he’d make ya proud to be from Mayo, i could have listend to him talk all night, pity his interview was so short. Seeing as people are putting up their championship 15, this is the team id like to start in salthill,

    1.Hennelly
    2. Barrett
    3.keane
    4. Higgins
    5. Keegan
    6. Cunniffe
    7. Boyle
    8. Parsons
    9. Sos
    10. Kmac
    11. Doherty
    12. Vaughan (sweeper, free role)
    13. Andy
    14. Aido
    15. Cillian
    Freeman an dillon to replace andy and vaughan on 50mins.

  41. Very good honest interview with Ciaran Mac,what a class act he was in the green and red.When asked about losing three ALL Ireland finals you could see the hurt all over his face and by the sounds of it he’s still as passionate about Mayo football now as when he was playing.Surely there must be a place in Mayo football for him to work with our forwards.Judging by our efforts in front of the posts during the league we could do with a bit of coaching and who better to do it

  42. As long as there are people with the passion for football like Ciaran McDonald, the game will evolve and will not die. Great interview, great man, great memories. One point from a sideline ball in a league game against Dublin in Parnell Park sticks in my head. Talking to one of the Dublin players who worked with me at the time, he said they could only look at his skill and applaud it. Make my blood rise just listening to him, and as one comment on Twitter said, it makes you want to stick the Mayo flag up outside. Play that interview to the panel before the Galway game in June. No more motivation needed. Green and red forever.

  43. I will probably be barred by Willie Joe for saying this but I will never forgive or vote for John O Mahony for the way he treated Ciaran Mc Donald absolutely disgraceful

  44. I for one do not know why McDonald quit when he did. I can only presume that O’Mahony saw him in a different role for Mayo. In my own opinion it would have been as full forward rather than centre forward. As I saw the 2006 final one of Mayo’s problems arose from McDonald coming back into defence to receive the ball thereby putting pressure on our defence due to Mayo’s tendency to seek him out as the ball receiver. Kerry had delegated O’Mahony to man mark him and there was always another Kerryman or to to lend a hand leading to turnovers and more pressure in our defence. So if John O’Mahony wanted to change that scenario by playing Ciaran at full forward I can fully understand it. He was fully capable of playing that role and I well recall the panic he caused Galway, in particular, defenders as a full forward in the late 90’s.
    If anybody can enlighten me further please do.

  45. I think it was a shame that he was lost to Mayo football I still think he’d be a great man to bring on for the last ten is fifteen minutes when we are trying to close out games might still be a few points in him even at 39

  46. My own view wouldn’t be too far from your own on that one, Backdoorsam! One of the saddest sights I ever saw on a football field was when Mac was the final sub brought on in the final few minutes against Derry up in Celtic Park, with the match already well gone from us. That was his final appearance for the county.

  47. I kept my young lad, 7 years young, up until the interview was over to show him what a real forward is and what dedication Mc gave to his game. I nearly had a tear in my eye watching Mc take a gulp when he was asked about the 3 All Ireland finals! What a talent, pure God given talent.
    I read an article last year about the International Rules series and the Irish lads at training camp out in Australia. It mentioned that a group of Irish players, I think it was Tomas O’Shea, Gooch Cooper, Stephen O’Neill and Kieran McGeeney, were hanging around after a training session and they heard someone on the pitch playing ball. They walked over to see who it was. Ciaran McDonald was there, alone, striking balls over the black spot from 40 to 50 yards out, from all angles. Never missed one. He started on one side of the pitch and worked his way over to the other. They other players stood transfixed on the sideline and not a word was said by any of them.
    What we would have done with him in our front 6 over the last 2 years? There is no doubt that those 6 terrible wides in the first half v Dublin in AIF ’13 would not have been missed by him. I’d say it’s safe to say that we would have won at least 1 All Ireland with a 30 year old Super Mc in our attack.

  48. I didn’t think my estimation of that man could raise any further, I was wrong. I was genuinely misty eyed during the interview. The greatest footballer this county has ever produced.
    Interestingly I was talking to a club mate who played that game against Fermanagh in Charlestown, they never identified the coward behind the abuse.

  49. There’s not much more I can add to the admiration of Ciaran Mac. It’s good to know too , I wasnt the only one that got a bit emotional when he spoke of the finals, the look in his eyes was so genuinely emotional . If we ever do cross the line it won’t just be for the team that’s playing on the day , the cause of Mayo football is so much bigger , everyone will be remebered for the part they played . This cause is too big to ever die, never give up.

    Ciaran departure is like a lot of shit in Mayo football full of stories and bullshit. We went to Salthilll in 07 , he was put on the bench and brought on when the game was beyond us , it was the same in Derry . The text messaging saga that followed in 08 was the final straw , management knew his personal circumstances and this was just another blatant attempt to cleverly ostracise him and make him look bad . I don’t dislike Johnno but I’ll never understand why he did what he did.

  50. Pebbles hits on the secret to McDonalds brilliance. A bag of footballs and an empty pitch.
    If young footballers could learn anything its that solitary training has the biggest impact on your shooting and kicking technique.
    Every young footballer should learn the technique of how to kick through the ball like McDonald or Keith Higgins. It is the killer pass that can travel long, quick and is very catchable for the forward. The scoop kick of getting under the ball is traditional but it is not always most suitable as its extra hang time suits the defence. This often gets dismissed as being outside of the boot fancy dan. 2012 semi final v Dublin watch Keith Higgins kick a 65 yard pass straight to Michael Conroy, you cant do that with a traditional type of kick.

  51. Surely McDonald should be brought in as an underage coach at club or even county development squad level.
    Imagine being a young lad and having Ciaran Mc coaching you the skills you saw him perform on the big stage – he’s an idol to everyone that saw him play.

  52. What a footballer…..what a man Ciaran McDonald is. I think he could still do a job a FF for Mayo….could have played until he was 35/36 easily. You could see hurt at not winning an All Ireland and his love for football and Mayo is clear and infectious.

    I know is he a busy man with work but this guy should be heavily involved in coaching underage players in Mayo.

