Late Leitrim strike leaves opener level

Photo: @thecailinrua

So, at the second time of asking, we finally got to play our first match of the year tonight. In rather miserable January weather under the MacHale Park lights, this midweek meeting between ourselves and Leitrim – for which both counties fielded experimental line-ups – turned into a bit of a thriller.

True to that genre, the match had an appropriate twist to the story right at the death. The visitors snatched a draw with an injury time goal just when it looked like they would have to leave Castlebar empty-handed.

We made one change to the team named to start this fixture. Colm Boyle didn’t line out, his place at centre-back taken instead by Shane Nally.

Leitrim got the night’s opening score – a free from Brendan Gallagher – but we soon got going and five points in a row put us in a good position. Fionn McDonagh got the opener, from play, his first ever point at senior level for the county.

Further scores followed for us. Debutant Ross Egan got the next one, followed by Neil Douglas, both of these from play. Alan Freeman pointed a free and then another debutant, Ciaran Treacy, added his name to the scorers’ list with another point from play.

They got one back but this was countered soon after by Alan Freeman, his second pointed free restoring our four-point advantage with ten minutes left in the first half.

From then to the break, though, it was all Leitrim. They blitzed us with six points without reply in that period, turning the four-point deficit into a two-point lead at half-time. Now an upset began to look the likelier outcome to this opening match of the year for us.

A few minutes into the second half we were handed a great opportunity to turn the tide back in our favour. We were awarded a penalty (for what I’m afraid I’ve no idea) but Alan Freeman’s spot-kick was saved by McKiernan.

Instead it was the visitors who bagged the first score after the break, stretching their lead to three points. We responded quickly to this one, however, with yet another debutant – this time Aidan Butler – bagging a point at the other end for us.

We made our first change of the night soon after, with Jason Gibbons replacing Barry Moran at midfield. Adam Gallagher also came into the forward line in place of Nathan Moran and soon after Ross Egan was replaced in attack by Oisin McLoughlin.

We got the next score, Jason Gibbons belting one over the bar. Then, with the match approaching the hour mark, Adam Gallagher brought it level at nine apiece.

But Leitrim came forward once more, snatching another point to edge ahead again. That score was cancelled out, though, by substitute Peter Naughton, whose solo dummy gave him the time and space to get his shot away for his debut score for his county. The Knockmore man had joined the fray a bit earlier in place of Alan Freeman.

The contest was now, despite the cold and wet conditions, coming nicely to the boil. Over the last five minutes the 1,696 punters who showed up at MacHale Park tonight were treated to a suitably dramatic finale to the proceedings.

First it looked like we’d come with a perfectly timed burst to win it. Ciaran Treacy put us back in front for the first time in the half when he slotted over a free with three minutes of normal time to play. Then James McCormack became the sixth debutant on the night to find the target for us and Ciaran Treacy followed this with one from play to leave us three to the good with the game in injury time.

Right at the death, however, Leitrim got their reward for their gutsy performance. A last-gasp attack yielded a goal, fisted to the net by Aidan Flynn, and so the game ended all-square. Those who were there will be better able to judge if this was a fair result but, from this remove, it sounds like it could have been.

So, it’s an unbeaten start to the year for us but one where we have yet to record our first win of the year. It’s back to MacHale Park on Friday night for us now, for the refixed Round 2 fixture against Galway, where, no doubt, a completely different Mayo line-up will be aiming to record what is now a well overdue win over the Tribesmen.

Mayo: Paddy O’Malley; Marcus Park, Ger McDonagh, Aidan Butler (0-1); James Stretton, Shane Nally, James McCormack (0-1); Barry Moran, Jordan Flynn; Fionn McDonagh (0-1), Neil Douglas (0-1), Nathan Moran; Ross Egan (0-1), Alan Freeman (0-2, frees), Ciaran Treacy (0-3, two frees). Subs: Jason Gibbons (0-1) for Barry Moran, Adam Gallagher (0-1) for Fionn McDonagh, Oisin McLoughlin for Egan, Peter Naughton (0-1) for Freeman, Matthew Ruane for Flynn, Kevin McLoughlin for Nally.

