Monday match reports

Mayo team vs Ros FBD 2014

Photo: Mayo Mick

It’s that time of the week again and there are a few reports in this morning’s nationals on yesterday’s FBD defeat to Roscommon – our first loss to the neighbours, by the way, since this one back in 2009 – to bring to your attention. Here they are: Irish Independent, Irish TimesIrish Examiner.  Photos from yesterday in Ballinlough are available from Mayo Mick and from Sportsfile.

Both the Indo and the Times have post-match quotes from James Horan bemoaning what he called “the crazy stuff” we got up to in the second half, where he said the amount of ball we gave away was “horrendous”. James also pointed to a lack of fitness within the squad and added that “we’ve stuff to look at” before we face the free-scoring Lilywhites in our league opener two weeks from now in Newbridge. That we do.

So after yesterday’s final round of matches, next Sunday’s FBD final will be contested by Roscommon and defending champions Leitrim. That match will be played at a Leitrim venue (where exactly this will be has yet to be confirmed) with a 2pm throw-in. Who do you think will win it?

Who'll win the FBD final?

  • Roscommon (82%, 92 Votes)
  • Leitrim (18%, 20 Votes)

Total Voters: 112

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46 thoughts on “Monday match reports

  1. WJ,
    For me the great unsolved problem remains the forward division and especially the fact that over the last 3 years no one has nailed down the key positions of FF and CHF.

    My own opinion is that Keith Higgins has to remain at CHF. I had long advocated this before the switch was made. It solves the problem of the lack of pace in the forwards in general and Keith has the football skills to distribute accurately. He caused Dublin real problems in the AIF and, for me, the single biggest contributing factor to our loss was his move back to CB. I think we have the CBs to cover for his absence there.

    For FF, Although Alan Freeman can have great games, I don’t think he is a player that oppositions fear. All 3 FFs should be goal scoring threats. I think FF is Andy’s best position. Although not a speedster or overly big he has the footballing brain and finishing skills to finish chances when they are presented. I’d love it if we had an E O’ Gara type with the physical presence and speed that would allow us to play different type of ball in to the FF line but I don’t think we have that available to us. I think the A o’Se at FF thing is a complete non starter.

    Of the others CFs- I don’t think Alan Dllon will be a starter come the championship (could be wrong there of course) so I would try Adam Gallagher in the league as he seems to have the most potential of the new lads. Kevin McLoughlin despite indifferent form last years needs to be kept as if he returns to his real form he is a major asset.

    In the FF Line, Evan Regan and Darren Coen need to be tried with instructions not to be goal shy. What happens ultimately when Cillian comes back we will wait and see. My starting forwards for the Kildare would be.

    Kevin McLoughlin, Keith Higgins, Adam Gallagher
    Darren Coen, Andy Moran, Evan Regan

    It’s not a very big forward unit, but it has speed, mobility and distribution skills and hopefully some real scoring potential.

    Of the others – all of Freeman, Conroy, Varley, Doherty, Feeney, King, Sweeney, B Gallagher etc have a lot to offer but in fairness most of that list have been given their chances but let’s see.

  2. Agree with you Mike on Higgins – He must be kept full time in the forwards to make use of his bursts of speed which no other forward has. There is adequate cover (or there should be) at the back so he doesn’t have to fill a gap whenever there is an injury.
    Not sure I agree with you on Freeman, he looked like he was coming good last year until the mysterious AI final illness.
    Cillian O’Connor will be leader of the attack for the championship. I think he’ll have a big year this year. him and Higgins for me are the only dead certs. McLoughlin has alot to prove after 2 very poor games at the end of last year.

