Time to take off the vow of silence

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With about eight minutes left in the drawn All-Ireland final I espied Maurice Deegan running the line in front of me. I had not passed heed on him prior to that.

One of the Dublin backroom team sidled up to him, like a guy starts chatting to you at the bus stop. Deegan smiled as he listened, one eye on the pitch, ears having no choice. Then Jim Gavin arrived over, more touchy-feely stuff.

Dublin were tired and it showed. If a doubtful line-ball was to be the decider, Dublin were making sure Maurice had their ear.

Little did they know at that moment but Deegan was pencilled in for the replay. Dublin, as the man says, had his ear. No need to go into the mega-bomb of character assassination that was visited upon Lee Keegan. And as the storm raged, Ciaran Whelan, Charlie Redmond and host of former Dublin players and commentators set fire to the media about Keegan and his mode of playing.

The quarter-final gave grist to this barrage of abuse. Micky Harte singled Keegan and Mayo out for mention. Harte I saw as a fair man who gave Mayo credit, he showed that all that matters to him is winning. In four championship matches since 2004 he has only beaten Mayo once, and that day we were robbed.

Amazingly, unchallenged, Harte proffered Seán Cavanagh as a victim, following our narrow quarter-final win over them. The man who ensured that the dreaded black card got birth.

Harte, the manager of a team with Ricey McMenamon and a few other daisy cutters on it, saw nothing wrong at painting Mayo as cynical. This, a county that has left a dirty taste in the mouths of players from Donegal, Tipperary and Mayo where no insult or slight is low enough. The press and media gave Mickey a free run but Keegan’s card was marked for the next matches.

The sight of Keegan looking up at Deegan’s black card after he was sent off will stay with me forever. A slight look of bemusement as much as to say “Surely you don’t buy that shit?” accompanied by a shrug of the shoulder and a manly march off the pitch.

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Photo: Newstalk

Dublin upped the ante but don’t believe for a moment that this was a last minute plan. The drawn semi-final of 2015 where Connolly was sent off saw them fight tooth and nail to clear their man.

They exhausted every appeal avenue in the GAA canon but took it a final further step where the verdict had many experienced legal practitioners scratching their heads. Dublin were showing every referee, county and official that you better dot every “i” and cross every “t” because if not, we will drag you through every corridor in Croke Park and further if necessary.

So, going out for the replay this year, two men had severe pressure on them. The referee had been bombarded by the chorus of Dubs about the bogey man from Mayo and so Lee had to execute every tackle perfectly or else he was gone.

He went, regardless of what we might think about the rights and wrongs of the decision to card him. Dublin sowed the seeds, watered them and then got their media pundits to propagate the narrative.

Jock Stein, when he took over Celtic, was annoyed at the persecution complex the club had. Referees had in for them, as did the Scottish Football Association, the Orange Men, the Glasgow media. Stein drove the negativity out the door. He told his team that if they were good enough, if they were far enough ahead, often enough, no one could thieve them. Not a referee, not the SFA, Rangers or the Orange Order.

As Dublin went to media war with Mayo, how did we respond? Before I answer let me point out that we had plenty of material but strangely had no-one getting the message across.

Instead The Sunday Game gave Ciaran Whelan and others a chance to slaughter us. Simply put, that was unethical in professional journalism. Whelan has every right to gut Mayo if he is the Dublin PRO, but Mayo were entitled to an equal rebuttal to Whelan’s comments. In failing to provide this, RTÉ and Whelan fell below the norms expected.

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Photo: SportsJoe

This week John Costello waxed wide and lyrical about the treatment given to Diarmuid Connolly. The Dublin boss cited an unnamed championship county that six times tried to get Connolly sent off before the throw-in this year. I believe in the interests of fair play, Costello is now duty bound to exonerate Mayo and name the county he is referring to or is it a shot in the dark at Mayo again?

This is what I don’t get, though, and fair play to John. It’s that he managed to keep a straight face whilst outlining this brutality meted out to one of his players. He deserves a medal. Philly MacMahon, Jonny Cooper, Small, MacAuley, MacCarthy … is he for a moment suggesting that those lads, like Brennan before them, are choir boys?

But, and here is the rub.The media with the exception of Colm Parkinson nodded like donkeys and never asked a question.

Last year’s semi-final saw Diarmuid O’Connor almost cut in two with a near leg breaker, Aidan O Shea suffered, ahem, “a clash of heads” with a Dublin player, while funnily enough Tom Parsons met the same fate a few months ago. Connolly had Keegan in a wrestler choke on the ground and then we’re the bad guys!

Jesus, John, what if one of your players got a broken jaw in front of 62,000 people in an All-Ireland semi-final and nobody from the opposite side were ever held accountable?

There is no doubt that we have the players to win an All-Ireland. However, nowadays you need to fight a media and PR war as well.

Brian Cody is a master. Most winning managers are happy to win, magnanimous to all. Cody, after Bubbles O’Dwyer had his equalising “score” chalked out by Hawk Eye, lacerated the referee who gave the free in the first place. Dublin began the defence of their All-Ireland possibly minutes after they won in October.

Alex Ferguson scared referees. Finger-stabbing at the watch, not enough time added on, too much time added on. Face puce with indignation, the referee and the officials got both barrels when needed and when Fergie saw it to his advantage.

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Photo: TalkSport

Eddie Jones took Japan on a splendid run in the Rugby World Cup. Japan in rugby would be seen as the Sligo or Carlow of that game. England came calling. Eddie publicly laid down who was boss, what the goal was. He was the boss and the goal is to win the next World Cup.

Thirteen straight wins, sacred cows gone and two teams in the squad. The number tens and nines were told to shed more pounds, modern rugby warfare needs strong but light men in action. Australia beaten four times in eight months, Michael Cheika reduced to ashes. “England beat us because they focused on our mistakes” said the once great coach. Read it again Michael … don’t make mistakes, then.

Have we the necessary in our armoury to conduct a PR war and use the media? Liam Horan certainly galvanised the troops at a vital time in the Keegan affair, Paul Cunnane deserves great credit for his articulate analysis and defending the home patch also for his excellent work as county PRO. But we need more help, the game has changed and we have got to keep up there.

RTÉ and Dublin need and use each other. Let’s not be afraid to call them out. I read a quote by our manager along the lines that those espousing the abuse of Keegan will have to live with their own consciences. Football and sport today has no conscience. We have the players, the manager has done a sterling job but we need to fight on a wider front and that front contains those damn inches.

Here’s hoping. Happy Christmas. By the way, thank you Willie Joe for this forum where we that love Mayo meet and show our true colours. We have much to be proud of.

127 thoughts on “Time to take off the vow of silence

  1. The one line that sticks out from your article for me John is that we had so much material and no messenger……A vow of silence when we needed to play fire with fire and ultimately the seeds were planted about Keegan long before the throw in for the replay.. and as for consciences well I’d sleep sounder at night with Sam in the west than have one of those to be honest…

  2. No messenger? What use is a messenger if there is nobody listening? And as the old adage goes “There are none so deaf as those who do not wish to hear”. When RTE editors are listening the numbers in Dublin outnumber thoise in Mayo. Same with Indo newspapers. So you could be shouting from the top of Croagh Patrick, Mweelrea and Nephin [More and Beg] and unless RTE and the Indo record and report you nobody will hear. [Same goes for Newstalk and other media. How many Irish Times are sold in Mayo? To people who are interested in GAA?]. So John, you are shouting from those mountain tops and like the man doing another operation into the wind it is all being blown back to you.

    I am surprised to find that nobody has bothered to comment on today’s report from Martin Brehony on Tom Cunniffe’s comments on last year’s managerial affair. Which, in my opinion, is a hell of a lot more relevant to Mayo GAA than John Costello’s comments. And, John, had you been running the line in an All Ireland final would you have been influenced by the bleatings of Jim Gavin etc as you appear to suggest Maurice Deegan was? [almost said Maurice Hickey, he of the Farmer’s Journal there].
    I suspect that you wou;ld say that you would not, that you are sterner stuff. At least I would like to think so of myself.

    I am surprised at Tom Cunniffe’s comments. And I am more surprised that he choose Martin Brehony as his medium. As he says he was part of the initial decision to seek change. Having walked away from the set up I think he should have chosen some way of “apologising” to Pat and Noel other than using the national media. Did he seek out Martin Brehony oor did Brehony seek him out? Would a personal communication with Pat and Noel not have been a better way? I suspect that Pat and Noel have moved on and while undoubtedly still disappointed I don’t think that they will be thankful for having the issue raised again. I don’t know if Tom Cunniffe has decided he is completely finished with Inter county football or not. I had hoped that he might have seen himself coming back into the set up after a year out but this article, I think, makes it much more difficult and unlikely.

