A few FBD stats

This time last year, I did a post-FBD piece on who had played and who had scored in the three games and that was such fun that I’m back again twelve months on with another one, the essential details of which are – like last year – summarised in a neat little table. Voilà.

FBD 2015 Stats

At one level, the picture this year is broadly similar to 2015 but when you dig a bit behind the top-level figures, the less this appears to be the case. In 2015, we used a total of 35 players (Mike Finnerty quoted a figure of 36 in his radio commentary on Midwest on Sunday and in the Mayo News since but 35 is all I can find from the available stats) compared to 32 in 2014.  You’d think, then, that the same kind of experimentation took place this January compared to last but that’s not quite the full story.

Last year, four players – David Drake, Brendan Harrison, Kevin Keane and Shane McHale – started in all three games, while a further four – Stephen Coen, Michael Conroy, Lee Keegan and Enda Varley – only saw action from the subs’ bench. This year, in contrast, every single one of the 35 players used in the FBD started at least one match and not one of them started all three, though seven of them – Chris Barrett, Jason Doherty, Barry Moran, Alan Freeman, Jason Gibbons, Keith Rogers and Mark Ronaldson – featured in all three matches, with Barrett, Doherty and Moran starting in two of these games. Last year, only five players featured in the three games – the four listed above who started in all three plus Jason Gibbons, who lined out in two.

This means that the experimentation this year was far more widespread, with in excess of two entire teams started over the course of the three games. Every player tried in this FBD campaign was given the chance to impress from the throw-in and there was no attempt to secure results through the retention of a core group of players across the three games.

The level of experimentation for the Roscommon game was particularly noteworthy, with eight players lining out for the first time this year in that one and only four lads – Donal Vaughan, Barry Moran, Kevin McLoughlin and Morgan Lyons – retained from the side that started against IT Sligo week earlier. Clearly, if a win over the Rossies was something Noel and Pat were targeting (in the way that John Evans so obviously was) they could have picked a very different line-up for the job. Instead, they chose the wiser course of giving more of the lads a January start.

Top scorer from last year was Darren Coen on seven points but he only played once this January – last Sunday – and didn’t get on the scoresheet. Kevin McLoughlin, who lined out against both NUIG and Roscommon, was our top scorer in this FBD campaign with nine points to his credit.

In total we posted 2-38 this year compared to 3-28 last January (yes, that confused me too when I looked at it first).  We conceded 3-29 this month, up slightly on last year’s 3-27. We didn’t qualify for the final this year, just like last year. And the Rossies beat us both last year and this year.

And that, amigos, is the FBD stats update sorted for another year.

60 thoughts on “A few FBD stats

  1. Very good summary WJ well done to you. I could not make the IT Sligo game but I saw the rest. Great to see so many new faces get a chance in January. The FBD of 2015 will be forgotten by this day week, and we hope that wearing the Mayo jersey before the home crowd will live long in the memory of those boys who got a run over the last few weeks.
    I also thought Evans showed a lot of his hand on Sunday. Is this man under pressure? Perhaps he is expecting a Ros v Galway final later on this year.

  2. Great stats there Willie Joe, and gives an very interesting overview of the use of the panel and where scores are coming from. It will be interesting to see team selection for the Kerry match, as there should be no need to show our hand just yet. So long as we’re getting players back to full fitness coming up to the Championship, and hope we secure enough points to survive in division one, that should be the priority.

  3. PJ,

    Of course Evans is under pressure. This is, I think, his third year in charge and while promotion from Div 3 last year was progress and a good performance [promotion?] in the league again may suffice the championship will be the measure. With London /Sligo providing the early opposition a Connacht Final win will be all Roscommon supporters real ambition.
    Equally Connelly/Holmes will be expected to at least match James Horan’s achievements last year in the championship. League success, while it would be welcome, will not compensate in any way for a Connacht Final/All Ireland QF defeat. and with next year’s semifinal being v Ulster victory will be expected there too.
    Kevin Walsh may be under a little less pressure being in his first year but much will come down to Galway’s performance v Mayo in the semifinal. Galway supporters will be getting a little impatient for success over the old enemy.

