Four-goal salvo sees U21s through

Mayo flag Mt Gable

In what sounds like was anything but a fully varnished performance, Mike Solan’s U21 team succeeded in doing what a Mayo U21 team has failed to do for the last seven years: qualify for a Connacht final. A four-goal burst, two in each half, proved good enough to account for Leitrim in this evening’s Connacht semi-final at Carrick-on-Shannon, where the visitors ran out 4-12 to 0-15 winners at the finish.

They now go on to play Roscommon in the decider on April 2nd at Hyde Park. The Rossies beat Sligo convincingly in today’s other semi-final tie and they’ll be chasing a Connacht three-in-a-row when they face our lads in the decider early next month.

Match reports on today’s U21 win, courtesy of The 42 and the Mayo Advertiser.

In today’s other match at Carrick, by the way, the minors played out an 0-11 each draw against Leitrim.

117 thoughts on “Four-goal salvo sees U21s through

  1. I was at the game today. Started off slowly for our lads but the result was never in doubt. If Stephen Rochford was at this game it would have got him thinking. Duffy and Reape were supurb in the full forward line. It was a joy to watch Mayo with such good forwards. Hoping these two get a shot at the senior panel

  2. Roscommon impressed some friends of mine that saw the Galway Roscommon game last week. They have put a lot of work and expence into this years crop. I have not seen them play myself but they will have Ultan Harney and Diarmuid Murtagh available for the final. If you remember 3 years ago they screwed up against Tyrone in the AI Semi Final when the game was handed to them on a plate. Mayo will have it all to do the next day.

  3. What format do the Rossies play at this level ? Is it a mirror of the Senior effort they have been distracting for the past few years which is to defend en masse on the 40 metre line and counter attack at speed when they get the breakdown. Or something else?

  4. Cait, no more than ourselves they have won dang all outside Connaught titles. I would forfeit the next 100 Connaught titles for 1 all Ireland title if possible. there is some real class in the forward division of this u21 team but they will perish on the lack of quality defenders,15 points by Leitrim equates to 25 by Roscommon or the likes and that’s how this will wind up. Does anyone have an idea of the height of Fionan Duffy and Brian reape ? Just curious. Duffy caught my eye against Armagh in Croker in 2013? A very sturdy looking fella that can takes belt and give it back twice as hard if he needed to.

  5. I believe Reape is a small nippy kinda guy, bit like evan Regan but I may be wrong, someone correct me if so!

  6. Not much of an opposition today the rosssies will come as a shock to the lads. But should they prepare well they can easily beat them

  7. A case of goals won that game however it should be noted Leitrim were stuck on 0-7 for a long time and only for a late rally when the game was over/won they wouldn’t have got 0-15.

    I don’t think this Roscommon U-21 team is as good as their last two U-21 teams. Mayo also beat Roscommon at minor level 2013 and 2014. TBH its a final i would expect Mayo to win but expect a tough competitive game.

  8. Nice historical note in yesterday’s match day programme. Mayo had to wait until their fourth U-21 Final appearance before we captured our first provincial title at this grade. We were beaten by Galway in 1964 and 1965 before failing to Roscommon in 1966. We captured our first title in 1967, defeating Roscommon 3-11 to 2-8. This Mayo Team then went on to capture All Ireland glory defeating Kerry after a replay 4-9 to 1-7. This replay was played in Ballinasloe and is remembered for the four goals scored by Willie Mcgee. Another interesting point to the game was the fact that Mayo had to line out without three of their panel, JJ Cribben, PJ Golden and Mickie Lally, who had returned to clerical seminaries. Will history repeat itself? Will we see more Four-goal salvos this year? The Mayo Team that captured the title in 67 was:
    Eugene Rooney
    Joe Early
    Christy Loftus
    Noel Mcdonald
    Jimmy Ryan
    Tom Cafferkey
    Martin Flatley
    Willie Loftus (C)
    Tom Keane
    Seamus O’Dowd
    John Gibbons
    Willie Mcgee
    Tom Fitzgerald
    Jim Smyth
    Des Griffiths
    Sub; John Clarke

  9. I’m not convinced by this business of plying a sweeper unless there is a particular player who needs extra attention. This was not the case in today’s U21 match and I believe using Michael Plunkett as a sweeper only absolved the regular defenders from their marking duties. Certainly it appeared as if they considered themselves absolved as they gave oceans of room to Leitrim forwards early on. This attitude also leads to a lack of concentration as players try to think several moves ahead. It’s not chess we’re playing.
    The half back line today did not convince me. I reckon Stephen Coen should start at centre half and Matthew Ruane at midfield with the other defenders to fight it out for places. Sharoize Akram is also, on what I have seen today and in four NW Cup games, worthy of a starting place in defence, although he could also be used in attack.

  10. Rod underage is unreal and im a mayo man / they have superb talent and we will see this in the next 2 weeks at senior and 21 because I’m right on border involved with ros club for last few years. hope I’m wrong but I fear we are in for 2 or 3 bleak years

  11. Agree with you Andy, for me Stephen Coen is not a midfielder and Michael Hall is too small for centre back. Agree also that Sharoize Akram should be wing back. Giving what I thought would be a defence of:
    Kenny Cunniffe Harrison or Doran
    Hall Coen Akram.
    That has more of a solid look to it and players playing where they are comfortable.
    @Dave. That Armagh match was 2014 but yes Fionan Duffy played well that day and so did Brian Reape. Duffy was on the 2013 team in early rounds at 5 but then moved to the bench. I was at the 2013 final, seen Duffy warming up and said “That lad will play senior”. Just so well put together and looks like born that way, all power in the legs and a solid frame.
    Brian Reape is certainly 6′ or aporoaching 6’1″. Will end up Cillian type size roughly, has quick feet, good hands and good speed. He is better at goal scoring than points. For points a kicking coach should be trying to get him smoother and bringing the ball right to left. He tends to kick a bit like Jason Doherty. Flight of the ball is straight and the action isnt quite like Padraig Joyce textbook technique ie not smooth and balanced. For goals not sure anyone can reach anything bar Colm Cooper 🙂
    Fionan Duffy is 5’9″ I would estimate but has tremendous size and power at that height. All his weight is in his legs making him very fast over ten yards and very strong in contact. He scores a lot of points coming in off the left corner. He is hard to defend one on one. I see him as being out Kevin McManamon type threat in the future.
    I believe after the U21 championship these lads should push for places in the 26. Physically they are ahead of several panellists just based on size, speed and power.
    On the football side from club football these lads were outperforming.
    Our forward line is crying out for pace and power. I think Mike Solan was wise though to hold these lads back from Senior. Maybe as they were in Freshers football it was a medical team call.
    If Irwin can get back this is the best forward line in the U21 championship.

