Looking at the Lilywhites

Image: @MayoGAA

Following the snow-enforced hiatus, the National Football League resumes once more this coming weekend. Ourselves and Kildare are keeping each other company at the foot of the Division One table at the minute and we’re set to get up close and personal on Sunday too when we meet at Newbridge in what is for both counties a must-win game. Throw-in is 2pm at St Conleth’s Park and the ref is Monaghan’s Martin McNally.

Kildare have spent the last few years out of the top division in the League. They dropped out of Division One in 2014 and then finished bottom of Division Two the year after. They bounced back up to the second tier in 2016 and were promoted again last year.

This means it’s been a while since we’ve crossed paths with each other. Our last two meetings – in 2013 and 2014 – ended in wins for them. They beat us by 1-11 to 0-13 at MacHale Park in a Round 5 encounter in March 2013, at which time we looked destined for relegation but then ended up making the play-offs. The following year they got the better of us by a point in an opening round 2-19 to 2-18 shootout at Newbridge on a day when Aidan O’Shea became the first Mayo player to receive a black card in a competitive fixture. We made the play-offs that year too and Kildare finished up in the bottom two.

Their wanderings in the lower depths of the League since then mean that Sunday’s meeting with them is our first League clash in over four years. Our most recent meeting with the Lilies was, though, in the championship two years ago when we came face-to-face in the qualifiers.

The back door was still a bit of a novelty to us then and on a glorious mid-July evening – I’d cycled the Westportif in idyllic conditions earlier that day – we blew them to bits at MacHale Park, winning that Round 3B encounter by 2-17 to 0-14. Diarmuid O’Connor, who bagged 1-5, was our standout player in that game but the Ballintubber man’s form has never really reached those heights since, thanks in no small part to the injury he suffered arising from the vicious kick he got in the leg from Emmet Bolton after scoring the goal.

Photo: MichaelMaye.com

So what have Cian O’Neill’s charges been up to over the last while? Let’s start with last year’s NFL and have a quick gallop through their matches since then.

They had a positive Division Two campaign last year, winning five of their seven matches and getting promoted along with Galway. Their mood would have been good from the start when they thumped Meath by ten points at Navan in the opening round and then they had a real morale-boosting four-point win over Cork at Newbridge in Round 2.

Celtic Park can often be a tricky spot to get a result in (maybe not nowadays but it wasn’t always thus) and Kildare came a cropper there in the third round last year, losing to Derry by a single point. Back on home turf in Round 4, however, they crushed Fermanagh by four clear goals.

Two more wins followed. The first was a five-point victory away to Down in Newry, while the second was a one-point win over Clare at St Conleth’s Park.

By the time they met Galway at Pearse Stadium in the final round, both counties were already assured of promotion. Galway put an end to the Lilies’ winning run that day, coming out on top by 0-14 to 0-13, and a week later at Croke Park they beat them again, this time in the Division Two decider where the final score was 0-18 to 0-16.

Leinster saw them on the opposite side of the draw to Dublin so it was fairly predictable – let’s face it, the ‘race’ for the Delaney Cup is anything but unpredictable – that they’d end up in the decider against the 1/500 favourites. They did, and equally predictably, they got a paddling once they reached the decider.

Before that they beat Laois by 1-21 to 1-7 in the quarters and went on to swat Meath aside by 2-16 to 0-13 in the semis. Then, however, it was their turn to be dealt with unceremoniously, Dublin cantering to a 2-23 to 1-17 win in the final.

Kildare know their way round the qualifiers but last summer’s back door run proved a short and unhappy one for them. They were paired with Armagh in Round 4 and the Orchard County came away from that Croke Park meeting with a 1-17 to 0-17 victory.

The Short Grass County’s run of losses has continued this year. They needed another meeting with Dublin like the proverbial hole in the head but were paired with them for their opening round match in this year’s League. In fairness, they gave a good account of themselves in that match in late January, sticking two goals past the Dubs but still losing by 2-17 to 2-10.

Since then, they’ve had no luck at all. Three more defeats, two of them by just a single point – losing by 1-10 to 0-12 in Newbridge to Monaghan, and by 1-16 to 0-18, also at St Conleth’s Park, to Tyrone. Despite a super start against Donegal in Ballyshannon last time out they came up agonisingly short once again, losing that one by 1-15 to 3-7.