  53. An absolute legend is / was Ciaran McDonald…for me it was the ‘way’ he played football, played the game his way and the way it should have been, was so easy on the eye, and of course his style….some might not have liked it in this ould GAA world, but he always ‘looked’ like a superstar sportsman when anything other than normal was seen as ‘non-Gaa’. Above all though, the fact that he kept to himself off the pitch and pretty much never spoke in the media just made him more special and unique. Best comment last night is that he is an introverted type, but felt totally comfortable on the pitch where he could express himself.

    And yeah, was very bad form the way he was treated in the end. But one thing that always sticks in my mind regarding CMac is that, be it poor management, communication, guidance, whatever, the player himself, but there were too many times when CMac wasn’t available for Mayo, and I can even remember on a few occasions when we didn’t even know up to throw in whether he would be available or not! Was great build up stuff and all that, but for whatever reasons it was like that, it cant have been good for match preparation. Indeed he wasn’t the only one that that used to be the case sometimes. But whatever criticism is held at the present Mayo team, that is one that can never be – every player to a man has been available to Mayo whenever consistently over the last 5 years, (with one exception of course). Don’t know is it down to management or just the where the current game is at, but players are now always available. Don’t know about the rest of ye, but pre-Horan and back as far as I can remember, there was always players (and usually key ones) that were not available for various reasons (CMac, McHale, O’Neill, etc). Anyway, its good that that is not the case anymore and long may it contunue.

    Two final things on McDonald:
    – I think the best one half display I have ever witnessed on a football field was McDonald in the first half of the 2nd Club Final v Nemo (which Crossmolina lost). Unfortunately he picked up a foot injury in the second half which greatly limited his performance – pity, because they would have won it otherwise. I recall the reporter in the Star the next day describe it as ‘like watching Maradona play Gaelic Football’ – very adt words.
    – One great pity is that he wasn’t available for the 1996 campaign – I think he was in the US that summer. He could have been that difference we needed 🙁

  54. I would have him in literally as a kicking technique coach. Look at a photo of McDonald shooting and its just textbook technique.
    If a golfer has a swing coach why doesnt an entire county have a kicking technique coach?
    For example Kevin McGloughlin is one of our few forwards who can kick points on the run using the outside of the boot technique, very useful as he doesnt have to break stride. Kevin Mc is missing frees by contast as he is scooping under the ball with his left rather than flowing through the ball with his left. Result is that he is scooping under the ball high and wide. If I can see that from TV how are we not correcting this stuff?
    To really see that in detail you can see how his left leg is not fully extended and doesnt follow through with the toe pointed forward.

  55. I have no doubt in my mind if Mcdonald was playing in this present team in his younger days he would be looking at one if not two All Irelands. He said something important last nite when he mentioned supporters being so expectant. Not necessarily the supporters fault because we have come so close but it has to get into the players heads and they must feel more pressure than lads on other teams . I do however think we need look at focusing more time on our forwards and shooting skills. Can anyone tell me how much effort is being put in at underage at developing the skills and natural talent of forwards?

  56. MMG there is no such thing as natural talent. You kick a ball thousands and thousands of times until you have the technique and accuracy nailed.
    If we want young talented forwards they need to own footballs and practice a lot.

  57. A shy man which is a rare enough characteristic these days when many players half as good as he is are full of themselves and indeed full of shit. Came across as a nice fella.

    This man should be on the Mayo panel this June in Pearse stadium. I’m sure there is a good 30 minutes in him for 2nd half displays. After the shooting exhibition we witnessed just 4 days ago playing into the bacon factory end in Mchale park i rest my case.

    Hard to believe we lost 3 All Ireland finals with this man on the pitch playing for us. What a tragedy and travesty that he has not got a medal in his pocket. Instead he was discarded and thrown out like a bag of rubbish by his manager when he still had plenty to offer. Thank you Mr o Mahoney for that.

  58. @jim flag
    Not my good words on Ciaran McDonald previously, however that is just a daft statement. His time has passed now. And we should show more respect for the current players…systems, tactics, etc. have changed dramatically in the last 10 years making it more and more difficult for flair players to exist. And to be fair to the current players, we tend to look in the past through very rose-tinted glasses – I do recall being at the 1997 AI Final and MCD missing a couple of very scorable frees in what was a close game. Just let us be fair to all players, past and present, just saying….

  59. He was indeed a one off player. I remember one windy Sunday in pearse park, Longford, crossmolina vs na fianna, cross won a free on the left side about 45 out from goal and maybe 10 m in from the sideline, a wind blowing directly down the field into his face and he hit it over the bar off the ground. Even the opposing fans around me were talking about how he done it, it was incredible. I know of people from other counties that drove to see crossmolina playing just to show them macdonald play and how he could pass or score with such ease.

  60. Anyone remember the free he got in that forgettable 2004 final in the second half, Mayo playing into Hill 16 and Mac won a free just inside the half way line…..he bounced it low a few times and took a swipe at from the outside of his boot….sailed straight over the bar. The game was long over as a contest but the cheer that went up from the Mayo fans and quiet a few Kerry fans around me was unreal.

    Pity he hadn’t the team around him to win the dammed thing. As has been mentioned do ye think we would have won in 2012/2013 with him in his prime?

  61. KL,
    fair comment there. He did indeed miss a couple of frees in that 97 final including i think it was a 14 yard one in the 2nd half into the canal end. A real shocker of a miss in a tight game alright. Dont know what happened us that day. Didn’t turn up at all and let a very average Kerry side go home with big ears. I often felt we left that one after us more than 96. Feck it anyway.

  62. Awesome is such an overused term but it sums up mac perfectly..lost count of Amt of times I’ve watched his last point in Dublin 06 game..his run to meet the pass is incredible..40 yrs old he may be but he would worth a couple of points..pie in the sky at this stage tho..

  63. Here’s a suggestion Willie Joe: why not run a poll on the best McDonald score over the length of his career including club and county?

    Constructing that poll will be a challenge, but a good one.

    My pitch would be for the goal he scored against Galway in the first league match of 97/98, – Johnno’s debut as Galway manager. This was from about 35 yards out: caught, turned, feinted and let fly. It was on telly afterwards, but you had to be there.

  64. Mac could be very useful at 10 20 minutes to go in match but where would you put him in ful forward with cillian would that work I wonder

  65. He was certainly the best ever I seen in well over fifty years watching mayo, was very badly treated by jom, dont know why, he is very quiet off the field we would have won one or two if he had been younger for james, anyway its all water under the bridge now, but it was a privilege to watch him, hope everything goes well for him in the future.