  12. A repeat of our defensive performance will lead to certain defeat in the final. Roscommon will be a huge step up in class from Leitrim.

    Ultan Harney and Murtagh are still shaking off the rust of injuries.

  13. Yep our defence were non-existent at times and our midfield was never fully in charge – we need to improve quite a bit in these areas.

    We still have room for improvement in attack too. The free taking was poor and 12 points against Leitrim is not a good return, yes we scored 4 goals but our first was a mess in defence, the 2nd was a penalty, the third resulted from their keeper scuffing a kick out straight to our lad. Our last was very good. Loftus should have had another but raised his head when kicking a blazed high and over the bar.

    Should be a cracking Connacht Final but it’s one we need to win.

  14. The way certain posters make their points here, a more cynical person would nearly believe that they are trying to erode confidence, they may allude to being Mayo supporters but I’ve a feeling their eye would be on their neighbours sheep.
    Fear of the unknown has now resulted in the Rossies taking on near mythical brilliance, on a par with the great Kerry teams, while we have gone from being a top 3 team for the last 5 years to a team that will struggle against London.
    Roscommon have beaten us once in the last 30 years at home, in a FBD game, just remember that.
    Roll on Easter Sunday and a Mayo rising.

  15. I agree with you Liam. Ross are super fit & had an advantage over most teams early in the league. Where was all their talent in the heat of battle last year against Sligo.
    We must be patient with Rochford–it is a very big step up from club to county management especially for some one that did play at IC level.

  16. I agree too. Funny feeling Mayo could win both games I wonder who be fav s for the next 2 weekends interesting times ahead.

  17. There’s no ‘fear of the unknown’. Unless one has had their head in the sand(like many at county board level) and not been following underage football for the past 5 or 6 years and noticed how we’ve done absolutely nada at u21. We will contest our first provincial final since 2009 in two weeks times.

    During this time while we’ve had a very good senior time(built upon u21 teams of 04 and 06), we’ve brought very little through onto it in recent years causing it to average age to increase and for it to go a bit stale.

    Meanwhile the sheepstealers have gone from Div3 to Div1 at senior, beaten us out the gate in Castlebar twice at u21, contested two All Ireland u21 finals and sure throw in an All Irl club title in 2013.

    And Galway, who no one is talking about and who could give us a right surprise in Castlebar if we aren’t careful, have won two All Ireland u21 titles in this period, are on the cusp of promotion to Div1, have really got their underage structures in place (I know cos I play my club football here)..and they got an all Irl club title too. If Mayo had won 2 All Ireland u21’s in the space of a few years we’d be all very excited….

    The facts are there. Our minors this year look very average and we all knew how we fared last year!

    Fortunately our oasis in the desert, the 2013 minors and to a lesser extent, the ’14 minors(now our current u21 crop) have talent. We’ll find out in two wks time in the Connacht Final how well that talent has been nurtured or if it’s been allowed to drift along.

    From this bunch, Hall, DOC,Coen and Loftus have made appearances for the senior team. We need another 3 or 4 to emerge onto the senior squad by next year, thankfully some of the forwards look promising but it’s too early to tell for certain.

    The reality is that most of our u21 06 brigade will be past it and/or retired in another year. Tom Cunniffe’s legs are gone, Caff is still going ok, Barrett, Higgins, Boyle, B Moran, SOS all going to be the wrong side of 30. They are super, all of them, but they can’t go on forever and they’ve serious mileage clocked up. If Higgins and Boyle can stay fit they could do another two years or so. Hopefully.

    Fortunately, we still have plenty of experienced lads who are top quality and still in mid twenties, AOS, Keegan, Doc, McLoughlin, Keane, Cillian. And Parsons is fresh given that he didn’t feature for a few years and Nally could make an impact.

    A team combing a few of the older lads, most of the mid 20’s group and some of the young lads coming through gives us hope, certainly( we could form an excellent team), but we need to wake up and realise that something ain’t right with the underage set up in recent years when we are lagging far behind our neighbours and the minors from 2015 and now 2016(unless there’s a dramatic change in fortunes) doesn’t bode well.

    Them’s the facts! As they say.

  18. Cait

    I just checking the betting and Mayo are favourites for the senior match next week.

    The U21 match has us both at 5/6 to win but when u check to win the actual U21 All Ireland then Mayo are second favourites behind Kerry so the bookies think we have a chance here.

    I think the winners play Leinster winners in the semi final where Dublin and Kildare are evenly matched in the betting. This would be the Kildare team that won Lenister minor 3 years ago but the Rossies turned them over in AL q/final. I think I have the years right. Interesting 2 weeks ahead. I think we will win the league game because they dont need to win it and we have to. The U21 final could be a different story. We wont get 4 goals against them so it will be a matter of points. We kicked 12 yesterday and they kicked 18. It should be close

  19. Mayo 2016??

    1.Any of our keepers!
    2. Harrison/Hall
    3. Caff/Keane/Cunniffe(a few years off)
    4. Higgins
    5. Keegan/Durkan
    6. Coen/Boyle/Keegan/Durkan
    7. McLoughlin
    8. Parsons
    9. AOS/An Other
    10. Loftus/Doherty
    11. AOS
    12. D OConnor
    13. The Grim Reaper/Cillian
    14. Irwin(time will tell!)AOS/Cillian
    15. F Duffy/Regan

    With plenty of others unmentioned.