  3. I too agree with you Mike on Higgins at No.11. He is very quick and nimble and would sweep up a lot of the breaking ball around midfield. A good distributor, even at full tilt, and he would get the oppositions half back line turned and carry a threat in a central area, as opposed to knocking balls into the corners as happened in September.
    However, I differ in that I see Freeman as our main threat at full forward. He got better with each game last year, had the Dublin full back in real difficulty and should have been awarded a penalty, was free in front of goal but wasn’t picked out on another occasion and scored one of the points of the championship against Tyrone. The only 2 proper balls he got yesterday he used well and I believe he has the physique, and now, the belief to nail down the No.14 jersey. If Freeman is supplied with good winnable ball and our half forwards are running in towards him, particularly Higgins, then we have a real scoring threat. As opposed to knocking balls down the line and leaving the forward one-on-one to beat his man and score.
    4 of my front 6 would contain Higgins, A. Gallagher, Freeman and O’Connor. Final 2 spots to come from A. Moran, Feeney, B. Gallagher, Conroy and King.

  4. Would agree with you on the half-forward line, if Higgins is to be the CF then we need to play him from now and forget about him as a CB. Think you’re also right re Dillon, think he has been a great servant to Mayo but he hasn’t delivered on either of the last two September Sundays and he’s not getting any younger – an impact sub for me. Gallagher is also worth a shot as he seems to be playing well and we need something new up front – as the Dubs have shown, if they’re good enough they’re old enough.

    I think we should trust Freeman at FF, he had a very good season overall last year and we should give him a chance to build on that. He has a lot of physical strength, can shake off his tackler, can field a high ball and can score goals – his disallowed goal against Tyrone was a top drawer score. His performances up to the final were very good last year and even though he wasn’t having a great game, I believe he was withdrawn too early in the final.

    So I’d go with a FF line of Moran / Freeman / Coen.

  5. Have to say, I think Freeman has class. good hands, can turn and score and is clever in his distribution. He did fine things in each of the games last year; his disallowed goal – unfairly – against Tyrone was sensational. I think he thrives on confidence.

    As to Higgins, I’m in two minds about CHF. He is so great at the back, and his CHF pace can unhinge defences; yet if we find someone, and/or Gallagher(s), Regan and Coen shape up and score this may be enough. Moving him during a game is another option, one that an opposition won’t be that well able to counteract.

  6. Puckout, Psmeller/ ATW – fairly unanimous view on Alan Freeman there. As I said, his talent is not in doubt. He has the size and athleticism to cause real damage.My feeling on this is that all he is lacking is that self belief/confidence to really terrorize full backs (only my guess) If however, he can nail down the FF role permanently it would solve a huge problem for us and nobody would be happier than me. Let’s see what James thinks in the league. As you mentioned, Andy can operate effectively at CF anyway.

  7. diehard, I don’t know!! He certainly looked lively yesterday kicking 2 lovely points and as the man beside me said, he looked sharper than he did back in the All Ireland.
    However, I don’t think he the size to play full forward or the pace to play in the corners. Maybe somewhere in the half forward line but, to be honest, I think we need to freshen up the attack with new faces. If we are lucky enough to get to Croke Park again this year and have Dillion, Moran and McLoughlin taking to the field in the starting 15, well, I think sooner or later we can expect the same outcome as the last 2 Septembers 🙁
    I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the lads as they have given more than most of us will ever give to the cause, but, selecting a front 6 where there are major question marks (either form, fitness or tactically) over half of that attack would be madness. I really hope I am proved wrong.

  8. Some excellent posts above that really address the shortcomings that have been our downfall in recent seasons. I too hope that Higgins is moved forward but it has to be on a permanent basis with no reverting to defence when a problem arises. We have plenty of cover on the bench to address issues at the back. I suspect however that James has Cillian earmarked for the No.11 shirt on his return so we may be seeing Keith at 10 or 12.
    I would be in agreement with Pebblesmellers’ assessment above.
    Leaving our forward troubles aside for a moment I think we have two further issues that we need to look at. When we hit Croke Park midfield play is not the same as we are encountering elsewhere as kickouts are disguised, accurate & rapid-fire. We may have to think of having a more mobile box to box player in there. I have often wondered if we would get more from Aidan by introducing him as an impact sub into midfield rather than starting him. This would also make more sense from a card perspective.
    Whenever you hit Croker you rarely survive if you concede more goals than you score.
    In the AIF it was 2 goals to 1. Although I taped the final it is still too painful to watch & my recollection from my perch high in the Cusack was that the two Dublin goals killed us. The first one got Dublin into the game when it looked like we could keep them to just a few points for the entire game & the second gave them the momentum to push on.
    Both goals were handpassed … too easy in my opinion.
    Players finishing with their hands need to be radically physicalised !

