Mayo 1-12 Donegal 0-13: top tier status secured after torrid tussle

Going into today’s final round of this year’s League there were two potential routes open to us for preserving our Division One status. For long stretches of this afternoon’s combustible clash with Donegal it looked as if we were going to have to rely on the fall-back option of Roscommon beating Cavan to keep us up. Eventually, though, we looked after our own business ourselves, coming from four behind to beat Donegal by two points, thus guaranteeing us yet another campaign of top flight spring football next year.

The first hint I got as to the size of the crowd assembling at MacHale Park came at the end of my drive down from Dublin this morning. Approaching the town on the N5 just after midday, there were already scores of DL-registered cars parked up and pointed for home, with plenty of Donegal supporters streaming towards the ground.

Inside, with ninety minutes still to go to throw-in, the stand was already filling up. It was no surprise that the start-time was eventually put back due to crowd congestion, the ten minutes or so head-start given to the other matches meaning that we’d know exactly what we’d need to do in our game, with, one hoped, sufficient time left to do it, by the time play had ended elsewhere.

Our confident start, playing with a strong wind into the bacon factory end, gave us early hopes that we’d resolve the issue of our top tier status without too much fuss. True, Donegal got the first two scores of the day but we then hit back with 1-2 without reply.

Ref Cormac Reilly was only greeted by a tepid bit of booing when his name was read out over the tannoy ahead of throw-in. When he awarded us the softest of penalties – Cillian O’Connor may have been impeded by the Donegal ‘keeper but I’m not sure he was and it didn’t look like it happened inside the large parallelogram either – it looked like he was intent on getting the home crowd on his side.

Cillian smashed the penalty to the net. He then launched a speculative ball into Andy Moran, who won it brilliantly, turned and shot over. Cillian followed this up with a screaming long-ranger. Not to be outdone, Danny Kirby arrowed over a beauty from out under the stand off the outside of the boot to shoot us four clear.

At that stage, an easy win for us appeared the likely outcome. The visitors didn’t panic, though, and a Murphy free followed by one from play by Thompson steadied them.

We hadn’t finished with the long-distance boomers, though. Shane Nally took aim and let fly to edge us back three in front.

That score came around midway into the half but we wouldn’t score again until just before half-time. In the meantime, Donegal hit us for six points without reply and then, following a point for us by Colm Boyle, hit us for another one on the stroke of half-time.

Three down at the break, things weren’t looking hectic. We’d lost our way in attack, struggling (in a depressingly predictable way) to punch through their blanket, our attacks either ending with a misplaced ball – typically a badly directed kick-pass into the cover – or a poor pot-shot at the posts. Then Donegal would break at speed, cutting through our porous backline and over the bar would go the ball.

We made two changes at the break. Fergal Boland – who again today struggled to make an impact against Ulster opposition – was replaced by Diarmuid O’Connor (who was named to start but didn’t, with David Drake lining out instead) and Stephen Coen came on for Colm Boyle.

We could have had a goal right after the restart. A lightning fast downfield move ended with Lee Keegan attempting to palm the ball to the net but it was deflected over. Donegal still didn’t look bothered, with points from Murphy and Mulligan shooting them four clear.

We looked in serious trouble then. The only good news – with many in the crowd now more interested in their smartphones than what was happening on the pitch – came in the form of dispatches from Hyde Park, where the Rossies held a narrow lead over Cavan. It was their thumping of Cork last year that ultimately had a decisive impact on our Division One survival twelve months ago. Would we be faced with the mortification of having the Sheepstealers to thank again for keeping us up again?

Nothing for it, then, but to tip Aidan O’Shea into this battle. Up till then, Michael Murphy had been by far the most dominant influence on this contest. Once Aido took the field, however, this all changed. It also ratcheted up the tension out on the park several notches.

The hits had been hard enough right from the off – with the tempo in the contest more akin to championship than humble spring fare – but now they began to get out of hand. Soon the inevitable happened and a right ruckus broke out in front of the stand. As so often happens in such circumstances, Aidan was the magnet for the opposition and he took at least two clear punches to the head, one administered by midfielder Ciaran Thompson right in front of umpire Maurice Deegan.

When things had calmed down (sort of) ref Cormac Reilly brandished yellow cards to four players – Aidan included – despite the fact that (a) a number of punches had been thrown and (b) these had to have been seen by the officials.

Let’s get the officiating issue out of the way here. First, Cormac Reilly proved yet again that he’s not competent to ref a game at the highest level. Today, just like Limerick in 2014, the match spiralled out of control and Cormac, lord love him, was powerless to do anything about it. He’s not up to the job, end of.

Second, Maurice Deegan has to be one of the most useless specimens every put on this earth. He had to have seen Aidan take several clear punches, he had a clear duty to get the ref to act on this but nothing happened. As an official, Deegan is less effective than a wet tea towel.

What the schemozzle did, though, was alter the course of this battle. The huge crowd – the official attendance was just over 14,000 – put away their smartphones, the home followers at last finding their voice.

On the restart, Keith Higgins wriggled into space and fired over. The comeback was on.

Then all hell broke loose again. Donegal’s Eamon Doherty tangled with Aidan and seemed to catch him in the nuts in the process. I thought it was accidental but was told later – which the TV coverage laster confirmed – that Doherty had kicked him in the privates. The ref obviously thought so too as the Donegal corner-back was gone on a straight red.

Now we really upped the ante. Cillian popped over the resultant free – a close-in one (he’d already missed a few further out, on what was another iffy day from placed balls from him) – and he scored the next, from another placed ball, with Donegal now resorting to increasingly desperate fouling to keep us out.

But they couldn’t. Lee Keegan curled over a gorgeous score on the run to haul us level. With the extra man, we kept them pinned right back and broke over them in waves every time we turned the ball over. Two more frees, both converted by Cillian, were the scores that won it for us. Not a pretty win but a hugely satisfying one all the same.

So, despite all the ups and downs of this spring campaign, we’ve ended up collecting eight points over the seven games, only missing out on a final place on points difference. Survival was always the main target and this we achieved, albeit once again not without plenty of drama. But sure where would we be without the theatrics?

Today’s display was, in many respects, the whole League campaign in microcosm. Great in spots, awful at other times, but ultimately with enough heart and fight in us to chisel out the required result. And not having to rely on the Rossies either made it all the sweeter.

Mayo: David Clarke; Brendan Harrison, Keith Higgins (0-1), Chris Barrett; Colm Boyle (0-1), Lee Keegan (0-2), Paddy Durcan; Tom Parsons, Danny Kirby (0-1); Shane Nally (0-1); Cillian O’Connor (1-5, penalty goal and four frees), Fergal Boland; Kevin McLoughlin, Andy Moran (0-1), David Drake. Subs: Diarmuid O’Connor for Boland, Stephen Coen for Boyle, Aidan O’Shea for Kirby, Jason Doherty for Moran, Donal Vaughan for Drake, Conor O’Shea for Nally.

Post-match audio report:

Man of the Match poll:

Who was our MOTM against Donegal?

  • Aidan O'Shea (45%, 325 Votes)
  • Keith Higgins (15%, 106 Votes)
  • Lee Keegan (8%, 59 Votes)
  • Cillian O'Connor (7%, 52 Votes)
  • Shane Nally (5%, 35 Votes)
  • Tom Parsons (4%, 28 Votes)
  • Kevin McLoughlin (3%, 20 Votes)
  • Paddy Durcan (2%, 17 Votes)
  • Chris Barrett (2%, 15 Votes)
  • David Clarke (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Danny Kirby (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Brendan Harrison (1%, 8 Votes)
  • David Drake (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Colm Boyle (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Stephen Coen (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Conor O'Shea (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Andy Moran (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Fergal Boland (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Diarmuid O'Connor (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Donal Vaughan (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Jason Doherty (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 723

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151 thoughts on “Mayo 1-12 Donegal 0-13: top tier status secured after torrid tussle

  1. Brilliant atmosphere in Mc Hale park today!
    I’m thrilled for the lads-talk about pulling together!
    Cormac Reilly is a joke, he couldn’t get a handle on it at all today….

  2. Great to preserve our 21-year Div 1 status (longest in the country). In the end our heavy defeat to Dublin cost us a league final place. AOS and his brother are sometimes criticised however they have the ability to win dirty ball in the middle of the park.
    The biggest disappointment with the league for me was that no inside forward was unearthed- Mother Nature refuses to provide us with one.
    I would be worried that Boland is a little light for chip and I think Kirby is a better option at FF. Cafferky is needed at full back however Shane Nally could be a very viable option in the half forwards.

    The league is a good structure with quality games coming thick and fast; the nonsense of the chip is that we’ll play 2 games between now and June 11 (we’ll beat Sligo on May 21).

  3. One other thing; I think we rely slotted too heavily on COC’s frees for scores against top defences. This manifested itself against Dublin in the replay last year.

  4. Worried at half time buts sweet win in the end. AOS made a big difference. How Murphy was allowed stay in the pitch is beyond me. I hope this match does the authorities that Cormac Reilly is an incompetent fool who is out of his depth at this level.

  5. What a performance , great Battle , Aiden o shea made a huge difference , he quietened murphy , support today was unreal , I’m hoarse , but delighted to witness the true grit, and determination of our lads , division one status sorted , great result for us , and true to form Cormac Reilly is still a gobshite,
    Up mayo !

