A few NFL stats

Before our 2016 League season slips from the collective memory, it’s worth having a quick backward look about who played in the seven games, who scored in which games and all that. A brief summary of all this is set out in the table below.

NFL 2016 table

I’ll save you the job counting the rows in the table – the total number of players who lined out for us in this year’s League, either in the starting fifteen or as sub, comes to 36. In terms of individual appearances, this ranges from ever-present to a single outing off the bench.

Four players – Colm Boyle, Brendan Harrison, Tom Parsons and Conor O’Shea – started in all seven matches. Two others – Aidan O’Shea and Jason Doherty – played some part in all the games, with Aidan coming off the bench against Cork and then starting in the other six matches, while Jason started in five and came on as a sub in the other two.

Several players featured in six of the seven games. Robbie Hennelly, Ger Cafferkey, Lee Keegan, Shane Nally, Diarmuid O’Connor and Evan Regan all made six starts, while Jason Gibbons made two starts and came on in four other games. Donal Vaughan started four and appeared from the bench in another two.

At the other end of the spectrum, Darren McHale, Shane McHale, Barry Moran and Padraig O’Hora made one appearance each off the bench.

As the table shows, there was a good spread of scorers for us over the course of the campaign. Nineteen of the 36 players got on the scoresheet, with Evan Regan our leading marksman with 1-24, 1-5 of which came from open play.

Diarmuid O’Connor (with 2-4, all from play apart from the penalty against Donegal) and Robbie Hennelly (0-10, all from frees and ’45s) came next on the list. Significantly, surely, is the fact that third on the scoring list came Cillian O’Connor with a return of 1-4 (all from placed balls) from just two appearances, one of which was off the bench.

102 thoughts on “A few NFL stats

  1. Incredible! Surely you can do something about the feckin weather W J while you’re at it!

  2. Jesus you’re some man WJ, you not only provide the information but do our homework as well.
    Nothing but admiration for you and presume, like the rest of us you have to eat too.
    Long may it continue.

  3. 36 players played in league.

    Padraig Ohara and Darren McHale? already gone off panel.
    Conroy, Ronaldson and Douglas didn’t feature. What other players didn’t feature in league apart from some Castlebar players who were only brought in in the last 3 weeks.

    Panel to be cut to 35 before championship.

  4. The info on this page, just keeps getting better & better…
    #LongMayItContinue
    Love the update coming through twitter, Know I am in for a good read.
    Thank you for your hard work.

  5. Fair play Willie Joe.. this site is a fantastic resource.
    It is good to see the spread of scores and especially the 10 scores from our goal keeper. It’s something that is essential to our make-up going forward that fouls further out the field and 45’s are consistently punished.. and consistency is the key which will only come with time and practice but he has taken a big step forward in this area this year in my mind. There’s one thing Robbie is not short of and thats distance.. instead of trying to grab a yard or two like most he seems to prefer to step back.. but so long as they keep going over the bar I ain’t fussed.

  6. You can dress it up all you want but what I take from this is that our top scorer from play scored 1-5 over 7 games. Other counties have forwards who did that in 1 game. To me it is glaring obvious where we need to improve to land the big one. With COC back then that would decrease Evan’s scoring from frees so what would we gain? Wud be interesting to see what the teams in the semi finals top scorers were from play?

  7. It’s the hot topic of the moment and is it an epidemic or endemic or what?
    It definitely has been with us for some time as is evidenced by by the detractors who say ….’ Great team but…’!!
    What can be done or can anything be done.? Is it the training or can training at this stage have any affect?
    In my time you always spent a lot ot time kicking in and out of goal…..forwards kicking in and backs catching and kicking out.Thats how you learned the two arts! The solo and other bits seemed to come naturally,more or less! Question is do they do this kind of basic thing anymore in training or is it all higher class stuff? I don’t know. But i am thinking in my simple mind that if I was involved I’d have them kickin the ball over the bar all evening till they could do it with their eyes closed. Probably this would result in the team not turning up any more and that justl wouldn’t suit!!!
    But, what is the answer….anyone know??

  8. Brilliant stats and info thanks again WJ Some worrying information though. Its not a great sign when our goalie ends up joint second on our scoring list and even E Regan whom I think we all admit had a good league weighed in with just 1 5 from play and even that goal was dubious. Thats not a criticism of him , just a reminder to all not to be expecting him to be our saviour in summer. Hes just starting his career and lets hope he becomes a top class forward so ease the pressure on him a bit. League was good to give newer players a chance. I see C O Shea played in all games for instance. I d expect a few of them pushing hard for places but by the time we play Galway in June I reckon there could be up to 12 of our tried and trusted warriors starting

  9. Not the most encouraging of stats to be honest but it’s good to see Evan regan scoring and also Alan freeman with 5 points from 2 games. Does anyone knows how this tallies with previous years? Also how much did we concede compared to previous years?

  10. Challenge games and London game are key to fine tuning a settled 15 players.
    Too many seasons we only arrive at our settled 15 in August.

  11. JP you have it there. Could we have a peep over the gate then to see what the others are at? Or is it too boring to practice how to score or too beneath us? If the free takers spend hours at it maybe there’s a lesson in that for the others??
    I’m sure something will happen in this regard under new mgmt. and am looking forward to seeing the emerging results!

  12. Cork and Dublin games were outliers for us offensively.
    Then you have the Down game where they fouled us a lot preventing about 1-3 from play.
    Donegal fouled us a lot.
    We’ll be in good shape when we settle. I think we’re a side which on the balance of players should aim for 1-15 type scores and have that defensive/midfield advantage that I think can choke the life out of teams. Get subs into yer 5-12 area of the pitch to maintain control of games. Billie Joe Padden is right when he says our players dont suit a shoot out.

  13. Last two games give deceptive look to stats.
    Posters are correct…we need to up our scoring rate from play with players we have.
    Wont be critical here of any player but Andy showed how it is done last Sunday when chips were down.Alan Dillon doing it for years…time now for others to step up as these lads not dominant anymore.
    Finally can we afford to do without Hennellys scores.Got more than forwards…some v difficult e.g v Monaghan.