So, although the Lilies are rooted to the bottom of the table and are everyone’s banker for relegation, the last thing we can afford to do is underestimate them. The manner in which we lost our last three games compares badly to the battling way they went under each time.

Set against that you could argue that all of our matches – one of which we managed to pinch a win in – have been against the top teams in the Division, while they’ve played teams that are, aside from Dublin, in the bottom half. No, I’m not sure that line of argument flies at all myself either.

What’s beyond doubt is that a fourth loss on the trot for us will push us into an almost irretrievable situation, not least in light of the head-to-head rule. The flip-side is that a win for us on Sunday will leave us well poised, once again, to avoid the drop. It really is a must-win game for us.

It’s a game the bookies – Lord love them, we haven’t lived up to our billing in the money markets too well this year – fancy us (just about) to win, pricing us at 4/6.  As ever, though, we won’t leave the last word to the lads who call the odds: who do you think will win this crunch match on Sunday?

How will we do against Kildare?

  • Win (73%, 261 Votes)
  • Lose (21%, 75 Votes)
  • Draw (7%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 360

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108 thoughts on “Looking at the Lilywhites

  1. Hi WJ , I’m not sure Galway were already promoted before the Kildare match. Think they needed a draw . My workmates, some sideline warriors from Meath, still moan about Kildare playing an under strength team, as it denied them promotion. My heart bleeds for them.

  2. Irretrievable situation is probably just about the right way to describe our position WJ if we were to go down in this one. Does this match carry a bit of pressure with it ?. I think it does. Hopefully we are 4 or more up with full time approaching. I’ve gone for a Mayo win because we have to win this one, no ifs ands or buts. It’s probably now at this early stage of the season by far our biggest game to date this year.

    Again a great read on kildares recent ramblings. Always nice to read these in prep for the hours to go till throw in.

  3. – Fair play to the ground staff in St. Conleth’s park if they can get that pitch ready for Sunday. You would need to be in Kildare to really appreciate the volume of snow that fell and the amount that is still around.
    – Time for Mayo to get serious, this is a must win game. Parsons needed as well as SOS at midfield. Loftus needs to be given at least 60 mins and he must make it count. O’ Donohue and Gallager should also start.
    – Kildare could still be missing two of their danger men namely Feely and Neil Flynn. Daniel Flynn is their main threat on the day but he has a tendency not to pass to a better placed colleague.
    – Kildare are no longer pushover material, If Mayo go in with a lazy attitude then we are in trouble.
    – We should win because we absolutely have to.

  4. Just checked it again now, Nephin, and you’re correct – thanks for the correction. Had Kildare won that Round 7 game, Meath would have finished level with Galway on nine points but would have finished second by virtue of the head-to-head. Mind you, Galway went on to beat Kildare’s full team the following Sunday in the Division Two decider so I think they can claim to have been worthy divisional winners! Meath would have been some whipping boys in Division One this year had they gone up instead of them.

  5. I think we’ll win on Sunday simply because we have to. Over the years we’ve seen this team pull the fat from the fire when needed. 2018’s journey starts in earnest on Sunday at 2pm.

  6. I remember the Meath lads talking about a big long knife they were sharpening for the final rematch with the Lilly Whites last spring. Reached all the way from Navan to Carbury were the rumors at the time. O’Neill did not let it happen, I mean them blood stained white jerseys, woff woff.

  7. Best luck to our team Sunday. Also best wishes to Westports Rice College tomorrow in Connaught Final. James Horan will have lots to work with in coming years. And wishing Westport GAA a great night tomorrow night with their ‘Oscars’fundraising. Yet again I believe Lee is going to be the star!!!!

  8. How I would go on Sunday, put whatever number ye like on each but positionally, Id go with this:

    1. David Clarke
    2. Eoin O’Donoghue
    3. Lee Keegan
    4. Caolan Crowe
    5. Colm Boyle
    6. Stephen Coen
    7. Paddy Durcan
    8.Tom Parsons
    9. Seamus O Shea
    10. Kevin McLoughlin
    11. Aidan O Shea
    12.Diarmuid O’Connor
    13.Jason Doherty
    14.Andy Moran
    15. Cillian O’Connor

    Back to basics Sunday. Concede as little as possible, build from the back, Keegan will tighten things up in what has been a fragile line for us over the course of this campaign. We all know what he offers rampaging up the field but the way he marshalled Ciaran Kilkenny 2 weeks ago (he was half fit!) was one of few positives on the night. Hes just a top class athlete and will bring a bit of confidence to the whole team with him back there. (Quivlehan/Cavanagh esqe from 2016) The other two lads back there will not come up against inside forwards the quality of Dublin either so they’ll be fine!

