The dream

The sun had barely risen by the time Mickey had pulled himself out of bed. Beams of sunlight trickled into his room through the light, lace curtains. Mickey groaned as the rays hit his eyes, rubbing any sleep out of them. His wife turned over in bed, oblivious to her husband leaving her side. Mickey bent over, kissing his wife’s creased forehead, before shuffling into their living room, worn-down slippers scuffing the wooden floor. His jacket lay on the tartan couch, abandoned from the previous night. He slipped it over his broad shoulders, thankful for the warmth. The cows out in the field opposite their bungalow huddled together, trying to stay warm in the cold morning air. The sun was now high in the sky, painting it with brilliant streaks of red and gold. Flags of green and red fluttered gently in the morning breeze, reminding Mickey of the job he had to do.

By the time Máire, his wife, had made her way into the living room, Mickey was on the iPad his son Thomáis had given him for his 65th birthday. He had told his father multiple times that it would be good to be “on the line” and that everyone nowadays was “on the line”. Mickey, of the age he was, was very confused why everyone was on this line, and would rather stay off it altogether, with google this and facebookin’ and twitterin’ all over the shop. But he still had taken the iPad graciously and listened to his son explain all the inner workings of the slab of technology.

Now, he was on Ticketmaster.ie, waiting patiently for the tickets to be available for that all-important All-Ireland Final. He glanced at the clock, wiping beads of sweat from his brow. The hands of the clock took an age, moving at the speed of a snail waiting in line for his pension on a Friday evening.

Photo: Irish Times/Cyril Byrne

As soon as the longest hand struck twelve, Mickey began to type as quick as he could. Perspiration gathered on his hands. Just as soon as he went to press the “Agree” button, the screen of the iPad faded to black. “No . . . NO!” He yelled at the inanimate object, shaking it. He scrambled around for the charger, lifting up cushions and cursing under his breath as he did. Máire, startled by the sound, walked out of their bedroom and over to her husband. She stared long and hard at him, dumbfounded by his actions. “Mickey, what in God’s name are ye doin’?” He ignored his wife’s question, and glared at the iPad as if it was a misbehaving child. “Well feck ye and feck ye and may ye rot in the ground for the rest of your miserable existence!”

Máire, growing weary of her husband’s antics, began her own rant “Michael, would ya stop yellin’ and actin’ the maggot, it’s yer own fault! Whist and leave the house, you’ll burst a vein, ya lug ya!” Mickey abandoned his efforts of giving life back to the technology by yelling at it and left the house, muttering curses upon the witch of a woman he’d married.

* * * * *

Mickey slowly made his way down the winding road into town, his head hung in shame at the way he’d carried on back at the house. He coughed as dust came into his lungs, eyes watering. He sat down on a stone wall that ran alongside the road, getting his breath back and composing himself. “Well Jesus Mickey, ya look a state . . .” an unseen voice croaked out to him. Mickey looked up to see the bent-over figure of the notorious town gossip, Maggie. “How are ya?” she cooed gleefully at him, “well, don’t I only have some interesting news!” She sat down beside him, grinning from ear to ear, sunken eyes glimmering under sagging skin. “Well doesn’t someone only have a spare tickets to a certain major sportin’ event!”

Mickey jolted up, turning to face the crone. “Jesus Maggie who!?” A million names rushed through his head. “Richard O’Connor!” Maggie cackled out, clapping her wrinkled hands together. Mickey’s face fell at the mention of that name. Of course it would have to be the one man that Mickey despised with every fibre of his being. Richard O’Connor, the lyin’, connivin’ manager of the local SuperValu. Their families had hated one another for generations but the reason the feud had begun had gotten lost along the way. Was the All-Ireland Final so important that he had to go to him? Yes, yes it was.

A few minutes later and Mickey had made his way to Richard’s absurdly large house. He pushed down any fears he had about this confrontation and firmly pressed the doorbell. What seemed like hours trickled by until Richard opened the door. A sly smirk came onto his face. “Well, well, well, look who’s come around to me house.” Mickey grimaced and looked at him with hard eyes. “Listen, I’ve come to talk about the tickets . . .”

Richard gave him a look of disbelief, before throwing his head back, laughing, wiping fake tears from the corners of his eyes. “And why would I give them to you?” Mickey sighed, thinking of any reason Richard should give up the prized tickets. “We can make some sort of exchange for them, come on . . .” Richard stroked his chin, leaning against the cream-coloured frame of his doorway, weighing his options. “Ah sure I’ve got nothing better to be doing, might as well listen to ye plead at my feet.”

Mickey drew in a breath, filling his chest before letting himself release it, ready to fight this hard battle to win the tickets. He knew he wouldn’t get them by filling Richard’s head with lies, or some sob story, so he decided to tell the truth.

“Well ye know me son, Thomáis. Ye know, big, strapping lad, was built like a barrel when he was younger? Well he’s a dad now, and his son is built like a feckin’ ball of energy. He’s only three, but Jesus, he’s just a fine lad altogether. We made a plan early on in the year to all go together to the match ye know – the three generations of us . . .” Mickey took a second to compose himself. “So I decided to get the tickets on me own, even though I can’t work that feckin’ yoke Thomáis gave me, and I didn’t get them.”

He coughed to stop his voice from wavering. “ Richard, all I want is to see the little lad cheering for Mayo, just to see the joy in his eyes to see them raise Sam up in the air. That’s all I want.” Mickey looked at Richard’s face, waiting for the door to be slammed closed. But instead, Mickey could almost see a tear in his eye. “Mickey . . .” Richard’s voice cracked but he quickly cleared it. “Fine, I guess I can give ye the feckin’ tickets. But only if you pay double, right?” Mickey nodded in agreement to the deal “Right.”

Richard went back into his house, to print off the ticket details, leaving Mickey standing at his doorstep. A cool breeze blew through the air, giving Mickey a much-needed cool down. The golden leaves rustled in the trees, a few falling to the ground. Mickey imagined what was running through Richard’s head to have made him change his mind with just a few simple words. Maybe he’s thinking about his own family – about his son. Mickey recalled that Richard’s son left town as soon as he could. Did Richard throw his son out of his home? Did they have a bad relationship? Did they not stay in contact anymore?

A million questions rushed through Mickey’s head but he decided not to ask, as the tickets were too close now to lose them – again. With that thought, Richard arrived back and handed Mickey the ticket information, printed out crisply. They nodded at one another, confirming the transaction. The two men had reached an understanding of one another, and Mickey suddenly realised that maybe they weren’t so different, and that they could maybe throw away the age-old feud. But, before Mickey could say anything to him, to even thank him, Richard, with a clear of his throat, slammed the door closed, right in front of Mickey’s face, barely missing his nose.

Mickey grumbled a curse onto him, shoving the papers into his pocket, but made his way into town with a new-found bounce in every stride. “This is our year, lads,” Mickey proclaimed, rubbing his hands together, as the rest of the group around the pub table groaned.