  14. People looking to much into the pts from play v frees. With COC back and with two months of training with the forwards things will improve. If the player in position wasnt fouled for the frees he prob would have scored from play. Presonally I dont really care where the scores come from as long as the ball is going over the bar on a regular basis.

  15. I see what you’re saying but is nt it tying our hands an awful lot to be setting our ambition at such s level of score taking.
    JH revolutionised many aspects of our game which brought it to its present level of respectability.He brought in steel and belief and serious commitment and that’s all still there.Did he not have enough time to get it all quite together?
    Anyways let’s roll on to a higher scoring future and to where ever that leads!

  16. Inbetweener, yes JH did pretty much revolutionize this Mayo team. One aspect was the tackle. Horan made tackling an art form in 2013. Each player had it down to a tee resulting in little scorable frees conceeded and forcing turnovers which resulted in alot of scores particularly goals that year. Against Galway they did not know what hit them with our furious tackling. In the last season or so our tackling has become more sloppy, players leaving the hand in and conceding needless frees. I hope some serious work is done in this area as this was a big weapon for us when thisteam was at its peak.

  17. I’ll start by saying that I may wrong, but from what I remember seeing at the time McFadden and Murphy had scored incredibly little in the championship 2012, and yet they won the big prize. I will investigate the actual amounts and post it but it shows that there’s more ways than 1 to do things, if we don’t have a high scoring forward then we have to work it some other way.

  18. Mayomad what happens when Mayo come up against a disciplined defence that don’t give away many scoreable frees? I think it’s important to have scores from play and especially a forward that kick scores from distance under pressure in Connolly,Kilkenny,Brogan Dublin have that and is one of the key ingredients that has them ahead of the rest.

  19. Mayomagic, I see where you are coming from, it would be great to have a couple of half forwards who can knock the ball over the bar from 40m on the run, would make life easier. The fact is we do not have that type of player, we never did and are not going to find them between now and september so not much point dreaming of them. We need to work with the players we have, develop a system that maximises their strengths.

    I have said on previous threads that Mayo will win most games simply by ths shear amount of possession we win in the middle third, from this we will convert enough scores to win.

    Against the top 3 sides the only way Mayo are to win is be really tight at the back and stop conceeding soft goals. Soft goals have killed us in the past. If Mayo get involved in an open shoot out game with the top sides we will loose.

    This year we will continue to live off COC frees with other players chipping in some scores and Regan offering a different threat. IMO its in Defence that we need to make the most improvement in order to win AI.

    Maybe in the future we will have the free scoring forwards to play the expansive attacking game like Dublin but they are simply not there at the moment.

  20. Mayomad i agree we are simply giving away too many scores.My old fashioned idea of a good back is one that comes off the field after keeping his man scoreless from play. attacking from the back is fine if we have a system of cover for the attacking back.
    CHB must at all times command the centre.
    Dont blame our FB if we have no CHB covering the space in front of him.

  21. jr, I agree, in the past our half back line have been a little cavalier in going forward thus exposing the fb line to runners from deep. Rochford has been trying to remedy this, Boyle and Keegan are sitting back more thus offering more protection to fb line. Everyone is mentioning how Caff is back to his best. He was always good, our best fb but now he is getting good protection from the hb line.

  22. Yes I agree the defensive frailties is an issues especially when it comes to conceding soft goals in the All Ireland series. This years game v Kerry in MacHale park was a early warning before the championship and one this management should have noted.

  23. “Never had half forwards who could kick the ball over the bar from 40 yards”

    Ya must of missed yer man from crossmolina , can’t tell of his name but he used to score some beauties from out on the 40 for sure .

  24. Minors had a convincing win over Longford in the minor league. Midfielder Colm Murphy is an interesting case he is scoring well from midfield.

  25. And there is another little list that exists….Gooch,O Sullivan’s ,Donaghy,Walsh!! And also Murphy,Mc brearty Mc Hugh Mc Hugh and McHugh!!
    Could we hope for O Shea,OConnor,Regan and Freeman/ Mc L to form such as you suggest Mayomad /Magic?
    Murphy and Mc Fadden did nt have to score big cos that was then… Just one or two more than the opposition …until they all copped on to the new rave!!
    Rossies and Dongs for the final….!!???

  26. Inbetweener, all im saying is that we dont have the free scoring forwards that Kerry and Dublin have. We have good hard working players who will get enough scores to win most games. These players have been together for 6 years so I think its safe to say they are not going to turn into heavy scoring Kerry type forwards at this stage.

    Defence is where Mayo need to make improvements to win AI. We have good defenders, especially at hb. We need to be tight, organised and close down space. Doing this will stop conceeding silly soft goals that have plagued us in the past. Soft goals have cost us the last two all irelands finals, not the lack of forwards.

  27. Aye! And all I’m saying is that our bunch could blossom in their new circumstances…….. new mangt,older and wiser,new player or two. Agree whole heartedly with all else you say! Emphasis is on the ‘could’ !

  28. I dunno. those stats say to me that we simply don’t score enough. The reason we don’t is we cannot (or don’t have the players) to transition the ball fast enough into the forward line.

    Watching Kerry and Ross here and Ross are getting trimmed. Kerry look miles better then them especially in how they are organised and the way they play. They look super fit as well with even the old guard running up and down the pitch with ease. And we’re not talking spring chickens here. Gooch, O’Mahoney. O’Sé, Darren O’Sullivan, Donaghy, Bryan Sheehan are all well into their 30s.

    The question is how come they are so much fitter than us in Mayo. And what the hell are management doing about it to improve our transition from backs to forwards and the other facets of play?

    Overall I think we were very lucky to stay up in the League where even against the worst team in it we looked decidedly dodgy at crunch times.

  29. Great stats there Willie Joe.

    Re half forwards scoring – did I not see Conor O’Shea firing over a few against Cork, Monaghan, Roscommon?

  30. The Kerry boys would have won this game handy enough. They did`nt need a helping

    hand from the referee at a crucial moment. It`s hard enough to play against fifteen of

    them.