  66. I think what I like most about Ciarin Mac is that he has no agenda. He is passionate about football and feels fullfilled and free on the field doing what he loves to do. His skill on the field is equaly match by his sincerity off it. It’s so rare to hear a man speak that has no agenda that at times it’s unsettling. It was a privilige to see him play. We’ll never see the likes of him again.

  67. Ciaran McDonald epitomises everything that is great about GAA football. What a legend on the field and off.

  68. …….. I was just wondering what age was Billy Fitz the day he came on against Dublin?

    (I know the answer)

    Watching that interview last night I kept thinking that fellas like that should be

    approached. Worse money has been spent by the county board. He is a great role

    model for the under-age ones coming up. Either way it was a lovely TV moment.

  69. I see a lot of optimistic fans on here for the summer, but I wonder, does anyone believe mayo has improved, whereas roscommon has and we only just beat them last year, but I think galway willtake us , they played quite well against kerry last year and with corofin doing well I think they have improved a lot as well

  70. Cork shud bate Donegal and although the Dubs will beat Monaghan, I think Monaghan will make it more difficult for them than most people expect.
    When the Dubs are on form they can beat most teams handy. But there are still a few teams around they struggle against – we can be one of those again, this Summer.
    Yea Dubs are a fantastic side but when teams put it up to them, they don’t like it.
    Cork flatter sometimes to deceive, but they will have last Year’s sickening defeat uppermost in their minds.
    Expect Cork to make it very difficult for Dublin – maybe even too difficult!
    Cork to win the League.

  71. “McDonald a shot…. McDonald a point”. Haha Brilliant! Only in Mayo!!!

    Really good interview. Total Legend.

  72. Why not bring MacDonald in as a forwards coach to the current squad?
    its obvious we are lacking the smarts in this department, what a great addition he would be, if one of the greats can no longer play lets get him to teach!

  73. Good interview, brilliant player. But nostalgia can be a bit blinkered. I remember loads of guys criticising Mac in the past questioning his loyalty his hunger, even his ability would you believe But then some of these guys have always criticised our better players . For me he was a brilliant player who was unlucky to come up against Kerry in three finals. Despite his best efforts both he and team struggled in 2004 and 2006 when we were well beaten. He was young in 1997 and didn’t have the greatest of games despite scoring a belter of a penalty (back again to players not performing in finals). His performance v dubs in 2006 and magnificent winning point was his greatest day. He was a pure artist but in the hard running high tempo modern game some talents like his are sacrificed in favour of the team ethic. But brilliant though he was please don’t suggest that he should still be in the panel. His race is run. He never got the ultimate reward but he gave us some great moments trying to achieve it.

  74. Just watched the Ciaran Mc interview on Second Captains. Like most [almost all] RTE interviews it avoided the hard question, i.e.the issue of his departure from the Mayo scene in 2007. I outlined my own thinking on this here in the early hours of Thursday. Guesswork of course but that is all we have to go on until one of those involved speaks. Why RTE should avoid the question in an interview with McDonald completely beats me. And nobody of all the contributors on this site since then went anywhere near the subject either.
    Finally on this subject I want to say that I always regarded him as an outstanding talent and have total admiration for his commitment and contribution to Mayo football. His famous winning point in the 2006 Semi v Dublin will, in particular, always live in my memory. It was a tragedy that his career was, for whatever reason, cut short. Another memory was his goal from a free in the dying seconds of the Co Semifinal v Ballaghaderreen. Andy Moran had just scored one from a free for Ballagh and when Mc got the ball everybody knew what he was going to do. But dammed if they could do anything about it.

  75. Everyone’s got their Ciaran Mac memories. I’m no different:

    – The monster point from distance in the 09-09 semi-final against Fermanagh in 2004. A crucial score for a Mayo team that were down to 14 men and seriously wobbling. McDonald stuck his chest out and boomed it over.

    – His outrageous point against Galway in Castlebar that started off well outside the right hand post before curling over. Comparisons with Roberto Carlos’ free-kick against France are not unreasonable.

    – And again in 2004, Ciaran running the show against then All-Ireland champions Tyrone in the quarter-final. For me, his finest hour.

    – We all know about the winner against Dublin in 2006; but what about his sideline point in the first half?

    – His display in a league match against Dublin in Parnell Park. He pointed from absolutely everywhere, including another sideline special.

    – A league match v Kerry in Castlebar around ’05 or so, back when we couldn’t beat Kerry in the league. Think it finished 18-15 to Kerry. McDonald casually thumping points over from way out the field, then walking quietly back to his position to resume play.

    – The gutsy penalty in 1997 when his final was not going well. (The same penalty that John Maughan didn’t want him to take.)

    – Mac being felled in Salthill in 2007 by a shoulder in the back that he couldn’t see coming. The roar from the Galway fans gave away just how deep their fear of him was.

    – The braids, the socks (with no stripes!) pulled all the way up, the ponytail… all these things led to the occasional slur against Mac’s manhood. One thing’s for sure; none of the cowards casting aspersions on Ciaran ever felt the force of one of his shoulders. The man had fearsome strength and I never saw him bullied.

    As long as football is played, and as long as skill and strength are valued, Ciaran McDonald’s name will remain in GAA legend.

  76. Corick Bridge

    “I see a lot of optimistic fans on here for the summer, but I wonder, does anyone believe mayo has improved, whereas roscommon has and we only just beat them last year, but I think galway willtake us , they played quite well against kerry last year and with corofin doing well I think they have improved a lot as well”

    LOL Galway play “well” against Kerry and still got well beaten so they can now ‘take us’ yet we drew with that same Kerry side TWICE a few weeks after and could easily have won on both days!!! Love it

    And yeah that’s exactly how it works, we beat Roscommon by a point one year and they ‘improve’ the next and we don’t, so that automatically means they’ll beat us this year. There’s no variables involved at all or anything, I guess Kerry don’t look to have improved so maybe Clare might beat them in champ this year!

    You make reference to ‘optimistic fans’ and essentially put them down in your post, well with all due respect your laughable negativity is miles worse!