    The middle third littered with experience and although some on the way back from injury and time on the sidelines, we start strong I say, and they are experienced enough to nurse themselves through the game, always doing enough without really doing too much is the way I see us going around the middle! Typical us which suits me fine in a game like this.

    The front 6, is our championship front 6. Simple as.

    Regards those who may not quite see out the game, (SOS/Parsons), Aidan can slot into the middle to see out the game, likes of Gallagher, Loftus, Nally are the replacements I’d be considering and instilling trust in.

    My two cents anyway.

  9. Clubman 2016 I was looking at your team. Certainly is back to basics. I don’t think aiden has the engine to see out a game at midfield. I’m not a fan of curtailing keegan as man marker as he offers to much going forward. I’d prefer to see Loftus in the half forward line. Especially if cillian head is not screwed on.

  10. Really looking forward to Sunday . Nearly championship type excitement as in must win and a few lads returning like Tom and Seamie .Will be surprised if Seamie starts so could see Aiden and Tom midfield and Seamie coming on . On a separate note good piece on development squads on independent. ie .

  11. Louise Heneghan if you are still interested in the 2 tickets for Sundays match let me know. They are available.Will you be coming through Roccommon on Sunday.

  12. Ger Bohan. Do you know something? I find it hard to see how he could make the panel having been away from the game for so long. As regards who should or should not be playing the only one candidate I see is Loftus. I am sure the management know what they are doing.

  13. Anyone know if there’s a Lily whites preview mayo news football podcast this week, or is it just I can’t find it?

  14. On present form in this league campaign so far there is not a lot in this one . Was in croker for kildare v Dublin game , a game where Dublin upped the gears in the first period of the second half and just blew them out of the water . First half though I thought kildare looked decent at times and as has been mentioned the Flynn lad poses a real threat to our weakness .

    Saying that , we are all aware how these bucks can really put in a performance when needed . Prediction would just be a guess , I really wouldnt touch this game if I were to do a GAA accumulator for the weekend.

  15. I doubt we’ll see Cian Hanley Sunday wouldnt he have had to play for his club first?. Anyway whoever is taking the frees I hope they keep the ball on the ground and steer it over with accuracy

  16. I dont get this club thing ye are all going on about for Hanley to qualify for county, are ye sure you’re not gettin this all mixed up with the transfer of a county ala seanie johnstone. Sure hanley is from Ballaghadereen Co.Mayo .

  17. Maybe I’m wrong but I think Gavin Duffy had to to register and play with a club before he could be eligible to play for Mayo even tho I don’t think he actually played after all that

  18. If Cian is doing it in training then bring him on I say. We need to start diluting the age profile of our match day 26 quickly with some younger quality footballers.

  19. I am hoping Adam Gallagher starts at centre half forward and Aidan o Shea at midfield. Coen worth a try at full back, continue with Eoin O Donnague. Treacy hopefully in subs a given game time….

  20. I think Hanley will need to play a dozen or so games, before he’d be anyway match sharp. He’s a long time away from the round ball. Tommy Walsh went to Oz as one of the top U-20’s in thd Country, came back then and has flopped and never recovered his old form. Cian will need time to re-adjust, and if it goes well could make a massive impact in the summer.

  21. An amazing aspect of some Mayo supporters on this site is how they put so much faith in unproven talent like Cian Hanley. Cian has been out of Gaelic football for over three years now aand on top of that the only thing he has proven, unfortunately, is that he seems to be very injury prone. He was injured in two All Ireland mnor semifinals and has had to quit Australian Rules due to injuries as well.
    Would it not be massive vote of no confidence in his players if Stephen Rochford were to introduce Hanley into his squad immediately on his return from Australia? Has he actually returned yet?Give the lad a channce to find his feet back in Ireland first. There were others on those ’13 & ’14 minor teams who appeared to have oodles of talent but who have not yet hit the target of a panel place.

  22. He wasnt back a day and he was in mchale park watching them train. Ffs of course theres intentions.

  23. Andy D I think some posters are on a wind up re Hanley. Same posters would be queuing up to slate the lad if he ever made the Mayo team , which I have my doubts about. I think Boland or perhaps Gallagher may make an appearance. they have proven ability and are closer to the starting group.