“Mickey, would ya give it a rest. Ye say the same thing every shaggin’ year!” Johnny spoke out, before returning to the pint he was nursing. Mickey tutted at his close friend, before setting the game plan to the rest of his comrades. “Now lads, we’ve got the best team now since the curse was put upon us. Lee Keegan will tear through them Dublin fe-”. “Mickey! Give it a rest!” The lads glared him down but Mickey stood his ground and remained optimistic. “We’re so close . . . I can almost taste the cup.” Mickey smacked his lips together and slammed his empty pint glass down on the counter. The bartender looked up for a second and continued to clean glasses with a dirty rag. Mickey licked his lips in anticipation. “This is our year . . .” With those words, Mickey fixed his belt, saluted the lads, who grunted a farewell, and headed out into the cool evening. The drink inside him kept him warm as he made the long journey home, the tune of The Green and Red of Mayo buzzing against his lips.

* * * * *

The words of the lads plagued his head that night. He could barely sleep, constantly tossing and turning in his double bed. What if they were right and Mayo would lose yet again? Was all this optimism for nothing? “Mickey, of all things holy, would ya quit feckin’ tossin’ around like a pig in muck!” Máire sat up in bed, interrupting his train of thought. Mickey rubbed his head, mumbling an apology, “can’t feckin’ sleep, need a sup of brandy or somethin’.” He shuffled into the small kitchen, bare feet slapping against the cold tiles, bending down with his knees creaking. He opened the old wooden cabinets, searching around for the brandy he kept for occasions such as this one, but he found something else, something much smaller. He pulled out the foreign object to reveal a dusty old photo. He brushed away the dust, and stared in shock. He could barely recognise himself.

Photo: Balls.ie

A young boy of three years’ old on his father’s shoulders, grinning from ear to ear. The Sam Maguire in his father’s arms after his team had won it for Mayo in 1951. He remembered that day well, going to Dublin for the first time with his parents, going up the steps in Croke Park. Even at that young an age, he remembered how important it was for not only his father and not only the team but the whole county. He remembered how proudly he wore his county’s colours that day. He remembered running onto the pitch when the final whistle blew, and running into his father’s arms. He remembered that being the only time he saw his father cry.

A tear rolled down Mickey’s cheek, and onto the photo. Mickey quickly wiped his tears away, folding the photo into the chest pocket of his pyjama shirt, close to his heart . The brandy bottle lay in the cabinet, long forgotten. Mickey headed back to bed, smiling softly at the thought they’d have the cup once again – very, very soon.

Eve Carney (aged 16) is a Transition Year student at Manor House School in Raheny, Dublin. This short story was first published yesterday in the Irish TimeshereThe story is from a collection of short stories called Breaking Boundaries, written by Transition Year students from Manor House School, which will be published in May.

115 thoughts on “The dream

  1. Very good Eve. I hope it’s praise when I say I thought it was from a much older writer with maybe ten years of short story writing.

  2. Well done Eve…it’s a lovely story and how I wish it were to come true for all the Mickey’s and Maire’s in Mayo this year… If we can say nothing else about us Mayo folk it’s that optimism flows in our veins and beats in our hearts…Up Mayo…this year and always….go raibh maith agat agus mile buiochas…Maigheo go deo…

  3. I thought the same JP. Well done Eve!
    Better get back to chopping these onions here too ….

  4. Dreams can come true…..lovely piece, just what we need, a reminder to keep dreaming, keep hoping, keep the faith with OUR BOYS ………..Congrats Eve, look forward seeing your follow up article in print when our dreams finally become reality!

  5. Well done Eve, will help keep the dream alive for all of us who love the county of Mayo

  6. The dream will never die, we have faced adversity before and we will face again. Keep the faith were all in this together and the rollercoaster has just begun. Mayo for Sam 2018.

  7. Well done Eve. A great bit of writing and even better that it’s got the “ Mayo dream” in it.
    I must keep an eye out for your name in the coming years.

  8. A great bit of writing there Eve. You sure know how to put them words together. Very enjoyable. Hope you keep writing. Impressive stuff from a 16 year old and very descriptive. Well done.

  9. Eve,. Incredible, Fantastic..and almost tear jerking…. But now you have me wondering exactly which of the many many character’s that I know who would want to go to an All Ireland final, might I imagine could fill the rolls in your story?… I’m afraid none of them could possibly be me.. Many is the ‘Lie’ both white and black that I told in efforts to get All Ireland tickets…when Mayo were there,!. The truth would suffice anytime for tickets the times Mayo weren’t actually in the All Ireland final… The ‘Season Ticket’ has curtailed my need for lies nowadays in the pursuit of the precious tickets… .And after a few minutes thinking, I definitely can think of a few who very conceivably resemble the character’s you describe!… But ‘Eve’ like the ‘Aha’ song way back in the 80’s… The Mayo saga is a ‘Never Ending Story “.. Best wishes, and thoroughly enjoyed your piece!

  10. Well done Eve great piece of writing but the dream will never come true until we can put the ball over the bar and have guys playing that aren’t afraid to shoot from 40 yards and have a go instead of passing back and forth and hoping someone else will have a go that’s the sad reality as I see it.

  11. Hi Eve. Well done it was so enjoyable to read. I will be reading your books in years to come. I wish you luck in what ever path you choose. Well done.

  12. Enjoy the Stones Revellino. Looks like the weather is going to be ok, dont forget to make a wish that Mayo have a day out there soon too, and get some satisfaction, Lol,

  13. So sick of Sean Kavanagh and his predoctions.Trying to make a name in punditry by writing off Mayo.We all know the problems.His insights are not that shattering.Said Dublin would win last year…yea that was unique all right.

  14. He dislikes us for sure , seems to be kinda common these days amongst the neutrals. But his prediction of Galway beating us was correct and also Dublin winning last year was correct too albeit not in the way he imagined .

    Fook him . We’re on our own now we have to learn to cope with that.

  15. Anyone read Ed Coughlans piece https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/gaa/football/dr-ed-coughlan-are-mayo-responsible-for-their-own-downfall-470748.html in the Examiner today, he seemed to suggest that Mayo are not getting the proper coaching from Stephen Rochfords management team and that standards have dropped of from the Horan era.
    One area he highlighted was Aidan O’Shea not having developed his weaker right foot and also his scoring has dropped off in recent years.He highlighted his poor attempt in the first half the last day.
    I feel he has a point, this thing of the Media trying to say Mayo are too long on the road is a load of bull only 7 starters on the team who hammered Galway in 2013 now thats including Cillian and Lee.Its the basic skills that have dropped off that Horan preached about and the build up play for scoring oppurtunties.No matter what team we play Dublin included we always seem to have more possession so how are we not winning games it all comes down to not getting the ball into the scoring zone inside the D and and converting thses chances.Some of Mayos shooting the last day were shots under pressure and too far out like boylers and Durcans in the 1st half, Dublin will not take a shot until a man is in the scoring zone and in space.Then you have the problem of not having a player to kick simple left footed frees.Those 3 frees Kev McLoughlin had would have been the difference ,brillant player just not comfortable taking frees.Why not give Evan Regan or Shane Nally a chance on them.I have seen Nally kick long range frees for his club Garrymore.

  16. He said dublin where way ahead of everybody so he was wrong.
    He thinks mayo fans are super sensitive i say we are super loyal.