  77. Davy J

    “Mac being felled in Salthill in 2007 by a shoulder in the back that he couldn’t see coming. The roar from the Galway fans gave away just how deep their fear of him was.”

    That was one of the best shoulders I have ever seen, was from Diarmuid Blake, talk about putting down a marker! We were embarrassed that day sadly 🙁

  78. Thanks for putting up that link hopespringseternal watched that and then a few more, relived the semis against Dublin in 06 and 12, how we felt that day leaving Dublin. Hope we have more days like those. Too early to get the hopes up yet, we’ll see how connaught goes. Also ciaran mac is a legend and there were a lot of mayo people with tears in their eyes when he spoke of the finals. Surely there is a place for a man like him coaching.

  79. I have not seen the interview yet and I am looking forward to seeing it this weekend. There are 2 things from your comments which are making me think. The first thing in the old adage ~the march of time~ Can it be that we are not quite getting our heads around it. I should point out that I passed through the big 40 a long time ago, and I know how it feels. The second one I find amusing. The idea of ‘natural born talent’. Surly people do not really believe this. Perhaps we are getting confused about things like speed, strength and all that heriderity stuff. What Kieran had is called ‘ambission’. OK I am way of topic here, just thinking out loud.

  80. I will never understand the reluctance in the modern GAA fan to admit there is such thing as natural talent but unfortunately the bastardisation of our game through these ejits have a big say nowadays .

    Of course there is such thing as natural talent , you can practice 24 hours a day and you won’t turn a kevin kilbane into a Lionel Messi same applies to an average inter county player and Gooch cooper . Ciaran touched on it slightly when he mentioned under 10s .you can look at three games as I do every second sat and you can pick out the bucks that have that little bit extra even at 9 years of age . You can try to teach it and work on compensating for lack of it and it will work if you have a dedicated lad but he will lack that percentage for brilliance , that football intellect , the instinct to know where to be, how to create the space quicker than the rest .

    I blame modern society ” you can do anything if you put your mind to it ” . You can’t if the truth be told.

  81. I have the opposite viewpoint Sean. I believe there is a thing called natural coordination aided by strength and flexibility inherited from birth. Essentially a guy like Adam Goode was able to turn his hand quickly to Gaelic Football as anyone could pick him out as an outstanding athlete. Pacy, coordinated, tall, strong. Even if he never went near a gym he would have those. Put a basketball in his hands and he would quickly get to a certain level. But for true mastery of skills I dont believe there is such a thing as natural talent.
    I believe Gaelic Football is far too obsessed with natural talent. I would wager a lot of those natural talents you spot at underage level have their birthday pre April as Gaelic Football has a birth date of 1st January.
    If there is such a thing as natural talent how come across most sports the professional players involved have their birthday close to that registration date. For premiership soccer most players birthday is September. For ice hockey it is January. We anoint young players too early as being natural talents when they are simply a few months physically stronger and more coordinated than other players.
    Colm Cooper … grew up beside a football pitch.
    Aidan OShea ,,, grew up beside a football pitch
    Peter Canavan … hard to see without a football when young
    Conor Mortimer …. soloing a ball to school I heard.
    An intercounty lad I know, started training at three years of age. Kicking with his older brothers. Natural talent or has been training huge hours?
    You will not find one example of a skillful inter county forward who has not trained huge hours on his skills.
    I was not the best club footballer, but I was alright. But my kicking was fairly natural off both feet. I put a lot of time into that. I would resent anyone saying that it came naturally.

  82. I’m in disbelief that people are doubting natural ability and talent!

    I played all the way up through underage and kicked as many footballs as the other lads, but some were just naturally better than others. That’s natural ability.
    Now if they didn’t work on it and hone that talent, they could be passed out by harder workers with slightly less natural ability, but if all people worked equally hard, some will be better than others – fact.

  83. If all people work equally hard and smart the natural athletes will come to the fore. Think back to your underage club days and often the difference between players was about speed and strength. Speed and strength is evened out much more at senior inter county level. So yes I doubt there is such a thing as natural talent.
    Tell me how come the majority of English professional footballers have their birth date close to the cutoff date for soccer in underage football which is September 1st.
    People always give the Ronaldo or Messi comparison.
    Ronaldo trained huge and smart hours and is a brilliant athlete.
    Messi trained huge and smart hours and is very pacey.
    Ibrahimowicz trained huge and smart hours and is a brilliant athlete. Ibrahimowcz trained on executing bicycle kicks with him landing in water. It was no bother to him then to bicycle kick the ball over Joe Hart when the occasion arose.
    Christiano Ronaldo has improved immensely from his days at Man utd, he is still trying to seek out little tricks from freestyle football. Explain his improvement from age 19 which is quite a mature age?
    That young lad who Real Madrid bought from Norway his professional playing Dad had to drag him off the pitch for years.
    You think that others have put in this kind of time and they have and what separates is how naturally athletic they are in terms of speed, coordination and power.
    But most people have not put in those kind of hours.
    I have a friend a freestyle footballer who can do all those tricks you see on youtube. Several hours a day dedicated smart practice with each trick broken down into moves. Apply the same rigourous practice into Gaelic football and you get a Ciaran McDonald or a Colm Cooper. But they need a certain amount of natural pace which is true whether you are talking about basketball, soccer or Gaelic football. Slowness and top level sport very rarely mix.

  84. Of couse you are correct JP and you can get your points across much better than I can. There is clearly confusion here between what we get from our lineage and what we can develop on our own bat. I use the expression natual ability, to mean something completely different to what some posters seem to think it is. I have a natural ability to work out simple and complex problems honed out after decades of being one step behind my peers. One thing is for certain, if there were such a thing as ‘ Natural Talent ‘ it would be available in a bottle at every street corner in the land.

  85. I presume what alot of you are thinking of is the 10,000 hour theory. This states that to attain a master status at any task all you need to do is out in 10,000 hours of high quality training and practice. It came from studies that looked at the best violinists and saw that on average it took them 10,00 hours of practice to get there.

    The people above who are in favour of no natural talent have already conceded that you need a certain athletic ability to succeed. Be it speed in GAA, height in NBA,eyesight in Baseball etc. So any sufficiently athletic person who trains long enough and in the correct way can become a master?

    In my opinion no. Of course there is a natural talent.

