A few thoughts on Alan Freeman’s departure

Photo: Elverysblog.com

When I was composing that post yesterday morning about comings and goings on the panel I’d already heard that Alan Freeman had left. The word wasn’t, however, out then but it was soon after, with the Mayo News (here) breaking the story yesterday evening and there’s further coverage on it this morning – Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, RTÉ.

According to the Mayo News piece, Alan turns 29 today (happy birthday, by the way, big lad) and he lives and works up here in the capital. Players based up here make a phenomenal commitment to the cause, forever criss-crossing the country for training and matches, a schedule that must be very punishing to keep up, year after year after year. It’s a commitment that has to be fitted in with real world responsibilities too and when work obligations involve foreign travel – as is the case with Alan – it’s easy to see why something’s got to give.

Alan first broke into the senior county team in 2010 when he was still an U21 player. Eschewing the usual route of having a few run-outs first in the FBD, Alan was pitched in as a sub (the only one we introduced that day) against Galway in our opening League fixture at MacHale Park in February that year and then made his full debut the following Sunday against Tyrone up in Omagh.

Alan was a shining light for us in the dreadful summer that followed for us that year. He scored 1-4 in his championship debut against Sligo (including this gloriously converted penalty) and then notched five points (four from play) on that evening of infamy in Longford three weeks later.

Alan was a regular presence in the team under James Horan. Ever-present in the first fifteen for the 2011 championship, he was used more as a sub the following year and made an appearance off the bench for Jason Doherty in the 2012 All-Ireland final.

It was his own replacement early on by Mickey Conroy in the following year’s final against Dublin that still has many Mayo fans puzzled. Alan came into that final having produced a Man of the Match performance in the semi-final against Tyrone, where he nervelessly took over from the injured Cillian O’Connor as the team’s place-kicker, booming over this monstrous free just after Cillian went off and later on cracking home the decisive penalty goal. The reason for his early withdrawal in the final remains a mystery, one of the many what-might-have-been moments we’ve accumulated in all those final appearances down the years.

He’s been in and out of the team since then, sometimes making the first fifteen, other times coming off the bench. The last championship game he started for us was the Round 2B qualifier against Fermanagh in July last year and the most recent championship cameo off the bench was the Round 4B win over Westmeath at the end of that month.

It looked as if Stephen Rochford was going to give the Aghamore man more of a regular run this spring, starting him in the opening League match against Monaghan a few weeks back. He got a point from play in that game on what was a frustrating evening for many on the team, Alan included. He was an unused sub down at Tralee last Saturday evening.

I know this potted history of his inter-county appearances has the air of valediction about it so it’s only right to point out that Stephen Rochford said the following yesterday in relation to Alan’s departure from the panel:

 … the panel remains open-ended and who knows what might happen in the future.

In Alan’s absence, it’s now the responsibility of others to step up and provide further options for us in the finishing department. I’m not alone, I’m sure, in concluding that we haven’t got the balance right in the team at the minute between forwards expected to be out-and-out workhorses and those tasked with the primary role of shooters. There’s a gap in the market there to be filled and an opportunity for those on the fringes of the team to do this in the weeks ahead.

It’s heartwarming to see all the good wishes in the comments to Alan on his departure from the panel. From one Aghamore man to another, then, I’d like to add mine to that list too. Best of luck, Alan, and thanks for your significant contribution to the cause.

111 thoughts on “A few thoughts on Alan Freeman’s departure

  1. Just wanted to say a big thank you to Freezer for all the effort over the years.A commitment that i think is sometimes too easily overlooked by supporters.We are without doubt the best fans in the country but our commitment is literally nothing compared to the team and management.Thanks again Alan.

  2. Just want to say you have said everything about Alan that I could say,a big thank you to Alan,and indeed all the people involved in what has been the best period since the all Ireland winning teams,the players undoubtedly give the most to the cause,and players on the fringe must be very dedicated to keek going,I feel sorry for the critical comments after the Monaghan match all the best for the future to the players who have left the panel

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

  4. I was at the Sligo game in 2010 and although we lost it I thought every time the ball went in to Alan we looked like scoring he scored a great penalty. On am aside my admiration for Sligo people grew that day after they beat us there wasn’t a word out of them no gloating or punching the air. Anyway best wishes to Alan I hope we see him in the green and red again I genuinely believe he will be a big loss

  5. Best wishes to Alan. It must be hard making a decision like that but there’s a lot more to life and sometimes a decision makes itself before you even know it’s made.

  6. Thanks Alan for all you have given to the cause of Mayo football. I have always been a fan of yours and hope that you have an opportunity to return to the squad. We all know that at some point your career has to take priority and not always getting a fair shake takes it’s toll. All the best for the future.

  7. He was at the centre of one of our strangest selection or substitution mysteries. We never got to the bottom of why he was taken off early in the 2013 final. We seem to do something baffling like that in every final (and its getting worse). Going back to 1997 final i think it was when we named an injured player to start who didn’t even last the parade! Anyway 2013 semi final was probably his finest hour.

  8. Fair play to anyone willing to train and play for Mayo. They have my absolute respect. And so I say thanks Alan for doing your best.
    I predicted after the Kerry game, when he didn’t get a run, that he might be for the chop and I suspect Alan himself could feel this coming. At the very least he couldn’t see himself getting much game time, if any, this year. And that is disheartening for any player and with him living in Dublin and the pressure of work his decision is perfectly understandable.
    Who else might go, either voluntarily or otherwise, is something that undoubtedly will be a source of speculation over the coming weeks. For me it is not a particularly edifying debate because players invest so much of themselves, over a long period of time, in this Mayo project and seeing their hopes and dreams shattered is sad. That said sport can be very cruel and time moves on. My view on it is that if there are players that SR and his management team do not want or intend to use during the year they should be ‘released’ sooner rather than later, in fairness to themselves.
    Good luck to all who have the courage and commitment required to play for Mayo. It’s a great honour…….but it is not easy.