    We still have a very good team…we just want more done at underage and the conveyor belt to get back in action.

  20. Good game of football, leitrim were no mugs, had some good footballers and scored some fine scores. Mayo ff line were brilliant, Duffy and Reape (3-04 from play between them) were powerhouses and clinical. Matthew Ruane played well when he came on, Connor Loftus and duirmuid played well, as too did cunniffe at full back. The team will change in 2 weeks, irwin will either start or come in as a sub, Coen will go 6 and hall to 5, Matthew Ruane will have to start on that performance. Was a tough day for some of our lads but the game will bring them on! I’d be optistimic Saturday week, and it was refreshing to see a good solid game of football played in great spirit

  21. Good to hear some optimism in the comments . It’s going to be an exciting couple of weeks with the two games coming .

    Is county football gettin more popular by the year or is it just my imagination because maybe I’m so consumed by it all. 13 k in mchale pk the last day v Kerry , in the prog the aul fella pointed out to me there was 5k in attendance in 09 I think it was. Could be up to 15k in Hyde park next Sunday I reckon . Be a great day to beat them

  22. Do posters believe reape and Duffy could make our senior squad this year and are they good enough ?

  23. Reape & Duffy are good prospects but wont be pushing for senior places this year. They should be brought into senior training sessions and put on the training programmes for next year. Big ask to expect that kind of step up in a few months

  24. They weren’t calling reape the fox in the box for nothing..we are in dire need of forwards and he has experience of winning both in minor and with dcu…would take a shot on him this year..

  25. Its great to see a few lads up front who love the act of scoring, keep it up lads. In saying that we scored twelve points compared to Leitrim’s fifteen so that’s a area we need to improve on. At one stage we were 4-10 to 0-7 up. Not to concede a goal is good to see as well. It should be remembered that Leitrim have pulled off some shocks in the last number of years in underage football, like beating Galway, so it was great that there was no shock yesterday.

    In relation to the final, Roscommon have already played two games so starting well against them will be crucial, we can’t let them build up a big lead like the last couple of years. It’s all to play for. It should be a great game. It’s a game that we are well capable of winning.

  26. Brian Reape was on the bench for the Roscommon FBD game. He has been in for trainings with the seniors.
    He has a habit of bundling home goals amid chaos, he’s aggressive about taking goal chances. Similar Duffy. We dont have that at Senior bar Cillian. For me their goal scoring ability and decent size makes them options for the 26 in the summer. Why wait? With that logic Diarmuid would be further behind in development.

  27. DOC had championship debut two years ago, along with Conor O’Shea. Im sure everyone knows how that played out. Be careful about bringing players in too soon and building them up, putting pressure on them. Massive step up to senior Championship standard.

  28. @jp..spot on with reape..he is aggressive with goal chances and that was evident back in 2013..I think he could be just gone 20 .

  29. Mayonaze – agree with you on the concerns at U21 level over the past number of years. We need to come good again at this level and quickly if we want to have any hope of AI success at senior level in the near future before the spine of the team retire in the next 2 years. Lets hope that last years minor crop was just a blip (although things not looking that great year to date either). We shouldn’t forget that we have had decent success at minor level – between 2008 and 2013 we’ve reached 5x all Ireland semi-finals, 3x finals including the famous ’13 win…so the conveyor belt of talent hasn’t completely dried up…but transforming this into success at U21 grade is an imperative for the future of our senior squad.

  30. With the changes to the ages at these levels next year we maybe at a disadvantage regarding the new U20 level as this years minors will make up the bulk of that squad next year.

  31. Diarmuid and Conor OShea making their debuts two years ago was a positive was it not? Conor OShea injury was the main problem. Diarmuid looks to have two good seasons afterwards.
    Reape and Duffy are from the 2014 minor team so in football terms they are effectively twenty.
    I really do find it unlikely they wouldnt be in our top 10 forwards by Jury/August. Our forward line has been sputtering along inconsistently.
    Out of interest who was fouled for the penalty? (predict it was one of the terrible twins).

  32. Duffy. He received a lovely diagonal ball from Ruane. He really is the kind of player that you get a tingle when you see the ball going towards him. If your a opposing supporter you get that tightening of the sphincter muscle when you see him on the ball.

  33. I think the first year DoC & o shea played in the championship they were just not strong enough. Completely different men last year.

  34. Mayo supporters are not going to say.. sure Roscommon have been fierce lucky in the league so far, they got a handy draw, they’ve been training for months, everyone underestimated them, Cork didn’t show up, Donegal reportedly went on the beer and were flat and as for Down putting it up to them.. ahh here.
    There all bullshit excuses.. facts are facts.. we have been piss poor so far in the League this year.. that’s not negative talk.. its fact. Ros have been excellent and fair play to them. Mayo teams do their talking on the field.. no excuses.. and lf we win next day out enough will be said.. if not, there will be other days.

  35. So then it was 3-4 from play from the two lads plus the penalty being won in a game where we scored 4-12.
    Great to hear that Mathew Ruane played well when he came on.
    It was a pretty heavy scoring blast then in the middle 40 minutes of the game when most the 4-12 was scored. Seems they were better setup after 20 mins.

  36. jr The year with the senior team benefited DOC no end so a year training with the seniors for Reape and Duffy would be the way to go. I dont think they will be pushing for panel places yet. C Loftus is obviously ahead of them and he looks like he could do with a few months S and C to bring him up to standard.

    It would be interesting to see what conditioning programmes the players who leaves minor are on as it seems that they take a fair while to develop. Surely the senior S and C coach has a great input.

  37. So after one U21 game against Leitrim They are good enough to step into the senior squad. These days its if your strong enough your good enough. These guys need the time and space to develop. They dont need people building up expectations around them when they havent kicked a ball at senior level yet.

  38. There was a Mayo Gaa academy set up in 2013 under the direction of Billy McNicholas. The academy was for players aged 19-23 to prepare them for senior football. Did this academy ever get off the ground and if not why not.