  3. John Cuffe, pretty close to my own taughts re Dublin, but Dublin have since 2011 been the beneficiary of incredible latitude, be that the absolution of Reverend Fr Ger Brennan in that particular All Ireland final for what was beyond any doubt a straight Red offence perpetrated against Declan O’Sullivan,. That particular blatant failure by the referee in question let to Kevin McManimon equalising goal, ‘. going by a clearly concussed Declan O’Sullivan with impunity. They have since then managed to play every single match in Croke Park bar one, and on that occasion(first round of the championship 2016) Laois had to play the match in Nolan Park despite their opponents on the day Laois having a better and bigger home ground than Killkenny ..Just look at the HoHa Dublin are making out of playing a championship match outside of Croke Park for the first round of the championship in 2017,, it’s not right, imagine those poor Dublin players having to play a match, where you might even hear a coilte accent, mind boggling how Dublin and the blatant biased Dublin media, RTE et al manage to ignore the fact, and continue to romance the greatness of a team that never had to play against a worthy opponent without the dice being loaded in their favour . In 2013 an attempt at a point by Bernard Brogan in the second half of the All Ireland final Versus Mayo which looked clearly wide on TV after several viewings was not brought to the attention of the ‘Hawk_eye, same again in the 2016.All Ireland final, first attempt at a point of the second half (an attempted free from Dean Rock) clearly wide. There is more, but I feel a headache coming on,. Let’s just accept the fact it’s just NOT a level playing field. The recently deceased and great singer/songwriter ‘Leonard Cohen’ wrote several songs, one has the lines. ‘Everybody knows that war is over, everybody knows that the good guy’s lost’… On the subject of Tom Cunniffe and his utterances as regards the treatment of Noel and Pat, I’m guessing at this now, my feelings is that it’s now coming to the end of 2016 and Tom to me seems to feel very bad about the whole affair, I:d say Tom (and I had the pleasure of meeting him a time or two) is of the opinion that he won’t let this year end without doing something to put right, what he feels was an injustice of last year. I have no doubts but that Tom, too has the interest of Mayo at heart, as he is of no doubt too that Pat and Noel have,. No doubt also that many, with a different view inside the Mayo camp may have a contrary view to Tom’s, and they too have what they see as Mayos best interests at heart. Anyway, no blame for that particular episode can be laid at the feet of Stephen Rochford so no harm will come out of it, in my view!

  4. Had meant to comment on Diarmuid Connolly’s view of being targeted arising from John Costello’s report to Dublin Convention. And I meant to compliment him on his comments, that any top player on any team will be targeted and that he takes it as a compliment. Of course any top player will be targeted by his opposition, if the opposition want to win. Is it not the same in any team sport? The question is what tactics are bing used by that opposition? I have not heard of any particularly unfair tactics being used by Mayo in targeting opponents. Nor heard of their captain or management being refused admission to opponent’s dressingrooms after games. Of course John Costello will not be asked to justify his comments. They will just be left lie there to poison the air just a little bit in Dublin’s favour. By the way I wonder how far back does Costello have to go to find his Mayo roots? After all, all Costellos have their roots in Mayo, barony of Costello. Maybe Martin Brehony will ask him some day, when he needs to ask a not very relevant question to pass the time.

  5. Andy D, I wonder who were the native Gaels of Mayo in the Barony of Costello, before the Costello’s took it over? no doubt with the blessing of the English Crown, otherwise you never got a Barony for yourself. Baron’s and Barony’s are a construct of English colonisation. Off topic I know,!

  6. Things must be bad if ye guys are sending posts at 3am.
    Time to move on and forget about 2016, 2017 is nearly here.
    Surely ye should have learnt by now, Mayo never get the rub of the green against the big counties. The media plays an important role for the better or worse but Dublin is the home of most public media in this country.
    Hopefully some new faces will be in action next year, our day will come but I just dont know when.
    The Dubs may win in 2017, but I feel they will go into a rapid decline after. Mayo need to win it before the Kerry minors start making an impact in the next few years.

  7. Totally agree with John. This started with Brolly and Donegal in 2012 and every year since. I said here every year, where is our reply? Where is the likes of David Brady, Martin carney etc who should be all over this kind of media propaganda. The players can’t respond, the management can’t. We need some ex-players to grow a pair and speak up. Also does anyone think that it was a random coincidence that all these ex Dublin players spoke out on the same topic, just as the huge Kerry media Mafia speak out in unison when required? Both are well orchestrated and know who to target and when. The likes of Tom cunniffe would be much better off calling out Dublin’s dirty tricks than having a pop at his ex team mates. That pretty sums up where Mayo are media wise versus Kerry and Dublin!

  8. Keegan should not have started on Connolly the second day Any other of the Mayo defenders could have done the job. Look how well Stephen Coen did on him after Lee went off. We must take some of the blame ourselves as well. He was always going to look to even it up after sending off Cooper.
    If we play the Dubs again let Paddy Durcan take Connolly and take the heat of Lee a bit. It’s not fair on him.

  9. As John Costello didn’t name the county responsible for unprovoked attack on D Connolly, I decided to google UNPROVOKED ATTACK CONNOLLY. All I got was a series of reports of a court case but Connolly was not the victim .

  10. I have to disagree with you there, Puckout – loads of ex-players, including David Brady whom you reference – spoke out about the orchestrated Dublin campaign in the days leading up to the replay. We didn’t want for effort at all in the media stakes that week. Go back and read the blog for the week before the replay and you’ll see – it’s all there. The bigger point – which John states correctly in his piece – is that we need to play at a level where stuff like a homer ref (and Deegan sure was that) doesn’t affect the outcome. I think, in hindsight (and it’s easy for all of us to have 20:20 rearview vision), that facetheball is spot on: Stephen Coen’s excellent marking of Connolly after Lee was black-carded showed we didn’t need to expose Lee to that danger and that we could, and should, have played him elsewhere. Nothing we can do about it now, sadly.

  11. The GAA should not allow a referee from the same province ref if their province is in the final. There should be no exceptions as there will be undue influence. The same goes if the proposed ref is from a different province but works or has links to a county in the final.

  12. Remember back to 2014 when Donegal beat the Dubs, Jim McGuinness made a comment something like ‘Dublin before the GAA starting giving them extra money were like Chelsea before the Roman Abramovich era’. He played some mind games before the match and his team were able to back that up on the field of play, they landed the knock-out blows on the Dubs when they had them on the ropes. We have had them on the ropes the last few years but have not being able to knock them out.

    In fairness the Dubs are a lot better now than they were in 2014. James Horan actually threw a few grenades into the mix himself before the 2012 semi-final when he mentioned about the referee being involved in Dublin training games. We were able to back up those comments on the field of play that year as well. It’s gas that the Dubs have a real dislike of Horan since he made those comments, yet they engaged in a much worse campaign against Lee Keegan this year.

    John Casey made a bit of a fool of himself this year though when he made comments about Mayo waiting for the Dubs in the tunnel when that was not the case at all. The Dubs were late coming out not us. So if our guys are going to speak out, at least have their facts right and say something to benefit our team not cause even more hassle for us.

  13. AndyD hits the nail on the head, you can have the best argument in the world but if people choose not to listen then what can you do. Most of the articles in the Independent are from the Herald which is a local paper in Dublin, much the same as the Mayo News or Western. We have very little clout in RTE, with our sole representative now managing the Rossies. Brady, Casey and a few others are only contributers to the sports shows and not hosts, they do their best but they have limited impact in the greater scheme of things. Kerry have big influence by sheer force of numbers in the print and media world which negates their small economic customer power.
    It maddens me as much if not more than anyone else to see the way we get treated, but the reality is money talks and the Dubs have a huge advantage with their population and its not only on the field. The saddest part of the whole thing is that a large section of their supporters feel the media is biased against them….

  14. I have to say Id agree with Mayo 88 here. It really is time for us to move on from the whole “hard luck Mayo story” and look to 2017 where I have no doubt we’ll be there or there abouts again.

    Look we all know that the ref did not cost us in the All Ireland final, we yet again shot ourselves in the foot like we have done so many times before. The winning and losing of that game was simply in the change of keepers. Now I have nothing against Robbie Hennelly but it actually gave Jim Gavin his game plan, pressure the keeper see what happens, they had nothing to lose. Everybody could see that the decision had backfired after 5 mins, Dublin were 4 pts up. That’s not saying that I would be devastated if he was in goal again this year, its just for an All Ireland final its too big a change.