  9. Its no wonder Alan Freeman left the panel, as his face dont fit with Rochford.I knew if the constant substituting ,whilst others remained on, has frustrated him and baffled me.
    He scored the best point of the night against Monaghan.,winning his own ball with a great fetch and from a tight space deftly slipped it over the bar.
    One forward that started both games has’nt scored yet and still gets the nod everytime.We are left now with no man that can catch a ball over his head close to goal. Andy was a good call, but Freeman should have come on at some stage in the full forward line.
    I have to say to Alan, you gave more to Mayo football than many of the current team and were badly treated.
    You will be remembered for your great display against Tyrone in 2013 scoring 1-4.
    Thanks again Alan

  10. Thanks to Alan Freeman for all his efforts. Stuck with it for several years. Slight correction but I think he would turn 28 today being U21 in 2010?

  11. Thanks Alan. You put in some great displays for Mayo down through the years.
    Tyrone 2013 was my highlight.

    I suppose being totally honest he never quiet fulfilled his initial promise. Given space he would score, peticularly good at finding the net but he did struggle to find that precious bit of space in the big games. I was always waiting for him to cut loose in the big games and score 1-3 from play but it just never quiet happened for him despite his undoubted talent. Its a chance now for one of the young guns to hopefully step up.

    The commitment the lads put in is phenomenal peticularly the guys living
    in the big smoke. I dont know how they manage it. Respect!!

  12. While I do wish Alan the best, I dont think that he is out and will be back in the Mayo jersey again. He has always dedicated himself to the team and I have no doubt that while he may be gone for this year, he will work hard offline and be back again, should his work position allow. Its another thing we fail to remember that not only are their personal lives on hold, but their careers. For those lucky to be in Mayo, there is an “expectation” to free up time for the players. With companies in Dublin, many not be as willing to help the cause for Mayo to lift Sam.

    Thank you Alan and look forward to seeing you again.

  13. Fair play to Alan for all the hard work put in since 2010. Indeed, all of the lads that selflessly give so much to the cause of Mayo football are in our debt.
    The reason that he didn’t star for Mayo in the 2010 FBD League is that he was an IT Sligo player at the time. I remember having a conversation with Johnno that January during which he told me about this really exciting prospect from Aghamore that he had seen with IT Sligo. Amazing how the years fly by!

    Good luck Alan. And if the work was to settle down, it would be great to see you give it another lash.

  14. Well done Alan and thanks for the great days you have given us. One of my favourites was a league match v Kerry in Machale Park in I think 2014. You gave Mark Griffin a torrid time that evening scoring 1-5 , Mark ending up on a black card. (Mark got more of the same last Sat in Tralee). At one stage Mayo were awarded a 45, Robbie jogged up the field to take it. Alan grabbed the ball, waved Robbie back, placed the ball on the 45 and stuck it between the posts. One of your many Man of the Match awards on the blog. You served Mayo well

  15. I hope to see him back in the Green & Red soon. I always had time for Alan. As someone said recently, he has the hang time of one Willie Joe Padden. A compliment all by itself. Also will always remember how he nailed that pressure penalty v Tyrone. Balls of steel

  16. Fair play to Alan for all the commitment and time he has put in throughout the years.
    He adds something different with his skill set yet awkward style and he is a lovely fielder of a ball.
    I think he is a player who needs a run of games to get going and is no doubt a confidence player, when his gander is up he is a serious threat.
    The only problem being SR doesn’t have time to give lads games to build up their confidence, you have to win your league games. The same can be said for Regan/Loftus/Irwin. They would all love a run of games but unfortunately the league is too important nowadays. Alan reminds me of Austin O’Malley, picking up big scores and on his day close to unstoppable.
    Best of luck Alan

  17. Willie Joe.
    Cannot believe Taigho comments were allowed. Surely Rochford is entirely to his opinion on players without the kind of comments expressed above.

  18. The Freezer situation shows just how hard it is for an intercounty player who can’t make the first 15 regularly. Keith Duggan’s brilliant article on Brendan Harrison a few weeks back gave us an inside view of the frustration involved in trying to make the first team. When you are only getting a short time on the pitch it’s hard to make an impact and you are mentally looking over your shoulder at the sideline all the time. If he went to another county I would put money he’d prosper and give us hell. Thank God that’s not happening.

  19. I didn’t see any great problem with that comment, RiseAgain. It may have sailed a bit close to the wind but not enough to warrant action. People are entitled to express robust opinions here, it’s how they do so that matters and in this instance I thought the comment was okay.

  20. Fair play to Alan for his commitment to the cause over the years and it’s a tough decision to make. Hopefully he might be in a position to rejoin the panel later in the year if work commitments allow.

    I always thought he was a great option for us in the forward line. On form, he would make sure the ball would stick in the forward line and get scores. It would then enable others such as Aidan or Cillian etc to cause havoc elsewhere and create more headaches for the opposition. When Alan wasn’t on form, Aidan or Barry Moran were the ‘big man’ alternatives but it limited us too.

    The chance is there for someone to nail down a position in the forward line, hopefully we will have someone locked in by June for championship.

  21. I think Alan will be missed this year. We are short enough on natural scoring forwards and if we pick up a few injuries in the summer to guys like Cillian, Andy, Diarmuid or Conor Loftus we could be in bother. He has a great pair of hands and well able to take frees, so he’s a big loss. Seen him last year at a wedding in Westport on the Friday before a championship game drinking a 7up with his friends and looked like he would like to be anywhere but where he was, and didnt even get a game after all, its not easy give that kind of commitment to football and sit on the bench on match day. Anyway all the best to him, it could leave Aughmore a better team with him available more often.

  22. Again id like to thank Alan for the memories, will never forget his penalty against Tyrone, where he punched the ball after scoring! I was literally ready to kill at that monent. Brilliant player, will be sorely missed. Hope you come back again.

