Ins and outs


As has already been mentioned in the comments, five players who were involved in the county senior panel at the start of the year have, in the vernacular, been released back to their clubs. The Mayo News (paper and digital editions) reports today that Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina), David Kenny (Aghamore), Cian Costello and James Durcan (Castlebar Mitchels) as well as Gareth O’Donnell (Charlestown) have all been released, for now, from inter-county duties.

All of the five aside from Gareth O’Donnell saw action for us in this year’s FBD League campaign. The unfortunate Charlestown midfielder got injured just at the time he was called up and so never got to line out in pre-season. Hopefully his chance will come again, as it surely will too for at least some of the others.

It’s not easy to see lads being let go but given the fluidity in the squad at the present time – with a number of last year’s all-conquering U21s straining at the leash to get combat experience at senior level – it’s inevitable that there’s going to be a bit of coming and going. Indeed, that Mayo News report states that another group of players will be released from the squad over the coming weeks, as Stephen Rochford continues to shape his forces for the remainder of the League and with an eye to the summer’s action up ahead.

As night follows day, people are going to hear rumours (some of which undoubtedly will be true) about the names of those set to be let go. I know of one myself whom, I’m told, has already gone (and I see someone has now attempted to post this news in the comments as well). Long-standing readers here will know, though, that it’s not kosher to go naming names in the site’s comments section before any departures are confirmed officially so I’d appeal with everyone to abide by this house rule.

The flipside of players being released is that others are ready to come back. Both the Mayo News today and yesterday’s Western People report that our early year injury crisis (if such a term is warranted – on balance, I wouldn’t say it is) is abating. Names in the frame who could well be available for selection against Roscommon on Saturday week include Caolan Crowe, Brendan Harrison, Jason Gibbons, Conor Loftus and Aidan O’Shea.

The Western also reported yesterday that Stephen Rochford is hopeful to be able to call on both club-tied duo Kevin Keane and Lee Keegan for the Rossie match. I’d say we could well see Lee line out from the start in that one, as Stephen will surely want to see the current Footballer of the Year stretch his legs with the county side for the first time this year before we face Dublin at Croke Park the week after.

58 thoughts on “Ins and outs

  1. Delighted to hear Conor is back in the running because it was beginning to look bad. Hate to see young lads out long term.

    Bloody gutted for Dougie.

  2. Yeah, Loftus, definitely want to see him get a good long run. Also to get Keegan back will be massive for us. Best player in Ireland by some distance. We really need to put on a “performance” in Mchale Park next time. Could well be a dress rehearsal for the Connacht final at the same venue in July too.

  3. Cant understand Carolan being released especially as we havent too many mobile halfforwards .

    We seem to have a glut of defenders wouldnt appear too much balance to squad at the moment so probably a defender cull coming next .

  4. On a side note McDonald is to line out for Crossmolina this year so maybe they are making space for him

  5. You know, that is some amount of talent to be welcoming back. We are building some proper depth. Kirby, I think, will get more opportunity, and with Leeroy returning and Steve Coen doing as well as we expected, does that free up Paddy or Lee? Lee is a fantastic finisher. Maybe up the field is where we need him!

    We’ll see. The Rossies game will be intriguing.

  6. Fergal Boland strikes me as though he’s well aware of his abilities…..has good positional sense, accuracy in his pass, can take a score and most important of all knows how to knit in! He’s far ahead in this regard than COS for all Conor’s chances. He’s more available too for the phases whereas C is not sure enough which way he should run in time and space ….one of our ongoing failures! Bolands building into the front six has been the success of the year so far…could prove v important ….time will tell.
    David Clarke’s main contribution is more in what we don’t see than what we do see in abundance. As has been said he spreads confidence up through the field….just note his body language….eg. after K scored that goal to put them well ahead. D got on with it as though nothing had happened just as he did when he went out to replace H in Croke Park in those circumstances!
    It seems we are moving along nicely, form wise and with some new possible options.

  7. @InBetweener, Agree, Boland moves very well and as a smaller player he makes sure to keep on the move.
    Conor OShea if he could tidy up his finishing he would be much improved. He shows glimpses of potential, but a long period training in finishing alone would benefit him. Stephen McDonnell had an interesting trick about finishing, when through on goal he would count ‘One’ in his head. It allowed him think. look up and place the ball rather than rush his shot. In fairness Conor did work hard and make a lot of tackles, which is at least something he can build on.