  24. Neil Flynn not named on the Kildare starting team he’s the best scoring and most talented forward they have.

  25. As regards Cian Hanley readjusting to Gaelic remember it took the Aussies just one week to get the hang of it in last November and went and beat the best we had on offer. If Cian is interested, injury free and is good enough he will adapt real fast. I saw him with some of the panel (who weren’t involved ) at the Dublin match so I assume he is training with the lads. But I’d like to know for definite.
    I look forward to seeing him play a bit. He might add something different to us.

  26. Sorry for back tracking. I asked the question in an earlier trend about Alan Freeman status in the panel to which (wide ball) informed me he is released. With the huge range of opinions on this forum, mayo and throughout the country, everyone still will agree Mayo are only 1trick short of an All Ireland. The only proven forward that will not start but available to mayo is Alan Freeman. I’m not saying he is the final piece in a jigsaw but he did fit the space before and no reason he wouldn’t again. I’m not saying anyone is wrong but I don’t get it.

  27. Freeman had Lot’s of chances to perform under various managers . In my opinion , not the answer now either .

  28. Cian Hanley missed Ballaghadereen’s game 2 weeks ago through injury and presumably that’s why he didn’t start training straight away with the county. Maybe it’s just a minor thing but worrying all the same considering his history.

    I’m sure Rochford will play him if he’s doing well in training but it may well be next year before we see him.

  29. Watching Charlestown v Aghamore tonight and its hard to understand how Jack Reilly isn’t getting a chance with Mayo, he scored 6 points from play and took scores of either foot, a real classy player deserves a chance soon.
    Alan Freeman was playing aswell so I take it he is not in the Mayo panel at present.

  30. Freeman played for Aghamore tonight and scored 5/6 points, mainly from frees. Jack Reilly scored 6 points from play off his left and right playing for Charlestown. He’s been putting up these scores playing senior football for his club for 3 years now and no call up to the development squad even.

  31. From what we hear Liam young reilly don’t need much development. Fine prospect. Hope he gets chance soon. We need to be bringing in new guys.

  32. Half the county knows that Jack Reilly, Ciaran Treacy and James Carr are good enough but they don’t seem to be getting a fair chance.
    Brian Reape dropped aswell its baffling!!

  33. Westport2018 – treacy and Carr are injured. Brian Reape wasn’t able to get on Dcu team. I don’t know story with Reilly maybe he was not able to give commitment

  34. There must be good reason for reape dropping. Maybe can’t commit for 1 reason or another. Shame really as our forward line needs potency

  35. Where did you hear Ciaran Treacy was injured and when is he due back?
    Just because Reape didn’t make a Sigerson team doesn’t mean I would write him off he could show up Rochys decision this summer for Moy Davitts in the Senior championship.
    He was top scorer in the Intermediate championship last season and Mayo under 21s best forward.
    I remember Andy Moran in his interview after last years AI mentioned James Carr as the player to watch out for but its a pity hes been out with injury so far this season.
    Jack Reilly is a real baller only player in Mayo I kno who can kick with both feet will be in the Green and Red sooner rather than later.
    Peter Naughton from Knockmore another player for the future just need to bulk up abit.
    We have some great attacking talent coming through they just need a fair chance and need to be included in the Mayo Junior and Development teams this Summer.

  36. Reape and Carr would be eligible for the junior team this summer since they didn’t play senior club championship last year. Reilly, Treacy and Naughton are not eligible.

    What’s the craic with no team announcement tonight?

  37. Fionn McDonagh is another promising forward and was very good during the FBD. Presume he’s still on the panel as I haven’t heard differently. However, like Naughton he has a tall skinny frame and would be thrown around the place at senior intercounty level.

  38. Wonder does playing Junior football for Ardagh hold James Carr back ,would he be better playing with a senior club nearby like Crossmolina or Knockmore.
    Its a pity a North Mayo divisional side isn’t featuring anymore.
    If he were in Kerry now he would be getting Senior club football with a divisional side.

  39. Maybe James Carr doesn’t want to leave his home club. It’s not all about winning county titles.

  40. It amazes me how so many of these great prospects are injured. Is it bad luck or bad management. ?

  41. Any sign of a team being named? With the amount of divisional club games on tomorrow you’d think they’d have the decency to name a team for the supporters who would be in Newbridge but for this.