    As WJ says we need to go into a final and play so well that the refereeing performance doesn’t matter. If you don’t like the articles in the indo don’t read them we have a perfectly fine website where we can chat away about all things Mayo.

  15. The festive season is upon us and 2016 is coming an end, but still time it would seem for one last good whinge and moan. Maybe not the last one though.

    Winners win and bad losers whinge. It has always been that way and 2017 will be no different.

  16. We simply can’t let anyone put doubt in our minds, whether it’s inside or outside the county.

    Focus on developing our players, especially technically, and everything will continue to fall into place.

  17. Very good piece John.

    i think that we have two things going against us.

    Firstly the lack of All Ireland medals means the weight of the comments of our former players is reduced. Unfortunately most casual observers won’t remember John Casey, and know more about David Brady’s turn of phrase than and divilment than his football.

    Then there are others such as Maughan and Martin Carney who have lost credibility as pundits over the years and have been particularly critical of our team. One of them even described the group as “unmanageable”. That is an insult.

    But it leads me on to my second point. There are many in high office in the county who want this group after what happened last year. And if we are not altogether we cannot expect others to fight our fight.

  18. We will be in a great place if we have another competitive u21 season next year.
    If you combine that with the overall club strength Senior, Intermediate and Junior.
    That slight weakness in bench/panel strength won’t be there next year I think.
    Just with the age profile I think we have the best team next year if you were to say under 28 as being an age group. Coming into a better panel next year is my view.

  19. Excellent piece John, if not a little infuriating. The unfairness of the events of September still boil my blood when I think about them – I actually get a tightness in my chest with the rage. But Liam and AndyD are correct – we are pissing into the wind when it comes to addressing this in the media. Literally the only thing we can do again is put our shoulders to the wheel, go at it again and try to win the thing – on what is clearly not a level playing field. We have had our chances, however and blown them and we have to live with that too. All we can do is look forward and try to put it right. One more go.

    I don’t think a relationship between two counties’ supporters has ever soured as much as the one between Mayo and Dublin; which is a crying shame when you think of the calibire of footballers and the pure intrigue of the rivalry that exists. Social media hasn’t helped the cause. In danger of doing a Kevin Keegan on it here but Christ, I’d just love it if we beat them. I think I might have to stay away from that game in the league …

    I really don’t buy the complaint about the referee being from the same province, not in this day and age. 25 years ago maybe, but I don’t think there is undue influence there. I really think that can be the least of our complaints to be honest and I think we need to just suck it up. Now if we’re talking about referees being unduly influenced by media campaigns, we don’t need to look too much further for an example of one with form. But sure, as long as he admits afterwards that he made mistakes, isn’t it grand?

    As for the internal politics – well, when did Mayo ever not wash their dirty linen in public? Maybe Tom Cunniffe did feel he made the wrong choice, and maybe things were not handled as well as they could have been by the team at the time. That’s fair enough and it’s commendable that he admits his own regret publicly, but I’m really not sure what he thought he would achieve by going to thhe media, other than undermining his teammates. He could have picked up the phone (and to be fair, perhaps he did), but no, he chose to go this route – via Martin Breheny, of all people. Frankly I’m glad it has received minimal attention – it’s a non-story and I hope it gets no further oxygen outside of here – what exactly would it achieve?

    It’s almost unusual for us to have a season where we haven’t been making embarrassing headlines in the nationals for all the wrong reasons. It’d be a cold day in hell before you’d see a story like this appearing in the media about Dublin and Kerry and that has been part of our problem all along.

    That said though, I am sorry to read that Tom feels his Mayo days are over.

  20. Backdoor Sam says:
    December 8, 2016 at 11:31 am
    Not unless we become like cute Kerrymen will we enter the gates of the holy grail again

    We dont have to become anyone , we are from Mayo , we have a fantastic team and the best support in the land . No need to copy any other , we will win the all ireland eventually . Keep believing in this group and support them to the hilt . Fook what the rest say all we need is to keep tipping along as we are with a constant desire to keep improving and it will be won.

  21. Does anyone know if mayo squad are doing signing of Jerseys in breaffy house hotel before xmas? Apparently they did last year

  22. An excellent piece as always John,but holy god rte and professional does not go together,it is old,self satisfied,and is not prone to improvement,anyway this year is over,next year is one where we can,and must put matters right.all the best for the festive season to all the mayo support,and especially to Willie Joe for giving us this outstanding site

  23. Mr Berry. My piece neither whinged nor moaned. My piece highlighted the concerted effort made by Dublin to influence an All Ireland win. My piece correctly points out that we have to equal them there. Speaking about moaning and whinging, it was the Dublin brigade that moaned about Keegan getting player of the year. Mayo took it without whinging, head butts, open punches etc. By the way a Mayo man wound up with a broken jaw after an encounter with a Dublin player in ’85. Cowards hide. You are correct that winners win. Sometimes it’s nice when it’s without tearing up the rule book, pressurising officials or going outside the rules.

  24. Why are the Dubs ‘harping’ on about Diarmuid Connolly not getting protection. I tell you why, for a past few years we have been listening to the Dublin media sprouting about this ‘super duper’ player who viewed by some Dubs as their best ever.

    Problem is that Diarmuid has ran into a guy from Westport who is arguably Mayo’s best ever defender, maybe our best ever player. He is as strong as an ox, almost as fast as Jack McCaffrey, has the endurance of a Kenyan middle distance runner, can kick points off both feet, can score one of the greatest goals ever seen in an All Ireland Final and still mark Diarmuid out of the game.

    The Dublin media cannot accept this atall and they focus on the negatives to try and protect Diarmuid, what a load of B……ks.

  25. If we’re talking about whingers, they need only look to the east of the country. A bewildering bunch of supporters who incredibly, have whinged more since winning the All-Ireland than we have since losing it! It appears that the novelty of winning wears off after a while ..

  26. The funniest way I have heard to describe some of the Dubs is a comment that I seen somewhere lately. They have created a new incarnation called a sore winner! It made me laugh anyway when I seen that. A sore winner indeed!

  27. The reality is that our management team scored one of the biggest own goals in the history of AI Finals by switching keepers. Played a 33 year old sub with a broken bone in his foot instead of fully fit panelists… and we spend months rewriting history, shifting the blame to a ref who embodies all the normal inconpetencies we see in the gaa. We were shafted in Limerick, but 2016 AIF was 90% + self inflicted bullshit – my fecking blood pressure is gone mad again !!! anyway happy Christmas.

  28. Oh Anne-Marie, I am so shocked at one of the most beautiful, red haired ladies on the Planet, (and she’s from Mayo) uttering the expression “pissing against the wind”. What you should have said is something like, “urinating against a gentle breeze.” That would be much more in keeping with your cultured demeanour.
    Then, if someone asked you “what do you mean?”, you could explain. ” it’s pissing against the wind!!!” 😉 🙂

  29. The media did not cost us the All Ireland this year or any other it was our own failings which let us down. I don’t like all this attacking Dublin supporters because of the hotheads on social media. The great majority of Dublin supporters are ordinary decent people just like ourselves who have an equal passion for their team as we do for ours and respect us and indeed fear us as their current greatest rivals.

    As Willie Joe has pointed out the campaign against Lee ran out of steam it was so overdone and indeed had become something of a joke at their expense by the day of the replay as it become so blatant what they were trying to do.

    Getting paranoid about Maurice Deegan or any other referee will not win us anything In my opinion the only game where the referee cost us the game was in Limerick in 2014 and even then we should have had the game safely won the first day and we had only ourselves to blame for not doing that

  30. Paddy in Dublin

    Correct in every word of that post. Keegan has become a really top class player in both defense and attack and it’s boiling the dubs blood. I can’t imagine what they would be like if Keegan had stayed on and stuck a second goal.

    Unbearably sore winners is what they are.

  31. Hard to believe we are only three weeks out again. But it’s not capturing me yet. I don’t know, I mean things went wrong in different ways, but with everything that happened, we still would have won had we played our best keeper. We still would have won had we just admitted that it was the wrong decision and put him on at half time when it was clearly failing badly. That’s what hurts the most. It’s our own fault. Need to sort it out and start again. No choice.

  32. j j Kelly is absolutely correct.Its time to move on and forget the constant moaning and
    complaining

    We lost the match because

    ! a goalkeeping error

    2 we did not have enough scoring forwards

    3 Lee Keegan should not be delegated to man mark anybody .He is much too good for that.
    {what did Connolly score after Lees departure? NOTHING.