  39. If you think back to 2014, Paul Murphy from Kerry came from nowhere to be the man of the match in the All-Ireland final and ended up with an All-Ireland medal in his back pocket and an All-Star. In 2015 Brian Fenton did exactly the same thing for Dublin. Neither of these players would be what you would call big, strong men so it shows what can happen. With Conor Loftus getting some game time in the league, he is probably the player best placed at the moment to push for a starting place come summer. Who knows who else will come into the reckoning in the coming months. What we do know is that what we have done since 1951 has not worked for us so we will need something different this year. At this moment in time I wouldn’t be writing any player in or out for the season ahead.

  40. Reape and Duffy are good forwards. Whether they are good enough yet for senior IC football will be obvious depending on how they get on against opposing defences throughout the u21 championship. (Hopefully it will be a long run.)
    Personally I can’t see either of them making the match day 26 come championship this year. Next year is a different story when they could get senior game time in the early season.

  41. This u21 championship will tell a lot for many of the current crop. If they are seriously going to make an impact at senior then they need to be impressing at u21.

    Plenty of competition on that panel which hopefully will benefit us. Again, the area we need serious improvement is in defence. And we need to convert our frees, fail to do both and the championship run will end in the Hyde.

  42. A kicking coach to instruct our coaches in how to teach and monitor good technique would be money well invested. Would help improve our free taking record.

  43. Kerry in truth have not been exactly inspiring fear in opposing teams at the commencement of respective underage competitions for many a long year. Very often the underage boats begin to rise when a great team dominates or are a real force at the senior competitions for a few years and this is currently bearing fruit.

    I would think that the two lads named above Reape and Duffy should definitely be retained on the senior setup. Mayo have good backs and a few more on the bench that can make it hard for most forwards so that is definitely not yer problem. Eamon Fitz has a simple policy, if they cut it at championship A v B games then they will cut it after the Artane Byand leave the field on the big days. In Kerry as the championship heats up these games are played at frenetic pace and unforgiving attitude.

    Roscommon are flying and I didn’t expect them to skin donegal, they have a few forwards that shoot on instinct and their campaign thus far has them dripping with confidence,, dangerous is all that I will say. I see that next Sunday the Mayo Roscommon game is live and the Kerry Monaghan game is being shown on deferred footage. That is great for me as I won’t have to travel to Monaghan and I can enjoy a feast of football with a real championship edge, just can’t wait.

    My hope is that Mayo win this one and we beat Monaghan, with the snarling clash of monagaan and donegal I think ye should stay up in the head to head rule, I may be wrong in my assumption ??. Ros seem to be very defensive so it may be a consideration to play AOS at 11, this would have him playing at the edge of their defensive structure and if nothing else he will bull holes in their backline and draw frees, of course he could also be dispatched at ff but in tight spaces he will need serious runners with responsive skillsets and I am not sure they are there or that the kind of space that are can express themselves will be available without the threat Cillian to create the necessary panic or space if ye catch my drift.

    There is one critical decision that will have to be made at the tactic table, where to play O Shea, in 2013 I was hoarse coming out of Croker and I wasn’t hoarse from shouting for Kerry. He gave one of the greatest midfiled displays that I have ever seen from any player in any jersey, it was simply inspirational, I met up with a usual collection and all we were talking about was his game that day. Now I know it’s not a championship game In July or August but Mayo definitely need something to light the fuse, if I hadn’t the legs to get to the summit I would gladly hand him the flame to insure that the torch is lit, he is a bull of a man. His strength is strangely his weakness, he barges against panicking backs and all too often gilted opportunities vanish from the cusp of his control as a result, refs are less forgiving when a player goes straight at defending players while other options are available.

    It’s just an opinion, good luck

  44. Ros seniors seem to be very defensive? Don’t think so a very defensive side wouldn’t have conceded as much as they have in their 5 group games. From what i seen of them they produce a positive brand of football where they play on the front foot and look to out score the opposition.

  45. Very informative article in the Western by Anthony Hennigan, where he says that 8 Mitchells players have been called into the Mayo panel – Cunniffe, Durcan, Moran, Douglas, Kirby, Reilly, McDonagh and Newcombe. Higgins and Keane have resumed training but unsure if available for weekend. But Conroy, Dillon and Freeman are available, along with Conor Loftus and Caolan Crowe. Throw in put back to 3.30 on Sunday.

  46. Gamechanger10, Ros are far from defensive they are the top scorers in the division and along with wexford the top out of all four divisions. This game is coming at just the right time for Mayo with all the doubts surround them so far in the league what better game to get there season back on track than putting Roscommon back in there place. Mayo wont need motivation at all going out on field sunday. I would expect Roscommon to rest a few lads and give a few more lads a run out and not show there full hand. Will Mayo rest DOC for u21 or play him in must win game sunday? Also from Roscommon perspective I cant wait for u21 final our lads owe ye one from 2013 minor and glad see Mayo back in u21 final should be a cracker

  47. Gamechanger I like your input on AOS. His strength is his weakness, is hitting the nail on the head. While he barges other opportunities go a begging except maybe on a one to one basis. Mayo supporters are all talk really myself included. We base all out hopes at u21 on the basis of what this crop done 3 years ago. We conveniently forget how many have been well coached and trained by our systems or lack of, over the last 3 years. A few have played senior football with their clubs. Too few have had stand out performances with their clubs in the last 3 years. It is always a good barometer to see how how the young county men compete with their neighbors within their clubs. Some young talent in the clubs never get a look in at senior and it cracks me up sometimes. The last day while we got a good score up against Leitrim, good defenders were in short supply. We played loose, indiscipline, with pace???

  48. Gamechanger, also agree with your points on AOS, his strength is his weakness, opportunities missed. Also defences know all they need to do is crowd him out when he is in possession and more often than not a free for charging will result. As fans we shout that he is being fouled and yes sometimes thats true but being honest alot of the frees are for charging which under the rules is justified. Its a fine line, one which AOS will have to learn if he is to continue in the position.