  4. Thats pressure in itself when new management are expected to at least match Horan. When Horan arrived he had little expectations or pressure on him and he knew he would be given time to develop his own team/squad. By 2012 it was some achievement to get Mayo within inches of winning All Ireland from what happened two years previously in Pearse Park.

  5. Thanks, greenandeedblood – the reference there should have been to the IT Sligo match and not the NUIG one. I’ve corrected it now. By the way, I have also incorrectly failed to credit Darren McHugh with the point he scored against NUIG but I’m away for the next few days and so will correct the table over the weekend after I get back.

  6. I figured the Ros are doing so well compared to a couple of year’s .ago. The. 2012 season a complete washout. I was expecting Evans to have time on his side. I take your points Andy D and I am a little surprised if this is true . Candidates were not queueing up for the job back in 2012 if I remember correctly. As for Noel and Pat I believe we have 2 good men and we need to be patient with them and the new setup. Maintaining the momentum will not be achieved that easy.

  7. Wise, sensible and measured use of the available players by the two lads and fair also. The more senior players, and the players that we know already what they can do, were given a rest and players that needed to clear out the lungs and stretch the legs were given the chance to do so. More importantly however, all players that were consistently showing good form and potential for their clubs and at inter county underage were given the chance, and honour, to play in the green and red geansai. This is very important in my opinion. It shows to all club players that irrespective of the level they may be playing at with their clubs, if they are producing the goods on a consistent basis then they will get a chance. For many of these lads they may never feature for Mayo again, but, the fact that they once togged for Mayo can never be taken from them and it is fair reward for the effort and commitment that they put in.

  8. Pebblesmeller, a question for you. If you were given the task of picking the team to play Kerry in the up-coming League match, would you continue to give the new lads every chance to prove them selves, or would you be tempted to bring back the more senior players, and try and settle the score with these Kerry feckers at the earliest possible opportunity?

  9. But winning in Killarney won’t settle the score. That’s the point. We’ve beaten Kerry time and again in the League in the last ten years, home and away, and even in Croke Park. But they’ve always beaten us in the competition that matters. To settle the score, we have to beat them in the championship.

  10. I would be inclined to try out at least few of these guys against top opposition in Div1.
    Only problem I have with it is the ground conditions on the day.

    E.g. a lot of our players (forwards in particular) might be suited to fast hard ground. Playing them on wet heavy ground might easily go against them (especially the younger guys ala Regan etc.)

    And I really think this has to be taken into account as it could have a fairly big impact on their overall performance on a given day.

  11. Kerry getting beaten in two weeks time will mean diddly to them. Of course they will want to win and never think winning the league is beneath them – they have won two or three in last decade- , but they will take it in their stride and move on.

    They settle scores by winning when it matters.

  12. Beating Kerry in Killarney gives you 2 league points that’s it. There is only one way to settle the score and its not in a league game. Don’t fool yourself about things like that. Six points in the league, that will do nicely if it is achieveable.

  13. beating Kerry may mean little in the grand scheme in February but its 2 points that will be needed to keep us in division 1, plus its a real test for evan regan and co.
    Did hear anybody hear how cathal carolan is doing? I heard a radio interview from the weekend where mike Kelly was debating with another well informed mayo man, they disagreed on donie Vaughan at full back, its amazing how 2 people could see the same thing so differently. Would donie be an option or is it too much for him?

  14. Yes, 6 pts and the quicker we get there the more experimenting can be carried out. I don’t think donie is plan A for fb but he or someone like him needs to be familiar with it for plan b. Same flexibility needed throughout the field.
    And while it is only de league i think the Kerry match will be red hot. The limerick mugging is still fresh in the memory…

  15. Most important is that we stay in Div 1 and two points in Killarney would be very welcome. It has no more and no less meaning than that for me. Revenge for Limerick!!! All Kerry did in Limerick was win – albeit very ugly. The real enemy in Limerick was a certain Mr Reilly from Meath. And hopefully we will get a chance to take on Kerry in August or September.

