Following Mayo's footballers

Some midweek listening

AidanOSheaAIBTheToughestTradeJan16_large

Photo: Irish Examiner (Sportsfile/Ramsey Cardy)

Quick midweek one as I’ve a fair bit on today. Before dashing off to all that, though, there are two things to bring to your attention this morning, both of which involve some aural diversion.

The first concerns Aidan O’Shea who’s all over the nationals and elsewhere today – Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Times, RTÉ, The 42, Joe.ie, Hogan Stand – talking about defensive improvements, county amalgamations, a new year of football and his forthcoming American football sojourn. All of these points and more were also covered in an in-depth interview with Aidan on Newstalk’s Off The Ball show last night, which, in case you missed it, is here:

I know, not everyone is enamoured when Aidan (or any other Mayo player) is all over the media in this manner. Indeed, I can already envisage the usual suspects winding their necks out to deliver their predictable who-does-he-think-he-is and why-can’t-he-do-his-talking-on-the-pitch tirades. For my money, though, Aidan is a bright, articulate young man, who is well able to say his piece and – with two All-Star awards under his belt by the age of 25 – someone who is more than capable of backing it up on the field. More power to you, Big Dawg, and good luck in the States.

The second bit of listening for you this morning comes in the form of the very welcome return of the Mayo News podcast, with the first edition of 2016 going live yesterday afternoon. More than the lengthening evenings and the sprouting of the daffodils, this is the one sure-fire piece of evidence we all need that the inter-county football season is back with us once again.

Off with ye now.

Comments

  1. Count me among the usual suspects Willie Joe. Feel he should stick to the knittin, though that interview with the Sunday Indo a couple of weeks back was very good, and candid, and concentrated on his Mayo career highs and lows; more on the lows really.

    Just to mention it again, the Cork GAA website has a great online offer of €10 per ticket; good for those of us who haven’t opted for the season ticket

  2. Mayoforever says:

    Two observations:
    What annoys me is when a GAA supporter is annoyed at our stars appearing on ads, driving a sponsored car, putting themselves out there. Aiden O’Shea is a tremendous ambassador for Mayo and the GAA! He deserves all the publicity and accolades he gets. Personally I was so privileged to be present in Croke Park for his game changing goal against Donegal! A memory I will bring to my grave!
    Is it possible that two Mayo senior teams are playing in Cork on the same day??
    Is it possible that the Hollymount/Carramore and Ardnaree games are on the same day as Mayo v Dublin?
    To think that those who make out the schedule are paid officials makes my blood boil!!!

  3. The €10 per ticket offer is available everywhere Catcol, for all league games, for all National League tickets bought in advance, be that on tickets.ie or in Centra and Supervalu stores.

  4. Great, thanks Anne-Marie, will bear that in mind for all other games as well.

  5. Think what you might about Aidan O’Shea’s profile (I’d be in the WJ camp on this, and frankly I think a lot of the criticism is rooted in traditional Irish begrudgery), but what struck me most about that interview was one of the last points made in that Examiner article.

    “I’m going there with a totally open mind. I don’t even know what I’m going to be doing. There’ll definitely be something I’ll take out of it. “Might be things like snippets of preparation and recovery advice that could be of use to me, you’re always looking to learn as much as you can from these experiences.”

    Not *just* a profile-building exercise then, but something that sums up the ever-evident desire to gain that tiny bit of extra advantage by learning from other sources.

  6. Cynical Cynthia says:

    I don’t know why people here are crying about the ladies game being at a different venue.

    I can think of a number of reasons for this. Pitches being wet and not able to take two games, but probably more relevant is the lack of interest in the ladies teams. Who here goes follow them when they are playing? Not very many bar families.

  7. I listened to the interview last night, aos is well able to talk and is also a breath of fresh air. Good luck to him in America and come back in one piece to lead the charge in 2016 . He said he’s a steph curry fan,(basketball player), a better role model you can not have, so let’s hope aos can copy him.

