I always find it amusing how different people can watch a game and come away with completely different views of it. The positives I took from the game against Sligo were as follows.

We set out to play in a different way to how we did previously in that we kick-passed the ball much more, we ran more from deep, we kept two (and sometimes three) forwards in the inside line more consistently and we rotated them continually. The running off the ball was much better.

We played an orthodox fifteen-man shaped team. When Sligo’s Marren went out the field, Keith Higgins stayed back in a sweeper role and cut out the long ball option. Combined with the return of Ger Cafferkey in a marking full-back role, Sligo never got near enough for David Clarke to be required to make a point-blank save. In fact, I don’t think that Sligo had any genuine goal chances.


We didn’t go out to blitz Sligo. Instead, we worked on a system of play that we need to develop further if we are to be in the shake-up later in the year. As a result, it sometimes looked like a challenge game rather than a championship game.

I liked the mix of young lads and the seasoned fraternity. Sheamie O’Shea looked lean, fit and full of energy. Fergal Boland continues to grow into the team. Conor O’Shea gave a good account of himself and was much more purposeful that previously. Paddy Durcan is getting better with every game and is now giving us the option of having another strong half-back (with Keegan) that can break with speed from deep.

We used the bench well and got stronger as the game entered the last quarter. Sligo coughed up the scores in the end because of the strength in depth that we introduced as the game progressed.

There were some “could do better” things.

We got cleaned at centrefield for a huge amount of the breaks from kick-outs. In the second half, we gave Sligo way too much possession. If we do that with a stronger team, we will be punished much more severely.

Kevin McLoughlin looked a bit lost in the corner. He is much more effective in the half-forward line where he drops back to hoover up loose ball around centrefield. Maybe swapping him and Boland would be an idea as Boland has an eye for a score and is particularly good from 30 metres in.


We had a few bad misses but I would put a lot of them down to the transition between doing something in training and transferring it to a championship match situation. That should improve with more work.

In relation to the number of steps taken before the first goal the Advantage Rule was applied. It states “When a foul is committed the referee may allow the play to continue if he considers it to be to the advantage of the offended team.”  This is clearly what the ref did.

The question here is whether or not the ref considers the continuing play is effectively a ‘new’ play. If that is the correct interpretation, the decision not to pull for steps was correct. However, I do not know how the refs are briefed on this. Maybe someone with experience of refereeing at a high level could clarify.

All in all, I thought this was a workman like performance. Mayo played the game in a way that they would get the win but would try out a few things. Some things worked, some didn’t. But when the ref blew the final whistle, Mayo were ahead by nine and into the Connacht semi final.

Job done. Now attention can turn to the Galway game on 11th June.

Keep the Faith!

86 thoughts on “Perceptions

  1. No two people see the external world in exactly the same way. To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is — in other words, not a thing, but a think.

  2. That pretty much sums it up….I wonder bar Brendan Harrison who else will get game time or is it now a settled team with the same 6 subs Evan Regan must be worried if he cannot grt some minutes against Sligo has he fallen behind Loftus in the pecking order….Galway up next which is now a massive game as big as finals against Dublin win and can act as a springboard for assault on Croker lose and its the end for a lot of this squad….I think we can win which will energise and give a shot of confidence to us….I think that the game is in Salthill actually helps us….

  3. A good summary FourGoal.
    The year we blitzed Sligo I stated that it was stupid to push up on them and blitz them with our power. It was not going to be repeatable later in the year against the bigger sides. That day us conceding 2-11 was a foretelling of our future defensive deficiences. We do look to be practicing a game plan.

  4. Exactly JP.
    One of the things I alluded to last week was the need to get the ball to forwards facing the goal. We did that much better on Sunday – Diarmaid’s goal being the most obvious case in point – but there were several other examples. In trying to concentrate on implementing an attacking strategy, the first time you see it done right, it usually appears to be somewhat slow. Speed comes with practice and I expect that such practice will be the focus of training over the next two weeks so that speed is built in to the transition from the training ground to the match. We will be much sharper against Galway having played as we did on Sunday. If we had blitzed Sligo without trying to improve aspects of our play, we would have learned nothing.

  5. The game again showed Higgins’ days as a corner back must be over, Harrison to come back in. But again Keith showed in the 2nd half how good he is at breaking the line for boland’s 2nd point. Aidan to come in for Conor who tries hard but rarely threatens to score in any match. Last change I would make is loftus to start in place of Andy. Think andy is much better option to bring on, he’ll always score a couple of points and in tight games having him as an option from the bench just seems better than starting him and taking him off when he’s needed most.

  6. Higgins dink run to set up Boland for his second point and Aidan O’Shea’s low bullet like kick pass into one of our other players (not sure who) to set up another point were some of the highlights of the game for me.
    The way it broke down the Sligo blanket with some direct incisive play was great to see. More of the same please but no easy ask!
    Puckout – I am in agreement on Andy’s role. He should come on as an impact sub.

  7. WJ – Not sport related but I just want to say, I know Ireland and indeed Mayo have very strong connections in Manchester so I hope you are all safe. A shocking and barbaric attack on innocent children.

  8. Surely when we blitzed Sligo last time we knew we blitzed nothing on the day.
    And Puckout …. You’re on the ball there!

  9. I agree that we all see the same thing differently. Some posters here have been critical of Conor O Shea. I would invite them to look at it again. I thought he did excellent work until he tired in 2nd half. His running, linking, defending and his size and strength are a huge plus to the team. We need more like him who can break the tackle and set up scores for inside men. Can’t wait for Galway match.??