  49. Hi WJ, am I right in thinking the Roscommon was originally fixed for an earlier time?

  50. It must be because of the Easter Parade in Roscommom Town, The parade will be starting at 1pm.Parking will be limited on the approach roads to the Hyde

  51. The attendance figure might not be as high as expected with the game being shown live on TG4.

    I think Mayo`s year will spring into life on Sunday, and I can actually see us winning by 4-5 points

  52. Agree with observer, and with the return of the Castlebar lads there will be an added presence to the whole thing. Hopefully they take that final loss and bury it where it lays, they have a chance of an even bigger prize if the can reset themselves and focus on Mayos chance. Will we see Kirby or Douglas up front on Sunday at some stage or Keegan moved to half forward with pat Durcan taking his spot? My money is on aos being played at chf and left there for the greater part of the game. I’d leave coc out for this last two games and let him recover fully, it would be a great chance for the othe forwards to show what they can do when it’s really needed, as it will be on Sunday. Roscommon are developing into a good side but until they do it in Croker in summer they will not know where they stand.

  53. If we want to stay up then we simply have to win this game.. and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. I expect there will be great bite to it.. the OK Coral at high noon type stuff or 3.30 as it is now. Can’t wait

  54. I hope Killian and Keith are rested for the bigger days ahead.
    If we lose on Sunday, while disappointing, will not be the end of the world.
    But carrying avoidable injuries into summer would be bad.
    More than likely we will have some anyway,but to risk these two boys would be reckless.

  55. With all those Castlebar lads coming into the senior panel it’s hard to see a space for those 2 U21 forwards. I like the Kerry approach, see how they fare in A vs B games but hard to see them getting much change vs the likes of Caff, Higgins and Turbo or Barrett. I think Conors Loftus and OS look tough enough to compete.
    Also seeing how well Diarmaid improved so much last summer we can expect at least 1 of Regan, Loftus and COS to make a leap forwards with summer training. It’s a great stage to progress. Not sure of Douglas at this level but hope he proves me wrong. Kirby could emerge or not and Freeman could recover his 2013 mojo.. looked good in substitute appearances last year.

  56. As for senior game, I think playing P Durkan will make a difference but I think Ros’s tactic of shootout at the ok coral is both entertaining and fruitful. Their accuracy was seriously impressive vs Donegal so hope our backs are in their face. If Ros put out a strong team I would make them favourites. But I also think Barry Moran well ahead of SOS and Gibbons at this stage of year and would make a big difference if started.
    One encouraging thing for us is despite early training start they were fading after 45 or 50 vs Donegal but sending off meant they could keep the lead from shrinking any more. So if we’re within 2 or 3 of them near the end we could especially with some clever substitutions win it.

  57. I think it may be a bit soon for the Castlebar lads, after their Patrick’s Day drubbing, to be fully up to the job on Sunday. They would certainly have to be showing up very well in training for Rochford to take a chance on playing them. Maybe his best option would be to include a few of them in the subs. I cannot see Cillian O’C, not having been listed in the subs to date, being included on Sunday. In fact I did hear that he is only starting training at present. Whether he decides to include Diarmuid O’C, with the U21 final coming up, or not will also be interesting. I would like to see Alan Freeman included and perhaps Cathal Carolan get another run. My team: Hennelly/Clarke; Harrison, Cafferkey, Barrett; Keegan, Boyle, Nally; Parsons & S O’Shea; McLoughlin,
    A O’Shea, Carolan; Freeman, C O’Shea, Doherty.. Subs: Clarke/Hennelly, Cunniffe, Vaughan, Patrick Durcan, Drake, Barry Moran, Andy Moran, Kirby, Regan.

  58. Reality is that beating lowly Leitrim won’t send shock waves resounding around the Gaa circles. No harm to Leitrim now. What it does give us is the platform to perform on bigger stages against the bigger teams.

    On a seperate note, Does anybody have any thoughts on Marcus Rachford the 18 year old kid who plays full forward for United. He carried the weight of expectation of a “Super Club” who are in dire straits on his 18 year shoulders and scored a the winning goal against their arch rivals Man City, away from home. I guess he unearthed himself.

    If any of our new crop are good enough they will let us know all by themselves, providing Rochford continues to give them the platform.

    If any

  59. Might take the defeat out of their systems if the castle bar lads started on sun give them a distraction.

  60. Anyone see the weather for the coming days, I think Ros gaa board need to pull a sheet of plastic over that bit of a field or we might be heading to Longford yet with all the rain promised.

  61. Are some posters having a laugh here on the return of the Castlebar contingent for Sunday. Don’t expect it because it will not happen. For their inept performance there is very little salvation. Rehab is best sorted out in the A v B games during the summer at best. Football pieces would best picked up by the start of 2017 if you were asking me about it.

  62. Kind of agree PJ. Hard to trust any of them at a much higher level where bar Patrick Durcan they failed to perform at all just 10 days ago, and some have a history of bad performances on big days. They will have to prove a lot for me to deserve a chance in a big Mayo game. That trust will have to be earned. The nagging questions raised by their capitulation won’t go away.

  63. Are we going to write off players due to a bad performance? If thats the case half the Mayo team should be sent home.

    Durcan and Moran will def be in the squad for next sunday and I would expect them to feature at some stage.

    Kirby and Douglas need to be looked at particularly as Douglas can step up to take frees and 45s.

    They are the only players who would be in contention for mayo squad anyway. We dont have a big enough player base to be excluding senior players.

  64. @ pj, some did fail to perform on the day but they all had performed very well in most games up to it so that’s worth remembering. If Mayo are to do the damage needed to beat Dublin and co this summer they will need the best players in the county on board and castlebar have some of them. The a vs b games at training will answer the question about their mental state and if it’s not right it will be very apparent

  65. Agreed Dave. If Mayo are to be contenders then any forward coming into the squad will need to be able to mix it with the likes of Philly McMahon and Jonny Cooper. Castlebar lads are the county champions so need to be in consideration for a place.

  66. I don’t think we write them off mayomad but there are certain players that failed to perform on Paddys Day, that have failed on big days for Mayo. It’s a mental failing and top class sport is cruel. No point in dressing things up. They are unlikely to be the guys that will stand up on the third Sunday in September sadly. A more ruthless streak is needed for us to succeed.

