Aidan O’Shea our MOTM from last night’s game


The result in MacHale Park last night may not have been all that close – I’ve seen it described in parts of media today as a four-point hiding – but the Man of the Match poll on our top performer sure was. The closest such vote we’ve ever had on the site, in fact, with four players in the hunt for the award this time round.

In the end, Aidan O’Shea – who was also voted MOTM here on the blog for his performance against Galway last time out – edged it with 15% of the vote. Hot on his heels came Lee Keegan with 14%, while both Colm Boyle and Kevin McLoughlin each attracted 12% support in the poll.

I usually adorn a post of this kind with a photo of the player who wins the poll in action in the game in question but, on this occasion, I can’t locate one. Because of this, combined a nod to the closeness in the voting, I’ve gone with the above photo of the team instead.

Here’s how the leaderboard in this week’s MOTM poll went. Well done to Aidan and everyone else who polled prominently in it.


48 thoughts on “Aidan O’Shea our MOTM from last night’s game

  1. Well done to AO’S but IMO he needs to do more against Dublin in these matches. We need him to be at his very best to beat this team and I am afraid that in the big matches we have played against Dublin , he does not bring his ‘A’ game IMO.

  2. Indeed he did . He was our best player all last year imo .However , much of what he does goes unnoticed or under appreciated . Plus he is targeted beyond belief by Dublin. He is one helluva man .

  3. AoS wins a lot of ball, holds on to it draws frees and is an excellent kick passer with his left foot. For a no.11 he scores little, mainly because he doesn’t shoot when chance is there.

  4. Well done to Aiden. Definitely was Mayos best and Keegan wasn’t far behind him.
    So Gibbons is gone? Wow. That would be an interesting move if we are short a good and mobile fielder in a tight game. Is it for sure that he’s gone?

  5. There was very little difference between the top four cotenders for MOM on Sat night. I gave my vote to Leeroy on the basis of his coming back from injury with no preliminsry outing or gametime of any sort.

    But where has the famous [or infamous] black card gone? There were several instances on Sat but the ref opted for a yellow card each time. One of the most glaring was when AOS was dragged down when going through in the first half. Also Dublin players several times ran accross Mayo players attempting to make a run, in clear breach of the black card rule. There was an early instance of Kilkenny clashing with Keegan and the linesman drawing the refs attention to it but the ref choose to totally ignore it. Keegan, at this stage, had his jersey half torn off him. I heard new President John Horan this afternoon bleating about our “amateur status” and managers being paid as if it is going to bring down the Association overnight. What is much more likely to bring down the association is incompetent refereeing and blatant favouritism by referees such as we saw on Saturday night.

  6. Andy D, I agree with some of what you have to say, and disagree with some as well… A new President of the GAA John Horan… Well we have to give him a chance, and John Horan is unlikely to do as much meaningless bleating as the previous incumbent… Still he’s a Dublin man, Will he try and redress the artificial and unsustainable advantages of the Dublin team, both financial and sporting at the expense of the the rest of the country? …. I won’t hold my breath…. As far as the reffing goes Gaelic-football is a very difficult game to Ref, but all in all I taught Paddy Neilan done a good job on Saturday night…. He didn’t take the easy way out, he gave Michael Fitzsimmons a deserved straight Red for a very dangerous tackle on AOS , when the game was as good as over…. I did notice some very judicial fouling by the Dublin team, as Mayo tried to break out of defence, one or two possible black card’s possibly… But fair play to Andy, he risked a black card for the team when he pulled down a Dublin defender trying to break quickly when another Mayo attack broke down…. A thing that I did notice in the Allianz League Sunday programme, was some well choreographed, crossing in front of Mayo player’s to prevent a Mayo player putting pressure on the Dublin ball carrier…. Don’t know if it constitutes a Black Card offence, seeing as Mayo were not in possession of the ball.. Blocking a player attempting to run is a Black Card offence, but I can’t recall any player being shown one for this particular offence, while their team is in possession of the ball… Joe McQuillian and Maurice Deggan, if the new President could get rid of those, he would have made a good start to his presidency.