  31. One client beside me says real score was K 2-15. R 0-19 …if R took those few pts and K were nt given that goal. 2 pt win!!!

  32. I was smirking now I’m rolling round laughing at reading that post from invetweener.

    Kerry were far superior.

  33. Division 1 v Division 3. Reality check for the Rossies. Kerry got some scores from end to end without a Rossie touching the ball.

  34. Catcol, Conor got 5pts from play in 7 games. Dublin would be expecting that from Connolly and Kilkenny in one game. We have decent forwards who can score but not heavy enough to out score Kerry or Dublin in a high scoring open match. All im trying to say is Mayo need to really cencentrate defensively against big teams and keep scores conceeded down, thata the only way this team will win an AI. if Mayo get caught up in a shoot out then they will loose.

  35. OK Mayomad, don’t think we’re that far apart. What I am getting at is that Conor CAN do this and, we hope, can do it in the big ones. Scoring a whopper, even only one at a vital time in a QF, semi or better, can have a bit impact. Andrews ran riot agains us in the replay, but he shouldn’t and decent defensive work would have kept him to very low scores – as we did in the league in Feb.

  36. Disappointing day for neutrals, haven’t seen such a poor set of games in quite a while. Donegal have barely showed up. Their defence has been opened up time and time again by the Dubs who are shooting for fun, from all angles. Donegal’s kick-passing, retention, tackling, shooting, all well below par. Hard to believe this is the same team that beat us up in Ballybofey. Dublin have barely broken a sweat, it’s hard to see past anyone other than Kerry to beat them this year. All in all it should be a good league final.

    Roscommon got a reality check today, they had a stormer of a league in fairness but will need a few seasons of building in Div 1 if they hope to take a big scalp in the championship. Their defence was extremely poor today, whatever happened to that blanket defence they used to deploy against the bigger teams? Midfield was as absent as it was against us. No excuses about water-logged pitches not suiting their fast running game either.

    Going by what has happened in the league I’m not worried about us being unseated in Connacht, but we can’t be complacent either.

  37. agree with all that ultair and will add that dublin are becoming the monster that will destroy football for the whole country like it has destroyed Leinster as a competition. They are organised fully as they are entitled to, its just that they have such a population advantage over the rest of the country that it will in time become a farce, scottish premiership style farce where nobody has a hope against them, kerry included at senior level.They are winning before and after them at senior level and will beat kerry to win the league rather easily. At this stage I would say that Mayo had better hatch a plan on how to defend their goal and try for a low score win the next time they meet dublin. Mayo are picking from 10% the population base of dublin, thats just a bit bigger than the size of tallaght, an area in dublin. Realistically, we are a long way off them, as are kerry and donegal and dublin will only get stronger to the point where inside the next 5 to 8 years there will be a splitting of dublin into 2 teams and even that will barely slow either side down.
    Not sour grapes, just the reality of the situation

  38. I honestly don’t believe Donegal give a hoot about the league. As bad as it sounds, I don’t think they even wanted to be there today. I think they just want to get back to preparing for the championship asap. That being said, I still don’t think Gallagher is as solid a manager as McGuinness.

    Roscommon well and truly found out. They’ve nothing at midfield and are way too easily bullied off the ball, as we saw against Mayo too. They may still have a Connacht title in them somewhere down the line, but they need to bulk up and get more experience at this level.

  39. Hyperbole is the word I see used to describe the like of that post above by Dave . Kerry won’t be brushed aside by Dublin at all and neither will we if we are lucky enough to come against them in 16 championship . Donegal are not that good anymore have been in decline for a while but still good enough for top 6 category because of the lack of genuine teams capable of breaking into top 6 or so . Roscommon ! We will have to wait and see but quite frankly can’t see where there going to get their physical middle eight engine from , also seanie mac is considered a Keith Higgins type figure in Roscommon and he is bet up a stick every time he comes across a (to rob an old phrase) nippy corner forward.

  40. 13 wides to 4. Dg hit post twice. Db got goal they shouldn’t have. So to tot up….
    13 + 2= 15 + give Dg 5 pts from 13 wides = 0-20.

    Final score..Donegal 0-20

    Dublin. 0- 20
    A Draw!!!!! Or give Db 1pt out of four wides and they just got there!

  41. Mayo Mick – hadn’t Mayo their trackers on last week? Pretty sure I saw some of them stripped and the tracker vests on display? Presumably this drives substitution of the likes of Diarmaid O’Connor?

  42. Regarding lads who can score long distance we have several. Doherty, Diarmaid, Conor OS, Barry and SOS handy enough also. I reckon Cillian can do it too as he’s class. Barry has steadily improved his long range percentages and the bigger lads generally have an advantage. Noting players in other teams who can bag 1-4 or 1-5, yes there are a few out there but it’s not a thing that has any consistency. The players who step up on scoring board for Dublin and Kerry tend to rotate. One worrying aspect is Kevin Mc’s low return. At times in his career he was a 2 points a game man. I think Keith in forwards might be better with Kevin moved to 7 ahead of Nally. A change on pitch might give him a new lease of life. I know big part of reason is ammount of tracking half forwards have to do in modern game keeps increasing.

  43. I should have added Freeman has pretty good range. Also we have one player who on form is a very good score getter Andy. He is still probably only 31 or 32 and I think Regan will be found wanting if we reach August. Look how long it’s taking Barry John Keane to make Kerry team. James OD did not light up championship until he hit 24 after several league and championship Cameo seasons. Regan needs experience but if we get to business end I would like to see Andy in that corner. Andy has leadership and more chance of seeing it if he’s backed for full 70. Can’t expect miracles every time he comes off the bench.

  44. Some people have been saying it for some time now, and I’m beginning to believe it myself, this Dublin is becoming almost un-beatable.

  45. Sean, we”ll have to agree to differ. Mayo were swept aside last summer by Dublin twice, we came back from the dead the first day and simply had no answer the second day once they opened the taps on us. The dubs annihilated cork in last years league final and beat Kerry In last years allireland final, where do you get the idea that they won’t win the league this year? They had no Connolly or macmenemin on the field today and still blitzed a full strength donegal. They will beat Kerry at their ease in this years league final, did you see how comfortable the subs were for Dublin? I thought they looked totally at ease throwing the ball around while donegal chased them , it was too easy for them and Kerry will be treated to a similar fate. Far from hyperbole, the dubs are getting stronger as they go, take a good look at the Leinster championship, it’s a non event and there’s only one reason.11 titles in 12 years says it all.