  23. Thank You Alan for all of your significant contributions to the Mayo cause over the past number of years. Your finest moments against Sligo in 2010 and Tyrone in 2013 will forever stay in my memory. Best wishes for the future.

  24. sorry to see Alan off the panel. proved his worth on many occasions especially v tyrone in 2013 when coc got injured
    Pity he wasn’t allowed take the frees v Dublin in final that year .On semifinal form hed have scored the 2 missed by coc which cost us the game ..same against Kerry in limerick when a concussed coc was let take them
    ALSO the free missed at the end of last years final was probably within his range .What might have been?
    Disgracefully treated in 2013 final . thanks for your commitment Alan Hope to see you bACK and appreciated by management

  25. Does an “open ended squad ” mean there maybe chance of seeing Adam Gallagher, Enda Varley or even Kieran Mc?

  26. Alan Freeman, the new Austin O Malley. Buckets of ability but managers unable to ever trust them. Freeman owes Mayo nothing. Mayo might reflect on their inability to fit him in. Lad was possibly too nice and didn’t throw his dummy out.

    Dragged us to 2013 final , won two balls that came into him and was taken off around 20′ mark. in that final. Do we get brain freeze on big days? What did he do wrong? Why not take off the guy who lost ball to Paul Flynn who bombed in a high ball that an U 16 keeper and full back should cleared. Aiden O Shea was burned out five mins into that second half but was left on.

    You see the Freemans of this world, decent , nice lads and damn good footballers are taken for granted. I love the line that other commitments have entered his life. I’d say Alan said, fuck this for another year of splinters on my arse, bursting my halls training and then watching lads maybe carrying an injury or loss of form getting a run ahead of him.

    Opened ended panel Alan? Don’t hold your breath but thanks for your undoubted contribution. You never let this County Down.

  27. I d also like to Alan for his dedication & commitment . Alan is technically one of the most talented players in our County but confidence plays a big part when you re on the edge of the square and our sideline dented that time and time again . Good luck Alan with your future ventures

  28. Alan Freeman has given great service in the Mayo jersey since he was brought on board. Never nice when a guy is either dropped from a panel or decides to leave for other commitments. The timing of this is a bit unusual, was their a cull in the Mayo panel or was he getting fed up of being an impact sub ?

  29. Thanks to Alan Freeman for all he has given since he came on board. It must have been frustrating for him this past three years, mostly used as a sub in matches, coming off the bench late in matches or unused.
    The timing of this is a bit unusual, ie, was there a cull in the panel this week ?.
    Roll on the match v Dublin on 4th March, I will be in the unusual position of going with an U11 club here in Dublin.

  30. When the Mayo team came over to New York a few years back, I took the kids to Gaelic Park. After the match, the players were signing autographs and taking pictures. Freezer made a big impression on my kids with his attitude and patience. The kids were always rooting for him anytime he was on the field. We wish him the best of luck in his career and life journey.
    We’ll miss Freezer!

  31. Very sorry to see Freeman go. Was always a fan. Really feel that be has something to offer but as has been mentioned before, he needed a boost in the confidence department thanks in no small way to that crazy decision in 2013! He never got that run of games that would have helped that.
    I’m a little worried that the likes of Andy or Cillian could get injured and we’d be left a little short of options in the forwards! (an extra free taking option too).Hopefully, that wont be the case though. I wish Alan every success and hope that we might see him back again. It’s a huge decision to have to make. Thanks for everything Freezer!

  32. Sorry to see Alan leave the panel he will be missed. Thanks Alan for your efforts over the years. Like others I am still puzzled as to why he was taken of in the 2013 final I believe we lost the game there and then. After the way he stood up to the plate against Tyrone it was a shameful decision. Perhaps one day James will explain his reasoning.

    Best of luck in the future Alan.

  33. Completely echo the sentiments of ‘The view from the cusack’ and even more so those expressed by ‘John Cuffe’.
    My own tuppence…. Disappointed for Alan, disappointed for Mayo.

  34. Thank you Alan for all the hard work,dedication, and commitment. A terrific warrior for our county. Hope we see you back again with a lot of playing time in green and red.
    In the meantime, wish you the very best of everything in your future.

  35. Best of luck to Alan. Still got a few good years in him yet so looking forward to seeing him continue to play club football

  36. Really sorry to hear of Alans departure. Was a guy who I rated highly and who I always felt was going to really be a big player for us. He was excellent in 2010, a really bad year for us but for whatever reason he did not develop into the star I thought he would be. Put in some decent performances since especially v Tyrone in 2013 and was unlucky to be taken off in final that year. Always felt he was a confidence player who needed an extended run in the team, but for whatever reason it seems Horan Holmes and Connelly and Rochford never had total faith in him. Maybe he should have been tried at corner forward or centre forward. He seemed to struggle to get into it at full forward. Anyway I wish him well and hopefully might see him back in the green and red again. Its not that we are blessed with great forwards. Interesting to note all the positive comments about him here which I agree with, in contrast to the departure of Conor Mort when he left in 2012. I felt some of the negative comments back then were totally unwarranted. I respect all who have given the county team good service and their decisions to opt out for whatever reasons should be respected.

  37. So sorry to see Alan go, never really got a fair shake. I spoke to him briefly in City West the night of the 13 final and could tell he was very down.
    Best of luck Alan for the future, in what ever you do.

  38. Sorry to see Alan go. It has always struck me how players such as Alan, getting little game time, show such loyalty. I think he is only the second player to opt out since 2011 apart from players left out by management. I always thought he deserved much more game time. Hopefully he will show good form with Aghamore through the spring and get a call back.

  39. It was sad news to hear about this. Thanks for the memories Alan. He was a great man to finish off a goal chance. He placed the ball low into the net rather than blasting the ball high, giving the keeper a better chance of pulling off a save. Getting his hands on the ball was often his biggest problem.

