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Galway 0-12 Mayo 2-14: Jason’s goal burst seals easy win

In his pre-match piece in today’s Sunday Times, Michael Foley said that the fortunes of both counties “have rarely dipped so low”.  Whatever about this being a fair assessment of our current standing in the game, Galway certainly lived up to this billing today when we beat them with as much ease as we’d done in the corresponding fixture in Castlebar last year.

Our supporters in the sparse attendance at Tuam Stadium this afternoon would surely have gone home happy in the knowledge that our curve appears to be an upward one under James Horan and that this summer we should be well placed to atone for last year’s wretched championship campaign. The neighbours would, however, have departed knowing that they’re showing no signs as yet that their tailspin is over.  They were truly abysmal today and we beat them without really having to leave second gear.

Our winning margin was all of eight points but it could easily have been twice that.  The last score we got – an Aidan O’Shea free – came with 10 minutes still left on the clock and Galway then went on to land four unanswered points and so put a gloss of respectability on the final scoreline.

Ultimately, the number of points we won by isn’t as important as the fact that we did go out and win today.  While I don’t think anyone is too panicked about how this league campaign has started, if we’d found ourselves on a single point with three matches played and a few tough contests still to come (notably against Dublin and Cork), our days in Division One would surely have been numbered.  I know league success isn’t what James Horan will be measured on but I’m equally sure that relegation wouldn’t have been top of his to-do list either.

Anyway, we did win and we won handsomely.  Unlike the matches against Down and Kerry, we started this one fully switched-on and had most of the possession in the opening ten minutes.  We did nothing with all that ball, though, as our forward movement – a mixture of inaccurate foot passes and too many short handpasses – left a lot to be desired.

When Galway finally got some forward momentum of their own, they quickly made it pay in the form of three unanswered points.  That seemed to provoke us into a reaction, with Alan Dillon and Andy Moran pointing in quick succession to get us off the mark.

I was a bit concerned at this stage about our looseness at the back – where Alan Feeney was on yellow as early as the third minute – and these concerns were heightened when Cummins was put clean through but Robert Hennelly made a super save to deny him.  Armstrong pointed the resultant ’45, though, to restore Galway’s two-point advantage.

Dillon and Armstrong then traded frees (I thought the one given to us for a free on Andy was of the soft variety) as our ongoing inability to to close down the home team’s forwards made it look as if the afternoon would continue to be a difficult one for us.  Then, however, the game took a different direction.

The first sign that the match was on an altered trajectory was when Aidan Campbell – whom I thought did very well today – was put through and his fierce shot was superbly turned over the bar by the Galway ‘keeper Padraic Lally.  Soon after, debutant Jason Doherty collected the ball forty yards out and raced through the heart of the Galway defence before dispatching it emphatically to the net.  Another soft free, this time for a foul on Doherty, was popped over by Dillon and suddenly we were a goal to the good.

Another Armstrong free and a second point from play by Bergin cut the gap back to the minimum but we then closed out the half with a neat point from Kevin McLoughlin and another free from Dillon.

A three-point lead facing into the wind didn’t look to be a huge advantage but it didn’t take us long after the restart to double this lead.  Kevin McLoughlin got his second of the day to get us going, Campbell pointed a free following a foul on Doherty after he’d been cleverly played in by a quick Campbell pass and then Dillon tapped over a 14-yarder after Aidan O’Shea was fouled.

We’d started to make a few changes too, with Cathal Hallinan replacing the booked Alan Feeney at half-time while Tom Parsons came on for James Kilcullen with around 15 minutes played in the second half.  Soon after Jason Doherty was played in with just the ‘keeper to beat and he slipped the ball into the net to put the result beyond doubt.  For good measure, the Burrishoole man then pointed to stretch our lead to ten.

You could sense that Galway were losing the will to go on at this stage as further points from Campbell and McLoughlin – his third in a sparkling performance at wing-forward – put us all of twelve points clear, with Galway still to score in the second half.  Sean Armstrong finally did so with 13 minutes to go but this point was answered by an Aidan O’Shea free, in what proved to be our final score of the day with ten minutes to go.