    In another study on chess players it took an average of 11,000 hours of practice to get to the highest level. But with a massive range. One player took just 3,000 hours to become a master whilst another took 22,000 hours. Both objectively equally good but the first with undoubtably more natural ability than the first. Both presumably had the athletic ability to be top chess players.

    Does chess apply to Gaelic Football or any other sport? Yes, all top level sport includes decision making, quickness of thought, pattern recognition as well as a mental battle with your opposite number.

    So as well as physical attributes to be a top level athlete (which are many), you need to have the mental capacity to learn quickly ie- natural talent. Of course you also need to put in the hours of practice but some are going to improve more from practice than others.

    This is my opinion on the available research in the area

  86. On a sidenote but related , where are we going wrong at bringing players through ? The academy thing has me puzzled but more worryingly it has the chairman of the county board a bitten confused as he recently said he wasn’t sure what the craic was with it.

    We had an all ireland winning minor team in 2013 with three excellent forwards on board , the primary objective here should of been to nurture them lads and bring them through , work with them and have the resources in place to make sure this was viable. A big academy is not much use if you don’t have the proper structures in place to bring the better players on , An elite academy if you like for a smaller group . If I remember rightly there was an article in the Mayo news or western after the minor triumph and its headline was ” don’t forget these lads” it was pointing out how so many of them came from smaller clubs both junior and intermediate, I hope its not a case of they have been forgotten because if you let 18 year olds back to just plying their trade at lower levels with their clubs I can’t see how they can develop , there has to be somewhere they can go and play with the better players and develop their skills.

  87. There is still no way around it, to get to a top level requires a high volume of smart practice no matter how naturally coordinated you are. Some people do seem to improve at different rates, but not too much data on the quality of that practice.
    I would say that someone with sufficient athleticism who does sufficient quality practice will get to a very high level in any sport.
    One of the words I have always hated in Gaelic Football is the word training, it just sounds like work for the sake of work. Practice is what improves you. The culture in Gaelic Football is not so much around improving specific and identifiable skills. Much more an assumption that the skills are in place and it is work on team play defensively and offensively. The Mayo players said they went right back to basics under Horan getting their left handed handpass in place especially, compare us pre and post Horan in that specific skill.
    A completely undertrained type of Gaelic Footballer are tall players. They should be repping like crazy at the catching of kickouts, passing the ball deep or especially playing as target men. Very specific skills that can be improved immensely.

  88. Sean no one knows what is happening with the Academy. It doesnt appear to be producing players like we expected. Our U21s dont look like they have come through any Academy.

  89. There is definitely greater natural ability and then lesser natural ability which can be improved on with training. Macdonald had massive talent, he probably would have made it in a number of pro sports, soccer being the big one. Those sideline balls he put over the bar or that 55 m free he scored against Kerry can only be scored by the select few in the world, Cillian o Connor has massive kicking skills too, the thing for Mayo is we need to mind him and not let some eejit of a manager tell him he’s not good enough like what happened to colm Boyle and ciaran Mac.
    Well done tipperary u 21 s on beating cork in the Munster final, underdogs all week apparently and they just tore into cork anyway and got the result.

  90. I’m not of the school of natural talent either.. I believe more in a person’s natural attributes, encouragement, technique and application. I was the tall gangly kid at under twelves, useless to the wide earthly world with no belief.. I was either put in goal or left on the bench depending on numbers. Then one day we got a new trainer who taught us skills, and with a little no how came courage, belief and desire. I’ll always remember the day he taught to us 2 kick the ball from ground.. he demonstrated how it was done first.. the angle of the body, the timing, the swing of the foot and getting right in at the ball. My first 10 attempts bobbled along the ground, then I started to get a little elevation.. then boom.. From the 21 yard line I put ball over the bar and into the next field.. I never looked back. Played centre half under 16, under 18 and 21. I played college before I was ravaged with cruciates back when no one new what that meant. A lot of the kids that I grew up with that had super natural tallent at a young age fell away from the game for one reason or another.. Every kid develops differently and you cannot tell from under 12 who will progress or not.. If you can then there is something seriously wrong with the under age coaching and training set up.

  91. Sorry for straying back to the Ciaran McDonald interview again, but I was just reading there that after the show, he was chatting to the guys there, and it came up that he scored 4 points on his Crossmolina debut. He was only 14!!! Jesus, what a legend. I didn’t know he was to be on Second Captains – was just fortunate enough to be watching it that night. Some role-model of a man. It’s funny how nobody really knows anything about him, or you’d never hear anything in the media about him.

    I loved watching the interview. I played with him on the Mayo minors many years ago. But can’t remember that much about him. I remember himself, Declan Sweeney (Knockmore) and Liam Moffat (Crossmolina) were the main men – the poster boys of the team. There was a lot of pressure and expectations on them, and it kinda got to them in the crunch games.

  92. lionel messi was snapped up as a very young lad by barcelona and needed medical treatment to make him the height he is today. tiger woods was 4 or 5 when he got on tv showing his skills. both had outstanding early signs, i know of a 9 year old that plays in north mayo that reads the game miles ahead of his peers and plays it very well too, if he is guided he could be a star for the county, he has speed and skill and its all topped of by his football brain. isnt that the thing, guiding him and hoping he stays interested in it? so many other things get in the way. In Mayo maybe only 2 have stood out in my time , Mac and Kevin O Neil, though o connor is showing signs that he wont be far behind them when hes finished, the type that make you sit up when they get on the ball. Padraig Joyce was another, but, unfortunately he was too far south to benefit us.

  93. Read a book called the “Sports Gene”, it goes in depth into the nature vs nurture debate on talent and ability.
    As for the academy, there is no academy, it was James Horans idea that players could bridge the gap between club and county.
    As a county we are producing very talented underage players but at the key area between 18/19/20 we are leaving them in the wilderness. A member of my own club who was on last years minor panel is a fantastic prospect. Both feet, tall, athletic and can knock it over the bar from 45/50 yards, he’s the ideal candidate to be nurtured all this year.
    I met him last night and he told me he hasn’t heard from the academy in weeks.
    The CB are showing all the signs of a desperate gambler making increasingly bigger bets with no eye to the future.

