Tom Cunniffe our MOTM from yesterday

Tom Cunniffe

Photo: Mayo Mick

Right, the votes (all 212 of them) have been cast and with a resounding 36% of all ballots the clear winner in the poll for our Man of the Match from yesterday’s game is Tom Cunniffe. The Castlebar Mitchels man was superb throughout at Hyde Park, with his rock-solid performance in the corner contributing greatly to the side’s hard fought victory.

Andy Moran, who made a very telling contribution off the bench in the second half, also makes it to the podium, finishing second in the poll with 17% of the votes, just ahead of Ger Cafferkey – who put in a resolute performance at full-back – on 15%. Cillian O’Connor, who incidentally was named MOTM by The Sunday Game last night, came fourth in the poll, attracting 12% support.

Congrats to all and here’s to another set of stirring performances on July 13th.

43 thoughts on “Tom Cunniffe our MOTM from yesterday

  1. I’m okay with that…. Tom sure gives it 100%, he deserves it. I was also delighted to see Ger have a good match.

  2. Well deserved also delighted Andy done so well in the voting. Looking forward to more sterling performances on the thirteenth and hopefully Andy and Alan will be on earlier also that what ever Horans problem with Feeney he puts behind him and stop embarrassing him either put him on and give him a chanceto show what he can do or leave him on the bench. So onwards and upwards from now on

  3. Well deserved for Cunniffe alright .

    Anyone read Liam MacHale in the Western ? looks to be setting himself up as the Johnno to Horans Maughan.. or as the Maughan to Horan’s Johnno!

    A very harsh reading of the match imo , but then there will be many who will agree with it.

  4. I would go along with Cuniffe with Cillian and Andy not far behind.

    What really grinds my gears is this notion from Roscommon fans that they are going to dominate for 5-6 years and we will not win a Connacht title for……..years. I don’t know where they dream this stuff up.

  5. Alot of Rossies are thinking they are going to be contesting All-Irelands in the next 2-3 years, now that may come to pass, but i think they forget how poor we were yesterday especially in the first half, had we converted half of our wides tally things would be different. I think Roscommons real test will be in the qualifiers. Its easy to get themselves revved up for Mayo in the Hyde, but the likes of Laois away could be a different story. We’ll know how good they are then.

  6. Agree with Mary, James has got to stop putting Ritchie on with no time left. Is he aware of how often he has done this in big games? Ritchie deserves a fair chance.

    The half forward is up for grabs and surely Ritchie deserves a start there. If Chris Barrett performs well in training I can see Keith Higgins back at 12. Still have no one to break the line at pace like him.
    Regarding Ros I see that Mayo’s average age was lower than that of Ros so maybe Mayo aren’t over the hill yet.

  7. Rossies never cease to amuse me in talking themselves up. While I think they have potential, realising that is another job altogether, as only we know.

    Even the qualifiers could be tough for them. They were pretty awful in the first half in terms of creativity, and could struggle with much expected, especially away from home. Murtagh looks a class act, but wait till the Tyrone’s of the world start marking him seriously and they will need more where that came from.

    Cunniffe a class apart last Sunday BTW. Has that way of making his presence felt that spreads throughout the team – and the opposition!

  8. Well done Tom Cunniffe, a worthy winner for sure and a great example to any defenders on how to defend without conceding frees. And if there was any doubts in peoples minds about the Mayo lads not having the hunger for another assault on Sam, then Tom’s performance on Sunday as indeed the character shown in the last ten minutes by all the team, should surely dispel those doubts right away. And as has been said already, the players have learned a lot more about themselves from that match than the one sided affair of a year ago…..

  9. Folks it is James Horans perogative to bring on whomever he likes when he likes .

    He can bring Richie on after 3 minutes to replace an injured AOS, or with 2 mins left to run down the clock or not at all !

    people worrying about richies treatment ? why does richie deserve the kid gloves and no one else ?
    managers treat players harshly , thats how it works.

    time to catch a grip now folks , if ye are looking for a stick to beat the manager with you can do better than that , we all know he is not infallible , but this one flummuxes me.

  10. Roger, I think your reaction is a bit OTT. I’m a huge admirer of Horan and he can do what he wants. And I’m not defending Ritchie either, it’s just the amount of times I’ve seen Ritchie coming on with zero time remaining is amazing.

    If I wanted to have a go at Horan there are far bigger sticks but lets not go there again…

  11. I hear you puckout but i have to say its richie this and richie that on facebook and on here as well, but you are right I should know better than to react !
    I’d dont know Richie from Adam but i reckon he would like to fight his own battles as well rather than become this Cause Celebre.

