London 0-9 Mayo 2-16: job done

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Photo: @mayo_mick

We had two objectives going into this afternoon’s Connacht championship opener against London over in Ruislip. The first was to win the match by a decent margin and the second was to hope that we’d emerge from the fixture with no new injury concerns. From the sounds of it, we achieved both these aims so, in that sense, today’s first championship test for Stephen Rochford’s Mayo was one that was passed in a satisfactory manner.

It’s an odd fixture – surveying the throng of punters milling around below him today, Mike Finnerty remarked on Midwest that it more resembled the afters of a wedding than it did a Connacht championship game – but we knew from our last appearance in Ruislip back in 2011 that it was one we didn’t dare take lightly. This was reflected in the strong team we sent out for the fixture but the significant injury problems that are currently weighing us down saw U21 captain Stephen Coen make his first championship start, in place of Tom Parsons at midfield. This was our sole change from the team named in advance.

We had an early chance to take the lead but captain Cillian O’Connor uncharacteristically blasted wide from what should have been a routine free just outside the D. Worse was to follow soon after for the Ballintubber man as he picked up a black card, ending his involvement in the contest with little more than five minutes played. I wasn’t there so I’ve no idea if it was merited or not.

The silver lining to that particular black cloud was, however, the early introduction of Conor Loftus. The Crossmolina youngster has the mien of a player ready to take the step up to senior and his sparkling display this afternoon was one of the day’s real positives for us.

London had opened the scoring, from a free, shortly before Cillian’s premature departure and it fell to Robbie Hennelly, from a ’45, to get us moving on the scoreboard. It had been an edgy opening for us but from then on we eased away from them, notching 1-5 on the bounce to open up a clear lead.

The first three points of this barrage came from Evan Regan (one from play), following which Conor Loftus punched home the game’s opening goal. For good measure the Deel Rovers man added a point from play soon after.

London then got their second point of the day but another Evan Regan free canceled this out. Then Jason Doherty broke through for our second goal of the day and with that score the result was effectively in the bag.

We led by nine points at the break, 2-8 to 0-5, and this was, our double-digit wide count notwithstanding, pretty much where we wanted to be at that juncture. It was obvious by then that the contest was never going to descend into the nerve-ridden dogfight that we’d allowed ourselves to become mired in back in 2011. All we needed to do now was see out the win in an unfussy manner.

And that was more or less what we did. We huffed and puffed our way through the third quarter – the number of wides increasing all the while – but then hit five points on the spin to remove the last vestiges of doubt as to where this match was headed.

Stephen Rochford opted to run the bench early. A double substitution saw Shane Nally pitched into senior championship action for the first time while, at the other end of the spectrum in terms of experience, Andy Moran came on to make a record-breaking 133rd appearance for his county. Top man, Andy:

As the match ambled on towards its inevitable conclusion – incidentally, it was really weird listening on the radio as the hubbub from the ground never varied one iota regardless of what was happening out on the field – more replacements made their appearance. Cathal Carolan, Alan Dillon and David Drake all saw game time and it was the Ballintubber veteran who notched our final point today, as the lads closed out a comfortable 13-point win.

As I was only following the action on the radio, I’m not really in any position to say too much about who did well today but from what I can gather most of the plaudits are being directed towards Evan Regan and Conor Loftus. Both of these lads may be short on championship experience but they more than make up for this in terms of the bite they add to our attack and Conor’s 1-2 off the bench will make him very hard to overlook against Galway in three weeks time.

With the London fixture now safely behind us it’s this Connacht semi-final clash against the Tribesmen at MacHale Park on 18th June that becomes our sole focus of attention. Today’s performance obviously leaves plenty to be worked on and I’m sure much will be done in that area in the training camp that the lads will be on over in London for the next week.

The questions Galway will ask us next month are, for sure, likely to be far more searching than those posed by London today. But with this opening hurdle safely negotiated, we’ll be heading into the provincial semis with plenty of questions of our own to ask the neighbours. We’re up and running, once again we’re on our way.

Mayo: Robbie Hennelly (0-1, ’45); Brendan Harrison, Kevin Keane, Keith Higgins; Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Paddy Durcan; Stephen Coen (0-1), Jason Gibbons; Kevin McLoughlin (0-1), Aidan O’Shea (0-1), Jason Doherty (1-0); Evan Regan (0-7, five frees), Cillian O’Connor, Conor O’Shea. Subs: Conor Loftus (1-2) for O’Connor (black card), Shane Nally for Boyle, Andy Moran (0-2) for Conor O’Shea, Cathal Carolan for Doherty, Alan Dillon (0-1) for Gibbons, David Drake for Keegan.