  10. I agree with virtually everything you are saying Four goals,.. But, could it be that AOS will not be making the starting 15,.for Mayo?. With this particular evolution of Mayo.. Yes, I would say Brendan Harrison is a definite to come back! But in that event. Who steps down to the bench?.. Barrett? , doubt it. Cafferkey? If so Higgins, now that’s a possibility, but surely Higgins is too good to drop from the Mayo team, Definitely, far too good, so where do you play Higgins, our current half back line is the best in the country, with two other superb players excellent half backs in their own right, waiting and watching in the wings to play his part, namely Donal Vaughan and Stephen Coen,. So could Keith possibly play a half forward position? , or sweeper? It will be interesting.It will make it harder for COS to retain his place, Makes it harder for Kirby to get a start, but who undoubtedly can do, what Mayo badly need, shoot and score from distance, Makes it harder for AOS to get his place, I think AOS has too much to offer, not to be played if we are keep progressing in the championship. Just in terms of the amount of preparation opposition’s have to put in to take account of Aiden, But over the years I have came to the conclusion that Aiden does not last 70.mins. So it will be interesting!

  11. I think Conor OS is offering more than Jason Doc at their current levels of fitness. If he could also be coached a bit more on the mopping skills Kevin Mc and J Doc have then we can keep Mc inside which means Andy can be used as an impact sub. There’s a case for AOS midfield and Parsons held back for 2nd half which also makes the option of Kirby viable though he might be better CHF than FF because of his good distribution.

  12. When are tickets on sale for the Galway game?
    Look there was a lot to be positive about, no point at all blitzing games early.

    It did feel like we are at 6’s and 7’s out there at times and it seemed very disorganised and disjointed. I heard the line ‘What’s he doing there?’ said more than once in exasperation. Of course, we had to be trying things Mayo is far better than that shoddy play. Either that or things are going rapidly backwards with Rochford, that is not the case like.

    If we were to be trying things I would look to see us passing hard and low, Tipp made advantage of the fact that it is a lot easier and faster kick a ball directly with a foot pass last year. Often to overlapping players who had just passed, I thought it brilliant.
    Just like I aid last year, Mayo are better when Vaughan is on the field.

  13. I believe Danny Kirby has now taken 6 shots and scored 6 points. I don’t recall any wides versus Sligo. He had been on 5 shots and 5 points before the game started.

  14. Was curious why nobody nobody mentioned Shane Nally over the last couple of days, I though along with Kirby stood out in the league for the quality of their kick passing and did well in the last 2 games of the league, felt this was a road that should be tested more. Conor o shea does nothing for me, constantly running into dead ends. Again like last summer Nally is at the back of the bus when it comes to opportunities. Another point I like to make about this weekend is other counties use of young players, Hats of to Cork in one of the best games I witnessed in a long time. Donegal making inroads too with a group of young players. I cant for the life of me understand why Brian Reape is not at least on our bench at 21 years old when see Sligo staring two 19 year olds. I know he is not on the official panel but someone in management needs to wake up and take chances before their to late. Andy Moran still our best forward!! Like I said before I would take Adam Gallager Reape and James Carr over most of our backups players. We need scoring forwards not marathon runners.

  15. Acute analysis there Fourgoal. We were trying things and we also had to get guys back and give them game time. Had noted and commented before on our kick passing during the league; didn’t really noitice it on Sunday, but I watched the match back and we looked much slicker than I had thought. The defence really soaked up all Sligo had to offer and I just wondered whether Rochy was content to let Sligo run at us and then just pick them off and hit them on the counter. We’re still not good at that lightning transition – BTW Galway are – but Aido’s ‘bullet’ to Cillian was a joy and we need more of that.

    On Aido, he didn’t seem fully fit; he was in better condition that against Donegal, but I think he has a bit to go. Thought he looked a little lost at times, but maybe he was following strict orders.

  16. I would hope we play our best 15 available against Galway as they pose a big threat. Agree Harrison comes in if fit and also that Higgins goes to 10 as sweeper / playmaker. As to who he should replace, that’s straight forward, either COS or Boland. Keith is far more wily and is battle hardened. Can do what COS did on Sunday but with a bigger array of skills. Boland did fairly well and if we do beat Galway maybe deserves another run against Ros who will do well to match Mayo regardless of any improvement.

  17. If Aido is fully fit we could use him in midfield and leave Tom P until 2nd half or vice versa because SOS looks to be 100% back at the races going by Sunday. That gives opportunity to try Kirby either in FF line or CHF.
    I would also think Loftus worth starting ahead of Andy because for a young player he’s intelligent and has decent pace. More natural goal scorer than Andy who could be of more threat coming on.

  18. Last Sunday was very close to best 15 available with surprising little experimenting going on, whether or not Mayo decided to play in a ‘different’ way last Sunday is open to debate but for me the performance levels individually and as team wasn’t far off from what was seen against the likes of Fermanagh,Westmeath last year or Monaghan,Cavan this spring and these type of average performances are becoming more common now than before.

  19. Disagree. I’m not convinced Boland and COS would be considered best 15 and AOS and Harry would be. These were experiments to give the lads a chance to prove themselves Boland for 1st championship game and COS to see how he’s shaping for 2017 and Sligo the right game to experiment but not Galway. Being a student means COS could be flying because it’s summer time but going on performance he gives work rate usually at the expense of creativity. We need both from all 3 half forwards.

  20. We haven’t seen a killer forward come on the scene but seeing some new options compared to last year, Boland and Loftus in particular. I would like to see Loftus start against Galway.

