Following Mayo's footballers

Mayo the movie

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The manager stayed up all night. His keeper, his loyal custodian, had contributed to three vital scores against them. What to do, how to do it, he mused. A rocky league and some disgruntled supporters had ensured his credit rating was almost in debit. “Bugger it” he thought and rolled the dice.

Thirteen Premiership titles, two Champion League titles and numerous cups later, Alex Ferguson was vindicated. Jim Leighton, the unfortunate keeper excluded from the FA Cup final replay of 1990 after conceding three sloppy goals against Crystal Palace never spoke to Ferguson after that.

On such calls history is made. Would I have had the balls to sit there, surmise and roll that dice? No way.

Jim Gavin dropped two former Players of the Year, he changed his number 4. He too made calls. The improvement Jim sought didn’t bring the wide blue water he might have wished for. Mayo still stuck like glue to his team.

Driving in to the match I told my daughter that inches would win this game. Long suffering companion that she is, she nodded. We both mentioned that Mayo might be better off with Hennelly’s kick-out ability.

So what cardinal sin exactly did Stephen Rochford commit? He saw an issue, we all saw that issue. David Clarke’s kick-outs hung dangerously in the closing stages of the first match. Three points were garnered off those inviting hanging 50/50 kick outs.

Mayo needed those inches, Rochford is tasked with finding them. He made a momentous call, a brave call and, let’s be clear, a call very few former Mayo managers would have the balls to make.

Let’s dispel a few red herrings here. Both goalkeepers and the back-room team had almost two weeks to work on this issue. We would be very naive to believe that both keepers weren’t aware of what was likely to happen.

So Robbie Hennelly wasn’t walking down Clonliffe Road when an announcement went out saying “Would Robert Hennelly report to the Mayo dressing room and bring his boots with him. ” Had David Clarke broken his leg, Hennelly would have been in anyway.

Stephen Rochford is now scape-goated for the troubles of Hennelly. That’s unfair and wrong. Hennelly is a vital member of the squad, a man whose goal is to dispossess his rival for the goalkeeping position. In my opinion, Hennelly would have revelled in wresting the jersey from Clarke, or at least he should have. Similarly Dublin’s Michael Fitzsimons with his promotion and Andrews with his. Time has called, real men wanted.

My issue here is a long-time one. To be a ‘keeper you have to be mad, a bit crazy. One slip and you are headlines.
Hennelly, alas has been on the end of a few rather unfortunate slips over the years. Cluxton likewise – it goes with the territory. Does anyone recall his meltdown against Armagh in 2002? Cluxton learned, though, and modified his game. I would have expected the same progress from our man.

Darragh Ó Sé scorched him after the replay against Dublin last year and he didn’t mince his words in doing so. The semi-final of 2011 and the final of 2013 also had question marks. With time should come progress and an elimination of basic bread and butter errors. That sadly is the price you pay when you are in the shop window and wear the jersey of the tail gunner.

rob-after-full-time

Photo: Sports Joe/Inpho

So Rochford and Hennelly didn’t rob us Saturday. I would go as far as to say no player robbed us Saturday evening. Inches cost us though, those pesky inches that are all round us.

A few balls into Cluxton’s arms. Standing and waiting three times for the ball to arrive into a Mayo chest only to see a Dublin player fly past and win it. Over-holding the ball as the crowd screamed “he’s behind you”. Small and minute but vital inches.

Dublin have beaten us in two All Ireland finals by the minimum. To them rightly go the accolades. But unlike 1997/04/06, this time we weren’t the warm-up act or the fall guys. Dublin are crowned kings of modern football. Inches separate Mayo from them and Dublin are very aware of that.

This Mayo project, this Mayo journey, this Mayo collective and kinship is like a long running movie that we all take part in. We are privileged. We have scaled great heights, we have fallen from sheer cliffs but by Christ at least we have been around to do those things.

Sunday has arrived and the sun is shining. Ten times I have sat in the amphitheater of the greats and ten times we didn’t get the closure we deserve. We might have to sit another ten final days of reckoning before the Golden Fleece arrives – who knows? – but one thing we do know.

Mayo the county has the men and women that will always keep us honest, always keep us to the front and when that day comes, those that went before – players, managers and mentors – will be mentioned in the credit roll at the end of that film.

Comments

  1. [Deleted].

  2. justoutsideballagh says:

    We needed these words of wisdom today, well done John!

  3. Right, Mayo51 – that’s one crass comment too many for you at this stage. It’s a one-week ban from posting and moderation watch after that.

  4. Deirdre Dee says:

    Very well put

  5. Mayo 51 you are being unfair on management or have an agenda against them. Management have been excellent all year. One mistake , although it was a howler , means that they will learn from this. Just like the article says .

  6. OILEANN ACLA says:

    Comhgairdeas WJ. Yes words of wisdom indeed and timely. There is no point in blaming anyone as we were only a whisker away from the big price. I have no doubt that Robbie has a bright future ahead of him in a Mayo shirt.We must get behind all the team and management now and le cunadh De bheid muidh aris. The Mayo team did us proud this year and over the past 6 years. Remember they are amateur sportsmen and this week they will go back to their day jobs. We should all get behind them by supporting the weekly lotto.
    Go neiri le foireann Mhuigeo I gconai!

  7. I’ve dealt with that issue, Swahili.

    Those words of wisdom – and they’re that, for sure – aren’t mine, Oileann Acla. They belong to John Cuffe – the post was a guest one.

  8. East cork exile says:

    I went into paddy powers across the road from the hotel this morning and tried to put 20 euro on Mayo to win the all ireland in 2017! Couldn’t as the odds weren’t done.
    I think we’re like Donegal 2011, we’ve spent this year working on a defensive structure. Next year when Rochford and co have a full year we’ll have cracked the offensive piece of the puzzle. Evan Regan, Conor Loftus, Brian Reape and Stephen Coen will all feature. Check the program and look at the ages, there’s a lot of mileage left in this team yet

  9. O SULLIVAN says:

    I have been very critical of Management for over 50 years of following Mayo. I was not really happy when Rochford got the job but I must say that i have been very impressed with our sideline this year.

  10. i really dont think this should be whitewashed over. The decision was a howler- full stop. Everyone in my company were horified be the decision when the story leaked out. Management made one match defining decision which seemed to ignore all evidence of previous big match disasters. I do think we have brilliant footballers and a lot of class young forwards from u21, hopefully the current management learn fron yesterday and drive on for next year.

  11. Norman Keville says:

    These guys are warrior’s so proud heart heavy this evening but bursting with love and respect for these guys no negativities please these guys give it all for the jersey my brother suggested trying to attend a training session or two in the winter to meet and give support is this possible does anyone know?