  46. I don’t know if anybody saw the TG4, Laochra Gael documentary, on Trevor Giles, this evening, but it was well worth watching. It was a nice tribute to a terrific player.

    From a Mayo perspective it was obviously tough watching, and I won’t go into that. But near the end of the episode when talking about the 2001 AI final v Galway where he underperformed, he mentioned the abuse his parents received during the match, by a Meath supporter. Abuse that went on right through the match if I’m not mistaken. Absolutely disgusting and utterly sickening. As we all know, something very similar happened with Ciaran Mc in the past and there’s nothing more shameful.
    Over the past month or so, plenty of posters have highlighted the fact that this nastiness is slowing but steadily building back up at Mayo matches, and I echo fully what has been witnessed. It needs to stop now before it turns into something even more ugly during summer.
    I am the first to stick up for Mayo supporters. On the whole, there’s none better, and I feel an innate patriotic duty to defend us if we’re slighted in any way, even if it might be justified. But it’s just as if at the moment it’s becoming acceptable to bitch away and it certainly is not in any way justifiable. The comments have already been described, ranging from the snipey, sly little whinges to the louder angry outbursts. One type sounds as bad as the other.

    It really has crept into this League campaign for us for some reason and it’s really telling that we’re all hearing it. Thus, it clearly is more than just one or two clowns.
    We all get annoyed with things in a match and have our opinions on certain players but if you’re going to start abusing a player or anyone associated with him, then please stay at home. You’re not wanted. We’ve been on some journey together as supporters and it mightn’t be over yet, and instead of taking our anger and frustrations out on the players, we can get behind them with force yet again. I strongly feel this is something we are far better at.
    One way or the other, we’re going to be in for an exciting summer. We always are. And we can bloody well thank our team for this. Football in this country is something special. League matches are getting better and better and every day I go to a match it is truly a great day out. We’re among our own, enjoying terrific sporting rivalry against opposition fans, watching and basking in the sport we all love and hold dear – all the time continuing to dream. Same goes for any county. The least we can do is treat those who make it all happen with a little bit of respect. We never know, good things might follow.

  47. There’s no doubting they are the team to beat but to say we we’re beat out the gate by them in last years semi x2 is untrue imo . Best team just about won in the end , Sweeney had of held his nerve first day or Keegan poped over the second day to put us 5 up we would be all Ireland champions . I think Kerry are on an upward curve and will give dublin a right battle the next day , I expect dublin full back weakness to be exposed for the first time properly since o carrol left the next day .

  48. We weren’t beat out the gate in both semi finals. The first match was a niggly affair where there was more fouling than football (and, in my opinion showed that Mayo get under Dublin’s skin a little bit) and Mayo could very easily have won at the death if they’d had a bit more composure. The second match Mayo should have gone on and won, but as so often happens, they beat themselves by not killing the game off when they had the upper hand.

    Dublin are a very good side but they are beatable. Everyone is. And we are yet to see the full impact of a Dublin side minus two of their best players. O’Carroll is a big loss, in particular.

    I still think they will beat Kerry in the final, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have it all their own way, either in the league final or the championship. I’m sure Kerry will feel they have a point to prove and won’t allow Dublin to do as they please like Donegal did today.

  49. Dave,
    I do not agree with your opinion on Dublin, you more or less say that there is no point in Kerry interfering with their work routine to travel to Croke Park to test the unbeatable dubs. I can assure you that Kerry will be traveling in confidence and will not for one moment think we are not worthy of taking on the Dubs. They will think this is a marker, a game that affords them the opportunity to let the dubs know that the higher you build the wall the harder we will train to scale it.

    Belief and a notion of position (some call it arrogance) in any sport has a strange way of affecting the results in critical games, strange coincidence that !! One team feel the posts narrowing and the others see them widen. I can assure you that Kerry do not feel inferior to the dubs in any way. 2011 we lost a game we should have won, 2013 we lost a game that we were every bit as good as the victors as it was litterly a bounce of the ball that decided the game and a wonderful game it was, hard, fast, exciting, full of skill and effort, a noble game with two great teams. Last years final was a bust for Kerry, too many ingredients on the field and on the sideline didn’t work, as they say a bad day at the office.

    I know that a number of the older players only stayed on as to be remembered for that performance would be a scar that they were not willing to suffer, win or lose this year they will go down with blodied sword in hand, I believe we are going to give the Dubs plenty to contemplate before the championship kicks off, Kerry are not going up to make up the numbers, I just hope it’s a nice day for all concerned.

    Last year Mayo had the Dubs heads on the block and failed to land the killer blow in the first game. That was the day to beat them as they were a little undercooked and the scribes had them assured that Mayo were not worthy. Trust me Dave the dubs are beatable, Kerry Mayo and Tyrone are well capable of turning them over and in 2016 one of us will, you heard it here first ?

    Regarding donegal i think the top teams have their number and they will ultimately fall on the Systems sword and slip further with each passing campaign, you can coach a system once you get collective acceptance but natural instinct, skill and flamboyance are the real currency of the ferryman. They have some fantastic players and they are a joy to watch but that restricting system dulls their flair I think.

    Good luck to your under 21s in the semifinals, I would like to see them domit

  50. Well, that’s the Rossie balloon well and truly punctured. The real score was the halftime, 3 = 8 to 0 =5, if I remember rightly. The second half was going through the motions for Kerry.
    Dublin were also in a different league to Donegal but I think Donegal have more room for improvement during the summer than Roscommon. Can’t say why but that is my gut feeling.
    The Jack O’Connor balloon also sustained a bit of damage during the week from the young Corkmen. It’s nice to see balloons getting punctured.