  8. Disapointed to see Cathal Carolan dropped I think he’s as good a forward as what’s on the panel with the exception of some of the more senior lads but the manager knows best he’s around the panel all the time.

  9. I agree re Boland but right now our halforward options are
    Aidan OShea
    Conor O Shea
    Conor Loftus
    Would imagine Dillon

    Even then Conor Loftus would probably be deemed an inside forward and with AOS used in midfield and McLoughlin was used as sweeper so leaves you with less options .
    Outside Diarmuid and Boland there is no searing pace there .

    Whereas look at our defence options
    O Donoughue
    O Reilly
    O Malley

    With Keegan,Caff, Keane, Barrett all to return it makes our defence congested and halfforward options very light unless there is to be some change of positions

  10. I noticed the last night that the Mayo team seemed very well developed fitness and muscle wise. Coen, Regan, Boland, Moran, Parsons, Boyle and Higgins especially looked well up for the game. The set up at the beginning was definitely wrong. We cant let teams play down the middle – this is where goals come from. I cant see any Mayo team without Vaughan in the half back line. I like the way that Coen finishes games so strong. Shows good fitness and good character. I met some great characters on the Friday night before the game. Tralee definitely seems to be full of knowledgeable GAA men. One guy drunkenly told me to back Tyrone, Mayo and Crokes. An other guy told me to look out for Jack Savage and he was good. Rough enough town on the street even if the bars seem well ran. One bar styled itself as a ‘drinking consultant’.

  11. Well whatever it is about Mayo football we’ve always been able to tog near on two competitive defences.
    One interesting thing would be to have an 8 – 15 lining up :
    8 Coen 9 Parsons
    10 Boland 11 McLoughlin 12 Diarmuid
    15 Cillian (moves around)
    13 AOS 14 Andy
    In that formation five players are playmaking and scoring with Parsons providing his tackling and powerful running.
    Then you have Andy and AOS providing an inside threat. Crucially AOS would stay inside.
    It’s not what was tried before which was pretty much Aidan on his own.

  12. With respect JP, I don’t see the point in that. I don’t see any attributes that makes Aidan an inside forward. I would really hate to see Aidan in there again.

    I would have Doherty in the FF line all day long instead of Aidan personally.

    If Conor Loftus can get fit, get 3-4 league games under his belt, then he will be contesting for a starting spot come summer I think.

  13. Delighted to see all those names returning and injury numbers receding.

    Agree to with posters about Carolan. But, he has seen so little game time, it’s not really a surprise. He did very well I thought against Dublin in the league last year, but perhaps he still hasn’t got back full sharpness after the cruciate. Look at Andy!

  14. Ya I think AOS will be a deep lying/ holding Midfielder and will battle for that spot with Seamie.

    Dont like the idea of him inside as he gets suffocated in there an as we seen 2nd half last week that the lads can play the right type of ball inside to feed the likes of Andy whereas with AOS in there high aimless passes went in .

    Let him be a modern more refined version of Neil Gallagher, who did that role so successfully for Donegal . Less running he has to do the better, win ball create attack, release ball early to overlapping halfback and or athletic midfielders in Keegan and Parsons .

    Diarmuid_______________________Kevin Mc

  15. Great to hear of all the lads coming back,it will surely increase our chances against Roscommon,we need to be in top form for this one,as our opponents will be desperate for a win,we might have been a bit too complacent in our last home game ,so this is a big one lads,I am sure the management and team will be well up for it,hon Mayo!

  16. I was at the game Sat and had good vantage point and did not see any TV coverage . But I m amazed talking to people Sun & yesterday about individual performances . For me Conor O Shea had his best game by far at senior level . Maybe it did not come across that way on TV . Ok he had one bad turnover plus the one with Patrick Durkan was poor ( at a vital time ) but the amount of work he got thru was really immense . I think Conor’s body language gives out wrong signals to our fans who as we know are not slow to criticise but he never stopped trying his best and if he keeps giving us these shifts he ll be a great option this year . Fergal Boland is also going to give us great options but it ll be important to blood him slowly . ( I think this lad could revel in Croker ) . Also Keith is under pressure at full back . I heard Sun he had a great game From where I was he won one vital ball near the end but besides that was caught out a lot although he did set up some good attacking plays . Sweeping position is made for that lad . But anyway they ll showed great bottle to win a game that was absolutely distroyed as a spectacle by an over picky ref . Well done lads

  17. Unlikely to see Lee Keegan back for the Roscommon game, needs a rest and to recover from injuries. We need him in salthill ,not before that.