  42. Reilly just doesn’t have the physicality for Senior intercounty at the minute. Just google the clobbering he took from a Lee Keegan hit in a club game not so long ago.

  43. Spectre – there’s a reason your comments are in moderation and will be staying there too for the foreseeable future. If you want to shit-stir, go somewhere else and do it.

  44. I agree 45, but surely he’s worth bringing into the development squad and putting him on a program to build him up. I’ve a question for you, which do you think is most likely to happen? A young 22 year old who has natural footballing skill putting on 20kgs of muscle or an athletic player in his mid twenties suddenly developing the ability to kick points off both feet from 45 meters plus? We seem to persist with athletic players on the panel who can run up the wing or crab over and back the field all day but cannot kick a score. By the way, not many players in the country would come out the better of a 50/50 clash with Keegan. It’s hardly very fair either to see a player parachuted straight into the squad after a 3 year absence from the game because of what he might do, when you’ve been doing it for the last 3 years. Reilly may not be the messiah, but in a county that is crying out for scoring forwards, how he hasn’t been even afforded a run in the FBD is farsical.

  45. 45 most men if they took the momentum of that hit from Lee Keegan where going down.come have you ever seen him play ??

  46. See the starting 15 for the hurlers has been announced , Keith Higgins isn’t named , would that mean he’s heading to Kildare ??

  47. Never seen reilly play .But just to pick up on a point there you make liam that I can never get my head around , why cant individual GAA players bulk up on their own programme ? We hear this a lot about players, that they need to be on board to get the s&c right , why so? I can understand getting used of the ferocious hits but how come boxers for example can get themselves in serious shape on their own drive . So much information out there on diet , how to go about it etc that everyone has access to. I use boxing as an example as ive seen it with a couple of lads albeit having the right trainer was part of it eventually , they used their own initiative and personal drive to get to a level required fitness and shape wise .

  48. Be a massive addition surely to have Keith Higgins back.

    If paddy power have the front six correct per scoring markets it will be Cillian, Andy, kev mc, Adam gallagher,jason Doc and Diarmuid.

  49. @Liam. 20kgs yer probably getting into a rugby level of bulkup. But your point stands.
    Anything from 5-8kg is a fair bit of extra heft that can make someone competitive.
    Relatively straightforward to put that on in just one year if planned properly.

  50. The hurlers are not playing their best team given that they will almost certainly be playing same opposition in league final therefore not showing all their cards!. They are in final regardless of result tomorrow….whether Keith features for footballers remains to be seen….

  51. Keith has travelled with the hurlers up to Down. He’s just rested ahead of the league hurling final next week. No chance of him being in Newbridge tomorrow.

  52. JP, agree with you, 8-10kg more realistic (was thinking pounds to be honest).

    Seán,
    I agree also regarding players taking personal responsability for their own physical conditioning. The point I’m making is more to do with giving a lad a chance to see what it’s all about. Let him in to the same dressing room with Lee, Cillian, Andy and Aiden. Let him see the effort and committment they put in on the field and in the gym. Let him take to the field in the green and red in January in McHale park in front of 2000 people and get a taste of all that. Then you call him in and say “you see what it takes to be a senior county player, if this is what you want then this is what is required of you, now off you go with your program and we’ll watching your progress for the rest of the year”.
    Instead you have a lad kicking huge scores every week, watching lads he’s better than get called up and given chances and nothing he seems to do gets him noticed by the county management. It’s no wonder he’ll bugger off to the States this summer, could you blame him?

  53. Westport2018
    “Wonder does playing Junior football for Ardagh hold James Carr back ,would he be better playing with a senior club nearby like Crossmolina or Knockmore.”
    No disrespect to you, but it’s attitudes like yours that really annoy me. How would you like it if a few years ago when ye were languishing in intermediate, someone said – “Jesus Lee Keegan needs to transfer to Ballintubber or Castlebar to really help him develop”

    No, I didn’t think you’d like it either.
    Ballina, Crossmolina and knockmore have poached enough players from surrounding clubs over the years so they can politely Lay off on this one.
    And I’m not an Ardagh man BTW.