  12. Mairtinin says:

    A lot of what goes in the blog is opinions, and is debatable.
    However, I think john cuffe’s point, that the “sub goalie”, like all other “subs” in the squad, must be ready and raring to get the nod to start in every game, is hard to dispute.

    Rob was ready, and he was raring to go. Fair play to him for that.

    I was 50/50 whether it was the right decision, but I thought, “Rochford is trying something here, fair play to him too for that.”

    The result didn’t go our way, but the goalie decision was not the only reason that we are all tortured with “what if ?s”. I felt the first pang of worry when we failed to tack on 2 or 3 points after Leeroy’s great goal…
    But I hope we can build again with the vast majority of this squad. Looking forward to the FBD already (well, looking fwd just a tiny bit).

  13. Conchubhair says:

    That is one way perspective to take John Cuffe and you are entitled to it. However, it is the responsible and mature thing for somebody to take responsibility for their mistakes. We all feel very sorry for Rob Hennelly as a young man and the hurt he is going through. But Rochford sought the role of manager after the last pair were forced out on a vote of no confidence by the players, of whom Rob Hennelly was one. Stephen was not conscripted or forced into the job. He made a big call to replace David Clarke. He is responsible for that call. Remember, it fell on Clarke’s shoulders to pick up the pieces of the fallout of Rochford’s decision. He was put in an awful situation. Hennelly hasn’t done well in Croke Park; he’s not a big game player. John, you pull inspiration from all sorts, premiership to Hollywood – I see your ‘inches all around us line’ courtesy of Al Pacino in Any given Sunday. In a time when we get carried away with using analogies of war, warriors, and generals when speaking of Gaelic football and footballers, Rochford, Mayo general, gambled and lost. But unlike Varus whose error cost 3 Romans 3 legions in the Teutoborg, it is not a demand that he fall on his sword. But he should put his hand up and admit he got it wrong.

  14. home sweet home mayo says:

    I hope management and players all stay we were so close it was hard to take and Willie Joe all most put me in the sin bin I was mad so mad but as Willie Joe said how would the players feel keep the faith Rochford knows were he went wrong we don’t need to say it

  15. i think this team needs a national title and they should concentrate on the League next year and win that
    Sam is getting tough every year and with the emergence of other counties it will be more difficult
    dont get me wrong Sam is the one but this team need a national title

  16. John Kelly says:

    There is no comparison with what Alex Ferguson and Stephen Rochford did it was clear for a while before that cup final that Leighton had lost his confidence and a change had to be made Here we had a goalkeeper playing with confidence replaced by one who had a horrendous record against Dublin and who had not played at this level since the Galway game This was not his fault. He gave his best as always and has nothing to be ashamed of However it was soon clear that there was no new kick out strategy thus negativing the reason for the change

    There is no two ways about it This was the wrong decision and did not work However we now have to move on and rally behind Stephen and all the boys. On to 2017

  17. I walked out of Croke Park with my head held high after seeing our heroes give it all they had – blood, sweat and tears. No one could have asked more from them. Thanks for all the joy you’ve brought into our lives over the past six years. I remember only too the well the Sixties when we just came up short against the great Galway three-in-a-row team and the barren seventies when we could not win a solitary Connacht title.

    OK Stephen Rochford’s management team made one mistake; let’s not forget the team they forged after the Galway debacle. This fresh management team – hopefully Donie Buckley will stay on , his imprint was all over every Mayo tackle – will propel Mayo into a new place next season with Conor O’Shea ready to take his rightful place alongside his two immense brothers. And what about 22 years old Paddy Durcan a free scoring half back in the Lee Keegan mode? Is he eligible for the Young Footballer of the Year award? If not, it should go again to Diarmuid O’Connor who, despite his injury and over-taxed year with the under-21s is way ahead the rest of the field.

    This still a very young Mayo team and I wouldn’t put it past Andy -with all that gym work at hand – to play a crucial cameo role again next season.Youngsters like Stephen Coen, Conor Loftus, Eoin O’Donoghue, Brian Reape, and Michael Hall will bloom under his enthusiasm. And Cathal Carolan also deserves a good league run.

    Finally I must allude to the shoddy journalism in the national papers in rating the players’ performance. Out of 150, the Irish Times gave Dublin 112, Mayo a miserly 94.
    The Irish Independent gave the Dubs 108, Mayo 90. Only the Sunday Times were near the mark: they made it 102 for the Dubs and 97 for Mayo. Do the journalists, in their euphoria, forget that the Dubs won by only ONE point – after we gifted them a penalty and only a couple of inches separated us from draw???

  18. John..sorry to pick on use of words but I’m kust curious to know what you mean by COS’s ‘rightful place’ to be on the team alongside his brothers?

  19. Looks like we have a few ‘outsiders’ voting in the MOTM poll

  20. Sinabhuil. says:

    Feeling and looking depressed last night this guy came up to me and ‘said stop feeling sorry for your self.I am from Cavan and the only time I was in Croke Park was to see Michael Buble’. Is it a long enjoyable journey or is just a slow agonising Hell

  21. Baz Ham, I would be amazed if this squad firstly give a rats arse about a league title and secondly if they’ve the energy to put in a big push so early in the year. The remnants of our 96/97 (99 semi finalists) team won a NFL title in 2001 and while it was be being there on the hill beating gslway… It felt a bit like winning the plate trophy rather than the real cup. Galway went on to win the real deal that season and we fell away until 2004. So I don’t believe that winning a NFL does all that much for a team, not unless it has a lot of new players or is early in its ‘life cycle’ which this squad isn’t.

    Instead I’d like to see us blood new players. Our high mileage players need a proper rest. This had been a very long campaign on top of 5 previous lengthy ones. Yes some of them are still 27 years old or less but I’d be concerned for their mental freshness and appetite. Take a risk on it on youth…If we get relegated then I can live with that. If we aren’t good enough to bounce quickly back the following year then we needn’t be concerned about going near a Sam Maguire.

  22. Maigh Eo Go Deo says:

    Durcan definitely deserves our MOTM. He will be a serious asset for us over the next few years. He has proved himself in the SF twice last year and twice this year in the final, so that experience will boost his confidence.

  23. Yes Maigh Eo go Deo… Durcan has now earned his place on the team and Harrison too has shown he he is no nonsense corner back. Quietly gets the job done.

    We have plenty of good young defenders in the pipeline.

    I’d like to see another midfielder progress next season. Our u21 midfield partnership for 2017 could be Duffy from Balla and Ruane from Breaffy. I for one will be very keen to see how they both fare plus anyone else…SOS and Parsons will be 30+ next year.