Galway dominated those last ten minutes as three points from Bane (one from a free and two from play) and one by Bergin cut our victory margin back to eight at the end.  In racing terms, though, we won this one pulling up.

We had a fair few good performers today.  Robbie Hennelly was again excellent between the posts and provided further proof that he’s more than ready to challenge all-comers for the position.  While the backs were loose enough early on, we shut up shop effectively when it mattered in the second and third quarters and I thought Ger Cafferkey – who made a superb goal-preventing block late on – had his best day so far at centre-back. Midfield was okay but no more than okay against a mediocre Galway challenge in this sector.

The forwards, though, showed significant improvement compared to the last day.  Aidan Campbell was always in the thick of things, while Kevin McLoughlin raided with effect on the other wing.  Andy Moran was his usual busy self while Alan Dillon put in a better shift than he’d done against Kerry. Aidan O’Shea still had trouble getting hold of the ball but at least today the fouls on him (and he’s a players that gets fouled quite a bit) were rewarded with frees that produced scores.

Man of the Match, though, was unquestionably Jason Doherty who marked his competitive debut for the county with an eye-catching 2-1 haul.  Through his performances at under-age and third level, the Burrishoole man has shown he has a keen eye for goal and it’s great to see him bring this kind of form to senior inter-county level.

So, it was a good afternoon’s work for us today in Tuam.  We’re now up to fourth in the table – with Monaghan, Kerry, Armagh and Galway all below us – and we can be happy enough with how things are shaping up at the minute.  Another solid performance the weekend after next at home to Armagh would help us to build nicely on that.

Mayo: Robert Hennelly; Tom Cunniffe, Alan Feeney, Chris Barrett; Richie Feeney, Ger Cafferkey, James Burke; Ronan McGarrity, James Kilcullen; Aidan Campbell (0-3, 2 frees), Alan Dillon (0-5, 4 frees), Kevin McLoughlin (0-3); Aidan O’Shea (0-1, free), Andy Moran (0-1), Jason Doherty (2-1). Subs: Cathal Hallinan for Alan Feeney, Tom Parsons for Kilcullen, Peadar Gardiner for Burke, James Moran for Campbell, Lee Keegan for Cunniffe.

Comments

  1. East Cork Exile says:

    a good win – it had to be a win to stay up, we should now be targeting Armagh and Monaghan as two more wins to stay up. Anything after that is a bonus. Well done lads

  2. remember51 says:

    good win lads. Jesus its good to beat Galway handy. Jason Doherty has arrived. Great to see a forward with an eye for goal. With Alan Freeman, Andy, Alan, AOS, Killer, Varley, campell, surely we can score around 14-15 pts a match. Our defence looks good. Tight and tough. Goalie is good, could be great. Midfield needs work but with a system in place could be a strong area yet. The dubs match will be a good test.

  3. Just in the door. Fair play to Horan, the work ethic is up and that’s all we ask. Feeney at right half back was very good. Indeed all over every body worked.A bit concerened with the loss of concentration towards the end. Marred a solid display.

  4. I actually thought McGarrity was very good but that Galway won a lot of breaking ball around the middle. Kilcullen did ok and found Andy Moran really well with a few well placed kicks in the first half.
    McLoughlin was also excellent at LHF and his run through the defence in the second half was a delight to watch. Three points from play is pretty good.
    There has been a lot of talk about Aidan O Shea recently. I think it is lack of confidence and the intense pressure that seems to be on him. He was better today and I think that if we are patient with him he will come good for us – he is still very young and needs minding for another while. We in Mayo can be very hard on young promising players and the danger is of writing off the likes of Aidan too soon. Patience!

  5. A response to onthe road. I thought feeney should have been taken off before half time!!! Bergin kicked 2 pts from play and Feeney had givin away 2 frees that were scored as well. He was a different player in the 2nd half, when he started playing Bergin from in front. Probably a good job I,m not the manager!!! Good win. A lot of positives. Galway brutal. Could Be a different story, come the 26th of June!!

  6. brighton811 says:

    Have we found a foward that actually knows where the net is? Well done lads.

  7. Good performance yesterday, a bit concerned with the ball been kicked short into the keepers hands, hate to see that. The feeneys, barrett, campbell, mc loughlan, doherty i thought all played well. A win now against armagh in 2 weeks time and we should be nearly safe enough in div1.