  67. I reckon players like David Clarke, Chris Barrett, David Drake, Alan Freeman, Michael Conroy, Mark Ronaldson or maybe even Alan Dillon late in the game would be the best players to give consideration to this week-end (if all of these players are fully fit). Players who have been there or there abouts the last few weeks who have not got much game time this season so far. I don’t think it would be good for the morale of these players if the Castlebar lads were brought straight back into the first team. Also if Conor O’Shea starts, i’d prefer to see him on the half-forward line as I don’t think it suits his type of game, playing too close to the opposition’s goal. He has been one of our few players who has kicked some long range points as well this season. He seemed to do better in the games where he was closer to the middle of the pitch than the full-forward line as he can pick up breaks around that area too. He is a good man running at the heart of a defence as well.

  68. Surely the main reason the Castlebar lads shouldn’t start this weekend is that they have been drowning their sorrows since Paddys day. Hardly the ideal preparation.

    But come championship. They will definitely be involved. They are amongst the best players in the county whether they played well or not in Croke Park. And if we are only selecting players in Mayo who haven’t had bad games in Croke Park we will have a very small pick!!!!

  69. Agreed Ger, a more ruthless streak is needed. As i have said before Mayo need to develop a nasty win at all costs side to their game to succeed.

    Out of the Castlebar team only Moran and Turbo tom have any Mayo experience. I think Harrison has stepped ahead of Tom with some fine performances this year. Moran will be part of the Championship squad, ( I was amazed to read in the match programme that he has only started 15 of 50 matches since his debut). The other two, Kirby and Douglas do need some game time before making a call on them. Possibly squad positions this week with match time v Down the following week.

  70. P.anel will be cut after the Down game. This will show if Rochford is ruthless or not.Some of the older players will have to go imo. Indeed a lot of fringe players will need to go as well. We have a lot of players that play the same role in the team & we cannot carry them all—if only for financial reasons. Better to release them to their clubs & if they shine & we need them they can return.
    The league has produced a few good players for us &has shown us the limitations of a few others mainly lack of physicality.
    Lastly let me express my appreciation for all who don the green & red. They all try hard but decision time beckons.

  71. Anyone watch Lochra Gael last night on Stevie McDonnell of Armagh…..waht a forward he was. Would get goals at key moments in a game and score multiple points.

    In my years watching Mayo we have never had a player like that, Padraig Joyce, Peter Canavan, Trevor Giles….a forward you know will go out and kick those vital scores game after game….that’s where All Ireland’s are won.

  72. Havent heard yet myself, just seen a post on twitter from Mayo News that 6 were released. Prob fringe players brought in for fbd etc. But as previous poster says, Rochford will have tough decisions to make in the future. Bringing in players like Loftus, Coens, Douglas, Nally will result in established players loosing out.

  73. Aos, coc , sos, diarmuid, Boyle and Keegan have all been dropped. Well, it’s nearly April 1st!!

  74. @ yew_tree, I’d agree with you there. Stevie McDonnell was always one of my favourite players to watch. He got the ball and just did his job and put the ball over or under the bar. No messing around and there was never any triumphalism shown by him as well after the act of scoring. I was always shouting for Armagh in those battles against Tyrone.

  75. Andrew Farrell, Padraic ohora, Darren McHale, Keith Rutledge, James Stratton and Matthew Flanagan have been released back to clubs

  76. HopeSpringsEternal – It was interesting to hear him say that winning point in the final he got where the long diagonal ball came in and he just looked up and split the posts, was practised on the training field again and again that year and came up trumps for Armagh in the defining moment.

    That Armagh team did seem to raise the bar of professionalism in the GAA.

  77. Yew_tree, yes stevie was a great player. We could do with a couple like him.

    Great teams do need great forwards to get vital scores. However great forwards need a great team around them playing with confidence. Brogan + Dublin, Kerry + Gooch, Stevie + Armagh, Murphy + Donegal.

    We have had some great forwards down the years, Ciaran Mc, Mort, Horan, Cillian. As of yet we have never managed to combine that with a great team to get over the line.

  78. The key thing for the top teams who have won All-Ireland titles is that they had a few lads up front who could make a difference. For Kerry, if The Gooch was held then Donaghy, Galvin, Declan O’Sullivan or Tommy Walsh would do the damage. Dublin also have a no. of shooter to take up the slack if Brogan is quiet. Look what Paddy Andrews did to us this year. In the 2013 final Eoghan O’Gara came on and scored two crucial points. None of our replacements did that. Armagh had Ronan Clarke and Oisin McConville along with Stevie McDonnell. We seen for us last year when Aidan O’Shea was held we were rendered toothless up front. Cillian probably wasn’t fully fit last year either so we’ll need a few potent lads up front this year if we want to have a successful year. Forwards who can score with both feet are very important also.

  79. HSE
    I agree but we have been talking about this since 1951 and nothing has changed. And nothing will until we change how children are coached at underage level.

  80. Keith Ruttledge and Darren McHale were back with Knockmore after the Dublin game. I imagne the other 4 were back with theirs at the same time. It’s a pity we didn’t et to see many of thee new faces during the league. However, if they weren’t good enough, they weren’t good enough I suppose.

  81. I was a little surprised that 8 Mitchels players were added to the panel. The only conclusion I can come to is that this decision was made before the club final. It certainly wasn’t based on anyone’s performance that day except for Paddy Durkan.
    Far be it from me to add to the misery the Mitchels lads feel right now but I would have thought that only 2/3 were worth their place on the panel even allowing for the poor performance on St. Patrick’s Day. I could be wrong and I hope I am and I hope that they help lift Mayo to a new level of excellence but I doubt it.

  82. Castlebar hammered breaffy in the county final. Breaffy had five starters against monaghan. Castlebar players are match fit. Castlebar didn’t show up for AIF but the quality of some of their players has to be the factor here and they have a bit of quality. Go back over the posts here for the last two months and find so many references to various castlebar players. Are those posts all wrong just because of one admittedly awful team performance?