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41 thoughts on “London 0-9 Mayo 2-16: job done

  1. Wasn’t at the game but the overall performance didn’t sound too good judging by the radio commentary, particularly in terms of shot selection. That said, there’s no need or reason to go shooting the lights out in May, Mayo had nothing to gain and everything to lose with this fixture, so we won’t complain too much about a double digit win.

  2. The wide count way too high yet again. Work needs to be done on finishing, but hopefully that will improve with time.

  3. The dirty diesel blown out today the margin of the win would have been wider but for the 14 wides.

    I think the team v Galway will be as follows..

    R Hennelly
    C Barrett G Cafferkey K Higgins
    L Keegan C Boyle P Durcan
    T Parsons S O Shea
    K McLoughlin A O’Shea D O Connor
    E Regan C O’Connor C Lofus

  4. Sounded like a poor enough performance , poor shot selection and complacency ..

    Good to get the win though I guess …

    How is hennelly ? Sounded like he was shakey enough today

  5. You’d hope that the end of Cillian’s first year as captain will turn out better than it began today. When you think that we had pretty much our third choice midfield pairing today, to win by the margin that we did was good going. Hopefully the injuries are not serious ones and from what the boys on MidWest were saying, they don’t seem to be. It was great today that the elder statesmen and the new boys put in a good shift so that augers well for the future. Roll on the next game!

  6. No goals conceded which is probably the main positive to take from today.
    Possibly hard for the lads to get sufficiently motivated for this game but time and time again it seems there was a lack of confidence today to kick for a point from scoreable positions apart from perhaps the last ten minutes when the game was won.
    Anyway people are singing the theme tune from the Sunday Game here in the clubhouse in Ruislip so it’s probably a good time to head ….or maybe stay for one more……?

  7. Well done to all today especially the 2 debutants Evan Regan and Conor Loftus who were mayos 2 best players today.

  8. We’re waiting a long time for that to improve Dreamy….!! The big thing I’d like to see Rochford doing is to get the ball moving faster into attack. Last year it was terribly laboured as it was during this years league…very lateral and allowing opposing defences time to organise etc. The replay semi final was an excellent example; I think almost everything we kicked in the first half that day went over the bar but we expended so much energy in doing so whereas the dubs attacking play was far more fluid and much more direct. Our lads had nothing left in the tank with 10 mins to go.

    Onto today…2-16 isn’t a great score against a poor Division 4 team. The dubs or Kerry would have rattled up much higher totals in my opinion. I know people will say it’s only the end of May but May wouldn’t stop the dubs blitzing a team and it didn’t stop Tyrone scoring 3-14 in Derry last week. Dublin have set the bar and that is to go out and approach every game in unrelenting fashion.

    Anyway, the real stuff starts when Galway come to town. Never underestimate them.

  9. Good to get the win but its only London but two many wides los to work on

  10. I wouldnt read anything into todays game. The win is all that matters in these types of games. I was actually happy Cillian got black carded, there was no need for him out there and risking an injury.

    A weeks hard training ahead now, in 3 weeks we will have a better picture of where the team is heading.

  11. I would have preferred if Cillian stayed on the field. He needs game time after being out for so long.

  12. Loftus should get a start again Galway. We need someone like him badly. Good on him

  13. Thanks Willie Joe for that, but hey posters who were at the game – where the hell are you lot? You’re late, you’re late for a very important date!

  14. Coen seemed to do well. Himself partnered with Parsons would be a very mobile midfield. Coen is a good kickpasser as well. Something we miss around the middle.
    Conor Loftus just seems to turn every touch into a score. Very efficient and pacey.
    Andy made a very good contribution off the bench. Conor OShea and Jason Gibbons didnt seem to get going today. James Moran won a lot of kickouts.
    As it stands I’d be togging for Galway:
    Hennelly
    Harrison Keane Higgins
    Keegan Boyle Durcan
    Parsons Coen
    McGloughlin AOS Diarmuid
    Regan Cillian Loftus
    Just think ya have to recognise performances in matches and then the odd high performer like Diarmuid.
    Looking at that team I would say its the quickest middle eight in the country. Dare I say even quickest team? I count only Cillian really who is not agile and quick. Kevin Keane manages fine for pace.