  7. Another thing, with the honorable exception of Sligo and Leitrim in the FBD,… You have to go back to the draw with Kerry in last year’s championship that the opposition did NOT have at least one player sent to the line… Kerry replay 1Kieran Donaghy, Dublin 1 John Small, Galway FBD 3 sent off, Ross FBD 1.Monaghan 3,..Kerry 3, Galway 1 & Dublin 1, many for repeated fouls or downright thuggery commmitted on AOS, going back to Kieran Donaghy, to Michael Fitzsimmons on Saturday…. I wonder the the national media don’t think that it is worthy of comment!

  8. Willie Joe, Just saying that for us to beat Dublin we need AOS at his very very best and that his him doing it for 70 minutes (not 30, 40 but 70 mins) and plundering at least 1 big score when we need it. He can do it, I have no doubt but he has to do it for 70 mins. I also think that he has to vary his game more against them and that could be down to management coming up with a game plan to facilitate this.

  9. I’m not sure Aidan is that kind of player, Paddy in Dublin. He rarely scores nowadays and if he gives it everything for 60 (which he certainly did last September) he doesn’t have the gas for 70. That’s just the way it is. I’d agree that varying his game would help and agree too that it’s up to management to come up with a plan for this.

  10. It would be wiser to be hoping that Aidan brings his ‘A game’ against Galway on May 13th. We’re certainly in no shape to be getting ahead of ourselves based on what we’ve seen over this past number of weeks.

  11. Well done Aiden.

    Impressed with Galway yesterday. Very physical, very fit and developing some real leaders.
    Game plan it set, without the ball – flood the defense and then counter attack with real pace from Walsh, Brannigan etc. – needs huge fitness levels but they are young and are getting better.

    For us in May, I think we need to mix it up to have any chance – Higgins, Diarmuid and McLoughlin making runs to break the defense and if not score and least win frees. (as Kerry did yesterday) and combine that with direct ball to FF – I think AOS is the only option to trouble O’Ceallaigh, not positioned at FF full time but in and out from MF

    I am sure Rochie will have a plan but even with a full team and improved match fitness it’s going to be a big ask.

  12. I actually think Aidan will have the fitness for 70 mins this year. In the Monaghan game it was Aidan was helping probe late on. He was still moving in the Dublin game the other night getting into injury time.
    The Aidan of other years wouldn’t have the legs late on. He looks visibly fitter this year and isn’t coming off of an injury. Unfortunately most years he has been starting the year coming off of injury.
    Bigger men are just much harder to have fit. Smaller greyhound type guys just naturally have the 70 mins in the bag even off disrupted training. With Aidan he needs an injury free run in, which he has had.

  13. I don’t get all the negativity! Leaving MacHale Park on Saturday night I was relatively happy with what I saw, taking everything in to account regarding the players available to us, our lack of collective training and the obvious advantages Dublin have over us regarding travel, recovery times and nutritional supplies.
    Looking at both starting 15’s it was clear theirs contained more championship experienced players and also more players that will feature later this Summer. The argument that Dublin have unearthed more players pushing for places is a nonsense. They have 5 times the playing population over Mayo so it stands to reason that they should have 5 times more players pushing for places. In fact, if they didn’t, it would represent a major failing on Dublins coaching and club structures. For Mayo, I believe that Loftus, Coen and O’Donoghue will push hard for starting berths come the Summer. Even if 2 of those 3 win a geansai that represents 13% of the team, not bad for a county that has no players “putting up their hands”. Don’t believe the lazy narrative spun out by the same old journos. We will be OK.
    We contested very well in general and in midfield in particular. I am not overly concerned about the sloppy free-taking or Adams missed goal chance as that sharpness and accuracy will come to us once our physical conditioning improves. AOS was very impressive and it was notable that he retained the ball just long enough to draw 2 or 3 Dubs towards him, but crucially, never brought the ball into contact, he always passed it on to the free player. That alone signals a major change in Aidan and the teams use of him. We know he will be targeted so therefore let him be targeted. Let Aidan draw the players towards him but release the ball before contact to a free colleague. It may have only been a small thing but, for me, it showed a shrewdness tactically from management that if Aidan is going to be targeted (and he is undeniably, that has been confirmed from inside Croker by the refereeing authorities) let us use that to our advantage. It worked, only in small doses, but it worked enough to be useful later in the year.