  54. @Liam, your point about it not being fair to bring in a player into the panel who has been away for 3 year’s… If Cian Hanley can improve Mayo by a fraction of 1% & and consequently improve Mayo’s chance’s of ultimate success ….It wouldn’t be fair to the collective, the Team, the entire Panel, the Management and the supporter’s, to leave him out….. Sport is, Dog eat Dog….. For someone to be included, someone else loses out, it was ever thus….. I have often made the point about certain player’s not getting the same chances as other’s, may seem unfair to me…. But in the final analysis, all management decisions are subjective….. But these decisions are made by those closest to the coal face,… I almost never agree 100% with any selection the management has made ….But I certainly have great belief in our current Manager and Management, we are lucky to have them, and in them we must trust!

  55. @Larry Duff. Poaching is probably the wrong word to what your describing above. It’s a players decision on whether they want to move clubs or not. If a player dosent want to move from club a to.club b then they don’t go. If they do decide they want to move clubs, well that isn’t poaching now, is it.?

  56. Larry,
    Surely the idea of divisional amalgamation is worth trying. I know years ago it was tried with only Junior teams, but it has to be worth another go with Junior and Intermediate teams. It’s the best of both worlds, players stay with their club while still getting to pit themselves against the best in the county at Senior grade. Cathal Horan is another fine player who’s plying his trade at Junior for Kilmovee. Teak tough and gave Johnny Maughan a woeful time of it 2 years ago in the A minor final. Seems to have done Kerry no harm over the years…

  57. Leantime,
    I have great belief in Rochford as well and firmly believe we have the right man at the helm, but it doesn’t mean I cannot question some of his decisions. Can you name another player in the county who has kicked the amount of scores Reilly has in the last 3 years and hasn’t been given a chance with the county team?

  58. Leantimes, I would agree with you fully re Cian, intercounty football is a results based business. Here Stephen has the opportunity of calling on a quality player who has spent the past 4 years as a professional athlete, no manager would turn their nose up at that. Id expect Cian to be on the panel and possibly feature in the last two league matches if fit.

    Sean Burke, of course a player can do their own conditioning in an effort to push their was into contention, a prime example would be Neill Douglas. However it would be wise for them to speak to a professional coach and develop a proper programme. County players are all on individual programmes, AOS is doing totally different training to someone like Paddy Durcan. A young lad similar to Higgins, Durcan, Regan could get poor advice or download a programme online spend a year bulking up like OShea, only to discover they have lost a yard of pace by doing the wrong things. Counties want young players to use thier programmes beacuse they know this will maximise their potential.

    Alot has been said about a host of young players not called into squad, not getting a fair chance etc. The truth is no one knows whats happening behind the scenes or in training. Who to say Rochford hasnt spoken to the likes of Jack Reilly and said he is monitioning his progress etc. Brian Reape was on the panel two years ago and again this year, I think he has been given a fair chance, you have to do it in training, prove yourself, force the manager to pick you. If your not doing it in training your not going to play, same can be said of a host of players.

    Rochford was never going to make huge changes 1- 3 is all that will be brought in. He is not building for the future, he is building for the hear and how, he cant efford to do anything else. Its easy to say players are not given a chance, he should be picking certain players etc, but we simply dont know whats going on within the setup.

  59. Ah was hoping to see Keith bombing up the field in Newbridge tomorrow. At this stage I am worrying are we going to see him at all in 2018….

  60. Liam to answer your question has anyone scored more than Reilly in the last three years and not got a chance from 3 different management for county here are just a few James Shaughnessy Claremorris Jimmy Killeen Garrymore Aidan Walsh Castlebar Fionnan Duffy Crossmolina Barry Regan Ballaghaderreen I’m not saying any of these players should be in but they would all be as regular scorers in senior club in the last 4 years

  61. Keith will be back for summer at least. For sure.
    Barring injuries, of course we are going to see and need Hanley in summer. We have no choice. When you think about it, all we’ve needed over the last 5 years is a forward who can come in when the match is in the balance and get a couple of points. A couple of points, that is all. In Hanley we certainly should have that and more. There’s no doubt 4 years in oz will give him an even extra edge. What we achieved last year was superb given the long road the team have been on and the long road they took through the qualifiers. I think without someone like Hanley – an injection of much needed forward quality, we’ll struggle to even get to the latter stages of championship. Who knows, he might even be the catalyst needed to light a spark under some of our other forwards who have lost their form. There’s a lot of what ifs there but at least there’s possibilities.