  17. I love to see our team written off. The more people that write us off the better. Anyone that is sensitive to what people say about our team – don’t but the papers they write in, turn off the radio when they are on, turn down the tv when they are on. Some people are too sensitive. If these pundits don’t like us – what the hell about. it doesn’t bother me.

  18. Lads,

    I am very concerned with the lack of quality coming through from minor in the last few years. We are a distant third in Connacht at underage currently and have been on the end of a few hammerings from Roscommon and Galway in recent years. Its only a matter of time before the chickens come home to roost at senior level and will see us slip out of div 1 and into obscurity.

    I think there is a strong case for the creation of a new post tasked with creating a strategy for youth development and to oversight of implementation. This needs to start in schools at an a young age developing the skills and continuing this as into teenage years while introducing an appropriate level of S&C.

    We have many ex players based in the county who would be suited to the role and would help inspire the starts of tomorrow.The names that come to mind are John Casey, Ken Mortimer, James Nallen.. players of that 96/97 vintage.. my first pick for this role would be James Horan who really got us back on the map as a serious football county and improved many of our players who were there under previous managers. Imagine what he could do starting with kids from a young age?

    The recent results are indicating that something is seriously wrong. If we do nothing different nothing will change.

  19. Ah now teamsheet thats a clickbait article. The inference that Diarmuid got himself sent off to make excuses if Mayo lost is one of the greatest hyperbolic load of horse manure that particular paper has put together. I refer particularly to the quote “commonplace in sport and other domains where people intentionally sabotage situations to provide a backdrop to excuse eventual outcomes”. Seriously – as if Diarmuid elbowed that lad in the face to use that as an excuse should Mayo have lost?. Seriously?.

    His criticisms of how Caff was prepared for the replay in Limerick in 2014 ignores the fact that he himself was part of the back-room team at the time. He asks if there was some training done for Caff vs Barry Moran and then says “The evidence in the replay would suggest not.” The man himself is quoted as being a “skills acquisition coach” and “was part of the Mayo backroom team as head of fitness under James Horan from 2010-14”. Surely he would frigging well know????. “The evidence in the replay would suggest not” my hole – it was his job to help with that preparation, and if it didn’t happen, then he’s as responsible as anyone else.
    Not so sure I’d be highlighting the lack of skills one player had for a game if that was my job to give him the skills, but each to their own.

    I will agree the lack of respect that Caff gets from many of our own supporters is quite disgraceful. He’s often blamed for things that are not of his making – I recall listening to a particularly aggrieved older Mayo fan describing over the phone to someone the Goal Kildare scored in the League this year as entirely Caff’s fault. That largely ignored the fact that Coen blocked Caff as he tried to cover his man, and for the rest of the game kept the same lad otherwise scoreless. I was behind that goal for that score and I saw myself what happened.

    I will agree on certain points – getting rid of Pat and Noel was indeed the right thing to do. Whatever about our “terminal decline” thats been predicted for about 4 years now, it would have started a lot sooner if we had retained those 2.

    The cheap shots at Aidan are getting a bit tiresome at this stage though. Are we getting the best out of Aidan?. There’s arguments for both sides – as for not developing from Minor – that’s a bit unfair statement to make. He’s by far the biggest man on the pitch in both games but the size difference he held when minor vs the size difference at senior are 2 very different things. A lad of his size would easily swat off any challenger with the difference in strength at that stage. As for now, sure any lad can hop off him and foul him as much as they want. How many fouls does he have to take before he gets a free?.
    As for Aidan not developing his right foot – the author of the article is “a noted skills acquisition coach who was part of the Mayo backroom team as head of fitness under James Horan from 2010-14.”
    What was this noted skills acquisitions coach doing to help Aidan develop his right foot for the 4 years he was knocking around the Mayo back-room?.

    Long story short – if thats the sort of article the man is going to write, then I’m glad he’s no longer involved in the backroom of Mayo management, because he’s clearly not able to see the woods for the trees.

  20. I find coughlins article depressing in that I cannot disagree with any of it. What has happened to aidos shooting? He does not seem comfortable shooting off either foot at the moment. But at the same time I believe that last year was the best prepared a mayo team has ever been before a final so I would not be calling for heads to roll just yet.

  21. Galway exile – James nallen is coaching kids in Clare Galway and from what I hear he’s doing a fine job of it too.

  22. I have to say I am more in agreement with the majority of what FDBinashui has to say instead of Ed. Calling out questions about how Mayo were performing while he was there and supposed to be getting them performing is beyond a joke. There are wayyyyyyy to many lines written about Mayo and I am a fool for reading the majority of them. I find an issue with most and then go away slightly annoyed at a minimum and a big grouchy head at the other end. We are way too passionate when it comes to football and every dog on the street knows it. Stop buying papers full of rubbish, stop reading articles that make your blood boil. WJ you are an exception to that rule. I will always read the blog.

  23. FDBinashui. I’m agreeing with Article on basis of making same mistakes and expecting different result. A few points;

    When is mgt going to play Ger?…..any big game they deem him unsuitable. Didn’t have confidence in him marking Donaghy nor Comer et all.

    As before naming a bogey team v Galway was embarrassing. When did we become so afraid of Galway so as to afford them so much respect. After all we are the team that has been at the top table for the last while. Also situation with Freeman coming on with minutes in Ballyshannon was ridiculous.

    I agree Aiden is no longer even looking to score and he is playing forwards. In all the All Irelands he has never scored!

    Show maturity and name match day 26 and stop faffing about and entrust confidence in the named 26.

  24. FDBinashui and Mayoletsfly, inclined to agree with ye both, Whats he trying to prove now, highlighting all the failures, that he was part and parcel of, Dosent say much for his skills, as a development and skills coach, in fact id be highly embarrsed, highlighting that fact in his article, is a joke, great to have on your cv i suppose, lol.

  25. Ger played in Monaghan in January, and had a very good game. That said – very few people will recall it as they seem to have the boot in for the lad. Most of the sh**e thats said about him comes from our own. As I already said he played in Kildare too and aside from the goal that wasnt his fault (and I’m sure you’ll find many that thought it was) kept his man scoreless. Does he have to play every game?.
    As for playing Barrett vs Comer – I think that was the right call. Comer was kept quiet for the majority of the game and I think Barrett was a better match for him. Barrett is just back from injury as is Cillian.

    I really don’t know why people get hot and bothered about the dummy teams issue. What difference does it make if the first fifteen on a Sunday lines out differently to what was named the Thursday night previous?. Seriously?. If we are to get beaten in a game will we all suddenly turn around and say “well at least the team lined out per the programme”?. We will in our holes.

  26. Goodman the viking. I have tha air guitar fully tuned although I broke a string on it this morning. It won’t be my last time in Croke Park this year either. Mayo will be there in the super 8’s. We’re only warming up. We’ll open a few eyes up yet in the championship.

  27. No point getting upset over what Sean Cavanagh thinks…he is irrelevant to our interest of Mayo football.

    Ed’s piece is a sit up and take notice but needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s fine margins. That said it’s clear some of our players are not improving or have regressed. Worrying

  28. Have been reading a piece today by a Roscommon sports journalist, who attended last Friday night’s U-17 match in Kiltoom between Roscommon v Mayo.