  14. As we’ve seen over the last 5 years with Derry, Cork and Roscommon,, the surest way to a long and successful championship is to be the fittest team in the country in February. I wish Galway continued success in the league and will be cheering them on in the final.

  15. You would expect when a forward gets man of the match – he would have a few scores after his name. Fair play to Aidan for getting the accolade but for me as a centre forward – he needs to be putting the ball over the bar a hell of a lot more. We tend to look at these matches through very “green and red tinted spectacles” here – -excuse after excuse- – if we look back – – we were extremely lucky against Monaghan, if they had McManus on board they would have beaten us handy. In Game 2 a young Kerry team bullied us around the park and we were clueless what to do with our two extra men, Game 3 no match for a strong Galway team that has made steady incremental progress under Kevin Walsh over the last couple of years – a match where we also saw sides of Cillian that are getting all too familiar now – poor freetaking, narkiness, unnecessary elbow actions etc, Game 4 Destroyed by an early goal, brutal free-taking,slowness of bench to respond, Robbie’s blunder for second goal, Dublin won easy without ever having to exert themselves. So I don’t see many positives from those matches. When you consider that we have had the majority of our All Ireland Final six forwards in action in those games – – their rate of scoring from play has been utterly diabolical – – far too much lateral movement, no direct penetration giving defences loads of time to set up against us – puke football at times to watch. Yes of course we will improve when Vaughan, Barrett and Durcan come back and possibly Higgins if he is still interested in coming back. Unlikely now that we will see Harry until the Connaught final – -that is if we get there. I don’t think I’m being overly negative – -just pragmatic on the basis of the evidence so far. O’Donoghue looks an addition although he was on an unmarkable man on Saturday. Would like to see Gallagher use his physical strength to hold on to the ball and drive through the middle – – he coughed up too much easy ball against Dublin. Jury still out on whether he will make the grade or not. Hopefully Hanley will bring something to the party. Kildare game is a must win game for us, cant see us beating Donegal so we may need something from the Tyrone game too. For me – we were the second best team in the country but on current form we have slipped to fourth behind Galway and Kerry …………. but that is not to say we won’t beat the tribesmen in May – – – – we have a lot of work to do – – it starts in Newbridge next Sunday. Onwards and Upwards.

  16. Regarding Saturdays evening performance …..
    One objective of the league to give fringe/young plsyers game time.
    From Saturday ….
    David Drake not sure what he brings other than being quick. Is not near good enough to get near mayo half back line. Line out in the half forward line on Saturday. … he does not carry a scoring threat & runs up blind alleys.
    I would hope boland/loftus/Gallagher see more game time overror the next three games.
    Caffrekey was poor again.
    I thing the experience will do o’donoughue the power of good. After getting skinned a few times in the first half, continued being brave and tidy for the remainder of the game.
    Crowes played behind his man all day long, did nothing wrong but was very cautious attacking the ball.
    Hall …. didn’t see an awful lot of ball and offered very little presence on the pitch.
    Adam Gallagher showed plenty on Saturday evening. Grafted, won some dirty ball and generally looked comfortable. Granted performance dropped in the 2nd half following goal miss. But looks good enough for this level.
    Would like to see Akram get game time over the next three games.

    I can’t understand people bemoaning gibbons not being involved on Saturday. Had three full games to date & I am afraid to say he does not look up to being up to playing at the level of a county midfielder.

  17. In reply to Liam Dublin were one of the fittest teams in February for the last 5 years
    it did nt seem to do their champoinship any harm also Mayo reached the league final in 2012
    and as i rember yer championship did nt go too bad the thing about this Galway is they got
    a lot of very good forwards something that Mayo lack and their back line is really improving I was in Tralee yesterday
    I was really impressed by Galway they got real pace in the forward line I think they will be
    a real threat to Dublin in near future as for Kerry I think our defence a bit suspect

  18. What Drake lacks is both the skills and composure to use the ball once we has it. With his physical attributes you would think they would just use him as a big physical marker on the likes of Mannion or Dean Rock.
    He is there since 2015 and is now 28. I don’t see him improving in passing or decision making at this stage.