  51. As a neutral, based on what I saw today Gamechanger 10 Kerry can justifiably travel in confidence to the league final and beyond. It’s early doors yet, but the battering ram yee require to knock down this wall has some new additions this year.. the movement and positional sense of Donaghy has improved, Paul Murphy at 11 and the return to form of Cooper are just some of whats on offer. Last year I felt that Dublin were the better team (simple as) and any other view was imo a blindsided patriotic love for ones own county which is no bad thing (god knows it’s happened to us often enough). Arrogance really only comes into it when a team dosn’t set up properly to give themselves a fighting chance of winning a game which I felt, rightly or wrongly, Kerry did last year. But that was last year, and as they say, the best lessons are learn’t in defeat.. so it will not surprise me if Kerry become league champions. If that comes to pass Mayo, Dublin and Tyrone will have no fear either in taking on the wall?

  52. The Dubs are good but not unbeatable I think Kerry will beat them in the league final this Kerry team doesn’t look finished yet unfortunaetly indeed Donaghy looks to have got a new lease of life at midfield. Behind it all I feel a bit sorry for the Rossies and for their most passionite fan Paddy Joe I think the Ross fans seen themselves the road they have to travel today before they can realistically talk about all Ireland’s

  53. We can talk all we want about Dublin and their money and their five-year plan, but at the end of the day, there is no such thing as unbeatable – a game is 70 minutes of 15 men playing against 15 men and that’s all there is to it. The fact that Leinster has become such a joke is less down to the Dubs and more down to the rest of the counties. They have multiples of our money, but we damn well nearly put them out last summer (“Swept aside?” For real?). Credit to them for getting the structures in place however; if only we were doing the same here. Kerry to me are far from a spent force and I fully expect them to challenge in the final.

    Liberal Role in the Tie, I couldn’t agree more. The only way these morons will stop abusing players is if they’re challenged, publicly, and shamed. Damn right they’re not wanted. As sports fans supporters are more than entitled to critique a player’s performance, but there are no grounds – ever – for verbally abusing any player, let alone one of your own. It’s going to be an exciting summer for sure. Bring it on.

  54. Reality arrived in the cold hard light of day for Roscommon within the confines of Croke Park and they were found out. The results today were predictable. Kerry are emerging and using this years league as a platform for their championship campainge. Kerry were so superior that it turned the match into a farce. Dublin did what Dublin do best and that was to win without too much fuss. The only team that can beat The Mighty Dubs this year in my opinion is Mayo. I have a hope that Rochford can be the man that will make them run through those proverbial walls and make our lads really believe.

    The 89 Mayo team were the emerging team that jump started this journey that we all our experiencing now. 51 to 89 was our wilderness years. From 89 to the present day we have been considered as serious contenders at the highest levels. Embrace failure at the highest level as a badge of courage and relentless determination. 89, 96, 97, 04, 06, 12, 13, our war cry. Ironically I despise melodrama and that’s what the sound of 51 ringing in my eyes, mixed metaphors included makes me feel like. A melodramatic junkie addicted to failure but still hoping for the best, cos were from Mayo you know blah de blah blah and there lovely lads and I knew his mother and Father well all good people, blah de blah.

  55. Something seems to have gone wrong for Donegal. Played super in.Some.earlier games and McHugh especially against Cork was unmarkable. Midfield weak without Murphy and Lacey is not the player of old.
    Some here suggested in advance they may not care too much on this game focussing on Ulster where they have serious competition. However half time radio commentary said they game had no edge, hardly a glove laid on anyone by either team. Dublin can focus on playing football when it’s that kinda game. No doubt it’s the big 2 against the rest but I believe Mayo will have narrowed the gap come late summer if they navigate Connaught and no back door.
    Our defensive tackling was lacking in most of last year’s league as it requires peak fitness to implement but come high summer it returned. Let’s hope we see the same this year.

  56. It’s as well some of our bloggers are nt tog gin out for mayo anytime soon.A goodish team Dublin but v far from unbeatable. Is it not strange that they are nt unbeatable given the pop they have? So that suggests that it’s not all about numbers but how you manage what you have, your expectations your mind preparation, belief and there’s no need to talk about motivation. I agree it’s a shamefully un level playing field for so many teams but there’s sweet all between Kerry Dublin Mayo Turone Cork. I believe Donegal today were too hasty in their attempt to get the big score early in second half…fell into same hole as us last year…big ball up to Murphy surrounded by five blue shirts….happened twice! Turnovers how many? Dong showed their redundancy of thought …a narrowness of imagination and committed the usual sins of the undeserving….13 wides / wild unsupported running/over hastiness killed the accuracy and precision that made their game hard to deal with.And their main man was off. I was hoping for more but that’s all we got’
    Ros won’t be going anywhere too soon. To be in the reckoning you need more than what they have in players to succeed. If it happens for them it ll be down the line with inclusion of some external signings plus an enormous amount of slogging and hard graft.
    Kerry were Kerry today enough to show that they ve got a depth to their game. St Brendan’s showed it….beaten in many areas but had it in Cronin? And one or two others to keep them there till crunch time….. beaten but didn’t notice it ! We call it cheek!
    If there was one psychological trait to put in the Mayo pot I’d have this….cheek!! But we all know you can’t buy it in Lidls!

  57. Toe to hand,
    Yeah I agree with more or less all of that with the exception of Kerry being arrogant in relation to the threat of Dublin. I think Fitzmaurice like in 2014 became engrossed in the tactical battle between the two teams. Dublin however are nor donegal, they play from the cuff when the opportunity presents itself and last year Eamon was so busy matching his players with theirs he fell between two stools.

    Cian o Sullivan had a tweaked hamstring in the final, Buckley was playing centre forward and o Sullivan never roamed too far from his position in case his injury broke down, Gooch was tracking McMahon around the field while Buckley was beside the wounded o Sullivan,,, Gooch should have left the industrious McMahon off down the field with Buckley given the responsibility of picking him up when he wandered past his acre. He wouldn’t have been gone long when Gooch pulled some rabbit from the hat.