  18. It’ll be interesting to see if Aidan O’Shea’s distribution skills will have improved after his time playing basketball over the winter. Something to keep an eye on anyway.

  19. The Mayo News are now reporting Alan Freeman has left panel due to work commitments. Shame to see him go. I still think he had something to offer

  20. Sorry to hear that Carolan is dropped, he was one that I thought could do a lot of damage with his strong runs at goal. Maybe he didn’t recover his edge since the injury? Anyways, hard luck to the guys dropped, maybe they’ll be back in the future playing their part.

  21. Disappointed for all the lads leaving the panel, forced and unforced. The positive is the competition for places is heating up but as some posters have already said, we need to find a balance. The u21s are the future and this year it’s important to settle in Loftus, Boland and Irwin to name a few. I’m not adding Coen as he is already settled.

  22. That’s the nature of panels players come and go.fair play to all the lads that gave there service to the county there a great credit!
    It’s easy for the supporters to turn up at the games but the players and management are the ones the put in the countless hours on the training pitches!

  23. Gutted Freeman has left the panel, he offers so much to the team. It was looking like he was going to get a good run in the league aswell. His physicality and knack of chipping over points on the turn (provided he’s given decent ball) will be sorely missed. We’re suddenly starting to look very light up front, Boland is minimum 18 months a way from making an impact (if any) as he is so light, needs seirious s+c before he’ll be able to handle himself in championship football. Best a luck to Alan though, hope he comes back next year.

  24. That’s very harsh on Boland. He hasn’t looked one bit out of place or too light. What’s the point of bulking up for the sake of it? He is well used to the physical aspect and hustle bustle of senior inter County hurling, and now he is getting a crash course in football.

    I expect Boland to make a further impact this year. While he will definitely put on some weight, he doesn’t need 2 years of strength work to be able to compete in my opinion

  25. I think alan freeman has jumped the gun leaving the panel.he will be a long time retired .i dont like to see players leaving the panel,they are nearly always sorry afterwards e.g. the mort. I hope he reconsiders and returns to the panel for the roscommon game.he will have plenty of time for working after next september. he will also have won an all-ireland winners medal.ALAN ,now is not the time to leave ,we are nearly there. please reconsider. I think alan freeman has a part to play in mayo football this year

  26. That’s v true Aidan …with you on that!

    AOS can do a right good job up front if the rest of the picture is complete. What we don’t need is a portrait of Aiden O’Shea hanging forever in the square, as we’ve had, for all to admire. It’s a not an art gallery. It’s unfair to say that his contribution hasn’t been up to scratch there because really and truly he’s not been tried properly…. with the necessary compliments from other forwards. But sure we know this! It’s old hat… but not a great reflection on those who posted him there, home alone! For me Andy 14 and Aidan 13 ala JP but in a loose fashion ….how can it be otherwise?
    His other role I agree with Outside of Boot to be midfield with TP and S and other to come on maybe….making sure of his ball and dispatching smartly so as not to be flogging himself to death! And it would be great to see him finding a home at last so he can forget about himself and produce the goods. To an extent too, much depends on Aidan’s own head….these great days won’t be around forever!!

    (AoS )Cillian Diarmuid Andy. Boland. K MC JOD…….Irwin.Loftus.Kirby. A Dillon. And with a coming of age of some of those backs mentioned maybe one or two can look to a more forward career!!!
    I’m thinking, if things keep going the way we’re hoping we ll be well primed for a v strong push forward this year.

  27. Sorry to see Alan F. leave but to be realistic he has been an enigma as a player, often promising greatness and not achieving his perceived potential on any consistent basis. He has had the opportunity to perform under three or four Co. managers in a high performance environment over a number of years, and was unable to nail down a place under any of them, so perhaps that tells its own story, but one still feels at a loss to figure why he did,nt prosper as a player
    What a pity as we badly need the option of a f/f with his type of attributes ie high fielding, scoregetting & decent freetaking

  28. Agree totally, Freeman had allot to offer Mayo. Don’t think he ever got a decent run of games last few years. Horan taking him off in the 2013 All Ireland was a diabolical decision. Horan should have looked allot nearer home when he was taking off forwards on that particular day. Don’t think the guy has got a fair crack of the whip. Down the last number of years, Mayo has had a number of forwards who were continually selected regardless of how they played. And I’m not talking about Cillian or Andy, but no matter what 15.any management select, someone won’t be happy. I’d like to see Alan Freeman back in a Mayo line up, but it’s quite a challenge and unlikely I would say. Freezer has served his county well, While None of us should forget his heroics in the All Ireland semifinal of 2013,.He deserves the appreciation of all Mayo fans!