  83. Diehard Lydon and Durkan are fine players. The others need time and space. Club football competitions are about to set off. A great place to get the restart going. Time and space is the best way to overcome 2 AI defeats in 3 year

  84. @ Toto,

    I know what you mean alright. I really do think after what happened to Castlebar that the county board should get all of the coaches working in the county together with all of the management teams in charge of our county teams and map out where they want to go in terms of the styles of play that we want to pursue, coaching methods to be used, finding out why our forwards can’t score and our defenders can’t defend at crucial times in games etc.

    They should probably have the management teams from the top clubs in the county involved in this process as well. We must be doing something right getting to these finals but we must be doing a lot wrong as well when we keep losing or even getting hammered out the gate. Do we have the players but not have the correct methods employed in terms of winning the big games i.e. the players can only get you so far.

    You’d just get pure sick of these final defeats. The Castlebar match felt like the final straw for me. We have to at least try something different anyway….

  85. HSE
    I believe that it is a combination of a number of factors. Along with basic, simple coaching skills, our underage need to learn how to cope with pressure as this is what really defines a top performer. Because lets face it, the ability to perform in the big stage is what sets the winners apart. You may have all the skill in the world to kick the ball over the bar from any angle however if you do not have the composure and belief you will not have be able to perform. But I do not believe that we need to go too much into the psychology of sport, giving kids good feedback, recognising their talents will do wonders for their spirit and their confidence.

  86. Yeah Toto,

    I see where your coming from alright and I agree with that sentiment as well. I find its almost like when we lose a big game, we just say, ah we must get back up on that horse again as soon as possible but I’d like us to find out for once and for all, why the hell do we keep falling off this horse, examine in detail why this keeps happening and why we don’t just sail past that winning post sitting on the winning horse for a change. Examine in detail the teams who actually have won for us and try to incorporate as many traits as possible from these winning teams into our current teams.

  87. For the here and now, I’d start by immediately making Boyler captain. He has delivered and led the line more than any Mayo player of this generation and drove this team in absolute adversity time and time again. That cannot be overstated. That’s the very meaning of a leader and also a true team player. No individuals please. None.
    If he doesn’t deserve it I don’t know who does. I can’t imagine any player who would not go to battle alongside him.

  88. Toto,

    If you do not have the skill to kick the ball over the bar you cannot have the belief. No sports psychologist in the world will give you that belief if you know you do not have the skill.
    So developing the skill is the first essential. Club coaches who want to win for their club are the biggest obstacle to developing skills as they will always seek the risk free tactic rather than developing skill in the young player as a first priority. Which is why I believe the idea of an county based academy is so important. Academy coaches can prioritise skill development without the pressure of always trying to win something.

  89. We have managed 2 league points from 10 with players from all of the other Mayo clubs thus far and many seem to believe (from reading the above posts) that we are good enough to go forward with this by excluding players from the reigning Mayo and Connacht champions team.
    Yes, Mitchels did flop on St Patricks day but has our county team not flopped in the league so far ?
    We can’t let the defeat last week in Croke Pk mask or create an excuse for our defeat to Kerry a few days before or to Donegal and Dublin, the Cork hiding we got can be excused I suppose as we were trying to find our feet.
    I dont think we have the luxury of being able to omit anybody who hasn’t played for the county this season at this stage yet.
    As for the best position for AOS, then that has to be further out the field and our forwards aswell, we get too close to goal all the time and smother ourselves, a forward has way better chance of scoring running at goal and shooting than trying to turn and snapshooting, that’s why out half backs and midfield score easier………..keeping the forwards further out also pulls the opposition backs with them and creates 20 t0 30 yards space to work and a big area for the backs to cover………..it also takes away the big forward target man as he has become the target and focus of the opposition and has become counter productive.
    A forward running at goal has more accuracy and a better chance of scoring or sending the ball dead than one from a static position.
    Gamechanger above has pointed out over the past few months a few very valid points that we should take in and consider because if we stubbornly go forward the way we have being doing we will only come back to square one and more dissapointment. We need everything we can get and we need the best players and team to do it.
    MaighEo Abú

  90. Cillian will be made captain, only reason it hasnt been announced is that he hasnt neen available yet.

  91. Liberal Role of the Tie. I would have to agree with you. Based on what I have seen so far this season, Boyler should be captain. His attitude in a game is the one we need to foster. In several league games so far this year, he has given it his all and could scarcely walk off the field at the end of the game

  92. Boyle would be a good Captain–right age.
    I would be wary of giving the captains role to any of the leaders of the heave whoever they are.

  93. Lot of talk here about Castlebar lads.

    Have to say I’ve been very depressed by the game.

    No matter which way you slice it or dice it Mayo teams have a problem negotiating finals. Three alone this year. It’s when friendly (or no so friendly) outsiders ask the question: ‘what the hell is wrong with ye, why can’t ye win a final?’ that it hits home.

    How do you answer this question? I can’t.

    Given all the money we spend on preparing teams this is something that should be analysed in some depth. An All Ireland final of any grade is one in which all team members should leave every ounce of what they have on the pitch; each one performs to the max. If this happened with Mayo teams they would most likely have won. Even if they had lost, then there is no argument that the other team was better. Managers of course make an impact with switches and changes. But what changes could have made an iota of difference last Thursday?

    There is a step up in performing in a final and Mayo players have been lacking in this – big time. It doesn’t happen for you; you have to make it happen.

    We need to look seriously at others, at winners, at preparation. We have ‘outsiders’ in the camp, who have made and are making a huge input. We need to get their perspective on board, or get somebody in to do it.

    I’m just sick of the sight of the hands on hips, head down, hiding, timidity, and below par approaches that have characterised so many of our final appearances.

  94. Catcol, totally agree with that comment. Getting to finals and not being able to deal with the pressure and anxiety that comes with it is our major failing. We always seem to have good enough forwards, midfielders and backs to get to a final but then that’s where our problems start. It ain’t Croke Park its Finals that’s our issue!