    Also the weather was a massive factor and it was well identified in the forecast, by all accounts the starting forwards were hopping off the ground coming into that game but when players are playing in a monsoon the light footed dinky forwards often tend to struggle. This game was made for a leader and a warrior at full forward and he had that warrior in his captain, he never gave him the time or chance to control that game. I would think that indecision has cost them both a few hours sleep since that game !!

    Weather permitting this League Final should be a great game of football, I think we might win it if I am to be honest as Kerry are not favourites and they are still smarting from the no show last September, two wrongs from their viewpoint and a wounded Kerry is a dangerous animal,

  58. Joe – I’ve taken out that wholly unnecessary personal attack in your comment and, quite frankly, I’ve had it at this stage with the barbs you’ve repeatedly aimed in that direction. Do it once again and that’ll be your final contribution here.

  59. Fair enough Gamechanger10, the way you have described it “falling between two stools” is probably a nicer way of putting it.. arrogance is not a term I like anyway. Should be a cracking final alright.. both teams are in it to win it.. so It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  60. I see Donegal only used 21 players 15 less than Mayo even though they played one game more in the league this year.

  61. I agree with other posters, Dublin are not unbeatable, no team is in any sport. It all depends on how you set out to take them on. It will be interesting to see how Kerry approach the final. If its an open high scoring game then there is only one winner, Dublin have too much fire power for a shoot out. if Kerry keep it tight and close space stopping runners from deep then its game on.

  62. Dublin seem to be able to move the ball with ease and fluency with opposing defenders almost chasing shadows. They make it look easy! I noticed two aspects of their play ( not for the first time).
    1. They move the ball JUST before the contact comes. They do not take the ball into contact very often – unlike our good selves. To make this possible requires great support play – runners willing to run their socks off in order to create options for the man in possesion
    2. They give opponents very little time on the ball. They put enormous pressure on the man with ball. Again it’s down to Dublin players willingness to work very hard. I’d say their GPS stats make interesting reading. Fitness and attitude are key to their success as well as having good footballers.
    Unbeatable? No! But you have to be willing to out run them, out work them and out smart them. That’s just the starting point. But if any team is even a little short on these fronts they have no chance.
    Can Mayo do it? Of course we can but we need to rediscover the savage intensity we used to have and ramp it up another 10%. We also need to move the ball faster and more cleverly.

  63. Depth and versatility are my latest requirements for success.All teams have them but to varying degrees. You bring both to the match with you and tap into them as required!

    The Dubs have shown that they are better endowed in this area than K so far this year but next day K could dig a bit deeper and find a something else to stem the Dubs threat!

    It was noted yesterday that the Dubs did nt use the breeze slavishly in 1st half to score long and Connolly was nt there.I thought this gave Donegal a good chance in 2nd half but it was my to be!

  64. Agree diehard, but can it be matched? and to what end? Donegal looked at the very thing you have described, the intensity, fitness, selfless running, attitude and said collectively hands up guys we can’t match that so the only thing we can do is try and outsmart them and they did. They did a total Leicester City on it.. built on their strengths by developing a savage defensive system and hit on the counter with a few exceptional players who can kick the ball over the bar from 40 yards.
    So what are our strengths.. I believe we have the best midfield grouping in the land and by sitting deep when the opposition attack can form a very good defensive unit. Other counties realise this so they are not likely to kick out to the middle of the field to often so they will go short. So should we give up on the oppositions kick out and retreat to the halfway line? Answer.. yes if they are going short as it is a pointless effort chasing around after them using up energy until they get to the halfway line anyway. The best solution would probably be alternate pushing up and falling back depending on how the game is going. The final part is the counter attack and this is the key to winning and loosing a game.. you need three players who are capable of winning dirty ball around the middle, ferocious tackling, comfortable on the ball, lightening fast, can take a score on the run or quick accurate footpass to a forward.. support play and take goals when the chance presents itself. Some of the players I believe who need to be sitting just inside this first midfield defensive line are Higgins, DOC, Lee Keegan, Mcloughlin.. take your pick. If we sit deep enough I think our defence will be OK with the above mentioned players further up the field. It was Jack McCaffrey, when interviewed in December, that said you can’t sit still because if you do the opposition will pass you out. So how long is piece of string.. if every team is improving when do get to not just match your opposition but to be 10% better. I think firstly you need to play smarter and to your strengths which dilute the oppositions strengths.

  65. Good detail there on what sets the Dubs apart Diehard.It is well noted that this is what one must do to play the game now in these times. You mentioned speed running angles,getting rid of ball and not slowing things down by being tackled and all to give you the advantage of getting shooters in position to score.

    And together with Toe to hand there is the template to continue to compete at the highest level.Consideration of what’s involved really focuses the mind on the task ahead for our team and management and adds a certain groundedness to all with an interest in Mayos prospects ahead!

  66. Toe to hand, I pretty much agree with most of what you are saying. We did have the fitness and intensity in the tackle in 2013 but that has dropped in the last season or so. We do have the best midfield unit and as I said before we will win most games by the amount of possession we can win in this sector.

    We do need to alternate between sitting back and keeping it tight and have the forwards push up and force the long kickout. On the long kickouts, half backs and half forwards must track their men as Cluxton will be looking for Flynn, McCarthy, Connolly on the touch line.

    Against Dublin I would be tempted to play Higgins on the half forward line, we would need our hb line to be very disciplined and hold back to close space. I cant see Keegan doing much attacking this year particularly v Kerry and Dublin. He is our best man marker, he is like a black hole any man he marks disappears from the. Field.

  67. Great stats Willie Joe, this site is a credit to you

    I’d be willing to sacrifice Robbies free taking ability for the cool , calm presence of Clarke .

    We have cillian to take 45s , he is extremely accurate

    What’s the point of having a keeper that could cost us a silly goal at a crucial time ?

    As the saying goes ” goals win games ”

    Dublin and Kerry look in v good shape , however we should not fear any team !!

  68. Gamechanger Fair play to you for coming on here to the home of the pessimist in all things football. Kerry never turned up to make up the numbers in football and this year is no exception. Had we won the first game last year we would probably have lost the final to Kerry. We have a little issue bringing our A game to the AI. We will fix that some day and there will be no stopping us then.