    You could almost say that him and his likes are victims of the blanket defence. I remember in the 2015 league campaign he was made our first choice full-forward for the early round league games. He scored a lovely goal against Kerry in the first match. Then in our game against Tyrone in Castlebar with them having 15 players inside their own 45 at times, he couldn’t make an impact like a lot of our forwards. This happened in a few of our games. That’s probably what prompted Holmes and Connelly to move Aidan O’Shea to full-forward later in the season.

    From the outside you would say that he was a player that seemed to have everything: two feet, a bit of height and strength, good in the air and very skillful. Yet there was just something missing, he was probably too nice. At the end of the day Alan might have been on the field for sixty minutes, then Andy Moran would come on for the last ten minutes. Andy would probably get his hands on the ball more in his 10 minutes on the pitch than Alan would have during his 60 minutes on the pitch. Andy was man of the match against Kerry, if Alan had been man of the match against Monaghan then you’d reckon he’d be still in the panel.

    We was a great man to have as a back-up freetaker for Cillian as he showed against Tyrone in 2013. One of the few games that he played in until the end and he ended up as man of the match that day. I reckon that the first trait that Rochford and Horan look for in a player is work rate so that’s probably why Alan suffered. In saying that in every sport you need at least one flair player to win titles, something different. He could have been that for us but unfortunately he wasn’t. For our U21s last year it was Conor Loftus and Liam Irwin. In 2013 it was Tommy Conroy and Darragh Doherty RIP.

    Best of luck to Alan in his future endeavours and thanks for all of your efforts for the cause that is Mayo football.

  40. I must say the best game I saw Alan play was v Kerry in 2014 league. Used his deceptive languid style, coming outfield to gain possession and, took on defence every time. I always feel there are certain talented players that need encouragement and backing, to help them get onto the next level, and fulfill their potential. Alan is one of those players. I don’t think it’s widely known, but at one stage P. Joyce could have ended out in the scutch grass, but for the intervention of S. Moynihan, his colleague in IT Tralee. Another talented forward is Enda Varley, who I’m sure still has a lot to offer. I realise it’s management’s prerogative, but at times the answers are staring them straight in the face, its up to them to display the leadership and guts…

  41. Alan Freeman, Austin OMalley, Ger Brady, Trevor Mortimer, Aidan Kilcoyne all fellas that Mayo didn’t get the best out of

  42. Totally agree. Never got the best out of Freeman. But I still can’t decide if he was good enough. Loads of ability but I’m not sure he ever showed it. Anyway well done freezer lad.

  43. I agree with most of the sentiments here. For me it was always exciting to see him with the ball . What I think was lacking was proper individualized coaching /mentorship ( Clough or Heffo or O’Dwyer -like). I think this is / could be already our bad All Ireland decision for this year !!! As has been mentioned above he could cover for either Andy or Cillian . They both have had major injuries. That is a hell of an asset to lose. He should not be let go if there is any way we can coax him back . And yes I think regardless he should be a starting forward for this team. Either way he was always exciting to watch and the panel and supporters will miss him.
    I really appreciate what he has done for the cause.

  44. The posts to date on Alan’s departure from the panel all share a recurring theme. Regret. Regret by all of us. I share deeply in this. i just feel we could have got so much more from Alan. That we didn’t is not his fault. As I said earlier this morning in a previous thread, we found it so easy to call him ashore. I may be wrong here, but I’d imagine that Alan, who has given so much to the cause, saw himself so far down the pecking order of substitutes in Kerry, just said to himself…..well we all know the rest.
    The hopes and utterances of all well-wishers who harbour a hope of seeing him back again are in vain. It doesn’t work like that folks in the modern professional era. I salute you Alan. You have done Aughamore and Mayo proud. You had more to give, but, all things considered, and knowing how you were regarded ( previous posts refer here)…..you probably did the right thing.
    I’m sorry I won’t see you in the red and green again.

  45. Can’t belive some of the stuff bein wriiten on this blog regardig Alan Freeman.
    Three Managenents teams saw him as a substitute ,,, does that not tell us all something.

    I know the commitment all county footballers make and Alan gave his best every day but he is no C McDonald or who ever people care to reference, ….

  46. Best of luck to the lad. Putting him up as some sort of Messiah is off the mark though. One of our most talented and skillful forwards ever but constantly let himself and Mayo down. How many times did he score a brilliant point or cracking goal and then just disappear for the rest of the game?? Very frustrating because we know how good he could be. Always seemed a bit too nice to his marker. Ball just didn’t stick like it does with Andy. Final in 13….refused to contest a high ball, Brennan dropped it and that’s how his goal chance arrived. Rory O Carroll had Freeman in his pocket

  47. He wasn’t a Massiah nor a C. McD. We’re all agreed on that.
    I’ve no axe to grind for Alan or his club but it just gets under my skin when someone says he let himself and Mayo down. Nothing could be further from the truth. I expect you, Willie Joe, to assert yourself and your sense of fair play here

  48. There’s a couple of wind up merchants just above presumably not Mayo fans. For me his disallowed goal in 2013 semi was top drawer. The panelists in RTE couldn’t figure out what the hell the whistle was blown for. It’s a fine line between being good enough to nail down a place in the 15 or even in the first 2 forwards subs. We were told his recall in 2013 final was due to flu and maybe the GPS monitoring spotted a sudden dip in energy. Also on that final digs at 1st goal and saying AOS was gone 5 mins into 2nd half are gross exaggerations. Sure they wore the OS lads out over the half but the ball must have been going up the Dublin end for Cluxton to be kicking it out. Conroy had an off day with the shooting boots and Varley was inexplicably positioned in half forwards when brought on.
    Don’t think the 4 forwards coming on in Kerry would be the deciding factor as managers need to try out lots of players but seeing Loftus and maybe Dillon coming back and doing the maths he could expect to be behind Andy on current form and Cillian.