  9. I hope ye are not forgetting Carolan or Feeney when he becomes available later on in the year
    Feeney can cover for backs or forwards and would be a useful player to have on the bench
    I think that Dillon and McLouglin should not start agaimst Kildare
    Give some of those players already mentioned a chance with minimal changes in the backs

  10. Richie Feeney was voted players player of the year for Mayo and as far as I remember he also got two MOTMs in the tough club games (against I think both Brigids and Corofin) . Must be worth a place on team now if he keeps that sort of form up.

  11. My full forward line v Kildare would be Coen, Freeman and Moran with Adam Gallagher, Higgins and McLoughlin in the half line. I agree that Higgins should be considered a fixture on the 40, similarly with Freeman at FF for the league at least. After Kildare form should be the decider for places.
    Come championship time I would hope Cillian is in the corner as I think that that is where he is most effective.I would also expect to see Freeman and Andy Moran complete the line. The half line is more open but hopefully Kevin Mc will have recovered his from. If he does he will be an automatic choice and Higgins will have made the 40 his own.
    Regards midfield I do not see any point leaving Aiden O’Shea as an impact sub. Hopefully he can learn from last years final as he is not inherently immobile. With Barry Moran, brother Seamus, Jason Gibbons and hopefully Tom Parsons there will be plenty of cover for the position.

  12. Don’t think so. I’m nearly certain Eoghan O’Reilly got it v Corofin and Alan Feeney v Brigids.

  13. Hey Pebbles,

    feel we need to be careful not to underestimate the leadership qualities and the kind of self confidence that Andy brings to the team, something that a lot of the others lack, I agree he lacks the size for full forward and maybe is a bit short of pace but his ability to take a score and pick a pass puts him ahead of many of the others IMO.

    As for McLoughlin I think his form dipped a lot last year but if he can get back to the level he was playing at the year before, he’s a shoe-in IMO. I

  14. Pebblesmeller, you are right about his size and pace but he is a very clever player and he has the knack of creating space for himself. He also scored 1-2 or 1-3 in the final which isn’t bad by any standards. I also think he will be much better this year as he puts his cruciate injury fully behind him.
    I think McLoughlin is a class player who suffered a slump. He will come good again.
    My line up would be:

    Aidan O Shea Seamus O Shea Keith Higgins Barry Moran (4 midfielders!)
    Kevin McLoughlin Andy Moran
    Evan Regan Cillian O Connor
    It is a bit unorthodox but I think we need the 2 O Shea’s AND Barry Moran on the field. I think a system could be devised where all 4 could work together allowing AOS go on bursting runs through the middle without worrying too much about covering back at MF. (I think that is what screwed up his attacking game in the final). Similarly for Keith …..running from deep he would cause serious headaches.
    It would also create space up front in the scoring zone if we are good enough to exploit this. I hope Evan Regan can come good and prove to be the kind of player who can put up big scores……if not then Freeman is there.
    One thing is for sure we need to be bold and innovative if we are going to win an All Ireland.

  15. We are still going long periods in games without scoring which is a worry. The fact we have had only one collective training tells me too that we could be slow out of the blocks in the league. That’s said patience is needed….this team while young has a lot of milage put up on the clock. Staying in division 1 and unearthing some scoring potential would have to be seen as the minimum

  16. I’m expecting Andy to have a massive year tbh, he looks leaner and meaner than ever too.

    My ideal championship six would be.

    10- Adam Gallagher ( if he continues to show well in the league)

    11- Keith Higgans.