    He stated that in the Press box, were no fewer than Six Mayo people assigned to collect stats on Mayo during the match..One of them was the go between with the Mayo manager, sending messages into his earpiece regularly….At some stage in the second half, someone was dispatched from the group of six in the press box down to the sideline to enquire if there was a technical problem, as the Mayo manager wasn’t replying !!

    As Roscommon disappeared into the distance, it seems our manager had pulled out his earpiece to the Press box.!!!

  29. @Revellino, enjoy the ‘Rolling Stones’.. And that’s for sure, It won’t be your last time in Croke Park this year either… If your into the’ Flora’ of Ireland… You won’t get any ‘Moss’ from them young lad’s on stage.. Now after such a wet and cold spring, you might think that they very well have gathered some ‘Moss’ but.. ‘A rolling stone, gathers no Moss’.. Whatever ever else they might gather?… There will be plenty of ‘Grass’ on the pitch, and no ‘Moss’ to seen there either!

  30. Im sure we will Revellino, yeah heard u giving hokny tonk wemon waskey earlier, that’s must be when the string broke, lol, Have a great night.

  31. Ah It should be a great night. At least Dublin Joe isn’t reffing it. I HOPE.
    The Academic are playing in the minor match before the stones.

  32. Ha,ha,hahaha, yeah my brother texted me earlier he said it was a beautiful day there, he signed off with beer signs, so u can guess where they were heading. Couldn’t go or would be there tuning up my air guitar as well, never mind, might get the chance yet before the year is out, u better keep that guitar tuned in case Keith Richards, needs a bit of back up, have rock and roll night,and bring the house down with a few encores. Dont worry about a few broken strings, they will have plenty.

  33. Well done Eve , your teacher of English would be proud of that . I used to write similar pieces and my teacher called me a one trick pony haaaa , if you’ll excuse me I’ve to paint the back door for a new arrival .

  34. To all the noisy articles. The game was level injury time. End of analysis.
    The senior inter county championship is competed in mainly by 23 year old plus. Meaning that there’s still six years of development ahead of our minors. You need one starter and one sub each year. Every second/third year you need a legendary type player. It doesnt matter about titles at u17.
    Who was the most two footed forward on the pitch? Enda Hession is who.
    Is there one more senior potential player? Very likely with 49 others to choose from.
    Look at how the Westport and Claremorris lads have improved since the 2016 minors.

  35. FBD you are bang on about that Coughlan article (and about Ger and the abuse he takes too). Some of the points he makes are undeniable but others read to me as a bit sly.

    The only conclusion I can draw is that he’s having a pop at Horan – if Coughlan’s role at the time was Head of Fitness, we must therefore assume based on this article that he had no part to play in skills acquisition over the course of his FOUR YEARS in the backroom team. Otherwise, why would he be saying this? If there were issues, or if he saw deficiencies, he either accepted them, felt he wasn’t in a position to intervene because of the management that was in place, or perhaps he didn’t see them himself at the time? Aidan wasn’t exactly a point scoring machine from 2010 to 2014, was he? I don’t recall us having a fluid scoring unit back then any more than we have now – has our forward line not always in the lifetime of this team been identified as a relative weakness? I certainly remember people on this blog calling for a forwards coach five and six years ago. If we had one in the camp, what was he at? And if the required skills development work wasn’t being done, why wasn’t he objecting?

    So unless I’m missing something here, it feels a bit rich of him to start throwing stones now – and undermining our current manager while he’s at it. Four years.

    As for the line about intentional self-sabotage, anyone who saw Diarmuid’s reaction at the time will recognise it as horseshit.

    This isn’t an over-sensitive reaction to criticism or anything, there’s no denying he makes some valid points. It just doesn’t make much sense to me overall.

  36. Ed Coughlan puts out many of these make a statement articles and interviews. With pleny fluff.
    He’s a massive Ger Caff fan. Sorry but if yer playing full back, then at 27 years of age as Ger was in 2014 it’s a bit late for high ball on a big man training.
    Brian OMalley is 20 years of age and is lethal in the air. Some people are simply very good in the air well above norms.

  37. Well done to you Eve, you are an excellent writer, keep up the great work and best of luck for the future!

  38. I’m led to believe that management of the underage teams has vastly improved this year and I know personally the the coaching of kids at club level is excellent. This paired with the schools going well. It may take a bit of time to see results but I do expect we will improve in the near future.

    On a different point did people know what depending on whose it Dublin’s group for the super 8’s they could actually get to play all 3 of their games in Croke Park! It be funny if it was so serious!

  39. I’ll tell ya one thing for sure , I don’t know what all these guys are going to write about if we do go quiet for a while.

  40. Niall.
    Good point, the u 17 at least is a very well run setup this year. If you’re worried about if Mayo go quiete, look at Wicklow. 13 kids turn up to meet the senior team while clubs are folding in a well populated area of the county. It’s on today’s independent and is sobering reading for anyone that thinks the gaa is not a joke, feeding one monster that devours all others.
    The big questions is this, how the hell does a county like Mayo even compete in September with them? I think it’s fair to say that Mayo are overachieving even though we’ve won nothing for years. Kildare, Meath, Wicklow etc have the same or much bigger populations to work with, and are never heard of except for how well Kildare done last year to keep Dublin within 10 points. A joke.
    Makes me admire what our bucks are doing, even more than I did before.

  41. @Dave, I don’t think we should play the poor mouth that we are bravely competing to be staying in there at the top end of the game. Why shouldn’t we be? Football is religion in Mayo.
    – We have the pick
    – We have the clubs
    – We have the supporter base
    – We have the company base
    – We have the culture of Mayoness. It is a thing and it is heavily intertwined with the red and green.
    You can plonk a centre of excellence and a waffling bunch of coaches in a Division two county. All they will end up doing generationally is filleting their clubs.
    Take the centre of excellence model to not even a generational conclusion. Let’s say a highly elitist model.
    What effect on Claremorris or Knockmore or Castlebar? Would you get as many total players available if you are simply taking away the best and brightest at 14?
    In fitness performance terms it does not matter a damn if you start training on weights at 14 or if you start more sensibly at 17/18. Humans have a genetically programmed ability in terms of athleticism. All you can do is maximise that. Furthermore the human body is essentially a machine with moving parts. If you load up those parts over a longer period of time while still not fully developed it’s no suprise that parts break.
    We have no ability to strengthen to any great degree particular tendonds and ligaments. We can however massively increase our muscular strength. What you are seeing these days is a lot of back patting from those with a clear bias to basically say that centres of excellence and early weight training will bring success.
    All of this coaching waffle about the benefits of early weight training written by independent sources or written by coaches in the gig of weight training?
    It is simply not natural for an Irish teenager to have the bulked out legs you see these days on U17 teams. Some people are naturally built that way, but the natural Irish build at 16 and 17 is generally slim with the odd powerhouse.
    I don’t believe in the capacity of young players to remain injury free for ten years when the moving parts have been squatting heavy from teenage years. “They train just under an empty bar”, that’s often trotted out. Nonsense. Maybe at 14 as an intro, but you certainly can’t bulk out young athletes under an empty bar or a very lightly loaded weight.