  49. Thank you Freezer for your commitment and contribution to Mayo football over the past no of years. Best of luck for the future from a former fellow club member. Seamus Lennon

  50. Regarding Varley returning, would have to be in better form than Regan and jury is out on that one though no harm bringing him in for Dublin training and maybe a few months if he looks good. Irwin and AOS also competing for top of the right as well as Andy who can score from there with outside of the boot.

  51. It’s a pity because Alan has skills that our other forwards do not have, notably the ability to win high ball and he is also a much better finisher. Take for example the miss COS had in Tralee last Saturday. Freeman would most likely have buried it. I wouldn’t mind if we had an adundabce if natural scorers. We don’t. Freeman will be missed.

    The problem for him was that our approach play didn’t suit his style. He works best in open spaces whereas our build up play, particularly in league campaigns (which is when we are looking out for fringe or new players to impress) tends to be lateral and laborious. So, it’s very difficult for Freeman type players to impress in these circumstances. Summer days in croke park are ideal for him but due to his inability to stake a claim or impress in the springtime, he simply didn’t get enough game time come the championship. When he did feature he usually impressed.

    Is he a tier 1 intercounty forward? Probably not but in my opinion we are no where near a position to be able to justify his non-selection. We have no evidence thus far of having many other scoring options. You take Andy or Cillian out of our attack and we are fairly average. I’m yet to see anything from new or fringe players to suggest we have found a consistent and reliable scoring forward. We can bandy about names like Regan, Loftus, Irwin, reape etc and we all dearly hope they realise and surpass their/our expectations but as of yet, none have done so at senior intercounty level just yet. So as of now, our panel appears weaker with the loss of Freeman.

    The “official” reason may be work commitments but if he was getting more opportunities then work wouldnt be an issue at all.

    I had hoped, and made the point here after the Monaghan game that management should stick with freeman and give him the 14 jersey for the league; ie: a proper run of games. Sure we all know what Andy can do. We beat a 2nd string kerry team last with week with an experienced side in the 2nd half..we won’t have learned much from that at all.

    It’s time now for management to take a greater degree of risk in the league and play Regan, Irwin or other lads in the inside forward line and see what they can do. Play Cillian closer to goal. Leave Andy to token appearances and keep him fresh for the summer. He might be in great shape and credit to him but he’s no spring chicken.

  52. All our last 3 management teams gave Freeman little game time—they obviously saw something we did not see.I think he lacked a bit of a mean streak. Thanks & good luck in the future.

  53. thanks Freezer, hopefully you’ll be back in the fold at some point soon, you have all the tools and should be entering your prime, so I for one am hopeful that this departure is only a temporary one. A favourite memory of mine is the disallowed goal against Tyrone in ’13. As classy a fetch and finish as you’ll see anywhere, should have stood too. I think we could have gone on and done a real number on Tyrone that day had that been allowed, we laboured through the remainder of the game after that, despite the 7 point cushion at the end. Best of luck Alan, keep the faith!

  54. I would also like to echo the heart felt sentiment of the posters above and wish Alan all the best in the future and thank him for his efforts to the Mayo cause. The evolution of our game is what has marginalised players like Alan more than anything else and it’s not anyone’s faul but the GAA itselft.. its not Alan fault or the previous managements. The day of the perfect height floated ball into the high fielding full forward is all but gone.. Michael Murphy got away with it against us once when it mattered.. but it hasn’t worked since and you find him rotating with midfield. AOS is similar case in point for all his strength and power it’s very difficult to beat sweepers double marking and of course referees who won’t give you those 50/50 calls. And then you have the passers of the ball.. the likes of Kevin McLoughlin who just simply have literally seconds to look up, read the run of a player, anticipate where they are going to be, kick an inch perfect pass and all the while the defender is hanging out of ya. It don’t work anymore, it’s too risky as you will most likely cough up possession and the occasional goal won’t win you games. It’s a shame, but the truth, that the GAA has turned it’s back on another style, feature and talent of our game.. something I will sorely miss but delighted to have witnessed the graceful timing run and fetch from the sky around the large square. This it seems is to be replaced with strength of holding off the player.. running to the corners.. running up the centre.. short passes.. retain possession at all cost.. bore bore bore win at all cost machines. So thank you Alan for your honesty and endeavour, you did all you could.. the greatest loss however is to GAA.. the loss of talent, the loss of skill and the loss of how the game should be allowed to be played. Slan

  55. Here’s that goal https://youtu.be/Ab563WnP8Ks It was actually a free in to Mayo, even worse as the ref didn’t play advantage though the rule wasn’t in at that point Freeman had almost got the goal when he blew. Kevin Mc somehow missed the free maybe influenced by the madness of the decision.

  56. I’m far from a wind up merchant. Theme of regret all through this thread. Talent wise he should be our ff, but he constantly underperformed when given the chance. How many chances are you willing to give someone, especially a guy that never really seemed to have the heart for the battle. Heart like Colm Boyle and he’s a superstar no doubt. Let’s be honest, when the ball went in to Freeman were you confident he’d win it? 1/2 out of 10 just doesn’t cut it. I’d love to have seen the lad succeed though

  57. A lovely post Toe to Hand! Cheers, and well done Alan…..you played your part. And can we look forward with confidence to a new era of the game and make our way to be top notch, no matter what it takes!

  58. Best of luck to Alan in his job. If he is required to go overseas then that would have a serious impact on his ability to train responsibly with the county team. He probably knew this and after giving 5/6 years to the county decided a different path this year was the best option.

    Anyway no one knows what the future will bring. Maybe a break would do him no harm. Plus SR said the door was open for a return. So never say never. Everyone though Michael Conroy’s inter county career was over but he came back after a long sabbatical.

    What this news does offer s an opportunity to someone else on the fringe to come through. Who is going to make the mark and put their hand up?