  6. We have finished the league on 8 points.. the same as Kerry, Donegal and Monaghan and we did it by in large without the services of several key players. We have expanded the depth of our panel with some really quality players, we tried a few things out and we performed when we really had to. There are a lot of things to work on such as our complacency and lack of consistency.. but are we in a better place going into the Championship than this time last year? Yes.. IMHO we most definately are.

  7. Great determination from our lads in the second half. Cormac Reilly is a disgrace lost complete control of the game and Murphy should of walked. Need to get Aidan fit for Sligo in 7 weeks he was difference in end. Pity we didn’t find a inside forward throughout league, 4/7 wins in the end we have got to be happy about that.

  8. Those who say Murphy should have walked are quite correct. I txtd absent family members at half time to say that watching Donegal play ( I’m deliberately omitting the name of the game because it’s not football) was one of the most unpleasant things I’ve had to do in a long, long time. How those fellas can enjoy this particular activity is beyond me. Fifteen men frequently behind their own 45 m line.
    I will admit I was very downbeat with what I had seen from us during the first half. Let those who have maligned Aiden OShea in the past please slip quietly out the back door. He was immense today and was responsible for righting our ship. Nor did it escape my attention either that, in the flare ups (caused in the main by Cormac OReilly’s ineptitude) many Donegal players zoned in on Aido who was a magnet for their thuggishness. Indeed, the gentleman seated adjacent to me expressed the view that I was charitable to some of the Donegal players in labelling them only as thugs.

  9. Definitely, When AOS came on, Donegal lost their composure. The changes worked a treat, Stephen Coen, young legs really stretched the Donegal defence. Higgins worked superbly in the forward’s, as did the hard run’s of Paddy Durcan. After Aidens intrudition in the second half, Mayo took over, played with instint off the cuff football. I taught Michael Murphy was on thin ice after that, he really lost his composure in the final quarter, prior to that he was by a country mile the best player on the pitch. Ciaran Thomson should definitely have walked as well, he gave Aiden a pretty blatant punch in the face, right in front of me. Cormac Reillys response was to give out 3 yellow to Donegal player’s and a yellow to Aiden, Cormac, definitely bottled that decision. But in the overall game Mayo can’t complain about his performance today. We got a soft enough penalty, at least it seemed that way to me, and Donegal were penalised several times in the second half bringing the ball in where Cillian had easy scores. The form of Cillian continues to be a worry, but I every faith in Cillian getting it right for the Championship. So onwards and upwards, bring on the Championship! Maigh Eo, Abu!

  10. I genuinely thought we’d left it behind when the men from the Hills went 4 up, wind at their backs and as cocky as fuck in possession of the ball……then whoosh…..the Mayo resurgence, pure dogged determination and a marvellous display of never-say-die fighting for everything flipped it the other way and there we stayed until the end. Amazing presence and work rate from A O’Shea for the short time he was on…..was that my imagination or did I see Murphy plant a sly fist in the guts into Aido on the blind side of the ref at one stage ?………Aidan seriously made his mark, literally, when he later outfielded Murphy for a high kick out…….majestic !!……….I was as happy as a pig in sh%$t walking to the car with my daughter (a Sligo girl, but serious Mayo fan) after the whistle……..To beat Donegal and stay in Div 1 on our own terms, not just on the back of the Rossie’s result…….Great day !

  11. The subs definitely made an impact, but the adrenaline levels were up all over the field in the second half. It was a 6 point turnaround and we really pinned them back.

    You could see the psychology of Donegal, but they underestimate us. They knew we’d be rallying at half time, so they waited to let us settle and drop our concentration. They were trying to slow it down and kill the game until we overwhelmed them.

    Well done to the team again, focus can turn to the championship and regaining the Connacht title.

  12. Good day at the owl office.

    Also, Galway and Kildare coming up. Thats grand.

    Cork and Meath not coming up. Thats grand too.

    Kerry accidently slipped into second place and qualified for the final. Yeah, nothing wrong with that. Let the pair of them go at it in a “traditional” final while “puke football” stays at home.

    Cillian missing frees that he would normally knock over in years gone by is not good. This is worrying alright.

    Punching, spitting, sledging, pinching, clothes line, choke, lashing out with a kick and most importantly 2 hops of the ball just before their 8th pint today but still went home with their tail between their legs. Football won out.

  13. Sounds like Aido really stood up today and made the difference. Great to see, he’s had a lot of flak come his way since the replay last autumn. Real leadership by the sounds of it, which will hopefully put him and the rest of the squad in a great frame of mind heading into the championship.

    After losing to Cavan I felt beating Tyrone and Donegal was a tough ask but to their eternal credit the lads made the hard yards required to maintain our top tier status. Are we in a better place than this time last year? Probably, considering we are awaiting the return of some key men. Are we any different personnel and style wise? Probably not but do we need to be? I can’t say for sure but who’s to say Boland won’t take the step up when the track hardens and the ball is dry? He’s been blooded which is the most important thing and he has showed enough glimpses of quality for me to remain optimistic about his prospects. Nally is another who I’m really impressed by. I appreciate these guys aren’t inside like people have been crying out for, but can they help effect a change in approach going forward by perhaps freeing up others for a different role? Time will tell. Either way we seem to have two genuine new options in our front 6 and that is encouraging. On we go, roll on the Summer!

  14. I do not understand why ye are giving out about the wonderful CORMAC REILLY . told you so to Quote someone on here why dont you all be NORMAL FANS ####,

  15. Trying to analyse that today is like trying to solve a maths equation with weed killer, totally pointless, we are an enigma, wrapped up in conundrum, contained within a mystery.

  16. O’Shea gets dogs abuse on the pitch. Given the amount of attention he gets, his temperament and discipline are a credit to him. Even when he’s not firing on all cylinders, he attracts two and three players and that leaves space for others.

    A huge player for Mayo and simply delusional to think we’ll challenge for anything without him. He’d be in every team in Ireland and we need to remember that.

  17. Well done to the lads. Always come up trumps when it matters. And to Aiden who was our saviour today and made great impact in Tyrone too. That should shut up the negative media since that famous published interview.
    If Aiden wasnt a sub today, we’d be on our knees thanking the Rossies. Delighted to see them beating Cavan too. Mayo Abu.

  18. If ever the importance of aiden O’Shea was abundantly clear it was today. He dominated the game when he came on despite the dirty tactics of the Donegal players. He showed the best footballer in ulster whose boss and he’s not even fit yet. Similar to last year we won our last few games which is purely down to more time on the training field together. We stlll have 12 lads training separately in Dublin and it’s not until they get back to Castlebar that real progress will be made. With the emergence of Kirby, nally and boland I think we are in better shape then this time last year.

  19. Seriously? Were any of you actually at the game? A win glosses over the ineptitude we showed again. We were ‘wogious’ for most of the game. We did not beat Donegal…Donegal beat Donegal with their braindead fixation of putting AOS ‘in his place’. he was not superhuman, he was just a magnet for petty schoolyard bullies..They were by far the better team. We had no plan, no structure and no belief until the mellee brought both fans and players out of their stupor.
    I honestly despair when I see the lack of understanding of how a game and team unfolds in front of people’s eyes.
    Seriously folks…

  20. Well done Mayo, we’ll done. We’re getting into tight spots fairly often but that steel and resolve is to my mind our most important trait. We won four of our seven. I’m not bitching but we really and truly always have to be beating the likes of Cavan, Roscommon and Monaghan. I don’t apologise for this because over the last ten years and more we have better players with heaps more experience. It seems the tougher opponents bring out the best in our team. Anyway, I’m grateful to the team and all involved for all their effort. I think the championship will see us with a more fluid all-panel approach, almost modular in a sense. Different days, different opponents, different approach. People say it’s a real worry we haven’t unearthed a few new lads inside and its true we haven’t but it’s not a huge worry. I feel that as the panel strengthens lads like Lee and Keith will get the green light and spend more time around the half forward line. Also, the first half seems to be about keeping in the game and responding appropriately in the second half and last ten with substitutions and switches. We beat Tyrone and Donegal and Kerry. And we’ll do it again in August and September if we have to. Not sure about the other fellas.

  21. plainsoftheyew
    well done
    By the proverbial mile the best analysis up of today’s dour affair in my humble opinion.The fact that AOS is considered by vast majority of posters to be MOM may explain a lot about understanding and knowledge of posters on this site.. Acknowledging he did have big impact and stirred team and supporters for his brief cameo..
    Until we find potent composed finishers on inside line, nothing will change

  22. Donegal dominated for large sections of game. Mayo going nowhere until Aidan came on. Michael Murphy targeted him straight away and Aidan reacted. The mayo crowd reacted then and suddenly we had a different mayo and game on. There was only going to be one winner then. The last time i saw mayo do this was in the semi final v Kerry in croker park, useless in the first half, Keegan sent off and then bang the 14 man team led by boyler ran Kerry off the field. Surprised that a mayo player lost his boot and decided he was better off without it. Even took a shot in his socks.

  23. Plainsoftheyew. You are walking a painful road. Truth never wanted when whitewash is in the bucket. Still I’m glad we won. How we did it I don’t know and how long we can keep this up I don’t know either. Roll on September … well I have to say that, anything less is considered treason.