    J J Kelly is spot on .Its time to stop complaining.Great teams don’t do it and I have many examples.

    Lastly we need to find some scoring forwards and victory will be there.

  33. John Cuffe I enjoyed your excellent piece. I cannot make any comment on the content of these reports. I stopped supporting the Indo and RTE a long time ago. The sky did not fall down on top of me yet. Their content is not professional and I do not believe it ever was.I set a standard for myself and I stick to it. John Cuffe is a much better read.

  34. Joe, you clearly don’t know me too well if you’re shocked by that 😉

    Really though, can no-one express anything on here any more without being labelled a whinger or a moaner? If people are disappointed, surely this place of all places should be a place they can vent it. I don’t think anyone is claiming the media lost us the game, and the goalkeeping decision was clearly the wrong one by a mile but it’s naive to dismiss the other stuff as having no impact. Good points though being made about Keegan man-marking. Perhaps we just need to be braver and bolder next year.

    Obviously, the team and supporters will go again, and hopefully with a stronger panel with a bit more firepower up front. Maybe. And – I hope – with David Clarke back on board, but we’ll see. There can be no doubt that the management and selectors will have learned a harsh lesson.

    You’ll get there Mayo Mark, we all will. I feel this week I’m turning the corner …

  35. What Sean Burke @ 5.32 said is so true.
    We ‘re not any other county, We are Mayo and our love for our team is just bred in us. We must support them till they win however long it takes.
    Surely we owe them that in thanks for their commitment over so many years and for some awful personal abuse they recieve from so called professionals.
    What’s gone is gone now and as sad as it all turned out we can’t wait to go again coz that’s what we do and that’s what our team will do. It’s just seems a natural thing for them to keep coming back. They’re just incredible. Thank you all so much.

  36. I have to admit I’ve never been a more sore and angry loser than this year. I’ve never believed more either. Probably explains part of my anger as well as all the injustices I perceived. I still think we are hard done by but also think we do a lot to ourselves. I’ve congratulated only one Dublin person since their win and that was Paul Flynn a few weeks ago when he was in my school with Sam. For some strange reason since that day my anger has dissipated. He was very nice and agreed when I said we would beat them next outing. We will too and I’m looking forward to it.

  37. Ger Bohan, I’ll go 50% along with what you say about Maughan /Carney.. It’s been quite a while since Martin Carney was worth listening to… In my opinion he’s only trying to keep his lucrative job by NOT upsetting any of his Dublin bosses,,. J Maughan has in my opinion still something to say, and on occasion something worth listening to… In the GAA media world of ‘yes men’ ‘good men ” nice talkers, bad talkers, attention seeker’s ‘ it’s hard to get better than Jim McGuiness, some others too are worth listening to as well, it’s a pity one ‘Joe Brolly’ has damaged his credibility many times with just, headline grabbing outrageous garbage that he has on occasions sprouted, because’ on other occasions, he has been ‘hitting it on the nail’,. His recent efforts, which were very critical as regards the present President of the GAA, quite profound I would say, .. John Casey, was he being in any way objective? , when he said that Mayo waited deliberately to clash with Dublin for the appearance of the teams in this year’s drawn All Ireland final, to be fair to John, he hasn’t made a habit of being inaccurate, but it’s a bad day to fluff your lines… Hopefully, 2017 “will bring good things for everyone reading” I hope it several years in the future before we hear, many of our current Mayo Stars commenting in RTE /SKY/Print Media (if it still exists by then) etc,. A very articulate well educated bunch, they will put most of their predecessors into the shade.. Hope we all live to see the day, let’s all hope that they get some Senior All Ireland Celtic Crosses into their back pockets just to add to their credibility!

  38. Past makes no difference now, it’s now time to follow the players lead and move on.
    • Step out of Twitter and Facebook land and you will find that 99.99% of the Dublin fans are sound
    • The mistakes Mayo made cost us the AIF it was not what the ref done or the media said or Keegan’s black card.
    • Spin it around and look at the master strokes Dublin pulled on the field of play that swung it for them
    • Instructing some of their players to run themselves into the ground for 55 minutes knowing they would then be subbed.
    • Bringing on Cormac Costello an injury free scoring forward !
    • Bringing on MDMA who elbowed his way thru a tired Mayo middle third and setup 3 crucial points

    The cold hard reality is that over the past 6 years we have had the same core group of great players and THREE different management teams and no SAM.
    Happy Christmas one and all and thanks again WJ.

  39. Sean Burke just to clarify what I meant able becoming like Kerry. Obviously we are all Mayo and extremely proud of our team and the lads I just mean we need to become a tiny bit cuter on the field and off it in how our former players speak about our team in the media for example the way John Casey spoke about nearly been rolled over and trampled on by the Mayo team coming out to play Dublin was laughable

  40. Only David Clarke, Jason Doherty, and Conor O’ Shea from Mayo in the Connacht squad for Interprovincials. Have a break, have a kit kat.

  41. Hello all. First post for ages. Interesting reading above a lot I agree with. My opinion is that when ur trying to find and extra few % to win a game it must be found in the forwards. That’s where all good teams find that little bit more. Bottom line.

  42. Fair enough backdoor sam , tbh i didnt mean to sound like i was objecting to your point. I meant it more in the context of , as a footballing county who have been so close over the last few years with this group that weve done enough now to have our own identity as a top team . I have immense pride in this team and i just think as a county we should show that pride more . I have a pain in me hole listening t snide comments about the nearly never jokes, silly mayo , the curse blah blah from people in the workplace and the like , so instead of just laughing at it , i go full throttle sticking up for our gallant efforts . I find after about 30 seconds in they realise they havent a friggin notion what they are skitterin at anyhow.

    Be proud of your county , no need to shy away or to change our mindset to that of kerry men . When we win it , it will be proud mayo men who drag that friggin cup into castlebar. Fook kerry fook dublin fook the lot . #chiponmeshoulder for sure.

  43. No problem Sean (Burke) it’s just a
    Bit of healthy debate we all want the same thing for Mayo football please God one day soon we will get there

  44. Moan moan moan. We got two cracks at winning an All Ireland title this autumn. Only in Mayo could we allow three own goals to clench defeat from the jaws of victory. No point in blaming anyone else but ourselves. Shit happens. Move on. 2017 is nearly here. We”ll soon get another chance to right the wrongs.

  45. 4 home games in the league this year. That should be helpful as we endeavour to stay up again. Some positives to look forward to. Andy seems to be getting fitter with age, the gym has done him good. It seems like Davey is staying on for another shot. Stephen Corn is going to be another year older, wiser and I feel he is going to be a massive asset this year. We have the best played in the country in Lee. Hopefully some young lads can make an impact in pre season.

    Any ideas when venues for Fbd will be announced? I do enjoy the yearly trip up to Ballina.

  46. Who would you like to see feature in the pre-season games. Perhaps a chance for some panel members that we did not see in 2017. What club players would like to see get a run.

  47. Best of luck and every good wish for the future to, Alan Dillon and Aisling Cunningham on their nuptials today. I’m sure the party is in full swing at Breaffy House by now. Hope everyone there has a great night!

  48. I’d like to see Dougie get a sustained run and Rory Byrne between the sticks

    Matthew Ruane and Liam Irwin too.

    I’d especially like to see our more seasoned players rested. Remember Keith picking up and injury in the fbd last year? Disaster

  49. If Keegan had not been marking connolly in replay and the nice Diarmaid ran riot, we d be asking the same questions as why Robbie replaced Clarke. Managements make decisions. they get some right and some wrong. On the media issue, we have lots of Mayo pundits. They are certainly not as vocal as the dub and kerry pundits at shouting out for their county but then maybe theyre just doing their job properly and professionally. It doesnt seem to be in our dna to be rule breakers. Congrats to Mr and Mrs Dillon on their wedding.

  50. Convinced that Mayo will win it in 2017, Dublin on the slide, Kerry and Tyrone not there yet, this is our year, fingers crossed..

  51. Let’s hope you’re right paddy. We’ve been thinking that for a while now, but for the likes and Andy and Alan I really really hope they get their Allireland medals.