  21. Thanks for that ‘fdbinashui’. Great article.. nice to know that people from outside the county now beginning to notice some of the shite that gets written about us…

  22. I think Harrison has to come back in and that will have to be at the expense of Higgins. So where does Keith go cos he’s still too good for the bench? The most obvious solution is to stick 15 on his back and let him play sweeper/playmaker. That would be my choice because at the end of the day he’s not a forward and does not have a forwards instincts. I can see aido and Harry coming in and COS and Boland missing out. I’d also be in favour of starting loftus in place of Andy. Save Andy for the second half, the ball of energy he is, is a tiring defences nightmare.

  23. Two very good articles in the examiner today. I see even reservoir dubs called out Bernard Flynn and now that’s saying something!

  24. Shuffly Deck, Harrision was out with a hamstring and AOS isn’t fit enough to start yet so i wouldn’t call starting the experienced Barrett in the corner back in place of Harrison and COS in place of AOS as experimenting. Boland played in all of the league games and played well and deserved his first championship start he could be this seasons new find like Harrison was last year.

  25. In more important news, knockmore and Castlebar into U16 final 😉
    Knockmore with an impressive win over a physically very strong westport outfit. Knockmore were 10 up with a few to go. Conceding late penalty and a few points to leave for a frantic finish.
    Castlebar winning over Claremorris, tight in first half but Castlebar pulled a away by accounts in second.
    Don’t think either knockmore or Castlebar had anyone feature in U17.

  26. Has Bernard Flynn gone yet?

    Or is somebody actually happy to pay him to write muck, gutter and shite?

  27. Interesting thoughts on who comes out when Harry returns. I also think Keith should be brought out of the corner.
    It will be a massive decision whether to start him in forwards or omit him from starting 15 altogether.
    One factor keeps springing to my mind when thinking of this and that’s the effectiveness of our running game from half forward line, a system which Keith fits perfectly into (and one which simply suits this team better than any other).
    He’s not a scoring forward or necessarily a great kick passer, but he can break the line like no other, and tackle like a demon in the middle third. White heat of battle? Yes, I want Keith right there in the thick of it. That’s what it boils down to for me.
    COS and Boland may have to miss out. I like Boland but I’d worry about his conditioning in the bigger games. Besides that, he has all the right attributes and I can understand management sticking with him. A lot is being asked of him at such a young age.

    Andy should be held in reserve and Kirby is a real option at 14 (if not in the half forwards).
    I would continue to hold Aidan in reserve until second half, especially if we use the running game. We’d still have excellent ball winners in Seamus and Tom and plenty physicality in the rest of the team.

    I also dont hear much mention of Vaughan. I’d be near certain he’ll play a key role in Salthill and further into the summer should we progress. I thought he finally showed his potential in last year’s AI finals and was robbed in the replay by the injury inflicted on him. Again, keep in mind our running game and how he fits seamlessly into it. He’s also an option at midfield.
    He generally is a guy who seems to be slower reaching fitness which is fine but is a luxury we may not be able to afford as the Galway match is only weeks away and could easily go either way. We need to up it several gears from Sunday.

    I’d agree that Nally did enough in the league to be strongly considered for a starting place.
    The old cliche of who’s going well in training should probably determine who starts. We do have options and a lot will also depend on what game plan management are thinking. Perhaps playing a scatter of similar players from the half back line to the half forward line may not be a bad idea. Simply double up on what we are really good at?
    Roll on Salthill!!!

  28. Yes there’s an equally strong case for Donie an Nally in half forwards as Donie can act as 3rd midfielder and strong runner and Nally looks a really good footballer who can score. However Keith is the best option because of the speed he moves the ball, seldom takes a step back or sideways. Best long kick passer, best solo runner and best long fist passer. The only mitigating factor for me is whether Harry is fully fit in time. Boyler seemed to do a lot of the sweeping on Sunday (in a field position similar to Dubs Cian OS) meaning sweeper #2 only needs to cover half backs.
    I expect Boland to be dropped, perhaps returning for Connaught final if we get through and maybe coming on. Galway game is not one for too many risks but would love to see Kirby play… it’s question of flair over workrate. Similar with Loftus for Cillian or Andy but feel he’s worth trying.

  29. And if Harry not fit, Donie, Drake and Coen have all played corner back. With a “system”, one of those three might work fine. Galway’s 1-7 aren’t considered a good unit but last year the used a defensive system v us.

  30. JP & Mayomessi, I tend to agree, Shane Nally certainly was impressive, and he can score from distance as well as , but when you think about Danny Kirby, 6 points from 6 attempts, you know he didn’t get that much game time, I’d say his points per minutes played would be far the best of any Mayo player, since his recall to the Mayo seniors last January, He certainly doing his talking on the field of play. Might be hard for Stephen Rochford to ignore his statistics.

  31. Danny Kirby should start. His ability to score from distance has been a feature of his game for years. Another feature is his ability to ghost into goal scoring positions which he does regularly for Mitchels. Overall a much more intelligent footballer than COS in my opinion. Nally offers similiar strengths. I would not start both together – better to leave some strong play makers to come in off the bench and add some power, pace and creativity entering the closing quarter. I do feel our squad is stronger this year despite many of the performances being patchy year to date.

  32. Shane Nally is a good solid sub. I dont think he’s done enough to start.
    Yes I could see Keith Higgins being brought upfield if Brendan Harrison returns. His ability to give a 20 yard handpass off either hand out in front of a runner can open up a defense.
    Danny Kirby is a great lad to bring on. Tired defenses wont want to see his mobile 6’4″ coming. He’ll be physically stronger as the summer goes on. Plenty room left on his frame.

  33. Stephen Rochford was saying that Aidan O’Shea had a slight groin strain the last few weeks, so I suppose that’s why he looked a bit sharper against Donegal in the league game.