  16. Mayo McHale,
    I would pick as strong and as experienced a side as possible. Not for the purposes of “settling scores” or anything like that, but for the purposes of securing 2 points. The next 3 games after Kerry are Tyrone and Monaghan at home and then Derry away. I would target these games to “experiment” a little more. By the time the last 3 games come around, i.e. Dublin, Cork and Donegal, we would have a much clearer picture on the make up of the squad. Hopefully, with at least 3 wins under our belt at that stage, our division one status should be almost secure. With a few more of the experienced bunch, e.g. Dillion, A Moran, A O’Shea etc back by then we should sneak any remaining points needed.
    Physically Kerry will be at the same stage as us and not really “at it” yet. More than likely they are not really tuned into football at this stage of the year. Therefore we have a chance, if we are cute about it, to get a win. However, to beat them you have to counter their strengths and protect where you think they are going to target us. Historically, Kerry have done us on the high ball into a target man and they will look to do this again, particularly as their fitness levels will not be great. Whether Donaghy is there or not they will have a target man primed for the job. This is not the only route of attack they have though, and the direct running of Barry John Keane and Donacha Walshe will target us straight down the centre of our defence, which was relatively open last year. Our primary aim has to be a clean sheet, above all else. If we achieve this aim and shut down their attack we will win.
    The team and tactics I would use is as follows……

  17. indeed Kerry beat us in a very ugly way, and it wont be forgotten by the players anytime soon. The big question is will we have learned the lessons? donaghy last year, tommy walsh this year. its never going to be easy

  18. It’s the players running off the big men that have to be minded as much as the big men themselves. To be honest I blame Keith Higgins for the comeback goal in the first game against Kerry.

    He completely lost O’Donoghue who was left on the six yard line on his own.
    All Donaghy had to do was make some sort of pass which he managed. It was O’Donoghue who had to do the rest which was made much easier with no one tackling him.

    Similar to Murphy v Dublin for their comeback goal in the first half. All he did was break the ball and help get it to the unremarked Ryan Mcugh who finished it off.

  19. 1. Clarke – better in the air than Hennelly & more physical. Needed for this game.

    2. Barrett 3. Vaughan 4. Higgins
    5. Keegan 6. Cunniffe 7. Boyle
    8. B. Moran 9. S. O’Shea
    10. Douglas 11. Doherty 12. Duffy
    13. Regan 14. Freeman 15. McLoughlin

    On throw-in, I would have Duffy move from no.12 to play a defensive screening role behind Cunniffe but in front of Vaughan. This will force Kerry to ensure the ball delivery is spot-on because any long high balls in to the target man that fall short will be swept up by Duffy. It will also force the kicker to go long with the ball delivery. This “pushes” back the target man towards goal and towards the end line. He now is isolated against Vaughan and Clarke. Plus, as soon as any balls are played in over Duffy, he will turn and help Vaughan by double marking the target man. All Vaughan has to do is tap it down to Duffy, he does not need to challenge for clean ball in the air. Duffys presence would also help to stop the direct running through our middle by having an extra defender in there. Duffy would never leave our 45, ever. Regardless of anything else that happens, he does not leave his post.
    My number one priority would be a clean sheet and to help do this I would form my defence into a “wedge” formation. I would protect the area from Cunniffe back to the 2 cornerbacks and no Kerry man would get in there. I would get my two corner backs to tuck-in goalside, Duffy to plug any gaps between the lines and Cunniffe to slow down the Kerry attack coming in. There is no way I would give them the centre areas. I would conceed the flanks and let them kick points from distance and from unfavourable areas but not the centre. The wedge formation would help to force their attack lateral and wide and into poor shooting areas.
    The downside to this is our attack is at a 6 v 5 disadvantage against the Kerry backs. Firstly, McLoughlin would move from the corner out to the no.12 position vacated by Duffy. Now our half forward line contains players that are comfortable kicking points from distance (N.B. Douglas 4 from play and distance v NUIG). Next, Keegan would have license to bomb forward into the half forward line, but no further, and act as an auxillary half forward. When this happens Duffy can move into Keegans position to cover against a counter attack. Then, I would place Freeman and Regan inside the large square, side by side, as a two man full forward line. I would instruct them not to leave the square until the ball came through our midfield where they would break looking for chest high bouncing ball out in front. They can then play off each other for quick scores or pass to the in-rushing half forwards. By planting them both, side by side, in the square you are forcing the remaining 4 Kerry backs to cover the entire area inside their 45. That creates a lot of space to run into and to play ball into.
    It would be very much “counter attack” football but if it is done correctly then it will work.