    Upfront is where we need most work and an injection of new talent. We don’t need a complete overhaul. Far from it but we need more work…2016 was a year where our defence improved but arguably to the detriment of our attack. The latter issue must be resolved otherwise we’ll win nothing.

  24. Fantastic piece by John Cuffe. It is having the courage to make decisions like this that make a manager great. Mistakes are a natural consequence. Some decisions work and some don’t. Yesterday was not a good day for Rob but he also has courage. They say a forward only has to be lucky once to be a hero and a back only unlucky once to be a villian. Rob has had many good days and some not so good. He’ll have good days again. It was really great to see the team rally around him and we should remember that while we are disappointed this is not the worst of times. It is the best of times. We have a team of heros who face every adversity and take it on. I’m proud to be from mayo and proud of everyone on this team. Mayo Abu.

  25. walterwhite says:

    I appreciate what you are saying John and there are many many small things that happen in a game that eventually add up to the end result.

    I feel immensely sorry for Robbie Hennelly, we all make mistakes. I do however feel it was a really bad call by management. I have always felt David Clarke was the better all round goalkeeper and granted there were a few shaky moments at the end of the drawn game but overall I felt he had a really good match, and up to that point was favourite to get an all-star. The way the game has gone the kickout is now immensely important but there is much more to the job than that and that’s where I feel David Clarke has a definite edge on Robbie. No pun intended here but I always felt we were in safer hands with D C. And where I feel really bad for Robbie, I do feel that errors yesterday and in 2013 have possibly cost us not one but two all Ireland finals.

    The management team gave got so much right this year that it is incredibly disappointing that such a huge call backfired horribly. Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing and if it had worked out differently we would all be praising the genius decision. I dont think the comparison with Alex Ferguson in 1990 is a particularly good one as unlike Jim Leighton I do not think David Clarke should have been even close to getting dropped. Management I am sure will learn from their mistakes and in fairness there have been more good decisions this year than bad.

    I really do feel that we are getting so close. It’s a horrible thought that this group may not win an all Ireland. They have given us so many great days and have given absolutely everything for the cause.We have some really good young lads ready to make the breakthrough and if we can find those extra few inches as John put it and minimize the mistakes we are there.

    Personally I feel Dublin may find it difficult to go three in a row and if the lads can find the will to go to the well just one more time it may be just enough. Yesterday along with all the other bleak days will make it that bit sweeter when it happens.

    It’s going to take a few days for the hurt to go away, only a couple of hours sleep was had last night such was the sheer sadness of having been so close again but yet still no reward for our endeavors. Slowly tho I am coming round and I am sure come 2017 I will be ready to go again and maybe just maybe we will find that extra little thing that is required. I will sleep that little bit sounder with that thought tonight.

  26. Maigh Eo Go Deo says:

    This could be up for deletion, but I’m disgusted to see comments like “everyone in my company (probably in the stadium) was shocked at the Hennelly decision.” No wonder he f*cked up with those negative vibes around the stadium, instead of supporting him 100% clowns decided to question the change and this probably affected his performance. He should have been able to deal with it, but why turn on your own man at such a crucial game.

  27. Conchubhair says:

    John machale, how do you conclude that young O’Shea warrants ‘his rightful place’ beside his ‘two immense brothers?’ The best that can be said of the lad at this stage is he tries hard. He doesn’t look anything near a natural forward however. Seamus tried hard yesterday but got absolutely roasted for pace and power by MacAuley in the last 15 minutes. Time to look for fresher and more versatile midfielders now.

  28. walterwhite says:

    Maigh Eo go Deo, there is a huge difference in being surprised and disagreeing with a decision and turning on your own man as you put it. For you to suggest that the mayo fans were in any way responsible for his performance could be at best described as ignorant.

  29. Conchubhair says:

    Maigh Eo go Deo: We presume that Hennelly has not got powers of telepathy so unless he felt a lack of confidence coming from around his own dressing room, his only source of doubt was from self. The big question is did he have long enough to get his head around it, ie. at what point in the week did Rochford reach his fateful decision? If Rochford made or only told Hennelly about it the day or two beforehand, then that truly is shocking.

  30. Maigh Eo Go Deo says:

    I didn’t say “the mayo fans”. I was implying that some Mayo fans like Murt and the people he mentioned who were in his company and were “horrified” at the Hennelly decision weren’t doing Hennelly’s confidence any good.

  31. Maigheogodeo. .EVERYONE was shocked by that Hennelly decision..You can argue that til the cows come home and it won’t change it..Don’t for a minute think the crowd affected his game..That blame cannot be laid at our door..

  32. Hennelly had one if those days that keepers might only have once every season or two. Unfortunately for all of us, his happened yesterday. Rem in the 13 final he pulled off some tremendous saves! Let’s not forget that too.

    Rochford took a risk. It didn’t work but I’m sure he nor any o his management team forsaw the mistakes Hennelly would make. Rochford can’t be blamed for a keeper failing to catch a routine, bread & butter ball with no opposition player within yards of him, something I’m sure he’d deal with 19 times out of 20.

    Costly errors lost us an All Ireland… 1st day and replay. That’s that. We move on.

  33. Backdoor Sam says:

    Well done John I enjoyed your article they’re are bits I don’t agree with but your entitled to your opinion. I don’t agree with Rochford’s decision to start Hennelly but he’s the manager and the manager has to be allowed manage and make the decisions. I feel sorry for Hennelly we have all had bad days at work at home in our personal lives etc but we are lucky 82 and a half thousand people don’t get to see our mistakes. What’s done is done and what’s lost is lost and gone forever. I still have faith in Rochford and his backroom team and I pray to God Buckley stays around. Our defence and tackling was immense again yesterday

  34. On the goalie issue here my opinion; the three scores that Dublin got late in the drawn game are being proposed here as the reason why D.Clarke was dropped for the replay, and it looks like that’s true. This was at best looking at the symptom rather than the root cause. The root cause was D.Clarke had no >50% option i.e. he had no ‘out ball’ to release the pressure. B.Moran should have been moved to Mid field and at worst competed for position 60m away from out goal.
    David Clarke; I can’t feel but so so sorry for him, close to MOM the first day (3 super saves and also saved a point) to being scapegoated and in the process has probably done him out of an all-star award and the team an AI.

  35. Maigh Eo Go Deo says:

    Everyone having a go at me over the Hennelly topic just asnswer this: Did it do his confidence any good when people felt that they were “horrified” at his inclusion. Many of these people were at the game and I’m pretty sure that he could sense the negative vibes around the stadium.