    It seemed during the league when we wanted to play a bit more defensively we included Shane Nally and David Drake in our team in the half-forward line, like in the Tyrone game. So when the team is named (as long as it’s not a dummy team) we should get a better idea of what type of game we want to play against Galway.

    Remembering back to the havoc that the two big Tipperary lads in the full-forward line caused against Galway last year (compared to the problems that they caused us), should be taken into consideration as well. Tipp really wiped Galway out in the middle third that day and cut through the Galway defence like a knife through butter.

  34. NiallMc1983…that really is saying something.. i had a brief period of following and engaging with them on twitter… their masked slipped quickly enough when we did not bend a knee before them in 2015 semi finals… they are about .0001% better than hill16army and the greatest keyboard warrior of them all ” Barry”….
    on the team the last day,… i actually though having such a strong bench was brilliant…. we finished with as good a team as we started… genuinely cannot remember the last time that has happened,,, barring injury i would start same 15 in salthill.

  35. Pearse is a funny venue as well. Like you can have a grand calm day heading down and then at the pitch there can be a fierce wind blowing. Good luck to ya trying to kick around the house in those conditions. That breeze sometimes makes it a day to work the ball closer with runners. So it wouldn’t suprise me to see changes on the day to take account of that.

  36. Looking at it from the opposite side of the fence I would observe as follows.

    1. Sligo were far too defensive in the first half and if they had shown a bit more belief could have made far more use of a very strong breeze. But somewhat understandable with 2015 still fresh in the minds.
    2. Mayo looked very solid defensively in the second half but you have balance that assessment against the fact that they knew sligo had to work the ball into about 20-25 yards against that breeze before they could get even get a shot off. The zone you have to cover then becomes much narrower. On a day with no breeze that zone expands considerably.
    3. Fergal Boland had a more than adequate game for a debutante but he still looks a bit green. Evan Reagan probably had more impressive early outings for Mayo and where is he now? You have to persevere with young lads a bit longer in my view and Reagan was (is) a scorer that should have been persevered with in my view.
    4. I’d worry for Mayo’s legs from half back and midfield as the season continues – I also think Lee Keegan will not stay at 6 as will take too much from his attacking qualities.
    5. Mayo are still short in the forwards in my view to win an AI. Andy Moran – a superb player – will increasingly become a cameo player due to the baggage of age alone.
    6. Blue in the face saying Cillian O Connor absolutely wasted when he moves outside the 50. He is Mayo’s scoring forward and i sometimes think he is trying to be a Ciaran McDonald type play maker…stay inside the 30m line for god sake and pick off the 3 or 4pts from play you will have to if Mayo are to reach promised land.
    7. Long way to go – but Salthill will be a far bigger test than most of what Mayo met through the backdoor – with exception of Tyrone – up to the final last year. So I don’t think there is a case to be made for “its only early June”…Mayo need to be as sharp and good as they were v Tyrone last year if they are to win that one.

  37. Agree Mayo need to be at full tilt for this one. Last year Galway game was taken very lightly by the fans and some even just a bit of that seeped through to the team. We were very hot favourites. That allied to Galway really needing a win against us and coming with a good game plan. I noticed they were happy to concede kickouts to Kevin Keane, an out and out defender and more so short kickouts were giving them time to set up a shield. Galway are better in 2017 so it’s a full on Championship game with best 15 from training to start.
    A few times v Sligo we were passing back and over with the seeming intention of just making them run around a bit more. Fans a bit frustrated but the tactic probably worked as we finished much better on the scoreboard.

  38. What I like about the squad this year is that we are equipped for most potential oppositions .

    In that I mean take the Sligo game it was a chance to intro some new blood and some rusty lads like Caff and Barrett .

    But Goalkeeper aside I think we have real options throughout the squad and its great to see .

    The most important and intreging in my eyes is midfield/halforward line axis .
    If we can get this area of the field spot on I belive we can introduce a running game on par with Kerry and Dublin .

    Take it Seamie is the holding midfielder.
    then have Parsons plus a Kirby/Vaughan as runners with AOS at 11 to further impact aerially, physically and create overlaps .
    Diarmuid________AOS______Kevin Mc


    Thats more than powerful enough to deal with any running game, Jason Doh, Coen , Dillon, Lotus, Boland, Drake and Nally all then add different options to this critical area of the field.

    Fullback line likewise I think is critical but in Harri and Barrett, we have two of the best man marking cornerbacks in the country .
    Caff I think has grown in stature in people minds primarily down to his absence last year but I honestly do worry about him .
    That said he is a good fullback, not the best but good so he s a great option there but I do think Vaughan and indeed none are real options too.
    Higgins is a wise player, sure he has lost some traits but I see him if anyone as the fullbackk line sweeper this year .

    The halfbackline is just full of options and in any 3 of the 7 or 8 options we start we have serious options .

    Fullforward line we are limited but have two experienced very good players in Cillian and Andy so i both stay fit and are utilised wisely then we have a chance .
    Injury to either or tiring them further out the field is surely goign to lead to less points on the board .

    So yes I agree its a good thing not to have defined 1-15 or indeed a defined type of way to play against every team, I do think we have a very strong squad so hopefully if we can gain momentum and there is no emotional backage there that we will be there or there abouts against this year .

  39. Don’t know if the passing over back and around was a tactic to make them run around a bit Shuffly. Seems to me it happens due to inability to do otherwise. However I agree there has to be a certain amount of lateral passing but with the intention of drawing a team to make way for a timely break through….Hopefully we ‘ll improve in this aspect with time. Higgins in the half f line as suggested could make a great difference in this respect.