    12- Lee Keegan.

    13- Andy Moran.

    14- Cillian o Connor.

    15- Evan Regan.

    Freeman doesn’t score enough , I make out we scored 15-85 in the championship last year with Freeman’s return at a miserable 1-7 from play and 1-2 of that was v London. That is not good enough for what is needed for an inside man, for him not to tag on a few points v Galway for example is just not good enough. And furthermore this is the example that defines our failure to win on the big day because our half back line cannot get the freedom to get the scores they were getting all year because of defensive duties against higher quality forwards compared to earlier rounds.

    Tomas o Se esque bursts from half back line at speed to convert the odd point look great but they cannot but your defining tactic , we need scoring forwards to get to the next level.

    During the league I’d still try the likes of doc and maybe Conroy but I’m sorry I’d have no room for at least three of the better known names.

  17. I see that Evan Regan is continuing his scoring exploits, 4 points again NUIG, 3 from play. I now make that 4-19 in just over four games, he only played for 40 minutes yesterday. I reckon its fingers, toes etc. etc. crossed that he is called into the senior squad in the coming weeks/months….

  18. Just read that in a report now, he really is on fire. Natural forwards are so unique imo , you can train average footballers to be fantastic defenders but you cannot train them to be natural scoring forwards.

  19. Speaking of scoring forwards, I wonder what was the story with Darren Coen, he was named in the team to play Roscommon but didn’t start, was he injured or what?

  20. Reasons to be positive: Looking forward to the 2014 Season….

    We have four current all-stars:
    Keith Higgins, Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle, Aidan O’Shea

    These players were also worthy of all-stars or could have won one too:
    Rob Hennelly, Ger Cafferkey, Donal Vaughan, Seamus O’Shea, Cillian O’Connor

    Former all-stars (numerous man of the match awards won)
    Andy Moran, Alan Dillion

    2012 unlucky not to win an all-star
    Kevin McLoughlin

    2013 very solid performances:
    Tom Cunniffe, Chris Barret

    Very Talented:
    David Clarke, Kenneth O’Malley, Alan Freeman, Michael Conroy, Cathal Carolan, Richie Feeney, Barry Moran, Jason Gibbons

    Talented
    Enda Varley

    Very Hard Working:
    Jason Doherty, Kevin Keane

    High Potential:
    Brendan Walsh, Keith Rogers, Brendan Harrison, David Drake, Shane McHale, Stephen Coen, Evan Regan, Darren Coen, Adam Gallagher, Diarmuid O’Connor, Tom King, Brian Gallager, Conor Loftus, Liam Irwin, Tommy Conroy, Mickey Sweeney

    I hope that I didn’t leave anyone out, in fairness, we have a very strong squad to pick from, getting the mix, balance right is going to be the hardest part, good luck to all….

  21. Freeman may have scored ‘only’ 1-7 but he made 2 of the goals against Galway and had a gem of a goal against Tyrone disallowed. He is one of the best men in the country under the high ball and secures it well so I would be reluctant to rule him out as he has a lot more to offer.
    Kevin Mc may have had a poor year but he had to do a sight of work on his own and never had enough support , he gets on an awful lot of ball and is a serious worker but he needs players ready to offload to, he is also one of the classiest footballers in the country.
    There are many good posts above but most seem to put all the emphasis on the forward line ( and rightly, we do need more from our forwards) but an awful lot of our problems last year stemmed from midfield, when we lost it there, we could never get good ball into the forwards whereas, when we won midfield we did get the wins.
    Another problem that gets barely mentioned is our poor decision making in the backline that gives up ‘soft’ goals and are guilty too often , after securing possession, delivering it straight back to an opposing player, errors like these have to be eradicated if we are to push on this year.
    Though I would have loved us to be unbeaten through the year, yesterdays defeat could be what’s needed to stop us getting ahead of ourselves.
    The above said, I do believe that we are lucky to have probably the best squad and set of future players in the game today and who will not be seen at their best until the ground gets firmer and the challenge greater, there’s a lot of class there now and all that’s needed is to field the best side suited to what we face on the day and that is in the hands of JH and DB. etc.
    MaighEo Abú

  22. Might not be right about the Brigids game but according to Mayo news Richie was MOTM for Corofin one. It’s neither her nor there but having seen Castlebar in action in county final and in the cub games he has been the stand out consistent player in my opinion.