  59. We have had so many forwards down through the years who just chip in with the odd point or goal, Alan been one of them. Kevin Mc and Jason Doc also only chip in with the odd score but they have other attributes as well like working hard as a defensive forward or playing as a sweeper (Kevin Mc). That’s probably the main reason why Freeman, Varley, Conroy etc. are no longer around but Jason and Kevin Mc still are.

    Finding those consistent score getters, i.e. a player who can get a few points per game from play is very hard to do. We can’t continue to just rely on Andy and Cillian. For example we scored 15 points against Kerry and 12 of those were scored by Andy and Cillian. Kevin Mc, Tom Parsons and Conor O’Shea chipped in with the other 3.

    We’ll see how we get on anyway in this regard in the coming weeks and months.

  60. Great piece by Philip Jordan about the rumours of Mayo’s demise on Aertel page 204 at the minute. Nice to read an honest outside view.

  61. A good piece by Jordan but it’s in line with what we are all saying, well most of us anyway. Fact is we are up there near the top but any complacency and we can lose and equally when we are up for it we can be anyone. What we do need is that additional scoring forward, to dig us out when we are playing below par.

    The world knows that if you stop two of Andy, Cillian or Diarmuid you’re effectively nullifying the Mayo scoring threat. We really need one of the young bucks to step up to the plate and this requirement is augmented by Freemans departure. Sure, Alan got little game time over the last few years but he always gave us that threat. He was decent at winning his own ball, he was reasonably accurate and he can score frees. Unless someone new puts their hand up, I feel we might miss Alan more than we think.

    I’d love to see Diarmuid in a more attacking role. Himself and his brother. I think they would create havoc in a full back line if properly supplied from out the field. Duarmuid is very good at taking on a passing players. He has a knack of making it look easy when it isn’t. Michael Donnellan use to do it do Galway. Diarmuid could be a real menace to teams if positioned between the half and full forward lines.

    Cillian was back at corner back to collect a short kick out from Clarke in the Monaghan game. I’d rather not see that.

  62. Thanks to Alan for the all the hard work and effort.

    I can’t see him ever coming back unfortunately. At his age a year or more is just too much of a gap for a team at Mayo’s level. Down the line he’s not going to slot back into regular first-team football, and in that case he’ll hardly bother again.

    Definitely there’s a sense of regret about what might have been. The puzzle about how a player of Alan’s ability can be slotted in just wasn’t solved by various different Mayo management teams. We certainly haven’t been getting the balance right over the last number of years. Alan was dangerous close to goal and roaming around the forward line but didn’t fit with the type of work-horse defensive midfielder/forward and counter-attacking game favoured by Horan and every manager since. We never really cracked getting fast delivery into the scoring forward and until we do it’s hard to see us going all the way.

    But regrets or not Alan was part of the best Mayo team since the glory days of 50/51 and gave us some great moments in the green and red and can be proud of what he achieved.

  63. Mayonaze .. that’s good! But I’d say you would still agree that most of the forwards should feel the liberty and confidence to take an odd trip back if necessary and only in a discerning fashion. Their main role they will know is to be part of the scoring crew and that happens at the other end…. but sometimes needs must!
    Regard Cooper strolling up last week for his point…. Unnecessary in this case but that’s Cooper.

  64. Looking back at it, i feel that Alan didn’t fit the Mayo style of playing. He is a player of great talent and would most likely have been great with the Dubs, Kerry, Tyrone and many others . Mayo are still playing the same way and if this doesn’t change, once more, it’s bye bye Blackbird!!

  65. Changing tack slightly, I ventured in to Elverys on Jones’s Road today to have a gawk at the new away jersey.

    Not in stock. ‘Official launch’ on 24th Feb – embargoed until then, whatever that means.

  66. Still think if this man had been left on the pitch in 2013, we would have won the All Ireland, I could not understand why he was substituted. Hope we have not seen last of him, a fine footballer.

  67. Faith51, your having a laugh if you think O’Carroll had Freeman in his pocket in ’13, twas the other way around lad.

  68. As I said earlier, reason we were giving for 2013 substitution is Flu. If true, the lads may have had enough energy for 20 or 25 and ran out of puff.
    Only Horan and his team can answer that so why keep coming back to it.

  69. Faith51, the comment I have issue with is ” constantly let himself and Mayo down”.
    Any player stepping on the field for Mayo is confronted with 15 opponents who want to stop you playing. I was only disappointed with his effort in one championship game for Mayo in 2014 which could just be an off day, and besides that he usually had something positive to contribute in attacking terms and often on the scoreboard too.
    There are exceptional leaders in sport like Andy who is able to get 10 or 20% more than talent alone would suggest, many forwards across the country struggle to find that which with modern day pacey intercounty full back lines isn’t easy. I would suggest Andy does that with extreme positivity and an unflappable spirit and a love of the game. Despite the pressure some players just love the game no matter what’s happened in the past.

  70. First of all thanks to Alan freeman for your time and dedication to Mayo and best of luck .

    The substitution in 13 was not that alarming as some make out. In respect to the lad I’m not going into it . A decent footballer just had a slight fault to play at the top level you can never be conscious of the belt coming in behind ya. He pulled out several times in games , some were very crucial .

  71. We may well regret Alan’s departure yet. Always rated him and felt he was never given a decent run. Not many scoring forwards or free takers like him around mayo

  72. You might be right facetheball but surely he got lots of chances from different coaches over the years but maybe for a big man easy enough knocked over . Great lad but looks like all the managers didn’t see him as one of the automatic starters . He has put in some effort over the years

  73. As I said earlier I am sorry for Alan who put in the hard yards for seven years,but J Horan who started this great team was a good manager, Pat and Noel , and now Stephen must have some reservation about him, it is just a fact that players who are around the starting fifteen seem to get a reputation as the great link to winning the final, but the management teams are decent managers and want as much as anybody to win, why would they leave out someone who could bet them over the line

  74. Just seen it confirmed Tom Parsons one match ban has been upheld.

    ?@officialgaa
    CHC 16.02.17: Tom Parsons (Mayo) Charge Proven – contributing to a melee. One match suspension imposed. Full statement to follow.