  40. I recently seen Brian Reape against Westport a few others on here I think were also at it. It was a really enjoyable game and a great advertisement for the club league.
    Just to describe his two goals. He’s very firmly an inside man who is top drawer at taking goals.
    First goal. A ball kicked out towards the right endline. He gathers 25 yards from goal and a defender has him lined up. He powers through that defender. Another defender has him lined up, he steps and powers through that one. Goalkeeper is in a good position but has no chance as he places the ball past him with power coming in on a narrow angle. It was a missable chance due to the narrow angle and the goalie being in position, by no means a gimme.
    His second goal was the one that would really make you sit up and take notice. If it had been observed by management it would have got minds thinking for sure.
    Wins the ball 20 yards from the goal centrally, the defender Brian OMalley (good player and strong) is in a good position behind him, he cuts sharp inside the defenders right shoulder and has the power to push past the attempted tackle with the right hand. He is now clean through on goal. He advances calmly towards the keeper, looks him dead in the eyes and calmly passes the ball with the inside of his right foot into the right side of goals out of reach. It was the fact that he sold nothing of what he was going to do that had the keeper rooted to the spot in the centre of goals.
    In terms of goaltaking if Gooch Cooper had done it there would be oohs and aahs about the calmness under pressure.
    A young player and will get better/more game ready with time. But surely to God after he did so well on Sean Andy OCeallaigh (rated so highly in U21) and scoring two goals like that with a mix of physical strength and finishing he is able to command jersey 31 on the panel.
    If we need a goal late on in a game I see no one better suited in Mayo football than him. He literally is the best goal finisher in Mayo when you look at shots taken and goals scored.

  41. I was at that game too and what you describe is true. The only reservation I would have is that this was an intermediate league game. Senior inter county championship is different. That said I do reckon he is well worth a place on the panel. He didn’t feature in the league because he was caught up with u21 and then he got an injury.

  42. That’s a disgraceful comment, 40manpanel. If it’s trash-talking nonsense like that you want to spout then find somewhere else to do it. It’s the comment moderation naughty step for you, I’m afraid, as a result.

  43. @diehard. My own view is that the experienced players management know they will hold up over the season. They don’t want to risk re-injuring young players several of whom are only back from injuries. Which is a sensible way to proceed.

  44. For the first year in a long time Mayo have strong options at half forward, kMc, DOC, COS, Boland, Doherty, loftus, Kirby(prob better at ff), AOS. Lets actually play them in the forwards and not try to shoe horn in a defender. Talk of defenders played in forwards is imo silly. Rochford used forwards from the bench in forward positions so looks like he has made his mind up on the matter. Iffor example Keith cant hold down his natural position at corner back then he needs to drop to the bench. He shouldnt be accommodated in other positions just beacuse he is Keith Higgins. Better options noe available for positions around the field.

    Still have issues with foward play in general but thats more to do with movement and speed/quality of supply. Playing defenders in advanced posituons wont fix that.

  45. This team has defied my view of them. They prove me wrong time and time again. I don’t buy into the “marquee” forward theory. I buy into the “forward” theory. Two points separated us from Dublin in 3 All Irl finals ’13 plus ’16x 2. Missed and poor shot selection cost us. Against Sligo McLoughlin blew another 13 metre free into oblivion. He does this regularly. Stop taking them.

    We are caught in as dilemma. Attack is the Mayo psyche but to survive in modern football we expect our forwards to work their ox off. Diarmuid O Connor in last year’s finals never got going because of his job description. We need four forwards scoring freely and not missing simple frees. Cillian O Connor seems to have aged with the captaincy and responsibility. He is a diminishing threat that needs to be freed from any other responsibilities.

    Dublin’s Fitzpatrick showed how to mark Andy Moran last replay. Others, as we travel will figure same. This Mayo team can go all the way to the final but unless we blood like Donegal and Dubs, even Galway, same old story.

    I see nothing new, nothing fresh in this team but you’d expect me to say that. I don’t see any discernable game plan. I hear about kick passing but the amount of pass the parcel v Sligo reminded me of the look at 10 mins v Galway Salthill 2005 where we hadn’t a clue how to break the line.

    On the go since 2011, magnificently, the end when it comes is sudden. Galway who if rumour is correct, had 50 turn down last season from players, are in a stronger position this year. It’s not about beating Mayo for them, it’s also a critical year for Kevin Walsh. Win, and it’s 2 in a row v Mayo . Lose, and last year’s result underlined the Tipperary massacre. They too are in a hard station.

    It’s not easy following this county and picking oneself from the canvas time after time becomes tiresome. For us, alas, redemption starts as always at 3:30 third Sunday in September. Everything else is paper fodder.

  46. Agree with another poster that we need to play our best forwards and not convert a defender. We also need to select players that can play the full 70+ minutes and for that reason Andy should not start. Assuming all are fit I would line out as follws:

    S O’Shea/Parsons
    McLoughlin/A O’Shea/D O’Connor
    Boland/C. O’Connor/Loftus

    Higgins is a great player but he’s a defender not a forward. He possibly could be used in a sweeper role. I know I’m taking a chance with Loftus but he’s a smart play maker, a goal maker.

  47. I’m not going to get into a debate with you, 40manpanel, but I will direct you to the house rule on comments (here), specifically rules 8 and 11. What you posted was a low, nasty, unsubstantiated attack on a named player and was way out of order. For the record, this site isn’t somewhere like Facebook so you can’t post any old guff that comes into your head and think you can get away with it.