  24. God it was hard to watch the 1th half… Donegals system is really hard to play against and they are very good at it….great changes in 2nd half Aidan Oshea a collossal he took dogs abuse but won all hes battles which allowed us to up the tempo and with Higgins in firwards and Coen on donegal could not live with us imagine when we have Seamie and Caff back.
    To all of ye who slammed Aido well thats your answer ye were probably the same ones who abused Kieran Mcdonald too and he also came back with the answer….Well done Mayo …

  25. Plainoftheeyew, I was not at the match. I hear what you’re saying but is it possible you’er being a little bit harsh? I listened to it on the internet because GAAGO didn’t have it and I’m 3,500 miles away. What I took from the game, the commentary and eye witness accounts from people who were at the match was that we had a really good second half. While AOS had a significant impact there were many others who really took the game to Donegal. Players like Higgins, Keegan and Doherty seemed to be getting on a lot of ball and driving forward. It appeared to me that we really pushed up on Donegal in the second half and went at them. Firstly, I think that AOS can make a bigger contribution when being brought on from the bench because I don’t think he is a 70/75 minute player in the modern game. Secondly I’d prefer to see the Andy Moran substitution made in reverse. Doherty on for the first half and when he has himself totally spent bring on the cool level-headed Andy to direct operations when good decision making is imperitive and legs are beginning to tire. Andy is a man to bring on not to take off IMHO. Whats most impressive about Dublin is there bench. It was a sub (Costello) that won it for them last year. Its all about the bench in the modern game.

  26. Plain oftheyew. Yeah a lot of schoolyard bullies except they are trained gaa footballers who are just out and out adult bullies. A disgrace to our national game. To deliberately target a player like hounds for blood. They showed what they are really about. How Aiden manages to hold it together is remarkable. Fair play to him.

  27. A dreadful first half was followed by an incredible second. Introduction of AOS changed things along with Keith into an attecking option and Mayo pushing up on Donegal Kickouts.

    We still have major issues with our kickouts and forwards. Much to ponder but great to stay in division 1.

  28. It’s amazing, we stay in Division 1 on our own merits and there’s 29 comments here, 5 hours after the match. Something like 200 plus after loosing to Cavan. Just saying.

  29. Great win today. Proud of the team for grinding out the result.

    Not sure what your point is mike heveran. I just want to focus on football and get behind team and management.

  30. Yewoftheplain or Plainotheyew…. we re a funny bunch indeed…enigmatic perhaps.
    In a recent post I referred to AOS as just one Mayo player and how well we behaved in his absence on a particular occasion. Well… we’ll have to accept that he’s one hell of a chap and an inspiration to this team. They plug away as best they can and hang in there mostly. We wish they de be how our minds would ordain them to be but we have to appreciate that we are what we are ….we live on and keep on hoping.

  31. Plainontheyew really nailed it above. A dreadful game of something or other,
    I don’t care about Donegal but the Mayo display was similar to most if not all their displays. No fluidity up front – off the cuff stuff where nobody seemed to know what their colleague(s) where doing or going to do. Over-dependence on frees. Their application is usually heroic but as we have found, heroics alone will not cut it.
    Finally may I appeal to the poster, who is mixing up taught with thought to look up the dictionary or google both – its just so irritating. Sin a bfuil.

  32. Not sure if it was AOS or the row that seemed to wake us up today, was pretty down at half time but seemed to find more bottle in 2nd half, while Donegal looked good in parts they have issues as well with time getting short they stayed back defending instead of pushing up more urgently, the point is no team is the finished article in March /April, we are in Div 1, league is over, time for the finer tuning is upon us over the next 8 weeks or so, so let’s go forth with optimism and see where the raps takes us. Maigheoabu

  33. Well done to all involved. It was great to get the win. We finished up on 8 points which is better than a lot of our most recent campaigns. Roll on the championship!

    It just shows that we really struggle to win possession without the O’Sheas on the field of play. Trying to figure out what to do with that possession is the next problem for us. It would drive you mad at times though, we went four points up in the first-half then we gave the ball away a few times very badly when we should have been stretching our lead. It was all Donegal then after that up until half-time. We showed great spirit and heart in the second-half to get the win, as we showed in Tralee and in Omagh.

    I wonder will the GAA subject Dublin and Kerry to the referring of Cormac Reilly in the League final. I very much doubt that they will but I wish that they would, rather than us having to put up with him. We’d see how they would like that.

  34. All that matters is staying up. The football we play in March will be unrecognisable from the football we’ll play in summer. What’s important is the team show that they still have the appetite for the fight, hopefully uncover a new player or two and see some improvement from the first and last game. Berating the team for what was a decent second half performance is a fruitless exercise.

  35. Plainoftheyew, Tommie
    Ye boys have big opinions of ourselves. All us others are mere mortals who must have no knowledge of the game we all love.
    Today was a good win to get in the end where bottle, hard work and a small bit of talent got us over the line. These are traits all of us have been asking for all through the league. Yes it wasn’t pretty but a lot of times it never is to win these tight games. Beating Tyrone and Donegal in consecutive wins is very welcome and sets down a marker for warmer days when it’s very likely we’ll meet one of these challengers.
    I’ll finish in AOS. A great performance who showed his worth to this great time. His discipline sets a great example to our youngsters and he’s a pretty good footballer as well. Top player and we’re lucky to have him on our side. Onwards and upwards.

  36. 35 comments in and no one seems to think that playing against 14 men Had anything to do with our win today. Baffling.
    Anyway the league is done, the cracks have been papered over, now let’s see how long that lasts.
    Delighted with the result today and last week that keep us in Div1 where we need to be. We had a lucky league and that’s fine, won games we should have lost, maybe lost to Cavan when we should have won, but we retained our status which is great.
    Nervously looking forward to the championship but if I’m honest I’m probably more worried than nervous.

  37. Very valid, constructive suggestions SquareBall! Plus I see your point Nephin, but in victory we can’t gloss over how we played today, throughout the league and dare I say it, for most of last year until our backs were to the wall.

    I do not mean to be in any way demeaning of our team. They are in my eyes heroes and role models both on and off the pitch. They have gone way beyond what can be expected of any intercounty players. They have given us countless days of pride and pleasure. Anyone who would point any finger towards any individual needs to seriously examine their conscience.

    But, we have not played consistently well or shown any clear development over the last 18 months. I dont think changing management will change that. Our displays are symptomatic of so many great men going to the well so often and trying to do their best and sometimes coming up short. There is a view that every good team has a window in which to reach its goal. Maybe our window has passed. I feel there is no magic formula nor any magic missing men in the county with the keys to unlock the seemingly unopenable doors. There is just our lads doing their best and we will stick with them!

    Maigh Eo abú!

  38. Haven’t heard wogious in a while.. but ya that’s an apt description of the first half and I don’t think anyone is denying that.. but would ye not take some comfort in winning the game playing wogious in the first half and dogged and determined in the second half. There will be time enough in the future when we will saying.. “fair play to the lads they gave everything they had” but still lost.. because they simply weren’t good enough. This team is good enough and we do win important games when we have too. Now if you’re setting the bar at winning Sam this early in the year then your not going to like what you’ve seen today.. im not saying there’s anything wrong with that.. but this is the one time people should live in the moment.. enjoy the fact that we have an AOS and that we won.. next up Sligo.

  39. The critics in the last few posts, there was a clear change of tactics in the second half, that worked very well. We’re by & large in the same position we were last year, we’re not as good as Dublin , but on a par with the rest . I really don’t know what you all expected from this league campaign. We were never going to unearth some unknown star. The big difference O’Shea made was that he actually took on his man when he got the ball rather than pass it backwards.

  40. Mayo had better forwards in 1996 than 2017 , give me James Horan, Maurice Sheridan, Ciaran McDonald, David Nestor, John Casey and Pat Dempsey
    OVER Aidan O Shea, Jason Doherty, Kevin McLaughlin, Evan Reagan, Neil Douglas and Fergal Boland

  41. Also Tommie out of interest who would you pick as MOM? Because we certainly wouldn’t have won without the introduction of O’Shea & isn’t that what a MOM is? Someone who has fundamental impact on the game in a positive sense?

  42. Congratulations to Mayo and all the succesful teams today. What we learned in last two weeks is that our greatest assest is our intensity courage and physicality when we go for it. We also learned we havent unearthed any new talent except for Shane Nally perhaps. It looks like forward power is not there to get beyond semifinal this year. We left 2 -3 behind us today when totally dominating. It was the old gaurd again who stood up when needed Higgins Keegen. AOS. I would like to see Adam Gallagher tried. He mught add an extra score from play and is reliable from frees.

  43. Patrick McAuliffe – Not sure why you’re including Boland. He’s only a newcomer to the senior setup, he needs more time and has has potential

  44. Patrick I notice you left the two O’Connor lads out of your forwards comparassion. Interesting. Also young Boland will take time to develop but he has showed well this league.

  45. I enjoyed my day out. Very happy and proud. They got the job done and I don’t care how. We wanted a win and the lads gave it to us. Roll on the summer. The dream is still alive.
    I’d ref better than Reilly.

  46. Just seen there on league Sunday they seem to want to suggest that O’Shea dived for the red card. Can’t understand why they would want to make these suggestions with only a far camera angle from the wrong side.

    The Donegal player didn’t appear surprised when the red card was shown.