  42. No fan of the good Dr. but some points are valid Patrick Durcan outscored Aidan in last years championship while playing less games.

    Nobody believes a Mayo team that is named anymore so the whole effect of naming a dummy team is diluted.

    Our use of Forward substitutes is baffling, Coen, Drake and Kirby have been brought on 11 times in forward positions in the last year in Championship games. They have contributed 0-1.

    He neglected to mention the good aspects like bringing through Brendan Harrison.

  43. @Redcol. Aidan OShea was the final pass for five of Mayos points. The next best player on either side had just three.
    Aidan also likely had the most turnovers won.
    He didn’t mention any of that.
    Rochford shouldn’t blink and should continue with Aidan as an extra centre back as he was deployed against Galway. It’s clear in my mind that with 15 on the pitch and Parsons fit we would have won with several points to spare.

  44. Jp
    I’m not poor-mouthing. I’ll shut my mouth because I’m one of the few that thinks there’s a massive inequality in the gaa.
    Approx 21 euro per funding registered player in Mayo vs approx 274 euro funding per registered player in another county.
    Other counties should just raise their game to match the dubs , that’s the line that’s paraded out. So far it’s not working out too well.
    Thank God for hurling.

  45. Galway exile – James nallen is coaching kids in Clare Galway and from what I hear he’s doing a fine job of it too.

    So is Maurice Sheridan.

  46. @Dave, not you poor mouthing, we as a collective with me included 🙂
    Agree with you on that funding point per registered player.

  47. remember A O Sheas interception late in first game against Roscommon in Croke Park , nobody else would have cut out that ball , and at least a point would have been got which would have been game over for Mayo , so Aiden back in defence does work well , also in the Kerry games when he was back in defence the forward line worked better as a unit and mover the ball much quicker

  48. We have to get over the disappointment of last sunday fast and start looking forward to the back door matches.I think we would have won it only for the sending off of D.O.C.. IT WAS SO SILLY.we always find a way to lose matches we should be winning.i was so drained after the match..diarmuid and cillian o connor are fantastic footballers and have won young player of the year awards and an all-star award and top scorer award.diarmuid has minor and u 21 all-ireland medals.to me they seem to be very angry young men who cannot channel that anger properly on the field of play.They are going to keep getting sent off and will be no use to the team.i think cillian and diarmuid would benefit from under taking an anger management programme.maybe the team-management are going to do that because we need 15 players on the field at all times. I am looking forward to getting the show back on the road in the qualifers.

  49. http://www.the42.ie/galway-mayo-football-analysis-4012221-May2018/?amp=1&utm_source=shortlink&__twitter_impression=true

    Its nothing to do with age or to many miles on the clock thats all just lazy journalism from pundits who are sick of us, its all to do with the our forward unit not performing !!
    In the smaller tighter provincial grounds we find it hard to beat blanket defences.I think we have to rejig things in the forwards, we are playing too many workmanlike forwards instead of shooters.

  50. My Team and bench for Qualifiers
    1.David Clarke
    2.Brendan Harrison
    3.Chris Barrett
    4.Keith Higgins
    5.Lee Keegan
    6.Colm Boyle
    7.Paddy Durcan
    8.Seamus O’Shea
    9.Aidan O’Shea
    10.Shane Nally
    11.Kevin McLoughlin
    12.James Durcan
    13.Evan Regan
    14.Andy Moran
    15.Cillan O’Connor
    Subs
    Robbie Hennelly
    Donal Vaughan
    Eoin O’Donoghue
    Caolan Crowe
    Danny Kirby
    Conor Loftus
    Jason Doherty
    Cian Hanley
    Neil Douglas

  51. Tom will be a massive loss, irreplaceable really. A few guy’s will have to step up a gear now, and try and turn things around, including management, and they are more than capable of doing that, when they get back to full fitness and get their running game up to speed, we won’t be far away, same as last year, got to find a way to beat the blanket, otherwise it could come back to haunt us.

  52. Anybody awake in this house, Or are ye all out of opinions and solutions, lol, Hope not, got to get my fix on here first thing in the morning, as essential as cofffe and a cigarette, ha,ha, ha. No seriously,was wondering any news on Tom, and when do we know what Diarmuid’s ban will be, also I don’t think Mayo’s next game is on the telly, any update would be much appreciated, thanks folks,have a great weekend.

  53. I weary. “Smaller tighter provincial grounds”. That explains 1969-1985 then. Ed Coughlan has stated the obvious. Eamon Sweeney said the same last year but egged the headlines. This team is being killed by non tactics. And dummy teams? Anyone still think then funny when Ger Cafferkys name was bood and Barrett’s cheered last Sunday. Clever managerial stroke? This team if they take charge of their own destiny like they did after Roscommon draw last year will surprise many. If it’s left to the sideline brains thrust expect more pain.

  54. Mayomafia

    I think it can safely be assumed that Tom won’t be back this summer. It’s mid May now, and in 4 months the championship will be over and done with. It’s going to take longer for his knee to recover judging by what I’ve read. Hopefully he can get it put back together and have another shot at it next year.

  55. Of course there will be multiple people commenting how people around them “booed Ger Caff”.
    After last years heroics Chris Barrett is a fan favourite. Similar to Boyler he gets that extra bit of cheer from the Mayo supporters. People did not boo Ger Caff, they were happy to hear about Chris Barrett being selected.
    Furthermore if indeed there were many people who commented at the match “Thanks be to jasysus for that” or comments like that well it’s a sporting event where people talk in coarse language. People will make comments at the match, people will give out etc. But I very much doubt anyone booed Ger Caff.

  56. On the booing when it was announced that Get wasnt playing I felt it was bad at the time however a few moments later there was the same reaction when it was announced that Cillian wasnt starting.
    I think the cheer was for the guy coming in.

  57. have just read Coughlans article and to be honest don’t see much wrong with it, I was at that minot final and certainly A O Shea was a much more forceful player that day than he is now

  58. Well said JP – now let that be the end of that muck about us booing any of our own, we don’t do that shit, on the contrary we soak up dogs abuse very often and mannerly and politely soak it up, its in our nature right or wrong. Now just going back to that firm favourite Chris Barrett, just to explain why the guy is a favourite and has to be first name on any Mayo team sheet if fit, last Sunday Damien Comer, a fine footballer, attempted to start the usual wrestling in injury time wherein he targeted Clarke on his goal line. Barrett had none of it and got his body in ahead of Comer and got physical. Clarke made his way out with the ball to the kicking tee, again Comer went after him and again Barrett went after Comer and fecked him out of the way. Then Clarke took a second or two looking for his outfield man but all the time Comer had his eyes on Clarke and made one last ditch attempt to get to wrestle Clarke but in stepped Barrett again and this time he well and truly put him on his ass. Now i have nothing again Comer in fact I like to watch him in full flow as that old style no 14 is a rarity nowadays and it is terrific to watch but that last 7/8 minutes of filthy introduced most especially in the all-ireland of 2013 needs to be addressed. It seems both referees and games administrators are powerless to address it but Barrett addressed it and whilst we lost last Sunday at least it was not as a result of allowing a final 5 minutes of wrestling and MMA play out. That’s is one of the many reasons Chris Barrett is such a firm favourite and he will get 3 times the cheer next game out when his name is announced in the ground.
    PS. Well done Eve, keep the typewriter warm!