  48. CH-icago, on that 70min+ threshold capability of a player to be considered for starting , I honestly don’t see AOS lasting 70mins at full trothel. But that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be started ,in my opinion. Stephen Rochford has to decide which is better for the team, Start AOS and replace him, or visa versa, It just means that he shouldn’t be started and finishing the same match in my opinion. It’s a 21man game nowadays and I think 21 men should be used every game, to get the most out of your resources. Andy certainly could be started, but like the case with AOS not nessarly finishing the same match. On the 21, man game nowadays, I wonder would Danny Kirby have been brought on only for the late late injury to SOS? , anyhow in the very few minutes Danny got to play, he contributed to the score board.

  49. Can’t see how people can say Higgins would be best sitting it out while we persist in sifting through our bag of what we call our natural forwards.If we believe what we have, and you can go on listing them until the cows come home, is going to get us over Galway then the backdoor is for us again and I for one won’t be wanting that….won’t suit at all!, To not beat Galway would be a complete disaster for this team.
    How often has Higgins found himself in a forward role….mins!! Compare to so many numerous insig contributions made by some of our recognised score getters/playmakers.What would he have scored if he had been given anything like the same opportunities? And for me t’wouldnt be his major contribution but an addition to the umph he would add to our movement up front. And we don’t need scintillating movement …I don’t see such in any team….just our fair share of timely effective match clenching breaks….breaks which give us the space to dictate affaires on score boards.We haven’t had that and we won’t if this movement does not become part of our game.

  50. In the 2013 final the Dublin backroom were delighted when Tom Cuniffe went off and Higgins had to revert to corner back. He was their major concern at half time.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing him further forward. He would cause trouble I think.

  51. The website has an account today of the spat between James Horan and Bernard Flynn over the Aiden O’Shea selfies. James said Flynn made a “tit” of himself. Flynn came back today saying Horan was a failed manager who couldn’t get a talented Mayo team over the line. There are some comments from fans too.

  52. Sligo”s game plan was to be ultra defensive to keep the score down and for most of the afternoon they had 14 players inside the own 45m and at one point they were level with the top of the D. This practically made it impossible for Sligo to win the game but it also made it a bit of a bitch for us to win.. while at the same time making it doubly horrible to watch as a viewing spectacle. It’s not surprising there was a whole lot of pass the parcel especially considering such a negative approach by Sligo. Is there any team now that dosn’t pass the ball latterly and even backwards dragging the defence all over the place until a gap appears. If you run aimlessly into any defence worth its salt set up as Sligo were you will be turned over. I hate to come across so negative on this fine summers afternoon but unfortunately in order to beat this basketball zonal style defence that has replaced gaelic football you have to approach it with a basketball style attack (especially if the wind is against you) which is pass the ball around the zone.. stretching it this way and that until you see an opening ala Diarmuid O’Connor. So in summary we need to do more pass the parcel, we need to be even more patient and when the chance presents itself we need to take the chance without hesitation and get a positive outcome. It’s only when you make absolutely sure that you are going to score and prevent the opposition getting clear cut chances that you will build up a lead which will hopefully be followed by a full court press and more enjoyable stuff to watch. I’m of the camp that Keith Higgins needs to be located on the field of play where he can break that first defensive as I don’t think there is anybody quite like him at it.

  53. Think its vital that Rochford starts Aidan o’Shea against Galway at centre forward as in 2014 Connacht final he will beat Gary O’Donnell all day in the air to guarantee possession and bypassing a stong Galway midfield pairing of Fintan O’Curain and Paul Conroy.Think we should go back with Kevin McLoughlin as sweeper especially early on as I have heard in Galway circles that they will be very direct with a full foward line of Gary Sice, Damo Comer and Sean Armstrong with Michael Meehan to come of the bench.Match ups I would like to see is Lee Keegan on Damien Comer. As Comer is a very direct and aggressive I would prefer to see Keegan on him rather Ger Caff.I would have Paddy Durcan on Shane walsh and Keith Higgins on Michael Lundy as both players have loads of pace and will need watching.

  54. TH I can guarantee you that Gary Sice won’t start in the full forward line in fact I’d don’t think he will start at all. Galway will prob go with Tom Flynn, Shane Walsh, and Michael Daly in the half forward line with Comer Cummins and one of Lundy Armstrong Meehan in the full.

  55. Well said James Horan. About time somebody from Mayo who has a position in media circles spoke up for our County or players. I wish the rest of them would follow suit too when some shitehawk has a go at us.

    Too much Des, Marty, Whelan, O’shea, O’Se, O’Rourke, Brolly, Breheny, Flynn etc getting away with running us down and not a word back from any of our own.

  56. Does Stephen Rochford not count as one “of our own”, Jim? His defence of Aidan was all over the nationals on Monday (one example here) as well as the local papers too.

  57. Funny thing is this ‘passing the parcel’ game can be quite catchy if it’s done with a positive frame of mind giving the impression at least that it’s a means to a great end and there is an end achieved and not the impression that this is all we can do till some dodo fouls us and we can have a free.
    Still I think the game’s guardians should steer Gaelic football back to what it was before the rot set in.

  58. AOS and Harrison will have to start against Galway and I believe the players to miss out ill be Boland and COS. Both tried hard and energetically V Sligo but could not keep the two mentioned off the team. For all his willingness, Boland has not the strength to break tackles and the majority of his plays are sideways or back. Conor had a fine first half last week and is more capable of breaking tackles but could not hope to keep Aidan out of the starting team. Both FB & CoS have the potential to be serious players in the future but will have to wait a year. I think that game will bring Cafferkey on a ton – great to see him back.
    My team v Galway would be:
    Harrison, Cafferkey, Barrett.
    Keegan, Boyle, Durkan,
    S O’Shea Parsons
    Mc. Loughlin, A, O’Shea, D. O’Connor,
    A. Moran, C. O’Connor and K. Higgins (as sweeper).