  20. Best time to play Kerry in league is early on . Look at their early performances in league in last few years brutal. But they always manage to stay in Div 1 with improvement in later stages of league. Beating them will not be revenge for Limerick but it will give us 2 points in a very competitive league. JH never took league too seriously but kept us in Div 1 throughout. For the sake of Holmes Connelly I hope they do likewise. Bearing in mind the amount of panic at losing to Ros in FBD surely relegation would be the end of the world. In truth our season starts in Pearse stadium in June and while I hope we stay up I would much prefer a successful run in championhip

  21. Excellent team n tactics Pebble. I like the extra physicality and height of Keane for Barrett. Purely as I want bit more height in the full backline. I’d save Barrett to come in likely for Boyle n also replace Keegan late on if we are leading. I like the idea of freshening up the men on the wings for the final 15 minutes of games.
    Duffy as a sweeper could have something to it I played him at minor and he was a natural in the air. We still seem to lack a midfielder who is mobile n can setup attacks and finish off scores. Parsons maybe might improve if he gets a run of games? AOS I dont think a high mileage position is good for him especially seeing as had hip operation a year ago.

  22. I am told [reliable info] that the Hastings Cup Semi v Roscommon is on Saturday next, 24th, at Lanesboro [Rathcline GAA Club], Co Longford at 2 pm. Lanesboro is on the Shannon on the Longford Roscommon road, N63.
    Leitrim and Galway are in the other semi while Kerry meet Monaghan in a Shield semi.

  23. It really goes to show – you really can never do enough as an intercounty player. Keith Higgins played his heart out and his socks off on both days v Kerry. I don’t think any reasonable person could have asked for much more of him.

  24. And which foot would they kick with pebble, it’s fine and dandy talking about rigid tactics like that, but the other team has ideas as well, I am certain jh always had plans but sometimes you fall a bit short

  25. I know what Kerry did last year during the league was as follows. The U21 players were allowed concentrate on their competitions until they were knocked out. Then certain players who Eammon Fitzmaurice felt would improve their team were earmarked early in the year for plenty of game time during the league. Players like Paul Murphy (he ended up as MOTM in the All-Ireland final) Paul Geaney (he scored Kerry’s first goal in the All-Ireland fiinal) and Stephen O’Brien (he scored a goal against us in Castlebar in the league). The years before that players like James O’Donoghue, Fionn Fitzgerald and Johnny Buckley were developed. This is what I would like to see Noel and Pat do, decide on the 3 or 4 players who they feel will improve our team for the tough championship ahead and give them plenty of game time during the league. Also trying out players in new positions, like Donal Vaughan at full-back, would be a very useful exercise. Developing new styles of play will also be very important.

  26. I agree Anne Marie. The blame for that late comeback goal in Croker was further out the field on the right wing. Higgins couldn’t be blamed. It was a magnificent catch by Donaghy and a lightning fast lay off to Donoghue that no one could be reasonably expected to anticipate.
    Pebblesmeller I like your thinking but I wonder if Gavin Duffy at this stage has anything to offer that others like Tom parsons etc haven’t. I also think we might need to employ the high ball into a big man of our own up front for a period of the game to add more variety to our attacking strategy. It’s fairly primitive but at a minimum it can keep the defence on edge. It also gives more freedom to other attacking strategies because the backs have to cover the high ball as well as concentrating on stopping the runs. Keep them wondering! If the defence can anticipate what you are going to do in attack they have an advantage.

  27. Higgins can’t be blamed but there’s no problem with people throwing continuous blame in the direction of Ger Cefferkey.

  28. As for asking a lot of Duffy? Asking him to cover very little area, not man mark and use his size and strength to sweep up loose ball and fill in space in our defence. Surely that’s not asking too much.