  36. [Deleted]. A decision was made and it cost us the title. Stephen Rochford is to blame and there is no apology you or anyone else can make for it. This was defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

  37. John Kelly says:

    Every Mayo supporter I met before, during and after the match were horrified by the goalkeeper decision Before the match they hoped it was just a wild rumour like the one about Cillian which thankfully did prove false. However they also hoped the manager knew what he was doing and that it would work out. Sadly it didn’t but that is now history

  38. Croydon Mayo says:

    Long time enjoyer of this site and first time poster. Glad to feel close to the Mayo clan over the past raw 24 hours.

    The weight of our own history makes it harder, but so far this decade it’s been some ride. Tough to take, but it was tougher in all the lean years when we weren’t really contenders for the big prize. It feels now like we have such a strong group, with potential talent coming through, and a dynamic management team who will have learned a lot from their first year. I wish they didn’t get it wrong yesterday, but I admire them for identifying an issue and taking brave action. They’ve got this and other issues that are still not resolved, but have a bit of open road ahead now to make it better. If we continue from here in a similar vein and remain this competitive, then it’s exciting to think about next year and the many after that.

  39. cosa bana says:

    Great piece John.
    We lost by inches and, for the losers, every mistake, all the “could have, should have” stuff will be thrown back at us by the hindsight geniuses. Had Clarke played and Dublin taken a couple of scores off his kickouts, then the mantra would have been “we knew at the end of the drawn game that Dublin had sussed his kickouts, why didn’t we do anything about it.” Had lady luck shifted an inch or two our way and Dublin lost by a point, then Gavin would now be lambasted for the wholesale changes he made between the two games. C’est la vie.
    The hindsight geniuses will tell us how we bottled it, how many mistakes we made, and how Dublin are a far better team before crowning it by giving them 7 or 8 all stars and us probably about 3.

    Forget them. Over two games Dublin were ONE POINT better than us. On the scoreboard – the only measurable stat that matters – it equates to 3%. That’s the margin we need to improve by. We significantly changed our playing style this year and it’s still not fully cooked. Our defence is much better, but transition to attack is too laboured, we need to be cleverer as to how we play the long ball (and yes we DO need the long ball as an option), and we need to improve our kickout strategy (which has been a problem all summer).
    There’s a lot more than 3% just there, never mind the younger players we have fighting for places. For the first time we have a manager whose game management and tactical understanding is up there with the best (one mistake not withstanding), and we have a squad with a proven ability to take the knocks and come back harder and hungrier, again and again.

    Living in the east of the Country, I know the slagging, and far worse, the “poor Mayo”s will start tomorrow at work, but so what. We WILL pick ourselves off the floor, we WILL come back and fight again, and one of these years we WILL win the damn thing! I don’t feel like a pitiable loser anymore, I feel proud to come from a County that never gives up, that comes back time and again, and that supports their team the way we do. I thank this squad that has given us that, and I thank everyone that has kept the faith.

    FFS folks, we out shouted the Dubs in their home ground two weeks ago!
    We have so much to be proud of!!!

  40. Maigh Eo Go Deo says:

    Thank you John Kelly. That just confirms my suspicions, as I wasn’t lucky enough to get a ticket for the game. I say shame on every “supporter” who was horrified by the decision.

  41. NiallMc1983 says:

    Eh conchubhair what did you expect, seamus was after busting his ass for 60 mins and Michael dara came on fresh, by the way Michael dara isn’t the most versatile of midfielders anyway. It’s funny that so many ppl are on defending hennelly but so many are so quick to criticise the o sheas.

    Matthew Ruane will be a great midfielder however he is a fair bit off in terms on strength and conditioning for that position yet.

  42. I’ll answer your question Maigheogodeo…A goalkeeper in an All Ireland final should be so in the zone that the “vibes”should not affect him..Whether supporters agreed yesterday with decision or not I feel they were fully behind the team.

  43. Spot on muckle. At last some sense. Don’t agree the decision was the only cause of our defeat but let’s call a spade a spade it had a major bearing on the result.

    Maigheo go deo maybe I don’t need to comment on your posts, as surely you can sense my negative vibes towards your nonsensical argument.

  44. ……..keyboard warriors making so called armchair expert judgement on our players and management team. For who’s benefit like!

    Dillon starting, McLoughin sweeping, Barry Moran Defending different master strokes all season long. Snatching defeat from victory, give me a bloody break!!!!!!!! The intuition shown from the sideline rightly reflects the fact that we have some of the best footballing brains in the country as part of our management structure. We would never have been so close to Dublin in both games without the master strokes from our sidelines.

    Have a bit of bloody respect. I’ll tell ya what our fans are often 16th man and are the best. Then there is this under current of naysayers that pop up, people who just need to blame, blame to make them selves better, as its better than to accept the direct pain of defeat. This is not for any benefit to the team, but a personal whine and release a bit of steam. Do it too the mirror.

    As Rochford said tonight ‘the work starts next month’

    #Victory17

  45. One hop one solo says:

    The mistake wasn’t starting hennelly management had their reasons, the real mistake was not taking him off at half time when it was clear that his performance wasn’t what was at the level required

  46. Conchubhair says:

    Maigh Eo go Deo: Is it known when Rochford made his decision known to the team? I like most only heard shortly before the game. How then would the opinions of supporters in the stand who only just found out have affected Hennelly? And why shame? They felt an injustice was done.

  47. Maigh Eo Go Deo says:

    Regina – I never said that it shouldn’t have an affect on his performance, but I suspect that it didn’t help his confidence, all of these “supporters” being horrified at his inclusion. My point is that a lot of “supporters” don’t know how to conduct themselves. Why would anyone be horrified at Hennelly’s inclusion. On his day he is just as good as Clarke, but his head was obviously not in the right place yesterday. There’s a time and a place for being critical of management and certain players, during an All Ireland final is not the time or the place for that.

  48. It was always going to be the case if Dublin were held goalless that we would win. I don’t think that they threatened our goal at any stage thanks to the efforts of the defence. Was Robbie called on to make any save. The only goal they got was the penalty. Sure we could have been better in attack. But Dublin never got inside our defence unlike the drawn game. All we had to do was make sure that Dublin did not breach our defence as per the drawn game. How many shots did Robbie have to save?. And Robbie is a good shot blocker. But it was wrong to ask him to come in cold into the final. I fear the greatest injustice of all has been done to Robbie Hennelly and for that I am extremely sad.