  8. Hi
    I listened to this interview , absolutely great stuff from one of the best ever to wear a Mayo Jersey. Great to hear players side of things for a change . There will be only one AOS . Hon Mayo.

  9. I would have no problem with Aidan giving interviews, appearing in TV ads, sponsorship etc….Players these day’s put in so much they must take as much out of it as possible. The only worry I would have is what if he got injured playing NFL?

  10. Sinabhuil says:

    People have little to do complaining about a young man expressing his honest opinions. Too many grey haired old fashioned people have too much to say about stuff that they know nothing about. Give a young fella that does a chance. Nonsense expressed about giving the opposition ammunition etc.. People are too long listening to cute hoors from other counties with their ‘pain’ and ‘hurt’ – pure fertilizer. Pain, hurt and desire come from deep down in ya. No body else’s business.

    From a grey haired (none!) but hopefully not old fashioned old fella.

  11. Sean Burke says:

    Listening to the Mayo news podcast, mcgreal says mcantee indicated in an interview that Mayo wouldn’t play a blanket type defence at all . Surely if you’re leading a game by half a dozen points with only minutes to go you focus on a blanket type defensive system ?

    Is it true or is it false that mcantee went to brigids of Dublin , changed up their whole game plan and it had a very negative impact on their results ? You hear these stories but I don’t know whether it’s true or not .

  12. I’ve read that interview in full, Sean, and what Tony McEntee is at pains to point out in it is that he’s part of Stephen Rochford’s team. He says that whatever Stephen wants in relation to playing styles and all that is what’ll be coached.

  13. Sean Burke says:

    Ahh sound . I’ll listen to it again when I get time to see how I picked up on that so wrong.

  14. It was the interview in this week’s Mayo News paper I was referring to, Sean, and that’s definitely worth reading. It’s not online so you’ll need to get the paper itself.

  15. Great interview with AOS, he will learn a lot from his time with the NFL and help raise the bar for the team and management.

  16. Cynical Cynthia,

    You are correct in pointing out the lack of interest by the average follower in following the ladies game but you must acknowledge that old habits die hard and the ladies game is relatively new compared to the men’s game. It’s not so long ago that the view of football not being suitable for “ladies” was commonplace and many still hold to that opinion even if they do not express it as often. It is also very difficult to find the time to support both teams even if one had the inclination to do so and the men’s game in Mayo has the upperhand on the ladies game at the moment. If the 1998 – 2002 ladies team were playing today and the men’s team in the doldrums you might have a very different scenario re support. I cannot say I have seen the Mayo ladies too often in recent years and only saw the 1998 – 2002 team in finals but I have had the privilege – and privilege it is – to see Cora Staunton in action a few times with both Mayo and Carnacon. She has to be coming into the latter stages of her career and I would urge every Mayo follower to make the effort to see her in action before she calls it a day. She is not the only Mayo lady worth seeing by any means but she is extra special, even moreso than any of the men.
    Some few years ago there was talk of the Ladies and the men’s associations coming closer together, perhaps even amalgamating. Many clubs combine both the ladies and mens sections in their structure but nationally they do not seem to be getting any closer. In my opinion there should be more double fixtures. Pitch protection is an issue in bad weather but in my experience – and I have a bit in pitch maintenance – Ladies games to not impose nearly as much on a pitch as adult men’s games.
    I have long held the view to that ladies – and this applies to all ladies sports – are too backward in not demanding more press, radio and TV coverage for their games. Until they do get that recognition it will be hard to build spectator support while the media cite that lack of spectator support as justifying their lack of coverage.

  17. Great post AndyD. Nail on the head there in many ways and not a tear cried!

    I would add to that the point that it’s not really up to the media to promote the sport; the ladies organisation does need to promote their own sports more though as you point out, it is a bit of a vicious circle and coverage and promotion hand in hand.

    Trying to confirm ladies fixture or plan in advance to see one can be problematic at the best of times, but a lot of that is down to the difficulties the ladies have in securing pitches upon which to play games. And as you say, it is difficult to find the time to support both teams; for many, supporting the men’s game now reaps greater rewards from a supporter point of view.