56 thoughts on “Late Leitrim strike leaves opener level

  1. Well I have to say Willie Joe.. That’s very good report on a match, and you tell me you weren’t there! …. Not much to add…. Gibbons and Dougie best for Mayo, definitely should have won it… Penalty saved,… Ref was right to blow up the foul in my opinion, but just outside the ‘white line’…(where once there was a white line, by this time well washed away by the incessant rain, as were almost all the white lines in McHale Park tonight) Freezer took the kick, striking it to the right of the Leitrim Keeper.. Credit the goalie, but on a dreadful evening for both kicker and stopper, it was struck without sufficient power and a nice height for the goalkeeper… Sucker punch to level it at the death…. Now we need to beat Galway on Friday, wouldn’t have it any other way.. But I hope that I don’t get a second dose of the rotten flu because of my attendance at the match…. It was reasonably good fare considering the awful weather, but not worth getting the flu again over it.

  2. NBTD – According to Colm Gannon’s match report for The 42 (here), Jason Gibbons didn’t start but came on as a sub for Barry Moran. I’ve changed the piece and the team details as well to reflect this.

  3. A few good performances. Dougie the pick for me. I thought his distribution was top class on a horrible night, and super ball winning as well.

    Ye will all take that with a pinch of red and yellow salt I’m sure =) but he was excellent

    Lovely score from Naughton when he came on too

  4. Yes awful conditions and it was hard for lads to show what they could really do. I wouldn’t pass judgement on any player based on this game. That said Jason Gibbons seemed determined to lay down a marker.
    The pitch cut up badly after all the bad weather and after Friday nights game v Galway it will be hard to get it in shape for the league.

  5. Weather conditions terrible.baltic cold to!
    Poor match overall! Draw a fair result in the end!
    Very hard to judge a lot of lads tonight.thought keeper did ok along with James stretton and also Jordan Flynn.douglas was on a lot of ball to.
    Naughton got a classy point when came on.
    Gibbons did well to when came on.
    Very hard to judge players this time of year conditions were just not suitable for good football.

  6. Finally we’ve gotten our first fix of football for 2018. An awful night for it. It rained all through.
    The football wasn’t inspiring. But then you couldn’t expect it to be much better.
    Pity not to start the year with a win but at least it’s not a loss.
    We had a better second half. The subs really improved things. Thought Jason gibbbons did a lot well, won a lot of possession and was very mobile. Barry faded in the first half. Neil Douglas worked hard all night. The Claremorris lads did well especially James McCormack. He seems to ghost into great positions and gets forward a lot. Glad he got the score as well. Defensively he was good as well. Gallagher and Ruane did well for the time they were on.
    Looking forward to Galway.

  7. Ah don’t get too exited John, it’s the first game of the year and a lot of young lads playing, probably together for the first time. We’re good at the draw’s ok , but we also draw more than we lose.

  8. Hard to criticise any player due to the weather. It never stopped raining for entire match. The weather was nearly as bad as the ref.

  9. The new players getting their chance really have to show that they have something to offer in these FBD league games. If not they will be discarded quickly when the league starts. Realistically of the 20-25 new players only 4-5 maximum will be there come championship. Tough on players having to impress in these conditions this time of year.

  10. John Gibbons – I let one stupid comment from you go. My mistake – your subsequent efforts show you can’t be trusted to comment here without adult supervision. It’s off to moderation for you.

  11. Missed the first few minutes of the first half, they had scored the six points before I got in and it took at least another 40 minutes to get another score on the board. It was a typical FBD game, alot of coming to the 45s on both side and then howlers. In fairness the weather didnt help. Some of the Leitrim lads had excellent scores that deserved the round of applause some of us Mayo heads gave them.

    Jason G played decent when he came in and he is a man that showed he wants his place back. Adam G also played well for the length of time he was on. Confidence is an issue with the young lads but that will improve. Once Treacy got on the scoreboard he improved. As others have said, bad night due to the weather, but there was an odd glimmer in there.

  12. South Mayo Exile, very optimistic about 4-5 new players. 1-2 id say especially as Freeman and Keane are available. Rochford is never going to cut that many players from last years panel. Id say Reape will be the only new player added to the panel (although I really like to see Gallagher and Douglas get there). the pick of the bunch making up a development panel.