  23. Great to see ye all back , I was in Ballinamore last January when we lost to Leitrim and was not too worried by the result or performance then and not too worried now. I remember my biggest disappointment then was Evan Regan not playing as that was my main reason for going down. The lads were just back from holiday and looked unfit, just like now. Forget fitness tests in January . Maybe a breath test would be more in order.
    Looking forward to a great year on this site, if FBD can generate so much good comment.

  24. Gallagher,Regan should be very busy with their colleges and U21 team over the next few months if they don’t get much of run out during NFL its unlikely they will be starters come championship time.

    O’Connor out until March i think, which forward is going to step up during the NFL and score what he normally does? not sure about starting two defenders as forwards either. A fit Andy Moran should be a big plus to the forward line.

  25. JJ, agree with all you say here, the search for ‘marquee’ forwards is glossing over the fact that basically the 2 all irelands were lost through the coughing up of 2 soft goals and issues at midfield…still need to add to the forward line but all areas of the pitch need tightening up

  26. I take your opint about Freeman, but, what was the tally of scores he created? He destroyed the Galway and Donegal full back lines and set up countless scores. If the chances are not created the scores cant be got.

  27. Freeman has the FF spot nailed down for me. He has the hands, both feet, eye for a goal, and overall intelligence to keep the number 14 jersey for the year.

    Best FF in Mayo by a long shot and probably the worst decision JH ever made was taking him off for Conroy in the final.

  28. Yes my 2014 Cairde Mhaigh Eo card arrived this morning, together with a voucher for a new jacket and a ticket for the Dublin match on 29th March – lower Hogan Stand. So full steam ahead!

  29. That’s a nice piece of categorisation Hopespringseternal.

    Agree with all who are in the Very Talented category, but would include also:

    Jason Doherty – on form he can bag goals and was my top player in the league last year – outstanding in the February game against Dublin

    High Potential: Danny Kirby, Danny Geraghty, Eoghan O’Reilly, Darragh Doherty, Michael Hall, and Cian Hanley, still to return after those Monaghan bastards busted his shoulder.

  30. Thanks catcol, yeah in fairness, Jason Doherty was banging in goals for fun a couple of seasons ago in the league, he was very impressive for DIT in last year’s winning run in the Sigerson cup as well. Also with those names that you have added, it just goes to show that there is a lot of talented footballers in Mayo. When James Horan was asked what he would like for Christmas, he said that he would like to have “A button or a gadget that you could use to make sure that all the players were fit and healthy and ready to perform to their full potential all the time”, according to the Mayo News……… Surely to god we will have more luck this year, from an injuries point of view!

  31. Cian Hanley is still a minor in 2014 so he will hardly be involved with the seniors this year, great future prospect though!

  32. Have to agree Seanod. Freezer was causing all kinds of problems for them, still can’t fathom that decision! Shocking really.

    IMO he has the FF position nailed, that is of course providing everybody behaves as grown ups when selecting the team.

  33. how could we have won that all Ireland last year no1 loosing freeman no2moving back Higgins no3 leaving a osea on and the biggest problem of all our full back cannot catch a high ball over his head because hes to easily pushed out of the way in other words not physical enough if u look at Kerry when daragh o sea was playing how many times did we se darragh on goal line plucking them of the line aiden dident go forward once in final dident break up one attack never caught a ball in side our 14 makes u wonder what he did do exactly I think the man of the match against Donegal went to his head I think if he doesent start performing consistently in league he needs to be given a reality check. id have shamy on my name sheet before him every time. that’s my opinion we will see the men from the boys this year.

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