    An amalgamation has been mooted for years and it makes sense from many points of you – I’m not sure what the barriers are.

    Resources are also an issue; hopefully the new Lidl sponsorship deal will gain the game at the very least some more coverage and better branding, even if €1.5m won’t go too far.

  18. Willie Joe and Sean Burke, there is an online version of an interview with McEntee (26th Jan) that is accessible on their site. Whether it’s the full interview or not I’m not sure, but it’s worth reading anyway.

    BTW, it’s nearly impossible to buy the Mayo News in Dublin. I give out about the Western on a Monday but it’s always available around my area. The MN is never in until Thursday and is gone by the time you come back to ask the newsagent. Same story in Easons by the way. Yes, I know I could pre-order, but that would be getting organised wouldn’t it.

  19. One thing Aidan might learn is about plays. American football quarter backs often throw the ball to a point in space that the team are all aware of. Also there are first, second and third options. Perfect for perfecting target man play as I’v said many times.
    For quarter back think a guy like Cillian or Kevin Mc. For play read something like Aido loop 20. Which is a call for whatever should happen next time Cillian or Kevin Mc are at a set free or open central at the 45. Rugby already do this with plays.

  20. Well said JP. Set plays give the attacking team the advantage as we see in basketball, American football, rugby. My 12 year old has over 100 plays in his basketball playbook, no kidding. Hopefully Aidan can bring back some good play ideas etc for the team and management to think about.

  21. Dublin have a couple of patterns maybe rather than plays. Any player collecting the ball going away from goal is to offload to a runner. It gives you no opportunity to tackle the under pressure player who has just gained posession. Not every time, but Dublin forwards rarely attempt to turn and take on in that scenario. Would love to see Aidan being the final receiver or goal poachers like Reape and Freeman. Teeing them up when the move is preplanned.

  22. I mean to tee guys up for goal chances in a planned way. Variations on target man play. Keegan n Freeman steaming through onto easy 2 yard handpasses with the defense pulled out of shape.

  23. By my reckoning there are at least seven different options for the full forward line this Summer. Here they are:

    FBD Tried & Not Tested: Loftus, Regan (not tried, but tested), Rutledge

    Old Reliables: McLoughlin, Doherty, Freeman

    Very Old Reliables: Moran, Dillon, O’Connor

    Mitchels Medley: Douglas, Moran, Kirby

    U21 Hopefuls: Duffy, Akram, Reape

    Forgotten but not gone: Sweeney, Coen, McHale

    Breaffy Blues: O’Shea, O’Shea, Irwin

  24. No forwards in the county!! 🙂
    Yes I’d have a quiet confidence in every position but midfield for later in the year. Just haven’t seen a dominant David Moran type consistency at midfield. Tom Parsons I think can get there, but maybe more of an athletic defensive cover back to our 45. He’d make a fair fist of a 400m I’d say if he trained for it.

  25. Sean Burke says:

    Barry Moran and Tom parsons would be my mid for championship , if sos could adapt to a defensive position it would be ideal .

  26. Well I dream one day of Lee Keegan having the freedom of midfield. Partnered with Tom Parsons and told to run themselves into the ground for 55 minutes. Bring in SOS and Barry Moran to finish out. You would have an insane advantage in speed on the midfields that are around. Caolan Mooney of Down might match them but I wouldnt class too many others with their kind of speed.
    I just think something interesting in the approach of a speed blitz that has no letup. No conserving of energy, blitz for 55 minutes with two very quick guys.
    In reality Tom Parsons with Barry Moran I’m leaning towards. Barry Moran has come on a lot. Never seen him as fit or involved in scores.

  27. Though the interview with a o,Shea interesting to say the least. Wonder should he be at midfield. Is Dublin game under lights does anyone know.