  49. The time for recriminations are over. We have to go again and we will go again. I have to say in my opinion this was the best prepaired mayo team that i have seen. But and this is not a criticism of any player or management team, we do have limitations that have not been rectified and need to finally sorted if if we are going to win the big one. We need a full back, a dynamic midfielder and a least 2 more scoring fowards one of which will be a specialised freetaker. Before everyone jumps on my back im not having a go at coc hes a legend. I pointed out this 3 years ago and its costing us. I hope that the likes of O Donoghue, Akram,Ruane, Loftus, Irwin,Douglas are given a chance to make the grade as I think and hope they will advance us. I finally hope that Alan Freeman can be given a right go. I know hes had injuries and im not privie about what is going on behind the scenes but the man scores goals which we badly lack. I thank the players and management for giving their all, we’re behind ye always!

  50. Rewatching Hennelly had one bad kickout. The other kickouts Dublin pressed on and punched the ball. Dont think there was any open option for him to kick to.
    Has anyone thought maybe he lost that high ball in the floodlights? Just a thought.
    Cluxton had two howlers of kickouts in the first half.

  51. maigheo go deo. that is just a stupid comment. Are we now to conclude that hennelly is telepathic as well.

  52. Castlebarred says:

    Of all you keyboard warriors, I’ll ask again where were you all At 4.30 yesterday? Were you all chanting mayo mayo as the team were listening in the dressing room?

  53. Huey 2016 says:

    [Deleted.]

  54. Maigheogodeo. .we are going around in circles here..
    1We are entitled to be surprised or “horrified”as you put it..It was a surprising decision.
    2 As supporters there are few in Ireland that conduct themselves better..you should have walked in my shoes past Millmount hse yesterday ..You wouldn’t be half as quick to criticise us then.
    3 and finally but most importantly if his head was not in the right place then whose fault is that??The supporters I suppose!!

  55. facetheball says:

    I really think even even if Hennelly had not made the mistake we would not have won the game anyway. I never really thought we were in a winning position in either game. The hand brake is always put on by this team anytime is was time to push on and hurt the opponent especially Dublin. We had this in both games. It has happened in every game Mayo played this year right back to the Galway game where we were well on top at half time and fell very defensive 2nd half with disastrous consequence.
    Same against Kildare, Tyrone, Tipp and unfortunately against the Dubs.
    If we persist next year with this plan of containment it will ultimately have the same outcome despite all the heroic defending. We did not get away with it against the Dubs and were nearly caught by Tyrone.
    It turns out the Dublin forwards were not all that great after all and who knows if we had played all our forwards in actual forward positions what might have happened. Who knows what scores Kmac, Doherty and Jason Doc might have racked up if they were left as forwards. AOS might have been more effective as well if there was more support with him.
    So if we do the same next year again it will get it us so far(maybe) but we will not win Sam. Far too much respect was paid to Dublin forwards which cost us dearly.

  56. Maigh Eo Go Deo says:

    Murt – You’re the second person to mention telepathy in relation to my opinion on Hennelly. Do you need telepathy to hear negative murmurs and moans from the crowd every time you touch the ball…….I’m saying a certain section of supporters let Hennelly down yesterday. It’s a controversial one but I’ve been to many Mayo games and I’ve witnessed such negative comments from our own fans. Only last week I read a comment by Castlebarred (please correct me if I’m wrong) about a Mayo fan sitting beside him during the drawn game making negative remarks about AOS and Castlebarred told him to stay positive. All I’m saying is everyone needs to support the team when we’re there at the bloody game and vent our frustration afterwards. It doesn’t do the players any good when our own fans start turning on them.

  57. Conchubhair says:

    Niall Mc: Seamus O’Shea tried hard but over two games in my opinion he doesnt have the speed or legs to be a first choice. Thats not a criticism its just reality. The brother hasnt delivered on the big days either. Thats my opinion. This is a discussion forum where opinions are shared and debated. Where does it say Bulltoe that this web site precludes honest and valid pinions that challenge management decisions. When did that become a sacrilage?

  58. Cosa bana, thank you for that post. Your words will keep me going over the next few months until we go again. Like we always do. We will be back and these fine men will get their reward.

  59. Right, we’re clearly moving on from the sorrow phase to the anger one. In light of this, I have to ask everyone to cut out that sniping at each other, at supporters in general, at specific players and management. It should be possible to have a civilised debate without having to have a pop at the same time. I don’t want to start carding people but I will if I have to and a few of you are sailing close to the wind now.

    Muckle – I deleted the first bit of your earlier comment, which was unnecessarily rude and confrontational.

    Huey2016 – I deleted all of your comment (such as it was) as it was just an attack on Stephen Rochford, with no supporting arguments made.

    Maigh Eo Go Deo – you’re being overly critical of others and seem to be spoiling for a row. Cool the jets or else I’ll cool them for you.

    Regina – I deleted that bit of your comment as you requested. The right move, I think.

    Conchubair – of course you’re entitled to share and debate opinions and to question decisions of management. The key point is that the debate is fair and reasonable and once it is that’s fine.

    As you were, folks.

  60. Conchubhair – I thought yesterday was the best I ever saw Seamie O’Shea play for Mayo. He was my man of the match. I thought he had good first half in drawn game as well. I agree he was v poor in the second half of that game

  61. maigheo go deo. i do hear you on that and there is nothing annoys me more than negative comments towards players at matches. Anyway Im not making any further comment on this. In the final analysis as i said before i feel privileged to have shared this time with this team. They have given us such a roller coaster ride for the the past 5 years. 2017 roller coaster here we come

  62. 14allnall41 says:

    We lost by a point that won’t change.
    I can see a lot of positives for next year management hadn’t a lot of time to work everything out this year but set up one hell of a defence,the new guys really stepped up this year corn durcan harry.think c.oshea Reegan still need a bit more guidance and I’m sure management will introduce a game plan were players can make the transition from attack and defence with out burning up so much energy.The only thing I’d fear is we put to much focus on just playing Dublin,there is a few other teams that could catch us out.think rochford is the man to bring us forward and god knows we are not far away
    Looking forward to next year already.

  63. Hi Mayonaze: When I said Conor O’Shea had earned his ‘rightful’ place, I simply meant he has earned the right to be on the team by his display in the second half. He could be ‘blooded’ in the league to find his natural position. Certainly his work in mopping up around midfield and driving on impressed me.

    I also thought Seamie had a tremendous game for the first 50 minutes. He doesn’t seem to last the full 70 minutes – nor does Colm Boyle. But, boy, do those two boys put their lives on the line. Seamie does most of his work around the half back line and drives on from there.

    Like Aidan, it is up to management to make sure they get the best from Seamie. I suggest Stephen Rochford take a leaf from Gavin’s book and thus introduce fresh legs earlier in the game and not wait until players noticeably tire. McAuley’s fresh legs were enough to overrun our midfield and half back line because by then our boys were ready to drop – and yet they never did. They left every ounce of their guts on that field.