  12. Iv kept quiet on this whole Richie Feeney issue, as someone said on this, he seems to get better every game he doesnt play. People forget that Richie is 31 years old, its new blood we need. Granted he is a good player, but he reminds me of former Man Utd player John O’Shea, played in numerous positions through out his career due to his versatility, but never actually nailed down one out an out position to excell in. Ritchie is similar, and this is not his fault but thats the way it is. He hasnt the pace or strength we need and lacks the creativity of Moran and Dillon. I don’t want to seem harsh on him because i still think there is a role for him in the team. Maybe as a sweeper to close out a tight game?

    People are being too harsh on JH, he is trying to ensure we stay at this top table for years to come by blooding young lads such as Conor and Diarnuid and i personally hope he continues with them on the 13th of July.

  13. That game will be a lot more beneficial to Mayo, going forward, than if they won pulling up ,like last year.
    I believe the ball has to be moved quicker into the full forward line, when half backs/mid fielders/half forwards, get possession they should deliver quick direct ball into the full forward line, and cut out the solo and hop, give it quick, as inside line are making early runs( hopefully).
    It is very hard to defend against this play and it gives forwards room to score from all angles.
    The team that finished the game ( with Alan Freeman), would be my idea of our strongest team, with Jason Gibbons coming in at mid field and Aiden O Shed in at centre forward.
    We will have a strong bench, as well, with, Barry Moran, Tom Parsons, Richie Feeney, Chris Barrett Darren Coen and of course Gavin Duffy.
    All in all, I think the team and panel are stronger this year than they were last year.
    Looking forward to a good Connacht Final, with good football, not blanket defence.

  14. I thnk it is very wrong to be critizing Richie Feeney by some of you and James Horan should decide one way or the whether he wants him or not and not be making a scapegoat out of him all the lad wants is to play for his county and if he deemes he is not good enough so be it.I also think that James should employ a forwards coach as we dont have a clue what to do on any given day.It is very frustating to watch as we owned the ball in the first half and Roscommon should have been dead and buried by half time.Roscommon brought in Gary Wynne a former player to coach the backs this was a good management decision by Evans and we should consider doing something similar for our forwards this would take a bit of pressure of the manager.As Paudie O Shea once said it would take asmall grain of sand to tip the scales in our favour.James Horan has proved he is a good manager and he should avail of any expertise to help cross the line
    This team and James deserves to win an All IIreland and time os running out.A phone call to C McDonald or indeed K
    McStay could do the trick.

  15. Phil or
    You could have Kieran Mac, mcStay, Brolly, Spillane and o Rourke coaching the forwards but if the opposition have 13 men behind the ball it is damn hard to score as we found out to our cost against Donegal in 2012. The blanket defence is really hard to deal with and is an excellent defensive strategy. Dublin found this out against Donegal in 2011 and it is the tactic that is most likely to beat the dubs this year – whoever can apply it effectively. It’s mostly down to us being able to squeeze a few more scores than they can in a low scoring dower contest. The only way to beat it is:
    A. Run at them, break the tackle and win frees
    B. Kick long range points
    C. Have really fast agile forwards who can slip past men in tight situations and get a shot off quickly
    D. A combination of the above plus a bit of magic from one or two
    One thing is for certain if we face a blanket defence again we cannot allow the opposition to break out quickly and score goals.

    We had two really bad wides – McLoughlins and AOS the rest were kicks from distance or under pressure. The winning scores we got were from distance.

  16. Good idea Philor, however i dont think its somthing we can coach in to our players that quick it comes with confidence and untill Andy came on we didnt have anyone with that confidencce to kick our scores. This has always been a problem for Mayo that needs to be looked at

  17. Nail on the head diehard. Scores from distance has been a major problem for Mayo for a long time. It was good to see a few of them at the weekend but it’s something we need a lot more of, even in games where we’re not facing the blanket (e.g. second half of last year’s All-Ireland final).

  18. Too true – the decisive point in last year’s All-Ireland was scored from at least fifty yards out by Ger Brennan off his weaker right foot.

  19. Agree with the above comments about Roscommon – they really don’t look like a team with too much going for them. Once they are taken away from Hyde Park they will be easy pickings for a decent Division 1 or 2 team in the qualifiers. Always tough to beat in Roscommon though, especially with a wet ball, a windy day and a pitch that’s more akin to a meadow.

    Most of their 06 minors have disappeared from the scene and they haven’t won a national title since so I really don’t know where they get their endless optimism from. They’ve been a ‘coming team’ for the best part of 10 years now. The one standout player they have coming through is Diarmuid Murtagh but he will be a marked man from now on after his impact on Sunday. They will probably be the second best team in Connacht going forward and will probably eke out a Connacht title or two since we are unlikely to win every year but talk of them as future All Ireland contenders is well off the mark.

  20. The article in the Irish Post link above is pretty much bang on the money as well. Far too many on here and around the county who don’t know how lucky they have had it this last four years.