  59. Yeah, for sure WJ, Stephen Rochford is one of our own and it was good he had his spake on the matter.

    I was more referring to Mayo people who work in the media. Maybe someone like Conor Mort, Billie Joe, John Maughan, Billy Fitz, or even Martin Carney etc.

  60. Very interesting comments, interesting to see how Mayo will do against galway , they will have to show their hand, we will know a lot after the next game, I predict a Mayo win with DOC to have a good game.

  61. Jim Flag, David Brady on off the ball defended Mayo last friday, also the GAA analyst on 2fm friday backed Aido and basically said the stuff from Flynn was utter rubbish. Add to that articles in the Times and yesterday in the examiner by Mike Quirke really highlight the nonsense being said about Aido.

    Mayo are not playing with a sweeper this year, hasnt been used in the league or v Sligo and wont be used v Galway. Keegan moved to 6 to play more of a Cian OSullivan role, this can be seen by how he stayed in position more and rarely attacked compared to last year. If Mayo do choose to use a sweeper later in the year (vDublin) it will be KMc who has experience in the role and did very well in it, not Keith Higgins.

  62. I don’t think any player is exempt from being held on the bench. My only worry about doing so with Keith is whether someone else will grab a match by the scruff of the neck like he does and create surges of attacks from deep. We’ve seen it a couple of times again this League and he makes so much ground in such short spaces of time. Hes leads in this regard and that for me is priceless.
    Sure, that could also be extremely effective if he came on fresh. Strange as it may seem but Keith could be the Michael Darragh McCauley for us. There are similarities in their game. But another player will really need to be flying to keep him off the starting 15.
    Re sweeper, I agree that if we use one it can only be and will only be McLoughlin. He was superb last year in the role.

  63. Keegan looked very subdued against Sligo. Obviously fulfilling a designated role and not venturing outside the bounds of his own half. He’s now such an accomplished man marker there’s a real temptation to throw him on Comer in Salthill. But that could nullify his excellent breaks forward.

    Little bit of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  64. Just to echo what mayomad has already said, Jim, I think Flynn got plenty of returning fire for what he said (including on The Sunday Game the other night) and I think that, from within our camp, having both the current and a former Mayo manager calling a Z-list pundit out for what was an utterly nonsensical personal attack was more than enough. I don’t think it serves us any useful purpose for this circus, with Aidan O’Shea in the middle of it, to continue indefinitely. Sure, it suits sections of the media – an Aidan O’Shea headline generates clicks and, hence, ad revenue – for this to be the case but I’d far prefer for coverage about us to be about football rather than soap opera.

  65. @gizmobobs heard both U16 semi-finals were good quality? Were you at either? I see The Neale and Charlestown have also made the division 2 final. Good to see the so called “smaller” clubs doing well at underage. Future of Mayo football is safe, regardless of what many may think judging on recent inter-county results.

  66. Val Andrews on the “Off the Ball” Satursday panel, my word we really do wind those Dubs up. On “O’Shea gate” he was inarticulately trying to make the point that there was truth to the Holmes/Connoley passion play about the O’Sheas running the show. He made the point that he was doing statistical analysis for Dublin V Mayo in a league match a few years ago and of the 14 first half kick outs, 11 of them went to one of the two O’Sheas. And guess who the goalie was? Rob Hennelly
    Ergo, it proves Aidan picks the team and he’d want to concentrate on playing football instead, and until he does people like Bernard Flynn will have a go at him.
    Its on the podcast, listen to it. Folks we are off in some wild and wonderful land now where for some people reality is a distant memory.
    The annoying thing was that the normally excellent Joe Molloy didnt call him out on making such ridiculous statements. Or maybe he just felt it was too ridiculous to even bother with.

  67. I’d agree that we’ve responded well enough now to the personal attacks on Aidan.
    The fact that the majority of non Mayo people in the media have also called this bullshit out for what it is, is good to see.
    I’d like to say the “tit” Flynn probably regrets his outburst now, but of course he’s ended up getting the publicity he so craves, so he’s probably delighted. Just like any other second rate hack.

    If anyone hasn’t read it, John Fogarty had a great piece in the Examiner on Tuesday on this whole non-story. Perfectly summed up the absurdity of it all.
    The Examiner is no.1 for GAA coverage, the Independent has lost all credibility.

    The more we respond at this point, the more of a story this is. Which is exactly what certain media outlets want.
    Time to let it go and concentrate on our football.

  68. There is a saying that when you’re explaining, you’re losing. It is unfortunate that we have so many pundits in this country that seem to want to court controversy and then want the story to be about how they had a right to say whatever they did. As a tweet this morning said “Ah yes. The Summer, the smell of cut grass, the start of the championship, time for the pundits to start talking about….each other!”

    I think that they do this because their ability to analyse the game, the tactics and the patterns of play is so weak that they just merrily dig holes for themselves to walk into. The standard of analysis and debate on sites such as this is so much more incisive than what we get on our traditional print media. And as for the standard on RTE – well don’t even ask me to go there! To say it’s a joke is a disservice to comedy.

  69. Point taken Willie Joe.

    I would agree its better to move on and concentrate on the build up to Galway. I see that has already started on here with some intelligent comments from some very knowledgeable contributors. Looking forward to the next 2 and a half weeks of debate and proper football talk on here.