  52. Great posting from Olive Kerrigan. I agree with every point she makes. We Mayo supporters need to snap out of moaning about what might have been. My late father saw Mayo win two All Irelands. There is no earthly reason why I should not do the same. I was involved in both playing and coaching in Gaelic football. Success always needs very careful planning. That planning for 2017 should begin now.
    We have some of the most intelligent, spirited players in the game. If you ask me where we go wrong most frequently in crucial games, it is in the final third of the pitch. Our forwards frequently take the wrong option. We spill ball, give misdirected passes and take wrong options at attempted scores. In American football and rugby final third moves are worked on in advance. Let’s say there are five possible moves involving players taking up different positions. One of the midfielders by a system of hand signals calls the shots. This will not mean100% success rate. You have to allow for turnovers and misses, but something like this would bring an improvement in scoring. The simple message is that winning means scoring more than the opposition. My final point is that every player stepping out for Mayo should have a thorough understanding of his intended role. Let the FBD league be an opportunity to begin this scientific approach.

  53. Match at 6 this evening in Parnell Park,

    “The Connacht GAA Football squad for this weekend’s GAA Interprovincial campaign will be captained by Galway stalwart Gary O’ Donnell and will include three members of the 2014 successful winning panel. Reigning champions Connacht meet Leinster in Parnell Park at 6pm on Saturday, while Ulster meet Munster in the second semi-final on Sunday at 2pm in Parnell Park. Team Management John Tobin along with Martin Carney and Ja Fallon have selected the following squad;

    Damien Comer, Danny Cummins, David Wynne, Gary O’ Donnell, Johnny Heaney, Adrian Varley(Galway), Emlyn Mulligan, Donal Wrynn(Leitrim), David Clarke, Jason Doherty, Conor O’ Shea(Mayo), Fintan Cregg, Niall Daly, Kevin Higgins, Niall McInerney, John McManus, Sean Mullooly, Ciaran Murtagh, Diarmuid Murtagh, Darren O’ Malley, Enda Smith(Roscommon), Kevin McDonnell, Niall Murphy(Sligo).”

  54. Dublin/Kerry always have options arriving at pace. We simply have lacked pace upfront and hence the player in posession hasn’t managed to open up space. This is pretty much like a five man average of how quick are your forwards (one sweeper).
    Last year it was Keegan, Durcan, Higgins that were opening up space for scores.
    Once Kevin Mc went back sweeping we were too slow over the 80 mins.
    Hopefully next year some of the young quick lads come into it.

  55. Well done to Connacht!

    FULL-TIME Inter-provincial Football Semi-Final:
    @ConnachtGAA 2-17 @gaaleinster 1-18

    Connacht advance to the Final vs Munster or Ulster!

  56. Around this time last year I said that we had 4 of the top 10 players in the Country, Keegan, AO’S, the 2 O’Connors, I also firmly believe that Higgins, Boyler, Paddy Durcan and Donie Vaughan are there or thereabouts.

    We have the players, I am convinced about it to win an All Ireland and I think we need to remain positive and it will happen , Curse or no Curse…

  57. I agree with you there paddy in Dublin and also think Dublin s dominance will end it can’t last for forever

  58. It’s going to be difficult for Keith Higgins to maintain his incredible standards in 2017,already signs in the last two years that took me and a long period of playing long seasons of football and hurling are catching up with him.not able to cover the space anymore that he used to do so effortlessly. Maybe gimme to use him more sparingly and also as an impact sub when needed

  59. Connolly of Dublin fame scored 1-02 today in Leinster club championship. No rest need for him, he just keeps going and going. Superman or what?

  60. Louisburgh were very well drilled today winning the u21b.
    Jack Reilly got 2-4 I think. Thats 7-34 I think in his last five games. He looks to be an incredible passer of the ball.

  61. Defensively we are solid, with great options coming back into the fray. Castlebar keeper is probably now equal 2nd behind clarkie. But the serious question is, what attackers will step up? Bar those involved in extended panel last year ie: Loftus, reape, regan etc very few look ready to move up, would like liam irwin to show some more, obviously Loftus and reape will play plenty minutes in the league if injury free. Think varley has put up his hand again, whether Rochie is looking at him time will tell. From what I have saw of niall Douglas, he angers me, has a lot of talent and ability, but tends to go hiding in games. Realistically is he better than what we have, I’d like to think so but from games I’ve saw he isn’t! So bar maybe 2 or 3 new faces it’ll be as we were

  62. Hi All,
    Seasons greetings to you all and I congratulate the main man of this site for St Vincent’s victory today. Look forward to 2017 take care

    Kind Regards
    Martin the Dub

  63. Oh, Dear, oh, Dear, It’s been a while since I logged on to this forum, but what John Costello says is purely ‘hopping ball!’ I know the guy, and if Lee or Colm were part of their set up he would only be delighted! The irony of his statement is captured in photography where a ‘close relative’ grips a Kerry opponent in a Jujitsu head grip -semi final and is willing to take the rap with 30 seconds to play! Can you please stop feeling sorry for yourselves, and for once address the reasons Mayo lost. I am not even going to mention them because you all know only too well!

  64. gammysolo from gaaboard. Stop copying Leantime’s posts please. If he wanted to argue there, I’m sure he would.

  65. To win the All Ireland mayo have to make the hard calls and pinpoint the actual reasons they are not winning. This means cutting from the squad players that have consistently failed to produce on the big day and players who appear to be on the squad for sentimental reasons
    Therefore as hennelly has made too game changing mistakes in big games he should be dropped from the squad are we potentially going to play an AI in 2017 with him in goal? AOS has consistently under performed are we going to rely on him to be the game changer when he hasn’t done it in ’12, ’13’ or this year. Dillon cannot be taking the squad place of a younger player. There are other players that could be considered too.This is by no means a personal attack on any of these players (they have given great service to Mayo) but they previous management team were ousted for failing to deliver can we not use the same process to shake up the team.
    otherwise it’s the same yahooing for another year hon mayo , mayo for sam 2017, the mayo curse blah blah blah

  66. Lee Keegan got the black card because he tackled Connolly and brought him to the ground. This was after some poor play from his Mayo colleagues left him exposed. It’s arguable whether it was a black car offence (i believe it wasn’t) but you can’t say that it 100% wasn’t a black card. However, if Keegan’s team mates hadn’t made mistakes or if Keegan had tackled more effectively, there would’ve been no black card. Please stop looking for excuses. I know the players aren’t. Once you start blaming the ref, the media, the opposition you are showing signs of weakness. Suck it up and come back stronger next year.

  67. Morning All and seasons greetings to you ad yours! first post since October 1st I think, which I think got deleted but hey ho, it was pretty raw for all of us at the time!

    Whilst I enjoyed John’s article and agreed with almost all of it, I do feel the whole thing is a bit of a sideshow rather than being central to how events passed off. Small %’s and all that aside, its been said already, getting a scoring return from our territorial dominance is key. I counted 13 forays past Dublin’s 45 that yielded nothing in the second half of the replay. Take human error and black cards out of the equation, they are going to happen, but you simply cannot expect to win an all Ireland with such a paltry attacking return. And yet, we nearly did it.

    We are a work in progress. Rochford and his team have really impressed me with their defensive patterns and minimising goal scoring chances which had been our undoing in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Not to mention the excellent job Barry Solan did in ensuring our lads were in peak physical condition at the right time to go toe to toe with the Dubs, which is something that has been largely overlooked IMO. Excuse the name drop here but Paul Flynn said to me after the replay that this Mayo team are the hardest unit to breakdown that he has come across. We are so close we can touch it. But as long as our attacking conversion rate remains so poor that’s as far as we will get, close but no cigar. So year 2 for Stephen and the team is pretty clear objectives wise. Maintain the frugality in defence and work night and day on patterns of attack that will reward our territory and possession. Easier said than done but what choice do we have? If we can address that deficiency in our game it will go a long way to rendering any orchestrated smear campaigns redundant in my opinion.

    Since Oct the 1st I’ve fed off the memory of the roar that went up when Leeroy buried it in the corner. The goal itself was a thing of beauty, all skill and guile in its conception and execution. We have it in our armoury. Dubs all around me were shell shocked at the realisation they were in the minority on their home patch too, which felt so sweet, albeit all too fleetingly.

    We’re so very very close to it so roll on 2017, Maigh Eo abú!

  68. Throwintime and (ManofAran to an extent), some provocative stuff there. Largely true that there have been some underperformers on the big day, but I think you can overdo the emphasis on X or Y. Aido for example while not at his best in the drawn game still did a hell of a lot of work, and who is to say that Robbie couldn’t play a blinder if chosen in every game from here in.

    There’s something about Mayo, but it’s hard to say exactly what. Maybe Willie Joe should open the site to all counties for an objective analysis of what we are lacking. It’s not much, but it is something.

    Some (Offaly) friends say a lot of our players don’t think properly either on or off the ball, others talk of pace, others cuteness, others damned our management for being too nice, while still others repeated the line about our scoring forwards or lack thereof.