  29. Thanks Pebblesmeller for your response. I knew you would come back with some constructive stuff, but what we got was much more than that, a blue print for the match itself. Only hope the Kerry lads don’t get to read it, or our cover will be blown before a ball is kicked 🙂

  30. JPM, you’re correct. Its rare that it is just a single individual that is at fault. More often than not it is a sequence of events that lead to the scores.

  31. Keith Higgins would have been expected to track ODonoghye on that specific play and yes anticipate a layoff from Donaghy. All the players n supporters knew Kerry required a goal. That goal has been conveniently labelled as players out the pitch not closing down. David Moran is well able to break free of coverage many times during games. He’s strong n he gets away with at least 6/7 steps. You cant build a goal prevention strategy on totally closing down kickpasses into the square from 55 yards – 40 yards. Look at how many attacking posessions have in a game. When you have a full forward like Donaghy it is the direct coverage that is important. The argument about allowing too much time for the perfect pass in doesn’t apply, you can be much less accurate with Donaghy n he’ll make a catch or knockdown others wouldn’t.

  32. Nice one AndyD that’s something I might b able to catch.. Lanesboro not to far away from me here. Should be interesting 2 see what’s up and coming

  33. Vaughans positional sense and lacks of tight marking is non runner for full back IMO but it was worth trying it in the FBD. The best midfield pairing Mayo have is AOS,SOS i feel Barry Moran best days are behind him however still a useful sub. C O Connor should play at 11 the same role that the Gooch played for Kerry in 2013.

  34. I’v been in two minds about Cillian at 11. He scores goals, sets up goals, wins frees/penalties at corner forward.He’s going to have to have a performance margin over Adam Gallagher or AOS at 11 balanced against his replacement in the corner. Replacement might be a roving AOS or Gallagher. I think he’ll be left in the corner but am sure he’d play well at 11.

  35. Pebbles, I was a little mischievous, seen as you had everthing else planned for I thought you might tell them which foot to kick with, but I do enjoy your comments, so take no notice of me, I cannot tell anyone how to get jug down to our beloved mayo, although I often tried but have given up, and will leave to whoever is brave enough to try, I think James gave his very best, and was certainly the best I have seen. Still think we need aos at midfield, so then we need a very good cf, maybe coc, although I think we should try someone new.as I have said before our problems last year against kerry were out the field, and over the last few years it was by far our strongest part, so I am a it pessimistic, I hope I am wrong, anyway pebbles keep it up on what is by far the best platform for us, thanks to willie joe, and to people like you

  36. @ Sean Burke

    This has caused some confusion over the last couple of weeks & months. Cillian will not be able to play in Killarney because of the suspension. There are also a few more players not able to play against kerry “Due to injury”. I think that came from Mayo GAA, I can’t think off hand but if I find the link agqain, I’ll post it here.

  37. Mick/Sean – the Mayo News have a piece this week on who is unavailable, injured, etc. – here. To be clear, Cillian IS suspended for this one so there’s no question of his suspension being applied to our next championship match (i.e. against Galway). According to that piece, it’s touch and go as to whether or not Aidan O’Shea or Ger Cafferkey will be available for Killarney and there are a few others who might not be available for it either.

  38. It was back in February 1988, Mick – I did a post on our complete record against Kerry some time ago (here) and that date is the most recent one I can see that we played them there. Before that, you have to go back to 1932 (for a League semi-final) for the only other time we played them there. They won both of those matches – third time lucky for us?

  39. Alternative Mayo Lineup?

    __________Clarke
    __Boyle____G.Duffy____Higgins
    __Keegan__Cunniffe__Barrett
    _______SOS____Vaughan

    Kmc_____Douglas_____Doherty
    __________AOS
    ______Cillian__Freeman

    Duffy as fullback as Peebles said his is bound to be good in the air having being assured under the oval ball im sure the round is much easier to catch .
    I put Boyler into CB as we need to reduce the attack minded half back line and think He and Higgins are a duo no cornerforwards would want to face.
    Boyler also very alert to any breaking ball from duffy in the fullbackline.

    Cunniffe at 6 has always being a position we need him . Holmes is also a big fan of him at 6 . His strenght discipline and presence will calm and assure a line whpo are excellent players but who sometimes forget they are defenders.