    I wonder how they would be discussing the situation if it was O’Shea who kicked out….

    They are clearly hinting back at the Fermanagh game last year. Like they’re still looking for an opportunity to punish O’Shea…we lost the final last year, is that not good enough for them!?!

    I still think his ankle was tapped by the opponents foot against Fermanagh…we won by more than 3 points and did we not show that we were the better team in the following games?!

    This is the thing about people trying to make us doubt our team….

  47. 8 points in the league.
    21 years in division 1.
    14,000 plus at our last league game.
    Paddy Durkin is the real deal.
    That is all.

    P.S. Sean Burke enjoyed his chips at half time.

  48. Well done to the Mayo team and Management today. A special thank you to all who contributed to a great day at McHale Park today. Donegal were up for this one as I expected. Their fitness levels at this time of year are only matched by Dublin and Monaghan. Our strategic approach to this game today was their undoing in the end. I was getting a pain in my head listening to Mayo people everywhere trying to tell me after we lost to Cavan that there was no way we would beat Tyrone and Donegal, that the sky would fall down on top of us, and there was no way of our avoiding the grinding humiliation they had wished would be fall us. But the warrior that is this great team roars on regardless. overwhelming pride was the order of the day. yet again this afternoon. Now let the rest worry about Mayo. Hears to the next 20 years of Division 1 football and to hell with the begrudges.

  49. Michael Lester asks the lads nothing about the two teams or actual game and just tries to vilify AOS. Eir Sport, Sky Sports and TG4 provide a much better quality service than RTE. If you kick out it’s a sending off.

  50. A gutsy performance but we did not use the league well. Donegal found 7 young players and probably would have won today but for the sending off.
    Aido made the difference. I would like to see Conor get more game time in central positions.
    Roll on Sligo

  51. Eight points and division one secured is a decent league for Rochford. Boland, Nally and Coen showed well in spells so players are coming through. The likes of Loftus may have to wait a little longer but unfair to say we’ve not brought anyone new through.

    Looking at the games we lost, the Cavan and Monaghan losses were self-inflicted. Mayo had control in both, dropped off and suffered as a result. The loss to Dublin was very disappointing, not because they lost but because of the manner of the hiding.

    Overall we’re by no means perfect but there’s enough there to have some optimism of a decent run through the summer again.

  52. @ Patrick McAuliffe That’s great, but unless you’re able to build a time machine then these are the players that will be lining out for Mayo for the foreseeable future!

  53. Disgraceful stuff from RTE, Lyster at his supercilious, smirking worst and a clear agenda aimed at continuing to paint Aidan in a bad light. They must have had plenty of video from the melee where Aidan got the head nearly boxed off him but obviously that didn’t fit their narrative so no need to show it to the nation.

  54. …………..thought Higgins was really good today. And Durkin a breath of fresh air, lovely to watch his committed runs in the second half. Tom Parsons too looking very fit and a key link man in much of the midfield action. Forget the forst half or 2nd quarter or whatever, they dug deep when it was needed and got the result.

  55. Mayo 51 – no official announcement has yet been made about players leaving the panel so please hold off on the world exclusives on that front.

  56. Joe
    re my MOM it was one of those days when a lot of grit, dogged determination, spirit and never say die attitude (all noble qualities) was responsible for victory in that regard Higgins and COC probably were most worthy.

    Regards AOS I acknowledged his contribution in post, but delivering big performances on the biggest days has eluded him as yet.. All great players are firstly great Team players..

    The lack of of quality scoring forwards in IMO is down to lack of Quality coaching in a County that’s deeply passionate about Gaelic football is immensely disappointing..

  57. – Well if you are a Mayo supporter and cannot be happy with a win which ensured our Division 1 status then why bother being a supporter.
    – Started off with a few superb long range points making most of the strong wind and then started playing lateral and got no where. Some very bad sides from both sides and scrap caused because Reilly lost control of a match again.
    – It took Aido to ignite Donegal and the Mayo crowd and finally the Mayo team in that order. No one Mayo player stood out for the whole game.
    – Did enough to win a poor game of supposed football against 14 men who had the edge in fitness with 6 U21s at their peak.
    – Div 1 is vital because playing the top teams helps to identify the areas that need work. Rockford will have a list of areas to work on as long as the McHale Park pitch.
    -How he and his management team resolve those problems before championship will define 2017 for us.
    – For now enough done lads so thanks.

  58. Lads are ye still watching RTE, and reading the IP. I gave them up for lent an age ago and never went back and I still have a full head of hair.

  59. Agreed Willie Joe, not for the first time did I notice that, in a skirmish, most of the opposition ( Donegal today) go straight for AOS.
    I’ve done Lough Derg and would gladly do it again instead of watching Donegal play basketball. Fifteen men behind their own 45 m line. Let’s hope they are dumped out of the championship early because they are an horrific example to the next generation to whom we wish to pass on our great game and tradition

  60. Another league and not a whole lot has changed, do enough to survive without troubling the summit of the table

    The most disappointing aspect along with a lot of our performances (far more poor than good you’d have to say) was once again no inside forward unearthed. I mean why not even give diarmuid a run 14, put Vaughan inside, kirby – anything.

    We persisted with Boland the most out of last years under 21s – a fine footballer but not ready for championship yet – in a position we’re very well stocked in. It took us till the second half of our last game to move KH to the forwards (where in my view is the place for him at this stage of his career) and where was the sweeper all through the league? We made a half arsed attempt of playing two wing backs in the forwards at the latter end but it didn’t seem to produce a whole lot.

    Players like newcombe and drake will be peripheral at the very best in the summer, however nally has been a huge positive. A surefire contender to nab a starting jersey v sligo for me.

    It does beg the question though, why did Higgins, durcan, boyler, Andy, cillian see so much action? We know full well what they can do. Surely Leroy was entitled to more of a break also. I’d go as far as saying kevin walsh – who i do not rate at all really – utilised his squad much better. Jim Gavin did so exceptionally. And advanced congrats to them on a 5th major in a row by the way, what a team

    However when the question was asked after Cavan we did stand up and dug out two wins admirably. We still look clueless up front too often and give away daft passes but I’ve much less fear the hunger is gone now.

    After today it begs the question should Aidan be kept in reserve till the second half? Something a little different; “the definition of insanity…” and all that. Gaelic football still has to embrace the 21 man game to it’s fullest extent but it’s a move I could easily see Jim Gavin utilising.

    Anyhow roll on championship now. Galway looked horrendously ordinary today (the marvellous Shane Walsh aside) and as limited as we can be up front we should cut their woeful defence to ribbons. Looking past Sligo indeed but we really should be winning that handy with all due respect

  61. Can we please, please, please just start telling RTE to Fuck off when they ask for interviews? What do we gain by talking to them? They have had a clear agenda for long enough now. Just cut our ties and have it over with. Absolutely sick of it

    Also, I think we can draw a line under the debate about whether a crowd can affect a game. Much like the fermanagh and kildare games last year, the crowd made a very noticeable impact. Players are human and they feed off this. If we want to see MacHale Park become a fortress, we have the answer about how to do that! I have never experienced a league atmosphere like that in my life

  62. It was very annoying alright to see that on League Sunday. We have secured our Division 1 status, Dublin and Kerry have to meet in the League final. So you were thinking, we can stay out of the limelight now and let Dublin and Kerry kick the shite out of each other next Sunday. Then RTE have to highlight about Aidan O’Shea again, hopefully there won’t be much more made of that. Why couldn’t they show the superb catch that Aidan made above Michael Murphy late in the game? No of course they wouldn’t show that.

  63. So Ciaran, a definite Conn title so ? Correct if I’m wrong but will Mayo not learn any lessons from the Galway game last summer..One game at a time…

  64. Ha ha Inbetweener!! Can you imagine?!
    I gave up the independent, sports joe.ie and rte coverage last September. Letting them all sneak back in these past two weeks. A false sense of security and there they try and snare AOS tonight. Can they ever leave him alone?! We were behind the goal down that end and my dad commented as AOS went down ‘he just got kicked in the Goolies’. That’s good enough evidence for me! So what if he maybe exaggerated his pain a bit. He got kicked, end of. He got punched earlier and had nothing done about it. Maybe he is finally hardening up and playing it up a bit and wouldn’t he be right. Don’t the rest of them, especially our dub friends.

  65. Job done,Div 1 status secured.An up and down league campaign,they beat Tyrone and Kerry away and a resurgent Donegal at home,a team that was looking for a league final place.Decent scalps to get,dont you think.I dont know why the performance against Dublin was so poor,I really dont but I have a feeling the Dubs took that game very serious even more so than their traditional rivals Kerry.

    I think there is a very compelling arguement now to start Aidon O’Shea from the bench and hold him in reserve to get the maximum impact out of him on the field of play .Could Rochford get Aidan to accept and play that role for the good of the team?I dont know.

  66. Patrick Mc Aulifee in 1996 Ciaran Mc Donald was abroad in America for the Summer probably working on the buildings and hopefully plamassing loads of girls from Brooklyn and the Bronx True James Horan was a class act on the big days Pat Dempsey I assume you mean Raymond he was ok nothing special David Nestor Fat Larry John Casey (apart from destroying Kerry in the 96 semi final) they were much of a muchness. Tom Reilly who came on in the replay was getting on a bit at that stage Maurice could hit the frees in fairness but so can Cillian when he’s on form. PJ Loftus was always good for a goal in a super sun role. I think we have much the same amount of quality today. What we don’t have is a commanding full back like Kevin Cahill or an outstanding midfielder like Liam Mc Hale and indeed Pat Fallon. We are where we are and have the players we have let’s get behind them

  67. Hey posters forget about the crap on League Sunday. Wait until Willie Joe puts up Keith Duggan’s match report tomorrow. It’s a classic.