  8. Fws looked good and I thought moving AM to FF was a good switch as he did well there. Always out in front of his man and layed off the ball well. And Mr doherty took his opportunities with aplomb.
    1/2 fw line still needs work though. Still not convinced about A Dillon. Will persist with him but next 2 matches will tell the difference about his class. But on plus K McLoughlin at wing fw looks a good prospect. If he can perform there to same extent next day that’s great.
    Midfield seems steady enough and backs were good although it has to be pointed out that Galway fws were shocking especially in second half. No match for pace or strength against us. Tom C found Amrstrong a little difficult to deal with I thought. galway have small fws who go down easliy and they will win freesn off soft refs. Cunniffe needs to learn not to run into the fw every time like a sprinter, as when he falls over then he automatically gets a free.
    No point geting over excited. Galway were abysmal. although that’s not our fault ! A win is a win is a win and the points will be invaluable to us.

  9. maigheolad says:

    Its hard to gauge how well we are as has already been metioned above Galway were brutal and to be honest they at the moment do not look a threat at all for the championships come the summer.

    However in saying that its a good performance and 2 points on the board which should help the confidence.

    Armagh next at home and a chance for another 2 points and to build on this result.

    Well done lads.

  10. Good win 5 in a row against Galway.This has as much to do with how far Galway have gone back as it has to do with our own improvement though.
    Having said that I like the way we defend this year compared to recent times.The real test of our defence will come against the Dubs though ,with their eye for goal.
    Great to see Aiden O `Shea improving with every game.He seems to be more confident than he had been and, as another guy said, he will draw fouls with his sheer size.He`s a huge man and as strong as a horse so he wont be pushed off the ball easily and I for one am glad to see James Horan giving him game time.With Freeman and Varley to come back and after the display Jason Doherty gave on sunday there will be a top class foreward line ready for the summer.
    The only concerns I`d have is will midfield be able to supply them with enough quality ball to do the damage.The other thing is where are we going to get a free taker that can score consistently from 50 yards out.We haven`t replaced Maurice Sheridan.
    Anyway I suppose Rome was`t built in a day and things are a lot better than they were this time last year.You`re doing good lads keep it up!

  11. Saw the game again on TG4 and a few things jumped out.
    1. Our defending in the first half was only average. Galway really should have had two goals in that half – this would have put a different complexion on the scoreboard. I’m still not 100% convinced we have No 3 and 6 fully sorted. Alan Feeney had trouble in the first half and we were lucky not to concede more.
    2. What happens when Keith Higgins returns from Oz and what about Donal vaughan and Trevor Howley? There is going to be ferocious competition for places and you would imagine that would be a good thing and it is. However, do they offer options at 3 and 6? Vaughan could well be a 6 and so could Higgins against a smaller CHF but Trevor has been tried here before with limited success.
    Or do we need to change our thinking and have 8 or 9 defenders who are interchangeable as regards positions depending on the circumstances and the particular opposition in particular?

  12. No excuses. Knowledgeable Galway football folk don’t make them. Ye were good partcularly for the middle third of the match and No. 15 Doherty showed well. I was in Newry for our match against Down and last Sunday against ye. In Newry we fought like tigers which was missing last Sunday. From our perspective as we are coming from a low base i am not expecting massive strides this year but believe the current mgt will make us diffcult to beat come high summer. A win or two in the qualifiers (our nemesis) would help confidence as undoubtely we have some good talent on the fringes.That will be a start and a case of building from there. A Mayo mate of mine suggested 2 months ago that he felt Mayo were slightly ahead of Galway in terms of progressing from the horrors of 2010. I agreed then and agree now but feel we will be better come June 26th. I suppose the question for ye is will Mayo’s progress continue. Signs are good.

  13. Thanks for that KC. Galway in summer (especially against us as invariably you’re up for giving us one) will definitely be a different proposition, however the remainder of the league plays out for you. I’d agree that we’re a bit further down the rehab road at the moment but the real test for us will be how we do in the championship: under previous management great springs gave way to lousy summers (and that wasn’t just the weather) and that has to change under the new lads.

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