  94. Sean Burke, couldn’t agree more. One of the single most frustrating things about Mayo football at the moment is the lack of mechanisms for younger players to bridge that gap. That’s why in my eyes, in the absence of any such “academy” (which would have its pros and cons I’m sure) it would make sense if the proven minor management team we have now would make the step up to U21 next year. But what would I know?

  95. @always mayo, Your welcome, yeah there are some good other clips there as well. Hopefully by the end of the year, there might be some more clips that we all want to see too, if we have a good season ahead!

  96. I would guess that some senior management aren’t enamoured to the idea of a strong, independent U21 management. They prefer having full control over all their players and with the league becoming so competitive they probably need them (Dublin being the obvious exception with the size of their panel).
    This is where the CB comes into play and backs the u21 management and allows them control of the players till after the championship. The idea of an academy that develops the best talent in the country is a great one and it’s a serious shame it’s been allowed to lapse.

  97. Toe to hand,

    You say you don’t believe in natural talent but then go on to say it depends on a person’s natural attributes [among other things]. What are natural talents but natural attributes? We are talking about the same thing but using different words. There are some things which cannot be coached. Pace is one and its not just speed from A to B but pace in decision making, spotting an opening. Nothing on earth will make a slow player into a speedster. No amount of coaching will develop a selfish player into a team player if that stubborn, selfish streak is inbuilt. Some people are just not as coordinated as others. If a player has bad eyesight he is unlikely to regularly kick balls over the bar from 40 yards [without contacts etc]. Call good eyesight a talent or an attribute. Coaching will make the most of whatever talent a player has but will never replace it.
    I have always found it possible to spot a likely young player at U10 / U12. Not every likely player will develop into adult players. Other things and interests can intervene, now for more so than in the past. But most players who develop into senior adult players will have shown that ability at a young age. It is the same with music, academic ability etc.

  98. Missed Ciaran McD program. Someone here said they were going to watch it the weekend. Can anyone here tell me where I can get it.
    Thanks in advance.

  99. Certainly a lot of confusion here. I will read that book Liam thanks when I get my hands on it. I believe that attributes that set each person apart is in general down to lineage. speed, strength are 2 of these we started with. Tiger’s father started to coach his son as soon as he could stand. Before he donned the green jacket it is reported that they hugged and cried together. All part of their shared history.

  100. CmcD…. The best we’ve been lucky enough to have represent us. What a pity for us but especially for him that his talents weren’t harnessed in achieving what we’ve been trying to do for 64 years. My late father was fortunate enough to witness the glory of 50 and 51. Having been on the quest myself since the sixties I now deeply regret to say that I don’t expect to be so lucky in my own lifetime. And I’m not old. But In all those barren years neither Mayo nor any other county has unearthed ( by whatever means — natural talent or persistent application) such a wonderful and prodigious exponent of all aspects of our game. Cciaran McDonald I salute you.

  101. Fair play Davj. I could not agree more. On john o Mahony. Hugely Overated as a manager. My young fella could have picked that Galway team. Any time I had for him went when he managed them. Didn’t go to any games while he was in charge.

  102. I have to agree with you Sean Burke, Anne Marie. I find it really frustrating. Looking at the U21 teams over the last few year was really painful. Enda and his team have done a really great job over the last couple of years. If Enda moves to U21 level we could go for a few years to get a win at minor level again. A case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  103. I believe that if we get one or 2 senior players from a successful minor team we are doing well. If we have a successful U21 team the return is potentially greater. Minor footballers are generally living at home and playing with the group they grew up with. The couple of years after minor are full of change, Independent living at college, decision making, career development, and ambition take pride of place during these years. Football, club and school time friends take a back seat.in many cases. The academy should concentrate on developing the most ambitious young players who are doing well for their club teams whether or not they have played minor or the youth development system. A good example would be the 5 forwards on the Tipp team that won the Munster title this week were not on the minor team 3 years ago.

  104. Where we are losing big time is lads finishing minor level and not getting high quality weekly training. Especially if from a junior or intermediate club. I seen an u16 have a kickpass completion of 100% from about 15 kicks and score 1-3 from play from four attempts in one game. Thats the kind of stuff should have CB scouting talent. Should be plenty voluntary capability to track talent online. Online access to a database tracking performance of scoring n kickpassing.

  105. AndyD, we probably r saying the same thing.. but what really frustrates me is lost potential and is not only what the academy should address but also the grass roots at club level. It’s a bit a stretch as I will compare a professional sport with non pro.. but there is likeness between Gareth Bale and Freeman.. It took years of tlc and opportunities to get Bale to finally be and produce what it was hoped he might.. he had the speed, the height (attributes), the control and the shot (talent) but without dogged preserverence with him he was lost. I believe passionately if Freeman and others had been caught at the right time in their development they would have made A far greater impression on the game.

  106. Toe to hand,

    So we do agree.
    Can anybody tell me whether there is a functioning academy in Mayo at U21 level – or at any other level ?
    Apart from the U21 area we are I believe missing out on an awful lot of talent at U12 / National schools level if schools are, as was mentioned in a previous post a few weeks ago, schools are only getting approx 8 hours coaching per year. This would apply especially to bigger towns like Castlebar and Ballina. If those towns/clubs were delivering to their potential the Co underage finals would be dominated by them every year. Anybody from Mitchels/Stephenites to give their view?
    Finally good luck to Roscommon CBS in today’s Hogan Cup Final.

  107. Ciaran, you are entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine, and I am not running anyone down, but this team has done us proud over the last four years, and owes us nothing, it must have taken its toll on them, if you look back to longford in 2010 most of them were there, and we have not found any new players this last couple years, so I dont think they can improve, I remember the Galway three in a row, and the kerry four in a row they come to the end of the road very quickly, so I hope I am wrong but I will be surprised if they can go on again

  108. Andy

    I won’t say what club but it’s north mayo, the kids are berated by an idiot trainer, screaming like a lunatic and he never was any good himself. 8 year old kids won’t have much interest in hearing too much of it, the local rugby club on the other hand treats them very well, thus, a few lads have taken to the rugby and dropped the Gaelic. And the manager of the clubs adult team stands at the adult games with his mouth shut while his sidekicks and all the subs scream and shout from start to finish at the games, hilarious stuff and hard for any player to focus,event as an adult. No training on how to pick up a ball or how to shoot for a score, whatever you think yourself and see how it goes.