    In any event, we never led them in the drawn match, when the game seemed at our mercy after drawing level. Here I think the point about Dillon is wrong; his departure hampered us of a calm authoritative presence and one that was in scoring form. Similarly in the replay, after the goal we did bugger all; even with Cooper’s departure, and Dublin managed to push us out to the end line where they knew we’d do no harm.

    As I have repeated here before, the management is capable of development next year – both in their own game management and in the way they want the team to play. Some newbies will emerge, but don’t look to them to solve all the problems, tempting though it is.

  69. Regarding an earlier post on the “profoundness” of Joe Brolly’s comments on the present GAA president I see Tommy Conlon, in his piece this week, has hit the nail on the head as usual and firmly put the Brollocks back in his cave. This is no surprise from Conlon as, in my opinion, he’s one of the finest and most fearless sportswriters in the country and indeed he’s one of the few national sports journalists that has written about Mayo’s “Bad Luck” with referees over the last few years.

  70. @catcol I’m not trying to single out particular players but i am using them as an example
    and to go into another final and expect these players to suddenly deliver is wishful thinking

    – hennelly makes too many mistakes & is far too erratic
    – AO’S fails to deliver to his potential and be the game changer that we need him to be a la Murphy, Donaghy etc.

    It might sound harsh but it’s the truth and the reason Mayo continue to fall short is that they are not ruthless enough. The ruthlessness has to start in the squad first & then on to the field of play

  71. The only thing vow of silence I’m interested in is our own!
    Focus has to be 100% on Mayo it’s no use concentrating on external factors (they will differ very year). I’m hoping against hope that Rochford shows his mettle this year and names HIS panel. I accept that in 2016 he allowed (and was right to) the 2015 panel the opportunity to justify the heave. It’s now his opportunity to show his potential. He has to have the mettle to drop any big name not performing. Make the unpopular calls. I’ll be gutted & galled if the 2017 panel mirrors the 2016 one. Their are definite names that have ran the course with Mayo/not showed on the big occasion. We cannot afford any sentimentality now from Rochford.
    I wasn’t in favour of the heave(Managers manage and players play and all that) but I supported the rationale that the team felt they 100% justified it on the basis that they could go all the way with thee right Messiah. And let’s call a spade a spade the ringleaders (and hood wink and all we all know who they were) failed to deliver on their promise. They have been afforded too much respect by the Mayo GAA world we took their word why have we not demanded an explanation for the failure?…after all reputations were destroyed and no one was held accountable. Management were ousted on poor performance…does a different criteria apply to the players?
    As a whole Mayo have reached a ‘Competitive Contenders’ stage,, all mainly thanks to Horan. IMO we haven’t showed progression since, improvement here and there but collectively the team on the day lacks killer instinct. Are players who she’d tears @ 1/4 finals really mentally strong enough to deliver?…
    Time for Rochford to lift the veil of Silence and let’s hear HIS voice of management.

  72. I agree it is time for a fresh look at the panel. we know our forwards are not up to all Ireland standard and still persist .Something new is needed —time to make a few changes.

  73. Tommy Conlons piece that I read online, I don’t buy the Independent, was an utter disgrace. It mirrored the anti Irish attitude and pro Anglo attitude of INM . Conlon is a parrot and hasn’t a clue what Irish people in the north endure. His piece on the Kingsmill massacre lacks the necessary historical expertise. Attacking Brolly , a man whose family suffered greatly from the English war machine is an utter disgrace. If Conlon were around in 1916 he’d be probably be chucking cabbage at the participants in the GPO. How dare he attack joe Brollys republican credentials or must we all wear Blue Shirts today?

  74. You were mentioned on a certain facebook page and i have read your long article.
    I would look at this another way.

    You threw away a game a number of years becasue you panicked during a free kick,
    You sacked a perfectly good management team.
    you created and re-hashed a false curse jackanory – pressure
    you hype your team up way beyond anything anywhere which pressurises your players even more – pressure
    you failed to win a number of finals because of your forwards not your backs
    you dont have the quality on your bench when something happens
    you have pressurised aidan os into sunmission instead of nurchering his abilities – pressure
    you read and listen to the media spin too much, (they dont care about dublin or mayo, they just want to sell their views)

    i could go on and on and on.

    Dublin
    have the depth on the bench, they have multiple scoring stars.
    Most dublin supporters and players hate the black card
    most of us laugh off the media trash talk whether it s ex players or clowns (as dermo called them)
    we have a consistant manager and back ground team over a teams life cycle, you sacked yours

    does anyone really think any of the refs,umpires etc would side with dublin over mayo – do you really really believe that.
    Keegan got the card because he plays on the edge, he has to hes marking one of the most naturally gifted gaa player in football maybe ever.

    Instead of moaning and moaning about the past why dont you pick yoursleves up and see what you can do differently to finally win a current trophy in september, it would be far more productive.
    i would start by playing more offensive tactics, you have a quality defense

  75. E oreilly, Mayo lost the final to a team deemed to be Superpower Lords of Gaelic football. By a point after a replay, and we had the horror of giving the dubs 2 goals in the first game. I would leave it alone and just see which new player can add to the scoring rate up front, the rest are very good and will win Sam in the near future.

  76. I must say,as someone who felt contempt for Joe Brolly with his slagging of Mayo,I feel completely different about his last few articles which has been on the button,about the gaa selling out the whole ethos for a few pieces of silver,with no regards for all the people who built all the stadiums and community centre selling raffle tickets running dancesand various other fund raising ideas,I believe he is much better informed than Conlon in regards to the situation in the six counties

  77. Big shout-out to the Hill 16 Army lads popping in for the nose, it’s good to see the interest in us remains as strong as ever! 😉 Safe to say most of us are a bit black and white when it comes to our own – and neither we nor they are any exception to that rule; however the evidence online (particularly here) would suggest that we are a little better at the critical thinking, if not the All-Ireland winning.

    As bitter as I am (there is no point in denying it) I would still concur with the above posters that ultimately, the reason we lost was due to our lack of attacking prowess. We made massive strides defensively this year – without our full-back, it has to be emphasised – so I hope the focus shifts for next year. But do we have the players within the county? The FBD has the potential to be very interesting indeed, and though the appetite isn’t back yet, I’m intrigued as to who might be brought in. I suspect that we may see a couple of surprise inclusions – and exclusions. And I do hope we see Ger Caff back for another shot at the big one this year.

    I don’t envy Stephen Rochford and the team the task they have ahead in 2017. Given this year’s progress, anything less than a final appearance next year will now be perceived as a failure, and while I think the Mayo public has been relatively kind in the aftermath of this year’s loss, confidence has definitely been shaken. That said, above anyone, I think he and his team will take it in their strides and push on from here. Dublin’s motivation to retain Sam will be no less next year with the three-in-a-row on offer. And after that, we’re going to be dealing with Kerry all over again. There will be no easy win.

    Corick Bridge, Joe’s personal attacks on a number of our players in the aftermath of the game were unwarranted and ignorant. He’s certainly on the money on some things, and his work on organ donation is hugely laudable but I find it very hard to give him any credence after those very personal axe-grinding hatchet jobs on selected individuals. On the subject of the GAA selling out (one of my own favourite rants) I’m not sure if you’ve read Paul Rouse’s articles on the media rights issue, but they are well worth a look.

  78. F’deeling, thanks for letting me know that my post’s were being copied,. I have never posted on gaaposts, and never before today even looked at this platform.. Don’t even know how to navigate that site,.. A few years ago, I posted a number of times on this particular site under a different handle, but one day I noticed on the Hogan stand platform that someone had started using the same as I had been using on ‘Mayo GAA Blog’. So I changed my user name, and the particular ‘user name’ stopped posting on the Hogan Stand around the same time.. This, the ‘Mayo Gaa Blog’ is the only platform that I (Leantimes) post on or have ever posted on,. So I any of ye fellow poster’s or reader’s of this particular blog, want to agree or disagree with what opinion I have expressed, this is the only place to read it first.

  79. A disgrace maybe but true whatever about the “necessary historical expertise”. I also recall some GAA county boards having great difficulty condemning the murders of John Morley and Henry Byrne. In this case it was Brolly that started digging up the past and no rewriting of history can get away from the facts that a lot of awful things were done in our name without any mandate. As for the other side, let them look to their own consciences. Incidentally I don’t buy the Indo either but I do have a sneak online for the likes of Gene Kerrigan, Conlon etc.