  21. I was in the Hyde on Sunday & have watched the recording since.
    First the good news. The best possible result was achieved … a narrow victory with no further injury or suspension issues … a dampening of expectations was achieved.
    Firstly I have to say that the Rossie’s were well revved up for us, had a workable game plan & would have provided similar problems to any other of the contenders on their own patch.
    Now for the bad news. We had a mountain of possession in the first half, were totally secure at the back & scored 4 points. We couldn’t get any cohesion upfront. Our newcomers whilst good at getting on the ball didn’t know what to do with it once in possession … contrast this with the experience of Andy Moran & Alan Dillon in the second half … remember the quick free from Moran to McLoughlin that eventually won us the match … simple things done quickly and well. We showed great battling qualities towards the end when the fat was in the fire with the lethal combination between Andy Moran & Lady Luck being most noteworthy. Long may their relationship continue.
    Looking forward we now have a maximum of 4 matches to aim at & we need to be very focussed … the match, the match & nothing but the next match.

  22. I would agree we badly need people who can take these long range scores. We are simply too predictable with the running game plan.

    In a game like the last day with the heavy blanket Ros ha so many men deep that even first time ball into the FF line was not enough as by the time the fw gathered it there were 2 or 3 men on him and more chasing back.

    Maybe it’s possible to recycle it back out quicker and then have the space on the 45 metre line to go for a score but we simply need guys who can score from distance. This is another reason why I would have Feeney on board as I think he is one of the few that has that ability.

    No disrespect to Doherty. He scored a great one from distance in the 2nd minute but there were no other attempts from him bar that. Yet he was left on for over 70 minutes.

  23. First of all I think that debate is good and all anyone wants is for the team to succeed.
    I personally think Richie has a lot to offer but that is my view. There may be a place for D.O.Connor and Conor O Shea too but I wonder why they didn’t get more time in the league. Some posters talk of building for the future but frankly I was hoping we could do something this year …a last mammoth effort so to speak.
    One thing that worries me is the reaction by some posters to any criticism calling people disloyal, cynical etc. As adults we can agree or disagree with a selection without being harangued or belittled. Those people who just want us to support everything James does without raising questions….well that is not healthy dialogue.
    I admire James Horan and everyone of the players. They give everything for the cause. That does not mean I can refrain from commenting if I don’t agree with something. Not much point in a blog if that is the case.
    I think Horan made a mistake with the half forward line on Sunday and it nearly cost us. Jason is a full heated player who like every Mayo player I remember gives his all for the county but I cannot see us getting over the line with him playing for 70 mins.
    I think Feeney deserves a chance or else he should be told he will not figure in James plans.
    Finally I think we all deserve our say without being belittled because it might not concur with those who see everything as rosy.

  24. Nobody, least of all me, is saying that criticism isn’t allowed here and the breadth of post-match comments bear this out. It’s how that criticism is made that’s the main issue for me but at least 95% of all comments posted cause no problem in this respect as most abide fully by the house rules. A bit less ya-booing from both sides of the debate wouldn’t go amiss, though, as this only serves to fan the flames and lead to knee-jerk insults in return.

  25. No doubt about it, Tom Cuniffe was our man of the match, the Sunday Game pundits say otherwise but then again they went for Cooper for MOTM in the Dublin/ Laois match! Makes you wonder what match they were watching? Ross Munley took cooper to the cleaners any possession he got, & he should have a much better claim to the MOTM award, but there you go!. Now what match were those posterrs looking at that taught Jason Doherty didnt have a good match! He was the only starting half forward to score , he won ball, worked hard andlaid off the final pass for a few other scores and generally had a positive influence. He was easily in the top 5 Mayo performers on the day.

  26. Everyone has a different view of what they saw in the Hyde but was it not our number 12 who gave Seamie a pass for his point , a pass to Andy for one of his points, won numerous amount of ball around the middle sector , was in a great position when Alan Dillion had a shot at goal and won a great turnover near the end by tackling hard ( granted ref gave a free out to ros ) .
    For a player not on top of his game and playing out of position Doc did ok IMO .
    Also the mayo tackling was superb and while we should have pushed up a bit more – I thought the ref was harsh at times in penalising our tackling . Our tackle was v similar to what was used in salthill last year but we were not pulled on it there.
    Having said all that – there is plenty of work to be done !

  27. Agreed – we got pulled a few times for perfectly okay ‘choke’ tackles and replays showed beyond doubt that Doc’s rob that put him through one-on-one with the ‘keeper was no way a foul.

  28. Was afraid to use the rugby term willie joe but our ‘choke’ tackle would be perfect in the eyes of a different official .