  28. dublin game is at 7pm under lights

  29. The options emerging as we come closer to the fray are lip smacking.It is a major element of interest in itself nearly apart from how the team gets on.But of course you are looking for your most successful get together which will gradually appear as the league goes on and the championship preparation takes place.At this stage we re hoping and wishing,suggesting and asking and waiting,conscious of all that can go wrong and right.Will fellas come forward ,backwards,surprise us or maybe even elevate us onto another level.? And you maybe sure all this will happen between now and Aug/Sept.

    By the way JP D. Moran only came to the surface last year. Was nt up to much till then and in fact slipped up in the final ….am I right? I’m thinking we ll be well served in the area this year. Surely our new leaders will be worth a few more points with their new strategies in defence and the freshly tweeked patterns they will introduce into the minds of our forwards.

  30. David Moran came up good in 2014 and in some earlier games last year and the league. He had two cruciates in his mid 20s halted his career. He is the only recent midfielder I’v seen have dominance in the air tied in with a good ground game.
    I agree the prospects and combinations are as interesting as the games. Many different types of players to choose from.

  31. JP,you are on a roll.Keep up the good work for you add great spice to every slice!
    Your last offering is the kinda thing I’m talking about and imagining but I’m afraid that’s as far as we ll get on that score.But sure,is nt that a great part of what it’s all about….the what ifs,the unexpected the surprises etc etc.Its not all about the end of the line but the journey …it’s the guts and the juice which makes it all so worth while .

  32. Opt2misteek says:

    Cait,I hope they turn on t’owl lights for the Dubs-otherwise it’ll be as bad as the night we played them in da fog!!

  33. Hope dubs don’t get lost on way down. Cant wait for it.

  34. HopeSpringsEternal says:

    Interesting article here in the Examiner:

    (Seamus O’Shea admits he baulks when he hears people blame referees for Mayo’s 2014 and ’15 All-Ireland semi-final replay defeats. O’Shea won’t apportion responsibility for Mayo’s demise on either referee. “I don’t take any notice of that and if ever I hear somebody blaming a referee for losing an All-Ireland final or losing something, it drives me insane,” he said. “You’ve plenty of opportunities to win a game. It’s up to yourself. I certainly wouldn’t be blaming anybody for our shortcomings over the last number of years.)

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/gaa/seamus-oshea-referees-not-to-blame-for-mayos-losses-378655.html

  35. On a different note – One thing that has kinda confused me and somewhat disappointed me since Rochford has taken over is, in the first few weeks he met the ‘panel’….what panel was that? Holmes and Connelly’s panel surely? Anyway maybe just a phraseology thing, but would have assumed that it would be a blank canvas once a new manager came in as regards a panel. Subsequently there has been talk of certain players coming back (older ones, players on holidays, injured, club commitments, fringe players with colleges, etc. – all who were on the ‘panel’ last year but many who have not really featured or made any impact on the team over the last few years). Point being I’m a bit surprised by this from a new manager (and a seemingly single minded one) that it appears he is running with Holmes and Connelly’s panel essentially. Would have thought an approach of ‘it’s a blank canvass, prove to me you should be on the squad’ would be any managers new approach. Obviously there are some that no panel in the country could do without, but there are 15-20 players from last year’s panel who really need to prove that they are in the best 15 or 34 that county has to offer – just feels like the panel is pretty much a fait accompli which is not what you would have expected with a new management set-up.

  36. KL, did you really expect Rochford to start from scratch and wipe everyone off the slate in a period where Mayo football was already dreadfully unsettled? Did Holmes and Connelly do that last year? Did Horan in 2010?

    Like all new managers, you start with what you’ve got, you work with the players who have already been deemed talented enough to play for their county and make decisions on their ability, based on the work *you* do with them, not what you think they are or not capable of based on hearsay or the odd club game. You don’t just write off what’s there already without seeing how they can work under a new system.

    You bring in some new guys, you let some others go, and you craft your own panel from a defined starting point. That might involve positional changes, (Aidan O’Shea being a prime example) or deploying players to play a different role than what they have already (eg sweepers) or it might involve doing a mass clear-out. But surely this year, above all years, some level of continuity and consistency was vital.