  80. Colmp,
    The panel did not sack the backroom team, only the 2 managers that were put into the job in the worst possible way. 2 great men but were totally undermined by the method used in appointing them. And while you’re on about quality on the dublin bench, how could it be any other way with the massive population advantage, Dublin has over twice the population of Connaught, never mind Mayo. If Leitrim had 1.3 million in population I’m sure they’d have ” quality on the bench too”. It’s like a millionaire asking a blue collar guy why he’s not driving a Rolls Royce.
    Dublin are starting to remind me of Celtic in that joke of a league in Scotland, all high and mighty because they have it all to themselves.

  81. Really enjoyed Tommy Conlon’s piece. Time tjis country removed away from the revisionim surrounding Sinn Fein IRA. They have damaged and continue to destroy lives in this country north and south

  82. Though it’s infuriating I don’t think the media black arts has too much impact bar Fergie in soccer which used to piss me off.
    Management calls I wouldn’t be too critical of either. Ours have been maybe a bit too conservative in the past and this year they took a gamble which misfired but they’re human.
    For me it’s forwards we need from the FBD. Last year we got more backs and they proved useful as we made the Dubs forwards look very human with super fit teak tough Mayo lads marking them instead if what they came up against in Leinster. Though a bit sorry for Nally and Keane who did nothing wrong management have a good idea from training. Coen meant extra competition for the backs and Drake and Hall didn’t get a look in either. If Caff is back will have competition to make the panel never mind the team.
    But the forwards…

  83. All – just back after a few days away, noticing a political discussion has started up. This is NOT a place for politics: there are plenty of outlets on line for that kind of debate, this isn’t one of them.

  84. The one point in this post I take is forwards with pace… With Kevin McLoughlin as sweeper Diarmaid is our quickest and Andy over 5 or 10 yards. Regan could be very good if the focus is on S & C and Loftus also. Irwin skillfull but has he the kind of pace, certainly not in year one on the panel, ditto Reape and the rest. Dougie maybe cause he’s a bit older and Kirby when he gets back to 100% could be the best bet of the lot. Similar cut to Dean Rock.
    Loftus is the best U21 hope as he has a year senior under his belt. COS could be good too and deserves time once again in League and FBD. Seemed to be good late summer where undergrad student life brings an advantage. Akram maybe as half forward cause we have surplus half backs. If all fails we should play Durcan or Keith in half forwards ir Donie if needed as he ended up having a great year.
    We don’t need to be playing Kevin Mc or Keith in January. AOS has lot of mileage too, but he’s off playing basketball which is no harm as it’s a useful skillset. Ironically the lads with least injuries that probably need the most rest. I questioned the playing of those 3 in last year’s FBD and do again.
    TBH I can see Keith as firefighter sub this year. All of the young guns need games to build the panel. He has role as backup sweeper or half forward where his quick delivery is a cut above most. But not sure of corner back any more unless we have trouble there. I can see Hall grabbing it and not letting go.
    If we can’t find those elusive pacey forwards then convert a couple of backs, it’s not rocket science, look at how class Harte is for Tyrone.
    As I see it now it makes more sense for Aido to be impact sub. Could be worth 3 or 4 points with the momentum he can bring as opposition tires. The only effective FF this year was Quinlivan and Conor McManus was the top corner forward, if we could find a star like those 2 would be in business. Diarmaid in FF Line with Cillian CHF? Andy still class and hope he continues to be. But could do with another terrorising corner forward. Regan is the best hope as he’s lefty and can score goals and seems the fastest of all the young guns. 10% progress in him would be massive asset.

  85. Maybe we should look at our teams that HAVE won All-Ireland titles recently, our Minors in 2013 and our U21s this year. What did these teams have that our other teams didn’t. Self-belief is probably their number one characteristic, they never knew when they were beaten. Remember during those campaigns our team beat the likes of Tyrone, Cork, Dublin, Monaghan, Westmeath, Galway and Roscommon. Kerry were probably the only team of the big ones that our lads didn’t get to meet in those two particular years.

    Just picture the first goal that we scored in this year’s U21 final. It was a thing of beauty and a piece of brilliantly conceived artistry. A real team goal as well. Our senior teams have never produced this kind of thing on the biggest day. We have seen many teams and players do it to us: Michael Murphy in 2012, Bernard Brogan in 2013, Kieran Donaghy in 2006, Colm Cooper in 2004 and Kevin McManamon in 2015 etc.

    We have seen Tommy Conroy, Darragh Doherty RIP, Conor Loftus, Liam Irwin and Diarmuid O’Connor produce magic moments for us like this in underage finals. It’ll probably take something like that in the future to win us a senior final. You could even say in club football, Corofin and St. Vincents have produced quality like that as well that Castlebar didn’t and again this is a reason why they won All-Ireland titles and Castlebar didn’t. Same with Galway in 1998 and 2001, when we couldn’t win finals in 1996, 97 and the 99 semi-final. Maurice Fitz produced the quality in 1997 for example.

    Up front the last last few years, we never seemed to get the balance right between players been asked to be workers and players asked to be scorers. The difference probably comes down to players who want to score and players who are afraid to miss also. Tommy Conroy at underage levels for us was a type of player, for the want of a better phrase, that was mad to score and then score some more again. Conor Loftus and Liam Irwin scored two high quality goals each in this year’s U21 final. Irwin’s second goal is not something that you can teach a player to do. It’s pure instinct. Like what Bernard Brogan can produce for the Dubs. A player like Conor Loftus can use his both feet as well which is something that we badly need up front.

    If available I’d like to see a full-forward line of Liam Irwin, Neil Douglas and Conor Loftus used in the FBD League games and let’s see what they can produce for us. Even if you manage to get one or two of these lads firing on all cylinders for the championship that would be an improvement on the last couple of years. Regan and Reape should probably be given a chance as well and maybe even Darren Coen or Tommy Conroy, again if he is available, as out and out scoring forwards. As has been mentioned on this site as well, it would be great to see Diarmuid given a more advanced role as well, remember the cracking goal that he scored against Kildare this year.

    When you look at the damage that Cormac Costello did to us and when you see him, you’d nearly swear that he was still young enough to be a Minor player. If he can do it in All-Ireland final then one of our young guns should be well able to do it as well.

  86. I was very impressed with Padraig Prendergast in the u21b final. He has really filled out in an athletic way with plenty weight down in his legs. He was a bit leggy at minor as can often be the case with tall lads.
    When striking frees from the hand or shooting from play he’s a really clean tidy striker of the ball. Has a big 50 yard boot on him. Really encouraging to see the development in Louisburgh.

  87. Catcol – Didn’t for one minute think my comments would be provocative.. The way I see it is last year is over, so we move on. The big challenge facing Dublin now is how to manage, and cope with the pressure and the public expectation of 3 in-a-row. Several of their more influential/senior players just about got over the line last year. When you see Co. Board executives getting involved in “mind games” it’s one sure sign that the pressure is already showing. Mayo don’t need to go there at all – just concentrate on getting those extra inches. I know my own county has added a number of new players to the panel, but as yet, they are not tested at this level. Mayo on the other hand has 96% of the requirements, so the thing is to do everything possible in training to improve that fraction. I still think that the teams with the larger panels have an advantage in AvB practice matches. FBD won’t tell you a lot.

  88. Agree with hope springs on FF line for FBD Tommy Conroy who’s probably the most natural free scoring and, Liam Irwin definitely worth looking at as well as Reape who’s mentioned a lot on this site. I have some reservations about Irwin and pace but there’s no doubting his instinctive skill and was strong for U21 and a great free taker. Management already have a sense of Conor Loftus from training last year and appearances so he’s not needed till the league. With winning U21 last year we should be hoping to win the FBD though Rossies U21 were only hair’s breath off too.
    Also with training starting earlier this year and management playing style evolving I think we should be targeting semis in the league. Dublin winning the league has done them no harm, our league very patchy last 2 years albeit with late start last year for our boys.

  89. @Shuffly,
    Haven’t they done away with the Semis this year in the League?

    Personally, I see the final as Dublin/Tyrone being the most likely. (But it’s often a crapshoot anyway). I’m not sure other counties, Mayo included, really care about the league. If that is the right approach or not, is a different matter.

    Was away for a few weeks with work, but it does seem as if the general opinion that the externals are not where Mayo are falling down, is starting to take hold. This is probably the most important aspect to get to grips with. A Mayo team in August with 2 or 3 more proven forwards is something no other county wants to encounter.

    Kerry are a year or two from really pushing for silverware, too many retirees, and too many young faces yet to be tempered in battle. Ditto Tyrone.

    I’ll say it now, if Dublin are stopped from three in a row, it’s Mayo who will stop them.