  75. That makes me sick if it’s true…Mayo Mick! Theres an awful shower of pricks blatantly cowering in the shadows of so many of our dear institutions in this so called great little country! GAA … HSE… Leinster House…. and The Church. All need a right good dose of HAWKEYE .

  76. With respect as an outside poster,
    I think that any man who puts himself on the line and gets the nod as an inter county player must be an exceptional talent. In our eagerness to find fault or to apportion blame for a game or championship changing moment we forget perhaps what these men sarcrafice just to have the honour of representing their county.

    Imagine what family members think when they read disparaging comments about a brother or a son when they know what these exceptionally gifted amateur athletes have to endure for the honour of wearing those colours, how many everyday pleasures we take for granted that are forbidden to them. The top teams are only a rung away from professional commitment, well !! in all but pocket anyway

    I have stood in a dressingrooms and witnessed the battered and bruised bodies of these players and In most cases the bodies with the most obvious evidence of battle are the forward players. Every time the supporters view what looks like a hand being loosely thrown across the chest or abdomen of an advancing forward they form an opinion as to intensity or otherwise of the tackle.

    What they don’t see is the finers grate or grasp for anything that will offer grip or resistance with every sinew and connecting muscle in their body and hand to slow that player for that vital moment. Almost every tackle on a passing player will leave its mark and they are just the battle scars, you also have the static more sinister bruises and cuts fron raking, pinching and the odd punch mostly when the non recorded games take place !!!

    Inter county football is played at a frightening pace and demands that the players be in absolutely top condition. Alan Freeman always looked to be in great shape and he had command of many of the top skills required for an inter county player. It has been said above that he is a lovely young man and that is a great thing to hear. To succeed at the top you have to have that skill set and you have to be steely tough and able for anything thrown at you. That is the difference between a great club player and an inter county one, even an average county player has to have that bit of aggression, edge and dare I say it a king of menacing threat to their demeanour while on the field, if it’s not there the opposing player will smell the blood in the water.
    In reality we are lucky in the GAA. to have so many fine young men to inspire youth to involve themselves in sport and enjoy all that it brings to a young life. Alan is a fine player and a credit to his club and county but I think he may have had too much of a gentlemans approach to his game. Sixteen years ago and before he would have been an outstanding player but the Tyrone boys have changed the game as we know it and if you don’t get down and dirty these days you will quickly find that that you are getting less game time cor maybe none whatsoever. I wish him well in all that he does and it would be great to see him return in the future, but he will need more of an edge to his game if he does as he has everything else. He has my respect for doing all he has done to represent his people and I hope his contribution is life rewarding for him always.

  77. Alan Freeman and Chris Barrett showed real leadership in first half of 2013 semi V Tyrone. Alan’s penalty at start of second half was class and he scored a fabulous point into the Hill that day which finished Tyrone off. Like others, still wondering why he was subbed in 13 final. I also remember a league goal he got against Kerry in 2015 when he got ball on sideline and drove past Kerry defenders to hammer home a great goal. A talented footballer and I was privileged to see him play him for my county. Have always felt he was singled out for criticism while others escape the same scrutiny. I wish him all the best for the future.

  78. Gamechanger10, you have put it better than most.
    I agree Alan was an outstanding footballer but I do think that the hardier defenders were able to smell the blood in the water which is why he appeared to go amiss in certain games. And therein probably lies the reason that many are suggesting that other players got games ahead of Alan that they believe Alan should have had.
    I have great respect for Alan as a player and on his day he was lethal, but he was perhaps a little too nice to cut it in the latter stages.
    I do think there’s a bit of a conspiracy issue about his substitution in the 2013 final. I think it’s quite simple – Horan’s style was that all players had a role in defending and tracking their man when the other team were in possession. One of Alan’s flaws was that he did not do this, or at least not sufficiently or to the same level as other forwards, and did not appear to do so that day, hence why we was called ashore. Whether we would have won or not if he stayed on is something we will never actually know and can only speculate as to whether the result would have been any different.
    I wish him all the best and I’d rather have him on the panel than not, but I’m also concerned that in recent weeks he’ll have become the next Richie Feeney, who only got better in the eyes of many the more games he didn’t play.
    We can’t know how he performs in training and we can’t always understand a managers gameplan which has to take into consideration 30 players on the field and the subs available to both sides – it’s not just about playing your own game now but figuring out how to make it difficult for the opposition.

  79. Gamechanger,you put into words what I have been trying to say,I think that the game has changed so much that you need that devil in you to succeed against the top teams,I know how hard any player has to put into training,and losing study time,and work opportunities,it is immense,so we should never call into question their commitment,but we have to have faith in management to make the right decisions on teams,and game time for players,otherwise there is no need for management,please keep up your contributions to this site,I always enjoy them

  80. At a high level I would love the game to move to 13 a side. I’v coached and watched plenty 13 a side games and it is exactly how you would like to see football being played. The scorelines in 13 a side u21b football bear this out big time. You don’t see matches with less than two or three goals and plenty points.

  81. Serious bit of info there ‘game changer ‘but most people would agree with the demands of inter county football but ( and I will always appreciate the effort freezer has given ) but he simply was a fraction from being a starter for Mayo so therefore was always going to a sub or taken off when started . Jesus I have huge respect for him but as I said in an earlier post , a
    For a big lad , easy enough knocked over .

  82. Gamechanger10 You said it all there in a nutshell. I wish Alan well and I am grateful for having witnessed that great goal in the Hyde Park in mid March 2010 in a U21 game v Roscommon, and all the other magic moments that followed over the last 7 years. A true star in the Green and Red.