  29. Again with the feeney stuff! People are reading into this way too much. The reason feeney is coming on late in games is because he is a steady head, is experienced and is comfortable on the ball, and also to waste time. This thing about him being an insult is totally ridiculous. When you consider his skillset, the best situation to introduce him is when we are ahead and the other team are chasing and there is a bit of space opening up. He is an excellent outlet in this situation, and horan has used him often in it – Donegal being the one that stands out to me. He gets on the ball moves it forward and maybe picks off a plucky point or even two while the opponents are looking for scores. But look, that wasn’t the case in the AI final, it wasnt the case against derry and it wasn’t the case the last day either. Therefore he didn’t come in. He did come in in games where we were ahead. Horan has been totally consistent on that front. He doesn’t come in when we are chasing because he isn’t going to break tackles or burn past opponents at pace. These are perfectly logical and reasonable tactics designed to make the most of the positives that feeney has shown that he can bring to the team.

  30. I find it annoying that people lay such harsh criticisms on people who are far superior to them in their field, yet when people criticise fans the toys are out of the pram.

    Never ever forget that fans play a huge part in this too. If a majority of people start turning on this team and or management, there is a good chance that it will have huge negative effect. It’s not rocket science. Some of the muck I have heard at games this year is beyond belief.

  31. I wish James Horan would insult me and bring me on for 5 minutes in a championship game!! 😀

  32. Lads, great blog but what Roscommon fans are saying we are going to dominate for next 5 years. It’s not a sentiment you will read on our forum. You’ve created a straw Rossie there. There’s a good few of 2006 minors still playing and one of the best David Keenan was injured on Sunday, big loss too. But you also had Shine, O’Gara, Higgins and Carty who started and all showed great leadership. Domican and Ormsby would be starters if they had not emigrated.

    Congrats on digging deep to pull that one out of fire. It was a well earned victory and a tough defeat for us. But so was 1989 😉

  33. My feeling about Sunday’s game is that Mayo won. The other stuff about Feeney, Doherty, et al does not interest me. They went to Roscommon and won and that is all that matters – winners write the history and losers the excuses. Despite the disppointment I felt exactly the same about Dublin after last year’s AI.

    I was taken to my first Connaught Final in 1966 when the winners went on to win their third All Ireland in a row. My father and his friends who had all followed Mayo in the thirties, forties and fifties always expected nothing less from a Mayo team than a win. Maybe having seen Mayo lift cups at National level, they could be quite harsh by today’s norms in their criticism. Granted in those days the use of negative or positive to describe peoples’ opinions or indeed the use of constructive criticism was still only found in the textbooks of first year US undergraduate psychology students and had not yet polluted the language.

  34. Does it make any difference who should be named motm as long as we win
    All our forwards need is a small bit of cuteness especially when we get in near the goal.A case in point was when A O Shea elected to kick a ball wide when a fisted score would have been a better bet.I dont see any reason why long range kicking on the training ground would not result in dealing with the blanket defence
    This is not rocket science it is a very basis skill for County players .We also seem to think that Alan Freeman is 7 ft tall, lofting in high balls when everyone knows that a ball dropped in front of him gives a far better chance to beat his man to go for score or a lay off

  35. Long range points are something we should be working on.

    In the energy sapping heat of last year’s All-Ireland, the Dubs kicked 4/5 points in the second half from well out the field, that’s including a long range free from Cluxton. By contrast I can only remember Keegan kicking one long range point for Mayo and that was in the first half.

    It takes an awful lot less effort and energy to kick scores from long distance and they also drive a knife into the opposition. Definitely something we should be working on as it’s one sure way to rip the blanket,

  36. Well done to Tom Cunniffe, a well deserved award. I was just thinking to myself this is a guy who has lost two All-Ireland finals since last September, against Dublin and against St. Vincents in the club final. He was probably Castlebar’s best player on that day too. It just shows the kind of determination, passion, never say die attitude that these Mayo players posses in abundance. They are a real credit to their families, friends, clubs and county. When you think of some of the players that have won All-Ireland medals over the years it would be a real shame if players like Tom Cunniffe etc. etc. etc. on the Mayo team do not win ultimate honours, football life has not been fair to some great Mayo players, surely to God our luck has to change sometime. Maybe we’ll look back to the day the ball came off the upright and fell into Mayo hands rather than the hands of a Rossie as the day our luck changed!

  37. Tom played well but having watched the game back i thought Colm Boyle was the stand out player.

  38. Juan says:
    had we converted half of our wides tally things would be different.

    In fairness Juan 3 of the 10 wides were passes that drifted out wide. The shots for scores that went wide was Mayo 7 Ros 4 in 1st half.

  39. Mayomagic, 2-3 balls also dropped short into the keepers hands so that balances out the misplaced passes.

  40. The rossies also dropped two short in 1st half and rob made one fine catch above his crossbar.

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