  59. It must be very difficult for those great players to go back to training this week in the knowledge that Mayo should have beaten Galway. Let us park the awful injury to Tom and the dismissal of Diarmuid as reasons for losing the game.
    This game was lost on the sideline. The only plan that management appear to have is to hold possession at all costs, even if that means hand passing the ball over and back and back and over across  the 45 line. This policy of holding possession is not working. We cannot get scores and we have 2 players on the half back line that will cough up at least 2 passes each in every game.
    Where has the kicking game gone? Getting in behind the oppositions defence in the shortest possible time should be the aim. But NO our management does not trust our players to do that. Keep possession is the name of the game.
    We played with a strong wind against a mediocre Galway full back line all of whom were on yellow cards. Did we put in any long balls where our full forwards could run at their  full backs.  NO. Why not.  Management don’t trust the players to kick long and we didnt have the 3 players on the field who can kick the ball – Barry Moran,  Nally and Diarmuid.
    As we stand we are a one trick pony based on run run run. Does management seriously think that Jim Gavin and others can’t see that. I am not advocating a catch and kick policy but I am advocating variety. Let us change it around based on running as well as on long balls going into space or high into Aido and Cillian on the edge of the square. If we lose some in their full back line then so what after all we are turning over at least 4 possessions on our own half back line in every game. I’d sooner lose the ball on our full forward line than on our half back line. Solving the turnovers on our half back line will not in itself be sufficient. We need to create scores.
    Finally, can anyone tell me the number of marks Mayo has had this year – not hard to count Im afraid.  We need to be winning more primary possession. We are not Tyrone. Also we need to work on the breaking ball around the middle. Bring in Alan Dillon for advice. He was the master of the breaking ball.
    I put forward my suggestions in a constructive way. I don’t want to see an early exit by these wonderful players.  Management still has time to redeem the situation.
    Concerned but confident in the ability of our players.

  60. Well said John cuffe. Sideline is a joke . Tired of this great team been managed by men not up to it. We’d have a couple of all Irelands only for it . It’s an absolute credit to the players for keeping this team competitive . Horan made a few mistakes no doubt but crikey I wish he stuck it out for a while . I’ve given rochford the benefit of the doubt for a while now . Now I’m not so sure at all , losing it on the line to Galway three years on the trot , not acceptable for Mayo , sin e.if you don’t have standards we will end up like fucking Meath .
    No connacht final again for Mayo or castlebar.

    Has anyone figured out why Rochford was looking at the names of his players on the programme?

    Nobody booed Ger cafferky. The dummy team is a farce though. How does a player go home from training two nights before a game and tell his parents / siblings , im going to be named but I’m not playing. It’s an awful carry on . What is gained from it ?

  61. There was NO BOOING when Ger Cafferkeys name was announced, that is lies.There was a big cheer when Chris Barrett was announced to replace Ger at full back.But that was mainly down to the fact it was Chris Barretts first game back since the All Ireland where he was Mayos best player with Lee Keegan and he later won an All star.As much as a minority of Mayo fans have reservations about David Drake as a forward substitution and Ger Cafferkeys form since coming back from that hamstring injury they would never boo there own player.

  62. 100% Chris, no Mayo person would ever boo their own. Indeed I’d imagine it’s as rare across the country .

  63. Was talking to a man during the week who would be friendly with an ex Meath great. He told him years ago when Meath were successful that Meath football would soon slide into oblivion as they neglegeted underage development.

    He was right. I’m not sure if that is the case in mayo or what our coaches are at. We have won a minor and u-21 in recent years but is that covering the cracks?

    Our schools teams are doing well. Not sure what is going on at county level but hammerings by Roscommon and Galway in recent years are not a good sign.

  64. 1. The reason Aiden O’Shea bullied and bossed everyone in the minor game was because he was the same size then as he is now and the rest were kids.
    2. Ed Coughlan was skills coach from 2010 to 2014, what did HE do to develop Aiden O’Shea’s weaker right foot?
    3. Ed Coughlan was on the sideline in 2014 when James Horan failed to prepare Ger Caff for marking Donaghy. What did HE do about that?
    4. Ed Coughlan, Eamon Sweeney and that drunken fool up in Claremorris have one thing in common, they’re problems men. They might have Dr before their name or a column in a national newspaper but they’re all the same, they offer no solutions.
    The universal appraisal of our All Ireland defeat last year was that we lacked a bench to match Dublins in the final quarter of the game. Rochford brings on some new players in the hope of expanding our bench and he gets slated. It didn’t go to plan but had we ended up with the same 15 on the field as we did last September then I’d be twice as disappointed. The accusation that anyone in that ground booed Ger Caff is beyond contempt and is one of the most scurrilous accusations ever made about our county.
    Read Jim McGuinness if you want balanced, insightful, tactical appraisal of a football team.

  65. It’s hard to know and you’d hate asking, that’s where I see things for Mayo moving forward. All the words have been spoken and are used up, slipped away on and off into the ether. What’s next for Mayo? Who knows. Last year Derry should have ended the dream in regular time. Extra time Mayo annihilated them. What if Derry had won? What then for Mayo. Cork should have beaten Mayo but somehow we managed to win despite not deserving it. Too the victors the spoils and all that. Clare gave us a hard time in the first half. Six points to one hard time, if my memory serves me right. Mayo put them away eventually. That was Clare. No disrespect intended. Roscommon had us on the chopping block once again but inexplicably chose not to wield the sword. We all know what happened next.

    Along came The Yerras, with their “Come on into the palour” spiel. We had them and left them to fight another day. With the exception of Roscommon that particular strategy has not worked out to well for Mayo. Well , we laid down a one hell of a slab of a fuck you Marker to the mighty Dubs. Johnny’s Here! Who saw that comming? No amount of words spoken or written saw that writing on that wall. We were robbed in the final as surely as Limerick.

    What’s next for Mayo? They will decide. All the best wishes to Tom Parsons. If he can raise his fist in defiance with a fucking mangled leg and write the most inspiring words I have heard on here in one single sentence, then the least that I can do is be there. That is all.

  66. The knives are certainly out for Rochford. Similar comments were posted last year asking why he persisted with the kicking game, well when we got to croke park ppl saw why he persisted with it. People bemoaned our forward play, well our scores in croke park 1-12, 4-19, 2-14, 2-16, 1-16. That last tally was enough to win the last 10 all Irelands. Against the so called best team ever. A 1 point loss and everything is wrong, a 1 point win and all’s rosey. People should have a bit more patience as this team always comes good. We’ll be on the road again soon enough.

  67. Aiden O Shea was a lot light and more mobile when he was a minor. The likes of Durcan and Hanley should be getting game time in the NFL before getting thrown into competitive game v Galway and i’m still trying to figure out how were deemed ahead of Regan,Douglas in the pecking order while Adam Gallagher,Boland couldn’t make the bench last Sunday?