  19. In fairness to Aidan, he was wearing 11 but playing midfield the last night. He was tracking MDMA with Coen on Fenton.

    It was a hard game to pick a MOTM. Nobody stood out consistently.

  20. I’m really not sure what more Aidan O’Shea can do for Mayo. If he tagged on a few points but we lose midfield, he’s expected to get out there and compete for ball. If he does that but we’re struggling to hold the middle, he needs to get back and shore up at CB. If the opposition are going direct to a target man, well then we wheel him back there too.

    I’m over outside commentators spouting this drivel, but we should be moving beyond this by now. Aidan is a super player but can’t be expected to carry us over the line single handedly – this is exactly the shite that Brolly is peddling.

    He’s been playing well for us for some time now. Showing real leadership and taking a lot of hits on behalf of his teammates. If anything it’s time some of the others start replicating his effort and give him more of a dig out.

  21. Well done Aidan but don’t think management getting best out of him. Not a half forward . Either needs to be in midfield or full forward. Personally would like to see him rotated between the two positions depending on how the game is going. Half forward makes him too far from goal to do damage and can’t dominate the game like he can in midfield

  22. I see Aidan is fast becoming the new Liam McHale and Ciaran Mc Donald two lads that played their hearts out for Mayo and gave everything for the cause but it was never enough for some people. Aidan is one of our best footballers ever, he gives 100% always sometimes people expect him to do the impossible. He is a great role model for kids the way he holds his temperament

  23. Paddy in Dublin – what about the rest of the team? Why single out Aidan? He’d be one of the last players on the panel who need to up their game if you ask me, he’s consistently performed when others haven’t.

  24. There is one thing Aidan could do to improve his scoring rate. He has a powerful hand pass and I have seen him drive hand passes 30m and more. Simply drive at goal and fist it over the bar. Often times it’s easier in tight quarters than trying to kick it especially for a big man. Donaghy often did this.

  25. @DM,
    I’ll have no problem coming on here and holding my hands up if I’m wrong about Galway. Your comparison with Dublin is farcical to be honest. Galway have used 17 players in the league campaign as opposed to Dublins huge panel and that allows them to remain at a high level of fitness, your not flogging the same lads week in, week out. I don’t disagree with your statement that they have talented forwards and indeed I would take your hand off for Comer, the point remains that team after team have demonstrated that coming straight up to division 1 and winning all around you has proven disastrous for their summer ambitions.

  26. @diehard Not a bad idea.
    Our coaching ticket gets lauded for the tackling and having us competitive etc.
    But one thing that I have noticed badly missing from our game is any semblance of pre-planned moves. Simple little things like Aidan is coming on the burst and he is teed up. Our play is continuously individual to individual.
    A different sport but if you seen Jonny Sextons pass to Stockdale for his try, Stockdale was already on the burst and Sexton put it ahead of him, not to him. We are continuously passing to static isolated indivduals.
    If you see the shooting charts for our match against Dublin. The majority of Dublins shots were from inside our 21. The majority of our shots were from outside their 21. That is the end result when your forward line is having to perform heroics to score difficult scores rather than having being coached into setting up simple opportunities.
    We still (and it is pretty shocking) do not score that type of score of a player coming on the loop across the receiver. Simple handpass and the receiver shoots straight away before the defence can get to him. It is the kind of score Evan Regan, Kevin McLoughlin or Diarmuid would be adept at getting being two footed. It is a fairly common type of score with the top teams but rarely with us.

  27. Voted for Aiden too for Man of the Match. Dont know how he copes with all the physical and mental pressure in every game and the endless targetting of him. And opposition trying to get him on a yellow card early in the games Those constant hits/blows must take their toll on his body. We lucky to have him.

  28. @Liam
    We have actually used 24 players so far in this year’s league, 6 of whom have never played senior championship.

  29. Galwaymman2, When you consider Galway’s last championship performance [via Kerry] 6 is way short of the minimum number of players who havve never played championship Walsh should be considering. Maybbe he’ll try a few more in the remaining games. Another point to consider: remember how Roscommon cut a dash two years ago having been promoted. They have not been doing too well siince either.