  62. Reekview,
    They’re all fine players, Killeen in particular. Duffy was involved in the FBD was he not? The rest bar Walsh are all the free takers for their teams so should be featuring in the scoring, Reilly kicks 90% of his scores from frees. Barry Regan is 34/35, surely bringing in players in their 30’s isn’t a great idea. It’s not a case of one player better than the other, all I’m saying is he’s surely due a chance. Would you not agree?

  63. Conrgrats to Rice College and Good Luck to them in the Hogan Cup series.

    Regards all those outstanding forwards who “should be in the team/panel”, why would a manager who wants success for his team ignore them if he thought that they are good enough? It makes no sense whatever. Are they showing that desire to get to county standard of conditioning or are they content to just float along at club level? Are their other committments of work/study allowing them to devote the time to making it at county level. In my over 50 years following the game I have personnally known more players who “should have been” than who were.Take the example of Shane Nally. For several years we all saw him as a player who should have been in the county panel but wasn’t. Then suddenly he was and still is. What happened to make the difference? Was it just a change of manager?

  64. Of course thats true Andy D but thats not to say their judgement is always correct . One example there above is how the hell wasnt Barry regan not given a championship run under o Mahonys tenure 07-10.

  65. I’m a massive fan of divisional sides to allow weaker clubs players play senior championship. Would love to see it introduced in Mayo. Apparently though, it’s the bulk of the senior clubs that are vehemently opposed to it?
    The kerry lads were into thus years ago and have produced dozens of players from junior clubs in recent years. No brainer in my view

  66. The funny thing is that the 3 teams that managed to bring All-Ireland titles back to the county: 2013 Minors, 2016 U21s and Westport last year had forward lines that contained more flair players than workers, so that’s something for us to think about.

  67. It surely about giving those new young lads game time so that we have competition for places….but opportunities very limited under current management. Let’s see what happens tomorrow. Any team yet, or have we new tactics re announcing squad

  68. I’m not sure would divisional sides make much of a difference tbh. Kerry only have 8 senior clubs (we have 16), so it stands to reason they would have more intermediate/junior players on the county team. A lot of their divisional sides put in poor preparation and get thumped in the senior championship.

    If you look at our starting 15 from the all ireland final last year there were 14 different clubs represented. Can’t get much better than that in fairness.

  69. Larry Duff
    Sorry I take back what I said about James Carr in that he should transfer to a neighbouring Senior club like Crossmolina.I just feel an Attacking player that is meant to have such potential is at a disadvantage playing only Junior club football. I seen a scoreline 2 weeks ago where the Knockmore ‘B’ team hammered Ardagh.I just feel if Young Carr had a chance with a North Mayo Divisional side in the Senior county championship and still play with his Junior club like they do in Kerry there the small details in where you win All Irelands.
    Take North Mayo for example there are 8 junior clubs Ardagh,Ballycastle,Killala,Kilcommon,Ballycroy, Moygownagh,Lacken and Kilfian.
    If you pick the best 15 players of all them teams and there playing Senior championship football it improves them players standards by playing football at a higher level and surely it should deliver 3 or 4 players to the County panel.
    Liam Moffatt the new County coaching officer has made some really impressive plans in recent weeks for the future of Mayo football but has not mentioned anything about divisional almagamations which I think can really help deliver players to the County squad.
    Bryan Sheehan, Maurice Fitzgerald and Declan O’Sullivan came from small Junior clubs St Marys Caherciveen and Dromid Pearses and they came together with South Kerry and won 4 Senior County titles.But in Kerry they seem to be a County that are great at coming together as a collective and thats why they have been so successful.

  70. I have 2 tickets for tomorrows game going free. I cant go myself tomorrow. Anyone going through Roscommon Town tomorrow let me know.

  71. Wide ball its not true to say divisional sides in Kerry don’t take it seriously South Kerry have won County titles in 2004, 2005,2006,2009, and 2015
    Mid Kerry won the County title in 2008.Feale rangers won it in 2007.
    If there wasn’t divisional sides in Kerry ,players like Maurice Fitz, Declan O’Sullivan , Bryan Sheehan ,Darren O ‘Sullivan , Paul Galvin, Eamon Fitzmaurice and Seamus Moyihan would not have played Senior club championship football.
    The great Paidi O’Ses club An Gaeltacht were only a junior club in his playing days if he hadn’t been playing with West Kerry where he won 3 Kerry County Senior titles he might have been overlooked by Kerry management.