    SOS and Vaughan/Parsons Centrefield is a good partnership, I would give Donie the nod on his mobility but hopefully we see more of “the old ” Tom Parsons.

    Halfforward line doesnt see much of a change only Douglas or Gallagher could fill in at 11, maybe even D O Conor and push Doh to 11 but here we need mobile players who can win breaks, move ball at pace and kick scores on the run and all these lads tick that box.

    To preserve AOS I would give him a free role from fullforward. Free as in he goes no deeper than 21 but pulls out from edge of box .
    Here I would expect him to be available for the defensive out ball. If a half back was under pressure previous we kicked it long to Cillian who wins a remarkable amount of aerial possession but I think AOS should be a better asset in this role not playing as deep.
    HAlf forwards could also find him for 1-2’s and a weakness of his is ability to kick the ball on the run so this role should mean he receives the ball near enough to the posts as he doesnt have to break 9 tackles before getting into shooting position but yet gives him freedom of playing between the lines and having Cillian inside to distract the cornerbacks.

    I think this will upset teams game plans on defending against us.
    Currently they put their most aerially dominant/Fullback on Cillian and we usually dont have another player who can win high ball in fullforawrd line.
    This tactic will mean we have two aerial specialists and then the dilemma of “if we put our full back on AOS, then he is pulled out of position, giving Cillian more space inside”

    This should also liberate Freeman, who is a fine player under the high ball, has goals in his locker and can win his own ball.

    I havent include the “old boys” as its up to the young lads to prove themselves and displace them.

  40. No worries corick bridge, I wasn’t taking it as a dig. That’s the problem with texting and typing, you can’t get a sarcastic tone across in the words :).

  41. Thanks for clearing that up WJ. It beats having no Cillian for the trip to Salthill – where he will most definitely be needed.

  42. Sorry folks but for any poster to suggest that Keith Higgins was responsible for that goal is simply beyond belief, if Eamon Fitzmaurice could pick a golden transfer player from Mayo he would pick Higgins in a heart beat.
    There were a number of factors that led to Mayos demise the most significant one being the collapse of the Mayo middle diamond. The failure of the sideline to protect a tired Cafferky who was left one on one against a fresh Donaghy, I’ve said it before if Fitzmaurice was guilty of that failure with four or five minutes of normal time left and five points up he would be hung drawn and quartered. The failure to send Enright to the line and the clash of heads between Aidan and Cillian O Connor were also significent but all four were very telling ingredients that resulted in Mayos loss.

  43. Outside of the boot,

    I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on rugby [most wouldn’t consider me a expert on Gaelic either, I think] but most high ball in rugby is caught on the chest whereas in Gaelic it needs to be caught overhead. so putting Gavin Duffy in at full back unseen on the basis of his rugby play seems a bit hopeful to me. And how many games has he played in either code in the past 18 months?

  44. JP
    OK Higgins took a gamble by going to Donaghy in the hope of a breaking ball or to bottle him up if he attempted to burst through. Caff didn’t manage to get a finger near the ball. Hennelly dithered as well. Keegan I think was on the other side and could have milled into Donaghy as he went up to catch but didn’t.
    Also David Moran was out against the side line and there were three Mayo players near enough to him to get a proper challenge in and even foul if necessary but they didn’t. So to blame higgins for the goal is a bit harsh when at least five others were involved to varying degrees.

  45. Not to fan the flames or anything (Higgins is the best Mayo player of his generation for me) but in my opinion the majority of the blame for that goal in the 1st semi goes to Higgins. Cafferkey was goal side of Donaghy and even though Donaghy won the ball there was no goal on only for the fact that Higgins panicked and left O’Donoghue all alone.

    He more than made up for it in the replay though where he was practically a one man defence against the Kingdom.

  46. Just to clarify some of us have simple opinion that Higgins made one particular mistake .. his only one that stands out from last season. In the replay he was outstanding, managing to hold up JOD in the tackle. He was also pulled n dragged for what seemed an age getting some late free calling from the ref.
    However I remember his block on Joe Kavanagh in 2011 where he changed direction as he anticipated Kavanagh might jink to the left. That was a game saver as I remember as Cork had a decent lead at that stage.

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