  68. Great win, great bottle and determination…………but not a great performance by any means particularly by our attackers.
    I noticed an interesting thing today on several occasions when we had the ball and were attacking. Donegal typically got 14 or 15 inside their 65m line very quickly. Six Mayo players were standing between their 65 and our 65m line effectively doing nothing – just watching the game. What does this mean? It means that those Mayo attackers who were attempting to break down the Donegal defence were hopelessly outnumbered. As a result they were continuously running into traffic and the attacks broke down. Donegal conceded no scorable free in the first half apart from the penalty. Why would they – they outnumbered us and if one guy missed a tackle a second defender was on hand. So no need to foul.
    You cannot break down a defence like that without all 14 outfield players contributing something. This means they all have to make runs and pose a threat even if it means leaving your own half bare! Its a horrible game to have to play – a bit like rugby league – tight hard running in pods – quick short passes hoping a lapse in the defences concentration will create an opening.
    A good inter county forward might manage one good inter county back but he will not manage two at the same time. Our attack is trying to do just that and that might be one reason why we sometimes look so inept.

  69. Ah yeah Keith Duggan’s report is definitely one to stir the heart, captured the mood well for those last 20 minutes today

  70. Plainoftheyew! A fair enough analysis there and Mayo will be much better served if our failings are seen for what they are.. But that’s not the whole story. Our problem’s against massed defence are there for all to see. Of course, both Andy and Cillian both struggled and then Mayo have serious scoring problems. But taking on that Donegal massed defence is no picnic. The hits were very hard, and when you are running hard at them, your body might beg for mercy.. But while Donegal had so much control and frustrated the hell out Mayo, for 70% of the match, Mayo did turn the table’s and made it count… Higgins , Durcan and Coen really ran hard at Donegal in the second half, while Aiden was no doubt game changing, Mayo had defused the Donegal kickouts to a certain extent before AOS came on There have been gradual improvements throughout the league,. Can you remember Donegal creating a goal chance? They didn’t, Tyrone had one half chance last week. Earlier in the league, win or lose, David Clark had to make several save’s. every match, just to stop us being hammered… Now David was good again today and while one or two kickouts went astray, his restarts were very good on the whole, and I think he’s improving in this aspect of his play. Credit the work of the outfield player’s in area as well… We won the match and stayed in the Div 1,. for the 21st consecutive year. So not only Dublin created a record this year, Mayo have improved on their own record. We are a work in progress, and we done all that, with Cillian for the most part playing .poorly, Only about 40,minutes over the match’s with AOS. We didn’t get to see SOS at all, He to will be back… Barrett is back and making a difference,. Cafferkey is on the way back… It’s a shame that Kevin Keane is injured and that Freezer has left the panel, but Kirby has shown he can do something with the limited game time he got in the league, ditto Nally. So for me we are a far stronger position than we were this time last year.

  71. Great win. However we just best a 2nd string Donegal with most of our A Team. Forwards seriously lacking in this league campaign and unless COC can get his form back for Championship, we are in trouble. Relying on backs again to get scores!

  72. There’s a real sanctimonious element to some of the comments since our ‘Win’ yesterday. Gentle reminder – we won.

    Terms like ‘football knowledge’ and references to dissent not being appreciated are unnecessary and largely unfair. For the most part they’re directed are folk that simply want to get behind the squad and often do take the cup half full approach. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    We should remember that our supporters come from a broad church – young kids, seasoned veterans, former players and those that never kicked a ball in their lives. Dismissing their views as being invalid or naive is unworthy of this forum.

    Informed opinion should always be welcomed but it need not be delivered at the expense of someone else.

  73. On the subject of those match reports, I should admit that I’m still in the west and will be heading back to Dublin shortly, with a fair bit to do once I get back so it’ll be later than normal when I get to them. The podcast – which I hope will be as entertaining to listen to as it was to record – should be up around early afternoon but I’m not sure yet if the match reports piece will go up before or after that.

  74. Well said, Rock. I’m blue in the face making the point that the rule is ‘ball, not man/woman’ but that distinction appears not to have penetrated the minds of some. It’s the self-loathing tone of some comments I can’t get my head around but we’re into a whole other layer of analysis there!

  75. Willie Joe, any chance of ‘Like’ & ‘Dislike’ buttons on comments?
    Big crowd, flat crowd. Big shout out to the referee for bringing the crowd into the game.
    Roll on the Summer, with all the fun and games it will bring.

  76. Justoutsideballagh that was NOT a Donegal second string
    In fact we were missing more starters than they were but have a stronger squad

    Some of the negativity in here would make a person despair

    Our backs were firmly to the wall but this team came out and beat Tyrone and Donegal !
    So during the league we have beaten Kerry Donegal and Tyrone. Apart from the dibs we have beaten all of the other contenders for the AI
    Shane nally has put himself forward for a starting spot in the summer, Clarke has returned despite retirement rumours, Kirby has shown more than I ever thought he had as a possible forward line sub and Boland is another option

    But yeah let’s focus on the negatives. In April.

  77. We won we stay in Div 1 Aidan O Shea stood up for all of us yesterday he changed that game for us he took no rubbish from Murphy or reilly he stood up for his teammates he stood up for supporters he stood up for Mayo ! Can’t wait to see how summer pans out for him & us! 🙂

  78. Crikey , wasn’t expecting the mood in any of the comments to be In anyway negative. I thought we were brilliant when it mattered , when the game needed taking by the scruff ,they stepped up and did exactly that . Aido was brilliant , the abuse the man gets is not right. I walked down McHale rd after the game thinking about it ,the man has an unbelievable amount of resolve and inner strength to keep going . He’s actually hated by opposing players and fans especially with venom , its nasty and wrong but it seems to be a part of Irish life more than anything to do with actual football, pure jealousy . Don’t dare be a confident good looking guy with an ambitious personality , don’t even entertain the idea of media attention . You can only do that if you’ve Celtic crosses and you’re a tad bland and drool.

    Gman liam you stalker , haha. You have me though and I don’t have a clue who you are , its killing me I admit. Only clue I have is you went to nathys , you played handball, you know the kilmovee pitch condition of bygone days. So you weren’t a border and you’re around my age perhaps. Handballers from my year were Paul Flynn, rossie, tick. Vinny Moran , I’d know if you were vinny. Now I’m having a stab in the dark here maybe you’re Padraig gaffney .

  79. RTE as woeful as ever. highlighted the O’Shea sending off but did not bother to show his superb catch over the head of Michael Murphy.

  80. Anyone know what happened with Dr Moffatt & Deegan before kickoff yesterday ? Seemed to be a very heated exchange between them, and on the matter of Deegan anyone know what exactly is his job as sideline ref ? how many incidents happened in front of him that he blatantly ignored the punches to Aidan being one of them seriously think something awful is going to happen one of the days to players they’re not being protected! Cillian & Donal last week Aidan this week !

  81. all the negative comments are draining- they won, got two points,and stayed up,yes it wasn’t pretty to watch at times,a lot of silly mistakes, plenty to work on,but ffs its april,they turned the game around,and got the result we asked of them,the grit and dogged like attitude they showed was brilliant ,it is more promising than this time last year,
    we as supporters played our part ,the support we displayed was deafening ,this most definitely was us at our best been the 16th man…and i believe this pushed the lads on,if they were playing ‘pretty’ all the time we wouldn’t get as much enjoyment out of our league games as we did yesterday ,the league is over its now time to draw our breathes ,the team included, and get ready for the championship- faith and belief are the order of the day!
    up mayo !

  82. All said and done that was on paper a solid enough league campaign, 8 points wins in Omagh and Tralee , beating donegal and hammering the Rossies , I would have taken that at beginig of the year .

    Considering mileage this team has up and the motivation after trying so hard last year must be hard to get it together nad I think that showed but credit to the management and the lads they got what was needed .

    I think it was positive as we blooded Nally, Coen, Kirby, Boland and Drake to a level that they can put their hands up for inclusion in starting lineups.

    Slightly dissapointed no addition to the inside line but maybe there is to be a new no.15 but he wasnt fit enough o start, actually had 15 on his back .

    I think people should lay off Cillian, see point he got from that distance out at start , ok frees are popping over as much as we’d like but he above anyone will benefit from getting dirty diesel out of system .

    He and Andy are as we all know the class acts but who outside Dublin or Kerry have anything more than 2 top inside forwards?

    If we can get these men up to speed for August we will be there or there abouts.

    Credit to Aidan O Shea, done well as someone said I was hoping that would be the memory of people have of him for this league campaign that he came back and was big influence in Donegal game, manned up and showed his presence, but as you say the Sunday Game will leave people with doubt and suggestion he is a diver .