  72. 6-24 to 1-8 was the scoreline in one of the senior championship games in Kerry last summer. Some of the divisional sides put in the effort but it can be hit and miss from year to year. Players opt out of their divisional side regularly.

    For arguments sake, let’s say we copy the Kerry structure. Relegate 8 of our senior clubs to inter and 8 of our inter clubs to junior. In that case, Keith Higgins, Chris Barrett, Jason Doherty and Eoin O’Donoghue would likely be at ‘junior’ clubs. It sounds great pointing out all the junior club players Kerry have had, but if their championship was set up like everyone else they wouldn’t be junior players.

  73. Simple question to put to bed would it be better to have divisional sides.

    Do you think Brendan Harrison would of made county senior if he had of stayed with Kilmovee shamrocks whom he started it off with at under 12s?

  74. Quality players like Harrison will make the breakthrough through regardless. Larry Finnerty and Pat Holmes were from Moygownagh. Maurice Sheridan was from Balla. 2 junior clubs.

  75. Wide ball. Thats a silly stat any team could be hammered.Just look at the Kerry Senior County roll of honour to see that your argument is wrong and the amount of all star footballers that came through Kerry divisional teams.Theres no need to relegate 8 clubs where the hell did you come up with that.Theres 4 divisonal boards in Mayo and 16 teams in the Mayo Senior Championship of 4 groups of 4 so just add the 4 teams to each group simple and thats 20 teams.There are 24 club teams in the Galway Senior hurling Championship.

  76. Wide ball I cant agree with you. These players of course have the quality but it cant develop as well playing junior unfortunately . It makes sense when you think about it, the quality of the players playing with you and against you has to make a difference to your development.

  77. Pat Holmes left Moygownagh and played with Castlebar Mitchels when he was with Mayo and Maurice Sheridan and Pat Fallon played with Balla when they were Senior and moved to Salthill and Barna in Galway when they were relegated to Intermediate and Junior.

  78. There is ample space for parking in Newbridge. Newbridge Silverware and the Whitewater shopping centre is a good place for shopping and has a large carpark. There is also limited street parking, especially along the LIffey. St.Conleths pitch is in the middle of the town so access can be slow.

  79. In the Rice College v Naas colleges semifinal the captain of the Naas teams father is a Joyce from Islandeady. Another son is the trainer.

  80. It is not wrong to say that some of their divisional sides put in a poor effort. You’re talking about all star kerry players from divisional teams and then suggesting we use a completely different format. The point still stands that if we had a similar structure to Kerry, Keith Higgins would have won multiple all stars despite being with a junior club.

    Lee Keegan would be playing with a west mayo divisional side. I suppose people could say that was the reason for him making the county side..

  81. At one stage I was a very strong supporter of divisional sides,but in later years most footballers go to third level so are exposed to a high level of footballer so if they are determined enough they will improve enough to play county football,if they are not making the collage team it is unlikely they will improve the county team

  82. If a young Paul Galvin or Declan O’Sullivan were playing junior club football in Mayo, they would be picked up by the county manager pretty quickly.

    I’ve nothing more to say on the matter, looking forward to tomorrow.

  83. Westport are enjoying some awaking. With James Horan at the helm it is exciting times for the covey’s. Should provide a challenge to Castlebar in the coming years and also benefit the county with Horan guiding their young talent. Think the idea of four divisional amalgamation teams would be worth looking at, although as mentioned already, it wasn’t mentioned in Liam Moffatt’s coaching plan so isn’t on the horizon anytime soon.

  84. Thanks for your reply westport2018.
    In Kerry the divisional sides are comprised of junior and intermediate teams. It would need to be similar in Mayo. For example, it’s ok in north Mayo where there is 8 junior clubs but there’s only one junior club in south Mayo I think.. (Kilmaine)
    Wide ball – I couldn’t disagree more with you that players like Harrison would have made the Mayo team regardless of their club. If someone like Paul Mannion had grown up in Kilfian instead of kilmacud crokes, would he still be playing ball on all Ireland final day? I’d say highly unlikely, and that’s no disrespect to Kilfian (just an example).

  85. Westport2018 – having a pop at others in the small hours isn’t on. Ball not man. That’s two infraction in a short period of time so I think a spell in the sin bin is called for at this stage.

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