  69. Ballaghaman, surely the outfield players have to take responsibility for goals conceded, not just the keeper. For example the goal conceded v Ros in my opinion was a direct result of a silly error from Cillian, kicking an aimless cross into Ros keeper who was then able to start a quick counter when we were out of position.

    Mistakes are often make resulting in a goal long before it reaches the keeper. Keepers whoever they are are too easy a target when goals go in.

  70. That’s a concern mayomad.. I think Keegan is to valuable a player to us not to be utilised in attack. But maybe this is part of the greater plan.. time will tell

  71. Thought Cillian just lashed out at that ball in frustration of been in a puddle of water at the time .

    The goalkeeper thing is just down to who you prefer in fairness could be fair argument made for both , some of us just simply feel safer with Clarke and this leads us to believe our fb line might be a little more at ease with Clarke also esp under high ball imo.

  72. Mayomad…. All players know well when they make bloomers. There were mistakes made yesterday on all sides and surprise surprise which teams were less guilty? Mispassing , running into tackles, not supporting when should, kicking short, mistimed kicking, indiciplined tackling anywhere esp near goal…etc. You can think of more.

    This is what the game is all about and is what every team in the country will be trying to excel at this coming year. If you ask me who ll win the 2016 All Ire this year I’ll tell you that it will be the team that has mastered best all those fine elements that make this game one of the most exciting. It’s a shocking big ask. Could it be ourselves by any chance ???? . It certainly could!

  73. Im not trying to start anything, both keepers are fine players and offer different things to the team. As Sean says its a personal choice who you would rather play. Personally id be comfortable with either player. I was just trying to say its unfair to say one player causes silly goals. It is a team sport where mistakes are make and the team take a collective responsibility. To single out one player is not on in my book.

  74. You run a great site here WJ and it’s a credit to you. It’s a brilliant resource for Mayo fanatics and I check in here at least once a day and will continue to do so. I won’t be contributing anymore and I know that’s no great loss. I never intend to cause any harm but realise from time to time that I can step over the mark. That’s unacceptable and I take full responsibilty. Rules must be put in place otherwise chaos will ensue. I enjoyed contributing over the last number of years and still fully believe that we will be All Ireland Champions in the not so distant future. Thanks and keep up the good work. That’s it.

  75. At the end of the day it was probably much better for us that we didn’t make the league semi-finals. Yesterday and in two weeks times gives our management team the perfect opportunity to analysis the main opposition. Even already most of the pundits are talking up the Dubs and Kerry big time and that suits us just fine at this moment in time. We can work away out of the limelight and try to prefect our gameplan for the season ahead. A lot of the experts have been talking up Tyrone as well and are putting them ahead of us in the pecking order which again suits us just fine.

    Tyrone play Cavan in the Division 2 final in two weeks as well, so as we learned a lot more about Roscommon in the last few games and about Galway in their game against Cavan we should know a bit more about Tyrone after that game.

    So after the Division 1 and 2 finals have been played our management team will have seen Dublin and Kerry in action twice and Roscommon, Donegal, Tyrone and Cavan in action once, all potential opponents for us in 2016. You’d hope that some little nuggets will have been picked up here and there of what the main strengths and weaknesses are of these teams. It’s all to play for in the season ahead.

  76. You’re welcome to continue contributing, Joe, and thanks for taking responsibility for knowing that you have on occasions overstepped the mark. The site’s reach nowadays means I’ve got to be more careful than ever that things said about particular individuals are fair and reasonable and that was my only concern in pulling you up on what you said in last night’s comment.

  77. In my opinion, in an incident near the end of Ross match which led to a Ross goal, Cillian tried to lash the ball off a Ross player and out for a 45 for Mayo. It was a clever idea and it would have killed the game off if he had succeeded.

    So it was a mistake, but not an aimless kick across to the keeper.

  78. I see that according to The Indo we are playing Fermanagh in a challenge game this weekend:

    (This weekend, the club fixtures in Fermanagh will be starred games, featuring no county players as they are travelling to Breaffy House Hotel in Mayo, where they will face Mayo in a challenge game.)

  79. WJ, it must be a bit of a nightmare for you trying to do your real life job & also keep tabs on what us posters get up to on here! Especially as you said, the reach the site now has. So again WJ, thank you for this wonderful site. Keep up the good work

  80. Surprised to see Robbie scored a total of 10. Not bad for a man who gets his fair bit of slack on here. Cillian who virtually missed the league games is among the leading scorers. Diarmuid has joined the elite of our pick as one that picks himself. Will he be able to maintain this level as the Championship standards kick in and get ratcheted up a couple of notches

  81. Severe case of counting chickens here but IF, and please note that word IF, we were to make an all Ireland semi through the “front door” I believe we would be avoiding Kerry and Dublin who would have to play each other in the other semi.
    I have a feeling the Ulster champions will be Tyrone this year.

    A lot of ball to be played before then of course, I just thought that was interesting

  82. East cork exile, I think we will get to Croke Park through one door or the another, preferably through the front one. I would not like to be heading into a semi v Tyrone. I think they are dark horses for AI, they should have beaten Kerry last year but for a lack of experience in front of goal and have been tipping away nicely this year getting promoted without much fuss. We would prob be favorites and I think we could eventually over come them, but by not means an easy task.

  83. I agree with, ‘ Mayomad’, that if we play Tyrone, in a semi final, they will be a hard nut to crack, but if Tyrone have improved, since last year, so have we.
    Diarmod O Connor, Evan Regan,Conor O Shea, Brendan Harrison,Patrick Durcan, Shane Nally and Caolan Crowe, all have stepped up and are putting pressure on the established players.
    We also have a very good, young modern management team, pulling the strings,
    so all in all , we should be very strong in the summer.
    Having said all that, there are a few banana skins in Connacht, with Galway and Roscommon, seeing us, as their, All Ireland .
    So all in all, we the Mayo supporters, should have a good journey..
    Looking forward to it.

  84. East cork exile,
    I think it may well turn out as you predict, the problem is that in the quarter finals one of the big teams will have to meet the losing ulster finalists and that is the real banana skin for who ever gets them. I personally hope that Tyrone win Ulster as if they get caught in the early rounds and drop into the shark tank i believe they will survive. When they come out the far side they will be a nightmare scenario for the undercooked opposition in the quarters.