  15. Great game…atmosphere soaked up with sentimental music and pints.Terrible sound intercom kept breaking down..

    Few things;
    1.Moran still needed in my view and Dillon worth some time too
    2.Backs shaky enough…Full back line needsstrengthening.Boyle did sweep a little but it was made easy for him
    3.Loftus and Coen did well
    4.Leroy,Aidan and kevin very strong
    5.London not really up for it…dont think Mayo left 3rd gear.

    London organisation…well very good humored but lacking in some organisation.
    Next outing will obviously be tougher!

  16. Job done as you said WJ and very little else can be said after that. It was a hiding to nothing game . No injuries and as I hoped a confidence boosting exercise for Evan Regan.
    Can I start a campaign here belatedly that Andy Moran be named man of match to mark his fantastic achievement in becoming our most capped player. Thanks for all your service Andy and you got a long way to go and unfinished business yet……

  17. Listened to game on radio today so not really in a position to comment – but it sounded like a poor enough performance judging by Midwest. With the injury list at 8 (not including Robbie who took a bad knock near the end according to the commentary), we are in serious bother ahead of the Galway game. Its not just enough to get players back playing by June 18th, as their whole game plan needs an awful lot of fine tuning which can only be done through repetition, repetition, repetition. A v B games will also be impacted with so many players having to sit them out. Lets hope most of the injuries are virtually cleared up for this weeks camp to allow the heavy training to begin. Galway seem to be in much better shape injury-wise which has to be a cause for concern for Stephen Rochford.

  18. Well done to all involved today.. the result is all that matters. Listening to the game on mad-west radio it’s difficult to tell how the team was set up.. they did say Mayo pushed up very high on the kick outs and that was the strategy. If London broke through from midfield there seemed to be acres of space behind us.. but there must have been enough cover there as well because we didn’t concede any goals. The one big positive you would have to draw from the game is that even with all the injuries and non starters on the day our strength of depth of quality cover in all parts of the field was sufficent to easily put away a division 4 team. Hopefully by the 18th Rochford will be able to pick his preferred starting 15 from a fully fit panel. Onwards and upwards

  19. Disappointing to see Cillian getting a black card today. I appreciate that defensive duties begin with the full forward line but, honestly, was there any need to be taking a black card in the first few minutes of this game. It strikes me as a headless kind of thing to do and it should not be forgotten that three blacks or a combination of blacks and double yellows leads to a match suspension, which is not impossible towards the end of the championship. And it’s not ideal to be playing with the notion in the back of your head that you are in last chance saloon either, which another black or double yellow would induce.

  20. Good to get win .Wide count will need to addressed but from commentary it sounded like we held back a lot. Was proud of my own club man James Moran. He had a massive game for London. Cillian O Connor got 7 votes?, Wow!

  21. Good result as we would have hoped champion ship debuts for few lads great way to integrate coen regan and Loftus.
    Job done. Hard work this week in training. Get them sharp.

    For the Galway game I would think it might be something like
    Hennelly
    Harrison -Keane- Barrett
    Leeroy-Boyle -durkan
    Parsons-seamie
    Aidan
    Kevin mc-Higgins – Carloan
    -regan – Cillian

    If diarmid is fit then he takes Carolans place but if not I think we have pace and overlaps in this team as well as accuracy inside.
    Loftus deserves a start but might be better intro him from bench. Just see how fit Cillian is by then.
    Galway can’t be underestimated whilst they are poor at midfield and backs their forward are lethal if given space.

  22. Can’t read too much into the game today but very positive start for Regan and Loftus. Doherty seems to have found a bit of form too. Wasn’t at the game so can’t comment on the black card for Cillian. He hits extremely hard when the opposition are coming out with the ball. He’s very effective at it too so can’t criticise too much.

    Anyway – today was all about getting a decent run out, putting them away early and running the bench. Very much job done and look towards a decent weeks training before setting out sights on Galway.

  23. Outside of the boot – I don’t see how you could leave Ger Cafferkey off the team. I also think based on form this year there are a few players ahead of carolan like freeman, Loftus and Doherty.

  24. I was hearing Caff is a bit away from being properly fit how true I don’t know. I would think its horse for course and Carolan or diarmids pace and direct running will be needed It’s all a matter of opinion

  25. My team for Galway:
    Clarke
    C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins
    Coen (Sweeper)
    Keegan, Vaughan, Boyle
    Parsons, SOS
    Durcan, CO’C, D’OC
    AOS Regan

    Would keep Mcloughlin as an impact sub he can cover both wing back and forward positions

  26. Was at game today. 1st time traveling and thoroughly enjoyed experience. In regards to the game here’s my few thoughts.