  109. Why n God’s name do live twitter updates of GAA matches not nform us of which team s playing with the wind – MFL result Sligo 0-11 Mayo 0 – 10

  110. Football standards in Ballina, Castlebar, Swinford have fallen at underage. I see Swinford underage teams getting demolished by likes of Mayo Gaels. This is a town that used to tog unreal tough young hardy bucks from Killasser, Meelick, Midfield. Charlestown has fell away a lot also.

  111. Mayo would have won the minor league if held on to their lead (6 points margin at one stage) well done to Sligo I suppose they don’t win many titles especially at minor level.

  112. Nothing wrong with Mayo Gaels and they have improved a lot. But a Swinford team being hammered at underage by Mayo Gaels is worrying.
    Swinford used to usually be Div 1 standard at all levels. Now they are not even competitive in a Div 3 game at u15. To give some positivity those kinda results has sprung people into action. I believe a renewed drive at underage has started.

  113. Excellent display by Monahan in Croke Park today. Even though defeated they fairly put it up to the Dubs.

  114. So, the clubs have played the first round of the Championship and there don’t seem to be too many injuries. We’ll take that! Championships aren’t won in April but they can be easily lost if a big name player gets injured.

  115. It was league they played yesterday rather than championship. I see Cathal carolan is back playing. Is he in Mayo panel? Is conor loftus? Both have a lot to offer, in my opinion

  116. Very impressed by both Monaghan and Donegal today in defeat. Both look like they’ll be the two main men by a long way in Ulster

    Are they All Ireland contenders? maybe

    On another note, Conor McManus might just be the best forward in the country right now along with JOD. He was phenomenal today, threatened to beat Dublin on his own. Some of his scores were worth the admission fee alone

  117. Also how average were Dublin? They look like they’re only just back training, so rusty and f all pace to their play. Hate opening that can of worms but that hammering they gave us looks even more pathetic from our perspective now 🙁

    I think (and seriously expect) they’ll be a new animal in summer though

    I do think we could well have as wide open an AI as we have had for years though. The 4 teams today plus ourselves and Kerry do we have 6 genuine contenders?

  118. One thing we learned from todays semi-final is, that any team with aspirations for a successful Championship run this Summer will need scoring forwards. It may be only the League as they say, and sure nothing is won at this time of year. But watching some of the scoring today, especially those long range points and the speed of the forward in generally, makes you wonder where Mayo fit into all this. We certainly will need a marked improvement in our shooting and forward play in, if we even hope to win out in Connaught.

  119. Co nor Mcmanus what a man, unmarkable yesterday.thats what you need in your forward line. When it comes to accurate free taking leave it to Dean Rock, he was the man that got a poor Dublin team over the line.

  120. Cod,
    Neither on the Mayo panel at this point and IMO unlikely to feature, but depends on how the year pans out I guess. But by all accounts Carolan is going well after his return from injury as indeed Loftus. I think Conor is going to be one to watch for sure.

  121. Interesting tactic by Donegal was holding the ball up until Murphy/Mc Fadden/Mc Brearty got the ball who then shot long range accurately over the bar. The ball was recycled until one of them was on the ball. I hope Mayo use this tactic, but who can shoot from that distance accurately from the forward line at that distance? Cillian would be the only one at the minute.

  122. The tempo yesterday was well below what we would normally expect from the Dubs and yet when Monaghan threatened in 51st min they cranked up the gears and did enough to see out the game. A very professional display from Dublin considering Monaghan fired everything bar the bus driver into the mix and still came up short. As we know now when the game demands it, Dublin like Kerry and Mayo are setting up more defensively (we have a long way to go to in perfecting this) and are getting a lot more turn overs. A poor spectacle of a game where the best side is the team that can convert more of the long range efforts, force more mistakes on the opposition and get most possessions. Come Championship Monaghan again might make it to an All Ireland quarter final but no further, other teams have more quality and the day of solely relying on your blanket to keep you in games appears to be coming to an end (fingers crossed). Finally, any player who close there hand into a fist when tackling should be red carded for a strike, it would put a stop to this nasty tactic which appears to be more prevalent in Monaghans game than any other I have this year.

  123. I would like to think that in pre championship training our forwards might be told

    to do more east-west (crossfield) runs. That kind of movement can sometimes be easier

    to see by the player with the ball. Passes to a body running towards you at full tilt (or

    away from you) can be difficult to complete.

    Also to include some loop the loop work – a player showing in a circle around the

    man in possession if its a tightly packed defense. As well as that a bit of off the

    shoulder running can add some momentum to the attack. I`m not denying that our

    movement up front under James` regime was very good. I just think we need more

    variation to keep defenders guessing. Add in the occasional high bombs to the full

    forward line if the opportunity is there for a one on one. All I`m saying is that no

    one in our front six should be static. They will be fit enough and the ground harder.

    The last thing any team needs to be is PREDICTABLE. I dont go along with the theory

    that we don`t have the forwards.

  124. Regards the high ball it’s something that this Mayo team has never perfected. Guys either don’t know when to put it in or they don’t have the ability to put it in the right place. Now in fairness it’s a dual responsibility with the FF positioning himself in the correct place to optimize his chances of winning the ball.

    The best example is to watch Donaghy. He sets himself up just off the back side of the square behind the FB. He signals he wants it back over his head. It’s up then to the FW to deliver this with the correct distance. Once Donaghy wins it (and he does pretty much 90% of the time if the ball in is accurate) he looks composed and a simple lay off to an on running forward who then has a good opportunity. In fairness one great thing about Donaghy is his unselfishness. He sees beyond getting the big score himself all the time and plays for the team.

    We too have plenty of height and strength in the squad if you consider the likes of O’Shea, Moran, Freeman etc. The high ball in is something that should be practiced and perfected more by Mayo. Any option to beat the blanket should be worked on especially seeing as the blanket has become the norm across the board now.