  68. There is one simple solution to the issue of naming dummy teams. make it a rule that any changes announced are counted as substitutions, Thus last Sunday we would have used up two substitutions before a ball was kicked. Stephen is not the only manager guilty of this but does seem particularly addicted to it. Otherwise just do as in football and name your squad in the programme with the team announced no later than one hour before throw in.

  69. Richardmgd we are well able to abuse our own team management make no mistake about it, but you are absolutely correct that Ger Cafferkey was not booed on Sunday, though knows he has taken dog’s abuse from our own in recent years, much of it unwarranted. The cheers echoing around the ground were for the first 2018 appearance of the Belmullet man who put in such an incredible shift last September.

    Really don’t get why everyone is getting so riled up about dummy teams. It’s not that long since AN Other was the most consistent starter on match days.

    That’s the shtuff Joe Ruane.

  70. Why in Mayo, in here is a fine example is there a massive desire to ostracise those who speak out about management decisions and crikey if you were to be negative about certain players it’s for the hills ya may run . We are not talking about last year’s run which was steeped in luck BTW. We just lost to Galway who played terrible too.

    1.. reasons for drakes inclusion ?

    2.. how many handy frees does mcloughin have to miss before its said this doesn’t work

    3.. why wasn’t James Durcan given some league time if he was in plans for championship

    4.. when Andy/cillian or whoever wins his ball back to goal 30-40 yards out , what is our tactic , why isn’t there a man making a run forward , what is the game plan, what is the logic behind having lots of ball retaining/recycling and then perhaps a wild shot or into the keepers arms. I just don’t get it .

    Two corner backs on two yellows after what 30mins and ya don’t get at them or you don’t put Aos up there for a few mins or Barry moran to nullify the extra man . You’re telling me Galway would of left Aido up there man to man ( better again if they did) people have said it doesn’t work but it’s always taken a lot of attention from the opposition when he does go in.

    . Look at Galways goal , why can’t we just go for it like that a couple of times in a game .

  71. Westport2018 has to start? he needs to get selected on the match day 26 first and looking at that clip he has all the time and room on the ball to kick those points the opposite you get against a blanket defence like Galways.

  72. Mayomagic I would love to see you with a ball outside the D and just kick points from there.If you think there easy scores you obviously havn’t played football! Most players aren’t under that much pressure from that far out cause they havn’t the ability to shoot from distance.Galways blanket sets up at the D.

  73. Good man @ Joe Ruane that’s the stuff. Also @ Liam totally agree with your points on Dr Ed. PS Caff definitely not booed & i’m sticking by team and management.

  74. It’s a bit simplistic to say Shane Nally should be starting based on his performance in a Michael Walsh league game.

  75. My guess is nally doesn’t start because he lacks pace. He’s going for a half back or half forward position which in the modern game speed is essential. I know he was tried in midfield a few times and did ok. I would def have him on the bench but I don’t know what goes on in training.

  76. It wouldn’t matter if it was a kickaround at a birthday party in the back garden. The main thing we know Shane Nally has as his best skill is his 50 yard left boot. Most players will drop the ball short even from 40 yards on most kicks unless they have an unchallenged run up. Galways defence will allow you the ball unchallenged from 40 yards out, we seen it last Sunday and throughout the league. We are overly democractic in who is setup to shoot. We have far too wide a range of shooters in most games, many of them with pretty poor shooting percentages. Over a season your 50% shooters are your guys who you want shooting. It catches up to you if it is just a pick and mix of shooters. Note 50%, will include hit post, dropped short and wides. 50% is actually not that bad. Most players don’t go above 60%.
    If the opposition have to come out and close down Nally as a shooter then the shape of their defence is weakened. Of our starting forward line the last day not a single player was noted for having a long distance kick. Even Cillian drops off in terms of ability to shoot from beyond 40 yards.

  77. Westport2018 never said they were easy scores i said he had time and room to kick them. You might get away at county level to kick one point like that but you will soon be closed down and stopped to kick anymore.

  78. Sean Burke – James Durkan coming in when. It featuring in the league is a strange one but I guess we are not at training.

    Jim McGuinness seems to suggest there is no game plan in terms of forward play…it’s off the cuff stuff.

  79. Yeah, Jim had a great article on some paper earlier in the week, Made so much sense, and had the obvious solutions that Dublin so successfully employ, and that he used himself as manager of Donegal, it made complete sense, and simple to put into practice, yeah he mentioned the word practice,or lack of it in Mayo’s case a few times actually.

  80. I don’t see Nally as a forward but I think he could provide cover at midfield in Tom’s absence.

    Anyone who watched club championship the last 2 years would have seen that James Durcan was a forward that had something about him. Yet management didn’t give him a run last year or in this year’s league. Then he scores 1-5 against Ballina a month ago and management finally call him up. It doesn’t reflect well on some of our fringe forwards that in a matter of weeks Durcan & Hanley moved ahead of them in the pecking order.

  81. @Dave, really I’m saying we are weaker for not having kicking distance in the team. Allows the opposition blanket be 7 yards more compact.

  82. Sorry folks bit of a rant this morning, Why cant Tyrone v Monaghan be shown live on tv? Or in a double header tonight with one of the following, Clare v Limerick, Tipperary v Waterford, Fermanagh v Armagh, surely it couldn’t be that difficult to organise that, all potentially exciting games, with a tv audience appeal, and more importantly, Why can’t we see Mayo’s next game live either? No respect for the viewing fans, or the older people, who for whatever reason can’t get to these games, and rely on tv to watch their team’s, but our state broadcaster has sold out once again to the ravenous greed, of a hungry giant, who once it gets its belly full, and the menu doesn’t appeal anymore,will pull it’s chair back from the table, makes their excuses and leave abruptly, leaving nothing but crumbs, and an expensive menu for the rest of the customers.Ok feel better now, apologies once again.

  83. Now now viking. You know the shower of west Brits above in Montrose love a good oul royal wedding moreso than Gaelic football. Or so it seems.

  84. most of the fringe players especially the forwards have been tried on numerous games and have failed to make any sort of good impression , time to get them off the panel and bring in new blood and give them full games in FBD and League . Time to start Hanley and Durcan in next game and see what they can do

  85. Culmore that won’t happen. Management now know this is the last roll of the dice for them. They will be gone at the end of this campaign no matter what, beaten early or winning Sam Maguire. They should have done the shake up to the starting 15 and panel after the 2016 defeat. They now have to stay with the tried and tested and I’m sure they are picking the best 15 and 26 available to them, why wouldn’t they. There have been some great performances over the years but time waits for no man. When Rochford went to Corofin he dropped their two most senior players O’ Donovan and Comer in the second year after the Castlebar defeat in Tuam. That possibly needed to happen in Mayo. I often read here that new players need to be tried but then most posters still name the same untouchables. A great few years but my feeling is the tide has turned. I hope I’m wrong.

    One final point, there was a funny story on here about Kevin Walsh taking instructions from Pat McDonagh and maybe wearing a Chicken Suit….. well it looks like the Galway county board had the final smile with them securing a mega sponsorship deal over a number of years. It looks like they have got their house in order.

  86. On Ed Coughlan and Aidan O’Shea, here’s a tale from 2013.

    I was in Mayo for the week after the Connacht Final against London. You may recall Aidan had quite a poor game that day, didn’t seem fit and kicked a number of bad wides.