    I just hope David Clarke hasn’t lost his chance of an All-Star because of his omission the last day, and that the totally unwarranted black card does not deprive Lee Keegan of his so well deserved fourth All-Star.

  64. Maigh Eo Go Deo says:

    Willie Joe – My only reaction to that is a facepalm. I won’t be spoken to like a child so go ahead and “cool the jets” for me.

  65. centerfield says:

    I think there are some similarities through all of Mayos big game losses over the last 20 years some of which can be addressed:
    1) Management making decisions that appear illogical from the outside
    2) Lack of a consistent inside forward
    3) Half forward line not winning enough breaks, covering enough ground, scoring enough
    4) Some players underperforming due to pressure
    5) Concession of goals and inability to score enough goals

    I believe in the next 2 years there is still a window of opportunity. This Dublin team will definitely decline I believe with the age profile of some of there key men. If we can refresh the team with some of the players from the outstanding minor/u21 team, get Cafferkey/Cunniffe back in the fold we can give ourselves another good shot at this

  66. Conchubhair says:

    Cod: I have to say Seamus O Shea showed a lot of heart. He didnt stop trying. I’m only thinking his best days are behind him. There is no shame in that.

  67. Huey 2016 says:

    [Deleted].

  68. Just to add so that it aint missed. SOS kickpassing was his best ever. One of our best kickpassers on the day.
    Harrison must be our most improved player.
    Durcan has just grown n grown.
    Diarmuid had a very good game. I personally dont think his current role is sustainable physically. I’d love to see him played at six. Not as a man marker but to defend that area which has been a bit open. We would then have him more central to help launch counter attacks.

  69. Maigh Eo Go Deo – I’m not really interested in your reaction to be perfectly honest. If you want to continue commenting here you’ll abide by the rules so you can either stop this provocative nonsense or else it’s the sin bin for you. It’s your choice.

    Huey2016 – try again! It’s the “not there yet in management” bit that I’m not happy with. He managed a team that was only beaten by a single point after two All-Ireland final matches against a team that everyone said in advance was the best in living memory. I’d say that’s deserving of a bit more respect. Sure, criticise aspects of his performance but be reasonable, and factual, about it.

  70. Huey 2016 says:

    Ok WJ
    It has been a long day.I do not think that Stephen made a wise call in terms of the goalkeeper and as manager the buck stops with him.It was a mistake and we all make those.I think more game time could have been given to other players also at an early stage.I am saying nothing that hundreds are not saying
    I love this team and all they have done but we need surely to be honest in our appraisal of matches.
    In any event I am not going to argue the toss further.Those are my views and you may feel differently.

  71. Centrefield… Cunniffe was a very good player but is well past it. I don’t see him playing intercounty again. Ger Caff definitely has fuel in the tank to go again.

  72. That’s fine, Huey2016 – I’ve no problem with criticisms being made and the way you’ve done it this time is perfectly okay. Thanks for sticking with the process!

  73. mike heveran says:

    No matter how good you are at what you do ,
    even in sport you have to have some Luck, MAYO got no F’cking luck yet again yesterday , NO MAYO PLAYER SET OUT TO MAKE MISTAKES. we have a good management team that will do their best for MAYO football . I am sure a lot of people who knock players are the ones who go to very few Mayo games or when they do sit in croke park yesterday as spectators without a sound from them. Your supporters can be make the difference as the dubs proved in the last week but that takes effort so be there to support MAYO all the way they will need it in the future.

  74. Deirdre Dee says:

    As a louth native (married to Mayo man) I only get to follow my team 2/3 times a year in championship , believe you me that is disheartening, however I do have the luxury of also following Mayo which I have done for the past twenty years, coming from a county dominated by soccer I envy you guys as I much prefer Gaelic to soccer it’s much more physical, tactical and skillful all that saidI really believe that one day soon this Mayo team will do it and hopefully I will be there to witness it , mayo winning Sam maguire is the closest I will get to seeing it .

    I have had faboulous days out following this team and I believe there are more to follow.

    Yesterday was very emotional and I also found it hard to fight the tears but I believe some day I will drop a tear again , please god tears of elation!

    I do think they need more scoring forwards .

    Onwards and upwards, it will happen as your county is dominated by gaelic and the money/sponsorship is behind ye , all the ingredients are there it all just has to knit together and I believe it will !!

    Up Mayo

  75. JammerCee says:

    Long time follower of the blog and first time poster.

    Have to say I am so so sickened by the defeat yesterday but this time, unlike 2013, I feel like we are just millimeters behind Dublin and that we have a core of young players that will make a big step up next year. Stephen Rochford made massive inroads with this team with just a very short time before the league, who knows what he can do with a proper pre-season behind him.

    I thought yesterday that the Mayo midfield pairing was solid but with the emergence of Fenton in the Dublin team I feel like Mayo will need someone with both a huge engine and the height to win balls out of the sky. I don’t know who in the county is along these lines but I do think that there is a lot of potential in Jason Gibbons if he can get fit and plenty playing time in again before the league.

  76. Twas not us that need the lifting I suppose. Most of us here are young enough and able enough to be on here and talk about it. We will look for next year. And then the next. I only feel sorry for my friends and family that felt the same only to be taken from us. I look at an older member of my family who is in Ill health. He told me this was the last chance for him to see it. And deep down I think he is right. I watched old men unwilling to talk to anyone last night. They probably are thinking the same thing too. After the game yesterday I seen a young boy about 10/12 crying his heart out inconsolable. I told him our time will come. Unfortunately it reminded me of 1989 when I too cried with the uncontrollable hurt I felt. My grandfather, God rest him told me to cheer up you have your life in front of you they will win it soon. Now 27 years on it still hurts when we lose But not as much. when the whistle went yesterday I turned to my cousin and we both just smiled. As we made our way out we just talked about our journey home and how best to get into it. Nothing could be said that we have not said before. I said on a previous post we just needed that little bit of luck to come our way on an All Ireland’s Final day. Luck just like what Dublin got when Hennelly dropping his guard right on that moment. Luck like shots from close range didn’t go over or fell short. Of course someone shot me down saying if your relying on luck then you might as well forget it. Every sport that was ever played rely on luck from time to time. Especially football when it’s the bounce of a ball that can win or lose you a game. The late great Arnold Palmer once said The more I practice, the luckier I get. Too many times yesterday we let our forward line get herded into the corner trying to get a pass off to a free man to knock over only for the ball to get overturned and nothing came of it. They were the times I was hoping that someone Moran O’Shea O’Connor just one of them would say fk it and hit a low driving ball at the Dublin goal and maybe just maybe we could have made our own luck. A penalty for a late challenge an own goal ect anything could happen just like anything could happen when a bad kick for a point from Dublin ended in them getting a penalty. No matter we will move on and forget it. Hopefully the team can do the same and give us the great excitement again next year. Win or lose they have done us proud.