  29. Very disapointed to see Freeman go. Playing for Mayo is a huge commitment and the reality is these are amateur sportsmen and work must always come first to pay the bills and to eat. I agree with Leantimes Horan made a mistake taking him off in the 13 final he was never the same player after that I think his confidence suffered. Anyway thanks Alan for your hard work and commitment and hopefully we will see you back in the Green and Red again one day

  30. Sorry to see Freeman go, and a little surprised to be honest. He has been in and around the team for a number of years now and I’m sure that he is far more frustrated than the average supporter that he hasn’t quite been able to hold down a regular position. Alan is an extremely dedicated young man and a fantastic footballer. A true mark of the guy is how, after what happened in the AIF under Horan, he didn’t moan and complain. He kept his mouth closed and his head down and soldiered on with the team.

    I can’t help but feel that he could have offered a lot more if given the chance. Yes, he has had chances but they have been bit part chances. I think it’s also unfortunate that his game time with Mayo has coincided with a style of play that really doesn’t suit him – running, hand passing, possession based. He is an out and out full forward who loves the high ball. He doesn’t have lightening pace but he is stronger than a lot give him credit for. He has great hands and when he gets the ball to hand he can be devastating. I remember in his first game against Sligo – the commentator at one point saying, “It’s simple. When Mayo get Freeman the ball, they score”.

    I’m hopeful that he will get another crack at it at some point in the future. If nothing else, this should send a clear message to the younger players of what it takes to make it at the highest level. Consistency is key and being talented isn’t enough. Best wishes, Alan!

  31. I am sorry to see Freeman go but he has given it 7 seasons he burst onto the team in an otherwise forgettable season 2010 I was listening to the sligo game on rte Martin Mc Hugh was raving about him he won everything in the air to combat him they put Eamon O Hara back to double mark him there were no sweepers back then. Alan had an OK game viewing monaghan conserving the ball that went his way he won his share but the supply was scarce in Tralee he saw 4 subs coming on in the forwards ahead of him and that and extra work commitments I guess he gave it some thought and decided sitting on a cold bench making sacrifices won’t pay the mortgage. Thanks Alan for your contribution to the best years of Mayo football that I have seen and sorry you don’t have a celtic cross for your efforts

  32. All the best Alan . Probably a signs of things to come if we want to blood new players. It’s happening in alot of counties. The next few months could see a few more changes.

  33. Have to say as an outsider looking in, Freeman will be a big loss to ye, Free scoring forwards with expierience is something that is a little thin on the ground in Mayo. Someone apart from Cillian o Connor , Andy Moran wiill seriously have to step up to the plate this year in the scoring from play department!

  34. Can I add my voice to those who regret Alan Freeman’s departure. I really feel he had a role to play for us. His only outing of note this season was against Monaghan and to be fair to him he got poor quality ball. The point he did score came after fighting for and catching a ball that favoured the full back. And then he scored off his weaker foot.
    We always seemed very eager to call him ashore. Thanks Alan. You owe your couny nothing.

  35. Disappointed for Alan.

    Someone needs to pick up the phone to enda Varley

    Think it was mad when he was dropped initially to be honest

  36. I have a lot of sympathy for Freeman and the position he found himself in – travelling to training, putting in the same effort as the other lads, making the sacrifices (social life, diet etc), it must be very difficult for those guys not getting much game time. For the younger lads, at least they are learning and finding their way and have the hope that they can make the breakthrough onto the first team.
    Alan probably felt he was never going to become a regular starter, or even first forward sub. He deserves all the thanks he’s getting for the commitment and years of service he gave.
    But in the interests of balance, let’s not don the rose-tinted spectacles either – he wasn’t consistent enough to make a starting jersey his own. He showed what he’s capable of as far back as v Sligo in 2010, but that was all too fleeting. More often than not, he struggled to impose himself on games, which is regretted by all I’m sure.

  37. Alan gave great years of service to Mayo.
    With the work he’s involved in I’d say it wasn’t an easy decision.
    Best of luck to you in the future and hope things work out that you can make a return someday.
    I just hope some fans dont make a Richy Feeney out of this later on.