  70. Aido story a non-issue of course, but, as posters have pointed out, John Fogarty’s Examiner article puts it to bed. Summarising his points:

    Mayo agreed to play Meath to support Mullingar Shamrocks, for whom Jim O’Shea won county titles some time back. They played two 45 minute segments, the first of which Aidan played in and warmed down; he only played for a small part of the second half and obligingly signed autographs etc at the end. Such practices are commendable and a large part of what makes the GAA the unique organisation it is.

    All the more regrettable then, that one of the organisers of the fixtures saw fit to rush to the airwaves to vent his mock disapproval of the favour Mayo were doing his own county and his adopted club.

  71. @JP my point is that football is alive and well at underage level throughout the county. Many people would presume it is relatively poor judging on recent performances by our inter-county minor teams. I have seen some fantastic games at U16 and Minor level over the last couple of years with some of the stand out players not making it on to county panels.

  72. Catcol,
    Thanks for the backstory to Bernard Flynns ill advised mockery of AoS. What was he thinking of? I imagine he’s cringeing today when he realize how stupid he looks and how big of a tit he is. If you have nothing nice to say then say nothing, perhaps the best advice on the planet.

  73. This be my 26 man squad for Galway
    1. David Clarke
    2. Brenden Harrison if fit (Chris barrett if not)
    3. Ger Cafferkey
    4. Keith Higgins
    5. Colm Boyle
    6. Lee keegan
    7. Paddy Durcan
    8. Seamus o shea
    9. Tom parsons
    10. Diarmuid o Connor
    11. Aidan o shea
    12. Jason Doherty
    13. Kevin mcloughlin
    14. Cillian o connor
    15. Andy moran

    16. Rob hennelly
    17. Chris barrett/Caolan crowe
    18. Stephen coen
    19. Donal vaughan
    20. Donie newcombe
    21. Shane nally
    22. David drake
    23. Fergal boland
    24. Evan regan
    25. Danny Kirby
    26. Conor Loftus

    Hopefully Seamie o shea and kevin mcloughlin injuried aren’t to badly injured and we pick up no more before the 11th June. Galway will be a big step up from Sligo last Sunday. Fergal boland is a great player, and can kick points but is a bit light for the bigger teams. But he is very young, But he still will have a big part to play this year. Our forwards were poor the last day, if a forward can’t score against Sligo I worry got them. But I expect Mayo to be hurting from last year defeat to Galway in Castlebar. It will be a proper championship match. Like the old days of connacht championship when it was knock out. It will be close but Mayo will sneak it by 3 points.
    Mayo 1-15
    Galway 1-12

  74. @wideball was at westport knockmore game on way from work. Thoroughly enjoyable fair with great scores and interplay from both teams.
    Westport physically much bigger as is often case with town teams with large picks. But knockmores work ethic and team ethos swung it for them, they were 10 points up with about 4 to go. But westport to their credit came back strong with couple late scores. The westport number 11 while not their biggest player was a joy to see.
    Great see the Neale doing well following on from strong under 15s last year. Looking at results they should probably be division 1,won their semi by 24.
    But as you say it’s hard see how knockmore and Castlebar had no reps on U17. And westport, Bellmullet and Knockmore no minor starters either. Given they division 1 semi finalists or finalists at under 16 and minors.

  75. The one thing I’m worried about with this team is the same thing I was worried about last year and I believe that if it’s not fixed ( as much as it can be!) is our inability to win primary possession from restarts! It killed us against Galway last year when it mattered and when the game was on the line, and it did so the same again against the Dubs when it was in the melting pot! We have 2 great men at 8&9 but both are not the biggest midfielders in the championship. We potentially will play Kerry and Dublin all going well this summer, and against both teams we have struggled (as most teams have) so we need to figure out how best to get primary fielders into the mix. Probably why Vaughan, kirby, moran, and aiden will all see gametime at various points during games. I believe we have to find a formula to include the biggest and most mobile players @6, 8, 9 and 11 and potentially rotate and alternate! Panel is more important than ever, because David Moran and Brian Fenton have dominated midfield in key parts of the game when we were under pressure

  76. It’ll be a simple plan for Rochford…To win in Salthill, Mayo need to boss the midfield for the best part of 70 minutes and win any breaking ball in this area. Limit the supply going into the Galway forwards. We have the players, we have a point to prove …It’s all about hunger and desire!

  77. Thanks for the update Gizmo.
    There would have to be some midfield quality in the Knockmore team to go ten up on a strong club like Westport.

  78. @Gizmobobs good to hear it was an entertaining affair. I have seen Knockmore this year and they look a good, slick outfit (obviously are having beat Westport who have dominated the underage scene lately). Castlebar will provide very stiff competition in the final as they were county champions and Feile winners at U14 level two years ago if memory serves me right?

    Some real entertaining matches at U16 and minor level this year. I see the website has the division 2 final down for this Tuesday in Claremorris between The Neale & Charlestown. I heard The Neale were very strong at this age group (U15) last year. Should be a good game as they look to be the top teams in the division based on league results. Looks like the division 1 final is not going to be played before exams start. Hopefully we will see a few faces that could move onto the U17 inter-county grade next year.

  79. Nice one AOS for the autographs for the kids on the pitch. Some kids will relive that moment for years, the day he got to speak to his hero. Its things like that that make the GAA unique & special.You dont see kids within touching of their heroes in the premiership etc.

  80. Unfortunately I will not be attending the game, as I am out of the country,I would like to wish Mayo all the success and victory,I think Adain O” Shea has a big roll to play in Sunday’s? game in attack, the long ball in to him a quick pass into the runner I think that will bring success,as all game’s it’s going to a team effort,and going to be a tough one hon Mayo!

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