  125. The high ball or kicked ball in JPM is in my view a thing that lies heavily with coaching.
    Passer, target man and runner. Three players involved.
    Individual talent will not execute successfully a three part play in matches. It has to be working to perfection on the training field and on the training field you start introducing defenders to make it more realistic.
    1. The run and positioning of the target man has to be right
    2. The passer has to give in the correct ball
    3. The runner has to arrive with good timing for the layoff and practice shooting without taking a solo
    It is the one aspect of play where we are the weakest. Has it being identified and is it being worked on? Mgmt have mentioned about “Needing to improve our shooting”. We’re talking about players in their mid to late 20’s. You can improve quickly their team work and system of attacking plays. Its a several year project to have much impact on their shooting accuracy at this stage.
    Other management teams would love to have a selection of target men available. We are unable so far to get target man play up and running with the best 50:50 ball catcher in the country, Aidan OShea. 50:50 ball to Aidan is more like 70:30 in his favour. I think blame for that lies with management and the unfamiliarity of our attack in how to get this specific nameable play working.

  126. It is kind of funny to watch various commentary and comments on other forums since yesterdays game. Dublin are now “not great” and “overblown” after Monaghan gave them a game. GAA fans are as fickle as fans of any other sport.

    Monaghan done very well against Dublin yesterday but Dublin still had the power and class to pull away a bit in the end and were not in top gear. McManus is a serious player though. Monaghan and Donegal two front runners in Ulster this year. Armagh my dark horse.

  127. Yup.. totally agree re the high ball.. not once in the league did we kick in one quality cross field ball from the forty.. lets say the right flank to left back corner of the large square pulling the defense to open up the goal. Not a hail Mary up and under but a powefull curving low trajectory shot that can often deceive with the distance it can travel. I don’t understand why we don’t because Kevin Mcloughlin and others have proven they can hit shots like these. Towards the end of the Donegal game we had a few break aways down along the right and left wings with the full fordward one on one crying out for the ball to come in.. but no we kept looking for the runner off the shoulder.. trying to work it into a scoring position. What’s the point of having some of finest primary possession midfielders in the game if we don’t kick the ball into them. Am I foolish in thinking that the management team see all the glaring opportunities or failings that have been raised on this site over the past few months and that this is all just a rouse by the boys so come Championship we will see a settled structure and game plan that will sweep all before it?

  128. Toe to hand that type of pass is like a quarter backs throw in that its very catchable for the attacker. Quarter backs will rep nothing but those type of throws in sessions with their receivers.

  129. Nothing at all in the League semis to get excited about. Two games like pitch opening friendlies. Two yellow cards in total in two games, 33 – 34 scores per game. Donegal wanted league final like a toothache while Dublin at this stage are so used to hammering Monaghan they could be nothing other than casual. Yes, Cormac McManus was exceptional but we’ve known that for a long time. When were Donegal’s McGee bros so anonymous? I was listening to the radio commentary and I don’t think I ever heard them mentioned. So Cork scored four goals?

  130. I seen this on HoganStand:

    The Mayo footballers departed Dublin Airport early this morning for a six-day training camp in Portugal. Joint-managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly, along with 37 panel members, including the fit-again Evan Regan, will be based in Vilamoura where Mayo also held a training camp in 2012. The Connacht champions will use the trip to fine-tune their preparations for the championship, which gets underway on June 21 when they face one of Galway, Leitrim or New York in the Connacht SFC semi-final.

    So the panel does not seem to have been cut yet to 32. Good to hear that Evan Regan is fit again as well. I wonder are there any upcoming challenge games planed. I see that Galway are playing Dublin next Sunday at 2pm in Skerries. It’ll be interesting to see how our opposition are coming along. Although with the Leaue final coming up, you’d expect Dublin to be playing a second string team against them.

  131. Yeah your right Sean, I just copied and pasted that from Hogan Stand. The posters on here are more professional than the guys who make a living from GAA journalism!

  132. Phew! My sister only asked me last weekend what date it was as she wanted to book her flight home from England, thought I fooked up there for a second. Haha.

  133. 37 players played in league including adam Gallagher and enda varley who are no longer on panel. Darren McHugh did not feature in any games. 37 players travelled to Portugal. Who is player no 37 if it is not Gibbons?. Is it true that Conor Loftus has been added to panel then?

  134. Anyone know what the Mayo ladies team trainer done to get a FIVE year ban?
    Must have been bad as you get a similar sentence for murder in this country.

  135. Robert – I’ve deleted that comment where you’ve made reference to a named player being dropped from the panel. This is the third such reference someone has made here in the past week to the player in question but there’s no official confirmation as yet that this has occurred. Can posters please refrain from naming players in this way? Otherwise I’m going to have start banning those who keep breaking the rules about posting unsubstantiated rumours.

  136. Steve – the Mayo News has a report on this incident today. Apparently it relates to verbal abuse of a ref. Five years would, on the face of it, appear more than a bit harsh, regardless of what was said.

  137. Mayo news reports Jason gibbons and darren mchugh (both injured) did not travel, Conor Loftus and David kenny make up the 37

  138. WJ – Cheers, I must pick up the Mayo News later. Sound’s like a very harsh ban alright. Id say far less bans have been given for much more serious “assaults” on football fields up and down the country. Ladies GAA is separate to the main GAA so they must have slightly different rules etc..

  139. Ah yes, thanks Done Deal. Had forgotten about him. Checked back now through my programmes. LFB. Good to see the progression there. Pity that mionor full forward line has been disrupted in its progress so far.

  140. Ya Catcol Tommy Conroy is out injured a hip injury as far as I know. Liam Irwin seems to be taking a break from football and I don’t know story about Doherty. To me Conor Loftus was the star forward that year, he is back from injury now and played very well in u21s v galway and I hear played well for crossmolina at weekend. I reckon he can be just as good as McDonald yet.

  141. Yes indeed Loftus was very good that year. Mentioning him in the same breath as McDonald is mouth-watering.

    Would be nice to be able to spring him unannounced at some stage against Galway or later on.

  142. AndyD, not so sure about league Semi(s), if Mayo had put on a show like Monaghan did against the Dubs, lets be honest, we’d be waxing lyrically about the future. Remember what was being said after our first league game?

  143. Apologies WJ, hadnt logged in for a while so hadn’t seen previous wrist slaps but seen another guys question at the tail end this morning and commented. Hopefully the lads enjoy Villamoura.

  144. No worries, Robert – thanks for coming back on the point. Given the site’s reach and the likelihood that players’ friends and families read what’s said about them here, I want to make sure that all commentary on players is scrupulously fair at all times.

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