  95. There’s an awful lot of frustration surfacing in the blog compartment over the last couple of days I notice.It is to be expected given the nature of these footballing times.Everyone is grasping and clutching at possible solutions to ameliorate the creeping feeling that things in the camp are not where they should be and that v soon we will possibly be taking on board more pain and suffering.
    I ve just spent a few days traipsing around Northern Ireland ending up in the Titanic Exhibition centre where we were consumed by this extraordinary display of innovation and massively inspired by the attention to detail that we witnessed.
    I’d just like to say that the trip has cleansed my system of all dross that had accumulated over the last while culminating in that Croke Park experience and I have to add that I feel that I’m more ready now to face whatever is to come than I would otherwise be. Some times it’s a great remedy to splash cold water on your face to rid the mind of yesterday’s grime!
    Now,I do really believe that the trip to Hyde will be made with a renewed confidence and vigour and whatever is the outcome will be respected as just and real.

  96. Roscommon have named their team for Sunday:

    Roscommon (FL v Mayo) – G Claffey; S McDermott, N Collins, N McInerney; C Daly, S Purcell, D Murray; E Smith, N Daly; F Cregg, C Murtagh, C Devaney; C Connolly, S Kilbride, C Cregg. Subs: D O’Malley, C Compton, R Daly, N Kilroy, J McDermott, C McHugh, J McManus, I Kilbride, D Murtagh, B Murtagh, R Stack.

  97. On a positive note, it’s exciting being able to look forward to championship level football in March. The closer it gets the more I think we’ll edge it.

  98. Roscommon (FL v Mayo) – G Claffey; S McDermott, N Collins, N McInerney; C Daly, S Purcell, D Murray; E Smith, N Daly; F Cregg, C Murtagh, C Devaney; C Connolly, S Kilbride, C Cregg. Subs: D O’Malley, C Compton, R Daly, N Kilroy, J McDermott, C McHugh, J McManus, I Kilbride, D Murtagh, B Murtagh, R Stack

    @Done deal

    Out of above 26, Claffey, McInerney, Purcell, F Cregg, C Devaney, Compton, Kilroy, McDermott, McHugh, McManus were not members of the panel last year so that is a lot. 10 new faces this year to last year or two’s panel. I would be very surprised if there wasn’t a few changes to this before sunday especially the subs bench

  99. I’m open to correction G Claffey,N McInerney,S Purcell,F Cregg,C Devaney,J McDermott,C McHugh,C Compton,N Kilroy,J McManus wasn’t on the Roscommon panel the last two years.

  100. Talking about our club’s tribulations in all Ireland finals, I note that Templenoe are this weekend playing in the Kerry Div 1 League. Where, I wonder, will Ardnaree fit into the Mayo scheme of things or what might prepare them for another assault on the All Ireland? Would other Mayo clubs, rivals of Ardnaree for the Co title, prefer to avoid anything which might give Ardnaree [and perhaps themselves someday] an advantage?
    Similarly a number of St Mary’s players, with the advantage of Kerry Senior Championship experience are on the verge of the Kerry senior team.
    We need to take a serious look at our structures and ask are they, as at present, giving us and our players the better opportunity to improve. A sort discussion took place on the issue of amalgamated teams taking part in the Senior championship recently on this site. But it was short and it seems that most contributors prefer berating Co Board, other clubs or players to making constructive suggestions.

  101. Whether it is right or wrong, Kerrys club structure is geared up to provide players for the inter county team. Hollymount ended up playing an intermediate team packed with senior county medals plus the current Kerry Captain. It was really Intermediate v senior.

    I agree that the Mayo system needs to develop more players for the senior team but our senior clubs are never going to agree to amalgamation, restructuring, reducing numbers or coordination of any kind with other clubs and they will def not agree to amalgamation of smaller clubs that may give them an advantage at senior level. Our Senior clubs are only interested in their own progress and really you cant blame them.

    As I see it the only way forward is to create regional youth development centres throughout the county ( one is not enough, Mayo is a big county to travel around). These centres need proper qualified coaches to teach the skills of the game and coaching to the same system.

  102. You’d wonder even if we did something as simple as creating four new divisional/amalgamated teams that could be included in our senior county championship, this would be a first step in this direction. Then rather than having 4 groups of 4 teams (16 senior teams) have 4 groups of 5 teams (16 senior teams plus the 4 divisional/amalgamated teams), this wouldn’t be a major change to make but could give some players a extra few games at a higher standard of football and could only be a good thing for the overall standard of football in the county.

  103. Andy D
    My point is that historically, Mayo teams who got to AI finals in general showed good (sometimes great) skill, determination, hunger and commitment. Think of some of the semi’s, great memorable games. As soon as they reach the finals they loose composure, fall apart. You can call it nerves, stage fright, lack of resilience, whatever. And i’m sure we can all agree it is fairly consistent. We have all been at the AI’s where that awful sinking feeling sets in. You just know it when you see it, as Catcol says, hands on hips, head down, ashen faced, no running for balls, kicking hail Mary’s. I know then the team have lost hope. It can happen at any time and it is like a form of helplessness. You can just see the hope draining from the players. Instead of taking on the task at hand, the fear of failing and loosing another final seems to overwhelm them. What I would give to see players really stepping up, showing great leadership, the fire in the belly displays, the never say die, the win at all costs, the killer point to clinch the game.
    Leadership and resiliance qualities are critical but it does not happen overnight. A number of things as you mention are essential, good basic coaching skills, equity within the team, building standards of excellence, leaving no stone unturned and above creating a spirit within the team. Learn from the winners, form a model for all under age levels that is consistent across the county; in its methods and content. I would welcome a structured County Academy, one where clubs could also leverage ideas and skills. But in reality can you see this happening? My take is that it will be down to each club individually to set their own standards.
    We have to loose the ‘Ah sure we are bound to win it this year’.mentality. We have to earn it, fight for it, sweat blood and tears for it. I believer Boyle and in time, Diarmuid O’Connor possess the qualities that are required to lead, particularly in the big games as this is where it really matters.

  104. How do Ye see game going tomorrow lads? If we get big games out of Murtagh and Harney can’t see us losing tbh

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