    I think we have the positives in Clarke and Barretts form, Coen a nailed on started & man marker, Donie and Boyler having to fight very hard for starting positions, the positives of moving Keegan and Higgins forward, finding Kirby although I feel he is best in halfforwards like a Ger Brady role, Parsons needs a Seamie or Aidan to help out in midfield .
    Boland a very good debut season, some ups and downs but that the learning of the trade .
    Diarmuids slow return to football can only benefit him like Cillian clearing out dirty diesel and hopefully shaking any nagging injuries .

    So ya hope they go away now , clear the heads take the positives and return for what will be an attempted ambush in Sligo game, blanket defence will be rolled out against us now for every team bar Kerry or Dublin so we best sharpen up on how to break it down .

    If we can release Keegan, Higgins, Diarmuid, Durkan and Parsons to go forward then I think they are among the best defense line breakers in the country .
    We need to use width of pitch but due to lack of mobility in Cillian and Andy need to keep them ear posts so maybe Diarmuid could get a free role from corner forward , concentrate on supporting Andy and Cillian and winning primary possession and have Keegan or Higgins at 10 with Kirby and Kevin Mc in halforward lien all of which are more than capable of playing accurate passes inside to our main men .

  83. To those Holmes/Connelly loyalists who think Mayo would be better off without Aidan O’Shea (and any other O’Shea for that matter) think again. For those who think he should not start, I suggest he be brought on in first five minutes – at the latest.

  84. Delighted with the win yesterday, even though it was far from a perfect performance. AOS really took the game by the scruff of the neck, Donegal to my mind didn’t have an answer for what he brought to the game. Cormac Reilly proved again that he cant control a game at this level, he simply lost it once the physicality and intensity went up a few gears. His dealing with the agro in the second half was just comical. I’d even go to say that he could be a major factor in deciding a championship game later on in the year which is about the worst thing you could say about a GAA referee.

    On the League as a whole, I think we finished about where I thought we would end up. The Monaghan game for me was never a win for us due to the amount of training done at that time. Other results I would have predicted were beating Cavan at home with maybe a reversal of the Tyrone result. I never expected us to beat Dublin either, the pasting we got wasn’t in my mind on the cards though. In terms of overall game plan/tactics we still struggle when teams park the bus against us. One thing i noticed in the first half yesterday and throughout the league is the way we approach this. Time and time again we go back and forth in and around the opposition’s 65 – 50 metre zone. I see us hitting this line very flat, as in there is sometimes no real penetration in this area. What I would like to see is instead of 3/4 players getting the ball from a standing start essentially, one player go ahead and create a hole with others coming from behind with varying angles of running through the central channel.
    We do have other issues as well (Player form, players coming back from injuries and what impact they will have, a plan B when Andy Moran isn’t winning ball inside, Kickouts) but to finish on a positive note, we are still in Division 1, our heart for battle is still there, Shane Nally and Danny Kirby have done themselves no harm this league, Chris Barrett getting back adds so much to our defence, and players getting fitter after layoffs. Whatever happens in the coming weeks and months i’m intending to enjoy the rollercoaster ride that is Mayo football.

  85. Patrick Mc Aulifee, what utter nonsense comparing a front 6 from 1996 to a front 6 of 2017. 21 years of football evolution, increased S&R/fitness and nutritional levels and not to mention rule changes, has seen a huge change in defensive and attacking systems. None more so than Tyrones inverted half backs/half forwards of the 00’s.
    While our front 6 of ’96 were undoubted attacking talents and some of them All Stars, none of them could defend or track an attacking half back up the field, or provide defensive cover to their wing back. No mention of the O’Connors either and including a young lad who has yet to play championship football is unfair to say the least.

  86. Aidan played centre half back yesterday and what a man on and off the field he is.
    Rte are only on his back because truth be told half of Mayo are at the same.
    Good analysis of the game Willie Joe but where I was sitting it was a penalty.thought zippy really lifted the team when needed plus k Mac worked really hard all day.had the pleasure of meeting one of the officials after the game and all I can say is you can’t educate pork.
    Was a great day out yesterday and fare play to the support we all want the same at the end of the day.

  87. I have come to a conclusion that the only way Mayo will win the Sam Maguire is for the team to wear blue jerseys. What I saw yesterday has not a chance in hell of winning Sam. I would call it puke football. In fairness Donegal won the game 13 points to 12, and the referee gave us a penalty that wasn’t . I suppose he was making up for the fiasco in Limerick. To be fair to our supporters we didn’t take our anger in Limerick on him, and that was a good thing. Why I say we should wear blue jerseys is this year 2 teams from Mayo have won All Irelands. Westport and Ballinrobe Community School. Congratulations to both teams.

  88. Havent posted about the match yet, instead reading yhe posts coming in, they generally swing from the negative to the positive, I feel a fair assessment lies somewhere in the middle. Mayo had some good spells where some good football was played, the five mins after the penalty and the final 15mins Mayoplayed some really good high intensity football taking some fine scores, Kirbys pt the standout for me. We also played some poor football and allowed Donegal to dictate the game for large periods. The game was much like the league, a mixed bag. Overall there are positives to be taken out of the league, also there are a lot of things to work on.

    AOS is a very important player for mayo, we seen the good and also the bad from Aido. In the middle he is physical and drives the team forward. When he advanced forward he continually ran into blind alleys and lost the ball. Aido doesnt need to win games on his own, catch the ball, win the ball and lay it off quickly is all he needs to do in the middle of the field.

    Positives, Kirby, Nally and Coen have stepped up and offer alot to the panel. Kirby in particular was very good, he is steong, very mobile and can score.
    Introducing more kick passing is a positive and should be continued. A large portion of scores has come from good quick kick passing into the forwards particularly the goal v Tyrone.

    Negatives, Mayos tackling has gone to pot, at best its lazy. The ref pulled us continually particularly in the first half for poor tackling and he was right on each occasion. Mayo keep leaving the hand in a grab the arm/shoulder of the opposition, its a free. Mayo need to sharpen up their tackling as most teams have free takers to punish these errors, at the moment its not a patch on 2014 standards.
    Forward, the eternal issue. One goal from play in 7 games and very few opportunities created. This is the area most in need of attention. IMO(one that most people will not agree with) Andy shouldnt start but should rather be an impact sub. He like Boland started the league well but as opposition got fitter they found it difficult to find room. Andy wuns ball but hasnt the pace to get away from his markers. (Also does anyone know why he goes to ground after winning every ball or finds the need to stand over every free kick Even though he knows he isnt taking them.) Andy is still our top ff, but alternatives should have been explored over the league. Quicker ball and alot more movement in the forwards is required.

    From the league for me, the starting lineup for Sligo game would be,

    Clarke,
    Harrison, Vaughan, Higgins
    Coen, Keegan, Durcan
    AOS,Parsons
    KMc, DOC, Nally
    Doherty, Kirby, COC

  89. You know True Grit whatever about winning Sam etc saying Donegal won the game because we got a soft penalty is up there with ‘we would’ve won the All-Ireland last year if we didn’t score two own goals’

    If and buts are pointless arguments.

  90. We’re a strange team but I’m beginning to like it. It’s never going to be straightforward with us but it sure does make for exciting, unpredictable viewing.

    Colm Key’s article is worth the read surely. Obviously he points to O’Shea’s intro as the changing point – Donegal becoming totally drawn to him, “consumed” by him.
    He writes that the mood became “more fractious, edgier, always simmering, the environment this Mayo team arguably thrive best in”.
    That seems to sum it up for me. I’ve been thinking for a while but I’m now certain that we shouldn’t fixate about searching for a ‘marquee forward’. When we play our best football we simply don’t need one. It’s more of a distraction at this stage, something that certain outside pundits are more obsessed about than Mayo folk. When we up our intensity levels, albeit for far too brief of periods, most teams find it difficult to live with us.
    Let’s focus on that, harness that energy even further, develop it even further if we can. We need to focus on our strengths. When playing our best, I, for one, love the way we play.

    Recall the second half of the drawn semi in 2014, the first half of the Limerick semi, the last 10 mins of the 2015 drawn semi, and more recently, the patches we showed in this year’s League matches, i.e. yesterday, and the match against Kerry. I’m sure people can think of many other examples.
    We seem to be able to overwhelm the best of teams when we put our minds to it. We seem to be able to win every ball, work the ball close to goal (albeit more often than not fail to convert our goal chances….still a GLARING Mayo problem), and completely pin the opposition in their own half. When we do all these things the notion of a ‘marquee forward’ goes out the window. We create enough and have the ability needed within our current resources. Regarding those goal chances, it shouldn’t take a marquee forward to score them. Composure is needed big time and players need to have a good talk to themselves here. It’s as simple as that.

    I was really impressed by Higgin’s second half performance yesterday – himself and Aidan really set the tone. Aidan was immense and it’s encouraging for the Championship ahead. There will be much bigger challenges ahead for him and everyone else so I wouldn’t get too carried away by yesterday. What an impact sub to bring on. Rochy has a big decision to make here. I’m sure the rest will be welcomed by the whole squad and Lee in particular should put the oul feet up for a few weeks and recharge mentally.

    We should all be positive today and I don’t see any reason at this stage to be in any way negative. Bring on the Summer and let’s see what happens.

  91. I’ve always been a huge fan of AOS and have long regarded him to be much and unjustly maligned by a lot of Mayo supporters.

    But he should be embarrassed when looking back at his feigning injury yesterday. I thought the Sunday games handling of it was just as cowardly btw simply because they had a Mayo and Donegal man on the panel.