    With the week off why not go up to McHale Park the following Tuesday and sit in on a training session? Yes you could do that back then! With only an hour or so at my disposal, I hit the place around 7pm. Got it wrong of course; there was no one there and someone told me the session didn’t start until 8pm. About to leave, just hanging on really for a minute or two, when Aidan O’Shea came running out on to the pitch. He proceeded to do a few laps. I watched fascinated, and about 10 minutes later Ed Coughlan appeared, complete with stopwatch and clipboard.

    Coughlan, put Aidan through a series of drills, sprints, back pedals, side shuffles, the lot. It was ferocious stuff and he had to take frequent rests; who wouldn’t? It lasted a full hour – on top of the laps he had already done. 8:15 and time to go as the rest of the team arrived for the training session. Aidan would also participate in this.

    Our next game was the quarter final against Donegal. We destroyed them and Aidan had one of his finest games ever.

    The relevance of this for today? Aidan is not fully fit and so we are not getting the best out of him. We are getting a lot, but not 100%

  87. Aidan is the fittest he’s ever been. He was still covering ground in injury time the last day. Aidan doesnt have an impressive 3/4 pace, very few athletes 100kg do. But you could see just how quick he was to close down and get tackles in. He is quick over 20 yards and its all you need.
    Aidan was very effective the last day.

  88. Have to disagree there JP. I’ve been watching Aido in warmups over the past 12 months and he doesn’t/can’t do sprints during these sessions. It may be that his groin problem is still nagging.

    Yes he was effective on Sunday, but my point is, when we have him at full pitch, he’s better again.

  89. “As an eternal optimist, the belief that they will rise again still prevails, no matter how much they try to convince us of otherwise.”

    Hard to argue with that alright.

    Reading a few comments here, it seems like I wasn’t seeing things when Parsons raised his fist to the crowd just as he was heading down the “tunnel”.

  90. @Catcol, teams have finally realized the 30 minute warmups of the past were just killing teams legs in the last 5 minutes.
    Aidan cannot do a strenuous warmup pre-match. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum away from the match. He will never have elite stamina.

  91. Aido has never been fitter then he is now. He’s managed to completely change his body shape over the years. There’s not a pick on him now. I think he’ll be able to play midfield if needs be. Maybe put doc in at no.11 to keep a physical presence there.

  92. On warm ups, Mayo were out on the field at 4:15 in Cusack Park last year warming up. Match started at 5.

    Aido IS an elite athlete. If he has never been fitter why would he be able to play midfield ‘if needs be’? Why not play him at midfield all the time?

  93. Aidan effectively does play midfield regardless of having 11 on his jersey.
    I didn’t say he’s not an elite athlete. The point is that his athleticism is based on speed and power. At 100kg the tradeoff is elite stamina.
    As for warmups several years ago the warmups were long and intense. Have a look at what the teams actually do these days.

  94. I think they went back in again, Catcol, after that early warmup if I’m not mistaken.
    Warm ups definitely seem shorter and it’s good to see.
    I think they peaked in the Jim mcguinness era, those typical hell for leather drills at top speed. Probably worked back then and added their characteristic intensity but I think the pattern of refs tending to add much more stoppage time now is a factor in toned-down warm-ups. Sure weren’t Kilkenny renound for a light puck-around before whistle was blown and lashing into it?

  95. One of the things Mayo actually do is sprinting. All of them do a few sprints up and down. Aidan starts but doesn’t really do them. Why?

  96. To conserve energy for the actual game itself.
    The 2013 final have a look at Aidan pre throw in before the game starts. In my view they got that wrong that year. Aidan had a major sweat on before the game even started.

  97. Aidan looks fit to me. I think he has quite good pace on the front foot but on occasion gets side stepped. This happened in the Galway game and he then ran 40m to make up for it unbalancing Comer in the process.. Keith finished off the job on Comer and we got the kick out. As for midfield I think he could struggle on a McCarthy type but 2 of his best ever performances were v Donegal in 2013 and via the Aussies both in midfield. Awesome in both. The 2013 final both O Sheas were undone by a combination of 23 degree heat and the best 35 minute display of kickout skill anyone is ever going to see past or future. We didn’t need Aidan in midfield when Tom P came back to the panel in the form of his life but he may well now be the answer. Other options are Diarmaid if we win any rounds he’s suspended for, Donie and Lee. Barry, Shane Nally and Coen also in the frame but my #1 midfielder pick is Aido backed up by pacy half forward with Seamie being other the obvious starter there. Against a McCarthy, the solution… play him there for the first half and move to forwards in 2nd. There may be a few other midfielders whose mobility might trouble him e.g. David Moran fully fit or Brian Fenton but not too many other than those.

  98. Shuffly, that was my point exactly. We could afford to move aido to 11 when we had Tom parsons and seamie. That luxury is gone now. One thing we can’t afford is to lose midfield during games. I personally think that Rochford will move Coen to midfield for the majority of matches without Tom with the exception being something like what happened in the ros game last year.

  99. 1) Mayo have never been as poorly prepared for a Championship
    opener. Incorrect, management targeted May 13 allowing for late training start and Dublin based players. One consequence alright was limping through the league which affects confidence but Mayo were doing OK until the red card. The team were patient in build up factoring wind and shawl in 1st half probing for a shot opening but at some point a shot is required which the did, and when a few consecutively miss the target it wobbles confidence. I think we would have handled Galway with wind and 15 players and the analysis would be very difficult.
    2) Sham team-sheet, Ed is correct on this one. IMO the best policy if a team wants to surprise opposition is to name players who management can’t start due to injury. Otherwise it’s a distraction for the players. When a fan favourite like Barrett gets announced it doesn’t sound good to the ears of the player making way.
    3) Caff coaching, maybe some point but 2014 example is from Coughlan / Horan era. Not sure if Ger also being 30+ is back to the same physical condition as prior to his bad injury some time back, if so then by all means he deserves due consideration to play or come on. If not then full back’s no place to hide. He has been a great servant and unfairly treated by some fans but sport can be cruel. Overall league form not a great barometer but fans were afraid of what Comer might do. Barrett not long back did a fairly good job so hard to see Ger starting.
    3) Aido shooting as a minor was superior to now albeit with more room. On Aido developing a right foot for points, Ed probably has a point. Michael Murphy, a similar player is probably not any faster and although his scoring rate has slowed for Donegal, it remains higher than Aido. More 2 footed and better also off his strong foot (albeit Murphy picked more as a forward, Aido more in midfield as young seniors).
    4) Diarmaid conspiracy theory out of order, first straight red I’m aware of for Mayo though the brother’s influence on discipline could be creeping in. I think team mates will be calling out each other on discipline as will management. We lost a potential big advantage in AI last year and lost to Galway lads year from straight red cards and for sure the issue needs general internal discussion. But then we get thickheads on here not too infrequently calling for stuff in games that will definitely guarantee Mayo players sent off.
    5) Mayo home form, fair point until we turn that around.

    The article overall sounds like a job application for Ed as skills coach for an intercounty setup, his success with this partly based on proving himself correct by Mayo losing this year.

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