    John Gibbons, FBD league game not really worth getting all hot and bothered about, would hate ta see the state youd be in if it was an important match.

  13. Anyone know what had happened to Liam Irwin ? I not in county currently so wondering is he not part of the panel for these games?

  14. First match , and we are off
    We didn’t win , but we didn’t lose either ,
    Weather was brutal , the pitch is in an awful mess,
    To be fair it’s hard to judge on just one performance, a lot of young guns, trying very hard , Neil Douglas put in a good shift , Adam Gallagher made a good impact , delighted to see Stephen Rochford giving the new crew game time , had the pleasure of walking out to the stand side by side with aido , a gentleman as always shook my daughters hand , very friendly , made her night , giddy now looking towards Friday,
    Cmon mayo !

  15. 10th of January and moderation up and running as well as football!!Missed game with flu but glad to hear Neil D made an impression even at this early stage..Anyone know why Reape didnt feature??

  16. Good crowd on a wet midweek night, poor conditions and a game littered with mistakes which was to be expected. Smash and grab aside I think Leitrim deserved the draw.

    Thought Douglas and Gibbons when introduced done well as did Butker from Claremorris. Tracey looks lovely and Naughtons score was my highlight.

    Not too many standout performances and hoping to see a better performance v Galway on Friday night. I wouldnt criticize any lad out there tonight.

  17. I would say priority is to give Reape full 70 against Sligo Regina. Still 210 mins of FBD football to see lads. The new format is way more beneficial for looking at new players

  18. There will be at least 5 places up for grabs for those posters that are saying there will only be one player brought in for the National League with the retirement of Alan Dillon and the long term injuries of Lee Keegan, Seamus O’Shea,Donal Vaughan and Chris Barrett it opens up 5 places in the panel.

  19. It started to pour down about 16 00 here and by 19.00 there was puddles everywhere. It continued to rain and it is still raining here. Fair play to everyone who came out something close to 2000 according to Michael D on Midwest Radio. The pitch was green and lined at 7 but by 8.30 it had turned brown and more uneven than usual. Leitrim gave as good as they got and I thought they had kicked it away in the first half with 8 or 9 wides. They rallied but in truth they should have been miles in front. We pretty much lost midfield at this point. There was some honest endeavor all around but the work rate was poor. In the second half the work and pace increased and our performance improved. Leitrim deserved something from this game but in truth they were very lucky to get a draw. It was a bad night to be drawing conclusions on who is or who is not in. But I was impressed with Tracey, McCormack, McDonagh Douglas Nally, Flynn in the second half. Westport goalie was excellent I thought. Gibbons is back and Gallagher and Naughton have a lot of skill on offer.

  20. I did not take much notice of Flynn in the first half, but he up’ed his game in the second half and I thought he done a good job. He scored a point but his kick passing was excellent. Nally is a joy to watch on the kick passing. The kick passing in general was very good tonight also.

  21. Thought Flynn came in to game well second half but as pJ said didn’t notice much in first half. GIBBONS brought more energy I felt to the middle third when introduced he was very good I thought. Probably helped Flynn.
    But weather and pitch left it very hard to say definitively where lads are at they need be given more time in good conditions to see where really at. Be to harsh on lads to make any critical calls just yet.
    Young Naughton lads point with his first touch of ball as Mayo player to equalise game was ridiculous. Dummy followed by outside boot shot possibly on his weak foot (caveat on this statement as was looking at one them lovely structural poles in front me at time). Great confidence for young lad.
    Nally very solid as well glad for him. Can’t recall how exactly goal came about thought when seen ball floating in we’d be able to deal with it. But all in all happy enough and we go again ?

  22. My FBD debut.

    Enjoyed it and PJ McManus’s summary is on the money. Leitrim were gutsy and quite skilful, though they got away with murder from that eejit of a ref. Our work rate was poor and our handling equally so for a long time.
    Gibbons upped it and the introduction of Adam Gallagher and Matty Ruane had a major impact. Gallagher has bulked up and, to my mind, oozed class, while there was great zip about Ruane, though he looked a little light. McCormack also impressed and Tracy had his moments and has great pace.