  92. Backdoor I disagree with a lot of what you say regarding the 1996 team. They had very little up front. That was their achilles heel. Pay no mind to those who know as much about Mayo football as I do about quantum physics. A lot of posters have a Masters in B.S. when it comes to Mayo football. Opinions are one thing, getting it all wrong is just plain old B.S.

  93. Andy stands over frees and penalties to take the brunt of the harassment that usually happens at that point. When we have a penalty Cillian goes over and takes on water beside the umpire safe from annoyance and calmly walks out and takes the penalty. A strategy after Donegal in the league last year.
    I’m starting to wonder if we need a classic inside line type of player. It would be interesting to see a Mayo team that was power and pace with Cillian on frees. If the opposition build up yellow and black cards the mismatches in their defense increase. You can relase in scorers like Andy, Boland and Regan in the last 10 minutes when there is no defensive covering speed left. Such players against fresh Donegal/Dublin/Tyrone/Kerry/Monaghan defenders I don’t see working. Such players against those same defenders with 60/65 mins played I do see a scoring return happening.

  94. Today’s players are superior at kicking long range points. Also they have less time as opposition tactics have improved. During the 96 97 era we had some lads who had great heart and workrate but no confidence shooting. James Horan was the exception. In 97 final Ciaran Mc missed a 21 yard free after Sheridan got injured. After that Mc scored one of the best penalties you’ll ever see. He was a young talent and relatively raw at that stage. Sheridan probably as good as Cillian at the frees but of the rest only Horan and maybe Casey would make the current team. In that era we were blessed with some great midfielders, Pat Fallon and Liam McHale with Colm McMenamon adding a lot of heavy lifting too and the reason we were so competitive was Maughan was ahead of his time on fitness training. Saw a video where lads running 2 laps and if last man didn’t make the cutoff time they all had to go again. McHale was last and bursting his balls with the others shouting him on still didn’t make the cut and they had to go again. In same video you see Fallon who was a good underage athlete and maybe a few more too puking at the sideline. Intercounty training no joke.

  95. Colm Keyes is a very good GAA writer—-he is very well versed in all things Gaa & is fair & balanced.

  96. Below is a copy of a complaint lodged with RTE this morning. I await their reply. I expect it will be riveting!

    ‘I am emailing you to complain about the RTE programme League Sunday aired on the night of 2 April 2017.

    The programme showed highlights of the Donegal Mayo game played at Castlebar. Virtually the only thing discussed after the highlights was the sending of the Donegal player. The Donegal guest suggested that it was not a sending off offence and suggested that Aidan O’Shea dived. Throughout the whole match Aidan O’Shea was targeted for rough treatment from the Donegal players. He changed the whole outcome of the game by dispossessing the star Donegal player, Michael Murphy. His display included high fielding and driving runs and the only thing discussed about him was that he got a Donegal man sent off. The rules are very clear if you strike a player you should be sent off. A number of Donegal men also struck Aidan O’Shea in a different incident but this was not highlighted. His performance alone in changing the whole outcome of the game should have been highlighted. I am though not surprised by this treatment.

    I feel that:
    • The highlighting and even giving air time to a person to state that you should not get a red card for a striking offence is wrong
    • If players show bias towards their own county this must be stated by the presenter and not just, as he did do, be presented as a possibility. Relying on the Mayo guest to retort is not fair. The presenter should have been strong enough to call out the Donegal guest.
    • Highlighting the red card and not presenting the other infractions gave a false picture.
    • The programme again called into question the integrity of Aidan O’Shea despite there being no reason for it to do so.
    • This appears to be a trend as Mayo’s integrity was called into question last year with Lee Keegan being painted so by various Dublin and Kerry media persons in an orchestrated campaign. Whilst not accusing RTE of orchestrating the campaign they did little or nothing to stop it or to highlight it.
    • RTE need to stop themselves being used as pawns of various management and interested parties achieving their goals by influencing the public, referees and the GAA authorities
    • RTE need to get stronger presenters and change what is an outdated, weary and bland format

    Until I get a reasonable response to this complain I will not be viewing RTE sport and will influence others to do so also.’

  97. @Shuffly, that was true on that two lap training. However Kerry stole a march on us as they focussed more on shorter explosive speed work. We had very few explosive players back then. Great stamina but no speed bar Kieran Mcs natural athleticism.
    @Cantini, that’s quite an amazing diagnosis of Aidans injury from one bad camera angle. Of course you were right in front of it looking directly at it. Ah yes. Sure it’s only going out taking punches to the face and kicks in order to keep Mayo in division one.

  98. Right – my take on things of what was certainly a game of 2 halves, if I’m to throw in a cliché at the beginning.
    Penalty was a penalty, foul was inside the square. Also – Donegal keeper should have seen a black card, it was an off the ball tackle and he had no business being there. By the same token however, I was certain that Andy Moran should have gone on a black but only got a yellow.
    We started brightly enough but faded badly and Donegal had the measure of us in the first half. Donegal were full value for their lead at half time, and but for a strong breeze should have been out of sight. Our indiscipline in the tackle cost us numerous frees in scorable positions. They were also very dangerous going forward and I certainly think they’re good value at 11/4 for the Ulster championship. For the record, PP have Tyrone as favourites, and I struggle to see where they would be anywhere ahead of either Donegal or Monaghan on current form of the 3 teams at this stage. From our own side, we missed a load of scorable shots ourselves in that first half, plenty of work for us to do here. I like Boland but he’s perhaps stayed at a level he was in the FBD and earlier games in the league, while the rest of the team have improved ahead of him. Kirby I don’t think is going to be suited to midfield at Championship pace, but to his credit he can score points so perhaps a berth in the forwards is where he might be better suited when Seamie returns. I’d like to see some improvement from David Drake as for this game and the last, his contribution needs to better. That being the case – both of these I mention as well as a number of other players are deserving of the break in Inter-county play between now and the 21st of May. I would specifically include Cillian, Diarmuid, Fergal and to a lesser extent Andy and Leeroy as those most in need of some rest.
    The changes at half time did help and being honest I expected Donegal to kick on with the benefit of the wind in the second half.
    We certainly upped our game a bit and there’s no doubting that the introduction of Aido and Jason Doc was a turning point for us. It really seemed to rile the Donegal lads but to be fair to Aido, he didn’t lash out at the abuse he took from them. Our tackling and intensity improved exponentially in the second half and this was what made the difference. Not only that, but the crowd went from being muted in the first to voracious in the second, which visibly lifted the team. Coen impressed me greatly, and I though Keith had his best game in a Mayo shirt for a long time. Nally is certainly staking a strong claim for a starting spot and Chris Barrett is good to have back too. Having both him and Harrison in the back line seems to give it just a bit more stability that we had been lacking earlier this year. It just shows how we rely on some of the old guard and now that many of these are returning to the fold after periods of injury, I’m a little happier about our outlook for the year. I’ll be happier if we have Seamie and Ger Caff available for selection too.

    Cormac Reilly’s performance – he did get most calls right in terms of when a foul was a foul and this was a marked contrast to his unforgettable performance (or lack of it) in Limerick. However, he failed utterly to control the game, let too much persistent fouling away and when things started to get niggly and demonstrated why he should not be refereeing at this level, by simply letting that niggly stuff go. The Donegal lad that was sitting beside me stated as much, outlining how the players could get away with whatever they wanted without punishment. As for Deegan, I normally give him the benefit of the doubt, and to be fair to him I think he did try to guide the hapless Reilly on occasion but it seems players can box the face of Aido these days and get away with it, and the media will accuse Aido of simulation if he gets a kick in the nuts, as we saw on last nights Sunday game. I noted the Donegal democrat mentioned that their Doherty was perhaps unlucky to be sent off – I’m not sure where they’re going, but if you toe a player in the stones, that’s a red card all day long. Maybe they thought he was unlucky given what Reilly had let them away with up to that point. And for anyone who reckons he was feinging injury, please allow me to provide you with a similar toe poke to the nether regions and see if you can remain standing .

    Anyway – enough about Reilly and other ball sack type incidents. Yesterday was about Mayo and in particular a great performance and display of fantastic attitude by Aido on his second outing in a Mayo jersey this year. He certainly put it up to all of his detractors – a large number we can count within our own supporters too, I’m sad to say.

    We’ll have Galway and Kildare joining us in the top flight next year, with Cavan and Roscommon returning to division 2. Galway have some top quality players in their ranks, we’ll need to have our lads well up for the game this year should we beat Sligo/New York on the 21st of Next month.

    The serious business of 2017 starts now.

  99. Great win by Mayo yesterday that will absolutely stand to them further down the line. Just want to point out negative propaganda from Dublin and other counties is sickening but I guess the only way to silence it is to win the all Ireland. In the mean time, what’s to stop the mayo news, Midwest or any mayo affiliation in Donybrook to battle for our corner, we need Mayo people in the national media to stand up for our county and highlight what other counties get away with. Fight fire with fire.

  100. If I was Aidan O’Shea or someone related to him, I’d be walking down to the local solicitors office with a copy of the video from league Sunday to check out if there is enough suggestion of cheating there to bring a defamation of character case against RTE.

    Anyone who thinks he was feigning injury may approach O’Shea and ask him to show how hard he was kicked.