  90. You get the feeling that we will take the league a bit more seriously next year, i.e. I don’t think that we’ll leave it until the final day to confirm our Division 1 status for the following year this time.

    Our management team will have had a lot more time this year compared to last year to get things up and running. We have four games at home and should have more players available, with only Lee and Kevin Keane in action for their clubs early next year. Kerry have three clubs involved in club action so you would think that they won’t be as strong next year early in the year as they were this year. You’d expect Roscommon to tailor their year more towards the championship next year as well.

    If we beat Kerry away then it could come down to the results in the games involving ourselves, Dublin and Tyrone to see who makes the top 2. Sean Cavanagh let it slip in an interview lately that Tyrone are training away at the moment, so you would expect them to be strong early doors.

    For us though unearthing some new players will be the main priority and developing our attacking strategies will be key as well. With us having so many players not based in the county, it does make it very difficult to launch a major bid for the league title. Maybe using more home based players for the early part of the season might be something to examine also. I wonder how many home league games do Dublin have. They have us at home anyway.

  91. @ HopeSpringsEternal – I could be wrong, but for the Dubs, it looks like:

    Away.
    Cavan, Donegal, Kerry, Monaghan.

    Home.
    Tyrone, Mayo, Roscommon.

  92. Good piece HSE but I have a bone to pick as usual. What happens at underage does guarantee you anything. Keegan goal in the final and COS goal in the semi was some footballing no matter what county you support.

  93. Thanks for that Jaden. Two tough away games for Dublin there, in Donegal and Kerry. It’ll be interesting alright to see how the League will pan out. It’s all to play for anyway!

    Yes PJ, your right there, but those lads are going in the right direction, with Minor and U21 All-Ireland wins under their belts already. Lets hope that they can do what Tyrone did by adding Senior All-Ireland titles to that as well.

  94. Its your site WJ so i respect your rules but surely if you say no politics , ger bohans paiselyite comment “Sinn Fein IRA” should be removed, if not the rght to reply ?

  95. ‘Don’t mention the war, I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it’ A concussed Basil Falty, says to an infuriated German guest, in Falty Towers (the Germans). Any resemblance folks?

  96. It seemed to me that all that mattered down in Mayo prior to the final and the replay was how you were going to take over Hill 16. I knew you were beaten there and then. Always focusing on the stuff going on off the field. All-Ireland’s are won on the pitch. You seem to forget Dublin got two black cards over the two games, and should have got a third. They got on with it, as Mayo did. Changing your goalkeeper had nothing to do with the media. Self-inflicted. And as long as you keep looking outside for excuses you will end up watching Sam going somewhere else. Every time it seemed like Mayo were about to make the big push in the two games, it never came. Your team is good at fighting back, what about forging ahead? Is it a mental issue. The answers lie within. Not in the press. Worry less about Hill 16 and things like that. Do you think the Dublin players or the Mayo players for that matter gave two hoots who was standing where? In Dublin we just wanted to see Stephen Cluxton lifting the trophy and we got our wish, because Ehen it came down to it we had just a little bit more in the tank. I feel that the amount of expectation and over confidence in Mayo puts huge pressure on your team. Dublin were exactly the same in those sixteen barren years. You need forwards. Forwards win All-Ireland’s. A team with a good defence, but limited attacking options will always get found out in the end. My money is on Mayo to win the All-Ireland the year the curse ends. Now wouldn’t that mess with all our heads! Best of luck for next year.

  97. Paul Huggard, the Dublin GAA PR team were in full swing coming upto the all ireland with the lee keegan hate campaign, and again for the replay, so don’t come on this Mayo gaa forum spouting your holier than holier Dublin fair play shite.
    Don’t forget Saint Dermo in the replay, a dive Jurgen Klinnsman would have been proud of in his spurs days.
    You would wanna tell the hill fans than hill 16 is for every fan not just dublin only, as they seem to chant that claiming that croke park belongs to them.
    How about a non-bias ref for a change, deegan has even admitted he should have sent off John Small for attempted strike off the ball, he should have also got the line for an ankle tap in the first game and picking the ball straight of the ground and no free to Mayo in the last seconds of the first game. He also missed mc carthy kneeing vaughan in the head before half time, and nothing was done to him.

    So a non-biased ref is needed if we meet next year.

    Mayo will be back next year.

    Maigh Eo Abu.

  98. Paul, “It seemed to me that all that mattered down in Mayo prior to the final and the replay was how you were going to take over Hill 16”. Well you seemed incorrectly. All we were concerned about was winning the match, the same as you. If being vocal about the unfair allocation of tickets, not to mention the venues they were being sold in, and the presumption that the Hill somehow belongs to Dublin supporters, is seen as attempting to take over the hill, well in my opinion you are mistaken. For balance, I encourage you to look back at your own counties supporters in the lead up to this years games and see the efforts they went to to ensure as many tickets as possible for them.

    “Always focusing on the stuff going on off the field. All-Ireland’s are won on the pitch” You have a very short memory as you seem to forget Dublin exhausting all avenues of appeals, including employing the services of an imminent barrister on behalf of Dublin GAA, and staying at it until 2:30am the morning of last years replay! And let’s not even mention the Dub-centric (Whelan on TV, Keith Barr and Tommy Carr on radio) media campaign, abetted by our supposed national broadcaster RTE who somehow forgot that they are legally bound to provide balance in all arguments, against Lee Keegan this year. Neither of us are naive enough to believe that a) that was NOT coordinated by Dublin GAA, and b) that it did NOT have an effect on this years replay.

    As for “expectation and over confidence in Mayo”, I don’t agree there either. We don’t expect to win Sam Maguire every year but we do expect to be competing every year for it. And we are. Only the eventual winners have beaten Mayo every year since 2012. We are, without doubt, the second best team in the country. Runners up to an outstanding Dublin team. So we have expectation to compete, rightly so, but to win? I don’t think so. As for over-confidence, this is something Mayo supporters have never been. We don’t have the record or medals to be over-confident about anything. The best supported county in the country? Yes. Home, away, London and New York we will follow. Through bitter heart-break we will follow. This isn’t over-confidence, it’s a love for our team through thick and thin, year after year. Not just fair day followers.

    See you in March.

  99. Paul oh Paul, while I as a Mayo supporter agree with the points you make, it has to be either a case of not knowing your audience or one of getting a rise out of kick starting the whole mooaaaaannn again.

    Refs, journalist, panelists, supporters, my flag pole is bigger than yours, Limerick, Dublin, Damian Delaney playing at half time and most likely climate change is somewhere on the endless ‘Mayo God Help Us’ list. Does it ever end?

    Roll on lunch time and a few glasses of seasonal good cheer.

  100. See your hill16, you can keep it. This mayo supporter will never go on it again unless i really have to. Absolute tramps i was surrounded by in the replay. ” ouuta ere ya fookin inbreed pri ck” shoved by two women in the process. I swear on my kids lives , absolute dirt bags.

  101. Agree with Sean. Dirtbags of the lowest type that pass as “fans” inhabit hill16 on Dublin days. I’d prefer to lose 10 more finals in my lifetime and call Mayo my home than live near them.
    When Mayo finally win their all Ireland, it will be won and not bought, and Sean you can tell them that and see what they say.

  102. I was in the Hill for the 2013 final, definitely a few bollixs masquerading as Dublin fan’s there, that said the vast majority of the fan’s in Hill 16, no problem with them at all. We can’t really expect Dublin fan’s to shout for Mayo. I was in 309,for this year’s replay, pretty venomous it was too. , much worse than Hill 16 in 2013,and not all Dublin fans either. And I’m not that easily shocked at football match’s. I once went ‘Cold Blow Lane, the old ground of Millwall, (the famous Millwall) into the home supporters section of the ground, supporting Everton, When I went in I didn’t know that Millwall were Blue too, so I taught it was with the Everton supporters I was. Anyhow I decided to leave ground, the place was surrounded by police on police horses and I explained to one of the Bobby’s that I was in the wrong section of the ground, He asked me, Where was I from?.’Liverpool ‘ I lied,’ He’s not ‘said another Bobby, he’s from Ireland,’ Don’t let him out ‘.. First match of the season 1988,or 1989,it was, Millwall won 2..1, Cascarino for Millwall & Sheedy direct from a corner for Everton.. You would really need to love football to go to match’s like that one, plenty of heavy duty idiots kicking shit out of each other, wouldn’t recommend it at all. I’ ll leave the story about the time I went to ‘Chelsea’ for another day. Anyway I’m still alive to tell the tale!

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