  83. Personally I think Alan is a loss to the team.

    At the very least he is a capable ,experience and feasible option from the bench in a tight game going into the last 10 minutes.

  84. You know, some poster’s just jogged my memory, Alan Freeman who never to my knowledge said anything about his withdrawal from the 2013 All Ireland final was suffering from Flu, really wasn’t it James Horan that came out with that line ? , and you selected him James Horan to start in that Case???? . What is an unquestionable fact is that Cillian O’Connor was suffering from a dislocated shoulder. Did Cillian deliver much from play on that day, I know he didn’t! Did Alan Dillon deliver? He didn’t, Wasn’t the first and won’t be the last, bobo made by Mayo management on All Ireland final day’s. I spoke to a Killkenny man at the All Ireland club final last year, he reckoned any Mayo team needed to be 5points the better team in oder to have any chance of success. His reasoning was we always shoot ourselves in the foot before we even start!

  85. I’m just wondering did the Mayo management team make any attempt to convince Alan to stay? People are saying that Alan was too nice didn’t have the killer instinct pulled out of tackles etc well that’s where coaching comes in a good forwards coach could have instilled belief and confidence into him I know if he was in Kerry they certainly would have. Have a read of Dara O Shea’s book and see what he did to David Moran to harden him up because he thought he was “too nice” hope I’m not getting the sin bin here but I believe Alan Freeman is a better forward than Regan, Varley and even Doherty check Alan’s scoring records he has contributed
    Way more scores than them I think we are mad to let him go we should be looking to improve him as a forward I’ll say it again we are not far off winning Sam but we are crying out for proven forwards coach to instlll that 2 or 3% extra in us

  86. In the infamous semi-final replay against Kerry in 2014 down in Limerick one incident involving Alan Freeman stands out in my mind. Alan came on at half-time to replace Cillian O’Connor after he had been involved in the clash of heads with Aidan O’Shea. Just before the second-half was about to start Freeman put the ball down to take a practice free. As the Kerry team were coming back out onto the field, Marc O’Se booted the ball away before Freeman could take the practice free.

    For me it summed up that the Kerry lads would do whatever it takes on the field to win the game. O’Se was trying to intimidate Alan. I couldn’t imagine one of our players doing the same thing to ‘The Gooch’. Jonny Cooper did the same thing to Kevin McLoughlin in the early part of the 2015 drawn All-Ireland semi-final, i.e. he tried to intimidate him by constantly grabbing his jersey etc. That’s what we have to deal with as well. You still get the feeling that Kerry and Dublin don’t really fully respect us. Until we win an All-Ireland title they probably wont either.

    It’s time to move on now I reckon, so we must look to the future. Players like Lee Keegan and Colm Boyle are leading us in this regard, i.e. showing that we will do whatever needs to be done on the field of play to get a win. Westport beat Kenmare a few weeks ago and Mayo won down in Kerry last weekend. Best of luck to Westport tomorrow, it would be great if they could get the win. Then it’s on to the Roscommon game for Mayo.

  87. Just to add to the above, it was great to see Westport beating Kenmare but it will count for nothing if they don’t win tomorrow. Likewise it was great to win in Tralee but again it will be nearly worthless if we don’t win our home league matches. Roll on the games!

  88. Alan had the size and power to bully most Dublin and kerry defenders if he wanted to, he just is too much of a gentleman that gave them far too much respect, coc, boyler, Keegan etc show them all the respect they deserve, none! And whoever takes Alan’s place had better follow those 3 named players lead and take no nonsense from any dub or the like.
    Best of luck to Westport today, go out and expect a dirty hard fought game from the Meath crowd, I’m praying for a good victory for Lee and co.

  89. Dave this is not a dirty Meath team–remember Mayo started the row in 96 and Meath finished it. Beware of the Meath Corner F .He was a Meath minor last year and is excellent.

  90. A lot of posters on this thread are questioning Alan’s bottle.I do not accept that.
    Give Freeman fast quality ball or the high diagonal when on the counter and Freeman is more than capable of doing damage on the score board or setting up a colleague with an intelligent and simple play.

    My only criticism is and I could be wrong,
    is that he could be fitter.
    In my view Alan is too good a player ,I hope he reconsiders and Roachford has a quiet word with him.

  91. Anyone know if Barry Moran out injured at the minute?Could be vulnerable to the Rossies with so many missing.
    Also is Hennelly or Byrne the number 2 GK at the moment

  92. Spent 45 minutes listening to Billy O’Shea, Marc and Darragh O’Shea talking about football on Off the Ball this evening. They don’t have the mass of a dog on Mayo and mentioned Leitrim more than us. Couldn’t even remember Stephen Rochfords name. Put us 4th behind Tyrone and Kerry. Gripping the wheel with rage but the truth is until we win it, we’ll never be respected.

  93. Best of luck to Westport today.
    If Lee gets a medal today he will be unstoppable for the year.
    Give it hell boys.

  94. If that group of McManamon, Mcdermott, Scott and Moran play well today I think Westport will win.
    Also those four are close options for u21 (McManamon /Moran) and Senior (Mcdermott /Scott) panel places. For a big man Scott is quite a skillful footballer. Imagine after two years with the senior panel where he’d be performance wise.

  95. Great stuff so far Westport

    Mad how difficult players find it to adapt to croker at this level

    Goals in Westport. Twist the knife boys, bring it home!!

  96. Well done Westport. How did the other fellas get back to the bare minimum ? it must really be a Mayo thing, heart in mouth at the end.

    Well Done.

  97. Well done Westport. Brilliant win. Better team and made it difficult for yourselves at the end. Mighty performance by midfielder Scott all through. But Colm Moran was the main man. Scored everything in the first half and created a fantastic goal in 2nd. But with Fionn McDonagh, McLoughlin and a few other young lads there are prospects there for the future incl Mayo squad.

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