  37. Ann-Marie – Where did I say you start from scratch? Ok, it might have read that way, but that’s not what I meant. I just have an uneasy feeling about the group, that it appears all to be, for want of a better word, a bit too ‘comfortable’ in the camp among say the say core 25 or so players. I mean, yes we can all pick about 8-10 players that will certainly start for Mayo under any circumstances and have proven that day in day out, I just mean all the others – we have problems consistently in most lines of the team over the last 5 years, yet pretty much the same players have started or being first subs on these lines for that period, yet the project has ultimately failed. There are 15+ players that don’t start behind them, many of them there the last 4-5 years, yet despite the problems, have not threatened to take a starting place. Surely this is an issue? These guys are either going to make the difference or not – my original point is that many of these players appear to be by default ‘on the panel’ with the new regime referring to them as ‘coming back’ – surely a new management should have them desperate to prove themselves to them?

    Now your point re Mayo being already ‘unsettled’ and Rochford need to make sure he does not unsettle any more – well his job is tough enough without having to walk on eggshells as well.

  38. For the league, I would have set aside those 10 or so players that will feature this year in any event, and pick a league panel of the rest + say 10 who were not on the panel last year and run with them for the full league and pick the remainder of the championship panel from who shows best at the end of the league, we don’t need AOS, Keegan, Higgins, etc. now, what we need to see can Harrison, Conor O’Shea, Drake, freeman, Dillon, Regan, Conroy, Sweeney, Ronaldson, etc. plus 8-10 new players really add value to the squad for the championship this year – the only way is to give them 6-7 games consistently during the league to prove that. No point bringing a lad on a few games for 20 minutes. Our main failing over the last few years is since AOS minor team of 2008 (7 years ago) only DOC and COC have actually broken into the team. Surely there should have been another 4-5? I think we have held on to essentially the same squad for this period and have been afraid to give youth a chance. I bet if you researched Dublin, Kerry, Donegal or Tyrone, the numbers would be far greater.

  39. I would think for Championship there will be many changes in the 34 man panel. Experience wont keep someone on the panel as we have a ton of it now available.

  40. I think that process will unfold gradually over the spring, KL. I doubt very much that everyone from last year’s panel is guaranteed to be there still come championship time but I doubt either that we’ll see some kind of major clear-out (nor should we, in my opinion). Already over the course of the FBD campaign the likes of Matthew Flanagan, David Kenny, Padraig O’Hora, Shane Nally, Darren McHale, Keith Ruttledge, Conor Loftus, Caolan Crowe, Andrew Farrell and Brian Reape have featured, as have more experienced returnees Shane McHale and Jason Gibbons. That’s a healthy amount of experimentation and I think we’ll see more of this (partly by necessity but mainly by desire on the part of the new management) over the course of the League.

  41. Yeah – KL I do see your point, and I think you’re right regarding the progression or addition of new guys in the past. But this season so far (although it’s very early days obviously) I kinda think we are looking at a better accession rate with 4-5 players already in my mind staking strong claims for inclusion. And that’s before we get our club players and U21s back in the mix.

    But with regards to the entire panel getting back in there for the start of the season, I’m pretty sure most of them know that nothing is a given under a new manager and that they will have to fight for their place.

    I feel we do need the likes of AOS, Keegan, Higgins etc. – maybe not for every game, all the time, but if they do form the backbone of our team come cham,pionship time, then our newer guys need to be working not in isolation, butalongside them, if they are going to gel as a unit.

    It’s a tough balancing act I think between making sure the ‘regulars’ stay match fit and can work with the newer guys and making sure the newer guys get more game time. If I had one complaint during the Horan era it was that we never seemed to give enough of game time to our less experienced guys. So it’ll be intriguing to see the teamsheet for Sunday’s game. Anyone know when it’s going to be announced?

  42. Think that announcement will be on Friday Anne-Marie.

    By the way, does anyone know where the Dublin brigade do their training and where MacEntee takes them for session. Wouldn’t mind taking a look some night.