  38. It’s sad to see Alan Freeman go, but as a poster above has said, the running game that Mayo employ doesn’t really suit his game. I was standing on the terrace behind the town goal in Markievicz Park in 2010 when he started like a train in that ill-fated game against Sligo, and they were at sixes and sevens with him. His maturity to stand up when needed against Tyrone in 2013 rightly earned him man-of-the-match that day, and why he was subbed against Dublin in the final is up there with the Clarke/Hennelly debacle from the 2016 replay as one of the strangest management decisions in Mayo history. How and ever, the past is the past, and after giving that number of years to Mayo football, he owes his county nothing. Stand tall and proud Alan for what you have provided to us, you will not be forgotten.

  39. Best of luck to Alan…it must be hard to step away after being involved in that bubble for so long.

    My own opinion is that he had the talent but we did not see it produced near enough on the big day.

  40. Sorry to hear Alan has stepped away, he obviously tried to make things work this year but with work commitments it just wasnt going to work with what is expected of a county player. I wouldnt be suprised to see similar announcements in the future regarding senior players stepping aside due to the unrealistic demands expected.

    On the footballing side while Alan is a loss I dont think it will have much of an impact on Mayos fortunes this year. Irwin would be almost a like for like replacement for Alan. Add in Reape and Lotus who should be pushing for a starting position. Douglas needs to be in the panel and should have been for the past two seasons, he is the counties top club forward and would be even better if he was on the panel. Varley also should be brought back in, players who can score from play are what we need and he is one.

  41. Good luck to Freeman . Fine player had some good days and may not be the last we will see of him however at 29 can understand his motives of having to commit to work .

    Theres alot we as fans take for granted and the commitment these lads put in is nothing short of phenomenal .

  42. Young Fella,
    nice sentimental comment re Aghamore clubman and a good analysis..
    No doubt his unfortunate departure, had more to do with game time than work commitment. Alan @ his confident best would make ANY County team. The shame for him and Mayo he delivered his undoubted natural talent in flashes..

  43. @Hope ES I think Seamus would of gained alotmore out of a season of basketball than Aidan.
    Nothing wrong with Aidans distribution skills
    as is….
    Note pass to coc for all ireland reply .

  44. Thank you Alan for all your hard work, dedication and commitment to wearing the green and red. Maith an fear.

  45. Sorry to see Alan go, he never got a fair crack of the whip. He was badly managed , taken off when playing well and saw poorer players making the team before him. He is a natural footballer and lets hope that he continues to play with his club. I would love to see him playing with a top Dublin club and win a club All Ireland, at least he would be appreciated there. I am not insulting his club and apologise if that’s the way it sounds.
    Aidan O Shea should not waltz back on the team we are playing a good brand of football with Andy pulling the strings at F.F. We need another forward or two to run at defences, too dependant on Cillian Diarmuid and Andie.I would play Jason at wing back and push Keith Higgins or Lee Keegan forward for some games as we are not putting the opposition under pressure. See what happened Kerry when we ran at them.

  46. Thank you Alan Freeman for all you gave to Mayo.
    He reminds me of Maurice Fitzgerald in his prime.
    And would Maurice fare any better against modern defences.
    I would always prefer to be remembered as sporting gentleman than a thug.

  47. Up Mayo…. how can you possibly compare A Freeman to M Fitzgerald.

    Such a comment that is such obvoius rubbish makes all posters on here look totally positively biased regarding Mayo players.

  48. Up Mayo
    How many all irelands would mayo have wono sinice 2012 if maurice Fitzgerald way a Mayo man …..

  49. Steady on, RiseAgain – it should be possible for you to ask a question – and the one you’ve posed is a genuine one – without describing what someone else has said as “obvious rubbish” and “biased”. A bit of decorum, please.

  50. Fair enuf Willie joe.
    Will try and keep any comments i make politevery in future.
    I wonder, in your judgement following observing Shane Scott in Croke Park yesterday, is he developed enough strenght wise to compete at intercounty at this stage. I realise it’s a big jump …. but he looked at very good footballer yesterday.

  51. That’s grand, Rise Again, keeping it clean helps the debate flow better.

    On Shane Scott, I’d love to think he is. I read somewhere that he’s 25, which would make him a contemporary of the likes of Brendan Harrison, Danny Kirby, Cillian O’Connor and others. From what I can see he never played minor or U21 for the county but he sure looked mightily impressive yesterday. Big, strong, mobile, well able to take a score from distance – he certainly earned a look-in on yesterday’s performance. As you say, though, it’s a big jump, especially in physicality and all the S&C he’d have missed out on but it would be nice to see him get a chance.

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