    I don’t blamb Michael Lyster, but the man with the selective approach to analysis and the producers at RTE.

  101. FDBinashui…..Brilliant analysis….everybody takenote of that post most accurate to date….

  102. My take in real time on the Aidan incident that led to the red card was that the kick by Doherty was accidental, though it looked like a bit more than that on the TV (albeit that the sole camera was on the wrong side). No way, though, was there any feigning involved on Aidan’s part – Doherty caught him with the boot, accidental or not, in a fairly sensitive part of the anatomy.

  103. Cantini, getting a kick in that area as a male, not matter what the force, can bring all sorts of pain, so accusing someone in that that circumstance for feigning injury is below the belt.
    When you start calling out other players for repeated abuse on Aidan (that goes unpunished by officials, all of the time) then your opinion on this might be taken more seriously.

  104. One point …. not one mention in any post todate regarding the game.
    The tactic of kicking the ball short to a corner back is crazy, with zero end product and full of risk. Short kickouts need to be central and then moved very quickly down the pitch.
    Mayo played with a significant breeze in the first half and still mayo persisted with short kickouts.
    3 of Donegals first 4 point came as a direct result of poor kickouts.
    May be when mayo get there first choice ball winners on the pitch mayo will go longer more often. Otherwise mayo will suffocated by every team that presses mayo kickouts from D Clarke.

  105. A kick in the goolies will bringing any man down. So to say aos was feigning injury is pure daft. He took 2 punches to the head and kept going. What do want cantini?? He is also clearly not fit yet.
    FFS if our own supporters are on his back, can you really blame rte.

  106. I think people need to relax re:RTE…I’m pretty sure the conversation went something like

    ‘We have five minutes for analysis for Mayo v Donegal but we only had one camera there so we can’t do proper analysis…
    Right well let’s take out the red card and talk about it, it’s the easiest option’

    The production teams don’t have vendetta’s…they just need to get a show out with limited resources

  107. And just to add,there is no way anyone can properly call the O’Shea incident based on one sideline camera

  108. Glad we won and posted here after the Cavan defeat that I was worried. So fair play, getting 2 from 2 against Tyrone and Donegal. It would appear apparent we just go through the motions at this stage, blowing hot and cold and been able to turn on when necessary. As seen last year its what happens in August/September that really matters. So no point getting wound up at this stage of the year.

  109. It doesn’t run that way joe because we don’t care how long RTE spend on Mayo and this is about particular piece and not complaining about any vendetta.

  110. Donegal lost the game and the plot when AOS came on. They were lucky to be finishing with 14 men, could and should have been finishing with 12,…But Mayo took advantage and won the match.. Going forward it’s great that an opposition player ger’s sent off for assault’s on AOS, he has taken some ridiculous cowardly punishment this last 4.or 5.years.. Let’s hope that the previously era of the ‘Open Season’ for unpunisable repeated offences on AOS is now coming to an end!

  111. a bit of a worry in my opinion is that Robbie hennelly has not seen a minute of game time this year in the league

    what happens if he is needed later in the year?

  112. Joe, the problem with the Sunday game last was the inference that Aido feigned injury, when he hadn’t. Its very easy to tarnish a players reputation, particularly on a programme like the sunday game where they are offered no right of reply, it’s not so easy for a player to regain it when that sort of nonsense has been spouted on the National airwaves.

  113. Well said tonyk,

    His own people are on his back driving daggers into him, nothing new here, Liam mchale and Ciara’s Macdonald suffered from the same nonsense from these fools. credit to Aiden for even wanting to play the game with the amount of abuse he gets on the field and then the small minded fools in his county that do the Irish thing of trying to bring him ” down a peg or 2″.

    Despite all this, I can see Mayo being very close this summer/autumn and aos leading the team.

  114. Yes Rte analysis was pathetic. However Billy Joe was given the final word and should have used it to far greater effect. He should have just laughed if off and said come here and I’ll give you a kick in the same place and let’s see how you react.

  115. Agree there AH NOW, Billy Joe was soft enough in his response to that – he was disappointing there.

  116. I will accept that AOS may have not feigned injury. I appreciate the camera angles leaves it all a bit vague. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – but based on what was on TV i’m not sure anyone can say he was kicked in the nuts. Even if he was – i’ve never seen a man kicked in the nuts holding anything other than his nuts after its happened. AOS was holding his mid-riff when he was on the ground and that is what led to my suspicions – I still hold those suspicions…but as I said i am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  117. Cantini,
    have another look. if thats the mid-riff then his mid riff is a good foot lower than the rest of our mid riffs. He was clearly consoling the family jewels from the telly.
    and there is lies the issue i have – if our own supporters believe what is said about him by the panelists on the Sunday game, particularly when it’s a fabrication, then it’s clear that any referee watching the programme will be influenced too.

  118. We did what we needed to do and what we set out to do- stay up!!
    No point setting the world on fire in March and April. We’ll leave that to the Rossies! (Not this year granted) !! We have seven weeks to work on the problems that have manifested themselves during this league campaign so I, for one, am happy enough with that.

  119. @FBD
    Sorry to say i’m not one of your supporters. But I come on this site from time to time and historically you will see (not that i’d bother checking if i was you) i am one of the staunchest advocates of AOS and the fact that Mayo supporters don’t realise how critical he is to their success. i even saw suggestions that he should be dropped last year. Madness.

    however, just as I can’t be concrete on what he did or didn’t feel and where he felt it….neither can you. He is the only man that does know. The rest of us have to go on our intuition.

  120. I don’t think I’ve watched five minutes of RTE’s coverage this year, and have no intention of doing so for the rest of the year, either. I’m sick of what passes for football analysis on League Sunday and The Sunday Game, I’m sick of them calling the integrity of our players into question, I’m sick of the likes of Brolly behaving like a pantomime villain (that personal attack on Rob Hennelly I will never forgive) in a desperate bid to remain relevant and I’m sick of getting wound up by watching it week in week out.

    So I stopped. And life is a little better as a result.

  121. I’m not asking for your support but I was at the game Cantini, for what it’s worth, and I know what I saw there with my own eyes, and it was AOS getting a toe poke in the ball sack, of that I’m certain.
    A panelist on the Sunday game casting aspersions to the contrary is not going to make me change my mind on what I saw for myself.

  122. Fair play to you Cantini. I thought the same but held my counsel. Pleasantly surprised with the win. I called a draw however given their most in form player was injured I secretly thought we could sneak it.

  123. I for one was sweating when I saw a kick straying near Aiden’s undercarriage. I’ve been putting together a breeding program that is basically built around creating a super breed of baller using DNA from himself and Cora. I’d be adding in a pinch of Ciaran Mc, Willie Joe, Four Goals McGee and the Bull Barrett for stoutness. A damaged set of “town halls” on my main man would be a major spanner in the works…

  124. Cantini, he definitely got a kick. I turned to my friend immediately after it and said “he has to go”. Had a perfect view of it.

  125. Ah now, it’s funny you should mention about the 14 men. Our record against 14 men is pretty dismal, so much so that when I saw the red card, I thought it was curtains for us. Delighted to see that we still managed to prevail.

    Patrick McAuliffe, we all loved the team of ’96 and ’97 but yourself particularly so, wasn’t it you who was calling for the return of John Maughan last week? While I appreciate we all love a bit of nostalgia it’s twenty years ago now and times have changed ever so slightly in the world of football, so as a certain princess once sang, it’s time to let it go.

    FDBinashui as always that’s a good analysis. I too was wondering how Andy Moran stayed on the field. Overall I felt Reilly was a bit generous to us yesterday. That in no way changes my opinion that he is not fit to ref an U6 game and should be let nowhere near games at this level.

    Donegal really lost their composure when O’Shea came on. Looking back at Mayo Mick’s video they really did make fools of themselves over him (I doubt they’re the first to lose their composure in his company!). I’m not surprised to read that RTE for the second week running decided to ignore the thuggery of the opposition; what really annoys me however is how we consistently fail to challenge this as a county.

    And I am also sick to the back teeth of the amount of our own that are apparently happy to cast aspersions and throw sly digs at our own players. You would never in a million years see this happening in Dublin or Kerry, ever.

  126. It has bden an up and down league.Boland..Conor O’Shea and Nally all got decent playing time which is good.
    I actually see full back line as a worry.With regard to RTE Aidan just needs to keep playing well and no issues will arise.
    Frankly we know little that we didnt know after league.Dublin still to be beaten.Maybe Tyrone not as good as we thought…Donegal better.
    Our team…still need Andy and Cillian to drive it.Not sure if Danny will make an impact.Good footballer but they need to be better than good.
    What I do feel is Galway will fancy their chances with some justification.
    Roll on Summer

  127. Well said Anne Marie!
    Is there anyone in the powers that can challenge the way Aiden and other players are being treated and targeted in such despicable ways. Or is the fear that great not to upset the powers. It is bullying on the playing field and it is wrong. Is it not one of life’s lessons that we are taught to stand up against injustices no matter where they occur. As a collective group have we not the right to speak and address what is continuing year on year.
    Do we wait first for a serious injury that will ruin a player or players life who have given their all for their club and county. There has to be a way of being proactive in this area and not just to sweep it under the carpet(grass) after every game.
    Yest All Donegal’s goal became get rid of AOS and in that process lost their way as it consumed them. SICK.

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