  77. Well we all no now that it was a horrendous decision to switch goalies.Nobody could have forseen what was going to happen but if management had the bravery to make a decision like this then they should have the balls to reverse it when it clearly wasn’t working.It’s Rochfords job ultimately to make these calls selectors or no selectors but this can’t be said to be the only reason we are not now All Ireland champions, defensively we have become so strong and organised but the transition of ball from defense to attack is so slow all year, we are made to work too hard for scores and relying on winning frees.Free kicks don’t win games, forwards queuing up for man of the match proformances do…..

  78. Backdoor Sam says:

    First Monday in October it will get easier after today once we re live it in the national papers and the Western and the Mayo News tomorrow.

  79. MaigheoGalinGaillimh says:

    Costa Bana – that is a great post. It really lifted me, finding today the worst :-(. I love that you have mentioned the one point as 3% – at the end of the day it looks like that Dublin team were just about that much better, 1 point. Hopefully we can improve on the areas you pointed out and that will be 5% improvement to get us over the line & stop the hopes of 3-in-a-row for the Dubs.
    The team haven’t been given a chance all summer, Tyrone – a lot of people would’ve said Tipp could have given us a surprise. We will never be given a chance either I don’t think until our day finally comes.
    I thought the support was immense both days, I think we the supporters have improved so much & I hope we can keep it up in 2017.
    Anyway back to reality I spose & listening to the horrible begrudgers here that pretended they were behind us all the way coming up to the game.
    MAIGHEO go Deo

  80. walter kilcullen says:

    The greatest injustice was to David Clarke and not Robert Hennelly in the first instance.

    It was obvious to all that our Number 16 was not performing in the 1st half and I suggested (with confidence) to the great Mayo supporters nearby, at half time, that our Number 1 would be gracing the pitch for the 2nd half. Alas he did but it was later to clean up the mess left behind.

    An poor call by an otherwise excellent manager. I hope Steven Rochford will learn from this monumental mistake and will remain to lead us to the promised land.

    Enjoyed John Cuffes guest piece but don’t agree with him on the ‘goalie’ issue.

    Let’s all ‘Keep the faith’. 2017 beckons ?

  81. Gone South says:

    I can’t understand the logic if this article. It’s basically trying to justify a poor management decision. Everyone I spoke to before the game (all former players) agreed that it made absolutely no sense to change the goaley for an All Ireland Replay. Clark was playing well and had a good game in the drawn all Ireland. A couple of bad kickouts is no reason to change the most important man on the pitch. It wasn’t a brave decision by the management. It was a poor decision that had probably cost us an All Ireland. David Clarke must be absolutlely fuming at the management. Players put in great effort all year and I have nothing but admiration for them all. However, this is the only time since 96 that we had a genuine chance to win the All Ireland and we shot ourselves in the foot.

  82. pebblesmeller says:

    I have purposely kept away to settle the blood pressure return to something resembling normality. Firstly, I want to thank the management, players, backroom and logistics teams, the players families etc. for giving us a wonderful season of ups and downs.
    I agree with you Backdoor Sam, after today it will get easier. Slowly, very slowly it will get easier. The winter fires will sooth our broken hearts. Our pain will ease and our spirits will lift as sure as night follows day. We will not be broken. Nor will we (the players, the supporters or the county) be defined by this. We are Mayo. We WILL BE BACK because that’s what we do. Always remember, that the darkest of the night is just before the dawn. The world will still spin on it’s axis even though this morning we wish we could halt its rotation and, like Sky plus, wind things back to the start and maybe do things differently. But, we all know that’s not how life works. Sport can be cruel and life can be so much crueler. So, this morning and this week, let’s keep things in perspective. Chin up, shoulders back and chest out.
    I have often wondered what it would be like NOT to have a love for Mayo GAA. Imagine not giving a care as to how our teams (not only our senior team) do? Imagine the vastly reduced stress levels in your life! The free Sundays to do whatever takes your pleasure! The 000’s of kms less on your car and 000’s of € more in your pocket. The blissful unawareness of the tension, turmoil and ticket hunts that are part and parcel of life as a Mayo football supporter! The absence of the gut-wrenching heart brake we (players & supporters) all feel this morning! Not having to look at your 3 young kids bawling their eyes out at the final whistle on Sunday! Not having to see the realization in the eyes of our elder generation that maybe, just maybe, they are not going to see Sam in Mayo before their day is called!
    I have thought about all that and realized what a boring empty life that would be for me. I was brought to games as a young ‘un and sat on a cushion on top of the handbrake between the two front seats of my fathers car. The car jam packed with fanatical men all heading to Carlow to watch a div 3 league game. I was lucky enough to be in the very last row of seats in the top deck of the old Hogan stand in ’85 rattling the sheets of galvanize with the “Mayo Mayo” chant. I, like tens of thousands of others, was bred into it and lucky to have it that way. There isn’t another county, or place, on this planet that I wish I was from. Being a Kerry or Dublin supporter is easy. To be a Mayo supporter you need to have more. You need to be made of sterner stuff. Now my mates and I are bringing our young ‘uns to shout and roar and cry at Mayo games and the circle continues. They too, in time, will realise that they are lucky to be from Mayo. Following our beloved green and red doesn’t get any easier but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Always remember, there are 28 or 29 other counties that would love to be in our position. We will be back.
    Hon Mayo.

  83. Super post, Pebbles, just the kind of words we need to see this morning. My eleven year-old – born in Dublin, once a Dub supporter but now 100% with us – cried his eyes out too on Saturday at full-time in Croke Park but this morning he was off on his bike to school (Diarmuid Connolly’s alma mater so as blue as they come) with his Mayo training top on him. I think he has a bit of that sterner stuff you talk about.

  84. Backdoor Sam says:

    There’s a woman who works beside me she’s blessed she asked me this morning does Lee Keegan play for Mayo or Dublin it’s happy for her today she feels no pain

  85. Just for laughs, did some sums last night.

    133km short of covering 7,000km this year following Mayo teams.

    That’s a lot of diesel and chicken fillet rolls.

  86. Pebblesmeller, you have me crying again! But you are right. I often look at my sister and wonder would it be easier to be her with no interest in GAA or even Mayo GAA. There was not a bother on her after the match while the other 6 in my family were devastated! Don’t know how she developed no interest. Maybe she is luckier now but not the rest of the year. I couldn’t live without it. My only regret ever is that I didn’t play myself. That is why my two girls will get a chance as soon as they are old enough. First will start in January at age 4 and I’m sure I’ll have to help out while my 2 year old runs amock on the sideline. I can’t wait! A new chapter for me and another run at Sam with the main men in my life!