  30. Andy and others, i have noticed here and other media outlets how many people are now comparing Galway to Roscommon, Derry etc from a few years back because they have won 4 out of 4. K Walsh came out yesterday saying that for this Galway team to progress they needed to stay in Div 1 this year and build on it so he did agree that our fitness levels are probably ahead of some teams, however comparing us to Roscommon is wrong as i and a few others would say that this Galway squad are a better outfit than that Roscommon team at the time. We have used 24 players with still more to come back, all these games are building confidence and great expierience, we are improving, yesterday we beat Kerry for the first time at senior level in 15 years! Now if Pundits like David Brady etc and most Mayo folk think that Galway will fold up in May then i believe they may be in for a rude awakening, Galway could go into that after 8 league 1 games and on a massive roll. Mayo could go into in on a poor run of form maybe even relegated!

  31. Totally agree Tuamstar, genuinely believe ye dont know how good ye are yourselves yet. The lightning pace of some of your forwards is magnificent , Brannigan yesterday looked like he could compete in a sprint for the olympics. It will be a killer to see ye win an All Ireland anytime soon after how close we got with this team but I.believe it will happen unfortunately. 2020 ish is my guess.Be nice to see Sam across the shannon though .

  32. I have to agree with a lot there unfortunately Tuamstar. Galway look really strong and confidence is going to be high come May. Mayo’s application to the league has been very poor, if they we are not interested in league 1 status then should get out of it. This campaign has is giving us nothing, no evidence of new players coming through, confidence cannot stem from defeats and there is little evidence that things will be ok for remaining games.
    Putting ourselves under immense pressure to think we can suddenly step up and pull out a top performance in May against Galway without doing the necessary preparation

  33. Sean
    You seem to be forgetting the monster in the room. Let’s see how Galway look against them
    In the league.

  34. Have to say i was angry with Stephen on Saturday eve and in a lot of Mayo’s games. Its simple put the young lads in the team, Adam Gallagher, Conor Loftus etc and leave them in there for the full game. Why leave Andy Moran on the pitch for a full game at 35 years of age when you know what he can do. Its games and expierience Conor and Adam Gallagher need.i felt sorry for Adam been taken off..

  35. I don’t see Galway falling apart after the league either. They may not be as good as the league table suggests but they are improving. Unlike Roscommon, they’ve a serious physical edge now typified by Comer and Sean Andy. I’ve also noticed Kerrin, Heaney, Brannigan and Shane Walsh have seriously bulked up. Crucially though, they haven’t lost any of their speed. We’ve a big gap to close before May 13th in fitness and especially form.

  36. Dave its all new to these Galway lads, they could go out and lose by 20 points to Dublin, we havent played Dublin in a competitive fixture since 2011 and not in Champ since that fateful day in 1983. But imagine the expierience these lads will get from playing the Dubs in Croker. It brought out the best in Mayo for the last few years albeit losing maybe it might help Galway in the long run..

  37. A lot of Galway heads on here dismissing Roscommon, stating they are way ahead of the Rossies. They have short memories, who hammered who in Salthill last Summer? Galway were going to beat us in the All Ireland semi-final 2 years ago but they forgot about getting over Tipperary, who rripped them a new one.
    We’ll wait and see what happens in Castlebar in May 13th. We’ll see who is chirpping then.

  38. Nobody is chirping Pebble, fair play to them last year but i was talking about them in context to the year they played in Div 1 under John Evans. You’re very defensive , my argument is that we think and hope that Galway have come on since those defeats but of course Mayo will be favourites on May 13th. Sure ye have in the bag already..

  39. Read my posts Tuamstar, current and historic. Nowhere did I say we have anything in the bag (how could I when we’ve lost the last 4) nor am I defensive. I like to think I am balanced in arguing my point of view so don’t prejudge me, especially to strengthen your own argument.
    Undoubtedly Galway have improved, 4 wins out of 4 in Div 1 confirms that. However, the frost is still on the ground and we’ll see what happens in May.

  40. John Evans led Roscommon to Div one but he never got to manager Roscommon in Div one due to poor championship results in 2015. League is the league lads, Derry reached the Div 1 final in 2014 beating Mayo in the semi final along the way…

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