    Black card for cillian while harsh was technically correct. Although a yellow could easily have been given instead.

    Henelly had poor game under high ball. 2 London points came from fumbling high ball going wide. Needs to improve concentration levels.

    Regan and loftus played well. Although in 2nd half Regan hit few bad wides he was constantly out in front winning ball and setting up attacks. Loftus was very economical and took scores well. Hopefully didn’t re injure hamstring as he hobbled off and we finished with 14 men.

    Stephen coen did very well and hassled and harried all day and turned over ball on number of occasions. Strong breeze in 1st half partially to blame for some of wides but shot decision also poor. Lot to work on but good to get the win. Roll on June 18

  27. I think Spillane and bumbling Des have lost the plot. Who wants to hear about pink g strings on a GAA show?

  28. Was at the game today. Job done with no injury, s and no goals conceded. The thing that bothers me is this; what exactly has changed? Still seems to be so many of the old failing showing up. Without looking I, d guess that if you went through the archives you could copy and paste a lot of the comments for as lot of our games through the last 3 years . Definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results .Rant over .

  29. Wasn’t at the game so cannot comment on the play. However, it is encouraging to hear that Evan Regan and Conor Loftus did very well. A pity Cillian O Connor got sent off. It would have been very interesting to see how he and Evan worked together. Both seem to be very clever players and if they can feed off each other they could prove to be a serious scoring threat.

  30. surely to god if Hennelly is struggling in the air again Clarke has to be selected. Have to get reliability into goal and FB line or you can be certain teams will keep attacking this weakness

  31. Only listened to the game on midwest so it’s difficult to comment accurately. The amount of wides was a worry. Shot selection was mentioned a few times by the guys on commentary. We need to be able to translate periods of domination in the game to scores. Conor O shea is not a corner forward for me. There may have been an element of Rochy not wanting to show his hand too much yesterday.

  32. Great day out in Ruislip. Far too many wides from scoreable positions. Seemed a bit of a waste Boyler as sweeper . He usually seems to have such a big impact on the game….but I guess that sweeping role will be needed as we come up against stronger opposition. Great to see Conor L and Evan having an impact. Not sure about Conor O’S. ….seems to give up to easily some times

    Huge credit to London GAA …they even had stewards to guide you from the tube station. The players were fantastic after the game and some hung out for 1 1/2 hours after getting pictures taken with kids and adults !!

  33. Agree totally centrefield, was in London yesterday……..hennelly struggled yday with the high ball and his concentration levels were poor.. fumbling balls

    100% Clarke has to be in goal, he provides security to our full back line

  34. Thanks all match attendees who answered my call!

    A few general questions:

    were you at any stage worried about what London might do?

    was there a coherent game plan?

    Did it seem like we were trying various things out?

  35. Don’t mean to bring up this debate again but I recently re-watched the 2 dublin games from last year. I counted about 5 or 6 high balls in on top of hennelly and he dealt with each one competently. Also, I don’t think you can seriously say he caused any of the goals over the 2 games.

    As for Clarke, I remember in the 2012 final a ball was kicked in on top of him and Murphy. Murphy won the ball and we were just fortunate his punch went over the bar instead of under it.

    Every keeper in the country will make the occasional mistake. When you’re sitting on the bench it’s easy not to.

  36. I would agree with you MayoDan. the manager sees the players in training everyday, people should trust his judgement that he is choosing the players to best benefit the team and not keep rehashing this ridiculous argument every week or so.

  37. To be fair it is not bashing anyone it is a fair assessment of the game and players. Is this not a site for honest debate and discussion. I along with others may have reservations as to who is picked in certain positions but no ‘bashing’ is done. To answer catcol London never posed a threat to go on a run or get out in front. Our game plan was to push up on kick outs and try to turn them over before funnelling back. Aidan on half forward line breaking through and passing to good effect. Again got little protection but that’s for another day. A lot more kick passing to inside line who did well to win ball but wayward shooting let them down.

  38. Job done as said . Look no dought Stephen will come up with something for Galway . Hopefully a team that can put the ball sailing between the posts , that would be ideal , and not a team that aimlessly put the ball wide game after game it’s costing us .

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