  87. Only prob is my kids will be Kildare girls but I know they will have Mayo in their hearts because of me. Even if I was asked this morning for a ‘blue top’!

  88. corick bridge says:

    Well written post as always John,the pain is no easier now than in 81,85 89 ,96 ,97 or all the other ones in Tuam,Salthill,how many times do we have to go to well,to get the luck that Meath had in ,96,or the completely biased ref in96 or against Kerry had in Limerick,they say you make your own luck,and I would agree with that,so we must be due a large amount of luck soon.On the match I believe that overall Dublin was slightly the better team,and congratulations to them and their supporters,Martin the Dub and Jaden who always gives us their best wishes,also the other outside posters who may see something that we don’t and maybe more impartial,on to the management I believe that we have the brightest young manager out there and hope the management team stick around for next year,did they make a mistake,that is a matter of opinion,in hindsight it would appear so,but I believe that they have at least four or five people doing stats in the stands,so I would assume that all this was taking into consideration before they decided to make a change,it is very easy to see what should be afterwards,but I would not blame anyone for the decision,we were well beaten at midfield the first day,we shaded the last why,we have two very good goalkeepers,and it must have been a hard call all year,it is stupid to say he had no play all year,he would have faced some very good players in training,and was released back to the club to play in the championship.i hope we all get behind him for next year. We need to give management and team some time to recover, and hopefully most of them will give it another go, with the youth coming through we have another chance to get that cup, whilst everyone is entitled to their opinion, I feel a lot of players get a tough time from some posters, in the last couple years we have the goalkeeper s the full back Donie, the O Sheas, Jason, and several others get criticism, while they may have had some games where they not hit the high standards that they have set for themselves, we will not win an all Ireland without them, thak you Willie Joe for keeping this site going, hopefully next year we will be celebrating

  89. You cannot defend the indefensible ,Clarke was the logical and form choice and dropping him so that Hennelly was cover to take long range free’s an injury carrying O’Connor ( 0-9 ) from frees could not take was a joke. Dublin have now beaten us twice by a point in recent finals and Hennelly has to shoulder the blame for goals in both matches

  90. pebblesmeller says:

    W.J. he’s a hardy young lad if he’s heading in to the hornets nest wearing a Mayo top! Fair play to him. That is EXACTLY the sort of defiance and determination we need now, more than ever.

  91. Sean Burke says:

    Does anyone feel the sympathy towards Hennelly expressed online is grand but what about David Clarke, where’s his sympathy.

  92. corick bridge says:

    Look I have sympathy for the whole squad and management, we were not out in January doing the hard yards, I think everyone in the squad deserves our sympathy, it could have been anyone who made a mistake, I don’t believe there is a lot between about twenty six or twenty seven of the squad, so to single out one is silly, we did not win midfield the first day, we did the second, so someone must have got the delivery right, I don’t want to call anybody, but it is unfair to say wrong decisions was made, even the best get it wrong sometimes, all I know is in almost sixty years of watching Mayo football this is the most proactive management I have seen, I am sure that they will be back stronger next year

  93. Sean Burke says:

    I’m not singling out anyone. I’m simply saying it was the wrong decision to drop a goalkeeper who was an 8/10 performance rating in championship till final. Do you not think it was bit bizarre of a decision to make for the final? Was it an attempt to try to prove genius by management. Anyway SR has been brilliant to that point imo. No reason they won’t be back in the mix next year but we do need changes to our forward play/culture .

  94. That was a great piece John up there with your high standard inputs. Decisions and hard call are the lot of those in decision making roles. There is no rule in saying you have to get them right all the time. We have a management team with balls. They had some data to back up the decisions that is good enough for me. I did not view the training sessions or visit any of the A v B games. Either did the vast majority of the contributors. So he are just being wise with the benefit of hinsight that’s all.

  95. Alf Stewart says:

    @Sean Burke.
    Agreed. I can’t imagine how Clarke and his family are feeling. Ballina is not a happy town today.

  96. Huey 2016 says:

    Well done John Cuffe.
    You have been on a rollercoaster all year and your thpughts are always honest and up front.Signof a great writer.

  97. @seanburke couldn’t agree more..Hope he stays on as he is definitely needed..Post mortems over at work pretty quickly this morning..We were all exhausted taking about by the time today came. .Thanks again Willie Joe for all your work over the past few days in particular..Can’t have been easy trawling through the blog..

  98. Without being too harsh this love in with hennelly is getting too much. My sympathy lies with with David Clarke. Just imagine that you are a goalkeeper who keeps a clean sheet against Kildare, Tyrone and Tipperary. Making vital saves against the last two teams. You play in an all Ireland final and again you make top class saves. You even prevent the opposition from
    Scoring a point in the the second half with a mighty leap. A few kick outs go awry but it doesn’t cost the team the game. Then you are selected as man of the match in the Irish indo and other national papers. You are slashed into odds of 1/4 on with paddy power for an all star. You are on cloud 9.

    Then the unthinkable happens. You are dropped because of a few kick outs that failed to reach your teammates. You don’t start but wish the best for your team mates. You then see your rival implode. Things go terribly for him and Clarke can’t do anything only watch. No change made at half time even though things could get worse. And they do because we know what happened next.

    The decision to drop clarkey was catastrophic. Some call it ballsy and brave. I call it crazy and bizarre. On Saturday morning when the news came through that rob hennelly was starting, many feared the worst. I don’t blame hennelly. The current set up should have known that for the big day we needed a safe pair of hands and someone who hadnt let us down. The decision to drop Clarke will never ever be forgotten.

    Will Clarke play again for Mayo? Wouldn’t blame him in the slightest if he doesn’t. I hope to God he does. Mayo needs David Clarke more than David Clarke needs Mayo. That’s the truth and last Saturday is prove.

  99. Well said Patriot not only is Robert Hennelly,s confidence shot to bits but so would David Clarke’s. How can he bring himself to come back stronger next year?Nobody would blame him if he walked, it would only be another repercussion of what you said was a bizarre decision.

  100. Pebblesmeller says:

    By the way John, I really enjoyed your piece. I actually turned to my mate before throw in and reminded him of the Fergie/Leighton scenario. It worked for Fergie but not for Rochford. Thems the breaks.

  101. I traveled from Auckand for the first game and for the replay did not receive the 50th birthday present I craved in the early hours of a stormy southern hemisphere morning. These words give me closure for another year. “Mayo the county has the men and women that will always keep us honest, always keep us to the front and when that day comes, those that went before – players, managers and mentors – will be mentioned in the credit roll at the end of that film.” Thank you John.

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