  23. Was I the only one who thought James Stretton played a cracker? His tracking back was slightly questionable. But, when you’re looking for faults on a night like that…

  24. Chris Kelly, id say posters are referring to championship panel. Those injured players will be back for Galway in May, cant see as many as 5 new players introduced to that panel.

  25. Won’t start listing names but I feel on a personal level that there’s a few guys on the panel that have been making relatively little impact that must be looking over their shoulder if they had any logical reasoning.

    Personally I would give these guys time in the league if they do not show much more than previous years I’d let them go.

    I’m not trying to break your rules Willie joe , just stating My opinion.

    We need to freshen it up Willie joe a tiny bit , if that means cutting guys that have made little impact …. so Be it

    A question do you think that Jim Gavin would not be ruthless enough to do ??

    We should be comparing ourselves to them as we are at that level

  26. “Chris Kelly, id say posters are referring to championship panel. Those injured players will be back for Galway in May, cant see as many as 5 new players introduced to that panel.”

    Fully agree

    There’ll always be an extended panel in place for the league but by the Galway game (barring a spate of injuries) it’ll be down to 30-odd.

  27. To be fair Mayoman, Jim Gavin has much more of a pick to choose from. It’s not at all comparable

    I don’t completely disagree with your sentiments though, but if we’re honest a lot of the ‘touch and go’ players are still probably better (and have more Championship experience) than the alternatives.

    A time will come for re-building but it’s not yet

  28. The common thread from reports is that Paddy OMalley, Ger Mc, Neil Douglas and Ciaran Treacy played well. With good cameos from Peter Naughton and Adam Gallagher.
    Very positive overall if even two of those come through to the 26.

  29. Looks like the Rossies are doing their usual flying outta of the blocks, “we’re going to win the all ireland” early season form.
    Nothing won in Jan lads.

  30. Will be interesting to see how much heat Paddy O’Malley & Rory Byrne can put on Clarkie and Hennelly during the league and how all four adjust to new kickout rule??
    I would love to see Douglas and Gallagher get a run without injuries during the league to show what they can do and will watch the likes of Naughton and Fionn McDonagh with interest!!
    I think my own clubman Ciaran Treacy will do well but it might be a year down the line before he has a real impact on the current squad!!

  31. @catcol
    Glad to hear positive comments on Adam Gallagher.
    He as impressed me as potential ‘pull a game out of the fire’ type player, that may still be down the road. Just good to hear he is an impact sub for the moment and I do expect he will star against Galway.

  32. @David Horan,
    That is not my experience. Of this blog. WJ has his rules which are fair, but constructive criticism is always aired. That’s my experience.

  33. House of pride Stretton is full of running and no nonsence type of player. He wore number 5 and got on a lot of ball. He reminded me of Boyler in the Davitts man former years. In fact I was surprised to see so many Claremorris defenders on this team but they all surprised me.

  34. Catcol Many thanks for your comment. The Ref is a Galway man (Hehir) and the stuff he allowed you can see in any Galway club match any Sunday in Galway. I believe they have a greater tolerance for the rough stuff

  35. David Horan, thanks, was having a mare of a day at work and your idiotic rant has given me a much needed laugh. Sure I suppose all those draws last year were fixed as well. If so then great as it was a great year for football.

  36. Crete boom, I agree re Douglas and Gallagher, about time Douglas got a decent run of games and Gallagher I think is needed as a back up free taker.

  37. Should have mentioned O’Malley in goal also. Kicks out very impressive and he looked generally assured, made one great save, though he’ll be disappointed with the Leitrim goal when the game was won.

    Didn’t notice a Stretton so much- I had to work hard to track guys, especially when I hadn’t really seen most of them before, whereas I know the regulars like the back of my hand.

  38. I do think Treacy is well worth another look. There is something about him I like. He did well last night but the conditions didn’t suit him but I have seen him a couple of times on dry days and he is really dangerous.
    Douglas was very good but he might be a bit on the light side for tough hard IC defenders. I was fairly impressed with Fionn McDonagh but he needs to be put on bull nuts or something for a few months to strengthen up.

  39. PJ Mc, Shane Hehir is actually a Clare man. I believe he is attached to the Beagh club (hurling) in South Galway. In fact the opposite is thought him in Galway in that he is to pedantic at times and doesn’t let the game flow.

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