  43. I dont see where there are 4-5 new players. I see Patrick Durcan but he was already around the panel. Conor O’Shea has not shown enough to force his way into the potential playing 20-22 players. Ronaldson was good but jury is out until we see him being marked by a championship type defender. O’Hora for Ballina showed well but seems small. Regan is still just a club player. Most Mayo supporters dont even know what he looks like. Loftus looked ok being marked by students and other teams second choices. Harrison might get there. As for the rest it is up to them to prove me wrong. I hope they do. Read nothing into the FBD. The season starts on Sunday!

  44. Sinabhuil – Kinda my point…..unless we see these guys + more slog it out for 6-7 tough league games, well forget about them having any impact come summer. Question really is how is someone really to break into the Mayo team given the spartan real opportunities they have been given over the years. we seem to revert to the old squad players rather than really give young blood the opportunity. Conor O’Shea, Regan are cases in point…they must be 23 at this stage and on the panel for 4 years…..stick them in for at lease 4-5 games in the league…they either sink or swim, but dont judge them on 20 min here, 20 min there, that way you dont know if they if they will ever make the difference or are taking up a squad place

  45. Unavailability for injury/University/Club reasons has inteterrupted a lot of the game time for newer players. Regan and Conor OShea for example.
    The sheer size of potential panel at moment I’m confident a fresh looking panel come championship will emerge.

  46. KL I see that your comments are similar to my own. I would caution though in throwing all the new (young) lads in at the one time. There would have to be some balance and also there would have to be a strong bench. This is what AnnMarie is saying also. Cant wait till Sunday. Road trip with the Sawdoctors on the CD. The league is the best. Slightly snobbish here but you do tend to meet a more educated supporter at league matches. Having said that I was at the FBD final in Tuam and on numerous occasions I felt like turning around and telling fellas to shut up with their ‘let it in, let it in’ Any time it was let in the opposition won the ball.

  47. I see where Bernard Flynn is tipping the Rossies to stay up and Mayo to go down – most likely with either Down or Monaghan.

    Just thought you all might like to know that.

  48. Bearard flynn an ole royal pain in the arse,always has a go at mayo, his granda prob. effected by land commision decisions all those years ago………..loool. , hope he tipped meath to come up and as he always gets it wrong they,ll prob. go down and down may they stay………..lol
    As for mayo, we need new blood this year in this team or it will be same as last year an year before , we will come up short again…….

  49. I lived in states for many years and went to american football games and for the life me i cannot see what AOS out with nfl is gonna bring to mayo team or set up for that matter….Again the croker dinos have given the 2 fingers to mayo gaa, with junior and intermed. finals on same afternoon as dublin game in castlebar, , now you can say this was planned months ago , but surely they shoud have a plan in place , which effect a county with not alone 1 but 2 clubs in all ire. final…as for our county board , not a murmur, but then again , dont rock the boat , when they bailed out mchale pk…..o lord, god help us…….

  50. Nothing wrong with AOS trying his hand at something different, good luck to him.
    It seems ironic however that all analysis/commentary/opinions on our national media seems to come from the Mayo guys and not a single senior AI medal amongst them.

  51. Well Liam Hayes has two medals – awful.
    Bernard Flynn has two medals – awful
    Pat Spillane has eight medals – awful
    Colm ORourke has two medals – stuck in 1995. The team with the best footballers wins…. Not specifically true for a long number of years and I heard him say this again on Newstalk last week.
    Anthony Tohill – nothing to add
    There are only a few good analysts. McGuinness. Canavan, Kernan, Billie Joe, Horan, Mcstay.
    However David Brady and Martin Carney aren’t up to the standard of the aforementioned Mayo lads.

  52. Brady is funny and has good knowledge, Martin Carney should give up

  53. Bernard flying can make my blood boil like no other..not even brolly..having said that it will be a challenging league for us this year..really looking forward to Sunday. .would be a great start to pick up a win but would gladly take a draw..

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