    Mayo have always have the hex on them and seem to have no fear of them, here in Kerry we are uncomfortable with their game. We are better able for them now but in last years encounter they probably would have taken us but for their keeper who kicked four or five balls directly to Kerry players and they converted the opportunities. They are also a team that relish the chance to have a go at us in championship, Micky Harte has them wound just perfectly for all challengers and I think he is a very clever manager. He hated being beaten by donegal over the past few years and if they meet them in the ulster final it could well play into the hands of their quarter final opponents as I doubt that all players will survive to the final whistle, no love lost and all of that.

    We are getting a little ahead of ourselves perhaps !! But it could be a Kerry Mayo final and with Kerry and Dublin having to peak big time for the semis ye may just have found your kryptonite ?

  85. Delighted myself that we’re not in the semis. Just feel, even more than last year, we need to consolidate our squad, and get intensive training sessions in between now and the end of May.

    Apart from Tom Cuffiffe, we seem to have all squad members at or very near 100% fitness. This is an advance on last year, if I’m not mistaken. Then Evan was a goner; ok he hadn’t proven anything, but we felt that the absence of new blood was a disappointment, as were Conor Loftus’s injury problems. Also last year Shane McHale and Cathal Carolan were season-long injury problems.

    And, in addition this year, Hall, Nally, Conor O’Shea and Harrison have got ample game time; even the oldies have got valuable game time – just loved Dillio’s cameo in the Hyde near the end when he ‘wasted’ valuable Rossie time down near the corner flag, took two of them out and shipped a yellow.

    One player who hasn’t really featured is Mark Ronaldson, who warmed the bench in most games but didn’t see any action. This was a bit surprising and must raise questions about his squad future. Of course he was a man we looked to last year after a great league, but despite a reasonable Connacht campaign he didn’t feature later on. Kevin Keane too, remember, had a great league, including 2 MOTM, but didn’t feature after Galway.
    Here, we have to factor in the fact that some will have been better over the Winter than they will be in Summer.

    The final plus, is that a couple of possibilities may emerge from the U21 panel.

    The minuses? Not many from the management/panel, but Castlebar’s final nightmare is an elephant in the room – which room I’m not sure. We were all pencilling in a half dozen
    as additions to a formidable squad – I think two is the limit of that.

  86. dublin need to peak? peak for what? they’re going for their 4th league title in a row, they’ve won 3 of the last 5 All Irelands. From a distance its clear that the only ones that need peaking is kerry, mayo, tyrone or whoever else of the top teams that will have a definite date with the dubs.For what its worth, Mayo could reach a final in September and would give dublin a tough time but I would take kerry all day long as the opponent at this stage. Dublin just have a higher number of quality athletes involved and i think it will take a lot of planning and luck for either of them to land Sam in 2016.

    dublin won last years league title, then burned through Leinster and won Sam, they haven’t missed a beat, 8 games and 8 wins in league 2016 with 1 game left for them to claim a title again, before burning through Leinster for the 11th time in 12 years.
    NO PEAKING NEEDED.

  87. Dave I’m talking about August,,, peak for a league ??? You turn up for a league final and give it your best shot, win you have a few pints and if you loose you get up the following morning and get yourself ready for the main event..

  88. Dave There is nothing wrong with your facts. However your conclusions are frayed at best. Outside of Dublin there is a chasing pack, Kerry, Cork, Mayo and say Donegal, Tyrone. Dublin will chase through Leinster no doubt, but after that leave your money in your pocket.

  89. I know you were talking about August, but, it won’t matter to Dublin if they have to play a peaking Kerry in June, a peaking donegal in July and a peaking mayo in August, they just have the depth to have players on the boil at any stage. That’s the point I am making. How can you not see this? Even in the 2014 semi final the dubs were all over donegal but got too cocky and lost a game they should have walked through easily. That cockiness is not there anymore, thus 8 wins in the bloody national league in 2016 ! It only points to one thing, they are on a mission in 2016.
    Pj, I cannot agree with you either. Take cork as an example, Roscommon put 4-25 past them a few weeks ago, how can you even mention them as contenders? I think at best in my flawed conclusion it will take a lot of luck for any of the rest to beat Dublin. That’s my firm belief.

  90. I was listening to a very good interview with Padraig Harrington a few months ago on Newstalk. What he was saying was that performance levels have now moved onto another stage, teams or players are now looking for what he called, a plateau of excellence. This is probably the stage that Dublin have now reached. Kerry are trying to reach that level at the moment. Pretty much every time that Dublin play a game, Brogan, Kilkenny, Cluxton, McCarthy, McCaffery etc. play very close to their optimum levels.

    So we have moved on from looking for a peak performance because usually after a peak comes a trough. We have seen that so often with ourselves, peaking for a quarter-final or a semi-final but then having a trough performance in a final.

    This year ahead, Dublin have not won back to back All-Irelands since the seventies so they will be determined to do that this year to be seen as a great team. Kerry lost last year’s All-Ireland final and have a few players who only came back this year for one more year to win another All-Ireland medal. There are a few other dangerous teams out there as well so that is what we are up against. At the end of the day no team is unbeatable but it will take a mighty effort from us this year to come out on top of the pile. We’ll see how it goes!

  91. P.S. Just to add to the above, few teams have reached this plateau of excellence in any sport. The Kilkenny hurlers, Barcelona in soccer, New Zealand in rugby all have. I would see it as a stage when everything is done on instinct, the instinct to do pretty much everything in the right way, at the right time, at lightening speed and with maximum intensity and efficiency. This is done both when you have and don’t have possession of the ball or sliotar.

  92. Don’t agree that only 2 Castlebar players will make the panel or summer day 26. I think there’s a strong case for Kirby too. He’s a clever player who usually does the right thing on the ball, tall and good passer and scorer. He’s unproven but I would think he should get in though competition will be tough from Loftus and Carolan. Would like to be a fly on the wall at A vs B games.

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